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Issue 810 • Week of September 9–15, 2017
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
One of the best decisions I’ve made in recent times was to sell my condo to live and travel full time in a motorhome. It’s put me at ground zero in places where RVers gather, in particular RV parks where I have chatted with hundreds of RVers about their lives on wheels.
The experience of living in an RV has opened my eyes to how dramatically the lifestyle has changed since I bought my first motorhome 35 years ago (when I was barely a kid). It’s a lot more crowded these days, in part because RVs are so much more livable.
I’ve met some of the happiest, most contented people in the world, who love their mobile lives. But I have also heard horror stories like the man who had to repair five slides in his fifth wheel in five years.
I’ve stayed in beautiful RV parks a third of the time, and so-so or downright crummy parks other times. Two weeks ago I stayed in a stunning KOA park just west of Des Moines, Iowa. Tender love and care was evident everywhere.
And then, a few nights ago, I stopped for two nights at a KOA in Crawfordsville, Indiana, where my campsite pad was badly sloped. When you and I stay in a motel, we expect the floor to be level. Shame on any RV park that charges for a space that’s not even close to level. The KOA was attractive enough with a beautiful canopy of trees, but there were ugly rigs that remain year round: The license tag of one shabby-looking trailer had expired in 2011. The park’s bathrooms appeared clean, but I could smell sewage. A large dog barked incessantly. Some RVers complained to the dog’s owner, who didn’t care. The management didn’t help.
I’m now in Ohio in a small Mom-and-Pop park. This morning, I watched children walking down the hill to the school bus. They live here. Like most year-round parks, some spaces are occupied by full-time residents. We met a fellow the other day who was staying three years in an RV park while working on a local windmill project. Some rigs of permanent residents, mostly fifth wheels, are well kept. But others are old and beat up, with junk scattered outside.
The problem with the temporary workers is they take up valuable space once available to RVers on vacation or just passing through. Then factor in all the former RV sites that have been turned into cabins, and you have an availability problem.
RESERVATIONS CAN BE TOUGH to get in the summer throughout the USA, even impossible if not booked a year ahead in or near popular National Parks. But in the Midwest, where Gail and I have been lately, there are few major tourist attractions, so finding a place to stay on a day’s notice has been easy. I laughed yesterday at the automated email response we received from a Pennsylvania park where we asked to stay for four days beginning that night. An auto reply came back: “We appreciate your business. We will get back to you within 48 hours!” Forty-eight hours! Are you kidding? How stupid, yet more evidence of the lack of sophistication in the RV park industry.
Being out here on the road has taught me more than I could ever have learned sitting at home or behind a desk. And yet I bet fewer than a handful of RV industry executives have spent more than a night or two in a campground in the last ten years, if ever. They keep cranking out RVs — about a half-million this year — and bragging about their good fortunes. Little do they realize, much less care, that there are no new campgrounds or RV parks to accommodate all these new RVers. Mark my words, it will get worse! Ten thousand baby boomers are turning 65 every day, and many will choose to buy and live in an RV.
The audience of this newsletter is older, 55 plus. We travel a lot, with many of us full-timing. Some are well-off, others get by. We like our creature comforts, and that’s why most of us are in rigs 30 feet or longer — “mobile homes,” not campers.
Our reader survey two weeks ago revealed that 84 percent of us want or prefer an electric hookup where we stay. So we hole up in crowded RV parks rather than beautiful Forest Service campgrounds where there are no hookups or cell service. Of course, many “Big Rigs” will not even fit into these places.
If you own an RV park these days, you’re likely “in the money” even if your park is dumpy with crammed sites. Supply and demand is at work, and it’s a park owner’s market. Even the quality of once-predictably neat and clean KOAs has slipped.
Boondocking — living on solar power and conserving water — is a great way to go, and many of us do it sometimes. But when you live in an RV full time, boondocking is a rare diversion. We want to live in our spacious RVs with the same comforts as home — good internet access; power for the AC, fridge and big screen TV and plenty of water for a nice hot shower.
PLEASE SAY HI IN HERSHEY!
Are you headed to Hershey, Pennsylvania, for the big RV show that begins Sept. 13? Gail and I will be there again this year. We’ve reserved the “Locker Room” (a meeting room) on Thursday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon for an informal RV Travel meetup. Please stop by. Gail and I will be joined both days by Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor. Our RV electricity columnist, Mike Sokol, will be on hand Thursday. We’d love to meet you!
YOUR RECIPES WANTED
My daughter, Emily, our new staff writer, is an amazing cook and a lover of all things food. She requests that you send your favorite recipe (one that you like to cook in your RV) to her at Emily (at) rvtravel.com. Each week she’ll select a recipe to feature in this newsletter. Please be advised that by emailing your recipe you are granting us permission to share it with our audience. Other tips about cooking in an RV will be appreciated, too.
Is this newsletter worth 20 cents to you?
Our staff works hard to bring you a valuable newsletter every Saturday. Readers help make it possible with their voluntary subscriptions. Even a pledge of $10 a year is appreciated — that’s less than 20 cents an issue! Some readers pledge monthly, typically $5. Your contributions make it possible for us to write about important matters, not just fluff to make advertisers and RV industry big shots happy. Enter a voluntary subscription. Use a credit card, PayPal or mail a check.
Have you been affected by Hurricanes Harvey or Irma?
If so, would you please let us know. Did you escape from danger with your RV, or are you living in it now because your home was damaged? Please write if you can and share your experience. Email Diane (at) RVtravel.com .
Why a motorhome makes sense when you’re in the path of a hurricane
Our friend Andy Pargh, the Gadget Guru, wrote: “Having lived in Florida for twenty years, when I purchased my first motorhome, I felt that one of the benefits of ownership was that it would be the ideal mode of comfortable transportation in the case of an evacuation such as the one that Florida and surrounding states are experiencing with Hurricane Irma.” Read more from Andy about how to prepare your motorhome (or other RV) in case you need to get out of harm’s way quickly.
THIS WEEK’S CONTEST!
We have a winner! No more entries for this contest, please. The answer is Annie Oakley.
Win this very cool double-sided panini and sandwich maker. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Monday. The question: SEE PHOTO: Who is this famous woman of the Old West? Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane or Pearl Hart? (Answer is far below if you want to cheat.) Email your answer to RVcontests (at) gmail.com. We can only ship prizes to addresses with a U.S. Zip Code. Only one entry per household. All entries must include your mailing address and telephone number (only used for mailing if you win) or your entry will be disqualified and we’ll choose the next (correct) entry. Contest ends Monday at noon (Pacific), at which time a winner will be selected by Random.org. We’ll let you know if you win.
Last week’s winner: Mark Jeffery of Blaine, Wash. He won the cool Mini Drone.
Construction at Utah’s Arches National Park continues to affect travel plans. The Windows Section of the park has now reopened after several weeks of closure. However, the La Sal Mountains Overlook is now closed, as are the Balanced Rock area, Courthouse Towers Viewpoint, and the Park Avenue Viewpoint. Devils Garden Campground is closed through the end of November. Plan on traffic delays and heavy equipment along the park’s main road.
Winter users of Oregon’s Deschutes National Forest may find a few differences when it comes to fee payment. Many high-traffic areas officially close around October 1, but continue to be accessible. This year, after “official” closure, many of those where in the past fees would not be collected, will continue to see the “tin ranger” demanding payment. The Forest Service says fee collections will allow them to continue to provide services to sites as long as the weather allows.
Glacier National Park (Montana) has issued evacuation alerts for large areas of the park after wildfire continued on a relentless chew through the park. Fire has already destroyed the Glacier backcountry lodge, and as of last Tuesday, was threatening Lake McDonald Lodge. Firefighters are making protection of the historic lodge a priority.
Wildfires don’t take holidays into account — at least not in Oregon. Just prior to the Labor Day Weekend, smoke near Bend, Ore., inundated many campgrounds, chasing campers out. Point Campground, Elk Lake, Hosmer Lake, and Little Fawn had few or at times no campers as the thick stuff clouded the air. Some area campgrounds had fire so near that they were on a Level 2 notice: “Be set to leave at a moment’s notice.”
It was a scene reminiscent of a run-on-the-bank. California’s McGrath State Beach was recently reopened after it had been closed since 2014 due to flooding. At 8 a.m. park rangers began registering campers for the 42 available sites, and an hour later it was all over. Rangers walked a long line of RVs and cars to let folks know the good — or bad — news so that nobody would have to wait in line only to be turned away.
A lifestyle of simple luxury!
At Guy Harvey Outpost Club & Resort Tarpon Springs, return to a lifestyle of simple luxury. Park yourself on 66 acres of unspoiled wilderness along Central Florida’s Gulf Coast. Our fully equipped RV lots and coastal cottages designed exclusively for the resort come with boundless modern amenities for the watersport and outdoor adventure enthusiast, all professionally managed by Guy Harvey Outpost Collection. Learn more here.
A unique, converted RV called COW (classroom on wheels) brought communications relief to storm-stricken residents of Rockport, Texas. The Class A motorhome, loaded up with computers, phones and other electronic gear, is topped off with a remote communications node that allowed storm victims to contact loved ones and apply for government relief. It’s all part of a nonprofit group, Code RGV, which normally uses the COW to teach technology to Rio Grande Valley residents.
While overall sales of vehicles in the U.S. by Ford Motors shrank some 2 percent in August, F-series pickup trucks kicked the trend, shooting up 15 percent in comparison to August 2016 sales. Demand for high-trim-level super duty rigs is way up. The average F-series pickup now retails at $45,600.
Visitors to Capitol Reef National Park (Utah) may see increased fees in 2018. Park officials are taking comments on a move to increase gate fees from the present $10 to $15. Group camping site fees would run up from $75 to $100; however, no other camping fees would change.
Kingsley Reservoir Campground, near Hood River, Ore., has closed due to intentional flooding for agricultural purposes. The campground will not reopen until May 2019. When it does, it will have been relocated to the southwest side of the reservoir. More info available under the “County Departments” tab and then the “Forestry Department” tab at Hood River County.
A Kelowna, British Columbia, woman is credited with making what could have turned into a pretty damaging situation far less serious than it might have been. The unidentified woman was riding in the passenger seat of the family pickup towing a Jayco travel trailer and piloted by her husband when he suddenly blacked out. After knocking over a light pole and taking out a fire plug, the woman was able to get enough control of the rig to bring it to a safe stop. It all happened in a residential neighborhood and, happily, no other damage was done. No word on hubby, other than he was hospitalized. Truck and trailer will take some fixing.
Wax your dirty beast with Wade Wax
Your RV’s not your car, it’s your “beast!”
Wade Wax polishes and outlasts competitors’ Carnauba-based waxes. High-quality ingredients cross link and bond to the surface of your Beast while protective copolymers and nonabrasive cleaners deliver up to 6 months of protection. Watch the video. And click here to buy, or learn more about, Wade Wax at the Wade Maid website.
An RVer from Arizona has been reunited with her father’s canoe — in Maine. Marlyne Patch lived in Maine for 20 years, but in 2014 moved with her husband to Arizona, but they return as “sunbirds” each summer to be close to family. Marlyne still carries fond memories from her childhood, paddling about in the family canoe. However, after her father’s death, the canoe went to another family member, and after his death, it was sold. But this summer, Marlyne’s granddaughter happened onto a yard sale, and sure enough, there was the family canoe, evidenced by the father’s initials painted on the bow. Marlyne was summoned and able to buy back the family’s floating heirloom.
The march of technology continues in the RV world. German company Dethleffs has rolled out a concept Class C motorhome called e.home, that ditches regular fuel and uses electricity for driving force. A 334-square foot array of solar panels charges a battery pack (good for 1,500 cycles) when not plugged into shore power. Don’t get too excited — estimated range per charge, loaded, is a quaint 103 miles. Click here for more info from New Atlas.
The U.S. isn’t the only place in the world where RV sales continue to break records. Across the pond, U.K. sales of motorhomes have broken all prior records, with June sales up 14 percent compared with June 2016. Some 13,162 motorhomes sold from June 2016 to June 2017 — a never-previously hit number. Source: National Caravan Council.
Glacier National Park officials ordered everyone to evacuate areas of the park on Sunday due to the growth of the lightning-caused Sprague fire as it spread into the Lincoln Creek drainage. As of Monday morning the fire had covered more than 13,300 acres. Learn more.
Oregon state patrol troopers netted a drunk driver in Grants Pass recently. Apparently several 9-1-1 calls were placed before the stop. In a memorable “none-too-bright” incident, the driver was pulling a fifth wheel at 2 a.m. without lights, the RV was leaking sewage, and one more giveaway — a slideout was fully extended.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
This week’s Reader Poll
Do you prefer to carefully plan your RV trips or travel spontaneously?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. We’ll post the final results in next week’s newsletter. CLICK HERE.
Read the up-to-the minute responses from last week’s poll:
Do you usually RV with a pet? If so, what kind?
Click here for the results.
Sewer hose 101: the good, the bad, the ugly
Okay, it’s sewer hose education 101 time. Here are three RV sewer hoses spotted at RV parks. Our panel of sewer hose experts commented on each setup. Would your setup receive a passing grade? Read more.
The readers write – of parts, crooks and getting hitched
Here’s a compilation of a few of the interesting comments received recently from our readers, as edited by Russ and Tiña De Maris. Topics include Do-it-yourself part chasing, Ripping the con artists, and Advice on getting hitched the correct way. Read more.
Hurricane Harvey RV roundup
Here are some stories regarding Hurricane Harvey as they affect RVers and the RV industry. Learn more.
Shower door sags — baffles RVer
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, received a question from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor about how to fix a sagging shower door in a fifth wheel. Read Chris’ response.
Full-time RVers: What object(s) could you NOT leave behind?
What object (or objects) could you absolutely NOT part with when you moved into your RV full time? Is there a certain “something” you simply could not, no matter how hard you tried, sell, give away or otherwise be without? Read more.
Add an outdoor water faucet to your RV!
This lead-free outdoor faucet is really handy. If you don’t have one, here’s a super inexpensive way to add one. No tools required and it installs in a minute (just screw it on). Brass T included with the plastic faucet, just as it’s shown in the product photo. Learn more or order.
Even the simple things — the best corn holders, ever!
Rich “the Wanderman” (like a lot of us!) really enjoys roadside farm-fresh corn. It’s available for a long growing/harvest season and can be found all around the country. It can be boiled, baked, roasted and barbecued. But frequently the corn is way too hot to handle. Rich found some corn holders that he says are great — and lots better than the little ones we’re used to seeing. Check ’em out.
How to safely, quickly and easily hitch up a travel trailer
This excellent nine-minute video was recently posted by our friend Gyro Gearloose (aka Wolfe Rose). Very simple and straightforward instructions. As a bonus, it includes reminders of what to check before taking off from your campsite. Watch the video.
Ouch! Motorhome tail swing can get you in trouble
One of the most common insurance claims among motorhome clients is damage resulting from tail swing. What is this dastardly damager, and how can you avoid it? Find out here.
Tank Sensors Reading Full?
Restore them overnight with Caravan Sensor Cleaner
Caravan’s highly concentrated, bio-enzymatic formula is guaranteed to remove the debris causing your tanks to misread. No driving necessary. No dangerous chemicals. No strong odors. Perfect for full-timers and permanently parked RVs. Learn more or buy at Amazon.com.
Use your TV for a “memories” slideshow
Most of us take pictures of the places we’ve been. Although few of us make pro-quality photos, many of our snapshots are well worth keeping, and worth displaying for that matter. Whereas we used to have to thumb through 4×6 prints, handing them around, now we all can easily view our (digital) treasure troves in a continuous slideshow using a television. Learn how from Greg Illes.
Should you unplug your RV during a lightning storm?
In this short video, RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury talks with RV electricity authority Mike Sokol about whether it’s a good idea to unplug an RV from electric hookups during a lightning storm. Watch the video.
With boondocking freedom comes responsibility
If you don’t boondock, you might think that when you are truly boondocking you also don’t have any rules to follow. Not so. Here are some basic boondocking “rules.” Feel free to add any that might have been overlooked.
RV oven boil-overs? Fear not, with nonstick mat!
When we’re out on the road, for many of us hitting roadside farmers’ markets and fruit stands is a mainstay. When we get back to the rig, who can resist building a fruit pie? Nobody – until they think of boiled-over pies, burnt onto the bottom of the oven. Well, worry no more! A nonstick oven liner can free you from fear. Read more.
Let National Geographic lead you to 125 wacky attractions
It is not always just the national parks that are remembered at the end of a long family RV trip. Often it is the weird, whimsical or wacky. National Geographic Books has recently published the fun, take-along paperback that is perfect for a cross-country RV trip, “125 Wacky Roadside Attractions.” Learn more.
Heat your RV with Electricity, not Propane!
SAVE $$$! Until now, the standard for heating recreation vehicles of all types has been to use bottled propane (LPG). With the CheapHeat™ system there’s a better option. Now you have a choice to change the central heating system between gas and electric with the flip of a switch. When you choose to run on electric heat rather than gas, your coach will be heated by the electricity provided by the RV park. Learn more.
Readers’ comments on recent articles
Recent popular articles that attracted high numbers of reader comments
• Advantages of AGM batteries in motorhome.
• Do you usually RV with a pet?
• Should generators be allowed in National Park campgrounds?
• Don’t take “no” for an answer when you DIY.
• RVers — Watch out for “helpful” con artists.
Other popular articles from last week’s issue
• August 2017 RV and RV-related recalls.
• What’s a ground loop tester and do I need one?
• Video: Travel trailer wipes out after passing truck.
• Sparkling-clean RV window screens without water.
• Thinking of camp hosting? Here’s how.
• Newbie asks: How much propane does my RV fridge burn?
• Snowbird haunts: “Burro” Schmidt’s tunnel.
Waterless trap for your RV plumbing system
Make foul smelling odors a thing of the past!
Already used by major RV manufacturers, the revolutionary HepvO waterless trap is a fantastic alternative to a conventional ‘P’ trap and it won’t fail due to evaporation, movement, freezing or leakage. Its unique membrane prevents foul air from the grey water tank entering your RV and its in-line design helps create extra storage space! Save 10% off all purchases before 11/30/2017 using code RVTRAVEL10. Learn more.
No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.
Current wildfire information in the U.S.
Complete, up-to-the-minute wildfire information around the U.S., from Incident Information System (InciWeb), a U.S. government interagency. (There are 197 wildfires [“incidents”] in the U.S. as of Friday, September 8.)
Multipurpose Microfiber Duster
No more car wipes to dry up. This duster replaces all interior car products. The 10-inch dusting head is big enough to get your dash dust-free quickly, but small enough for your glove box. The back doubles as a scrubbing sponge. Great for interior or exterior use on cars, RVs or home! Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Shrink
Avoid little RVing disasters to reduce marital conflict
Dear RV Shrink:
We just tore the TV antenna off our rig. My husband blamed me immediately. I read the manual that came with our fifth-wheel and it doesn’t say anywhere, “Wife is supposed to crank TV antenna down before leaving campground.” I could have reminded him that he was the last one to watch TV, but I didn’t. …
Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his new e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.
Don’t be without this
Emergency Weather Radio!
For about $15, you can rest assured that anytime severe weather threatens, you’ll be notified, even if cell service is down, the Internet is down or power fails. The RVtravel.com staff travels with this small, handheld, battery-powered NOAA weather radio. If severe weather is on the way, the radio sounds an alert, followed by detailed information about the the storm to let you know to seek shelter or move away. Get one for yourself and one for your parent or child who travels a lot. Learn more or order.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.68 (on Sept. 4). Change from week before: Up 28 cents; Change from year before: Up 46 cents.
Diesel: $2.76 (on Sept. 4). Change from week before: Up 15 cents; Change from year before: Up 35 cents.
Temperature gun is ‘essential equipment’ for many RVers!
Just aim this non-contact IR temperature gun to measure the temperature of your refrigerator, tires, A/C output, or, heck, even your oven (and the list goes on). It turns on and begins reading the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit with one press of the trigger. A laser light aids in aiming, and can be turned on or off. Many RVers consider this essential equipment. Learn more or order at a discount.
RV Fire Safety Tip
An emergency fire plan that can save your life – Part 8 of 13
Having a solid fire escape plan may help you replace panic with logical, life-saving actions if a fire occurs. Knowing exactly what to do and doing it quickly can make a big difference in an emergency situation.
Your motor coach fire escape plan should incorporate the needs of all the occupants, including the young, elderly, and disabled. Remove any barriers that might hinder a disabled person and install extra handles on window escape hatches. Also, arrange for a family member to assist those who may need help, and have disabled or elderly people sleep close to a safe exit.
Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Editor’s note: Choose from a wide selection of fire extinguishers at Amazon. Here are links from Amazon.com for smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, LP gas detectors, and combination smoke and CO detectors.
Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the 50 States
Learn how to prepare, carry & transport your firearm during travel in all 50 states, Canada & Mexico. This 2017 edition includes state breakdowns of firearms ownership, semi-auto gun ownership, castle doctrine, right to protect, open carry, concealed carry, state & national parks, permit reciprocity, loaded vs. unloaded, interstate transport restrictions, traffic stops, universal restricted areas, motorhome & RV issues, preemptive local laws & more. Learn more or order.
RV Quick Tips
Art Darling recommends washing off the slide cover material protecting your slideouts annually or more frequently, depending on where you camp. If you have protective metal covers over the slide cover roller, as many RVs do, check for leaves, acorns, twigs and accumulated dirt behind the metal shields. It may be necessary to open those up to clean out the debris. Thanks, Art!
Many reasons to have two-way radios
From Dick and Sandy near Buffalo, N.Y.: One tip we learned very early in our RVing (that started over 50 years ago) was not to arrive or set up in a campsite at night, unless there are absolutely no other options. When entering campgrounds, setting up, etc., we started out, like everyone else, shouting out directions or using hand signals. Then we changed to cell phones, but they don’t always work. So we learned to use two-way radios when entering and leaving, or setting up and breaking down camping spots. We also use them when entering and leaving tight parking spots, fueling, setting up at dump stations, or when separated at campgrounds or public events. Some are available with weather radio frequencies. There are many uses and reasons for having a good set of two-way radios. Great advice, Dick and Sandy!
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!
Prevent hose crimping and strain
. . . and extend RV hose life
This 90-Degree Hose Elbow eliminates unnecessary stress and strain on all RV water intake hose fittings. The elbow, with an easy-grip connector, is made of brass and is lead-free. Learn more or order for a great price!
Gizmos and Gadgets
Are you a flasher? LumiSign makes it easy
(No, not that kind!) Do you remember when changeable signs that could flash messages to other drivers were popular a few decades ago? LumiSign has come up with the 2017 version: a light-up license plate sign with endless message possibilities with changeable inserts. It installs in seconds; no wires. Learn more.
Be sure to sign up for our monthly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. Click here.
What RV do you drive or tow?
Send us a photo of your RV (and tow vehicle) with a 150-200 word description of where and how often you travel with it, and what you like or don’t like about it. Include your name(s) and hometown. We’ll post them to RVtravel.com. Send to Diane (at) RVtravel.com .
CLICK HERE to see last week’s RV Travel Reader RVs.
Save your knees
when working under your RV
Do you ever need to reach under your RV to grab something, adjust something, add air to a tire, or remove a leveling block? If you’re parked on dirt, gravel, hot pavement or other uncomfortable surfaces, your knees can take a beating! This kneeler pad, for about $7, will save the day. The RVtravel.com staff uses its pad all the time. Learn more or order
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
No voltage output from older RV generator – What to do?
We own an older (1990s) motorhome with an Onan generator (gas). We are ready to go away in a couple of weeks, so I started to check everything. The generator is running fine but is not putting out power. There is a junction box right next to the generator where I opened it while it was running and no power was present there. Is there anything else I can check? The nearest Onan repair shop is 50 miles away! —Bill D.
Keep your fridge in order when you travel
Tired of stuff moving around in your RV fridge after a day of driving? Maybe a carton of milk has fallen out on the floor one too many times? Here’s the solution. Camco’s RV Double Refrigerator Bar is designed to keep order in your RV fridge during travel. It’s spring loaded to keep items in place. The bar extends from 16″ to 28″. And the good part is the price tag: about $5! (The RVtravel.com staff uses a pair of these in its RV!) Learn more or order.
with Bob Difley
Neophyte boondocker interested in staying long term in the woods
In the past you have probably reflected on various boondocking techniques. If so, some reruns would be appreciated. For a neophyte boondocker interested in staying in the woods like maybe for 2–3 weeks: How to maximize energy usage? Routine for use of generator and inverter? How to minimize and manage waste? —Dan
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: If you don’t value clean air and clean water, you need read no further.
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
Camping with the Corps of Engineers
Many RVers consider Corps of Engineers campgrounds to be the best in the country. This guide is just for RVers — boat-in and tent-only sites are not included. Of all the public lands, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has some of the best parks and campgrounds available. In fact, it’s the largest federal provider of outdoor recreation in the nation. Learn more or order.
with Mike Sokol
Basic voltage measurements at a campground pedestal
Guess I should have read your columns more closely, but just what are the lowest and highest voltage readings acceptable at a campground pedestal? —Chuck
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry. Visit NoShockZone.org for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
Easily clean those
stubborn bugs off your RV
The Microfiber Mesh Bug and Tar Sponge has millions of tiny fibers embedded in the microfiber cloth that grabs and holds the dust and dirt. It is so effective it even cleans without chemicals, saving both time and money. The secret of this sponge lies in its unique, double-layer microfiber mesh. Older nylon bug sponges can harm your clear coat, but this one is completely paint safe. Learn more or order.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
Sometimes people use their own terms when asking a question about tires. Some RV forums have people answering questions using incorrect terms which can mislead others who may be reading the question or answer being offered. This is just a “failure to communicate,” which doesn’t help anyone. Roger explains some common terms with their correct definition or example of proper use. Learn more.
Endorsed by tire expert Roger Marble!
An excellent tire pressure gauge
The Accutire MS-4021B digital tire pressure gauge has an easy-to-read LCD display that provides pressure readings from 5-150 PSI. It’s ergonomically designed with an angled head and a rubber-coated easy-grip handle. If you forget to turn it off, it will do so automatically. The included lithium battery never needs to be recharged or replaced. Used by the RV Travel staff. Learn more or order.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
Get the most life out of your RV batteries
The life expectancy of your RV batteries depends on you. How they are used, how well they are maintained, how they are discharged, how they are recharged, and how they are stored all contribute to a battery’s life span. A battery cycle is one complete discharge from 100 percent down to about 50 percent and then recharged back to 100 percent. One important factor to battery life is how deep the battery is cycled each time. If the battery is discharged to 50 percent every day it will last twice as long as it would if it’s cycled to 80 percent. The life expectancy of the battery depends on how soon a discharged battery is recharged. The sooner it is recharged the better.
Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.
Fix it in Foil! Tasty Recipes. Easy cleanup!
Easy prep, great taste, good nutrition, quick cleanup! “Fix it in Foil” includes 51 fantastic recipes to make in foil — plus instructions for cooking in an oven, on an outdoor grill, or on a campfire. Fix it in foil and forget about scrubbing pots and pans. And, with plenty of substitution suggestions, enjoy a whole new list of recipe possibilities! Great for RVing! Learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Cottage Cheese Corn Cakes
Hot ‘n hearty hoecakes make the meal.
Have something different for breakfast when you serve these hearty hoecakes with syrup. They are also good served hot with butter and honey alongside steaming bowls of chili or just a simple mug of tomato soup. Get the recipe.
Organize your RV’s shower!
Quit hassling with shampoo & conditioner bottles
RV showers are small! Hassling with bottles of shampoo, conditioner and soap are a pain! Make it easy with this Better Living Classic 3-Chamber Dispenser. It utilizes a “patented pump technology” and comes with a lifetime warranty. The liquid is stored in three 15 oz. refillable chambers. The right amount of product is dispensed with a stroke or two of the pump. Installs in minutes without tools. Learn more or order.
Your travel map with RVillage
If you’re a traveler, you probably love maps. Chris Guld of Geeks on Tour loves to have maps of where they’ve been, and they teach how to make maps using Google My Maps. But, if you are an RVer and you use RVillage.com, it’s a lot easier. RVillage is a free membership website and mobile app which can automatically create a map of everywhere you check in. Read more.
Learn about smartphones and tablets
… from Geeks On Tour. Here is their most-recent webcast: #124, The first four buttons you need to learn [on your smartphone]. Watch live or archives of past programs. (Note: Geeks on Tour are currently running from Hurricane Irma and don’t know where they’ll be on Sunday. If possible, they’ll do their live show.)
Special offer for RV Travel readers!
Visit the Geeks’ Store to buy a membership. Use the coupon code rvtravel and get a 20% discount off anything you order.
Which state is best
for a full-time home base?
The full-time lifestyle gives you the unique opportunity to choose any state to call “home.” But there are many factors to consider; a state with the lowest state income tax is not always the best option. This guide provides a wealth of valuable information to help you select the state where you will benefit the most. Learn more or order.
“See where you’re going to stay. . .”
Silent Valley Club, Banning California
This is a membership park that had been sold out for decades. They recently re-opened sales. It’s a beautiful place that may be an option for you. Watch this video to see for yourself.
Fishing Bridge RV Park, Yellowstone National Park
This is the only campground with hookups inside Yellowstone. It fills early and often. Check out the 360 video to pick your site and reserve it now!
The motto of CampgroundViews.com is “Look Where You’re Going.” See videos or photos of nearly 16,000 campgrounds and RV parks “as they are,” not as shown in fancy, often misleading brochures. Learn, too, about amenities (water, sewer, pool, pets, cable, wifi, etc). Do you own an RV park you’d like spotlighted on CampgroundViews.com? Contact Mark (at) campgroundviews.com
Protect your RV’s slideout
with this rubber seal lubricant
If you don’t take care of your slideout you’re asking for problems including dangerous, costly water damage. This rubber seal lubricant from Thetford prevents fading, cracking and deterioration. It cleans, conditions and shines, keeping seals flexible and protected from sunlight destruction. It is also useful on door seals and window seals. It’s a mineral oil product and also acts as a lubricant. Learn more or order.
Free and bargain camping
Cabela’s, Columbus, Ohio
FREE: Overnight RV parking is allowed with permission from customer service. Marked RV spaces on N side of store are extremely unlevel. A nearby overflow lot is well lighted and level. RVer reports picking up hotel Wi-Fi here. Dump station at E end of RV spaces. Located in NW quadrant of I-71, Exit 121. GPS: 40.149940, -82.973000
Winnebago Industries Visitors Center, Forest City, Iowa
FREE. Overnight RV parking is allowed. Designed for RVers taking the Winnebago Factory Tour, but one RVer reports tour is not mandatory. Register at Visitors Center Desk no later than 4:30 p.m. to get parking permit for 1 night. Located at 1045 S 4th St. GPS: 43.253447°, -93.636262
Overnight RV Parking, with more than 13,480 locations listed, is the largest and best resource for locating free and inexpensive places to spend a night in an RV. For membership information and a demo of the site, click here. A modest membership fee required, but try the free demo. Watch a video about OvernightRVparking.com.
Quiz answer. It’s sharpshooter Annie Oakley in her later years. Watch RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury’s video about his visit to her grave.
Upcoming RV Shows
• America’s Largest RV Show, Sept. 13-17, Hershey, PA
• Portland RV and Van Show, Sept. 14-17, Portland, OR
• Fall Maryland RV Show, Sept. 14-17, Timonium, MD
• Indianapolis Fall Boat & RV Show, Sept. 22-24, Indianapolis, IN
• Great American RV Show, Sept. 28-30, Colorado Springs, CO
• Evergreen Fall RV Show, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, Monroe, WA
• Austin RV Super Sale, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, Round Rock, TX
• New York State RV Show, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, Syracuse, NY
The RV Safety and Education Foundation will hold its annual educational conference Oct. 1–5 in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The event provides a positive networking opportunity for both new and veteran RVers with industry experts in classroom, roundtable and individual settings. Endorsed by RVtravel.com. Learn more or watch a two-minute video about the event.
Keep insects and
bird nests out of your RV furnace
Wasps, mud daubers, birds and rodents pose a serious threat to the furnace on your RV. They can enter through the furnace vents. Their nests can interfere with air flow and cause serious damage. Camco 42141 (Model FUR 200) Flying Insect RV Furnace Screen fits Duo-therm and Suburban furnace vents. Camco offers several furnace screens so check that this screen will fit your vent. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.
This week in history
Week of September 9–15
Compiled by Dell Bert
1850 — California becomes 31st state.
1897 — First drunk driving arrest (in London).
1972 — Hopalong Cassidy (William Boyd) rides off into his last sunset.
1982 — Hollywood star and real-life princess Grace Kelly dies.
1987 — “Fatal Attraction” premieres.
2001 — Attack on America.
In Peanuts in 1968, Snoopy trained to become a champion arm-wrestler. In the end, he was disqualified for not having thumbs.
Bumper sticker of the week
Goodbye tension. Hello pension!
Funny/clever business slogan
Name on the fender of a light green truck that sucks up sewage from leach field systems: Sweet Pea. The name of the company is Suck Um Up. Thanks, Gale W.!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
A pirate with a peg leg, a hook and eye patch walked into a bar. “Why the peg leg?” asked the bartender. The pirate said, “I was swept overboard and a shark bit off my leg.” “Wow!” said the bartender. “How did you get your hook?” The pirate replied, “We were raiding a ship and a sailor cut off my hand with his sword.” “Amazing!” said the bartender. “So how did you get the eye patch?” “Got seagull poop in my eye,” answered the pirate. “You lost your eye to that?” asked the bartender. “Well,” said the pirate, “it was my first day with the hook.”
Random RV Thought
When you are in a campground where bear warning signs are posted, it is very comforting to know you are camped in an RV and not a tent.
“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” —Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880)
Missing Children Report, September 7, 2017
RVers get around. They not only see a lot of beautiful scenery, but a lot of people too. With 50,000 of us keeping our eyes open, maybe we can help find a missing child. Click here to see six of the currently missing children. Wouldn’t it be great if we could help bring one or more of them home?
RV Travel staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editor: Russ De Maris. Staff writer: Emily Woodbury. Contributing writers: Greg Illes, Bob Difley, Richard Miller, Richard Mallery, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Gary Bunzer, Mark Polk, Roger Marble, Mike Sokol, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld and Andrew Robinson. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring.
ADVERTISE on RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Gail Meyring at Gail(at)RVtravel.com.
About the RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for three decades. In the ’90s he published the quirky travel newspaper Out West, and was an “on the road” writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His book, “The Best from Out West” is available at Amazon.com. Woodbury’s RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. He is the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD “Buying a Recreational Vehicle,” the definitive guide to purchasing an RV the right way.
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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