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Issue 812 • Week of September 23–29, 2017
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
The Hershey RV Show is over. More than 64,000 RVers or would-be RVers showed up, about 10 percent more than last year. It was a shopping and buying frenzy.
As I said last week when remarking about the huge opening day crowd, the numbers scared me. I couldn’t help but think, where will all these people “camp” — nearly a half million new RVers each year and virtually no additional campsites? Click the 20 second video to the right to see what it looked like inside the Giant Center Arena on Saturday morning. Even the organizers of the event expressed concern about the huge Saturday crowds — almost too congested for some vendors to properly do business. Still, there was plenty of space outside, where 1,300 RVs were displayed in an area the size of 33 football fields. Thanks to our readers who showed up at our two meetups! It was great meeting you!
HOW I AM TEMPTED TO CHEAT YOU!
Almost every day I am essentially bribed to be dishonest with you. I turn down hundreds of dollars of easy money, even thousands some weeks. I could probably make $500 an hour or more if I took advantage of the offers presented to me to post “sponsored content,” where cleverly written articles are offered to me by advertising or PR agencies that will pay me to pass them off to you as regular editorial matter. Many online publishers do this routinely and make thousands of dollars a month. And when they do, it’s hard for a readers to know if what they’re reading is real or a cleverly disguised advertisement. Talk about “fake news”! I got so mad this week about this that I wrote an article, and recorded a video to explain to you how this works. The video is at a low resolution so it won’t take much bandwidth. Click here to read my article and/or watch the video.
CHANGE COMING AT SECOND LARGEST RV CLUB?
Members of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) have begun voting on whether they want the club to include owners of towable RVs into the ranks. For 51 years, FMCA has been for motorhome owners only. The club’s membership has shrunk to half what it once was. Club leaders believe opening it to all RVers, not just motorhome owners, could be the answer.
What do you think? If you are currently an FMCA member, do you want towables accepted? Or are you a towable RV owner? If so, are you interested in joining the club? Please take our quick survey. And if you would like to learn more about what the change would mean, watch the video I recorded in March at FMCA’s rally in Chandler, Arizona, where then-club president Charlie Adcock spoke to members. I plan to offer my opinion about the proposed change in a week or two, but would like to learn your thoughts first.
WHY MANY STATES HAVE NO LEMON LAWS
There is no national RV organization that represents RVers in Congress or state legislatures. As far as I know, there are no lobbyists. If you or I buy an RV that is manufactured so poorly it requires constant repairs or isn’t even usable, in most states we have no lemon laws to protect us. The RV industry fights such laws whenever they are proposed.
I was reminded of this at last week’s VIP event for the Hershey Show, where most of those in attendance were from the RV industry. At one point, the lobbyist for the Pennsylvania Recreation Vehicle and Camping Association gave a short speech. I was surprised when he came right out, with RV media present, and said he was actively fighting all lemon law proposals in the Pennsylvania legislature. Do you think anybody representing you or me is lobbying there or in any state FOR lemon laws? Fat chance! At RVtravel.com we do our part to promote and help protect the interests of RVers, but our influence is limited. We’ll keep trying.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
• The sophisticated way squirrels bury nuts.
• Amish buggies at Costco an unusual sight.
• Is this a real train or not? Find out. (video)
Support Honest Journalism
The staff of RVtravel.com works hard to bring you an honest, unbiased, valuable newsletter every Saturday. Readers help make it possible with their “voluntary subscriptions.” Even a pledge of $5, $10 or $20 a year is appreciated — that’s for more than 50 weekly issues! Many readers set up an ongoing subscription, most $5 to $10 month. Your contributions make it possible for us to write about important matters, not just fluff to please advertisers and RV industry big shots. Enter a voluntary subscription. Use a credit card, PayPal or mail a check.
Nearly half-million Ram pickup trucks
recalled for possible fire risk
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is voluntarily recalling an estimated 443,712 U.S.-market heavy-duty pickups and medium-duty trucks to inspect and replace, if necessary, their water pumps. Certain trucks are equipped with a water-pump bearing that, after exposure to certain conditions, may overheat and potentially cause an engine-compartment fire. Learn more.
THIS WEEK’S CONTEST!
We have a winner! No more entries for this contest, please. The answer: The black tank should be dumped first. Win this BBQ Grill Tool Set. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Monday. The question: When dumping holding tanks, which tank should be dumped first, the black or gray tank? 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.
The big Hershey, Pennsylvania, RV show again broke attendance records with 64,242 passing through the gates, up from the 2016 record of 57,692. RV manufacturers and sellers are whooping it up, as show attendance is considered an industry bellwether for sales.
Camping World earned a dubious distinction in August – the second most complained about company on PissedConsumer.com – a customer-driven evaluation site. According to statistics we reviewed earlier this week, there were some 1,845 reviews, reports of only 12 issues resolved, and claims of $6.4 million in losses. The Camping World review page on the site has been accessed 300,000 times. Watch a video from a very disgruntled customer.
Last week it was Keystone; this week it’s Heartland. Both RV manufacturers claim to be so certain of their craftsmanship, that Heartland is joining Keystone in offering a “limited” three-year structural warranty. Heartland’s coverage is on all units manufactured on or after November 1, 2017.
Using Bureau of Land Management lands in Wyoming makes a huge difference to the local economy. A recent study shows in 2015, non-motorized use of the BLM lands alone had an economic “ripple effect” that amounted to adding $12 million to the economy, and around 285 jobs.
If “it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good,” then Hurricane Harvey has apparently made winners for at least a couple of RV builders. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is now soliciting RV retailers for up to 1,000 RVs for use in responding to the needs of Hurricane Harvey survivors. Unlike the Katrina debacle, FEMA wants specific makes and models of RVs straight from dealer lots. The winners are Forest River with 34 desired models, Thor with 55, and three models from Winnebago.
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.
Glacier National Park visitors got a bit of a scare on September 13 when law enforcement authorities issued an evacuation warning for some areas of the park due to fire danger. Campground hosts in the Apgar area said only 20 of the 200 once-filled sites were occupied after the warning. The warning was lifted three days later after weather changes rolled through.
Parts of Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park were without running water earlier this week after another pipeline break turned up last week. The Transcanyon Water Pipeline was inaugurated in 1965 and built to last for 40 years. It beat the plan – leaks started occurring in 2010.
By the time Irma got to South Carolina, the hurricane had been downgraded to a tropical storm. But no matter – it created enough havoc to shut down Hunting Island State Park. Damages from flooding and downed trees will keep the popular park closed until sometime next year.
For NeXus RV, a full-line motorhome manufacturer, the just-completed Hershey RV Show was its first show as a manufacturer. On September 1 it began offering its products through RV dealerships instead of selling only directly to the public. The company will sign on 25 dealers this year with a goal of 100 down the road. Read more.
The first seven months of 2017 shaped up for a big win for sales of towable RVs in Canada. Overall sales volumes were up 7 percent, led by travel trailers zooming ahead more than 9 percent. Fifth wheels edged ahead more than 2 percent, while pop-ups shriveled, selling nearly 8 percent less in the same period – all in comparison to the first seven months of 2016. Source: Statistical Surveys Inc.
Clean your RV… with beastly-good results!
Your RV’s not your car, it’s your “beast.”
Your RV’s large surface area makes it a beast that collects more bugs, grit, grime, soot and industrial pollution than your car does. And it may have different surfaces of paint, fiberglass, vinyl and aluminum. Click on the video to see Wade clean, shine and protect EVERYTHING with Beast Wash. Click here to buy, or learn more about, Beast Wash at the Wade Maid website.
Peter O’Malley is an Australian entrepreneur who recently started up a company that helps foreign RVers get the paperwork required to drive their own rigs in either Australia or New Zealand. Apparently taking a page out of his own playbook, O’Malley and his wife are going to full-time in their RV – and it’s a fair bit smaller than the sticks-and-bricks home they’re selling. Their old house just listed for $1.9 million and is 5,500+ square feet.
In a more-than-two-hour court deposition in March regarding a lawsuit brought against Camping World, CEO Marcus Lemonis admitted he has never owned an RV. Lemonis is also the CEO of the Good Sam Club. You can watch the deposition video here.
Alberta’s Jarvis Bay Provincial Park has been shut down for a campground remodeling project and won’t reopen until next May. Returning campers should find upgraded sewer and power infrastructure, as well as “modernized” campsites in the southern loops. More work will start in autumn 2018, as the north loop will get new shower houses and some additional campsites.
Bretz RV & Marine has opened a dealership in Nampa, Idaho, carrying RV brands including CrossRoads, Dutchmen, Grand Design, Tiffin and more. The company is the largest RV and boat dealership within a five state region.
Canadian motorhome sales shot ahead at a neck-breaking rate, as sales through July rocketed ahead more than 44 percent. Raging ahead, sales of Class C units were up nearly 55 percent in comparison to the same seven months in 2016. Class A units weren’t shy either – ahead nearly 44 percent, says Statistical Surveys Inc.
Ted Kotowski, 57, and his roommate got a front row seat when Hurricane Irma paid a visit on Naples, Florida. The pair decided to “ride it out” in Ted’s 1971 Banner Class A motorhome at Estero’s Covered Wagon Trailer Park. Ted said he couldn’t find his driver license, required to get into a shelter, so the motorhome would have to make do. The two rode out Irma until the eye of the storm allowed them to take cover in a brick bathhouse. After Irma passed by, Ted found his old motorhome still standing. Next time a hurricane calls, Ted says he’ll “probably go somewhere else.”
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
This week’s Reader Poll
How long is your RV?
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 change the oil in your RV or tow vehicle yourself or pay to have it changed?
Click here for the results.
The cozy RV – Warm and inviting, it isn’t just lighting
Rich “The Wanderman” was relaxing in his RV the other night and noticed just how inviting and cozy it was with the glow from the lights illuminating the interior. But that’s just one of the things that makes an RV feel like home. What makes an RV more than just transport and a home base for camping or adventures on the highway? Here are Rich’s top 11 reasons. Did he miss any? Read more.
RV “chain” as strong as the weakest …
Every RV has its own maximum loaded gross vehicle weight rating. If you tow, you have a maximum allowed tow weight. Your tires have their own weight ratings. Every axle has a maximum amount of weight it can safely haul. All of them are important, and as the old saying goes, “The chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” Read this article by Russ and Tiña De Maris about their recent very close call.
Beware your RV slideout
You may not have thought about it, but that slideout on your RV that makes your living space so roomy can also be your enemy. Find out why in this short video from RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury.
RVer frustrated by roadside plan cancellation
We received a letter from an RVtravel.com reader after he was cancelled from Good Sam’s Roadside Assistance program twice. He explained the reasons for the initial cancellation, and then provided Good Sam’s cancellation letter after he attempted to rejoin the program a year later. Your comments are requested. Read more.
RV mods: Give your galley a stainless-steel makeover
For many years, Greg Illes and his wife lived with their factory Formica countertop. It was serviceable but was really drab-to-ugly (sound familiar?). They considered several products, but either expense or weight were big obstacles. Finally, Greg “bit the bullet” for a somewhat-challenging job: resurface the counter in stainless steel. Learn how he did it (and how you can, too).
Thumbs down: Loose bolts under the slideout (includes a Reader Poll)
We received a letter from an RVtravel.com reader about his recent experience with a slideout on his fifth wheel which needed realignment, and the unsatisfactory response he received from the manufacturer. Read more and please answer the poll.
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.
RV makers’ one-upmanship getting out of control
What do you think of this: An RV pulls in next to you in the RV park. It’s equipped with a stereo system that is essentially a “boom box on steroids?” Do you want that RVer next to you when he cranks up the music? It may happen. A new motorhome has debuted that’s equipped with such a boom box system. RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury, for one, is not happy. Learn his thoughts.
The readers write: RV financing and more
Here’s the roundup of some readers’ comments, as edited by Russ and Tiña De Maris, regarding recent posts on financing RVs, more funding for parks, and using RV checklists to help ease marital tensions. Read more.
How to defeat RV burglars
RVers, and especially boondockers, take safety seriously. We tend to camp out in the hinterlands, often far from any possible response from law enforcement and well beyond the possibility of a thief being caught in the act. BoondockBob Difley offers some ways to deter or prevent the chances of break-ins when you are boondocking and away from your rig. Learn more.
Need hospital care? Your RV may be welcome
Many hospitals have designated RV parking. In fact, many have hookups that patients and family members can use for free. These RV facilities are often found at hospitals that have long-term treatment programs. Hotel costs are often prohibitive for people in these situations, which is why the RV solution is a great alternative. Read more.
Winnebago’s “Revel” aimed at outdoor enthusiasts
This week, Winnebago announced five new RVs at its open house in Elkhart. The Revel, in staff writer Emily Woodbury’s opinion, is the most impressive (because it seems like the perfect fit for her outdoorsy lifestyle). This new, compact Class B motorhome makes it easy for people to spend more time “off the grid.” Learn more.
Dolly for truck camper comes in handy
RVing with a truck camper certainly has its advantages – but at times there are some drawbacks. Storage for some can be an issue – maybe a landlord won’t allow it stored on jacks, or the camper is too tall on the rig to back under cover. How about a truck camper dolly – a wheeled platform you can off-load your camper to then push the unit around? Learn more.
The five best unknown campgrounds in the USA
In this seven minute video and accompanying article, Mark Koep with Campgroundviews.com offers his nominations for the five best but little-known campgrounds and RV parks in America. View as a video or written article. Mark plugs his website at the beginning of the video, but after that see photos and videos of each campground along with Mark’s commentary.
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
• “Camping” at the dump station.
• Do you change your vehicle’s oil or pay to have it done?
• Surge protector for 30- or 50-amp outlets.
• Do you like to carefully plan your RV trips or just “wing it”?
• Good or bad idea: Using sewer hose as a p-trap?
More popular articles from last week’s issue
• RVers should know about these emergency weather services.
• Full-time RVing: Tips for downsizing your possessions.
• Stuff this backpack/duffel for day trips and weekend escapes.
• How to minimize and manage waste when boondocking.
• Avoid little RV disasters with better communication.
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 or buy at Amazon.com.
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 188 wildfires [“incidents”] in the U.S. as of Friday, Sept. 22.)
Toss your colander. This is better!
The adjustable Snap ‘n Strain silicone strainer fits nearly all pots and pans. Once snapped on, the pot can be tilted over a sink or bowl to do its magic. Leave it on the pan even while cooking! Works with heavier foods like potatoes. Super compact for storing, perfect for RVs. Dishwasher safe. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Shrink
Nice neighbors but noisy generator – What to do?
Dear RV Shrink:
We were recently camping in Yellowstone in one of our favorite, usually quiet campgrounds. Unfortunately, we ended up next to a lovely couple with a very noisy generator. I don’t think it even had a muffler. During the summer season it is combat camping and moving was not an option – we were lucky to get the spot we had. Our real dilemma was that we liked these people very much and could not bring ourselves to complain about the noise.…
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.
Soap and water won’t work!
Easily remove bugs, tar, sap & grease
Tarminator Tar & Sap Remover breaks down the complex molecules found in tar and other sticky materials. The unique MicroActive cleaning technology gives Tarminator unequaled ability to remove even baked-on tar, grease, sap, and asphalt. Soap and water just won’t do it! Free shipping with Prime! 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: $2.63 (on Sept. 18). Change from week before: Down 5 cents; Change from year before: Up 41 cents.
Diesel: $2.79 (on Sept. 18). Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 40 cents.
Clear Gorilla Tape to the rescue
This works, and it’s half the price of most other awning repair tapes. It’s not just great for awnings, but tons of other surfaces. Watch the video or click here to learn more or order.
RV Fire Safety Tip
An emergency fire plan that can save your life – Part 10 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.
For those individuals who are mentally challenged, it’s a good idea to have someone sleeping nearby that’s available and ready to help in an emergency. And for those with a physical disability, a bedside whistle, fire extinguisher, or cell phone should be within reach.
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.
The best book on RV electricity, hands down!
RV Travel contributor Mike Sokol is America’s leading expert on RV electricity. Mike has taken his 40+ years of experience to write this book about RV electricity that nearly anyone can understand. Covers the basics of Voltage, Amperage, Wattage and Grounding, with additional chapters on RV Hot-Skin testing, GFCI operation, portable generator hookups and troubleshooting RV electrical systems. This should be essential reading for all RVers. Learn more or order.
RV Quick Tips
Keep an extra set of RV door keys very handy
Concerned about losing their RV door keys, Bernie T. and his wife got extra keys made. Each one now has the appropriate keys on lanyards – hanging around their necks. Great, also, for those who are “pocketless.” Thanks, Bernie!
Run the air conditioner(s) when driving in dusty or smoky conditions
If you must drive in dusty conditions (gravel road, dust storm, etc.), fire up your generator and run ALL of your roof air conditioners while driving over any dusty roads. Doing this will help keep dust from creeping in through any tiny holes. Also, if you find yourself driving through smoky conditions as a result of, for example, wildfires, running your air conditioners will help reduce the smoke and odor inside the RV. Don’t forget to check the filters on the air conditioners later. Thanks to Ron Jones, AboutRVing.com.
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!
Avoid moisture damage to your RV
DampRid FG50T Hi-Capacity Moisture Absorber, 4-Pound Tub eliminates musty odors in RVs and other spaces, protecting them from moisture damage for up to 60 days in areas up to 1000-square feet, and up to 6 months in a 250-square foot area. Don’t let your rig get damaged from moisture this winter. Learn more or order.
Gizmos and Gadgets
New SmartPlug RV cordset more flexible and easily coiled
Most RV power cords stiffen as the temperature drops, making them difficult to lay out and retrieve. SmartPlug Systems’ new SUPERFLEX50 50A 125/250V cordset is different. Even in freezing conditions down to -58° F, it remains incredibly flexible and easy to coil. And because it boasts the revolutionary SmartPlug, it’s the safest and simplest to use RV cord available. 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 managing editor Diane McGovern at Diane (at) RVtravel.com .
CLICK HERE to see last week’s RV Travel Reader RVs.
Extend the life of
your wiper blades!
Over time, pressure on your wiper blades during storage can cause them to break down and crack. Camco’s Wiper Stand-off Wedges lift the wipers and remove the pressure, helping to extend the life of your blades. Perfect for RVs in storage. Simple to use. Learn more or order at a great low price.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
RV battery wiring explained
I have an older Nash 5th wheeler. I have one completely dead battery in it now. I want to replace it with two (Group 24) 12-volt batteries. I’m not sure how to hook them up. There is not enough room for two small 6-volt batteries, as the space is quite small. Can you help me? —Stan S.
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.
with Bob Difley
Okay to boondock on unmarked government property?
Several times while traveling I’ve noticed areas of land that appear to be government property (no development), some without signage and others stating they are a National Wildlife Refuge or State Forest, or some other designation other than a National Forest or BLM land. Can I boondock for 2 or 3 days in these areas if there are no signs prohibiting it? —Julio
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: Pronghorn and endangered wildlife at Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
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
with Mike Sokol
What power extension cord for
RV parked 90 feet from outlet?
I was reading an article you wrote about 30A pedestals. I’ve just purchased a piece of land and there’s a new 30A RV outlet. The problem is that the plug is 90 feet away from my RV parking. I’m trying to keep it near the connection to the septic system. The RV is a 30A travel trailer with a 25-foot power connection. …
Be sure to sign up for our new, monthly newsletter about RV electricity, edited by Mike Sokol. First issue this fall. Sign up here.
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.
Microwave cover collapses for easy storage
When heating your food you don’t want to spend 10 minutes later cleaning the splatters inside the microwave. Here’s the solution — and perfect for RVers: it pops down flat for easy storage. Lid perforations allow steam to escape to keep food moist. Doubles as a strainer, too! Learn more or order at Amazon.com
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
Wheel failures and a “silent recall”
Roger has recently seen a number of posts on an RV forum about cracked and leaking cast aluminum wheels on one brand of RV trailer. There appears to have been a manufacturing defect in the casting process which results in stress/fatigue cracks that eventually may lead to air leaking from the tires. Some folks are discovering the leak before there is a tire failure or the wheel fails and damages the RV; others have reported damage. It appears that the wheel provider is aware of the problem but may be performing a “silent recall.” Learn more.
Endorsed by RV 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 off the gauge, don’t worry, it will automatically shut off. The included lithium battery never needs to be recharged or replaced. And all this for less than $10! Learn more or order.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
How to check for, and repair, water leaks
Road vibration, twisting and flexing, improper winterizing procedures and high water pressure at campgrounds can all contribute to water leaks. Every spring [or before heading south for the winter] when you take the RV out of storage you need to check the water system for leaks. Start by adding water to the fresh water holding tank. With all of the faucets and drains completely closed, turn the 12-volt water pump on and allow it to pressurize the system until the pump shuts off. If the water pump cycles on and off when the system is pressurized, even for a short period of time, there is a leak somewhere in the water system. Water leaks are normally found around threaded fittings. Sink and shower water connections should only be hand tightened – do not over-tighten or use wrenches. Some RV water line connections are made with special connecting clamps. Note: When repairing these areas it may be possible to replace special clamps with regular-type hose clamps. Attempt to locate any leaks and repair them, or take it to an authorized RV service center to be repaired. Check all repairs for leaks.
Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.
Test the RV park water before you drink it!
How pure is the water at the RV park you just entered? Is it pure enough to drink or full of contaminants? This TDS meter provides an inexpensive and convenient way to instantly check your overall water quality. Don’t risk drinking bad water! Use this hand-held device to check the condition of your water filter, too. Every RVer should have one of these! Learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Peanut Butter Blondies
Un-brownies for peanut butter lovers.
As moist as brownies, these bar cookies can be mixed with a wooden spoon or an electric hand mixer. If you’re trying to avoid chocolate, here’s the answer. If you are a chocoholic, add a half-cup of miniature chocolate chips to the batter. Get the recipe.
Full-timers: Need an RV Home Base?
Then you need Americas Mailbox! You’ll enjoy great tax advantages with your South Dakota “residency,” like no state income tax and low insurance rates (second lowest in the USA says the Insurance Information Institute). Many plans are available. Click the video where RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury talks with Americas Mailbox owner Don Humes. Or click here to learn more or enroll.
Escaping Hurricane Irma in an RV – Smart smartphone use!
Chris and Jim Guld, Geeks on Tour, had planned on being at their home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for three weeks when Irma changed their plans. They shuttered their home and escaped the hurricane in their RV. (While stuck in traffic, they really appreciated having a bathroom onboard!) Read about their “adventure,” and learn about hurricane apps, charging your phone, a new feature on Gas Buddy, a walkie-talkie app, and much more, which they found useful during their journey. Learn more.
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.
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 storm to let you know to seek shelter or move away. Get one for yourself and one for someone you care about who travels a lot. Learn more or order.
Free and bargain camping
Smith Center Roadside Park, Smith Center, Kan.
FREE: Overnight RV parking is allowed for 24 hours. Parallel park on either side of road through park. Area is quiet, level, well-lit and has no apparent security concerns. Located on N side of US 36. GPS: 39.784900, -98.793980
Cherokee Casino, Sallisaw, Okla.
FREE. Overnight RV parking for one night is allowed with permission from the casino. Park in asphalt auto parking lot if there’s room; parallel to N or W edge appears best. If parallel to N edge, residences adjacent, so be courteous with generator use. Level, well-lighted, appears safe with some I-40 traffic noise. Located 1621 W Ruth Avenue. From I-40 take exit 308, then N on US 59. GPS: 35.450090, -94.806570
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.
Upcoming RV Shows
• Snowbird RV Show, Sept. 21-24, Abbotsford, BC, Canada
• 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
• Fall Detroit Camper & RV Show, Oct. 4-8, Novi, MI
• Tacoma Fall RV Show, Oct. 5-8, Tacoma, WA
• California RV Show, Oct. 6-15, Pomona, CA
See the list of all upcoming RV shows.
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.
This week in history
Week of September 23–29
Compiled by Dell Bert
1789 — Bill of Rights passes Congress.
1846 — Eighth planet, Neptune, is discovered.
1907 — Gene Autry, “The Singing Cowboy,” is born; he is the only person to be awarded stars in all five categories on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for film, television, music, radio, and live performance.
1918 — Flu epidemic kills an estimated 50 million people worldwide.
1982 — Cyanide-laced Tylenol kills six, leading to tamper-proof medicine containers.
2008 — Screen legend Paul Newman dies.
When asked who owned the patent of the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk said, “Well, the people. There is no patent. Can you patent the sun?”
Bumper sticker of the week
From Keith Janssen: (seen on Dodge pickup) – 98% of Ford trucks are still on the road, the other 2% actually made it home to the driveway. –Thanks, Keith!
Funny/clever business slogan
Sign painted on the rear of a septic truck: “Your number 2 is our number 1.” –Thanks to Jim Mahan!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
Three prisoners were captured in the war and were about to face a firing squad. Before their execution they were asked what they would like to eat for their last meal. The first prisoner asked for a juicy steak. He was served the steak and then taken away to be shot. The second prisoner requested roast duck. He was served the duck and then taken away to be shot. The third prisoner asked for strawberries. “Strawberries?” asked the guards. “But they’re out of season!” “It’s okay,” said the prisoner. “I’ll wait….”
Random RV Thought
An excellent thing about traveling in your RV is that you know who slept in your bed the night before. And the night before that. You don’t know that in a hotel and, really, you may not want to know.
“Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions.” – Peter Hoeg (Danish writer)
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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