Tuesday, December 6, 2022


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 817


Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 17th year of continuous publication, is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!

Issue 817 • Week of October 28 – November 3, 2017

Editor’s corner
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com

Every once in awhile you come across an RV park you just love. That happened to Gail and me last week at the Staunton/Walnut Hills KOA in Staunton, Virginia.

Beautiful sites right along the lake.

For the record, I am not a big fan of KOA, although I do stay in them from time to time. In general, I believe the quality of the parks has declined in recent years. But that does not include this one.

Andy Zipser and his wife, Carin, own and operate the Staunton KOA, which is a mile off I-81 with no traffic and/or train noise. Along with family members, they watch over the place carefully. It’s big, 44 acres, with about 150 campsites, most with plenty of breathing room between each, some almost private, with wide expanses of beautiful lawn throughout.

Inside the store, a horse trough from the former plantation now holds rental DVDs.

“Kerplonken Lake” is loaded with whopper bass, no license needed. Unless you want bass for dinner, toss back what you catch. “We don’t mind if they keep a fish, we just don’t want them stocking up their refrigerator,” Andy told me.

Andy is often urged by other campground owners to add more sites (he has lots of space) to make more money. He doesn’t do it. He’s one of the really good guys, in my opinion, more interested in providing a quality camping experience than milking his customers for every dollar. He’s a former journalist, which gave us much to talk about. I spent a day with him and he answered every question I had about what it’s like to own an RV park. He reminded me, once again, that it’s not easy.

The park was once a plantation, where slaves labored. The estate’s beautiful home remains next door. Remnants of various outbuildings including slave quarters are still visible if you look closely. The current park office and store was originally the plantation’s stable. Most visitors do not even notice that the rental DVD case was once a horses’ feed trough. “The fact that it was a stable and not a barn may be one reason it was not torched by Union troops during the Civil War,” said Andy.

If you’re in the area, do yourself a favor and stay with Andy, Carin and their family. The prices are reasonable for a KOA. 

Join our new RVillage group
I am very happy to report that we have set up a group at RVillage.com, which is like Facebook except better and for RVers only. This will become a gathering place for our readers (hopefully you included), much like a forum, where we can meet up online, and even in the real world (you’ll learn more about that if you sign up). What I am most excited about is that Gail and I will now know the area where most members of the group are at any given time, even in our same campground. We will be able to send any nearby members a message and suggest, for example, that we meet up at a nearby cafe or even invite them to stop by our campsite. If you are not a member of RVillage, sign up here. If you are already a member, click here to join our group.

Free Good Sam memberships?
A reader asked me the other day if the Good Sam Club was giving away free memberships. He said he let his membership expire, but three months later received a new card in the mail with a “complimentary” membership with the same member number but an expiration date a year later. I realized after talking with him that the same thing had happened to me. Have you received a free membership from Good Sam? If so, would you please let me know at chuck (at) RVtravel.com . The next time my membership comes due I’ll let it lapse and see what happens. I mean, why pay?

Our progress promoting RVers’ rights
The largest periodicals in the RV and campground industries wrote about our ongoing discussion at RVtravel.com about the quality of new RVs and the impending crisis in finding a space to stay in RV parks. This is excellent because it just exposes our message to important people in these industries that there are problems, and maybe they should do something! Read more.




P.S. If you are a voluntary subscriber, and did not receive my special email yesterday, please let me know so I can send it along and also add you to our list for special newsletters and special private videos.

My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
R.I.P, my friend Fats Domino.

Letters to the editor (your comments are welcome)
Family sours on RVing over new RV’s problems.

NEW TO RVtravel.com? Read about its founder, editor and history.

Sign up for RVtravel.com’s
new monthly newsletter about RV electricity

•Did you miss last week’s RV Travel? Read it here.
Directory of back issues.

Is your RV just sitting around?
Rent it. You’ll be amazed at how much you can earn! The owner of a Class A motorhome, for example, could earn up to $4,520 a month. Own a popup trailer? It could bring you $1,780 a month in rental income. Join thousands of happy RV owners making real money! Learn more at Campanda.

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.

Some recent recalls:
Ford recalling more than a million F-series trucks.
Forest River recalls some Coachmen Express travel trailers.

breaking-newsAs part of its commitment to improve the visitor experience, the National Park Service is considering increasing its fees at 17 highly visited national parks during peak visitor seasons. Proposed peak season entrance fees at those parks will generate badly needed revenue for improvements to the aging infrastructure of national parks. During a five-month peak season at the designated parks, the entrance fee would be $70 per vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person. Learn more or comment by November 23. Would you pay $70? Take our poll (and then see what others think).

Popular among RVers, the wireless router known as WiFiRanger is among many susceptible to a computer hacking virus known as KRACK. The virus can break the encryption system, exposing your data. WiFiRanger has announced they have developed a software patch to defeat the KRACK virus and released it October 26. Users will see an “Update Firmware” link in their control panel at the upper right corner while updating on a solid connection to the internet.

September was an odd month for RV sales at auction. Normally sale prices decline as fall nears, but market watcher Black Book reports both towable RVs and motorhomes saw gains in sales. Towable values averaged $14,591, up nearly 4 percent from August. Motorhome prices were up close to 1 percent, at $48,537. In terms of the number of rigs sold, towables sank 8 percent, while motorhomes were flat.

Visits to public lands are up nearly 8 percent from 2016 – to date adding 23.7 million more guests. Users visiting recreation.gov, Uncle Sam’s reservation website of choice, jumped an astounding 26 percent over the same period.

Camping World continues to engulf the RV marketplace. The latest independent consumed is Coopers RV Center, a 65-year-old fixture in Pittsburgh, Penn. In a takeover farther south, the giant struck in central Florida, swallowing up the former America’s Choice RV near Ocala.

More than a month-and-a-half since Hurricane Irma caused destruction in Florida, things are moving very slowly for affected residents. Officials in the Keys have announced that as many as nine travel trailers have been moved in by FEMA. Another 120 are set to be moved into Big Pine Key, one of the hardest hit areas. It should be added that officials say, “These are not finalized, those are what we’re working on.” Another announcement said FEMA has approved travel trailers for 400 families in the Keys.

Kentucky State Parks boasts some 2,850 campsites – and all have been reviewed for inclusion in a program called “Refreshing the Finest,” wherein $18 million-worth of improvements will be made. Now Greenbo Lake State Resort Park is reaping the benefits. A total of 29 non-utility sites are being upgraded to full-hookup status; 25 others with power are being boosted to 50-amp service. After the normal winter closure, the park will reopen April 1 with a phase-in of reservations for the newly renovated sites.

California wildfires continue to create misery and destruction. The U.S. Forest Service says it has closed many campgrounds in the area of Southern California’s Mount Wilson after a 30-acre brush fire flared up near its famous Observatory. If your plans include camping anywhere near the area, check in advance for closure information.

Oregon’s Coos Bay community will soon have a new RV park. The Camps at Coos Bay Lagoon will sport 200 sites and cabins, an indoor pool and clubhouse. The site overlooks a mile of beach scenery and will open sometime in spring or summer of 2018.

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 9.55.43 AM

Fall is the 
best time to camp!

Plan your next fall getaway. Enjoy colorful camping with fall leaves and autumn breeze. Click here to book your RV site or cabin today and get 10% off your stay.                       

news524(2)More News

RV parking changes are in the offing for Las Cruces, N.M., residents. Currently any vehicle with four or fewer tires can be parked out front for any period of time; rigs with more than four tires are allowed 14 days. But city councilors may chop that back to five days for any RV, and no more than 14 total days in a 90-day period. Move the RV off the street and onto your property and you may “occupy” it for no more than 14 days in a 90-day period. Comment at rvparking@las-cruces.org. Comments will be delivered to councilors on November 3.

The bison herd at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (N.D.) will be getting a cutback soon. With an aim to keep no more than 800 of the big beasts in the entire park, officials will soon transfer up to 50 bison to two Native American tribes. One, the Three Affiliated Tribes, will use their animals to establish a new herd near Twin Buttes. In the agreement, all of the donated bison must be kept alive at least a year.

Like a campfire at your RV site? Then you may want to skip visiting Oliver, British Columbia. A draft ordinance would allow only one fire pit per campground – not campsite. City officials say that campfire smoke and nearby residences don’t mix. At least one RV park owner is upset by the shutdown, feeling he’ll lose business if the law goes into effect.

An older Texas couple is alive after spending six harrowing days lost and wandering in Utah’s Escalante National Monument. Helena Byler, 78, and Gerald Byler, 76, drove their rental car into the monument, trying to make it to Lake Powell using a GPS to guide them. When the car got stuck, they struck out looking for help, and when Gerald could walk no farther, she kept going. A cattle rancher found her days later, dehydrated and confused. Rescue crews assisted her, and she began to piece back memories of what had happened. A helicopter crew located an SOS sign, followed it to the abandoned car, and finally located Gerald, holed up in an abandoned RV. Ironically, Helena had also spent some time in another RV nearby, not knowing where Gerald was. Both were hospitalized and expected to make a full recovery.


How can you end the “military” RV shower?
You know the routine, constantly turning off the shower to conserve hot water. That’s because most RVs have tank heaters with limited hot water. You never have to run out of hot water with a hybrid instant water heater. Find out how the Truma AquaGo® gives you a real shower in your RV. Learn more

Two national forests in Montana are looking at raising fees in campgrounds. Spotted Bear Campground in the Flathead National Forest could see rates run up from $10 to $13 per night. Several campgrounds in the Bitterroot National Forest are also looking at price jumps. Fee changes could occur at Stevensville, West Fork and Darby/Sula ranger districts including the Charles Waters Campground, the Magruder Ranger’s House and the Como Lake Campgrounds. Fees could rise from $8 to $10 in some “fewer amenity” campgrounds, and from $8 to $15 in other campgrounds. To comment on the Flathead rates, click here and click on the Flathead tab, or contact Chris Prew at (406) 758-3538. For changes at Bitterroot campgrounds click here and click on the Bitterroot tab, or call Erica Strayer at (406) 821-4252. Comments accepted through November 20.

A 10-year-old boy visiting Niagara Falls is fortunate to be alive after falling 100 feet and injuring his head. The unnamed boy perched on a railing so his mother could take a photo of him with Horseshoe Falls as a backdrop, but lost his balance and made the huge plunge. Initially thought to have suffered life-threatening injuries, hospital officials in Hamilton, Ontario, changed his status to serious but stable.

Nobody’s laughing at the haunted house clown at a KOA campground in Fulton, Wisc. The unidentified clown was recently arrested and charged with sexual assault after he allegedly grabbed women by the breasts as they were touring the “haunted house” at the Hidden Valley Resort. The clown claims he only did so when asked to do so by the women who were posing for photos.

An Oregon cougar has eaten its last house cat. The male cougar, thought to be about 3 years old, was repeatedly seen at Casey’s Riverside RV Park in Westfir, Ore., and residents complained the big cat had been eating little cats. It all came to an end when the cougar was shot by the relative of one of the park residents. A Fish and Wildlife official said the shot was legal, as the cat raised a public safety issue. An estimated 6,400 cougars call Oregon home.

RVers in a Casper, Wyo., neighborhood were more than dismayed to find that a number of their rigs were left without batteries after thieves stole them. Security cameras were able to catch a few views of the brazen burglars who did their dirty work at 3 a.m. Happily, the RVers were able to recover their pilfered power cells – the burglars had sold them to a local recycle yard.

rvbuslogo519Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.

This week’s Reader Poll
Would you pay $70 to enter a National Park?
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:
How many slideouts does your RV have? Click here for the results.

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

RV shipments hit record high in September
RVs continue to roll out of factories at a record pace, according the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). RV wholesale shipments have climbed to 378,006 units through nine months of 2017, up 16.6% over the 324,286 units shipped during the same period last year. Learn more.

Loan your RV to help families displaced by California wildfires
Do you have an RV in California that you’re not using? Or, did the recent California wildfires displace you or your family? If so, loan your RV, or find an RV to stay in for temporary shelter, through Mighway, an RV rental site. Read more.

Full-time RVing – Don’t be a drowsy driver
Driving while drowsy is a formula for disaster. The NHTSA estimates that each year 100,000 crashes are reported to police nationally in which drowsy driving or driver fatigue is a contributing factor. NHTSA estimates those crashes result in 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries. Find out here the only effective countermeasure for drowsiness and how not to become a statistic due to drowsy driving.

Electric RV heating system auto-adjusts to available power
RV Comfort Systems of Bothell, Wash., has debuted a new “Two Stage 30/50 Add-on Kit” for its new and existing all-electric RV furnace and hybrid systems. The kit will allow RVers to upgrade their system to operate automatically on either 30- or 50-amp shore power. Learn more.

How to make a tow vehicle safer
An RVtravel.com reader recently wrote in with a question about what type of equipment he can add to his new 2017 Dodge Ram to make it safer to tow a 26-foot RV he’s considering buying. Read the advice from Russ and Tiña De Maris.

Winter is almost here – Time to prep that RV!
Once that final road trip of the year comes to an end, it’s time to look toward the months ahead and get your RV ready for its winter hibernation. Regular inspection and cleaning of your RV roof is critical, and this time of year is the most important time to do just that. Roof membrane manufacturer Dicor explains a few measures you need to take to prep your RV for the winter months. Learn more.

RV Parts and Accessories

Give Dyers a try on your next purchase of RV parts or accessories. Large selection, great service, low prices and fast shipping. Visit our website.

Electric pressure cookers are perfect for RVing
For many RVers, few things are better after a cool fall day of hiking than to sit down in a toasty RV to a hot bowl of fork-tender stew or a fall-apart pot roast. The problem for many campers is that setting up the RV close enough to the great hike often involves camping without hookups, and it would be crazy to run a generator all day for a crock pot, not to mention all the steam it would produce. The solution is an electric pressure cooker. Read more.

Even the simple repairs – When water drain valves go bad
When Rich “The Wanderman” was boondocking in a Cabela’s parking area recently, he noticed a significant puddle forming under his RV. It was coming from the cold water low side drain outlet. With a limited supply of fresh water, watching ANY of it wasted was not a good thing. But Rich came up with a temporary fix that took only 10 minutes. Learn how he did it so you can be prepared – just in case.

Apples, arts and autumn leaves – the beauty of Appalachia
Fall is an extraordinary time to explore Appalachia’s Tennessee River Valley. When the hardwoods of the mountains produce the classic hues of autumn and the skies take on a cerulean blue, the people of Appalachia know it is time to celebrate the harvest and the traditions of their agrarian heritage. Read about some exciting things to see and do in this beautiful region, and learn about some of its interesting history.

RV Mods: 50-amp service at your home base
Parking your RV at a friend’s or relative’s house? What happens if you keep blowing fuses because your RV pulls more amps than the 15-amp circuit can supply? Heatwave not allowing you to use your air conditioner because you really need 50 amps to make it happen? Well, do not despair, help is as near as your local hardware store (but a certified electrician is highly recommended). Learn more.

Mexico bound? Be prepared for (possible) permit requirements
RVers planning to travel into Baja, Mexico, may – or may not – run into a bit of unexpected permit hassles on their entry. According to a story that appeared on sandiegoreader.com, some travelers have recently been hit by border officials with the need to purchase Travel Import Permits (TIP) and pay refundable deposits for rigs taken into Mexico. Learn more.

1Horizontal-for-RVtravel_com-72-pix-1 1Moran_Host_NC_D-RVtravel_com-72-pix-1Unique RV overnight stops at wineries and farms
With membership in Harvest Hosts® you can stay overnight at more than 570 wineries, farms and attractions across North America. Harvest Hosts offers an exciting alternative to traditional overnight stops where you can meet interesting people and learn about their lifestyle. Learn more at the Harvest Hosts website, or watch an interview with the founders by RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury.

Readers’ comments on recent articles

Seen at a restaurant in Homosassa, Fla. (Sad but probably true.) Thanks to Ken Lailer for sending this in!

Recent popular articles that attracted high numbers of reader comments
My letter to an RV industry association leader.
Do you use an EMS/Smart surge protector on your RV?
RV delivery driver tells workmanship horror stories.
Get more from your RV trip – Sit a little longer.
Readers’ tales of woe about the quality of their RVs.
Reader poll: How many slideouts on your RV?

More popular articles from last week’s issue
Fill your free time with an interesting hobby
Power pedestal testing (including at COE campgrounds), Part 3.
How to safely jack up a travel trailer.
Crashing in the Walmart parking lot.
Reader’s Recipe: Ray’s Easy Homemade Bread.
Astronomy for RVers –  Let the stars be your road map, Part 3.

Reduce air drag and boost fuel efficiency — Airtab® your RV!
Airtab-logoJust peel and stick Airtabs™ to the rear sides and the rear roof of your RV coach or trailer to create swirls of air that reduce aerodynamic drag, save fuel and improve stability. Airtabs™ dramatically reduce trailer ‘fish tailing’ and crosswinds pressure to RVs from passing trucks, while improving fuel efficiency 2% – 5%! Click on the video.

Click here for more information about using Airtabs™. Click here to purchase Airtabs™

No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.

RV Clubs
Check out our Directory of RV Clubs and Organizations.

Reader RVs
Click here to see many submissions from our readers about their RVs.

The New TireTraker™ TT-500 with a Lifetime Warranty
The new TireTraker™ TT-500 is the most innovative & user-friendly TPMS on the market with an unprecedented “Lifetime Warranty”, the only TPMS company in the industry to do so. The TT-500 features a larger, easier to read display, continuous pressure & temperature monitoring, automatic update, & monitoring up to 22 tires on your motorhome, trailer & tow vehicle from 0-232 psi! Seven days per week sales & technical support & over 13 years of experience. List price (4 tires) $389. Our price only $289. SAVE $100! (Additional Sensors $35 each). Learn more or order. Read testimonials.

Ask the RV Shrink

An example of the importance of vigilance while traveling

Dear RV Shrink:
We have had years of trouble-free travel around North America, meeting many wonderful people. However, we recently had a scare that has my wife very nervous. We were headed for Florida on a four-lane road when I noticed a car pull up beside me and look over my rig, then drop back behind my toad. It seemed odd, but I didn’t mention it to my wife. I kept observing the vehicle in my rear camera, wondering why he didn’t pass me. After several miles, my wife noticed a man on the overpass we were approaching. Suddenly she yelled, “He’s going to drop something on us!” I slowed but it was too late. …

Read the rest of the question and the RV Shrink’s advice.

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.

Stinky holding tank odors? Here’s the solution
Eliminate disgusting tank odors for less than $1 per treatment with formaldehyde-free Unique RV Digest-It. Unique’s highly concentrated, non-toxic blend of tank cleaning microbes maintains clean sensors, eliminates odors and liquefies the solids in your tank, ensuring no backups. All without harsh chemicals or dangerous ingredients. Try it once and you’ll be shocked at how clean your tank can be! Learn more or order.

gas-738Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.48 (on Oct. 23). Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 24 cents.
Diesel: $2.80 (on Oct. 23). Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 32 cents.

Keep your slide-out
sliding smoothly!

3-IN-ONE RVcare Slide-Out Silicone Lube is specially formulated to lubricate, waterproof and prevent rust and corrosion on all types of slide-out mechanisms. It’s quick drying, long lasting and safe to use on metal, rubber, vinyl and plastic. Watch the video or click here to learn more or order.

extinguisher-697(3)RV Fire Safety Tip  

Know your location and get help in case of fire
In case of fire, after you get people away from the fire, get help. Adults and older children should know how to dial 911, and how to get emergency help on any CB, VHF or ham radio available. It’s crucial to know your location so firefighters can find you. 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. He 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

Night settings reduce glare after dark
Many rear-view monitors found on motorhomes will adjust automatically, or they have settings (a switch) for day and night usage. Change your setting as needed. Using the night setting will greatly reduce glare and be easier on your eyes when driving at night or on heavily overcast days. This will be similar to decreasing the brightness of your dash lights. Thanks to Ron Jones, AboutRVing.com.

Help keep dust out of your RV when on dirt roads
To keep dust out of your camper while traveling on dirt or gravel roads, turn your front roof vent around to open frontwards. Leave the vent lid wide open when traveling and it will pressurize your RV and keep dust from coming in all the little nooks and crannies. I did this for many years and never lost a vent cover. Just make sure it’s open all the way. If it starts to rain, stop and close the cover. Thanks, George Bliss!

Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!


Camco Store at Amazon.com
There isn’t much you need for your RV that Camco doesn’t have. If you think we’re kidding, then click through to the Camco store on Amazon where you’ll find some of their best-selling products — all for your RV or for you to make your RVing better. Click here and you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store.

Gizmos and Gadgets

Treat your little ones with their own kid-sized hammocks
What could be more fun than stringing up a hammock in your campsite between two trees to spend a hot, lazy afternoon with a good read or a snooze? Well, stringing up a hammock for the kids as well would be equally fun. Grand Trunk, the hammock people, have a line of well-made, strong Junior Hammocks just for that purpose. Learn more.

Be sure to sign up for our monthly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. Click here.

Motorhome and RV Retirement Living
This highly regarded book by Jerry Minchey reveals how full-time RVers make their lifestyle work in retirement. Minchey lives full time in his motorhome. His honest descriptions of the RV lifestyle will answer your most pressing questions as well as those you probably never even thought to ask. Learn more or order

gary-736Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions

What to do about a loud RV water pump

Dear Gary,
We have a new 27-foot travel trailer. The first time we used it the water pump was very loud. What can we do to quiet it down? —Kim H.

Read Gary’s response.

Read more from Gary Bunzer at the RVdoctor.com. See Gary’s videos about RV repair and maintenance.

Best way to fill your batteries
Fill this container with distilled water, insert the nozzle into the cell of your battery, then push & hold. When the battery is at the proper level, the water will automatically stop. Then move to the next cell, etc. You won’t over- or under-fill your batteries this way, helping extend their lives. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.

bob-d-med399Ask BoondockBob
with Bob Difley

Where to start learning about desert camping

Hi Bob,
My wife and I are from the St. Louis area and are currently visiting our son in Seattle. When we head back home we would like to visit the Southwestern deserts and also try some boondocking, but we haven’t a clue where to go and what to expect. Can you direct us newbies to a good desert experience?  —Victor

Read Bob’s response.

Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .

Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: The little things determine the comforts of a boondocking lifestyle.

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.

RV Electricity
with Mike Sokol

Discussion of RVtravel.com’s surge protector survey results
Last week RVtravel.com ran a survey asking which brand of surge protector you used, or if you used any surge protector at all. Mike discusses the results of the survey, in addition to responding to some specific comments which readers added after answering the survey. Learn more.

rv-safety-764Mike 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.

vac-square-755vac-long-755Lightweight vacuum perfect for RVs
This Dirt Devil Simpli-Stick Lightweight Bagless Stick Vacuum is compact and it works great. Plus it converts to a hand vacuum in a snap! It’s the vacuum of choice in the RV Travel motorhome. Weighs less than 4 pounds. Learn more or order for about $20. 

RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

What effect does speed have on tire failure?
“I have an 8000 lb. trailer with four Goodyear Marathons. The truck is a Dodge 2500 diesel so I can cruise at 75 mph subject to wind and hills. How much, if any, does speed factor into tire failure? I replace tires every 4-6 years regardless of what they look like, and keep them inflated at the PSI marked on the tires.”

Read Roger’s response.

Keep critters out of your RV!
The best rodent and insect control is to keep them out of your RV to begin with! A mouse that gets in through an opening the size of a dime can chew on wiring and cause major damage! Great Stuff foam sealant forms a long-lasting, airtight and water-resistant barrier to keep out what you don’t want in! Learn more or order

mark522RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk

LP gas system maintenance
You should take your RV to a qualified RV service center annually to have the LP gas system checked. RV technicians have the equipment required to test the LP gas system for leaks and to test and adjust the LP gas operating pressure so the appliances will operate properly. When you change a gas bottle there is a possibility you will get air in the gas lines. A good habit to get into is to light the range burners first. What this does is help evacuate any air out of the system to make it easier to light the other appliances.

Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more

tire-guage660gauge4Endorsed by tire expert Roger Marble!
Outstanding 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 staffLearn more or order.

Astronomy for RVers
with Chris Fellows, Serenity Mobile Observatory

Tricks to help you see more in the night sky (and elsewhere)
As Chris explained previously, distant and faint objects in the night sky appear as gray fuzzballs or smears in all but the largest telescopes under the darkest skies. This week he teaches us a few tricks that should improve our ability to see those “faint fuzzes” and enhance our celestial views. One technique even works in any low-light situation: It can be used it in dark alleys, gloomy wooded trails, or in our backyard while taking out the garbage. Read more.
[Editor: The amazing photo is by Chris Fellows and was posted on the Serenity Mobile Observatory page on 10/25/2017. It is a mosaic photo of M 31, Andromeda Galaxy, and consists of six panels taken over several different nights and from different parts of the country.]

grip766Strengthen your hands, fingers and forearms
Here’s a great, easy way to build up the strength in your hands, fingers or forearms. Perfect for RVers. If you suffer from arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis or tennis elbow this is for you. It’s also great for simply building up the strength of your grip. This is a best seller and costs about $8. Learn more or order.

The RV Kitchen   
with Janet Groene

Low Sugar Desserts
Easy desserts to cut sugar. Janet has some important tips for those needing to watch their sugar intake, along with some delicious dessert ideas which cut down on carbs, calories and refined sugars. And you don’t need to be watching your sugar, etc., intake to enjoy these yummy treats! Read more.

Check out hundreds of other recipes by Janet . . . and her many books at Amazon.com, including the new “The Survival Food Handbook.”

RVtravel.com Readers’ Favorite Recipes 
with Emily Woodbury

Julie’s Cast Iron Nachos (cooked over a campfire!)
I think my favorite thing about moving back to the West Coast (besides, you know, the beauty) has been being reunited with good (really good) Mexican food. Sorry, New York, you just didn’t cut it. I’ve been eating burritos, chile rellenos and salsa verde enchiladas like it’s my job and I’m getting paid to do so (I wish). Julie’s recipe caught my eye this week, not only because it’s nachos, but because she cooked it over a campfire. Read more and get the recipe here


foil-757Fix it In Foil! Tasty Recipes. Easy cleanup!
Easy prep, great taste, good nutrition, quick clean-up! “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.

Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.

Gilbert Ray Campground, Tucson, Ariz., by Julianne G. Crane

RV Short Stops

Winter activities for RV Snowbirds in Tucson area
In addition to the warm days, magnificent sunsets and free natural beauty surrounding Tucson, Ariz., there are numerous fun and low-cost activities that entice tens of thousands of RV Snowbirds to return each winter. According to the folks at VisitTucson.org, this area “inspires a sense of freedom among all who visit. Freedom of thought and expression. Freedom to discover and explore. And the freedom to be yourself.” Learn more in this article from Julianne G. Crane.

CONTEST ANSWER: Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the most visited in 2016 with 11,312,786 visitors. Grand Canyon was second (5.9 million) followed by Yosemite (5 million), Rocky Mountain (4.5 million), Zion (4.295 million) and Yellowstone with 4.257 million. [We apologize for initially incorrectly listing Rocky Mountain NP as the most visited. If you chose that answer, your entry will not be disqualified — you don’t need to enter again.]

damp-rid-2-761damprid-761Avoid 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

Good reading from RV123.com 629-rv123
• Here’s What Free Camping Season is Like in Alaska (Video)
• Featured App: Recreation.gov Camping
• Surviveware Small First Aid Kit

Essential for big RVs! 
2018 Rand McNally Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas
If you drive a big RV — extra long or extra tall — then this is for you. The truck driver’s road atlas shows all the highways you can drive without encountering a low bridge or getting stuck hanging over a cliff. This is an essential aid even if you have a GPS! Coverage: United States, Canada, and Mexico. Learn more or order.

Free and bargain camping 
From OvernightRVparking.com

Stockman’s Casino, Fallon, NV
FREE: Overnight RV parking is allowed. Permission from casino required. Park is in a fairly small lot without obstructing traffic lanes. Do not park in adjacent Holiday Inn Express lot. Fairly level, well lit, appears safe. Two restaurants on site. Address: 1560 W Williams Ave. GPS: 39.475784, -118.793842

Battery Park, Apalachicola, FL
FREE: Overnight RV parking is allowed. Park in large gravel lot or under the bridge; don’t obstruct movement by other vehicles and don’t park near boat ramp or in the grass area. Mostly level, unlit, with marina and road noise. Appears safe; within sight of a police station. 5-10 minute walk into town; many restaurants there. Address: 1 Bay Ave. GPS: 29.7232, -84.9814

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 demoWatch a video about OvernightRVparking.com.

train-764Riding the rails! Tourist Trains Guidebook
Do you like to ride tourist railroads on your travels? If so, you’ll love this guidebook. It thoroughly describes at least 500 excursion trains and railroad museums in the USA and Canada. About 200 of the most popular sites are presented in full-page reviews written by a Trains magazine editor or correspondent. Reviewers offer advice on what to see, when to go, and how to get there. Learn more or order.

Upcoming RV Shows

• Portland Metro RV Show, Nov. 9-12, Portland, OR
• Tampa Bay Fall RV Show,
Nov. 9-12, Tampa, FL
• West Palm Beach Fall RV Show,
Nov. 9-12, West Palm Beach, FL
• Palm Springs Area RV Show & Sale,
Dec. 7-10, Indio, CA

See the complete list of all upcoming RV shows.

“The” guide to services at Interstate exits
Never take a wrong exit off an Interstate highway again. The 2017 Next Exit lists every exit along every Interstate and details exactly what you will find at each: gas stations (including if they offer diesel), campgrounds, truck stops, casinos, laundries, retail stores (by name), shopping malls, factory outlet malls, drug stores, hospitals, rest areas & more. Very helpful even if you have a GPS. Learn more or order.

Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.

del-545This week in history
Week of October 28 – November 3
Compiled by Dell Bert

1858 – First store opens in the frontier town of Denver, Colorado.
1864 – Helena, Montana, is founded after gold is discovered.
1864 – Nevada becomes the 36th state.
1886 – Statue of Liberty is dedicated.
1929 – Stock market crashes.
1938 – Orson Welles scares the nation with realistic “War of the Worlds” on radio.
1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis comes to an end.
1974 – Muhammad Ali wins the Rumble in the Jungle against George Foreman.
1998 – John Glenn returns to space at age 77.

The act of stretching and yawning is called pandiculation.

Bumper sticker of the week
Go around. Obviously this isn’t a race car.

Funny/clever business slogan
In a veterinarian’s waiting room: “Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!” —Thanks to KFK!

Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com

Joke of the Week
Did you hear about the hyena that jumped into a pot of boiling water with some onions and made a laughing stock of himself?

Random RV Thought
People who are “homebodies” often prefer to be at home more than anywhere else; they may not like to stray far from home. Sometimes an RV is good for a person like this because they can combine being at “home” in their RV with traveling to other places.

Worth Pondering
“Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.” —Elie Wiesel (9/30/1928-7/2/2016)

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, Roger Marble, Mike Sokol, Chris Guld, Julianne Crane, Chris Fellows, Wolfe Rose and Andrew Robinson. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring.

ADVERTISE on RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Gail Meyring at Gail(at)RVtravel.com.

cw501About 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.

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

This website utilizes some advertising services. Sometimes we are paid if you click one of those links and purchase a product or service. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc . RVtravel.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

RVtravel.com includes links to other websites. We cannot control the content and/or privacy policies of those sites. Please be aware when you leave this newsletter or any other section of RVtravel.com to read the privacy statements of any of those websites that collect personally identifiable information. Our own privacy policy applies only to RVtravel.com and its affiliated blogs.

This newsletter is copyright 2017 by RVtravel.com

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5 years ago

Two KOA’s that we have found that were out of their way great—–Black Bear KOA in Florida, NY and St. Marys’ KOA of North Jacksonville, FL

5 years ago

Thank you for the news paragraph about WiFi Ranger releasing a patch to deal with the KRACK virus. I went right to the control panel and got the update.

Steven M Jenkins
5 years ago

Two other great K O A’ s are Carlsbad and Meteor Crater K O A ‘s

Jim K
5 years ago

I too have found a decline in the quality of KOA campgrounds, but the one I found to be the most amazing is Herkimer diamond mine KOA in Herkimer County, N.Y.
A must stop for everyone, Herkimer diamonds is known worldwide and you will find a few if you try

Matthew Colie
5 years ago

This is an honest question.

We have been Amazon prime members for a long time and use it frequently. I keep looking, but can’t find the place to make purchases credit to RV travel.

Can this be done or would I have to enter a new membership?

Lori Singels
5 years ago

I, too, received what I thought was a “free” Good Sam membership card two or three months ago. However, last week I looked at it (since I had signed up for GS Roadside Assistance and was organizing my RV cards), and it said on the back something about not being valid for membership. On the front it looks like the real McCoy. I put it in the round file cabinet and figured I didn’t have membership.

John Snell
5 years ago

Reading Mr Ashhurst’s comments on over crowding he contradicts himself. Saying current owners have a hard time turning down developer offers and in the same breath says it’s a good chance for investment. Land prices , zoning laws,financing and locations could be big factors in not making an investment where a return would not be profitable.
As far as QC is addressed, it’s what you can’t see that is a problem. Developing a leak in the front of our trailer I removed the metal strips on the front of the trailer to find the leak and reseal all. Most of the screws holding the strips in place we’re at screwed in at an angle, not straight on. You wouldn’t see that on the showroom floor .

Clyde Riddle
5 years ago

About the free Good Sam Free Membership, make sure you have not signed up for auto renew Check your credit card and debit card statements. It’s easy to do.

Diane M
5 years ago
Reply to  Clyde Riddle

Hmmm. We have a lifetime membership. Maybe that was a mistake.

Dean Fujii
5 years ago

RV Shipments vrs retail sales?

Record shipments in my areas looks like really full storage lots for unsold RVs – so I wonder if retail sales reflect shipments?

5 years ago

I am less concerned over the increasing numbers of RVs being sold. For many buyers, it is a long-delayed fantasy and, like most dreams, the reality does not measure up. Being on the road in an RV requires more effort, planning, tolerance for breakdowns, and special knowledge than car trips and many dreamers decide it’s not worth it. Add to that the annoyances of poor construction of RVs, and the numbers diminish even more.
Yes, they have just spent tens of thousands on a rig, but dealers will tell you that, after a year or two, 25% of RVs sit ignored in storage lots, driveways, behind houses. And trips by 40% of other RVs are brief as time and waning interest allows. Family get togethers have lessened because of so many demands for high-speed internet access, unavailable in campgrounds. We are a consumer culture that likes buying stuff. Things we often do not end up using.
No complaints over this harsh reality. It means more lightly-used RVs for resale. And more space at campgrounds.
The dedicated RVers who remain have shown they have the right combination of patience, technical smarts, optimism, willingness to keep learning (reading this newsletter), and resilience to enjoy this glorious lifestyle. Now…keep it a secret.

5 years ago

I get a kick out Mark Polk’s directive to have your propane system checked by a “qualified” RV technician once a year. It takes me at least 6 weeks to get into an RV service center and probably cost $300.00 to get my propane system checked. It would be more helpful to tell us how to do it ourselves, even if we have to buy some tools to do it.

Mel Goddard
5 years ago

Hey Chuck;

You have an ad up above from “Campana” about renting out our RV that sit idle.

Rent it out???
Nope! I’m too old to be that stupid!

Glenn Lygrisse
5 years ago

Really a question
I tow a 24 ft travel trailer with a Ford Expedition. It has 5.4 engine and I use an equal-I – zer hitch. I am really “tossed” when being passed by big rigs.
Is my problem the wheel base or is there something else I can do?

Lee Ensminger
5 years ago
Reply to  Glenn Lygrisse

Look into the Airtabs which are advertised in the newsletter. I have a diesel pusher 38′ and a 24′ Koala travel trailer. I decided to try Airtabs on the Koala and it has made a significant difference. I’ve gone from 11 mpg towing the trailer with my 2006 GMC Sierra 1500 to 12.5 mpg. More importantly, my Koala, which weighs 6,000 lbs., is much more stable when I am being passed by large vehicles like trucks. I painted them to match the light gray of my trailer and installed them myself. I have no connection to Airtabs. I’m just saying they worked for me in my application. I don’t know if I’ll try them on the DP, but I’m happy with the way my trailer handles now.

John Hiler
5 years ago

Spend more time advocating for more and better public facilities, Parks Service, Forest Service, BLM, Reclamation Bureau. U.S. Tax funds, contrary to what some advocate, Yes, U.S. Tax money can be spent for the benefit of Citizens of the Republic. Let’s not let Corporations own all of our public places – for profit…

Eric Eltinge
5 years ago

When will it be possible to RV down to the San Diego border to see the 8 prototype Wall sections?

5 years ago

A year ago I had also stayed at Walnut Hills and agree with your assessment. I was camped near the stream and took photos of the camp ducks. It prompted my sister to reply that RV camping is what it’s quacked out to be. Did you go into Staunton to see the 14 Tiffany windows in a local church? A 25 cent trolley ride informed us of 54 churches in town alone and that it is the birthplace/home of former president W. Wilson.Were you able to eat at the nearby German restaurant….oh my was it fine food. If you ever get near the SE CT coast I’ve found the best RV campground – Countryside in Griswold. Consider it better than Walnut Hills though it doesn’t have the history. ???? ~~

Richard Davidson
5 years ago

Hey Chuck, as far as Camping World swallowing up all competition, I thought we had laws against a monopoly?

5 years ago

A monopoly is when a company has exclusive control over a good or service in a particular market. Not all monopolies are illegal; for example, businesses that produce a superior product or are well managed may disadvantage their competitors while not violating antitrust law.

5 years ago

KOA resort Hidden Valley Resort is located in Milton, Wisconsin.

5 years ago

Your listed contest answer is not correct. You have Rocky Mountain NP listed twice. First park listed should be Great Smokey Mountains NP withthe 11 plus million visitors.

5 years ago
Reply to  CYoung

Yes, you are correct.

Ardis Haislet
5 years ago

I’m not sure where to leave this. I can’t find a ‘contact us’ link.
Many of us travel with our pets and everyone should be aware that they are prohibited on Tybee Island in Georgia. “The fine is $510. No questions asked, no mercy.

5 years ago
Reply to  Ardis Haislet

We take our pets to Tybee all the time. However they are not allowed on the beach.