Tuesday, July 5, 2022


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 822

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 822 • Week of December 2–8, 2017   #rvtravel

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

The first edition last Sunday of our monthly RV Electricity newsletter was a big hit! About 4,500 people signed up to receive it. By day’s end, editor Mike Sokol had received more than 100 questions from readers.

Mike in his natural surroundings

As Mike and I had discussed many times while planning the newsletter, there is no comprehensive source of information, other than Mike’s book, about RV electricity, which is far different from your home electrical system.

You, me, and every other RVer who values doing things right with their RV should be thankful that Mike has taken an interest in RVing. I’ve known him for six years, and it was only recently that we decided to work together. He’s a superstar in the pro audio industry. Big time rock bands, mega churches and corporations hire him to supervise the setup and operation of the audio component of their events. “If a musician on stage touches his lips to a microphone and gets shocked, well, that’s bad news,” he once told me. “I’m hired to be sure that doesn’t happen.” Among other projects, Mike was the lead engineer on the audio systems for the Bush and Obama Presidential inaugurations.

Why Mike’s newsletter is important: This won’t happen to his readers.

I AM HAPPY TO INTRODUCE and promote Mike to the RV industry and RVers themselves. I’m doing what I can to help him earn a fair income for his RV work. Mike is a busy guy, and when he takes time off to write articles about RVing for this website, make a video, or answer reader letters, he forgoes work on pro audio projects that pay him far more than what I can afford. No company in the RV industry but RV Travel has stepped forward to help Mike devote time to educate RVers about electric safety. That’s a real shame because you and I should be knowledgeable about the one system in our RVs that presents the greatest potential for misuse and harm.

RV industry leaders do not want to discuss RV electrical safety, because they like to pretend that nothing ever goes wrong. Ditto for RV fire safety. I have learned so much from Mike that it scares me recalling some of the stupid things I did when I started out with my first motorhome.

If you missed Mike’s first newsletter, read it here. Please consider signing up for an email reminder for each new issue. Honestly, what you learn could save you from making costly mistakes with your RV, even hurting you or a family member as a result.

You can read an article by Mike in every issue of this newsletter as well.




P.S. I recently heard from a man named Don Woodbury in Vancouver, B.C., who read about me in the New York Times. We traded emails and determined that we are likely distant cousins. He told me about his brother Gary’s website, OurBC.com. It’s a wonderful resource for anyone planning to travel in British Columbia. If that’s you, check it out.

My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
The only criminal in America to be turned into a shoe.
• Death Valley castle built on a foundation of lies.
•VIDEO: Meet the voices of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Letters to the editor (your comments are welcome)
Don’t expect RV industry to change.

Check out our new RV Travel group at RVillage.com . More than 640 readers have already joined. Lots of good stuff will happen here, including the opportunity to meet up with other readers on the road. Learn more.

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

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.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.34.46 AM

FMCA members vote to accept towable owners
After several months of voting, members of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) have voted overwhelmingly to admit the owners of all self-contained RVs. For more than 50 years FMCA has been exclusively for the owners of self-contained motorized RVs. Read more.

Comprehensive list of RV-related recalls for November
The list of latest recalls on RVs and other vehicles and/or products of interest to RVers has been released by the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The list includes models from Forest River, Keystone, Thor and others — plus other vehicles commonly used by RVers. Is your RV or other vehicle on the list? Find out here.

Some specific recent recalls:
Heartland recalls trailers: brake cable could be severed.
Jayco recalling nearly 10,000 travel trailers.
Jamboree, Holiday Rambler motorhomes recalled for fire hazard.
Heartland recalls Pioneer travel trailers for fire hazard.
Entegra recalls motorhomes for lights issue.
Wrong safety chains prompt Highland Ridge trailer recall.

white-christmas-dvdWe have a winner! No more entries for this contest, please. The answer: Three gallons. Win the DVD of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Monday. The question: How many gallons of water can an American White Pelican hold in its pouched bill in addition to any fish it’s caught? Is it one gallon, three gallons or five gallons? (Answer is below if you want to search for it.) 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.

No contest last week.

breaking-newsOctober saw a dichotomy in the used RV auction market. Instead of moving in parallel, prices for motorhomes and towable units went in different directions, says Black Book. Motorhomes saw values rise a little more than 1 percent, while towable unit prices sank like a rock, losing almost 14 percent. Motorhome average prices were $49,211; towables averaged $13,129. All prices are in comparison to those of September.

Do parks really contribute to the economy? In New York, they do. An economic study says New York’s park system pumps five billion visitor dollars into the economy, supporting some 54,000 jobs. The information comes from the Political Economy Research Institute of the University of Massachusetts and was based on information reported from April 2015 to March 2016.

Steve Walser photographed this (“Morning Watch”) 1953 Flying Cloud – Airstream at the Tin Can Tourist Rally, Lynden, WA, in 2014. Click here to see a larger image of this photo or Steve’s catalog. Photo © Steve Walser

Two people sleeping in an RV in San Angelo, Texas, were treated for smoke inhalation after their rig caught fire while parked in a driveway. Fire investigators said an extension cord leading from a house electrical outlet was overloaded and caught fire at the RV, prior to tripping the breaker serving the circuit. Officials stressed a space heater was not involved in the incident, but did indicate the load was more than the cord could bear. The RV was demolished, and a dog in the unit perished.

Volunteer campground host opportunities are available in Michigan state parks, recreation areas and rustic state forest campgrounds for the 2018 season. Both individuals and couples may apply for the positions that begin as early as April and last through October. Learn more.

RV manufacturer Forest River’s river continues to flow: City officials in Ligonier, Ind., are whooping with joy as the big manufacturer inked a deal to buy 50 acres of land in town to construct yet another plant, this one to employ as many as 400 workers. The company already has a plant in Ligonier that turns out toy haulers.

Photo: Boulder Beach by NPS

Boulder Beach Campground in Nevada’s Lake Mead National Recreation Area is getting a major spiff-up. Some $3 million is allocated to repairing 73 campsites, along with road work as well as sewer and water rehabilitation. Some sites in the D Loop will get concrete paving to better accommodate RVers. The five-month project will see occasional partial closures and is expected to be completed by April 27, 2018.

A Corcoran, Minn., man who bilked more than $2 million out of folks who thought they were investing in “indoor RV parks” has had his day in court. Ronald D. Johnson, 51, has been sentenced to more than 10 years in prison and ordered to repay $2.3 million to those he defrauded between 2013 and 2015. Johnson told investors he was building heated warehouses for oil workers to live in, inside their parked RVs. Instead he bought collector cars, paid off a mortgage on his ranch and took vacations.

Reminder: After 65,000 comments from the public and the attention of congressional members was raised, the National Park Service has extended the public comment period on its controversial proposal to dramatically raise gate fees at 17 parks across the nation. The peak-season rate hike has drawn plenty of commentary, pro and con, from RVtravel.com readers to a recent post and in our poll. You have until December 22 to make your opinion known directly to the Service at the Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website.

Responding to problems created by people who make campground reservations and then renege on them, Michigan state parks are now adding a bite to back-outs. Cancel a reservation, you’ll pay a $10 “modification fee,” and add anywhere between 10 and 40 percent of what you would have paid for the site had you gone ahead and stayed. When a reservation is made, it denies others the ability to use a spot. A park manager told the media, “The hope is that visitors will make reservations truer to their intentions – and it will help achieve less fluctuation in availability.”

FEMA will provide up to 70 RVs at northern California’s Lake Mendocino for people displaced by October’s wildfires. The RVs will be installed beginning this month on about 75 acres at the north end of the lake in the Kyen Campground, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said. The location is close to many of the 545 homes destroyed in the Redwood Valley fire.

Towable RV dealers in Canada are continuing to smile. January through September sales of the units were up nearly 10 percent compared to the first nine months of 2016. Travel trailers led, up 11 percent, followed by fifth-wheels, up 7 percent. Pop-ups bucked the trend by losing more than 5 percent. Source: Statistical Surveys Inc.

Income wasted!

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 significant money! Learn more at Campanda. Endorsed by RVtravel.com

news524(2)More News

Homeless RVers in Lane County, Ore., may soon have new places to stay. County commissioners are considering a pilot program that would allow homeless residents with vehicles to camp on private properties near Eugene. Under the program, businesses, churches, nonprofit agencies and other commercial property owners could agree to host homeless campers on their properties. Read more.

When national parks depend on congressional funding, things can get difficult. Imagine having a bake sale to help pay for ranger uniforms. It’s a familiar situation at North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where communications between rangers and headquarters can be a matter of life or death. Park rangers are using field radios that are nearly 15 years old that typically last only a decade. Having such equipment conk out is a regular occurrence. And the repeater stations that keep the park connected are also needing help. Now a nonprofit group, Friends of the Smokies, is trying to raise $1.5 million in contributions to cover more than half the costs required to fix the situation – with the federal government picking up the smaller portion. Never mind the other $211 million backlogs that plague the park.

The RV industry evidently has some pull with Congress. Word got out that House bill writers were considering killing off a provision in the tax code that allows RV dealers to write off interest on unsold inventories sitting on their lots. The news came while many were attending a convention in Las Vegas, and phone lines from Nevada to D.C. were flooded with irate dealers demanding Congress stand down. Before the day was over, the idea was scuttled. Source: huffingtonpost.com.

A tense standoff between police and a motorhome driver shut down a Highway 14 on-ramp in Santa Clarita Valley, Calif., November 20. Police got a call from a woman who said a motorhome occupant had pointed a gun at her during an altercation at a nearby fuel stop. Police stopped the rig on the highway ramp, then approached using weapons, body shields and a bullhorn. The rig’s occupants exited the rig, which was inspected and no gun was found inside. The woman reporting the altercation then “recanted” parts of her story. No charges filed.

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.

The march of acquisitions in the RV marketplace continues, this time in the supply field. DexKo Global, parent company of Dexter, a major RV axle manufacturer, has snapped up Henderson Wheel & Trailer Supply Inc., a Utah-based manufacturer that produces and distributes axles, fenders and other trailer components. Henderson was a family-owned company, established in 1919.

A homeless man picked the wrong day to break into a Wood Village, Ore., Camping World store. A 3:00 a.m. security alarm call on November 21 brought police to the big RV retailer – accompanied by not one, but two K9 search dog teams. While the nearby Gresham, Ore., K9 unit would have responded, the dog had the night off. Not to worry – Portland’s K9 unit was having a training session with dogs from the Hillsboro Police Department and they were called in. Dogs soon rounded up Chad L. Southwell, and two-legged officers booked him under a variety of charges.

Photo: jucyusa.com

An RVtravel.com staffer stayed the holiday weekend in a Los Angeles-area RV park. While there, he saw two different “Jucy” RV rentals – mini-vans with roof-top mounted tents. Maybe you saw one as well. If you did, chalk it up to a “cyber special,” where the outfit was renting the diminutive motorhomes(?) for just $28.50 per day. The rigs include a refrigerator, stove, sink and, of course, a DVD player.

Southwire Company, LLC, has announced a new warranty for its line of Surge Guard products. It includes lifetime equipment coverage for all Surge Guard products, and includes connected equipment coverage to protect appliances in the RV like TVs and microwaves against costly damage resulting from transient voltage surges or spikes. Learn more.

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

This week’s Reader Poll
How would you describe the condition of 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 own your RV outright or are you making payments? Click here for the results.

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.

RVing will not make you happy
Say what?! Read about one woman’s journey from being a successful big-city attorney living the proverbial Rat Race two-and-a-half years ago, to living and traveling full time in her RV with two dogs and a cat. What does she mean by, “RVing will not make you happy”? Find out here.

thumbs upThumbs up – November 2017
Want to read something positive for a change? Here are some recent “thumbs up” letters and comments we’ve received from our readers. Read more.

Why would you want a lithium battery pack?
Lithium batteries have truly extraordinary advantages for certain types of RV life – but they have their “dark side” as well. You need to be very well informed to make the “lithium decision.” Read the pros and cons in this article from Greg Illes, veteran boondocker and retired systems engineer.

Where will you store your RV?
If you’re planning to buy a recreational vehicle but are unsure where you will store it when not using it, you’re asking for trouble. In many cases, finding a place to store an RV is as hard as or harder than finding a place to buy one. Here are some suggestions to help you plan ahead.

Quartzsite signDusty Quartzsite is winter haven for sun-seeking RVers
You must visit Quartzsite. It’s in the middle of nowhere in the Arizona desert. It’s no place to be in the blazing hot summer unless you’re a lizard, although to 3,600 hearty desert rats it’s home. In the winter, with its abundant sunshine and mild temps, the population jumps to as many as 50,000 at times. Nearly all are RV snowbirds. If/when you go don’t forget to say “hi” to Paul. Read more.

RV shipments to reach half-million this year
According to data from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, the RV industry’s shipments will top a staggering half-million units in 2017 with expectations of 505,600 units shipped by the end of the year. Learn more.

Slow cellular internet: When will carriers catch on?
Winter in Quartzsite inevitably means slow-moving internet service – even as slow as the proverbial molasses in January. It’s something Quartzsite residents such as Russ and Tiña De Maris look forward to with dread every year. Read this report of what they have gone through with their ISP when trying to get this ongoing issue resolved for themselves and others.

Preventing winter RV roof damage
After making repairs to and cleaning your RV roof, we are sure you want to keep it that way for as long as possible. We all know winter weather can be harsh. Even for those living in slightly milder areas, an RV exposed to the elements without periodic care can suffer some real damage. Here from Dicor Corporation are tips on how to prevent roof damage. Learn more.

free camping signGive the gift of free (or inexpensive) camping
What a perfect gift for your favorite RVer — a membership to OvernightRVparking.com, the premier source of information about more than 13,400 places to stay for free or very inexpensively throughout the USA. Only $24.95 a year, plus receive a bonus of three extra months when you join through RVtravel.com. Learn more or order with the bonus months. Or watch a short video interview with founder Jim O’Briant about the program and how it works.

Need more storage space? Turn useless areas into useful!
Rich “The Wanderman’s” RV is fairly small, so he is always on the lookout for ways to expand his ability to store stuff. He admits he might carry too much, but he likes being prepared. (Good idea!) The drawers that he mounted under the table are very small – good for pencils or chopsticks and such. But he recently came across some drawers that are much larger, and he figured out a handy place to mount them. Find out where.

Use solar panels to power your RV
Jumping in your RV and leaving the rat race for the weekend is an American tradition. If you’re new to RVing, did you know you can provide power to your RV with the sun while getting away from it all? If you enjoy taking the RV out for an excursion, you can use solar power to provide your electrical needs – it is an exceedingly simple process. Learn more.

RVs become part of “underground economy”
Would you rent an RV for $300 a month? It appears that many are willing to do just that, in an underground economy that’s springing up around the U.S. But there’s a bit of a catch to the cheap rental – you won’t be going too far in your $10-a-day special, unless somewhere in metro Los Angeles is your destination of choice – where there are plenty of customers ready and waiting. Learn more.

Need storage for your stuff or RV?
Are you out of storage? As RVers, we often run out of room for, well, everything. And what do you do with your RV when you’re not using it? That’s a big concern for RVers who don’t have room in their yards or live in condos with no extra parking space. Here’s a resource for locating storage for your “stuff” and your rig. Learn more.

Stop shower leaks before they cause damage
video camera WPHaving a leaky shower stall is not only a nuisance requiring constant cleanup, but it could also lead to mold, mildew and rotting floors as well. Certified RV technician Chris Dougherty outlines a simple way to keep your RV’s shower stall from leaking. Read more.

KOA owner laments company’s branding, missed opportunities
Andy Zipser, owner of the Staunton/Walnut Hills, Virginia, KOA (highly rated, BTW, by RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury), writes about changes being imposed by KOA on the campgrounds whether the owners agree or not. This is a very well-written and thought-provoking article which we recommend that you read.

Vintage electric car might not be good as a “toad”
The oil crisis of 1973 changed gas prices forever and made an electric car that costs about a penny a mile to operate look attractive. In its two short years on sale, 1974 to 1976, the radical CityCar sold better than any electric car in history, about 2,600 units. Check it out!

Arizona’s Old West featured at Prescott museum
The Wild West was typified in the settling of Arizona as migrants, Civil War veterans, gamblers, gold seekers, missionaries and flim-flammers headed west to seek their fortunes. The town of Prescott became the first territorial capital. Now an assemblage of historic buildings, permanent collections and the Sharlot Hall Museum is the largest museum complex in central Arizona, illustrating the early days of Prescott and the Arizona Territory. Read more.

Easy way to carry, install your hitch
HitchGrip is the clean & easy way to safely carry & install your trailer hitch. It’s ergonomically designed, making moving & attaching the ball mount easier than ever! What was once a greasy job is now a neat, clean & simple task. HitchGrip makes it easy on your back, too. Watch the video or click here to learn more.

Readers’ comments on recent articles

Front of tee-shirt

Recent popular articles that attracted high numbers of reader comments.
Is it worth it to inflate tires with nitrogen?
What are your power needs for your RV? (Poll results)
How would you describe how you use your RV? (Poll results)
Do you own your RV outright or are you making payments? (Poll results)
Politics: Would the end of mortgage interest deductions hurt RVers?
Class A owners ask: Can you spare a tire?

More popular articles from last week’s issue.
Buying a bargain-priced “flooded” RV? Beware!
Holiday gifts for the RVer.
RV Electricity – Television battery usage.
Astronomy: Visiting the Very Large Array – Will you make “contact”?
Steps to conserving and supplying power for RV boondocking.
Avoid pulling a flat-tired toad – or you’ll be sorry.

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.

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.

Holiday Gift Guide
Here are some ideas for your favorite RVer!

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

Upcoming RV Shows
See the complete list.

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! Learn more.

Ask the RV Shrink

Wife’s rock collection overloading RV

Dear RV Shrink:
My wife has rocks in the head. No, I am not being derogatory. I mean she has rocks everywhere, including those I found in the bathroom this morning under the sink. We are headed for Quartzsite soon and I see more rocks in my future. Then we go to all the rock and gem shows in Arizona. It wouldn’t be so bad if she made something out of them and sold it. At least that would make up for some of the bad mileage we’re getting. … —Bedrock in Benson

Read the rest of the question and the RV Shrink’s heavy-duty 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.


gas-738Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.53 (on Nov. 27). Change from week before: Down 4 cents; Change from year before: Up 38 cents.
Diesel: $2.93 (on Nov. 27). Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 51 cents.

scenic767The Most Scenic Drives in America
The newly updated trip planner & travel guide will steer you down the most scenic roads. From Florida’s Road to Flamingo, to British Columbia’s Sea to Sky Highway, to Cape Cod’s Sandy Shores, each featured trip is pictured in stunning full color and described in vivid text, keyed to an easy-to-follow map. Whether you choose a drive on a distant road or a back road in your own state, this book is your ticket to North America’s most beautiful byways. Learn more or order.


Fire Safety Tip

Check fire extinguishers’ gauges monthly
During your monthly inspection, check the fire extinguisher gauge to determine if there is pressure in the extinguisher. If the gauge indicates empty or needs charging, replace or recharge the extinguisher immediately. To test non-gauged extinguishers, push the plunger indicator (usually green or black) down. If it does not come back up, the extinguisher has no pressure to expel its contents. If you need help testing your fire extinguishers, check with your local fire department. 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

warming-770Keep warm this winter with a 12-volt warming blanket
Here’s a way to keep warm in your RV without wasting propane to run your heater. Just snuggle up with a warming blanket! This one operates on 12-volt, perfect for RV use. Stitched from 100-percent polyester fleece, the blanket is comfortable, functional, safe and gentle on your RV’s battery. Put it on your bed before turning in to warm your sheets! Learn more or order from Amazon.

RV Quick Tips

Not-so-messy oil filter removal
Changing your own oil? Oil filter removal can be a real mess. After loosening the filter enough to move it by hand, cover the filter with a one-gallon freezer bag. Oozy oil goes in the bag, along with the filter. Sealed up, it’s ready to take to the appropriate disposal/recycle center.
Always keep the batteries fully charged
Take the batteries out of the rig and store them in the garage over winter? It’s an old wives’ tale, provided you make sure the batteries are kept charged. Use a battery maintainer to ensure the charge. It’s when a battery falls below full charge that you’d need to worry about it freezing.

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

“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.

Gizmos and Gadgets

Brake Buddy introduces new lightweight portable brake system
Since its inception in 1996, one of the more popular lines of supplemental brake systems for vehicles being towed behind motorhomes is the Brake Buddy by Hopkins Manufacturing Corp. For 2018, the company is introducing a new lightweight portable model in both the Classic and Vantage series. Both models are lightweight and said to offer many new features yet at the same price points as before. Learn more.

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

travelswithcharlie-750An inspirational book about RVing
“Travels with Charley in Search of America”
When you ask most RVers if there was one book that inspired them to take up RVing, it’s John Steinbeck’s classic road tale, “Travels with Charley.” The famous author set off in the early 1960s in a home-built camper with his poodle, Charley, to “find America.” And what he found makes for a delightful read. Get this for yourself or as a gift. Learn more or order.

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

What to do about uneven tire wear on travel trailer

Dear Gary,
It seems lately that my travel trailer tires are wearing unevenly side to side. Measured to ground, the side with the most tire wear is about 3/4 inch lower than the other side. This is after replacing all the tires and checking inflation. I then weighed both sides of the trailer and found that the side with the most tire wear was about 500 pounds more. This is the side where the refrigerator is directly over the tires. We presently have over 15,000 miles on the trailer. Is there anything we can do to make the trailer level? I know because of the design there is little that can be done to equalize the weight side to side. —Jim

Read Gary’s response.

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

tempgun-682Temperature 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 and heater 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 huge discount.

bob-d-med399Ask BoondockBob
with Bob Difley

Are boondocking spots becoming as crowded as developed campgrounds?

Hi Bob,
I would like to know if you are finding the same problem that Chuck is with the RV world getting too clogged with all the many new RVs being produced. I’m hoping that the boondocking world is not getting as clogged as the campground world seems to be. —Bob D.

Read Bob’s response.

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

You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.

Be prepared for a roadside emergency!
flares-765Forget messing around with flares. 
christmas-package-sm-770You’ll be thankful to have this set of three emergency flashers along with you if you’re forced to the side of a busy highway with a flat tire, mechanical or other issue. One FlareAlert™ provides about 20 hours of safety before a battery change (three AAAs in each). You’d need to strike 80 incendiary flares, one after another, to achieve the same thing. Learn more or order.

RV Electricity
with Mike Sokol

Overloaded wires – What’s the big deal?

Dear Mike,
You’re always warning us about overloaded wiring, but what can really happen if that occurs? Does the overloaded wiring just get hot, or can it actually catch on fire? —Caleb

Read Mike’s response.

Read the first issue of Mike’s new monthly RV Electricity Newsletter. It’s full of important and potentially lifesaving information. If you have not signed up for an email alert for new issues, please do so today so you don’t miss out.

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.

Don’t be without this Emergency Weather Radio!
For about $19, 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.

RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

Are you smarter than your RV tire salesperson? You may need to be
As an RV owner, Roger Marble believes that in most cases it is important for us to know as much as possible about our tires. Sometimes this means knowing more about our tires than the average salesperson. Here is a real-life example regarding the Michelin LTX tire. Buyer beware … and be informed.

convection767Cooking with Convection
Don’t know how to cook with your RV’s convection oven? Then this book is for you. Beatrice Ojakangas, an authority on convection cooking, explains how to use your convection oven to achieve perfect results in dramatically less time than with a conventional oven – from meat to side dishes to dessert — all at the same time. Learn more or order.

The RV Kitchen 
with Janet Groene

The food, not the dance. Serve this buttery, gluten-free treat as a snack or bread. It’s a favorite street food in the south of France, where it’s baked on giant griddles made out of metal drums and eaten on the go. Get the recipe.

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

Margaret’s Grilled Polenta Bites

OK, so, I have to admit … I’ve made this twice for myself already. It’s so good and, well, maybe a little bit addicting.

Growing up, my mom, who is Romanian, often made a dish called Mamaliga: polenta with cheese (lots of it) and sour cream. It’s to die for. The minute I saw Margaret’s recipe I just knew it would be good – I knew that you couldn’t go wrong with polenta and cheese (from lots of experience). Read more and get the recipe.


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.

Digital RVer

Allstays Camp & RV – the Best App – is Not on Google Play Store?
If you’ve attended any of Geeks on Tour’s seminars at RV rallies, you know that their favorite app for RVers is Allstays Camp & RV. It is simply the most complete collection of information about places for RVs to park – and lots more – in North America. It’s an app for iPhones and it used to be available on Android as well, but it has been removed from the Play store. But don’t despair, there is a solution. Learn more.

Learn about smartphones and tablets
… from Geeks On Tour. Here is a recent webcast: #129, Behind the Scenes at Geeks on Tour’s webcasting studio. Watch live or archives of past programs.

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.

Easily brew a single cup of coffee
This is great for RVers! Brew a single cup of coffee without the high cost of an expensive coffee maker with the MyJo Single Cup Coffee Maker! Just fill reservoir with hot water from tea kettle, or heat water in a microwave. Assemble, place K-Cup pack in base, attach the water reservoir and pump. Watch the video for a short demonstration or learn more or order at a big discount.

The Orion Nebula, captured by Chris Fellows

Astronomy for RVers
with Chris Fellows

Rusty’s RV Ranch will keep you in the dark – perfect for stargazing
If you own an RV, and a telescope, you must visit Rusty’s RV Ranch, a “truly dark sky” location in the boot heel of New Mexico. The park has about 40 huge (200-foot-long) pull-through sites. It offers an aviary and a beautiful park with ponds, a small store, immaculate facilities and laundry, clubhouse with giant screen TV and potluck every Friday night – all at reasonable rates. But the real attraction is the sky. All sightlines are unobstructed down to about 5 degrees and framed by majestic mountains in every direction. Watching sunsets or sunrises against this backdrop is a wonderful experience that you should plan on enjoying with friends and your favorite beverage. Read more.

Perfect stocking stuffer!
Lucy and Desi go RVing

Now, here’s the perfect stocking stuffer – Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz go RVing! In this 1954 classic, “The Long, Long Trailer” – in gorgeous Technicolor – the famous couple (as newlyweds) invest in a 40-foot travel trailer and hit the road. The result is hilarious! The scene in which Lucy tries to make beef stew, a Caesar salad and cake in the wobbling, moving trailer is a classic! This DVD is a great gift for your favorite RVer! Learn more or order for only $7.97.

Free and bargain camping
From OvernightRVparking.com

Walmart Supercenter # 1369, Payson, AZ
FREE. Overnight RV parking is allowed. Obtain permission from store per Walmart Corporate Policy. Parking lot signage: “No Overnight Parking after 24 Hours.” Level, well lit, no apparent security issues. Address: 300 N. Beeline Hwy. GPS: 34.244, -111.3235.

5-R Travel Center, Deming, NM
FREE. Overnight RV parking is allowed. Staff stated permission not required. Park anywhere that’s out of the way, without obstructing movement by other vehicles. Rigs that will fit in a single auto spot may park in auto area. Larger rigs may park in one of ~8 pull-thru or ~15 back-in truck spaces in back. Level, well lit, quiet, appears safe. Some truck noise. Dump station on site, free. Public laundry on site. Wagon Wheel cafe on site, with “old fashioned ranch hand fare at low prices; good food.” Address: 1695 US 180. GPS: 32.28176, -107.75946.

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.

gift-cards-770Give gift cards to your favorite stores and restaurants
You can’t go wrong giving a gift card for the holidays — or any other occasion. Here’s where to order most of America’s most popular gift cards.

del-545This week in history
Week of December 2–8
Compiled by Dell Bert

What is this, and why did it not make the big time? Find out.

1818 – Illinois becomes the 21st state.
1884 – Washington Monument is completed.
1933 – Prohibition ends.
1941 – Pearl Harbor is bombed. (“A date which will live in infamy.”)
1963 – The Singing Nun reaches #1 on U.S. pop charts with “Dominique” (inique, inique).
1967 – First human heart transplant.
1980 – John Lennon is assassinated.
1981 – Warren Beatty writes, directs, stars in Oscar-winning “Reds.”

For one day in 1998, Topeka, Kansas, renamed itself “ToPikachu” to mark Pokemon’s U.S. debut.

Contest answer: The American White Pelican can hold three gallons of water in its pouched bill in addition to any fish it’s caught.

Bumper sticker of the week
Stay back! I forgot to dump my black tank!

Funny/clever business slogan
“Our bait will catch fish or die trying” – At the store at Lake Livingston State Park, Texas. —Thanks to John Taylor!

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

Joke of the Week
A little girl complained to her father, “Daddy, I wish I had a sister!” Trying to be funny, her father joked, “But, honey, you already have a sister.” Confused, the toddler asked, “I do?” “Sure,” her dad said, tongue in cheek. “You don’t see her because every time you come in the front door, she goes out the back door.” The confused toddler thought for a moment and then beamed, “Oh, you mean just like my other daddy!”

Random RV Thought
When you really, really want to get away on an RV trip but chores, appointments and special occasions keep getting in your way – it can drive you nuts. After awhile you get crabby. Once you get away you are usually better.

Worth Pondering
The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.
He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
He must always tell the truth.
He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals.
He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
He must help people in distress
He must be a good worker.
He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits.
He must respect women, parents, and his nation’s laws.
The Cowboy is a patriot.

Hear Gene Autry sing “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Missing Children Report, November 30, 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 currently missing children. Wouldn’t it be great if we could help bring 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, Roger Marble, Mike Sokol, Chris Guld, Julianne Crane, Chris Fellows, J.M. Montigel 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

Related Articles


Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Elaine Schuster
4 years ago
Howard Schiller
4 years ago

Hi Chuck,
We’re new to RVing. Recently bought a 2001 Southwind 32V. I’ve been looking at roadside assistance. FMCA and Good Sam Club both have programs that appear very similar. Are you aware if one gives better service than the other? Have you done a Readers Poll on response times, satisfaction with service, or what service do others use? I need to get something before I head to Texas to visit our son in January.
I really enjoy your newsletter and like your special messages to subscribers. I’ve learned a lot from you.

Al Stovall, Jr.
4 years ago

Chuck, thank you for continuing to find key stories and share unique perspectives. As I’ve aged a bit, I’ve definitely become more active in writing the powers that be on important matters, one of which is the proposed national park entry fee hike. I’m sharing my comments to encourage other readers to navigate to the link that you’ve shared and to speak their minds:

“Please utilize good old-fashioned common sense, when considering the entry fee of these parks. It makes no sense to raise the price of any good or service so precipitously. This country is based on a free market economy. Passing such a bold price alienates the level of current demand and is not good economic policy. Such a drastic price increase goes against sound economic principles. Furthermore, the anticipated price increase is precedent-setting. Name one instance, in any country, when such a dramatic price increase has had a positive effect.

“These parks require maintenance. Yes! However, doing so by providing an economic disincentive to the very audience expected to pay such high prices is actually ludicrous. We vote for our government officials because we believe in their collective ability to seek out policy alternatives and seek solutions that make sense.

“Don’t let us down now.”

John Snell
4 years ago

Chuck, where is the used RV auction held and how often? On line and or physical location?

Chris Martin
4 years ago

I was recently at the KOA at exit 296 on I75 Cartersville GA staff seemed nice, however, I was later told that I had to carry my 2 small dogs to the pet walk area because they did not want other dogs marking areas my dogs had releaved their bladder at my rig. I always pick up after my pets and even pick up for others to prevent someone from stepping in it. When I contacted KOA I was told that they have no control over their parks as most are privately owned. I would recommend that any RVER with pets avoid this KOA.

Sarah Karnes
4 years ago

Tried to join RVillage. Tells me to log in and I am not a member. Any advice. Love the newsletter, gives me a lot of information.

Richard Clark
4 years ago

I see this on my iPad. How do I get back to the newsletter when I’ve gone to one of the sidebars?

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
4 years ago
Reply to  Richard Clark

Richard, the newsletter works best when viewed on a computer. There are so many platforms that people use these days, and they are not all equal in how well they display our info nor how they function. I wish we had the time to maximize all platforms, but we don’t.
We present a lot of information each week and I honestly don’t know how to make it function at the same level for each device it’s viewed on. — Chuck

4 years ago
Reply to  Richard Clark

Hi Richard,

I too read on an iPad – with no issues. To exit a page you have read and get back to the newsletter, simply swipe toward yourself on the screen to reveal the tabs along the top edge. Touch the “X” on the current tab and you will return to the previous tab (the newsletter) right where you left off. Hope this helps.

Richard Hawley
4 years ago

Have you ever addressed the issue of registering your RV in Montana with their LLC program? Legal or illegal?

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
4 years ago
Reply to  Richard Hawley

We did in the past, but not lately. In my opinion, it’s not a good idea. I wouldn’t do it, anyway. — Chuck

Al in Seattle
4 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

If you travel a lot its probably OK. If you store your unit at your home in a state other than Montana, be sure you are GOOD friends with your neighbors. If you reside in Washington state for example, you will face a huge fine for evading sales taxes and registration fees. Some folks are always envious of perceived wealth and will report you. Many published stories of pricey Porsche owners fined for purchasing and registering in Oregon to evade WA sales tax. If sales tax is that important for you, you should relocate to a state without them. However, you may face state income tax which will offset whatever you saved on sales tax. Chuck is 120% right on the money .. don’t do it.

4 years ago
Reply to  Al in Seattle

As a former DOT fraud investigator I can assure you several states will go after you if you try to avoid sales tax. Very easy to detect. If you have a driver license in your home state and registration in another, your so done they can stick a fork in you. Sales Tax friendly states are more then willing to sell your registration records. If you try and obtain a driver license in the sales tax friendly state you will run a foul of the real ID law. Also avoiding sales tax in most states is a criminal offense.

Peter Boissonneault
4 years ago

Gene Autry’s cowboy code, words to live by.