Wednesday, July 6, 2022


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 831

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 831 • Week of February 3–9, 2018   #rvtravel

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Editor’s corner 
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at)

It’s official, the Recreation Vehicle Industry has formally announced that 2017 shipments to RV dealers exceeded half a million for the first time in history. The actual number: 504,599.

frank rvia
Frank Hugelmeyer

“But the RV industry hasn’t peaked, and we fully expect that shipments above half-a-million units shipped will become the new normal in years to come,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.

It’s no wonder RVs are selling so fast! First, the economy is good. But almost as important, attend an RV show and notice how incredibly comfy the RVs are! They’re as nice as (or nicer than) most traditional houses. It’s no wonder so many people are selling their homes with their lawns to mow and property taxes to pay for a life on wheels. I mean, it’s so easy, so comfortable, so affordable (if you are smart about how you buy the RV to begin with), and, in most cases, more stimulating.

Even small trailers and other inexpensive, entry-level RVs have most of the comforts of home. Young families are gobbling these up as fast as RV makers can push them out the door.

My own motorhome. At 32 feet, it’s modest for full-timing. Yet, for Gail and me, it’s as comfortable as any house where we’ve lived.

The problem, as I have said before: no net gain in RV campsites in recent years and none on the horizon. So where will everybody stay? Not in Forest Service campgrounds without hookups ten miles down a dirt road! Oh, there are plenty of those places still out there. But, hey, no WiFi? Can’t stay there! (See today’s reader poll below).

The times they are a changing, as evidenced in two articles I came across last week. One profiles a Nebraska RV park owner who has set aside 40 of the park’s 100 spaces for long-term residents. Today, in mid-winter, 30 are occupied by construction workers. “Everything in the RV is your own,” said resident James Scott. “You just hook it up and pull it to the next spot. It’s home on the road … your own bathroom, your own shower, your own everything.”

Another article quoted full-time RVer Lindsay McKenzie, who couldn’t afford a home in Denver, so she and her husband bought an RV. The money they’ve saved has allowed the couple to pay off $100,000 in student loan debt and put $25,000 into an emergency fund.

A recent survey of RV Travel readers: 83 percent of the more than 3,000 readers who answered want an electric hookup all or most of the time.

And while the McKenzies were able to afford a home, some economists believe that some retirees are being forced into living in RVs full-time because they lost their savings in the Great Recession or didn’t save enough for retirement.

In my own travels — and keep in mind I have traveled by RV for more than 30 years — I have recently seen far more parks than ever populated with seasonal or even full-time “residents.” Sometimes it’s 25 percent, other times close to 100 percent.

Where will the RVers stay who prefer to move often, staying a day or two at a time? Walmart was always a default stop but is increasingly prohibiting overnight stays in its parking lots. One reason: an invasion of poor people in junky RVs holing up for days, even weeks or months on end.

You may not see the crowding — yet! It depends on how often you move from place to place, and where you do it. But try to find an available RV space in prime season within 30 miles of a popular national park. You won’t find one without a reservation a year or more ahead.

I am noticing more writers than ever addressing this subject. The message I’ve been promoting (which many readers call “negative”) is spreading. So far, it’s just a whisper. It needs to be a collective scream! There are solutions. But before you get to home plate you need to reach first base.

Am I way off on this? Then, please weigh in by answering the poll question. Just click your response. The current results will then appear.

* * *

Beginning next issue we’ll feature a twice-a-month column by RV historian Al Hesselbart. In the first installment, Al talks about the debt the early RV industry owed to aviation pioneers including the man who built Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis.

Also, beginning Feb. 12, we will bring back our RV Daily Tips Newsletter. The newsletter was very popular for the several years it ran before I starting shutting down parts of my business thinking I might semi-retire. Well, that didn’t happen! If you are not on the mailing list or not sure, click here. It will appear every morning, Monday through Thursday.

Kerrville, Texas, get-together: As I mentioned last week, we are tentatively planning an RV Travel “Meet and Greet” later this month. It looks now like the best time will be on Sunday, Feb. 25, from about 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Please let us know if you will (or might) attend by emailing Gail at . It will be an informal affair with some light refreshments.

The cash prize in today’s Pot of Gold Contest is $112. You may be a winner, but you won’t know unless you check. Click here.




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My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Coffee, tea and ads at a small town cafe
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Win $112 cash today!
Our Pot of Gold Contest has returned. Today’s cash prize is $112. If your official residence is in one of today’s randomly selected Zip or Canadian Postal Codes, you could win the daily cash prize. Click here to learn more about the contest and see today’s winning Zip and Postal Codes. New Zip and Postal Codes are posted every Monday through Saturday. Every day there is no winner, the prize money goes up by $2.

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Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.34.46 AM

Comprehensive list of
RV-related recalls for January

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, Gulf Stream, Keystone, Newmar, Thor, Tiffin and others — plus other vehicles commonly used by RVers and some tires. Is your RV, other vehicle or type of tires on the list? Find out here.

Recent recall:
Forest River RVs recalled: tongue jack could malfunction.


Our news section has moved 
We’re beefing up our news coverage and there’s not enough room here to post it all along with all our other great features. So click here to read this week’s news.

Carefree of Colorado Wireless Control for 12V Awnings
Enjoy full control of your 12V awning from as far away as 50 feet with the Carefree Connects™ Awning App. This
Bluetooth® enabled system operates via mobile app or remote fob. Functionality includes extension, retraction, LED power and motion sensitivity. Pair with CarefreeMotion™ for maximum peace of mind. Click here for information.

LP cylinders: Tips, tricks and safety
If you own an RV and it’s not a motorhome, chances are close to 100 percent that you have portable LP containers – properly called cylinders – that you remove to have filled. Those nifty little containers are great – you don’t have to move the RV out of camp when you run out of LP, just haul them into town for a fill-up. But the hang-up can sometimes come when you go hook those cylinders back up to your rig – sometimes the gas just won’t flow. What’s the problem? Find out the causes and the cures here.

Gander Man

Has Good Sam Man been hijacked by Gander Man?
Good Sam Club CEO Marcus Lemonis, also head of Camping World, with ownership in about 100 other businesses, recently purchased the bankrupt Gander Mountain store chain which he now calls Gander Outdoors. He’s also repurposed the Good Sam mascot into the mascot of Gander Outdoors. What do you think? Read the short article and then cast your vote.

Pay lower sales tax on new RV purchase in Michigan
Are you considering trading in your RV and buying a new one? Here’s a tip: Go to Michigan. The Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) came out victorious in a five-year effort to change the state sales tax structure. The tax plan allows the buyer of a new RV to pay sales tax only on the difference between the value of the trade-in and the new RV purchase price. Learn more.

video camera WPCamping World repair turns into nightmare
It’s hard to stop watching this video after this Camping World customer begins to show the incredibly shoddy work done on his fifth wheel trailer. He says he paid a total of $14,000 to have the RV fixed to have it be more functional and increase its value. Alas, the repair likely ruined the RV, rendering it not roadworthy and maybe even worthless. Watch the video.

RV stock prices plunge at market watcher warning
Here’s another take on the plunging stock prices last week for RV builders Thor and Winnebago, this time explained in “plain English” by Russ and Tiña De Maris. Northcoast Research, an investment analysis firm, thinks that RV dealers have too many rigs on their lots, and customers with money to burn may not be beating a path to their local RV dealers’ showrooms, so it is urging caution with RV stocks. Read more.

This week’s Reader Poll
How much time RVing do you stay at a public campground without an electric hookup?
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:
Which of these printed RV magazines do you read on a regular basis? Click here for the results.

Clean your RV… with beastly-good results!
Your RV’s not your car, it’s your “beast.”
Your RV’s large surface area makes it a beast that collects more bugs, grit, grime, soot and industrial pollution than your car does. And it may have different surfaces of paint, fiberglass, vinyl and aluminum. Click on the video to see Wade clean, shine and protect EVERYTHING with Beast Wash. Click here to buy, or learn more about, Beast Wash at the Wade Maid website.

Not too late for California/Arizona LTVA boondocking
One of the most common and easiest ways to start boondocking in the desert is to head for one of the BLM’s Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVA), which are designated camping areas but do not have designated campsites, hookups or convenient amenities. Most will have a ranger that patrols and an onsite host that can answer questions. Some of the LTVAs have onsite dump stations, restrooms, fresh water taps and trash collection. Learn more.

thumbs upThumbs up – January 2018
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.

Do you like pancakes? This recipe elevates them to new heights
Rich “The Wanderman” has lost 38 lbs. on a low-carb diet (Way to go, Rich!), but he’s been craving various high-carb foods, especially pancakes for breakfast in the RV. He learned about a secret ingredient that will make a pancake the height of a souffle and all fluffy inside. Get this “way cool” recipe here.

video camera WPHow to sanitize your RV’s fresh water system
Most RVers treat their fresh water tank from time to time to keep the water tasting good and safe from germs. This short video from Trailer Life shows how easy it is to freshen your water supply to keep it in tip-top condition – and spend only pennies doing it! Watch the short video.

Why vultures poop on their legs (and more)
[In addition to writing helpful articles about our RVing pets, our resident RV Pet Vet, Dr. Deanna Tolliver, DVM, will be educating/entertaining us regularly with fascinating articles about some of the animals we see in our RVing travels.] It’s something we’ve all seen. We’re cruising down the highway and see a dark speck ahead by the road. Closer, we see it’s a gathering of vultures dining on a bloated deer carcass. Yuk! They are such disgusting birds, right? Well, yes, but vultures are Mother Nature’s clean-up crew. Hey, somebody’s got to do it! Learn (lots) more.

Construction workers on temp assignments choose RV living
One of the reasons RV parks are so crowded these days is because many of the spaces are occupied by long-term residents. Some of those are construction workers who move from job to job with their own RVs rather than renting apartments or motel rooms. Here’s a story about them.

Keep your refrigerator operating efficiently
The quick tips in this short video by Mark Polk of RV Education 101 will help your RV’s refrigerator work more efficiently, keeping your food cooler with no hot spots and saving on propane as well. It could also prolong the life of your fridge. Watch the video.

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 editor Chuck Woodbury.

Fulltime RVer: Tips for using General Delivery to get your mail
Many new fulltime RVers wonder: “How do I get mail when I’m on the road?” One great way is establish a relationship with a mail-forwarding business, which will “receive” your mail. Simply pick up the phone or use the internet to direct where received mail should be sent – and it catches up with you. But where do you receive the mail that’s been sent by your forwarding service? Here are some tips from Russ and Tiña De Maris on using the post office “General Delivery” when there’s nothing else available – but, as they have experienced, it can be tricky. Learn more.

Why would you want a composting toilet?
Frequent boondocker Greg Illes answers that question after using a composting toilet off and on for three years. He describes the pros and (a few) cons of composting toilets, how they work, and what’s involved in making them work. For avid boondockers who always seek greater freedom in both water and waste management, composting might be worth a look. Learn more.

Engine monitors: Drive with safety – and frugality
The On-Board Diagnostic port, or OBD-II interface to the engine electronics, allows access to a host of engine parameters, from water temperature to fuel flow and other critical operating numbers. It also reads the check engine light fault codes that help mechanics diagnose engine troubles. These “engine monitors” do exactly that, but why would anyone want to look at OBD information as long as their engine is in good health? There are a few good reasons.

GMC motorhomes: Oldie but goodie still looks good
Most motorhomes built more than four decades ago are badly showing their age – if you can even find one outside a junkyard. Not so with the GMC motorhome, which first rolled off the production line in 1973 and is still very visible on the highways today. Sleek with a low center of gravity, the GMC coaches were the first to be tested in a wind tunnel. Learn more.

Wildlife Refuges – often National Park next-door neighbors
RVers spend plenty of time on America’s public lands – National Parks, National Forests and the Out West treasures managed by the BLM. But one part of your public lands sometimes gets neglected – Wildlife Refuges, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In an effort to get a bit more recognition, and visits, the USFWS has a “familiarity” campaign that pairs up Wildlife Refuges near some of the country’s better-known National Parks. Here are a few you might want to write into your summer travel plans.

“SafetyStruts™ Prevent RV Bumper Failure”
Sales of the innovative SafetyStruts™ RV Bumper Support Brackets exploded in 2014 after the US-based start-up was profiled by The product line has grown with 5 types of SafetyStruts, 4-inch & 6-inch aluminum replacement bumpers, generator trays, hitches, etc. Watch the video or visit to learn more.

Readers’ comments on recent articles

Seen in Rio Grande Valley, TX. Thanks, Jerry Hayes!

Recent popular articles that attracted high numbers of reader comments
A trip to the ER and what it taught me.
No smoking – especially in shore power connections.
Can you both get the rig home?
Fairgrounds camping: Alternatives for RVers “on the hoof.”
RV Electricity – Does ground size in extension cord matter?
Why are RV batteries setting off CO detector?

More popular articles from last week’s issue
Getting lost? Find your way back by taking a photo
RV Pet Vet: Can dogs (and cats) get the flu?
Propane for RVs is safe and easy to use.
“Homeless” who live in RVs are not all the same. (video)
How about a desert sea serpent? But wait, there’s more
Couple “out of sync” for volunteer time commitment at NPS.

DyersRV 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.

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

Spouses disagree on how to handle a nosy neighbor

Dear RV Shrink:
We live in our motorhome full time and have no home base. My husband likes to change the oil himself and always is very careful to catch it all and not to make a production out of it. Last week a national forest campsite neighbor saw him changing the oil and came over and pitched a fit. He said it was illegal to change oil in the campground and accused us of polluting. My husband was very embarrassed and put things away immediately…. —The oil sheiks of Wyoming

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

“The” guide to services at Interstate exits
Never take a wrong exit off an Interstate highway again. The 2018 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.

gas-738Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.61 (on Jan. 29). Change from week before: Up 4 cents; Change from year before: Up 31 cents.
Diesel: $3.07 (on Jan. 29). Change from week before: Up 5 cents; Change from year before: Up 51 cents.

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.

The RV Vet
with Dr. Deanna Tolliver, M.S., DVM
Seven out of ten RV Travel readers travel with a pet (see our reader survey). Here’s a weekly dose of helpful information from our resident veterinarian.

Always protect pets from rabies

Dear Dr. Deanna,
“We travel with our two dogs, a Lab and a Golden Retriever. We travel part time, mostly in the West, during the summer. Our dogs were vaccinated against rabies a few years ago in our home state of Colorado, but we are wondering if their vaccines are good in every state we travel to. Thank you.” 

Read Dr. Deanna’s reply here, along with more information about rabies.

Read last week’s column: Can dogs (and cats) get the flu?

Camco vent insulator keeps you warm…and cold!
RV too hot in the summer? Too cold in the winter? Camco’s vent insulator and skylight cover features a thick layer of foam which helps keep you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. To install, push the fitted foam into your skylight. The reflective surface blocks sunlight, preventing it from heating your RV in the hot months. Fits standard 14″x14″ RV vents. Learn more or order 

extinguisher-697(3)RV Fire Safety Tip  

Galley stove safety
Even if the flame on your galley stove goes out, gas continues to flow and could result in an explosion. A stove should never be left unattended or used to heat your coach. Open propane flames release high levels of carbon monoxide. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy

Editor’s note: Choose from a wide selection of fire extinguishers at Amazon. Here are links from for smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, LP gas detectors, and combination smoke and CO detectors

Eliminate hose crimping at the faucet!
Sometimes it’s a real pain hooking up your hose to a faucet or to your RV. This Camco flexible hose protector is the answer. Its easy gripper makes attaching the hose effortless. It’s compliant with all federal and state low level lead laws, too. Every RVer should have one or two of these. Super low price, too. Learn more or order.

RV Quick Tips

Don’t use cruise control on wet roads
Reader Ralph S. sent in this safety tip: “Cruise control should be turned off on wet roads. Tires can lose traction and cruise control can try to adjust speed by changing tire speed,” which could lead to a loss of control. Thanks, Ralph.

Travel with all RV windows closed on road trips
On road trips, make sure you travel with all RV windows closed. This will help keep fumes outside and prevent dust from entering the living area. In addition, any open rear windows may suck unwanted fumes and odors into the RV. Thanks to Ron Jones,

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

Portable TV! Watch at a picnic table, in your car. Anywhere!
Runs on batteries! As long as you’re in range of broadcast TV, you’ll be in luck watching your favorite local or network TV show or sports event. Watch the portable 10-inch TV at your picnic table or while away doing errands. Plug it in or run on a rechargeable lithium ion battery. Heck, if you spend a lot of time in the bathroom, this is for you. And you’ll love the price. Learn more or order.

Gizmos and Gadgets

Clear debris and water from your slideout with RV Slideout Broom
If you have slideouts you know the importance of cleaning the tops before retracting the slides. Slideout toppers help to keep debris and water off the top of the slideout but are expensive and not always effective. Plus, it’s difficult and dangerous to clean the slideout from a ladder or the roof. TWS Innovations thinks it has a solution for you. It’s a lightweight, telescoping aluminum-handled broom designed to easily and safely clean the top of your RV slideouts from the ground. Learn more.

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

Hands cold? Keep ’em warm with a Zippo Hand Warmer
These attractive hand warmers will be very welcome on the cold days of winter. Just fill them with lighter fluid (easy to do). They’ll provide up to 12 hours of relief. The flameless gentle warmth provides 2.5 times more heat than disposables. Learn more or order.

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

Manually overriding the RV’s slideout system

Dear Gary,
I have a 2011 Jayco trailer with a slide. The owner’s manual states that the slide can be manually operated in an emergency but doesn’t say how. Could you help me with this? —Paul G.

Read Gary’s response.

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

Need mail forwarding? Choose the best!
Bonus for joining: Get a $25 gift certificate good at 25,000 restaurants
Choose Americas Mailbox! It’s the best, endorsed by which has toured its South Dakota facility and interviewed its very customer-oriented owner. Many plans available. Learn more. Or view the video interview RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury conducted with Americas Mailbox owner Don Humes.

bob-d-med399Ask BoondockBob
with Bob Difley

Batteries for boondocking

Hi Bob,
Thanks for the great information. Mike and I prefer to boondock and stay away from campsites whenever possible. I think this spring I’ll need to replace our batteries. They are going on their 4th season and last week when I gave them a midwinter charge they would not charge completely. I don’t know if that’s because of the cold or age. For primarily dry camping what battery setup would you recommend? We have a travel trailer and our batteries are out front. I have a large platform where a generator would go, so I can do two 6v golf cart batteries instead of the two 12v I have now. Thoughts? Thanks. —Amy

Read Bob’s response.

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

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

Cordless vac gets sky-high rating
More than 12,000 Amazon customers have given this Black and Decker CHV1410L cordless hand vacuum an excellent rating. It boasts lithium technology, strong suction and fade-free power. With a translucent bagless dirt bowl, the dirt is easy to see and empty. Ever-ready, the hand vac can hold a charge for up to 18 months. Perfect for the RV! Learn more or order.

RV Electricity
with Mike Sokol

RV Electricity – Odds and ends
This week Mike covers a variety of topics, including the necessity of testing voltage before plugging into shore power (including a video), and the results of his “Would you attend a free No~Shock~Zone seminar?” poll and the ramifications of the results. Plus, some Klein 11-in-1 screwdrivers will be awarded as prizes in an upcoming contest. And an update on his upcoming weekly Mike-on-Mic® video series and his Tiny-Class® series with videos and articles. Wow! Lots of exciting stuff coming up! Read more.

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry. Visit for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.

Avoid hitting low bridges!
2018 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 by Rand McNally 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: USA, Canada & Mexico. Click the video by Chuck Woodbury or order at Amazon.

RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

Tire failure could have been prevented with TPMS
This tire failure was not a “blowout,” but definitely was a Run Low Sidewall Flex failure, according to Roger. Read what an RVer on a trailer forum had to say about his frustration with his trailer’s tire failure, and Roger’s explanation of the cause and how important a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is. Read more.

Easy way to add water to your batteries!
Never, ever, let your automotive or RV deep cycle batteries run out of water. Here’s a simple way to keep them topped off for maximum performance and long life. Just use this syringe with distilled water. So easy. Learn more or order.

Photo by Chris Fellows, Jan. 14, Salome, AZ.

Astronomy for RVers
with Chris Fellows

Star lore –Monsters and heroes in the sky
This week Chris discusses ancient myths about heroes and monsters depicted in the sky. Humans from the Ice Age until today have looked to the sky for information and inspiration, and in the starry firmament have picked out shapes that reminded them of the things in our world. This happened worldwide, across many cultures and over many millennia of years. Some of these stories have stood the test of time and survive even today. There are tales from every major culture on earth and it is interesting to compare them. Read more.

sponge91FkFZCzPZL__SL1500_Easily clean those stubborn bugs off your RV
The Microfiber Mesh Bug and Tar Sponge has millions of tiny fibers embedded in the microfiber cloth that grabs and holds the dust and dirt. It is so effective it even cleans without chemicals, saving both time and money. The secret of this sponge lies in its unique, double-layer microfiber mesh. Older nylon bug sponges can harm your clear coat, but this one is completely paint safe. Learn more or order

“Mana Lisa”

Museum of the Week
Museum of Bad Art
Boston, MA
Visit the Museum of Bad Art and you’ll find more than 600 pieces of, well, you guessed it, bad art. The museum features work from artists who just haven’t quite got the whole art thing down yet. Organized by different categories, each gallery features a different theme: “Portraiture” includes drawings with distorted bodies and faces, while “Unseen Forces” attempts to represent the human psyche. Visit the website and view the collection here.

Pop popcorn the fun, easy way
Pop your popcorn with Colonel Popper, the all-silicone popcorn maker that folds down for compact storage. It’s super durable, safe and eco-friendly. You can eat fresh microwave popcorn right out of its colorful bowl! Perfect for the RV. Click the video for a one-minute demonstration or order at Amazon.

The RV Kitchen 
with Janet Groene

Smoothie Pie
Smooth moves make a pie. If you travel with a blender or other smoothie maker, as so many RVers do these days, this pie goes into your oven in minutes. To add texture, scatter nuts and coconut in the pie shell before adding the liquid mixture. You can also blend everything, nuts and all, into a smooth pie filling or omit the coconut and nuts completely. Get the recipe.

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


Let Angry Mama clean your microwave!
Is your microwave dirty? Is it in an awkward position and hard to scrub off all that crusty gunk? Admit it, when was the last time you scrubbed it clean? Angry Mama, the miracle microwave cleaner, is here to do the dirty job for you! Add water and vinegar (maybe some lemon too) to this feisty lady and watch her steam away the mess. Within minutes your microwave will be sparkling! Be right back, I’m buying one here

ABCs of RVing
QUESTION: I have found a very nice motorhome I want to buy. The only problem is that it has water stains on the ceiling. Should I be concerned? ANSWER: Absolutely! The roof has leaked. What you cannot see is the RV’s frame. If there was water seepage, it almost certainly caused structural damage to any wood. Do not buy the RV until you have a qualified RV technician inspect the unit from front to back, top to bottom — for other leaks and other problems. Be careful!

Watch this video: Before buying a used RV, inspect its roof.

Mini dehumidifier removes moisture from RV
This brand new mini dehumidifier from Pro Breeze quickly and efficiently removes moisture from the air. It is perfect for use in small areas like RVs. It extracts up to 9 ounces of moisture per day with a large 16-ounce capacity water tank that will automatically shut off when full. Very quiet, too. Learn more or order.

RV Short stop

Lucy the Elephant lives on in Margate City, NJ
Lucy the Elephant is one of those places that always brings a smile to every child’s face, no matter what their age. She was built in the 1880s and became a National Historic Landmark in 1976. Lucy stands six stories tall, and the building has had many different uses over the years. She has long been part of the colorful Southern Jersey seashore history, and is located just a few minutes from Atlantic City. Tours of inside Lucy’s belly are fun for the entire family. Read more.

corps-book-748Camping 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 rder.

Free and bargain camping

Walmart Store # 1910, Crescent City, CA
FREE! Overnight parking is officially not allowed due to local “Anti-RV no overnight parking law,” which was passed due to pressure from local RV parks. Store has no objection to RVers parking for one night only and says that local ordinance is seldom enforced. If you choose to park here, park in south part of lot, farthest from store, without obstructing traffic lanes. Well-lit, level, and quiet. Park here at your own risk, though risk of enforcement appears small if you park with store permission. Address: 900 E Washington Blvd. GPS: 41.7733, -124.1898

Unnamed Gravel Lot, Marana, AZ
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Park so other vehicles can enter and exit. Used by trucks, so expect truck noise and I-10 traffic noise and some RR noise. Unlit, level, appears safe. There is a McDonald’s, Mexican restaurant, pizza place, and bar across irrigation canal & across Marana Rd. Exit 236, on the south side of south frontage road. GPS: 32.461, -111.218

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

The best book on RV electricity, hands down!
RV Travel contributor Mike Sokol is America’s leading expert on RV electricity. Mike has taken his 40+ years of experience to write this book about RV electricity that nearly anyone can understand. Covers the basics of Voltage, Amperage, Wattage and Grounding, with additional chapters on RV Hot-Skin testing, GFCI operation, portable generator hookups and troubleshooting RV electrical systems. This should be essential reading for all RVers. Learn more or order 

Upcoming RV Shows

Fort Wayne RV & Camping Show, Feb. 1-4, Fort Wayne, IN
St. Louis RV Vacation & Travel Show, Feb. 1-4, St. Louis, MO
Hamilton RV Show and Sale, Feb. 2-4, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Mid-Michigan Camper & RV Show, Feb. 2-4, Saginaw, MI
Rhode Island RV & Camping Show, Feb. 2-4, Providence, RI
Detroit Camper & RV Show, Feb. 7-11, Novi, MI
• Houston RV Show, Feb. 7-11, Houston TX
• Edmonton RV Expo & Sale,
Feb. 8-11, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Jacksonville RV Show, Feb. 8-11, Jacksonville, FL
• Oregon State Salem Spring RV Show,
Feb. 8-11, Salem, OR
Seattle RV Show,
Feb. 8-11, CenturyLink Field Event Center, Seattle, WA. Visit Show Website.
• Minneapolis/St. Paul RV,Vacation & Camping Show
, Feb. 9-11, Minneapolis, MN
• Ottawa RV Expo and Sale,
Feb. 9-11, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
• Richmond Camping RV Expo,
Feb. 9-11, Richmond, VA
• Virginia RV Show,
Feb. 9-11, Hampton, VA
• Austin RV Expo, Feb. 15-18, Austin TX
• West Palm Beach RV Show, Feb. 15-18, West Palm Beach, FL
• Chicago RV & Camping Show, Feb. 15-18, Rosemont, IL
• 49th Annual RV Super Show, Feb. 15-18, Oklahoma City, OK
• Utah Sportsmen, Vacation & RV Show, Feb. 15-18, Sandy, UT
• Atlantic City RV & Camping Show, Feb. 16-18, Atlantic City, NJ
• Chattanooga RV Show, Feb. 16-18, Chattanooga, TN
• Gulf Coast RV Show – Mobile, Feb. 16-18, Mobile, AL
• Maryland RV Show, Feb. 16-18 & Feb. 23-25, Timonium, MD
• 44th Annual Northeast RV Show, Feb. 16-19, Suffern, NY
• Springfield RV Camping & Outdoor Show, Feb. 16-19, West Springfield, MA
• 64th Annual Indianapolis Boat, Sport & Travel Show, Feb. 16-25, Indianapolis, IN

See the complete list of all upcoming RV shows.

insect-screen-761Keep insects and bird nests out of your RV furnace
Wasps, mud daubers, birds and rodents pose a serious threat to the furnace on your RV. They can enter through the furnace vents. Their nests can interfere with air flow and cause serious damage. Camco 42141 (Model FUR 200) Flying Insect RV Furnace Screen fits Duo-therm and Suburban furnace vents. Camco offers several furnace screens so check that this screen will fit your vent. Learn more or order at

Changing the sheets in a class C motorhome cabover bed: One reason many RVers switch to a Class A RV.

In the 1400s, a law was set forth that a man was not allowed to beat his wife with a stick thicker than his thumb. Hence, we have the “Rule of thumb.”

Bumper sticker of the week
Wish you were beer!

Funny/clever business slogan
“Hired Killer.” — California pest control company

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

Joke of the Week
Did you hear about the two antennas that got married? The wedding was terrible but the reception was great.

Random RV Thought
An angel is the first person out of bed in the RV on a very cold morning, who turns on the heater and makes the coffee.

Worth Pondering
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” —Marcel Proust

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, Dr. Deanna Tolliver, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring.

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

cw501About the 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 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 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, Inc . 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 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 to read the privacy statements of any of those websites that collect personally identifiable information. Our own privacy policy applies only to and its affiliated blogs.

This newsletter is copyright 2018 by

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Jessie Terry
4 years ago

Problem: Debt cards!

We are fixing to hit the road and wonder around to all the places we have been wanting to see. Generally I just use my regular debt card, but with the ID thieft at pumps and stores, I am worried.
Is there a debt (gift type) card that I can put money on and be able to use it anywhere; i.e. gas pumps, Wal Mart, Cracker Barrel, etc?
This way I can keep a certain amount on the and if the card is stolen, they will only get what is on the card and not get into my bank account.
Thoughts and ideas are sure welcomed.

4 years ago
Reply to  Jessie Terry

Try the Bluebird cards you can get at many Walmarts. They don’t always work, but we use them often for fuel. We DON’T register them online — just toss them when they’re empty. Walmart will only let you load up to $500 per card on them, which is okay — less for someone to steal if they get that card. Good luck!

4 years ago
Reply to  Jessie Terry

Sure, you can buy a Visa debit card in a variety of denominations, but some stores still seem to have issues with them. They need to be run through as “credit” instead of “debit.” I still prefer the relative safety of a credit card, though.

Jessie Terry
4 years ago
Reply to  Jessie Terry

Thanks for the information.

R. E.
4 years ago

Dear Chuck,
I have recently retired, my wife and I have been considering purchasing an rv. Having lived in Michigan most of our lives we want to escape the harsh winters. Further, the ability to move around and explore has a great deal of appeal to both of us. However, having read many of your articles regarding the difficulty in finding sites without reservations weeks or months in advance, we are questioning our decision. Can we still be spontaneous in our travels, or are we better off finding other snowbirds options. Thanks for your help.

4 years ago

In regard to all the new RV ‘s delivered to dealer lots, keep in mind over half of them remain on the dealer lot for a long time. Would be interesting to see how many of those new RV’s delivered to dealer lots end up being sold and registered. Also many of the younger buyers only use their new RV’s a few weeks out of the year.

4 years ago

Chuck – can you delete out all the political rant comments on here? We have plenty of hatred and division without spreading even more here.

Dennis Strope
4 years ago
Reply to  RV Staff

Darrel, great comment.
Diane@; great reply!

Mike Sokol
4 years ago
Reply to  Darrel

I have a rule in all of my classes and at all of my gigs, religion and politics must NEVER be discussed. Usually everyone can get along as long as we stay away from those two topics.

Judy Wiemer
4 years ago

Regarding the Camping World video in Feb 3rd newsletter. At the beginning of video he shows his invoice. On top of invoice is the address of that terrible mess they made of his 5th wheel.

Joe Allen
4 years ago

Having just returned from the Tampa RV show, I am amazed and questioning just where all these people will camp in the future. With no new parks being constructed on a large scale basis, one has to wonder where this is going to end up.
Also, the fit and finish of RV’s at the show was horrendous. Poor workmanship and positioning of essentials in the RV. Take the toilet paper holder, one has to wonder if there are actually humans designing these things.

4 years ago

Why not a campground in Yellowstone sponsored by Bisquick? 😉 they would use the water from alum creek!

4 years ago

Florida is an issue. State parks are jammed, as are the ridiculously priced private spots, some charging $150 a night for a parking spot. CA National parks also are becoming an issue, not only crowded but in terrible condition due to decades of neglect. While the price rise was brutal, I hope that the proposed and in effect changes in the prices of not only entry but senior passes will help restore the parks. [Inflammatory portion of comment removed.]

Dennis Strope
4 years ago
Reply to  Bill

Mr. Bill, there`s no doubting the lack of RV parking / camping spaces or the rising costs of same, why do you feel it necessary to include such a small-minded insult obviously aimed at OUR Commander in Chief, jus` askn`’
SFC Dennis R Strope, USA RET

Jim Krauciu
4 years ago
Reply to  Bill

I really doubt that the main concern of our president is that you cannot find a camping spot.
If you find a need, how about you doing something about it!
Lord help us if we ever have another depression, people will be sitting around starving wondering why the government isn’t taking care of us instead of getting up and doing what needs to be done

Jeff Johnson
4 years ago

Chuck – you do a great job of identifying the problem of too many RV’s and too few RV camping spots. However, you have the resources (subscribers and other readers) to form a lobbying association to improve campgrounds (like the horrible RV park in Yellowstone), suggest creative zoning for new parks, join forces with RV Park Reviews and take advantage of your followers to make changes. “Problem identifiers are a dime a dozen, but problem solvers are priceless.” Keep up the good work.

4 years ago

Full Rv parks? What an understatement!! We usually spend three months in Florida. The park this year was packed full and has turned into a junk hole. Besides workers from the area, there are many people who are now full-timing in their RVs. Of course they want to bring everything from a home into the park, including dog runs and whatever else you can imagine. The park accommodates by not enforcing their own rules. Money is what seems to be important to the owners and managers. The park is no longer maintained correctly and if you complain they tell you maybe you should go somewhere else. They know they can fill your spot the next day. They really should change the name from an RV park to a mobile home park. We cut our vacation short and not sure we will return next year And already know that we probably could not get into a park in a different area.

jane shure
4 years ago
Reply to  Pam

Why go to florida? You can usually find free places in AZ or the desert in southern Ca.. Do be mindful there are usually no hookups. I have heard too many horror stories about trying to park out east.

4 years ago

Regarding dust in trailer on gravel roads. We have a 10 mile drive on gravel to get to our home.
I turn on high the bathroom fantastic fan on reverse so it is pumping air into the trailer. Pressuring it up and this seeme to help a lot.

Rich Thibodeau
4 years ago

Re: Mount-n-Lock trailer bumper “safety” struts: Why is anyone encouraging people to store “up to 400 lbs” (!?) on their trailer bumper? There is a video put out by U-Haul cautioning against placing too much weight behind the trailer’s wheels. You can see the result in this video:

Dorothy L Cameron
4 years ago

TWS Innovations Has no products found on the website. Their facebook page is gone. Nice idea but I think they are out of business

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
4 years ago

Dorothy, we updated the article. Not sure what happened with the product. We were able to find a similar one here:

Ralph Burns
4 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

The company TWS sent me this email when I emailed
questioning about no products on web page.

We have had large order volume in the last couple weeks and we currently have our aluminum on back order so I shut the order page down. It may be 15-20 days before I can get new orders ready to ship. I didn’t want to accept customer’s money and then make them wait for delivery of the broom.

I can get back to you and let you know when I will be able to get a broom shipped out to you and when the order page will be back up. You are first on my list to get shipped. Again, I am sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.

john & lana Stahl
4 years ago

I did not see this week in history info. in this newsletter

Dan Carioggia
4 years ago

Chuck, on reading your letter on RV parks here is our experience. We reserved a 3 month spot in Palm Harbor, FL. The park is under new management and is in the midst of expansion and updating. For the past 6 weeks they have opened new spots in two rows. As soon as a spot opens up, it gets filled with new guests. We have already reserved our spot for next year. We have looked at other sites while in the area and found that all of the parks are filled with no spaces available except some at high prices for daily fee.