Tuesday, October 4, 2022


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 838

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 838 • Week of March 24–30, 2018   #rvtravel

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

The AlamoIn the history of the West, there are few more revered places than San Antonio’s Alamo.

For those of you of a significant age, like me, the Alamo was where our childhood TV hero Davy Crockett, aka Fess Parker, met his maker defending Texas and the makeshift fort (the Alamo was not built as a fort but as a Spanish mission-era church) from the dreaded Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna.

If you are younger than me, say in your 50s, then perhaps you do not know about the Alamo as portrayed by Walt Disney in the wildly popular TV series that aired in 1955 and 1956. Everybody watched it, and every little boy in America soon sported a coonskin cap, just like Davy. I have wanted to visit the Alamo ever since.

Finally, this past week, I made it. “Don’t get excited,” everyone told me before I visited. “It’s smaller than you imagine.”

The Alamo

Well, yes, that’s true. But it is still impressive, especially when you realize that what remains of the place is just a fraction of its original size. I will not delve into the history of the Alamo, as you can look it up easily enough, but I will tell you that you should visit. Admission is free, which is very nice. There’s a roof on the part of the Alamo that has survived through the years, which wasn’t there when Davy, Jim Bowie and 200 others faced off with General Santa Anna and his vast army of thousands of soldiers.

THE BATTLE OF THE ALAMO lasted 13 days. All but a few of the defenders died. But the good news is that a month later, Sam Houston and 800 Texans defeated Santa Anna’s Mexican force of 1,500 men at San Jacinto (near the site of present-day Houston), shouting “Remember the Alamo!” as they attacked. The victory ensured the success of Texan independence.

Like most of our beloved historical monuments, the Alamo has an extensive gift shop, where an amazing array of Alamo toys, trinkets, coffee mugs and t-shirts are available, and, of course, coonskin caps. I spent $2.99 for a box of Alamo cookies, as you can see in the photo above.

Gail at our restaurant table.

A five-minute walk away from the Alamo is San Antonio’s River Walk, a city park and walkway along the canal-like San Antonio River. Its cypress-lined paved paths, arched stone bridges and lush landscapes wind through the city center, providing easy access to cultural hotspots, hotels, historic sites and other attractions. Take a guided boat ride or just stroll along the walkway, pausing at one of the many restaurants (more offering Mexican food than other fares) by the river. Ernie Pyle once described the River Walk as “The American Venice.” With its canals, it reminded me of Amsterdam. 

Don’t miss our cover story (below). RV park owner Andy Zipser explains what it’s like in this day and age to own an RV park. He discusses why a packed park is not always a good thing, and he laments about how many novice RVers are clueless about how to use their rigs and camping etiquette.

Finally, Gail has flown to Seattle to visit with her family. So I am on my own for another week. Everybody wants to help me out, like I’m a helpless male who will surely perish without a woman to care for me. I tell them that I lived on my own for 30 years and it’s highly probable I can survive 10 days without starving or running out of clean underwear.
Join us in Elkhart May 17-21
RV Travel will be a major participant at the upcoming RVillage Rally in Elkhart, Indiana, May 17-21. Join editor Chuck Woodbury, our Pet Vet Dr. Deanna, RV electricity expert Mike Sokol, tire expert Roger Marble and our RV historian Al Hesselbart — all of us presenting seminars and hanging out with RV Travel readers. Included in the rally will be several factory tours and a visit to the fabulous RV Hall of Fame museum (with many classic RVs). Learn more, and get a special discount code to save 10 percent on registration.

Dr. Deanna on the radio: Listen to our RV Pet Vet, Dr. Deanna, interviewed on The RV Show USA syndicated radio program, recorded last Wednesday. Read her column and listen to the interview here.

spyWhat we learned about you last week 
We conducted a half-dozen reader polls, two in this newsletter and four in our Monday–Thursday newsletter RV Daily Tips. Here’s what we learned about you. You might be surprised. This is fun (and interesting!).

Your Saturday morning email
Most of you read this newsletter every Saturday morning after receiving an email alert. But often, those emails are blocked — spam filters think we’re sending you junk. Last week, nearly 700 emails were blocked to our readers. Here are some tips about how you can always read the newsletter if your Saturday morning email does not arrive.

My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)

Pot of Gold
We have put the Pot of Gold contest on hold after another winner last Saturday. Here’s why.

Featured in the most
recent RV Daily Tips Newsletters
Clean your RV interior thoroughly for peanuts!
Keep your RV tracking straight.
Getting all the watts from your generator.
Don’t let your tow bar take you (or someone else) out.

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

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

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 (add another 208 if you read our RV Daily Tips Newsletter)! 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.

cover story
RV park owner speaks out 
RV park owner Andy Zipser tells it like it is, and that’s why he’s one of RVtravel.com’s most trusted campground industry friends. This issue he explains why a packed RV park is not necessarily good from a park owner’s perspective. He also discusses the many newbie RVers who visit his park, and how so many are clueless about how to drive their RVs and then camp with them — and how ignorant many are about campground etiquette. Read Andy’s enlightening article.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.34.46 AMRV sales continue to boom
You wonder when it will end — booming sales of RVs. RV wholesale shipments this year are expected to reach 539,900 units, a 7 percent increase from the record 504,599 units shipped last year, according to the new quarterly projection from Dr. Richard Curtin in the RV Industry Association’s spring issue of the RV RoadSigns forecasting newsletter. The anticipated growth would mark the ninth consecutive year of expansion for the RV market. Where are all these RVers going to stay? Read more.

Recent recalls:
Forest River RV recalls some motorhomes on Freightliner chassis.
Entegra Coach recalls some RVs for power steering issue.


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.

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 gray water tank entering your RV and its in-line design helps create extra storage space! Learn more

Could the “Egyptian curse” affect your RV?
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, received a question from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor regarding a “pyramid” which formed at the pipe base in the reader’s RV’s black tank. The reader thought he was taking measures to prevent this from occurring, and asked for suggestions. Read Chris’ response.

Beware the bear!
Grizzly bear sightings were made earlier this month in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park and bears, mostly black, are waking up and roaming throughout much of the country. Here is great advice from several different experts on what to keep in mind when visiting bear country (or maybe even in your backyard!), and how to react if you encounter a bear. Learn more.

The three evil musketeers – rot, mold and mildew
Don’t wait for your annual inspection (you do have an annual inspection of your RV, don’t you?) to search for leaks or to do something about the ones you know you already have. Ask any RVer that has ever had to deal with rot, mold or mildew and they will likely regale you with nightmare accounts of serious downtime and scary repair bills. Rot, mold and mildew are not to be taken lightly. Learn more.

Mini battery-powered engine jump starters and power banks
Rich “The Wanderman” wrote an article last week about wireless and USB charging battery packs. They work pretty well, all things considered. Some nice folks commented about Lithium Ion battery-based engine jump starters, and Rich promised an article about them. A couple of years ago he purchased a tiny Li-Ion jump starter from a (mostly) reputable source. It boasted it could easily start a V8 engine, though not a diesel. He was sold. Did it work as advertised? Find out here.

This week’s Reader Poll
How much is “too much” to pay to dump your RV’s holding tanks?
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:
Have you ever lived in an RV during an emergency? Click here for the results.

Truma AquaGo®: Instant, Constant and Endless Hot Water
The revolutionary Truma AquaGo® hybrid instant water heater provides instant, constant and endless hot water. It is the only water heater that can be decalcified to extend product life to maintain performance, replace any 6-16 gallon water heater, and the “Easy Drain Lever” makes winterization simple. Make an appointment to upgrade your RV at a Truma Sales & Service Center or find your closest dealer here.

Is it safe to buy and run on used tires?
Replacing a single tire is not expensive. However, as an RVer, and especially if you are fulltiming and traveling most of the year piling on miles, replacing tires on a dually, a toad, your RV – all those tires! You will likely be tempted to try running on low-mileage used tires to save some of that huge expense. But, is it safe to buy and run on used tires? Find out here.

video camera WPHow to match the right-sized truck with a travel trailer
If you are confused about what size truck and trailer/fifth wheel matches are safe and will do the job,  Walter Cannon of the RV Safety and Education Foundation explains how to match the right-sized truck with the travel trailer or fifth wheel trailer it will tow. Watch the video.

RV Mods: Carry your water hose on this spare tire bracket
If you’re like Russ and Tiña De Maris, you sometimes find yourself a little short of space. Their rig doesn’t have “basement storage,” and what little space is accessible from outside the rig is at a premium. After doing a little head-scratching, they came up with a way to store their water hose outside the rig – on the spare tire. Find out how they did it here.

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.

Fact Check: Open your tailgate for better fuel economy?
We recently got a “news item” from a Wyoming Dodge pickup dealer marked with the headline: “Removing a truck’s tailgate can boost fuel efficiency.” Is there any truth to the idea that you’ll save fuel with the tailgate off the truck or simply left down? Consumer Reports put the idea to the test. Read the surprising results.

video camera WPGet better WiFi connections when on the road
Every RVer would like to have better WiFi connections, but is that possible? Tech guru Jim Guld from Geeks on Tour shows how to get a better WiFi connection when RVing. Watch the short video.

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.

Readers’ comments on recent articles

Recent popular articles that attracted high numbers of reader comments
Laundry wars: The case of the angry camper.
How to handle water needs when boondocking.
Did we intentionally bad-mouth Passport America?
Have you lived in your RV during an emergency?
RV awning causing issues for couple.

More popular articles from last week’s issue
Why is my propane tank humming?
How accurate is your TPMS?
Don’t use the wrong math when comparing fulltime to vacation RVing.
Generator ground rod confusion and clarification.
Where fulltimers go on busy summer weekends.
• RV Pet Vet: Easter lilies in your RV? Not with pets!

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

Readers’ comments on the poor quality of their new RVs
RVs today are being built fast, and in many cases poorly. Here are some examples.

Fiesta Key RV Resort & Marina is Open!
Stay in the heart of the Florida Keys, where you’ll discover lush greenery and embrace the tropical feel of our 28-acre resort located on an island all our own. We are surrounded by incredible Gulf of Mexico ocean views, have an on-site marina, and plenty of areas where you can relax and enjoy the sunset. Learn more here. 

Ask the RV Shrink

Kinda “quirky” full-time RVer can’t find full-time companion

Dear RV Shrink:
I have been traveling my whole life. I have picked up some odd habits over the years that drive my traveling companions nuts. I guess that’s why I am always ending up with a new one. Women like me, but not on a full-time basis….

Read the rest of the (interesting) 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.

Smart Tender battery charger fully charges battery, maintains proper storage voltage
The Battery Tender Plus is a 1.25-amp battery charger designed to fully charge a battery and maintain it at proper storage voltage without damaging effects caused by trickle chargers. Includes a quick connect harness for hard-to-reach areas. Temperature compensated to ensure optimum charge voltage according to ambient temperature. Automatically switches from full charge to float charge mode. At 1.25-amp will charge as fast or faster than a 3-amp charger. Reverse Polarity Protection to ensure user safety. 10-year warranty. Learn more or order.

Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.60 (on Mar. 19). Change from week before: Up 4 cents; Change from year before: Up 28 cents.
Diesel: $2.97 (on Mar. 19). Change from week before: None. Change from year before: Up 43 cents.

Clean your microwave with no hassle! 
Is your microwave dirty? Is it 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

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. 

Dog parks: The good, the bad, and the very ugly

Dear Dr. Deanna,
What’s your opinion on dog parks? Is my dog safe? Should I be concerned about diseases and parasites? What if my dog is shy?
Read Dr. Deanna’s reply.

extinguisher-697(3)RV Fire Safety Tip  

Keep your RV’s engine clean
Grease, oil and road dust build up on the engine and transmission, making them run hotter. The grime itself usually doesn’t burn, but if combined with a fuel leak or short-circuited wire, a fire could start. Keep your coach’s underpinnings clean and it will run cooler, more economically and longer. Courtesy:  Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy

“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.

RV Quick Tips

Wow! What an opportunity for someone planning a family! Big sale on kids. Come on down!

Always extend both sets of steps
This safety warning is from Mike Sherman, a California Coast camp host: “I see a lot of newer travel trailers 25’+ having two entry doors, but many campers extend only one set to utilize for entry and exit. However, last night an elderly woman decided to use that second door to exit into the dark for some reason. She wound up in the hospital with 3 broken ribs and extensive bruising. Always extend both steps – even if you think YOU won’t use them, your spouse might. It also adds a second safe exit in the event of an emergency.” Thanks, Mike!

Turn down brightness on TVs to save power
“When boondocking, I turn down the brightness of my TVs. Most LED and LCD TVs have a power-saving setting which essentially darkens the picture. You can get the same power-saving results by turning down the brightness on any TV, then turn the contrast up slightly to improve the picture. This will work for tube-type TVs as well. —Thanks to Joe Brignolo

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

‘Earthquake Putty’ keeps stuff in place
Do you have items in your RV you like to keep in place — on a table, bedstand or counter? You need this. Quakehold Museum Putty is designed to keep items secure in earthquakes! Hey, a moving RV is a constant earthquake! To use this, pull off what you need, roll until soft, apply to the base of the object then lightly press it to the surface. Later, it comes off clean. RVers love it! Cheap, too! Learn more or order.

Gizmos and Gadgets

Roof rack handles bulkier items, frees up locker space
If you’re an active RVer you’ve likely discovered that there is never enough convenient storage. Things you need get hidden inside cramped storage lockers, taking up valuable space.  Some things can be stowed instead in a cargo carrier on the roof of your dinghy or tow vehicle where gear can be instantly accessed when setting up camp, and quickly put away. CURT cargo carriers are a simple yet effective solution for maximizing the storage areas. Learn more.

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

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 order

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

Why is hot water coming out of the cold faucet?

Dear Gary,
I have a 2000 Nomad, 27-foot 5th wheel trailer. The water heater is located below the sink. When I operate the water heater, hot water backs up into the cold water piping. When I operate the kitchen sink’s cold water faucet, hot water is delivered. The only way I can think to solve this problem is to install a check valve at the cold water input pipe to the water heater. Do you have any other suggestions? —Ron L.

Read Gary’s response.

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

Protect yourself from intruders, bears and more!
The BASU eAlarm lets us explore, sleep, and adventure with confidence! This tiny device emits a 130-decibel alarm which scares away intruders, burglars and wild animals, and will call for help if you find yourself stranded. Used by the RV Travel staff, you can count on this alarm to keep you safe. Watch the video to learn more or click here to order for about $20.

bob-d-med399Ask BoondockBob
with Bob Difley

Keep ants and mice out of your RV

Hi Bob,
I’m a newbie RVer and I’ve read about problems with ants and mice in RVs. I haven’t had any such invasions and it’s not an experience I would look forward to. Is there anything I can do now to head off future incursions? I don’t know where to start. —Craig

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.

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, tooLearn more or order.

RV Electricity
with Mike Sokol

Why do hot-skin shocks occur?

Dear Mike,
I have a Safari 40′ DP and every time I plug into shore power I feel a shock when touching any metal on the RV. For instance, if I open the under-bay door and touch the inside latch I get zapped. Can anyone tell me what would make this happen? Is it really dangerous since it’s only a “little” shock? Thanks in advance. —Shocking Blue

Read Mike’s response.

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.

State, Regional,
City and U.S. maps
A GPS is great, but there’s nothing like a folded map to plan a trip or guide you where you’re going once you’re underway. Just about every folded map you would ever need is here. Most sell from about $2 to $6. Check ’em out or order.

RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

How accurate is your TPMS? – Part 2
Last week Roger posted on the question of “How Accurate is your TPMS?” This week he continues his close examination of Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems. He recently traveled from Akron, Ohio, to the FMCA convention in Perry, GA. He felt that this trip was a good opportunity to take a look at the temperature numbers reported by an internal TPMS versus an external TPMS. Read what he learned.

TomatoGrow tasty tomatoes on the road
Years ago, they used to advertise the Topsy Turvy on TV. Remember that? Well, it’s still around. You know why? It works like magic. Our staff member owns two and doesn’t need to buy tomatoes for three months because it produces SO many. Hang it outside your RV when parked, bring it inside and hang it from the shower when it’s time to hit the road. Miss having a garden? Bring your tomato garden with you! Learn more or order. 

RV History
with Al Hesselbart

The evolution of campgrounds
In the earliest days of recreational travel, there were very few campgrounds with amenities for travelers with campers.” At first, tenters were the majority of traveling campers and by and large were pretty self-sufficient. They only needed a place with a water supply to pitch their tent, dig a latrine hole and build a fire. Tents on wheels (both permanently erect and fold-down styles) were the first popular RVs. Continue reading. 

Al Hesselbart is the author of The Dumb Things Sold … Just Like That!“– a history of America’s RV industry.

The RV Kitchen   
with Janet Groene

Irish Soda Bread for Two
Just enough bread for two. The quickest of quick breads is also a must-have in this season of shamrocks. Depending on who you ask, Irish Soda Bread should contain raisins or caraway seeds or nothing extra at all. As long as you serve it warm and slathered with Irish butter, you can’t go wrong. This mini-loaf for two is just right for a hot soup supper on a cold campground evening. 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.


Make your own potato chips!
Forget about buying snacks, make them! A potato-chip craving couldn’t be easier with this handy microwaveable gadget. Slice your potatoes, or any vegetable (russet potato, sweet potato, beets, etc.,) thinly, stick them in the slots, microwave for a few minutes and you’ve got crunchy chips! Experiment with your own toppings/seasonings and make your chips just how you like them. Save money and eat healthier! Learn more or order.

Digital RVer

Don’t trust your GPS!
Chris and Jim Guld, Geeks on Tour, have used many GPS devices in their thousands of miles of RV travel. Google Maps on their smartphones is their go-to navigator, but it doesn’t know about RVs! If you have a big rig, it is especially important to use a device that is RV-aware. Learn about those devices, and some important lessons Chris and Jim have learned in their travels, here.

Learn about smartphones and tablets
… from Geeks On Tour. This Sunday, live at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, watch “How to get photos from your computer to Google Photos in the cloud.” 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.

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.

Good reading from RV123.com 629-rv123
• Tips For When Stranded.
• 4 Paws Kingdom Campground & Dog Retreat.
• Featured App: Toll Smart.

Guide to the National Parks
National Geographic’s flagship, best-selling guide covers all 59 national parks in the U.S. for nature and outdoor lovers and campers. Intensive on-the-ground research, 300 photos and 80 colorful maps complete the extraordinary package. Practical and comprehensive coverage includes engaging park descriptions and brief history, travel planning tips, itineraries and directions, activities, camping opportunities, park lodges and hotels, visitor center contact information and more. Learn more or order

Free and bargain camping
From OvernightRVparking.com

Camping World, Anthony, TX
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Obtain permission from the store. Park anywhere in lot except near gate to RV service area. The lot is very large and the store says there are no security issues. Propane available. No dump station on site. Commercial campground adjacent has a dump station, $10. Address:  8805 B North Desert Blvd. GPS: 31.9806, -106.5815

Joe’s Food Mart (Valero station), Modesto, CA
2018 rate: $10/night. Overnight parking is allowed. Dry camping in gravel lot; no hookups. Level, moderately lit, appears safe. Gasoline & diesel fuel available at the fairly large convenience store.  Address: 4955 Crows Landing Rd. GPS: 37.56705,-120.9942

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.

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

• Quebec Recreational Vehicle Show, Mar. 22-25, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
• Greater Tucson RV Show, Mar. 23-25, Tucson, AZ
• New Hampshire Camping & RV Show, Mar. 23-25, Bedford, NH
• Northwest Michigan Camper & RV Show, Mar. 23-25, Traverse City, MI
Kitchener RV Show and Sale, Apr. 6-8, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

See the complete list of all upcoming RV shows.

slideout-seal656Protect your RV’s slideout
with this rubber seal lubricant
If you don’t take care of your slideout you’re asking for problems including dangerous, costly water damage. This rubber seal lubricant from Thetford prevents fading, cracking and deterioration. It cleans, conditions and shines, keeping seals flexible and protected from sunlight destruction. It is also useful on door seals and window seals. It’s a mineral oil product and also acts as a lubricant. Learn more or order.

If you stop getting thirsty, you need to drink more water. When a human body is dehydrated, its thirst mechanism shuts off.

Bumper sticker of the week
Bad driver. Seriously … I suck at driving.

Funny/clever business slogan
“If Your Hot Water Turns Cold, You’d Better Think ‘Fast’.” Fast Water Heater Company, Seattle, Wash. (from a couple of years ago) –Thanks, Chuck!

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

Save your knees 
when working under your RV

Do you ever need to reach under your RV to grab something, adjust something, add air to a tire, or remove a leveling block? If you’re parked on dirt, gravel, hot pavement or other uncomfortable surfaces, your knees can take a beating! This kneeler pad, for about $7, will save the day. The RVtravel.com staff uses its pad all the time. Learn more or order

Joke of the Week
Domineering wife to husband: “You be quiet. When I want your opinion I’ll give it to you.”

Random RV Thought
It’s a good idea to check inside your RV’s microwave oven before hitting the road for the day. A cup of coffee that got heated but then forgotten will certainly spill. What a mess!

Worth Pondering
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” —Mark Twain

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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 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.

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4 years ago

keep your doggy beds, blankets etc. out of the camp laundry facilities, DO NOT want to share your mutts hair in our under garments, hello

4 years ago

There are a variety of bulbs available in the box stores that can be controlled by a remote or an app on your phone.
Go shopping and get this done for less than 20 bucks.

David Palmer
4 years ago

We went to the Alamo a few years back. There was a museum to the left of it that had a diorama. It was narrated by Phil Collins who, has the largest collection of Alamo Memorabilia. Sadly it has closed.

Eric Meslin
4 years ago

Sorry to say I was one of the Yahoo addressees that didn’t get an email this week. What’s strange is that it didn’t go to the spam folder. I can’t find it anywhere. I bookmarked the site, so I was able to open it this evening. The problem is I also bookmarked Amazon and just placed a very large order before I got to the Newsletter to find out about the loss of commission. Sorry about that Chuck. I’ll do it correctly in the future, but it will be a while before I spend this much again (complete strut assemblies for my tow vehicle).

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
4 years ago
Reply to  Eric Meslin

Thanks , Eric, for using the Amazon link. Yeah, we lost some money there for awhile, but learned a lesson: read the fine print. Everything seems okay now, so. . . live and learn!

Dan Stovall
4 years ago

My wife and I went to San Antonio and were so disappointed. There was no parking anywhere for our RV. We drove around the Alamo and River Walk area and finally gave up.

Bob Portiss
4 years ago

What periodical/book/magazine or other source is available that might give us some insight into the pluses/minuses of owning/operating a Class C, B+, or bumper pull trailer?

Thank you!

Dave B.
4 years ago

The addition of those “arrows’ to bring one back to the top of each page … and … the addition in the News Section of the “links” to take one back to the Newsletter … are fantastic little creatures …

But … may I make a suggestion that the “2 links” in the News Section “be changed” to bring one back to the section in the Newsletter where one is sidetracked to the News Section in the 1st place, rather than returning them to the top of the Newsletter again !!

Bringing readers back to the section in the Newsletter where one is sidetracked to the News Section would allow readers to, in essence, “pick up where they left off” and allow them to continue reading the Newsletter !!!

Creature comforts !!

Rory R
4 years ago

I don’t understand why so many people are so sensitive re: boondocking vs RV Parks. We must realize that everyone’s preferences is based on individuality. Some prefer Boondocking in the wild, some prefer NP’s, SP’s and even CP’s. Others prefer private parks or even resorts. Personally I do some boondocking, some pavement camping, but mostly private RV parks. I don’t really care what someone else does. As long as it works for them. The real problem is many RVer’s go off on a tangent, trying to recruit or convert everyone they meet to come over to their way of thinking. Be happy that there are others who prefer something else. Think of what it would be like if everybody boondocked in the wild. It might get pretty crowded out there too.

John Hiler
4 years ago

Of course you recall that the Americans / Texan were the invaders that the Mexicans were repelling from their lands. And just a bit later the US Congress and President were warned that if they persisted in their conquest of Mexican Territory that sooner or later the Mexicans would return to repopulate and reclaim their homelands. An interesting bit of true history.

Patrick Hamilton
4 years ago
Reply to  John Hiler

No the Texans were not the invaders, they had a deal with the Spanish gov’t which the Mexicans reneged on after they overthrew the Spanish. gov’t. read your history there were other uprisings against the Mexican gov’t but only the Texans were successful.

4 years ago

I think they should come up with places that full timers could go for their seasonal places only . Seams like campgrounds offer more seasonal spots than campsites and yes with all their STUFF around
Enjoy all your stories good work !!!

James S.
4 years ago

I had a 12v ceiling fan installed in my 5thwheel, but I have to keep the ceiling lights on for it to work.
What’s Up.

4 years ago
Reply to  James S.

Sounds like the installer connected the fan power from the closest supply, the lights. Easiest fix is to leave the wall switch on and turn the lights off on the light itself, if it has an on/off switch. Otherwise, a power lead for the fan will have to be run from the fuse panel, (which could be difficult to fish).

Mr Disaster
4 years ago

“Mac the Fire Guy” makes a great point about keeping your engine compartment and transmission area clean to reduce the chance of fire. It would be helpful to provide some guidance on cleaning these area. What products to use and what to avoid.

Nelson Bailey
4 years ago

Chuck, as a Canadian boy back in the 50’s, Davy was a hero for many of us as well. Two years ago, we had the pleasure of visiting Texas and took in the Alamo and the Riverwalk. The reverence that exudes from the Alamo is beautiful. The Riverwalk and ride were wonderful experiences as well. The true story of how Davy died was fascinating, different from what we believed for many years. BTW, keep up the great reporting…

Gary B
4 years ago

Hey Chuck,
Don’t forget Davy’s sidekick Russel played by . . . Buddy Epson

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
4 years ago
Reply to  Gary B

Yup, Buddy Ebsen, in later life to be Jed Clampett and then Barnaby Jones.

F. Gisler
4 years ago

I think you’ve made it clear issue after issue that RV parks and campgrounds are getting more crowded each year. Clearly, planning
ahead is key. My husband and I do so each year on the earliest possible date for each location we plan to visit. True, we don’t always find a spot and have to look elsewhere or pick another date.
You’re right; the days of simple spontaneity are behind us. So, take it or leave it. It’s not going to change anytime soon so deal with it!
PS – Most RV parks were never intended for full-timers to live in.
We see more and more full-timers in every park we visit. In my opinion they take away from the experience with all their outdoor junk stored willy-nilly around their sites. Cheap living, I guess.

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
4 years ago
Reply to  F. Gisler

F. Gisler,
So you disapprove of us discussing crowding? We should just pretend that nothing has changed and that we can all “go where we want, when we want,” as the RV industry advertises. No, we are not done with this subject. You go ahead and “take it or leave it.” We’ll continue to see if we can have some effect in either changing things or getting the industry to stop telling lies about how you just get up in the morning and decide where you will go that day — north, east, south or west — and then just head off, and decide at 4 o’clock that you are tired, and pull off alongside a beautiful cliff overlooking the ocean, level up, open a glass of wine, and then settle in for a beautiful night with nature. I will be in Elkhart, Indiana in six weeks and I plan to talk to some industry leaders about this.

Eric Meslin
4 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

Pretty rough comments. I really appreciate you and RV Travel doing all you can to improve the quality of RVs and the supply of campsites. However, in the here and now we campers need to cope. I have made reservations over a six week period this summer at numerous parks, some for only 1 night. It’s so hard to stick to a schedule, and I hate it, but the alternative is Walmart in the summer with no A/C. We usually travel in the fall up north when the temperatures fall, snowbirds leave, and many local campers are only out on weekends. It’s a little easier to wing it off season. I really wish we could make Elkhart. Keep doing what your doing and we campers will continue to cope. Honestly, I don’t expect things to improve in my camping lifetime.

Scott Gitlin
4 years ago

Alamo cookies? I remember Davy Crockett cookies shaped and with the detail of . . . Davy himself, complete with coonskin cap and rifle. Also there were Davy Crockett bubble gum trading cards – 2 sets. After the movie, Walt Disney ran a series on their television program about Davy Crockett and his riverboat adventures – battling the notorious Mike Fink.

Calvin Rittenhouse
4 years ago

Your campground owner stands out as an example of small businessmen I have encountered. His at-length rant about having too many new customers is a major reason I boondock. Please unsubscribe me. I’ve had enough.

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
4 years ago

I’m surprised that story would upset you so much Calvin. I know you have been a reader for a long time. What do you mean by boondocking? Do you mean camping on the beautiful lands of the West, or are you talking about staying at Walmarts and truck stops, which some people label “boondocking.” Anyway, sorry to see such a long time reader go just because you disagree with this one article. We’ll remove you from the list.

jim H
4 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

You really should state a little more clearly that you do not want any comments that do not agree with you or your friends. You have previously stated that politics are not allowed on your website – your rules for acceptable comments needs to be expanded and clarified.

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
4 years ago
Reply to  jim H

Jim, not sure what you are talking about. I disagree with many of the comments, but leave them in. It’s only when someone writes something disrespectful or inflammatory that we delete them. I bet we don’t delete more than a dozen comments a month out of the 1,000 or so we receive.

4 years ago

I think the owner was spot-on in describing the many new RV owners who do their best to handle their complex equipment without the benefit of minimal training. The dealers want to sell RVs, not train their buyers. Nor do park hosts. Overwhelming problem.

Live and let live
4 years ago
Reply to  Ron

Perhaps a copy of the campground owners article on the Let’s Go RVing site, the doors of dealerships and hopefully on the app I use so I don’t accidentally end up at a place where I’d be afraid to offend by breathing would help with the overcrowding!

Geez! We were all beginners once. And if I muse out loud “ that I always stayed there, now what?”, forgive me for my habits. And as far as backing? Nothing like a campground full of critical men watching to make it a 6 try backup when you got it perfect in your yard.

Promote education, plaster the place with NO ____ signs, maybe do rv basic classes instead of bingo or horseshoe as “campground events.

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
4 years ago

It’s not as simple as you suggest, Live and Let Live.

john stahl
4 years ago

A correction: The Alamo fell March 6, 1836. It was a little over a month later that Sam Houston defeated Santa Ana at San Jacinto. It was April 21, 1836. It was not a year later. Thanks for all you and Gail and your staff does.

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
4 years ago
Reply to  john stahl

Thanks, John. I fixed that in the newsletter.

Randy K. Walker
4 years ago

I know a couple of Podcasters that got more than a slap from Amazon, for doing the same thing you were doing.