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Issue 839 • Week of March 31 – April 6, 2018 #rvtravel
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
I’m writing this on Thursday — a warm, sunny day in the Texas Hill Country in Ingram, a quiet village of 1,800 (with an excellent Stonehenge replica) about an hour drive northwest of San Antonio.
Gail returns from Seattle tomorrow, so I am still playing bachelor RVer. In case you are wondering, I have survived well in her absence, and suffered only marginally in the nutritional dining department.
My mind never rests these days. There is too much going on in the Wonderful World of RVing, and much of it concerns me, and my head just spins and I want to write to you about it. But no, I decided this morning that I will be positive this issue instead of spewing doom and gloom.
I was well on my way to coming up with an extra-positive essay when I came across this photo. Yikes! Double Yikes! Would you look at those slideouts — they’re like the RV equivalent of Siamese Twins!
I have been in similar situations: You make a reservation at a park that seems pretty nice from reviews and then when you arrive and pay your $40 or $50 you discover your plot of rented concrete (or dirt) is way too chummy-like with your neighbor. It happened to me last fall. My neighbor smoked cigars, therefore I effectively smoked cigars, and I don’t like cigars. I told him the smoke was bothering Gail and me and we would be most grateful if he would move farther away when toking. He moved a few yards. Big deal! It didn’t help.
ANOTHER TIME when I was placed in such close quarters (at a KOA, which is amazingly masterful at cramming as many RVs as possible into a limited space), my neighbor snored like a big ol’ bear (not sure if bears snore, but I hope you get what I mean). Sleeping, therefore, became a challenge to me. But thanks to Ray and Cecilia Benner, I slept like a baby. You don’t know the Benners? Well, in 1962, the couple invented the first moldable silicone ear plugs! I’m telling you, I swear by those things when camped in semi-gridlocked RV parks in close proximity to snorers or, even worse, teeth grinders!
I posted the photo above to our RVillage group with the message “Ah, camping!” Replies soon arrived. “Holy crap on a cracker,” one group member said. Well put.
I know, I know. . . hold your letters, Boondockers. There is a reason why I stay in RV parks, sometimes crowded ones, rather than boondock like you. Here’s why.
But let me slow down now, as you may see where I appear to be headed, to yet another rant about crowded campgrounds. But I am trying really hard not to do that. I will tell you instead that I am very excited about getting back on the road in about two weeks. Gail and I have been here in Ingram, in the beautiful Johnson Creek RV Park, for four months. That is the longest I have ever stayed in an RV in one place.
Our site backs up to a pecan orchard where beautiful deer graze at night, with a pasture in front with 10 miniature horses as tame as dogs. Our favorite is pint-sized Nugget, who stands about the level of my waist, a tiny girl. This park is wonderfully quiet. There is, however, a donkey close by, which some people claim is part Zebra (he does have some stripes), that he-haws when he’s hungry or upset. It’s no wonder donkeys get no respect with such a ridiculous bray (that’s what they call the noise they make).
The night sky here is filled with a million stars. Well, except for two nights ago when a guy pulled in with a travel trailer. And thanks to our wonderful, clueless RV manufacturers, 99 percent of whom have never stayed a single night in an RV, they equipped the trailer with a line of LED lights stretching from front to back. And this particular RVer was apparently so proud of his ability to illuminate his surroundings that he kept them on all night, providing the gift of simulated daylight to his neighbors.
At 11 p.m., before bed, I took my usual little stroll outside to marvel at the stars and the Universe and to ponder how fortunate I am to be a part of it. But the Universe was drowned out by my light-loving neighbor. I wanted to grab my super blinding, blowtorch flashlight and walk over his RV and shine it right onto his bed. “You want light, buddy? Well, here’s your light!”
But I didn’t, for two reasons. I am a nice person. And two, he might be a giant Bluto of a man with a short temper, and he could be packin’.
Okay, back to nice-talk. We made friends at Johnson Creek in our time here, wonderful post-middle-aged people like me, and we want to see them again, to sit around on warm evenings in lawn chairs, drink some wine and solve the problems of the world, occasionally digressing to discuss our various aches and pains. We need to continue our conversation again next year. So we’ll be back in December.
SOON IT WILL BE TIME to pack up and hit the road. First stop — two weeks in Wichita Falls. People ask us, “Why Wichita Falls,” like there are better places to go. I answer it’s because it’s on the way to where we’re going and an easy day’s drive, and we snagged a reservation at a park that appears to be decent. “There’s nothing to do there,” these people say. To which I reply, “There is always something to do no matter where you go.” For example, you can boondock in the middle of the desert. Someone might ask, “What can you do there?” To which I would reply you can collect rocks or try your luck at catch-and-release lizard hunting, and there are beautiful sunsets to savor, and at night you can stargaze without a light-loving flatlander 20 feet away intent on illuminating the countryside.
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.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Featured in the most
recent RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• Keep your RV alive – Feed it the right voltage.
• Beef up your towable/camper charge wiring.
• Can your RV park help if you have a heart attack?
• Traveling? Let the locals be your guide.
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.
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Avoid an RV electrical blowout with smart surge protector
By Mike Sokol. A basic surge protector usually costs less than $100 and offers protection from nearby lightning strikes and voltage spikes on the incoming power line. However, it can’t protect your RV from an over-voltage condition that occurs if you happen to connect your 30-amp shore power plug into a pedestal outlet that’s miswired with 240 volts instead of 120 volts, as is clearly labeled on the front of the outlet. When that happens it can destroy much of your RV’s expensive electrical system in seconds. Read more.
• Some American Coach, Fleetwood, Discovery, Endeavor, Pace Arrow RVs recalled.
• Forest River recalls trailers: spare tire could fall off.
• Forest River recalls some Surveyor trailers for fridge fire risk.
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.
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.
What 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!).
Dewinterizing checklist updated for 2018
Rich “The Wanderman” has updated his very thorough annual checklist: “How to go from winter’s slumber to spring’s reawakening and perform a yearly safety check.” And there are numerous links throughout to fully describe a lot of the steps. Wow – Is this ever handy! Check it out!
Alert: Do you have the right kind of fire extinguisher?
Mac “the Fire Guy” McCoy discusses RV fire extinguishers in this short video. The one that came with your RV is typically not sufficient. Some RVers buy another, but is it the right kind? It may, in fact, be toxic. This is excellent advice. Watch the eye-opening video.
Managing the nail-biting thrill of a crowded fuel stop
If you’re a fulltimer, or even if you’re not, you may be driving the largest vehicle you have ever driven. Great for living quarters, but another matter when it’s time to fuel up your rig. Maneuvering in and out of the fuel station can become anything from a challenge to a nightmare. What can you do to make fueling up easier? Get some helpful advice from long-time RVers Russ and Tiña De Maris.
This week’s Reader Poll
Do you believe RVing will be as popular in 20 years as it is today?
What do you think? Will the popularity of RVing keep growing? Or is it about to peak or maybe even decline as parks get more crowded? Inquiring minds want to know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others responded. We’ll post the final results in next week’s newsletter. CLICK HERE.
Read the up-to-the minute responses from last week’s poll:
How much is “too much” to pay to dump your RV’s holding tanks? Click here for the results.
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.
Fulltime RVing – Plan ahead for “hanging up the keys”
Fulltime RVing is great, with so many places to explore, people to meet, things to learn. Sadly, the clock continues to run during the adventure and eventually you may need to “hang up the fulltime keys.” So how do you leave the fulltime lifestyle and return to a non-nomadic life? You might think this information doesn’t apply to you, but beware! It’s never too early to think about it – “retiring” from the lifestyle could require some advance planning. Learn more.
Finding good boondocking campsites on long road trips
If you’re traveling in an unfamiliar area where you have not previously located several prospects, finding a nice boondocking spot is not always easy. If you’re in a rush or trying to cover a lot of territory in a few days it will probably be easier to just head for a campground along your way. However, if you do have a more leisurely trip planned, you could change your way of thinking about finding boondocking spots. Here’s a great suggestion from Boondock Bob Difley.
Laundry chore: A low-tech, easy solution
Sometimes you find a simple, low-tech method of accomplishing a necessary task. What a pleasure it is to discover it. In this video RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury shows you a simple, almost free way to do a small load of laundry as you roll down the highway in your RV. Sound impossible? Nope. Easy. See how it’s done in this short video.
Actively using your RV? Maintain it even now
We’ll soon be up to our eyeballs in the summer RV travel season. When we’re active on the road, what kinds of maintenance things should RVers be keeping an eye on? Hopefully you’ll spend some time this spring doing the main maintenance so you can enjoy more when summer hits. But, there are a few things that you should do during the course of the active season while the coach is in use. Learn more.
Full-timers: Need an RV Home Base?
Then you need Americas Mailbox! You’ll enjoy great tax advantages with your South Dakota “residency,” like no state income tax and low insurance rates (second lowest in the USA says the Insurance Information Institute). Many plans are available. Click the video where RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury talks with Americas Mailbox owner Don Humes. Or click here to learn more or enroll.
Solar charging in a shady spot?
Boondocking in the national and state forests in summer and using solar power to provide your electricity presents different challenges than found when snowbirding in the southwestern deserts. Here are some tips to get the most out of solar panels in any type of terrain.
Are you a burden on the national park system?
Are you disabled, or a current or former military service member, or a bit up in years? If you, like we, are in one of those groups and use a special pass to enjoy our national parks, according to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, we’re the reason that the Park System wants to jack up the cost of entry to many of the big parks for everyone else. Learn more.
Heading “Out West”? Don’t miss these BLM gems!
The Weather Channel once published a photo-heavy feature called “Most Amazing Hidden Gems in Every State.” Included in the lot were four “gems” under the watch-care of the Bureau of Land Management, all of them Out West – in California, Colorado and New Mexico. You don’t want to miss these!
Choose the tire pressure monitoring that RVtravel.com uses
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.
Readers’ comments on recent articles
Recent popular articles that attracted high numbers of reader comments
• RV park owner laments crowding, rookie RVers. (Wow!)
• Fact Check: Open your tailgate for better fuel economy?
• RV sales keep soaring.
• RV Pet Vet: Dog parks: The good, the bad, and the very ugly.
• How much is ‘too much’ to pay to dump your RV’s tanks?
• Don’t trust your GPS!
More popular articles from last week’s issue
• RV Electricity – Why do hot-skin shocks occur?
• Keep ants and mice out of your RV.
• Why is hot water coming out of the cold faucet?
• Beware the bear!
• Kinda “quirky” full-timer can’t find full-time companion.
• How accurate is your TPMS? – Part 2.
RV Parts and Accessories
Give Dyers a try on your next purchase of RV parts or accessories. Large selection, great service, low prices and fast shipping. Visit our website.
No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.
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 way too many cases poorly. Here are some horror stories.
Add a romantic mood to your RV with these flameless candles
There’s nothing like a candle to add a romantic glow to your home or RV. This set of three flameless candles fits the bill perfectly. And, boy, do they look real! They’re made of genuine paraffin wax with realistic dancing LED flames that add a festive or romantic mood to any room safely, even in the presence of small children and pets. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Shrink
Hubby annoyed with wife’s “considerate” driving style
Dear RV Shrink:
My husband and I share the driving time while traveling in our motorhome. We also pull a toad. We have different driving methods and mine seems to annoy my husband. When he’s driving, I don’t say a word. When I’m driving, I am always getting his unwanted advice. He drives fast; I drive slower. It makes him nuts when I pull over and let other vehicles pass. … —Pace car driver in Davenport
Read the rest of the question and the RV Shrink’s advice.
Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his 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.
‘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. Collectors Hold 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.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.65 (on Mar. 26). Change from week before: Up 5 cents; Change from year before: Up 33 cents.
Diesel: $3.01 (on Mar. 26). Change from week before: Up 4 cents; Change from year before: Up 48 cents.
Add an outdoor water faucet to your RV!
This lead-free outdoor faucet is really handy. If you don’t have one, here’s a super inexpensive way to add one. No tools required and it installs in a minute (just screw it on). Brass T included with the plastic faucet, just as it’s shown in the product photo. Learn more or order.
The RV Vet
With Dr. Deanna Tolliver, M.S., DVM
The wrath of grapes: Don’t feed them to your dog!
Dear Dr. Deanna,
I’ve heard that grapes are toxic to dogs, but I just read something on the internet that says that is a hoax. Is it true or not? Are there other foods that are bad for pets? —Chris M.
Read Dr. Deanna’s reply.
Secrets of RVing on Social Security
Author Jerry Minchey takes you on a journey that lets you discover how you can travel around the country and live the fascinating RV lifestyle for far less than it costs to live in your sticks-and-bricks home. Among other things, he shows you step-by-step how to enjoy the RVing lifestyle while traveling and living on just your Social Security income. Learn more or order.
RV Fire Safety Tip
Help prevent RV engine fires
A hard-working engine manifold can get as hot as 900 degrees F. The heavy insulation in the compartment reflects the heat back to the top of the engine, and a fire can easily break out. Inspect your radiator and have any problems repaired by a qualified person as soon as possible. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Editor’s note: Choose from a wide selection of fire extinguishers at Amazon. Here are links from Amazon.com for smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, LP gas detectors, and combination smoke and CO detectors.
Don’t be without this Emergency Weather Radio!
For about $17, you can rest assured that anytime severe weather threatens, you’ll be notified, even if cell service is down, the Internet is down or power fails. The RVtravel.com staff travels with this small, handheld, battery-powered NOAA weather radio. If severe weather is on the way, the radio sounds an alert, followed by detailed information about the storm to let you know to seek shelter or move away. Get one for yourself and one for someone you care about who travels a lot. Learn more or order.
RV Quick Tips
Expand your shower space
Feeling “closed in” in the shower? If your shower is equipped with a shower curtain, get a curtain tension rod and mount it a few inches outside the existing shower rod. Run the curtain over the top of the new rod, then back into the shower stall. Gives a few extra inches of space for your shoulders.
Avoid bird droppings on your RV roof ladder, etc.
If birds are perching on your RV roof ladder and ruining your parade (or spare tire, bumper, chairs, etc.) discourage the little feathered poopers. Clamp a flag pole to the ladder rack and raise your banner. The flapping ensign will send them elsewhere.
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!
This adapter might save the day
You’ll be glad you have this along if you need to plug your 30-amp cord into an ordinary 110 outlet. Just use this adapter. You’ll need to watch your energy usage carefully, of course, but at least you’ll have enough power for basic needs. Learn more or order.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Stop wasting water when cooking pasta
Do you love pasta but hate to waste all the water (especially when boondocking) required to cook it? Well, here’s the answer: Tiburino Gourmet Italian pasta. You add only enough water to cook it and it is all absorbed – no wasted water. And since the pasta is dried and vacuum packed (small package, seasonings included) you can easily stock up and store in a small space without fear of spoilage. Their pasta recipes are unique and healthy. Learn more.
Be sure to sign up for our monthly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. Click here.
Graphite keeps your locks working
Keep your RV’s locks (and other locks, too) working the way they should. This product from AGS will keep them lubricated and working smoothly and will guard against sticking and dirt buildup. Also reduces wear and corrosion. This should be essential equipment on all RVs. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
What can be done for RV sidewall delamination?
What’s the most inexpensive way to deal with a soft wall spot where there was prior water damage? Also, the outside has a bubble. Is there any way of smoothing it without spending a fortune? Under our window, the day/nite shade pulled out and upon inspection we found a little hole where the wall is soft. We need to fill it in with something and patch it but are clueless where to begin. …
Read the rest of the question and Gary’s response.
Read more from Gary Bunzer at the RVdoctor.com. See Gary’s videos about RV repair and maintenance.
Fire Extinguishing Aerosol, Two-pack
The First Alert Tundra Fire Extinguishing Aerosol Spray is easier to use and discharges 4 times longer than traditional fire extinguishers. With an aerosol nozzle and portable size, it’s suited for the kitchen, car, garage, boat or RV. The formula wipes away with a damp cloth & is biodegradable. Learn more or order.
with Bob Difley
Make Welcome Centers your first stop when you cross state lines
We know where most of our state’s best attractions and boondocking spots are, but have a hard time finding them whenever we travel to a new state. Do you have any suggestions? —Jerry and Alicia
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: The World of Cacti Part 1: If Dr. Seuss Were in Charge of Plants.
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
Camping with the Corps of Engineers
Many RVers consider Corps of Engineers campgrounds to be the best in the country. This guide is just for RVers — boat-in and tent-only sites are not included. Of all the public lands, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has some of the best parks and campgrounds available. In fact, it’s the largest federal provider of outdoor recreation in the nation. Learn more or order.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
More on internal vs. external TPMS temperature reporting
Roger continues his series on Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems. Last week he covered temperature reports for internal versus external TPMS when it was moderate to just cool outside. This report is different because on his way south to Georgia from Ohio it got downright cold. With cooler ambient temperature the difference from internal to external temps is greater than when the temperatures were warmer. Read Roger’s test results and possible conclusion.
Klein Tools Electrical Test Kit — Essential!
Every RVer should have this aboard their RV. The highly rated, updated electrical test kit contains MM300 (manual-ranging digital multimeter), ncvt-1 (non-contact voltage tester) and the RT105 (receptacle tester). The ncvt-1 automatically detects standard voltage in cables, cords, circuit breakers, lighting fixtures, switches, outlets, and wires. The RT105 detects the most common wiring problems in standard receptacles. Learn more at Amazon.
Astronomy for RVers
with Chris Fellows
Chris will be back shortly. He’s recovering well (back in his rig – happy camper!) after triple bypass surgery.
Endorsed by tire expert Roger Marble!
Outstanding tire pressure gauge
The Accutire MS-4021B digital tire pressure gauge has an easy-to-read LCD display that provides pressure readings from 5-150 PSI. It’s ergonomically designed with an angled head and a rubber-coated easy-grip handle. If you forget to turn it off, it will do so automatically. The included lithium battery never needs to be recharged or replaced. Used by the RV Travel staff. Learn more or order.
A loyal dog no one owned but everyone loved
In 1978, Charles stumbled upon a gravestone in an unusual location in Coles County, Illinois. As Kuralt would report for the “CBS Evening News,” a dog named Blackie had been buried there years earlier after capturing the hearts of the community. Click the video to watch.
Camco Store at Amazon.com
There isn’t much you need for your RV that Camco doesn’t have. If you think we’re kidding, then click through to the Camco store on Amazon where you’ll find some of their best-selling products — all for your RV or for you to make your RVing better. Click here and you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Coco-Choco Pear Dessert
Keeping up ap-PEAR-ances. Two major food groups, chocolate and coconut, combine to make a coco-choco-socko dessert success. As always, of course, we cut corners to make things quicker and easier for the RV cook. Get the recipe.
Check out hundreds of other recipes by Janet . . . and her many books at Amazon.com, including the new “The Survival Food Handbook.”
RVtravel.com Readers’ Favorite Recipes
with Emily Woodbury
Einar’s Grilled Corn (with bacon!)
We might be getting a little bit ahead of ourselves with this one, as far as seasonality goes, but there was no way we weren’t going to feature a grilled corn recipe…WITH BACON.
Ah, bacon. America’s favorite way to stretch that belly and move one notch wider on that leather belt. Actually, there’s a name for this new craze: “Bacon Mania,” and yep, we’re all contributors. Not only do fast food joints have entire burgers dedicated to bacon (69% of all restaurants serve bacon), but novelty items such as band-aids that look like strips of bacon, bacon-flavored toothpaste, bacon-scented air fresheners (imagine that dangling in your face while driving the RV) are selling like crazy. There are even dozens of festivals each year in the U.S. dedicated to bacon! Are we taking this meaty obsession too far?
If you like bacon, you’ll want to click here to get the recipe.
Best seller year after year
The Ultimate RV Cookbook
This popular cookbook will help you prepare cuisine in your RV that’s appetizing, healthy and convenient. Each chapter provides a grocery list and recipes for three days’ worth of meals! There’s a reason this has been a best-selling cookbook in RV kitchens for years. Learn more or order.
RV Short stop
Arizona’s Kartchner Caverns’ Star Party
Kartchner Caverns State Park near Benson, Arizona, is one amazing adventure – below and above ground. For solar viewing during the day and “celestial amazement after sunset” don’t miss the “Kartchner Star Party” on Saturday, April 7, and October 13, 2018. If you want to make a day of it, arrive early and take in a cave tour as well as visit museum exhibits, regional and educational displays. Kartchner Caverns State Park has RV and tent camping. Read Julianne G. Crane’s article.
Good reading from RV123.com
• RVing In Inclement Weather.
• Enjoy Specialty Coffee In the Great Outdoors.
• Western Village RV Park.
Essential for big RVs!
2018 Rand McNally Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas
If you drive a big RV — extra long or extra tall — then this is for you. The truck driver’s road atlas shows all the highways you can drive without encountering a low bridge or getting stuck hanging over a cliff. This is an essential aid even if you have a GPS! Coverage: United States, Canada, and Mexico. Learn more or order.
Free and bargain camping
Kranberry’s Family Restaurant, Lordsburg, NM
Overnight parking is allowed. Obtain permission from management and purchase one or more meals here. One night limit. Level, not brightly lit, appears safe. Possible noise from trucks also parked here. Address: 1405 Main St. GPS: 32.3413, -108.7154
Cracker Barrel # 251, Seffner, FL
Overnight parking is allowed for RVers who ask permission. Park in one of seven marked bus/RV spaces. Longer rigs may need to park across several auto spaces at lot perimeter, provided they have store permission to do so. Level and well-lit. Please have your evening meal and/or breakfast at Cracker Barrel if you park overnight here. Address: 6150 Lazy Days Blvd. GPS: 28.00667-82.30575
Overnight RV Parking, with more than 13,480 locations listed, is the largest and best resource for locating free and inexpensive places to spend a night in an RV. For membership information and a demo of the site, click here. A modest membership fee required, but try the free demo. Watch a video about OvernightRVparking.com.
Museum of the Week
Once the site of the Ringling Bros. Circus, Circus World pays homage to the art of performance. Showcasing the history of the Ringling Bros, the museum shows off original circus posters, original circus wagons and costumes, and a one-hour live circus show. Kids will love riding the elephants (yep, real elephants!) and ponies. Visit their (very colorful) website here.
Downsizing The Family Home: What to Save. What to Let Go
Whether you’re downsizing to go full-time or for other reasons, this best-selling AARP book will guide you through the process, from opening that first closet, to sorting through a lifetime of possessions, to selling your home. The author helps you create a strategy and mindset to accomplish the task quickly and rewardingly, both practically and emotionally. Learn more or order.
Upcoming RV Shows
• Kitchener RV Show and Sale, Apr. 6-8, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
• Good Sam Indy RV Super Show, Apr. 12-15, Indianapolis, IN
• Acadiana RV, Sport & Boat Show, Apr. 13-15, Lafayette, LA
• Washington State Evergreen RV Show, Apr. 13-15, Monroe, WA
• SuperSaver RV Show, Apr. 20-22, Ft. Myers, FL
• Spring Hall of Fame RV Show, Apr. 26-29, Elkhart, IN
See the complete list of all upcoming RV shows.
Microwave cover collapses for easy storage
When heating your food you don’t want to spend 10 minutes later cleaning the splatters inside the microwave. Here’s the solution — and perfect for RVers: it pops down flat for easy storage. Lid perforations allow steam to escape to keep food moist. Doubles as a strainer, too! Learn more or order at Amazon.com
The Moon moves about 1.5 inches farther away from the Earth each year.
Bumper sticker of the week
Man who stands on toilet is high on pot.
Funny/clever business slogan
From Karen Pattist – Seen in Connecticut on a small truck for business: Wagging Tails Pet Grooming, “We come when we’re called!” —Thanks Karen!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
A man was waking up from anesthesia after surgery, his wife by his side. His eyes opened briefly and he said, “You’re beautiful,” and then he fell back to sleep. His wife had never heard him say that so she was very happy. A half hour later his eyes opened again and he said, “You’re cute!” The wife was disappointed because instead of “beautiful” she was now just “cute.” She asked “What happened to ‘beautiful’?” He replied, “The drugs are wearing off!”
Random RV Thought
If your campsite is within walking distance of a tavern, there’s a good chance you will be awakened at closing time by liberally libated campers returning to the campground.
“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.” —George Burns
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.
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About the RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for three decades. In the ’90s he published the quirky travel newspaper Out West, and was an “on the road” writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His book, “The Best from Out West” is available at Amazon.com. Woodbury’s RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. He is the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD “Buying a Recreational Vehicle,” the definitive guide to purchasing an RV the right way.
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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Just a suggestion…. Maybe post California fuel prices separately from national to let folks know what we have is not reflected in the rest of the lower 47. Kinda gives people an idea of what to expect when planning a trip out west or rather how far west they really want to travel…..
On your recent article you speak of making sure the plug on the pedestal at the RV park is a 30amp, 120volt and not the 30amp dryer plug that is 125volts. I wanted to be sure I understand you correctly that at that the 30amp dryer plug is stamped 125volts and the 30amp RV plug has 120volts stamped on the plug, thus indicating it is used for RV’s. I bought your book “RV Electrical Safety” and have purchased the three testers you suggested. I wanted to make sure I should also be looking at the plug on the pedestal making sure it’s NOT 125volts.
Not exactly. What you need to watch out for is a TT-30 RV outlet (which is plainly marked 125 volts) that has been miswired with 240 volts. You should NEVER see a 30-amp/240-volt dryer outlet in a park. And yes the dryer outlet will be marked for 250 volts.
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So Chuck an rant as much as he wants, but I can’t post a counter rant???
You might want to consider very carefully before going holier than thou on a fellow camper about too much lighting outside. I, for one, would consider it an unneighborly act. I need an abundance of light to be able to safely walk outside, and if someone has an issue with that, then it is their problem, not mine.
To read a dead tree book, I need at least a 150 watt light (or LED equivalent). My desktop, smart phone and tablet are all turned to their brightest settings, and never turned down. I probably have 2000+ lumens just about my desktop area, plus a 2500 lumen LED floodlight bounced off the ceiling. My wife claims she’s getting a sunburn, I’m always on the search for brighter bulbs for the lights I have, checking Amazon 3 or 4 times a year.
For me, there is no such thing as too much light. If you feel diffent, you can move, or convince the park to kick me out
That’s fine, but turn them off when not needed to show respect to others!
Well, respect is a two way street, isn’t it. It. It doesn’t mean “just do what I want, because I’m right” At 11:00pm as mentioned, the lights would still be on, I don’t go to bed that early. Last night, they would be on till about 2:00.
BTW, if you don’t like the lights, you are in for a lot of disappointment. There are well-lighted rigs in probably 30-40% of the parks we stay at. In this park, also in the hill country, the manager’s site is lit up like a circus.
But even then, if Chuck wanted to see the stars, he could have walked 10 or 20 yards away. That’s what I do for any special night-time observing I want to do
If you are not outside using outdoor lights, then you intentionally irritate others
Massive ego and self entitlement much?
Hi I like to read your news it has lots of good info Do you know about towing doubles I am a little confused on the laws can I tow a camp trailer and a 8 ft trailer behind my camp trailer I hope you can help confused
28 States allow triple towing. Some will reduce the overall length. California requires a special license endorsement & Wisconsin a permit.
Laundry in a TuckerTote: I’ve been doing my road-laundry this way for years anytime I can’t pack enough to get back home. I’m not wasting time/money on commercial laundry-mats, and have plenty of room in my tub for a BIG tucker (only half-full to slosh better, and reused as storage when not washing).
Cooking pasta: Rather than niche products, just use an electric pressure cooker. “Just” cover the dry pasta with water and its all absorbed. I flavor that water, and the pasta sucks that up too. This trick works great with rice too. Zero steam inside the RV, zero wasted water.
Shower bar: Actually, a second bar or square extension makes the curtain leak disastrously. Many RV designs don’t have compatible walls for a second bar anyway. A curved bar that returns to the original walls works great though, and mine adds about a foot to my shoulder-space without leaking. You may need a longer curtain if you go as extreme as I did.
Thanks for the pressure cooker tip! I’ve debated whether to bring mine on my initial trips, which will be in a small camper. I plan to buy a larger camper and go full time, and the pressure cooker is already on that packing list. You’ve convinced me it is worth the space it will take up to use it now. We can also cook potatoes, corn, and other vegetables that require boiling. And cooking meat in a pressure cooker, of course, requires much less propane or electricity than other methods. Thanks for helping me think this through!
If you like beef liver, try cooking it in a pressure cooker on a bed of onions with a small amount of beef broth. You can also add other vegetables you like, such as potatoes, celery, and carrots. The resulting cooked liver is tender and delicious (and it cooks quickly).
Thanks for the liver suggestion. Love liver & onions plan on doing it in the pressure cooker tomorrow.
When researching our next campground I always use google maps in satellite view. You can usually get a pretty good idea of how close your neighbors will be.
In regard to your continued referral to the results of your question on RV quality, and many of the comments from dissatisfied new rig owners; if you could redo the survey so owners could also indicate age I think satisfaction of older rigs would go up, and rigs built since 2010 or 2011 would go way down. Maybe 3 separate surveys and each addresses a mfg date range.
Thinking of some of the things that need to be resolved, About Electrical hookups; RV builders should include a red/green signal on the console where you see your tankage and whatever, a red/green signal for power hookup. It shows red if your power is wrong, low or high, or if you have a faulty ground. Green if everything is ok. A simple electronic report that reflects electrical problems.
Yes the good sams book that list campgrounds is a bargain at $6.95. BUT if you look closley the highlited ones are all Good Sams parks iI know for a fact that one park rated 10 10 10 which was a ten and brand new. A few years later failed to Renew in the guide for$2400.00 a year.
Next issue ,small print, no good sams ratings. I have stayed in other good sams 9 rated parks that i would rate a 3 at best. I complained about the park, upkeep, and ratings. They offered me a $25. Coupon for another parl however never changed the ratings.
Kevin, FWIW, the company’s name is Good Sam….. not Good Sams. Something owned by Good Sam is Good Sam’s.
I have tried to submit my email address to your daily newsletter and for some reason it’s not taking it. Any suggestions?
Do you ever delete comments?
Hi, Ken. Yes, we very occasionally delete comments, but only if they’re rude, derogatory, abusive, inflammatory, etc. I would estimate that happens about 1/10th of 1 percent of the time, since the vast majority of our readers who comment are thoughtful and courteous. Even if they get a little cranky, that’s OK as long as they stay on the topic (as much as possible) and don’t go on a rant about politics, someone else’s intelligence, etc. If you, or anyone, see something which you think should be deleted, please let us know because we may have overlooked it. Thanks! —Diane at RVtravel.com
Hope you are talking about Wichita Falls RV Park on Seymour Rd. This is the only decent, economical park that I have found. You COULD pay $50-60 at Jellystone east of town…
We are in the WF park as I type for 4 nights to visit old school buddies. Sorry we will miss you–also, we were at Lazy L&L CG in Sattler/Canyon Lake for a week, but forgot you were in the area.
Please correct me if I am mistaken, but are you the author who wrote about the idea of opening up a “no frills” type of campground where you can stay over nite near the interstate….limited or no electrical, water, dumping station??? I think it is a wonderful idea, but I am unable to find the article on your site again……can you please direct me to the correct issue?
Have you moved forward with these ideas?
Here ya’ go, Marylee. Here’s a link to where Chuck wrote that essay last June about no-frills campgrounds (which takes care of the questions in your first paragraph). https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-travel-newsletter-issue-796/
Chuck will have to respond to the last paragraph. Thanks for writing. 😀 —Diane at RVtravel.com
Chuck, we are with you on the lack of understanding how to camp in an RV park. The TV that swings out on the side of the camper is a pet peave of mine! Not only does it detract from the peaceful surroundings, it can blare into the wee hours of the night. Also, the walking through others camping area, being impervious to their space. Dogs barking all day while their owners are away; spilling black or grey water waste on the ground and thinking nothing of it. Laying their sewer hose up on the picnic table to clean it before storing! Yes, in 6 years of full timing, we have seen it all! It’s time for dealers to indoctrinate their buyers before allowing them to proceed out into the RV world! My Rant of the Day!
On the National Park system; wife and I both have America the Beautiful passes, now called Senior passes. It is correct in the fact that if you have a car load of people and 1 person has the pass, the rest get in free. I actually could never understand this. I can see this changing and in the very near future. Our National Parks are in some form of disrepair and with the throngs of people visiting each and every year, don’t see anything changing soon.
We do try and add to the economy while there in purchasing food, trinkets, etc.
I am amazed that my husband and I can have a lifetime national park pass for only $10. We try to leave donations when we visit NPS or other historic sites. I prefer that over buying something I don’t really need.
I enjoyed your intro today,
I am convinced that you and perhaps your radio friend should develop a set of Campground ethics. These could then be forwarded to the campground owners to print and distribute, or we ourselves could print them and politely hand them to the offending RVer. We also just had a neighbor with enough lights to light a construction site.
My biggest complaint is barking Dogs. When a Dog barks, thats all I hear. I am amazed at how deaf the dog owners are to their own dogs barking. I did not pay for a park to come hear dogs 🙂
But that just some ranting that may feed a new level in Campground Edicate Your the man Chuck !!
Totally agree with you concerning barking dogs. Know you are referring to the type that is continual for hours at a time.
Personally a well lit campsite does not bother me but I mostly avoid “Resort” type campgrounds which are packed little space between “Campers” & instead use National Parks which are spacious.
Chuck, I think that it’s high time that you came to visit us in NEWFOUNDLAND-LABRAFOR,Canada. It is well worth the ferry crossing cost to visit this historic place. Just a few of the attractions that you may want to visit are: Gros Morne and Terra Nova National Parks; Lance-aux-Meadows, a Viking village,dating to about 1000AD: Cape Spear, the mostEasterly point of Land in North America: the Northeast coast which we call Iceberg Alley; the Dover Fault, where the continents actually split apart Mullins of years ago; whale watching all summer long; we are home to some of the largest black bears in North America; maybe you would be lucky enough to have a 100 pound moose walk through your campsite as you sip your after dinner wine at a pivlcnic table on your site. Really, Chuck, you have been to Nova Scotia but missed the trip of a lifetime to visit us.
Please excuse to typos in the message, a typist I am not. NEWFOUNDLAND-LABRADOR, CANADA. Should read Millions of years ago. And that moose would be 1000 pounds not 100,. LOL.
We visited NFLD 14 years ago. One of our top 5 travel places. We are planning to return next spring/summer. A must place to visit.
I visited Newfoundland last summer. The places you mentioned were great but you forgot to mention the terrible road conditions
Does anyone believe the campground number rating systems that the big boys print up in their thick books? Why would you give a 10 rating to a glorified parking lot. Did you ever notice whenever you look at an rv campgrounds web site they try not to show what a camp site looks like? I want to know what I’m aesthetically going to pay for. I laughed “with” Chuck’s editorial today. I have gotten pretty good at looking at websites and other sources to desern what the sites will look like. I love when websites tell you that you have a “view” of something of interest from your site or the campground. That’s a code word for “not really”. Since I’m a “planner” I ignore these “10” campgrounds. I am somewhat like Chuck that I come off as a very nice guy that loves being around you but I’m actually raging inside because you are a stupid idiot that has broken every camping rule of edicate. And yes I’ll never call you on it because you are a mental job that is probably packing heat. “No this isn’t a second amendment rant”.
I just want campground owners to tell the truth about their parking lot and that they give all campers a basic IQ test. Lol.
If a park only shows pictures of “amenities” and not actual campsites, I move on to my next possibility. I always suspect they’re hiding something. Park owners should always show pics of where you’ll be spending your money. You’re in for a big letdown if you think otherwise.
I want to see pictures of the campsites, not the people partying in the clubhouse or kids playing in the park or the camp store. RV Park Review is our go to site for ratings & comments. They are posted by travellers like you & I and not the park itself. Everything is based on personal preferences. Some like concrete and grass while others have no problem with gravel and no grass (desert). Some prefer trees, others prefer wide open space. We have gone to parks rated “10” and they are dumps, others rated “6” are, to us, Resorts. When asked from others what we think of a particular park we try to be as honest as possible letting them know our preferences.
Google Earth is optimal for getting overhead and sometimes even streetview images of campgrounds. I won’t make a reservation without looking for myself at unbiased images
I read that you are headed to Wichita Falls. We’ve been there a few times passing through. Our favorite eating place is Rib Crib – good BBQ. And if you haven’t tried Braum’s ice cream, you should stop by the one on Kemp Rd and give it a try.