Friday, September 22, 2023


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 843

Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more from the editors and columnists of 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 843 • Week of April 28–May 4, 2018   #rvtravel

Guest editorial 
By Jim Twamley

(We published this essay a few years ago but thought it was worth a second look — or a first one for the thousands of you who weren’t reading RV then. Editor Chuck Woodbury will return here next week. He did climb on his Soapbox this issue, as you will see below.)

Most RVers I meet are enthusiastic about RVing. We come from all walks of life and have one thing in common … we love RVing.

Avid RVers — those who spends months at a time or live full-time in their RVs — typically report they have more friends than they had before they took up RVing.

Some outsiders would classify us as “RV hobbyists,” but what they don’t know is RVing is a lifestyle and spills over the boundaries of hobby-land. In 1940 Ernie Pyle wrote, “A hobby has a way of running out. You play it for a long time, and then its power to beguile you begins to fade, and finally you have to pretend to play, so as not to be ashamed of the thing to which you once threw your passions.”

Veteran RVers don’t look at their RV and say, “That’s my hobby.” Rather, they see their RV as a magic carpet taking them to new destinations, a mother ship providing opportunities to visit and explore diverse landscapes, a time machine opening a window on the vistas of history. You can’t do that staying in the neighborhood, where life demands a more predictable routine.

In the RV lifestyle every day is an opportunity to visit a place previously unknown, a chance to witness things yet unseen, to embrace the adventure around the next corner. Along the way you make new friends and create an encyclopedia of memories.

Vivian Grybko is a widow from Kansas who began traveling as a full-time RVer after her husband died. I asked her how many close friends she has in the RV community and she said, “More than I ever had when I was living in one place for many years.”

It never ceases to amaze me that when RVers pull into a campground they have an instant kinship that allows them to get to know each other right away. Throughout our years of RVing my wife and I have made many wonderful friends who share our enjoyment of travel. Whether you RV two weeks a year or all year long, you know RVing is much more than a hobby, it’s an ongoing life-enhancing experience.


A trip update, and why can’t the RV industry do what the trucking industry is doing?
Goodbye Texas, hello Oklahoma. Editor Chuck Woodbury updates his travels and then steps upon his soapbox to discuss what the trucking industry is doing that the RV industry isn’t and why it matters. Also, did the president of the RV Industry Association write back to Chuck after being asked to explain his statement that all RVers are “obviously campers”? Click here to grab your front seat at the Soapbox.

1Horizontal-for-RVtravel_com-72-pix-1 1Moran_Host_NC_D-RVtravel_com-72-pix-1Unique RV overnight stops at wineries and farms
With membership in Harvest Hosts® you can stay overnight at more than 590 wineries, farms and attractions across North America. Harvest Hosts offers an exciting alternative to traditional overnight stops where you can meet interesting people and learn about their lifestyle. Learn more at the Harvest Hosts website, or watch an interview with the founders by editor Chuck Woodbury.

RV hitch maker in hot water after vandalizing iconic Utah arch
cover storyAn iconic natural arch near Moab, Utah, was vandalized last week, and photographs widely shared on social media have brought the owner of an RV industry hitch company under scrutiny by both authorities and the public, which has expressed outrage over the incident. Read more.

Odors that make special appearances in extreme heat? Say goodbye!
The Unique Tank Odor Eliminator is the leader in hot weather odor elimination. If you’re tired of those disgusting smells coming from your RV bathroom in hot weather, or when you’re off the grid, say no more! These drop-in tablets work in both gray and black tanks, and will completely remove, not just mask, odors. Perfect for dry-campers who are worried about using too much water. Drop in a tablet, and flush! Learn more or order here. 

spyWhat we learned about you last week
We learned a lot, that’s what. After a whopping 7,330 votes, we learned how many of you have pulled over with your RV in a bad windstorm, and how many of you still use a folded paper map. But, oh, we were not happy to learn about your exercise habits. Come on, folks. Get out there and at least walk so you can read this newsletter for many years to come (you likely have better reasons to extend your life). And, on a creepy subject, we found how many of you actually enjoy holding a snake (not the poisonous kind) and how many of you prefer to stay as far away as possible. Plus more.

Featured in the most
recent RV Daily Tips Newsletters
Reality check: Do you really have enough solar panels?
Don’t let noise keep you awake.
Keeping your travel plans flexible.
Avoid trouble when buying an RV.

Sign up for’s
new monthly newsletter about RV electricity

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

Is reading this newsletter worth 10 cents to you? 
dime-738Our staff works hard to bring you a valuable newsletter every Saturday. Readers help make it possible with their voluntary subscriptions. Even a pledge of $5 a year is appreciated — that’s less than 10 cents an issue! Many readers pledge more — $10 a year is less than 20 cents an issue! Your contributions make it possible for us to write about important matters, not just fluff to make advertisers and RV industry big shots happy. Enter a voluntary subscriptionUse a credit card, PayPal or mail a check.

breaking-newsThe latest news about RVing from our newsroom
Our writers and editors have selected the most important, most interesting and helpful news about RVing from the past week and boiled it all down into a fast-paced digest. Click here to read it.

Tornado hits Alabama RV park; 5 RVs flipped, 4 RVers injured.
Thetford takes over Canadian refrigerator maker.

Recent recalls:
Keystone recalls Raptor and Carbon towables for fuel issue.
Forest River recalls RVs: Door may open during travel.

Eight tips for taking great cell phone photos!
Today’s cell phone cameras are amazing. With large file sizes and editing tools, you can take impressive pictures and preserve great memories. Here are some tips from a retired professional food and architectural photographer (and now full-time RVer) to make your photos even better. Learn how.

Get ready to pay more at the pump
Do you cut back on your RV travels when gas prices increase? Then you might prepare for some shorter trips, as the news this week is not good: Gas prices have jumped to one of the highest levels in three years. Read more and take our quick survey (how will these higher prices affect your RV travels?).

Fulltime RVing: What of your “stuff” do you miss?
A common “problem” in making the transition to the fulltime RV lifestyle is stuff – the stuff that you’ve collected over the years and sits in the attic, the basement, the garage. Folks who are in the planning stages of a fulltime RV lifestyle want to know: “How do I get rid of my stuff?” But then we heard: “What did you get rid of to enter the lifestyle that you really wish you hadn’t?” Hmmm. Here are some interesting responses.

video camera WPMotorhome doesn’t slow at exit. Terrible crash.
Here’s yet another reminder to drive carefully. We don’t know the make or model of the motorhome that crashed after failing to slow at a highway exit, then rolled over several times near Coalinga, Calif. Read more. (Includes short news report.)

Don’t let Death Valley be the death of you
Lots of people have a fascination for Death Valley in the summer. The number of people visiting when temperatures often exceed 120 degrees soared from 97,000 in 1985 to more than one million in 2014. Every year one or two people die in Death Valley from heat-related illnesses, and many others have come very close. For RVers that still want to visit in these conditions, certain precautions should be adhered to. Learn more.

This week’s Reader Poll
How much extra would you pay per day for dependable, unlimited high speed internet at an RV park?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. We’ll post the final results in next week’s newsletter. CLICK HERE.

Read the up-to-the minute responses from last week’s poll:
In the past few years have you pulled off the road with your RV due to high winds? Click here for the results.

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

A milestone for one great motorhome
On Rich “The Wanderman’s” last trip out (to retrieve his helicopter) he had a milestone event occur: He watched his motorhome’s odometer flip over and begin again at zero! He reminisces about the miles he has put on his RV, and raves about the advantages of traveling by RV. Read more.

Tools for a safe and cheery campfire
Just about everyone loves a campfire. There’s even a word in Swahili that means “dreaming the fire,” it’s such a compelling experience. Greg Illes gives you lots of tips for the perfect, and safe, campfire. He also explains why the most important fireside tool is a shovel – but it may not be for what you think. Learn more.

video camera WPStop those parasitic loads from attacking your batteries
In a recent RV Daily Tips Newsletter, electricity expert Mike Sokol discussed “What does a battery disconnect switch do?” In this short video, Mark Polk, with RV Education 101, demonstrates how to install a battery disconnect switch to prevent the deep cycle battery from discharging due to parasitic loads. This is a simple installation that should take less than 30 minutes. Watch the video.

Web page makes finding British Columbia camping a snap
Many U.S. boondockers are familiar enough with some of the alternative sources of finding boondocking sites in the Lower 48, but if you’re traveling north of the border and into Canada, things can get a little sketchy. If your travel planning includes a visit to British Columbia, here’s a great site to help you find “alternatives” to costly and over-populated provincial campgrounds. Learn more.

Goodbye Holding Tank Odors and Clogs, Hello Convenience!
The best just got better. Now you can get the unsurpassed strength of RV Digest-It Holding Tank Treatment in a convenient, easy to use drop-in pod. RV Digest-It has long been known as the premier all-around tank treatment for those looking for the best in both odor elimination and waste digestion – now you can add convenience to that list. Learn more here.

How to find dump stations in unfamiliar territory
As you’re traveling and particularly when boondocking, no matter how large your holding tanks are or how frugal you are on water use, your RV must be occasionally tethered via the sewer hose to a dump station. Here, from veteran boondocker Dave Helgeson, are tips on how to make locating a dump station as painless as possible. Read more.

video camera WPAvoid the dangers of an unbalanced RV
You’ve likely noticed that if you try to carry all your grocery bags in one hand you’ll find yourself out of balance, but by dividing the load between two hands proper balance is restored. The same applies to your RV: If you overbalance on one side, you are asking for trouble. Walter Cannon of the RV Safety and Education Foundation offers some do’s and don’ts about loading a recreational vehicle in this short video.

What are the best batteries for fulltiming?
How many batteries should you have to fulltime and what kind is best? Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, answers a question from an RVer during a webcast about whether it’s best to replace 12-volt deep cycle RV batteries with six-volt golf cart batteries connected in series. Watch the short video.

‘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.

Readers’ comments on recent articles

Effective “billboard” for truck supply company alongside I-35 near Ponca City, Oklahoma.

Recent popular articles that attracted high numbers of reader comments
RVer concerned about overnight parking bans.
Safety issue? RVer’s door locks randomly, leaving him trapped inside.
Is RV industry president out of touch with RVers?
New RVers disillusioned with New Orleans.
In the past few years have high winds forced you off the road?
New FMCA magazine is disappointing.

More popular articles from last week’s issue
What we learned about you last week (April 14-20).
RV industry president delights in RVing growth.
Have an RV mod to share with the rest of us?
Which repellents keep mosquitoes away best?
Don’t let snakes frighten you out of RV country.
• What have I learned after six months on the road?
How to avoid hot dogs (and other hot pets).

Nobody likes a dirty beast!
Your RV’s not your car, it’s your “beast.”
So don’t wash your RV with products designed for cars. Duratain’s Wade Maid products are RV Specific solutions specially formulated to clean and protect your RV’s fiberglass, vinyl and aluminum parts. Watch Wade clean, shine and protect EVERYTHING. Click here to buy, or learn more about, Wade Wax at the Wade Maid website.

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

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

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.

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

Ask the RV Shrink

Ripped off surge protector needed protecting

Dear RV Shrink:
Maybe I’m naive and too trusting, but when I spent $250 for a surge protector I didn’t buy the extra plastic lock box. In hindsight the $25 investment would have saved me a bundle. I had the surge protector for less than a month when it came up missing at a state park where we stayed a week. I never noticed it gone until we were packing up to leave.

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.

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

gas-738Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.80 (on Apr. 23). Change from week before: Up 5 cents; Change from year before: Up 35 cents. [Calif.: $3.57]
Diesel: $3.13 (on Apr. 23). Change from week before: Up 3 cents; Change from year before: Up 54 cents. [Calif.: $3.82]

Need mail forwarding? Choose the best!
Choose Americas Mailbox! It’s the best, endorsed by which has toured its South Dakota facility and interviewed its very customer-oriented owner. Many plans available. Learn more. Or view the video interview RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury conducted with Americas Mailbox owner Don Humes.

The RV Vet
With Dr. Deanna Tolliver, M.S., DVM

Ticks under a dog’s ear.

One dog: 500 ticks! Horrifying, but true

It’s tick season. Did you know there are more ticks than ever? As a veterinarian, Dr. Deanna once treated a dog with 500 ticks! Learn more about ticks, the nasty diseases they transmit, why you need to get them out of your dog or cat (and yourself) quickly, products to keep the creatures away (not flea and tick collars), and a simple device that makes removing them easy. Click here to read more.

Keep your dog’s mud outside!  
We saw the Mudbuster in action and were impressed – why doesn’t everyone have one of these? If Fido is always tracking mud inside, say no more. Simply fill the Mudbuster with water, dip your dog’s paws in one at a time, and they come out clean as a whistle. No more paper towel or wet-wipe waste. Watch the video and learn more here.  

extinguisher-697(3)RV Fire Safety Tip  

Understand your fire-fighting equipment before you need it
To be most effective at fighting a fire, you must know the purposes and limitations of your equipment, as well as how to properly maintain and use it. Don’t wait until a fire breaks out to try to figure out what to do. Take your extinguisher out now and have a look at it to make sure you’re prepared to use it if the time ever comes. The time you save could mean the difference between minor damage and major disaster. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy

The largest, tiniest blanket for all your outdoor needs
Pack your beach bags and park picnics, it’s summer! OK, well, almost. What’s one thing we always need for a relaxing day outdoors? A blanket! This tiny, super lightweight travel blanket is great for RVers, campers, hikers, concert-goers, and travelers. When folded up in its drawstring pouch, it fits in the palm of your hand. When unfolded, it’s a waterproof 55″x70″ two-person blanket. Be right back, we’re buying it here!

RV Quick Tips

What to do with bacon grease while camping?
Kent Bentz offers this great tip: “We soak up the bacon grease into paper towels, fold and place them in a sandwich bag, then freeze or refrigerate them. They lay flat and don’t take up much room. When ready to start a campfire, take one or two out of the bag, place under wood and light with a match – will burn for many minutes. Best fire starter ever.” Mmmmm! Thanks Kent!

Be careful parking near trees
A few things to think about when choosing a campsite near or beneath trees. First, do not camp close enough to branches that they may sway in a sudden wind – that can annoy you or, worse, scratch your RV’s paint. Second, check the area around the tree before selecting a site for anything that may be dropping from a tree – berries, leaves, even bird droppings from a favorite roosting place. And if a big storm is brewing, it may be best to stay away from trees (or branches) that could come crashing down.

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


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.

Gizmos and Gadgets

Emergency roadside LED beacons visible 2 miles
All drivers, and especially RVers, dread the possibility of having an emergency problem while on a stretch of road where we can’t exit to find help or can’t get safely off on the shoulder. It could happen to you, and it would not be advisable to wait until that emergency happens to take steps to ensure your safety when it does happen. The StonePoint LED Lighting Flare Kit makes an essential roadside tool for anyone on the road. Learn more.

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

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

RV generator seems to always “run out of gas”

Hi Doc,
Here’s a problem we just discovered. For years we’ve had trouble keeping our generator running. It just seemed to “run out of gas.” Our mechanic first installed a new gas line to the gas tank, then discovered that virtually no gas was coming out of the tube leading to the generator. He now proposes to lower the gas tank to look inside the tank to try and discover why it cannot suck any more gas out of the tank. What do you believe might be the problem? What suggestions do you have for fixing the problem? Thanks! —Joe P.

Read Gary’s response.

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

“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.

bob-d-med399Ask BoondockBob
with Bob Difley

Keep chipmunks (and other rodents) out of your RV

Hi Bob,
I just read your article on some ideas to keep mice out of our RV. We just opened ours up and found many drawers, under the bed, in the bedroom closet, etc., littered with pieces of broken hickory nuts and droppings everywhere. We are assuming that this was the working of one, or more than one, chipmunk. Nothing was chewed like the year before when we had a mouse. Any suggestions on how to keep them out would be greatly appreciated. —Donna

Read Bob’s response.

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

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

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

RV Electricity
with Mike Sokol

More random GFCI tripping

Dear Mike,
I have spent many hours online trying to find the answer to my problem. I have tried everything that I have read but still haven’t fixed my problem. I thought maybe if I turned to the expert I might get the answer. Can you please give me something else to try here. When I plug my 2013 RV into my garage it trips the GFCI outlet in my garage. This has also happened at two different locations (friends’ homes) that I have tried to plug into. …

Read the rest of the question and Mike’s response.

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

Camco Store at
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.

RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

Sidewall “bubble” or what? A tire autopsy
Roger  took his wife’s Miata in for an oil change and tire rotation and he was contacted by the store that they had discovered a “bubble” in the sidewall and wanted to know what he wanted to do. After a quick look at the location of interest, he concluded that it was a Sidewall Impact Break. He had the store replace the tire with a new one and asked that they allow him to do a “Failed Tire Inspection.” Here is what he found. (More proof of why he is a “tire expert.”)

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.

Astronomy for RVers
with Chris Fellows

A closer look at the moon
Understanding and observing our nearest celestial neighbor 
This week, Chris explains everything you ever wanted to know about the moon and then some, including an explanation of the most recent theories of its formation, how and when to best observe it, and much more. (Fascinating!) And have you ever noticed that the moon sometimes looks huge and sometimes small in the sky? Well, Chris has an easy experiment for you to try, and welcomes your comments on the results. Read more.


Don’t toss away good batteries!
Most RVers rely on battery-powered devices while on the road, whether flashlights, radios or cameras. But sometimes you just can’t tell how much life a battery has remaining so you toss it to “be sure.” This small, inexpensive tester will alert you in an instant to the condition of a battery, saving you money from needlessly tossing ones with plenty of remaining life! Works on AA, AAA, C, D, 9V and button-type batteries. Learn more or order.

Charles Kuralt
Charles rides the Goodyear Blimp
In this report that aired August 17, 1973, Charles hops aboard the Goodyear blimp, and flies slowly over Miami supported by 147,000 cubic feet of helium keeping him aloft.

Do you love Charles Kuralt? Order a 9-DVD set of his “On the Road” reports. 

micro-2-762Microwave cover collapses for easy storage
micro-2-flatWhen 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

The RV Kitchen   
with Janet Groene

Slow Cooker Blue Cheese Potatoes
Potatoes for the Wild Blue Yonder. Vegetarian in the family? Just double the cheese in this recipe to four ounces and serve these tangy, succulent, creamy  potatoes as a main dish. You can start with raw potatoes, thawed hashed browns or canned diced or sliced potatoes. The dish can also quick-bake in a buttered casserole in a 350-degree oven with cooked potatoes. Add a couple of finely chopped anchovies for a gourmet touch and a blast of flavor. Get the recipe.

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


The RoVing Naturalist
with Dennis Prichard

The tale of the spider and the wasp
If you’ve been a snowbird in the Southwest U.S., you may have seen a rather dauntingly huge wasp, black with gold wings, flying low across the desert floor, sounding much like an aircraft. This is the tarantula hawk wasp, and its story sounds like the plot of  a horror movie. Read more, if you dare.

This isn’t corny – it’ll really hide your valuables! 
Odds are, if a burglar breaks into your home or RV, they’re going to look in the obvious places for valuables: a safe, dresser drawers, the glove compartment, but a can of corn? Nope. They probably won’t check that. This “can” is actually a hidden security container made to hold valuables such as jewelry, keys, and even up to 10k cash! Screw off the bottom (the top just looks like a regular ol’ can) and hide away! Fool those burglars and hide your valuables in plain sight. Learn more or order.   

RV Short stop

Synchronous fireflies put on magical show
Did you ever watch and/or catch fireflies on warm summer evenings in your youth? Have you ever witnessed thousands of these enchanting insects flash all at the same time? These rare synchronous displays are magical, and there are less than a handful in the U.S. The once-a-year, natural phenomenon of synchronous fireflies in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is scheduled for June 7-14, 2018, in Elkmont, Tenn. It has become so popular that the park holds a lottery system for parking passes. The 2018 lottery opened for applications Friday, April 27. Better get a move on! Read more in this article by Julianne G. Crane.

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.

Free and bargain camping

Flying J Travel Plaza # 667, Grand Ledge, MI.
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Park in one of several marked RV spaces; if full you may be able to park along the curb of auto area. Potable water. Dump station. $10. Propane available. Park is well-lit and on a slight incline. Denny’s on site, breakfast/soup bar & limited other hot food in Flying J store. 7800 W Grand River Hwy. GPS: 42.787051, -84.677083

Unnamed US 101 Scenic Overlook, Bay City, OR.
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. The state of OR allows RVs and other vehicles to park (but not camp) in a rest area or turnout for a maximum of 12 hours in any 24-hour period. Turnout is large, wide & paved, with room for several rigs. No amenities. Beautiful view. Location: On the west side of US 101, 0.8 mi. north of the edge of Bay City, OR, or 2.9 mi. south of center of Garibaldi, OR. GPS: 45.543177, -123.9026

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

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.

Upcoming RV Shows

• Spring Hall of Fame RV Show, Apr. 26-29, Elkhart, IN
Puyallup RV Show,
May 3-6, Puyallup, WA. Visit the show website.
• Tampa Bay Summer RV Show, 
June 7-10, Tampa, FL
• West Palm Beach Summer RV Show,
June 8-11, West Palm Beach, FL

See the complete list of all upcoming RV shows.

Endorsed by tire expert Roger Marble!
Outstanding tire pressure gauge
tire-guage660The Accutire MS-4021B digital tire pressure gauge has an easy-to-read LCD display that provides pressure readings from 5-150 PSI. It’s ergonomically designed with an angled head and a rubber-coated easy-grip handle. If you forget to turn it off, it will do so automatically. The included lithium battery never needs to be recharged or replaced. Used by the RV Travel staffLearn more or order.

Between 1830 and 1880, American hunters reduced approximately 60 million bison to mere hundreds.

Bumper sticker of the week
“I’m lost but making good time.”

Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to Gail (at)

Joke of the Week
Many RVers will identify with these “laws of nature”:
“OLD” is when your sweetie says, “Let’s go upstairs and make love,” and you answer, “Honey, I can’t do both!”
“OLD” is when your friends compliment you on your new alligator shoes and you’re barefoot.
“OLD” is when a sexy babe catches your fancy and your pacemaker opens the garage door.
“OLD” is when going bra-less pulls all the wrinkles out of your face.
“OLD” is when you don’t care where your spouse goes, just as long as you don’t have to go along.
“OLD” is when you are cautioned to slow down by the doctor instead of by the police.
“OLD” is when “getting a little action” means “I don’t need to take any fiber today.”
“OLD” is when “getting lucky” means you find your car in the parking lot.
“OLD” is when “all-nighter” means not getting up to go potty!

Worth Pondering
There are amazingly wonderful people in all walks of life; some familiar to us and others not. Stretch yourself and really get to know people. People are in many ways one of our greatest treasures. —Bryant H. McGill

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RV Travel staff 
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Associate editor: Deanna Tolliver. Senior editor: Russ De Maris. Staff writer: Emily Woodbury. Contributing writers: Greg Illes, Bob Difley, Richard Miller, Richard Mallery, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Mike Sokol, Chris Guld, Julianne Crane, Chris Fellows, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring.

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

cw501About the editor Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for three decades. In the ’90s he published the quirky travel newspaper Out West, and was an “on the road” writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His book, “The Best from Out West” is available at Woodbury’s RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. He is the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD “Buying a Recreational Vehicle,” the definitive guide to purchasing an RV the right way.

Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of or this newsletter.

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  1. Any help for getting a mechanic to help us start our RV. We’ve called several in our area & so far, no luck. Stored it all winter- took the batteries out. Now she won’t start.

  2. There was a suggestion from Kent Bentz to use leftover bacon grease as fire starters. I don’t recommend that for two reasons: (1) In bear country, you’re sending out a personal invitation to visit in that campfire smoke. . .and other critters will come to investigate, too. (2) You’re missing out on the tastiest cornbread ever! I save my bacon grease to use instead of oil in cornbread. Then I cook the cornbread in a covered iron skillet over a campfire, on the grill, or on the RV stovetop. Cook for 10 minutes on low heat, turn once and cook for 10 more minutes. Delicious!

  3. Thank you for keeping the lack of RV spaces up front in this newsletter. If the trucking industry can do it the RV industry should be able to. I propose that the RV industry involve major hotels with extra land to set up RV sites. We see them out west. Also, RV dealers need to step up and build parks. They sell them so they should also park them.

  4. I’m still waiting for comments on an electronic device on the tank and water signal board that would show that the rv was correctly connected to the power and adequately grounded.

    • I doubt that will ever happen due to the costs involved. Such a device would add a few hundred dollars to every pedestal in all the campgrounds across the country, which would then have to be passed onto the RV owners renting the sites. I believe that we’re on our own as far as protecting our RV investment as well as the safety of our families. Best to invest in an intelligent surge protector that will protect both of them.

    • Sorry you’re having a problem, Larry. I checked the links in the newsletter last night, and again just now, and they’re working for me. Here’s the link if you want to try it: If you still can’t get it to work, it might be something blocking the site in your computer (but I don’t know why). Please write to Chuck(at) if you’re still having a problem. Thank you very much, Larry! We really appreciate your support! —Diane at

      • Check to see if you have an ad blocker. It may be the cause of the problem if you have one. You will have to disable it for that site.

  5. Jim Twamley from the editorial above:
    Vivian Grybko is a widow from Kansas who began traveling as a full-time RVer after her husband died. I asked her how many close friends she has in the RV community and she said, “More than I ever had when I was living in one place for many years.”
    How very true. How many neighbours do you know as friends in your high rise apartment? Probably not even the ones on the same floor.
    The widow quoted is a full timer. As a half timer our new friends have almost all come from RVing and from all corners of North America. As a half timer it is not a trip, just another adventuresome home.
    Not mentioned but in RVing there are 30 minutes of chores to do every day. At a freehold home it seems to be 4 hours.
    Great article by Jim Twamley, guest editorialist.

  6. Chuck,
    Wondering if the RV Industry doesn’t really care about full timers or big RV’s because it might be too small a percentage of overall RV’s. Do you have any idea what that percentage is?
    Similar to why Flying J or Loves doesn’t cater more to RV’s. We’re less than 1% of their business.

  7. I wonder how Mr. Andersen would feel if someone scratched graffiti on his chest…… something like……I am an imbecile ! He should be given the max penalty in both fine and jail time !!!!!


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