Tuesday, January 31, 2023


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 847

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!

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Issue 847 • Week of May 26–June 1, 2018   #rvtravel

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

We write often on this website about RV electricity and in Mike Sokol’s monthly newsletter.

I have learned a lot about RV electricity through the years, especially since Mike began contributing regularly awhile back. Among other things, I learned the importance of having a good surge protector when hooking up to shore power. The most popular, and best, are those from Progressive Industries and Surge Guard. Some RVs come with them built right into the rig.

Two weeks ago, at a KOA campground in Illinois, my surge protector may have prevented a serious accident. When Gail and I plugged our device into the campground’s 50-amp plug, it showed an open ground, a dangerous condition.

An open ground, in certain situations, can cause a hot skin condition, which can be deadly. Have you ever felt a tingle when touching your door when you entered your RV? Be glad you didn’t do it while standing in a puddle of water.

What happens is that your RV becomes electrified. On a rainy day, or while standing on moist ground, just touching any metal on your RV while your feet are on the ground can cause electricity to pass through your body, killing you instantly. Read about how this happened to 3-year old Landyn Keener.

We could not plug into a pedestal at the KOA without exposing ourselves to danger. I told the park manager about the problem, but she did not believe me. I assured her I was not a trouble maker, just trying to alert her to a safety issue and to request another site for the night. 

She had never heard the term “hot skin condition,” and appeared annoyed that I was suggesting there was anything wrong. She finally told me she was not responsible for her camper’s “medical problems.” I then explained that it was an RV’s skin, not a person’s.

The Sperry detector shows open ground

She finally understood, and put us in another site. She assured us that she would have an electrician look at the pedestal. The next day, now 200 miles away, I received a call from the electrician, thanking me. “That could have caused a serious problem,” he said. He explained that the ground wire had come loose.

I wondered how long that pedestal had been improperly wired. I wondered how many campers, including kids, were in potential danger during that time.

We checked a few other nearby campsites with our Sperry Detector and they were okay.

This incident got me thinking that all the RV parks  should simply check the pedestal to be sure it is okay. It would only take a minute or two of their time, and easy for the work camper who leads you to your site in a golf cart. I asked Mike Sokol to explain how an RV park could easily do this. Here’s his response.

Be safe! 


I took this photo at the Cambridge American Cemetery in England, where 3,812 Yanks rest in peace.

In honor of Memorial Day, my staff and I would like to acknowledge the brave servicemen and women who died serving our country. They gave their lives to something bigger than themselves — to protect the freedoms of you, me and all Americans — then, now and forever. I urge you to visit a cemetery this weekend and seek out the white crosses or Stars of David, little flags, or headstone inscriptions of veterans — those who died while serving, and also those who were lucky enough to return home. Pause awhile to think about them — each one a precious, national treasure.

• • •

RV sales continued to boom again in April, while campsites at RV parks remained stagnant. 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. 

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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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.

cover story
Save money buying an RV with a Montana LLC?
According to stories published by rvbusiness.com, attendees at the recent Family Motor Coach Association rally in Georgia were greeted by representatives of a Montana firm that promised significant savings on taxes and registrations when buying an RV. You know the catch, simply use a Montana attorney to set up a Limited Liability Corporation to “own” your new rig, and you won’t have to pay state sales tax, and you can take advantage of low RV registration rates in the Big Sky State, regardless of what you call your own state of residence. How much can you save? Or, maybe more importantly, how much can it really cost you? Learn more.

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.

Recent recalls:
Winnebago recalls some RVs: Roof rack may detach.
Thor recalls motorhomes for hose problem, fire hazard.

CampandaTrying to pay off your RV?
RVing should be about freedom, not monthly payments. The income you earn by renting it out could cover the cost of ownership — up to $4,250 a month for a Class A motorhome or $1,780 a month for a popup trailer. Find out how to rent your RV safely on Campanda.com.

Dealing with cancer as a full-time RVer
From long-time, full-time RVer and blogger Malia Lane: “How do you deal with cancer as a full time RVer? I don’t rightly know, but I guess I’m about to find out. It’s not a class I’m taking voluntarily, but I found a big lump in my neck in March that has pretty much consumed my time since then and changed my travel plans for the summer to say the least.” Read more.

RV rental fleet expected to expand this year
The North American RV rental fleet will expand again in 2018, according to a new survey by the RV Rental Association (RVRA). A total of 43 percent of RV dealers and rental agencies surveyed said they planned to expand their fleets, while only 11 percent said they will reduce their rental offerings. Read more.

Campfire safety: Don’t let yours be the spark for wildfire devastation
Even if you don’t read the news on a regular basis, you can’t miss hearing about or seeing videos of the devastation caused by wildfires. Often started by lightning, or careless workmen, there are also several wildfires each year started by campers. Here are important tips from Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician and former firefighter.

Oregon changes rules, hikes fees on forest camping
RVers and other outdoor recreationists may find a few changes if they favor overnight visits to Oregon State Forests. To clarify, we mean lands overseen by the Oregon Board of Forestry, not by the U.S. Forest Service. The state authorities are bringing new rules online that will affect fees paid by campers on these state-controlled lands. Learn more.

This week’s Reader Poll
Would you recommend the make/model of your RV to a friend looking to buy an RV?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. We’ll post the final results in next week’s newsletter. CLICK HERE.

Read the up-to-the minute responses from last week’s poll:
How much time do you think you’ll spend in your RV in 2018? Click here for the results.

Need mail forwarding? Choose the best!
Choose Americas Mailbox! It’s the best, endorsed by RVtravel.com 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.

spyWhat we learned from you last week!
Every week we learn a little more about you. This week was no exception. We learned that there’s a good chance you’re reading this from inside your RV since the majority of you are either full-timers or RV six months out of the year. We learned that you don’t really care about having cable TV at your RV park, and we also learned that while many of you used tobacco at one point, you no longer do. Click here to see everything we learned about you, and find out how many people think they’ll buy a new RV this year! 

Portable hot sauce – Variety is the spice of life
Rich “the Wanderman” sometimes likes to spice things up a bit when he’s cooking. A bit of heat, mixed with some extra flavor, is a welcome change to daily favorites. There are any number of hot sauces available and Rich has his favorites, but of course you have to be selective when you have very little storage space. (Sriracha available on a keychain, anyone?) Here’s how he keeps a variety on hand.

Warranty expires while new motorhome sits 15 months in shop
Imagine how frustrating it must be to have a brand-new RV, but the full year warranty expired while it sat on two different service center lots … and you have never even used it. That’s what happened to one RV Travel reader. Here’s an update on our previous story on her ongoing battle to get things right.

How to increase water flow in your RV faucets
Are you experiencing decreasing water pressure from your RV faucets? Here from the RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, are some things to check along with more information to solve the problem. Read more.

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 RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury.

How to make leveling your trailer and fifth wheel easy
Leveling a fifth wheel or travel trailer is something we have to do just about every time we park our rigs. But it’s not difficult. The basic principles apply to all trailers. We’ll cover those, along with some hands-on tips, and we’ll suggest some tools and other items that can make things easier. Learn more.

Basic facts about RV generators
“My wife and I are new to RVing. My questions concern generators for travel trailers. What will one do and not do? How do they hook up? What size generator do I need? I have read some things about generators and every time I get more confused. It’s also challenging figuring the power needs of our RV components. Can you help?” —Steve K. Get the answer here.

video camera WPSetting up a Blue Ox Alpha Tow Bar
This is Part 1 of a two-part interview by our friend Andy Pargh, the Gadget Guru. In this 24-minute video, Andy talks  with Jeff Jubin, the Dealer Development Manager of Blue Ox. “The reason I contacted Blue Ox was that I was seeing conflicting information online and wanted to ask questions directly to the factory,” said Andy. Click here to watch.

FMCA announces dates for 2019 conventions
FMCA, a Cincinnati-based international association for RV owners, has announced the dates and locations for its 2019 conventions. The organization of 76,000 RVers will return to a popular venue for the association’s 99th International Convention and RV Expo — the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry, Georgia. The March 13 through 16, 2019, gathering will mark the 11th convention FMCA has hosted at this middle Georgia facility, which FMCA leaders describe as tailor-made for an FMCA event. Learn more.

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.

Most popular articles from last week’s issue
Couple sue Thor over defective luxury RV. Sewage ‘geysers’ into bedroom.
How to avoid buying an RV Lemon. 
Wife worried about solar panels blowing off.
When campgrounds fill, boondock. lt’s not as difficult as you think.
RV tech training — via the internet.
• What we learned from you last week (May 12-18).
How to check for a propane leak.
Surge Protectors and Joules and MOVs, oh my!
RV storage: But $175,000 for a storage unit?

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

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

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

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.

Did you buy a lemon RV? Here’s more about RV lemons and lawyers who will represent you if you need help.

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

Ask the RV Shrink

Bored snowbirds have “too much time” on their hands

Dear RV Shrink:
I think we are normal but lately I have second thoughts. Since we started traveling all winter in our fifth wheel our social life has changed significantly. We like to camp in remote, quiet areas. … [In the morning] we have our coffee and try to figure out what we are going to do all day. At home we are always busy, but on the road I think we have too much time on our hands. Do others have this problem too? —Cabin fever on wheels

Read 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.

Easily clean those stubborn bugs off your RVsponge91FkFZCzPZL__SL1500_
The Microfiber Mesh Bug and Tar Sponge has millions of tiny fibers embedded in the microfiber cloth that grabs and holds the dust and dirt. It is so effective it even cleans without chemicals, saving both time and money. The secret of this sponge lies in its unique, double-layer microfiber mesh. Older nylon bug sponges can harm your clear coat, but this one is completely paint safe. Learn more or order

gas-738Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.92 (on May 21). Change from week before: Up 5 cents; Change from year before: Up 52 cents. [Calif.: $3.62]
Diesel: $3.28 (on May 21). Change from week before: Up 4 cents; Change from year before: Up 74 cents. [Calif.: $3.97]

“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.

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

Why does my dog do that?

Dear Dr. Deanna,
We take our dog, Nora, with us on our RV trips and have noticed that she will sniff an area on the grass or on the side of a tree, then urinate on that same spot. She has been spayed. We thought only male dogs did that!—Kevin G.

Read Dr. Deanna’s reply.

Keep your pets safe in an emergency
Do you worry about what would happen to your pets if you had an emergency and couldn’t get home to them? This Pet Alert sticker, wallet card, and keychain set is a necessity for all pet owners. The kit allows first responders to know that you have pets at home. On the sticker, check off how many cats and dogs you have and stick it on your car or RV window. Also included is a keychain and wallet cards, in case you are hurt and unable to tell responders where your pets are. Keep your pets protected and buy this life-saving kit here

extinguisher-697(3)RV Fire Safety Tip  

Maintaining your fire extinguishers
Once you’ve determined that you have the right type of fire extinguishers, the next priority is to keep them properly maintained by checking them periodically. Check the fire extinguisher gauge to determine if there is pressure in the extinguisher. If the gauge indicates empty or needs charging, replace or recharge the extinguisher immediately. To test non-gauged extinguishers, push the plunger indicator (usually green or black) down. If it does not come back up, the extinguisher has no pressure to expel its contents. If you need help testing your fire extinguishers, check with your local fire department. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy

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.

RV Quick Tips

Keep your powder-type fire extinguisher contents loose
Every month turn your RV “powder-type” fire extinguisher upside down and shake it hard, even tap the bottom of it with a screwdriver handle. The constant shaking and rattling of going down the road can compact the dry chemical in the device, and you need to loosen it up to ensure it comes out when you need it.

Expanded showering opportunities
Got a BIG family or lots of traveling companions? You may find that the RV shower and associated gray water holding tank just aren’t big enough for the whole mob. Consider picking up a “solar shower” system. Heated by the sun and used outdoors, it’s great for showering down after a swim. There are several to choose from at Amazon.com starting at less than $10.

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

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!

Gizmos and Gadgets

Airfryer delivers tasty fried chicken with 80% less fat
We live in an era of healthy cooking consciousness, and either (grudgingly) cut down on unhealthy cooking habits or – at our peril – ignore the new healthier food rules. The Airfryer people would like to offer you an alternative that could provide healthier traditional foods that taste as good as – or better than (read some of the reviews) – the original version (fried food lovers take note). Learn more.

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

A DEET-free mosquito and tick repellent … that works! 
Well, it’s that time again (unfortunately.) If you’re one of those people that mosquitoes love (we all know at least one person like this), this product is for you. 700+ five star reviews? Yup. This awesome DEET-free insect repellent works for mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects. Keep this one handy, folks. As RVers, there’s a good chance you’ll probably need this. Learn more or order here.

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

Why does fresh water tank fill up unexpectedly?

Dear Gary,
When I am hooked up to the campground water supply my fresh water tank fills up. How can I correct this problem? Thanks! —George B.

Read Gary’s response.

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

Water is y0ur RV’s enemy. Keep it away!
The Zircon Leak Alert electronic water detector will alert you if it detects water where it’s not supposed to be. Put it in your storage compartments, by the toilet, the water heater compartment — anyplace where unwanted water could appear. A loud alarm will sound when water is detected, and you can get right to work fixing the problem before the water does damage. Comes in 2, 5 or 8 packs. Learn more or order.

bob-d-med399Ask BoondockBob
with Bob Difley

Collect a database of boondocking campsites

Hi Bob,
I’ve been boondocking for 15 years, and I’ve found it’s not the camping itself that’s hard, it’s finding places to do it. I use Google Maps to locate new places, but that’s not very reliable because you cannot see details like road elevations and conditions. My best resource has been Escapees and their publication “Day’s End”. Also, there are plenty of no-hookups campgrounds (at least out West) where you’ll find sparse attendance during the week. These places are usually beautiful, quiet, and have plenty of room between sites. Yes, you’ll pay rent, but it’s well worth it to not be in a crowded campground. As long as lots of RVers remain lazy and rich, I think boondocking will be available for quite some time. —Michael S. 

Read Bob’s response.

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

Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: Women’s rights, emotional subjects in the Victorian nineteenth century, sparked lively discussions at Nook Farm

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

Make an omelette in seconds! 
Tired of making omelettes and dealing with the mess, cleanup, and timely preparation? This microwaveable omelette maker saves the day! This handy gadget makes omelettes in just three easy steps: beat eggs and milk, add ingredients, microwave and eat! It promotes healthy eating by cutting out butter, oil and grease. Buy this breakfast-saver here.

RV Electricity
with Mike Sokol

Hot-skin voltage troubleshooting

Dear Mike,
I wanted to contact you as I have (as so many have) been “tickled” due to a hot-skin condition on my 1991 Travelmaster Class C motorhome, but my condition seems a bit different. Thus I would like to explain the scenario a bit, and inquire as to what areas you would recommend that I “review” to ensure full safety for myself and family during use of the RV. 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 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.

Heavy duty grill mats master the BBQ!
Been looking for perfect grill mats? Here you go! These mats are the ideal thickness, still allowing that chicken to get those beautiful grill marks, but thick enough to provide durability and heat resistance. Never worry about cleaning your grill again and never worry about veggies falling through those dang cracks. Hassle-free grilling every time. Works with any type of grill or BBQ. Learn more or order here. 

RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

Tire info in owner’s manual and on certification label

Roger has been looking at the “Tire Placard” aka Vehicle Certification Label for a number of 5th wheel trailers and has learned a few things. Good info to know.

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 

Astronomy for RVers
with Chris Fellows

Dark skies in Texas
Another great park that caters to astronomers.

Are you ready to hit the road with your telescope? Chris has found another great place to haul your kit and get out under a glorious night sky. The Marathon Motel and RV park in Marathon, Texas, is on a remote stretch of Highway 90 in the southwest of Texas. Just about 40 minutes north of Big Bend National Park, and about the same distance southeast of McDonald Observatory, Marathon sports a Bortles scale 1 sky and holds star parties almost every clear night. Read more.

It’s tornado season: Be prepared!
For about $18, you can rest assured that any time 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.

Charles Kuralt
In this week’s “On The Road” dispatch, Charles travels the Oregon Trail through Wyoming, with stops at Register Cliff and Independence Rock, where he ponders the fates of some of the pioneers who carved their names there in stone. Click the video watch.

20% off RoverPass, unlimited booking to over 6,000 campgrounds!
RoverPass Unlimited is the all-access fast pass to booking campgrounds online. It allows you to search and book at over 6,000 campgrounds and RV parks without a platform fee. You’ll also get priority booking and one-on-one access with customer service representatives. Click here to receive 20 percent off an unlimited membership.

The RV Kitchen   
with Janet Groene

Blender Bean Pie
Just for fun, here’s a mystery pie. Have fun at the next campground potluck by serving this pie. Let everyone guess what’s in it. Call it Caramel. Call it Coffee Mocha. Call it Brown Sugar Pie. Call it delicious, but they won’t know beans about what’s really in it. Get the recipe.

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


It looks like a key, but it’s a folding knife
Wow! Could this come in handy those times you wish you had a small pocket knife along! It looks just like a regular key, but when unfolded it turns into a pocket knife. Just remember to remove it from the keychain before you hop on your plane flight. Learn more or order!

The RoVing Naturalist
with Dennis Prichard

Skunk encounters. What you need to know.
What do you do when you come across a skunk? Is it time to panic? Are you about to be squirted with one of the most offensive odors in the world? And what happens if Fido gets sprayed? Is cleaning him with tomato juice the way to get rid of the stink? Learn the answers to these questions and more.

Honey, you still smell like dinner!
If something stinks in your 300 square foot home on wheels…you want those odors out, fast! Cooking salmon with onion and garlic might smell delicious, but how do your hands smell two days later? Not so delicious. The Rub-A-Way bar is the best magic trick you’ve ever seen. Use it like a bar of soap after handling anything smelly, and poof! The smell is gone. OK, so there’s some pretty neat science behind it, but we’ll stick with pretending it’s a magic trick because that makes it more fun. Learn more or order here. 

RV Short stop

Photo: Julianne G. Crane

Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area
Reedsport, Oregon

Julianne Crane states: “Jimmy and I are lucky enough to spend many months each year in Oregon. Our very favorite ‘comfort station’ is the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area, on State Highway 38, just a couple miles east of Reedsport, Ore., on Coast Hwy 101. Not only are there free toilet facilities and room to walk around, the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area is the year-round residence for a herd of about 100 Roosevelt elk.” Read more.

Don’t let high water pressure blow out your pipes!
This should be a required accessory for your RV, one that could save you thousands of dollars in repair bills. Some RV parks have water pressure so high it can blow out your system — a big, major repair bill “ouch!” Join the RV Travel staff in using this highly rated item to prevent that from happening. Learn more or order.

Free and bargain camping
From OvernightRVparking.com

Roadside Picnic Area, Felt, OK
Overnight parking is allowed. Fairly short area parallel to the highway, with entrances at both ends. Slight downhill slope away from hwy. Lot is unlit, appears safe and is quiet at night. Room for 2-3 rigs. Picnic shelter; no other known amenities. Location: US 56, 64 & 412, 11.4 mi west of Felt, OK, or 0.6 mi east of OK/NM border. GPS: 36.525313 -102.992069

Walmart Supercenter # 1645, Hanford, CA
Overnight parking is allowed. The store requires that RVers obtain permission. Park in closest to Sonic and In & Out Burger. Level with slopes for drainage. Well-lit and has security personnel on site. Generally quiet. Address: 250 S 12th Ave. GPS: 36.320826, -119.674464

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.

Museum of the Week

The National Mustard Museum
Middleton, WI

Yup, you heard it here, folks. A museum dedicated to that yellow stuff you either love or hate (we hope for the sake of this museum that you love it). Wisconsin’s National Mustard Museum is home to 5,992 mustards from all 50 states, and all around the world. The story goes that the founder, Barry Levenson, previously the Assistant Attorney General to the State of Wisconsin (interesting), heard a voice in his head that said, “If you collect us, they will come” when passing the mustard section of a grocery store late one night. Weird? Yeah, but the whole idea of a mustard museum is weird … but we’re into it anyway. Visit the museum website here and go soon so you can stock up on the good stuff for your summer BBQs! (P.S. The admission is FREE!)

It’s almost like someone’s doing it for you!
Don’t you hate when you carry several heavy grocery bags and your hands go numb? The bags cut into your hands and leave big red marks? Not to mention the bags are heavy! These bag grips make carrying multiple bags easy. The comfortable foam handle takes off the pressure, and won’t hurt or cut into your hands. We highly recommend – even just from the car to the RV, you’ll thank us! Learn more or order here.

Upcoming RV Shows

• Tampa Bay Summer RV Show, June 7-10, Tampa, FL
• Green Country RV Show, July 20-22, Tulsa, OK 

See the complete list of all upcoming RV shows.

Save your soda or beer can from losing fizz
Maybe you don’t want to finish your soda all at once, or maybe on the picnic table a fly falls into your beer can (yuck), these can lids are the perfect solution to keeping your can safe and fizzy! The can lids will lock in fizz, keep bugs and other gunk out, and will allow you to drink from the same can for a couple of days. Made from durable plastic, these lids are a must-have for us can-sippin’ RVers! Learn more or order

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Joke of the Week
Two skunks were being chased by a bear. As the bear got closer one of the skunks said, “Whatever shall we do?” The other skunk replied, “Let us spray.”

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RV Travel staff 
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. 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 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

We have a 2016 Pheonix Cruiser 3100. Drove it from Florida to Alaska and back. Over 17000 miles in 5 months. Three months in Alaska with some very rough roads. (Top of the World Highway ). Lots of camping in hot Florida. Never a single problem. Did a factory tour, talked to other owners all of whom raved about quality and reliability. We will never have any other brand.

Chuck Woodbury
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob

Bob, I just toured the Phoenix Cruiser factory and was very impressed. If I were looking for a new coach, to downsize a little, I would strongly consider one of its models.

Solar Steve
4 years ago

I am puzzled by the frequent articles on increasing water flow at the faucet. Foor anyone boondocking, minimal water flow extends useful time of the freshwater tank, especially in small RVs. And showering, the hot water can last for 2 people’s showers, without ever having to do the on and off shower method. I carefully remopved the large hose showerhjead and replaced with one that gives a good spray on less than 1 gallon a minute. The amall type with a quarter coin sized brass disc in it with about 12 small holes for the water spray.

4 years ago
Reply to  Solar Steve

You’ll find there is a persistent schism between “living” folks who want their RV to run like their house, and “camping” folks who want to eliminate the wastes of assuming constant shore connections.

$1.5K popups and $1.5M pushers read this same list. The writers favor the latter end.

Chris G Stamper
4 years ago

I have a Coleman 2018 and over half of the plug outlets is set up on a GFCI circuit. It started shutting down or losing power to these plugs when using with phone chargers and xbox with tv. No GFCI was tripped, so bought a Southwire GFCI tester and tested my house before using it in the camper and house worked good but camper showed hot and neutral reversed. Took and looked at all plugs affected and all was wired same and panel was wired correctly, question is does the tester work differently in the camper than house?

Mike Sokol
4 years ago

The outlets on an RV should measure exactly the same as in a house, assuming your shore power cordset is connected to a properly wired pedestal outlet. But you are correct that a reversed hot-neutral on a branch circuit can cause GFCI tripping. I’ll be doing an advanced article on GFCI theory and testing in a future RV Electricity newsletter, so stay tuned.

Omer Murray
4 years ago

I just found this, I am not that computer savvy. I wanted to reply to several articles I have read in the past issues and found no way.
Could you leave reply links with the articles and with the people responsible for the issues?
I have read the stories about poorly built RVs and I wonder if you could do one on reliable manufacturers.
BTW, I found you several months and I love your publication.

Mike Sherman
4 years ago

The link to the article on skunk encounters does not work.

john stahl
4 years ago

Sherry, There are no good RV’s to buy. They all have problems. You are lucky if you get one with only a couple problems. They build RV’s fast and pretty but not with much quality.

Sherry Dawson
4 years ago
Reply to  john stahl

I don’t agree. I have owned two RVs in the past–the Winnebago Class A had nary a repair issue the whole time I owned it. I still have the 1986 VW Camper my mother bought new, and the only repairs it’s ever needed were normal engine repair over a 32-year period of regular use. The camper portion is still pristine.and working perfectly.

I specified that I am looking for a used Class C Toyhauler. I don’t want anything younger than 2008. I will not buy a new one for the reasons you stated. I will do extensive research on anything that interests me, do a thorough inspection and test drive, camp in it a night or two, and hire a professional inspector before I make any offers.

Sherry Dawson
4 years ago

Chuck, I found the complaint letters from RV buyers very helpful as I’m shopping for an RV. However, I would LOVE to see recommendations from RVers about the good ones! Since most people complain about the new rigs, I think a lot of us would like to know which older units would be a good bet. Could you do a short article and ask for comments from readers telling us what they have (or had) and liked? Or ask the question however you think would get the most responses?

I will buy a used Class C toyhauler, and would love to see who has one they love. They aren’t as available as Class A Toyhaulers and fifth wheels, so I have fewer choices and can’t afford to make a mistake.

Thanks for any help you can offer. I LOVE this publication.

Richard Davidson
4 years ago
Reply to  Sherry Dawson

Bought a 1997 Newmar 11 years ago. Still going strong and hardly any problems. They don’t build em like they used to. I see you said you don’t want anything newer than 2008. That’s a good point to start I think. If you want an older coach go with the known better manufacturers. Newmar, Winabago, Barth, etc.

Sherry Dawson
4 years ago

Thanks for the recommendations, Richard.

Tommy Molnar
4 years ago

Watched the Charles Karult video. It’s interesting that we look at the ‘registers’ of the emigrants as interesting and fascinating history but if someone does this today they are labelled as destroying nature. Of course, we already had a BIG discussion of this recently so we don’t need to start all over again. I’m just sayin’ . . . . .

Sam Kline
4 years ago

Your point about using the Sperry Connector checking device sounds good but looks like it is only configured to test 110. How do you check 50amp plug in?

Chuck Woodbury
4 years ago
Reply to  Sam Kline

Sam, we got the open ground code on our surge protector. We used the Sperry to confirm. — Chuck

John Hiler
4 years ago

My god, this is the 21st century. A simple light on the water-sewer console, Green ground ok, Red defective ground. Probably a five dollar fix at construction…

Mike Sokol
4 years ago
Reply to  John Hiler

You can get a basic version of a ground tester inside of your RV by simply plugging in a 3-light tester. However, it won’t test for over or under voltage, and it certainly can’t disconnect your RV from an improperly wired pedestal. There’s just no cheap way out of it.

John Hiler
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

There is probably an app and a cable for your I-phone that will test for ground and voltage…The low power probably won’t kill you – the lack of ground will…

Mike Sokol
4 years ago
Reply to  John Hiler

No, I’m pretty sure no such cheap app exists. The FLIR Pro camera plug-in on my iPhone costs $400. And I do have a new Southwire digital meter with a bluetooth connection that will display the voltage, amperage and ohms remotely on my iPhone. But it ain’t cheap. A standard digital meter is as cheap as it gets for right now. However, if someone wanted to build a bluetooth connection and app into a 50-amp plug along with the appropriate circuity, that would be pretty handy.

4 years ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

There are plenty of cheaper options, but there is always a trade-off of convenience and thrift. For several hundred dollars you get a plugNplay surge and fault-disconnecter, and many think that’s worth that price for safety with little effort.

For under $5 you can get a basic voltmeter, 3-light plug, and voltage detector — but you’ll have to remember to USE THEM. For $7 I get fulltime voltage/amp/watt…. monitoring and alarm, but I have to switch off the breaker if it rings. With an arduino and relays, its easy to duplicate from scratch the automatic Progressive units for a few bucks, but you do your own soldering and coding… Money vs effort… Choose your balance.

Mike: I could make that bluetooth device under $10… Wanna go into business? I currently use an LCD or OLED on my PMS, but pumping serial over BT is trivial…

Mike Sokol
4 years ago
Reply to  Wolfe

It’s all about the learning curve. While guys like you and I can easily use a meter to suss out an outlet, most casual users do it with some degree of difficulty. And some users will never learn how to measure a receptacle properly, due to the fear factor of electricity or perhaps a general distaste for learning new technical things. So lets assume that a campground will have the guy or gal who escorts you to your campsite do a test on the pedestal. Do you really want them to break out the meter kit and poke around in the outlet with the meter leads? Wouldn’t it be better for them to plug in a gadget that would qualify the outlet(s) in 10 seconds with a go/no-go indication? I personally use a SureTest Analyzer and a few adapter plugs, so I not only get voltage readings, it also calculates voltage drop and impedance of each of the wires at the push of a button. However, interpreting that amount of data takes a serious amount of studying. I think a simple go/no-go indicator would be much better. And no, a 3-light tester you can get for $5 is not a comprehensive test.

4 years ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

“Don’t stick the pokey bits in the zappy slots?” LOL.

Yes, the 3 light needs at least a voltage and some RPBG detection added. I’ve made my own 1-plug instant checker, but I keep wondering why its not already available retail? Really cheap to make…

4 years ago

Was with a group camping and our Progressive industries 30amp unit shut the electricity off due to low voltage. Told the other members of our group and all but one checked there voltage and found low voltage. The one that did not stated that our Progressive industries 50 amp unit shutting off the electricity was the reason that he would not have one since his wife would get upset over the electricity being shut off.
Found out later that in the next 6 months he had to replace the AC, microwave,TV,converter and the mother board on the refrigerator,

Mike Sokol
4 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

Without an advanced surge protector between the campsite pedestal and your RV’s electrical system, it can be subject to all sorts of over-voltage and under-voltage conditions, much of which can damage your RV’s appliances.

4 years ago

Don’t waste your money on the Rub-Away-Bar like I did. It doesn’t work!

Dave G
4 years ago

Chuck, thank you for your great newsletter!

Your article about testing the power at your site is right on but needs to point out the recommended tester with out adaptor(s) only tests the 15/20 amp receptacle, many RV’s use the 30 or 50 amp plugs. Just because one receptacle tests good does not mean the others in the box are good.

I have a built in Progressive industries 50 amp unit. We were in a private campground in California a few years ago when it indicated there was a ground issue.. when the PImunit indicates an issue it does not allow the power to get to the rv’s Electrical system without a manual override. The CG manager tried to tell me it was a problem with my meter, she said that they had other people report the same condition and that they had checked and it was OK. I told her that it was my health and safety and I trusted the device, so I wanted to move. A second site tested the same way so I moved to a 3rd site in a different row, no problems. It turned out the entire row had a ground issue. Two things I learned, trust your instruments but verify your findings, and do not let someone talk you into a potentially dangerous situation!

Dave Piposzar
4 years ago

Electric pedestal problems reminded me of a state park in WV where my built-in voltage meter on the motorhome kept showing less than 100 volts of AC available. While that might be ok for lights, it sure isn’t for AC or the microwave!! The ranger and I checked multiple sites in the loop with the same problem. So everything might be wired ok and still be a low voltage nightmare. I asked other campers in the area if they checked their voltage and most looked at me like I had two heads, and then had no idea where to find their meter or had units that didn’t have them. Are today’s shore power intakes equipped today voltage/amp meters??

4 years ago
Reply to  Dave Piposzar

Here’s how to test 30 and 50A pedestals with a 3-lite, voltmeter, NC and probed-voltage detector:


As far as post-plugin voltage monitoring, I also installed a *$7* V/A/W/KWh/Frequency/PowerFactor meter in my trailers… anytime I have hi/low V or total Watts (important not overloading when on genny), it blinks and sounds an alarm. $7 insurance!

Here’s installing a simpler just V/A meter a while back (install is the identical for the 6-way):