Tuesday, September 26, 2023


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 853

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 853 • Week of July 1-7, 2018   #rvtravel

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

Every so often we receive feedback from our readers that sends our staff’s hearts a twitterin’ and makes us proud we’re doing something important — educating our readers in ways that enhance their lives, even save them.

Reader Stephen Wickland left a comment this past week that reminded us once again about how we truly do more here than just write fluffy RV reviews and serve as cheerleaders for the RV industry. Oh, we love RVing, but we’re not afraid to point out its shortcomings. 

Mr. Wickland wrote:
You guys ARE saving lives by educating us RVers about possible electrical issues at campground hookups! And you potentially saved my bacon last week!

I plugged into a 30-amp pedestal at the Munising, MI KOA. Everything seemed fine…but was I mistaken! After I was all plugged in and having the RV all leveled and such, it dawned on me to get out my Non Contact Voltage Tester. As I placed it on my RV’s door it lit up like a Christmas tree! Out of the 10 different times I had been connected at various campgrounds, this was the first time I had ever gotten a “hot skin” reading.

So, I proceeded to check the metal steps and metal frame around the door and as you might have guessed…it was “hot” as well. I then went to the pedestal and everywhere I placed my NCVT it indicated that the entire pedestal was hot.

I immediately notified the campground management and they discovered some kind of short/defect in the pedestal’s wiring. Potential disaster averted. And I looked super-smart in my wife’s and kids’ eyes. A rare occurrence indeed!

Thank you for this great service you provide weekly to all of us RVers. I will be supporting you monetarily from this point on. I feel kind of sheepish (cheap!) about not doing so sooner.

Could this pedestal cause you or your RV harm? You can’t know unless you test it.

Mike Sokol wrote more about Mr. Wickland’s comments. Please, please read it: It’s important.

As Mike and I discussed Mr. Wickland’s comment (and after my similar experience – see below), we decided we must do something immediately to help make RV park electric hookups safer. We cannot leave it to individual parks to do it: Most don’t even know they have a problem, which could be caused, for example, by an unknown open ground. And so we are laying the foundation right now for the “Stray Voltage Patrol.” You will be invited to participate by the end of this month.

stray voltage patrolThe idea is that with an inexpensive testing device (an example) you could easily check your pedestal and others in parks you visit without even plugging in. We will reward you financially for any unsafe pedestals you find. We’ll finance this project ourselves to get it going immediately, using the funds we receive from our paid subscribers. We hope to attract a sponsor later to help us ramp up our efforts.

Imagine, dozens, even hundreds of RVtravel.com readers roaming the country, identifying unsafe hookups! A member of our staff under Mike Sokol’s expert guidance will follow up to ensure repairs are made. If not, we’ll identify the park and the bad pedestal for you to avoid before plugging in.

Less than two months ago I hooked up to a miswired pedestal at a KOA in Springfield, Illinois. Our surge protector alerted us of an open ground. We then double-checked with our Sperry Non-Contact Voltage Detector and it confirmed the unsafe situation.

Sperry Non-Contact Voltage Detector

We asked the park owner to be moved to another site. We explained that hooking up to the faulty pedestal would cause a dangerous “hot skin condition.” The owner was annoyed with us at our suggestion that there was a problem. She told me, “We’re not responsible for our customer’s medical conditions.” I told her the problem was with an RV’s “skin,” not a human’s.

The park owner moved us to another site. Two days later, the park’s electrician called to thank us for pointing out the faulty pedestal. “It could have been a dangerous situation,” he said.

UNTIL A FEW YEARS AGO, when I began to routinely test pedestals before hooking up (thanks, Mike), I would simply plug in with no idea that under certain conditions, I could be shocked, even killed, just stepping in or out of my RV.

With that, I’ll leave you to the remainder of the newsletter, lovingly assembled by about a dozen different people, most active RVers. We are all committed to making your RVing life more rewarding, and even more important, safer! Please tell your friends about us.


I was alarmed by the results of last week’s reader poll. Of those of you still paying on your RV loan, nearly half are “upside down,” meaning if they sold their RV today they’d need to dig into their pocketbooks — sometimes very deeply — to pay off the loan after selling their RV. Please read my thoughts on this, and then advise any friends of yours planning to buy an RV to read it, too.


Thor CEO earned 13.3 million last year 
If you own a Thor product you may be interested to learn how much company CEO Robert Martin earned last year. According to Salary.com, Martin’s compensation totaled $13,268,685. That included stock awards of almost $4.4 million and incentive compensation of $8.1 million. Meanwhile, Winnebago CEO Michael Happe is pretty much slumming it by comparison: Salary.com says he received a paltry $2 million in 2017.

Our project to create a chain of inexpensive overnight RV stops with 50-amp service is progressing. Nothing new to report this week.

Ask Yourself: Are you Ready for the Road?!
Prepare for your next big adventure with Road & Home’s Ready for the Road checklist. This simple, easy-to-use guide of must-have repair and replacement products will keep you moving while on the road! Equip yourself with peace of mind and ensure safety and convenience when you head out. Shop the entire collection 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.

Comprehensive list of RV and
RV-related recalls for June
The list of latest recalls on RVs and other vehicles and/or products of interest to RVers has been released by the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The list includes models from Entegra, Forest River, Foretravel, Jayco, Keystone, Newmar, Tiffin and others — plus many other vehicles commonly used by RVers, as well as tires. Is your RV or other vehicle, or tires, on the list? Find out here.

Recent recalls:
Continental Tire recalls tires installed on some motorhomes

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 .

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

Update on full-timer Malia’s life after cancer diagnosis
Malia Lane is a full-time RVer and popular blogger, and was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. She is graciously sharing her journey with us. She says, “No, unfortunately, I haven’t found a new cancer cure using psychedelics. But when this acronym crossed my mind to describe what I’ve been doing the last few days to treat my weary self after finally getting to Oregon, I couldn’t resist.” Read the next chapter of Malia’s courageous journey.

Popular Glacier Park campground limits camping due to grizzly bears
Visitors to Glacier National Park are well aware of the grizzly bear population and usually do their best to stay clear of the powerful animals. But when bears enter campgrounds, a red flag goes up, which just happened. Effective immediately, the Many Glacier Campground will temporarily be limited to hard-sided camping, according to a press release from Glacier National Park. Read more.

Extend your dry-camp stay
One great thing about RVs is the freedom to spend time in special places while still enjoying our creature comforts. Many areas, however, provide limited hookups or none at all. Dry camping (camping without hookups) allows us to enjoy these places in style. The downside is that our onboard resources can limit our stay. This article has tips and techniques for extending your dry camping by managing fresh water usage and wastewater storage and disposal. Learn more.

This week’s Reader Poll
Do you unplug your RV from electricity during a big lightning storm?
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:
If selling your RV today, would you need to come up with money to pay off the loan? Click here for the results.

Have a question you’d like to ask your fellow RVers in a poll? Email it to emily (at) rvtravel.com and we may ask it!

Wax your dirty beast with Wade Wax
Your RV’s not your car, it’s your “beast”!
Wade Wax polishes and outlasts competitors’ Carnauba-based waxes. High-quality ingredients cross link and bond to the surface of your Beast while protective copolymers and nonabrasive cleaners deliver up to 6-months of protection. Watch the video. And click here to buy, or learn more about, Wade Wax at the Wade Maid website.


spyWhat we learned from you last week
Happy July! Did you watch a fireworks display? Do you love your RV? Are you still paying off your RV’s loan? Did you serve in the military? How long was your RV in the shop for repairs this past year? All this and more! Click here to read.

Labeling everything – What to use?
Rich “The Wanderman” loves to label everything in and on his motorhome – and now his helicopter. He’s had several label makers over the years but now has one that gives him so many cool options he sounds just downright giddy! Over a label maker! You’ll have to check it out.

Destination: Dubois, Wyoming
If you have plans to head to Yellowstone or the Tetons this season, associate editor and full-time RVer Deanna Tolliver suggests a bit of a detour to Dubois, Wyoming. Located along the Wind River, Dubois is a quirky, yet Old West kind of town, with some great museums, Friday night rodeo, many good eateries, hiking, and lots more … plenty to do for anyone. Or, just sit on the bank of the Wind River and enjoy the views of the Wind River Mountains. Read more.

1Horizontal-for-RVtravel_com-72-pix-11Moran_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 interpret highway “road grade” signs
If most of your RVing has been in the Midwest or South, you have likely seen very few “steep grade” signs. But when the wanderlust of the open road grasps your adventurous spirit and you head bravely for the mountainous West, these signs will pop up with increasing regularity, and often include a percentage number. Road grades seem mysterious at first, but really are simple. Let’s work through the “mysterious math” of road grades. Learn more.

video camera WPA little adjusting can correct a skewed awning rewind
Does your awning retract improperly? An RVer asks Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, why the awning on his recreational vehicle will not retract evenly and what he can do to fix the problem. Watch the video.

Weighing the amenities of an RV resort with camping in the rough
The RV lifestyle offers the ability to change your status on a whim, given the options of living in an upscale RV resort with many amenities and activities, or boondocking in the great outdoors where you may not even be able to see a neighbor. One option can be used to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle and the other to free the mind from the clutter of civilization, or simply to save money (expensive resorts and campgrounds) to give finances a chance to even out. 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

Popular articles from last week’s issue
RV wipes out, totaled, only 20 minutes after couple buy it.
Editor’s notes for week of June 30
Destination trailers getting popular with RVers.
Living and dying at the Walmart parking lot.
California city tries new approach to “RV homelessness.
• Do you know who your RV park neighbors are?
Campground neighbor runs noisy generator more than necessary.

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.

Put out your campfires — all the way out — folks. If not, they can come back to life, and that can cause forest fires!

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

Guided RV Tours
Have you ever taken or considered taking a guided RV tour? Here’s our newly updated directory of upcoming tours that may be of interest to you. Click here.

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.

Current wildfire information
To help with your travel planning, here is complete, up-to-the-minute wildfire information around the U.S., from Incident Information System (InciWeb), a U.S. government interagency. Click here.

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

It’s all in how you look at things …

Dear RV Shrink:
I have to tell you I read your column every week – mostly for the chuckles, but also to see what people are complaining about. I love your line, “Some people would complain if they were hung with a new rope.” I just wanted to write and tell you how “abnormal” I am. I’m a full-timer with a small retro Airstream. I go wherever the wind blows. I never seem to have any of the problems the other folks experience. I think maybe they are thinking too hard. … —Happy Go Lucky in Lake Louise

Read the rest of the uplifting letter and the RV Shrink’s amusing response. (There’s something here for [almost] everyone.)

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.

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.

gas-738Latest fuel prices (on July 2)
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.84. [Calif.: $3.55]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 58 cents.
Diesel: $3.24. [Calif.: $3.96]
Change from week before: Up 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 76 cents.

Amazon Deals of the Day!
Here are more than 1,000 special deals, just for today. And the items just keep on changing. If you can’t find a great deal here on something you want, then, well, you must not need anything. If nothing else, it sure is fun to poke around here to see the incredible array of cool stuff that’s available at this very moment at bargain prices! Click here for today’s deals!

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

The good, the bad, and the algae!

Dear Dr. Deanna,
I’m afraid my dog will swim in, or drink, water with dangerous algae! What should I know?
Read Dr. Deanna’s reply.

ReadingAmazon’s favorite books of the year (so far)!
The editors have spoken! These are their favorite books so far this year. Stay up to date with your reading, start a book club (really, they’re fun!) and impress others with your best-selling book knowledge. Have some free time this weekend? Book yourself here!

extinguisher-697(3)RV Fire Safety Tip  

Fight only small fires on your own
Always leave large fires to the fire department, and only fight small fires that are contained, within reach, and that you can fight with your back toward a safe escape. If you have the slightest doubt that you should fight the fire, don’t attempt it! Instead, get out and away fast. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy

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. ..

RV Quick Tips

Meter shows moisture in walls, ceilings
Planning on buying a used RV? Water leakage is a sure-fire way to kill a rig. But how can you “see” inside the walls or ceiling of an RV to detect moisture? Here’s a neat device that non-invasively detects and reports on moisture levels under a variety of materials up to 3/4-inch deep. “Looks” under drywall, paneling, softwood and hardwood. At less than $40 it might just save your bacon. Here’s one on Amazon.  

Walk and talk!
Reader Rory writes: “We always use walkie-talkies for giving each other directions when docking, pulling into tight spaces and even backing up. It’s a surefire relationship saver. The spoken word is so much better than often-misunderstood hand signals. And you position yourself to better see, if you don’t have to stay where you can be seen in the mirror or on the camera screen.” Thanks Rory!

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

New & interesting finds at Amazon.com
See what really cool stuff Amazon is featuring today. It’s a whole lot of fun just browsing through all these great items. The selection changes every day, so check back often. You never know what you will find, which is part of the fun of visiting here. Check it out.

Gizmos and Gadgets

Do the dirty work with an RV Flexible Swivel Stik
The Camco RV Flexible Swivel Stik Holding Tank Rinser helps clean your RV holding tank after it is emptied. Cleaning your holding tank is important because it keeps holding tank sensors clear and operating effectively. It also helps prevent unwanted odors from lingering in the tanks after you have emptied them. Learn more.

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

Best-selling small-space organizers
It can be hard keeping everything organized in a small space like an RV, right? Here’s Amazon’s list of best small-space organizers so you can keep everything in check. You’ll find everything from under-the-sink kitchen organizers, to clothing and closet organizers, to tiny little bookcases. Explore these helpful items here.

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

Is RV seller or buyer responsible for propane test?

Dear Gary,
I would like to know who is responsible for the propane test when selling an RV or 5th wheel, etc. – the seller or the buyer? —Gail L.

Read Gary’s response.

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

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’re probably going to need it. Learn more or order here.

bob-d-med399Ask Boondock Bob
with Bob Difley

Catalytic heater is a good alternative to forced air furnace

Hi Bob,
We like to boondock in the national forests of the West in summer but find that most mornings can be quite chilly until the sun warms up the outside air. But using our furnace runs the batteries down too fast. Is there a better way to deal with those chilly mountain mornings? —George and Fran

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: Are you ready – and prepared? Just in case

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

This chair is cool…literally!
This camping chair has a built-in cooler that fits up to four cans! Wow! Bring it to concerts, sports events, or relax around the campground with a cold drink in your hand, your book and sunglasses in the side mesh pockets and feel comfortable with its extra cushions and back support. Sounds great, right? Learn more or order here.

RV Electricity
with Mike Sokol

Focus on “Stray Voltage” – What is it and why should you care?
I’m declaring July official Hot-Skin/Stray Voltage month. For those of you who don’t know, an RV Hot-Skin occurs when the ground wire on an RV’s shore power feed is interrupted somehow. And that allows even normal leakage currents inside of an RV to create a Stray Voltage on the entire RV, including its “skin,” chassis, wheels, hitch and tow vehicle. And that Stray Voltage can vary from a low-current version which only gives you a tingle, to a high-current version which will not only knock you down on the ground, it can kill you. Read more.

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.

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

RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

Are tire pressure monitoring systems really of much value?
Some people still question the need or value of using a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). Some folks just don’t feel the value of an advanced warning of an impending tire failure justifies the cost. Roger found a post on an RV forum that clearly illustrates the value of a TPMS versus no TPMS. Learn more.

Fridge Airator keeps fridge cooler in warm temps
This compact high-volume air circulator helps the food in your RV stay fresh longer, while also maintaining the temperature of your fridge. The airator runs on batteries, so you can put it in the fridge, leave it on, and forget it’s there. No hassle. If you’re going to be in hot temperatures this summer, you’ll want this to keep your fridge cool. Learn more or order

Astronomy for RVers
with Chris Fellows

Our location in the Galaxy. NASA image. Click to enlarge.

The Milky Way – Observing our home in the universe
Chris is currently in a park in northern Michigan, where, as usual, he invites fellow campers over to get a look at the night sky through his telescope. Last weekend a young boy looked through it and commented, “I wish it wasn’t so cloudy.” It was a clear night so Chris asked him what he was talking about. He pointed up and said the cloud was making it hard to see Saturn. (Every other viewer also thought they were looking at a “cloud.”) Chris followed the boy’s gaze and he was pointing at the Milky Way. If you’re not in the middle of a big city, you should be able to view it without a telescope. Learn more then go check it out tonight.

Save your teeth, get that corn off the cob!
Nobody likes eating corn on the cob with a group of people, only to find out later they’ve got half the cob still stuck in their teeth. Not to mention, for some of us it’s hard to hold the whole cob, and it hurts our teeth! This easy-to-use corn stripper takes all the corn off the cob in one easy gesture – your hands and teeth will thank you! Easy to clean and dishwasher safe. Order here for a great price

The RV Kitchen   
with Janet Groene

Cici Cassoulet
Cozy cassoulet for cool camping. Picture sundown in the campground, when a chill steals over the landscape and your inner self longs for a warm hug from home cooking. This simple one-dish meal can be made in a slow cooker, saucepan, Dutch oven or instant pot. Leftovers taste even better the second and third day. Get the recipe.

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


Camco vent insulator keeps you warm…and cold!
Is your RV too hot in the summer? Too cold in the winter? Camco’s vent insulator and skylight cover features a thick layer of foam which helps stop heat transfer, keeping you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Installation is easy: simply push the fitted foam into your skylight, reflective side up. The insulator is designed to fit standard 14×14 RV vents. Learn more or order here.

The RoVing Naturalist
with Dennis Prichard

The dragons of summer
After a brief but heavy summer rainfall, my two sons and I watched winged termites boil from the ground floating slowly upwards. I thought of all the places they would land, and all the destruction they would wreak. I felt hopeless to defend our homes and other wooden structures as there were just too many of them. Then the “air-cav” came into the arena from every angle. Read the rest of the article.

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.

Photo of old logging equipment by Julianne G. Crane

RV Short Stop
with Julianne G. Crane

Collier Memorial Park Logging Museum records rugged lifestyle
Located on U.S. Route 97, north of Klamath Falls, Oregon

Oregon’s Collier Memorial State Park is said to have the state’s finest logging museum. The Park also features a relocated pioneer village and great state campground with warm showers. RVers can choose to stop for the Day Use area only or camp overnight. Either way, visitors can see a first-class logging museum that contains “rare and antique logging equipment dating to the 1880s. Railroad buffs will enjoy learning about the role the railroad played in logging.” Learn more.

You have to SEA these FINtastic slippers!
These funny slippers are sure to make any fish, or fishing, lover laugh. Slip your feet in, and have a good giggle. Plus, not only are they soft and padded, they also have anti-skidding soles so you won’t be floppin’ around like a fish. You might laugh so hard you’ll need a STURGEON! Fits both men and women. Learn more or order here.

Free and bargain camping
From OvernightRVparking.com

Bass Pro Shops, Prattville, AL
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Obtain permission from the store. Not perfectly level but is well lit, quiet, and appears safe. Islamorada Fish Company restaurant in Bass Pro Shop. Address: 2553 Rocky Mount Rd. GPS: 32.462397, -86.393428

Seven Cedars Casino, Sequim, WA
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. RVer must request permission and receive validation permit from main casino cashier. Lot is well-lit, quiet and secure, but most of it is not level. Fairly quiet, as casino closes for eight hours each night. Maximum stay is three days. There are a few 30A outlets in lot. Buffet in Casino. Address: 270756 Highway 101, GPS: 48.0204, -123.01022

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 Museum of DentistryDentist
Baltimore, MD

No, you won’t get a teeth cleaning, but you might get a little creeped out. The Museum of Dentistry houses over 40,000 teeth-related instruments, artworks, furniture and, well, teeth and jaws. Dating back to 1840, this museum is housed in the original college of dentistry and even shows off George Washington’s chompers. Visit the museum website here and plan yourself a trip! Oh, and maybe you should make your dentist appointment before you visit…

Remove ticks easily
from people or pets!
This Tick Twister Remover Set will remove ticks, large and small, without squeezing it, reducing the risk of infection. It does not leave the mouthparts of the tick in the skin. It’s the safest and easiest way to remove ticks and in just a few seconds. Helps prevent Lyme Disease. Keep one of these in your RV. It’s tick season! Learn more or order

Upcoming RV Shows

Green Country RV Show, July 20-22, Tulsa, OK 
Midwest RV Super Show, August 9-12, Elkhart, IN
Hampton Roads RV Super Sale, August 17-19, Hampton, VA
America’s Largest RV Show, September 12-16, Hershey PA

See the complete list of all upcoming RV shows.

“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.

Sea otters hold “hands” when they sleep so they don’t drift apart.

Bumper sticker of the week
Save the Earth. It’s the only planet with Beer.

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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. Marketing director: Jessica Sarvis

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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.

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  1. I am a paid subscriber and new to RVing as of Aug. 2017. So I have been reading and learning all I can about RV camping in my 1999 32′ class A motorhome.
    But now maybe it is time I can help others out. On our 24 day trip recently we came upon road construction and ended up with black smears all over the RV (even high up). At the next campsite we tried to clean it all off but were not very successful. At home then I made a concerted effort to get that stuff off and what worked best for me?- Weiman Glass Cook Top (heavy duty) cleaner & polish!! My wife has been using at on our cooktop in our home so I thought I’d try it.
    Now I know of the warnings that an RV finish is not the same as my car so I tried it carefully. But I have been very happy with the results. The product is available at Wal-Mart and I am not getting any commissions for this.It works great for those sticky bugs as well!

  2. Okay. Because of Mike’s comments and the letter writer’s experience, I ordered Sperry Model7504 GFI . My question is that on the online instructions (what if you don’t have a computer?) it says:

    4. Will not detect two hot wires in a circuit.
    5. Will not detect a combination of defects.
    6. Will not indicate a reversal of grounded and grounding conductors

    Should I be sending this unit back or are these things I really don’t have to worry about?

    • Actually, Sperry is more honest than most outlet tester manufacturers. Those are the limitations of ANY 3-light tester. However, combine it with the Non-Contact Voltage Tester side and you’ll catch a LOT more miswiring problems. But you still may not find 100% of them. There will still be a few possible wiring faults you can’t detect, but not lethally dangerous ones. Add in an advanced surge protector from Surge Guard or Progressive, and that’s as good as you can get without going down the rabbit hole.

      The wiring problems left will require the addition of a Ground Loop Impedance Tester ($300) and a 10kW load bank ($3,000 to $5,000) plus several digital volt and clamp-ammeters, along with someone with extensive electrical engineering training plus a background in RV and campground wiring (like me). And even though I have all those expensive tools and experience, it can take me upwards of a day or more to figure out a really complicated power problem, although thankfully most wiring problems are quite simple.

      Always remember that no matter what a meter tells you, you should NEVER feel a shock or tingle from any RV or electrical appliance plugged into an outlet. If you do feel a shock, then something is wrong with your meter or testing method.

  3. Have you ever considered having some corner of the newsletter where campground/ RV park owners could contribute suggestions to improve the experience for customers AND park owners? I am sure that there are many owners that could contribute stories to help explain how some of our rules and concerns came into being. I’m not sure anyone knows Rv’ers and RVs more than an involved campground owner. I love your online newsletter. Keep up the good work.

    • Don’t worry about apologizing — the problematic folks are those who don’t bother to ask for what they don’t know and continue anyway.

      As far as testing pedestals, here’s how I inexpensively test and with what:

      I’m sure Sokol (and thousands of others) have similar test procedures if you don’t like my voice… 🙂

      • Wolfe, please don’t lump me in with the “thousands of others”. I review every test procedure I write about for industry best practices and safety, have them peer reviewed by several of my EE colleagues for written clarity, then run these articles and videos by the manufacturer’s legal departments for proper wording. What I don’t want is my readers getting confused by all the other voices on the Internet and making an expensive or even deadly mistake. I’ve looked at dozens of videos and read hundreds of articles and forum responses that are either incorrect or dangerous or both, and if I find any references to them on my forums I will delete them immediately.

    • Lauri C: I don’t see a comment about a shorted-out pedestal. Can you let me know what you’re referring to?

  4. Great article Chuck and Mike.  Yes, you are doing something important.  Hearts may not be twittering; it could be hearts going into atrial fibrillation or my pacemaker exploding.  
    If you go on website cited you find 21 Stray Voltage Testers.  Can you help us as to which ones are appropriate and cost effective?  What to buy?
    Hmmm?  Wonder what it would do to pacemaker.  The clinic advises stay away from magnets and gas chain saws although no one with any authority can say why about the chain saws.

    • Give me a few hours and I’ll make a short list of the best Non-Contact Voltage Testers for you all. I have at least 8 or 10 different ones in my test kit and know which NCVTs work the best for this application.

    • The theory is that (at least some) chainsaws emit terrible RF interference, which could theoretically mess up electronic devices nearby. I can’t say how “credible” that theory is, but I have heard noise in audio electronics too near chainsaws.

      Obviously, if you’re someone who experiences even brief dizziness or “long blink” fades, you’ll want to stay away from operating dangerous toys anyway.

  5. Chuck,
    Tell me what pedestal tester to purchase and I will buy it myself and I will report the results to you. We probably use 20 to 30 different pedestal hook-ups each year. Thanks for all you do.

    • I don’t think you need “extra special” test equipment as much as a good understanding of what you’re looking for and how to test safely to yourself. To be ultra-cheap, a 50-cent voltmeter and $1 direct-contact tester will test everything including RPBG if you know how to read them. Most folks use more convenient equipment.

      I do smirk when people comment on hooking up to several different pedestals in the *same year* (gasp!)… I average 2 days/pedestal myself, but will travel less this year, so I’m probably close to your count.

      I wonder how conscientious our newly deputized Special Pedestal Inspector Taskforce should be in checking vacant-site pedestals? Do we get shiny badges that identify us as SPIT folks so we don’t get SPIT on or SPIT out? ROFL…

  6. You can sign me up too for the “Pedestal Tester” position. We’re leaving for a 6-8 week trip in August and already have reservations at 8 campgrounds (W/E sites) and expect to be staying in another 4-6 CG as we figure out which direction we’re heading.

  7. Re. Knowing Grades. An excellent resource for knowing what grades are where, as well as good descriptions, is “Mountain Directory West for Truckers, RV, and Motorhome Drivers” published by R&R Publishing, INC., Baldwin City KS. $16.95. We use it whenever planning a trip here in the West.

  8. We have an intelligent surge protector made by Progressive. Will this detect/protect our RV from “hot skin” condition? Or should we still get a non-contact voltage reader?

    • There are NO surge protectors manufactured that will detect or protect your RV from a hot-skin stray voltage due to an RPBG miswired outlet. And these surge protectors really only test “upstream” for an open or hot ground. So if you have a portable version it’s still possible to have a break in your shore power ground connection between the surge protector hanging on the pedestal and your RV chassis. They just don’t exist. Adding a Non-Contact Voltage Tester is a great way to find these potentially deadly stray voltages.

      • Sorry to bother you Mike but I would like some clarification. I have a Camco circuit analyser which also has surge protection. Will this detect a hot skin situation or should I add another tool to the toolbox?

        • Which model? Camco makes two variations, a cheaper one that’s offers only surge protection, and a more expensive model that also includes a disconnect relay in addition to surge protection. The more expensive version such as this one https://tinyurl.com/yczemefk will disconnect your RV from the pedestal if the voltage goes over or under set limits or the ground is open.

          But Camco’s cheaper version such as this one https://tinyurl.com/y7ylxv7g can’t disconnect your RV from an over or under-voltage pedestal. It only offers surge protection, which should shunt voltage spikes away from your RV electronics.

          Now to your original question. Neither of these technologies can detect or protect your RV from a hot ground created by a Reverse Polarity Bootleg Ground. Nor can they disconnect your RV from a Reflected Hot-Skin/Stray-Voltage from a campground that has lost its EGC (Equipment Grounding Conductor) back to the service panel. Finally, they can’t detect or disconnect your RV from a problem in your shore power cordset because these surge protectors are “upstream” of your shore power cordset.

          For all of the reasons above I believe that adding a $20 Non-Contact Voltage Tester (NCVT) from Southwire, Fluke, Klein and others is still a great safety idea. It takes only a few seconds to add this proximity test to your hookup procedure, and it will find virtually all hot-skin/stray-voltage conditions.

          I’m getting ready to do a shoot-out review of half-a-dozen different NCVTs so please stand by.

  9. I plug-in to a pedestal in a rv park.I plug into the 30 amp outlet and found out shortly that 30 amp outlet was actually putting out 50 amps. I made one of these testers and never had problems since. To get a better reading on Campground outlets it is recommended that an additional test be performed .Go to https://www.myrv.us/electric/Pg/testing.htm to make a 30 or 50 amp RV outlet Tester. Testing Campground and other RV Electric Service.

    • Not sure what you’re saying by “30A putting out 50A” — testing could reveal a 240volt TT30 (VERY wrong) but you wouldn’t know amperage capability until you put a 50A load on the outlet and the breaker failed to trigger.

    • Dan, what you’re saying doesn’t make sense electrically. Do you mean that a 30-amp outlet was putting out 240 volts like a 50-amp outlet? That would be very bad indeed, and I’ve written about that extensively.

        • Any 30-amp pedestal outlet miswired with 240 volts instead of 120 volts is very dangerous to your RV’s electrical system, and can cause many thousands of dollars in damage in just a few seconds. It’s also one of the reasons that ALL pedestals should be metered before plugging your RV into it. And this is one more reason you should get an advanced surge protector with a disconnect relay. It will automatically prevent any high voltage from getting into your RV’s electrical system. While many RV owners complain about the $300 to $400 additional cost of an advanced surge protector, I think it’s cheap insurance for you and your RV. And remember, they’ll also warn you about an open-ground which can enable a Hot-Skin Stray Voltage. And that can be life-threatening. Can you provide more information on the name and location of this park? Sounds like they need a call from me….

  10. Re: ‘Walk and Talk’: My wife & I use a two-way radio with a voice-activated mike. Two advantages: hands free and we can talk at the same time.
    I NEVER move if I am unable to see my wife in the mirrors or the camera – regardless of the radio availability.

  11. Love the emagazine. My comment is actually a request. Could you explore the world of RV insurance and poll your readers on their experiences and recommendations? Thank you.

  12. Stop the annoying pop ups. They are blocking your articles. If not, you’ll loose readers. Don’t get so greedy that you need this nuisance.

    • Joe, where are you seeing the offensive popups? We do not intentionally use them. I’ll try to block them if I can find the source. — Chuck

      • I’ve notice recently that when I expand the text (to make larger so my old eyes don’t have to strain so much to see), the adjoining ad on the right side will also expand and move over to cover a portion of the text. In order to move the ad back over, I have to reduce the size of the text back down to your posted size. The ads are not pop ups.

      • Chuck, I appreciate the information you presented on possible grounding issues with rv hookups. My question to you is, “is there a grounding device we could put between the hookup portal and the rv that would protect the rv?”

        • Pete, actually you should address that question to me, but Chuck forwards any of these questions to me anyway, so it’s all good. There is no grounding device or other gadget you can place between your RV and the pedestal to “ground it” safely. That’s because you’re not really “grounding” your RV with a properly wired shore power plug. You’re “bonding” the RV chassis to the neutral line in the campground’s service panel, which is also “bonded” to the neutral of the transformer up on the pole. What’s so confusing is that the word “ground” is used for a lot of things that don’t have any relationship to the earth ground beneath our feet. I’ll do a full article sometime explaining this, but even an 8-ft “ground” rod pounded into the soil and connected to your RV chassis with a heavy wire doesn’t actually “ground” your RV as required by code. Don’t feel bad if this seems confusing since many electricians I talk to don’t understand it either. So stay tuned for learning!

    • Joe turn on pop up blocker on your browser, also install a adblocker extension on your browser. So you know browsers also have privacy settings that state “Do not track me”
      Google how to stop popups on my pc or mac for further instructions.
      Rvtravel doesn’t generate popups.

  13. I am a paid subscriber and enjoy both the daily tips and the weekly newsletter. I have been following the commentary on electricity and have followed your advice and have both a surge protector (Camco 50 amp) and a non contact voltage reader. My issue is that sometimes when we hook up to shore power the electricity in the camper won’t come on even though the surge protector light is green. I remove the surge protector and plug directly into the pedestal and it works. Am I doing something wrong with the surge protector?

    • Which model Camco surge protector are you using? There’s a basic MOV version that doesn’t have a relay and costs less than $100, and an advanced version with a disconnect relay that costs over $200 IIRC. Let me know which one you’ve got and I’ll posit and answer.

  14. Ok, Chuck, I’m confused. We recently bought a diesel thinking that it would handle those grades better than a gas RV however in your article, “How to interpret highway road grade signs” it is stated, “Beware, diesel engines don’t have nearly the compression braking of a gas engine.” Can you explain further, that statement seems completely opposite of what we have been told. Thanks, as a contributing reader I appreciate all of your great information each week!

    • Well, this is something I know a good bit about. A gasoline engine develops braking from the vacuum created by the throttle plate being closed. So when you take your foot off the “gas” there’s a fair amount of engine braking effect. On the other hand, diesel engines don’t have throttle plates, controlling their speed by the amount of fuel that’s injected on each power stroke. So when you take your foot off the “gas” (actually diesel), there’s no engine vacuum to provide braking. That’s why big diesel trucks employ something called an engine brake.

      The original Jake’s Brake (Jacobs Brake) is a piece of engineering genius that changes the exhaust valve timing to turn 2, 4, or all 6 cylinders into an air compressor which heats up the air on the way through and provide braking. This occurs when the truck driver takes his foot off the throttle and has the engine brake engaged. A Jakes Brake can provide a few hundred horsepower worth of engine braking, but tends to make a lot of noise. That’s why you see signs going into towns that say “No Engine Brakes”.

      There’s a variation of this that’s an exhaust brake which can be retrofitted on many diesel engines with a mechanical valve train. However, you can’t install an exhaust brake on a Sprinter diesel since Sprinters have hydraulic lifters, and the back pressure of the exhaust brake will cause the exhaust valves to hold open a bit on each stroke, eventually ratcheting the hydraulic lifters up enough during the compression stroke to allow the valves to hit the top of the pistons. That’s because a Sprinter diesel is an interference engine and the valves and pistons come close enough together to make contact.

      Simple, right?

    • Hi Jane,
      Does your truck have an exhaust brake? It can become your best friend on a steep grade. Do you also have the towing package? If you use the tow/haul option with your exhaust brake, you should be fine on a steep grade as long as you don’t go too fast. I know some who also use cruise control set at a reasonable speed. As stated, don’t go any faster on the way down than your last speed on the way up. I personally avoid any grades over 7%, if possible, but I’m hauling 20,000#.

    • Excellent. Chuck and I should have the Stray Voltage Patrol up and running by the end of July. Stand by for full details.

      • We just ordered a voltage tester. Thank you for this article!! Electricity, while wonderful, is too scary and we don’t remember that.

    • MS: Will there be a formal signup, or just reporting faulty pedestals to a central resource?

      I just hope campground owners/managers welcome the effort as a “free courtesy inspection” rather than annoyance; the times I’ve reported faulty wiring at campgrounds, I’ve been dismissed as being “overcautious.”

      I’m also curious how you’re going to confirm repairs are actually made? At one site they “sent someone to repair it” and the open ground was unchanged. Requiring a professional electrician’s receipt could be overkill, but repeating amateur repairs could be a more literal “kill”…

      • My thought right now is that we’re going to require a registration, but first every participant will have to take a basic online test. Also, I’m not going to have everyone fully test all aspects of pedestal power at other campground pedestals, only their own pedestal. But each Patrol Member can use an NCVT to inspect any pedestal or RV they walk by for a hot-skin stray voltage without touching it at all.

      • Wolfe, we’ll have all our ducks in a row by the time we launch this. If you have suggestions, let us know. But whatever concerns you have about our program that you expressed here will be handled by our staff, a pretty straightforward process. — Chuck

        • Sorry, I was just thinking out loud re: the difficulties surrounding this and curiosty got the best of me — not at ALL criticizing this *very* needed attention. I look forward to the launch!

          Thanks for spearheading policing quality in manufacturing, coordinating this safe pedestal effort, as well as whatever you’re up to with low-cost campgrounds. RVT has certainly been taking on a lot lately! 🙂


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