Wednesday, September 27, 2023


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 856

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 856 • Week of July 28–August 3, 2018   #rvtravel

Editor’s corner 
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at)

Finally, the RV industry is taking meaningful action to train RV technicians. It’s about time, and, frankly, about ten years too late. I believe it’s to the point where industry executives are finally being forced by public opinion and those dealers who really do care about their customers.

Artist’s rendering of the new facility

“The newly formed RV Technical Institute will establish a headquarters and training facility in the Elkhart, Indiana area, where it will . . . launch an aggressive recruitment campaign to attract new technicians into the RV industry,” the institute’s website notes.

If you want to know how badly RV technicians are needed, read our readers’ “RV horror stories.”

Currently, RV dealers complain about how hard it is to find and keep technicians. The result, of course, is you and I have to wait weeks, even months, to get repairs done. But get this: While those dealers are charging us $120 to $150 an hour, government statistics show that the average wage in 2017 of the nation’s 14,780 RV technicians was only $18.25 an hour. Last February, the new chairman of the RV Dealers Association, Tim Wegge, wrote this:

“When items are available and in stock, the average repair time [of an RV] is about four days. When parts are not available, the average repair time jumps to 21 days. That’s an eye opener. I think we all know that 21 days is not what our customers expect when they drop their RVs off for servicing, especially during peak camping seasons when most people plan their vacations. What’s more, that 21-day average is concerning because it’s just seven days short of triggering lemon laws in many states.”

An acquaintance told me a story about a recent visit to a Midwest dealer for some modifications and repairs. The facility had two technicians. While in the waiting room she overheard the senior of the two techs, who had worked there at least two years, asking the bookkeeper about his paycheck. “Remember, my pay goes from $13 to $15 an hour!”

Now, how does any business get away with paying a wage a tenth of what the employee is earning for the company for each hour of his or her labor? And why would any person aspire to a career in an industry where the pay was so low?

Let’s hope the new training institute also lobbies RV dealers to pay their technicians a better wage. If not, what’s the point of taking up the profession?

Finally, I have an update on many of our special projects on a separate page that I hope you will take a minute to read. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes.


Mike in action

P.S. Mike Sokol, our resident RV electricity expert, will present RV electricity seminars at the Forest River FROG Rally, August 12 to 18, at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds in Goshen, Indiana. For more information visit Later, September 12 to 16, he’ll be a featured seminar speaker each morning at America’s largest RV show in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
World class F-bomb slingers in a town called Welcome.
This was a weird week. Here’s why.
Visit a drinking fountain for humans and horses!

Your RV is generally your second largest physical asset. Protect it!
Home Electrical Box: 50-30-20 amp surface mount box • Breakers & receptacles included • Outdoor rated • UL listed • Pedestals also available. 30 & 50 Amp Surge Protector & Reverse Polarity: Continuously monitors & displays voltage & amp draw (RMS). Tests for & indicates: Reverse polarity • Exclusive open neutral inside the RV • Miswired pedestal • High neutral currents • Surge protector. Contact us at 800-500-2320 or

Sign up for’s
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•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
Do RV manufacturers “lie with statistics”?
Pssst! In the market for a new motorhome? Looking for a steal? Here’s some news – the dealers are looking for a steal, too, and it may be that some of them figure that steal will come out of your pocket. We picked up a copy of the RV Buyers Guide, touting “2018 specs, floorplans, photos, prices & more!” If you can pass over the pretty pictures and examine the stats closely, you may find that things aren’t always as pretty as they seem. Sad to say, not all RV shoppers are shopping with their eyes open, and probably not in possession of all the facts. Learn more in this eye-opening article from Russ and Tiña De Maris.

breaking-newsThe latest news
about RVing from our newsroom

Fire restrictions announced for Oregon forests and parks.
NBC will broadcast The Today Show from an RV.
Forest Service enacts fire restrictions in Lassen National Forest.
Towable values surge higher at auction; motorized units dipped.
Global RV market for 2018 to 2023 predicted in new report.
RV fire on CT I-84 destroys vehicle.
Fulltime (homeless) RVers protest San Diego’s proposed parking limitations.

Millennials push smaller trailer sales to record highs.
Woman camper scares off bear that stepped on tent.
Campers evacuated along flooding Susquehanna River.
June RV shipments drop 11.4 percent from 2017.
Violent wind flips truck and camper in South Dakota hailstorm.
Jury awards $47.5 million to boy who lost leg on camping trip.
RV crashes into river in Yellowstone NP after brakes fail.

Yukon Territory’s only Walmart to ban RV overnighting.
San Diego judge may lift ban on people living in RVs.
Ferguson fire threatens Yosemite NP, forcing road closures, evacuations.
Yosemite fire threatens Merced Grove’s giant sequoias.
Millennial concepts of sharing economy redefines camping.
Carr Fire bears down on Shasta & Redding, campers flee, marina burns.

Recent recalls:
Forest River recalls RVs: possible trailer brake malfunction.

America’s Largest RV Show returns September 12-16, 2018
See, compare, shop and buy from over 33 football fields of new RVs. Virtually every major manufacturer represented, everything from the smallest pop-up to the full-size motorhome. Visit hundreds of vendors including campgrounds, accessories, destinations, and services. Attend seminars covering subjects for beginners and seasoned RV enthusiasts. See you in Hershey, PA! Click here for more information.

Future fulltimers beware: You could be voiding your RV’s warranty
A San Angelo, Texas, RV sales company is the subject of a lawsuit filed by Midland resident Kara Stephan. The lawsuit claims Funtown RV and the RV’s manufacturer, Forest River, Inc., sold Ms. Stephan a pile of junk. She alleges 77 defects in the $80,000 2017 Cedar Creek Champagne RV Model 38ERK she bought brand-new in May 2017. Ms. Stephan also alleges the one-year warranty she was told by the salesperson she would receive was unknowingly voided by her because she used the fifth-wheel as a permanent residence. Learn more.

Sprinter RVYour Sprinter RV cost too much? Blame chickens!
If you own an RV built on a Sprinter platform, we bet you don’t know that it would have cost you less if it weren’t for chickens! Learn the story of how a cheap chicken in the 1960s changed international trade and how your Sprinter van is currently built (and why you pay more to buy it). Read all about it.

Exploration, experience and freedom top list of new RVing study
Survey findings in a recent report from Outdoorsy debunked some long-held RV myths, uncovering new insights into American and millennial travel. In a historical shift, Americans say the freedom to do what they want and experience new things are vital to their happiness ahead of material possessions, and for nearly half of those surveyed, RV travel represents freedom and adventure. Check out these interesting findings.

video camera WPWhy so many RVs are junk
Why are RVs made so cheaply, why are some “junk,” and why are they even sold in the first place when there’s a high likelihood that the buyer will have problems with the unit? This video does a great job of answering those questions. If you’re about to buy an RV, especially a lightweight-model trailer, you should watch this.

Bear breaks into RV Shrink’s tent as he sleeps
Our RV Shrink, Dick Mallery, popular with our readers for years for his sage advice, is not only an avid RVer, but an avid hiker. This past week he passed 1,200 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, from its beginning near the Mexican border all the way to north of Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada. Here’s a report about his recent frightening encounter with a bear.

Converting campsites to seasonal rentals raises concerns about availability
Campers at Akeley, Minnesota’s city campground protest conversion of daily and weekly campsites to seasonals at a meeting of the city council. This action is likely to raise concerns far beyond Minnesota because of the decreasing number of campsites available nationally due to robust RV sales and few new campgrounds being added to the supply. Some fear that officials will take the easy and more predictable route of renting campsites for an entire season. Read more.

RVers find volunteering adventuresome and fulfilling
Many couples, after going fulltime in their RVs in retirement, find volunteering a fulfilling and enjoyable adventure. Take for instance Randy and Sandy Reed. The Reeds are fulltime RVers who describe themselves as the adventurous type. They found their current, and eighth, volunteer placement at, a website that lists federal, state and local volunteer placements. Learn more.

This week’s Reader Poll
How important to you is socializing with other RVers at campgrounds or RV parks?
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.

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

spyWhat we learned about you last week
Were you popular in high school? Nope. Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” makes an appearance, and your laundry might smell bad. You don’t usually have to take cover from storms, and you really appreciate credit cards with good benefits (miles for that trip to Hawaii? Yes, please!). Read everything we learned here. 

Spending time with Mother Nature is good for your brain
Those who enjoy the outdoors know that nature can have a positive effect on one’s attitude and feelings of well-being. But now, a professor claims it is also good for your brain. On average, Americans spend about 10 hours a day in front of a computer or other electronic device and less than 30 minutes a day outdoors. That is a claim made by David Strayer, a professor of psychology at the University of Utah, who says that all this time spent with technology is making our brains tired. Read more.

Malia’s Miles: Pain is a game changer
Malia is a full-time RVer and was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. This amazing woman is graciously sharing her journey with us. Read her most recent update. (Thank you, Malia. Our prayers are with you.)

Two national rallies draw 2,500 RVers
The WIT (Winnebago International Travelers) event drew 900 coaches and about 2,000 RV owners to the gathering July 23-28 in Forest City, Iowa. Meanwhile, FMCA notched its highest attendance mark since 2013 for the organization’s summer show, as 1,559 rigs converged in Gillette, Wyo., for the July 18-21, 98th International Convention & Expo. Learn more and watch a cool video.

Getting high in your RV – without altitude sickness
A recent survey asked readers, “Are you affected by altitude sickness?” The largest response, an amazing 67 percent, affirmed that no, altitude sickness didn’t affect them. However, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) reminds Americans, “Everyone is at risk for high-altitude illness.” Here is information on the symptoms and what to do to avoid them, including tips from fellow RVers, if you’re traveling to higher elevations. Learn more.

British Columbia increases campsites in parks and forests
The province of British Columbia, Canada, offers some of the most pristine camping destinations that Canada has to offer, and on Parks Day, July 21, Canadian officials expanded accessibility by announcing the addition of 431 new campsites, a mix of B.C. Parks and forestry recreation sites in areas with the highest demand throughout the province. Read more.

Full-timers: Need an RV Home Base?
Then you need Americas Mailbox! You’ll enjoy great tax advantages with your South Dakota “residency,” like no state income tax and low insurance rates (second lowest in the USA says the Insurance Information Institute). Many plans are available. Click the video where RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury talks with Americas Mailbox owner Don Humes. Or click here to learn more or enroll.

NW Montana’s Flathead Valley no longer a secret RV getaway
If beautiful and wild Northwest Montana is on your bucket list or if you haven’t visited in years, you will discover that it is no longer a secret getaway. Though many visitors get there by various modes of transportation, increasing numbers of RVers are visiting rapidly filling up campgrounds and RV parks, a trend showing high demand for campsites. Read more.

Frequent visitor grizzly bear killed at Idaho Forest Service campground
Idaho Department of Fish and Game staffers on July 11 trapped a sub-adult male grizzly that was found near a Forest Service campground. The grizzly was radio-marked and relocated about 22 miles away in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, but by Friday, July 20, the bear had returned to the Mill Creek Campground in Island Park and had to be killed. Learn more.

The incredible coffee warmers
Rich “The Wanderman” drinks coffee –sometimes a lot. Often he puts the mug of hot coffee down and forgets about it and it gets cold – yuck! Has that ever happened to you? So, what’s a guy to do? Rich did a quick search on the internet for keeping coffee mugs hot and came up with a winner. Simple and small, it allows you to keep your mug nice and hot no matter how long you procrastinate – within reason that is. Read more.

Tour Will Smith’s $2.5 million RV
This is definitely not your average RV. It’s actor Will Smith’s $2.5 million two-story home on wheels. Quad slides and a roof that rises 3 1/2 feet afford the actor and his friends 1,200 square feet of pure luxury. Fourteen TVs and state-of-the art electronics are just a few of the many amenities that add up to a living space as comfortable as those in any mansion. Watch the video.

Is this the most beat up, junky motorhome in America?
If this isn’t the trashiest motorhome in North America, it must be close. You might wonder if this was the surviving vehicle at the local RV destruction derby. And get this, the RV is still on the road. Read more and see a bigger pic.

Vintage trailer RV resort opens in Arkansas woods
Whether you own an RV, plan to own an RV, or are just curious about what it is like to live for a few days in one, you might want to check out this unique resort that has just opened in Prairie Grove, Arkansas. The Flamingo Springs Trailer Resort’s idea of “staycation” involves spending your night in a vintage travel trailer from anywhere between the 1950s and 1970s. The resort has completely restored the trailers and given each a theme. Read more.

Keep gray tank odors away
HepvO is a unique self-sealing waste valve that prevents the escape of foul sewer air from waste discharge systems, and actively maintains the pressure equilibrium in soil and waste installations. As a dry sealing valve, HepvO utilizes a purpose designed membrane to create an airtight seal between the living space and the drainage system. Learn more.

Popular articles from last week’s issue
Notes from the editor, July 20, 2018.
RV Electricity – Using a Non-Contact Voltage Tester (with video).
Do you need a special RV driver’s license? You might!
Try this when you can’t find a campground with vacancies.
Will “booting” of trucks in Georgia Walmart raise concerns among RVers?
Popularity growing for high-end gated RV parks for fulltimers.
• RVer makes a living finding the dead.


How can you end the “military” RV shower?
You know the routine, constantly turning off the shower to conserve hot water. That’s because most RVs have tank heaters with limited hot water. You never have to run out of hot water with a hybrid instant hot water heater. Find out how the Truma AquaGo®  gives you a real shower in your RV. Learn more here.

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

No, it’s not an RVer’s “Guard Goose.” It’s fake. Spotted in Welcome, MN.

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.

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.

Plan Your Getaway to Tropical Palms Today!
Tropical Palms is a hidden gem set on 69 beautiful sun-kissed acres that are perfect for your Orlando vacation getaway. We are approximately 4 miles from Walt Disney World Resort, 11 miles from the Orange County Convention Center and within walking distance from Old Town and Fun Spot. You will find our convenient location and affordable prices provide the perfect RV resort to enjoy all that Central Florida offers. Click here to learn more.

Ask the RV Shrink

In-laws spoiling full-time RVing experience

Dear RV Shrink:
My husband and I have been full-timers for several years. It is a great lifestyle with few problems – until my husband’s parents show up. They are elderly but still traveling occasionally with their pickup camper. They will often travel a few weeks with us. I try to be patient and kind, but they are opinionated, selfish and often rude. It changes our whole travel experience. …

Read the rest of the letter and the RV Shrink’s advice.

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.

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.

gas-738Latest fuel prices, July 23, 2018
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.83. [Calif.: $3.51]
Change from week before: Down 3 cents; Change from year before: Up 52 cents.
Diesel: $3.22. [Calif.: $3.94]
Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 71 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!

RV Quick Tips

Thoughts on decluttering your fulltime RV
Dealing with the “compact” space of your RV? Here’s an experience that Rosemary Vaughan shared that may help. “We are fulltime RVers. Recently we went back to our hometown of 60+ years. We had a ‘clean out’ of our RV and took many things out and put them in our storage unit. Any gifts we purchased on the road, we gave to the intended recipient. They were pleased and grateful. We will not be hanging onto these items until Christmas now that they have been distributed. Any Christmas presents will be shipped via some website that we may use, especially for the grandchildren.” Thanks Rosemary!

.Larry Page on

An overlooked RV weight rating
One weight rating that is often overlooked is the Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR). This applies to any vehicle pulling a trailer or any motor home pulling a vehicle or trailer. The GCWR is the maximum permissible weight of the tow vehicle and trailer COMBINED when both are fully loaded for travel. Look for the GCWR on weight labels or in the vehicle owner’s manual. Tip from Mark Polk, RV Education 101.

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

You loved the spray; DEET-free mosquito repellent wipes really work!
Back by popular demand, these DEET-free mosquito and tick repellent wipes really work! We had previously recommended the spray, but for those of you who don’t need it that often, or like the convenience of throwing a wipe or two in your day pack, these are perfect. Like we said before, as RVers, we’re going to need this stuff! Learn more or order here.

Gizmos and Gadgets

Winegard announces new Carryout G3 satellite antenna
Winegard® Company has begun shipping the Carryout G3®, DIRECTV®, auto-acquire satellite antenna. This state-of-the-art and simple-to-set-up antenna provides unmatched versatility for RVers. The sleek and lightweight design, and increased signal strength, makes it easy to stay connected to one’s favorite TV programs or the big game while RVing, tailgating or camping. Learn more.

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

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

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

Switch doesn’t stop RV’s slideout when retracting

Dear Gary:
I have a 1998 5th wheel RV with a slideout living room. My problem is that there must be a relay somewhere that is sticking when I attempt to close the slideout. I have talked to numerous RV repair shops, even the factory itself, and no one can help me. When it is coming in, it does not want to stop when I release the switch. The In-and-Out switch is okay. It has a DeWalt hydraulic pump that operates the slideout. It is one that you can electrically bring the slide in or you can manually pump it in. Could the pump itself have the relay inside of it? Your help will be most appreciated. —J.R.M., USAF Retired

Read Gary’s response.

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

The Idiot’s Guide to RVing
If you’re about to take up RVing or recently started, this guide will really help you get up to speed on how to buy the RV and then use it. It’s a simple and well-written book that provides just the right amount of information for somebody just getting started. Do yourself a favor if you’re an RV newbie by reading this excellent book, just published in April. Learn more or order.

Boondockers: Get out of wildfire areas NOW!

Hi Bob,
The current wildfires and the likelihood of a dry, incendiary summer fire season has me quite uneasy regarding where I usually spend my summers – camping and boondocking in the Western forests. What should I be doing – and not doing – when camping this fire season? —George

Read Bob’s important message.

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

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

Power tools galore!
If it’s not at it’s probably not easily available anywhere! Check out this huge selection of power tools — drills, saws, air compressors, impact wrenches, car vacuums, sanders, polishers, tool boxes — the list goes on! See what’s available and maybe pick up a great deal!

RV Electricity
with Mike Sokol

RV Electricity seminars in 2018
As promised, I’m updating you on my RV Electricity seminars this summer and fall. Fun will be had by all since I do a lot of live demonstrations about electrical testing and safety. I’ll be presenting two different topics at most seminar sites: Surge Protector Theory and Selection, and RV Hot-Skin/Stray-Voltage Detection and Prevention. Here is my RV Electricity seminars schedule.

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

corps-book-748Camping with the Corps of Engineers
Many RVers consider Corps of Engineers campgrounds to be the best in the country. This guide is just for RVers — boat-in and tent-only sites are not included. Of all the public lands, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has some of the best parks and campgrounds available. In fact, it’s the largest federal provider of outdoor recreation in the nation. Learn more or order.

RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

Radial tire belt “interply shear” and tire failure
Originally posted on Airstream forum, but the answer applies to anyone running radial tires.
“From my reading, if you see a post where the tire failed with the tread coming off AND the tire carcass still held air pressure, that is likely to be an inter-ply shear failure. It is my understanding of the issue, that inter-ply shear (twisting of the tire) breaks the bond of the tread from the tire carcass. This may start as a small section that can be seen as a bubble under the tread. Then rolling the tire expands the failed area until it all comes apart.” Read the rest of the question and Roger’s response.

Folding rocking chair is super comfy
What a life — sitting by the campfire, relaxing in your rocking chair! With its patented Spring-Action Rocking Technology, the GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker camp chair delivers a smooth rocking action on any surface. Watch the video to see it in action. Order at a great price at Amazon.

RV History
with Al Hesselbart

Slide outs celebrate 100 years!
Popular selling features of RVs today, such as slide outs, are much older than most RVers realize. Almost every RV feature inside motorhomes, trailers and fifth wheels (other than furniture and appliances) was known before 1920. Modern rigs seem to require slide outs as a selling feature; nobody wants an RV without one (or multiple). Continue reading. 

Al Hesselbart is the author of The Dumb Things Sold … Just Like That!” – a history of the recreational vehicle industry in America.

Make popcorn in minutes with this collapsible popcorn maker!
Virtually fat-free, no cholesterol, full of fiber and vitamins – popcorn is the best snack! Pop it in minutes in your RV with this handy collapsible popcorn maker. Simply pour the kernels in the bowl, add your favorite seasonings, microwave for a couple of minutes and the perfect bowl of popcorn will emerge! Pretty hard to resist if you ask me… Learn more or order here.

The RV Kitchen 
with Janet Groene

Carolina Catfish Stew
A catfish lover’s catfish stew. This simple stew stars catfish, not potatoes and other distractions. It’s quick and easy to simmer over a campfire, fire pit or RV range. Conscience requires us to add “spoon off excess fat” to the directions but, as all southerners know, fat is where the flavor lies. Some of us don’t ask, don’t tell. Get the recipe.

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


Keep those spices organized (for once!) 
Everyone knows the spice shelf is always a mess, but it doesn’t have to be! Make others jealous with this cabinet spice holder. Each rack is fully adjustable and has an adhesive back, so it can stick to the inside of a cabinet, pantry, wall, you name it! Say goodbye to a disorganized spice shelf and hello to the simple life! Learn more or order here.

Free and bargain camping

Badlands Overlook – Buffalo Gap National Grasslands (USFS), Wall, SD
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. This is boondocking on Federal land in Buffalo Gap National Grasslands. No hookups, no amenities. Dry weather access only. Be aware of any approaching rain. Potable water available at Buffalo Gap Visitor Center but 50-ft. hose required; use a pressure regulator. Unlit, quiet, and appears safe. Open all year. No reservations; first come, first served. Maximum stay: 14 days. Address: Off SR 240. GPS: 43.89003, -102.22679

Lincoln’s 50,000 Silver Dollar Casino, Haugan, MT
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Signage: “For self-contained RV’s and no long-term camping.” Big rigs OK. One RVer advises that electric hookups are 30 Amps, 4 outlets to a pole; some are dead and some have reversed polarity. Test with an appropriate device before using. Some areas OK for satellite. Wi-Fi in lot. Gas station with diesel, restaurant, casino, and large gift shop on site. Address: -90, Exit 16 GPS: 47.3871, -115.399

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

The best book on RV electricity, hands down!
Mike Sokol is America’s leading expert on RV electricity. He’s 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 

Museum of the Week

The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum
Gatlinburg, TN

Ready to see 20,000 (yes, you read that right) salt and pepper shakers? The founder, archeologist Andrea Ludden, was inspired by her mother’s unique salt and pepper shakers, and decided to use her archeological skills to search for, and discover, the world’s greatest shakers. The museum is organized by category and color, so if you want to spend all day looking at animal-shaped shakers, or food-shaped shakers, you can. And, like many of the museums we feature here, we’re sure this place has an excellent gift shop.  Visit the museum website here.

The largest, tiniest blanket for all your outdoor needs
Pack your beach bags and park picnics, it’s summer! 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!

Upcoming RV Shows

Beat the Heat Chicago RV Show, July 27-29, Schaumburg, IL 
Midwest RV Super Show, August 9-12, Elkhart, IN
Beat the Heat RV & Boat Show Sale, August 17-18, Greenville, SC
Hampton Roads RV Super Sale, August 17-19, Hampton, VA
America’s Largest RV Show, September 12-16, Hershey PA. Seminar speakers include’s Mike Sokol and Gary Bunzer. Pre-order tickets.

See the complete list of all upcoming RV shows.

New & interesting finds at
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.

Superman coffee maker (pictured right).

When the computer mouse was invented, it was called the “X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System.”

Bumper sticker of the week
0-60 in 15 minutes!

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Joke of the Week
Question: What does an astronaut use to cook Chinese food on the moon?
Answer: A moon wok!

Worth Pondering
“I hope everyone that is reading this is having a really good day. And if you are not, just know that in every new minute that passes you have an opportunity to change that.” —Gillian Anderson 

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

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

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

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

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  1. This is driving me crazy. I’ve got to know the results of the “What is it contest”?
    I’ve looked over this issue twice.
    I’m thinking it has to be a sewing device for fishnets or harness.

  2. I was reading Woodall’s Campground Management (Vol.49 No.7 July 2018) and found a couple of interesting notes. On page 2, Editor’s Notes, Ben Quiggle indicates that there are plenty of campsites available. He addresses the issue of record breaking RV sales and questions if there are enough campsites. He states, “…We’ve posted dozens of stories on new park projects of every shape and size on .” He continues to say, “Today’s campers are looking for something extra, exotic and exciting.”

    On page 14, Guest view, by Mark Koep, probing the Myth of Insufficent Campground Capacity, he states, “we are nowhere near 100% capacity at campgrounds or RV parks.” He coninues to indicate that the problem is how RVers look for parks on line. He recommends some strategies at finding campsites.

    I find the there is a disconnect from this publication’s viewpoint and the public wants. Maybe I am in the minority, and the people I am in contact are also, but I don’t believe most RVers want built in amazement parks with their campsites, along with the premium price tag. We would rather have more campsites . More campsites with reasonable rates, a quite atmosphere, and nature, are what there is a shortage. Let the theme parks worry about thrills.

    As you have stated, RV industry should pay attention to us.

  3. I stopped at 50000 Silver $ Casino last month when traveling between Portland and Great Falls Mt. I had passed by in the car many many times but this was the first in an RV.

    Since it is only for overnight do you need to plug in, get satellite, WIFI, etc? Can’t you go one night without it? Demanding, or even expecting, all of those things is what makes those that offer a free NIGHT stop over stop offering it.

    I got in around 3:30. I ate at the restaurant, very good food, bought a few gifts in the store, filled the tanks in the morning and had a very quiet and peaceful nights rest. I didn’t even realize there was electric until the next day when I was walking the dog.

  4. Please unsubscribe me. We are no longer RV’ing. Also please stop taking money from my credit card for a subscription. I was just notified you had done so. I have not read the newsletter since last summer.

    • Robert, we did not take any money from your credit card. Some old confirmation notices on previous payments were mistakenly sent out when we were updating our website. But nothing happened other than that. We would never in a million years take anyone’s money unless they directed us to. Sorry about the confusion. — Chuck/editor

  5. Not really digging the new format for the breaking news. I know it is probably about getting clicks but reading on one page certainly was much better than going back and forth several times.

    • On almost every email/newsletter/page that has links I right click on the things I want to read and open in another tab. After I’ve opened 4-6 I go read them, close the tabs and end up back at the newsletter.

      I don’t remember being able to read anything significant on the main newsletter.

      • Vanessa, you don’t remember reading anything “significant” in the main newsletter? We’ve produced more than 850 issues of our RV Travel Newsletter over 17 years and we’re closing in on 1,000 issues of our RV Daily Tips. And you have found nothing “significant” in our main newsletter? Well, that’s a heck of a statement and begs the question, why do you even read We work very hard to provide honest, helpful information, and I suggest if you have not found anything significant in the main newsletter that you perhaps do your reading elsewhere. –Chuck/editor

        • Well said Chuck. Nothing “significant”? I find interesting new things in every issue, and I’m Certain I’m not alone in that assessment. I believe the most appropriate response to Vanessa would be the curt Canadian admonition, “Take off, eh!”
          (Maybe that’s just because I’m in Canada right now, but it certainly seems to suit the moment.)

  6. Here is my comments from IRV2 Northwoods forum about considering buying an Arctic Fox trailer.

    I can’t belive what I am reading…justifying it’s ok to have poor workmanship. Wow. If you bought a new car and the mirror fell off or a screw in the door panel is stripped and and the door panel fell off you folks would be livid calling it a POS.
    Or the radio knobs where missed labeled…or the window down button was actually the up button…but hey if it’s trailer it’s ok I can fix it.

    So why do you accept poor quality for any trailer especially for the the price you pay with your hard earned money…or get a loan for 10 or 20 years and the trailer lasts 5 years.

    Would you buy a new boat,motorcycle and say oh I am handy I can fix it if anything goes wrong.

    We as customer just enable and accept this poor quality…there will be no change unless customers says not good enough.

    Why would you pay full price for a new product when isn’t perfect or 99%.

    Say no to poor quality,’s your money.

    We as RV owners are so dumb to accept this crap!! Yup… I accept I am to blame as well.

    By the way…a trailer is a trailer is a trailer…and as someone said to me…we own the best trailer in a crappy neighbourhood


  7. Colour me cynical but who else doesn’t expect the RV dealer to pass on cost for repairs for having a certified technicians to us the consumer? They want to still make their $100+ overhead an hour!!

  8. Regarding RV techs…you get what you pay for is the old adage.Manufacturers,and dealers like Camping World,don’t want to pay decent wages to attract,and hold,good people…the end result is a PO’d consumer. Personally I will never buy another new RV as I have been burned by Grand Design and Blue Dog RV in Pasco,Washington too much. One is better off finding an older Hitchhiker,or similar, and maintaining it yourself than trying to deal with much of the modern “junk” being slapped out the gate nowadays. One day the actions of manufacturers and dealers will bite them in the derriere.

  9. Thankfully we have good mobile techs around here. The one we use services us quickly, is reasonably priced and stands behind his work. He is a lot cheaper than if we had to go into a dealer or even RV repair facility. He is a big factor for staying in this area.

  10. I have sent in $150 a couple of years ago and just recently $60 for an annual contribution, but don’t seem to get on your contributor email lists…….and I have clicked on Mike’s electrical newsletter a couple of times but have never received it……could you check your records for me? My email is:
    Curtis King

    • Curtis — Thank you for being a long-time subscriber and contributor. We appreciate it very much! I’ve just checked our records and you are, indeed, subscribed for several of our newsletters including Mike Sokol’s RV Electricity Newsletter. The next email alert to subscribers for that newsletter will be sent tomorrow (Sunday) morning. If you don’t receive the email tomorrow including the link to click on to go to the newsletter, please write to us again and we’ll see if we can figure out what’s going on. The email address you included in this comment is what we have on file for you. We’ll make sure you’re included in our contributor email list, also. Thank you for your patience in the meantime! —Diane at

  11. I am interested in the checking power pedestals. But I don’t understand how to use a non contact electric meter. Please ask Mike to explain. Thanks

      • Mike- I really like your information, but maybe one suggestion. Please simplify your “lessons” a little for those of us that are not E-engineers. If its too long and too detailed I drop out. I just need to know what to do and when.

        • Peter, yes that’s a problem I think about all the time. On one hand I need to serve the needs of my non-engineering readers here. So I work really hard at coming up with simple examples that explain complex ideas. On the other hand, I get emails from electrical engineers and technicians who ask for more detailed articles, such as troubleshooting complex electrical failures which I have a lot of experience with. I can do both, but not at the same time (obviously).

          One of the things that Chuck and I are working on is my own website which will be divided into technical levels, including sections for beginners, intermediate, technician, and manufacturer/design. That way each of you can quickly find what you need without searching everywhere. To date I have thousands of articles in print and e-zine formats from my 30+ years of writing for pro-sound and RV Travel. Now my job is to figure out how to gather all my children into one spot and make them available to you for reference and learning. Chuck and I can do this, but it will take time and your continued support. I’m trying to build a Mike Sokol Google (Moogle… or Gokol?) containing and cross-referencing all the things I know about troubleshooting electrical systems. This is going to be a big mind meld….

  12. Your technicians article. The exploitation of working folks as you have so clearly depicted is , of course the problem. Recent tax law and labor laws leave un organized labor at the mercy business and especially a millionaire Congress, who’s president is a well known laboring man enemy…

  13. Not only are there not enough trained technicians, some replacement parts aren’t right. We had Camping World replace our wiper blades while having other work done. BOTH blades came off during use. We went to another Camping World to get the “right” blades and what they brought out as the recommended “right” blades were the same ones we already had that wouldn’t stay on the wiper arms.

  14. WOW, jam-packed issue with many, many great articles. Just finished reading ‘Editors Corner’ with accompanying article on horror stories of RV buyers/owners, dated 17 Oct 2017. Again, WOW! Wonder if anything at all has changed for the better, I doubt it and will think twice before I attempt to trade 2011 crossroads rushmore(built prior to ‘Thor’) it’s paid for and many of the initial problems I experienced (all covered by warranty, and promptly repaired) are filed under live and learn. Was seriously considering New Horizons, maybe used…..
    Thank you for being a “light in the wilderness”

  15. Thanks for recommending Home Country, Ernie Pyle…..
    got it ….read it…..what a great book. He was some guy!!

    • He was a very special guy, and his stories about roaming around America in the late 1930s are a delight to read.


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