Saturday, September 23, 2023


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 857

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 857 • Week of August 4-10, 2018   #rvtravel

Editor’s corner 
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at)

Wall Drug in its early days

The story of Wall Drug always inspires me. If you have never heard of Wall Drug, then you have not spent much time traveling the West or reading about America’s roadside attractions. Wall Drug is along I-90 in western South Dakota, about five miles from Badlands National Park.

Gail and I stayed a few days this past week at the Sleepy Hollow RV Park, which is just a five-minute walk from the store.

Get your pic taken atop the resident jackalope

Wall Drug is a major tourist attraction. It now takes up one full block in Wall, and is far more than a drug store. Dine at the restaurant or buy toy Indian drums, trinkets, quality leather attire, a silver belt buckle, sporting goods, and fine Western art. Need cowboy boots? How about Western jewelry? Or maybe a scoop of ice cream? It’s all there. Be sure to get your picture taken atop the giant jackalope. And if you wish, pause in the peaceful Traveler’s Chapel right in the middle of things. Oh, yes, the drugstore is still there.

WALL DRUG WAS PURCHASED in 1931 by Ted and Dorothy Hustead. It was the only drugstore in town, and there wasn’t much of a town, only 326 people, or as Ted once said, “326 poor people.” Most were farmers who’d been wiped out by the Great Depression.

Friends and family advised against buying the store, but Ted and Dorothy bought it anyway. They gave themselves five years to make it work. It’s good they had patience, because their life for the next four-and-a-half years was a struggle. Then, on a blazing hot day in July 1936, one inspired thought transformed it from a near failure to a fabulous success.

It happened like this: Dorothy told Ted she was going home to take a nap. An hour later she returned. “Too hot to sleep?” Ted asked. “No,” said Dorothy. “It wasn’t the heat. It was all the cars going by on the highway.”

The free ice water signs are fancier these days.

Ted said that was too bad, but Dorothy didn’t think it was bad at all. It gave her an idea: She told Ted that those motorists were likely very thirsty, dealing with the extreme heat in their cars that back then had no air conditioning. “They want water, ice cold water,” she said, noting that she and Ted had an unlimited supply. “Why don’t we put up a sign on the highway telling people to come in here for free ice water?”

So Ted, with the help of a local high school boy, did just that – they put up a sign with Dorothy’s poetic message: “Get a soda/get a beer/turn next corner/just as near/to Highway 16 and 14/free ice water/ Wall Drug.”

Wall Drug occupies this entire block.

“I have to admit I felt somewhat silly doing it,” Ted recalled later. But by the time he returned to the store motorists were already stopping to refresh. While there, they bought ice cream and other items.

AND THAT WAS THE BEGINNING of what is now a hugely successful, world famous business that draws more than two million visitors a year. It’s still run by the Hustead family, although Ted and Dorothy are now gone.

Ted once recalled that his experience with the business had taught him a valuable lesson. “No matter where you live, you can succeed because wherever you are you can reach out to other people with something they need.”

Coffee is still a nickel.

Anyone who drives across South Dakota today on I-90 literally cannot pass without knowing where to find the store. Hundreds of billboards, all hand-painted, span the state. Some still advertise free ice water and the store’s legendary five-cent coffee. You can see many of the signs here. But the signs don’t end at the state’s border. Through the years they have appeared throughout the world, even one inside London’s Underground.

Click here to see a large map of the store’s layout.


P.S. I ran out of room to write about a lot of other stuff that’s going on (which is a lot!). You can click here to read it (lots of little short items). Be sure to read about me being on a radio show next Wednesday where you can watch the taping live on Facebook or YouTube. I also have an announcement for our members (our voluntary subscribers) about a special message that I promised this week but couldn’t get to because I ran out of time (so sorry!). And, how about my current RV park? I can toss a baseball and hit a passing vehicle on I-90 (but it’s okay).

My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
It’s easy to take your stuff with you with a big RV and trailer.

Readers speak out (Your comments are welcome – please add them below the specific article.)
New type of RVer putting squeeze on RV park space.

Unique RV Overnight Experiences at 600+ Wineries, Farms and More
With a Harvest Hosts membership (just $49/year), you can stay free overnight at more than 600 wineries, farms, breweries and other attractions in North America! Harvest Hosts offers a unique alternative to traditional campgrounds, where members can meet interesting people, taste great wines, eat fresh produce and stay in peaceful settings. Learn more here.

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

Support our efforts to educate and improve the lives of RVers
The staff of works hard to bring you an honest, unbiased, valuable newsletter every Saturday. Readers help make it possible with their “voluntary subscriptions.” Even a pledge of $5, $10 or $20 a year is appreciated — that’s for more than 50 weekly issues (add another 208 if you read our RV Daily Tips Newsletter)! Many readers set up an ongoing subscription, most $5 to $10 a month. But even a one-time contribution of $5 or $10 helps make it possible for us to write about important matters, not just fluff to please advertisers and RV industry big shots. Enter a voluntary subscription. Use a credit card, PayPal or mail a check.

Comprehensive list of RV and RV-related recalls for July
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 Forest River (many), Grand Design, Jayco, Keystone, Newmar, Thor, Triple E and others — plus other vehicles commonly used by RVers. Is your RV or other vehicle on the list? Find out here.

Recent recalls
Keystone recalls trailers: wrong tire rim size on Federal ID label.
Newmar recalls some motorhomes: Slide out may move unexpectedly.
Forest River recalls some trailers: water heater exhaust issue.
Jayco recalls motorhomes for windshield wiper issue.

cover story

Why Camping World is not an RVer’s friend
By Chuck Woodbury: If you have read this newsletter for long, you know how disturbed, even angry, I am about Camping World, which is doing all it can to force gullible buyers into 15- and 20-year loans on the purchase of new, inexpensive RVs. I, for one, do not like what Camping World has become. Read more

ALSO. . .
South Dakota mail forwarding service abruptly shuts its doors
Even before it emailed its customers that it was closing, the company was already returning their mail to its sender, which likely included legal documents, licenses, prescription drugs,  and other important correspondence. Here’s the entire story and what you can do if you lost your address.

breaking-newsThe latest news
about RVing from our newsroom

Bears break into pickup looking for food in Tahoe Donner.
Homeless RVers desecrate Jewish cemetery in Seattle.
Travel trailer stolen twice from Oklahoma dealership.
Online reservations jump 244% at Ohio RV resort.
Security patrols required to keep order in Florida campground.
40-foot motorhome disappears from owner’s front yard.
Camping World to open 40 Gander RV stores in 2019.
Lemonis expounds on future of RV industry on CNBC.
People living in RVs on urban streets increasing.

Wildfire updates
Mendocino Complex fires surpass Carr Fire in acreage burned.
CA wildfire smoke affects wider areas causing breathing difficulty.
Montana Forest Service puts out unattended campfire; more on wildfires.
UPDATE: CA wildfires grow, Mendocino fires threatens 12k structures.
Two new NorCal wildfires; Carr and Ferguson fires rage on.
National forests tighten fire rules.
California, literally and figuratively, is burning up.
BLM campgrounds closed due to spreading NorCal wildfires.
Mendocino and Lake county wildfires force residents to flee.
Heat and low humidity contribute to multiple roadside grass fires.
UPDATE: Carr fire continues to rage thru weekend in Northern CA.
Ferguson Fire forces parts of Yosemite NP to close until August 3.
UPDATE: Vehicle mechanical failure cause of Carr Fire.

Best Sellers at
RV parts and supplies
Truck parts and supplies
Power tools
RV Books
Pet supplies

Malia’s Miles: Do I have the right to die with dignity?
Malia is a full-time RVer and was recently diagnosed with cancer. She is graciously sharing her journey with us. “Who gets to make that decision? And what exactly does ‘die with dignity’ mean? Is there really any such thing as dignity in death? Isn’t it something we’re supposed to fight against with all our might – just to stay alive at any price? Isn’t any quality of life better than death?” Read the rest of Malia’s insightful, thorough and important article.

video camera WPEditor: Rural Nevada is among my favorite places
One of my favorite places to visit in America is rural Nevada. Of those millions and millions of acres, those in the state’s Silver Trails region have always been my most favorite. I first explored the area several decades ago and have returned a dozen times since. As you will see in this video, Nevada is not just Las Vegas and then a huge barren desert. Read more and watch the video.

Airstream says “cease and desist” to new Silver Streak plans
It had been 20 years since Silver Streak manufactured travel trailers, the aluminum-bodied brand launched in 1946. Entrepreneur Ellie Dillon acquired the rights from the former Silver Streak owner in 2016, and she and her husband determined to bring back the once-famous Silver Streak aircraft body trailers. They began to reimagine the trailer with various designs but Airstream, owned by Thor Industries, sent the Dillons a cease-and-desist letter. Read more. 

Another example how slobs are ruining our camping
This is why we all need to be responsible campers, and even go beyond the call of duty sometimes to clean up after the slobby Neanderthals in our midst. Read all about it.

Fuel cell technology powers prototype Mercedes RV
Mercedes-Benz is not waiting for existing motorhome manufacturers to get into the race to develop electric-powered RVs. Instead, Mercedes has introduced a prototype motorhome based on a Hymer low-profile coach powered by the latest hydrogen fuel cell technology. Learn more.

This week’s Reader Poll
How long can you go without an electric hookup?
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.

It’s Summer: Who has the time for waste?
When it comes to RVing, everyone knows that adventure is the best part of the journey and waste removal is the worst. Road & Home™ has everything you need to tackle this stinky task. Stock up today and fight the fear of a waste disaster! To shop all the essential waste removal parts, click here.

spyWhat we learned from you last week
Do you like to socialize in RV parks? Has anything ever been stolen from your RV? Where do you read the news? Are you a picky eater? Do you wash your RV yourself or have it done professionally? This plus more (including a funny gag gift) in this week’s article

Small purchases on credit cards not such a bad idea – if…
In a recent reader poll we asked: “On routine store purchases of $10 to $20 how do you most often pay?” Nearly 2,500 of you responded – and a pretty lopsided majority of more than 1,110 of you (47 percent) said, “With a credit card.” Read this report from Russ and Tiña De Maris about why that can be a good idea (and which, apparently, a lot of our readers have figured out).

Do you drive with a dog on your lap?
Anyone of advanced age knows that their ability to make quick decisions slows every year. Simply looking down to change a radio station and then looking back up requires slightly more time to adjust to the scene. A dog on one’s lap, in our opinion, is simply way out of line and just plain dangerous for the driver and nearby motorists. If you travel with a dog, please answer our poll and leave a comment. Even if you don’t travel with a dog, you can view the results and comment. Click here for more.

Protecting bears and humans goal of bear box project
Most of us that camp in wilder areas such as national forests have heard the saying, “A fed bear is a dead bear.” And if you’ve been to a campground, you’ve seen the sturdy metal bear boxes where campers store their food while away from the campsite and while sleeping. Yet, some campers still practice bad food storage habits, which are not only bad for the bear but can also be dangerous for campers. Wildlife groups are joining up to put a stop to that. Learn more.

Minnesota adds Mille Lacs as its 22nd Scenic Byway
The Scenic Byways Commission designated Lake Mille Lacs as the state’s newest Scenic Byway this week. The designation will open up opportunities for increased tourism and promote the region’s unique character. The 68-mile-long Lake Mille Lacs Scenic Byway is the 22nd in Minnesota’s 2,948 miles of regionally outstanding scenic, natural, recreational, cultural, historic and archaeologically significant road trips. Learn more.

RV cleaning tips & tricks for the summer season from Eva-Dry
For recreational vehicle owners, the RV is their home away from home (or maybe it is their home) and keeping it clean is imperative to ensuring the interior and exterior lasts. With a little planning and preparation, one can be sure to keep the RV in working order without using up too much time. Here are some quick RV cleaning tips and tricks from Eva-Dry, manufacturer of dehumidifier products. Learn more.

Camping World plans to open 40 Gander RV stores in 2019
In 2017 Camping World surprised the RV industry by purchasing the Gander Mountain retailer in a bankruptcy auction. Many assumed CW wanted to add more general camping and outdoors products to the CW line, but according to a press release, Camping World said that since the Gander acquisition it has negotiated leases “for a number of the old Gander Mountain locations” where it believes it can grow its RV operation. Learn more.

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

Millennials choose smaller trailers over larger traditional RVs
Millennials don’t look at RVing the same way their parents did when they retired to massive, feature-rich motorhomes and fifth-wheel trailers. These young adults instead are embracing a new, hip wave of travel trailers. From small, app-connected campers to solar-powered cabins on wheels, young adults can find an influx of innovative travel trailers geared specifically toward their interests. Read more.

German motorhome has a garage for your car
RV enthusiasts, like car and truck owners, have varied preferences in the modes of travel. Add to the list the Variomobil Signature 1200. The German-made bus-sized motorhome features a 523-horsepower Mercedes-Benz engine, and it can carry another Mercedes-Benz or another car of your choice. Read more.

Causes of these recent RV fires unknown
The threat of having your RV catch fire is an alarming and frightening prospect, and often the cause of the fire is unknown. Could it be a manufacturing problem? Or did the RV owner’s actions cause the fire to erupt? Here are three mysteriously caused fires that happened last weekend. Learn more.

What is this?
If you’re the third person to correctly identify this object found in an antique shop, we’ll send you a $25 gift card at Amazon. Click here to see the complete rules and a six-second video of the object in action. 

Rent a vintage trailer by a vineyard pond
The look, feel and ambiance of some new campgrounds are changing from the typically cramped RV parks to renting just a few RVs, mostly trailers (and vintage, at that), already set up in a campsite on a larger piece of private land. It may be a slow progression for now, but if the Trailer Pond is any indication, more creative entrepreneurs will soon follow suit. Check this out.

New campground to open Aug. 6 at Idaho’s Stanley Lake
New campsites opening is welcome news just about anywhere in America, as the numbers of RV resorts and campgrounds fail to meet the increasing demand of campers. But when new campsites open in some of the country’s most scenic areas, it is cause for hootin’ and hollerin’ among RVers that like to camp in nature. Such is the case at the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Learn more.

Here’s an idea: Camp in a cave!
How does camping in a cave sound? Oh, not with your RV — no room for that unless you have an itty-bitty micro rig you can drag in. But if you like the idea of camping where the sun doesn’t shine, and are brave enough, then here’s a fun idea for a night away from the rig. Water Cave in Alabaster Caverns State Park in Freedom, Oklahoma, provides the opportunity to spend the night in a cave. Cool (literally)! Learn more.

Hitch Hotel introduces hitch-mounted, expandable hotel room
Utilitarian? Check. Lightweight? Check. Easy setup? Check. This is the Hitch Hotel, a comfortable and secure anytime, anywhere hotel room. Made for the modern road-warrior, the Hitch Hotel hitches to any vehicle with a minimum Class 2 hitch. It’s small and light enough to affix to the rear of even a Smart car or Mini Cooper. Learn more.

Can you watch streaming TV using a mobile hot spot?
A few weeks ago Rich “The Wanderman” got a 2nd Generation Fire TV Stick from Amazon for $19.99. Since he already has a couple and they work great on home-based WiFi, he decided to get one to experiment with on the road. Would he be able to watch anything at all while connected to the internet via his cell phone’s hot spot? For 20 bucks, he figured it was worth a try. Here’s what he found out.

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
Is this the most beat up, junky motorhome in America?
Editor’s notes for July 27, 2018.
Why so many RVs are junk (video).
• Do RV manufacturers “lie with statistics”?
Future fulltimers beware: You could be voiding your RV’s warranty.
Your Sprinter RV cost too much? Blame chickens!

In-laws spoiling full-time RVing experience.

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.

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.

RV guided tours
If you’re looking for a new experience with your RV, consider a guided tour, where all the planning and details along the way are handled for you. Plus you’ll make some great friends! See what tours are coming up.

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.

Camco vent insulator keeps you warm…and cool!
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 reflective surface blocks sunlight, preventing it from heating your RV in the hot months. The insulator is designed to fit standard 14″x14″ RV vents. Learn more or order here

Ask the RV Shrink

How to deal with noisy campground “soap opera”

Dear RV Shrink:
I think you need to schedule campground office hours. We just spent a night in Rocky Mountain National Park next to a couple in a large tent. Their campfire circle was directly out our motorhome bedroom window. They spent a few hours around the campfire discussing their relationship loud enough so that we could not help hearing the whole sordid mess very clearly. It was a warm night so they had to know everyone around them had their RV windows open. …

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

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

A Waterless RV Wash & Wax!
Spit Shine has more emulsifiers than other waterless washes. It traps and lifts dirt to leave a clean, scratch-free, glossy surface. Great for when you’re on the go and don’t have access to a water hose. Requires just a damp, and a dry, towel. Watch Wade clean all RV surfaces. Click here to buy, or learn more about, Spit Shine at the Wade Maid website.

gas-738Latest fuel prices, July 30, 2018
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.85 [Calif.: $3.51]
Change from week before: Up 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 49 cents.
Diesel: $3.23 [Calif.: $3.95]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 70 cents.

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.


RV Fire Safety Tip  

An emergency fire plan that can save your life – Part 2 of 13
Having a solid fire escape plan may help you replace panic with logical, life-saving actions if a fire occurs. Knowing exactly what to do and doing it quickly can make a big difference in an emergency situation
Recognizing the signals from each type of detector is important because different reactions are required for each type of alarm. With smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, stay low when they sound. LPG gas gathers low, so the best action is standing upright when you hear the LPG detector. An easy way to remember what to do is to observe the placement of the detectors. If they’re placed high, then you should stay low, and vice versa. Weekly testing will also help you become very familiar with the varying sounds of each so you’ll know how to respond. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy

Editor’s note: Choose from a wide selection of fire extinguishers at Amazon. Here are links from for smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, LP gas detectors, and combination smoke and CO detectors

Double refrigerator bars ensure nothing moves while driving.
I know it’s happened to me many times – I’ve opened the fridge (even slowly) after driving down the road and a heavy jar has fallen on my toe – “OW!” – because it shifted in the fridge. Never have that happen again with these easy-to-install double refrigerator bars. These spring-loaded bars can also be placed in cupboards or in closets. Order for a good price here.

RV Quick Tips

Quentin Scouflaire on wikimedia commons.

Avoid trouble in mountain passes
from Jim Twamley, Professor of RVing

For all RVs it’s important that your brakes and tires be in top-notch condition. Traveling through mountain passes you will often encounter high winds. So, if you’re pulling a travel trailer, I highly recommend a load-leveling system with anti-sway control. If you have a diesel truck or a diesel pusher motorhome, you absolutely must have a compression braking system. If you don’t have a compression braking system, you will burn up your brakes and have repeated white-knuckle experiences.

Equipment aside, the biggest safety tip for RV mountain driving is: “Don’t be in a hurry.” Allowing your rig to gain excess speed on a downhill run is just asking for trouble. When you’re plummeting down a hill in your multi-ton RV, it is extremely difficult to stay in your lane when you encounter a sharp turn at the bottom. I’ve seen RV rollovers and collisions from this common mistake.

Be sure to stay in the right-hand lane as much as possible. Take your time and don’t overtax your engine. Gear down and enjoy the scenery. Give yourself plenty of room to slow down and stop when following other vehicles. During summer months you will encounter a lot of road construction on mountain roads. You will encounter many controlled stops where road construction is being conducted on mountain roads, so if you’re limited on time, be sure to check your route with the various state departments of transportation when you plan your trip. 

Dead decal removal
Tired of those worn-out RV sidewall decals crisping up at the edges and making your rig look old and tired? Here’s how one RVer was able to remove his: 1. Use a hair dryer (or heat gun used carefully – works much faster) to warm them up. 2. Slide a fingernail under an edge to begin the pull-off process. Peel carefully, reheating as needed. 3. Use “Goo Gone” to remove any remaining adhesive. 4. Immediately wash off the Goo Gone to protect the rig’s gel coat.

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

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

Gizmos and Gadgets

Do you shave with a blade?
From editor Chuck Woodbury: “I’ve shaved with a blade most my life. For some odd reason I got in the habit of using disposable shavers, then I realized all the plastic I was tossing into landfills. I’d read about the Harry’s Shaver for years. So I decided to try one. Wow! Wow! It’s the closest shave I can remember. The reviews on Amazon are not spectacular, but I can’t figure out why. I do know, though, that mine is a keeper. You can find a good selection of men’s and women’s models at Amazon or you can go directly to the Harry’s website.

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

Totally, 100% compostable K-cup pods
If you love your Keurig coffee maker but are concerned about tossing away so much plastic, here’s a solution, the one used by editor Chuck Woodbury: Faro Roasters Blend 100% Compostable Rainforest Alliance single-serve pods. After you make your coffee, toss the pod in your compost bin and it will quickly decompose back into the soil. Learn more or order.

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

Why does the GFCI hum when the inverter is on?

Dear Gary:
I replaced the GFCI in my Class A motorhome and the new one hums when the inverter is on. Any idea why? —Denise D.

Read Gary’s response.

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

New & interesting finds on Amazon!
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.

RV Electricity
with Mike Sokol

Pedestal Power Checklist

Dear Mike,
The procedure at the top of the Pedestal Power article is great. But for newbies (or those of us who are just forgetful), a checklist we could print and keep with our surge protector and non-contact voltage detector would be an awesome way to always have this info handy. —Carissa

Read Mike’s response and get his printable Pedestal Power Checklist here.

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.

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.

RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

Can you change tire size on your RV?
There seems to be a bit of confusion when it comes to selecting tires to replace the size/type that came as original equipment on your RV. What you can do and what you should do are not always the same thing. Roger explains a critical factor to keep in mind if you’re considering an alternate-sized tire. Learn more.

Endorsed by tire expert Roger Marble!
tire-guage660Outstanding tire pressure gauge
The Accutire MS-4021B digital tire pressure gauge has an easy-to-read LCD display that provides pressure readings from 5-150 PSI. It’s ergonomically designed with an angled head and a rubber-coated easy-grip handle. If you forget to turn it off, it will do so automatically. The included lithium battery never needs to be recharged or replaced. Used by the RV Travel staffLearn more or order.

By ESA & Max-Planck Institute for Solar System Research for OSIRIS Team.

Astronomy for RVers
with Chris Fellows

Mars: The Red Planet is at its closest approach to Earth since 2003
Mars has always been a source of interest and wonder to the human race. Even in prehistoric times the glowing red orb grabbed attention in the night sky – its bright red/orange color is hard to miss. On July 31, 2018, it was at its closest approach to the Earth since 2003, and the closest it will be until 2035. Time to check it out!

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

The RV Kitchen   
with Janet Groene

Pronto Pilaf
Love this side dish. When most of your camping meals focus on meat from the grill, burgers from the grate and wienies on a stick, it’s sometimes a stickler to round out the plate with easy side dishes. When a hot side dish is called for, rice is a go-to starch. It’s inexpensive, nutritious, compact in the pantry, versatile and easy to cook in an instant pot, pressure cooker, steamer or saucepan. Get the recipe.

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


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.

Natural History Museum of Utah/University of Utah. Click to enlarge.

The RoVing Naturalist
with Dennis Prichard

Learning by the firefly’s light
Most every child has gone out into the still summer night air and wondered about those flashing specks of light above the bushes and lawns around their houses. Lightning bugs, or fireflies, are almost as much a part of a child’s summer as eating ice cream or going swimming. But if a child inquired of you about how the firefly makes its light, what would you say? Find out here.

RV Short Stop
with Julianne G. Crane

House on Deer Shelter Rock (

“House on the Rock” astounding, fun family attraction
Spring Green, Wisconsin
If you are touring the Midwest and are looking for an astounding and unique destination with something for everyone in the family, head to the House on the Rock. Long a regional tourist attraction in southwest Wisconsin, this “eccentric architectural and entertainment attraction” is a sprawling complex of unique structures, rooms, streets and gardens. House on the Rock has three sections … way more than anyone can see in a single RV Short Stop. Read more.

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 

Free and bargain camping

Casino Lac-Leamy, Gatineau, QC
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Permission not required. Multiple night stays allowed provided you are patronizing the casino. Well-lit and mostly level. Quiet, with the sound of fountains. Safe with security patrols 24/7 and police station across the street. Eight restaurants/bars in the casino. Address: 1 Boulevard du Casino GPS: 45.449273, -75.726762

The Mall at Sears, Anchorage, AK
FREE! Overnight RV parking is allowed for up to 24 hours. Obtain permission during business hours, ONLY from mall office. Park near outer edges of the lot, away from stores, without obstructing traffic lanes. Level, well-lit, appears safe. Address: 600 East Northern Lights Blvd GPS: 61.194965, -149.876441

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

Museum of the Week

The Moist Towelette Museum
East Lansing, Michigan

We’ve featured a lot of bizarre museums, but this might be the weirdest one yet. The founder, John French, has been collecting moist towelettes for years, and he gets towelette donations sent to him from around the world! The museum, housed inside his office (which is inside the planetarium building) at Michigan State University, showcases everything from denture towelettes, mammogram towelettes, and even movie/TV show themed towelettes. The website hasn’t been updated in a while, but take a peek and make sure to visit in person next time you’re in Michigan. We’re intrigued by this one. . .

Fridge Airator keeps fridge cold, saves food!
This compact high air circulator from Camco 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’ll be in hot temperatures this summer, you’ll want this in your fridge. Learn more or order. 

Upcoming RV Shows

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.
• Maryland RV Show, September 13-16, Timonium, MD
• Portland Fall RV and Van Show, September 13-16, Portland, OR
• Georgia RV & Camper Show, September 14-16, Atlanta, GA
• Indianapolis Fall Boat and RV Show, September 21-23, Indianapolis, IN

See the complete list of all upcoming RV shows.

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.

A little lightness in today’s often nasty political climate. Spotted by editor Chuck Woodbury in a store window in Mitchell, South Dakota.

French fries originated in Belgium, where historians have traced them back to the late-1600s.

Bumper sticker of the week
If a man speaks in the forest and no woman hears him, is he still wrong?

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

Joke of the Week
An old guy walks into a bar and the bartender asks for ID. “You’ve got to be kidding,” he said. “I’m almost 60 years old.” The bartender apologized, but said he had to see the license. The guy showed his ID, then paid and told the bartender to keep the change. “The tip’s for carding me,” he said. The bartender put the change in the tip cup. “Thanks,” he said. “Works every time.”

Worth Pondering
“There is nothing stronger in the world than gentleness.” —Han Suyin

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.

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

This website utilizes some advertising services. Sometimes we are paid if you click one of those links and purchase a product or service. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc . is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. includes links to other websites. We cannot control the content and/or privacy policies of those sites. Please be aware when you leave this newsletter or any other section of to read the privacy statements of any of those websites that collect personally identifiable information. Our own privacy policy applies only to and its affiliated blogs.

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  1. Visited Wall drug back in the 70’s This was our first time back. It sure has changed over the years except for the cowboy singers. I swear, they are still wearing the same shirts and singling the same tune today as they were 45 years ago. Just sayin. Great fun. A must stop for your bucket list.

  2. We had our first experience with free overnight camping at a Flying J in Tucumcari NM. Needless to say, this will also be our last. Our small pull behind was about 100 degrees inside and we do not have a generator, so we had to leave our windows open to try and keep cool. Nothing like trying to sleep surrounded by diesels running all night. Not fun.

    On the way home, we spent the night at Santa Rosa Lake State Park. Best $18 I have ever spent.

    I’ll leave the free parking lot spots for the loud and stinky diesel pushers.

  3. Chuck,

    While in the Mt Rushmore Area, visit Hill City and take Gail to the Alpine inn for a very Special Dinner evening. The best filet mignon you’ve ever had (don’t bother to order The lobster, they don’t have iT).

  4. My wife just told me that if she was not in the forest with me I would still be wrong. It didn’t matter if she was there or not!!!

  5. I was glad to see Minnesota add another Scenic Byway to the list. I’m planning my full-time itinerary around the Scenic Byways in each state and had not found an easy way to group the route with all the stops I want to make along the way, campgrounds, restaurants, etc. Then I discovered My Scenic Drives at

    With this road trip planner, all the Scenic Byways in each state are listed, so you can choose a state and pick the first route to take, then get help adding the other stops and needs along the way. Next you can link to another Scenic Byway and continue or add in routes and stops unrelated to the Scenic Byway. It’s easy and intuitive to use. Give it a try and see how you like it. From what I’ve done so far with it, it may become my only trip planning tool. Time will tell. . .

  6. Having heard about it most of my life, we had to visit Wall Drug when we were in the Badlands. We didn’t buy any of the tourist stuff, but we did get a prescription filled there.

  7. Not sure where to respond to the What is it contest, so hopefully here is good. I am going with a guess that is quite different than what my husband wanted me to reply with (if it turns out that he was right, I will be hearing about it for a while). It looks to me like some kind of a sewing machine – likely an industrial one.

    • Sorry. It would help if I actually read all of the information about the contest and saw that I was supposed to send an email. I have done that now, and unfortunately I can’t edit the post.

  8. Malia, thank you for sharing your story and so much very important information. You have enriched my life and offered insights I would never have imagined. Thank you RVTravel for posting this ongoing chapter of Malia’s life.

  9. We visited the Wall Drug Store years ago when finished visiting Badlands Nat’l Park and found it to be a real treat. It’s a very interesting part of Americana and shows American ingenuity. It is definitely worth the stop if you’re in the area. And when we went the coffee was free for veterans too!

  10. Wall Drug – our first visit to WD was in 1982 on our first trip west using a backpacking tent. We travel west (Tetons, Yellowstone RMNP, etc.) almost yearly from Vermont, now in our Airstream and F250. Wall is always an aiming point for a night. It’s just fun to stay at Sleepy Hollow and head over to WD and browse. This year it was even more special as we are now in our 3rd generation, as our son and his family (2 kids) traveled in tandem with us. The grandkids loved all the WD adventures. We will continue this tradition as long as we travel west. Oh… don’t forget hot sticky buns for breakfast. Best ever!!! (This year we were there July 7 and July 24 on the way home to VT.)

  11. I was bicycling across the US back in 1979 and made special point of going through Wall, just to say I did it. And of course I filled up my water bottles with “free ice water”.

  12. Chuck,
    Towards the beginning of this weeks news letter, you have an article that states that the mail forwarding company in S.D. has closed its doors with no warning. But a little further down the newsletter you advertise a mail forwarding business in S.D. Is this the same business? If so, why are you advertising it, if it is out of business? Just an oversight?

    • No Ed and Robin, they are totally different businesses. Americas Mailbox which is one of our advertisers is still very much in business. It was MyDakotaAddress that closed its doors.


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