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Issue 858 • Week of August 11-17, 2018 #rvtravel
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
I am very happy and proud to report that my staff and I have now posted more than 4,000 articles to this website. About ten of us post regularly, and in a month’s time we probably add another 300 or so. We have beefed up our news coverage to the point where we are not able to include all the headlines in this Saturday newsletter. I urge you to sign up for our daily RSS feed. Every new article we post in the past 24 hours will be emailed to you each afternoon without any advertising. I have included the signup form here:
TO OUR MEMBERS
If you are an RV Travel Member (voluntary subscriber) and did not get a special email message and video from me late yesterday, please let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org). I know we missed some of you: We’re still trying to get better organized as we take on more and more important projects. We are making significant progress on many fronts, and I explained that to our members in my message yesterday. They, bottom line, make these efforts possible. If you have not become a member, check out the options here.
One area where we are making progress is convincing other RV media to join with us in discussing what many consider problems in the RV industry. The radio program The RV Show USA, hosted by Alan Warren, has jumped on the bandwagon, bravely discussing topics that most others dare not touch. I appeared on Alan’s show for an hour last Wednesday. Watch a recording of its live taping on YouTube or download the podcast. Besides its online audience, The RV Show USA appears on about a dozen radio stations around the country. If you have an RV-related business, I urge you to contact Alan about advertising: Help him expand his voice.
We all hear a lot about our American heroes. Usually they’re members of the military, police officers or urban firemen. But I suggest we equally honor another group of brave people — those who battle wildfires, like those burning up the countryside and homes now in the West. These people are not only brave, they work in conditions that are as close to Hell as a person can get.
I know, because I fought wildfires during my college summer breaks. Most were small, easily extinguished in a day. But when the big ones came along, my fellow firefighters and I would work up to 18 hours a day on the fire line, then sleep in a pasture in a paper sleeping bag for a few hours, then return to the line. It was brutal, hellish work. But lucky for me, I never had to spend more than a few days on one fire. To battle one for weeks or months — I can’t even imagine how horrible that would be!
It seems to me that recent wildfires are far more frequent and larger than when I fought them. When I think of the guys on the line right now in California, I am so thankful they are there. Imagine having to stand by a huge bonfire on a 110-degree day for days on end wearing heavy pants and a long-sleeved shirt, working almost non-stop, sweating so hard you need to take salt pills to keep your body from cramping (or worse).
After spending all your energy and then some, you must return to the fireline the next day and then the next, and you never know when it will end, and you wonder how you can stand even another hour of the torture. I am telling you, this is what it can be like!
And then, when the fire is finally extinguished and you’re released, you return to your base camp, take a long shower and sleep in a real bed and eat like you’re twice your size. And a few days later, you get the call to head out again!
These firefighters are not even paid THAT much! And each year, this year included, not only do they work in nearly impossible conditions, some are trapped by flames and die what must be a horrible death!
These people are heroes! If you know someone who’s fighting a fire now, or you know their parents or friends, let them know how much you appreciate their efforts. And be fire-safe yourself: The men and woman who risk their lives protecting us and our property have enough work without you and me giving them more.
Finally, we reported two days ago about the Good Sam Club reaching nearly two million members. I question the value of a Good Sam membership beyond obtaining discounts at Camping World and many RV parks. Why did you join? Read the short article and answer the poll. As I write this on Friday, with a couple of hundred votes in, I find I’m not alone with my beliefs.
P.S. Welcome to the hundreds of new subscribers this past week, many of whom came from my appearance on The RV Show USA.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
• Thank your lucky stars you live where you do!
• Good Sam membership closes in on two-million mark. (Article plus poll.)
• Marcus Lemonis not worried about tariffs: Why? Long-term loans keep payments cheap.
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.
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The staff of RVtravel.com 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 che
Camping World customer satisfaction poll deeply lopsided
We posted a poll last week asking readers who had bought an RV at Camping World how happy they were with their experience with the company. We expected that a fair number of readers would be less-than-satisfied with their experience, but just how wide a margin of difference there was in reality did catch us off guard. Read more.
The latest news
about RVing from our newsroom
• Have a DWI? Don’t drive a boat or ATV in Minnesota.
• Fire in barn spreads to RV in Oregon City.
• Camping World 2nd quarter results show tightening RV profits.
• Man uses RV as battering ram against SWAT vehicle.
• Your choice: Buy this RV book for $509 or get it free.
• Las Cruces, NM, passes ordinance to restrict RV street parking.
• Fire destroys RV in Pendleton, OR, restaurant parking lot.
• Homeless in roadside encampment create problem with officials.
• RVillage announces its second rally, this time in Florida.
• Interior Secretary Zinke discusses need for repair of our national parks.
• Aug. 4, CA wildfire update: Windy, hot weather threatens new areas.
• Aug. 5: California wildfires still expanding, uncontained.
• Montana and Idaho wildfires continue expansion.
• Active-duty soldiers deploying to battle CA wildfires.
• Mendocino Complex wildfires now 2nd largest in CA history, nearing 1st.
• Drone footage of California fire is heartbreaking.
• Mendocino Complex wildfire grows to largest in California history.
• Oregonians warned of excessive heat and wildfire smoke.
• Containing Mendocino Complex fires may take until Sept. 1.
• Prime conditions increase and stoke California wildfires Thursday.
• Smoke from the CA wildfires spreads 3,000 miles to New York.
• Yosemite Valley set to open next week.
• Jayco trailer recall: Screws on ladders may break.
• Jayco recalls motorhomes for incorrect weight label.
• Entegra Coach recalls motorhomes: wrong weight label.
• Jayco recalls trailers: Generator exhaust could enter RV.
• KZRV recalls trailer: Propane gas may leak from outdoor cooktop.
• Keystone recalls trailers: Wrong rim size designation.
• Forest River recalls trailers: Wheel bearings may seize.
• NEMO Equipment recalls thousands of camp chairs for fall hazard.
• Keystone recalls trailers to replace incorrect safety chains.
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 here to learn more or enroll.
A wave of deer ticks spreads across the country
Hikers and campers need to be on the alert for ticks this summer because of an invasion of Lyme disease-carrying deer ticks that is sweeping across the nation. The CDC says rising temperatures are to blame for the tripling of mosquito-, tick- and flea-borne illnesses from 2004 to 2016. Learn more.
First, Lyme-carrying deer ticks – Now Asian long-horned ticks are coming
This week health officials scared the wits out of us on the invasion of Lyme disease-carrying deer ticks that are now found in all 50 states. In addition to the deer ticks, now health officials tell us we need to be concerned about a new tick, the Asian long-horned tick, which is possibly as dangerous as the deer variety. This is the first time in 50 years a new tick species has come to the U.S. Learn more.
How to attach a Blue Ox Ascent tow bar
Andy Pargh, The Gadget Guru, interviews Jeff Jubin, the Dealer Development Manager of Blue Ox. The video features the factory recommended technique for attaching a Blue Ox Ascent tow bar behind a motorhome. Watch the informative video.
New, efficient campsite booking system coming
Have you tried to go on a spontaneous weekend camping trip lately? So you went online to reserve a campsite only to find that all “reservable” sites have been taken. But some sites are held in reserve for people like you that make last-minute decisions. Except there are several hundred more just like you who have arrived first, so your chances are nil of getting a site. Fortunately, help is on the way – for federal campsites, anyway. Read more.
Proposed bipartisan bills to expand recreation on public lands
Expanded recreation opportunities on federal lands could be in store for RVers in the near future if bipartisan Senate and House bills pass. This could mean more public land open to dispersed camping as well as other recreation choices. Of interest to the RV industry, this bill extends the recreation season to help with campground overcrowding and promote healthy recreation experiences. Learn more.
This week’s Reader Poll
What length RV should require a special driver’s license to drive or tow?
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.
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.
What we learned from you last week
Well, we now know you’re not fans of tattoos, that you like RV-related questions the best, that Chuck is turning into an RV (there’s a photo to prove it!), that time spent volunteering can go one of four ways, that you’ll speak in front of large crowds if you have to, and that you think children growing up today will have it worse than their parents did. Click here to read about all we learned.
E.coli outbreak sickens campers at Minnesota campground
Campers at a campground in Zumbrota, Minnesota, became unexpectedly sick after staying at the campground. Minnesota health officials say they’ve now identified at least 72 people who have gotten sick with a waterborne illness in an outbreak at the campground, with the most recent case being reported Aug. 3. Learn more.
RVs in Badlands National Park
Editor Chuck Woodbury spent a day recently in South Dakota’s magnificent Badlands National Park. He stopped often, and when an RV passed, he took some video of it passing by. Here’s a very short compilation of what he saw. Watch the video.
Thor partners with Indiana schools on RV tech certification
Elkhart-based Thor Industries, Inc. is partnering with the Indiana State Board of Education and Wa-Nee Community Schools on a vocational training program for RV techs. The company says the Recreation Vehicle Construction Graduation Pathway will provide high school students the hands-on training needed for a career in RV manufacturing. The move comes at a time when many manufacturers are having trouble finding trained and qualified workers needed to fill openings building high-quality motorhomes and trailers. Learn more.
The “OverKill” trailer ready for the rough life
If RVing for you doesn’t equate to “glamping” somewhere in a high-end resort, but on the other end of the spectrum, there may be an RV for you. The “OverKill” touts itself this way: “Adventure comes from new experiences. Danger comes from being unprepared for them. Whatever your journey throws at you, your OverKill Camper keeps you protected and prepared without making you sacrifice the thrill of carving your own road.” Read more.
American Kennel Club provides tips for camping with your canine
Bringing your pet along for camping trips is a fun and adventurous way to enjoy nature and get some exercise together. About half of all RVtravel.com readers report that they travel with a pet, mostly dogs. The American Kennel Club shares safety tips for dog owners to consider before packing up. Read more.
Keep gray tank odors away
AND MAKE MORE ROOM UNDER YOUR SINKS
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.
Oregon state parks could increase rates – or not
Camping at your favorite Oregon State Park campsite could become more expensive – or, in fact, less expensive – if a new Oregon Parks and Recreation Department proposal is adopted. The Parks Department is seeking public comment on proposed rules that would allow the agency to enact flexible rates within a set range for state park campsites. Under the rule, OPRD could charge a slightly higher rate at high-demand campgrounds and a lower rate at less-popular sites. Read more and submit your comments before Sept. 10.
Float the Yakima River to while away a hot summer day
With all the wildfires burning in the Western states, it might be a good idea to go jump in the river – the Yakima River, to be more precise. With an inner tube or raft you can float a quiet, slow-moving, 16-mile stretch of the river between Ellensburg and Yakima, Washington. If this is your idea idea of the perfect way to while away a hot day, check this out.
Vintage RV photos: “Harriet” the house car
We don’t imagine that too many of our readers attended this RV gathering. It was January 10, 1929, in Arcadia, Florida, when “Harriet” the house car attended the Tin Can Tourists convention there, apparently traveling from Brattleboro, Vermont. Read more.
Finally, a low-cost portable espresso machine that works!
Making and drinking coffee is a topic that is near and dear to Rich “The Wanderman” and, according to a recent poll, three-fourths of RV Travel’s readers start their day with coffee! Rich has covered many ways to make coffee in an RV and he has found another. What if you can’t use the stovetop or are away from the RV and still want your “morning thunder”? Try an inexpensive portable espresso maker. Learn more.
Home schooling increasing for kids of fulltime RVers
If you’ve dreamed of fulltime RVing after your kids grow up and move out, it may not be necessary to wait. As the number of fulltime RVers hitting the road increases, more and more younger parents with school-age children are finding home schooling provides a broader, more rounded education than traditional schools. Learn more.
Goodbye Holding Tank Odors and Clogs, Hello Convenience!
The best just got better. Now you can get the unsurpassed strength of RV Digest-It Holding Tank Treatment in a convenient, easy to use drop-in pod. RV Digest-It has long been known as the premier all-around tank treatment for those looking for the best in both odor elimination and waste digestion – now you can add convenience to that list. Learn more here.
Popular articles from last week’s issue
• Article and Video: Why Camping World is not an RVer’s friend.
• South Dakota mail forwarding service abruptly shuts down.
• Another example of how slobs are ruining our camping.
• Letter to editor: New type of RVer putting squeeze on RV park spaces.
• Editor’s late afternoon notes – August 3, 2018.
• Airstream says “cease and desist” to new Silver Streak plans.
• RV Electricity – (Printable) Pedestal Power Checklist.
Save your propane! Easily convert to electric heat!
SAVE $$$! Until now, the standard for heating recreation vehicles of all types has been to use bottled propane (LPG). With the CheapHeat™ system there’s a better option. Now you have a choice to change the central heating system between gas and electric with the flip of a switch. When you choose to run on electric heat rather than gas, your coach will be heated by the electricity provided by the RV park. Learn more.
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.
Real-time interactive map of USA wildfires. Includes number of acres burned and percentage of containment for every wildfire (currently 97) in America. From esri.com.
Best Sellers at Amazon.com
•RV parts and supplies
•Truck parts and supplies
Ask the RV Shrink
Wife has difficulty both “heading out” and “heading home”
Dear RV Shrink:
My wife is conflicted. We spend 6-9 months a year living and traveling in our RV. Before we leave my wife is always dragging her feet. She is very involved socially at home and hates to leave. Once we are on the road she goes through withdrawal for awhile then slides comfortably into our RV lifestyle. After several months on the road she dreads going back home and getting so involved again. I try to keep her on the road as long as possible, but I never know if she is coming or going. Is this normal behavior? —DiscomBobulated in Duluth
Read the RV Shrink’s response.
Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his new e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.
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.
Latest fuel prices, August 6, 2018
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.85. [Calif.: $3.50]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 47 cents.
Diesel: $3.22. [Calif.: $3.94]
Change from week before: No change; Change from year before: Up 64 cents.
Portable Outdoor Campfire
The compact, portable propane campfire is great for camping when in-ground fires are prohibited. Realistic log pieces and full 9-1/2″ diameter ring burner help create the natural look and ambiance of from-scratch campfires. Its sturdy lid and security latches make it safe and easy to transport. The campfire includes an 8′ propane hose for use with standard LP gas cylinders. Learn more or order.
Last week’s contest results
We asked you what this was, but nobody got it right, so we’ll hold the prize for our next contest. So what is this? It’s an antique hand rug stitcher. Click here to see it in action
RV Quick Tips
Clean up those RV power cord contacts
Readers may have heard a bit of back-and-forth about how to clean the brass contacts on your shore power cord connector. Please DON’T follow the suggestion made by one RV park that handed out a strip of coarse emery cloth to each guest, telling them to use it to clean up their contacts. Reader “D ‘n C” suggests something a little kinder, like a Scotch Brite pad. Resident electric specialist Mike Sokol adds: “For gold contacts on circuit boards we use pencil erasers. And I’ve used Mr. Clean Magic Eraser blocks for cleanup chores when I want to remove the crud, but not the metal beneath it. When you do need to resurface the metal, then 400-grit sandpaper is what I use.”
Stop that flopping sewer hose!
OK, you have set up your sewer hose, tightened everything up and have two full tanks. Let the fun begin. Not so fast. It is a wise person who plans ahead. When the black water comes cascading down that three-inch hose, there is a lot of weight behind it. When it is turned loose, it could lift that sewer hose right out of the connection if it isn’t tightly threaded or weighted down with several pounds of weight on top of that end of the hose. We have a solution to the hose lifting out of the hole. We spared no expense on this device.
I found the worst and most stretched out pair of sweat socks I could find, filled each with gravel, tied them together, and draped it over the business end of the sewer hose. It’s hard to believe how much of that stuff will spread out on the ground and cover your shoes before you can close the valve. Whatever you want to call it, this is nasty stuff. You may have heard this called the black water dance. Now you know why. The thing that an RVer learns very quickly is that this is not a septic tank, but just a temporary holding device for some extremely nasty stuff! —From “So, you want to be an RVer? And Enjoy the RV Lifestyle? [Revised],” by John and Kathy Huggins. Available on amazon.com.
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Russ (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it 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.
Gizmos and Gadgets
You and your RVing pets will love the Pet Pail
If you travel with a pet you are among the majority of RV owners. You are likely always on the lookout for products that will make your “bestest buddy” comfortable and enjoy RVing as much as you do. The Pet Pail is one of those products. It provides a compact, efficient way of keeping and transporting your dog’s or cat’s food and other supplies, and its retro lunchbox design lends some cool cred to you and your pet. Read more.
Be sure to sign up for our monthly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. Click here.
Fool everyone with this camera lens coffee mug!
This cool coffee mug is an exact replica of a Canon camera lens, right down to the moveable switches! The stainless steel inside will keep coffee nice and hot and the outside plastic is BPA-free. One reviewer writes that it looks so real she put it back in her husband’s camera bag! You’ll want to walk around the campground to show off this one. You can order it here.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
Protect your RV tires – especially when parked
Thank you for teaching me so much about RVs over the years. You have discussed every aspect of vehicle care, including the importance of taking proper care of the RV tires. In some of those articles, it has been mentioned that something should separate your tires from the concrete. Would you be kind enough to tell me the type of material that should be used? —Harry A.
Read more from Gary Bunzer at the RVdoctor.com. See Gary’s videos about RV repair and maintenance.
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.
with Bob Difley
For a Lewis & Clark wilderness experience visit Idaho
We’ve been anticipating a trip into the “Wild West” for years and now are on our way from our home in St. Louis, the first gateway to the West. What would you suggest for a “don’t miss” driving tour where we can experience the wildness firsthand? —Bev and Don
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
Can you resist this sponge bed? We couldn’t.
Yup, that’s right, we bought one and it really is THAT cute. Impress everyone that comes into your house or RV with this decorative bed for your sponge. It’s pretty dang adorable and it holds your sponge in place so it doesn’t always get the counter dirty. Admire it here.
with Mike Sokol
Best grease for lubricating trailer plug?
Can you recommend a grease that can be used on a 5-way trailer plug. My connector is a bit tight and hard to engage sometimes. I have some dielectric grease but I’m not sure if I should use it, or if there’s a product made specifically for this purpose. Thanks. —Doug M.
Read Mike’s response and watch the short video.
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40+ years in the industry. Visit NoShockZone.org for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
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
Do inner duals fail more often? If so, why?
Comment on an RV forum: “Isn’t it weird how it always seems to be the inner tire that goes bad or blows? Seemed to always be my experience (bad luck) when I was driving semi’s for a living.”
Read Roger’s explanation, and what can be done about it.
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.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Spindrift Spinach for Two
A Popeye main dish for two. Saucepan or skillet, this is an easy, one-burner vegetarian main dish for two or a side dish for four. Round out the main dish menu with crusty biscuits with herb butter and trios of tiny tangerines for dessert. Get the recipe.
Check out hundreds of other recipes by Janet . . . and her many books at Amazon.com, including “The Survival Food Handbook.”
BEST-SELLERS IN KITCHEN AND DINING AT AMAZON.COM
An umbrella that fits in your pocket? Yup!
You heard it here first! This lightweight umbrella folds down inside a waterproof case to fit inside your purse or pocket. Nearly the same size as your sunglasses case, this umbrella is perfect for day trips and travel. This little umbrella is only 6″ long and weighs a mere 6 oz.; you’ll never get tired of carrying this around! Learn more or order here.
with Geeks on Tour
Maximizing your smartphone’s battery life when you are off-grid
Chris and Jim Guld just spent a week in some beautiful national parks – where there was very little cell service. They could live with that, but the distressing thing was how fast the phone’s battery ran down. Guess what?! Those two things are related: (1) limited cell service, and (2) short battery life. Find out why, and how to double your battery life. Learn more.
Learn about smartphones and tablets
… from Geeks On Tour. Here is a recent webcast: #149, Internet and Battery issues when you’re off-grid. And Sunday, Aug. 12, they’re planning on doing a live show on Using Google Photos to Edit Video. Watch live or archives of past programs.
Be sure to check out the just-released 2nd edition of Mrs. Geek’s Guide to Google Photos, available at Amazon.com.
Special offer for RV Travel readers!
Visit the Geeks’ Store to buy a membership. Use the coupon code rvtravel and get a 20% discount off anything you order.
Inflatable foot rest is comfortable for couch and passenger seat
Now that’s cool! Missing your favorite recliner? Miss it no more! This inflatable foot rest is perfect for lounging on the couch, in the chair by the campfire, or in the passenger seat for long drives. Take it on a plane ride, or take it to the grandkids’ soccer game (we know those can get long). It weighs less than 1 lb. and folds down small for travel. Learn more about this comfy foot rest here.
Free and bargain camping
Parc Terre de Jeune (Municipal Park), Victoriaville, QC.
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Permission not required; signage states a maximum stay of 72 hours. Level, well-lit, quiet and appears safe. Restrooms open 24/7. Numerous eating places in the downtown area nearby. Address: Across the street from 10 Rue de Chalets. GPS: 46.04969, -71.96005
Municipal Parking Lots, Newport, VT.
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed in these two parking lots between Apr. 15 and Nov. 15; in one lot it’s M, W and & F; in the other, it’s Tu, Th, and Sa, per lot signage. Recommended for smaller rigs only. Upon arrival, telephone Police Dept. at (802) 334-6733 & let them know you will be parking overnight. Directly behind the police station. Address: 54 Field Ave.
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 demo. Watch a video about OvernightRVparking.com.
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.
Upcoming RV Shows
• Midwest RV Super Show,
August 9-12, August 16-19, Elkhart, IN (Delayed due to rain)
Beat the Heat RV & Boat Show Sale, August 17-18, Greenville, SC (Canceled)
• Hampton Roads RV Super Sale, August 17-19, Hampton, VA
• America’s Largest RV Show, September 12-16, Hershey PA. Seminar speakers include RVtravel.com’s Mike Sokol and Gary Bunzer. Pre-order tickets.
• Great American RV Show, September 13-15, Colorado Springs, CO
• 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.
Amazon Deals of the Day!
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Joke of the Week
Two guys were out walking their dogs on a hot day when they pass by a pub. The first guy says, “Let’s go in there for a pint.” Second guy says, “They won’t let us in with our dogs.” First guy: “Sure they will, just follow my lead.” He goes up to the door and sure enough the doorman says, “I can’t let you in here with that dog.” He replies, “Oh, I’m blind and this is my seeing eye dog.” The doorman says, “OK then, come on in.” The second guy sees this and does the same thing. He goes up to the door and the doorman says, “You can’t come in here with a dog.” He replies, “I’m blind and this is my seeing eye dog.” The doorman responds, “You have a Chihuahua for a seeing eye dog?” The second guy stops for a second then exclaims, “They gave me a Chihuahua?”
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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.
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About the RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for three decades. In the ’90s he published the quirky travel newspaper Out West, and was an “on the road” writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His book, “The Best from Out West” is available at Amazon.com. Woodbury’s RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. He is the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD “Buying a Recreational Vehicle,” the definitive guide to purchasing an RV the right way.
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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As a member and avid reader of your newsletter, I applaud you for keeping all these important issues in the forefront of every RV’er. As big as the RV industry is, it’s hard to believe how bad the consumer is treated. Coming from the auto industry, we had to make sure the customer was happy because we needed their future business, not so in the RV business. The RV industry needs better consumer protection laws( lemon laws), better warranty protection, better prep, more technicians, more service centers and a better watch dog.
As far as consumers going extended terms for their purchases, I put most of the blame on them. Most people care about one thing, and that’s how low my payment is and not thinking about the long term effects. Unfortunately, the RV dealers make it way too easy for them.
I do have a suggestion for your electric parks, why not use all the abandoned malls across America. A good way to repurpose these properties.
We have a 2018 Ford e450 Thor Quantum RQ29 and we want to remove and install new seat belts in cab. We are having a hard time finding tutorials, anyone who has done this, a Ford dealer who would do it for us (contacted 4 now), the dealership says they won’t, and even a company who does about any other job, won’t help with removal and installation. So we will do it ourselves but finding exact specs on what to buy, how to remove and install on our 2018 is near impossible. Any tips, links, facts, helps – anything – this shouldn’t be that hard.
I would like to hear the “pros and cons” of a FMCA membership. I’m leaning towards FMCA but not sure what to do. I, presently, am a “Good Sam” card holder but I do not use the benefits other than the fuel discount at Flying J and Pilot. My other option is not belong to any “club” and have no benefits. Thanks for the thoughts in advance.
Hi Jim, we have been RVing for 12 years (8 years as 12 months a year fulltimers). We love FMCA. Have attended many national and regional Rallies. They are not “biased rallies” with only a Camping Word view, all kinds of “after market” items that just may enhance your RV experience. Great workshops on everything you need to know, or should know about RVing. Attend a regional rally in your states and check it out. Jerry X
I have been a member of FMCA for one year and see no benefit at all. Everything I have seen so far you have to pay something additional to get.
This is the only place I found to comment on the GS poll earlier in the newsletter…….My wife and I are full time for seven years now in a large diesel pusher, so have utilized the RV Plus card for Pilot and Flying J fill ups as we travel enjoying the 8 cents off the pump price…….but have also avoided any CW facilities for any service work due to nationwide bad service, nor would I ever consider buying an RV from them due to crooked sales and financing schemes throughout their system. I am also a serious Trump fan and after Marcus L’s comments last year about Trump supporters are not welcome in his universe, I systematically started cutting all ties with him…….until a few months after my GS membership lapsed and I tried to fill up with diesel to learn of my RVPlus card was also inactive……really a hassle to try to diesel up on my Discover card…….it took several trips in and out of the pay line to get it all done. So…….with a grimace, I renewed my GS membership until I can find another convenient corporate card to buy diesel……that’s why I answered “other” on the poll! Semper Fi!
Curtis, thanks for posting about your experience with your RVPlus Card after you let your GS membership elapse. I was hoping now that I have the card (and have had it for several years), I could do away with GS. Your answer is not the one I wanted, but at least I know. To me the RVPlus Card is the only worthwhile benefit. I can’t believe other truck stop chains haven’t started offering their own charge cards for RVers.
Ray, have you checked Pilot/Flying J prices against others in each local area? My experience, in the past 2 years I can frequently find $0,30 to $0.40 cheaper diesel elsewhere. I still use only high-volume stations to avoid old fuel.
I’d like to read about your solo travelers. Seem everyone is a couple that write in.
Hi, Sandy. I’m a solo traveler and love it. I’m hoping to go full time this fall. I recommend you join one or more Facebook groups for people traveling solo. I haven’t found one that includes men, but I belong to these three women-only groups where I find friendship, support, laughter, and advice:
Women RVing Solo (Gals with Grit!): https://www.facebook.com/groups/1727789187441658/
Women Who RV: https://www.facebook.com/groups/173026182147/
Fabulous RVing Women: https://www.facebook.com/groups/491667721166003/
I belong to all three as you get difference discussions and tips from each. Say hello if you join.
Hi Chuck – I am a voluntary subscriber and did not receive the note and video sent out the other night.
Any updates on the Stray Voltage Patrol? When we find a bad pedestal, who do we report it to besides the campground?
Mike, contact Mike Sokol at email@example.com . He will have an email out soon with more details about what’s going on.