Tuesday, October 4, 2022


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 860

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 860 • Week of August 25-31, 2018   #rvtravel

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

Stay with us, but not now.

I watched early this morning as other residents of my RV park left on their way to work. Some drove, some walked to a bus stop. I’ve seen this often at other parks over the last two years.

These people live in the parks for months, even years. They are not campers. Their RVs are their homes. The RV parks where they live are really mobile home parks. 

Up until about 10 years ago, most RV parks frowned on accepting full-time residents. Not so today. You see them everywhere. Even Thousand Trails promotes the sale of annual sites.

The KOA in Jackson, Minnesota, included signs like this in front of many seasonal residents’ campsites.

Signs like the one above tell the story. “Put your name on a mailing list and when your name comes up, you can stay.” This particular park is in the Seattle area. Gail and I stayed there last year for four months. We began trying to reserve a site months ago for this summer, but no luck; our name is still on the waiting list.

Of course, what this means is that RVers looking for a place to stay a night or two must scramble to find something, often with slim pickings (or none at all except a Walmart parking lot). I had a lively discussion recently with Mark Koep, who runs CampgroundViews.com. He had written an article in Woodall’s Campground Management titled “Insufficient Site Capacity a Myth.”

Members of Thousand Trails can now stay all year if they pay the price.

He wrote: “Campground owners tell me every day that they have room. There is no shortage of available campsites at RV parks, traditional campgrounds or boondocking locations to accommodate every RV family on any day of the year. This misperception has come about because of imperfect information—and the inability of matching prospective campers to the available campsites.”

Okay, true. But that’s only half the story. Of course there are campsites available every single night of the year! But here’s where Mr Koep misses the point. Are they available where you want to stay? Increasingly, the answer is “no!”

Mark Koep

He offers this example: “Yellowstone’s famous Fishing Bridge RV Park will likely be booked for peak season. However there are more than 73 different campground options within a 50-mile radius of Yellowstone. … But most campers don’t know there are so many options available to them, they just follow the herd … and then claim ‘everyplace was booked.’ This is where the media gets their stories about overbooking.”

Bunk! Yeah, blame the media!

I disagree: If I were to visit Yellowstone with my RV, do I really want to commute to and from the park 100 miles every day? No way! I want to stay in the park or just outside. The RV Industry’s slogan about RVing, “Go where you want, when you want” is not the same as “Go where you want, when you want, but maybe you’ll need to stay 50 miles away when the area you want is packed like a can of sardines.”

AND RV PARKS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL. Say you desire a nice, clean place with full hookups. But nothing is available. But, oh yes, 15 miles down the road there’s the El Sleazo RV park with a space available right by the dumpster! “No problem, I like the smell of decomposing food. I’ll stay there!”

Mr Koep’s conclusion only works for RVers who don’t care where they stay — a campground is a campground is a campground: It doesn’t matter if it’s a nice place or a weed-infested ghetto where the major guest activity is dodging dog poop. You don’t think the latter places exist? They do! I know. Been there. Lovely!

Oh, maybe you want a place where you can pay $30, $40 or $50 a night. But sorry, nothing’s available for 30 miles! But wait, there’s an RV park with room for you just a mile away! Slight problem: It’s $120 a night (but, hey, it’s right on the shore of a catch-and-release bluegill pond). So you say, “See, there’s no myth about campground shortage!” 

Okay, what do we do about it? Yeah, I know, I know — that’s the big question with no easy answer. But we will keep searching for it.


As part of our ongoing mission to get RV manufacturers to quit building so much junk, we have established a Facebook Group called “RV Horror Stories.” We won’t stop promoting this group until it grows into a huge presence — to scream to RV industry big shots that we’re “Mad as Hell and not going to take it any more!” If you have a defective RV that its manufacturer or your dealer refuses to fix, then join this group! Click here. We demand more consistently well-built RVs, and will not settle for less. And while we’re at it, let’s fight the RV industry’s sophisticated lobbying efforts to block the creation of RV lemon laws, which leave us stuck with RVs that we can’t even use.

Read our survey of how many readers rate their RV workmanship as poor or terrible. (Think about it: Would you step on a Boeing 737 if its workmanship were so bad?)

* * *
I am happy to report that Mike Sokol’s RV Electricity Newsletter has topped 10,000 subscribers. His August newsletter is coming out tomorrow. Be sure you are signed up to receive it.

Our resource “Where to complain about RVs, dealers, service and RV parks” keeps growing. If  you have a serious problem with your RV or you or someone you know plans to buy an RV, this should be an essential reference. Check it out.

* * *

Alas, we didn’t quite finish up our new Reader Forum this week. I’m 98% sure we’ll have it ready by next issue. (We’ll let our members know before that, the minute it goes live.) This will be a great place to share information. We’ll monitor it closely to ensure everybody is civil, with no rudeness, no name-calling — just nice RVers sharing and helping each other.

Secrets of RVing on Social Security
Author Jerry Minchey takes you on a journey that lets you discover how you can travel around the country and live the fascinating RV lifestyle for far less than it costs to live in your sticks-and-bricks home. Among other things, he shows you step-by-step how to enjoy the RVing lifestyle while traveling and living on just your Social Security income. Learn more or order.

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cover story
Pay $1.6 million for an RV “campsite”?

Maybe you wouldn’t pay that, but one RVer has coughed up that hefty amount for a single RV site. RV park industry experts say it’s the most they have ever known a lot to sell for. The North Carolina site includes a “campsite” at Mountain Falls Luxury Motorcoach Resort with a 400-square-foot coach cottage, a 900-square-foot covered patio, inclusive outdoor kitchen, fireplace, dining and entertaining areas. Read more.

breaking-newsThe latest news
about RVing from our newsroom

Increasing number of students living in RVs near campuses.
Camping fees to rise at Arkansas’ Buffalo National River.
Newberry National Volcanic Monument closes campgrounds for season.
Motorhome towing trailer plunges into Yakima River.
Man believed to have torched multiple RVs in Palm Beach arrested in SC.
RVer suspected of starting fire in tire shop.
Minnesota trooper clarifies RV overnighting in rest areas.
Jury clears Airxcel of liability in stove incident that burned toddler.

Wildfire updates:
Lightning-caused wildfires break out across Central Oregon.
NID warns against relaxing campfire safety at summer’s end.
Terwilliger Fire near Eugene, OR, explodes to 5X the size overnight.
Smoke from wildfires chokes Pacific Northwest.
Man arrested after unpermitted debris fire erupts into 38,000-acre blaze.

Recent recalls:
Heartland recalling trailers: wrong tires installed.
Thor recalls motorhomes for propane leak, fire hazard.

Complaints cause California State Park changes to reservation system
After a major outcry over changes in how California state park campsites are reserved, the California State Parks Department is changing course. Last August, the state launched a new website called reservecalifornia.com, where campers would book a campsite; but campers could modify their reservations several times and others could not get reservations. The changes are meant to make California’s state park reservation system more user-friendly. Read more.

Verizon “throttles” firefighter communications during California wildfire
Verizon picked a bad time to “throttle” communications use by firefighters fighting the Mendocino Complex fire, says a Bay Area firefighting agency that was assisting with the response to the massive fire. The Santa Clara County Central Fire Protection District says a communications vehicle it dispatched to the Mendocino Complex was rendered essentially useless after Verizon reduced data speeds to a fraction of what firefighters needed. Read more.

Malia’s Miles: A crapshoot
Malia is a full-time RVer and was recently diagnosed with cancer. She is graciously sharing her journey with us. This is the latest chapter. Read it here.

Boat dealers compete with RV dealers for techs
One reason why RV techs seem to be in short supply among RV dealerships is the competition for techs by the boating industry. Like the RV industry, the boating sector is also dealing with a shortage of technicians. According to an oped by Soundings Trade Only, a recent announcement by the RV Industry Association is likely to increase the problem for many boat dealers. Read more.

This week’s Reader Poll
Do you or your partner use a CPAP machine for sleep apnea?
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.

spyWhat we learned from you last week
We learned we love a reader named Richard. Why? You’ll have to read to find out, of course! We learned what cell phone service you use, we learned you prefer steak to seafood, we learned about you leaving your door unlocked while taking a walk around a campground, we learned you’re registered to vote, and that you either like your coffee black or with fancy flavors. Read everything we learned here

Plumbing inspection not high on RVers’ lists
If you’re old enough to remember The Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew mysteries, perhaps you’ll recall “The Mystery of the Crappy Crapper.” No? Okay, so we made that one up. But it turns out a bunch of RVers, in fact, have crappy crappers. It seems that some RV manufacturers don’t have the magic bowl drop its contents straight into the black water holding tank. Why on earth is the path for the poop particularly poorly positioned? Read more, including tips to keep things flowing. [Warning: Russ De Maris had fun with this article.]

video camera WPNew RV hits the market: Powered by food, not gas
Now, that’s one tricky headline. It’s not exactly true, as in literally true, but then again it is true in a roundabout way. This little RV is made to be pulled behind a bicycle, not a motor vehicle. No fossil fuel is required. The 70-pound RV has storage space, a water supply, sink and bed. But sorry, no toilet or shower. Watch the video.

Oregon State Parks offers discounts on Sept. and Oct. RV campsites
Oregon Parks and Recreation is hoping to drum up business for the fall season by offering discounts on electrical and full-hookup RV campsites at selected state parks in September and October. Campers can receive a $7 discount off the nightly RV campsite rate. The discount is a limited trial program meant to see if price can encourage campers to explore different parks and to keep the outdoors affordable. If it works, the discount program could continue. Learn more.

Self-driving cars … Sure. What about self-driving RVs?
There has been a lot of ballyhoo and speculation recently about how the “so-called” self-driving automobile will change the world, at least our daily commutes. Much of the talk centers around urban and suburban driving. What about long highway drives? What would be so bad about having extended “cruise controls” on our motorhomes? Find out what Rich “the Wanderman” thinks about this, and feel free to add your thoughts here.

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.

Florida’s giant Lazydays RV expands parts department
Is Florida-based Lazydays RV aiming to become a major competitor to parts and RV sales behemoth Camping World? Their recent remodeling and expansion of their parts store in the main Tampa location they say will provide a better shopping experience and offer an even broader range of RV parts, equipment and accessories. Learn more.

Astronauts to tour Mars in RV
There’s a rumor that Lockheed Martin is building RVs for trips to Mars. Now there’s a sentence you thought you would never read. Purely Sci-Fi you say? Au contraire. NASA gave the aerospace titan, along with Boeing and others, a combined $65 million to prototype a deep-space habitat for its NextSTEP (Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships) program by the end of the year. Learn more.

Adventure beckons with the “overlanding” Outpost II
If you like to go off-road for your adventures but still like the amenities of a full-scale RV resort, here’s a tow vehicle for you. Built by Montana-based American Expedition Vehicles, the Outpost II will take you wherever you want to go, and even provide what you need to spend a night or more in the wilds. Learn more.

Wheel Estate launches a mini “Airbnb” for RV rentals
If you’re like the typical RVer, you have a vacation trailer that sits in your driveway or at a storage lot more often than it takes to the road for weekends and vacations. What if you could rent it out to wannabe RVers during some of that downtime and make a few bucks. Would that work? Cherie and Chad Ball of Okotoks, Alberta, thought so when they founded Wheel Estate, a peer-to-peer RV rental company which helps owners rent out their towable camping trailers in a style similar to that of Airbnb. Learn more.

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.

Popular articles from last week’s issue
Readers talk about their Good Sam Club experiences. 
Which cell phone service do you use?
Where to complain about bad RVs, dealers, service, RV parks.

Wife afraid of arriving at campground after dark; husband doesn’t learn.
Driver pulling trailer held on vehicular homicide charge.
• Page two of editor’s remarks for Issue 859.

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.

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

What is it? If you don’t know, or aren’t quite sure, click the photo to find out.

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

Where to complain about bad RVs, dealers, service, RV parks. This is an ever-expanding list of resources where you can report, share or discuss your problems with RV manufacturers or dealers. 

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. Here is a real-time interactive map of USA wildfires. (Note: Click the “x” next to “Sign In” if you don’t want to sign in.) Includes number of acres burned and percentage of containment for every wildfire in America. From esri.com. Here from NOAA is a map of the current fire and smoke conditions in North America (click below the map for “fire” or “smoke”).  Map of Canadian wildfires. From Natural Resources Canada.

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.

Ask the RV Shrink

Does RVer need a course in RV mechanics?

Dear RV Shrink:
My wife thinks I should be a mechanic just because I have a travel trailer. Women used to want a guy that was “handsome,” now they want a guy that is “handy.” Last week the water coming out of the kitchen faucet started slowing down. Each day the stream would shrink a bit more. For days it had us puzzled. …

Read the rest of the question and 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.

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.

gas-738Latest fuel prices as of August 20, 2018
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.82. [Calif.: $3.46]
Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 46 cents.
Diesel: $3.21. [Calif.: $3.93]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 61 cents.


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.

RV Quick Tips

Sell your RV on eBay?
By Don Bobbitt
It’s a very popular way for people to use for listing their RV for sale. They have some very good seller and buyer restrictions that provide both sides with a certain level of security and confidence in the sale process. Using eBay and the strict eBay sales protections gives you a more secure experience when selling your RV, but it is relatively expensive, considering you’re the one doing all of the work. And honestly, I have used eBay for over a dozen years to buy and sell a wide variety of items, and I even tried using it to list several of my RVs in the past, but to me, eBay has several drawbacks.

Their fees are high (often in excess of 10%) and are based on the final sale price which, with the high values of the typical RV, can be significant. And, as a seller, you need to be aware that the audience using eBay is always “looking for a great deal” and will invariably give you a ”low-ball” offer, at best. It’s the rare shopper on eBay who is willing to pay a reasonable (retail) price for an RV, even one in very good condition. So, be prepared to drop your price or hold your position and convince the potential buyer to accept your original price or, most likely, a price only slightly lower than what you listed your RV at originally. On the plus side, if you do use eBay to list your RV, you are gaining access to a very wide audience of potential buyers, dreamers and admittedly a few scammers who usually learn quickly that eBay has some very good systems in place to catch and stop them. So eBay can be a good tool for you to just pay the listing fees and check out the market for your RV for a few weeks. Doing this, you can get a good feel for what is selling, what isn’t selling, and how much they end up actually selling for. From “The Ultimate RV Owners Reference.” Available on Amazon.com

Check this if your propane furnace doesn’t fire up
Furnace not “lighting up” and you know you have enough propane? Leigh reminds us that opening an LP cylinder valve too fast can trip a limit valve, cutting off full flow of LP. “Simply closing and reopening slowly for the first quarter turn may solve the problem by allowing adequate flow,” writes Leigh. “One can also check the flame on a stove burner. If the flame is weak, there won’t be enough gas for the furnace.” Thanks, Leigh!

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

Monocular telescope connects to phone, wow!
This is one of the neatest gadgets we’ve seen in a while! This waterproof monocular telescope connects right to your phone, so you can take photos of that bird waaaaaaay over there. You can now photograph anything up to 10x closer than before. Great for birdwatching, concerts or any sporting event. We already bought one! Learn more or order.

Gizmos and Gadgets

Spiff up your galley prep with retro RV cutting mats
Who says your galley should have the same old dull accouterments as your sticks-and-bricks house’s kitchen. Put some pizzazz into your cooking prep with these snazzy cutting mats. Outdoor, camping and RV enthusiasts will love these new fun, flexible cutting mats with a retro RV camper theme. Learn more here.

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.

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

Onboard pump forcing fresh water out the water inlet – Help!

Dear Gary,
My 29-foot Dutchmen Class C is parked under my pole barn and it’s plugged in for power but nothing else is hooked up. When I turn on the water pump, it pumps gallons of fresh water out through the park water hose inlet and empties my fresh water tank. When I turn the pump off, it stops. The pump is only a few years old. I would appreciate any guidance. Thanks! —Jim M.

Read Gary’s response.

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

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

RV Electricity
with Mike Sokol

2018 Electrical Safety Seminars update
Here’s an update on Mike’s recent seminar activities at RV rallies, and some which are coming up shortly. If you want Mike to present electrical safety seminars at your rally in 2019 (great idea!), now is the time to talk to your factory reps and tell them to contact Mike about seminar sponsorship. Learn more.

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

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 Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

When should you replace your tires? How old is “too old”?
A lot of folks talk about tire age and when they “age out.” Here is what a few tire companies have to say about passenger and light truck tire service life. Concise but important information.

Enjoy a campfire where wood fires are banned
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.

The RV Kitchen   
with Janet Groene

Cheesecake Icebox Pie
Cheesecake to die for. If you have an electric hand mixer on board your RV you can make this no-bake cheesecake in just a few minutes, then forget it in the refrigerator while it firms up. Make it different each time. Today fold in crumbled Oreo cookies. Next time add lemon zest and fresh blueberries, or make it choco-minty by folding in chopped thin mint candies. Get the recipe.

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


Snore, snore, smack!
Tired of smacking the hubby awake in the middle of the night because of his obnoxious snores? Sleep peacefully with the “world’s finest” earplugs! We’ve been using these ourselves for a while, and can’t recommend them more. Made from a moldable clay, you don’t have to shove anything in your ear; simply mold the plug to the shape of your ear and get a peaceful sleep. You’ll want to order these here.

Digital RVer
with Geeks on Tour

National Park Passport App
Do you have a goal to visit all the National Parks in the U.S.? Here’s a perfect app for you! It’s called Passport: Your National Parks. It’s free on either Android or iOS. You would start by going thru the complete list of all parks in the National Park Service and mark the ones you want to visit. Then, as you visit them, you mark them as visited. You can add your own description and photos to your visit. Learn more.

Learn about smartphones and tablets
… from Geeks On Tour. Here are two recent webcasts: #149, Internet and battery when you’re off-grid, and #150, Using Google Photos to edit videos. 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.

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

Free and bargain camping
From OvernightRVparking.com

Arctic Circle Campground (BLM), Coldfoot, AK
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Campground has 12 campsites on gravel with no hookups. Pit toilets. No dump station. Most sites suitable only for small rigs; a few are big-rig friendly. No reservations, first-come, first-served. Maximum stay: 14 days. Address: Milepost 115, Dalton Hwy. GPS: 66.5578, -150.793

Littleton Rest Area & Welcome Center, Littleton, NH
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed but camping is not. RV may not be left unattended. Parking area open 24/7/365. Building with restrooms open 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Restrooms, tourism literature, phones, picnic tables, pet walk area, scenic vista. Address: I-93, Exit 44. GPS: 44.32649, -71.87269

Overnight RV Parking, with more than 13,480 locations listed, is the largest and best resource for locating free and inexpensive places to spend a night in an RV. For membership information and a demo of the site, click here. A modest membership fee required, but try the free demoWatch a video about OvernightRVparking.com.

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

Upcoming RV Shows

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.

Propane running low? This will tell you!
With this Dometic LPGC10 LP Gas Checker you can instantly monitor your LP tank’s level. It uses ultrasonic technology to tell you in just a few seconds how full – or empty – a propane tank is. It’s about the size of a writing pen and weighs less than an ounce, so it’s easy to store. For use on steel and aluminum liquid propane tanks. Learn more or order

The German word “kummerspeck” means excess weight gained from emotional eating – literally, “grief bacon.” (Yep, that would do it.)

Bumper sticker of the week
“Camping: Donating blood one mosquito at a time.” Thanks, Margo Wood!

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

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

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4 years ago

I wish you would add this to the list of beefs you write about rv’ing these days.

Some people are acting like their poop don’t stink! Nor is it dirty, nor potentially infectious. I am finding incredible messes at dump stations more and more frequently. During a 5 night stay last week at NY’s Cayuga Lake State Park, twice I found the dump station covered with bits of dried toilet paper. You and I both know what it was mixed with before drying out. Over the past two weeks I found similar, but not as bad, messes at NY’s Wellesley Island SP and Robert Moses – Thousand Island SP. A couple of years ago I found mounds of hardened, dried poop on the ground near the drain. That was at Starved Rock SP in Illinois during the week of the July 4 holiday.

Then there are the folks who do not bother about gloves or even soap and water when handling the sewage hoses and implements: Wiping their faces, smoking , even eating and drinking while dumping. Ugh! That is scary and disgusting.

Maybe some instructional publicity from your columns and/or from the industry would help. Maybe some shaming of the slobs would make a difference. After all, those rinse hoses at the dump stations are there for a reason!

Eric Meslin
4 years ago


Just completed one month of travel that was completely planned and reserved. We did this because we were coordinating with family and were on a set schedule. But I have to say, it wasn’t as much fun as drifting along without firm plans. Instead, there was a lot of pressure to stick to the schedule. Hopefully, an experience not to be repeated.

Cheryl Carr
4 years ago

I agree with what Chuck is saying. After staying at the same campground in the Seattle area for the last 2 years we were told when we went to check in we were number 12 on the waiting list. This was in spite of the fact we had put our names on the waiting list in August of last year. When we checked on our status in April we were told we were at the top of the list. Since we are planning on returning to the Seattle area every year we bought into a Camping Club in Lake Stevens. We can stay here for up to 6 months a year.

4 years ago

I bought my older travel trailer for camping in BC, where I live. Because I tow with an SUV, I camp in the Interior to avoid driving over major hills.

I have to say that now that there is a reservation system in place, it is incredibly hard to grab a Provincial Camp site in our own back yard. at one of the lakes. The bloody commercial RV rentals, often rent the RVs with sites booked for their guests – they have staff and BOTs and can get on the phone and computers and book the sites up right away, as soon as the reservation times open. And this happens even with the new rules the BC Provincial gov’t put in place last year.

It’s a royal pain in the butt. Many of the popular sites are only reservable and to reserve, you have to pay the reservation fee on top of the campsite fee. There are a few non-reservable spots in some camp sites, but you take your chance on getting to the camp site and having one of the handful of non-reservable sites still available. So, you can be packed and then have to turn around and leave.

For our forestry sites, you pretty much have go up a few days mid-week, in advance, and plant a tent or leave your RV on the site, to get a weekend site.

As for the private RV sites, if you don’t book well in advance, it’s pretty tough.

I love camping, but it is getting frustrating trying to find a spot.

Terry Novotney
4 years ago

I agree with others. too much negative and repitition. How do I disenroll? Not looking for an argument or discussion. I just want to stop getting the newsletter.

RV Staff(@rvstaff)
4 years ago
Reply to  Terry Novotney

Terry, I’ve removed you from the list to receive our newsletters. We’re sorry to see you go. —Diane at RVtravel.com

4 years ago

What ever happened to “This date in history”?

RV Staff(@rvstaff)
4 years ago
Reply to  rlag

It’s “history,” rlag. At least for now. The newsletter was getting too long so we discontinued it. Sorry. (I learned a lot when I was sorting through historical events to add to the list.) —Diane at RVtravel.com

4 years ago

I managed to secure camp sites before leaving for Montana and Yellowstone. The best one in Yellowstone is the KOA west. I don’t do bears and from what we heard about Yellowstone camp sites we decided KOA was our best options. Especially the one at Glacier in Montana. So if you need a spot in Yellowstone? KOA. They also have tour groups come out to you and we had a great time. Learned more about Yellowstone than doing it ourselves. Also Glacier KOA is terrific too.

Jerry J
4 years ago

On your article about Insufficient Site Capacity a Myth you used “Fishing Bridge RV Park” as an example. Couldn’t you use a better example. When researching this campground I find it is open from May 11 to Sept 5, less than 5 months at less than $45 a night and on top of a 8,000ft mountain. Add to that it’s a national park where you would expect limited facilities or intrusions of a natural wonder. Being such a popular area to visit, sure it’s going to fill up quick. Sure they have 346 with full hookups, but it’s a poor example to use to prove your point. It’s gonna take you an hour to drive out of the mountain to get anywhere else.

Just an example of another popular area, I looked at Las Vegas and found at least a dozen campgrounds on Good Sam site and several from Google Earth. All within 20-30 minute drive.

Charles Yaker
4 years ago
Reply to  Jerry J

How can you compare Vegas to Yellowstone. Apples and oranges Vegas thrives onbodies to eat and gamble. Even then we found a crowded weeken when we had to go to North Vegas no problem but it isn’t a fair comparison.

4 years ago

“Members of Thousand Trails can now stay all year if they pay the price.”

Sort of. With MOST Thousand Trails that offer annual sites, the rig itself can stay every night of the year. However, occupants are limited to the number of days/nights in the park.

Apparently in some (most?) states this is necessary to keep the designation of “campground” with a different taxation rate. The number of nights I see quoted most often is 210 night per year.

I’m a long time Thousand trails members on multiple member driven discussion sites. (no we are not annuals ourselves).

Check it out directly with Encore corporate if you want to verify.

Kathy Mazzuchelli
4 years ago

Maybe there is a shortage of campgrounds according to some….but to those entreprenaurs that want to make a buck…..what a great opportunity….do the research, buy the land and set up the RV park…..it’s a no brainer…..the people that look at the thorns all the time…..miss the beauty of the rose !!!!

Patrecia Shaw
4 years ago

I shared the info about the new RV horror stories FB group on many of my FB RV groups. I sent the info to admins or moderators. Also shared rvtravel.com info. One can get booted out of groups for sharing links. So I let them make the choice. A few have replied so far , so expect a few new members

4 years ago

My husband and I were “vacation” RVers (one to two weeks at a time) before we retired in 2004 at age 55. The next ten years we had a house but traveled in our RV for 8-9 months of the year. Then we sold our house and full-time RV’d from 2014-2017. It got so frustrating to find decent campsites that we came off the road and bought another house. It’s been over a year since we’ve taken our 5th-wheel out.

What happened? The explosion of RVing — just too much hassle making and modifying reservations, inability to stay where we want when we want, too crowded campgrounds, from boondocking sites on BLM land and national forests out West to military campgrounds, state and national parks, and the few private RV parks we chose. Didn’t matter if we were seeking nice places for a few days or a season, it was generally just too much hassle by 2017. It was a struggle to make four different reservations when/where we wanted for two months this coming winter but we finally managed.

We got spoiled before and during the recession by being able to be much more spontaneous about where we stayed than we could after about 2012, when more and more folks could afford RVing again and more people began full-timing (yes, us included!) for whatever reason. I don’t wish poor economic times on anyone. The more recent booming economy is a factor in many ways, including enabling more people to afford the lifestyle, as well as making housing prices unaffordable in some areas. I hope everyone who wants to see N. America in an RV can do it like we have. I’m just glad we started 14 years ago and not today.

We still enjoy your newsletters very much, Chuck, and applaud your efforts to improve the industry for us consumers. Keep up the good work re: inexpensive overnight options besides Walmart, increasing RV lemon laws, improving the quality of new RVs, finding unsafe electrical boxes, and everything else you and your staff are doing. We’re happy to be “members.”

4 years ago

The park we are in is probably 75% full-timers. There are the retirees, those working and those here for either the summer then go south for the winter or here for a month or two to visit family or see the area. The retirees keep their sites looking nice, the workers can look trashy. What irritates me most in this park are those who have more than one car. They use up the visitor/overflow parking sites for their second one (even though their site is big enough for two, even some won’t park any vehicles in their site which means using two visitor/overflow spots which also includes the spots in front of the laundry building. There are even couples here who have three vehicles. The fault for this is the management who allows this to go on for the money. The park also pushes people to ‘skirt’ their RV if they are going to be here for the winter. This adds to the ‘trashy’ look.

As for visitors, there is a section left open. But if someone wants or needs to stay for a couple months there is a wait list even though there are empty sites. I have friends who needed a spot for two months for medical treatment. They were told there were no spots available even though there is. It is a game the management plays. I have worked in RV parks and campgrounds as a Workamper but never seen it done like it is here.

Bill Myers
4 years ago

We just completed a 4,000 mile trip in our RV crossing nine
states. Even though we didn’t have campground reservations, we had no problem finding campsites. Most of the parks we stayed at were half full.

We stayed at commercial RV parks as well as state parks and one Casino RV park. The state parks were nicer, had more room between sites, and cost less, except the Casino RV park which was free and had hookups.

Most state parks are ten or more miles off the main roads and since many RV’ers prefer not to travel the backroads, sites at these parks are readily available.

Sure, the most visited campgrounds like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon will be booked up. But there are so many other great places that won’t be. These other places won’t be full of tourists or traffic jams. We prefer those.

Dennis Adams
4 years ago

One more comment.
If you think RVing is going to provide a private outdoor wilderness experience you better get in shape and be able to get 5 miles into the trails on foot. The norm is more being on top of the rig next to you, smoldering fires, outdoor 46 inch TVs and lights on all night killing the night sky.

4 years ago

I’ve been to some of those parks that have “space”. Often those sites are vacant because they are to short, to narrow or impossible to maneuver a trailer into. So they stay vacant. While I fulltime, I stay 14 days or so in each park and move on. I want to see the country not the same view day after day. Parks that don’t keep making improvements (adding more 50 amp and sewer sites) even if it means decreasing the inventory of sites are doomed to failure .

G VanKoughnett Canada
4 years ago

Still look forward to reading this each week. As you point out there is a lot of negative things in the RV world but someone has to identify them. Keep up the good work.

4 years ago

Unfortunately, I suspect full-timers are the future for parks. They are guaranteed money for the park and cheap rent for the tenants. I believe the increase has more to do with the unaffordable prices for housing rent and ownership. Look for this trend to continue.
I found that full-time spaces are often less than clean, jam packed with junk and relegates RV travelers to substandard lots.

Bob Casteel
4 years ago
Reply to  RetiredChip

Why don’t major companies like Winnebago invest in building additional RV parks. Us baby boomers are growing at an alarming rate and want to see our country! Stop long term parking at RV sites and go to trailer parks built especially for long term parking.

John T
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob Casteel

Because they are a vehicle manufacturer, not a real estate developer.

4 years ago
Reply to  RetiredChip

I checked out the campground views web site. Basically it is useless. I looked up a campground we frequent and the info on the “views” site was not even close to being correct. A lot of “may or may not have cable, wifi, electrical connections, etc. I definitely would never use that web site if I were looking for a place to stay. Not sure where they get there information from, but not from visiting the campgrounds. They would be better of just providing links to the campground’s web sites instead of the useless information they post.

4 years ago
Reply to  RetiredChip

You don’t know how right you are.Rent is high all over anymore with no end in sight.

4 years ago
Reply to  Booneyrat

We decided to go FT in 2012. We could see the Rent crisis on the Horizon, we had a 7Yo and our future disposable income to consider long term.

OUr Landlord got forclosed on by state leased land of MT.after they raised his lease taxes to 1000$ mo from 12$ a month. IN 3 months it was over. Prior to that we had a place on Flathead lake, which looked great but was a renters nightmare property, so we were released from our lease due to the landlord being unable to resolve basic things like water, heat, water heater, ect…

prior to that we had another landlord get forclosed on by his bank, prior to that it was a place that sometimes had heat sometimes not, sometimes had a working stove sometimes not, in fact in every rental we had had all the way back to 2006 there had been some issue that was very basic.

For all the money we paid to rentals, and we didnt rent bargain basement, we never at one time got all the basic essentials.
One of our draws for moving to FT was total control of our rig.

We bought a Truck Camper first, in 2009. Then our FT 5vr.

We have not been to an Rv park since Feb 2013. We camp in outlying areas and Mostly on Family land with dedicated FullHookups and a dedicated pad.

Sounds like If we were traveling now FT it would be a nightmare.

We are still most of the time, which serves as time to do upgrades. Our coach is 14YO now, we carry Agreed value on it, Paid cash 16K and bought it outright. It is incredibly well built, and since it is it has been a dream to maintain.

I know several people who have bought derlict rvs to live in on a desperation move, rather than a choice they made, and it didnt work out at all. Both of them ended up actually homeless afterward because the rv for them was a band aid, not a lifestyle choice.

1 of them got a “free” rv and lived in it on some land for a while until she got served by the county,

the other bought in on a derilict rv on some payment plan in an rv park somewhere for 50$ mo for 6000$ rv, and then left it because she could not maintain it on her own.

Oh and then there was another girl i knew who inherited some trailer and also moved into it in desperation and could not maintain it and her water heater caught fire and she freaked and moved out of it.

None of them qualify as FTr Rvrs by the defintion most commonly used. At least not in my book, yet there is nothing to seperate us from them . When society sees us they see them. Its too bad.

Rents are such a huge issue these days. I have a friend right now who spends her whole paycheck for the whole month on her rent. Just a few years ago it wasnt like that for her. I am just glad we veered off the renter course years ago and were proactive in our own choices, if we had been reactive, chances are our choices would have been much more limited in the long run.

Just be glad most of the people who read this, are part of the group who chose to be Rvrs, because the other half are on absolute edge of society and they have no choices left.

Vincent Salmela
4 years ago

I Agree with you on needing more RV parks and space. However as a business owner isn’t it your job to keep the park full so you remain in business? If that means having people long term at the expense of short term stays that’s what I would do too! Your not getting paid when no one is there. As a business owner, I would take the long term people all day long . So we can’t blame the park owners. Must find another solution and I don’t know what that is.

Monty Arch
4 years ago

The solution is the free market. Entrepreneurs will see the need for accommodate travelling RV’ers and build them. “Build it and they will come”.

F. Gisler
4 years ago

I’m with Kris who wrote in this morning around 8:00. The negative vibe from rvtravel.com has gotten to be too much.
Also, a lot of repetitive news & information.
Honestly, the lack of locations to camp is due to more and more full-timers (isn’t that you, Chuck?!) It’s a trend that doesn’t seem like it will be going away anytime soon. Along with full-timing come the complaints about components of RVs not working perfectly. People don’t seem to realize that RVs are NOT MEANT TO BE LIVED IN FULL TIME!! There are condos and stationary mobile homes for that purpose!
My hubby and I will continue to camp in the locations we love here in CA where a site can be reserved in advance and there is a 14-day limit to how long you can stay. Then you move on and someone else can enjoy the same spot! We never have a problem finding a site because we plan ahead knowing that a spot is waiting for us when we arrive.
I’m unsubscribing from this newsletter this morning. Thanks for all you do but it’s time to move on.

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
4 years ago
Reply to  F. Gisler

F Gisler, yes, the tone has definitely become more negative, but there is good reason. And you state the obvious when you say RVs are not meant to be lived in full time. But, look around, that is what people are doing. You write: “There are condos and stationary mobile homes for that purpose,” as if that is not obvious. You and your husband have worked out an RV lifestyle that suits you well, and my very wild guess is that 70 percent of all RVers have done the same. Their RVs have practically no problems, and they stay at the same campgrounds over and over with reservations well ahead of time with no problems. And when due to crowding a campground is where they want to stay, then just stop at a Walmart, as if that is what the industry pounds into new buyers by describing the incredible places they can stay with their RV. I have not seen a single ad or commercial from the industry where an RVer couple, for example, is sitting in lawn chairs by their RV in a Walmart lot, sipping wine, basically saying to each other “Wow! Isn’t this swell?”

But what about the other 30% of RVers who do have problems and are frustrated they can’t go “where they want, when they want?” You bet we have taken on a more negative tone, but we do it for one reason: to effect positive change. You can find 500 websites that will tell you nice places to camp and places to visit and how to hook up your RV. We do our share of that, but we see a picture that is far bigger and more important. And to date, approximately 3,000 of our readers have voluntarily voiced their support by pitching in with voluntary subscriptions to help us undertake more good, like our new Stray Voltage Patrol, where our goal is to identify at least 1,000 dangerous electrical pedestals in RV parks around the country so that people don’t get shocked by them, or even worse, killed, which does happen. Is that negative?

You write: “Honestly, the lack of locations to camp is due to more and more full-timers (isn’t that you, Chuck?!).” Yes, absolutely, and that’s what we are trying to understand and maybe effect some change to accommodate these RVers and part-timers. Show me another website that even acknowledges this problem, which you, yourself, have identified here. Since we parted with the RV cheerleader crowd, our circulation has grown twice as fast and we are making a difference. Is our tone more negative? Yes, and I do not apologize for that.

I could go on and on here, but I’ll save that for the months and years to come.

Dennis Adams
4 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

To those that full time. Enjoy while you can.
Do you all realize that we are in the midst of the Baby Boomer retirement years. 72 million give or take born between 1945-65 approx.
Over 10K persons per day reach SS age.
500K RV, TT units per year have been sold for at least the previous three years. In addition to those already “out there”.
I sure wish it was the late 70s again. Fishing Bridge was wide open in July. Unfortunately it is not going to happen.
It’s only going to get “worse”.
I participate in a few popular Brand Name Unit Forums. Class B stealth “camping” and boondocking is exploding. Sportsmobile has a two year backlog pumping out 2 new units per day. The View Navion 25 foot Sprinter Class C group Forum is growing by leaps and bounds.
Fortunately we have “been there done that” numerous times in most all the NPs so they are all yours you new to RVing folks.
Like many, we do 3-4, 4-6 week trips per year and avoid the summer peaks and seek out the more obscure places, which are few and far between.
They are out there.
Just my random ramblings.
2015 Navion. 45K miles in 3 years.

Jim Anderson
4 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

Chuck, your comments about Mark Koep’s response and perspective are Exactly Right!
And yes some of what your saying is on the negative side, But it reflects the facts that you and many more RV’ers are seeing as we RV across America.
Were doing a six to eight week trip next month and there is NO possible way that I can even think of making reservations way ahead…I want the freedom and flexibility and spontaneity to move and travel at my will, and not be limited by a schedule that I guessed at months ago.. Traveling on a fixed schedule fine if you are OK with it. But it’s not for us.
Now with all that said there are times when we enjoy being in one spot for a month or so, and I can plan that ahead, but thinking about this January, the only Parks in the Tucson area that were appealing to us are already reserved.. So, like you said, who want to be 50 miles out of town..
So we will likely just spend 4 extra weeks boondocking in Quartzsite…

4 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

Great reply Chuck. We are with you on this.

4 years ago
Reply to  Badwolfe

I want Chuck to speak the truth about campgrounds or what ever. Do not sugar coat for me, I want the straight scoop.

4 years ago
Reply to  F. Gisler

I disagree that there are no RV’s built for full time use.Why do you think the manufacturers are building them with household appliances in them? Today’s RV experience is NOT your fathers 16 foot Shasta with wings RV camping experience.The times dictate what folks can afford,and with today’s sorry political state in Washington…don’t expect things to get better anytime soon. This from someone who has years of full timing under his belt.Happy trails.

4 years ago
Reply to  Booneyrat

Agreed. The first thing that came to my mind when I read your post was John Crean who had the futuristic idea to build a motorhome with all residential appliances: range/oven, refrigerator, dishwasher, trash compactor, stacking washer/dryer and more. It was affordable, gas powered, and had the look and feel of home. But like all visionaries, they are usually way ahead of their time. The Flounder was renamed Siena. CT Coachworks is still in business but they no longer produce the motorhome.

4 years ago
Reply to  F. Gisler

“People don’t seem to realize that RVs are NOT MEANT TO BE LIVED IN FULL TIME!! ”

When you don’t do extensive research and you buy cheap RVs they cant stand up to full time use. If you do extensive research and pick the correct rig they WILL and DO stand up to full time use.