Thursday, June 30, 2022


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 861

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 861 • Week of September 1-7, 2018   #rvtravel

Editor’s corner
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at)

My daughter and I met for breakfast earlier this week. “Dad, I didn’t like your essay last weekend,” she said, explaining that I sounded like a broken record — more whining. She was right. You may feel the same. I get letters from readers all the time who are weary of my complaining. I understand. Please let me try to explain.

Background: Our surveys show that about 80 percent of you own RVs that serve you well. I’m one of them. So why am I whining all the time about bad RVs? I do it on behalf the other 20 percent, who have significant, often disabling problems with their RVs that they cannot get fixed. See the results I’ve posted here of a recent reader survey. Twenty-one percent of you rated the workmanship on your RV as poor or terrible.

How can any industry continue, even thrive, with such a low approval rating? Good question. The fact is, the industry gets away with it, and one-fifth of the people who buy an RV end up with a huge headache, not to mention a financial burden!

A half million new RVs will sell this year. Out of those, if our survey results are even close to true, about 100,000 will be rated as poor or terrible by their owners. Some of those RVs, based on your letters (and reports here), will be unsuitable for use. Keep in mind, there are few RV lemon laws around the country and whenever they are proposed, your “friends” at the RV Industry Association will send their bulldog lobbyists to do everything they can to defeat them. Who’s representing you and me? Nobody! How does that make you feel? It makes me mad! The Good Sam Club and FMCA, the two largest RV clubs, do nothing.

I GET LETTERS ALL THE TIME from people who say, “Chuck, you know, don’t you, that the issue of poorly made RVs has been going on for a long time?” Yes, I know that. So am I supposed to say, “Okay, that’s the way it’s always been so no need to even try to improve things“? Is that what I’m supposed to say — just like all the RV industry media that keep their collective mouths shut for fear of rocking the boat (or should I say the RV)?

In a week’s time, I get a couple dozen letters from readers who are stuck with lemon RVs. They’re frustrated. They’re sad. They’re angry! Visit our new Facebook group RV Horror Stories to read about their defective RVs and the runaround they get when trying to get them fixed. We’re committed to building this group to 100,000 members. Do you think that maybe, just maybe, the RV industry will then take notice?

I have one opportunity a week to meet with you — right here in this space. I get so mad some weeks that I just can’t hold back, and I only have this brief opportunity to vent. I almost never have enough room. Here is just one example of something I learned this past week that I must address. It was left as a comment on our group RV Horror Stories. It’s about warranties. May I share this with you, even though it’s “negative”?

An RV dealer posted this. He’s one of the good guys, I believe, who cares about his customers and not just the almighty dollar. Think about how important knowing this could be one day to an RVer: 

The following disclaimer, he wrote, is cut and pasted directly from a manufacturer’s warranty. Among other things, it says, “The warrantor. . .makes no warranty with regard to any product used . . . as a full time residence. . .”

Okay, so if you live in your RV year-round the warranty is voided. Right? Wrong! Here, right from the contract, is what the warranty company defines as full-time use: “‘Full time’ . . . shall mean continuous occupation of the recreational vehicle for a period exceeding 30 days or 18 days per month in two or more consecutive months.” [Emphasis added.] Does that surprise you? Check your own warranty. If you’re “full-time” by this definition, then your warranty is likely worthless!

DO YOU THINK I should just shut up when I learn something like this? Should I just keep it to myself because, really, do I need to knock the RV industry again? Well, excuse me, but I cannot with a clear conscience withhold this sort of information from you and other readers, not to mention new RVers — who need to know what they’re getting into.

And, for the record, I am looking for guest essays for this space in the newsletter. I welcome your contributions. I cannot keep whining here all the time, I know that. I realize that many of you want something else. Beginning next year, I plan to do most of my writing for our member-readers, our voluntary subscribers. If you are not among them, here are the options.

The fact is, more than 3,000 of you have become members by entering a voluntary subscription, and you’re the ones who enable me to freely speak my mind. If this website and newsletter were supported primarily by advertising I’d need to keep my big mouth shut or go out of business because advertisers would bail faster than a speeding Winnebago.

And, before I go, I want to commend Alan Warren of the syndicated radio program The RV Show USA for having the guts to join in reporting the “other” side of the RV industry. I was a guest on his show last Wednesday evening. The show’s call-in lines were jammed at one point with RVers wanting to vent their frustrations. You can watch the 45-minute program in its archives on YouTube, or download the podcast

So, to my darling daughter (see first paragraph of this essay), sorry to be “negative” again. I can’t help myself, kid. . .


P.S. If you ever worked at Camping World, or for an RV dealer that you believe practiced questionable business tactics, please share your thoughts about it with me. Tell me what you were asked to do — how you were asked (or told) to treat customers, or any pressure techniques to use to get the sale! If I post what you say, I will gladly disguise your identity. I’m at chuck (at) And, on the other hand, if you worked for a dealer who was committed to the good of his or her customers, tell me about them, too. Let’s give them some publicity!

About our reader forum: I said last week the chances were 98 percent that we would have our forum up and running this week. Well, I was too optimistic. The forum is functioning, but its appearance is not quite right (yet!). So I’m 99 percent sure we’ll go “public” by next week at this time.

And how about this? With the next issue of this newsletter, we’ll enter our 18th year of continuous weekly publication!

Never Let a Minor Repair Slow You Down Again
Get out in front of a repair before it puts the breaks on your fall travel plans! With Road & Home™’s complete line of RV repair and replace parts, you can cross off your to-do list before it becomes a “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda” list. Click here to shop today!

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dime-738Our staff works hard to bring you a valuable newsletter every Saturday. Readers help make it possible with their voluntary subscriptions. Even a pledge of $5 a year is appreciated — that’s less than 10 cents an issue! Many readers pledge more — $10 a year is less than 20 cents an issue! Your contributions make it possible for us to write about important matters, not just fluff to make advertisers and RV industry big shots happy. Enter a voluntary subscription. Use a credit card, PayPal or mail a check.

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Comprehensive list of RV and
RV-related recalls for August

The list of latest recalls on RVs and other vehicles and/or products of interest to RVers has been released by the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The list includes models from Entegra, Forest River, Jayco, Keystone, Thor and others — plus other vehicles commonly used by RVers. Is your RV or other vehicle on the list? Find out here.

Recent recalls:
Newmar recalls motorhomes for loose bolts issue.

cover story
Marcus Lemonis shows off trailers, makes a boo-boo

Marcus Lemonis, the CEO of Camping World and the Good Sam Club, made a short selfie video the other day to announce how proud he is to be selling Coleman trailers at his Camping World stores. He devotes the entire video to discussing Coleman trailers, their appeal to Millennials, and explains a benefit of buying a trailer that – oops – isn’t true. Watch the video.

breaking-newsThe latest news
about RVing from our newsroom

Okay. This wasn’t taken at Starbucks, but somewhere else. Where? See far below.

Lynchburg man trapped under RV when lift system fails.
Thieves target California RV repair and storage facility.
Man who harassed Yellowstone bison gets 130 days in slammer.
• “Cook” in the “Breaking Bad” motorhome with the show’s stars.
Where to put “homeless” RVers a problem not going away.
Weekend campground stabbings leave three injured, one dog dead.
Connected devices” bills move thru CA legislature, set regulations.
Police chase RV from Lake Tahoe – but the motorhome kept going.
Sand swallows van/trailer after owner parks too close to surfline.
Local efforts find new home for RV – at the dump.
Woman out $800 on rental trailer she never received.
RVer, arrested after high-speed chase, returns to court.
Three female kayakers found after spending night on a rock.
Michigan storm throws RVs around and tears roof off dealership.
Nearby drivers help fifth-wheel owner douse flames.
Health department visits RV park that fails to follow state orders.
RV park fees higher this Labor Day weekend.
Homeless RVer problem in Santa Rosa business park coming to a head.

Wildfire updates:
Glacier National Park’s Howe Ridge Fire closes Going-to-the-Sun Road.
Mendocino Complex Fire reaches 90% containment.
Massive Carr Fire that devastated Redding, CA, now fully contained.

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.

RVers: Can you get the lead out?
The Flint, Michigan, water crisis spotlighted the dangers of lead in drinking water. And on August 30, all Detroit public schools shut off drinking water due to elevated levels of copper and/or lead. Your RV probably doesn’t come equipped with lead pipes, but lead pipes aren’t the only source of lead in water: Water standing in brass fittings can leach lead as well. Is it a concern? If so, what can you do about it? Find out here.

Feeling a little insecure? Beef up your RV security
It looks like among some RVers, there’s a bit of insecurity. In a recent poll we asked, “Do you lock you door when you take a walk around the campground?” About 70% said they always or most often did so. OK, maybe it’s not insecurity – it’s perhaps just common sense. Would you like to do more to enhance your RV’s security? Here are a few suggestions that might help.

Thor courts Germany’s Hymer in sale worth more than $2 billion
The Hymer family, owners of the German motorhome maker Hymer, announced plans for the company’s future back in March, which included offering an IPO or, as an alternative, seeking the involvement of a strategic partner. Hymer’s owners have received offers from four suitors, including Thor, and could make a decision about a sale in the next couple of weeks. A sale could be worth about 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion). Learn more.

Time for new solar panels – New material and even more efficient
Rich “The Wanderman” couldn’t leave well enough alone. He located some new, more efficient solar panels (his fourth set!) with a new technology twist that are even smaller than the last set. Putting them on wasn’t really hard at all. Getting them off, however, was difficult … but he finally managed. Read here how he accomplished this and what he thinks of the new set.

TV reporter helps RVers’ get lemon RV replaced
For two months, a family’s brand-new Coleman travel trailer leaked, and the local dealer where they purchased it could not fix it. Finally, in desperation, the owners took their story to a local TV consumer reporter who got Coleman’s attention, and the couple a replacement for their lemon. Watch the news segment.

Malia’s Miles: Life and death decisions
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.

This week’s Reader Poll
Do you believe people would be kinder without the Internet?
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.

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

spyWhat we learned about you last week
How many of you and your partners use CPAP machines? The answer is shocking! Can you sing? Where do you most often read your email? Do you prefer your campsites to have concrete pads? Do you have a personal blog (tell us about it!)? Learn about all this and more right here. 

Dometic teams with Care Camps to fund camping for children with cancer
RV accessories manufacturer Dometic has teamed up with Care Camps to raise funds through the Dometic Capital Fund for children with cancer to experience the healing power of camping in the great outdoors. Celebrities from sports and entertainment have also joined the movement. Learn more.

RVer’s horror story: RV in for repairs now for 13 months
This was posted on our Facebook group RV Horror Stories by an RVer named Sara Stephan. It is such an incredible story we wanted to share it with you here. No RV buyer should go through what she has gone through. Read her horror story.

What about RVing somewhere else? Like Africa?
A lot of people feel that Africa is so exotic and remote a destination that it’s beyond the reach of mere mortals (with mortal bank accounts). This is simply not the case. Greg Illes discovered that it’s not only easy and affordable to visit Africa, but it’s reasonably safe to do so, and – best of all – you can actually RV there as a visitor! Learn more.

Young adult families with spendable income ignite record RV sales
Sales in RVs are seeing major gains as sales efforts pivot away from older consumers and successfully target young adults who are starting to form families and have excess cash to spend on non-essential splurges. Wholesale RV shipments reached their highest annual level in 2017 at 504,600 units, a 17.2% increase over 2016, and are expected to be even higher in 2018, according to the RVIA (RV Industry Association). Learn more.

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

Study reveals habits and desires of new RVers
A new report from Go RVing examines how the RV buyer of the future will use technology, so that the RV industry can determine the best ways to reach out (i.e., sell RVs) to those potential customers. Some key findings of the report focus on how three emerging groups of future buyers of RVs — Millennials, African-Americans, and Hispanics — have different expectations when they consider the outdoor lifestyle and what they would enjoy about RVing. Learn more.

Bear rips open tent, steals bedding and pillows in Glacier NP
Transient bear activity had been observed by park staff in Glacier National Park’s Rising Sun Campground over the past two weeks as berries are abundant and the cliffs above the campground are a known wildlife corridor. But on Aug. 24, a bear entered the campground and ripped into the side of a tent and pulled out bedding and pillows. The campground along Going-to-the-Sun Road on the park’s east side is therefore temporarily limited to hard-sided camping. Learn more.

video camera WPTiny French camping trailer unfolds to triple its size
In “tiny home” mode, a French company has created a small, lightweight camping trailer that expands with the press of a button to more than triple its towed size. The Tipoon is tiny but versatile, with a host of cool features such as bedding for up to four, hotplates, a fridge, shower and toilet. Learn more and watch the very short video.

Highland Ridge targets new market: doggie RVers
For RVers with dogs, here’s news from Highland Ridge about some new models intended to appeal to their pooches as well as their owners. The company has started production on a newly designed lineup of pet-friendly features and models across the entire Open Range, Mesa Ridge, Silverstar and Highlander lines. Find out what makes these units pet friendly. 

Glamping trailer debuts at German RV show
Europe’s cutting-edge RV designs make their appearances at the annual Dusseldorf Caravan Salon, and the combined vision means integrating fuel cell and smart home technologies, exploring how electric power can impact the camping trailer, and making the caravan (RV) look a lot more elegant and comfortable. An example is the Harmony 3 – designed to make you forget you’re in a camping trailer at all. Read more

Digital nomad runs profitable business from his RV
When 29-year-old Jack Mann’s alarm clock goes off in the morning, he’s throwing on a pair of shorts, hopping out of his RV, and taking a hike around a national park – you won’t find him knotting his tie and commuting to work on a busy freeway. He’s a new breed of enterprising individuals who make their living while traveling fulltime. Learn more.

The New TireTraker™ TT-500 comes with a Lifetime Warranty
The new TireTraker™ TT-500 is the most innovative & user-friendly TPMS on the market with an unprecedented “Lifetime Warranty”, the only TPMS company in the industry to do so. The TT-500 features a larger, easier to read display, continuous pressure & temperature monitoring, automatic update, & monitoring up to 22 tires on your motorhome, trailer & tow vehicle from 0-232 psi! Seven days per week sales & technical support & over 13 years of experience. List price (4 tires) $389. Our price only $289. SAVE $100! (Additional Sensors $35 each). Learn more or order. Read testimonials.

Popular articles from last week’s issue
Minnesota trooper clarifies RV overnighting in rest areas.
Do you or your partner use a CPAP machine for sleep apnea?
When should you replace your tires? How old is “too old”?
Motorhome towing trailer plunges into Yakima River.
• Onboard pump forcing fresh water out the water inlet – Help!
Does RVer need a course in RV mechanics?

DyersRV Parts and Accessories
Give Dyers a try on your next purchase of RV parts or accessories. Large selection, great service, low prices and fast shipping. Visit our website.

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

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

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

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 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. 

Clean your RV… with beastly-good results!
Your RV’s not your car, it’s your “beast.” 
Your RV’s large surface area makes it a beast that collects more bugs, grit, grime, soot and industrial pollution than your car does. And it may have different surfaces of paint, fiberglass, vinyl and aluminum. Click on the video to see Wade clean, shine and protect EVERYTHING with Beast Wash. Click here to buy, or learn more about, Beast Wash at the Wade Maid website.

Ask the RV Shrink

When is a “service dog” not a service dog?

Dear RV Shrink:
We travel full-time with our dog. It is often inconvenient, but the joy we get from the companionship offsets the limitations it causes. We met a couple who are campground hosts and they invited us to go out to lunch with them. They insisted on driving because they needed to bring their “service dog” along. When we questioned them about the need for a service dog, they admitted it wasn’t actually true. …

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

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.

tempgun-682Temperature gun is ‘essential equipment’ for many RVers!
Just aim this non-contact IR temperature gun to measure the temperature of your refrigerator, tires, A/C and heater output, or, heck, even your oven (and the list goes on). It turns on and begins reading the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit with one press of the trigger. A laser light aids in aiming, and can be turned on or off. Many RVers consider this essential equipment. Learn more or order at a huge discount.

gas-738Latest fuel prices, August 27, 2018
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.83. [Calif.: $3.47]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 43 cents.
Diesel: $3.23. [Calif.: $3.95]
Change from week before: Up 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 62 cents.


Don’t toss away good batteries!
Most RVers rely on battery-powered devices while on the road, whether flashlights, radios or cameras. But sometimes you just can’t tell how much life a battery has remaining so you toss it to “be sure.” This small tester, for about $8, will alert you in an instant to the condition of your batteries, saving you money from needlessly tossing ones with plenty of life left! Works on AA, AAA, C, D and 9V and button-type batteries. Learn more or order.

extinguisher-697(3)RV Fire Safety Tip  

An emergency fire plan that can save your life – Part 4 of 13
Having a solid fire escape plan may help you replace panic with logical, life-saving actions if a fire occurs. Knowing exactly what to do and doing it quickly can make a big difference in an emergency situation

Your next step is to determine where you and your passengers would meet if a fire occurred. A preset meeting place at each destination will help to quickly determine if everyone has safely exited the coach.

Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy

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

slideout-seal656Protect your RV’s slideout
with this rubber seal lubricant
If you don’t take care of your slideout you’re asking for problems including dangerous, costly water damage. This rubber seal lubricant from Thetford prevents fading, cracking and deterioration. It cleans, conditions and shines, keeping seals flexible and protected from sunlight destruction. It is also useful on door seals and window seals. It’s a mineral oil product and also acts as a lubricant. Learn more or order.

RV Quick Tips

Keep your RV bay warm
When cold weather threatens, Don Cappel says he ensures his RV bays stay warm by carefully installing 60- or 75-watt incandescent light bulbs. Carefully, meaning they won’t bump up against anything and cause damage or a fire hazard. Yes, the government has increased energy efficiency bulb standards, but Don says you can still find the old incandescent bulbs at big box stores like Lowe’s. Our warm thoughts to Don for his tip.

Feeling flush? Your toilet likes more water!
When you step on that pedal, hold it down for a while. Most RV toilets have another pedal position that will allow you to add water without flushing. If the flush contains toilet paper, fill the bowl with water and then flush. More water in the black tank will make it easier for the enzymes to work if you use that type of black tank treatment. From “So, you want to be an RVer? And Enjoy the RV Lifestyle? [Revised]” Available on

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

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.

Gizmos and Gadgets

Brutal winter coming: Protect your trailer with a full body cover
It is not too early to think about protecting your trailer when the demons of winter huff and puff and bombard it with rain, snow, hail, wind and locusts. Well, maybe not locusts. Nevertheless, this winter may be brutal and you will want to keep your trailer protected from these scourges until the sun returns to warm up your bones in the first days spring. One way to do that is to snuggle up your trailer in a protective cover, such as the one offered by Summates. Learn more.

Be sure to sign up for our monthly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. Click 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 shows, fishing, boating, or any sporting event; you’ll get the best shot and impress everyone! Bring this lightweight, single-hand focusing telescope with you everywhere. We already bought one! Learn more or order.

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

How to quiet a noisy water heater

Dear Gary,
I have a question regarding the Atwood water heater in my 2013 Jayco Eagle Premier. When running on propane with the outside access door open the heater appears to operate normally and burns quietly with a light blue flame. When I close the access door, the heater seems to adopt a dual personality. Part of the time it is quiet just as with the door open. But part of the time it burns with a roar, kind of reminding me of a mini jet plane. It switches back and forth between quiet and loud several times a minute. …

Read the rest of the question and Gary’s response.

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

micro-2-762Microwave cover collapses for easy storage
micro-2-flatWhen heating your food you don’t want to spend 10 minutes later cleaning the splatters inside the microwave. Here’s the solution — perfect for RVers: It pops down flat for easy storage. Lid perforations allow steam to escape to keep food moist. Doubles as a strainer! Learn more or order.

bob-d-med399Ask BoondockBob
with Bob Difley

Florida RVers ask when and where to go on Western camping trip

Hi Bob,
Thank you for your articles in RV Travel newsletter. We camp a lot in the southeast; we live in Florida. My wife, Deb, is retiring May next year. We want to plan a month or two trip out West. Would like to know what time of year would we want to make this type of trip, spring to early summer or late summer to early fall? We are just overwhelmed as to where to start and finish as well as to must-see spots. Should we make reservations or just hope for the best? In our area if you don’t have reservations you don’t camp for the most part. We have taken several trips to Western states, but never with our travel trailer. Your help would be greatly appreciated. –Dave and Deb

Read Bob’s response.

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

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

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.

RV Electricity
with Mike Sokol

The Stray Voltage Patrol is now up to 200 members!
Here’s an update on the Stray Voltage Patrol, as well as a few pictures of why Chuck Woodbury and I think that RV electrical safety is so important to write about. The Stray Voltage Patrol has just reached 200 members. So for those of you just joining us, this is a grassroots effort to collect data on campground electrical systems across the country, then put the information into an online database that anyone can search to find out if a campground they’re planning to visit has acceptable power or not. Learn more.

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

Downsizing The Family Home: What to Save, What to Let Go 
Whether you’re downsizing to go full-time or for other reasons, this best-selling AARP book will guide you through the process, from opening that first closet, to sorting through a lifetime of possessions, to selling your home. The author helps you create a strategy and mindset to accomplish the task quickly and rewardingly, both practically and emotionally. Learn more or order.

RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

Final results of TPMS comparison tests

Comparison of TireTraker external vs. TST 507 internal TPMS: Summary and Roger’s opinion. Since March Roger has been conducting a comparison test of two different tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS). Here are the results.

Clean your CPAP machine with this!
Last week, our survey told us that 51% of you (or your partner) use a CPAP machine. Wow! When was the last time your machine was cleaned thoroughly? They get very dirty inside. This highly rated cleaning kit will get out all those yucky germs and bacteria. The extendable brush will expand to 7 feet, but folds up into a small plastic bag as to not take up too much room in your RV. If you use a CPAP, you’ll want to order this here.

Astronomy for RVers
with Chris Fellows

Our island in the sky – the International Space Station
The first components of the International Space Station (ISS) were launched in 1998 and it has been under perpetual construction ever since. Now about the size of a football field, the ISS is the largest and most expensive single space project ever undertaken by mankind. Learn more (including how to locate it in the sky).

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

The RV Kitchen   
with Janet Groene

Rice Puppies
Lip-smacking rice poppers for snacking or breakfast. This is what Janet calls a “recreational dessert” because everyone can pitch in. Make these crunchy, flavorful poppers over the campfire, indoors on the RV range or outdoors in an electric skillet, a pot over your induction hot plate or in a deep fryer. When the cooking aromas steal out over the campsite, the gang gathers round and all the compliments are yours. The recipe is an ideal use for leftover rice. Get the recipe.

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


Remove ticks easily from people or pets!
This Tick Twister Remover Set will remove a tick, large or 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 still tick season! Learn more or order.

RoVing Naturalist
with Dennis Prichard

Chasing monarch butterflies
This last Saturday found Dennis and seven other citizen scientists chasing around in open fields trying to catch monarch butterflies. “What for?” you may ask. To tag them, of course! It sounds crazy, and it takes some lighthearted banter and more than a little stamina to chase these butterflies down so that a sticky tag can be put on the wing, then the insect is released unharmed to continue its migration. Find out why they’re doing this and how you, too, can become a “citizen scientist.” [This is fascinating!] Learn more.

Answer to five cent
coffee question from above.

It was taken at South Dakota’s Wall Drug. The coffee is a nickel, and the ice water is free! How good is the coffee? We’ll take the fifth (but, really, it’s worth every penny!).

Ad: Own a vehicle with a trailer hitch?
This may be the stupidest accessory you could ever get for it!

RV Short Stop
with Julianne G. Crane

Meander historic, scenic Natchez Trace
Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee

If you want to meander (north or south) along one of the nation’s most peaceful, serene and scenic drives, make your way to the  that follows a winding course 444 miles between Natchez, Mississippi, and Nashville, Tennessee. The Trace includes numerous stops that invite RVers to linger a while and explore the region’s colorful history. Or, you can simply enjoy the breathtaking and peaceful scenery. Learn more

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!

Free and bargain camping

Home Depot # 4724, Tumwater, WA
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Permission required; ask at customer service desk. Maximum stay: 1 night (must obtain permission again for a second night). Well-lit and appears level. No known eating places within walking distance. Address: 1101 Kingswood Dr SW. GPS: 46.99285, -122.9198

Cracker Barrel # 218, Port Huron, MI
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Obtain permission from management. Park in one of 6 marked Bus/RV spaces. Small rigs that will fit in a single auto parking space may receive permission to do so. Well-lit and mostly level with gentle drainage slopes. Expect I-94 traffic noise. If you park overnight here, please purchase your evening meal and/or breakfast here. Address: 2303 Water St. GPS: 42.991948, -82.455105

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

Museum of the Week

Lucky CatLucky Cat Museum
Cincinnati, Ohio

Want to feel like the center of attention? Visit the Lucky Cat Museum in Cincinnati and have more than 700 cats wave to you all at once! The lucky cat, or Maneki-neko, is a Japanese symbol that dates back over 100 years. The symbol is thought to bring good luck and monetary fortune. Visiting the museum might be the luckiest day of your life, considering there are more than 1,000 collectibles including the waving felines themselves, artwork and plush toys. Visit the TripAdvisor page here.

Be safe if you break down!
It’s something none of us want to think about — breaking down along the road, especially a busy highway where traffic is flying by just a few yards away at 60 or 70 miles per hour. If you’re caught in a situation like this you’ll be darn glad you had a set of these foldable reflector hazard signs along to warn motorists to use caution when passing. Learn more or order.

Upcoming RV Shows

America’s Largest RV Show, September 12-16, Hershey, PA. Seminar speakers include’s Mike Sokol and Gary Bunzer. Pre-order tickets.
• Great American RV Show,
September 13-15, Colorado Springs, CO
• Southwest RV Supershow, September 13-16, Dallas, TX
• 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.

Okay, it may be gross to look at!
The idea of watching your RV’s waste passing from the RV into the dump may sound a bit disgusting, especially when you’re dumping the sewer tank, but it’s the best way to know if your tank is fully emptied or not. And once you get used to it, it just becomes routine — no big deal. This Prime add-on item costs less than $5. Learn more.

The “Q” in Q-tips® stands for quality and the word “tips” describes the cotton swab at the end of the stick. The Q-tip was invented in the 1920s by Leo Gerstenzang.

Bumper sticker of the week
Do you follow your religion this closely? Thanks to Steven H.

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

Joke of the Week
Husband to wife: “Hey, honey, do you have anything you want to say before football season starts?”

Editor’s Random RV Thought
Restaurants who advertise homemade food are seldom being honest: The food is restaurant made. It can only be homemade if made at home.

Worth Pondering
“We should be mindful as we argue about our differences that so much more unites than divides us. We should also note that our differences, when compared with those in many, if not most, other countries, are smaller than we sometimes imagine them to be.” —Senator John McCain, Aug. 29, 1936 – Aug. 25, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

This newsletter is copyright 2018 by

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R Peterson
3 years ago

Chuck, has it occurred to most folks that a 20% dissatisfaction rate is an acceptable level of operation for the RV industry? When you look at the auto and truck industry you get just about the same dissatisfaction rate as the RV industry (depending on the study you read) and they have been humming along for years. Understand the “sounding of the alarm” mantra but maybe it’s time to educate folks on how to avoid being part of 20% dissatisfaction rate? Humans have free will and sometimes you just can’t fix stupid so you will always have victims in any industry. It’s the human condition. Who said “there’s a sucker born every minute”? Not sure but I bet there were a lot of clowns involved with that industry as well.

Joe Allen
3 years ago

Chuck, you’re not whining, you are sharing your knowledge of poor quality or no quality workmanship in this industry and the careless attitude of those selling these units!
Some of these dealerships must have watched their favorite tv show “It takes a thief” back in the day and have lost their morals with their sales techniques!

SFC Dennis R Strope, USA, RET
3 years ago

Channel surfing, it’s a pastime. “Going RV”, my, arent those new RVs splendid looking. There ought to be a program showcasing ‘follow-ups’, of the people that purchased them and their issues afterwards, what ever they may be…..

Warren Gress
3 years ago

As usual, really enjoyed your newsletter this week. I do not consider your reporting of the sad state of quality control on RV’s as whining. It might be interesting to identify some manufacturers that owners consistently praise and are well satisfied with.

3 years ago

Another hitch accessory that is VERY useful is the Hitch Safe. Having that has helped us innumerable times when we’d inadvertently lock the keys in the truck. We also put a little money in the safe “just in case”.

Mark Mc
3 years ago

There are some dealers who stand by their RV’s. Rex and Sons RV’s located in Wilmington North Carolina is one. It is service after the sales which brings me back. He stands by his products and you feel like you are part of his family. Check out your salesman before you purchase any RV. Enjoy your RV don’t regret your purchase.

John Hiler
3 years ago

As long as we keep promoting the “Cheeeeep is Best” theory in the US of A Crap will sell. Banks and finance companies are fellow travelers with the crappers…interest on crap.
Don’t buy the junk. Leave it on the lot. And above all, don’t take the salesman’s word for what a great deal it is. The Cheeper the product the more margin on the price… The more commission.

3 years ago

As for
about the sorry state of the RV industry…thank God there is someone who does actually stand up and “whine” so the buzzards at the RV conglomerates can see what has happened to their products…as if they didn’t know. While the industry is on a fast buck roll…it is the selling dealer that needs to be held accountable for pushing poor products out the door on unsuspecting folks.Dealers like the Blue Dog RV vultures with sales lots in Idaho,Oregon,Washington and Las Vegas. BUYER BEWARE FROM THOSE CROOKS. Keep up the good work Chuck…we are rooting for you.

Sherry Dawson
3 years ago

Chuck, I appreciate the “whining.” Until I started reading your newsletter 3 years ago I was totally ignorant of the problems. I was lucky enough that my first RV was a used Class A Winnebago, which was in perfect condition, and never had a single issue as long as I owned it. Now I’m driving a 1986 Volkwagen camper that was bought new by my mother in 1986. It is still in pristine condition and no camping accessory has ever needed maintenance!

So, please keep up the great work of educating us and the RV industry. If you can think of a way that we can help lobby, please let us know.

I hope to be shopping soon for a used Class A toy hauler for full-timing. Unfortunately, I rarely see anything in my price range other than Thor. So I will definitely look for one older than 2010, or maybe even 2008, and get it thoroughly inspected first by me, then by a professional. Without this newsletter, I wouldn’t have known so much about shopping for an RV.

RVTravel has been my go-to source to learn about everything RV related. I had no idea I was so ignorant until I started reading your newsletter. Now, I’m feeling much better prepared to take up RVing again.

I believe you are providing the most valuable resource available on all subjects related to RVing. I will continue to make my contributions to the newsletter and encourage others to do so as well.

Thanks to you and your staff!

Patrecia Shaw
3 years ago

Please continue “whining”!! I promise to help spread the word about the newsletter and new Facebook page. Everyone please share the RV page and tell everyone about RV horror stories on Facebook!! Help Chuck spread the word and hopefully reach the manufacturers.

3 years ago

Advocates are hard to come by – you are not whining. Please stop thinking that way. It’s not negative – it’s proactive reality that is needed in so many industries and so many other sectors (think government agencies, etc). Checks and balances are ‘in place’ BUT there is no money to pay the people that ‘guard the hen house’. Even when the fox is caught, the outcome is a slap on the wrist – and that just results in, ‘business as usual’. Where is the accountability if someone will not keep pushing for change, and in the process take all the risks that so many are afraid to take? A big thanks for the work you do – BIG THANKS

Mark Evenson
3 years ago

Thanks for another great issue! I was wondering if you could mention RV’s worth owning. I bet you own one and there must be others. Would love to know which RV manufacturers are reputable, trustworthy and make a quality product.

3 years ago

When people stop buying poorly made campers then the rv industry will start making better campers. Until then the rv industry will keep cranking out poorly made rv’s. We the consumers have nobody too blame but ourselves for buying poorly made campers.

3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

Jeff, typically a person doesn’t know he’s buying a poorly made camper until after he purchases it. Only a seasoned rv’er would know what to look for prior to sale.

3 years ago
Reply to  Ron

If you inspect a camper before you buy it and see what is wrong with it and still buy it then I have no one too blame but myself. In the old days people used too bring another set of eyes too see if there was anything wrong with there purchase. Maybe we need too bring someone else along with us too see what we’re buying.

3 years ago

Chuck, you’re not whining. You’re telling it as it is. Standing up for what’s right.
Keep up the great work.

3 years ago

I agree with ur comments about the problems with RV quality and don’t mind ur ongoing comments, however I would add two observations:
1. There r other entities who support stronger Lemon Laws, namely Consumer groups, like those behind the publication of Consumer Reports and Consumer’s Union. So u r not alone. While their primary focus has been on automobiles, they very much agree with u and do advocate for stronger consumer protection. Have u considered reaching out to them to more actively join ur effort?
2. In a Republic like ours it is ok, nay one’s right to legally lobby for one’s position or what u believe in-even if it is to fight Lemon Laws. Lobbyists who abide by their state’s and federal rules and regulations r a legitimate part of our democratic process, even when we strongly disagree with their views. “Bulldog” lobbyist could be interpreted as a pejorative term, but one that would also apply (fortunately for us) to u!
I do hope u continue to speak out, it is the only way improvements will happen.

Bob Godfrey
3 years ago

I would say the $.05 coffee was at Wall Drugs in South Dakota.
Also, would it be possible for you to disclose what RV manufacturer uses this seedy “full time” restriction in it’s warranty?

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob Godfrey

Bob, I don’t know the specific manufacturer. The message is to prompt everyone to check their own warranties, or for those buying an RV to read the fine print. I do know that “full-time use” should not be taken literally, that most companies that include it in their policies, contracts, etc., mean using it for far less time.

Howard Jacobs
3 years ago

Thanks for the good work you are doing. I am recently retired and traveling full time. One of the things I wish that would be available is a national fishing license. The cost of licenses for out of state fishermen if you travel is astronomical. Compounded by the fact that they expire by calandar date, not by purchase date. What can be done. Thanks again.

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
3 years ago
Reply to  Howard Jacobs

Howard, yes, that idea has been discussed for decades, but I have not heard much lately. One solution that I have found is to seek out RV parks with private lakes, where you can fish without a license. They are all over the country.

Sherry Dawson
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

Chuck, in my comment about fishing licenses, I give some information and a link to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. Perhaps you could put a link to this site in a future newsletter to let people know that there are many states that do give free or discounted fishing/hunting licenses to seniors and veterans.

3 years ago
Reply to  Sherry Dawson

Well said,I have a free lifetime disabled veteran fishing license from Oregon. Also used to have one from Wyoming,but it’s no longer valid as I relocated. They are not hard to get if one is qualified.

3 years ago
Reply to  Howard Jacobs

I totally agree! A National Fishing License is a wonderful idea and a discount for retired people would be another great idea.

Sherry Dawson
3 years ago
Reply to  Howard Jacobs

Howard, some states require no fishing license or offer one free or discounted to seniors and veterans. The link below is from The Congressional Sportsmen Foundation. It might be the very group you could work with to make universal licenses a reality. There is a contact listed at the bottom of the first page for more information.

In the meantime, check this article for states that have free or discounted fishing/hunting for seniors and veterans:

~27 states currently offer discounted hunting or fishing license fees for senior citizens.
~States that do not require or provide free licenses for senior citizens: AL, AK, CT, FL, GA, IA, MS, OH, RI.
~States that share reciprocal hunting for senior citizens: AK, AR, SC.
~States that provide access to special lands, trails, or waters for senior citizens: AR, CT, FL, OK, LA, PA, SC, WA.
~Additionally, 34 states offer discounted hunting or fishing licenses fees to active duty military and/or veteran residents, while 23 states offer free licenses to at least one of these populations.

Here’s the link to the site:

3 years ago
Reply to  Sherry Dawson

I believe the “free” or “low cost licenses” in those states are for citizens of those states only. I’ve been pushing for a nationwide senior rate for full-timers but, as Chuck said, no one wants to touch that one.

Sherry Dawson
3 years ago
Reply to  PennyPA

PennyPA: Each state is different, so you have to check their individual websites for details. I currently fish for free (as a senior non-resident) in Georgia and Florida, and have a few others listed in my itinerary that allow senior visitors over 65 to fish free.

Sandi Smith
3 years ago

Thank you so much for your article on “full time residence RV warranty” issue. As my husband and I read the newsletter we are appalled at the number of RV recalls and manufacturers stalling and not responding to warranty issues. We said this morning maybe those RV manufacturers need to go through another RV slump and maybe newbie RV purchasers should buy used units with the kinks already worked out. We purchased our 2005 RV 3 years ago and have been extremely satisfied with it. As a FL resident we have given up trying to use it during “snowbird season” as we did find how they get to stay in prime places so long. We enjoy getting even with these snowbirds and enjoy 2-month trips up north averaging 5-6000 miles during summer months. Guess this would void a warranty issue if we had been new RV purchasers…… Thank you so much for your continued voice!!!

3 years ago

I find it ironic that in the same newsletter you have Marcus Lemonis talking about the awesome Coleman travel trailer and you have a family with a leaking Coleman travel trailer. Glad to hear Coleman stepped up, though.