Sunday, June 26, 2022


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 864

Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 18th year of continuous publication, is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!

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Issue 864 • Week of September 22-28, 2018   #rvtravel

Editor’s corner
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at)

The vendors area was a sea of RVer humanity.

The just-concluded Hershey RV Show was a sight to behold. Despite bad weather leading up to it, and Hurricane Florence keeping some people away, the show – billed as the largest in the USA – came close to attracting a record crowd. About 60,000 visitors attended compared to 62,000 last year.

Saturday was a madhouse. In Giant Arena, home of Hershey Bears hockey team, people walked shoulder to shoulder on the concourse, stopping to chat with a hundred or more vendors.

A week before the show, The New York Times published an article about how Elkhart, Indiana, where 80 percent of all American RVs are made, was getting nervous: Was the string of record RV sales year after year about to end? Judging from what I saw in Hershey, the answer is not yet.

RV industry forecaster Richard Curtain, by the way, recently stated that it’s reasonable to believe that RV manufacturers could sell 700,000 RVs a year, not the mere 500,000 of today. It will be a lot of fun reserving a space in an RV park if that happens (it’s bad enough now for many of us).

What I observed in Hershey that I have not observed there before was a change in attitude of those who attended. They were energized, and it seemed to me their mission was to buy, not just gawk. The crowd, too, was younger this year – many more Millennials and their children. I could feel their energy. As I said last week, it was like a buying frenzy!

Camping World dominated. I have been critical of the company’s aggressive sales tactics, where it suckers buyers into 20-year loans on cheap RVs that will wear out in half that time. One of the reasons I attended this year’s Hershey show was to see if other RV dealers were following suit and, sure enough, 20-year loans were being pushed everywhere. Even the least expensive RVs were offered with extended terms. Gail and I found a Viking tent trailer for $8,999 – $92.50 a month at 6.99 percent interest for 12 years!

Part of the fun of going to Hershey every year is visiting with our friends. Here, Gail is with RV filmmaker John Holod (left) and the RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer.

Keep in mind that any new RV depreciates about 25 percent when it leaves the lot. Sure, it’s great to drive away with a brand-new RV with the prospect of affordable monthly payments, but what if the buyer wants to sell it (or must sell it) three or four years later? On a $100,000 RV, they’ll need to write a check for $35,000 (maybe more) just to get out of the loan and break even. That’s not right! I get letters all the time from people in this situation! “Where are we going to get that kind of money?” they ask in a panic.

Nowadays, Marcus Lemonis’ Camping World is essentially forcing other dealers to match what I consider his unethical long-term financing plans. Yes, there can be benefits for financing for 15 or 20 years, but my guess is that 95 percent of all RVers who get sucked into such loans regret it later (not to mention experience financial hardship).

All-electric Jayco Hummingbird

AND ONE MORE THING – and that is how electricity-dependent RVs have now become, even the tiny ones. The all-electric 13-foot Jayco Hummingbird in the photo has an indoor air conditioner, and in the back, there’s a fridge, microwave and TV (who can camp without watching television at the same time?). I believe that any RV with electronic gadgets will seduce its owner into camping where he or she can use them. So forget about boondocking or staying in primitive campgrounds like those in our wonderful National Forests.

Even this 630-pound MyPod trailer has an air conditioner and TV.

And, of course, residential refrigerators are the norm now in the larger RVs. At the show, I thought about all the Hurricane Florence victims who were lucky enough to have RVs to escape with, to live in until they could return home (if they still had one!). With a traditional propane/electric fridge, they could pull off in any parking lot and their food would stay cold. But not so if the fridge is electric-only: They’d need a hookup, not so easy when thousands upon thousands of other RVers are headed out of town, too.

* * *
If you have not registered for our new reader forum, please do so. It’s just getting started, and your input will help it grow, and become a valuable resource. Our Facebook Group, RV Horror Stories, which I started on a whim as a place for RVers with defective RVs to vent their frustrations, is growing by 150 members a day, with close to 6,000 members after only five weeks. You don’t need to be a Facebook member to read the postings, but if you want to participate, you will need to register. It’s truly amazing that some buyers are unable to even use their RVs for months, or even a year or more after buying them!

Thanks to all of the readers who dropped by our Meetups at Hershey. It was great visiting with you. 

Gotta move on now. Lots to do.

It’s a mad, mad, out-of-control RV world
P.S. I have jumped on my soapbox again and you might want to read what I have to say. I received a news release from Thor that made me realize that many, if not most, RV makers don’t even know what they’re really building anymore. I suggest that, with exceptions, they’re not building what they say they are. Click here.

My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
• Another reason to travel with an RV.
My parents pay a visit, in my dreams.

Readers speak out
Waiting for RV repairs (a long time).

20% off RoverPass, unlimited booking to over 6,000 campgrounds!
RoverPass Unlimited is the all-access fast pass to booking campgrounds online. It allows you to search and book at over 6,000 campgrounds and RV parks without a platform fee. You’ll also get priority booking and one-on-one access with customer service representatives.Click here to receive 20 percent off an unlimited membership.  

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Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.34.46 AMThor acquires Hymer to become world’s largest RV maker
Thor Industries, Inc., and the shareholders of Erwin Hymer Group SE announced September 18 that they have entered into a definitive agreement for Thor to acquire Erwin Hymer Group, a privately held international company. The combination company creates the world’s largest RV manufacturer, with the leading position in both North America and Europe. Learn more.

breaking-newsThe latest news
about RVing from our newsroom

Santa Rosa begins towing RVs from business park encampment.
Fifth-wheel takes almost direct lightning strike in Minn. campground.
Thor stock drops after earnings miss, future weakness ahead.
Ventura County now requiring reservations for Rincon oceanside campsites.
Park rangers euthanize bear suspected of man’s death in Smokies.
CA cities tackle street-dwelling RVers, offering safe overnight parking.

San Francisco supervisors struggle with what to do with homeless RVers.
Going-to-the-Sun Road reopens in Glacier NP.
Motorhome burns when fire erupts in engine compartment.
Two wildfires continue to burn in the Flagstaff/Sedona area. (Sept. 18)
Blue Ridge Parkway reopens after Florence moves on. (Sept. 18)
National Parks reopen as Florence moves on. (Sept. 17)

Firefighters battle four wildfires across NW Colorado.
Man accused of writing $246K worthless check for Winnebago RV arrested.
Alberta tourist destination removes “no overnight camping” signs.
National Forests in Alabama open campgrounds to Florence evacuees. (Sept. 16)
RV sales to millennials putting more RVs on the road, in campgrounds.

Recent recalls:
Jayco recalls some motorhomes for power window issue.
Some Fleetwood, Holiday Rambler motorhomes recalled.

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.

Try these fall and winter national park camping destinations
If you are not quite ready to call an end to your camping season or are looking longingly at becoming a snowbird, consider these national parks and monuments that are too hot for summer camping but are popular with off-season campers and snowbirds for the fall and winter seasons. Read more.

Tents for Troops offers free camping for active military members
Toutle River RV Resort, one of the largest RV resorts in the Pacific Northwest, is one of more than 300 parks across 47 states that participate in Tents for Troops, a nationwide program that connects active members of the military with RV parks and campgrounds. They provide an opportunity for active military members to tent or RV for free at some of the finest parks in the U.S. Learn more.

Keep your RV alive: Keep water ONLY in its place
Water – the elixir of life. For humans, perhaps, but for your RV, water has its place – in the plumbing system, but not in structural members. A recent poll tells us more than a third of respondents found out, to their dismay, that water can cause serious damage to your RV. Here are some tips from Russ and Tiña De Maris about what to look (or listen) for, how to prevent and how to repair water leaks. Learn more.

Desperate RVer with lemon RV gets rescued by TV consumer reporter
This video from a Boston TV station illustrates everything we talk about here on — too many defective RVs rolling out of factories and the runaround their owners often get when trying to get them fixed. Watch this woman’s story about her lemon RV and the battle she had trying to get it fixed. Read more and watch the video.

Bear leads police, CHP and sheriff deputies on slow-speed chase
Redding police, along with CHP officers and Shasta County Sheriff Deputies, followed a lost black bear on a slow-speed chase through the streets of Redding, California, early Monday morning. The bear was likely displaced by the recent wildfires. The police Facebook page described the bear as “clearly scared and not aggressive towards people and/or other animals.” Read more.

New report shows RV industry a large contributor to U.S. economy
The RV industry has contributed more than $30 billion to the U.S. economy, a new government report shows – the first ever measured and reported – making it a major contributor to the U.S. economy. The outdoor recreation industry had a gross economic output of $734 billion in 2016, the last year of available data. Learn more.

This week’s Reader Poll
In the last 12 months how many days was your RV actually on the road?
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.

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.

spyWhat we learned from you last week
Many (and we mean many) of you have had severe leaks in your RVs that caused extensive water damage. Most of you don’t mind public restrooms, for the most part you recycle, you don’t usually RV with grandchildren, and fall is your favorite season. Click here to read.

Pests be gone! Electronic repellers – Do they work?
Rich “The Wanderman” keeps a clean RV, so he was dismayed recently when a critter peeked out in the passenger foot well while he was driving(!). He had two questions: How did it get in and how to get rid of it … fast?! Rich had heard about ultrasonic pest repellers but was skeptical about their effectiveness. When a coupon code arrived in his email inbox making the cost of one only $9, he figured “Why not?” and ordered it. What were the results? Find out here.

What to do if a mountain lion is near your campground or hiking trail
Though mountain lions prefer to stay out of sight, can you tell whether they are wandering around near your campground or your favorite hiking trail? Can you tell their tracks apart from dog paw prints or bobcat tracks? And do you know what to do if you encounter one while hiking in cougar territory? Here’s a handy guide for identifying cougar tracks, and other tips for what to do if you meet up with one of these big cats.

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.

Are tiny homes the wave of the future?
Julie Vadnal writes in about her trip to Oregon’s Mt. Hood Tiny Home Village, where several tiny homes are for rent in what would otherwise look like a typical campground setting. But are tiny homes actually RVs, or vacation trailers, because they are mounted on wheels? And could tiny homes be the new wave for adventure into the great outdoors? Read more.

Rent Browns’ QB Baker Mayfield’s motorhome for a tailgater
It was a wild game and exciting comeback Thursday night as the Cleveland Browns beat the New York Jets to record their first win in 635 days. If you’re a Browns fan who doesn’t want the celebration to end, you can keep it going by renting the very motorhome that phenom rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield made famous in the HBO docu-series “Hard Knocks.” Learn more.

The clash of tribes: RVers vs. hardcore outdoors people
RVs have always come in all shapes and sizes, in styles from bare-bones to luxuriant, and more and more “hardcore” outdoors people are using them as mobile base camps from which to launch their adventures. As van life and overlanding surge, serving an overlapping consumer has brought the paper-thin line between outdoor and RV industries into increasingly similar territory. Read more.


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.

Popular articles from last week’s issue
Man buys motorhome. Writes check. Drives off lot. Check bounces.
Winnebago introduces Micro Minnie fifth wheel for midsize trucks
(Mis)Adventures with pull-throughs.
Which cell carrier will save your day?
How to find your rig when boondocking on unmarked roads. (Includes great tips from readers.)
What we learned about you last week (September 8-14).
Has your RV ever developed a water leak that caused serious damage? (Lots of reader comments.)

Afraid of water damage in your RV? You need this!
This essential water damage tool helps home and RV owners measure moisture content in wood, concrete drywall, and subflooring. Use the pin sensors to find the moisture content in your home. The easy-to-read LCD display will help you know if you need to dry the existing materials or replace with brand new ones and can be used as a water leak detector after flood damage. You’ll want to buy this here. 

From the Reader Forum

Microwave problem solved
Reader RM writes: “While cleaning the interior of my Apollo Half Time Oven recently I bumped and broke off the plastic upper door hook. Although the door still closed and latched with the lower hook, the microwave would not function. I contacted several RV dealers and was told that the Apollo appliance had been discontinued and parts/repairs were not available. The only option provided was to replace the entire appliance, at an estimated cost of $400 to $500. After much searching I found the following website and called them. They sent both upper and lower hook replacements along with instructions. The parts arrived within a week and I had our appliance operating normally again in less than 1 hour. The website is” Have a comment? Leave it here.

And from the RV Horror Stories group at Facebook

Turn off your water. . . or invite disaster!
From Ric Sherman: “Here’s a good tip! Always shut your water off at the pedestal when you leave for more than a few hours. My friends once left for the day and when they slammed the door the handheld shower head fell off the holder. On the way down it hit the lever for the water and turned it on. They had the gray water valve closed! Guess what they came home to? Yup, a pretty little waterfall coming down the stairs and out the door of their new Montana! In our case, our Excursion motorhome flooded when the feed line ruptured to the water heater tank.”

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.

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 ever-expanding list of resources where you can report, share or discuss your problems with RV manufacturers or dealers. 

Did you buy a lemon RV? Here’s more about RV lemons and lawyers who will represent you if you need help.

Current wildfire information
To help with your travel planning, here is complete, up-to-the-minute wildfire information around the U.S., from Incident Information System (InciWeb), a U.S. government interagency. Click here. Here is a real-time interactive map of USA wildfires. (75 wildfires burning as of Friday, Sept. 21.) (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.

Camco vent insulator keeps you warm…and cool!
Is your RV too hot in the summer? Too cold in the winter? Camco’s vent insulator and skylight cover features a thick layer of foam which helps stop heat transfer, keeping you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Installation is easy – simply push the fitted foam into your skylight, reflective side up. The reflective surface blocks sunlight, preventing it from heating your RV in the hot months. The insulator is designed to fit standard 14″x14″ RV vents. Learn more or order here.

Ask the RV Shrink

Not “good vibrations” in the RV campsite

Dear RV Shrink:
We were in a campground in the Panhandle of Florida recently. Parked next to us was probably a 40-foot trailer. After quiet hours my wife and I went to bed – notice I didn’t say “went to sleep.” At first I thought it might be an earthquake or a tsunami. It wasn’t a sound as much as a vibration. It didn’t take long to discover it was the neighbor watching a war movie on his big screen TV. Every time there was an explosion in the movie, which was often, a vibration would ripple through our campsite. Read the rest of the question and the RV Shrink’s advice.

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

Stinky holding tank odors? Here’s the solution
Eliminate disgusting tank odors for less than $1 per treatment with formaldehyde-free Unique RV Digest-It. Unique’s highly concentrated, non-toxic blend of tank cleaning microbes maintains clean sensors, eliminates odors and liquefies the solids in your tank, ensuring no backups. All without harsh chemicals or dangerous ingredients. Try it once and you’ll be shocked at how clean your tank can be! Learn more or order.

gas-738Latest fuel prices as of September 17, 2018
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.84. [Calif.: $3.52]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 21 cents.
Diesel: $3.27. [Calif.: $3.98]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 48 cents.

Ladies, you’ll want this funny t-shirt, and men you’ll want this one

RV Quick Tips

Runaway towels – the last word?
We’ve received many suggestions on how to keep paper towels from getting away. Here’s what might be the ultimate in corralling your paper goods – this suggestion from Jerry Muri: “I use the Kamenstein Perfect Tear Paper Towel Holder because I won’t remember to attach something to it to keep it from rolling. Available at Amazon.”

Stinky holding tank? Check roof vents!
Stinky holding tanks driving you bats? It’s smart to occasionally check your roof vents to make sure they aren’t blocked with debris, bird nests, etc. Better yet, invest in an inexpensive 360 Siphon Vent, which will all but eliminate odors from your black tank when you’re rolling down the highway and in almost all other conditions.

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

Lap desk puts your back to rest!
If you find yourself using your computer on your lap, reading your Kindle on the couch, or having a hard time holding that heavy hardback, you need this lap desk! Staff writer Emily uses this when she works and highly recommends it. The desk has eight adjustable levels and even has a stopper to hold objects upright. Great for those who have lower back pain or terrible posture (ahem, Emily). Learn more or order.

Gizmos and Gadgets

Bluetooth wireless BBQ digital thermometer does it all but cook
A perfectly cooked dish requires the right temperature. Whether cooking for family, friends or simply trying something new, getting the exact temperature will get the best results. With the NutriChef PWIRBBQ80 “EasyBBQ” mobile app, it’ll keep you updated while enjoying time with your family, or sitting in your camp chair, taking out the trash, or doing your workout – without physically checking on your food. Learn more.

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

The only closet organizer you’ll ever need!
Fits perfectly in a small RV closet! This 5-tier closet organizer has 40 pockets and five shelves built into it. Use the organizer for shoes, scarves and hats, craft supplies, stuffed animals, yarn and knitting supplies – you name it! The 360-degree swivel hook attaches to any closet bar, making it easy to reach in and grab what you need. Say goodbye to a messy closet! Learn more or order here.

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

Do’s and don’ts for storing your RV
Fall is here with memories of our summer RVing excursions still lingering in our minds. But with the coming chill also comes the thought of putting our RV into storage mode. Though seemingly a mundane task, there are certain steps to get your coach ready for any period of non-use, especially if you are contemplating utilizing one of the available private or public storage facilities. Certain precautions, correctly applied, will guarantee your coach will stand a better chance of surviving its secluded hibernation. Learn more.

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

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.

bob-d-med399Ask BoondockBob
with Bob Difley

Tolerate a noisy neighbor when boondocking, or not?

Hi Bob,
Earlier this week I was traveling through the San Juan Mountains. The Matterhorn campground was full so I went a little farther down the road and found an apparent boondocking location at Lizard Head Pass. There were 10 or so campers there. All had about 100 – 150 yards between them. I found a location with about the same distance from my neighbors and settled in. An hour or so before dark a couple in a pickup truck pulled in and parked about 10 yards from me. To my dismay they started setting up camp while blasting their radio. …

Read the rest of the question and 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.

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

RV Electricity
with Mike Sokol

Can I add a second surge protector?

Dear Mike,
I have a Progressive Industries Surge Protector (EMS-HW50C Portable Electrical Management System) on my 50A diesel pusher, and I also use a Camco Dogbone RV Circuit Analyzer with integrated surge protection and fault indication (125/250V 50M/50F Amp) for use at the pedestals. … I’ve had a fellow camper suggest that putting a second surge protector on the pedestal is a bad idea, since I already have a surge protector on the rig. Is putting a second surge protector at the pedestal okay, or a bad idea? —Michael C.

Read Mike’s response.

rv-safety-764Mike 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.

Lightweight, waterproof, foldable backpack perfect for RVers
Ultra-light, ultra-durable, and ultra-handy for RV trips, this backpack is perfect for small-space living. Pack folds into a tiny sandwich-sized pouch, perfect for storage or for use on airplane trips. Many pockets, including two water bottle slots, make this waterproof pack great for hiking, camping, or day-trips. Learn more and view all eight colors here.

RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

How to take good pictures of tire tread for a complaint
Roger occasionally see posts from folks complaining about some tread or sidewall condition on their RV tires. Frequently, however, either they can’t properly describe the condition or if they have pictures, the image is too small, poorly lit or from too far away to allow proper inspection of the condition for me or others to help and offer an opinion. Roger recently wrote a post with general guidelines for taking good pictures of tire conditions. Read more.

tank707Super clean your holding tanks!
Extreme Cleaner by Happy Campers cleans, softens and helps dissolve and remove all types of sewer waste, toilet tissue, crud, sludge, light corrosion, and scum buildup. Highest concentrated, most active (powerful) sewer tank and sensor cleaner on the market. Recommended for winterizing, annual clean out, and removing persistent odors caused by chemicals or medications obstructing your tank treatment. Often helps restore poor working sensors. Learn more or order.

Astronomy for RVers
with Chris Fellows

Seeing double – Observing double stars, that is
In this series of articles Chris like to keep his targets to objects that anyone can observe, and this week he focuses on observations that can be made with just the naked eye or a small set of binoculars. It is estimated that about 4/5ths of the stars in the sky are actually binary or multiple star systems – two or more stars orbiting a common center of gravity. They are satisfying to observe and there are always a few good ones in the sky. Here are some of Chris’ favorites.

Drink the water…anywhere!
We carry our Lifestraw with us everywhere. This little straw filters out 99.99% of bacteria and parasites in any water source. Carry this lightweight lifesaver in your backpack hiking (you won’t have to carry pounds of water, hurting your back), when you travel (sure, you can drink the water in Mexico!) and keep it in the pantry in case there’s ever an emergency or natural disaster. We couldn’t recommend a Lifestraw more. Learn more or order.

The RV Kitchen   
with Janet Groene

Eyedropper Cookies
Drop-in cookies for family fun. If you love to spend rainy days in the RV creating incredible aromas and tastes in the galley, this recipe is for you. Perfect for when you have kids on board, with clever wielding of an eyedropper you make each cookie into a different work of art. You can make the dough at home, then bring it out of the RV fridge to make as few or as many as you want. The spices in these cookies are just right for autumn camping. Get the recipe.

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


Shop great deals here:

RV Parts & Accessories
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Digital RVer
with Geeks on Tour

Dash-mounting your mobile devices
Do you use your phone and/or iPad for navigating? If you’re still looking for the best method to mount your device to your dash, here are some options which Chris Guld of Geeks On Tour recommends. Some include magnets – but wait! Don’t magnets damage electronic devices like phones? Find out here

Learn about smartphones and tablets
… from Geeks On Tour. Here is a recent webcast: #152, Trip Planning – International Tip: Time zones. This Sunday’s show will be: In Case of Emergency – How to put info on your phone’s lock screen. 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

Special offer for RV Travel readers!
Visit the Geeks’ Store to buy a membership. Use the coupon code rvtravel and get a 20% discount off anything you order.

Inflatable foot rest is comfortable for couch and passenger seat
Now that’s cool! Missing your favorite recliner? Miss it no more! This inflatable foot rest is perfect for lounging on the couch, in the chair by the campfire, or in the passenger seat for long drives. Take it on a plane ride, or take it to the grandkids’ soccer game (we know those can get long). It weighs less than 1 lb. and folds down small for travel. Learn more about this comfy foot rest here.

Facebook Groups about RVing

RV Interior Ideas
Winter RVing 
Fabulous RVing Women

An umbrella that fits in your pocket? Yup!
You heard it here first! This lightweight umbrella folds down inside a waterproof case to fit inside your purse or pocket. Nearly the same size as your sunglasses case, this umbrella is perfect for day trips and travel. This little umbrella is only 6″ long and weighs a mere 6 oz.; you’ll never get tired of carrying this around! Learn more or order here.

Free and bargain camping

Fort Randall Hotel and Casino, Lake Andes, SD
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Obtain permission from security or from players club desk. Well-lit, quiet and safe. Not level; lot slopes downhill but should be manageable for most rigs. Four Directions Restaurant, with menu selections and buffet, in the casino. Address: 7011, 38538 SR 46. GPS: 43.082577, -98.476233

Prosinski Park, Buffalo, WY
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Permission is not required. If baseball games are in progress, these areas will be unavailable until games are over for the day. Level, well-lit and appears safe. Several restaurants in the downtown area, two blocks over. Address: W Fetterman St. GPS: 44.346195, -106.70111

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

travelswithcharlie-750An inspirational book about RVing
“Travels with Charley in Search of America”
When you ask most RVers if there was one book that inspired them to take up RVing, it’s John Steinbeck’s classic road tale, “Travels with Charley.” The famous author set off in the early 1960s in a home-built camper with his poodle, Charley, to “find America.” And what he found makes for a delightful read. Get this for yourself or as a gift. Learn more or order.

Museum of the Week

Oz Museum
Wamego, Kansas
There’s no place like home! This quirky museum showcases more than 2,000 artifacts including Dorothy’s red slippers covered in 3,500 Swarovski crystals, TV, Broadway and movie memorabilia, original pages and drawings from W.W. Denslow’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” and so much more! You’ll want to follow the yellow brick road to this museum. Visit the museum website here.

Improve performance of your diesel enginediesel-707
Diesel Kleen + Cetane Boost is a highly rated, technologically advanced, diesel engine performance improver that cleans injectors, boosts cetane and lubricates fuel injection components. The maximum horsepower formula restores lost power, smooths rough-running engines and improves fuel economy up to 8 percent. Learn more or order.

Upcoming RV Shows

• Indianapolis Fall Boat and RV Show, September 21-23, Indianapolis, IN
Austin RV Supershow, September 28-30, Round Rock, TX 
New York State RV Show, September 28-30, Syracuse, NY
Detroit Fall Camper & RV Show, October 3-7, Novi, MI
Tacoma RV Show, October 4-7, Tacoma, WA
California RV Show, October 5-14, Pomona, CA

See the complete list of all upcoming RV shows.

Compact Crock Pot is great for RVscrock-753
If you’ve ever cooked in a crock pot/slow cooker you know handy they are for preparing stews, soups, dips, pulled pork, etc. Well, this compact, 1.5-quart cooker is perfect for RVs, where space is often limited. And the price is right, too – less than $12, can’t beat that! Learn more or order.

George Washington insisted every one of his troops in the Continental Army be permitted a quart of beer as part of their daily rations.

Bumper sticker of the week
I’m diagonally parked in a parallel universe.

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

Joke of the Week
A woman noticed her husband standing on the bathroom scale, sucking in his stomach. “Ha­­! That’s not going to help,” she said. “Sure, it does,” he said. “It’s the only way I can see the numbers.”

Worth Pondering
“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” —Soren Kierkegaard

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

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

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

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

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Stephen F Willey
3 years ago

Yes, gas refrigerators can be a problem levelling, and a fire hazard. But residential refrigerators use a huge amount of power and have heated gasgets etc. One solution I found is the all-electric refrigerators with a 12 volt Danfoss compressor. These use very little power and I have one in my house over 20 years old still working. NovaKool company in Canada makes these to direct replace standard size Dometic and Norcold gas units. One RV maker, ProVan Tiger Industries make this refrigerator standard in their units. But they can be purchased as exact replacement fit in any RV with small to midsize, one or 2 door gas units.

Mike Sokol(@mike)
3 years ago

I’ve also been studying Danfoss compressor refrigerators which operate on 12-Volts DC directly and don’t require an inverter. Plus this is a “swing” compressor, not a conventional rotary/piston compressor, so it doesn’t have a big peak startup current like a standard compressor with a starter capacitor. Another technology I’m studying at are the Vitrifrigo residential-style refrigerators I saw at the Hershey show last week. These are drop in replacements for many standard propane/electric RV units, but they use a very efficient 12-volt DC compressor. They’ll send me one to evaluate if I ask, so that could be a great topic for me to cover in 2019 for RVelectricity. So much technology, so little time…

Russ Saputo
3 years ago

Helpful fix for stripped screws in wood: put superglue on a toothpick push it in screw hole and cut toothpick off with sharp serrated knife and tap into hole til flush. When dried reinstall screw.

Karin S.
3 years ago

I have a question for Mike….

I read this on the RV forum I am a member of: “I talked to support at Progressive Industries. His suggestion is to use the 50A outlet whenever possible. The thinking is that often the pedestals are corroded which causes high resistance and heat if drawing high loads. The 50A outlet has heavier wire bigger contact area on blades so in theory less heat. Its worth a try – use the 50A outlet with your own adapter. ”

I wondered what your thoughts are on this Mike. The main topic was about a member’s 30A plugin on his cord melting due to a loose connection at the pedestal.

Mike Sokol(@mike)
3 years ago
Reply to  Karin S.

That’s actually a reasonable idea which I’ve discussed at a few of my seminars. If the 30-amp outlet on the pedestal is beat up, then far better to use a 50-to-30 amp dog-bone adapter that matches your RV’s TT-30 cordset. It should be safe from overload since there’s a 30-amp master circuit breaker in your RV’s circuit panel. While this is technically a code violation (sort-of/kind-of) I don’t think any electrical inspector would bat an eye at it… Just be sure to keep your own cordset and RV twist-lock connector (if you have one) clean and free of oxidation.

Peter Griffin
3 years ago

Chuck, have you seen this video?

3 years ago

I hardly see where Chuck is whining. Sure there’s consumers that spend wantonly, but there’s another group in the middle that are making decisions because they don’t know any better. What’s being done here is education for those folks to take a step back before they sign that loan application at the RV show.

Alaska Traveler
3 years ago

Congratulate yourself and pat yourself on the back if fast talking salesmen with 20 year low payments don’t affect you. There are probably many of us who are wise and capable of withstanding the pressure. Obviously there are many who do not have this ability. Proven with the amount of people that purchase some type of time-share after sitting in a 2 or 3 hour marathon salespitch. Easy to blame the victim. These salesmen go to school to do what they do. They are predators.

3 years ago

The timeshare industry is a great example. I’m a grizzly old timeshare veteran and still fell for one. Luckly we were able to get out of it. Yes predators is a good description.

3 years ago

What is the link for the “tee shirt men and women will want”? Please email me the info if you can to thanks

Mike Van Dyke
3 years ago

I was hoping that there could be a review on satellite TVs


3 years ago

To do with the bad motorhomes or camper’s that are being made today yes they are even Tiffin they have made so many changes on how they take care of the customer something I would have never dreamed Tiffin would do but now if you’re unit is Ten years old you can’t go to Tiffin and get any work done on that unit. Yes I see why when you buy a new one you will be spending time at the service center no more pride in the work force plus trying to build so many

Leo Suarez
3 years ago

Chuck, it would be great if next year you can actually provide us with a recap of what shown at the Hershey show, not just winning about financing terms and that everything is electric now. Maybe you should get one of your staffers to actually walk the show and tell us what new, what cool, new innovations, what’s not cool… you know, just a little on what was actually shown at the show, beyond “Camping World is bad” stuff.

3 years ago

HI Chuck
I believe your response to Vance is not applicable to his argument. If you want to challenge Camping Worlds value to the RV world, I would agree with you that they are not the best place to take your RV for service or buying. But Vance is discussing the individual buyers personal responsibility. The same buyer who would walk in to Camping World and buy a RV he/she can not afford, absent creative financing, is the same person who max’s out their credit cards, buys $70,000 pickups …. all on a Toyota Camry income.
I know you have an issue with Marcus and perhaps rightfully so, but 20 year loans are the responsibility of the buyer.
Sorry Chuck, but lack of personal responsibility is nothing new. As long as there are people who can not control their spending habits, there will be businesses like Camping World there to accommodate them. Been to a used car lot lately?

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
3 years ago
Reply to  George

Yeah, I get it George. But if I can cause some people to consider that maybe financing a depreciating asset for 20 years is not a good idea, then mission accomplished. I’m not going to shut up about it. Wait until the next recession and see how many people start screaming because they are so upside down on a loan they cannot afford to pay it off, just like the people did during the last recession when they walked away from their homes because they could no longer afford the mortgage payments.

Alan Goldberg
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

We have The government (senator Barney Frank) for that, by forcing banks to make loans to people who don’t qualify.
The only good that will come out of the coming RV financing debacle is there will be a lot of used and new RV’s at a great price for those who are patient. As there were great home buying opportunities. during the last recession.

3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Goldberg

There you go, blame a politician and let the public off the hook from taking any responsibility.

3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

Exactly!! We bought a used truck and an older TT, because we could afford them!! Why finance junk that won’t last to the end of the financing? Our 94 Mallard will outlast these new TTs made today.

3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

Chuck, nail on the head. Back around 2000 we were looking to refinance our home to consolidate some loans and almost did not get the amount requested as we did not want near 100% of value but were sneered on because the banks wanted us to accept 125%. Home is now payed for but could have been homeless if we fell for that sales pitch.

Ross Reed
3 years ago

Just a comment about the 20 year loans. I agree with what you’re saying about them, 20 year loan and the RV is shot by about 10-15 years. The thing is this has been the norm going back to at least the late 80’s. I was warning people in our Jeep club about this 25-30 years ago. Of course it’s got a lot worse with soaring costs to purchase. Great newsletter as usuall

3 years ago

While I applaud you for standing up for Joe Consumer, they should be responsible for their decisions. It’s not predatory lending, it’s reacting to the market desires. Car loans go up to 7 years now. Homes in Hawaii you can finance for 50 years. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out one will be underwater for a number of years right off the bat.

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike

Absolutely, consumers should be responsible for their decisions. But consumers are also easily suckered into long-term financing they should never accept. What we hope for at RV Travel with all our “ranting” is to raise awareness about the buying process, and to open the eyes of consumers to be more careful with their purchases despite being all starry eyed over living the dream, with no bumpy roads ahead.

3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

I agree that there has to be personal accountability on the part of consumers. I would guess that a large percentage of consumers make purchases of vehicles, RVs, and even homes based primarily on the monthly payment. I would also guess many know better but their desire to have the item overrides good judgment in our instant gratification culture.

I agree with your criticism of Camping World’s practices as unethical and predatory also. I think that aspect of your editorial over shadows the educational aspect. Your comment that you receive emails frequently from folks who are under water and have to sell and what are they supposed to do now. Your response seems to lay all the responsibility at the feet of Camping World. Trying to educate people is a worthy goal, but perhaps some articles that are separate from the vilification of Camping World would be good.

3 years ago

Keep up the good work,Chuck,especially about exposing crooks like Camping World.Most of us enjoy your newsletter regardless of the few who do not.

Kevin Lohrey
3 years ago

Having trouble login Does not recognize my email or user name

3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Lohrey

I’m having the exact same problem.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
3 years ago

With all due respect, Chuck,I disagree with your statement that if the RV has an electric only fridge you need a shore hookup all the time. I removed the NotSoCold (aka Norcold) fire death trap RV fridge in 2012 and installed a Samsung residential. It hasn’t changed the way we camp, boondock or stay at state and national parks for one second. My waste tanks are the limiting factor of how long I can go without having access to a dump and fresh water. The fridge gets it power from an Inverter and house batteries or whenever we run the generator. Normally that’s a few hours a day. I totally get the fact that a normal RV fridge can run on propane but it still needs 12 VDC batteries to power the control boards. Those batteries will need to be charged every so often too. So there is no “free lunch” with any type of fridge.

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
3 years ago

Richard, a person can go weeks with an RV fridge running on propane. It’s far more challenging for an RV with a residential fridge to do the same. People can find workarounds, yes, but there is no question that an RVer with a combination electric/propane refrigerator is better suited to long term living in an emergency when shore power may not be available. The Norcold refrigerators with problems were recalled. I have personally owned RV refrigerators for 35 years with no issues. Yes, others have had problems, but it’s a tiny, tiny segment of the market.

John T
3 years ago

Yes, there is a free lunch. I’m a full-timer, and I charge my batteries with solar power. If I had a residential fridge, I would have to run my generator for hours every day like you.

3 years ago

You constantly blame Camping World for the 20 year loans and “forcing” other retailers to follow suit if they want to sell. The RV dealers in Canada also push 20 year loans, Camping World isn’t behind this trend consumers are. Consumers buy cars and trucks on 84 and 96 month loans, houses on 40 and 50 year mortgages and RVs on 20 year loans. They are not thinking about the value of the product in the years to come, they want what they want and they want it now, at a monthly payment that fits their budget. A friend of mine who is a car salesman tells me he doesn’t need to sell cars he has to be able to find the financing to fit the buyer. I am not defending Camping World or anyone providing this loans, I am just saying they are providing what the consumer wants, a low payment so they can purchase something else on payments as well.
I enjoy reading the weekly newsletter as well as the daily tips, I find them informative and helpful, however, I feel on this subject you should concentrate more on the issue and less on blaming one retailer.

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
3 years ago
Reply to  Vance

Vance, if you want to know why we discuss Camping World so often, just visit here: