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Issue 866 • Week of October 6-12, 2018 #rvtravel
With Mike Sokol
Mike (at) RVtravel.com
Hey, this is Mike again taking over this week’s essay. I’ll use this opportunity to update you about new developments with RVelectricity.com, which is still under construction.
Many of you have read my articles and watched my videos for years. And editor Chuck Woodbury and I recently launched what we call the Stray Voltage Patrol to mobilize RVtravel.com readers to help identify and in some cases fix faulty campground pedestals across the country (which can result in shocks or even electrocution).
But what’s really exciting to me right now is how many times I have been invited recently to speak about RV electricity and RV electricity safety in the months ahead.
First, a bit about my background: I’m a practiced seminar instructor, having done hundreds of workshops around the country over the last 30 years. However, those seminars were on topics such as advanced surround-sound mixing for movie soundtracks as well as live-sound mixing for large churches. And I’ve done a few dozen seminars on electrical safety for the pro-sound industry. But this is my first foray into doing seminars about RV electricity safety. I consider 2018 to be an “experiment year” to judge how eager RV show and rally organizers are for me to speak at their events.
Here’s a brief overview of the response so far.
My first real RV Electricity seminar was at the RVillage rally in Elkhart last May. There was a full house for both of my seminars, and I have been invited to the Florida RVillage rally in 2019. I then taught two seminars at the FROG (Forest River Owner Group) rally, which were well attended and I was invited back in 2019.
Next, I did a seminar for the Holiday Rambler rally in Winston-Salem, which proved to be very popular with the small but active group. I’ve now been invited to teach classes at any Holiday Rambler rally in 2019.
Last month I was at the Hershey RV Show and presented seminars on all five days, with lots of positive exit polls. So guess what? Hershey has already signed me up for the 2019 show. We videotaped one of those seminars and will post excerpts in the next month or so.
And this week I’m at two RV rallies, today (Thursday) I’m teaching at the Thor Diesel Club in Goshen, Indiana, and tomorrow (Oct. 5) I’ll be at the FMCA rally in York, Pennsylvania. FMCA has already invited me to its national rally in March in Perry, Georgia. Clearly, there’s a demand for information about RV electricity and safety.
PLEASE LET ME KNOW if you’ like to attend one of my RV Electricity seminars. This info will help me figure out the best places to hold them.
But the big question for me is: Will the RV industry itself support my training seminars? I don’t sell products at these sessions since that interferes with my ability to offer non-biased reviews, so there’s no income from that. But so far I’ve had zero monetary support from the RV manufacturers and have depended largely on the generous support from Chuck at RVtravel.com, who believes strongly in what I’m doing and has helped me as best he can to cover my basic expenses.
I am eager to present shows around the country in 2019, but it’s not cheap for me to fly with my equipment from Maryland to Seattle, Tampa, Quartzsite, and the other places I’ve been invited to attend in 2019. I have some sponsors lined up, but none has signed on the dotted line yet.
What can you do to help? Please tell your RV dealer or anyone else you know in the RV industry that you think RV electricity education is important and they should contact me to discuss how they can support my efforts to educate all RVers, which, of course, will include their own customers. If you doubt the importance of RV electricity education, read this story about a young boy who died simply by touching an RV where there was a wiring problem.
ON A DIFFERENT TOPIC, I’ve been gathering gear and designing a test of how many solar panels and batteries are needed to run a residential refrigerator in an RV without using a generator or hooking up to shore power. But I need your help determining the brand and model residential refrigerators you already have in your RVs so I can pitch the appropriate refrigerator manufacturer for a demo unit. I’ve already secured solar panels, batteries, charger/inverters, and a marine-grade refrigerator with a 12-volt Danfoss swing compressor. But I need your help identifying the most common residential refrigerators in RVs. So please go to my RVelectricity article here and let me know. That way I can get the appropriate gear to do a relevant test.
I appreciate all your comments and support so far. Thanks very much for reading, and let’s play safe out there…
Are you signed up for Mike Sokol’s monthly RV Electricity Newsletter? If not, you can sign up here.
FROM EDITOR CHUCK WOODBURY: Eight days ago, I sent a special message to our 3,400 members — our voluntary subscribers. It’s these readers who now provide nearly half our funding, which we use to speak out on issues to better the lives of RVers. We are almost alone in our advocacy positions; other websites and periodicals won’t discuss anything that “rocks the boat” (er … RV) for fear of losing advertising support. In my message last week to our members, and here in this shorter, abbreviated version, I have news of a big change in my life and Gail’s. Read the message.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
• Flying buses: The future is (not) here!
The EASY way to buy window shades
Carefree‘s Simply Shade Window Awning is the first cash and carry complete window awning system that can be bought off of dealer shelves and installed the same day! Simply Shade Awnings fit windows up to 36″ tall. Click here to learn more.
•Did you miss last week’s RV Travel? Read it here.
•Directory of back issues.
Help us do more! Support this newsletter
The staff of RVtravel.com works hard to bring you an honest, unbiased, valuable newsletter every Saturday. Readers help make it possible with their “voluntary subscriptions.” Even a pledge of $5, $10 or $20 a year is appreciated — that’s for more than 50 weekly issues (add another 208 if you read our RV Daily Tips Newsletter)! Many readers set up an ongoing subscription, most $5 to $10 a month. But even a one-time contribution of $5 or $10 helps make it possible for us to write about important matters, not just fluff to please advertisers and RV industry big shots. Enter a voluntary subscription. Use a credit card, PayPal or mail a check.
Comprehensive list of RV and
RV-related recalls for September
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, Newmar, Thor, Winnebago and others — plus other vehicles and equipment commonly used by RVers. Is your RV, other vehicle or equipment on the list? Find out here.
• Forest River recalls trailers for potential tire failure issue.
• Grand Design RV recalls trailers for potential shock issue.
• Forest River motorhomes recalled: Door could open while moving.
• Forest River recalls some 2019 trailers for axle problem.
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.
The tale of a horribly built RV and its owner’s “RV nightmare”
Some readers of RVtravel complain that we are too negative in our coverage of RVing, in particular about the poor quality of RVs rolling off the assembly lines these days. They are partially right: We do focus more than other RV websites on the problems with RVing. … The reason we dwell so much on the negative is that RV buyers who end up with defective RVs are too often forced to live an RV “nightmare,” and not an “RV dream,” …. We feel it is our duty to give these people a voice. It’s hard to believe this RVer’s horror story!
The latest news
about RVing from our newsroom
• Cougar sightings spiked in the Pacific Northwest this summer.
• Seattle’s “RV auction shuffle” puts impounded RVs back on streets.
• Gas prices head up, not down, after Labor Day.
• Alligators take over N. Carolina parks after Florence leaves town.
• Man reports $67,000 fifth wheel trailer stolen.
• Pahrump, NV, evicts homeless RV dwellers after years of occupancy.
• San Francisco RV dwellers get reprieve as homeowners fume.
(Includes an insightful comment from one of the RV dwellers.)
• California beach town to require street parking permit for RVs.
• Forest Service lifts restrictions for Deschutes and Ochoco NF.
• Washington state RV park evacuated as wildfire approaches.
• RV dwellers face few options as long-term campgrounds are full.
• RV fire spreads to brush in Oakland Hills, quickly extinguished.
• Thief steals RVs from storage lot and sells them out of state.
• Man severely burned when trying to build campfire.
• Blown tire causes RV accident in Alabama, two critically injured.
• Can “permitting” solve Berkeley’s homeless RV dweller problem?
• Frontier Town state campground to be “Gateway to the Adirondacks“.
AND MAKE MORE ROOM UNDER YOUR SINKS
HepvO is a unique self-sealing waste valve that prevents the escape of foul sewer air from waste discharge systems, and actively maintains the pressure equilibrium in soil and waste installations. As a dry sealing valve, HepvO utilizes a purpose designed membrane to create an airtight seal between the living space and the drainage system. Learn more
Emergency medical transport plan? Watch the fine print!
It’s your dream trip – traveling across the country in your RV, seeing those places you’ve thought about for years. And it’s all good – until that little pump in the middle of your chest decides to start acting up in the middle of nowhere. After the paramedics get you to the isolated “regional” hospital, the doctors twist the knob that turns that dream trip into a nightmare. You need skilled care – the kind that they can’t provide you. You’ll need to be air-ambulanced to a bigger facility. If you’re like many other RVers, you may say, “Relax, I’ve got Good Sam’s TravelAssist coverage. They’ll pay for my air ambulance, and if for some reason I can’t drive the rig home, they’ll pay somebody to get it there for me.” Maybe yes, maybe no. Read more.
Would you pay 68 cents every hour for 20 years to buy an RV?
That’s what thousands upon thousands of people are paying right now — and even double or triple that! — just to afford an RV. Is this crazy? Chuck Woodbury gives you a lot to think about when he analyzes RV financing. This is very worthwhile and interesting reading, especially if you’re considering financing a new RV! Learn a lot here.
Video: How to buy a used RV
In this six-minute video, Mark Polk of RV Education 101 explains what you need to look for when buying a used RV. While he doesn’t cover everything, he does discuss the major things you must pay attention to. Find out what they are, including how much you should pay for the RV, here.
Electric/induction stove tops – better than propane?
Recently, Rich “The Wanderman” had to replace the 240 volt AC glass-surface electric stove top in his house, which he noticed could run on either 120V or 240V. That got him to wondering about using these in an RV: Is that possible or even desirable? Or would a propane gas model be better? And what about an induction cook top? Rich compares the pro’s and con’s of each and explains what works best for him here.
Best places to camp for fall leaf peeping
It’s not too late to get out and see the fall foliage, and autumn is one of the best times to go camping, with slightly cooler temperatures and foliage hitting peak color around the country. Campsite booking service Hipcamp has created a 2018 Fall Foliage Prediction Map that could help outdoor enthusiasts find the perfect destination with a new foliage filter to show the top campgrounds in the U.S. for enjoying the changing leaves. It’s pretty cool. Check it out!
This week’s Reader Poll
Do you usually make campground reservations or just take it day by day?
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.
Goodbye Holding Tank Odors and Clogs, Hello Convenience!
The best just got better. Now you can get the unsurpassed strength of RV Digest-It Holding Tank Treatment in a convenient, easy to use drop-in pod. RV Digest-It has long been known as the premier all-around tank treatment for those looking for the best in both odor elimination and waste digestion – now you can add convenience to that list. Learn more here.
What we learned from you last week
How much time is left until your RV is fully paid off? For most of you, yours is already paid off, but still, for many, you have more than 15 years. You prefer the Internet to TV, you don’t usually read local newspapers when traveling, you use a cell phone way more often than a land-line phone, and most of you are avoiding the flu by getting the flu shot. Read more.
Elkhart RV Open House closes; RVIA forecasts lower sales in 2019
The Elkhart RV Open House, where manufacturers hosted dealers from across North America to review RV products and place orders, closed last week and manufacturers are now evaluating its results. The RV industry is expecting another record year, sneaking above the one it just had in 2017 by less than 1 percent, according to Thor Industry’s annual report. Yet, during three of the last four months shipments of RVs to dealers have declined. Read more.
North Carolina invaded by “monstrous” blood-sucking mosquitoes
Mosquitoes, unfortunately, are a pesky component of camping. But in North Carolina, following Hurricane Florence, they have hatched in exponential numbers, threatening everyone, not just those camping in the outdoors. Mosquito experts say that floodwaters can cause eggs that would have otherwise laid dormant for over a year to hatch – sending billions of the vicious parasites into the air. This species can be three times as large as average mosquitoes. Learn more.
St. Vincent de Paul Society donates 5th wheel to Carr Fire victim
In January, Jeanette Hernandez moved into her home that she owned free and clear on Iron Mountain Road in Keswick, CA. Six months later the Carr Fire burned down her house, along with most of the historic town outside Redding. After living in a tent on the burned-out property for several weeks and then moving into a donated studio in Redding, Hernandez finally made it back home, but this time she’ll be living in a [donated] fifth wheel trailer on her burned-out land. Read more.
Moab BLM campground fees increase
The Utah office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced the approval of the final recreation business plan for five Utah field offices. … Revenues are to be reinvested to provide visitor services, such as trails, picnic tables and restroom facilities, at the site where the fees were collected. The revenues can also be used for the construction of new campground facilities. Learn more.
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.
Forest officials restricting dispersed camping around Jackson Hole
With campground sites becoming more scarce and more people living in RVs, some forest officials in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, say that impact on the forest from too many people camping has been increasingly problematic in recent years, and as a result, announced new camping restrictions in response to overcrowding. Learn more.
Amazon raises minimum wage to $15/hr. for seasonal workers
There is good news for work campers and RVers that work seasonal jobs, especially in the Amazon warehouses during the holiday season. Amazon has just announced that it’s raising the minimum wage for all U.S. employees to $15 an hour. The change takes effect November 1 and applies to full-time, part-time and temporary workers. Amazon says the $15 minimum wage will benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees, plus 100,000 seasonal workers. Learn more. (Article includes link to apply for seasonal work at Amazon.) Read also: Amazon’s minimum wage increase costs hourly workers bonuses.
National Parks are getting hotter and drier, new study shows
Temperatures and aridity have risen dramatically in our national parks while precipitation rates have gone down, according to a new study, and at a rate faster than the rest of the country. The importance of our national parks cannot be overstated. They’re home to irreplaceable ecosystems, cultural sites and extraordinary wildlife. But according to a new study, things are not looking good for them. Learn more.
Senate, House committees support bill for NP maintenance
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has moved legislation forward to provide $6.5 billion over five years to help the National Park Service address its nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog. The House Natural Resources Committee also has passed the measure, so now it’s up to both chambers of Congress to act on it. Read more.
Arizona campground resolves problem of arsenic in water system
Rio Verde RV Park in Cottonwood, Arizona, after discovering arsenic in their water system, is taking steps to replace the entire water system. The problem began May 3 when the RV park tested its water system and found that for most of the past year, the average arsenic level in its drinking water exceeded the maximum contaminant level set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Learn more.
Stay free overnight 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.
Popular articles from last week’s issue
• Good Sam hits 2 million members: Lemonis lays on the verbal poo poo.
• RV Electricity: Use 50-amp to 30-amp adapter in a pinch?
• Opportunities for nudist campers to boondock on public lands.
• Video: Trailer-towing nightmares revealed.
• How to stay safe from hackers on public WiFi when on the road.
• What we learned about you last week (September 22-28).
• Wanted: Your experiences with road service providers.
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.
From the RVtravel.com Reader Forum
Exhaust fan problems
My exhaust fan in bathroom not working. Tested all parts in circuit by using a small 12V battery. When hooked up fan works. With MH circuit nothing. A ground problem? If so where is ground connection? Any thoughts will be appreciated. 2015 Southwind 32. Comment here.
Do you know a family friendly RV park in Monterey?
I’m having a hard time finding a family friendly RV park in Monterey, Calif. We would like to be able to take our grand kids on long bike rides on the bike trail that goes through the towns. Any hints out there? Comment here.
Don’t blow out your plumbing!
Sooner or later, usually “sooner,” every RVer comes upon an RV park water hookup with pressure so high it could blow out the plumbing. None of us want that because it causes a lot of damage and is expensive to fix. The simple solution is to be sure when you hook up use a water pressure regulator, like this one that features a lead-free design to prevent lead contamination. Learn more or order.
No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.
Check out our Directory of RV Clubs and Organizations.
Where to complain about bad RVs, dealers, service, RV parks.
This is an ever-expanding list of resources where you can report, share or discuss your problems with RV manufacturers or dealers.
Readers’ comments on the poor quality of their new RVs
RVs today are being built fast, and in way too many cases poorly. Here are some horror stories.
Did you buy a lemon RV? Here’s more about RV lemons and lawyers who will represent you if you need help.
Hey, you! Yes, you! We need your help!
Do you have a product you love that you think other RVers will love too (it could be anything!)? Please click here, find your item(s), and email them to emily (at) rvtravel.com and tell us why you love it so much. Each week we recommend our favorite products to you, but now it’s your turn!
Ask the RV Shrink
Looking for an RV rug sucker (aka vacuum cleaner)
Dear RV Shrink:
I use an older self-propelled upright vacuum cleaner in my motorhome. I love it but every time I use it I have a ton of dust everywhere. In our enclosed 40-foot motorhome, it doesn’t take long to build up. I know that everyone claims to have the best vacuum out there, so here’s hoping someone has experience with a smaller, efficient vacuum. I also boondock a lot so I’m wondering if there is one that runs on battery that works on carpet. Thanks y’all. —Dusty in Dayton
Read the RV Shrink’s response.
Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his new e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.
Space heater uses only 200 watts!
It’s hard to believe that an electric space heater could use a mere 200 watts — the same as a couple of light bulbs — a fraction of other space heaters. And it really works! It’s meant to heat a nearby person, not a room. Put it on your desk or at your feet. It’s perfect for the RVer who’s “always cold.” RVtravel.com uses one to keep the chill away in the RV’s small bathroom. Click the video. Or learn more order at Amazon.com.
Latest fuel prices, October 1, 2018
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.87. [Calif.: $3.62]
Change from week before: Up 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 30 cents.
Diesel: $3.31. [Calif.: $4.04]
Change from week before: Up 4 cents; Change from year before: Up 52 cents.
Heated hose keeps your water flowing
Camco’s Heated Water Hose provides safe drinking water in freezing temperatures by combining a drinking-water-safe hose with a self-regulating heat source encapsulated in an all-weather, PVC coating. Operates on 120VAC/1.3 AMPs. Made in the USA. Learn more or order at Amazon.
Common terms used by RV salespeople
•BROWNIE: To sell to a customer as a result of going around and putting a piece of paper with a message like “call me regarding your RV” on coach windows in a parking lot or on the street.
•UNWIND THE DEAL: To cancel a vehicle sale or lease like it never happened at all, i.e., the dealer takes back the vehicle and may or may not refund the customer down payment or give back the customer trade in vehicle. The dealer may or may not have a legal basis to unwind the deal. But universally RV dealers do not want to do it.
•SPEAR: This is just a method used in getting a customer onto an RV dealer’s lot. For example: a salesperson stopping a man at a campground and telling him that they would give him some outrageous figures for his trade-in if he would just come down to the RV dealer lot today and take a look at what they have to offer.
More next issue. Courtesy of the Burdge Law Office.
Endorsed by tire expert Roger Marble!
Outstanding tire pressure gauge
The Accutire MS-4021B digital tire pressure gauge has an easy-to-read LCD display that provides pressure readings from 5-150 PSI. It’s ergonomically designed with an angled head and a rubber-coated easy-grip handle. If you forget to turn it off, it will do so automatically. The included lithium battery never needs to be recharged or replaced. Used by the RV Travel staff. Learn more or order.
RV Quick Tips
Ramp up your rig
After reading an article about various materials that can be used for building an RV parking pad, Randy Bitner filled us in on how he parks his rig when not in use. “I made two ramps of 1×6 treated wood, each ramp two feet wide by eight feet long (one foot center support) to get off the grass. Have had them for four years. After first freeze-thaw they sank about an inch, so I filled the area up with crushed stone where the ramps sit. Nice thing raised up, easy to crawl underneath for maintenance. My rig is a dual axle, 38 feet long, 12,000 pounds. I back onto the ramps.” He adds that after a prolonged spell of rain, the approach to his ramps being a grass verge, he wishes they were just a tad longer to make the “run up” a little less steep. Thanks for ramping us up with this thought, Randy.
Avoid “distractions” when moving into the campground
Don’t have any distractions when you are directing the parking of your home into the RV campsite. Mistakes can be quite expensive. Friendly people will come up to you while you are parking and try to help. You must figure out how to tactfully tell them that you would rather do it the way you have practiced. These same people will be there when you are unhooking your car from a motorhome, or your truck from your trailer. If you let them, they will distract you to the point that you will forget a step and pay the price later. Tell them you will be happy to talk with them after you are parked and hooked up. —From “So, you want to be an RVer? And Enjoy the RV Lifestyle? [Revised]”. Available on Amazon.com
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Russ (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!
Keep road flares in the RV for an emergency
You should always have road flares in your RV in case of an emergency. This pack of three bright, waterproof, and shatterproof LED disks are perfect to keep tucked away. These bright lights can be seen from a mile away and can be used for traffic control, as a warning light, or as a rescue beacon, and they can also be used for recreational activities such as camping and hiking. Learn more or order here.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Handwoven Ecuadorian blankets make a vibrant accessory
If you like adding decorative and unique accessories to your RV that also prove to be practical and efficient, look at these Ecuadorian blankets woven by native Otavaleños living in the Andes Mountains. These blankets are as uniquely beautiful as they are warm, and are extra large: approximately 93” x 82”. Learn more.
Be sure to sign up for our monthly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. Click here.
Keep mice out of your RV!
The positive reviews on this product from Earthkind make it a best bet for keeping your RV mouse-free. It’s the only plant-based rodent repellent registered for inside use by the EPA. It effectively repels rodents up to 90 days with a “woodsy” scent that’s pleasant to humans but offensive to rodents. It’s safe around kids and pets, too. 98% biodegradable. Learn more or order
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
Winterizing an RV washer/dryer
Please tell me the best way to winterize a washer/dryer combo. Thanks! —Jack
Read more from Gary Bunzer at the RVdoctor.com. See Gary’s videos about RV repair and maintenance.
Amazing tool does so much!
This multifunctional tool is seven in one! This heavy-duty pen tool features a handy tablet or smartphone stylus, a sturdy screwdriver, a bubble level, a universal inch/cm ruler and a handy Phillips screwdriver flathead bit, and it’s only the size of a pen! Perfect for any weekend project, and it even makes a great gift. Learn more or order.
with Bob Difley
Do not assume you have no water leak just because you can’t see it
I’ve read several frightening accounts of RVers discovering leaks in their RVs that went undetected until severe problems, such as mold and rot in hidden places, were detected. What can I do to catch or prevent these incidents before major damage occurs? —Ben
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
Amazing $10 reading glasses energize your eyes
These glasses have become the talk-of-the-Internet. Wear them while you look at any screen — computer, phone or tablet. They’ll protect your eyes from the “blue light” that the screen emits. Blue light will often make your eyes tired and give you headaches, and can even damage your retinas. Normally these glasses cost around $100, but you can find this well-reviewed pair for just $10. They come in 16 colors and 14 strengths. Read more and order here.
with Mike Sokol
What residential refrigerator do you have?
As I write in my guest essay above, one of my projects for 2019 is a study of the number of solar panels and batteries needed to run a residential-style refrigerator in your RV while dry camping, without using a generator. … My plan is to set up a full solar/battery/refrigerator system and meter it for a month or so while monitoring sunlight and weather conditions. That should give me some real-world data that I can use to predict what’s needed to work for you.
Read Mike’s article and please leave a comment if you have a residential fridge.
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40+ years in the industry. Visit NoShockZone.org for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
Cheers to the floppy disk!
Remember the days of floppy disks? These funny silicone drink coasters are sure to be a conversation starter in the campground. They’re eco-friendly, dishwasher safe, and can be used for drinks, as a spoon rest, home decor or a table pad for sensitive surfaces. You’ll want to order these here.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
Is it OK to run 70+ mph with ST-type tires? It depends …
Roger has read more posts on an RV trailer forum wondering about driving at 70 to 80 mph or faster with ST-type tires. Read his reply.
Please take a moment to participate in the following poll to assist Roger with a project he is working on. You can select more than one option (e.g., one of the top three in addition to the fourth). Thank you!
Shower curtain storage? Yes, please!
This nine-pocket shower curtain is the extra bathroom storage you’ve always wanted. The quick-dry mesh pocket curtain can be hung facing in, or out of your shower. Perfect for shampoo, body wash, shaving needs, toothbrush and toothpaste, washcloths and brushes … you name it! it’s almost like it was made for RVs. Learn more or order this space-saving organizer here.
Astronomy for RVers
with Chris Fellows
The Big Picture (Part 1) – From rocks to stars
In Chris’ travels and conversations with folks during star parties and coffee table discussions he has noticed that there is some confusion about the general structure and scale of this wonderful universe we live in. He is going to cover this in a few installments because there is too much information to squeeze into a single article. In this article he will clear up some of the confusion and give us a glimpse of the universe – the “largest jigsaw puzzle.” Learn more.
Eliminate hose crimping at the faucet!
Sometimes it’s a real pain hooking up your hose to a faucet or to your RV. This Camco flexible hose protector is the answer. Its easy gripper makes attaching the hose effortless. It’s compliant with all federal and state low-level lead laws, too. Every RVer should have one or two of these. Super low price, too. Learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Coq au Quick
Ooh, la la. It’s Coq au Vin. Who says a gourmet dish such as Coq au Vin has to take all day and make a mess? Here’s Janet’s shortcut, single-skillet version. Coq au Vin is traditionally served over buttered noodles, rice or mashed potatoes. If you don’t want to wash another pot, go Southern and serve it over split buttermilk biscuits from your oven or the bakery. Get the recipe.
Check out hundreds of other recipes by Janet . . . and her many books at Amazon.com, including “The Survival Food Handbook.”
BEST-SELLERS IN KITCHEN AND DINING AT AMAZON.COM
Keep your brain sharp and your knives sharper!
Tired of dull knives in the kitchen? This easy-to-use knife sharpener (used by staff writer, Emily) sharpens your knives with a few quick strokes. You’ll feel like a professional! The sharpener has two settings: one for fine blades, and another for coarse. Its small size is perfect for an RV, and under $6. Learn more or order here.
with Geeks on Tour
An easy way to keep your collection of business cards using photos
If you have a collection of business cards and don’t know how/where to store them, here is Chris Guld’s simple system she uses for storing the multitude of cards she gets in her travels. Since she likes to see the actual card rather than the scanned information, she take a picture of the card with her smartphone and then puts it into an album in Google Photos she calls “business cards.” Learn how easy it is here.
Learn about smartphones and tablets
… from Geeks On Tour. Here is a recent webcast: #153, Favorite apps with guests Eric and Tami from TechnoRV. Watch live or archives of past programs.
Be sure to check out the just-released 2nd edition of Mrs. Geek’s Guide to Google Photos, available at Amazon.com.
Special offer for RV Travel readers!
Visit the Geeks’ Store to buy a membership. Use the coupon code rvtravel and get a 20% discount off anything you order.
Fur-removing broom works like magic
Fido shedding? This amazing fur-removing broom sweeps up pet hair like magic on carpet, tile, hardwood and linoleum. Its slim and lightweight design makes it perfect for the RV closet and its gentle rubber bristles won’t scratch your floor. You can even use it on furniture! Learn more or order.
Facebook Groups about RVing
• Big Rig RV
• 50 and over RVers
• North American RV Travel
PLUS OUR OWN GROUP: RV Horror Stories
Get a spooky grip on that bottle! Click here to view this funny gadget.
Free and bargain camping
Walmart Supercenter # 1272, Snyder, TX
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Permission from the customer service desk is required. Park on the garden center side of the lot without obstructing traffic lanes. Quiet and appears safe. Subway in store and the Domino’s Pizza across the street will deliver to your rig. Address: 5110 College Ave. GPS: 32.691854, -100.918474
Wall Drug, Wall, SD
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed, but only in large gravel parking lot, one short block west of Wall Drug. Very quiet, with open Wi-Fi signals reported. Wall Drug has a lunch counter (with 5 cent coffee!) and a large restaurant serving all meals; another small restaurant nearby. Address: 510 Main St. GPS: 43.993877, -102.242841
Overnight RV Parking, with more than 13,480 locations listed, is the largest and best resource for locating free and inexpensive places to spend a night in an RV. For membership information and a demo of the site, click here. A modest membership fee required, but try the free demo. Watch a video about OvernightRVparking.com.
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.
Museum of the Week
International Banana Museum
You’ll either go totally bananas at this museum or turn into a monkey, but we think taking your chances and visiting is worth it. The International Banana Museum has more than 20,000 items of “bananabilia,” which broke the Guinness World Record for the largest banana collection (we’d be concerned if there was a larger one). Play slots in a banana slot machine, wear banana slippers, drink a banana milkshake on a monkey-shaped bar stool and say hi to a banana-shaped robot. What we’re trying to say is, this place sounds totally aPEELing. Visit the website here to plan your visit.
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.
Upcoming RV Shows
• 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
• Jacksonville Fall RV Show, October 11-14, Jacksonville, FL
• Salem Fall RV Show, October 11-14, Salem, OR
• Toronto Fall RV Show and Sale, October 12-14, Toronto, ON
• Panhandle RV Show, October 18-21, Ft. Walton Beach, FL
• Pittsburgh RV Liquidation Supersale, October 19-21, Pittsburgh, PA
See the complete list of all upcoming RV shows.
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.
In 1928, Engelbert Zaschka built a three-wheeled collapsible car that he called the Zaschka. It could be broken apart within five minutes into three main sections so it did not need a garage. Maybe one of these would be handy for RVing: just store it in a storage compartment when you didn’t need it. See pictures.
Bumper sticker of the week
Autocorrect has become my greatest enema.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to Gail (at) RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
A guy in a taxi wanted to ask the driver a question so he leaned forward and tapped him on the shoulder. The driver screamed in fright, jumped and yanked the steering wheel over. The car went up over the curb, demolished a light pole and came to a stop inches from a shop window. The startled passenger said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you.” The taxi driver said “It’s okay. It’s not your fault. You see, this is my first day as a cab driver. I’ve been driving a hearse for the past 25 years.”
“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” —Isaac Asimov
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 RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Gail Meyring at Gail(at)RVtravel.com.
About the RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for three decades. In the ’90s he published the quirky travel newspaper Out West, and was an “on the road” writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His book, “The Best from Out West” is available at Amazon.com. Woodbury’s RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. He is the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD “Buying a Recreational Vehicle,” the definitive guide to purchasing an RV the right way.
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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This newsletter is copyright 2018 by RVtravel.com
Speaking of my RVelectricity seminars and seminar topics, I’m currently presenting two 75-minute seminars on the following topics:
#1) Hot-Skin/Stray Voltage and Surge Protectors
#2) Campground pedestal measurements and hookups
During my latest seminars there’s been a number of requests for a new seminar on how to use meters. I could easily create a class on how to use meters of all types to measure AC voltage, DC voltage, charging and starting currents, ground impedance, wiring temperatures and anything else interesting for RVs.
What do you think? Sound like a good topic for Seminar #3?
Hi Mike, I would support anything you wanted to do about RV electricity, my answer would be YES on how to read meters! So where can we see your 2 current seminars. How about coming to Southern California?
My plan for 2019 already includes Tampa and Quartzsite in January, the FMCA Expo in Perry, GA mid March, the RVillage Rally2 in Live Oaks Florida the end of March, and the Heartland National Rally mid June in Goshen, IN. Plus in the fall I’m already scheduled back at the Hershey show mid September, and perhaps a few smaller Rallies if the logistics works out. I’ve said I’ll do a dozen shows/rallies in 2019 if I get enough sponsorship, so there’s room for Seattle and SoCal seminars if there’s good places to do them. Suggestions?
I normally use Ipad to read newsletter,but last three weeks,have not been able to click through on articles. I have not updatde to os 12,usually wia a month or so for the bugs to go away.
WRT the rubber on your RV tire: When in the CDN military I used to do airworthiness. One of the tracking issues was the rubber of the tires. The rubber was lifed “X amount of months/years” and if installed on aircraft the time could run out but the plane could remain flying until the tire was considered too worn. At times the technicians would rob the assembly for another aircraft and I’d have the unpleasant task of telling them to remove it as the life was expired even though it looked almost new (I wasn’t too popular on those days!)
Mike and Chuck,
Just across the line in Abbotsford, BC there are two RV shows a year. The Earlybird show in February, and the Snowbird show in September. A short trip from Seattle, and you would be most welcome.
Mike, please come to Seattle.
Actually the song is “Please come to Boston”, but yes I’m considering coming to Seattle as well. Of course, Chuck’s home base is Seattle so I would probably hang out for an entire week so we could get some serious planning done. Of course we’ll want to set up some meet and greet sessions in the area, and I do love the seafood there. Chuck and I will confer on this later, but what’s the largest RV dealership in the area?
Yes, please, Mike. I’d like to finally meet this super-cool and highly intelligent guy I chat with on the phone several times a week! 😀 —Diane at RVtravel.com
I signed up for your news letters and am charged with my donation every month. This has now been 3 months that I have paid each month and I have yet to get anything from you other then the Saturday news letter.
Hi, Richard. Thank you very much for your donations! We appreciate them, and you, very much! We’re sorry you’ve only been receiving the Saturday newsletters. I just checked the records and couldn’t find your name, so I checked via your email address, and there you were. All it showed was your address (not your name) and the only box you apparently checked when signing up was the Saturday newsletter. I added the RV Electricity Newsletter as well as the four RV Daily Tips Newsletters each week. I hope that’s OK. If it’s not, you can go back into your subscription information and change your choices. I hope this helps! Thanks for writing. —Diane at RVtravel.com