Monday, March 20, 2023


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 872

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 872 • Week of November 17-23, 2018   #rvtravel

Editor’s corner
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at)

Like most of you, I am sick about the terrible fires in California, just as I am about the recent hurricane disasters in the South. I feel so sorry for the countless thousands of people forced from their homes, many of which are now gone. The death toll continues to rise in Paradise, California, where the Camp Fire is the deadliest and most destructive in the state’s history. And, after burning 146,000 acres, it’s still only 50% contained!


I know Paradise well, having lived just south of there for 15 years in Grass Valley and Nevada City. In college, I fought fires in the area during my college summer breaks. I know how dry it is this time of year. I know that even though a tree may look normal, its fuel moisture may be so low that it will burn exactly like it were dead. The dry grasses, nature’s perfect kindling, burn like paper. Put all that prime fuel together with strong winds, add a spark and it’s a perfect storm for unimaginable devastation. The terrain in the Malibu area of Southern California is just as dry, and just as vulnerable.

At least a dozen subscribers of this newsletter live in Paradise, where 9,700 homes have been destroyed, not to mention at least 71 lives lost. I pray that most of those still missing are found alive. The mayor of Paradise, Jody Jones, is living in her motorhome in a vacant lot in nearby Chico.

MANY YEARS AGO, I wrote a story about recovery efforts in Coalinga, California, after it was devastated by an earthquake. I remember seeing RVs in front of one home after another — temporary shelters for displaced residents while they rebuilt.

I wonder, with all the present-day disasters — fires, hurricanes, tornadoes — if some of the people who lost their homes will just forget about rebuilding and buy an RV. Face it, a modern-day fifth wheel trailer or motorhome is just as comfortable as a home or condo, and they come equipped with a bed, furniture and kitchen appliances!

If a disaster is on the way an RV can be towed or driven from harm’s way. I am planning a trip to Southern California next month in my motorhome and hope to visit Paradise on the way to talk to some of the RVers there. I know from news reports and emails I’ve received that at least some were able to escape quickly with their rigs. I also know that others, with dead batteries or other mobility issues, could not be moved fast enough and went up in flames. Their owners are now in shelters, hotels, or with friends and family. A sea of tents surrounds the Walmart in Chico, which on Friday announced everyone must leave. (UPDATE: According to, the Chico City Manager stated: “There is no deadline or demand from the city that anyone vacate the unofficial shelter that’s formed at the Walmart in Chico.”) If you know anyone in Paradise, you can see if they’re “on the list” of 1,011 missing persons.

This disaster should be a reminder to all of us with RVs to have them ready to go at a moment’s notice. No matter where you live, a disaster could come out of nowhere. Be prepared.

* * *
turkeyFinally, on a lighter note, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are fortunate enough to spend the day with family and friends. Cherish them all, especially your parents if you are fortunate enough to still have them! And, perhaps as you sit comfortably around your dinner table, say a prayer for all those among us who no longer have one.


No newsletters next week will debut its new and improved website this coming Tuesday, November 20. Because we will be busy all week getting it launched, we’ll take a break from publishing our newsletters. So there will be no new issues of RV Daily Tips next Monday through Thursday; we will return to our normal weekday schedule the following Monday, November 26. The website will remain up and running, although beginning late Tuesday it will sport its brand-new look. We’ll keep you updated on our progress on our Facebook page.

Those of you who get an afternoon RSS alert of all the stories we published in the past 24 hours will not receive those either this coming week.

Our Newest Newsletter: We published the first issue of our new monthly newsletter, “Beginner’s Guide to RVing,” yesterday (Nov. 16). If you are not already signed up, you can read the issue here (and/or sign up to receive an email alert for each new issue).

Important message from Mike Sokol 

I just had the opportunity to write about something I’ve never previously discussed in any RVtravel article – but I believe it’s vitally important for any RV owner who camps in areas with questionable electrical power.

importantHere’s the situation: What if you’re camping in Mexico or somewhere in the USA where campground pedestals may have reversed polarity and a missing ground connection? While your Intelligent/EMS surge protector should warn you about the missing ground, all they’ll do is shut down the power. And there you sit, without any electricity. But what if there were two very affordable products that you don’t normally need, but could be real lifesavers in any campground with an antique/ungrounded electrical system? Well, there are, and they will allow you to power your RV from an ungrounded 20- or 30-amp outlet on a pedestal with complete safety. And yes, this is an NEC-approved fix that I’m applying to this otherwise deadly scenario. Interested? Then click here to learn more.

Coming soon
A special members-only edition of this weekly newsletter with premium content and minimal advertising. Become a member.

•Did you miss last week’s RV Travel? Read it here.
Directory of back issues.

newspaper reporterHelp us do more! Support this newsletter
The staff of works hard to bring you this honest, unbiased, valuable newsletter every week. 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 230 issues if you read our RV Daily Tips and other newsletters)! 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.

cover story
Nine words RV buyers must insist be written on their sales contract
video camera WPmotorhomes at dealersAlan Warren from the radio program The RV Show USA talks with RV lemon law attorney Ron Burdge who explains nine little-known words RV buyers should insist are handwritten on their contracts when buying an RV from a dealer. Doing it could save them thousands of dollars and heartache later. Click here to watch the four-minute video.

breaking-newsThe latest news
about RVing from our newsroom

Burglars damage dozens of RVs in thefts at dealerships in Colorado.
Michigan man charged with arson for setting mobile home and RV on fire.
Missouri State Parks announces camping discount for military.
Hurricane Florence victims receive FEMA trailers – but no keys.

Oregon couple loses uninsured motorhome and possessions in RV fire.
Motorhome parking restrictions change for Hurricane Michael victims.
Firefighters extinguish RV fire on UC Berkeley’s frat row.
Nearly a dozen RVs burn at Tucson storage lot.

Driver of motorhome arrested for DUI after serious crash in Florida.
RVDA board passes the torch to its new slate of officers.

California wildfire updates:
What started the devastating CA fires? Experts search for the origins. (Nov. 15)
Tehama County approves temporary camping for fire evacuees. (Nov. 15)
Many California State Parks closed due to wildfires. (Nov. 15)
California’s Camp Fire death toll rises to 48, only 35% contained. (Nov. 14)

83% of Santa Monica Mountains’ National Parks Land burned. (Nov. 13)
Camp Fire’s death toll hits record 42, likely to rise. (Nov. 13)
Near hurricane force winds to whip CA wildfires into yet more devastation. (Nov. 12)
Fire transforms Pacific Coast Highway beaches into surreal apocalypse. (Nov. 12)

Grim search begins for dead as CA fires continue rampage; winds to increase. (Nov. 11)
CA wildfires force hundreds of thousands to evacuate. (Nov. 10)

Recent RV recalls:
Thor recalls 1,384 motorhomes: propane hose issue.
Grand Design fifth wheels recalled for electrical short risk.
Heartland recalls trailers: Wrong propane hose installed.
Thor recalls motorhomes: some lights could fail.
Forest River recalls trailers: Awning arm could detach.

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.

Click to enlarge.

RVers rescue Paradise residents fleeing flames
On Thursday, Nov. 8, RVers Jane Latham and Ed Van Der Linden were trying to escape from the flames in Northern California, but they were soon rescuing Paradise residents on foot trying to flee the horrific onslaught of the fire that devastated their town and took lives. Read more.

video camera WPRV driver dies from tire blowout. Prevent it happening to you
A 47-year-old Naples man died Sunday in a one-vehicle accident on Interstate 4. Florida Highway Patrol investigators say Jon MacDonough died at the scene after the RV he was driving had a tire blow out, left the road, hit a light pole and overturned onto its left side.  Please watch this important video about what to do if the RV (or other vehicle) you are driving blows a tire. What you learn could save your life.

One million American “modern nomads” live in RVs
One million Americans live in their RVs, says The Washington Post in an article last week about the “modern nomads.” The Post profiles some of these nomads, and what drove them to abandon their stick homes and become RV “fulltimers.” Read more.

This week’s Reader Poll
Where will you spend Thanksgiving 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.

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 about you last week
We had warm weather on our minds this past week. Have you reserved campsites for summer 2019 yet? Nope. The tires on your RV are fairly new. You’re probably not heading south this winter, but that may be because you already live south (and in warm weather). You have one AC in your RV, but some of you have three. Sometimes you lock your RV when you take walks, sometimes you don’t. And you’re pretty satisfied with your Winnebago View. All this and more, right here.

Study shows wildlife-related recreation on BLM land boosts rural economies
A first-of-its-kind study released recently by The Pew Charitable Trusts and several national sporting groups found that hunting and other wildlife-related recreation on tracts managed by the Bureau of Land Management has a significant economic impact on nearby communities and that these benefits should be considered in land use decisions. Learn more.

Alleghany, VA, residents dispute new “campground” rule
When the Alleghany County Zoning Board in Covington, Virginia, decided to change the rules on where and how RV owners could park their rigs on their mountain vacation properties, they weren’t quite prepared for the backlash from local residents. Learn more.

Last Chance to Secure RV Protection
Wholesale Warranties2018 RV Warranty prices won’t last! NOW is the best time to protect yourself from the rising cost of RV repairs with a reliable RV Warranty from BBB A+ Provider. Pricing and Eligibility changes hit January 1st, 2019, so don’t wait! Get a FREE Quote for Top-Rated RV Warranty Coverage today, and head into the holidays with peace of mind.

Rain, rain go away … and never come back so often!
Rich “The Wanderman” hasn’t had a day off in five months that hasn’t rained (in the Northeast). He is disheartened (to put it mildly) because maintenance tasks around the house and RV have gotten pushed back over and over again because of it. (He wishes he could send some of that rain to California!) Read more.

Concept motorhome expands with 4 slideouts and a mini fold-out tent
Designers have gone bonkers in recent years with slideouts – some practical and some over-the-top. Here is a new concept motorhome by Lippert Components that takes slides to another level: a Class C with a single fold-out and four slideouts of all styles and sizes which include an expanding wine bar, a flip-out dog tent and a fully expanding living room. Check it out.

Loss of grazing lands to higher yield “glamping” alarms Utah ranchers
As local and state budgets tighten, officials look for ways to refill the coffers. One way to do this is to replace low return land uses with higher yield options, like this shift in focus in a rural Utah county. And though the focus here is on glamping, if the idea works, could it mean replacing grazing lands with regular campgrounds and adding much-needed campsites for RV travelers? Learn more.

Plan Your Getaway to Tropical Palms Today!
Tropical Palms is a hidden gem on 69 beautiful sun-kissed acres perfect for your Orlando vacation. We’re approximately 4 miles from Walt Disney World Resort, 11 miles from the Orange County Convention Center and within walking distance of Old Town and Fun Spot. Our convenient location and affordable prices provide the perfect RV resort to enjoy all Central Florida offers. Click here to learn more.

Popular articles from last week’s issue
A real shocker about campground electricity.
RV and RV-related recalls for October 2018.
Announcements from the editor, Nov. 10, 2018.
Low bridge crushes fifth-wheel’s A/C – driver continues on. (with video)
One reason Consumer Reports doesn’t rate RVs.
• What we learned about you last week (November 3-9).

Save your propane! Easily convert to electric heat!
SAVE $$$! Until now, the standard for heating RVs of all types has been to use bottled propane (LPG). With CheapHeat™ there’s a better option. Now, with the flip of a switch, you can change the central heating system between gas and electric. When you run on electric heat rather than gas, your coach will be heated by the electricity provided by the RV park. Learn more.

From the Reader Forums

Canadian RVer worries about importing RV from the USA
We received a question from Canadian John Blaicher via our Facebook group RV Advice. It’s a topic that we’ve not seen before. Do you have any advice for him? Read John’s question, and comment here.

Trouble finding Dometic fridge parts
Has anyone had experience finding parts for a Dometic refrigerator with a removable freezer compartment?  If so, where can they be found? The only ones we’ve found (shelf, door, hinge, and spring) cost almost as much as a new refrigerator. Comment here.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION: New users register here.

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. 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.

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.

The RV Show USA
Listen each Wednesday evening on Facebook or YouTube for the live taping of America’s only syndicated radio program about RVing. Sponsored by Cheyenne Camping Center and PPL Motorhomes.

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

What does financing an RV for 20 years REALLY mean?
In case you missed this article the first time around, here it is again. Important! Click here.

Come shop with us for the holidays! 
Announcing the new RVtravel store! We’ve hand-selected all of our favorite must-have RV items, our famous gift guide, neat kitchen gadgets, pet gear and so much more. Check it out here and get all your holiday shopping out of the way. And remember, all holiday shipping is free!

Ask the RV Shrink

Retired weatherman annoys neighbors with long-winded predictions

Dear RV Shrink:
I am married to a retired weatherman. We travel most of the year in a 31-foot Airstream. Actually, he is still a full-time weatherman – he just doesn’t get paid anymore. Instead of reporting the weather to millions, he only reports to me and our surrounding campsite neighbors. I think he drives our neighbors nuts. …

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.

The best phone mount for an RV
Endorsed by the RVtravel staff!
This phone mount suctions or clips to your dashboard or windshield, and is a sturdy, safe place to keep your phone while driving. Perfect for using the GPS while going down the road. The mount is cushioned for a wobble-free phone and can rotate 360 degrees. We highly recommend this one! Learn more or order

gas-738Latest fuel prices as of November 12, 2018
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.69. [Calif.: $3.58]
Change from week before: Down 7 cents; Change from year before: Up 9 cents.
Diesel: $3.32. [Calif.: $4.04]
Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 40 cents.

Attention Big Rig RV owners!
This 2019 edition of the Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas will keep you and your large RV out of trouble. Learn which routes have low bridges, and highways to avoid with length or height limitations. Even if you have a GPS, you will rely on this atlas to keep out of trouble. Great giftLearn more or order.

RV Quick Tips

Ken Lund on

Booze at the border?
Karin Reilly shares this fluid tip: “Nearing the border with Canada, we realized we were quite a bit over on the alcohol allowance. Since we were going to be in Canada only two weeks, we didn’t want to pay duty going into Canada and then back into the U.S. I found a cross border storage facility. These facilities receive packages for Canadians and it’s significantly cheaper for them to have goods shipped near the border versus across it. We got a sturdy box at Walmart and filled it with our alcohol and tobacco overages and stuffed a bed sheet around the bottles. We taped it shut with packing tape and marked it with name and cell number. The facility charged FIVE dollars to store our box for two weeks because it weighed less than 60 pounds! What a bargain! Just had to be sure to be there during Monday through Friday business hours as they’re only open one Saturday a month.” Thanks, Karin!

Full-timing insurance shopping? It pays to be honest
A full-timer will require personal liability insurance similar to what you had in your sticks-and-bricks house. Someone can slip on your top step and sue you as a result. This alone could wipe you out without adequate liability protection. Because of the additional cost, you might not tell your RV insurance company that you are living full-time in your RV. Please do not do this. The liability issues alone could cause you to lose your rig and other assets. It’s just not a good idea to falsify an insurance document. Some full-timers rates are actually lower! — From So, you want to be an RVer? And Enjoy the RV Lifestyle? [Revised]. Available on

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

Cute ornament

The cutest ornament we’ve ever seen…
Do we need to say more? This adorable little camp stove is the perfect addition to your, or a family or friend’s, Christmas tree this year. Makes the perfect gift for an RVer, camper, hiker, fisher…well, anyone! Learn more or order here (and see some other equally cute RV-related ornaments here.)

Click here to see our staff’s favorite products at Amazon.

Gizmos and Gadgets

Camco Silent Top Stovetop Cover adds food prep space
Are you tired of hearing a rattling stovetop cover when on the road? Would you like to have more space for food prep? Take care of both issues with Camco’s RV Universal Silent Top Stovetop Cover, a simple and elegant way to optimize your RV kitchen’s counter space while reducing stovetop rattling when on the move. Learn more.

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

Easily clean those stubborn bugs off your RVsponge91FkFZCzPZL__SL1500_
The Microfiber Mesh Bug and Tar Sponge has millions of tiny fibers in the microfiber cloth that grabs and holds dust and dirt. It is so effective it even cleans without chemicals, saving time and money. Its secret lies in its unique, double-layer microfiber mesh. Older nylon bug sponges can harm your clear coat but this is paint-safe. Learn more or order.

Rate your RV
This new poll asks readers of popular RVs to rate their vehicles.

This week:
Rate your Fleetwood Bounder

Fleetwood BounderClick here.

ONLY RESPOND if you currently own a recent model of this vehicle. To see the current results without voting, simply click “View Results” in the bottom left corner of the poll.

Previous polls: Thor Ace motorhomeKeystone Montana Fifth WheelJayco Jay Flight trailer • Winnebago View.

Join our new Facebook group, RV Advice, where prospective RV buyers can ask veteran RVers what they think of an RV they’re considering buying. Click here.

Don’t blow out your plumbing!
Sooner or later, every RVer comes upon an RV water hookup with pressure so high it could blow out the plumbing, causing costly damage. The solution is to be sure when you hook up to use a water pressure regulator like this one that features a lead-free design to prevent lead contamination. Learn more or order

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

How do I winterize my ice maker?

Dear Gary,
How do I winterize my ice maker? I have a Norcold refrigerator in a Fleetwood motorhome. —Larry R.

Read Gary’s response.

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

Keep your brain sharp and your knives sharper!
Tired of dull knives? 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! It has two settings: one for fine blades and another for coarse. Its small size is perfect for an RV, and it’s about $6. Says Gail of “Wow! This works great!” Learn more or order here.

bob-d-med399Ask BoondockBob
with Bob Difley

Explore the Southwestern deserts – but don’t try to see everything

Dear Bob,
I didn’t realize how really HUGE the landmass of the Southwestern deserts is until I looked at some maps and checked the mileage between destinations. It’s mind-boggling to my wife and me, who are from Massachusetts, to realize that it is farther to drive from Yuma to Phoenix than clear across our entire state. We’re going to take a three-month trip to the desert – but where do we start? Help! —George and Bessie

Read Bob’s response.

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

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

Protect your RV’s slideout with this rubber seal lubricantslideout-seal656
If you don’t take care of your slideout you’re asking for problems including costly water damage. This Thetford rubber seal lubricant prevents fading, cracking and deterioration. It cleans, conditions and shines, keeping seals flexible and protected from sunlight damage. Also use on door and window seals. The mineral oil product acts as a lubricant. Learn more or order.

Mike Sokol recommends…
One of my readers complained about their EMS/smart surge protector shutting down the AC power in the middle of the night “just” because the campground voltage went a little high (132+ volts). Of course, the surge protector was just doing its job, but waking up in the morning without AC power and heating all night gave them reason enough not to plug in their surge protector next time. So how about this as a solution for alerting you of midnight power outages? You can get a power failure night-light for less than $20, and many of them can be used as a flashlight, too.

RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

Setting tire pressure on cold days?

Question: “I am looking for a formula for adjusting ‘cold inflation’ pressures for large tires. I have read that for smaller (car) tires the recommendation is 1 psi per 10 degrees F. What is also not clear is what the assumed ‘cold’ temperature is. Is it assumed to be 65 F, for example? So if we are sitting at 25 F, what is the adjustment?” Read Roger’s answer.

Perfect gift for a desert lover!
This fun coaster set is shaped like a cactus and is perfect for a desert lover’s coffee table! The coasters stack together in any shape to form a cactus. The grandkids will love it, and the neighbors next door will want one too! Great gift! Learn more or order. 

Astronomy for RVers
with Chris Fellows

The Big Picture (Part 4) – The large scale structure of the universe

Click to enlarge.

Last time we met we talked about galaxies – the neighborhoods of the cosmos. This time we will be going all the way to the large scale structure of the universe. One interesting “feature” we are going to run into at this level of the universe is Big Al’s (Albert Einstein’s) General Relativity theory. Learn all about it here. (Pretty amazing stuff!)

Make an omelette in seconds!
Tired of making omelettes and dealing with the timely preparation, mess and cleanup? This handy microwaveable omelette maker saves the day! It makes omelettes in just 3 easy steps: beat eggs and milk, add ingredients, microwave and eat! It promotes healthy eating by cutting out butter, oil and grease. Buy this breakfast-saver here. 

The RV Kitchen 
with Janet Groene

Stuffing Salad
This salad is always in season. Use leftover chicken or turkey, or just grab a deli roasted chicken on your way to the campground and cut it in bite size pieces. Sneaky shortcut: Buy chicken salad at the deli. Put it in a bowl and lightly fold in apples and stuffing. Now it’s “homemade”. This hearty salad also goes well in tortilla wraps or lettuce wraps. Get the recipe.

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


Fool everyone with this camera lens coffee mug!
This cool coffee mug is an exact replica of a Canon camera lens, right down to moveable switches! The stainless steel inside will keep coffee hot and the outside plastic is BPA-free. One reviewer writes that it looks so real she put it in her husband’s camera bag! You’ll want to walk around the campground to show off this one. You can order it here.

The RoVing Naturalist
with Dennis Prichard

Hey, Turkey! A history of the wild turkey in North America
Ol’ Ben Franklin sure didn’t know what he was talking about when he suggested the wild turkey for our national symbol. He thought it was a proud bird of the forest, while the bald eagle was a lowly scavenger which stole food from other birds. The turkey, he claimed, was more typical of a true American bird than the eagle. Although a few of those points are true, Ol’ Ben didn’t realize just how stupid the turkey is. Read more.

Monocular telescope connects to phone, wow!
This is one of the neatest gadgets we’ve seen lately! The waterproof monocular telescope connects right to your phone, so you can take photos of that bird waaaaay over there. Photograph up to 10x closer than before. Great for sightseeing or spotting distant wildlife. Bring it everywhere. We already bought one! Learn more or order.

Digital RVer
with Geeks On Tour

Want to avoid traffic? Use Waze or Google Maps
Both Waze and Google Maps can give you turn-by-turn voice-directed navigation. Waze also adds real-time crowd-sourced road information including traffic, road hazards and police locations. Some folks prefer Waze to Google Maps because Waze gives information about traffic. Hey! So does Google Maps. Find out how to use these handy navigators here.

Learn about smartphones and tablets
… from Geeks On Tour. Here is a recent webcast: #156, How To Use a Smartphone to Scan and Create PDF Documents. 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.

Camp free at farms and wineries
HURRY. JOIN NOW: A new annual membership is going up Jan. 1 from $49 to $79. As a Harvest Hosts member you can stay overnight free at more than 620 wineries, farms, breweries and other attractions! And your $49 annual membership will be grandfathered at the low rateLearn more.

Common Terms Used by RV Salespeople

FIVE FINGER CLOSE: A car dealer technique used by some RV dealers to get the sales papers signed by the consumer without the consumer realizing that the numbers on the papers have been increased above what was orally discussed with the consumer. An example is where the RV dealership Finance Manager holds the stack of RV sales documents, such as the sales contract, finance contract, etc., still with one hand planted in the middle of the document while pointing to the signature line with the other hand. He then asks the buyer to just sign here and here and here, etc., thereby using their hand to cover up an area of the sales documents where numbers appear that the RV dealer does not want the buyer to see.

MOUSE HOUSE: Slang term used for a finance company.

NICKEL: Refers to the amount of $500.

More next issue. Courtesy of the Burdge Law Office.

The only tool you’ll need – perfect for a stocking stuffer!
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 stocking stuffer. Learn more or order.

Facebook Groups about RVing

Vintage Campers For Sale Pre 1980
Boondocking & Free Camping USA
 RV Horror Stories


Let Angry Mama clean your microwave!
Is your microwave dirty? It’s hard to scrub off all that crusty gunk! Admit it, when was the last time you scrubbed it clean? Angry Mama, the miracle microwave cleaner, is here to do the dirty job for you! Add water and vinegar (maybe some lemon too) to this feisty lady and watch her steam away the mess. Within minutes your microwave will be sparkling! Click the image to watch a video and click here to learn more

Free and bargain camping

Snoqualmie Casino, Snoqualmie, WA
Overnight parking is allowed and permission is not required. Follow clear signage to designated RV area with 6 nose-in RV spaces. Not level. Quiet during the week but can be noisy, day and night, on weekends. Several restaurants on premises. Maximum stay: 72 hours. Wi-Fi in the casino. Address: 37500 SE North Bend Way. GPS: 47.519360, -121.839900

Frog Lake Sno-Park, Government Camp, OR
Overnight parking is allowed from May 1 – Oct. 31, and Oregon Sno-Park Pass is required to park here from Nov. 1 – Apr. 30. Level, unlighted, quiet after dark, and appears safe. Pit toilets, no other amenities. Maximum stay: one night. Location: On NW side of US 26, ~ 9.3 mi N of jct with SR 216, or ~ 4.2 mi S of interchange with SR 35. GPS: 45.229179, -121.698911

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

Lap desk puts your back to rest!
If you use your computer on your lap, read your Kindle on the couch, or have a hard time holding that heavy hard book, you need this lap desk! Staff writer Emily uses this when she works and highly recommends it. It has 8 adjustable levels and a stopper to hold objects upright. Great for those with lower back pain or bad posture. Learn more or order.

Museum of the Week

Idaho Potato Museum
Blackfoot, ID

PotatoIn Blackfoot, Idaho, you’ll find the Spectacular Spud Museum (also known as the Idaho Potato Museum, though that’s not as fun to say). Located in the old Oregon Short Line Railroad Depot (plenty of RV parking), you’ll learn all about the history of the Idaho potato and potatoes in general (including how potatoes influenced the lives of President Kennedy’s family). And lucky you, can also see the world’s largest potato chip. Visit the museum website. 

Keep warm this winter with a 12-volt warming blanketwarming-770
Here’s how to keep warm in your RV without wasting propane to run your heater. Just snuggle up with a warming blanket! This one operates on 12-volt. Stitched from 100-percent polyester fleece, it’s comfortable, functional, safe and gentle on your RV’s battery. Put it on your bed to warm it up before turning in! Learn more or order from Amazon.

Upcoming RV Shows

Palm Springs Area RV Show & Sale, December 6-9, Indio, CAPOSTPONED UNTIL FEB. 21-24, 2019

See the complete list of all upcoming RV shows.

tire-guage660gauge4Endorsed by RV tire expert Roger Marble!
An excellent 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 off the gauge it will automatically shut off. The included lithium battery never needs to be recharged or replaced. And it’s only about $12. Learn more or order.

Ben & Jerry learned how to make ice cream by taking a $5 correspondence course offered by Penn State.

Bumper sticker of the week
Park Your Phone Booth! —Thanks to Frank in Montana.

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

Joke of the Week
I dropped my iPhone yesterday from the 21st floor of my building. Good thing it was in airplane mode.

Worth Pondering
“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.” —Lee Iacocca

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, Dennis Prichard, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring. Marketing director: Jessica Sarvis. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.

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

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

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

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

This newsletter is copyright 2018 by

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Scott Gitlin
4 years ago

In this issue, clicking on a link to read further does not open a new window.

4 years ago

Living in hurricane country, my RV is always ready. Gas, bottled water, MRE’s and personal hygiene items, always there, always ready, during the season.
Spent the week after Michael, supporting the American Red Cross at shelters, providing amateur radio communication support. When the cell system is down, we are “the final mile.”

4 years ago

Regarding adding the magical 9 words to actually extend your warranty up to 4 year, be mindful that any contract additions, deletions and modifications require both parties to Initial their name and date it.

Jack Duncan
4 years ago

Can you tell me how. I am looking for a switch for my Aladdin monitoring system and it is no longer available.

Jack Duncan

4 years ago

Also lived in Chico in the past. Personally I know of four former acquaintances who have lost everything. Many extended families gone. The fire knew no social class. It took all. They need a place to live and a tent in a parking lot isn’t the answer. FEMA has got to move in the trailers. I know the people of Chico and Paradise, they are resilient and do not think the Government as their daddy. They just need shelter, temporary. Many won’t leave the the vicinity, they have so much family in the area. Family is who many are relying on now. God Bless my friends in Paradise and the many who have responded to help.

John Karlson
4 years ago

Where was the storage place near which border crossing. Any further info would be appreciated.

Joe Allen
4 years ago

Back in the early 60’s when I was stationed at Travis AFB, we volunteered to assist in a large wildfire. Scary to say the least. Nobody knows unless they have been there, how fast a fire can spread. Thanks go out to all the firefighters and volunteers who are putting their lives literally on the line.

4 years ago

I live in Chico and I want to comment about the Walmart. The Walmart has not asked people to leave the parking lot. It was a Facebook rumor. The people of Paradise are not being asked to leave!
I have allowed my neighbors friends family that were burnt out of there house to set up a trailer in front of my house so they could have somewhere to live. His trailer was burned up in the fire but another friend of my neighbor from Washington State brought his trailer down to Chico for their use. My neighbor winters in Arizona so his house that I keep an eye on is being used by another Paradise family that was burned out. The next neighbor over has decided to move in with her boyfriend and sell her house so others can move in. We have a very low housing market so there isn’t much to rent or buy. Everyone in Chico is trying to help but there are a lot of people. It will take years to rebuild. The schools need 100 trailers to house the Paradise students. This is a massive disaster. My son’s house is still in the line of the fire and the winds are expected to pick up. He is still evacuated. They say my house is safe for now. You should always have a to go bag ready! You just never know.

RV Staff
4 years ago
Reply to  BuzzElectric

Thank you very much for the info on the Walmart, Buzz. The article has been updated. Good luck! 😀 —Diane at

Ian Cook
4 years ago
Reply to  BuzzElectric

thank you for all your help. We all need a to go bag or box just in case. And do your best to protect your animals. God Bless

R.R. Torres
4 years ago

Great news letter.
If you are looking for hard to find parts for your RV.
Call the wrecking yards in the now depressed oil field areas.
When Oil workers left they left hundreds of RVs.
Many types and ages of RV parts available.

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