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Issue 874 • Week of December 1–7, 2018 #rvtravel
With Chuck Woodbury
PLEASE, IF YOU ARE AN RV TRAVEL MEMBER (voluntary subscriber) who received an email from us yesterday, would you please visit here? We confused some of you and need to explain. If you are a member but did not receive the email, please let us know so we can be sure you are on our list for special content and other services.
Welcome to the 874th edition of the RV Travel Newsletter, and the first with our brand-new design. You should find the site much easier to navigate now, and it certainly looks a lot better. We still have a few bugs to find and fix. Please let us know if you find anything. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The update took us off-line for six days last week, frustrating but in the end well worth the wait. We had been working on the update for months (and are still not finished). We have many new features coming in the months ahead.
* * *
Most readers know that Gail and I recently bought a house near Seattle after two years of full-timing. We’ll travel a few months a year for awhile. When we set out on our full-time adventure, we never meant it to be forever. I needed to see how the other half lives. In two years, I did just that. It was an incredible learning experience.
A reader wrote me last week to say he sensed I had a bias toward full-time RVers. I don’t know where he got that idea, but it’s not true. Frankly, I do not even know the definition of a full-time RVer. Who is such a person?
First, did you know if you live full-time in an RV you really don’t live in a recreation vehicle? If your RV has a small RVIA seal outside your door (most do), then, by definition, you have an RV. Well, maybe not. . .
Here is how the RV Industry Association defines an RV: It’s “a vehicle designed as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel or seasonal use.” [Emphasis added.] Notice the word “temporary.”
A ruling just last week by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also made clear that an RV is for temporary living only. It wrote: “An RV is a vehicle or vehicular structure not certified as a manufactured home, designed only for recreational use and not as a primary residence or for permanent occupancy.”
So if you live in an RV full-time, you don’t, by definition, live in an RV. So what is it? Beats me (we’re working on a feature story about this). I can tell you, however, that many insurance and warranty companies will not insure you or honor a claim if they discover you live year-round in your RV. Are you covered? You better check the small print in your policy!
So who is a full-time RVer?
- Is it someone who chooses to live 365 days a year in a nice RV park or resort in, say, a fifth wheel, trailer or motorhome? Is it someone who lives in a “park model” RV year-round?
- Is it a person or family that lives in an old RV in a seedy RV park because a home or apartment is beyond their means?
- Is it someone who moves their RV only twice a year to follow the sun, say from Minnesota to Arizona or Vermont to Florida and then back?
- Is it a family that lives in a fifth wheel for months on end and moves only when the breadwinner’s job relocates to a new location?
- Is it poor people who buy a junker RV, living in it on city streets until the cops kick them out? What do they have in common with a well-off retired couple in their $350,000, 45-foot diesel pusher?
I know full-timers who never move. I recall one woman I met whose husband had died and she didn’t want to keep the house. She decided to sell it and live in a fifth wheel. She bought it, then hired someone to tow it to an RV park where she would live indefinitely. Is she a full-time RVer?
Do I have a bias against full-time RVers? Absolutely not. I think it can be a fun, adventurous, rewarding life and I envy those people who make it work. But, at the other extreme, some “full-timers” live by necessity in RVs that barely function: It’s a whole lot better than sleeping in a cardboard box on a city street.
How do you lump all these lifestyles together into a single “one size fits all” term?
Who do you believe qualifies to be called a full-time RVer? Take this 15-second poll.
I’M VERY INTERESTED IN HOW we live in these modern times and how RVs will increasingly fit into our lives. The word “camping” should not be associated with anyone with an RV with an air conditioner or TV. Even a half century ago “camping” meant taking a break from how we lived in our traditional homes. RVs today, even those of modest size, have every creature comfort we have at home and often a lot more. Some even have balconies so we needn’t get our shoes dirty when we step outside.
P.S.: We have a new contact email: email@example.com . Our entire staff will monitor this and whoever is most qualified to respond will do so. I have become overwhelmed with email and cannot get to it all, which makes me feel guilty (and I hate feeling guilty!).
And a reminder: We are still looking for editorial help, but not necessarily “writers.” We’d like to find an RVer or two with solid English and Web browsing skills who’d like a part-time income. Their job will be to scour the Web, social media and YouTube looking for nuggets of news, information or technical advice that we can pass along to you or use as starters for articles. So if you spend a lot of time poking around the Web reading about RVing and want to get paid for it, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Finally, I am thrilled to report that my friend Greg Gerber is returning as owner and editor of RV Daily Report, an online RV trade publication that he sold in July, 2017, to inexperienced publishers who were ill-prepared for the challenges. Greg is one of the last RV journalists who freely speaks his mind, not just kiss up to industry executives. I hope he and I can work together to do more to improve the lives of you and other RVers. Read more.
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
Read it here | Back issues
RV Electricity Newsletter
Sign up for Mike Sokol’s monthly RV Electricity Newsletter or any of our other newsletters here. Next edition of the RV Electricity Newsletter arrives tomorrow!
We stick our necks out for you
We’re not too popular with RV industry bigwigs these days because we aren’t afraid to speak out honestly about things we see wrong in how they manufacture and sell their products. Our readers help make our efforts possible by becoming members with their “voluntary subscriptions.” Even a pledge of $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 membership, most $5 to $10 a month. But even a one-time contribution of whatever you feel is fair helps make it possible for us to write about important matters, not just fluff to please advertisers and RV industry big shots.
Will RV parks nix fixed prices and charge based on demand?
Is the day coming, perhaps very soon, when RV parks will no longer charge a fixed price for a campsite, but a variable price based on the demand at the moment? RV park owner Andy Zipser discusses this idea, which many park owners see as a way to increase their profits based on supply and demand. Read Andy’s article.
Almost Breaking News
The latest news about RVing from our newsroom
• Armed man barricades himself in RV in 8-hour standoff with police.
• NorCal’s horrific Camp Fire 100% contained, officials announce.
• Colorado Springs, Berkeley, and San Diego confront homeless RV dwellers.
• Winegard® DISH® Playmaker™ OS 2.1 with HDTV available now.
• German RV component company Truma picks Elkhart County for its U.S. HQ.
• RV shipments decline in October.
DISNEY STILL HASN’T RESPONDED to our request about a dangerous power pedestal at its Fort Wilderness RV Park. Read the story and what’s dangerous.
RV shipments expected to decline this year and next
Can it be — shipments of RVs actually declining after eight straight years of growth? According to a news release from the RV Industry Association (RVIA), analyst Richard Curtin, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center, predicts 2019 shipments will range between 439,800 and 466,000 units with the most likely total to be 453,200 units. That would represent an annual decline of 5.4 percent. Learn more.
RV dealers scam buyers by charging bogus inspection fee
Attorney Steve Lehto, who is one of America’s experts on RV lemon laws, explains how some RV dealers are charging their customers up to $2,000 to inspect the new RV they’re buying. They don’t offer it as an option, but say it’s required by law. No, it’s not. Watch the short video.
Is the Good Sam Man being retired?
Recent advertising from Camping World is sporting a new logo with a halo, but it’s no longer over the head of the iconic Good Sam Man. What’s up? Is Marcus Lemonis, the CEO of the club and Camping World, slowly retiring the Good Sam Man and just retaining his golden halo? Read more.
Learn everything about your RV, RVing woman advises
This was posted in our Facebook group RV Horror Stories by group member Charmon Kelley Poche. We thought it was so good we posted it for more RVers to see. She wrote: “If you are an RV owner, especially a lady, you need to pony up and learn how to fix things. We all know RVs are cardboard stapled together with cheap parts, so knowing that, what’s next?” Read more.
Do you carry a paper map or road atlas of where you’re traveling?
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.
What we learned about you last week
RV co-pilots, how does your driver drive? Pretty well! You usually don’t stay in one RV park for too long (maybe a month or so), you love (I mean, really love) memory foam beds, and you probably didn’t inspect your RV’s roof before you bought it. Click here to read.
How to prevent a thief from stealing your RV surge protector
If you use a surge protector when you plug in your RV (you absolutely should!), it’s a good idea to secure it so a thief can’t steal it. We hear reports at RVtravel.com quite often from readers whose surge protectors disappeared during the night or when they were away from their RV. Here’s a way to secure it, as well as some more tips from savvy readers in the Comments below the article.
The campground of your dreams? No way!
Oh, this is way too funny — a publicity photo from the REV Group, the third largest motorhome manufacturer in America. Maybe a little Photoshop going on here? If such a scenic campsite did exist, how much do you think it would go for? This ain’t no $60-a-night spot, that’s for sure. You won’t believe where the spectacular scene was actually shot! Good luck finding an RV anywhere near there! Check it out!
Bear rips through trailer
Something must have smelled good to a hungry grizzly bear as it passed by a travel trailer in Alaska. Actually it must have smelled very, very good because the powerful animal ripped off half the RV’s side to get to the bounty. Read more and see a bigger photo.
Using a fabric building for RV storage – Part 1
Rich “The Wanderman” isn’t covering his motorhome this winter like he usually does – he’s assembling a big fabric building to store his RV in! Find out what he bought, it’s advantages and disadvantages (so far), and how the assembly is going. Read more.
KOA constructing new parks
It’s no secret to most RVtravel.com readers that it’s getting harder each year to find an available space in an RV park without a reservation days, weeks, months or even a year ahead. And so here’s some good news, at least for RVers who stay at KOA campgrounds. Learn more.
Popular articles from last issue
• Nine words RV buyers must insist be written on their sales contract.
• RV driver dies from tire blowout. Prevent it happening to you.
• How to protect yourself from ungrounded power.
• Setting tire pressure on cold days?
• What we learned about you last week (November 10-16).
• Concept motorhome expands with 4 slideouts and a mini fold-out tent.
• Explore the Southwestern deserts – but don’t try to see everything.
From the RVtravel.com Reader Forums
Where can I find a Dometic fridge part?
Has anyone had experience finding parts for a Dometic refrigerator with a removable freezer compartment? If so, where can they be found? Comment here.
Need advice about buying used trailer
I have a nice home on 15 acres in a pleasant neighborhood. My adult son needs to regroup. He does better if he has space and privacy. I am at the age where I had been thinking of getting a lightweight trailer for me for weekends, etc. I have a Dodge Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. I would like to look for a used good quality trailer under $10,000 that would be decent for my son to live in with good heat and insulation. Comment here.
JOIN THE DISCUSSION: New users register here.
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.
Microwave cover collapses for easy storage
When heating your food you don’t want to spend 10 minutes later cleaning the splatters inside the microwave. Here’s the solution — perfect for RVers: It pops down flat for easy storage. Lid perforations allow steam to escape to keep food moist. Doubles as a strainer! Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Shrink
Wife objects to hubby’s waste disposal tactics
Dear RV Shrink:
My wife finds it embarrassing that I haul our waste across the campground in a plastic container with wheels. She thinks we should break camp, hitch up the trailer and haul the whole rig over to the dump. We spend most of the winter in one spot without a sewer hook-up. The dump station is only 25 yards away. …
Perfect stocking stuffer!
Lucy and Desi go RVing
Here’s the perfect stocking stuffer – Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz go RVing! In this 1954 classic, “The Long, Long Trailer” – in gorgeous Technicolor, the famous couple (as newlyweds) hit the road in a 40-foot travel trailer. The result is hilarious! The scene in which Lucy tries to cook in the moving trailer is a classic! This DVD is a great gift for your favorite RVer! Click the DVD cover to see the movie’s trailer or order for only $11.
Latest fuel prices
on November 26, 2018
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.54. [Calif.: $3.48]
Change from week before: Down 7 cents; Change from year before: Up 1 cent.
Diesel: $3.26. [Calif.: $3.96]
Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 34 cents.
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.
RV Quick Tips
RV storage ideas? Think outside the cabinet
The folks at homeiswherewetakeit came up with this unusual, but fascinating idea. “When looking for RV storage ideas, think outside the box. Can you use the end of a cabinet for something? We added this can storage to the side of our cabinet near our stove. We got ours from Walmart and it was super easy to install. Since Glynn has gone on a plant-based diet, we usually stock up with cans right before a trip. This side cabinet is perfect for the cans though, as it’s an otherwise unused space. If you don’t use cans, I could easily see using this space for shoe storage or maybe a great place for kitchen wraps/Ziplocs. If you have small kids, this would be a great place for activity containers. There’s no need to waste space when you don’t have it to waste!”
Get into the winter RV spirit
Facebook poster Renee Lastimado was at the Walmart Supercenter in Irvine, California, and posted this: “I finally found a Walmart that has the cute RV jammies. The store on Technology Drive in Irvine. Get ‘em while you can!!” Other Facebook followers immediately responded that they’d found the same sleepers in Walmart stores across the country. Don’t count on them sticking around for long!
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Russ (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
RV’s water pump doesn’t pump
Dear RV Doctor:
I’m having my RV winterized for storage. The dealer called to tell me that the pump doesn’t work. It is located underneath the fresh water holding tank. They unhooked it from the tank to pump antifreeze into the pipes and it wouldn’t work. Is it a suction pump? Does it have to be connected to the holding tank to work? —Walter
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.
with Mike Sokol
KOA pedestal fix
Here’s a recent Stray Voltage Patrol report that has a happy ending. What’s great about this situation is that the campground immediately replaced the entire pedestal box (not just the circuit breaker). What did our SVP member report and where is this very responsive KOA located? Find out here.
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40+ years in the industry. Visit NoShockZone.org for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
Amazon Deals of the Day
Here are more than 1,000 special deals, just for today. And the items just keep on changing. If you can’t find a great deal here on something you want, then, well, you must not need anything. If nothing else, it sure is fun to poke around here to see the incredible array of cool stuff that’s available at this very moment at bargain prices! Click here for today’s deals!
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
Several Q&A’s regarding buying RV tires
A motorhome owner needs to buy new RV tires and asked some questions regarding changing the ply range, UV protection, brands to steer clear of and available discounts. Read Roger’s answers.
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.
Astronomy for RVers
with Chris Fellows
Orion the Hunter – Winter’s most recognizable constellation returns
As the temperatures drop and the nights get longer, a favorite constellation dominates the night sky. Orion is one of the pictures in the sky that most people can recognize and name almost to the level of the Big Dipper (Ursa Major). It’s big and very easy to find. Learn more.
with Janet Groene
Mule Kick Sausage Gravy
Not your daddy’s sausage gravy. When you have a tub of this kicky gravy in your fridge you can do anything with it for any meal of the day. Heat it to serve over biscuits or pancakes for breakfast, over baked potatoes or polenta for supper. Pep up a vegetable side dish by folding in some of this sauce. Toss it with hot pasta, top it with crisp croutons or serve the gravy over crunchy toast. Get the recipe.
Fix it in Foil! Tasty Recipes. Easy cleanup!
Easy prep, great taste, good nutrition, quick clean-up! “Fix it in Foil” includes 51 fantastic recipes to make in foil — plus instructions for cooking in an oven, on an outdoor grill, or on a campfire. Fix it in foil and forget about scrubbing pots and pans. And, with plenty of substitution suggestions, enjoy a whole new list of recipe possibilities! Great for RVing! Learn more or order.
with Geeks on Tour
Sharing your location using Google Maps
With these smartphone/GPS devices in our pockets all the time, there are now many different ways to share your location. Maybe you’re a full-time RVer with kids who worry about you a lot. Rather than calling or emailing them every day, you could let them see your position on a map that they could look at as often as they like. Learn how easy it is here.
Learn about smartphones and tablets
… from Geeks On Tour. Tune in tomorrow (Dec. 2) to watch the live webcast: #157, Sending photos from your phone to friends or contacts. Here is the previous webcast: #156, How to use a smartphone to scan documents and create PDF files. 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.
Collapsible containers perfect for RV kitchen
If you don’t have collapsible food containers for your RV yet, you’re missing out. This set of four is BPA free and microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe. Never worry about taking up room again, these fold practically flat! These containers come with air-tight lids which keep food longer, and keep food safer. Order for a great price here.
Common Terms Used by RV Salespeople
DE-HORSE: This is when you take a customer out of his trade-in and let him temporarily drive the newly purchased RV before the purchase has really been finalized on the dealer’s books. The idea is to keep the customer from shopping around and finding another deal somewhere else.
PUT TOGETHER: This means much the same as “laying someone away.” In other words, the maximum gross profit to be made on that deal was accomplished. The customer was “nailed to the wall.”
FULL BORE: To sell an RV for the full sticker price with no discount.
More next issue. Courtesy of the Burdge Law Office.
Free and bargain camping
Isleta Casino & Resort, Albuquerque, NM
FREE! Multiple night stays allowed and permission is not required. Lot is sloped but manageable. Quiet, well-lit and appears safe. Park closest to resort for best Wi-Fi signal. There are several restaurants in the casino. Address: 11000 Broadway SE. GPS: 34.934922, -106.663677
Sam’s Club # 8220, Roanoke, VA
FREE! Overnight RV Parking is allowed but permission from the store is required. Level, well-lit and appears safe. Lot and traffic noise drops after 8 p.m. and it is quieter than the nearby Walmart, despite the adjacent airport. Address: 1455 Town Square Blvd NW, GPS:37.32034, -79.96703
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.
Easily clean those stubborn bugs off your RV
The Microfiber Mesh Bug and Tar Sponge has millions of tiny fibers embedded in the microfiber cloth that grabs and holds the dust and dirt. It is so effective it even cleans without chemicals, saving both time and money. The secret of this sponge lies in its unique, double-layer microfiber mesh. Older nylon bug sponges can harm your clear coat, but this one is completely paint safe. Learn more or order.
Museum of the Week
Coral Castle Museum
To this day, no one knows how Edward Leedskalnin created the Coral Castle. Ed would only say that he knew “the secret of the pyramids.” When he died, his secrets died with him, and to this day scientists and thinkers still debate Ed’s methods. From 1923 to 1951, Ed single-handedly carved over 1,100 tons of coral rock at night and in secret, and his unknown process has created one of the world’s most mysterious accomplishments. “You are about to see an engineering marvel that has been compared with Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Egypt,” touts an information sheet available at the site. Visit the museum website here to plan your visit.
Keep mice out of your RV
The positive reviews on this product from Earthkind make it the 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.
Upcoming RV Shows
• Palm Springs Area RV Show & Sale,
December 6-9, Indio, CA. POSTPONED UNTIL FEB. 21-24, 2019
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. Says Gail of RVtravel.com: “Wow! This works great!” Learn more or order here.
After an online vote in 2011, Toyota announced that the official plural of Prius was Prii. The choices were: “Prius,” “Priuses,” “Prii,” “Priem,” or “Pri.” “Prii” received 25%.
Bumper sticker of the week
I’m not suffering from insanity – I’m enjoying every minute of it! —Thanks to Rita Black
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to Gail (at) RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
The English language is pretty strange and confusing. It can be understood through tough thorough thought though.
“The less you talk, the more you’re listened to.” —Pauline Phillips
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, 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 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