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Issue 877 • Week of December 29, 2018 – January 4, 2019 #rvtravel
With Chuck Woodbury
Gail and I have adopted a dog. I’m writing to you from near Fresno, California, from my aunt’s small orange grove ranch where we spent Christmas. Our new family member is an 18-pound mutt we rescued from a shelter. We have tentatively named him Archie. From what we can determine he’s mostly a Border Terrier. He seems to have one outstanding skill — showering us with affection.
I knew when Gail and my aunt set out last Saturday to visit a local animal shelter there was a strong possibility that I was about to become a dog owner. Gail could not be denied any longer. She has been relentless in pestering me with one Web photo after another of dogs. I love dogs so I was secretly happy when she returned to the ranch and asked me, “Guess what I got today?” My aunt has five dogs she previously rescued. On Saturday, she fell in love with a pint-sized terrier-mix named Gabby, who is now a member of my extended family.
Gail and I were scheduled to return to Seattle by plane on Thursday. Alas, Archie is just a little too big to fit under a seat, and cargo space is filled until early January. So Gail and I will drive a rental car 1,004 miles back to our home.
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I believe our website problems are behind us now. It’s been a long, frustrating haul with many unexpected bumps along the way including problems the past two weeks accessing our website on Saturday morning when traffic spikes. Everything should work fine for you now, but we would appreciate it very much if you’d report any glitches you come across.
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Our RV electricity expert Mike Sokol received some publicity this week regarding a one-day seminar he will teach to 30 RV technicians in Pennsylvania on January 31. They will learn how to better diagnose and fix an RV’s electrical problems. What that means for you is that it will take them less time to repair your electrical issues. At $125 or more an hour for labor, that should translate into lower repair bills. This seminar and others to come are the direct result of our efforts at RVtravel.com to educate RVers and technicians about all aspects of RV repair.
Don’t miss Mike’s RV Electricity Newsletter, coming tomorrow (December 30). Sign up for an email reminder notice and a link to the issue.
My staff and I wish you a very Happy New Year. If you plan to celebrate, please don’t drink and drive – we hope to have you along next year and beyond.
Because of our technical issues the past two weeks, we are postponing our Statue of Liberty photo contest.
There is a lot of buzz out there in RV-Land that Walmart will soon be placing many more stores off-limits for overnight stays in RVs. We’re working on a cover story, which we will publish in January. Stay tuned!
My Roadside Journal
From editor Chuck Woodbury. Not necessarily about RVing topics
I’ve missed writing regularly in My Roadside Journal about whatever is on my mind. Now that things are settling down around RVtravel.com, and Gail and I aren’t spending quite so much time on the road, I’m looking forward to writing more in My Roadside Journal. If you would like to receive an email notification of the weekly issue of My Roadside Journal, please sign up here. (As you can see in the list below of the most recent posts, I cover quite a variety of topics – sometimes the subjects even surprise me!)
- Don’t call me Pal
- A change in how we camp is not always easy for old folks
- It’s easy to confuse reality with pretend
- How do you eat artichokes and bananas?
Sign up for the RV Electricity Newsletter (Issue #14 arrives tomorrow) or any of our other newsletters here.
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Almost Breaking News
The latest news about RVing from our newsroom
This feature will return after the first of the year.
• Ford recalls 410,000 trucks in U.S. for block heater cable defect.
• Winnebago recalls Forza motorhomes over potential LP gas leak.
• Keystone recalls Montana 5th wheels: Axle may have bad welds.
• Jayco recalls trailers: not enough grease on bearings.
Full-timer Malia Lane reports on her battle with terminal cancer
Last spring, our friend Malia Lane was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. She has written for RVtravel.com several times about her battle including her decision to move to Oregon to take advantage of its Death With Dignity program to end her life when she can no longer go on. Here’s her most recent post.
RV shipments nosedive in November, fourth straight month of decline
The RV Industry Association’s November survey of manufacturers found that total RV shipments finished the month with 33,023 wholesale shipments, a decrease of 20.3 percent from the 41,451 units shipped last November. It’s the fourth consecutive month that shipments have dropped from the same month in 2017. Learn more.
Camping on federal lands during the shutdown – latest information
Thursday marked the sixth day of the partial federal government shutdown. Some have wondered how this is or will be impacting RV users who depend on federal lands for camping. Click here for the latest information that we have available.
Gander Outdoors in Kentucky abruptly shuts doors
Less than a year after Camping World’s Gander Outdoors store opened in Paducah, Kentucky, it has shut its doors, and without any warning. A notice was posted on the store’s front door recently announcing the closure. Read more.
Washington State Parks reservation system will be temporarily out of service
Washington State Parks’ online reservation system will be down from Wednesday, Jan. 8 through Tuesday, Jan. 15, as the agency puts the finishing touches on a new and improved system to be launched Jan. 16. During that transition week, all Washington state park campsites, day-use shelters and accommodations will be first come, first served and payable at the park by cash only. Learn more.
AAA adds high-tech twist to emergency road service
AAA has chosen Glympse, a pioneer of real-time location technology, to provide its members with a new level of visibility when they request roadside assistance. Beginning in select markets, members waiting for assistance will experience an enhanced, real-time tracking functionality, letting them know exactly when a service technician will arrive to help. Read more.
Save weight and space when stocking your RV kitchen
No matter what size rig you drive, you will always need more space in the galley. But you can be more efficient and save space with these galley tips. Learn more.
Do you plan to attend a party on New Year’s Eve?
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’s going on with the RV industry? Stocks plummeting
Alan Warren, host of The RV Show USA, offers a three-minute commentary from the YouTube recording of last weekend’s radio show about the big RV makers’ plummeting stock prices and what that means for you and me. Watch the short video.
Government shutdown not stopping visits to Death Valley
While the government shutdown has affected visitor services in America’s National Parks, tourists bent on visiting Death Valley National Park don’t seem to care as visitation has been robust since the shutdown. Learn more.
LED headlight upgrade – easy and beneficial!
Now that the cost of LED bulbs has dropped dramatically, Rich “The Wanderman” decided it was time to replace his RV’s aging headlights. He is “MUCH impressed” with the results. Replacing the lights was pretty easy and went well … sort of. Let him explain and save you the trouble that he experienced. Read more.
What’s the status of National Park System during partial government shutdown?
The National Parks Traveler issued a press release on December 22 listing how various National Parks are being affected by the partial government shutdown. Visitors to the National Park System were told not to expect many visitor services during the government shutdown. In some limited cases, however, nonprofit organizations and states stepped up to provide a range of services for visitors. Learn more about specific parks here.
RV maker celebrates anniversary with TAB teardrop giveaway
To celebrate its 15th year of building teardrop campers, nuCamp RV is giving away one of its iconic teardrop campers, a 2019 TAB 320 S. The company will announce the winner live on its Facebook page on February 22, 2019. In addition, nuCamp will also give away several other prizes. Learn more.
On the road? Pick up your online orders at a supermarket
RVers on the road who need a package shipped to them have a new option – at least when their package comes via FedEx. Imagine stopping at a supermarket, walking in and picking up that precious parcel. It’s already a reality. Read more.
Travel trailer triples in size in 20 seconds!
The BeauEr 3X Concept camper van was born in 2009 with a simple idea of its inventor: a small but expandable caravan, easy to tow, that has all the comforts of a large trailer. Three modules are deployed horizontally at the push of a button, tripling the living area in 20 seconds! Watch the short video.
Popular articles from the last issue
• Oh, the pain of unwise RV buying decisions.
• Preserving your RV’s tires when parking long-term.
• How to extend the life of an RV battery.
• Woman RVer learning the ropes annoyed with “over-helpful” men.
• Water heater works but only cold water comes from faucets.
• RV Electricity – Is it a leak or a noisy water heater element?
• What we learned about you last week (December 8-14).
From the RVtravel.com Reader Forums
30 to 50 amp adapter
This is such a popular thread we are posting it here again: “I’ve been using a 30 to 50 amp adapter for years when we were parked without 50 amp service. I was recently told that this is not a good idea. Any electrical “gurus” have input on this subject?” —Jim Comment here.
Fridge heats up
“Our refrigerator works great on electric or gas as long as we are sitting still. As soon as we hit the road it gets to 58 inside whether on inverter or gas or off. We keep it closed while traveling.” —Tiffany 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 information about RV lemon laws 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.
Ask the RV Shrink
RVing couple can’t agree on where to “settle” seasonally
Dear RV Shrink:
We are in the advanced stage of our RV lifestyle. We are not yet ready to give up our gypsy life, but we are ready to find more permanent mooring. We have been all over North America during the last decade. Now we would like to find a few perfect spots to spend the seasons and park for longer periods of time. The problem is we can’t agree on those geographical locations. …
Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.
Latest fuel prices on December 24, 2018
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.32. [Calif.: $3.25]
Change from week before: Down 5 cents; Change from year before: Down 15 cents.
Diesel: $3.08. [Calif.: $3.83]
Change from week before: Down 4 cents; Change from year before: Up 17 cents.
A thing that does all things!
This large silicon pad can be used in your microwave under hot bowls to pick them up, or on top of a dish as a splatter guard, on your table as a hot plate, a drying rack, or even as a jar opener. When it gets messy just toss it in the sink for a wash, or even put it in the dishwasher. About $12 on Amazon makes it a great deal. Talk about a great multi-tasking gadget for your RV (or home) kitchen.
RV Fire Safety Tip
An emergency fire plan that can save your life – Part 11 of 13
Having a solid fire escape plan may help you replace panic with logical, life-saving actions if a fire occurs. Knowing exactly what to do and doing it quickly can make a big difference in an emergency situation.
It’s a good idea to make sure visitors can open the front door. Not all manufacturers use the same lock-and-latch assembly. You’ll also want to make sure your travel companions know how to unhook electricity (screw-on cords can be tricky) and how to close propane valves, in case either of these measures is called for.
Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
RV Quick Tips
Extend that fresh tank drain plug reach
Tired of crawling under your RV to unscrew the water tank plug? Make draining your fresh water tank easier by installing some simple screw-together plumbing and a ball valve (sourced from a home store). This also adds an easy method to get fresh water from the tank when outside the RV. Thanks to a pinterest user!
Can’t reach slide-out seals?
Thomas Gutzke spotted a post where we recommended spraying slide-out seals to keep them well maintained. He faced a problem with his: “My slide-outs are too deep for me to reach the gaskets along the top of the slide-out. I just extend it part-way, get on a stepladder, and then lubricate the upper gasket in addition to the side gaskets. Works great every time.” Thanks for the advice, Thomas!
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Russ (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!
“Guide to Free Campgrounds” directory updated after 4 years
Any RVer that has been on the road for awhile likely has a dog-eared and ragged copy of Don Wright’s “Guide to Free Campgrounds.” It’s been four years since the latest edition, and much has changed and been added. Read more about it here, and maybe order a copy of the brand-new 832-page guide for yourself or for a gift for your RVing friends.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
RV generator cannot carry a load
I read your column with much interest …. Living here in Calgary, I had stored my unit for a lengthy period in a winterized condition and that was exacerbated by a delay. I now have an older Rialta and until this year all was fine. Now the generator will start and run with no problem and I can turn on low-load lighting without trouble, but as soon as a load is placed on it like the air conditioning or microwave, it quits right away. Any ideas for a fix? —Hank G.
Hang up the heavy stuff!
RV walls aren’t exactly designed for having screws or nails driven into them. Enter acrylic mounting tape. This is a clear, double-sided tape that is sturdy enough to hang heavy objects and can easily be removed without doing damage to the walls. Get some on Amazon here.
with Bob Difley
Coyote camping (boondocking) in the Southwestern deserts
Of all the styles of camping, from backpacking tents to fancy RV resorts accommodating 40-foot+ motorhomes, coyote camping (ultimate boondocking) in the Southwestern deserts may be the most challenging – but also the most rewarding for lovers of nature, open space, free campsites and solitude. Read more.
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
Maintain those slide seals!
If you’ve heard a cracking or popping sound when extending your slide outs, it means your seals are sticking and/or drying out! Using a seal conditioner about every 8-12 weeks is recommended to avoid drying and cracking. Once they begin to wear and show damage, they are no longer working to their fullest capacity. We recommend using Thetford Premium RV Slide Out Rubber Seal Conditioner – it works like a charm.
with Mike Sokol
Don’t backfeed power to your RV!
I found this question on the Airstream Forum, and it’s so dangerous that I need to comment about it here. Yes, I do troll around on a lot of other forums, but I really only have time to answer these questions here. So much misinformation, so little time …
Read the question and Mike’s response – CRITICAL reading for RVers and homeowners.
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
Video shows why tire interply shear happens
Here is a quick post that might help people with a better understanding of how and why tires can develop tread/belt separations. The video is focused on multi-axle RV trailers but ALL radial tires have this force that is called “interply shear” – it’s just more obvious on these trailers. Read more and watch the video.
Bring in da funk, bring in da noise…
Need to get some sleep in a noisy campground? Here’s a simple way: white noise. What the heck is it, and what does it do? Well, if you remember old-time radio tuners without a mute function, when you tuned between stations you would hear a kind of whooshing hiss. That’s what it sounds like. Here’s a simple noise machine that costs less than $20 and runs off of batteries or a wall-wart adapter. It has a white noise setting and calming nature sounds. It’s perfect for the RV!
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Roast Beef Biggies
One pot ‘n hot party sandwich. Are you gathered around the campfire for a New Year’s Eve party outdoors in someplace tropical? Meeting in the campground clubhouse for a party? Don’t let a day of festivities go by without a celebration. This quick but warming sandwich idea will be just the ticket, and the recipe is easily multiplied. Get the recipe.
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 readers’ travel tips
Do you have a favorite place you’d like to share with other readers? It can be a particular town, area or attraction (museum, cafe, etc.) or it can simply be an area of the country you think is pretty darn great. Read this week’s tips from readers, and please tell us about your favorites.
THIS WEEK: A cool part of Nebraska, a house made of paper, America’s best railroad museum, covered bridges, and a groovy Fifties celebration. Click here.
Fire Extinguishing Aerosol, Two-pack
The First Alert Tundra Fire Extinguishing Aerosol Spray is easier to use and discharges 4 times longer than traditional fire extinguishers. With an aerosol nozzle and portable size, it’s suited for the kitchen, car, garage, boat or RV. The formula wipes away with a damp cloth & is biodegradable. Learn more or order.
RV Short Stop
with Julianne G. Crane
Family RV short stops across the South
At the Barber Motorsports Museum in Birmingham, Ala., view more than 900+ mint-condition motorcycles as well as the world’s most extensive collection of Lotus cars and an assortment of rare cars. Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga., sits on 14,000 acres, complete with woodlands, lakes and elaborate gardens. Christmas at Callaway (now – Jan. 6) features “Fantasy In Lights, one of National Geographic’s Top 10 Light Displays in the world.” The B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, Miss., “celebrates the blues – America’s music – and the man who helped spread its popularity around the world.” Learn more.
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.
Common Terms Used by RV Salespeople
IRON: This is an old used RV valued at nothing more than the price of iron.
GREEN PEA: This is a new salesman or sales business manager.
HIGH PENNY: To adjust a customer’s monthly payment. For example: from $1,401.13 to $1,440.93. It is safe to assume that if the customer will pay $1,401.13 for an RV payment, he will pay $1,440.93 without giving it a second thought.
More next issue. Courtesy of the Burdge Law Office.
No more sticky windows!
An RVtravel.com reader recommended this white graphite powder as the perfect fix for sticky windows. Frames can contract in cooler weather, making things tight. He said his fix is lubricating the window tracks with a simple “puff” of white graphite powder. Why the white? “It doesn’t make a mess like the black stuff!” he explained.
Facebook Groups about RVing
Free and bargain camping
Desert Diamond Casino, Tucson, AZ
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. You may park in separate truck/RV lot, which is level, well-lit and has many security cameras. Parking is free but there is a seven-night maximum stay. Unhooking is allowed. Address: 7350 S Nogales Hwy. GPS: 32.11566, -110.962162
Cabela’s, Post Falls, ID
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed but please obtain permission from the store. Use of slides & generators allowed. The lot is fairly level, spacious, well lit and appears safe. Dump station is $5; show store purchase receipt at Customer Service Desk for bypass code. Restaurant in store. Address: 101 N Cabela Way. GPS: 47.70088, -117.0387
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 click here. A modest membership fee required, but try the free demo. Watch a video about OvernightRVparking.com.
Casino Guide includes RVer info and coupons!
The highly rated 2018 American Casino Guide provides detailed information on more than 750 casino/resorts, riverboats and Indian casinos in 41 states including which have RV parks and/or allow RV overnighting for free. Includes maps and more than $1,000 in coupons. Discloses the actual slot machine payback percentages for every state’s casinos. Learn more or order.
Upcoming RV Shows
• Columbus RV Show, January 4-6, Columbus, OH
• Knoxville RV Show, January 4-6, Sevierville, TN
• Memphis RV Show, January 4-6, Memphis, TN
• South Carolina RV & Camping Show – Greenville, January 4-6, Greenville, SC
• Wisconsin RV Show, January 4-6, Milwaukee, WI
• Colorado RV Adventure & Travel Show, January 9-12, Denver, CO
• Ohio RV Supershow, January 9-13, Cleveland, Ohio
• Gulf Coast RV Show – Mobile, January 11-13, Mobile, AL
• Washington Camping RV Expo, January 11-13, Chantilly, VA
• Florida RV SuperShow, January 16-20, Tampa, FL
• Quartzsite RV Show, January 19-27, Quartzsite, Arizona
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.
In 1827 an English pharmacist named John Walker was trying to create a new explosive. He was mixing chemicals with a wooden stick and noticed that a tear-shaped glob had dried on the end of the stick. Trying to clean it off, he scraped the stick across the stone floor and all of a sudden, the tip burst into flame. Walker had accidentally invented the world’s first friction match.
Bumper sticker of the week
My mother doesn’t just enjoy guilt trips. She runs the travel agency!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to Gail (at) RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
Have you ever noticed the irony behind “hyphenated” and “non-hyphenated”?
“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.” —Mark Twain
RV Travel staff
CONTACT US at editor@RVtravel.com
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.
REGIONAL AND LOCAL ADVERTISING: We can now run banners on RVtravel.com in your town or in a designated area near you, for example to readers within 100, 200, etc., miles of your business. 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 2018-2019 by RVtravel.com