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Issue 883 • Week of February 9-15, 2019
With Chuck Woodbury | Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
Sometimes I have too much to write about, and I can’t pin down what to deal with first. It’s Thursday afternoon, about 28 hours before my Friday deadline, and I’m struggling with a topic. But wait! I just looked at my mirror and there’s a light bulb over my head!
That light bulb reminded me of a woman named Machelle James, who left a comment to an article earlier in the week. She and her husband, in their late 40s, are building, from the ground up, a 15-acre RV park in Heber-Overgaard, Arizona, in the beautiful White Mountains 140 miles from Phoenix. After reading her comment, which you can read here, I emailed her and asked if we could talk by phone. She called a few hours later.
The first question I asked is the obvious one: “Why did you decide to build an RV park?” I told her I hear so often about how ridiculously expensive that can be, and how in the end it’s a lousy investment.
I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s what people who supposedly know such things tell me. And I do know that new RV parks are few and far between — at the same time as a half million new RVs are birthed in the RV capital of the world, Elkhart, Indiana, with all the new owners vying for fewer and fewer places to stay.
We talked for 30 minutes. Machelle explained why she and her husband started the park, and more about their plans. What really struck me was that sites will be spaced 80 feet apart. How many parks where you’ve stayed even had 20 feet between them? In the two years I full-timed, I bet there was an average of about 15 feet between sites, sometimes far less, perfect for being lulled to sleep by your neighbor’s snoring.
I won’t discuss now what Machelle and I talked about — not nearly enough space — but I will tell you that she has agreed to write about her project on RVtravel.com. You can read her first column here, where she explains why she and her husband sold their home and decided to build the park.
I know I will enjoy learning what goes into creating an RV park, and I bet you will, too. While we hear a lot about RV parks, it’s almost always from an RVer’s perspective. Maybe we can learn something from Machelle about the challenges of building a park and then operating it. I know it’s not easy.
Gail and I will do our best to be there on opening day. It’s the perfect excuse I need to return to the area, in the beautiful Ponderosa pine forests of the White Mountains. Note: For those of you in the East who have never been to Arizona, no, it’s not just flat desert and wall-to-wall snakes, cactus and Gila monsters.
Maybe we can reserve every space and invite RV Travel readers to join us. I’ll talk to Machelle later about that.
She told me there will be a big fire pit where campers can sit around at night with their favorite beverage and enjoy each other’s company. I happen to know the night sky in that sparsely populated, mountainous area is stunning — more stars to see in one glance than most city slickers see in ten years! And, oh, the Milky Way! Spectacular!
Okay, I found my subject to write about. Whew! But I have more to say that I couldn’t fit in this space. If you want to read it, all ya gotta do is click here.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
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That was the RV week that was
• Hundreds of the residents in Paradise, California who resorted to living in RVs on their burned property are being evicted by FEMA.
• Congress has passed the Scenic Byways Act.
• A propane leak inside RV explodes and injures two.
• Fisher-Price voluntarily recalls 44,000 Barbie Dream Campers.
. . . and much more.
Being an RVer today is cool! It wasn’t always so
Alan Warren, the host of the syndicated radio program The RV Show USA, talks about how “cool” RVing is these days. It wasn’t so even a few years ago, he says. But now, it’s not just RVs that are cool, but the RVers themselves. Watch the uplifting short video. Yep, our friend Alan Warren is definitely one cool dude!
California Thousand Trails park evacuated due to flood danger
The Thousand Trails Morgan Hill RV Resort in Morgan Hill, Calif., evacuated its guests Monday afternoon shortly after the nearby Uvas Reservoir reached capacity and began to spill over its banks. Learn more. Did you get evacuated? Let us know.
New RVers: Fifth wheel hitching is easy
If you’ve never hitched up a fifth wheel trailer, the whole thing may seem a bit mysterious. No worries! By following a systematic approach to hitching or unhitching, you can leave those concerns behind and get the advantages that a fifth wheel trailer provides. Here are tips from Russ and Tiña De Maris. Learn more.
Truck Parts & Accessories
Wow! Just about anything and everything you would need for your truck is on Amazon. Plus, you’ll get instant savings with automotive coupons. No matter what make or model you’re driving, you’ll likely find what you want here, without wasting an ounce of gas or diesel driving anywhere. Explore the huge online store.
In which social media platforms do you participate?
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
How has your RV performed based on your expectations when you bought it? Do you attend church? And if so, how often? When stored, is your RV covered or uncovered? Did you obtain a loan to buy your RV? How many pets do you travel with? (It’s worth reading just for the funny comments on this one.) All this and more, right here.
Buy a mini-pickup for only $8,950!
Kaiyun is a Chinese manufacturer with a new entrant to the pickup truck market. It’s the Pickman pickup with a price tag of $8,950 and 1,100 pounds of cargo carrying capacity. The electric truck cruises along at 28 mph. A Kaiyun representative told Bloomberg News, “We can make our Pickman as successful as the F-150.” What do you think? Learn more.
Make parts and accessories for your RV with a 3D printer!
Rich “The Wanderman” bought a 3D printer and he can now “print” in various materials in 3 dimensions! He has already “printed” new cabinet and drawer latches to replace broken ones, some knobs for electronics, a keychain and a Star Trek Phaser (yep!). You, too, can be printing whatever you like in short order. Read more.
The Catholic Priest who became an unlikely Western hero
In this week’s Western View, Len Wilcox tells you about John Crowley, who became a Western hero by turning what appeared to most to be a ecological disaster into an economic boom for the Owens Valley of eastern California. Read Len’s story or listen to him read it.
San Diego to again allow sleeping in RVs and cars
It’s legal once again to live in your RV or car in San Diego. The town’s City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to repeal a 1983 ordinance prohibiting residents from living in a vehicle on any street within city limits. Learn more.
Golf carts? You’re kidding me, right? Really?
No, not kidding. These are “for real” golf carts, sold by LSV Carts of Santa Ana, California. If you need a golf cart — you know, to head over to the potluck at the RV park, do some errands, heck, even play a few rounds — you’ll be the talk of the town (or golf course) if you’re sporting these wheels. Check ’em out!
Lazydays says “goodbye” to free lunch for RVers
For years, guests at the Lazydays RV Resort at Seffner, Florida, enjoyed a real “perk.” Guests got vouchers for free breakfasts and lunches each day when checked in at the resort, all part of the price of staying with them. Sadly, that old expression “No such thing as a free lunch” has come true even in Florida. Read more.
Incredible new compact trailer sleeps six … but how?
We’ll bet you haven’t seen anything like this before, unless you’ve already snuck a peek at Beauer’s 3X, its original expanding trailer. Now, the French company has come out with the Beauer 3X Plus, an even larger version of its first compact design. The pod expands to three times its original size, so it’s small and easy to tow, but roomy and comfortable when parked. Read more.
Truck and fifth wheel tumble down hillside; no one injured!
An RV rolled down a hillside along Route 66 and Silvis Road in Washington Township, PA, last week. Police said the pickup truck towing a fifth wheel tried to pass an SUV. Read more.
Boondockers Welcome is a great alternative to expensive, crowded RV parks or even Walmart parking lots. With a membership, you can stay for free at more than 1,000 private property locations across America. And, wow, will you meet some great people. Learn more or sign up.
Popular articles from last week’s issue
• Murders and other crime in the RV park.
• RV Electricity – Life-saving space heater safety reminders.
• RVers: To arm or not to arm.
• Make plug-in electric heaters safer with SmartPlug.
• Is your RV 10 years old or older? Any problems being denied a site?
• How has your RV performed based on your expectations when you bought it?
• Can we use bottled water for the RV toilet in winter?
• What we learned about you last week (January 26 – February 1).
Prefer to travel with a group of RVers? There are plenty of great RV trips to choose from. Here are a few.
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.
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.
If you shop at Amazon, would you use one of the links below to do your shopping? The link in the blue bar above also works. Thanks.
Click here for today’s Amazon deals!
Ask the RV Shrink
Pros and cons of having slides out with snow
Dear RV Shrink:
We travel a lot in many parts of the country during the shoulder season. We find mostly great weather, fewer people and less camping hassle. We do encounter an occasional snowstorm. However, my wife insists on having the slides out every night. If the slides are out during a snowfall, I have to deal with frozen, snow-covered slides before we can move on. Do you think she is being unreasonable? —Frosty in Franklin
Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-books, including the brand-new Book 2 in his two-book series: 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.
Improve performance of your diesel engine
Diesel Kleen + Cetane Boost is a highly rated, technologically advanced, diesel engine performance improver that cleans injectors, boosts cetane and lubricates fuel injection components. The maximum horsepower formula restores lost power, smooths rough-running engines and improves fuel economy up to 8 percent. Learn more or order.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of February 4, 2019:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.25. [Calif.: $3.13]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 38 cents.
Diesel: $2.97. [Calif.: $3.71]
Change from week before: No change; Change from year before: Down 12 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 $10 on Amazon makes it a great deal. Talk about a great multi-tasking gadget for your RV (or home) kitchen.
with Mike Sherman
How much info should you give if you’re pulled over?
Last week, Mike Sherman’s article about carrying a weapon in an RV generated a lot of interest. As previously stated, our goal with this column is to engage in a general discussion of ideas and thoughts, to promote a dialog that can give others a deeper understanding and greater insight into RVer safety and self-protection. One reader’s comment, in particular, on the subject of “to cooperate or not to cooperate” when pulled over warrants a discussion. Read more.
RV Fire Safety Tip
Handy quick-disconnect fitting on your water hookup
If you have a quick-disconnect fitting on your water hookup, these hoses can be unhooked instantly to fight a fire. If a nearby coach is burning and you can’t move your coach but can safely stay close enough to keep it hosed down, you may be able to save it. —Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Editor’s note: Choose from a wide selection of fire extinguishers at Amazon. Here are links from Amazon.com for smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, LP gas detectors, and combination smoke and CO detectors.
RV Quick Tips
Drones for RV parking?
Couldn’t help but drop this exchange in. Seems like an innocent enough question, but the response gave us a gut laugh.
Question: “I have a little Class A motorhome and I keep thinking: Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little drone overhead to show me an outside pic right at my dash as I’m trying to park in a back-in site. Caveat: I’m sure that branches overhead would be an issue, but I suppose you could deal with that. Anybody ever tried this? How does it work out?”
Response: “When backing into a spot, I stop just long enough to deploy my Back-up assist model 1955. All I need to do is watch out one mirror and if I get close to anything it sounds a loud shriek and flails its arms. Works in all weather conditions and at night when it’s dark. Doesn’t require batteries although its maintenance requirements are high. I store it in the passenger seat and the only problem is it’ll occasionally go off for no apparent reason and scare the hell out of me. Fortunately, it somehow resets itself and the shrieking and arm flailing will stop until the next false alarm. If it starts happening too often I just may trade it in on a newer model. It’ll cost me though – exactly half of everything I own.” From iRV2 forum.
Quick and dirty firewood rack
If you’re a campfire enthusiast, here’s a cheap and quick way to “stack” your firewood at the campsite where it’ll be handy, yet not under-foot. A couple of concrete blocks with four chunks of 2 x 4 lumber make a quick rack for a firewood stack. Thanks to pinterest.com for the idea.
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Russ (at) RVtravel.com
with Sam Suva
How to handle the sometimes-fine line between working and camping
Am I working or camping, or both? The camping part is divine! Campfires, relaxing walks and enjoyable conversation – these are some of the perks of work camping. We don’t expect it to be a complete vacation, though, because of that other word – work. Find out where and when to draw the line with other campers here.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
Why is there no pressure in RV fresh water plumbing system?
The water pressure in our motorhome is getting lower and lower in the bathroom, plus it makes a whistling sound when the hot water is running. The sound seems to be coming from or near the water heater. I have replaced the connector and pressure valve where you hook it to city water. It still has low pressure in the bathroom; especially the hot water has very low pressure. Any help would be appreciated! —Billy
Best-selling small-space organizers
It can be hard keeping everything organized in a small space like an RV, right? Here’s Amazon’s list of best small-space organizers so you can keep everything in check. You’ll find everything from under-the-sink kitchen organizers, to clothing and closet organizers, to tiny bookcases. Explore these helpful items here.
with Bob Difley
Winter camping in “summer” locations
There are definite advantages to camping in normally popular areas in winter over summer — such as no crowds, wonderful solitude and a lot more wildlife to see. Sometimes campgrounds remain open in winter but shut off services such as hookups which, along with the winter weather, discourages many RVers. But it can be a terrific time to visit state parks, forest service campgrounds and boondocking locations. Learn more.
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
Stay for free at more than 600 wineries and farms
With a Harvest Hosts membership, you can stay overnight at more than 600 wineries, farms, breweries, etc., for free! Harvest Hosts offers an alternative to traditional campgrounds, where members can meet interesting people, taste great wines, eat fresh produce and stay in peaceful settings. (RVtravel.com recently stayed in a blueberry orchard.) Save 15 percent by using code HHFRIENDS15 at checkout. Learn more.
with Mike Sokol
Important generator safety reminder!
As Part 2 of Mike’s series on staying safe in cold weather it’s time to remind you all about the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from running a generator inside of (or even near) your house or RV. (Includes a recent heartbreaking example.) Learn more.
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
Tire ramps or blocks may damage your tires
Last year Roger was at a large RV event and noticed many Class B RVs were using various blocks or ramps in an effort to get the RV level. He shows a few examples of what not to use and gives you tips on how to select ramps or blocks which will not damage your tires. Learn more.
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.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Scalloped Pork Chops
Pork chops, chop-chop. I don’t apologize for my shameless shortcuts in RV cooking. We prefer to eat in, when and where we want to. Of course, that means shopping, planning, meal preparation and cleanup. It also means the smug satisfaction of eating in the middle of nowhere with a different million dollar view each day of mountains, water, sunsets, woodlands or meadows. This recipe is made in one, nonstick skillet using what is basically two ingredients: the pork chops and a box of scalloped potato mix. Get the recipe.
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.
Building an RV Park From Scratch
Machelle James and her husband are building an RV park in Heber-Overgaard, Arizona. They bought 15 acres and are making 25 pull-through spots with 80 feet between them(!). They’ll each have water and electric, with a dump station free for their guests. Read Machelle’s first installment, “Why I sold my house to open an RV campground,” here.
Facebook Groups about RVing
Free and bargain camping
Walmart Supercenter # 1448, Ashland, OH
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed, just obtain permission from the store. Park at outer edges of the lot, as far from building as possible. Click here for details.
Herb Philipson’s Army and Navy Store (Closed), Oswego, NY
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed in the parking lot of this closed surplus store. Level, quiet, and believed to be safe. Click here for details.
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.
Shop great deals here:
Upcoming RV Shows
• Colorado Springs RV & Outdoor Show, Now through February 9, Colorado Springs, CO
• Detroit RV & Camping Show, Now through February 10, Novi, MI
• Seattle RV Show, Now through February 10, Seattle, WA. Visit website.
• Chicago RV & Camping Show, Now through February 10, Rosemont, IL
• Erie RV, Powersports & Camping Show, Now through February 10, Erie, PA
• Jacksonville RV MegaShow, Now through February 10, Jacksonville, FL
• Minneapolis/St. Paul RV, Vacation & Camping Show, Now through February 10, Minneapolis, MN
• Salem Spring RV Show, Now through February 10, Salem, OR
• Richmond Camping RV Expo, Now through February 10, Richmond, VA
• Ottawa RV Expo and Sale, Now through February 10, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
• Earlybird RV Show and Sale, February 14-17, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada
• OKC RV Super Show, February 14-17, Oklahoma City, OK
• Utah Sportsman, Vacation & RV Show, February 14-17, Sandy, UT
• Arkansas RV Show, February 15-17, Little Rock, AR
• Atlantic City RV & Camping Show, February 15-17, Atlantic City, NJ
• Chattanooga RV Show, February 15-17, Chattanooga, TN
• Topeka RV & Sport Show, February 15-17, Topeka, KS
• Northeast RV Show, February 15-18, Suffern, NY
• Indianapolis Boat, Sport & Travel Show, February 15-24, Indianapolis, IN
• Maryland RV Show, February 15-24, Timonium MD
• Austin RV Expo, February 21-24, Austin, TX
• Dallas RV Supersale, February 21-24, Dallas TX
• Harrisburg RV & Camping Show – Pennsylvania, February 21-24, Harrisburg, PA
• Overland Park RV & Outdoor Show, February 22-24, Overland Park, KS
• Raleigh RV Show, February 22-24, Raleigh, NC
A cockroach can live for a week after its head is cut off. Its nervous system, or “brain,” is scattered throughout its body, and thus its head is not really needed to stay alive. Cockroaches have been around for about 280 million years and can live a month without eating, but they need to drink water every week. Since a cockroach can drink only through its mouth, a headless roach dies of dehydration within about a week.
When I was trucking I had a Reno-to-Salt Lake City run. One day at the truck stop at the eastern edge of the Bonneville Salt Flats there was an obvious tourist looking out the window. He asked me what all that “white stuff” out there was. I told him it was salt. “Salt?” he asked. “Who put it there?” I explained it was just there and that’s where the name “Bonneville Salt Flats” came from. Thanks to Tommy Molnar!
My mom ran the gift shop at Old Faithful Inn. Her favorite question was, “Where do you put the animals at night?” She would tell them, “We put ourselves inside at night.” Thanks, Jerilyn Lessley!
Have you overheard a silly tourist question at a National Park or other well-known tourist location? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Bumper sticker of the week
Actually this is Erinn and Dan Mayer’s license plate holder:
RV Happiness?! FULL gas tank & EMPTY holding tanks!
Thanks, folks! I think most of us can relate!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
As seniors, we need to exercise more, so I started with a 5 lb. potato sack in each hand, extended my arms to the side and did 10 lifts. Next, I went to 10 lb. potato sacks, then 20 lb., then 30 lb. After one week of doing this, I put a potato in each of the sacks. —Thanks for the workout tip, George Bliss!
“When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” —Jimi Hendrix
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, Sam Suva, Len Wilcox, Machelle James, 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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