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!
Issue 885 • Week of February 23 – March 1, 2019
Do you have a blog about RVing? Or would you like to start one? If so, we might want to host it on RVtravel.com. If so, you’ll attract many new readers. Learn more. We are also interested in freelance writers and editors who love to do research, who can help us gather and organize information. If you haven’t already, write to diane (at) RVtravel.com [BTW — that’s her in the picture] if you’re interested.
With Chuck Woodbury | Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
t’s Friday afternoon and I just now have found time to write here. I can’t remember the last time I got right down to my deadline. So here goes. . .
Since we last met last Saturday, we have added another 1,200 subscribers and four new blogs which will debut in the weeks ahead. We have also persuaded RV lemon lawyer Ron Burdge to contribute. Ron is one of the most highly respected RV lemon law attorneys in America. This week he writes about the demise of Hymer North America, the maker of the popular Roadtrek Class B motorhomes, and what it means to owners who are now stuck with an RV with a worthless warranty.
New ad-free edition of this newsletter
Beginning in a week or two, we will do what we have long promised our member-readers (voluntary subscribers) — an advertising-free edition of this newsletter with bonus content not available in the free edition.
The free edition will continue as is, supported by paid advertising, Google-delivered ads and commissions we receive through our Amazon and other affiliate programs.
The free edition will move to Sunday
For the first dozen years of this publication, we published on Sunday mornings, not Saturday as we do now. We will return to Sunday for the free edition, but continue to publish on Saturday mornings for our members.
The support of members has become essential to our business as we increasingly speak out on the often dirty side of the RV industry, whose brass increasingly finds us a thorn in their side. I was named the 2013 Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the RV Industry Association before I figured out what was really going on. That was back when I was more a cheerleader than consumer advocate. I’ll never get that award again!
I HEARD LAST WEEK from a reputable source that one big RV dealer is now offering 25-year loans on new RVs. That’s almost a third of a person’s lifetime! In my opinion, that’s damn close to loansharking! I won’t stand by and watch star-struck RV buyers get sucked into such incredibly stupid loans that will lead many, if not most, to a financial nightmare. And I will not stand by without yelling at the top of my lungs that an RV buyer does not need to pay an unscrupulous RV dealer a hugely inflated price on an extended warranty that he or she can get elsewhere for less than half the price!
Okay, I’m negative again, right back up on my soapbox. But as long as our surveys show that 20 percent of our readers consider the quality of their RVs as poor or terrible, and the same percentage report that they are upside down in their loans, I will remain atop that soapbox.
If you would like to become a member-reader and receive our ad-free edition on Saturday rather than the ad-supported edition a day later, on Sunday, you can voluntarily subscribe for as little as the price of one movie ticket. If you’d like to put a little more fuel on our fire with an ongoing monthly contribution, we promise to put the money to good use. Whatever you choose to contribute will be hugely appreciated.
P.S. We goofed up last week and many of you did not see my Editor’s Notes, where I talked about matters of importance to bloggers, RV park owners and RV inspectors. Read more.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
Sign up for our RV Electricity Newsletter or any of our other newsletters, including editor Chuck Woodbury’s Roadside Journal, here. Also, we’re restarting our Full Time RVer Newsletter after more than a year’s absence. If you’re not among the nearly 16,000 subscribers already signed up please do so here. No charge, of course (and no spam).
Help us serve you better! Become a member-reader
The staff of RVtravel.com works hard to bring you an honest, unbiased, valuable newsletter every Saturday. Readers help make it possible by becoming member-readers with their “voluntary subscriptions.” Many readers set up an ongoing membership, most $5 to $10 a month. But even a one-time contribution of $10 or $20 helps make it possible for us to write about important matters, not just fluff to please advertisers and RV industry big shots.
Hymer goes bust! Big losers – owners with now-worthless warranties
When an RV manufacturer goes out of business, everyone loses. Hymer North America just shut everything down. They aren’t the first RV company to go out of business and won’t be the last. What does it mean to owners? Plenty. Here are the thoughts of RV lemon lawyer Ron Burdge.
That was the RV week that was
• Full-size VW camper has been built from Lego bricks.
• AT&T and Airstream have teamed up to offer AT&T broadband service for Airstream trailers via a roof-mounted antenna.
• Five dogs dead in San Jose RV fire.
. . . and much more.
“Don’t take it personally,” some say. Alan Warren disagrees
Alan Warren, of the syndicated radio program The RV Show USA, discusses how, when someone suggests you shouldn’t take something “personally,” they’re wrong. He relates this idea to the RV industry, using the recent collapse of Hymer North America – how the 800 employees who lost their jobs because of corporate greed should take it personally, as should those who caused the company’s collapse. Watch the three-minute video.
Newmar to debut new Super C motorhome
Newmar has announced that it will unveil its first Super C model at the RV industry’s RVX show on March 13 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The manufacturer reported that the unit has been in research and development for the past two years. Read more.
RV dealer association offers coping tactics to Hymer dealers
The RV Dealers Association (RVDA) issued this statement this week in response to the sudden closing of Erwin Hymer North American operations. The Canadian company manufactured the Hymer and Roadtrek brands of motorhomes. In 2017, the company lead the North American market for Class B motorhomes with more than 32.5% of the retail market share in North America and more than 56% in Canada, according to Statistical Survey Inc. Read more.
For recent buyers of new RVs: How satisfied were you (or are you) with the factory warranty service?
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.
Wow! That’s a deal!
Did you know that every day Amazon features more than 1,000 special deals on items? Even if you don’t need anything, it’s fun to poke around and see the new interesting products on sale. There’s always stuff you can use in the RV, so take a look here.
What we learned about you last week
As Chuck mentioned in his essay last week, do you think this newsletter is too long? How do you keep in touch with your best friend? Do you have a reoccurring dream? Throughout your life, have you been closer to your mother’s side of the family or your father’s? Where do you buy most of your clothes? All this and more, right here.
Gadget Guru talks with president of Featherlite Coaches
Andy Pargh, best known as The Gadget Guru, has conducted a variety of interviews with motorhome industry executives over the years and has a reputation for his straightforward questions. Pargh recently spoke with Jimmy Adams, the President of Featherlite Coaches. Watch the video.
Here’s a vehicle that will turn heads wherever it goes — an electric scooter that resembles a Model T Ford. It’s called the Gatsby. You’ll be the talk of the RV park if you tool around in one of these cool machines. Learn more.
Stay for free at more than 700 wineries and farms
With a Harvest Hosts membership, you can stay overnight at more than 700 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.
Europe continues to make small, affordable RVs. Will U.S. follow?
You can’t help but notice all the innovate European RV models released this past year. They seem to be making RVs smaller, lighter, and a whole lot funkier than our stick-to-tradition American RVs. Take the British-designed Campal ForTwo, for example. Europe has been releasing many camper-in-a-box kits over the last few years, but the ForTwo has way more space … for less money ($1,400!). Read more.
Win a trip down Route 66
RVshare.com is planning to send some lucky RVers tripping down the Mother Road, Route 66, in a newly launched contest, the “Route 66 Road Trip Sweepstakes!” Four winners will receive the use of a rented RV and cash prizes. Learn more.
Oh, summer, where art thou?! – Planning for warm weather
Rich “The Wanderman” says the only thing beneficial to RVing from snowstorms is dreaming about RV trips when it’s NOT snowing! Are you planning for upcoming trips like Rich is?
Ford recalls 1.2 million F-150 trucks
Ford Motor Company is recalling 1,263,051 model year 2011-2013 F-150 trucks equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The transmission may unexpectedly downshift into first gear, regardless of vehicle speed. Read more.
New & interesting finds on Amazon
See what really cool stuff Amazon is featuring today. It’s a whole lot of fun just browsing through all these great items. The selection changes every day, so check back often. You never know what you will find, which is part of the fun of visiting here. Check it out.
Popular articles from last week’s issue
• RV delivery driver tells workmanship horror stories.
• Editor’s notes: Feb. 16, 2019.
• YouTubers RV ‘Nomad’ movie company calls it quits.
• Couple confesses their RV buying mistakes. This video will make you mad.
• What we learned about you last week (February 9-15).
• What happens when it snows in Seattle? “Snowmageddon”!
• RVing: Is it a magical mystery tour?
• Fire danger avoided in RV with questionable wiring.
RV HORROR STORIES
Read about RVers who have horrible problems with their RVs that they can’t get fixed, as hard as they try. Click.
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.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of February 18, 2019:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.32. [Calif.: $3.16]
Change from week before: Up 4 cents; Change from year before: Down 24 cents.
Diesel: $3.01. [Calif.: $3.74]
Change from week before: Up 4 cents; Change from year before: Down 2 cents.
RV Fire Safety Tip
Know your location and get help in case of fire
In case of fire, and after you get people away from the fire, get help. Adults and older children should know how to dial 911, and how to get emergency help on any CB, VHF or ham radio available. It’s crucial to know your location so firefighters can find you. From Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
RV Quick Tips
Pull test for safe fifth-wheel hitching
Reader Jeff sends along a good safety reminder: “Upon hitching up, you should raise landing gear slightly and do what I call a PULL TEST, to ensure the KING PIN is securely locked into the hitch. It is a practice used by truck drivers (like myself). If for some reason the king pin isn’t securely locked in and slides out, your landing gear will prevent the trailer from dropping on your tailgate. That is why you see trucks with the tailgate smashed or crunched. Sometimes you may not have a good connection or get into a situation called hi-pinning, where the king pin doesn’t completely lock into the hitch and slides out when you drive off, even though the jaws appear to be locked. Hooking up a 5th wheel correctly and securely is critical to safe travels.” Thanks, Jeff!
Newbie LP conservation tips
Conserve propane by switching on your electric water heater instead of propane. Just make sure to turn it off before you leave. If you plug your RV in with the tank empty and the electric heater on you will fry the element in a matter of seconds. If you need hot water quickly, turn the propane and electric on for faster recovery time. Another way to conserve propane is to limit the use of your furnace. Pack extra blankets at night, and if you have electric hookups use an electric space heater instead of the furnace to stay warm. From weekendrvadventures.com.
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Russ (at) RVtravel.com
Protection is a personal matter
Regardless of whether or not you are armed, Mike Sherman recommends some supplemental items and actions that most likely will enhance your safety. Learn more.
Ask the RV Shrink
Wife regrets giving TPMS to husband
The RV Shrink explains to a reader the importance of having a tire pressure monitoring system, and suggests ways to reduce the pressure between the spouses regarding the husband’s tire pressure fixation. Read more.
When and how to take time off
How do work campers get some “us time” while making sure the campground is still staffed? Here are some tips from Sam Suva.
Ask the RV Doctor
Replace anode with drain valve on water heater?
A reader asks Gary Bunzer if it’s okay to replace the water heater anode with a drain valve so it’s easier to drain the tank after each excursion. Read Gary’s response.
Endorsed by tire expert Roger Marble!
Outstanding tire pressure gauge
The Accutire MS-4021B digital tire pressure gauge has an easy-to-read LCD display that provides pressure readings from 5-150 PSI. It’s ergonomically designed with an angled head and a rubber-coated easy-grip handle. If you forget to turn it off, it will do so automatically. The included lithium battery never needs to be recharged or replaced. Used by the RV Travel staff. Learn more or order.
Stretch your amps and watts
Whether you’re boondocking or not, if you observe a few basic electricity conservation rules you’ll be able to get the most out of your available battery power by following a few simple tips.
An easy way to measure 50-amp outlets
Mike Sokol explains how to easily use a 30-amp outlet tester to test a 50-amp pedestal outlet using an outlet adapter and one more step. Learn how.
RV Tire Safety
“China bomb” tires and McDonald’s fries? What?
What do “China bomb” tires have to do with McDonald’s fries? Roger Marble explains here.
Building an RV Park
Why we decided to “go for it”
Read why Machelle and AJ James decided to change their entire lifestyle and build their dream RV campground, and why they think they’re onto something phenomenal.
Fake news is bad; fake beer is worse
Our Western Views writer Len Wilcox is no fan of fake news. He doesn’t like it, but what he dislikes even more is fake beer. Read what he thinks, or listen to him tell you.
The RV Kitchen
Nuts About Vegetables
This easy mix is rich in nutty protein, drenched in flavor and eye appealing in calico colors, with multiple ways to cook it and serve either as a side dish or main course. Get the recipe.
BEST SELLING COOKBOOK: Fix it in foil! Great recipes. Learn more.
RV Short Stop
Covered bridges of Cottage Grove, Oregon
In tribute to her friend and longtime RV writer Malia Lane, Julianne Crane reached back in the archives to this article, first posted in December 2015, when they took an afternoon to tour the seven covered bridges in southern Oregon. Read more.
Facebook Groups about RVing
Pan liners protect kitchenware while driving
These 9 pot protectors come in three sizes and are perfect for placing between pots, pans, plates and bowls while driving down the road. Nobody likes arriving at the campsite to find broken or scratched kitchenware! Learn more or order.
Free and bargain camping
Walmart Supercenter # 2289, Antigo, WI
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed but permission from customer service manager is required. Park at the edge of the lot, away from the store. Click here for more details.
Sapp Bros. Travel Center, Junction City, KS
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Permission required and you may be asked to complete an overnight parking agreement form. Level, well-lit and safe. Likely truck noise. Click here for more 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.
Upcoming RV Shows
• 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
• QCCA RV and Camping Show, February 22-24, Rock Island, IL
• Raleigh RV Show, February 22-24, Raleigh, NC
• Battle Creek RV & Camping Show, February 28 – March 3, Battle Creek, MI
• Milwaukee RV Show, February 28 – March 3, West Allis, WI
• CNY RV and Camping Show & Sale, February 28 – March 3, Syracuse, NY
• Greater Philadelphia RV Show, February 28 – March 3, Oaks, PA
• Toronto Spring Camping & RV Show, February 28 – March 3, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
• Central Illinois RV Show – Peoria, March 1-3, Peoria, IL
• Eugene Spring RV Show, March 1-3, Eugene, OR
• Fredericksburg RV Show, March 1-3, Fredericksburg, VA
• Rhode Island RV & Camping Show, March 1-3, Providence, RI
• The Spring RV Show of Shows, March 6-10, Portland, OR
• Colorado RV, Sports & Travel Show, March 7-10, Denver, CO
• Port Huron RV & Camping Show, March 7-10, Port Huron, MI
• Central Wisconsin RV & Camping Show, March 8-10, Wausau, WI
• Southern New England RV & Camping Show, March 8-10, Uncasville, CT
• Virginia RV Show – Hampton, March 8-10, Hampton, VA
• York RV Show, March 8-10, York, PA
2019 Guide to Firearm Laws now available
If you travel with a firearm, you need this to avoid breaking state laws. This details the firearm laws of all 50 states, Canada, and Mexico, and how to prepare, carry and transport your weapons. What’s legal in one state may be a felony in another! Essential for RVers who cross state lines. Learn more or order.
Although he was in hundreds of gunfights, Wyatt Earp “only” killed four men. Earp generally used the butt rather than the barrel of his gun in dealing with his opponents. It was a tactic known at the time as buffaloing.
NEW: Silly Tourist Questions
From reader Jan Van Hoven
Starting in 1957, I worked for Glacier National Park for six summers. I was working on the sign at the top of Logan Pass when an elderly lady asked, “Sonny, can you tell me where the Continental Divide is?” I answered, “Yes, ma’am. You’re standing on it.” She then took out her map, pointed to it and stated, “But it shows it here as a yellow dotted line.” I told her as soon as I was able I would get some yellow paint and repaint it.
From reader Tim Slack
I worked for a river rafting company in Durango, CO, for a while. I was asked, “Will the river bring us back to this put-in place?” “How does the guide keep the raft in the main part of the river? Is there a track underwater?”
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
Caution! Driver is singing.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
To the guy who stole my antidepressants … I hope you’re happy.
When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road. —William Least Heat-Moon
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: Mike Sokol, Greg Illes, Bob Difley, Richard Miller, Richard Mallery, Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Dave Helgeson, Chris Fellows, Dennis Prichard, Len Wilcox, Sam Suva, Mike Sherman, 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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