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Issue 886 • Week of March 2–8, 2019
With Chuck Woodbury | Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
This will be the final Saturday issue of this newsletter for our non-member subscribers, who will now receive their advertising-supported newsletter mid-morning Sunday, which is when we published it for many years.
Our 3,500 member-readers, those who voluntarily subscribe, will continue to receive their issues a day earlier, early Saturday morning. Their issues will be advertising-free, funded by their donations. We hope the transition will go smoothly, but please excuse us if we experience a few bumps.
Within two weeks we will publish the first issue of our Fulltime RVer newsletter after a long absence. If you are not on the list, you can sign up here.
I believe we can take some credit at RVtravel.com for a YouTube video that Camping World/Good Sam CEO Marcus Lemonis released this week in which he talked about why it can sometimes take so long to get an RV serviced at Camping World. While what he says makes sense, there’s more to the story that he conveniently omits. Watch the video. Lemonis visited the RVtravel.com website about a month ago where he encountered a slew of comments critical of him and his company. I believe this video was his response.
Related, earlier this week Forest River got slammed by a South Bend, Indiana, TV station, which aired a piece about poor worker safety at the company’s manufacturing plants, and a quarter million dollar fine for various infractions. The reporting was sloppy, which to me diminished its credibility. Still, I suspect much of what was said is true — including the use of drugs in the workplace, an issue with most large Elkhart-area RV manufacturers, not just Forest River. Watch the video.
If you have a website or blog and would like to earn money signing up new RVtravel.com readers through our affiliate program, please let me know. We are also looking for a part-time editor who lives in the Seattle/Everett area of Washington. Work mostly from home, with staff meetings two times a week or more often when necessary. For job details contact Diane(at)RVtravel.com. Please include your resume or explain your relevant background.
Also, we are still looking for bloggers who would like to increase their readership by blogging at RVtravel.com. The first to sign on is Andy Pargh, the Gadget Guru. For many years, Andy was the gadget expert for NBC’s Today Show. We’ll ask Andy to share the segment where he explains the newfangled thing called “email” to host Matt Lauer. What a hoot! Andy drives a large motorcoach, and his postings are often on subjects related to his coach and other “big rigs,” plus about parks where he stays. Read his first blog and video: 14 luxury motor coach resorts: What you need to know in 60 seconds.
Finally, we’re starting a new feature, RV Parks With A Twist. We’ll tell you about parks that have something special that you don’t normally find. We kick off this series (see below) with a report about a Maine RV park that will deliver a lobster dinner to your RV’s front door. If you know of a unique park, please let us know at email@example.com.
P.S. I’d like to welcome the more than 2,200 new subscribers who signed up last week. Our efforts to build our circulation continue to pay off. The more readers we have, the more influence we will have in effecting positive change in the RV industry. We ended up with more than 8,000 new subscribers in February, our biggest one-month circulation gain ever.
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 are 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.
Comprehensive list of RV-related recalls for February
The list of latest recalls on RVs and other vehicles and/or products of interest to RVers has been released by the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The list includes several models from Forest River as well as Heartland, Keystone and others — plus other vehicles commonly used by RVers. Is your RV or other vehicle on the list? Find out here.
Battle brewing between campers and RV parks on cost of electricity
RV park owner Andy Zipser weighs in on the issue of electricity usage by RVers. He writes, “RV Travel recently counseled readers to ‘conserve propane by switching on your electric water heater instead of propane.’ It further suggested that another way to conserve propane is to ‘use an electric space heater instead of the furnace to stay warm.’” How does the owner of an RV park with a monthly electric bill of $6,000 feel about that? Here’s what Andy thinks.
That was the RV week that was …
• There may be some troubles brewing in RV land.
• Mitsubishi Tribrid camper van goes 1,000 miles per tank.
• Thousands Trails celebrates 50 years.
… and much more.
Buying a new RV without a warranty? Be careful
Top-rated RV lemon law attorney Ron Burdge warns you to be careful if you’re thinking of buying an RV that doesn’t come with a factory warranty. (Case in point: Hymer North America and Roadtrek.) Very important information.
Own a piece of RV history from the ’20s
Among RVers there are plenty of history buffs. For those with the real itch – and enough money – there’s an opportunity to buy a rare piece of RV history. Imagine owning one of the last two known-to-exist 1921 Lampsteed Kampkars (displayed until recently in a museum in Texas). Learn more.
RV electricity expert Mike Sokol interviewed on radio program
RVtravel.com electricity expert Mike Sokol is interviewed by Alan Warren of the syndicated radio program The RV Show USA. Mike is considered the national authority on RV electricity. In this half-hour interview he and Alan discuss a variety of topics including how an RV can actually electrocute someone in certain conditions. Watch and listen.
Video: Why loading a trailer improperly can lead to danger
In this fascinating 30-second video you’ll see why weight distribution on a trailer matters so much. Watch the short video. (You won’t forget it.)
What’s old is new again: Shepherd wagons
Shepherd wagons were used in France and the United Kingdom from the 1400s to the 1900s by shepherds tending their sheep. They were also used in the U.S. during the late 1800s and early 1900s as people headed West searching for gold and new places to settle. Now, thanks to the tiny house movement, there’s a renewed interest in these functional and funky trailers. Read more.
Do you carry a spare tire for your RV?
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 satisfied are you with your RV’s factory warranty? Do you get tired of living in a small space? Would you ever consider living in a tiny home? Do you have a washer or dryer in your RV? Did you end up in a profession you thought you would? All this and more, right here.
The California Highway Patrol issued this photo of a travel trailer which was overturned by high winds on U.S. 395 in eastern California. Read more, including two important tips for pulling a trailer.
RV sales for 2019 to dip. January shipments off nearly 40 percent
RV shipments will dip for the second straight year in 2019, according to a new forecast prepared by longtime RV industry analyst Richard Curtin. He projects total RV shipments will most likely be 460,100 units, a dip of 4.9 percent from 2018. The RV Industry Association (RVIA) announced that total RV shipments ended January with 25,540 wholesale shipments, a decrease of 39.8% from the 42,441 units shipped the same month last year. Learn more.
How to store stick butter or margarine
When traveling in an RV, it’s easy to store opened butter or margarine in a tub with a snap-on lid. But what if you like your butter stick-style and want to keep it in good shape without air discoloring the surface? Take a look at what Rich “The Wanderman” found.
Need something for your RV?
Vent covers, roof sealant tapes, back-up cameras, generators, water pressure regulators, windshield covers, water filters, leveling blocks, a new memory foam mattress cover, wi-fi extenders, you name it, you can find everything you’ll ever need for your RV here and have it delivered straight to your door.
Popular articles from last week’s issue
• Hymer goes bust! Big losers – owners with now-worthless warranties.
• Newmar to debut new Super C motorhome.
• RV dealer association offers coping tactics to Hymer dealers.
• Building an RV Park: Why we decided to “go for it.”
• RVer Safety: Protection is a personal matter.
• RV Electricity – An easy way to measure 50-amp outlets.
• What we learned about you last week (February 16-22).
• RV Tire Safety – “China bomb” tires and McDonald’s fries? What?
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.
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 25, 2019:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.39. [Calif.: $3.18]
Change from week before: Up 7 cents; Change from year before: Down 16 cents.
Diesel: $3.05. [Calif.: $3.77]
Change from week before: Up 4 cents; Change from year before: Up 4 cents.
NEW: RV Parks With a Twist
If you’re heading to Maine for some “lobstah,” you might as well have it delivered to your RV, right? At Sagadahoc Bay Campground on Maine’s beautiful Georgetown Island, you can book a spot on the water and have a freshly caught lobster delivered right to your RV – hot and ready to eat, or ready to be cooked, your choice. Read more.
If you know of a unique park, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Easily hang heavy objects in your RV
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.
RV Quick Tips
Campsite setup for newbies
• Plan to get to your site well before sunset. Backing into your site and setting up can be difficult even in daylight; doing it at night is much harder.
• During business hours, many campgrounds will show you to your site and help you. If you arrive late you might be on your own. If you didn’t pick your site out ask what sites are available when you arrive and see if you can check them out. You might find that perfect site overlooking the lake is open.
• When you park make sure your RV door is facing the picnic table. When you park your RV check the location of the water, electric and sewer hookups. This way you can position your RV where all the lines will reach.
• Before opening any slide-outs make sure all cabinet and room doors around the slide are closed. An open door can get caught by the moving slide and get ripped right off the hinges. I know one person who had this happen in their brand new 5th wheel. From weekendrvadventures.com.
Used RV shopping – Low miles aren’t always the best
When buying a used RV, lower mileage isn’t necessarily a good thing. When someone is driving an RV often, it usually means it’s being well-maintained. Lower mileage when buying a used RV could mean it’s been sitting on an empty lot somewhere and you can wind up with a lot of issues. From “Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV: Everything I Wish I Knew Before Full-Time RVing Across America.” Available on Amazon.
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Russ (at) RVtravel.com
The good, the bad and the ugly of self-protection in a campground
Are guns the only way to protect yourself? What about bear spray? Pepper spray? And what’s the chance of something bad happening to you in a campground, anyway? Ex-cop Mike Sherman takes a look at the good (weapons of choice and a plan), the bad (what happens if you are forced to use a weapon) and the ugly (acknowledging that bad things can happen). Learn more.
Ask the RV Shrink
Hubby worried wife’s “navigation” in RV will get them stuck
A couple with a 34-ft. motorhome and a toad need some advice from the RV Shrink because the wife’s driving directions often lead to dead-ends and arguments. Read the RV Shrink’s advice.
What happens if you’re let go?
Getting let go from your work camping position – It’s not as bad as it sounds, but it can be pretty traumatic. In our travels, we have been very close to work campers that have, for one reason or another, been “let go” or fired. Read more.
New for 2019 – RV Camping in Corps of Engineers Parks
Many RVers consider Corps of Engineers campgrounds to be the best in the country. This guide is just for RVers — boat-in and tent-only sites are not included. Of all the public lands, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has some of the best parks and campgrounds available. In fact, it’s the largest federal provider of outdoor recreation in the nation. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Doctor
Possible fixes for hard-to-reach toilet leak
A reader asks the RV Doctor if he has to remove the toilet in his older Tioga motorhome to repair a hard-to-reach leak. Gary explains possible causes for the leak and how to repair them here.
Do I need a 30- or 50-amp surge protector?
After Mike Sokol’s recent post “An easy way to measure 50-amp outlets,” a reader asked about when they don’t have access to 50-amp service and use a 30-amp connection, will the 50-amp EMS still work? Read Mike’s response.
RV Tire Safety
Optimum, appropriate or required inflation? What’s on a tire placard?
Tire expert Roger Marble has seen people use a variety of words to describe the inflation numbers on vehicle tire placards. These numbers are arrived at by different methods for different vehicles. Roger explains here.
Astronomy for RVers
Asteroids – We may be between a rock and a hard place
Chris Fellows has talked about lots of things in our universe in previous articles but realized he somehow left out asteroids. Since one of those “bad boys” is the most likely thing to kill us, he’s devoting a little time to this subject here.
Following the great California Wagon Trail
If you’re driving to or from California this summer, you’re following one of the great wagon trails left by our forefathers. Consider taking a little time along the way to learn about the route and the intrepid travelers that built this nation. Read more from Len Wilcox or listen to him read his essay.
The RV Kitchen
Pineapple Curry Meatballs
Meatball magic. Frozen meatballs are one of the RV cook’s best friends because you can do so much with them. Here’s a sweet way to make a saucy main dish. Just add rice made from scratch or warmed from a pouch. Get the recipe.
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.
NEW: Guest Bloggers
• From Andy Pargh, The Gadget Guru: VIDEO: 14 luxury motorcoach resorts – What you need to know in 60 seconds.
Need mail forwarding? Choose the best!
Choose Americas Mailbox! It’s the best, endorsed by RVtravel.com which has toured its South Dakota facility and interviewed its very customer-oriented owner. Many plans available. Learn more. Or view the video interview RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury conducted with Americas Mailbox owner Don Humes.
Interesting Facebook Groups
Free and bargain camping
Cracker Barrel # 329, Chester, VA
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Obtain permission from the store. Park in one of five marked Bus/RV spaces behind the store, or as directed. Well-lit and appears pretty level. Possible traffic noise from nearby I-95. Click here for more details.
Beloit Roadside Park, Beloit, KS
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. City Ordinance No. 2216 allows parking at the Roadside Park as long as the parking term does not exceed 24 hours. There are three shelter areas with picnic tables, trash cans, and a water spigot (may not be threaded for potable water fill). 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.
New & interesting finds at Amazon.com
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. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s just plain entertaining to explore this department at Amazon. Check it out
Museum of the Week
Future of Flight & Boeing Tour
Staff writer Emily recently went on the Boeing Factory Tour and boy it sounds neat! Here’s what she had to say about it: “The Boeing Factory Tour was one of the neatest tours I’ve ever done. The 90-minute tour north of Seattle takes you through the factory (which is the world’s largest building, by the way) where you see every stage of an airplane being built. It’s pretty darn impressive to look out over the observation deck and see nine planes right in front of you…in the same room!” Visit the official website here to plan your visit.
Upcoming RV Shows
• 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
• FMCA’s 99th International Convention & RV Expo, March 13-16, Perry, GA
• Flint RV & Camping Show, March 14-17, Flint, MI
• El Paso RV Show, March 15-17, El Paso, TX
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.
The birth of unsolicited electronic messages (“spam”) dates back to 1864, when con artists used Western Union to telegraph shady investment offers to potential investors. Worldwide, spam costs more than $130 billion annually in lost productivity and energy. In 2004, Bill Gates predicted spam would be eradicated within two years. (Oops.) From Court Stroud on Forbes.com.
NEW: Silly Tourist Questions
From reader Tom Gutzke
During a visit to Yellowstone National Park, a tourist ahead of us complained to the ranger that his family didn’t see any animals in the wild. He asked, “When will you let them out so we can see them?”
From reader Nicki Loth
When I was a travel agent, a person booking a hotel room in Orlando, FL, requested an ocean view room. When I advised them that you can’t see the ocean from Orlando, I was called dumb because the client was looking at the map and could clearly see how narrow Florida was.
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
From reader AC Holt
Yes, this is my truck. No, I won’t help you move.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
A museum in town displays quilts from around the country. An elderly man asked the woman at the front desk about a senior discount. “Sir,” she said, “this is a quilt museum. We give discounts to teenagers.”
“Our culture made a virtue of living only as extroverts. We discouraged the inner journey, the quest for a center. So we lost our center and have to find it again.” —Anais Nin
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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