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!
Week of April 13–19, 2019
This is the free, advertising-supported issue of this newsletter. If you are a volunteer subscriber and received this instead of the ad-free member edition, please let us know at email@example.com . We apologize if we don’t have you on the proper list. We promise to get it right!
With Chuck Woodbury
y first-ever Facebook Live webcast went well last Saturday morning. About 60 of you attended, and we chatted about all sorts of things related to RVing. Mike Sokol even visited by phone. You can watch a replay here. At one point I totally forgot I was “on camera” and caught myself scratching my ear. Geez, big time TV, right?
It went so well we’re excited to do more. For now, we’re just experimenting with the Facebook platform — sort of like using training wheels while we learn the ropes. Don’t miss this morning’s webcast with Mike Sokol (see below). Within a month, we will have our own system, so if you dislike Facebook you can participate without Mark Zuckerberg getting his mitts on your information.
New features this week
Janet Groene is now reporting each week on developments at RV parks and campgrounds. There will be a lot of good information that you can use to plan your travels. Read the first installment of “Campground Chatter” here.
We know that many readers enjoy poetry. With that thought in mind we’ll publish a regular “Poetry Corner” where the poets in our audience can share musings inspired by their RV travels. Nina Soltwedel is up first with her poem The Silent Sentinels.
RV Electricity Group
We set up a Facebook group called RV Electricity, which has helped Mike Sokol expand his messages about RV electrical education and safety, and increase the readership of his RV Electricity newsletter. You do not have to be a member of Facebook to read the posts.
Our members, those readers who “voluntarily subscribe to this newsletter,” have now reached 4,000. It’s because of their contributions that we are able to add all these new features (with many more on the way). Would you please consider helping support our efforts? Learn more here.
If you are an aspiring RVer or just took up RVing, you may want to read yesterday’s edition of our monthly newsletter “Beginner’s Guide to RVing.” My essay is about why it makes sense to buy a used RV.
If you own an RV park and would like some free publicity, contact us. If you offer a two-nights-for-one camping deal (or some other great bargain), we’ll run a coupon for your place for free and we’ll do so often. No strings. We want to find more ways to serve our readers better, and camping discounts are good. Here’s an example from our friends at Big Chief RV Park: Just print it and and enjoy a free night of camping. Tell ’em we sent you!
And, remember, if you would like to contact us, we now have a handy form to use. You’ll find it here.
P.S. I have jury duty this coming week, so if you email me it may take me awhile to get back to you.
Our contributor Andy Pargh, the Gadget Guru, was once a familiar face to viewers of NBC’s Today Show. You will love this clip from a 1995 show where Andy teaches Matt Lauer how email works. It’s hard to believe that as recently as 1995 email was still very mysterious to most people. This is a hoot! Be sure to watch!
Join Mike Sokol on Facebook Live this morning (Saturday) at 8 a.m., Pacific Time (11 a.m., Eastern), to talk about RV electricity. You do not need to be a member of Facebook to watch, just to participate in the chat. If you have a question for Mike ahead of time (keep it 100 words or less), send it to him at firstname.lastname@example.org and he’ll do his best to answer. You can also ask him a question ahead of time at the RV Electricity Group on Facebook, which is where the live chat will appear.
Learn about Mike’s upcoming seminars in Hagertown, MD on June 8.
Our friend and RV show radio host Alan Warren gets ripped by an angry viewer. Then he talks about companies that can be hired to write bad reviews designed to ruin their competitors’ reputations. Watch the 11-minute video (recorded at low resolution so it doesn’t take much bandwidth).
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Readers comments & ideas
We welcome your comments, ideas and suggestions about this website and newsletter. Your input about how we do things is important to us, and helps us do a better job. You’ll enjoy this.
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
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.
That was the RV week that was …
• Washington town bans RV parking, but cops can’t enforce it.
• Camping World being investigated again.
• Bad news, good news on gas prices
• Ouch! This rear-ended RV has traveled its last mile!
• Jayco recalls 5th wheels: Fuel tank could fall off.
• Entegra Coach recalls some motorhomes: Hitches could fall off.
• Jayco recalls motorhomes: parking brake may not engage.
• Jayco recalls fifth wheels: Wrong fuse increases fire risk.
• KZRV recalls 1,164 trailers for burn danger on stoves.
• Jayco recalls 5th wheels for possible incorrect brake line install.
Motorhome sales continue to slide
After eight years of record RV sales, the industry has quit tooting its horn due to a recent downturn. Industry leaders believe sales will bounce back next year, but that remains to be seen. The overall U.S. motorized RV market dipped 19.3% year-over-year for the first two months of 2019, as both Class A and Class C RVs reported double-digit retail sales declines. Learn more.
A very different all-electric refrigerator
Veteran RVer Greg Illes, fed up with the performance of his propane fridge and the after-market cooling unit that he later put in it, did much research on all-electric refrigerators before purchasing a new fridge. What did he finally choose and is he happy with it? Find out here.
OMG! Look what happened when the kids borrowed the RV!
Awhile back we asked RVtravel.com readers whether they had ever loaned their RV to a friend or family member. Out of more than 2,000 readers who responded, about 13 percent said that they did. Here’s what happened when some snowbirders did (and probably wish they hadn’t!).
WE HAVE A WINNER. PLEASE HOLD YOUR ENTRIES
Today, this newsletter and our weekday RV Daily Tips Newsletter are giving away a very cool and very useful George Foreman indoor grill and panini press. Not only is using this an efficient way to cook, it also helps your cardiovascular health by draining off the fat from meats. Enter the contest.
Congratulations to last week’s winners, Dan McGuire and Mike Grima, who each won a very cool drone!
Do you hope to sell your present RV in 2019?
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.
Will you stay somewhere without Internet or cell service? If so, how long? Do you have a satellite TV service? Do you watch television sitcoms (you sure like “The Big Bang Theory”!)? Do you drink soft drinks? Cheese sticks or candy? You tell us. All this and more, right here.
Get rid of some wires! – Bluetooth speakers for your video needs
Rich “The Wanderman” recently searched high and low for a Bluetooth speaker that would support more than just his stereo as well as be rechargeable. “Better, Stronger, Faster.” Did he find it? Find out here.
A Tesla motorhome? Yup, true!
And you thought Teslas were just the coolest electric cars under the sun! Well, that may soon come to an end as you will read in this report. How about this: An all-electric motorhome that not only doesn’t need any fossil fuel, but can blast along the highway at 150 miles per hour? (Geez, better not try do that, though.) Read all about it.
How do you keep rodents out of your RV?
Rodents — mice and squirrels in particular — can fall in love with your RV just like you. The only problem is they can cause a whole lot of damage, like munching on electrical wires, which can cause RV-destroying fires! Do you have a tried-and-true way to keep rodents out of your RV? If so, will you share your method of what works, and what doesn’t? Click here.
Using basic courtesy when boondocking is good for all RVers
If you’re not accustomed to boondocking, you might think that when you are truly boondocking – camping out away from any hook-ups or other amenities, not in a campground and on free public lands – you also don’t have any rules to follow. Not so. Read some common sense tips here.
Popular articles from last week’s issue
• RV and RV-related recalls for March 2019.
• Is this the year to get handy?
• Is it safe to run that cheaper Walmart DEF?
• Future RVX industry shows abruptly canceled.
• Video: Pros and cons of joining Thousand Trails.
• A visit to the place “where the music died …”
• What we learned about you last week (March 30 – April 5).
• Video: Why NOT to travel with your propane tank on.
• If you text and drive, watch this. Please!
The best book on RV electricity, hands down!
RV Travel contributor Mike Sokol is America’s leading expert on RV electricity. Mike has taken his 40+ years of experience to write this book about RV electricity that nearly anyone can understand. Covers the basics of Voltage, Amperage, Wattage and Grounding, with additional chapters on RV Hot-Skin testing, GFCI operation, portable generator hookups and troubleshooting RV electrical systems. This should be essential reading for all RVers. Learn more or order
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.
NEW: RV Inspection and Mobile Repair Services Directory
These RV technicians and inspectors will inspect an RV you plan to purchase (new or used) for a fee, and some offer mobile RV repair services as well. (The list will grow weekly, so check back.)
Did you buy a lemon RV? Here’s more about RV lemons and lawyers who will represent you if you need help.
Motorhomes on Fire
This is not pretty – dozens of videos of RVs burning up. But the point is to help viewers understand that RVs burn fast, and good fire-prevention habits and a rehearsed escape plan are essential — just in case.
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 April 8, 2019:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.75. [Calif.: $3.72]
Change from week before: Up 5 cents; Change from year before: Up 5 cents.
Diesel: $3.09. [Calif.: $3.91]
Change from week before: Up 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 5 cents.
Amazon Deals of the Day
Here are more than 1,000 special deals, just for today. And the items just keep on changing. If you can’t find a great deal here on something you want, well then, you must not need anything. If nothing else, it sure is fun to poke around here to see the incredible array of cool stuff that’s available today at bargain prices! Click here for today’s deals!
RV Quick Tips
Tow dolly pros and cons
Advantages of using a tow dolly: No modifications are required on vehicle. The towed car does not require the installation of specialized tow bar adapters, and the tow dolly is relatively easy to hook up to the RV, if you are physically capable of lifting it and dragging it over to your RV to hook up.
Disadvantages of using a tow dolly: Cannot back up: When driving the RV, if you get into a position where you have to back up it is nearly impossible to do. The pivot point is so short that the dolly/vehicle combination has an exaggerated response to turns when you try to back the RV up. With this towing method you have two pivot points (the hitch point and the front axle of the car both turn), and the car will often go in unpredictable directions when backing up.
Requires physical fitness: This loading and securing of the vehicle onto the tow dolly can easily take 15-20 minutes, along with a good amount of sweat and physical dexterity as you crawl around under the vehicle tying things down. You need to be in decent physical shape to crawl around under the tow dolly and vehicle combination to get everything tied down safely. —From The Ultimate RV Owners Reference. Available on amazon.com
Site too short? Maybe not!
Don’t let campground “size limits” scare you away. Check at the registration booth and see just how the size is determined, and if there are longer sites available. Can you unhitch your tow vehicle and park it next to your trailer (or in an overflow site)? At times size limitations are based on park roads that may be too tight for longer rigs – best to check before driving in for a look-see. Tip from Mark Polk, RV Education 101.
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Russ (at) RVtravel.com
Analyzing guns, anger and authors
After the uproar caused by Chuck Woodbury’s opinion piece regarding Camping World advertising firearms in their catalog, and following his subsequent post on “What has happened to us that we are so angry?” retired cop Mike Sherman takes a closer look at these topics because he sees a connection between them and your safety and security. Read more.
Ask the RV Shrink
Husband wants to keep moving; Wife wants some “downtime”
We sold our house six years ago, bought a Class A motorhome and hit the road. We have had a wonderful journey. We have been all over North America. … I want to buy some property in the Southwest and spend the winters in one spot, but my husband wants to keep moving all the time. … —Stale Mate in Stanton Read the rest of the question and the RV Shrink’s advice.
Getting the perks – Part 1
Whether it is a premium spot or laundry credit, the perks of work camping can make or break a gig. Hourly compensation is important, but the details can leave your wallet gasping, needing an infusion of funds. Let’s discuss what’s available and how to negotiate for those extras. Learn more.
Ask the RV Doctor
Why RV service technician certification is important!
A very frustrated reader wrote to Gary about a leak in her newly purchased used motorhome and the “diagnosis” and “solution” she received from a mobile RV repair person. Read what got Gary’s dander up and his expert advice (for every RVer).
Cheap tire tool will save you tons of trouble
What gives when you think your tires are “good to go” but down on air again the next day? Your valve stem valve probably isn’t tight enough. A loose, leaking valve stem can cause a tire failure due to low pressure under load at highway speeds. So do yourself and your vehicles a favor – pick up one of these very inexpensive tools and make sure your valve cores are snugly seated in the valve stem. Click here to order.
Can an RV be plugged into a Tesla charging station?
Mike recently wrote a post about the line of Tesla charging stations he saw in Live Oak, FL, on his way back from the RVillage Rally 2.0. He received some interesting questions about what kind of dogbone adapter would be needed to connect your RV to a Tesla charging station. Is there such an adapter, and is that OK to do? Read this before you even consider it.
NEW: Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.) Session: Surge Protectors for 30- or 50-amp power? (The do’s and don’t of using dogbones.)
RV Tire Safety
When people shop for a car or truck very few pay attention to the tires other than to decide if they “look” good. Roger Marble gives his opinion of why people have “big wheels” on their vehicles and what the downsides might be to having them. Learn more.
Astronomy for RVers
Black holes are real!
We finally got the mug shot where only finger prints existed before. On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, astronomers announced that they had captured the first-ever image of a black hole. Wow! Learn more.
Make the Border Wall an asset, not a liability
Here is a unique perspective on a possible “border wall” from professors at Purdue University, which sounds like a win-win for (almost) all concerned. Read more or listen to Len Wilcox read this interesting idea to you.
The RV Kitchen
Corned Beef and Cabbage Sandwiches
A bun-derful sandwich idea. This is a cold and crunchy sandwich to pull out of your pantry any time. Canned corned beef is an emergency provision that keeps for months on a back shelf, then pops to life as the key ingredient in many hot and cold dishes. This filling makes tasty bunwiches or sliders to serve any time in the campground or at a tailgate party. Get the recipe.
Keep your food cool with this RV fridge fan
Every RV refrigerator should have one of these!
This small refrigerator fan from Valterra Products will help keep the food in your RV fridge cool and from spoiling. It cuts down initial cool-down time by 50 percent. Runs for more than 30 days on 2 D batteries. Don’t leave home without this! Learn more or order here.
Where Am I? A useful app for constant travelers
If you travel all the time you may have no idea what county you’re in, in case of a weather alert, or what the area code is for local phone numbers. Now you’ll know! All you need to do is tap the icon for an App called “Where Am I?” and all that useful information will be displayed. Learn more.
NEW: Guest Bloggers
• From Andy Pargh: What is email? Yes, 24 years ago, that was a question!
RVtravel.com is interested in hosting your blog. Increase your audience hugely in most cases. No need to abandon your current blog: Just post highlights with us (and watch traffic to your existing blog soar). Contact email@example.com to learn more.
Instant Pot is an Instant Must-Have!
“The best kitchen device you’ll ever own!” —RVtravel.com
If you don’t have an Instant Pot yet, you’re missing out on the best part of kitchen-life! You’ve probably seen these popping up all over the place lately, and for good reason. The 7-in-1 cooker is everything your kitchen needs: a slow cooker, a pressure cooker, a rice maker; it sautees and browns; it makes yogurt; and it steams and warms. If you’re not sold yet, look at these recipes, then come back and order your very own Instant Pot here.
Facebook Groups of Interest
Free and bargain camping
Kreuz Market Texas BBQ, Lockhart, TX
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed at this famous Texas BBQ restaurant. RVers must telephone ahead for permission. Park in the marked lane, parallel to the north edge of the lot. The lot is level, with ambient light from street lights. Click here for more details.
O’Neill Forebay Wildlife Area Parking Lot, Santa Nella, CA
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. No signage of any kind relating to parking. Park along the edge of the parking area, without blocking other traffic or access to the gate. Room for 2-3 rigs; recommended only for small to medium-size rigs. The lot is level but not lit. Click here for more details.
Overnight RV Parking, with more than 14,000 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.
Tape it to the limit…
Rather than an adhesive, this type of tape fuses to itself. It makes a totally waterproof seal that can be used to repair the insulation on electrical wiring in the field. It has all kinds of other emergency uses advertised such as a quick fix for a leaking radiator hose, so it certainly deserves a place in your RV toolbox since it’s a multi-tasking piece of equipment that could save your bacon. Learn more or order.
Museum of the Week
The Kazoo Factory Museum
The Kazoo Factory Museum is one of a kind. It showcases hundreds of different kazoos – everything from the plastic toy kind to larger, more unique kazoos. Learn the history of the instrument, hear famous kazoo tunes (Those exist? Oh, I guess so.) and view an old press used to make kazoo parts, music sheets and memorabilia. If you don’t want your partner kazoo-ing into your dreams, skip the gift shop, but visit the museum website to plan your trip.
• Evergreen RV Show, April 12-14, Monroe, WA
• RV SuperSaver Show, April 12-14, Ft. Myers, FL
• Puyallup RV Show, May 2-5, Puyallup, WA
• Spring Hall of Fame RV Show, May 2-5, Elkhart, IN
See the complete list of all upcoming RV shows.
Get rid of those decal “ghosts!”
If you use a coin to remove old decals from your RV, you may have an unwelcome guest when the job’s done: Decal “ghosts” – shadowy after-images imprinted in the Filon siding. The solution? A heavy-duty oxidation remover! Pour the remover onto a rough sponge and scrub the Filon in circles. The yellow oxidation will come right up and your RV will look good as new! The remover will also remove stains, scratches and water spots. Learn more or order here.
Okay, sit back, relax and concentrate, because it’s time to play this week’s trivia quiz. It’s about some famous people and history. After you’ve answered the seven questions, your teacher will grade your effort. Can you get an A? Find out. Now get going.
From Don Bledsoe
While on a cave tour in Texas, we overheard a tourist ask, “How much of this cave is unexplored?” I’m sure most cave guides get this question at least once a week.
From Jan and Phil Powell
We work camped at an amusement park on the water rides one summer. Despite the large signs at the entrance and along the walkways to the ride: “This is a wet ride. You WILL get wet” and despite riders coming off the ride in various states of wetness, riders-to-be would still ask, “Will I get wet on this ride?” We finally decided to have some fun and we would answer, “We are trying something new this year – dry water.” Some would come off the ride, wet, and exclaim, “You said it was dry water!”
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
I love the smell of diesel in the morning.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
Mathematics is 90% common sense. The other half is intelligence.
“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” —Cecil Beaton, Photographer
RV Travel staff
CONTACT US at editor@RVtravel.com
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editor: Russ De Maris. 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 director: Emily Woodbury. Marketing director: Jessica Sarvis. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. 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 Emily Woodbury at advertising(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 2019 by RVtravel.com.