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Week of April 20–26, 2019
With Chuck Woodbury
Before I owned my first motorhome, I briefly owned a Teardrop trailer. I was in college, and had dreams of touring the country with the little recreational vehicle. My small Toyota, I reasoned, would pull the Teardrop, but nothing bigger.
Alas, I never took the trip, and I sold my Teardrop a year later. It needed a lot of work, and I am a terribly unhandy guy. But what a neat little “camper” it was — complete with its interior double bed, single lightbulb and a flip-up backside that revealed a kitchen that could be as basic or extravagant as the owner wished. A college buddy of mine, who was very handy, had also purchased a Teardrop which he restored into a mini-palace of mobile elegance. He inspired me.
The trailer got its name from its teardrop shape and streamlined design. The March/April 1939 issue of Popular Homecraft ran a story and plans for a teardrop designed and built in the 1930s by Louis Rogers of Pasadena, California, for his honeymoon coach.
The “true” Teardrops evolved after World War II using surplus aircraft aluminum from the wings of World War II bombers. Wheels, at least some, were from Jeeps salvaged from sunken ships, some with bullet holes. These first Teardrops are perhaps the only RVs ever made that experienced actual combat.
A Teardrop trailer can accommodate two people. The most common one has an aluminum skin covering a plywood frame, weighs 750 pounds and is 4 feet by 4 feet by 8 feet.
Depending on the model, it includes a queen- or full-sized bed. The sleeping cabin is hard-sided and doesn’t need to be popped open like a pop-up trailer. The cabin can serve double-duty as a cargo area during travel. The typical floor is the same size as a standard piece of plywood (there was no room for waste in early models). You cannot stand up inside a Teardrop trailer as they are generally about four feet high.
The kitchen is accessed from the outside rear by raising the back hatch of the trailer much like opening a car trunk. There is room for an ice chest, portable stove and a basic set of pots, pans, cooking utensils and some food. Today’s Teardrop-type trailers often have built-in stoves and refrigerators.
Teardrop-type trailers are sold today as kits to build yourself. Many small manufacturers still make such RVs, which are popular because they can be pulled behind small cars and even motorcycles. Some of the models are far more sophisticated than the early ones. About the only amenity they lack are bathrooms with showers.
Happy Easter from the RVtravel.com staff! We hope you are able to spend Sunday with your close friends or family on this very special day!
Hot-Skin Conditions discussed this morning with Mike Sokol
Learn about RV Hot-Skin Conditions with Mike this morning for one hour beginning at 8 a.m. Pacific time or 11 a.m. Eastern. As well as covering hot-skin/contact-voltage conditions and how to detect them with a Non-Contact Voltage Tester, he’ll also discuss why they occur and how to correct them. RV Hot-Skin conditions can destroy an RV’s electronics, and harm (even kill) humans. This will be Mike’s second live webcast, and probably the last that he will do only on Facebook. Future programs will be simulcast on both Facebook and YouTube. If you have a question for Mike, email it to him before the webcast at firstname.lastname@example.org (keep it less than 100 words). Watch the live webcast on Facebook beginning at the time noted above.
Those of you who plan to attend Mike’s seminars on June 8 will be able to register starting next weekend.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Readers speak out
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“Real ID” Act may soon complicate RVers’ lives
October 1, 2020, could be a critical date for fulltime RVers. On that not-too-distant date, anyone wanting access into most commercial airports, federal buildings or military bases will need to have a federally approved identification. Got a U.S. passport? You’re set. For U.S. residents, if you don’t have a passport, you’ll need an approved state-issued driver’s license or ID card. But beware, not every driver’s license will meet the test. Plus, proof of residence is required. Learn more.
That was the RV week that was
• How about $9,500 for four nights of camping? We’re not kidding!
• Legal to smoke pot now in Canadian Provincial Parks.
• Beware crooks selling cheap RVs online.
. . . and much more.
• Thor recalls motorhomes for loose bolts that could affect steering.
• Keystone recalls trailers: Cooktop flames may invert.
• Forest River recall: Mirror monitors show back up images in reverse.
• Forest River recall: Bunk latch could fall off.
Janet Groene is now reporting each week on developments at RV parks and campgrounds. Lots of good information here that you can use to plan your travels. Read the current installment of “Campground Chatter” here.
In case you missed Mike Sokol’s RV Electricity Newsletter at the end of March, listen up: Nearly 200,000 of Honda’s popular 2200-watt generators are on recall, after a number of the units began to leak gasoline, creating a fire hazard. American Honda is recalling some EU2200i, EU2200i Companions, and EB2200i portable generators. Learn more.
Good Sam CEO Lemonis hit with lawsuit
Camping World and Good Sam Club CEO Marcus Lemonis has been hit with a shareholder lawsuit in Delaware claiming that he and a well-known private-equity investor manipulated the market while taking an RV supply company public. Read more.
RV inspectors: Not all created equal
When buying an RV, whether used or brand-new, it’s important to have it inspected by an independent third party. … So-called RV inspectors – people trained specifically to inspect RVs for buyers – are a relatively new thing, created out of the need for such a service. Alan Warren, of the syndicated radio program The RV Show USA, suggests in a recent monologue that people who call themselves “RV inspectors” do not have equal skills. Watch the video.
Harvest Hosts partnership promotes overnight stays along Route 66
The Road Ahead Partnership and Harvest Hosts have partnered to provide RVers traveling Route 66 a new way to experience all the Mother Road has to offer. … The goal of the new partnership is to expand current Harvest Hosts locations to include unique sites along historic Route 66 and enhance the experience RV travelers have on the Mother Road. Read more.
Hitch Pitch: Take the pain out of RV leveling
If you’re anything like Russ and Tiña De Maris, finding a level spot to park the RV can be a pain in the neck – and other portions of the anatomy. It can be a pretty tiring experience. Enter Hitch Pitch, a clever electronic device that utilizes a Bluetooth connection to tell you, via an Android or Apple app, just how close you are to level. Learn more.
Win this cordless electric screwdriver/drill
We love giving away stuff!
WE HAVE OUR WINNER
PLEASE HOLD YOUR ENTRIES
Today, this newsletter and our weekday RV Daily Tips Newsletter are giving away a very cool and very useful cordless electric screwdriver rechargeable drill. This will come in very handy at home or on the road. Enter the contest.
Congratulations to last week’s winner, Darrell Trammel of Burnet, Texas, who won a George Foreman Grill and Panini Press.
The answer to last week’s contest was mouse
Will high gas prices affect your upcoming RV travels?
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.
April showers bring … RVs for sale? Nope, but some of you are selling! Do you normally go to sleep naturally or use a sleep aid? Do you have dental insurance? What’s your favorite way to eat eggs? Is your RV under warranty? What did you learn this week? Read the article and tell us here.
Tents for Troops provides more RVs for military families
Tents for Troops (T4T) is a nonprofit organization that provides free nights of camping at RV parks across the country to active duty military members and their families. It is now in the process of delivering more RVs to RV parks and campgrounds that have agreed to participate in its program. Learn more.
Planning to camp at Acadia National Park? Make your reservations
Acadia National Park has four campgrounds available for online reservation through Recreation.gov. Park campgrounds are very popular. Finding a campsite upon arrival is a rare occurrence during good weather and there are no first-come, first-served sites. If you plan to camp in the park this summer, better make your reservation ASAP. Learn more.
Roadtrek gets a new owner
Roadtrek has a new owner. Rapido Group, owner of the Westfalia brand, has announced it has signed a binding letter of intent to acquire substantially all the assets related to the Roadtrek RV brand, an operating division of Erwin Hymer Group North America Inc., a company in the midst of receivership proceedings. Read more.
A portable, size-adjustable bag dispenser – with bags!
Rich “The Wanderman” uses lots of plastic bags onboard his RV. Shopping bags from large chain stores aren’t all that durable. He found this nifty gadget which is a self-contained dispenser that allows you choose the length of your bag and then simply cut it to fit. Read more.
Popular articles from last week’s issue
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, April 8, 2019.
• OMG! Look what happened when the kids borrowed the RV!
• A very different all-electric refrigerator.
• How to keep rodents out of your RV.
• Analyzing guns, anger and authors.
• Garmin introduces new RV-specific GPS navigator.
• What we learned about you last week (April 6-12).
• That Was the RV Week That Was, April 13, 2019.
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.)
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.
Common RV-related terms: If you’re an RVer newbie, you should know the meaning of these words.
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.
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 they need to practice good fire-prevention habits and practice an escape plan … 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.
Don’t let high water pressure blow out your pipes!
This should be a required accessory for your RV, one that could save you thousands of dollars in repairs. Some RV parks’ water pressure is so high it can blow out your system — a major repair bill “ouch!” Join the RV Travel staff in using this highly rated item to prevent that from happening. Learn more or order.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of April 15, 2019:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.83. [Calif.: $3.92]
Change from week before: Up 8 cents; Change from year before: Up 8 cents.
Diesel: $3.12. [Calif.: $3.97]
Change from week before: Up 3 cents; Change from year before: Up 1 cent.
RV Fire Safety Tip
Keep the fire extinguisher’s powder loose or it may not work
Invert and shake your dry powder or dry chemical extinguisher monthly to loosen the powder. The jarring of the coach while you travel down the road does not keep the powder loose; in fact, it packs the powder, which may make your extinguisher useless in fighting a fire.
Check out some videos of motorhomes on fire.
Lightweight, waterproof, foldable backpack perfect for RVers
Ultra-light, ultra-durable, and ultra-handy for RV trips, this backpack is perfect for small-space living. Pack folds into a tiny sandwich-sized pouch, perfect for storage or for use on airplane trips. Many pockets, including two water bottle slots, make this waterproof pack great for hiking, camping, or day-trips. Learn more and view all of the colors here.
RV Quick Tips
Newbies – Things you need to know
Here are just two tips from a list of ten things a new RVing couple quickly learned. Click here for more from doityourselfrv.com.
You don’t need the biggest rig. When my husband and I decided to take a 50-state road trip, our first thought was to get a truck camper. It seemed like the most economical of all the RV classes. Then we realized that would be a HORRIBLE way to spend a honeymoon. We started looking at Class C’s to give ourselves a little more space and ended up buying a 29’ rig. Now that we’ve been on the road for a while, we wish we’d chosen something a little smaller that would be easier to maneuver into campgrounds.
When Google Maps says you’re 3 hours and 45 minutes away, it’s probably more like 5 hours. Driving an RV is nothing like driving a car. You can’t swerve through traffic and you can’t just fly down the interstate. Especially in a 20-year-old rig, you’ve got to take your time in getting from point A to point B. Since we’re trying to make it across the lower 48 in seven months, we do keep a fast-paced schedule. If I had known how long driving could take in an RV I would’ve planned more time so we could enjoy more sites along the way.
Rent a car versus your own toad
Sometimes “the trip is not worth the tow.” Or, in other words, sometimes, especially if you are taking a short trip to one place and have no plans to run around a lot, just leave your car at home and rent a car locally to get around. Or if you don’t plan on leaving the campground or camping resort very much, just take taxis [or Uber] when you need to go out. I have done the math and even though towing is cheaper than renting a car (believe it or not), if you camp very often it’s just about a break-even situation with you to use a taxi for only a couple of excursions. But for some people, if they pack their RV carefully and plan to stay in the campground or resort exclusively, then they don’t really need the hassle of the hooking up, unhooking, and towing or renting. —From The Ultimate RV Owners Reference. Available on amazon.com
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Russ (at) RVtravel.com
Nothing but the truth…
Dealing with a shooting brings forth an abundance of emotions. Having dealt with this subject in the past, some readers advocated you keep your mouth shut when law enforcement shows up. Thus starts the game … attorneys, prosecutors, evidence technicians, insurance companies, witnesses, media. Suddenly your world has become very complicated. We failed to focus on this topic in prior articles. Allow me to advocate why you should talk. Read more.
Camco vent insulator keeps you cool!
Is your RV too hot in the summer? Too cold in the winter? Camco’s vent insulator and skylight cover features a thick layer of foam which helps stop heat transfer, keeping you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Installation is easy. The insulator is designed to fit standard 14″x14″ RV vents. Learn more or order here.
Ask the RV Shrink
How common is RV drivers’ road rage, and what can be done about it?
Dear RV Shrink:
I have an ongoing problem with road rage. He sits right next to me in the motorhome and swears a blue streak at the outside world as we drive down the road. If we are in rural areas he seems like a perfectly normal, compassionate human being. When we get into heavy traffic congestion, construction zones, or have to turn around because of a missed turn, he goes nutso! … Read the rest of the question and the RV Shrink’s advice.
Getting the perks – Part 2
Whether it is a premium spot or laundry credit, the perks of work camping can make or break a gig. As mentioned last week, hourly compensation is important, but the details can leave your wallet gasping, needing an intravenous shot of funds. Let’s keep on discussing what’s available and how to negotiate for those important extras. This week we discuss storage, golf cart/UTV use, store credit and propane as possible perks. Read more.
Ask the RV Doctor
How to fix a drippy RV faucet
How do you repair the bathroom faucets? I have a two-handle faucet in the bathroom that looks to be all metal and it constantly drips. How and what do I replace? —Mike R.
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 little bookcases. Explore these helpful items here.
What is hot-skin voltage? – Part 1
Since spring has sprung and many of us are getting our RVs ready for the season, now is a great time to review what a hot-skin/contact-voltage is, and what to do if you find one. Learn more.
Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.) Session: Disconnect power during a storm?
RV Tire Safety
Tire brand confusion: Who makes which RV tires and where?
Confused about who makes which RV tires and where they’re made? This info should help.
The RoVing Naturalist
Spring brings some really wonderful days of warm weather with clear blue skies, fresh green growth, renewed activity in all of nature and, of course, bluebirds. In fact, we have termed such idyllic days as just that – Bluebird Days! Find out all about bluebirds here.
This week’s poem is from reader Pris Miller, who was inspired after watching her RV being observed by “two geezers.” We titled it “If the coach is rockin’…” Read it.
Building an RV Park
Due to a recent out-of-town wedding in the immediate family (and resultant “brain-fog” for Machelle), her next update will be here in two weeks.
Len Wilcox tells the poignant story of a Montana sheepherder’s faithful dog, Shep, and how Shep reacted when his owner fell ill, went to the hospital, died, and his body was transported by train back East. Find out why Shep was immortalized and will never be forgotten by the town of Fort Benton. Read, or listen to, this touching story. (Have the Kleenex handy.)
Lap desk puts your back to rest!
If you find yourself using your computer on your lap, reading your Kindle on the couch, or having a hard time holding that heavy hardback, you need this lap desk! Staff writer Emily uses this when she works and highly recommends it. The desk has eight adjustable levels and even has a stopper to hold objects upright. Great for those who have lower back pain or terrible posture (ahem, Emily). Learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
Key Lime Trifle
Just a trifle: A no-bake dessert. Trifle is usually made in a see-through bowl but any container will do for this creamy treat. It’s ready to eat after you whip it together, although a thorough chilling is good too. Get the recipe.
RV Short Stop
Each year thousands of RVers travel the Oregon Coastal Highway to view and photograph iconic coastal lighthouses and camp in nearby Oregon State Parks. “All nine of Oregon’s surviving lighthouse stations have been added to the National Register of Historic Places, and seven are open for public viewing and regularly scheduled summer tours,” according to Oregon State Parks. Learn more.
Come into the light!
Our favorite electricity guy, Mike Sokol, uses this Caterpillar pocket light for just about everything. He writes, “I bought one of these CAT CY1000 Pocket COB Lights a few months ago and liked it so much that I also picked up one for my dad. I’ve dropped it a bunch of times, and it still keeps working, like any of the other tough-as-nails CAT products.” It easily clips on to your belt, shirt pocket, or anything magnetic, so you can work hands-free. Learn more or order.
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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.
Facebook Groups about RVing
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.
Free and bargain camping
Wild River Brewing & Pizza Co. # 1, Medford, OR
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed but permission from the manager required. If you stay, you should purchase food and beverages. The lot, which is small, is suited for small rigs only. Level, well-lit, quiet, and appears safe. Reporting RVers give the pizza and the on-site microbrewery rave reviews. Click here for details.
Chautauqua Park, Beloit, KS
FREE (well, almost free)! Overnight parking is allowed. The city park has 12 E/W RV sites, a dump station, restrooms (Apr.-Oct.), and a swimming pool (in season). No reservations, first-come, first-served. Maximum stay: 10 nights in any 60-day period. 2019 rate: Donation. Click here for 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.
Upcoming RV Shows
• Puyallup RV Show, May 2-5, Puyallup, WA
• Spring Hall of Fame RV Show, May 2-5, Elkhart, IN
WiFi endoscope lets you peep where your eyes won’t go
Ever wondered what the inside of your black water tank looked like? Is that “tank blaster” really doing the job? You can’t just eyeball the inside of the tank – or can you? With a flexible endoscope, you can run a tiny camera down for a “look around,” and get an eyeful of information on your tablet or phone. It’s pretty handy to have in the RV so check it out here.
The Continental Divide passes through three National Parks: Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone and Glacier.
From Ridge and Cathy Gardner
We lived aboard our boat in the Florida Keys for many years. Most folks down there reference the highway mile markers on US-1 to state their location; for example, we lived at Mile Marker 94. I was asked one time by a visitor, “So tell me, how far apart are those mile markers anyway?” I was also asked by someone, “So you mean to tell me that the water goes all the way around this island?”
Not exactly RV related, but when we lived and worked in Grand Teton NP we had an expression: “Vacation ON – Brain OFF.”
From Robert Buttery
While enraptured by the spectacular view in Rocky Mountain National Park, a woman standing next to me grumbled: “You know, the view would be a lot better if they would cut some of these trees down!”
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
Obey gravity – It’s the law!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
Yesterday, my mom asked me to hand out invitations for my brother’s surprise birthday party. That’s when I realized he was the favorite twin.
There are two kinds of adventurers: those who go truly hoping to find adventure and those who go secretly hoping they won’t. —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. 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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