Week of June 22–28, 2019
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!
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All about RV electrical fires and a new way to extinguish them fast
By Mike Sokol
ey, everyone. You know me as the RV Electricity guy, but I am indeed interested in all sorts of things, including those that can be dangerous to an RVer.
But before I go on, can we please agree on one thing: safety. I believe safety should be the most important thing on our minds when we buy and use a recreational vehicle, how we pack it for trips, how fast we drive, and where we park. After all, I think we can all agree that we want our family and friends to be safe.
And if there’s anything we can do to improve the safety of our loved ones, then it’s worth discussing.
With that in mind, I was sent a link to an Airstream trailer fire that occurred last weekend. I’ve been in contact with the owner who has agreed to let me post these pictures of a fire that totally destroyed his trailer in just a few minutes.
Read more here.
From editor Chuck Woodbury
IN COURT ALL WEEK
This past week has been one of the most satisfying, challenging, exciting, and yet stressful weeks of my life. I served the entire week as a juror on a rape trial in Snohomish County (Wash.) Superior Court. The ever-present thought that I must “get it right” or risk sending an innocent person to jail for a long time was daunting. My fellow jurors and I did not reach our verdict until late Friday afternoon. I will write more about the experience next week.
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
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I purchased a 2015 Coachmen Class C motorhome in 2016 when it was brand-new. The table and countertop have a beveled edge. This edge takes up an inch of space and makes it worthless. I measured the length of the edge and found the space ruined is more than a square foot. I have more than a few spills by setting glasses too close to the edge. We know how counter space is lacking in most RVs. The designer of this edge trim must not have had a large drink fall off the table and land where he was sitting, as I have. —Dale R.
We learned long ago to not assume that the designers of RV interiors always know what they’re doing. Just look at the position of TVs in many RVs: you get a stiff neck bending it to watch the screen. The designer of the table and countertop, we suspect, is most likely not an RVer. This sort of dumb design, unfortunately, is common.
In today’s world with all the negativity, how about having your followers comment about the lighter side of traveling, maybe issues with vehicles and the help they received, stops made of particular interest, or even interesting personalities they have met on the road. —Mike. H.
That was the RV week that was …
• Threats of wildfires throughout the West continue to rise.
• Prices on used RVs rose in May.
• Grand Canyon National Park has just been designated an International Dark Sky Park.
• Watch for significant water level increases at Lake Powell.
• There is now limited access to Tioga Road at Yellowstone National Park.
and much more …
Recent RV Recalls:
• Entegra Coach recall: Steering wheel could malfunction.
• Keystone trailer recall: Missing vent could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Jayco recalls motorhomes: Stopping distance could pose risk.
• Keystone recalls some trailers: Pin box could fall off.
• Thor recalls motorhomes: Improperly installed screw could cause fire.
• Newmar recalls some motorhomes for brake relay valve issue.
• Airstream recalls trailers: Wrong label could impact driving performance.
Camping with the Corps of Engineers
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.
Developments at RV parks and campgrounds across the USA
Janet Groene reports each week on developments at RV parks and campgrounds across the USA and Canada. There’s a lot of good information here that you can use to plan your travels. Read the current installment of “Campground Chatter” here.
Fuel prices plummet – $2 per gallon could come soon
If you like unraveling mysteries, here’s one that will likely affect you personally: While the demand for gasoline is at the highest it’s ever been since data was kept (1981), the price at the pump is still spiraling down. Did we say spiral? More like a big chunk of lead dropped from a tall building. It may be the bit of good news that RVers have been looking for. Learn more.
Is Good Sam Club head honcho Lemonis headed to jail?
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World and the Good Sam Club, says the giant American flag outside a Gander RV store in Statesville, North Carolina, isn’t going anywhere despite a fine of $50 every day it remains up. He could be charged with contempt of court if he does not take remove the flag, which is larger than what’s permitted by law. “I would prefer not to (go to jail),” he said. “It’s not a super-favorable outcome. But that’s how big a line in the sand this is for me.” Read more.
Followup to story of kindness for an RVer in need: Husband’s ashes
By reader Martha Holmes
I told you last week that my husband passed away while we were on a camping vacation. The people at the Florida campground were so kind and supportive to me as I waited for authorities to sign off on his death certificate so he could be cremated. I was adamant that I didn’t want his ashes shipped to me; I wanted to bring them home with me when I returned to Maryland. Read about the journey of her late-husband’s ashes.
This stunning video from Marc and Julie Bennett is well worth a few minutes of your time. In it, the Bennetts visit a Kentucky RV salvage yard with about 1,500 motorhomes on 100 acres — all destroyed by a variety of causes. Watching this is an eerie experience. The drone footage and the well-chosen music make this most unusual video one you won’t soon forget. Watch the 20-minute video.
Funny things RVers say
Have you ever noticed when you’re RVing some strange sentences come out of your mouth? You know, stuff you’d never say in a house or to “non-RVing folk.” Here are some examples from Liz Wilcox. We’ll bet you have some to contribute – please do so in the comments below the article.
When hooking up to electricity, how many amps do you normally prefer?
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.
Goodbye Holding Tank Odors and Clogs, Hello Convenience!
The best just got better. Now you can get the unsurpassed strength of RV Digest-It Holding Tank Treatment in a convenient, easy to use drop-in pod. RV Digest-It has long been known as the premier all-around tank treatment for those looking for the best in both odor elimination and waste digestion – now you can add convenience to that list. Learn more or order.
Have you ever lived continuously a year or more in an RV? How many TVs do you have in your RV? Do you plan on selling your RV within the next year? Does your RV have a built-in automatic ice maker? For you U.S. citizens, do you have health insurance? All this and more, right here.
Shopping for an RV? Here are some tips
If you are in the market for your first RV, or even a subsequent RV, here are some tips that may help you make the right decision.
Why did GMC cancel its futuristic GMC motorhome?
General Motors shocked the world in the 1973 model year with the debut of the beautiful GMC motorhome. The 1973-1978 GMC motorhome was an engineering wonder that was decades ahead in styling and engineering to its closest competition. The recreational vehicle revolutionized the large RV market…. So why did GM cancel it? Watch this video for the answer.
The myth of full-time RV life versus the reality
By reader K-Barrett
There is a myth about RV Life – sitting by campfires in the sunset daily, happy hour with friends, and constant travel “hither and yon” with no worries except where to stop next. Those thoughts are popular and occasionally they do happen, especially for weekenders and short-term vacation travelers. It’s important to realize when deciding to “full-time” in an RV, whether it’s travel trailer, fiver or motorhome, the myth starts to firm up into real life. Read more.
Novel approach to fridge placement could lead to disaster
An RVer asked if it was possible to install an LP-fired RV refrigerator in such a way that the lower venting of the fridge would come from the “toy hauling” section of his RV. No, we don’t mean stepping into the cargo area to get access to the refrigerator; we mean installing the refrigerator inside the “living area” of the RV, on a common wall to the cargo area. If you’re thinking about it, in a word, “Don’t.” Here’s why.
Dollar store glasses for reading and projects: Do they work?
Rich “The Wanderman’s” eyesight is slowly getting worse, probably like a lot of us. He has trouble reading things close up, but he’s not ready for glasses…yet. He found some reading-magnifying glasses for a dollar at a dollar store(!). But did they do the job … for just a buck? Find out here.
NO CONTEST THIS WEEK, but we’ll be back next week.
Congratulations to last week’s winner, Tom Billingsley, who won a groovy vintage turntable.
Last week’s question: How many plastic water bottles does the average American use every year? 78, 167 or 300
Correct answer: 167
Popular articles from last week’s issue
• Campground pet peeves – specifically, campground jerks.
• A frightening example of the importance of vigilance while traveling.
• Do motorhome owners really need a “toad”?
• A story of kindness for an RVer in need.
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, June 14, 2019.
• Have you ever lived continuously a year or more in an RV?
• That was the RV week that was, June 8-14.
• RV refrigerators – Go for a residential unit?
• What we learned about you last week (June 8-14).
• Electrical safety for RVers – Part 2. (How to use a digital meter.)
• Your safety while boondocking – your responsibility.
Our Facebook and RVillage Groups: RV Horror Stories, RV Advice, RV Electricity and RV Parks with Storm Shelters. You might also like Big Rig RV and RV Tips. And please join our group on RVillage (like Facebook except just for RVers).
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.
Best Club for RVers: Escapees. Click here to learn more or join. Endorsed by RVtravel.com.
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.
The RV Death Spiral
Read the eight-part series of editorials by Greg Gerber that the RV industry never wanted written. Download the PDF.
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.
Save bandwidth while watching YouTube videos
How to watch YouTube videos using very little bandwidth.
Stuck with a lemon RV? Contact Ron Burdge, America’s premier RV lemon law attorney.
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 June 17, 2019:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.67. [Calif.: $3.68]
Change from week before: Down 6 cents; Change from year before: Down 21 cents.
Diesel: $3.07. [Calif.: $4.01]
Change from week before: Down 4 cents; Change from year before: Down 17 cents.
Grip to it!
This heavy-duty grip tape sticks to any surface and gives you traction on things like your RV steps, ladder or roof, and at home on your deck or in your basement, or even on your boat. It’s good stuff to keep around. You can find it for a good price (and in multiple size rolls) here.
RV Quick Tips
“I have an older manual Dometic Patio Awning with a black pull-down strap. On one occasion as I grabbed the strap and went to pull it down, the loop broke. I now needed to get out a ladder to get to the strap and pull it down. Lesson learned. I now keep two identical pull-down straps on the awning. I only use one and let the other just roll up with the awning. But if I have problems with the one strap, a backup is already in place and ready to go.” Thanks to William Burns for the idea. Need a back-up strap? Here’s one on Amazon.
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Russ (at) RVtravel.com
Be prepared for a tornado
Perhaps you have seen disaster movies featuring a vivid display of nature’s power. The special effects can be dazzling, no doubt about it. In Mike Sherman’s opinion, nothing is more frightening than a tornado. Read more. Do you have a tornado story to tell, something the rest of us can learn from? Please leave your comments below the article.
Join our Facebook Group, RV parks with storm shelters. We’re using the information posted there to build a directory of such parks on RVtravel.com
Never struggle with opening jars again!
This jar-gripper is a favorite tool for many cooks and kitchen-dwellers. Never struggle to open a jar again! Simply place the gripper around the lid of the jar, lock into place and twist. Your jar will open with ease, and your hands won’t hurt afterward. This handy little gadget works on smooth and grooved lids and will adjust to fit just about every jar out there. It’s great for those of us with weak hands. Learn more or order here.
Ask the RV Shrink
Dog owner’s “bite” worse than dog’s bark
Dear RV Shrink:
I love dogs. Cats aren’t bad either. But lately while camping I find I am having problems dealing with barking dogs. It might be my age. The noise never used to annoy me. Recently I was parked next to a couple who had two little barkers. They were quiet while the couple were in camp, but as soon as they left the dogs would begin to bark and not stop until they returned. …
We had a total-loss fire!
From Sam Suva: Some years ago we were living in a trailer and experienced a total-loss fire. This is a terrifying, overwhelming event that changed our lives. Here’s what happened, what I should have done, what we do now and what we will never do again. Very important information!
Ask the RV Doctor
What to do about uneven tire wear on travel trailer
It seems lately that my travel trailer tires are wearing unevenly side to side. Measured to ground, the side with the most tire wear is about 3/4 inch lower than the other side. This is after replacing all the tires and checking inflation. I then weighed both sides of the trailer and found that the side with the most tire wear was about 500 pounds more. This is the side where the refrigerator is directly over the tires. …
Remove ticks easily from people or pets!
It’s tick season! This Tick Twister Remover Set will remove ticks, large and small, without squeezing them, reducing the risk of infection. It does not leave the mouthparts of the tick in the skin. It’s the safest and easiest way to remove ticks and in just a few seconds. Helps prevent Lyme Disease. Keep one of these in your RV. Learn more or order.
Generator grounding and bonding
I purchased a generator for the RV. It is a 3500-watt unit and came with an RV 30-amp outlet. I thought that it would tie the ground and neutral together but upon doing a continuity check on it all three poles are open. The generator does have an earth ground connection. Do you recommend using the earth ground connection with a grounding rod and would a foot deep be adequate for a copper rod? Or should I just tie the ground and neutral together, and where would be the best place to tie together? Your help would be greatly appreciated. —Gary
Sign up for Mike’s new RV Electricity group on Facebook.
How does Mike stay so organized?
Here’s a tip from Mike Sokol about staying organized: “After one more frustrating dive to the bottom of my ‘battery drawer’ looking for a few AAAs to power my latest gadget, I’ve decided to get organized. This holder should keep you stocked with enough batteries for an entire camping season, and even includes a nice tester to find the dead ones. Also, you all know not to just throw used (or new) 9-volt batteries in a drawer where they can make contact with metal objects and catch on fire, right? Here’s what I’m ordering to keep it all under control.”
RV Tire Safety
Tire sidewall “strength” – What does that mean?
Roger Marble notes that on many RV forum posts on the topic of tire “blowouts,” there are often posts on the “strength” of the tire sidewall. In this post he first explains tire “blowouts,” belt or tread separation, Run Low Sidewall Flex Failure, and more, and what they have to do with sidewall “strength.” Learn more.
The ancient and interesting story of teosinte
Teosinte is a grass native to Central America. It’s also the first GMO food produced in the Americas and, as far as we know, in the world. It wasn’t created in a sterile lab, however. It was selectively grown and developed by the Native Americans in Central America, long before the Spanish invasion there or the English and French invasion in the north. Find out here what it is.
Suzi’s Mobile Meals
Flourless Salmon Patties
We’re introducing a new RVing cook this week, Suzi Suva, who will alternate her recipes and kitchen tips with Janet Groene’s great recipes and tips. Suzi, the wife of Sam Suva, who writes our feature The Business of Work Camping, has been full-time RVing with Sam for many years. Sam says Suzi cooks amazingly delicious, multiple course meals in their motorhome. Here’s her recipe for Flourless Salmon Patties plus some side dish ideas.
Stop tripping on that darn rug!
We all have a rug that just loves to trip us. You know that rug in your entryway that’s curled up at the corners? Yeah, that’s the one. These brilliant NeverCurl V-shaped stickers fit the corner of your rug(s) and stick to the floor to prevent those corners from curling up and tripping you. These NeverCurl stickers fit on all rugs (both indoor and outdoor) and will immediately stop them from curling up. If you don’t believe us when we say these are amazing, just look at those reviews! Learn more or order here.
How to take all your books in the RV
From Chris Guld, Geeks on Tour: “The hardest thing to leave behind when we became full-time RVers was our bookshelves full of books. I am so glad that with my smartphone and the Kindle app, or the Google Play Books app, I can now carry even more books in my pocket than I had in the house!” Learn how easy it is.
Pocket-sized Goo Gone is a must-have
Who doesn’t have a bottle of handy Goo Gone in their home and RV? We have several bottles in both. Now you can get this lifesaving liquid in pocket-sized pen form, so you can keep it in your purse or in the glove compartment for easy reach. Goo Gone works to get rid of anything sticky like adhesive residue, gum, stickers (like price tags) and even stains! You’ll definitely want to buy one here.
Free and bargain camping
Monarch Crest Gift Shop, Monarch, CO
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed but please only park on the gravel lot at north and south ends. The lot is not level but it’s manageable. The gift shop and restaurant are open May – Oct. Elevation 11,312 ft. Click here for more details.
Walmart Supercentre #3063, North Bay, ON
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed in the Walmart portion of the mall parking lot, and only with permission from the mall information desk or mall office. Park between Walmart and TD Bank. The lot is well-lit and appears safe. The New Ontario Brewery is within walking distance and is recommended by RVers. 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.
Moldable, flexible glue is like magic
Sugru Moldable Glue is designed to act like Play-Doh right out of the package – roll it, flatten it, mold it into whatever shape you need, apply it and leave it to set overnight. The glue turns into strong, flexible and tactile silicone rubber overnight. It’s waterproof, long-lasting and can be used both indoors and outdoors. Click the image to watch the video to see it in action. Learn more or order here.
Museum of the Week
The Panoramic Encyclopedia of Everything Elvis
(AKA: Loudermilk Boarding House Museum)
From the outside, the building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, looks completely normal. You probably wouldn’t look at it twice. However, what’s on the inside, well, you’ll want to look twice. The Panoramic Encyclopedia of Everything Elvis is a shrine (to say the least) to the King. Part of the museum experience is your tour guide herself, Joni Mabe, who has dedicated her life to loving Elvis since he died in 1977. Mabe began restoring the old boarding house in the early 1990s and opened it to the public in 1999. The museum (which is more of an “experience”) contains over 30,000 Elvis-themed items, including his wart (yes, his wart) and a piece of his toenail (again, yes, his toenail). Read this article about the museum here to learn more.
Upcoming RV Shows
See the complete list of upcoming RV shows.
Alert, alert! Space-saving amazing gadget!
As RVers, we know the importance of space, especially in the kitchen. This brilliant gadget is both a knife and cutting board in one, so you can save some of that prized cabinet or drawer space. Cut, chop and slice food in seconds, and let it fall right into the pan or bowl. It doesn’t get any easier than this. Click the image to watch a quick video and order one for yourself here.
Blue whales (and all other baleen whales) have two blowholes located side by side. The small sperm whales (and all other toothed whales) have only one. (Have you ever been on a whale-watching boat? Very exciting!)
Silly Tourist Questions
From Jerry Glazman
Some years ago my late wife and I were volunteers at Kartchner Caverns State Park in Benson, AZ. One day while she was working at the Visitor Center desk, a very irate guest presented herself and demanded to know where we were hiding the desert. She had been told that Kartchner Caverns was in the Sonoran Desert, so where was it? There were too many plants for this to be a desert. No amount of explaining that what she was seeing were desert-adapted plants and that she was indeed in the middle of the Sonoran Desert would satisfy her.
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 would agree with you, but then we would both be wrong.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
We need a 12-step group for compulsive talkers. They could call it On Anon Anon. —Paula Poundstone
Words that soak into your ears are whispered … not yelled.
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, 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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