Week of July 6–12, 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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One-third of you are asking for trouble on the road
With Chuck Woodbury
id you see this photo in the news last week? It’s what happened after an RVer’s tire failed while he was driving. I’m just guessing, but I bet he didn’t know how to react. This could happen to anyone, whether in a motorhome, truck or car. One second everything is fine, the next, disaster!
Now, let me ask, did you see the results of our reader’s poll last week where we asked how you would react to a sudden loss of tire pressure? It turns out one-third of the approximately 2,000 readers who responded would have done the wrong thing! That’s right … the wrong thing! The RVer above was lucky: The RV didn’t tumble and fall to pieces, perhaps taking a life in the process.
Click the graphic to the right to see how the voting on our poll was going as of last Wednesday afternoon. About 650 of you would have reacted improperly when a tire blew. The proper way to react, as we reported after readers answered the poll, was to “press the accelerator for a short distance to maintain control and remain in your lane as you slow” (to find a place to pull off the road). I strongly suggest you visit the survey page to watch the video from Michelin that shows exactly how to react.
As always, some readers commented that what we wrote was inaccurate. They misinterpreted what we said and/or obviously didn’t watch the video. They offered their own “expert” analysis. I hope you are not riding with one of them when a tire blows…
New way to better serve you
We are switching to a new email delivery system this coming week. Our subscriber database is approaching 100,000 — too much to be efficiently handled by our current system. One of the improvements will be that more of our emails will arrive in our readers’ inboxes instead of being blocked as spam.
There’s a steep learning curve, so we won’t publish our RV Daily Tips newsletter this coming week as we learn the ropes. If, for some reason, you do not receive an email alert next Saturday about a new issue of this newsletter, simply go to https://www.rvtravel.com and click the current issue link.
Be civil with your comments
If you comment on an article on this website, be kind. One reader last week called someone else an “idiot.” That sort of behavior is unacceptable! We immediately deleted his comment, and in his case blocked him from making future ones.
We are fed up with of this sort of rude behavior throughout our society and will not allow it in our little plot of cyberspace. We are friends here and there is no room for belittling others because their beliefs differ from yours. If you’re a Know-It-All who suffers from “hardening of the attitudes,” please take your RV reading elsewhere so the intelligent, open-minded beings among us can carry on — exploring ideas and expanding our knowledge.
I’m headed out in my motorhome tomorrow for five days in a beautiful forest. I need to catch up on my writing without any interruptions. My furry little buddy Archie will be with me. If you want to see a pic of Archie, who I must say is a very handsome little fellow, just click here.
Next week’s issue:
RVing in Japan! Yes, they enjoy RVing there!
Also, a tribute to the passing of a Quartzsite legend.
Welcome to the nearly 2,400 new subscribers who joined us in June!
New Facebook Group: RV Buying Advice: Join the discussion and become a smarter buyer.
Our tire expert on the radio
Watch the live taping of Alan Warren’s nationally syndicated syndicated radio program The RV Show USA this coming Wednesday, July 10, on YouTube at 6 p.m., Pacific time. Our RV tire columnist, Roger Marble, will be Alan’s guest. The show airs the following weekend on radio stations across the USA.
Marcus Lemonis and his king-sized American flag
The leader of the former RVer-only Good Sam Club, and the CEO of Camping World and Ganders Outdoors (and another few dozen companies), has been in the news lately about his giant, illegal American flag in Statesville, North Carolina. By flying the oversized flag, knowing he’s doing so illegally, is Lemonis showing his patriotism or pulling a cheap publicity trick? Here’s what I think.
• This website continues to grow with more than 1.1 million page views last month.
• As of Friday evening, we have posted 5,769 articles that attracted 34,730 comments.
• Views at our YouTube channel have now exceeded 20 million with nearly 65,000 subscribers.
• Our subscriber database is nearing 100,000. If all those readers stood beside each other with their arms extended at their sides, the line would stretch more than 110 miles!
Editor’s Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on his mind, not necessarily RV-related)
NEED BLINDS OR SHADES FOR YOUR RV? This is the place.
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
RV recalls for June
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 models from Airstream, Entegra, Forest River, Keystone, Newmar, Thor and others — plus other vehicles commonly used by RVers. Is your RV or other vehicle on the list? Find out here.
Help us become a stronger voice for RVers
Our journalism at RVtravel.com is powered increasingly by our members: readers like you (and including you!) who know how important it is for RV enthusiasts to maintain a strong voice in the RV industry. At RVtravel.com we represent you, not members of the industry whose mission is to sell you their product with little regard to your needs afterwards. At RVtravel.com we care!
If you have not become a voluntary subscriber — a member — would you please consider doing so? If it’s been a year or two since you contributed, please consider doing so again. Contributing, especially on a monthly basis, means that we can count on your help as we plan our future activities on behalf of you and other RVers. If you read all our newsletters, an annual pledge of $12 equals about 5 cents per issue!
This website has published nearly 6,000 articles in the past few years. Without the financial support of our 4,400 members, we could only have published half that many. Also, when you become a member, we will send you our special ad-free member newsletter.
Thanks for providing a link to “The RV Industry Death Spiral.” Greg Gerber said everything I was thinking, and certainly more eloquently. His insight broadened my understanding of the issues within the RV industry and opened my eyes to the contribution that all participants (manufacturers, suppliers, dealers, campgrounds, associations, RV owners and some media) play in the demise of the industry as a whole. My one regret is that I wish I had known of Greg and the “RV Daily Report” before its demise. He seems to be one of the good guys that, like you and a handful of others, have their finger on the pulse of the industry and are working to reverse the death spiral. —Steve S.
What do you know about The RV Advisor? Should we trust what they say about maintenance programs for RVs? They offer a program that’s much cheaper than anybody else. —Doug S.
(Chuck responding here): I believe in what The RV Advisor is doing. Gigi Stetler, who started it, appears to me to be sincere about her commitment to help RVers. I trust that whatever programs she offers RVers, whether extended warranties, roadside assistance, etc., are the best available. In fact, she and I have joined forces to promote her messages/services. I researched her business for about a year before determining that everything she is doing is on the up-and-up. Still, I monitor her organization closely. If I hear anything negative, I have her cell phone number and will call her immediately.
That was the RV week that was …
• Bill in U.S. Senate could put speed limiters on new heavy trucks.
• Independence Day celebrations in D.C. divert millions from NPS.
• Record-breaking heat in Alaska contributing to wildfires.
• Stock market analyst says to get out of RV industry investments.
• Title fee hikes for new RVs in Illinois.
• plus much more …
• Coachmen and Shasta trailers recalled for improper GFCI outlet.
• Newmar recalls motorhomes: Lights could malfunction.
• Forest River recalls some fifth wheels for fire risk.
• Forest River trailers recalled for potential shock issue.
• Forest River recalls RVs: Slideout could extend unexpectedly.
Yes, this is an RV!
We were alerted to this “thing” by a reader. And do you know what? It’s an RV! No kidding! The owner intends to fix it up and travel with it. We’ll tell you more in an issue or two. We want this!
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.
Get rid of splattered bugs with Love Bug Eraser
There is probably not a single RVer who has not experienced pulling into a campsite after a day’s drive to discover a mass of dead bugs splattered on the front of his or her vehicle. The problem is that bugs are greasy little critters who are not only difficult to remove, but if not removed soon will leave lasting stains on a vehicle’s paint. But, now, the good news.
Going solar? Be realistic about your power needs
So you’ve decided to “go solar.” Congratulations! No doubt you’ve read a lot about panel types and inverter technologies, and maybe received a few quotes. You have probably become familiar with the basic arithmetic of energy management by now, too. But there’s a lot more to learn.
Telltale signs full-time RVing is not for you
Read this list from Liz Wilcox to see if you could “make it” as a full-time RVer. Or if you’re already a full-timer and don’t understand why you’re having difficulties adjusting, this list could help you pinpoint the problem. Get a chuckle here.
Did you attend a public fireworks celebration on July 4th?
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 you would respond in the event of a tire blowout while driving? What is your alcoholic beverage of choice? Are you afraid of heights? How often do you post on Facebook? Have you ever rented an RV outside of North America? All this and more, right here.
The many uses of WD-40
There are few RVers who don’t consider a can of WD-40 an essential item in their tool arsenal. This “can do” lubricant has a wide range of uses, making it a very handy and useful product. Here are some uses for the product that you may not have thought about that may come in handy.
Try out a propane campfire when burning wood won’t do
A wood campfire is the ultimate outdoor experience in many ways. The dancing flames, flickering light and smoky aroma all bring out the caveman in us. We feel soothed, safe, warmed and Zen’d all at the same time. But what about those times and places where burning a pile of wood isn’t going to work so well or is prohibited? How about a propane fire?
How to locate roof leaks
Regular inspections of your RV’s roof can help you identify a problem when something “looks different” from your previous inspection and can prevent leak problems before they cause costly damage. Here’s how to locate current or potential roof leaks.
RV smell bad after being closed up? Try charcoal!
To rid your RV of musty or bad smells after storage or after being closed up for a few weeks, place activated charcoal in disposable containers throughout your rig. Read more.
Block hot summer sun with a sun blocker side system
Don’t put up with the heat and glare of early morning or late afternoon sun coming in under the sides of your awning. The SunBlocker’s weather resistant open-weave fabric cuts most of the light to keep you cool and comfortable – but it doesn’t block your view! It also adds some privacy to your campsite from your neighbors. Read more.
Make Welcome Centers your first stop when you cross state lines
How do you know where to go or what to do when you’re in a new place? Here’s a great source of that information and more.
Win this emergency weather radio
We love giving away stuff!
This NOAA self-powered weather radio could save you in an emergency. Plus, it plays the AM and FM bands. Power it by batteries, hand crank, or solar. And it doubles as a flashlight!
Congratulations to last week’s winner, Bill Smoot of Morgan, Texas, who won a vintage laptop backpack.
The question: What was the original name of Austin, Texas? Answer: Waterloo.
Popular articles from last week’s issue
• RVer dies after airborne RV crashes onto departed ferry boat.
• Don’t fall for these two online scams.
• Thoughts from the editor, June 29, 2019.
• How would you respond as a driver to a tire blowout? (Poll with many comments)
• That was the RV week that was, June 22–28, 2019.
• Don’t stop at “making” memories in an RV.
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, June 28, 2019.
• Update on new association for RVers.
• What we learned about you last week (June 22-28).
• Why do RVers need so much electrical power?
• RVer Safety: Man fatally shot by rangers at California State Park.
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 July 1, 2019:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.71. [Calif.: $3.62]
Change from week before: Up 6 cents; Change from year before: Down 13 cents.
Diesel: $3.04. [Calif.: $3.96]
Change from week before: No change; Change from year before: Down 19 cents.
Safety tools for boondockers: satellite messenger service
Modern technology is amazing. Now you can communicate with just about anyone from anywhere regardless of cellular availability … via satellite. Introducing Find Me Spot. This is a 2-way satellite messenger service that requires a monthly subscription fee based on your chosen options. Learn more.
Hurry! Catch that critter!
The Critter Catcher is a personal insect trap that safely catches and releases spiders, bugs, reptiles and other small animals a good, safe distance away from you. Too scared of that spider? Bee or fly buzzing around and driving you nuts? Find a scorpion in your RV (we hope not!)? Catch them with the Critter Catcher and put those creepy crawlies back outside where they belong. Learn more or order here.
Ask the RV Shrink
Couple’s “storage turf” battle in a Class B motorhome
Dear RV Shrink:
My husband and I recently bought a Class B motorhome van – we like small and maneuverable. What I didn’t plan on was my husband changing his mind about alternative transportation. Now he has decided to haul his motorcycle on a rack. This is where we access storage from the rear doors. Yesterday I found his helmet in my already-small clothes closet. I told him where he could put it. …
The Business of Work Camping
Making a meal – Part 2
In Part 1 last week, we discussed where to store the groceries in an RV. Now we move on to cooking a meal. What’s in a meal anyway? How does one go about making a meal in an RV? Sam Suva explains some steps here.
Cummins Standby Generators. Get info.
Ask the RV Doctor
RV tub will not drain properly
I have a 1977 Layton travel trailer and it has a bathtub/shower combo. The tub suddenly started filling up with water, not draining, and I cannot locate the problem. I checked the outside water lines and there is water all over the ground and a small continuous drip. It has never happened before. I am puzzled and have very little knowledge of RV repairs. Please give me an idea of how I might be able to fix this issue. —Leslie R.
Don’t scream, just fix the screen!
This roll of screen repair tape is just what you need to fix those torn, ripped or cracked screens in your home or RV. Don’t waste your money buying a whole new screen! Cut off as much of the tape as you need, stick it over the torn patch of the screen and voila! You’ve got a screen as good as new. It’s summer, so you’ll want to keep those windows open but those bugs out. Learn more or order here.
Tighten those transfer switch terminals carefully
Saw your seminar in Goshen at the Heartland Rally, and it was really informative. Can you go into more detail on how to properly tighten the terminal screws in a generator transfer switch without breaking them off? Thanks. —Billy D
Sign up for Mike’s new RV Electricity group on Facebook.
RVers must have this space-saving drying rack
We feel silly about how excited we are over this retractable drying rack but it’s soooo handy for the RV! This wall-mounted laundry rack can hold up to 27 lbs. of clothes (and comes in two sizes) and folds flat up against the wall when you’re not using it. You’ll definitely want to learn more about this space-saving rack here.
RV Tire Safety
Video: Modern radial tire assembly – worldwide
Here is a very good 10-minute video from a number of different companies on how modern radials tires are “built,” how some of the material is processed, tires are cured, handled in the warehouse and even how some retreads are made. Watch the video.
The rise and fall of Wupatki
The Four Corners country is famous for its pre-Columbus Native American civilizations. Most known are the tremendous cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde in Colorado, or the structures in Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. These are the silent remnants of advanced civilizations. However, one of the most fascinating ancient sites is not a cliff dwelling – it is a community in a region northeast of the current city of Flagstaff, Arizona. Read more.
It’s about time you cleaned those headlights
When was the last time you gave those headlights a good scrub? It’s been a while, huh? Get yourself this 4-piece headlight restorer kit from Turtle Wax for less than $7, and have your headlights looking as good as new in less than 5 minutes. It can be used on all lenses, plexiglass and plastic surfaces, and will restore all dull, yellowed headlights. Learn more or order here.
Don’t get lost – Find your way back by taking a photo
As an RV traveler, this is Chris Guld’s favorite feature of Google Photos. She takes a picture every time they park at a new camp spot so whenever they are away from that spot, she can easily navigate back there using this feature of Google Photos and Google Maps. Learn how easy it is find your way back to your RV.
No-mess microwaveable rice maker perfect for RV
This small no-mess rice maker is just what you need in your RV kitchen. Add rice, water (seasonings, etc.) and microwave for a few minutes. The rice maker is phthalate- and BPA-free and the whole thing can go into the dishwasher for easy cleanup. Making rice couldn’t be easier! You’ll wish you had one of these sooner! Learn more or order here.
Free and bargain camping
Marfa Lights Viewing Area, Marfa, TX
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed but the area can be crowded with vehicles (especially at sunset). Expect light to moderate noise from those here to view the Marfa lights, plus traffic noise from the highway and RR tracks. Vault toilets are open 24/7, and there are trash barrels and picnic tables. The lot is well-lit and appears safe. Click here for more details.
Seton Dam Campground, Lillooet, BC
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed in campground. There are 45 paved back-in sites, up to 50 ft. long, but narrow interior roads. No hookups. Potable water (but may not be via threaded tap). No known dump station. Picnic tables, fire rings, BBQ grills at sites and pit toilets available in the campground. No reservations. Some sites level, but not all. Quiet, not brightly lit, and appears safe. 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.
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.
Museum of the Week
The bug art of John Hampson
St. Johnsbury, VT
You’ll find much of interest at the Fairbanks Museum, just past the large maple syrup can on Route 2, in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. There’s a large collection of taxidermy animals, Vermont’s only planetarium and many historical artifacts. And there’s John Hampson’s bug art! Wedged in between the samurai warrior and the Indian pots you’ll find his art pieces made with between 6,000 and 13,000 bugs —butterflies, beetles, moths and other insects. Buzz up to Vermont to see for yourself. Click here to learn more.
Upcoming RV Shows
Be like Mike Sokol, use silicone!
Mike says: Never use any kind of petroleum-based products on rubber or plastic components in your RV, such as your trailer connector. That includes products such as Vaseline, WD40 or any other type of spray lubricating oil. Doing so will eventually break down the plastic and/or rubber components causing them to swell up and eventually disintegrate. The proper treatment is anything silicone-based. We use a lot of Heavy Duty Silicone in our shop for general connector cleaning and lubrication. It’s also useful on rubberized door sweeps and such. You can get some of your own here.
Editor Bennett Cerf bet $50 that Theodor Geisel – aka Dr. Seuss – couldn’t write a book using 50 words or less. That bet resulted in the children’s classic “Green Eggs and Ham.” Geisel won.
Silly Tourist Questions
From Park Rangers at Grand Canyon National Park:
“Was this man-made?”
“Is there an elevator to the bottom?”
“Do you light it up at night?”
“Is the mule train air-conditioned?”
“Where are the faces of the presidents?”
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
Never follow the advice on a bumper sticker.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
“I recently entered a competition to see who had gained the most weight and lost the most hair. Obviously, it wasn’t called that. It was advertised as a ‘Class Reunion.'”
“Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not.” —Thomas Henry Huxley
RV Travel staff
CONTACT US at [email protected]
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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This newsletter is copyright 2019 by RVtravel.com.