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!
If you are not already receiving an email reminder about each new issue of this newsletter, sign up here:
Week of August 24–30, 2019
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury | Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
Ibelieve one of the reasons that many couples graduate from a Class C motorhome to a Class A is that they get fed up with sleeping in the Class C’s overhead bunk. Of course, not all couples sleep in the overhead bunk, but many do. The way I see it, the overhead bunk – typically a full-size bed or larger – is a great use of space. That, at least, is one way of looking at it.
With the bed over the cab and another bed below, two to four people can sleep without making and unmaking a dinette- or sofa-bed with each use. In very short Class C motorhomes, the overhead bunk may be the only full-time bed, leaving the rest of the coach as usable living space. Even a 20- or 22-foot motorhome can offer some room to roam.
That said, the overhead bunk may not provide the world’s ideal sleeping experience.
A decision is made by couples in the very first days of new Class C ownership that will establish their sleeping relationship until the coach is sold or retired. And that is: Who will sleep in the back of the overhead bunk — the area right at the very front of the coach? This can be a heated discussion. I have been the unfortunate loser in this situation, banned to the back up against the wall. The major consequence was spending many nights remaining in bed even when my bladder was threatening to erupt rather than wake my bedmate.
A TRULY GIFTED PERSON – one with strong arms for pushing up and rolling/vaulting over his or her bedmate – can actually de-bed without waking the partner. But it’s not easy, and I speak from experience. And even those who can perform this delicate maneuver when young find that doing so in middle or old age is hard or even impossible. And so it is at a certain stage in our lives when, at an RV show, many RVers become fixated with the queen-sized “island” beds in Class A motorhomes, those where each person can exit on his or her own side. This happened to me.
And so begins the discussion of putting the old rig out to pasture in favor of one where the sleeping is easy. I believe there are RVers out there who buy an RV not for the kitchen, the chassis, the living room or the spacious bathroom, but for the island bed. Leave a comment if this rings true with you.
P.S. The National Park Service is turning 103 tomorrow (Sunday). And you’re invited to join the celebration by visiting your favorite park (or parks) for free. No free camping, though, but, hey, free admission is pretty nice all by itself!
Wow! Did I ever hit a hot button last week with my response to an unhappy reader who warned: Watch out RV Travel, you’re on a slippery slope! The last time I checked, readers had left 125 comments.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
Is this newsletter worth 10 cents to you?
Ninety-five percent of our readers do not pay even a penny to read this newsletter, and so they receive the advertising edition of the newsletter where the ads help cover the cost. Thankfully, about 4,400 readers believe we are worth paying for. A donation of only $10 a year comes out to less than 10 cents an issue – that’s all! Would you please consider a voluntary monthly or annual subscription to help us afford to spend the time to write about important matters, not just fluff to please RV industry big shots? And when you make a pledge, you’ll receive our special members’ edition of the newsletter, which is ad-free. Of course, we will be most appreciative, too.
Wages in “RV capital” drop dramatically, worst in USA
Elkhart County, Indiana, suffered the largest decrease in weekly average wages in the nation from March 2018 to March 2019, according to a report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Wednesday, August 21, and reported by The Elkhart Truth. More than 80 percent of all RVs made in America are made in Elkhart. Read more.
When Quartzsite had a bank – in a motorhome
Thirty years ago there wasn’t much civilization in today’s Snowbird Capital, Quartzsite, Arizona – no fast food joints, no housing subdivisions, no sprawling gas stations with mini-marts. And there was no bank. About all Quartzsite was back then was a dusty outpost in the desert that was overrun with RVer snowbirds every winter, who squatted for months on end on the surrounding government lands. Then, in 1987, Desert Sun State Bank came to town. Read more.
Is RVing an economic recession indicator?
Is there an economic recession looming? Many point to Elkhart County, Indiana, as the economic forecast hot spot. Since 80 percent of all U.S.-built RVs come from Indiana, and 65 percent from this county alone, when money is tight, big ticket items are the first things that folks stop buying – so the theory goes. So how goes it with big ticket RVs? Find out here.
That was the RV week that was
• FMCA recently assigned its 500,000th membership.
• Fire at North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park being allowed to burn naturally, but under supervision.
• Camping World selling a couple recent outdoor store acquisitions.
• Only hard-sided RVs allowed in Rising Sun Campground, Glacier NP, after bear activity.
• The McKinley Fire in Alaska is causing travel difficulties.
• Towable sales down in Canada; RV sales up in Japan.
and much more ..
• Forest River recall: Fifth wheel ladder may block emergency exit.
• Vanleigh RV fifth wheels recalled for suspension issue.
• Forest River recalls trailers: Wrong bolts could lead to crash.
• Current Wildfire Report
Last week’s featured stories in RV Daily Tips
• Can you leave your RV’s refrigerator running on propane while traveling?
• Why do RV generators surge?
• Which fuse operates what?
RVers survive tornado, but not until after big scare
EDITOR’S NOTE: Our staff has been digging through our archives for articles that disappeared from our server for one reason or another. We’re gradually re-posting some that remain relevant and deserve to be read again. We originally published this letter to the editor in June, 2011. It was from RVtravel.com reader Coralee Kulman, who reported on her experience during a North Carolina tornado the day before. Luckily, she and her husband were not hurt, but they went through a very harrowing situation. Read her letter.
Ah, the good ol’ days of slow Internet
We came across this letter from reader Bob Hoffman while going through old issues of this newsletter. We published it on February 2, 2012. Bob had responded to an essay editor Chuck Woodbury had written about his early days on the road when he carried a portable darkroom and typed on a manual typewriter. Here is what he wrote.
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.
There are still heroes on the highway
It’s one of those “feel your heart sink” moments: You’re tooling down the highway with your RV, and somebody rolls up beside you pointing back at your rig. It happened to Russ and Tiña De Maris a couple of weeks ago – and the outcome was truly surprising. Read their heartwarming story.
FMCA RV club draws 1,800 to North Dakota gathering
FMCA, once known as the Family Motor Coach Association, but nowadays simply FMCA, drew just shy of 1,800 coaches to its 100th annual International Convention and Expo August 14-17 in Minot, North Dakota. It was the largest coach turnout for a summer convention in five years, according to executive director Chris Smith. Read more.
Own your own KOA. Only $2.8 million
If you’ve always yearned to own an RV park but don’t want to start from scratch, here’s your golden opportunity. And all 84 units of this KOA park, the swimming pool, washing machines and everything else can be yours for the asking price of $2.8 million, $33,000 per camping unit. Learn more.
Moody’s downgrades Camping World ratings
Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded ratings of CWGS Enterprises, LLC (“Camping World”), including the Corporate Family rating, which was downgraded to B2. The outlook is negative. Learn more.
How hard is it for you to make ends meet each month?
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.
Free fishing in California!
If you’ll be in California next week, then buy, beg or borrow a fishing pole. Next Saturday, August 31, is free fishing day, no license required. While all fishing regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect, you can fish without purchasing a state license. So get out there and catch your dinner! Learn more.
LED lights for RVs: Huge selection. Exceptional prices. Click.
What we learned about you last week
Well, the big shocker last week was our poll where we asked you, “How accurate are the holding tank gauges on your RV?” Wow! The RV industry needs to do a better job, because for most of you, you can’t even rely on the readings. We also asked you how old you were when you first dreamed of owning an RV. Click here to read more about these polls and others from last week.
Fifth wheel burns up in an instant!
The fifth wheel is gone in less than six minutes from the flicker of the first flame. By the time the fire department arrives, there’s virtually nothing left. In this case, it’s lucky the RV park provided a lot of space between RVs. If not, who knows how many RVs would have been destroyed? Watch and weep.
Got hard water problems? Try vinegar!
If you have plumbing problems because you’re in a hard-water area of the country, here’s a tip to possibly save your plumbing. Have you tried this method? Did it work? Let us know in the comments below the post. Read more.
Move over, big rigs! It’s time for the little guy to shine. Happier Camper, a California-based company, is turning out some of the cutest little RVs we’ve ever seen – and they’re only 72 square feet! Check ’em out!
RV shopping? Watch for the dreaded low-end CCC sticker
Sad to say, limited weight capacity for cargo is a reality for many RVers. It would seem that manufacturers, who want to build to whim and fancy, tend to stuff their units with plenty of flash and bling, and a lot of it pumps up the scale weight. Here are some important things to consider when shopping for an RV regarding the cargo carrying capacity (CCC). It’s a real eye-opener!
Darth Vader’s motorhome?
When we first spotted this thing, we weren’t sure if it was some sort of “Redneck chop shop” joke. But looking at it a bit more, it has that sort of out-worldly appearance. We can almost hear that raspy breathing, “Trust me, Luke! You’ll enjoy exploring the universe with me in this classic retro-ship!” Read more.
Nevada State Parks offers great discount camping programs
Nevada State Parks offers several different types of annual permits including an all access permit, annual entrance permits, senior permits and disabled veteran permits. The various permits are described in more detail here.
Travel Ideas For You
• Migrants came to San Simeon – and they stayed – now numbering 17,000.
• Spirits, poltergeists, and things that go bump in the night.
• The Old West lives on in Modoc County, California’s, remote ranchlands.
• Camp on the tree-shaded river bank of Oregon’s Metolius Recreation Area.
• Explore the West’s explosive history on the Volcanic Legacy National Scenic Byway.
• Three distinct ecosystems define Washington’s vast Olympic National Park.
• Meander California’s Sonoma County coastline for spectacular ocean views.
Win this lifesaving LifeStraw personal water filter
Today, we’re giving away this potentially life-saving LifeStraw personal water filter. It removes a minimum of 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites, and filters to 0.2 microns and surpasses EPA filter standards. Keep in your backpack when away from your RV. It could save your life if you get lost. Enter the contest.
Congratulations to last week’s winner, Becky Nicholl of Bellefontaine, Ohio, who won a very nice pair of binoculars.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Popular articles from last week’s issue
• The new American RVer – not a pretty sight.
• Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis: The “Profit” or the “Destroyer”?
• Once popular travel trailers now being made at Hutterite colony.
• Hard to believe an RV park hookup could be so stupid!
• RVers awarded $500,000 in Winnebago “lemon” lawsuit.
• Death Valley Encampment packs in the RVers.
• Are you an RV water whiz? Get these gadgets!
• What to do in the event of an RV accident.
• What we learned about you last week (August 10-16).
• RVer Safety: Guns and nuts, Part 2.
Our Facebook and RVillage Groups: RV Horror Stories • RV Advice • RV Electricity • RV Parks with Storm Shelters • RV Buying Advice • Northwest RV Camping • Southwest RV Camping and NEW RV Crashes and Disasters.
A social media site like Facebook, but for RVers only and without the privacy concerns many people find objectionable at Facebook. Join the RVtravel.com group at RVillage.
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.
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.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of August 19, 2019:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.60. [Calif.: $3.46]
Change from week before: Down 3 cents; Change from year before: Down 22 cents.
Diesel: $2.99. [Calif.: $3.89]
Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Down 21 cents.
Don’t take a break on your brakes!
Every RVer needs one of these!
Wonder what it would be like to have your brakes go out while you’re going down a long, steep grade? You might find out if your brake fluid is moisture-contaminated. Water in brake fluid boils and can wipe out your braking ability! Buy yourself a brake-fluid tester for less than $10 that warns you if there’s too much water in your fluid. Simply dip the tester into your rig’s brake fluid and you’ll be able to see where you stand. Learn more or order.
Guns and nuts, Part 2 cont’d.
From Mike Sherman, retired street cop: My post last week generated more than 90 responses. … I offered up the idea of including a local law enforcement database check in addition to the standard DOJ/FBI checks when someone seeks to purchase a gun through a dealer. If the local check shows lots of red flags on someone that did not result in a conviction, it might be wise for the sheriff to perhaps pay them a home visit. My opinion prompted Ed D. (among many others) to write, and I responded to his comments. I wanted to share the exchange with you. Read more.
Give your phone or tablet a full-sized keyboard
How neat is this? This tiny, collapsible Bluetooth keyboard connects to your phone and tablet so you can type comfortably. The 5-ounce palm-sized keyboard can be folded into your pocket or backpack to carry around. All you have to do is press “Connect” to quickly pair with your devices. Check it out here.
Ask the RV Shrink
RVer annoyed with park ranger’s attitude
Dear RV Shrink:
I recently visited Big Bend National Park and discovered I may be a curmudgeon. There are a lot of fossils there, but I didn’t want to be one of them. I began to suspect I was getting old and crotchety when I asked a young ranger with a diamond in her nose about a location I wanted to hike to. She pointed to an obvious point on the map as if I was directionally challenged, then kind of raised her eyebrows. Without saying a word, she was screaming “idiot” with those raised eyebrows reflecting in her nose jewelry. …
The Business of Work Camping
Making our new-to-us RV comfortable
From Sam Suva: What happens when the current camper becomes the old camper? We need to remove and replace the old creature comforts for new ones. Once we brought our new-to-us motorhome, well, home, we made it comfortable. Here’s how.
Ask the RV Doctor
Why won’t RV’s AC work on generator power?
I have just borrowed a 29-foot motorhome to drive to a NASCAR race. The air conditioner works wonderful when using the extension cord and running off my electrical power but it doesn’t work at all when the generator is on. Is there a switch I must throw to get it to convert from extension cord to generator? —William J.
Less than $10! Mini waffle (and more!) maker is a crowd-pleaser.
RV Electrical Safety: Part 6 – Voltage drop
In part 6 of his 12-part series about basic electricity for RV users and how to protect yourself and your family from shocks and possible electrocution, Mike explains voltage drop, including what causes it, the damage it can do in your RV and how to prevent it. Learn all about it here.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
Join Mike in Hershey in September
Just a reminder that Mike will be presenting free seminars at the Hershey RV Show September 11-15, as well as offering a 3-hour advanced electricity seminar just off campus in Grantville, PA, on Saturday, Sept. 14. Cost for his Advanced RV Electricity seminar is $125, but discounted to $100 for RVtravel.com paid members. Register HERE, but do it soon since the room only seats 50.
Sign up for Mike’s new RV Electricity group on Facebook.
Be like Mike, use a torque screwdriver!
Most overheated wiring situations in transfer switches are due to loose screws in the terminal connections on the contactor/relays. This is simply due to road vibration and heating/cooling cycles. The solution? A torque screwdriver to safely tighten these screws. Read Mike’s post about these screwdrivers, and order one for yourself here.
RV Tire Safety
Why are ST tires better than LT type?
Roger Marble is following some posts on an Airstream forum of tire inflation and type tires. Some are complaining about rivets “popping” when they increase tire pressure. There are many questions and some confusing replies. Here is some information from Roger that you might find interesting.
Building an RV Park
We have a rough draft of our park!
From Machelle James: Such excitement in the air in the last few weeks! Not only did we meet with the engineers, we also had our kitchen delivered and partially installed! We drove into Snowflake to meet with our engineer, Will, last Friday. The excitement was building up for both of us. How many full hookup spots can we have? How many partial hookups, how many storage spots? Well, after our hours-long meeting, we came up a plan. Read more.
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.
The RV Kitchen
Pork ‘n’ Beans Stew
Know beans about camping. Nothing says camping better than pork and beans, especially now when the marketplace offers so many choices of baked beans, barbecue beans, spicy or mild beans and vegetarian beans. This is a hearty, simple hobo meal to warm up a cold night. And there is only one pot to wash. Get the recipe.
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.
Facebook Groups of Interest
- Camco Water Bandit connects standard water hose to various water sources. Click.
- Camco 90-Degree Hose Elbow eliminates stress/strain on RV water intake hose fittings. Click.
- Camco Plastic Water Pressure Regulator prevents damage to RV water hoses and pumps. Click.
Free and bargain camping
Kluane Museum of Natural History, Burwash Landing, YT
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. The parking lot is paved, but some parts of it aren’t level. Quiet, appears safe, and has lighting from street lights. Multiple RVers recommend visiting the museum (open May 15 – Sept. 15) for excellent displays. Click for details.
Grove City Premium Outlets, Grove City, PA
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Check in at Guest Services Desk before 10 p.m. Park only in the far south parking lot and do not obstruct traffic lanes. Well-lit, quiet, appears safe, with gentle slopes and few level areas. Food court in mall. Click 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
• America’s Largest RV Show, Sept. 11-15, Hershey, PA
• Great American RV Show – Colorado Springs, Sept. 12-14, Colorado Springs, CO
• Portland Fall RV & Van Show, Sept. 12-15, Portland, OR
• Georgia RV & Camper Show, Sept. 13-15, Atlanta,GA
What’s on sale?
Check out Amazon’s daily deals page to see the hundreds of items on sale.
The letters M&M on the popular candies stand for the founders of the company, Forrest Mars Sr. and Bruce Murrie. The candy-coated chocolate concept was inspired by a method used to allow soldiers to carry chocolate without having it melt. The company’s longest-lasting slogan reflects this: “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” More than 400 million individual M&Ms are produced every day in the United States
Bumper sticker of the week
From Dorothea Ledford:
Seen on, what else, a black Jeep: I am the black Jeep of the family.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
I hate autocorrect. It always makes me say things I didn’t Nintendo.
“If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for 10 years, plant trees. If your plan is for 100 years, educate children.” —Confucius
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, 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.
Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.
This newsletter is copyright 2019 by RVtravel.com