Welcome to RVtravel.com, “The RVers’ Voice of Reason.”
Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 19th year of continuous publication, is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!
Week of November 2–8, 2019
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury | Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
At 11:07 a.m. on Tuesday we added the 100,000th reader to our subscriber database. If I do say so myself, that is a major accomplishment, considering this website and newsletter has essentially been built on a shoestring budget. We have earned those readers, I believe, by working hard and delivering quality information available nowhere else.
It cost me less than $100 to start RVtravel.com. I remember “talking shop” then with another RV website editor, whose site cost $1 million to launch. It was far prettier and more sophisticated than my low-budget, one-person, mutt-ugly creation. Three years later, the million dollar website folded. Little ol’ RVtravel.com just kept on plugging along, now in its 19th year.
Not a day has passed recently that I have not asked myself, “How can we be different — and better — than other RV websites?” I can’t stand being ordinary! I knew there was a way, and I knew the answer was right in front of me — I just couldn’t see it!
Early this year, I got my answer: We were, in fact, already different than other RV websites and blogs because we have viewed ourselves more as a magazine than a website that repeatedly dishes out predictable information. I mean, how many times can you report how to dump a black tank?
There are some wonderful mom-and-pop blogs out there, but with rare exception they have very small audiences. We always dreamed bigger — to have more influence to better the lives of as many RVers as possible. We still have a long way to go.
Our new Sunday edition of this newsletter, which focuses on news for RVers, has been a huge hit. While there are other RV news websites and newsletters, they are aimed at people in the RV industry, and are supported by industry advertising. You will almost never read anything on those websites that is critical of the industry. Look at what happened to Greg Gerber’s RV Daily Report: Greg spoke out about what he perceived as problems in the industry. His advertisers pulled their support, running Greg out of business — his important voice silenced.
Our editors as well as every RV industry executive knows that at this very moment thousands of people who recently bought new RVs are without them as they sit in repair shops for weeks, even months on end. We care about this; the industry only cares because of the bad press, which, heaven forbid, hurts sales.
PUT YOURSELF IN THE SHOES of those RVers: How would you like it if you spent your hard-earned money for an RV only to find it so riddled with defects you couldn’t use it? And the dealer wouldn’t take it back? And you had to continue making your monthly payments as you watched your stingy one-year warranty expire?
Earlier this year the RV Industry Association (RVIA) posted a video bragging about how in 2018 it had defeated RV lemon law proposals in two state legislatures. After we showed that video to our readers, the RVIA deleted that part of the video. Read our Facebook group RV Horror Stories to read about the frustration these RVers feel.
The RV industry has no love for us. We have been blackballed by many industry businesses. So be it. We are increasingly supported by our members, the 4 percent of you who pitch in to help us grow our mission. If you believe in what we’re doing, please consider lending your support.
And, do you really think that homeless people, or nearly homeless people, will stop renting junker RVs for $50 a week from “RV ranchers” to park along city streets or for “camping” at Walmarts? Did you listen to the story in last Sunday’s edition of this newsletter about how these RVers in Seattle are dumping a million gallons of raw sewage a year into the city’s storm drains, which is then running into local rivers and Puget Sound? Recently, residents in one Colorado neighborhood watched a tow truck haul a junker motorhome into their cul-de-sac and leave it there along a curb! It was a struggle to get the city to move it.
What impact will it have for you and me when it gets to the point that Walmart and other RV-friendly locations say, “Enough is enough,” and ban overnight stays in their parking lots? Or when local citizens get fed up with beat-up RVs parked along their streets, at times right in front of their homes? How would you like that? I wouldn’t!
NOTE: I fully understand how a very poor person would want to choose to live in an RV, no matter how beat up, than in a cardboard box on a city street. I’d do it in a heartbeat.
RVing IS UNDERGOING a fundamental change and the industry and its media have their heads buried in the sand. At RVtravel.com we keep observing and trying to make sense of what is going on. Few others do.
Other consumer websites will continue to tell you how to dump your holding tanks and repair a stuck slideout. Heaven knows that information is needed. But we’ll do more. We’ll continue to look ahead, to see where RVing is going and what it means to you and me. RVing, as many of you know, can still be wonderful. But I suggest it’s not as easy to enjoy as it was even 10 years ago (which our reader surveys confirm). And it’s getting more challenging every year.
Sorry to be so “doom and gloom,” but this is the way I see things. . .
We welcome your essays for posting in this spot. Submit them here.
P.S. Were you forced to evacuate your home to escape the current California wildfires? If so, did you escape with your RV? We’re sure readers of this newsletter would want to hear about your experiences. Please write to us. We welcome photos, too.
BE SURE to join our new Free Campgrounds Facebook group. Exchange locations you find and discover other hidden gems from other members.
WE HAVE A NEW SPONSOR, ALLSTAYS. We approached them after receiving raves about its program from many readers. You may agree that this is one of the most useful resources for RVers ever! Learn more.
TRIVIA: The RVtravel.com website attracted 205,463 different visitors in October, who viewed 1,051,104 pages. As of Friday, Nov. 1, RVtravel.com was ranked by Alexa.com as the 9,169th most popular website in the USA out of millions.
REMINDER: Don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour tonight.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Readers speak out
RVtravel.com reader Jeffrey Torsrud comments on a troubling development in the campground reservation system. Read what he says.
Missing RVers found dead, ruled homicide
The two bodies found on a beach in Corpus Christi have been identified as those of New Hampshire RVers James Butler, 48, and his wife, 46-year-old Michelle, who were reported missing last month. We’ll have a full story in tomorrow’s newsletter.
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• What RVers can learn from the California wildfires.
• Huge RV storage space in California purchased by Amazon to convert to logistics hub.
• Camping World’s Marcus Lemonis has sold a former RV World site at an apparent net loss of nearly $3 million.
• Many California state parks closed or restricted due to wildfires.
• RVers visiting the KOA on South Padre Island, Texas, last Sunday got an unusual greeting – from a very large reptile!
PLUS: Latest fuel prices • Upcoming RV Shows • Latest RV recalls • Free and Bargain Camping locations. Plus a reader survey.
If you missed last Sunday’s edition, it’s here.
Is reading this newsletter worth 4 cents to you?
The staff of RVtravel.com works hard to bring you honest, unbiased newsletters seven days a week. We are now publishing 420 newsletters a year, all about RVing. If you pledge $15 a year to become a member of RVtravel.com, that’s about 4 cents an issue if you read each one. Are we worth 4 cents? Whatever you can contribute — one time or monthly — helps us serve you better. And when you make a pledge, you’ll receive our special ad-free member newsletters on Saturday and Sunday.
Last week’s featured stories in RV Daily Tips
• Dirty electrical contacts? DeoxIT!
• Make your hide-a-bed more comfy.
• The half-full, half-empty (container) question.
• Emergency repairs: Go a step beyond duct tape.
• RVing in cold weather.
Our most popular stories in recent times
• Illinois lemon RV ruling may be a game-changer.
• National Parks may slash benefits to senior pass holders.
• Another unsanitary RV park utility hookup.
• This may be the biggest travel trailer you will ever see.
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.
How do full-time RVers keep busy?
Some folks, unfamiliar with the RV lifestyle, wonder just what fulltimers do to “keep themselves occupied.” After all, there’s no more lawn to mow, trim to be painted or any of the other things that keep the sticks ‘n bricks folks too busy to enjoy life. For fulltimers, the adventures of the road keep them plenty busy. But lest ye think it’s not enough, here’s a list of things that some RVers do to keep their mental juices flowing. Read more.
RVing and canning: Yes, you can can!
Do you enjoy home canning? Do you think you have to leave it behind just because you live or travel for months on end in an RV? Well, think again. As Russ and Tiña De Maris explain here, it’s not that difficult. Read their story.
RVers show off their Halloween-decorated rigs
Snowbirds: Will you stay in one place this winter season or move around?
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
Do you believe an economic recession is coming within a year? What form of payment do you use most often when buying groceries? How often do you do a crossword puzzle? Do you think marijuana should be legalized in all states? How far would you drive down a good dirt road to reach a campground? Did you buy Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters? Do you sleep with earplugs? All this and more, right here.
Airstream mints new astronaut hauler “RV”
You may remember when men who first walked on the moon and their crewmates were brought back to earth. There was concern that some sort of “outer space bugs” might contaminate human life, so the fellows rode back from their historic flight in a special isolation unit on wheels – built by Airstream. … Now Airstream has jumped into the space race again. The latest version of the unit designed for hauling astronauts to the launch pad breaks the mold. Read more.
How do RVtravel.com readers pay for groceries?
Do you remember the days at the supermarket when the customer ahead of you — or maybe even you — would pay for groceries by writing a check? Well, those days are long gone according to a survey last week by RVtravel.com. Learn more.
“Does the propane tank have to be empty before refilling?”
We bet you know the answer to this question. But some people don’t. And that’s what editor Chuck Woodbury discusses in this essay.
Winter is on the way and that means chilly times ahead. This 12-volt fleece warming blanket is perfect for car or RV passengers or when lounging around the RV without heating up the entire rig. Enter the contest.
Congratulations to last week’s winner, Eleanor Vantassell of Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, who won a Camco TastePURE RV Water Filter.
Popular articles from last week’s issue
• Reader photos: Another ugly RV park.
• Major RV retailer put on bankruptcy danger list.
• Building an RV park from scratch: Exciting things are happening here!
• Your fifth-wheel: Leave it hitched or not?
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, October 25, 2019.
• RV Shrink: Campground reservation rip-off.
• 16 surprising ways to use toothpaste.
• How do you force Google Maps to go the way you want?
• RV Doctor: Quick Q & A on using RV antifreeze.
• What we learned about you last week (October 19-25).
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.
Don’t let the time change keep you in the dark!
This 6-pack of tiny, battery-powered LED “Button Lamps” is just what you need for your RV’s closets and storage spaces. The tiny lamp is ultra-bright and has all the power of a normal-sized lamp. Backed with a strong adhesive, these little lamps will stick to any surface. They’re waterproof and good to have in case of an emergency. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Shrink
Taking a gamble on free RV parking
Dear RV Shrink:
My wife loves casino camping. She tries to convince me it’s free, or that many times we are given money just for signing up for a player’s card. Simple math tells me this is just not true. She loses more money gambling than we would have paid for full-hookups at a commercial park….
Ask the RV Doctor
How to winterize an RV using a “Schrader valve”
I have been hearing about dry winterizing a motorhome using a “Schrader valve” and blowing the water out using an air compressor set on 20-PSI, plus putting some of the pink stuff in the kitchen sink, bath sink and shower drains only. Is this a good idea? If so, how do I find the Schrader valve and where do I install one? —Bobbie V.
(Yes, we’ve run this before, but it’s repeated for those who missed it or want a reminder.)
Maintain those slide seals!
If you’ve heard a cracking or popping sound when extending your slides, it means its seals are sticking and/or drying out. Applying a seal conditioner about every 8-12 weeks can extend a seal’s life. We recommend using Thetford Premium RV Slide Out Rubber Seal Conditioner.
Pedestal voltage readings
In a recent issue of RV Travel Newsletter, you had an article that had a diagram showing the proper voltages between the contacts for a 50-amp connection and a 30-amp connection and a 20-amp connection all in one diagram. I have been searching for this diagram but cannot find it. I would appreciate it if you or someone could tell me what issue to look in, or email me the diagram. Any help would be appreciated. —BlueFlame
RV Electricity – This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
Why did this plug burn up? A member of Mike’s Facebook RV Electricity group wonders why his RV’s 30-amp power connection prong was charred and semi-melted from his last trip to a campground.
• Sign up for Mike’s monthly RV Electricity Newsletter.
• While you’re at it, be sure to join his popular Facebook group, RV Electricity.
• Read more of Mike’s articles here.
RV Tire Safety
Spare tire is wrong size. What to do?
In response to an RVer’s inquiry about carrying a spare tire (or not), Roger Marble explains why, if you have two different size tires on your RV but can only carry one spare, it should be for the rear. Learn more.
Hang up the heavy stuff!
RV walls aren’t exactly designed for having screws or nails driven into them. Enter acrylic mounting tape. This is a clear, double-sided tape that is sturdy enough to hang heavy objects and can easily be removed without doing damage to the walls. Get some on Amazon here.
RV Short Stop
Still time for 2019 autumn harvest festivals
Here are four great ideas for autumn harvest festivals scattered around the country. Enjoy parades, arts and crafts, fantastic food, music, and much more for the entire family. Dates are from now until December 8. Check them out here.
RV Fire Safety
Be prepared in case of fire
Have at least two escape routes — one in the front and one in the rear of the coach. As soon as they’re old enough, teach children how to open hatches and emergency exits. Make sure visitors can open the front door. Not all manufacturers use the same lock and latch assembly. Choose a rallying point where everyone will meet immediately after escaping, so everyone can be accounted for.
Protect yourself and others from sharp edges of RV slideouts!
Cut your head just once on the corner of a sharp RV slideout and you’ll race out to buy a set of these so it never happens again! Camco’s Slide-Out Corner Guards offer a simple solution to the danger posed by sharp corners on RV slideouts. Simply place on each corner of the slide to provide a cushion zone. Easy to install, no tools required. Learn more or order.
The world’s largest …
The world’s largest collection of the world’s smallest versions of the world’s largest things…
(Say that five times fast.) …is in Lucas, Kansas. Read more about what artist Erika Nelson does with her miniature replicas of the world’s largest things (including some of our favorite roadside attractions). Click here to read.
Refrigerator bars ensure nothing moves while driving
It’s happened to most RVers – you open the fridge (even slowly) after a day of driving and a heavy jar falls on your toe – “Ouch!” Never have that happen again with these easy-to-install spring-loaded refrigerator bars. They’re also useful in cupboards and closets. Order for a good price.
Museum (Factory) of the Week
Pet Casket Factory Tours
We get that this is a little morbid, but it’s Halloween week and you know we like to throw weird stuff at you. Anyway, in Gladstone, Michigan, you can find 30 different styles of pet caskets and urns. Hoegh Industries has created cozy burial contraptions for pets for 66 years, and we’re lucky enough to be able to tour their factory. It begins in their showroom, which appears like an actual pet funeral is in progress. Learn how each casket is made, and what type(s) of animals they’re built for. You’ll also learn the history of pet cemeteries, and walk through a model of one, which will leave you with the chills. If you’re brave (er, weird) enough to want to visit, start by visiting the company’s website here.
Stay warm this winter:
- Space heater uses less than two amps! RVtravel.com has one, loves it! More.
- This 12-volt electric blanket will keep you cozy. Click.
- Camco’s insulated skylight cover keeps the heat in your RV from escaping. More.
Jimmy Carter was the first U.S. President to be born in a hospital (October 1, 1924).
Bumper sticker of the week
Sawdust is man glitter.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
They should stock ATMs better. I went to four different ones and they all said insufficient funds.
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” —Ibn Battuta (1304-1368, Moroccan, considered greatest traveler of premodern times)
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
RV Travel staff
CONTACT US at editor@RVtravel.com
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris, Emily Woodbury. Contributing writers: Mike Sokol, Bob Difley, Richard Mallery, Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Marketing director: Jessica Sarvis. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.
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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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