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Week of December 14–20, 2019
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury
ONE OF MY FAVORITE ESSAYS FROM YEARS PAST
would like to tell you about Michael. I met him years ago in a beautiful, fern-infested Forest Service campground along the Umpqua River in Central Oregon. We were the only campers. I was a struggling freelance writer on the road in a tiny motorhome trying to earn my fame and fortune. He was camped in the back of a small pickup truck. There was a beautiful waterfall nearby. I had visited it earlier. I had snapped a fast photo and returned to my motorhome.
Later I noticed Michael at the waterfall. He was sitting on a wide, flat rock. He stayed an hour. When he returned to the campground, I stepped outside and asked him if he would like to join me for dinner. It promised to be a cool, drizzly evening and I figured he would enjoy a break from the mist. I was preparing pasta. He said yes.
I soon learned that there was something “wrong” with Michael. He couldn’t move very well. His neck appeared frozen in place. He told me he was 30. He had developed a form of arthritis that was gradually fusing his bones together. I helped him up the steps into my motorhome. It was too painful for him to enter by himself. We had a few beers, ate my lousy pasta and shared stories. He told me he didn’t have much longer before he couldn’t move at all. Ultimately, the disease would kill him.
HE HAD LOST HIS JOB — just couldn’t do the work anymore. So rather than sit around and feel sorry for himself, he set off in his small truck to see the American West. At our campground, he was totally at peace by the waterfall, patiently savoring each moment. He was in no rush. I, meanwhile, had spent only a few minutes there, snapping a photo before retreating to my motorhome to crank out a story to earn a dollar.
We said goodbye the next morning, and wrote to each other a few times during the next year. And then I never heard from him again. Michael taught me how lucky I was: I had no money, but I had my health and my future. Many times in the years since, when I have stood upon a beautiful overlook or by another waterfall, I have thought of Michael. And I have stayed a bit longer to savor the beauty and ponder my good fortune. Thank you, my friend, wherever you are.
SOMETHING ON THE OREGON COAST THAT DISGUSTED ME
P.S. I am on the road this week along the Oregon Coast. This is truly one of the most beautiful places in America. Yet, early Friday morning, on a stunning beach near Newport, I saw something so disgusting that it nearly made me sick. I will tell you the story in Sunday’s newsletter.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• The editor is sickened at what he discovers along an Oregon beach
• Mr. Heater user dies from carbon monoxide poisoning
• Towable RV sales down 6.2 percent for first 10 months
• Elon Musk wipes out traffic control pylon in his Cybertruck during illegal turn
• Lose the contents of your black tank on a ferry? Oh, my!
• Trees crash down at Sunset State Beach near Santa Cruz
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Upcoming RV shows • Latest RV recalls • Free and bargain camping locations • Reader survey • and much more …
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Last week’s featured stories in RV Daily Tips
• Test the RV’s features for noise before you buy.
• The best way to handle crosswinds while driving your RV.
• Keep the dust out of your RV.
• Shopping online for a motorhome? Here’s advice on sites.
• Motorhome shopping most-wanted checklist.
Are RVers eco-pigs or eco-conscious?
To some people the image of the RV is that of a large, gas-guzzling, pollution-spewing beast full of ugly, inconsiderate tourists. I’m not saying it’s the most eco-friendly activity out there (I think walking or biking takes that blue ribbon), but I can sit here and claim that RVing is actually a very eco-conscious activity. Read more.
“Hike” Arizona state parks without leaving your RV
Imagine hiking an Arizona state park trail or visiting your campsite before you head out, giving you the chance to perfectly plan your hike or view your campsite. Arizona State Parks and Trails partnered with Google earlier this year to make that happen. Learn more.
Small Kansas town has big plan that could set pattern of RV relief
Looking to get your RV off the road for a few hours of shuteye? Walmart parking lots have become the de facto overnight spots for many RVers needing this kind of respite, but local ordinances and pressure from established RV parks have shut out RVers from many Walmart stores. … Enter the Abilene, Kansas, city commission. One of their proposed ordinances might just provide a model for communities across the country to follow in ways that could benefit both RVers and small businesses. Learn more.
RV travels down icy highway with slideouts extended
We found this photo on a Facebook group called RV Fun Stuff. We think this is really more like “RV scary stuff”! More than 400 people commented on the photo, but no one knew the real reason the slides were out. Check this out!
FMCA RV club announces future rallies
Preparations are under way for FMCA’s 101st International Convention and RV Expo — “Sunsets + Saguaros” — at the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson, Arizona, March 26 through 29, 2020. The organization has also announced plans for the 102nd International Convention and RV Expo at the Lancaster Event Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, August 26 through 29, 2020. Learn more.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular stories:
• Troubleshooting RV furnace problems
• Hungry bear rips through RV’s side to enter. See the photo.
• How to prevent a thief from stealing your RV’s surge protector
• The campground of your dreams? No way!
Did you decorate your RV for the holidays? We want to see! Send a photo (or two or three) to email@example.com. Thanks!
Do you own a pickup truck?
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.
The results of last week’s poll: How much do you pay to store your RV when not using it?
What we learned about you last week
How much do you pay to store your RV when you’re not using it? When RVing, what degree of “roughing it” are you usually experiencing? What’s your alcoholic beverage of choice? Which do you think is the safer place to camp: boondocking in the middle of nowhere, or in a commercial RV park? When staying overnight at a Walmart, how much on average do you spend in the store per stay? For married people: How satisfied are you with your marriage? Coffee drinkers: How do you take your coffee? All this and more, right here.
More wacky RVs that are pretty darn weird
Here are four more RVs that we can guarantee (well, maybe give you a 99.9 percent guarantee) never rolled off an assembly line. If you know about any of these please leave a comment. See the RVs.
Here’s the stinkin’ plan to get free food…
In the morning before you leave for the day, feed your kids hot dogs and beans. Lots of beans. LOTS OF BEANS!!! Find out why here.
73-foot RV even has an elevator
Last week we posted two photos of very, very long RVs. We asked you if you’d ever seen anything longer. Well, we have one to show you this week that measures 73 feet from front to the back of its trailer. And it even has an elevator. Click to see and read more.
Club provides support for women RVers
Twenty-eight years ago, while traveling across country by RV, Zoe Swanagon and Lovern King rarely saw other women traveling alone with recreational vehicles. They also found that RV parks and camp activities were usually aimed at couples. In 1991, while attending an RV rally in California, they posted a notice for a meeting of independent women RVers. The turnout was so large that another was promptly scheduled for the next day. … Thus was born the now-popular group, RVing Women. Learn more.
How to prepare easy, delicious meals in an RV
By Joyce Ryan
The thrill and adventure of an RV camping trip always fills me with excitement. I look forward to relaxing and enjoying the beauty of natural surroundings, and I also eagerly anticipate the pleasure of leisurely breakfasts and dinners. Because I believe that the quality of a trip is often greatly influenced by the quality of the food, I’ve been determined since my first trip to prepare camper meals that are just as delicious as what I prepare at home. But who wants to spend all their vacation time in an RV galley? Read more.
“Old Woody,” the 1929 Ford Model A RV of your dreams!
Meet “Old Woody,” a custom-built 1929 Ford Model A with a matching teardrop trailer and wooden steamer trunk. The duo was built by Splinter Auto Works Inc. in Plymouth, Indiana (we don’t know when it was built, but we hope they build more!). Read more.
Police searching for artist who turned famous Chicago “Bean” into Airstream!
Chicago police are looking for the suspect who swapped out the famous “Bean” art installation for an Airstream travel trailer. The famous Chicago Cloud Gate Sculpture, known to most as “the Bean,” has been one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations since its unveiling in 2004. Millennium Park, which houses “the Bean,” sees 12.9 million visitors each year, making it the most-visited site in the Midwestern United States. Read more. (Hint: April has arrived early.)
Popular articles from last week
• Why you can’t ever find a space at some RV parks.
• Are these the longest RVs in America?
• How much do you pay to store your RV when not using it?
• This RV can store enough water to last years!
• Tesla truck: Useful to RVers? Or a waste of money?
• RV and RV-related recalls for November 2019.
• Poll results: “Which trailers would you advise others not to buy?”
• Not all RV antifreeze is created equal.
• For New RVers: Video explains RV electrical system basics.
• What we learned about you last week (November 30 – December 6).
• Building an RV park from scratch: Why I am thankful.
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, December 7, 2019.
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 please join our group on RVillage (like Facebook except just for RVers).
NEW FACEBOOK GROUP: Free RV Campgrounds. Discuss free or cheap places to stay.
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.
Are you subscribed to our RV Daily Tips Newsletter? You should be! Every Monday through Friday you get a short, informational email from us delivered straight to your inbox. Inside each issue you’ll find: quick RV tips, popular articles, reader polls, RV thoughts, helpful resources, a website of the day, RV clubs and organizations, trivia, jokes and more! If you don’t like it, you can easily unsubscribe, but we doubt you’ll want to. Read yesterday’s issue here and then sign up here.
Ask the RV Shrink
How can RV TVs be in such bad positions?
Dear RV Shrink:
We just bought a new RV with three TVs. We didn’t order it that way, it was just standard on the model we wanted. It is amazing to me, with so many idiot tubes, that none of them are in a convenient place to comfortably watch. I think manufacturers must hire engineers with a sick sense of humor. …
GREAT HOLIDAY GIFT – THERE’S STILL TIME!
Monocular telescope connects to phone, wow!
This is one of the neatest gadgets we’ve seen in a while! This waterproof monocular telescope connects right to your phone, so you can take photos of that bird waaaaaaay over there. You can now photograph anything up to 10x closer than before. Great for birdwatching, concerts or any sporting event. We already bought one! Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Doctor
Why does one bathroom sink stink and the other doesn’t?
I have two bathroom sinks in my coach: one with the commode and one next to the shower. The one in the hallway of the coach sometimes has a terrible smell and I can’t tell what’s causing it. This has been going on for a few years. I have poured the stuff down there that’s supposed to take away smells, and even used apple cider vinegar. Nothing seems to work. It is just that one drain. Any suggestions? —Kathy P.
We have a new favorite camp ornament…
We know we said the adorable camp stove is our favorite ornament, but we might have a new one…These old-world Christmas ornaments come in a few styles (campfire, hiking boot, VW van, etc.) but this glass-blown camp lantern steals the show…Decide for yourself.
A few of Mike’s favorite things…
If Oprah can do it, so can I. Here’s a list of a few of my favorite things from the last year that would make a great Christmas (or any other holiday or birthday) present for your significant other camping buddy – or yourself. All you have to do is leave your web browser open to the appropriate page and they’ll get the hint (wink, wink – nod, nod). So in no particular order, except of my sometimes derailed train of thought, here are a few things I’ve recently recommended that have stood the test of time. —Mike
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
Move it like a roadie! Moving heavy things easily and safely around your campsite. (Learn from an expert – and find out how he knows so much about this.)
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RV Electricity group on Facebook.
RV Tire Safety
Avoid problems with dually tire hose extenders
The key to avoiding problems with a hose or any type of valve extension on a tire is to be sure the outer end is solid. Some hose kits come with small brackets that can be pop-riveted to a hub cap. Others have brackets that attach to a lug nut. People often fail to support the hose or bracket when checking or adding air. The force needed to get a good air seal is enough to bend or loosen the hose mounts. Learn more.
RV Short Stop
Check out this two-in-one museum in Mississippi
Just a little more than two years ago, “Two Mississippi Museums,” sharing a common entrance and lobby, opened in downtown Jackson in celebration of the state’s bicentennial. The Museum of Mississippi History explores more than 15,000 years of state history from the Paleozoic Era to the present. However, it offers little coverage of the civil rights era, leaving that to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. Check them out.
Neat remote-controlled RV toy is the perfect gift! We wish we had one of these as a kid. Heck, we’d have fun playing with it now! Click here.
A follow-up to “Keeping track of income and expenses for a business”
I scan all of my invoices and receipts and keep them on my computer and destroy all of the paper copies in order to save space and not have a box of papers in my RV. As well, I only use one bank account for all of my personal and business deposits and payments. I think that the saving in bank fees makes this worthwhile. Your comments?
RV Fire Safety
Galley stove safety
Even if the flame on your galley stove goes out, gas continues to flow and could result in an explosion. A stove should never be left unattended or used to heat your coach. Open propane flames release high levels of carbon monoxide. We recommend you have more than one smoke and CO detector in your RV to be safe.
Motion-sensor light ideal for drawers, closets and bedside tables
These small, motion-sensored portable LED lights are perfect to stick in your RV’s drawers, cabinets, bedside tables or closets. The rechargeable light automatically turns on when a drawer, cabinet or door is opened, lighting up the space you need to get into. They’re incredibly handy in an RV, where small places can be dim. Learn more or order this pack of two.
Disaster avoided thanks to RVtravel.com
“We’re RV camping in my friend’s driveway in Houston, TX. My wife and I received slight shocks when touching our RV door. Concerned, I remembered seeing the notice about watching the electrical shock video posted in RV Travel. I viewed it again and immediately went to Sears, where I bought a no-contact voltage detector. Returning and checking the outer skin of my RV, I saw that everywhere I put the detector, the warning light flashed on and the audio beeped! How frightening! I checked my friend’s “homemade” extension cord, changed it, retested the RV and now all’s well. Wow! I am so glad that video was posted, and my story turned out okay.” —Larry
I told our RV electricity columnist Mike Sokol about the letter. He replied: “Larry or his wife could easily have been electrocuted by this miswired extension cord. It would only take a little rain to wet the ground a bit to make that a real possibility.” EDITOR’S NOTE: Be sure to sign up for Mike’s RV Electricity Newsletter and/or get his book at Amazon.
Camco vent insulator keeps you warm (or cool)!
Is your RV too hot in the summer? Too cold in the winter? Camco’s vent insulator and skylight cover features a thick layer of foam which helps stop heat transfer, keeping you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Installation is easy. The insulator is designed to fit standard 14″x14″ RV vents. Learn more or order here.
Museum of the Week
Smokey Bear Museum, Grave and Gift Shop
In 1950, a badly burned “Hotfoot,” a black bear cub, was found by firefighters after a devastating fire in New Mexico. When the cub healed, he was renamed “Smokey the Bear” (now shortened to Smokey Bear) and came to personify the advertising character created during WWII to warn campers about destroying the war’s lumber supply. At the Smokey Bear Museum in Capitan, NM, you can walk past Smokey’s burial site and pay your respects at the museum and fabulous gift shop. You can even eat a “Smokey the Bear Burger” at the nearby restaurant. Visit the museum website here.
GREAT HOLIDAY GIFT
The only tool you’ll need – perfect for a stocking stuffer!
This multifunctional tool is seven-in-one! This heavy-duty pen tool features a handy tablet or smartphone stylus, a sturdy screwdriver, a bubble level, a universal inch/cm ruler and a handy Phillips screwdriver flathead bit, and it’s only the size of a pen! Perfect for any weekend project, and it makes a great stocking stuffer. Learn more or order.
Did you know that actor and comedian Leslie Nielsen was born in Regina, Saskatchewan. His father was a Royal Canadian Mounted Police and his brother was a long-time Canadian Member of Parliament, cabinet minister, and Deputy Prime Minister of Canada. (BTW – One of our long-time readers and a frequent tip contributor is a retired RCMP, and now his son is an RCMP. Hi, George!)
Bumper sticker of the week
Seen in the rice-growing area of eastern Arkansas: “Eat rice. Potatoes make your butt BIG.” Thanks to Jay Gartner for sending this in!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
This may be a true story, but probably not: “When I woke up my dog was lying on the back patio covered in dirt with a rabbit in his mouth. The rabbit wasn’t bloody, just dirty. My neighbor’s kids raise blue-ribbon rabbits. I instantly knew it was one of theirs. So I took the rabbit away from my dog, rushed inside, and washed all the dirt off it before my neighbors could come home. It was stiff but I heard some animals play dead when they are afraid but I couldn’t remember which ones. I took it and placed it back in one of the cages in their back yard, then came home. Not 30 minutes later I heard my neighbors screaming so I went out and asked them what was wrong. They told me their rabbit died three days ago and they buried it but now it was back in its cage.”
Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. —Harriet Tubman
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. Advertising director: Jessica Sarvis. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.
Honorary Correspondents: Loyal readers who regularly email us leads about news stories and other information and resources that aid our own news-gathering efforts.
• Mike Sherman • George Bliss • Tom and Lois Speirs • Alan Warren • Steve Barnes + others who we will add later.
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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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