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Week of December 28, 2019
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury
Areader named Jeff posted this comment a few days ago and I believe this is a good place to respond. He wrote:
“I am a paying supporter of this newsletter and yet I have never received a reply to this question: Why, in the daily tips newsletter and some articles in the weekend newsletter, are the articles three years old or more? Do you not have enough new content to post new daily tips?”
First, yes, we do repost some older articles, I’d guess about 5 percent in the Saturday newsletter. We use more “reruns” in the daily newsletters, but they are typically at least a few years old, many older. We update the information before reposting it. The information is still timely and relevant.
Keep in mind that we publish 420 newsletters a year so we do need a lot of content!
We have close to 7,000 articles on our present website and at least twice that many in our archives (some buried very deep), where we often search to uncover previously published articles that are still relevant. I don’t believe we need to write another original article, for example, about the proper way to dump an RV’s black water tank. We’ve likely written that story a dozen times through the years, and a search on this website will reveal many of them.
Do we not have enough new content?
Well, yes and no. We have millions of words of content already, but with only four staff members (each covering many bases) and a half dozen part-time freelance writers and columnists, we can only do so much. There is no end to what we COULD write about, but there’s only so much, we believe, that our readers can handle. We could easily triple the size of this newsletter, but how many readers would want to devote their entire Saturday morning to reading all that?
We’ve been publishing now for nearly 20 years. Readers come and go. Many these days are new to us in the last year. Some have been with us for several years, and I’d guess a third have been with us for 10 years or more. But even the long-time readers do NOT read every newsletter we publish – far from it. If we post an article two or three times over 20 years, the chance that a particular reader actually read it when it originally appeared is highly unlikely. So the information is new, and because it’s updated it’s as valuable as when it first appeared.
We rerun some articles . For example, once a year we urge our readers to watch a video about how to deal with a tire blowout. Every year, RVers die from reacting improperly, sending their RVs out of control, sometimes killing them. We repost Mike Sokol’s 12-part series on RV electricity basics every year or so. This helps readers their RVs from damage as well as themselves a
Keep in mind that our readership ranges from brand-new RVers to 40-year veterans. Not every article is valuable to every reader. We try to be helpful and entertaining, but where one reader believes we are doing a great job, another thinks we are wasting his or her time.
Jeff, I appreciate your question and I hope my answer helps you and others better understand our methods and motives. And, I must not forget to thank you for being a member. Your support and that of our other 4,000-plus members enables to do far more than we could do with advertising alone.
Finally, Happy New Year! My staff and I hope 2020 is a wonderful year for you.
P.S. Gail and I spent Christmas at my aunt’s home south of Fresno, California, but it wasn’t as pleasant an experience as we had hoped. I explained in today’s member edition of this newsletter, where I wrote about our travels since last Saturday’s newsletter.
And another reminder that our RV electrical columnist Mike Sokol will be speaking at the Boston RV & Camping Expo January 24-26. This is a rare opportunity to see the nation’s premier authority on RV electricity in person for the price of a show admission.
Also a reminder that our long-time supporter Harvest Hosts will be offering 20% off a membership through the end of this month, then it will return to our special RVtravel.com readers’ 15% discount. If you think you would enjoy camping at farms and wineries (and other places), this is your last chance to save even more money. Learn more here.
Also, our audience has grown so dramatically recently that as of last Thursday we were ranked as the 7,715th largest website in America. Compare that with the Good Sam Club’s ranking at 35,308, FMCA.com at 156,374 and GoRVing.com at 82,511 (despite its multi-million-dollar advertising budget).
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Readers speak out
Days of RVing without reservations are gone
Dear Chuck: Your editorial in issue 925 really hit home. “SORRY, SIR. WE DON’T HAVE ANY SPACES AVAILABLE FOR THOSE DATES. YOU SHOULD HAVE CALLED FIVE OR SIX WEEKS AGO.” Read more. We welcome your thoughts on this subject. Please comment below the letter.
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• Campground host being investigated in Texas for possible theft of camping fees.
• Pickup trucks are still a hot item for U.S. buyers.
• Commenting period is open until Feb. 7 for changes in the reservation system at Indiana Dunes National Park.
• Winnebago’s revenues for first Fiscal 2020 quarter were up 19.2 percent compared to Q1-2019.
• New 245-site RV park is approved in Lincoln, Nebraska, at least for now.
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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The staff of RVtravel.com works hard to bring you honest, unbiased newsletters seven days a week. We are now publishing more than 400 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 newsletter.
Last week’s featured stories in RV Daily Tips
• Easy cast iron pan cleanup.
• Save money outfitting your RV kitchen.
• (No newsletter Christmas Day)
• A safety tip on “aging” tires.
• Do not store valuables in outside storage compartments.
Skip the repair shop; do it yourself with a “how-to” notebook
By Nanci Dixon
We bought a new RV with more bells and whistles, electronics and do-dads in it than our previous landlocked home had. In the past, if I couldn’t find the info I needed in the RV manuals, I called the manufacturer’s service center (and often). They have patiently walked me through each issue, step by step. I realized that I was getting more information from the service folks than was online or written in the manuals, so I started my own “how-to” repair notebook. It’s become a lifesaver. Learn more.
Truck camper “recipe for disaster” folds down on the street
Take a short-bed pickup, add a long-box truck camper, add a little highway bounce and the result? It looks like an origami disaster! File this under, “And you think you’ve seen it all.” Check it out.
Keep tabs on your RV’s sealants to prevent leaks
If the sealant around your roof edges, skylights and the like is looking cracked, brittle, loose or turned up at the edges, some repair and replacement is in order. Staying on top of your sealant situation is one of the most vital maintenance steps for preventing leaks. It will also keep your repairs, when they are needed, fairly simple. Learn more.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles:
Pickup truck owners: What brand of truck do you use for RVing?
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.
LAST SUNDAY’S SURVEY: We asked you, at rest areas, do you mostly use the public toilet or your RV’s toilet? More than 4,100 of you responded. What do you think? Do most of the RVers use their own toilet or the public toilet? We were surprised. See the results.
What we learned about you last week
Do you dream in color or black and white? At a rest stop, do you generally use the bathroom in your RV or the public restroom? How often do you watch an entertainment DVD in your RV? Would you ever pick up a hitchhiker? How often do you eat red meat? All this and more, right here.
Another incredibly weird RV. Have you seen it?
Now, this not the type of RV you see often. We’re 99.99 percent sure it never rolled off an assembly line — at least one that manufacturers recreational vehicles. It was spotted by reader Linda Kreimeyer in Colorado. Have you seen it? Read more and see a larger photo by clicking here.
OK to use cruise control while towing?
When towing a travel trailer, can you use the cruise control? What about an overdrive transmission? These are questions that can puzzle new RVers — and even some veterans. First, let’s talk about cruise control. Here’s a school of thought where most folks who’ve had cruise tend to agree: Towing a trailer with cruise control is fine — with certain caveats. Learn more.
3-in-1 NOAA radio, flashlight and charger must-have for RVers
This emergency hand-crank radio is a necessity for RVers. Keep it somewhere safe, you never know when it will come in handy. The 3-in-1 radio is also a bright LED flashlight and a smartphone charger. The radio can be charged via solar charging, hand cranking or a USB plug. You’ll want to buy one here.
We do not want to own this RV. Nope.
If bubble gum and an RV had a baby…. We found this on the CampingRoadTrip.com Facebook page and couldn’t help but share. Saying “Yikes!” is an understatement. Put on your sunglasses before you click here.
Another super-long RV. Don’t take this around a tight curve!
This fifth wheel, tow vehicle and Smart car combo won’t win the longest RV award, but it’s an impressive display of taking everything you want with you, with lots of power to get you where you want. Check out a photo of the RV and read the story behind it.
Are you really washing your dishes correctly?
Fellow RVers, how do you wash your dishes? Do they stack up in the sink, making a stink, until the end of day? Or do you “clean as you go,” squirting a little dish soap on a sponge, wiping away at the dish grunge, and giving a quick rinse? If you’re doing the latter, dish detergent detective Procter & Gamble says you’ve got it all wrong. Here’s why.
Popular articles from last week
• New details shed light on “Mr. Heater” death.
• And the longest RV combo is…
• RV Shrink: New RV furnace failure fiasco – Factory refuses to fix.
• This week’s edition of “Wacky RVs”!
• RV Tire Safety: Are there stupid questions about tires?
• The strangest road sign we’ve ever seen…
• RV Doctor: Mice messed in heating ductwork, can’t get rid of smell.
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, December 21, 2019.
• Camping changes, fee increases, coming to Big Bend National Park.
• Building an RV park: We finally submitted the papers to P&Z!
• Save the life of someone during an opioid overdose.
• What we learned about you last week (December 14-20).
• Zero-emissions trucks: Coming to a California near you?
Don’t let winter 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.
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 • Free Campgrounds. And please join our group on RVillage (like Facebook except just for RVers).
Where to complain about bad RVs, dealers, service, RV parks. This is an ever-expanding list of resources where you can report, share or discuss your problems with RV manufacturers or dealers.
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.
Ask the RV Shrink
Our favorite boondocking spots are being shut down!
Dear RV Shrink:
We spend most of the winter months boondocking in the Southwest. We’ve always said, “When we have to camp sardined into an RV park, we are done.” Well, it hasn’t come to that yet, but we are being shoved out of many of our favorite haunts. …
Save money with these reusable silicone bags
Never waste money on plastic bags again! This 4-pack of reusable silicone food bags have an airtight seal and are leak-proof, keeping food fresh for longer. Easily freeze the bags, and even run them through the dishwasher once you’re done using them. This plastic bag alternative won’t harm the environment, and instead provides a solution that you can wash, rinse and reuse to your heart’s content! Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Doctor
Can extreme cold affect an RV refrigerator?
Will extreme cold (below 5 degrees F) affect an RV refrigerator? I use my RV year-round and one weekend it was really cold and the refrigerator was not working on 120-volt electricity or LP. —Matt (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
Do not shock thieves on purpose!
We all worry about a thief stealing stuff from our RVs, especially if we’re away from the campsite on a day trip. Some RVers may have considered installing an active deterrent to anyone breaking into their RV, such as electrifying the door handle so that any would-be thief would be painfully shocked if they attempted to break into it. Don’t do it! Here’s why.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
Space heaters and the hair of the dog (that bit you). RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury sent a picture to Mike of what he found when he took a space heater apart after smelling burning hair.
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RV Electricity group on Facebook.
Affordable tire tool will save you tons of trouble
What gives when you think your tires are “good to go” but down on air again the next day? Your valve stem valve probably isn’t tight enough. A loose, leaking valve stem can cause a tire failure due to low pressure under load at highway speeds. So do yourself and your vehicles a favor – pick up one of these very inexpensive tools and make sure your valve cores are snugly seated in the valve stem. Click here to order.
RV Tire Safety
“I run a TPMS but the tire still came apart. Why?”
Roger Marble found a post from a fellow RV owner who has a TPMS but still had the tire come apart, as seen in a picture provided. The tire in the picture shows clear signs of a “Run Low Sidewall Flex Failure,” i.e., that sharp line around the sidewall with the melted body cord showing. Yes, the driver got a warning of air loss but Roger wonders what the Low-Pressure Warning level is set at, or if the system has a “rapid air loss” setting. Read more.
RV Short Stop
Start your New Year off with “First Day Hikes” in hundreds of state parks
“First Day Hikes” offer a great way to get outside, exercise, take in nature and welcome 2020 with friends and family. These free, guided hikes take place on New Year’s Eve, 12/31, and New Year’s Day 2020. There are hundreds of hikes scheduled in all 50 states. It is a perfect opportunity to jump in the family RV and head to your nearest state park or discover a brand-new location. More information and suggestions from Julianne G. Crane here.
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.
RV Fire Safety
Fuel safety tips
Gasoline and propane can pose an immediate, explosive danger. Though diesel fuel is less volatile, it dissipates more slowly, so it remains a danger longer. Deal at once with any leaks or spills, and use all fuels in adequately vented areas.
Museum of the Week
Point Pleasant, West Virginia
In the late 1960s, Mothman, one of America’s most feared nightmarish villains, was spotted several times in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. In 2002, Hollywood released “The Mothman Prophecies,” which put Mothman’s name and hometown on the map. Mothman Museum owner, Jeff Wamsley, later started a Mothman festival and opened the museum. Inside you’ll find tons of Mothman memorabilia, newspaper clippings and documentaries, funny gifts and movie props. If you like this kind of stuff, visit the website here.
- 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.
The song “Auld Lang Syne” is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the new year.
Bumper sticker of the week
We work camp at a place that has to be very frugal. One of the vehicles used only around the park obviously has seen better days. Almost everything on it is broken in some way. The bumper sticker says: “Honk if parts fall off.” —Thank you, Paul Patridge!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
Tesco is a big supermarket chain in the U.K. Within hours of the news that Tesco’s “all-beef hamburgers” contained 30% horse meat (in 2013), these quips hit the Internet [part 2 of 4]:
• Tesco is now testing all their vegetarian burgers for traces of unicorn.
• A cow walks into a bar. Barman says, “Why the long face?” Cow says, “Illegal ingredients are coming over here stealing our jobs!”
• Tesco is now forced to deny the presence of zebra in burgers, as shoppers confuse barcodes for serving suggestions.
—Thanks to George Bliss for sending these in!
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” —Anonymous
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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