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January 25, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury
uring winter RV snowbird season, on any given night there must be at least 1,000 RVs parked in the casino parking lots of the Colorado River gambling town of Laughlin, Nevada. I didn’t see any signs that specify how long they can stay. I imagine many are spending weeks, maybe months, and they’re not paying a penny to do it.
Laughlin, as it is today, took root in the mid-’60s when small-time Las Vegas gambling entrepreneur Don Laughlin bought a lonely little bar along the Colorado River. He built it into the Riverside Hotel and Casino which two decades later sported a high-rise hotel and sprawling casino. He later added the Riverside RV Park across the street, popular with RVers who desire more than a piece of pavement to call home.
The early town, called South Pointe before Don Laughlin entered the scene, consisted of a motel and the bar, both of which catered to gold and silver miners and construction workers building Davis Dam, and fishing enthusiasts. In the 1950s, construction workers left and the town all but disappeared.
Through the years, the town expanded with one casino after another, at first along the river, then up into the desert. Today one casino and 10 hotel/casinos line the river waterfront. The 2010 population was 7,323, but has likely expanded by at least a few thousand since then. Roughly half the residents are senior citizens.
In its early years, the only way to cross the Colorado River to Arizona was via a fleet of small passenger ferry boats. Then Don Laughlin helped fund a bridge across the river to Bullhead City. It provided the spark that ignited the town’s popularity and population growth.
Today, Laughlin is the third largest casino and resort destination in Nevada after Las Vegas and Reno.
From its beginnings, the town of Laughlin has always catered to RVers by offering free stays in its parking lots. There was a movement once by Clark County to halt the practice, but the uproar from RVers — including those of RVtravel.com — forced the county to back down.
RVers looking to save money on camping can also hole up on millions of acres of government land in the area. Out there, “Showtime” comes at dusk most evenings, when the sunsets are amazing.
BOSTON SHOW RUNS TODAY AND TOMORROW
Don’t forget that our RV electrical columnist Mike Sokol will be speaking at the Boston RV & Camping Expo today and tomorrow. If you’re in the Boston area, hop the subway’s Silver Line at South Station and it will take you right there. Tell them we sent you.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Readers speak out
• Better RV park reservation system needed.
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• Are Harry and Meghan moving to North America to become RVers?
• Porsche meets Newell: 2020 models out – Bring your checkbook.
• Pilot/Flying J has a new corporate name.
• Campground-host couple “rescue” abused children.
• A portion of Interstate 80, across Wyoming, may become a toll road.
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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• Current Wildfire Report.
• National Hurricane Center.
Last week’s featured stories in RV Daily Tips
• Always extend both sets of steps.
• A tip for “tightening up” loose screws.
• Fire extinguisher placement tips.
• GPS home security advice.
• Toilet water conservation and cleaning tips.
Why Walmart is banning RV overnight stays at more stores
We ran a survey last week, asking readers if they believed Walmart would still allow overnight stays in its store parking lots in five years. More than 5,100 of our readers responded. Fifty-seven percent said, “No,” it would not be allowed. More than 80 readers left comments. Among them was one by Jim O’Briant, the owner of the website Overnight RV Parking, the most comprehensive source of information about where to stay with an RV for free or less than $20. Read Jim’s first-hand knowledge about this topic here.
Is reusable toilet paper a good idea in your RV?
We came across an article recently about what is apparently a hot topic on Twitter and other social media sites — using reusable toilet paper. For RVers, the practice may have a little more relevance than for residents of traditional homes. What do you think? (Includes a poll.)
RVer takes pride in cheating campground reservation system
We found this on the Facebook group Florida RV Camping. It made us mad. Why do some people think they do not need to play by the rules? Read more.
Is it a boat? An RV? Or a boat-RV? One thing, it’s weird!
George Bliss spotted this very unusual RV in Parker, Arizona, last week. “It looks like an upside down boat with the top of a Bolero camper added on.” Have you seen it?
A campground in the clouds and a slice of pie. Paradise!
Emily Schneider wrote in telling us about her favorite campground, Campfire Lodgings, outside her favorite place, Asheville, NC. “Four-season camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains, minutes from the fabulously hippie city of Asheville, seems like an anomaly. Campfire Lodgings in North Asheville, North Carolina, checks all the boxes.” Read more.
Do you subscribe to our RV Daily Tips Newsletter?
Every Monday through Friday you get a short, informational email from us delivered straight to your inbox. In 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. Sign up here.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles:
• Meet the real Siri, the voice of your iPhone
• Forget insect repellent: Just paint yourself with stripes!
• Full-time RVing – Will your rig haul the weight?
• Basic tips for “dry camping”
• Use your RV’s propane tank to fuel your gas barbecue
Full-timers: What type of RV do you travel with?
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 WEEK’S POLL: Do you believe Walmart will still allow free overnight RV parking in five years? Read the results.
What we learned about you last week
What temperature is it where you are right now? How often do you diet to lose weight? Do you think that Walmarts will still allow overnight parking in five years? Does your RV have an outdoor kitchen? Do any of your motor vehicles have personalized license plates? Motorhome owners: Do your passengers use the bathroom while the RV is moving? How often do you gamble at casinos? All this and more, right here.
What you didn’t know about RV tire pressure
Here’s a great post by Eric Johnson at TechnoRV about tire pressure and tire pressure monitoring systems. He explains how different factors affect tire pressure and how important it is to have a TPMS. Learn more.
Do you have a favorite campground or RV park?
Do you have a favorite campground or RV park? Or a favorite unique place you’ve stayed in your RV? If so, read this then let us know.
The worst RV crashes and disasters we’ve ever seen!
Yikes! These are by far some of the worst RV crashes and disasters we’ve ever seen. You can’t help but cringe and cry out while watching this. Click here.
Way too cute! Kids’ RV-themed bedroom
We’re not sure of the source of this photo, but when we saw it we knew we had to pass it along. It’s so cute – perfect for the kid who loves to camp with his or her parents, or even Grandma and Grandpa. Check it out.
Own your very own ambulance RV!
You read that headline right. If you are the type of person who likes to stand out from the crowd, then this is a way to do it — camp in an ambulance. Read more and watch the video.
Weather alert for South Florida – Watch for falling iguanas!
Did you miss it? On January 21, the National Weather Service for Miami – South Florida issued a weather alert for “Falling iguanas possible tonight.” Yep! In addition to temperatures falling into the 30s and 40s in the area, iguanas were falling from trees. Learn more.
Popular articles from last week
• Do you believe Walmart will still allow free overnight RV parking in 5 years? (Poll with 79 comments)
• “RV park of the future” misses the mark.
• Holy smokes! This is one very weird RV.
• Homeless street RVers may need official “poop” permit.
• Trashy Quartzsite “ghetto” just keeps on growing.
• First-of-its-kind self-service RV park. The wave of the future? (from week before but still in top 10 for this week)
• Motorhome sideswipes truck. Video captures it all. Ugly!
• RV Tire Safety: LT versus ST tires for RV trailers.
• The best way to level a fifth wheel? Make it levitate!
• Is novice RV buyer being “taken” by dealer? Your input requested.
• Building an RV park: We’ve made some changes!
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, January 18, 2020.
• What we learned about you last week (January 11-17).
STAY OUT OF TROUBLE
Firearms laws guide updated for 2020
The 2020 updated edition of the Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States has just been published. The book is always a best-seller among RVers, many of whom carry a firearm when they travel. The annual guidebook helps ensure they stay out of trouble when crossing state lines, where the laws may be different. Learn more in this article.
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 plus Texas RV Camping and Florida RV camping. 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.
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.
Check out our Directory of RV Clubs and Organizations.
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.
Shoe dryer a worthy purchase for warm feet and dry shoes!
We saw this product recommended on the RV Tips Facebook page. Annie C. writes: “I hate wet shoes and we found these shoe dryers. We tried them out at home and they work great! Lightweight and small for packing.” These little dryers will dry and sanitize your shoes, boots and feet quickly. Perfect for the RV if you’re in snowy or wet conditions. Plus, don’t you want to put your feet into warm shoes? Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Shrink
Ripped off RVers considering extra security, i.e., “locked and loaded”
Dear RV Shrink:
We often spend the night parked at Walmart, or other inviting lots, while traveling back and forth to Florida. … We arrived in Florida last fall only to discover my husband’s toolbox missing from one of our storage compartments. It could have happened at any of a dozen locations, from commercial, state or city campgrounds to parking areas we frequent. We didn’t realize that all of our storage door locks were generic. It turns out the majority of RV owners all have the same key to the same locks. …
Ask the RV Doctor
How to adjust a Lippert slideout
Can you explain the adjustment sequence on how far the slides go in and out with my Lippert slideout? The manual just says to adjust the jam nuts, but not which way. —Paul B.
For peace of mind, use a backflow preventer
Backflow happens when a fresh water system gets “cross-connected” with a source of bad water or other contaminants. You don’t want that! Prevent this from happening by using a backflow preventer. Here’s an affordable one. Use it and rest easier. (You can read more about backflow prevention here.)
Finding short circuits in 12-volt systems, Part 2B
In Part 3 (aka Part 2B) on the topic of short circuits, Mike explains one of the most handy pieces of test gear you can have to assist in finding short circuits in both AC and DC electrical systems, and something else this gadget is good for around the RV. Read all about it here.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
This is an upcoming J.A.M. Session, but it is too important to postpone getting the word out:
URGENT! Warn your kids about the “Outlet Challenge”. Mike just saw this on the news, and while it’s not 100% RV related, it is indeed an electrical safety issue that could injure someone you love or even set your RV on fire.
Can I connect 6- and 12-volt batteries together? Almost everything you ever wanted to know about connecting batteries.
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RV Electricity group on Facebook.
RV Tire Safety
Do not unnecessarily bleed off high air pressure
“I bleed off the high air pressure so I don’t exceed the ‘Max Pressure’.” This statement or a variation of it seems to be made about once a week on one or another of the various RV forums Roger Marble frequently reviews. It appears that many people incorrectly believe that exceeding the “Max Pressure” number molded on the tire sidewall is going to result in tire failure and explosion. Learn more.
Camco’s tongue jack head cover is a must-have!
This tongue jack head cover from Camco helps protect your electric tongue jack from harsh weather that can degrade it over time. It will also protect from harmful UV rays, excess moisture, dirt and debris. Its universal fit can be adjusted with a drawstring closure, so you can be sure nothing sneaks in. Learn more or order.
RV Short Stop
Tucson Gem Showcase dazzles
The legendary Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase is on now through February 20 at locations throughout Tucson, Ariz., with buyers, collectors and enthusiasts from around the world in attendance. There will be more than 45 different shows and events, each offering different materials and vendors – and with some shows including hundreds of vendors. Read more.
Tax return tips especially for RVing business owners
Neil Seidler, CPA, CMA, has a few tips regarding your tax return, especially if you’re a full-time RVer with a business. Learn more.
The easiest way to seal annoying seam leaks
Fabric seams that leak are annoying (and sometimes costly), yet so simple to fix. This little bottle of Seam Sealer from Iosso Products simply sponges on to create an invisible barrier, sealing out water without altering the color or feel of the material. It’s pretty neat, and good to keep handy for your RV (or boat, or camping gear). Read more about it here.
RV Fire Safety
RV battery safety
Batteries produce explosive gases. Keep flame, cigarettes and sparks away. Be sure your battery compartment is properly vented. Keep vent caps tight and level. Check your battery monthly. Replace swollen batteries immediately. Use extreme care when handling batteries – they can explode.
I was wondering if you did a ranking of 5th wheel trailers. I am buying one in the next six months or so, and am somewhat confused as to who really builds quality units. Thanks! —Leonard R.
My personal feeling is to be cautious about buying anything from Forest River or Thor without a comprehensive inspection by someone qualified to do such a thing (that does NOT include someone at the dealership). Most of their units are fine, but there are some with defects rolling off the line, too. If at all possible visit a factory where the RV you favor is made, and closely observe the process. Read more.
It’s time to clean your CPAP machine!
One of our past surveys told us that 53% of you (or your partner) use a CPAP machine. Wow! When was the last time your machine was cleaned thoroughly? They get very dirty! This highly rated cleaning kit will get out all those yucky germs and bacteria. The extendable brush will expand to 7 feet, but folds up into a small plastic bag so as to not take up too much room in your RV. If you use a CPAP, you’ll want to order this here.
Museum of the Week
OK, this is far from the U.S., but we read about it earlier this week and couldn’t help but want to tell you about it too – it’s just too neat! Two hours north of Tokyo in Chichibu, there’s a museum dedicated to rocks that resemble faces. Its name, Chinsekikan, means “hall of curious rocks” and inside you’ll find more than 1,700 rocks that resemble human faces, some of which resemble celebrities, movie and video game characters. The owner passed away in 2010 (the museum is now run by his wife) but he spent 50 years building his collection. Click here to read more and see amazing photos of the collection – the rock that resembles Elvis is incredible!
Don’t let high water pressure blow out your pipes!
This should be a required accessory for your RV, one that could save you thousands of dollars in repair bills. Some RV parks have water pressure so high it can blow out your system — a big, major repair bill “ouch!” Join the RV Travel staff in using this highly rated item to prevent that from happening. Learn more or order.
In a series of tweets, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has revealed new details about his plans to colonize Mars. In theory, 1,000 Starships could eventually send “maybe around 100k people per Earth-Mars orbital sync.” He envisions these ships departing Earth orbit over a 30-day period, the window of time when Earth and Mars are best aligned, every 26 months. When asked if that would equate to one million people on Mars by 2050, Musk responded, “Yes.”
Bumper sticker of the week
Apathy is the best whatever. —Thanks to Gary Gilmore!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
• Why the sun lightens our hair but darkens our skin?
• Why can’t women put on mascara with their mouth closed?
• Why “abbreviated” is such a long word?
• Why Noah didn’t swat those two mosquitoes?
“The smaller the mind the greater the conceit.” —Aesop
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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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 2020 by RVtravel.com.
Check out the lead info in the comments, on Amazon, about the collapsable food containers. I ordered a set but read through the comments later. Apparently they contain lead. Nobody knew where these containers were made, when asked they said they disposed of the packaging before noting where they were made. Also, some other not too encouraging info about food picking up distasteful orders or flavoring.
HOW can a RV’er get 3 reservations and I can’t get ONE reservations in Florida. Been trying for 5 days on the internet to get a reservation in a Florida State Park.
Ask them if there is a policy on how far out you can rsvp for the SP. I know Michigan is 6 months prior. As for the KOA it is one year or more if they are year round. I know I got one or two KOA 9 months before we showed up in Colorado and in Utah. And in the Grand Canyon area. Good luck.
I’ve been trying since November
Could the END be near for us? Just asking!
Why are there not any companies that make trailer and 5th wheels wheelchair friendly?
They do. You have to have one specially built. Otherwise wheel chairs and other fun items for special needs are on their own.
Have you thought of a Toy Hauler ?
We have a Harbor View Travel Trailer which is wheelchair accessible. Not sure if they’re still being made, but you could give it the google search.