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February 8, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury
Gail and I have been on the road now for almost three months and will likely remain away from our Seattle home for another two months.
As you may know, our motorhome is of modest size, 32 feet with two slideouts (one a full-wall). We often remark how easy it is to live in it, despite the limited space. It’s wide enough so that we don’t bump into each other walking from one end to the other. The RV has two big rooms, living room/kitchen and a 100-square-foot bedroom in the back with a door that closes allowing some private time when either of us need it. And there’s the little bathroom, just big enough to attend to our duties.
Our landlocked home back in the Northwest is about six times larger than the RV. But when I think about it, we only occupy a small part of it except when passing through it from, say, the bedroom to the kitchen.
MY IDEA FOR AN EXPERIMENT
I would love to conduct an experiment in which Gail and I would wear a tracking device in our home for one month. It would chart our whereabouts 24/7. At the end of the month, a computer printout of our home’s floorplan would show where we spent our time. Areas we occupied the longest – the bed, for example – would show up in dark red. The couch in the living room where we watch TV would be red, but slightly lighter. Areas we used less, like the kitchen table, shower and living room (which we seldom use), would be a very light red. Areas where we spend little or no time would be white.
I believe what we would see is that we spend 95% of our time in a relatively small area. The hallway, and the center of rooms with no seating, would simply be “passing through” zones that we might only occupy a few minutes in an entire month.
What we would learn, I think, would explain why we are so content in our little RV, where the only area that’s missing is “passing through zones.” The distance from the kitchen to the bedroom, for example, is about eight feet, not 40 feet like at home.
I have never understood why some couples or small families choose to live in homes of 3,000, 4,000 square feet or larger. If they entertain a lot, hosting many people at once, then maybe the big home makes sense. Otherwise, what do you do with all that space except walk through it getting to where you need to go?
I have visited royal castles in Scotland, Germany, Austria and elsewhere that were bigger than department stores. I’m telling you, I’d take my RV any day. Castles are way overrated if you ask me. And talk about wasted space!!
Honestly, I do not feel a bit space-deprived in my RV. It’s just right. It’s my happy place, too.
To our many readers in the Puget Sound area: The Seattle RV Show runs today and tomorrow, Sunday. This is the largest annual indoor RV show in the Northwest. America’s favorite “RV Doctor”, our columnist Gary Bunzer, will present free seminars each day. Don’t miss out! Learn more and save on a ticket and get a free parking pass.
STATS: We now have more than 7,200 articles on this website. Last month, we were ranked the 4,700th largest website in America. That’s out of roughly ten million! Nearly 4,800 readers now support us as voluntary subscribers (members), enabling us to continue serving you with honest, unbiased information.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• Do campgrounds need immunity from “frivolous lawsuits” from campers? Apparently so, at least in Ohio.
• Falling oak tree crushes travel trailer, leaving RVer trapped inside.
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Upcoming RV shows • Latest RV recalls • Stolen RV report • Free and bargain camping locations • Reader survey • and much more …
We ask for your support
As you can imagine when reading this issue, putting it together along with another almost 400 newsletters each year takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Advertising helps pay some of our bills, but the generous contributions of our voluntary subscribers allow us to bring you far more important and unbiased information. If you value what we do, please help us get even better by pledging your support.
Last week’s featured stories in RV Daily Tips
• Ask the RV Tech: How much value is there in RV forum advice?
• Got a toy hauler? Get your stuff off the floor – and on the wall.
• Make a safe U-turn when the road goes the wrong way.
• Traveling? Get the inside scoop on local attractions.
• Boondocking and running low on liquid? Bring water to your rig.
The peace and satisfaction of “living small”
RVer Jimmy Smith reflects on how “living small” in the 100-square-foot RV he shares with his partner, Julianne, has brought him peace and contentment. You will enjoy this short essay.
Is it safe to leave a deposit with an RV dealer?
RVtravel.com recently posted a message from a reader which was titled, “Is novice RV buyer being ‘taken’ by dealer? Your input requested.” Dave Helgeson, a former RV dealer and avid RVer, not to mention the show director for three popular Northwest RV shows including the Seattle RV Show, explains why it is not only safe but in your best interest to leave a deposit with an RV dealer when looking to purchase an RV. Learn more. (Then, if you’re in the area, go to the Seattle RV Show. Hey … We’re not snowed in like we were last year!)
Readers’ favorite RV parks and campgrounds. Stayed at any of these?
We recently asked you: Do you have a favorite RV park or campground? Here are some of your answers, organized by state.
The importance of a good RV water filter
Clean water. Every RVer wants it and needs it. No sane RVer would consider embarking on a trip of any length without clean water onboard – or a way to generate it. In fact, clean water may arguably be the most important item for your RV, next to your keys and a full tank of gas. … Therefore, depending on what you’re using the water for, the question is: How clean is clean enough? Read more in this very informative article.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles:
Do you have a really good friend you can talk with about anything?
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
How concerned are you with catching coronavirus? Would you pay $17 for a bundle of firewood? Do you like your first name? Do you ever hum or whistle a tune without thinking about it? Who would you rather be stranded with on a desert island for three months? What flavor milkshake is your favorite? Fifth wheel owners: How many months a year do you occupy your RV? All this and more, right here.
Pipe thread tape: Use the right color, the right way
When plumbing water or gas lines, many RVers use thread seal tape, or “Teflon tape” as it’s commonly called. … Since it comes on a spool, it’s easy to wind around pipe threads, not only to seal them against leakage but also, since the stuff acts like a lubricant, it makes it easier to tighten up the connection. Russ and Tiña De Maris talk about the different kinds of thread tape and when to use them here.
Readers report their favorite “mods” and RV “add-ons”
We asked you last week about the favorite thing you’ve added or done that is far and away the best tweak to your RV. We received dozens of letters from readers who explained their favorite modifications or additions. Here, in the first installment, are a few.
Disposable fly traps do the catching for you
Every RVer knows the annoyance of flies around the campsite. This 2-pack of disposable fly catchers is easy to use, sanitary, and uses water instead of any poisons or killing agents. Each catcher can catch up to 20,000 flies. Throw it away when full. Get ready for summer fly season now at a great price.
New lightweight, dishwasher-safe grill perfect for RVers
You’ve just finished your delicious dinner of grilled steaks and asparagus. Your used dinner plates and glasses are in the dishwasher, but you’ve still got to go back outside to scrub clean the dang grill. Ugh. Does that sound familiar? Well, things have changed, friends. The HERO grill is here to save the day! It’s far different from what an RVer normally sees and we think you’re really going to like it. Emily explains what makes this grill different.
This RV has its very own fire truck
This RV comes with its own fire truck. Or, I guess to be more accurate we’d have to say the fire truck comes with its own RV. Reader Gary Jones spotted this recently in Quartzsite, Arizona. Check it out.
How to add an instant bathtub to your shower
Some people are just plain creative. They see opportunities where others see obstacles (or more likely don’t see anything special at all). If you have a shower in your RV that doesn’t double as a bathtub and you crave a bath, then here’s a quick, simple way to allow your shower to do double-duty. This is so cool!
Which vehicle is spelled the same way forward and backward? (Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter.)
You won’t “wine” about this!
Well, it’s official. We have a new RV accessory that we’re obsessed with. How cute are these?! This motorhome wine stopper (and this trailer one) belongs in every wine drinker’s RV! It would also make a cute Valentine’s Day gift…hint hint.
• Winter driving: Forget snow chains, use socks!
• New developments in slayings of Texas RVers.
• New Thor subsidiary to use European manufacturing methods.
• Boondocking and running low on liquid? Bring water to your rig.
• RVer stuck with bad toilet. Dealers won’t do warranty work.
• RV and RV-related recalls for January 2020.
• The ER is busy after the Super Bowl, but it’s not why you think.
• Have you remodeled your RV? These folks have, and it’s gorgeous!
• RVs in Japan are a lot different.
• You will never see another 5th wheel trailer like this!
• RVers fight insurance company over damaged RV and get $85,000.
• RV Shrink: Size matters – Clarify RVing goals before choosing RV.
• What we learned about you last week (January 25-31).
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 • NEW Budget RV Travel and RV Videos. Plus Texas RV Camping and Florida RV camping. And please join our group on RVillage (like Facebook except just for RVers).
Stolen RVs: Here are some of the many RVs reported stolen in the last month. This report is updated the first of each month.
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.
NEW! 2020 edition is here!
Learn what’s along the Interstate
Never take a wrong exit off an Interstate. The brand-new 2020 Next Exit lists every exit along every Interstate and lists what you’ll find: gas stations (including those with diesel), campgrounds, truck stops, casinos, retail stores (by name), malls, factory outlets, drug stores, hospitals, rest areas & more. Very helpful even if you have a GPS. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Shrink
RV awning – Use it, don’t lose it!
Dear RV Shrink:
This might sound petty, but my traveling partner and I are always arguing about rolling up the awning. In my opinion, RV awnings are not designed to be left out all the time. … My partner is always giving me a hard time when I insist we roll it up. Should I just give in and hope for the best? …
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. 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 the latest issue here and then sign up here.
We’ll have a report about this disaster in tomorrow’s news edition of this newsletter. Don’t miss it!
Ask the RV Doctor
Why is no water coming out of hot water faucet?
The 10-gallon water heater in my Holiday Rambler is still producing hot water but there is nothing coming out of the faucets. It is as if there is no water pressure, but there is no leak evident. When I turn the bypass valve to the “off” position, I noticed that water is still flowing into the water heater because I pulled the plastic drain plug. Either way, the water was flowing into the heater and draining out the drain hole. If the valve is bad would this be the answer as to why there is no pressure coming out of the faucet? —Kevin
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 dead 120-volt AC systems, Part 3A
After a brief respite last week, we’re now moving into Part 3A of my series on diagnosing short circuits. Today we’ll focus on troubleshooting short circuits on dead (unpowered) 120-volts AC RV electrical systems. Learn more.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
Battery bank accounts – deposits and withdrawals. Mike explains charging and discharging batteries in RVs by using a bank account analogy. (Yep, Mike makes it make sense.)
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RV Electricity group on Facebook.
Be like Mike Sokol, 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
Air compressor – How big do you need?
From Roger Marble: “While air volume output might be a consideration, IMO if you are properly inflating your tires and properly monitoring inflation with a TPMS, I don’t understand how anyone can get in a position of needing more than about 5 psi unless you have an active leak. … Monitor your tire pressure and don’t let the pressure drop more than 10% before you reinflate your tires.” Learn more.
RV Short Stop
Maple will flow soon in Vermont
Help celebrate the first crop of Vermont’s maple season at the “Maple Open House.” It takes place March 20-22. About 140 sugarmakers will open their sugarhouse doors, … with free samples, tours of the sugarhouse and the sugarbush. Then, April 24-26, the Vermont Maple Festival is held in St. Albans, with many maple exhibits and food demonstrations, parade, live entertainment for the family, an antique show, craft and specialty food show, and much more. Info here.
Amending your tax return
Question: “I found some deductions that I forgot to claim on my 2018 income tax return. Can I claim them now or do I need to change the return that I filed last year?”
Neil Seidler, CPA, CMA, explains why, when and how to make changes to your already-filed tax return here.
The funniest sign for your RV (and a best-seller with RVtravel.com readers!). Click here to laugh.
RV Fire Safety
Check the flue after storing RV
If you store your coach, be sure to check the flue before starting your refrigerator on propane. Birds and insects can build nests and clog the flue, causing a fire or excess carbon monoxide to enter your coach.
Get rid of those decal “ghosts”!
If you use a coin to remove old decals from your RV, you may have an unwelcome guest when the job’s done: Decal “ghosts” – shadowy after-images imprinted in the Filon siding. The solution? A heavy-duty oxidation remover! Pour the remover onto a rough sponge and scrub the Filon in circles. The yellow oxidation will come right up and your RV will look good as new! The remover will also remove stains, scratches and water spots. Learn more or order here.
Museum of the Week
Chaffee Barbershop Museum
Fort Smith, Arkansas
On March 25, 1958, Elvis Presley received “the haircut heard round the world” at the Fort Chaffee Barbershop in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Elvis’ iconic haircut, the G.I. buzzcut, was first cut in this barbershop, now a museum dedicated to the legend himself. Since the shop was turned into a museum in 2008, it has attracted visitors from all over the world. Inside this 1950s era barbershop (which looks exactly the same as it did the day Elvis walked in), you’ll find the camera used to take photos that day, television news coverage and other memorabilia dedicated to the King. Learn more here.
Eighty-five percent of households in the U.S. and Canada are an average of five minutes away from a Goodwill store. —Source: Goodwill Industries
Bumper sticker of the week
“Give me ambiguity or give me something else.”
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 4 of 4):
• A woman has been taken to a hospital after eating horse meat burgers from Tesco. Her condition is listed as stable.
• I said to my spouse, “These Tesco burgers give me the trots….”
• At first, I thought, “Oh great, I’ve been saddled with another email to forward, but something spurred me on.”
• These Tesco burger jokes are going on a bit. Talk about flogging a dead horse.
—Thanks to George Bliss!
“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” —Helen Keller
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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WHAT IS IT? It’s an antique cast iron sausage press.