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February 29, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury
hings happen, sometimes not good things.
A not good thing is happening to Gail and me right now. About two weeks ago we found a leak in our motorhome’s roof over the bathroom. We’re worried that water has seeped down inside the siding, perhaps rotting wood in the frame. I believe we have discovered the source of the leak and repaired it. But the damage is done. My fingers are crossed that it isn’t substantial.
We thought at first of having it repaired here in Arizona. But that could take weeks, maybe even longer, and would depend on if we could find a reputable repair shop that could take us in soon. From the inquiries we’ve made, that’s unlikely. Our extended warranty has expired, and I doubt our insurance will cover the repair. We could be forced to stay in a hotel for weeks on end at our expense.
SO WE WILL RETURN to Seattle to get the work done there. At least we have a home, so no hotel bills. If the repair takes awhile, we’ll be okay. We may not go straight home, but will likely return within a month.
We’re into our fourth month of our trip in the Southwest. Before we discovered the leak we thought we’d head next into New Mexico. Gail has never been to Santa Fe, one of my favorite Southwest cities. We’d drive some of the old Route 66 on the way, which is always fun. I thought I might treat Gail to a night in the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook. Stay there if you can. What fun!
I’ve noticed here in Quartzsite that nearly all of the RVs passing by on U.S. 95 are heading north. I think the homeward migration of snowbirds has begun. That should mean some available space in RV parks for those still in the Southwest. But I’m thinking now that won’t matter to us if we, too, end up heading north.
It’s a good thing we were not on a long trip with campground reservations booked along the way. A delay to repair our motorhome could mess up our schedule. That’s what can happen when you travel based on a rigid schedule.
We could be in for a hefty repair bill. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were $10,000 or more if there’s widespread rot. What if I had financed my RV for 20 years like so many buyers do today? What if I didn’t have enough money to pay a big repair bill? If so, I’d either find a way, borrow, or just park the RV and keep making payments for another 11 years. Or I could sell it at a big loss. Selling a defective RV like mine that was upside down on its loan could mean coming up with $25,000, $30,000 or more just to get rid of it.
This is why I preach over and over to never finance an RV for 20 years. Oh, you may think at the time you buy the RV that everything will be fine for the next two decades. “Hey, $600 a month is no big deal!” Well, I suggest it’s a really big deal if you end up with a rotted roof and maybe a wall or floor.
Gail and I will decide what to do in the next few days. I am not a happy camper right now even thinking of waiting around for a repair. And I’m not happy at what could be a big repair bill. The only good thing that will come of this is I’ll get a few stories out of the deal. I’ll let you know what we decide in next Saturday’s issue.
OUR FIRST BLOW FROM THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
If the coronavirus continues to spread, we, along with countless other businesses, will feel some economic pain. We got our first taste this week of what may be more to come. Read about it.
STATE-BY-STATE FACEBOOK GROUPS
We have joined with Alan Warren of the RV Show USA in helping moderate dozens of Facebook groups, each devoted to travel in a specific state. If you participate in Facebook, you may want to join one or more of these groups. We use these groups as a source of news (which we pass along to you) and we gain hundreds of new subscribers a month from participating in these groups. You’ll find a directory here.
OUR INFLUENCE GROWS: Our subscriber database has now reached 109,000 and is growing every day. As of Friday evening, we had a total of 7,578 articles posted on this website. More readers = more influence with the RV industry to serve RVers better. We now have 5,209 members — voluntary subscribers who believe what we are doing is important and worthy of their financial support.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• New program can save you a lot of money on fuel. We tested it, and even though it sounds too good to be true, it is true!
• Part Four of editor Chuck Woodbury’s series “The Dysfunctional RV Industry and You.”
• Ford recalls 250,000 pickup trucks
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Upcoming RV shows • Latest RV recalls • Free and bargain camping locations • Stolen RVs: The police need your help finding them. • Reader survey • and much more …
We appreciate 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 join these readers by pledging your support.
Last week’s featured stories in RV Daily Tips
• Do-it-yourself RV storage organizer.
• Too tired to level fore and aft? Try this trick!
• Taking care of batteries high-tech style.
• Does your RV bathroom need an assist device?
• Why you should carry an extra hose.
A man stands on one side of a river, his dog on the other. The man calls his dog, who immediately crosses the river without getting wet and without using a bridge or a boat. How did the dog do it? (Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday News newsletter.)
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• RV Tire Safety – “China Bomb” tires and McDonald’s fries? What?
• RV Shrink: Wife regrets giving TPMS to husband
• RV Doctor: Replace anode with drain valve on water heater?
• The baddest scooter in the RV park
• Why I suddenly feel smaller than ever
Spring means rain. Keep it away from your RV!
Camco’s gutter spouts are the best way to keep rain off the sides of your RV. This 4-pack of extendable spouts can easily be installed in minutes and will direct rainwater away from damaging your RV’s sides, reducing dirt and black streaks. Learn more or order.
If stocks continue to plummet are you worried about paying your bills?
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.
Readers tell us (What we learned about you last week)
We analyze what we learned about you and fellow RVers from our reader polls and your comments.
Funny camping memes and photos of the week
If you’re in need of a laugh, look no further. We recently found a Facebook group called Camping Memes & Jokes. Here are a few memes we found the funniest (and most relatable) from that group.
FMCA rally set for March 26-29 in Tucson
FMCA will hold its 101st International Convention and RV Expo at the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson March 26 through 29. The club, officially known as the Family Motorcoach Association, invites all RV owners to participate, even prospective owners, who can learn about RVing at approximately 100 seminars to be held throughout the event. Read more.
Photo: Sad scene after motorhome gets run off the road
This was posted on our Facebook group RV Crashes and Disasters. Oh, this is ugly. A truck was coming down hill towards the RV and something was hanging out the driver side, so the motorhome barely moved over but went off the side of the road. Very sad, but no major injuries, luckily.
Come into the light!
Our favorite electricity guy, Mike Sokol, uses this Caterpillar pocket light for just about everything. He writes, “I bought one of these CAT CY1000 Pocket COB Lights a few months ago and liked it so much that I also picked up one for my dad. I’ve dropped it a bunch of times, and it still keeps working, like any of the other tough-as-nails CAT products.” It easily clips on to your belt, shirt pocket, or anything magnetic, so you can work hands-free. Chuck and Gail bought one too and love it! Learn more or order.
We recently asked you: Do you have a favorite campground or RV park? We published the results here, creating a guide for you of your fellow RVers’ favorite spots. We update this weekly, so please continue to tell us your favorite campground or RV park by commenting on this post.
New parks added this week in: Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah.
ANOTHER LONG, LONG UNIT
Daryl Lawrence sent this: “Here’s a picture of my set-up from January 2014. I had driven from Yuma to Quartzsite for the Quartzsite RV Show. My wife was back east so I was alone. I was going to tow the Sprinter Van only behind the MH to QZ, then return to Yuma with the van and pick up the Polaris. But at the last minute, I decided ‘What the Heck” and hooked them all together. I had a 100’ measuring tape and the total length of the 3 combined vehicles was 95’. Just a little over the limit. Made it with no problems but sure got a lot of looks.”
Send us a photo of your loooooooong RV. Can you top this one? Send to email@example.com
Warning! Don’t park in a wash!
By Nanci Dixon
We were in Quartzsite a couple of weeks ago for the Big RV Tent Show and we couldn’t find a parking space. I was driving our tow car and eyed an open area, but I immediately knew I was going to get stuck in the loose rocks and pulled out. I found another spot on an incline, but it was sandy and we couldn’t quite make it. My helpful husband said, “Move over! I will get it in.” I responded, “OK, just DON’T go down the rocky incline!” Too late. Down the hill we went. Straight into a wash with no hope of getting back up. Read the rest of the story.
A four-story tall RV…literally
Ever wonder what it would be like to live in a treehouse? What about a treehouse-RV combo? Or what would it be like to live in a four-story RV? Well, whoever built this doesn’t have to wonder anymore. Check this out!
Why we chose the Pioneer RV Park in north Phoenix
This is part two by Ingrid Hubbard of her original post from last issue, “Why I miss a home base.” In this issue she explains why she chose the RV park where she now lives seasonally. Click here.
Popular articles from last week
• How one RVer figured out how to never do laundry again. (Hilarious!)
• The dysfunctional RV industry and you. Parts 1 & 2.
• What to do if your propane tank is overfilled.
• A sad day for snowbird capital Quartzsite.
• Reader asks: What to do with nosy busybodies in RV parks?
• Readers reveal their favorite RV mods or add-ons, Part 2.
• Another crazy RV paint job. Wow!
• Full-timer explains “Why I miss a home base.”
• The joy of camping next to a neighbor’s electric palm tree.
• RV Shrink: Obnoxious “party animals” ruin state park stay.
• RV Tire Safety: Why inflate your tires to their max when parking for a long time?
• RV Doctor: RV levelers raising tires off the ground – occupants queasy!
• RV makers putting heat on buyers who don’t read their warranty.
50 States, 5,000 Ideas, the best book for travelers!
This book from the experts at National Geographic showcases the best travel experiences in every state, from the obvious to the unexpected. Sites include national parks, beaches, hotels, battlefields, dude ranches, museums and more. Each entry provides detailed travel information and fascinating facts about each state that will help fuel your wanderlust and ensure the best vacation possible. The book also includes a section on the Canadian provinces and territories. 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 • NEW Budget RV Travel • NEWER RV Videos 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.
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
RVer is having (2-legged and 4-legged) pack rat problems
Dear RV Shrink:
I am having problems with a couple of pack rats in and around my RV. One of them is a furry rodent and the other one is my husband. When we first started spending winters in the Desert Southwest we noticed many other RVers using various lighting around their rigs. While on our nightly speed walk around the campground, it reminded us of the TV show “The Great Christmas Light Fight.” Read the rest of the question and the RV Shrink’s advice.
If you own a firearm, you must have this book!
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.
Ask the RV Doctor
RV spring shakedown primer
Now that spring is almost here and memories of a long, cold winter begin to wane, many of us get antsy for that first RV excursion of the season. Time to get the RV ready for the road. Woo hoo! Here’s Gary Bunzer’s very thorough checklist.
Is there anybody out there? Part 1
In order for me to get sponsorship support for my RVelectricity articles that are published here, I need your help. I’m getting conflicting reports about how many of you read my articles in this space, as well as my Just Ask Mike (JAM) sessions and my monthly RVelectricity newsletter. And the search engines don’t tell me anything about the technical level I’m writing at. So I’m asking you to complete these polls, which I’ll use to adjust how many RVelectricity articles I write per month, and at what level of technical difficulty. Read more, and thank you for participating in these polls.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
Is my power inverter dying? A reader wants to know how to test if his power inverter is dying.
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RV Electricity group on Facebook.
Be like Mike! Use this 3-light and digital voltage tester!
Mike Sokol says: “I found this nifty tester online and have been using it in a variety of voltage checking situations. It performs all of the 3-light tests for outlet polarity, open ground, open neutral, etc., as well as being a 3-digit digital voltage indicator. In addition, it performs a standard 5 mA GFCI safety test – which you should be performing on all of your GFCI outlets once a month (or at least once a camping season).” Read more about it here.
RV Tire Safety
Yes, you do need “bolt-in” metal valve stems with your TPMS
Roger Marble posted a comment he found on an RV forum to point out what can happen when you use rubber valve stems and an external TPM sensor, and to also indicate why you need to keep the TPMS turned on for it to do its job. Learn more.
Building an RV Park
I went to Campground Management School!
From Machelle James: This week I’m in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for ARVC’s Campground Management School. This organization is for people like me who want to build a campground and for those who already have built a campground. … My head is spinning from this crash course in how to run a campground, run a successful camp store, how commercial insurance works, how to be a great camp host, how to have a plan or policy in place for every detail on how to run our business. Read more, including about progress on the campground itself.
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.
The RV Kitchen
This meaty salad makes a no-cook meal (when you cook the meat up to two days ahead). This is a complete meal that begins by marinating turkey cutlets in tangy, non-alcoholic margarita mix. Buy it in a bottle or make up a packet of the powdered mix. Complete the meal with hot rolls, biscuits or cornbread. Get the recipe.
The Digital RVer
Put text on your photos and make the text stand out
It was a long time in coming, but Google Photos now can add text right to a photo. At least, the Android version of Google Photos can do that. It’s called the “Markup” tool and it’s pretty simple. Even if you know how to add text to photos with Google Photos, you should watch this short video because Chris Guld adds a very important little tip!
This amazing tool does so much!
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 even makes a great gift. Learn more or order.
Facebook Groups of Interest
PLUS OUR OWN GROUPS: RV Horror Stories • RV Advice • RV Electricity • RV Parks with Storm Shelters • RV Buying Advice • Northwest RV Camping • Southwest RV Camping • Free Campgrounds • Budget RV Travel • NEW RV Videos • NEWER RV Videos
Inflatable foot rest is comfortable for couch and passenger seat
Now that’s cool! Miss your favorite recliner no more! This inflatable foot rest is perfect for lounging on the couch, in the chair by the campfire, or in the passenger seat for long drives. Take it on a plane ride, or take it to the grandkids’ sports games (we know those can get long). It weighs less than 1 lb. and folds down small for travel. Learn more about this comfy foot rest here.
Since Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing apps arrived on the scene in 2010, the average downtown traffic speed in San Francisco has slowed to 2.5 miles per hour. —Wall Street Journal
Bumper sticker of the week
My mother-in-law had a bumper sticker on the back of her class C RV that said: “I can’t be lost. I’m already home!” —Thanks, Donna Arndt!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
Remember as a child when air for your bike was free? Now it’s $1.50! I asked the gas station attendant why. He said, “Inflation.”
Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier. —Mother Teresa
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: Emily Woodbury, Russ and Tiña De Maris. 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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