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March 14, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury
What a crazy, nerve-wracking week this has been! The coronavirus continues to spread and with it increasing apprehension and even panic, sending the stock market into a free-fall. Winnebago and Thor dipped at one point to approximately half their value in the last few weeks, and Camping World lost nearly two-thirds its value before rebounding slightly on Friday.
My week began in Quartzsite, Arizona, then on to Lake Havasu City where Gail and I stayed briefly in the state park (we got the last available spot) right on the lake. We’re now in Kingman, an old mining town along Route 66 at about 3,200 feet elevation. It is nice to see some pine trees, although I always miss the majestic saguaro cactus when I leave the desert.
JUST TWO WEEKS AGO, I talked about returning to our home in Seattle to have the damage repaired from a leak in our RV roof. But now, Gail and I are hunkered down in Arizona. So much has changed and so incredibly fast! When I think back to when we left our home in Seattle four months ago, I realize I had never heard the term coronavirus, the stock market was flying high, and hand sanitizer was readily available at just about any grocery or drug store.
Our RV’s roof leak is patched for now, so no need to rush home or elsewhere for an emergency fix. Alas, returning to our home in the Northwest is not appealing at the moment because it’s within a few miles of the country’s most serious outbreak of coronavirus, and the most deaths.
Much of Seattle is closed up tight. Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks, and other big companies have asked many of their employees to work from home. Public events with crowds of 250 or more have been banned statewide. All schools in Washington state are closed through April 24. Stores are running low on food and other necessary goods for normal living (like toilet paper).
So here Gail and I sit in the old mining town of Kingman, staying pretty much to ourselves. But, frankly, life is just fine; we’re very comfortable in our RV. Shortly after we arrived here the temperature dropped into the 50s and it rained. For the first time in weeks, we closed our front door and windows in the early evening to stay warm. The 70-degree days for the last few weeks were wonderful (and they will be back soon), but the pitter-patter of the rain on our roof, and its fresh, sweet aroma made us feel incredibly cozy in our motorhome.
With all the concern about the coronavirus and the fact that older people are most at risk, I bet we are not the only 60-plus couple holing up in our RV, taking it easy, waiting to see what happens. And I suspect many others will follow. After 9/11, when many Americans backed off air travel, interest in traveling with an RV picked up. I expect the same thing will occur in the months ahead.
I am glad I have a traditional home; I need a place to return to, where things are familiar. But, for me, knowing it’s there is enough. For now, I am happy right where I am in my wonderful little home on wheels.
P.S. I have been too busy this week to finish my series “The dysfunctional RV industry and you.” I will try for next week. In the meantime, you can read the first five installments by clicking here.
FMCA cancels Tucson rally
FMCA, the Family Motor Coach Association, has canceled its March 26-29 international rally in Tucson. As many as 4,000 RVers were expected before coronavirus appeared on the scene. Read more.
Attention readers: If you are a member of an RV club or are affiliated with an RV-related event would you please let us know if its gatherings, meetings, etc., are cancelled or postponed because of the coronavirus? We’ll pass along the info to our readers. We appreciate any news related to RVing that’s being affected by the virus. Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org . Thank you!
Also: We’ll round up as much information as we can about the coronavirus and how it is affecting RVers and report our findings in tomorrow’s newsletter.
My Roadside Journal
Articles in tomorrow’s newsletter
• The latest on the Coronavirus Pandemic and how it affects RVers.
• Expanded news coverage. A big week, much going on.
• New Mexico State parks bans camping over virus concerns. A trend?
• Homes of snowbirds from Iowa are getting burglarized. Tips to avoid it happening to you where you live.
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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I am flat as a leaf, and as round as a ring. I have eyes, but cannot see a thing. What am I? (Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday News newsletter.)
Last week’s featured stories in RV Daily Tips
• Inspect your propane rubber hoses regularly or risk disaster.
• RVing: Be safe and happy every day with the 3/300 rule.
• Keep that RV going straight down the road.
• Buyer Beware: Prior model year disclaimers.
• Just how important are my RV batteries?
Pilot Flying J issues official statement on diesel discount debacle
We’ve received more than 200 comments from our readers regarding our stories on the huge discounts that diesel-burning RVers can get. We initially wrote about a fuel discount program offered by a Texas trucking company called TSD Logistics. Last weekend, we wrote to update that Pilot Flying J had killed off the RVers’ discount. The reaction from readers was swift, and heated, plus we received an email from a communications group representing Pilot Flying J with their explanation of the program. Read the rest of the story.
Coronavirus worries RVer with upcoming travel plans
The travel industry is taking a hard hit from the coronavirus. RVers may feel safe in their homes-on-wheels, but the ability to travel to places unaffected may soon become more difficult. We received a comment from a reader named Gray on our RV Daily Tips Newsletter this week expressing concern. Read what he wrote.
Fireman’s video shows how motorhome goes up in smoke
A fireman’s camera shows just how fast a motorhome can go up in flames – even while firefighters are pumping water on it. This one comes from Contra Costa, California, where a Class A gets ready for the scrapyard. Watch the 6.5-minute video here.
RV Travel reader offers advice about buying an RV
Veteran RVer John Sargent, of Tucson, Arizona, has been RVing since 1979 and has learned a lot along the way. Here, he offers some buying tips, based on a lot of personal experience. Read more.
Reader Steven Stanton spotted this and sent it along. Wow! Quite a setup!
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• Drive with your hazard flashers on?
• Are ST tires the “best” tires made?
• Southwest camping for 85 cents a day!
• New RVer having difficulty adjusting to “minuscule” kitchen
• There’s more to Barstow than a quick stop for gas or grub
If you were in the market right now to buy a new-model RV, would you go ahead or postpone for awhile?
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.
The Geezermobile and me: A widower’s journey getting back on the road
By Eric Manchester
Mona died somewhere between hoping and planning. For all our 29 years together, road-tripping was a shared delight. First, in our old Triumph TR6 sports car, then in our succession of minivans to accommodate Mona’s many, complex and worsening health conditions. When it became too painful for Mona to even ride to the grocery store, it seemed that our days being someplace “out there” might be over. New possibilities emerged in 2016 with our acquiring Geezermobile, a 1998 Triple E Commander motorhome. Continue reading.
Camping World stock plummeted this week. What if the company goes bankrupt?
In this five-minute video, radio host Alan Warren has a warning for you to consider if you purchased an RV from Camping World in the last few years. You probably also purchased an ESP — an Extended Service Policy (extended warranty). If so, if CW should go bust, your policy will go bust right along with it. Find out what you can do right now to get at least some of your money back. Alan explains.
Winnebago announces power boost on class B vans
Winnebago and Volta Power Systems have announced a 10 percent energy capacity increase for the Pure 3 Advanced Energy System on select Class B camper vans. … Now standard and shipping to dealers, this increase means Winnebago owners can run even longer, enabling greater freedom to camp anywhere without the noise or greenhouse emissions of a generator. Read more.
New book a must-have for state park campers!
This newly published book, “50 States: 500 State Parks,” is a must-have for all state park campers and explorers. The book is a beautiful visual journey through America’s best state parks. Whether you’re looking for stunning vistas, rare wildlife, a dose of history, or an enjoyable hike, the state parks offer an array of experiences. Learn more or order.
Funny camping photos and memes of the week
Now, this is not your average tow vehicle!
RV Travel reader upset by RV dealer treatment. Your thoughts, please?
An RV Travel reader wonders about the treatment he’s getting from an RV dealer on the new RV he’s buying. He wonders if the dealer has the right to dictate the terms of sale the way he’s doing it. What do you think?
Popular articles from last week
• The dysfunctional RV industry and you. Part 5.
• Good Sam tells Pilot/Flying J to end big diesel discounts to RVers.
• What is this truck?
• RV and RV-related recalls for February 2020.
• FMCA decides to proceed with upcoming international rally.
• Readers reveal their favorite RV mods or add-ons, Part 3.
• RV Tire Safety: Is it against federal regulations to change tires on an RV?
• Funny camping photos and memes of the week.
• RV Shrink: RV cabin fever – First-time snowbirds are bored out of their gourds.
• Letters to the editor: Where are all the black RVers?
• RVelectricity: Guide to RV surge protectors.
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, March 7, 2020.
The cutest camping decor we’ve ever seen…
You’ll make everyone jealous! These battery-operated mini LED kerosene lanterns are by far the cutest piece of camping-themed decor we’ve ever seen. These string lights are perfect for both indoor and outdoor lighting. Wrap them around the trees, patio decks, door frames, or windows for a party, holiday or summer decor. We’re ordering some for ourselves here…
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.
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.
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
Using your (RV) head – Saving on tank dump costs
Dear RV Shrink:
Nobody told us this dirty little secret when we thought about buying a motorhome and living on the road several months of the year. We just paid $15 to dump our waste tanks. That cost never even came across our budget radar when we planned our travels. We have to dump at least once a week. Simple math tells me we should be budgeting $60 a month just to empty our black and gray water tanks. Is this normal? What do other RVers budget for this chore? What other surprises do we have to look forward to? —Down in the dumps in California
‘Earthquake Putty’ a favorite of RVers, keeps stuff in place
Do you have items in your RV you like to keep in place — on a table, bedstand or counter? You need this. Collectors Hold Museum Putty is designed to keep items secure in earthquakes! Hey, a moving RV is a constant earthquake! To use this, pull off what you need, roll until soft, apply to the base of the object then lightly press it to the surface. Later, it comes off clean. RVers love it! Cheap, too! Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Doctor
Adding storage in RV’s dinette seats
I have a 2011 Damon and want to add pull-out drawers to the dinette seats. Do you have a recommendation on the type of hardware I should use? I know I will need to build up the foundation the tracks will be on so as not to pinch off the seat belt connections. Are there other technical considerations I should be thinking about? Thank you! —Dale W.
Is presenting RV electricity seminars online a good idea?
From Mike Sokol: Like many of you, I have no idea what’s going to happen with cancellation of any of the RV rallies and shows in the upcoming year. As I’m writing this, I’m getting ready for my seminar at the FMCA rally in Tucson at the end of the month, but there’s a chance that it will be rescheduled or even canceled. These are the times that try men’s and women’s souls. [UPDATE: FMCA canceled the Expo as of Friday, March 13.] … So my plan is to begin doing weekly webcasts of my RVelectricity seminars starting the end of March. Read more and please participate in the survey.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
Getting ready for the road. A soon-to-be RVer is attending Mike’s seminars, purchasing recommended equipment, and getting an RV education as he searches for an RV. Mike offers helpful tips on getting prepared for RVing.
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RV Electricity group on Facebook.
RV Tire Safety
More on Goodyear ST- versus LT-type tires
Roger Marble received some comments/questions from confused readers about his recent post on LT- versus ST-type tires for RV trailers. He answers questions regarding the comparisons, and tells you what type of tires you “should” be running on your trailer. Learn more.
Building an RV Park
We’re learning how to be GREAT campground hosts!
Machelle updates us on what she learned recently at Campground Management School. (Warning: Her enthusiasm is contagious!) She also has information on their septic system (asking for advice from our readers), as well as their upcoming public hearing. Lots going on!
Eliminate hose crimping at the faucet!
Sometimes it’s a real pain hooking up your hose to a faucet or to your RV. This Camco flexible hose protector is the answer. Its easy gripper makes attaching the hose effortless. It’s compliant with all federal and state low-level lead laws, too. Every RVer should have one or two of these. Super low price, too. Learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
Louisiana Bayou Breakfast
For an RV breakfast, rice is nice. Tired of the same old eggs and bacon, toast and coffee? Make this breakfast wild with hot sausage or mild with a maple sausage. Ready-to-serve rice in a packet is a good choice for this easy, offbeat breakfast dish. Make it in one big skillet outdoors over the campfire or indoors on any RV range. Then let the good times roll! Get the recipe.
The Digital RVer
Travel photos should include location information
If you take a photo with your smartphone, it can include the location where the photo was taken – IF you have your settings set correctly. It’s super easy! Find out how here.
A road atlas for kids!
Give this National Geographic Atlas to your kids or grandkids before they hit the road. It features simplified yet real road maps of all 50 states, and interesting information on each place and route. There are even themed maps on nature, population, energy, climate, and more, that delve deeper into key issues. It 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 • RV Videos • Budget RV Travel
NEW! FACEBOOK MEMBERS
Learn what to see and do in every U.S. state. Share tips with other RVers. Ask questions. Join as many groups as you wish.
Did you know these familiar sayings are from William Shakespeare? (Part 2)
• Green-eyed monster (referring to jealousy) – from “Othello”
• Pure as the driven snow – from “Hamlet” and “The Winter’s Tale”
• Seen better days – from “As You Like It”
• Good riddance – from “Troilus and Cressida”
• As good luck would have it – from “The Merry Wives of Windsor”
Bumper sticker of the week
My mother is a tour guide for guilt trips.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
Check out these hilarious (but beautiful) “Subpar Parks” travel posters from Amber Share based on tourists’ cynical reviews of America’s spectacular national parks. (The name of the park is under each poster.) We’re pretty sure you’ll get a chuckle out of most of them.
“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” —Dalai Lama
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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