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March 21, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury
Never in my lifetime, and I’m sure yours, has there been such a challenging time. While I try to stay well informed about the pandemic here in the USA and around the world, in the back of my mind I still want to believe things will return to normal in a month or two. It’s hard to fathom the change in how we live today compared to even a month ago. Many of our cherished freedoms are gone – dining at our favorite restaurant, for example; who could ever have imagined such a thing?
In reality, I don’t think we’ll be back to normal for at least a year, likely longer. Time will tell if I am right or wrong. I hope I’m wrong, but my gut tells me I’m right.
That new “normal” won’t be the normal we have known in recent years. I can’t imagine that RV manufacturers, for example, won’t halt production sometime soon (some already have), just as GM, Honda, Tesla and others have already done in the auto industry. I can’t imagine sales of RVs won’t drop dramatically beginning next month. And some RVers with long-term loans who lose their jobs or investment income will need to walk away from their RVs and their “upside down loans”, providing a glut of low-priced used models available, but, alas, to limited demand.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of our favorite stores will be gone. Oh, I feel so bad for those small businesspersons caught in this.
FROM NOW ON, six days a week, until the pandemic fades from center stage, RVtravel.com will provide breaking news of how it’s affecting us as RVers — Sunday in our News for RVers edition of this newsletter, and Monday through Friday in our RV Daily Tips (read yesterday’s news). We’ll take a break in this Saturday edition (the one you are reading). Sign up for either newsletter here.
We have also set up a Facebook group about how the virus is affecting RVers. If you participate in Facebook, be sure to sign up. Group members are sharing a lot of valuable information that you likely will not find as quickly elsewhere.
IF THERE IS ANY GOOD NEWS ABOUT THIS it’s that perhaps, finally, all of us can join together with a common purpose, tossing aside our often-polarized political beliefs and anger, knowing that we are all in this together, and we all need to do our part to defeat an enemy that does not wear a uniform, does not carry a gun, and isn’t even visible.
So wash your hands, and do your best to live in an upside-down world. Thankfully, we can “self-isolate” with our RVs and not just in a traditional home. We’ll need to socialize less and find ways to keep ourselves entertained in new, perhaps creative ways. Hey, there are lot of good books out there!
And, don’t forget, the great outdoors awaits. My daughter, Emily, as an example, hiked a beautiful Cascades trail near Seattle last weekend — there were few people around, and no nasty virus germs for miles and miles. Look at the waterfall she found. Seeing something like that can go away a long way to lifting one’s spirits.
OH, TO END WITH A LAUGH: In Sterling, Colorado, the Logan County Sheriff’s Office issued a plea for help from its traditional nemeses, local criminals: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and its contagious nature, the Logan County Sheriff’s Office is asking all criminal activities/nefarious conduct to cease until further notice. We appreciate your anticipated cooperation in halting crime and thank criminals in advance. We will update you when you can return to your normal criminal behavior.”
Pennsylvania closes RV parks to new guests
Current residents may stay but the RV parks cannot welcome new residents, seasonal guests or transient guests to enter. Read more. Is this just the first state that will do this?
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• Exhaustive breaking news about the coronavirus and how it is impacting RVers.
• Good Sam cancels all upcoming rallies, events, meetings. State and Provincial Directors relieved of duties.
• No dine-in eating at nation’s three largest truck stop chains.
• Be on the lookout for grizzlies in Yellowstone National Park.
• KOA parks that have shut down.
• Camping World gets hit with $12.5 million settlement in lawsuit by shareholders.
• Out-of-control Porsche “buried” in RV.
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Upcoming RV shows • Latest RV recalls • Free and bargain camping locations • Reader survey • and much more …
We need your support more than ever
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 — especially now, with our advertisers dropping off because of financial hardships. If you value what we do, please consider pledging your support.
The more there is, the less you see. What is it?
(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday News newsletter.)
Last week’s featured stories in RV Daily Tips
• Make your own custom sink-matched cutting board.
• A backup camera for your RV? “Wireless” may not be best.
• RV shopping? Two “musts” you may not have considered.
• Find that RV dump station.
• This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session: Do I have an electrical leak?
RV Travel’s guide to DIY projects and RV mods to do while you’re stuck inside
Many of us are stuck inside right now, whether that’s in our RV or our sticks-and-bricks home. If you’re looking for some project ideas, we’ve compiled a list of articles we’ve written about DIY projects and RV mods you can do while you’re homebound. Bored? Check these out.
National Parks and COVID-19: Be ready for changes
Planning on a visit to one of the nation’s jewels? The U.S. Park Service wants to make sure your health and that of Service employees is kept safe. Earlier this week the Service announced it is “taking extraordinary steps” to put CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines in place throughout the system. Learn more.
RV values decline in January
RV values declined in January, as the industry begins to experience the effects of the coronavirus. … The average selling price for motorhomes was $43,854, down $7,762 (15.1%) from the previous month. Auction volume was up 51.5% from the previous month and the average model year was 2013. Read more.
National Park Service suspends entrance fees. Free admission for now
After careful consideration, on March 18, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt directed the National Park Service (NPS) to temporarily suspend the collection of all park entrance fees until further notice. Learn more.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• Forest River plant explodes in Elkhart, totally destroyed
• Campground of the future? You’re kidding, right?
• Is this the world’s longest travel trailer?
• Amazing RV folds up, squeezes into van on the road
• Graphic helps sort out hazard flasher driving laws
If asked to voluntarily isolate yourself, will it be in a traditional home or an RV?
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.
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.
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.
• Given coronavirus concerns, have you cut back on participating in activities involving crowds?
• Have you ever stayed overnight in your RV in a Cabela’s parking lot?
• Do you prefer an RV park that does, or does not, allow dogs?
Funny camping photos and memes of the week (because we could use a good laugh right now)
Here is week 4 of funny camping photos and memes, which we’re finding mostly on the Camping Memes & Jokes Facebook page. See ’em here.
Reader letter: RV park staff doesn’t understand the term “LP gas”
I noticed this morning when I left an RV resort in Palm Desert, California, that one of my LP tanks was empty. I figured I could get it filled near my destination so I didn’t ask about it when I left. I checked into Pirate Cove RV Resort in Needles, California, this afternoon. It’s our first time at this resort. When I checked in I asked the woman in the office where I could get an LP tank filled. She looked at me and asked, “What’s that?” I told her it was a liquid petroleum tank. “What’s that used for?” she asked. Read more. (Yes, it gets worse.)
Coronavirus alters and cancels many reader’s upcoming RV trips
In a recent story, we asked you if the coronavirus (COVID-19) has either altered your route or cancelled your upcoming RV travel plans entirely. (Please vote in the poll if you haven’t already.) Between this article and others that we’ve recently published, hundreds of you have reached out to us and told us your story. Here’s how the coronavirus is affecting you and your travel plans… Click here.
Local grocery store out of food? These items are still in stock…
• Peppered Hammerhead Shark Jerky…..yum?
• Dill Pickle Cotton Candy
• This bag of Mixed Bugs…but are they roasted and salted?
• Edible Dehydrated Zebra Tarantula (can you imagine if your neighbors in the RV park invited you over for tarantula?) (They’re almost out of stock. Better order quick!)
• Edible Smoked Rattlesnake
• And what pantry is complete without two pounds of frog legs (an excellent source of protein)?
Campground hosts needed in Pacific Northwest
Unless the COVID-19 pandemic locks everyone down, there’ll likely be a large call for camping this season. Governments are still planning ahead, and campground hosts are needed. Here are some opportunities in the Pacific Northwest.
This cute little fifth wheel micro camper could be yours! And you can pull it with a tiny truck, or just any ol’ putt putt four cylinder car. Okay, technically it’s not a fifth wheel trailer, but it sure looks like one. Read more.
Readers speak out: The RV Life, a poem by Janet Jackson
One of our readers, Janet Jackson, handwrote this poem and mailed it to us from Lincoln, Illinois. We’ve typed it up for you to read. Click here to read this delightful poem.
Popular articles from last week
• Breaking Coronavirus News that Impacts RVers.
• Pilot Flying J issues official statement on diesel discount debacle.
• Ford’s new entry-level pickup ready for under $20,000.
• Camping World stock nosedived this week. A warning for some customers.
• Coronavirus worries RVer with upcoming travel plans.
• FMCA cancels big rally scheduled this month in Tucson.
• Buyer unhappy about RV dealer treatment. Your thoughts, please?
• The Geezermobile and me: A widower’s journey getting back on the road.
• RV Shrink: Using your (RV) head – Saving on tank dump costs.
• Building an RV Park: We’re learning how to be GREAT campground hosts!
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, March 14, 2020.
• Funny camping photos and memes of the week.
Microwave plate cover contains splatters, stows flat
How many times have you exploded something in the microwave only to have your significant other complain about your messy habits? Figured it is time for you to get yourself a collapsible microwave cover? This microwave-safe cover collapses for easy storage and takes only a slight press of the hand to lie flat. Multiple lid perforations allow steam to escape while keeping food moist. Learn more here.
Sign up for our RV Daily Tips Newsletter. Coronavirus RVer news updated daily!
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.
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 • NEWEST RV Coronavirus News • 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.
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
Dealing with coronavirus issues as an RVer
Dear RV Shrink:
We just arrived in New Mexico after two weeks in Big Bend National Park. We had every intention of spending a month or so exploring this beautiful state. Can you believe it, they closed all their state parks because of the coronavirus? They left all their museums and day use areas open, just closed down camping sites. Does that make any sense? Seems to me, camping sites would come under social distancing. …
Ask the RV Doctor
RV awning canopy replacement
I need some help on how to install the new fabric on my older A&E Awning 8500 series. No instructions came with it. Is it a hard job to change it? Thanks for any help on this subject. —Sigrid
Stick no more!
An RVtravel.com reader recommended this white graphite powder as the perfect fix for sticky windows. Frames can contract in cooler weather, making things tight. He said his fix is lubricating the window tracks with a simple “puff” of white graphite powder. Why the white? “It doesn’t make a mess like the black stuff!” he explained.
Live Webinars coming soon from Funkstown, Maryland
From Mike Sokol: The people (you) have spoken. Last week I ran a survey asking if you were interested in my presenting my RVelectricity seminars as live-streamed Webinars, and the answer was a big YES. And it also seems like YouTube Live is what most of you want me to use for streaming, so that’s what it’s gonna be. Now that I’m not driving around on the road teaching live seminars, I actually have time to do these Webinars from my “penthouse office” in lovely Funkstown, Maryland. Learn more.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
Do I have an electrical leak? A concerned reader asks Mike why, with the battery selector in the “off” position, he was still getting a reading of 1.4 volts at the disconnected battery cable ends.
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RV Electricity group on Facebook.
RV Tire Safety
More information and warnings on tire inflation
From Roger Marble: After posting on one RV forum some steps that I felt if taken could result in longer tire life by lowering the Interply Shear Forces, I got this reply: “Sounds like tires should never be used or stored in any configuration other than the ‘as cured’ state or they simply self-destruct. Gonna have to figure out how to make these RVs hovercrafts.” Read Roger’s response.
RV Short Stop
Planning ahead: Travel guides for wacky, odd and fascinating RV Short Stops
During this time of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and need for social distancing, now is the perfect time to do a little research on interesting and odd RV Short Stops to visit after this particular crisis is over. In addition to an abundance of online sites, consider a few travel guides during this planning stage for your future RV road trips. Here are some great suggestions.
Remember to maintain those slide seals!
If you’ve heard a cracking or popping sound when extending your slide outs, it means your seals are sticking and/or drying out! Using a seal conditioner about every 8-12 weeks is recommended to avoid drying and cracking. Once they begin to wear and show damage, they are no longer working to their fullest capacity. We recommend using Thetford Premium RV Slide Out Rubber Seal Conditioner – it works like a charm.
RV Fire Safety
Keep your RV’s engine clean
Grease, oil and road dust build up on the engine and transmission, making them run hotter. The grime itself usually doesn’t burn, but if combined with a fuel leak or short-circuited wire, a fire could start. Keep your coach’s underpinnings clean, and it will run cooler, more economically and longer.
Protect your RV “pigtail” from winter grime
That 7-way connector on your travel trailer or fifth wheel is a critical component. When not plugged into your tow rig, the thing is susceptible to the onslaught of dirt, rain and even bugs. Here’s a plug cover that slips right over your precious plug and keeps out the crud. One user says, “This works perfectly to keep the plug on my RV clear. I remove it when not in use and place it in my ‘RV emergency tool kit.’ This way, it’s not knocked around when driving.” Learn more or order.
Museum of the Week
The American Museum of the House Cat
Sylva, North Carolina
Museum? Cat adoption shelter? Both? We’re not entirely sure, but it does sound intriguing for cat lovers. Dr. Harold Sims has spent 30 years building his collection of house-cat related items, pieces of art, toys, etc. Inside his museum you’ll find more than 5,000 cat “artifacts,” including an ancient Egyptian mummified cat, and a petrified kitty recovered from a 16th-century chimney. If that doesn’t get you wanting to speed to the museum, we don’t know what will (mmhmm, that was sarcastic). Next month (or later, depending on the coronavirus situation), Sims is reopening his museum in a larger space, so you can visit the museum website here to plan your visit (and adopt a cat while you’re at it…hopefully not a petrified one…).
You may not feel or hear them, but earthquakes are taking place all over the world at this very minute, about 500,000 per year. About 100,000 of these can be felt. Most of these temblors register only 1-2 on the Richter Scale. On average every year, the United States Geological Survey reports 18 major earthquakes worldwide measuring between 7.0 and 7.9, and one extremely large earthquake, 8.0 or larger. A magnitude 5.7 earthquake hit Magna, Utah, near Salt Lake City, on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
Bumper sticker of the week
I’m retired. I was tired yesterday, and I’m tired again today. —Thanks, Doug Warnecke!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
Watch a video of hilarious dog, Pluto, give quarantine advice. Click here.
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” —Mark Twain
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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