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April 11, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury
Thank goodness I have my work or I’d go crazy. I spend my days writing, answering emails, and doing whatever I can to attract new subscribers. Even though we at RVtravel.com are hanging in there just fine, I worry that something might happen and my staff and I will be stuck like millions of other Americans struggling to pay our bills or, even worse, battling the nastiest virus we’ve ever known.
So I work my fanny off, say a prayer here and there, and formulate a Plan B and even a Plan C if B doesn’t work. And I wash my hands — a lot.
In between, I take naps, and a few times a day I take my furry buddy Archie for a walk. He smells the smells — dog pee, dog poop and the faint aroma of rodents who passed through earlier. Life is good for a 22-pound terrier, whose primary goals in life are to eat as often as possible and one day catch a squirrel.
On nice evenings, Gail and sit outside in our lawn chairs, sip a little red wine and wave at neighbors who walk by, usually with a dog or two. Outwardly, everything looks normal.
But, to be frank, this life is getting old. I’ll take a wild guess and suggest that you are feeling the same. Never, in any of our lifetimes, have we been so restricted to where we can go and what we can do. To me it’s like “No way!” But then I remember that millions of people are really hurting, and I must be thankful that I’m among the lucky ones.
Still, I think, “Okay, this is enough. It must stop! Give me a shot so I won’t get this disease and let me get back on the road.”
There’s a museum down Route 66 from where I live now in my 32-foot motorhome. “World’s largest collection of electric vehicles,” a sign says. It kills me that I cannot visit. It is almost impossible for me to bypass an opportunity to see anything that’s the “World’s Largest.” In Salem, North Dakota, for example, there was simply no option to stopping to visit Salem Sue, the World’s Largest Holstein Cow. In Winlock, Wash., I visited the World’s Largest Egg, another must-see.
Yet here I sit, all the electric vehicles just up the street waiting for me, but the museum doors are locked. That is not fair! But then in my head I hear the words of a friend of mine, who is as pessimistic as the Pope is Catholic, that “life is not fair.” Okay, maybe so, but I prefer to not think that way.
Every day, for the last two or three weeks (can’t remember because time is going so fast), my staff and I have put together a daily report about how the current pandemic is affecting RVers. I can sum up to you by saying that practically every public campground in America is now closed, and half the private ones, too. For now, those of us with RVs — who are, by our very nature, explorers — are grounded.
Okay, all that said, I hope you are coping well, and staying well. Maybe you have taken up a new hobby. Maybe you are being forced to slow down; that may not be a bad thing for folks who can never sit still. Or maybe you’re getting to know your spouse or partner better — sharing an experience that you will talk about for the rest of your lives (be sure to take our Reader Poll below).
Finally, if you believe in the power of prayer, say one for our friend Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, our columnist who has been battling COVID-19 for the last three weeks, in critical but stable condition in a Seattle-area hospital. Read my story and get updates here.
P.S. Update on my past week: Day 32 of self-isolation.
And Happy Easter! It will be a memorable one, won’t it?
👍 Enter Mike Sokol’s Contest!
He’s giving away six Southwire digital meter kits. Each kit includes three different meters. Read more and enter.
Readers speak out
• Have a good laugh: “My Self-Isolation Quarantine Diary” – submitted by Mark Schaffler.
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• Latest breaking news about the coronavirus and how it affects RVers.
• Supply of RV parts being affected by coronavirus.
• Food trucks are temporarily allowed to do business at rest stops.
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 now more than ever
RVtravel.com is working overtime to bring you the news about how the current pandemic is affecting the lives of RVers. In the meantime, more than half of our advertisers have stopped their campaigns due to necessity. We are able to continue because of our nearly 5,000 readers who have become voluntary subscribers. Please consider making a pledge today, no matter how modest. UPDATE FROM THE EDITOR: If you are being hit financially by the pandemic, please take care of yourself: don’t worry about us. But if you are doing okay, we could use your help.
First, I threw away the outside and cooked the inside. Then I ate the outside and threw away the inside. What did I eat? (Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday News newsletter.)
Last week’s Tip of the Day in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• Best ways to tow a vehicle behind a motorhome.
• Stabilizer jacks are not for lifting your RV.
• Get started in boondocking with these essentials.
• Think rubber tires will protect your RV from lightning? Think again!
• How about some dump station decorum?
Toilet paper – the softer side of the coronavirus crisis
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Coronavirus is driving us crazy. No, we haven’t caught it and developed mental symptoms. Rather, it’s everybody around us – those who’ve caught it or not – and seem to have developed a nagging compulsion to buy peculiar things. Like disinfectant wipes, bleach and toilet paper. [Editor: You need to read all about Cliramer Ultra Comfort Care Toilet Paper, “Made in USA and Imported.” Christmas in July?] You’ll enjoy this.
Views from quarantine: What’s out your window? Send us a photo!
Since we’re all stuck inside together (well, not actually “together”), we might as well enjoy each other’s views! Where are you reading this? What is the view out your front door, window, campsite or porch? Click here for info and maybe we’ll publish your photo.
Is your RV theft-proof? Here are some tips
By Lidia Hovhan
Camping season is just about to kickstart (well, if it were a normal year, it would be), and one of the things you must secure is your RV. Your RV is an easy target for thieves because it is a small space with many valuables. And, on top of everything else they might steal, they can hijack the RV itself, which, of course, costs a lot of money. … Consider these tips to help you protect your belongings and your RV.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• Is this the year to get handy? (Oddly enough, it is!)
• Is it safe to run that cheaper Walmart DEF?
• A visit to the place “where the music died…”
• Video: Why NOT to travel with your propane tank on
For self-quarantining couples: How are you getting along?
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.
An easy windshield de-bugger!
Here’s a tip from one of our readers, A. Fisher: Bugs making suicide runs on your windshield? Get an 8-ounce (or so) container of Rain-X washer fluid additive and just add it to your windshield wiper fluid – works great without all that work! There’s also Rain-X Bug Remover (not concentrated) that does the job. Driving down the road and collecting bugs? Don’t wait for the next fuel stop – just use the windshield wipers!
Do you have a favorite campground or RV park?
We asked our readers and we published the results here, creating a guide for you of your fellow RVers’ favorite spots. If another RVtravel.com reader recommends it, you know it’s good. 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, Illinois, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
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.
• Do you own a boat? (So many of you do that we’re thinking of changing our name to BoatTravel.com…kidding, of course.)
• If asked to self-isolate, will you do so in a traditional home or an RV?
• How long do you think the coronavirus will affect daily life?
Products we tested – and which later failed
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Over the years we’ve had the opportunity to try all sorts of products. … We usually report fairly soon after we’ve tested those products and give you our impressions. Flipping back in the old test notebooks, we thought we’d come forward and fess up about a couple of products we tested and felt were “pretty good” at the time – but now, with the passage of time, maybe weren’t quite as up to snuff as we thought. Read more.
Oh, the horror! Sewer tank overflows while RVer is away
Here’s proof you need to pay attention when you are dumping your holding tank, or in this case flushing it. If you don’t … well, this can happen. Be warned, the photos are pretty darn disgusting! But it is worth reading this and seeing the pics for a reminder, so you never do this.
Boondockers Welcome adds locations to host RVers overnight
In case you missed the announcement in our Coronavirus News Update for RVers on April 6, Boondockers Welcome has added more than 100 locations where its members can stay in their RVs for free. Some hosts are permitting stays longer than one night, allowing RVers to quarantine and/or hunker down as needed. Read more.
What happens when freedom is taken away from RVing nomads?
By Ingrid Hubbard
A nomadic lifestyle may seem like a dream and for many it is, especially in the beginning, but there are some disadvantages to the nomadic life that become evident over time and more so now than ever before. Al and I have been living in our RV full-time for the past seven years, and we have a pretty good handle on the slew of emotions, good and bad, that come with living a nomadic life. Continue reading this very insightful view of the “nomadic” life during the pandemic.
How to get rid of “the corner of death” in your RV
We saw this posted in the Facebook group RV Tips and couldn’t help but giggle. We know everyone has at least one “corner of death” in their RV. How many times have you bumped your head on yours? Read what Mandy Roberson-Slayback posted here (our article) and get ideas on how you can get rid of your own “corner of death!”
Popular articles from last week
• How a caring RV park owner acts in hard times.
• Hilarious video: Trust no one! (We guarantee you’ll love this 6-second video!)
• Governor’s misguided order deals crushing blow to at least one RV park.
• UPDATED: Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, fighting COVID-19.
• Add another room to your RV with this brilliant mod.
• RV and RV-related recalls for March 2020.
• Edmunds.com’s 2020 best trucks for RV towing.
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, April 4, 2020.
• Is coronavirus leading to a constitutional crisis?
• How about some dump station decorum?
• EMS worker shares preventive uses for personal protective equipment.
• RV Shrink: What do RV park managers and pig farmers have in common?
• RVelectricity – Quick 30-amp outlet tester for cheap.
Bask in the…shade!
Need a shade for your RV’s awning? They’re great for keeping the sun and UV rays out (even some bugs too), and with summer approaching, one seems like a good idea. Here are a ton of options for great prices.
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 • RV Coronavirus News • Texas RV Camping • 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.
Sign up for our RV Daily Tips Newsletter.
INCLUDED: Breaking News about Coronavirus that impacts RVers!
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 Friday’s issue here and then sign up here.
Ask the RV Shrink
Coronavirus presents RV traveling dilemma
Dear RV Shrink:
I know you are fielding a lot of coronavirus questions. We are not newbies or spring chickens. We have been living the RV Lifestyle for several years. We feel lucky to have traveled all we have. This pandemic has frightened us. When it first started I wondered how it would impact us in the way we travel. I could not have imagined what has transpired, so we are headed home. Read the rest of the question and the RV Shrink’s advice.
Airstream lovers need this!
Have you ever seen anything so cute? This adorable salt and pepper set sits inside a mini Airstream. We don’t own an Airstream, but we want these for our dinette anyway. Boy, they come up with the cutest stuff these days… Click here to learn more or order.
Ask the RV Doctor
Gary still in the hospital with COVID-19
Our friend and yours is headed into his third week in a Seattle area hospital in Intensive Care, breathing with a ventilator. His condition is still critical but stable. That’s all we know for now.
Free Southwire meter kit contest this week
I get tons of questions every week about troubleshooting electrical problems, and I’m always asking them if they have a digital meter. Sometimes it’s a Yes, and other times it’s a No. And even if they do have a meter, they may not know how to use it. … So I’m going to do something about it. I’ve asked my friends at Southwire to come up with a decent prize, and they’ve supplied me with half a dozen of their really nice 3-meter kits. Read how you can win one of these great prizes.
Please be sure to read this very special message from Mike to Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor: A promise between Gary the guitar guy and Mike the keyboard guy.
From Mike (Sat. a.m.) – Hey, everyone. In addition to the Southwire meter kit contest on Monday, I’m also doing an open Q&A Webinar this evening (Saturday, April 11) starting at 7 p.m. Eastern time on YouTube. All you have to do is subscribe to my RVelectricity YouTube channel HERE, and you’ll get a notification when I’m online. You ask the questions, and I’ll try to answer them live. See you tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern time.
RV Tire Safety
Things to do with your RV while not traveling
Here are some tips from RV tire expert Roger Marble for things we can do while we can’t be out traveling in our RVs. He recommends a couple of projects that may make life a bit better down the road – and why not get them out of the way while we have the time? Get started here.
Building an RV Park
We met the neighbors … again!
Well, well, well…. We had another neighborhood meeting after a small group of neighbors complained they didn’t have enough time to drive up and see our presentation on February 6th. They requested a new presentation so they could be included. What we ended up doing was a Facebook Live event so they, as well as proponents of our campground, could all join in…. Find out how the presentation turned out, and about progress (or not) on the campground here.
Camco vent insulator keeps you cool…or warm!
Is your RV too hot in the summer? Too cold in the winter? Camco’s vent insulator and skylight cover features a thick layer of foam which helps stop heat transfer, keeping you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Installation is easy. The insulator is designed to fit standard 14″x14″ RV vents. Learn more or order here.
The RV Kitchen
Butterscotch Quick Bread
A sweet, swift quick bread. When you need a hasty hot bread to go with a meal, this sweet and flavorful bread invites a sweet meal such as baked beans, ham, pork or honey-fried chicken. It slices more easily if it’s cooled, wrapped and set aside for several hours. Or bake it in a round dish, cut in wedges and dig in while it’s hot and crumbly. Get the recipe.
SAVE A TRIP TO THE STORE!
Let Amazon deliver it: Toothpaste • Shampoo • Hair conditioner • Deodorant • Lipstick • Vitamins • Shaving cream • Laundry detergent • Skin cream • Hand soap • Dish detergent • Fingernail brush (get rid of germs) •. Coffee • Batteries for your devices • Pet food
The Digital RVer
Looking for something to do at home? Got any old slides?
Be like Mike Sokol, use silicone!
Mike Sokol says: Never use any kind of petroleum-based products on rubber or plastic components in your RV, such as your trailer connector. That includes products such as Vaseline, WD40 or any other type of spray lubricating oil. Doing so will eventually break down the plastic and/or rubber components causing them to swell up and eventually disintegrate. The proper treatment is anything silicone-based. We use a lot of Heavy Duty Silicone in our shop for general connector cleaning and lubrication. It’s also useful on rubberized door sweeps and such. You can get some of your own here.
Facebook Groups of Interest
The head and tail of a bald eagle turn white only after the bird reaches about five years of age. A female bald eagle, larger than a male, stands three feet tall, weighs 10-15 pounds and flaunts a wingspan of nearly eight feet. Bald eagles can soar more than 10,000 feet high (almost two miles!), and their eyesight (six times sharper than that of a human) lets them see fish or a rabbit up to a mile away. They can reach speeds of up to 100 mph when diving.
Bumper sticker of the week
“Conserve toilet paper … use both sides.” —Thanks to Gale Wilson!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week.
Reflections on our current times
• Half of us are going to come out of this quarantine as amazing cooks. The other half will come out with a drinking problem.
• This morning I saw a neighbor talking to her cat. It was obvious she thought her cat understood her. I came into my house, told my dog … we laughed.
• I’m so excited – it’s time to take out the garbage. What should I wear?
• Home-schooling is going well. Two students suspended for fighting and one teacher fired for drinking on the job.
• I need to practice social-distancing from the refrigerator.
• My body has absorbed so much soap and disinfectant lately that when I pee it cleans the toilet. — Thanks to Carole Wallace for sending these to us
“We all have an unexpected reserve of strength inside that emerges when life puts us to the test.” —Isabel Allende
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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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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