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May 30, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury
elcome to the 950th edition of this newsletter! Issue #1 was supposed to debut the second week of September 2001. And then the tragedy of 9-11 struck. Who cared about RVing?
And now, here we are with 950 issues under our belts. We’ve actually published far more than that, but we only count the Saturday editions.
We waited a couple of weeks before posting that first issue. Ever since, my schedule has revolved around preparing each Saturday edition. In the process my hair has gone from brown to gray, and my energy level decreased by 30% due to my advanced age. No complaints, though.
When I began back in 2001, I had no idea that nearly 20 years later I would still be at it. Amazing! And now, my daughter, Emily, who was 10 when I began, is 29 and running much of the show. She’s a brilliant young woman with a native ability in writing and publishing. We work almost as partners now; what a wonderful thing that is for a father, especially when he never dreamed it would happen.
Of course we now have a Sunday edition, too, plus five issues a week of our Daily Tips. In June, we will add a new newsletter aimed at beginning RVers, to be published 260 times a year (more about that in a week or two). We do all this with two full-time employees, three part-timers, and a bunch of freelancers. If there were a Super Bowl of RV Newsletters, we’d have championship rings aplenty.
The fact that we are still publishing today, in these difficult times, is because of the generosity of the more than 5,000 readers who have become voluntary subscribers. Without their financial support, I don’t know if we could carry on. These readers seem to care more about us than those who read for free. We appreciate those who benefit from their free-ride, but I sometimes wonder why they don’t believe we’re worth the price of a single movie ticket for a year’s worth of education, entertainment and information? When our new newsletter debuts, we will be producing more than 620 issues a year, all about RVing.
OUR PLAN is to soon turn the free edition of this newsletter into an abbreviated version of our ad-free donor edition, saving our meatier articles for those who help pay our way, which is critical to us in these uncertain times. If you are not yet a “member” but would like to be, you may contribute here. There are many options. Your support, whatever you choose to pledge, would be hugely appreciated.
I’m only working part-time now, although my brain continues to work full-time. I can’t stop coming up with new ideas; they just pop into my head at all hours of the day. I hope to be free of day-to-day operations by issue 1,000. That’s just about a year away.
If I were a race horse I’d be around the final curve, headed to the finish line.
I cannot express how wonderful the last 19 years have been. And now, with more than 40 million Americans out of work, my staff and I are still plugging along and paying our bills, thankful we are not waiting in unemployment lines or worrying about feeding our families.
I would love to be around for another 20 years, but I’m not counting on it. But I vow that I won’t abandon this amazing online project until I know our mission of delivering quality, unbiased and helpful information is in place for the future. My daughter will see to that.
* * *
All that said, I hope you are safe, and making the best of our challenging times. Be wise. Be careful. Don’t take needless chances. Be kind to others because right now that goes a long way to comforting people who are nervous, scared or otherwise emotionally hurting over the dramatic upheaval in their lives.
And thank you for reading.
Why one reader called me a Peeping Tom and a pervert
Oh, my. I have been called a lot of things by some of the 2 percent of our readers who are rude, unhappy, disrespectful human beings (98 percent of you are very nice, “thank you”). But to be called a Peeping Tom and a pervert … well, that’s a first. It happened last Saturday. I felt I had to climb up on my soapbox to vent about this. Grrrrrrrrrrrr … Click here.
IMPORTANT INTERNET SAFETY MESSAGE FOR OUR READERS
If you use of the following email services, please read a warning from our tech guy Kim Christiansen. They are Yahoo.com, frontier.com, citlink.com and aol.com. All of these companies are owned by Verizon Media and Verizon moved them to Yahoo years ago. Read what Kim says.
BRAGGING AGAIN: We are “The Little Website That Could.” With our relatively tiny staff, we’ve now posted more than 8,000 articles on this website, and we have attracted a huge audience. Out of the approximately 1.5 billion websites in the world, RVtravel.com is among the top 24,000 in popularity, and the most-read RV media site in North America. Thanks to all our fantastic readers (except for the angry 2 percent) who have helped us on our journey.
TRIP UPDATE: Here’s where Gail and I are now and what we’re doing. Hint: It’s not too exciting.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• RV sales are going crazy! What the heck is going on?
• Six months after Texas RV murder arrests – What now?
• Show up at this RV park wearing a mask and you’ll be considered a criminal!
• Maine RV park owners sue Governor.
• RV park reservations see huge jump.
• Have you seen this travel trailer stolen in North Carolina?
• Canadian RV rentals skyrocket.
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Free and bargain camping locations • Stolen RVs • Reader survey • and much more …
We need your support now more than ever
RVtravel.com is working overtime to bring you the news and information you need in this critical time in our history. The economy has forced more than half of our advertisers to stop their campaigns due to necessity. We are able to continue because of our 5,000 readers who have become voluntary subscribers. Please consider making a pledge today, no matter how modest. 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.
Last week’s Tip of the Day in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• “Been there” decal U.S. maps – A view of RVer philosophy.
• Sticky 5th wheel hitch, Cowboy? Slick ’em up!
• RV Education 101: Do this when replacing an LP gas cylinder.
• Why monitoring your tires is super important.
• Navigating parking lots with a big RV.
Fight the urge to buy an RV, says lemon law attorney
VIDEO: RV lemon law attorney Steve Lehto has advice for buyers of new recreational vehicles. Unless they are fully aware of what awaits them as an RV owner, he advises to “Fight the urge” to buy one. Read more and watch the video.
Want to RV around Canada, eh? Our readers suggest their favorite routes
By Emily Woodbury
In a poll on May 12th, we asked if you’ve ever been RVing in Canada. More than 2,200 of you responded, and 74 of you left comments. … Canada, (usually) so easily accessible by RV, should be on every RVers’ travel list. Read some of our readers’ comments (more like “rave reviews”) about RVing in Canada here.
Are you anything like 19,000 RVers recently surveyed?
RV manufacturer Thor recently completed its 2020 North American RV Consumer Survey with an aim to see just how the COVID-19 pandemic might impact RVers’ decisions about buying and traveling. Here’s a rundown on responses.
Brand-new RV is barely off the lot when it starts falling apart
The post below is from our Facebook group RV Horror Stories. We post it here to remind you to always have a professional technician inspect an RV, new or used, before you purchase it. If this buyer had done that, there’s a good chance the original damage would have been noticed and brought to the buyer’s attention. Continue reading.
DID YOU MISS OUR STORY LAST SUNDAY about the man who made a pickup truck from rocks? We kid you not! Read all about it, and see a photo.
Wow! One big (ugly) truck camper!
Well, maybe it’s not ugly to its owner, or maybe even you. But, we’d have to say, generally speaking, this will not make the cover of “Beautiful Truck Camper Magazine.” It would probably not be a good idea to drive this low rider on uneven dirt roads. Source of photo: We don’t have a clue.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• The future of RVing is not necessarily pretty
• Another RV Horror Story, again about Camping World
• RV renovation tips to get you started
• Get money back on your Camping World extended warranty
• KOA manager arrested after pulling gun on picnicking couple
Buy or sell an RV at RVT.com. Click.
Three playing cards in a row. Can you name them with these clues? There is a two to the right of a king. A diamond will be found to the left of a spade. An ace is to the left of a heart. A heart is to the left of a spade. Now, identify all three cards.
(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday News newsletter.)
Now, use your air conditioner in low-power situations you never dreamed possible!
At RVtravel.com we don’t see too many products that we go nuts over, but the SoftStartRV™ is a game changer. Here’s what it can do:
• Run two air conditioners on a 30-amp hookup.
• Run one air conditioner using only a small portable generator.
• Run one air conditioner on 20-amp household current.
• Run an air conditioner or two using your onboard inverter system. Read more.
Where do you prefer to camp, in a scenic, primitive public campground or a nondescript but clean RV park with full hookups?
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.
The most popular poll in this past week’s RV Daily Tips newsletter:
How do you feel about flying in a commercial airliner right now? Tell us here and learn how more than 2,000 of our readers responded.
Camping with the Corps of Engineers
Many RVers consider Corps of Engineers campgrounds to be the best in the country. This guide is just for RVers — boat-in and tent-only sites are not included. Of all the public lands, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has some of the best parks and campgrounds available. In fact, it’s the largest federal provider of outdoor recreation in the nation. 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.
What works when your housey is lousy with mousies?
By Russ and Tiña De Maris (Can you tell by the title?)
It all started with a letter from Don Callahan, a long-time RVtravel.com reader, lamenting the fact that mice had eaten away at the Irish Spring soap bars he had placed in his motorhome to deter them when he stored it last fall. So, Russ and Tiña relate what works and what doesn’t work, for them and for other RVers, to stop critters from invading the RV. We’re sure you’ll have your own tips to share. Read more and give us your thoughts here.
Nail-biting video shows giant bear following right behind young boy
An Italian family’s day trip takes a turn when a large (er, gigantic) brown bear begins following 12-year-old Alessandro on their hike. Loris Calliairi, the boy’s stepfather, is heard calmly guiding the boy to safety. The young boy was collecting pinecones in the bushes, where it is believed the bear was sleeping. Watch the video.
Yikes! They love RVs so much they got RV tattoos!
Do you have a tattoo? Even better question, do you have an RVing-themed tattoo? If you do, you’re probably like these people below who love RVing so much they had to tell, er, show, the whole world. See their tattoos, some pretty amazing! What do you think?
Remove ticks easily from people or pets!This highly rated Tick Twister Remover Set will remove ticks, large and small, without squeezing them, reducing the risk of infection. It does not leave the mouthparts of the tick in the skin. It’s safe and easy, and it helps prevent Lyme Disease. Keep one of these in your RV. Learn more or order.
RV buyers: Never, ever fall for this sales gimmick!
Camping World is advertising free delivery of a new RV. No need to even visit the dealership. How easy is that? But, wait, what’s wrong with this picture? Find out.
Urgent recall: 1.7 million Harbor Freight jack stands
We published this information in last Sunday’s newsletter, but if you didn’t see it, here’s a detailed report regarding jack stands currently being recalled by Harbor Freight Tools. Read more.
Popular articles from last week
• Don’t make these mistakes with venomous snakes.
• If you can’t answer these questions, you shouldn’t be towing.
• Building an RV park: WE WERE APPROVED!
• Will campgrounds be even more crowded in the months ahead?
• Would the “experts” who read RVtravel.com please go away.
• RVelectricity: More on how SoftStartRV works.
• RV Coronavirus News Update, May 24, 2020.
• RV Shrink: “Bean counter” wonders how much the RV lifestyle costs.
• Use your RV air conditioner in low-power situations.
• Video: The Rolls-Royce of the future is INSANE.
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, May 23, 2020.
Need a place to store your RV or belongings? Rent available space on private property near you at Neighbor.com. Save money over commercial facilities. It’s like the Airbnb of storage. Learn more.
Our Facebook 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 • RV Videos • RV Coronavirus News • plus Texas RV Camping and Florida RV camping.
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.
Directory of RV parks with storm shelters
In case you’re on the road with your RV and the weather report is showing a tornado headed your way, have this list handy.
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.
Stuck with a lemon RV? Contact Ron Burdge, America’s premier RV lemon law attorney.
An alternative to RV parks: Stay free at farms, wineries and other scenic and peaceful locations for free. Save 15% on membership. Learn more.
Boondockers Welcome — Stay at homes of RVers who welcome you in their driveways, yards, farmland or other space on their private property. Modest membership fee. Learn more.
Ask the RV Shrink
RV buying – Decisions, decisions
Dear RV Shrink:
We are future RV owners, I think. We have become professional lookers, but so far not buyers. It is very confusing. I am sure for people who have done a lot of RV travel the mysteries are few, but we have never done anything but read about it. Two of our biggest decisions seem to be tow or haul, and slide or no slide. Let me explain. …
RV Education 101
Buying an RV? Don’t buy a “yard ornament” instead
With Mark Polk
If you buy an RV and don’t have any money left in your budget to use and enjoy the RV, it is nothing more than a large yard ornament sitting next to your house. Here are some things to take into consideration before buying an RV.
Here’s an idea for you while you’re self-quarantining: Record your family history on your iPhone or video camera. If you want some inspiration, we recommend you get the book To Our Children’s Children. It will prompt many ideas of what to talk about. Your children and grandchildren will appreciate this when you are gone. Think about it, wouldn’t you love it if your parents could have done this for you?
First-Timer’s primer on Hot-Skin Voltage
It appears that there are many first-time RVers here now, and while it is my 10th year of writing articles for the RV industry, this may be one of the first times you’re reading my RVelectricity columns. So, Welcome, and I promise you this will be (mostly) painless.
I’m going to start this First-Timer series with one of the most important things you can learn about … Hot-Skin Voltage. Continue reading.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
CarGenerator update / TT-30 outlet. Here’s Mike’s update on an impressive non-generator technology for supplementing solar panels while boondocking. And read the informative comments from Jonathan Schloo, the company’s owner, in response to readers’ questions.
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RV Electricity group on Facebook.
If you haven’t signed up for Mike’s monthly RVelectricity newsletter, ya better do so quick. Issue #31 arrives tomorrow. Click here to subscribe.
RV Tire Safety
Lug nut torque – Part 2: Are your lug nuts tight enough?
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
This is Part 2 of how to ensure your lug nuts are tight enough, but not too tight. The first part covered the science and engineering behind the basics, as I am expecting that there will be a number of people who will say something along the lines of, “Roger, you are all wet. I’ve done it THIS way for years and never had a problem.” You are certainly welcome to ignore my advice and continue with the methods you have used for years. Read more.
Endorsed by Roger Marble of RVtireSafety.net!
An excellent tire pressure gauge
The Accutire MS-4021B digital tire pressure gauge has an easy-to-read LCD display that provides pressure readings from 5-150 PSI. It’s ergonomically designed with an angled head and a rubber-coated easy-grip handle. If you forget to turn off the gauge, don’t worry, it will automatically shut off. And all this for about $12! Learn more or order.
TIRE QUESTION: Can black tire “covers” be used without causing damage? Find out.
RV Short Stop
Check out world-famous ice cream in Stanley, ND
As states gradually “reopen” businesses and public campgrounds, now might be a good time to start planning a family outing to smaller communities along the less-traveled blue line highways. Keeping social-distancing in mind, consider off-the-beaten-path attractions as places to relax, learn something new, and avoid the big crowds. Here are some great ideas, including the Dakota Drug Co., the only place in the USA to still serve up world-famous Whirl-A-Whip ice cream. Read more.
RV Fire Safety
Understand your firefighting equipment before you need it
To be most effective at fighting a fire, you must know the purposes and limitations of your equipment, as well as how to properly maintain and use it. Don’t wait until a fire breaks out to try to figure out what to do. Take your extinguisher out now and have a look at it to make sure you’re prepared to use it if the time ever comes. The time you save could mean the difference between minor damage and major disaster.
Fireproof bag keeps valuables safe!
This silicone-coated fire-resistant bag will save your money, documents, jewelry, passport and other valuables in case of a fire. It’s made with two layers of supreme fire retardant fiberglass material, making it 100% fireproof. It can stand up to fire and heat up to 1000 ℉. It’s waterproof, too, so when the hoses arrive, your valuables will not be harmed. Learn more or order.
Museum of the Week
Star Trek Original Series Set Tour
Ticonderoga, New York
Trekkies, get ready for a whole new obsession – this museum! When the Star Trek series was cancelled in 1969, most of the original sets were destroyed. However, superfan James Cawley rebuilt the sets just as they would have been when the series was filmed. The 14-year journey is open to Star Trek fans from around the world, and offers the most accurate rebuilds of the original sets. The sets were recreated using original blueprints, hundreds of hours of research and thousands of photographs. Plan a visit for yourself here.
A thing that does all things!
This large silicone pad can be used in your microwave under hot bowls to pick them up, or on top of a dish as a splatter guard, on your table as a hot plate, a drying rack, or even as a jar opener. When it gets messy just toss it in the sink for a wash, or even put it in the dishwasher. About $10 on Amazon makes it a great deal. Talk about a great multi-tasking gadget for your RV (or home) kitchen.
Readers’ Pet(s) of the Day
“This is a shot of our ‘Golden Girls’ in their Christmas picture. There is never a dull moment with these girls, and they make our life complete. They are (left to right) Rosie (6), Sophie (8) and Lily (8). Sophie and Lily are sisters.” — Don
Poll: Do you have a pet insurance policy?
As RVers, there’s a higher chance that Fido or Fifi might get hurt, eat something they shouldn’t, or explore somewhere dangerous than if they were sitting inside a traditional home all the time. Please take our poll and leave a comment if you recommend the company your pet insurance is through.
Featured pet gadget of the week: Wobble Wag Giggle Ball. If you want a good laugh, get one of these hilarious interactive toys for your dog. Staff member Emily recently bought this for her dog, Astor, and has been laughing every day since. There is an internal tube noisemaker inside the ball (no batteries or charging required!), so when the ball is pushed, it makes a hilarious giggle sound. Your dog will love it! Click here to learn more.
Volvo gave away the 1962 patent for its revolutionary three-point seat belt for free, in order to save lives.
Bumper sticker of the week
I know my sleep number – It’s 6 glasses of wine.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
How are we all doing with healthy eating while at home? 😉
“Life is ours to be spent, not to be saved.” —D. H. Lawrence
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
If you want to have a wonderful day, send $10, $50 or $100 to a local food bank. There are millions of our fellow citizens, including little kids, who are going hungry because their parents lost their jobs. You will feel so good if you contribute — helping people less fortunate than you go to bed without the pain of an empty stomach. Here’s where to donate.
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, Richard Mallery, Roger Marble, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, Bob Difley, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Social media director: Jessica Sarvis. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.
FOREVER IN OUR MEMORIES — OUR STAFF MEMBER IN HEAVEN, Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor.
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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