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July 18, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury
Archie, my little my rescue terrier, and I were lounging on my couch at home, taking it easy (Archie sleeping while I plotted which of my many projects to pursue next), when I looked down at him curled up by my side and realized what a wonderful, loving companion he is.
No thought of mine ends quickly: this one led me to think about all the single people today, RVers included, who live or travel alone, and how many must feel at least somewhat lonely from the lack of a companion. My first thought was that those who felt very lonely could adopt a dog (or cat) to keep them company. I said something about that later to my daughter, Emily, who replied, “Dad, the animal shelters are empty because that’s happening so much.” I figured she was exaggerating a bit, but I believe she was right that many people who are being forced to self-isolate have already figured out that a pet can provide a great deal of comfort and companionship.
That thought led to me feeling incredibly fortunate to have a wonderful human companion in my partner, Gail. We never argue (and I mean never), and I thank my lucky stars for that because I know that some couples with difficult relationships who are forced together during the pandemic are having a tough time.
THAT THOUGHT LED ME to ponder how challenging it must be now for single people to find a partner. With so few social gatherings and with so many people working at home instead of with others at an office, the chances of meeting a special person is limited.
I wonder if online dating services are doing well now — Match.com and others. I’d think they would be a logical place to find a partner. After meeting online, an in-person coffee date might not happen as fast these days, but with some time, love could blossom. If you are single and yearn for a special someone in your life, are you actively searching? If so, please tell us about how you are doing it.
RV TRAVEL ZOOM MEETINGS
Starting next Saturday, at 11 a.m., Pacific time, and following every Saturday thereafter, we will hold Zoom meetups with our member-subscribers. We’ll include up to 40 participants in each meeting including a different RV expert each week. Next Saturday, RV electricity expert Mike Sokol and I will kick things off. The following Saturday, our columnist and RV tire authority Roger Marble will be the guest. We’ll invite our members to other meetings throughout the week to discuss topics about RVing that would make for good conversation. Zoom is a free service, and no registration is required to participate.
All the meetings will be recorded and made available to our members as of the next day. Our members are those 5,500 or so RVtravel.com readers who help fund our efforts by voluntarily subscribing, whether one time or on a regular basis. You can learn more here or make a contribution. If you choose to do so, then instructions for joining each meeting will be included your ad-free edition of this newsletter. Learn more about Zoom.
📌 NEW! Big contest starts next Saturday
Be sure to read in next Saturday’s newsletter about how to enter our big Early Summer Bonanza of Prizes Contest, July 25 through August 2, where we will award a whole bunch of great prizes including a fantastic SoftStartRV air conditioner management device. With its new technology you can now run your RV’s air conditioner on regular (20 amp) household power or a small generator. Other prizes include a half-dozen Siphon 360 roof vents, which will send the stinky odors from your RV toilet out your roof to prevent your RV from smelling like an outhouse. And you could win one of six books by Mike Sokol about RV Electricity, a must-read for all RVers. Plus more great prizes! Be sure you are signed up for our RV Daily Tips Newsletter to increase your chance of winning.
NEW! Sign up for our new RV Tires Facebook Group moderated by Roger Marble.
Your help needed
We are working on an article about the safety of wearing seat belts in a motorhome when the passenger is facing sideways, not forward, like on a sofa. Have you ever been in an accident where that happened or know of one? We worry that the force of the passenger pushed violently forward while being restrained sideways could have a devastating effect. If you have any information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with details. Thank you.
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• Borders to Canada and Mexico are closed for nonessential travel until Aug. 21.
• RVer mistakes gas station fuel tank for dump station. Oh, my!
• 2021 Ford Bronco: Iconic first SUV returns after 25 years.
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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Learn more or donate. Help us be the best we can be. Thank you!
Last week’s Tip of the Day in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• Carry some basic tools – even if you can’t use them.
• Simple shade cuts temperature inside your RV.
• Mark Polk: Trailer hitch tip.
• Choose and safely use the proper ladder for RV care.
• Don’t overstuff your RV.
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
Supply of mobile RV technicians not keeping up with demand
With some nine million RVs on the road and even more expected in the near future, the need for RV mobile technicians is growing by leaps and bounds. Unfortunately, the supply of techs has yet to meet the demand. Read more.
Are you managing your RV tanks? Part 2
Properly managing your RV’s tanks can make your life much happier. Last week we talked about fresh water and black water tanks. Let’s talk about those other tanks this week. Learn about gray water, hot water, propane and fuel tanks here.
What you need to know BEFORE buying a motorhome – Part Three
By Andy Pargh
This is Part Three of a three-part video series where I speak with Steve Zeigler, the Director of Bus Shell Sales of Prevost, and Gil Johnson, a well-known Prevost Motorhome Inspector. While the content in this video is slanted towards Prevost motorhomes, the information will be useful to anyone shopping for a variety of motorhome brands. Learn about motorhome maintenance budgets, whether or not you need a special license to operate a motorhome, and much more, in this 17-minute video.
Important warning! Bad RV door part can lock your loved ones in the RV
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
We’ve been RVing for nearly 35 years and we still fall into the “Learn something new every day” category. Sometimes it’s nearly an embarrassment to recognize how little you know. We’re sharing a “new thing” for us, and maybe it’ll be new for you. This “new to us” may spare you a bit of humbling, or it could actually spare a life. … Learn how Russ accidentally locked Tiña in their RV (which could have been a disaster), and how an astute reader alerted them to a recall on the defective product. Read more.
Electric bicycles are perfect for RVers. Here’s why…
By Silvana Clark
Remember the freedom you felt as a child when riding your bike as fast as your little legs could pedal? For most of us, our legs aren’t so little anymore, and we don’t do much pedaling. Enter the e-bike (electric bicycle). Americans are learning what Europeans have known for years… e-bikes help the environment while providing much-needed exercise. Continue reading.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• What your RV says about you
• RVer Safety: Look up when you park
• Headed to Canada? An easy way to convert kilometers to miles
• RV Short Stop: Visit Raquel Welch’s bra
• How to fix stripped threads on RV water heater anode
What word in the English language does the following: the first two letters signify a male, the first three letters signify a female, the first four letters signify a great person, while the entire word signifies a great woman. What is the word?
(Shhh. Don’t give it away. Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday News newsletter.)
How loyal are you to a particular RV tire brand?
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:
Are you making payments on your RV or is it paid off? Respond here, and see how more than 2,300 other RVers responded.
Park Hosts, essential workers, challenged during pandemic
By Nanci Dixon
While our duties are far less heroic than the incredible nurses, doctors and first responders, we are considered essential workers in both Arizona and Minnesota. We were Park Hosts for a county park in Arizona at the beginning of the pandemic. When the stay-at-home and social distancing orders were first issued the park was inundated with masses of people, literally thousands. Continue reading.
Birds build nest on RV. RVers must stay put or face $15,000 fine or jail!
By Terri Nighswonger
What’s odder than a bird building a nest in your RV ladder? A bird building a nest in The RV Odd Couple, John and Mercedes Condon’s, RV ladder. Make that bird a protected species and you’ve got fodder for a great story and a life lesson as well. Continue reading this great story.
Airports and RVs: Strange bedfellows unite for RV rental idea
Blacksford, a new Montana-based RV rental company, has introduced a novel way for new RVers to experience the mobile lifestyle in a streamlined format. The company offers fully-stocked Mercedes-Benz Sprinter overland adventure vehicles from Winnebago for rent at the Las Vegas, Nevada, and Bozeman, Montana, airports. Learn more.
Weird, Wacky RVs of the Week. See ’em to believe ’em
Here are four really unique (as in weird, wacky or wonderful) RVs. Who wants to be ordinary? Not the owners of these one-of-a-kind recreational vehicles. Check ’em out here.
Will Irish Spring soap repel rodents from your RV?
RVers employ a variety of methods to keep mice and other rodents away from their RVs. … [One] popular method of keeping rodents away is by placing Irish Spring soap in areas where the creatures might inhabit. Some RVers swear this works. Alas, others say it does no good at all. Finally, someone has conducted a scientific test to see if Irish Spring soap really does keep rodents away, in this case rats. Read more and watch a short video.
Yikes! Check out the giant mud tires on this RV!
At first glance, we thought it might be a Photoshop-phooley. But if it is, somebody’s gone to a lot of work to even bring in a realistic tire track in the gravel. So is this Re-Bounder for real?
Instant Pots aren’t your mother’s pressure cooker
We’re all creatures of habit when it comes to cooking in our RV. With limited counter and storage space, it’s easy to stick with our favorite easy-to-prepare recipes. We barbecue, cook one-pot meals, and sometimes use the slow cooker. So why would you need an Instant Pot while RVing? Who wants a bulky, dangerous-looking appliance that could explode and blow the roof off your RV? Relax. Today’s Instant Pot cookers are safe, efficient, and suited for RV cooking. Learn more.
Airstream rolls out 20-foot trailer for the “adventurous”
Over the years, the Airstream lineup has picked up a cult-like following. There is something to be said about that clean, shiny exterior. But to keep the whole works going, there’s always got be something “new” to push more of these big bullets out the door. With the younger generation entering the RV world, the emphasis is on smaller, lighter, more “rugged” rigs, and Airstream’s parent company, Thor, is pulling out the stops with their latest Airstream-branded trailer. Do you like it?
Wow! Is this home-built RV incredible or what?
Several readers have sent us this photo which has apparently been making the rounds on social media. Wow! Somebody went to a whole lot of trouble to build this beauty, which inside looks more like a classic wooden boat than an RV Check it out!
Forget buying a portable generator!
Use your car or RV engine to generate clean 110 power with a CarGenerator. It’s cheaper, more reliable, and so light even a child can lift it. Use to power your RV accessories, and recharge batteries for continued use of CPAP machines, etc. Perfect supplement to solar on cloudy days. At home, use for backup power when the power grid goes down. Learn more.
Popular articles from last week
• Is this fifth wheel towing setup legal? Is it even safe?
• Walmart turning parking lots into drive-in theaters.
• Ill winds blow down new RV park dreams.
• Disaster at the dump station. Warning: This is disgusting.
• Even with an RV, there’s no escape from the outside world.
• U.S. Postal Service isn’t getting better; its old trucks are burning.
• YOU DO NOT (repeat: DO NOT) want to drive on this road.
• Do you think voting by mail is a good idea? (Poll with almost 200 comments.)
• Which state has the worst drivers? This new report ranks them all.
• Use your RV air conditioner in low-power situations.
• RV Electricity: Hughes Autoformer – A cure for low campground voltage?
• Reader letter: “Few wearing masks” and lots of newbie RVers.
SWELL CONTEST OF THE DAY
How would you like to win this Packable Backpack? Well, this might be your lucky day! In one of this past week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletters we published a secret phrase. Simply email the phrase to us at RVcontests@gmail.com . We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (July 18, 2020) by 11 a.m. Pacific time. Remember, you can only enter once and after we notify you by email that you won, you have 24 hours to respond or we’ll give the prize to someone else.
LAST WEEK’S WINNER of the brand-new and very handy My RV Travel Journal was Doug Fox of Lumberton, South Carolina. The previous week’s winner of their choice of these directories of free campgrounds, West edition or Heartland edition, was: Selene Montgomery of Mears, Michigan.
Our NEWEST Facebook Groups: RV Tires • RV Parks where you can fish without a license • RVing Fulltime • RVing with Dogs • Towing Behind a Motorhome • RVing with a Disability • RV Travel Tips • Trucks for RV Towing
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.
Check out our Directory of RV Clubs and Organizations.
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.
This book is 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 beautiful book takes you on a journey through America’s best state parks. Whether you’re looking for stunning vistas, rare wildlife, a dose of history or an enjoyable hike, state parks offer an array of experiences. Learn more or order.
RV Education 101
Good surge protector highly recommended
With Mark Polk
If expensive appliances and sensitive electronic equipment like inverters, microwaves, entertainment centers and refrigerators are exposed to improper wiring or faulty electrical power, even for a few seconds, they can be damaged beyond repair. I strongly recommend investing in a good surge protector…. Read more.
Swimmers electrocuted in Arizona lake. Don’t let this happen to you!
Recent Electric Shock Drownings (ESD) in Arizona’s Lake Pleasant, where two adult brothers died after jumping into the lake, is a stark reminder that electricity in water can be even more dangerous than a hot-skin contact voltage on an RV. National electricity expert Mike Sokol explains what causes ESD and what to do and NOT to do if you encounter this situation. Also included is a news report of this tragic incident. Read more.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session: Keeping cool without an AC
We’ve been stuck in a campground for weeks that has very limited electrical power. In fact, sometimes it drops below 100 volts in the afternoon and our EMS shuts down the power for hours until it comes back up. I understand that running on low voltage can be bad for air conditioners and I don’t mind getting out of that tin can of an RV for some fresh air, but how do you deal with 100+ degrees of air temperature? —Soleil
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RV Electricity group on Facebook.
RV Tire Safety
Why don’t more big tire companies make ST-type tires?
Roger Marble was asked by a fellow RV owner if he could recommend a tire for their trailer. The other owner had been trying to find an ST tire provider, but had not had any luck. Roger explains why he thinks none of the “major” tire companies are interested in the RV trailer market (ST-type tires), here.
NEW! Sign up for our new RV Tires Facebook Group moderated by Roger Marble.
Building an RV Park
Septic skeptic, road “feathers” … and more issues
By Machelle James
These last two weeks have either been full-fledged panic or a constant stream of phone calls. While we celebrated getting the approval to build our campground, I suddenly found myself in a panic. What do we do first? Who do we call? What’s the next step? I decided to call our bank to tell them we were approved so we can get the ball rolling. Sounds great in theory, doesn’t it? … You won’t believe what Machelle and AJ have had to deal with in the last two weeks. Find out here.
Cut up a whole watermelon in minutes!
This stainless steel watermelon slicer works like magic! If you eat watermelon, you need this! Simply push the tool into the watermelon, and pull out perfectly cubed pieces of this sweet summer treat. It couldn’t be easier. If you don’t believe us when we tell you it’s great, just read the reviews! Learn more or order here.
The RV Kitchen
Strawberry Snowcap Bars
A bake-and-take dessert. This rich, buttery, crusty-sweetie cookie bar has all the fun of frosting but without a gooey topping. The meringue bakes on. Bake and take the entire panful or cut and wrap bars individually for roadside picnics on your way to the campground. Get the recipe. [Hold the presses. Diane’s gonna go bake a batch right now!]
The Digital RVer
Keeping track of what you buy using your phone
By Chris Guld
Our phones, with Google, Apple or Samsung accounts, make it very easy to purchase things. Has anyone set up a subscription purchase and, months later, wondered what is that charge and how do I stop it? I’ve also heard from people who routinely hand their phones to their grandkids and later find charges for games they’ve never heard of. (Editor: See below Chris Guld’s article for a cute story about what might happen!) Read more.
2020 Casino Guide includes RVer info and coupons!
The 2020 American Casino Guide provides detailed information on more than 750 casino/resorts, riverboats and Indian casinos in 41 states including which have RV parks and/or allow RV overnighting for free. Includes maps and more than $1,000 in coupons. Discloses the actual slot machine payback percentages for every state’s casinos. Learn more or order.
When my family and I started the RV hobby 30 years ago, we never made reservations. We used our RV for business and vacations. We were able to take kids and pets, and it felt like home. Never made plans, just drove until we found an area we liked, got the camp directory out and would find a place we liked. Didn’t matter if you were staying one night or a week. Today’s RVing put you more on a schedule that you have to stick to. You have to make it to that next campground or you may not have a place to stay that night. Now it seems like you better make reservations or you could end up in a Walmart parking lot, which I did for the first time last year. Wasn’t bad for one night. I spent more than $100 for supplies the next morning. Want to thank Walmart for making that an option. — Ken H.
Yes, Walmart saves a lot of RVers from pulling over by the side of the road for the night. But it’s true that RV parks are more crowded than ever, and it’s getting worse all the time. “Going where you want when you want,” is not really true anymore unless you add “if you have a reservation.”
Facebook Groups of Interest
• Alaska RV Travelers
• Montana RV Classifieds
• Cool RV Stuff – Gizmos, Gadgets, Decorating, etc.
Plus, join us in our own groups HERE.
Two new guides to free campgrounds
Roundabout Publications has teamed up with the Ultimate Public Campground Project on these two new guides. Discover thousands of designated camping areas in the West and in America’s Heartland – real places – not big box store parking lots. Included are areas managed by various governmental agencies. Learn more about the West edition or Heartland edition.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Two girls and two boys. Went to buy two but were sucked in by the sweetest faces so now we have Punkin, Lexi, Rider and Tucker.” — Carol-Leah and Bill Loran
Pets featured in this past week’s RV Daily Tips:
• Monday: Pistoli • Tuesday: Bebe • Wednesday: “The 3 Stooges” • Thursday: An adorable “Sproodle”! • Friday: Coulter
Help! Can my pet get COVID-19?
By Terri Nighswonger
As the world learns more about COVID-19, individuals are taking precautions to keep themselves and their families safe. What about keeping our pets safe? There have been COVID-19 cases in animals in the U.S., so is your pet at risk? Find out here.
Check out all these hilarious dog toys! Click here.
Maya Angelou (1928-2014) was the first black female streetcar conductor in San Francisco. She was only 16 at the time.
Bumper sticker of the week
Ever stop to think and forget to start again?
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
Great truths that little children have learned:
1. No matter how hard you try, you can’t baptize cats.
2. When your mom is mad at your dad, don’t let her brush your hair.
3. If your sister hits you, don’t hit her back. They always catch the second person.
4. You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
5. You can’t trust dogs to watch your food.
You never realize how antisocial you are until there’s a Pandemic and your life doesn’t really change. —Anonymous
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, Richard Mallery, Roger Marble, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, Terri Nighswonger, Silvana Clark, 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. We miss him so!
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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This newsletter is copyright 2020 by RVtravel.com
Just wondering where I go to submit pet photos. Thank you.
Hi, Dave. Under the photo of the pet in the newsletter is this statement: Send us a photo of your pet with a short description. The first part of that sentence (in the newsletter) is linked to this page: https://rvtravel.com/submit — where you can submit the photo and description. We’re looking forward to hearing from you about your pet. 😀 —Diane at RVtravel.com
I always regret not adopting our one dogs brother. They were such pack mates. But then again when we adopted again he really fell in love with his sister. Now we have three. We are thinking of adopting again but probably not for a long time coming. I love that picture of the 4 faces. Glad to hear you kept it in the family.
Chuck/Emily: I spoke with animal shelter contacts, and the passing comment about animal shelters being empty is not QUITE the whole story…
1) Yes, people are adopting more animals than typically, but reputable shelters still want to find good forever-homes for the animals — they do NOT want to re-home all the animals when they are inevitably surrendered in a couple more months to a year, when the animals are no longer convenient to care for or wanted as rent-a-companion. Think of all the “Easter rabbits” and “Christmas puppies” that are surrendered a month later. If you’re mainly adopting an animal due to Corona, please DON’T. It’s not very nice to a living creature to be your toy if they weren’t invited in as family before.
2) The shelters are NOT mostly empty because the animals were adopted — it’s to protect care-staff from contact. Most shelters have foster-care caregivers taking care of the animals OFF-site. Those that remain often needed extra medical care.
Another great issue. Thanks
You’re welcome, Erik! Thank YOU! 😀 —Diane at RVtravel.com
I hope people take the time to see the forever in our thoughts posting for Gary Bunzer in your closings. He is, was, and forever will be in my thoughts for the impression he made on me……and I never got to see him in person but once in my lifetime. He was that kind of person. Thanks for being you Gary.
You asked for feedback from readers regarding their personal experience of being involved in a crash while being seatbelted in their seat, sitting sideways in their RV. You worry about the “devasting effect” of the passenger’s body being “violently pushed forward” in a crash while seated sideways. Don’t forget about all the T-bone crashes that happen daily with regular vehicles. I worry more about the devasting effect to ones body not being restrained at all. I have responded to too many crashes involving people not wearing their seatbelts. (They did not fair too well by the way.) People are violently tossed about within the vehicle, as well as being thrown through the windows.
Maybe I read too much in to the way you asked your question. My first thought was…hmmm Chuck does not think this is safe. I definately like the idea of collecting good data to learn more.
“DC-3 airplanes . . . are still used today in some third world countries or other small countries for short hops.”
Yikes, you sure have an unpleasant way of belittling a great airplane!
This 84-year-old design is currently being remade into a versatile, efficient, economical plane for the 21st century by Basler Aviation in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It can fly 2000 miles or more, 200+ mph, and carry a heavy load.
Basler has updated many of these wonderful old birds, and continues to do so under the name Basler BT-67. Check out that name on Google or go to http://www.baslerturbo.com.
I always read the story under Ask the RV shrink? I didn’t see it in the weeks issue, what happened?