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July 25, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury
Many decades ago I surmised that one day if I lived long enough I would become a hermit. I had already slowed way down from my college years of parties, chasing women and (mild) irresponsibility. Now, somehow, a half-century had passed since those carefree times, and I have wrinkles, gray hair, and I need to brush my teeth with extra care so they don’t fall out. Alas, drinking two beers puts me to sleep. Lively parties are no longer an option unless there’s a place to take a nap or pass out after Beer Three. Of course, parties are in short supply these days.
I’m not ready to be a total hermit yet, but the pandemic is pushing me there. I spend nearly all my time with Gail, my pooch and a cute little bunny who lives beneath the garden shed in the backyard. “Bun Bun” eats a few plants, but I don’t care. He’s so cute he makes me happy when I see him. Bun Bun is my favorite long-eared mammal.
I left home today on an infrequent errand. Most people were wearing masks. I wore mine a few times. All of a sudden seeing all those masked people made the pandemic more real. It’s one thing to read about what’s going on, and see images on TV and on the Web. But being out there, seeing restaurants and other businesses closed, and watching everyone walk around with masks — it hits you. This is for real and it’s a big deal.
Personally, I do not like it, and I am ready for it to end. Me and everybody else, right?
I WILL HEAD OUT in my motorhome early next month for a week-long camping trip, and then again a few weeks after that. I’ll be in a beautiful Pacific Northwest forest, with a small fishing lake a quarter mile away where I plan to catch a few trout for breakfast. Gail and I will enjoy a few campfires, and we’ll partake of some wine, and my pint-sized canine will stand guard for squirrels, then go crazy when he sees one.
Life goes on, and I, along with a few billion other people, am doing my best to make the best of it. Oh, yes, I know I am among the lucky people of the world. So many others are suffering terribly. I wish I were a billionaire so I could help more.
Okay. Enough rambling. If you have a little spare change, please consider donating it to a local food bank. Help a needy family put its children to bed with a full tummy, not an empty one. Here’s a good charity. And you be safe!
RV TRAVEL ZOOM MEETINGS
Starting today, at 11 a.m., Pacific time, and following every Saturday thereafter, we will hold Zoom meetups with our member-subscribers. Today, 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. Zoom is a free service. I suggest you register (easy) so you can quickly join one of the dozen or so meetings we’ll hold every month, most available free to all our readers, not just our members. You can learn more here about becoming a member or make a contribution.
📌 NEW! Big contest STARTS TODAY!
Our big Cavalcade of Prizes Contest begins today and runs through next Saturday, August 1, with a bunch of great prizes including a fantastic SoftStartRV air conditioner management device. With its advanced technology you can now run your RV’s air conditioner with standard 20-amp household current or a small generator. Other prizes include a half-dozen 360 Siphon roof vent caps, which will expel the stinky odors from your toilet holding tank out your roof to prevent your RV from smelling like an outhouse. And you could win one of five copies of Mike Sokol’s book about RV Electricity, essential knowledge 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.
👍 LEARN MORE AND ENTER THE CONTEST. Click here
Today’s secret phrase: Don loved his dog, Pal.
We are looking for writers. Must have news writing background. Part-time (or full-time for the right person). Must love to write, be motivated, be a self-starter and be familiar with RVing. Work from home, your RV, or anywhere with a reliable Internet connection. If you don’t have experience at writing for a newspaper, trade journal or other major publication, please do not respond. No beginners. No “we went here and did that” travel stories. We are already the premier source of information, education and entertainment for RVers, but we want to be even better! To be considered, write Chuck Woodbury at email@example.com .
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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
• Save on your RV-lifestyle expenses.
• Sticky LP problem: Valve not passing gas.
• RV Education 101: Towing capacity tip.
• Grow mushrooms in your RV? Best to keep water out of your rig.
• Adjust refrigerator temperature – and keep freezer the same.
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
MINI TRIPS? DRIVEWAY CAMPING?
Road trips in 2020 may be shorter now but Grandpa’s stories of yesteryear aren’t!
RVtravel.com readers see no improvement in RV quality
By Terri Nighswonger
You wouldn’t think buying a quality, well-built RV would be a problem, but horror stories abound among many well-known brands. RV Travel has conducted several polls throughout the years, with mixed results. Some RVers who cited problems had some whoppers. Others, like my husband and I, have had almost no issues with our Grand Design Reflection 312BHTS travel trailer since we bought it new in October 2018. Read more about what our readers have to say.
Boondocking in a coronavirus world. Part 4: What’s holding you back?
By Dave Helgeson
My wife and I are in the age bracket that places us at increased risk for severe illness if we were to contract the coronavirus. Many of you reading this probably are too. Maybe you have read a report at npr.org that conveys camping in an isolated area in the outdoors … is a low-risk scenario for contracting / spreading the virus. This fact alone should send us scurrying for the safety of the boondocks … yet campgrounds and RV parks are still packed with RVs and people of all ages. This begs the question: Why aren’t more RVers fleeing to the boondocks? Read more.
Watch the horror of a motorhome crash test
They don’t crash test motorhomes in America, and one reason is the results are frightening. In Sweden, they do crash test motorhomes and as you will see in this video, the RV and its test dummies do not fare well (to put it mildly). Watch this and, if nothing else, let it be a reminder to drive defensively. Click here.
Marriage advice from a hand-signalin’, RV backer-upper
By Nanci Dixon
I will admit it, watching folks back RVs into campsites, particularly tight ones, has become a rather guilty source of entertainment. I am not alone. Every head seems to turn to the new camper as they begin their backing up journey. … Here’s Nanci’s story of how she and her husband worked out their backing-up procedure and remained married. If you have backing-up tips, or interesting stories, please share them in the comments below the post.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• My first time driving an RV, and how I nearly killed a cop
• How to deal with bugs that go “splat” on your vehicle
• Do you really need a new refrigerator?
• Will Australian court case embolden U.S. RV industry to go after critics?
• A semi off-color-joke with a great punchline
In what place does today come before yesterday?
(Shhh. Don’t give it away. Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday News newsletter.)
Has a mouse, rat or squirrel ever taken up residence in your 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 later. CLICK HERE.
The most popular poll in this past week’s RV Daily Tips newsletter:
Do you own an Instant Pot? Click here to see how more than 2,000 RVers responded. (And check out our article from last week, Instant Pots aren’t your mother’s pressure cooker.)
Stash your RV inside a “fake house”?
Hide your RV inside a house? It’s a concept being looked at by city officials in Cripple Creek, Colorado. A hybrid “RV pavilion” looks like a sticks-and-bricks residence on the outside, but a motorhome or trailer can be slipped inside the “false front” (our term), and connected to a full utility hookup. The “pavilion” would then serve as an official residence. Learn more.
Update: Help! Lend your RV to a frontline healthcare worker
By Terri Nighswonger
When our article on RVs 4 MDs ran in April, I don’t think many of us would have thought COVID-19 would be spiking again so soon. Unfortunately, many hot spots are still taxing our healthcare workers. RVs 4 MDs is still working to keep first responders, nurses and other essential workers and their families safe. … The group helps to match available RVs with those in need of a way to self-isolate in order to protect their families from contracting COVID-19. Learn more.
Tips from a pro: Digitize your family photo albums
By Nanci Dixon
When we cleared out our house to begin our full-time journey, one of the hardest things we had to do was leaving behind the mammoth number of family photo albums. After they languished in a storage locker for two years I did a “what if” measure of just taking cell phone camera photos of the most important pages in the albums “just in case.” Learn how Nanci digitally saved all of the family photos here.
A good place to carry books in your RV
By Jim Twamley
How about setting a goal for yourself to read two books a month or more? RV parks usually have a free book exchange where you can trade in books you’ve finished for some you haven’t read. If you are like me, you probably have several books you like to keep around for reference. Both weekend and full-time RVers enjoy taking books along on their travels, but where do you store them? Read more. (Get it?)
Use your car to provide power to your RV
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.
Weird, Wacky, Wonderful RVs of the Week
Here’s another installment of weird, wacky and wonderful RVs. Please send us any photos you take or come across. But in the meantime, check these out.
True story: “My RV was a Bloodmobile”
By Nanci Dixon
We outgrew our family truck camper the day the kids and their friends didn’t sleep in the tents outside and we did. My husband said never again, so I was determined to get something bigger with sleeping room for all of us. I had always dreamed of having a motorhome. … Continue reading how they acquired a bloodmobile that just needed “a little more work to finish.” Uh huh.
Popular articles from last week
• RVer mistakes gas station fuel tank for dump station.
• Monster truck and RV combo takes off-road RVing to extreme.
• Birds build nest on RV. RVers must stay put or face jail or $15,000 fine.
• Will Irish Spring soap repel rodents from your RV?
• Weird, Wacky RVs of the Week. See ’em to believe ’em.
• Important warning! Bad RV door part can lock your loved ones in the RV.
• Wow! Is this home-built RV incredible or what?
• Electric bicycles are perfect for RVers. Here’s why…
• Prepare to mask up at Walmart.
• Use your RV air conditioner in low-power situations.
• Adjust refrigerator temperature – and keep freezer the same.
• Are you managing your RV tanks? Part 2.
• RVelectricity – Swimmers electrocuted in Arizona lake. Don’t let this happen to you!
• Building an RV park: Septic skeptic, road “feathers” … and more issues.
Make your phone screen quadruple in size!
This phone screen magnifier amplifies your phone screen 3 to 4 times its size. Using HD zoom optical technology, this lightweight projector is perfect for when you don’t have access to a TV, and want to watch videos on your phone. It doesn’t need a power supply, so you never have to charge it. Check it out here.
Our NEWEST Facebook Groups: RVing Over 60 • 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.
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.
Never get bit by a mosquito again!
What if we told you we had a solution for all those mosquito bites and bee stings? We do! This LED lantern (and flashlight) lures mosquitoes and other flying bugs and zaps them as soon as they fly up and touch it, providing a 16×16 foot mosquito-free zone. Neat, huh? Never swat away a bug again! It’s waterproof, non-toxic, and harmless to humans. Learn more or order.
RV Education 101
Watch the RV battery discharge numbers
By Mark Polk
Never let a 12-volt battery discharge below 12 volts, or a 6-volt battery discharge below 6 volts. That might sound funny, but a fully charged 12-volt battery is actually 12.7 volts and a fully charged 6-volt battery is 6.37 volts. When a battery reads 12 volts, it is at or below a 40% state of charge. Continue reading.
Get yer red hot projects right here, folks….
By Mike Sokol
Just a quick update on some of the cool projects I’m working on over the summer, a few of which I’ll be posting on my YouTube channel this weekend.
Here’s one I’m very proud of. I’ve been able to merge HRDL (my High Rate Data Logger) with Ecamm and YouTube, to produce real-time videos showing my previously captured current and voltage data. Yikes! Now you can see what I see inside of my own head – which is a scary place indeed. Continue reading.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session: Please buy a digital meter
I have a ???? RV and it is or is not doing ???? and can you tell me how to fix it? —A reader
Mike gets questions like this every week. He explains why, if you have a digital meter – even if you’re not sure how to use it – it will assist him to answer your questions. Read more.
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RV Electricity group on Facebook.
RV Tire Safety
Shield your tires from exhaust heat
By Roger Marble
Some folks are noticing the inner dual tire on one side seems to always run hotter than the outer dual or the inner on the other side of their coach. IMO it is the radiant heat from your exhaust system that is causing your tire to always run a bit hotter. Remember that the “aging rate” of tires doubles with each increase of 18°. This means you are potentially cutting the life of the tire in half. Learn how to avoid this.
RV Short Stop
Visit “The Unexpected” Urban Art in Fort Smith, Arkansas
By Julianne G. Crane
Since 2015, downtown Fort Smith, Arkansas, has been transforming itself with the support of a determined local community and the creativity of an amazing group of renowned visual artists from around the world. Over the five-year period, The Unexpected art project has resulted in a treasure collection of 35 public art pieces including outdoor murals, installations and sculptures. … The Unexpected has helped transition a slightly dated old west town into a world-class destination for unique urban and contemporary public art. Learn more.
Time to cool off!
This compact, battery-powered, highly rated (the highest rated one on Amazon!), low-noise fan is just what you need to stay cool in your RV this summer. The rechargeable battery charges quick with a USB and will keep you cool for up to six hours at a time. Clip it to your table, bedside, driver or passenger seat or by your chair outside to stay cool. Learn more or order.
RV Fire Safety
Maintaining your fire extinguishers
Once you’ve determined that you have the right type of fire extinguishers, the next priority is to keep them properly maintained by checking them periodically. Check the fire extinguisher gauge to determine if there is pressure in the extinguisher. If the gauge indicates empty or needs charging, replace or recharge the extinguisher immediately. To test non-gauged extinguishers, push the plunger indicator (usually green or black) down. If it does not come back up, the extinguisher has no pressure to expel its contents. If you need help testing your fire extinguishers, check with your local fire department. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
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.
Museum of the Week
The Big Mac Museum
Irwin (or North Huntingdon), PA
This is more along the lines of a small gallery… inside a McDonald’s (but who doesn’t want to go to a museum and eat a burger at the same time?). This “museum” takes a look at the history of America’s favorite hamburger, the Big Mac, and features a small exhibit on vintage McDonald’s toys. You’ll also find the largest Big Mac in history. The address for this McDonald’s is 9061 US-30, about 30 minutes east of Pittsburgh.
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’ Pets of the Day
“The thee fur kids, Roxy, Rusty and Tiger, go everywhere with us. I think they love to travel more than us. Tiger has been traveling for over 10 years and the other two about 7 years. When my husband starts the diesel engine and pulls out of the RV garage, Tiger literally starts singing (“howling”), “It’s party time again!!” This photo was taken on Valentine’s Day this year in an RV resort near Fort Lauderdale. Roxy has her pearls on and the boys are wearing Valentine ties for the special day. They love to dress up just like us, silly fur kids!! My first place to stop and shop while on different vacations is always “the doggy store.” Happy tails and happy travels.” — Patsy Perkins
Little known danger: Too much water can kill your dog
By Terri Nighswonger
No joke. Too much water can kill your pet. If you have an active dog who likes to play fetch in the water or jump and bite at the outdoor water hose or sprinkler, you need to be aware of the problems of water toxicity. Continue reading.
If your dog or cat gets hot in the summer, why not buy them a cooling bed? There are tons of options available on Amazon, and Fido and Fifi will thank you!
Sleep literally cleans your brain. During slumber, more cerebrospinal fluid flushes through the brain to wash away harmful proteins and toxins that build up during the day. Source: mentalfloss.com
Bumper sticker of the week
Go around! If it was supposed to be fast, it wouldn’t be shaped like a brick. —Thanks, Alan Hubbard!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Do you recognize this wild bird? You’d find it in parts of Colorado and small areas in adjacent states. Adults range from 15 to 16.1 inches in length and 22.1-28.7 ounces in weight. For the answer and to learn more about the bird, click here.
Joke of the Week
Business sign spotted in Seattle area: “I made my mask out of masking tape. It’s kinda tacky!”
Leave with a song
Before Jeff Bezos and Sam Walton, there were Sears and Roebuck. Here, popular singer and actress from the late ’40s, Dorothy Shay, the “Park Avenue Hillbillie,” has a few requests for the early-day retailing moguls.
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, Bob Difley, Terri Nighswonger, Silvana Clark, Nanci Dixon, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Social media director: Jessica Sarvis. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.
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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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