Welcome to RVtravel.com, the newsletter for intelligent, open-minded RVers. If you comment on an article, do it with respect for others. If not, you will be denied posting privileges. Please tell your friends about us!
Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 19th year of continuous publication, is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers, plus the generous financial support of SoftStartRV, an inexpensive device every RV with an air conditioner should have.
If you shop at Amazon, please visit through our affiliate site (we get a little commission that way – and you don’t pay any extra). Thank you!
August 8, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
How we spare you from wasting your time finding good RV information
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
In the publishing business we have to weed through a lot of “stuff” to put together an interesting newsletter. Once, we kept track of just how many news stories we filtered through in a week to come up with, say, 15 or 20 important and interesting news items to expand upon for our Sunday edition. We were shocked: Typically we’d scan more than 600 items to find the most interesting. We’re not trying to break our arms by patting ourselves on the back, but those are the facts.
One thing we’ve tried hard to avoid: Corporation “quarterly reports.” Unless something spectacular is happening, usually a corporate earnings report makes for pretty dry and certainly uninteresting reporting. But one came down the pike the other day, from LKQ Corporation, which, it appears, is involved primarily in the production of auto parts and junk-yard operations. Still, the company adds, “Our Specialty product offerings include: RV, truck & off-road, towing …” etc. Not sure if we’ve ever bought an LKQ product, but there you have it.
Despite our feelings about dry reports, we felt we just had to share a single paragraph of a somewhat lengthy report. This is a quote from Dominick Zarcone, president and CEO of LKQ:
“The operating environment continues to evolve, and while the company’s second quarter performance exceeded our expectations at the beginning of the quarter, there remains a high degree of uncertainty about the ongoing rate and shape of the COVID-19 recovery. As a result, the company is not providing new fiscal 2020 guidance at this time. That said, our teams across the globe are committed to effective operational execution and protecting our business in this uncharted environment as they have thus far. Importantly, despite these headwinds, our long-term strategic and financial objectives, and capital allocation priorities, are unchanged.”
Wait! Could we go back and read that again, real slow? [Lengthy pause follows.] Nope. We read it again, and the mental picture that comes to mind is that of the insurance company mascot, the Aflac duck, after a particularly trying session with someone trying to explain the unexplainable. If he had toes, they’d have been straight up. W. C. Fields had it right when he said, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with BS.”
As best we can make out, Mr. Zarcone is saying, Hey, it’s tough out here. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we did better than we thought we would. Good on us! And now, our employees are going to work their fingers to the bone to make sure we keep every dollar we can. Not sure that we can, so we won’t tell you anything about that. And since we don’t know how to do anything else, we’ll just go ahead and keep doing what we’re doing.
Dear readers, here’s just another benefit of reading RVtravel.com. We spare you from these brutal assaults on the senses. We do it without compromise. We do it without a thought to ourselves. And, yep, we do it without hazard pay.
From editor Chuck Woodbury
You may have noticed the names of some new writers in our staff box. We’re happy to welcome Nanci Dixon, Terri Nighswonger, Barry and Monique Zander and Mark Gorrie. We are thrilled to have them with us, and you will, too, once you get to know them. We have more than 8,600 articles now on this website and we’ll hit 10,000 by the end of the year. Last month, by the way, we served up 2.1 million page views with 900,000 unique visitors. That’s quite an accomplishment for a small operation like ours. Of the billions of websites in the world, we now are among the 24,000 largest. Don’t ask me how we pulled that off, but we did, and we’re very proud!
Also, I am very happy to report that since my essay last Sunday, when I asked all the angry, rude, mean-spirited know-it-all readers in the crowd to please leave and never return, that some have done so. If you can put up with another one of my rants, then maybe you would like to read this week’s installment of “Getting rid of the creeps.” I actually titled it “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” If you are tired of me whining, then pass on this. I just can’t help myself!
Finally, more than 9,300 readers entered last week’s Cavalcade of Prizes Contest. Congratulations to Steve Roland of Magnolia, Texas, who won a SoftStartRV. He’ll stay cool this summer with the device, even when the power to his RV is too low to normally run the air conditioning. Other winners are still claiming their prizes.
P.S. In today’s member edition of this newsletter is an invitation to talk via Zoom with RV waste management expert Doug Swarts about anything and everything to do with RV wastewater systems. It should be interesting. To get an idea how these go, here’s a recording of last week’s one hour discussion with RV tire expert Roger Marble.
AND IN MY ROADSIDE JOURNAL: In the Northwest, salmon are a big deal. Two unusual signs illustrate.
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• COVID-19 scammers are after you! Here’s how to protect yourself.
• Author claims killer airbags in 12 million cars, trucks nationwide.
• Got your popcorn and tickets? Walmart drive-in theater is ready to roll!
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Latest RV recalls • Free and bargain camping locations • Reader survey • and much more …
SUPPORT QUALITY RV JOURNALISM
RVtravel.com, and the 650 newsletters about RVing we publish every year, would not be possible without the financial support of our members, those who voluntarily subscribe. Now, in the most challenging time of our lifetimes, your help is needed more than ever for us to be your #1 source of news, information and advice about RVing. Every contribution, whatever size, will make a difference.
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
• Best ways to tow a vehicle behind a motorhome.
• Tow a fifth wheel with a half-ton pickup?
• RV Education 101: Use correct extension cords for RV connections.
• Seal out the weather – with putty tape.
• Make those reservations.
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
EDITOR’S NOTE: We think Clint has a good point here. Use your idle time during the pandemic to do something you might not have time to do otherwise, like work on a fun project with a grandchild (wear your mask, of course)! We love his idea here.
New blog: RVing during the pandemic, Aug. 8, 2020
This is a new weekly blog where you tell us how you are coping with RVing during the pandemic.
We invite you to share your experiences about how you’re adapting to RV life in a coronavirus world. Let’s toss around some ideas of how to make the best out of a crummy situation. Read some responses here.
Video and article: The don’ts of “camping” at Walmart
Every evening across North America, thousands of RVers pull into a Walmart parking lot, and not just to stock up on groceries. For many, it’s where they’ll spend the night, free of charge, courtesy of the store and endorsed by the Walmart corporation on its website. That all sounds good, but there’s more to the story: Increasingly Walmart stores are erecting “No overnight parking” signs. Find out why and watch a 6-minute video from the folks at the popular YouTube channel Drivin’ and Vibin’ about seven things you should never do if you plan to stay in a Walmart parking lot.
One RVer’s wacky way to get rid of toilet odors
This takes the cake. Nobody on our staff has ever seen anyone go to this extreme to dispatch their RV’s toilet’s holding tank odors out of the RV and into the atmosphere. This is the all-time craziest method we’ve ever seen. See it to believe it!
Our electrical near-disaster yields lessons
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
A few weeks ago, in the height of the Desert Southwest summer, we were trying to relax under the over-burdened air-conditioning. Suddenly, “she” turns to “he” and says those fateful words that every man hates to hear: “Do you smell that?” He: “Smell what?” She: “It smells like burnt rubber!” He: [Who really had smelled something but, like most of the male species, wanted to ignore it] Sniffs air. “Smells more like ozone to me.” Continue reading and learn from Russ and Tiña’s experience.
Downsizing: An emotional roller coaster
By Terri Nighswonger
My husband and I have been living full time in our RV for the last 20 months. We’ve been stationary, we’ve traveled, been stationary, and traveled again. Our lives always look chaotic on the outside but, really, we are pretty stable people even though some may say otherwise. I was reflecting today on our journey thus far and was thinking to myself, what’s been the hardest part? I think I’d say the hardest part was downsizing to move into our travel trailer. Continue reading.
Subscription toilet paper? You’re kidding, right? Nope. True!
By Barry Zander
Toilet paper by subscription is finally available. An Australian environmentally conscious company is ready to supply you with good-for-the-environment toilet paper, either 100% recycled or 100% bamboo. The company claims to have donated $4 million U.S. to build toilets around the world for those in need. … When I wrote this a few days ago, it was because knowing that you use toilet paper (TP), it had to be interesting to you. Turns out, CBS News also found the use of recycled TP interesting and did a report on it Friday morning. Read more.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• The surprising uses of WD-40
• Examples of horrible RV hookups
• Think your RV is locked when you turn the key? Not necessarily!
• Wild video: Big truck nearly loses it after RVs flip in Colorado winds
• Stopping full-time RVing like a “hot potato”?
I left my campsite and hiked south for 3 miles. Then I turned east and hiked for 3 miles. I then turned north and hiked for 3 miles, at which time I came upon a bear inside my tent eating my food! What color was the bear?
(Shhh. Don’t give it away. Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday News newsletter.)
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.
Do you prefer to move around often with your RV or stay put for months on end?
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 newsletters:
Are you missing dining out at restaurants because of the pandemic? Tell us here then see how nearly 2,000 other RVers responded.
More on rodent repellents: Does mint oil keep them away?
By Nanci Dixon
In the never-ending saga of me versus mice …, the mice were once again winning. We moved from Arizona to northern Wisconsin away from the pack rats and scorpions but evidently not far enough away from the mice. Sitting peacefully on the couch with my granddaughter, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. As I screamed, I totally confused a tiny mouse that kept hitting its head on the wall trying to get away from me. Read more and see a test of mint oil as a repellent in a short video.
Alternative power and gadget suggestions when hookups are not available
By Dave Helgeson
With the demand for campsites at an all-time high due to hordes of those discovering that RVing is the safest way to travel during a pandemic, you might be more inclined to take what is available these days for a campsite and tough out a night without shore power. If so, or if you frequently choose to boondock, here are some suggestions for alternatives to using comparable 120-volt appliances. Read more.
Think there’s nothing to do during a Pandemic? Think again!
By Nanci Dixon
During this time of mask-wearing, self-isolation and restrictions on most of our normal activities, there are still plenty of things to enjoy. Our plans of visiting lots of National Parks on our pilgrimage north were dashed by the coronavirus this summer, but we found a way to virtually visit national parks while in the safety of our RV. There are thousands of learning opportunities online. Read more for lots of great ideas!
Memorable people we have met RVing – Butterbean edition
By Barry Zander
Butterbean, the Washingtonians, the barber at Dosewallips, the sloop stowaway, the many fellow travelers in the coaches in front of us … these are some of the folks I will introduce you to in the days and weeks ahead. I’ll start with the way Butterbean (his chosen online moniker) came into our lives. Continue reading this heartwarming story.
Run your RV A/C with only normal household power. Yes, it’s possible!
That darn cat is screwing up our travel plans
By Barry Zander
We love our cat. He loves me, but only in the early mornings when I let him in the house to munch on rock-hard cat food. He loves Monique, but mainly when she does her garden walk checking for gopher mounds. Other than that, he pretty much ignores us. His breed: Maine coon. His name: “Fred.” His alternate name: “Misery,” because while he rarely pays any attention to us, “Misery” loves company, but on his terms. Read more. Do you have any tips to help with Barry and Monique’s dilemma?
He turned an old Air Force jet engine into an RV!
This is right up there with the coolest RVs we’ve ever seen… Steve Jones, a former technician for the Royal Air Force, spent 1,000 hours transforming an old RAF jet engine into a four-bed RV for his family in Lancashire, England. Check this out! (Includes a short video tour.)
Golf – Deep in the woods and the wallet
By Barry Zander
Three buddies traveling down a narrow tree-lined road on Prince Edward Island in the Canadian Maritimes. It was a 40-mile drive into nowhere from the RV park, but no one ever accused golfers of being rational, so onward we drove. At last we arrived at Anderson’s Creek Golf Club, where the impressive clubhouse was inviting us to an upscale game. … When the man behind the counter said, “$186. Includes the cart,” we looked at each other, all thinking the same thing. “Should we turn around or bite the bullet and pay the price?” What did they do? Find out here.
Popular articles from last week
• RVers evicted from RV park for receiving a FedEx delivery.
• Walmart changing tune about overnight RV camping.
• Will dryer sheets keep mice and rats from your RV?
• Would the rude, ignorant readers please leave and never come back.
• How long is “too long” for a 5th wheel to stay in national and state parks?
• Building an RV park: I see roads! And funding is finally on the way!
• How to fix problem from neglected water heater element.
• Survey results: Plenty of Americans traveling this summer. Will they be in your way?
• The view from my RV window. What’s yours?
• Don’t forget to tow your… helicopter?
• Stupid statements can make your head spin – try this one.
• World War III: Our RV vs. pack rats, mice and scorpions.
• I’ve had it! I’m tossing my GPS out the window!
• RVelectricity – Avoid potentially dangerous shore power meltdown.
• Full-time RVing: A good Eagles tune, some pillow talk, and life’s grand adventure.
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, August 1, 2020.
SWELL CONTEST OF THE DAY
How would you like to win these Retro Travel Trailer Party Lights? 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 (August 8, 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.
Our NEWEST Facebook Groups: RVing During the Pandemic • RV Tires with Roger Marble • Coronavirus News for RVers • 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.
You can’t call yourself a fan of RVtravel.com if you’re not signed up for our RV Daily Tips newsletter! The Daily Tips newsletter has it all: quick tips, popular articles, polls, a website of the day, clubs and useful organizations, trivia, a pet of the day, a joke, and so much more! Check out Friday’s issue, then sign up here.
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 Tech Corner with Mark Gorrie
“I smell mold in my RV. What should I do?”
I opened one of the cabinets next to my bed in my travel trailer and smelled the unmistakable odor of mold. The cabinet was dry and clean. What would cause this? —Sandra Spaulding
Hard start capacitors vs. SoftStartRV. Big difference!
It would be informative to also show a plot of a “hard start “capacitor with both the standard capacitor and the SoftStartRV. That should dispel some rumors that keep popping up of how a $30 hard start capacitor does the same thing as the soft starter. —Jim
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session
Where did the Power Pal 50-amp tester go?
A company with the name “Pal” in it produced a tester that plugged directly into a 50-amp pedestal outlet that allowed you to check both legs of power. I can’t find them online and wanted to know if they are still available. Do you know of them and have you ever tested one? Thanks. —Bob
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RV Electricity group on Facebook.
Stay organized like Mike!
Here’s a tip from Mike about staying organized: “After one more frustrating dive to the bottom of my ‘battery drawer’ looking for a few AAAs to power my latest gadget, I’ve decided to get organized. This holder should keep you stocked with enough batteries for an entire camping season, and even includes a nice tester to find the dead ones. Also, you all know not to just throw used (or new) 9-volt batteries in a drawer where they can make contact with metal objects and catch on fire, right? Here’s what I’m ordering to keep it all under control.”
RV Tire Safety
Bad ride? Can’t “balance” your tires? Maybe it’s something else
By Roger Marble
I can’t remember the number of times I have seen someone post about the “bad ride” they had in their motorhome. They took the vehicle to their RV dealer only to be told they could not “balance” the tires, or that they were balanced and the ride was “what it is.” The ride can be affected by a number of different contributing factors. Read more.
See what a tire looks like from the inside when it’s rolling down the road. Watch this short video – fascinating!
Sign up for our new RV Tires Facebook Group moderated by Roger Marble.
RV Short Stop
Experience Colorado Springs’ “Art on the Streets” from the safety of your RV
“Art on the Streets” in Colorado Springs, Colo., “celebrates the power of art in public places,” while turning the downtown streets into a free year-round outdoor sculpture (and mural) gallery. Since 1998, more than 300 artworks have been exhibited and the Downtown district is now home to more than 50 permanent works. These are truly something to see.
RV Fire Safety
Keep your fire extinguisher full
Do not pull the pin and expel the contents to test your powder extinguisher. If you use a portion of the powder extinguisher, have it refilled or replaced immediately. When you have a fire extinguisher refilled, ask to shoot off the charge first (most refill stations have a special place where this can be done safely). This lets you see how far it shoots and how long a charge lasts. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
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.
Museum of the Week
Roadside America Museum
Love roadside Americana? This museum is for you! The Roadside America museum is a private collection owned by Carrol Estes. In his collection, you’ll find old ’40s and ’50s advertising memorabilia, classic cars and other nostalgic American items. The collection is inside an old Ford dealership in downtown Hillsboro, which he bought to house his collection in 2005. Visit the museum website here (or watch a video about it here), and plan your visit.
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.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“I’m sending you a picture of our late Cocker named Buffy. She was with us for 14 years and rode many thousands of miles with us on our Harley’s. We towed the Harley’s on a trailer behind the RV everywhere we went for a long time. She rode behind me in a specially made seat and always had her goggles on. The Wife had her own Harley to ride so it wasn’t an issue. Whenever we stopped Buffy would sit there until I turned off the engine. Then she wanted down ASAP.” — Dave Steep
Beware toxic blue-green algae! It can kill your dog
By Terri Nighswonger
It seems like there are way too many things we need to be concerned about when out and about playing with our dogs. From poisonous plants to water toxicity and dirty dog parks, it seems we should just stay home. But you don’t want to do that because you’d be denying your best friend an opportunity for physical and mental stimulation. Continue reading.
Did you know Queen Elizabeth II is a trained mechanic? Yep. Known as Second Subaltern Elizabeth Windsor, she donned a pair of coveralls and trained in London as a mechanic and military truck driver. The queen remains the only female member of the royal family to have entered the armed forces and is the only living head of state who served in World War II. Source: history.com
Bumper sticker of the week
The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age. Thanks to Doug Warnecke
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
I’m gonna carpe soooooo many diems when this is all over!
Leave with a song from the past
Here is that popular tune from 1949 by none other than the group Herbi Hardt and his Jesters titled “16 Old Ladies Locked in the Lavatory.” Songs like this do not come along just any ol’ day (could that be a blessing?). Enjoy.
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, Nanci Dixon, Barry and Monique Zander, Mark Gorrie, 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.
Are you interested in our affiliate program? Learn more.
REGIONAL AND LOCAL ADVERTISING: We can now run banners on RVtravel.com in your town or in a designated area near you, for example to readers within 100, 200, etc., miles of your business. Learn more here.
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.
RVtravel.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers.
Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.
This newsletter is copyright 2020 by RVtravel.com.