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August 15, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury
Before you dig into all the great information in today’s issue, would you please take a few seconds to answer a question? We’re curious how you found this newsletter. Did you receive an email reminder notice? Or did you stumble upon us while surfing the Web? We emailed more than 90,000 email reminder notices early this morning (Saturday), but we know many readers arrive here in other ways. How about you?
I’M CAMPING IN A BEAUTIFUL COUNTY PARK near my home. It takes me less than 30 minutes to drive here, so I visit regularly. I’d tell you the exact location, but, to be selfish, it’s already nearly impossible to get a campsite here and if I publicize the place I’ll never get one again (and neither would you with all the new competition). As is, most sites are booked all summer long.
When I’m here, surrounded by ferns, beneath the gorgeous canopy of fir and cedar trees, it’s as if the pandemic doesn’t exist. Few campers are wearing masks, but then there are very few around; it’s mostly families who are together all the time anyway.
I’ve been here, mostly by myself, for a week — thinking, writing, planning, catching up on reading, and plain ol’ relaxing. Gail joined me one night. We made a campfire, drank a little (too much) wine and put the rest of the world out of our minds. It was just two people and one little dog, warmed by a campfire — a glorious break from reality.
But the world is out there, and what a mess! The pandemic has turned everything upside down, hasn’t it? Nobody, not even scientists, medical researchers and other experts, know for sure what’s ahead. I don’t know about you, but there are days I can’t stomach reading or watching the news. It gets to be too much.
NEW RVS: GOING, GOING, ALMOST GONE
Meanwhile, people are buying RVs in record numbers. RV dealer lots are empty or nearly empty. “We’ll buy your RV,” Camping World is advertising. “You’ll never get a better price.” The shortsighted RV industry is still celebrating record sales like they will continue, which they won’t because the factories can only build so many because of COVID-19 rules and shortages of raw materials.
We have added a few new writers to our staff, but are looking for one or two more trained journalists who are not afraid to dig into stories that need to be told to keep RVers informed and out of trouble. The cheer-leading RV industry press is too afraid of losing advertisers to write or say anything that even hints of offending anyone. So they say nothing of importance. Hence, the need for us!
We are doing well at RVtravel.com with a soaring readership — more than double our page views six months ago. And I am not afraid to say once again that it is those readers who voluntarily subscribe who provide most of the funding to pay writers and help us remain a free, honest, independent voice. Two weeks ago, after I was interviewed on CNBC about the state of the RV industry, I received an email from one of the largest RV manufacturers, asking to advertise with us. I respectfully declined.
I am telling you, turning away money is damn hard for a guy who spent two-thirds of his life broke! But if I were to accept money from an RV manufacturer it would come with an understanding: “Write only nice things about us or we’ll drop you faster than a speeding bullet!”
A few years ago, the industry ganged up on Greg Gerber, who published the only RV industry website with a backbone. I won’t forget what they did to my friend. His only source of revenue was advertising. When he started writing about how messed up the industry was, the manufacturers and aftermarket companies blackballed him with a vengeance, pulling their advertising. They silenced Greg just like that — exactly what they wanted, and you and I lost a really good guy and valuable consumer advocate. The support we receive from our paid subscribers ensures that the industry can’t do that to us and I’m telling you, some would love nothing better!
In three weeks, we will begin our third decade of publishing this newsletter.
You know where I was? I was writing this newsletter, and have done so nearly every week since. Don’t ask me where the time went.
Pandemic or not — I’m saying to you, get out there with your RV and make the best of it. Sure … there’s a lot we can’t do, but there’s a lot we can do! So go! Now!
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Two weeks ago, we wrote about a family that got evicted, with a sheriff’s escort, for violating a Montrose, Colorado, RV park rule that prohibited the delivery of mail or packages. My article attracted nearly 130,000 views, and the live video the incredulous couple made as they left the park has passed 150,000 views. The campground has since been bombarded with hundreds of angry emails and phone calls along with one-star reviews on Yelp, TripAdvisor and campground rating websites. We had planned to do a follow up this week, but will hold for the next issue. As much as this is a story about one incident, it’s also about how social media can have a profound effect on a business or even a person, in both positive and negative ways.
More angry readers removed from this website
I am happy to report that we continue to ban readers who visit this website to pick fights rather than contribute to thoughtful discussion. Most are angry old guys. We’ve had it with them, and have banned them from commenting ever again. Already, I have noticed an improvement in the civility of the readers who comment. This website must be a place where we respect each other’s beliefs, and agree that we can disagree but always with respect. Angry know-it-alls who pounce on those who disagree with them with anger, name-calling and even hate are not welcome. We shall be an island of civility in the vast cyberspace sea.
We get around!
Most RV Travel readers are in the United States (807,000 unique visits in the last 30 days), with about 6 percent in Canada. But in the last month, 2,258 visitors read this website in the Netherlands, 2,000 in the U.K., 1,987 in Finland and 1,280 in Australia. But that’s not all! We attracted 34 readers in Slovenia, 19 in Namibia and 5 in Botswana. Heck, we even had a visitor from the tiny African country of eSwatini. Are you reading this outside North America?
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• The sales lots are empty! The service centers are full!
• Canada tightens travel restrictions from Lower 48 to Alaska.
• Oregon state parks “temporarily” yank nonresidents’ welcome mat.
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • 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
• Stupid RV tricks we’d rather forget.
• Fridge not cooling? Diagnosis of problem may be easy.
• Replace the bat-wing antenna for more entertainment.
• RV fueling etiquette at the truck stop.
• Solar RVing in the shade.
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
Will moth balls repel mice from your RV? Here’s the verdict
Theories abound about ways to keep mice and other rodents out of your home or RV. Some RVers say dryer sheets like Bounce will repel the creatures, others say Irish Spring soap will do the trick. And there are a dozen other ideas of what will keep mice and other rodents from taking up residence where you don’t want them. One of the most touted methods that some RVers swear by is using moth balls. Do they work? Find out in the short video here.
Horrific blast wipes RV from face of the earth
Never, ever, have we seen an explosion like this one that wiped a motorhome off the face of the earth. Thankfully, nobody was killed or even hurt. The explosion wasn’t caused by the RV itself, but by something close by that probably was not what an RVer should park near. So watch, weep, and learn a lesson.
“We’re (finally!) towing a dinghy and loving it!”
By Nanci Dixon
We love having a dinghy vehicle to drive once we park the motorhome. It only took a few car rentals and unhooking the RV to go grocery shopping to realize the value. Hooking up the tow arms, wiring, checking the turn and brake signals on our tow car has been easy. … Then comes the rub. My husband pulls out slowly until both the tow arms click in. But they don’t, at least not at the same time. One tow arm clicks in and the other moves in and out while the car pulls precariously to one side. Learn how they solved the problem – and “it works every time!”
This innovative spring system improves your RV handling
By Barry Zander
While it’s become standard equipment on many emergency vehicles, the LiquidSpring suspension system also improves RV handling. This might sound like an advertisement, but it actually follows up on a recommendation from a tech-savvy buddy, who had a LiquidSpring system installed in his Class C. This sounds very impressive!
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• Reduce anxiety maneuvering at the fuel stop
• Alternatives to hitch ball grease
• Tip for RV park owners: How to make money at the expense of RVers
• Our “Super Lube” axle disaster. Is there one waiting for you?
• How important is leveling for an RV absorption fridge?
A man wanted to encrypt his password but he needed to do it in a way so that he could remember it. He had to use seven characters consisting of letters and numbers only (no symbols like ! or <). In order to remember it, he wrote down “You force heaven to be empty.” What is his password?
(Shhh. Don’t give it away. Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday News newsletter.)
Are you happy at your present location or would you prefer to be elsewhere?
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:
Did you ever take a typing class? See how nearly 2,000 other RVers responded.
Okay to let passengers ride in a moving travel trailer?
Many states allow passengers to legally ride in a travel trailer or fifth wheel trailer. But most do not. Few towable RVs have safety belts, meaning if you were to get in an accident with a passenger in the RV, they could be horribly injured or even killed. Check out the photo taken August 12 which was released by the South Dakota Highway Patrol. The pickup towing the trailer lost control, and you can see the result.
Oh, an unimaginable horror! Be careful not to do this
By Chuck Woodbury
To any parent, the idea of accidentally seriously hurting their child — or any child — by doing something that causes great harm, even death, is almost too difficult to comprehend. When we think such a thing in relation to our own child, we want to instantly force the thought from our mind. But we have heard stories, and those of us who are parents I believe feel the pain with each one. These photos will make you think … and cringe.
The masked bandit that robbed our campsite and got away!
True story: it happened in the campground. Click to read.
How would you answer, “Do you have any regrets?”
By Nanci Dixon
I come across the question “What do you regret?” many times on the Facebook groups I belong to, but it’s such an open-ended question that it’s hard to answer. Many times the question is from people considering taking the leap to full-timing. … Each time I see that question it causes a few moments of reflection. What do I regret? What good are regrets anyway? Can regrets cause change? Read more.
Remember when the internet was miles away?
By Barry Zander
Remember when Starbucks charged $8 for an hour of internet and $12 for a day? $30 for the week? In 2006 that would have been a blessing, but there was no such thing at the time. When I told my company bosses that we were selling the house and traveling – but I planned to continue working from the road – they said, “No.” Apparently they reconsidered, coming to the realization that my contacts with our national sales force had value, so my computer stayed busy for the next few thousands of miles. Continue reading.
Tarantula migration underway. Keep your eyes open
They are big, ugly arachnids. Most people are afraid of them, but they shouldn’t be. The big spiders are docile and will only bite if provoked, and even then their mild poison will sting, but that’s about it. … Right about now, the males of the species in the Southwest are feeling a little horny. It’s the time of year where they begin their search for a female. Read more.
Airstream Touring Coaches – What you need to know – Part One
This is Part One of a four-part series entitled, What You Need To Know About Airstream Touring Coaches. In this series, Andy Pargh, The Gadget Guru, interviews Justin Humphreys, the Vice President of Sales of Airstream, Inc., and various topics are discussed regarding Airstream’s Sprinter Touring Coach Business as well as the specific models in the lineup. Watch Part One here.
Don’t swelter in your RV anymore!
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.
Popular articles from last week
• Video and article: The don’ts of “camping” at Walmart.
• One RVer’s wacky way to get rid of RV toilet odors.
• Will the Quartzsite RV show go on? Here’s the latest!
• Got your popcorn and tickets? Walmart drive-in theater is ready to roll!
• I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore! (From Editor Chuck Woodbury)
• RVelectricity: Hard start capacitors vs. SoftStartRV. Big difference!
• Downsizing: An emotional roller coaster.
• Our electrical near-disaster yields lessons.
• COVID-19 scammers are after you! Here’s how to protect yourself.
• More on rodent repellents: Does mint oil keep them away?
• He turned an old Air Force jet engine into an RV!
• Hertz, once No. 1, now bankrupt and selling used trucks cheap.
• Author claims killer airbags in 12 million cars, trucks nationwide.
• RVers evicted from RV park for receiving a FedEx delivery.
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, August 8, 2020.
SWELL CONTEST OF THE DAY
Win this incredible drone!
This terrific drone could be yours within a few days if you win today’s contest! In yesterday’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter we published a secret phrase. Simply email that phrase to us at RVcontests@gmail.com . We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (August 15, 2020) by 11 a.m. Pacific time. Remember, you can only enter once and after we notify you by email that you won you’ll have 24 hours to respond or we’ll give the prize to someone else.
LAST WEEK’S WINNER of the Retro Travel Trailer Party Lights was Robert Beede of Summerville, South Carolina.
Our NEWEST Facebook Groups: RVing over 60 • 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.
Protect your RV “pigtail”
That 7-way connector on your travel trailer or fifth wheel is a critical component. When not plugged into your tow rig, the thing is susceptible to the onslaught of dirt, rain and even bugs. Here’s a plug cover that slips right over your precious plug and keeps out the crud. One user says, “This works perfectly to keep the plug on my RV clear. I remove it when not in use and place it in my ‘RV emergency tool kit.’ This way, it’s not knocked around when driving.” Learn more or order.
RV Tech Corner with Mark Gorrie
Fifth wheel tires wearing unevenly. Why?
My fifth wheel has approximately 10,000 miles on it. I’ve noticed that the tires on the rear axle are wearing unevenly on the inside. What causes this? Read Mark’s response.
Can I make more power by stepping up the voltage?
After reading some of your articles about voltage from the electric company, I see there could be up to 10,000 volts or more of power coming to the transformer on the power pole, which then gets stepped down to the 120 volts we need for our homes and RVs. If that’s the case, why can’t I just step it back up to 10,000 volts with a transformer to make more power? Or am I missing something important? —Steve
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session
Can I swap in a lithium battery?
The sales guy at the local RV shop tells me I can just drop in a lithium battery to replace my pair of old Trojan lead-acid batteries, but I’m suspicious. Is there anything else I should check to make sure this works? Can I replace two 6-volt batteries with a single 12-volt battery, and will it give me more power, as this guy suggests? —Derick
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RV Electricity group on Facebook.
RV Tire Safety
Leaking valve stems – Does your tire dealer know what it’s doing?
Roger Marble recently received this question from a reader:
“I just replaced 6 235/80R 22.5 XRV Michelin tires on my 2013 Monaco Monarch Class A motorhome. The dealer installed balancing bead bags and new valve stems. … A couple of the rears were below the 95-pound alarm point when cold and I decided to add air. When I removed the TPMS sensors, the valve stem seats leaked on three of six tires.” Read the rest of the question and Roger’s explanation and caveat here.
Building an RV Park
Surprise visitors, perc tests and off-roading, Oh My!
By Machelle James
We had unexpected company stop by for my birthday last week. A HUGE Monaco Coach came pulling up in my driveway and I started freaking out. Who is this stranger and does he know we are not open yet? How is he going to turn around? I was in full-fledged panic mode until I walked over and the man said, “Do you have any spaces open yet?” Continue reading.
The RV Kitchen
Coleslaw Souffle Salad
A showy summer salad. Turn a tub of deli coleslaw into your own classy, creamy conversation piece. Make it up to a day in advance and pull it out of the fridge with a Ta-DAH. Try it again with lime gelatin and a different flavor of coleslaw from the deli. Make it in individual molds or chill in a one-quart pan and serve it in scoops or squares. Get the recipe.
Temperature gun is “essential equipment” for many RVers
Aim this non-contact IR temperature gun to measure the temperature of your refrigerator, tires, A/C and heater output, or, heck, even your oven (and the list goes on). It turns on and begins reading the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit with one press of the trigger. A laser light aids in aiming, and can be turned on or off. Many RVers consider this essential equipment. Learn more or order at a huge discount.
The Digital RVer
How to make Google Maps more accurate
By Chris Guld, Geeks on Tour
When we’re traveling, I depend on Google Maps to know where I am. It can be very distressing when I realize that my little blue dot, which represents my location, is actually a block or two off from where I really am. When that happens, it’s time to calibrate the compass. Here’s how to do it.
I would like to rent an RV with bathtub? I live in Maryland. —Darrie
That’s not a question we get every day. You might want to check with RVshare.com.
My partner and I have just returned home to Arizona, after an 8-day trip. We couldn’t sit at home another day, so off we went, cautiously. We took enough food/drink for the duration, so no need to stop or shop along the way. Reservations were booked and paid for online. So very little interaction at most stops. Our first observation was how few people were wearing any masks — anywhere. None of the owners/employees at RV parks we visited. That was very surprising, and frankly disappointing to see. Our other observation was the number “new” RVs that pulled in every evening, with temporary tags. Read more and Chuck’s response.
Dirty contacts? DeoxIT!
Here’s a comment from electrical specialist Mike Sokol: “I’ve used DeoxIT for decades on my pro-sound gear. We use it on speaker connectors, power connectors such as cam-lok and twist-lock plugs (just like RV power), volume controls, gold-plated circuit boards (like in RV refrigerator control boards), etc. There are several different versions of DeoxIT depending on if you want built-in lubricant for potentiometers, or gold contact refurbishing or simply oxidation removal.” Learn more or order.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Abby & Blitz happy hiking! Tongue out hiking stop.” — Crews
Two cats test positive for coronavirus. Should you be worried for your pet?
By Terri Nighswonger
Two cats in Brazos County, Texas, have tested positive for COVID-19. The cats were swabbed as part of a study being conducted at Texas A&M University to understand how pets living in high-risk households might be impacted. Continue reading.
If you’re taking extra vitamins to keep your immune system healthy, you might want to consider some for your pet too…
In 1940, a year before the start of the U.S. involvement in World War II, the army of the United States ranked 18th in size in the world, smaller than those of Belgium, Portugal and even Switzerland. It had fewer than 200,000 men, compared with 7 million trained Nazi soldiers.
Bumper sticker of the week
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to editor(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
A woman in labor suddenly shouted “Shouldn’t! Wouldn’t! Couldn’t! Didn’t! Can’t!”
“Don’t worry,” said the doctor. “Those are just contractions.”
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, Roger Marble, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, Nanci Dixon, Terri Nighswonger, 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.
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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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