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August 29, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury
Executives in the RV industry should read up on William Piper, the creator of the Piper Cub airplane and the founder of the Piper Aircraft Corporation. He was a smart guy who knew that simply creating a product like an affordable airplane was not enough. It was as important, if not more important, that his customers could use what he produced.
The Piper Cub debuted in 1937. It was to aviation what the Model T was to the auto industry. Piper was often referred to as “the Henry Ford of Aviation.” The lightweight airplane sold for less than $1,000, making it affordable to many Americans.
Mr. Piper was a smart businessman. He knew that people would not buy a Cub unless they had places to take off and land it. So what did he do? He lobbied small towns across the USA to build airports. I’m sure part of his pitch was “build a landing strip and fliers (and their money) will drop in from the skies where they will ‘drop’ their money into your town.”
Today, the Piper Cub stands as one of the most successful private aircraft in history. But what if Mr. Piper just cranked out the planes and paid no attention to what buyers did with them afterwards? “Airfields? I don’t care. Let ’em find a place to land on their own!” No, he was too smart for that.
Which brings me to the manufacturer-supported RV industry whose association’s mission is to sell as many RVs as possible with no interest in how those buyers will use them.
DISPATCH AMBASSADORS ACROSS AMERICA
Why don’t they do as Mr. Piper did, and send specially trained “ambassadors” to small towns across America to lobby city councils. In today’s world that might mean convincing them that building a city RV park would be good for their community. The ambassadors could provide free building plans and reputable vendors to help the towns cut construction costs. They could provide economic impact reports of how a park can help the local economy. The ambassadors could attend planning commission meetings to counter arguments from ill-informed locals who think RV parks will attract the wrong crowd. They could provide promotional handouts to citizens who think anyone with an RV is “trailer trash.” They could run ads in the local newspaper to explain the benefits of a city RV park.
As is, none of this is ever done in an organized, professional way.
Don’t you think Thor, Forest River or Winnebago might be willing to help fund these lobbying efforts? I bet they would if only some special person would step forward to create and administer such a program. But, don’t hold your breath.
MOST READERS OF THIS NEWSLETTER report it’s getting harder and harder to find places to stay with their RVs. Reservations must be made months (even years) ahead for prime camping spots. Imagine if one of those Piper Cub pilots of yesteryear had to reserve landing times a month ahead.
I talked with a reader today who told me of a recent trip where he estimated two out of every five RVs in the RV parks where he stayed had temporary license tags — in other words, newly purchased rigs (many, if not most of them by first-time buyers). I have noticed the same thing.
The RV industry should jump into crisis mode to explore places for these buyers and veteran RVers to stay. Campgrounds are already packed, and even freebie stopover spots like Walmart are increasingly banning overnight stays.
It will be at least a couple of years before people start again routinely flying overseas or taking cruises. In the meantime, RVing will continue to soar in popularity.
I don’t want to think what the scene will be like in a year or two. I know from my mail that many RVers are simply dropping out. They didn’t buy an RV to make reservations — that’s what you do with hotels. The appeal of RVing has always been to travel where your heart desires, and then as a day grows short, pull into an RV park or campground for a night, or longer if you like it there.
DOES THIS MAKE SENSE?
With so many shopping malls closed across America, why doesn’t the RV industry entice a company to create inexpensive overnight parking spaces with electric hookups in their abandoned parking lots (similar to those in Ohio Turnpike service plazas)? Why doesn’t the RV Industry Association (RVIA) lobby Cabela’s to install automated electric pedestals in the back of its parking lots for RVers who need a place to stay? Ditto Walmart, Target, Home Depot, etc. Why doesn’t Camping World’s Marcus Lemonis or KOA pick up on this idea?
Tesla has set up charging stations across the country. But then Tesla is a company with vision — one that sees the big picture.
One of these days, someone in the RV industry with vision will surface who cares more about the lives of millions of people than just going along with the program. And that special person will make a big and lasting difference. Isn’t that what most of us wish to do with our lives?
WE HUMBLY REQUEST YOUR SUPPORT
The RV industry does not like me writing articles like this that may reflect poorly on it. If you wish to help us continue as a free, independent voice that dares to say what we believe is right, I urge you to please pledge your support by becoming a voluntary subscriber. Big or small, your donation helps my staff and me speak freely without watering down our messages to avoid offending commercial interests. Thank you.
Also: My staff and I hope and pray that those of you displaced by wildfires or Hurricane Laura will find a way through your ordeal, despite what must be difficult, challenging times. If you have been affected, please feel free to share your stories with us, and we’ll share at least some of them with our readers. Submit them here.
Last week’s Tip of the Day in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• Do you really need solar panels on your RV?
• Ten tips for proper hydration.
• Avoid major damage – Inspect all exterior seams regularly.
• Master your cruise control for smooth traveling.
• RV shopping? Run away from water damage!
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
Try this easy DIY trick to trap fruit flies (watch the video, it works!)
By Nanci Dixon
It is fruit fly season here in Minnesota and, boy, they are everywhere! They particularly seem to enjoy bananas (well, all fruit really), and this morning they took a liking to my cereal. They have to go! This is an easy-to-make trap to attract and contain them. You won’t believe how simple and effective this is!
This video could save you from danger during a tire blowout
Chad and Tara of Changing Lanes take wonderful care of their tires. They protect them with UV spray, they check to make sure they’re properly inflated, they constantly check the tread wear and the dates, they don’t drive fast, and they have a TPMS installed… yet they still had a tire blowout. Watch the video for important safety tips.
What if disaster strikes and you can’t get back to your RV?
By Barry Zander
The rains came. We didn’t think they would stop. Almost 11 inches hit the west face of Mt. Lemmon towering above Catalina State Park in Arizona. We were there. When it did finally stop, we looked out and saw a 50-foot-wide river of rushing water between us and the exit road to the highway. Too deep and swift to drive or wade across. We were trapped, possibly along with pets in RVs of our fellow campers. What happens if a natural disaster occurs and you can’t return to your RV? Get some tips here.
The pandemic: The bad news, the good news, and the feel-good news
By Nanci Dixon
Do you want the bad news or the good news first? Let’s start with the bad news to get it out of the way. We can all agree that this year has been difficult … hard … and for some of us, horrible. It has been almost a year since we first started hearing about a strange disease related to SARS in China. We knew it would never reach our shores. But reach us it did and here we are. … Read more for the good news and some uplifting feel-good news.
The campers who did this should be thrown in jail!
A reader sent editor Chuck Woodbury a photo showing intentional damage by a camper to a campsite in a National Park, and it made his blood boil. What kind of person would do such a thing? The more he looked at the photo, the angrier he became. What do you think?
Run two air conditioners on 30 amps – Wow!
When the temperature really gets sizzling and your 50-amp rig is stuck with a 30-amp hookup, you’re out of luck if you want to run two air conditioners. That is, unless you have a state-of-the-art SoftStartRV. It’s inexpensive, simple to install, and works just as promised. Don’t miss watching the short video by RV electricity expert Mike Sokol. Learn more or order at a special discount.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
Unscramble the words below so that each pair of words rhymes.
- RBAE & HREAS
- WNROED & UTRHNDE
- TUGHAT & HBTUGO
- ODULC & ODOG
(Shhh. Don’t give it away. Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday News newsletter.)
Be safe: Disposable face masks. Many choices at Amazon.
How many motor vehicles do you own?
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:
In the past year, have you paid your credit card balances in full each month? See how nearly 2,300 other RVers responded.
Masks required in 34 states. Are people wearing them?
By Nanci Dixon
Thirty-four states currently have mask mandates. The mandates vary state by state …. While some states have not mandated masks, cities within a state can mandate masks. Miami mandated masks while Florida did not. A couple of weeks ago I posted a question in the Facebook group RVing During the Pandemic. I asked if people are seeing others wearing masks and social distancing. Here are some of your responses.
Get paid $1,000 to “digitally detox” in an RV. Is this what RVing is about?
By Emily Woodbury
A contest by SatelliteInternet.com wants to pay you $1,000 to “digitally detox” in an RV for 48 hours. “Digitally detox?” Sure, for some, that might feel like a necessary relief these days, when screens and advertisements and videos are plastered and playing around us 15 hours a day … but is that really what RVing is all about? Read more.
Thought about working the sugar beet harvest? This might convince you
By Nanci Dixon
Sid and Karen Woods are a retired couple that are currently park hosts at a campground in Minnesota. After their park host gig ends here, they will be going to Michigan to work the sugar beet harvest. The Woodses worked the harvest last year for the first time in North Dakota and loved it. Not only did they make some significant money for completing the entire month, but they said how much the farmers appreciated their work. Read more.
A sad warning about flimsy step stools
By Barry Zander
For those of you who have ever tripped coming out of your RV, this story is for you (and a warning for those who haven’t). Sitting in a booth at some Midwestern Pizza Hut, my wife, Monique, and I were biding our time until our number was called … “Whatdaya think that man over there is thinking?” I asked, indicating the senior at the table across the room. He was by himself, seeming to stare at his plate without eating. Minutes went by without us noticing any change in expression and little movement. He just stared down at his pizza. … Continue reading.
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.
The most popular roadside assistance program
More than 1.5 million successful roadside rescues. There are many choices available to RVers, but the Good Sam Club program remains the most popular year after year. Learn more.
New blog: Crowded campgrounds
RV Travel readers chime in with their stories, and we try to make sense of how to deal with the huge influx of new RVers competing for a mostly unchanging number of places to stay. Read the second installment of this weekly blog.
Amazon CamperForce: Quick cash, tough work
By Keith Ward
Fall is coming on quick, and that means cooling temperatures, changing leaves, and a strange migration throughout the land – not birds going south for the winter, but RVers heading to campgrounds to become part of the seasonal Amazon CamperForce. Amazon CamperForce is a small army of folks that makes some money working in gigantic Amazon warehouses to handle the demands of Christmas shopping madness. The jobs start in September and October, and end just before Christmas. Learn more.
Neat RV rental company delivers right to your door or campsite
By Nanci Dixon
Earlier this week, I spent some time chatting with a new campground neighbor and found out that she owns a business, GuestWings™ mobile RV suites, that rents and delivers Airstream trailers to homes and campgrounds as an extra bedroom space for overnight guests. What a great idea to have extra guest space either at home or at the campground! Continue reading.
Airstream Touring Coaches – What you need to know – Part Three
This is Part Three 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. Note: This is not a commercial and no payments were provided Andy for the production of this video. Watch Part Three here.
Popular articles from last week
• RV park’s reputation gets smashed after harsh treatment of campers.
• Campground Crowding. Discussion for August 22, 2020.
• Deer flies a problem? Try this easy trick.
• Tips for Wi-Fi and cell data on the road.
• As RVers are we “getting away from it all” or is the lifestyle “getting away from us”?
• RVelectricity – Can I get shocked from a GFCI?
• Storytelling: A pleasant RV spot, a mysterious gray van, and a whole lotta cops…
• Knowing this hidden key trick could save you a road service call.
• RV Electricity – Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.): Why does my 30-amp plug overheat?
• RVers and experts weigh in: What are the best days to travel?
• Giant wooden spool attacks pickup truck then disappears.
• Boondocking in a coronavirus world. Part 5: Here’s a big variety of things to see and do.
• Letter from 10-year-old RVer will touch your heart.
• More than 58,000 Ram trucks and Jeep Grand Cherokees recalled.
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, August 22, 2020.
SWELL CONTEST OF THE DAY
How would you like to win this Retro RV Cutting Board? 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 29, 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.
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.
Our NEWEST Facebook Groups: California RV Travel • RVing Route 66 • Casino Camping • Electric bikes for RVing • Crowded Campgrounds Discussion • RVers Who Just Bought Their First RV • 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.
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.
RV Tech Corner with Mark Gorrie
Gearbox broke and our slide is grinding – Help!
We are on the road and I think a gearbox broke when we went to deploy our kitchen slide. The slide moved about an inch and stopped moving and started grinding. No mobile techs are available for days and we are hours from any dealership. What can we do to get through this trip? Read Mark’s response.
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.
Can I run my air conditioner from batteries?
One of the most-asked questions I’ve received this year is about the possibility of powering a rooftop air conditioner from solar panels without shore power or a generator. At first I thought it was a silly idea without any chance of working at all. However, as new technologies become more readily available such as lithium batteries, hybrid inverters and soft start controllers, there’s the possibility of running an air conditioner for at least a few hours in the evening in order to cool down your bedroom enough to sleep. Getting the batteries recharged from solar is still a difficult proposition, but I’m working on it. Learn more.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session
How low of a voltage is too low?
I’ve got an EMS surge protector that keeps cutting off our power in the afternoon. It usually comes back on in a few minutes but gives us a low-voltage error. Isn’t it supposed to be 110 volts? So just how low is too low, and what does it hurt? —Estelle
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RV Electricity group on Facebook.
Be like Mike! Use this 3-light and digital voltage tester!
Mike Sokol says: “I found this nifty tester online and have been using it in a variety of voltage checking situations. It performs all of the 3-light tests for outlet polarity, open ground, open neutral, etc., as well as being a 3-digit digital voltage indicator. In addition, it performs a standard 5 mA GFCI safety test – which you should be performing on all of your GFCI outlets once a month (or at least once a camping season).” Read more about it here.
RV Tire Safety
“Cold inflation pressure” and clarification of tire terms
By Roger Marble
It appears I messed up in my previous post “More on tire cold inflation vs. ‘set pressure’.” I failed to properly define the terms I was using, so if you bear with me I will try and clear things up. Continue reading.
Forget buying a portable generator!
Use your car or truck 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.
Building an RV Park
Stress and more stress, but Max brightens our days
By Machelle James
Now I understand why I keep getting asked, “How are you and AJ doing?” I always have said, “We are good, and we are learning to work together.” Well, even the best of marriages are going to be tested when opening a business together. Last week when we were tense and started snapping at each other, we weren’t speaking much and knew we had to have a talk. Once we realized what was happening to us and why we were short with each other, we realized it was severe STRESS. … [W]e are both secretly scared [the campground] won’t be built in the time frame we need it to be built. Read more.
The RV Kitchen
Back to basics: Stone Soup. Do you long for the good ol’ days of camping, when you and your sibs gathered wood for the campfire? Dad fanned the flames with yesterday’s newspaper while Mom opened the pork and beans with Dad’s army surplus can opener. This affordable, tasty, easy “pork ‘n’ beans” stew is leaner, thanks to using fresh pork cubes rather than salt pork or bacon. It’s easily made on any camp stove, RV range or campfire. This recipe is easily multiplied. Get the recipe.
Camping with the Corps of Engineers
Many RVers consider Corps of Engineers campgrounds to be the best in the country. This guide is just for RVers — boat-in and tent-only sites are not included. Of all the public lands, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has some of the best parks and campgrounds available. In fact, it’s the largest federal provider of outdoor recreation in the nation. Learn more or order.
The Digital RVer
How to find that boondocking spot again: Just take a photo
By Chris Guld
In several articles here at RV Travel, I have praised the ability of our phones to record location along with the photos we take. Here is another example of that, using a new feature of Google Photos called “Explore Map”. Remember that great boondocking site you had near Quartzsite? Could you find it again? Did you take a photo of it? If so, then Google Photos can help you find it, and give you exact directions to drive there again. Learn how easy this is here.
We are full-timers and have read your discouraging article about crowded campgrounds. My wife is so concerned about summer availability, with occasional hookups, that she’s talking about camp hosting all summer long and only traveling in the winter. We are in a large truck camper. I believe we can find something easier than someone who has a fifth wheel or a class A. Please tell us it is so. —Bryan and Corrina B.
Facebook Groups of Interest
Plus, join us in our own groups HERE.
Keep road flares in the RV for emergency
You should always have road flares in your RV in case of an emergency. This pack of three bright, waterproof and shatterproof LED disks are perfect to keep tucked away. These bright lights can be seen from a mile away and can be used for traffic control, as a warning light, as a rescue beacon, and they can also be used for recreational activities such as camping and hiking. Learn more or order here.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
If you bring your dog camping, they need this!
Scientists have found evidence of take-out restaurants in the remains of Pompeii. Source: mentalfloss.com
Bumper sticker of the week
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to editor(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
A masked RV!
Photo by Alicia and Albert Rivas on Facebook.
Leave with a song from the past
This week’s song is from 1943, sung by Vera Lynn in front of a crowd of British RAF flyers during World War II. Ms. Lynn was perhaps the most beloved singer in Britain during the war for her songs of romance and hope. Later, she was held in great affection by the war’s veterans and in 2000 was named the Briton who best exemplified the spirit of the 20th century. Here she is singing We’ll Meet Again. Grab your Kleenex.
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
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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, 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.
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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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