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 20th 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!
September 12, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury
When the topic of heroes comes up, as it often does when talking about those brave men and women who serve or served in the military, I’d like to suggest we include another group of people – firefighters. And not just those who protect us in our cities and small towns, who are, without question, among the bravest of the brave.
No, I am referring to those brave men and women who fight wildfires. Countless thousands are out there right now, battling vast, devastating fires in California and elsewhere. In many (if not most) cases, they are working with barely any rest in Hellish conditions.
How would you like to stand in front of a roaring campfire hour upon hour on a 100-degree day? But I’m not talking about standing in front of a campfire. I’m talking about putting every ounce of strength and stamina into battling a massive wildfire, laboring so hard you worry at times that you could die. That is what these brave people are doing, and right now.
FOR FOUR SUMMERS during college I fought fires for the U.S. Forest Service. In all those years, I was never on a fire for more than a few days at a time, and I can only remember one fire when the daytime temperature exceeded 90 degrees. I remember that day because it was Hell on Earth. I was 19 years old, and my body could tolerate the punishment. Today, I’d drop dead in an hour. I do not exaggerate.
I remember times when my boots were so hot from standing on smoldering ashes that I could barely endure the pain. I remember incredible fatigue, where I was forced to carry on when my energy was spent and I didn’t know how I could possibly keep going. Finally, back in camp, I would fall asleep in a few seconds in my filthy, sweaty clothes, in my government-supplied paper sleeping bag, only to be awakened six hours later to resume the battle.
BUT WHAT I EXPERIENCED pales in comparison to what today’s firefighters must endure. There are more major fires now in a single season than the four years I fought them combined. They are bigger and deadlier.
I can’t begin to tell you how much I admire those brave men and women on the fire line. Day after day they endure almost unbearable heat, pushed to their physical limits. And when the fire is extinguished – their work done – many barely have time to rest before being shipped out to another.
I honor you, every one of you, who stand today in harm’s way to protect me and others, our forests and even our homes. You are among my greatest heroes! May God bless and protect every one of you!
IN TOMORROW’S ISSUE
Big news: Trailer Life and MotorHome magazines will cease publishing in December. Good Sam/Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis plans to establish a more dominant online presence, which we will discuss.
MEET YOUR FELLOW READERS
In our search to know our readers better, we’ve asked that they tell us about themselves. We know that thousands of them have followed us for a decade or more. We’ve met a few hundred of them through the years, which has been very nice. But who else, we wonder, reads what we write week after week? So, please, tell us about yourself! Here’s our second installment of Meet our Readers.
WRITERS AND EDITORS WANTED
We still have a room for another freelance writer or two. Must know RVing inside out, be highly motivated, love to write and have strong journalism background. In most cases, it’s part-time to start. Contact us if you believe you’re qualified and are interested in exploring possibilities.
WILDFIRES WORST IN HISTORY
The smoke is thick today in Seattle. Wildfires are burning all around us – in California, Oregon, and here in Washington. In California, last year by this time 118,000 acres had burned. This year, it’s already more than 3 million acres – almost the size of Connecticut. The state is currently battling five of the 20 most destructive fires in the last century. All National Forests in California are closed, no hiking, no camping. Between Ashland and Medford, Oregon, along I-5, the Almeda Fire has killed at least two people, torched 3,200 acres and destroyed an estimated 600 homes and 100 businesses. I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime. We’ll have a complete rundown of the fires and how it affects where we can visit and camp in tomorrow’s newsletter. If you are in an area with heavy smoke or fire, please send me a photo that I can use tomorrow (firstname.lastname@example.org). Be safe!
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• The last two major RV magazines will be pronounced dead in December. A new one will surface, but you can bet its purpose will not be focused on helping RVers but to mine their pocketbooks.
• Updates on Western wildfires and how they may affect your RV travels.
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Latest RV recalls • Free and bargain camping locations • Stolen RVs • Reader survey • and much more …
Are we worth two cents to you?
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, makes a difference. A donation of only $12 a year comes out to less than 2 cents for each issue we publish! And when you become a member, you receive a special member-only ad-free version of this newsletter. Learn more or donate.
Last week’s Tip of the Day in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• “Keep-on-hand” items for RV repair work.
• Be kind to your transmission for its long and happy life.
• RV tire inflation tips.
• RV with your furry “kids”? Some tips to keep in mind.
• Some pointers for choosing an RV storage facility.
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
Clint is ready to head out on a road trip to the East Coast from his smoke-choked home in central Oregon. In this illustration, he was thinking “Pandemic, fires, political meltdown, or whatever else holds you back, find a way to do something.” In his case, that means getting his rig ready to see the USA.
Crowded campgrounds news and discussion
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 fourth installment of this weekly blog.
DANGER: Beware of camping with only one road in and out
Only one road in and out: It’s a situation that RV owners need to take to heart, which became more obvious this week when a fire raged through a Northern California campground. Two hundred people camping in RVs and tents beat hasty retreats into nearby Shaver Lake, plunging into the water to stay safe from the threatening blaze. Read more.
Yikes! There’s a freeze warning – Tips to keep the water flowing
By Nanci Dixon
Yikes! It is starting to get colder in our neck of the woods in Minnesota, and just north of us there is a freeze warning. We are full-timers and don’t leave the rapidly cooling north until mid-October, well past the first freeze and the first snow shower. Time to put the heated water hose on, the water filter heater blanket on, check the furnaces, and pull out the portable heaters. Read these great tips, and learn from their mistakes.
Casino RV Camping, September 12, 2020
NEW WEEKLY FEATURE: We asked readers to send information about their favorite casinos with RV parks or that allow overnight stays in their parking lots. Judging by the sheer number of responses, a lot of RVers casino camp. Casinos can be the perfect place to stop en route or even as a destination campground. Read more, including tips and tricks from our readers and suggestions on where to stay.
Dollar stores that stock groceries are ideal for RV travel
By Barry Zander
When my wife and I discovered the grocery section in dollar stores, it was an “AHA!” moment. “These folks are selling food packaged for RV-size storage and refrigerators… And it’s $1!” … When we swallowed our pride along the road to wander into a dollar store just to explore, we ventured into the back and, to our surprise, found an extensive grocery section. We had never experienced that before. But now, it seems every dollar store is giving over more and more precious space to foodstuffs. Read more.
Bears are hungry now, like “four-legged walking stomachs”
If you’ll be in “bear country” anytime soon, keep an eye out for bears. Their numbers in parks is expected to grow rapidly in coming days as the animals are now in hyperphagia, the period when bruins are preparing for hibernation and spend up to 20 hours a day on the hunt for 20,000 or more daily calories. Read more, including several tips to keep bears away from your campsite.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
A man who owned a winery passed away. In his will, he left 21 barrels (seven of which are filled with wine, seven of which are half full, and seven of which are empty) to his three sons. However, the wine and barrels must be split so that each son has the same number of full barrels, the same number of half-full barrels, and the same number of empty barrels. There are no measuring devices handy. How can the barrels and wine be evenly divided?
(Shhh. Don’t give it away. Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday News newsletter.)
A fun way to solve problems with your RV!
This amazing Digital Inspection Endoscope makes discovering problems with your RV fun! This small two-camera endoscope with a viewing monitor allows you to see into tight, small, dark spaces to locate where problems might occur. Have mice? See where they’re coming in. Have a wire that has come loose? Peek at it and see where it needs to be tightened. Have a water leak? Find the source! Read more about this amazing device here. Every RVer needs one!
How long have you waited in line at a dump station?
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:
How important is an electric hookup when choosing where to stay for two days? See how nearly 2,200 other RVers responded here.
Do you know what you’re getting into on a dirt road?
By Barry Zander
How many spouses of RV pilots have questioned the decision to ignore good sense by veering off onto a dirt road? “What a fine kettle of fish you got us into this time,” as Laurel would often say to Hardy. I’m sure you know NOT to stray off a blacktop highway onto a dirt road, unless: 1) you know where the road leads, 2) you know the condition of the road, 3) you have a truck camper with mud tires, and 4) you’re lookin’ for trouble. Read about Barry’s harrowing first RVing excursion.
The new face of COVID-19 litter. What do we do about it?
By Nanci Dixon
The new face of litter is hitting the trails, parking lots and even the prismatic springs at Yellowstone National Park. Face masks, gloves, sanitizer bottles and disinfecting wipes are everywhere. My husband and I were park hosts in Arizona at a major hiking area and found a lot of masks and wipes littering the ground even before the state mandated them. As we have moved further north we are finding even more litter in parking lots and on sidewalks. Learn more.
I’ve been bitten by the RV bug. Did it happen to you once too?
By Keith Ward
I’ve been bitten by the RV bug. And, like so many of you, it happened for one reason: I’m starting to lose my mind. It happens as we age. When I became eligible for the “Senior Discount” at iHop on my last birthday, I realized that I could only continue to refer to myself as “middle-aged” if I was going to live to be 110. Read more.
RV travels the highway with slideout extended. Dangerous?
When we saw this photo, we cringed. How can this be safe? How can this be legal? We wondered why anyone would travel this way. Isn’t this dangerous? The slide is only about halfway out. Will it continue to extend with each passing bump and turn? Read more, then feel free to comment (politely, please).
Do you pay $2,007 a year for coffee? Here’s a breakdown of what you may be paying
Ever wonder how much you spend on coffee when on the road? There’s research you’ll find interesting … but it probably won’t change your habits. If you make daily stops at fast-food restaurants around midmorning for a cup of coffee, there are benefits, but the cost might surprise you. We’ll break it down for you here.
New to RVing or know someone who is? Sign up for our Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter. Reader Robert McG says, “Wow. Really enjoy the crisp format and valuable information, thank you!” Sign up here.
A wonderful alternative to crowded RV parks
Stay overnight for free at more than 1,040 wineries, farms, breweries, etc.! Harvest Hosts members can taste great wines and micro-brews, eat fresh produce and stay in peaceful settings far from the crowds. Save 15 percent on a membership by using code HHFRIENDS15 at checkout. Learn more
Boondocking gone badly wrong!
The title of this video is “Super Duty, Super Stuck” as in “Super Duty truck stuck in sand in the Arizona desert.” The moral of this story is to not only know the normal condition of a road you’re about to travel on to a perfect boondocking site, but to know its CURRENT condition. In this video, a tow truck (a Jeep!) responds to a fifth wheel and its Ford Super Duty truck that is hopelessly bogged down in sand … Read more and watch the interesting rescue.
RV ready: Easy peasy Instant Pot spaghetti
By Nanci Dixon
Keeping the Instant Pot® on the counter is working! The weather is getting cooler, Labor Day is over and the campsites are clearing out. Time for some warm comfort food. This week I made easy peasy spaghetti in the Instant Pot. No steaming up the RV boiling water or using up propane – and only one pot to clean. Mmmm! Try this delicious recipe here.
Airstream film takes you back in time
You’ll love this — a promotional film from Airstream from 40 years ago. If you own an Airstream trailer, you will thoroughly enjoy this. But even if you’re not an Airstream owner, this 20-minute film will transport you back to a simpler time. How many times will you ever see a film with an elephant walking by an American recreational vehicle? You’ll see it here.
So did they want a motorhome or a fifth wheel? Don’t try this at home!
You probably know at least one person who has trouble deciding what they want. Do you know anyone who has had trouble deciding what type of RV they want? Motorhome or fifth wheel? Well, if you know the person who designed (we say design lightly…) this RV, you do. Check this out.
Popular articles from last week
• Does Utah law penalize motorhome owners? Is your state next?
• Losing cell service? Try these tips to reconnect or keep the signal.
• RV service centers and stores are out of parts. Now what?
• Campground crowding. Discussion for September 5, 2020.
• This hilarious dog is ready for fall!
• Weird and Wacky RVs for September 5th.
• Tornadoes and RVs: Motorhomer dies in South Dakota.
• RV sales people: Which customer service approach wins the sale?
• My new favorite tool: I’ve solved so many RV issues with this gadget!
• RV Electricity: Be prepared for a converter/charger failure.
• 7 handy uses for RV shelf liner you probably haven’t thought of.
• RV and RV-related recalls for August 2020.
• Walking sticks provide surprising bonus to your exercise routine.
• Meet your fellow RVtravel.com readers.
• Our secret to finding the best places in a new town.
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, September 5, 2020.
• Time to pull out your Instant Pot! Try this delicious soup recipe.
… and much more.
SWELL CONTEST OF THE DAY
How would you like to win this George Foreman Grill? 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 (September 12, 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.
Turn your wall outlet into an extension cord
Wow, we wish we’d known about this sooner! How neat is this? This outlet cover plugs right into an outlet and doubles as an extension cord. If you’ve got a hard-to-reach outlet in your home or RV, this will help you out greatly. Learn more or order one (or two or three) here.
FEATURED & NEW Outstanding but affordable RV parks
Our Facebook Groups: NEW RVing Wacky, Tacky America • NEW Casino Camping • NEW RVing Route 66 • NEW California RV Travel • RVing During the Pandemic • RVing over 60 • 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.
Before you buy, rent an RV from RVshare
Stuck with a lemon RV? Contact Ron Burdge, America’s premier RV lemon law attorney.
Keep those nasty mosquitoes away!
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.
First-hand report on Hurricane Laura recovery operations
Mike Zimmerman is one of our administrators on the RVelectricity Facebook group and is currently working in Lake Charles, LA. He’s part of the team restoring electric power to the area in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura. While it’s not getting a lot of news coverage right now, there will be months (if not years) of recovery work on the Gulf Coast just to restore basic utilities and housing to millions of residents. I believe the latest estimate was $25 billion in damage. Continue reading for Mike Z’s “boots on the ground” report.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
Be prepared for hurricanes
Hard to believe, but hurricane season has just begun this year and we’ve already had one of the largest weather systems to hit the United States in 150 years. Yikes!!! The only good thing about hurricanes is that, unlike tornadoes, you generally get a few days’ warning. … Read about an essential piece of equipment Mike recommends to help you prepare for and survive a hurricane here.
Read Part 2 of Mike’s series on Boondocking Power Requirements, sponsored by CarGenerator™, here. NOTE: CarGenerator will keep your household essentials running for up to 70 hours when your power is out due to any blackout, natural or otherwise.
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RVelectricity group on Facebook.
RV Tire Safety
What is the “10% safety margin” for tire inflation referring to?
“Roger: When you refer to a 10% safety factor, is the tire any safer at 10% over it’s rated load psi? If it is, why don’t the manufacturers recommend a higher psi for the load? Or, is the 10% factor to cover the days when the ambient temp is lower, which would lower the CIP eliminating the need to adjust the pressure? …” Read the rest of the question and Roger’s explanation.
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
Tony Barthel reviews the weBoost Drive 4G-X cell signal booster. He installed it permanently in his travel trailer. How did that go? Is the device worthwhile? Is his cell phone signal stronger with it? Does it make your online browsing better? Tony will tell you if you click here.
Building an RV Park
Information overload with so much exciting news!
Read about all of the progress Machelle and AJ have made on their plans and projects, and how some of the townsfolks came to their rescue when someone illegally dumped a huge truckload of tree stumps on their property. Oh … and Happy 24th Birthday to Jenna! What a fun time she had at her party! Read all of the good news here.
The RV Kitchen
Muesli Your Way
Breakfast to Grab and Go. In 1900, a Swiss doctor put together a toothsome, nourishing mix of grains, dairy, fruit and perhaps nuts or seeds. On that day, the world’s easiest breakfast was born. It takes some advance planning, but it’s good for you and it sticks to the ribs. It can be made for a family or just for yourself. It can be different every morning and different for each person – the possibilities are endless. Get the recipe.
The Digital RVer
It’s easy to make an album from your group’s photos
Using Google Photos, you can make an album and then invite people to contribute photos and comments to the album. Once they have done so, you will see their name appear in the corner of the photo thumbnail. It’s a great way to collect photos from everyone at an event or on a trip. Then you can even print a photo book of the results. Learn how easy it is here.
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.
RVing Women cannot thank you enough for recommending our organization in your newsletter last Saturday to the woman who had lost her husband. We are thankful we have been able to help many women in that situation continue to enjoy their RVs and get out on the road. I posted a link to your newsletter in our magazine, Facebook page, and on our two Facebook groups, encouraging anyone who reads it to consider subscribing to your newsletter. I know I love getting it. You do an amazing job. Thank you! —Yvonne Johnson
I am always happy to let RVers know about your wonderful organization. I have praised it for decades. A membership to RVing Women should be essential to any woman who travels alone with an RV.
What does “full-time RVer” mean?
Is there a definition of a “full time” RVer? The reason I ask is that I have noticed the term being used many ways. Examples of statements made by different people: They say, “We full time” and then we find out they live in a New England state, store their RV in Florida and “full time” for two weeks nearly every year. Some are more definitive when they state clearly that they “full time” every summer.
And then there are those, like my wife and I, that didn’t claim to be “full timers” until we moved out of our “sticks-and-bricks” house to make our RV (30-foot trailer) our home – wherever it is parked. … Read the rest of Sam Crabtree’s letter and Chuck’s response here.
Boondockers Welcome — Stay at homes of RVers who welcome you in their driveways, yards, farmland or other space on their private property. Great alternative to crowded RV parks. Modest membership fee. Learn more.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“One of our daughters is a Dementia/Alzheimer’s director at a facility in Massachusetts. Her dog, Bullet, accompanies her to work every day. Upon arriving at work, Bullet proceeds to go to each room and greet the residents where he has become a welcome visitor. During group gatherings of the residents, Bullet has displayed the ability to sense if a resident is having a bad day and then goes to that resident and sits in their lap to bring soothing distraction to that person. He participates in the activities of the residence where his ‘mommy’ dresses him for the occasion. This is Bullet dressed for ’60s Day at the facility.” — David Plummer
Please send us a photo of your pet. Show the world how cute they are!
If you’re taking extra vitamins to keep your immune system healthy, you might want to consider some for your pet too…
Stretching alongside the Columbia River and just 22 miles east of Portland, Oregon, Rooster Rock State Park is a perfect place to spend a day away from the city. But did you know that the park has a special “clothing optional” beach? It’s true. It may be the only state park in the United States to offer such an area. Oh, you may want to wear one piece of clothing these days: a mask!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to editor(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
Three dinosaurs were out hunting for food when they came across a shiny lamp. One of them rubs it and a blue genie appears. “Hello, I am a genie! You each get one wish. What can I grant you?” “I wish for a large piece of meat, I’m hungry!” The first dinosaur says. And so a large piece of meat materialized before his eyes. “I wish for an entire shower of meat!” The second dinosaur says. And the genie makes all different sorts of meat rain down from a small cloud about the dinosaur’s head. Not wanting to be outdone by his friends, the third dinosaur tries to think of something better. “I wish for a meatier shower!” … And that, ladies and gentlemen, explains it all.
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
RV Travel staff
Publisher: Chuck Woodbury.. Editor: Emily 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, J.M. Montigel, Tony Barthel, Clint Norrell, and Andrew Robinson. Social media and special projects 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 • Steve Barnes + others who we will add later.
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.
Need help? Contact our customer service department.
Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.
This newsletter is copyright 2020 by RVtravel.com