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September 19, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury
or the past decade I have spent more time in RV parks than public campgrounds. It wasn’t always so. In recent times it’s mostly been because of convenience. But I must confess, commercial RV parks are my least favorite places to stay with my RV. More often than not, they are crowded with little or no scenic beauty. Increasingly, they are called resorts, which don’t interest me because I don’t play pickleball.
I have always enjoyed camping in public campgrounds far more than in RV parks. I like Forest Service campgrounds the best, followed by those in national and state parks and on other government lands. Any campsite with space around it and a healthy dose of scenic beauty has always been and will always be my ideal place to stay.
When I think of the thousand or so public campgrounds where I’ve stayed through the years, I often think about the sounds of those places as much as the sights.
On many of those stays and even those rare ones today, I start my day by making a pot of coffee. When ready, I pour a cup and then step outside. Often, I will sit at the picnic table and simply “open” my ears. I love the sounds of birds greeting each other, singing their songs. Sometimes a gentle wind passing through the treetops will be pleasing and soothing. On a drizzly or foggy morning, the sound of the day may instead be near-stillness, a rare moment to a city person.
One morning, in Valley of Fire State Park near Las Vegas (but seemingly a thousand miles away), the morning was so totally still that I could hear the “swish, swish” of a raven’s wings as the magnificent bird flew past. I was in awe. (By the way, did you know that ravens mate for life and can be together more than 50 years? It’s true).
IF I AM CAMPED BY A STREAM, I savor the magnificent sound of the gurgling water. Camped by a lake, the rhythm of tiny waves gently lapping the shoreline is hypnotic. The sound of breaking waves at the ocean is calming (Oregon State Parks are wonderful places to hear such sounds).
I am angry at myself these days for being addicted to my electronic devices — which usually means I need Internet access. For that reason, I often stay in commercial parks rather in government campgrounds, trading scenery for connectivity.
When, one day, I am able to rid myself of the day-to-day operations of this newsletter and website I will return to these beautiful, quiet places. Gail and I will make campfires, and drink a little wine under dark, star-filled skies, and hike on trails or along dirt roads through beautiful forest or in the desert. The modern world can do its thing out of sight and out of mind. Lucky for us, we have a portable home that can easily transport us to such places.
P.S. Gail and I are headed out to the woods this coming week for five days in one of our favorite Northwest campgrounds. Our plans are to leave again in early December to spend Christmas with my aunt in central California. We’ll likely do a little exploring for a month after that (a trip to Death Valley is long overdue), and then head back to Rainyville for the spring.
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 third installment of Meet our Readers.
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Last week’s Tip of the Day in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• RV weight limits can sneak up on you.
• How well is your RV air conditioner working?
• Be careful with carbon monoxide, the “silent killer”.
• Keep your powder dry — and your landing gear greased.
• Getting along – Pointers for a great RV partnership.
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
Campground crowding. Discussion for September 19, 2020
More people than ever are taking up RVing. These newbies have determined that RVing is the safest way to travel in our pandemic times. The result is campground crowding like never before. In this weekly blog, RV Travel readers discuss their experiences. Maybe we can make some sense of this and find ways to work around the problem. Here are a few observations from our readers.
Accurate RV tank gauges? This could be the real answer!
Ask anyone who has an RV, “Are your holding tank gauges accurate?” The nearly universal reply, “Are you kidding?” Accurate RV tank gauges are the stuff that dreams are made of. … But someone may have come up with an answer. Enter John Van Horst … Learn more.
Casino RV camping, September 19, 2020
Casino RV camping is on the rise. As RV parks are ever-more crowded, finding a place to stay overnight or longer has become increasingly difficult. Casino camping is a great alternative to a standard RV park. They offer anything from a well-lit secure parking lot to a full-hookup resort-like RV park. We asked our readers about the casinos that they like and recommend. Here are some of the responses and some great tips too.
Hot, hotter, too hot… The snowbird migration is changing
By Barry Zander
With temperatures in the Southern Belt of America rising rapidly, the effect on snowbirds is already a fact. It’s a sign of lifestyle changes for thousands of RV owners, as well as businesses that rely on the migration of RVers for survival. According to a study at the University of California in Irvine, we can expect cataclysmic economic consequences for Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, and other snowbird-favorite states in the South. Learn more, then please participate in the snowbird poll.
Recipe: Instant Pot Spicy Chicken Curry Soup (Warning: This WILL make you hungry)
By Nanci Dixon
I should title this “Bad Cook – Good Instant Pot” – because almost everything I make in the Instant Pot™ comes out great. Keeping my Instant Pot on my RV counter is actually working – I’m using it a lot more and it’s encouraging my husband and me to try new things and eat healthier. Read more and try this recipe.
Check the specs before buying an RV
Unfortunately the decision to buy an RV is often based on looks rather than function. Many buyers fail to take a close look at specifications until after the sale – often discovering the unit doesn’t fit their planned uses for it. Here is a list of some items to check out before buying an RV.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
(Shhh. Don’t give it away. Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday News newsletter.)
For couples: Do you get along better at home or on the road in your RV?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. CLICK HERE.
The most popular poll in this past week’s RV Daily Tips newsletters:
How many TVs are permanently installed in your RV? See how more than 2,200 other RVers responded, and give us an answer here.
Have an electric fireplace? Here’s a simple trick to get more heat
By Nanci Dixon
When we bought our motorhome it came with an electric fireplace. I thought, “What a ridiculous thing to put in an RV!” It was so fake-looking and why would we use it when we could sit around a real campfire, with real wood, outside? That was before I discovered its heating potential! Learn more about how to heat more of your RV from the fireplace.
RV mistakes. They’re part of the lifestyle
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Got a nice email the other day from a reader who couldn’t believe we tore up a landing gear mechanism in our fifth-wheel through lack of lubrication and thought it was just a “story.” It’s nice to have a friend in your corner, but RV mistakes are more than stories – they’re a part of the lifestyle. Read some doozies from Russ and Tiña, then add your own in the comments so others might learn from them.
Is your RV out of balance? This might be the cause
By Barry Zander
When your chassis arrived at the RV manufacturer, the assemblers probably didn’t take into account the weight distribution of the rig. Is it important? A definite “Yes!” says Jonathan Elkins, who has been making and installing leaf springs for 18 years and whose family has been in the business for four generations. Read how this installation greatly improved Barry’s RV ride here.
You never know who you’ll meet at the campground…
By Nanci Dixon
I love how many interesting people we meet camping! We just met our new campsite neighbors, The Border Hookups. Dave and Jacqueline Hudson are professional singers, health coaches, and full-time RVers. Dave is from Minnesota and Jacqueline from Canada, hence the name The Border Hookups. Read the interesting story of how they became full-time RVers.
Million-dollar motorhome will “eat” your Mercedes-Benz AMG
If you’re in the market for a motorhome and have at least a million dollars to spend, consider the Perfect 1200 Platinum. The newest VARIOmobil features a massive living space with three electro-hydraulic slide-outs. It also doesn’t need towing capacity because it can “swallow” a vehicle as large as a Mercedes-Benz AMG GT. Learn more.
Newsreel from 1954: Pint-sized trailer is towed by scooter and sidecar
What a hoot! This black-and-white newsreel film from 1954 shows a British couple on a camping adventure, their tow vehicle a scooter with side car. The trailer is seven feet long, weighs about 200 pounds and is easily towed behind the pint-sized two-wheeler. Watch as they stop by the side of the road to set up camp.
Popular articles from last week
• MotorHome, Trailer Life magazines to cease publishing.
• Meet your fellow RVtravel.com readers, September 12, 2020.
• Campground crowding. Discussion for September 12, 2020.
• So did they want a motorhome or a fifth wheel? Don’t try this at home!
• Casino RV Camping, September 12, 2020.
• RV travels the highway with slideout extended. Dangerous?
• Boondocking gone badly wrong! (video)
• Dollar stores that stock groceries are ideal for RV travel.
• Getting along – Pointers for a great RV partnership.
• Building an RV park: Information overload with so much exciting news!
• Yikes! There’s a freeze warning – Tips to keep the water flowing.
• I’ve been bitten by the RV bug. Did it happen to you once too?
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, September 12, 2020.
• DANGER: Beware of camping with only one road in and out.
• Will weBoost Drive 4G-X boost your cell signal as promised?
• RV ready: Easy peasy Instant Pot spaghetti.
SWELL CONTEST OF THE DAY
How would you like to win these Emergency Road Flares? 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 19, 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.
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.
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A new blog: RV Warranties
What kind of extended warranty should I get?
I often wonder if an extended warranty is worth the initial expense. Can I count on the provider to honor the contract? I’ve read many stories about claim denial issues and so forth. Very concerned and confused. I travel about 3-4 months a year in a Newmar Bay Star. —Rick
Read Tony’s response.
Make your phone screen quadruple in size!
This phone screen magnifier amplifies your phone screen 3 to 4 times its size. Using HD zoom optical technology, this lightweight projector is perfect for when you don’t have access to a TV and want to watch videos on your phone. It doesn’t need a power supply, so you never have to charge it. Check it out here.
12-volt battery dangers (Warning: graphic content)
I see more and more of you changing batteries in your RV. Perhaps you’re adding a second battery for more boondocking capacity, upgrading to Lithium chemistry, or simply replacing worn out batteries that no longer hold a charge. In any event, there are a lot of untrained consumers handling RV batteries without proper safety precautions.
Is 12-volts DC dangerous? You bet your sweet bippy it is, but probably not for the reasons you’re thinking about. Read more from Mike and learn from a reader’s extremely painful lesson.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session
Driving over wires is a bad idea
While watching the news here in Northern California they were showing an RVer using his RV generator to power his and neighbors’ homes. There were power cords laying across the street and I’m not sure this happens but I would expect cars drive across the cords. … But it would seem to me to be a bad idea to have cords unprotected from car tires like that. Shouldn’t a cord cover of some sort be used? —Tom Hart
Read Part 3 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
Rules of thumb about tire inflation
By Roger Marble
Don’t get your shorts in a bunch about tire inflation – BUT you still should consult the inflation tables. I talked about this a number of years ago but it seems it’s time to cover this again for those new to RV living. I have covered what I felt is the “best” inflation for tire life in my posts where we discuss “4 corner weights” – which means learning the actual load on each tire position by getting the RV on a set of individual tire scales. Continue reading.
RV Fire Safety
Why one fire extinguisher is not enough
When using an extinguisher to put out the surface flames, make sure to totally penetrate the fuel so that it’s cooled. Otherwise, the fire can flare up again. This is when having an additional fire extinguisher is important. If you use your only fire extinguisher to stop the fire and don’t have another one to cool the area down, the fire could restart and you won’t have anything to fight it with. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Run your RV air conditioner with only a small portable generator. Yes, it’s true!
Museum of the Week
Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park
Wilson, North Carolina
To clarify, this is a park, but it might as well be a museum. Vollis Simpson, a farm machinery repairman, began making these incredible kinetic sculptures on his family farm just outside Wilson, North Carolina. His largest whirligig weighs almost seven tons, and others soar over 60 feet in the sky. Of course, these amazing giant sculptures began drawing local crowds and quickly became a top tourism destination in the area. Now, years after Simpson’s death, you can visit the Vollis Simpson Whirligig park in Historic Downtown Wilson, where you can walk around and admire more than 30 whirligigs. You can see some of Simpson’s art around the country too, like at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, MD, or at the American Folk Art Museum in Manhattan, NY. Learn more on the official whirligig website here.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Our camping traveler Suzie loves to take the wheel.” —Arthur Davidson
This 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.
Arizona just experienced the hottest summer ever recorded! Not far away, at the Furnace Creek oasis in Death Valley, Calif., the temperature reached 128 degrees on August 16, the hottest day there in at least 107 years.
Joke of the Week
My skydiving instructor would always take the time to answer stupid first-timer questions. One guy asked, “If our chute doesn’t open, and the reserve doesn’t open, how long do we have until we hit the ground?” The instructor looked at him and in perfect deadpan replied, “The rest of your life.”
Leave with a song from the past
This song by Al Trace and his Silly Symphonists proves that no topic is too ridiculous to be turned into a song. In this case, Al and the gang entertain you with this top hit from 1944 (okay, okay … it wasn’t a hit) “Where is the Chicken in the Chicken Chow-Mein.” Do you like these old songs? Let us know below.
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
RV Travel staff
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, 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, who was taken from us by the coronavirus.
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.
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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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