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September 26, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury
The latest statistics, for RV sales in August, were released Friday. And once again they reveal that recreational vehicle sales continue to boom. What’s most interesting is the number of towables being sold compared to motorhomes — it’s getting close to a 10 to one ratio!
Sales of towable RVs, led by conventional travel trailers, totaled 35,561 units for the month, an increase of 20.8 percent from last August’s 29,448 units. Motorhomes finished the month with 3,928 units, down 7.1 percent compared to August 2019. We’ll have a breakdown of sales with charts in tomorrow’s newsletter.
Sales of travel trailers dominated. Most were cheap (and we mean “cheap” – as in stapled and glued together), lightweight models that can be pulled by an SUV or family car. Many, if not most, of the sales were the $20,000 and less models (think Three Little Pigs straw house). In the industry these are referred to as “stick-and-tin” models. Like Rodney Dangerfield, they “don’t get no respect,” at least for quality construction. They do get respect for how easily they sell, and dealers get to hawk highly profitable extended warranties or long-term financing (Camping World is the Champ) on the often gullible, impulsive buyers.
PEOPLE ARE BUYING RVs for many reasons. For some it’s because it’s the safest way to travel. For others, it’s for family vacations. But they also buy them to travel with as they work remotely wherever they are. And they’re buying them because it’s finally time to retire, and, pandemic be damned, it won’t keep them from fulfilling their dream!
So many children are being home-schooled now that it doesn’t matter if they’re sitting at their computer in a suburban neighborhood or in a gorgeous state park (with internet access, of course). So why not buy an RV and hit the road? The kids can learn as much or more traveling than they would in a classroom.
I was on a conference call the other day with two dozen industry leaders, including many RV dealers. One central Oregon dealer said that 700 homes in his area were destroyed in recent wildfires and that many of the victims were buying RVs. I wonder how many of them will say “the heck with rebuilding” and simply remain RV dwellers; when the next wildfire speeds their way, they can beeline outta Dodge in a few hours.
SO WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?
To me it means more people every month fighting for a place to stay. The RV industry is predicting sizzling sales through 2021. Some say the boom will continue for another five years. New RV parks are being built, yes, but it’s a pittance compared to demand. And many that are being built are “resorts” with fees of $100 a night or more. That’s where the money is if you want to build a campground.
Read Suzanne Anthony’s article this issue about the horrible crowded scene she came upon at the “idyllic” boondocking area she expected. And be sure to check out our weekly “Crowded Campgrounds” blog where readers talk about their experiences.
So what can we do about crowding? That’s fodder for a whole lot more discussion, with, I suspect, no easy answers.
P.S. I’m finishing up a week camping in a beautiful Cascade forest near Seattle. The rain has been relentless. I feel like I’m in a rainforest. But all is good. Here’s why.
FREE FOR YOU!
We have a nice surprise for you in tomorrow’s newsletter — instructions where you can get a free “2021 RV Model Year Guide.” If you’re in the market for a new RV or simply curious about the latest developments in recreational vehicles then this will provide good reading. The fact that this is free, with no strings attached, makes it an especially outstanding (and rare) offer. UPDATE: The publication can only be read online at this time.)
Today is National Public Lands Day. Admission to National Park sites that normally require a fee is free today. So when you’re finished reading this newsletter, head on out to a nearby park!
IN TOMORROW’S ISSUE
Would you spend $409 to camp one night in an Airstream trailer at a Cape Cod RV park? A new park there is betting you will!
If you’re a member of Facebook, join the helpful discussion at the group RV Advice. Our editors moderate.
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 latest installment of Meet our Readers.
Would you pay two cents to read this newsletter?
RVtravel.com, and the 650 newsletters about RVing we publish every year, would not be possible without the financial support of our members, those 3 percent of all readers who voluntarily subscribe. Now, in the most challenging time of our lives, your support is needed more than ever for us to be your #1 source of news, information and advice about RVing. Every contribution 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
• Bad weather RV driving tips.
• How do you clean your RV’s roof?
• Prepare your RV forced air furnace for cold weather.
• Happier full-time RV living with your partner.
• Tuck some drawers under your dinette for small-item organization.
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
This might be one way to get people to wear a mask!
Boondocking gone wrong: One woman’s experience
RVer Suzanne Anthony had recently learned about an “idyllic” boondocking spot near Cloudcroft, New Mexico, in the Lincoln National Forest. She was looking for a place to escape the brutal heat of central Texas. She found the coordinates of the location, and headed off. What she found was horrifying, nothing like what she expected. Read more.
If you don’t like the view out your window … move
By Dave Helgeson, veteran boondocker
What’s the view out your window? Is it a reflection of your lifestyle and where you truly want to be in your RV – or is it a compromise made out of convenience and lack of perceived options? Yes, 2020 has been a tough year for everyone, including RVers. However, there is no reason to despair as there are options you may not be considering! Here are some strategies to improve the view out your window.
Casino RV camping, September 26, 2020
The great fall migration of RVers has started and casino camping is a valuable resource for the journey. Just like birds, RVers flock to warmer climates so they can winter without snow, cold, or a shovel in hand. A lot of campgrounds are full and getting a site means planning well in advance. … In this week’s column, we are sharing some of our reader’s submissions that may help others with their own fall migration plans. Read more.
Deep-clean your black tank to prevent nasty outhouse smell
By Nanci Dixon
When the winds of time blow in the wrong direction and the bathroom vent just doesn’t seem to siphon all the scent away, it is time for the deep clean. Sigh. We have a flush system that works pretty well. Dump, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat. I will admit that I do close the tank, fill with water, count to 200 and dump again – against every warning plastered in our water bay. Continue reading.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
This British newsreel from 1965 shows what it was like to live in a “Home on Wheels” back in those times. Some of the residents of these “mobile” homes planted themselves pretty securely in one location, even maintaining lawns and gardens. In this video, you may conclude that while RVing has changed in the last half century, some things remain very familiar. This is fun!
Who is your mother’s only sister’s son’s brother’s aunt’s daughter’s sister’s father?
(Shhh. Don’t give it away. Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday News newsletter.)
Have you ever done any damage to your RV while backing up?
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 often do you purchase something online? See how nearly 2,200 other RVers responded and cast your vote too.
Not what you think!
Wow! Beautiful RV, right? Well, no, it’s not an RV at all. So what is it? A boat? Nope. If you want to know, you’ll need to visit here and we’ll explain.
A plea to take care of our forests and extinguish campfires
Remember what Smokey Bear always says: “Only you can prevent forest fires!”? It pertains to wildfires, too, particularly when caused by campfires. Here is a warning from the U.S. Forest Service about an increase in abandoned campfires, and some tips for campfire safety. Learn more, and please keep our forests and surrounding areas safe from wildfires.
Wheelchair-bound family finds joy in RVing
By Nanci Dixon
I met fellow RVers Mark Swanson and his son, Shane, at the campground earlier this week. Both Dad and Shane are wheelchair-bound, but that is not stopping them from being avid RVers. Shane was born with spina bifida and has no use of his legs. Mark grew up camping and wanted to share that with his son. Read more about this amazing and inspirational young man and his RVing family here. (Shane has how many gold medals?!)
Instant Pot Cookin’: Super-Yummy Meatballs
These super-yummy meatballs are easy and quick to make in the Instant Pot™. I have been keeping the Instant Pot on the RV countertop and the curry jar close. I love curry and this is the third recipe in a row I have done with curry in it. … I will probably lay off curry for a while now. Read more and get the recipe 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.
Young architect builds RV with essential amenities for $1,400
A 23-year-old recently graduated architecture student from Tamil Nadu, India, has hit the news. Dismayed at how much poor people were spending on housing, he’s come up with a potential solution. Arun Prabhu has built what’s possibly India’s first home-brew motorhome. This is pretty cool!
Campground crowding. Discussion for September 26, 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.
Popular articles from last week
• Airstream ceases production of trailer line.
• Ford announces two new F-150 pickup trucks.
• RVelectricity – 12-volt battery dangers (Warning: graphic content).
• Accurate RV tank gauges? This could be the real answer!
• Casino RV camping, September 19, 2020.
• Hot, hotter, too hot… The snowbird migration is changing.
• Campground crowding. Discussion for September 19, 2020.
• You never know who you’ll meet at the campground…
• Have an electric fireplace? Here’s a simple trick to get more heat.
• Check the specs before buying an RV.
• RV mistakes. They’re part of the lifestyle.
• Meet your fellow RVtravel.com readers, September 19, 2020.
• Million-dollar motorhome will “eat” your Mercedes-Benz AMG.
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, September 19, 2020.
• Is your RV out of balance? This might be the cause.
• RV Tire Safety: Rules of thumb regarding tire inflation.
• Recipe: Instant Pot Spicy Chicken Curry Soup (Warning: This WILL make you hungry).
SWELL CONTEST OF THE DAY
How would you like to win this Digital Moisture Meter? 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 26, 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.
3-in-1 NOAA radio, flashlight and charger must-have for RVers
This emergency hand-crank radio is a necessity for RVers. Keep it somewhere safe, you never know when it will come in handy. The 3-in-1 radio is also a bright LED flashlight and a smartphone charger. The radio can be charged via solar charging, hand cranking or a USB plug. You’ll want to buy one here.
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.
Our Facebook Groups
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RV Gadgets and Gizmos
New device keeps your fresh water tank clean. So simple, yet effective!
By Tony Barthel
Using bleach to sanitize a fresh water tank in an RV is something that has become customary for many. But it’s not as easy to sanitize a fresh water tank when you’re worrying about getting bleach all over you or your RV. Here’s where the RV Inline Sanitizer comes in handy. Read more.
Come into the light…
Our favorite electricity guy, Mike Sokol, uses this Caterpillar pocket light for just about everything. He writes, “I bought one of these CAT CY1000 Pocket COB Lights a few months ago and liked it so much that I also picked up one for my dad. I’ve dropped it a bunch of times, and it still keeps working, like any of the other tough-as-nails CAT products.” It easily clips on to your belt, shirt pocket, or anything magnetic, so you can work hands-free. Learn more or order.
A new blog: RV Warranties
Should I buy an extended warranty for my RV?
By Tony Barthel
Should you buy an extended warranty? It’s one of the most frequently asked questions and something, again, for which there isn’t just one answer. So, should you? … That depends. As we shared in our previous column, an RV extended warranty is basically legalized gambling. Read more.
RV parks all booked up? Stay at farms, wineries and other scenic and peaceful locations for free. Save 15% on a membership to Harvest Hosts. Learn more.
Hybrid inverter-powered air conditioner
All the pieces of my battery-powered air conditioner experiment are coming together nicely. Here’s the first lab data I gathered last week for proof of concept. To be clear about how I create demonstrations, many times I’m integrating multiple pieces of gear together in strange ways that have never been tried before, which means I’m the first guy to try that combination. Read more on Mike’s experiment and what it might mean for RVers in the future.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session
Solar-powered air conditioner update
How is your solar panel air conditioner experiment coming along? Lots of us want to know if it’s possible and how much it will cost. —Andy
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RVelectricity group on Facebook.
RV Tire Safety
What does RV “weight creep” have to do with tire safety?
By Roger Marble
I have covered the importance of knowing your actual RV weight, as that has a direct impact on your tire loading, which then affects your tire life. … Roger explains where to get your RV weighed, and how every little knick-knack you add inside may have an overall negative effect on your tires. Learn more.
Building an RV Park
Vendors and more vendors! Plus paperwork progress
By Machelle James
When you shop in a store, it probably doesn’t occur to you who the parent company is for that product. As in, “Hey, who makes and owns these delicious Twinkies”? I never thought of it myself until today. I think I know what we are going to sell in our camp store, but that can change based on our guests’ needs and requests. … Read more about Machelle and AJ’s ongoing (never-ending) paperwork, and offer suggestions for items to carry in their store here.
The RV Kitchen
Punch Bowl Butterfinger Trifle
Sweet and sinful dessert. Any bowl will do but you get bonus points if you have a large, clear plastic bowl to show off the layers in this scrumptious dessert. Once it’s mixed up, this is a sinfully delicious goo. Nobody can guess what’s really in it. Get the recipe.
Fall has arrived and your RV needs some cheer!
Check out this adorable rustic fall RV flag. Its double-sided burlap design would make your RV look so festive! It can hang outside on a garden flag stand, or be hung inside too (we think it would look great hanging on your RV’s door!). The banner on the trailer says, “Happy Fall Y’All!” and the pumpkins, owl and sunflowers are a cheerful touch. Get one for yourself for less than $6.
The Digital RVer
Hey, you ought to write a book
How many people have told you that you ought to write a book? After all, you have a ton of travel stories to tell, you’ve led an interesting life, and you have lots of expertise in some areas. You could probably write two or three books, right? But, don’t you need a publisher first? There are several reasons you may want to publish a book. Read about them here, and how to do it.
Fire Extinguishing Aerosol, Two-pack
The First Alert Tundra Fire Extinguishing Aerosol Spray is easier to use and discharges 4 times longer than traditional fire extinguishers. With an aerosol nozzle and portable size, it’s suited for the kitchen, car, garage, boat or RV. The formula wipes away with a damp cloth & is biodegradable. Learn more or order.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Leroy having a snooze in the driver’s seat.” —Ron Hough
*You’ll fall in love with this dog collar…
Historians estimate that about 300 of the original 2,000 miles of the Oregon Trail remain untouched. The rest has been lost to time or development. In many places, roads and highways were built directly over the popular route. However, many of the pioneers’ wagon ruts remain intact. In most places you can walk or hike along them (but be respectful). Here’s a good guide to traveling today’s Oregon Trail.
Joke of the Week
2020 calendar so far:
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, Keith Ward, 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.
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. For all advertising information, contact Chuck Woodbury at chuck (at) RVtravel.com.
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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