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October 24, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury
The angry comments from some readers last week about Nanci Dixon’s article “Where are all the black RVers? were disgusting. By the time our staff rolled out of bed here on the West Coast, there were literally hundreds of comments and emails. Some readers thanked us for the article but many others expressed anger, even hate. It was bad.
In my two decades of publishing online, I have never seen such a display of cyber vomit over a single, thoughtful article, in this case written by a white woman married to a black man about their experiences as RVers. The comments got so mean-spirited and hopelessly out of control we had to close them.
“I WILL NEVER READ ANYTHING YOU WRITE AGAIN!”
At least two dozen readers demanded we cancel their email alerts — fine with us, because they were the nastiest of all. If we can’t publish an essay that might challenge some people’s beliefs, then I, for one, will just wander out to pasture and hang out with the cows.
What we found interesting and, in the end, became the final straw in prompting how we will publish this newsletter from now on, was when we compared the “hate” mail from our two subscriber lists — the free edition and the far smaller one of our voluntary subscribers, our member-donors who believe this website and newsletter are worth supporting with even a modest donation. Nearly all the mean, angry, hateful letters were from readers of the free edition. It spoke volumes to us about the quality difference between the two audiences.
Our mostly paid staff produces more than 650 newsletters a year: This Saturday edition represents only 8 percent of those. But it’s the one where we post our most engaging and often thought-provoking articles and essays. Consequently, it prompts the most comments — often hundreds within a few hours of appearing.
A NEW PUBLISHING SCHEDULE
Beginning next week we will delay the free edition of this Saturday newsletter until 9 a.m. Pacific time — that’s noon in the East. The member edition will continue to go out seven hours earlier in the wee hours of the morning. By delaying the free edition, our Seattle-based staff will be able to monitor the comments properly after a good night’s sleep.
Before deciding on the time change we had considered closing comments (or at least manually approving them before they appeared) on any article that we suspected might cause controversy. But that would not be fair to the 95 percent of you who comment with intelligence and respect.
MY STAFF AND I WORK HARD. We try our best to provide information that will enhance your RVing life. I am disgusted with the closed-minded individuals who are eager to attack us over anything we write that even mildly challenges their beliefs. Heaven knows there are millions of respectful RVer-readers out there (and we attract hundreds each week as new subscribers) who appreciate our hard work and quality journalism. It’s these respectful people who motivate us to always be better tomorrow than we are today and to serve all our readers in new, creative and valuable ways.
P.S. I am pleased to report that the printed edition of my new book The ABCs of RVing is now available. The book is aimed at aspiring and first-time RVers. It may also be ordered for immediate reading in a Kindle version.
If you are a member of Facebook, be sure to join our RV Advice group. Ask questions, get answers from other RVers. Moderated by our editors.
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 next installment of Meet our Readers.
Today’s RV review…
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the new 2021 Camp365, a most unusual folding trailer. Tony was surprised by how spacious and usable this camper is yet how very towable it is, too. Learn more.
Last week’s reviews
2021 Grand Design Solitude 3540GK • Winnebago Solis 59PX class B motorhome • 2021 Palomino River Ranch 390 fifth wheel • 2021 Keystone Springdale 242RK travel trailer • 2001 Winnebago Hike 210RB
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 3 percent of all readers who voluntarily subscribe. A one-time donation of only $15 a year comes out to about 2 cents for each issue we publish! Every one makes a difference. And when you become a member, you receive a special member-only ad-free version of this newsletter seven hours earlier than the free advertising-supported edition. Learn more or donate.
Last week’s Tip of the Day in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• Flagpoles: They can be useful or a nuisance.
• RV resale: Appearance matters, so protect your RV’s looks.
• RV tire storage.
• A quick guide to troubleshooting RV furnace problems.
• RVers must take responsibility for their own safety.
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• Reader photos: Another ugly RV park
• I want this! Have you ever seen an RV so cute?
• Your fifth-wheel: Leave it hitched or not?
• Lonely Mina, Nevada. Not a ghost town, but close
• RV Shrink: Campground reservation rip-off
A zombie, a mummy and a ghost buy a house. It’s a big house with many rooms, however, one room is missing. Which room is it?
(Shhh. Don’t give it away. The answer is in tomorrow’s newsletter.)
Campground crowding. “I might as well stay home!” and other complaints
We’ve heard from a lot more readers this past week regarding how crowded campgrounds are getting and the negative effect it is having on them and their RVing. One couple plans five years ahead(!). One reader gladly pays higher prices for resorts rather than public campgrounds because they are quieter and better run. One couple, sadly, sold their fifth wheel and F-350 truck two months ago because they’re tired of fighting the crowds. And a couple of readers added suggestions for alternatives to crowded campgrounds. Read this week’s comments here.
Your input wanted on National Park campgrounds of the future
The National Park Service has drafted its “Second Century Campground Strategy” which promises to bring changes to American National Parks. In this video Jason Epperson summarizes the changes the NPS is looking to make for RVers and tent campers. Plus, he shares a little history on the development of National Park campgrounds from the earliest days to a “redesign” in the mid-1960s, and what they may look like in the future. Read more and watch the video, then send in your two cents’ worth to the NPS if you haven’t already.
An easy tip to keep the motorhome warm on the road
By Nanci Dixon
Brrr! It is cold riding in a motorhome in the winter! Granted, we left Minnesota in a snowstorm, so we knew it would be cold, but it is amazing how quickly heat dissipates when it is below freezing outside and the only heat is coming out of the dash. The cold was rushing in from the back and we needed a barrier! Read Nanci’s quick solution here.
AllStays: The best website for RVers! Your membership will become your RV-bible. Click here to learn more.
Have you ever met anyone when RVing who became a friend for years?
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 burners are there on your RV’s kitchen stove? See how nearly 2,500 other RVers responded.
Casino RV camping is “the way to go!”
A few weeks ago we mentioned WinStar Casino in Thackerville, OK, as one of our reader’s favorites casino camping spots. Ralph P. shared updated information with us this week about it. And our readers and Facebook group members had some wishes, great experiences and casino camping spots to pass along. Read more.
When RV parts are discontinued, DIY projects to the rescue!
By Nanci Dixon
When motorhome parts are discontinued, it is time for a DIY fix. Our 2017 motorhome has a unique living area wall light – a sconce that was slowly getting dimmer until it only flicked on every once in a while. After several discussions with the RV manufacturer about getting the bulb replaced, it turns out that the LED bulb is not removable or replaceable. Who makes a light that has a bulb that can’t be replaced? And the even better question, who puts it in a motorhome? Find out how Nanci solved this dilemma here.
A perfect fall recipe: Instant Pot Jambalaya with a twist
By Nanci Dixon
My family loves Jambalaya and they love red beans and rice too. With this Instant Pot™ recipe, I decided to take a chance and add red beans to the Jambalaya. This was an experiment that worked! Get the recipe here.
Deer attacks woman. Turns out it was raised by a human
Here’s a reminder about why it is a very bad idea to feed a wild animal, especially one that is large enough to harm a human. This report came from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Even feeding a wild animal in a campground can lead to trouble. But this was much more than that. Read more.
Mug shots: The second batch!
We asked you to send us a photo of your favorite coffee mug! More than 100 of you have already responded. Our staff had a whole lot of fun looking through your submissions. Keep ’em coming, okay? Here’s the second batch.
Popular articles from last week
• Campground crowding. One reader thinks we don’t need more RV parks…
• RV Review: 2021 Grand Design Solitude 3540GK.
• Casino Camping: There are two types of casino “camping,” and more reader favorites.
• Where are all the black RVers? Why the outdoors isn’t as inclusive as you think.
• 13 tips about work camping that will point you to success.
• Does windchill affect RV water lines freezing when driving?
• RV Review: Winnebago Solis 59PX.
• RVelectricity – Updates on Hughes Autoformer, Dometic 12-volt fridge, SoftStartRV on a solar panel.
• 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 Review: Pricey luxury RV hauler.
• Jogger tracked for 6 minutes by a cougar! Dramatic video.
• RVelectricity – Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.): My WAG chart on solar panels and air conditioners.
• Campground Chatter: Several new campgrounds opening soon.
SWELL CONTEST OF THE DAY
How would you like to win a copy of our editor’s new book, The ABCs of RVing? 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 (October 24, 2020) by 7 p.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.
LAST WEEK’S WINNER of Mike Sokol’s book RV Electrical Safety was Barney Larry Hughes of Gibsonville, North Carolina. The previous week’s winner of the Happy Camper Coffee Mug was Gene Bjerke of Forest, Virginia.
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.
Hitch Ball Lubricant extends the life of your hitch mount!
Protect hitch balls and receivers from corrosion with this high-film strength and waterproof grease. Formulated to stay where you apply it, this lubricant reduces friction, wear, rust, water corrosion and noise. Compatible with any variety of trailer applications like receiver hitches, ball mounts, hitch balls, locks, couplers, jacks, and more. Learn more or order here.
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
RVer Product Review: A mosquito repellent that works!
What is the best mosquito repellent for RVers? You see this question a lot in the RV forums and it’s something Tony Barthel was concerned about, being an absolute mosquito magnet. If there’s a mosquito in the county, it’ll find him and bring its friends for a stinging sensation. That is, until now…. Continue reading to learn about a product that works!
Blast from the past video
Pack-Away, Get-Away camper was big news in 1939
This lightweight trailer (caravan) sleeps four. When returned home after a camping trip, the RV could be easily disassembled for easy storage. We don’t think this would be a big hit today.
It’s getting dark early. Time to clean your headlights!
When was the last time you gave those headlights a good scrub? It’s been a while, huh? Get yourself this 4-piece headlight restorer kit from Turtle Wax for about $7, and have your headlights looking as good as new in less than 5 minutes. It can be used on all lenses, plexiglass and plastic surfaces, and will restore all dull, yellowed headlights. Learn more or order here.
Get your RV ready for winter maintenance
Since the camping season is just about over, I’m including some tips and gadgets that you can use during your post-camping season maintenance time. There’s more to winterizing your RV than just blowing out the water lines. This is a great time to go over the electrical systems on your RV.
So today’s column will include several tech tips on interesting and important technologies that will help keep your RV humming next spring. Continue reading.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session
My WAG chart on solar panels and air conditioners
Please help me understand this. I’ve been following your recent articles about solar panels and air conditioners, and wonder if there’s a simple chart you can provide that will give us a hint of just how hard/expensive or easy/cheap this is to do. And do we really need a SoftStartRV to run an air conditioner with a 2kW inverter, or is that just sales hype? I really appreciate your straight talk on these complicated topics. —Doug Z.
Read Mike’s response (and find out what “WAG” is, if you don’t know) here.
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RVelectricity group on Facebook.
RV Tire Safety
Things to consider when buying an air compressor
Here are some things to consider before purchasing an air compressor for your RV, including looking for maximum pressure capability and the rate of inflation – and don’t buy more air compressor than you need. Roger Marble explains it all here.
Building an RV Park
Septic system approved! But costs continue to escalate
The park’s septic system was approved through ADEQ (Arizona Department of Environmental Quality) with no comments or change requests – which is unusual. But why did the park’s soil then have to be tested to 18 feet deep? And the rate things are going, the costs for building the park could be more than $1.5 million! Also, your input is requested to help Machelle and AJ decide what type of fencing to use. All that and more here.
The RV Kitchen
Double Quick, Double Thick Chili
Quicker, thicker chili. This takes a big pot and a big appetite. It can be vegan or vegetarian. Use your favorite beans, preferably one can of each. Need more chili for more folks? Keep adding more beans and adjust seasonings as you go. Make this chili for a big family or freeze leftovers in batches right-sized for your needs. Get the recipe.
That’s connected to … what?
The Klein ET310 transmitter/receiver figures out what electrical outlet is connected to which circuit breaker. Plug the transmitter end into the outlet in question, then scan the circuit breaker panel with the receiver “wand” and voila – you know which breaker is powering that outlet without resorting to flipping random breakers on and off. The transmitter also doubles as a 3-light outlet tester letting you know if there’s a Hot/Neutral polarity reversal, open ground, etc., and it also checks GFCI operation. Learn more or order.
I am now experiencing the full campgrounds you were writing about as I plan for June 2021 going to the Grand Tetons after Yellowstone. If a park takes reservations, they are all taken. Otherwise it is “first-come, first-served.” So I have to drive to every campground to see if they have a site available! Even the Jackson Hole KOA is first-come, first-served. Driving over from the Aliner national convention at Mt. Rushmore I may return to the Grey Bull KOA as every place I contacted in Cody is full. —Donald Wright
Eliminate gray water tank odors for less than $8
Gray water tanks can produce nasty odors, too. Using the latest technology in quick dissolving biodegradable tablets, Elemonate deodorizes your gray tank, freshens sink and drain lines and dissolves grease and organic sludge buildup in the drain lines of your sink and gray tank. Learn more or order.
Facebook Groups of Interest
Plus, join us in our own groups HERE.
Device keeps fresh water tank clean
Tony Barthel writes: “The RV Inline Sanitizer is the simplest of solutions. It’s essentially a reservoir in which you put bleach and then use a source hose and a delivery hose to fill your fresh water tank. The sanitizer effectively adds the bleach as you fill the tank. It is truly that simple.” Read more about this nifty device here.
Readers’ Pets of the Day
“What do you mean we can’t drive? Mokie and Buddy try to take the wheel on a recent road trip through Arizona…” —Sylvie Whitman
The filling of the popular chocolate bar Kit Kat® is made out of damaged Kit Kats! All Kit Kat bars that don’t turn out perfectly at the factory because of air bubbles, weirdly shaped formations or some other issue aren’t tossed out and wasted. They’re ground up into a fine paste to be used inside the candy bars. How’s that for the circle of life?
Joke of the Week
Wisdom: “If we’re not meant to have midnight snacks, why is there a light in the fridge?”
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
RV Travel’s incredibly talented staff
Editor and publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Emily Woodbury, Russ and Tiña De Maris. Contributing writers: Nanci Dixon, Mike Sokol, James Raia, Keith Ward, Roger Marble, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, 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. We miss him terribly!
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. If interested, 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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