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October 31, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury
This past week has been very stressful. Never mind the stress over the election, which for me, and maybe you, is big right now. And there’s the pandemic, too!
No, what stresses me now is about what’s happened since last Saturday’s issue, when we received more than 400 emails in reaction to my follow-up report about the flood of nasty emails we had received about Nanci Dixon’s essay about her RV life in an interracial marriage. And many other readers left comments on the website as well.
We got the usual angry messages including “I’ll never visit your website again!”
But, surprisingly, what was the most stress-provoking was not the hate mail, but the supportive mail — the hundreds of letters and comments of appreciation from the nicest people you could ever imagine. They thanked my staff and me, and Nanci, for daring to write honestly. Some of these people did not necessarily agree with what Nanci wrote, but they showed respect in explaining why.
Many readers told us about their own experiences with hate or discrimination, or those of a friend. But mostly they just thanked my staff and me for writing from our hearts, not simply playing it safe like most other RV websites.
So why was that so stressful? Read on…
Let me just say…
Since that issue last Saturday, we have published 11 other newsletters, all about RVing (five issues each of RV Daily Tips and of Beginner’s Guide to RVing plus our Sunday RV Travel Newsletter). As we do every week, we provide a huge amount of helpful information. It amazes me, then, when someone turns against us for a single article that challenged their beliefs. What kind of person does that?
My partner, Gail, opens the incoming emails. It’s an ongoing, never-ending job and requires daily attention (she is supposed to be retired!). She was touched by the avalanche of kindness shown the past week. She interrupted me often to read some of the emails. She knows that the hate mail gets to me. I have dealt with it for years, but when it comes in bam, bam, bam, it can wear you down.
And so the letters of appreciation were wonderful. But the huge amount of it, plus those that arrived as comments on the website, was an assault on my emotions. It forced me to pause, and remember all over again that most people are good and kind and caring. I get so caught up with the anger of others that I forget! Reading one wonderful email after another, or listening to Gail read them to me, almost made me cry — tears of joy. I don’t know that I have ever experienced so much support in such a short time.
Even now, we still have at least 100 of those emails to answer. How can we not respond to someone who went out of his or her way to tell us how much they care about what we are doing? Last night, Thursday, I watched Gail in the family room answering emails on her laptop. This morning, Friday, she is at it again. And yet she never catches up. I help, but I don’t catch up, either. Many of you have written to me, and never heard back. Some probably think I’m rude or uncaring. No, No! I just can’t find the time! That is stressful to me!
This website has grown far bigger than I ever dreamed. In the early days, we could fit every reader into a high school gym. Today, it would take a couple of Rose Bowls. So now, when we write something that strikes a chord, we are deluged with email. My staff and I know we should write back — and we want to — and not just with an automated response. Personally, I want to answer every email I receive. But I can’t! It’s frustrating!
Okay, I am finished. I don’t think I did a very good job of expressing myself. But it’s late Friday and I am out of time. And, no, despite everything I have written here, I am not complaining. Keeping up with growth of this little enterprise is incredibly challenging, but I am hopelessly in love with the process and enjoy nearly every minute of the work, stress and all. The turtle goes nowhere unless it sticks its neck out, which of course makes it vulnerable. That’s me, and my staff, too.
Why did your newsletter show up late?
If you received the email alert for this free edition of the newsletter later than normal it’s because we are now posting it mid-morning, Pacific time. Our voluntary subscribers continue to receive their ad-free edition in the wee hours of the morning. You can learn why we made this change in my essay last week.
ALSO: While we do not have a reader forum associated with this website, we do moderate the RV Advice Group at Facebook. If you are on Facebook, this is a great resource to ask questions or help others. Our editors are moderators.
REMEMBER to turn your clocks back one hour tonight, and be sure to check your smoke and CO alarms while you’re thinking about it.
FINALLY, if your internet service provider is either Charter.net or Cox.net and you haven’t been receiving our email alerts that you signed up for, we apologize. Please read this explanation from Kim Christiansen, our IT Wrangler, who has been working diligently to resolve the issue.
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.
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the new 2021 IBEX 20BHS travel trailer. This is one of the 10 most noteworthy new RVs for 2021, so we wanted to check it out. Learn more.
NEW: Sign up for our new Facebook Group, RV reviews. We post a link to Tony’s reviews there every day as well as other reviews and videos.
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Last week’s Tip of the Day in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• Keep your generator linkage clean to prevent stoppages.
• Use your cruise control or overdrive while towing?
• RV waste water tips.
• Fifth wheel hitching: An old-timer’s advice.
• These two inexpensive cleaning agents work great!
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• “Does the propane tank have to be empty before refilling?”
• How do full-time RVers keep busy?
• Avoid hidden fees by knowing a park’s reservation system
• 16 surprising ways to use toothpaste
• How do you force Google Maps to go the way you want?
It’s Halloween! You decide to go explore an abandoned house. As you enter, an eerie silence embraces you. It’s pitch black. Using your flashlight, you fumble over and find the light switches. No luck, no electricity. You decide to leave! You turn around and WHAM, the door shuts. It won’t open. You’re trapped. Evil laughter echoes through the hallways and suddenly you see a figure appear in front of you, next to three doors. The figure says, “You must choose one door to free yourself.” The figure says the first door opens up to a room with a swarm of bees, you will be stung endlessly by them. The second door opens up to an electric chair. You will be strapped to the chair for five minutes and exposed to high voltage electricity. The third door opens up with a pool full of acid, you must jump in.
Which door will you choose if you have no other choice?
(Shhh. Don’t give it away. The answer is in tomorrow’s newsletter.)
Campground crowding. How long do you spend looking for reservations?
Several readers have expressed concern about a variety of topics this week. One is trash being left by campers and the possibility that the government may close down boondocking spots because of it. Some folks spend hours each day on the phone looking for a place to stay. And one reader says someone explained to him how to “game the system” (i.e., Reserve America) so they can always get the dates they want. But there are some positive reports also. Read more.
Your advice wanted about keeping mice out of your RV
We received this letter the other day and figured it was a good launching point for a discussion about how to keep mice (and other rodents) out of your RV. This becomes important this time of year when many of us are putting our RVs into storage for the season. Read the letter from Al Hubbard then if you have advice for him, and others, please leave a comment here.
A firsthand look at what it’s like to travel by RV with no reservations
By Nanci Dixon
No reservations, campground crowding, and our annual southern migration. We decided to live dangerously and follow our usual “no reservations policy” when traveling our snowbird route from the Midwest to the Southwest earlier this month. We wanted to see what it was like, and if it was even possible, in this time of massive RV sales, crowded campgrounds and COVID. Read more about Nanci and her husband’s travel journey, plus get some great tips on how to find a place to stop for the night (“all the things I learned along the way…”).
Will you do more holiday shopping online this year than last year?
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:
Has your RV ever been in a repair shop for a month or longer? See how more than 2,100 other RVers responded by clicking here.
100 Drives, 5,000 Ideas. Adventure awaits…
If you like to explore off the beaten path, this book is for you. Inside are 100 epic journeys through all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces offering thousands of sites and roadside attractions along the way. There’s something here to satisfy every passenger. Filled with expert tips, tons of activities, and plenty to see and do as you drive, you’ll want to order a copy for yourself here.
Tips to improve your RV’s gas mileage
This is written by our friend Eric Johnson, from TechnoRV
Filling an RV or tow vehicle’s gas tank is never cheap, even when the price of fuel is relatively low. … There are a lot of factors that contribute to the gas mileage of RVs. … You can make a difference in your miles per gallon with a few adjustments. In fact, you can increase your gas mileage by up to 20% just by inching up a fraction of a mile per gallon, depending on where you start. Learn more.
“They gave us earplugs at check-in.” Why are so many RV parks near train tracks?
By Nanci Dixon
I had to chuckle one night as we settled into bed. I heard the melancholy whistle of a train passing by and instantly knew we were at an RV park. I was chuckling because I have the ability to turn my hearing aids off; however, my husband is not so lucky. He can still hear the plaintive call of a train going by all night long. Read more then please participate in the poll in the post.
Spooktacular casino camping, October 31, 2020
This week our RVtravel.com readers and Facebook friends had some great advice and also a few warnings about casino camping and gambling to pass along. Read the rave reviews for Seven Feathers Casino in Oregon, some great casinos in Canada, a recommendation for the Downstream Casino Resort in Oklahoma, and more … here.
Wacky rigs: Airplane RV
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Over the years we’ve covered a lot of, shall we say, unusual rigs. But an airplane RV? Well, this one used to fly, but it doesn’t anymore. Rather, Gino Lucci’s former Navy R4D plane only flies – down the road – as a Class A motorhome. Check this out!
Popular articles from last week
• RV Review: 2021 Camp365, a most unusual folding trailer.
• Are you unintentionally spoiling RVing for others?
• RV review: Escape 5.0 fifth wheel.
• Campground crowding. “I might as well stay home!” and other complaints.
• RV review: Rockwood Geo Pro 19FBTH toy hauler.
• Is geotagging ruining nature and the outdoor experience?
• RVelectricity – Get your RV ready for winter maintenance.
• New Car Review: 2020 Honda Pilot, can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
• An easy tip to keep the motorhome warm on the road.
• Meet your fellow RVtravel.com readers, October 24, 2020.
• Where are all the black RVers? Why the outdoors isn’t as inclusive as you think.
• Building an RV park: Septic system approved! Costs escalate.
Monocular telescope connects to phone, wow!
This is one of the neatest gadgets we’ve seen in a while! This waterproof monocular telescope connects right to your phone, so you can take photos of that bird waaaaaaay over there. You can now photograph anything up to 10x closer than before. Great for birdwatching, concerts or any sporting event. We already bought one! Learn more or order.
🙂 Saturday Giveaway! 🙂
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (October 31, 2020) by 7:00 p.m. Pacific time. Remember, you can only enter once and after we notify you by email via RVcontests@gmail.com that you won, you have 24 hours to respond or we’ll give the prize to someone else.
This week’s contest has ended. Check back next Saturday for a new giveaway!
LAST WEEK’S WINNER of a copy of our editor’s new book The ABCs of RVing was Robbi Gerding of Portland, Oregon. The previous week’s winner of Mike Sokol’s book RV Electrical Safety was Barney Larry Hughes of Gibsonville, North Carolina.
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.
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 Gadgets and Gizmos
The perfect RV cookware does exist!
By Tony Barthel
If you like to cook, sometimes life in an RV can be a challenge. Having all the right pots and pans available means having to tote those pans around, and the space allotted in some RVs might not be sufficient for a whole kitchen-worth of stainless steel. However, I found a great solution that I have been thrilled with… Continue reading.
Two new guides to free campgrounds
Discover thousands of designated camping areas the West and in America’s Heartland —real places-not big box store parking lots. Included are areas managed by various agencies — federal, state, local, etc. Learn more about West edition or Heartland edition.
RVing in 1931
Oh, you gotta love this British newsreel from almost 90 years ago. One guy and three women go camping with their state-of-the-art caravan (travel trailer). Hey, dream on, guys! We love the scene where the man and one of the women dance outside as the two other women snack at the folding table.
Power principles further explained
Here’s a two-fer (or possibly three-fer) article for you where I combine a few of my previous articles on 50-, 30- and 20-amp pedestal outlet wiring. Have fun…
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
Avoid space heater danger: What you need to know – Part 2
As promised, here’s Part 2 on space heater safety. … This time we’ll discuss the various space heater technologies available as well as potential fire hazards from flammable material placed too close to the heater or power cable. Read more.
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RVelectricity group on Facebook.
Watch for RVelectricity Newsletter Issue 36, which you’ll be notified of in your Inbox tomorrow. What? You’re not subscribed? Well, you can sign up here so you don’t miss it!
Be like Mike: Don’t forget the fuse!
Mike Sokol says: Your RV has both 120-volt AC electrical systems (like your house), plus 12-volt DC battery systems (like your car). If the power goes out, it could be a circuit breaker (like in your house) or a blown fuse (like in your car). Always carry spare fuses that fit your RV’s battery system. Confirm the exact type and size of fuses your RV needs, then get a set of replacements. Here’s one pack, but be sure to check what your RV actually uses before ordering it.
RV Tire Safety
Is there a specific “safety margin” on tires?
By Roger Marble
I recently read a question on a blog about tire “safety margin.” I pointed out that the term “safety margin” really doesn’t apply to tires, but rather a “durability margin” might be a better way to think about tires. Tires seldom, if ever, fail as soon as they are run 10% overloaded or run 20 psi low or 10 mph over their stated speed rating. Damage is cumulative and I don’t know of any automotive parts that “repair” themselves. Continue reading.
RV Short Stop
Elk, wildlife viewing perfect outdoor activity during pandemic
Outdoor adventures are much more safe than indoor activities during COVID-19 challenges. While most visitor activities are on hold indefinitely at many wildlife refuges, free outdoor viewing of these magnificent creatures is still possible at a number of places during the holidays. Read more about where you can safely view impressive bighorn sheep, elk and other wildlife here.
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.
RV Fire Safety
An emergency fire plan that can save your life – Part 2 of 13
Having a solid fire escape plan may help you replace panic with logical, life-saving actions if a fire occurs. Knowing exactly what to do and doing it quickly can make a big difference in an emergency situation.
Recognizing the signals from each type of detector is important because different reactions are required for each type of alarm. With smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, stay low when they sound. LPG gas gathers low, so the best action is standing upright when you hear the LPG detector. An easy way to remember what to do is to observe the placement of the detectors. If they’re placed high, then you should stay low, and vice versa. Weekly testing will also help you become very familiar with the varying sounds of each so you’ll know how to respond.
Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
We are in Green Mountain RV Park in Lenoir, N.C. Yesterday the remnants of Hurricane Zeta came through. I thought I would send you a picture. All roads out of the park were closed but we were fortunate that it subsided very quickly and the roads are now passable. Just wanted to thank you for all your great articles and to let you know we brag about you and your team all the time! —Rocky and Debbie
Dear Debbie and Rocky,
It’s good to hear from you again. Wow! Scary scene there. I’m glad the water didn’t get any deeper. The photo is a good reminder to others to think about possible flooding when they select a campsite. —Chuck
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.
Museum of the Week
Old Car City U.S.A.
This place is a photographer’s dream! In White, Georgia, you’ll find an automobile graveyard (er, junkyard…). You can easily spend hours here, walking through the six miles of trails through the forest admiring, and photographing, more than 4,000 abandoned, weathered, rusted cars, trucks and other vehicles. Some of the cars are covered in moss, others have trees growing on them, or through them, or under them… Anyway, it’s a neat place and if you’re in Georgia, you’ll want to check it out. Visit the official website here.
Fire-resistant bag keeps valuables safe!
This silicone-coated fire-resistant bag will save your money, documents, jewelry, passport and other valuables from a fire. Its two layers of supreme fire retardant fiberglass material make it resist fire and heat up to 1000 ℉. It’s waterproof, too, so when the hoses arrive, your valuables won’t be harmed. Learn more or order.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“This is Lizzie, our nearly 3-year-old GSD. She is such a lucky girl as we have been hunkering down on the Oregon Coast since mid-March. She loves to be able to chase her ball on the wide-open beaches that we have here. She is a friend to everyone she meets and wants to play with every dog – sometimes forgetting how big she is. Our beautiful girl.” —Rick and Jenn G.
During WWII, mail delivery services in the U.S. were overloaded with mail and needed a new system to increase organization and productivity. They started using postal zones (for example, Minneapolis was zone 16). In the summer of 1963, the Zone Improvement Plan (ZIP codes!) was introduced to the public.
Laugh of the Week
You have to watch this dog-gone hilarious Halloween prank! If this video doesn’t make you laugh (and shudder…) we don’t know what will! If you’re afraid of spiders… well, you’ll see… Click here.
Leave with a song from the past
In honor of Halloween, Alvin and the Chipmunks sing the Monster Mash.
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: 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.
• George Bliss • Tom and Lois Speirs • Steve Barnes + others who we will add later.
ADVERTISING: 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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