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November 14, 2020
Non-Members (advertising-supported) edition
This free edition of the RVtravel.com newsletter is posted at 9 a.m. (Pacific) every Saturday (that’s noon in the East). The member edition is published seven hours earlier, at 2 a.m. (Pacific). Readers who make even a one-time financial contribution to this website and newsletter automatically receive a permanent subscription to the member edition, ready for reading first thing with their morning coffee (or other beverage).
Beginning this issue, we are opening up this space to our readers. If we post your essay, we’ll send you a $75 Amazon gift certificate. Editor Chuck Woodbury will continue to contribute on occasion, most often in the members’ edition.
From reader Susan Ruzzamenti
In this era of crowded campgrounds and the seeming end to spontaneous trips, could planning ahead actually have a silver lining? I think so.
In my youth, my husband and I would book plane tickets somewhere and take off with very few plans. We didn’t have the time or inclination to research. We were young and in a hurry to see the world. However, once we arrived, we would spend too much of our precious vacation time deciding where to go and what to do. Sometimes places we would visit would be less than what we imagined. Other times we would argue about where to go as we had different preferences. Yet, that was not the worst part. That was what we would miss out on. And we missed out on a lot!
We missed out because we didn’t research. I can’t tell you how many times someone would comment, “Oh, you went to so and so, did you see…?” My dismayed answer would always be, “No! I didn’t know it was there!”
I can’t tell you how many times we would miss the best sights and experiences because of our spontaneous approach to traveling and lack of research. I knew we would probably never return to that neck of the world as there was always somewhere else to go. Don’t get me wrong, we always enjoyed our trips, but there was an often-occurring disappointment to know I missed something spectacular because I didn’t know about it.
Fortunately, since we are retired now, we mostly travel in our travel trailer. And we plan, plan, plan! The silver lining of being forced to make advanced reservations is, first, you have ample time to really dig into and research a destination and decide where you want to stay. Second, you have time to find out all about the places to sightsee in the area. Lastly, you have time to discuss these options with your traveling partner and make informed decisions.
WE’VE TAKEN AT LEAST TWELVE CAMPING TRIPS a year for the past three years and all of them have been planned in advance. We have seen some of the most fabulous sites this country has to offer and stayed in some of the best campgrounds because we knew where to go and what to do. Best of all, I don’t feel like I missed anything as I did in the spontaneous travels of my youth.
Undoubtedly, one of the inherent appeals of RV travel is the spontaneity and the ability to let your travel whims guide you. However, in these days of crowded campgrounds and the huge increase in RVers hitting the road, spontaneity is becoming much more difficult. So, I suggest making the most of the need for advanced reservations. Research the area and find the best places to go and see. Find those hidden gems and local hot spots that are not as well known. Make a plan to visit places that will please everyone in the travel party.
Sometimes the research and planning can be as fun as the journey itself. It can be very exciting to look forward to seeing those wonderful places you have only read about. Planning in advance has its advantages, so we need to make the most of them.
We welcome your essays
Please consider stepping upon this wonderful stage, with its big, magnificent audience. We are not looking for “how-to” articles as in “how to dump your holding tanks,” or “how to repair a roof leak.” We are not looking for travel stories. We are looking more for “think pieces.”
In 500-750 words, write about the RV life — where it is, where it might be going, challenges. Relate a personal experience that says something about who we are as RVers and what it means to you, and perhaps others. Read more and learn how to submit an essay.
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.
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• As expected: RV sales exploded, storage facilities are FULL
• Escapees cancel annual Escapade rally set for March
• RV stocks took a major hit after effective COVID-19 vaccine announced
ALSO: We celebrate the 50th anniversary of the “Day It Rained Whale Blubber.” (True story, and we’ll show you video to prove it!).
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Latest RV recalls • Free and bargain camping locations • Stolen RV report • Reader survey • and much more …
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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 our 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 honest, unbiased news, information and advice about RVing. Every contribution makes a difference. A donation of only $15 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 seven hours earlier than the free edition. Learn more or donate.
Last week’s Tip of the Day in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• Wiring diagrams can save your sanity.
• More on eliminating hitch clunk.
• Adjusting your RV mirrors for maximum viewing.
• Can’t get the propane to flow in your motorhome? Check this first.
• New to RVing or want to improve backing up hand signals? Read this.
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
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Today’s RV review…
Today, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the new 2021 Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RL. Tony writes, “…These motorhomes are being used as daily drivers by some due to their manageable size while offering the amenities of a proper motorhome.” Learn more.
Last week’s reviews
2021 Newmar Canyon Star 3719 Front Diesel Motorhome • 2021 Grand Design Imagine 17MKE Travel Trailer • Homegrown Trailers Timberline Travel Trailer • Bowlus Road Chief Travel Trailer • 2021 Keystone Outback 260UML Travel Trailer
For previous RV reviews, click here.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
Brain Teaser Spot the difference
Hungarian artist Gergely Dudás/Dudolf creates these wonderful puzzles with hidden images. Be sure to check out his website, but don’t look at the answer to this puzzle just yet! We’ll show you the 9 differences in tomorrow’s newsletter.
What will your 2020 Thanksgiving look like?
By Dave Helgeson
Lately the news media has been telling viewers how their Thanksgiving celebration will look different this year due to the Coronavirus. “Keep gatherings small, stay outside, stay six feet apart, don’t share food, etcetera, etcetera”. Whether viewers decide to follow the instructions is yet to be seen. As RVers we have multiple options to change up this year’s Thanksgiving celebration. Here are some ideas.
Campground Crowding: “A loss of community” among RVers
More people than ever are taking up RVing. The result is campground crowding like never before. In this week’s issue, readers comment on “who is more important, daily or monthly renters.” Also, one reader thinks small, family-run RV parks are coming to an end as more and more RV parks are being bought out by larger companies or chains. Another reader suggests ways to find camping spots via YouTube, and one reader laments the loss of the RVing “community.” Read more.
How to winterize your RV’s toilet
Just because you winterized your RV doesn’t mean you can’t use it. Plenty of RVers get the sudden “hitch itch” in the middle of a cold winter to escape “cabin fever” by heading out on the road. But just how, some wonder, can you use the biffy? Hang on, pardner, there’s no need to cross your legs in discomfort until you hit a rest area! Read more.
Overnight RV parking. Directory of more than 14,000 locations where you can stay for free or nearly free with your RV. Modest membership fee. Learn more.
Is this your RV?
If it’s yours and you can prove it to us (send a couple of photos for comparison), tell us here by 9 p.m. Pacific Standard time today, Nov. 14, 2020. If it’s yours you’ll win a $25 Amazon gift certificate.
If this isn’t your RV, send us a photo of your RV (if you haven’t already) for a chance to win in future issues.
IN THE PAST WEEK, ONLY ONE READER RESPONDED and claimed the $25 Amazon gift certificate. That was Richard Genovese from Vero Beach, Florida.
We’ll have another photo in tomorrow’s newsletter (sign up to receive an email alert so you don’t miss the issue or those that follow). Some of these photos are submitted by readers while others were taken by our editors and writers on their travels around the USA.
Have you had a live video medical checkup in the last six months?
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:
Do you bring an electric toaster with you when RVing? See how nearly 3,400 other RVers responded.
Do you work remotely from your RV?
Some RV manufacturers are refocusing their designs to cater to customers looking for mobile office space. The rise in remote work prompted by the pandemic has led many people to take up a “work from anywhere” lifestyle. Do you work from your RV? Have you modified your workspace? Please tell us about it, and we’ll share your story and photos with readers. Submit your story and photo(s) here.
Caution! Snakes, scorpions and spiders lurk near campgrounds – beware!
Camping in the Southwest? Hiking? Even if you’re just going for a leisurely stroll around the campground you’ll want to watch out for the biting, stinging creatures that call the American Southwest home. If they feel threatened, they’ll defend themselves. We spend the winters in a regional park in the Arizona desert and I have learned a lot about snakes, scorpions and tarantulas. Here are a few things to note about each.
Casino Camping: Readers’ favorite casino RV parks
This week, we’re focusing on a few of your favorite casinos to “camp” (OK, stay overnight…) at. But before we get to some of your favorites, here is a good reminder from James O. to read the fine print and call ahead. Continue reading.
Now $30 off!
Save even more on a SoftStartRV!
Check out this special holiday savings offer on the incredible new device that allows you to run your RV’s air conditioner in low-power (or alternative power) situations when you could never run it before. SAVE NOW! Learn more.
Every RVer should have one of these portable air compressors
By Nanci Dixon: As full-timers, we gradually accumulate gear. After a rear dual tire lost its valve stem and the tire had to be replaced, we purchased a TireMinder® TPMS system. I diligently watch the tire pressure as we are driving and have come to dread the low-pressure alarm. Airing up our tires on the motorhome has always, always been a hassle. —Read more to find out why Nanci thinks they “bought one of the best” air compressors.
Pedal car exhibit and race would be a hoot to see
A forthcoming exhibit in Newport, Rhode Island, allows youngsters to get behind the wheel of cars made to fit them, and even race them on a track. The Audrain Automotive Museum recently announced its newest exhibit dedicated to tiny vehicles. The “Small Wonders: Mini, Micro, Pedal & Toy Cars” exhibition will be open from Nov. 21 through Feb. 14, 2021. If you plan to be in the area, this would be fun to see. Read more.
Popular articles from last week
• RV “vloggers” fined, threatened with arrest for taking video in National Park.
• Dolly Parton takes you on a tour of her RV.
• RV review: 2021 Jayco Jay Feather Micro 166FBS travel trailer.
• The most beautiful, tiny, van-camper RV you have ever seen!
• We had our RV custom painted. Here’s what the process was like…
• What I learned when I wrote “Where are all the Black RVers?”
• New to RVing or want to improve backing up hand signals? Read this.
• RV Review: Keystone Cougar 24SABWE Travel Trailer.
• Quartzsite RV Show: Maybe there’s some hope for the safety-minded.
• Campground crowding: Are monthly renters filling up spaces?
• Why is Veterans Day always observed on November 11?
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, November 7, 2020.
🙂 Saturday Giveaway! 🙂
The Prize: A George Foreman Grill
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (November 14, 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 contest has ended. Check back next Saturday for another giveaway!
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.
A toaster fit for an RV!
Want to keep a toaster in your RV but don’t have the space for it? This slim, compact toaster is made for RVs – it hardly takes up any space! The slots for your toast are normal width, and can even reheat and defrost foods too! It’s easy to use, and the reviews are stellar! Learn more or order one for your RV here. Happy toasting!
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
Save your RV slideouts from damage with this amazing tool!
The RV Slideout Sweeper is one of those products for RVs that you knew you needed and wished someone would invent. Fortunately, someone did, and you can tell this was invented by an RVer. Read more about this product here, and why it may just save your RV’s slideouts from serious damage.
Motion-activated nightlight comes in handy in RV
What could be more convenient when you get up a few times during the night (as many older folks need to do) than a light that comes on when you throw that first leg out of bed? Learn more.
Featured video from yesteryear
Wow! Camping was pretty darn comfy in Great Britain in 1969, or so the announcer says in this newsreel.
By RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury
Book for newbie RVers a must-have!
If you are planning to buy your first RV or are just getting started with your first rig, this book by RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury should be a must-read. The ABCs of RVing answers important questions that newbie RVers don’t even know enough to ask! Read this, and you’ll save countless hours of research and avoid making costly rookie mistakes. It’s available in both a Kindle version and printed edition.
It may be time for SmartPlug upgrades
I’ve had dozens of emails over the last few months about shore power plug meltdown. If your RV’s electrical system is not 100% maintained you can have equipment meltdown. … [T]oday I’m going to focus on the end of the shore power cord that plugs into your RV. If you had any type of shore power connector failure this past season, now is the time to consider an upgrade. Not much stops a camping trip faster than an electrical system failure. Learn more and watch the short, informative video here.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
Water heater woes…
I’m an RV newbie with zero experience, but I’ve just noticed that my water heater takes a lot longer to heat up on electricity than when it’s set on propane. Is there something wrong with it, or is that just how it works? —Penelope
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RV Electricity group on Facebook.
RV Tire Safety
What does the pressure number on tires refer to?
Next Saturday, this column will begin appearing exclusively in the member edition of this newsletter.
A clarification about the pressure number on a tire might be of help. The pressure number molded on the sidewall of tires is NOT the “Maximum Allowable” pressure. It is the Cold pressure necessary to support the Maximum Load capacity for that tire. In reality, the pressure number molded on the tire sidewall is the Minimum needed to provide for the support of that load. Learn more.
RV Short Stops
Many cities still host holiday light celebrations, but …
Many communities across America are planning free holiday lights celebrations; however, this year events are a little different. Because of the COVID pandemic, responsible organizers are limiting celebrations to socially distanced holiday decorations or drive-through light displays. Here are some you can safely enjoy.
Don’t toss away good batteries!
Most RVers rely on battery-powered devices while on the road, whether flashlights, radios or cameras. But sometimes you just can’t tell how much life a battery has remaining so you toss it to “be sure.” This small, inexpensive tester will alert you in an instant to the condition of a battery, saving you money from needlessly tossing ones with plenty of remaining life! Works on AA, AAA, C, D, 9V and button-type batteries. Learn more or order.
RV Fire Safety
An emergency fire plan that can save your life – Part 3 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.
The more “automatic” your response is to a fire alarm in your coach, the better. To help make your response more automatic, establish a fire escape plan and have fire drills regularly. The first step to developing an effective fire plan is to make sure everyone is familiar with at least two escape routes – one in the front and one in the rear of the coach. As soon as they’re old enough, teach children to open hatches and emergency exits.
Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Reader raves about LiquidSpring customer service
Editor’s note: We received this letter, unsolicited, from RVtravel.com reader Alan Wolfe. We were so impressed with the service he received from LiquidSpring that we felt compelled to pass his letter along here. Exceptional service deserves recognition! Read Alan’s letter.
Museum of the Week
Hershey’s Chocolate Factory Tour
If you’ve ever attended the huge Hershey RV show in Hershey, PA, you’ve probably followed your nose into Hershey’s Chocolate World. It’s not a hard thing to do, considering they pump the scent of chocolate across their parking lots… To take a tour of the chocolate factory, you’ll enter through Hershey’s Chocolate World (which feels more like an amusement park, if anything) and hop onto a train-like ride that takes you through the factory. Oh, and of course, you get a free piece of chocolate at the end. The tour is free, so nobody is stopping you from taking the tour several times in a row for a few extra pieces of chocolate. Shhhh. Oh, and a personal note: We happen to know they make really (realllllly) good milkshakes… Learn more on the official website here.
‘Earthquake Putty’ a favorite of RVers, keeps stuff in place
Do you have items in your RV you like to keep in place — on a table, bedstand or counter? You need this. Collectors Hold Museum Putty is designed to keep items secure in earthquakes! Hey, a moving RV is a constant earthquake! To use this, pull off what you need, roll until soft, apply to the base of the object then lightly press it to the surface. Later, it comes off clean. RVers love it! Cheap, too! Learn more or order.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Baxter Gilmore (grey) and Winston Wilson (black) Boston Terriers love camping!” —The Westmorelands
If your furry pal wants to participate in Thanksgiving festivities perhaps he or she needs this.
TV dinners came about because of Thanksgiving. In 1953, Swanson ended up with an extra 260 tons of turkey after the holiday. A salesman suggested packaging it onto aluminum trays with side dishes like sweet potato and peas. In the next year, more than 10 million “TV dinners” were sold.
Joke of the Week
A burglar enters a home. All of a sudden a voice pipes up, “I can see you, and so can Jesus!” Startled, the burglar looks around. No one is there, so he gets back to business. Soon, the voice repeats, “I can see you, and so can Jesus!” The burglar jumps and takes a longer look around the room. Over in a corner, partially obscured by curtains, is a caged parrot, which pipes up again, “I can see you, and so can Jesus!” “So what?” asks the annoyed burglar. “You’re only a parrot!” To which the parrot replies, “Maybe, but Jesus is a Rottweiler!”
Leave with a song from the past
We don’t believe there have been many records of a song about shaving cream, but here’s one by Paul Wynn from 1946. Who dreams up songs like this?
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
RV Travel staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris. Senior writers: Nanci Dixon, Tony Barthel. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Roger Marble, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, James Raia, Barry and Monique Zander, J.M. Montigel, Clint Norrell, and Andrew Robinson. Social media and special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore, Linda Brady. 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 • Tom Hart + others who we will add later.
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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