Friday, February 3, 2023


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 977

Welcome to! Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 20th year of continuous publication, is made possible in large part by the voluntary subscription contributions from our readers.

Page Contents

This free edition of the 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).

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December 5, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition

Is your RV making you sick?Cover story

Are toxic chemicals in your RV making you sick?

By Tony Barthel
Could toxic chemicals in your RV be making you sick? In a recent discussion on RV Travel’s RV Horror Stories Facebook Group, a question was posed by member Toni Molloy to see if people had experienced health issues after buying a new RV. Quite a few had (at the time of writing this, there are 231 comments on the post).

One of the respondents, Jamie Fox, wrote, “Yes. The formaldehyde smell in my trailer is so bad that I have not been able to stay in it for very long. I bought it brand new, ordered it from the factory. Was told that the smell will dissipate. It never did.”

Lynnea Koehler chimed in and added, “I had constant headaches when we bought our first camper.” However, she indicated that they had since upgraded to a new travel trailer which offered none of the issues.

So what’s making RVers sick? Continue reading.

We are still looking for one or two good writers!
Must have a background in writing for a daily or weekly periodical and love deadlines. Good pay for a motivated person who respects quality journalism, who loves slinging words and sharing them with a big audience. Work part-time or full-time. Contact if you are interested.

Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter

• Drone hobbyist fined $182,000 by FAA for illegal flights
• Magazines’ readers rate best RVs and products
• 2021 RV shipments still climbing: Where will we stay?
• New COVID rules: California State Parks will close many campgrounds
• Video: Terrifying collision between snowplow and truck
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Latest RV recalls • Stolen RV report • Free and bargain camping locations • Reader survey • and much more …

Guys, imagine waking up Christmas morning next to your sweetheart wearing this. See what we mean.

Last week’s Tip of the Day in RV Daily Tips Newsletters

Try this! Labeling your supplies will save you lots of time
Prep meals at home for RV use
Should you grease up the hitch ball?
Extending the life of an RV battery
Should you buy a damaged RV and fix it up yourself?

2021 Forest River Cherokee 294BHToday’s RV review…

Today, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the 2021 Cherokee 294BH Bunkhouse Travel Trailer. He says, “The Cherokee 294BH is a large, two-bedroom travel trailer that doesn’t break the bank and has many useful features.” Read about it here.

Last week’s reviews
2021 Little Guy Max Travel Trailer2021 CrossRoads Zinger ZR259FL Travel Trailer •  Safari Condo Alto R1713 Travel Trailer2021 inTech RV Terra Oasis 2021 Riverstone Reserve 3850RK Fifth Wheel

For previous RV reviewsclick here.

Clintoons • By Clint Norrell

Planning a trip makes you happy! Tips to fight “COVID fatigue”

Fighting off “COVID fatigue?” You’re not alone. Lots of people are feeling COVID fatigue lately, and we don’t mean fatigue from being infected. It’s exhausting going to the store with masks, and sometimes gloves, on. … Having to schedule get-togethers 6+ feet apart, or learning how to download and use Zoom. Reading and watching the news obsessively… When will this all be over?! Here are some tips to fight “COVID fatigue.”

A positive spin on our Crowded Campgrounds feature

crowded campgroundsMore people than ever are taking up RVing. The result is campground crowding like never before. This week we have a reader with a positive spin on more campers (refreshing!), readers expressing concern about campground reservation policies and campers taking advantage of them, and several comments on why “size does matter” when it comes to being able to find a campsite. Read these comments and more here.

What would you do for an internet connection?

By Dave Helgeson (veteran boondocker)
After nearly two weeks of boondocking at various sites without a usable internet connection, the inbox of my email account was approaching 100 unread emails and dozens of unread newsletters. … Upon arriving at a new boondocking campsite, I was presented with several options on where to set up camp. What did Dave choose? And what would you choose if presented the same options? Find out, and add your thoughts, here.

Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles

Poll results: “Which trailers would you advise others not to buy?”
Why you can’t ever find a space at some RV parks
Video: Take a test ride in Tesla’s new Cybertruck
Are these the longest RVs in America?

Brain Teaser Puzzle

Search for the five letters that AREN’T there. Each letter appears just once, but five do not appear at all. Find the missing letters, then arrange them to spell out the name of an animal.


(Shhh. Don’t give it away. The answer is in tomorrow’s newsletter.)

Reader Poll

Do you live with chronic pain?

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:
What is your favorite way to eat eggs?
Vote and see how 3,700 other RVers responded.

Has your RV been recalled? You’d know if you were signed up for our RV Recall Notices Newsletter (well, it’s more of an email now…)! Once a month you’ll receive a short email listing RV recalls from the month before. Our November issue is going out today, Saturday, December 5th, at noon Pacific time. Sign up here.

Is this your RV?

If it’s yours and you can prove it to us (send a photo for comparison), tell us here by 9 p.m. Pacific Standard time today, Dec. 5, 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.

THIS PAST WEEK, TWO READERS RESPONDED and each claimed a $25 Amazon gift certificate. They were Blaise B. of Marinette, Wisconsin, and Cheri S. of Spokane, Washington.

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.

A cozy gift for your favorite RVer! 
These adorable trailer-themed slippers are just what your favorite RVer needs to get them through the winter months. They’re ultra-soft, warm, and comfortable and have nonslip soles so you won’t slip and slide across your RV’s floors. They come in two sizes S/M and L/XL so every foot will be happy! Check ’em out here.

Can’t get enough Check this out!

By Nanci Dixon
I have been an avid and loyal reader of for years and look forward every morning to reading the RV Travel weekend newsletters and the weekday Daily Tips Newsletters with my morning coffee. Now, writing for the site, I am chagrined to find out I could have been reading so much more this whole time! Find out why here.

Mailboxes along the road

Here’s our first installment of a semi-regular series about interesting mailboxes along the back roads of North America. We’ve all seen these often one-of-a-kind creations. We’ve laughed a little, marveled at their creativity, maybe even stopped to snap a photo. Well, now’s your opportunity to share those photos with tens of thousands of others, maybe even bring a little laughter into their lives — a good thing! Click here to see this week’s offering.

Video: $380,000 Class B motorhome? You read that right!

Mike and Jennifer Wendland of recently visited Advanced RV in Willoughby, Ohio, for a walk-through tour of the company’s brand-new B Box, a very expensive Class B RV built as a box to be bolted on the Mercedes Benz Sprinter cutaway chassis. The cost? How about $380,000? … “You have to see it to believe it,” the Wendlands said. Well, you’re in luck. You can see it here.

Penetrating oil can save the day!
It can be a bad day on the road if you break down and need to loosen a screw or bolt and it won’t budge. Here’s help: This rust eater, deep penetrating oil will penetrate rust, scale and corrosion to free parts and assemblies instantly. It will free up rusted machine screws, bolts, nuts, clamps for mufflers and tail pipes, locks and more. You need this! Learn more.

Snow bike kit expands e-bike function – Fun and practical!

With electric bicycles becoming ever more popular with RVers, it was only a matter of time before someone sat around in winter, bored, and one-upped that idea. Enter ENVO, a company that already makes kits to transform your regular bicycle into an electric one. Now they’ve developed a kit to go further and turn it into a snow bike. (Maybe take it with you in your ice house RV, below.) Continue reading.

Tour an ice house RV. Camp on frozen lakes, catch fish!

You may have seen an ice fishing RV in a campground and wondered what the heck it was. They’re low riders, their floors hugging the ground. There’s a reason for that. These specialized travel trailers, manufactured in Minnesota, are made to be towed onto a frozen lake where they will be used by anglers, who can fish while being sheltered from the elements in comfort. … After watching this video, you may wonder why traditional RVs are not available in such cozy, rustic designs. They’re gorgeous! Read more and watch the video.

Save even more on a SoftStartRV!
Check out this special holiday savings offer on the incredible new device (a game changer) 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 BIG NOW! Learn more.

Popular articles from last week

RVelectricity – Do I need a surge protector on an inverter generator?
Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis to star in new TV show.
List of RV Reviews (too many popular posts to list individually).
Street-dwelling RVers now get free honey wagon service.
Video: 2021 Airstream Interstate GT Feature Review – Part 1.
Winnebago recalls some trailers built with wrong axle.
Massive truck, SUV Takata airbag recall stuns General Motors.
Campground Crowding: A few tips and ideas to avoid crowded areas.
Visit a ghost town with “wild” animals to feed.
Pending Rivian EV pickup truck reaches reservation limit.
Meet your fellow readers, November 28, 2020.
10 harsh RV realities for beginners.

🙂 Saturday Giveaway! 🙂

The Prize: Camco LED Retro Travel Trailer Party Lights

How to win

We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (December 5, 2020) by 7:00 p.m. Pacific time. Remember, you can only enter once and after we notify you by email via that you won, you have 24 hours to respond or we’ll give the prize to someone else.

Click here to enter and see last week’s winner!


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

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.

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.

RV Clubs
Check out our Directory of RV Clubs and Organizations.

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.

Now for a limited time SAVE 20%
Stay FREE at more than 1,400 wineries and farms
Stay overnight for free at more than 1,400 wineries, farms, breweries, etc.! Harvest Hosts is an alternative to traditional campgrounds, where members can taste great wines and micro-brews, eat fresh produce and stay in peaceful settings. Now though Dec. 31, save 20% on a membership by using code HHFRIENDS20 at checkoutLearn more

RV Gadgets and Gizmos

A way to mount holiday decorations that doesn’t suck…or does it?

As the holidays approach, RVers want to decorate as much as everybody else but putting nails in the side of an RV is usually a bad idea. I’ve found that Command strips do work sometimes, but not always. What about a vacuum mount? Now there’s a thought… Continue reading

Featured video

RVing in the USA in 1937. My, how things have changed!

Camping with a recreational vehicle has come a long way since 1937, when about one million people traveled in RVs — which in those days meant a travel trailer. This short movie newsreel from Chevrolet shows what it was like to camp way back then. Does $1 a week for an RV park sound good?

RV Electricity

RVillage acquired by Togo Group: Curtis Coleman Interview

From Mike Sokol

Dear Readers,
Togo Group, the Cincinnati- and Chicago-headquartered travel technology company, has acquired RVillage, the online RV community sometimes referred to as the “Facebook for RVers.” With the acquisition, Togo Group, owned in large part by Thor Industries Inc., now includes the brands Togo RV, Roadtrippers and RVillage…. Read Mike’s interview with Curtis Coleman, the founder of RVillage, here.

Building an RV Park

Septic update and a dirty cabin!

By Machelle James
As I write this, I am still recovering from a week-long food coma. We had family come into town last week for two very special reasons. Not only was it Thanksgiving, it was also AJ’s 50th Birthday – on Thanksgiving! … Read about the dirty cabin they rented for their get-together, the latest on the septic tank, the electrical expense(!), and the very slow SBA loan process here.

The RV Kitchen

Seafood Popeye Pie

Eat more seafood. This is a lifesaver recipe for folks who fish because it can be made when you have a plentiful catch but also bulked up with any canned seafood, such as tuna or salmon, when the day’s catch has been skimpy. The crusty biscuit top and a layer of healthy spinach make it a whole meal. Get the recipe. [Editor: This would be a great recipe to use up some of the fish you catch from your ice house RV, above!]

Don’t buy a portable generator
Use your car’s engine instead. Save money. Save hassle. Learn more at

The Digital RVer

This feature will return January 2, 2021. The Geeks on Tour are taking a much-deserved break from technology. (Gasp!)

Reader letters

Dear Chuck,
When are you coming to Death Valley? Or, have you already been here? My wife and I are full-timers, currently Camp-Hosts at Furnace Creek Campground. If you’re still going to be visiting, please stop by and say “Hi!” and enjoy some liquid refreshment. —Lyle Latvila

Dear Lyle,
Oh, would I ever love to meet up with you! The Furnace Creek Campground is one of my favorite campgrounds in one of my favorite places on Earth, Death Valley. Alas, with all the hassles over COVID, Gail and I will stay put here in the Seattle area this winter season. Our original intent was to visit Death Valley in January. Hopefully, next year!

Firearms laws guide is a must-have for firearm owners!
The Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States is something you must reference if you own a firearm. The book is always a best-seller among RVers, many of whom carry a firearm when they travel. The annual guidebook helps ensure they stay out of trouble when crossing state lines, where the laws may be different. Learn more in this article or buy a copy here.

Readers’ Pet of the Day

“This is our senior cat, T-Rex. His favorite spot in our Phoenix Cruiser is on the dash in front of the passenger. He sleeps on one side, and after the sun warms it, he flips over to warm the other side. He is an 18-year-old rescue and travels fairly well.” —Tom Phipps

Pets featured in this past week’s RV Daily Tips:
• Monday: Patches • Tuesday: Anakin • Wednesday: Chewie • Thursday: Porterhouse or “Porter” • Friday: Archer & Eli

The dogs have spoken (er, barked)! These are the most popular dog names of 2020:

1. Max 2. Charlie 3. Cooper 4. Buddy 5. Milo 6. Bear 7. Rocky 8. Duke 9. Tucker 10. Jack
1. Bella 2. Luna 3. Lucy 4. Daisy 5. Lola 6. Sadie 7. Molly 8. Bailey 9. Stella 10. Maggie

Trivia Quiz

Alexander Graham Bell is best known for inventing the telephone. But he accomplished other things. For example, he taught a dog to do what?
1: Talk • 2: Pedal a tricycle • 3: Smell cancer cells • 4: Respond to “come here” in 23 languages. The answer is here.

Laugh of the Week

Readers: This is as close as we’ll get to an X-rated photo

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!

So said Clark Gable in “Gone with the Wind.” Apparently it’s how 97% of our readers feel about They don’t value the time, money and energy our staff invests to produce this and 649 other RV newsletters a year (yes, we product THAT many!). A voluntary subscription as modest as $12 a year comes out to less than 2 cents for each issue we publish! And when you become a subscriber, you receive a special ad-free version of this newsletter seven hours earlier than this free edition. Please consider that we bust our behinds every day to bring you valuable information about RVing that you will not find elsewhere. Other RV websites put advertisers first. We put our readers first! Learn more or donate.

Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?

Read it here | Back issues

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. 

REGIONAL AND LOCAL ADVERTISING: We can now run banners on in your town or in a designated area near you, for example to readers within 100, 200, etc., miles of your business. For information contact .

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 or this newsletter. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers.

Need help? Contact us.

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

This newsletter is copyright 2020 by

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Facebook Groups you might like
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Winterizing your RV this season? Amazon has a wide choice of RV antifreeze.


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Uncle Swags
2 years ago

The Clintoon reminded me of my inaugural RV trip to pick up my rig and drive back home. I decided to get some nap time at an Interstate rest area and parked in the truck area. When my CO2 alarm went off at 3am I thought the world was ending or that was the signal that I had no idea what I just bought. All I remembered from my 2 hour delivery discussion was that Digiornio pizzas were pretty good. I quickly came back to my new reality and found the source of the noise and figured I had been sucking in truck exhaust but I learned my second RV lesson and knew that one important safety feature worked. I haven’t found this addition to your newsletter very entertaining but now it seems to have crossed into the realm of bad ideas. Something to consider as we were all newbies once.

2 years ago

Does anyone have information regarding the availability of COVID vaccine (when distributed) for full timers? Will you have to receive one in your domicile or will we able to get one wherever we are?

2 years ago

When I look at the cartoon of the semis and a car with travel trailer that was us. We did that outside of Des Moine. My mother was so thrilled to stay the nite at a rest stop in an RV because it was something she never did before. She passed away this year but that incident happened one year ago last July. Thanks for the memory. I need to save that cartoon.

2 years ago

I recall reading somewhere in this newsletter that the folks that prefer not to subscribe will be getting a lite version of it. Be that as it may the continued treatment of readers in that fashion may result in reduced readership altogether in the future as they see less and less useful information from this newsletter. I, myself, do not subscribe to many things as a rule and along with treatment like that and the blowback from the Nanci Dixon article I’m wondering how long it will be before the free edition is eliminated altogether, either due to reduced content, lack of interest by readers, or the management’s elimination of readers that don’t agree with the political, yes – it is political, nature of some of the editorial pieces/articles. Because, you know, when you print things that are controversial you get controversy. So if you can’t take the heat perhaps you should stay out of the kitchen.
For myself, I now bypass the editorial and some articles because I have seen how well…

2 years ago

I guess you have to be a paying sub to win the rv picture Amazon gift.

RV Staff
2 years ago
Reply to  Drew

Where do you get that idea, Drew? This contest is open to anyone/everyone. When folks send in a picture of their RV, we don’t go through the members/paid subscribers list and sort out the ones who aren’t members. 😯 In fact, when someone other than the RV owner (one of our writers, for example) sends in a picture of an RV, we have no idea who it belongs to unless/until we hear from the RV owner with a picture proving it’s theirs. When we suggest you sign up for an email alert for our newsletters, you don’t need to donate anything to get on our mailing list. In fact, 97% of our readers don’t donate, but they can enter the contest. Take care. 🙂 —Diane at

2 years ago
Reply to  RV Staff

So if I can’t get my edition until 9am or after because of Nanci Dixon’s fallout from her editorials, I’ll just ignore that section. According to Chuck Woodbury- it’s his newsletter so he’ll do what he wants. You’re drinking the koolaid.

2 years ago
Reply to  Drew

Come on Drew, Lighten up! RVtravel keep up the GOOD work! Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to all. Bless the USA…

RV Staff
2 years ago
Reply to  Drew

What does any of that have to do with the “Is this your RV” contest, Drew? The contest runs until 9:00 p.m., Pacific time. I’m not following you here. Sorry. —Diane at

2 years ago
Reply to  RV Staff

7:00 p.m. Pacific

RV Staff
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom

Where do you see that, Tom? In the paragraph in the newsletter and on the contest page, I’m seeing 9:00 p.m. Pacific Standard time. I’m confused. —Diane at

tim palmer
2 years ago
Reply to  RV Staff

Hijack here:
Since this is on the subject of “IsThis Your RV”.
I posted on I think last weeks newsletter as I wasn’t able to read it until today.
How can you post a photo of somebody’s RV and then you mention how two or three people from the previous week claimed the prize? For one RV??

Chuck Woodbury
2 years ago
Reply to  tim palmer

Tim Palmer — We post a reader RV photo every day of the week, in our weekend newsletters and in our Monday through Friday RV Daily Tips newsletter. So that’s seven RVs a week. So the math is pretty simple about how two or three people can win by identifying their RV in one of those issues.

RV Staff
2 years ago
Reply to  tim palmer

Yep, what Chuck said. So we could technically have 7 winners each week. 🙂 —Diane at

tim palmer
2 years ago
Reply to  RV Staff

OK that explains it. I wondered when it showed a photo of an RV and then it said three winners. haha.

RV Staff
2 years ago
Reply to  tim palmer

Hi,Tim. So there’s a new photo and new contest every day. Whoever owns the RV has to respond by 9 p.m. Pacific time that night. If you haven’t sent in a picture of your RV yet, better get to it. A $25 certificate from Amazon would be a nice Christmas present. Take care. 🙂 —Diane at

2 years ago

Maybe it’s just me, but I do not agree with people letting the animals lay on the dashboard of their RV’s or tow vehicles. A sudden stop or swerve could case the animal to be thrown around the vehicle, not to mention what would happen in a crash.
I also see many people driving with their pets on their laps that can distract the driver and cause an accident.
We LOVE our dog and he is always restrained when traveling. There are safe restraints that attach to the seatbelts just for this purpose.