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January 2, 2021
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 the member edition, ready for reading first thing with their morning coffee (or other beverage).
With Chuck Woodbury
Ihave always loved postcards. Wherever I travel, I seek out postcard racks. I am especially fond of the those about the American West – the ones you find at trading posts and other tourist traps along the two-lane highways and other back roads.
People don’t send many postcards anymore. We share photos from our smartphones on Facebook or Instagram, or email them as attachments to friends and families. We can thus share what we experienced nearly instantly with friends and relatives no matter where they are in the world. Who needs to send a postcard?
But if you turn back the clock a century, in the days before TV, colorful magazines and affordable cameras, it was hard to see what other places looked like. If a person was lucky enough to travel, it was virtually impossible after returning home to share images of where he or she had visited. One way, though, was through postcards, sometimes printed in black and white but often colorized to better illustrate a scene. These postcards showed a world that most people could not see on their own.
I still send postcards, but not nearly as many as even ten years ago. But I cannot pass a roadside tourist trap or small town store without perusing its postcard racks.
A good place to find old postcards is in antique stores, especially those in small rural towns. I probably own about 500 postcards, many of them from antique stores.
I most often opt for tacky postcards – those with Jackalopes leaping over sagebrush, or ones like the giant “fur-bearing trout.” The postcard above is one that I sent my daughter over and over again when I traveled the West in my motorhome as a roving journalist. It was a joke in our family. Emily would look forward to “Dad’s” silly postcard of the buzzards dining on the dead man. She knew the photo was staged, but it still amused her to get those cards, and it amused me to send them. Awhile ago I tried to find the postcard again at a half dozen tourist shops in Arizona, but no luck.
I have an incredible collection of tacky postcards. Someday I will display them in my personal museum, which will be coming along as soon as I find an appropriate building.
P.S. Happy New Year! Thank goodness 2020 is now behind us! Let’s hope that in 2021 our lives can return to pre-COVID normal, or at least close to it! And … a quote from newspaper columnist Bill Vaughn: “Youth is when you are allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to.”
IN MY ROADSIDE JOURNAL:
The amazing story of the Erector Set, American Flyer trains and more
Older readers of RVtravel.com, especially male readers, will likely remember with great fondness one of the most popular toys of their childhood, the Erector Set. The company also made chemistry sets, the Gilbert Microscope and American Flyer trains. The company’s story is fascinating, but it met a sad ending. Read more and watch a video.
Beginning RVer newsletter on hold for now
We’ve put our Monday through Friday newsletter “Beginner’s Guide to RVing” on temporary hold after 127 issues. “By now you should have learned a significant amount about RVing and you should feel good about getting started,” wrote editor Emily Woodbury in the final 2020 edition. “We will resume this newsletter again beginning in six months.” She advised readers to subscribe to the RV Daily Tips Newsletter, which contains helpful information for RVers from novices to veterans.
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• Catalytic converter thefts on the rise. The scary truth
• Park Service needs help with Yosemite cold case
• Canada is discouraging snowbirds from heading south
• Reality TV star accused of trashing RV rental
• Carjackings are way up due to – coronavirus?
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Latest RV recalls • Free and bargain camping locations • Stolen RV Report • Reader survey • and much more
Last week’s Tip of the Day in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• Should you buy that “vintage” RV?
• Nifty do-it-yourself bike rack saves money
• Dehumidifier “mod” takes care of its own drain water
• Stinky sewer dump? Try this to seal the smell away!
• Dirty RV? Forget cleaning supplies – all you need is this popular kitchen item
Today, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews his favorite RV features of 2020. What did he like, and not like, about new RVs in 2020? He breaks it down for you. Click here to find out.
Yesterday, Tony reviewed his favorite RVs of 2020. Don’t miss it.
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
Service attendant overfills propane tank, RV almost goes up in flames
By Randall Brink
“Many years ago, I fueled my Class C motorhome at a service station and convenience store that also sold LPG aka “propane.” I liked the idea of being able to fill both the gasoline and LPG/propane tanks at one stop. The attendant seemed a little apprehensive at the prospect of filling the propane tank.” Read more about Randall’s very close call, plus learn from his extensive research about the safest way to handle LPG here.
Thor CEO tells about personal RV dumping “horror story”
The CEO of Thor Industries, Bob Martin, is a real-life RVer, a rarity among his peers. He’s even had some of the same experiences as most other RVers, including a tale about a dumping experience that went wrong. You’ll get a kick of this (or maybe it will remind you of a similar experience).
What do mice and birdseed have in common? Our mice battle continues…
By Nanci Dixon
“Those who have been reading my battles with mice know that just when I think I have won, the little buggers fool me and return to haunt the cabinets and kitchen. We had already sealed the holes around wires with foam and steel wool.” What else has Nanci tried and did anything work? Why is she wishing for more rattlesnakes? Find out here.
Please help us be even more valuable to you in 2021
RVtravel.com, and the 500 newsletters about RVing we publish every year, would not be possible without the financial support of our voluntary contributors. Their support helps us avoid relying on advertising, and keep our resource-rich work unbiased and free for all RVers to enjoy. Every contribution makes a difference. A donation of $20 a year comes out to 4 cents for each issue we publish. That’s all! And when you contribute, you receive a special member-only ad-free version of this newsletter as one way for us to say thank you. Learn more or donate.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
?????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
You will love this! Never, in your wildest imagination, would you ever expect to find a book on this subject. What a hoot!
Do you have a generator with you on your RV travels?
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 dogs have you owned in your adult life? See how more than 2,200 other RVers responded.
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, Jan. 2, 2021. 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 people claimed their $25 gift card: Frank S. of Lincolnton, NC, and Ken W. of Sequim, WA.
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.
For peace of mind, use a backflow preventer
Backflow happens when a fresh water system gets “cross-connected” with a source of bad water or other contaminants. You don’t want that! Prevent this from happening by using a backflow preventer. Here’s an affordable one. Use it and rest easier. (You can read more about backflow prevention here.)
Is it OK to drive with one flat dually tire? Nope. Here’s why
By Gail Marsh
“You’re driving down the road, happy to be headed to your campground destination, when suddenly your tire pressure gauge indicates a problem. Now what? That was the question we recently faced. We’d been driving for hours in seemingly endless traffic and were tired and hungry. Adding to our frustration was the fact that we were in the middle of a 25-mile construction zone. We couldn’t pull over because there wasn’t a shoulder!” What did Gail do, and what saved the day? Find out here, then please participate in our poll and let us know if you’ve dealt with a similar close call.
More people than ever are taking up RVing. The result is campground crowding like never before. In this weekly blog, RV Travel readers discuss their experiences. Last week we asked what people thought of reservation systems and asked for your suggestions. People responded with a lot of feeling and a few suggestions. Read them here, and feel free to add your thoughts to the discussion.
COVID-free towns to visit this summer – No pandemic worries!
As we say goodbye to 2020 and look ahead to 2021, we are all wishing the pandemic would be a distant memory seen through our rearview mirror. Unfortunately, even with the vaccine, it looks like the end of the pandemic will be slow to arrive. … Wouldn’t it be nice if you could escape to a town where there is no COVID virus and walk freely down the streets, entering buildings at will without wearing a mask? Find out where there are thousands of such places here.
Stinky sewer dump? This will do the trick!
If a sewer hose doesn’t fit tightly, sewer gases will escape and make the odor when dumping almost unbearable. It’s embarrassing and disgusting! This sewer adapter hose seal plugs the hole. No more stink! Read more about it here or order one here.
What you need to know about RV electrical cords
There are times when our RV’s built-in electrical cords will not stretch far enough to reach a power pedestal or other power source. And so we need an extension cord. But not just any extension cord will do…. In this short video, Mark Polk of RV Education 101 covers the basics of extension cords…. If you do not fully understand RV extension cords, we highly recommend you watch this video.
Test Drive Review: What we like, and don’t like, about these cars to flat tow
By Nanci Dixon
If you’ve been following along with me the past couple of weeks, you’ll know I am still checking out new vehicles to flat tow behind our motorhome. There are some great deals, or at least advertised as great deals, at the end of the year. I had reviewed the specs on the Chevy Trailblazer and the Kia Soul in a past post but hadn’t driven them. I decided to take a look at what is available and instead of just researching online, don mask and gloves and take them for a test drive. Continue reading.
Don’t forget to service your RV range
The RV range is a pretty simple device, and usually works when lighted. However, without a little maintenance it can fail, which will leave you by the creek without any supper! As with the range at home, a clean range is a happy range. Here are the steps to achieve a happy range.
Popular articles from last week
• Nashville RV explosion: What we know so far
• Quartzsite in a Pandemic: Big crowds “not happening”
• Directory of RV Reviews (too many popular posts to list individually).
• What kind of TP in your RV?
• RVelectricity – Are there 150-amp pedestals?
• Tiffin sold out – Will reliability crash under Thor ownership?
• Dirty RV? Forget cleaning supplies – all you need is this kitchen item
• Half-ton trucks: What to know before you tow
• Campground Crowding: ReserveAmerica – Love it or hate it?
• THOR Industries buys Tiffin Motorhomes for $300 million
• Michigan’s latest craze? Mobile bowling in a semi-truck
• Jeep Reviews: Which is best to flat tow?
• RVelectricity – Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.): Drop-in Lithium battery update
The Prize: RC airplane
You will have so much fun flying this remote control airplane!
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (January 2, 2021) by 7:00 p.m. Pacific Standard 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.
Join Passport America and get 50% off at 1,600 RV parks.
• Children, they adore me for they find me jolly, but I do not see them when the halls are decked with holly.
• My job often leaves me frozen.
• I am a man who all should know, but I do not do business in times of sleet or ice or snow.
• I travel much on business, but no reindeer haul me around; I do all my traveling firmly on the ground.
• I love the time of Christmas, but that’s not my vocational season,
• And I assure you that is because of a sound economic reason.
Who am I?
(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday newsletter.)
Stolen RVs — Help us recover these stolen RVs. The more eyes we have searching for them, the better chance of getting them back to their rightful owners, and maybe putting the crooks who stole them in the slammer! See the stolen RVs.
NEW: Check out all our favorite websites of the day! We compiled a list of (almost) all the websites we’ve ever posted, and we’ll continue to update it.
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.
The cutest salt and pepper shakers!
You can’t deny how cute this is – it would be perfect on any RV dinette! This vintage gas station filling pump salt and paper set is so unique! This would make a great gift for anyone who loves classic cars or Route 66! We want one! Check it out here.
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
I broke into my own RV in minutes! Stop burglars with this easy fix
“Despite seeming impossible, we lost all the keys to our RV. All of them. Including my dealership master key that I kept juuuuust in case. In other words, there was no getting into our RV. So now we were locked out of the trailer and locked out of the baggage compartments. And even locked out of the outdoor shower, for that matter. Now what?” Read how Tony breaks into his RV in under 15 minutes (yup, it’s that easy) and learn how you can protect your RV with this handy gadget. Read about it here.
RV Tire Safety
“I need bigger wheels for my trailer”
By Roger Marble
I have seen a few posts where someone says, “I need bigger tires for my trailer,” but I’m not sure if they are asking the right question. … Too often the person posting the question/statement has not provided the important information on the current tires so anyone (including me) trying to help has to guess at some facts. Read more.
Why GM cancelled the 1973-1978 GMC Motorhome
GM shocked the world for the 1973 model year with the debut of the beautiful GMC Motorhome. The 1973-1978 GMC Motorhome was an engineering wonder that was decades ahead in styling and engineering to its closest completion. The motorhome revolutionized the large RV market, but why did GM cancel it? Watch this video for the answer.
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.
How to diagnose a hot-skin voltage
A few days ago a message showed up on my Facebook RVelectricity Group about getting shocked while touching the RV and standing on the wet ground. Within minutes there were a number of incorrect (and potentially dangerous) suggestions as to what might be causing it and how to fix it. … I immediately shut down all comments and asked the poster to contact me directly. Continue reading Mike’s important information.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
Why surge protectors and GFCI outlets don’t mix
I just need to charge the batteries and run the refrigerator when my RV is parked next to my house, but when I plug it into the GFCI outlet in the garage it keeps tripping. I have surge protectors in the RV, so that should protect it, right? How can that be happening when I’m using hardly any power at all? —John Q Public
Read Mike’s explanation here.
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RV Electricity group on Facebook.
Building an RV Park
Saying Goodbye to 2020 – and a surprise interview!
Machelle updates us on their quiet Christmas; the kindness and generosity of their friends, especially Alan and Pam; Machelle chewing out the owner of their general contractor company (Yikes!); and an exciting, unexpected interview! All that and more here.
The RV Kitchen
Creamy Cauli-Tater Soup
Warm up winter with a hot soup. Cauliflower gives this soup a creamy texture without high-fat dairy cream. It can be made as chunky as you like, or puree it to satin smoothness with a wand blender. Just make it hot and flavorful and garnish it to a fare-thee-well for a pretty presentation on any table indoors or out. Get the recipe.
BEST SELLING COOKBOOK
Fix it In Foil! Tasty recipes. Easy cleanup!
Easy prep, great taste, good nutrition, quick cleanup! “Fix It In Foil” includes 51 fantastic recipes to make in foil — plus instructions for cooking in an oven, on an outdoor grill, or on a campfire. Fix it in foil and forget about scrubbing pots and pans. And, with plenty of substitution suggestions, enjoy a whole new list of recipe possibilities! Great for RVing! Learn more or order.
The Digital RVer
View your campground reservations on your map
Wouldn’t it be nice if your campground reservations showed up on your map? That’s what Google thought anyway. So now, when you have reservation information in your email, or on your calendar, that information will show up on your Google Map! Read more.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Need a nap after a long day of travel.” —Gloria Sluder
BE WARNED: FDA has recalled certain varieties of Sportmix pet food due to toxic levels of aflatoxin. So far, 28 dogs have died due to the toxic mold, and more have been sickened. For more information, click here.
Make an omelette in seconds!
Tired of making eggs and dealing with the mess, cleanup, and timely preparation? This microwaveable omelette maker saves the day! This handy gadget makes omelettes in just three easy steps: beat eggs and milk, add ingredients, microwave and eat! It promotes healthy eating by cutting out butter, oil and grease. Buy this breakfast-saver here.
Joke of the Week
Few people will argue that this is the all-time funniest standup comedy routine ever. No matter how many times you have seen Abbott and Costello perform Who’s On First, you will laugh all over again. Enjoy!
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.
REGIONAL AND LOCAL ADVERTISING: We can now run banners on RVtravel.com in your town or in a designated area near you, for example to readers within 100, 200, etc., miles of your business. For information contact email@example.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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