Welcome to RVtravel.com, the most-read consumer website about RVing in North America with 139,000 registered subscribers. We support a free press and believe that it is critical to a democracy. At RVtravel.com, you will learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 20th year of continuous publication, is increasingly made possible by the voluntary subscription contributions of our readers.
January 23, 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 a permanent subscription to the member edition, ready for reading first thing with their morning coffee (or other beverage).
With Chuck Woodbury
Ireceived my first COVID vaccination on Monday and feel great relief. Although it will be many months before most Americans are vaccinated, the process has begun. Several of my close friends have received their first shots. After a year of nervously anticipating when (or if) a vaccine would be available, it seems a miracle to me that it came so fast.
Many of us have been stuck at home for the past year, and I don’t know about you, but it has taken an emotional toll on me. Combined with an incredibly hostile political climate since the election, I am worn out. And I’m bored outta my ever-lovin’ mind. This is the first winter in six that Gail and I have not gone south with our motorhome — most often to Arizona. We were in Quartzsite a year ago for the giant RV show, and I don’t recall anyone talking much about the coronavirus.
But in the following few weeks, concern mounted. Gail and I had originally planned to return to our home near Seattle in April. But the first deadly outbreak in the USA happened at a Kirkland nursing home about eight miles from where we live. We decided then it would be best to stay away, so we holed up in a Quartzsite RV park for a few months. When the daytime temps started hitting 90, we moved up to the old mining town of Kingman, along old Route 66, at 3,400 feet. We stayed there until June before heading home.
Once home, we were able to get away locally for a few weeks during the summer, and that was really nice. But my daughter, Emily, and Gail’s grandchildren could not join us for an overnight visit, which was frustrating.
While we were in Arizona, one of my neighbors and best friends, Gary Bunzer, died of COVID. Gary was known in the RV industry as the RV Doctor. Coming home without meeting up with my good buddy at his “office” (an Edmonds coffee shop) was no longer possible. Many of you heard Gary speak through the years at RV shows and rallies. He was truly one of the “great guys” of the RVing world. I knew him for 20 years, and never heard him utter a bad word about anybody!
In Arizona, we were able to socialize with others, mostly our neighbors in the RV park, but always at a distance. There was no shaking of hands, no hugging, and always an underlying fear we could get the virus. We stopped dining out, which is one of my favorite activities “on the road.” I have not been to an indoor restaurant since. I hope that will change by summer!
So now, Gail and I will wait until mid-February for our second and final vaccination shot. We should have immunity within 30 days. Life will not be normal, but I suspect it will be normal enough for us to head out with our motorhome to points afar. I am looking forward to a day in about seven weeks when I can give my daughter a big ol’ “Dad hug” for the first time in more than a year.
I hope all is going well with you. Please keep wearing your mask. And do not be afraid to get the shot. It is not, as the conspiracy theorists say, the government’s attempt to inject us with a mind-altering drug. Who could ever believe such a thing? No, what that shot is, among other things, is a ticket to our freedom!
RV Reviews: Have you noticed? For months now we have reviewed a new model RV every day of the week – on the weekends in our RV Travel weekend newsletters, and every Monday through Friday in our RV Daily Tips Newsletters. Click here to read the dozens of reviews.
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• Florida to begin requiring “proof of residency” for vaccinations
• Ford to recall 3 million vehicles due to airbag danger
• Tony Barthel looks at the Scamp Travel Trailer
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Latest RV recalls • Free and bargain camping locations • Reader survey • and much more …
We depend on you to help us write about what matters!
RVtravel.com, and the hundreds of 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 – which comes with “strings” – and keeps 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 week’s Tip of the Day in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• Appreciate – but don’t mess with – the desert coyote
• Quick way to verify a campsite length
• Create a cozy “entryway” by transforming your RV’s dash
• Safety tips for driving directly into the sun
• Have a paint nick or chip on your RV? Here’s an easy trick
Today, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the new 2021 Rockwood 2883WS Fifth Wheel. He writes, “I would never say that Rockwood or any RV company is perfect…” – but he does find this new fifth wheel pretty darn close. Read more here.
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
Stranded on the side of the road, should you trust a stranger’s help?
By Nanci Dixon
One of our first RV trips in our renovated, newly rebuilt, Class C RV was to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Long story short, the motorhome quit on a long, desolate, two-lane highway literally in the middle of nowhere. No cars, no towns, pre-cell phone… we were stuck. After a long while, a pickup truck whizzed by before we could hop out to stop it. Thankfully, he turned around to offer his help. My husband explained which part had burned up and, amazingly, the man had just picked up that part at the junkyard. Too good to be true? I wondered… Read this incredible story.
Rust: How to prevent it from damaging your RV
Left unchecked, rust can quickly ruin more than just your RV’s look. Rust has the potential to make your rig unsafe as well. Gail Marsh lists the causes of rust and its potential damage, how to prevent it, and how to get rid of it, here.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• Why Walmart is banning RV overnight stays at more stores
• Porsche meets Newell: 2020 models out – Bring your checkbook
• RVer takes pride in cheating campground reservation system
• Airstream’s far-out (wacky?) ideas of the future
How long is your RV?
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:
Do you have a hobby? Can you guess the most popular hobby? Find out here and see how more than 3,000 other RVers answered.
Dump your holding tanks from inside your RV
What modification have you made to your RV that has had the most positive impact on your RV lifestyle? For RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury it’s a device that allows him to dump his RV’s holding tanks without ever stepping outside his RV. All he needs to do is flip a switch in his bathroom. That’s it. Read about how this works for him and could for you, too! Learn more.
More people than ever are taking up RVing. In this weekly blog, RV Travel readers discuss their experiences. Last weekend’s poll asked, “How do you feel about the influx of new RVers” – and Wow – there are a lot of comments! … A common thread among readers whether they were happy or not about new RVers was the overwhelming complaints about lack of campground etiquette. Some new RVers just don’t seem to get it. But there are lots of good comments this week, too. Read them here.
Are you a hotdogger? Oscar Mayer needs you!
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Frankly speaking, in a dog-eat-dog world, we need more wieners. Are you a hotdogger? If you are, you’ll feel right at home with this job offer: Work for a year driving an iconic Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Learn all about this job in this article written as only Russ De Maris can.
This little device rids RVs of smells – Say goodbye to odor!
By Kate Doherty
Like most of us who enjoy the open road, we give little thought to the quality of the air we breathe inside our traveling homes. Every geographic area we pass through gifts us with pollen, dust, allergens and pollutants that wreak havoc with our sinuses. Don’t forget mold and mildew as they are culprits as well, especially if your RV has been dormant. I’m not fond of sneezing and I also don’t like lingering cooking odor, so I had been researching a solution to alleviate my morning tissue ritual. Hence, a means to cleaner air, especially since the unforeseen viral confluence has kept many of us confined. Continue reading.
Run your RV air conditioner with only a small portable generator. Yes, it’s true!
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
With Tony Barthel
Nite Ize Gear Ties – essential for your RV toolbox
Your RV’s toolbox should have some string, some duct tape, a set of bit drivers, a hammer and some WD-40. Let me suggest one more thing you should always have – a set of Nite Ize Gear Ties. The Nite Ize Gear Ties are reusable rubber twist ties that have a soft, grippy rubber coating and some sort of metal inside that allows you to bend and flex them over and over into whatever shape you need. Continue reading.
Boondocking? This power system makes things easy
I have a sticks and bricks home, but I also spend a lot of time on the road. As most homeowners, I have an arsenal of yard management tools like a mower, blower, chain saw, cultivator, weed whacker and more. However, I might be unusual in that mine are all electric and happen to be the Ego brand. What does this have to do with RVing? Find out here and learn about this great boondocking gadget.
Wow! Prevent costly mistakes with these RVminders
Check out these RVminders and easily prevent costly mistakes! These bands wrap around your steering wheel and remind you to check things before you drive away. Never leave the steps or ladder down again. Antenna or satellite down? Slide locks in place? Doors, vents and windows closed? Compartment locks locked? Hookups disconnected? These are so easy to use they should be in every RV! Check ’em out.
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. 23, 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.
Last week three readers claimed their $25 gift card: Dale D. of Omro, Wisconsin, Kimberly R. of Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania, and Larry B. of Oswego, New York.
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.
Popular articles from last week
• Check out the funky Tropiclassic – the Ford Super Duty/sedan mashup
• Con game that targets RVers: A sadder but wiser couple
• Directory of RV Reviews (too many popular posts to list individually).
• Building an RV park: We had a bombshell dropped on us!
• Here’s why diesel pusher radiators overheat… Don’t let this happen!
• Should RV shows go on during lingering pandemic?
• Be careful where you put your satellite dish or this can happen
• RV Tire Safety: What is so “special” about RV trailer tires, anyway?
• The most important word in your RV’s insurance policy… Is it wrong?
• RVelectricity – Potential problems of upgrading to a Lithium battery
• Innovative system debuts for winter RV living
• Good News: Things to smile about this week, January 17, 2021
• Campground Crowding: If you have to cancel, pay it forward…
Sometimes when you travel the old two-lane highways and back roads you come across a strange mailbox!
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 would you like to win this swell prize?
This would be so handy on warm summer days when mosquitoes, yellowjackets and other biting insects are out in force. Read more about this.
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (January 23, 2021) 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.
Within a short drive, a cup of coffee can sure vary in price. At South Dakota’s Wall Drug, you’ll pay a nickel a cup, while a short drive away at the Badlands National Park cafe you’ll pay a whopping 50 times more — $2.50!
A road atlas for kids!
Give this National Geographic Atlas to your kids or grandkids before they hit the road. It features simplified yet real road maps of all 50 states, and interesting information on each place and route. There are even themed maps on nature, population, energy, climate, and more, that delve deeper into key issues. It makes a great gift! Learn more or order.
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.
RV Show Calendar. See what’s coming up and what’s been canceled. UPDATED JAN. 21
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.
See all of our many Facebook groups here.
Remember to maintain those slide seals!
If you’ve heard a cracking or popping sound when extending your slide outs, it means your seals are sticking and/or drying out! Using a seal conditioner about every 8-12 weeks is recommended to avoid drying and cracking. Once they begin to wear and show damage, they are no longer working to their fullest capacity. We recommend using Thetford Premium RV Slide Out Rubber Seal Conditioner – it works like a charm.
Livestream event on Lithium battery charging announced
You (the people) have spoken. Last week I published a guest essay by Dennis Wieske from Progressive Dynamics, one of the leading manufacturers of RV battery chargers and power centers. I posted a poll asking if you would like to attend a YouTube Livestream event with Dennis and me, allowing you to text us questions about Lithium battery charging in real-time. Two-thirds responding said they would watch the event, which is now tentatively scheduled for February 2. Read why this information is important for more and more RVers here. (Mike has added the sign-up link for the livestream event to that article.)
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session
Feel the heat – Staying warm in your RV
I’m trying to boondock without a generator running at night, and am constantly running out of enough battery power overnight to run my RV furnace. I’ve been thinking about getting an electric blanket to keep warm, but how does that compare to running an electric space heater from battery power? Is any of this practical without adding a bunch of batteries? —Sue in Sioux City
?????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
This is the perfect thing for anyone who loves having a campfire and the sweet treats that go along with it. 😉 We bet someone would want to kiss you after applying this…
RV Tire Safety
Do similar tires sold in the U.S. have to meet the same requirements?
Roger Marble recently received a question on tire requirements involving “quality” and load capacity: “I have been under the impression that a certifying agency, American Tire and Rim(?), sets the standards in the U.S., and then all tires sold in the U.S. must be designed to those standards. So a cheap, unknown brand, load range D tire from Walmart would have the same load and inflation specifications as a Firestone tire from a Firestone dealer?” Read Roger’s reply.
Have a tire question? Sign up for Roger Marble’s new Facebook Group: RV tire news, information and discussion, hosted by RVtravel.com and moderated by Roger. He’ll be happy to help you.
RV Short Stop
Historical places to visit during February, Black History Month
During February, Black History Month, the National Park Service helps celebrate more than 400 years of African American history. Events highlight the achievements, contributions and historical journeys of African Americans through American history. The National Park’s Foundation encourages explorations into our nation’s history and culture by visiting significant or little-known historical places. Julianne G. Crane lists some interesting and educational places to visit here.
RV Fire Safety
An emergency fire plan that can save your life – Part 8 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.
Your motor coach fire escape plan should incorporate the needs of all the occupants, including the young, elderly, and disabled. Remove any barriers that might hinder a disabled person and install extra handles on window escape hatches. Also arrange for a family member to assist those who may need help, and have disabled or elderly people sleep close to a safe exit.
Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Now is a good time to clean out your water heater!
Have you ever seen the sediment that collects in your water heater? You probably don’t want to. Camco’s water tank rinser is an easy-to-use gadget that is a must-have for any RVer. The tank rinser will get out all the yucky sediment that’s been sitting at the bottom of your water heater and, most importantly, will extend the life of it too. Read the many positive reviews, and get one for yourself here.
Museum of the Week
“Big Daddy” Don Garlits Museum Of Drag Racing
If you’ve never seen a drag race car up close, you’ll want to visit this museum (yes, even if you don’t care about cars…). Owner Don Garlits has been dubbed the “King of the Dragsters” and for good reason – he’s won 144 national events. The museum is spread across several huge rooms, where a couple hundred cars are on display. You’ve got to see some of these cars (er, should we call them rockets) yourself. Check out the official website here to plan your visit.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Come on, guys. Time to wash the windshield!” —Don & Rae Sandretto
If you want to have a wonderful day, send $10, $50 or $100 to a local food bank. There are millions of our fellow citizens, including little kids, who are going hungry because their parents lost their jobs through no fault of their own. You will feel so good if you contribute — helping people less fortunate than you go to bed without the pain of an empty stomach. Here’s where to donate.
A wonderful alternative to RV parks
Stay at farms, wineries and other scenic and peaceful locations for free. Save 15% on membership. Learn more.
Merchandise returns totaled approximately 10.6% of total U.S. retail sales in 2020. The report by the National Retail Federation and Appriss Retail found that consumers returned an estimated $428 billion in merchandise to retailers. Roughly 5.9 percent were fraudulent.
Laugh of the Week
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, Kate Doherty, Gail Marsh, J.M. Montigel, Clint Norrell, Randall Brink 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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
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.
RVtravel.com 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 Amazon.com. 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 2021 by RVtravel.com.