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February 13, 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).
A proper burial for toy soldiers along the road
By Jerry X Shea
From 2002 to 2006, I took part in monthly highway cleanups along a two-mile section of Scenic Highway 1 on California’s central coast. Wearing a reflective orange vest and gloves, and holding a long trash pickup stick with a claw at the end, I placed other people’s trash in my bag. Most was at unofficial pull-off spots with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.
I would find baby diapers, shoes, plastic fast food containers, a lot of empty beer bottles and cans right along with just about anything you could possibly imagine. No matter what it was, it seemed someone threw it out their window.
Then it happened: I came to a spot and just froze. There, on the ground next to a set of dually tire tracks and a little bit forward to what would have been the driver’s side window were a bunch of unfiltered cigarette butts. Surrounding the cigarettes were six empty glass beer bottles and the cardboard six-pack they came in. This, by itself, was not an unusual sight. But then I saw something that gave me pause.
Lying on its side in the dirt was an open tin box with plastic toy soldiers falling out of it. Others were scattered about. For a moment I just stood there motionless. I looked at the tin box and the soldiers. My eyes moved over to the cigarette butts, the beer bottles, and back to the tin box. It didn’t take much imagination to conclude that some cigarette-smoking, beer-drinking person grabbed some child’s tin box, full of his best friends, and threw it out his window.
BASED ON THE DEEP INDENTATION next to the cigarette butts and the fact that the box was a good three feet away from that, it appeared to me that it wasn’t even lightly tossed out the window. Oh no, it was viciously slammed into the ground and bounced away. What did the child do or say that caused someone in the car to grab the box of soldiers and toss them to the ground.
I picked up the beer bottles and cigarette butts, put them in my trash bag, and walked over to the tin box. Should I just pick it up along with the soldiers, put them into my bag and move on? No way. I served my country in the Navy and every military person knows you don’t leave a fellow soldier behind. Sure, these little guys were just plastic miniatures; but to the kid who owned that box, you know they had been his best friends. One could only imagine the times he lined them up to fight the enemy, which I bet surrounded him daily.
Obviously, I could never know what happened to that child. But for the moment, I picked up the tin box and put all the soldiers back in. I secured the lid and walked from the parking area toward the ocean and into the brush. I found a flat stone, dug a hole, put the box in it and covered it up – a proper burial for an unknown child’s best friends. They may have only been plastic miniatures of the real thing; but, even so, they didn’t deserve to be discarded out a window, especially when they had been someone’s best friends.
We welcome your guest essays. If we publish it we will send you a $75 Amazon gift certificate. Submit here, 500-600 words.
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Surprise your sweetheart with a love note in tomorrow’s Sunday newsletter. Send us a message of 25 words or less for us to feature in tomorrow’s newsletter! Then be sure your special someone reads the newsletter. Imagine how surprised he or she will be! Learn more and show your love here.
You’ll never need a portable generator again!
Use your car or truck to generate clean 110 power with a CarGenerator. It’s cheaper, more reliable, and light, so easy to carry. Use to power your RV accessories, and recharge batteries for continued use of CPAP machines, etc. Perfect supplement to solar. At home, use for backup power when the power grid goes down. Click the video thumbnail to hear inventor Jonathan Schloo explain how the system works. Learn more.
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• Propane shortages, skyrocketing prices. Problems ahead?
• Climate change moves Interior Department to action
• Readers’ Valentine messages to their “Special Someones”
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Latest RV recalls • Stolen RV Report • Free and bargain camping locations • Reader survey • and much more …
We keep going, thanks to you!
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 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 about 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 highlights in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
Today, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the Palomino SolAire eXpandable 147X. He writes, “It starts life as a small, single-axle trailer that offers everything one could need for a camping adventure. From there, it can be expanded to sleep up to eight people with a bed that folds down from each end of the trailer.” Read more and see all that space here.
Last week’s reviews:
2021 Northwood Arctic Fox 27-5L • Coach House Platinum 220 Motorhome • Rustic Trail Teardrop Campers, Kodiak Stealth Travel Trailer • Forest River Wildwood Grand Lodge 42DL • 2021 NeXus Ghost Super C
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
12 of the weirdest campground rules – You won’t believe these!
By Nanci Dixon
Almost every campground hands out a packet, sometimes a full book, of rules when checking in. There are a lot of rules that make sense: keep your dog on a leash; pick up after yourself, dogs and children; control your children; abide by the quiet hours; follow the speed limit; etc. Those are the rules you wish everyone would read and adhere to. But some campground rules I have come across seem just plain weird. Read these 12 hilarious, weird rules here.
Free phone service helps hard-of-hearing – Good to know
By Kate Doherty
It’s not uncommon for us as RVers to be in a campground or RV park with poor cell reception. Many of us, too, have hearing aids. … If you have trouble hearing someone on the phone, whatever the circumstance, CaptionCall might be just what you need. Learn more about this nifty free service.
Campground Crowding: Thousand Trails? More like “Zero Trails”!
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. This week we have tips, tips … and more tips about getting reservations, or many alternatives if you can’t find any or don’t want the hassle. Get some great tips here.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
James Raia spotted this sign along California state route 20 east of Nevada City.
Have you ever moved from a campsite because of an undesirable neighbor?
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:
Did you winterize your RV this winter? See how more than 2,500 other RVers responded.
Read other polls we’ve run through the years. There are more than a thousand. It’s fascinating reading.
The man who built it doesn’t want it, the man who bought it doesn’t need it, the man who needs it doesn’t know it. What is it?
(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter.)
Thanks to Kathy Traina for submitting! Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
There are two more stargazing events happening this month and one of them is happening early tomorrow morning! Read about it here and get your telescope ready!
More wacky mailboxes along the road! What a hoot!
Here is another installment of Mailboxes along the Road – unique, funny, outrageous and/or otherwise creative mailboxes the readers of RVtravel.com have spotted while traveling North America in their RVs (and sometimes without their RVs). Check out the outboard motor, a miniature USPS delivery truck, some location-appropriate animals, and more here.
Is it time to re-level your RV? Here are some signs to look for
By Gail Marsh
Here’s the scenario: It’s been several weeks since you parked your rig. … When your RV has been sitting in one spot for a while, it tends to settle. … You might be surprised to learn that your RV will often “tell” you when things are no longer level. It’s true! Here are some things to watch for. If you notice one or more of these phenomena, your RV might be telling you it’s time to level up. Read more.
These are essential for your RV’s toolbox!
A set of Nite Ize Gear Ties is a must-have in your RV’s toolbox! These reusable rubber twist ties have a soft, grippy rubber coating and a metal inside that allows you to bend and flex them over and over into whatever shape you need. Tony Barthel uses them in his home and RV for many things and suggests you don’t go anywhere without them. Read more.
OMG! These jaw-dropping vehicles will shock you. How can they drive?
OMG! Our jaw was open the entire time we watched this video! How do some of these vehicles even move? These will shock you! Just when you think you’ve seen it all… A backward truck? A mobile living room? A boat… or a car? A train? Some of these are ridiculous! And look at that cow!! Moooooove over for that guy! And wait until you get to the part with the dragging RV… Check ’em out!
Actor Tim Allen no fan of RVing (just the opposite)
Actor/comedian Tim Allen is an RVer. But he is definitely not a fan of the lifestyle. After spending a night in his RV recently with his youngest daughter, he wrote on Twitter, “I spent the night with my youngest in our RV for fun and after doing my service on it I am reminded why RV people never shake each others’ hands.” By “doing service on it” he meant dumping the holding tanks. And there’s more. Continue reading.
“You can’t fix stupid with duct tape.” Funny sign will make you laugh
By Kate Doherty
While traveling last fall on our way south to Pueblo, Colorado, to have our overheating rear radiator problem fixed, we pulled into a truck stop to refuel. Little did we know that there would soon be a truck with a funny sign (not about duct tape) on its side pulling in, along with a truck driver with amusing anecdotes to tell. Continue reading.
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, Feb. 13, 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 two readers claimed their $25 Amazon gift card: Norbert D. of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Sylvia E. of Livingston, Texas.
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
Top 10 campground pet peeves of RVtravel.com readers
• Hot weather? Prevent food from spoiling and melting with this trick
• Campground Crowding: The campground begged them to stay longer!
• COVID at the Quartzsite RV Show? One man’s unfortunate story
• Avoid trips to the store – Regrow veggies in your RV from scraps!
• The pandemic still rages: Can we travel safely in our RV yet?
• Can I use my CPAP machine when I boondock? Yes, here’s how
• RVelectricity: How to keep warm in a cold RV
• Bargain trucks? Ford, Ram have 2020 surplus inventory
• Meet our newest National Park: New River Gorge National Park and Preserve
• Check out this incredible DIY RV. It’s a “log cabin” on wheels!
• Good News: Things to smile about this week, February 7, 2021
How would you like to win these cute wind chimes?
Let’s be honest, folks. Ordinary wind chimes just aren’t good enough anymore! Be different. Hang these by your rig and passersby will think you are absolutely the coolest campers in the park! You’ll be at the top of the invitation list for the park buffet! Everyone will want to meet you!
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (February 13, 2021) by 7 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.
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 update it weekly.
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.
Still need a Valentine’s Day gift?
Hey, guys, if your travel plans have been canceled and your wife is upset, this earring and necklace combo is the perfect gift to cheer her up! (Or, ladies, you can just buy this adorable combo for yourself!) We think all the ladies of the RVtravel.com staff need this… Learn more or order here. (Trust us. You’ll get major brownie points.)
RV Repair and Maintenance
?????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
Don’t feel too stressed if you run over a squirrel or flatten a possum. It happens to the best of us. Just look at the bright side! Yes, there is a bright side! Huh? Find out.
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
With Tony Barthel
RVSuperbag: A cozy solution for making those tricky RV beds
Making the bed in the RV usually stinks. You’re on vacation to start with (who wants to make their bed on vacation?) and most RV beds aren’t really in a place where they’re easy to make. We came across the RVSuperbag, which can be described as a fancy sleeping bag designed to replace the bedding in your RV. There are sheets that simply attach to the inside of the bag which can be easily removed and laundered. This is a nice feature and makes this feel much more like your bedding at home. Read more.
Stinky tanks might need the popular “TubShroom”
One of the ways to keep your gray tank from becoming smelly is to minimize food waste that gets into it. Recently someone recommended using a TubShroom to keep things from going down the drain and this actually seems like a good idea. The TubShroom has been getting a lot of traction in advertisements on social media as a device that pops into your drain and keeps hair and food waste from going down the drain. There are various models depending on the size of the drain including ones for the shower and bathroom sink plus a Kitchen SinkShroom as well. Continue reading.
This is a must-have for state park campers!
This newly published book, “50 States: 500 State Parks,” is a must-have for all state park campers and explorers. The beautiful book takes you on a journey through America’s best state parks. Whether you’re looking for stunning vistas, rare wildlife, a dose of history or an enjoyable hike, state parks offer an array of experiences. Learn more or order.
Join Mike Sokol from RVelectricity and Danny Rahner from SoftStartRV™ Tuesday evening, February 16, beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern time (5 p.m. Pacific), for Mike’s next “Ask The Expert” YouTube Live Webcast. Danny is SoftStartRV’s lead help desk installation expert. If you have any questions about how to hook up a SoftStartRV to any RV air conditioner, you’ll be able to text him questions in real time. Here’s a link to Mike’s announcement and the link to set a reminder. To learn about what SoftStartRV can do for you, read these earlier posts: RVelectricity: More on how SoftStartRV works and Use your RV air conditioner in low-power situations.
How much battery power is required to make an espresso
I’ve had a number of email inquiries about the boondocking power requirement while running on batteries, and one that I found interesting was the desire to run a Nespresso coffee maker without cranking up the generator. As in, “My life would be complete as long as I can make an espresso or latte or some other highly caffeinated drink in my RV from battery power.” Well, I just so happened to have received a new Nespresso coffee maker for Christmas from my kids, so I have a good test subject for a basic test. Continue reading, as you drink your cup o’ joe, for Mike’s test results.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session
How to keep warm in a cold RV
I’ve been seeing a lot of questions about how to stay warm in an RV during these cold winter months, especially while boondocking. While I don’t have any simple solutions for keeping your RV furnace running all night from battery power, I have been recently experimenting with various self-warming fabrics that can help keep not only you warm in a chilly RV, but also keep your pet warm and snugly as well. Continue reading (and check out Mike’s HUGE feet!).
RV Tire Safety
What is a “C” tire?
By Roger Marble
There are a number of Class B motorhomes that are being built on van chassis. Some of these vehicles come with European “Commercial” tires (185/R14C). I had a discussion with one owner who wanted to find the Load & Inflation tables for these tires. Continue reading for this info, in case you have “C” tires.
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.
MAKES A GREAT GIFT!
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.
The RV Kitchen
Artichokes for a change. When you need something different for a side dish, go to your cupboard and pull out a can of artichoke hearts. Buttery and mild, this creamy dish goes with almost any meal from the skillet, oven or grill. To make it a vegetarian main dish, add more nuts or a couple of chopped hard-cooked eggs and spoon it over toast or big, pillowy, campfire-baked Russet potatoes. Get the recipe.
The Digital RVer
Need a last-minute Valentine’s Day gift? Make a movie!
Do you need a last-minute Valentine’s Day gift but don’t have the time or can’t get to the store? If you use Google Photos, it will take you no more than a minute to make a delightful movie with photos of you and your love. Chris Guld tells you how here.
Easily check the tire pressure on your inner dual tires
Do you have trouble reading the tire pressure on your RV’s inner duals? This dual head tire pressure gauge with an extension steel shaft will reach where a standard gauge won’t. Be sure you know the pressure of all your tires, or risk a potentially dangerous blowout. No batteries required. Learn more or order at a discount.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“‘Who are you and where are you taking me?’ This is Sassafras (Sassy), our active and energetic Boxer when she was 5 months old. She is now almost 4 years old and travels with us everywhere we go. Sassy loves to stand on the dash (when we’re parked) and watch all of the outside activity. She’s been the subject of many photographs.”
Fido needs a valentine too! These are all so cute!
Propane cooking results in lower CO2 emissions than electric cooking. A significant portion of electricity production comes from coal or oil-fired generation plants which release CO2 emissions as part of the generation process. Based on typical cooking usage levels and the emissions which electricity generation creates, propane cooking has roughly 30 percent fewer CO2 emissions.
Joke of the Week
On her first day at the senior complex, the new manager addressed all the oldsters pointing out some of her rules: “The female sleeping quarters will be out-of-bounds for all males, and the male dormitory to the females. Anybody caught breaking this rule will be fined $20 the first time. Anybody caught breaking this rule the second time will be fined $60. Being caught a third time will cost you $180. Are there any questions?” At this point, an elderly lady named Betty stood up in the crowd and inquired, “How much for a season pass?”
Thanks for the joke, “Boat Nutt”!
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.
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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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