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March 6, 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
After five months of self-isolating in my RV in Arizona, and then eight months of doing the same in my Seattle home, I’m going stir-crazy. When I come across a photo like this, my wanderlust meter flies off the charts. I want to be on that road, and I want to be on it right now!
I took the photo six years ago while heading north on lonely U.S. 95 about halfway between Las Vegas and Reno. There are only a few small towns along most of the way — Beatty, Goldfield, Tonopah and Hawthorne. Most of it is wide open space — a lonely expanse of America’s Great Basin Desert, covered with sagebrush with free-range cattle, wild horses, burros and jackrabbits every which way. If you drive the U.S. in the summer, you’ll see snakes, maybe a rattler or two. You can easily drive 60 miles on this two-laner without encountering a gas station. The air is clear and sweet, especially after a rain shower when the scent of the sagebrush is so fragrant your nose wants to jump off your face for a happy dance.
I’m almost sure I stopped my motorhome right in my lane to take this photo. As you can see, there is nobody coming toward me, and I bet there was nobody in sight behind me. Most of the time, I can step outside on a lonely road like this for five minutes without another vehicle even coming close.
BORING? I DON’T THINK SO…
Some people who have traveled this route will tell you it’s boring, “endless desert.” I disagree. It’s stunning, especially in the winter, when the mountains (and there are plenty of them) are dusted with snow. And on a cloudy day, the landscape may seem a beautiful work of art.
It’s painful for me to dwell on this photo. It’s painful because the pandemic “all-clear” buzzer has not yet sounded and I am still stuck where I am. When it does sound, I’m gone — pronto — outta Dodge and the Land of a Starbucks on Every Corner to the wide open spaces. I’m headed to back roads and uncrowded places, and hopefully a few greasy spoon cafes (if there are any left) for ham and eggs in the early morning with the local cowboys, who are usually sitting around a table jawing politics, cattle and women.
P.S. Many members of our staff (including me) have now had their second COVID shots and are breathing a sigh of relief. We urge you to get your shots as soon as you’re able!
NEW RV TRAVEL PODCAST ON THE WAY
On April 4, we will debut a weekly RV Travel podcast. I can tell you now that my bets are it will be the most informative and entertaining program of its kind about RVing, and one of the most popular. If you would like insider information about the podcast and a chance to be invited to special live recording sessions, promotions, etc., sign up for our RV Travel Podcast Insider Newsletter.
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• California to roll out mandatory motorhome emissions testing
• KOA campground creates solar array to power entire park
• Tony Barthel reviews the Cruise America Standard Class C
• Some campgrounds at Yellowstone NP are now reservation-only
• Motorhome tire failure causes death. Would you know what to do?
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Latest RV recalls • Free and bargain camping locations • Reader survey • and much more …
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Last week’s Tip of the Day highlights in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• Use your RV for business? What expenses can you deduct?
• Is interest on an RV loan tax deductible?
• Time to replace those cabinet carpets! Do it for under $15
• 9 helpful ways to use pool noodles while RVing
• Block window glare with movable sunshades
Today, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the SpaceCraft Semi Trailers. He writes, “SpaceCraft focuses on full custom residential towable RVs where the occupants are predominantly full-timers. Among the cornerstone features are four-season rigs including whatever a customer wants, as long as it’s legal. That means you can get a custom semi-trailer from 40-57 feet in overall length. If you want a model with two bedrooms, that’s no problem. Want a big office space or a garage that’s actually capable of hauling your passenger car along? Not an issue.” Check out these huge trailers here.
Last week’s reviews:
Grand Design Solitude 390RK-R Fifth Wheel • Bushwhacker Plus 17 BH Teardrop • 2021 Keystone Cougar 24RDS Fifth Wheel • 2021 Grand Design Reflection 150 Series 295RL Fifth Wheel • Everbright EB-RV Tricycle Motorhome
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
Campground Crowding: Demand pricing is more common than we thought
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. In last week’s installment, we talked about demand pricing in campgrounds. Reader Donald explained it as, “This is when the flat rate no longer applies and as sites fill up the reservation system automatically increases the price!” Read more comments from readers about this, and many other relevant campground topics, here.
Is it safe to bring a propane tank inside an RV?
By Dave Helgeson
Is it safe to bring a propane tank inside of an RV? The answer is a resounding NO! “Never use, store, or transport propane cylinders or liquid fuels in the passenger space or living area of your RV.” So says RVer James Callow. The issue of whether it is safe, or not, to bring and use a propane tank inside your RV seems to have become as controversial as “Is it safe to travel with my propane turned on” lately. Continue reading this important safety message.
Readers say THIS is the worst kind of road to drive. We offer tips
By Nanci Dixon
A couple of weeks ago we asked our readers “What kind of roads do you dread driving down the most?” Of those who voted in our poll, the highest percentage answered that they dread driving down icy/snowy roads the most. But what were the others they named? Read this very thorough article with comments from our readers and important tips to safely drive on all types of roads and in different conditions.
RV jacks won’t retract? Try this
By Kate Doherty
It’s time to pick up and move to a new adventure! The weather is perfect, it’s mid-week, there’s little traffic. Time to bring the slides in and raise the leveling jacks. The panel lights kept blinking and not switching to “travel mode,” I went outside. “Hey, the @#$& jacks aren’t coming up! They started, but stopped short.” Continue reading for a solution, in case this happens to you.
Tow bars for trailers and motorhomes at Amazon. Click
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
Have you ever spent the night in your RV in a free casino parking lot?
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 ever pay to get your RV’s exterior professionally cleaned? See how nearly 2,300 other RVers responded.
Read other polls we’ve run through the years. There are more than a thousand. It’s fascinating reading.
What common English word is 9 letters long and each time you remove a letter from it it still remains an English word, from 9 letters all the way down to a single remaining letter?
(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter.)
Thanks to Susan Jinks for submitting! Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
An important guide to getting medical help while on the road
One thing many RVers don’t plan for is getting sick while traveling. So, what happens if you or a travel buddy need medical care while on the road? How can you find a good doctor or get the quality medical help you need? Find out here.
Are remanufactured RV parts any good? Do they carry a warranty?
By Kate Doherty
Remanufactured parts, or more commonly called “remanned parts,” are products made by a manufacturer that have been returned for various reasons (e.g., defective or failed, cosmetic blemishes, or plain old returned for unknown reasons). If this product is returned directly to the OEM (original equipment manufacturer), then this may be the first time this part/product/equipment will be thoroughly inspected, dissected, and tested to find the failure. Continue reading about what you might have to go through if a remanned part fails.
Triple towing: Is it legal? Is it safe? Should you do it?
By Gail Marsh
The good news? We planned to travel to a warmer climate for the winter! The bad news? The transporter who had agreed to take our motorcycle to Florida backed out at the last minute. We really didn’t have the time to investigate another carrier, but we did consider triple towing. If you aren’t familiar with the term triple towing, you’re not alone. Everything you wanted to know about triple towing and then some … here.
Block window glare with movable sunshades
[Caveat: Check state laws before using these while driving.]
Kate Doherty writes, “The automatic shades in motorhomes are great for front-facing glare, but sometimes quartering slivers of bright sunlight affect vision comfort for both driver and passenger. We found these sunshades more effective, especially on the middle of our Jeep front windshield, to reduce glare without impeding vision as the sun visors don’t extend far enough. Because they are so flexible, they fit well in curved windshields.” Read more or order some 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, March 6, 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 one reader claimed their $25 Amazon gift card: Debra L. of Cincinnati, Ohio.
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
• New film “Nomadland” worth viewing and pondering
• Campground and RV Park News, February 27, 2021
• RVelectricity: How to install a 30-amp RV outlet at home
• Tiger Woods’ mystery wrecked vehicle? High-towing capacity new Genesis SUV
• FMCA does the right thing for its members
• Husband is extroverted, wife introverted. How do they differ at the campsite?
• Block window glare with movable sunshades
• New USPS “duck” mail truck will deliver safely and in style
• Truck drivers take note: Cooper Tires faces recall; also, Goodyear buying Cooper
• National Park visits – Surprising statistics about last year’s visitors
• Good News: Things to smile about this week, February 28, 2021
RV education you can trust from RV Education 101: Get instant access to RV Online Training.
How would you like to win these Happy Camper Wine Glasses?
Kick back and relax with this set of 4 stemless Happy Camper Wine Glasses!
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (March 6, 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.
Device keeps fresh water tank clean
Tony Barthel writes: “The RV Inline Sanitizer is the simplest of solutions. It’s essentially a reservoir in which you put bleach and then use a source hose and a delivery hose to fill your fresh water tank. The sanitizer effectively adds the bleach as you fill the tank. It is truly that simple.” Read more about this nifty device here.
RV Repair and Maintenance
with Mark Polk, RV Education 101
Time to de-winterize and sanitize the RV water system
March is a safe time to start RV spring preparation checks for some RV owners. A good place to start is de-winterizing the RV plumbing system. Depending on how the RV was winterized, the RV water system needs to be de-winterized and sanitized. Note: Make sure the freezing temperatures are over for the season before you do. Continue reading.
Tire pressure gauges lose accuracy over time. Here’s how to check them
I talk about the importance of checking inflation pressure in the tow vehicle and RV tires all the time, but is your tire pressure gauge giving you accurate information? … A tool every RV owner uses is a tire pressure gauge. But did you know a tire gauge can lose accuracy if it gets banged around in your tool box? Mark explains how to check for accuracy, and recommends the best type of tire pressure gauges here.
?????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
This would come in handy for many activities… or you could just use it in the bathtub. See what it is.
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
Clear2O water filtration system: Clean water, compact size
With Tony Barthel
A few years ago I was camping in Quartzsite and the water was so horrible we bought a three-stage water filtration system for our RV. Our travel trailer has a “whole house” water filter, but the filters themselves are difficult to find and expensive so we have stopped replacing them. Like so many RVers, we basically had been using the typical blue in-line filter that we attach to the spigot. Clear20 (pronounced “clear two oh”) offered to send me one of their two-stage water filters to compare to what I bought in Quartzsite, so I decided to give it a try. Continue reading and see how this system compares to others. Oh, and watch Tony’s wife, Peggy’s, impressive blindfolded taste test results in the video!
A tale of solar generators and sock puppets…
Someone on the RV Quilter FB forum asked about using a solar generator and sewing with a Singer Featherweight sewing machine. It’s 100-110 volts, 25-75 cycles and DC 0.4 Ampere. Doable with a solar generator? —Terry B.
You know I can’t answer a technical question with a simple YES or NO answer. This is a great opportunity to continue the discussion on just how much energy (not just watts) each appliance uses. …
Continue reading Mike’s response, including his explanation of “solar generators,” and how many sock puppets you could sew on that sewing machine from a single charge of this solar generator (yes, sock puppets!). Oh, and he’ll be doing research for all of us RVers as he’s been offered an electric-powered SUV that could tow a small RV trailer. He’s expecting to take the combo cross-country this summer. Electric vehicles are coming soon, and his exhaustive (pardon the pun) findings will help you decide if one is in your RVing future.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session
Another electric space heater fire
This mobile home fire caused by an electric space heater happened just last week less than a thousand feet from where I live. … There’s a small mobile home court in Funkstown, and one of the trailers was completely burned out in the middle of the night. The brief version of the report from the Fire Marshal indicates the cause was an electric heater. A further read of the expanded report revealed there was no operational smoke detector in the house trailer. That’s a recipe for disaster. Learn how to avoid a similar tragedy here.
In case you missed it Monday, Mike has a treat for you – a special edition of his popular Road Signs series. You won’t believe the beautiful music from “Saxsquatch,” filmed in – where else? – the mountains (well, except when he heads to the beach). Check this out for a calming respite (and a fun distraction) from your “cabin fever” in these isolated and depressing times.
Torn or broken screen? Easily fix it!
This roll of screen repair tape is just what you need to fix those torn or ripped screens in your home or RV. Don’t waste money on a new screen! Cut as much tape as you need, stick it over the torn patch and you’re good to go. Learn more or order here.
RV Tire Safety
Are “China bomb” tires built that way on purpose?
RV tire expert Roger Marble shares a letter he received from a reader about a defective tire, specifically inquiring about so-called “China bomb” tires. Roger explains why people previously jumped to the incorrect conclusion that China-made tires must somehow be “defective” even while never being able to identify any specific “defect.” Read more.
Building an RV Park
The construction crew arrived and the real work begins!
By Machelle James
The anticipation is building and AJ and I are pacing the property. We are excited and nervous and OH SO READY for this moment. The underground and septic crews are pulling in today. We have waited for this moment for months and it is finally coming to fruition. The construction will begin as soon as the crew arrives! Continue reading about the progress, and their most expensive week yet. (Yikes!)
RV Short Stop
Some fun, and safe, ideas for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day
Nationally, most of the traditional St. Patrick’s Day parades and events have been canceled because of COVID 19. However, there are places across the USA, even in times of very active COVID infection rates, that are finding ways to adapt and celebrate. Read some ideas for safely celebrating St. Patrick’s Day around the country, or virtually, here.
Run your RV A/C with only normal household power. It’s now possible!
RV Fire Safety
An emergency fire plan that can save your life – Part 11 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.
It’s also a good idea to make sure visitors can open the front door. Not all manufacturers use the same lock and latch assembly. You’ll also want to make sure your travel companions know how to unhook electricity (screw-on cords can be tricky) and how to close propane valves, in case either of these measures is called for.
Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
ONE MONTH TO SAVE!
Harvest Hosts membership increasing – join now and save!
Harvest Hosts NEW member prices are going up to $99/yr. in April 2021. If you buy a membership now, it’s only $67.15 a year after our 15% discount. This link will lock in this rate forever, regardless of how much the prices increase in the future. Use HHFRIENDS15 at checkout. Save over $30 off the new price on a whole year of unlimited overnight stays. Learn more.
Museum of the Week
Eastern State Penitentiary
Tour the Eastern State Penitentiary, a ruin of what was one of the most famous and expensive prisons in the world. When it opened in 1829, the prison was the largest building in the U.S. The Penitentiary has always drawn curious tourists, and in 1971 was forced to close its doors due to overcrowding. For 20 years it sat abandoned. Now, this spooky tourist attraction draws history buffs, paranormal investigators, and of course a whole lot of people on Halloween to explore its ruins. See the cell where Al Capone spent time incarcerated (it’s still “decorated” exactly as he left it) and keep an eye out for ghosts. They’re around. Oh, and if ghosts aren’t your thing, let your partner do the tour while you stay behind and explore the gift shop (it’s spook-tacular!). The museum has been closed due to COVID, but is due to re-open this month. Plan your visit… if you dare.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“This is Licorice, whose 50,000 miles (and counting) of RV travel started when she was about 4 weeks old. She’s a feral cat who was the runt of her extra-large litter and consequently wasn’t at the ‘dinner table’ when Animal Control swooped in and carried off the rest of the family. I took her in and almost immediately put her in the RV and headed off on a 1,500-mile journey. We have been traveling together happily ever since. She’s a full-time indoor cat and has her own upstairs apartment in our Coachmen Freelander Elite.” —Judith Roales
JUST GETTING STARTED RVing? Read our editor’s book The ABCs of RVing for free with Kindle Unlimited.
Ninety percent of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Walmart.
Joke of the Week
(Read this one out loud. You’ll laugh harder.)
I bought myself a locket today and I put my own picture in it. I am now independent.
Leave with a song from the past
Here’s a song from 1936 that offers some advice about how a particular vegetable can help your love life. Enjoy Mae Questel, “The Betty Boop Girl,” singing “You’ve Got to Eat Your Spinach, Baby.”
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
WRITERS WANTED: We are always looking for new writers. Freelance, part- or full-time, it’s up to you. Good pay for the right person. Must have professional news writing experience. No beginners. If interested, let us know here.
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. 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.
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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