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March 20, 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
Will RVs fundamentally change the way we live?
Earlier this week, Ford told 30,000 of its employees they could continue to work from home after the pandemic.
Also this past week, the employment website Indeed.com reported that postings for jobs that mention “remote work” have more than doubled since the pandemic began. Such job postings are still increasing even while vaccinations are accelerating and confirmed COVID cases are declining. The share of Indeed’s job postings that mention “remote work” or “work from home” reached 7 percent last month, up from just below 3 percent a year ago. But in some industries, the gains were far more dramatic, including those that haven’t traditionally welcomed remote work.
In the year 1900, 60 percent of the U.S. population was rural with 40 percent urban. But by the year 1990 — a mere 90 years later — the statistics flip flopped in a big way — only 25 percent were still living in a rural area with 75 percent now in a big city or its suburbs.
Back in 1900, unless someone owned a gypsy wagon, they were stuck living in one place. Not so today: Those gypsy wagons are now recreational vehicles, many every bit as comfortable as a luxury condo.
Andrew Hewitt, a senior analyst at market research firm Forrester, expects that in the years ahead about 60% of companies will offer a hybrid work model in which 10% will be fully remote.
WHAT THIS MEANS
I believe we are at the cusp of another shift in where and how we live — not urban, not rural, but mobile. We have interstate highways to easily move about and RV parks with electric and water hookups and a drain to empty our holding tanks. When cold weather is headed our way, we can move somewhere warm. And vise versa.
The cost of living a mobile life is most often less than living in a traditional one in one location — and there is no lawn to mow or property tax to pay.
CNN recently profiled a woman named Nicole Maddox, who took a job last April in San Francisco that allowed her to work remotely. She has yet to work in the company’s office. Instead, she bought a 22-foot Airstream trailer. Previously, she lived where she worked, which usually meant a big city. Not anymore.
“I don’t have to choose between lifestyle and career,” Maddox told CNN. “I get to do both now. With the Airstream, I have the flexibility I can come back to spend a month in San Francisco with my team and then keep traveling. It’s really unlocked the lifestyle I want to have. I can have my cake and eat it, too.”
Too many times to count, I have stayed in RV parks where a neighbor was working remotely. Some were there to work on pipelines or windmills or as seasonal workers in the park. Others were running their own business. Where I most recently stayed, one neighbor was managing a corporate call center and another was in charge of keeping several companies’ computers up and running.
This sort of thing was rare 20 years ago. But I believe now, with more working-age Americans able to work from anywhere — and in comfortable homes on wheels — there will be a boom in “mobile living.” And let’s face it, for most Americans, me included, wanderlust is in our DNA.
And then there are those people who lost their homes in wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and other disasters. Some will say “heck” with rebuilding. They’ll simply buy an RV, and when the river runs high or a wildfire threatens, they’ll unhook and head to safer ground.
Are we in for a big change in how we live? It seems entirely possible to me.
P.S. On April 14 we will bring back our once-popular Full-Time RVer newsletter. We issued it for many years, but that was a long time ago and it’s time to give it another go. If you currently travel full-time with an RV or hope to one day, this will be a very valuable (and entertaining) resource. To receive an email notification for each new biweekly issue sign up here.
Also: If you are reading on a computer or some tablets, please check out the new recipe section that we’re testing. It’s in the right hand column on the page. If you’re reading on a smart phone, it will be far below the comments on many pages. Let us know what you think of it.
Meet our new contributors
We are thrilled to welcome two new contributors to RVtravel.com. Both are well-known and respected in their fields. Here they are:
RVtravel.com has known Mike Gast since we started this newsletter 20 years ago. That’s right around when Mike joined the staff of Kampgrounds of America (KOA) as the vice-president of communications, which meant, among other things, he dealt with the news media. That’s how we met him, and grew to respect him as an honest guy who was always there to help. Mike will bring an extensive knowledge of the campground industry to our readers. We will benefit hugely from his insights into how things work, and what that means to us. Be sure to read his article in this issue, Planning way ahead is the new normal for RVing in 2021.
Our new podcast is just two weeks away. We’d like to introduce you to our host Scott Linden, a veteran of radio and TV. For many years Scott hosted a radio show for Outdoor Life and Field & Steam magazines that aired on a thousand radio stations. . . For now, we’ll turn the microphone over to Scott, who will tell you a little about himself and the new podcast. Oh, the phone number he mentions in his message is 541-382-1726. The form he mentions is here.
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• Don’t think RVs appreciate in value? Wait until you see what happened in 2020!
• Camping World sues Gigi Stetler and RV Advisor
• The deadliest states for drivers in 2021
• EZ Lynk being sued. EPA says no more “rolling coal” and modifying emission controls!
• Tony Barthel reviews the 2021 VanLeigh Vilano 377FL Fifth Wheel
• 2022 Ford Super Duty truck series coming soon with more tech
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Latest RV recalls • Free and bargain camping locations • Reader survey • and much more …
Planning way ahead is the “New Normal” for RVing in 2021
By Mike Gast
About 20 years ago, shortly after I had ditched a newspaper career to become the Vice President of Communications for Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA), I stumbled across a phrase I loved in an old New York Times travel story. The story said campgrounds were actually “the last small towns in America.” Continue reading and see why Mike thinks things won’t ever be the same, but why that shouldn’t stop you from RVing.
Be cool this summer
Now use your RV air conditioner when you could never use it before. SoftStartRV makes it possible. No kidding!
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Last week’s Tip of the Day highlights in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• Tax Corner: All about keeping records for tax purposes, and what you can’t do!
• Tax Corner: Tax return tips especially for RVing business owners
• Need more space in the RV kitchen? These will save you space, time and money
• 8 tips for cleaning stubborn spots on glass doors
Today, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the TAXA Mantis Convertible Travel Trailer. He writes, “This is truly an innovative RV in so many ways and, for those who will enjoy and appreciate it, it will reward with a unique and well-built experience.” Read more and peek inside this unique RV.
Tony reviewed the American Dream 39RK Diesel Pusher. See what a half million dollars will get you. It even has a center island in the kitchen, made possible by a unique design.
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
MORE OF CLINT
See some of Clint’s recent cartoons. They’re wonderful!
Campground Crowding: “We camped for pleasure. Now there is none.”
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 hear from readers (as well as our writer Nanci Dixon) regarding their extreme frustrations with attempting to get campground reservations, not only due to lack of campsites but also increased fees and dealing with the reservation systems. Plus, more campers are hanging up their RVing keys. Very distressing. Read more.
A sad story of road rage. Why is everyone still so angry?
By Nanci Dixon
Yesterday I had an experience that unnerved me. I had thought I was seeing light at the end of the long COVID tunnel. The elections are over, there is a real possibility of going back to work and the children back to school… I thought all that would lighten the tensions. Evidently not. Continue reading what Nanci encountered. How would you handle a similar situation?
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• Photos: Cougar attacks two people in Colorado RV park
• Video: Hilarious dog gives quarantine advice
• Reader letter: RV park doesn’t understand the term “LP gas”
• RV Travel’s guide to DIY projects and RV mods to do while you’re stuck inside (still holds up as a great list!)
How many years is (or was) the loan on your present 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:
Are you a cake or pie person? (You’ve got dessert on your minds this week, eh? We sure do after reading your comments!) See how nearly 2,200 other RVers responded.
Read other polls we’ve run through the years. There are more than a thousand. It’s fascinating reading.
A cowboy rides into a town on Sunday. He stays four days and leaves on Sunday. How can that be?
(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter.)
Thanks to Norm Duquette for submitting! Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
The many useful RV applications of Google Earth – Part 2: Height clearances
This is the second installment of a series on the many useful RV applications of Google Earth. … In this installment we will look at using RV applications of Google Earth/Maps to determine vertical heights (aka low clearances). These include parking garages, self-serve car washes, low bridges and tunnels. Read this important and useful information here.
Owner DESTROYS brand-new Jeep while flat towed. You won’t believe the damage!
A 2021 Jeep Rubicon with less than 10,000 miles was recently taken in for service to a dealer in Florida. The Jeep was in for repair after being flat towed behind an RV. What the owner found out should scare everyone with a tow vehicle. Read carefully and check out the video! Oh, my!
Ride in a presidential limo in Key West
History buffs who visit Key West, Florida’s, Harry S. Truman Little White House — the state’s only presidential museum — can now choose to ride around the island city in a presidential limousine Truman used during his 1945-53 presidency. Continue reading.
Selling your RV: How to prepare it before listing it for sale
Tony Barthel gives you an insider look at how you can prepare your RV before you list it for sale. How many photos should you take? What time of day should you take photos and what angles should you take them from? Why is lighting so important? What story are you trying to tell with your RV? Who are you selling it to, and why does that matter? All this, plus common mistake sellers make. If you’re thinking of selling, you’ll want to read this.
So you want to sell your RV? Here are the best places to sell, and why
By Nanci Dixon
Whether you have had it with crowded campgrounds, have discovered RVing is just not for you, or are looking to upgrade or downsize, you might be asking: “Where’s the best place to sell my RV?” Let’s find out. Read Nanci’s list (and bookmark it!) and learn all the possibilities you have when listing your RV for sale.
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 Daylight time today, March 20, 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 cards: Joni W. of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Frank M. of Pierre, South Dakota.
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
• Study shows millions more Americans will soon own RVs
• Casino Camping: Is it a cure for campground crowding?
• Campground Crowding: Missing the good ol’ days
• Elon Musk an RVer? With his new Cybertruck, he says “maybe”
• A heartbreaking story, and a reminder to you
• RV awnings: Everything you need to know
• The 1973 Ford Explorer pickup – A wacky RV concept!
• 8 tips for cleaning glass shower doors. No more grime or streaks!
• Good News: Things to smile about this week, Sunday, March 14th
• Make-ahead foil packet meals. Warning: You’ll drool
• Campground and RV Park News, March 13, 2021
• 5 important RV spring checks. Is your RV ready for the road?
How would you like to win a copy of the Rand McNally 2021 Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas?
Every owner of a large RV should have this along to save potentially horrendous damage.
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (March 20, 2021) by 7 p.m. Pacific Daylight 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.
You can’t call yourself a fan of RVtravel.com if you’re not signed up for our RV Daily Tips newsletter! The Daily Tips newsletter has it all: quick tips, popular articles, polls, a website of the day, clubs and useful organizations, trivia, a pet of the day, a joke, and so much more! Check out Friday’s issue, then sign up here.
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.
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.
?????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
This will give your RV a cool effect, but make sure the fire department isn’t called on you! See why it might be, here.
RV Repair and Maintenance
Why you should exercise your RV generator and how to do it.
Read the story.
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
With Tony Barthel
The recommendation from the description tells us to start the day with a shot of pure oxygen which, I can imagine, would be quite the pick-me-up. Forget coffee. A shot of 100% pure oxygen might be just the trick to get you to start the day – perhaps like a finger-in-the-toaster kinda thing.
Many reviews state that this has been helpful at high altitudes and while climbing and hiking and other outdoor activities. Another reviewer, who has COPD, says they like this because it’s better than dragging a larger oxygen bottle around stores. Read more about this breath of fresh air here.
SmartPlug promises better connections
Since it was invented 80 years ago, the twist-type power connector hasn’t changed much. It still relies on thin blades that corrode and easily bend at an annoying “L” shape that must be aligned just right. The pioneering SmartPlug is different. It has a robust pin-and-clip design that delivers more than 25 times the metal-to-metal contact than its predecessor. This provides greater protection against high resistance, overheating and arcing, some of the leading causes of failure. Read more about it and see what Tony thinks.
Can I use my RV generator for emergency power in my house?
After being caught at home (Texas) with no electricity during a winter storm, I got to thinking about how I could hook up my RV generator to power my house. I didn’t think of it in time or I would have given it a trial. My RV stays in my RV barn with a 50-amp hookup. This RV does not have an automatic change-over relay, so I wonder if I had just started the generator and left the power cord plugged into the 50-amp circuit would it have powered my house? I thought this might be one to ask you as I have never seen this mentioned before. What do you think? —Jack D.
Mike Sokol’s Ask the Expert – SoftStartRV no-cut install
Watch this live streamed event on Tuesday, March 23, at 8 p.m. Eastern time (5 p.m. Pacific) with Danny Rahner from SoftStartRV. We’ll discuss Danny’s new installation method that doesn’t require you to cut any air conditioner wires, only make splices. And you’ll be able to text your questions live for us to answer during the webcast. Sign up here.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session
Dog-bones for springtime RVing
I’ve just picked up my first RV with a 30-amp plug, and wonder if I need any kind of electrical adapters before hitting the road for my first camping trip the end of March. And do I really need a surge protector? Seems like a lot of money to spend… —Dominique
Protect your RV “pigtail”
That 7-way connector on your travel trailer or fifth wheel is a critical component. When not plugged into your tow rig, the thing is susceptible to the onslaught of dirt, rain and even bugs. Here’s a plug cover that slips right over your precious plug and keeps out the crud. One user says, “This works perfectly to keep the plug on my RV clear. I remove it when not in use and place it in my ‘RV emergency tool kit.’ This way, it’s not knocked around when driving.” Learn more or order.
RV Tire Safety
Do black tire covers protect your RV tires?
By Roger Marble
When discussing whether or not black tire covers protect your RV tires, it might help to first review my original post that included actual data on the subject of RV tire covers. Also, remember that old rubber is more likely to crack and fail than “younger” softer rubber, so keeping your tires as “young” as possible is a good thing to do. … Continue reading about Roger’s surprise at some test results here.
Building an RV Park
Septic progress and 4th of July announcements!
Machelle brings us up to date on progress on building the RV park, including hitting the rock shelf when digging for the septic lines, having to change site plans because of the rock, the reservation system should be up and running in a few weeks, the surprises they found when they started removing some of the overgrown shrubs, and big plans for 4th of July celebrations, including the town’s traditional anvil firing (huh?!). All that and more here.
RV Short Stops
“Travel Where Women Made History”
By Julianne G. Crane
If you are obsessed with national parks, like I am, there are two outstanding online sources for planning captivating RV Short Stops recognizing Women’s History. Start with the awesome “Travel Where Women Made History” and then head over to “Women in Parks.” Continue reading and plan some fascinating and educational RV short stops here.
RV Fire Safety
An emergency fire plan that can save your life – Part 12 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 success in a fire will have a lot to do with three main factors: (1) recognizing hazards and taking adequate preventive measures, (2) acting intelligently at the outbreak of the fire, and (3) taking action to limit damage. Even when you’re prepared for a motor coach fire, it’s still shocking, scary and traumatic to experience. Give yourself an edge in preventing and dealing with a fire by being prepared.
Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Motion-activated LED lights illuminate dark places
Long-time RVtravel.com reader Snoopy recommended these lights and we think they’ll come in handy for RVers. Snoopy wrote, “We got tired of finding stuff where it didn’t belong in our dark cabinets above our dinette and sofa. There are three cabinet doors on each side but it was one huge open space. So I made some dividers and painted them white and installed these battery-operated motion-activated LED lights. Works great.”
Museum of the Week
Alton Museum of History and Art
We’ve never just told you about an exhibit in a museum before (it’s usually always the entire museum), but today we’re doing just that. Inside the Alton Museum of History and Art you’ll find the “Boy Giant” exhibit, which tells the story of Robert Wadlow, the world’s tallest person. Wadlow grew to 8 feet 11.5 inches tall and was the tallest man to ever walk the face of the earth. At the museum, you’ll find relics of his past: his sled, his giant school desk, his graduation cap and gown (which required 14 yards of fabric), life-size photos (you can stand beside him and feel tiny!) and much more. There’s even a statue in his honor across the street. If you’re near Alton, this place is worth a stop. Visit the museum website here.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“We picked up our new traveling companion recently as the last stop on a 4,000-mile round-trip from Texas to California. Her name is Mayah and she’s an 11-week-old Toy Australian Shepherd. Mayah is being trained and will travel with us to K-9 agility trials across the USA.” —Bill Smith
Escapees. Best Club for RVers: All RVers welcome, no matter what type of RV, make or model. Learn more.
New Mexico state tax rules have an interesting twist for the elderly: Those who are over 100 years old and not claimed as a dependent don’t have to pay income tax. So that’s one good thing about growing very old!
Laugh of the Week
Leave with a song from the past
RVBusiness Magazine publisher Sherman Goldenberg recommended this tune – a “song for the times,” he said.
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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