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April 24, 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 2:30 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
Iam very happy to offer something to you that I know you will find incredibly useful. It’s a special report we’ve compiled titled “RVs: Who Makes What“. And it’s absolutely free, no strings attached. I will tell you how we can afford to do this in a minute.
It’s a comprehensive, 73-page directory of every RV manufacturer in America and the makes and models of each brand. It’s divided into sections for easy reference — motorized RVs, towables, truck campers … even a section devoted to ice fishing RVs (if you live where it’s cold in the winter you know about these unique recreational vehicles).
Our associate Bradford Geer spent countless hours over more than a year gathering and compiling the information. Never, in all my years of RVing, have I seen a free publication so valuable to RVers. Thank you, Brad! You’re amazing!
We could easily sell this as a book, but we have chosen instead to provide it for free. Thank you to our friends at SoftStartRV for helping fund this project. (If you want to beat the heat in your RV this summer, please check out my story about this game-changing product.)
And a very special, huge thank you to our voluntary subscribers, whose donations truly made this possible — not just for them, but for the 96 percent of our readers who choose to read this newsletter for free.
Our hope is that you will download a copy of this for yourself, and then tell all your RVer friends about it. Post the link to it on your Social Media pages. If you have a blog or website, please tell your readers about it. Ditto if you have a YouTube channel. They will thank you! And please tell everyone who receives it to share it with others. Our “payment” will come from all the exposure this will bring to RVtravel.com, and hopefully gain us many new subscribers.
We have two more valuable reports in the works, both of which we’ll provide to you for free. If you truly appreciate what we are doing at RVtravel.com, we would, of course, appreciate you considering a donation to help us fund these and other projects. Whether $5 or $50 — whatever you can afford — it will be most appreciated.
My staff and I are very proud to be able to bring this publication to you.
P.S. Many of you know I am a nut about Mars, and I lament that in my lifetime I will never get to travel there. Still, I am loving the coverage of the red planet from NASA including the magnificent photos its rovers are sending back to us Earthlings. If you did not get a chance to see the video of the first powered controlled flight on Mars last week (a tiny helicopter), just click here to see it and read about another amazing experiment last week.
Also: We are now posting breaking news headlines every Monday through Friday in our RV Daily Tips Newsletter. If you are not signed up for an email reminder for each new issue, you can do so here.
We’re looking for writers!
Are you an RVer who is passionate and knowledgeable about the lifestyle? Do you love to find quirky roadside attractions, great little cafes, or unique places to stay with an RV? Do you have RVing tips others may benefit from? Have you done a DIY project in/on your RV you’d like to share? If so, let’s chat! Please send an email to us here and tell us about yourself and your writing experience. We are especially interested in someone who loves to cover breaking news (daily journalism experience required).
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• 2021 North American Camping Report finds 2.6 million new camping households
• Proposed Texas law could limit overnight RV parking in entire state
• Out-of-state motorhomes are exempt in California smog plan
• KOA owners sponsor Yellow Whistle Campaign to stop anti-Asian hate
• Toyota preparing to join EV truck, SUV green wave — big time
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Latest RV recalls • Free and bargain camping locations • Reader survey • and much more …
We work super hard for you, and we could use a little help
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 less than 4 cents for each issue we publish. That’s all! And when you contribute, you’ll receive a special member-only ad-free version of this newsletter forever and ever as one way for us to say thank you. Learn more or donate.
Are you concerned that we do not spend this money wisely? Here’s an explanation that we hope will help you understand.
Last week’s Tip of the Day highlights in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
Listen to last Sunday’s RVtravel.com podcast.
Just click below to learn more about what’s on the show (episode #3) and listen. Also available on Spotify • Podbean • Amazon/Audible • Google Podcasts • Player FM • Listen Notes • iHeartRadio and soon on other channels.
Today, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the new 2021 Grand Design Transcend Xplor 200MK Travel Trailer. He writes, “I was initially surprised that Grand Design would build a trailer with this construction methodology, and I stand corrected. While this does make for the most affordable model in their lineup, that doesn’t translate into these being cheaply made.” Read more and take a look around.
Last week’s reviews:
Capri Camper • 2021 KZ RV Sportsmen 231RK half-ton-towable fifth wheel • New Horizons RV Majestic M42IK6S Fifth Wheel • 2021 Winnebago Voyage 2639BHL Fifth Wheel • 2021 Winnebago Micro Minnie 2108TB Travel Trailer
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
MORE OF CLINT
See some of Clint’s recent cartoons. They’re wonderful!
Don’t swelter in your RV this summer!
At RVtravel.com we don’t see too many products that we go nuts over, but the SoftStartRV is a game changer. Here’s what it can do:
• Run one air conditioner using only a small portable generator.
• Run one air conditioner on 20-amp household current.
• Run two air conditioners (with 2 SoftStartRVs) on a 30-amp hookup.
• Run an air conditioner or two using your onboard inverter system. Read more or order at a special discount price. Simple installation!
Campground Crowding: When living in an RV is cheaper than a house or apartment
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 readers weigh in on yurts and cabins taking up already limited RV campsites, more RVers hanging up the RV keys due to campground crowding, RVers finding ample campsites during the shoulder seasons, some RVers setting up a home base to avoid crowded campgrounds, and much more, here.
Moving from a “house RV” to an “apartment RV.” How do we downsize?
By Nanci Dixon
After a popular trend to “Go Big,” more and more RVers are deciding to ditch the big rig and downsize to a smaller RV. Class B van-style RVs and smaller Class C’s are definitely more nimble to drive and park, not to mention the ease of backing into tight spots and stopping for groceries and dining out. Campground crowding is making it harder to find big rig campsites, plus a smaller RV opens up far more opportunities to camp in national and state parks. Readers Suzanne and Danny R. asked how is an RVer supposed go about the Herculean task of downsizing? Get a gazillion great tips here.
Expedition Boondock: A journal of adventure and extraordinary danger
By Farthington Q. Fogg, Esq.
Day One: An epic journey begins
We bade farewell to civilization, our final human contact the convenience store clerk’s muttered “guh-bye” as we balanced chips, burritos, beer and antacids in outstretched arms. The critical provisions would fuel our expedition to parts unknown, the impending danger looming like a balky slideout. Ahead, uncertainty. Adventure, perhaps. Our own mortality, most certainly. Knowledge to benefit all humanity? Possibly. There was but one surety. We intrepid explorers were on an expedition into the great unknown, a place of legend known in many primitive societies as The Boondocks. Continue reading this first installment of a very hilarious series.
Full-time RVer Newsletter Issue #2 coming soon! Catch up and sign up now!
If you’re currently a full-time RVer or hope to be one day, then reading this newsletter every other week should be essential reading. It’s packed with information and advice specially addressed to full-timers. Check out our first issue, and sign up for an email reminder for each new issue if you like what you see.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• Who is responsible for educating the RV park idiots?
• Dometic’s new compressor-run refrigerator. Is it right for you?
• This campground is top secret. Do you know where it is?
• Your views from quarantine: What’s out your window?
Did you experience physical discomfort the day after your second COVID shot?
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:
What are your two major sources of news? See how more than 3,700 other RVers responded.
Read other polls we’ve run through the years. There are more than a thousand. It’s fascinating reading.
Alone I am 24th. With a friend, I am 20. Add another friend, I am unclean.
(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter. And please don’t spoil it for other readers by posting the answer in the comments.)
Thanks to George Bliss for submitting this brain teaser! Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
What would you do if Walmart banned overnight RV stays in all its stores?
Here is where you get a chance to tell us something, rather than the other way around. We’ll publish as many of your responses as possible in the next week or so. Your assignment today is mainly for those of you who routinely stay overnight in your RVs in Walmart parking lots. What would you do if Walmart were to suddenly ban overnight stays? Where would you stay? Use the form here to reply.
Fire Extinguishing Aerosol, Two-pack
The First Alert Tundra Fire Extinguishing Aerosol Spray is easier to use and discharges 4 times longer than traditional fire extinguishers. With an aerosol nozzle and portable size, it’s suited for the kitchen, car, garage, boat or RV. The formula wipes away with a damp cloth & is biodegradable. Learn more or order.
Can you RV camp at a military campground?
By Paul Stimers
Are you or a member of your family on active military duty? Are you retired, disabled, or have an honorable discharge? If you are, did you know you’re eligible to camp on military campgrounds? If you’ve never heard of the program, it’s called the MWR branch. And all branches of service have one. It stands for the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) branch. Continue reading this very thorough article.
The Wild Side: Getting closer to critters is easy for RV travelers
By Scott Linden
Relaxing at the edge of a sparkling trout stream, I caught movement on the far bank. The undulating form quickly became an otter, in search of a meal, adventure, fun? How simple it was to sense its fleeting presence – gone in an instant – reminded me that often all you need to do to savor our wild world is to hold still. … America’s favorite outdoor activity is wildlife watching, and RVers are ideally equipped to get up close to bees and bunnies, frogs and other fauna. Continue reading.
Spring RV shakedown primer
Now that spring has finally begun to arrive in most parts of the country and memories of a long, cold winter begin to wane, many of us get antsy for that first RV excursion of the season. Time to get the RV ready for the road. Here’s a very complete checklist of what to do now to get your RV ready to head out on the road.
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 time today, April 24, 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: Jay M. of Runnells, Iowa, and Phil R. of Aiken, South Carolina.
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
• California State Parks adds new automated dump stations
• Campground Crowding: Crowds lead RVers to alternative camping options
• Long-term RV costs for the full-time RVer
• RV demolition: The quest to renovate a water-damaged junker
• Ford F-150 pickup truck honors never stop coming
• Ways for RVers to stream free (or almost free) TV
• How expensive is traveling with an RV? Here’s what you can expect
• Campground and RV Park News, April 17, 2021
• Useful RV applications of Google Earth, Part 3: Fuel stations
• Beat the heat: How to keep your RV cool this summer
• Scare away thieves: Paint your cat!
• Building an RV park: Bank schmank; and the septic is installed!
• 15 uses for plastic grocery bags in your RV
?????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
We won’t be puzzled if you say, “Ewww!” But you’ll also laugh. See why.
How would you like to win this portable oven and food warmer?
This highly-rated portable food warmer/oven has an automatic temperature control design so you don’t need to worry about overheating the food. Just plug in the power and you can do other things. This will come in very handy!
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (April 24, 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.
Helpful book for camping areas managed by the NPS
This recently published book from The Ultimate Public Campground Project describes 2,241 camping areas across the United States that are managed by the National Park Service. If you’re looking for new places to camp, this is the book for you. The project has been growing since 2008 and now has a website and an app too. Learn more or order.
RV Repair and Maintenance
RV education you can trust from RV Education 101: Get instant access to RV Online Training.
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
AirLight insulates your RV – Keep the cool or warm air inside!
By Tony Barthel
With summer and camping season closing in on our calendars, one of the things we all think about is air conditioning. Keeping our rigs cool and less humid is something we all think about, some more than others. In fact, Jim Phelan of AirSkirts thinks about the inside temperature of RVs quite a bit and now has a second product to help with this, the AirLight. Learn more.
With Mike Sokol
No-cut SoftStartRV installation (with video)
Just a few weeks ago Danny Rahner from SoftStartRV and I did an Ask the Expert webcast on his new no-cut installation procedure for the SoftStartRV controller. So, by request, this article and companion video will show how it works in more detail. It’s even simpler to do than before, and only requires you pick up a pack of quick-disconnect connectors from Lowe’s (or wherever). Continue reading.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session
Warning! Lightning season is coming soon; protect your RV
So, last week a huge bolt of lightning hit a utility pole about 100 feet from my camper. It completely destroyed the pole (literally cut it in half). Well, apparently it followed the electric or cable wire into my camper. And yes, I had one of those surge protectors plugged into my electric source at the plug, and my camper was plugged into it. Apparently it didn’t help. Here is what I know. … Continue reading the letter and Mike’s response.
RV Tire Safety
Which tire expert is correct about tire inflation?
Internet “experts” have Dennis confused. Maybe Roger Marble can help. Dennis said: “Okay. I’ve been RVing in Class A’s for 40-plus years and thought I had this figured out, but the ‘experts’ have emerged to confuse me, once again. So, what is the definitive answer to the question of tire pressure. Should it be the coach manufacturer’s recommendation on the placard in most every RV, or the tire manufacturer’s inflation recommendation? I know for sure that the ‘cold pressure’ stamped on the tire is NOT the recommended pressure. Please advise.” Read Roger’s thorough but understandable explanation here.
Crispy Garlic Parmesan Asparagus Pillows
by Lisa ‘Gayle’ Goff from Chula Vista, CA
We love creative ways to prepare vegetables and these asparagus pillows are really delicious. The asparagus roasted in the phyllo dough is such a treat. Especially with the freshly grated Parmesan for saltiness and garlic powder for extra flavor. These will definitely be a highlight on your table and are a great way to get kiddos to eat their vegetables.
We’ve got to try these! Get the recipe here.
Other recipes featured in this week’s Daily Tips Newsletters:
• Southern Style Blackened Shrimp & Grits • Strawberry Tiramisu, T’s Way • Cheddar Cheese Risotto • Nine Layer Greek Dip • Betty’s Thai Basil Stir-Fry Chicken
This is so funny!
If we saw someone with this in their car’s or RV’s cigarette lighter, we’d want to be their friend – it’s hilarious! This “FIRE MISSILES” cigarette lighter cover fits into all 12-volt vehicle accessory lighter sockets. It’s just designed for show, but it’ll give anyone in your vehicle a good laugh. Learn more or order. (This would make a great gift for someone with a sense of humor!)
The Digital RVer
With Chris Guld, Geeks On Tour
A comprehensive new National Park Service App
Did you know there are woolly mammoths in Waco, TX? I just discovered that by exploring the new National Park Service app. It’s a free app you can install on iOS or Android. You’ve always been able to explore park information on the NPS website, but now we have detailed information on each park right on our phones. You can even choose to download a park’s information to your device, so it stays available when you are out of cell service – a situation that happens frequently in National Parks! Continue reading.
Readers’ Pets of the Day
“This is Peach and Clutch. They are happy little campers that go with us every time.” —Cheryl Pratt
Travel off the beaten path…
Off the Beaten Path spotlights more than 1,000 of the United States’ most overlooked must-see destinations. In a state-by-state A-to-Z format, this budget-friendly planner reveals the best-kept secret spots so that no matter where you live, you can plan an unforgettable local vacation. Revel in nature, science, art and culture, and encounter the unexpected as you explore undiscovered gems. Learn more or order.
Vintage Postcard of the Week
Postcards owned by Colleen and Ed Weum, Pacific Northwest Postcard Club. Read more about their 90,000 postcard collection here.
The word “mortgage” comes from a French word meaning “death contract.” That’s why we have RVs instead, right?
NEW! Word and Phrase Origins
From the book, Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson:
Killed with (by) kindness: “Shakespeare recorded this expression first in The Taming of the Shrew (1596). The words, meaning to destroy or harm by excessive kindness, may be much older. There is a story that the Athenian lawmaker Draco, a popular man, was literally killed with his kindness. While he was sitting in a theater at Aegina in about 590 B.C., other spectators hailed him by throwing their cloaks and caps in tribute. So many landed on Draco that he smothered to death.”
Laugh of the Week
The Cynical Philosopher:
• I read that 4,153,237 people got married last year. Not to cause any trouble, but shouldn’t that be an even number?
• Today a man knocked on my door and asked for a small donation towards the local swimming pool. I gave him a glass of water.
• My therapist said that my narcissism causes me to misread social situations. I’m pretty sure she was hitting on me.
Leave with a song from the past
Here’s a song you heard a whole lot back when it debuted in 1979 — Cyndi Lauper with her giant hit “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”!
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, Mike Gast, J.M. Montigel, Clint Norrell, Randall Brink, Julie Chickery 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.
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