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May 8, 2021
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
With Chuck Woodbury
Would you call this a recreational vehicle? What I mean is, is this an RV you would use for “recreation”? I say no. I suggest this is a “mobile home.” It’s a 37-foot Keystone travel trailer, and officially labeled a recreational vehicle. Our RV reviewer Tony Barthel wrote about in last Wednesday’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter.
Stare at the photo for a moment. Is living in this or traveling with it “camping” or “roughing it?” I think not. Recreational vehicle? No, I say it’s a “living vehicle.”
This is issue 999 of this weekly newsletter. When I started it in 2001, RVs did not look like small, elegant homes. They didn’t have slide outs. Few people lived in them full-time. People used their RVs back then to camp — to rough it with some creature comforts — a bed, stove, dinette and a roof over their heads. Ye ol’ toilet was a short walk away, most often of the pit variety, a slender, smelly vertically built structure over a big hole in the ground, and a bit of Heaven on Earth for a housefly. The idea of camping a few decades ago and before then was to leave the comforts of home behind to “rough it” in nature. Today, it’s often to bring every comfort of home with you. Nature, well, it’s not necessarily important.
I can only think of one creature comfort we have at home that we cannot have in an RV — a garbage disposal. RVs today come with washer/dryers, dishwashers, heated floors, built-in vacuums, wine coolers and even dog bowls that appear from hidden compartments at the push of a button. If you have a garbage disposal, please let me know.
EVER SINCE I BEGAN THIS NEWSLETTER, manufacturers have one-upped each other every new model year. Holding tanks, air conditioners and bathrooms were not always common 40 years ago. But after the turn of the century, the comfort level of RVs hit warp speed with the debut of slide outs. No longer did “campers” need to bump into each other when moving about their compact, wheeled abodes. For many people, living in such a comfortable “home” that moved easily made great sense. It appealed to their sense of wanderlust.
It’s this change in how we use RVs that fascinates me, and it’s what this newsletter and website will try to make sense of in the decade ahead.
Issue 1,000 of this newsletter is coming next week. I will have an announcement about my future. It’s hard for me to believe that 20 years have passed since I started this newsletter. (It was prompted over a bet with a buddy. The winner bought the other a case of beer. I won, but so far no beer.)
I have written millions of words through all those years with a deadline every week to write something semi-intelligent in this space. I have succeeded at times and I have failed miserably, too. But it has been incredibly fun. I’ll write more next week.
Until then. . .
P.S. This commercial with two ’60s gals talking about cigarettes is so corny, it cracks me up! Watch the one-minute video.
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• We look at the new camper for the Tesla truck.
• Yellowstone testing driverless shuttles this summer. Would you ride?
• Your perfect truck mash-up. Which truck features would you combine?
• City of Austin reinstates camping ban. Don’t try parking on the street.
• And the latest breaking news still being reported by our writers.
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Free and bargain camping locations • Stolen RV Report • Latest RV recalls • AARP Scam Report • Reader survey • and much more.
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Are you concerned that we do not spend this money wisely? Here’s an explanation that we hope will help you understand.
Just click below to learn more about what’s on the show (episode #5) and listen. Also available on Spotify • Podbean • Amazon/Audible • Google Podcasts • Player FM • Listen Notes • iHeartRadio and Apple Podcasts.
Last week’s Tip of the Day highlights in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• Caring for these is the easiest thing you can do to stay safe while driving
• How to kill lingering RV refrigerator smells
• 12 ways to support your favorite campground
• Blowing in the wind: 7 truckers’ tips for safe driving
Today, industry insider Tony Barthel previews the Pearl Caravan prototype. Washington state park ranger Rod Jacques has seen a lot of RVs in campgrounds over the years, and owned a couple of them, but none of them were up to his standards. Read about his story and the RV he’s created in today’s preview. (Hint: It’s cool!)
Last week’s reviews:
• 2021 Northwood Desert Fox 27FS Toy Hauler • Coachmen Apex Nano 16T Travel Trailer • Keystone Arcadia 370RL Travel Trailer • Forest River Wildwood FSX 260RT • 2021 Coachmen Spirit 2557RB Travel Trailer
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
MORE OF CLINT
See some of Clint’s recent cartoons. They’re wonderful!
DOWNLOAD FOR FREE
New free directory lists every U.S. RV manufacturer and their makes and models
How many different makes and models of RVs are there in America? RVtravel.com has the answer in a new, free, comprehensive 73-page directory that lists every U.S. manufacturer and every brand and model they make. “RVs: Who Makes What” is available free as a public service from RVtravel.com in PDF form. Learn more and/or download a free copy.
Epic dump station design failure – Gross!
By Dave Helgeson
A while back I wrote about the venerable sewer hose and how one day it may become obsolete and relegated to the past. Well, some engineer at the Nevada Department of Transportation made an attempt to obsolete the sewer hose. They did this by creating a dump station where the use of a sewer hose is not an option! —Oh, my goodness! You won’t believe this – unless you have already seen it in person. Check this out!
Campground Crowding: “Boondocking is as full as the campsites!”
More people than ever are taking up RVing. The result is campground crowding like never before. In this edition of our weekly blog, RV Travel readers discuss campground availability, selling their RVs in record time, crowded and noisy boondocking, camping at fairgrounds, the need to adapt, some interesting perspective from the other side of the check-in desk, a happy beginning for an RVing couple, and much more, here.
NEW: Work camping: Why now is the time to try it
By Julie Chickery
Work camping is a great way to earn an income and reduce your expenses as a full-time RV traveler. … [T]he world of work camping is vast and there are many opportunities to earn a full-time income as you travel the country. In this weekly column, I’ll highlight work camping opportunities, compensation packages, and other benefits associated with the practice. Continue reading.
Danger! Check your RV’s mattress for fiberglass! Yes, really!
By Gail Marsh
Many RVers switch out the original bed mattress that comes from the RV factory and purchase a memory foam mattress or “bed-in-a-box” as a replacement. A foam mattress might be more comfortable. But it might be dangerous, as well! Learn more.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• An RV rental horror story: “I was ripped off by an RV rental scam!”
• RV Tire Safety: “Tire dressing” and “Do not use covers.” Where’s the test data?!
• What is a skateboard called in Kingman, Arizona?
• Too many dashboard accessories?
How important is it to you to spend time alone?
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:
Is traveling to Alaska with your RV on your bucket list? 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.
First I am dried, then I am wet. The longer I swim, the more taste you get. What am I?
(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter. And please don’t spoil it for other readers by posting the answer in the comments.)
Cars of the future as envisioned in 1948
What a hoot! Here’s what cars of the future would look like as envisioned in 1948. Watch the short video. Is that Flash Gordon behind the wheel?
Don’t buy a new RV – Rent one for $1 a night! Here’s how…
By Mike Gast
So, you’d like to take a one-way RV trip to L.A., San Francisco or Las Vegas but you don’t currently own an RV? No problem. The big news is you can make the trip for $1 a day! I know. This all sounds like it should be tossed in the “too good to be true” pile. But the sudden growth of RV rental companies and peer-to-peer rental outfits comes along with a new problem for them, and an opportunity for you. Learn all about it here.
Beware the “death wobble.” It could happen to your truck
By Gail Marsh
The first time it happened we felt sure we were going to die. No kidding! Our Ford F-250 dually truck was humming down the road when, without warning, the front end began shaking. The front tires felt like they were jumping! The violent shaking of the front end matched the crazy, uncontrollable movement of the steering wheel. It jumped from right to left and back and forth so fast that I don’t know how my husband held on! Continue reading about this not-uncommon experience.
The best smartphone case for RVers, hands down
By Mike Gast
I’ve had a smartphone since they invented the things. My previous employer wanted me in touch 24/7, so the phone was always on and always at my fingertips. That meant the actual phone took a lot of abuse as it came along on hikes, meetings, bike trips and vacations. Where I was, it was. The constant companionship of a smartphone led me to become an expert in phone cases. Find out what brand Mike highly recommends here.
Stay overnight on lava fields in Grants, New Mexico
By Nanci Dixon
A fun and informative stop on our recent travels was the lava fields in Grants, New Mexico. The huge rocks and slabs of lava that oozed out and blew out of volcanoes 3,000 – 5,000 years ago surround the interstate. We stopped for the night at the local KOA and, although the campground was not much different than any small town overnight-only spot, they were situated on a lava field. Read more about this very unique location.
A big fat lie RV dealers tell RV buyers
In this short video, Josh Winters of Haylett RV offers a warning to would-be buyers about a scam (he doesn’t call it that, but that’s what it is) that some dealers pull on buyers that ends up costing them a lot more money and potential financial heartache down the road. Watch the video.
Goodbye. There won’t be another edition of Walmart Locator guidebook
If you rely on a well-worn printed copy of the Walmart Locator guidebook to find your next free overnight spot, you might soon have to look elsewhere. Roundabout Publications, a small Kansas City-based publisher of many outdoor guides and books, says the Fourth Edition of its Walmart Locator title will be the last. Continue reading.
Not enough power to run your air conditioner? Think again!
When the summer heat arrives and your 110 power is from a small portable generator or a 20-amp household hookup you’re out of luck running an air conditioner. That is, unless you have a SoftStartRV. It’s inexpensive, a breeze to install, and makes running your A/C possible when you never could before. Save $30! Read more.
Essay from Bloomberg Businessweek:
A reporter packs his family into a rented RV at the RV capital of the world, Elkhart, Indiana, then reports, “I drove 1,100 miles in an RV, and all I got was a bloody hand and a pool of raw sewage.”
He continues: “Conventional wisdom says that workers and vacationers are on the road back to pre-pandemic norms. But it’s also possible that the sudden embrace of RVs signals the beginning of a longer-term trend — a future in which tech executives and 2nd grade teachers finish their last Zoom of the day, emerge from their respective travel trailers to gather around a campfire, and unwind over cold beers and hot s’mores.” CLICK BELOW TO PLAY.
Is this your RV?
New prize! Now win an RVtravel.com coffee mug!
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, May 8, 2021. If it’s yours you’ll win an RVtravel.com coffee mug!
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.
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
• The Walmart of the future may not include overnight RV parking
• Campground Crowding: “I sold my trailer 15 minutes after listing it for sale!”
• What would you do if Walmart stopped allowing overnight RV stays? (Readers’ responses.)
• RV Tire Safety: Are ST-type tires better because they have a higher “speed rating”?
• Just how bad is it? Are boondocking locations getting crowded?
• Will fuel shortages affect your summer travel?
• Portable washing machine saves weight for RV. YUP.
• Blowing in the wind: Truckers’ tips for safe driving
• We tested tons of black tank treatments – this is the only one that worked
• Campground and RV Park News, May 1, 2021
• All the RV lingo you need to, and should, know
• More spam from Camping World
?????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
This is one of those things that you really don’t need, but that you’re really going to want. See what we mean.
How would you like to win these Happy Camper Towels?
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (May 8, 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.
NEW: “RVs: Who Makes What” – This is a new free directory from RVtravel.com which lists every U.S. RV manufacturer and their makes and models. Learn more and/or download a free PDF copy.
NEW: AAA Map of COVID-19 Travel Restrictions (U.S. and Canada)
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.
Great websites. Check out 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.
Road Atlas: Adventure Edition
As much as we love technology, we still appreciate a good physical road atlas. This highly rated National Geographic Road Atlas: Adventure Edition is certainly one to love. The atlas has up-to-date road maps for all 50 states, plus Canada and Mexico. Cities and metro areas include popular attractions and points of interest. The atlas also acts as a guidebook to National Parks and the top 100 adventure destinations. This atlas is cool! Check it out.
In this new weekly column, phone photography expert Mike Gast will walk you through simple, easy-to-understand tips and tricks for getting better photos with your smartphone. You’ll be a pro in no time! Read the first tip here.
RV Repair and Maintenance
RV education you can trust from RV Education 101: Get instant access to RV Online Training.
Shore power plug meltdown
By Mike Sokol
I found this picture of a 50-amp shore power plug meltdown last week, and posted it on my RVelectricity Facebook page asking for guesses as to how it happened. The comments and guesses went on for 2 days, and I finally posted my conclusions, which I’ll share with you. Continue reading this interesting and important post.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session
Don’t plug a 20-amp cord into a 50-amp outlet!
I’ve got a cargo van camper conversion. I just need to plug into a 15- or 20-amp 120-volt socket with my extension cord. Can I use the first adapter to connect to 30-amp and/or connect both adapters in line to plug into a 50-amp socket? Thanks. —Jim
RV Tire Safety
What is the “best” tire to buy for a travel trailer?
By Roger Marble
This question “What is the ‘best’ tire?” is usually framed as, “What tires should I buy for my RV trailer?” I usually stay away from brand recommendations when someone asks about buying trailer tires. As a certified Forensic Tire Engineer, I will say that whatever you get, you should ABSOLUTELY be sure the new tires have a load capacity that is at least equal to the original equipment (OE) tire capacity. Better yet: Get tires that can support 120% of the load capacity of the OE tires. Continue reading.
Recipe of the Day
Scalloped Potatoes With Bacon
by Cindi M Bauer from Marshfield, WI
Scalloped potatoes sound (and look) fancy, but they’re very easy to make. This recipe layers sliced potatoes with bacon, onion, and seasonings. Warm milk with melted butter is poured over the top. As it bakes, the mixture creates a creamy sauce. A crowd-pleasing side dish with a savory bacon flavor, these scalloped potatoes are cooked to perfection.
Creamy potatoes with BACON? Sign us up! Get the recipe here.
Other recipes featured in this week’s Daily Tips Newsletters:
• Breakfast Lasagna • Tri-Color Spinach and Artichoke Mac and Cheese • Easy Healthy Inside-Out Burrito • Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu • Honey Mustard Shrimp on the Bar-B
SECRET PHRASE: Polly had a Quacker. (Remember this for tomorrow’s newsletter)
Professional photographer says this is the best tripod for RVers
Writer Nanci Dixon was once a professional photographer and has used every type of photography equipment out there. This is the tripod she uses and says is the best for RVers. It’s lightweight, it collapses, and it can be used with a phone or big DSLR camera. Learn more here or buy one for yourself.
The Digital RVer
The problem with planners
by Chris Guld, GeeksOnTour.com
I’m talking about trip planners here. All those apps that RVers use to plan where to go, what to see, and how to get there. There’s a lot of them. Here is an incomplete list – just the ones that I have tried. Chris lists some pros and cons of five popular trip planner apps here.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Yoshi with his squeaky ball.” —Helen Lottridge
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.
Something better than duct tape? Yup.
Duct tape is the greatest thing for on-the-fly repairs of all kinds. But you may want to add Waterproofing Repair Tape to your tape deck. The manufacturer claims this stuff is so good that it’ll stick to almost anything, and it’ll do it even underwater. Read more about this handy tape here. Trust us, it’s sticky, durable, and you’ll want some for yourself.
The most searched video tutorial on YouTube is “How to kiss.”
Word and Phrase Origins
From the book, Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson:
My lips are sealed. “I’ll keep it a secret, I won’t tell a soul. This has been traced to British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin in 1936-37. Baldwin vowed confidentiality several times when asked about the abdication of King Edward VIII. ‘My lips are sealed,’ he said on one occasion, ‘I am bound to keep silence.’ Whether or not he invented the expression is unknown, but this is the first record of it.”
Laugh of the Week
Leave with a song from the past
Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
September 20, 1973, was a sad day for music fans when up and coming folk singer and songwriter Jim Croce died at age 30 in a plane crash. Here, from earlier that year, is one of his biggest hits.
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, Mike Gast. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Roger Marble, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, James Raia, Kate Doherty, Gail Marsh, J.R. 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 • Gordon Bates • 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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