RV Daily Tips Newsletter 1047


Issue 1047 • February 7, 2019

Welcome to another fabulous edition of RV Travel’s Daily Tips newsletter. Here, you’ll find helpful RV-related, and small-space living, tips from the pros, travel advice, a handy website of the day, our favorite RVing-related products and, of course, a good laugh. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate your readership.

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RV tips for upgrade and downgrade driving

R & T De Maris photo

• Be patient – Accept that you’re going to be driving slow and other drivers will be expecting you to be driving slow, so just be patient.
• Use hazard lights – Anytime you are driving say 20-30 mph below the posted speed limit, turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers you are going extra slow, as a good safety precaution.
• Downshift before ascending – Before you even start going up the hill, downshift to a lower gear so you have some extra power.
• Use Tow Haul Mode – Put your transmission in Tow Haul Mode, which uses different gear shifting to keep the engine in a more optimal range (we leave our RV in Tow Haul Mode almost all the time).
• Descend slowly – When preparing to go down the mountain pass, bring your speed way down (even as low as 30 mph, depending on the length and steepness of grade of the hill) before you even begin your descent and stay in Tow Haul Mode. This allows you to use more engine braking and gives you room to increase your speed safely. If you start driving down the hill at a high speed and try to come down to a lower speed, it’s going to be a lot harder on your brakes.
• Downshift before descending – If the RV doesn’t automatically downshift itself when going downhill, firmly press the brake to force the transmission to downshift. This will increase your engine speed (and rpm) so the engine will be doing some of the braking for you, minimizing the amount of time you need to use your brakes.
• Minimize braking – When braking, aim to press the pedal for only 15-20 seconds each time and allow time in between so you don’t cook your brakes. The last thing you want is hot, mushy brakes when you need them!
• Don’t overwork it – There’s no sense in working your RV too hard with a screaming engine or overheating brakes. Take it nice and slow and you’ll get better longevity on your vehicle.
• Enjoy the drive – There’s nothing better than the expansive views from the top of a tall hill or mountain, so take your time, relax, enjoy the drive and take in the beautiful scenery! From rvlove.com.

Use essential oils to repel RV pests

Get any essential oil that repulses insects such as peppermint or citronella oil. They are usually sweet smelling so you don’t have to worry about getting a bad smell in your RV. For even more effective results you can use an essential oil diffuser for essential oils and place them in strategic areas of your RV. If you don’t have an essential oil diffuser, you can use a small spray bottle and use 10 to 20 drops of peppermint or citronella oil mixed with distilled water, vodka or witch hazel. Shake the mixture. Spraying this in places pests like to hide can help you repel them. From everything-about-rving.com


How far above Earth’s sea level is officially known as outer space?
Answer below. No Googling (or peeking) allowed!

Speaking of the planet, save it!
Use these mesh produce bags and these reusable storage bags! In the long run, you’ll save tons of money by not buying Ziploc (or similar) plastic bags, and you’ll help reduce plastic waste.


Save insurance money when your rig’s off the road

If your motorhome, tow vehicle or truck camper is stored on private property for long periods of time, you may be able to save money by canceling the liability, collision, medical and uninsured portions of the policy until you head back on the road (provided your insurance carrier allows this practice). But keep the comprehensive coverage active. If you allow this coverage to lapse and your rig is financed, your lending institution will likely send you a nasty note and then tack on its own expensive coverage to your monthly payment. Before making any changes to your policy, check with your insurance company.

Newbie corner: RV refrigerators – they’re different!

RV refrigerators are much different than the one in your house. They don’t have compressors and they work off the principle of absorption. You should turn the RV refrigerator on several hours before putting food in it. It is best to leave it on overnight and put your food in it just prior to leaving. Always keep a small thermometer in your RV refrigerator so you can monitor the temperature. Food can begin to go bad at about 40 degrees. Tip from Mark Polk, RV Education 101.

Do you have a tip? Send it to Russ (at) rvtravel.com


@nationalparkpaws, Instagram

National Park Paws

Here’s a website for the dog owners out there. National Park Paws tells you pet policies for every National Park and other nationally protected public lands in the U.S. Know where Fido can, and can’t, go!

Check out the long list of great RVing-related websites from RVtravel.com.

The Kármán line, or Karman line, is the line that defines the boundary between Earth and space. The World Air Sports Federation, an international standard-setting and record-keeping body, says this line occurs 62 miles, 330,000 feet, above Earth’s sea level; however, NASA and the U.S. Air Force define the line at 50 miles above Earth’s sea level.
How close was your guess?

This isn’t corny – it’ll really hide your valuables! 
Odds are, if a burglar breaks into your RV, they’re going to look in the obvious places for valuables: a safe, dresser drawers, the glove compartment, but a can of corn? Nope. This “can” is actually a hidden security container made to hold valuables such as jewelry, keys, and even up to 10k cash! Screw off the bottom (the top just looks like a regular ol’ can) and hide away! Fool those burglars and hide your valuables in plain sight. Learn more or order.


In retrospect, I’m embarrassed that I had a prosthetic leg made for my three-legged dog.
Faux paw.

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Best-selling RV products and Accessories at Amazon.com

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RV Daily Tips Staff

Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Staff writer: Emily Woodbury. Contributing writers: Russ De Maris, Bob Difley, Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Mike Sokol, Greg Illes, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring. Marketing director: Jessica Sarvis. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.

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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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Even though I use tow mode, I manually downshift before a grade down a mountain. 3 for an interstate or 2 otherwise. Tow mode downshifts, but it does it at too high RPM which forces me to brake. I like to plan braking to lower RPM or before each curve. Going up a grade I leave it in drive. Tow mode will find the best gear. Again, I try to keep at a reasonable RPM without pushing it. I use pullouts as necessary to let others pass.

J Cherry

For your RV refrigerator get a battery operated fan. They make them for RV frigs. This will help circulate the air and keep your stuff from freezing as the air does not circulate well. You do not need this for residential refrigerators.

Also, we do not travel with pets. We love dogs but choose to travel without them for now while we are young and agile. Maybe when we slow down we will get another pet. However, we leave sometime early in the morning and don’t get home until late in the evening. We prefer to park in the pet section though so we can get our dog fix. I know, I know, we should not take up space in the pet section.


Reading the downgrades and up hills we encountered in Montana makes me shudder. Although the one we did do I won’t do with an RV is the one in Wyoming going around the mountain. Oye vey I remember us having to stop numerous times to give the engine and brakes a chance to cool down. Did not get into the campsite until after dark. Next trip to Montana I am going thru North Dakota. Now to dread Colorado. Wish us luck.

Roy Bertolucci

We travel with six dogs all small, a cat and a fish. We are also full timers. They all know when we are getting ready to travel, the dogs get into their travel beds and the cat goes behind the couch. The fish is pretty chill and just stays in his bowl.


We travel with absolutely no pets…a choice you did not allow with the question. We have no desire to travel with animals

Stewart Dearing

I voted One because you didn’t have a zero to vote on. We had to put our Baxter down July 2018. He was with us for 14 years and is sorely missed. We can’t get another one for quite a while, so traveling with none since then.

C & C

When we first bought our Synergy we traveled with our five Yorkies, unfortunately one has passed on and now we go with the four (for now :). It really isn’t a problem as they are an integral part of our live in our brick & mortar home as well as our wheeled home.

John Burton

No animals

Gloria Wenstrand

We travel with six pets, 1 dog and 5 birds.


Regarding first tip today — What is “tow haul mode” on an RV ? Never heard this term. Also why not engage engine break going down steep grades ?


The question about traveling with pets was obviously intended to be answered by those that travel with pets, that’s why there wasn’t a “zero” answer choice. Otherwise the question would have been “Do you travel with pets? With Answer choices yes/no.” (Which is probably a good survey question to ask). Some people just have to look for the negative in everything which is so sad.


Regarding downgrade driving “don’t overwork it,” your advice goes off a cliff in some locales. I have been in several hilly situations where no matter how slow you start, the grade is too long and too steep. The transmission won’t let you drag in a low enough gear long enough. Sometimes there are pull outs, where you should literally STOP to cool your brakes, but where there aren’t pullouts or alternate routes, drivers have little choice but to carefully overwork.

20 seconds continuous braking??? I’m reasonably confident most mechanics would say more frequent/shorter brake cycles are better for your brakes, as well as “squeeze” being better than “pulse”… brake experts want to chime in?

Marilyn R

WRT the use of hazard lights. I’d be careful if I were you! Read the attached as it is illegal in some states.

Marilyn R

People lighten up! Not every poll is going to be about you! I have a 5th-wheel and don’t get my knickers twisted up in a knot if a poll is about a Class A – it doesn’t apply to me so I don’t respond. We are barely part-timers so if the poll is about how full-timers handle situations – guess what? – I don’t respond!


FYI re FIXD GADGET LINK – did live chat w co rep who said gadget won’t work on trucks weighing more than 14,500 pounds. Rules out my 18K # class A. Anyone have thoughts?


You might first check with the Motor Vehicle Department where your RV is registered to make certain they will not cancel the tags if you suspend insurance while in storage.


I found it odd that you did not include zero as an option on today’s poll. Is it an assumption that if you’re an Rv’r that you must own a pet? Not a hater, I love animals especially dogs. I just choose not to own one. Maybe someday but for now one does not fit in with my lifestyle.

Jim O'Briant

Regarding the ascent and descent of grades, I’ve read that long-haul truckers have this saying: “You can go up a mountain too fast as many times as you like. You can go down a mountain too fast only once.”

Scott Sleight

That annoying Blue Book ad banner is appearing at the bottom of your page again. Is there a way to stop that?


I believe it’s illegal in Florida to drive with your flashers on.