Thursday, November 30, 2023


RV Daily Tips Issue 1107

May 23, 2019

Welcome to another 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.

If you are not already receiving an email reminder about each new issue of this newsletter, sign up here.

If you shop at Amazon, would you use one of the links below to do your shopping? The link in the blue bar above also works. Thanks.

U.S. shoppers: Shop at
Canadian shoppers: Shop at


A Benchmark Atlas may change your view of the road

The Benchmark series of atlases have long been favorites with wanderers, and with good reason. Covering the 11 Western states, these tabloid-sized books are a wealth of information and far richer than the typical road atlas. Each one covers one state, and the information is generally provided as two sets of maps: recreation view and landscape.

The recreation maps are large-scale, grand-view depictions of terrain and land use, with major highways and arterial roads. Landscape maps are topo-style, smaller-scale, with secondary roads, campgrounds, contour lines for elevation, and so forth – exactly the kind of detail needed for serious exploration (or for finding that great out-of-the-way campground).

The recreational maps are especially useful for locating public lands. They cover, in excellent detail and accuracy, parks, monuments, BLM lands, national forests, and state lands. Easily find roadways, dirt roads, and even trails. The road markings are remarkably clear, and it’s easy to tell the difference between a motorhome-capable dirt road and a rough 4WD track. Of course, local conditions and weather can change these things, but the maps are still a great place to start.

In addition to the pure cartographic information, the atlases also provide a fair-sized listing of points-of-interest such as campgrounds, historical places, parks, museums and such. On several occasions, I’ve found a great place that I didn’t know I was going to – until I read about it in the atlas.

The big pages and clear detail of these giant books (11″ x 16″) make for easy orientation – the “big picture.” Despite being dedicated electronic aficionados, we find ourselves making extensive use of the atlases over our iPad and Droid maps. In fact, our several-year-old atlas copies are well-worn and dog-eared. Atlases list for about $25 on the Benchmark website, but they are routinely discounted at retailers and Amazon pricing runs about $13 to $25.  —Greg Illes

If you will be near Hagerstown, MD, on June 8 you might want to consider taking one or both of Mike Sokol’s classes on RV electricity. The details are here.

Come into the light!

Our favorite electricity guy, Mike Sokol, uses this Caterpillar pocket light for just about everything. He writes, “I bought one of these CAT CY1000 Pocket COB Lights a few months ago and liked it so much that I also picked up one for my dad. I’ve dropped it a bunch of times, and it still keeps working, like any of the other tough-as-nails CAT products.” It easily clips on to your belt, shirt pocket, or anything magnetic, so you can work hands-free. Learn more or order.


The Panama Canal isn’t the only body of water that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. At Parting of the Waters, deep in the Wyoming Teton wilderness, you’ll find a stream that splits in two and does, indeed, connect the Atlantic to the Pacific. Read more about it here.


Don’t pass the gas – valve!

Loyal reader, Jeff, considers a critical safety factor in RVing is traveling with the LP gas valves closed. To help him remember, he’s had a special “red flag” tag designed, which he hangs in his rig’s electrical power center. Thanks, Jeff, for the tip!

Save money when buying something – look here first

Make it a habit to check eBay and Craigslist before you buy almost anything. Buying used (and sometimes new) items using eBay and Craigslist can easily save you 50% or more on most items. I buy items on Amazon, too, but I usually find new items on Amazon and used items on eBay and Craigslist. I bought new shocks for my motorhome on Amazon and I bought a used Progressive Industries portable electrical management system (a little box to protect against electrical surges, open ground wires, low voltage, etc.) through eBay for about half of the retail price. —From Secrets of RVing on Social Security: How to Enjoy the Motorhome and RV Lifestyle While Living on Your Social Security Income 

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


America’s best convertible drives

If you don’t own a convertible, rent one! These beautiful drives sure would be nice with the top down…

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

WiFi endoscope lets you peep where your eyes won’t go
Ever wondered what the inside of your black water tank looked like? Is that “tank blaster” really doing the job? You can’t just eyeball the inside of the tank – or can you? With a flexible endoscope, you can run a tiny camera down for a “look around,” and get an eyeful of information on your tablet or phone. It’s pretty handy to have in the RV so check it out here.


I was walking down the street today when a tow truck driver pulled up alongside me and said, “Excuse me, I’m looking for the accident site involving a truck carrying a load of cutlery.”
“Oh, I saw them a way back,” I said. “Go straight down this road for one mile, then take the first left, and when you get to the fork in the road you’re there.”

Did you miss the latest RV Travel Newsletter? If so, read it here.

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Check out our four Facebook Groups: RV Horror Stories, RV AdviceRV Electricity and RV Parks with Storm Shelters.

RV Daily Tips Staff

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

ADVERTISE on and/or in this newsletter. Contact Emily Woodbury at advertising(at)

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 or this newsletter.

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

This newsletter is copyright 2019 by


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Joe k (@guest_46661)
4 years ago

We have been trying to sign up for the Maryland electrical seminars and have filled out the “interest” notification in the newsletter. No follow up application or additional information has been received. How can we sign up to attend?

Mike Sokol
4 years ago
Reply to  Joe k

Joe, Sorry for the confusion. Here’s where you can sign up for my seminar(s) in Maryland on June 8th. I’ll make sure that we’re watching for your registration.

Rory R (@guest_46655)
4 years ago

Oh just one more comment, I got tired of people telling me I should turn off my LP. So I traded my Class C with LP in on a All electric Class A. Now I’m not concerned about whether my LP is off or on, and leveling my rig becomes a case of comfort and not safety…..

Rory R (@guest_46654)
4 years ago

When I had my class C, I drove it for 6 years with the LP Valve open, the only time I closed it when traveling was when I was in a state that required it to be closed to travel thru a tunnel. After I was thru the tunnel I stopped and turned it back on. Unless this is my ghost typing this comment, Nothing catastrophic happened…

Bisonwings (@guest_46653)
4 years ago

Well Jeff, I’m sorry but I prefer that my fridge stay cold and the frozen stuff stay that way when I’m rolling down the road. I’ve been RVing for 52 years with 0 LP problems so I guess I don’t know what the big fuss is.

JC (@guest_46650)
4 years ago

While it’s true that Amazon does discount prices of Benchmark Atlases, they also may not offer the most recent publication date of a particular atlas. For example, the Benchmark website offers the California atlas with a publication/edition date of 2019; Amazon’s date for the California atlas is 2013. The Benchmark website products may work better for a person if having the most current edition of an atlas is more important than saving a few bucks.

Jim Langley (@guest_46642)
4 years ago

Travelling with the LP valve closed is something you hear a lot, but in some rigs, the valve has to be open in order for the refrigerator to run – and new rigs, too, not just old fashioned ones. So, there’s a disconnect when people say it’s not safe to travel with the valve open. RVers have been travelling this way since the earliest days of RVing – and still are. The only precaution is to turn the propane off when you stop to refill at the gas station.

robert (@guest_46639)
4 years ago

Another great place for deals on any and everything is garage sales. Just bought a 50 amp surge protector that is working perfectly right now as I sit in RV writing this and paid all of $25 for it and lock box.

Don S (@guest_46638)
4 years ago

My daughter’s rv burnt up in 20 minutes caused by the refrigerator. I turn it off when on the road, the temperature drops only 3 degrees when I get to the rv park.

Russ DeMaris (@guest_46635)
4 years ago

Featured columnist, Mac the Fire Guy, has a few comments of his own on this always “hot potato” subject. Here’s a video that addresses the issue:

Russ De Maris,

Wolfe (@guest_46643)
4 years ago
Reply to  Russ DeMaris

It would be interesting to hear actual statistics… how many RVs get into accidents each year, and of those accidents, how many DO rupture their gas lines (boom at site or later discovered when turned on again). With how bad RVs are built, I’d expect the result to be startling…

PennyPA (@guest_46634)
4 years ago

Why does that map showing the creek that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans show the creek emptying into the Gulf of Mexico?

Sharon B (@guest_46629)
4 years ago

I am always afraid of fires. I left my fridge on only one time while taking a trip, but I was not comfortable doing so. I never did that again. I just freeze large flat plastic bags of water to keep the fridge cool while driving.
The hoses underneath the camper are exposed to all of the road hazards. The road junk can easily be pulled up and cut those hoses presenting a serious issue. I think I will pass on a convenience and be safer. I wish we did not have to use propane. Hopefully, there will be another compound made without the hazards of propane.

Morrie J Estrada (@guest_46646)
4 years ago
Reply to  Sharon B

The gas lines on my trailer are steel pipes. No worries here.

Bob Weinfurt (@guest_46628)
4 years ago

Guess I’ll voice my opinion about LP.
I have a 3 way fridge so I can turn it off when I’m driving. If that’s not practical for you, leave it on.

Don S (@guest_46637)
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob Weinfurt

My fridge have never been on when I am on the road. My 5th wheel has 90,000 miles on it. When I get to the rv park, the temperature has only dropped 3 degrees.

Jeff (@guest_46641)
4 years ago
Reply to  Don S

Thanks Don:

Pat G (@guest_46649)
4 years ago
Reply to  Don S

We have traveled for months around the U. S. without the refrig on. Lunch stuff is put @ the front, door is opened and closed quickly..Never had a problem. Temp only drops less than 5 degrees. Our neighbors lost everything except the cat in a fire, traveling with the propane on. Something on the hiway severed the line and that was the end of their trip.

RollinStone (@guest_46658)
4 years ago
Reply to  Pat G

I think you meant the temp only goes up less than 5 degrees.

Wolfe (@guest_46640)
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob Weinfurt

Just an FYI/PSA, most “2 way ” refridges draw about 3A (360W), so it’s easy to add a 400W inverter to make yours a 3-way if you’re determined to run from battery while driving. That said, longer drives (when you’d be more concerned losing refrigeration) are also the drives that will draw down your battery further, so caveat emptor or whatever the latin would be… 🙂

Myself, I’ll turn off below 4hr drives, and use the LP if I care to on longer/hotter drives. If I had a slow leak, it will likely blow away before it’s stoicimetric, and in an accident all bets are off anyway.

Robbie (@guest_46627)
4 years ago

We own every Benchmark state map ever published and have been using them since 2003. We’ve replaced our Utah map 3 times! They are only for the western states, but they are so superior to any other map we’ve ever used. Suggest if you like being off the major routes, these maps have the best details for forest service roads, and identification of the land use etc….The best buy we’ve found is usually on Amazon where there is a full selection.

John (@guest_46625)
4 years ago

Just be careful with Craigslist when meeting. Too many scams out there. Meet at the Police station for exchange if carrying cash.

John Ahrens (@guest_46652)
4 years ago
Reply to  John

In addition to Craigslist, I suggest OfferUp. Craigslist is charging more and making it more difficult for sellers, and OfferUp has been improving. So worth it to check it out.

Charles Bradford (@guest_46619)
4 years ago

Being a daily reader and one who sees that your efforts largely try do dispelling rving myths and enlighten the newbies, I was surprised that you published a tip today that encourages the false idea that rvers need to turn off their LP gas during transit.

Jeff (@guest_46620)
4 years ago

Why do you say that?

Dr4Film (@guest_46621)
4 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

It may be a great tip for you but not for everyone. I have always traveled with the LP gas valve open and when I had my Norcold (aka NotSoCold) fridge it would be working on LP gas. Today that fridge is gone so the only appliance that uses LP gas now is our two burner stove-top. Even if you were to have an accident having the valve turned off doesn’t prevent a fire especially if the tank were to be ruptured in the accident. So bottom-line turning the LP gas valve off may work for you but I’d guess there are thousands that it doesn’t.

Jeff (@guest_46622)
4 years ago
Reply to  Dr4Film

I knew this was going to create controversy from all the “KNOW IT ALL’S” So, I will NOT Entertain anymore comments!

Tommy Molnar (@guest_46623)
4 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

Me neither . . . .

Harry (@guest_46624)
4 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

Gasoline is just as dangerous, do you turn it off also?

Donny (@guest_46631)
4 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

Thousands of us travel with propane on and aren’t scared to leave our driveway, but now we know who the “know it all is!

Jeff (@guest_46644)
4 years ago
Reply to  Donny

Did you know that on Average there are 4000 RV Fires every year in this country and the #2 Cause are RV Refrigerators! I think I’ll continue to travel with PROPANE OFF!

Morrie J Estrada (@guest_46648)
4 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

So it sounds like the refrigerators are the problem. Does this mean they won’t catch fire sitting still?

RollinStone (@guest_46659)
4 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

The problem is not driving the RV with the gas on. The problem is fires are caused by overheating of the RV refrigerator boiler. That can happen while the RV is stationary.

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