It’s hard to believe, but Labor Day weekend is coming at us like a diesel pusher pulling a toad AND a boat in a high wind. Campgrounds are reporting record advanced reservations for the last big holiday weekend of the summer. It’s looking pretty crowded for the rest of the fall, too, so make your camping plans early and often. It’s been a challenging summer for RVers, but schools in most areas are getting under way, and that should take some of the pressure off. Time will tell. Speaking of time, it’s time to crank out the awning and settle in with today’s issue of North America’s best source for news and information for RVers! (That would be us.) As always, we at RVtravel.com appreciate your help through voluntary contributions to keep this newsletter coming your way, and be sure to check out all of our other RV-related newsletters.
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Sunday, August 22, 2021
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
Did you miss yesterday’s edition of the RV Travel Newsletter? If so, it’s here.
A brief spoken essay
Finally, Google might help you boondock … if you’re “crazy” enough
For the week of August 15-21, 2021. Click to play.
RVers stranded with bad DEF sensors. What does this mean? Are you affected?
We’ve written several times about DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) sensors that have left RVers and other users stranded, unable to use their motorhomes or tow vehicles. We’ve seen there’s still a bit of confusion as to just what this all means, and what can be done. We thought we’d recap and simplify the situation. And we also wanted to share with you real stories, from real RVers, to illustrate the human toll of DEF sensors gone bad. Read more.
Ready to camp with 28.5 million households? Labor Day weekend crowds could set new records
If you’re planning to go camping over the Labor Day weekend – or any other weekend this fall – and you don’t have a reservation in hand, you might be out of luck. Major camping companies and campground associations are forecasting big numbers for the last holiday of the summer. Learn more.
Canadian snowbird RVers eagerly await U.S. border reopening
More than a million Canadian snowbirds are expected to head south this fall to renew their annual pilgrimage to warmer climates in Texas, Florida, and Arizona. Many of those snowbirds are RVers who will be towing their homes on wheels across the U.S./Canadian border. Canada is now allowing fully vaccinated Americans to enter the country for non-essential travel. But the U.S. has yet to return the favor. U.S. officials announced Friday that the border will be closed to non-essential travel from Canada until at least September 21. If you are a fully vaccinated U.S. resident and you cross the border into Canada, don’t worry. U.S. officials said you can return to the U.S. any time you’d like. Read more.
RV in for service stolen from Camping World. Customers left hanging
A Florida couple isn’t very happy with the Camping World outlet in Holiday, Florida. Ken and Beverly Hunt had left their Winnebago Class C motorhome at the Camping World store for servicing. The unit was stolen from the lot at some point this summer. When they called to check on the progress on their rig, they were told by a Camping World employee that their RV was “lost.” According to authorities, the RV had actually been stolen in June. Read more.
Lawsuit claims seat belt, airbag calibration defect plagues GM trucks and SUVs
Earlier this month, General Motors was hit with allegations over a potential defect in scores of its vehicles. According to the lawsuit, several truck and SUV models manufactured after 2009 suffer from a defect that can prevent the seat belts from tightening and the airbags from deploying in certain types of crashes. Learn more.
Campground Crowding: Camp host says, “There are more campers than spaces!”
RV sales have skyrocketed and 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. Here’s a comment from Julie W., a camp host on the Oregon coast: “… I am finding that we have many more campers this year and people expect us to be able to pull a space out of thin air to accommodate them. We try our hardest but there are more campers than spaces. I wish more people would go easy on the camp host.” Read what several more readers had to say about crowded campgrounds, including some tips and secrets, here.
Listen to this week’s RVtravel.com podcast
Just click below to learn more about what’s on the show (episode 21) and listen.
Drive (virtually) through campgrounds just like with Google Maps street view!
See a site you love? Reserve it right on the spot if it’s available!
Learn about a better way to book campsites by “seeing” them in 360-degees first. PLUS: using your phone to guide you to RV adventures … they’re all on this week’s RVTravel.com podcast hosted by Scott Linden.
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel looks at the 2021 Venture RV Sonic X SN220VRBX Travel Trailer. Tony reports, “As someone who has added solar and upgraded battery systems to my own travel trailer, I can attest to how useful I think these things are. I like the packaging Venture used on this rig and think that the solar plus battery isn’t so ridiculously extreme that it’ll price this out of the market.” Read more.
Yesterday’s review: 2021 Keystone CrossRoads Cruiser Aire CR28BH Fifth Wheel
Last week’s reviews:
• Lance 960 Pickup Camper
• 2021 NeXus Viper 25V B+ Motorhome
• Alu-Cab Canopy Pickup Camper
• Lance Camper 1985 Travel Trailer
• 2021 Grand Design Solitude 310GK series fifth wheel
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
That was the RV week that was
August 15–21, 2021
Masks are now required at National Parks. Following the latest science and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Park Service (NPS) is immediately requiring visitors, employees and contractors to wear a mask inside all NPS buildings and in crowded outdoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status or community transmission levels. Continue reading.
Chip shortage cuts into production for Toyota. If you’re waiting for delivery on your new Toyota truck, your wait may have just been extended. Toyota announced Thursday that it was cutting back on auto and truck production by 40% at its plants in Japan due to the ongoing lack of computer chips. Other vehicle manufacturers including Ford, GM, and VW also said this week that they will likely announce production cuts soon. Recent COVID-19 outbreaks at Southeast Asia chip manufacturing hubs almost assure that the computer chip shortage will extend well into 2022. The RV manufacturing industry can expect to feel the same chip crunch for new motorized RVs, although major manufacturers haven’t announced any plant cutbacks yet.
Big doings at Camping World. Camping World announced this week that it would be holding an in-person investor conference September 14-15 in Salt Lake City. the two-day meeting will include a preview of the first “Electric World – the Electrification of Recreation” retail store. The first Electric World storefront is shown in the photo. In other Camping World news, the company just announced the nationwide rollout of Design, DIY and Renovation Centers. Camping World has created created a “Home on Wheels Improvement” department/category that allows every RVer in North America to access tools, resources and installation services to personalize their RV.
Lack of water has led to level 1 water shortage conditions at Lake Mead. If you were planning on parking your RV along the shores of the lake anytime soon, you’d better prepare for a hike to the water, too. On Monday, August 16th, the Bureau of Reclamation declared a Level 1 Water Shortage Condition for Lake Mead. That’s the first time the lake has ever seen a Level 1 declaration. It will lead to a series of water use cuts that take effect as early as 2022. Learn more.
Tony Barthel was prompted to share this story after seeing a post by the California Highway Patrol of Solano County with photos of a Porsche Cayenne on its roof while still attached to a travel trailer. “I know this stretch of road pretty well,” Tony writes. So why might this have happened? He has some thoughts.
New RV company with Jayco bloodlines arrives in Indiana. Ashley Bontrager Lehman, the granddaughter of Jayco founders Lloyd and Bertha Bontrager, is starting up her own independent RV manufacturing company in Northern Indiana. Ember Recreational Vehicles Inc. is just finishing construction of a new 88,000-square-foot facility in Bristol, IN. The new plant will manufacture lightweight travel trailers for off-road and off-grid adventures. Ember expects the new plant to be completed within a month, and has already hired two dozen workers. Prototypes of new Ember models are currently being developed. Jayco is now owned by Thor Industries.
Woman hospitalized with significant injuries after being attacked by a moose. While bears and wolves often come to mind when thinking of animals you don’t want to encounter while camping, an encounter with a moose can be just as dangerous or even more so. A 79-year-old woman recently found that out the hard way. The woman had seen an adult female moose and her two calves earlier in the day, but took the dog out on a leash when she thought they were gone. That is when the attack occurred and the cow stomped on the woman. The woman is being treated for serious injuries. Check out this video Colorado Parks and Wildlife produced illustrating how people can be safe and responsible around moose.
New campground coming to Mosheim, Tenn. Construction is underway on the new Mammoth Ridge Campground in Mosheim. The 77-RV-site campground will also have a 4-acre lake for fishing, boating and swimming, a dog park and a country store. Future plans include building a waterslide into the lake and a small number of primitive campsites. For more information about the new campground, read on here.
Charity still looking for more RVs for firefighters. Last week, we told you about a Reno, NV, man who had started a nonprofit charity to provide donated RVs to firefighters who had lost their own homes in the same flames they were fighting. Woody Faircloth, founder of EmergencyRV.org, is working to collect and deliver RVs to at least 10 firefighters fighting the Dixie Fire in California. Faircloth started his nonprofit after seeing the destruction of the 2018 Camp Fire. He says while an RV may not be a permanent housing solution, it does provide a sense of comfort with transitional housing. He says while RV donations are much needed, funding also helps. “Also just helping spread the word about the work we do because we see these first responders as heroes and we don’t think they need to spend all their money on a hotel room or their savings. As long as we continue to have this platform, we’re going to continue to do it.”
Arkansas community going to build its own RV park. City officials in Diamond City, Arkansas, have decided to build a new 52-acre RV park and campground near Bull Shoals Lake. The new park would replace a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers campground that has been flooded 6 of the past 8 years. Mayor Jamie Nuessner hopes the new park will bring back tourists and entice businesses to the area. Currently, he is searching for a local bank, pharmacy, and grocery store to fill nine lots directly across from Diamond Hills Country Club on Highway 7 North to enhance the complex. “It’s going to bring tourists in,” said Sharlene Hudson, co-owner of Diamond Hills Country Club. “I feel like it’s going to bring other businesses in, and we are super excited.”
Help spread the word about RVtravel.com
Here’s a great way to help spread the word about America’s favorite newsletter about RVing — yup, the one you’re reading right now! We’d love to send you some cards that you can hand out in campgrounds or at rallies to RVers who may not know about us and want to become readers. Simply send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to RVtravel.com, 9792 Edmonds Way #265, Edmonds, WA 98020. If you place one first class stamp on the return envelope we’ll send you 18 cards; include two stamps for 36 cards. No charge, of course. We’ll even toss in a few of our cool “Blast Off To Adventure” stickers.
What do RVtravel.com readers think?
We asked our readers: “Which hardware store do you shop in the most?” Home Depot came in first with about one third of the votes. Who came in third, Ace Hardware, True Value Hardware or Lowe’s? Find out.
With Tony Barthel
In this Truck & Towing Trends column, we’ll look for the latest information about trucks and tow vehicles with insider stories and tips about tow vehicles of all sorts, primarily those of interest to RVers. Highlights this week:
• Ford’s Bronco can be flat towed, and some are built for overlanding.
• Can you tow a trailer without a pickup, i.e., with an SUV?
• SUVs and vans to consider for towing.
Ford is planning to raise prices on its biggest trucks barely a month after their arrival at dealers. According to a letter sent to dealers, the brand’s lineup of 2022 F-Series Super Duty trucks will soon see a $250 price increase across the board. The move comes in what the brand calls a “competitive pricing action” that will go into effect on August 23. That gives buyers less than a week to buy pickups like the F-250 or F-350 at current prices. The popular F-150 will not be affected.
The rarest of VW pickup trucks? The Basis-Transporter
In the Philippines, it was known as a “country truck” or “Trakbayan.” In Indonesia, its name was “Mitra,” meaning partner. It was also called the Hormiga or “Ant.” By any name, the Volkswagen Basis-Transporter was among the carmaker’s oddest creations. And now it’s also among the rarest. Read more.
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, August 22, 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 one reader claimed their $25 Amazon Gift Card: Donna Ziegler of Mt. Vernon, Indiana.
We’ll have another photo in tomorrow’s RV Daily Tips 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.
10 Best-selling products from Amazon on RVtravel.com last month
Here at RVtravel.com we recommend a lot of products to you. If we know something works for our RV or someone else’s RV, we tell you about it. Just about every Amazon ad you see on our website has been tested by one of our staff members or someone we know. If we think something doesn’t work, is poorly made, or is just boring, we won’t recommend it. We like cool stuff, exciting stuff, neat stuff! Here are the top 10 best-selling products on RVtravel.com from Amazon for July.
Has anyone in your family ever worked at McDonald’s?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. We’ll post the final results in next week’s newsletter. CLICK HERE.
????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
Wow, we can think of so many times something like this would come in handy. “Just add water!”
We’ve also heard …
Forest River changing horses on air conditioners. Most RVers will tell you an air conditioner is essential equipment. Forest River just announced it is switching air conditioner suppliers for its Class C Forester, Solera, and Sunseeker RVs. Those units will now be topped with GE Appliances’ 15,000 BTU rooftop air conditioner with heat pump.
Winnebago changes mailboxes. Winnebago Industries made it official this week. Although the company’s executive offices have been in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, for the past 5 years, the corporate headquarters was officially in Forest City, Iowa. The corporate address will officially move to Eden Prairie Dec. 1. The move won’t affect manufacturing jobs or result in any job losses.
RV Retailer still on a growth curve. RV Retailer has added a 71st location with the takeover of Frost RV in Tucson, AZ. It is the first RV Retailer location in the Tucson market.
An explosive pyrocumulonimbus cloud rose 40,000 feet above California’s monstrous Dixie blaze last week, sparking lightning and fiery spinning vortexes known as fire whirls. The fire, which has seared more than 714,000 acres, keeps making its own weather. You can track the West’s wildfires and air quality on these interactive maps. (Source: Seattle Times)
A reminder that Colorado Parks and Wildlife offers active duty military, veterans and the National Guard free admission to all state parks for the month of August. Military members and veterans, resident and nonresident, can pick up a free August Military Pass at any Colorado state park or CPW office by showing proof of service.
Roll-up drying rack saves precious kitchen space
It’s almost like this was designed for RVs! This roll-up stainless steel drying rack rolls out right over the top of your sink. No more taking up room on the countertop with a bulky drying rack. This is brilliant! When you’re not using it as a drying rack, it can also be used as a colander to wash fruit and veggies, or as a non-slip trivet mat for hot pots and pans. Learn more or order.
New RV park gains support in Texas. The planned Peninsula Lakefront RV Resort near Breckenridge, Texas, has received the support of the City of Breckenridge as well as Stephens County.
Remember when we told you actor Tom Hanks was selling his Airstream Trailer? He’s sold it. Hanks pulled in $358,400 last weekend auctioning his old SUV and travel trailer. The pristine 1980 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser sold for $123,200. It was modified with a GM V6 and equipped with leather Porsche seats and an upgraded suspension. The 1992 Airstream sold at the same event for $235,200.
Criminals targeting campers in latest stealing spree – specifically, a 2014 Jayco Flight Swift camper. Two of the exact same make and model were stolen in Punta Gorda, Fla. Read more, here.
A new RV park coming near Sandusky, Ohio? RVC Outdoor, a national operator of destination resorts in nine states, wants to add a new RV park location near Sandusky, Ohio. The Perkins Township Community Development Department says the project would include about 215 RV sites, an office, swimming pool/playground/pavilion area, and cabins. The total site area is approximately 42.6 acres.
2 Montana campgrounds closed due to fire. Two popular campgrounds in Southeast Montana have been closed due to the Pine Grove Fire. The Camp Creek Campground is located 1 mile north of Zortman, MT, and the Montana Gulch Campground is located 1/2 mile west of Landusky, MT. A release from the Bureau of Land Management’s Malta Field Office said the campgrounds will stay closed until fire officials say they’re safe to reopen to the public.
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE STOLEN RVs?
UPDATE: According to oregonlive.com, authorities announced Saturday that Derek Michael Rowley had been found and taken into custody in Elko, Nevada. Police said Rowley told them where the two missing boys were located. The boys were found safe with their mother at the location Rowley provided.
This fifth wheel isn’t stolen, but the two kids associated with it may be. Police are looking for a fifth wheel bearing a Washington tag 51311AE, towed by a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado, tag C6670T. The driver is Derek Michael Rowley (33) who is a suspect in the kidnapping of two children from Price, Utah, on August 18. Rowley is 6′ tall, scaling in at 190 pounds, and bears a crown tattoo on the left side of his neck, a scull tat on his right hand, and other tattoos on his left arm. Law officers believe Rowley is somewhere in Nevada. Law enforcement agencies ask anyone who recognizes the suspect or suspect’s vehicle to call 911 and reference Multnomah County Oregon Sheriff’s Office police report #42241. Reports can also be made online at MissingKids.org.
Bad guys have a head start on this one, but let’s see what we can do. This 2021 Forest River Wildwood X-lite was stolen sometime in mid-July. Last seen in Maricopa, Arizona. The model T228RK travel trailer was “wearing” a Navy Veteran sticker on the rear, and a Hoyt sticker on a back window. Had an Arizona temporary “paper” license U237151. If you’ve seen it, call Cindy at 480-226-1220.
On Sunday morning (August 7th) this custom-built camping trailer was stolen from the La Quinta Inn & Suites at 902 W Dillon Rd. in Louisville, Colorado. The trailer was custom built for the owner, who is wheelchair-bound. There are several distinguishing features, including a flexible solar pad, Pennsylvania plates, and a “Chris Craft” logo on the back. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Louisville Police Department at 303-441-4444 or the Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at www.nococrimestoppers.com or 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Did someone rip off your ride? Let us post information on your stolen RV. Email Russ (at) rvtravel.com.
See many more recently stolen RVs. Let’s help find these for their owners and maybe even put the crooks in the slammer. Click here.
Campground and RV Park News
Developments in places where we stay across the USA
Janet Groene reports each week on developments at RV parks and campgrounds across the USA and Canada. There’s a lot of good information here that you can use to plan your travels. Read the current installment of “Campground and RV Park News” here.
Drink the water…anywhere!
The RVtravel.com editors carry our LifeStraws with us everywhere. This little straw filters out 99.99% of bacteria and parasites in any water source. Carry this lightweight lifesaver in your backpack hiking (you won’t have to carry pounds of water, hurting your back), when you travel and keep it in the pantry in case there’s ever an emergency or natural disaster. We couldn’t recommend a LifeStraw more. Learn more or order.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
• Many 2015-2020 Ram trucks recalled for side air bag danger
• Newmar recalls Dutch Star, New Aire, Ventana RVs for possible fuel leak
• Grand Design RV recalls some Imagine trailers
• Forest River RV recalls some trailers: Fresh water tank could fall off
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Cover Story: An ode to weekend campers – the “weekend warriors”
• A volcanic eruption… of butt wipes. Oh, the horror!
• Ask Dave: Can my air conditioner filter out wildfire smoke?
• RVelectricity: Power-hungry RVs, and appliances
• This “Boaterhome” travels on land and water
• What to do if you lose your pet. Everything you need to know
• Got enough battery to power that inverter?
• A praying GPS, a marinated possum, a few bad omens… and a wonderful story
• RV Tire Safety: How cold does it have to be to set tire pressure correctly?
• You’ve heard of sleepwalking, but what about sleep-driving?
• RV Short Stop: SPAM Museum is free, in person & on Zoom
• Road Trips: Three amazing women, three amazing landmarks worth a stop
… and much more
Today’s Coupons at Amazon.com
Do you love coupons, those handy things that save you lots o’ money? Did you know Amazon publishes a whole bunch of them every day? There are pages and pages of them on food products, clothing, sundries, toys, electronics, tools, even RV accessories. So go ahead, save some money! Check ’em out.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of August 16, 2021:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.17 [Calif.: $4.26]
Change from week before: Up less than 1 cent; Change from year before: Up $1.01.
Diesel: $3.36. [Calif.: $4.32]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 93 cents.
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I am the beginning of sorrow and the end of sickness. You cannot express happiness without me yet I am in the midst of crosses. I am always in risk yet never in danger. You may find me in the sun, but I am never out of darkness.
Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
NEW! ETSY PRODUCT
Handy ladder mount drying rack
Air dry up to 250 pounds of sandy towels or washed clothes with this wooden drying rack. Just hang on the ladder and it’s good to go, no hardware necessary. This Amish-made rack fits into a 30″ x 6″ x 6″ space when folded and expands up to 16′ of space when fully opened. Wall mount option available. Learn more.
Upcoming RV shows
Most of the RV shows in 2021 have been canceled. We will restart our show directory feature here as shows begin again. In the meantime, see the frequently updated schedule here.
Recipe of the Day
Buffalo Chicken Grilled Onions and Cheese Sandwich
by Sharonne Jacobs from Montgomery, AL
Sharonne hit it out of the ballpark with this delicious Buffalo grilled cheese. It has just enough heat from the wing sauce and juiciness from the chicken. Of course, it wouldn’t be a grilled cheese without the gooeyness from the cheese. The buttered Italian bread gives it a nice crunch too. More, please!
Oh, boy, this sounds good! Get the recipe.
Did you miss yesterday’s recipe, Buttermilk Fried Chicken With Spicy Honey Drizzle? Get it here.
Fix it In Foil! Tasty Recipes. Easy cleanup!
Easy prep, great taste, good nutrition, quick clean-up! “Fix It In Foil” includes 51 fantastic recipes to make in foil — plus instructions for cooking in an oven, on an outdoor grill, or on a campfire. Fix it in foil and forget about scrubbing pots and pans. And, with plenty of substitution suggestions, enjoy a whole new list of recipe possibilities! Great for RVing! Learn more or order.
Brain teaser answer:
The letter S
The Perfect Scam Podcast
Every Sunday we present a podcast from AARP about scams and how crooks are stealing your money, often via telemarketing. Their efforts are often most successful with people 65 years and older who fall victim to the scammers’ sophisticated techniques. Here is this week’s episode.
Brett Johnson and Bob Sullivan discuss cryptocurrency, gift card fraud and more
Run two air conditioners on 30 amps or one on only 20 amps!
GAME CHANGER! When the temperature really gets sizzling and your 50-amp rig is stuck with a 30-amp hookup, you’re out of luck if you want to run two air conditioners. That is, unless you have a state-of-the-art SoftStartRV. It’s inexpensive, simple to install, and works just as promised. Don’t miss watching the short video by RVtravel founder and publisher Chuck Woodbury. Click on the image to play, or learn more or order at a special discount.
Today in History
PLEASE SUPPORT OUR EFFORTS
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Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Associate editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris. Senior writers: Nanci Dixon, Tony Barthel, Mike Gast. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Gail Marsh, Roger Marble, Dave Solberg, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, James Raia, Kate Doherty, J.R. Montigel, Clint Norrell, Darian Armer and Chris Epting. Podcast host and producer: Scott Linden. Special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore, Linda Brady. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.
Honorary Correspondents: Loyal readers who regularly email us leads about news stories and other information and resources that aid our own news-gathering efforts.
Tom and Lois Speirs • Mike Sherman • George Bliss • Steve Barnes • Tom Hart + others who we will add later.
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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