Sunday, February 5, 2023


News for RVers #944, Sunday edition

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Sunday, April 19, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition

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Our friend and columnist Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, has died

We posted this very sad news in yesterday’s newsletter. But we wanted to be sure that all of our readers knew that our dear friend and columnist Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, passed away Friday after several weeks battling COVID-19.

Gary has been a fixture in the RV Industry for 40 years as a writer, speaker and educator, and in 2016 was inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame. In his long career, to our knowledge, this kind man never spoke an unkind word about anybody. He was beloved by the tens of thousands who read his articles and/or saw him speak through all those years. Editor Chuck Woodbury wrote more about Gary’s passing on Friday evening after he had learned the news. By early evening Saturday, more than 200 readers had responded, most with messages about how Gary had touched their lives. Read what Chuck wrote here.

Coronavirus Updates for RVers

Here’s the latest news and information about the coronavirus and how it’s affecting the RV community. We feature this in every Sunday’s edition of the Newsletter.


Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?

If so, some stories you missed:
FMCA struggles to retain members and cope with lost income.
Update on Virginia RV park devastated by governor’s shut down order.
Your words and views from quarantine: Reader photos of what’s outside their window.
Full-time RVers in a bind and how you can help.
• And our readers poll: Are you doing your major grocery shopping online to be delivered to you?
and much more

Read it here | Back issues

That was the RV week that was

April 12–18, 2020

All praise for the philanthropic pooper pumpers! Essential workers and first responders living in the Cooper City, Florida, area have a friend when in need. Kenia Fulton, who owns Marine Waste Management, says anyone meeting that description who needs an RV pumped out need only call, and a pumper will be dispatched to their rig for a free tank evacuation. Not only is the service benefiting the temporary RV dwellers, it’s helping Kenia keep her workers working.

Anne Gomez on

One of the key principles of Burning Man, an annual festival held on Nevada’s desert at Black Rock City, is “Radical Inclusion.” The premise is that everyone is welcome at Burning Man. This year, it looks like Radical Social Distancing will trump Radical Inclusion. The coronavirus pandemic has caused organizers to move the festival from Black Rock City to the virtual world of the internet. says, “In 2020 we need human connection and Immediacy more than ever. But public health and the well-being of our participants, staff, and neighbors in Nevada are our highest priorities.” Those who’ve already bought tickets can get refunds. Organizers are cheering on participants to develop creative ways to celebrate the ideals safely – and electronically.


Spring has sprung and everyone wants to get outside. Social distancing applies not just to humans, but to humans encountering wildlife. This reptile would prefer more than six feet of distance. This photo was taken earlier this week by a Bureau of Land Management ranger at California’s Fort Ord National Monument.

Lakeway, Texas, joins a growing group of municipalities which are easing restrictions on RV parking to accommodate families coping with the coronavirus crisis. Code enforcement officers noticed more and more RVs parked outside of homes in Lakeway and, on investigating, found many of them were parked by medical personnel attempting to isolate themselves from their families while still being near them. City officials say they’ll allow RV parking outside of homes and on driveways for the time being.

The new front-engine MC diesel chassis from Freightliner Customer Chassis Corp., which made its debut March 30 on the previously gas-powered Canyon Star motorhome by Newmar Corp., was designed to compete head-to-head with gas-powered Class A motorhomes. Freightliner officials told RVBusiness the MC is more powerful, quieter, less costly, and handles better than the “gasoline look-alikes.” The MC is also more fuel efficient, more durable and has a greater tow capacity, they added.

Adam, Ajay, & Casey Bratcher

UPDATE Sat. a.m.: According to the Lompoc Police Department, the boys were found on April 18. No further information is available at this time. Police in California are asking for help in locating two missing children, which they allege are being hidden by their father, last seen traveling in a fifth wheel. Adam Bratcher (38) may have his sons, Casey Bratcher (1), who is 2’ 6” and 28 pounds, blue-eyed, with red/auburn hair, and Ajay Bratcher (3), who is 3’ tall, scales in at 35 pounds, is brown-eyed with blonde hair. Both boys were last seen in the New Cuyama, California, area when Adam was spotted driving a blue Ford F350 4-door pickup with license 7F80792, towing a 30’ fifth wheel. Authorities ask you dial 9-1-1 and reference the Lompoc, California, police.

Airstream has rolled out its new Atlas camper, built on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500 chassis. In total, the 2020 Atlas has similar amenities as other luxury camper RV conversions —  such as a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area — but with the Airstream and Mercedes touch of luxury. The camper RV is 24-feet long and sleeps two. However, it can seat up to four people: two at the driver and passenger seats, and two on the couch, which comes with seatbelts. But there is one difference in this RV from similar models from other companies: It comes with a price tag of $238,000!

A string of Easter Sunday bad weather events touched Texas when a twister whipped through an RV park in the tiny town of Round Mountain, Texas. Hofbrau RV Park was hit at 5 a.m. and the twister’s wake touched 35 RVs, leaving five of them seriously damaged or destroyed. Happily no deaths, but two people were injured.

Hypnotica Studios Infinite from Toms River, New Jersey, USA on

What do pot and a defunct RV manufacturing plant in Maryland have in common? In the words of the Grateful Dead, “What a long, strange trip it’s been.” Ages ago, Fleetwood RV built a manufacturing plant in Hancock, Maryland. Hard times hit, and Fleetwood went bust. The town acquired the building, applied for, and received a $600,000 federal block grant to revamp the building to better suit its purposes. A composite manufacturing firm established a plant there but it, too, eventually shut down operations. By the mid-2010s, the town was approached by a medical marijuana growing operation that wanted to rent the old Fleetwood plant for its own plants. It didn’t take long for town officials to get a letter, saying if they rented to the grass grower they’d need to repay the $600,000 grant. Grass is green and legal in Maryland, but federal law still frowns on it, hence the demand for payment. Town officials cut the grass growers a deal, and now, some five years later, have cut their own deal: Repayment of $200,000 per year for the next three years, which they figure will come out of rental payments they’re getting from the pot operation. A lot of money, up in smoke.

First responders in Norwich Township, Michigan, got a roll-out call Thursday for a family possibly hit by carbon monoxide poisoning. It turned out it was the deadly colorless gas – and a very big family. Two adults and eight children, ages 4 to 13, were all piled in an RV. All eight children were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. A woman was flown out by helicopter due to the seriousness of her exposure. It’s not clear why the family was in the township; they had arrived on Wednesday.

Staying in an RV on private property in Crescent City, California, is cheap and easy—as long you don’t stay more than three months. The city requires short-term guests be provided with a properly sized power cord, proper sewage disposal, clean water, and an “over the counter” permit from the city. Want to stay more than three months? Things get a bit more expensive. The city requires permanently installed utilities, a plan review, hard surface parking, building and use permits. Sewer and water connections alone would require paying the city $3,300. Tack on all the other requisite fees and permits and the total costs could run upwards to $10,000. That’s a bit much, in the opinion of city councilors, who’ve asked city staff to take another look into ways those costs might be reduced.

The majority of RV dealerships responding to an RV Dealers Association (RVDA) survey reported they are open for business in one way, shape or form, some of them only providing essential services under state and local stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 outbreak. At the same time, 61% of the 145 respondents surveyed April 10-13 said their retail sales and fixed operations (service and parts and accessories) businesses are down at least 50% compared to the period immediately preceding the pandemic crisis.

If the world gives you lemons, make lemonade. Following that principle, Ranger Ready Repellents, a firm that manufactures bug repellents, is now manufacturing a repellent for a different kind of bug: Coronavirus. The East Coast firm has manufactured mosquito and tick repellents, but seeing the need in the community, the outfit changed formulas and geared up for a spray-on hand sanitizer. It took just three weeks for the “idea” to go to production and already 10,000 units of the 80% alcohol spray mist hand sanitizer has been available to Connecticut for use by emergency medical services, hospitals, and first responders. As the “bug juice” production ramps up, it will become available to consumers and businesses at

Take two guys, a travel trailer, and no running lights. Add a car with two cops, and what do you get? Looks like jail time, after you factor in the police taking a peek in your rig. On April 10, North Bay, Ontario, police officers spotted a travel trailer in tow, after dark, on Highway 11 in North Bay. Since the RV had no running lights, they pulled the combo over and had a conversation with the tow rig’s occupants, Wesley Berman (23) and Caelan Chamberlain-Holden (20). One thing led to another, which ended in a search of the rig, turning up firearms, butterfly knives, a Taser, and a bit of marijuana. Both have charges to answer to in the near future.


A few years back, a lot of RVers were puzzled on seeing some rather strange looking appendages on the tail-end of semi-trailers. These add-ons looked like something that slipped out the back door of a geometry class and attached themselves to passing long-haul trucks. We were among those who asked, “What on earth are those things?” Those things, it turned out, were aftermarket aerodynamic enhancers that cut drag and increased fuel economy, and were officially called TrailerTails, originally manufactured by ATDynamics back in 2008. Seven years later, ATDynamics was bought out by a company called Stemco, and they’ve been the outfit responsible for their continued production – until now. Stemco says it has shut down production of TrailerTails, citing the line as “underperforming.” Many fleets used TrailerTails and said they actually increased fuel economy but, on occasion, could become victims of crunches at loading docks.

Number one for number two? That’s the question put to the Menan, Idaho, planning and zoning commission by the city’s councilors. If this is as clear as mud, we’ll try and clarify it. Justin Anderson bought up a warehouse in Menan, with the idea that he’d use the site to construct an RV dump station. Under current practice, a dump station is classified as a “user equivalent two,” in the grand scheme of sewer and water use charges, meaning Anderson would be charged $200 a month for sewage fees for his dump station. City councilors thought this was perhaps a bit much, so they’ve kicked the idea over to other officials that would reclassify dump stations at the same rate as typical family homes, that is, “user equivalent one.” So your number two gets a number one price – at least in the minds of the council. Time will tell what the planning and zoning board say; meantime, Anderson hopes to have his new dump station open for your dirty business by summer – the COVID-19 crisis allowing.

While it seems many local government authorities are proving to be flexible in this time of pandemic, sad to say, it’s not always true with home owner associations. We reported last week on a nurse told to move her RV out of the driveway. Here’s another one from Yucaipa, California, where an E.R. physician-assistant has taken to isolation in a motorhome in his driveway to keep his family safe. The city normally rules against folks living in RVs in the city, but has suspended those rules because of the coronavirus pandemic, but Michael Avila-Cabral’s home owner association hasn’t backed down. The HOA says the doc will need to get the rig out of the driveway and out of HOA jurisdiction in 10 days. Yucaipa’s mayor is attempting to intercede with the HOA.

Police need your help locating a Los Angeles woman who suffers from dementia and is missing, evidently driving a motorhome. Connie Marie Kimes was last known to be in the Colton, California, area on April 13. Sometime in the afternoon she apparently left driving a 2020 Class C Thor Four Seasons motorhome, bearing California plates 8NKK974. She might be headed out to Long Beach, or possibly Barstow, California. Got information? Call Detective Morris with the Los Angeles Missing Person Detail at 323-890-5500.

Sorry, no picture for this one: Police finally got their woman last Monday after a wild chase in Rapid City, South Dakota. It started when police got word of a “civil altercation” at an apartment building. Just what that entailed isn’t clear, but when they asked her if a vehicle she had might be stolen, she took off with it. Officers, acting with foresight, had lain out stop-strips at the apartment complex entrance, but it wasn’t enough to stop a determined suspect in an SUV. She blasted through the stop strips, crashed through a freeway fence and onto the southbound lanes of Interstate 90 – unfortunately she was headed in the northbound direction. Apparently it took her about a half-mile to recognize this, because at that point, she crossed the median and was heading with the flow of traffic, running an additional 10 miles, but lost it and sprang through a barb-wire fence – twice – finally shooting down a surface street. She then zoomed into an RV dealer’s lot. There, she clobbered some of the dealership’s equipment, and finally exhausted her steed. She jumped out of the SUV and vanished for a while. Police eventually caught up with her – cuddled up in an RV battery compartment. She’s waiting for a possible award for three counts of hit-and-run, aggravated eluding, driving while suspended, and obstruction of justice.

Now, you don’t see an RV like this every day! Its appearance is unique to begin with, but the big deal is that it’s two stories tall! But don’t worry about hitting bridges: the tip top folds back and down so it’s no taller than a typical travel trailer. The 13-foot RV comes with a wood-detailed Fiat Ducato vehicle that the RV is designed to travel on. Even though you can’t see from the photo, it includes a bathroom with toilet and shower. The price tag is $142,690. The vehicle is build in the Netherlands. If you really, really want one, you can learn more at the company’s website.

Roof vent not doing its job? Here’s a solution…
If you smell your toilet when driving your motorhome down the road, it’s because the odor is being drawn into the RV and not outside via the roof vent. The solution is to get an inexpensive 360 Siphon Roof Vent. It works for all RVs even when the RV is not moving, like in a campground. Keep the stink away.

Brain Teaser

Rearrange the letters, O O U S W T D N E J R, to spell just one word. Can you do it?
(Answer below.)

And don’t miss the Sunday funny below that.

Reader poll

Have you received your government stimulus payment yet?
Respond here and see how others responded.

Campground chatter

Developments at RV parks and campgrounds 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 Chatter” here.

Latest fuel prices

Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of April 13, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $1.85 [Calif.: $2.75]
Change from week before: Down 7 cents; Change from year before: Down 98 cents.
Diesel: $2.51 [Calif.: $3.30]
Change from week before: Down 4 cents; Change from year before: Down 61 cents.

Sign up for an email reminder for our weekday RV Daily Tips Newsletter, published every Monday through Friday. You won’t want to miss it!

Easily repair a tear in your RV’s awning
Left on their own, small vinyl RV awning tears can get bigger. Fixing a small tear in an area, barring a person’s physical limitations, is easy. You may already have what you need for a fix. It’s called “RV GOOP” and is made by the same outfit that developed “GOOP” for shoe repairs. Read more about it here.

Upcoming RV shows

Nothing in the near future. All cancelled or postponed.

But for those who want to plan ahead – See the complete list of upcoming RV shows.

Free and bargain camping


Click here to view this week’s free and bargain camping spots.

Other resources:
Walmart Directory: Best printed directory of Walmart locations.
Guide to Free Campgrounds: Best-selling directory, year after year.

Overnight RV Parking, with more than 14,000 locations listed, is the largest and best resource for locating free and inexpensive places to spend a night in an RV. For membership information and a demo of the site, click here. A modest membership fee required, but try the free demo. Watch a video about

Brain teaser answer:


Canceled travel plans = an upset wife? Here’s the perfect gift…
If your travel plans have been canceled and the wife is upset, this earring and necklace combo is the perfect gift to cheer her up! (Or, ladies, you can just buy this adorable combo for yourself!) We think all the ladies of the staff need this… Chuck? Learn more or order here (trust us, you’ll get major brownie points.).

Sunday funny

Q. What is the biggest lie in the entire universe?
A. “I have read and agree to the Terms & Conditions.”

RV Travel staff


Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Emily Woodbury. Senior editors: Diane McGovern, Russ and Tiña De Maris. 

This website utilizes some advertising services. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers.

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 2020 by

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Lynda Caporn
2 years ago

Just One Word. Piffle! I found lots –
from LyndaC DownUnder…

Paul Logue
2 years ago

Just one word!? You are so mean! Lol. We are stuck in our homes already going crazy! JUST ONE WORD?🤪

Billy Bob Thornton
2 years ago

Just a couple of friendly Canadians out having a good time. I mean, look at the stash, mostly knives, big deal. But then again, it scares those to the north that they are becoming us. News flash, you don’t have a right to bear arms. You guys allowed your government a long time ago, in the 50ties, or 60ties, I forget, when you broke away from Great Britton, another no rights country.

Gee, and we fought and became independent, when, oh yeah, 1787.

So, nothing to see here but sensationalism, as usual. Move along now.

2 years ago

Ha!….Good luck on that not buying Chinese….! Try finding American made shirts, underwear, socks, etc etc… could make this a major quest but you won’t be able to buy much. I too remember when EVERYTHING was ‘made in America’. Thanks to rampant corporate greed, no more. Not even American icons like Daisy BB guns or Radio Flyer wagons….all made in China. European countries did not allow this, and we should not have either.

Bill W.
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike

It’s not just the fault of the corporations. The American consumer must also share the blame when they continue to buy “made in China”. Corporations want to make a buck and consumers want to save a buck.

2 years ago
Reply to  Mike

Sort of…but look how fast we can make things if we need to- all kinds of things. Stuff that we regularly don’t make. We can adapt and change. It might not be quickly but a good start would be welcomed. This mess took a long time to really backfire for us and everyone else in the world- let’s start by setting examples we can be proud of and that we can rely on in the future to keep safe and healthy.

Billy Bob Thornton
2 years ago
Reply to  Drew

Everybody was in awe of the Chinese building a hospital in weeks. The Army Corps of Engineers converted an existing structure, adding 2,900 beds in four days. When we, the collective, put our minds to it, NOBODY, and I mean nobody can beat us.

Looks like Johnson & Johnson is close to trials in September, with first roll out in early 2021 for a vaccine to inoculate against the Wuhan virus. Then, through our excellence in manufacturing, will and are ramping up as we speak, to produce 1 billion doses.

Capitalism, in conjunction with a well run Federal Govt in this critical time, is going to beat this {bleeped}. You can count on it.

2 years ago
Reply to  Mike

“Corporate greed” = yes but not the primary reason. The American consumer shops price point, that is the cheapest price. Just look at Walmart parking lots. I was in American manufacturing for almost 40 years. The consumers’ expectations drove many of my companies off shore to stay in business. When we moved we usually had no increase in profit margins since our competitors also went off shore. IF the American consumers are willing to pay more, the work will come back.

Billy Bob Thornton
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike

It will take years. First things first. Move production to the next third world countries like India (English speaking a plue), Vietnam, and others. Punish those who will not follow the rules. Reward those who want to partake in the global BS thing.

Move essential manufacturing, generic drug ingredients, critical healthcare equip., like ventilators, masks, PPE, etc. The current administration, albeit is going to push for a redo. He’s been taunting it from day one, BUT NOBODY LISTENED. Look it up my liberal friends. It was a campagne topic, but as usual, fat and happy won the day.

You havent seen anything yet. You want to see ” fundamentally change the country” hold on to your seats boys and girls, this is going to get going in a hurry.

May God give him the strength, he already has the engine.

Chris z
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike

Luckily Trump is trying to change this. ,!

2 years ago
Reply to  Chris z

Yes, he is going to change this. Look where he and daughter have their clothes and handbags made. Trump just can’t quit lying to everyone.

2 years ago
Reply to  Mike

I think it’s more important to BE American than to BUY American. BEING American means exercising the liberty of choice in purchasing goods and services.

Chloe Derian
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike

I remember when corporate companies started to leave America because of way ridiculous restrictions & constantly rising taxes & fees that helped drive them out. I also remember a democratic president that practically insisted it would be better for corporations to move overseas.

2 years ago

Concerning dump facilities…my city has a free municipally-sponsored dump station as does one of our favorite stops along I-70, Fruita, Colorado. Thank you Fruita!

Cities miss opportunities to have tourists stop, or they suffer from unscrupulous folks dumping their black tanks into local storm drains or road side ditches.

The alternative is to provide a free RV dump station, or permit an appropriate business to have a dump station as a magnet for tourists to stop and visit your town or business. What town doesn’t want tourists to leave their town green….with money?

Greg Froehlich
2 years ago
Reply to  Will

Baraboo Wisconsin has a free dump station located outside of the sewage treatment plant. Located on Mansfield Rd.

2 years ago

Since The coronavirus has affected all of us, some to the extreme like the R.V. Doctor Gary Bunzer I will not buy ANY product from China. I would ask people to do the same as the CCP is responsible for every death world wide. This is a disease that will not go away and will be with us forever till they have a vaccination which may not be available in our lifetime (since most of us reading this site are retired and older). Just my thought and yes I’m pissed.

Mike Albert
2 years ago
Reply to  Crowman

It’s believed that the strain that infected the USA originated in Europe.

2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Albert

But it all originated in China. The fact that they hid it for 1-2 months and allowed several thousands of people to travel from Wuhan to all corners of the world caused the spread. It is believed that the virus traveled to New York from China via Europe.

Billy Bob Thornton
2 years ago
Reply to  Joe

Joe, I think Mike needs your intervention. How come you know where the Wuhan flu came from, and Mike, on the other hand is so confused.

Billy Bob Thornton
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Albert

Mike, put your beer down please. Not a good time to be replying under the influence. If, you are not consuming adult beverages, then you need to turn your TV station.

Thank you, this is an official public announcement

David Harrington
2 years ago
Reply to  Crowman

I couldn’t agree with you more. Well said!

2 years ago
Reply to  Crowman

count me in. i totally agree.

2 years ago
Reply to  Crowman

I agree with you! I believe that China has put themselves into a tight corner with trade not only in the USA but also the world. I can only hope that US manufacturing pulls out of China and starts making more products in the States. I am willing to pay more for my electronics and other products.

Gary Swope
2 years ago
Reply to  Crowman

I have no problem at all paying a few dollars more for “Made in the USA”

2 years ago
Reply to  Crowman

Agree…bring back manufacturing here. And, if we survive this health and economic crisis what do we do with China? Here’s another thought: If, after the Pearl Harbor attack we treated the Japanese the way we are with the Chinese presently- we’d probably not be known as the United States of America. I’m pissed too.

2 years ago
Reply to  Crowman

I wish the stores would have US made items separate & labeled so that it would be easy to see because I would always to buy US products first….such as a rack of USA made t-shirts or jeans…but not mixed in with the others made in other countries.