Monday, January 30, 2023


News for RVers #956, Sunday edition

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Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 19th year of continuous publication, is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers, plus the generous financial support of SoftStartRV, an inexpensive device every RV with an air conditioner should have.

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Sunday, July 12, 2020 
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition

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Big contest starting July 25. Win a SoftStartRV air conditioner management device (value about $250) and other great prizes. Details, including a list of prizes, will be announced in this coming week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter (sign up).

Walmart turning parking lots into drive-in theaters

Walmart base image: Mike Kalasnik on

Savvy RVers have known there’s usually a place nearby when the shadows grow long and a place to overnight needs to be found: “Camp Walmart!” Overnight parking on many “Wally” parking lots is encouraged by the clever company. After all, they know you’ll probably load up on purchases before pulling out. But now, Walmart is adding another perk to their parking lots: Drive-in movies. Read more.

Ill winds blow down new RV park dreams

On July 1, a brand-new, labor of love RV park opened on Otter Tail Lake in north central Minnesota. Just three days later, nature threw a monkey wrench in the works: High winds blasted through Lakeside RV Park, destroying 12 out of the 14 RVs in the new park. Read more.

U.S. Postal Service isn’t getting better; its old trucks are burning

For more than six years, the most susceptible truck to fire isn’t a newfangled high-technology machine with lots of electronics that can go wrong. The vehicle with the most potential danger is likely the most unsuspecting — United States Postal Service delivery trucks. Learn more.

That was the RV week that was

July 5–11, 2020

RV sales are hot now, and those to first-time RVers are among the hottest. “For some dealers, the number of first-time buyers is 80% to 90%,” said Bob Zagami, Director of the New England RV Dealers Association. Ditto, says Ray Panzino, general sales manager of Cold Springs RV in Weare, New Hampshire. “In the last three months, we have sold to more first-time buyers than we did in the last five years combined,” he told the New Hampshire Business Review. “We are running out of inventory. Last May, we sold 50 and in June, 60. This year we sold 100 in each month.”

. . . So what will this mean for RV parks? Will they be more crowded than ever? Please let us know what you’ve observed.

A new RV park for Atomic City, Idaho, has moved a step closer to reality with a rezone approval for the project. County commissioners gave a pass to the request, but were concerned about wording: The RV park would allow customers to stay for only a “short term.” Since county ordinances don’t spell out a specific time limit, the stay-over time seemed a bit nebulous. The planning director was tasked to get a better definition.

👍 Members of Pahrump, Nevada’s Preferred RV Resort have created a Pandemic Garden. “We were trying to figure out what to do during the pandemic and so many people were tending to their gardens at home, so we thought why not?” said board member Linda Mayfield. “We had quite a number of volunteers that came forward and we constructed eight garden boxes that are 30 inches tall, and 12 feet-by-four feet wide.” There are now a variety of plants and vegetables that have sprouted in the soil, including carrots, onions and zucchini.”

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has amended an emergency public health order that, effective tomorrow (Monday, July 13), closes state parks to out-of-state residents. Visitors to the parks must demonstrate proof of residency or will not be permitted entry. “What we saw for July Fourth was a clear demonstration that we got way too much going on in terms of travelers who provide risk. They bring the virus in. We can’t manage that.” The parks remain closed to overnight camping. Read more.

When city officials in the “Blues Capital of Texas” closed their RV park, RVers were left singing the blues. Now, Navasota, Texas officials are reversing the situation by approving an application for a new privately owned RV park behind the local steakhouse and dance hall. A planned 47-site park will include picnic tables and a barbecue spot.

Hebgen Lake District via

Last week a grizzly bear made a couple of unwelcome visits to Rainbow Point Campground on Hebgen Lake in Montana, just a few miles north of the west end of Yellowstone National Park. Not satisfied with trying to pry open a dumpster, the bear also came up to vehicles, and smacked-down a tent – happily unoccupied at the time. The campground closed Friday but reopened Saturday when the unruly bruin was captured.

waferboard on

Looking for a full hookup in a British Columbia provincial park? Come late fall 2020, Manning Park Resort will be a first. With 95 sites, the 18-acre BC Parks project will be one of the first fully dedicated RV parks in the provincial system.

Proposed expansion and update to Grant County Fairgrounds campground in Moses Lake, Wash.

The largest campground in Grant County, Washington, is at the fairgrounds in Moses Lake. Unfortunately, it’s terrifically out-of-date, with sites set to accommodate 20-foot RVs without slideouts. Now officials want to update the 456-site facility, rebuilding in phases, with longer sites and hookups. We just hope the completed sites won’t make RVers back in on the blind side as the proposed illustration shows many would have to do.

The surge in newbies taking to the road in RVs is creating backlash. In a Wall Street Journal story, novice RV jockeys are exposed in humiliating detail. The mother with two boys who bought their first-ever travel trailer. “Every time we backed in,” she says, “we ran over something.” First it was bushes, then trees. Soon the whole yard was unintentionally re-landscaped. Or the rental motorhome spotted in Black Hills, South Dakota. Heading straight for the “low bridge” fast-food drive-through, the driver spotted the low clearance sign. RV spared, but not his pride: He had to ask everyone behind him to back out of this way so he could exit safely – presumably without his hamburgers.

A new campground is opening next week in British Columbia’s Mount Revelstoke National Park. Snowforest Campground features 62 walk-in tenting and RV sites at the base of the Meadows in the Sky Parkway. However, only 36 of those sites will be available for booking due to physical distancing protocols. Snowforest makes an ideal base camp for visiting Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks and hiking trails in the surrounding area.

FMCA, the Family Motor Coach Association, continues to lose members – 347 in June, and “July is trending to be even worse,” according to president Jon Walker. Since the club raised its annual dues last summer from $50 to $75, it has lost 3,718 members, roughly 5 percent of its total ranks. Walker, in a letter to its Governing Board this past week, recommended the annual dues be returned back to $50. To help balance the club’s budget, he also urged that the annual $900,000 FMCAssist Medical Emergency and Travel Assistance program be discontinued as a free member benefit.

The CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, said that “travel will never go back to the way it was pre-COVID.” He predicted that travel will be much more local and more intimate, involving small communities, away from larger cities. “RVs are one solution for isolating in small groups of friends and family away from the general public – rental companies are seeing a surge in bookings,” wrote Forbes.

Tesla is “very close” to achieving level 5 autonomous driving capabilities, CEO Elon Musk said by video at the opening of the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai. “I remain confident that we will have the basic functionality for level 5 autonomy complete this year,” he added. Level 5 is typically referred to as “full automation,” where all roads and environmental conditions can be managed without a driver and steering wheels are optional. So when can we expect a self-driving RV?

This motorhome caught fire shortly after pulling into a Lebanon, Oregon, tire shop for a scheduled oil change. A fire extinguisher didn’t stop it. Later, a large amount of dry organic material was found inside the engine compartment, indicative of animals nesting there. The RV owner said he had not used the RV in several years and had only driven it for the oil change. Investigators determined that the organic debris within the engine block was ignited by the heat of the running engine.


Heartless crooks strike again. This time, authorities in Orange County, Texas, are looking for the bad guy who stole a Keystone Outback travel trailer from the Orange County Convention and Expo Center. The rig had been donated to help a Hurricane Harvey survivor get back on their feet. The brazen bad boy drove in the lot about 3:00 a.m. on July 8, hitched up the rig and was gone in less than a minute-and-a-half. Got info? Call the sheriff’s office at 409-886-4276.

Texas authorities are looking for a man with a stolen travel trailer. Apparently security camera footage has given some detailed clues to the June 5 theft from the 4200 block of West University Boulevard in Odessa. Stolen is a 2010 Crossroad Sunset trailer, 24-feet long, and tan and white. The thief is described as a male, wearing a yellow shirt, black shorts, boots, and a white hard hat. After hopping out of a maroon-colored Ford F-150, the man hitched up the rig and apparently drove off – without bothering to disconnect any of the rig’s utilities. Know something? Call Deputy Roedel at the Ector County Sheriff’s office, 432-335-3050.

Pickup truck news

According to our recent survey, about 80 percent of readers own at least one pickup truck. Recognizing that, we’ll provide the latest news highlights about the vehicles here each week.

Toyota reigns as most reliable, best buy among used trucks

Toyota excels among the most reliable and best buy in a new survey for consumers in the market for a used truck with a budget of less than $20,000 and also less than $25,000, according to iSeeCars analyzed more than 6.1 million used cars sold from October 2019 through March 2020, from model years 2011 onward. Learn more.

Beware: Older pickup trucks are among thieves’ favorites

Pickup trucks are stolen so often, it’s an automotive epidemic. At least that’s the one-word description of the data compiled by the National Crime Insurance Bureau (NCIB) in Des Plaines, Illinois. The NCIB reported the Ford F-150 pickup was the third most stolen vehicle in the United States in the past five years. Read about more of the most-stolen vehicles here.

2020 Jeep Gladiator debuts as first modern-day convertible pickup

Tesla and pending electric competition from Byton, Rivian, Lucid and Nikola are non-conformists among pickup trucks. Hummers stand alone in gaudiness in whatever truck category they may fit. And now there’s another truck first – a convertible, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator. It’s a midsize vehicle that resembles its sibling, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, but simultaneously looks nothing like its relative. Read more.

Need something for your truck? You’ll likely find it here.

Smart bet or not? How about a $5,000 deposit for a nonexistent truck?

Here’s an investment adventure for hybrid truck enthusiasts: You can make a deposit of $250 to $5,000 on a hydrogen/electric pickup truck with an estimated range of 600 miles. The caveat: The Nikola Badger doesn’t exist — at least not yet. Learn more.

Lady Gaga like cars, but she really likes her vintage Ford pickup

Lady Gaga took to driving late, at least officially. She got her first license four years ago at age 30, but it didn’t take her long to begin her collection of vehicles. Gaga reportedly owns around 20 vehicles, including a Chevrolet El Camino, Ford Bronco and Mercedes-Benz W123 sedan. But arguably her favorite daily driver is a 1993 Ford F-150 SVT Lightning pickup truck. Read more.

2020 Casino Guide includes RVer info and coupons!
The 2020 American Casino Guide provides detailed information on more than 750 casino/resorts, riverboats and Indian casinos in 41 states including which have RV parks and/or allow RV overnighting for free. Includes maps and more than $1,000 in coupons. Discloses the actual slot machine payback percentages for every state’s casinos. Learn more or order.

Reader PollReader poll

At this very moment, are you in your RV or somewhere else? Respond here and see how others responded.

And if you are reading in an unique, exotic or far distant location, please let us know after you vote.

Run two air conditioners on 30 amps – Wow!
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 RV electricity expert Mike Sokol. Learn more or order at a special discount.

Brain teaser

A special offer allows you to get a free Popsicle if you exchange two Popsicle sticks for one Popsicle. Peter has 20 sticks. How many times can Peter get a free Popsicle?

(Answer below.)

The easiest RV security system
This 2-pack window and door security alarm is a simple, cost-effective security solution to protect you against invasions thanks to the 120-decibel alarms, loud enough to make an intruder think twice. The alarm is easy to use, no matter what your technological skills may be. Attach the alarms with double-sided tape, no wires required! Perfect for the RV! Learn more or order.

News briefs

The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) is warning its members about a potential scam involving GO RV Inc. “We have seen reports that many campgrounds have received invoices from a company named GO RV Inc.,” noted ARVC officials, noting that GO RV Inc. is not associated in any way with or

Rangers at California’s Joshua Tree National Park have closed the popular Jumbo Rocks Campground due to aggressive honey bee activity, said the Los Angeles Times. “There were a couple of vehicles with a lot of bees in them, and campsites. Visitors were very uncomfortable,” said Joshua Tree Superintendent David Smith. The park’s other campgrounds remain open.

The New York Times has reported that pre-pandemic, less than 20% of Americans spent time outdoors more than once a week. Since then, as an example, fishing licenses in Vermont have spiked by 50% and national adult bike sales have risen by 121%.

KOA President and CEO Toby O’Rourke and husband DJ Clark have welcomed little Dalton James Clark to their family. When the little camper-to-be debuted last Tuesday he weighed in at 5 pounds, 14 ounces. All are well.

A 19-space RV park off U.S. Highway 550 south of Durango, Colorado, was unanimously approved this week by the La Plata County Planning Commission. The project is slated to be on 19 acres, with an office, restroom and outdoor amenities. It will be located on a broader 48-acre parcel used for agricultural purposes.

The Rocky Mountain Motorhome Association (RMMA), a part of FMCA, has canceled its upcoming Rocky Mountain Ramble, scheduled for October 21-24, 2020, at the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson.

According to AAA, Americans will take more than 700 million trips in July, August and September, which is 120 million fewer trips than in 2019. By its calculations, 150 million trips were wiped out this summer.

California fire officials are worried about the upcoming fire season, especially during the pandemic. A spokesman said the goal is to keep fires at 10 acres or less, and that it’s important that fires are reported early. Californians should report suspicious activity. So far this year, Cal Fire has arrested 45 suspected arsonists. The coronavirus crisis has affected the supply of firefighters. Fewer inmates on the front lines this year means that Cal Fire will need to bring on extra seasonal workers, Gov. Gavin Newsom said.

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.

Cut up a whole watermelon in minutes!
This stainless steel watermelon slicer works like magic! If you eat watermelon, you need this! Simply push the tool into the watermelon, and pull out perfectly cubed pieces of this sweet summer treat. It couldn’t be easier. If you don’t believe us when we tell you it’s great, just read the reviews! Learn more or order here.

RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
Some Forest River Vengeance 5th wheel trailers recalled.
Jayco recalls some fifth wheels: Weak leaf springs could cause crash.
Forest River recalls some 2021 trailers for fridge fire hazard.

This book is a must-have for state park campers!
This newly published book, “50 States: 500 State Parks,” is a must-have for all state park campers and explorers. The beautiful book takes you on a journey through America’s best state parks. Whether you’re looking for stunning vistas, rare wildlife, a dose of history or an enjoyable hike, state parks offer an array of experiences. Learn more or order.

Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?

If so, stories you missed:
Even with an RV, there’s no escape from the outside world.
Disney to reopen Florida parks. Good idea or bad?
Boondocking in a coronavirus world. Part 3: Freedom and civility.
What you need to know BEFORE buying a motorhome – Part Two.
Reader asks, “Are all absorption fridges inefficient?
RV Education 101: RV gray water tank maintenance tip.
RV Electricity: Hughes Autoformer – A cure for low campground voltage?
RV Tire Safety: What valve stem to use with a TPMS – Part 2.
Workamping? There are more ways to make money from it than you think
(Many) Tips on RVing with pets.
and much more

Read it here | Back issues

Latest fuel prices

Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of July 6, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.18 [Calif.: $2.98]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 57 cents.
Diesel: $2.44 [Calif.: $3.26]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 69 cents.

SUPPORT QUALITY RV JOURNALISM, and the more than 650 newsletters about RVing we publish every year, would not be possible without the financial support of our members, those who voluntarily subscribe. Now, in the most challenging time of our lifetimes, your help is needed more than ever for us to be your #1 source of news, information and advice about RVing. Every contribution, whatever size, will make a difference.
Learn more or donate. Help us be the best we can be. Thank you!

Upcoming RV shows

Enumclaw RV Show, August 6-9, Enumclaw, WACANCELED
Midwest RV Super Show, August 13-16, Elkhart, INCANCELED
Raleigh Fall RV Show, August 28-30, Raleigh, NCCANCELED
Great American RV & Camping Show, September 10-12, Colorado Springs, CO
America’s Largest RV Show, September 16-20, Hershey, PACANCELED
Portland Fall RV & Van Show, September 17-20, Portland, OR
Charlotte Fall RV Show, September 18-20, Charlotte, NC
Georgia RV & Camper Show, September 18-20, Atlanta, GA
Indianapolis Fall Boat & RV Show, September 25-27, Indianapolis, IN
New York State RV & Camping Show, September 25-27, Syracuse, NY
Washington State Evergreen Fall RV Show, September 25-27, Monroe, WA
Fall Detroit RV & Camping Show, September 30 – October 4, Novi, MI
California RV Show, October 2-11, Fontana, CACANCELED

See the complete list of upcoming RV shows.

Cooking for two? It’s never been easier!
This cookbook from the beloved America’s Test Kitchen brings you 650 delicious recipes specifically designed for just two people! 150 of those recipes can be on the table within 30 minutes or less – this cookbook has it all! Look through some of the recipes, read the amazing reviews, or order here.

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:

19 times. Remember that he gets one Popsicle each time he exchanges two.

Sunday funny

Where do Volkswagens go when they get old? The old volks home, of course.

RV Travel staff


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

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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 or this newsletter.

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Joe & Helen
2 years ago

We passed this Brain Teaser on to our children and daughter Betty responded that the answer has to be ZERO because the question states …YOU can win a free popsicle…then it says How many popsicles can Peter win and her name is not Peter.  Interesting take on the grammar.
The variety of answers and reasoning on this question has been most interesting.

2 years ago

When I was a kid each popsicle had 2 bars together in same package with 2 sticks. How does that compute 😊 of course we had to split them in half and share with my sister, and hope that it didn’t fall apart in the process of splitting it.

Last edited 2 years ago by Tom
tim palmer
2 years ago

The guy with the maroon pickup who stole the trailer in TX. It says he didn’t disconnect any of the utilities and judging by the photo, he didn’t close the slide out.

2 years ago
Reply to  tim palmer

Looks a little like a woman.

Wendy Hayko
2 years ago

FYI British Columbia’s Mount Revelstoke National Park. Snowforest Campground does NOT have a Sani dump which may make it somewhat less than ideal for many RVers.

Bill Trepp
2 years ago

Let’s talk about other reasons why FMCA, the Family Motor Coach Association, continues to lose members that Jon Walker’s letter did not mention. 1) Members are ageing out. 2) FMCA failed to refund $200+ member deposits placed on cancelled International Conventions. 3) Due to Covid, people are not renewing memberships in optional clubs such as gyms, ski clubs, fraternal organizations and RV clubs are no different. 4) The FMCAssist or emergency evacuation insurance is an important drawing card for members but who is going to purchase membership when Jon Walker, wants to eliminate that benefit. 5) With Jon Walker’s letter being released/leaked? to the RV Travel newsletter before the general membership, the suspicion of political infighting/turmoil among the Executive Board grows. Many potential member’s dues dollars may be waiting for the dust to settle before committing to FMCA.

2 years ago

I agree with Birdstogo- I only get 18

Alan Goldberg
2 years ago

The “offer allows you to get a free Popsicle” that quote implies a single popsicle thus the correct answer is one.

Ed Fogle
2 years ago

He can get free a Popsicles forever. Each Popsicle has two sticks. He eats the Popsicle and takes the two sticks back for another Popsicle. No end until the manufacturer goes bankrupt.

Larry Prough
2 years ago
Reply to  Ed Fogle

Yes, been awhile since I had a popsicle but you are correct, 1 popsicle = 2 sticks.

2 years ago

Okay, on the brain teaser, how do you get 19? I keep coming up with 18.

2 years ago
Reply to  BirdsGoToo

first 20 gets 10 that 10=5 then 5=2 w?1 left over +1 for the last 2 he ate leaves him w/2 popsicle stick

Karin S.
2 years ago

What your article did not mention regarding the Class A motorhome fire in Lebanon, Oregon, is once the crew at the tire shop realized the fire extinguisher would not work, a quick thinking worker pulled the motorhome out into the street before the fire broke out even bigger, thus saving the fire from spreading inside with all the stored tires. It was amazing!!! It would have been devastating and very dangerous had the fire caught inside. It did cause our town a major traffic jam, but well worth the inconvience vs. a major alarm fire with the building fully engulfed.