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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, August 9, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
We have received some conflicting information about our article last week about the family that was evicted from a Colorado RV park for having a package shipped there, which the park claimed was against the rules. Our article was viewed more than 130,000 times and so we want to double-check we covered all our bases in reporting the incident fairly. Look for our report next Sunday.
Got your popcorn and tickets? Walmart drive-in theater is ready to roll!
We reported earlier that Walmart was putting on a splash at some of its stores: Walmart as a drive-in movie theater. Now it’s happening. Next week, on Friday, August 14, Walmart in conjunction with the Tribeca Film Festival will roll the films at 160 U.S. stores. Read more.
Will the Quartzsite RV show go on? Here’s the latest!
Quartzsite, Arizona – a winter stomping ground for tens of thousands of RVers. The warm, dry weather is one draw. Another is the Big Tent Show, more properly known as the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV show. Kenny King has promoted the show and seen to the “Big Top” tent for seeming ages, opening faithfully every January. But what about this coming January? With COVID-19 messing up a lot of plans, many RVers are wondering if there’ll be a show. Find out the latest info here.
COVID-19 scammers are after you! Here’s how to protect yourself
As if the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t create enough problems – toilet paper shortages, campground closures, etc. – here’s another surfacing problem: A pandemic of pandemic scammers. Reports are coming in from across the country of smooth-talking folks – ones looking to turn fears of coronavirus into a way to worm into wallets. Here’s what to watch out for, and how to protect yourself.
Author claims killer airbags in 12 million cars, trucks nationwide
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states on its website that airbags in cars, trucks and RVs saved more than 50,000 lives in a 30-year span ending in 2017. Jerry Cox believes millions of drivers in the United States are still at serious risk. A former consultant for Takata, the now-defunct Japanese automotive parts company, Cox has a stark warning. Read about it here.
South Carolina fire crew brings comfort in RVers’ disaster
Victims of a motorhome fire that claimed the lives of four show dogs and a cat have nothing but good things to say about first responders. Sharla Foster was among the folks traveling to a dog show July 22. Their RV caught fire along South Carolina’s Interstate 95. Folks on board noticed flames shooting out from near the wheels and pulled off on the freeway shoulder. The scene must have been unimaginable as flames blasted the motorhome. Continue reading.
Forget buying a portable generator!
Use your car or truck to generate clean 110 power with a CarGenerator™. It’s cheaper, more reliable, and so light even a child can lift it. Use to power your RV accessories, and recharge batteries for continued use of CPAP machines, etc. Perfect supplement to solar on cloudy days. At home, use for backup power when the power grid goes down. Learn more.
That was the RV week that was
August 2 – 8, 2020
If you’re a regular Amazon.com customer, you know how difficult order handling has been of late. Amazon chalks it up to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, as orders are processed based on need. How often we’ve heard RVers grumble about how much of a “need” they have for a particular part that seems to take forever to obtain. The delivery slowdown certainly hasn’t adversely affected Amazon’s profits: Second quarter revenues were up 40 percent from last year. Analysts projected share earnings at $1.51 – but in reality blazed to $10.30. All this despite the company spending $4 billion in warehouse cleaning and enticements to recruit and keep employees working during the crisis.
A Michigan RVer constitutes a hero after saving his wife and dog from their fiery travel trailer. Ed and Norma Jean Monday had parked their rig in the Veterans State Forest Campground near Beulah, Michigan. On July 31, 67-year-old Ed, a Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient, had opened the rig’s propane valve and tried to light the stove when a blast blew the travel trailer apart. With flames blasting, Ed literally held up the roof of the rig which was collapsing, allowing Norma Jean and their dog to get out of the inferno. Nearly half of Ed’s body took second and third degree burns. The wife was treated for her injuries and released.
Boar runs from bare butt: Sounds like a scene from a bad comedy, but it was all true in West Berlin. In Germany, public sunbathing au naturel is legal, but sometimes nature has a way of getting even. An unnamed man seeking an all-over tan was startled when a wild boar wandered near. The big pig had been observing other sunbathers eat pizza, and perhaps surmised the man’s yellow bag might contain food. She snagged it and ran – but the contents were electronic, not caloric. The nude man’s laptop computer was in the bag. Clapping his hands and hitting the ground with a stick, the streaking man managed to get the purloining pig to proffer the prize: Mama pig dropped the bag and hightailed it with her two piglets in tow. The successful sunbather took a round of applause, and gave permission for his photo to be published.
Public lands managers in Oregon say that when it comes to recreational spots, demand far outstrips supply. In the Willamette National Forest, campgrounds are full to the gills. Dispersed camping is likewise in high demand, which is OK by the Forest Service, but many folks haven’t learned their manners and are leaving some rather unsavory “leavings” behind. Hiking is popular too, with trail head parking areas crammed, and folks just leaving their vehicles anywhere, making for the passage of emergency vehicles difficult if not impossible. It’s going to be a busy summer.
Not enough power to run your air conditioner? Think again!
When the thermometer hits 90 and your 110 power is from a small portable generator or a 20-amp household hookup you’re out of luck running an air conditioner. That is, unless you have a SoftStartRV. It’s inexpensive, simple to install, and makes running your A/C possible when you never could before. Read more and watch the short video by RV electricity expert Mike Sokol.
Here’s an RV BOLO (be on the lookout): If you ply KOA campgrounds or make overnight stops in Walmart parking lots this summer, you may see a familiar face. In fact, one truck driver in the past stopped a man at a truck stop. “Anybody ever tell you,” said the driver, “You look like Clarence Thomas?” referring to the Supreme Court Justice. “Yeah,” replied Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Justice and motorcoach owner. Thomas is on summer break now, and while other justices have had to cancel international vacations, it’s possible that Thomas and his wife, Ginni, are taking to U.S. roadways. No official word on this, since the Justice tends to keep things close to his vest – or robes, if you prefer – but KOAs and Walmarts have been his known haunts in the past.
Keystone RV has been fined a proposed $10,000 following a state safety inspection between Feb. 27 and March 23 by the Indiana Department of Labor. The first violation was for allowing employees potential exposure to the rotating parts on the compact router when it was laid down while the bit still rotated. The notification suggests that employees should be trained to follow the tool’s instruction manual to ensure the motor has stopped completely before laying it down. The second violation was for allowing employees to wear loose-fitting gloves when using the handheld router, posing a danger for them because of the rotating parts. The company has until Aug. 14 to abate the two violations. — SOURCE: ELKHART TRUTH
Camping at Maine’s Acadia National Park will be non-existent this season. Officials announced July 30 that COVID-19 issues make the decision necessary. The park can’t hire enough folks to open and safely maintain Blackwoods, Seawall, Schoodic Woods, and Duck Harbor campgrounds. At issue is how bathrooms must be more frequently sanitized. More staff are required, but available room to house staff in park housing is down, as the pandemic requires fewer people in a given space.
It had to be a particularly uncomfortable situation for an RVer in Madison, Wisconsin, earlier this week. The unnamed motorhome driver somehow managed to not only flip his rig on the side but, on the way, he wrapped the rig in power lines. Firefighters, an ambulance crew and, of course, power company workers showed up to sort the whole mess out. No further information was available as to how it all turned out, other than the driver – wisely – stayed inside the rig until the juice was cut. Where’s Mike Sokol when you need him?
RV manufacturers see “pop-up” campers as a transition between tent camping and RVing in a more traditional sense. If that’s the case, expect to see a future with a lot more RVers. Forest River says the pop-up market is popping up like mushrooms after a rainstorm. Production of their Rockwood and Flagstaff lines is in overdrive, with Saturday shifts alone building 10 of the diminutive RVs on the weekend. Buyers are snapping up pop-ups about 30% faster than the company can produce them.
Dreaming of Texas? Big Bend National Park needs a camp host at Chisos Basin Campground. RV site with full utilities and full reimbursement of LP expenses is given. Requires a 32-hour-per-week commitment, answering questions, explaining rules, and picking up litter. More info and application found here. For now, all campgrounds in the park are closed.
Customers at Pilot and Flying J travel centers are now required to wear masks or face coverings. Pilot is the nation’s largest operator of travel centers, with more than 950 locations. Love’s Travel Stops now requires masks at all of its locations, including its Speedco and Love’s Truck Center stores.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will add a nonresident surcharge to new campsite reservations and first-come, first-served campers starting Monday, Aug. 10. The change does not affect existing reservations or people currently camping in a state park. The increase will add up to 30 percent to the nightly cost to camp in a state park for nonresidents. Including lodging tax, the average cost for a full-service RV site is currently $33 per night, and starting Aug. 10, will increase to an average of $42 for nonresidents making new reservations, or arriving without a reservation. The surcharge will remain in effect the rest of 2020.
RVing property owners in Rapid City, South Dakota, may have finally been cut a little slack. Under the city’s current ordinances, RVs may only be parked in a property’s setback area for less than 72 hours. Under a potential new ordinance, RVs can be stored on setbacks without a time limit, provided they’re parked on a driveway, gravel pad, or other hard surface. A second of the proposal comes up August 17, and if the council approves, the new rule will start September 11.
Protect your RV “pigtail”
That 7-way connector on your travel trailer or fifth wheel is a critical component. When not plugged into your tow rig, the thing is susceptible to the onslaught of dirt, rain and even bugs. Here’s a plug cover that slips right over your precious plug and keeps out the crud. One user says, “This works perfectly to keep the plug on my RV clear. I remove it when not in use and place it in my ‘RV emergency tool kit.’ This way, it’s not knocked around when driving.” Learn more or order.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
This Thor Chateau Model 31L motorhome was stolen July 31, 2020, from a storage facility in Jacksonville, Florida. The rear window is lined with travel stickers and a U.S. map with states covered. It will have rear-end damage due to backing it into a gate to steal it. The Florida tag is HB1L43. Contact the Jacksonville PD if you have information.
Pickup truck news
According to our recent survey, about 80 percent of RVtravel.com readers own at least one pickup truck. Recognizing that, we’ll provide the latest news highlights about the vehicles here each week.
Hertz, once No. 1, now bankrupt and selling used trucks cheap
RVers seeking a used truck to tow their rig are likely to find a good deal from Hertz. The rental car agency for decades marketed itself as No. 1 in the industry. But it now has a new reputation to develop: It’s in the car and truck quick-sale business. A variety of used Chevrolet, Nissan, Ford, Ram and GMC trucks are available among the 182,521 vehicles the company must by sell Dec. 31, 2020. Learn more.
Power trucks rule. Here are the top-10 big dogs, old and new
One thing pickup truck owners universally like is power – the power to tow an RV, haul stuff, advance uphill and downhill, trek off-road. But what are the top choices for the most powerful trucks? The website hotcars.com has compiled a list and provides facts, figures and praise. Do you own one of these?
Winnebago’s wish: Take a Hike deep into the woods
Winnebago has a new camper trailer with an unusual but appropriate name — the Hike. It’s designed for a more active consumer with an emphasis on accommodating lots of varied gear. Check it out!
Chevy offers virtual cruisin’ series, celebrates legacy
If you’re cruisin’ in your RV or recreating in a campground and feel like virtually cruisin’, Chevrolet has a keen idea. The iconic car and truck manufacturer is “reimagining summer car cruising” with a week-long virtual festival beginning August 10. It’s called “Cruisin’ the USA in your Chevrolet.” Read more.
Temperature gun is ‘essential equipment’ for many RVers
Aim this non-contact IR temperature gun to measure the temperature of your refrigerator, tires, A/C and heater output, or, heck, even your oven (and the list goes on). It turns on and begins reading the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit with one press of the trigger. A laser light aids in aiming, and can be turned on or off. Many RVers consider this essential equipment. Learn more or order at a huge discount.
Generally, how much is too much to pay to dump your holding tanks? Respond here.
I left my campsite and hiked south for 3 miles. Then I turned east and hiked for 3 miles. I then turned north and hiked for 3 miles, at which time I came upon a bear inside my tent eating my food! What color was the bear?
No more mosquito bites
What if we told you we had a solution for all those mosquito bites and bee stings? We do! This LED lantern (and flashlight) lures mosquitoes and other flying bugs and zaps them as soon as they fly up and touch it, providing a 16×16-foot mosquito-free zone. Neat, huh? Never swat away a bug again! It’s waterproof, non-toxic, and harmless to humans. Learn more or order.
For a state-by-state list of COVID-19 mandates pertaining to travelers, click here.
Singer Justin Bieber and his wife, Hailey, recently spent the night at Harbortown RV Resort in Monroe County, Michigan. “Harbortown RV Resort occasionally has famous guests,” the park’s Facebook page notes. “We always wait until they depart to share. Last night Justin Bieber stayed one night on his way to Mackinac.”
FMCA, the financially troubled non-profit RV club, has yet to pass a required budget for 2021 after several Zoom meetings by its financial and executive boards. A recent balanced budget proposal was scrapped last week so discussion could return to a proposal from June that projected a deficit of more than $200,000.
A 5-year-old Green Bay, Wisconsin, girl is a happy camper. Anna, who suffers from Glioma, was granted a wish Wednesday by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She originally wanted to go to Walt Disney World Resort but with COVID-19 a threat she opted instead to wish for a camper so she could spend time with her family. Kunes Country RV stepped up to provide a Crossroads Zinger travel trailer. Happy girl!
KOA opened its first glamping resort on August 1 in Bar Harbor, Maine. Built on the site of a former KOA park, the 60-acre property features 64 luxury canvas tents set among the trees and oriented around a lodge featuring a bar and restaurant, store and equipment rentals. The Hemlock Tent, pictured here, is being offered in August for $490.50 a night. RVs are not welcome.
On several segments of Oklahoma turnpikes, the maximum speed limit has been bumped up to 80 mph. The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority approved raising posted speeds from 75 mph to 80 mph on rural segments of five turnpikes. Also, it established an 80 mph maximum speed limit on the Kickapoo Turnpike, which is scheduled to open later this year.
UPS is gearing up to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, and it could cost them millions to do it. “Brown” is building a “freezer farm” near its Louisville, Kentucky, air hub, where thousands of vials of the precious stuff can be stored at minus 112 Fahrenheit. Walk-in coolers are out, so portable freezer units (at roughly $15,000 each) live at the farm – roughly $3 million dollars worth. When a delivery is required, a portion of the contents will be packed in more portable containers with dry ice and flown – or driven by truck – to where needed.
While countless industries are being devastated because of the pandemic, one you might not think of is doing well, thanks to the surging popularity of RVing – propane! Since most RV appliances run on propane – whether a cooktop, furnace, grill, refrigerator, hot water heater or generator – higher RV sales are leading to a higher demand for propane.
All Florida State Parks and overnight accommodations which were closed due to Tropical Storm Isaias have reopened.
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.
Stay free at more than 1,040 wineries and farms
Stay overnight for free at more than 1,040 wineries, farms, breweries, etc.! Harvest Hosts is an alternative to traditional campgrounds, where members can taste great wines and micro-brews, eat fresh produce and stay in peaceful settings. Save 15 percent on a membership by using code HHFRIENDS15 at checkout. Learn more
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Guest essay: How we spare you from wasting your time finding good RV information.
• From editor Chuck Woodbury: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
• New blog: RVing during the pandemic, Aug. 8, 2020.
• One RVer’s wacky way to get rid of toilet odors.
• Our electrical near-disaster yields lessons.
• Hard start capacitors vs. SoftStartRV. Big difference!
• Downsizing: An emotional roller coaster.
• Subscription toilet paper? You’re kidding, right? Nope. True!
• More on rodent repellents: Does mint oil keep them away?
• Bad ride? Can’t “balance” your tires? Maybe it’s something else.
• Alternative power and gadget suggestions when hookups are not available.
• Memorable people we have met RVing – Butterbean edition.
• He turned an old Air Force jet engine into an RV!
• RV Tech Corner: “I smell mold in my RV. What should I do?”
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of August 3, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.18 [Calif.: $3.06]
Change from week before: No change; Change from year before: Down 51 cents.
Diesel: $2.42 [Calif.: $3.25]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; 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!
Upcoming RV shows
Most if not all RV shows for the remainder of the year are cancelled. We will restart this feature as RV shows begin again.
Two new guides to free campgrounds
Roundabout Publications has teamed with the Ultimate Public Campground Project. Discover thousands of designated camping areas the West and in America’s Heartland —real places-not big box store parking lots. Included are areas managed by various agencies — federal, state, local, etc. Learn more about West edition or Heartland edition.
Free and bargain camping
Click here to view this week’s free and bargain camping spots.
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 OvernightRVparking.com.
Brain teaser answer:
White. The only place you can hike 3 miles south, then east for 3 miles, then north for 3 miles and end up back at your starting point is the North Pole. There are only polar bears at the North Pole, and they are white!
Q: What did the man with slab of asphalt under his arm order at the bar?
A: “A beer, please, and one for the road.”
RV Travel staff
CONTACT US at editor@RVtravel.com
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 RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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