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Sunday, March 14, 2021
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
Elon Musk an RVer? With his new Cybertruck, he says “maybe”
Billionaire businessman Elon Musk envisions in his future more than electric cars and trucks, and sending astronauts to Mars. He sees RV travel – for himself! Or so he has hinted. On Twitter last week the CEO of Tesla expressed interest in the idea of traveling around or perhaps even living in a Tesla-made, all electric Cybertruck fifth wheel RV. Learn more.
Study shows millions more Americans will soon own RVs
If you own an RV – or are just thinking about it – the recreational vehicle industry already knows a lot about you. And one thing it knows, according to a new, exhaustive study, is that more Americans than ever now own RVs, but millions more are planning to join the crowd in the next few years, and it is not the age group that you might expect (in other words, step aside, Baby Boomers). Read the story.
The RV show doesn’t go on – and it’s not a COVID cancellation
The years 2020 and 2021 are ones marked by a huge croaker for RV retailers: show cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But in Fort Myers, Florida, the RV show doesn’t go on, and it’s not just about COVID-19. The 26th Annual RV SuperSaver Show was supposed to bring in RV lookee-loos and serious buyers this April. Promoters ramped up to greet the masses at Lee County’s CenturyLink venue. But then the dealers started calling in. Why? Find out here.
Don’t miss this
RV dealer provides rare insider information to RVers
In this video from Haylett RV in Michigan, Josh “the Nerd” provides a rare insight into the current state of the RV industry and how it is affecting RVers. It is very unusual that an RV dealer talks so candidly and provides insider information like this. You’ll learn how much manufacturers are raising prices to dealers (it’s significant) and what that means to you (not good). Also, there’s bad news about how much time it can take to get a new RV delivered – don’t hold your breath. Watch this eye-opening insider report.
GET READY FOR SUMMER
Now, use your air conditioner in low-power situations never before possible!
At RVtravel.com we don’t see too many products that we go nuts over, but the SoftStartRV is a game changer. Here’s what it can do:
• Run two air conditioners on a 30-amp hookup.
• Run one air conditioner using only a small portable generator.
• Run one air conditioner on 20-amp household current.
• Run an air conditioner or two using your onboard inverter system. Read more.
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel previews the new Cruiser Hitch 16RD Travel Trailer. Tony writes, er, rhymes… “I can see a lot of people wanting to hitch to the Hitch to scratch that outdoor itch. And my apologies to anyone who doesn’t appreciate my terrible rhymes. But, seriously, they’re going to have a hit on their hands with this.” Read more and peek inside.
2021 Renegade Classic Toterhome (it’s HUGE)
Last week’s reviews:
Bean Teardrop Trailers (the coolest teardrop Tony’s ever seen) • 2021 Jayco North Point 382FLRB Fifth Wheel • 2021 Cruiser Embrace EL 260 Travel Trailer • Venture Sonic Lite SL160VBH • 2021 Flagstaff 524EWS Fifth Wheel
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
NEW RV TRAVEL PODCAST ON THE WAY
On April 4, RVtravel.com will debut a weekly RV Travel podcast. Our expectation is it will be the most informative and entertaining program of its kind about RVing, and one of the most popular. If you would like insider information about the podcast and a chance to be invited to special live recording sessions, promotions, etc., sign up for our RV Travel Podcast Insider Newsletter.
That was the RV week that was
March 7–13, 2021
Did you remember to set your clocks forward one hour last night? Time to do it, if you didn’t. And while you’re at it, be sure to check your smoke and CO alarms to make sure they work. Also, since March 8 – 12 was Vehicle Safety Recall Week, go to ChecktoProtect.org at the National Safety Council to quickly see if there is an open recall on your RV or other vehicle.
Got your COVID-19 “jab”? Even if you have, the government wants you to stay put. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, spoke to the subject at a White House briefing on Monday. “Every time there’s a surge in travel, we have a surge in cases in this country,” Walensky said. “We are really trying to restrain travel at this current period of time, and we’re hopeful that our next set of guidance will have more science around what vaccinated people can do.”
Last weekend, Alaska’s Katmai National Park threw open reservations for the summer camping season. Visitors flock to Katmai to ogle and photograph brown bears taking salmon in the Brooks River. The Brooks Camp Developed Area is the only one in the park that offers any sort of services and, last year, it was closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year the Service is allowing only 25% of capacity to be used. Our staff logged into the reservation system on Thursday morning – at that time, reservations were still available – if you don’t mind waiting to go until October 13.
There’s an uproar over poop at Port Alto. The little Texas community is faced with a request for permission to develop a 250-site RV park on 40 acres. There’s no zoning in the county, meaning that if the developer meets all other requirements, there’s no holding it out. But poop is the point, say locals, who decry the developer’s plans for treated sewage effluent. The state agency involved in permitting treatment plants says the proposed Four Palms RV Park would discharge a maximum of 32,000 gallons of liquids into nearby Carancahua Bay. The developer says the stuff would be less polluting than rainwater found in a roadside ditch. But neighbors aren’t happy; they want the state to require the park to put that effluent someplace else. Any volunteers?
Elon Musk, father of the Tesla electric automobile, may wish he’d gotten off the starting blocks a little bit quicker in Texas. Seems the car-building company has a now not-so-secret subsidiary called Gambit Energy Storage. Gambit began quietly building a giant 100-megawatt storage battery in Angleton, Texas, south of Houston. Builders took great pains to put covers over equipment to hide them, but one workman wearing a hard-hat with a Tesla logo was enough to cause reporters to scramble. They soon connected the dots and it was revealed Elon was the brainchild behind the big battery. How big? Big enough to store power that could keep 20,000 homes cool on a hot summer day. The power plan is to buy low, and sell high when demand is up. But the plant wasn’t online when the big Texas power debacle crashed utilities last month. The big battery won’t do anything much until June 1.
Mixing booze, a pickup truck, an RV, and two angry men may not lead to good results. In the wee hours of March 5, police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, received nearly simultaneous calls regarding an angry affair at the Mingo RV Park. Reports indicate that one Irvin Roach found his pickup truck to be a suitable tool to pin another man up against an RV. Perhaps needless to say, the pinned man wasn’t too pleased with this, and drew a pistol. He blasted three holes in the windshield of the Roach mobile, giving Mr. Roach a graze in the shoulder to remember him by. Roach sped away, telephoning police from a convenience store. Meantime, the unnamed shooter called the police from the park. Police put it all together, describing both men as “very intoxicated.” Turns out Irvin Roach is a convicted felon. Police found a gun in his aerated pickup, and arrested him for that, and for “assault with a deadly weapon” – not the gun – the truck. The pinched twixt-truck-and-trailer shootist was not charged.
Need mail forwarding? Choose the best!
Choose Americas Mailbox! It’s the best, endorsed by RVtravel.com which has toured its South Dakota facility and interviewed its very customer-oriented owner. Many plans available. Learn more. Or view the video interview RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury conducted with Americas Mailbox owner Don Humes.
The big February storms which brought damage, death, and misery to Texas have also created another problem: Gasoline shortages. The February deep freeze shut many refineries down, and getting them back online is a slow process. Last week, nearly one in eight gas stations in the Lone Star State were “gasless.” Fuel has had to be trucked into Texas for the first time since Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Trying to help out, gasoline tanker ships have been diverted from East Coast deliveries to Houston. That’s good for Texas, but a pipeline issue could cause gas supply issues for New England states.
A cautionary tale from Virginia – Don’t get in a situation where you need a tow truck. A driver for Wisconsin trucking company Midwest Carriers had a problem. He rolled his semi with a load of cheese when he hit a ditch. First responders called in Bumpass Towing from Bumpass, Virginia, to right the rig and tow it. Expecting a bill for say, $20,000 – $30,000, Midwest’s president now displays a copy of the invoice for amusement: $202,000. Apparently there are no direct regulations on what Virginia tow operators can charge. In the end, Midwest’s insurance company was able to negotiate the bill down – to $90,000.
Someone apparently tried to blow up a motorhome in Portland, Oregon, last weekend. Police and fire were called to the Argay Terrace neighborhood on Saturday, March 6. On arrival they found smoke – but no fire. Investigators say an apparently explosive device was detonated somewhere outside the older Class A rig. They’re not sure if anyone was inside at the time of the blast, but nobody was reported injured. On Monday, police booked Jake Swingle (24) on charges of first-degree arson, unlawful manufacture of a destructive device, possession of a destructive device, and unlawful use of a weapon. No word on motive yet.
Oregon’s Umatilla National Forest needs campground hosts. Hosts would serve at Jubilee Lake or Woodward campground and perform the usual host assignments: meet and greet, provide information, doing cleaning, restocking, and minor maintenance. Are you friendly, flexible, and responsible? Those appointed get a free RV site, a food allowance, propane, and personal vehicle mileage reimbursement. Jubilee is 12 miles northeast of Tollgate, Oregon, and needs help July through mid-September. Woodward is at Tollgate, and usually needs help from July through the end of September. Contact Kiyoshi Fujishin at the Walla Walla Ranger District, 509-522-6277 or Kiyoshi.email@example.com.
Fall will see a first for Split Rock Lighthouse State Park in Minnesota: A campground suitable for RVs. Presently, the park’s only campsites are walk-ins near Beaver Bay, but the new Shipwreck Creek Campground will sport 46 sites with electrical hookups. The campground on Lake Superior has been under construction since 2019, and plans indicate it will open this fall.
A trucking industry group has signaled its approval for new laws that could mandate speed limiters on big commercial trucks. The American Trucking Association and the safety group Road Safe America told U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg they could favor speed limiters which would hold down 26,000-pounds-and-over trucks to top speeds of 60, 65, or 68 miles per hour. Interestingly, they would not get behind the idea of a tamper-resistant version.
Who’ll pay for revenue losses associated with COVID-19 at Oregon state parks? RV users. A $3 jump in electric and full hookup sites will go into effect “at select state parks” for the May 28 to September 6 season. At the same time, what some have found to be an irksome out-of-state user surcharge has been shut down, at least for the time being. The department says it lost some $20 million in revenue last year due to pandemic shutdowns and a falloff in sales of lottery tickets, which help subsidize the parks. Adding to financial woes, wildfires have spelled closure of campgrounds at Detroit Lake State Park near Salem, and Collier Memorial State Park, north of Klamath Falls. As repairs are made and those sites reopened, they’ll be added to the state’s reservation system.
Last week we reported Alberta provincial park officials were expecting much higher demand for campsites this year. Their prognostications seem to have been on solid ground, as figures now show. Reservations computers opened up on March 4, and as one pundit put it, “The province’s booking site was as sluggish as a 1975 Winnebago navigating the Highwood Pass.” Between opening at 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., more than 17,000 folks were vying for reservations – four times higher than opening day 2020. By 4:00 that afternoon, 21,398 reservations were booked, double the number from opening day 2020.
Should you have “greats” or “grands” that are of the pre-school set, you’ve probably heard of Peppa Pig. Peppa and her friends inhabit short cartoon features, snort when they talk, but live in “normal” homes. Normalcy takes Peppa and family to the open road, at least in the mind of toy making giant, Hasbro. For less than $50, you too, can gift the Peppa fan his or her own “Peppa’s Family Motorhome.” Shut up, it can be rolled around. Park it in camp, the clever designers allow a slide-out with a twist – it doesn’t slide, it lays down, allowing access to the inner functions of the motorhome, including music and sound-bytes from the popular Peppa TV show – just push the steering wheel. We found it an interesting challenge to RV designers: Imagine a two-story motorhome – with the bathroom upstairs!
Another one bites the dust – with objections from locals. As we reported earlier, Ontario’s Pointe Des Chenes Campground is being shut down after city councilors decided they didn’t want to invest the money in handling repairs and maintenance. The park has been operated by a local Lion’s Club for 35 years, and the city opted not to renew the contract. Now locals are having a fit, and have a petition on which they say there are 1,666 signatures calling for the council to reconsider the matter. Supporters have planned a peaceful demonstration for this weekend to protest the closure. But the counsel is adamant. A representative for the city says the petition won’t even be considered unless there is a formal motion for reconsideration.
Want to park your RV behind a theater and take in a show in Branson, Missouri? The city planning commission there is working out the bugs. Last year, a theater asked for – and was turned down on – the opportunity of putting an RV parking area “out back.” Now staff has come up with some ideas that could make it possible. First they had to define what vehicles met spec. A motorhome or a rig towed by a motor vehicle would have to have both sleeping and eating facilities. The next part gets a bit sticky: The standard would allow “only a single recreational motor vehicle.” Want more than one? A special use permit will be required. Aside from that, a business owner would be allowed a single rig to park not more than seven consecutive days, and no more than three times a year. Looks like there’s still a few bugs to be worked out in Branson.
One of industry group RV Industry Association’s (RVIA) key methods of bringing its views to federal lawmakers is its (usually) annual RVs Move America Week and Advocacy Days. The last event in 2019 saw 10 delegates meet up with legislators from 12 states to push for RV industry useful legislation. Then came COVID-19, which wiped out the 2020 operation. This year the event has been canceled again, thanks in part to COVID. But the echoes of the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. capitol have also crimped access. RVIA officials say they’ll do their best with “virtual” committee meetings this year.
When grocery retailer Safeway pushed to build a new gas station in Petaluma, California, it had far-reaching consequences. Local residents railed against the plan. “To close to schools!” “Too close to residents!” Safeway pressed, and won, securing their permits and its new station. But city officials got the message. Now they’re one hearing away from simply banning the construction of any future gas stations in city limits. “The goal here is to move away from fossil fuels, and to make it as easy as possible to do that,” says Councilor D’Lynda Fischer, as quoted by driving.ca. “Right now, we have existing fossil fuel stations, and what we want them to do is add [electric vehicle] chargers and create another source of fueling people can use.” It appears in Petaluma, gas stations will be like their forebears, the dinosaurs.
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE STOLEN RVs?
Last week we crowed about no reports of stolen RVs. Now the crooks have to make up for it with a real dirty. Friday, March 12, in Denver, Colorado, an older man was seen running down the street. He was chasing after his pickup truck and travel trailer. Some nasty person grabbed his combination where it was parked at the plaza on the corner of Cornell and Parker. The suspect whipped out of the lot, and headed northwest of Parker, then went north on Havana. A frustrated bystander attempted to help the older fellow, immediately calling police, but reporting they still had not responded after an hour’s wait. The RV was the victim’s home, and with it went all of his possessions and his 10-year-old companion, a black chihuahua with accents of grey, going by the name of Waldo. Also missing, the man’s oxygen bottles. Here’s a really tough situation, and if you’re in the Denver area maybe you can help. The truck is a mid-2000s GMC Sierra, white in color with black shell. The trailer is a white Coachman Apex travel trailer, Colorado plate ABX664. Call the Denver Police at 720-913-1311. Let’s round up this creep.
With a fuzzy photo and not much to go on, here’s your chance for a cash reward. DeSoto Parrish, Louisiana, was the scene of a stolen 2013 Rushmore fifth wheel. It was taken on March 5th from the Highway 171 Stonewall area. Crime Stoppers is offering up to a $1,000 reward if you can provide tips that lead to a recovery. Call 318-872-3956. Or you can leave anonymous tips at www.P3Tips.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.
A weekly roundup of news stories that will make you smile (and maybe shed a tear or two…). This week: a giving young basketball player, a man who makes a little money and saves the environment, a great-grandmother’s wedding, a walk with plants (literally), the coolest birdhouse you’ll ever see, and, of course, adorable animal videos. Click here to smile.
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 Daylight time today, March 14, 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 here (if you haven’t already) for a chance to win in future issues.
Last week one reader claimed their $25 Amazon gift card: Herb B. from Livingston, Texas.
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.
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.
New electric pickup truck Alpha Wolf announced
Of possible interest to RV Travel readers is a mini electric pickup with a 3,000-pound towing capacity called the Alpha Wolf Truck. Listed at $36,000 for a two-wheel-drive model and $46,000 for a fully optioned four-wheel-drive version, the Alpha Wolf claims acceleration of 0-60 in 6.2 seconds, a towing capacity of 3,000 pounds and range in the 250–275 mile area. Learn more.
BMW once made pickup trucks – but it won’t do so again
BMW makes vehicles admired by many performance-car enthusiasts. The automaker’s reputation, like other German carmakers’ pedigrees, is well-heeled and varied. BMW makes comfortable sedans that power along the open road like sports cars. What’s less known is BMW’s foray into pickup trucks. It made the E30 M3 and the E92 M3. Continue reading.
Can you Canoo? Odd-named electric pickup truck announced
Another pickup truck with a unique appearance and odd name is scheduled to soon join the ever-expanding ranks of electric vehicles. Canoo Inc., formerly known as Evelozcity, is an American manufacturer headquartered in Torrance, California. While specs and pricing weren’t revealed, the startup announced it will debut its trucks in 2023. Read more..
Affordable tire tool will save you tons of trouble
What gives when you think your tires are “good to go” but down on air again the next day? Your valve stem valve probably isn’t tight enough. A loose, leaking valve stem can cause a tire failure due to low pressure under load at highway speeds. So do yourself and your vehicles a favor – pick up one of these very inexpensive tools and make sure your valve cores are snugly seated in the valve stem. Click here to order.
Would you pay $80 for a $40 hookup campsite if it were the only available site for 50 miles?
We hope this will promote some discussion. Take the poll here.
As I was going to St. Ives, I met a man with 7 wives. Each wife had 7 sacks. In each sack were 7 cats. Each cat had 7 kittens. Kits, cats, sacks and wives – How many were going to St. Ives?
Thanks to Warren Gress for submitting! Warren wrote, “Here is a brain teaser that I remember my Dad giving me 60 years or so ago.” Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
?????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
Get rid of jewelry clutter in style! This could be great for a desk too – rubber bands, paper clips, safety pins, etc. Check it out.
The 300-acre Cherrystone Family Camping Resort on Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay has been a family-owned vacation spot since 1964. But in this day of bloated buy-outs, that, too, will soon be a thing of the past. Cherrystone is selling out to Sun RV Resorts.
It took a four-hour-long public hearing with testimony for and against, but a new RV campground in Washburn County, Wisconsin, is now closer to reality. The county zoning commission has given approval to a conditional use permit for a 200-site RV park on 540 acres along Spooner Lake. Opposing locals wasted no words in condemning the proposal, while others suggested it would shore up the area tax base and help local businesses. The decision was handed down February 23, and belatedly published in the local press.
Camping World, a company known of late for buy-outs of existing dealers, says it has plans for building its own in three new locations. With its broadly touted goal of having dealerships in all of the Lower 48, the three new footprints are the first foothold in these states: Delaware (Georgetown), Nebraska (Lincoln), and Montana (Billings).
Folks dozing in their RVs or motel rooms at Death Valley’s Stovepipe Wells Resort got a nasty wakeup call last Monday. At about 4:30 in the morning, a huge blast boomed out at the resort. No, not an RV. Rather, an apparent propane leak created the explosion which blasted walls apart in a laundry room in the employee housing complex. Happily, nobody was injured enough to require transport out.
We reported earlier that Mountain View, California, voters recently pushed in a new law that eliminates RV parking on a majority of the city’s streets. Now neighboring Palo Alto has fired a warning shot at RV street dwellers: Move your rig or it will be towed. The announcement came out Monday from a city council meeting, giving RV dwellers until Wednesday to pack it up. As an alternative, a county operated “safe parking lot” will accommodate 12 vehicles.
Southern Utah’s top RV sales outfit, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., is Nielson RV, with locations in St. George and Hurricane. Scott Nielson first started selling RVs back in 1997. It took a few years for Nielson to move up, but eventually he had two nice dealerships. He wrote in 2017 that he had plans to expand into six locations including Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. My how things can change. Nielson’s dealerships are selling out this spring – to Camping World.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has established a wildfire smoke forecast (the first of its kind in the country) that lets you know about air quality around an active wildfire near you. It will also tell you who is managing the wildfire and how to get in touch, which communities may be affected by smoke, where smoke is coming from and how long it is expected to last, and recommendations about when to limit outdoor activity. It also will provide helpful information including fact sheets, frequently asked questions and other resources related to land managers and other agencies.
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.
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.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Campground Crowding: Missing the good ol’ days
• 5 important RV spring checks. Is your RV ready for the road?
• Spring has sprung, along with campground pedestal dangers
• RV awnings: Everything you need to know
• Adjusting tire pressure in heated garage in cold weather
• More weird, wacky and wonderful RVs
• Casino Camping: Is it a cure for campground crowding?
• New technology gives 360º tours of campgrounds, pick the perfect site
• RVelectricity: Geeks having fun with arcs and sparks…
• The 1973 Ford Explorer pickup – A wacky RV concept!
• Meal-in-a-skillet Meat Patty Pie
• Make-ahead foil packet meals. Warning: You’ll drool
… and much more
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.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of March 8, 2021:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.77 [Calif.: $3.69]
Change from week before: Up 6 cents; Change from year before: Up 40 cents.
Diesel: $3.14 [Calif.: $3.90]
Change from week before: Up 7 cents; Change from year before: Up 33 cents.
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Upcoming RV shows
Most of the RV shows in the early part of 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.
Need a step up?
Car or truck roof too hard to reach? Designed to fit over almost any tire, the TireStep allows you to reach three important areas of your truck or SUV: the engine compartment, the roof, and the bed. For fifth wheel owners, the TireStep may be the helper you’ve been wanting for a long time and just didn’t know it. Reaching over the truck bed using the TireStep is not a problem while hitching or unhitching your rig. Learn more here.
Brain teaser answer:
Only one. “As I was going to St. Ives…”
My mother called me the other day asking me if I would be coming home next month for Easter. She promised to make me eggs Benedict, my favorite breakfast. So, I guess I’m going home for the hollandaise!
This Day in History
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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 RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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