Thumbs up from our readers – April 2018

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    Positive comments about products, people and places.
    Here are some recent “thumbs up” letters or comments we’ve received from readers of RVtravel.com.

    High praise for Texas state parks
    FYI… Most State Parks in Texas are very nice. And the cost is between $18 and $25 per night. We stay at Texas State Parks every chance we get. —John S.
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    Tip for solar charging around trees
    A great app for your phone that will tell you the shade pattern where you’re standing/camping is “Sun Surveyor”. It has a live view option that uses the camera overlaid with the route of the sun during the day. Just point the camera along the overlaid route and see what trees etc. will be in the path of the sun throughout the day. We’ve used it to get morning sun and afternoon shade for years. —Bob
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    Cooking with a pressure cooker
    Thanks for the pressure cooker tip, Wolfe! I’ve debated whether to bring mine on my initial trips, which will be in a small camper. I plan to buy a larger camper and go full time, and the pressure cooker is already on that packing list. You’ve convinced me it is worth the space it will take up to use it now. We can also cook potatoes, corn, and other vegetables that require boiling. And cooking meat in a pressure cooker, of course, requires much less propane or electricity than other methods. Thanks for helping me think this through! —Sherry D.
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    An advantage to boondocking
    • I’m glad most people don’t want to boondock. That leaves the desert empty for me. Right now, I’m sitting 200 feet from the shore of Lake Mead, with only two other RVs in sight. Meanwhile, the campgrounds around the lake are packed like sardines. —John T.
    Reply to above comment: Hey John, Where exactly are you? —Phil M.
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    Easy access to National Parks maps
    • Thank you for posting Matt Holly’s National Parks Maps! This makes checking out the different areas so much quicker and lots of detail. Thank you Matt and RV Daily! —Joe A.
    Great tip site for the National Parks Map. Many thanks to Matt Holly and RV Travel for that link…….very useful. —Bob G.
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    Good point …
    OMG! If we can’t get along doing laundry I fear our country is in deep do-do! I know this sounds old but…. why can’t people just get along? —Linda
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    More places to boondock
    Boondocking is not just out west in the desert but at houses and farms. We have met a lot of nice home owners. We also let people stay at our place in Illinois near Chicago and have met a lot of people this way. —Bob W.
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    “RVing is fun”
    I will fess up. My wife likes to ‘ruff it smoothly.’ Our motorhome is a home we can move from place to place and take all the comforts of home with us. We do no camp. I did that as a Boy Scout and with my 3 boys while they were growing up. We want to see the USA and not just be in one location. We seldom stay in one place more than 2 or 3 days and then off to see more of our beautiful country. We cook half the time and eat out half the time. But we kept our house so we can return home. I think we keep the home because we were brought up in a home. Maybe it is like our security blanket. But I like to drive and see the landscape and then stop and see the beautiful national and state parks. We stay in national & state parks as much as we can and RV parks the rest of the time. But the sites in RV parks are mostly close spaces and cost a lot more than parks. We do not boondock because my wife likes to ‘ruff it smoothly.’ I used to say ‘every man to his own poison,’ but now I say ‘everyone to their own pleasure.’ RVing is fun. —John S.
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    “Inspiring” short stop
    • Saw the church (Mission San Xavier del Bac) in 2014. Parts of the interior were fully restored and other areas were under restoration. Not Catholic myself but it was a beautiful and inspiring church. —Tom G.
    • Lived in Tucson late ’70s and ’80s. An absolutely beautiful building. The white dove is definitely worth visiting. —Barbara
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    Camping with the cows in the UK
    How about a column about new campgrounds opening. When we were RVing in the UK we stayed at a farm where the farmer laid out a heavy electric cord in his cow pasture. Water was available at a common spigot. He also had a dump station that was just a 4″ pipe. —Jim E.
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    Take your time …
    • Chuck, While I agree that the chains have stifled the Mom&Pop cafes, there are still plenty out there. We plan many of our excursions to exclude interstates (Charles Kuralt was correct). We may not get someplace as fast as we might, but we often are not real sure what the destination is for that day. It may be an antique, but it is a self contained coach. —Matt C.
    • Yes, yes, yes Matthew. Over the years I have drug my wife into great little joints, cafes, and hole-in-the-wall places with good food and wonderful service that she would have automatically passed on as Ptomaine Tony’s. Don’t be afraid to get a little ways off the main drag, and ask the locals where they eat. —Lee
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    Not all train noise is bad
    We have stayed in numerous campgrounds with train traffic nearby. As long as there are no nearby crossings causing loud warning whistles and the tracks aren’t within 1000 feet we are not bothered. In fact a train whistle in the distance brings back memories of long ago. —Don C.
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    A good word for Congress (Ariz.)
    Hey, I’m reading this right now in Congress! Don’t sell it short. The SKP park is great and there’s a couple of decent restaurants in Congress. And I spent the afternoon in nearby Wickenberg at an Art and Authors Festival. —Daina C.
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    Restaurant recommendation
    While in Wichita Falls you should try to eat at the new restaurant Fox Hill Restaurant which is close to where you are camped. We are stationed here and have gone there three times since they opened. Farm to table….. I recommend lunch which is less expensive. Recently was filmed for the food network. —Ellen
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    Places to visit in Oklahoma
    Chuck, if you are visiting Lawton, Oklahoma, and the Ft. Sill Museum, you must also visit Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. This park is located just a few miles north of Lawton. As you enter the park be sure to drive through the town of Medicine Park. This town has lots of history dating to the early 1900’s. This is a beautiful area you do not want to miss. I was born and raised in Lawton. P.S. Be sure to also visit the Apache Grave site where Geronimo was buried. —Michael M.
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    Regarding a video title: “The new, easy way to connect your coax TV cable and your RV fresh water hose!”
    As for connecting your coaxial cable to your freshwater hose, I tried that and I can only get cold water on channel 13 now, but the radio reception on the dishwasher is amazing! —Wolfe R.
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    Put a cordless screw gun in your RV arsenal
    I have a DeWalt that I use for my heavy duty work. I also purchased a small 12v rechargable screwgun from Harbor Freight for $9.99. This unit will tackle almost every job I have used it for while on the road. It is extremely compact, has enough torque for most jobs and has a built in light. Probably one of my better investments (I do not work for Harbor Freight). —Rob
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    Rave review for propane fire pit
    After years of camping with wood fires, I bought an RV and a propane fire pit. So glad I did! No dangerous chopping of wood through the afternoon to only hope it is not “wet wood” and will light at night, and fires not properly extinguished. You can still toast marshmallows and cook weenies and s’mores on a propane fire pit too! My pit was well under $100. Best investment EVER! ? —Garry H.
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    Some advantages to RVing
    I agree wholeheartedly with your advice to do some research about an area to find RV parks, activities, etc that will hopefully add to a pleasant experience. One thing we’ve found in the RV world is that it is so much nicer to come back to our “home” rather than an unfamiliar/uncomfortable motel room after a day of adventuring. Sometimes it may not be your ideal RV park, but we wouldn’t trade the temporary adjustments we’ve made for the experiences we’ve had. —Susan F.
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    Praise for RV park
    FYI… Red River, New Mexico, Roadrunner RV Park is wonderful. The one on the other end of town is expensive and is a gravel parking lot and you are packed in tight. Stayed there one night. It was terrible. Go to Roadrunner RV at the other end of Red River New Mexico. You will love Roadrunner. —John S.
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    Another happy RVer
    It’s an expensive hobby/way to live. I wouldn’t change a thing. After over twenty years on the road, I still get chills every time we pull out of the driveway. —Summrbrz
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    A good word for FMCA
    Belonging to FMCA is more than a magazine. The benefits alone are Worth it. Their program for getting your coach and occupants including grandchildren home during an illness is second to none. The participation in subchapter rallies is enjoyable. I have been a member for 20 years. —Gary B.
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    Great experience at New Orleans KOA
    I know KOA often takes its lumps here, but I’m with Astrid. We had a similar great experience with the New Orleans KOA. With their shuttle and the tour along the way our grandkids got two days of seeing a very different part of the country. —Ron T.
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    Recommendations for visiting Central Oregon
    If you’re in the vicinity of John Day, don’t miss the Painted Hills – absolutely amazing. Prineville has a great RV park at the fairgrounds, the the Crook River Scenic Byway and reservoir are nearby. The memorial to the Prineville Hotshots in the park is touching, and the town museum is worth a visit. If you travel to Burns, go south to the Narrows RV park for a base to visit Malheur NWR and Steens Mountain. Frenchglen, on the way to the mountain , has a neat little restaurant in the hotel. The views from atop Steens Mountain are incredible. Central Oregon is an amazing area with not many people or visitors. —Keith K.
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    Handy tool to have along
    I have had a Black & Decker Matrix 20 volt driver with almost all of the attachments for about 5 years and use it regularly. It works great and came with 2 batteries. —Rudy H.
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    Praise for Dinosaur Electronics
    The control board on my RV furnace went out and I purchased a Dinosaur control board on Amazon and it worked perfectly. Would certainly recommend their products. —Terry
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    An advantage to driving secondary roads
    Just last week on our way through Oklahoma and Texas we decided to get off the interstate and onto a secondary road that paralleled the interstate. No truckers to add to the problem and could go much slower without other drivers tailgating. The winds actually seemed much less buffeting on the secondary road. —bwodom
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    The case for carnitarians (versus vegetarians)
    Your food poll left off carnitarians. I hear broccoli screaming, senselessly slaughtered in the gardens while unable to run away. Who will stand up for the cute little plants, sliced down in the prime of their youth? Potatoes torn from their darkened beds, ripped from their brethren…not even huddled carrots are safe. Brussels sprouts, clearly inedible, are yet eaten WHOLE. These HORRORS must stop!!! The beef, on the other fork, has a sporting chance to run, and if you’ve ever discussed bovine philosophy with a prime rib, you’d know they seldom object to a bit of seasoning and about 5 hours in the warm oven. Need yet more proof? They even provide their own butter… —Wolfe R.
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    Getting philosophical …
    The optimist says the glass is half full, the pessimist says the glass is half empty, the engineer says the glass is twice as big as it needs to be and the drinker says the glass is refillable. —George B.
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    More sightseeing suggestions for Oregon
    Another site to see west of the John Day Fossil beds is the Painted Hills, banded with color from a series of volcanic ash deposits with different minerals in them. Also, from Highway 395 north from Vernon, you can take OR-7 over the mountains to Baker City through the old mining town of Sumpter (see the dredge), or you can skip 395 and take Highway 26 all the way to Ontario and cross into Idaho there. Taking 395 all the way up from California is a great trip through the Owens valley along the eastern Sierras and avoids most of the freeways. —John S..
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    Outfit a motorhome frugally
    We outfitted our motorhome from garage sales. If you shop you can find near new and sometimes brand new and save even more than a thrift store. —Rob
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    An app to check out offbeat attractions
    When it appears you’ve seen everything in an area or just want to see some offbeat attractions, visit the Roadside America APP. Have you seen a giant 16 ft. Fork in the road, a house designed as a mushroom, an Underwear Tree, or visited the Gift Shop at the Los Angeles County Coroners Office? —Joe K.
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    Some advantages to fulltime RVing
    From Jim Twamley’s article: “Vivian Grybko is a widow from Kansas who began traveling as a full-time RVer after her husband died. I asked her how many close friends she has in the RV community and she said, ‘More than I ever had when I was living in one place for many years.’”

    How very true. How many neighbours do you know as friends in your high rise apartment? Probably not even the ones on the same floor. The widow quoted is a full timer. As a half timer our new friends have almost all come from RVing and from all corners of North America. As a half timer it is not a trip, just another adventuresome home.

    Not mentioned but in RVing there are 30 minutes of chores to do every day. At a freehold home it seems to be 4 hours.

    Great article by Jim Twamley, guest editorialist. —Steve B.
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    Be mentally prepared for noise, just in case …
    We just assume every campground is by a railroad track, or gravel pit or blacktop crushing site or a busy highway. Then when we are lucky and it is a rare quiet campground we are very happy campers. —MK
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    Healthy RVers
    We’ve been exercising seriously for many years and continue to do so to ward off many of the aches and pains of aging (hopefully). If we are near a city which has a gym we belong to we go 3 days a week and then walk, ride bikes or kayak 3 more days of the week. If we are out in the national parks and such we hike every day etc. Of course, eating right really helps a bunch too so we try to limit the amount of stuff that would make us round. Unfortunately, we have too many friends that we have watched deteriorate through being overweight etc. and we are trying to avoid that fate. Exercise is a choice you have to make like quitting smoking etc. Life is all about choices and only you can make the correct one. Of course, you’ll feel much better each day that you exercise and once the habit is developed it’s easier to maintain the routine. —Bob G.
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    Thankful for helpful RVers
    I read their comments and admire their skills. I’m referring to the mechanically inclined RVer’s out there. They can fix and repair their RV, their trucks, or their toads. I took a different path, I went the path of technology. Give me a good IT problem and I got it licked. I can analyze and test to find the source (sometimes) of a mechanical problem, but can’t fix it. So I stay away from “vintage” mechanicals where ever they happen to be. Thank God for fellow RVer’s who are willing to share their expertise. For they truly create a community….. —Rory


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    Regarding the glass half full/half empty philosophy: Maybe I’d be classified as a realist. I say that the “glass half empty” is a positive view IF your goal is to empty the glass by drinking all the liquid. In this case, if the glass is half empty, then you’re halfway to reaching your goal of drinking all of it. The glass half full is positive IF your goal is to fill it up by pouring something into it.