Saturday, February 4, 2023



Thumbs up – October 2017

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

Buy better-quality used RVs

I found my RV (2001 Dynamax 28ft) on Ebay. I won the auction, much to my surprise, for $29,500. I flew to Oregon and drove it back to the Bay Area. This rig had 12k miles, plus garaged by previous owners. Were there issues? Sure, but minor. I wouldn’t buy a new rig due to the price and undependable quality. Mine is going strong with about 20k miles now. Go with better-quality used. —Joan
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High-quality Canadian workmanship
The Canadian manufacturers of “B & B plus” RVs, their workers advance slowly to maintain quality workmanship. Pleasure-Way and Leisure Travel to mention a few. are a marvel in workmanship. Their solid units takes on the average 6 weeks to make. My PW Excel TS is a good example of quality. —Ford
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Good KOA campground to try out
I too have found a decline in the quality of KOA campgrounds, but the one I found to be the most amazing is Herkimer Diamond Mines KOA in Herkimer County, N.Y. A must stop for everyone, Herkimer diamonds is known worldwide and you will find a few if you try. —Jim
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More KOAs to check out
Two other great KOAs are Carlsbad and Meteor Crater K O A ‘s. —Steven
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Good report on Airtabs
Look into the Airtabs which are advertised in the newsletter. I have a diesel pusher 38′ and a 24′ Koala travel trailer. I decided to try Airtabs on the Koala and it has made a significant difference. I’ve gone from 11 mpg towing the trailer with my 2006 GMC Sierra 1500 to 12.5 mpg. More importantly, my Koala, which weighs 6,000 pounds., is much more stable when I’m being passed by large vehicles like trucks. I painted them to match the light gray of my trailer and installed them myself. I have no connection to Airtabs. I’m just saying they worked for me in my application. I don’t know if I’ll try them on the DP, but I’m happy with the way my trailer handles now. —Lee
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Reminder to slow down and enjoy life
The R in RV stands for recreational. What’s the big hurry. Speed doesn’t kill it’s just the sudden stop. Slow down, smell the roses, save a life which might possibly be your own or mine. —George
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Happy with waterline accumulator tank for quiet
I installed the accumulator tank to our fiver and was very impressed with how much quieter our water pump is now. No more waking the whole camper to flush the toilet at night. —Michael
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Glad she bought a used RV
I bought a 2008 Gulf Stream Tourmaster with only 27000 miles on it. I paid $75,000 for it. New it was $300,000. The previous owner didn’t take very good care of it, however only required minor fixes, new tires and new batteries. My bank says it’s worth a lot more. Glad I bought used. Wanted new but couldn’t afford the $479,000 one I loved. —Lynda
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Hang on to your used RVs
With all these horrible stories of the quality issues with new RVs, I guess the value of my 2002 motorhome must be rising. I think we’ll keep it until we can’t travel any longer and sell it for a profit. Lol —Robert
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RVer wouldn’t do without Progressive Industries EMS
I would never plug up my coach to shore power without my Progressive Industries EMS. It has saved us more than once. —David
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Happy with slideouts
We have four on our Monaco compared to only one on our former Holiday Rambler. What a wonderful difference! —Summrbrz
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Recommended RV campgrounds
A year ago I had also stayed at the Staunton/Walnut Hills in Virginia and agree with your assessment. If you ever get near the SE CT coast I’ve found the best RV campground – Countryside in Griswold. Consider it better than Walnut Hills though it doesn’t have the history. —Martine
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A good word for America Mailboxes
We use Americas Mailbox in Rapid City South Dakota. They are very proactive and we have never had any problems. I highly recommend them. —Trey
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Impressed with older Dutch Star
The early Newmar’s were great. We still have our 2002 Dutch Star. Did new paint & interior update & some fixes at the factory. Still impressed with their work ethic & quality. Also, new engine (170K on old) at Cat facility. Agree with buying used & taking your time. If we didn’t love our Dutch Star would have looked at used. —Diane
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Strong argument for purchasing used RVs
I can recommend that you forget new RVs. Instead find a good used one with some age on it. 15 years ago we bought a 1997 Newmar Mountain Aire and have never regretted it. We not only saved a TON of money up front on the cost but we got a quality coach that we are STILL driving. Plus most all the “problems” had been already taken care of by the previous owner. Yes we have had some problems, but they were ALL taken care of and not recurring. We have put money into the coach for updating the interior and a new paint scheme. People cannot believe our coach is 20+ years old. And she is still traveling the road! Just got back from a 3K mile trip to Canada and back. Bottom line is there are GREAT used coaches out there. You just have to search for them (we looked 2 yrs). —Richard
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Very good RV repair company
I found a very good RV repair and storage company with a great positive attitude in Majors RV in Bourne, Massachusetts. Quality work plus. —Fred
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Rave review for Progressive Industries Surge Protector
I use a Progressive Industries 50 Amp Surge Protector. Best Money I ever spent! Has saved my RV and the electrical system twice. Once I had an error code at an RV park, stating reversed wiring or something like that. They had the 50 amp plug miswired. Second time was during a sever thunderstorm. I park my unit in a 48 foot RV shed and it is wired for 50 amp service. A bolt of lightning struck close to the shed and not only knocked out my 60 amp breaker at the main power box, but tripped the 50 amp on the surge protector and (get this) blew the back of the surge protector off. I can only imagine had that surge gone directly into my RV. Progressive Industries quickly replaced my surge protector with a new one. As I stated best money ever spent. You should not go camping without one of these units. —Jeff
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Good report on The RV Factory — builder of Luxe fifth wheels
I know a manufacturer who doesn’t make many new RV’s in a year. The company is called the RV Factory. They make the LUXE, which used to be the Augusta RV company and this company only makes a small number of RV’s due to the fact they are factory direct sales. No middle man dealerships. You actually go online and build your own. I recently visited the factory in Elkhart, IN. Factory tour and the whole 9 yards. They actually only put out about 2 new units a week! Yes, a week! So doing the math, about 104 per year. Compared with thousands at other plants. It is quite an impressive operation and they are top quality RVs. Of course they are pricey, but built to last. —Jeff
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RVer very glad he had a Progressive Industries EMS
I recently acquired a Progressive Industries portable 50 amp EMS. Within a matter of a couple of months I arrived at a campground and within 15 minutes of hooking up the rig lost power, I checked the EMS and an error code indicated Line 1 High – like 136 VAC. Very glad I had the EMS, I’m sure things would have fried without it. Incidentally, as I was in the office reporting the problem another RVer came in and reported the same problem. Seems like the local power company had a problem but resolved it in about 20 minutes. —Pete
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Praise for Viair air compressor
I’ve used a Viair compressor for eight years now. I keep it in my truck and it has never failed me. The model I have is rated for continuous use and never overheats. Makes it very easy to pump up my tires whenever I need it. I really recommend this pump. —Ron
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Lightning vs. Surge Guard
Lightning hit a tree within a hundred feet of my RV at a campground in southern Oregon. My Surge Guard exploded. Really blew apart. There were burn marks on the post and the grass and my power cord. Nothing happened in the RV. This is why I don’t want a wired unit inside my coach. BTW, I contacted the company and they replaced the unit if they could have the pieces of the old one. —Chuck
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They love their Coachmen
We bought a new Class C 2011 Coachmen Freelander 21 qb on a Chevy chasis 6 years ago. We have put over 60,000 miles on it. It has been a WONDERFUL RV!!!! The ONLY thing that had to be replaced was a $30 fan vent motor. WE LOVE OUR COACHMEN! —Charles
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Surge protector warned of faulty ground
I have an EMS surge protector hardwired into my motorhome. Recently I plugged the motorhome into the outlet on the outside of my garage. The EMS indicated a faulty ground. After checking everything (extension cord, outlet, etc.) I found that the 30 amp to 15 amp adapter was at fault. I replaced the adapter with a better one that was more heavy duty. I would not have known about the faulty ground without the Progressive Industries surge protector. —Roy
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Praise for Airstream
We purchased a 2017 19′ Airstream travel trailer and, so far, everything is in working order. There were a few minor cosmetic issues that the dealer took care of but other than that we are enjoying traveling about with her. Airstream’s reputation was the main reason why we decided on this brand…it was worth saving a bit more for a bit longer. We hope Thor doesn’t do any drastic changes or “improvements” and just leave well enough alone. —Jaime
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Surge guard = insurance policy for electrical system
Twice surge guards have protected my electrical system. The surge guards themselves were burned but I quickly replaced them. I think of the surge guard as an insurance policy for my electrical system. —Glenda
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Trouble-free Arctic Fox
2015 Artic Fox 27-5L has been a quality 5th wheel for us. We have used it both in Wyoming summers and Texas and Arizona in the winter time. Trouble free and comfortable. —Jim
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Testimonial for EMS/smart surge protectors
I would not be without [an EMS/smart surge protector]. Had one I installed on my pickup camper and it saved my electronics twice. So it was a no brainer to install one on my class A inside the power bay just prior to the transfer switch. It has saved me 3 times in the past 5 years. Even though I always check the pedestal power before I hookup, brownouts have occurred and I’ve been shut down power-wise before damage to my electronics. For those on the fence, what’s worth more, your sat system, microwave, TV, inverter, all of them, or an EMS insurance policy? BTW ours have been Progressive Industries – SO Much more than a surge protector! —Rob
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Very happy with older National RV Tradewinds
1999 National RV 37′ Tradewinds with one slide (galley and couch on driver’s side). We purchased an older Class A in 2015 to avoid having a bedroom slide. Also didn’t want any slides on the passenger side. Got exactly what we want and have been very happy with it. —David
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Free dump station
As for free dump stations, Alamogordo, NM, has a free one at its Welcome Center on White Sands Blvd near 10th street. —Beverly
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Compliments to Casita
I enjoy reading this publication. I have an RV albeit a very small one. A 17′ Casita travel trailer. I understand the issues with quality control and just want to compliment the folks at Casita. I toured the shop where all the units are made. I saw 1st hand the quality control. I am sure that there are both good and poor manufacturing practices in the RV industry as a whole. I am glad that I found a good one. —Mark
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Happy with Jayco Class C
Went from a Class A to a Class C. With opposing slides up front plus a bedroom slide, our smaller Smaller C feels like a Class A when parked, but has the nimble feel when on the road. Happy with Jayco quality & had zero problems with slides. —Barry
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Praise for the full-time RVing lifestyle
We’ve been on the road now for 12 years; our average mileage is 500 miles per month. Wherever we park, we are at home. We are not on vacation, and never in a hurry to put-down-miles. We love to experience new sites, but have figured out that we can plan “possibilities” and research how to eventually get there in our own sweet time, and only dependent on the time of year or the season. —Robbie
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Good review for Harvest Hosts
Another great option may be Harvest Hosts. If you know how far you plan on traveling, using their tools you can usually find a beautiful out-of-the-way spot to rest. Just follow the directions to call ahead the day before. All the “Hosts” we’ve stayed with were awesome. Some even asked if we wanted to stay multiple nights. Great way to find unexpected gems to see and experience. —Charles
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Nothing compares to their Mountain Aire
Our Mountain Aire is a 1997. We have had her for 14 years being the third owner. Yes she is an old girl, but we have kept her up to date with many additions, repairs as needed and new paint etc. She is everything we need. Yes she doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that the new ones have, BUT she is well made, sturdy and can take a beating. (which I have mistakenly proven time and again with my out of the way shortcuts and back roads). We have looked at new coaches but just cannot find anything that compares to the quality we have in our old girl. They don’t make em like that anymore has never been a truer statement. —Richard
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They love their older Fleetwood
We have a 37′ Fleetwood with 3 slide outs. We just completed our summer fling of 6,730 miles and no major issues. We bought the 2006 rig used and love everything about it. —Connie
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Happy with Mountain Aire
We have a ‘02 Mountain Aire w/61K miles on a Workhorse chassis w/a 8.1L engine. It runs great, doesn’t get the best mileage, 7-8 mpg, but for a 38’ motorhome it’s not bad. Considering the cost and quality issues of a new units, barring an accident that totals it, we’ll keep it out there several years to come. —Robert
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Airstream quality is excellent
Have had 3 Airstreams and have to say the quality on all 3 have been excellent. Most recent is a 2016 25 foot. The dealers and Airstream customer service have been excellent. Something must be said for 80 year old technology. Hope Thor leaves them alone. —Tom
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Quality Class C’s
My wife and I toured the Phoenix Cruiser factory last year and were quite impressed with what we saw. The place was clean and well organized, unlike some of the larger factories in the area. We saw units in various stages of completion which revealed very good workmanship and quality materials. Most of their workers have been with the company for years and seem to be dedicated to making a quality product. Their prices are reasonable for the quality level too. In addition to Phoenix Cruiser and Lazy Daze, I would add Coach House and possibly Nexus to the list of good C’s available now. I read recently that Nexus will be “test camping” every unit that comes off the line, something that other manufacturers should be doing. —Gary
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Quality RVs from Canada
After researching RVs for their availability of “cold weather packages” I was steered necessarily to Canadian built units since few U.S. models offer them, and those that do are seriously lacking. In doing so, I found that they actually listen to their customers and build real QUALITY products. My next purchase, new or used, will be of a Canadian designed and built RV! —David
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Best Class C’s
I believe the two best Class Cs going are Phoenix Cruisers, made in Elkhart, IN, and Lazy Daze made in Montclair, CA. I’ve had NO problems with either of them. They are both well made and drive well. —Pete
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Love their Keystone Cougar
We have a 2017 35′ Keystone Cougar with 3 slideouts. We have put about 5,000 miles on it in the year since we bought it and we love it! Plan to spend 3 to 6 months a year in it after we sell the stick and brick in the spring. —Paul
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Great customer service from Vanleigh RV
I want to tell you of the “GREAT” customer service we have received from Vanleigh, regarding our Vilano. My contact at Vanleigh has taken care of every little issue we have had with the 5th wheel. This has been immediate, even when we are on the road. We used to purchase Keystone products and had no help from the manufacture, only lectures (I won’t go into detail). We will only purchase Vanleigh or Tiffin products from now on. —Beth
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Happy with National Dolphin and Good Sam
We have a 2005 National Dolphin that has 115,000 miles on it. It has been a good coach with only normal maintenance problems. We carry a Good Sam maintenance warranty which has taken care of major problems. It’s good until 150K miles. —Tom
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Keeping their older Dutch Star
Our rig is a 2000 Dutch Star with 127,000 miles. Have not found a coach we like as well. Plan on keeping it. We purchased new and only had it back to the dealer once for a problem. Great coach and good quality workmanship. —Dave
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Happy with Jayco and Ford
We bought a new Jayco 29 ft. Redbird Motor home a year ago, been all the way out to the Grand canyon and back from central Florida, not one problem, very happy with the Ford e 4500 , chassis, we love it. —Jim
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Finally — A problem-free trip!
We just got back from a five week trip taking in the OR and WA coasts, then east to eastern WA and ID. Then back home to northern NV. Get this! Not one problem this time. Everything worked as it’s supposed to. First time EVER! Ha. As an aside, I waited until we were actually coming down our street with our house in sight before I looked over at wifey and exclaimed “Wow, the whole trip with no problems.” Our trailer is a 2012 (built mid 2011 as it turns out) and our tow vehicle is a 1997. —Tommy
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Very happy with Country Coach Inspire from LazyDays
Ours is a 2006 Country Coach Inspire which we are as happy with today as we were when we bought it new at LazyDays in 2006. It’s so well made and drives very well, great to live in, so we’ll keep on traveling in it a few months a year and enjoying the RVing life. —Mary
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Positive attitude
Great life, the RV’s always 9 years old and the wife’s always 39 again !!! —Dave
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Good report on a Windsport
We own a 2000 Windsport. We bought it new. We love it as much today as the day we bought it. —Nancy
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Happy with their Pleasure Way
We bought a pre-owned 2006 Pleasure Way (manufactured in Canada) which we’ve had for 1 year. We just returned from a month-long cross-country trip and were quite pleased with its performance and durability; adding stabilizers certainly helped. —Mac
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A happy Chinook camper
I love our Chinook also. Top quality even used. Tho we bought our 05 new, it still looks new in 2017 and i wouldn’t trade it for anything. We don’t have slides and I really like it that way. —Luanne
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Some (mostly good) comments about Camping World
Traveling full-time and needing repairs or upgrades we have used Camping World stores and service centers often. Because each can be run so very differently, I always check out reviews before I schedule an appointment or even call. We have had excellent results in Rogers MN where they installed awnings, Satellite dish, accumulator,new digital TV, Wi-Fi ranger and cell booster. I have purchased items from other places than Camping World and scheduled install. Only issue is making sure they don’t automatically charge for warranty. We had a tire blowout in Missouri and Camping World was the only place that could guarantee matching tires when we needed. The service manager took the new tires in his personal pickup to their tire installer and saved us around $300 on tires and install! Even the Goodyear dealers didn’t match the price or timing. In Florida our toilet was leaking and we needed a rock tow guard. They stayed well past closing to help us. That said- Phoenix never found the item I needed to order or returned my calls, but their reviews were bad too. Usually follow the rule- first call no help equals no sale and we move on down the road. —Nanci
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Great service person
AAA dispatch has been spotty for us, too, but the service has been good. Once I was told I had to lower the spare tire and make sure it had air in it or the service person would leave. Having arthritis made that a non-starter for me. I just waited and the service person did it all, and also directed me to a tire shop where I could get a replacement tire. He called ahead to make sure. The dispatcher informed me I would have to stay overnight until Monday because no tire service places were open on Sunday in SC. She got a ding. He got double 5 stars. —Elaine
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Reader likes her older Itasca
I have a 2005 Itasca Cambria that I keep in perfect condition — since that’s the way I received it. I’ve never had any quality problems with its manufacture (I’d like to make a few design changes, but that’s just style). I’m always tempted to get a newer MH but, after reading all the horror stories re sloppy manufacture, have decided to keep mine. —Lori
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Happy Heartland Owners Club members
We are active in the Heartland Owners Club. It is a very active club, with local, regional and national rallies. We have met and enjoy friends across the country. They also have an excellent, active web based forum. —Mike
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More happy Heartland Owners Club members
We are also members of the Heartland owners club. Have attended many rallies this year(9) including the National in Goshen, Indiana which was our first. Met some of the most wonderful people fromr all over the country. Always have a great time and meeting new RV’ers at local, regional, and National rallies. —BigJim45
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Praise for new Astronomy for RVers feature
Thanks and congratulations, Chris, on your new [astronomy] column. I’m enjoying learning the basics of the night sky! –Steve
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A reader appreciates Swami Hal’s horoscopes for RVers
Thanks soooo much for the entertainment. WOW you do have a weird sense of humor. Thanks. —Dave
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Another happy Good Sam Roadside Assistance customer
I just had an experience a few weeks ago. While backing into a campsite at a park in Newfoundland we noticed one of our trailer tires going flat. I didn’t have cell service in Canada, but was able to reach Good Sam via Google Voice (on wifi). Services in Newfoundland are few and far between. Within less than 2 hours a truck showed up to install our spare. The technician was also able to plug the flat tire as a temporary spare until we could buy a new tire, which we did the following day. He let us know about a tire shop on our intended route to our next location. Thanks, Good Sam. —Eric
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Great review for a generator
I am now on my third generator. The first one I bought was during the impending “crisis” of the year 2000 where everything from computers to power grids was going to collapse. This was a 6500 watt monster, that took two men and a boy to carry, and if you were within 50 feet of it you couldn’t carry on a conversation because of the noise. Next came an electric start 3500 watt generator which wouldn’t start if the outside temperature was below freezing unless you used starting fluid. This too was fairly noisy but worked well and eventually my back grew to dislike moving it around. Next I found a “POWER IT” GN-2000 Digital Inverter Generator at Walmart. It weighs just 48 lbs. and holds 4L or 1 U.S. gallon of straight gas (no mixing oil). It has an economy setting and I’ve run it 10 hours on one tank of gas. I use it mainly while traveling. It keeps the battery charged, runs the fridge and radiant heater all night, and I can watch a movie on TV. At just 1500 watts continuous output I run the water heater on propane. If you need to run an air conditioner this product is not for you. It also has 12-volt charging. I am extremely happy with this product. It was priced under $500. —George B.
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Prescription refills while on the road
Check out GoodRx dot com. It provides price comparisons of specific medications in a given ZIP code. It’s free and has worked well for us. Sometimes the price differences are astonishing. —Suka’s Mom
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“Usually” good service from Good Sam Roadside Assistance
I have had good service from GS RA – two tows, both reasonable time frames, and bringing a new tire for my Class A Diesel Pusher on I-80 midway across Nevada. I have the app on my phone, so the call center knows exactly where I am when they pick up the call. That’s over a period of about six years. Prior to having the app on the phone, I did have a frustrating 4 hour experience with a flat tire on I-15 in the Mojave Desert (“What is the nearest cross street?”) —Bill
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Nice RV park in Colorado
On a happier note, we are at this moment, in perpetual rain, in a brand new RV park in South Fork, Colorado! We are staying 7 nights, hoping to see some Aspen trees turning color. The park is pretty full right now, guess people stopping because of this constant rain. The laundry is small, but not pricey for a new park, not much of a store. Sites are LEVEL! and many are long enough for long trailers and truck or Class A’s and toads! (That is getting harder to find.) The owners are very friendly and nice. I think this one will survive! —Linda
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Enjoyable camping experience
We drove through Cody about 6:00 pm July 24th without reservations anywhere and saw line with their 4 way flashers waiting to get into the KOA.. Stayed a Buffalo Bill State Park 12 miles down the road. Water front pull through site, $17. Moved ttheir river front campground 5 miles down the road for 2 more nights @ $22 with power. We were out west 23 nights, yes busy but found good camping spots every night without reservations. Pleased to see so many young families getting their kids out. That’s how we learned, by doing. Before you know it, they’ll be old camping pros. —Randy
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Good neighbor
I stayed at a military campground one time in North Carolina. When I backed in a woman from next door came running over with a large box of borax. She told me to sprinkle it around anything touching the ground to prevent ants from coming in. There were loads of ants. But that was all. Then she pointed to the hedge row behind us and said to stay away from there as there was a nest of copperheads in there. Ok, now I am beginning to think she is some kind of nut. Later that night I saw people moving around outside with flashlights. I went out to see what was going on. They told me not to move. The grass was full of snakes. I got my light and sure enough there were two foot long copperheads everywhere. They called a wildlife officer who came and rounded up as many as he could. This went on every night we were there. They must have caught at least a dozen snakes. Sure glad I parked next to that lady now. —Pete D.
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Happy Roadtrekers
We bought a Class B truck camper in May and have found the veteran RVers to be consistently kind and happy to share advice. Most were driving big rigs but we fit right into our small spaces just fine. We’ve only seen a handful of other Roadtreks at the campgrounds but it’s fun to trade ideas about accessories my wife won’t let me buy ? Thanks to this site and all of you for your consideration. —Charlie
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Good report from Superbumper user
Great product. Have used one on my truck for 10 years or so. Several bumps as evidenced by other cars paint on it from parking lot encounters. No crashes yet. Have since moved it to my new Class B motorhome, and looking at buying another one. —Roger (In response to Wolfe Rose’s video on the Superbumper.)
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Learning is fun!
I find that most RVrs – new and old, love to talk and learn. I do because even though I think I know a lot, I usually find out I don’t. The blogs are great, but they can be misleading and many opinions are voiced. I like the owners site like the Montana Owner Forum. Always great info, but I still get lots of enjoyment out of talking to other campers and I always learn stuff. My opinion is this: learning is part of the fun! —Steve

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Happy RVing astronomers (regarding our new column, RVing for Astronomers)
Great intro! We live in a small city on the East coast and can only see a few dozen stars on a clear night. We attended a star party at the Greenbank observatory a number of years back and it was the first time my wife had ever seen the Milky Way. We often look for a clearing where we can enjoy the night sky while in a campground. We plan to upgrade the RV and travel more after we are both retired. I have been wondering if I can take the telescope. Looking forward to reading your articles. —Bob N.
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Brenda Fohlmeister
5 years ago

We downsized and bought a new 24 ft Class C Coachmen in 2015 from a large RV retail dealer about 200 miles from home because our local Coachmen dealer did not have the model we wanted and was not interested in ordering what we preferred. The large retailer is too far to drive just for routine maintenance and warranty work, so we thought we would take it to our Coachmen dealer closer to home. He refuses to service it since we did not buy from him. We tried another dealer and he basically said the same thing but would try to work us in in about 3 months. Do other RVers have trouble getting warranty work done because they did not buy their coach from that particular dealer? Luckily, Camping World has come through for us even though they are 50 miles from us.

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