DVD: Do It Yourself RV Care
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, shows you step-by-step how to maintain and care for your RV. This 63-minute DVD was produced in cooperation with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. Learn more or order at a discount price.
By Chuck Woodbury
Welcome to the 324th issue of this weekly newsletter. I'll begin by telling you about two videos about RV safety -- one is upbeat, the other frightening. The first video, from the Coachmen company, compares two types of RV walls -- its own and the other guys. Whether or not watching this makes you yearn to own a Coachmen product, it will make you think twice about buying an RV with a cheap type of construction. I urge you to take a few minutes to watch this at RVvideos.com.
The second video is downright scary. . .
A Seattle TV station spent months investigating hundreds of fatal motorhome accidents. Its conclusion: "Some of the biggest, most luxurious RVs on our roads may also be some of the deadliest."
Fatal accidents were caused by overheated brakes, flying debris and inadequate interior design. KIRO TV's investigative reporter focused on one particular accident where a man died after his motorhome lost its brakes on a steep mountain road. In addition, 14 people were injured.
Six of those hurt were inside the victim's nine-ton Monarch Coach. Hot brakes may have caused this crash, but that's not what killed driver Lonnie Owens. The primary cause was skull fractures. But whether Owens hit his head or something poorly secured inside the RV hit him is in question. The TV reporter said he and his staff had uncovered nearly 1,000 consumer complaints filed by RVers regarding braking or structural deficiency issues. See a video of the news report or read a transcript of it.
Our popular Knowledge Quizzes return
We have three quizzes this weekend. Win a giant sequoia growing kit with mini-greenhouse, an RVbookstore.com mug, or the best-selling guidebook The Next Exit. Contest details below.
Wal-Mart "No RV Parking"
store directory updated
Most Wal-Mart stores permit RVers to stay overnight in their parking lots for free. But many don't. . . and the list is growing. Learn which stores DO NOT allow stays in the just updated "No Park Wal-Marts" Directory, published this month. Retail price: $4.95. Introductory special only $3.96. Learn more or order.
Diesel for $2 a gallon?
Unleaded for less than $3. It's true!
Yes, bargain fuel is available, but you'll need to cross the border to get it. RVers who travel in the Southwest within striking distance of Mexico can take advantage of diesel prices less than half what it sells for in the USA. Right now, a gallon of diesel in a Mexican border town costs about $2 a gallon. Unleaded gasoline is slightly higher, but still less than $3. Learn more.
Find Rest Areas, Welcome Centers & more
With the new 2008 Interstate Travel Guide you will quickly and easily locate rest areas, welcome centers, scenic turnouts, including a list of Flying J Travel Plaza locations popular with RVers. Learn more.
Motorhome fire accelerated by operator's faulty reaction
The news frequently has stories about RV fires. They're all worth reading because of the lessons they teach. The fire reported in this article resulted from an activity any of us might engage in, so be careful. Click here.
This travel trailer
doubles as a hot rod!
You have never seen a travel trailer like this travel trailer! It doesn't need a tow car because it . . . well, it sort of tows itself (does that make sense?). But, really, the deal is that this travel trailer is self-powered and it goes really, really FAST! See for yourself in this 36-second video.
Make your drawers stay put when you're traveling
Do your drawers ever suddenly come loose? Your RV's drawers, that is. Many do on sharp turns or bumpy roads because the locking mechanism is inadequate. In this article, RVing expert Jim Twamley shows you how to make your drawers stay in place. Click here.
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FMCA: The best club for motorhome owners
If you drive a motorhome you should join the Family Motor Coaching Association, the largest and best club exclusively for motorhome owners. Many benefits including rallies, local chapters and thick monthly magazine. Special new member price of $35. Click here to learn more or join.
2008 RV Show Schedule
Learn about RV shows through the spring of 2008. Check in here to learn when shows will be held in your area.
Lost Lake Resort
Secluded RV living in the Northwest. Beautiful lots. Private trout lake, athletic club, clubhouse, park models, indoor/outdoor pool plus easy drive to Tacoma and Seattle. See available lots and prices. Learn more and take a video tour!
Skyline Corp. has announced that it plans to close its RV manufacturing plant, Nomad McMinnville, eliminating 84 jobs. The plant will close June 20 . . . The Canadian province of Quebec was the second-largest market in Canada after Alberta for RV sales last year with 27 percent of national sales for a total of $910 million. Despite higher gas prices, RV sales in Canada have jumped 68 percent since 2005.
Monaco lays off hundreds of workers
Monaco Coach has cut about 600 jobs. The layoffs represent about 12 percent of the company's workforce. The company锟絪 sales have declined for four consecutive years. Additional details.
NEW ARRIVALS at RVbookstore.com. Check them out
Recent RV recalls
Each month we list the latest recalls of RVs at RVtravel.com. Here are the most recent ones: March -- February -- January -- December -- November -- October -- September -- August
Get the latest news about RVing at RV News Service.
A travel trailer meets a mighty puff
Like vintage RVs? Here's your campground
This RV park in Bisbee, Arizona, offers a special service you'll find in few other campgrounds. If you have some nostalgia in your blood for RVing's yesteryear, click here.
RVs provide shelter from most types of weather, but there's a limit, as this photo illustrates. So listen to weather reports and forecasts, and if severe conditions are headed your way, you might want to seek shelter elsewhere. The photo.
RV transport drivers hit hard by diesel prices
If you've ever considered making a few bucks by becoming an RV delivery driver, it might pay to wait a little while. When an RV manufacturer needs to get a trailer or fifth wheel out to the dealer, they customarily farm the job out to a transporter. Transporters are usually paid by the mile, and in these days of skyrocketing diesel prices, the transporters are having a hard time making ends meet. Read more.
RV stocks taking a tumble
Shares of RV manufacturers' stock slid Wednesday after Monaco Coach Corp. predicted a second-quarter loss and reported a first-quarter loss. The company's stock fell $1.12, or 13.3 percent, to $7.33 in morning trading. The company's shares plunged to a nearly 10-year low of $6.50 earlier in the session. Elsewhere, shares of Thor Industries Inc. fell by three cents to $28.98. Winnebago Industries dropped 30 cents, or two percent, to $14.58 after earlier hitting a new 52-week low of $14.30. Shares of Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. fell 11 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $3.68 after bottoming to a new year low of $3.55.
Guide to FREE Campgrounds
In two volumes -- East and West! This is the most comprehensive guide to free and inexpensive campgrounds you will find -- a "must-have" directory for RVers who want to save money on camping. Learn more: Western edition -- Eastern edition.
RV Performance with Eric Davis
RV owner asks about pulling power
Since 1972 Eric Davis has addressed RV engine performance. This week he answers this question:
Will a 39 ft Itasca with the GM and Workhorse chassis have enough power pulling my 4,200-pound Jeep on Oregon and California mountain passes? If not, what size diesel should I look at in lieu of the gas coach? The carrying capacity is 2,700 pounds and I know not to exceed the weight of 24,000 pounds. The coach we're interested in is the 38T gas Itasca. What about putting a Banks system on the gas coach? Will this make a difference? We don't want to make a mistake of not having enough power to handle this setup. Read Eric's response at RVperformanceTips.com
JUST RELEASED BY FILMMAKER JOHN HOLOD
DVD: RVing Alaska
(with Joe and Vicki Kieva)
Learn everything you need to know about traveling by RV to and from Alaska via the Alaska Highway and the Alaska ferry. Essential viewing for Alaska-bound RVers. Learn more or order.
Follow these tips for RVing in Vegas
If you haven't taken an RV trip to Las Vegas lately, rest assured that the Strip is as exciting as ever. Here are two articles with some tips about RV parks, security and weather in Sin City. Article 1. Article 2.
World's most expensive
motorhome has surprise in basement!
Do you have a few million dollars you'd like to spend on an RV? Then you can buy what is billed as the "World's most expensive motorhome." In this short video, take a tour of the luxury rig with a couple of funny British guys, and then, at the end, see the surprise they pull out of the basement. And how about the groovy bathroom faucet? You will want this rig!
Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service enhances benefits
Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service (ERS), has added a new service for its members. In response to increased complexity and sophistication of RVs -- especially larger motorized units -- the program will now certify all technicians who handle roadside assistance calls. Read more.
Look what you can find at RVbookstore.com!
Books and DVDs for beginning or aspiring RVers.
Books and DVDs about how to use everything on an RV.
Fulltime RVing: Living on the road books and DVDs.
DVDs and books about RV repair and maintenance.
Towing Guides: Books and DVDs that show you how to do it.
DVDs about RVing: See our huge selection!
What a life!
RV in your Retirement SAVE 60%
Anyone who is close to retirement or who recently retired and is planning to spend all or part of their time traveling with an RV will find much useful information in "RV Retirement." Retail price: $16.95. Super Sale price, $6.78
. Learn more or order
This Week's Reader Survey
Do you subscribe to a daily newspaper (or read one daily from the newsstand?) Answer here
Last week's survey question
How much are your monthly RV payments? Read the results here.
Past reader surveys and results.
Protect your power cord connector from wear
The prongs on the connectors of many RV power cords gradually become loose and worn because of the twisting RV owners must do to pull them out of the electric outlet or a pigtail extension. This product is designed to eliminate that problem. It's a wise investment. Click here.
Bargains at RVbookstore.com
Low, low prices. Save up to 80% and even more!
Contest updates: Cash prizes now totals $119.
Our Pot of Gold Contest cash prize is now $63, and the pot at our Your Name is Money contest is now $56 after yet another cash winner. Check weekdays between 8-2 (Pacific time) to see if you're a winner.
Guide to RV-Friendly Casinos
This is the best casino guide for RVers. Learn which casinos have RV parks or offer free overnight stays. Plus information about other casino benefits for RVers. Learn more and order.
Take better photos on your RV outings
If you carry a camera on your RVing trips, you'll want to read this interesting perspective on photo-taking by RV Romance blogger Bess McBride. The quality of her photos proves she's onto something. Click here.
The good and bad of clear sewer connections and spray flushing
Emptying RV holding tanks is more efficient with spray flushing systems. Simply connect a water hose to the wash-out connector and it rinses your tank without having to go inside the RV. Having a clear sewer connection is also helpful because you know your black tank is clean when you see clear water passing through the connection. Learn more.
eBooks: INSTANT READING!
With eBooks you don't have to wait to read your book. Just place your order and your eBook will be delivered almost instantly to your email inbox. These eBooks are written by RV experts and delivered instantly in PDF format.
Buying an RV the Smart Way
Complete Guide to Dinghy Towing
The Woman's Guide to Solo RVing
RV Care and Maintenance
Deep Cycle Battery Care and Maintenance
The 3 Primary Systems of an RV: LP Gas, Water & Electricity
Trailer Towing, Weights, Hitchwork and Backing
Ask the RV Doctor
Gary Bunzer, The RV Doctor is a well known RV author and the host of RV Roadtrips, the DIY Network cable television show. He is one of the RV industry鈥檚 most sought after speakers and the host of the popular DVD Do It Yourself RV Care.
The "Doc" diagnoses
a problem with RV electric outlets
Dear RV Doctor,
We recently bought a 20-something year-old Field & Stream motorhome. On our maiden voyage we plugged into shore power at the RV park and had 120-volt AC electric from all the outlets in the coach just like it should. When we started the generator, it appeared to run properly but we had no power from the outlets like we did before. Do you have any ideas what could cause this problem? Is it possible for the generator to run but not to produce electricity? Read Gary's answer.
2008 Next Exit Directory
Essential guide! Learn what you will find at every Interstate highway exit: gas/diesel, campgrounds, truck stops, casinos, stores, malls, hospitals, factory outlet stores, parks and more. Learn more.
A new life for an old Airstream
You've heard of the famous Airstream travel trailers, but what's an "Artstream?" This RVer has one, and he built it himself. Read his interesting story.
A new wrinkle: Foreign RV maker builds plant in U.S.
When Fleetwood Enterprises laid off California employees, then promptly opened a trailer building plant in Mexico, the cries of "Foul!" were heard far and wide in the community of RV buyers. Now a Canadian firm announces it will soon open an RV building plant in Washington state. Read more.
The best way to learn how your RV works
To really understand your RV, you'd need X-ray vision so you could see behind walls, floors and other parts. Diagrams in the owner's manual help a little, but there's a better way to learn how your unit is put together. Click here.
Owners of motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheels and medium duty tow vehicles save up to 15% over our largest competitors by tailoring their coverage from more than a dozen options. Get a quote now.
The wolf is one of the world's most fascinating and well-studied animals. Alaskans are fortunate to have an estimated 7,700-11,200 wolves in their state. Wolves have never been threatened or endangered in Alaska, and inhabit all of their traditional range except within the largest cities.
Bella Terra means "Beautiful Land"
and that's exactly what this RV Resort is! The Gulf Coast's first 5-star master planned RV Resort. Five minutes away from the beautiful sugar-white sands of the Gulf of Mexico, Bella Terra is poised to set the standard for outdoor RV resorts. See for yourself.
Federal campgrounds in California get more expensive
If you want to save money on your next RV trip in California, better read this article before you stay at a federal campground there. Click here.
. . . so perhaps you would like to camp for FREE in California. . .
A yummy bread recipe from the RV Kitchen
Bread is a staple in an RV just as it is at home. Check out this great bread recipe from the RV Kitchen. You can practically smell the aroma. The recipe.
GET YOURS NOW. . .
2008 Trailer Life RV Parks & Campground Navigator CD-ROM
America's most popular RV campground directory is now on 2 CD-ROM disks. The user friendly interface provides the ultimate RV travel planning software for the U.S. and Canada. Retail price: $59.95. Now only $36.99. Learn more or order
Fire Safety Tip from Mac McCoy
If you have a quick-disconnect fitting on your water hookup, it can be unhooked instantly to fight a fire. If a nearby coach is burning and you cannot move your coach but can safely stay close enough to keep it hosed down, you may be able to save it.
The Fuel Efficient Motorhomes You'll Love to Drive! Learn all about them here.
Great Reading in our RV Travel Blogs
RV Performance Tips
Eric Davis tells you how to improve the performance of your RV or truck engine.
More famous people are taking up the RV lifestyle. Read about the stars and their RVing lifestyles in this blog.
The RV Kitchen
Recipes, tips and techniques to help you prepare healthy meals within the confines of a small space.
Greener ways to hit the road.
RVs in the News
"Concentrated RV news." Practical, useful, and fun news on recreational vehicle issues. Always be up to date.
Wheel LifeRV Romance
Veteran RV reporter Julianne Crane keeps you up-to-date with news and information about RVing, RVers and the RV lifestyle. Always entertaining!
Join romance writer Bess McBride as she travels by RV looking for the next setting for yet another romance novel.
Working on the RV Road
Get up-to-date news and information about earning income while RVing.
Do you use your RV away from utilities? Here you'll pick up tips on how to do it, and learn about some great places to boondock.
RV Short Stops
Our RVtravel.com blogger's favorite places to visit in their RVs -- Great suggestions for places to visit on your own travels.
"RV Snowbird Central" for the winter season, home of huge gem shows and flea markets and the land of free camping on government lands.
Casino RV Camping
Learn about casino RV parks, freebie camping, and great deals on gaming and dining for RVers who visit.
If you're a fulltime RVer or plan to be someday, then stop by for the latest news and information about fulltiming.
See the complete lineup of RV Travel blogs
Looking for new recipes? Check out www.RVcookBooks.com
Largest selection of RV Cookbooks anywhere!
RV Tech Corner
with Mark Polk
How to help your fridge run better
There are several things we can do to help our RV refrigerator do its job more efficiently. First and foremost the RV must be fairly level for the refrigerator to operate properly. Older RV refrigerators required more precise leveling, but even the newer models need to be close to level for optimum performance. Over time a cooling unit operated out of level will be permanently damaged. The initial cool down process can take four to six hours. You should turn the refrigerator on the day before you plan to leave, and before you put any food in it. When you do load the refrigerator the food you put in should already be cold, and the food put in the freezer should already be frozen.
-- Mark Polk is the host of the RV Education 101 series of RV "how to" videos.
Big Rigs Campground Directory
now available on CD-ROM
The hugely popular Big Rigs Best Bets Campground Directory is now available on CD-ROM. This is the premier guidebook to RV parks that cater to long RVs -- 32 feet and longer. Previously only available in printed form, the publishers have just released the information in a searchable CD-ROM. Learn more.
Three Quizzes on Saturday & Sunday
with fabulous prizes!
--A Giant Sequoia Genuine Tree Seed Germination Kit. Everything you need to grow a sequoia including mini-greenhouse!
--A fabulous RVbookstore.com coffee mug! In the world of mugs, this is a superstar!
--The best selling guide, "The Next Exit."
NEXT ISSUE'S prizes include an Apple iPod!
QUIZ QUESTIONS WILL NOT APPEAR until the actual start time of the Quiz. Prizes will not necessarily be awarded in the order shown above. Answers to quiz questions are either multiple choice or true-false.
Answer the first quiz here on Saturday, April 26 at 11:30 a.m, Pacific Time.
Answer the second quiz here on Saturday, April 26 at Noon, Pacific Time.
Answer the third quiz here on Sunday, April 27 at 10:00 a.m., Pacific Time.Knowledge Quiz official rules
By Russ and Tina De Maris
One way to really alienate the cook is to provide him/her with a half-baked oven. Here are a couple of troubleshooting tips that may keep you out of hot water, and the oven hot and cooking. If the oven burner lights but food burns, or fails to get done in time: Check the thermostat temperature probe. It should be at least 1/2" away from the walls of the oven, clipped into place in its bracket. A buildup of crud, grease, or oven cleaner on this sensing unit will cause it to transmit erroneous information. A clean probe tells no lies. Uneven cooking can often be traced to a bad oven door gasket. At times the oven thermostat is out of calibration. Not all oven thermostats can be calibrated -- it may be easiest to obtain a good mercury-type oven thermometer and simply adjust the thermostat as indicated by the thermometer if this is a problem.
--Russ and Tina De Maris are the authors of RV Boondocking Basics.
Fix it in Foil
Easy prep, great taste, good nutrition and quick clean-up - what more could you want from a meal? This cookbook combines the best of all worlds! Featuring 51 fantastic recipes that each include instructions for cooking in an oven, over a campfire, or on an outdoor grill. Learn more or order.
How your great-grandfather might have RVed
The good old days, huh? Contraptions like this one were once used as RVs by their vendor owners. No matter how humble your current RV is, you'll appreciate it more after looking at this thing. And read about the neat museum, too. Click here.
Enjoy a perfect climate while you workamp
This city should be near the top of your list if you want to be an RV workamper in an area with an ideal climate. Finding a place to park your RV might be a problem, but blogger Jaimie Hall-Bruzenak has some suggestions. Click here.
Find Free RV Campgrounds
"Don't pay to stay!" Visit FreeCampgrounds.com and find more than 1,900 free and inexpensive places to stay in the USA in an RV.
Check out our RV Travel Forum discussions
I am an experienced camper, but new to RV/trailer'n. We just bought a 19' trailer and have booked camping for every other weekend for the summer. The trailer comes with a 38-gallon fresh water tank. We have two young children (2 years and 7 months). We will be using the water for cooking, toilet and baths for the kids (probably every day). We will NOT be showering in the trailer. We have booked at Ontario parks where there is NO external water hookup. Our normal stays will be 3 and 9 days. Is 38 gallon's enough water? Will we need to fill up and empty gray water in the middle of our stays? Or purchase an external fresh water and gray water tank?
Diesel engine not starting after winter
I couldn't get the diesel engine to turn over. It sat in the yard for the winter. I didn't start it all winter but the batteries are fine. It sounds like it wants to start, i.e. strong batteries, but just won't. The coil light never came on either. Is it not getting heated up correctly or not getting fuel? Any suggestions out there? Thanks. The RV is on 05, serviced and maintained each season. The batteries are new from last summer.
Ice on the refer coils
I have a constant problem with ice buildup on the coils in the refer and frost in the freezer. I know it comes from opening/closing the door due to the humidity here in FL. Run the A/C 24/7, so the inside of the cabin is cool. Question is how bad should the ice get before defrosting? Can't find any info on this except on how to defrost.
Squealing water heater
My water heater has been squealing for a while. I've unhooked the water supply and drained the tank, opened an inside faucet, and opened the water pressure relief valve. It's still squealing. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Securing a car seat while RV is in motion?
My wife and I are interested in purchasing a used RV; however, we were curious if there is a safe way to secure a car seat in the RV while it is in motion? We are concerned that there may not be a safe way to maintain the safety of our 13 month-old while we're on the road. We haven't yet found an RV that we're seriously interested in buying at the moment. I'm just trying to pull together as much helpful information as possible.
2008 Guide To The Firearm Laws of the 50 States
RVers who travel with a firearm may not know that what's legal in their home state may be a felony in another. This guide explains current, specific gun laws for every state. Don't cross a state line with a gun without knowing the laws! Learn more or order.
Make ice in your refrigerator at night. The box works better. Besides, unfrozen water will splash out of the trays if you are traveling. --From Trailers and Fifth Wheels Made Easy
New Low Price! Greatest DVD on Quartzsite
Take an armchair visit to Quartzsite, Arizona, a hotspot for wintering RVers. See where to camp for free, tour RV parks, learn about local attractions and more. Was $24.95. Now only $19.95 - Learn more or order.
A special military famcamp in Texas
Military-qualified RVers will find much to like at this famcamp in Texas. Fishing, history, international shopping, delicious ice cream -- the campground and the surrounding area make this a destination rather than just an overnight stop. Watch the video.
Order $49 or more and choose to pay absolutely no postage or handling fees (USA addresses only). Nearly ALL orders ship same day. Our motto is "You need it so we speed it." RVbookstore.com.
Stable relationships are for horses.
Stay free in Wal-Mart parking lots
Learn where to find Wal-Marts, most of which allow RVers to stay overnight for free in their parking lots. It's not "camping," but it's free. Get driving directions to every store in the USA. New in the 2007 edition: Stores that sell diesel fuel! Retail price $24.95. Order Now at our Everyday Low Price of only $19.98 -- the best price anywhere!
And pack along an inexpensive guide to Wal-Marts that do NOT allow you to stay overnight.
Think you know your RV movies? Try this quiz
We all like movies that feature RVing, even if they're second-rate flicks with corny plots. Test your RV movie knowledge with this fun quiz. And can you think of any RV movies not mentioned here?
Dog Friendly's Campground and RV Park Guide
This is a jam-packed, well-researched directory of campgrounds, filled with detailed information, about where you can camp with a dog in the USA and Canada. Learn more or order.
Change your thoughts and you change your world. -- Norman Vincent Peale
RVs for sale at NewRVer.com. See them here.
Read back issues of the RV Travel newsletter. Click here.
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