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RV Travel Issue #331
2008-7-25 20:12:26   RV Travel
Best Seller!
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.

Editor's Corner

By Chuck Woodbury

A few thoughts about the cost of RVing:

For RVing families, it is still a heck of a lot more affordable to take a camping trip than it is to drive or fly somewhere and stay in hotels and eat in restaurants. Plane fares are up and hotels and motels typically charge $100 a night for a family except at bargain chains. A campsite is cheap by comparison (and sometimes even free). Try eating three healthy meals a day for a family of four at restaurants for less than $75-$100 a day. The key word here is "healthy." Eating at fast food joints may cost less, but it's bad for your health. In an RV, healthy meals can be prepared like at home for far less than dining at restaurants.

RETIREES OR THOSE GETTING CLOSE to retirement who plan to travel full-time with an RV can sell their traditional home, and even with high fuel prices still live for less than in a traditional home with its costs of energy, upkeep, taxes and mortgage payments. The cost of fuel to drive from one campground to another, unless a huge distance, is a pittance compared to the cost of utilities to run a traditional home.

Critics of RVing compare motorhomes to cars -- both have engines, so they assume that because the RV gets 10 miles per gallon and their car gets 25 mpg that RVers are gas hogs and they're not. What these folks fail to consider is that while they may commute to work with their cars 20, 50 or more miles each weekday -- usually one person in the car, the RVer, typically with two people on board, drives only occasionally, and in a year's time will consume a fraction of the fossil fuels needed to fund a daily commute. And when an RV is parked it uses no diesel or gas, and minimal other resources.


The folks at Roundabout Publications have published a new guide to Wal-Mart stores, complete with accurate driving directions and even GPS coordinates. The guidebook is a big improvement over the Walmart Locator which until now has been the best resource for finding Wal-Mart stores for both shopping and for free "camping" in an RV. It also lists which stores sell diesel fuel and those with a pharmacy.

Because most Wal-Mart stores allow free RV overnight stays in their parking lots, a good directory of driving directions to stores is high on many RVers list of travel necessities. Read about the new Wal-Mart Atlas here or order it at a discount price.

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Bargains at RVbookstore.com
Low, low prices. Save up to 80% and even more!

Traffic cameras on the highways. What they do.
RV Travel blogger Jim Twamley discovered some interesting facts about traffic cameras along our highways and byways. He wondered who was watching him as he sped by in his motorhome. It turns out there were more than cameras recording his coach's behavior. And he also learned why the trucking industry adores these devices -- ones that some people may view as "Big Brother" at work. Read more.

How to cook with an RV's convection oven
If you have a convection oven and would like to learn how to use it better -- and pick up some great new recipes, you will enjoy the eBook "I've Got A Convection Oven in My RV: Now What?"

New and improved forum about free RV camping
The editors of FreeCampgrounds.com have revamped the website's reader forum, which is now located at FreeRVstays.com. The previous forum had become so spammed it became a chore to use. But the new forum is clean as as whistle, and moderator Adrienne Kristine invites you to join and discuss all things related to free RV camping, "pavement parking" and boondocking. Members of the original forum can log in using their existing ID and password.
Visit FreeRVstays.com now.

All about RV batteries
and solar battery charging
These products will make you an expert!
Managing 12 volts (book)
RVers Guide to Solar Battery Charging (book)
Deep Cycle Batteries (DVD)
The RVers Solar Primer (book)

Latest RV recalls issued by feds
Each month we list the latest recalls of RVs at RVtravel.com. Here are the most recent ones: May -- April -- March -- February -- January -- December -- November -- October -- September -- August

Buying an RV the Smart Way -- ONLY $9.95
In this eBook learn how to buy an RV from RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury. Learn which RV is right for you, how to negotiate the best deal, and about money-saving flat-rate buying services. Order now and be reading in a few minutes! Only $9.95! Learn more or order.

Be prepared for a tornado at your campground
It's that time of the year. In many parts of the country, thunderstorms can spawn tornadoes, and probably no sight is more alarming to an RVer than a big, black funnel cloud bearing down. It's scarier than "$5.19" on the gas station reader board. After all, a tornado can destroy a whole community; imagine what it can do to a puny RV. Do you know what action to take if a tornado approaches your campground? Read on.

A better way to find RV parks and campgrounds

A directory is one source for campgrounds when you're planning or already on an RV trip. But directories are heavy and bulky. Why not try a web-based campground-finder instead? Read this review of one such service.

RV winter visitors to Texas leaving rigs behind
If the high price of fuel is causing a setback for RV park owners in some parts of the country, it hasn't hit Texas.  Astute park owners are cutting deals with "Winter Texans" assuring they'll have plenty of business in the future by giving discounts on RV storage now. Read all about it.


If you're searching for a new RV, it's a buyer's market. And you should see the whopper rebates you can get right now on the purchase of a new Coachmen motorhome or trailer -- up to $5,000. Check out the special Coachmenomic Stimulus Rebate and how you can pick up an amazing deal - and then get a big fat rebate check to boot! Learn more.

RV industry's "Perfect Storm"
means a ripe market for one RV maker

Many RV makers are hurting now as gas prices soar and concerns about formaldehyde in rigs scares some RV buyers. But one trailer maker views this "perfect storm" of opportunity. Read all about it.

Watch out for this campground hazard
RV campgrounds are supposed to be RV-friendly, and most are, but some have an often-overlooked hazard that can cause serious damage to your RV. Although this hazard is in plain sight, many RVers fail to notice it because they're concentrating on the campground road. Continue.

Discontinued Books and
DVDs at RVbookstore.com

Only one or two of many titles. Hurry!

Where to see wildlife at Glacier National Park
Heading to fabulous Glacier National Park this summer? Be sure to bring your binoculars and camera. Wildlife viewing there is a little more challenging than at Yellowstone National Park, but you'll maximize your chances if you read these tips from an RVer who workamps there. Click here.

One RVer's solution to swaying and hitching
If your RV is a travel trailer, you know that swaying and hitching can sometimes pose problems. Read how one RVer with an especially long rig solved both challenges. Click here.

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.

RV Performance
with Eric Davis

Since 1972 Eric Davis has addressed RV engine performance. This week he answers this question:

Which RV tires are best,  Yokohama and Michelin?

Dear Eric,
I just purchase a 2004 Rexhall motorhome and found out it has a 2001 chassis so the tires are toast. What do you think of Yokohama tires? The local tire store can get them for $100 less then Michelin and the dealer says they will not crack like the Michelin. If they are just as good I could sure use the $600 I'd save.  --Marty Williamson

Read Eric's response.

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.

This Week's Reader Survey

Do you belong to a membership campground? Answer here.

Last week's survey question
On average, how often do you reserve a campsite rather than just "show up?"Read the answer here.

Past reader surveys and results.

Essential for Fulltimers!
2008 Selecting An RV Home Base
For would-be fulltimers, which state to establish an official home base is critical. Picking the wrong state can result in paying thousands of dollars extra each year in taxes or RV registration fees. Don't let that happen! This best selling guidebook is an essential planning tool. Learn more or order.

Are you ready for a fire in your RV?
Did you know that the fire extinguisher in your RV might need periodic maintenance? And is one extinguisher enough? Read this enlightening article and make sure you're ready in case a fire breaks out in your RV.

Working on the road: what about tax advantages?
Can an RVer who works on the road gain some tax advantages? Reducing one's income taxes sounds pretty darn good right with the increased cost of petrol. Well, the answer is "yes" and "no." It depends. Read the pros and cons here.

New traffic fines in California might break your piggybank!
Yikes! Be a very good driver in the Golden State or prepare to dig deep into your pocketbook to pay traffic violations. RV Travel reader Bill Forrest sent us an email that noted that the fine for driving in California while holding a cellular phone is now $285 (the fine in a construction zone is double): all cell calls must be hands-free. Also, the fine for an incorrect lane change -- crossing the lane on solid lines or intersections -- is now $380. And driving in the carpool lane illegally will cost you a whopping $1,068.50 for the first offense, then double and then triple if you don't get the message the first time.

Contest updates: Cash prizes now totals $123.
Pot of Gold Contest cash prize is now $93, and the pot at our Your Name is Money contest is now $30 after yet another cash winner. Check weekdays between 8-2 (Pacific time) to see if you're a winner.

Stop the Shaking!
with the 

Steadyfast Trailer Stabilizing System 

Performance, quality, and ease of use makes Steadyfast the most effective fifth wheel and travel trailer stabilizing system. Learn more here.

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's most sought after
speakers and the host of the popular DVD Do It Yourself RV Care.

This issue Gary answers two reader questions

Dear RV Doctor,
I just purchased a Generac QuietPact generator. I understand that all gensets should be installed in a fire resistant box that protects the living areas, which makes sense. This generator comes in an insulated steel box with no openings that cannot be sealed except on the bottom where it gets cooling as well as combustion air. This is also where the engine exhausts. I will mount the unit with bottom open to the outside and sealed around the base. Is it normal to NOT have to build another steel box to house this unit? Thanks for your help. --Robby Robbins

Dear RV Doctor,
I have a 28-foot Terry and all my gauges for the holding tanks, water tank, etc., on my circuit panel will not light at all. I've looked for a fuse, but I did not see one anywhere. Any ideas? --Mike Olds

Read Gary's responses

Wal-Mart "No Overnight Parking" Stores
Learn which Wal-Marts DO NOT ALLOW free overnight stays in RVs. This concise directory lists more than 350 such stores. Plus "rules" about staying at Wal-Mart. Learn more or order.

People Magazine uses 546,134 trees each year for the paper to print the magazine according to a study by the Magazine Paper Project.

2008 Trailer Life RV Parks & Campground Navigator 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. This is the only CD-ROM in the world created just for RVers. Retail price: $59.95. Now only $36.99. Learn more or order
Aspiring RV mystery writers: here's your workshop
If you've ever dreaming about writing mysteries during your RV travels, you'll want to attend an upcoming workshop in Washington state's San Juan Islands. Instructor Sue Henry is a mystery writer whose second series features an RVer. Besides learning a lot about mystery writing, you'll have a chance to view some gorgeous scenery. More info.

Western RV assets to go on auction block
Western RV, maker of Alpenlite, closed its doors for the last time.  Now an auction company will sell on-site and on-line the last of the company's assets including several RVs. Read more.

Hammer a nail with a banana? Up here you can
RVers visit Alaska in the summer because, well, the rest of the year it's too darn cold. But aren't you just a little curious to know what life is like at forty below? After all, people in cold climates might have to go for weeks with the mercury that low. How do they do it? If you're heading to Alaska in your RV, there are a couples of places where -- for as long as you like -- you can step into extreme cold, learn fascinating facts about cold-weather survival and conduct really neat experiments. Read more.

Explorer RV Insurance
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.

Ah, so that's how it's done!
One of the joys of RVing is learning. Everywhere we go there's something new to digest -- geology, history, local lore, etc. Here's a fascinating tidbit about something you deal with practically every time you drive. Watch the video.

Rough back country no problem for this RV
RVers who want to access the back country in something more spacious and sophisticated than a truck camper will be interested in this versatile motorhome. But you better have pretty deep pockets. Click here.

Read the fine print if you want WiFi at your RV park
Many RV parks these days offer WiFi, but there's a catch. If you often choose a park because of advertised WiFi, don't be disappointed! Read this warning first.

RV Gamers: Check out California's newest casino
California's newest casino is located in a popular destination for RVers who enjoy group activities. The casino's RV park offers lots of amenities and is well worth a visit the next time you're in the area. More info.

Retail price $29.95
NOW ONLY $11.95
Complete Guide to Full-time RVing
Thinking of becoming a full-time RVer? This is THE guide about how to do it. From dreaming about the lifestyle to living it, this fabulous resource has all the answers. SAVE BIG! Learn more or order!

Great Reading in our RV Travel Blogs


Celebrity RVer
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.

Eco RVing
Greener ways to hit the road.

Wheel Life
Veteran RV reporter Julianne Crane keeps you up-to-date with news and information about RVing, RVers and the RV lifestyle. Always entertaining!

Great RV Stuff
The latest neat RV stuff in this always fasincating blog. Gizmos and gadgets that might even make your RVing more enjoyable.

Working on the RV Road
Get up-to-date about 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.

Casino RV Camping
Learn about casino RV parks, freebie camping, and great deals on gaming and dining for RVers who visit.

Fulltime RVer
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

What a life!
RV in your Retirement

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 "RV Retirement." Now only $7.95. Learn more or order.

Looking for new recipes?
Check out www.RVcookBooks.com
Largest selection of RV cookbooks anywhere.

Workampers: can you make money on eBay?
If you workamp during your RV travels, keep in mind that a position as a camp host or store clerk isn't the only way to make money while on the road. Some fulltimers turn instead to eBay. Read this report and see if this avenue appeals to you.

Try this soup on your next RV trip
Here's another delicious soup from the RV Kitchen. Our master chefs select only the best for our readers, so you know this has to be good. The recipe.

Find Free RV Campgrounds
"Don't pay to stay!" Visit FreeCampgrounds.com and find nearly 2,000 free and inexpensive places to stay in the USA in an RV. Stretch
your RVing budget by staying overnight at these freebie locations.
Boondocking Tip
By Russ and Tina De Maris

Boondock Gardening?
You really can "take it with you," when boondocking. Some folks think they have to give up gardening when spending time in their RV. Try plants that produce in a small area, like a potted tomato plant. We built a special "bumper box," a 3' x 1' cedar planter that bolts to our RV's rear bumper. We have strawberries and tomatoes wherever we go. Water scarce? Save your rinse water when you do the dishes -- plants love it, and it cuts down on holding tank dumping.

--Russ and Tina De Maris are the authors of RV Boondocking Basics.

2008 RVers Friend
This best-selling directory lists RV services at truck stops with free "camping," dumps, Internet, propane, repair services & more. Truck stops offer more to RVers than ever. Let this best selling book be your guide. Learn more or order.

Check out our RV Travel Forum discussions

Trying to decide on a pull behind TT or 5th wheel
Later in the year, I am planning on buying a used TT. I had planned on getting a 25' 5th wheel and then upgrading my 1/2-ton pickup to 3/4 ton. I was choosing the 5th wheel because I thought that it would handle better than a pull behind. If I go with a pull behind, I want it in the 20-24' range. My question is has anyone had both? If so, what would you recommend?

Different toilet/dump question
Have just inherited an older Roadtrek camper van which for us is the Ritz moving up from a tent. Will be going with full hook-ups for this weekend's trip. Have got the whole black/gray tank thing figured out, but I keep seeing comments about being sure the black tank is 3/4 full before dumping. Gets a good "flush" going, I guess. If we're hooked up to our own personal dumping station as it were, should we just let 'er rip, or should I have water in the tank and just pull the plug periodically? Maybe we just go with a longer flush after each use?

Sticky leveling jack
I have a 1999 Winnebago with hydraulic leveling jacks. When I try to store the jacks, the front left stops 1/2 way. Sometimes I can struggle and push it up. Last time I had to remove the fluid line and push it up with a floor jack. I just purchased the coach and new to RVing. Should the piston be lubricated regularly? What type of lube should be used?

Real or paper?
I carry paper plates and plastic dinnerware to cut down on weight. I just don't want to buy inexpensive plastic plates. I'd just crack them and have to toss them anyway. So I use paper. I do keep inexpensive pots and pans for cooking. I also carry an electric skillet. How about the rest of you? Paper or real?

Serpentine belt replacement
30,000 miles and was just told that the serpentine belt needs to be replaced. Does anyone have any stories about their experiences with this belt?

The 2008 Milepost
is THE guide to visiting Alaska

This is THE mile-by-mile guidebook for RV or auto travelers headed to Alaska, the Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwest Territories. If you only take one guidebook to Alaska, take this! Learn more or order at a discount price.

Bill's Hints
You need a variety of power adapted plugs/receptacles for your RV. The receptacles are distinctive, whether 30 or 50 amp, both in size and shape. If your campsite does not have 30/50 amp receptacles, you can't just plug your RV cable directly into a conventional 15 or 20 amp receptacle. You'll need an adapter, RV female to 15-amp male. The better ones incorporate several inches of heavy 30-amp cable and are commonly called "dogbones."

 -- From Motorhomes Made Easy

at RVbookstore.com

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.

Bumper Snicker
My wife says I should get up and go to work, but the voices in my head say I should stay home and clean my guns.
Read other funny bumper stickers or buy them.

Books and DVDs about Full-time RVing
Largest selection in the World.

Red-crowned parrots await RVer birders
Parrots are creatures of far-away lands, aren't they? Actually, RVers who enjoy birding can see parrots right here in the United States. Take a look at blogger and birder Jim Twamley's neat photos.

Worth Pondering
In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. -- Aristotle

RVs for sale at NewRVer.com. See them here.

Read back issues of the RV Travel newsletter. Click here.

Visit Camping World for RV supplies and accessories