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RV Travel Issue #362
2009-2-12 15:06:37   RV Travel
Essential for Fulltimers!
2009 Choosing Your 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.

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Editor's corner

By Chuck Woodbury

EDITOR'S VIDEO COMMENT: No video comment this week

Dear reader,
I am having a very good trip -- around 1,300 miles now from near Seattle to Laughlin, Nev. I have put away my long-sleeved shirts in favor of tee-shirts. Today, in Laughlin, there are high clouds, but the temperature should be around 75.

My first day on the road I stayed at the Rice Hill RV Park along I-5 north of Grants Pass, Oregon. While checking in I chit-chatted with attendants Chuck and Kathy who are full-time RVers. I asked them if they had ever heard of RVtravel.com. "No," they said.

Sometimes when I ask that question people answer yes, and then when I tell them that I edit the website, they say, "Oh, you're THAT guy." After that, we are like old buddies.

But this time they said something I had never heard before: "Everybody has a website." They explained that RVers who stay at the park routinely tell them, "I am going to write about this park on my website" (or their blog).

Well, I realized right then and there that times have changed. When I first got into the web publishing business, I would say to an RV park manager that I had a website about RVing. And they would ask "What's a website?"

* * *

I VISITED TWO DAYS with my aunt in the central California farming community of Lindsey. Linda has six horses, six dogs and six llamas. The horses and dogs are friendly, but the llamas are not. They just stare at you from afar like they are trying to figure out why a strange creature is in their proximity. They have never come close to me in recent visits. But this time one of them walked right up and tried to give me a kiss, which Linda said is the way they introduce themselves to other llamas.

So I put my nose out over the fence that separated us, and Mora the llama walked cautiously closer. Everything from this point on happened in a flash, like time was standing still. Watching Mora's long snout approach was like looking into a View Master 3-D viewer or maybe like looking through a fish eye lens. When the animal was within inches of me, a terrible thought flashed through my mind, probably prompted by the site of her huge and unbelievably ugly teeth. I thought, "That animal is going to bite off my nose!" So I pulled back just as she was about to kiss me.

Well, the animal was very put off by this rude gesture and immediately backed away. And from then on, even when I called her name over and over, she would just stare at me but never approach. I had really blown it. I regret now that I was so rude. Then again, I still have my nose, so who knows?

Anyway, that was perhaps the highlight of my trip so far, which pretty much tells you that everything has been routine. But I'll tell you. . . I'm lovin' being on the road.

Follow me on Twitter
Twitter.com is a website where people write very short postings (usually about 20 words or less) about what they are doing right at that moment. To sign up to read my Twitter comments click here. It's free.

RV Travel Sunday Chat
Please join RVtravel.com's Adrienne Kristine every Sunday at 6 p.m. (Pacific Time) for our weekly chat. Discuss anything to do with RVing.

2008 Wal-Mart Atlas & FREE Bonus
"No Overnight RV Parking" Directory

Order the best-selling Wal-Mart Atlas and receive the "No Overnight Parking" Directory for FREE. SAVE $9.90! Most Wal-Mart stores permit a free overnight stay in RVs. The 2008 Wal-Mart Atlas provides driving directions to more than 4,000 Wal-Marts and Sam's Clubs. It lists which stores sell diesel, have pharmacies -- and it provides store GPS coordinates. The "No Park" Directory lists more than 350 stores that DO NOT allow stays! Learn more or order.

For sale:
Pamela Anderson's love-nest RV
If you are in the market for a travel trailer to impress your friends (but probably not your family), then head to Laughlin, Nev., where blonde bombshell and sex goddess Pamela Anderson's Airstream trailer can be yours for only $100,000. But be warned, this RV is bizarre! Really, do you really need a round, vibrating bed? Learn more.

KOA charity event offers free night of camping in May
Nearly 400 KOA campgrounds across the U.S. and Canada are preparing for the 6th Annual "Come Kamp and Care With Us" charity event on May 8 and 9. RVers and other campers who make reservations at participating KOA Kampgrounds pay for only Friday, May 8 and camp for free on Saturday, May 9. Learn more.

How to avoid paying too much for your RV
Citing a fascinating study of consumer buying habits, Jim Twamley explains how the findings can be applied to the purchase of an RV, and in a way that could save the buyer money. Read all about it.

Finance your RV at RVfinancing.com
RVfinancing.com is THE largest online RV financing company. Lowest rates nationwide. Visit its website or call 1-888-929-4424. Toll-free 24-hour recorded RV financing tips at 877-905-0060. Endorsed by RVtravel.com

RV gets smoked to death
In this official fire department video you never see any flames. But watch as the fire fighters battle to knock down the smoke. We suspect the smoke damage alone doomed this motorhome to the RV graveyard. Watch the video at MotorhomesOnFire.com.

Solar panels not charging? Here are some troubleshooting tips
If you rely on solar panels for getting juice to your RV, a failure in the system can be a major problem. The system isn't difficult to diagnose. Here are some tips.

Will Quartzsite TV go dark? Maybe. Maybe not
The official word is that on Feb. 17, if your TV is the older analog type, it will no longer pick up TV signals. But wait! It isn't that simple. . . and in the snowbird capital of Quartzsite, Ariz., you may still be able to watch TV with an older analog set. Why? Find out here.

Related Quartzsite News: Photo speed traps catching motorists in Quartzsite area. Fines for marginal speeding could be $200. Read more.

Send for our FREE catalog!
Drive the Alcan to America's Last Frontier, envision yourself on Nova Scotia's miles of coastal drives, celebrate Mardi Gras, cross the border to sunny Mexico, form friendships you'll treasure the rest of your days. All arrangements, including RV parks, by Tracks RV Tours, est. 1975. Click here for your FREE full-color magazine of our many adventures or call 800-351-6053.

How cool is "cool enough" with your RV's refrigerator?
Should you keep your RV refrigerator running on propane as you roll down the road? It's a question debated by RVers often. Russ and Tina De Maris weigh in with their thoughts and answer another question: "If you don't travel with the fridge running, will the food stay cold?" To which they ask (and then answer) "Depends on how cool is cool enough?"

RV makeover makes sense in these tough economic times
If your old RV seems outdated it probably is. In the past you might have thought about trading up for a newer model with a contemporary color scheme. In this economic climate that may not be possible, so why not do some remodeling and redecorating? Jim Twamley visited with an RVing couple who did just that. Learn what they did and see the results.

Truck camper question
What should you buy first, the truck or the camper?
This is sort of a which came first: the chicken or the egg? Russ De Maris has some advice for you if you are thinking of buying a truck camper or a truck to house it.

on Roadmaster Towing Products

Your RV cannot match the low prices at RVtoyOutlet.com on  Roadmaster towing products. If you're thinking about
towing your car, truck or SUV, you must check out the low, low prices at RVtoyOutlet before tossing away your money somewhere else. (our prices are guaranteed the lowest)! Learn more or order.

How to build a bicycle rack for your RV
Bicycles are a great way to get around after you have parked your RV -- they don't pollute and the exercise does your body good. Here is how one RVing couple built their bike carrying rack for their travel trailer.

Motorhomes, Travel Trailers, Fifth Wheels, Truck Campers, Pop ups and much more. See the big selection at NewRVer.com. Click here

Recent RV recalls
Each month we list the latest recalls of RVs at RV-Recalls.com. Here are the most recent ones: December -- November -- October -- September -- August -- July --  June -- May -- April -- March -- February -- January

Best Selling Directory of RV Services at Truck Stops!
2009 RVer's 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. Order the 2009 edition now! Learn more or order.

2009 Winter RV Show Schedule
Learn about RV shows through the winter of 2009. Check in here to learn when shows will be held in your area.

Camp for HALF PRICE at more than 1,000 RV parks. Learn more.
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2009 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.

How to make your motorhome cockpit AC/heater more efficient
Motorhomes are basically an RV built on a chassis. Traveling on a hot summer day makes you wonder if your RV's air conditioning unit is broken because it doesn't seem to be very cool. Not to worry: there's nothing wrong with your AC, it's just overwhelmed. It's not like cooling a small car, it's more like cooling a small apartment and vehicle air conditioners were not designed for this large of a job. Here's a trick to make your cockpit AC and heater work better.

RV Cookbooks: Big selection at RVbookstore.com

The RV Kitchen

Janet Groene's Hobo Cookout
For One or One Hundred

Whether you're traveling alone, with a spouse, or with a dozen kids, this hearty meal that's prepared in part with a coffee can will provide a delicious main dish. Get the recipe.

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

This Week's Reader Survey
What best describes the first RV you ever purchased? Answer here.

Last week's survey question
On Tuesday do you plan to attend the Presidential Inauguration or watch it on TV?  Read the answer here.

Past reader surveys and results

Just published. New laws for 2009.
2009 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.

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.

New RVer wonders why her RV's furnace exhaust is so hot

Dear RV Doctor,
We are new to RVing with a 2002 travel trailer. Is it normal for the Suburban furnace to put out so much hot air through the outside exhaust vent? I mean, it's really hot! You cannot put your hand in front of it and you have to make sure nothing is put near it. We get warm air through the vents inside and the thermostat is working fine, but is it normal for so much really hot air to be vented outside? Is there any way to route that hot air to underneath the trailer during winter? --Kathy VanLandingham

Read Gary's response.

Read previous RV Doctor columns

Bella Terra RV Resort
Now Open for Rental Occupancy!

Your dream of five-star, luxury RV living is becoming a reality. At Bella Terra of Gulf Shores, we pride ourselves on creating unique travel experiences for our guests. Make a RV lot reservation now. Call toll free 1-866-475-7746 or complete our reservation form online.

Take a 3-minute
video tour of Bella Terra

RV Boondocking Tips

Do you really need an expensive inverter?
By Russ and Tina De Maris

Shopping for a new power inverter leads to the inevitable choice of true sine wave or modified sine wave. The latter is a whole lot less expensive, but will it work for you? Most devices work just fine on the power produced by the less expensive modified sine wave inverter. Some definitely will not: for example, laser printers and some battery recharging systems. However, most televisions, microwave ovens, motor driven appliances and tools, and a host of other typical RV toys work just fine. What to do? If you aren't sure, check your owner manuals or get on the phone to the technical support folks.

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

Are you a veteran boondocker?

Would you please share some of your tips and tricks at our RVtravel.com reader forum?
We'll reprint some of your comments in this newsletter each week.

Books and DVDs about camping on public lands and RV boondocking.

Visit Arizona's
Finest RV Resorts

Leave the cold and enter the warmth and fun of sunny Arizona. Click here to view resorts

Mark Polk's RV Tech Tips

Exercise your generator
If your RV is equipped with a generator, at a minimum, it should be exercised for 30 minutes to an hour on a monthly basis with at least a half rated load. Consult your generator owner's manual for load ratings. If your generator has a carburetor and it is not exercised on a regular basis, the fuel will begin to gel around the jets. If this happens and you manage to get it started, it will have that all too familiar surging sound. It can damage electrical appliances and equipment, not to mention the cost of having the carburetor removed and cleaned. If the generator will be in long-term storage, you can add a fuel preservative to the fuel tank and run the generator long enough for the preserver to get through the fuel system. This will protect it until you are ready to use it again. More RV storage tips are available on our Winterizing and Storage video.

Find out about DVDs and eBooks by RV expert Mark Polk.

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.

Check out these RV Travel Forum discussions

Wants to buy a steering stabilizer
"I'm looking for a steering stabilizer for my Diplomat. Any suggestions? Also, what is the best place to purchase one? Thank you for the help."

Cracking of your fiberglass/paint on Class A sides?
"We have a new 05 Monaco which has so-called checking on the paint on the fiberglass sides. We would like to identify all owners who have had or have a similar problem. We are trying to find a solution for this defect in many class A motorhomes." Read more.

Bad experience with Good Sam Emergency Road Service
When his fifth wheel trailer broke a spring, RV Travel reader Jack Duncan called Good Sam's Emergency Road Service for help. It was downhill from there. Read what happened.

Which pop up trailers are best?
"I am looking at buying a used pop-up. I'd rather buy a 5th wheel but budget and storage require a smaller unit. I just started my research and have looked only at Starcraft. They seem to be the high-end of pop-ups.
Could anybody give me some input on the different brands reliability/longevity?" 

What is the best style of tow guard?
"We are refurbishing our first Class A and find that we may need a new Tow Guard to protect the toad from gravel nicks. The present guard is slitted every few inches, and I notice that solid ones are available. Which is the best way to go: slitted or solid...or does it make any difference?"

Security alarms for RVs
Has anyone installed a security alarm system in their RV? I would like to alarm the storage compartments. Respond.

Interesting Forum
RVing in Mexico
If you plan to travel to Mexico with your RV, then this is the place to learn more about how to do it. Share information with other Mexico-bound RVers, ask a question or answer one. If you are already in Mexico or are a veteran traveler there, forum members would likely welcome your input.

Read other Forum discussions

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.

If you open your eyes underwater, will you see out of the water? Well, yes and no. If a diver looks straight up out of the water, he or she will see the sky and anything else directly above. However if the diver looks out of the water at an angle of 48 degrees or more from the vertical, the diver will see only a reflection from the bottom of the body of water. The next time you are in a pool, see for yourself.

2009 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. This is the best CD-ROM RV park and campground directory. Retail price: $59.95. Now 38% off -- only $36.99. Learn more or order

Random RV Thought
An angel is the first person out of bed in the RV on a very cold morning, who turns on the heater and makes the coffee.

Find Free RV Campgrounds
"Don't pay to stay!"
Visit FreeCampgrounds.com and find more than 1,700 free and inexpensive places to stay in the USA in an RV. Stretch your RVing budget by staying overnight at these freebie locations.
Bill's Hints
"Special 'jack pads' are available to put down beneath leveling jacks when parked on soft soil. They spread the load, but require that you get down on the ground to get them in position." --From Motorhomes Made Easy.
Save on
directories of Free Campgrounds

The most comprehensive guides to free and inexpensive campgrounds in the East and West -- "must-haves" for budget-minded RVers. Save $5 by buying both East and West editions together. Learn more or order.

Other articles you may like:

Hard water? Try the vinegar trick

Visits to Mexico in RVs down, according to reports

RVers can climb a volcano at this national park

Electricity or gas: 锟絎hatcha gonna heat your RV with?

Solo woman Workamper. How does she do it?

Don't get zapped by low voltage problems

Good Stuff from the Good Sam Club
Join the Club: $19 a year. Save on camping fees plus free RV magazine.
Continuing Service Plan: No More Major Repair Bills! Get a Fast Quote
RV Emergency Road Service: Special Low Rate! Join Today.

Tourist Attraction Spotlight

Unique pet cemetery
memorializes old friends

For RVers, traveling pets are part of the family. When that sad day arrives when they're no longer with us, what's to do with their last remains? Out in the hills west of Yuma, Arizona, just inside California, a unique pet cemetery has built up over the years. Walking through it is moving; the tributes that loving families have put up for their pets shows just how much these ones are close to our hearts. Read more.

Do you know of a terrific tourist attraction? Share it with the readers of this newsletter in the RVtravel.com forum.

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
I Have A Convection Oven in My RV. Now What?
Complete Guide to Dinghy Towing
Deep Cycle Battery Care and Maintenance
The 3 Primary Systems of an RV: LP Gas, Water & Electricity
Trailer Towing, Weights, Hitchwork and Backing

Bumper Snicker
If you can't live without me, how come you're not dead?

Organize your RV life and travels
Keep your RV life organized with the Travel Pac CD-rom. It includes 12 full-featured organizing and accounting software programs exclusively for RVers. Keep track of expenses, phone and email addresses, recipes, your rig's maintenance, medical information and more. You'll feel safer with your personal information secure in the Virtual Information Safe. Reg. $24.95. Our price $22.46. Learn more.

Worth Pondering
"Indecision may or may not be my problem." --Jimmy Buffett


About the editor
Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for nearly three decades. In the '90s he published a quirky travel newspaper about his adventures and was an "on the road" writer for the New York Times Syndicate. Nowadays, he lives near Seattle where he drinks massive amounts of coffee and travels often in his motorhome and sometimes by plane when vast expanses of saltwater would turn his RV into a leaky submarine. He is the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD "Buying a Recreational Vehicle," the definitive guide to purchasing an RV the right way.

RVs for sale at NewRVer.com. Check them out.