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RV Travel Issue #363
2009-2-12 15:09:27   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 writing to you from an RV park in Green Valley, Arizona, a retirement town south of Tucson where the average median age of a resident is 72. It is nice to be in a place where I am a youngster.

Earlier this week I spent a couple of days in Quartzsite, Arizona -- Ground Zero for boondocking RVers. Although there are many RV parks in the town of 3,400, most RVers squat on surrounding government lands. Many stay for free, others for about a dollar a day in one of the federal government's Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVAs). Camp where you want: just find a piece of reasonably level desert, cut your engine and level up. If you plan to stay weeks or months, then solar panels are a good idea to power your toaster and microwave.

Except in the "downtown" Quartzsite RV parks, there are no utility hookups. So I was surprised to see one big motorcoach in the middle of nowhere hooked up to water and electricity.

It turned out that it's a phony setup staged for its shock value.

Quartzsite has everything a person needs to live -- restaurants, a couple of grocery stores, McDonalds and other franchised fast food joints, a bank, active senior center, library, bookstore (the owner, a nudist, wears barely any clothing) and even some RV dealers. But it's most famous for its huge flea markets. There is almost nothing you cannot buy in Quartzsite. If you are looking for a wristwatch for $1 or flip-flop shoes for $2, this is the place. Quartzsite is also famous for its gem shows.

My experience in talking with other RVers is that they either love or hate Quartzsite. Some think it's close to a heaven on Earth while others think it's a bloody awful place to be avoided.

I noticed on my visit that there were far fewer RVers present than when I visited in the past. Nobody knows how many RVers visit Quartzsite at any one time: 70,000 to 100,000 is tossed around, but I think that's way too high. I'd say maybe 25,000 to 35,000 at peak times in January and February.

When I first visited Quartzsite 20 years ago, it was a sleepy little roadside outpost with only a few Mom and Pop businesses and one or two gas stations. Today it's booming. There's even a new housing subdivision. I don't like it as much as I did before, but I still like to spend a few days there every year or so to marvel at the diversity of the crowd (poor folks, rich folks, and in-between folks). I also like the price of a campsite: free!

NEWS YOU DO NOT REALLY NEED TO KNOW. Gila Bend, Arizona still had holiday posters up on streetlight poles when I passed through on Jan. 27.

I saw this sign at an old-fashioned mom and pop drive in restaurant in Rice Hill, Oregon. The place was not open, so I could not order anything, which was too bad. I wanted to get the large six-scoop cone to see if I could eat it without it crashing down on me or melting down my arm before I could finish. Maybe I could, because it's winter now. But on a hot summer day, I believe that ordering this ice cream cone would be a waste of good money. The lesson here is this: Sometimes big is not best.

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RV Travel readers first RV? A motorhome or pop up trailer
Last week, we asked you what type of RV you first purchased. After 1609 responses, it was almost a dead heat between those of you who started with a pop up trailer or a motorhome (27 percent each). Twenty percent started with a travel trailer and 14 percent with a truck camper. Only about six percent of you started with a fifth wheel trailer. See the up-to-the minute results of the survey.

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

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.

Employees of Country Coach fear the worst
Country Coach employees gathered their personal belongings from the manufacturing plant Friday, the first day many had been inside since a temporary layoff late last year. A company spokesman said the company had not gone bankrupt and promised a press release would be issued Monday. Employees who spoke to KVAL-TV on Thursday feared the worst and said they knew little more than they had been encouraged by supervisors to gather their personal belongings. SOURCE: KVAL

How do deal with RV power plug problems
Jim Twamley wonders why so many RV makers take short cuts on the small things when it comes to building their RVs. In his luxury motorcoach, for example, he and his wife often experience blown circuits and power plug failures that leave him shaking his head asking "Why?" Find out what he does to deal with these problems and watch his video.

Is $35 portable washing machine a good thing?
Russ and Tina De Maris gave the "Wonder Clean" portable washing machine a try. The only power needed is human power. And from the looks of it, the device seems like it might be useful for RVers on-the-go but without access to a traditional washing machine. Alas, the De Maris' have both good news and bad news about the appliance.

Don't get zapped by low voltage problems
In the classic monster movies, the mad scientist zaps his new "creation" with a huge blast of electricity -- and it all goes bad from there. As RVers, the wrong kind of voltage can raise all kinds of problems: But what we may fail to be on guard against is not high voltage, but low voltage. Read more.

Travel with us to Alaska!
FREE catalog of our RV Tours!

Everyone dreams of traveling to Alaska. Just getting there is an adventure -- traveling the Alaska Highway through the Yukon and the Klondike, visiting the gold rush towns of Dawson City and Skagway. Join Tracks RV Tours (est. in 1975) for the trip of your lifetime! Or join us to many other destinations: Mardi Gras, Nova Scotia, Mexico -- the list goes on! Form friendships you'll treasure forever. All arrangements including RV parks by Tracks RV Tours. Click here for your FREE full-color magazine of our many adventures or call 800-351-6053.

LAST MINUTE SAVINGS on Feb. Mardi Gras Tour. SAVE $450! Call!

Coming off fulltime RVing
Jim Twamley talks with a couple who has decided to quit fulltime RVing after 15 years of it. In this question and answer interview, learn what these RVers learned during their time on the road and why they chose to return to a more stationary life.

Silence that noisy water pump
If your water pump reminds you of a jackhammer on a New York City street, you are not alone. A noisy water pump is one of the most common complaints of RV owners. There are several things that can be done to quiet it. Read what they are.

Does your RV really need an outside TV?
Many RVs these days come equipped with a television mounted somewhere on the outside of an RV. But how many people really watch these TVs? Jim Twamley has some thoughts.

Handy solar device keeps batteries charged when vehicle is idle
If you keep a car in storage for occasional RV trips or other purposes, its battery can end up dead. Here's a solution that will not only keep the vehicle's battery charged, but provide other benefits as well.

Is your motorhome
a handful to handle?
Motorhomes don't have to feel top-heavy or sway excessively, and you don't have to wrestle with the steering wheel. Actually, any large vehicle -- heavy-duty trucks, pickups, SUVs, vans and motorhomes -- can be made to handle much more like the family sedan. How? With a suspension system from Roadmaster.Learn more or order.
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 Fall 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.

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

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America's largest RV Consignment Dealer
Buy or sell your used motorhome, diesel pusher, fifth wheel, or travel trailer hassle free at PPL Motor Homes. PPL is the largest RV consignment dealer in the USA, selling over 18,880 consigned RVs since 1972. Visit the PPL website.

Arizona State Park information
Because many snowbirds are roaming around Arizona right now, they may be interested in visiting a state park or two. Here's where to find them and what they offer.

. . . and here's where FLORIDA winter visitors can learn
about their state parks

British double decker bus conversion makes for roomy RV
Wow! This is very cool RV -- a meticulously remodeled red, British double decker bus converted to a spacious two-story motorhome. In this four minute video, see the inside and outside of this unique RV (which is for sale if you want to buy it).

Quartzsite is Ground Zero for oldest population in USA
RV Snowbird Capital Quartzsite, Ariz., is located in La Paz County, which has the oldest population in America. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median age in La Paz County is 50, compared with 36 nationally. Nearly one-third of the 20,046 residents are 65 or older. Just eight years ago, the 65-plus group made up barely more than a quarter of the population. Officially, Quartzsite has 3,400 residents with an average age of 65, but the population grows dramatically each winter when RVers swarm to the area (Keep up with latest news about Quartzsite).

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

The RV Kitchen

Janet Groene's Confetti Corn Salad for a Crowd
If you don't have space in the ice chest or refrigerator, this affordable, colorful salad marinates nicely at room temperature for several hours without worry about spoilage. Get the recipe.

RV Cookbooks: Big selection at RVbookstore.com

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.

This Week's Reader Survey
Has the manufacturer of your RV gone out of business or permanently stopped making RVs? Answer here.

Last week's survey question
What best describes the first RV you ever purchased? Read the answer here.

Past reader surveys and results

The Fuel Efficient Motorhomes You'll Love to Drive! Learn all about them 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.

Is it better to install a generator in a trailer or use a portable one?

Dear RV Doctor
I had a motorhome with Onan generator, but sold it. Now I have a 5th wheel trailer with no generator. Is it worth the effort installing an RV generator with a remote start or is it just better to get a portable unit and plug the trailer in? Is the installation difficult? I realize there is some wiring to do but I am capable of most projects. --Hermilo Gonzalez

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

Innovative way to clean windows
By Russ and Tina De Maris

While most of us will drag out the "Windex" or other spray potion to clean windows, don't ignore the drying sequence. Forget using paper towels: there's a better drying idea -- newspaper. Newspaper just seems to leave a natural sheen on window glass, and after you read it, recycling it on the cleaning squadron is cheaper than paper towels. Use it one more time after that too -- to light your campfire!

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

Carbon monoxide poisoning in RV is deadly possibility
An onboard generator makes your RV fully self-contained. It allows you access to 120-volts when there is no shore power available. But keep in mind that the carbon monoxide generated by a generator can be deadly. Here are some tips to help ensure you are never a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning, and a list of symptoms of it that's important to recognize.

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

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.

Check out these RV Travel Forum discussions

Windshield leak keeps on leaking. . .
"I have been living with a water leak since we purchased our MH. I finally took it to the factory where they pulled the glass and resealed it. Driving home from there, it leaked again in a rainstorm. I took it to an independent shop and they added some sealant and it promptly leaked in a rainstorm again. The shop gave me my money back and said they won't pull the windshield as there is much danger of breakage. So I am back to dealing with the factory again. What kind of experiences have others had with windshield leaks? Are they that difficult to fix?"

Newly waxed trailer ends up with swirl marks that won't go away
"We have a 2003 29-foot Keystone Springdale travel trailer. About a year ago, we had someone wash and wax it. Most of the trailer exterior is smooth aluminum and they did a great job on that, but the bottom section (about two feet high) is a light gold-colored, textured aluminum. They applied the wax to that area and tried to buff it out, but it left big white swirl marks that we have been unable to remove. We have tried to wash the wax out with a soft brush, then we tried aluminum cleaner, rubbing compound, and various car washes (all used in very small test areas). The aluminum cleaner and rubbing compound made the finish look great until we washed it again, then it went back to that white-washed look. We are at the end of our rope and can't figure out what to do next. We have to get this corrected because we want to sell the trailer, but we are afraid that this will deter anyone from wanting to buy it." Respond.

Fresh water smells like sewage
"We just bought a 40-foot Prowler. I have our water hooked up to the water well. When running the water inside the trailer, it stinks really bad; smells like sewage. Is this normal? I've checked the water outside on the faucet and there's no smell. Any advice?"

Automatic steps have mind of their own
"Remember in the old days when your dad would hand you a dollar and snatch it back every time you reached for it? Well, my automatic steps are doing the same. I open the door and they just go in and out without allowing me to put my feet on them. Thankfully I'm home and outside, but I'm getting ready for a trip in a couple of weeks. Any ideas on how to fix the jokester?

RV as a "Classroom on Wheels"
"I am interested in others' experiences traveling and camping with children. Specifically, I am interested in the concept of a classroom on wheels (where kids can learn about nature, history, wildlife, geography, etc.). The "learning" can be the type where kids learn by seeing and being exposed to different things, or it can be the type of learning that takes place when we visit museums and other attractions. Please let me know your thoughts!"

Interesting Forum
RVer Veterans: Here is the place where RVtravel.com forum members gather to exchange information about affairs that are common to veterans who also love to travel by RV. There is a lot of good information passed along here, some of it can help vets save some dollars on programs they may not know about.

Read other Forum discussions

Updated for 2009
Casino Camping: Guide to RV-Friendly Casinos

This 2009 directory is the best casino guide for RVers. Learn which casinos have RV parks or offer free overnight stays. Plus get tips and information about other casino benefits for RVers.
Learn more or order.
Nearly 50 million pounds of avocados will be consumed on Super Bowl Sunday, most in the form of guacamole. That's enough to cover a football field several feet deep, according to the California-based Hass Avocado Board.

Learn how to drive a motorhome
Learn how to drive a motorhome the right way from RVer/tour bus driver Lorrin Walsh. In this 67-minute DVD, Walsh and host Mark Polk show you what you need to know to confidently drive a motorhome. This should be essential viewing for novice motorhome drivers, but even experienced RVers will learn a lot. Save 10% on this at RVbookstore.com. Learn more or order.
Random RV Thought
If you value your sleep, never camp within short walking distance of a tavern. When it closes, there's a good chance some of the patrons will stagger back to the campground to continue their party (translation: noise!).

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
"Keep your tires 'matched.' Don't run a new tire next to an old baldy on your duals. Ditto on front tires." --From Motorhomes Made Easy.
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.

Other articles you may like:

Visit to Atomic Testing Museum is a real blast.

Jed Clampett's new truck camper? Take a look.

Coffee for 25 cents a cup? Get it in Quartzsite.

To be a "fulltime RVer" must you travel full time?

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

Tourist Attraction Spotlight

Visit the Garden of Eden
This Garden of Eden is a small-time tourist attraction in the tiny Kansas prairie town of Lucas. It was the home of Samuel Dinsmore, who built a concrete, religion-inspired monstrosity entangling his yard. In his 80s, Dinsmore took a 20-year old bride -- forever inspiring other geezers that it's never too late to rob the cradle. Shortly before he died, Dinsmore built a two-story pyramid structure for his eternal resting place. Nowadays, after paying an admission fee, visitors are invited to point a flashlight into the dark tomb where they can see Dinsmore silently decomposing, but still looking darn good for a 160 year-old.

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
I fish, therefore I lie.

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.

Worth Pondering
If you are buying an RV that sleeps five, yes, it will sleep five. But here's the deal: a few of those five should be little people, kids for example. And don't expect much privacy. That's too many people in too little a space. Sleeping five adults in an RV that is supposed to sleep five can be a great test of friendships. If you survive for a few days and nights, then shake hands and proclaim yourself the best of buddies. Good luck!


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.

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