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RV Travel Issue #365
2009-3-16 7:11:21   RV Travel
2009 Next Exit Directory

This should be an essential guide for every road-tripping RVer! Learn what you will find at every Interstate highway exit: gas/diesel fuel, campgrounds, truck stops, casinos, stores, malls, hospitals, factory outlet stores, parks and more. Learn more.

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Editor's corner

By Chuck Woodbury

Dear reader,
It's 1,500 miles from Tucson to Seattle, and I just drove them. I paused a few days in northern California to deal with family business, but on the other days I drove, mostly on Interstates -- where the view of the passing landscape is sacrificed for speed.

I arrived home Thursday at 9 p.m., and returned my little home on wheels to hibernation. My world of motion was suddenly still -- no noise, no big trucks to battle, no fields and forests or strip malls passing by at my side.

"Many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased," wrote John Steinbeck, who also wrote "We do not take a trip, a trip takes us."

It seems like eons ago that I left my home in Edmonds, Wash., but it was only a month. Now, all that happened seems like a dream. Returning to my town, I noticed the evidence of passing time in new lights beneath a freeway underpass. And the road by my office was torn up for improvements.

My condo seems huge after living in a 200-square foot rolling cottage.

I am happy to be back in a familiar place, to again be with friends and family. My wanderlust has been put on hold. Life is good all over again, anchored now instead of adrift. Yet my wanderlust will return: it always does. As Robert Louis Stevenson wrote: "I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move."

Top: Lonely U.S. 95 between Blythe and Needles, Calif.
Bottom: Alone with giant cactus near Tucson in Saguaro National Park.

* * *
DID YOU MISS last issue, where I wrote about some of my experiences RVing Arizona? If so, read it here.

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RV Travel Sunday Chat
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Popular articles from recent issues
RV industry executive never expected economy to get so bad.
How to clean your RV's fresh water tank.
Actress Pamela Anderson's "Lovestream" trailer could be yours.
RV editor touches something older than the Earth!
VIDEO: How to find your "perfect" RV.

2009 Big Rigs Best Bets Campground Directory 

If you drive a long RV -- 34 feet or longer -- this directory is for you. The authors provide details about 1,100 RV parks throughout the USA and six Canadian Provinces that welcome long motorhomes and towable RVs. This should be an essential resource for owners of large RVs. Learn more or order

Tax break for RVers
in Obama stimulus plan

There's good news for consumers in the market for a new motorhome. The $789 billion economic stimulus package that President Obama is expected to sign later this month will include a provision to specifically help the RV industry, especially buyers of motorhomes. The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), reports that a new provision will allow buyers of motorhomes to deduct a portion of the sales or excise tax paid on their purchase from their federal income tax next year. Learn more.

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

Country Coach creditors seek to force company into Chapter 11
The majority owner of high end motorhome maker Country Coach, acting as a creditor to the company, has filed a petition to force the financially troubled manufacturer into involuntary bankruptcy. The action is intended to fend off aggressive efforts by creditor Wells Fargo to seize assets from the company to pay off a loan balance of $8 million on a $25 million loan. Read more.

Judge denies Wells Fargo's request to seize Country Coach assets
A U.S. bankruptcy judge ruled Thursday that it's too early in the process to allow financially troubled Country Coach to be liquidated. The ruling allows the Oregon RV manufacturer to survive and try to reach a deal with a Los Angeles private equity firm that has shown interest in buying the company.

Is RV snowbird capital Quartzsite past its prime?
For many years Quartzsite, Ariz., has been a Mecca for winter RVers. But things are changing, according to RVtravel.com blogger Jim Twamley. During a recent visit, one long-time vendor at the Big Tent told him that ten years ago crowds were huge. "Not anymore," he said. "Now you could shoot a cannonball through the middle and not hit anybody." Jim reports that in the five years he has visited Quartzsite, it never looked as bad as this year. "Most old timers I talked with told me Quartzsite has lost its appeal and wasn't any fun anymore." Read more and see Jim's entertaining video.

California casino offers free 3-day RV stays
A year ago, the Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, Calif., didn't want an RV anywhere on its parking lots.  But today. . .  a different tune. The casino now welcomes RVers and provides up to three days of free overnight parking. Learn more.

Don't leave something important at home before a trip
Getting ready to take a long RV trip but afraid you'll leave something important back home? Here are some tips and tricks to help

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.

RV's price tag is $2 million! See it this weekend
The world's most expensive RV is on display this weekend and next at the annual Mid-America Boat & RV Show in Kansas City, Missouri. The 45'-long motorhome includes a King-sized bed, Jacuzzi jet-spray tub, fold-down treadmill and heated seats for the driver and co-pilot that also deliver a vibrating massage. The coach gets around six miles per gallon but with its 235-gallon fuel tank it only needs a fill-up about every 1,400 miles. Sticker price for the 2009 model H3-45 Marathon Coach: $2,066,671.

Weighing in: Is that camper the right fit for your truck?
It's an area that truck camper newbies sometimes get caught up in: Not every camper is a suitable fit for your truck. Every truck has a weight capacity that it's "happy" to carry. But go over that capacity and things can get ugly. How do you properly marry your truck to a camper? Find out.

Changing tires on big rig RVs requires heavy tools
When dealing with tires on big RVs, you need to take extra precautions to make sure you do things right. When Jim Twamley's tire monitoring system showed that one of his coach's tires was slowly losing pressure, he turned to a professional. Find out what he learned, and his advice to RVers whose rigs ride on large tires.

Travel with us!
FREE catalog
of our RV Tours!

Have you ever taken an RV tour? If not, you've missed out. Join Tracks RV Tours (est. in 1975) for the trip of your lifetime! Visit Alaska, the Yucatan, New Zealand, Nova Scotia, Baja -- or tour the National Parks of the American West. Form friendships you'll treasure forever. All arrangements including RV parks by Tracks RV Tours. Click here for your FREE full-color magazine of all our many adventures or call 800-351-6053.

Go ahead, drink from your RV's water faucets
Water filters are a great solution for RVers who worry about the quality of water from campground faucets and other sources. Many RVers refuse to drink water directly from their RV's water faucets. But that precaution is unnecessary if you use a filter. Prices range from about $25 to $100. Learn more.

Golf tournament
coming to Quartzsite

Mark your calendars for Feb. 21. That's the date of the annual Desert Master's Golf Tournament in Quartzsite, Arizona. Want to play? It's just $30 to enter. All proceeds benefit charities for youth and veterans. Oh. . . the golf course? Well, let's just say lawnmowers are not necessary -- and watch out for coyotes! Read all about it.

Do you enjoy wildflowers? This is for you!
The U.S. Forest Service maintains a wonderful website for those of us who enjoy observing and learning more about wildflowers, especially those that grow in our national forests and grasslands. Learn not only about the aesthetic value of the plants, but their biology, medicinal uses and much more. Visit the website.

With RV sun shades you see out but nobody sees in!
RV windshield sun shades offer you daytime privacy inside while allowing you to see outside clearly. RV Quick Shades are made in the USA from Textilene, a durable, tough fabric made from PVC coated woven polyester. The shades reduce glare and harmful sun rays which protect draperies and your RV interior, plus reduce energy cost. You'll never find a lower price than at RVtoyOutlet.com. Learn more or order.
RVs for sale for less than $10,000? Yup!
It's incredible to see the low prices on RVs available right now. So few are selling that retailers are slashing prices to as low as they can, just to get rid of what they have. Camping World sends out an email almost every day advertising one sale after another. The latest newsletter included a link to a long list of motorhomes for sale at very low prices. Many of the RVs are older, but, still, it's startling to see how low some of the units are priced.

Early fifth wheelers were pretty darn small
Here's an article we first ran about two years ago about a small fifth wheel trailer from about 1970 that was typical of its era. The front bedroom was about the size of one you'd find in the overhead bunk of a Class C motorhome. Real bedrooms with raised roofs and lowered floors came a few years later. Read more.

Let the government help you lose weight
Prompted by statistics showing that more than 60 percent of the U.S. population is overweight, the FDA has launched a website devoted to consumer information on weight loss. The site functions as a gateway to material from FDA and other federal agencies on topics such as meal planning, setting weight-loss goals, approved treatments and diet scams. The site also links to information on how to lose weight by adding exercise to your daily routine.

Free Idaho Camping Guide
Send for a travel guide to camping in Idaho. The price is right: free. Order it now.

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

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.

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

A Woman's Perspective

By Adrienne Kristine

Check your kitchen cabinets for outdated food
If you're lucky enough to travel in your RV year round, you probably use your food items and perishables before they expire. However, whether full-timer, part-timer or year-rounder, now would be a good time to double check any products in your RV that might be near their expiration date. Create a soup, stew or other dish and enjoy a meal that will both warm you and save money. For safety's sake, remember the old adage: when in doubt, throw it out.

Learn more about RVing as a woman.

RV Cookbooks: Big selection at RVbookstore.com

The RV Kitchen

Janet Groene's Cauliflower Curry
Calling all vegetarians and all those who love curry! Add a couple of canned ingredients to a fresh cauliflower and your campground dinner is served. Yummy. Get the recipe.

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.

This Week's Reader Survey
Do you play card games while traveling with your RV? Answer here.

Last week's survey question
When you were young did your parents introduce you to camping/RVing? Read the answer here.

Past reader surveys and results

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

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.

Advice sought about fixing leak in Class C cabover area

Dear RV Doctor,
I have an older Class C motorhome. There has been a leak around the seams of the cabover bed. I have removed the seams and was looking for some kind of putty or sealant to seal it off when I put the metal strips back on. It looks like the manufacturer used some kind of putty strip about 3/4" wide, then screwed the strips in place. Where could I find such an item or something that would do the job well. --Ronnie Lee

Read Gary's response.

Read previous RV Doctor columns

RV Boondocking Tips

Do you have extra power needs?
By Russ and Tina De Maris

Bad weather left us stranded with our fifth wheeler -- not enough sun for solar power and not enough wind for our turbine. It's a rare occurrence, admittedly, but still a problem. If your battery "charge line" from your tow vehicle is heavy enough, simply hook the tow rig up to the RV and run the engine to make up the loss. Yet many folks have wimpy charge lines, and it'll take nearly forever to charge up this way. You might consider taking your battery jumper cables and carefully connect them between the tow vehicle battery and the RV. The larger gauge cables will pump power into the RV much more quickly. Keep in mind, the closer batteries come to "full" the higher resistance they have against charging. Better to bring the batteries up to say, three-fourths of charge, and let the solar panels and wind turbines do the best they can to make up the difference.

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

Be careful when
determining tow capacity of a vehicle
When you are determining the tow capacity of a vehicle make sure you know what the rear axle ratio is. It's possible to have the same type and size of vehicle with the same engine, yet the tow ratings may vary by several thousand pounds. Also, some people have a misperception that a vehicle with four-wheel drive will have a higher tow rating than an identical vehicle that is two-wheel drive. Read more.

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

Advice needed about steering stabilizer for motorhome
Looking for a steering stabilizer for my Diplomat. Any suggestions? Also, what is the best place to purchase one?

Safety when boondocking: Any scary things out there?
Is there a right and wrong place to stay in a motorhome when boondocking? Are any of you guys ever scared or unsure? Any tips or little tricks would be great. I'm just starting camping and I think I would like boondocking versus an RV park.

Looking for a new AC/DC LCD television. Advice wanted
We have been searching for a new AC/DC LCD television for our fifth wheel and the only brand we have found is called "Skyworth." Can anyone give us information on the quality of these televisions? Does anyone know of any other brands of televisions that are both AC/DC? Any information will be greatly appreciated.

What's so different between a travel trailer and fifth wheeler?
I just don't get the obvious difference between a travel trailer and a fifth wheel trailer. I can understand that the 5ers put weight right on the axle of the tow rig and the TT is on the hitch. And the overall travel length is shortened due to this. Is there something else? Is a 5er an advantage over the TT? I'm thinking that we may go after something that has the kids sleeping away from the kitchen/common area.

What sex is your RV?
Does your RV have a name? Do you consider it a "he" or a "she?" In this long thread, RVers discuss their rigs, what "sex" they consider them to be, and the names they have given them. This is fun reading.

Read or leave comments about this issue or past issues of this newsletter.

Read or report about great places to visit with your RV.

Interesting Forum:
funny dogRVing with Pets
Does Fido or Boots join you on your RV trips? If so, this RVtravel.com Forum is your kind of place. Read the forum to learn a lot about traveling with cats, dogs or other animals, or post a question and another forum member will usually provide a timely answer. Half of RVers travel with a furry friend, making this a popular place to share information.

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.
The guy on the Verizon commercials best known for his line "Can you hear me now?" is Paul Marcarelli, a 38-year-old actor from North Haven, Connecticut. The glasses he wears are his own. He has appeared in some minor films and done voiceovers for commercials. His twin brother is a fireman in the New Haven Fire Department.

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.

Random RV Thought
On a dark night, when the night sky is ablaze with stars, and you are camped far from the lights of the city, grab a pillow and a blanket and climb to the roof of your RV. Lie on your back and observe the heavenly spectacle above.

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.
Bill's Hints
"When operating at altitudes above 5,000 feet, it may be necessary to make an adjustment to the automatic choke on your generator's engine. Learn how to do this before you need to do it." --From Motorhomes Made Easy.
2009 directory of
RV services at truck stops!

The 2009 RVers Friend 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 directory be your guide. Get the 2009 edition now! Learn more or order.

Tourist Attraction Spotlight

Tour RV hot spot
Laughlin, Nevada

In a six-minute video, host Stew Olsen leads you on a tour of the gambling town of Laughlin, Nevada. The Colorado River town is a big winter destination for RVers, who come for sunshine, to gamble, and to enjoy the many local attractions. Only 20 years ago, Laughlin was a relatively sleepy place, with a handful of casinos. RVers fueled the growth of the town by arriving in droves, most "camping" for free in casino parking lots (which they still do). Watch the video at RVvideos.com.

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
Red meat is not bad for you. Fuzzy green meat is bad for you.

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.

Worth Pondering
"Let your tongue speak what your heart thinks" --Davy Crockett


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.

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.