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RV Electricity Dos and Don’ts

Before heading out for a new season of camping, there are some RV Electricity Dos and Don'ts you need to know about. We detail them from a top expert whose advice can save you lots of grief.

Our guest is Mike Sokol, who tells us in Episode 441 of the RV Podcast how to safely wake up your RV's electrical system.

To see a video version of the podcast, click the player below.

For an audio-only version, download the podcast on your favorite podcast app or click the player below.

RV Podcast Shownotes

This episode comes to you from Florida's Emerald Coast, where we have been hanging out the past few weeks. Spring Break is now in full swing down here, and the crowds are causing us to long for some solitude.

Thus, we're headed to Loblolly Ridge, our private little 5-acre RV retreat in Middle Tennessee. We plan to spend a couple of weeks up there and clear some trees blown down by the recent storms – two of which ended up gently leaning on our fifth wheel.

Thanks to some good neighbors – Brad and Jim – the trees were removed, and the RV suffered only a couple of minor scrapes and bruises. Whew!

Those trees were toppled by the wave of dangerous storms that swept through the nation's midsection Friday night. It was the third weekend in a row of tornadoes and violent thunderstorms, and they claimed some two dozen lives in multiple states, including two campers in Indiana (see news story below).

There was a similar death toll the previous weekend.

Still more spring storms are forecast for midweek so please, check the weather frequently and have a place to shelter if so advised by weather authorities.

Our RV Summer Meetup is now open for registration!

RV Electricity Dos and Don'ts 1

Our RV Summer 2023 gathering is set for June 19-22 in Northern Michigan. We call it the “Meetup at Mackinac” because we're camping on the shores of Lake Huron in the Straits of Mackinac, which divides Michigan's Lower and Upper Peninsulas.

This gathering will sell out, so get your ticket fast. (One ticket is good for one RV and three people. Details are available at

RV Social Media Buzz

This week, we introduce a new FEATURE – Social Media Buzz with Our Social Media Maven Wendy Bowyer, who moderates our RV Lifestyle Facebook Group. With over 170,000 members to keep track of, she has her finger on the pulse of the RV Lifestyle community and often spots trends before the rest of the industry.

Here are a few of the topics that got her attention this week:

Our RV Lifestyle Facebook group has been busy as many have started their spring camping, and are sharing what they encounter on the road.

Rocky gave a tip for anyone driving west of I-40 near Flagstaff. Rocky said it was nearly impossible to drive – the worst section of road he had ever seen.

Numerous RVs and big rigs pulled over with blown tires, broken suspensions and even axles.

Other members who had been down this stretch of freeway agreed.

Tami said she was on the road a couple years ago it was horrible – sounds like a section of road to avoid if at all possible.

Karin – issued a warning after about her stay at Ferry State Park in South Carolina. She had to leave the campground early because of caterpillars – and shared pictures.

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Yes, those are caterpillars!!!!!

Hundreds of caterpillars fell on her rig, swarming over the tires, covering everything.

Karin said it was so bad when you left your rig to walk somewhere, like the bathhouse, they literally fell on your hair and body – they were inescapable.

Another member said they are gypsy moths, and they are out in the southeast this year. So if you find yourself camping in that area – beware.

Just for fun, we had to share a sign that Selena shared from the Apache junction KOA that every camper would see while heading out.

See below. It's an oldie but a goodie. But there must be some truth to it, right?

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Remember – our RV Lifestyle Facebook group is a great resource for your travels. With more than 170,000 members, it is the place to go for tips, troubleshooting or sharing good campsites

Interview – RV Electricity Dos and Don'ts

RV Electricity Dos and Don'ts
Mike Sokol of shares RV Electricity Dos and Don'ts

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been sharing tips on how to get your RV ready for a new season of travel.

This week, we continue the discussion with an interview with RV expert Mike Sokol, who is an expert on all things electric in an RV.

Mike talks to us this week about waking up your RV’s electric system after its long winter’s nap,

Mike has over 50 years of experience in the industry and in this interview of the week segment, he tells us how to prepare your RV’s electric system for the camping season, covering batteries, putting water in the water heater before turning that on, and much more.

Here are slides of the key points of Mike's presentation:

RV Electricity Dos and Don'ts battery
RV Electricity Dos and Don'ts battery tip
RV Electricity Dos and Don'ts 6 volt batteries
RV Electricity Dos and Don'ts battery water
RV Electricity Dos and Don'ts water heater
RV Electricity Dos and Don'ts tips

RV News of the Week

Two campers killed while camping as unusually large storm with heavy winds, tornado ripped through south and midwest last weekend

Many RVers in the south and midwest found themselves last weekend facing a horrible storm with high winds and even tornadoes that ripped through parts of Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and more.

A couple died while camping in a state park in Indiana. The husband and wife were camping at McCormick's Creek State Park and had not taken shelter. Rescuers found their bodies in the debris that had been their camper after they were reported missing. See news story here.

In Bellevue, Iowa, the Moon River Cabins and Riverview RV Park was hit by a tornado, with multiple RVs shown shredded in local news coverage. (See here). Thankfully no one died, but some were injured.

In total, at least five people were killed, and dozens more were hospitalized in the unusually large and fierce storm that was the topic of conversation Friday night in our RVLifestyle Facebook group as RVers found themselves in the storm's path and asked for tips.

An RV is not a place to be in severe weather. To see our story on what to do in a tornado, click here.

Colorado couple's dream Tiffin Class A stolen from their garage recovered; Thief had used it to make meth

Do you remember the recent story we shared with you about a couple from suburban Denver who saved their whole lives to buy a Tiffin Class A motor home to travel around the country during their retirement, only to have it stolen out of the garage one night, dashing their dreams?

Well, after asking for the public's help and being featured in a Colorado TV news segment, police found their beautiful RV and arrested the person who stole it. The thief had been using their RV to create meth.

The couple also learned, after they were inside it trying to scrub it clean, that anyone going in it should be wearing a hazmat suit because of the health dangers created by making meth. They are now worried about what they may have been exposed to while cleaning.

While the couple had insurance on their rig, they only had $5,000 worth of insurance for personal property inside of it and estimated they had about $11,000 worth of contents inside when it was stolen. 

They want the suspect, who has an extensive criminal history, charged. But what will happen in this case is far from clear at the time of this writing. (See the news article here).

To protect your rig see our article on RV security systems here.

Sign up for lottery tickets to see the synchronous fireflies of Congaree National Park begins Thursday

synchronous fireflies photo
The synchronous fireflies of Congaree National Park

If seeing the synchronous fireflies in Congaree National Park is on your bucket list, mark your calendars for April 6 – the day this year's lottery for tickets goes live. 

Winners will be randomly chosen and announced on April 17. This year's dates to see the synchronous display are May 13-17 and May 19-24.

For those who don't know, each spring a special firefly participates in a mating ritual where the insect synchronized flashes the night sky in a “show” many describe as simply spectacular.

People from all over the world come to see this, and watching has become so popular the National Park had to institute a lottery system to limit visitors so not to disrupt the insects.

To learn more click here or see our article here.

Gas prices rising across country in time for summer travel season

Gas prices are on the rise, just in time for the summer travel season.

AAA is reporting the national price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.51 as of Sunday. The average price for a gallon of diesel is $4.212 (but this varies from state to state). A month ago the average price for a gallon of gasoline was $3.37.

States with the lowest gas prices are generally in the south, including Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, and others. Their cost for a gallon of gasoline ranges from $3.22 to $3.02 per gallon. States with the highest costs are Illinois and then states on the West Coast, including California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, and others. Their price ranges from $4.83 to $3.61 per gallon.

Prices generally rise in the summer months when many travel and overall prices are up from where they used to be. 

To see the AAA page tracking gas prices click here. To see our story with tips on how to improve your gas mileage, click here.

RV Tip of the Week – An RV Safety Checklist

Best RV Checklists, Shopping Lists & Must-Have Camping Lists 

Time now for a brand new segment of the podcast – the RV Tip of the Week from certified RV Inspector Brenda of Queen Bee RV

Brenda’s focus is on educating RVers on how to care for their RVs – especially women RVers – and she is a regular contributor to the podcast, sharing her expertise with our entire audience.

Here’s Brenda.. The RV Queen Bee… with this week’s report on RV safety tips for peace of mind.

RV safety plan for peace of mind

As a female RVer, I get the question frequently, “Aren't you scared?” I can honestly say that I mostly experience great comfort when I am camping, and for several reasons.

One of the RVing choices I make that gives me confidence is the fact that I typically camp in some sort of State or National Park, Corp of Engineers, or privately owned campground with loads of other RVers. 

The campgrounds tend to be gated, have park rangers on patrol, a camp host on-site, and are somewhat well-lit. I personally love when other RVers have dogs, because they serve as awesome little alarm systems.  I also think that people are genuinely looking out for each other in these places.

I have had two experiences that scared me, and I quickly learned something from each of them. One was when my husband and I were camping midweek and ended up being the only campers in our section with no camp host on-site. 

A “local” sniffed us out within an hour of setting up camp with the ole “Have you seen my lost dog” line, trying to size us up. I could not sleep a wink that night. Solution? Know where the camp host is, inquire if rangers patrol the area, is it gated, and is there a curfew, etc. 

And the other was a tornado weather situation. Solution? Carry a weather radio in case cell and wifi reception are not available.

Here is my short list of things I do or have on hand to help me with peace of mind when I am on the road:

  1. Rechargeable police flashlight  – I love this thing.  Lights up a city block with ease.  They come in a variety of price ranges.
  2. First aid kit – bandages, first aid ointment, aspirin, ice pack, etc.
  3. Weather radio and know where to shelter at the campsite, if needed.
  4. Cell phone with backup battery charger – my weather radio can charge it, too.
  5. Tool kit with items like duct tape, bungees, a tarp, and a tire gauge.
  6. I double-check all of my detector batteries for carbon monoxide, LP, and smoke.
  7. I practice opening my emergency exit windows.
  8. I typed up an emergency plan in case of weather, fire, intruder, or medical.

You will be amazed how just a few items can help put your heart and head at ease. And as time goes on, you will gain experience and hear more ideas that will fortify your plan.  

Hope these tips were helpful.  I will see you next time on another episode.

RV App of the Week

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Time now for the RV App of the Week segment, taken from the pages of – our sister blog that celebrates the many ways technology enhances the travel experience.

The app we’re featuring this week came from an article on GPS apps for travelers. It's called Gaia GPS.

If you are a hiker or backcountry explorer or off road enthusiast, you need access to maps. And while there are lots of GPS apps out there, Gaia GPS, is a go-to because no cell service is needed to navigate trails and backcountry adventures. 

You can plan offroad travel, find campsites, and use GPS coordinates to mark your base camp and points of interest.

There is a free version that works great if you have cell service. But you need the premium for the offline features. It costs $39 a year but if you are serious boondockers in wilderness areas, it’s a very reasonable investment.

RV Questions of the Week

This question was first posed Sunday night on our “Ask Us Anything” livestream from Deborah Ann and it has promoted lots of discussion and soul searching by those who travel with dogs. She asked:

QUESTION: ​I was just at a Harvest Host in FL and there was a tornado watch.The host said I can come in her house but not my dogs. I was not leaving my dogs. What would you do? – Deborah Ann

ANSWER: Like Deborah Ann, we wouldn't leave our dog, either. We would have left the location and driven to the nearest shelter n the area… with Bo. Later on, Deborah Ann added that she was not criticizing the host. Apparently, the host had her own dogs and there just wasn't room for more. 

But this question gives us all something to think about and include in our planning whenever we camp. We need to be aware of weather conditions and forecasts – always… and we also need to know where is a safe place we can shelter. The terrible storms we’ve had over the past month or so should make all of us realize that an RV is never a good place to shelter in severe weather.

QUESTIONI purchased a copy of your Natchez Trace guide book  and am planning to do the trip north to south this August. I know, not great timing. I'll be towing a 28’ travel trailer. I know of others that have made the trip with larger units, so I don't think that's a restricted size. Please let me know if it is.

My question is are there turnouts at all the milepost stops you suggest that I could get in to while hitched up to my trailer? – Randy

ANSWER: Yes, you can easily bring your 28-foot travel trailer on the Natchez Trace. There are a few turnouts where big RVs are prohibited but they are clearly marked on signs to keep you from turning in. 

Be sure and consult the map in our Natchez Trace guidebook and stop at a ranger station or check the Natchez Trace website before you take off for any construction detours or road problems but we saw plenty of RVers towing trailers your size or bigger with no issues. Enjoy!

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RV Electricity Dos and Don'ts 5

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-04-05

Mike Wendland is an Emmy award-winning journalist, traveler, and producer of RV Podcast, the RV Lifestyle travel blog, and the RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube. Mike, traveling with his wife Jennifer and their Norwegian Elkhound, Bo, has vast experience and a great passion for exploring North America, previously working as a long-time NBC-TV News Channel Technology Correspondent and now sharing his love for the RV lifestyle with millions. Mike is not only an adept RV life enthusiast but also a skillful storyteller, bringing to his channels stories from the road that perfectly capture the magic and hardships of this lifestyle.

2 Responses to “RV Electricity Dos and Don’ts”

April 05, 2023at11:41 am, Amy Nichols said:

Thanks for another great podcast! I appreciate the reminders about monitoring the weather and knowing where the storm shelters are located. Since we don’t have tornadoes often on the west coast, that reminder for checking with the campground or local law enforcement is welcome.


April 05, 2023at3:51 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Thanks for the kind words, Amy! It encouragement is appreciated! Team RV Lifestyle


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