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National Officers

Camping Today is a publication of the non-profit National Campers & Hikers Association, doing business as Family Campers & RVers (FCRV). Issue frequency is 12 (monthly) on line at www.fcrv.org. Publisher is Family Campers & RVers, 4904 Transit Rd. Bldg. 2, Depew, New York 14043-4906. Office Manager – Pat Wittmeyer 716-668-6242, [email protected]. Camping Today is supported through FCRV memberships.  OWNER: National Campers & Hikers Association, doing business as Family Campers & RVers (non-profit), 4804 Transit Rd. Bldg.2, Depew, New York 14043-4906. Bondholders, mortgage, and other security owners holding 1% or more of bonds, mortgages, and other securities: NONE. The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes has not changed in the last 12 months.

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ArticlesEvent RecapBirthday ShoutoutMilestoneFarewell –  Dear RVEvent Submit

From The President

As we share this update, I would like to thank the two members who shared their suggestions with me as I requested in my update last month. I value your input and suggestions for FCRV and its future. I will work with your suggestions and consider them. Thank you again! The Trustees do not take lightly the future of FCRV. This is something I can assure you, and we will continue to move forward in our planning. Budget time is here. The trustees will be holding a series of meetings to set the next budget for the year to come. Budget requests should be in by the time this update is published.

Have you started your camping year? As you read this, many of you have returned from the Retiree Rally and join the ranks of the members that have started the camping season. I was able to start my camping season in March with a chapter outing on a cool but beautiful weekend. We also have members that are still buried in snow; let’s keep them in our thoughts and pray for improved weather. Speaking of prayers, we need to keep the areas that have suffered severe storms in our prayers for recovery from the devastating losses that they have suffered. I often feel that possibly we in FCRV are a little better prepared with our DASAT Program. Let this be a reminder just how important it is that we maintain and improve our local chapter DASAT program. You never know when that one little bit of information could save your life or the life of someone else.

I would like to ask if your outings are scheduled and have they been listed through the proper channels? Have you or do you plan to submit recaps? Keep in mind the process is simple, and the more you do this the easier it becomes.

Just a reminder if you requested a Wildlife Grant, did you send it to Debbie Swanson? IF YOU SENT TO ANYPLACE OTHER THAN DEB, it will NOT be considered for a Grant. Deb did request that Joannie Stone send any applications for grants to her by the deadline. However, if they do not make it, they are out of the running. Deadlines will still apply as posted.

I hope that you have registered for Campvention.  The time is fast approaching, and we look forward to seeing you there. The team has been working hard to prepare the Campvention for our enjoyment. I always say Campvention is what you make of it! Let’s make it another great Campvention. I know that Connie Black and her team would love to see you there. I would also love to see you there!

Looking forward to a great camping season!

Gerry Pfirsch
FCRV International President

New FCRV Influencer Program

New FCRV Influencer Program

By Amy DeCamp

Hello, everyone!

FCRV is updating its commercial marketing strategy. One prong of this plan is seeking and maintaining partnerships with camping/RVing influencers who share the organization’s mission of supporting the camping lifestyle, wildlife preservation, and environmental conservation.

“Influencers” are regarded as experts within their selected fields and have established followers who value and trust their opinions and endorsements. Their opinions carry weight. They have a large social influence, and partnering with them will allow FCRV to market itself among their followers – “brand exposure.” Influencers will publish and share social media content that promotes FCRV events and membership.

I share this to announce the debut of the FCRV Influencer Program: https://FCRV.org/influencer-program/. Feel free to visit and familiarize yourself with this page and share the link with any respective influencers you may follow in this genre. Together we grow!

Remembering Ray Shields: National President 1980-1982

Remembering Ray Shields: National President 1980-1982

By Barb Turner

Ray Shields, NCHA National President 1980-1982, passed away March 8, 2023 at the age of 93. Ray served the organization on the national level as treasurer and first vice president before being elected as president.

Ray was born June 20, 1929 in Baxter Springs, Kansas. He met Jewell at a New Year’s Eve party at a local skating rink. They were married on November 23, 1951 and became partners through life, including supporting each other through their service to NCHA/FCRV in their respective offices over the years.

While living in Kansas, Ray & Jewell joined National Campers & Hikers Association in 1962; they formed the Strip-Pitters Chapter. NCHA/FCRV became a lifelong passion and commitment, and as Jewell says, “NCHA/FCRV became and is our family.”

Ray & Jewell had three children: daughters Tonya & Trudy and son Terry. In addition, they had many other children over the years, children who needed a loving home. In talking to Jewell, she shared that their house was filled the evening before Ray’s memorial service with their biological family and so many others who were sheltered and raised with love by Ray and Jewell. In addition, she told me about a couple in their church in Colorado. When the couple were planning their wedding, they asked Ray and Jewell to be their parents as both had lost their parents.

Daughter Trudy shared: “Summer vacations meant Campventions, wherever they were. I have so many memories as a youth and teen from Campventions when we could run and enjoy other youth and teens with such freedom. We were safe with our NCHA family. What a wonderful time!”

Ray had many accomplishments as his obituary noted, but from Ray’s obituary: “His greatest accomplishment, though, would be his family, and how he has loved and taken care of them. For a man who had no example of how a family should function (His parents divorced when he was young, and his dad was not greatly involved,), he became the best husband and father, and formed a family that was strong and close and included anyone who needed a family to be part of.”

When I asked Jewell what she’d like to share with our FCRV family, she said, “I can’t begin to express my appreciation for the many cards, emails, and letters that I’ve received. So many ‘Do You Remember’ memories so many shared. NCHA/FCRV has been so much a part of our life. We got so involved that allowed us to do things we’d never thought possible or even dreamed of, but most importantly has been all of the people who have been a part of our lives, our friends, our family.” Obituary link: https://cremationsoftheozarks.com/obituaries/ray-dean-shields/ .  Cards can be sent to Jewell and their family at 64 L. Garrison Dr, Lampe, MO 65681. Email: [email protected].

Wildlife Program Grants – April 20th Deadline

Wildlife Program

By: Debbie Swanson

The Family Campers & Rvers wildlife program was originated to help with the conservation of wildlife. It is the responsibility of all Family Campers & RV members to practice the conservation of our natural resources. Without our soils, minerals, waters, forests and wildlife, there would be no place to camp and no place to enjoy nature. There would be no Family Campers & Rvers and there would be no man.

FCRV Wildlife Program offers grants of financial assistance to responsible governmental and private organizations, to assist them in wildlife conservation projects.  These grants are based on the importance of the project to wildlife conservation. 

All grant applications must be submitted on form WL-GT 1, (link below) and must be thoroughly researched by the applicant, who must be an FCRV member. It must include a signed letter of request, by a responsible person within the organization requesting the grant.

If you are aware of an agency in your area that does wildlife conservation, reach out to them, find out what programs they are doing and encourage them to apply for a grant. In the past, we have given out grants to zoos, bird sanctuaries, groups that plant food resources for wildlife and many other worthy causes. The financial need for these groups is endless and every dollar counts. 

Although not necessary, we would like the FCRV member sponsor to present the check in person and take some pictures of the facility for publication in Camping Today. 

Applications are due by April 20th.

If you have any questions please contact Deb Swanson at [email protected].

Camping Today/Social Media Forms

Camping Today/Social Media Forms

By: Barb Turner

Camping Today submissions have been technologically streamlined.  By using the submissions forms below, members can easily submit articles and share upcoming events, recaps of activities completed, as well as farewells, milestones, birthday shoutouts, and ask questions of Dear RV. 

Click on the hyperlink below for the type of ‘Camping Today’ submission you’d liked to send.

Articles Event Recap Birthday Shoutout Milestone Farewell Dear RV Event Submit

In addition to Camping Today, submissions other than the articles are placed in queue for  sharing on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.  After research and recommendations, promotion and publicity of FCRV and our activities via these formats will enhance our exposure, both to our members and the RV world.  From the beginning, NCHA/FCRV has been referred to as ‘the best-kept secret’.  Survival in the modern world won’t happen as the ‘best-kept secret’.  Let’s shout that we are here!  We are ‘happening’!  And, we welcome all campers & RVers!

If you have any questions submitting material, contact [email protected]

Campvention 2023 – Richmond, Indiana

A Northern Spring Peeper crawling on a skunk cabbage leaf.

Campvention ’23 Registration Musings

By Beth Muschinski, Registration Chair

Six hundred miles southwest of Richmond, IN, the grass is getting green, the redbuds and tulip trees are blossoming, other trees are beginning to bud out……..Ahhhhh, spring is in the air. It is 84º one day, 50º the next. Unlike many of y’all, we have had no snow this winter, yet (March is just beginning as I write this, and I may have jinxed us)… but our weather has been treacherous in other ways. There have been tornadoes in each of the winter months – a rarity; we have had oceans of rain with severe storms, and it has been cold – temps in the single digits in January!

But, the Spring Peepers have been out for a couple weeks now so things are looking up. Do you know what Spring Peepers are? They are also called Chorus Frogs. They are little tree frogs. They sound different from a “regular” frog due to their “peeping” sound. When you get a whole herd of them together, they can be quite raucous! They sing all night long. The males have a bubble under their chin that inflates when it chirps. The peeping sound is repeated about 20 times/minutes, but the faster and louder those boys sing, the more the girls like them!

Spring peepers can actually freeze and survive due to a natural antifreeze in their blood. Up to 70% of their body can freeze, the heart stops pumping and the frog appears dead. Once they thaw out and wake up, they will go through a period of self-healing and get back to peeping/singing away.

Peepers are only about 1”-1 ½” long and have a dark “X” on their back. These peepers live in moist, wooded areas (like our backyard) and will hibernate all winter in the mud, under logs or in holes in the trees. The lifespan of a spring peeper is about 3-4 years.

I am hoping this little “Peep talk” got you into the mood for spring! When this article comes out, it will be mid-April. Camping season is OPEN!!!

I am imploring you to get your registration in for Campvention 2023 NOW! Don’t wait until the last minute. Things come up, you’ll forget to send in the registration, etc., etc.


We have quite a nice crowd already signed up but remember……there are 900+ campsites so we need you to help fill them!

Happy Spring Camping season to y’all. See you in July in Richmond, IN.

Don’t forget to check out the Facebook page dedicated to the Campvention and check out the link: www.visitrichmond.org for all your touristy information. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6NRrEBZlHo for peeper info https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_L7Ha6uwQA

Rose Paws Pet Parade

By Karen Decker, Pet Parade Chair

The ROSE PAWS PET PARADE will be on Thursday, July 13th, 2023 from 1-2 pm. The location is at the Seminar Pavilion ( inclement weather- Commercial Building). Hope to see you there!

Golfers, Tee It Up at Campvention 2023

By Barb Turner

** July 12, Wednesday, 9 AM **

To register for the Campvention 2023 golf outing, email Jim Turner at [email protected]. Jim will be compiling a list of golfers to determine the needed tee times for the group. In addition, a sign-up sheet will be in Central Registration, but pre-registering helps with planning. Bring your golf clubs to Richmond, Indiana in July!

Site Decorating Contest

By Shari Weber

The theme for the decorating contest in Richmond is “Campvention’s Coming Up Roses. Put your thinking caps on and figure out ways to use roses to decorate your campsite. The roses used can be real, homemade, or purchased artificial. Create a design and get ready to WOW your fellow campers. The displays can be created by an individual, a family, a group of families, or a chapter. The displays can be made of any material you wish to use to depict the theme.

Displays will be registered at central registration indicating site number where the display will be set up and who the creators and decorators are. The decorations can be put up at any time. They must be ready by noon Wednesday, July12. Judges will come around Wednesday afternoon to judge the displays.

There are four prize categories as follows: Most Colorful, Most Creative, Prettiest, Most Unique. There will be one winner in each category.

Grandpa’s Farm Campground & RV Park in Richmond Indiana is our sponsor supplying us with the funds to provide you with 4 cash prizes of $25 each.. Please be sure to stop and stay or just to say “Thank you”.

Get those creative juices flowing and bring some roses to Campvention in July!


Campvention FCRV International Band Update

By Craig Weber, Conductor

Old-timers! First-timers! The FCRV International Band has a part for you!! The FCRV International Band is made up of volunteers who enjoy music and who play an instrument. The band has ranged in age from 14 – 88! All are welcome. All we ask is a few hours of your time for practice. I have designed the practices to give anyone who hasn’t played in a while a chance to get their lips and breath into playing shape. The music we play is mostly very simple, but I do throw in a challenge once in a while. I will also be making the music available about the first of May for those who would like extra practice time. The band will practice for a total of five hours and play about a 45-minute concert at Campvention. It is a great help in planning music if I know ahead of time how many players I have and what instruments will be playing. You can imagine how things can be very different from year to year. Band members receive an FCRV International Band Tuxedo T-Shirt, an FCRV International Band Member badge with year tab, pizza party before concert, new friends and hours of fun. All you have to do is find your instrument, dust it off, bring it to Campvention and join in the fun and sharing. Please email me with your desire to play at [email protected] include what instrument you play and shirt size.

‘Honey Wagon’ Available

By Brad Davis, Chair

There will be a ‘honey wagon’ available at the Campvention 2023 in Richmond, Indiana.. The ‘wagon’ will be on the grounds Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. The cost will be $35 for each dump. Gary Bex and I will be at Central Registration taking registrations for this ‘crappy’ job. We are both #1 in the #2 business! Please visit us for all your needs.

Entertainment Spotlight – Tuesday Night – Matt Waters & The Recipe

By Jill Serbousek, Entertainment Chair

Matt Waters is a rock & soul artist from Cincinnati, OH who found love in music at an early age and got pushed onto the stage for the first time at 14. Waters has opened for national acts such as: AJR, Judah & the Lion, Here Come the Mummies, Freekbass, Tim Reynolds, Afroman…as well as Luke Combs & Judy Collins.

The Recipe came together in 2017 to accompany Matt on his first road gigs. See Ingredients & Proportions Below:

  • Drums: Nick Hach / Nick Meehan (10lbs, 4oz)
  • Bass: Jonny Disco / Kevin McClellan / Sammy Reuscher (800 lbs)
  • Keys: Jamarco Thomas / Josh Jessen (499 lbs)
  • Saxophone: Kris Keith / Eli Gonzalez / Paul Kindt (69lbs, 12 oz)
  • Trombone: Jason Branscum (500lbs)
  • Trumpet: Charlie Ferrara / Sean Fitzpatric (100 lbs, 8 oz)
  • Vocalists: Charice Rodgers / Tommi Lee / Sony Grappone (20lbs, 5oz)

Which comes out to be…..A TON OF FUNK!

In 2022 Matt & the band decided to record his debut album, The Big Crash.

“This album is full of temporary fixes & audible getaways, sometimes they’re a band aid on a fresh wound or a childhood memory that I love to revisit. The tunes have served me very well in getting through some ups & downs, and I hope they do the same for you through your car speakers or some headphones….But it’s way better when it’s a bunch of sweaty Ohio kids gettin’ funky with strobe lights so come a show”!


Campvention 2023 First Timers Info

By Donna Powell, First Timers Chair

FIRST TIMERS – Well, are you coming to this year’s Campvention for the 1st time? My committee and I will welcome you: first at Registration and then at two different meetings during Campvention. Our 1st meeting will be on Monday, July 10th, 2023, 9-10 am; you are encouraged to come. Meet our National Board! Meet each other! We will be handing out a questionnaire; please fill it out during the week. Our 2nd meeting will be on Friday, July 14th, 1-2 pm, as a follow-up and discussion meeting! Please come, enjoy, and have fun! See y’all in July in Richmond, Indiana. I will post the meeting location soon!


Campvention 2023 Reminders

By Barb Turner

Aluminum Pull/Pop Tabs will be collected at Campvention 2023 for Ronald McDonald House. Not all pull tabs are aluminum! Aluminum only! If not sure, test with a magnet. If the pull tab attaches to the magnet, IT IS NOT ALUMINUM. DO NOT INCLUDE IN OUR COLLECTION. Place in your home recycling.

Plastic caps will be collected at Campvention 2023 for benches. Indiana FCRV members have purchased a few benches in the past in memory of an FCRV member and placed the benches in those members’ hometowns or favorite campgrounds, or wherever that member wants to donate.

Campvention 2023 Service Project is reminding sewers, quilters, knitters, and crocheters to keep busy making quilts and blankets to provide comfort to children experiencing trauma. We are working with Birth to Five of Wayne County (https://mybirthtofive.org/) and the Richmond Fire Department. Sizes: keep in mind that we’ll be servicing from birth and beyond. We are creating and bringing comfort to children!


Why Hospitality is Important

By Denise Weiss and Stacy Davis, Hospitality Co-chairs

Why is hospitality so important?

Hospitality matters because it deepens existing relationships and creates the space for new ones to flourish. Hospitality matters because it feeds the most basic human need that we all have, to feel loved and accepted. That is not something to overlook.

Hospitality is defined as, “receptive; kindness in welcoming strangers or guests.” There is a clear correlation if you have a role in onboarding new members to our organization, but does that same mutual relationship apply to how you generally interact with others with whom you camp?

You bet!

Being hospitable applies to all types of relationships. Let’s see how:

  1. It’s foundational in building relationships – being receptive, respectful and open to others says, “You’re important to me.” If you let others know you value them, they will most likely have a similar feeling about you.
  2. Allows you to meet interesting people and gain a broader perspective – when you are approachable and engage with others, they will open up and share their knowledge and insights.
  3. Prompts you to remember what you have to offer – you probably have a wealth of knowledge about the unwritten rules, tricks for navigating your RV or camping equipment and how to get things done. Sharing helpful tips can assist others in avoiding the little land mines they didn’t even know existed.
  4. Build a supportive network for yourself – I’m a big believer in, “what goes around, comes around.” If you are known for helping out others, you’ll have plenty of people who will be happy to help when you need some help! Remember George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life?

When it comes down to it, being hospitable is about focusing on the other person, understanding their needs and offering to help them to meet those needs.

When you do that, people become comfortable with you. When someone is comfortable with you, they will share more, opening the opportunity to learn from one another and they will begin to look for ways to help you should you need something someday.

What could be better?

So put that Welcome Mat out at Campvention and host a hospitality.



Adult & Family Activities Info

By Craig Weber & Brian Fuller, Chairpersons

Hello all our camping friends. The Adult and Family Activities Committee has been working hard to schedule events for Campvention 2023 in Richmond, Indiana July 10 – 14. Here are some events we have planned:

Planned Activities: Monday, July 10 Balloon Volleyball 10:00 – leading into Family Fun Day. All Ages. Bring a chair and a flyswatter.

Monday, July 10 After Family Fun Day Line Dancing for all (easy for beginners) 2:15 – 3:15 All Ages

Tuesday, July 11 Bingo 1:30 – 3:30 Charge will be $1 per card per game. Limit two cards per game or as supply allows. Winner take-all for each game. Ties will split evenly. BRING YOUR NICKELS. All Ages

Wednesday, July 12 Card Bingo 1:00 – 3;00 Candy bar prizes. All Ages

Wednesday, July 12 Euchre Tournament 3:00 – 4:30

Thursday, July 13 Texas Hold’em (for beginners and pros) 10:00 – 12:00 No matter what level you are at, this will be fun (FREE)

Thursday, July 13 Bowling 2:00 – 4:00 Please read the article in Camping Today or find it on-line. Must register and pay by June 1st. Plenty of openings still available. 13 and older only.

Friday, July 14 Bean Bag Baseball – 1:00 – 3:00 Just for fun. Get your team of nine ready to PLAY BALL All Ages

We are further working on several evening events (after entertainment).

The Adult and Family Center will be open from 9:00 a.m. until whenever every day.

Cards, Puzzles, other games will be available at all times or bring your own.

See you all in Richmond, Indiana

Adult Bowling News

By Craig Weber

Adult bowling is ‘A Go’! Arrangements are made for 90 people at Richmond 40 Lanes in Richmond on Thursday, July 13 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM. A party package that includes 2 hours of bowling, 1 – 14” pizza and 1 – 64 oz pitcher of pop for each group of six, shoes are included. Cost will be about $12.50 each. Please register for the event in advance (by June 1) using the following link https://fcrv.org/campvention-bowling/ and send payment by check to Beth Muschinski at the address on the form. ‘Thank you’ to all. See you in Richmond.


[20% off Discount Code “FCRV20”]

Personalized garments; drinkware; clings; decals; kitchen & bath items. You can choose from our large graphic collection or use your photos or designs.

For FCRV branded items: https://stores.inksoft.com/fc_rv/shop/home

For other items: https://stores.inksoft.com/marshall_creations16/shop/home

Call or text: 410-533-0038
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“Look Out Below!”

“Look Out Below!”

Adventures in the Field: Stories from a Wildlife Technician
By Amy Wittmeyer

This past summer of 2022, I worked at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge in western NY. As a general biologist assistant, I helped with pretty much any task the refuge biologist gave me. When I started in April, I was by myself, but as the summer progressed, a fish and wildlife technician and two invasive plant interns were hired, so we formed a small crew of four. While the bulk of our work over the summer was invasive plant mapping, we also participated in occasional bird surveys and other biological projects. One such project was counting the number of nests in the refuge’s great blue heron rookery. We were tasked with counting nests of great blue herons, great egrets, and double-crested cormorants, which all tended to nest together.

Excited to shake up the routine and do something a little different, the four of us trooped out to the forested wetland where these birds nested, having no idea what we were in for. The location was actually quite nice; being a forest that is swamped for 7 or 8 months of the year, there isn’t much terrible, thick understory to fight. The area was mostly large trees with knee-high herbaceous understory, with large patches of bare ground that were left behind when vernal pools dried up.

As we hiked out, the harsh calls and squawks of the birds led us to our survey area. If you’ve never heard what a great blue heron sounds like, it is positively ancient. Hearing hundreds of those birds all calling together sounds like you’re in the middle of Jurassic Park. As we neared the rookery, the vegetation of the understory became coated with a dried white substance. You guessed it – droppings. Glorious. But believe it or not, that wasn’t the worst part. That came from above.

Maddie, one of the invasive plant techs, and I approached the base of a tree to try to get a closer look at the occupants of a nest to determine which species we were looking at. James and Sarah, the other techs, suddenly called a warning as something came splattering down from the branches. Maddie and I covered our heads and ran back out from underneath the tree to safety. All of us began laughing hysterically at our predicament. “Wow, that was the biggest poop I’ve ever seen,” James remarked, sounding highly impressed. Then we realized more stuff was falling from the branches. Oddly solid stuff. We wandered over to investigate it and were shocked.

Fish. The birds were throwing fish on us. Sometimes pieces, sometimes whole, undigested fish. The forest floor was covered in them; a pumpkinseed sunfish here, a minnow there, a bluegill by that bush. A quick Google search told us that juvenile herons will sometimes empty their stomachs when alarmed. We didn’t know whether to be horrified, disgusted, or amused; it wound up being a mix of everything. For the next two hours as we split into pairs and counted nests, one of us would approach a tree while the other watched for falling fish or poop from above. Whenever a head or tail appeared over the edge of a nest, the lookout would call out a warning and the tech under the tree would scramble for cover.

When we broke for lunch and told our boss about our experience, he couldn’t help but laugh. He said he’d never had that happen doing the survey on his own in the past, which we all found very hard to believe. Luckily, I had to drive to meet someone from another refuge that afternoon, so I didn’t have to return to the rookery, but my poor crewmates steeled themselves and headed back into the fray. Feeling a little guilty, I bought a half-dozen donuts from Tim Horton’s for them to try to make their afternoon a little better, and we all had a treat when I got back to the office.

Dear RV

Hi there everyone, we are introducing a new article in Camping Today. We would like to welcome you to Dear RV. This is a place where you can ask the questions that you are hesitant to ask members of your Chapter, State, or your Neighbor. Your questions will be answered from our point of view, and it will hopefully give you a chuckle as well as some useful information to help you in your RVing experience. You may not agree completely with all our answers, but our goal is to give honest information to you as to how we do our RVing. We would prefer to not know who is submitting the question. So, send us your questions and we will send you an answer (possibly that you were not expecting) but an answer, just the same and possibly with a small dose of humor for good measure.

Us here at Dear RV!

Dear RV,

Hi, I’m new to camping.  Is there any rule or guideline about camping at a disabled site at a state park? I made a reservation, and the only available site was a disabled one. Can I use that if I am I not disabled?


Dear Curious,

Good question and good for you for checking! Let me ask you this: if the parking lot is very full except for handicapped spaces up close to the building, do you use them? I’ll bet not. Same thinking applies here. Check with the park to see if they are available last minute or with permission without a specific license plate or hanging placard. Thanks for writing to Dear RV.

Dear Curious

I have a different take on your question. Many areas the rules that apply to handicap auto parking places apply to the camping spot. In my state you are required to have a placard or license plate to be allowed to park in the space. When you think about this, it is only a courteous thing as many parks only have 1 to 3 handicap spaces in the entire park. Please give the marked places to them.

Dear RV

Hope this isn’t a silly question, but I am new to RV camping. My husband bought a regular hose to hook up water. We saw the white hoses for RV water. Does a regular hose work, or do we need to get a white hose?  


Dear Hosed,

This is not a silly question. However, I would caution you on this practice. A regular garden hose that is in the sun will leach vinyl chemicals into the water causing the water to taste very bad. Doctors for years have cautioned us not to drink from a regular garden hose. I recommend you only use a hose marked ‘Safe for drinking water’.  Most common are white, but I do have a blue hose that is used for very cold weather. The color of the hose is not important; however it needs to be marked SAFE FOR DRINKING WATER.

Dear Hosed,

Any garden-type hose marked “potable” or “safe for consumption/drinking” are good to use. I can’t recommend a specific brand but look for one that collapses to save space. PLEASE do NOT use the same hose to rinse your black tank. Keep it separate – different color, mark it, tag it. Anything to help you know the difference.  Thanks for writing to Dear RV

Dear RV

My question is on RV refrigerators. My fridge just does not get and does not stay cold enough in the hot weather. What can I do to help improve how it works?

Trying to keep my Cool!

Well, Cool, fear not!

There are several things that one can do to help with the cooling. One thing that seems to help is the simple installation of a small battery fan in the fridge to help move the air around inside. Another thing that is often overlooked is to not overload the fridge. Leave space for the air to move around the items, and you will find things cool better. There is also a small thermocouple that is attached to the fins in the back of the fridge; by moving it up or down, you will change the temp that the fridge is working at. I also have learned that there is a fan that will install over the fins in the upper back of your fridge that hooks into the light for power that greatly increases the air flow.  Some say they are great for improving the cooling of the fridge. Also, you should talk to your dealer and have a fan installed to the back of the unit to help move the hot air in the outer part of the fridge compartment. I had one installed on a 5th-wheel fridge that I had several years ago, and this made a great difference in cooling.

Campfire Safety

Campfire Safety

By Joe Boswell, National DASAT Director

Everyone loves to sit around a campfire. Some time ago, in previous articles of Camping Today, you were given hints as to how to make your campfire colorful as it burns. Let’s take this further and tell you how to have a safe campfire.

There is nothing like sitting around a warm and comforting campfire. They provide heat in the cooler months and ward off the bugs of summer. No matter the time of year, there are some simple basics everyone should follow for the safety of all who enjoy the comfort of a campfire.

“In the United States nearly 9 out of 10 wildfires are started by people being careless.” Therefore, it is very important to fully understand some of the simple applications towards having a campfire. This pertains to having a campfire in your own backyard or the campground.

Before you begin to make your campfire, it is important that you check the weather forecast. Remember it can change in a moment’s notice. Do not start a fire on a very dry day or a windy day. Sparks can fly away and catch other things on fire. Wherever you may be, always check the fire regulations for that given area, (Campground). Some keep in mind the fall winds, dry conditions; these are all fire dangers that may cause forest fires.

Now let’s start with some basics for building our campfire. If a fire ring or pit is available,this would be to your advantage. Place the fire ring at a least 15 feet or more from a house, RV, or other possible flammable materials. A bigger distance from possible flammable materials is to your advantage. Once you have established your campfire location, have a fire extinguisher close and handy, Soak the ground around where you are going to build the campfire prior to its construction. This help prevent the fire from spreading beyond the original location

Now let’s construct the campfire for the best possible results. The best wood for your campfire is the hardwoods, like oak and birch. It is recommended that one stay away from burning pine and spruce. These are harder to light, and the sap may be running.  This type produces heavy smoke. Do not burn leaves or other types of brush that can wander into the heavens as they burn. Sometimes this is how a forest fire gets started. Be safe as you start your fire and do not use gasoline or other flammable liquids to ignite the fire as they can cause flashbacks and catch you on fire, too.

Here are some simple steps to building your campfire. Create a nest of very small branches and kindling in the very center of your fire pit. Then begin to use slightly larger pieces of small branches and build a teepee, placing each piece of wood standing in an upward fashion. Build your teepee using small pieces of wood closest to the center-building outward using larger pieces of wood. Any extra firewood should be stacked at least 10 feet or more away from your fire pit. 

A word of caution, make sure you have built your fire away from the outstretched branches of a tree. You do not want to catch the tree on fire due to the flight of cinders, especially in the fall when the leaves are dry on the trees. In a campground, especially, you want to make sure your campfire is at least 15 feet or more from another RV. RVs are not fireproof, and they can catch fire very quickly. This is a disaster you do not want to occur.

After the initial fire has settled down to very hot embers, you can now begin to cook. At this point in time, you want less flames and very hot coals. If possible, use a thermometer to make sure what you have cooked has reached the adequate temperature for consumption. “Ground beef and pork should be cooked to 160 degrees, poultry to 165 degrees, beef roasts, steaks, and pork chops to 145 degrees.” You always want to make sure you have cooked things adequately.

The night has advanced, and it is time to leave your campfire location. When this happens, spread out your coals and do not add any additional wood to the fire. Let the fire burn completely out. To make sure your campfire is completely out, take a bucket of water, or use a hose, and completely wet the remaining hot coals, making sure they are completely covered in water. Stir your coals to make sure you do not have any hot spots. If possible, use a shovel to stir the ashes, making sure you do not see any ‘red’ hotspots.

Following these simple applications your campfire will be a wonderful experience. Many FCRV members like to enjoy this wonderful experience. It is a sad reality that many people do not think.  They build campfires.  Leave them unattended, thus causing forest fires and other disasters. Recently many articles have appeared in various publications about individuals who have built campfires too close to adjoining RVs or woodland, thus causing massive disasters. Remember that following basic safety procedures will make the campfire experience long lasting memories for all participants.