Welcome to RVtravel.com, an RV-themed newsletter from the most-read consumer website about RVing in North America with more than 147,000 registered subscribers. We support a free press and believe it is essential to a democracy. At RVtravel.com, you will learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. And we’ll explore where this wonderful lifestyle is heading in our ever more complex, crowded and sometimes angry world. Be sure to check out all our other RV-related newsletters.
Sunday, June 13, 2021
By Mike Gast
Thor is “sold out” of RVs for 2021; order backlog totals $14 billion
If you had doubts about the stories regarding RV dealer lot inventory shortages and the demands on RV manufacturers, Thor Industries CEO Bob Martin wants you to know that yes, everything you’ve heard is true. Thor, the largest manufacturer of recreational vehicles in the world, is all sold out until next year.
Martin recently appeared on CNBC’s popular “Mad Money” television show to talk about the first quarter of 2021 being the best quarter in Thor’s history. He said the explosion of interest in RVing and the subsequent boom in sales has left Thor “pretty much sold out for the next year.”
In fact, Thor is reporting an “order backlog” worth more than $14 billion.
“You look at our dealers’ inventory, which is virtually none…. So, we are … not able to build inventory at our dealers’ lots.”
Thor Industries owns the following brands outright: Airstream, Crossroads, Cruiser RV, Luxury Suites, Dutchmen, Entegra Coach, Heartland, Highland Ridge RV, Jayco, Keystone RV Company, KZ Recreational Vehicles, Redwood Recreational Vehicles, Starcraft, Thor Motor Coach, Tiffin Motorhomes, Vanleigh, and Ventura RV. That long list includes a plethora of different models. If you don’t own a Forest River or Winnebago, it’s likely you have a Thor.
Continue reading and watch the interview of Thor Industries CEO Bob Martin on “Mad Money.”
COMING IN TUESDAY’S RV DAILY TIPS NEWSLETTER. Tony reviews a motorhome with an inflatable second floor. This ain’t click-bait! It’s true! What’s next, huh?
HOW TO FIND HIDDEN STORAGE SPACE IN YOUR RV. That was our lead story in last Friday’s RV Daily Tips newsletter. If you missed it, it’s here.
May we brag?
• Our article from last week, “RV park owner throws in the towel: The business has changed, even shockingly,” has been read more than 800,000 times – that’s in one week. To comprehend that, visualize eight Rose Bowl crowds.
• RVtravel.com publisher Chuck Woodbury’s essay from January has received more than 500 comments and they keep on coming. Why did one article draw so much reader interest? Read it and learn why. Please keep an open mind.
This week’s podcast Episode #11
SPONSORED IN PART BY CLEAR2O RV WATER FILTERS
These are the best. Check ’em out!
Host Scott Linden is back with another dose of RV news, information and entertainment. A podcast is like a talk-radio program that you can listen to whenever you wish.
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel looks at the new 2021 r•pod RP-196 Travel Trailer. Tony writes, “r•pods aren’t as small as they used to be. As with bellies and waistlines, r•pods, too, have grown this past year and the r•pod RP-196 isn’t immune from that growth.” Is bigger better? See what you think in this review.
• The gypsy wagon named Misty, an incredible DIY COVID project
Last week’s reviews:
• Glampervan Class B RV • Prime Time Crusader 395BHL Fifth Wheel • Featherlite 7841 Living Quarters Horse Trailer • Work and Play 27LT Toy Hauler • Cortes Campers fiberglass travel trailer
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
That was the RV week that was
June 6–12, 2021
NOTE: Fast forward to the 11-minute mark for the best action. More information has been released about the Green, Ohio, police chase of a man in a motorhome with his slide-out deployed. We reported last week that Randy Schiffbauer, (24), led a one-man demolition derby through the streets, chased by multiple police units. Our story mentioned this isn’t the first time Schiffbauer has allegedly gone loco on the streets with an unusual vehicle. Turns out the “loader” we reported he used in a chase last year was actually a bulldozer. Not only did several innocent bystander cars take a beating, he allegedly then turned the construction equipment on a house. In last week’s stunt, police tried to stop the runaway motorhome with spike strips, to no avail. He simply drove on the rims. A PIT maneuver only managed to rip off the back of the evasive RV. Bogging down in a residential lawn finally stopped the renegade. Ohio state police have released a 14-minute dash-cam video. Got lots of bandwidth? Watch it above. If you want to get to the heat of the chase, fast forward to the 11-minute mark.
A pedophile RVer could run – but he couldn’t hide. David Levi Watters (30) of Dillon, Montana, is heading off to prison for nearly three years, after he used an RV park’s WiFi system to upload child sex abuse photos in Talent, Oregon. Watters admitted in court that in January 2019, he’d uploaded the files at the RV park. In April 2020, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children spotted the images, and told police where the images had been uploaded. Law enforcement worked with its high-tech crimes units to nail down Watters’ computer IP address, then tracked it back to his physical location. He was arrested last November in Montana, then extradited to Oregon, where he’s been in jail ever since. After his 35 months in prison, he’ll spend three more years on probation, and have the mark of a registered sex offender for the rest of his days.
Watching a motorhome careen off a steep embankment, then vanish, nearly left witnesses in North Carolina in trauma, but not without action. On June 8, Hope and Kyle Bailey watched as a Class C motorhome jetted down a steep grade on North Carolina Highway 226 North, smoke billowing from its wheels. It’s a tricky piece of steep ground combined with twists. When Tracy Patterson of Marion, NC, couldn’t make the last curve, she and her motorhome vanished over the side. The rig clobbered a tree, and caught fire at the bottom of a 200-foot ravine. Up above, Hope called 911, while Kyle and another driver, David Popel, jumped from their cars and scaled down the ravine, pulling the still conscious Patterson from the rig. Another witness used a fire extinguisher to douse her burning clothing. Patterson was airlifted to a burn center in serious condition, and as of Tuesday remained so.
In New York State, you may be better served to keep your mouth shut and pay your taxes. Back in January 2017, New York resident Johan Grate Bey bought a $26,000 pickup truck in Texas. He didn’t pay the dealership sales tax, and brought it back to New York. A couple of months later, Bey bought a $38,000 travel trailer from a New York dealer – and he told the dealer he was exempt from sales tax. When Bey tried to register the two rigs, New York DMV officials took exception to his claim that he didn’t need to pay sales or use tax, as he was exempt as a Moorish-American. According to state records, he created such a ruckus at the DMV office that he was allowed to register the rigs without paying tax. After New York’s tax commission sent him a bill for more than $2,400 for the taxes (plus penalties and interest), Bey appealed the ruling with the state’s Division of Tax Appeals in 2018. He also demanded the state pay him $5,000 for violating the fair debt collection practices act. An administrative law judge tossed out Bey’s appeal, indicating “Moorish-Americans” were not exempt from paying taxes. He also found Bey’s reasoning for the appeal was “frivolous.” Not only does Bey not get his $5,000, he’s still on the hook for the taxes, penalties and interest, and the judge has ordered him to pay the maximum $500 penalty for filing of the frivolous appeal.
“It scared the wadding out of me, buddy!” From the looks of the photo of the damage to Dickie Haines’ travel trailer after a storm blasted through the Lake Hawkins RV Park in Hawkins, Texas, this had to be a major understatement. Haines and his wife were in the RV when a storm hit about 1:00 p.m. Monday. At first the warning of peril came in the form of pine cones blasting down on the rig. Dickie says he and his wife weren’t looking outside – they were too busy looking for a place to hide inside. It was then a tree dropped through the roof. Barbara Haines was clobbered by the incoming roof, but fortunately sustained only minor injuries. They same can’t be said for their RV.
A group of RV resort leaseholders is on the hook for $1.4 million in damages in Washington state. A federal judge says the RVers owe the money to the U.S. government for their illegal occupation of land belonging to the Colville Confederated Tribes. The 24-acre Mill Bay RV Resort on Lake Chelan was originally leased in 1984 to William Wapato Evans, Jr., on a 25-year term lease. The lease was said to be renewable on request for another 25 years. He developed the site and brought in sub-leasees. When Evans wrote to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to renew the lease for a second term, the BIA didn’t act on it. That means, in the opinion of the court, that the 173 resort members had been trespassing on tribal lands since 2009.
The Skagway “scandal,” just keeps going. We’ve reported several times on the case of the campground host cabin that Skagway, Alaska, officials built at the Dyea Campground. It’s the cabin that no campground host has ever taken the opportunity of using. When the city suggested they’d rent the cabin out at $50 a night, local lodge owners went into orbit, claiming unfair competition. An area media reporter says trying to call the competition card is difficult to imagine. Area commercial cabin rentals include private baths, satellite TV, linens, and a full breakfast. The Dyea cabin has four rough bunks, a propane heater, and an outhouse down the trail. Furthermore, commercial cabin rentals are typically offered only in the summertime; the Dyea cabin would be available only in the winter. Now the cabin-renters crowd really have their knickers in a knot: Skagway’s council voted to offer the cabin to Skagway residents from October 15 to April 15 – for free!
If the statistics seen for stolen RVs in the U.S. is anything like those in Britain, watch out! A manufacturer of GPS locator devices, Tracker, reports that thefts of “caravans” (travel trailers) and motorhomes rose during the 2020 pandemic lockdown in the U.K. In the weeks following lockdowns, thefts blasted up an amazing 50%. The company says that it helped police track down nearly $1.5 million dollars’ worth of stolen RVs equipped with its locators in 2020 alone.
It’s a bit early for Halloween yet, but police in Grant Parish, Louisiana, found what may be an early celebrator. Sheriff’s officers responding to a burglary call found Joshua Kelly (32) inside an RV – sans clothing. On questioning, Kelly said he arrived at the RV via a flying broom and, oddly, couldn’t remember his own name. Try as they might, officers couldn’t find any broom, but did discover that Kelly had stolen a utility task vehicle and a gun when he broke into another RV – 20 miles away.
Did you read this article from our May 30 issue? You should
→ The future of RVing as many know it is doomed
When is an amusement park not all that amusing? When it says it will open its luxury RV park on June 24 – 10 days after the promised opening date, and after piles of RVers put in reservations for the now-unavailable dates. Kings Island Camp Cedar put out the notice a scant few days before the June 10 opening day, leaving some very unhappy campers scrambling to make other plans. The $27 million development is in Mason, Ohio, northeast of Cincinnati. “Unfortunately, a combination of unfavorable weather, labor, and material shortages led to the delayed opening,” said a Kings Island prepared statement. The outfit says it will try and help those with now-canceled reservations to find other accommodations, and will offer either substitute dates, or a full refund.
Don’t back up a motorhome when towing another vehicle. So learned an RVer who suffered critical head injuries when he fell after his RV jackknifed near El Capitan State Beach on the central California coast. According to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, the man, believed to be in his 70s, was driving a large motorhome that was towing an SUV. He exited Highway 101, then apparently realized he’d gotten off at the wrong exit. Fire officials said the man tried to reverse to get back to the freeway, causing the RV/SUV combination to jackknife. When he got out of the RV to take a look, he fell and struck his head. No word on how he is doing.
Law enforcement needs your help identifying this suspect who burglarized several buildings at an RV park south of Briggs, Texas, on June 9. According to the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office, a security camera recorded the person inside a building at the Red Barn RV Park and Apartments at about 3:15 a.m. Anyone with information regarding the burglary or the suspect is asked to contact the sheriff’s office on its non-emergency line, 512-756-8080, or at Hill Country Area Crime Stoppers. The case number is BC21-0729. All tipsters remain anonymous, but information could lead to a cash reward.
Pickup truck news
According to our recent survey, about 80 percent of RVtravel.com readers own at least one pickup truck. Recognizing that, we’ll provide the latest news highlights about the vehicles here each week.
In case anyone hadn’t noticed, pickup trucks have become increasingly more expensive. With extensive option packages, several new pickup trucks cost more than $100,000. But considering the new Ford Maverick, soon debuting as a 2022 model, many pickup trucks are still reasonably priced. Read more.
Electric pickup trucks: Two models almost ready for prime time
Changing nearly as fast as gas prices, there’s seemingly constant news in the electric pickup truck market. More manufacturers are debuting electric pickups, while others have plans to do so in the not-too-distant future. At least eight manufacturers are in the electric pickup truck business, led by Tesla and Rivian. Here’s a synopsis of arguably the top-two most anticipated EV trucks and a list of electric pickup trucks currently in the market or expected to be manufactured. Read more.
General Motors is struggling to fill temporary part-time positions at its Flint Assembly plant in Michigan and Fort Wayne Assembly plant in Indiana – both of which build the automaker’s hugely popular full-size pickup trucks. According to The Detroit Free Press, GM is looking to hire 450 temp workers at Flint Assembly and another 275 at Fort Wayne. However, UAW Local 595 Shop Chairman Eric Welter told the publication that he’s only been receiving around 22 to 25 applicants from a placement agency that GM uses to funnel workers to Flint Assembly.
Is this your RV?
If it’s yours and you can prove it to us (send a photo for comparison), tell us here by 9 p.m. Pacific time today, June 13, 2021. If it’s yours you’ll win a $25 Amazon gift certificate.
If this isn’t your RV, send us a photo of your RV (if you haven’t already) for a chance to win in future issues.
Last week two readers claimed their $25 Amazon gift cards: Carl Jones of Tacoma, Washington, and Carla Smith of Wichita, Kansas.
We’ll have another photo in tomorrow’s RV Daily Tips newsletter (sign up to receive an email alert so you don’t miss the issue or those that follow). Some of these photos are submitted by readers while others were taken by our editors and writers on their travels around the USA.
A weekly roundup of news stories that will make you smile (and maybe shed a tear or two…). This week: a forager’s fresh subscription box; a three-alarm, er, three-children, rescue mission; a woman who DOES NOT (we repeat DOES NOT) fear bears; and, of course, our favorite cute animal videos. Click here to smile.
Academically, how good a student were you in high school?
Respond here and learn how studious your fellow readers were way back when.
Got a question about RVing and need an answer? If you’re a member of Facebook, join the RVtravel.com group RV Advice. Wow! What a great resource. Ask a question and you’ll usually get an answer from a knowledgeable group member within a few minutes. Visit the group.
What is unusual about the following words: revive, banana, grammar, voodoo, assess, potato, dresser, uneven?
Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
YouTube celebrities and RVers John and Mercedes Condon, known as the RV Odd Couple, have made an offer to buy an Alabama RV park that has been accepted. The couple has a huge following and plans to invite its “Odd Squad” members to visit and participate in special events there.
Fire showed no mercy in Chula Vista, California. Last Monday firefighters were called out to the San Diego Metro KOA. There, flames consumed three RVs in the campground’s storage yard and seriously singed two others. Battling the blaze was complicated as there were no hydrants in reach of the fire, so a tender and five engines were used to shuttle water from hydrants off the site and back. Cause of the blaze is still not known.
Internet site RVtrader.com used to be the place to go when looking to buy an RV. Now the company is adding more by taking advantage of the wildly popular RV rental game. Point your browser at rentals.rvtrader.com and you can find rigs to rent all across the country. Potential renters can sift through rig type (or manufacturer), rental cities, price points, and more.
And now … it’s lower gas prices in the months ahead! The last we looked it was higher prices. So what’s the scoop? The latest forecast comes from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook projects average gasoline prices to remain above $3 a gallon in June before falling the remainder of the summer driving season. Sounds good…Maybe Montana isn’t all that lonesome, after all. The state’s parks department reports in the last two years visitation has jumped 78%. For this year, 393,175 park visitors showed up in the first quarter. Park officials say if you’re planning on camping in a state park, it’s best to have a Plan B – maybe even a Plan C – for an alternative touch-down point.
Need to store an RV near Imperial, Missouri? Some 235 parking sites will open on July 15 at Combs Boat and RV Storage. The outfit describes the property as “state of the art,” with rigs parking in 12’-wide “carports.” Hawking security, the yard is fenced and “100 percent covered by high-definition surveillance cameras” that trigger on with motion. A 24-hour security monitoring company will summon police if they spot anything suspicious.
Another good reason to keep your RV in good operating order. PG&E said recently that it will likely proactively cut power to customers in Northern California more frequently this coming fall in anticipation of extreme wildfire risk. Expect this same thing to happen elsewhere. If it happens to you, you’ll have your RV as a backup for living, keeping food cold and more.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. economy hard in 2020, and for communities near national parks, the same held true. Nevertheless, the Park Service pointed out the benefits of having a park nearby. In all, spending by national park visitors last year helped to support 234,000 jobs and pumped $28.6 billion into the economy. For communities within 50 miles of a park, this amounted to $14.5 billion, supporting 194,400 local jobs. First in line, those involved in the lodging industry, followed by restaurant owners and employees.
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE STOLEN RVs?
This Winnebago motorhome was stolen May 14 from Broken Wheel RV in Orange, California. The license is CA 8UIT623. Police reported later that it had been spotted in Huntington Beach, CA. Someone else reported seeing it in the Apple Valley Walmart parking lot.
This Keystone Cougar travel trailer was stolen June 7 in Junction City, Oregon. The license is R827607. If you have information please call owner Wendy Erickson at (541)321-1549.
See many more recently stolen RVs. Let’s help find these for their owners and maybe even put the crooks in the slammer. Click here.
Campground and RV Park News
Developments in places where we stay across the USA
Janet Groene reports each week on developments at RV parks and campgrounds across the USA and Canada. There’s a lot of good information here that you can use to plan your travels. Read the current installment of “Campground and RV Park News” here.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
• Ford F-Series trucks recalled. Wheels could separate from vehicle
• Some Chevrolet Silverado trucks recalled for over-cured tire danger
• Sprinter vehicles recalled for potentially dangerous swivel seat issue
• Recall: Bounder, Holiday Rambler, Southwind RVs. Deadly gases could seep into living area
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
⇒ Is the death of mom-and-pop campgrounds really such a bad thing?
• We tested WiFiRanger’s new Converge Everest and love it! Here’s everything you need to know
• THE PHOTO: Want to own this incredibly cute RV? It’s for sale.
• Campground Crowding: A helpful tip to reserve spots: “Schedule backward”
• Camper’s death could have been prevented with a satellite messenger. Don’t let it happen to you!
• Do electric vehicles spell the end of internal combustion engines?
• Not a motorcyclist? Then you must read this!
• No power? No hookups? You’d better be prepared!
• Can I run a 2-way fridge on battery power alone?
• “Improved” RV steps are too heavy and complicated!
• Building an RV Park: We see the light! And update on bank loan
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of June 7, 2021:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.04 [Calif.: $4.08]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up $1.
Diesel: $3.27 [Calif.: $4.07]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 88 cents.
Upcoming RV shows
Most of the RV shows so far in 2021 have been canceled. We will restart our show directory feature here as shows begin again. In the meantime, see the frequently updated schedule here.
Recipe of the Day
Bacon and Pepper Jack Mac & Cheese
by Diane Rodriguez from Chesterton, IN
Cheesy, creamy and smoky, this not a traditional macaroni and cheese recipe. We really loved the bits of bacon throughout the mac and cheese. The jalapeno adds a mild spice, but it’s not overwhelming. When looking for a special treat for the family, make sure to add this recipe to your menu. Creamy and delicious!
This would be a perfect meal for Father’s Day. Get the recipe here.
Did you miss yesterday’s recipe, Crock Pot Pulled Pork? Get it here.
Other recipes featured in this week’s Daily Tips Newsletters:
• Baja Style Fish Tacos • The Smack My @$$ and Call Me Sally Burger! • Award-Winning Strawberry Rhubarb Pie • Loaded Buffalo Chicken Baked Potato Salad • Roasted Garlic Mushrooms
Brain teaser answer:
Take the first letter of each word and place it at the end. It will spell the same word backwards.
An elderly shopper at a supermarket paid by check for her purchases. She was buying cotton balls, cotton swabs, powder, cold cream, and aspirin. On the check memo line, she’d written, “Repairs.”
The Perfect Scam Podcast
Every Sunday we present a podcast from AARP about scams and how crooks are stealing your money, often via telemarketing. Their efforts are often most successful with people 65 years and older who fall victim to the scammer’s sophisticated techniques. Here is this week’s episode.
Melany Robinson loses almost $20k in an elaborate vacation rental scam.
Directory of RV parks with storm shelters
Where do you camp when a tornado is headed your direction? Hopefully in a park with a storm shelter. Here’s RVtravel.com’s ever-expanding directory of such places.
Today in History
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RV Travel staff
Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. • Editor: Emily Woodbury • Sunday edition editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris • Managing editor: Diane McGovern.
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