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Sunday, June 27, 2021
How dynamic pricing will affect what you pay to camp – Part 2
Yesterday in Part 1 of How dynamic pricing will affect what you pay to camp, we asked, “How much are you willing to pay to camp?” Dynamic pricing is quickly sweeping through the camping industry as more park owners struggle to find the perfect formula to deal with record high occupancy while maximizing profits, and yet still end up with happy (or at least happy enough) campers. Today, in Part 2, we take an in-depth look at what’s going on behind the curtain when a campground uses Dynamic Pricing, and what you can do to ensure you get the best rate possible when it’s time to book. Learn all about it here.
RV manufacturers set another shipment record in May, yet buyers may still face a long wait
There were a few RV industry news items released this week that should be of interest to every RVer. First, the RV Industry Association announced that RV factory shipments set another new record in May, with 49,241 units leaving factories during the month. That’s almost 76% better than May 2020, which was the first month last year that factories were in full production after being shuttered during spring 2020 due to COVID-19. Learn more.
Winnebago joins Thor in reporting huge RV order backlog
Winnebago Industries has joined the growing list of RV manufacturers reporting huge backlogs in unfulfilled orders. A few weeks ago Thor Industries, one of the world’s largest RV manufacturers, reported an order backlog of more than $14 billion. Thor Industries CEO Bob Martin said Thor was essentially “sold out” for the next year to year and a half. This week, Winnebago Industries issued its fiscal third quarter earnings report, which stated order backlogs of $1.52 billion in towable products and $2.18 billion in its motorized division. The towable backlog is 540% higher than in fiscal third quarter of 2019, and the motorized backlog is 1,095% higher than during the same period in 2019. Read more.
Wildfire season is underway at a scary pace
Get ready for a nasty, dangerous summer. There are currently 33 active large fires across the West. The biggest has scorched more than 175,000 acres in the canyons and valleys east of Phoenix. The number of new wildfires in the U.S. so far this year is at a ten-year high, according to federal data, prompting warnings of a long, potentially dangerous summer. “We’re in for a long haul, I fear,” Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy said during a news conference Friday. Read more, including about how some National Forests have already shut down due to fire concerns.
Camping World changes plans about making electric vehicles
Six months ago, Camping World’s CEO Marcus Lemonis crowed that his company had forged a deal with electric vehicle manufacturer Lordstown Motors. Camping World would become a dealership and repair facility for the “Endurance” model pickup trucks. At the time, Lemonis said that by June his company would have service call centers up and running for the $53,000 pickups. Suddenly, Camping World is going on its own. Lordstown doesn’t figure into the plans. Continue reading.
Our RVtravel.com podcast host Scott Linden talks with Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey in this week’s episode of the RVtravel.com podcast. McConaughey is not only passionate about his acting and producing, but he’s an avid RV enthusiast, having lived in his Airstream trailer for 4 years while visiting every state you can reach by land except South Dakota. In this conversation, People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” explains “what gets his juices going” about RVing. Listen to the program here.
Today, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the Dub Box USA Dinky Dub Trailer. He writes, “‘The iconic VW vans just hold a magic for some folks, so I was intrigued when I saw the Dub Box USA camper in Girl Camper Magazine and figured you would be as curious as I was about this unique rig.” Check it out.
RV Women’s Alliance Drab to Fab trailer project
Last week’s reviews:
• Oliver Legacy Elite Travel Trailers for boondocking
• 2021 Jayco Seismic 4113 Fifth Wheel Toy Hauler
• 2021 Grand Design Imagine 2670MK Travel Trailer
• Thor Palazzo 37.5 Class A Diesel Pusher
• East To West Entrada 2200s Class C Motorhome reveal
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
That was the RV week that was
June 20-26, 2021
Cops stop motorhome: 49 people onboard!
How many people can you stuff in a Class A motorhome? Might be funny, if not so sad. Brewster County, Texas, sheriff’s deputies stopped a big Class A near the entrance to Big Bend National Park south of Study Butte last Monday night. On board, 49 migrants from Mexico, Ecuador, and Brazil were found crammed in. A social media poster says the driver and one other person on board were U.S. citizens. Most are being processed by the U.S. Border Patrol for deportation, but two are being investigated by Homeland Security.
As a kid, did you ever want to get a peek at everyone’s report cards? A news release from the RV Dealer’s Association (RVDA) might make you feel the same way now. For the last 27 years, the association has sent its RV dealing members a request to fill out a sort-of report card on the industry. Called the Dealer Satisfaction Index, dealers are asked to score the manufacturers of the brands they sell. Manufacturers are rated based on how well they keep dealers happy in areas such as reliability/quality, parts, warranty, and sales. You may have been able to sweet-talk Sally into showing you her report card in grade school, but don’t think for a minute the everyday RV consumer will ever get a glimpse of the Dealer Satisfaction Index. RVDA’s news release on the matter describes the survey as “confidential.”
If you’re concerned about campground crowding and had hopes the hordes you’d heard about will lose their appetite and stay home – hope again. June’s KOA Monthly Research Report indicates interest in camping isn’t waning – it’s shooting upward. The report says 48% of those who describe themselves as campers will do so this summer, and nearly 20 million plan on a 4th of July camping trip. Some 53 million households say they’ll camp this summer – that’s up 480,000 from the May projection. Newbies will be in abundance – 4.8 million households who’ve never camped before are expected to do so this summer. Where’s everybody going? National parks, say 76%. State parks, 73%. Private campgrounds are in 70% of the plans. Big destination states include California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
If a new RV park is a good thing, can you have too much of a good thing? A proposed RV park in Midway, Kentucky, asks that big question. It’s a BIG RV park – developers want to put in 818 RV sites, 37 tent sites, 155 cottages, and a restaurant that will seat 400. Midway is a modest town of 2,000 but thinks at full tilt that residents could be outnumbered by park guests three to two. Developers of Kentucky Experience Bluegrass Resort say they’re pretty well locked in with the numbers, but say the large site will give plenty of space for all. Actual approval (or denial) is a bit down the road, but you can imagine, you’ll be hearing about Midway, Kentucky, here in the future.
A horrific crime spree that began in a North Bend, Oregon, RV park ended after a kidnapping victim talked her captor into turning himself in. Oen Evan Nicholson (30), a California man, is accused of shooting his father, Charles Nicholson (83), at the Mill Casino RV Park, stealing the man’s pickup, and then running over a couple at the park during his getaway. Anthony Oyster (74) was killed outright at the scene, and his wife, Linda Oyster (73) was critically injured. From there, it’s alleged that Nicholson turned up at a nearby marijuana dispensary, where he shot and killed Jennifer L. Davidson (47). He later crashed the pickup, and police say he set it afire. He made a stop at a sporting goods store and bought ammunition. It’s not clear if it’s the same store where he happened across Laura Johnson, but police say he forced the woman to become his getaway driver. That getaway trip ran 2,000 miles from Oregon to Milwaukee, Wisconsin – a 33-hour ordeal that ended when Johnson somehow talked the suspect into giving himself up. At last count, Nicholson is facing 10 charges, and is being held on $7 million bail.
Despite pleas from campground owners and their industry group, Santa Clara County, California, has approved a zoning change that will hit RV parks below the belt. In a county made famous by Silicon Valley, being an RV park owner means trying to keep up with the increasing demand for space in your park – or just improving what you have. But county supervisors voted that effective June 25, RV parks are now “legal non-conforming,” meaning that they were legal when built, but no longer meet zoning approval. RV park industry officials say the new law means expansions or improvements at existing RV parks will become extremely difficult, and fear other counties may follow Santa Clara’s suit.
There’s plenty of controversy over whether or not there’s truly a “shortage” of RVs on dealer lots. Northwood Manufacturing, based in La Grande, Oregon, supplies Arctic Fox, Nash, and other units to 66 dealerships in Oregon and other nearby states. Here’s a quote from Lance Rinker, the outfit’s director of purchasing and marketing for both it and sister group, Outdoors RV: “We would love to increase the number of RVs that we’re making, but there’s several mitigating factors.” What are they? A shortage of labor, and increased materials cost. The company could employ as many as 315, but has been “stuck” at about 215 workers for the last several years. The company rolls out around 230 rigs each month, and that number has been static, despite the “increasing demand.” Source: Baker City Herald.
Exceptionally hot weather in the West has taken its toll in Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park. Michelle Meder, 53, of Hudson, Ohio, was on a backpacking adventure on Friday, June 18, when she became disoriented, then lost consciousness. When park rangers reached her on Sunday, they determined that she had died. While air temperature registered 115, rangers noted that exposed areas along trails could have been hotter than 120. Some park visitors in the past have been shocked to find their shoes melt.
Looking to visit Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park? A paucity of parking – at least for overnighting – may make the task tricky. Back in the day there were some 20 RV parks near Jackson, Wyoming, the park’s gateway city. Trouble is, land values in Jackson have skyrocketed, and tying up land with an RV park that would operate only a few months a year made for reducing the number of parks to just a few. Bucking the trend, a new RV park – a mere 30 miles from Jackson – is opening piece by piece. Alpine Valley RV Resort on Highway 89 north of Alpine opened this week with 35 sites, and will continue to operate as they build out to an eventual 120 sites. The owners point to their large pull-though spots as a major attraction to contemporary RVers. But just because the place is a bit of a drive from Jackson doesn’t mean it’s cheap. Site rental ranges from $90 to $120 per night.
A man has learned it can lead to great pains to use a motorhome as a wrecking ball. Back in February, Shawn Gilbert Leroux, of Prince George, B.C., was driving a motorhome without license plates in Prince George. This caught the attention of a Canadian Mountie, who attempted to pull the rig over. Instead of stopping, Leroux rammed the police unit and kept on going. In proper “The Mounties always get their man” fashion, the officer doggedly pursued. After the RVer clobbered a civilian rig, he finally stopped and was arrested. His day in court arrived, after 118 days in jail. The court handed Leroux 180 more days in the clink, and said he may not drive for the next five years.
Lightning has caused the first fire of the season inside the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. Park officials issued a press release that said the Elk Creek Fire started late Thursday in the northern section of the national park. On Friday morning, the fire was just 0.1 of an acre in size. The fire was being immediately suppressed due to its location. The current fire danger in the park is rate as “high” although there are not, as of now, any fire restrictions in the park.
We don’t know anything about this unusual rig except the photo was sent to us by Tom Speirs, who found it on HomemadeTools.com. If you have any information, please leave a comment. It sure is cute!
Despite objections of neighbors, officials have given preliminary approval for development of a new RV park in Newport, South Carolina. The 52-site park, dubbed Dogwood Family Acres, was given a recommendation by the county planning commission for approval. The developer had an engineer on hand at the Monday, June 14 hearing who responded to many of the concerns raised, evidently doing well enough to convince commissioners to give their nod. The county’s board of commissioners will have the final say in the matter.
Hey, RVer! Got a customer loyalty card in your pocket? From Pilot/Flying J to KOA, all sorts of businesses want you to keep coming back. But a state park system? New York State says it wants to reward loyal camping customers, and visitors earn points for every buck spent in the system – which can later be “spent” on rewards in New York’s campground system. With publicly owned campground spots at a premium, the whole idea may seem a bit ludicrous. But state officials say they see plenty of spots open in the system – especially for weekdays and non-peak times.
A “doubleheader” weekend at Long Pond Pennsylvania’s Pocono Raceway has booked solid. All 3,280 RV and tent sites for the NASCAR event, set for this weekend, are sold out – a first-time happening for the locale. All this despite the fact that management had added hundreds of new sites at Turn 1. As of mid-week, grandstand tickets were still available, but RVers – you’ll have to park it elsewhere.
A Florida alligator’s life ended tragically after three wanna-be “‘gator tamers” lassoed and yanked the reptile out of the water at Fay Lake Wilderness Park in Brevard County. A trio of kids, ages 16, 8, and 6, were on vacation from California and cooked up the scheme to lasso a gator. The oldest succeeded, and dragged the gator to shore. When wildlife officials arrived on scene, the critter had managed to make its way back into the water, but still had the lasso around its neck. Asked by one official how on earth he thought he’d get the rope off the alligator, the 16-year-old blowhard replied, “I’m an expert, and I’m gonna take him to shore.” Sadly, the alligator had to be put down. Parents, do you know where your kids are – and what they’re doing?
Back in May we reported that big news in Avon, North Carolina was the coming of a 26-site RV park. We included a photo (above) showing progress on the “Opening July 4” park and suggested readers use their imagination to envision the completed park. You’ll need to extend your imagination a bit farther out – developers say that due to “a limited availability of both contractors and materials,” they’ve scrubbed any firm opening date, hinting at late summer.
Philadelphia may be the City of Brotherly Love, but just down the road. Radnor, Pennsylvania, might be called the city of brotherly indignation. On June 18, two characters were spotted by security cams helping each other rip off catalytic converters. In the photo, you’ll see one acting as “spotter” while his buddy, underneath the motorhome, chops off the spendy exhaust part. They got two more “cats” that morning. They were later picked up on security cams at a nearby 7-Eleven, where they spent a half-hour buying lottery tickets. Locals are hopeful their luck will run out. One man, whose cat converter was evidently stolen by the two, said he “would love to have these guys come here and have these guys put this thing back together again.” That is, a just punishment would be having to reinstall the stolen goods.
Klamath County, Oregon, officials have started a 60-day clock ticking for folks residing in an RV park. The county bought the RV park and nearby Motel 8 in Klamath Falls back in April with a $1.8 million grant. The motel and park are to be turned into housing for recently released prisoners and homeless people. But the irony is, in kicking out the present tenants of the RV park, the county may be creating more cases of homelessness. Police brought eviction notices to the park last week, blindsiding some tenants – an estimated 26 staying in 13 RVs on the site. The county has also shut down showers, laundry facilities, and Internet service at the park, but has granted a rent reduction from the standard $600-a-month price tag. Now tenants will only need to pay $590 a month.
Three RV fires, all on the same day and in the same area near La Pine, Oregon, have earned the mark of “suspicious” by fire investigators. Last Sunday, a fire call came in at 5:37 a.m. for a fire near US 97 and Rosland Road on BLM land. On arrival, firefighters found two unoccupied RVs, about a quarter mile apart, on fire. Weather cooperated, and the fires were limited to the rigs. But not so at 3:17 p.m. the same day. This time, another unoccupied RV on Highway 97 in the Jack Pine Loop area was blazing. This one burned not only the RV, but about an acre of land. Officials are rightly concerned: Last year three wildfires burned in the same area.
We reported earlier that some RVers looking forward to staying on at a new “luxury” campground near Ohio’s Kings Island amusement park were suffering major disappointment. Camp Cedar was originally slated to open on June 14, and many holding reservations were jolted when told the place wouldn’t open until June 24. The 24th has come and gone, and Camp Cedar hasn’t hosted a single guest, and there are no promises as to when it will happen. “Construction delays” and “outstanding issues” have created the non-opening. Kings Island is quick to point out that it doesn’t own the Camp Cedar property, but only manages it.
Perhaps they’re looking for deep pockets, but a “two pump gas station” in Wilmington, North Carolina, has filed suit against Colonial Pipeline Company. It says it wants to represent more than 11,000 of its fellow gas stations. Colonial was the recent victim of a ransomware attack that shut down fuel distribution throughout much of the East Coast in May. EZMart 1 LLC, which buys fuel from a Colonial-supplied distributor, says the big pipeline company was reckless and negligent in “failing to take and implement adequate and reasonable measures to ensure that the pipeline’s critical infrastructure was safeguarded.” In court filings, the station’s attorneys say: “Because of the attack and resulting fuel shortage, EZ Mart’s sales for May of $76,185 fell by $7,789 compared to sales for April of $83,974, “even though the EZ Mart is located on a busy thoroughfare outside a popular coastal city and May is the beginning of tourist season.” Despite press reports of the station’s apparent “smallness,” images from Google Maps would indicate the station has at least five pumps.
NATIONAL PARK TRIVIA: Utah’s Arches National Park is on track to have its busiest year ever, causing the park to close its gates more than 80 times so far in 2021.
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.
Double trouble for Ram truck owners
First came news that the wheels of a half-million Ram trucks could fall off. That’s not good for consumers and not for Fiat-Chrysler, either, who now needs to fix the vehicles. And as if that weren’t enough a headache for the truck maker, now comes another issue involving a trailer reverse steering system. It seems the backup camera won’t work, which is not good when you depend on it to see where you’re going … errrr … backing. Learn more.
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 27, 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: Dana Eulert of Huntley, Illinois, and Jay Miller of Runnells, Iowa.
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.
An every-other-week roundup of news stories that will make you smile (and maybe shed a tear or two…). This week: an amusement park for people with special needs, a man who got swallowed by a whale … and survived, a fascinating (and sweet) story of stadium seating and, of course, several cute animal videos. Click here to smile
Do you feel a threat from wildfires where you live?
Respond here and see how others have responded.
What building in the world has the most stories?
Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
Colorado joins the list of states that are using some of their federal stimulus funds from the COVID-19 pandemic to prop up state park needs. Colorado is directing $20 million into capacity expansion and park improvements. Officials say more campgrounds and beefed-up maintenance is included in the plan.
Camping World says it will open two more locations in Ohio in the near future. This time, the company is not taking over existing dealerships but, rather, building new ones from the ground up. The new centers will be in Sunbury, Ohio, off I-71, and in Madison, Ohio, near I-90 W. The company already has four Ohio locations. They anticipate the new stores will open in 2022.
The National RV Training Academy (NRVTA) is expanding its facility in response to increased demand for training of RV technicians and inspectors. The Texas organization is adding 5,000 square feet to its four-year-old 15,000-square-foot Big Red School House…. The addition will use some space for more equipment storage, but primarily to increase classrooms to accommodate more advanced courses and hands-on labs. Learn more.
With drought conditions creating dropping water levels in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, it can be difficult to keep up with which boat ramps are open or closed. Now the National Park Service has created a new webpage that provides ramp information on a 24/7 basis. Find it here.
Albuquerque, New Mexico, is famous for its annual balloon festival. It’s a hugely popular event with RVers. But, yesterday, it’s good the hordes of people who commonly attend the festival were not around, when a hot air balloon hit a power line and plummeted 100 feet to the ground. Four people aboard were killed and one more died from injuries after being transported to a hospital. Witnesses on Twitter described seeing the balloon fall to the ground in a completely deflated state.
Utah’s Emery County has a new RV park. Buckhorn RV Park and Resort opened last week in Huntington, Utah. The park sports full-hookup sites, most of them pull-throughs. More at buckhornrv.com.
A motorhome sporting a homemade sign on the rear that said “Choose Love, Not Fear” burned to toast last week along a roundabout in Green Valley, Arizona. The fire department said a propane tank vented, which means it released propane, which led to the fire.
Three more independent RV dealers have run up the white flag of surrender. RV Retailer, LLC, announced it is now taking over Adventure RV in Cheyenne, Wyoming, whose website boasts, “We are a locally owned and operated R.V. sales and rental location.” Also bought out, Mid-State RV in Byron, Georgia. Its website touts, “We are a family owned and operated business.” Finally, The RV Center in Columbia City, Indiana, is also going over to RV Retailer. With the takeover of Adventure RV, RV Retailer has now moved into 17 states.
Author and RV video producer Mark Polk of RV Education 101 announced last week that more than 53,000 copies of his “The RV Book” have sold. Since its inception in early 2006, “The RV Book” has gone through four revisions and seven printings. “After the book sold 40,000 copies my long-range goal was to sell 50,000 copies. We achieved that goal in 2019. We probably have enough inventory in stock for the remainder of 2021 and I am working on the eighth print edition now,” he said.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
Stolen June 6th from 12th and Nyssa in Junction City, Oregon. Hurried crooks left a scrape mark on the street until they wised up and fixed a dragging hitch, all the way out to Highway 99. This 27′ 1/2-ton Series Cougar has a marker-light level mounted backup camera, has front and rear entry doors, and bears a tag R827607. Know something? Call a heartbroken owner, Wendy, 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 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
• KZRV recalls some Connect trailers. Hitch tongue weight too low
• Heartland trailers recalled for gas leak issue in outdoor cooktops
• Keystone trailers recalled for potential propane regulator danger
• More than 87,000 Jayco towable RVs recalled. Propane fire risk
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• How dynamic pricing will affect what you pay to camp
• Matthew McConaughey joins us on the RVtravel.com podcast
• McConaughey, wearing only a bath towel, surprises KOA owner
• “If the RV industry was driven by pride instead of corporate greed…”
• Campground Crowding: State park policies holding RVers “hostage”
• How we launched a pesky rat into space
• Use Google Earth to find dump stations!
• RVelectricity: Could this self-charging EV be your next toad?
• Raising the bar: Historic drinking establishments you’ll want to say “Cheers” to
• Roadside Assistance gave us the wrong tire – on purpose!
• Trailer towing technique enters Stupid RV Tricks Hall of Fame
• Never plug your RV into a 30-amp outlet without testing the voltage
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of June 21, 2021:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.06 [Calif.: $4.09]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 93 cents.
Diesel: $3.29 [Calif.: $4.10]
Change from week before: No change; Change from year before: Up 86 cents.
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Upcoming RV shows
Most of the RV shows 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
Cheddar Burger Appetizers
by Jennifer Bass from Richmond, KY
What a fun appetizer! The Montreal seasoning added to the meat adds a ton of flavor. These are super easy to prepare and everyone will love them! Great for a party, a tailgate or even a light dinner.
These are perfect for the holiday weekend next week! Yum! Get the recipe.
Did you miss yesterday’s recipe, Country Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Squash? Get it here.
Other recipes featured in this week’s Daily Tips Newsletters:
• Chicken Pineapple Kabobs
• Watermelon Lime Frosty/Margarita
• Blackberry-Honey Ribs
• Super Easy Grilled Chicken Teriyaki
• Catfish Ain’t Got Nuthin’ on Me!
Brain teaser answer:
Did you hear about the first restaurant to open on the moon? It had great food, but no atmosphere.
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.
How two men team up to take down fraudsters overseas.
Today in History
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RV Travel staff
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