Welcome back to North America’s best source for news and information for RVers. As we approach Christmas, we hope all of our full-timer friends have safely arrived at their winter destinations. For the rest of you summer RVers, now’s the time to start making plans for your 2022 camping. As always, we’re here to help. We at RVtravel.com also greatly appreciate your help through voluntary contributions to keep this newsletter coming your way; and be sure to check out all of our other RV-related newsletters.
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Sunday, December 5, 2021
Did you miss yesterday’s edition of the RV Travel Newsletter? If so, it’s here.
Legislation to ban portable and motorhome generators threatens RVers
A seemingly innocuous air pollution proposal before the California Legislature could ban the sale of portable generators in the state, and have a crippling effect on RVers who rely on them to power their rigs when shore power is not available. Read the rest of the story.
RV dealers aren’t happy with manufacturer relationships – They’re trying to improve, manufacturers apparently are not
RV dealers are forever cast in the role of the middlemen when it comes to the relationship between RV buyers and manufacturers. No doubt many dealerships have set their own sales records for the past 18 months and have been (and are still) making a tidy profit. But dealer success comes with its share of headaches when you have no control over manufacturing quality, parts availability, and warranty service reimbursement. Last week Huebner Integrated Marketing, a Colorado-based firm that specializes in marketing for outdoor industries, released research that sheds some light on the current mindset of RV dealers. Read this enlightening report from Mike Gast.
Campground Crowding: Is it too early to book for 2023? Campgrounds offer “Early Bird Special”
RV sales have skyrocketed and more people than ever are taking up RVing. The result is campground crowding like never before! In this weekly blog, RV Travel readers discuss their experiences. One RVer wonders if the competition with bots for campsite reservations is due to the Reserve America reservation system. Yet another longtime RVer is sadly hanging up their RV keys. But there are other optimistic RVers with some advice for obtaining reservations. Read more.
Cops bust prolific RV catalytic converter burglar
A man who law enforcement authorities believe could be the second-most prolific catalytic converter thief in southern Minnesota and north Iowa is behind bars. Shawn Clement (36), appears to have gotten sloppy while playing a cat-and-mouse game with cops, leading to his booking. The alleged RV “cat” burglar bungled when boosting a Camping World dealership in Oronoco, Minnesota. Continue reading (including a tip how to help keep your “cat” from being stolen).
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel looks at the new 2022 Winnebago Travato 59RL. Tony writes that this RV “is a Class B motorhome that features a twin bed arrangement and also a bathroom across the back of the coach. In addition, there’s a very, very usable kitchen/dining/working area. In fact, this floor plan is so nifty it’s the most popular in the Travato line.” Check out this rig, where the little details are a big deal.
Yesterday’s review: 2022 Thor Magnitude RS36 – a bigger and better bunk Super C
Last week’s reviews:
• 2022 Aliner “Family” A-frame – the right choice?
• Coachmen RV Nova 20RB – a top notch Class B
• 2022 Dynamax Europa 31SS Super C
• 2022 Jayco Redhawk 24B. What’s the difference compared to Entegra Odyssey?
• 2022 Entegra Coach Odyssey 26M Class C – a nice balance
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
NEW! RVtravel.com Forums
Most RVtravel.com writers are getting their own forums, where readers can discuss their articles with them. Please join them in conversation! Here are the first five:
November 28 – December 4, 2021
$1 million endowment for training campground managers. There might soon be a few more well-trained campground managers out there, and it’s all thanks to the generosity of George O’Leary, a past member of the Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds and the longtime owner of Rincon Country East and Rincon Country West RV Resorts in Tucson, Arizona. He recently gifted ARVC with a $1 million endowment. The money will be used to set up ongoing scholarships to ARVC’s National School, which provides professional development training for campground owners and managers. “This gift is an exceptional extension of his generosity, and it will ensure that the education and experience of National School will be more accessible to those in our industry for years to come,” said ARVC President and CEO Paul Bambei.
More virtual campground tours available. CampgroundViews.com continues to add new virtual tours to its inventory of innovative offerings. The tours allow campers to virtually drive down the roads of included campgrounds and check out the views of actual sites. The tours are also able to inform users as to the availability of the sites, and a simple click takes them to a reservations page to complete their planning. There are now 650 campground tours in the system. Right now, all the campgrounds are associated with the Recreation.gov website that handles reservations for most government campgrounds. More East Coast campgrounds will be added soon. The service currently costs $350 for a lifetime membership; $175 for three years; an annual membership for $75; and a one-month membership for $25. The site also offers a free “Explorer” basic membership that unlocks site features and notifies you of new tours and the progress on the site. To find out more click here.
Thetford changing hands. If you own an RV, it likely includes a few parts and pieces from Thetford Corporation (check your toilet). Thetford is a global supplier of sanitation, refrigeration, and cooking parts and appliances for the RV and marine industries. Thetford is being acquired by the investment firm of Monomoy Capital Partners. Thetford has been owned for the past three decades by another investment company called Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corp. Monomoy said they plan to grow Thetford both organically and through more acquisitions of other firms.
The RV industry’s recent “Power Breakfast” revealed some interesting insights to RVers. Every year, about 1,000 movers and shakers in the RV manufacturing industry gather in Elkhart, Indiana. After scrambled eggs and lots of coffee, the group listens to presentations from Northern Indiana politicians, campground leaders and economists. In most years, this would not be very interesting to RVers. But this year … well, it’s not a normal year. Learn more.
RV Retailer swallows up more outlets in TX and AZ. It seems each week we are reporting that RV Retailer is adding more locations to its network. Well, they are at it again. RV Retailer announced last week that it is acquiring Texas-based Pharr RVs and Arizona-based Affinity RV. The transactions for both are expected to be completed this month. That gives RV Retailer 17 locations in Texas and six in Arizona. Affinity had two dealerships in Prescott and Prescott Valley, Arizona. Family owned and operated Pharr RVs is located in Lubbock, Texas.
Grand Design rolls out 25,000th Solitude. Grand Design RV Company recently celebrated the retail registration of its 25,000th Solitude fifth wheel RV. The Solitude was the first product offered by Grand Design when the company launched in 2013. “In the beginning, we started with a blank canvas to pursue a better way, different than had been done before,” said Solitude General Manager Rob Groover. “Instead of copying what is already in the marketplace, we listen to our customers and provide the product they want.”
Market price for new RVs bucking the traditional trend. The RV market pricing weirdness of the past two years looks like it will continue into this winter. Black Book, a data analysis company, is reporting that wholesale RV values are climbing going into December. That’s a notable trend because wholesale prices usually dip in the winter months. “In a normal year, RV values would begin to decline as we head into winter, but as I am sure you all know, this is anything but a normal year,” said Eric Lawrence, Black Book’s specialty markets principal analyst. “Wholesale values are up across the board, mirroring the seemingly never-ending growth on the new side, where shipments have just notched another all-time high.” Motorized RVs sold for an average price of $81,384 in October. That’s up 8.5% from September. In October 2020, the average motorhome price was $53,601.
Design the inside of your own RV. If you’ve got the desire to design the interior or your own RV, American Coach has a new online interior design tool on its website. You can now visually explore all of the décor and cabinet packages American Coach offers and try different combinations to find the design you really want. The tool is offered for American Eagle, American Dream, and American Tradition models. Check it out here.
Disney is offering “rides” on a galactic starcruiser. If you’ve got a spare $6,000, your family of four can partake of Disney World’s latest offering. Disney’s new Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser experience will be open to the public in March. The totally immersive experience includes:
- 2-nights’ accommodations
- 4 meals and refreshments aboard the Galactic Starcruiser
- 1 quick-service meal at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Ongoing interactive entertainment in an immersive theater environment
- Admission to Hollywood Studios for a Galaxy’s Edge excursion
- Valet parking
- 1 exclusive databand (MagicBand) per guest
There will only be 100 “cabins” aboard the Starship, so it’s a very exclusive experience. The whole shebang is still under construction at Disney World in Florida.
* * *
Check out solar panel options. If you’re thinking about adding solar panels to your RV, you might want to check out the new buying guide information offered at cnet.com. The information includes explanations of the types of panels, how many you’ll need, how to configure a solar panel system, as well as installation and maintenance. You can look at the info here.
Zion rappelling trip leads to death. A trip to rappel the cliffs in Zion National Park left one man dead and two others needing to be rescued last week. Andrew Arvig, 31, of Chesapeake, Virginia, was unable to complete one of his last rappels above the park’s Upper Emerald Pool. Rescuers found Arvig dead, suspended 260-feet above the pool. The cause of death remains under investigation.
Manila park campground will remain closed. A plan to reopen a campground in Manila, California’s Community Park has been put on hold. The Manila Community Services District Board voted 4-1 to table the discussion. The small park only has four camping sites. It had been closed during the pandemic. The campground had been a source of local discontent for several years, with residents complaining about dilapidated RVs staying longer than allowed, and park residents trashing the area.
Driver flips fifth-wheel in Florida. The crash of a truck pulling a fifth-wheel RV on I-75 near Gainesville, Florida, last week required the use of the jaws of life to extricate the driver. The driver’s injuries were not life-threatening. It appears the driver over-corrected on the roadway, causing the trailer to tip over on its side.
Take an RV trip for next to nothing. Looking for a way to take an RV vacation for a fraction of the usual cost? You might look into RV relocation deals from RV rental agencies. Rental companies often need to move their RVs from one location to another, and they’ll offer campers a deal that can start as low as $1 a day. It will be a one-way trip, but if you have flexibility, it’s an unbeatable deal. Find out more here.
Improvements planned for Oregon parks. Oregon State Parks will be using proceeds from a $50 million bond to make major upgrades to park facilities. First up for fixes are Silver Falls and Champoeg State Parks. Improvements will include new cabins, campsites, restrooms and showers.
RVers are techies at heart. It turns out RVers are more tech-savvy than the rest of the population. Data from YouGov said RVers are 2.5 times more likely to own an internet-connected device than other members of the public. We aren’t talking cell phones and laptops here. The report defines devices as all of those appliances (tea kettles, light bulbs, smart refrigerators) that can be controlled from your cell phone. That’s all very cool, but it does add to the Wi-Fi burden for campground owners. “RV campgrounds and manufacturers need to be prepared to not only accommodate higher Wi-Fi connection demands, but also expectations from consumers when looking to buy or rent an RV,” Go RVing said in its November Real Trends Report that quoted the YouGov data.
Commerce secretary wants more U.S.-made chips. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told a recent roundtable discussion regarding the shortage of semiconductor chips that it’s imperative more chips be made in America. Currently, only 12% of semiconductors are made in the U.S., and no advanced chips are manufactured in America. The chip shortage has devastated the U.S. auto industry, and by extension the motorized RV sector. Raimondo said Congress needs to quickly agree on the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which includes $52 billion in funding for domestic semiconductor production.
How often can you give a state park to someone for Christmas? All this month when you purchase a gift card for $75 or more from Missouri State Parks, you’ll get a free $25 gift card too. The gift cards can be used for camping reservations in all state parks, as well as state park merchandise. visit www.icampmo.com and select “Merchandise.”
Motorhome-versus-bridge leaves both in bad shape. A 61-year-old Prineville, Oregon, man was ejected from his 1991 Monaco Beaver motorhome last week when it struck a concrete railroad bridge abutment just northwest of Prineville. He escaped with just minor injuries. The bridge, however, was moved about an inch out of alignment and will have to undergo extensive repairs.
New park opens in California. The new 115-site Flying Flags Avila Beach RV Resort held its official grand opening last week. The 32-acre site includes full hookup RV sites, ethernet cable, and propane fire pits. It also has some cabins and tent sites. The site officially opened to campers October 8. The new park is located on Babe Lane just off Avila Beach Drive in Port San Luis, California. Click here to take a video tour of the new park.
King tides cancel Oceano Dunes camping. If you had reservations to camp at Central California’s Oceano Dunes anytime between Dec. 5 or Dec. 6, you should have received a bad news email canceling your stay. The cancellations were due to approaching king tides in the area. King tides are exceptionally high tides that happen during a new or full moon and when the moon is closest to earth. All 225 impacted campers will receive a full refund.
Northgate tries again to build new park in Massachusetts. Park developer Northgate Resort Ventures is again trying to get permits to build a 317-site RV park in Hinsdale, Massachusetts. The firm’s second attempt is before the Hinsdale Zoning Board of Appeals. The new park would be on the site of the former Camp Emerson youth summer camp. Local residents opposed to the plan say the Northgate plans don’t fit the definition of a summer camp and should not be allowed. Northgate says there is nothing in the community’s bylaws barring the project. The hearing on the project will continue December 14.
Thieves aren’t bothered by hitch lock. An RV owner in Billings, Montana woke up to find his new $35,000 Grand Design RV had been stolen from his driveway. The thieves didn’t bother with the hitch lock Nate Murphy had installed on the rig. They just used the RV’s safety chains to “secure” it to the bolt on their vehicle and towed it away. The rig was found, stripped, in a ravine about 50 miles south of Billings.
RV production number expected to top 600,000 this year. It looks like the RV manufacturing industry won’t have to wait until 2022 to break the 600,000-unit mark for RV production. The RV Industry Association said last week that it expects RV manufacturers to end 2021 with at least 602,200 new RVs produced. That’s an increase of 40% over the 430,412 units shipped in 2020. The group also said it expects the records to keep on rolling in 2022, with up to 627,700 expected to come off assembly lines. “The RV industry is looking at double-digit growth rates into mid-2022, due in part to low inventories, the strong financial standing of consumers, and the desire of consumers to get outdoors and experience an active outdoor lifestyle,” said Jeff Rutherford, RV Industry Association Chair and President and CEO of Airxcel. “Thanks to the RV manufacturers and suppliers, more consumers than ever before will be able to take advantage of all of the benefits of owning an RV.”
Dropping more on shopping. A new study says Americans are spending about 20% more per shopping trip this year compared to 2020. The study said part of the reason may be that consumers are now conditioned by supply chain shortages to expect to have problems securing items they want. So when they do see it on the shelves, they buy more of it (you RV toilet paper hoarders … you know who you are).
Another survey points to more RV travel. A recent survey of travelers by peer-to-peer RV rental service RVshare is yet another indicator that 2022 will be a popular year for RV travel. RVshare’s new 2022 Travel Trend Report is predicting RV travel next year won’t just be hot, it will set records. Nearly 90% of all survey respondents said they are likely to travel for leisure next year. Most pointed to the emerging trend of flexible work as part of the reason. “Our findings are encouraging and reflect the ongoing evolution of the travel industry, proving that desire to hit the road has never been stronger,” said Jon Gray, RVshare CEO. “While 2020 and 2021 may have been a time of discovery for many when it comes to RV travel, the category is growing in demand as more and more people find RV and motorhome accommodations appealing for a number of priorities and reasons.” Nearly half of all travelers said they plan on taking a road trip in an RV in 2022. About 53% said they would consider renting an RV for their trips. Millennials (70%) and Gen Xers (54%) are leading the pack, saying they plan to take that RV vacation in the next 12 months.
Autonomous Slurpy deliveries. You soon may be able to have your Sno Balls and cheese crackers delivered right to your RV site by a driverless vehicle. Iconic chain 7-Eleven is trying out a new autonomous delivery service available via its app. The pilot program is being conducted in Mountain View, California. Customers in the service area can place their orders through the delivery app and have their products brought to them by a Toyota Prius equipped with Nuro’s self-navigation technology. In other words, no driver. Nuro became the first autonomous vehicle company to receive a deployment permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles in December 2020, enabling the launch of this service in the state in collaboration with 7-Eleven.
This is for all the Dollar General fans out there. Good news for RVers who like to stock up at Dollar General stores. The huge discount chain is planning to open 1,110 new stores in 2022. The plans include a first store in Idaho (its 47th state) and 1,750 store remodels. The company is even planning to open 10 locations in Mexico.
Is this your RV?
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We are continuing this feature by popular demand! We just moved it to its own page. Click here to see if your RV made it into today’s issue.
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Your Quartzsite questions answered
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Welcome to our regular – albeit seasonal – update on the news from the RVing Capital of the World. If you’re a QZ regular, or just thinking about “dropping in to check it out,” we’ll give you ditties and dollops of what’s happening in and around Quartzsite.
There’s a kind of “life circle” in Quartzsite, Arizona. There’s a core of folks who return to QZ year after year. They have their favorite haunts, be it boondocking on the desert, or reserving that “same spot” in an RV park every year. But to get into that core, you have to make that “first time” trip to town. When we asked readers last week if they had any Quartzsite questions, plenty of folks who’ve never been there fired off their questions. Here are a few.
We’ve also heard …
RV manufacturers have plants burglarized. The Grand Design RV plant in Bristol, Indiana, and the Keystone RV plant in Goshen, Indiana, were both burglarized recently. Both businesses reported that several items were taken, including tools.
Tourism jobs recovery still slow Up North. The Canadian tourism industry lost 900,000 jobs due to the pandemic in 2020 and is still about 360,000 jobs short of pre-pandemic 2019 levels today, according to Destination Canada, a tourism group owned and operated by the Canadian government.
This idea might leave you cold. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but those who want to try winter camping in Wisconsin can now make year-round reservations for more than 20 state parks and forests online. Just go here and click on Camping Reservations, or call 1-888-947-2757 to make your winter camping reservations.
Big boxes sell a lot of big boxes. If you visited Costco the day before Thanksgiving, you already know you weren’t alone. Big retailers like Trader Joe’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club are reporting a 25% rise in store traffic the day before Turkey Day.
In 2021, the RV industry will end up shipping 600,000 new RVs to dealers, where most are already spoken for. The problem of where to stay with them is apparent in statistics from KOA, the largest chain of RV parks in America. In the same year, 2021, it added 3,900 new campsites.
Spotsylvania RV park proposal not getting any love. A marathon planning commission session last week in Spotsylvania, Virginia, concerning the future of a 300-site RV park was suspended after five hours of testimony from angry residents. Developers said they aren’t giving up on their plans even though nearly all testimony received on the project has been negative.
Mark Wahlberg expands his RV business. Actor and former rapper Mark Wahlberg is opening his second Mark Wahlberg Airstream & RV outlet in Lorain, Ohio. The new location is still under construction. Wahlberg also has several auto dealerships in the Midwest.
Park officials looking for help to find vandals. Mount Rainier National Park officials are looking for help in finding those responsible for breaking through a closed gate at the park and damaging the facilities. The damage occurred between 3 p.m. on Nov. 28 and 11 a.m. on Nov. 29. Call 888-653-0009 if you have any information.
Commission tables plans for Utah RV park. The Cache County, Utah Planning Commission has tabled a proposal to build a new RV park near Smithfield, Utah. Homeowners in the area were concerned that the dozens of planned RV sites would ruin their views of the mountains.
New West Virginia RV park opening in 2022. Grand Vue RV Park near Moundsville, West Virginia, will be open in the spring of 2022. The park will have 40 RV sites with full hookups.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
Amarillo (Texas) Crime Stoppers is asking for tips to help find this stolen Jayco Pop-up trailer. The RV was reported stolen from the 3800 block of SE 11th Avenue on Tuesday, Nov. 23. The trailer should have a Texas license plate with the number 5RB886. Anyone with information about the trailer is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (806) 374-4400. An anonymous tip leading to the recovery and/or an arrest could earn a reward of up to $1,000.
Did someone rip off your ride? Let us post information on your stolen RV. Email Russ (at) rvtravel.com.
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
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Cover Story: The cowboy spirit lives on in RVers
• Featured Article: What’s in store for RVers in 2022? We break down all the variables and decide what they mean
• The Best RV Trip Planner Apps and Tools
• Casino Camping: Consider a casino campground; these are nice!
• Have RVs become too complicated?
• RVelectricity: What is this mystery amperage draw?
• RV Consumer Support: Save money: Recertify propane cylinders
• Ask Dave: Should I cover my RV’s gas tanks for the winter?
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of November 29, 2021:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.38 [Calif.: $4.55]
Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Up $1.26.
Diesel: $3.72 [Calif.: $4.82]
Change from week before: Down <1/2 cent; Change from year before: Up $1.22.
An elevator is on the ground floor. There are four people in the elevator including me. When the elevator reaches the first floor, one person gets out and three people get in. It goes up to the second floor, 2 people get out and 6 people get in. It then goes up to the next floor, no one gets out but 12 people get in. Halfway up to the next floor the elevator cable snaps, and it crashes to the floor. Everyone else dies in the elevator. How did I survive?
Upcoming RV shows
• Final day: Daytona Beach Holiday RV Show, December 2-5, Daytona, FL
• Final day: State Farm Stadium Holiday RV Show, December 2-5, Glendale, AZ
• Final day: Tucson Holiday RV Show, December 2-5, Tucson, AZ
• West Palm Beach Holiday RV Show, December 9-12, West Palm Beach, FL
• Greensboro RV Show, January 7-9, Greensboro, NC
• Gulf Coast RV Show, January 7-9, Mobile, AL
• Knoxville RV Super Show, January 7-9, Sevierville, TN
• NCRVDA Greensboro RV Show, January 7-9, Greensboro, NC
• South Carolina RV & Camping Show, January 7-9, Greenville, SC
• Ohio RV and Boat Show, January 7-16, Columbus, OH
• Indy RV Expo, January 8-16, Indianapolis, IN
• Quartzsite RV Show, January 22-30, Quartzsite, AZ
• Seattle RV Show, February 17-20, Seattle, WA
Recipe of the Day
Now, these may look like your average meatball but they sure don’t taste like them. They are full of Tex-Mex flavor. Crushed Fritos not only serve as the binding agent but add the corn flavor that makes these smell and have the flavor of tamales. The chili sauce is a nice complement and the flavor soaks into the tamale balls while simmering in the slow cooker. If you need an appetizer, these are definitely different and everyone will keep coming back for more.
These sound delicious! Get the recipe.
Did you miss yesterday’s recipe, Seared Cod with Cilantro Lime Rice? Get it here.
Brain teaser answer:
I got off on the second floor.
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 scammers’ sophisticated techniques. Here is this week’s episode.
Today in History
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Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Associate editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris. Senior writers: Nanci Dixon, Tony Barthel, Mike Gast. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Gail Marsh, Roger Marble, Dave Solberg, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, James Raia, Kate Doherty, J.R. Montigel, Clint Norrell, Randall Brink, Chris Epting and Karel Carnohan, DVM. Podcast host and producer: Scott Linden. Special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore, Linda Brady. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.
Honorary Correspondents: Loyal readers who regularly email us leads about news stories and other information and resources that aid our own news-gathering efforts.
Tom and Lois Speirs • Mike Sherman • George Bliss • Steve Barnes • Tom Hart + others who we will add later.
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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