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Sunday, December 1, 2019
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Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed: Avoid drowsy driving – It’s a killer • At Wally World, some RVers are slobs • Maintain your roof vents – even in winter • OK to use hydraulic levelers when RV is stored? • GFCI clarification • Wife concerned about husband’s “fanatical” DIY attempts • A fascinating “cool gadget” that Mike Sokol loves.
See the up-to-the-minute statistics for yesterday’s reader survey: “Which of these social media platforms do you participate in at least weekly?
Take a ride in Tesla’s new Cybertruck
Whatever model truck you currently own, what you will see in this five-minute video is like no truck you have seen before. The high-end model of this futuristic all-electric vehicle from Tesla can hit 60 mph in 2.9 seconds! Try that in your F-150! Surprisingly, the entry-level Cybertruck sells for a mere $39,000! Want to take it camping? The bed in the back will accommodate a 6 1/2 foot mattress. That’s impressive! Click here to watch the video.
That was the RV week that was
November 24–30, 2019
Comparing movement of RVs from manufacturers to sellers for the month of October 2019 to that of October 2018 has proven disappointing to the industry. Total RV shipments were down more than 10 percent, says the RV Industry Association’s survey. Towables were down 10 percent, while motorhomes dove nearly 15 percent. Total shipments from January through October, compared to the same months of 2018, showed more than a 17 percent drop.
Authorities in The Dalles, Oregon, have changed their view regarding the death of one of two RVers found in a travel trailer near the city on November 12. Initially, authorities speculated that Deon Louise Patterson (47) and Brian Thomas Paulsen (48), both of Lafayette, Oregon, and their dog, had all died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Now they have labeled Ms. Patterson’s death as “suspicious” and are continuing to work the case. The county district attorney says that more than the autopsy led to the change in view, but said “the totality” of the evidence led to the flip-flop.
When a fire truck and a Class A motorhome tangled it up on Interstate 10 near Banning, California, the results weren’t pretty. Preliminary reports from the California Highway Patrol say a Riverside County Fire engine clobbered the motorhome, then dug itself into sand beside the highway. The result was major damage to the front-end of the motorhome, minor injuries to passengers, and hours-long backups of weekender traffic, as the whole mess occurred at about 10 a.m. last Saturday.
The Mountain View, California, official ban on RV dwelling on a city street is now facing an official fight. A month ago, city commissioners wrote an ordinance that essentially shut down anyone who would overnight in an RV on a city street. But with the month at hand, opponents to the law banged on doors and gathered 4,900 signatures on a petition that forces the matter to be decided, not by the council, but by the voters. In November 2020, voters will be asked whether or not the ban should stand. Only 3,762 signatures, or those of 10% of voters, were required to place the matter on the ballot.
A proposed “high-end destination RV resort” has stirred up the neighbors in Milton, Florida. When Santa Rosa County’s zoning board took up discussion on the matter on November 21 for the proposed Blackwater Bay RV Resort and Marina, dozens of locals turned up to thumbs-down the project. Back in March, the board (with different members) shut down the proposal after locals at a hearing protested until 1:00 in the morning. Opponents will have yet another chance to fight the 130-RV site and 30-slip marina project, this time on December 12.
We earlier reported the Washington State Capitol grounds managers are working on parking restrictions that might roust RV dwellers who live along a scenic parkway near the capitol. Since that time, tensions have risen between those living in RVs and locals, some due to a campaign cooked up by a local tour company. The tour promoter has started a “Honk – No RVs” campaign along the parkway; others have responded with “Honk in favor of RVs.” Some locals who use the parkway for jogging say they’re now carrying self-defense weapons; some RV dwellers claim they’re doing the same. The State Patrol says it has beefed-up its security patrols along the parkway.
After fire blasted through Texas’ Big Bend National Park, the park’s Castolon Historic District was closed to the public. Now the district has reopened, and the visitor services area is again available. The park’s west side has bathrooms, interpretive exhibits and a concessionaire offering drinks and snacks. The fire-damaged remnants of the historic La Harmonia Store and Castolon Visitor Center remain fenced off for safety. Castolon remains a rich remnant of Big Bend’s pioneer and military past and plans are underway for the next chapters in Castolon’s history.
Callaway, Florida, residents, some of whom are still recovering from Hurricane Michael that blew in a year ago, may be up against the wall. City officials say they’ve reached the end of the year-long permits issued to allow residents to live in RVs while recovering. Some are still struggling in fights with recalcitrant insurance company adjusters, others are finding that fixing homes is taking a long time. In any event, the city says move out, or pay up to $500-a-day in fines. City officials, not wanting to be seen as bad guys, say they need to know if progress is being made on getting back into homes, and say if residents will come to the city and fill out a single-page application, they will go ahead and extend the permits another six months.
New legislation in Oregon will add another layer of paper onto titling requirements for RVs. As of January 1, 2020, the DMV will require a certificate from the manufacturer showing that the RV has met NFPA standard 1192. Folks titling new park model trailers will need to present a similar form, showing the unit meets ANSI A119.5 standards. What about folks who build their own RVs? On January 2, 2020, the state’s DMV website will have a new form (Form 6511) that do-it-yourselfers can fill out and bring in when titling. The standards for home-built rigs will need to meet the same standards applicable to a manufactured rig in order to qualify for titling. They currently do not.
The Olympia, Washington, man who shot at an RVer he thought may have dumped sewage on a residential street has received his sentence in court. Richard J. DeForge, recognized as a “neighborhood watch” lynchpin, jumped on his electric scooter and chased after a motorhome after neighbors told DeForge they thought the driver had dumped his load. When the motorhome driver didn’t stop, DeForge fired multiple rounds at the rig’s tires, and into the rig itself. The driver sustained “a small hole” in his head, but it was never clear if it was from a bullet or some other object. In any event, a Superior Court judge took into account the 51-year-old DeForge’s previously clear criminal record and sentenced him to 30-days in jail for a second-degree assault conviction. He’ll be allowed work-release if he is otherwise eligible.
America’s longest linear park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, needs help. The “most visited” National Park in the country, like so many of its brethren, need some serious maintenance help – and an anonymous donor says they have $300,000 to help – with a catch: It’s a matching grant, and donations will need to meet or exceed that amount by June 30, 2020, or they lose the gift. Friends’ group the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation says if the donation is met, they’ll use the money as a jump-start for repairs to campgrounds, overlooks, trails, picnic areas and more. The group is working in coordination with the National Park Service. More info here.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
• KZRV recalls trailers: Rear storage rack could drop off.
• Thor recalls motorhomes: Reflectors in wrong place.
• Winnebago recall: Motorhome electrical issue could lead to fire.
• Thor recall: Motorhome solar panels could detach.
The road to hell may be paved with good intentions, but in Canon City, Colorado, good intentions have led to financial pain for one RV park owner. Rhonda Shirado tries to do her bit to help the economically disadvantaged by offering great discounts to the down-on-their-luck during the off-season. Shirado thought that Canon City officials would see her helping homeless people as a great idea and pitch in. The city didn’t see it the same way, and Shirado’s park rang up a $35,000 electric bill. She’s been paying it off, bit by bit, and has since set up a GoFundMe page called “Housing the Homeless.”
Did you hear the one about the Dutchmen that got in Dutch? It happened near Crookston, Minnesota, on November 21, when a Dutchmen fifth wheel hit the ice – then the ditch. Happily, no reports of injuries, but it’s a safe bet this fiver will never take its owners on a future camping trip.
A Butterfield, Minnesota, teenager proves some folks can just have a totally bad day. First he drove through the barn door. Then he fell in the poop. Finally, he got stopped while sobering up from too much to drink. That was just in a 24-hour period – and later, his DNA gave evidence Fuasto Antonio Gomez Juarez (18) was the culprit in an RV theft that led to all his other woes. Fausto’s bad day started on June 5 when somebody reported coming home and finding a speeding motorhome blasting out of their yard after blowing through the barn door. Police soon contacted the RV owner, who said he’d left the keys in it, never gave permission for its use, and the rig was gone. Half hour later, the RV turned up in a ditch, and a witness describing the man who put it there. Inside the rig – a collection of empty beer cans and a coat. In the pocket – a document with the name Fausto Juarez. Next morning early, police spotted a very messy Fausto, covered with mud and manure, walking alongside a road. He claimed he was sober and just walking home, and had fallen in the poop. A blood alcohol test showed 0.07, disproving at least one claim. When the witness description didn’t exactly match Fausto to the motorhome in the ditch police let him go – after getting a DNA sample – which matched those on the beer cans – and the steering wheel in the stolen RV.
Winter campers get another spot: Cape Hatteras National Seashore is trying out a pilot program, leaving Oregon Inlet Campground open this winter. The campground’s 120 sites will be open, with 47 of them providing electric and water hookups. Specific sites will be available by reservation starting December 2, through www.recreation.gov. If demand indicates, the Park Service says they may do this regularly.
Residents of what some describe as the “high class” Sedona, Arizona, area have prevailed with their objection to a glamping resort set to develop on an 80-acre site nearby. The developers of “Under Canvas” have formally pulled their application to develop the site. “At this time, Under Canvas has chosen to withdraw our application in Sedona,” Dan McBrearty, chief development officer at Under Canvas, wrote in an email. “We will continue to evaluate the project and the Sedona market, but will be focusing on upcoming camp openings throughout the U.S.” The glamping resort would have had tents, laundry and kitchen facilities, all accessed via dirt roads held by the U.S. Forest Service.
A major storm that raised havoc with Vermont‘s highway system at the end of October got a quick response from the feds. The U.S. Department of Transportation is releasing $500,000 in emergency funds for road and bridge repair work. In some areas, the state was hit with five inches of rain in as little as six hours, creating several 100-year flood events. The quick cash is just a drop in the bucket – Vermont officials figure the damages total $5 million.
Coastal southern California police had their hands full when they got a 911 call from a woman who said she’d been kidnapped and was in a speeding motorhome. Highway patrol officers spotted the motorhome on Highway 101, south of Orcutt. They tried to pull the rig over to no avail, and the pursuit continued to Buellton, where the driver pulled off the highway and the victim jumped out. Turns out, the driver was her 56-year-old father who was allegedly in a methamphetamine psychosis. Still in the rig was the man’s wife, asleep, and due to deafness apparently unaware of the situation. Since the rig had knives on board, police put out a shelter-in-place order to local residents as the driver refused to come out. Police eventually used stun grenades to immobilize the driver and rescue the woman.
Watts up!? That’s the gist of news from Australia’s Deakin University, where researchers have souped up lithium battery technology using common industrial polymers. Using the stuff, they’ve been able to create a liquid-free electrolyte that could mean the end of worries about fires involving lithium-ion batteries. The solid polymer weakly bonds to lithium-ions, getting rid of those highly volatile liquid solvents commonly used today. The researchers say this could open the door to doubling the density of Li batteries, meaning, instead of a kilogram of battery with a 250 watt-hour capacity (as in Tesla Model 3 batteries), you could see 500 watt-hours in a kilo. The polymers are already produced commercially, so the scientists say it shouldn’t be difficult to make the transition in a short time.
A Marine deserter wanted in the fatal shooting of his mother’s boyfriend was captured Wednesday after a multi-state manhunt. Michael Alexander Brown, 22, was arrested inside his mother’s home in Franklin County, Virginia, the same place where the killing occurred on Nov. 9. Brown was taken into custody without incident and has been charged with second-degree murder.
A freakish fire in Kanab, Utah, has wiped out holiday plans for one family. They parked two RVs close to one another, planning to use them for putting up relatives for the holiday. They fired up the motorhome – and its engine caught fire. Flames quickly spread through the motorhome then jumped to the nearby travel trailer. When firefighters arrived, the family helped the fire department find a fire hydrant, and to pull hundreds of feet of hose from there to fire apparatus. Firemen were able to keep the family’s stick-built home from going up in smoke, but nothing, including a lot of personal possessions, was saved from either RV.
A 91-year-old RVer from South Kingston, Rhode Island, had a beef with Home Depot. Edward Hayden bought a generator for his travel trailer from a “Homer” store in Westerly, Rhode Island. After he took it out of the box, Hayden found oil in the gas tank, and – a retired machinery business owner – he tried to get it running, to no avail. So Edward took the malfunctioning machine back to the store, where he was told it would be repaired. He found out later they’d sent the generator back to the manufacturer for repairs, and wanted $203 for parts. When they refused to refund his purchase price, Edward Hayden had had enough. He backed his pickup truck up to the store doors, blocking traffic in and out of the store. Police tried to get Hayden to move, who was insistent that he wasn’t budging. He eventually budged – in handcuffs – to jail. When the judge read the charge report (disorderly conduct and resisting arrest), His Honor laughed, and continued the case until December 13. Hayden says, he’s definitely not the one who should be in court – it’s the fellows from Home Depot.
Two children are dead and one is missing after heavy rainfall flooded a creek in Gila County, Arizona, Friday and swept away an RV carrying them and six others. Shortly after 4 p.m., the Gila County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call about an RV with seven children and two adults inside that was stuck in Tonto Creek while trying to cross over it near the town of Tonto Basin. Multiple signs warned drivers not to cross the flooded roadway. By the time rescue crews arrived, the vehicle was completely submerged in the water.
Will you have a Christmas tree this holiday season? Click here to respond.
Henderson, Kentucky, is home to the newest U.S. Wildlife Refuge. The Green River National Wildlife Refuge, a 10-acre refuge near the confluence of Green and Ohio rivers, will some day grow to 24,000 acres, if the Wildlife service’s plans come to fruition.
North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras National Seashore has reopened its Frisco and Cape Point Campgrounds, this after heavy storms. Hurricane Dorian damage still keeps the Ocracoke Campground closed.
New York State parks are getting a bumper crop of overnight guests. From January to mid-October, parks racked up 680,533 stays. The greatest demand for campsites was in Western New York and the Finger Lakes regions.
A big rainstorm Friday in Southern California caused flooding in the RV Resort on Alvarado Road in LaMesa. A flash flood warning was in effect at the time. Parked cars floated away and banged into others.
Engine builder Cummins, Inc. is laying off 2,000 workers worldwide, claiming a downturn in sales is forcing cost reductions. Cummins employs 10,000 workers in Indiana, with a world-wide force of 62,000. A professor at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business says the layoffs are a signal of the continuing impact of a trade dispute between the U.S. and China.
Fort Wayne, Indiana, officials will hold a public hearing December 9 to take comment and information on a request by Gander Outdoors for a rezone that will allow them to sell and service RVs. At present, the Camping World offshoot doesn’t sell RVs at the Lima Road location, and is apparently one of the locations the parent company doesn’t plan on closing.
Want to stay mid-week at a Louisiana State Park? Come December 9, you won’t be required to do a “three-night minimum” stay. Nope, don’t know why they finally did it, but it makes sense.
Developments at RV parks and campgrounds 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 Chatter” here.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of November 25, 2019:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.58. [Calif.: $3.75]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 4 cents.
Diesel: $3.07. [Calif.: $3.98]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 20 cents.
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Upcoming RV shows
Fall Clean Sweep RV Show, Dec. 6-8, Ft. Myers, FL
South Carolina RV & Camping Show – Greenville, Jan. 3-5, 2020, Greenville, SC
Free and bargain camping
Click here to view this week’s free and bargain camping spots.
Overnight RV Parking, with more than 14,000 locations listed, is the largest and best resource for locating free and inexpensive places to spend a night in an RV. For membership information and a demo of the site, click here. A modest membership fee required, but try the free demo. Watch a video about OvernightRVparking.com.
RV Travel staff
CONTACT US at editor@RVtravel.com
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Emily Woodbury. Senior editors: Diane McGovern, Russ and Tiña De Maris.
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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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