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Sunday, December 8, 2019
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Poll results: “Which trailers would you advise others not to buy?”
The website outdoorfact.com conducted a survey of 100,000 Facebook group users asking members what brands of travel trailers they would decidedly advise NOT buying. Some 3,000 people responded. Here’s the list (in order of most-to-least) of not recommended travel trailer brands.
Tesla truck: Useful to RVers? Or a waste of money?
There’s a whole lot of hoopla surrounding Tesla’s electric “truck.” In principle, it sounds like a great idea. Who among us wouldn’t like to have the seemingly lower operating costs of an electric vehicle? Too, most folks want to do their bit to help earth, and a truly zero-emissions vehicle goes a long way in that direction. And it seems, for some, the thing just looks cool. But will it do the job that we as RVers need? Principally, will it really tow a trailer? Will it literally go the distance to the campground and back? Here is what we know.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed: Why you can’t ever find a space at some RV parks • Fake! Fake! The congressman and the sex offender. • This RV can store enough water to last years! (fake?) • RV Shrink: If the RV’s broke, switch it • … and so much more!
Comprehensive list of RV-related recalls for November
The list of latest recalls on RVs and other vehicles and/or products of interest to RVers has been released by the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The list includes models from Airstream, Forest River (many), Jayco, Keystone, Thor and others — plus other vehicles and tires commonly used by RVers. Is your RV or other vehicle on the list? Find out here.
And recalls issued in the past week . . .
That was the RV week that was
December 1-7, 2019
How will the price of RV fuel go – up or down? There’s a distinct possibility that it could go down, as an oversupply of oil is plaguing members of the OPEC cartel. U.S. Bakken oil production was up this year and will continue to grow, putting pressure on the Middle Eastern oil producers. Even there, OPEC member Iraq has ignored its agreement to keep production down and has been pumping out more than its allowed amount. Oil speculators think OPEC will move to cut supplies further to try and prop up oil prices, but non-OPEC neighbor, Russia, is ready to fill in any loss of supply. May you live in interesting times.
A motorhome traveling south down California’s Cajon Pass came to grief after the rig’s brakes failed and it crashed into a parking lot near I-15 and Highway 138 last Sunday. Just after 1:00 p.m., the Class A rig smashed into steel barricades at the Shell station, and three passengers were ejected from the motorhome. Two victims were airlifted to hospitals, another was sent by ground ambulance; at least two are listed as critical. The barricades had been installed after another crash killed two in 2014. The family is heartbroken, also, because two other passengers, a boxer and a “fox-like looking” dog, wandered away from the accident scene.
Was it a power play in Waterloo? An unidentified woman living in a motorhome in Waterloo, Oregon, got an unexpected and unwelcome visit on November 24. Police say Whitney Rene Montgomery (33) claims to have been paying her father’s electric bill, and was unhappy to learn that the RVer was hooked up to the house. So Montgomery showed up and gave the RVer an ultimatum: Get your RV out of here in five minutes. When the rig didn’t move in five minutes, Montgomery allegedly took an axe after the rig’s windows, progressively bashing them out. The terrified occupant locked herself in, but then a man jumped into the rig through one of the broken windows and forced the victim outside, face-to-face with the ax-wielding hothead. Montgomery then allegedly whacked the victim on the face with the axe. Fortunately, she used the blunt edge of the tool, but the damage was real, nonetheless. Montgomery is charged with second-degree assault, first-degree criminal mischief, and menacing.
Do you drive a white van? Or a white van conversion? If you’ve been getting any unusual stares, it could be because of a viral postings on Facebook that men driving white vans are kidnapping young women across the United States for sex trafficking and to sell their body parts. While there is no evidence to suggest this is happening, the Facebook posts have created a domino effect that led to the mayor of Baltimore, Maryland, issuing a warning based on the unsubstantiated claims. A spokesperson for the Baltimore Police Department told CNN Business on Tuesday that while the department is aware of posts on social media it had not received “any reports of actual incidents.”
Airstream wants to sell rigs to younger buyers. Problem is, a lot of them want to tow a trailer with something like an SUV – and the current crop of Airstreams just aren’t light enough for most. An article on forbes.com shows how the company has downsized some of its units to make them smaller and lighter, and they end up looking like, well, a smaller, lighter Airstream. Now the company is thinking about the three things that make the line iconic: the silver bullet silhouette, the aluminum siding, and the rivets that hold the whole works together. Now word is the company is thinking about redesigning without one, maybe even two, of those parts of the Airstream trinity. Stay tuned.
A little bit of rain can make a big difference in Arizona. Three folks camped out in an RV near Camp Verde last weekend found that out when they woke up to find their travel trailer in five feet of water, where a few hours earlier it had been a dry pasture. The trio had parked their rig on Thanksgiving night, planning on hunting the following day. But nature interfered, and a water rescue team was called out to pull the unfortunates to safety. Authorities say it was a smart move – calling 911 – rather than trying and get out of the rig on their own.
As the thermometer drops, so goes the sale of used RVs at auction. Proof of the statement are the statistics coming from market watcher Black Book. November auction prices of used motorhomes dropped more than 4 percent from October, landing at $46,293. Towable prices dropped 4.5 percent, to $15,188. Compared to November 2018 figures, it proved a mixed bag. Motorhomes sold at $43,729, a definite loss over the year, but towables are looking better, compared to the $13,052 they fetched in 2018. The average age of sold rigs: motorized, seven years old, and towables, eight.
If you’re hungry, may we suggest you park your RV and then go into the restaurant and not drive the RV through – especially the wrong way – as a 56-year-old woman did last week at a Taco Bell in Kennewick, Washington. The driver was apparently very hungry, but we don’t know if she got her Nachos BellGrande® before she was arrested for driving under the influence.
And the story goes on in Surrey, British Columbia, where we reported earlier that hundreds of tenants at the Peace Arch RV Park got eviction notices, purportedly because local officials were cracking down on zoning violations. The zoning limits how long someone may occupy an RV in a park, and park owners said their long-term residents were in violation and had to go. Now the city has pushed back, acknowledging the zoning rule but adding, “We have not approached the property owner or his tenants regarding the use of the RV park, nor have we cited the property owner or his tenants for being in contravention of the bylaw,” Rob Costanzo, general manager of corporate services, said in a written statement to cbc.ca. The city says it has no plans to act on the apparent zoning violation. Now some – but not all – of those who’d received eviction notices have gotten a letter revoking the eviction.
Last week we mentioned that South Dakota’s Badlands National Park was taking on a new herd of bison. It’s probably a coincidence, but if folks interested in seeing those “buffs” up-close decide to visit the park, they’ll be asked to pay a bigger premium for the privilege. As of January 2, 2020, entrance fees will increase to $30 per vehicle, $25 per motorcycle, and $15 per individual (on the hoof). An annual pass will set you back $55.
If you’re a mountain-biking fan, you may have a new venue near the Colorado National Monument. Land conservation group Colorado West Land Trust has come into control of a 14-acre chunk of land in Grand Junction, Colorado, very near the monument. Right now a network of informal hiking trails is on the property, but the trust wants to formalize a bike trail that would connect the so-called Lunch Loops to the national monument.
A spectacular rear-end crash on Interstate 8 near El Centro, California, has left a car driver dead and three RV occupants sent to hospital. Last Sunday (December 1) a Cadillac CTS smashed into the rear-end of a Gulf Stream Class A motorhome. Both the car and the motorhome then burst into flames, leaving only the lower part of the motorhome recognizable. The Cadillac driver, reportedly a woman from Glendale, Arizona, died on the scene of blunt force trauma. No names have been released, although the motorhome occupants were all listed as being from Peoria, Arizona.
RVs are different than stick-built homes, so says the Travis County, Texas, county commissioners court. A developer wanting to build a 35-site RV park in the county got an exemption for the development, when county employees took a close look at those differences. They decided that the kind of water supply needed for permanent residences wasn’t so critical as, “If there was a problem with water, they literally can drive away and get water.” What else? A housing division with more than 30 residences normally requires at least two access roads. Not so for RVs: As long as there are less than 100 RVs, only one access point is needed. A four-to-one favorable vote moved the RV park a step closer to building.
Rainstorms brought flooding to the popular, but hard to get to, Havasupai Falls in Arizona’s Grand Canyon. The hike, mule-in, or helicopter campground on the Havasupai Reservation was hit hard when rains flooded the campground last weekend. Floodwaters turned the normally turquoise falls dark brown, and caught nearly 170 campers off-guard in the middle of the night. Tribal representatives urged campers on to higher ground, but discouraged any from hiking out due to icy trail conditions. The campground will be closed until February.
If you snooze, you lose, is certainly the case for a 34-year-old man in Norco, California. Daniel Jacob Jacquemain was found sleeping in a motorhome on a Norco street and ended up in jail. It didn’t help that the motorhome had been reported stolen days earlier from nearby Corona, California. Rather than testing the mattresses at the local lockup, Jacquemain bailed out on a $30,000 bond, evidently on charges of theft of the motorhome. The motorhome has gone home to its owner.
A Centre County, Pennsylvania, RV rental firm is on the defensive end of a $100,000 lawsuit filed by Penn State University. The university says GoPSUrv.com has unlawfully used several of its trademarks, including PSU and the Nittany Lion logo, to try and associate itself with the university to hawk its rental services. “By selecting the domain for registration, which is so close in appearance to Penn State’s own athletics program domain and PSU mark, defendant’s purpose was to divert web traffic from the hundreds of thousands of people seeking accommodations for traveling to Penn State’s athletic events for defendant’s financial gain,” says a university attorney. The university wants an order for the RV rental firm to stop using their logos and trademarks, and to fork over $100,000 in damages. No comment from the RV agency; but Nittany Lion is now nowhere to be seen on their website.
A historic swimming hole in Travis County, Texas, has become the focal point for a fight over a proposed 80-site RV park. Developers want to build Bentree RV Resort less than a mile from Hamilton Pool Preserve, a swimming hole filled by a 50-foot waterfall that shoots out of a limestone cliff. Opponents say the process of approval is running ahead of concerns for the pool, citing the danger of septic system contamination and chemical runoff. The local Commissioner’s Court is toying with the idea of exempting the resort from platting requirements, which opponents object to. They also say they fear problems should an evacuation of local residents be called for, fearing the additional evacuation traffic associated with the RV park would overrun the capacity of the two-lane highways in the area. Commissioners will take up the matter December 10.
A “solution” tried in San Francisco to keep away homeless RVers is now evidently being tried across the bay – in Oakland, California. Along a couple of blocks of Poplar Street in the city’s west end, someone has used heavy equipment to lay down large logs on the street next to the curb. This effectively prevents RVs from parking – and anyone else, including homeowners. Nobody will ‘fess up to who did it – both the city and local businesses disavow the action. In San Francisco, residents put out large boulders to prevent parking, and eventually the city hauled them away. In any event, says one homeless man, “There aren’t enough logs where they can block off everything,” according to ktvu.com.
Not all SmartBank employees are smart – at least, not in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Connie Sue Clabo, a former bank vice president, told police the bank didn’t pay her enough. What’s to do? Embezzle $600,000, say court records, partly by “paying off” her mortgage carried with the bank, and issuing herself cashiers’ checks to the tune of more than $300,000. Apparently Clabo also enjoyed the RV lifestyle, spending $27,000 of the bank’s funds on a travel trailer. She’s copped a plea-agreement with the district attorney, but still has to deal with the IRS – seems she also conveniently forgot to mention her additional “bank bonus” when reporting to Uncle Sam’s collection agency.
Brolin McConnell, 33, pleaded guilty to first-degree kidnapping and felony menacing on Tuesday in Colorado’s Pitkin County District Court following a 2016 incident in which he held three strangers at gunpoint at a campsite off of Independence Pass near Aspen. Originally, McConnell pleaded not guilty, though this was changed in 2017 to include “by reason of insanity” in the not-guilty plea. During the 2016 incident, McConnell held the three men at gunpoint at Lincoln Creek Campground. He discharged his weapon at flying birds, allegedly claiming they were drones. Eventually two of the men were able to run away. The third hostage had a leg injury that prevented him from escaping quickly. McConnell fired his gun near this man before he was able to escape. According to the Denver Post, this is when officers were able to take McConnell into custody.
Neighborhood residents and business owners whose properties abut Pacific Coast Highway in and near Malibu, California, are at their wit’s end as the homeless people and other citizens literally set up camp along the Pacific Coast Highway, worrying residents about the danger of wildfires, lack of sanitation, and possible criminal activity as the seemingly permanent assemblage of RVs and tents grows. There is no official solid data to profile the people choosing to park along the PCH, but eyewitnesses report they observe people who seem to be homeless, others who seem to suffer from mental illness, some who want to camp short-term and not pay for a campsite — or who are unable to pay such costs — and a sprinkling of surfers. —Source: Malibu Magazine
When RVing, what degree of “roughing it” are you usually experiencing? Click here.
Yesterday’s poll: “How much do you pay to store your RV when not using it?” Do you think more RVers pay to store their RV or pay nothing at all? Find out.
This poll question drew a lot of response: “Do you believe the activities of humans are contributing to global warming?” See how more than 2,700 readers responded (with more than 120 comments).
Police in Lenexa, Kansas, are asking for information about an RV in connection with a stolen vehicle case. Investigators said the RV was seen following a stolen car in numerous locations immediately after the theft on December 6. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 913-825-8120.
Back in March, General Motors shut down its Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant where the Chevy Cruze compacts were built, putting 1,100 workers out of a job. Now the company says it will open an electric vehicle battery plant in Lordstown, and some of the product will be used to power their electric pickup trucks slated for release in 2021. It will mean 1,100 new jobs in the plant.
Have you seen Bix the Buffalo? He’s gone missing from Bixler Lake Campground in Kendallville, Indiana. The fiberglass statue, which was located at the East Side of Bixler Lake near the softball field parking lost, was stolen sometime last week. He’s worth about $3,500. If you’ve seen him, call the Kendallville Police at 260-347-0654.
The fungus that causes the deadly white-nose syndrome in bats has been found on a bat at Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park. Pseudogymnoascus destructans (“Pd”) was found on a single fringed myotis bat in April; repeat testing in June found no evidence of Pd. The hit is considered “inconclusive” but suggests that bat disease may have arrived at the park.
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 December 2, 2019:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.58 [Calif.: $3.67]
Change from week before: No change; Change from year before: Up 12 cents.
Diesel: $3.07 [Calif.: $3.96]
Change from week before: No change; Change from year before: Down 14 cents.
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Upcoming RV shows
Fall Clean Sweep RV Show, Dec. 6-8, Ft. Myers, FL
South Texas RV Supersale, Jan. 2-5, 2020, San Antonio, TX
Tarrant County RV Show, Jan. 2-5, Fort Worth, TX
Austin Boat & Travel Trailer Show, Jan. 3-5, Austin, TX
South Carolina RV & Camping Show – Greenville, Jan. 3-5, Greenville, SC
(“The calm before the storm.“)
Free and bargain camping
Click here to view this week’s free and bargain camping spots.
• Walmarts that do not allow overnight RV stays.
• Walmart Directory: Best printed directory of Walmart locations.
• Guide to Free Campgrounds: Best-selling directory, year after year.
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.
Noteworthy articles from other sources
• How to protect against dog attacks while walking.
• People arm themselves as tensions rise over homeless RVs at Washington state’s capitol.
• ACLU: Trend of RV bans in Peninsula disturbing.
• Tiny travel trailer expands to double its size in 60 seconds.
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. Advertising director: Jessica Sarvis.
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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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