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Sunday, February 16, 2020
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KOA to open new park. RVs not welcome
Is this the future of camping? Back in 1962, KOA opened its first location, and ever since then it has been the dominant national chain of RV parks in North America. But now, jumping on the “Glamping” bandwagon, the company is debuting a new type of campground. But be warned: RVs are not welcome (even though they were for 50 years before). Read more.
Good Sam gets a finger in the RV storage pie – and you may have helped
Good Sam has a new spin – and a way to make its club members happier: The outfit says it will soon give members the ability to check up on RV storage facilities. Trained teams of inspectors will fan out across the country and investigate conditions at storage facilities, then give a rating and explanation, presumably much like the current Good Sam campground evaluation. Learn more.
Will your RV be banned from your neighborhood?
Something has happened in Florida that might make RVers who park their RVs in their yard nervous. All of a sudden, out of the blue, a local man received a letter from his community saying he could no longer park his RV in his yard as he had for years. It’s not like it was an eyesore or on the street. In fact, it was in his yard behind an eight-foot solid fence. So what happened, and why might this make some other RVers worry it could happen to them? Read the story.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• An RV fire danger you never thought of.
• The truth about Butt Wipes and RV holding tanks.
• Want to camp in Yosemite this summer? Good luck!
• Zero to 60 mph in three seconds? Is a Hummer your next truck?
• Fifth wheel burns to the ground in 20 minutes. Totally destroyed!
• RV Shrink: New RVer uncomfortable with everything new; smartphone to the rescue.
• RVelectricity: Can reversed polarity alone cause hot-skin voltage?
• RV Tire Safety: Heat, high speed and the “magic” in ST tires.
• Reader gives up. “No new RV for me!”
• Building an RV Park: See the envisioned campground – plus updates.
… and much more
That was the RV week that was
February 9–15, 2020
If it’s an ill wind that blows nobody good, then the much-publicized Coronavirus is getting points for reducing motor fuel prices. Crude oil prices dropped as the number of the illness’ victims rose, and despite prices stabilizing, U.S. drivers are finding gasoline prices down. AAA reports a gallon of regular came in at $2.45 – down three cents from the prior week, and a whopping 13 cents from a month ago. Cheap fuel locating service Gas Buddy says 8,000 stations across the country are posting prices of less than $2. Part of that may be due to a trick fuel companies play called “Price Cycling.” The idea is to slowly reduce pump prices to drag in customers, then jack them back up when the companies actually start to lose money. Uncle Sam energy watchdogs predict you’ll see prices continue to drop – for a few weeks.
The United States District Court for the District of Oregon has awarded a partial judgment for an RVer client against Newmar Corp., now part of Winnebago Industries, Inc. The plaintiff alleged that their 2016 London Aire RV, purchased from Guaranty RV in Junction City, Oregon, had suffered numerous failures of its various systems, including the engine cooling system, the electrical system and the room extension slide-out system. The RV’s flaws manifested in a pattern of repeated breakdowns, unsuccessful repair attempts and lengthy warranty service periods. The vehicle was presented to dealerships for repairs under various warranties approximately nine times between 2015 and 2017, and it was undriveable for more than 130 days. Read more.
In an attempt to cut down on folks who’ve had too much of a good thing, the Bureau of Land Management is operating DUI checkpoints this Presidents Day weekend in California’s Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. A popular spot with sandrailers, they’ve been driving the sands while intoxicated. Checkpoints will be set up “based on collision statistics, frequency of DUI arrests, and safety, to deter impaired driving, both on- and off-road on public lands to keep visitors safe,” says a media release from the BLM.
One week he’s in jail, charged with assault, strangulation and menacing. The next week, he’s out of jail and allegedly burns down a motorhome then is on the lam. Bryan Dale Lindley (59) was released from the Deschutes County, Oregon, jail, Wednesday, February 5. On Sunday, police say he set a motorhome afire in nearby Bend – one that he owned with his estranged wife – the same person he allegedly assaulted in connection with the earlier charges. Lindley left the scene of the fire in a silver 1999 Nissan Pathfinder bearing Oregon plate, 263 DTW. Police would like to hear from anyone with information on his whereabouts at 541-693-6911.
Estranged relationships and RV arson fires seem to go hand-in-hand in Oregon. Not far from the Bend fire previously reported, authorities in La Pine, Oregon, say they’ve made an arrest in a fifth-wheel arson fire – and it wasn’t who was originally the suspect. Last Monday morning, 911 dispatchers sent firefighters off after they received a call from Jessica M. Adams (31), who called in a fire report and told dispatchers her ex-boyfriend had set the blaze. Smoke eaters got the fire out, but not before the contents of the trailer were destroyed, along with an attached porch. On investigation, officers arrested – not the boyfriend – but Ms. Adams, whom they charged with second degree arson and false reporting.
If West Virginia truly is “almost heaven,” then here’s a heavenly proposition: Volunteer as a camp host or gate attendant in Monongahela National Forest in Richwood or Wild Sulphur Springs. Hosts are needed from early April and as far out as late November. It’s the usual routine: Help visitors, maintain the campground, do some cleanup. You can volunteer for as short a span as four weeks, and up to the entire season. Put in five or six days a week and get a free site and reimbursement for some expenses. Volunteers are needed at Bishop Knob Campground; Cranberry Campground; Lake Sherwood Campground; Lake Sherwood Gatehouse; and Summit Lake Campground.
Frustrated firefighters from Chilliwack, British Columbia, stood by watching a tall column of smoke from a burning travel trailer head skyward. Last Tuesday, an RV dweller’s dog woke him from sleep when fire broke out in his trailer. When firefighters reached the road leading to the fire it was inundated with mud and impassible with their equipment. While the smoke continued to rise, responders loaded up a pickup truck with shovels, axes and hoses, and called for a four-wheel-drive fire wagon as backup. In the end, crews from no less than five firehouses were called out. The RV occupant ended up in a hospital with smoke inhalation. The cause, say fire investigators, appears to have been accidental.
For an 80-year-old Florida RVer, bad times have struck twice in five weeks. Neal Koe woke up to a fire in his RV at 3 a.m. last Wednesday. Happily, Mr. Koe was able to get out of the rig unharmed, but his RV was totally destroyed. On January 4, Koe got a first nasty wake-up call at 3:45 a.m., when a fire wiped out his last RV. That one, say firefighters, was due to a space heater problem. Koe says he wasn’t using one this week. This time the fire not only took his home, but it seriously damaged his pickup truck. Both fires took place at Lake Stone in Escambia County.
If you’ve been following the “heartache” that Jefferson County, Idaho, officials have been suffering with their Mike Walker Boat Dock, there’s news to report. A couple of months back we reported that county commissioners were befuddled by an over-popularity of the dock site by RVers. Some RVers were overstaying their welcome, and the county couldn’t figure out what to do about it. Initially it was suggested they just kill off the RV sites, then the idea of putting in a campground host was floated. The latter was rejected as being too costly. Finally, commissioners have decided that installing a fence and a gate, and placing the site on a “reservation only” status will answer the issue. But the snag is this: When folks with a legitimate reservation are on-site, the gates will need to be left open. What, then, about other folks who come in and overstay? “We just have to police it a bit,” says Mickey Eames, the county’s parks and recreation director. Which is odd, since the whole mess started with the county not being able to “police” the park in the first place.
What do you call an Uber in San Francisco that doesn’t have a chatty driver? Autonomous. California says the ride-share company can now test its driverless vehicles in San Francisco, California. The company has been running in the red since its inception, and a fleet of driverless hacks might help the company get into the profit zone. Uber says the test cars will still have a trained employee in the driver seat – they just won’t be driving – unless, presumably, something goes wrong.
A fuel pump repair that went awry in Gilroy, California, has totally destroyed a motorhome and damaged another. Firefighters were called to the Leavesley Mini Storage when a crew working on a Class C motorhome had flames break out in the 1980s rig. While crews arrived quickly, flames spread to a neighboring RV. Fortunately nobody was hurt.
Many soldiers got the basic training at Fort Ord, California. Well, some good news if they want to take a trip back in time to the area – except with an RV now instead of in a uniform. This year, the oceanfront portion of the former base – four miles of majestic sand dunes hugging Monterey Bay – will be transformed into the first new state park campground of its size built anywhere on the California coast in more than 30 years. Plans call for 110 campsites – half for RVs and half for tents – on the southern edge of the property. It’s an untouched microcosm of California’s coastline. Because the area served as a firing range for almost 100 years, the area today looks like what it did before all the regional development.
Is it a case of a “tempest in a teapot”? More likely, a golf-cart in a teapot. Mobile, Alabama, is seeing its annual influx of RVers for Mardi Gras, with many staying at RV City. This year there’s a flap, as local police say golf carts are now forbidden at the parade, and that when used on a public street elsewhere, they’ll need to be licensed for street use. This has fired up the tempers of some golf-carting RVers, who say in the past they haven’t encountered such restrictions. What hacks them off even more, they say they’ve already shelled out a $25 fee to RV City for having their golf carts on site. RV City says it’ll be happy to refund those fees – to any who take their golf carts home, and bring back their use stickers.
Canadian Mounties want their man – or woman – in connection with an arson fire involving an occupied RV in Chilliwack, British Columbia. [Not the same fire reported above.] Security cam footage shows a shadowy figure of someone approaching an RV, lighting something, then tossing it at the rig. It all came down about 5:15 a.m. on February 4 on Garden Drive. “In particular, investigators are requesting the operator of a vehicle driving through the neighbourhood near the time of the incident to contact us,” said Chilliwack RCMP Const. Keven Biagioni in a press release. “Very fortunately, the occupant of the trailer was not injured.” Investigators ask that information be phoned to 604-792-4611.
A British Columbia campground host is doing a lot more than cleaning up restrooms of late. Jason Walters hosts at the Chehalis River Campground in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, near Harrison Mills. Last week, rain storms pounded the area, and the campground took a major hit, with the park’s gravel road basically wiped out. The park is now officially closed with no opening date. Walters has taken on the job of trying to restore the road and says there’s a small amount of work to getting the campground up and going – but the road, well, that’s another matter. Walters says under the circumstances, the B.C. government should be stepping up to pick up the estimated $50,000 to $100,000 tab. But right now, the response from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development is that an engineering and hydrological assessment is needed first. That won’t happen until sometime in March. The agency then figures actual road repairs will take until sometime in April, with a reopening date in May. Walters says his job now – since he can’t physically repair the road – is to drum up enough community support to push the Ministry to work a bit faster.
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.
Harley-Davidson Motor Company and Tuscany Motor Co. have introduced the first-ever Harley-Davidson edition GMC pickup. Only 250 Harley-Davidson branded GMC Sierra trucks will be available through select authorized GMC/Tuscany dealers in North America. “Fans have long hungered for a limited edition GMC truck that celebrates their passion for Harley-Davidson motorcycles,” said Jeff Burttschell, Vice President, Tuscany Motor Co. “Working closely with Brad Richards, Vice President of Styling and Design at Harley-Davidson, we created a fantastic truck worthy of the Harley-Davidson name. For the first time in history, it will be possible to rumble down the road in a V8 powered Harley-Davidson edition GMC truck.”
Nikola Corporation has announced the product launch of the Nikola Badger electric pickup truck with an estimated range of 600 miles. The vehicle is engineered to deliver 980 ft. lbs. of torque, 906 peak HP and 455 continuous HP. The Badger will be outfitted with a 15-kilowatt power outlet for tools, lights and compressors, which is enough power to assist a construction site for approximately 12 hours without a generator. It was designed to handle 0-100 mph launches with minimal loss of performance and to operate on grades up to 40% through advanced software blending of batteries and fuel-cell. With a fully loaded trailer and combined vehicle weight of 18,000 lbs., the Badger will be able to launch from a standstill on a 30% grade without motor stall. Read more.
QUESTION: What brand of pickup truck do RVtravel.com readers use for their RVing? See our survey, with more than 8,000 responses (and counting).
Stolen RV Report
UPDATED THE FIRST ISSUE OF EACH MONTH
Have you seen any of these RVs? They were stolen recently in various parts of the United States. Authorities would like your help in locating them, so keep your eyes open. Here’s this month’s rundown of stolen RVs.
For long-time RVers: Is being an RVer more or less challenging than 10 years ago? Respond here.
A stolen Class C motorhome slammed into a police car in Federal Way, Wash., then got away. It was stolen Wednesday night, crashing through a storage lot where it was stored by RVers Rick and Tracy Wertman. ”What are they doing with it? Are they taking it into the woods to live in it?” asked Rick Wertman. The RV was later found abandoned nearby. If you have information call the Federal Way Police Department.
Greenville, North Carolina, Mayor P.J. Connelly is upset that more than 100 Camping World employees there will soon lose their jobs. “Last night, I learned that the 104 hard-working employees of our Camping World distribution center are receiving pink slips. Come April 11, 2020, they will be unemployed,” Connelly said. Local officials were upset the county got the blame. “The county works to promote industry, not close it,” said one commissioner. Camping World said it was closing the facility to consolidate “the company’s retail business and the subsequent reduction in inventory.”
Oregon State Parks officials say they had a banner year in 2019 – at least in their campgrounds. While overall visitation to the parks was relatively flat, overnight visits in the system’s 56 campgrounds jumped significantly. 2019 saw 2.93 million camper nights, up from 2.89 million the previous year, and 2.41 in 2013. Despite the peaks, there were some anomalies RVers might find interesting. Read more.
A new RV park has opened in South Texas off Highway 181 between Gregory and Taft. It is down the street from the $12 billion Exxon plant under construction. The full-hookup Gregory RV Park opened only partially. It hopes to eventually have 129 spaces. We’ll just guess and say most of the spaces will be occupied by construction workers.
A landslide has shut down “indefinitely” Ecola State Park at Cannon Beach, Oregon. The popular tourist spot offers sweeping views of the Pacific and a nine-mile hiking trail. But access to the park flattened when heavy rains brought down a landslide on the park’s only access road and also took out the water supply line. The park is thought to have been a settlement site of indigenous people and is also an archeological site.
A California man was found guilty last week for trying to smuggle 235 pounds of liquid meth concealed in the holding tank of the RV he was driving. Oscar Florencio Gonzalez-Leon was traveling under the guise of a family trip to Ixtapa, Guerrero, Mexico, but had stopped in Michoacán, an area known for the mass production of methamphetamine. A K-9 unit sniffed the drugs at the border, and that was it for Mr. Gonzalez-Leon.
Petite Retreats is adding to its offerings of tiny house vacation rentals, setting the stage to become the first Petite Retreats tiny house village in the Florida Keys. It resides on the shore of the 75-acre island of Sunshine Key RV Resort and Marina, owned by RV Lifestyle Properties.
Marathon Coach is the first industry manufacturer to feature Prevost’s new X3 chassis. Marathon Show Coach #1317 features increased structure rigidity and safety and a more spacious feel of the coach interior with updated side windows and offers an 8% to 10% boost in fuel efficiency. Although the body is now more aerodynamically advanced, crucial features such as low overall exterior measurements and increased interior height remain intact. “The additional 2 1/2 inches of interior height combined with the less rounded upper corners of the previous model allowed us to raise the ceiling another half an inch,” said Marathon Engineering Manager Jay Graham. “Compared to previous X3s, the finished ceiling is three inches higher, including the rainfall shower.”
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.
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Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of February 10, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.42 [Calif.: $3.37]
Change from week before: Down 4 cents; Change from year before: Up 14 cents.
Diesel: $2.91 [Calif.: $3.78]
Change from week before: Down 5 cents; Change from year before: Down 6 cents.
Upcoming RV shows
Houston RV Show, Feb. 12-16, Houston, TX
Austin RV Expo, Feb. 13-16, Austin, TX
Chicago RV & Camping Show, Feb. 13-16, Rosemont, IL
Oklahoma City RV Super Show, Feb. 13-16, Oklahoma City, OK
Atlantic City RV & Camping Show, Feb. 14-16, Atlantic City, NJ
Maryland RV Show, Feb. 14-16, 21-23, Timonium, MD
Springfield RV, Camping and Outdoor Show, Feb. 14-17, West Springfield, MA
Dallas RV Supersale, Feb. 20-23, Dallas, TX
Red Deer RV Show, Feb. 20-23, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
West Palm Beach RV Show, Feb. 20-23, West Palm Beach, FL
Harrisburg RV & Camping Show, Feb. 21-23, Harrisburg, PA
Pennsylvania Adventure RV Expo, Feb. 21-23, Altoona, PA
Maryland RV Show, Feb. 21-23, Timonium, MD
Ocala RV Show, Feb. 27 – Mar. 1, Ocala, FL
Toronto Spring Camping RV Show, Feb. 27 – Mar. 1, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Rhode Island RV & Camping Show, Feb. 28 – Mar. 1, Providence, RI
Columbus RV Show, Feb. 28 – Mar. 1, Columbus, OH
Overland Park RV & Outdoor Show, Feb. 28 – Mar. 1, Overland Park, KS
Brain teaser answer:
(The question appeared in yesterday’s newsletter): The catcher and the umpire.
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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