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Sunday, April 5, 2020
If you would like to read this week’s issue with the ads included, click here.
(Check out the new Sunday Funny below.)
Coronavirus Updates for RVers
Here’s the latest news and information about the coronavirus and how it’s affecting the RV community. We now report six days a week on the pandemic — in this Sunday newsletter and every weekday in our RV Daily Tips. (Sign up to receive them here.)
••• READ TODAY’S CORONAVIRUS NEWS •••
Comprehensive list of RV-related recalls for March
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 Forest River, Heartland, Jayco, Thor and others – plus many 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 …
• New Takata airbag recall affects Nissan trucks.
• Big recall on Sprinters; brake hose could leak.
• Thor recalls some motorhomes, drive shaft separation issue.
• Thor recalls Venetian, Aria motorhomes with brake caliper bolt problem.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Is coronavirus leading to a constitutional crisis?
• Governor’s misguided order deals crushing blow to at least one RV park.
• How a caring RV park owner acts in hard times.
• RV Shrink: What do RV park managers and pig farmers have in common?
• A Facebook group fighting coronavirus – Not using your RV? Help save an MD’s life!
• EMS worker shares preventive uses for personal protective equipment.
• RV Tire Safety: Importance of side-to-side motorhome weight balance.
• Reader asks: What does your RV insurance cover?
• Add another room to your RV with this brilliant mod.
… and much more
That was the RV week that was
March 29 – April 4, 2020
Full-timers looking for a place to get off the road may consider skipping Texas. The Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) says its members don’t have to close up shop in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather, they may hang onto long-term guests and are simply refusing to allow entry to “transients.” This is the directive of many local governments – keep the visitors away – and according to the TACO president, most RV park owners agree with the idea. Apparently many campground owners are fearful of allowing the virus to get in among long-term guests. The association adds that many snowbirds have decided not to leave Texas for home but, rather, ride out the coronavirus storm.
A Quebec, Canada, IGA store registered their unhappiness with a snowbird returning from the United States who tried to dodge mandatory quarantine procedures. The man tried to enter both the IGA and another nearby store, but was given the bum’s rush at both. IGA management took a photo of his high-end Class A, and posted it on their Facebook page with an editorialized mark showing their indignation. “Know that we are strengthening our controls and redoubling our vigilance in these uncertain times in order to protect our customers and our employees,” a company representative posted. “Unfortunately, too many unconscious people do not take the recommendations of our Legault government seriously and endanger the lives of essential services personnel, but also the lives of an entire population.”
A nurse working on the Coronavirus battle may have met a match worse than the virus: her homeowner’s association. Sarah Lynch, a clinical nurse coordinator in Green Cove Springs, Florida, moved the family motorhome to their driveway, concerned that she might need to self-quarantine. Someone from the Magnolia Point Golf and Country Club HOA posted a notice on the rig, indicating the RV needed to be removed immediately or face fines of $100 per day, up to $1,000. Lynch’s family apparently thought wrong when they figured the HOA would cut them some slack in light of her job. The HOA has responded that since Lynch doesn’t have an immediate need of the RV and was keeping it on her property as a “just in case” scenario, the Association stands by its rules. Lynch has moved the motorhome out of the HOA controlled area; even so, some individuals have stepped up and offered to pay the HOA fines should she decide to bring the rig back home against the bent of the HOA.
We often associate wildfires with destruction of masses of trees, but trees aren’t the only wildfire victims. Parts of California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington are home to sagebrush communities – vast swaths of not just sagebrush, but hundreds of other species of plants as well as animals. Wildfire can rip through sagebrush communities at a phenomenal rate, and science has discovered that fire breaks can make a big difference when a wildfire breaks out. Now the Interior Department says it will build and maintain 11,000 miles of fuel breaks on 223 million acres of lands overseen by the Bureau of Land Management in those states. Look to see several methods used, including targeted grazing. The new breaks will be along BLM roads and rights-of-way to minimize impact on existing ecosystems.
RV rental giants Cruise America and El Monte say that while the number of folks checking out RVs for vacations has dropped since the pandemic scare broke out, there is a glimmer of hope: One-way rentals of motorhomes are up, with many customers figuring it’s safer to rent a motorhome to get home than to fly. Cruise America says the numbers for these reasons are up ten times the normal rate.
An Idaho man who says he was fleeing coronavirus is in deep kimchi. Sean Allen Patterson ran, but couldn’t hide, when law enforcement officers visited his fifth-wheel campsite on Forest Service land in Bonner County, Idaho. Apparently Patterson thought climbing a tree would help him elude the long arm of the law, but he was spotted and was eventually talked down. Officers found Patterson had a Mauser C96 pistol on his person at the time – a big “no no,” as he is a convicted felon. But his troubles didn’t stop there, police also found other weapons in his fifth-wheel, at least one of them reported stolen. Patterson’s wife says they’d fled Boise in terror of the viral pandemic. It’s not clear if there are any reported cases of COVID-19 in the Bonner County Jail where he’s currently being held.
A fire that wiped out a fifth-wheel near McDavid, Florida, is looking kind of suspicious. The fire ripped through the rig at 1:20 in the morning last Monday, and it wasn’t the first time fire fighters had been called to the Perdue Road address. On March 12 a mobile home there caught fire, and earlier this year, a travel trailer was consumed on the same property. The state’s Fire Marshal is investigating the matter as a possible arson.
While many RVers are hunkered down at home, or wherever they can find a spot in the field, truck drivers don’t have a choice – like Eddie Rabbit sang, “Gotta keep rollin’.” But with sit-down restaurants closed down across the country, how’s a driver to eat? Some franchises are stepping in to feed the teaming masses of long-haulers. McDonald’s, Nathan’s Famous, Firehouse Subs, Long John Silver’s, Ruby Tuesday and Sonic all have done various change-ups to accommodate. Many Firehouse Subs are in strip malls and shopping centers, making truck parking easy; a driver can order ahead and grab his food on arrival. Ruby Tuesday and Long John Silver’s are offering special discounts to drivers. Sonic urges drivers to use their app and pick up their orders from the patio – and at least two of their locations have physically modified their drive-throughs to accommodate big rigs.
Snowbirds in Arizona are, like a lot of travelers, caught in that old decision bind. Head for home, or hunker down and ride out the pandemic? A Phoenix-area Emergency Room doc says much depends on where “home” is. “If you’re going to a city like New York City, where it’s like the epicenter of the COVID-19 virus right now, I think you probably should not go if you have the means to stay in the Valley,” was the advice of Dr. Frank LoVecchio, published on 12news.com. Going home has its own set of hazards. If flying home, it’s not just being trapped in a plane at 50,000 feet with possible disease carriers, it’s also the matter of getting in, out, and about at the airport. For RVers, travel itself would seem a whole lot safer. Just be sure to use hand sanitizer after you get done pumping fuel.
Colorado authorities are warning locals that they may be seeing unwelcome guests at their trash containers. Bear season is upon the Rocky Mountain state. While grass, aspen buds, and other veggies are in abundance, it seems bruins head for ruins in the form of cast-offs from human households. It appears that our natural instinct to be kind to the birds backfires – hummingbird feeders are another tasty treat for bears. With more than 5,000 “bear encounters” on the books from 2019, state wildlife officials implore folks to keep their trash secured, putting it out on the curb only on pickup day, and clean the cans up – apparently ammonia water is quite disagreeable as far as bears are concerned. And for a bit, take down the bear – er – bird feeders.
While many RV manufacturers are shutting down production lines to protect their workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, that doesn’t mean things aren’t happening. Heartland Recreational Vehicles shipped off two pallets of donations to a hospital in the Elkhart, Indiana, area. What would an RV manufacturer have that a hospital might need? Supplies – 700 chemical protective suits and 400 face masks. Beacon Health Systems got the donation on March 25.
ABOVE: Now how’s this for an innovative RV? The company Giant Loop, a supplier of adventure motorcycle products, posted it on April 1. The Expander Adventure Tent would “offer 100 square feet of space inside, while packing down into a 6 by 18 by 18-inch package, ‘about the size of a box of Voodoo Donuts.’ It would also offer remote control automatic deployment, anti-microbial UV interior lighting, and a Dyneema/Kevlar predator barrier to protect you from stampeding rhinoceroses, velociraptors, or 30-50 feral hogs.” Well, you guessed it, it was an April Fools’ joke. So don’t get excited. False alarm!
Police in Spain are out of patience with motorhome tourists ignoring the country’s laws against movement during the COVID-19 pandemic. In some cases, tourists hiding out in the backcountry have been found by police drones. In other cases, RVers have been surprised (and no doubt dismayed) on arriving at their favorite destination to find their “spot” occupied – by a police car, with an officer waiting to write them up for lawbreaking. So far, dozens of tickets have been issued.
In a huge case of ironic timing, a semi-truck “crashed and burned” on Interstate 20 in Dallas County, Texas, last Wednesday. The driver, who was not injured, says he hit a big bump and lost control. His rig hit a barrier and rolled over, catching fire. He was able to exit the cab with his dog and got away. His load was not so fortunate. While police closed all westbound lanes, fire officials fought heroically but were unable to save the entire load of – toilet paper.
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.
Edmunds.com’s 2020 best trucks for RV towing
Every RVer likely has a favorite truck for towing their motorhome. Facts, figures and statistics tell a lot, but personal preferences and brand loyalty are also important components of the buying process. Like it does with its general interest car and truck reviews, Edmunds tackles niche automotive areas, including the best trucks for towing. The automotive online source recently released its choices for best towing trucks in midsize, large and heavy-duty. Here they are.
New Takata airbag recall affects Nissan trucks
The Takata airbag issue just won’t go away. This time the Japanese supplier of safety equipment to many domestic and international brands is facing a recall of Nissan trucks, SUVs and vans. The Nissan recall covers about 250,000 Nissan NV Cargo and Passenger vans from 2012 to 2017, the 2013 to 2015 Titan, a Nissan truck, Armada large SUV, and the 2011 and 2012 Infiniti QX56 SUV. Learn more.
The U.S. pickup truck segment was up a surprising 2% for the first quarter of this year. GM was the big winner overall, driven exclusively by its full-size trucks, seeing as its mid-size trucks fell 36%. This led it to beat the Ford F-series for the first time. Ford did well in the midsize segment with the Ranger, but Toyota and Nissan had no bright spots to be found. (SOURCE: Seeking Alpha)
Reader poll — Technical problems
THE POLL IS NOT WORKING. We will ask the question again tomorrow
How badly do you need the money coming soon from the government?
Shares of Camping World Holdings fell 58.4% in March, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, and are now down nearly 80% since the company’s 2016 IPO.
Duo Form Plastics in Edwardsburg, Michigan, usually makes products for RVs but is now making face shields for medical professionals out of materials normally used for RV skylights. Most of their workforce has been laid off during the pandemic, but with the production of more face shields for hospitals, they’re hoping to bring some of the employees back to help.
The Manatee County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office is investigating the theft of five RV trailers worth about $200,000 from Gerzeny’s RV World in Bradenton between 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday and 1 a.m. Wednesday at 6120 State Road 64 E. Two Intrepid, two Aspen Trail and one Kodiak Ultra-Light RV trailers were stolen. Power cords were also stolen from five other trailers. Have info? Call Manatee Crime Stoppers at 866-634-TIPS.
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 March 30, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.01 [Calif.: $2.95]
Change from week before: Down 12 cents; Change from year before: Down 69 cents.
Diesel: $2.59 [Calif.: $3.40]
Change from week before: Down 7 cents; Change from year before: Down 49 cents.
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Brain teaser answer:
(The question appeared in yesterday’s newsletter): His horse is named Monday.
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.
Two aliens in space looking at planet Earth:
First alien: “So how did all the earthlings die?”
Second alien: “They used so much toilet paper they wiped themselves out.”
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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