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Sunday, April 12, 2020
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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 •••
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• The latest on Gary Bunzer’s battle with COVID-19.
• Toilet paper – the softer side of the coronavirus crisis.
• Views from quarantine: What’s out your window? Send us a photo!
• Is your RV theft-proof? Here are some tips.
• Reader poll: For self-quarantining couples: How are you getting along?
• Oh, the horror! Sewer tank overflows while RVer is away.
• Boondockers Welcome adds locations to host RVers overnight.
• What happens when freedom is taken away from RVing nomads?
• RV Electricity: Free Southwire meter kit contest this week.
• RV Tire Safety: Things to do with your RV while not traveling.
• Building an RV Park: We met the neighbors … again!
• The Digital RVer: Looking for something to do at home? Got any old slides?
• The RV Kitchen: Butterscotch Quick Bread.
… and much more
That was the RV week that was
April 5–11, 2020
How is coronavirus affecting the supply of RV parts? If the parts you need are made or processed in China, there could be lags. As of Thursday, the folks at Fridge Defend told us their suppliers on mainland China say air freight costs have nearly tripled in the last two months. Many are turning to shipping freight by ocean carriers. But there’s only so much freight that can be shipped at a given time, and now warehouses are filling up with freight in a virtual stranglehold. Stay tuned.
A drunk driver towing a fifth wheel trailer crashed Thursday into the front entrance of a Planet Fitness store in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The driver was released after being cited for DUI. Thankfully, there were no injuries as the store was closed due to state stay-at-home orders.
Code enforcement in Roswell, New Mexico, is a little softer for a time. Roswell ordinances limit “occupation” of RVs on residential city lots to seven days, no more than three times a year. With the coronavirus issue, city officials say they’ll waive those limits to allow families to use RVs as isolation units.
If you love butterflies, you’d probably hate driving through lower Arizona about this time of year – you’ll mash dozens of the pretty creatures as they migrate across highways and imbed themselves in your radiator. But take heart! Monarch butterflies, which have been in decline, may be getting some help to stage a comeback. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Illinois-Chicago have banged out agreements with 45 energy and transportation companies and a huge number of private landowners to work together to increase Monarch habitat. Those agreeing to the arrangement will create and maintain habitat along right-of-way corridors on both public and private lands – this on an annual basis. Not only will Monarchs benefit, but the enhancements will help other pollinators as well.
If you find yourself on the interstate and happen to pull into a rest area, don’t be surprised if you see a food truck doing business. Under federal law, commercial activities are verboten in federally funded interstate rest stops, but in light of the coronavirus pandemic, Uncle Sam is relaxing the rules. Says Federal Highway Administration administrator Nichole Nason, “America’s commercial truck drivers are working day and night during this pandemic to ensure critical relief supplies are being delivered to our communities . . . It is critical to make sure truck drivers continue to have access to food services while they’re on the job serving our nation during these challenging times.” Until the end of the declared federal emergency, food trucks may do business in rest stops, filling up the stomachs of hungry long-haulers, and presumably any RVers who may happen across them.
Jason Morris, a 47-year-old man from Merrillville, Indiana, had returned home from doing some traveling. It’s not clear if Jason had symptoms of coronavirus, or if he was just a cautious man, but Jason self-isolated himself outside the family home in a travel trailer. On April 4, first-responders were called to the Morris residence – Jason’s travel trailer had caught fire. Sadly, he was not able to escape the fire, which authorities preliminarily suspect was caused by “equipment failure.”
Medical professionals who need a safe place to get away from the hospital without risking their families have another supporter in Loomis, California. Lisa Evensen, who owns Lisa’s RV Rentals, says she’ll put all her rolling stock at the disposal of medical personnel who want to borrow one of her rigs. She’s not putting limits on the gesture – “I’m just lending them out indefinitely,” Evensen told CBS13, a Sacramento TV station. “I don’t know how long this is going to take; we’re in this together.”
Three people were able to escape a nasty RV fire in Washington’s Spokane Valley on April 3. One of the residents of the rig attempted to light a cigarette – unfortunately failing to notice there was a leaky propane hose. She and another occupant were able to get out of the rig using fire exits, while a third person broke out another window and bailed out. The would-be smoker suffered minor burns, the other two escaped without physical injury. Sadly, a Great Dane in the rig was not able to escape the resulting fire.
Rigby, Idaho, city councilors have put the city’s first RV park ordinance on the books. Various items in the new law outline distances, roads, and health regulations, but one particular part stands out: Customers can stay in a park for only three months in a calendar year, unless special permission is granted. The mayor says the time limit was set to avoid what he described as issues found in other area parks linked to long-term stays.
He may not be an RVer but still, in this crisis, he’s essential – but he’s lost his place to stay. Donald Summers, a long-term care center nurse in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was concerned for his family facing coronavirus that he could “bring home” from work. So Summers pitched a tent at the Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area near Palo, Iowa. He thought he’d found a great arrangement – the spot had electricity for a lamp and heater. After a few days in his new retreat, Summers got an unwelcome visit – officers telling him he and everyone else in the campground would have to break camp, the governor had ordered parks closed. Summers could pitch his tent in the backyard, but he hates to disappoint his children who would be able to see daddy but not touch him.
Sidney, Nebraska, has a new ordinance with regard to RV parking on city streets. Surprise! This one doesn’t cut parking back – rather, it allows RV parking on most streets in the city from April 15 through October 15. The street must be 37’ or wider, and a few streets are not on the approved list. There is no limitation on how much time RVs may be parked on the approved streets.
What happened in Nanaimo, British Columbia, was certainly no joke. A local resident was surprised when someone repeatedly tried to open the door of her motorhome – which she was living in. The intruder was a woman who screamed that she was coming for the occupant, and shouted something about “living rent free” in the rig. The would-be house crasher also offered to sell drugs to the RVer, who was too occupied calling for police to give much consideration to the offer. Canadian Mounties responded, finding the assailant not far from the motorhome. She was arrested and taken to a lockup “until she was deemed fit to be released,” as she was found to be under the influence of drugs. She’ll answer to the courts for trespassing and mischief.
East Palo Alto, California, city officials are up against a tough decision: What to do about the city’s RV parking lot for “homeless” people? As it stands, those who use the lot can overnight there, but must pull out and away each morning. With the coronavirus pandemic, shoving RVers back out on the streets would seem to increase the risk of spreading the virus. City officials are pondering whether to follow the lead of Oakland and San Jose, who recently determined it would be wise just to allow RVers to stay put, 24/7.
A semi-truck driver is behind bars after mowing down a man standing near an RV on South Carolina’s Interstate 26. Emmanuil G. Khmelnitskiy (17) of Inman, South Carolina, was standing alongside a fifth-wheel legally parked in the interstate’s breakdown lane. It was at that time that Kendrick Sentrell Coakley (38) either drifted or drove onto the emergency lane, hitting and killing Khmelnitskiy. Coakley fled the scene but was later stopped. Coakley has been charged with leaving the scene of a collision involving death, driving too fast for conditions, and driving while his license was under suspension. The incident happened April 3.
Justice was swift in the case of a BASE jumper in Zion National Park. Rangers got a tip that three people were planning to illegally BASE jump from either Cable Mountain or Great White Throne, and stake-outs were set up. Sure enough, someone bombardiered off Great White Throne in a glide suit, deploying a parachute for a safe landing. The jumper was able to initially escape rangers, but the law caught up with Marshall Miller. Miller, a “professional athlete,” says he “believes the calculation, acceptance, and management of risk fuel a life fully lived.” Apparently it also fuels court appearances, because Miller subsequently pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful BASE jumping – one for the Great White Throne stunt, the other from Lady Mountain back in 2018. The judge put a $5,000 fine into Miller’s “life calculations” and told him any subsequent convictions would lead to jail time. He’s also been banned from Zion for two years.
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.
Ford recalls pickup trucks, SUVs that may roll on their own
Cars and trucks often get recalled for airbag and accelerator issues, but it’s rarely because a vehicle can roll down the street on its own. Ford believes some of its pickup trucks may do exactly that. As the country’s best-selling vehicle, Ford has recalled nearly 68,000 model year 2020 Ford Ranger and F-150 vehicles with 10-speed automatic transmissions and certain 2020 Expedition SUVs with the police package and 10-speed automatic transmissions. Learn more.
How many people have you physically touched in the last two weeks? Respond here and see how others have responded.
James Lonnie “J.L.” Boyette, 83, died April 7 following an extended illness. According to his obituary, for more than 40 years he owned and operated Boyette Camper Sales in Georgia.
Mountain View, California, has dedicated part of the Shoreline Amphitheatre parking lot to stay open for inhabited vehicles 24 hours a day. This removes previous requirements to leave the lot daily between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., which deeply undercut the city’s goal of bringing oversized vehicles off of city streets, where many formed into curbside encampments.
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 (future) travels. Read the current installment of “Campground Chatter” here.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of April 6, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $1.92 [Calif.: $2.87]
Change from week before: Down 8 cents; Change from year before: Down 82 cents.
Diesel: $2.55 [Calif.: $3.37]
Change from week before: Down 4 cents; Change from year before: Down 55 cents.
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Upcoming RV shows
Nothing in the near future.
But for those who want to plan ahead – See the complete list of upcoming RV shows.
Brain teaser answer:
(The question appeared in yesterday’s newsletter): Corn on the cob.
Don’t miss the Sunday funny below.
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.
Dealing with the boredom of self-isolation:
Heard a doctor on TV say to get through the boredom of self-isolation we should finish things we’ve started and thus have more calm in our lives. … So I looked through the house to find all the things I started but hadn’t finished. … So I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of Chardonnay, a bodle of Baileys, a boddel of wum, tha mainder of Valiumun scriptuns, an a box a chocletz. Yu haf no idr how fablus I feel rite now. Sned this to all who need inner piss. An telum u luvum. —Thanks to Margo Wood!
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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