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Members News for RVers #948, Sunday edition

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Sunday, May 17, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition

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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 feature this in every Sunday’s edition of the Newsletter.



Local TV broadcasts set to “vanish” from satellite TV

Are you an RVer who depends on satellite TV? You may have already heard from your satellite provider that there are big changes in the works. Effective June 1, satellite TV companies won’t be providing local network channels like ABC, CBS, NBC, CW and FOX when the user is away from their home area. What’s up with that? It’s all because of a thing called STELAR. Learn more, and maybe get involved.

That was the RV week that was

May 10–16, 2020

Where is the RV market heading? Much depends on who you ask. Dealers across the country say they’re selling more RVs than usual for this time of year. Stock market analysts are taking a mixed view. Echoing the positive spin of the RV industry, stock analyst SunTrust Robinson Humphrey says the industry should get a push “in the post-COVID world as consumers move to leisure activities perceived as less risky.” On the other hand, Bank of America trends bearish, asking, “If RV campgrounds truly provide the ability to adequately practice social distancing, why are 32 states still prohibiting and 5 limiting camping activities at their parks as of May 12th, nearly 2 months after the virus began meaningfully impacting the U.S.?”

Stock photo.

Like many other national parks, Yellowstone National Park is still closed – but that didn’t stop a woman from sneaking in to catch a few photos near Old Faithful geyser. All alone, she angled her camera and – whoops! – fell into a hot spring. Badly burned, she hot-footed it to her car and drove 50 miles to Mammoth Hot Springs, where park rangers pulled her over. On learning the story, they summoned help and she was flown out to a hospital. No name nor information on the extent of her injuries was released. It all transpired last Tuesday. Stay out of the park – and when it reopens, stay on the boardwalk!

Joe Cserna via

Fire in what appears to be a Class A motorhome set up for a freakish runaway situation near Viola, Idaho, on May 9. An RVer spotted the rear-end of his rig on fire and hauled the rig to a stop beside U.S. 95. Before firefighters could respond, the brake system let loose and the flaming RV rolled across the highway and into a field. There wasn’t much left of the unit to extinguish, and the cause is unknown.

Blue is a big dog with a big problem. The year-and-a-half old Great Dane scales in at 160 pounds, and he’s not done growing. Blue’s original human mom brought him to a Lowville, New York, animal shelter. She loved him, but he was too big for her apartment. Shelter officials soon found that Blue, who’d spent most of his time alone, just wasn’t a great match for most adopting families. When he “nipped” one potential adopter’s finger (creating a nice bleed) it was decided the big bow-wow needed specialized rehabilitation help. But how does a 160-pound edgy dog get from New York to Adriana’s Saints and Angels Rescue in Oklahoma? By RV, of course. On Friday, May 8, a rig pulling a travel trailer rolled up to the animal shelter and Blue, muzzled, was led by his “favorite” shelter worker out to the trailer – and his first real bed in a long time. Blue made the trip back to Oklahoma, and reports are he’s already adjusting well to his new school. Hopes are he’ll make the adjustment to a new life and a new “forever family.”

You blinked – and this one got away. Earlier this week a classic 1977 Chevy K5 Blazer Chalet ended its time on the auction block. Never heard of the Chalet? Think of a truck camper mounted on a blazer. Only this one doesn’t require going outside to access the camper, it’s a true walk-through. Chevy built less than 2,000 of these rigs, and if there are any on the road they’re probably not in this pristine condition, with only 25,970 miles on the clock. Fresh paint, matching the original; pop-up roof in the camper area, too. The auction ended without meeting the reserve price – the final bid was $26,700. The owner says the kids are getting bigger, and they have a lake-side cabin in their future plans. More photos still viewable on e-bay.

Coos Bay Fire Department

Coos Bay, Oregon, firefighters responded to a motorhome blaze on May 9 – and the list of usual causes can be crossed off. Not the refrigerator, not a space heater, and not a clumsily-done DIY wiring issue. The family who own the 39’ Class A were just returning from a vacation and backed into the driveway, and promptly got the rig stuck. In their efforts to free the rig, friction from spinning tires created so much heat that fire broke out. The local fire chief observed, “Not a good way to start the day.”

When their water bills shot up in 2013, RV owners of the Northport, Florida, Myakka River RV Resort were concerned. City officials said it must be a leak, and it was their lookout. After spending thousands to try and locate the “leak,” park owners say they found a city-installed, unmetered tap leaching away the park’s water, providing it to other customers. Lawyers say the unlawful tap was put in without the park’s knowledge or permission some 15 years ago. The city says they’ll refund the park $30,000 but park attorneys aren’t buying it. They’re suing, claiming the city finally shut off the tap, but didn’t install a backflow device, something that the lawyers say made some park guests sick. The city attorney said they just got the papers, but in general, denies the charges. A jury trial is in the offing to sort matters out.

Jared Wenzelburger /

A Washington state park and ride lot proved to be too attractive to folks in RVs – and the state patrol finally routed them out. At least a dozen folks moved their rigs out of a ride-share lot in Centralia, Washington, after the state’s transportation department left notices on their rigs that if they weren’t out in 72 hours they’d be towed. Local media interviewed some of the pavement campers, one of which admitted to being parked there for a couple of weeks. They said they had no definite plans for where to go, but would simply head down the road until they found another place to put in. State officials say it wasn’t their intent to write citations or tow rigs, but the law, they say, is the law.

Johnny Cash bus conversion. Bus: Benutzer:Deirdre on Inset: Custom Coaches

What do Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, John Madden, and Bill Clinton all have in common? All of them had customized motorcoaches designed by the innovator of custom conversions, Kirwan Elmers. Elmers founded Custom Coach with his father in the 1950s, at a time when banks and industry thought the idea of turning buses into something you could comfortably sleep in was a wacky idea. The elder Elmers invented the laundry detergent giant, All, and after selling his rights, invested the money in starting the coach company. Sadly, Kirwan died this week at age 91. Even after he sold Custom Coach to Faber Specialty Vehicles when 74, he “went with the company” and kept going in until he was in his late 80s.

Stock photo.

RVing snowbirds are usually out of Arizona before the heat gets oppressive. Another “treat” they miss? Swarms of aggressive honey bees! Sadly, three dogs weren’t able to get out of the state, and were attacked by a swarm near Tucson Wednesday. Firefighters tried to rescue the dogs by blasting the swarm with firefighting foam, but all three succumbed later at a veterinarian’s practice. The particular type of bee wasn’t known, but Africanized honey bees are a common feature in the Grand Canyon State. photo

There’s not much left of what appears to have originally been a fifth-wheel caught up in an incident near Walnut Hill, Florida, last Saturday (May 9). Police and fire were called out to Highway 97 early in the morning when a truck pulling the trailer went off the road. The coach appears to have been torn completely away from the trailer frame and floor. Happily, no serious injuries were reported. photo

In a motorhomer’s “worst nightmare” scenario, a Class A driver tried but couldn’t prevail in an incident with a pedestrian on a California freeway May 8. The unidentified RVer was headed westbound on Interstate 210 in Sylmar, California, when a man ran onto the freeway from the Roxford Street off-ramp. The driver braked and attempted to swerve, but was unable to avoid hitting the man, identified as Joseph Davis (32), last known to be a resident of Chatsworth, California. Rescue personnel say Davis had to be extricated from under the motorhome and was dead on arrival at an area hospital. The driver was not physically injured.

Georgia Wildlife Department via

Traveling through Georgia? Might want to check your basement storage compartments carefully before you hit the road. Georgia wildlife officials say they’re been hit with an invasion of Argentine black and white tegus – an invasive species of lizard that can grow up to four feet. A wildlife officer says, “They eat just about anything they want – plant and animal matter.” They’re particularly fond of gopher tortoises, the Georgia State Protected Reptile. They also feast on turkey and quail eggs. Doubtful they’ll take a bite out of your sewer hose, but who’d want to find one when they started to unload back home?

The Seattle Times

If you’re camping in the Pacific Northwest, be on the lookout for a 1.5- to 2-inch-long Asian giant hornet, with a possible wingspan of 3 inches – the largest hornet in the world. They’re sometimes called the “murder hornet” because they murder honeybees and other insects by ripping off their heads, and have the potential to devastate U.S. bee populations, already in decline. “Within a few hours, a strong, healthy and populous honey bee colony of 30,000 to 50,000 workers is slaughtered by a group of 15 to 30 hornets,” according to Washington State University. They’ve been spotted in Washington state as well as British Columbia. They do not typically go after humans, but the sting of one of these hornets is painful and packed with neurotoxins. If you spot one of these Asian giant hornets please report it to the Washington State Department of Agriculture Pest Program at 1-800-443-6684, or online at

Douglas Forest Protective Association photo

Units from six different Oregon fire agencies were called out May 8 to a motorhome fire on Interstate 5 in Douglas County. Not only was the Class A motorhome fully involved when smokeaters arrived, responders had to cope with a one-and-a-half-acre brush fire that also caught on. Both north and southbound lanes of the freeway were shut down for a time. The motorhome’s toad-car also became a victim.

Thanks to Tom Hart!

Some RV parks don’t need to look to the government for stimulus payments – not if they’re RoverPass affiliates. RoverPass is an online RV park directory, and parks can sign up wherein folks looking on the directory can book into their park directly. The company says it’s setting aside $5 million in stimulus funds which member parks can apply for. The stimulus checks will range from $10,000 to $100,000, depending on qualifications. RoverPass says it’s seeing a rebound in RV park reservations.

RV Crime News photos

Police didn’t take any chances with a man who holed-up in a motorhome on a Bend, Oregon, street May 9. Luke Anthony Martin (36) was seen driving a car recklessly, and when police tried to stop him he drove a couple of blocks, bailed out of the car and climbed into a parked motorhome. The RV owner saw it happen and told police. Martin owns a long criminal history, including weapons charges, so police called for a SWAT team and an armored vehicle. A couple of hours later they smoked Martin out with the aid of a “chemical irritant” slipped in the RV’s window. He’s in jail on charges of first-degree burglary, felony attempt to elude police, reckless driving, and heroin possession and delivery. Remember: Not with your RV? Lock it!

Bobby Joe Berry

This man (above), Bobby Joe Berry, 43, is a person of interest in a suspicious death at an RV park in Manitou Springs, Colorado. He is described as 6 feet 1 inch tall, weighing 160 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair. He may be driving the deceased person’s vehicle with the Colorado plate 472-VGK. If seen, do not approach him as the sheriff’s office says he is considered armed and dangerous. If you have information, contact the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office at 719-390-5555 or contact Detective Brklich directly with any information at (719) 520-7229 or email him at

This 2019 Nash 24-foot travel trailer with Montana license plate CRV831 vanished from Bozeman, Montana, on May 8, but the owner fears it could be anywhere by now. Look for a slideout on the driver’s side and a MetraPark tire cover on the rear of the rig. If anyone has any information or has seen it please call 406-585-3431.

Pickup truck news

According to our recent survey, about 80 percent of readers own at least one pickup truck. Recognizing that, we’ll provide the latest news highlights about the vehicles here each week.

10 trucks, all 2020 models, available for less than $35,000

With the average price of a new passenger vehicle approaching $38,000 at the beginning of 2020, it’s no wonder why the base price of the most expensive truck in the United States approaches $90,000. But good news: Here are 10 trucks, all 2020 models, available for less than $35,000. RV towing capacities vary greatly as do the 10 trucks’ prices, from an estimated $22,000 to $34,745. Read more.

Reader poll

This is our poll from yesterday. We had technical problems, so here it is again.

Are you putting off routine doctor and dentist appointments these days?

Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. We’ll post the final results in next week’s newsletter. CLICK HERE.

Brain Teaser

Two fathers and two sons walk into a candy store. They all buy candy for 50 cents but altogether they only spend $1.50. How is this possible?
(Answer below.)

Clubs and useful organizations
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• Boondockers Welcome. Stay at homes of RVers who welcome you in their driveways, yards, farmland or other space on their private property. Modest membership fee.
Escapees. Best Club for RVers: All RVers welcome, no matter what type of RV, make or model.

News briefs

At least some leading RV builders have seen increased retail orders since resuming operations in recent weeks. Since reopening the doors to its U.S. manufacturing operations on May 4 and its German production a couple of weeks before, Thor Industries Inc. has brought back 80 to 85 percent of its employees worldwide according to CEO Bob Martin. And the same trend appears to be holding true for other key RV builders like Forest River Inc., and the Grand Design RV Division of Winnebago Industries Inc.

At least 351 tornadoes touched down in the U.S. last month, the second highest number on record for April.

Campground chatter

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.

Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?

If so, stories you missed:
RV park gets okay to open. Owner says “Be careful what you wish for!
What are your RVing dreams? Part 2.
It’s editor Chuck Woodbury’s birthday. Here’s a special note to him.
Letter to the editor: “Perspective is an amazing gift.
A personal tribute to Gary Bunzer.
Propane safety made simple – Part 1.
Pawsome Pets: Pets in the news, May 15, 2020.
Video: Classic GMC motorhome tragedy!
RV Shrink: RV migration during a pandemic.
RV Electricity: A portable ECG that could save your life.
RV Tire Safety: Was your “blowout” caused by parking at Quartzsite two years ago?
and much more

Read it here| Back issues

Latest fuel prices

Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of May 11, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $1.85 [Calif.: $2.65]
Change from week before: Up 6 cents; Change from year before: Down $1.02
Diesel: $2.39 [Calif.: $3.18]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 77 cents.

Sign up for an email reminder for our weekday RV Daily Tips Newsletter, published every Monday through Friday. You won’t want to miss it!

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

Brain teaser answer:

One father, one grandfather and one son make two fathers and two sons! 3 x $0.50 = $1.50

Sunday funny

Look, Mom! I caught the mouse just like you taught me!

RV Travel staff


Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Emily Woodbury. Senior editors: Diane McGovern, Russ and Tiña De Maris. 

This website utilizes some advertising services. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers.

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 or this newsletter.

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

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Lynn Jeffers
2 years ago

We love the newsletters, but in the past, it seemed like each online article opened in a new window. Did you shut that feature off for some reason? (Today, I kept needing to use my back button to return to the article.) Using the Open in new window feature when publishing makes the newsletter so much nicer to read! Thanks for your consideration. ~ Lynn

2 years ago

One father, one grandfather and one son make two fathers and two sons! Not quite, as the grandfather is a son, the father is a son and the son is a son, the grandfather is a father and the father is a father and the grandfather is a grandfather. That makes six. The $1.50 is correct but not the explanation.

Sink Jaxon
2 years ago

I read my wife the brainteaser yesterday…she got in about 30 seconds!

Don Callahan
2 years ago

That was not blood but was the red high pressure hoses for the “Jaws of Life” hydraulic extrication equipment.


mark b
2 years ago

All the news that’s fit to print?

Pictures of property damage are one thing, but did I really need to see bloody pavement and rescue workers trying to remove a dead person from under that motorhome? Maybe if it was from a genocide, or war where families were killed in their home by drones, when used to move world’s inaction into action.

Editors, did that photo make the story any more newsworthy?

Janet Herrell
2 years ago
Reply to  mark b

I just sat and watched my local news and I saw more blood and guts on Sunday then was in this picture.

2 years ago
Reply to  mark b

It’s not blood to the right center of the pic…it’s a power cord from the small generator shown…probably to run a hydraulic jack.

Captn John
2 years ago

A sales manager at a huge dealer said after 6 weeks of doing almost nothing and laying off 7 salesmen business is picking up enough for the salespersons still working. They were open during the 6 weeks giving “stupid deals” to pay the utilities.
With luck it’s just a burp and we will see sales down 50% or more this year.
At a CG in GA a couple was unloading personal stuff. Said the TT and truck was being REPOed and they were renting a bigger space and saving a ton every month.

2 years ago

I see fuel prices rising yet oil prices are still below $30/barrel…aggravating.

2 years ago

Can you provide all the email contacts for the state of Washington on who to write to??

Dan Coffey
2 years ago

I fired off letters this morning to my members of congress. Another example of all talk and no walk!
I asked them if this topic was discussed at any of their town hall meetings, or newsletters? I live in
a rural state.

2 years ago

It does seem suspicious, like the realtors, business is ‘always’ booming. But I’ve visited 2 dealers in the last month and yes, traffic is healthy. I am at a campground which fills to the rafters every weekend since the initial lockdown expired. Those who have rigs and tents are getting out and using them, and those who have been using planes and hotels for getaways are anxious to switch to RVing, because they are sick of being stuck at home, and it’s cheaper camping with kids than buying them restaurant meals. There is also a group of people that is moving into RVs as more affordable housing, so that supports another part of the market.

Where the numbers actually fall remains to be seen. As you say, incomes are taking a big hit, except for the white collar work-at-homes and the better paid portion of the ‘essential’ group. Surely many people are going to be unable and unwilling to buy big ticket items. Others may want to commit now while they still have good credit and can slip a loan application through.

2 years ago

Perhaps if our Congressional members would spend more time doing the job we pay them to do they could have found time to prevent the loss of local stations to many millions of satellite users.

2 years ago
Reply to  Barry

They are all too busy kissing Donald Trump’s butt or trying to kick it. They know that is far more important than trying to solve real problems.

2 years ago

The reader poll worked for me.

Diane Fox
2 years ago

Reader poll still haywire!

2 years ago
Reply to  Diane Fox

Worked for me!