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Members News for RVers #951, Sunday edition

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Sunday, June 7, 2020
Members edition

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Camping World pulls out – Will big Hershey RV show still go on?

While sales of RVs have blasted off as people look for vacation travel alternatives, that doesn’t mean that the industry is ignoring the coronavirus pandemic. Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis brought concerns about the virus straight to the fore on Tuesday when he announced his company is pulling out of “America’s Largest RV Show” in Hershey, Pennsylvania, set for late September. Read more.

That was the RV week that was

May 31 – June 6, 2020

Trying to dispose of an unwanted RV? Donald Repplinger of Sheridan, Oregon, can tell you how NOT to do it in Oregon. He burned up an unwanted travel trailer in December 2018, and was recently presented with a fine by the state’s Department of Environmental Quality for $1,800. He is appealing the fine, technically issued for burning “plastics, wire insulation and other man-made materials that emit dense smoke or noxious odors when burned.”

Michigan DOT

Michigan is still reeling from last month’s flooding in its east-central section. The state’s department of transportation is working out how to restore roads and bridges damaged after heavy rains caused the failure of two dams. Two of the bridges that carry heavy traffic on State Route 30 through Midland and Gladwin counties are closed – one in Gladwin County simply vanished. Planning a trip through the area? Check ahead and have a “Plan B” ready.

Call it Monaco misery in Missouri. Last Wednesday a Class A Monaco motorhome driver got a big surprise when a steer tire blew out along Highway 171 north of Carl Junction. The rig shot across all lanes of traffic and smacked head-on into a tree. En route to the unexpected meet-up with the tree, the motorhome crossed a ditch, causing the rig’s toad vehicle, a recent-model Jeep, to roll over behind the rig. Happily, nobody on board the motorhome suffered injuries serious enough to require a trip to the hospital.

We’ve reported on a 234-site RV park wanna-be near Punta Gorda, Florida, before. Developers have been trying for a permit for some time, and have been washed back and forth by the vicissitudes of local residents and local government. But finally, a 4-1 approval from commissioners has come, but with a stipulation. The developer will need to widen the road serving the park site to 20 feet. The developer was happy with that one as it’s already 20 feet wide.In a weird twist, it’s a tale of two states. While Michigan state park officials are pushing the throttle wide-open to hire up to 1,500 summer employees to reopen their campgrounds, across the country, Oregon is issuing pink slips to lay off park workers. Michigan is reopening their parks June 22 and desperately needs help to get all in readiness. Oregon parks had likewise closed earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and some state park campgrounds will reopen June 9. But funding for parks, which is not line-itemed in the state’s budget, comes from sources not necessarily reliable: lottery sales, RV registration fees, and park fees themselves. With parks shut, a shortfall of $22 million is expected through June 2021, which spells an immediate layoff of 47 full-time employees, and a “no hire” situation for 338 seasonal staff. This will result in keeping more campgrounds and parks closed, with a further resulting loss in revenue.

With a little clever cost-cutting, it looks like a new RV park may come to Anacortes, Washington. Port officials have been working on a park for their property at Cap Sante Marina, which could be covered in part by a $1 million grant. The original project cost was $4.9 million – too much, said officials – but by cutting back on paving and installing gravel RV pads and a few other tricks, the cost came down to $3.5 million. The new park will be built on the site of an existing 22-site dry-camping park.

National Park Service photo

A Santa Monica Mountains mama has been blessed with triplets – cougar kittens! The National Park Service says three-year-old P-54 (such an imagination biologists have) was being tracked after her radio collar suggested she’d spent a couple of suspicious days in California’s Santa Monica Mountains with P-63 – a male cougar. Sure enough, about three months later, mom-cat’s radio collar settled in at a given area for several days. Wildlife biologists figured she’d either feeding at a kill site – or something else was afoot. They checked it out, and sure enough add three more imaginative names to the list: P-82 and P-83 (both males), and P-84, a female. All the kittens appear to be in good health, and the bio-guys are cheering – P-63, the presumed father – brings a new batch of outside genes to the area.

Firefighters in Clairmont, Alberta, had their hands full when flames broke out in a service bay at McGovern’s RV and Marine last Sunday. Rigs and propane tanks challenged the 30 crews that turned out from three different stations at around 8:30 a.m. Fire was contained to the service area and parts section, but did damage to a number of rigs. Fire crews used aerial ladders for the initial response, as exploding propane containers made for a hazard to safety.

Jenna Hunt, Hi-Desert Star

It’s why we have RV tow coverage: California Highway Patrol officers were called to direct traffic in Yucca Valley, while a Class A motorhome owner waited for the tow truck to arrive. The RVer had attempted (unsuccessfully) to make a turn onto another roadway when the rear-end of his rig bottomed out in one of those blasted roadway rain depressions, so popular in the desert southwest. The driver was a local and had called several buddies to assist, but to no avail. The embarrassing situation all unfolded on Saturday, May 30.

Lexington, Ohio, may have one of the oldest folks in the U.S. – but certainly one of the oldest Americans to have been an RVer. Ed Harpster just celebrated his 106th birthday. Born in 1914, he spent the first years of his life close to the family farm – going into town only once a year to buy shoes for school. Later, his life-field broadened for Ed at age 14, when his father died, and Ed had to find a job to help support the family. “You start out in the morning, taking care of the livestock and then hitch up the horses and go to the field,” Ed described it. “Then at 12 o’clock you come back for lunch, one o’clock you’re back in the fields again til six o’clock.” Eventually work included fine carpentry, and even a stint working on aircraft part manufacturing during World War II. He became known as a meticulous worker, which extended to his ownership of a motorhome, which he maintained and repaired. Ed’s family recalls him taking out every screw out by hand, painting them and putting them back in. “Every single screw.”

Grand County, Colorado, firefighters made a quick response to a fifth-wheel fire near Grandby, Colorado, last Wednesday. The rig flared up around 4:00 p.m., and crews had the flames knocked out in a few minutes. Cause? Another mystery – according to a report on, the rig “caught fire near the refrigerator, but it’s unclear what the cause of the fire was,” according to Schelly Olson, spokesperson for Grand Fire.

File photo of a Unimog, Klaus Nahr on wikimedia commons

A very unhappy German RVer has taken a U.K. police department to court. While visiting the U.K. in October 2109, Astrid Linse, a full-timer, was questioned about her Mercedes-Benz Unimog expedition motorhome by North Wales Police. When Linse couldn’t come up with proof of insurance, police impounded the rig. She later turned up with an insurance certificate, but police said they had questions about how she’d obtained it, so they wouldn’t give the expensive RV back. Linse took the matter to court, but before the matter was settled police sold the Unimog at auction, and it was later scrapped for parts. In an understatement, the judge hearing the case described the police actions as “highly surprising, to say the least,” and said the matter may now be considered for Linse to be open to receiving compensation for the rig.

RV Crime News

Utah State Patrol via

Police in Utah have a mystery on their hands: What happened to the driver of a motorhome on Interstate 15 after it caught on fire and burned to a cinder? State patrol officers were forced to shut down the northbound lanes for about three hours last Saturday, May 30, when the older model Class A unit pulled part-way onto the breakdown lane just south of New Harmony and went up in flames. Nobody was present when firefighters arrived, and after the flames were out, they found what was left of the rig’s license plate – expired for about a year. Police say they aren’t exactly sure about the status of the driver – they surmise it’s possible the RV was in tow, or could have been under its own power when the conflagration happened.

Another member of a New Orleans, Louisiana, ring that staged fake accidents with truckers has pleaded guilty as an untruthful witness. On May 28, Mario Solomon admitted that he helped a group shake down trucking companies by returning to an “accident” scene and claiming he saw a truck sideswipe a carload of people – something that had not really happened. Five others in the ring have already copped pleas this year. For his part, Solomon may spend five years in prison for bearing false witness in two staged accidents. For his trouble, the ring paid him a princely $1,000. Prosecutors say the scam also involved two attorneys – who have, as yet, not been named or charged.


Police are looking for help identifying a pickup truck used to rip off a travel trailer in Liberty Hill, Texas, on May 7. The truck is described as a gray Chevrolet that towed away a 2014 Jayco Flight. Got information? Call Crime Stoppers at 800-253-7867 or submit a tip online to the Williamson County Sheriff at

Somebody misses this recent-model Vibe travel trailer, purloined from Fort Bend Boat and RV Storage in Missouri City, Texas. Look for these specifics to help: A Trekker hitch, a stainless grill at the rear, and a rear-viewing camera. When the crook took it, it’s possible the trailer’s right side was damaged. Contact the Fort Bend Sheriff’s Department at 281-341-4665 if you have information.

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.

Good deals aplenty for new trucks now two years old

RVers thinking about purchasing a truck might consider a new pickup that’s nearly two years old. The reason: The COVID-19 pandemic stalled production of 2020 models for manufacturers and resulted in the temporary closing of “brick-and-mortar” dealerships. Sales suffered and deals are prevalent. Within two months of the economic downturn, 2019 inventory for cars and trucks increased nearly exponentially. Read more.

The launch of the Rivian EV pickup truck and SUV is facing more challenges.Fledgling Rivian EV company faces layoffs, new bosses

The much-anticipated debut of the Rivian high-performance, all-electric pickup truck is facing another issue. The company has laid off about 40 employees while also hiring several new executives. The Rivian, predicted to become a rival of the pending Tesla pickup truck, received global attention when prototypes were unveiled at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. The Rivian was scheduled for debut later this year, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Michigan-based company to delay its plans. Learn more.

Video: What happens when you put a giant boulder on the back of a Ford Ranger pickup truck? You can probably figure it out, but you can see EXACTLY what will happen in this short video, which also proves that, yes, stupid people do exist. There’s some adult language, so be advised. Watch the video.

Reader poll

Do you most often buy your fuel based on brand or price?
Respond here

Brain Teaser

It’s in the church, but not in the steeple; It’s in the parson, but not in the people; It’s in the oyster, but not in the shell; It’s in the clapper, but not in the bell. What is it?
(Answer below.)

News briefs

With RV sales booming, and RV dealers’ stock of inventory shrinking, the RV industry will need to ramp up production or consumers will soon find buying the new RV of their choice challenging. Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases in the RV manufacturing capital of Elkhart County, Indiana, continues to rise, breaking new ground Friday with 91 new cases, the highest number yet in a single day, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. In the past week, Elkhart County received national attention when it became the 10th most likely in the entire country to have the next COVID-19 outbreak, based on data collected by the New York Times.

Minnesota has opened some of its state park campgrounds. But some restrooms with flush toilets and shower buildings will not be open at most parks. Parks are asking users to take advantage of online reservations and self-service options as much as possible.

Now that Yellowstone National Park is back open, be aware that this scene is repeated many times every day. Be respectful of these bison, as they can be nasty if you disturb them. Yellowstone opened its Montana entrances Monday, June 1. Only limited services and facilities are available.

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park opened Thursday, the same day the park’s temporary timed entry system went into effect. Alpine Visitor Center is not expected to open until the end of June because of snow conditions. Trail Ridge Road, with a high point of 12,183 feet, is the highest continuous paved road in the country.

Grab your fishing pole if you’re in Oklahoma. It’s free fishing weekend – no state license required.

A Colorado couple who say their 2016 Winnebago Era RV had an inoperable GPS and furnace, screens falling off windows, and other problems, failed to convince the Tenth Circuit to reinstate warranty and consumer protection claims against Winnebago Industries Inc. Dallas Vaughn Platt and Deborah Ann Platt didn’t comply with the terms of the company’s warranty because they didn’t bring the vehicle to Winnebago after a dealer’s repair attempts were unsuccessful, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit said Wednesday.

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.

RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
Some Coachmen and Pursuit motorhomes recalled for fire risk.
Some Thor Sprinter motorhomes recalled for possible brake fluid loss.
Forest River recalls some trailers: Safety chains could fail.
Some Keystone trailers recalled for stovetop fire hazard.
Triple E recalls some Unity Class B motorhomes.
Forest River recalls some trailers, safety chains too weak.

Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?

If so, stories you missed:
Editor’s update on his long-overdue, but shaky, return trip home.
Would you pay $800,000 for an RV site?
Boondocking in a coronavirus world. Part 1: Why?
RV Electricity: Testing for a dangerous hot-skin voltage.
Your RVing dreams come with a moral.
Reader Poll: Will your next RV trip in the USA be to a destination east or west of the Mississippi River?
Let your lights shine – with less power from your batteries.
RV Tire Safety: Beware of tire advertising claims.
RV Education 101: Always look for water damage when buying a used RV.
Building an RV Park: We had visitors!
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 June 1, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $1.97 [Calif.: $2.80]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 83 cents.
Diesel: $2.39 [Calif.: $3.18]
Change from week before: No change; Change from year before: Down 75 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!

Upcoming RV shows

Time to start making plans to attend an upcoming show:

Enumclaw RV Show (Visit website), August 6-9, Enumclaw, WA
Midwest RV Super Show, August 13-16, Elkhart, IN
Raleigh Fall RV Show, August 28-30, Raleigh, NC
Great American RV & Camping Show, September 10-12, Colorado Springs, CO
Hershey America’s Largest RV Show, September 16-20, Hershey, PA
Portland Fall RV & Van Show, September 17-20, Portland, OR
Charlotte Fall RV Show, September 18-20, Charlotte, NC
Georgia RV & Camper Show, September 18-20, Atlanta, GA
Indianapolis Fall Boat & RV Show, September 25-27, Indianapolis, IN
New York State RV & Camping Show, September 25-27, Syracuse, NY
Washington State Evergreen Fall RV Show, September 25-27, Monroe, WA
Fall Detroit RV & Camping Show, September 30 – October 4, Novi, MI

See the complete list of upcoming RV shows.

Free and bargain camping


Click here to view this week’s free and bargain camping spots.

Other resources:
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

Brain teaser answer:

The letter R

Sunday funny

Some national parks remind visitors to take extra precaution avoiding bears, advising they wear noisy little bells to avoid startling the animals. They should recognize the difference between the dung of a black bear and a grizzly. Black bear dung is smaller and contains berries. Grizzly bear dung has little bells in it.

Yesterday we posted a video of a hilarious grandad who wouldn’t drink his water. We will not tell you more other than there is an unusual twist to this that will leave you howling with laughter! Bet you can’t just watch it once! Watch the video here.

RV Travel staff


Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Emily Woodbury, 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 or this newsletter.

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2 years ago

Those two dams in Michigan are privately owned. They had been cited previously for deficiencies, repairs of which they never made. Sadly the roads on them are important public roads. What a mess.