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Sunday, June 14, 2020
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Will the Pandemic ruin our RVing future?
RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury wonders if the present Pandemic could ultimately spoil much of the freedom of RVing for many of us. It may not be something you have thought about, and he wouldn’t have either, even a couple of months ago. But something has happened (hint: RV sales) that may mean a significant change in how we RV in the future. Read what he says.
RV workers worry about safety in manufacturing plants
Since Indiana began to reopen, a lot of focus is on the surge in COVID-19 cases in Elkhart. Elkhart has also been the source of complaints from those working in the RV industry recently who feel unsafe in their workplace. Just this past week, industry leaders said they may need to shut their plants again. Learn more.
New Facebook Groups
• RV Travel Tips: From the editors of RVtravel.com. Share information with other RVers about great places to visit with an RV.
• Trucks for RV Towing: Ask or share information about trucks for towing trailers, fifth wheels or toy hauler RVs.
NEW NEWSLETTER COMING IN JULY: A brand-new Monday through Friday newsletter for aspiring or novice RVers is coming from the editors of RVtravel.com. Read it for six months and you’ll know everything you need to know about buying and using an RV. Tell your friends who are planning to buy an RV to sign up. Do it here.
That was the RV week that was
June 7–13, 2020
National parks continue to pump plenty of money into the U.S. economy, according to the annual Interior Department report on the subject. In 2019 local communities got a $41.7 billion benefit, supporting 340,500 jobs. Visitor spending was up by $800 million from 2018, and the country’s overall benefit was a $1.6 billion boost. Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park was cited as an example, wherein six million visitors pumped $890 million into the economy, supporting nearly 12,000 jobs. Despite the hoopla, the nation’s parks continue to run in huge maintenance deficits.
A principal RV landmark in the Yukon’s Dawson City looks to be headed for a major change. The Gold Rush Campground, an 82-site RV park in downtown Dawson City, has been handed an eviction notice from city fathers. The present owners have operated the popular stop for 20-some years and aren’t too keen to have to relocate. But the city says it needs the property that it leases to the RV park for a recreation center – the current one is on unstable ground and could collapse. In two years, the RV park must be gone, says the lease. Meanwhile, the city says it’ll need to test the ground underneath Gold Rush to make sure it doesn’t have the same permafrost issues that threaten the existing recreation center. If those issues are there, the city could relent on the eviction – or they just might turn the park into residential lots. Regardless, the Gold Rush owners aren’t in a hurry to look for new land.
Creede, Colorado’s city trustees are facing a weighty decision: Should they turn the city’s free RV dump station into a pay-to-play proposition? The city manager trotted out the idea, suggesting that if the city leased equipment that locked down the dump to all but those who paid, it would only need 240 users per year at $10 a pop … er … dump, to break even. But there’s the small matter of a “lack of historical data” as to how many folks use the dump station in a year. Adding to this, the notion that paying for a dump station could lead to illegal dumping on nearby land didn’t set well with all board members, but in the end they agreed to give the matter more thought.
A fifth-wheel has exploded at a remote campground in Alberta, leaving six family members with serious, but not life-threatening injuries. Last Monday rescue crews scrambled to Marten River Campground, 180 miles north of Edmonton. At first the family was sent to a local hospital, but they have since been sent for more specialized care in Edmonton. The family consists of two adults and four children, ages six to 41. Investigators said the family had a small, “single use” LP cylinder inside the rig which leaked and exploded. This sad case reinforces the call for all RVers to ensure their LP detectors are truly operational.
High-end motorcoach builder Marathon says coronavirus hasn’t hurt them. The Coburg, Oregon, firm says they didn’t shut down during the pandemic, and says they’re busy, but behind on deliveries. The company anticipates a 30 percent sales increase this year, and to that end says it will hire production workers, and will need service techs at their three service facilities around the country.
“If only pigs had wings” is an expression that gets a new twist from Alexey Isaykin. Isaykin owns the Volga-Dnepr Group – an air cargo transport firm that says a certain virus has had a silver lining. When African swine fever leveled China’s hog herds, one of Isaykin’s Boeing 747s was pressed into service, flying 3,000 breeding pigs from France to China. The swine didn’t get wider seats or more legroom – just wooden crates.
Opponents to a 1,700 acre “glamping” proposal near Utah’s Zion National Park have upped the stakes by obtaining more than 9,000 signatures on a petition against the project. The property would have four separate glamping units comprised of teepees, tents, yurts, wagons, trailers, tree houses, tiny homes, shipping containers, cabins and lodges. Locals say development of the property is inevitable, but say this plan is simply incompatible with Kolob Mountain – the area where developers would build. A May 12 hearing on the project before county commissioners had to be tabled when the Zoom meeting set up for the public crashed when hundreds attempted to tie in.
Fire didn’t take long to wipe out six RVs, three boats, a pickup truck, and an ATV in rural South Dakota last Tuesday. Initial reports on the internet suggested the fire occurred at Lake Poinsett Estates Campground, but owners were quick to dispel that information. The fire broke out at a small campground near 196th Street and Highway 81, close to where three county lines meet: Hamlin, Brookings and Kingsbury. In the end, the hot and fast-traveling fire required firefighters from six different agencies. No cause has been determined, and no injuries were apparent.
Visiting Nevada? Commencing June 29 and running through July 2, Great Basin National Park will close the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive from Upper Lehman Creek Campground to the Wheeler Peak Day Use parking area. The closure will allow heavy equipment to access Wheeler Peak Campground for restoration work, which is presently closed for the season.
Imagine a family, never having had an RV experience, rents a Class A unit and heads out for a multi-state RV tour. Now imagine doing that same trip while most of the country is locked down under coronavirus restrictions. Now imagine doing the trip days before the death of George Floyd triggered protests across the nation – and add to all of it – you are a black family. You don’t need to imagine it, you can read about it in the words of Janine Rubenstein, a journalist and six-month-pregnant expecting mother. Rubenstein, her husband, brother, mother, and young son hit the pavement in their motorhome driving from Jersey to California. It’s an interesting story, filled with those “first RV trip” reactions that you get from everyone. Of course, an unexpected run-in with police for “loitering” and being scrutinized by a guy whose car flies a Confederate flag and just won’t seem to go away, add more dimensions to the tale. Find it here.
The sign marking the entry to Sterlington, Louisiana, bears the slogan, “Faith, Family, Friends,” but things weren’t exactly friendly at last Tuesday’s town council meeting. Council members wanted to know just why Mayor Caesar Velasquez had allowed development of an RV park on town-owned land – land that the developer’s didn’t own. Both the mayor and the town attorney were quick to assure council members that “the work had been stopped prior to the Town Council’s” meeting that night, says a report published by the Oachita Citizen, a local media outlet. The questions started early with one councilor proclaiming, “Maybe Caesar can tell us why there’s somebody building on the river property.” The mayor denied there was new construction, and said the work being done was simply repairing sewer risers, although a reporter later pointed out to His Honor that a new road appeared to be constructed on the town property. “It’s a dirt road that was already there,” Velasquez said. “They just put new dirt on it.” At the meeting he described the work done on the site as “Piddly crap.” Piddly, perhaps, but enough to upset his fellow politicians concerned about town liability.
Did you see the Facebook post about the Tiffin Phaeton giveaway? All you had to do was to share and comment on the post to be entered into the contest for a free Tiffin Phaeton 40IH diesel pusher. The post is signed “Tiffin” so it’s gotta be legit, right? Well, Tiffin Motorhomes felt compelled to run a post of their own – they’re not in any way associated with this come-on, which some are suggesting is a hoax. It’s not the first expensive goody giveaway appearing on the internet, and what’s likely happening is the Facebook poster is harvesting your data to later sell off as a collection. If it’s “too good to be true” …
The RV Industry Association (RVIA) is pleased with the results of a recent survey of Americans concerning recreational vehicles. The survey indicates 46 million Americans will travel by RV in the next 12 months. The highest interest in RV traveling comes from the 18- to 34-year-old age bracket. Some 20 percent of respondents linked interest in RVing to a response to COVID-19, and placed it over all other travel options including the use of a car and a tent. Also found – 11 percent of respondents said they’re planning to buy an RV, while 13 percent said they’ll rent one.
A South Carolina RVer has picked up bragging rights with a big fish story. Paula Edwards spent about 20 minutes tugging and reeling on a fishing line – and in the end, pulled in a big catfish. Fifty pounds worth of Arkansas Blue Catfish to be precise. And just how do you land a 50-pound catfish? Simple, says Paula Edwards, “let him take line until he wore himself out.” While Paula and her husband spend a lot of time with their fifth wheel where she caught the big one, Harry’s Fish Camp in Pineville, Arkansas, the catfish now calls Paula’s freezer home.
If you were born before 1980, here’s another reason to start feeling old. RV industry promo group GoRVing has pushed off its latest campaign. Don’t expect to see advertisements showing folks with grandchildren burning marshmallows and weenies outside of a big Class A motorhome. Instead the latest shove to buy RVs is aimed at Millennials, with (as the advertising group that developed the campaign says) “humor and bright images. One image of a redwood forest tree with googly eyes is adorned with the message ‘don’t push.’” The group’s head writer says of Millennials, “When they close their eyes and picture an RV, it is always a very large, very expensive, and typically very beige, motor home. And when they think about who is behind the wheel, it is invariably a retired couple.” If you aren’t a Millennial, it’s like the umpire says, “You’re out of there!”
The north end of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island has become too attractive, says a recreation officer charged with keeping tabs on 23,000 square miles of recreation lands. The beauty and remoteness attracts RVers, some of whom are taking unfair advantage. Graham Cameron, one of two officers assigned to the “North Island” beat, tells campbellrivermirror.com, “People will go out on Tuesday before a long weekend and leave their trailer there. Then others come to camp during the week and find every site full, but no one’s around.” If that weren’t bad enough, some park RVs on a given spot for the entire summer, coming and going as they please. To combat the problem officials have changed some previously free areas to “pay to play” status. They’ve also set up a toll-free hotline to report squatting RVers.
RV Crime News
Ever dream about making a killing when you buy an RV at an auction? Here’s a twist: Bellingham, Washington, police are now in the middle of an investigation after a motorhome sold at an area auction revealed a body inside. Police took the case June 9, and all the medical examiner is saying is that the body was a woman. We’ll update you when more details become available.
A couple’s spat turned ugly and hot for an RVer near Concord, California. Police say Jade McCoy (27), a transient from the area, got into an argument with her boyfriend who’d parked the rig under a Highway 4 overpass. After the fight, she allegedly set the rig on fire and headed out, only to be scooped up by police 45 minutes later. She’s being held on $250,000 bail, and authorities say they’re looking into other area fires that she might be connected to.
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.
Big recall on Ford F-150 pickup trucks. Brake fluid could leak
Even the country’s perennially best-selling vehicle sometimes has problems. In this instance, it’s Ford F-150 pickup trucks. About 350,000 Ford F-150 trucks in North America, including 292,311 vehicles in the United States, are being recalled for a faulty brake master cylinder, Ford announced. Learn more.
Ford expands F-150, SUV, sedan recall to 2.15 million
Ford has increased its latest recall to 2.15 million vehicles in North America, including a second problem with the Ford F-150 pickup truck, the best-selling vehicle in the United States. Besides its recall earlier this week affecting nearly 350,000 F-150 models for potentially faulty brakes, more of the legendary pickup trucks and several other automotive stablemates now have problematic door latches. Read more.
VW and Ford meet head-on as vans, pickup trucks, EVs thrive
As small city vans, large cargo vans and pickup trucks continue to attract more buyers, manufacturers will further collaborate to meet the demand and stimulate business. The most recent meet-up is Ford and Volkswagen. The two longstanding manufacturers announced their global alliance last year. But Ford and VW have now released details on the partnership’s vehicles on the horizon. Learn more.
How many miles do you believe you will put on your RV this summer compared to last summer? Respond here.
I am a man without bones, without blood, without life. My flesh is white, cold and shrinking. What am I?
Yosemite to increase visitor access
In accordance with guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local public health authorities, Yosemite National Park will continue to incrementally increase recreational access. Beginning June 11, the park opened all the primary attractions to some extent and visitors will be able to enter Yosemite in many ways. Read more.
FMCA announces plans for another Tucson rally
The Family Motor Coach Association has announced it will attempt another international rally at the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson, Ariz., March 23-26, 2022. The association was just a couple weeks away from staging its March 2020 event there when prohibitions on mass gatherings prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic forced its cancellation. Citing financial hardship, the group did not refund advance rally fees to the thousand or so members who had prepaid for the rally, issuing vouchers instead for a future event. FMCA’s next scheduled rally is March 10-13, 2021, in Perry, Georgia.
Wolf sightings increasing in Colorado with warm weather
With warmer weather and decreasing restrictions, more people are recreating in the outdoors, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is seeing an increase in the number of potential sightings of wolves in the state. Learn more.
KOA delays opening of new “glamping” resort
The COVID-19 crisis has forced Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA) to delay the opening of Terramor Outdoor Resort, a “glamping” resort the company is currently building in Bar Harbor, Maine. RVs are not welcome at the park that features 64 luxury tent rentals. According to Woodall’s Campground Management, the opening date change from June to July is because of state travel restrictions and delays in getting tent furnishings.
New York State Parks now taking camping reservations
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation is now accepting camping reservations at state parks. The earliest reservation window for check-ins and arrivals is June 22, with campground density restrictions and social distancing measures in place. Read more.
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
• Jayco recalls some RVs. Window glass could fall out.
• Forest River recalls some travel trailers. Safety chains could fail.
• Jayco recalls some 2020-2021 Sprinter motorhomes.
• 350,000 Ford F-150 trucks recalled for faulty brake master cylinder.
• Ford expands F-150, SUV, sedan recall to 2.15 million.
• Thor recalls some Sprinter motorhomes. Wrong info in owner’s manual.
• Keystone RV recalls some Springdale trailers.
REPORTER WANTED: RVtravel.com is expanding its news coverage and investigative and consumer reporting on behalf of RVers, and has a full-time freelance or staff position available for a creative, motivated writer/reporter with extensive experience in the news media, as well as knowledge of the RV industry. Work from wherever you are. DO NOT APPLY if you have never worked on deadline, do not have extensive knowledge of the RV business, can’t crank out copy, don’t have strong ethics, or don’t love the news business. To be considered, write Chuck Woodbury at firstname.lastname@example.org . If you don’t think you’re hot stuff, then please do not apply.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Propane safety made simple – Part 2.
• Living in one place, in one home, isn’t as “normal” as it once was.
• Reader letters: Interracial RVing couple the target of white RVer’s anger.
• RV Electricity: Will my RV generator backfeed power and kill someone?
• RV Shrink: RVing in COVID-19 summer – Can we visit Glacier National Park?
• RV Tire Safety: How to avoid tire “flat spotting” when parked.
• Video: Scary! Tropical storm nearly sends RVs parked on beach out to sea!
• RV Education 101: Check the tires when buying a used RV.
• Basement storage disorganized? Fix it!
• Facebook contest scam offers winner a free luxury motorhome.
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of June 8, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.04 [Calif.: $2.86]
Change from week before: Up 6 cents; Change from year before: Down 70 cents.
Diesel: $2.40 [Calif.: $3.20]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 71 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
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.
Brain teaser answer:
STUPID TOURIST QUESTIONS AT NATIONAL PARKS
• Are the alligators real? (Everglades National Park)
• So is that Canada over there? (Grand Canyon National Park)
• Does Old Faithful erupt at night? (Yellowstone National Park)
• How much of the cave is underground? (Carlsbad Caverns National Park)
RV Travel staff
CONTACT US at editor@RVtravel.com
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 RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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