Welcome to RVtravel.com, the newsletter that cares. Please tell your friends about us!
Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 19th year of continuous publication, is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers (Thank you!), plus the generous financial support of SoftStartRV, an inexpensive device every RV with an air conditioner should have.
Sunday, July 5, 2020
If you would like to read this week’s issue with the ads included, click here.
That was the RV week that was
June 28 – July 4, 2020
Washington State is reporting a huge updraft of wildfires this year. One agency has responded to 468 fires so far, nearly double the 10-year average for the whole season – not just a few months. The cause? Coronavirus! Actually, the pandemic is not directly responsible for fires, but it seems with so many people locked up at home, many have taken to cleaning up their yards and burning the debris – with some of those debris fires getting away from them. With restrictions being lifted, officials are now worried that more fires will break out as people head to the wilds in recreational getaways.
A Class A motorhome driver got insult added to injury, with a heavy dose of embarrassment, when he tried unsuccessfully to turn his big rig around on a dark street. Last Tuesday, the (happily) unnamed RVer messed up a turn in Falmouth, Massachusetts, rear-ending his rig into a fire plug. The fountaining results were predictable, but the huge mass of flowing water promptly created a giant sink hole, which sucked the rear end of the motorhome down, raising its front end up. There was no other way out; the 45-footer simply had to perch in the sinkhole until reinforcements arrived with a crane.
The U.S. House is concerned with broken bridges and highway potholes, so much so it has passed a $1.5 trillion bill to rebuild highway infrastructure. It would also pump money into transit systems and interstate highways, and dredge waterways. $100 billion of the money is also earmarked for internet expansion for rural and low-income communities. Called “Moving Forward,” the act passed 233-188 and is headed for the Senate, where it faces a murky future.
More bricks in the wall, if you’re planning on visiting New York or Connecticut. We reported last week that the states are determined to keep COVID-19 from spreading, and had put mandatory two-week quarantine orders on visitors from several states. But the list has grown – and for those coming into the two Northeast states, if you’ve recently been in these states – Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah – you won’t be allowed to freely travel for the first half-month of arrival.
City of San Jose, California, officials are licking their wounds after spending $1.3 million to temporarily shelter homeless people in RVs during the pandemic crisis. The city was gifted 90 FEMA trailers by the state, then spent over a million dollars “refurbishing” the rigs and setting them up on a lot. They also handed off another $700,000 to a private contractor to operate the “park” until October. But after the sewer system backed up, electrical issues sparked more problems, and many of the older ones chosen to live in the project couldn’t access the site, the city pulled the plug after just three weeks. In the end, for every “resident” sheltered in the bummer project, $54,000 was spent.
Escondido, California, firefighters faced off against a scary fire involving a motorhome – and industrial fuel tanks – last Wednesday. The motorhome was parked at a commercial fueling yard when the Class A unit caught fire. Due to the volume of smoke, responding crews radioed for backup even before arriving on scene. Once there, they found the fully involved RV parked very close to industrial-size above-ground fuel tanks. The motorhome was a complete loss but, happily, the damage to the fuel tanks was limited to singed paint.
The coronavirus manifested bad timing in Texas: The Park Service has closed down Big Bend National Park and the Rio Grande Wild & Scenic River just in time for the holiday weekend. Someone in the park’s residential community has tested positive for COVID-19, and the park is following guidelines of public health officials. The parked closed Thursday and will not reopen until further notice.
“Not in my backyard,” Maine. At least 35 residents of Phippsburg, Maine, turned up at a planning hearing and some had plenty to say about a proposed RV park on Popham Beach. Last year a small local store was closed and demolished, and the owners – wanting a little income without a lot of work – thought an 11-site, full hookup park was just the ticket. But the public hearing held on June 23 allowed the local planning board to get an earful. “I’d love to see another campground on Popham Beach, but just not there,” testified Kerri Hanscom. “I think the bad outweighs the good with this project. I’m worried the town will approve it, then regret it.” The board chair said she’d be keeping an open mind, and the decision will come down July 7.
A tragic accident on Oregon’s Highway 26 west of Warm Springs has left one woman dead and sent two RVers to the hospital. Kathy Rayborn (73) of Welches, Oregon, was driving a Mercedes-Benz SUV eastbound when she crossed the centerline and hit a westbound Class A motorhome. The driver of the motorhome, Richard Rydman (76), and Janice Rydman (73), both of Vancouver, Washington, were injured and sent to a hospital. Ms. Rayborn died on the scene. A 32-mile section of the highway was closed for more than four hours.
The huge spike in coronavirus cases in the Grand Canyon State has caused Arizona’s Coconino National Forest officials to shut down nearly 20 developed campgrounds in their jurisdiction. The closures became effective earlier this week and will run (unless rescinded) until October 31. Violators could be hit with fines of $5,000 or more. Evidently dispersed camping is still allowed, provided all other restrictions are met.
Serendipity or samaritans saved the day for a couple of Florida men who were just driving home from the dealership with a newly purchased motorhome in Florida last Tuesday. Unbeknownst to them, the Jeep Cherokee tagging along behind their Winnebago Journey had caught fire as they rolled south on Interstate 95 near the North Carolina Route 42 junction. Others spotted the flaming toad and flagged the motorhome down. Grabbing fire extinguishers, the pair fought a battle to try and beat the conflagration, and other motorists pulled over to hand off fresh fire-fighting tools. They got the fire down enough to unhitch the unruly Jeep, sparing the motorhome from the inferno. A local volunteer fire brigade turned up to finish the job.
RV industry gorging continues, as Florida-based Lazydays Holdings – aka Lazydays RV – is gobbling up what is purportedly Indiana’s largest motorhome dealer, Total Value RV, in Elkhart. In a press release liberally littered with positive-spin adjectives, Lazydays writes, “We are honored and humbled that Hank Schrock has chosen Lazydays to shepherd his longtime family business into the future.” Can RV industry gorging lead to indigestion? Perhaps so, for customers shopping in a less competitive marketplace. The acquisition is expected to be finalized within about three months.
Weather forecasters in the Kingston, Ontario, area got it right: Last weekend the weather-whizzes warned about the possibility of thunderstorms, and their predictions came up in spades. Nearly an inch-and-a-half of rain bucketed down, flooding city streets. But the winds took their vengeance on RVers at Lower Beverley Lake Park in Delta. Meteorologists suggest that a severe downburst did the dirty to this combination.
A fire along Washington state’s Interstate 90 consumed a motorhome, yet left the RVers optimistic. Firefighters were called out June 26 at about 2:15 p.m. to the blaze near Ritzville. The 40-foot Class A blazed merrily, and took along a couple of hundred feet of roadside grass. It took more than two hours to put out what was left of the ruins, that possibly started from a blown tire. Still, the motorhome’s users were anxious to climb into the wreckage. They were looking for their keys.
LAMPPOST – 1. MOTORHOME – 0. That’s the score from a run-in in from Lincoln, Nebraska, last Sunday afternoon. Thankfully, only minor injuries to occupants, but the same couldn’t be said for the Class A.
Having a fire station near to where a motorhome caught fire is credited with stopping a potential wildfire near Ellensburg, Washington. A Class A rig, which had been parked beside Highway 10 about seven miles west of town, caught fire last Sunday afternoon. When fire crews arrived, the rig was totally involved, with trees and brush likewise ablaze. Smoke eaters were able to put out the fire before it became a serious wildfire. Nobody was present with the motorhome when crews arrived.
RV Crime News
A lone woman, camping in Eagle Ridge County Park near Klamath Falls, Oregon, had a most unwelcome – and frightening – experience when several stooges drove up to her campsite in the middle of the night. Taking refuge in her car, she refused the men’s demands to come out, so one of them blasted her car with a pistol. The woman received injuries from blown-out glass from the shots. Investigators say the assault was purely random, as they could figure out no connection between the victim and the perpetrators. Got information? Call the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 541-850-5380.
According to a Pennsylvania State Police Report, Betsy Clark, 42, from Grampian, PA, has been arrested for cruelty to animals after two dogs were found inside an RV, allegedly without food and water for eight days, from June 15-23. The dogs were transported to the local SPCA. No report on their condition.
An officer shot and killed a person who shot a police sergeant on Friday afternoon in Welches, Oregon. Deputies and officers from the Sandy Police Department responded to a call from the relatives of a man who was having a mental health crisis at Mt. Hood Village RV Resort. A crisis negotiator tried to calm the man but the situation escalated and officers were forced to fire bean bag rounds and a Taser. It didn’t work and the man pulled a handgun, at which point an officer opened fire. A sergeant at the scene starting performing first aid on the suspect and didn’t realize he himself had been shot in the arm.
Police say they need your help finding the driver of a red pickup truck towing a “cream-colored fifth wheel” near California’s Goat Rock Beach last Thursday morning. A woman on a bicycle was clobbered by the fifth-wheel and knocked to the ground, left with “moderate” injuries. California Highway Patrol officials say it’s possible the driver wasn’t even aware he’d struck the cyclist; nevertheless, they want to talk with them. Anyone with information is asked to call the CHP at (707) 588-1400. Goat Rock Beach is in northwestern Sonoma County, California, near Jenner.
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE STOLEN RVs?
A Coleman travel trailer was stolen in the Braselton/Hoschton, Georgia, area last Sunday night. The victim believes the crook used this pickup – possibly a 2007 Toyota Tacoma – to pull off the crime. The single-cab pickup bears some sort of writing at the top of the windshield. The trailer’s owner is offering a $100 reward to anyone who can provide a license plate number for the truck, provided it results in an arrest. Contact the owner through Facebook at this link.
From Merida and Trick Rodriguez: “Our truck was stolen from the Gulfpointe Home Depot parking lot in Houston yesterday. Due to falling on hard times we reduced our insurance coverage from full comprehensive to liability (kicking myself in the butt for that), so we are at a huge loss. This was not only our only vehicle able to pull our family RV, but also my husband’s work truck. We work very hard for the little bit we have, as I’m sure you all do as well. Please, if anyone sees it or has any info please report it to Houston PD at (713) 308-3500. Much appreciated.” Plate: JXP-1807. Vin: 1GCJK33D07F182059.
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.
Have gun (in console vault), will travel
Console Vault, a Columbus, Ohio-based company, has seen a rapid increase in personal security, and the need to lock up valuables and guns when away from your vehicle. The easily self-installed Console Vaults are designed to fit most major trucks and SUV brands as well as passenger cars. Read more.
Other vehicle news
Old bus from movie “Into The Wild” no longer remote tourist attraction
Thirteen years after it became the world’s most infamous used school bus, the one-time refuge for workers and a wayward young man is no longer parked in the Alaskan wilderness. The dilapidated 1946 school bus was the living and dying quarters of Christopher McCandless, the main character in Jon Krakauer’s nonfiction book “Into the Wild” and the 2007 movie of the same name. Read what happened to it.
LA junkyard a hoarder’s paradise for rare cars
Many RV travelers may be accustomed to driving past fields of junked cars on country roads. But in the chaos of crunched metal, cracked rubber and shattered glass is also history and sometimes rare riches. They’re piles of nirvana for automobile aficionados. “Junkyard,” the coffee table book subtitled “Behind the Gates at California’s Secretive European-Car Salvage Yard,” defines the latter. Learn more.
How dramatically is the pandemic negatively impacting your life? Respond here.
What English word retains the same pronunciation, even after you take away the last four of its five letters?
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, the RV Industry Association has canceled the 2020 California RV Show, scheduled for October 2-11 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Southern California in particular is experiencing a rapid expansion of COVID-19 cases. The RV show is one of America’s largest. Last year’s show attracted more than 45,000 visitors.
The RV Travel Club has canceled its annual Grand National Rally, scheduled for September 21-25, due to potential risks to the membership from the pandemic.
Thor Motor Coach’s Delano and Tiburon Class C motorhomes feature modern conveniences and looks for 2021, the Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary announced June 30 in a press release. More.
The RV Industry Association has recommended that RV manufacturers make their annual model year and major product design changes between July 1 and Aug. 31 each year to improve the RV buying experience for consumers and inventory management for dealers. “You won’t have customers who are unhappy because you have two different models in the same model year,” said Dan Pearson of St. Cloud, Minn.-based Pleasureland RV Center.
Keystone RV officials announced last week that the Montana brand of fifth wheel trailers will include two new customer features as standard equipment for 2021 – a best-in-class axle package and advanced solar power prep.
In March, Baltimore Ravens guard Bradley Bozeman and his wife, Nikki, hit the road for a 17-state RV tour to share their anti-bullying message across the country. During the 2019 season, Bozeman, his wife and their two dogs lived in an RV. Recently they bought a house and are now selling the Keystone Cougar 368MBI fifth wheel. It can be yours for $46,000.
The city of Rock Springs, Wyo., Water Reclamation Facility has opened a second RV dump station adjacent to the old one. It should significantly reduce wait time.
A grizzly bear that returned twice to Rainbow Point Campground, one time finding human food, has forced closure of the site which is about 11 miles north of West Yellowstone on the Grayling Arm of Hebgen Lake, about four miles from the western border of Yellowstone National Park. After the first encounter, tent campers were told to sleep in their vehicles or to leave. The bear then returned Thursday night, approached some vehicles, attempted to open a dumpster and collapsed one unoccupied tent.
Plans to bolster 456 RV sites at the Grant County (Washington) Fairgrounds campground are underway. “The campgrounds were built when a typical RV was 12-20 feet long”, said Jim McKiernan, Fairgrounds Director. “They don’t work with today’s 40-foot motorhomes with three slide-outs.” The 87-acre campground is currently the largest in the county.
Workers in Elkhart County, Indiana, where 85 percent of all American motorhomes are made, are now required to wear masks, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Many of the factories are not air conditioned, so mask wearing will not help workers sensitive to the high summer temperatures in the area.
PGA tour golfer Woody Austin and his wife, Shannon, have purchased a Thor Ace motorhome which they will use to travel to and from tournaments. “We are gonna drive the rest of the year,” said Austin, a four-time winner on the PGA TOUR and on PGA TOUR Champions. “No hotels, no flying. We’re taking our precautions, but as far as me getting out there and playing and worrying about it … I’m not gonna do that. I certainly don’t want to become a hermit that doesn’t leave his house.”
The City of Fertile, Minnesota, is completing work on a new 10-site full-hookup RV campground adjacent to the Polk County Fairgrounds. Work to transform the property into a campground began in May, with a target opening date in July. To reserve a space call (218) 945-3136.
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
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Chuck Woodbury talks about the state of RVing on The Weekly Driver podcast.
• What you need to know before buying a motorhome – Part One.
• RV Electricity: SoftStartRV update – Yes, it really works, and here’s proof… (You won’t believe what Mike built!)
• Readers tell why they bought their first RV – Part 2.
• What’s better for you: Class C motorhome or Class B van conversion?
• Full-time RVing: Learning how to “just roll with it.”
• This RV wouldn’t budge in a tornado!
• RV Education 101 with Mark Polk: Keep holding tank odors out of the RV.
• Building an RV park: We met with the Board of Supervisors – Good news!
• Pet Corner: Let’s talk about poop!
• RV Shrink: Would you advise a rental RV road trip?
• Tire Safety: What valve stem to use with a TPMS – Part 1.
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of June 29, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.17 [Calif.: $2.96]
Change from week before: Up 4 cents; Change from year before: Down 54 cents.
Diesel: $2.43 [Calif.: $3.25]
Change from week before: No change; Change from year before: Down 61 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 – CANCELED
Midwest RV Super Show, August 13-16, Elkhart, IN – CANCELED
Raleigh Fall RV Show, August 28-30, Raleigh, NC – CANCELED
Great American RV & Camping Show, September 10-12, Colorado Springs, CO
Hershey America’s Largest RV Show, September 16-20, Hershey, PA – CANCELED
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
California RV Show, October 2-11, Fontana, CA – CANCELED
Free and bargain camping
Click here to view this week’s free and bargain camping spots.
• Walmart Directory: Best printed directory of Walmart locations.
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:
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.
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 RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.
This newsletter is copyright 2020 by RVtravel.com