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Sunday, July 19, 2020
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RV Electricity – The Stray Voltage Patrol needs your help Pronto!
The Stray Voltage Patrol now has a mission. This will be of benefit to anyone who’s ever experienced a campground with poorly maintained pedestals, low voltage and burned outlets. As you may be aware, Mike Sokol recently turned No~Shock~Zone into No Shock Zone, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. He is applying for a federal grant from OSHA that will allow him to create a pilot program to teach campground maintenance crews how to safely test, repair and maintain campground electrical pedestals. But this pilot program requires him to identify around a dozen campgrounds by tomorrow morning, July 20, that he can visit to do free training for their maintenance crews. That’s where you come in. Read how you can help here.
RVer mistakes gas station fuel tank for dump station
Add this to your “Sadder, but wiser RVer” file. An unnamed RVer pulled into a North Atlantic fuel station in Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland, last Tuesday. His RV’s black tank needing to be emptied, he pulled up to the RV dump station, opened the lid, hooked up, and “bombs away!” Another service station customer noticed the earnest dumper, and mentioned it to the station attendant. Only problem: it wasn’t a dump station (which resulted in very bad news!). Read more.
Labor Day in Texas? Best reserve your RV spot now
It’s not every day you can get important information from a taco. Most folks think they’re full of beans. But in this case, this Texas TACO is an acronym for the Texas Association of Campground Owners. What’s so important? “Campgrounds are really busy this summer, which means reservations are essential, particularly on a holiday weekend like Labor Day,” said Brian Schaeffer, TACO’s CEO. Continue reading.
Volunteer for COVID-19 studies
If you like to volunteer to be part of vaccine studies, go to www.
Prepare to mask up at Walmart
Staple shopping center of many RVers, Walmart has a big change. The company says it will require all customers coming into their stores to wear a face mask. The mandate goes into effect Monday, July 20. Read more.
NEW! Big contest starts next Saturday
Be sure to read in next Saturday’s newsletter about how to enter our big Early Summer Bonanza of Prizes Contest, July 25 through August 2, where we will award a whole bunch of great prizes including a fantastic SoftStartRV air conditioner management device. With its new technology you can now run your RV’s air conditioner on regular (20 amp) household power or a small generator. Other prizes include a half-dozen 360 Siphon roof vent caps, which will send the stinky odors from your RV toilet out your roof to prevent your RV from smelling like an outhouse. And you could win one of six books by Mike Sokol about RV Electricity, a must-read for all RVers. Plus more great prizes! Be sure you are signed up for our RV Daily Tips Newsletter to increase your chance of winning.
That was the RV week that was
July 12–18, 2020
RV touring into Canada and Mexico got dealt yet another setback as at least two countries involved have determined to keep the borders shut. Canada gates will stay closed until at least August 21, and Mexico has officially echoed that statement. Major media reports these statements come from dependable sources both north and south, but the U.S. government is playing it closer to the vest, telling CNN, “We have nothing to announce at this time.”
Western Motor Home Association, an umbrella group of the Family Motor Coach Association, says it’s had to scrub its Western Area Rally, previously scheduled for January 6 through 12, 2021. The gathering was set for California’s Riverside County Fairgrounds. A couple of major buildings on the grounds have been taken over to help in the fight against coronavirus, and would not have been vacated until December 31 at the earliest. Organizers have rescheduled the gathering to January 12 through 16, 2022. Perhaps ironically, the theme of the rally will remain the same, “In The Land of Oz.”
Coronavirus hit people hard – and industry right along with them. The demand for gasoline dried up back in March when many folks isolated themselves and traffic on roadways was decimated. Last week the demand for gas in the U.S. hit the highest point since March – 8.7 million barrels per day. How will the demand affect pump prices? According to AAA, prices across the country basically stayed put, heading up only a penny to an average of $2.19 per gallon. Last year, from May to early July, demand averaged 9.5 million barrels per day, so even with people hitting the road, the demand still isn’t as high, and there’s plenty of gas sloshing around in industry’s storage.
Last week Walmart announced it would soon be showing drive-in movies in many of its parking lots. Not to be outdone, Lowe’s stores in North Carolina and Georgia will do the same, but with a twist. The idea is to benefit small businesses hard hit by the pandemic. For any donation made by movie-goers, Lowe’s will match two-to-one up to $50,000 to its grant program for those businesses.
RVers traveling in Eastern Washington will soon have more places to drop the hook. The existing Pasco, Washington, KOA is expanding its RV spaces by 55 more sites, some with fenced dog yards. To make room for the new sites, the KOA is converting RV and boat storage lots into camp-able areas. The park already sports 185 sites, but says the lion’s share of those are long-term spots for construction workers. The new sites will accommodate big rigs – with some of the sites scaling in at 91 feet in length.
Joggers – be bear-aware. It’s not clear who was more surprised, but a 30-something woman jogging in Montana’s Glacier National Park collided with a young grizzly bear last Saturday. The crash caused both bear and jogger to spill off Huckleberry Lookout Trail. The bear turned tail and ran, and the woman walked with friends back to a trailhead to report the incident. Rangers say jogging is great exercise, but probably best reserved for locations without bears. The jogger suffered minor injuries; the bear possible wounded pride.
The Family Motor Coach Association has now lost 4,000 members in the last 10 months since it raised it renewal membership fee to $75 a year ($85 for new members). In a Zoom conference last week with its Executive Board, a member noted that the nonprofit group lost $593,000 from the cancellation of its International Rally last March in Tucson. The club has yet to pass a balanced budget for 2021, but it seems likely for its survival that it will cancel its FMCAssist emergency medical program, a basic member benefit that costs the club $900,000 a year, and rollback an annual membership to $50.
We reported last week that Navasota, Texas, officials were considering allowing a permit request for a new RV park behind the local Western Steakhouse & Dancehall. On July 13, the city council gave that approval after nobody had anything bad to say about the plan. A 42-site RV park will accommodate “the largest RV made on the market today, plus a vehicle parking space in front of it and back of it,” according to testimony by Paul Malek, an engineer who spoke to the council.
Where are the best bathrooms in all of Canada? Out of five finalists in the “Canada’s Best Restroom” contest, one of them is the Westview RV Park in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. What makes Westview’s loos so remarkable? Epoxy floors keep feet from slipping. Concrete countertops, tiled walls, and rounded corners. This photo helps you take a peak before you take a trip inside.
An ordinance made “to address the impacts of homelessness in the city, both in terms of its impact to residents and businesses, as well as potential positive economic growth,” may have broader implications for RVers. New Port Richey, Florida’s city council passed an ordinance on July 7 that allows residents to park an RV on their property only for “storage purposes,” and grants license to camp in a residence backyard. The kicker: Camping is permitted for only less than 48 hours in any 90-day period. So much for visiting the kids and grandkids in New Port Richey.
As NASA works to establish a permanent Moon base, one challenge is figuring out housing. Ideas have included inflatable tents, underground structures, and even giant fungi. Now, through a partnership with Japan’s space agency JAXA, NASA is considering pressurized rovers that would be the Moon equivalent of an RV. JAXA has worked with Toyota for more than two years on the idea and NASA is now joining in the effort.
Why we love Game Wardens: Lost, injured hiker rescued: RVers are outside a lot and often come across a game warden. They might assume these officers spend most of their time checking fishing and hunting licenses. It’s not so: They do far more. This report is typical of many we come across regularly at RVtravel.com, in this case from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. To which we say to the officers involved, “Thank you for being there.” Read about this lucky hiker.
Third time’s the charm? It may be for Vashon Conway (40) of Redwood City, California. On July 5, Conway was picked up at a local high school for allegedly “annoying a child under 15.” He evidently escalated, as two days later, police picked him up for allegedly removing an apartment window screen and letting himself in. He was out on bail on that charge, when on July 11, an RVer told police she heard someone trying to open her screen door, then encountered Conway standing in her dining area.
Frustrated would-be campers are having reservations about British Columbia’s provincial park reservation system. Golden Ears Park in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, is highly popular, and sites are available only by reservation. But RVers are complaining that when all sites are reserved, many are unoccupied. A local newspaper confirmed this with a drive-through last week. The suspicion is some are reserving a whole week, but only showing up for the weekend. Officials say it doesn’t work that way. If a site isn’t claimed by 11:00 a.m. the day following the first day of reservation, it’s put back in the system for another potential camper. Campers cry foul, and say at least some sites should be available for walk-ups.
Indiana COVID-19 cases rose by 4,307 over the past week, an average of 615 per day. That compares with an increase of 3,032 over the previous week, an average of 433 per day. The amount of time it takes to process tests has also lagged in the last seven days to 59 hours. Elkhart County, where 85 percent of all American RVs are made, is trying to resume production, but cases continue to rise there, complicating matters and limiting production. And speaking of Indiana. . .
… The three largest U.S. RV manufacturers, Thor, Forest River and Winnebago, announced this past week that they will not participate in the Elkhart Open House Week in September due to the pandemic. It’s typically one of the largest annual events in the RV industry, where RV dealers meet to see the latest offerings by manufacturers and place orders for the upcoming season. Indiana officials had hoped to be completely back in business by the Fourth of July holiday. But some counties, including Elkhart, have seen a resurgence of the virus that is so far only getting worse.
Planning commissioners in Milton Township, Michigan, got an earful last Tuesday when a proposed RV park near Torch Lake came open to public discussion. As might be expected, objections regarding noise and light pollution, heavy traffic, and environmental concerns all hit the public fan. Interspersed among the naysayers, however, were a couple of positive comments about the proposal. In light of all the sandbagging, the commissioners decided to table the matter and take time to sift through everything presented.
STOLEN RV REPORT
Keep your eyes open for this 2015 Coachmen Leprechaun 320 Bunkhouse on a Ford Chassis stolen from a repair facility in Conroe, Texas. The Texas license tag is JDNO208. Contact the Conroe PD at (936) 522-3200 if you’ve seen it.
The Todd County (Minn.) Sheriff’s Office is looking for the person who drove up to a fifth wheel trailer for sale at Pleasureland RV Sales on July 6, hooked it up to a pickup and took off. A dark blue or black Chevy crew cab 2500 or 3500 was spotted on security camera going up to the 2016 Keystone Carbon 357, hitching up to it and leaving. The RV is white with black graphics on it. It will also have a Thompson RV sales sticker on the back. Call the Todd County Sheriff’s Office at (320) 732-2157 if you have information.
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.
2021 Ford Bronco: Iconic first SUV returns after 25 years
Nearly a quarter-century after it was last made, the 2021 edition of the iconic Ford Bronco debuted July 13 with as much anticipation as any new vehicle in recent memory. Often cited as the first Sport Utility Vehicle, the Bronco has a loyal following and its new edition is likely to continue the iconic vehicle’s increasing legacy. Read more.
Pickup trucks with stick shifts? Only Toyota and Jeep models remain
New cars and lightweight trucks available in the United States remain an ever-shrinking option. Thirty-eight car nameplates offer manual transmissions for their 2020 models – Aston Martin to Volkswagen. But truck enthusiasts who like to shift gears have far fewer choices. Only two manufacturers, Toyota and Jeep, offer a manual transmission in their fleets. Learn more.
Sharp 1958 Chevy pickup truck for sale; honors S.F. Giants
Amir Daneshvar is accustomed to selling unique, high-end, modern-day cars — Audi to Porsche, BMW to Mercedes-Benz. But a 62-year-old pickup truck is rare for his Sacramento, California, used car business. It’s more unusual considering its appearance. It’s an homage-on-wheels to the San Francisco Giants. The 1958 Chevrolet Apache Fleetside was made for one of the team’s “super fans.” Read more.
Monster truck and RV combo takes off-road RVing to extreme
Earthroamer, Haw-Creek and Action Mobil are among numerous companies specializing in monster, off-road recreational vehicles. They’re touted as expedition vehicles that can go anywhere at nearly any time. But some enthusiasts would rather approach the idea with a DIY project, and the owner of this rig combined a Western R.V. with a pickup truck and positioned the contraption high off the ground on eight jumbo tires. Check it out!
Do you believe public schools should open on their normal schedule this fall? Respond here and see how others responded.
What word in the English language does the following: the first two letters signify a male, the first three letters signify a female, the first four letters signify a great person, while the entire word signifies a great woman. What is the word?
Grand Canyon National Park draws more than six million global visitors in a typical year. But now, with Arizona a leader in the nation in coronavirus infections per capita, pressure is mounting to close the park and others in states across the South and the West. Grand Canyon officials estimated that its daily number of visitors is about half of normal these days.
Research released in June by the RV Industry Association shows 46 million Americans planned to take an RV trip within the following 12 months. Eleven percent of the people surveyed wanted to buy an RV within that period and 13 percent wanted to rent an RV. Dealers and rental marketplaces say RV demand has outpaced supply.
Sandy Terraces, a nudist campground in Cape Cod, Mass., once attracted as many as 10 new visitors a day, but is now down to two or three. Most members are seniors, who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus. Face masks are required, but other body covering is optional.
After the coronavirus forced policy changes, the campgrounds at Shenandoah National Park are now open at full capacity.
A sudden rise in demand in RVs has reversed the employment prospects of Wichita, Kansas, manufacturer Airxcel, Inc. Its RV Products division is now hiring 135 additional manufacturing and warehouse positions after COVID-19 had temporarily idled the plant with hundreds of layoffs.
Lippert Components, a major supplier of parts and products to the RV industry, says its second quarter sales were way better than expected, with the value of its shares doubling since March.
Stores that now require customers to wear masks, or will soon require it, include Walmart, Starbucks, Best Buy, Home Depot (July 22), Lowe’s, Rite Aid, Target (August 1), Walgreens (July 20), Kroger, Kohl’s, Apple, Costco, Dollar Tree, Meijer and Publix.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife saw more campers this June than in the same month for the past four years. Occupied nights increased 22% from 2019, according to CPW. In Pennsylvania, “camping reservations and state park attendance both are going through the roof,” said Terry Brady for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
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
• Airstream recalls some 2020-2021 motorhomes.
• Keystone RV recalls 8,313 fifth wheel trailers.
• Big recall on some Jayco Greyhawk, Redhawk and Envoy RVs.
• Forest River recalls some Riverstone trailers for generator issue.
• Jayco recalls some Entegra and Melbourne motorhomes.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Editor Chuck Woodbury reflects on loneliness, dating and relationships during COVID-19, and announces upcoming weekly meetups on Zoom for our member-subscribers.
• Swimmers electrocuted in Arizona lake. Don’t let this happen to you!
• Supply of mobile RV technicians not keeping up with demand.
• What you need to know BEFORE buying a motorhome – Part Three.
• Important warning! Bad RV door part can lock your loved ones in the RV.
• Park Hosts, essential workers, challenged during pandemic.
• Birds build nest on RV. RVers must stay put or face $15,000 fine or jail!
• Weird, Wacky RVs of the Week. See ’em to believe ’em.
• Building an RV Park: Septic skeptic, road “feathers” … and more issues.
• Wow! Is this home-built RV incredible or what?
• Why don’t more big tire companies make ST-type tires?
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of July 13, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.20 [Calif.: $3.02]
Change from week before: Up 2 cents; Change from year before: Down 58 cents.
Diesel: $2.44 [Calif.: $3.25]
Change from week before: No change; Change from year before: Down 61 cents.
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Upcoming RV shows
Editor’s note: We expect that all of these shows will be cancelled as their scheduled dates near. This list is current as of July 20.
Enumclaw RV Show, 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
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 – CANCELED
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
Directory of RV parks with storm shelters
Where do you camp when a tornado is headed your direction? Hopefully in a park with a storm shelter. Here’s RVtravel.com’s ever-expanding directory of such places.
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:
Making the rounds on social media. . .
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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