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Sunday, August 30, 2020
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(photo taken along the Ring Road in Iceland by RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury)
Who are you?
Please introduce yourself to your fellow RVtravel.com readers. Send us 100-200 words about yourself, where you live, why you travel by RV, your favorite places — how life is going for you. Tell us about the funniest moment you ever spent on the road. But, really, it doesn’t matter what you tell us — just provide a little insight into your life, your dreams, even your challenges in these trying times. Submit your story here and please include a photo. We’ll share as many of your stories as we can.
More than 50 people found in smuggler’s fifth wheel trailer
Deputies in Presidio County, Texas, made a startling discovery on Friday on a routine traffic stop, when they pulled over a truck towing a fifth wheel trailer without license plates along Highway 67. To their shock, they found 51 undocumented immigrants inside being smuggled into the United States. The individuals in the RV admitted they were in the country illegally, saying they were from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico.
July RV shipments set a new record
RVing continues to be red hot, with dealers reporting record sales. Posting the highest July shipment numbers in four decades, the RV Industry Association’s monthly survey of manufacturers found that total RV shipments ended July with 43,035 units, an increase of 53.5% from the 28,044 units shipped in July 2019. Learn more.
Wildfires force closure of some California State Parks
California State Parks is closing campgrounds in all Santa Cruz and San Mateo County state parks and beaches due to the ongoing CZU August Lightning Complex Fires and out of public safety concerns. The closures will be in effect Monday, Aug. 24-31. The public is advised not to travel to these counties. Read more.
New TV commercial promotes RVing. What do you think?
This is how the RV Industry Association (RVIA) is promoting RV sales. It’s evident from the commercial that the market it’s targeting is young, active consumers. Watch for this commercial on TV and online soon. The commercial’s message is this: “Are you ready for something REAL? It’s time to Go on a Real Vacation.” Watch the video then tell us your thoughts in the comments section.
That was the RV week that was
August 23 – 29, 2020
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is reopening all campgrounds closed since March for coronavirus safety precautions. This is just in time for Labor Day, as all campgrounds (except for Look Rock, which is closed for refurbishing) will reopen on September 3.
Redwood lovers, you may breathe easier. Reports that California’s Big Basin Redwoods State Park “is gone” were, as the saying goes, highly exaggerated. While the massive wildfire that ripped through the park did do significant damage, the damage was largely to man-made constructs, not to the redwoods. Early this week an Associated Press reporter hiked along the Redwood Trail at the park and says from what he could see, most of the trees he saw took the flames in stride. An official Park Service release says several of the famed trees were singed, but two favorites, Mother of the Forest and the Father of the Forest, “were both affected by the wildfires but remain generally healthy.” Redwoods are renowned for their resiliency to what nature throws at them, be it fire, flood or windstorm. The park’s headquarters office was leveled by the fire, and other historic buildings as well, and the campground suffered major damage. But most of those trees will likely outlive all of us.
Hurricane Laura evacuees who need refuge and have an RV will find it in Texas. The Texas Motor Speedway is opening a campground at no charge for evacuees from Texas and Louisiana. Restrooms and showers will be available, but those coming will be asked to maintain social distancing and sanitation recommendations. The speedway is in Fort Worth.
In a third time at bat, a would-be Orange County, Virginia, RV park developer has gone down swinging. We’ve previously reported on Orange County Resorts, LLC’s desire to build an RV park on 83 acres of land in Orange County and adjoining Spotsylvania County. Initially plans were for 250 purchasable sites. They changed their minds and said 150 to 175 leaseable sites. At hearings, the developer was plainly unsure of many aspects of the development, and was given two weeks to clarify. At last Thursday’s hearing, the developer was still muddled. Commissioners said many of the developer’s ideas simply weren’t lawful, and despite repeated requests, it had not given answers to earlier questions. The commission voted unanimously to recommend turning down a required special use permit.
Efforts to help revive the numbers of the endangered California condor species may have suffered a setback. A wildfire burning in Big Sur country mowed through the 80-acre Ventana Wildlife Society’s condor sanctuary. Pens and a research building were wiped out. Although there were no condors in the pens, there were free ranging condors on the site, and 14 are unaccounted for, including four condor chicks. The nonprofit organization says it’s taking donations to try and rebuild.
Looking forward to fall, hoping campgrounds will be a bit less crowded? Don’t get your hopes too high, there could be an unexpected user faction at play. According to camping search app The Dyrt, there could a lot of families taking their kids to school – on the road. A survey of 7,000 of the app’s users revealed 81% of parents are giving serious thought to doing “remote learning” on the road.
With wildfires aplenty around the country, what should you do to protect yourself from smoke? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says if you have heart or respiratory problems, are pregnant, or are over 65, you should do the following: When outside, wear an N95 or P100 respirator. Set your automotive air conditioners to recirculate. Keep an eye on air quality advisories – visit airnow.gov. Be ready to leave the area if smoke levels get too high. And a list of “don’ts”: Don’t play or exercise outside. Don’t fry or broil food inside – it can cause more particulates to pollute your indoor air. Don’t use a gas stove. Don’t smoke inside. And while the smoke lasts, don’t vacuum – it can stir up more dust.
Big Moose makes big goof. Big Moose Inn, a complex that also includes cabins, restaurant, and a campground just outside Baxter State Park, in Millinocket, Maine, has had its license suspended by the state. On August 7 the outfit hosted a wedding reception where coronavirus got loose and spread to at least 87 people. The state alleges that Big Moose management allowed more guests than health rules permit. Initially the inn was cited, but when inspectors later found more coronavirus violations, they shut the place down for a month.
Got a vintage RV? Then you’ll find kindred spirits who own a campground in Le Veta, Colorado. Greg and Lisa Garret love vintage stuff, including RVs, and they offer camping discounts at their La Veta Pines RV Park. The regular two-night-stay rate is $70. If your RV is a pre-1970 model, then you’ll “pay your year.” A 1957 Shasta owner would pay $57 to stay two nights. Learn more at lavetapines.com.
A proposal to allow extended RV stays at the Shining Mountain golf course in Woodland Park, Colorado, has been nixed. Following much resident opposition, the city council voted down the idea of allowing traveling golfers in RVs to stay overnight in the golf course’s parking lot. A city councilman said he spoke to the local RV park owners who opposed the idea. He said one owner feared RV owners would overwhelm the park’s dump stations, adding that some only come into his park to use the dump station and wind up leaving a mess. As a result, he has limited use of the dump stations to his paying guests. Another RV park owner said he is considering raising his price for RVers who just use the dump station from $15 to $45.
Thinking about bringing your electric car to Quartzsite, Arizona? Now you can boondock and still find a place to charge the toad-car. Electrify America is installing a network of fast-charging stations at Love’s Travel Stops, including the Quartzsite location. The Quartzsite location offers up to 350 kW charge rates. The company says it’s in the process of adding 93 more stations to its existing count of 464. Click here to see a map and details.
A new, 53-site full-hookup RV park may open before year’s end in Broussard, Louisiana. Developers are touting it as a “destination park,” as it is near the entrance of the Broussard Sports Complex at St. Julien Park. While certainly not offering the amenities that would make for a “resort” status, the developer does crow about level pads, family-style bath houses, and high-speed internet.
Tempest in a toilet? The local media calls it “an invasion.” City council members in Minehead, a small coastal town in Bristol, England, are having fits with motorhome owners. Seems that the RVers can park overnight for free along the sea front. When county officials refused to take action to cut off the parking, Minehead’s council says it will limit the hours of public bathrooms from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., figuring this will discourage overnight parking. Councillors (as they are called in the U.K.) say the “up to 50 motorhomes” that park overnight are bringing a huge risk of Coronavirus to locals, and that their excessive use of water to supply their rigs is costing the city dearly.
Emotions ran high as testimony was given in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. The topic? Allowing developers to build an RV park in town. One local moaned about how “bulky RVs would traverse these narrow, downtown streets.” Another complained about how much noise RVs make. Still another said that an RV park was simply incompatible with the “historic” nature of the downtown area. In the end, despite there actually being supporters of the plan on hand, the city attorney put the final dagger in the plan. Seems that the site in question is crossing two city zoning districts. If the developer wants to proceed, it will need to start from scratch and reapply for a conditional use permit.
Some RVers may not be calling in for a tee time in Woodland Park, Colorado. Management at Shining Mountain Golf Course approached the city council seeking permission to allow RVs to overnight on the course’s parking lot. A flurry of opposition from local residents soon turned the lights out on the request.
You’d have to bee there to see it, but honey bees are terrorizing some campers at California’s Joshua Tree National Park. Earlier this year, rangers had to close down Jumbo Rocks and Cottonwood campgrounds when thirsty honey bees began dive bombing the camps looking for water. The bees abated, the campgrounds reopened, but now the wrath of the honey-makers has visited White Tank Campground and Keys View observation point. Rangers have shut down both until the little pollen shifters go elsewhere.
Patent Depending: Vehicles
A FEATURE IN EACH SUNDAY’S RVTRAVEL.COM NEWSLETTER
By Steven M. Johnson
The Desert Ecohome
Too often we feel that we are living unnatural lives, separated from nature. Traveling in the Ecohome, we are reconnected with the desert landscape in obvious but also in subtle ways. Birds, lizards, gophers, snakes and Gila Monsters feel welcome, and may choose to burrow into the siding.
RV Crime News
Although they didn’t steal an RV, these two suspects may be traveling in a motorhome. Police in Coos Bay, Oregon, say they suspect this couple swiped several items, including a gun, out of a vehicle parked at Winchester Trails, at mile marker 251 on U.S. Highway 101. The Coos County Sheriff’s office says the couple is traveling in the motorhome pictured here. They ask anyone that sees them to call 541-396-2106.
Things got a little carried away at Payson Lakes Campground, a Forest Service site, near Payson, Utah. On August 22, law enforcement officers responded to a disturbance at the campground. Witnesses reported that a man had threatened to kill a child, then swiped the camp host’s golf cart, and had tried to use it to mow down other folks in the campground. Police caught up with Michael Haleua (29), of St. George, Utah, cruising on a nearby road. Once stopped, Haleua refused to get out of the cart and had to be physically removed, kicking all the way. Once in a police car, he made moves to get out, and repeatedly kicked at an officer until he was tazed. As he appeared to be intoxicated, he was taken to a hospital where he kicked at staff and “called them derogatory names.” Tests revealed he reportedly had THC in his system. He’s been charged with a raft of crimes, including “theft of an operable vehicle.”
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
Missing: One l-o-n-g trailer. Moraine, Ohio, police are trying to track down a 38-and-a-half-foot trailer that went missing from Dixon’s Automotive between August 21 and 23. The 2013 Prime Time Lacrosse is a model 318BHS. Got info? Call 937-535-1166.
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.
New solar-powered truck bed cover captures the sun
Solar power integration for pickup trucks just became more innovative. Worksport, the manufacturer of tonneau covers and accessories for trucks, has debuted TerraVis, a platform for versatile and cost-effective pickup truck solar power. The system combines the tonneau covers with a solar generation and energy storage system. Read more.
Ford Bronco, Land Rover Defender soon ready for off-road mini-RVing
GehoCab has expanded its expertise in off-road motorhome conversion in the Volkswagen Amarok into a far larger market. The German-based company has announced it’s reconfiguring its carbon-shelled, chassis-mount campers for installation in the Land Rover Defender, Ford Bronco and other popular off-road SUVs. Learn more.
Best 2020 vehicle for RV families? VW Atlas
The editors at Cars.com compile a lot of lists every year. For RVers with families, arguably the prominent site’s most important list is Family Car of the Year. Using a comprehensive list of criteria, the site narrows the list to three vehicles and then selects the winner. For 2020, the winner is the Volkswagen Atlas. Read more.
Would you stay a week where there’s no cell phone or internet service?
Unscramble the words below so that each pair of words rhymes.
- RBAE & HREAS
- WNROED & UTRHNDE
- TUGHAT & HBTUGO
- ODULC & ODOG
The Maine State Parks Reservations call center will close for the season on Friday, September 11, at 4 p.m. Internet reservations will continue to Sunday, September 13, 2020, until 4 p.m. Campsites become first-come/first-served on Monday, September 14.
The Board of Directors of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) has voted to keep its costly FMCAssist medical evacuation program as a free member benefit. Also, the club has decided to not return its annual membership fee to $50. It raised it to $75 last summer, which has resulted in a net loss of more than 7,500 members in the months since.
Little Basin Campground in California’s Little Basin Redwood State Park has been closed until further notice due to severe damage from the CZU Lightning Complex Fire. There’s no timeframe for the reconstruction of the popular park in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Pennsylvania State Parks are free for everyone to enjoy. For now, that is. New legislation would allow individual parks to charge for admission and parking. “All of our border states charge fees at their state parks,” said state representative Doyle Heffley. “I’m not looking to gouge people but just create a little bit of a funding stream so we can improve the condition and the experience for those people that want to visit the park.”
Keep your eyes open in Washington state’s Mount Rainier National Park. Wolverines have been spotted there for the first time in 100 years. Wolverines look like small bears, but they’re actually the largest member of the weasel family. Seeing one in the wild is becoming extremely rare.
YouTube celebrities Kyle and Olivia Brady, of Drivin’ & Vibin’ fame, are hanging up their RV wheels for a traditional home after five years on the road. They said the excitement has worn off and the pandemic has put a damper on their travels. They noted that crowded RV parks and boondocking locations have made it a struggle to find a place to stay. Kyle said at least five couples he knows had decided to stop RVing full time and instead live a more traditional lifestyle because of the “new normal” on the road.
Next Saturday, September 5, is free fishing day in California. No state license required. Have fun! Read the fine print. You can also fish for free in saltwater in Florida on Saturday, September 5.
The U.S. Forest Service is alerting campers in the Huron-Manistee National Forests in Michigan to keep their eye out for bears, which have been sighted recently at the Peterson Bridge Campground.
Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky is gathering public input on proposed increases in cave tour and camping rates that would take effect in 2021. The increases include a minimum of a $2 increase on most cave tours and a $5 increase at nonelectric campsites.
Redwood City, Calif., will begin to implement a $1.7 million safe parking program for RV dwellers, providing a path to permanent housing for those living on the city’s streets. Up to 110 RV owners will be granted to park in off-road stalls. Families, the elderly and those with disabilities will receive priority for accessing the lot overnight and overflow vehicles would receive overnight parking permits. All the RVs would need to return to the streets during the day due to a law prohibiting 24-hour parking of recreational vehicles.
Patrick Industries Inc. on Friday announced it has completed the acquisition of Goshen, Indiana-based Synergy RV Transport, a transportation and logistics service provider that uses independently contracted drivers to haul towable/flatbed and motorized RVs from RV plants to dealer lots throughout the continental U.S. and Canada.
Bus service at Grand Canyon National Park is set to resume next weekend after being shuttered for more than five months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Partial shuttle service will resume Sept. 5 for the Hermit Road Route and eastbound Kaibab Rim Route from 5 a.m. until one hour after sunset each day, according to the National Park Service.
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
• Recall: Tread on common pickup truck tires may separate.
• Thor recalls 2,061 motorhomes for fire risk.
• Heartland RV recalling some Mallard travel trailers.
• Forest River motorhomes recalled. Exterior lights could fail.
• Forest River motorhome recall: Fresh water tank may detach.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Try this easy DIY trick to trap fruit flies (watch the video, it works!).
• What if disaster strikes and you can’t get back to your RV?
• This video could save you from danger during a tire blowout.
• The pandemic: The bad news, the good news, and the feel-good news.
• RV Electricity: Can I run my air conditioner from batteries?
• The campers who did this should be thrown in jail!
• 34 states require masks, but are people wearing them?
• Get paid $1,000 to “digitally detox” in an RV. Is this what RVing is about?
• Thought about working the sugar beet harvest? This might convince you.
• RV Tire Safety: “Cold inflation pressure” and clarification of tire terms.
• Building an RV Park: Stress and more stress, but Max brightens our days.
• A sad warning about flimsy step stools.
• New blog: Crowded campgrounds.
• Amazon CamperForce: Quick cash, tough work.
• The Digital RVer: How to find that boondocking spot again: Just take a photo.
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of August 24, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.18 [Calif.: $3.09]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 39 cents.
Diesel: $2.43 [Calif.: $3.27]
Change from week before: No change; Change from year before: Down 56 cents.
If you want to have a wonderful day, send $10, $50 or $100 to a local food bank. There are millions of our fellow citizens, including little kids, who are going hungry because their parents lost their jobs. You will feel so good if you contribute — helping people less fortunate than you go to bed without the pain of an empty stomach. Here’s where to donate.
Our NEWEST Facebook Groups: California RV Travel • RVing Route 66 • Casino Camping • Electric bikes for RVing • Crowded Campgrounds Discussion • RVers Who Just Bought Their First RV • RVing over 60 • RVing During the Pandemic • RV Tires with Roger Marble • Coronavirus News for RVers • RV Parks where you can fish without a license • RVing Fulltime • RVing with Dogs • Towing Behind a Motorhome • RVing with a Disability • RV Travel Tips • Trucks for RV Towing
Upcoming RV shows
Most if not all RV shows for the remainder of the year are cancelled. We will restart this feature as RV shows begin again.
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:
- BEAR (or BARE) & SHARE
- WONDER & THUNDER
- TAUGHT & BOUGHT
- COULD & GOOD
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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