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Sunday, September 6, 2020
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Comprehensive list of RV-related recalls for August
The list of latest recalls on RVs and other vehicles and/or products of interest to RVers has been released by the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The list includes models from Forest River, Heartland, Jayco, Keystone, Newmar, Thor and others – plus other vehicles and equipment commonly used by RVers. Is your RV or other vehicle on the list? Find out here.
And recalls issued in the past week …
RV service centers and stores are out of parts. Now what?
By Nanci Dixon
A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article about RV dealers running out of RVs and service centers being jammed. There were a lot of comments. I was surprised at how many people were waiting for RV parts. Because of a shortage of those parts, either their RV was sitting in the service bay waiting for a part or they were waiting to get their RV into a service bay if the needed part came in. Read more for comments from our readers and from dealers, service centers and store managers.
Does Utah law penalize motorhome owners? Is your state next?
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Some Utah motorhome owners have been priced off the road. How? A law that came into effect last year has changed how Utah motorhome owners are billed for their motorhome registration. Does Utah penalize motorhome owners? Some feel they are being penalized. And while it may seem a “local issue,” what happens if your state takes the same approach? Learn more.
Tornadoes and RVs: Motorhomer dies in South Dakota
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Tornadoes and RVs don’t mix. This sad reminder comes from Miller, South Dakota, where an affable 73-year old motorhome driver met the end of his life when a tornado blasted his rig off the road. Read more.
We welcome your RV warranty questions
Do you have a question about RV warranties or extended warranties? Are you having a problem with a claim? Or do you wonder if purchasing an extended warranty is worth it? RVtravel.com is starting a new column on RV warranties, and we invite your questions. Click here to learn more or to submit a question.
That was the RV week that was
August 31 – September 5, 2020
LATE BREAKING NEWS: Saturday night, Sept. 5, about 150 campers were being airlifted to safety after the Mammoth Pool campground, Calif., was surrounded by the fast-growing Creek Fire. The only road to escape was blocked by the fire, which had begun Friday evening and had burned 36,000 acres in the Sierra National Forest as of Saturday night, with no containment. Temperatures were above 100 degrees. The campers were sheltering in place at the Mammoth Pool Reservoir boat launch, and in the water, while they awaited rescue. Two of those rescued were severely injured, and another ten had moderate injuries. The balance of those being rescued had minor or no injuries. The injuries were presumably burns. As of 10:30 p.m. it was unclear if there were more campers awaiting rescue.
It doesn’t take a tornado or a derecho storm to make your life interesting. Last Saturday (August 29), Joseph Clark says he got pretty scared when a “tiny house” flew right toward him and an RV shot 20 feet in the air, all courtesy of a wild Texas downburst wind. Clark and three other people were in a storage shed when the freakish wind blasted through the Clean Living RV Park near Briar, Texas. Fortunately, the now-demolished tiny house didn’t impact close enough to the shed to cause any injuries. Eight RVs and the tiny house were wiped out by the wind.
It may be the Big Sky Country, but don’t let that fool you. Montana is NOT a place where you’ll easily find a place to stay in your RV – at least not in a state park. Montana officials report they’ve seen a 40% increase in visitors over “normal” times and attribute it to coronavirus. Planning on visiting a non-reservation park? Don’t expect you’ll get in easily. While high-traffic weekends like Labor Day are always busy, officials are describing the demand through the entire season as one they normally see on holiday weekends.
We’re betting that the insurance company of a motorhome driver who made a bad turn in Palm Desert, California, isn’t going to like this one. Last Monday a motorhome pilot smacked into a fire hydrant, which spouted off for the better part of a half-hour before firefighters could get it turned off. Meanwhile, waves of water flooded a shopping center parking lot, partially submerging a number of vehicles.
With the Canada/U.S. Border closed and concerns about COVID-19 drifting in the air, where will the Canadian snowbirds go this winter? Indications are at least some of them will be migrating west – not south – this winter. RV parks in the relatively warm province of British Columbia report an unusual number of calls seeking information about wintering over in B.C. A spokesman for the B.C. Lodging and Campground Association, whose members manage some 20,000 camping sites, estimates that 50,000 to 200,000 Canadians don’t have a permanent address. If a portion of those who RV turned up in B.C. this winter, there won’t be enough sites for all of them – there are 55,000 sites in the entire province, both public and private. The organization is already reaching out to hotels and motels, suggesting they allow use of their parking lots to put up RVers come winter.
A small Michigan village is getting new life in an old RV park – this from RVers. The small, 25-site RV park in Mancelona was up and running from 1977 and was a popular spot. But in 2016 the original owner gave up and closed the gates. RVers Doug and Stacey Hicks were moving to Mancelona, and kept driving past the ghost-ground and felt sorry for the condition they saw it in. In April they bought the park, and in July opened it as the Antrim Meadows Campground. The Hicks have already had RVing guests from places across the country. See more on the park’s Facebook page.
If you’re a “diesel burner,” you may have noticed a quick jump in the price of the liquid fuel. The Energy Administration said by month’s end, prices had jumped an average of 1.5 cents across the country. Blame it on Hurricane Laura and its pal, Tropical Storm Marco. When they whammed the Gulf Coast, much of oil production and refining was shut down. The biggest price hike hit the Midwest, where a gallon of diesel jumped more than 2 cents per gallon.
RV manufacturers who export their units to Canada saw extremely disappointing sales figures for the second quarter of 2020. Wholesale shipments into Canada were down nearly 66% over the period ending June 30. U.S. internal shipments weren’t off as much, and the Canadian Recreational Vehicle Association chalks it up this way: Many Canadian RV dealerships were shut down due to coronavirus from March until mid-May, and orders to international manufacturers lagged as a result. The association says that based on U.S. wholesale movement figures, their third-quarter report should appear much rosier.
We’ve been following the story of the mom-and-pop wannabe-campground in Phippsburg, Maine. When David and Tracy Percy shut down their old general store and had it torn down, they were looking for something easier to keep up with. More than a year ago they applied to build a 9-site RV park on the land, and immediately met with a host of opposition from locals. After bending over backward to please, it looks as though the Percys may actually get their wish. The area planning board voted all in favor of allowing the RV park to go through. There is one more legal requirement to pass, but in the board’s eyes, it should be clear sailing for the persevering Percys.
The interest in renting RVs has skyrocketed, if figures from RVshare.com are any indicator. The company acts as a middleman for RV owners and potential RV renters. The company has been operating since 2013, and in July 2019 reported one million days of rental booking. Now, just 13 months later, the two million rental days mark has been reached.
In California, campgrounds are experiencing record crowds, with some areas seeing double or even triple the number of usual visitors. Inexperienced campers have brought trash and unsafe behavior, while the surge in visitation has contributed to a lack of supplies in small towns. Another consequence of increased visitation is the number of escaped campfires, which can become full-blown wildfires, stretching firefighting resources. The Tahoe National Forest reports that escaped fires in 2020 that required a firefighting response were more than 225% higher than the previous record set in 2018. All national forests in California are currently under campfire restrictions.
We reported earlier on a fraud ring in the New Orleans, Louisiana, area, which had staged fake accidents to bilk trucking firms and their insurance carriers. Now a trucking firm has filed a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act lawsuit against a local attorney and two of those convicted in the “accident” ring. Southeastern Motor Freight, Inc., alleges attorney D. Patrick Keating of New Orleans conspired with two members of the ring, and paid one of them to stage at least 40 accidents involving big trucks. If the case comes to conviction, under the RICO act, the defendant could be held liable for triple damages.
Michigan wants all to feel comfy and welcome in its state parks. Making it “easier” is a deal the state’s Department of Natural Resources made with RV rental outfits. Contact the DNR, get a list of more than 30 vendors who’ll be happy to deliver to and set up an RV at the state park of your choice. And yes, you can still bring your own RV to a Michigan park if you like.
Military families in Missouri now have a new place to stay with their RVs. A new Department of Defense RV park has opened at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. The 12-site park offers full hookups, and at an attractive price: $25 per day, or $160 per week. The campground was originally slated to open in May, but COVID-19 turned the schedule on its ear. Those with DOD-issued identification qualify to stay at the campground.
The Point Mallard Campground in Decatur, Alabama, is changing some policies. The city park is proposing to create a short-term area, where stays are limited to 14 days. The limit would end a near-monopoly on campsites leased for years at a time. City Council President Paige Bibbee said the city will also begin enforcing an existing ordinance that limits the length of stay on all campsites to 179 days. The 25-acre campground has 233 full-hookup sites. Fifty-three sites have had the same tenants for one year or more, including eight for five years or longer, 13 for three to five years and 32 for one to three years. “Long-term campers filled up the campground to the point where there’s no space for out-of-town visitors who want to come to Point Mallard,” Parks and Recreation Director Jason Lake said.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has approved a staff recommendation to adopt the so-called Low Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) Omnibus Regulation that will increase the cost of motorhome engines significantly starting with the 2024 model year, particularly those motorhomes with diesel engines. CARB estimates that by 2031 the regulation will result in the lifetime cost of ownership increasing $8,841 for heavy-duty diesel engines and $5,814 for medium-duty diesel engines. Gasoline engines are expected to see an increase of $411. Read more.
Patent Depending: Vehicles
A FEATURE IN EACH SUNDAY’S RVTRAVEL.COM NEWSLETTER
By Steven M. Johnson
A constant diet of greasy foods may lead to a clogging of the arteries. But for those who fuel their vehicle with biodiesel, a roadside cafe that offers French fries with a fill-up is a winning combination.
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE STOLEN RVs?
Here’s a missing travel trailer that should be easy to spot – from the rear. This 17′ 2008 Taylor Coach Nik-Nat comes with an unusual feature: A rear-entry door. Vanished sometime between 10 p.m. August 12 and 7 a.m. the next day. If you spot it, call the Ontario Provincial Police at 888-310-1122.
This custom-painted Terry travel trailer was stolen September 4 from the Vancouver Heights neighborhood of Vancouver, Washington. It shouldn’t be hard to spot with its unique paint job. If you see it, contact the Vancouver Police Department at (360) 487-7400.
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 Ram pickup truck recall dilemma: faulty floor mats
Vehicles get recalled for many reasons, but faulty floor mats? Fiat Chrysler announced the issue – the potential of all-weather floor mats to cause the accelerator to get stuck – and it has voluntarily recalled about 190,000 Ram 1500 pickup trucks from 2019 and 2020. Learn more.
LA Auto Show – showcase for new cars, trucks, RVs – postponed
The LA Auto Show is annually held in November, but it’s the first major national showcase for new models of cars, trucks and sometimes campers and motorhomes. The show must go on, but it won’t this year as originally planned for Nov. 20-29. Like auctions, motorsports events and various regional auto shows, LA Auto organizers have rescheduled the event to 2021. Read more.
Is the ongoing pandemic weighing on you emotionally?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. CLICK HERE
In what scenario does 8+8=4?
COVID-19 has sounded a death knell for many American malls. Coresight Research, which focuses on disruptions between physical and digital retail, is predicting that up to 25,000 stores will close by the end of 2020 and that more than half of those closures will happen in malls. Within five years, this trend will spell an end for as many as 300 of the 1,200 malls currently in operation in the United States.
Google Maps has added a new feature to its app: traffic lights at intersections in a number of U.S. cities. The new road icons are visible in the app at intersections throughout U.S. cities on both Android and iOS. The company said the Google Maps redesign also will include re-drawings of sidewalks and pedestrian islands for better navigation viewing.
The Wish Poosh Campground in Washington state’s Cle Elum Ranger District is temporarily closed due to campers’ close encounters with bears this summer. Authorities say people who aren’t experienced campers or practice bad camping habits aren’t stowing away food and garbage properly, which is attracting the bears.
Daily passes are once again available to Wisconsin state park-goers for single-day visits instead of requiring the purchase of a more-expensive annual pass. The passes are available for purchase at electronic pay stations, self-registration stations or at a drive-up window, depending on the park.
Walmart will launch a membership program called Walmart+ on Sept. 15. It will offer unlimited free delivery (on orders of $35 or more), gasoline discounts of up to 5 cents a gallon and access to the chain’s Scan & Go app which allows shoppers to avoid checkout lines by scanning items in the store and checkout using Walmart Pay. The new program will cost $98 a year, or $12.95 a month, with a 15-day free trial period.
The Bureau of Land Management Junction City Campground, about 50 miles west of Redding, California, along State Route 299, is temporarily closed to public for use as an incident base for fire crews battling the nearby Hobo Fire on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
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.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Losing cell service? Try these tips to reconnect or keep the signal.
• RV sales people: Which customer service approach wins the sale?
• Walking sticks provide surprising bonus to your exercise routine.
• RVelectricity Facebook group hits 10,000 members … and more exciting news!
• Weird and Wacky RVs for September 5th.
• Our secret to finding the best places in a new town.
• New blog: Crowded campgrounds – Installment 3.
• My new favorite tool: I’ve solved so many RV issues with this gadget!
• Would you eat roadkill?
• Tires are more than just round black things.
• Time to pull out your Instant Pot! Try this delicious soup recipe.
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of August 31, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.22 [Calif.: $3.10]
Change from week before: Up 4 cents; Change from year before: Down 34 cents.
Diesel: $2.44 [Calif.: $3.28]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 54 cents.
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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.
RVtravel.com needs editors, writers (some paid positions, others volunteer) and moderators of our Facebook groups. We also need RV industry insiders to provide us with information about the inner workings of the RV industry — the good, the bad, the ugly — so we can serve our readers with the best information possible. Learn more.
Brain teaser answer:
If you’re thinking in terms of time: 8 a.m. plus 8 more hours equals 4 p.m.
What did the janitor say when he jumped out of the closet? “Supplies!”
Did you miss yesterday’s “funny?” You’ll want to click here to watch a hilarious video.
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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