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Sunday, September 27, 2020
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RV sales continue to soar
If you’re an RV dealer who can manage to keep new RVs in stock, then you are probably poppin’ the champagne cork every evening celebrating your good fortune — RVs are flying off the lot! The latest statistics are in and, once again, sales are sizzling hot (with no end in sight)! Read more.
The Airstream Nest failure: A closer look
The Airstream Nest stood out immediately from the rest of the Airstream RV lineup in that it was a fiberglass travel trailer. It was a risk for the company that made its name by creating beautiful, shiny aluminum RVs. In the end, the risk didn’t pay off, and Airstream has stopped making the small but expensive RV. Learn more.
Daimler – Mercedes RV emissions cheating lawsuit finally settled
In a déjà-vu moment, the federal government has again come down on an automaker for big-time cheating on emissions testing. Manufacturer Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (collectively “Daimler”) have signed off on a settlement to clear the air over exhaust emissions violations. These smell a lot like the Volkswagen cheat of a few years back. Daimler sold diesel-equipped rigs with software that would cheat on emissions tests. Learn more.
Would you pay $409 a night to stay overnight in an Airstream trailer?
A new campground is betting that at least some people will gladly plop down that much to stay in an Airstream. The location may help convince some folks that it’s worth it. But $409 for one night? Does that seem a bit steep to you? Read more and answer a quick question if you think you might want to stay.
Dream work camper job! Drive RV around the USA, drink beer and make $50,000 for 6 months’ work
Do you like beer? Would you mind driving around in a company-provided camper van, visiting national parks, doing a little hiking? Could you stand making $50,000 for six months of this kick-back work? Then Michelob wants you for an RV job. Their successful CEO, or Chief Exploration Officer, will get the money and the job. Read more, but act fast if interested. Deadline to apply is September 30.
Learn how to self-publish a book
Our friends Jim and Chris Guld, Geeks on Tour, will show you how to self-publish a book in a live webcast today (Sunday, Sept. 27) at 11 a.m. Pacific Time. You’ll “learn just how easy it is,” they say. Well-known RVer Nick Russell, the author of 42 books he self-published on Amazon, will join the conversation. Watch on YouTube live or in the archives later.
Free Guide to 2021 RVs
EDITOR’S UPDATE SUNDAY MORNING: We messed up when we said this was downloadable. It can only be read online now. We will talk to the publishers about turning it into a PDF so it can be downloaded. We apologize for our error.
Do we have a treat for you — a free copy of the 2021 RV Model Year Guide. If you’re in the market for a new RV or simply curious about the latest developments in recreational vehicles then this will provide good reading. The fact that it’s free, with no strings attached, makes it an especially outstanding (and rare) offer. Click here to learn more and begin reading this excellent resource.
Do you plan to watch Tuesday evening’s presidential debate?
That was the RV week that was
September 20-26, 2020
Looking to buy a new car or pickup in 2035? If you’re in California, don’t hold your breath. California’s governor penned a proposed rule that would ban sales of new cars or trucks fueled with gasoline come 2035. Sales of used gassers would still be allowed under the rule. The governor says the rule would whack greenhouse gas emissions by 35%.
It’s a sure sign that RVs are gaining wide public recognition. Speaking of “2020 SW”, an asteroid scheduled to get very close to earth on Thursday, September 24, a scientific publication described the asteroid as “potentially RV-sized.” Since the asteroid was projected by the Center for Near Earth Object Studies to NOT smash into earth, we’ll safely assume you were able to read all about it in the Sunday newsletter. But on the other hand …
While RV manufacturers quaked when COVID-19 descended on the country earlier this year, fearing the worst, they’re rejoicing now. In 2019 the industry rolled 406,070 rigs from factories to dealers. A new forecast suggests despite a two-month shutdown, that number will grow to at least 414,400 in 2020. Next year, says the RV Industry Association in a press release, at least 494,400 units will ship out. The best-case-scenario shows more than 507,000 new RVs being demanded by dealers in 2021, and if that were to materialize, it would mean nearly 20% more than the wildest dreams for 2020 demand.
😱OH MY GOODNESS!
How often do RVers hear “Never overload your rig!” Just what is the towing capacity of a 3/4-ton Chevy Silverado? Something suggests that a 70’ single-wide mobile home may just be a tad over that limit. But leave it to some character in Sarcoxie, Missouri. Maybe this guy was looking to save a buck by not hiring the job out. In the dark of the night he set out from Kansas headed to Missouri, and did fairly well for a while. It was that narrow turn, coupled with a dip in the road, that ended the trip. It took a Rotator wrecker and more than two hours to clear the highway. Heavy wrecker – heavy fines: The driver is “on the hook” for many violations – not to mention a broken mobile home frame.
When Oregon RVers Joe and Lisa Waldner approached Red Cross volunteers in Salem, they had no idea how welcome their offer would be. The Waldners told the volunteers they had a travel trailer they’d be happy to lend out if someone needed it. Across the street in the Oregon State Fairgrounds lot, hanging out in their van, were Chuck and Lee Borgia. The Borgias had been run out of their home in Gates by wildfires. The couple both have health problems: Chuck’s heart requires he keep his feet up – hard to do sitting in a van. The Waldners not only loaned the Borgias their trailer, Joe went out and bought a generator to keep them “juiced up,” and comes by twice a day to fill up the tank and check on them.
A camp host in Florida now has bragging rights – or are they a claim to “not too smart” rights? When Hurricane Sally crept ashore on September 16, most all guests at the Playa Del Rio RV Park in Perdido Key, Florida, took shelter in the park’s restroom. Not so John Russ, the host. He sheltered in his motorhome, which, he claims, withstood the winds with only one tire slightly lifting off the ground. A number of rigs in the campground, including one parked directly behind his, were tossed over on their sides. Is Russ’ rig nicknamed, “Nine Lives”?
For Katherine Molohon, fighting wildfires is not new. She was on the line in Paradise California’s Camp Fire. But the front lines of the Butte County, California, Bear Fire were a bit too close to home. As fire roared through Berry Creek, firefighters were ordered into “evacuation mode,” where the job wasn’t to fight flames, but to try and get residents out of harm’s way. When it was over, Molohon learned the Bear Fire took her own home. But a retired firefighter from San Francisco, Barbara Schultheis, came to Katherine’s rescue. Last week, Schultheis drove eight hours to Oroville, California, to hand over a new temporary home, giving Katherine the travel trailer that Schultheis owned. Katherine hopes to move the trailer to her burned-over property very soon. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Katherine get back on her feet.
Repeat after me: “I will faithfully and regularly check my RV propane detector!” Firefighters from Shell Knob, Missouri, would likely have you repeat this commitment after responding to a motorhome explosion last Sunday. On arrival they found a single occupant suffering first and second degree burns, after the person tried lighting the range – and met with a propane leak.
Here’s an “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is” story with a happy ending. Last August, Jerod Saiz, a California RV dealer who specializes in classic rigs, got a phone call. The woman calling said she had a 1953 Airstream Flying Cloud she’d like to sell. Saiz made the trip to Cortez, Colorado, to check out the rig, and found it to be in remarkably good shape. The seller, Elizabeth Ann Rogers, explained she’d obtained the trailer from another woman as payment of a debt. Saiz agreed to pay a paltry $7,500 for the Airstream, but alas! Rogers couldn’t come up with the title – she’d send it soon. Soon Saiz had the bargain Airstream back in California. Three days later, Saiz was on the phone with Billy and Lainey Beyhan, who own an RV park in Cortez, Colorado. Seems that the day Rogers called the RV dealer, the Beyhans found that their most-prized vintage RV, which folks would rent to stay in on their grounds, had vanished. On finding the rig missing, the couple had posted information about the theft on social media, and Saiz, apparently a man with a conscience, spotted the posting and contacted the real owners. The Airstream is back home in Colorado, Saiz got part of his purchase price back from Rogers (plus a $1,000 reward from the Beyhans), and Rogers was put in jail last week on theft charges.
Do you “Like Ike”? The newest unit of the U.S. National Park Service isn’t a shady grove of trees, but is the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial, in Washington D.C. The memorial got the official notation on September 18, honoring the former president as, in the words of the Park Service, “a transformational leader, peacemaker, rebuilder, civil rights advocate and fiscal hawk who helped make our country a beacon of freedom and hope for the world.” The memorial is located in a newly created, four-acre public park along Independence Avenue SW between 4th Street SW and 6th Street SW, across from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Find out more about the 420th national park unit here.
How would you look at a hundred years? If you’re one of the oldest campgrounds in the New York State Park system, you’d look pretty sharp. Appropriately, Sharp Bridge Campground, now at the century mark, is still a popular place to find some solitude. In 1920 there was but one site along the Schroon River. In less than a decade, there were 40 sites, but now a century down the road, the campground is much the same as it was. True, gone is the much-missed “well-built and well-maintained outhouse,” replaced with more modern amenities. And now your site is marked with a number, but ages ago, signs bearing the names of families who used them marked the spots. And because men must shave, there is power in the bathhouse. While popular among tenters, a state website says rigs up to 45’ will find a spot to stay.
There’s money to be made in every negative situation. An insurance company that caters to RV park owners is now offering what it describes as a first in the industry: A special policy endorsement “to cover violent events.” Great American Insurance Company’s offering protects park owners from trouble if an event involving deadly force causing bodily injury takes place on their property. The company is quick to point out that nobody has to be physically injured – say a shot fired goes wild and hits no one – trauma can still be a liability factor. Says the insurance outfit, “One thing is for sure – current stressors have maxed out the mental health of many people, leaving them vulnerable to lash out.” More peace of mind for difficult times.
When Marcos Vigil was born, there was a problem. His small intestine was outside his body. In most cases, it’s a quick “put it inside, and zip it up.” That’s what was done for him, but the procedure didn’t work. At 10 months, Marcos underwent a multi-organ transplant: a small intestine, liver and pancreas. Now 8 years old, Marcos has plenty of zip, but the New Mexico boy and has family have to make frequent trips to specialists in Nebraska. That means a tough road trip and stays in motel rooms. Marcos was well-known to an area Make-a-Wish group – they used him as a spokesman on video commercials. The set up? In a video, Marcos is asked what he’d like for a wish. “A camper,” so he could stay in his own place when seeing doctors. You guessed it. Marcos got his wish. His mom couldn’t hold back the tears, and Marcos confessed. He’d do some crying too – once he got home.
We reported last week on the tempest created in Waynesville, North Carolina, when someone anonymously stuffed mailboxes with a flyer, indicating an RV park was to be developed on a local golf course. It turned out the club owners were merely kicking the idea around, but that didn’t stop a huge wave of protest against the imagined RV park. The fallout was quick. Last Monday the local planning board scuttled any possible future RV parks by putting a ban on any new RV parks in town limits. The town board has the final say in the matter, on which it will presumably vote in the near future.
In chilling testimony before the Gilchrist County, Florida, commissioners, an opponent to a proposed RV park spilled her fears. As quoted in local media, Rachael Smith, who says she lives directly across the road from the site, told commissioners, “I view this development as a threat to the safety of my family,” said Smith. “I spoke about the traffic impact of 1,029 RV’s [sic] per day that are going to be added to our roadway directly across from our house. Directly on our roads outside our home. That’s 1,029 more chances for my family to be in a car accident with an RV.” Interestingly, the proposed RV park would have 347 sites. We’re not sure if the commission will “do the math” on all those additional RVs, but they’ll vote on it come October 5.
Joel Kilpack had a dream. Not an ordinary one. Kilpack’s dream spurred him on to constructing the Lava Family Sanctuary, a spiritual retreat on 51 acres of land near Inkom, Idaho. The retreat included eight RV sites, room for 15 tents, and 12 tipis. Evidently Joel’s “dream directions” didn’t include bringing local authorities into the picture, until recently. After opening his retreat, Kilpack approached Bannock County about obtaining a conditional use permit – his sanctuary is located in a residential-rural zone. Local residents were not pleased, dubbing Kilpack’s place “Tipi Town,” and urging a thumbs-down. The planning board agreed, allowing Lava Family to operate through the summer, as Kilpack already had several reservations on his books. Come fall, the RVs must roll away, and the tipis must collapse.
Vehicles of the Imagination
From the mind of Steven M. Johnson
Think you’ve got trouble at the DMV? An Oakland Hills, Florida, man trying to transfer ownership of a travel trailer didn’t just have trouble, he got arrested. Sylvester Alfonzo Ingram showed up at the tax collector’s office in Belleview to get a title and registration for a trailer he said he bought. Turned down at first because the paperwork was missing one of two required signatures, Ingram came back with both signatures. When staffers ran the records, they found the trailer was reported to be stolen. An obliging policeman came in to help out. Ingram told the officer he’d just bought the trailer, and provided the “seller’s” phone number – “Sorry, wrong number.” The officer than rang up the listed owner who made it clear the rig was indeed stolen and, no, he’d never signed off the title to sell it. Ingram is out on $2,500 bail, charged with uttering a forged certificate of title and fraud representation.
One big thing standing in the way of electric-powered RVs: Batteries. While lithium-ion cells are running lighter weight rigs in the real world, scaling up battery packs to handle the weight of an RV is another matter. And recharge times also play into the game. Lithium-ion batteries will hold a lot of energy for their size, but take a long time to charge. Two technology players think they have an answer: A hybrid battery pack made of lithium-ion batteries, supplemented with a graphene-based “ultracapacitor,” which stores electricity statically rather than chemically. An ultracapacitor can be charged in just seconds. Trouble is, it would take a huge amount of space to store the same amount of usable power that lithium-ion units provide. But Skeleton Technology of Estonia, and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, say their research combines the two technologies. Pundits suggest the promised “15-second recharge time” touted by the outfits means run down your lithium-ions and do a quick recharge to get you a short distance home. Time will tell the tale.
Watch out for this scam. An unknown person(s) is posting multiple RVs for sale on Facebook Marketplace. When an interested party contacts the seller, they are advised that the RV is in storage and packaged for delivery. The buyer is then directed to make payment through a third party, after which the RV will be delivered to them within five days. Once the payment is made, the seller can no longer be contacted and the RV is never delivered. Websites such as Craigslist are also rife with advertisements for low-price vehicles, with seemingly eager sellers often claiming that the reduced price is because of an upcoming military deployment overseas, a divorce, or the death of a family member who owned the RV. Victims are directed to pay a supposedly independent third party, typically by wire transfer, to hold money in escrow and ship the vehicle. Again, no vehicle is ever delivered. If you have been victimized by one of these RV scams or something similar, report the crime to your local law enforcement agency.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
Fort Vermilion, Alberta, Mounties are looking for help with a stolen travel trailer case. A 2019 model year Open Range Ultra Light was swiped straight from the owner’s driveway in Le Crete on September 11. The photo here is a stock image of the same make and model of the rig. At the time of the theft, the 24′ trailer bore an Alberta license plate, 5VD946. Phone the RCMP detachment at 780-927-3255 with information, or contact Crime Stoppers online at www.P3Tips.com.
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 Chevy Silverado: Increased towing for versatile new truck
The Chevy Silverado 1500, the country’s second-highest-selling light-duty full-size pickup truck, is known for its versatility. For 2021, the manufacturer has added a truckload of technology and mechanical updates. It’s now in production and will be available beginning throughout the fall in different sections of the country. Learn about all the new features here.
Say what? New Hummer EV pickup will include “Crab Mode”
The all-electric Hummer EV will be unveiled October 20 and will include another unique attribute for a vehicle well-known for its uniqueness – Crab Mode. The feature will allow the Hummer to move across terrain diagonally like a sand-dwelling crustacean. Crab Mode will be enabled by the electric pickup truck’s four-wheel steering capability. Its functionality is “tailor-made for off-roading customers,” the manufacturer said. Learn more.
If you became suddenly filthy rich, would you buy a new high-end RV?
Who is your mother’s only sister’s son’s brother’s aunt’s daughter’s sister’s father?
In a record-breaking deal that closed on Sept. 22, the Superstition Sunrise RV Resort in Apache Junction with 1,119 sites sold for $88 million, according to the Phoenix Business Journal. It was the largest single transaction from a dollar standpoint in Arizona for a mobile home or RV resort.
Multiple RVs stored at Storage ‘R’ Us in Lawton, Oklahoma were broken into on Friday. In at least one case the burglars didn’t pick locks or break windows to get in; they dropped in through a 14 inch by 14 inch roof vent. “Besides destroying the roof vent they took cushion covers from my couch. . .” said customer James Howell. “They stole a coffee pot, an air mattress that goes to that couch. . . and inside my storage area they took an ax.” He said the thieves copped several TV sets from another RV. The crooks are still on the loose.
A former oil and gas well pad has been converted into a free campground for visitors to Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The land was previously permitted as a well site for oil and gas extraction. The 4-acre site is off National Parks Highway between Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains national parks. It offers five RV spaces and six tent sites on a first-come, first-served basis.
👍 Broadmoor RV of Pasco, Wash., presented the Special Olympics of Washington state an $85,000 check Wednesday afternoon to support the virtual fall games. This is the second year that Broadmoor RV has sponsored the fall games. “We’re doing it just to see the smiles on their faces. It’s just amazing for these kids,” said John Ramsey, owner of the dealership.
Campground and RV park News
Keep up with what’s going on where you stay with your RV
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?
• Boondocking gone wrong: One woman’s experience.
• If you don’t like the view out your window … move.
• Casino RV camping, September 26, 2020.
• Deep-clean your black tank to prevent nasty outhouse smell.
• New device keeps your fresh water tank clean. So simple, yet effective!
• RVelectricity: Update on hybrid inverter-powered air conditioner.
• Meet your fellow RVtravel.com readers.
• What does RV “weight creep” have to do with tire safety?
• Wheelchair-bound family finds joy in RVing.
• Campground crowding. Discussion for September 26, 2020.
• Should I buy an extended warranty for my RV?
• Building an RV Park: Vendors and more vendors! Plus paperwork progress.
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of September 21, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.17 [Calif.: $3.09]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 49 cents.
Diesel: $2.40 [Calif.: $3.26]
Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Down 68 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.
Brain teaser answer:
We featured this hilarious video a couple of years ago but couldn’t help sharing it again. If you’ve never seen this video (or even if you have), prepare to smile.
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.
RV Travel staff
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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