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Sunday, October 4, 2020
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Big changes coming to Walmart stores. Will RVers be affected?
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
We’re not sure that Sam Walton would recognize the store that he spawned as “Walmart Discount City” back in 1962. While there have been a lot of changes since then, Walmart’s new design decidedly makes Sam’s original stores look somehow quaint. Haven’t seen one yet? It won’t be long before you do: Walmart’s new design is based on the digital age, and there’ll be 200 of them by the end of January. Give it another year, and the big corporation says it’ll have 1,000. Learn more about these upcoming upgrades.
Comprehensive list of RV-related recalls for September
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, Grand Design, Gulf Stream, Jayco, Keystone, Newmar, Thor, Tiffin and others – plus other vehicles and equipment commonly used by RVers. Is your RV or other vehicle on the list? Find out here.
And RV recalls issued in the past week …
• Forest River recalls trailers: Cooktop flame may invert, fire danger.
• Newmar recalls some motorhomes for tire stem danger.
• Forest River recalls some motorhomes on Daimler Trucks chassis.
• Forest River recalls some trailers. Break-away safety switch may fail.
Hundreds of thousands of Ford pickups recalled
Ford is recalling hundreds of thousands of 2020 Ford F-150, F-250, F-350, F-450 and F-550 trucks. The trucks are commonly used to tow fifth wheel and travel trailers, and are used for truck campers. Other vehicles involved in the recall include Ford Explorer, Mustang, Transit, Expedition, Escape, Ranger and Edge, and Lincoln Nautilus and Corsair vehicles. Learn more.
Escapees RV Club raising member dues
The Escapees RV Club is raising its dues from $39.95 a year to $49.95 a year beginning November 1. “Since 1978 we have worked hard to be a total support network for RVers,” the club explained Wednesday to the media and members. “Escapees RV Club membership dues have remained at a very low $39.95 for many years. For us to continue to offer the quality of service that Escapees RV club is known for we need to make a small increase in the dues – our first since 2015 – from $39.95 to $49.95.” Read more.
That was the RV week that was
September 27 – October 3, 2020
RV sales scams just keep on rolling. Now Wisconsin officials are warning residents to not take the bait with the latest round of the “send the money and we’ll ship it right out” con game. In this case, several different rigs were posted on Facebook Marketplace. “Sellers” told buyers to post their money through a third party and, not surprisingly, after the money is paid the “seller” vanishes, along with the supposed RV. Badger Staters who’ve had the guts to ‘fess up to being conned have lost more than $115,000.
Is titanium strong? That depends. The owner of a Titanium fifth-wheel found out the hard way that his rig wasn’t strong enough to withstand impact with a low-hanging bridge. On September 25, a man towing his fifth wheel in Unity Township, Ohio, passed one sign warning about the 10’ 1” clearance ahead. A similar sign was posted on the railroad underpass. The results were spectacular, with an apparent “total out” result. In addition to paying his deductible, the RV’s owner also gets to pay a traffic fine.
After months of being cooped up by coronavirus concerns, people are finally getting outside. Officials at Utah’s Zion National Park say some of them are visiting the park – and not all of them have an affinity for the beauty of the park. Results? “I have seen more graffiti than I have ever seen before. It’s all over, and we’re trying to get ahead of it.” This from the park’s chief ranger, Daniel Fagergren. The graffiti is littering Kayenta Trail, the Narrows hike, and on the West Rim/Angels Landing Trail. Rangers think much is from folks who’ve never visited the park before. Adding to the problem, a breakout of cyanobacteria bloom in the Virgin River. Exposure to the bacteria can lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and mild liver enzyme elevations. Officials are reluctant to send rangers up the canyon where they might be exposed to the bloom; with less supervision, the greater the incidence of graffiti.
While campfires can be fun, not everyone appreciates the smoke, and sometimes the unwelcome bit of ash fall associated with the practice. Imagine the folks living in California’s Bay Area. Reports – backed up with photos – show ash chunks the size of footballs coming down in their neighborhoods. No, it’s nothing to do with errant campfire builders, but evidently a byproduct of the Glass Fire, the wildfire that, as of Thursday, was pushing nearly 50,000 acres of burn area. One woman, spotting a piece of ash on the road near her home, initially thought someone had lost their hairpiece. Only if they were flipping out over the ash fall, ma’am.
Last May we reported on the motorhome rollover deaths of two Alabama businesspeople, Leland and Stephanie Courson. The Coursons were traveling north on Alabama’s Interstate 65 when Leland attempted a lane-change. Their Tiffin Allegro rolled over, and both were killed when the motorhome’s roof crushed in on them. Now their estate is suing Tiffin, Daimler Trucks North America, LLC, and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation, alleging that the rig had known defects in manufacturing and design. Tiffin declined to comment, citing the pending litigation. The estate is represented by the Beasley Allen law firm of Montgomery, Alabama.
Vehicles of the Imagination
From the mind of Steven M. Johnson
The MicroMove. The sleeping loft is tiny by any standard, with space for a mattress and a sleeping bag. But these affordable units include a rooftop solar panel. They are very popular, especially with men who are behind in their child support payments.
Early this year, officials of the Ontario government shut down medical payments for residents traveling out-of-country. The rationale: Administrative costs of paying the bills was just too much, “and provided little value to taxpayers.” For whatever reason, it cost the provincial government nearly $3 million to pay $9 million in claims, so they simply told snowbirds, “Shoulder it yourself.” The Canadian Snowbird Association was up in arms and filed suit against the government. The Superior Court of Justice agrees, and says the provincial government was out of line. The court concluded that Canada could withhold monies normally given to the province, and ordered Ontario to reinstate the program. No word on whether an appeal will be made or not.
What’s your favorite state park for RV camping? That’s the question USA Today wants answered. The outfit is allowing readers to vote once a day for their favorite, up until the closing on October 12. Earlier this week, the Top Five standing ranked: 1. Custer State Park – Custer, South Dakota. 2. Huntington Beach State Park – Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. 3. Vogel State Park – Blairsville, Georgia. 4. Wilderness State Park – Carp Lake, Michigan 5. Cape Disappointment State Park – Ilwaco, Washington. Find out more here.
A U.S. District Court decision in Montana could spell major repercussions for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The court ruled this week that William Perry Pendley, appointed as the agency’s director more than a year ago, has served unlawfully, as the U.S. Senate never approved his assignment. Additionally, the court ruled that “any ‘function or duty’” performed by Pendley must now be set aside. That could include tossing out resource management plans on how BLM lands are developed or used, including the reduction in size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments in Utah.
“No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.” So penned Gideon J. Tucker back in 1866. But for RVers in Greenwich, Connecticut, the feelings might be the same. Last week, one of the town’s first selectmen, Fred Camillo, said he’d “received reports of incidents across town, and that some residents want to ban RVs on private property,” according to the local paper. “I don’t know if we want to go that far,” he said. “But I think personally they take away from the aesthetics of a neighborhood. But I want to put it on everyone’s radar – whether we want to do something about RVs parked on roads in residential areas.” Others on the board appeared to agree, and it looks like RVs could become a target of future legislation in the coastal community.
After driving recklessly through Delano, California, mashing up a police car, and running on a flat tire, a woman piloting a Class C motorhome taught it a new trick: Roll over. Police said the “chase” started on the afternoon of September 23, when police tried to pull over the motorhome inside city limits. The unidentified woman behind the wheel ignored lights and sirens. She kept going – at a slow speed – even after she hit a pursuing police car. No injuries to law enforcement, but owwies for the car. From there, the motorhome acquired a flat tire, and headed north on Highway 99. Still no burst of speed, but eventually the rig rolled over. The driver exited – and into the arms of law enforcement officers.
This was posted on our Facebook group RV Crashes and Disasters. Don’t think this doesn’t happen very often. Just recently, we asked the readers of RVtravel.com if they had ever seriously damaged their RV while backing up. We were surprised at the results.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
Brazen thieves are sought by relentlessly searching Canadian Mounties. The transgressors targeted a Tag teardrop trailer, terrifyingly in broad daylight. This silver teardrop was last known to be parked behind the Penticton Convention Center in Penticton, B.C., on September 25. The bad actor snagged the diminutive RV sometime between noon and 6:00 p.m. If you saw it happen, or know where the ripped-off RV may be, contact the RCMP. 250-492-4300.
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.
Ford showcases towing dominance in 2021 truck lineup
Lightweight trucks already reign in the automotive industry. But increased interest in RVs has further boosted competition among truck makers. Bigger towing and payload capacities are an integral part of the rivalry among top sellers, and Ford has taken a sizable lead for 2021. The new Ford F-150 is available in six engine configurations. Learn more.
New Ford F-150 EV: Bigger, faster truck – far less cost
The anticipated debut of the Ford F-150 EV (battery-electric) pickup truck is still about two years away. But the manufacturer believes it will cost about half as much to operate as its current gas-powered stablemates. The new version of the country’s best-selling vehicle will also be the most powerful Ford truck ever made. Continue reading.
Don’t tow a car behind your RV. “Subscribe” to a car instead
One potential inconvenience for RVers is determining if they’re going to need another vehicle while traveling. Not all cars are towable, and towable models and makes have different methods. But if you need a vehicle at your RVing destination, there’s an increasingly popular, more convenient and possibly less expensive alternative to towing a car or renting a vehicle: car subscriptions. Read more.
Would you pay an additional $10 a night for an extra wide RV site?
If I am holding a bee, what do I have in my eye?
Roadtrek Inc., a Class B motorhome manufacturer based in Canada, is launching three new models as part of its 2021 product offerings, according to a press release from the company. Read more.
FMCA, the Family Motor Coach Association, is currently migrating to a new internal database. So for now, the club is not able to process any transactions or update any member records. The website will still be available, along with FMCA representatives on the phone to answer questions. The system is expected to be up and running normally by mid-month.
In its latest forecast, issued in late September, the RV Industry Association reported it expects to ship 424,400 vehicles this year, which would represent a 4.5% increase over 2019. The current sales boom is expected to continue into 2021.
Sequoia National Park in Central California reopened on Thursday, October 1, though Sequoia National Forest is still closed. Potwisha and Lodgepole campgrounds are now open, but by reservation only.
Many RV, camper van, and travel trailer makers have started catering their road travel builds to accommodate the rising popularity of digital nomads and “work from anywhere” crowd amid the pandemic. This rise in sales amid an unprecedented time, combined with an increasing number of permanent and long-term remote workers, has put a spotlight on the digital nomad community.
The organization that operates the Worcester, Mass., RV & Camping Show announced Thursday it has cancelled its 2021 event due to uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus.
Campground and RV Park News
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:
• The trashing of our public lands. Case in point.
• My two favorite black tank dumpin’ gadgets.
• RV packing on the pounds? Try these 10 steps to shed some rig weight.
• Video: Notorious low underpass claims another RV.
• Avoid space heater danger: What you need to know.
• I just spent $106 on a $3 shower replacement part…
• Casino RV camping, October 3, 2020.
• What tire inflation should I run? It depends…
• Here are the top 5 complaints to the RV park office.
• Campground crowding. Discussion for October 3, 2020.
• New Orleans: So much to see and do – even during pandemic.
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of September 28, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.17 [Calif.: $3.07]
Change from week before: No change; Change from year before: Down 47 cents.
Diesel: $2.39 [Calif.: $3.24]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 67 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 our show directory feature as shows begin again. In the meantime, most of the shows scheduled for 2021 (earliest beginning Dec. 31, 2020, in South Carolina) are still on as of October 1, 2020. See the schedule here.
Free and bargain camping
Click here to view this week’s free and bargain camping spots.
Brain teaser answer:
Beauty. This is a play on “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” In this instance, you are the “bee-holder” so beauty is what’s in your eye.
A soldier came up to me and asked me what today’s date is. I told him it’s October 4th. He said 10-4.
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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