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Sunday, October 25, 2020
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Are you unintentionally ruining RVing for others?
From editor Chuck Woodbury: I suspect you may be very curious how I could ask a question like what’s in the headline. But it’s a legitimate one, and is likely not one you have considered before. Read what I have to say and then read the article below by Dave Helgeson. Then you will know what I am talking about.
Is geotagging ruining nature and the outdoor experience?
By Dave Helgeson
Due to the pandemic, more people than ever are heading outdoors to hike, camp and/or escape urban craziness. Thanks to geotagging, it is also easier than ever to find that secret place to get away. In this entry we will look at what geotagging is and if geotagging it ruining nature. Read Dave’s story here.
YouTubers fined, arrest threatened, for posting video shot in National Parks
SATURDAY AFTERNOON — Popular YouTubers Kara and Nate have been fined by the National Park Service for posting videos on their popular channel they shot in National Parks. A fine of $1,000 was levied, and arrest threatened. Meanwhile, the FAA learned they had been posting drone footage on their channel (which they freely admit is a for-profit venture) and has grounded them from flying again until they pass a drone flying exam. We will have a full report about this next Sunday. This is significant news because RVtravel.com, as well as thousands of other RVers with monetized YouTube channels, have taken video in National Parks. Are we guilty, too?
NHTSA consumer alert plea: Repair your safety recalls now
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced 966 safety recalls in 2019 affecting more than 53 million vehicles and motor vehicle equipment. Its public information media and consumer outreach defines communication efficiency. Still, despite many notices and public warnings, some vehicle and vehicle equipment issues are never repaired. It’s why the NHTSA has issued a plea for consumers, particularly in three well-documented areas. Read about them here.
Colorado National Forests ablaze. Some lands closed
Due to unprecedented and historic fire conditions, the USDA Forest Service’s Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests are announcing a temporary closure of all National Forest land in Clear Creek, Jefferson, Gilpin, Boulder, and Larimer counties, effective at 00:01 (midnight) on Oct. 21. This decision will be re-evaluated daily as conditions change. Continue reading.
Today’s RV review…
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the Rockwood Geo Pro 19FBTH toy hauler. He writes, “If adventure is in your wheelhouse and you have been thinking that your toys have to stay home, perhaps the newly announced Rockwood Geo Pro 19FBTH might be just the ticket to take it all with you when you go.” Learn more.
2021 Camp365, a most unusual folding trailer
Last week’s reviews
2021 Grand Design Solitude 3540GK • Winnebago Solis 59PX class B motorhome • 2021 Palomino River Ranch 390 fifth wheel • 2021 Keystone Springdale 242RK travel trailer • 2001 Winnebago Hike 210RB
That was the RV week that was
October 18–24, 2020
Things are looking up for Winnebago, according to its financial report released this week. The company’s quarterly revenues are up better than 39%, comparing this year to last. If you had stock in the company, you’d have seen dividend checks amounting to $1.25 – up 45% from last year. Learn more.
The woman who led a long chase in a demolition derby-style race down busy California streets in 2019 has finally received her sentencing. Julie Ann Rainbird, who used a Class A motorhome to attempt to get away from police and ended up injuring several innocent victims, got a nine-year state prison sentence. She’s also banned from driving for life. You might recall extensive helicopter footage of the chase, which began in Santa Clarita, California, and ended in Tarzana. If you need a brush up, here’s a link to a detailed story, along with video footage.
Planning a road trip for this fall or early winter? You’ve got loads of company. A survey commissioned by auto club AAA says 67% of respondents said that kind of vacation was what they planned for the balance of 2020. But because of the uncertainty factor, many said their actual destination may be a last-minute call as they take coronavirus into account. In fact, of those who say they will road-travel this year, 20% haven’t done anything in the way of making reservations, and say they’ll likely put that off until the week of their journey.
Austin Slyter bought an $80,000 motorhome, but he didn’t know he had – not until paperwork arrived in the mail. It seems the Auburn, Washington, man had “forgotten” to fill some of it out. Trouble was, Slyter had no inkling he’d bought a motorhome. But “he” kept buying things, most recently a 2017 Dodge Charger Hellcat – again, without even knowing it. The sales manager at the lot that “sold Slyter” the car says the man had all the information: Slyter’s social security number, employer information, even his salary. So far, the fake Slyter has run up $200,000 in charges against the real man’s name, but he’s not as smart as he seems. He took a “selfie” standing next to the fast car, and police have the image. They’ve tracked the phony down on the Internet, but putting “real” handcuffs on the crook is yet in the future. The real Austin Slyter has been freed of obligation to the debts – and has since frozen his credit record. Until he “thaws it out,” nobody will be able to loan Slyter – real or fake – anything.
If motorhome owners in Washington state voted for Initiative 976 last fall, expecting to see their motorhome registration fees dip, they’re in for a disappointment. The initiative – which would have tossed out weight fees for motorhomes, capped car tab fees and wiped out a variety of transportation taxes – went to court. The state’s Supreme Court said the initiative was unconstitutional and said none of those dreams will come true. Had the initiative been allowed to stand, estimates say the state and other authorities would have lost $4 billion in revenue by 2025. The court ruled the ballot title was misleading to voters, and that local tax issues cannot be decided by statewide elections.
Faced with the problem of finding employees to operate their campground, Emmet County, Michigan, commissioners think maybe offering more money to potential candidates could help. But where, in the typically strapped county budget, do you find the money? Make more money appear! The commissioners are considering raising the fees at Camp Petosega up to $35 from the $30 for standard sites. Full-hookup sites will stay the same as they are – $40. Staff is quick to point out that nearby public parks run anywhere from $30 to $35, and as high as $43 at a privately owned RV resort. Could the price hike actually “bite them” if people refuse to pay and don’t come? Officials don’t think so. They figure with the interest in camping, they just won’t have any choice.
Watch that foot! Two RVs were destroyed and four others damaged on October 15 in Benton City, Washington. It all started when a driver, trying to pull into her driveway at the Beach RV and Campground, accidentally jammed the accelerator rather than the brake. Her car smacked into the RV parked next to hers and the car caught fire. The driver tried to put the fire out, to no avail. The neighbor’s rig soon caught fire, spreading to another. Heat damage was the problem for four nearby rigs. Police ruled the whole event an accident, and won’t be issuing any citations.
Think the business of “peer-to-peer” RV rentals may be more like “pie in the sky”? Some folks who own RVs are figuring a way to cut some of their ownership costs by renting their rigs out. Some people are actually buying RVs, not with an idea of using them but, rather, making money renting them. Third-party companies are springing up, acting as advertising and rental agents to facilitate the transactions. One of them, RVshare.com, thinks it’ll make a big go of it, and they’ve hooked some big money to help. After seeing a 650% increase in rentals from April to May of this year, they ventured forth for more venture capital. They got it: A private equity firm ponied up $100 million in support money to help RVshare.
Last September, Mountain View, California, city commissioners signed off on an ordinance that essentially made it illegal to park an RV on 78% of city streets. Activists immediately reacted and brought in 4,000 signatures on a petition forcing the city to either drop the ordinance or bring it to a vote of the people. “Measure C” is now headed for a vote. The “Narrow Streets Ordinance,” more popularly known as the “RV Ban,” will get a yea or nay November 3. Local pundits say the vote could go either way. We’ll report back after November 3 – or whenever the vote count is final.
When the camping season starts to wind down, what’s an RV park owner to do to keep the money rolling in? A Plum Branch, South Carolina, park owner is trying a new trick: Add a farmer’s market. When the regular season ended on September 9, Lake Thurmond RV Park invited local farmers to show off their wares at the park. They’ll do so every Tuesday until the holiday season rolls in. RVers are still welcome, too.
Vehicles of the Imagination
From the mind of Steven M. Johnson
PIGSTOP DINER CHAIN — This is a popular location for recharging your electric vehicle while enjoying a traditional high fat American meal. A cardiologist is always on staff. The Pigstop chain teamed up with vehicle manufacturers to design cars with solar skin and a charging teat.
Yet another Oregon municipality has joined a growing list of others in the state with moved hearts. Last Monday, the Springfield, Oregon, city council voted to temporarily relax restrictions on folks living in RVs on residential properties. Moved by the plight of many who lost their homes in the Holiday Farm Fire on Labor Day, city officials call it, “A good neighbor approach,” in allowing folks to live in RVs following some guidelines for public health and safety.
Reports from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) say the annual western monarch butterfly over-wintering has begun. While many are familiar with encounters with the winged wonders who head into parts of Mexico to escape the cold, the western migration heads to coastal California areas, landing between Mendocino County and south to Baja California. It’s a one-way trip, as come spring, these same butterflies will spend the last days of their lives sucking up flower nectar, finding love with other monarchs, laying eggs on milkweed plants, and giving it all up in death. Their offspring will somehow know what groves to shelter in when they make their own winter migration.
Two enterprising sisters in South Dakota have big plans in operation. Katy VanMaanen and Kennedy Boyden picked up 15 acres of property near Lake Campbell, and have secured permitting for an initial 20-site full-hookup RV park. If it goes well, they have expansion plans, too. The site was formerly a roller skating rink, and the sisters say they’re looking to make their place family friendly. They hope to open Kattails Campground next spring.
You think semi-trucks are big and heavy? With laws typically holding the weight down to 80,000 pounds, imagine the size of one scaling in at 129,000 pounds loaded. You may be able to find out, if Idaho has its way. No, they’re not trying to haul more spuds to processors, rather, the state is asking for public comment on whether to allow milk tankers to upscale to that big 129,000-pound number. The request came from the milk industry, that says allowing the bigger trucks would reduce the number of runs made, thus decreasing fuel usage and tailpipe emissions. If granted, three segments of highways in the Treasure Valley area in southwest Idaho would be opened to the big moo-haul.
Small town politics don’t often hit the big time. But the little town of Calhan, Colorado, population 834, is under a big microscope just because of them. File it under “RV parks and politics,” wherein a couple of good ol’ boys on the town council apparently decided their elected positions granted them power to protect and serve – their relatives. It all comes to light in an antitrust lawsuit that hit the U.S. District Court. Read more.
In a case of, “If you want it done right, do it yourself,” the lost has been found again. On September 4, a Cairo, Georgia, man complained to police that his travel trailer had been heisted from a local hotel parking lot. Last weekend he called police again – he thought he knew where his rig was. Police took the call and, sure enough, parked on a city street, the missing trailer. The VIN number matched, as did the license plate. Police questioned residents where the ripped-off RV was found and were free to go. The word from police, “Investigation ongoing, charges pending.”
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
Seen this triple-axle toy hauler? This 2004 30-foot Fleetwood Gearbox model was ripped off on October 11, 2020, in Buena Park, California. The plate number read 1KV8817. Not only did the owner lose their weekend fun run, inside was a 2006 Yamaha YFZ 450 Raptor quad. If you know anything that could help to recover this unit, call the Buena Park, California, police at 714-562-3901.
Pickup truck (and other vehicle) 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 Car Review: 2020 Honda Pilot tows 5,000 pounds
The Honda Pilot is in its 19th year as the manufacturer’s biggest, most versatile and most expensive sport utility vehicle. It’s also among seven utility vehicles Honda makes. All fulfill a niche for the ever-increasing percentage of consumers buying cars, trucks, SUVs and vans. As Honda’s only three-row vehicle, the Pilot combines the brand’s reputation and reliability with keen family and cargo capabilities. With its all-wheel-drive option, the Pilot has a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. Read more.
How old were you when you met your current spouse/partner?
A zombie, a mummy and a ghost buy a house. It’s a big house with many rooms, however, one room is missing. Which room is it?
THUMBS UP: A wildfire tore through Berry Creek, California, last month destroying the homes of six of the community’s seven volunteer firefighters along with the department’s fire station. Within days, Woody Faircloth (a CNN Hero) sprang into action, sourcing and delivering RVs for the firefighters and families to live in until they get back on their feet.
This is a reminder, rather than a news brief. From reader Jan Van Hoven: “Last week my wife and I traveled back from Wyoming to Colville, WA. As soon as we turned onto I-90 we ran into snow and a wet highway. This continued until we reached the top of Homestate Pass. During this trip we saw 15 wrecks. The first one on our side of the freeway was a pickup with a U-haul trailer that had slid off the road. Within a mile, we were passed by another pickup pulling a trailer very similar in size to the latter one except he was really blazing trail up the road. About three miles later we saw the pickup and trailer in the ditch and it was not a pretty sight. The pickup was on its side and facing the opposite direction as the trailer. Maybe you could write an article warning people again about driving too fast on wintry roads.” Thank you for the timely reminder, Jan.
The Waynesville, North Carolina, Planning Board voted unanimously Monday night to ban any new campgrounds and RV parks in the town limits. The move was prompted by an outcry among residents in and around Laurel Ridge Country Club over the prospect of a luxury RV park on the golf course. Other concerns were pretty much the standard fare: “Could a campground become a homeless shelter?” asked Planning Board Chair Susan Teas Smith. There are currently no campgrounds or RV parks in the Waynesville town limits.
Bear encounters are cropping up in Texas. Yes, there are bears in Texas. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) encourages residents to practice bear safety. Black bears are native to Texas and are a part of its natural heritage and the Texas ecosystem. Read more.
The Ohio RV Supershow, which typically kicks off a series of major consumer events at Cleveland’s I-X Center, has canceled its January 2021 event because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Duluth, Minn., Boat and RV Show, scheduled for February 18-21, 2021, has also been canceled.
Meanwhile … the 2021 Toronto Spring Camping and RV Show scheduled for February 25-28 will be held only as a virtual event.
FMCA is still planning to hold its March 10-13, 2021, international rally in Perry, Georgia. It will begin accepting registration payments on November 4. The club did not provide refunds to most of its members who prepaid for its last international rally last March in Tucson, which was canceled at the last minute, but instead offered vouchers for a future event. It has now added a statement on its website that it reserves to do the same again should the upcoming event be canceled.
There is a huge demand for RV technicians these days. If you are qualified, here’s a list of available jobs around the USA. Other industry jobs are also listed.
THUMBS UP: Fraserway RV, with locations across Canada, has donated $270,000 to food banks across the country.
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
Just published! Book for newbie RVers a must-have!
We are pleased to report that the printed edition of Chuck Woodbury’s new book The ABCs of RVing is now available. The book is aimed at aspiring and first-time RVers and may also be ordered for immediate reading in a Kindle version.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Your input wanted on National Park campgrounds of the future.
• Campground crowding. “I might as well stay home!” and other complaints.
• An easy tip to keep the motorhome warm on the road.
• RV Electricity: Get your RV ready for winter maintenance.
• Casino RV camping is “the way to go!”
• When RV parts are discontinued, DIY projects to the rescue!
• A perfect fall recipe: Instant Pot Jambalaya with a twist.
• Mike Sokol’s “WAG” chart on solar panels and air conditioners.
• Deer attacks woman. Turns out it was raised by a human.
• RVer Product Review: A mosquito repellent that works!
• RV Tire Safety: Things to consider when buying an air compressor.
• Building an RV Park: Septic system approved! But costs continue to escalate.
• Double Quick, Double Thick Chili.
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of October 19, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.15 [Calif.: $3.04]
Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Down 49 cents.
Diesel: $2.39 [Calif.: $3.24]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 66 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. See the schedule here.
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:
A living room!
Few people know that the late Mr. Maxwell, founder of Maxwell House Coffee, was a veteran skydiver and RVer. Near his hometown, it was common to find Mr. Maxwell at the airport in his Avion Fifth Wheel, relaxing and visiting with his many friends as he waited for his next jump. One fateful day, however, something went terribly wrong and his parachute failed to open. His friends and employees were horrified, to say the least, at the demise of this very kind and gentle man. And so when it came to preparing his epitaph, they had no problem finding the words: “Mr. Maxwell … good to the last drop.”
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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