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Sunday, November 22, 2020
If you would like to read this week’s issue with the ads included, click here.
Many people will be hungry this Thanksgiving, including many children. If you are financially able, please donate $20, $50 or $100 to a local food bank. This year it’s especially important to help, with millions of normally hard-working people out of work because of the pandemic. You will feel so good if you contribute — enabling people who are really hurting go to bed on one of America’s most cherished holidays without the pain of an empty stomach. Here’s where to donate.
Best RVs of 2021 profiled in free, online magazine
In recent years, RVBusiness Magazine (RVB) has named one “RV of the Year” and four finalists along with a series of “Top Debuts.” Winning one of the awards is a big deal for a manufacturer. The publication is doing things differently this year. The past year, after all, has been anything but normal. … “Instead of singling out one RV of the year and four finalists, we’re recognizing what our staff and contributors consider the best of the best for the new model year,” said RVB publisher Sherman Goldenberg. Read more and see the publication here.
Would you pay $366,000 to store your RV?
If you read yesterday’s issue of this newsletter, you probably already know the answer to this question, which is “yes,” people do pay that much to store their RVs. Granted, it’s not very many, but for those who do, this is not your ordinary storage facility. Take a look.
Today’s RV review…
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the 2021 Genesis Supreme Overnighter Toy Hauler. He writes, “The front of the trailer is an enclosed space just as you’d expect in a trailer, and the back is this huge open deck.” Check it out here.
2021 Holiday Rambler Admiral 29M Motorhome
Last week’s reviews
2021 Oliver Legacy Elite II Travel Trailer • 2021 Rockwood Mini Lite 2514s Travel Trailer • 2021 Imagine XLS 24MPR Toy Hauler • 2021 Starcraft Autumn Ridge 182RB Travel Trailer • 2020 Roofnest Sparrow
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
NEW: Sign up for our new Facebook Group, RV reviews. We post a link to Tony’s reviews there every day as well as other reviews and videos.
The U.S. National Park System encompasses 422 national park sites. These parks span across more than 84 million acres in every state and extend into U.S. territories, including parks in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam. There is only one of those National Parks that fully closes in the winter. Do you know which park that is? Answer below.
That was the RV week that was
November 15–21, 2020
Holiday traffic may be a bit thin on the Thanksgiving Day weekend. Auto club AAA says it expects at least 10% fewer travelers this year, the largest drop in one year since the Great Recession of 2008. In mid-October, the models indicated 50 million travelers – down from 2019’s 55 million. But with the upward blast in COVID-19 cases, now the group says to expect even fewer. Fuel price analyst group gasbuddy.com says it expects only 35% of travelers will drive this holiday, down from 65% last year.
If you’re a rock star named Prince, how do you get around on your Purple Rain tour? In a tricked-out purple motorcoach – How else? The (purported) original owner isn’t with us anymore, but Prince-wanna-bes now have a shot at Prince’s 1983 Eagle 10, custom-built for the legend. Aside from LOADS of purple trim, purple lighting, and purple stuff, the coach contains room to sleep six (including a king-sized bed in the stateroom). You’ll also find a handy galley and office area. Need comfort on the road? Captains chairs – full leather, of course – have been removed from a private jet and installed. It goes on the auction block through Mecum Auctions (Houston, Texas) sometime December 3 and 5. The auction house hasn’t suggested what they think the big coach will sell for, but it’s safe to assume you’d better have a purple printing press. Caveat: The auction website states: “Please note that this vehicle’s history was conveyed verbally and will not be offered with any supporting paperwork.” So keep that in mind if you’re going to bid on this motorhome.
South Dakota is “short” a town. No, no towns have been burned up or blasted off the face of the map. Rather, the state’s Supreme Court ruled that Buffalo Chip is not a municipality. The “supremes” upheld a lower court ruling that supported a City of Sturgis contention that a South Dakota regulation which says “no municipality shall be incorporated which contains less than 100 legal residents or less than 30 voters,” applied to the campground/city. The argument hinged on whether or not the “30 voters” had to permanently live in the proposed municipality. Sturgis officials were more than peeved when Buffalo Chip gained municipal status, suggesting this would allow Buffalo Chip to set its own building codes, and would unfairly compete for grants against other South Dakota towns. No comment from Buffalo Chip on whether or not it’s willing to let the chips fall where they may.
After weeks of “no-changes” and “slight increase,” the price of diesel fuel took off like a rocket last week. A 5.8 cent per gallon increase was seen (averaged across the U.S. market), the biggest spike this year. The average U.S. price is now $2.441, with California seeing the highest price at $3.24. The lowest is the Gulf Coast region at $2.14. What accounts for the skyrocketing price? Blame it on commercial trucking. With more cargo to be hauled than anticipated, demand has driven up pump prices.
New Mexico, where last summer state parks were closed to all non-residents, hasn’t seen the end of COVID-19. The state is entering what’s essentially a two-week lockdown as coronavirus cases have skyrocketed, making it the state with the 14th highest coronavirus positivity test rating. Come Monday, RV parks that have completed a state-certified testing program will be allowed to stay open at 25% of capacity. No testing program? They’ll be closed until November 30.
Turkey traditions in Hoosier-land have been dealt a blow by COVID-19. For more than 60 years, guests at Indiana state park inns have been able to partake of traditional Thanksgiving dinners. This year, the white tablecloths have been pulled out. You may get your gobbler – but only to go. The sit-down dining ban is in place until at least December 15.
A motorhome’s “contribution” led to a huge mess on Arizona’s I-15 going through the Virgin River Canyon. After dark on November 13, a Holiday Rambler dropped its driveline in the northbound lanes in a curve near milepost 20. Unfortunately, the car following behind didn’t spot the driveline – hitting it – and the car rolled over. Another car stopped behind and was immediately rear-ended. Two more cars then stacked in, partially closing the freeway. No serious injuries, and no citation for the motorhome: “It just is what it is,” said an on-scene trooper.
We reported earlier how residents of Waynesville, North Carolina, were in a twit when someone left flyers in their mailboxes that suggested a local golf-course intended to install RV sites. It turned out that the “plans” were no more than speculative thinking on the part of the course owners, who had been struggling with financial issues. But the tempest on the fairway was enough to excite local lawmakers. The Waynesville Board of Aldermen has now officially banned the construction of campgrounds and RV parks within the town.
Civic-minded do-gooder or slum lord? It depends on whom in Port Alberni, British Columbia, you ask when mentioning the name of property owner Randy Brown. A couple of Brown’s properties have been ruled nuisances and closed down for code violations – Brown has blamed it on tenants. But now, he’s on the hook after bringing a number of RVs to a city lot of his and declaring them as winter housing for the homeless. Brown says he wants to hook them all up to utilities – but city officials aren’t buying in. They report tickets are being written against the site every day.
RVers seeking new adventures may have followed the exploits of the extreme sports guy Vince Reffet, from France. Reffet, 36, may be best-known for his exploits of flying a carbon-winged jet suit at speeds of 250 miles per hour. Sadly, this week Vince Reffet took his last jet suit flight over Dubai, and, by yet-unknown causes, fatally crashed. Until recently, Reffet had begun his flights from the air – taking off from a helicopter or fixed-wing plane. Of late, however, his flights had begun from terra firma, which doesn’t allow much time for fixing a problem if close to the ground.
We reported that Seattle was turning into a major entry point for Canadian RVers – flying into Seattle from Canada, and getting their rigs back from a commercial carrier who’d brought them in by land. The same thing is happening on the East Coast. Canadians are turning over their RVs in Quebec, hopping on a small aircraft, and flying into the US – a 12-minute flight. They get their rigs back immediately. It costs $1,200 Canadian ($917 U.S.) and, somehow, meets the technical restrictions of both countries.
Please feel free to comment.
You might call him the Bully of Battle Creek. A resident of Battle Creek, Michigan, called police last week, complaining about a motorhome parked in front of a house near his. He said the motorhome’s generator was running, people were coming in and out. Since it was after 11:00 p.m., he demanded police get the RV out of there, pronto! He wasn’t happy when he was told he’d have to provide a notice before the RV could be forced out. Less than a half-hour later, police got another call – this time from a woman in the motorhome. She said a man had forced his way in, yanked her out, and elbowed or slapped her face. The bad hombre only left when the woman’s husband came out. The initial caller, the assailant, was booked for breaking and entering and assault.
With the Canada/U.S. border land crossings now shut down to all but “essential” travel, British Columbia is seeing a huge influx of RVers. Snowbirds who’d normally be headed into the Lower 48 can’t go, so many have opted to make B.C. their winter home this year. Now anyone who stays at an RV park on Vancouver Island has a new requirement: Provide their name and phone number, to be kept by the park for at least a month. The order comes from government medical officials who say they could need the information for contact tracing, should COVID-19 outbreaks require it. Don’t think RVers are being picked on: Already the guest-logging is used, province-wide, for at least one party member who visits a bar or restaurant. Update Nov. 20: The Jordan River Regional Park campground on Vancouver Island was closed indefinitely because officials say they cannot meet the contract tracing requirements.
What’s missing in the picture? The exhaust pipe on the truck! Delivery outfit DHL has launched a fleet of electric tractor-trailer rigs. The BYD Motors built rigs’ batteries are said to last all day and have a range of 125 miles when toting a 105,000-pound total load. Initially four of the ‘lectrics will run out of the L.A., California, area.
Back in the ’40s, a park along the St. Johns River, wending through Volusia County, Florida, was a showplace. It was the place folks came to eat Sunday supper or camp with their families. But in the decades that have intervened, what’s presently known as the Jungle Den has become more of a blight on State Route 40. The 89-acre site is home to a 128-site mobile home park, where only 15 occupied homes sit; the balance are mostly picked-over skeletons. But the county council has given a go-ahead to return the site to splendor, giving a rezone approval that could mean pulling out the mobile homes and restructuring a new RV park. And the icing on the county’s cake: The developer will build a sheriff’s substation on the site, much to the delight of locals. Stay tuned.
Vehicles of the Imagination
From the mind of Steven M. Johnson
Steven sees this as a way for state highway departments to increase revenues. Simply charge thrill seekers for use of the “thrill exits.” Users must be certified with THRILL on their driver’s licenses before they may use the exits. Bleachers are provided to the public for a fee.
RV Advice Facebook Group: This group from RVtravel.com is where to exchange information, ask questions, etc., about RVing. Our editors monitor it. A valuable resource.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
From Cape Disappointment to big disappointment. A Vancouver, Washington, family who’s been fixing up a vintage travel trailer has seen their trip plans to Cape Disappointment dashed — someone ripped off their work-in-progress. The 1972 Timberline, dual-axle travel trailer vanished in the night of Monday/Tuesday from their Vancouver Heights driveway. It should be an easy to distinguish rig: White with a thick green stripe; hitch painted in a rust-colored primer. The rear-passenger side sports a basketball-sized dent in the metal. The tail lights are square, aftermarket tail lights, with wires hanging down from them. The trim pieces on both sides near the front end are missing. And like every good “getting there” restoration project, there is black Gorilla Tape holding things together. Know something? Contact Lt. Kathy McNicholas at (360) 487-7400.
Is this your RV?
If it’s yours and you can prove it to us (send a photo for comparison), tell us here by 9 p.m. Pacific Standard time today, Nov. 22, 2020. If it’s yours you’ll win a $25 Amazon gift certificate.
If this isn’t your RV, send us a photo of your RV here (if you haven’t already) for a chance to win in future issues.
THIS WEEK, THREE READERS RESPONDED and each claimed a $25 Amazon gift certificate. They were Rick D. of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Stan H. of Littleton, Colorado, and James J. of Salina, Kansas.
We’ll have another photo in tomorrow’s RV Daily Tips newsletter (sign up to receive an email alert so you don’t miss the issue or the newsletters that follow). Some of these photos are submitted by readers while others were taken by our editors and writers on their travels around the USA.
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.
Consumer Reports skewers Ford, Chevy, GMC, Nissan trucks
The Ford F-150, the perennially top-selling vehicle in the United States, just got graded as below average in reliability in the annual study published by Consumer Reports. But the F-150 wasn’t alone. Many other 2021 model half-ton pickup trucks also received poor grades. Read more.
Jay Leno honors Walmart, recreates founder’s 1979 Ford F-150
Jay Leno needs another vehicle like he needs another pair of jeans and a new denim shirt. Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, could have used a car but he preferred a pickup truck – and only one. But the comedian and renowned collector of hundreds of vehicles and the frugal founder of Walmart both knew about business and marketing and a good truck. Which is why Walmart and Leno have collaborated to reimagine the late Walton’s 1979 Ford F-150. Continue reading.
Do you make your bed every morning?
Go check, then tell us here.
The U.S.-Canadian border closure for nonessential travel between the two countries has been extended to at least December 21. Americans and Canadians returning to their respective countries are exempted from the border closure. Essential cross-border workers such as health care professionals, airline crews and truck drivers are still permitted to cross.
Camping World has gobbled up four more RV dealerships in Minnesota. Previously operating as Noble RV, the four shops are in Jordan, Owatonna, Oronoco, and Madelia. The changeover occurs in December.
Coronavirus be damned. That’s the apparent reaction of visitors to Yellowstone National Park where a record-breaking October saw 360,000+ visitors this year, up 110% from October 2019.
In 2018, Hurricane Michael blasted through parts of Florida, leaving a number of homes in Lynn Haven seriously damaged. The city allowed residents needing to repair or rebuild their homes to live in RVs on their property. “But at some point,” says the city’s commissioner, Dan Russell, “we’ve got to set a deadline.” Now 62 residents will need to get on with finishing their repair work by the end of February and move their RVs out.
Do you know him? Back on November 11, Abilene, Texas, firefighters responded to a 4:50 a.m. RV fire on the city’s East South 11th Street. On arrival, responders were faced with a situation where the rig was heavily involved with smoke and flames evident in the windows. Sadly, an RVer was found inside and died on the scene. Thursday officials announced the RVer was James Patrick Murphy, age 55. After “exhausting all possible leads,” officials have not been able to identify Mr. Murphy’s next of kin.
A claim to the title of “RV Park with the largest backyard swimming pool” has been made in El Campo, Texas. Built by a family at a cost of $2.5 million, the pool features a 21-foot boulder waterslide, six waterfalls, two hot tubs and outdoor bars, and contains 700,000 gallons of water. It’s now the centerpiece of El Campo Lost Lagoon RV resort.
Invest in an RV park? Here are some statistics. In 2018 a couple of firms picked up the Marina Dunes RV Resort near Monterey, California – cost, $18 million. Since then they added 23 sites, expanding it to its current 96 sites on 5.58 acres. Recently the outfit sold the place. Sale price – $28.5 million. Not a bad turn in two years.
No “Weed on Wheels” in Augusta, Maine. A local businessman said he wanted to renovate a travel trailer, park it, and use it to sell medical marijuana. Faced with the proposition, the local planning board recommended higher-ups reject the idea – and the board is now proposing legislation that would ban most all retail sales from vehicles.
After suffering damages from Hurricane Harvey more than three years ago, Goose Island State Park in Texas has reopened its new fishing pier, bayfront area and bayfront campsites. Texas state parks are operating at a limited capacity, so reserving day passes and overnight camping spots in advance is highly recommended since some parks are expected to reach their capacity limit. Reservations can be booked online through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website.
Zach Sieler, a Miami Dolphins defensive tackle, has just signed on for another term with the team, meaning a guaranteed $1.65 million in the 2021 season. Where does Zach live? In a 35-foot fifth-wheel toy hauler. Asked if he’d seek other digs, Sieler pointed out he spends most of his time at the team headquarters – with his fiver parked outside. “I’m happy with what I’ve got,” he told sports writers. “It’s perfect for me. I’m going to keep that and keep going. I plan on being in that for a while.”
Prince Edward Island Senator Diane Griffin wants the Canadian federal government to possibly force mandatory quarantine for returning Canuck snowbirds – not just anywhere, but at their point of return to the country. She wants to keep the “Atlantic bubble” free of COVID-19. The “bubble” is made up of four provinces where travel is restricted, and outsiders must screen for the virus as well as quarantine on entry.
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.
• Winnebago debuts Hike and Voyage travel trailers.
• Winnebago debuts 2021 EKKO Class C motorhome.
• 2021 Winnebago Journey motorhome debuts.
• Winnebago reveals updated motorhomes for handicapped RVers.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
• Triple E recalls some 2019-2020 motorhomes.
• Jayco recalls motorhomes for potential bed gear failure.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Guest Essay: A heartwarming tale of a Thanksgiving past.
• Really? Does your RV’s bathroom sink drain into the sewer tank?
• Toilet paper is out of stock again, but these gifts sure are “Charmin’”!
• Video: Don’t let moose lick your RV!
• Campground Crowding: “RVs are built to be self-sustaining”
• Holy smokes! Is this is what they mean by “crowded campgrounds”?
• RV Gadgets and Gizmos: Lippert’s Jack-It® Double Bike Carrier System.
• RVelectricity: Cheap trick for finding a short circuit. (Invented by Mike Sokol when he was 17!)
• Digital RVer: See a gadget you want to buy? Just take a photo, then order it.
• Mike Sokol’s “Let’s have a Bento Box Thanksgiving this year.”
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of November 16, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.11 [Calif.: $3.03]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 48 cents.
Diesel: $2.44 [Calif.: $3.24]
Change from week before: Up 6 cents; Change from year before: Down 63 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.
One could argue that all cemeteries are useful. But this one is especially so — in Useful, Missouri!
TRIVIA ANSWER FROM ABOVE
The only U.S. National Park that fully closes in the winter is Michigan’s Isle Royale National Park, which covers the entirety of a 45-mile-long island in Lake Superior. Because of how rugged and remote it is, Isle Royale is one of the least-visited of the U.S. National Parks. The island fully closes every year from November 1 to April 15, as the wintry conditions of Lake Superior make it too dangerous for visitors. You can only get to Isle Royale by boat or seaplane, so this is no big deal for RVers.
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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