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Sunday, December 6, 2020
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2021 RV shipments still climbing. Where will we stay?
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
The boys back in Indiana are practically dancing a jig: The RVIA (RV Industry Association) projects manufacturers could roll as many as 515,000 rigs to dealers in 2021. If the dealers sell them, where will your RV stay? We don’t mean, where will you park your rig when it’s not on the road; we mean, where will you stay when you’re on the road? Continue reading this eye-opening article.
Magazines’ readers rate best RVs and products
RV owners, like most consumers, appreciate a source of quality information about a product they are interested in purchasing, especially an expensive product. For decades, MotorHome Magazine and Trailer Life have each surveyed their readers to find out what they think are the best brands and products in various categories of the RV and travel industry…
• From Trailer Life, here are the award winners for 2020, including RVs and tow vehicles, accessories and supplies, service and travel (41 categories!).
• From Motorhome Magazine, here are the award winners for 2020, including motorhomes, accessories and supplies, service and travel (35 categories!).
Drone hobbyist fined $182,000 by FAA for illegal flying
A Philadelphia drone hobbyist has been fined $182,000 by the FAA for flying his drones illegally. The violations were related to his videos that were live-streamed to YouTube from December 2019 to this past August. Sound like Big Brother jumping on a little guy? Well, probably not. But you decide.
Video: Terrifying collision between snowplow and truck
This brief video is frightening. It shows just how fast conditions can change on the road. One second, everything is fine, the next it is horrifying. This video only lasts a few seconds, but it’s well worth watching — a reminder to always drive defensively, always wear your seat belt, and always be thinking about how you might react if something might go wrong, as in this case. Read more and watch the video here.
Overnight camping now closed in parts of California
UPDATED SATURDAY AT 4 P.M. — Californians will see sharp new limits on public gatherings and shopping under a new statewide order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom. RV parks and other campgrounds in five regional hospital network areas (not counties) will be prohibited from accommodating overnight guests. The five regions are Northern California, the Bay Area, the greater Sacramento area, the San Joaquin Valley, and Southern California (from San Luis Obispo to the Mexican border). Continue reading.
And did you read in last week’s issue that a certain CEO of a business known well to most RVers, who is famous for a TV show, is about to star in yet another one? Oh, he is also the CEO of the world’s largest RV club. Now, who could that be? Find out.
Be sure to check out our new Good News section below!
We are still looking for one or two good writers!
Must have a background in writing for a daily or weekly periodical and love deadlines. Good pay for a motivated person who respects quality journalism, who loves slinging words and sharing them with a big audience. Work part-time or full-time. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Today’s RV review…
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the Jayco Jay Flight SLX8 265TH Toy Hauler. For RVers who bring toys with them or simply want a large, open, flexible place in which to create a work or crafting environment, this might be a good fit. Check it out here.
2021 Cherokee 294BH Bunkhouse Travel Trailer
Last week’s reviews
2021 Little Guy Max Travel Trailer • 2021 CrossRoads Zinger ZR259FL Travel Trailer • Safari Condo Alto R1713 Travel Trailer • 2021 inTech RV Terra Oasis • 2021 Riverstone Reserve 3850RK Fifth Wheel
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.
That was the RV week that was
November 29 – December 5, 2020
The Roughrider State says things haven’t been too rough in its state parks. North Dakota has but 13 of them, but campsite use has shot up in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Comparing the state’s May 1 to October 31, 2020 “campsite nights” to the same period of 2019 shows a 35% jump. Of those nights, the ones racked up in September and October were whoppers: September up 173% and October a rollicking 339%. Interestingly, the state’s COVID-19 infection count jumped 285% from October 1 to October 31, starting with 372 cases and ending at 1,433.
It’s December, and thoughts should be directed at staying warm. Not so in California’s Orange County – thoughts there are about staying alive. A major wind-blown wildfire blew into existence late Wednesday night, just 50 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. A house fire blasted into brush, and less than 24 hours after it began, the fire has raced through 7,200 acres. As of late Thursday, officials say there was no containment and the blaze would likely keep going through the weekend. Winds were clocked at 55 to 80 miles per hour, and an unknown number of structures have been damaged or destroyed. As of Thursday evening, 25,000 people have had to evacuate.
With COVID-19 outbreaks around the earth, the world of fine dining has been turned on its ear. With swank restaurants closed down from health concerns, what’s a prestigious chef to do? Mattia Collu, a Belgian chef whose Matthias and Sea restaurant in Tarcienne was closed down, had an inspiration. He opened the parking lot to fine diners – and their motorhomes. Park your rig in the lot (by reservation of course), and the waiter will deliver your gourmet meal to your door, delicately covered with aluminum foil. Said one motorcoaching woman: “We came to the only restaurant in Belgium that is open, in a unique formula that completely seduced and charmed us.” Collu’s “restaurant” also doubles as a fine hotel – you may overnight in the lot when you come for a meal.
Elkhart County, Indiana, may be the RV manufacturing capital of the world, but now it’s also a Red Zone for COVID-19. Officials have fired up a refrigerator truck as an ersatz morgue, and earlier this week the positivity rate for the virus reached 16 percent. County commissioners have ruled fines will be levied come December 10 for those who fail to comply with new health ordinances, which include inspections. This drew the ire of Indiana state Senator Blake Doriot, who questioned, “Can health department employees go into Forest River and say they want to inspect the facility for violations?” He added, “It slams in the face of property rights,” in comments published by goshennews.com. Commissioners were quick to point out there were a variety of approaches available to health inspectors, and that the seriousness of the danger to the public warranted a clear call to action.
Some Malibu, California, residents are rejoicing. City officials say their long-fought battle against RVers parking along the Pacific Coast Highway has been won, and the rout of offending RVers has begun. The city struggled with state agencies, including the Coastal Commission, to get a ban on overnight camping and, upon getting approval, quickly erected no-parking signs. Law enforcement and volunteers blasted through the area at the stroke of midnight the first day of the action, sending travel trailers and motorhomes and their occupants packing. Well, packing as far along the highway until they find non-posted places to park. One resident said the whole thing will turn into a “whack-a-mole” process.
Does it seem your Amazon Prime delivery isn’t so “prime” anymore? Join the chorus of complaining voices. Amazon retailers, who use the giant to fulfill their product orders, say more and more the company is turning it back on them: Instead of Amazon shipping their products, some retailers are being told to ship it themselves. Many say orders that used to get to the customer within two days are now taking much longer. Some hint Amazon may be prioritizing more popular shipments for quick ship-out, sandbagging lesser sellers. Amazon responds that a few beefs don’t make a reality; they haven’t changed how they prioritize shipments. This writer says, it seems to take a lot longer to get your stuff than it used to.
Travelers and locals alike are breathing a sigh of relief: The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is “officially” history. While a “normal” season sees some 12 storms, this year was a capper, with 30 storms (Arthur to Iota) creating havoc. A dozen of the named events hit U.S. shores this year. But don’t breath too easily – just because the calendar says it’s over, doesn’t mean the hurricanes have read the fine print in the contract. Earlier this week, a low pressure system was spotted in the East Atlantic. If it makes hurricane status, it’ll be dubbed Kappa. We told you this year was a capper!
While RV manufacturers are responsible for doing their own inspections, those who are RV Industry Association (RVIA) members have to agree to unannounced inspections by association inspectors. Those inspectors pop in to ensure member manufacturers are abiding by industry standards and codes. There are openings for inspectors right now – and the job description makes this look like a young person’s game. Besides the necessary education and experience, new hires can also look forward to “extensive travel in the United States and Canada.” Being away from the family is a reality – up to 120 nights in a hotel, and six out-of-town weekends each year. Make sure your car’s in good shape: You’ll drive roughly 25,000 miles annually, but you’ll get reimbursed the going IRS mileage rate. Strangely, RVIA doesn’t give a single clue as to entry pay. Want to apply? Go here.
Snow’s Cut RV Park in Hanover County, North Carolina, may see an expansion in its future. Park ownership has hired a representative to speak for it before the county’s planning board. Snow’s Cut is an existing park on 3.6 acres, and wants to expand onto an adjoining 4.2 acre site to allow 28 more RV sites. The developer has hired Cindee Wolf to speak up for the proposal, putting a great deal of faith in her negotiating expertise. “I’ve watched her move mountains,” wrote Dave Spertino, who is an owner of the park. Whether there’ll be local opposition to the park from residents remains to be seen – as well as to their reaction to having a Wolf in the planning board chambers.
Sporting goods retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods says it will soon shift its focus. Back in 2018, following the horrific mass shooting at Parkland, Florida, the company withdrew from the assault rifle business. Next year, it will open two stores with no hunting connections but, rather, selling “elevated” outdoor equipment – to include high-end camping gear. The new stores will be called Public Lands, and will start up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Columbus, Ohio.
The Beach Boys praised “a place called Kokomo,” but residents of Kokomo, Indiana, aren’t cheering. An RV dealer from nearby Russiaville wants to move its operations to an abandoned sports park in Kokomo, and locals aren’t buying into the deal. “Once you allow this commercial type behavior, you’re going to erode the fabric of our neighborhood,” said a local women to news media. “The profit of one should not come at the detriment of the many.” Stellhorn Tri-County Travel Trailers plans on using two acres of the 22-acre property for sales and service, possibly leasing out the other acreage for farming. But locals say they hear the dealer wants to build an RV park. City councilors approved a rezone request for the dealer; it will still need approval from the zoning board.
While Mountain View, California, voters passed Measure C on the last election, it’s apparently not a slam dunk to have RVs banned from streets 40 feet or less in width. City officials say they’ve now measured their streets, and of its 140 miles of pavement, 110 miles – or nearly 80% – meet the ban’s definition. But an attorney with a law foundation warns if Mountain View takes action, they could find themselves in a lawsuit, based on a judgment issued in Idaho. The U.S. Supreme Court said city officials in Boise hadn’t given a suitable alternative to sleeping outdoors when they attempted a similar ban, and found the city violated the Eighth Amendment – creating “cruel and unusual punishment.” Mountain View’s council will talk about implementation at a meeting December 8.
Vehicles of the Imagination
From the mind of Steven M. Johnson
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE STOLEN RVs?
Another “stolen from the dealership” heartbreaker. This 2017 Keystone Raptor 21ck toy hauler bearing an Indiana license plate R801AZ vanished from a Peru, Indiana, dealership. Sure enough, nobody at the dealership noticed it missing until the owners came to see how the job was coming. With that in mind, the “estimated” date of theft was November 21. Thieves not only cobbed the camper, they also took a 2018 golf cart parked in the rig’s “garage.” Call the Peru, Indiana, police if you have a lead. 765-473-5522.
This 2018 Forest River Vibe 287QBS was stolen on Oct. 30 from Evansville, Indiana Public Storage. The tag is R384FD. The storage facility had no video surveillance. If you have information, please contact the Evansville police department.
More stolen RVs
Here’s a recap for those stolen in November. Have you seen any of these? Be a hero and help their rightful owners get them back.
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, Dec. 6, 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 (if you haven’t already) for a chance to win in future issues.
THIS PAST WEEK, TWO READERS RESPONDED and each claimed a $25 Amazon gift certificate. They were Blaise B. of Marinette, Wisconsin, and Cheri S. of Spokane, Washington.
We’ll have another photo in tomorrow’s newsletter (sign up to receive an email alert so you don’t miss the issue or those 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.
Trucks emission system tampering a problem
More than half-a-million pickup trucks in the United States have had their factory-installed emissions control systems removed in the past decade – about 15 percent of trucks sold, The New York Times quotes in a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency. According to a report, an estimated 550,000 medium-size diesel trucks in the U.S. have had their emissions systems tampered with in the last 10 years, rivaling the number of vehicles impacted by Volkswagen’s Dieselgate scandal. The report suggests the trucks could emit about 570,000 tons more nitrogen oxide – as well as 5,000 tons of excess diesel particulates – over their lifetimes than if they’d had their proper emissions control systems still installed.
GM recalls some Sierra and Silverado trucks for roof rail problem
General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling 9,279 model year 2015-2016 GMC Sierra 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 2015 GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500, and Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 3500 trucks. The roof-rail air bag (RRAB) inflator end cap may detach from the inflator. Learn more.
Sierra, Silverado trucks recalled for seat belt issue
General Motors (GM) is recalling 38,048 model year 2017-2018 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 3500 and GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 trucks. The front seat belt retractor assemblies were built with the incorrect torsion bar. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 209, “Seat Belt Assemblies.” Learn more.
NOTES: Ford is dumping the traditional owner’s manual in the redesigned Ford F-150 and all other coming models equipped with the automaker’s Sync 4 infotainment system. The information, instead, will be accessible on the touch screen • The latest 2021 Ram HD boasts the highest tow rating in its class with an available gooseneck towing capacity of 37,100 pounds.
• Nissan may electrify the full-size Titan pickup truck. If the Japanese automaker does decide to add battery power to the Titan, it would compete with the as-of-yet unannounced Chevy EV pickup model • Ford’s November sales were down 20.9% compared with a year earlier, largely due to tight inventory levels of its F-150 pickup due to pandemic-related plant shutdowns and a new model • The latest Ford F-150 model offers fully reclining seats that offer an adjustable massage setting. • GMC upended the off-roader world with the debut of the GMC Hummer EV on October 20. It’s estimated that 40 percent of GMC’s lineup will be fully electric by 2025, or so says GMauthority.com. These will include small- to medium-sized crossovers, SUVs and pickup trucks. • Keep an eye on your Ford pickup when in Ocala, Florida: Since Oct. 1 there have been at least six instances where F-250 or F-350 pickups were either burglarized or stolen.
Do you know anyone personally who has tested positive for COVID-19 at any point?
Please tell us here.
Search for the five letters that AREN’T there. Each letter appears just once, but five do not appear at all. Find the missing letters, then arrange them to spell out the name of an animal.
D H J O S P Y I T G L
C V F X W K Q U N M
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Tuesday that the ban on nonessential travel with the United States, which had been set to tentatively end on December 21, will not be lifted until COVID-19 is significantly more under control around the world. Essential goods are still crossing back and forth across the border, just not travelers.
The federal government announced Thursday that all National Park Service sites will have six entrance fee-free days in 2021 – so mark your calendars. Click here for more info.
December 1 marked the end of another independent RV dealership, this one in Burns Harbor, Indiana. Camp Land RV has been bought out by Lazydays RV as part of its plan to get a bigger hold on the Midwest RV market. The “new” store is now called Lazydays RV of Chicagoland. It’s the third buyout for Lazydays in seven months.
Back in 1950, the big news in Idaho Falls, Idaho, was the opening of a 500-slot drive-in theater, the Sky Vu. Do you remember opening night with The Three Musketeers, The Man from Colorado, The Big Sombrero, and Rusty Saves a Life? Like most of its kin, the Sky Vu projected its last film in 2015. But it looks like new life will be breathed into the site – in the form of an RV park with plenty of pull-through sites. The developer is quick to point out that Idaho Falls is the last major stop on the way to Yellowstone National Park in next-door Montana. Anybody need an outdoor movie screen? You can get it for free, says the developer.
Delaware will soon see a new 340-site RV park in Sussex County. The 74-acre site at one time was the Georgetown Raceway, a harness racing outfit of the 1970s. The new park won’t feature ponies, but will focus on sports, including baseball, basketball and pickleball, and will have the requisite swimming pool. To focus on athletic customers, the RV park is within two miles of two different youth sports complexes.
It may be that winter has come early to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. On Tuesday snow had closed down most of the parkway south of Boone, North Carolina. At the southernmost portion of the parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials were forced to close Newfound Gap Road, the principal connector between the park’s east and west sides.
California State Parks announced on Friday that state campsites in regions impacted by California’s Regional Stay at Home Order triggered by Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity will temporarily close. Read more.
For reasons not yet known, a man in a San Antonio, Texas, RV park went on a rampage and ended up being shot by police. Police responded to Greentree Village RV Park on Thanksgiving evening. A man inside an RV began shooting out through the walls, and stood off enforcers for three hours. He then set the RV ablaze, and began walking around the park, shooting randomly. Six officers approached him, and the man reportedly fired at them. They opened fire, killing him.
Lincoln, Nebraska, joins other municipalities in banning RV street parking during winter. Just to make it all clear, the new ordinance specifically lists “boats, snowmobiles, trailers, motor homes, bumper pull travel trailer, fifth-wheel trailer, pull-type camper, pickup camper, house car, bus, mini motor home, or trailer” on the taboo list. Fines mean $150 per day for a violation.
Rocky Mountain area national parks report huge October crowds. Yellowstone gate-passers were up 110% to 360,000 compared to October 2019. The largest previous record was 252,000 in 2015. Grand Teton was up 88% to 351,000. Its previous all-time high was 207,000 in 2018. At Glacier National Park, 125,000 folks rushed in, compared to a three-year average of 85,000. Don’t expect to bring your RV into Yellowstone now: All roads save the highway between Mammoth Hot Springs and Cooke City are closed.
Camping in the last two months reached historic highs in Tennessee State Parks. The parks saw 62,124 nights camping in October, a one-month record for camping stays in the system, topping the mark of 57,472 nights set in June 2020. November saw more than 36,000 camping nights sold, the highest number for November ever and exceeding November 2019 by 15,000 nights.
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
• Jayco recalls North Point 5th wheels for axle failure issue.
• REV Recreation Group recalls many motorhomes for bed danger.
• Thor recalls motorhomes for stove gas leak danger.
• Newmar recalls motorhomes for potential stove hazard.
• Winnebago recalls some motorhomes for potential bed failure.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Cover story: Are toxic chemicals in your RV making you sick?
• Planning a trip makes you happy! Tips to fight “COVID fatigue“.
• A positive spin on our Crowded Campgrounds feature.
• What would you do for an internet connection?
• Video: $380,000 Class B motorhome? You read that right!
• Snow bike kit expands e-bike function – Fun and practical!
• RVillage acquired by Togo Group: Curtis Coleman Interview by Mike Sokol.
• Building an RV Park: Septic update and a dirty cabin!
• Tour an ice house RV. Camp on frozen lakes, catch fish!
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of November 30, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.12 [Calif.: $3.03]
Change from week before: Up 2 cents; Change from year before: Down 46 cents.
Diesel: $2.50 [Calif.: $3.29]
Change from week before: Up 4 cents; Change from year before: Down 57 cents.
Sign up for an email reminder for our popular RV Daily Tips Newsletter, published every Monday through Friday. You won’t want to miss it!
Upcoming RV shows
All RV shows for the remainder of the year are canceled. We will restart our show directory feature as shows begin again. In the meantime, most of the shows scheduled for 2021 are still on. See the schedule here.
Free and bargain camping
Lions Park, Saint John, ND
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. This small, primitive RV park has ~10 back-in RV sites on gravel. No hookups, no potable water, no dump station, no known amenities of any kind. Pack your trash out with you. Described as level, unlit, quiet, and safe. Season: Unknown, but likely closed in winter when there is snowfall. No reservations. Click here for details.
Steele Creek Park Campground (COE), Morgan, TX
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. This Corps of Engineers Campground has 21 designated campsites on gravel, sheltered picnic tables and fire rings with grills. Several potable water fill stations. Two restrooms (no showers) and two boat ramps. Level or nearly so; unlit, and appears safe. Quiet unless neighbors are noisy. Camp host on-site. Open all year. No reservations. Maximum stay: 14 Days. Click here for details.
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.
• Walmart Directory: Best printed directory of Walmart locations.
• Two excellent guides to free campgrounds. The West edition and the Heartland edition.
• Harvest Hosts: Members can stay free overnight at farms & wineries.
Brain teaser answer:
NEW: GOOD NEWS! Things to smile about this week
In the midst of an abundance of bad news – rising COVID numbers, unemployment, evictions, homelessness and hunger – some good news stories still bubble to the surface. We find ourselves mostly posting bad, sad or frustrating news in our Sunday newsletter. It’s not our fault, of course, but we want to make sure you come here and smile too. That’s why we’re introducing our “Good News” column. Read this week’s edition here.
Why did the art thief’s van run out of gas as he drove away from the museum?
Because he had no Monet to buy Degas to make the van Gogh!
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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