Welcome to RVtravel.com, the newsletter for intelligent, open-minded RVers. Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 20th year of continuous publication, is made possible in large part by the voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!
Sunday, December 20, 2020
If you would like to read this week’s issue with the ads included, click here.
Get an electric truck – or RV – from Camping World?
Interest is high in shifting away from fossil fuels as motor fuel. Still, a practical real-world alternative fuel vehicle for the RV lifestyle has so far been elusive. Enter Marcus Lemonis of Camping World fame. Marcus wants you to get an electric truck from Camping World. A new partnership between the RV giant and Lordstown Motors, maker of the forthcoming electric-fired Endurance pickup, is now in place. Lordstown will make the truck, Camping World will service it, and presumably become a selling-point for the electric trucks. Learn more.
Thor announces huge backlog of RV orders
Thor Industries, the world’s largest RV manufacturer, released its 1st quarter earnings report December 8, and among a series of eye-popping numbers posted during this banner year for RV sales is one that says everything an RVer needs to know about the current state of the industry: The manufacturer of Airstream, Keystone, Heartland, Jayco and a dozen other brands had $8.92 billion worth of unfilled orders as of October 31st. Learn more in this 3-minute video from Jason Epperson of RV Miles.
Write for RVtravel.com
If you have professional writing experience and/or are an expert on a topic of high interest to RVers (if you are an RV technician who knows how to write, we want you), please consider writing for us on a freelance basis. Work from anywhere. We pay. If interested, contact Chuck Woodbury at chuck (at) RVtravel.com
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the 2021 Grand Design Reflection 150 Series 240RL Fifth Wheel. Tony writes, “This trailer is a well-packaged unit with a lot of cabinet space, very usable features, and a nice design. And that’s, really, what makes it Grand.” Check it out here.
Yesterday’s review: ARI Legacy Sleepers
Last week’s reviews
Dynamax DynaQuest XL 3400KD Super C Motorhome • 2021 Jayco Jay Feather 24BH Travel Trailer • 2021 Gulf Stream Vintage Cruiser 23TWS Travel Trailer • 2021 Riverside Retro 225 Travel Trailer • Time Out Deluxe Folding Trailer
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
That was the RV week that was
December 13–19, 2020
It’ll be at least another month before land crossings between the U.S. and Canada will reopen for non-essential traffic. The newly minted U.S. president will have to make the call on when to reopen in light of the continuing COVID-19 mess, as the current closure is until January 21. Canadian cousins in the government above the Lower 48 don’t appear to be in a hurry to let in traffic from the south, pointing to lower COVID numbers in the Great White North.
Last Sunday witnessed a nasty collision on Oregon’s U.S. Highway 101 roughly four miles north of Nehalem Bay State Park. Police received reports of a southbound Infinity sedan being driven erratically, nearly causing collisions. At milepost 40, the Infinity ventured into the northbound lane, slamming into a cliff face. An oncoming Class A motorhome then smacked into the Infinity, spinning the car around. Unfortunately, the carnage didn’t end there. The Class A then hit an oncoming pickup, and kept going – headed for the ocean cliff-side of the roadway. The RV driver, in a desperate attempt not to make the “Pacific plunge,” steered hard away from the ocean, and into the path of a Nissan Xterra. The Nissan spun about, and then got clobbered yet again by the Class A. Both eventually came to a stop, with Highway 101 thoroughly blocked. Injuries resulted in plenty of patients heading to the hospital by both ground and air ambulances. Investigators found a large number of “alcohol containers” in the Infinity. Its driver confessed to both drinking and using cocaine earlier in the day.
The high season for desert sandrailing is upon us. Some have wondered how California’s Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area had been affected by COVID-19. Dune overseer the Bureau of Land Management reports the dunes are open for camping and recreation. BYOB – bring your own biffy – the restrooms are shut down.
Every year we sadly report on the loss of RVers’ lives in what often are preventable situations. We wind up 2020 with another of those. Firefighters were called to a travel trailer fire in Idlewild, Michigan, on December 5. On arrival, they found a man and his dog, both dead inside the burning RV. Investigators say it looks as though the man had taken a “large” LP cylinder inside the rig to use with a heating apparatus, and that both souls succumbed to asphyxiation from the heat source. Afterwards, the LP cylinder exploded, creating the fire they were called to respond to. We repeat our annual admonitions: Please don’t put LP cylinders inside your RV, and make sure any heating equipment you use is designed specifically for inside use.
A doorbell camera may be responsible for the undoing of a “porch pirate” in Albemarle County, Virginia. Police say they’ve arrested and charged Cindy Kay Marshall, 53, with four counts of grand larceny. Police surmise she may be responsible for a number of thefts in the area. While stereotypical pirates are often seen with an eye-patch, the alleged porch pirate pictured here appears to be wearing a mask instead.
Want to try out for the role of a human Popsicle? It’s all in the name of outdoor winter recreation! Indiana State Parks is offering guided ice hikes every Saturday in January and February. It all “shakes out” at Turkey Run State Park in Marshall, Indiana, where three different park venues will provide the chilly experience for those brave enough to try. Interested? You will NEED face coverings, boots, and the ability to lift both legs to a 90-degree angle. Boot spikes will be provided by the park. Advance registration required. Call 765-597-2632 or e-mail adouglass@dnr.IN.gov.
A quick-thinking Fed-X freight driver has received the Civil Air Patrol’s highest award for heroism after responding to an RV fire in Georgia. Johnny Click, a second lieutenant in the Air Force’s auxiliary volunteer group, spotted an RVer towing a travel trailer pull into a truck stop fuel lane in Richmond Hill, Georgia – with flames shooting out of the rig. Click jumped from his rig and ran to the flaming RV, shutting down the unit’s LP cylinder valves, and helping the driver clear his pickup from the RV. Officials say the aftermath of the fire could have taken lives had the LP not been removed from the conflagration. Click didn’t miss a beat afterward. He climbed back in his cab and continued on his route.
“It’s a terrific idea, but …” was the bottom line at a Telluride, Colorado, town meeting. The idea, floated by a local resident, was to handle the genuine shortage of housing for workers in the popular winter season by allowing them to park their RVs at the town park’s campground. The local park and recreation commission embraced the idea, in principle, but only one member was willing to vote for it. What’s the matter? Traffic and safety. Loss of “snow storage.” How could propane be delivered safely? Well … maybe next year.
Winter has yet to officially arrive, but there’s snow on the ground in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Some RVers, working stints in the area, say they’ve found it hard to find a place to affordably hang their hats. So the Norris Penrose Event Center, home of the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, allowed a number of them to stay at the site’s RV lot. Since COVID-19 has quelled money-making events for the center, it’s worked out for a bit of income. But some locals aren’t happy to see RVers camped in a “temporary” lot and have raised a beef with the city. A few days ago, the city announced they had no problems with the RVers’ presence, but they’d need to move along come spring. And, hopefully, the snowmelt will cooperate.
The skyrocketing sales of RVs have apparently drawn the attention of politicians in Florida’s Indian River County. When a proposal for a 308-site RV park came before the county commissioners, at least one was enthused. Pointing to RVers coming from out-of-area, the subject of “tourist taxes” was a hot button for Commissioner Susan Adams. “I think this is very compatible (with the area),” Adams said. “It’s better than homes, and it’ll help increase our economy,” says a report on tcpalm.com. The commissioners gave a unanimous vote for the project.
Kris Hardy and Monique Seidler used to live in a tiny town in Manitoba, Canada. When coronavirus hit the economy and both lost their jobs, they packed up their motorhome and two boys and went west, ending up in the District of Sooke, in British Columbia – that’s where the motorhome broke down. Locals saw their plight and helped out, bringing meals and helping to make repairs. Then they found a piece of land to rent and all seemed well – until the bylaw officer came by. Their landlord got a $200 ticket, and Kris and Monique got an order to move out for violating bylaws. But after their story hit the local newspaper, officials quashed the fine and say the family can stay until May at least – longer if they need to.
The wheels of justice move – just slowly. That’s the case for an Arkansas couple, Michael L. and Yvonne J. Walters. Both pleaded guilty to taking rocks and minerals from a prehistoric archeological site in Arkansas’ Buffalo National River – back in 2015. Park rangers caught the two red-handed, and both admitted they’d been looking for arrowheads. While they could have faced up to a year in the pokey and fines of up to $10,000, earlier this week they agreed to give up their artifacts, tools and equipment, and pay $4,111 in restitution.
One British woman is changing her career again – with the aid of her motorhome. Charlotte Rose taught college, then became a call girl. She fell in love with an RVer, Colin Chapman, who introduced her to a new “lifestyle,” and they spent three years together. Rose continued “the life,” until Colin was killed in a motorcycle accident. Her life turned upside down, Charlotte Rose has rethought her profession, and has now embarked on a new life: She and her dog, Marvin, travel by motorhome across England, reviewing pubs. Her original goal was to beat a Guinness record of checking out 150 pubs across Wales, Scotland, and England in 12 months, but the coronavirus has put a bit of a throttle on the plan.
Sign up for our popular Facebook Group, RV Advice. With more than 10,000 members, you’ll find most questions you pose answered quickly.
Photo of the Week
NEW: GOOD NEWS! Things to smile about this week
A weekly roundup of news stories that will make you smile (and maybe shed a tear or two…). This week, a woman who does 53 acts of kindness for her 53rd birthday, three children with the biggest hearts, two funny dog videos (can you pass those up?), a school district who gives a much-deserved snow day, and some lovely words-of-wisdom from a long-time reader. Enjoy it all here.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
We found no new stolen rigs to share this week. However …
Here’s one for the WIN column …
Last week we posted information on a travel trailer stolen in Sebastopol, California. The rig had been taken from an older woman who had it to house folks that were helping her out. When she noticed someone hitching up the rig, the culprit knocked her down and drove off. We’re happy to report the rig has been located. The man who originally sold the rig to the woman was so upset by the situation, he went on a personal search to try and find it – and sure enough, earlier this week he did. He found the rig hitched up to a pickup truck in an industrial area. Rather than confronting anyone who may have been inside, he contacted police and let them handle the matter. Thanks to all who kept an eye out for this one.
Stolen RVs – Help us recover stolen RVs. The more eyes we have searching for them, the better chance of getting them back to their rightful owners, and maybe putting the crooks who stole them in the slammer! See recent stolen RVs.
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. 20, 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 past week three people claimed their $25 gift card: Dianne K. of Hollis, OK, Rob B. of Helena, MT, and Bruce G. of Texas.
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 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.
Toyota Tacoma, Tundra tops in used truck ratings
Toyota claimed top honors for best midsize and best full-sized used trucks, according to the latest analysis of iseecars.com. Whether they are driven for business or pleasure, pickup truck drivers want a rugged and capable hauler, the site explains in its latest survey. Beyond performance, the best used pickup trucks are proven to last longer and retain their value so drivers can save money for their next pickup truck purchase. Read the ratings for the Tacoma and Tundra here.
Ram announces production of biggest, baddest truck
Production of the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, the latest edition of the brand’s three straight years of Truck of the Year honors by MotorTrend, has started at the manufacturer’s facility in Sterling Heights, Michigan. The TRX is powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V-8 engine with 702 horsepower, 650 lb.-ft. of torque performance, 0-60 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds. Learn more.
Pickup truck weighs 30,000 pounds. See what it’s made of!
No, it’s no ordinary truck. But we’re not going to tell you what it is, exactly, because we want to make this a surprise. You’ll need to click here to find out.
How comfortable are you at the wheel driving or towing your RV?
Pull over and tell us here.
Can you find the hidden word in the tangled Christmas lights below? If not, the answer is below.
A Lawton, Oklahoma, woman no longer RVs, but when she was a bit younger she couldn’t be stopped. Mary Ottinger’s family recalls how, when her young husband’s assignment in the Navy took him out west to San Diego, Mary couldn’t stand being away from him. So she hitched up a travel trailer and made the trip, solo. By today’s standards that might not seem so remarkable. It was at the time: December 11 marked Mary Ottinger’s 100th birthday.
To get approval for a new 47-site RV park, developers for the outfit in Pillar Point Harbor, California, had to jump through plenty of hoops. San Mateo County’s planning commission forced the total number of sites down, required relocating several “elements” of the park that might have reduced a waterfront view, and reduced the park’s entrance sign size, among others. And park owners will be required to provide an annual report that proves guests aren’t staying longer than 28 days.
RVnGO, an internet service that brings folks that want to rent an RV to private RV owners who do rent, got a nod in Arizona. The Arizona Commerce Authority, an economic development association aimed at beefing up the state’s economy, has listed RVnGO as one of the state’s most innovative, fastest-growing and promising companies in the Arizona Innovative Challenge. The outfit competed against 400+ entrants to win the finalist prize, and a grant.
Crowley, Louisiana, may become home to a 350-site RV park called The Mill. Developers say they already own 40 acres on a site near a city-owned recreational area, and floated a plan to purchase five more acres from the city. The city council has cautiously approved getting the acreage – which it received as a donation – surveyed and appraised.
Bulletin: Mark Twain attacked by Yogi Bear. OK, maybe we’re stretching it a bit, but Monroe City, Missouri’s, Mark Twain Landing RV park has been swallowed up by a Houston, Texas, real estate development firm. By year’s end, Mark Twain Landing will become a Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort. New owners say they’ll be a “family friendly park geared towards short-term vacation campers.”
Campground and RV Park News
Developments in places where we stay 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 and RV Park News” here.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
• Airstream recalls trailers for stove gas leak risk
• R-pod trailers recalled. Sewer bracket could fail
• Nissan recalls some Titan and Titan XD trucks for wiring issue
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Guest essay: New RVs sit in manufacturers’ fields due to parts shortages
• Life update from RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury
• What are the best cars to flat tow? We review some options
• Bizarre places to stay for RVers
• Campground Crowding: Should some reservations be reserved for state residents?
• Reader Poll: Would you pay $20 for a one-night stay with electricity in a Walmart parking lot?
• The rest of the inspiring “This Little Light” story by Paul Harvey (includes audio)
• These RVs are merry AND bright! Check out our readers’ decorated RVs
• Give winter RV camping a try!
• RVelectricity: Readers’ top 5 questions on running an air conditioner from batteries
• New RVer turns his fifth wheel into an RVer’s technology dream
• RV App Review: Roadside America – Don’t miss a thing!
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of December 14, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.16 [Calif.: $3.04]
Change from week before: No change; Change from year before: Down 38 cents.
Diesel: $2.56 [Calif.: $3.34]
Change from week before: Up 3 cents; Change from year before: Down 49 cents.
If you want to have a wonderful day, send $10, $50 or $100 to a local food bank. There are millions of our fellow citizens, including little kids, who are going hungry because their parents lost their jobs. You will feel so good if you contribute – helping people less fortunate than you go to bed without the pain of an empty stomach. Here’s where to donate.
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.
SHOULD THE SHOW GO ON?
The huge Florida RV SuperShow has not been canceled, and is set to go on as scheduled January 13-17 in Tampa. Do you think this is a good or bad idea? Please read more and answer our poll.
Free and bargain camping
Wilco-Hess Truck Stop, South Boston, VA
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Staff on duty stated that permission is not required. Park with trucks on the north side of the building, without obstructing traffic lanes or vehicle movement. Small RVs that will fit in a single auto parking space may receive permission to do so. Level, well lit, appears safe, with moderate truck and highway noise. Bojangles Restaurant and a convenience store on site. Click here for details.
Joe Skeen Campground (BLM), Grants, NM
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Campground has 10 campsites on concrete pads. One RVer arrived to find all sites full and dry camped in one of several sandy roadway turnouts. No hookups, no potable water on-site, and no dump station. Some sites are level, most will require leveling blocks or jacks. Published max rig length: 36 ft. Fire pits, BBQ grills, sheltered concrete tables, trash receptacles, and vault toilets on-site. Open all year. No reservations. Max stay: 7 days in any 28-day period. 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:
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.
This website utilizes some advertising services. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers.
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.
Need help? Contact us.
Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.
This newsletter is copyright 2020 by RVtravel.com