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Sunday, December 27, 2020
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Nashville RV explosion: What we know so far
Even as residents of Nashville, Tennessee, try to get back to normal after the early Christmas morning bombing via motorhome, authorities continue their intense investigation. Some new information including the naming of a person of interest has been learned as of Saturday evening when we posted this report. Here is what we know.
RV shipments sizzling, best November in history!
While the pandemic has had a devastating effect on many parts of the economy, it’s done just the opposite for the RV industry. It’s booming! The RV Industry Association’s November 2020 survey of manufacturers found that total RV shipments finished the month with 42,513 units shipped, an increase of 43.4% from the 29,644 units shipped in November 2019 and the highest shipments ever for the month of November. Continue reading.
Thor Industries buys Tiffin Motorhomes for $300 million
(December 21, 2020) — Thor Industries, Inc. has acquired Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc. and related companies for $300 million. Tiffin is best known for its high quality, luxury motorhomes. Monday morning, Tiffin announced the sale, saying the family will continue to run daily operations at Tiffin’s four Alabama locations – Red Bay, Winfield, Belmont, and Burnsville – and the plants will continue to manufacture the company’s motorhomes. Learn more.
Tiffin sold out – Will reliability crash under Thor ownership?
In a move that may be greeted by some with disappointment, RV giant Thor Industries has bought out Tiffin Motorhomes. The selling price, $300 million, was coughed up by Thor through cash and a company draw-down of existing asset-based credit. The official sign-off took place Friday, December 18. With Tiffin sold, will things stay the same? Continue reading.
Quartzsite’s normally big crowds staying away
If you haven’t been able to make it down to the Snowbird Capital of the Southwest, you may be wondering what’s up in Quartzsite. Between the border crossing issues for Canadian snowbirds to COVID-19 concerns, is Quartzsite really “happening” this year? Read this update from Quartzsite residents Russ and Tiña De Maris.
Below: RV radio and social media host dealing with COVID-19. See news briefs.
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the 2021 Forest River Sunseeker MBS 2400B Motorhome. This RV won the 2020 “Best in Show” Award. See what Tony loves, and doesn’t love, about it. Check it out here.
Yesterday’s review: Winnebago Inspire 34AE Motorhome
Last week’s reviews
2021 Coachmen Freedom Express Ultra Lite 252RBS Travel Trailer • 2021 Aliner Ascape Plus Travel Trailer • 2021 Flagstaff E-Pro 20FBS Travel Trailer • Santa’s Sleigh (Yes, you read that right…)
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
That was the RV week that was
December 20–26, 2020
It’s not a boo-boo: Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resorts had their biggest money-drawing month in all of its 51 years. Same-park sales skyrocketed up 64% over 2019, while reservations for the fourth quarter of the year are up almost 52% compared to 2019.
The saying “Everything’s bigger in Texas” must apply to windstorms as well. At least two RVs were wiped out and a number of others damaged December 19 in Beaumont, Texas, when a nasty blast brought on by a cold front shot through the Beaumont RV Park and Marina. One RVer was inside her rig when it was dumped over but escaped with only minor injuries.
Buried in the 5,000+ pages of the pandemic relief bill that headed to the White House this week, a new national park. Well, new from the standpoint that if the bill does make it to law, the U.S. will have its 63rd national park. If the package flops, then the country still has the land – it’s a readjustment. The existing New River Gorge in West Virginia would gain national park status from its current designation as a national river and preserve.
Coronavirus got your fine dining experiences down? If you’re anywhere in range of Long Grove, Illinois, you can eat in healthy security at “Camp Find-A-Way,” a unique “private dining” experience, courtesy of the Chatter Box Restaurant. Partnering up with a local RV dealership, Chatter Box staff parked a small fleet of travel trailers in the lot, equipping them with air handling systems that bring in fresh, outdoor air, heat it, and pump it through the RVs. HEPA filters and UV lights help to cut down any bugs you may bring with you. And what to eat? In the midst of an unsettling pandemic, what else but comfort food? Prime rib, shrimp gumbo, prime rib slider sandwiches with glorious-looking hand-cut French fries. Just a bit of what we saw on their Facebook page. Opening soon!
The Steubenville Bridge has struck again – or is that – was struck again? The Market Street Bridge that connects Steubenville, Ohio, to West Virginia across the Ohio River is a clearly marked 10’ low clearance bridge. Signs notwithstanding, apparently not everyone has cottoned-on to the low height, as on Monday, an RVer coming through from the West Virginia side hung up their rig, snarling evening traffic. This file photo from 2018 shows another RVer who apparently wasn’t paying attention either. With an average daily traffic count of 15,000 vehicles, whoever was stuck had plenty of folks to view their embarrassment. Some smart RVers post the height of their rig in view of the steering wheel.
Camping World comes to Killeen – well, maybe. The Killeen, Texas, zoning commission approved a conditional use permit for the site of the now-vacant Gander Mountain store where Camping World would like to open a sales and service operation. The proposal met with a neutral reception from the public – nobody spoke in favor of or against the idea. But the city council took a different view of the matter, thumbs-downing the proposal on a 4 to 2 vote. The council will have an opportunity to recant. Early next year they’ll have a workshop session to study the matter in more detail, then take a final yea or nay in the matter come January 12.
Fullerton, California, joins a list of cities with the potential of a lawsuit over ordinances on RV parking. The Orange County city recently passed a law banning RVs from parking on city streets without a permit. Now an attorney with an elder law and disability rights group has warned city officials their ordinance is unconstitutional. The attorney pointed to other cities which had attempted similar moves and had run afoul of constitutional protections of human rights. While the city has yet to enforce the new law pending signage posting, it says it will also wait until the current “stay at home order” is lifted.
A fairly new, double-slide-out truck camper appears to have been narrowly spared a trip to the RV junkyard. Last Monday, police in Santa Clarita, California, say a sedan rolling down Soledad Canyon Road did a roll of its own. The car jumped the curb and rolled down a steep embankment, straight into Cali Lake RV Resort. From the photo, it looks as though it was a “last minute stop-on-a-dime” that prevented what could have been some serious RV damage. Not providing the media a reason as to why, California Highway Patrol officers booked one person on the scene. Nobody required a trip to the hospital.
It hasn’t taken long for locals to react to a proposed 25-acre RV park adjacent to Lake Stone in Century, Florida. The wannabe-developer, Cheryl Nelson, suggests she’d have a fairly simple park, with a “portable building” for the office and a shower/restroom facility. Each site would have full hookups. She’s even proffered two different designs on how the park could be laid out. Evidently governing officials have yet to make a first hearing on the matter, but response in the local paper was quick. “The Beginning of the End!” penned one person, claiming to be an RVer. Another welcomed the idea: “I would love a place close to home for an overnighter,” they wrote. Another: “No ‘Trashy Tourists’ allowed… Only local residents….” Finally, one among many others wrote, “People complain when the government buys property and makes parks. People complain when private individuals develop their own property. People just complain.” We’ll keep you updated as to how it all turns out.
A major bridge between Kentucky and Ohio over the Ohio River has been re-opened – a day earlier than scheduled. The Brent Spence Bridge, which carries Interstates 75 and 71, shut down November 11 when two semi-trucks mixed it up on the lower bridge deck. One of the trucks was carrying potassium hydroxide, or lye, and both trucks caught on fire. Engineers said the bridge would need 16 new steel beams, a new concrete upper deck, and a new layer of concrete on the lower deck, in addition to other repairs. The projected re-open date was beat by a day, actually reopening on Tuesday, December 22. On an average day, 160,000 vehicles cross the bridge – there must have been a large sigh of relief when the first traffic crossed this week.
RVers in Mesquite, Texas, may need to rearrange their RV parking. A new ordinance will allow RVs to be parked on a public street for a maximum of 24 hours. The same will apply to boats, trailers and commercial vehicles. The ordinance allows up to two RVs or trailers to be parked in driveways. However, race cars, dune buggies, utility platform vehicles, and farm equipment may no longer be parked on residential properties in Mesquite.
Somewhere near Anderson, Indiana, somebody who owns an RV is probably in hiding. An older Class C motorhome was apparently being towed down an Anderson street on Monday when the motorhome took a fancy to freedom and broke away from its tow unit. From there, the refractory rig jumped a curb, ripped out a gas meter, and stopped – blocking a sidewalk directly in front of stone-constructed church built in 1900. The pastor said he saw a miracle – the stopping point was just inches from his building. Crews evacuated the area for a couple of hours, waiting for the gas to be shut off and the air to clear. Maybe the driver of the tow unit had a miracle too – whoever it was simply vanished. As to who owns the motorhome? That’s not clear – no current registration with the state, but police say they’re pursuing inquiries – and the owner.
The judicial chickens have come home to roost for a defiant New York campground owner. We reported earlier on Ronald Grottanelli who operates the Hogarosa Campground in Springville. In July, he defied a court order against having a music festival at his campground because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A court has ordered him to immediately pay $3,000 in penalties to the state, and pay $300 a month on a $32,255 contempt charge until paid in full. He’ll also have to repay a ticket vendor for reimbursements it made to those who bought event tickets. If he doesn’t keep up his commitment, he’ll no longer be able to conduct any sort of commercial business at his present campground site.
Winnebago has seen its stock values make unbelievable jumps this year. The company stock has blasted up 260% since a “pandemic low” in March. For the year, company stock values are up 18%. Company CEO, Michael Happe, says his company anticipates great sales in 2021, due to a “pent up demand” for both RVs and boats – both of which the Winnie sells. Happe says the company also thinks the customer demographic will shift lower and lower in age groups, as working-age customers discover that RVs are compatible with jobs on the road. Is this yet another harbinger of increasing pressure for RV park space?
A proposed 247-acre RV park on Interstate 40 east of Flagstaff, Arizona, will have a lot of objections to overcome if it’s to see the light of day. Developer John Gunderman’s vision of his “Two Guns Resort” is a patchwork of culture and history that don’t necessarily go together. Two Guns would mate several hundred RV sites with cabins, yurts, wagons and a small hotel. What really riled at least one county supervisor was another idea: 78 teepees. The conical tents were home to many Native Americans inhabiting the plains, but the nearby Navajo Nation’s inhabitants would hardly have heard of such a thing. “If you’re truly going to respect and honor the Native people, then do so,” said Coconino County Supervisor Lena Fowler. “Don’t be building something that just really is a stereotype again.” Two Guns would also celebrate Route 66, have a military museum, and a memorial to Native Americans. If approval for the project is to be given, Gunderman will have to “consult” with the Navajo, Hopi, and applicable Apache tribal representatives, among other conditions.
Perhaps the retirement system in Spain isn’t up to par. It’s one possible explanation after the arrest of a retired couple in Oviedo, a city in the north of Spain. The unnamed couple was stopped by law enforcement officials as they drove their motorhome down a busy highway. The couple attempted to “explain” to officers that they were merely tourists from their home town of Pontevedra. Police had other ideas and, sure enough, in a hidden compartment they found nearly 1,000 pounds of hashish. Also found: the equivalent of $17,000 in cash, a rifle with 147 cartridges, and five cell phones. Authorities say they were part of a now “neutralized” narcotics trafficking ring.
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE STOLEN RVs?
Nichole Warick says she’s feeling broken. And no wonder – some ratfink stole the family’s 2017 Sandstorm toy-hauler travel trailer. The 28-footer vanished from StaxUP Storage in Homeland, California, and was posted on December 24. If you see it or know something, call Nichole at (951) 310-5363.
This 1999 Coleman Santee tent trailer was stolen from its driveway on Christmas Day on the south side of Indianapolis near Thompson and Arlington. A unique feature on the inside is the ticket stubs kitchen table the owners made. The colorful letters on the back right read “Happiness Jones.” If you know its whereabouts, call the Indianapolis police.
This 2017 34 Jay Flight RSBS was stolen from U-Haul in League City, Texas, between October 29 and December 5. The Jayco RV has an “In God We Trust” sticker on the back window. The black tank has a lot of spray foam on it. The right rear leveler is bent. There is white caulk on front cap and side. If you know where it is, call the League City PD.
This trailer was stolen recently in Willis, Texas. The license plate is B350362. Call the Willis PD if you’ve seen it.
This Jayco Eagle was stolen Christmas Day in Burkeville, Texas, from County Road 2132, just off of Farm to Market Road 692. The trailer is light tan with gray trim. The Newton County Sheriff’s Department is looking information that might lead to its recovery.
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.
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.
Half-ton trucks: What to know before you tow
By Tony Barthel
How much can you tow with a half-ton pickup? It might surprise you that there is no single answer to this. It may also surprise you that your very light travel trailer may be much more than your V8 pickup is supposed to handle. What a half-ton pickup can tow varies widely depending on how it’s configured. Learn more.
Big recall on GM, Chevy pickup trucks for seat belt failure issue
General Motors, LLC (GM) is recalling 624,216 model year 2019-2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickup trucks, 2021 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe and GMC Yukon XL SUVs, and 2020-2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 3500 and GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks. The seat belt brackets may not be secured to the seat frame in the front-row center seating position. Read more.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Ford F-150 pickup is the top-selling vehicle in America. It’s not just the No. 1 truck; it’s the No. 1 vehicle, period – and has been for the last 43 years running. Last year, Henry Ford’s legacy company sold just under 900,000 of the things, 36% of all U.S. truck sales, leaving Chevrolet, Ram, GMC, Toyota, Honda and Nissan and all the other truck makers in its dust. SOURCE: Dallas Morning News
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. 27, 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 people claimed their $25 gift card: Richard G. of Ventura, CA, and Jane F. of Fort Meyers, FL.
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.
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 primate lifeline for an endangered species, a generous Florida man, a guy who gets our seal of approval, a rescued baby elephant, a brilliant ugly Christmas sweater, and the new 2020 trend: ugly masks! Enjoy it all here.
How important is a $600 government stimulus check to you?
Please tell us here.
What day would yesterday be if Thursday was four days before the day after tomorrow?
Alan Warren, the host of the popular “The RV Show USA” radio and social media show, is out of action with COVID-19. His wife, Lisa, is also infected. Both are resting at home. “Achy doesn’t begin to describe it. I’m not one who gets sick and I’m not a very good patient. But this kicked my butt,” he told RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury.
Cincinnati Police have cleared a scene near the John Weld Peck Federal Building on Sixth Street after investigating an RV that had been parked there for 24 hours. Officials said the RV was not running but a generator would kick on once the temperature would drop to a certain point. A spokesman said police were “obviously on high alert” after the incident in Nashville.
An RV park developer has seen its hopes dashed in Columbia County, Florida. The county’s board of adjustment voted 3 to 2 to approve a 13-acre site near Fort White for use as an RV park. Locals took it hard, and 17 of them appealed to the county commissioners. The developer said they’d be happy to make modifications to their plan to try and keep the peace, but no deal. Commissioners voted unanimously to overturn the earlier approval.
America’s Interior Department may soon have a first. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Deb Haaland, presently a U.S. Congresswoman, will become the first Native American to head up the big land agency. The department is the lead agency overseeing the National Parks Department, Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, and others.
The heavy snowfall associated with last week’s “weather event” definitely had an effect on a Sayre, Pennsylvania, RVer. His motorhome took a drubbing, but the car – nothing but a snow bump. The photo was taken December 17.
Odometer fraud is nothing new. In fact, it’s getting worse, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). After documenting an increase in cheating, the NHTSA is reminding consumers of stricter regulations beginning January 1, 2021. Learn more.
Despite gripes and growls from some locals, Stellhorn Tri-County Travel Trailers has received the OK to relocate from Russiaville to Kokomo, Indiana. Last Monday the city’s council approved a rezone request that allows a property, formerly a sports academy, to become the dealer’s new home. Neighbors had complained an RV dealership was not a good mix in the largely residential area, but the council apparently disagreed.
Some Florida residents are in a kerfuffle over coronavirus vaccines. Some full-time residents of Venice are squawking their fears that snowbirds will cut the line and get the vaccine ahead of them. Meanwhile, some snowbirds in the area are afraid they won’t be able to get the vaccine at all. “Relax!” say Florida officials. Frontline workers and residents of nursing homes trump everyone else. After that, anyone who wants the jab can get it, Floridian or not.
The Canadian Camping and RV Council says at least 50,000 full-time Canadian RVers who usually spend their winters in the United States had to find a site north of the border. Thousands of those snowbirds have converged on southern B.C., packing full-service campgrounds to wait out the winter, according to tourism and lodging groups in the province.
If you soon start seeing driverless Walmart trucks in Arkansas, don’t fret. The massive retailer will debut its fully autonomous box trucks to make deliveries early in 2021 in conjunction with a startup company called Gatik. Continue reading.
If you were planning on taking in the big RV show in Louisville, Kentucky, next month, make other plans. The Louisville Boat, RV & SportShow at the Kentucky Expo Center has been cancelled, out of health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Campground and RV Park News
Developments at RV parks and campgrounds across the USA
Janet Groene reports each week on developments at RV parks and campgrounds across the USA and Canada. There’s a lot of good information here that you can use to plan your travels. Read the current installment of “Campground and RV Park News” here.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
• Keystone recalls some trailers for solar prep issue
• Grand Design recalls some RVs for stove burner issue
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Have you seen this RV used in the Nashville bombing?
• Campground Crowding: ReserveAmerica – Love it or hate it?
• Jeep Reviews: Which is best to flat tow?
• What kind of toilet paper is best for your RV?
• RVelectricity: Are there 150-amp pedestals?
• RV Tire Safety: How are tires “designed”?
• Did someone say comfort food? This chicken veggie curry does the trick
• Michigan’s latest craze? Mobile bowling in a semi-truck
• RVelectricity – JAM Session: Drop-in Lithium battery update
• State parks’ First Day Hikes = healthy, fun family outings
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of December 21, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.22 [Calif.: $3.06]
Change from week before: Up 6 cents; Change from year before: Down 31 cents.
Diesel: $2.62 [Calif.: $3.37]
Change from week before: Up 6 cents; Change from year before: Down 42 cents.
Sign up for an email reminder for our weekday RV Daily Tips Newsletter, published every Monday through Friday. You won’t want to miss it!
Upcoming RV shows
Some RV shows for the beginning of 2021 are canceled. We will restart our show directory feature as shows begin again. In the meantime, some of the shows coming in the next couple of months are still on. See the schedule here.
Free and bargain camping
Lowe’s #1635, Seneca, SC
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed but permission from customer service or management required. Park near NE edge of lot, as far from the store as possible, without obstructing traffic lanes or blocking access to merchandise items stored in the lot. Level or nearly so, well-lit, and is believed to be safe and quiet. Hotel adjacent, so please be courteous with generator use. 4 – 5 eating places within a moderate walk. Click here for details.
P & H Truck Stop, Newbury, VT
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed but please obtain permission from management or staff on duty. Unless directed otherwise by staff, park in the paved truck lot behind the building, or in the open gravel lot to the NW. Level or nearly so, well-lit, and appears safe. Expect the usual noise level of a small truck stop. Showers available (fee). Free Wi-Fi. Highly rated local diner on-site. 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.
Brain teaser answer:
You’ve GOT to watch this hilarious dog listening to its owner. Who needs a therapist when you’ve got a good listener like this at home?? Watch the video (the file is too big for us to show you here. Sorry!). We know you’ll smile!
If you want to have a wonderful day, send $10, $50 or $100 to a local food bank. Millions of our fellow citizens, including little kids, 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. Find a local food bank here.
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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