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Sunday, January 17, 2021
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Should RV shows go on during lingering pandemic?
By Dave Helgeson
Producing RV shows for a living, the topic of 2021 RV shows and what they will look like is of great interest to me. I have corresponded with venues and other show promoters, and researched what different states are permitting. Following are insights into 2021 RV shows and what you will likely experience if you choose to attend one. Read more.
Con game that targets RVers: A sadder but wiser couple
A con game that targets RVers – could it be true? Sad, but true, in Glynn County, Georgia. A nice Maine couple was passing through the county on January 5. They stopped their rig at the Golden Isles Welcome Center off I-95 and got a “welcome” they won’t soon forget. Read more.
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel looks at Keystone’s brand-new Arcadia fifth wheel line. Read Tony’s review and the press release about these new fifth wheels – they’re pretty nice! Click here.
Yesterday’s review: 2021 Tiffin Phaeton 40AH Motorhome
Last week’s reviews:
2021 Airstream Interstate 19 Class B • 2021 Northern Lite 8-11 Limited Edition Truck Camper • 2021 Coachmen Freelander 21RS • 2021 Keystone Montana High Country 280CK Fifth Wheel • Crossroads Texan 33DB Travel Trailer
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
That was the RV week that was
January 10–16, 2021
The 80-year-old RVer charged with murder after his 35-foot motorhome crossed into oncoming traffic on New Year’s Eve is in the news again. Raymond William Poquette was charged in the death of Jana Price, who was in a Nissan Altima that Poquette’s rig hit head-on in the Nevada County, California, crash. Now a judge in Poquette’s case has declared there are doubts as to Poquette’s mental competency. Two other cases against the RVer filed prior to the New Year’s incident have been suspended for mental competency concerns. Raymond Poquette has been assigned a public defender, has not filed a plea, and remains in custody. The judge has ordered a competency evaluation in this latest case.
A freakish firearm accident has sent two to a hospital for burns in Wicomico County, Maryland. Fire investigators say a father and son were inside their fifth wheel when another man tried putting his gun into a case. The gun went off, and the bullet found its way into a 30-pound propane tank, which subsequently exploded, torching the fifth wheel. Pittsville Fire and medic crews treated both men on scene, then transported them to a regional medical center. The father was later transferred to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Burn Center. Both victims are expected to recover from their injuries. No charges will be filed in the matter.
For those who choose to attend this year’s Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show (which opened yesterday), there’s one person you won’t see. Show promoter Kenny King is sidelined, and for the first time in the show’s 38-year history, King won’t be there. Sadly, Kenny is fighting leukemia. King’s daughter, Kimmy, will be at the helm, and has worked closely with her father for years. We wish Kenny the best in dealing with his illness.
We reported earlier that COVID-19 vaccinations should be available to snowbirds, even those from other countries. Now muddying the water comes Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who announced at a Tuesday press conference that “tourists” would not be welcome to the jab in Florida. “You have literally people all over the world and all over the country calling here to see,” DeSantis said. “We’re not doing it for tourists. We’re not doing it for interlopers.” At the same time, the governor indicated that snowbirds could get a vaccination. Just how authorities will differentiate “interlopers” from “snowbirds” wasn’t made clear. Meanwhile, Walton County, Florida, health officials say they’re constrained from limiting the vaccine to residents. They point out the COVID-19 vaccine is a federal resource, governed by CDC directives – not state or local.
A trail camera in Yellowstone National Park caught footage of one of the rarest of the park’s residents – a wolverine. The footage, caught last month in the Mammoth Hot Springs area, was released this week on the park’s Facebook page. “Wolverines (Gulo gulo), mid-sized carnivores in the weasel family that typically occupy high-elevation alpine and forest habitats, exist in low densities in the park and are rarely detected,” notes the National Park Service. Only seven of the weasel-family members have been documented on federal lands in the area, those from 2006 – 2009.
Police officers had their hands full with a driver who got loose on Interstate 5 near Cottage Grove, Oregon, on January 8. Emergency dispatchers took a raft of calls from frightened motorists reporting a motorhome driver that hit more than one vehicle while charging his way toward Yoncalla, where he clobbered a state transportation truck as he exited the freeway. From there, Frank John James, 39, allegedly took his one-man demolition derby into an RV park, where he mashed into a travel trailer. James bailed out of his motorhome – and his clothes – and started an uproar with witnesses. He tried entering another RV in the park, to no avail, but did manage to steal a bystander’s cell phone by force. When deputies tried to calm James down, they said that didn’t help. Only the effective use of a Taser brought the desired response. Between county and state charges, James will need to respond to no fewer than 23 law violations.
Sleet, snow, dark of night? Might not stop the mail, but a good-sized wind gust will definitely delay it. Last Wednesday a semi-driver hauling a load of mail across Washington State’s Deception Pass Bridge on State Route 20 got caught with a mighty blast that leaned his rig over onto the bridge rail on the driver’s side. Looking down from his perch, Jeff Myles could see the water – nearly 200 feet below. He related, “I could look down at the water (out my window), so I wasn’t going to open THAT door.” With gusts over 60 miles per hour coupled with the extreme angle of the rig, opening the passenger door was also out. Myles rolled down the window, and with heart pounding at the thought of the rig shifting and squishing him like a bug, jumped clear of the rig. At 60, Myles said the experience has added to his crop of gray hairs. The truck wasn’t damaged and the mail was OK. High-clearance drivers like truckers and RVers remember: The wind is truly a force to be reckoned with!
A Phoenix, Arizona, car owner got quite a shock when they turned over their car’s engine and heard a howling noise that could be heard clear across the parking lot. The origin of the nerve-shattering noise wasn’t mechanical – it was feline-ical. Seems that a Maine Coon cat had crawled into the car’s engine bay to stay a bit warm and got caught up in the mechanics. The car’s owner quickly called the Humane Society. The car was soon jacked up and a wheel yanked off. To no avail, the cat had become wedged between two hot metal plates and her skin was fused to hot metal. A veterinarian was called, who performed some surgery to get the poor purr-maker loose, and quickly shuttled away to an animal trauma center. There it was found the cat had (like some rodents) been imbibing on the car’s wiring and electrical tape in an attempt to free herself. But “Cindy Lou Who” (newly named by Humane Society officials) is now over the worst of it and looking for a new home. She is, understandably, still a bit skitterish. Before firing up your rig in cool weather, give the hood a few taps. It may clear the decks of unwelcome visitors.
A guilty plea has been entered in the case of two 2020 wildfires in California’s Tahoe National Forest. Sharon Ann Perkins, 39, has pleaded guilty to the September 15, 2020, fires near Camptonville. Perkins and her husband had been squatting in their RV on the land, which at the time was under emergency fire restrictions. She told authorities she used gas and clothing to light the fires in an attempt to burn their travel trailer down. She could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing will take place in April.
If you’re shopping for a new toad car, you may find some models are in tight supply. A supply-chain bottleneck is hitting a high-tech note, causing an availability issue for some semiconductors. Volkswagen, Daimler, Honda, Ford and Chrysler all report having chip issues. Two rigs which might be attractive, the Nissan Note and the Honda Fit, have both been having fits over chips. As they say, you can only let the chips fall where they may – when you can get them to start with.
The available supply of RV sites in California’s Silicon Valley is going to shrink. The 158-site Garlic RV Park in Gilroy, California, has been sold out to a conglomerate that will convert the RV sites into tiny homes. The developer, Harmony Communities, says the 400-square-foot homes will sell for less than $90,000 and be, “the largest influx of affordable homes the area has seen in the last 20 years.” The outfit says they’ll be installing solar panels to cover 95% of the needs of residents by year’s end.
Three years ago 17 people lost their lives in Missouri when an amphibious “duck” tour boat went down on Table Rock Lake. The Ride The Ducks Branson tour boat was one of several World War II-era amphibious vehicles, which have a nasty record for sinking. Now an outfit that builds amphibious motorhomes has floated a new idea to bring “duck” rides back to Missouri. CAMI LLC has produced a new Hydra-Terra vehicle, filled with foam flotation. When tested by the Coast Guard, drain plugs were pulled, and although the engine compartment flooded, the passenger areas stayed bone-dry. An entirely new firm is operating the new ride service.
Under a raft of objections from locals, Gilchrist County, Florida, commissioners had to determine if they should approve the construction of a 120-site RV park in the county’s northeast area. Residents said their drinking water would be polluted. They worried RVers would also pollute the ear-scape with loud music. Traffic would become a nightmare. An attorney, who just happened to be a resident of the area, said he needed more time to present his objections on behalf of his clients – his family. However, the building and zoning department trotted out information to hopefully relieve the sewage concerns: Two wastewater treatment plants were in the plans. A total of eight recommendations were made that would have to be “strictly” observed if the park were to be approved. The vote? Three to one, in favor.
When controlling 80,000 pounds of speeding truck, we all want commercial truck drivers to be in tip-top condition. But a new study of 20,000 drivers using a new screening system showed nearly 49% of them could have sleep apnea. The condition can cause sleepiness while driving. The 2020 study by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute suggests the number of drivers affected by the condition could be way up from original estimates of 7.2% to as many as 30%. Drivers properly treated for sleep apnea show no greater propensity for accidents than drivers who don’t have the condition.
Quick: What are you not supposed to do here?
Burrillville, Rhode Island’s popular Echo Lake Campground closed down last year. For a while COVID-19 forced the turning away of RVers and others from the 235-acre site that sported some 3,000 feet of lake frontage. The company’s website then announced the park had been sold. But to whom? Turns out, the state’s Department of Environmental Management has purchased the property. An announcement from the state says the buy-out “further protects water quality,” and evidently the quality of life, too. Plans are underway to reopen for camping.
In case you missed Machelle James’ update in yesterday’s RV Travel newsletter on the recent devastating turn of events while building AJ’s Getaway RV Park in Overgaard, AZ, here is a link to that story. In response to the news, many readers wrote to Machelle and suggested she and AJ set up a GoFundMe account for those who want to assist in getting the campground finished. The account was set up Saturday morning, and the link was then added to the post. Here is the link to the GoFundMe account if you already read the story but would like to help. Thank you!
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
Here’s a photo of a 2019 Forest River SF 2290 Class C unit. Taken earlier this month in Banning, California, the rig had Florida license plates, and a Camping World of Tallahassee decal. If you can help, Banning Police should be called, 951-922-3170.
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, Jan. 17, 2021. 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.
In the past week three readers claimed their $25 Amazon gift card: Frank H. of California, Clint G. of South Dakota, and Mark O. of Plainfield.
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.
Pickup trucks still ruled in 2020, but COVID-19 shocked sales
Pickup trucks once again led vehicle sales in the United States in 2020. It was expected. What wasn’t expected was how much the coronavirus hurt the automotive industry. It was alarming. Overall, 14.4 million vehicles were sold in the U.S. in 2020, a 14.8 percent decline from 2019. Continue reading.
Do you want Endurance, the electric pickup truck?
We wrote earlier about Endurance, the electric pickup truck. It’s the genius of startup builder Lordstown Motors. The company has formed an alliance with Camping World to act as a seller and service point for the coming EVs. Now the air is crackling with more news of the electric pickup. Read more.
Check out the funky Tropiclassic – the Ford Super Duty/sedan mashup
Let’s say you’re wanting a bigger vehicle to tow more trailer but your spouse wants a small sedan instead of a big truck. In the U.S., you’d have few options. But if you were in Brazil, you might be able to find yourself a Tropiclassic conversion. For some reason, Tropiclassic saw a need to take the Ford Super Duty trucks and convert them to vehicles that looked like passenger cars complete with a trunk. Check ’em out.
Do you ever feel lonely?
In the latest border closure extension, non-essential vehicle traffic between the U.S. and Canada (and vice versa) continues closed until at least February 21.
On Friday evening, police in San Francisco along with FBI agents were investigating the discovery of chemicals used to make explosives at Candlestick RV Park in the heart of San Francisco. Nearby residents were evacuated. Police say it appears to be an isolated incident, and a resident was detained. The SFPD Explosive Ordnance Unit department is investigating.
A 100+ site RV park will soon come to Fruita, Colorado. Plans had come before the city council back in 2016 and had been approved. But then, for whatever reason, developers scuttled the idea. But on January 5 they came back, asked for, and received approval to go ahead with the project to be built on Greenway Drive, just minutes from the city’s downtown core.
A January 6 order banning camping in California’s Sequoia National Forest has been extended until at least January 31. Day visits are OK, but people must leave the forest at sundown. “This order will protect visitors and our employees by reducing exposure to COVID-19 and mitigating the further burden on limited health-care facilities,” Regional Forester Randy Moore of the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region said in a statement. Ignore the rule, face a $5,000 fine.
Entrance fees at Arizona State Parks will be waived for all Arizona residents tomorrow, Jan. 18, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Visitors must show an Arizona ID for free entrance.
And they call Chicago “The Windy City”? You may now call Colorado “The Gusty State.” Winds nearing the century mark hit the Rocky Mountain State on Wednesday, and continued into the end of the work week. A 99-mile-per-hour blast hit Glen Haven Wednesday evening. Wyoming also had its share of wind, with speeds topping 100 mph and 18 blow-over crashes. An RVer hauling a big fifth wheel found out the hard way that his was indeed a “high profile” rig when it was rolled over by the wind in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Nasty weather hasn’t been enough to stop vandals from their dirty works in North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest. Despite being closed down and winterized, Black Mountain, Carolina Hemlocks and Briar Bottom campgrounds were all visited in December by vandals who broke bathroom doors and picked locks. All three locales are near Mount Mitchell and, due to their remoteness, are hard to keep watch over.
No shoe-horn needed to get your rig into this new park, coming to Panama City Beach, Florida. Kukla RV Resort is a 29.2-acre site but will host only 163 RVs – less than six RVs per acre. The high-end resort will also feature walking and biking trails. Limits? Sure enough: Your rig must be less than 10 years old, and your maximum stay will be capped at five days. Don’t look for it until sometime in 2021.
New rules by U.S. Department of Interior agencies may make broadband internet access on or near public lands easier. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service are all proposing altering rules said to make it easier for industry to develop internet infrastructure on their respectively managed lands. Rules are also being changed to hopefully reduce wildfire risks.
The Springfield RV Camping & Outdoor Show scheduled for Feb. 12 to 15 at the Eastern States Exposition grounds in West Springfield, Mass., has been canceled. The promoters say it will return in 2022.
Ohio’s Wayne National Forest is looking for a campground host for the Leith Run Campground. The assignment at the campground north of Newport, Ohio, on the Ohio River will need a commitment of April 15 to October 15. The assignment includes the usual “meet and greet” of visitors, as well as keeping up appearances with cleaning, mowing, pruning, etc. A full-hookup site is included in the deal. Go here for an application, or call Josh Keenan at 740-753-0890. Applications are accepted until March 1.
Oregon state park campsites can now be reserved up to six months in advance. Earlier, COVID-19 had caused authorities to reduce that window to only 30 days. The state made the change-up to six months last Thursday.
They may be off the federal endangered species list, but peregrine falcons are still on the list in Texas. As a result, come February 1, some areas of Big Bend National Park in Texas’ Chisos Mountains will be closed to hiking traffic to protect some nesting peregrines. Some East Rim campsites will also be closed.
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.
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 heartwarming story of a little girl who decides to give back for her birthday, a new easier way for people with Parkinson’s to access pill bottles, a geothermal power plant, what saying “I love you” can do for strangers, and, of course, some darn adorable animals. Enjoy all of these, and more, here.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• The most important word in your RV’s insurance policy… Is it wrong?
• RV Tire Safety: What is so “special” about RV trailer tires, anyway?
• RVelectricity: Potential problems of upgrading to a Lithium battery
• Building an RV Park: We had a bombshell dropped on us!
• The Digital RVer: Allstays is the best app to find RV parking
• Campground Crowding: If you have to cancel, pay it forward…
• Here’s why diesel pusher radiators overheat… Don’t let this happen!
• Winnebago unveils new mobility enhanced motorhome
• RVelectricity: JAM Session – Please get a meter kit. Here’s why
• Innovative system debuts for winter RV living
• Be careful where you put your satellite dish or this can happen
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of January 11, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.32 [Calif.: $3.15]
Change from week before: Up 7 cents; Change from year before: Down 25 cents.
Diesel: $2.67 [Calif.: $3.43]
Change from week before: Up 3 cents; Change from year before: Down 39 cents.
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Upcoming RV shows
Most of the RV shows in the early part of 2021 have been canceled. We will restart our show directory feature here as shows begin again. In the meantime, see the frequently updated schedule here.
Free and bargain camping
Greendale Campground (USFS), Weston, VT
ALMOST FREE! Overnight parking is allowed! This primitive campground has 11 unpaved back-in sites in heavily wooded area. No hookups, no potable water, no dump station. There are picnic tables, fire rings and a vault toilet. Published maximum RV size: “Most sites can accommodate small to medium campers.” Season: Memorial Day till close in fall, determined by weather & road conditions. No reservations. Self-register, self-pay. Maximum stay: 14 nights in any 30-day period. 2020 rate: $10/night. Click here for details.
Tombstone Dry Camping RV Park, Tombstone, AZ
ALMOST FREE! Overnight parking is allowed! Open dirt/gravel lot has no formal RV spaces, no hookups, no known amenities of any kind. No permission required, no reservations. There is room for several large RVs. Not level but manageable. Ambient lighting from street lights. Appears safe and quiet. Signage: RVs $10/night, Cars $3/night. Pay on the honor system at can attached to a large rock at the entrance. Open all year. Maximum stay: No limit for RVs. (Different rules for cars and tents.) 2020 rate: $10 for every 24 hours or portion thereof. 2-minute walk to downtown Tombstone. 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.
Photo by Chuck Woodbury near Sequim, Washington
RV Travel staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Emily Woodbury, Russ and Tiña De Maris.
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Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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