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Sunday, January 31, 2021
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A device that produces potable water from AIR? Yup.
By Randall Brink
A major challenge for those who enjoy boondocking or occasional dispersed camping on public lands is finding a source of fresh, potable water. Next to waste disposal and electricity, having a supply of fresh, clean water is essential to sustain or extend a boondock stay. So what if you could make water from the air? When I happened upon news of the Exaeris Water Innovations™ AcquaTap® system, which claimed that it could produce fresh, potable water from the air, I knew I was looking at something that would dramatically enhance the boondocking experience. Learn more.
Can snowbirds get shots? A vaccine controversy
We’ve all been agonizing for months with the COVID-19 pandemic. Locked away in homes. Stuck behind masks. Worried that we or our loved ones will come down with this dreadful disease. Then we got a glimmer of hope – workable vaccinations that may finally put an end to the curse of COVID. It’s been a month since the rollout, and now comes a new crisis: Can snowbirds get shots? Find out the latest here.
Livestream event on Lithium battery charging, and much more
Sign up on YouTube now by clicking here for Mike Sokol’s live streaming event Tuesday, February 2, 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, with Dennis Wieske from Progressive Dynamics, one of the leading manufacturers of RV battery chargers and power centers. Mike explains what they’ll discuss here. They’ll be taking live text questions from the audience.
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel looks at the Lazy Daze Class C Motorhomes. No slides, a top-secret website (well, sort of), and a two-year waiting list?… What the heck are these motorhomes all about? We take a look and find out.
Yesterday’s review: KZ Escape E20 Hatch Travel Trailer
Last week’s reviews:
Venture SportTrek Touring STT343VIB Travel Trailer • 2021 East to West Alta 2810KIK Travel Trailer • 2021 Alliance Paradigm 365RD Fifth Wheel • 2021 Winnebago Voyage 3134RL Fifth Wheel • 2021 TruckHouse BCT Overlander Camper
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
That was the RV week that was
January 24–30, 2021
If a survey by Harvest Hosts is indicative of all RV traveling, expect to see plenty of rigs on the road this year. The membership group that helps RVers find unique places to stay in their rigs says the COVID-19 pandemic nearly shut down their operation in March, but May through December, their membership numbers multiplied four-fold. The outfit recently surveyed 10,000 respondents about their travel plans for 2021. The numbers show 76% plan on traveling more than they did in 2020. 60% say they’ll travel more than they did in 2019 – before the pandemic. Less than 24% said their miles will stay about the same, and only 2% reported they would not travel this year.
Here’s a gas price “go figure.” While the demand for gasoline jumped up nearly 8% the week of January 17, pump prices for the energy-rich liquid rose less than a percent – stopping at a nationwide average of $2.40. And as to supply, which the Energy Department says is generally closely linked with demand, it sagged only nominally. Fuel price gurus at AAA say if the demand continues, prices will likely head up in a way that drivers will feel it. For the record, the “best” price change was in Michigan, which actually dropped a nickel. More states went up than down and, if in Florida, we feel your pain – up almost a dime.
Wow! What a classic combo! Where, but perhaps in a museum, can you find a ’56 Chevy Bel Air Beauville wagon, coupled with a Shasta travel trailer of roughly the same vintage? Near Sacramento, California. And no, this pair isn’t gathering dust in a museum, but rather, still in the hands of the original owning family. Steve Casagrande’s dad bought the Chevy fresh and new in 1956. Both the Chevy and the Shasta have never left the family’s hands – now four generations down the line. You can learn more about the fantastic combo, and the the family who loves it, in a half-hour podcast on The Weekly Driver.
Many California RV park owners are breathing a collective sigh of relief as on Monday, the state’s governor lifted regional stay-at-home orders across the state. While RV parks have been able to offer accommodations in a very limited way under the order, now they’re able to offer overnighters “room at the inn.” RV parks in Southern California, the Bay Area, and San Joaquin Valley regions have been tied down under restrictions for some time.
January 28: From California State Parks: “California State Parks Reopening Campground Sites for Existing Reservation Holders. Other campground sites will reopen for new reservations using a phased approach.” More info here.
If KOA campgrounds are any indicator, there’s plenty of interest in building new RV parks from scratch. KOA recently released statistics of how things have grown in their franchise world. From 2000 to 2006, the outfit added NO new parks. From 2007 to 2009, seven new parks were added. The big recession killed things for a while, and it wasn’t until 2016 that a new KOA was built from the ground up. But that all changed in 2017. Since then, eight completely new KOA parks came online, and 12 more are either under construction or in the planning stages.
An entry for the “Paws and awws!” folks. Junrell Fuentest Revilla was motorbiking through Sibonga, Cebu, in the Philippines, when a small black dog chased after him, barking like mad. The dog wouldn’t be deterred, and kept after Revilla. Puzzled, the man turned around and the dog raced frantically up a pile of garbage. It was there Revilla found a newborn baby, wrapped in a blanket, still attached to its umbilical cord. The man sprinted the child to a hospital. The baby was fine, and was placed with social services. But what about the hero dog? A local rescue mission for dogs tracked him down, and he was adopted by a Cebu family, who calls the 18-month humanitarian dog Blacky.
Billings, Montana, 9-1-1 dispatchers got a call from an auto auction house last Tuesday evening. The caller reported two people had brazenly stolen a motorhome from the site and driven off with it. When police arrived, they couldn’t find the rig, but an hour later, dispatchers got another call about the missing motorhome, this time rolling down a city street. When police attempted a stop, the driver took off on a “low speed” run. Chase speeds never exceeded 35 miles per hour, and officers eventually put out spike strips. They got their men – er – boys. A 12-year-old and a 13-year-old were taken from the scene. One was returned to the custody of his parents. The other was dropped off for a mental health evaluation.
Charlotte County, Florida, commissioners were set to decide on a proposal for a BIG RV park. A 91-acre site on the north side of U.S. Highway 17 could become the home of a 439-site RV park. Or could it? In the mix is the possibility that more than 250 manufactured homes could knock out some of those RV sites. It seems there’s a shortage of “affordable housing” in the county, so those houses could take precedence. In any event, “very old trailers” would not be welcome, says the developer, and any RVs on the site would have a 180-day stay limit. We’ll update you once we hear the commission’s reaction to the proposal.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proved both curse and blessing for Airstream, the big silver-bullet RV manufacturer. Jay Cullis, one of Airstream’s content managers, addressed the Great Miami Riverway Conversations webinar this week. In the conversation he said the six-week production shutdown early in the pandemic frightened management no end, but now, with families wanting to get into the RV lifestyle, production has shot up to record heights. “You won’t get your Airstream for almost a year in some cases,” Cullis said. “We have about a year backlog of orders, which is just bonkers.”
A Florida snowbird who resides in Nova Scotia got a nasty surprise when he flew down to his winter nest. Wayne Mailman and his wife, of Aylesford, Nova Scotia, had planned on flying down to Florida on January 1, but a great deal on airline tickets brought them down in early December. Wayne has health conditions that are greatly exacerbated by cold weather, so Florida is a respite. Sadly, the couple failed to notify their insurance company of their plan changes, so their health insurance for the U.S. wasn’t set to kick in until January 1. On December 21, they called and had it start. The very next day, Wayne fell and couldn’t get up. A trip to the hospital revealed he had COVID-19. Now their insurance company says, “Tough luck,” that since he apparently had COVID-19 before the policy kicked in, he’s responsible for the bill. At this point, it’s around $300,000. The company was kind enough to arrange to fly Wayne home – that way, he won’t be staying any longer in a U.S. hospital on his own dime.
Maybe it’s the first entry in the 2021 “understatement of the year award.” Last Sunday somebody snuck into a tow company impound yard in Lafayette, Indiana, setting an RV on fire. Richard Belcher was on-site at the time and said, “When it exploded is when I knew something was wrong.” The trailer, a private impound, was completely destroyed. Also damaged: a company wrecker, the office building, and a junker car.
If you’re a fan of Utah’s Arches National Park, take notice. The Park Service has opened a 30-day comment period to allow comments on whether bicycles should be allowed to use the new Arches Visitor Center Connector Trail. The trail runs between the visitor center and the Moab Canyon Pathway – a bike/pedestrian path that’s outside the park. Currently, bikers need to enter the park via the main entrance road, which has caused some safety issues. The question is whether “bicycle use on the trail would negatively impact Arches’ natural, scenic, and aesthetic values, affect safety, disturb wildlife or park resources.” Comments will be accepted through February 22 by hard copy: Write Park Superintendent, Arches National Park, 2282 S West Resource Blvd., Moab, UT 84532. Or comments can be made electronically by visiting here and clicking on the link entitled “Open for Comment”.
Missouri’s Mark Twain National Forest needs a passel of campground hosts for the upcoming season. Duties will include the usual business of being a public contact, cleaner, and generally keeping things running smoothly. In addition to having a free place to park your RV, the Service will provide a small reimbursement for incidentals. The season will vary by campground, but generally start in mid-spring and run into the fall. These campgrounds specifically need hosts: Cobb Ridge, North Fork, Lane Springs, Markham Springs, Council Bluff, Silver Mines (opportunity for more than one host), and Marble Creek. Contact Jane Mobley, Forest Volunteer Coordinator, at 573-208-9652 or email@example.com.
What’s the future of “zero emissions” vehicles in the real world? If General Motors and Navistar are any indicators, there may be hope for even big motorhomes. Navistar says it will roll out a long-haul semi-tractor using fuel cell technology by GM – and have it commercially ready in 2024. Meantime, trucking firm J.B. Hunt Transport will run some of the trucks in a pilot project starting in 2022. The RH™ Series of trucks has a target range of 500 miles, with a hydrogen refuel time of a minuscule 15 minutes.
With a new administration in the White House, it’s taken little time for changes and orders to hit the U.S. Department of Interior, guardians of public lands. One order could have a direct bearing on recreational activities: President Biden signed an Executive Order directing the department to review the boundaries and conditions of several national monuments. They include the Grand Staircase-Escalante, Bears Ears (both Utah), Northeast Canyons and Seamounts (both coastal New England). The Interior Department will now consult with other agencies and Tribal governments to “determine whether restoration of the monument boundaries and conditions would be appropriate.”
A man convicted and sentenced to life in prison for a 2003 RV killing has died. Harold Duncan, formerly of Spencer, Iowa, was found guilty of shooting his wife, Karen, to death when they lived together in their motorhome. At the time he attempted to commit suicide but botched the attempt. Duncan then went to prison where, at 89, he died, likely due to complications related to COVID-19.
Even if you snooze, you don’t always lose – at least not in 100 Mile House, British Columbia. That seems to be the story from a week ago, when Canadian Mounties got a call from an upset resident. A homeowner was up at 7:30 a.m., heading out for a spell of ice-fishing, when he found a strange backpack in the bed of his pickup. Not recognizing it, he started looking around and, peeping through the window of his travel trailer, he spotted a stranger sleeping. The door was locked, so the owner called the Mounties. By the time they showed up, the stranger snoozer had vanished – leaving nothing but tracks heading into nearby woods. Next day, a neighbor rang up the Mounties: A strange pair of shoes turned up in their detached garage. No word on whether the shoes matched the tracks. In any event, Mounties feel whoever it was made a clean getaway – albeit, perhaps barefooted.
A few months ago we posted a story regarding a young couple who got in hot water for shooting video footage in the nation’s parks. When the Park Service found out they were “making money” from their efforts, they hit Kara and Nate with a $1,000 fine, and banned them from any future filming in any national park. Under the Park Service view, it’s illegal to shoot film in national parks without permits if there’s money to be made. The story drew huge interest among our readers, and plenty of backlash comments. Continue reading.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
We’ll let the owner of this stolen travel trailer speak his own mind about this one: “Some low life thinks it’s ok to steal someone else’s camper out of the driveway like it’s no big deal. To the thief that thinks they’ve gotten away with it, ‘KARMA IS A BITCH.’ You’ll never be able to enjoy or rest easy in this camper. You will be caught or haunted. To all my happy campers out there… Be on the look out for my EXPERIMENTAL. It was stolen from the 31st and K-15 area of South Wichita, KS. I appreciate everyone on the lookout. The camper network is strong. Love you all.” Know something? Give the Wichita Police a call at 316-268-4111, just in case the owner’s curse doesn’t work.
And a follow-up:
Earlier this month we posted a “stolen” post regarding a Keystone Outback swiped from a storage facility in Simpsonville, South Carolina. Reader Kristin begged us to post about her family’s missing travel trailer, which we were happy to do. This week we heard back from Kristin: “Our camper was found about a week ago in Seneca, South Carolina. We had already filed it as a ‘total loss’ with the insurance company so it’s no longer ours. But – that’s ok with us because tongue Jack was all messed up and they pried the door handles off. Plus who knows what other structural damage they did in pulling it incorrectly! However, the total idiots had no idea what they were doing and never were able to open our slide-outs! Everything ran on an electrical panel, and they had no clue how to connect the battery to that nor how to manually open the slides. So….we were able to salvage almost ALL of our camping possessions. They took our power cord, surge protector, some water hoses, a 12×12 canopy, and other camping gear, but everything that was inside stayed as we left it! We are so happy that we don’t have to start from scratch with all we had accumulated over the years. It worked out as best as it could for us. We still hope the thieves are caught. They caused us a lot of heartache and aggravation. We are hopeful we can begin shopping for a new camper in the next year or so and resume our most loved hobby!” We’re rooting that Kristin and company will soon be back in the RV lifestyle.
More recently stolen RVs. Let’s help find these for their owners and put the thieves behind bars.
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 96-year-old man gets his college degree, an elderly woman learns to skateboard, donated Legos turn into wheelchair ramps, a bunch of happy penguins (and storks!), sleepy animals and more. Click here to smile.
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. 31, 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.
This past week three readers claimed their $25 Amazon gift card: Grant C. of Tacoma, WA, Bob & Debby O. of Box Elder, AZ, and Tina S. of Titusville, PA.
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.
BRAIN TEASERS! OK, folks, listen up. We’ve read your comments. We know you miss the brain teaser (which has been missing for two weeks – you’re holding us accountable!). Truth of the matter is that they’re really hard to find. Most of them are just plain dumb and way too easy to solve! We’ll continue to keep our eyes peeled for good ones (we hate letting you down!), but if you know of a good one, will you please email it to us? We’d really appreciate it, and your fellow readers will thank you!
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.
General Motors’ new quest: Carbon neutrality by 2040
General Motors has advanced its plans and now seeks to become carbon neutral by 2040. The company has announced a goal to end production of all gas- and diesel-powered cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles by 2035. Five years ahead of its previous goal, GM plans to use 100 percent renewable energy to power its U.S. facilities by 2030 and global facilities by 2035. Continue reading.
New Truck Preview: 2022 Ram 1500 goes hybrid
Among the lightweight truck’s “Big Three,” the pending 2022 Ram 1500 will feature mid-generation upgrades and will include a hybrid powertrain for the first time. The hybrid option will join the current gasoline and diesel powertrains. An all-electric powertrain is on the horizon, but it won’t be available for at least two years. Continue reading.
2021 Honda Ridgeline debuts soon with price increase
The much-anticipated 2021 Honda Ridgeline has a new look and now a new higher price. Honda recently announced the MSRP for all of the unibody design pickup truck’s trims as well as the costs of the option packages. The new Ridgeline will be available in Sport, RTL, RTL-E and Black Edition trims. Read more.
How good are you at telling a joke?
Original source unknown, but thanks to Greg Illes for sending this in. What do you think about it? If you know anything about this RV, or know where the photo originated, please let us know at editor (at) RVtravel.com .
Yet another independent RV retailer is going over to a big corporation buyout. This time North Carolina is the epicenter, with Bill Plemmons RV World yielding its stores in Raleigh and Winston-Salem to RV Retailer. The latter is a Florida-based group that, when the deed is done in February, will have 54 locations in 15 states. The Plemmons family opened their first RV sales location in 1951.
If you want to start “wastin’ away in Margaritaville,” you won’t have to go “south of the border.” Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is already seeing construction underway on Camp Margaritaville, an RV resort that features an on-site bar and restaurant. The new park will open later this spring.
Do you love Love’s? Then you’ll love this: The big travel plaza outfit says it looks to open 50 more locations in 2021. COVID created its share of challenges last year but, nonetheless, Love’s was able to add 38 new store fronts in 2020. You’ll find them already in 41 states with some 540 locations.
Know somebody looking for a new career? The third-fastest growing employment position in the country is now called “RV Service Technician.” If you’ve had an RV sitting at the repair center and waited forever to get it back, you probably already know there’s a shortage of techs. The RV Industry Association says there are already 15,000 techs working in the industry, but it says at least another 3,000 are needed.
If you are planning a trip along the California coast on Highway 1, you’ll need to find an alternate route. A mudslide has washed away a big chunk of the scenic highway about 15 miles south of Big Sur.
After nearly 20 years of owning and operating the Association Island KOA Campground located on its namesake island in Lake Ontario, New York, the owners have sold the resort to Sun Communities, Inc., which already owns about 150 other RV communities.
Minnesota will soon have its second Lazydays dealership, this one in Monticello. No takeover this time – rather, the company has signed on a deal to pick up a 10+ acre property with 57,000 square feet of existing buildings. Lazydays Holdings has also signed a letter of intent to acquire Sprad’s RV in Reno, Nevada.
Campground and RV Park News
Developments in places where we stay across the USA and Canada
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
• Some Keystone Dutchmen trailers recalled for wrong tire information
• Keystone travel trailers recalled for possible stove gas leak
• Keystone RV recalling some Crossroads Redwood fifth wheels
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Bear and wasp spray: Good or bad idea for self-defense?
• Is the Good Sam Club reneging on a promise to some members?
• Campground Crowding: Are sites getting smaller?
• COVID-sniffing dogs: The future of public gatherings?
• RVelectricity: Watering your flooded cell batteries; comparing battery types
• RVtravel readers step up to help new campground through crisis
• RVing the U.S. Civil Rights Trail: Top destinations
• RV App Review: NOAA Weather Radar Live: Clime
• Cargo trailer RV conversions: What spurs the trend?
• RVelectricity: Don’t fight an RV fire!
• RV Tire Safety: Why don’t RV tires get recalled?
• Stream unlimited movies on your TV using your phone
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of January 25, 2021:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.39 [Calif.: $3.25]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 11 cents.
Diesel: $2.72 [Calif.: $3.48]
Change from week before: Up 2 cents; Change from year before: Down 29 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. (Updated Jan. 26)
Free and bargain camping
Tractor Supply Co. #712, Oswego, NY
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed! The store requires that RVers telephone ahead for permission, as local events or weather (e.g.., snow) may cause the store to ban overnight RV parking at times. Park in the south part of the lot, away from store, without obstructing traffic lanes. Level, fairly quiet, appears safe. Bulk propane not available at this location. KFC, Burger King, McDonald’s, KQ Chinese Restaurant adjacent. Click here for details.
River Front Park (City Park), Pocahontas, AR
ALMOST FREE! Overnight parking is allowed! The city park has 6 – 8 RV sites, most on grass but at least two back-ins on gravel pad, some have 20/30A E/W hookup and some have 50A E/W. Dump station on site. Level, not brightly lighted, appears safe. Possible road noise from US 67 bridge, 1 block to the NE. Park sits on the bank of Black River and is subject to flooding, so be aware of river state forecasts. Open all year; no reservations. Self-register and self-pay. Maximum stay: Unknown. 2020 rate: 20/30A sites, $10/night, 50A sites, $12/night. 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.
There was a terrible murder in our town last night. But within minutes they figured out what the murder weapon was! It was a brief case.
RV Travel staff
CONTACT US at editor@RVtravel.com
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Russ De Maris. Senior editors: Emily Woodbury, Diane McGovern.
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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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