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Sunday, February 7, 2021
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COVID at the Quartzsite RV Show? One man’s unfortunate story
When we published stories prior to this year’s Quartzsite RV Show, we received mixed reactions. Many of our readers said they’d stay away from the big show, fearing opening themselves to a COVID-19 infection. Others scoffed, with a “have no fear” attitude – some even questioning the reality of COVID. Was it really possible to get COVID at the Quartzsite RV Show? Find out here.
National Park Service implements mask mandate in parks
On Tuesday, February 2, 2021, the National Park Service (NPS) implemented a mask requirement for employees, visitors, partners and contractors visiting all parks, buildings and facilities. Masks are also required on NPS-managed lands when physical distancing cannot be maintained, including narrow or busy trails, overlooks and historic homes. Read more.
Meet our newest National Park: New River Gorge National Park and Preserve
The COVID-19 virus brought us many new and unique experiences: face mask fashion, months-long isolation, work-from-home, social distancing, and even schooling via Zoom! Most of us can hardly wait for these unique experiences to end! However, one good thing the virus brought? A new national park. Within the pages of the latest COVID-19 relief package was a ray of hope that made West Virginia the home to our newest national park. The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is nothing short of spectacular! Continue reading.
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel looks at the new Airstream Flying Cloud 30FB Office Travel Trailer. Tony writes, “Airstream has taken into consideration those who work or school remotely. There’s a whole office room in the back that features a desk and a matching rolling office chair.” Check it out.
Yesterday’s review: Relic Custom Trailers (these are so cool!)
Last week’s reviews:
2021 Fleetwood Bounder 33C Anniversary Edition • 2021 Safari Condo Alto F2414 Travel Trailer • 2021 Lance 2465 Travel Trailer • 2021 Springdale 1740RK Travel Trailer • 2021 Flagstaff Super Lite 526RK Fifth Wheel
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
That was the RV week that was
January 31 – February 6, 2021
With COVID-19 “stay at home” orders being lifted across regions of California, reservations in state parks are now being taken. The Parks Department has begun a phased-in approach to accepting reservations, but not all parks will be open to them due to a variety of conditions, including the virus itself and wildfire issues. Reservations can be made at least two days in advance (48 hours) prior to arrival, at ReserveCalifornia.com. Be aware, the pent-up demand for camping may create a demand for sites that exceeds what’s available.
In Charlotte County, Florida, RV sewage is better than cow poop. That’s one conclusion that could be drawn from a decision by the county’s commissioners as they approved a 439-site RV park on 90 acres of land near Shell Creek and the Peace River, east of I-75. The developer and two engineers were “grilled” by commissioners as to why they were proposing a septic system, instead of hooking into a city sewer system. One commissioner demanded a yes or no, as to if nitrogen from a septic system might make it into the Peace River, leading to the potential of toxic algae blooms. But a wastewater engineer testified that the RV park would be far better for water quality than the current use of the land: cattle grazing. Since there were no options to route sewer lines to the municipal treatment facility, a septic system was the only option, short of a total rejection of the park.
An RV owner in Oxnard, California, got an unwelcome surprise last Sunday. The owner noticed his rig had been broken into – and when taking a closer look, found the burglar face-to-face. The latter pulled a knife, causing the RVer to back off and call for help. When police arrived the suspect was in the RV, but came out to greet them – armed with an ax. Apparently calculating his odds, he quickly retreated back into the rig. What followed was a multi-hour standoff that ended when police lobbed “chemical agents” into the rig. A K9 officer made the collar, and the unwelcome guest was arrested. No word on damages to the RV.
A woman who struggled as a survivor of the disastrous 2018 Carr Fire has taken yet another hit. Lindsey Taylor lost all she had in the California conflagration, and has been living in an RV since then. On January 26, a windstorm blasted through Mountain Gate, California, toppling a tree onto Lindsey’s trailer. Lindsey and her dogs were trapped in the only area of the rig not crushed, and immediately called 911 for help. The dispatcher advised Lindsey to stay put, but the terrified woman managed to get out a window to safety. Despite the second crushing blow, Lindsey’s trying to keep a positive attitude. Friends have started a GoFundMe page to try and help her.
The shortage of COVID-19 vaccines in Florida is one thing – here’s another: firewood. It’s unclear what the root cause is – supply chain disruptions, unusually chilly temperatures, or the snowbird influx. But in any event, finding fuel wood is tough. Sellers report they’ve been fielding calls from folks who say they’re willing to drive as many as 50 miles just to get a bit of the essence of campfire. If you can find it at all, prices for a small bundle are running as high as $8.
Canadian snowbirds have been dealt a difficult decision with a new order from the country’s prime minister. The government says that in a short time, Canadians flying back into the country will be required to take a COVID-19 test at the airport, then check themselves into a hotel for three days while they await the results of the test. Snowbirds are angrily squawking the stint could cost them $2,000. The order will end April 30 – so many are apparently trying to decide what’s best: pony up the two grand, or extend their stay in the U.S. until after the order expires. As for Canadians returning via land border crossings, at this point the costly hotel quarantine mandate doesn’t apply to them.
Ever been frightened by a truck driver? Maybe things are improving: A federal drug and alcohol reporting program took 56,000 violating truck drivers off the road in 2020. Drivers who failed mandatory drug/alcohol test programs (or who refused or cheated on them) were placed on a registry, to warn potential employers of their risk. Only 1,200 of the violations were for alcohol, meaning there’s a lot of illicit drug use going on in the cab of 18-wheelers. Of the 56,000 reported, 45,000 were sacked by their employers. Of those, 34,000 have not followed requirements to get their jobs back – a worrisome number for the trucking industry, which says the need for safe commercial drivers is on the upswing.
If you were hoping to visit the breathtakingly colorful Havasupai tribal land in Arizona this year, you may need to readjust your plans. Normally February 1 marks the opening date to make reservations to visit the tribe’s campgrounds, or obtain hiking permits – but that day has come and gone. The tribal council has decided to continue closure of its lands in light of COVID-19, and notes not a single case of the nasty virus has been reported in Supai.
While some Sun Belt states are banning non-residents from receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, Arizona isn’t following suit. Pima County’s chief medical officer explains, “It keeps the amount of infection in our community lower if we are able to achieve a degree of vaccine coverage that really sort of impacts the entire community.” To that end, Governor Doug Ducey recently asked the White House for another 300,000 vaccinations to help keep up with the increased demand for both residents and non-residents alike. Source: kvoa.com.
Yellowstone National Park took a visitation hit last year. Some 3,806,305 visits were made in 2020, down 5% from 2019. The park closed the gates on March 24 due to COVID-19 and did not open again until May and June. There was evidently a pent-up demand – park officials say September and October 2020 saw the greatest number of monthly visitors on record.
Two Oregon residents were found dead in a fifth wheel near Salem, Oregon, last Monday, and authorities are pointing the finger at a propane heater. Dispatchers got a call from a concerned person who said they hadn’t been able to contact Richard Yaple, of Salem, nor his 17-year-old daughter Hannah Yaple, of Keizer, since Saturday. They stopped by the rig and found both people not breathing. Investigators believe both of them, and a dog and cat who were likewise dead in the trailer, had perished from carbon monoxide poisoning, which they attributed to the use of an LP heater inside the rig. No details were available as to what sort of LP heater was in use. We remind readers to have a working, in-date carbon monoxide detector in your RV at all times.
The Horry County, South Carolina, county/city court fight considering the possible sale of land occupied by two RV parks continues. It’s beginning to sound like an episode from the old TV series “Matlock”. Like when Matlock pulls off one of his legal coups, and the prosecutor has a hissy fit. We’ve reported the city of Myrtle Beach has offered to sell land it owns to the present occupants: Lakewood Camping Resort and Pirateland Family Camping Resort. This has led to a swift reaction from Horry County. Continue reading.
A former Illinois state senator has been charged with multiple crimes – including money laundering involving recreational vehicles. Sam McCann, a Republican who represented the 49th and 50th Senate districts, and later ran as a third-party candidate for governor, has been brought up by federal prosecutors who allege McCann used campaign funds to buy personal vehicles, pay personal debts, mortgage payments, and used campaign funds to pay himself. The latter is where the RV angle comes in. Prosecutors say in 2018, McCann, using an assumed name, rented a travel trailer and motorhome to himself through a third-party RV rental outfit. Over a short period of time, McCann effectively charged himself $62,666 for the rentals – paid for in campaign funds. The rental agency kept nearly $10,000 in commissions, helping McCann allegedly launder the balance of the money into his own personal checking account. Interestingly, charging documents indicate McCann used campaign funds to buy the RVs. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison for the money laundering charge alone.
Oregon’s Bureau of Land Management is looking for campground hosts for the Gerber Recreation area, administered by the Klamath Falls Field Office. The host will meet and greet guests, do some minor maintenance and gardening work. Hosts are needed from mid-May until mid-October. They’ll get an RV site with sewer hookup and propane, and a small stipend for incidental expenses. Interested? Visit www.volunteer.gov, or contact Outdoor Recreation Planner Heidi Anderson at (541) 885-4102. Don’t dally – interviews happen this month.
A 7-year-old girl from Kalispell, Montana, has a rare condition: Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis, which causes an overabundance of white blood cells. While most people can fight this condition off, Charlotte cannot. As a result, the disease is eating away at her bones. The Make-A-Wish Foundation asked Charlotte what she’d like, and her wish was to have a way to be able to spend more time with her family and safely travel. The Foundation coupled up with Blue Dog RV, and now Charlotte and the rest of her family of seven have a travel trailer to safely spend quality recreation time in.
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, Feb. 7, 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.
Last week two readers claimed their $25 Amazon gift card: Tina S. of Titusville, PA, and Rodger H. of Prospect Heights, IL.
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.
In the market for a new car? The COVID-19 pandemic has created a glut of many unsold 2020 models. With excesses on dealer lots, you may find that some are willing to negotiate a favorable selling price. Above is a list of the 10 most overstocked cars on lots across the country. Some RVers have shown interest in a couple of the SUVs listed here. If you’re looking for a toad car, be careful when shopping. DON’T take the salesman’s word as to the suitability of a vehicle for either flat-towing or towing with a tow dolly. ALWAYS check the manufacturer’s provided manual, specific to the car.
Families hit hard by the 2019 Camp Fire in California are getting relief from a Concow, California, business. Owners of Canyon Creek Market – housed in a geodesic dome – are regularly pumping free propane for folks in need. The outfit has pumped between 370 to 520 gallons of the precious liquid at each of its giveaways.
If you’ve ever traveled through central Missouri by RV, you may have crossed the big river on the Rocheport Bridge on I-70. Built in 1960, it’s been called “the linchpin of America,” as in a 48-hour span, trucks delivering goods to all of the Lower 48 states will likely have crossed it. State officials say the bridge is in “poor condition” and have already put it through one major rehab project. Rather than tie up traffic with three- to eight-hour backups, Rocheport Bridge will soon be replaced. A contract has been signed for a firm to both design and build the replacement bridge, which could be up and seeing traffic in late 2024.
Are you an energetic and good-natured RVer looking to host at a campground? Oregon’s Fremont-Winema National Forest needs you – or your clones, as there are four sites needing hosts. Bly, Chiloquin, Chemult and Lakeview Ranger Districts will need hosts beginning this spring, and skills are needed through Labor Day. Meet, greet, keep it clean and neat. You’ll also need to communicate well with the public and Forest Service staff. You’ll get a campsite, propane, and subsistence allowance. For host positions at Williamson River or Digit Point Campgrounds contact Bryan Boatman at 541-883-6702 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For those at Lofton Reservoir Campground or Cottonwood Meadows Campground, contact Greg Campbell at 541-947-6359 or email@example.com.
Woodland Park, Colorado, law limits RV park visits to 180 days. That hasn’t been a problem in the past, but when a wannabe housing developer used a loophole to create longer-term RV parking on a tract he couldn’t build on, it came to a head. Turns out, at least two of the city’s three existing RV parks have been allowing year-round residency. When the whole thing came to the spotlight, the park owners complained that if the city insisted on following the letter of their law, it would be an economic hurt. The council decided to put a moratorium on enforcing the 180-day stay limit, which will end in March. Meantime, city counselors will try and draw more information from park owners.
In the view of town councilors, RV park owners in Camp Verde, Arizona, have gotten a break on their sewer rates. Verde Ranch RV Park’s owner, Brad Woodruff, appealed to the town council, noting that park owners pay $30 per thousand gallons of sewage headed to the town’s sewage plants, while residents pay close to $12 for the same amount. Rather than risk the wrath of local residents by rewriting fee schedules, the council in its wisdom wrote in discounts for RV parks. If a park (or hotel) is between 55 and 70 percent of full occupancy, they’ll get a 25% break. If between 35 and 55% full, they’ll draw a 35% break, and a 50% break if below 35% of occupancy.
City officials In Brantford, Ontario, are puzzled that people don’t seem to be aware of a bylaw change that came about due to COVID-19. Last April, the city council passed a measure that allowed people to park their RVs in their driveway if it was needed for COVID-19 quarantine use or to help isolate frontline workers from their families. Acknowledging there must be thousands of frontline workers who could take advantage of it, officials said only eight people have filled out the application required to take advantage of the bylaw.
In what town would you find this building? You’ll be amazed when you learn where! Answer below.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
This 2020 Cherokee Black Label Travel Trailer was stolen from a storage facility in Travelers Rest, SC, sometime between January 27 and February 2, 2021. The trailer has South Carolina plates that say “Camper” across the top with the numbers 49898 KT below.
See and read about other recently stolen RVs. Let’s help find them for their owners and put the crooks who stole them in the slammer.
A weekly roundup of news stories that will make you smile (and maybe shed a tear or two…). This week a foster dad makes inspiring hospital gowns, Elon Musk’s $5 million donation, a (just barely) rescued senior dog named Sage, a not-so-homeless toucan, a VERY smart (and thirsty) cat, incredible goats, a playful panda and more. Click here to smile.
We are considering producing a one-hour weekly podcast about RVing. Do you think you would listen if it was good (which it would be!)?
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.
Bargain trucks? Ford, Ram have 2020 surplus inventory
The coronavirus stunned the automotive industry with lower sales, leaving plenty of new 2020 inventory remaining including Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 Classic pickup trucks. According to an analysis released by iSeeCars.com, the average new 2020 model has 22.5 percent of its inventory remaining. But 24 models have at least 1.5 times that amount on dealer lots. Continue reading.
A new frontier for 2022 Nissan Frontier
Can pickup trucks possibly get any more popular? Despite business doldrums because of the coronavirus pandemic, pickup truck manufacturers continue to try to outdo each other, including Nissan. For the first time since 2005, the 2022 Nissan Frontier will be a new design for the mid-size pickup truck. Offered in S, SV, Pro-4X, and Pro-X, the 2022 Frontier comes with a 310 horsepower, 3.8-liter V6. It will be propelled by a nine-speed automatic transmission in rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Learn more.
2021 Dodge Durango: No wonder it’s called a Hellcat
Production has started on the beast of all sport utility vehicles, the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat. The most powerful SUV ever made, the limited edition (2,000 units) features its share of high-performance. The Hellcat delivers 710 horsepower and 645 lb.-ft. of torque from a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI Hellcat V-8 engine. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Continue reading.
Do you run your RV’s propane fridge while traveling?
Russ De Maris is writing an article on how driving uphill can affect RV refrigerators. He needs your help in developing the story, so would you please answer a quick survey to assist in his research? Just click here. Thank you!
A man claims he was 88 years old two days ago, and yet he tells you that he will turn 91 next year. How can this be?
Thanks for the brain teaser, Deb Treneff! Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
After years of neglect, Mississippi’s state parks are at the crisis point. State lawmakers are now wrestling with the problem. The “answers” that some have come up with include turning over management of the parks to private concessionaires or to local governments, or, in some cases, simply converting them from parks to wildlife areas. Other lawmakers want to pass state lottery funds to maintenance to the tune of $3.5 million a year; another would divert $1 million a year from sales taxes collected from sporting goods retailers, up to a cap of $20 million.
We reported earlier that a shortage of semiconductors was creating problems for auto manufacturers, with possible implications for RVers looking for suitable toad vehicles. Now the problem has reached the ears of Congress. On Tuesday, a bipartisan letter from the Senate was sent to the White House asking for its help in dealing with the issue that “threatens our post-pandemic economic recovery.” Around the globe, automakers have begun shutting down assembly lines because of the shortage.
Another Lazydays’ gobble-up: The Florida-based mega-dealer has signed on a deal to take over Knoxville, Tennessee, independent Chilhowee RV Center. The latter has been in business for 53 years. If you’re keeping score, add this one to the 11 dealerships Lazydays holds in six states.
RV parks getting gobbled, too: The 522-site campground known as Shenandoah Acres in Stuarts Draft, Virginia, has been sold. The buyer is giant Sun RV Resorts, which holds “430 resorts and communities in 32 states and Ontario, Canada.” Shenandoah Acres has been in business since the 1930s, with a temporary closure early this century for a revamp. The property is assessed at $1.8 million. Sun RV Resorts paid $17 million.
Unless you have feathers and webbed feet, the North Beach Campground in Pismo Beach, California, is off your camping list. Rain storms forced officials to pull the plug on power, and plug the sewer as water flooded the park, turning it into a duck pond. State park officials say the closure will no doubt last several weeks until the results of the deluge subside.
A St. Charles County, Missouri, RV park got one in the “win” column. The Beyond the Trail RV Park in Defiance, Missouri, got a favorable vote on January 25 for rezoning on nearly three acres of land to expand, adding about 20 more RV sites. The positive vote came despite objections from neighbors who complained the expansion might increase flooding issues and delay crop planting.
A survey of RV dealers shows that 2020 wasn’t a complete washout. Three-quarters of those responding told an RV Business/Wells Fargo study that they posted growth, while 42% said they grew better than 20%. In terms of when stocks of available RVs to sell will return to “normal,” nearly half believe it will take the rest of 2021 – or even longer – to see it. It should be noted there were only 203 respondents.
While RV park owners in the “snowbird belt” were concerned as to how things would turn out with many Canadians staying at home, it seems things aren’t so bad after all. Numerous park operations report things are about the same as previous winters in terms of park occupancy. One park operator in Florida said they normally host five Canadian families, and although four didn’t come, one actually flew down and rented an RV to keep his winter regimen. And while there were many site cancellations, it seems plenty of short-term guests have filled up slots that might have otherwise gone empty.
The Maryland Park Service is recruiting for summer seasonal positions. They include park rangers, naturalists, contact station and visitor service attendants, trail technicians, and maintenance workers. To view a full listing of open positions and to apply, visit the Maryland State Jobs website.
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.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Can I use my CPAP machine when I boondock? Yes, here’s how
• Top 10 campground pet peeves of RVtravel.com readers
• The pandemic still rages: Can we travel safely in our RV yet?
• Escapees RV Club to host conference about working remotely
• What The Forecast?!! Laugh-out-loud weather app gives it to you straight!
• New movie documents Black grandparents’ 35-year RV journey
• Check out this incredible DIY RV. It’s a “log cabin” on wheels!
• RVelectricity: Review of Mike’s popular Lithium battery chargers webcast
• Campground Crowding: The campground begged them to stay longer!
• Avoid trips to the store – Regrow veggies in your RV from scraps!
• Make coffee without electrical power – It’s easy with this!
• What size spare tire can I use?
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of February 1, 2021:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.41 [Calif.: $3.27]
Change from week before: Up 2 cents; Change from year before: Down 5 cents.
Diesel: $2.74 [Calif.: $3.50]
Change from week before: Up 2 cents; Change from year before: Down 22 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 Feb. 6.)
Free and bargain camping
Bobcat Landing, Bamberg, SC
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed! Permission is not required. Park in large paved boat ramp lot, without obstructing movement by other vehicles. Level, but not brightly lit. Busy until late evening, when it quiets down. Appears safe, with Sheriff’s patrols thru the night. Maximum stay unknown. No known amenities. Click here for details.
Love’s Travel Stop #476, Davenport, IA
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed but please obtain permission from staff on duty. Park where directed by staff. Level, well-lit, appears safe, with likely noise from adjacent I-80 and from trucks here. Dump station on site (fee?). Bulk propane available. Showers available (fee). Basic & Premium Wi-Fi available. Arby’s on site; additional hot food in Love’s store. 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:
The man talks to you on New Year’s Day (1/1), and his birthday is on December 31. So two days ago (12/30), he was 88. On 12/31, he turned 89. His 90th birthday will fall on 12/31 of this year, and he will turn 91 next year.
MYSTERY PHOTO ANSWER FROM ABOVE
You’ll find this building in downtown Fiddletown, California, population 324.
This is too funny!!
View this post on Instagram
John, Paul, George and Ringo invade America
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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