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Sunday, February 14, 2021
If you would like to read this week’s issue with the ads included, click here.
Happy Valentine wishes from our readers
In yesterday’s newsletter, we asked you to send a love letter to your special someone for Valentine’s Day. Click here to read those notes and see what your sweetheart said about you!
Propane shortages. Skyrocketing prices. Problems ahead?
Across the U.S., propane prices have skyrocketed up 70% since last November. In some places, folks depending on the pressurized gas for home heating are hurting. In Wisconsin, the situation has become so intense that rules limiting how much time truck drivers can work have been lifted for LP truckers. What’s happening? A propane shortage is creating world-wide issues. Winter is a good time for a storm and, now, converging circumstances have created the perfect winter storm for LP gas users. Continue reading.
RV shipments expected to gain 20 percent in 2021
If you think the RV parks and campgrounds are especially crowded, just wait. It could get a whole lot worse. Wholesale RV shipments are forecast to gain nearly 20 percent in 2021 to 502,582 units after totaling 423,628 units in 2020. Read more.
Climate change moves Interior Department to action
The U.S. Department of Interior is back in the news. The parent agency of the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and others, Interior says it’s time to take action on climate change. … Under the battle cry of “Bold Action,” the land management agency says it will quickly roll out actions to help in the fight. But what might you expect to see? While some changes are seeming “no-brainers,” others may turn a few heads. Learn more.
Wisconsin truck driver miracle! He survives 70-foot fall
How scary is winter driving? A melting snowbank and freezing conditions on a freeway ramp could have cost a Wisconsin truck driver his life on February 6. A camera operated by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation captured the truck’s crash on film just after the driver, Richard Lee Oliver, 34, lost control. Read more and watch the dramatic video.
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel looks at the Outdoors RV Creek Side 21RD MS. Tony writes, “The company specifically targets those who want to spend a lot of time off the grid and away from it all. You can see this in how the company builds and specs their RVs.” Check it out.
Yesterday’s review: Palomino SolAire eXpandable 147X
Last week’s reviews:
2021 Northwood Arctic Fox 27-5L • Coach House Platinum 220 Motorhome • Rustic Trail Teardrop Campers, Kodiak Stealth Travel Trailer • Forest River Wildwood Grand Lodge 42DL • 2021 NeXus Ghost Super C
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
That was the RV week that was
February 7–13, 2021
Ask a stupid question department: Police in Camdenton, Missouri, say when a man thought his girlfriend was being kidnapped he fired a warning shot from his .22 air rifle over the “kidnapper’s” truck. In response, the driver, Michael J. Horonzy (45) grabbed his Norinco SKS semi-automatic rifle and put nine rounds through the other man’s occupied RV. After police arrested Horonzy, they asked him what a normal person does after getting shot at. Response? “They people [sic] shoot back!” No, he never thought to call police. He’s now in jail awaiting trial, charged with Felony First Degree Assault, Felony Armed Criminal Action, and Felony Unlawful Use of a Weapon. Apparently there was no “kidnapping victim,” but rather a misunderstanding.
Country songstress Miranda Lambert and her husband had an unwanted run-in with a driver in Georgia while returning from a concert. Lambert, who describes herself as one who loves to travel, calls an Airstream Globetrotter home when on the road. Husband Brendan McLoughlin was piloting their combination when a small car attempted a squeeze play between the family’s travel trailer and a semi-truck. The errant car sideswiped the trailer, creating a fishtail effect that McLoughlin was able to control. The car driver just kept going, leaving Lambert and hubby grateful things weren’t any worse.
RV travelers likely know it all too well, since they’re on the road often: Truck accident deaths are occurring more often. The increase was small in 2019 from 2018 in some areas and it was substantially higher in another segment of the trucking industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 843 trucker deaths in 2019, the most recent statistics available, and a 1.4 percent increase. Learn more.
Speaking of Valentine’s Day … Tom Hart passed along this news item from mcall.com/news. A North Carolina sheriff’s office is giving people a chance to show their former lovers they’re still wanted by turning them in if they have outstanding warrants. The Nash County Sheriff’s Office is offering what it calls a “Valentine’s Day Weekend Special,” which it described as “a special too sweet to pass up.” Included in the offer is a set of limited-edition platinum bracelets, free transportation with a chauffeur and a one-night minimum stay in “our luxurious (five-star) accommodations,” along with a special Valentine’s dinner. “Operators are standing by,” says the post on the sheriff’s department’s Facebook page.
Diesel owners, buckle up! Last week saw the 14th straight weekly rise in the fuel price, and the biggest price jump in nearly 17 months. Nationally the price went up an average of 5.2 cents per gallon. The last big jump was in September 2019, when it flashed up 9.4 cents. That puts diesel at a “low” $2.56 in the Gulf Coast Region, compared to California’s astronomical $3.55.
Canadian snowbirds returning home via the land route can’t be refused entrance. However, a new ruling on “nonessential travel” says anyone entering Canada by a land crossing MUST present proof of a negative COVID-19 test performed within 72 hours of seeking entry. By the time a person has reached a border crossing checkpoint, they are technically on Canadian soil. Hence, those who show up at the border without the required proof will lay themselves open for a potential fine of $3,000. They’ll also be required to “Ensure a rapid and complete follow-up to make sure that they are getting tested, that they are being properly quarantined,” says Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.
The LA Auto Show has a unique position in the automotive industry. It’s the yearly first major industry show to view new cars, trucks and occasionally motorhomes. It’s always held in November, except for what was supposed to be a May date this year. But the coronavirus has altered the show again. After being rescheduled from last November to this May, the pending spring dates have also been scrapped for a return to November. Continue reading.
Planning on taking your RV to Alaska via cruise ship? It likely won’t happen this year. The Canadian federal government has declared it will not allow cruise ships to travel in its waters until 2022. Not only is the decision apt to put a crimp in many tourist plans, Alaska is fearing financial repercussions. City officials in Seward, Alaska, say their sales tax revenues were down 75% last year, largely because of COVID-19’s impact on cruise ship travel.
Ever get tired of the guy in the RV park that has the constantly barking dog? Here’s what NOT to do: It all happened Friday, February 5, at the Tropical Waters RV Resort in Bokeelia, Florida. Stephen Beining, 67, taped a note on the offending dog owner’s RV that read, “Muzzle your dog, don’t be a moron!” A relative of the dog owner found the note and confronted Beining. The latter responded by pulling a gun, pointing it at the relative, and advising, “You’d better wise up!” Responding police surrounded Beining’s rig, and booked him, charging him with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Beining posted a $5,000 bond, and reportedly hasn’t been seen back at the RV park – much to the relief of some neighbors.
“Everybody wants to get into the act!” proclaimed Jimmy Durante. The big-nosed comedian could have been a prophet. Now joining the likes of Amazon and Walmart, retailer Family Dollar says it’s expanding into the “same-day-delivery” market for some 6,000 of its U.S. stores. The discount chain will pair up with the Instacart platform late this year to have whatever you want from the store delivered in as little as an hour. Maybe we’re jaded, but this writing duo is seriously doubting that Quartzsite, Arizona, snowbirds will be getting deliveries of low-dollar mops and pizzas delivered to their RV door…
RVers may have 200 new RV sites in a California State Park. Oso Flaco Lake could see the RV sites, plus 100 tent sites, restrooms, etc., should a proposed plan go through to completion. The site is west of Highway 1, south of Pismo Beach. It would also spell out a new access to the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. The first phase development would see primitive campsites, a new entry kiosk, restrooms, a formal parking area, a paved concession area, new hiking trails, a bike loop, and restored natural areas. The second phase would bring in RV camping. No timeline has been provided.
Idaho officials say their state parks are more popular than ever. Last year the parks hosted more than 1.2 million more guests than normal. Better than 7.5 million folks, both residents and out-of-staters, visited in 2020, despite the pandemic. Perhaps the biggest increases were seen at Box Canyon and Niagara Springs parks. They saw usage jump 180 and 109 percent, respectively.
A resident of “The Natural State” took “natural” too far, turning into a flasher – and an RV vandalizer. Garland County, Arkansas, sheriff’s deputies reported to a call of a man “flashing” outside of a restaurant. Witnesses said he did his thing, then walked off and climbed into an RV. Deputies found the RV – door open, and windows smashed out. Inside, lying down in the back, “breathing heavily and sweating profusely,” Christopher Allen Whichard, 30, then faced the owner of the RV, who deputies called in. Nope, Whichard and the RV owner didn’t know each other. Now booked under charges of breaking and entering, Whichard could spend six years in prison. The RV owner will be figuring out how to repair not only the broken windows but also the weather-damaged furniture that resulted from the absence of glass, to the tune of about $6,000.
If spike strips fail, try mud. That could be the lesson learned in Cortez, Colorado, on February 5, when police stopped a man in a motorhome for a traffic infraction. The driver, Kevin Ritter, 41, immediately told his passenger to “get out,” raising officer’s suspicions. And the name Ritter gave wasn’t Ritter, either, so the cautious coppers set out spike strips not far from the stopped rig. When police finally figured who their man was, he pulled out, hitting the spikes, and blowing out a rear tire. What followed was a slow-speed chase through town that ended when Ritter turned off on a side road and promptly got stuck in mud. In addition to new charges from the unsuccessful getaway, Ritter also had nearly a dozen arrest warrants to his credit for a variety of other crimes.
If Texas suits you to a “T” then you may be interested in three camp-hosting opportunities there. Guadalupe Mountains National Park, south of the New Mexico-Texas border, needs camp hosts for Dog Canyon and Pine Springs campgrounds. The work assignment means 32 hours per week: meeting and greeting guests, doing safety monitoring and water testing, and assisting with search and rescue operations. Two different time periods are involved – hosts are needed either July through September, or October through December. More info or sign up here.
Last week we mentioned the 552-acre RV Park in Stuarts Draft, Virginia. Shenandoah Acres, with a property assessment from the county at $1.8 million, sold for a whopping $17 million. But there’s more to the story: The company that just sold the park, National Land Lease Capital, only bought the campground early last year. At that time they paid $9 million. The company had planned to keep Shenandoah Acres for the long haul, but couldn’t resist the call of the quick flip and the quick buck. And what will the principals do with the profits? They won’t be going to Disneyland. They have a contract to buy up 260 acres in South Carolina, between Myrtle Beach and Charleston, where they plan on building an RV park with 400-600 leaseable sites and a marina. It will make National Land Lease’s project the largest from-scratch RV development, expected to require an investment of $25 million. Maybe it’s time to invest in RV parks?
It could be Arizona’s shortest stretch of freeway, but if you’ve gone from the Grand Canyon State to Utah near California, you likely have been on it. It’s that 29-mile-long section of Interstate 15 that wends its way through the Virgin River Canyon, via seven different bridges. Arizona’s highway authority says it will be rebuilding Virgin River Bridge Number 1 starting this month. With some 30,000 vehicles crossing the bridge each day, the agency says a major revamp is needed. At first work will begin down below the bridge deck; but later this year, deck-level work will start as the bridge is rebuilt, one section at a time. Expect slowdowns, but at least one lane in each direction will remain open at all times, until work is concluded in the autumn of 2023.
Last October, Genji Tohman, an Alameda County, California, resident, was camping with this wife at Big Sur campground in California’s Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. While sitting on a picnic bench, Tohman was killed when a tree limb fell 30 feet onto his head. Now Tohman’s widow, Atsuko Tohman, has filed suit against the state’s park department, alleging that it failed to take proper care of the trees and should have been aware of the danger they posed. The state has not yet issued a comment regarding the matter.
Over the objections of some local residents, the New Braunfels, Texas, city council has moved forward on a request to build a 28-acre RV park. Locals brought out a litany of objections, from excess noise to traffic and declining property values. One man complained that he enjoyed the sight of antler-covered deer cavorting on the site, and is sure that will end if the park is built. Councilors nonetheless voted in favor of a special use permit for the site. They exhorted listeners that the decision wasn’t the end of the matter, and that final approval was far from a shoo-in.
Despite their being no citizens objecting, planning commissioners and a county board of supervisors torpedoed a request to double the sites on an existing 13-site RV park in Brunswick County, Virginia. The park started out as a 3-site RV park that served power plant construction workers. Later permission was given to enlarge it by one site, still later two more were granted, and finally seven more. However, planning commissioners said the permissions were temporary in nature, and the park was already violating local law. Supervisors followed suit, saying if they overrode the planning commission, what use would there be for a planning commission? Request denied.
Presto-change-o in Peletier, North Carolina. Commissioners in this little town have granted a rezone request that could spell nice for both locals and visitors. A run-down mobile home park called Buck’s Corner, with plenty of vacant and run-down mobile homes, is now in position to be revamped and converted to an RV park.
A Lee County, Florida, man is in the tryouts for the “Dumb Crook of the Month” awards. Jeremy Rogers, 28, tried stealing a golf cart at the Sun-N-Fun RV Park. He managed to get the cart rolling, but the goof couldn’t find the park’s exit, and wound up confronted by the cart’s owner. When police arrived, Rogers did swimmingly well, as he jumped into a canal and tried hiding under a boat. That didn’t work out so well, so then Rogers got out of the water hazard and starting running. With armed police and a K9 unit on his heels, Rogers then ran straight into the arms of a retired Marine – who grabbed and held Rogers until the officials with cuffs could complete their job.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
A heartbroken vintage trailer owner hopes you can hope. Stolen from Sacramento, California, on February 6, this 1965 Aristocrat vanished, taking along with it an ocean of happy memories. If you have information that might help, phone the owner at 916-870-0836.
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. 14, 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 (if you haven’t already) for a chance to win in future issues.
Last week two readers claimed their $25 Amazon gift cards: Norbert D. of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Sylvia E. of Livingston, Texas.
We’ll have another photo in tomorrow’s RV Daily Tips newsletter (sign up to receive an email alert so you don’t miss the issue or those that follow). Some of these photos are submitted by readers while others were taken by our editors and writers on their travels around the USA.
A weekly roundup of news stories that will make you smile (and maybe shed a tear or two…). This week: Nike makes hands-free sneakers for boy with CP, a local restaurateur buys up sidewalk vendors’ tamales and delivers them to the homeless, special friends sharing cereal (huh?), a car for a co-worker in need, an inspirational gesture from a package-delivering veteran (that one will get to you, guaranteed) and, of course, several cute animal videos. Click here to smile.
How would you rate the Wi-Fi at RV parks where you’ve stayed?
The man who built it doesn’t want it, the man who bought it doesn’t need it, the man who needs it doesn’t know it. What is it?
Thanks to Kathy Traina for submitting! Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
Lordstown Motors, the electric pickup truck company that will market through Camping World, has cut loose a couple more details about its all-things-electric. First, its Endurance pickup will use the same battery that powers Tesla’s Models 3 and Y. Beta testing of the new pickups will start next month. The company also confirms that it’s working on an electric van that will feature all-wheel drive and “class leading range.” But don’t expect to go backcountry with this as an RV – plans indicate a low ground-clearance model is on the drawing board.
The RVing lifestyle will soon be available on a TV channel near you. “RVing the USA” will run eight 30-minute episodes on the Discovery Channel, Discovery GO, and stream on Amazon Prime and Pluto TV. Producers promise “events, campgrounds and locations that make up the world of RVing.” A variety of content will run the gamut from do-it-yourself maintenance to cooking, with a smattering of visits to RV manufacturing plants.
Candles and RVs may not be such a good mix. So reads the story from D’Iberville, Mississippi. On Monday, fire ripped through a travel trailer at the Destination RV Park. The sole occupant, a woman, was able to escape unharmed, but her rig was totally wiped out. Firefighters say being able to arrive within minutes of the callout probably spared other RVs in the park. They suspect a candle may have been the cause of the conflagration.
Lazydays RV, the in-the-running-to-be-a-megadealer company, says it will open an Airstream-only dealership in Nashville, Tennessee, in the summer of 2022. This will make the third Airstream-featured dealership the company owns. The other two are in Ramsey, Minnesota, and Knoxville, Tennessee.
The Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) is proceeding with its international convention in Perry, Georgia, March 10 to 13. The group of mostly older RVers (the average member’s age is 72) is urging rally-goers to self-isolate two weeks before their arrival date to avoid contracting COVID-19 before traveling to the event, and to take their temperature twice a day during the convention. It is also requiring that those who attend to “wear masks any time they are not inside of their RV.”
RVers in Ontario now have 108 fewer sites to choose from. Sault Ste. Marie has shut down the Pointe des Chênes city–owned campground, which has been operated for nearly four decades by the local Lions Club. The park has “water quality issues,” and the city figures a $275,000 investment is needed to keep the place open, but doesn’t see the funds in the tea leaves. The Lions harvested $30,000 – $40,000 per year by operating the park.
Missouri’s catch-and-keep trout fishing season officially begins at 6:30 a.m. on Monday, March 1, at Roaring River State Park near Cassville, Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, and Montauk State Park near Salem. Trout anglers are encouraged to buy fishing permits in advance.
The Michigan Association of RVs & Campgrounds has cancelled all of its shows slated through spring. This comes on the heels of having killed off its show slated in Detroit which would have started last Wednesday. The association says it still is committed to its fall Detroit RV & Camping Show, still on the books for September 29 to October 3, in Novi, Michigan.
This week, Ontario, Oregon’s, planning commission was set to hear a rezone request that might mean a new RV park. Two adjoining land parcels, one currently zoned high-density residential, the other heavy general commercial, were on the docket. The applicant, a potential RV park developer, asks the former be zoned to commercial status. We will update you when details become available.
Maryland State Parks experienced a 45 percent increase in attendance for 2020 compared to the previous record-setting visitation attendance in 2019 – 21.5 million visitors in 2020 compared to 14.9 million in 2019.
The United Kingdom has instituted a ban on tires aged 10 years old or older being used on the steer axles of medium/heavy-duty trucks and buses, as well as on any single-wheel position on commercial vans with seating for nine to 16 passengers.
Campground and RV Park News
Developments in places where we stay across the USA
Janet Groene reports each week on developments at RV parks and campgrounds across the USA and Canada. There’s a lot of good information here that you can use to plan your travels. Read the current installment of “Campground and RV Park News” here.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
• Some motorhomes on Spartan chassis recalled
• Forest River recalls some trailers for wrong safety chains
• Sprinter RVs recalled for potential driving stability danger
• Jayco recalls some fifth wheels for risk of tire blowout
• Chevy Silverado trucks involved in massive recall
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• 12 of the weirdest campground rules – You won’t believe these!
• Free phone service helps hard-of-hearing – Good to know
• RVelectricity: How much battery power is required to make an espresso
• Is it time to re-level your RV? Here are some signs to look for
• More wacky mailboxes along the road! What a hoot!
• Need a last-minute Valentine’s Day gift? Make a movie!
• RVSuperbag: A cozy solution for making those tricky RV beds
• OMG! These jaw-dropping vehicles will shock you. How can they drive?
• Campground Crowding: Thousand Trails? More like “Zero Trails”!
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of February 8, 2021:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.46 [Calif.: $3.32]
Change from week before: Up 5 cents; Change from year before: Up 4 cents.
Diesel: $2.80. [Calif.: $3.56]
Change from week before: Up 6 cents; Change from year before: Down 11 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
Most of the RV shows in the early part of 2021 have been canceled. But for some, “the show goes on.” See our regularly updated show event directory here.
Free and bargain camping
Buford Star Mart, Lost Hills, CA
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed but permission from staff on duty is required. Park in the large unpaved lot behind the building, without obstructing movement by any other vehicles. Level, well-lit, appears safe. Diesel fuel available. Bulk propane available. Convenience store on site. Click here for details.
Country Mart, Salem, MO
FREE!: Overnight parking is allowed and permission is not required, but please obtain it anyway as we would at any retail location. Park along the east or west edge of the lot, as far from the store as possible, without obstructing traffic lanes in any way in this small parking lot. Level, well-lit, quiet, appears safe. Chinese restaurant across the street to the south; Mexican restaurant one block to the west. Click here for details.
Overnight RV Parking, with more than 14,000 locations listed, is the largest and best resource for locating free and inexpensive places to spend a night in an RV. For membership information and a demo of the site, click here. A modest membership fee required, but try the free demo. Watch a video about OvernightRVparking.com.
• Walmart Directory: Best printed directory of Walmart locations.
• Two excellent guides to free campgrounds. The West edition and the Heartland edition.
• Harvest Hosts: Members can stay free overnight at farms & wineries.
Brain teaser answer:
RV Travel staff
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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