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Sunday, April 4, 2021
First RVtravel.com Podcast debuts
The inaugural episode of the RVTravel Podcast has arrived. Click below to play it. If you prefer, you can listen to it on YouTube (audio only).
Host Scott Linden talks with RVTravel.com founder Chuck Woodbury, who reminisces about epic RVing moments in his life. And if you’re looking for a different kind of camping experience, you’ll enjoy hearing from Marianne Edwards of Boondockers Welcome.
If you travel with a canine partner, Scott’s dog-owning-training-TV experience on the road will help you keep your dog exercised and occupied. RVTravel.com writer Kate Doherty tells us about a travel tool that will save your eyesight. And we’ll look at how tough it is – already! – to get a campsite reservation, including listener and reader opinions. Finally, we’ll get a personal, real-time factory tour of the new Sol Dawn travel trailer from inTech’s Keith Fishburn.
If you have ideas for Scott, from must-see destinations to quirky roadside attractions, tips and advice, call 541-382-1726 or leave a message on our official podcast page.
CLICK THE PLAY BUTTON TO START THE PODCAST
LISTEN WHILE READING THE NEWSLETTER IF YOU WISH.
Dealing with the fear of getting out again in your RV. Are you ready?
OK, you’ve gotten your shots. The campgrounds are open. You can’t wait to get the RV out and hit the road, right? That’s the way you think you should feel, anyway. But what if you don’t? The COVID-19 pandemic and the long series of start-and-stop lockdowns have given birth to a new disorder. It lies somewhere between a slight hesitancy to leave the house, and a full-blown case of agoraphobia. Continue reading.
Goodyear Tire must pay for hiding evidence from RVers
The wheels of justice – or in this case, the tires of justice – turn slowly. But Goodyear Tire must pay for their sins. In this case, a federal court in Arizona has ordered the big tire giant to pay out $520,000. This for concealing evidence and discovery materials in a motorhome tire blowout case. Learn more.
National park entry reservations – Will this be the new normal?
Come May 28, you’ll no longer be able to motor up to Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park and get in at any old time. From that day forward, you’ll need to have made reservations to visit the park. Park officials are describing it as a “pilot program,” meaning, this won’t be forever. Theoretically. But it does raise the question: Are reservations just to get into one of the national treasures the wave of the future? Continue reading.
RVing and camping ranked safest way to travel in 2021
RVezy, a North American RV rental marketplace, revealed findings from a new travel survey (conducted by Abacus Data) highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on American travel plans for 2021. According to RVezy’s new survey, RVing and camping ranked as the safest travel options for 2021, with 66% of Americans considering the activities as “not risky.” Learn more.
The joke’s on Volkswagen after April Fool’s prank badly backfires
Volkswagen has manufactured three of the most popular vehicles in history: the Beetle, Golf and Passat. Last year, the Volkswagen Atlas, a versatile SUV, was named Family Car of the Year. It’s a popular choice among RVers. But the German automaker has now also made two recent poor choices. One was criminal and settled last year. The second was this week and it was stupid – a failed April Fool’s joke. Read more.
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel looks at the new 2021 Lance 1475 Travel Trailer. Tony writes, “Yesterday we looked at the biggest truck camper in the Lance line. How does it compare to the smallest travel trailer from the same brand? I thought I’d take a look and compare.” See what he finds here.
Last week’s reviews:
2021 Jayco Jay Flight Octane 255 Toy Hauler • Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RTB Class C • Cherokee 274RK Travel Trailer • Thor Hurricane 34J Class A Gas Motorhome • Thor Vegas 24.1 Class A
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
That was the RV week that was
March 28 – April 3, 2021
If diesel is the motivating fuel for your RV, you may have been a bit concerned with the skyrocketing price of the fuel. The Energy Information Administration says that after 21 straight weeks of fuel increases, the average price of a gallon of diesel actually dropped last week by 3.3 cents. Since November 2, diesel has shot up 82.2 cents. At its present cost, diesel is 57.5 cents more expensive per gallon than at this time last year.
A National Park Service investigative report on the deadly 2018 Carr Fire in Shasta County, California has been released. It confirms what has long been suspected: The fire which took eight lives and burned nearly 230,000 acres was caused by an RV. A couple towing a travel trailer had either a tire failure or wheel assembly failure. Sparks, super-heated grease, and tire pieces likely then caught tinder-dry grass afire. The trailer owners, an older couple, were devastated by the situation. The wife felt the blaze was her fault, as she had asked her husband to take them on a trip with the rig. For all who can, we encourage the installation and use of a tire pressure monitoring system to be alerted when tires begin to lose pressure.
In a “good news/bad news” scenario, the National Park Service is gearing up to reopen California’s Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks to camping. Largely closed or tightly restricted in 2020 because of COVID-19, the easing restrictions call for advanced reservations through www.recreation.gov. And that bad news? “To cover online processing costs, fees for campgrounds newly added to www.recreation.gov will increase to $22 per night, an average increase of $4 from previous years.”
After a motorhome driver blew a red light, hit another vehicle, and ended up in a front yard, he was only cited for failure to carry insurance. What’s the deal? Turns out as the coach was approaching the red light, the passenger reached over and yanked the keys out of the ignition, creating the setup for the failure to stop. The passenger is up on charges of reckless endangerment. It all played out in Fargo, North Dakota, last Monday.
An Australian man on a beach vacation might want to think about taking to RVing – in the mountains. Lance Karlson was wading in water near Dunsborough, Australia. He had his 2-year-old daughter in his arms, and his cell phone recording their walk. Suddenly, an octopus swam up and gave a big lurch, snapping its arms toward the pair. In an understatement, Karlson exclaimed, “Oh, golly!” Perhaps he should have let well enough alone, but Karlson later returned to the water, this time to take a dip. About 30 yards away from shore, he spotted a bunch of crab shells, neatly piled up under water. He dove down for a closer look – and Whack! An octopus slapped him across his arm, and followed up with a one-two punch, landing on his neck and upper back. The now-very-much-startled beach-goer beat a hasty retreat for solid ground. An octopus expert says the cephalopod may have been warning Karlson to back off, or may have just been being playful.
Campsites in the Northeast are a hot commodity. If New York is a measure, this could be the hottest summer for RV park owners in ages. In terms of holiday traffic, things are running “full up” already. Example: Spruce Row Campground and RV Park. Memorial Day is fully booked. A week ago the July 4th holiday only had a couple of spots left. July weekends? Most all full. The state’s campground owner’s association says reports like this are widespread throughout their membership.
It takes a lot of work to keep up the National Parks. This post from the Grand Canyon National Park official twitter account shows just how much. It came with this text: “That’s no selfie stick. #DYK every spring, park rangers spend a couple days repainting the most visible Grand Canyon peaks and ‘grand washing’ the cliffs.” Posting date: April 1.
Cheatin’ folks are spoiling camping opportunities across Canada. With the mad rush to get away to camping, people are swamping the provincial campground reservations systems, and in many cases the systems are crashing. Add to it: People are reserving the maximum number of days they can camp (in Ontario it’s 23) then “cherry picking” the days they want and dumping the rest. This does cost them in the form of a financial penalty, but apparently it isn’t so large as to discourage the practice. Others buy up blocks of days, use the ones they want, then sell their unused days at inflated prices. The end result: Many folks wanting sites just can’t get them.
National Park Service officials are offering a $2,000 reward for information that can lead to tracking down whoever vandalized Ozark National Scenic Riverways. The Missouri park was hit with graffiti, somewhere between March 27 and March 31. “Taggers” spray painted rocks that were volcanically formed thousands of years ago. The service is looking for names of people involved, description of vehicles, people found at the scene, or any other pertinent details. E-mail info to email@example.com, or call or text 888-653-0009.
Carson City, Nevada, sheriff officials say they got a call on March 17 from a Reno Home Depot. The outfit reported there was an older man in a big motorhome that reportedly had been stealing tools from local stores. Two days later, a detective spotted the motorhome at a Carson City car dealership. When officers approached, a man tried to run into the motorhome, but didn’t quite make it. The man handed over a California ID card – but that proved to be phony. They finally figured out who he really was – Kirk Kiefreider from San Francisco. A little checking, and it turned out the same motorhome was associated with a vehicle burglary at a coffee shop in town. More checking revealed why Kiefreider had tried to fake his identification: A record with more than 30 felony convictions, and a raft of recent arrests for alleged crimes ranging from vehicle theft to possession of stolen property. Oh, yeah, add one more: Turns out the motorhome he was using, with a value of $165,000, had recently been ripped off in Davis, California. Seems the RV dealer hadn’t gotten around to reporting the theft.
“If you don’t book fast…I don’t think you’re going to camp.” That’s the word from at least one Massachusetts campground owner. Janice LaFrance of Southwick Acres Campground told Western Mass News that her park has no more seasonal sites available. She warns that short-term sites are booking faster, and that those making reservations are staying longer.
If the presidents at South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore Memorial Park are wearing face masks, it isn’t because of COVID. It could be smoke that would cause the mask-up, as the park closed earlier this week when wildfire broke out in the area, and one on the grounds itself. Strong winds and drought conditions have created a volatile mix, and a large fire near Nemo has chewed through more than three square miles. The governor has declared a state of emergency which will stand until May 1.
Colorado state park officials are pumping $5.5 million into campground improvements at Boyd Lake State Park near Loveland. Like many state parks, this one has seen visitation jump from 484,000 in 2016 to 766,000 in 2020. The campground itself hasn’t been upgraded in nearly 30 years, so officials say they’ll earmark some of the funds toward installation of full-hookups. They also plan adding 40 to 50 new sites. Work could start as early as summer’s end.
Camp hosts are needed in California’s Modoc National Forest Recreation area at Blue Lake and Howard’s Gulch campgrounds. This is rural Northeast California country, where Blue Lake sits at 6,000 feet in elevation, and the nearest town, Likely, is 13 miles away. Howard’s Gulch is north of Canby, California, set in a tree-lined gulch. The latter site is small, so hosts will also give attention to other nearby fee-free campgrounds. Hosts are needed from Memorial Day through Labor Day and will do the usual meet-and-greet and coordinate with Forest Service staffers. A free place for your RV, a stipend, reimbursements for propane, and a Forest Service vehicle are included. Contact Greg Nejmanowski at 530-640-0037.
An RV park owner in Cass County, Nebraska says he needs the county to give him a break in order to survive financially. Mark Boyer of Merritt’s Beach says the outfit has pumped a half-million dollars into rebuilding after 2019 flooding. Under current rules, the campground can’t open until April 1, and must close October 1, and guests must clear all their gear away at that time. With sites leasing at $3,500 a year, Boyer says making leasees take their RVs out is “discouraging,” and wants the county to allow RVs to be parked on-site, year-round. But at least one neighbor finds that a problem. “I don’t see how in a flood way that’s practical” testified Wes Gradoville, according to wowt.com. “It’s going to flood again and all the debris and stuff is going to end up on our property.” County commissioners voted two to two on the request – one voting member was absent. As a result, Boyer didn’t get his request, but says he’ll be back to try again.
Folks wanting to camp in a Saskatchewan provincial park will find a new reservation system. While reservations for the season open on April 12, the new site is already open. Log in before the 12th, you’ll have an opportunity to set up a new account, putting you a bit ahead of the game when reservations actually open. In addition to camping reservations, the site allows users to buy and print entry permits.
The man seeking the (in)famous Forrest Fenn treasure in Yellowstone National Park’s cemetery has been sentenced by a Wyoming court. Rodrick Dow Craythorn dug in at least 17 spots while looking for the hidden chest, rumored to be worth millions of dollars. In the process Craythorn damaged a historic grave. He’ll have six months in prison, six months home confinement, and has to pay nearly $32,000 in restitution.
State of Indiana health and safety violations have landed RV manufacturer Nexus RV of Elkhart, Indiana, a very big fine. On March 16, the state’s Department of Labor whacked Nexus with penalties totaling $18,900 – most of which were for “serious” violations. Inspectors found multiple violations in “spray areas,” ranging from the unlawful storage of hundreds of gallons of flammable liquids, to allowing electrical equipment which could ignite flammables in the spray area. As well, employees were not properly trained in the use of some of the liquids, nor in use of safety equipment. In one case, a five-gallon container of flammable liquids was allowed to stand about, lidless. Nexus has the opportunity to appeal the fines.
We reported earlier on new rules that will (unless changed) affect diesel motorhome users in California. California’s Air Resources Board is set to roll out regulations that will force both state and non-residents using diesel rigs that scale over 14,000 pounds GVW to do mandatory smog emissions. The regulations also hit commercial trucks and buses, and not all the trucking companies are keen on the new plan. On Monday, board staff took comments at a workshop on the plan, and several trucking company representatives sounded off. Not pleased with having to have their rigs tested four times a year, nor on the volume of paperwork that it would entail, were just a couple of the gripes truckers gave the board.
How much do metropolitan cities depend on RV parks for generating revenue? Here’s a list of the top 15 cities, based on sales by RV parks and campgrounds. The dollar amounts shown are based on “per 10,000 residents.” Information comes from the most recent U.S. Census Bureau’s Economic Census, released in 2020.
15. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY – $63,788
14. Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY – $72,998
13. Pittsburgh, PA – $82,584
12. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA – $94,228
11. San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX – $95,110
10. Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI – $96,970
9. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ – $105,456
8. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV – $109,065
7. Bakersfield, CA – $111,396
6. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL – $118,737
5. San Diego-Carlsbad, CA – $133,284
4. Knoxville, TN – $158,027
3. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX – $165,872
2. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA – $169,134
1. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL – $526,232
FREE membership in The Dyrt Pro
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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.
It’s unreal! $2.5 million paid for as-yet non-existent Hummer
Collectible cars are in such demand a woman recently paid $2.5 million at an auction in Arizona for a new GMC Hummer pickup truck that hasn’t even been made yet. The buyer’s name wasn’t released, but she’ll receive the debuting GMC Hummer EV in the fall of 2021. That’s when the revised brand and the vehicle with the VIN #001 will roll off the assembly line at Factory ZERO in Detroit and Hamtramck. Read more, and learn where the proceeds go, here.
New pickup truck sneak peek: 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz
Hyundai wants to change the standard industry term “Sport Utility Vehicle” to “Sport Adventure Vehicle” with the debut of its 2022 Santa Cruz. Hyundai describes the new pickup truck as a multi-utility vehicle with a secure open bed. The South Korean manufacturer hasn’t released definitive specs of the highly touted pickup. However, of interest to RVers, it’s predicted to have a 5,000-pound towing capacity. Continue reading.
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 time today, April 4, 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: Christopher N. of Seal Rock, Oregon, and Steve B. of Snelling, California.
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: a purple-unicorn five-time theft, a wonderful Wheel of Fortune winner, LA’s new label, and, of course, several cute animal videos. Click here to smile.
Do you have a “go-to” RV shop or technician who you trust for repairs?
Bet you can’t guess???
Five weeks ago we asked RVtravel.com readers to rate the Wi-Fi at RV parks where they’ve stayed. What percentage of the 2,251 readers who responded said “it is usually excellent?” Was it 23 percent, 14 percent, 6 percent or 1 percent? We bet you won’t get it right. Find out here.
Why you should be happy you don’t camp in a tent!
Be ready to gasp with horror but laugh at the same time when you see this three second video clip. (Check out the guy at the back corner. Have you ever been run over by a tent?!)
The cost of making only the maker knows, valueless if bought, but sometimes traded. A poor man may give one as easily as a king. When one is broken pain and deceit are assured. What is it?
Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
Started in 1969, Fairmont, West Virginia’s Trailer City RV dealership is now succumbing to the siren call of Camping World. The big outfit will take over Trailer City in May, and the acquisition will make it Camping World’s first location in the Mountain State.
RVers to North Carolina’s Gorges State Park are getting something they’ve never had before: A place to overnight at the park. The 7,500-acre park has had back country campsites for hikers, but nothing up front. Opening soon, 14 full-hookup sites, 17 tent sites, and five cabins will grace a new campground to the tune of $3.5 million.
Volvo has a new plan for its big commercial trucks. The company plans to equip some of those 18-wheelers with self-driving technology. In a “hub-to-hub” plan, a human driver would pilot the rig out to a major highway. From there the autonomous technology would handle the rest of the trip to the second hub, where it would stop and wait for another human driver to take it the last, short distance. No word on how soon you might see a driverless big rig.
Name the state that generates the most revenue per capita from RV parks. Did you say Arizona? Sorry! Go to the northeast – the FAR northeast. According to the U.S. Census Bureau 2020 Economic Census, Maine generates more than $600,000 for every 10,000 residents. (The list above names the top metropolitan cities generating the most revenue from RV parks.)
A Michigan RV dealership bows to Camping World. This time Hilltop RV Superstore with Escanaba and Ishpeming locations will roll over to the big RV conglomerate in May. After it’s all done, Camping World will have six locations in the Wolverine State.
The Bureau of Land Management has closed public lands to camping just outside Dayton, Nevada, due to problems with a homeless encampment.
When top officials with Campground Owners of New York decided they wanted to select a special nonprofit organization they could rally New York campgrounds to support, Camp Good Days was a natural fit. Camp Good Days organizes special events as well as weeklong cancer camps at the organization’s campground at Keuka Lake in Branchport. The campground owners affiliated with Campground Owners of New York have raised more than $750,000 for Camp Good Days since 2012. Continue reading.
The Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association has released its 2021 Pennsylvania Campground Directory. The free magazine lists 231 campgrounds and RV resorts with information about each. Order the 68-page booklet at www.pacamping.com or by calling (610) 767-5026.
Authorities are searching for a suspect they believe responsible for a burglary at a Lake Charles, Louisiana, RV park on March 24 between 2:20 a.m. and 2:40 a.m. Detectives say the suspect burglarized five clothes dryers, stealing about $50 and causing around $800 worth of damage. The suspect was last seen leaving in a Chevy pickup. The suspect was wearing blue jeans, a dark-colored hoodie with a zipper in the front, a dark-colored ball cap, and tan-colored shoes. Have info? Call the sheriff’s office at (337) 491-3605.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts was recently named a Top Franchise for Women by Franchise Business Review. This is the second time Jellystone Park has been ranked a top franchise for women. Earlier this year, the brand was named a top franchise by both Franchise Business Review and Entrepreneur magazine.
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.
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE STOLEN RVs?
Stolen April 1 – but no April Fool’s joke. A brand-new Astoria fifth wheel, and its mated Dodge Ram 3500 dually. Ripped off the parking lot of a Holiday Inn in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, the trailer has “temp” tags, while the truck is plated with Kansas tags. Pine Bluff police: (870) 541-5300.
Another storage lot steal: This one from Chapin, South Carolina, Interstate 26 at exit 97, went missing March 24. This 2020 Forest River Legend travel trailer bears South Carolina tag 51631KT. And in case the plate’s missing, the last four numbers of the rig’s VIN are 7492. Know something? Chapin police, phone (803) 345-6443.
See many more recently stolen RVs. Let’s help find these for their owners and maybe even put the crooks in the slammer. Click here.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
• Winnebago recalls Minnie trailers for wrong tire information
• Forest River recalls some Berkshire motorhomes
• Ford recalls some motorhomes for chassis problem
• Tiffin recalls some 2021 motorhomes for tire valve stem issue
• Jayco recalls some motorhomes. Stove could leak LP gas
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Campground Crowding: It’s all about the journey, not the destination… right?
• New (or any) RVers – There is hope! You CAN find campsites!
• Casino Camping: 3 casino RV resorts where you’ll want to stay
• Towing FAIL! These people hitch their fifth wheel backwards!
• Trailer “tail-wagging” – Prevent this dangerous sway from happening to you
• FIREDISC®, a “wok on legs,” makes cooking fun for the whole family
• RVelectricity: Scam Alert on Magic Air Conditioners
• RV Tire Safety: Is “sealant” a good fix for a flat tire?
• Building an RV Park: Waiting for the bank; and rocks, rocks and more rocks!
• Baby and kids’ sleeping “bags” brilliant solution for camping
• RVelectricity: Accidental reversed polarity adapter
• Visit America’s National Parks & Volunteer on your RV Short Stop
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of March 29, 2021:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.85 [Calif.: $3.77]
Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 85 cents.
Diesel: $3.16 [Calif.: $3.98]
Change from week before: Down 3 cents; Change from year before: Up 58 cents.
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.
Recipe of the Day
Apple Slab Pie
by Donna Bardocz from Howell, MI
This is an amazing apple pie and perfect for a larger family or the RV park potluck. The crust is dense and rich but flaky at the same time. It’s a little different than your typical crust. The filling is full of apples – sweet, and spicy thanks to the Saigon cinnamon. Drizzling the glaze on top is the perfect touch and hides any imperfections in the crust.
Did you miss yesterday’s recipe? Missy’s Creamy Deviled Eggs. Yum! Get it here.
Brain teaser answer:
If you want to have a wonderful day, send $10, $50 or $100 to a local food bank. There are millions of our fellow citizens, including little kids, who are going hungry because their parents lost their jobs. You will feel so good if you contribute — helping people less fortunate than you go to bed without the pain of an empty stomach. Here’s where to donate.
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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