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Sunday, April 25 – May 1, 2021
Reason to panic? Will gas stations run out of fuel this summer?
The media was in a frenzy last week. It seems there’s a severe shortage of tank truck drivers, and what that will mean this summer is that deliveries to gas stations could be severely impacted, causing stations to run short of supply or even run out of fuel entirely. Should we worry? Russ De Maris dug deep into the subject and here is what he learned.
More spam from Camping World?
When Marcus Lemonis took the reins controlling the Good Sam Club, it wasn’t long before many members dubbed it the “Good Spam Club.” Lemonis saw the club membership list as ripe for harvesting. (In an industry interview he referred to members as “marketing tools.”) It meant club members could expect to receive tons of junk mail selling everything from gadgets to extended warranties. Get ready for more unsolicited mail from the ambitious Mr. Lemonis and his expanding empire. Continue reading.
What would you do if Walmart stopped allowing overnight RV stays?
A FOLLOW-UP FROM YESTERDAY
If you missed Mike Gast’s insightful article yesterday about the changing face of Walmart, you might want to check it out. And you’ll want to read Part two in this issue of the many comments from our readers about what they would do if Wally World pulled the plug on overnight stays. And, by the way, in a recent poll, approximately 45 percent of our readers told us that least occasionally they stay overnight in a Walmart parking lot.
ATTENTION BEGINNING RVers
Tomorrow we are resuming our Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter, which appears weekdays. This is Volume 2, which will run for approximately five months — long enough to bring newbies up to speed on RVing basics. The newsletter will then pause again and resume later for Volume 3 to educate a new round of RV beginners. Sign up here.
This week’s podcast (#5)
Host Scott Linden is back with another dose of RV news, information and entertainment. Listen to it on the official RV Travel Podcast page, where you can learn what’s on tap this week, or just click the play button below. By the way, RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury pays a visit this week with his recommendation of what he considers the most beautiful area in America to visit with an RV.
IDEA: Play the podcast as you read this newsletter.
This podcast is sponsored by SoftStartRV. This game-changing device enables an RV air conditioner to run in low power situations that were never possible before. Run on household current or with a small generator. Learn more or order at a special discount.
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel looks at the Living Vehicle and asks, “Is this the most capable travel trailer ever?” This is one very unique RV. Take a look and see for yourself.
Hélio HE3 Series Mini Travel Trailer
Last week’s reviews:
• 2021 Shasta 21CK Travel Trailer • 2021 Chinook Summit • KZ RV Connect SE C210MBKSE Travel Trailer • Imperial Outdoors XploreRV XR22 Bunk Model • 2021 AntiShanty Overlanding Trailers
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
That was the RV week that was
April 25 – May 1, 2021
In case you missed the news, Frances McDormand, who starred in the RV-related motion picture, “Nomadland,” has won this year’s Oscar for Best Actress. Director Chloé Zhao carried away the statue for “Best Director.” Perhaps not surprisingly, the film itself took away the title of Best Motion Picture. The film has ties to snowbirding capitol, Quartzsite, Arizona. Read a commentary on the film, and the lifestyle, by former RVtravel.com staffer Adrienne Kristine.
A peek-a-boo bobcat found a great perch to check out the countryside. Happily, a National Park Service photographer happened to catch the crafty cat. Not the kind of place humans would want to climb – the saguaro cactus this cat has climbed is covered with nasty sharp spines. But bobcats have extremely tough paws that give them immunity to the big cactus protective spines. Published this Monday from an image captured in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona. Click to enlarge image.
“Kind of like we were in a dryer at the Laundromat.” That’s how one RVer described his experience when an ill-wind along Texas’ Bolivar Peninsula flipped his travel trailer around – with him and his girlfriend inside. Fred Fagan and his friend, Mary, were snoozing inside the rig on April 23 when winds reaching as high as 90 mph flipped the rig over, trapping the pair under the mattress. Firefighters fished them out from the wreckage, and neighbors have been helping them to salvage what they can. The couple have been full-time RVers since 1998.
INSIDER INFORMATION: In the last 30 days, visitors to RVtravel.com have performed 1,992,911 pageviews on the website!
Don’t scalp a Parrot Head. Fans of Jimmy Buffet who planned on seeing the “Margaritaville” star in Delray Beach, Florida, may have just flushed their cash down the toilet. Fans who purchased tickets through scalpers – some paying as much as $10,000 for a pod of four tickets – won’t be able to get in the door. Venue officials say whoever shows up with tickets must provide identification that matches that of the original purchaser. Sale of tickets for the May 13, 14, 17, and 18 shows went on last Monday at 10:00 a.m. All shows were sold out by 10:01 a.m. But within a few hours, online sites like Vivid Tickets and Ticketsonsale.com were offering to resell them. Needless to say, Parrot Heads who bought from resellers have had their feathers more than ruffled.
An RVing family visiting a cemetery near Camarillo, California, made a grave mistake. Somebody left the keys in the ignition. Last Sunday police got a call from the Conejo Mountain Memorial Park. Seems that while the group was visiting a grave with their pickup and travel trailer parked nearby, somebody took off with the combination. A citizen followed the stolen rigs, updating dispatches with the location. Deputies and a chase copter were soon on the trail. The thief abruptly pulled over on the shoulder and got inside the RV. When deputies called for the crook to come out, a man surrendered, but police had seen the alleged thief was a female. She refused to come out, and after an hour, officers forced the door. They found Ileana Tobo (27) of Oxnard, California, hiding under a blanket on the bed. Officers recognized symptoms of a drug overdose and administered Narcan. After her release from the hospital, she got yet a different bed, this one at the county jail. She’s charged with felony vehicle theft violation and misdemeanor resisting.
A freak accident in Laughlin, Nevada, underscores the need for seat belt wearing – even when off the public roadway. Police were called to Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort RV Park last Monday when a man fell from his Class A motorhome. The unidentified Albany, Minnesota, RVer had attempted to back out of an RV site while his motorhome was hitched to a trailer. In the process of straightening out a jack-knife condition, the man fell out the driver’s door of the motorhome, landed on his head, and into the path of the rig’s oncoming rear wheels. He suffered fatal injuries.
COVID-19 has snuffed out the flame of Burning Man. The festival, which focuses on “community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance,” is typically held each year on the desert playa 100 miles northeast of Reno, Nevada. Last year was the first time the temporary “Black Rock City” failed to be erected on the site since 1991, canceled due to the pandemic. Now the 2021 event is likewise scrubbed. Organizers wrote, “Very real rebuilding and healing that needs to be done before returning full force to the desert. The physical, psychic, and emotional impacts of this pandemic are real and the recovery from this experience will happen at different rates of speed. This is the time to gather with our friends, crews, families and communities.”
Is your bottled drinking water expired? If it’s produced by Nestlé, it may be – just not in the way you think. For decades, Nestlé has pumped millions of gallons of water from locations in California’s San Bernardino National Forest. Now the state’s water board says Nestlé’s permit to pump water from at least one spot expired in 1988. Under an early permit, Nestlé is allowed to draw 2.36 million gallons per year; last year records indicate they took 58 million gallons. The water board has repeatedly asked for Nestlé’s cooperation, and is now considering a draft “cease and desist” order which could hit the company with fines of $500 to $1,000 per day, retroactive to 1988. Interestingly, Nestlé pays the Forest Service a $2,100 annual permit fee – but the water it draws is free of charge.
Here’s an unusual “volunteers needed” call from Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park: Folks willing to kill bison on the park’s North Rim. The plan is to kill and remove roughly 400 of the big beasts in the next five years. Park officials say rapidly rising bison populations are creating havoc with their grazing and trampling on soils, vegetation, and archeological sites. They’re also creating problems with the “visitor experience and wilderness character” of the park. A lottery will determine initial selection of the bison killing team. From there, the shooters will be thinned down by a firearms safety course and marksmanship proficiency test. Volunteers will need to haul the carcasses away – a big job when some weigh upwards of 2,000 pounds and the job will have to be done on foot.
Did you miss the last edition of RVtravel.com’s Full-time RVer Newsletter? No problem, it’s still available. Right here.
Famed Salsa musician Willie Colón and his wife, Julia, have been injured in a motorhome accident on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Colón’s rig was seriously damaged, but few details about the accident, which occurred April 20, were available. Colón’s injuries were described as “life threatening” and included “concussion, lacerations to the scalp and fractures of the C1 cervical vertebra,” according to a statement released on the musician’s social network page. Latest reports stated that Colón was in serious but stable condition, and his wife was treated at the hospital and released.
The National Park Service is sponsoring a lottery – but you must act fast! The annual synchronous firefly viewing at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will run from June 1 to June 8. The park is home to the only species in America whose individuals can synchronize their flashing light patterns. Viewers must have a ticket for entry, and the tickets, of course, are on a lottery system. The lottery opened Friday and runs through 11:59 p.m. tomorrow, May 3. One application allowed per household, and there’s a $1 fee to enter. If you win a slot (you’ll need to choose your day on the application), you’ll then be charged an additional $24 for your parking pass. There’s where the lottery comes in – only 100 passes will be issued for each viewing day. If you missed it yesterday, read all about these fascinating critters and where there are more synchronous firefly displays in Julianne G. Crane’s post here.
Santa Clara County, California, has a bit of a problem. The county fairgrounds are apparently not much for making money. In 2018 the county fair brought in a paltry $13,000. That same year, the RV park on the fairgrounds brought in a half million dollars. But the nonprofit group that runs the park is shutting it down. What’s the thinking? Last year the group shut down the on-site RV dump station, drawing the ire of local RVers who used it. Those who call the RV park home are wondering why – and “where” they’ll go when the park is completely shut down. Fairgrounds administrators have kicked around a variety of plans on how to make more money. From a USA cricket venue to zip-lines to a locale for a soccer academy, they’ve thought about them and settled on none. In any event, the future doesn’t seem to include the profit-making RV park.
A plan to build a 40-site RV park next door to Indiana Dunes National Park has sunk. On April 21, Porter County, Indiana’s Board of Zoning Appeals cut the proposal loose to the applause of citizens in the audience. It seems the deciding factor in the case was that of traffic safety. In a seven-year period ending in 2021, there had been seven non-fatality collisions on the highway serving the proposed site. The lone holdout in the 4 to 1 vote against was plenty frustrated. “When I look at the things that can be put on this property without any variances, without any meetings, there are 30 things you can do, including nightclubs and a gas station,” said board member Marvin Brickner, according to the chicagotribune.com.
It had to happen – Camping World is now getting into the RV rental business. No, not from the standpoint of “rent an RV from CW.” Rather, it’s that Camping World will soon act as the middle-man between RV renters and folks that want to rent out their own rigs. “Camping World RV Rentals” will start listing rigs to rent, and the public can cruise out with their rental units beginning in July. Now the company is pushing hard to get listings, and offering half-off owner fees, charged them by CW. How much is that? Most rental providers will pay CW 20% of the total booking charge. CW claims a Class A motorhome owner could reap $1,830 a week, based on estimated rental income for a 7-day, 6-night rental.
While Canadian snowbirds report being the focus of derision on their return to Canada, it ain’t so for Michigan snowbirds. Wolverine State officials want to “reopen” the state from COVID-19 restrictions. Part of reaching that goal is having a sufficient number of the state’s residents who’ve taken the COVID vaccinations. As of April 30, half of state residents met that criteria. But wait! What about those Michiganders who got their shots while snowbirding in warm climates? State officials are pleading with shot-up snowbirds to take their vaccination cards to their family docs so their information can be added to the state’s registry.
Eagle, Colorado, known for its politically active population, has something new for folks to spar over: Base Camp Eagle. It’s a proposed 53-site campground on 10 acres of an existing 13-and-a-half acre farm. The local developer thinks the town needs it, as he sees plenty of damage on nearby public lands when dispersed camping is overdone. Eagle attracts plenty of recreationists, and promoters see the campground as just the thing to fix that problem. Several dozen locals have already rung in their thoughts on the matter, and a dividing line has been drawn. It’ll be up to the town officials to approve or deny a request to annex the property, then rezone it, and allow a special use permit to build the seasonal campground. If it’s given a go-ahead, guests will find an orchard to pick fruit in, and night-sky-compliant lighting. But some neighbors envision as many as 300 people crammed into the site, one saying, “I love being your neighbor. You’re a great neighbor, but I 100% oppose this.” On the other side, a former council member testified, “It’s a piece of infrastructure we don’t have right now … I believe the operators will be phenomenal. This is where they were brought up and where their reputation stands. I am 100% behind the project.” The town’s planning and zoning folks have recommended approval. Now the town council members will have a lot of pressure making a decision. They’ll take it up again on May 11.
The best Mother’s Day gifts for the RVing mom – act fast!
Mother’s Day is a week from today, next Sunday, May 9th. Time is running out to order the mom, guardian or grandma in your life something special. Take a look at our Mother’s Day gift guide – you’ll surely find something here to make Mom smile!
When they go, where do new RVers go? According to an RV Industry Association survey – not very far. The outfit said it received responses from 800 survey recipients who had bought a rig since the outbreak of COVID-19. The majority (54%) said their trips thus far had taken them no more than 200 miles. Less than a third went 300 miles or more. The association surmises this will mean that state parks and recreation areas will be the first choice among new RVers when on the road.
Misery weather in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma has pelted down on locals. Wednesday night saw better than two-and-a-half inches of rain drench down, smack in the middle of a tornado watch. Projections of a flood condition along the Arkansas River were realized Thursday at 1:30 p.m., when flows of 229,000 cubic feet per second showed up. That’s five times greater than Tuesday morning. In this photo, an RVer’s rig is hooked up to be pulled out of floodwaters near Alma, Arkansas.
RV park owners in the Canadian Maritimes are puzzled: They report getting phone calls from RVers from the Lower 48, trying to book into their parks. They’re being politely offered reservations in 2022. No, sorry, vaccinated or not, folks outside the Maritimes are NOT welcome at this time, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Want to buy an RV and skip the bank, buying your new rig with virtual money? Camping World may be the first RV dealership to accept cryptocurrencies. Don’t pay cash, don’t write a check. Use your hoard of Bitcoin, Ethereum, or other select cryptocurrencies right out of your digital wallet. The crypto-rollout begins at two of Camping World’s dealerships, in Chicago, Illinois, and Kenosha, Wisconsin, but should be available at all CW dealerships this summer, according to a company press release.
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.
2021 Ford F-150 pickup truck will ease the stress of weight gain
Getting work done more efficiently in a 2021 Ford F-150 pickup truck or making certain you’re towing properly will be easier and less stressful this summer. The manufacturer has announced the new F-150 will debut with available Onboard Scales and Smart Hitch. The new features will estimate cargo weight in real-time and indicate capacity. With continuously controlled damping, the features are engineered to help customers who tow and haul loads with their trucks. Continue reading.
Buy a beige pickup truck; show me the resale money
Buying a beige-colored pickup truck is smart; purchasing a brown truck, not so much. At least that’s the case if getting the best resale price after three years of ownership is important. Read this interesting report about pickup truck depreciation based on color.
In your eyes, what is the perfect truck?
Reader Randall J. is building his dream truck exactly as he’s ever imagined it. If you had the money, time, skill, workspace, and tools, what would you include in your perfect truck? Please tell us here.
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, May 2, 2021. If it’s yours you’ll win a very cool RVtravel.com coffee mug.
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 prizes: Jan E. of Port Orchard, Washington, and Rick K. of Kendallville, Indiana.
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 quick-thinking, quick-ladder-climbing good Samaritan; a 13-year-old vaccine hero; a seabird-rescuing duo; a can’t-stop-laughing Piers Morgan; and, of course, several cute animal videos. Click here to smile.
Do you envision yourself living full-time in an RV someday?
Did you miss last Sunday’s Reader Poll? We asked, “Should the use of generators be allowed in National Park campgrounds?” Respond and see how other readers responded.
I have a big mouth and I am also quite loud! I am NOT a gossip but I do get involved with everyone’s dirty business. What am I?
Thanks to George Bliss for submitting! Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
California appears to be keeping in lockstep with many states when it comes to campground reservations. CampCalNOW, a campground industry support organization, is urging folks wanting reservations to think midweek. The basic thought from a recent news release is to start your camping week on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday. Basically, Thursday through Saturday start dates are already booked at many California RV parks and campgrounds.
Out-of-area RVers with reservations at Nk’Mip RV Park in Osoyoos, B.C., may soon be getting their money back – and have to make plans elsewhere. The lakefront park, owned by the Osoyoos Indian Band, is canceling all reservations set for April 23 through May 25 if the customers are from anywhere other than two B.C. health regions. The band says they’re not mandated by law, but the COVID-19 health recommendations set by provincial authorities are being adhered to as a precautionary measure.
Death did them part. Stark County, Indiana, officials have taken back control of Bass Lake Beach and Campground. The county owns the property, but had a lease agreement with a company owned by Richard Callahan, good through 2027. Callahan recently died, and the county says the contract said for the lease to be good, he must personally manage the operation. The county now assumes all the revenues – and all the expenses, too. That includes paying an interim manager $33,000, plus an RV site to handle operations through the season.
If a count of letters opposing or supporting a potential 154-site campground in Tremont, Maine, are the decider, the developer should just call it a day. The local planning board says it received at least 100 letters opposing the park, with only six or seven in support. It is the most controversial project ever heard by the board, and more than 100 people attended a Zoom meeting to hash the matter out earlier this week. Folks who wanted to testify were ranked, from nearest neighbors, to farther ranging ones, and finally those from out of town. The latter group didn’t get to complete their comments before time ran out on the two-and-a-half hour hearing. The board said they’ll extend the hearing, taking the matter up next on May 25.
The Empire State may soon be The Electric State, if a New York State senate bill is signed into law. The bill says all new passenger cars sold in the state after 2035 must be run on electricity. Pickup trucks and “heavy duty vehicles” have until 2045 to shape up. Just what this means for motorhomes isn’t clear.
It may be an ironic case of “biting the hand that feeds.” Firefighters in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area may have caught a break in a case of theft from the firehouse. The local Shamrock Volunteer Fire Department, a group with big hearts but an annual operating budget of only $6,000, had their firehouse broken into and stolen from twice over the last few weeks. The thieves weren’t kind – leaving such a mess behind that it was difficult to determine exactly what all had been stolen. Last Thursday morning the crew was called out to battle a travel trailer fire. On scene they found the fire – and one of their stolen hydraulic jacks. No word on the fire victim’s relationship to the recovered loot.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
Crooks used a big Budget moving truck to help them do-it-yourself to a 2021 Crossroads Sunset Trail RB travel trailer. The deed happened around or before April 27 at the Extra Space storage yard in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The rig bears a South Carolina plate, 110320. Call the owner at 843-421-0639 or the Horry County Police at 843-248-1520. The image on the right is a security cam photo of the person riding shotgun in the Budget moving truck.
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.
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 Airstream Class B RVs may show wrong GVWR
• Airstream recalls some motorhomes for fire danger issue
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• The Walmart of the future may not include overnight RV parking
• Campground Crowding: “I sold my trailer 15 minutes after listing it for sale!”
• RVelectricity: Don’t fall for it. This is NOT a generator!
• What would you do if Walmart stopped allowing overnight RV stays?
• Just how bad is it? Are boondocking locations getting crowded?
• How to negotiate the best price on your next RV
• All the RV lingo you need to, and should, know
• The best Mother’s Day gifts for the RVing mom
• Building an RV park: Still waiting on the bank, but lots of progress on the park
• “Nomadland,” the movie – Don’t miss it!
• We tested tons of black tank treatments; this is the only one that worked
• Portable washing machine saves weight for RV. YUP.
• Are ST-type tires better because they have a higher “speed rating”?
• RV Short Stop: Synchronous fireflies put on magical shows
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of April 26, 2021:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.87 [Calif.: $3.86]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up $1.10.
Diesel: $3.12 [Calif.: $3.99]
Change from week before: No change; Change from year before: Up 69 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.
Recipe of the Day
Mom’s Meatloaf Cake
by Therese Renouf from Motorhome Traveling, TX
We love the flavors and texture of this meatloaf. I made this for a friend’s family… and after tasting it they requested a lifetime supply! This “cake” is layered with mashed potatoes and cheese. It’s no wonder why everyone loves it!
Mmm mmm mmm! Get the recipe here.
Did you miss yesterday’s recipe, Tex Mex Chicken and Corn Chowder? Get it here.
Other recipes featured in this week’s Daily Tips Newsletters:
• Cherry Lime Mojito • Cheesy Parmesan Potato Pancakes • Upside Down Blueberry Pie Cheesecake • Broccoli Shrimp Casserole • Pulled Pork Nachos
Watch short cooking videos: But don’t watch near mealtime or you could get terribly hungry. If you love to cook, you will love these videos, most a minute or less.
Brain teaser answer:
I was at my Narcotics Anonymous meeting last week with the usual group of people, when all of the sudden a duck walked in. We were all shocked. “What is a duck doing here?” we murmured to one another. The duck took a seat in our circle and introduced himself. “Hello, I’m Mike and I have a quack addiction.”
The Perfect Scam Podcast
Every Sunday we present a podcast from AARP about scams and how crooks are stealing your money, often via telemarketing. Their efforts are often most successful with people 65 years and older who fall victim to their sophisticated techniques. Here is this week’s episode.
Today in History
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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