From editor Chuck Woodbury, hiding out in Arizona

76

From the editor

As I noted in my essay in today’s newsletter, I know two people with the COVID-19. One has died, the other is fighting for his life. For me, the pandemic is real.

Huge changes are underway. Not to appear too negative, but it’s a difficult time for most of us.

Every RV show, every RV club rally, most every other public event that I am aware of, has been cancelled for months ahead. Half our country’s state parks have closed their campgrounds. Many national parks and national forest campgrounds have closed, too.

Millions of people have lost their jobs, and more will every day. It makes me sick to think of what these people are about to endure without money to pay their bills. I sometimes feel guilty that I still have a job. At RVtravel.com we are hanging in there, and will probably get through this if we work hard and smart. We have lost more than half our advertising, but thankfully many readers have voluntarily subscribed, which will help carry us through until better times return.

The disease is not going away until a vaccine is developed. Americans will not be packing into churches on Easter. It will take longer.

The RV industry is shutting down. Already Winnebago and Thor have closed their factories. Smaller companies have, too. I will be surprised if any other major RV manufacturer will be building RVs in two weeks. Small companies will go broke, as happened in 2008. I don’t envision the RV industry returning to any sense of normalcy for at least a year, most likely longer.

I am not smart enough to know where all this is going, but I strongly believe crisis mode will be with us for at least a few months. I am not in the mood to hear another person tell me the pandemic is not real, a hoax, fake news, or was propagated by the Chinese or a particular political party for some sort of evil agenda.

Watch your friend die, or your child, your spouse or next door neighbor … you will never again question that this is real.

Gail and I are holed up in our motorhome in Kingman, Arizona. But we’re losing our site in a few weeks. We’re not sure where we’ll go. Many snowbird parks, which would normally have vacancies now, are still filled and have waiting lists: Residents do not want to move, just stay safe, away from big cities. They can still socialize – but six feet apart.

Our daily updates about the coronavirus in our RV Daily Tips Newsletter have sent our circulation soaring. We are adding 1,700 new subscribers a week (sign up here). We welcome each of you, and ask that you tell an RVer friend of yours about us if you like what you see.

I count my blessings that I have a comfortable RV to live in during this unprecedented crisis. I sometimes can’t believe what’s happening. It’s like a bad dream that I will awaken from soon.

For now, Gail and I will spend a lot of time at our computers, doing what we do best when stuck in a small space with nowhere to go – informing RVers about how they can navigate through this awful time. Our staff is also hard at work, all in their homes, including my daughter Emily, who lives smack dab in the epicenter of the COVID-19 death zone in Washington. Lucky for her, she has always worked from home and can continue to do so.

Some good will come of this, as I have said before. If nothing else, maybe people will learn that no matter what our political beliefs we need to join together to battle a fierce enemy. I am already seeing this happen and it’s the one bright spot in all this.

While you are sitting at home, maybe it’s a good time to catch up on some reading or watch a different cable news channel for another perspective. And every day that you remain healthy, count your blessings. And, please, help others whenever you can. We are in this together. We are living in what will be one of the most historic times in America, and, in fact, world history.

Be strong, be safe! We will come through this . . .

chucksignature

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Henry site#159
4 months ago

Chuck, we are in Rincon Country East RV Resort at Tucson, AZ. The park is still taking reservations here…you can call 520-886-8431 and talk with Jasmine, Shannon or Joanne early in the day. Office hours here are shortened now. Hope you can get in here…you will enjoy your stay.

Snayte
4 months ago

Watch your friend die, or your child, your spouse or next door neighbor … you will never again question that this is real.

Not a poke at you personally Chuck but why does it take this for some people to realize the situation is real?

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
4 months ago
Reply to  Snayte

You’re correct, Snayte. Very sad situation that folks have, and still are, not taking this seriously. But, yes, Chuck has taken this seriously since the very beginning. Stay healthy. —Diane at RVtravel.com

Carolyn
4 months ago

Hello Chuck and Gail: Check out the Blake Ranch RV Park. Approx 12 miles east of Kingman at exit 66. Phone #928-757-3336. They do have spaces though not sure what their time limits are. Be worth a call if you have to move in a few weeks.

Shelia W Frances
4 months ago

Hi Chuck and Gail,
I am glad you are safe in Arizona, albeit, having to move soon.

I was a camp host and camp manager in a northern New Mexico national forest last year. I have a contract to go back for this year. But, likely that national forest will also close completely for this entire season.

As a full time RVer for over ten years, I have the good fortune to be currently parked in my daughter and her husband’s driveway with full hookups. I have the sad decision before me to stop my daughter and two granddaughters from entering my RV. I have already stopped going into their house.

Like you, I wake up each morning with only a few seconds before this pandemic tragedy hurls back into my thoughts! It is a nightmare and heartbreaking!

I send hugs and warm wishes of peace to all who read my comments… and, indeed, out into the world.

…Shelia, in northeastern Oklahoma right now

Suann Stone
4 months ago

https://news.yahoo.com/rv-could-help-families-health-194006748.html

Found this on my yahoo newsfeed. I don’t do Facebook but know a CEO of a small hospital not too far away who might be able to use my van for one of those doctors or nurses who might need a place to quarantine themselves after putting in 16 or more hours at the hospital saving lives before they go back and do it again. Please take a look at the article. I know of 3 more RVs in storage right now that could be used. I’ve alerted them also.

Martin A
4 months ago

Chuck so sorry for the loss of your friend, and the one that is ill. I hope you can find places to park in the future. We usually travel in the summer, so we are hunkered at home being safe as we can. Praying that those that are full timing or have to travel will be able to have places to stay and be safe.
I appreciate this newsletter and your effort to keep it going.

Kim
4 months ago

Something in your message struck me. ” 6 feet apart”. My brain went to, “6 feet apart, or 6 feet under.” Don’t be afraid, be smart.

Richard Chabrajez
4 months ago

Just speculation; when this crisis has subsided, many more may decide to purchase RV’s as alternatives to hotel stays when they travel. They present a more trustworthy environment in a germ conscious future.

Ross
4 months ago

Well written. I’m sorry. Thank you. Stay safe.

Richard Hubert
4 months ago

Observations:

(1) In general – Private businesses are mostly open, while public services are largely closed.
Grocery stores, gas stations, banks, repair shops, delivery services, Amazon, etc. remain open. While governments have shut down schools, universities, DMVs , parks, parking lots, beaches, all public offices, etc – virtually everything they control. So what would they do without the private sector to keep things going? What does this say about a private sector that is willing and able to keep functioning – compared to the public sector which has shut itself down?
Seems that we can live without the public sector (for the most part) – but we would indeed be hurting if the private sector shut down in the same way.
Just something I have noticed.

(2) After hearing from, and reading about a number of RVers who are out there trying to cope with this crisis and find a long term place to stay, I have noticed the following:

* Many seem to be kicked out of /off of Federal and State campgrounds and public lands (such as COE parks) where they thought they were best complying with stay-in-place orders. So now they are no longer in secluded, often remote, and usually widely separated campsites and instead forced into private RV parks (usually much more costly with sites much closer together) OR forced to travel around trying to find a place to park each night.

* Many RVers have hit the road in order to go home (if they have a physical house) or to return to Canada before the border might be shut. This has led to:
> Some private campgrounds in Florida emptying out earlier than usual as many snowbirds have left. While all State parks and campgrounds are closed, it seems most private ones are still open and have space. The problem is the weather – As we head into summer in a few months it will get VERY warm in Florida so most hope they do not have to long term it there for too long.
> Many travelers are now on the road –
# usually with very positive results. Traffic is lighter than usual, all gas stations are open, and the price of gas is the lowest since the 1980s. (except California where it is still well over $3/gal)
# But on the downside – most restaurants closed. Many rest stops are closed along major highways, Most Fed, State and Local campgrounds closed. So many seem to be overnighting at Walmart. We have always found this to be a great option for us when trying to cover distances and just need a quick “one night stand” (Thanks Walmart!). But for those full timers without a destination this is not a good situation at all.

(3) Total lack of understanding of the RV lifestyle, or compassion for RVers by public officials. As seen on this site , some RVers have been kicked off public lands and simply told to “go home”. Many, many public lands have been shut to camping, even though (especially for boondockers) these lands offer the best opportunities to self-isolate and to stay-in-place. In some areas local officials have even ordered private RV parks to shut down or operate at 50% capacity.

What should be done instead is for public officials to:
> Open up campgrounds in order to provide to those who are traveling a safe place to stay put and be self-quarantined.
> Extend allowable stays (beyond the usual 2 week limit) in their parks to help support quarantine periods to help keep more people isolated and not moving around.
> Utilize some of the available open spaces – such as parking lots and fields – and permit RVers (who are so equipped) to boondock there, also with extended stays.
> Enlist those camping to voluntarily assist in maintenance of their camping area through trash collection and basic road and site maintenance. The purpose of this is to allow campers who benefit from these rule changes to demonstrate and acknowledge their appreciation as well as take over some of the work that park personnel would have to do, relieving limited personnel of some workload. In some posts some RVers have already volunteered to help clean bathhouses in these parks as well if they are allowed extended stays during this crisis.

This situation has led to some very good public relations efforts by groups such as Escapees and RVIA to begin campaigning to many government bodies about the RV lifestyle and how important public lands are to all of us. But they need our help to write letters / emails to the many hundreds of government agencies to let them know how they can better support the RVing community.

Alvin
4 months ago
Reply to  Richard Hubert

Beautifully written Richard, and yes -THANK YOU WALMART – a beacon of light for many.

Gray
4 months ago

Unknown and unreported: community newspapers are being hard hit and many may not survive. Here on our island, the local newspaper posted on its online website that advertising has totally shut down, cutting their revenue stream. They were forced to make drastic cuts and cutbacks. If they close down, we will lose the ONLY source of local news, affecting 70,000 residents and many more who live off-island but subscribe to keep in touch with hometown events. Also affected: the news of record. If print newspapers are lost, we lose a priceless historical record for future generations. The cyber world is no more permanent than scribbles in the sand; link rot is a fact of life.

Also sad: four days ago two cases of covid-19 were reported at an island nursing home. Today’s report has increased to over 40 cases.

Official reports from county and city websites are very sparse and are slowly updated. It is difficult to get a daily, comprehensive overview of the situation as it develops. County health and EMS (two islands) officials report 80 cases. We believe the actual total, including untested and unreported cases, is likely much higher, perhaps 10x greater.

I’m almost 80; wife is two years younger. We’re in the high-risk group. We hunker down indoors, track our essential supplies and replenish as necessary, and make only two outings per week to the post office and grocery store, wearing disposable gloves. The RV truck camper is fully fueled and stocked, just in case of vital utility failures (water, power, sewer) and we can boon-dock almost indefinitely on the parking pad with solar power and composting toilet and food and water reserves, staying warm and fed. Even surrounded by known and unknown CV-19 cases, it’s possible to stay safe.

Be careful and stay informed; trust the medical authorities. Avoid political opportunists and their BS. Good luck to all.

Alvin
4 months ago
Reply to  Gray

Good luck to you folks. For others commenting in the future, it would be very helpful/informative if you let the reader in on what island, campsite, or other locale you are referring to in your note

Gray
4 months ago
Reply to  Alvin

Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, WA; Island County comprises both Whidbey & Camano Island. One rural hospital in Coupeville (Whidbey Island) that has struggled for years to stay solvent, as federal reimbursement for Medicare/Medicaid discriminates with lower payments to rural hospitals. We have about 70,000 people on Whidbey, and Whidbey General Hospital reports having six ventilators, with a few more (maybe) on tap. Some 700 rural hospitals in the U.S. are reported on the verge of closure. Not very reassuring, but that’s the way it is with the U.S. healthcare system.

Heather Macdonald
4 months ago

Chuck! Hello from Heather and Roger in Nevada County, CA. For a place to stay “for free or almost free” watch our old dvds on RV Camping you used to sell. lol. Seriously, why not BLM, Quartzite or the Anza Borrego. I loved it there. The BLM land near Valley of Fire is nice too since the park is probably closed. But maybe the BLM will close? We wanted to sell this summer and be full-timers, but now who knows? Take care and stay away from California. As soon as Trump opens our county because the virus count is very small here, the city people will all be up here. I am continually telling our residents to stay home! So many don’t think it is “real.”

cee
4 months ago

I am very sorry to hear your neighbor passed due to the virus and am praying for your friend. Stay safe.

Katalin Heymann
4 months ago

There is 1 RV spot on private land in Yucca, AZ. It has water, electricity & a washer/dryer building. The owner is particular to who she is willing to rent to because she wants to keep the property quiet.

Gregory Brott
4 months ago

Chuck and Gail, thank you for all you do….stay safe and healthy my friends!

PennyPA
4 months ago

Don’t roam; stay home!

Ival Secrest
4 months ago

Wouldn’t closing an RV Park due to the pandemic be the same as an eviction. My understanding is that the Governor of Arizona has banned evictions until July.

Marybeth Almand
4 months ago

I guess the powers that shut down state parks, forest service and COE campgrounds just don’t realize the severity of a problem they have put RVers, especially full timers in. They could have easily locked facilities and kept the spots open. There’s not much of a need for supervision beyond what is normal by camp hosts. RVers social distance by design. Volunteers at some state parks are able to stay in exchange for work that is different from their normal duties. It’s a win win for the park(s) system and the volunteers who are able to stay off the roads.

Marybeth,
A volunteer.

Alvin
4 months ago

Marybeth, I believe one of the reasons these facilities have shuttered is because past history tells them that not all campers are cut from the same bolt of clothe as you folks. Some arrive consume the place, and leave the tailings for someone else to come along and clean up.
With parks personal being laid off ,and whatnot there simply may not be someone there to babysit, and the place eventually would totally fall apart.

I suspect this scenario is largely responsible for the reason these places are being shut down – I can’t think of another reason, the safest places to camp, where folks have room to breathe are closing.

Greg Jones
4 months ago

Chuck, my condolences as well. Very well stated, please stay safe.

David Hagen
4 months ago

Chuck, I have been wondering where we (RV’ers ) would go if the parks in Arizona are shut down. But I guess if RV’s used by the homeless can be parked on the streets of major cities, then we can do it too. The Phoenix metro area park we are in has the gates closed so one must have a code to get in. I guess that makes us pretty isolated. We still have street parties and pot-lucks despite the stay-at-home rules.

cee
4 months ago
Reply to  David Hagen

What part of social distancing to flatten the curve do you not understand? If you don’t care about your own safety, please think of those with underlying conditions. Don’t be selfish. Your street parties and pot-lucks are not worth loss of life… what if it’s your life?

Pishka888
4 months ago
Reply to  David Hagen

That is not isolating or distancing. Everyone touches utensils. Not very smart. Actually real stupid!!