Here are your RV news highlights for the week of June 22–28, 2019.
Ever felt your stay in an RV park was spoiled by an unruly, obnoxious, cantankerous camper? If a bill passed by the New York State legislature is approved by the governor, RV park owners in that state will have better methods to move those kinds of problem-children along. The bill allows campground owners to “request a law enforcement officer remove a guest who willfully denies other guests their right to quiet enjoyment of the campground, including: threatening or endangering other guests, possessing illegal drugs, violating state or local laws or violating campground rules and regulations that are posted and part of the occupancy agreement.”
Minnesota may be the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but it may also be the Land of Vanishing RV Parks. Since 2003 more than 300 resorts and 191 private campgrounds have closed up shop permanently. What’s behind the trend? Park owners say keeping up with the demands of more expensive amenities including WiFi and 50-amp electrical service are difficult at best. Some say that even when they are ready to upgrade, tangling with government bureaucracies to obtain the required permits is a nightmare. And as many lakefront park properties have seen exponential growth in land values, some park operators simply opt to sell out and make a nice profit – without the drudgery of caring for guests. Source: wctrib.com.
When alleged “financial improprieties” were discovered at Class-B manufacturer Roadtrek, its potential sale to RV industry giant Thor was snuffed out, forcing the company into Canadian receivership. Now Roadtrek has been taken over by Europe’s Rapido Group. What’s the future for the popular brand? One facility was unshuttered, with 200 workers back to punching the clock. The company doesn’t plan for any re-branding, and at least some of the previously existing product line will start up again. The company wants to reach out to former Roadtrek dealers. But for consumers – what about that popular six-year warranty? Rapido Group says they’ll warranty existing Roadtrek units – but only for two years from original date of sale, and only to a maximum claim of $1,500. And new units? They’ll come with a two-year warranty. Source: RV Business.
Movement of RVs from factories to dealers took a serious hit during May, according to the RV Industry Association. In a May 2019 to May 2018 comparison, here’s the shake-out: Towable RVs nosedived 15 percent. Motorhomes, not hit as badly, saw a nearly 9 percent decline in shipments. The only bright spot for RV manufacturers was in the small Park Model sector, where movement actually increased better than 15 percent. Overall, the year has been a disappointment with manufacturers reporting a decline of more than 22 percent comparing the first five months of 2019 to the same months of 2018.
Cars and pickup trucks are staying around longer. According to IHS Markit, a number crunching firm, the average “light vehicle” on the road is now 11.8 years old. What’s the reason? The overall increase in manufacturing quality and technology are leading factors, says IHS. The average age of a vehicle varies by region. In the Northeast, the average vehicle age is just shy of 10 years; in the West 12.4 years is the norm. But check out Montana – the average light vehicle running the road is 16.6 years old.
People generally associate the name “Porsche” with a speeding blip on the racetrack. Change your vision – what may be the slowest Porsche isn’t a coupe, but a motorhome. If you have enough money, a 1955 Porsche Tempo Mikfa Sport Camper could be yours. An August auction will feature this beast, complete with front-wheel drive, Art-Deco decorating scheme, and a functioning galley with stove and refrigerator, and of course, a bathroom. Sad to say, the original Porsche engine has been replaced with a dual-carburetor VW engine, but the horsepower, about 60, is the same as the original. Here’s a link to the auction site and more information.
Will the China-U.S. trade war affect RVers? We don’t have information specific to recreational vehicles per se, but here are a couple of things that might affect you. In addition to sport shoes, the 25 percent tariffs also affect imports on hats, bikes and camp chairs. Tariffs on outdoor gear have reached $1.5 billion per month. Source: Outdoor Industry Association.
Oakland, California, officials have opened a “Safe RV Lot” to assist homeless RV dwellers. The lot will accommodate 50 RVs, allowing their occupants a six-month stay, and includes full hookups. The goal is to transition users to “more permanent housing solutions.” One woman who’s been parking on Oakland streets for months says she likes the idea, but won’t go with it. She has a child, and all users must be at least 18.
RV dealers attending a Las Vegas convention this November will be able to get first-hand legal defense information from what’s billed as a “Super Lawyers Panel.” The 2019 RV Dealers Convention/Expo will include the two-hour presentation including topics like, “The latest dirty tricks used against dealers in litigation and how to combat them.” Perhaps of greater interest to their customers is the also-included topic, “Techniques for limiting time out of service.”
A 71-year-old Washington state man died tragically on June 21 at Potrero County Park east of San Diego. James Colie, of Federal Way, Washington, had just unhitched his Smart Car from his motorhome when the towed vehicle began to roll backwards. The RVer ran behind the car in attempt to stop it, but was run over and pinned. Other campers failed in their attempt to lift the car off Colie. Investigators say Mr. Colie evidently did not set the Smart Car parking brake before unhitching.
Park Service officials have closed access to Keys View at California’s Joshua Tree National Park out of concern for visitor safety. An abnormally high number of bees are in the area, evidently looking for water. To encourage the bees to pull back from the popular vista, officials have not only removed “bee buckets,” which provide bees a regular source of water, but also closed the area to visitors which removes alternative sources of refreshment of dumped out water bottles and air conditioner condensate. The Service says it plans to reopen the area July 2.
If you have plans to camp at Sioux City, Iowa‘s Ickey Nickel Bar & Grill, well, your plans aren’t worth a plugged nickle. Ickey Nickel’s ownership has closed their campground-out-back after city officials threatened fines, contending the land was not zoned for a campground. It was news to the bar’s owner – he’s offered camping for the six years since he’d bought the establishment, and the previous owner had done the same. The owner and city are trying to work something out to continue the camping, however.
Battle lines have been drawn in Ocean City, Maryland, where RVers living at the White Horse Park are pushing back against county officials. The county lists the park as a seasonal campground subdivision, but for several years, about 50 of the park’s 465 sites have been occupied year-round. The county wants to force residents to live by the rules, but the RVers are working to amend the applicable directives to allow a quarter of the park to be good for year-round use, provided the tenants are 55 years or older.
Campers and campground managers are breathing a collective sigh of relief at Idaho’s Horsethief Reservoir. Three campgrounds, Beaver Tail, Trout Landing, and Horsethief Creek, have been closed for the lack of a campground host. Now after several months of searching, a host has been found and situated, and the campgrounds will be open for the big July 4 holiday.
Some RVers question the quality of RV tires from China, but tire experts often say country-of-origin has little to do with tire quality. Here’s one from the “on the other hand” file: Customs and Border Protection officials in Philadelphia nabbed nearly 4,000 Chinese-made tires, valued at $140,000, earlier this month. They were described as “trailer or mobile home” tires, headed to a dealer in Butler, PA, and seized as they violated federal safety standards.
Firefighters in Fenton, Michigan, made quick work of a spectacular June 20 motorhome fire on U.S. 23. Responders found all the occupants safely out of the rig, but huge flames, accompanied by a black pillar of smoke visible a mile away, made for quite a show. Adding to the heat of the flames, ammunition in the rig increased the hazard level. But in less than a half-hour the highway was reopened to traffic.