That was the RV week that was, July 13–19, 2019

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Here are your RV news highlights for the week of July 13–19, 2019.

Retail sales of towable RVs are streaming downhill, according to number crunching firm Statistical Surveys, Inc. Registrations of towable RVs slid nearly 7 percent January through May, compared to the same time in 2018. Leading the lemming-like stampede, pop-ups deflated 11 percent, fifth wheels lost nearly 9 percent, park models were down almost 8 percent, and travel trailers followed, losing more than 6 percent in sales.


Another Marcus Lemonis company is in trouble over a flag raising. This time, officials with the city of Reno, Nevada, say Sierra RV – a subsidiary of Gander RV – has raised a giant 40′ x 80′ flag over the local dealership. The size of the flag isn’t the problem – it’s the flag pole, for which city officials say Sierra RV never received a building permit. Concerned with safety, code enforcement officers dropped by last Tuesday and informed management they’d need to pull a permit, then pass an inspection. The dealership’s manager confirmed the visit to local media, and said he’ll offer every cooperation to see to it the flag pole meets compliance.

California appears to be coming close to banning the sale and use of a number of RV holding tank chemicals. Senate Bill 317 specifically bans formaldehyde, as well as bronopol, dowicil, formalin, glutaraldehyde, paraformaldehyde, para-dichlorobenzene, benzene, toluene, xylene, ethylene glycol, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, trichloroethylene, or perchloroethylene. The bill has already unanimously passed the Senate and appears to have support in the Assembly. If it becomes law, the prohibitions would become effective in 2021. Similar bills brought up earlier had faced stiff opposition from both the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association and by RV chemical seller, Thetford. The former has dropped its opposition to the legislation, with the stipulation a year elapses from passage until sales and use must stop.

Click to enlarge. firststateupdate.com photo.

Newark, Delaware, has a distinct feature for which RVers should be on the lookout. Casho Mill Road, which intersects Highway 273 near the Delaware/Maryland border, hosts a rather low-hung railway bridge. Locals have dubbed the feature “Smasho Mill Bridge,” with good reason. A truck with New York plates pulling an RV befell the lure of “Smasho,” clogging up traffic last Sunday. Not only is there a low-vehicle detection and warning system present, but also brilliant yellow warning signs on the bridge mention the vertical clearance: 8’7″.

Human trafficking involving trucks affects 25 million people, says the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking. Hitting back, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has filed a new rule that will permanently ban CDL holders if convicted of human trafficking. By their definition, this includes the use of force to obtain labor or a commercial sex act.

Planning on a little California camping outside a campground or picnic area? You’ll need a California Campfire Permit to build a campfire or use a barbecue or a portable stove whenever you’re on federally controlled lands, or on private lands owned by someone other than yourself. There’s no charge for the permit, and you can apply for one online HERE. There’s more to it than just having the permit in hand, you’ll also need to know (and follow) fire restrictions in place at any given time. Calling 530-233-5811 will give you current fire-safety restrictions.

Kia Motors’ Carnival. (From Kia Motors)

South Korea saw sales of recreational vehicles hit 300,000 units in the first half of 2019. According to five major carmakers in South Korea, a total of 303,315 RVs were sold from January to June. This accounted for 48.4 percent of total sales of cars. Ah, but there’s a catch. “RVs” in South Korea refer to large-sized vehicles with spacious interiors and trunks, suitable for both commuting and traveling. Hyundai Motor’s Starex and Santa Fe and Kia Motors’ Carnival and Sorento are representative “RV” models there. Source: KoreaHerald.com.

Some California counties are reporting an upsurge in the number of “homeless” people living in vehicles, including RVs. Santa Clara reports a jump of homeless folks living in rigs up from 8 percent to 18 percent of the total of homeless people in the county over the last two years. Next door neighbor San Mateo County says its numbers are even bigger: Over the same two-year period, the number of people living on the streets in RVs jumped a whopping 127 percent. But San Mateo officials say it isn’t just “homeless” folks living in RVs – a number of RV street dwellers are employed in the county but can’t afford traditional housing.

Bud’s Security Storage in Delores, Colorado, proved to be a bit insecure for an RVing couple. Janie and Bud Rosamond laid out plans for a five-week RV trip with their travel trailer, which they’d stored at Bud’s. A few days before the trip, you guessed it, somebody whacked the lock away from the main gate, then pulled another gate in front of the Rosamond’s trailer right off the hinges. Away went the trailer, and the Rosamond’s dreams. If you spot the 26-foot North Trail fiberglass rig, contact the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office at 970-565-8452.

Officials in The Dalles, Oregon, are trying out a new method to encourage locals not to “store” their RVs on city streets. Police are now equipped with notices in the form of lime green stickers, which they’ll put on RVs found parked on streets. The notice will inform the owner that they have 24 hours to move the offending RV or face impoundment. It does appear the green stickers may be a double-edged sword: If the owner decides to abandon the rig, the city will have to pay to have the RV scrapped – a $2,500-per-rig cost.

Click to enlarge. Photo: brick-fabrik.de

Listen up, you old hippies (or hippie wannabes). A couple of guys from Germany can take you on a trip – back in time. Rene Hoffmeister and Pascal Lenhard have completed a full-scale Lego VW hippie van. OK, a VW Type 2. Complete with see-through windows, headlights that light, and a sliding door that even sounds right when you close it, the two completed the over-the-top feat with 400,000 Lego blocks. Here’s a full write-up for more info.

Trucker’s haven and RV fuel stop Pilot/Flying J will have a bigger presence in West Texas. The firm says it will open six new travel centers in the busy Permian Basin. The half-dozen addition will bring the big gasser’s fuel stop locations to 92 in the Lone Star State.

Photo: Gage Skidmore on flickr.com

If you picture actor Jeff Goldblum, you may recall him from Jurassic Park or maybe Independence Day. Now picture Goldblum witnessing motorhomes racing around a track demolishing one another. That was the surprise that many of Goldblum’s fans had when the actor showed up at California’s Stanislaus County Fairgrounds to observe a “Destruction Derby” last Tuesday. For Goldblum, it wasn’t just play. He’s currently planning a segment for a series he’s developing for the National Geographic TV channel called “The Curiosity of Jeff Goldblum.” The series examines ordinary things from a science perspective. Look for the series in November.

Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, law enforcement officers finally got their suspect to surrender. Police spotted Robert Scott making an illegal turn in his car and tried to pull him over. Scott was having nothing to do with it, and led police on a merry chase back to his residence, where he bailed out of the car and holed up in a motorhome. Fearing Scott was armed, officers surrounded the motorhome with weapons at the ready. Scott did respond to his cell phone, and told the calling police that he was on his way to a fast food joint when he noticed he’d forgotten his wallet, hence, the quick turn that lead to the whole standoff. Police brokered a deal: Come out of the motorhome, they’d take him to a restaurant for his burger and Coke. After chowing down and chatting, Scott agreed to take another ride – to jail – where, presumably, fast food is not the order of the day.

Photo of “Noah the Brave” courtesy Tanasha Alderson

We told you about 4-year-old “Noah (Alderson) the Brave” last week, who was born with four congenital heart defects and who needed RV transportation from Spokane, Washington, to Boston, for lifesaving surgery. Due to severe travel limitations, his parents needed to find an RV, or funds to rent one, to transport Noah to Boston. A good Samaritan shared a link to their GoFundMe page on the Outdoorsy RV Owners page on Facebook, and the group came to the rescue. Sebastian Bularz, of Seattle RV Adventures, went out and purchased a brand-new Class C RV for its fleet, specifically earmarked for the family. Then the CEO of Outdoorsy, an Austin-based startup that operates as “The Airbnb of RVs,” promised the Alderson family that the company will cover the cost of the RV rental rate, plus mileage costs, the cost of campgrounds, gas and insurance – plus, a hotel room close to Boston Children’s Hospital for the duration of the family’s stay in Boston (which could be up to a few weeks). Noah’s journey will start August 1, with his surgery currently scheduled for August 19, 2019. Read the full story on Good News Network.

Warner Robins, Georgia, police reported that on Tuesday a local citizen accidentally spilled a gas can when he was preparing to mow his lawn. The man, professing to be a chain smoker, proceeded to light a cigarette, “without thinking” dropped the lit match, and burned down his 2004 Prowler travel trailer. No one was injured.

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Tommy Molnar

I still think (as I have for a long time) that most new RV’s will end up in a storage lot after the first year. When it’s such a PITA to retrieve your RV from the lot, bring it home, load it up, use it, come back, unload it, and take it back to the lot, the shine quickly gets dull and use diminishes. Especially if the owners are ‘back east’ where camping is more of a problem than out west. Just sayin’ . . .

Jeannie

I would move to California except it is horribly over-regulated and over-taxed. I guarantee that the campfire permit won’t be free for long. In CA, you have to have a permit (which is a disguise for a tax) for just about everything. I’m barely kidding when I tell people that you not only have to have a permit to scratch your backside in CA, there is a separate permit for scratching vertically and another one for scratching horizontally.

SJS

“Human trafficking involving trucks affects 25 million people” ??? Oh, C’mon! This sort of lick-spittle noise from government agencies, with no facts to back it up, nor any objective criteria (what, exactly, is meant by `affects’?) is nothing more than a waste of taxpayer dollars.
The only thing worse than making such specious claims is wasting ink in propagating them.

Captn John

Sales declining is a good thing. When down to around 250k as in the recent past it will be a sustainable number. I’ll find sympathy at 109k.
As for the CA articles— well it is CA and no surprises come from there.