Here are your RV news highlights for the week of August 3–9, 2019.
Heading to Arizona’s Kaibab National Forest for some camping at the popular Ten-X Campground? Hold onto your hats – and wallets – the Forest Service wants to jack your rates a little – just 140 percent. While rates now are set at $10 per night for dry camping, if the proposal goes through you’ll pay $24 per night to camp in the jewel near the Grand Canyon. The Service says it hasn’t jumped rates there in 25 years, and needs the money to keep up with maintenance, hire more helpers and possibly expand the site.
A Camping World dealership in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, has been plagued with burglaries for several months. Televisions from rigs, batteries, tools, parts – even three RVs have vanished from the site. Service customers complained their RVs were hit by the bandits. A mechanic at the shop said his tools were stolen. It seems the “rat smells the cheese” – Ronald Park, the mechanic, has been arrested and charged with crimes after he confessed he himself was responsible for “90 percent of the thefts.” At the moment Park is charged with four counts of grand larceny – and one for filing a false police report.
If you come alongside an 18-wheeler on a road trip, don’t be surprised to see a dog or cat in the cab with the driver – just no alligators. Trucking firm Roadmaster has joined many other over-the-road companies that allow drivers to take their pets with them in company trucks. The thinking is, it helps both recruitment and retention. The company says it figures they’d lose about 10 percent of their drivers if they ruled out a pet-friendly work environment. But, no, they did turn down the driver who wanted to bring his alligator. Leapin’ lizards!
A family camping on Arizona’s Mount Graham got a closer look at nature than they probably wanted after a harrowing event involving a bobcat. Last Sunday, the unnamed family’s 4-year-old girl went behind the family tent and started screaming. When family members responded they found a bobcat had her by the head. When they tried to help, the big cat turned on them as well. Officials believe the critter is infected with rabies and are trying to track it down. Meantime, Snow Flat and Shannon Campgrounds are closed. All family members received rabies vaccines.
An unexpected meet-up in Florida may have saved the lives of an RVing couple last Monday. Bill Hancock and his wife were rolling down a Jacksonville, Florida, street in their motorhome when passing motorist Stephen Presutti flagged them down, warning them the rear of their rig was ablaze. Hancock pulled the motorhome over, while Presutti and his business partner ran to grab a resident’s garden hose. But a nearby hive of bees was having nothing of that, and both Presutti and his partner were stung. They called 9-1-1 and helped Hancock unhitch his toad car just seconds before sheets of flame boiled skyward.
What do you do when you and the RV are stranded in Kodiak, Alaska, by a ferry strike? Get out the paint brush! That’s the story for Anacortes, Washington, couple David and Joanne Witiak. They arrived at Kodiak on July 17, but when it came time to take the ferry back, a ferry union workers’ strike tied up their boat. David, a Russian Orthodox church member, volunteered to paint the local cathedral, and hoped to have the paint drying in time to catch the next ferry out of Kodiak, as the strike ended August 2.
More details have emerged regarding the case of the motorhome driver who was shot after allegedly being caught dumping his sewage on a street near Olympia, Washington. A neighbor woman who police say was on “High alert for drug activity and for the people who had dumped septic waste on her street,” texted Richard F. DeForge about a “suspicious vehicle.” DeForge responded riding his powered scooter, while the motorhome driver tried to get away. DeForge chased after it, reportedly shooting at a rear tire, then at the back of the rig. The driver was sent to the hospital with a head wound, but it’s not clear whether he was hit with a bullet, by shrapnel, or something else. Regardless, said the judge, DeForge was charged with second degree assault. He was released, but ordered to turn over his firearms and not harass the motorhome driver.
FMCA, an RV club struggling to grow after years of decline, has partnered with Togo on a mobile app for RVers “designed to simplify RV ownership.” According to a press release, the customized app will include the best attributes of the Togo RV product along with FMCA-specific features to give members ready access to benefit information and other resources. Togo is a joint venture of Thor Industries and Tourism Holdings, Ltd. (thl), a large RV rental and sales operator.
A Missoula, Mont., Walmart was under lockdown Friday after a customer called police reporting gunfire. The gunshots turned out to be backfiring of a vehicle in the parking lot.
Are you “occupying” an RV in Bellevue, Idaho? City fathers don’t want any squirming around with words. A newly passed ordinance defines occupying as, “Eating, sleeping, living, cooking or other use of the unit for human habitation.” Now the city limits those naughty habits to just 21 consecutive days. But just to ensure you don’t occupy your RV for 21 days, then move out for a day and then come back for another three weeks, council members asked their attorney to write up new language that will remove the wiggle-room.
Young Ethan Perez of Pearland, Texas, is fighting leukemia, and to let him get out and about, and still limit exposure to bugs, his family recently bought a travel trailer to meet his needs. Before they could get the rig insured, a man and a woman with a U-haul truck absconded with the rig. Local media publicized the theft, and the next morning the unit was spotted by a man who followed the trailer, reporting its whereabouts. Police were able to get the trailer back, albeit with a broken window, missing TV and trashed interior. Nevertheless, Ethan’s family is ecstatic and rolling up their sleeves to get the rig ready for Ethan’s next trip.
Lighthouse fanciers alert: The Coast Guard says it no longer needs the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse near Jupiter, Florida. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the lighthouse has now been turned over to the Bureau of Land Management, along with its 16-acre grounds, residences and buildings. Will the BLM make the Jupiter light a tourable attraction? The agency is presently considering its options. Meanwhile, Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum will continue operations for tourists.
A 6-year-old girl died Tuesday evening after being injured in a vehicle fire earlier that day in a Walmart parking lot in Fridley, Minnesota, authorities said Wednesday. Her older sister was burned and was in critical condition. They accused a 70-year-old California man with sparking the fire by placing a hot cook stove in the back of his adjacent van as he camped in the parking lot. The fire spread to a nearby van where the girls were waiting while their mother shopped.
More than 240 properties, including residential homes, RV parks, mobile home parks and recreational campsites, remain under an evacuation alert in British Columbia due to the out-of-control Eagle Bluff fire south of Okanagan Falls in southern British Columbia. The cause of the blaze is under investigation. The wildfire danger rating in B.C. has climbed significantly since the weekend, with ratings of high to extreme posted across parts of the lower quarter of the province, much of southern Vancouver Island and the northwest. The B.C. Wildfire Service is urging campers to be more careful after fire officials had to extinguish 32 abandoned campfires over the weekend in the Kamloops area. Source: calgaryherald.com
A Springfield, Missouri, man who is the world’s longest surviving kidney dialysis patient hasn’t let his health problem slow him down. Diagnosed with kidney failure 40 years ago, Tim Atkins said the early days were tough, he was just a teen at the time. After marriage, his wife convinced him to try home dialysis, and that worked out. Next move? Install a dialysis machine in the family RV, allowing Atkins to travel by motorhome.