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April 22, 2023
Free, abbreviated edition
Is KOA abandoning RVers in favor of glampers?
By Chuck Woodbury
What’s good for business is not necessarily good for consumers. Or RVers.
For example, selling a ton of hamburgers is good for McDonald’s, but for its customers, a steady diet could lead to obesity and heart disease. A Double Quarter Pounder Cheeseburger with 740 calories has 42 grams of fat (more than half of a suggested daily allowance), including 20 grams of saturated fat, and 1,360 milligrams of sodium. And yet, McDonald’s sells these all day long, fattening up America and the world.
So, you might ask, what do hamburgers have to do with RVing?
Well, it’s my way of clarifying up front that I understand that not every product or service sold on the planet is good for us. Coca Cola isn’t exactly a health food.
So now we come to KOA, Kampgrounds of America, once referred to as the Motel 6 of campgrounds when its parks were less expensive. I am here today to suggest that KOA is no longer focused on serving RVers. Today, it’s about “glamping,” offering non-RVers stays in luxury cabins, designer tents, yurts, tee-pees, railroad cabooses, covered wagons and other profitable “glamping facilities.” Other RV parks are doing the same, but KOA is the best known.
This summer, an RV site at any KOA close to a popular national park or other tourist attraction may cost you $100, $150 or more a night — that is if you are lucky enough to find an available space. For example, a two-day weekday stay in my 32-foot motorhome at the KOA in West Glacier, Montana, for a full-hookup Super Site “with grass” goes for $199.70 a night. It would be higher on weekends.
But good luck getting a reservation. Most of the popular KOAs are already booked solid this summer.
So now here comes KOA with a proposal to turn its campground in New York’s Adirondacks into another Terramor Glampground (its first is in Bar Harbor, Maine), which will include 80 luxury tents, a lodge, swimming pool, event pavilion and employee housing. How about RV sites? None! Zero! RVers stay away!
In case you are interested, a two-night stay in late July in a two-person Bayberry Tent at the Bar Harbor Terramor will cost you $1,058 total ($529 a night).
More RV campsites needed
At a time when there are more RVs than ever vying for increasingly limited places to stay, KOA’s priority, I suggest, is maximizing profits at the expense of serving you and me the best it can. There is more money to earn in a glampground. Now, if I place my businessman’s hat securely upon my head, I understand. But as an RVer, I don’t like it a single bit.
RV Service Centers and Repairs Report
Camping World claims slideouts have gaps for ‘airflow’ when extended
This week Nanci Dixon again summarizes some of your emails and comments regarding RV service centers and repairs, including several more extremely disgruntled Camping World customers. But there are some happy RVers with rave reviews about their service centers and technicians (with links). Read this week’s unbelievable horror stories, a couple of tips, and some good reports.
Why storing your RV outside can be a bad idea
By Dave Solberg
Every year hundreds of thousands of RV owners all across the country need to store their RVs. Whether it is due to harsh winter conditions or because work and school activities limit the time we can “recreate,” RVers must find the best method to put their unit into hibernation. Trying to find a nice, heated, indoor facility can be difficult and very expensive. So most of us are forced to store our RVs outside, which is not always a good idea and can create some very expensive issues. Learn why here.
Egg-sized hail hits RV, breaks through skylights, vent covers. Be warned!
By Gail Marsh
You don’t need to be a weather broadcaster to know that 2023’s late winter weather has been active! Here in Missouri, we’ve escaped some of the worst storms and tornadoes that have plagued our sister states in the Midwest, like Tennessee and Arkansas. Well, our luck ran out this past Saturday. That’s when a hail of a storm hit our little town 25 miles southwest of St. Louis. Continue reading about the damage Gail’s RV and truck sustained.
Letter to the editor: Nothing to love about staying at Love’s
Reader Matt D. sent us this message this week in response to our recent story about Love’s travel stops. By the end of this year, Love’s plans to add 30 locations to their travel stop “RV parks” with an additional 1,000 RV-dedicated sites. Read what Matt wrote about his awful experiences.
Weird RV Dept.
This may not be the best exterior design for an RV’s resale value. This motorhome was spotted in Stuttgart, Germany.
Around the Campfire
All the stuff they don’t tell new RVers they need!
By Gail Marsh
We were the last to arrive at the campfire because we were trying to help a newbie RVer set up. … The RV dealership gifted Lois with a “Welcome Bucket.” The salesman assured this new-to-RVing gal that it contained everything for a weekend of camping. While the gift bucket held many items, some necessities were obviously missing. Here’s the thing when you’re new to RVing (or new to anything): You don’t know what you don’t know. Continue reading, then chime in with a comment if you think anything was missed.
Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter
- An easy trick that’ll make RV dumping a lot more sanitary
- Triple towing: Is it legal? Is it safe? Should you do it?
- Tips to keep you out of trouble when boondocking on public lands
- Important tow vehicle tip for first aid while traveling
- Is your motorhome ready for an emergency? Follow these steps to make sure
New Facebook group: Camping World Reviews. Comments about your good and bad experiences welcome.
Duck pond mistaken for hot spring; hilarity ensues
By Nanci Dixon
I love quirky RV spots and had never actually been in a hot spring before, so after reading a number of reviews for El Dorado Hot Springs that ranged from “kitschy” to “rustic,” we decided to try it. After all, we had our choice of a private hot spring or the not-so-modest public nude one. I chose private. That they rented by the hour should have rung at least a few warning bells, but it didn’t. The Hot Spring sign should have been an additional warning [snicker]… Check this out.
10 gold and silver mines you can visit during your RV travels
By Randall Brink
Discover the adventurous spirit of the Old West and experience the historical vestiges of gold and silver mines that you can visit during your RV travels. These sites offer a unique insight into the mining history, the lives of the miners, and the challenges they faced. Fun for all ages, these historic mine tours should not be missed. [Panning for gold, anyone?]
Does picturesque Civil War-era Fort Macomb, LA, look familiar?
In this month’s edition of ghost town trails, Dave Helgeson takes us to Fort Macomb, an abandoned Civil War-era fort in Louisiana. It is a beautiful location with an interesting history. Even if you’ve never been there, it may look familiar to you. Does it?
Articles about what types of RVs interest you the most?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment.
POPULAR POLL FROM THIS PAST WEEK
We asked: How many people can comfortably dine at your RV’s dinette? Do you think most people said one or two? Or do you think they said three or four? Find out here.
40% of readers married their high school sweetheart. Does RVing keep couples together?
By Gail Marsh
Love is in the air. At least that’s how I felt after reading the results of a recent RVtravel.com poll along with the wonderful comments. Ah, the joy of love! Our poll asked, “Did you marry your high school sweetheart?” The results were both surprising and heartwarming. Read them here.
Reader inspires fun travel game while driving and exploring. Try it!
By Cheri Sicard
When I was compiling the articles on our readers’ favorite hobbies, I discovered that one of our readers has a highly unusual hobby that also makes a terrific travel game that the entire family can enjoy! I was so intrigued by Janis Blevins and her art, I wanted to do a separate piece about it because: Janis creates beautiful photographic art that’s inspiring to look at, and finding the subjects for that art is a fun travel game for children and adults alike that can be played virtually anywhere in the world. Read about this unusual hobby. You might want to try it!
Painted ‘kindness rocks’ inspire others, but are they legal?
By Gail Marsh
I glanced down, then did a double take. What is that? I wondered. Using the toe of my hiking boot, I pushed some leaves away until I could clearly see it—a small rock. Not just any rock. I’d found a kindness rock. Learn about them here.
Is this your RV?
Win a $25 Amazon gift certificate if today’s RV photo shows your rig
Click here to see if your RV made it into today’s issue.
After a lot of thought, we’ve decided to end this contest for good (we know, we just brought it back) at the end of this month. Unfortunately, despite your positive comments and encouragement, it does not get the interest we’d need to generate to continue this feature. Thank you to all those who submitted. We’ll be coming up with a new contest soon, so please stay tuned.
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook”.
This past week’s questions that Dave answered:
- When plugging in your RV at home, should you unplug shore power while using charger?
- Should Schwintek slide mechanism be replaced with the Vroom?
- My RV has major delamination. Where can I find DIY repair information?
- We installed Dish Network, but now we have no over-the-air stations. Why?
- How can I add shoulder harness seat belts to my Class C’s dinette seat?
Click here to see more questions for Dave.
Have a question for Dave? Click any Ask Dave article and scroll down to fill out the form. He’ll get back to you!
?? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??
You ever make hot dogs? Burgers? BBQ chicken? Grilled veggies? Salmon? Shrimp skewers? Good, we do too. We love all those things! We all need this!
Road Trip Playlists
Jam out with these 10 road songs for lovers
By Cheri Sicard
Welcome to the latest installment of Road Trip Playlists. This week we are going to musically explore the topic of love on our road songs for lovers playlist. The road has historically been the setting for many love songs. Traveling to love. Getting away from love. And everything in between.
Dr. Karel’s Krazy Kritter Korner
Marathon-supporting Retrievers, an unexpected cruise ship passenger, and popular pup names
This week our favorite veterinarian, Karel Carnohan, DVM, reports on 250 Golden Retrievers honoring one specific Retriever, Spencer, who supported runners in the Boston Marathon for many years. Also, there’s a cute story about an owl who who who (sorry) hitched a ride on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship for a couple of weeks. There’s a list of the most popular girl dog names in 2023, and tips to choose a name for your new dog. Also, there’s an important warning about why you should never leave pets in vehicles in the heat.
RV Tire Safety
Why do tires fail? Our tire expert explains
Our very knowledgeable tire expert Roger Marble explains all about what technically causes tire failures (no, it’s not necessarily the country of origin), and how to avoid them.
Read this important information
Ask Roger anything about RV tires on his RV Tires Forum.
Did you miss yesterday’s Latest News for RVers?
If so, stories you missed:
• Why aren’t there more RV parks? Good luck getting a new one approved!
• Hydrogen-powered RV concept—A zero-emission camper with a reasonable range
• Ford F-150 Lightning electric trucks catch fire in video
• Proposed changes mean California State Park campsites could be easier to reserve
• Awesome entry-level Class A—Tour the 2022 Forest River FR3 30DS
• Man loses part of leg in alligator attack at RV park
• Spend the night camping in a can of beans. No kidney… er… kidding!
… and much more
NEW! RV Recipe Challenge
Yummy, easy Chicken Curry with Green Beans
By Cheri Sicard
Welcome to this week’s RV Recipe Improv Challenge, where I take three random ingredients suggested by an RVtravel.com reader and turn them into a delicious, small-space-friendly recipe. This week we will make Chicken Curry with Green Beans, an easy recipe to prepare for a satisfying, somewhat exotic entrée.
Yummy is right! Get the recipe here
A “cool tool” indeed: The Magnetizer/Demagnetizer
This gadget, recommended by Dave Solberg and Dustin Simpson, instantly magnetizes or demagnetizes steel tools and other small parts. You can convert any tool blade to a magnetic retriever of things like screws, nuts, and metallic particles. No batteries or electricity required. Never lose a screw again! Read more about it here, or buy one for yourself here.
Recipe of the Day
Spring Hill Ranch’s Southwestern Shredded Beef
by Wiley P. from Sierra Vista, AZ
Full of Southwest flavors and spices, this shredded beef recipe is so good – and easy! The beef becomes so tender it melts in your mouth. There are so many ways to enjoy this slow-cooked beef… enchiladas, nachos, tacos, quesadillas, as a sandwich, etc. The best part about this shredded beef is the aroma of Southwest flavors that fill your kitchen while it’s in the slow cooker.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Belvedere, our Mini Labradoodle, loves to camp! Every time we walk by our unit (stored in the driveway) he stops at the door and looks at us like, “Can we go? Are we going today? Please, can we go?” He is a great traveler and an even better little camper. Always the gentleman.” —CK Graham
Don’t let your cow drink out of a water fountain on Main Street in Salt Lake City. You may end up in the slammer (we doubt it!). A blue law makes it a misdemeanor for any person to let his horse or cow drink from a public water fountain.
Universal lid fits all your pots and pans!
This incredibly handy universal pot and pan lid will fit [almost] every pot and pan in your RV kitchen! Works with fry pans, pots, saucepans, skillets, stockpots, woks, cast iron pans and more! Eliminate kitchen cabinet clutter with this multipurpose, compact lid. Don’t you wish you had known about this sooner? Learn more or order.
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
RVtravel.com All Star Team
Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Associate editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris. Senior writers: Nanci Dixon, Gail Marsh, Dave Solberg. Contributors: Roger Marble, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, J.R. Montigel, Randall Brink, Karel Carnohan DVM, Cheri Sicard, Dustin and Ashley Simpson, Dale Wade, Paul Lacitinola and Jeff Clemishaw. Special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. Special Reports: Bradford Geer. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen. Artificial (AI) contributors: Johnny Robot and Milly MacWilly. Canine Mascots: Archie and Astor “the Disaster”
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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Central City, Colorado
Central City, Colorado – Wikipedia
Is, or was 50 years ago when operated by College students, a historic Mining town that catered to people like Doc Holiday who went there for his health reasons. They have a mine that produced multiple minerals like Gold, Silver and Copper. You can even find The Teller House, with the painting The Face on the Barroom Floor by Herndon Davis. This is Not a place I would recommend trying to bring a large RV because the road hugs the hillside, and it is a long way down on the other. One of those places that If you like the experience of what the scenery was like in the gold rush days take a small car and camera. You won’t regret it.
Sign of the times: “I want it all, and I want it now!”
When we first started camping, we frequented private CGs , with family-friendly rules (which were actually enforced) and activities created by campers: low cost options like lawn games, lawn chair movies, local musicians, etc. Itinerant ministers even provided Sunday worship on the lawn. A stream in which to float, wade or fish was extra nice.
Fewer private owners are able to (or desire to) compete with the needy requirements of today’s RVers: work-from-home quality wifi, free cable, Olympic-sized pools, paved everything, and as few rules as possible; and preferably all of this will sit within walking distance of a large body of water, wineries, and shopping AND everyone will have a golf cart.
When corporations buy private CGs, expect greed to follow (and some private owners do the same). But you can’t blame them. They are simply responding to market demand.
That’s just not my market.
KOA has nothing to do with camping…
We chose not to go to a KOA, many were old and broken. Not surprised they are going with the higher end kind of camping, many are and raising the cost. We were in park (not KOA) in TX and raised lot site $100 per month more, for nothing. They only had laundry, which I have. We usually don’t use the amenities but maybe WiFi, so I don’t like paying extra for things I don’t intend to use.
As for hail hitting your RV, in 2016 we were hit with a hail storm in TX. What a mess, it was so bad we ended up having to redo our Montana’s roof. Our friends ( older couple) got hit on their smaller RV, she ended up with bruises all over from hail going through her vents and sunroof. We put a cover to help protect our vents but nothing for sunroof in shower. Those storms are brutal.
My wife and I stopped using KOA when our kids got older. We didn’t need all the amenities like mini golf, swimming pools, playgrounds etc. If you like and want all those, expect to pay for them.