January 13–19, 2018
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RV owners who register their motorhomes through a Montana Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) arrangement may be finding some of the luster is tarnishing. New laws recently enacted have tacked on a 3 percent “administrative fee” for all vehicle registrations and renewals. But motorhomes drew particular attention under the new law: An annual $800 fee for motorhomes valued at $300,000 or more. Other “luxury vehicles,” defined as having a value of $150,000 or more, get socked $825. The fees will be collected for the first 10 years of the rig’s life.
Sales of new motorhomes in Canada continue on unabated, based on vehicle registration data for January through November 2017. Class A sales were up more than 18 percent, while Class C sales blasted up 50 percent, all in comparison to the same period of 2016. Source: Statistical Surveys Inc.
While sales for all types of motorhomes are stellar in Canada, the same isn’t true for U.S. manufacturers. Reflecting on sales of new motorhomes in the U.S. from January through November of 2017, industry watcher Statistical Surveys Inc. reports Class A sales rose a miserly 0.1 percent. For the same period, Class C sales rose nearly 21 percent, giving the combined market a push of close to 11 percent.
Space at public campgrounds in South Florida is getting harder and harder to find, according to an article on sun-sentinel.com. The story says that there are about a dozen such camps, and some are booked up a year in advance. With the cold Northern winters blasting snow and ice, Florida winters are a big hit for travelers. Looking to stay on in the Sunshine State in February? You’d best already be there – and locked into a site. Read more.
California’s recent experiences with fire and rain – resulting in mass mudflows – mean RVers planning travel to the Santa Barbara County area should do plenty of advance checking. At press time, Highway 101 was closed from the Ventura/Santa Barbara county line clear to South Milpas Street in Santa Barbara, and will remain so indefinitely. Many popular attractions have been hit hard, including the Ventura Botanical Garden. Fire burned through much of the attraction, and its website now advises: “GARDENS & TRAILS CLOSED FOR REPAIR. No Trespassing Allowed.”
Nine of twelve members of the National Park System Advisory Board have resigned their positions, citing the refusal of Interior Secretary Ron Zinke to meet with the board and his disinterest in protecting the ecosystem as primary reasons. The non-partisan group is charged with advising the secretary on a variety of issues ranging from park visitation to climate change. Until Zinke makes new appointments, there can be no designation of national historic or natural landmarks.
The RV industry “Big Gulp” continues on: This time, Lance Camper Manufacturing Corporation was acquired by REV Group. This will give the latter the opportunity to move into the towables market, adding to its existing motorhome share. Lance Camper will continue to be led by its founders, Jack Cole and Jeff Souleles. The acquisition closed January 12. Read more.
Don’t be without this Emergency Weather Radio!
For about $19, you can rest assured that anytime severe weather threatens, you’ll be notified, even if cell service is down, the Internet is down or power fails. The RVtravel.com staff travels with this small, handheld, battery-powered NOAA weather radio. If severe weather is on the way, the radio sounds an alert, followed by detailed information about the storm to let you know to seek shelter or move away. Get one for yourself and one for someone you care about who travels a lot. Learn more or order.
Demand for camping space is up all over, and Colorado is no exception. Officials say spaces for summer camping at Larimer County campgrounds are already full, or close to it, for many of its reservable sites. Snow might be in the air, but it’s already time to plan summer camping trips.
To smooth some of the hard feelings created by a two-cent-a-gallon tax hike on fuel sold in South Carolina, the state is now allowing residents to deduct fuel purchases and vehicle preventive maintenance costs from their state income tax. While costs for autos and pickup trucks (up to 9,000 pounds unloaded vehicle weight) are allowed, some South Carolina motorhome owners may feel cheated: A state Department of Motor Vehicles representative told RVtravel.com that motorhomes that scale in at more than 11,000 pounds loaded do not qualify for the tax deduction.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is killing off both its annual trade show and its leadership conference to focus attention on a new annual event that “will include a shift in venue and timing, and will reveal the newest and most exciting products our industry has to offer.” So says a hyped-up RVIA press release, which doesn’t tell much about the happening other than it will be “A single, new and fully reimagined event in the Spring of 2019.” Some industry insiders believe the new location will be Elkhart, Indiana (the RV manufacturing capital of the World) and the event will be open to the public.
Temperature gun is ‘essential equipment’ for many RVers!
Just aim this non-contact IR temperature gun to measure the temperature of your refrigerator, tires, A/C and heater output, or, heck, even your oven (and the list goes on). It turns on and begins reading the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit with one press of the trigger. A laser light aids in aiming, and can be turned on or off. Many RVers consider this essential equipment. Learn more or order at a huge discount.
Code enforcement officers in Washington state’s Pacific County, concerned about the safety of RVers, are changing up tactics in inspecting – and requiring code compliance – with RV parks in their jurisdiction. Rather than using “storm trooper” fix-it-or-else methods, officials are now attempting to use “the carrot before the stick” in attempts to get RV park safety issues fixed. But if park owners are recalcitrant with fixing hazards, they can expect to be called into court after a reasonable time period. One owner learned it the hard way, after being whacked with nearly $10,000 in fines. He sold out, and the code officers are working hard with the new owners to get the bugs worked out.
If you’re planning to visit California’s Mojave National Preserve in the next few months, here’s a tip: Bring your own water. Water in Mid Hills, Hole-in-the-Wall, Black Canyon and Equestrian campgrounds has been shut down while the Park Service works on improving service. Low water tables are said to be at fault. It could be as late as May before service is restored to all the campgrounds.
We reported earlier that Wisconsin State Parks visitors might experience a bite in their wallets as the Department of Natural Resources was considering price changing rights granted by the state’s legislature. Come February 15, those changes will start to take effect. Campground demand will direct fees – when occupancy is greater than 79 percent during set periods, prices will jump. If occupancy is less than 31 percent during a set time, price cuts will set in. As an example, Devil’s Lake Park campgrounds will jump utility site fees by $7 on summer weekends ($2 for non-utility sites).
An inspirational book about RVing
“Travels with Charley in Search of America”
When you ask most RVers if there was one book that inspired them to take up RVing, it’s John Steinbeck’s classic road tale, “Travels with Charley.” The famous author set off in the early 1960s in a home-built camper with his poodle, Charley, to “find America.” And what he found makes for a delightful read. Get this for yourself or as a gift. Learn more or order.
Delaware joins the list of states reporting substantial growth in park use. 2017 marked a record-breaker for overnight stays – up 19 percent (a jump of 16,500 overnight stays). Folks are staying longer, too – up 47 percent over the last five years, the highest recorded growth on record.
Firefighters in Middlebury, Vt., had a tough call to make when a motorhome caught fire. Last Saturday night a space heater in the RV caught the rig on fire – and then spread to a house next to it. A woman inside the burning stick-built refused to come out as her pets were inside. Instead of battling flames, firemen had to stop and formulate a plan to physically remove the woman for her safety. The woman eventually came out on her own, but sadly, four dogs didn’t make it out alive.
The crook who swiped a Chevy pickup truck equipped with a fifth wheel hitch has been tracked down – thanks to Mountain Dew. Last August a Sioux Falls, S.D., business reported the truck as missing, but security camera footage wasn’t clear enough to identify the thief. Later in the day, the missing truck was found – vacant, but with a can of Mountain Dew soda sitting next to it. Further detecting revealed security cam footage of the truck earlier in the day at a gas station with a man packing cans of Mountain Dew walking toward the truck. Four hours later, a different gas station, more footage of the same man leaving with a 12-pack of Mountain Dew. A woman later told police she’d been visited by Cody Alan Hazulek that same day. The man had brought Mountain Dew with him, and gave her a lift in a Chevy pickup. Hazulek has now been indicted for grand theft – his thirst proved to be his un-Dew-ing.
Send your RVing news to Russ@RVtravel.com