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RVing News for January 20–26, 2018

January 20–26, 2018
The latest news about RVing from the editors of

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breaking-newsCamper van (Class B) sales continue to show growth, says Statistical Surveys Inc. For January through November 2017, sales shot ahead nearly 27 percent. 

Sales of towable RVs in Canada continue to zoom ahead, showing more than a 12 percent upswing for the first 11 months of 2017. Statistical Surveys Inc. reports travel trailers were up nearly 14 percent, fifth wheels better than 9, while “pop ups” bucked the trend, losing nearly 4 percent. 

Photo: Jesse Wagstaff on

Planning to install solar panels on your RV? Expect to pay significantly more soon. The Trump Administration has ordered a 30 percent tariff on solar panel imports. The move comes after two American solar manufacturers filed for bankruptcy protection, blaming low-cost imports for their troubles. The 30 percent penalty is for panels from any country – and adds to penalties already heaped on imports from Taiwan and China. Some exporting countries are expected to file complaints against the move with the World Trade Organization as a violation of international law; however, it could be an extended time before a ruling would be made.

Plenty of Florida Keys residents are still without housing, months after Hurricane Irma. Nevertheless, Monroe County, Fla., commissioners were warned against accepting donated RVs as a stop-gap housing measure. County staffers say they’re concerned with a wealth of troubling issues that could go along with used rigs, citing “the potential risks, maintenance and liability issues.” State officials had earlier asked FEMA if affected counties could get their hands on previously used FEMA trailers to help fill in the housing gap.

Photo: National Park Service

Arizona’s Saguaro National Park managers are mulling over an increase in entrance fees. If approved, all entry fees will jump $5 on May 1. This would mean RVs would typically see a 7-day pass running $20, instead of the current $15. No fee increases are proposed for camping. To comment or learn more, click here.

Army Corps campground fans, take note! Payment by “plastic” is the order of the day at four of Georgia’s West Point Lake Corps-operated campgrounds. R. Shaefer Heard, Whitetail Ridge, Holiday and Amity Campgrounds will accept ONLY credit cards for payment – no cash, no checks – effective immediately. 

Some big-name RV industry outfit officials have filed a “Not in my backyard” statement. CEOs from RV builder Thor Industries and RV parts manufacturer Lippert Components are but two of 38 “local leaders” who’ve signed off on a letter protesting an illegal immigrant detention facility proposed for construction in Elkhart, Ind. Signed by both civic and government leaders, the letter says the ICE facility would create an “unwanted, unwelcoming reputation” for the county and community. The proposal for the lockup that would house 1,200 people comes before county planning officials in early February. 

tempgun-682Temperature 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.

New York State’s plan to build a campground at the former Frontier Town theme park is rolling ahead. The Adirondack Park Agency recently gave its blessing to the plan that will eventually result in a 91-site campground that will include 13 spaces for RVers providing electric service. Work is slated to start in February, and the campground itself should be fully operational by summer 2019. 

If you’re wondering how the short-lived federal government shutdown affected national park visitors, the answer is: It was a mixed bag. While some national park venues were shut down completely, others, like California’s Yosemite, were open but with staffing limitations. Visitors there were warned that if they had campground reservations, they could possibly find someone parked in their “reserved” site – there was no staff available to ride herd on the campgrounds.

Cromwell Dixon Campground in Montana’s Helena National Forest is still closed, and officials say it will likely stay that way until sometime in spring. The campground near the top of MacDonald Pass closed earlier when dead and dying trees posed a threat to the public. Now officials are having the hazard trees removed and will reopen the campground when the work is complete. Blame the mountain pine beetle for the seeds of the trees’ demise. 

It’s been a while coming, but South Carolina’s Hunting Island State Park will celebrate recovery from 2016’s Hurricane Matthew come February 1. On that day the campground will reopen, sporting upgraded electrical service in all RV sites. Some 80 oceanfront sites vanished in the storm – they will not be replaced. 

Avoid hitting low bridges!
2018 Rand McNally Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas
If you drive a big RV — extra long or extra tall — then this is for you. The truck driver’s Road Atlas shows all the highways you can drive without encountering a low bridge or getting stuck hanging over a cliff. This is an essential aid even if you have a GPS! Coverage: United States, Canada, and Mexico. Click the video by Chuck Woodbury or order at

news524(2)More News

Following more than three hours of contentious testimony from the public, Door County, Wisconsin’s Resource Planning Committee voted to recommend a permit for a new 130-site RV park. Residents had an opportunity to air pros and cons – and did so vehemently. In an area where economic downturn has taken its toll, the potential of adding $2 to $3 million to the area tax base is big. On the other hand, nearby property owners fret over lowered property values. Now with the blessing of the planning committee, it’s up to county commissioners to sort it all out. 

Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska

Unless courts find differently, there may soon be yet another road to drive in Alaska. Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke has signed a land transfer agreement that will make way for a 10-mile single-lane gravel road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Ostensibly the road is to make medical transport easier from the isolated coastal community of King Cove. The land swap has created a firestorm among environmentalists who fear damage to the refuge. No specifics about the road’s use are spelled out, other than the road would be “primarily” for non-commercial use. Interestingly, a boat trip from King Cove to medical facilities at Cold Bay is but 23 miles – by road, if the new road is built, it’ll be significantly farther.

January is typically a month when rattlesnakes snooze – but this one didn’t read the fine print in the contract. Five-year-old Emily Rose Oehler was playing outside at Texas’ Longhorn Cavern State Park when she encountered a rattler that was far from asleep. The nasty beast sent Emily to an Austin hospital by medevac, where she endured more than 30 doses of antivenom shots. As of Friday afternoon, Emily is back home recuperating. If you are bitten, take a picture of your attacker (if you can hold the camera still) so doctors can identify it to better treat you. 

Save your knees when working under your RV
Do you ever need to reach under your RV to grab something, adjust something, add air to a tire, or remove a leveling block? If you’re parked on dirt, gravel, hot pavement or other uncomfortable surfaces, your knees can take a beating! This kneeler pad, for about $10, will save the day. The staff uses its pad all the time. Learn more or order.

If you were in Jonesboro, Ark., recently, you might have been startled to see a long procession of 18-wheelers rumbling north out to the Pine Log Cemetery. Dozens of the big rigs followed in the wake of a bright red Peterbilt – that had a casket fixed to its fifth-wheel hitch. Friends of Mike Matthews decided it was the appropriate way for Matthews to be carried to his final resting place after his funeral, an 11-mile trip that must have created quite a spectacle. Matthews spent a lifetime as a big-rig driver. We’re not expecting to see any coffins strapped to a tow dolly – but maybe we should be prepared, just in case. 

Evidently the idea of raising prices at national parks has gone contagious. Now the Havasupai Tribe of Arizona is getting into the act. Access to Havasu, Mooney and Beaver Falls in the neighborhood of the Grand Canyon is controlled by the tribe, and getting in and staying overnight will cost visitors significantly more effective February 1. Previously rates were on a menu basis, but now a “one price covers everything” rate will mean access and a one-night stay will cost $140.56 per person – a jump of about $50. Friday through Sunday stays, tack on $18.33 more per night; that also applies to some other dates and holidays as well. Bring your boots – it’s a 10-mile hike to the campground.

Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) has introduced a “new and improved” website design that spotlights commercial benefits available to members. The half-century-old club of motorhome owners recently opened its door to owners of towable RVs to try to increase its membership, which dived to about half its peak in recent years.

An Oregon farmer is off the hook after police tracked down the midnight dumper. Dalton Straus, who farms near Central Point, found an abandoned travel trailer filled with trash in his driveway. Because it was dumped on private property, no tow company would remove the rig; license tags and identifying marks had been removed from it. It looked as though Dalton was stuck with the cleanup. But police found mail amidst the trash in the unit and visited the address of the recipient, one David Regula, 63. Regula ‘fessed up, was arrested, later released. Next day, Straus reported the travel trailer was out of his driveway – hopefully removed to an appropriate disposal point.

Read last week’s news

Return to this week’s newsletter (#830)

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J Hunter
5 years ago

Just a comment about the road through Izembek. It may only be 23 miles by water from King Cove to Cold Bay, but it is some of the roughest weather in the northern hemisphere. I’m not a fan of the road, but a boat usually isn’t an option.
5 years ago

Chuck, I see advertising for a tankless water heater. They are roundly criticized for RV use so I question whether that is a good move. Your reputation, you know!

Chuck Woodbury
5 years ago

Richard. Are you referring to Truma? I believe they have an excellent reputation. If you know something I don’t please let me know. — Chuck

Tommy Molnar
5 years ago

California’s National Park is Yosemite, not Yellowstone.

Chuck Woodbury
5 years ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Thanks, Tommy. That was a stupid mistake on our part. It’s fixed now.

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