No surprises: RV manufacturers had a bang-up year, pushing 17 percent more units out of factories and on to dealers, comparing 2017 with 2016 statistics. The big winners: Towable units at 17.6 percent, while motorhomes were up 14.4 percent. December finished the year in a similar fashion, overall seeing nearly a 10 percent increase over the previous December, with towables up nearly 10 percent, and motorhomes flashing past them at more than 12 percent. Source: Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.
The Great Smokies attracted a Great Crowd last year: Visitation at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was up to a record high in 2017 – 11,338,894 people pushing through the gates. That’s up 0.2 percent more than 2016, and part of that could be attributed to a single day: 15,600 plus arrived for the spectacle of the solar eclipse last August. Solar blackout notwithstanding, the highest visitation months were actually July, October and June. Overnighting was actually down, with 400,000 “camping nights” recorded – still, that’s above the park’s five-year average.
Efforts in Florida to get “back on the road” to recovery after Hurricane Irma are moving along in many places, but RVers will still find potholes in that road. Some RV resorts in the Lower Keys are struggling. Sunshine Key RV Resort (Big Pine Key) won’t reopen until spring, and the Sugarloaf Key/Key West KOA is “out” through October. Other RV parks in the area are recovering, but if you have plans to visit the area, call ahead.
Not long ago, California’s Joshua Tree National Park was considered one of the lesser-known parks in the system. Not so anymore. Park officials say the in-park congestion is forcing the institution of a new park shuttle system effective February 2. The shuttle will ferry visitors around to campgrounds and trailheads throughout the park from morning to late afternoon. Visitation has more than doubled to 2.8 million per year over the last seven years.
If you RV through high-traffic freeway areas of California, you’ve probably seen commercial truck bypass lanes. One Riverside County resident asked whether or not RVers could use them. The answer? According to a California Highway Patrol officer, any vehicle can use those bypass lanes; the big trucks are mandated to do so. Next time traffic on the regular lanes is “wall to wall” maybe the truck bypass lanes will look like an attractive alternative for your rig.
Campground hosts are needed by the Forest Service in Idaho’s St. Joe Ranger District. Hosts are needed at Shadowy St. Joe Campground, Upper Landing Picnic and Day Use Area, Emerald Creek, Big Creek, and Turner Flat Campgrounds, working weekend shifts Friday through Monday, beginning Memorial Day weekend. Bring your rig, get training, a uniform and a free campsite. Most sites have water and sewer; a very few, electric. Where cell service isn’t available, communications gear will be made available. For more information contact Jake Biar, Recreation Technician, at (208) 245-6013, firstname.lastname@example.org.
NASCAR fans who want all the comforts of their RV at the track may find Michigan International Speedway to be their venue. The outfit is taking out several thousand seats to make way for a new, “closer to the track than ever before,” RV park with a view of the action. Bust open your piggy bank: Five days of racing views from the new high-end RV park will set you back $2,440 – good for two adults.
Rescue crews were called to a spectacular accident in Ocala, Fla. On arrival they found a passenger car firmly stuck in the basement storage compartment of a Class A motorhome. After doors and the roof of the car were removed, John Garrett, 21, was pulled from the wreckage and listed as a “trauma patient.” The motorhome driver, Timothy Peterson, 63, was cited for failure to yield right of way upon entering an intersection. He stated that he saw the car coming but thought he had time to clear the intersection.
The pickup truck sales “boxing ring” heavyweights are not so heavy these days. Pickup manufacturers are now “lightweighting” – reducing the overall weight of their products, technically enhancing the tow-capacity of their rigs. In the 2019 lineup, Fiat Chrysler’s Ram 1500 has shed 225 pounds, Chevrolet Silverados are down 450 pounds, and Mercedes G-Class trucks are 375 pounds lighter.
Protect yourself from intruders, bears and more!
The BASU eAlarm lets us explore, sleep and adventure with confidence! This tiny device emits a 130-decibel alarm which scares away intruders, burglars and wild animals, and will call for help if you find yourself stranded. Used by the RVTravel staff, you can count on this alarm to keep you safe. Watch the video to learn more or click here to order for about $10.
A new park with rustic camping will be coming to Minnesota’s Iron County. County officials have transferred ownership of a plot of land on the west side of the Paint River to Bates Township with the stipulation it will be used as a park and campground. The township is required to pump $20,000 into improvements in 2018. The spot is already popular with boaters, so camping will be an added benefit.
Ketchup maker Heinz used to slogan itself with the words “57 Varieties.” Visitors to Oregon’s Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest may now think about that as the Forest Service is proposing 57 new fees and hikes to existing fees. Too lengthy to spell out in detail, suffice it to say entry fees, day use fees and campground fees are just some of the “varieties” taking a hike under the proposal. Concerned your favorite spot may be on the list? Check out the whole proposal here.
At least some of the manufacturers in Indiana’s Elkhart County are breathing a sigh of relief. A company which had proposed to build a huge lockup for illegal immigrants – much to the dismay of some industry bigwigs – has pulled its application from consideration by the county.
Bucking a popular trend in many cities across the U.S., Cohasset, Minn., officials are actually easing back on local RV restrictions. The planning commission is moving to allow RVs to park on owners’ properties between the city street and the home, providing they meet other setbacks. And it appears RVers would be able to camp in their rigs on private property for up to 10 days, with a 30-day “no camp” break following.
Lucy and Desi go RVing
Now, here’s a perfect gift for your RVer friends — Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz go RVing! In this 1954 classic — in gorgeous Technicolor — the famous couple (as newlyweds) invest in a 40-foot travel trailer and hit the road. The result is hilarious! The scene in which Lucy tries to make beef stew, a Caesar salad and cake in the wobbling, moving trailer is a classic! This DVD is a great gift for your favorite RVer! Learn more or order
RVers visiting campgrounds in parts of Colorado’s White River National Forest will see fee hikes as the Forest Service is pressing campground operation into the hands of concessionaires. Green Mountain Reservoir campgrounds will be hit: Blue River will jump $6 to $20 and the other six will see $5 hikes to $18 per night. Annual camping passes will skyrocket – presently $65, the new fee will be $90.
In 2016, Sioux City, Iowa, officials had a golden gleam in their eye: a wonderful 52-site RV park, located near the Big Sioux River – a family-style rustic destination sure to bring tourists with loaded wallets. Two years later, the gleam is a bit faded: The new plan is an RV park – right next door to a hog slaughtering plant. Instead of Grandpa and Grandma bringing the kiddies for a stay, the new customer base envisioned are folks more used to essence of porcine – exhibitors showing at the nearby Ag Expo Center.
The fate of camping at Boulder Lake Campground, an 89-site facility near Doty, Wisc., managed by the U.S. Forest Service, is still unclear. The facility was shut down by the Service earlier this month “because of safety concerns,” said a cryptic statement from county law enforcement officials. It seems that last summer a nearby landowner was target shooting on his property, and then apparently turned up in the campground packing a semi-automatic rifle. Now that a local judge has ruled the man must submit himself for mental health evaluation – and taken away his gun-owning rights – reports indicate that officials may reevaluate the closure of the popular camping venue. Last year more than 30,000 visitors overnighted at the campground.
P.S. Our Pot of Gold Contest has returned. Today’s cash prize is $112. If you live in today’s Zip or Canadian Postal Code, you could win the daily cash prize. Click here to learn more about the contest and see today’s winning Zip and Postal Codes. New Zip and Postal Codes are posted every Monday through Saturday. Every day there is no winner, the prize money goes up.