As anticipated, values for sales of used RVs on the auction market in February were up. According to market watcher Black Book, motorhome values were up 4.3 percent from January, settling at an average of $47,682. Towables were up 2.6 percent, selling at an average of $13,655. The number of rigs sold was also up: Motorhomes sold 11 percent more and towables were 9 percent higher.
Keep a tight hold on your wallets – fuel prices are rising, and you shouldn’t expect an end to it. According to automobile club AAA, prices jerked up 2.5 percent last week, crude oil prices flashed up 8 percent, and OPEC says it’s limiting production. Back in the U.S., oil production is up – but don’t expect any breaks there: More of that oil is being exported. Higher gas prices may just become “the new normal,” says a AAA energy analyst.
Campground hosts are needed at the Williamson River Campground, just north of Chiloquin, Ore. Meet and greet campers, clean and stock restrooms, clean campsites and fire rings, mowing, etc., are the assigned duties. In return, get a campsite, propane, gasoline and a subsistence allowance. The Forest Service wants hosts in place by May 24, and will accept applications through April 30. Call Heidi Anderson at 541-891-3559.
Camping season at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (Ind.) has reopened, and the season will continue through October 31. All 53 conventional sites and 12 walk-in sites are $25 per night, although there are no hookups.
If all goes well, by next fall there will be a new RV park in Gila Bend, Ariz. Dubbed Sonora RV Resort, the 20-acre park will host 70 sites and a two-acre lake for kayaking and swimming. Owners say there will be trail access for off-roaders stemming out from the new $2 million facility.
RVers to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park (Ariz.) can breathe a little easier: Water restrictions have been modified, once again allowing the use of the RV dump station, showers and Laundromat. Some restrictions are still in place as the park recovers from an earlier – now fixed – water pipeline break.
Want to “drop in” to the Army Corps campground at Loyalhanna Lake in Saltsburg, Pa.? Sorry, no more “first come, first served.” The Corps has turned the campground into a reservations-only setup. You’ll need to make your reservations at www.recreation.gov.
Key West, Fla., lawmakers are concerned about “visual clutter” that is “affecting the use and enjoyment of surrounding property owners and property values.” You guessed the rest of the story: Time to get rid of those visually cluttering recreational vehicles. Under a proposed ordinance, RVs would have to be parked in side yards or back yards. Nope, the proposal doesn’t include boats – apparently they’re not visually cluttering.
Last year, some Michigan state park users were put out by problems created by the emerald ash borer, a nasty little insect that feeds on ash trees. Responding to the threat of ash borers possibly being brought in on firewood, officials warned users might have to stop bringing all but kiln-dried or certified firewood. Park managers pushed campers to buy bundles of firewood right at the park. Many did, and many complained that the “firewood” was nothing but thin sticks, requiring a couple of bundles’ worth for a night’s fire – and at $5 a bundle, it was a rip-off. This year, officials say they’re working on improving the quality of firewood for sale, casting the net wide for vendors who bring in real firewood – but it might cost a bit more.
BRAND NEW EDITION FOR 2018
“The” guide to services at Interstate exits
Never take a wrong exit off an Interstate highway again. The 2018 Next Exit lists every exit along every Interstate and details exactly what you will find at each: gas stations (including if they offer diesel), campgrounds, truck stops, casinos, laundries, retail stores (by name), shopping malls, factory outlet malls, drug stores, hospitals, rest areas & more. Very helpful even if you have a GPS. Learn more or order.
Off again, on again: That’s the story for California’s McGrath State Beach. The popular campground near Ventura has reopened with a few sites for camping. Water intrusion is the mechanism that closes the park – it seeps in from a nearby estuary, shutting things down. Last year the park was only open four months. Friday the state opened 40 sites for campers, but the dump station remains closed.
Will they or won’t they? That seems to be the question of the day in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest (Ore.). Last week we reported that after prodding from municipal officials, the Forest Service appeared to be backing away from jacking fees on some campgrounds and attractions in the area. Brookings, Ore., politicians felt the public had suffered enough from last year’s wildfires, and that jacking fees was unconscionable. But now the Service says it’s moving ahead with fee increases for at least 19 campgrounds or other attractions, including a $5 potty fee at the Union Creek Wayside bathroom on Highway 62. Cross your legs and bear it until you get to a free stop, or shell out the money.
To some RVers it may seem that progress at West Virginia’s Audra State Park moves at a glacial pace. “We started out by having two [sites with electrical hookups],” said park superintendent Jonathan Teets, “and then we added a couple more, and a couple more.” A “couple more” means electrical hookups. Now into the third year of improvements, Teets says he hopes 35 of the park’s 67 sites will have electricity available come Memorial Day. Source: theintermountain.com.
South Carolina’s Huntington Beach State Park has opened a new campground, and reservations are already being accepted. The 42-site campground offers 50-amp service with full hookups. And, of course, you’ll need beach access – and you’ll have it. Reservations and info here.
Want to travel through one of Zion National Park’s (Utah) slot canyons? A word of advice: Ask first. The local fire department and search and rescue team were called out in mid-March to rescue six “canyoneers” on the verge of hypothermia when they didn’t have enough strength to get out of a slot canyon. Had they checked at the visitor center, they would have learned that spring is not the time to wade through a slot canyon in a thin wetsuit, and without proper gloves and footwear.
Portable TV! Watch at a picnic table, in your car. Anywhere!
Runs on batteries! As long as you’re in range of broadcast TV, you’ll be in luck watching your favorite local or network TV show or sports event. Watch the portable 10-inch TV at your picnic table or while away doing errands. Plug it in or run on a rechargeable lithium ion battery. Heck, if you spend a lot of time in the bathroom, this is for you. And you’ll love the price. Learn more or order.
Bridge City, Texas, will soon have a new RV park. A final approval was given by the Board of Adjustment for the commercial park behind Doc’s Package Store near Texas Avenue.
Do you have night sky fever? An unwavering desire to see celestial phenomena? Arizona’s Chiricahua National Monument has what you need. On April 14 there will be a Night Sky Party with talks and telescopes to peer into galaxies millions of light years away. It all starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Bonita Canyon Campground Amphitheater. On April 29, “The Full Moon Walk” allows 20 people to walk around Massai Point Nature Trail guided by a ranger. Bring drinks, snacks and a flashlight with a red filter if possible. Dress warmly and wear sturdy shoes. A portable chair or blanket to sit upon is useful for the Night Sky Party on April 14. For information and reservations, call 520-824-3560 x9302.
We reported on an indigenous peoples’ protest at Ontario’s Pinery Provincial Park, wherein the park entrance was partially blocked by a travel trailer. The protest pivots on protestors’ claims that the land belongs to native peoples. Park officials offered refunds to those who had made reservations to camp at the park but were put off by the protests. As of Tuesday, however, talks between protestors and provincial representatives yielded fruit: The trailer no longer blocks access and operations at the park are normalized.
Napoleon had his Waterloo, and Waterloo, Ore., has its own. But the latter looks like it will win its fight – this one over water. The local government-owned Waterloo Campground has suffered with a failing well system, and last summer had to bring in a 10,000-gallon “portable” water tank to meet Labor Day weekend crowds’ needs. Now a $50,000 matching grant from the state will allow Linn County to drill a new well, likely this spring.
Dixie is falling again. This time the victor is Camping World, which says it is acquiring the Dixie RV Superstore in Newport News, Va. This will make the eighth location for the behemoth RV dealer in the Old Dominion state. On a related note, an unrelated company known as Dixie RV SuperStores (emphasis on the capital S in Stores) wants the public to know that it is NOT being purchased by Camping World – that they had earlier licensed the use of “Dixie RV Superstore” to the Newport News firm, which is legally known as Dixie Trailer Sales of Newport News, Ltd. The license arrangement for the name ends when Camping World takes over.
National park maintenance backlogs took on a new meaning for three folks at Carlsbad Canyon National Park (N.M.). Karen Willis, a Las Cruces, N.M., resident wanted to show off the caverns to a couple of visiting relatives, but on the way down into the cavern their elevator failed, trapping the three 740 feet below ground with only a single bottle of water to share. Rescue crews used an emergency phone to explain they faced two options: Go back up 740 feet through the shaft on a rope, or somehow get brought over to a working elevator. After three hours, rescuers managed to stop a working car next to the failed one, then used a ladder to make a bridge and brought the three over to the working car. A worn-out control cable is blamed for the three-hour misadventure.
Cordless vac gets sky-high rating
More than 12,000 Amazon customers have given this Black and Decker CHV1410L cordless hand vacuum an excellent rating. It boasts lithium technology, strong suction and fade-free power. With a translucent bagless dirt bowl, the dirt is easy to see and empty. Ever-ready, the hand vac can hold a charge for up to 18 months. Perfect for the RV! Learn more or order.
Canadian officials are eyeballing the possibility of developing a 350-site campground along the Eagle River near Shuswap Lake – that’s along the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) near Sicamous. A grant of $100,000 will go toward a feasibility study that, once completed, will give local authorities a springboard to jump from.
A modest hero is Timothy Hunley from Wilmington, N.C. Hunley was driving home from a work trip in Georgia on the South Carolina’s Interstate 95 when he spotted a motorhome crashed and burning on a wooded median. Hunley stopped and ran to the rig, which was engulfed in flames. A woman passenger in the rig was stuck. Hunley got her seat belt loose and carried her away from the flames. Rescue service personnel had her medevacked from the scene in critical condition. Tim Hunley himself was burned in the rescue but refused treatment, sticking around long enough to give a statement to police, and then headed for home.
To the best of our knowledge, it’s not possible to tow a travel trailer, fifth wheel or toy hauler behind a Harley. But that hasn’t deterred a pair of Illinois entrepreneurs from selling both the throaty motorcycles and the Heritage line of Thor-built towable units at the same dealership in Marion. Black Diamond Harley-Davidson has already ordered 40 RVs from Thor, and hopes to sell 250 rigs in their first year.
Police in Fruitland Park, Fla., have ruled the “bear poop in the motorhome” story full of bull. Someone spotted John Daniel Schneller (age 21) coming out of a motorhome at an RV park. On questioning, Schneller told the witness he was looking for bear scat, as his grandmother had a tumor on her head. The RV owner showed up, discovered a broken out skylight and a missing brake system. Police found an item stolen in a different burglary at Schneller’s residence and booked him for grand theft and burglary. Somebody needs to tell him: Bears poop in the woods – not in motorhomes – unless the owner uses Charmin.