Auction prices for used RVs defied the usual logic in March, showing a downturn in price. Auction watching service Black Book suggests that a late arriving spring in many parts of the country may be to blame. Motorhome prices averaged $45,453, down more than 4 percent; however, the number of rigs moved was up by 13 percent. Towables did a little better, losing only 0.9 percent of value to an average of $13,519; however, the volume of sales was down 7 percent. All comparisons are to sales in February 2018.
Uncle Sam wants you to have more ways to recreate on public lands – at least that’s how Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke sees it. Last week Zinke signed an order that gives sub-agencies under his oversight, which includes the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service, three months to come up with plans to expand “recreational opportunities.” Each agency was directed to appoint an employee to work full-time on the mission. How it will all translate on the ground is yet to be seen.
East-central Arizona is heating up, but still, many campgrounds in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests are still closed. The Forest Service reports that dispersed camping is available, but Stage 1 fire restrictions are now in place. No fires, campfires, charcoal, coal or wood stoves are allowed outside of developed campgrounds.
A nasty tornado blasted through Baldwin County, Ala., last Sunday, turning over at least five RVs in an RV park. Four people were injured, one listed in serious condition, when the evil wind blew into the Anchors Aweigh RV Resort. The weather service lists the twister as an EF-0, one with wind speeds of 65 to 85 mph and creating “light damage.” Tell that to the RVers – they’d probably disagree. Click here for news video of the aftermath.
Corporate takeovers in the RV industry aren’t just limited to the swallowing up of RV manufacturers or dealers. Thetford has now taken over a smaller RV refrigerator manufacturer, Nova Kool Manufacturing. The British Columbia-based outfit builds AC/DC and DC refrigerators.
Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim is getting some much-needed road work. Last week a three-week paving project began on Village Loop Drive, with disruptions expected through May 9. The South Entrance road work that required a detour through the Market Plaza is now complete. But work at the South Kaibab trailhead parking lot has closed it until mid-May, and this work also impacts shuttle service to Yaki Point. Check ahead for details.
Campground hosts are needed in Utah. The Manti-La Sal National Forest needs a host at Potters Pond, a trout fishery and campground on the Wasatch Plateau. At Lake Canyon Recreation Area off Utah Route 31, a 50-site campground needs a host. Here the “hosts should also be competent OHV riders with their own machines so they can patrol the trails and camping areas.” Some host positions may offer reimbursement; all offer a campsite. Click here for more information.
Some California coast residents in San Mateo County are up in arms after hearing of two proposed RV parks: a 50-site park is planned near Princeton, and a 170-site resort near Half-Moon Bay. A number of residents voiced opposition at a Midcoast Community Council public meeting, but board members reminded them that particular body could not reject or stop proposals, only make recommendations for development to agencies having more control over development.
Campground hosts are needed in an out-of-the-way place in Montana. Many Pines Campground near Neihart, Mont., (population 51) needs hosts before Memorial Day and running through Labor Day weekend. Meet and greet guests, do a little light maintenance and you’ll get a “prominent campsite” in the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest campground. To sweeten the “weekends on” deal (but you can leave for a couple of days during the week), hosts also get a daily per diem reimbursement. More info: call Bob Gliko at (406) 547-6011.
The largest, tiniest blanket for all your outdoor needs
Pack your beach bags and park picnics, it’s summer! OK, well, almost. What’s one thing we always need for a relaxing day outdoors? A blanket! This tiny, super lightweight travel blanket is great for RVers, campers, hikers, concert-goers and travelers. When folded up in its drawstring pouch, it fits in the palm of your hand. When unfolded, it’s a waterproof 55″x70″ two-person blanket. Be right back, we’re buying it here!
Sales of new towable RVs in Canada began to suffer at the turn of the year. According to Statistical Surveys Inc., combined sales in January and February slid more than 2 percent. While travel trailer sales were up close to 2 percent, fifth wheels flew like dead ducks, down more than 16 percent, with “pop ups” nosediving down almost 27 percent. Only two park model trailers sold in the first two months of the year. Comparisons were to January and February 2017.
Rainbow Bridge National Monument (Utah) has been designated as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary. It’s a first for any National Park Service-managed site, and comes due to the monument’s naturally dark sky and cultural significance. Don’t plan on getting there with your RV unless you have an amphibious one: The 160-acre site is accessible only by boat from Lake Powell or by hiking in from Navajo Mountain.
Sales of new motorhomes in Canada are hitting a pot-holed road, according to stats provided by Statistical Surveys Inc. Comparing January and February 2018 combined registrations to that of the same months of 2017, it’s a bleak picture. Overall motorhome sales are down nearly 35 percent, with Class C sales taking the biggest crash, down 42 percent. Class A sales weren’t much better, down almost 35 percent.
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Full-timers: Need an RV Home Base?
Then you need Americas Mailbox!You’ll enjoy great tax advantages with your South Dakota “residency,” like no state income tax and low insurance rates (second lowest in the USA says the Insurance Information Institute). Many plans are available. View the video where RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury talks with Americas Mailbox owner Don Humes. Or click here to learn more or enroll.
Fresh pavement, a new clubhouse and more room for larger RVs are highlights of the newly renovated Salish Seaside RV Haven in Victoria, British Columbia. The operation is a joint venture by two First Nation groups, the Songhees and Esquimalts.
The White River National Forest in Colorado’s Eagle County is closing down a couple of campgrounds. The Coffee Pot Campground will become a dispersed camping area as the Forest Service kills off restrooms and maintenance; and the possibility of a dam breaching near White Owl Campground is forcing a total shutdown there. Two other campgrounds face an uncertain future: Yeoman Park and Fulford Cave campgrounds will open for camping, but the Service may close them down in the future out of financial concerns.
RVers in southwest Virginia may find temporary disruption of their plans if they’re heading into the Cave Springs Recreation Area in Lee County. The entire area, including the campground, will be closed for repairs and hazard tree removal. Services will be reduced in Wise County, and will affect the Cane Patch Campground – look to see bathroom and water use curtailed or cut off.
Visitors to Maine’s Acadia National Park may note some changes. During the off-season, a new water tank was installed at the Blackwoods Campground. The 47,000-gallon beast is larger than its predecessor, which had been riddled with leaks. The new tank, standing taller, provides a greater flow of water to users. Guests at Seawall Campground will be greeted by a new entrance station.
Firefighters responding to a motorhome fire in Linwood Township, Minn., were no doubt startled when a man ran up to them and hit two of them in the head with blunt objects. The man then climbed up on the roof of the burning motorhome, brandishing a knife, and stayed put despite being shot with beanbag rounds by police. Even as the roof of the burning RV began to collapse, he maintained his perch, finally jumping from the roof and attempting to escape, but was caught and taken to a hospital. The two firemen suffered head wounds and were also hospitalized. No word on the origins of the freaked-out behavior.
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.
North Carolina’s Hanging Dog Campground is no more. Officials with the Nantahala National Forest closed the campground in 2014 due to costs. They reopened it again in 2016 and 2017 in an experiment operated with Cherokee County – but fees collected were less than maintenance and operation costs, and visitation was way down. Add in a $160,000 backlog in maintenance and the handwriting was on the wall.
If you were up early watching the Old Faithful webcam from Yellowstone National Park on April 21, you had a rare sight. No, it wasn’t an unscheduled eruption of the geyser, but rather an unscheduled visit by a grizzly bear. If the bear was looking for a hot shower, his 5:37 a.m. visit was timed wrong – Old Faithful was snoozing at the time.
Housing in Skagway, Alaska, is tough to find, which makes a decision by the community’s governing body, the Skagway Assembly, all the more interesting. The assembly recently took up the thought to limit people living in RVs with the exception of those in RV parks. At this point, some RV dwellers are allowed outside of parks, provided they have a $300-per-year city-issued permit. Two of the city’s four RV parks recently closed, and it will be at least three years before a new one opens, but Assembly members say they’ll shut down permits for living in RVs in three years, and then fine those living outside parks $100 per day.
If you’re looking for adventure, consider inviting Dylan McWilliams with you on an RV trip. McWilliams, a 20-year-old man from Colorado, was bodyboarding in Hawaii recently when a tiger shark mistook him for a snack, leaving him with deep leg wounds. But it’s not McWilliams’ first adventure with wildlife: Last summer he was camping in Ward, Colo., and awoke to find a bear had apparently mistaken his head for a snack, and had grabbed him by it and dragged him several feet, finally letting go after Dylan poked the bear in the eye. But wait! There’s more! Three-and-a-half years before that misadventure, McWilliams was hiking in Utah where he was bitten by a rattlesnake – in that instance he was only sick for a few days. The odds of those three events occurring to one person are 893.35 quadrillion to one.