RV News for May 12–18, 2018

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    breaking-newsReturn to RV Travel Issue 846.

    Thieves apparently find RV manufacturers to be good targets. Michigan State Police and local authorities recently swept up $600,000 worth of ripped-off RVs – 17 of them found at a car dealer’s lot in Linwood, Mich. The units included fifth wheels and travel trailers, ranging from 25 to 43 feet. After stealing the rigs, the thieves swapped out VIN plates with bogus ones, created phony documentation, and up and peddled them to the unsuspecting dealer who police say is considered a victim in the crime.

    Another RV dealer has landed in jail, accused of swindling customers in consignment sales deals. Faye Pyle-Morero, is the former owner of RV Peddler, which had dealerships in California and Arizona. Investigators from the California Department of Motor Vehicles checked out complaints from Pyle-Morero’s customers who alleged she never paid them after selling their RVs, nor paid off underlying loans, leaving them with no RV and continuing payments. Others said they bought RVs from RV Peddler but never got a title. DMV documents suggest the dealer may have embezzled more than $2.8 million. 

    Sales of new towable RVs were up nearly 9 percent in the first quarter of 2018. According to Statistical Surveys Inc., fifth wheels took the lead, moving ahead better than 15 percent, while travel trailer sales rose almost 9 percent. Park models were up more than 4 percent on low volume. Dragging down the advances, pop-ups continued to decline more than 15 percent. All figures in comparison to the first quarter of 2017.


    The “me-too” movement has reached into the Bureau of Land Management at New Mexico’s Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. A woman who served as a campground host says she was sexually harassed by a BLM employee last summer, getting unwanted sexually related propositions, jokes, comments and physical contact. She alleges when she reported the harassment to a supervisor, the agency fired her and her husband, evicting them from the campground where they served. The unidentified worker wants a jury trial, damages and attorney costs. Both the BLM and Interior Department declined media requests for comment. 

    A family’s camping trip at Paradise Campground turned into the camping trip from hell when their 7-year-old daughter was bitten by a rattlesnake. The family had just arrived at the Santa Barbara County, Calif., campground when Sydney stepped out of their truck, walked a short distance, and felt what she described as, “a scratch or something,” and heard a buzzing noise; she had been bitten by a foot-long rattler. The family could not get cell service, but the campground host called paramedics who arrived a half-hour later. At the hospital doctors administered 24 vials of antivenom during Sydney’s five-day stay. 

    You get no breaks at Cedar Breaks. The Utah-located national monument is cranking up entrance and camping fees on May 25. Entrance fees are climbing up a dollar to $7 per person, while overnight campground fees are going up $4 to $24 per night.


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    Santee, Calif., is clamping down on folks parking RVs along city streets. A new ordinance, expected to go into effect in June. will require RVs to be moved at least 300 feet every 72 hours; none may be parked within 50 feet of a crosswalk or intersection. Violate the law, fines range anywhere between $100 and $1,000, depending on how many warnings the violator has received.

    Bill Ward’s Brickpile on flickr.com

    As RV industry executives are worrying about where to get enough workers to man the assembly lines, they’re taking an unusual recruitment step: Get middle school students to build them. Thor is sending teams into middle schools throughout Elkhart County, Ind., and having interested students build fifth wheels – out of Lego bricks. Students are awarded “jobs” as assemblers, suppliers, supervisors and more, all with the goal of getting young people interested in taking a job in RV manufacturing early on. 

    The Boulder Lake Campground in Wisconsin’s Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest will finally reopen at the end of May. The campground has been closed since January, when Forest Service officials decided that a neighboring property owner posed a threat to visitors. The unidentified neighbor had been target shooting on his property, and had also appeared in the campground brandishing weapons. Since that time he has been treated at a mental health facility. Reservations are now being taken for the 80-site campground, which officially reopens May 24.

    Alta Lake

    Montana’s Bitterroot National Forest needs a camp host at its Alta Campground. For more information call Joe Butsick at 406-396-9103.

    After property owners near Buffalo Lake, Alberta, raised a hullabaloo about a proposed 1,000-site RV park, developers have reached a “compromise” to keep the peace. RV Sites Canada says it will scale back the density of the 83-acre development to just 750 RV sites.

    Popular Sunset Campground with 131 campsites in California’s Eldorado National Forest sees a huge number of visitors each year. Not this year – the campground is closing for a major renovation project and won’t reopen until after the summer of 2019. The Forest Service says other area campgrounds on the reservation system are nearly booked full for the high camping season.

    Sherwood, Ark., is one of the latest battlefields in the Camping World march to domination. River City Recreation World RV and a next-door rental and storage area have been snapped up by a Camping World holding company for $6.3 million. A Camping World insider who asked for anonymity told local media the company wanted to buy up the dealership because the company recognized a large number of RVs were registered in the area. At this point the dealership name will remain as it is, not being changed to Camping World.


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    news524(2)More News

    The long Midwest winter is finally yielding to spring. The campground at Bayshore Park, north of Green Bay, Wis., has finally opened after snows from Blizzard Evelyn succumbed to warmer weather. The 115-site campground now sports 90 newly upgraded electric sites, some 30 amp, others 50 amp.

    A man who has offered to trade his pickup, his pop-up trailer, and one of his kidneys for a liver section to save his wife’s life has been told to stand down. Verlon Robinson’s wife, Marie, is being treated in San Francisco for cirrhosis of the liver and is on a waiting list, along with 18,000 other people waiting for a vital organ to survive. Verlon put an emotional plea on Facebook offering his trade goods, including his kidney, to anyone who could help. The hospital treating his wife heard of it, and told him he cannot offer “material goods” in exchange for an organ; he’s since changed his plea, no longer offering the RV or the truck, but the kidney is still on the table. 

    Arizona’s Oracle State Park will be pressed into service as an overnight destination, thanks to a $4 million renovation project. The present day-use-only park will get 30 RV sites, plus cabins and a tent area in a bid to turn the money-losing park into one that generates more than a million a year. The state has approved the funding and appointed a committee to plan and develop the new campground. No word on an opening date for the project located north of Tucson.

    Sales of new motorhomes in Canada have hit a flat tire: Statistical Surveys Inc. reports overall sales in the first quarter of 2018 dropped nearly 9 percent, compared to Quarter 1, 2017. The biggest losers were Class A units, down 13 percent, while Class C units dove more than 7 percent.

    gorving.com

    Class B (van conversion) motorhome sales outpaced other classes of motorhomes in the first quarter. Sales (based on registrations) were up nearly 38 percent over Q1 2017. Source: Statistical Surveys Inc. 

    Residents of Chester, W.Va., crowded into a recent city council meeting to protest the apparent approval by city government for development of a 25-site RV park. The protesters complain the developer doesn’t have the required permits, and that the city is in violation of its own laws. Their feelings are so strong they’ve asked a judge to issue a writ of mandamus, ordering the city to enforce its ordinances. A hearing on the matter was scheduled to take place May 17.

    Camping on Treasure Island doesn’t mean a trip to a casino in Vegas. Rather, the former Boy Scout Camp between Point Pleasant, Pa., and French Town, N.J., has a future as a family campground. The Boy Scouts have operated the island camp since 1913, but closed it down in 2008 due to flooding. The group has now sold the 42-acre island for $500,000 to a firm that will revive the property, although no date has been set for an opening.


    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.


    If you think you’ve seen a lot of cougars, well, you could be right. However, we’re speaking not of four-footed cougars (nor two, for that matter), but rather, four-wheeled Cougars built by Keystone RV Company. The company is yowling about its 150,000th Cougar-branded rig coming off the assembly line. It was promptly shipped to a Tacoma, Wash., dealer, honoring it for selling 3,000 Cougars since 2003. 

    Most of Manitoba’s provincial campgrounds have now opened for the season, but caution is still the watchword. High fire danger has given many of those campgrounds limitations on fires, mostly approving them in fire pits only. However, changes in weather could loosen, or even tighten, those restrictions, and authorities say they’re are being evaluated on a near-daily basis.

    Mahanoy Area Historical Society

    Here’s a twist: At least some residents of Pennsylvania’s Schuylkill County seem to be in favor of a proposed RV park. The new owners of what was once the Lakewood Park say they want to turn the defunct amusement park into a 54-acre campground on a 10-acre lake. The park opened in 1914 and operated until the 1980s and has moldered (and partially burned) since. Locals say they’re happy to see the property become useful again; the owners hope to have zoning issues hashed out and the park operating in the next couple of years. 

    USACE logo

    Kansas is losing a campground: 110 Mile Campground on Pomona Lake (near Vassar) has been permanently shut down by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps says budget issues and “underutilization” are the cause. The park was one of the two last free federal campgrounds in Osage County.

    The Lions Club in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, has taken heat from local residents in its bid to expand its existing 24-site RV park. The club says it turns away a dozen or so campers each day for lack of room. But a request for permission to immediately put in 10 to 20 more sites, and up to 60 in the future, met with neighborhood opposition, with complaints ranging from a potential loss of wildlife, to disturbing noises caused by diesel trucks firing up in the morning. Local officials say they need more information before making a decision.

    Bring your own bed to Mendocino County, Calif., and you may still get taxed for it. If voters approve “Measure G” next month, RV parks would become “lodging establishments” and would join others forced to assess a 10 percent “bed tax” on top of site fees for anyone staying in a park for less than 30 days. Those tax dollars would go for “general governmental services and operations of the County of Mendocino.” Proponents have visions of another million dollars in county coffers each year if the measure passes. The tax would only apply to lodging establishments in the unincorporated areas of the county.

    While sales of towable RVs in the U.S. are surging forward, it’s not that way in Canada. First quarter sales in 2018 were up a mere 2 percent, with travel trailers leading out, up 5 percent. Fifth wheel sales bombed, losing more than 7 percent, while pop-ups fell close to 18 percent. All comparisons to the first quarter of 2017, says Statistical Surveys Inc.


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    Return to RV Travel Issue 846.

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    Michael MccrackenMountain ManRV StaffMike & Louise BacqueSherry Recent comment authors

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    Mike & Louise Bacque
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    Mike & Louise Bacque

    It’s really something to read the multiple excuses being offered by communities to either limit campground expansion or tax campers to stay in a campground. Evidently many are not appreciative of the dollars brought into their communities by visitors. The concept is well documented in any Economics 101 course.

    Mountain Man
    Guest
    Mountain Man

    I totally agree and upon checking in to a park that has such tax, I’d leave and drive out of the county. Mendocino County is cutting off their nose but can’t see it.

    Michael Mccracken
    Guest
    Michael Mccracken

    I totally agree that the tax is rediculous. I do however doubt that they are “cutting off their nose”. With the number of RVers on the road these days and not enough RV Parks, there will always be someone willing to pay them.

    Sherry
    Guest
    Sherry

    It is my Saturday ritual, too! But I take most of the day to get through it. I follow links, look up campgrounds and recreation areas, read every article, and then copy the information I need into my spreadsheets for “Itinerary,” and “Full Time RVing.” This is my reward for working hard to get my house ready to sell so I can go full time.

    Thanks, Chuck, staff, and contributors!

    Chris
    Guest
    Chris

    It seems wierd that so many campgrounds are being closed down when this newsletter talks about the lack of campgrounds for the many thousands of rvs being built.

    Tommy Molnar
    Guest
    Tommy Molnar

    We were up too late last night (friends over for dinner). Over slept a bit, and now I’m two hours late reading RV Travel. Gasp!

    John Crawford
    Guest
    John Crawford

    Amen to that!

    William Bulkley
    Guest
    William Bulkley

    What away to start Saterday morning, a cup of coffee and the latest RVtravel news.

    Pat
    Guest
    Pat

    Same here!!