This week the U.S. Forest Service shut down Colorado’s San Juan National Forest due to high fire danger. It’s the first time since 2002 that an entire National Forest has been shut down in the Centennial State.
Texas’ Isla Blanca RV Park has long been a highly desired spot to get a space in. In the past, guests could make a reservation for a future visit, right when they checked in for their current stay. No more. This Sunday reservations will be taken for October through December dates, both in-person and by phone. On June 16, January through March reservations will be taken. Officials say the new system will give more people a chance to be able to stay at the South Padre Island park.
If it weren’t for “pop ups,” the new towable market would be all smiles, or so figures from Statistical Surveys Inc. would seem to indicate. Published “retail registration” figures for the first quarter of 2018 show fifth-wheel sales up nearly 10 percent, travel trailers up almost 7 percent, and park models up a solid 6 percent. But pop-ups continue to dive, down nearly 18 percent. All comparisons to Q1 2017.
Motorhome sales continued in mixed fashion, but industry types are putting a positive spin on the statistics. First quarter 2018 sales showed an interesting mix compared to the same time frame in 2017. Class A sales nosedived more than 4 percent, while Class C units rescued the overall market, rising more than 6 percent, so the overall market showed an “increase” of a little less than 2 percent. Source: Statistical Surveys Inc.
RV owners in Discovery Bay, California, may be feeling a bit apprehensive. Government officials recently announced that local code enforcement officers are “actively pursuing boat/trailer/RV parking and storage violations. You will be subject to a ticket or face other fines and penalties if you do not properly store your vessel, trailer or RV.” Proper storage means in an enclosed building, or behind a fence or foliage that “screens a minimum of 90%.” Tarps and sheeting don’t count.
The news frequently highlights how RVers aren’t always cognizant of the height of their rigs, vis-à-vis, impacts with low-hanging train overpasses. But from Flagstaff, Arizona, here’s another dimensional issue involving trains: A motorhome driver with a toad car behind him apparently misjudged just how long his combination was when crossing a railroad grade. The motorhome got through fine, but the train was delayed until the remains of the toad car, which it hit, were removed. It all happened at the Route 66, Burlington Northern crossing. Watch the video.
Amy Woldrich is a 35-year-old who already lives a life that many twice her age wish they had: She’s traveling around the U.S. in her motorhome. She’s not living off an inheritance either – Amy’s life has gone to the dogs. Amy is a traveling dog walker, who is listed under a dog-walking app called Rover. When she rolls into a town she wants to stay in for a while, she activates her Rover account, and in many cases, is walking dogs professionally the next day. A typical week walking a few dogs earns $100 to $350; some weeks she makes more than $1,000.
A campground renovation project in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest is taking a bit longer to complete than planned. Dolly Copp Campground’s opening is still in a holding pattern, while the focus is on preparations appropriate to guest safety. When open, visitors will find 20 sites equipped with water and electric, new bathhouses and road improvements. The north end of the campground will be closed for the summer for more construction.
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Struck by flooding, recovery is coming to North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest. The Mortimer Campground, which was closed for two weeks due to road damage, has now reopened. Other roads in the forest are still damaged – call ahead if you have travel plans.
The tires are flat on Canadian towable sales, says Statistical Surveys Inc. Sales over the first four months of 2018 are up less than 1 percent compared to 2017. The breakout: Travel trailers up a little more than 2 percent; fifth wheels down nearly 3 percent; “pop ups” diving down more than 12 percent.
Some dispersed camping in Oregon’s Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest could be closed due to unruly visitors. Both the Forest Service and a citizens group are keeping close tabs, the latter posting signs asking campers to clean it up. Reports of graffiti, garbage, toilet paper and human waste at several sites have surfaced. Government officials haven’t spelled out specific dates or locations for closure, but said they’re watching the matter closely.
Sales of Class B (van conversion) motorhomes continue to skyrocket. Statistical Surveys Inc. reports first quarter 2018 sales are up nearly 31 percent.
“Lions and tigers and bears. Oh my!” declared Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” Stick around, Toto, we’ve got bears and moose this week. In Kentucky, the Forest Service was warning of black bears near Laurel Lake at the Holly Bay Campground. Out West, the county sheriff finds it necessary to warn people that the moose at Colorado‘s Difficult Campground can be the same way, particularly when moms and calves are getting gawked at by unwelcome humans.
When Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World bought up sporting goods retailer Gander Mountain, some thought he was crazy. It looks as though Lemonis admits to that – with an appellation, “crazy – like a fox.” In an interview on the CNBC show Mad Money, Lemonis said his purpose was not “to get into the big-box retail business,” but to get a toehold in “Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas, where we’re going to be putting RVs in most of those locations.” His strategy is to get existing Gander Mountain properties, then convert them to new CW locations in those states. In the process, he says, the company cleverly didn’t tip its hand to competing RV dealerships. He claims that by the end of this year, CW will have 165 locations, compared to the present 130.
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“Watt’s that!” you say? Silent RV power that’s not based on solar panels? RV builder Erwin Hymer Group North America has cut a deal with WATT Fuel Cell Corporation to put the latter company’s fuel cell technology to work in Hymer’s RV “EcoTrek” technology suite. WATT’s Imperium™ fuel cell uses propane as the base fuel to silently produce both heat and electricity. Coming soon to an RV near you?
Park officials on the Tennessee side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park successfully rescued a woman who plunged 40 feet from Laurel Falls. Mary Moore (63) was placed in a litter and taken back up to the top of the trail, then carried more than a mile to a waiting ambulance.
Are you missing a binder full of family history? When Hurricane Irma hit Florida’s Big Pine Key last September, it left behind a binder in an RV park. Old photos, news clippings, death and birth certificates, a big chunk of frozen time. If the names of Fred Schaeffer Boyer Sr. and Lillian Mae Fernandes ring a bell, then please ring Deputy Seth Hopp’s bell at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, 305-745-3761.
Yakima County, Washington, planning officials are open to public comments regarding a proposed 154-acre RV park near Naches. Kodiak LLC says it wants to build the park with around 240 sites in three phases, starting this year with a 40-acre section. Comments are being taken by mail, and at a public meeting slated for August 2. More information here from YakimaHerald.com.
Michigan is home to a new privately owned RV resort in Marquette County. Rippling River Resort is a 37-acre tract with accommodations for RVers, tenters and those who’d prefer a rustic but modern cabin. Here’s a link to the outfit’s website.
Sweetwater, Tennessee, officials are pushing ahead to allow for the development of an RV park by moving toward a property rezone required for the effort. The mayor told local media the proposed development will be a “nice facility,” not “a trailer park.”
Nova Scotia’s provincial parks are seeing an explosion in use, but the “why” is a question still hanging. Government officials in charge of the parks say it’s because of $5 million pumped into the park renovations. Others say it’s supply-and-demand: Not enough camping available at Canada’s national parks are leading folks to take a “lesser choice” to be able get outdoors. Still others suggest social media posts are a driving factor. Regardless of cause(s), 78,000 sites were booked in the 20 parks; up 20,500 from those made in 2014.
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The council members of Summerland, British Columbia, have given approval for a 15-site RV park. No one appeared at the public hearing to argue against the campground, which the developer said would be “family friendly, quiet,” and have a single community fire-pit, “because we are scared of fires, too.” A night in the campground for an RV would be $30, and tenters would be in for $20. Transportation officials must yet approve the plans.
Jackson, Missouri, ordinance writers were faced with a dilemma: Ban all RV parking on city streets? Limit it to 72 hours? How to deal with “letter of the law” RVers who park for 72 hours but then move a couple of feet? Now they’re trying something new: If a vehicle, in the opinion of anyone, is parked in such a way that it’s “obstructing,” then they make a call to the police, at that point the “offending” RV will get ticketed. The idea will be kicked around more fully on June 18.
The work of vandals who graffitied ancient cave paintings in California’s Lassen County has largely been removed. The Bureau of Land Management says a $9,000 restoration job that took five days at Tommy Tucker Cave has removed much of the charcoal, chalk and spray paint from some 500-year-old Native American pictographs – the only ones known in the area. The damage was done in the summer of 2016.
Minnesota has a new state park campground. Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park opened up a new campground with 33 sites, picnic shelters, bathrooms and Wi-Fi service. The park is in Soudan.
A motorhome being used for a congressional campaign made a dramatic almost-entry at a veterans’ home in Palmer, Alaska. The motorhome, part of the “Alyse for Alaska” congressional campaign of Alyse Galvin, had just participated in a local parade, then drew up to the Palmer Veterans and Pioneer Home – apparently with the intent of driving right under the breezeway. A slight miscalculation in rig height versus breezeway height led to a bone-jarring crash wiping out the rig’s air conditioner, and leading one bystander to observe, “She’d also be a train wreck in Congress!”
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