Welcome, fellow travelers, to the July 11, 2021, edition of your RVtravel.com Sunday Newsletter. Now that we’ve had a chance to digest all those hot dogs from the Fourth, it’s time to dive into North America’s most-read consumer website about the RVing lifestyle. Speaking of the July Fourth weekend, campground attendance records were smashed throughout the country, as well as visitation numbers at most national parks. We’ve got all of the details from summer’s biggest weekend below, along with all of the info you need to make your RVing lifestyle the best it can be. And remember, our efforts rely on your generous voluntary subscription contributions, so don’t forget to send a little our way if you can so we can do even more for you!
Sunday, July 11, 2021
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
New insurance product may be a game changer for RVers
There is a brand-new way to insure your RV, and it’s coming from a very unusual source. Outdoorsy, one of the world’s premier platforms for peer-to-peer RV rentals, has created a stand-alone insurance plan called Roamly that is set to compete with the big boys at GEICO and Progressive. “The typical RVer can expect to save about 20% on the cost of premiums through the Roamly product compared to the cost of GEICO and Progressive policies,” said Outdoorsy CEO Jeff Cavins. Learn more.
Tornado tears through Georgia campground
A tornado that ripped through an RV park at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base Wednesday injured 13 people. Numerous RVs were damaged at the park in southeast Georgia, including a truck and RV unit that was thrown 200 feet into a nearby lake. Find out what you can do to stay safe from these huge storms. For all of the details, click HERE.
Will a DEF head problem ruin your trip?
For Robin and Ken, it was the trip of their dreams. Leave Florida in their motorhome, take four months, sightsee the Midwest, then on into Yellowstone National Park. Less than 100 miles into their dream trip they got a “check engine light.” Their motorhome’s DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) system tossed a code that could have “derated” their rig – meaning, don’t drive too far, and don’t drive faster than five miles per hour. They turned around and headed home. Their rig’s DEF head (sensor) put their plans on hold. Continue reading.
There is another entry this week into the race to bring a marketable electronic pickup truck to consumers. The parent company of the Dodge brand announced its plans Thursday for an electronic version of its popular Ram 1500. Click HERE for more.
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This week’s podcast (#15)
In this week’s episode: Scott talks with Mark and Julie Bennett of YouTube’s ”RVLove,” who share what they wish they knew before they went full-time, and they talk about their new book RV Hacks. Then Jim and Chris Guld of Geeks on Tour discuss must-have mobile apps that make planning, driving, camping, boondocking and RVing in general better. This and more in our latest episode.
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel looks at the Alliance Valor 40V13 Fifth Wheel Toy Hauler. Tony wrote this review after sitting inside this toy hauler, so he gets a pretty good idea of what’s to love about it. Read his review.
• 2021 Beauer 3X Caravan (travel trailer)
Last week’s reviews:
• Forest River Flagstaff 28TSCSE pop-up trailer with front rack
• Airstream Flying Cloud 25FB with office
• Rivian Truck Camp Kitchen
• Grand Design Imagine 2970RL travel trailer
• 2021 Venture Stratus SR231VRB couple’s trailer
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
That was the RV week that was
July 4–10, 2021
New Camp Laughing Grass Campground is weed-friendly. A legal loophole has allowed a new campground called Camp Laughing Grass, a cannabis-friendly campground for those 21 and older, to open up its 10 campsites near Harrison, Maine. The camp is BYOB (bring your own bud) and for now features glamping tents and cabins for guests to stay in, along with other sites. The cannabis-friendly campground doesn’t sell cannabis, and since it’s technically a private-residence campground, owner April Rollins is allowed to operate the weed-friendly campground. No word if Rollins will be allowing RVers to roll on in (or roll their own).
Don’t forget your bear spray. Grizzly bear country is no place to get caught without easy access to a bear deterrent. A 65-year-old bicycle camper from Chico, CA, tent camping near the post office in Ovando, Montana, (about 60 miles northwest of Helena) was killed early Tuesday, July 6, when she was attacked by a grizzly bear at her campsite. The camper was part of a group of bicycle tourists. A security camera at a local business had earlier captured footage of a grizzly walking through town. Game managers estimated the bear to be a male weighing 400 pounds. It appears the camper didn’t have an opportunity to use bear spray, but two companions in a nearby tent were able to haze the bear away using their spray. Officials said late Friday that they believe they have captured and destroyed the offending bear, but were waiting for lab DNA results for confirmation.
More competition on the way for boondocking. If you love boondocking, you might have a lot more neighbors soon due to an increase in the number of municipalities passing new ordinances barring parking RVs on city streets. The latest new rule comes from Mountain View, CA, in the South Bay area of San Francisco. City workers are busy installing “No RV Parking” signs on 444 of the city’s 525 streets. Those living in the RVs say they’ll be forced to go elsewhere, including business parking lots that allow overnight stays.
Nevada senator offers some non-discouraging words. It’s not often that we hear encouraging news for outdoor enthusiasts coming out of Washington, D.C. This week, Nevada Democratic Senator Jacky Rosen published an opinion column in the Reno Gazette Journal that defined the impact of outdoor-related businesses on the Nevada and U.S. economies, and detailed some of the federal plans in the works. Rosen helped introduce the recent Great American Outdoors Act, and she also chairs a Senate subcommittee focused on outdoor tourism. She said, “It’s clear that Congress must take action to rebuild and reinvigorate our outdoor tourism economy. We won’t be able to continue enjoying the outdoors or have a healthy outdoor tourism future without adequate staffing and resources.” You can check out Rosen’s full column HERE.
That’s a lot of beer and hot dogs. If you thought campgrounds felt a bit crowded over the Fourth of July, you were right. Kampgrounds of America is reporting its parks were up over 17% in occupancy from 2020, and up more than 36% in check-ins compared to the holiday in 2019. The same held true up north, where KOA campgrounds were up nearly 35% for this year’s Canada Day holiday. It isn’t likely to get less crowded soon. KOA said advanced camping deposits are up 66% over the same period in 2020, and they are looking for KOA’s “best fall on record.” Year to date, KOA’s short-term nights are up nearly 60% over 2020, and up more than 17% over its record year in 2019.
Yellowstone National Park had long lines last weekend, too. Officials at Yellowstone National Park reported that visitor admissions to the park over the July 4th weekend were way up. A total of 46,845 tourists entered the park between July 2-5 this year. That’s up 7.7% from the 43,499 visitors in 2019. (Not unlike other stats this year, they can’t fairly compare the “lost year” of 2020.) The final day of the 2021 long weekend on July 5 saw 12,825 visitors, up 33% from the 9,630 folks who entered during the last day of the holiday weekend in 2019.
Oh, it’s not pretty! Yes, that ugly blob next to the gas pump is a Class C motorhome. It burned last Monday at a 7-Eleven gas station in Kissimmee, Florida. Crews arrived on the scene to find the RV fully engulfed with flames spreading up to the gas station overhang structure, and damaging the fuel pump. Thankfully, the emergency fuel shut-off had been activated and prevented any further fire spreading or explosions. No one was injured in the incident, though there was significant damage to the fuel island overhang and adjacent gas pump. No word on how the fire started. But, wow! Scary!
Get paid to camp. A company called Sleep Junkie is looking to find out how camping in the great outdoors affects your sleep. It’s willing to pay a family $1,500 to help with the research. The mattress manufacturing company is interested in the affect outdoor factors such as temperature, humidity and wildlife sounds have on a person’s sleep. The company says it will pay a family $1,500 to go on a three-night trip to a camping site of the family’s choosing. The company will also cover the cost of the trip. The catch? Family members must submit a report about their sleep experience with details about what types of sleeping equipment they brought and how the outdoor factors affected them. If you’d like to sign up, there’s more info HERE.
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions for Northwest Montana. RVers in Montana should be aware of Stage 1 Fire Restrictions throughout much of the northwest part of the state. Federal, state and local jurisdictions are imposing various fire restrictions or bans, intended to reduce fire risk and prevent wildfires. Stage 1 Fire Restrictions prohibit building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or stove fire, with some exceptions. It also prohibits smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building. For more details and specific areas click HERE.
They are going to have to think up a new name for permafrost. If you’ve dreamed of walking on the permafrost in Alaska’s Denali National Park, you’d better hurry. Scientists are predicting that global warming will completely thaw most of the permafrost in the park by the 2090s. The thawing of the permafrost layer is already causing havoc with roads in the park, which are experiencing sinkholes and slides due to the melting layer.
RV manufacturers at the “center of the world of RV building,” Elkhart County, Indiana, are having good times and bad. Good times, in that the demand for RVs is at a high tide, with some companies booking orders clear into next year, yet bad times for those looking to expand operations. Land values in the county have shot up, even as RV manufacturers and support industries are looking to build out more space. Labor is another thorny issue. According to Chris Stager, the president and CEO of the county’s Economic Development Corporation, the industry already “imports” 35,000 workers per day, some of whom are commuting 45 minutes to work. The high demand for labor and the not-large-enough pool of available talent have some companies forking over $20 per hour, plus benefits, to attract new hires.
Camping World expands influence in van conversions. Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis has entered yet another area of RVing, making a “strategic investment” in Happier Camper Inc., an L.A.-based manufacturer of modular interiors for Class B RVs and campers. Lemonis called the move a “perfect first step.” Happier Camper’s Adaptiv™ system features modular cubes, such as coolers, sinks, toilets, bunk beds, tables, chairs, refrigerators and cooking surfaces. Consumers can stack and arrange the cubes to customize vans and campers’ cooking, storage and sleeping needs. “Customers will be able to bring a shell of a van or camper to one of our nationwide SuperCenters and we will act as renovation centers and install the Adaptiv technology in the unit,” Lemonis said. “The ability to customize and convert your unit with different modular layouts brings new life and I believe a welcome addition to the future in RVing.” Camping World will be the exclusive distributor for the products.
Sierra Nevada fire continues rapid advance. The Sugar Fire in the Sierra Nevada mountains northwest of Reno, NV, grew to more than 55,000 acres by Saturday morning and was only 8 percent contained. The air is so dry that some of the water dropped by aircraft evaporated before reaching the ground. Campers were forced to evacuate from the Frenchman Lake area. Evacuations had been ordered on Tuesday evening for residents on the north edge of the Sierra Valley, along Highway 70 east of Portola and about 35 miles north of Truckee.
Russian truck camper takes low sticker price award! If you think the cost of RVs has gotten completely out of hand, the Russians may have just the thing. There’s a Russian-made pickup camper (complete with pickup) called the Lada 4X4 from a company called Lux Form. It’s 15.4 feet long, 5.6 feet wide and 9 feet high. It has a 1.7-liter engine that puts out 84 horsepower with a manual transmission. This little gem actually has most of the modern conveniences you’d expect. The whole shebang, from bumper to bumper, would set you back about $21,400 U.S. But good luck finding it at your local dealership. You can’t even buy it in Europe, since it can’t meet European emission standards.
Pickup truck news
According to our recent survey, about 80 percent of RVtravel.com readers own at least one pickup truck. Recognizing that, we’ll provide the latest news highlights about the vehicles here each week.
New Truck Preview: It’s a new frontier for 2023 Nissan Frontier
Highlighted by a modernized exterior and interior and a more powerful engine, the 2023 Nissan Frontier will arrive next year as the debut of the midsized pickup truck’s third generation. Nissan reports the new Frontier will feature a 310-horsepower V6, and it will be propelled by a nine-speed automatic transmission and rear- or four-wheel drive. Read more.
About 20 years ago, Chevrolet made a wacky pickup truck. It’s gone.
The Chevrolet Super Sport Roadster (SSR) may be the weirdest pickup ever made. The carmaker had elaborate marketing plans and anticipated success for the retro-styled machine. But overt failure occurred instead. Less than 20 years since its debut, it’s rare to see an SSR on the road. Continue reading.
Rivian will offer another EV pickup truck first – a mobile kitchen
The anticipated debut of the Rivian electric pickup trucks keeps getting more intriguing. The manufacturer has announced the innovative vehicle will have a $5,000 option called the Camp Kitchen x Snow Peak package. It’s three accessories in one — the Camp Kitchen, Snow Peak kitchen set and Rivian Gear Tunnel Shuttle. Learn more.
Ram charges ahead with two more new 2022 pickup trucks
Continuing its recent expansion of trucks, Ram has announced two new 2022 pickup trucks: the Ram 1500 Laramie G/T and Ram 1500 Rebel G/T. The models offer customized performance features standard including a cold-end exhaust, cold-air intake, performance pages, paddle shifters and a console-mounted performance floor shifter. Continue reading.
New Truck Preview: Lowly GMC Canyon tries again in 2023
What can GMC do to improve the country’s worst-selling midsized pickup truck? The 2023 Canyon, the debut of the truck’s third generation, will feature a new exterior and interior. A more modern, stylized exterior including a new fascia, will highlight the exterior; the interior will be based on an improved offer of the current GMT 31XX platform. Read more.
Is this your RV?
If it’s yours and you can prove it to us (send a photo for comparison), tell us here by 9 p.m. Pacific time today, July 11, 2021. If it’s yours you’ll win a $25 Amazon gift certificate.
If this isn’t your RV, send us a photo of your RV (if you haven’t already) for a chance to win in future issues.
Last week two readers claimed their $20 Amazon gift cards: Sarah Stranz of Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, and Bruce Wallace of Wilsonville, Oregon.
We’ll have another photo in tomorrow’s RV Daily Tips newsletter (sign up to receive an email alert so you don’t miss the issue or those that follow). Some of these photos are submitted by readers while others were taken by our editors and writers on their travels around the USA.
An every-other-week roundup of news stories that will make you smile (and maybe shed a tear or two…). This week: Fred, an adorable life-saving pooch; a double-arm double-shoulder amputee; a cat and iguana duo; a dog in a wheelchair; and a few more cute animal videos. Click here to smile.
?????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
These made us laugh out loud. We’d want to be friends with anyone who puts these out for their guests.
For couples: Do you get along better in your RV or in your traditional home?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. CLICK HERE.
Stupid RVer Tricks! Oh, what some of them do! Watch and [maybe] weep!
I am as round as the sun and the moon
I can be shallow or deep
I come in many different sizes and colors
People use me in the summer
but not very often in the winter
What am I?
Thanks to Scott Hunter for submitting! Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
Of all the black tank treatments we’ve tried, this is one that works!
Writer Kate Doherty and her husband have tried every black tank treatment on the market – none of them met their standards until they met Doctor Poop, who introduced them to TankTechsRx. Read all about this amazing black-tank-life-changing product here, and be sure to try it out for yourself.
We’ve Also Heard …
Full parks in Michigan. Michigan State Park officials report that their campgrounds were at 96% of capacity during the recent Fourth of July weekend.
Too hot! On Friday, Death Valley National Park in California recorded a staggering high of 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54 Celsius). If verified, the 130-degree reading would be the hottest high recorded there since July 1913, when the same Furnace Creek desert area hit 134 F (57 C), considered the highest reliably measured temperature on Earth.
New York State Fair camping reservations open. If you’re planning to attend this year’s New York State Fair in Syracuse, you can make reservations for the Fair’s Empire RV Park next to the midway. This year’s fair runs Aug. 20 to Sept. 6. Click HERE for more info.
It’s gonna get crowded off the road, too. A research firm called Fact.MR is forecasting worldwide sales of off-road recreation vehicles to top 1.8 billion by 2028.
Jellystone Parks adds new locations. If you’re looking for a place to take the kids or grandkids, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts announced it recently added a new franchised park in Parachute, Colorado. Earlier this year the family camping chain announced a new resort is also under construction in Hurricane, Utah.
Fuel prices should peak this month. Fuel prices are expected to peak in July before slowly declining for the rest of the year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Regular gas in the U.S. averaged $3.06 in June, the first time it topped the $3 mark since 2014. The agency is predicting an average of $2.76 by December.
Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis, CNBC’s “The Profit,” must not be very happy about the results of the RVtravel.com survey last Sunday that asked readers “How would you rate Camping World’s service and repair department?” Only 4 percent of those who responded awarded the company an “A” while nearly half gave it an “F”. Read the current results tally and reader comments.
You’re “kinda” safe in national parks. A new analysis of data from the U.S. National Park Service shows you have an eight in 10 million chance of dying during your park visit. There have been 2,727 deaths in national parks between 2007 and 2018. During that time, the parks had 3.5 billion visitors.
Hipcamp sets up shop up north. Hipcamp added Canada to its list of host destinations in June, and has already signed up more than 700 private “hosts” in Canada offering up spots for overnight tenters and RVers. The service pairs landowners with campsites to campers looking for a place to land. Hipcamp already claims more than 3 million successful night stays in the U.S.
Get ready for summer. Don’t swelter in your RV!
At RVtravel.com we don’t see too many products that we go nuts over, but the SoftStartRV is a game-changer. Here’s what it can do:
• Run one air conditioner using only a small portable generator.
• Run one air conditioner on 20-amp household current.
• Run two air conditioners (with 2 SoftStartRVs) on a 30-amp hookup.
• Run an air conditioner or two using your onboard inverter system. Read more.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
Police in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, are asking for help in identifying two males and a female connected to the theft of two travel trailers. The trailers were parked in the sales lot at Cousins RV, located on Youngfield Street. Anyone with information on the suspects or the trucks they were driving is asked to contact Detective K. Smith of the Wheat Ridge Police Department at 303-235-2980.
See many more recently stolen RVs. Let’s help find these for their owners and maybe even put the crooks in the slammer. Click here.
Campground and RV Park News
Developments in places where we stay across the USA
Janet Groene reports each week on developments at RV parks and campgrounds across the USA and Canada. There’s a lot of good information here that you can use to plan your travels. Read the current installment of “Campground and RV Park News” here.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
• Some Roadtrek RVs recalled for missing gas detector
• Some Northwood Arctic Fox, Nash RVs recalled for stove fire danger
• (Heartland) Mallard, Wilderness, Trail Runner, North Trail trailers recalled
• Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups recalled for engine fire risk
Hitch Ball Lubricant extends the life of your hitch mount!
Protect hitch balls and receivers from corrosion with this high-film strength and waterproof grease. Formulated to stay where you apply it, this lubricant reduces friction, wear, rust, water corrosion and noise. Compatible with any variety of trailer applications like receiver hitches, ball mounts, hitch balls, locks, couplers, jacks, and more. Learn more or order here.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Are campground early check-in fees a new trend? It seems so…
• Campground Crowding: Old newsletter shows crowding was an issue long ago
• That’s just not true! 13 common myths about RVing
• For many RVers, COVID-19 led to an early retirement
• What has been your best guest service experience at a campground or RV park?
• Off-road toys. How do you use yours?
• Photograph spectacular sunsets!
• A historic home-run: Road trip stops across the U.S. for baseball fans
• RV Tire Safety: Should you use the inflation that is listed on the tire sidewall?
• Airplane lovers, you’ll love this! Half RV, half DC-3 plane = one RVer’s dream
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of July 5, 2021:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.12 [Calif.: $4.14]
Change from week before: Up 3 cents; Change from year before: Up 95 cents.
Diesel: $3.33 [Calif.: $4.19]
Change from week before: Up 3 cents; Change from year before: Up 89 cents.
Road Atlas: Adventure Edition
As much as we love technology, we still appreciate a good physical road atlas. This highly rated National Geographic Road Atlas: Adventure Edition is certainly one to love. The atlas has up-to-date road maps for all 50 states, plus Canada and Mexico. Cities and metro areas include popular attractions and points of interest. The atlas also acts as a guidebook to National Parks and the top 100 adventure destinations. This atlas is cool! Check it out.
Sign up for an email reminder for our weekday RV Daily Tips Newsletter, published every Monday through Friday. You won’t want to miss it!
Upcoming RV shows
Most of the RV shows in 2021 have been canceled. We will restart our show directory feature here as shows begin again. In the meantime, see the frequently updated schedule here.
Recipe of the Day
Roasted Shrimp, Corn, Orzo, Lemon, and Parsley Salad
by Amelia Schaffner from Atlanta, GA
Yum-my! This is such a light, flavorful recipe. I LOVE the addition of orzo. I used a little less basil than called for and it turned out great, so feel free to adjust as you see fit – this recipe is so good it can handle it!
Sounds like the perfect summer recipe! Get it here.
Did you miss yesterday’s recipe, Beef Stroganoff Sandwiches? Get it here.
Other recipes featured in this week’s Daily Tips Newsletters:
• Watermelon Summer Salad
• Parm Crusted Chicken My Way
• Crispy Chewy Chocolate Chip Cappuccino Cookies
• Club BLT Dip Brandy’s Way
• Taco Pasta
Be like Mike! Use this 3-light and digital voltage tester!
RV electricity expert Mike Sokol says: “I found this nifty tester online and have been using it in a variety of voltage checking situations. It performs all of the 3-light tests for outlet polarity, open ground, open neutral, etc., as well as being a 3-digit digital voltage indicator. In addition, it performs a standard 5 mA GFCI safety test – which you should be performing on all of your GFCI outlets once a month (or at least once a camping season).” Read more about it here.
Brain teaser answer:
A paper plate!
Doctor Jones likes to stop at a bar after work and enjoy an almond daiquiri. One day, Dick the bartender runs out of almonds and uses hickory nuts instead. The doctor takes a sip and asks Dick, “Is this an almond daiquiri?” Dick replies, “No, it’s a hickory daiquiri, Doc.”
The Perfect Scam Podcast
Every Sunday we present a podcast from AARP about scams and how crooks are stealing your money, often via telemarketing. Their efforts are often most successful with people 65 years and older who fall victim to the scammers’ sophisticated techniques. Here is this week’s episode.
In part two of this podcast, Mike and Alan devise a scheme that leads to the fraudsters’ arrests. Listen to part one in issue 1006.
Today in History
Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Managing editor: Mike Gast. Associate editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris. Senior writers: Nanci Dixon, Tony Barthel. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Gail Marsh, Roger Marble, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, James Raia, Kate Doherty, J.R. Montigel, Clint Norrell, Randall Brink and Chris Epting. Podcast host and producer: Scott Linden. Special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore, Linda Brady. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.
Honorary Correspondents: Loyal readers who regularly email us leads about news stories and other information and resources that aid our own news-gathering efforts.
Tom and Lois Speirs • Mike Sherman • George Bliss • Steve Barnes • Tom Hart + others who we will add later.
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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