Welcome back to North America’s best source for news and information for RVers. Here’s hoping that you had a wonderful and safe New Year’s, and that you’re ready to make your plans for fantastic RVing excursions in 2022. As always, we at RVtravel.com appreciate your help through voluntary contributions to keep this newsletter coming your way, and be sure to check out all of our other RV-related newsletters.
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Sunday, January 2, 2022
Non-Members (advertising-supported) edition
Did you miss yesterday’s edition of the RV Travel Newsletter? If so, it’s here.
RV dealers cheated customers, hit with fine and orders from NY state
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Two major national RV retailers have been hit with strict orders and one with a $50,000 fine by New York State. RV One Superstores, Inc., and RV Retailer East, LLC, signed off on agreements after the New York Attorney General’s office investigated complaints by consumers. The two outfits were found to have cheated customers in multiple ways, and dragged their feet when making repairs to customers’ RVs. Continue reading.
Cold weather camping isn’t stopping the more than 56 million new RVers
By Mike Gast
Cold-weather camping is apparently going to be a “thing” over the next few months. The KOA Monthly Research Report – December Edition projects that 8.69 million camping households are planning a cold-weather camping trip this year. … Those that camped for the first time in 2021 are particularly interested in trying a winter camping trip. It is estimated that 69 percent of new camping households are considering a winter camping trip. RV trips are the most popular form (51 percent) of winter camping trips … Read more.
Campground Crowding: Memberships not worth it, and they don’t help get you a reservation!
By Nanci Dixon
RV sales have skyrocketed and more people than ever are taking up RVing. The result is campground crowding like never before! In this weekly blog, RV Travel readers discuss their experiences. This week, as usual, there are complaints about reservation cancellation policies and a tip on the best way if you need to cancel. A reader has analyzed campground memberships and explains why he won’t join one. And there’s a positive note about no-shows at the campground. Much more here.
Sun Communities buys Leisure Systems Inc./Jellystone Parks Franchise System
Sun Communities, which earlier this year announced plans to aggressively further its stake in the campground industry throughout the U.S. and Canada, has purchased Leisure Systems Incorporated (LSI), the franchisor for all 75 Jellystone Parks campgrounds. Continue reading.
Will a new player in the campground franchising business change RVing?
We recently (see above) told you about the sale of Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI), the company that runs the Jellystone Park camping franchise, to Sun Outdoors. LSI includes about 75 parks in its franchised portfolio, and Sun Outdoors owned and operated about 175 RV resorts before the sale. What’s it all mean to the average RVer? Probably not a lot, at least for now. Learn more.
Traveling the “Hydrogen Highway.” Could it be the future of RVing?
By James Raia
Alternatively fueled cars and trucks have slowly impacted the automotive industry, largely with hybrid and all-electric vehicles. More recently, three manufacturers have introduced hydrogen-propelled vehicles in California and sporadically in a few other states. The same technology could be on the horizon for the RV industry. Several companies have been developing hydrogen fuel cells to power motorhomes. Read more about the future of hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Ghost Town shootout puts RV campgrounds in the crosshairs
By Andy Zipser
Through the latter part of the 20th century, one of the biggest tourist attractions in western North Carolina was Ghost Town in the Sky, a Wild West-themed amusement park that at its peak drew half a million visitors each year. … For the past two decades, however, the Ghost Town in the Sky has lived up to its name in unintended fashion after it was shut down altogether. Now there are proposed big changes in the works that have the locals in Maggie Valley in an uproar. Learn more.
Today’s RV review…
In part two, Tony continues to look at what he thinks are the best and worst RV features in 2021. Find out the rest of his favorite, and least favorite, features in the final part of this series.
Yesterday’s review: A look at 2021’s best – and worst – RV features, Part 1
Last week’s reviews:
• Thor Class C: Thor Quantum Sprinter
• 2022 OBI Dweller overlanding trailer
• r•pod RP-153
• nüCamp Cirrus 620 half-ton truck camper
• Taking a Fleetwood Discovery to Cousin Eddie (you have to see this!)
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
December 26, 2021 – January 1, 2022
Younger RVers are changing manufacturing. The rise in RV ownership among Millennials and Gen Zers is changing what RV manufacturers are building in their plants, according to data from the RV Industry Association. Buyers in the 18- to 34-year-old range now make up 22% of current RV owners. 84% of current Millennial and Gen Z owners also said they expect to purchase a new unit in the next five years. Many of those young buyers want smaller towable and motorized Class B and C RVs, and that’s starting to change the mix at manufacturing plants. In coming months and years, it’s likely many more Class B and C motorhomes will take the place of huge Class A motorhomes on assembly lines.
Out-of-staters paying more in Oregon parks. Here’s a reminder that the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has begun charging out-of-state residents 25% more for RV sites for stays beginning January 1. Oregon residents with RVs pay an RV license plate fee, with some proceeds going to state park operations. The surcharge is designed to achieve parity, and the revenue it generates will pay for day-to-day operations and repairs to state parks, which are not funded by taxes, the agency said. The increase applies to all sites with hookups for recreational vehicles. Including lodging tax, a typical RV site with sewer and electrical hookups will cost $30-$50 per night for non-residents, compared to $24-$40 for Oregon residents. The increase does not affect existing reservations.
Grant will help fund new RV development in Alabama. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has awarded $950,000 in community block grant funds to the city of Heflin, Alabama, to help construct a new Great American RV Superstore as well as an RV resort. The development would be located on a 30-acre site in the Heflin Industrial Park. “This latest venture in Heflin will provide a wonderful site for RV owners wishing to have their vehicles serviced, buy a new vehicle or just enjoy a wonderful campground,” Ivey said. “It will also create new job opportunities for the people of Heflin and the surrounding area.” Great American RV is planning to invest up to $20 million in the development.
Merger will join two Oregon RV parks. A commercial real estate developer has come up with a nearly $16 million loan to fund the acquisition, renovation and eventual combination of the Hart’s Camp and Cape Kiwanda RV Resort on the Oregon coast near Pacific City. ACRES Capital Corp. is funding the loan. Hart’s Camp currently has 38 RV sites and seven rental Airstream trailers. Cape Kiwanda RV Resort has 110 RV sites, seven tent sites, 14 deluxe cottages, and 14 camping cabins. The resort also has a pizzeria, a market, deli and ice cream shop. The loan will not only fund the merger of the two parks but will fund site improvements and other added amenities.
Another micro-RV in the making. Daihatsu is an automotive brand you might remember from the late 1980s. In the U.S., the Japanese company marketed a small off-road vehicle like the Suzuki Samurai. The company is planning to take its latest innovation – the Atrai Deck Camper – for display at the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon show soon. It features a pop-up tent on the roof. No other details are yet available, including whether they plan to eventually target the U.S. market.
Dark projections for trucking industry. Ryan Wilkinson, chief technology officer for IntelliShift, a truck fleet safety and management company, has some dour projections for 2022. In an article on Trucks.com, Wilkinson said he expects supply chain issues to continue throughout 2022 and well into 2023. He said manufacturers’ desire for scarce microchips will cause many of them to outsource microchip manufacturing to other factories, taking away space and manufacturing potential from other components needed to complete manufacturing in industries not reliant on the chips. He said the truck driver shortage will also continue and likely get worse. Keep an eye on the DRIVE-Safe Act in Congress, which is set to lower the age limit for a commercial driver’s license to 18. Yikes! You can take a look at Wilkinson’s full article here.
Highway fire guts family’s RV home. A Florida family of four that had been living in their RV escaped injury when the rig caught on fire as they were towing it down Florida State Road 83 near DeFuniak Springs, Florida, on Christmas Day. Another motorist flagged down the Pettrey family when they noticed flames coming out of the fifth-wheel RV. The family has been traveling around the U.S. for the past year, after one of their sons was diagnosed with leukemia.
Winnebago is making all the right moves. Winnebago Industries has increased its market share in the RV industry from 3% in 2016 to nearly 13% at the end of 2021. The company has added a few big acquisitions and investments in the past few years that are credited with the increase that has launched their annual sales to more than $4 billion this year, compared to $1 billion in 2016. Robust demand has also led Winnebago’s gross profit margins to hit a record 20% of sales, with free cash flow at over $200 million, compared to less than $100 million in fiscal 2017.
One way to solve the truck driver shortage. Walmart has rolled out driverless delivery trucks with no human “safety driver” on board. The company is using the trucks to move online orders from a fulfillment center near its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, to a nearby Walmart retail center. It’s the first time an autonomous trucking company has removed the safety driver from a commercial delivery route between warehouses and a pickup point. Walmart partnered with a company called Gatik two years ago to test the trucks on the route. Now, the driverless trucks are cruising the route multiple times a day, seven days a week, on the public roadways. Maybe leaving the wheel of your rolling RV to make a cup of coffee isn’t so far-fetched after all.
Stay early at new Hilton Head National RV Resort. The new Hilton Head National RV Resort near Bluffton, South Carolina, is slated to be fully open by February 1, but the resort is making 20 of its 341 sites available for a “soft opening” flat rate of $89 a night until January 31. The new place features a clubhouse, café/lounge, dog park, playground, basketball courts, pickleball courts, arcade, store, fitness center and heated pool. The park is adjacent to the Hilton Head National Golf Course. You can only get the soft opening $89 rate by calling 843-707-4800 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern.
Bad news for F-150 owners. Ford has announced two recalls for different model years of its F-150 pickup truck. It has also recalled its Transit cargo van. The first recall is for 184,698 F-150s from the 2021 and 2022 model years. The automaker said underbody heat and noise insulators may loosen and contact the aluminum driveshaft, which could damage the driveshaft and cause it to fracture. The second recall is for 57,591 2018 F-150 trucks with manual and power-release tailgates that could unlatch while driving. If you decided to make a Class B out of a 2020 Ford Transit van, Ford would like to take another look at the all-wheel drive, which could become loose due to a faulty bolt.
Just don’t do this, OK? A gas pump went up in flames Monday in Salt Lake City after an RV pulled away from the pumps with the hose still attached. The pump was dragged by the RV, igniting a fireball. Quick-thinking station employees hit the emergency stop button for the pump and the fire went out. Unbelievably, the RVer kept going and had to be tracked down by police.
Family escapes RV fire in Utah. A family that was living in their large RV while the father remotely worked as an investment manager lost their rolling home while visiting friends in Veyo, Utah. All six members of the Copeland family escaped, but father, Kyle, and his eldest daughter were airlifted from the scene with severe burns. Two other children were slightly injured. The RV was destroyed. The fire apparently started in a propane heater.
Five entrance-fee-free days at National Parks. There will be five entrance-fee-free days at national parks in 2022. The dates for the free days are:
• Monday, January 17 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
• Saturday, April 16 – First Day of National Park Week
• Thursday, August 4 – Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
• Saturday, September 24 – National Public Lands Day
• Friday, November 11 – Veterans Day
Class A goes “boom” in Texas. Texas RVer Steve Paulsgrove was just driving his Class A RV down the street in South Padre Island, Texas, last week when he heard a “boom” in the back. He pulled over to check the noise and saw smoke pouring from his rig. Patrons from a nearby restaurant tried to help with a small fire extinguisher, but it was already too late. The RV was a total loss.
Campers rescued from California beach park. Firefighters from Los Angeles and Ventura Counties rescued 27 campers who were stranded by flooding at Leo Carrillo State Beach on Thursday. A creek at the beach overflowed, trapping the campers and making it impossible for them to reach higher ground.
Plans considered for large RV park in Connecticut. Plans are being reviewed for a new 304-site RV resort on 65 acres of land near Preston, Connecticut. The park would be at the junction of Routes 2 and 164. The project would be called Bluewater Recreational Campground Resort at Avery Pond. The plan is now before the Inland Wetlands Planning and Zoning Commission.
Stellar Pizza company is on the launchpad. The days of hand-tossed pizza are numbered. Three engineers who formerly worked for Elon Musk’s SpaceX company have come up with a new technology that can produce a pizza, start to finish – with no human involvement. The company is called Stellar Pizza and involves a touchless pizza-making machine that fits into the back of a truck. The machine can make and bake a pizza in under five minutes. Stellar Pizza will be offering only pepperoni and supreme pizzas, for starters. But customers can also customize through a “build your own” option. Get ready to share the road with big red pizza manufacturing trucks!
DRIVING TO ALASKA? You’ll want to read the Guide to the Alaska Highway first. it’s here.
Thetford’s toilet seal isn’t crappy!
Nobody wants to talk about a yucky toilet, but nobody wants to actually have to deal with a yucky toilet either… Enter Thetford’s Toilet Seal Lube and Conditioner. It works on all RV and boat toilets and protects the seal from drying out. If your toilet’s seal dries out, it can prevent it from sealing and holding water. You don’t want that! This is one of those products you should really use, even if dealing with your toilet isn’t your all-time favorite thing to do. Check it out.
Is this your RV?
Win a $25 Amazon gift certificate if today’s RV photo shows your rig
Every day we post a photo of an RV either submitted by its owner or by our editors as they move about the country.
RV show info, health care in QZ, and more
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Welcome to our regular – albeit seasonal – update on the news from the RVing Capital of the World. If you’re a QZ regular, or just thinking about “dropping in to check it out,” we’ll give you ditties and dollops of what’s happening in and around Quartzsite.
Things are beginning to liven up. Street traffic is up, RV parks are plumping out, and vendors are swapping stuff for money. While the Big Tent hasn’t been put up, folks are talking about the RV show – and it won’t be long now! Wonder about what to do if you need health care while taking in the Big Q? We’ll tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly. All that and more – read on!
Have you ever been in an auto accident that sent you to the hospital for 24 hours or more?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. CLICK HERE.
Big Rig RV owners! You need this!
If you aren’t carrying the 2022 Rand McNally Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas with you in your RV, you’re inviting trouble. This is the atlas that truckers rely on to plan their routes. It helps them get “there” the fastest while avoiding roads where they could get stuck with turns too tight or bridges too low to fit through without shaving off their roofs. Even if you have a GPS, this is an important resource! Learn more or order.
Photo of the Week
Gaila Mallery sent this photo along. A friend of hers took it in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She wrote: “This rig was in a Walmart parking lot. The owner came out as we were leaving. He’s an older fellow who walks with a cane and is hard of hearing. He lives in the rig. There’s a female mannequin in Western garb in the passenger seat.”
We’ve also heard …
New equestrian campground coming to West Virginia. A new campground with a covered corral and 20 horse stalls is being developed at North Bend State Park in Ritchie County, West Virginia. It will be the largest of three equestrian campgrounds in the state. The campground will include a loop of 12 pull-in campsites large enough to accommodate RVs and horse trailers. It is being built adjacent to the Cokeley Campground at North Bend.
Private campground in B.C. is going condo. The last private campground on British Columbia’s Okanagan Lake may soon be an upscale 49-condo tourist and residential project. The former Todd’s RV & Campground property has already been sold to developers Porchlight Development.
RV One Superstores opening new Florida location. RV One Superstores of Jacksonville, Florida, will hold a grand opening January 7 for its new dealership at 8281 Merrill Road in Jacksonville. The dealership will carry Forest River, Thor Motor Coach, Braxton Creek, Jayco, Highland Ridge RV, Heartland, Dutchman, Cruiser RV and Airstream brands.
Stove fire claims RV in Oregon. A man living in an RV in Roseburg, Oregon, lost his rig last Sunday morning when a flash fire erupted when he lit his stove, starting a fire on a nearby stack of newspapers. The RV was totally destroyed.
Ontario campgrounds had a busy year. Ontario Parks Department is reporting a total of nearly 800,000 camping reservations processed so far in 2021. That’s up 13% over 2020, when there were just over 700,000 reservations.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
Lorraine Knorr of Santa Fe, NM, was away from her RV for a short time in early December. She asked a friend to take the 2012 Jayco Eagle Super Lite to a local tire dealer for a tire change. While there, the trailer was stolen from the outside storage lot. Knorr lives in the trailer, so is now homeless. The RV’s license plate is 58588RVC. If you have seen it contact the Santa Fe police at 505-428-3710.
Did someone rip off your ride? Let us post information on your stolen RV. Email Russ (at) rvtravel.com.
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.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
• Jayco recalls some Alante and Entegra motorhomes. Wiring could melt
• Cruiser RV recalls some trailers for wrong tire information
• KZRV trailer recall: Propane line routed improperly
• Some Forest River fifth wheel trailers recalled for carbon monoxide danger
????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
This might be something that will really help you! Click here and see if we’re right.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Dump station etiquette – How long is “too long” when others are waiting?
• Overloaded pickup? Your taillight might tell you!
• Ask Dave: My rig gets blown all over the road. What can I do?
• A portable stovetop oven that actually works
• Is there a 12-volt electric blanket for use in my RV?
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of December 27, 2021:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.28 [Calif.: $4.49]
Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Up $1.03.
Diesel: $3.62 [Calif.: $4.77]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 98 cents.
One family wants to get through a tunnel. Dad can make it in 1 minute, mom in 2 minutes, son in 4 and daughter in 5 minutes. No more than 2 persons can go through the tunnel at one time, moving at the speed of the slower one. Can they all make it to the other side if they have a torch that lasts only 12 minutes and they are afraid of the dark?
Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
The smallest, most brilliant cutlery organizer for your RV
It’s like this was made for RVs! Usually cutlery organizers take up entire drawers, you know those ones that spread out and take up unnecessary space. This one doesn’t do that! This small compact tray organizes your cutlery in an amazing space-saving way. It fits up to 24 pieces of cutlery, so you’re not losing any space! Check it out and order one for yourself.
Upcoming RV shows
• Tarrant County RV Show, January 6-9, Fort Worth, TX
• All American Outdoor Expo, January 7-9, Fort Wayne, IN
• Greensboro RV Show, January 7-9, Greensboro, NC
• Gulf Coast RV Show, January 7-9, Mobile, AL
• Knoxville RV Super Show, January 7-9, Sevierville, TN
• South Carolina RV & Camping Show, January 7-9, Greenville, SC
• Ohio RV and Boat Show, January 7-16, Columbus, OH
• Indy RV Expo, January 8-16, Indianapolis, IN
• Pittsburgh RV Show, January 8-16, Pittsburgh, PA
• Quartzsite RV Show, January 22-30, Quartzsite, AZ
• Seattle RV Show, February 17-20, Seattle, WA
Recipe of the Day
These healthy wraps are so good! The meat and vegetable mixture is full of delicious Asian flavors. Tangy and sweet with a hint of nuttiness, the dipping sauce it a super tasty complement to the ground turkey.
For a healthy meal, these sound delicious! Get the recipe.
Did you miss yesterday’s recipe, Parmesan Crusted Ranch Tilapia? Get it here.
Other recipes featured in this week’s Daily Tips Newsletters:
• Asiago & Gruyere Potato Gratin
• Ultimate Avocado Toast
• Lisa’s Air Fried Salmon With Dijon Dill Sauce
• Ham and Swiss Hot Bread Bowl Dip
• Deep-Fried Mushrooms
Brain teaser answer:
First Mom and Dad – 2 minutes. Dad comes back – 3 minutes. Both children go to Mom – 8 minutes. Mom comes to Dad – 10 minutes and they both get to their children – 12 minutes.
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.
Get ready for 2022 with the 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.
Today in History
We ask for your support
As you can imagine when reading this issue, putting it together along with more than 500 newsletters each year takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Advertising helps pay some of our bills, but the generous contributions of our voluntary subscribers allow us to bring you far more important and unbiased information. If you value what we do, please join these readers by pledging your support.
Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Associate editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris. Senior writers: Nanci Dixon, Tony Barthel, Mike Gast. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Gail Marsh, Roger Marble, Dave Solberg, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, Scott Linden, James Raia, Kate Doherty, J.R. Montigel, Clint Norrell, Randall Brink, Chris Epting and Karel Carnohan, DVM. Special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore, Linda Brady, Mark Gorrie. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. Special Reports: Bradford Geer. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.
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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