Welcome back to North America’s best source for news and information for RVers. Now that you’ve had your fill of the Winter Olympics, it’s time to finalize your own outdoor plans for 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, February 20, 2022
Non-Members (advertising-supported) edition
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 we hear from several readers who say they’re not seeing the crowds, and from others who offer suggestions on how to handle reservations at crowded campgrounds. And what’s that about a snowbird tax? Find out here.
Some National Parks aren’t as crowded as before pandemic
Maybe some of the national parks in the U.S. aren’t as crowded as you thought. The U.S. National Parks Service just released its official annual visitation statistics for 2021, and some of the results are surprising. Learn more.
Black camper numbers growing, and outdoor industry is taking note
Is camping really everyone’s favorite outdoor activity? Maybe not quite yet when you consider minority groups. But it appears we’re making some progress. Kampgrounds of America Inc. celebrated Black History Month in February by releasing research dealing with the prevalence of camping among Black Americans. The data shows a continued growth in the number of Black Americans either packing up a tent, renting a cabin, or purchasing an RV. Continue reading.
Washington state passes law to stop catalytic converter theft
On Saturday, February 12, 2022, the Washington House of Representatives passed legislation to stem the sharp rise in catalytic converter thefts across Washington state. HB 1815 requires a scrap metal business engaging in a transaction involving a catalytic converter removed from a vehicle to record documentation indicating that it came from a vehicle registered in the seller’s name. Learn more.
Don’t miss yesterday’s consumer report
Should an RV be sold that is overweight when only two passengers and a few clothes are onboard? And nothing else? Believe it or not, it’s happening! Read this eye-opening report from Tony Barthel.
Travel nurses turn to RVs to find work, scenery and adventure
There has been a shortage of nurses in America for a long time. … To fill the gap, hospitals have been forced to turn to temporary travel nurses, often paying triple the hourly rate or more for a market of roving nurses that is estimated to reach 100,000 this year. Learn more.
Fire takes out new RVs at Indiana Keystone plant
If you thought your brand-new Keystone RV was finished and was just waiting at the factory to be delivered, you might have to think again. Continue reading.
KOA adds multi-reservation shopping cart function to website
Campers staying at Kampgrounds of America parks will no longer have to make individual reservations for each stay along the way. KOA just released a multi-reservation shopping cart function on its website. With this new functionality, guests can complete multiple reservations at one campground or across multiple campgrounds in one transaction, making booking faster and easier across KOA locations. Learn more.
Maine cat becomes Florida snowbird—goes home after seven years
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
We can understand why RVers from Maine become snowbirds. After all, with winter temperatures in the single digits, it’s enough to freeze your digits! We can’t wrap our fingers (numb or otherwise) around how many Mainers flee to the south each winter but, no doubt, there’s plenty of them. Mainers often become Florida snowbirds. But a weird story out of Florida shows not just “hoomons” make for snowbirds. Continue reading.
Reservations start Saturday for May 20-22 S.D. Open House Weekend camping
South Dakota State Parks are getting ready to kickstart the summer camping season with its Open House Weekend May 20-22. Saturday, February 19, will be the first day to reserve campsites, camping cabins, modern lodging, and picnic shelters for arrival on May 20 for the Open House Weekend. Learn more.
What do you think?
Yesterday, we asked readers this question: “When staying in a luxury RV in a full hookup RV resort, are you camping?” Approximately what percent said, yes, they are indeed camping? 17%, 33% or 61%? Find out here.
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel looks at the Ember RV Overland 171FB. Tony says, “The combination of the build methodology and materials, unique design, off-grid capability and outstanding suspension really make this a stand-out trailer.”
Yesterday’s review: Winnebago Hike
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
February 13–19, 2022
New dealership opens in Quad Cities. There’s a new 25,000-square-foot RV dealership facility in Blue Grass, Iowa, part of the Quad Cities region. Premier RV’s new dealership has 14 service bays, a paint booth and a full parts and display area. On-site inventory includes 150 new and used RVs.
Reservations for American Prairie campgrounds opening soon. Camping reservations for 2022 on nonprofit American Prairie Reserve’s land in North Central Montana will open to the public February 26. The facility includes two campgrounds, Buffalo Camp and Antelope Creek, which have RV sites with full hookups, rental cabins, tent platforms and potable water. RV sites at Antelope Creek go for $33 a night, and a rate of $16 a night for Buffalo Camp. American Prairie is comprised of nine large properties and a handful of smaller holdings. You can learn more about this nonprofit here.
Popular panhandle campground reopens. Hurricane Michael closed it three years ago, but the St. Andrews State Park Campground in the Florida Panhandle near Panama City Beach is again open for business. The 158-site campground has all new water, electric and sewer lines to every site. Park manager Scott Robinson said reservations have been “off the charts” in the past two weeks. Find out more here.
Live like Lemonis. If you’d love to live like Camping World CEO and The Profit TV star Marcus Lemonis, all you need is about $25 million. That’s the asking price (actually, it’s $24,850,000) for Lemonis’ huge estate in Montecito, California. Lemonis bought the property in 2017 and financed a “down to the studs” redo. The 8,100-square-foot single-level mansion includes five bedrooms (there are two separate bathrooms and closets in the master), a formal living room with loft office, and a gym. It comes with two acres of grounds including a new pool and spa, tennis court and pavilion.
Michigan RV park a no-go. A planned new RV park in Torch River, Michigan, has been rejected again by the local township planning commission. The commissioners ruled that the proposed park didn’t meet zoning requirements. They also weren’t happy that the developers had already significantly altered the site prior to getting the approval of the commission.
Big brands don’t want outdoor show in Utah. High-profile outdoor brands Patagonia, REI and The North Face are threatening to boycott the annual Outdoor Retailer Trade Show if organizers move the event from Denver back to Salt Lake City. Leaders of the three outdoor firms have accused Utah’s leaders of chipping away at protections for national monuments and public lands. So far, Utah’s Governor Spencer Cox hasn’t had any comment. The Outdoor Industry moved the show out of Utah in 2017 after Utah lawmakers asked then-President Donald Trump to repeal the newly designated Bears Ears National Monument.
N.D. State Park reservations open. North Dakota State Parks have opened reservations for the 2022 summer camping season. Camping reservations can be made starting 95 days prior to the date of arrival at the state park, meaning that reservations made on February 14 would be for an arrival date of May 20. To book dates later in the summer season, you’ll have to wait until they are within the 95-day window. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-807-4723 or by visiting parkrec.nd.gov.
A Phoenix man was arrested Monday after authorities say nearly 880 pounds of methamphetamine and more than 110 pounds of suspected fentanyl were found hidden inside his 2008 Roadmaster motorhome at the Lukeville Port of Entry on the Arizona-Mexico border. The drugs were sniffed out by a border patrol canine and included 129 packages of drugs hidden within the roof-mounted A/C unit. The booty was worth nearly $4.4 million dollars.
Toyota investing in e-vehicle parts. Toyota is making a $90 million investment to expand parts production for electric vehicles. The investment will be made at Toyota factories in West Virginia and Tennessee. Toyota had previously announced it would invest $240 million to add a production line dedicated to hybrid powertrains at its factory in Buffalo, West Virginia.
Family Dollar Stores are favorite quick stops for RVers. But right now, be careful about shopping at some stores where products may have been contaminated by rodent infestations and unsanitary conditions. Conditions observed during an FDA inspection last month of a West Memphis, Arkansas, warehouse included live rodents, 1,100 dead rodents in various states of decay, rodent feces and urine, evidence of gnawing, nesting and rodent odors throughout the facility, dead birds and bird droppings and products stored in conditions that did not protect against contamination. Stores affected are in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Camping World network grows. Camping World is acquiring Bowling RVs in Ottumwa, Iowa. It will be Camping World’s fourth location in Iowa. The facility, located at 14270 Sycamore Road, just off US highway 63, near the Des Moines River, will transition to the Camping World brand at the deal’s closing.
What do you call 1,000 new RV technicians? You would call it a good start. The RV Technical institute has set a goal of enlisting 1,000 new RV technicians from outside the RV industry in 2022. “The phones are ringing off the hook,” said Institute Director Curt Hemmeler. “We’re encouraged by the momentum and the strong show of interest, and we are excited to continue our recruitment efforts as we work to enroll a thousand new technicians into our training program and ensure more people are able to enjoy traveling in their RVs.”
If you think summer camping is too crowded, give winter a try. Camping app The Dyrt says winter camping has increased 40.7% since 2019. Results from a survey of more than 3,000 users of The Dyrt indicate camping is increasing in popularity throughout the year, but the most significant change has come in the coldest months. “For some people, solitude is one of the things they love most about camping,” says The Dyrt CEO Kevin Long. “With the surge in camping over the last two years filling up campgrounds, more and more people are realizing that there are amazing camping experiences to be had all year round. A lot of campers are currently busy planning trips for 2022, but many are out there right now braving the cold and finding their peace.”
Jellystone Park Resorts signs three new franchisees. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts has signed three more franchisee agreements for new locations set to open in 2022. The three new spots are:
- Stark County, Ohio – Northgate Holdings acquired the award-winning Clay’s Park Resort south of Cleveland and is converting the 600-site campground to the Jellystone Park brand. Clay’s Park Resort was awarded Park of the Year in 2021 by the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds.
- Augusta, Maine – Northgate Holdings also purchased the Beaver Brook Campground and is transforming it into a Jellystone Park.
- New Douglas, Illinois – BJ and Jenn Davis are converting their Rustic Acres Campground near St. Louis, Missouri, into a Jellystone Park.
You can’t RV in Antarctica, but you can glamp! A company called White Desert has a new glamping camp in Antarctica called “Echo.” You’ll stay in one of six heated “sky pods” complete with floor-to-ceiling windows. Each unit can fit two guests and comes with a lot of extras including chefs, hosts and expert guides. White Desert flies you to the camp via private jet. The price tag? Only $65,000 per person for a five-day stay.
New S.C. resort opening this spring. This spring, there will be a new RV resort near Columbia, South Carolina, that caters to the big RVs. Big Rig Friendly RV Resort will open this spring at 336 Gardners Terrace Road in West Columbia. The project has been in the works for the past two years. The park will have between 270 and 300 RV sites, all built to accommodate big rigs. The RV resort wiil include a swimming pool, outdoor pavilion, pickleball courts, a playground, dog park, on-site office, store, bathrooms and showers, a gathering room, an exercise room and walking trails. For more info, go here.
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.
Trucks and Tow Vehicles
Surprise! Some 2022 pickup trucks available below sticker price
Despite extraordinary higher prices and limited supplies of new vehicles, a report recently released by Consumer Reports details several new cars and trucks are available for less than their respective sticker prices. Three of the most discounted vehicles are 2022 pickup trucks from Chevrolet, Ford and Ram. Learn more.
Consumer Reports’ full-size truck slam; Only 2022 Ram 1500 praised
Modern half-ton trucks were once called upon only as workhorses; now they’re also expected to be luxury vehicles. It’s a difficult task, which Consumer Reports believes is accomplished among new trucks only by the 2022 Ram 1500. Continue reading.
Ram seeks customers’ consulting in making new electric truck
Consumers won’t exactly build the first Ram 1500 battery electric vehicle (BEV), but the truck manufacturer is seeking input from customers on its pending 2024 pickup. Ram has debuted RamRevolution.com. It gives customers an inside look and the opportunity to provide their real-world input as its electric trucks are developed. Read more.
New mail trucks don’t deliver, as EPA calls for investigation
The pending new U.S. Postal Service mail trucks, manufactured by Oshkosh Defense, are stuck in neutral—again. After years of negotiation, the U.S Postal Service and Oshkosh Defense reached an estimated $6 billion contract in 2021. But it’s now being questioned by the Environmental Protection Agency. Continue reading.
Toyota Tundra keeping up with all Joneses in Super Bowl spot
Toyota introduced viewers to the 2022 Toyota Tundra in a 60-second commercial at the end of the first half of Super Bowl LVI that featured three celebrities starring in a spot named Keeping Up With The Joneses. The spot also ideally showcased how the carmaker kept up with the competition Joneses in the annual largest daily television audience. Read 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.
Note: Russ and Tiña will be back next week. Read previous QZ Report posts here.
If money didn’t matter, would you prefer to drive across America in 7 days or fly in one day?
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE STOLEN RVs?
This vintage 1952 Franklin travel trailer was stolen from just east of Three Rivers in St. Joseph County, Michigan. It may have a vintage 1952 license plate which was inside the trailer but had not yet been installed. If you have information contact the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department at (269) 467-9045. Mention case #723-22.
This trailer was stolen January 23 from the Lacassine RV Park in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The suspect, likely a while male with a beard, was possibly in a Toyota Sequoia. If you have information, please contact the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office at (337) 821-2106 or (337) 824-3850.
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
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Cover story: RVs reach cargo carrying capacity with just two passengers. Is your rig dangerously overweight?
• Featured article: Wonder what an RV production line worker thinks about today’s RVs? Read this!
• Around the Campfire: How old is too old to RV?
• 7 things to ask yourself before planning an RV remodel
• Ask Dave: My sani-flush is filling and overflowing my fresh water tank! How?
… and much more
????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
We love this! There’s no way you won’t love this unless you’re a total fun-sucker! We’re not even a kid and we love this!
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of February 14, 2022:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.49 [Calif.: $4.52]
Change from week before: Up 4 cents; Change from year before: Up 99 cents.
Diesel: $4.02 [Calif.: $4.99]
Change from week before: Up 7 cents; Change from year before: Up $1.14.
A man left home running. He ran a ways and then turned left, ran the same distance and turned left again, ran the same distance and turned left again. When he got home, there were two masked men. Who were they?
Upcoming RV shows
• Seattle RV Show, VISIT SHOW WEBSITE, Seattle, WA
• Austin RV Expo, Austin, TX
• Chicago RV & Camping Show, Chicago, IL
• Duluth Boat, Sports, RV & Travel Show, Duluth, MN
• Earlybird RV Show & Sale, Abbottsford, British Columbia
• Utah Sportsman’s, Vacation & RV Show, Sandy, UT
• West Palm Beach RV Show, West Palm Beach, FL
• Alabama RV Super Show, Huntsville, AL
• Atlantic City RV & Camping Show, Atlantic City, NJ
• Cedar Rapids Sportshow, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
• Charleston RV Show, Charleston, SC
• Indianapolis Boat, Sport & Travel Show, Indianapolis, IN
• Maryland RV Show, Lutherville/Timonium, MD
• NCRVDA RV Show – Raleigh, Raleigh, NC – Featuring seminars by RVtravel.com tech expert Dave Solberg
Recipe of the Day
Need a hearty dinner idea? Try these easy chicken enchiladas. It’s so good even picky eaters will love it. Creamy and cheesy, it’s full of shredded chicken. There is not a lot of spice in this recipe. If you like a little spice, a bit of cumin, seasoned salt, or a can of green chilies could be added. The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the chicken to slow cook in the Crock Pot.
Brain teaser answer:
The catcher and the umpire.
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.
Think it’s funny? You can get the design on shirts and mugs here.
Today in History
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, Andy Zipser, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, Scott Linden, James Raia, Kate Doherty, J.R. Montigel, Clint Norrell, Randall Brink, Chris Epting, Karel Carnohan, DVM, and Cheri Sicard. 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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