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Sunday, March 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 readers respond vociferously to a comment in last week’s column about the couple that had paid and set up camp but an online reservation got them kicked out. Another reader reports on a first-hand observation of a campground “double-dipping” on reservation fees, and the campground’s “didn’t care” attitude. All that and more here.
Sky high fuel prices: “Our plans won’t change—but my language at the pump will!”
A few weeks back RVtravel.com readers were asked to poll and comment on this question: “Will high fuel prices affect your RV travels this summer?” Mind you, that was February 26—just two days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began. While fuel prices had decidedly gone up, it was a case of “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” Read the results of that poll compared to a more recent poll, and the changes in RVers’ attitudes, here.
If you’re canceling your campground reservations, do it as soon as you can
Record fuel prices are undoubtedly changing summer camping plans for RVers across North America. … Campground owners throughout the U.S. are just beginning to report an uptick in reservation cancellations for the 2022 summer camping season. … Park owners are also concerned that campers won’t cancel their campground reservations until it’s too late for others to take their place. Read more.
Winnebago hits first big industry milestone with 500,000th RV
Winnebago is celebrating the production of its 500,000th motorhome. Winnebago claims it is the first manufacturer to hit that milestone. “Winnebago is a pioneer in the RV category, producing its first vehicles more than 60 years ago,” says Huw Bower, President of Winnebago Outdoors. “Yet, the 500,000th motorhome represents much more than longevity in the market.” Continue reading.
Lawmakers want answers; claim new USPS trucks will get 8.6 mpg
The trucks in the pending first new United States Postal Service vehicle fleet in 30 years haven’t been driven. But they continue to be stuck before they start and the problem appears worse. The problem, percolating for months, now could include an investigation into a decision by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to purchase up to 165,000 gasoline-powered mail trucks over the Biden administration’s objections. Continue reading.
Virginia State Parks may offer electric vehicle charging stations
Virginia’s parks are home to campgrounds, lakes, and outdoor recreation areas. Going to the state park is as easy as driving along the highway for most people. However, for owners of electric vehicles, traveling to the parks may be a cause of “range anxiety.” That may soon change … or at least begin to change … thanks to Virginia House Bill 443, passed in January. Learn more.
Want cheap gas? How about a road trip to Venezuela?
The next time you’re seeking cheap gas, try Venezuela, and stay away from Germany. According to a recent analysis by Insuranks, the South American country has the least expensive gas, about 9 1/2 cents per gallon. Germany has the most expensive fuel among the world’s top-50 countries by population, at $8.26 per gallon. Continue reading.
Today’s RV review series…
Tony writes, “Yesterday we talked about how to get the most out of a gallon of fuel and what kind of RV it would take to accomplish that. In particular, we focused on motorhomes and, it turns out, Class Bs are the way to best sip fuel. But what if you don’t want a motorized RV? There are a number of really interesting options for you, too!”
Don’t miss Part 3 in tomorrow’s RV Daily Tips newsletter. Sign up here for a reminder.
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
Have you paid more than MSRP for a new RV in recent times?
If so, please click here and tell us about it.
March 13–19, 2022
Fifth wheel trailer sales are booming. According to Statistical Surveys Inc., North American fifth wheel trailer sales jumped 28 percent from 2019 to 2021, from 81,773 units to 104,626. The top selling brands, in order, were the Grand Design Reflection (9.9 percent), Keystone Montana (7.3 percent), Keystone Cougar (6.27 percent), Grand Design Solitude (5.4 percent), and Forest River Cherokee (5.19 percent). The top five states by sales were, in order, Texas, California, Florida, Michigan and Washington. Seventy percent of retail sales were in the $50,000 to $90,000 range, with 20 percent below $50,000, and 10 percent $90,000 and up.
Florida’s RV parks and resorts have space for new winter visitors, but guests need to do their homework and make their reservations as soon as possible, according to a press release from the Florida RV and Campground Association. “Florida remains one of the top snowbird destinations, and RV sites typically go to those who make their reservations early, particularly in the most popular destinations,” said Bobby Cornwell, executive director and CEO of the association.
Some seasonal sites in the eight provincial campgrounds of Prince Edward Island (Canada) will be available through an online lottery this year rather than the traditional reservation method. The parks include Red Point Provincial Park, Northumberland Provincial Park, Panmure Island Provincial Park, Brudenell River Provincial Park, Jacques Cartier Provincial Park, Linkletter Provincial Park, Cabot Beach Provincial Park, and Cedar Dunes Provincial Park.
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is offering campsite reservations for the first time. Camping at Wilderness Road Campground, in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, has always been first-come, first-served, with no reservations other than group camping. … Now, with Recreation.gov, regular campers can be sure of which campsite they will get, and travelers will come to the area knowing that they have a place to camp. Read more.
The family of slain van-lifer Gabby Petito claims the parents of her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, knew she had been murdered, according to a lawsuit they filed this week. Petito’s parents allege Laundrie told his parents what happened to Petito on Aug. 28, a day after the suit alleges Laundrie killed her. “While Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt were desperately searching for information concerning their daughter, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie were keeping the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie secret, and it is believed were making arrangements for him to leave the country,” the suit states, among other things. Petito and Schmidt accuse the Laundrie family of acting “with malice or great indifference to the rights of” Petito’s family and are seeking damages of at least $100,000, the suit states.
Long overdue maintenance work is being proposed for the Moraine Park Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park, the largest campground in the park in Colorado’s high country and one that needs repairs to water, wastewater and electrical systems that are far past their expected life. The park staff is seeking public input on the plans (before April 8). The campground is open year-round and has 244 campsites that can accommodate up to 40-foot RVs.
For trips away from the campsite, most RVers have a tow vehicle or dinghy to explore the local area. But what about “campers” on the Moon and Mars? Well, NASA provided a preview last week of what they may use — the FLEX (the Flexible Logistic and Exploration) two-passenger rover. The FLEX rover’s unique commercial potential comes from its ability to pick up and deposit modular payloads in support of robotic science, exploration, logistics, site survey/preparation, construction, resource utilization, and other activities.
More Americans are researching green vehicles as gas prices climb to record levels, according to the experts at Edmunds.com, an online car shopping resource that generates more than 20 million visits every month. On-site shopper consideration of green vehicles (hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric) pages on Edmunds jumped 39% over the past month and increased 18% over the first week of this month.
Two men died when the RV they were staying in caught fire while they camped under a freeway overpass on a frigid night in Salt Lake City. One man survived. One of the men was sitting on the couch trying to move LP gas from a large tank into a smaller green one, the type normally used for camping stoves and lanterns. A flame in a nearby container, which provided some warmth to the men, ignited from the escaped propane. Fire quickly engulfed the cabin, trapping and killing two of the men.
A new ordinance in Great Falls, Montana, prohibits RV parking on city streets longer than 72 hours in a seven-day period. Violators will first receive a notice, then fines up $50 for the first citation, $100 for the second and $200 for the third. Fines for similar violations in Helena and Butte start at $25 and $150, respectively.
Be Beary Careful! Grizzly bears are starting to come out of their hibernation at Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, where park staff encourages visitors to be “bear aware.” Adult male grizzlies typically emerge from hibernation in March, and females with young usually emerge between April and early May. When bears emerge from their dens, they search for food. They may display aggressive behavior towards humans if approached while feeding on carcasses from dead animals.
Harvest Hosts, a membership program providing RVers access to unique overnight stays at farms, wineries and other non-traditional locations, learned that 63% of respondents sleep in parking lots less often with their RVs—such as Walmarts, Cracker Barrels and rest areas—as a result of being a member. Additionally, 23% of Harvest Hosts members report using their RVs more frequently each year as a result of being part of the program.
A new 91-site RV resort in Tehachapi, California, has been approved by the local Planning Commission after the commission tried to address some of the concerns voiced by residents of a nearby mobile home park. The developer agreed to move a few RV spaces on the property line shared with the mobile home park.
The Tennessee Valley Authority’s seasonal campgrounds are open and ready for outdoor visitors for the 2022 season. TVA’s seasonal campgrounds opened Tuesday and will remain open through November 15. Each of the six campgrounds provide restrooms, potable water, showers, grills, picnic tables, RV dump stations and nearby boating and fishing access. For more information and a list of the campgrounds visit here.
The Texas Rangers are helping investigate a murder at the Happy RV Park on Wednesday in Happy, Texas, of 29-year-old Tess Birkenfeld, who was found in her fifth wheel trailer. If you have info, call the Rangers.
Is ”revenge travel” really a thing? RV peer-to-peer rental giant Outdoorsy partnered with RVIA’s Go RVing marketing machine to present “Why Revenge Travel is Here to Slay” [not a typo] at this year’s South by Southwest® event in Austin, Texas. Revenge travel is defined as the desire to “get back” at pandemic restrictions by aggressively hitting the road and traveling more. Officials of the two companies presented at 2:30 p.m. on March 17 at the Hilton Austin Downtown. You can find out more here.
It was a big year for RV sales in Canada, too. Canadian RV wholesale shipments were up nearly 98% in 2021, totaling 57,701 units versus 29,150 in 2020. The vast majority of sales came from travel trailers, with 45,562 units sold.
This RV antifreeze is bad news! RVers winterize their vehicles with an antifreeze designed for RVs. When spring arrives, they flush their systems and all is well. If that’s you, here’s a warning about a recall on one brand of RV antifreeze that if ignored could, worst case, cause blindness or death. So pay attention. Read all about it.
Whale watching is ramping up along the Oregon Coast. RV snowbirds aren’t the only ones migrating north this time of year. The spring gray whale migration is underway now, too, and Oregon State Parks along the coast are popular places to watch them swim by on their way to Alaska. Learn more.
Virginia State Parks may soon provide charging stations for electric vehicles. In some instances, these locations are distant, and park users must be able to reach the park, while also being able to get back home. Recently passed by the state house, Bill 443 is one of the country’s first park-specific EV charging bills. Read more.
Brannan Island State Recreation Area, located south of Rio Vista, California, will close on April 1 until further notice. American Land and Leisure, a recreation management company, has operated Brannan Island since 2013, but will end operations this April. According to the notice, it does not have the resources to keep the area open and is currently looking for a new park operator.
The owner of a KOA campground in North Carolina’s Outer Banks is suing Currituck County over a local law that it believes could put it out of business. In February, county commissioners adopted new rules, like the requirement of 5 miles of buffer between campgrounds and another that bans campgrounds on tracts smaller than 50 acres. The regulations, among others, also limit the number of cabins and make it mandatory to close campgrounds for 30 days.
Speaking of the Outer Banks, Cape Hatteras National Seashore law enforcement rangers need help finding the persons responsible for vandalism at the restrooms next to the Ocracoke Island Discovery Center. Dating back to August 25, 2021, vandals have damaged handrails, toilets and door locks; ripped soap and toilet paper dispensers off walls; removed trash bags, soap, and toilet paper; thrown trash around the restrooms; and kicked in a restroom door and broke its frame. If you know anything, call or text the ISB Tip Line at 888-653-0009 or submit a tip at www.nps.gov/isb.
U.S. Light Energy wants to convert the former Tee Bird South Golf Course in Saratoga County, NY, into a 10-megawatt solar farm that could include a campground, single-family homes, a community garden and a data center, according to the Albany Business Review.
President Biden signed the Amache National Historic Site Act on Friday, designating the site in Granada, Colorado, as part of the National Park System, permanently protecting it and helping tell the history of Japanese American incarceration during World War II.
Cruiser RV, a manufacturer of travel trailers, has launched a new website as part of its rebranding. The site includes how-to videos, a FAQ section, virtual tours and more.
Campers in Oklahoma State Parks will soon be more comfortable when they visit a park comfort station. Over the next few years, the park system will roll out more than 100 brand-new air-conditioned restrooms across its system. Last week it installed number 70.
The West Virginia Legislature voted Saturday, March 12, to pass a bill that could privatize all but one of the state’s parks. Learn more.
Kampgrounds of America’s website, koa.com, is back up and running after a service disruption that shut down the ability for campers to book reservations online through the website on Wednesday and Thursday.
Thor Industries is setting records. The largest American RV manufacturer experienced strong sales gains through late January, which jumped its profit margins due to rising prices and improved manufacturing efficiency.
A multi-building condominium project is planned for Todd’s Campground in Peachland, British Columbia, which will be rezoned from “Commercial Campground” to “Single Detached Residential.” The property is currently operating as a family-friendly campground and RV park with 60 sites.
Campers can now reserve spaces at the Ferry Island Campground in British Columbia. The first day of camping at Terrace’s municipal campground is April 29. To book one of the 103 sites contact Shanon Young, caretaker, at email@example.com. BC Parks is launching a new online reservation system for provincial parks on March 21.
Parts of Mather Campground at Grand Canyon National Park will be closed for repaving throughout the summer with 90 sites available July through September on a first-come, first-served basis. Learn more at the campground’s website.
More than 40 catalytic converters were stolen from Holland Motor Homes and Bus Company in Holland, Mich., over last weekend. If you know anything, call the Holland police.
This week’s winner in the “Weird RV name” category goes to a Japanese manufacturer building a small off-road motorized camper called The Mystic Mini Pop Bee Active Gear. It’s a severely downsized pickup truck with a pop-up living space. We’ll have a review soon.
Today, March 19, is the first day to reserve a campsite at a South Dakota State Park for arrivals beginning Friday, June 17. Reservations open at 7 a.m. Central Time for all facilities during a 90-day reservation window. On Sunday, June 19, the park system will offer free park admission and free fishing.
After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Maryland Park Service invites you to celebrate its Maple Syrup Festival at Cunningham Falls State Park today (the last day) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the park’s William Houck Area.
The Routt County Fairgrounds in Hayden, Colorado, will begin to phase out long-term stays at its RV park as some tenants have been sticking around for months. One commissioner suggests a 14-day stay in the summer season would be better.
Pathfinder Ventures, which operates three Campfire Camp Resorts in British Columbia, reports it has received advanced deposits for 16,961 overnight stays for future business, an increase of 42% from the same time period in 2021.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission approved a $29 price for the Keep Colorado Wild state parks pass Wednesday—less than half the current $84. The new pass will be available if requested when registering a passenger vehicle, light truck, motorcycle or RV. It offers unlimited yearly visits to Colorado state parks.
Motor Home Specialist (MHS) has been recognized by Statistical Surveys as the #1 seller of new motorhomes by a single dealership in the United States for the 9th consecutive year in 2021. The company retails new and used motorhomes from its flagship 80-acre RV dealership facility located in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.
Camping at the Brown County Fairgrounds in De Pere, Wisconsin, is now open. RVs may stay up to 21 days on the asphalt midway for $32 a night, first-come, first-serve only. Most sites have water and electric hookups. Camping may be unavailable during some special events.
VW has recalled 246,000 SUVs in the U.S. and Canada because faulty wiring harnesses can make them brake unexpectedly, sometimes while in traffic. The recall covers certain Atlas SUVs from the 2019 through 2023 model years, as well as the 2020 through 2023 Atlas Cross Sport. Call VW Customer Care at (800) 822-8987 to learn more.
Kmart once dwarfed Walmart in quantity, but no more (by a long shot). Kmart will close its Woodbridge, NJ, store on April 17, leaving it with only 3 remaining locations. It once had 2,400.
Photo of the Week
Caught in the Act
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.
In which U.S. National Park would you find these six reptiles and no others?
• bullsnake • prairie rattlesnake • rubber boa • sagebrush lizard • common garter snake • terrestrial garter snake?
Would it be: Badlands National Park? Yellowstone National Park? Zion National Park? or Carlsbad Caverns National Park?
Answer above staff box at bottom of this issue.
Trucks and Tow Vehicles
For the second time in less than a month, and now involving its best-selling vehicle, Ford has recalled a pickup truck. The latest recall involves 157,000 Ford F-150 pickups from model year 2021 with front windshield wiper motors that may become inoperable. Continue reading.
An Audi pickup truck? Speaking to media last week ahead of VW Group’s annual earnings report, Audi CEO Markus Duesmann hinted that the German brand might have a pickup truck in development. “I can’t promise we will do one, but we are looking into it,” he said.
A class-action lawsuit has been filed against GM by certain owners of the automaker’s 2015 to 2019 model year full-size truck and SUV models over peeling exterior paint. Plaintiffs say the exterior paint on affected vehicles is prone to delaminating, peeling, bubbling, flaking and/or blistering, according to Car Complaints. They also allege the paint peels and delaminates without any external or environmental influence, as the paint and clear coat were not able to bond properly due to their opposing chemical properties.
The off-season moves in
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.
As we write this, it’s 86 outside in the afternoon sunshine. Inside, a wee bit warmer—94. Next week we’ll be pushing 100. We rue turning on the air conditioner, and the swamp cooler is still on its winter hiatus. This is the transitional period for Quartzsite as the off-season creeps in. It’s a stealthy kind of thing—the nights are comfortable, the days take turns being cool one day, then pretty warm on others. Eventually the season won’t play games. The swampy will run day and night until we give it up and head north for a few weeks of respite.
How satisfied are you with your present RV?
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
The Onslow County, North Carolina, sheriff wants your help in tracking down a couple of RV thieves. They say that on February 27th, two men with a blue pickup rolled into Wildcat Tire at 7373 Richlands Highway near Richlands, NC. They hitched up and rolled out with a 28′ Fleetwood travel trailer. The truck was equipped with a ladder rack and bed-mounted toolbox. One suspect was dressed in a fluorescent yellow jacket and the other was wearing a dark-colored jacket with a gray hood. Contact the Sheriff’s Office at 910-989-4064 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273.
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
• KZRV trailers recalled. Trailers may separate from tow vehicle
• Ford F-150 trucks recalled. Windshield wipers may fail
• Keystone recalls as many as 39,240 RVs for wiring error
• Forest River recalls trailers that could separate when being towed
• Forest River recalls many RVs for wiring fire hazard
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Cover story: From the editor: I’m worried about visiting two of the most popular National Parks
• From the publisher: A broken ankle and question for you
• Featured article: Does Camping World refuse to repair older RVs?
• Part 1 of Tony Barthel’s 3-part series: RVs that use the least fuel
• RVelectricity: Honey, they shrank my SoftStartRV…
• RV Gadgets and Gizmos: You need a jump starter. Seriously.
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of March 14, 2022:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $4.32 [Calif.: $5.59]
Change from week before: Up 21 cents; Change from year before: Up $1.46.
Diesel: $5.25 [Calif.: $6.26]
Change from week before: Up 40 cents; Change from year before: Up $2.06.
What is black when you get it, red when you use it, and white when you are all through with it?
Florida State Parks needs camp hosts. Get info here.
Montana’s Bitterroot National Forest is looking for volunteers to serve as camp hosts this summer. For info contact Shannon Harris at (406) 821-3913.
Upcoming RV shows
• Reno RV Show, March 18-27, Reno, NV
• FMCA Convention & RV Expo, March 23-26, Tucson, AZ
• Halifax RV Show, March 24-27, Halifax, NS
• Northwest Sportshow, March 24-27, Minneapolis, MN
• New Hampshire RV & Camping Show, March 25-27, Bedford, NH
• Northwest Michigan RV & Camping Show, March 25-27, Traverse City, MI
• Vacationland RV & Camping Show, April 2-3, Auburn, ME
????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
We can’t help but be a sucker for these. We love collecting fun ones! This one is fun, but it’s also unique!
Recipe of the Day
Your family will have big smiles on their face when they sit down to enjoy this cheesy taco skillet. It’s all the flavor of tacos, but with pasta rather than corn taco shells. Your favorite Tex-Mex flavors in one easy family-friendly casserole. Don’t like ground sausage? Substitute with ground beef, as Chrissy suggests. This recipe is very forgiving.
Brain teaser answer:
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.
Canned beans are one of the most popular canned goods. In Spoon University’s list of canned items to help you survive a zombie apocalypse (or, presumably, stuck in the middle of nowhere in your RV), canned baked beans were named among the best options to have in stock. Refried beans are good, too.
Two crooks were robbing a liquor store when one robber grabs a bottle and asks the other, “I’m scared. Is this whiskey?” The other robber replies, “Yeah, but not as whiskey as wobbing a bank!”
Today in History
Pop Quiz Answer: Yellowstone National Park
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, 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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