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Sunday, March 27, 2022
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
Fuel-saving gadget is being promoted everywhere you look. Good thing or rip-off?
With motor fuel prices higher than an upset cat’s back, who wouldn’t want to increase their fuel economy? Recently a slew of articles have appeared in legitimate media for little devices that plug in your vehicle’s OBD2 port. They make comforting promises. “Lower your car’s fuel consumption up to 45% with this amazing device.” [fuelfixpro] … Drop your consumption by 45%? Are these fuel savings for real? Continue reading this eye-opening exposé from our investigative reporters Russ and Tiña De Maris.
Federal lawsuit seeks reversal of U.S. Forest Service public access restrictions
Two groups of recreational interests and two individuals have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and its regional administrator in the U.S. Federal District Court for the District of Montana. The suit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief from the Forest Service’s closure of significant portions of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest (“HNF”) to motorized travel and dispersed camping. Find out why this is important to RVers here.
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 have more complaints of crowded campgrounds, more tips on finding a campsite, and more discussion (pros and cons) of snowbirds, even dating back to 1975. Read more here.
The right side of a motorhome was sheered off after it blew a front tire and the driver did not respond properly, sending the RV out of control and off the road. Learn more and watch a short video (IMPORTANT) about how this driver should have reacted to the blowout that likely would have resulted in only a call for roadside assistance. This accident did not need to happen!
Cummins suspends all commercial operations in Russia
Cummins is well known in the RV industry for its motorhome diesel pusher engines and portable and on-board RV generators. Now comes word that the company has suspended all commercial operations in Russia indefinitely as the attacks on Ukraine intensify and a peaceful resolution does not appear imminent. Read more.
Today’s RV review…
Tony writes, “In addition to causing less drag on your tow vehicle, these are also garageable and that can be a big plus. Without fresh water or a gray tank, winterization is super easy, as well. These trailers offer a lot of value and even more so when you consider the fuel you’ll be saving over some other configurations.”
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
👍 Rock and roll legend Rod Stewart was so fed up with dodging potholes on a road near his English home that he and some buddies spent a day repairing the craters. “Filling holes is good for the soul,” the singer wrote on Instagram. Authorities were not happy (“too dangerous,” they said). But Sir Rod and his chums wore high visibility vests and posted proper signage, so no problem.
You’ll now need a reservation to enter Yosemite National Park during peak hours between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. seven days a week. Visitors entering the park at other times don’t need a reservation. You can remain in the park during peak hours if you arrive during non-peak hours. The peak hours reservation system will be in effect through September 30, and reservations will be required for all users, including annual and lifetime pass holders. Each reservation is valid for three days or the duration of a camping reservation. Make reservations at recreation.gov. Oh, and if you want to camp in the park this summer, you’re out of luck from around April through September—everything is booked.
On March 21st, BC Parks (British Columbia, Canada) launched its new online reservation system and, within two hours, the site was flooded with nearly 16,000 reservations for the next two months. BC Parks recommends those unable to secure a reservation should plan to travel a little farther and consider a mid-week or non-holiday weekend travel.
If you happen to be heading to the Grand Canyon, and you just so happen to plan to hike the Bright Angel Trail, be aware that one of the park’s loneliest restrooms will be closed until April 6 for evaluation and evacuation. But good news, there’s another facility a mile-and-a half either direction. So you’ll just have to hold it…
A new Love’s RV Park in eastern Cañon City, Colo., is on the radar. The proposed park would contain 124 full-hookup sites plus services such as propane sales, fire pits and grills, pavilions for outdoor gathering, a dog park, general store, laundry facilities, showers, security fencing, WiFi, a playground and pickleball courts.
FEMA is inviting all travel trailer manufacturers to a virtual briefing on March 31 to provide feedback on new accessible travel trailer designs to be hosted by the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS). IBTS’ team of engineers and designers has worked with FEMA for the past several months to develop proposed designs that meet accessibility guidelines while also providing occupants a comfortable, welcoming environment. Among the goals of the briefing is for the designs be attractive for RV manufacturers to produce.
“Houseless people” in Yakima, Wash., who live in their RVs will soon have a safe place to park and hook up to electricity. The Yakima City Council this week approved an amendment to the lease agreement with Grace City Outreach to allow Yakima’s Camp Hope to provide RV spaces with electrical hook ups, the construction of tiny homes/pallet shelters in phases, and make two additional connections to the public sewer.
California’s Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument (Hearst Castle) will reopen to the public on May 11, after being closed for two years following the COVID-19 pandemic and severe rainstorms that damaged its access road in early 2021. Continue reading.
Due to ice chunks from a recent high-water event along Tionesta Creek, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) District is temporarily closing the Kellettville recreation area at Tionesta Lake. The ice buildup from the high-water event, which crested at 10 feet in some areas, damaged picnic tables, fire rings and graveled areas. The Kellettville recreation area will remain closed while things get fixed.
Join park staff and members of the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society the evening of April 1 to gaze at the dark skies above Colorado’s Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in search of planets, galaxies, nebulas and more. There are no additional fees beyond the park entrance fee of $10 per adult (15 and younger are free), which is valid for seven days. More information on future Night Sky programs is available on the park website.
👍 Good News! Alabama State Parks has opened a new 25-site campground at Cathedral Caverns State Park. The park has long-welcomed visitors to explore its unique caves. But Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Blankenship says there were not enough camping spaces to let everyone stay on the site. “The cave is spectacular and it draws a lot of folks, but we didn’t really have a first-class campground up here for people to enjoy the rest of the beauty of the park with the trails and all.”
Don’t be alarmed if you spot a fire on public lands in Idaho this month or next. The BLM is conducting prescribed burns throughout southwest Idaho to reduce unsafe accumulations of tumbleweeds along fence lines from late March through April, depending on weather, vegetation, and ground conditions. And, ditto for some public lands in Montana in the areas near Wet Georgia, Horse and Granite creeks. Oh, and the BLM will be burning in Montana south of Marysville in the Sawmill Gulch and Drumlummon Hill area.
RVers camped at The Lake O’ Pines RV Marina & Inn in Upshur County, Texas, had a tough night Monday when a tornado ripped through the park, flipping over some RVs and even sending one airborne into the lake. Luckily, no one was killed or even seriously injured. “[We] looked out the window and our friends were turned over and our other friends were in the water. So, we jumped out, got the trucks, shined the lights on them and called 911,” said camper Quenton Ellison. “We just thought our friends were dead, so it was pretty nerve wracking.”
👍 THOR Industries, Inc. has donated, through its subsidiary Erwin Hymer Group (EHG), the temporary use of EHG’s recently acquired facility in Poland to the Polish Red Cross. The facility will be used as a staging and distribution center for Ukrainian relief items including food, clothing, cosmetic products, baby food and medical supplies. THOR has also pledged funds to further support the relief effort.
Grand Canyon National Park is seeking comments on implementing a three-year pilot advance day-use reservation system to manage day-use visitation to the Tuweep Visitor Use Area including all park areas within Toroweap Valley and the Kanab Plateau. A $2 ticket fee per vehicle is proposed for visitors to get to Tuweep. Increasing popularity of the Tuweep area has led to excessive day use for vehicles and visitation, resulting in crowding and congestion along the roads and parking lot, organized groups traveling in vehicle convoys, vehicles exceeding noise limits, and the degradation of natural and cultural resources.
The iconic, 200-foot-tall Pioneer Tree at California’s Samuel P. Taylor State Park has fallen. The 800-year-old tree was fully engulfed in flames from a small fire Thursday morning and collapsed in the afternoon. The Pioneer Tree and Cross Marin trails are temporarily closed until further notice. The public is advised to stay away, although the rest of the park remains open. The Pioneer Tree was one of the park’s few remaining old growth coastal redwoods.
The 46-site Shipwreck Creek Campground in Minnesota’s Split Rock Lighthouse State Park will open June 1. Reservations may be made starting April 5, at 8 a.m. The park currently has walk-in camping, but the new campground will offer the first vehicle-accessible campsites at Split Rock, which is along the north shore of Lake Superior. All sites have electricity.
It will cost you a little more to camp at Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Missouri this year. A front country campsite will jump from $16 to $20 a night. An electric site will go from $19 to $30.
If you are one of a few dozen owners of a 2021 or 2022 Newmar New Aire or Dutch Star motorhome, call your dealer. The upper bolt connecting the steering column may not have been properly tightened, which could cause the loss of steering control. Oh, that’s not good…
Rocky Mountain National Park’s most photographed bull elk has died. Known by names such as the Big Kahuna, Bruno and Incredibull, the 10-year-old (or so) elk was found dead in the park last Sunday, perhaps the victim of a hungry mountain lion.
FMCA’s 104th International Convention and RV Expo ends today in Tucson. Close to 1,400 RVs and their owners attended. If you missed this one, next round, #105, will be August 24-27 in Lincoln, Nebraska. FMCA is an active group of more than 73,000 mostly 55+ RVing families.
The Ottumwa Park Campground (Ottumwa, Iowa), along the DeMoines River, will open for the season Friday, April 1 on a first-come, first-served basis for $20 a night for water and electricity. WiFi, restrooms with showers and a dump station are available.
Roundabout Publications has released a new, updated edition of its best-selling guidebook, “Corps of Engineers Camping,” a guide to RV camping at 942 Corps of Engineers lakes, marinas and campgrounds in the USA.
Peer-to-peer RV rental company Outdoorsy now offers pet insurance through its Roamly insurance product. Roamly will market pet insurance to all U.S. pet owners, including customers of Outdoorsy. Learn more.
Apgar Campground and Sprague Creek Campgrounds in Glacier National Park will now require a reservation during peak season. It’s been an option for a last-minute stay. Once the season ends, it’s back to first-come, first-served. Reservable sites have NOT been released yet at Recreation.gov.
Also, at Glacier NP, vehicle reservations required to access the famed Going-to-the-Sun Road and the North Fork area via the Polebridge Entrance Station from May 27 to September 11 are now available. Other areas of the park do not require a reservation.
Lazydays, originally from Sefner, Florida, will open two new dealerships in 2023, one in Surprise, Arizona, and the other in Wilmington, Ohio.
Discounts on cars are hard to come by these days. But according to Consumer Reports, one car tops all others right now in “most discounted”. It’s the 2022 Dodge Durango, which is selling at 10% below its sticker price. Best truck deal? 2022 GMC Sierra 2500HD, which is selling for 7 percent off.
The week before last, 175 wildfires ravaged about 95,000 acres across Texas. More than 140 buildings were destroyed.
Sad news: Brenda Holzer, 54, of Yorkville, Illinois, died Friday after being struck by a rock while she was climbing a ladder to the Alcove House cliff dwelling at Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico. There’s no evidence the falling rock was caused by another person. It could have been the result of a freeze-thaw cycle.
As of January 2022, Winnebago Industries’ share of the RV retail market was 14.3% on a trailing three-month basis, reflecting an increase of 1 point over the same period last year.
Perhaps in response to high gas prices and other current budget-busting expenses, Alabama is promoting “Staycations” close to home at its state parks. The system includes 2,600 campsites. Learn more.
In British Columbia, in one hour last Monday, campsites for the Victoria Day long weekend in May were booked solid for the Golden Ears and Rolley Lake Provincial Parks.
National Park Service officials have again nixed a request from South Dakota to allow a fireworks display over Mount Rushmore National Memorial to celebrate the Fourth of July. Wildfire danger was citied as one reason.
Parks of the St. Lawrence (Ontario, Canada) opened its campground reservations last Wednesday. A new registration process allows guests to sign up and familiarize themselves with the system before booking.
The Recreational Vehicle Association (RVIA) is now projecting 590,000 RVs will be shipped from manufacturers in 2022, down slightly from the previous estimate of 600,000.
Rocky Mountain National Park will again implement a reservation system for all park-goers beginning in May.
Based on the RV Industry Association’s latest New RV Buyers Survey, the median age of first-time owners who purchased an RV in 2021 dropped to 33 years old. The year before, the average buyer was 41 years old. Are teenagers next?
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District in Iowa, will close some campgrounds and day-use recreation areas around Saylorville Lake and Lake Red Rock ahead of schedule in the fall to complete improvements and repairs to sewers and water lines.
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
Would you believe it? Some pickups are faster than race cars!
As if versatility, comfort, towing prowess and coolness aren’t enough, pickup trucks are performance vehicles. In some instances, their performance is more impressive than vehicles marketed as performance vehicles. A recent report on CarandDriver.com provides details and performance of the top fastest, non-modified pickup trucks in history. The pickup trucks range from a 31-year-old workhorse of versatility to a just-debuting electric truck. Learn more.
Ford Lightning e-pickup—Beats estimated EPA range, but you pay for it
Ford’s F-150 Lightning electric pickup will get up to 320 miles of battery range—20 miles more than previously anticipated—according to final EPA estimates released March 21, as cited in a report by Automotive News. Read more in this post from Russ and Tiña De Maris.
GM will halt pickup truck production at its Fort Wayne, Indiana, plant the weeks of April 4 and April 11 due to an ongoing shortage of semiconductor chips. The facility produces Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickup trucks.
The most stolen trucks in 2020, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, were full-sized Ford pickups with 44,014 thefts. The model year the crooks liked best: 2006. Full-sized Chevy trucks were next with 40,968 reported stolen.
GM has once again raised the price of the 2022 Chevy Silverado 1500. The base price of the 2022 Chevy Silverado 1500 in the entry-level Work Truck (WT) trim has risen to $35,495 including the destination freight charge—up $1,300 from earlier this month for the equivalent configuration.
Do you still enjoy RVing as much as you did when you first started?
After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
No reports of stolen RVs this week! Yippee!
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
• Heartland recalls some trailers. Loose wiring can lead to fire
• Newmar recalls motorhomes for possible steering failure
• Winnebago recalls some towables: Trailer may separate from tow vehicle
• Ford recalls F-150 pickups, and more vehicles, for brake fluid leak
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Cover story: “10-Year Rule” is rare at most RV parks, but stay tuned…
• Featured article: It might be time to consider earning big money by renting out your RV
• RVelectricity: Should RV parks meter power? Please take our survey
• Ask Dave: My slideout LEDs are blinking and still won’t work after a reset. Why?
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of March 21, 2022:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $4.24 [Calif.: $5.71]
Change from week before: Down 8 cents; Change from year before: Up $1.37.
Diesel: $5.13 [Calif.: $6.22]
Change from week before: Down 12 cents; Change from year before: Up $1.94.
????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
Few people will say these are good for you, but, shucks, you gotta admit they sure are cute! Come on, you only live once!
It goes in dry, it comes out wet, the longer it is in, the stronger it gets. What is it?
Upcoming RV shows
• Washington State Evergreen Spring RV Show, April 1-3, Monroe, WA
• Vacationland RV & Camping Show, April 2-3, Auburn, ME
• Spring Hall of Fame RV Show, April 28 – May 1, Elkhart, IN
• Puyallup RV Show, May 5-8, Puyallup, WA
The U.S. Forest Service is looking for a campground host at French Meadows Campground located in the northern high Sierra on the shore of French Meadows Reservoir. Because of the remote location, the host(s) will receive $40 a day (up to 5 days a week) in addition to a campsite. Learn more.
The BLM and Pocatello (Idaho) Field Office are looking for volunteer camp hosts at Blackfoot Reservoir Campground from Memorial Day to Labor Day. An allowance of $30 a day is provided. Interested? Contact Chuck Patterson at 208-478-6362 or email@example.com.
Free things for you (free is good)
• 2022 Maine Travel Guide and official state highway map. Get it.
• For your kids or grandkids, a free Route 66 coloring book. Get it.
• Alaska Travel Planner: Headed to the Far North? Get this first.
Recipe of the Day
This lightened-up version of a classic Southern spread is super yummy. We loved the creamy combination of the light mayo and Greek yogurt. The Greek yogurt adds a very slight tang. It’s simple to make and after tasting it you’ll never buy store-bought spread again. Great on a sandwich, on top of crackers or dip veggies into it.
Brain teaser answer:
A tea bag.
According to Statista, Americans drank 15 billion gallons of bottled water in 2020—more than 45 gallons per person. At $1 per 16.9-ounce bottle, that works out to about $340 per year for a drink you could get right out of a faucet for practically nothing.
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.
On a church marquee: “Adultery is a sin. You can’t have your Kate and Edith, too.”
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, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, James Raia, 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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