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Sunday, August 21, 2022
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
Damage from T-storm hits Quartzsite, Arizona—hard
Mother Nature dealt the Snowbird Capital of the West—Quartzsite, Arizona—a tough hand last week. On Friday, August 12, thunderstorms that developed in Central Arizona drifted west, pausing briefly over Quartzsite. Before traveling on, downbursts of wind uprooted dozens of trees, twisted street signs into weird shapes, uprooted and gave wing to storage sheds, and overturned RVs. The damage is still being tallied. Continue reading and check out the pictures from Russ and Tiña De Maris.
Campground Crowding: Reader says RV parks becoming ‘trash bins of humanity’
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 share more thoughts on “giving it up” due to difficulties of making reservations where they want to travel. But several readers have helpful, even philosophical, tips on continuing to enjoy camping despite some challenges. And one RVer laments the condition of some parks who allow full-time, live-in RVers. Read more here.
What’s the best RV road service for you?
In case you missed our lead story yesterday, Russ De Maris reported on the results of our RVtravel.com poll where we asked readers about their experiences with the most popular emergency road service providers. Learn which providers received the best marks.
COMING NEXT MONTH
A new weekly newsletter: RV Tech Talk. The nation’s leading experts on RV repair and maintenance will discuss, both in writing and in live online discussions, what you need to know to keep your RV in top condition and to troubleshoot problems. Hosted by Dave Solberg. Sign up.
Here is the current edition of our twice-a-week photo contest. See if your submitted photo made the first cut, and then vote for your favorite. Once you’ve voted, submit your own photo for consideration. Winners receive a $50 Amazon gift card. Good luck!
Voting ends tonight at midnight (Pacific time).
(And remember, this contest appears every Saturday and Wednesday, so don’t forget to check back for a new batch of photos this coming Wednesday! Sign up for our RV Daily Tips newsletter [if you’re not already]. If you are not sure, sign up again. You will still only get one issue, not two.)
Today’s RV review…
Tony writes, “You might look at this and say, ‘Yep, just another bunkhouse.’ Okay, I get that. And, yes, you’re right. In terms of floor plan and features, it’s pretty straightforward. However, one of the things I try to instill in these reviews is to look at RVs from the bottom up rather than the top down. That’s where you’ll find the best part of this model.”
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
August 14–20, 2022
BREAKING: On Saturday afternoon, approximately 150 people were directed by officials to shelter in place at Carlsbad Caverns National Park due to flooding of New Mexico State Road 7, which leads to the Park. Several other roads in the area were also closed due to flooding. After several hours of being stranded, as of 11:53 p.m. Mountain time, all visitors and staff at the park had been evacuated. No injuries or deaths were reported by the U.S. Park Service. The Park Service announced the Park would be closed until further notice. Watch a video of the flooding from Chief Laura Steele of the NPS here.
Death Valley National Park’s most popular sites will once again be accessible to the public beginning today, just two weeks after a historic flood unleashed massive, record-setting rainfall and caused millions of dollars in damage to roads and facilities. Several park roads remain closed, so visitors should not rely on GPS. Maintenance crews from the California Department of Transportation have been working to reopen State Route 190, the main thoroughfare through the park. The National Park Service (NPS) is responsible for most other roads within the park and has been working to clear them. Park officials caution that the first 17 miles of Badwater Road (including all of Badwater Basin) and Dante’s View may still be closed. Sites that require access from Badwater Road include Golden Canyon, Artist Drive, Devils Golf Course and Natural Bridge.
Beginning in March 2023, parking tags will be required for any motor vehicle parked within the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Approved parking rates are $5 for a daily parking tag, $15 for a seven-day parking tag, and $40 for an annual parking tag. The revenues will go directly back to the park. Parking tags do not guarantee parking spots at a specific place anywhere within the park.
Speaking of Great Smoky Mountains National Park… Officials are now requiring visitors to wear masks inside all public facilities in the park. Masks are required regardless of vaccination status.
The Hershey RV Show, billed as the largest RV show in the USA, is just around the corner and gearing up for a record crowd over its September 14-18 run. More than 1,300 RVs of all types will be on display over a million square feet at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Seminar speakers include our own Mike Sokol, who will speak on RV electricity. Tickets are only available online, not at the gate. Parking is free, as is admission for children 12 and younger.
An investigation is underway in Yellowstone National Park after an employee spotted a foot and a shoe floating in a hot spring inside the park. The discovery was made on Tuesday at Abyss Pool, and led to the closure of the West Thumb Geyser Basin and parking lot. Park officials believe the foot and shoe are linked to the accidental death of a person in the park on July 31st.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are proposing a fee increase at 14 front country campgrounds: Atwell Mill, Cold Springs, Potwisha, Buckeye Flat, Dorst Creek, Lodgepole, Wolverton Stock campsites, Azalea, Sunset, Crystal Springs, Sentinel, Moraine, Sheep Creek, and Canyon View. The proposed fee increases would be enacted in two phases, with the first increase implemented on January 1, 2023, and a second increase on January 1, 2024.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park will increase camping fees beginning next year. Parking tags will be also required to be displayed on any motor vehicle parked within the park boundary beginning March 1, 2023. As mentioned above, approved parking rates are $5 for a daily parking tag, $15 for a parking tag for up to seven days, and $40 for an annual parking tag. Use of all park roads will remain toll free. Parking tags will not be required for motorists who pass through the area or who park vehicles for less than fifteen minutes. Frontcountry family campsite fees will be $30 per night for primitive sites and $36 per night for sites with electrical hookups.
Campground Views, the service that lets you “drive” through campgrounds before your visit to observe them just like you were driving through it, similar to Google Street View, has arranged with the Arizona Office of Tourism to include 250 parks in the state. So far, 76 are currently live, with the remainder set to appear this fall and winter. The service also lets you reserve a campsite in real time if you like what you see and it’s available when you want it.
For those wanting a festive October camping experience, ROAM Beyond’s Oktoberfest may be for you. The Oktoberfest Adventure Camp is a first-of-its-kind glamping experience in Whitefish, MT—just outside Glacier National Park. The event will take place September 27th–October 1st, and will feature a week of outdoor adventure activities such as scenic river floats, fly fishing lessons, hikes, paddle boarding and/or kayaking in Glacier NP and much more. It will also feature farm-to-table meals including German food and local beers. The Oktoberfest Adventure Camp experience includes four-nights’ accommodation in Roam Beyond’s trailers, all meals, gear, guides and transportation, and on-site yoga sessions.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Rock Springs, Wyoming, Field Office, is asking for volunteers to help clean up the surrounding area in an early celebration of National Public Lands Day (NPLD) on Saturday, August 27. Families, individuals, clubs and organizations are invited to participate. Proper work attire such as gloves, hat, long pants, sturdy shoes, and safety glasses should be worn. Gloves, safety glasses and water will be available. Sunscreen and insect repellent are highly recommended. More info.
SUNDAY EVENING UPDATE (5 p.m., Pacific time): Kiely’s body has been found in her car in 14 feet of water in Prosser Lake, just a couple of hundred yards from where the 16-year-old disappeared on Aug. 6 after attending a large party of teenagers at the Prosser Family Campground. The report comes from the search and rescue team but has not yet been confirmed by the Placer County Sheriff’s office.
It’s been two weeks since Truckee, California, teenager Kiely Rodni went missing after a party attended by hundreds of teenagers and young adults at the Prosser Family Campground in the Lake Tahoe area. She is still missing. A $50,000 reward is now being offered for information that leads to her safe return. According to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, multiple agencies are now part of this investigation that is now classified as a possible abduction. Anyone with information about the teen’s whereabouts is asked to call the Tipline, 530-581-6320, option 7. They can remain anonymous.
The Forest Service has closed the Middle Fork Campground and a stretch of dispersed campsites between Washington state’s Pratt River Bar and Garfield Ledges parking lot on Forest Road 56, after reports of ongoing human conflicts with black bears. Visitors to the camping area, located roughly 46 miles from Seattle, had been getting careless about keeping food in a locked, sealed and secured area. Forest Service employees had noticed that the bears were getting increasingly used to human food.
From Woodall’s Campground Magazine: “This week, Inc. Magazine revealed that Harvest Hosts is No. 70 on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in America, according to a press release. The brand also secured No. 1 in the Travel & Hospitality category and No. 1 in the state of Colorado.” (Speaking of Harvest Hosts, you have just under two weeks left to save 20% on a membership! Use code HHFRIENDS20 at checkout. Learn more.)
Stupid Tourist Tricks
It wasn’t enough for these tourists to watch two bison duke it out in Yellowstone National Park. Nope. Instead, the clueless couple stepped outside their vehicle and watched from what one bystander estimated as about 10 feet away. They escaped unharmed, but this could easily have ended badly. Don’t Be Dumb!
Grand Canyon National Park lifted its mandatory water conservation measures for the South Rim when water storage reached an acceptable level on August 15.
The city of Seattle will roll out a pilot program that will create a safe parking lot to accommodate 35 RVs and their owners. Right now the county is evaluating about a dozen sites that will work for the program. Officials have allocated $1.9 million for the program. Seattle’s King County says more than 2,700 people were living in vehicles in 2020.
Gas prices continue to decline. The average national price was $3.93 on Friday, which was six cents lower than a week earlier. Diesel prices are a different story. Based on U.S. government data, prices are still 46% higher than this time last year.
If you’re driving I-10 through Phoenix today, be aware that eastbound lanes are closed between State Route 51 and US 60 for bridge work until 4 a.m. tomorrow (Monday).
Readers of the Vermont’s Seven Daysies Magazine have named Little River State Park as the state’s best. The park includes 81 campsites, as well as swimming beaches, a boat launch and 24 miles of hiking trails.
On Saturday, a search and rescue operation for a missing person continued at Zion National Park in Utah following a flash flood on the Virgin River. Rangers were alerted about hikers being “swept off their feet” near the Temple of Sinawava on Friday afternoon.
RVtravel.com contributor and national RV electricity expert Mike Sokol was out of action most of the last two weeks with COVID and bronchitis. He said Friday that he is feeling better. Mike will be a featured seminar speaker at the upcoming Hershey RV Show.
The swimming areas at the Quaker Race Day Use Area and the campground beaches at Pennsylvania’s Gifford Pinchot State Park are currently off-limits to visitors due to an algae that is releasing toxic compounds and other harmful substances.
New Jersey campgrounds have the busiest camping season in years. The state reported 164,472 visitors staying at New Jersey campsites last year, up from 161,006 in 2019.
Last Thursday, U.S. transportation officials announced $2.2 billion will go toward local infrastructure projects across the country. These projects will include new bridges, roads, bike lanes, railways and ports. About 16 projects will be funded by the $2.2 billion.
Bees are present in large numbers at the Cholla Cactus Garden, Keys View, and other areas of Southern California’s Joshua Tree National Park. They are attracted to moisture. When visiting these areas, park officials advise turning off vehicle AC 10 minutes before arriving so condensation can dry, and keep the vehicle’s windows closed.
In response to wildfire risk in Rhode Island, campfires at all state campgrounds, parks, and management areas are banned as of today. Use of portable gas cooking stoves and grills, liquefied or bottled fuels, and propane/liquid-fueled lanterns in designated areas are okay. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management says the ban seeks to reduce the dangerous risks of human-caused wildfires. The ban follows Thursday night’s brush fire in Burrillville, which was sparked by a campfire.
It seems bison have mysteriously made their way back to Texas. Bison sightings in Big Bend National Park have been reported since mid-July, and one woman’s photos from August 7th confirm the animals are back in the park for the first time since the 19th century. How many bison are in the park and where they came from remains a mystery.
CBS News Colorado reports: The driver and three other people were injured when an RV rolled through the wall of a Winchell’s Donut House in Lakewood, CO, on Monday. You can see video of the wreckage here.
RV Retailer, LLC, has acquired Camper City in Buford, Georgia, in the greater Atlanta market, bringing its total store count to 104 in 32 states.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has its early estimates of traffic fatalities for the first quarter of 2022. NHTSA estimates that 9,560 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of about 7% compared to the 8,935 fatalities projected for the same quarter in 2021.
Michelin Tires has launched a website exclusively about RV tires.
The lightning-sparked Quartz Fire grows to 500 acres inside Glacier National Park. The park has enacted a closure order for all areas, campgrounds and trails within the Quartz Lake drainage areas, including the Quartz Lake Loop trails and the Quartz Lake and Lower Quartz Lake Wilderness campgrounds.
As Lake Mead continues to lower, more human remains have shown up, the latest on Monday at Swim Beach in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area near Boulder City, Nevada.
The BLM’s Morgan Bar Campground 7 miles south of Salmon, Idaho, has been reopened. It was temporarily closed on August 8 while the southern portion of it was used as a mobile retardant base during wildfire suppression operations on the nearby Moose Fire.
Truck Camper Magazine is holding its annual calendar photo contest. All photos must have a truck camper included in the scene. Learn more, including how to enter.
The 18-hole golf course at Bar Run Golf and RV Resort in Roseburg, Ore., has fully opened. It originally opened with 10 holes in the fall of 2021. The resort currently offers 26 full-amenity RV spaces with another 44 sites to be added later.
A man believed to be in his 60s was found dead inside an RV at the Smokey Point RV Park in Arlington, WA, early Wednesday morning. The RV caught fire in the early hours of August 17. The fire, which witnesses said reached forty feet in height, spread to two other RVs in the park. The sole occupant of one of the other RVs evacuated safely.
Melinda Janssen, 64, and Erick Janssen, 75, were killed Wednesday when their motorhome flipped on Interstate 25 south of Pueblo, Colorado. A tire blowout is suspected to be a contributing factor.
Sheriff’s officers in San Louis Obispo, Calif., responded to a 911 call last week, which they determined came from a local zoo. But when they arrived, nobody was there — except a little Capuchin monkey. They finally concluded that the monkey named Route had apparently picked up the zoo’s cellphone, which was in a golf cart. “We’re told Capuchin monkeys are very inquisitive and will grab anything and everything and just start pushing buttons,” the sheriff’s officers said later.
A Washington state man celebrated his 82nd birthday by completing his 17-year goal to shoot one million basketball free throws. Tom Steury, 82, of Eastside, said he made about 94 percent of the shots he took over the course of 17 years and spent a total of about 2,500 hours on the court. He told KOMO-TV his best streak was making 222 shots in a row.
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.
How fast do you fall asleep at night?
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
August 10 saw this 1976 Boler travel trailer go missing. Taken from in front of a residence in Denver, Colorado, it was wearing Colorado plate AJPU23. If you have any information, please contact us directly by email, Russ “at” rvtravel.com.
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
• Newmar recalls motorhomes for potential propane leaks
• Ford F-150 vehicles recalled; driveshaft could fracture
• Keystone RV recalls more than 20,000 towables
• Grand Design fifth wheel RVs recalled for possible ramp door failure
• Grand Design recalls trailers for awning problem
• Pleasure Way RVs recalled for overloaded circuit board fire risk
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Cover story: The most ridiculous campsite in America
• Featured article: What’s the best RV road service for you?
• RV Review: No Boundaries NB20.4 Beast Mode prototype
• Around the Campfire: Would you change your RV’s flat tire yourself?
• RV Checklists: Everything to do before leaving the campground
• Do you need to weigh the RV and adjust tire inflation each trip?
… and much more
Our best-selling products in July
These are the products our readers are buying! Check ’em out.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of August 15, 2022:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.94 [Calif.: $5.22]
Change from week before: Down 10 cents; Change from year before: Up 76 cents.
Diesel: $4.91 [Calif.: $6.02]
Change from week before: Down 8 cents; Change from year before: Up $1.56.
Can you find the seagull? Click the image to enlarge.
Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
We think you should put this on the back of your RV. You’d have everyone bent over with laughter!
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Upcoming RV shows
It won’t be long before RV show season gets underway. Click here for a directory of upcoming shows.
Recipe of the Day
A healthier and less messy way to cook fries without frying them. The mix of thyme, rosemary, and oregano is delicious and not overpowering. They’re wonderful without the Feta, but we’d encourage you to sprinkle it on top. The cheese adds a touch of savory flavor. A creative twist on french fries for summer grilling season.
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.
The earliest forms of cardboard came from the Chinese, who used sheets of Mulberry tree bark, around the first century B.C. For the first eighteen centuries, however, nobody thought to make the material into a box. It wasn’t until 1817 that cardboard was turned into the first cardboard box. Then, in 1817, the distribution of the popular war strategy board game, “The Game of Besieging,” happened in a cardboard box. Ironically, most board games today are sold in cardboard boxes and are, of course, like almost everything else, distributed in cardboard boxes, too.
A man and a giraffe walk into a bar. After a few drinks, the giraffe falls over and dies. The man begins to walk out when the bartender stops him. “Hey, you can’t leave that lyin’ there,” he says. The man turns around. “That’s not a lion, it’s a giraffe.”
Today in History
RVtravel.com All-Star Team
Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Associate editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris. Senior writers: Nanci Dixon, Tony Barthel, Gail Marsh. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Roger Marble, Dave Solberg, Dave Helgeson, Mike Gast, Julianne Crane, Machelle James, James Raia, J.R. Montigel, Randall Brink, Karel Carnohan DVM, Cheri Sicard, Dustin Simpson, Dale Wade, Paul Lacitinola and Johnny Robot. Special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore, 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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