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Sunday, September 18, 2022
Non-Members (advertising-supported) edition
The State of RVing, Part 1: Growth of the RV homeless
By Randall Brink
It has become a cliche to refer to that halcyon time “before the pandemic.” So much, in retrospect, seemed better then. The RV travel lifestyle was different regarding things like access to RV parks and RVing costs. There was another different thing: There were virtually no daily news stories in local and city newspapers about RVing, or rather, the problem of RVs and people in homeless encampments and on city streets.
Fast-forward to 2022. The chances are good that if you read your daily newspaper or watch local news on TV, you will see a story segment about RVs and RVers. Chances are it won’t be a good story. Continue reading this insightful report.
RV industry unhappy about Fed’s idea to combat high-pressure RV sales
The National RV Dealers Association (RVDA) is all twisted up about a proposed new rule from the Federal Trade Commission that seeks to better protect consumers from being ripped off by unscrupulous dealers. Specifically, “The proposed rule would prohibit motor vehicle dealers from making certain misrepresentations in the course of selling, leasing or arranging financing for motor vehicles.” Any RV buyer who has found himself with a 20-year loan for a rolling box that will have a resale value approaching zero in half that time will applaud the sentiment. Read more from Andy Zipser.
Was RVer’s newly purchased used RV once a meth lab?
We found this on a social media group, but felt it was important enough to pass along. The posting went like this: “There’s a smell in our newly bought camper we got from a con artist. We’ve been trying to fix it. The smell is kinda like glue, it’s so potent causes dry mouth and a weird taste, and dizziness. After working in there for 3-4 hours last night I can barely breathe today. What is this? How do I get rid of it?” Continue reading, especially if you’re in the market for a used RV.
Death Valley takes triple-whammy hits from stormy weather. Visitors be warned!
The hottest place on earth and driest place in North America—that’s Death Valley. The world record highest air temperature of 134° F (57° C) was recorded at Furnace Creek on July 10, 1913. But Death Valley is setting some other weather records, and they aren’t exactly welcome. Flooding in the popular California national park has turned it on its ear, making travel through the park nearly impossible. Continue reading about closures. And check out the picture of waterfalls in Death Valley National Park!
Campground Crowding: Two separate campground owners speak out, offer their side
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 two RV park owners who offer their “side of the story” regarding campground crowding. Also we hear from more RVers having difficulty finding campsites as well as a solution we’ve heard from more than one RVer. And Theodora B. reminds us, “No one wants to be homeless, and there is room for all of us.” Read more.
Here is the current edition of our 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!
Please note: We’ve changed the rules around a little bit. Please read the updated rules here. And don’t forget to submit a photo!
Today’s RV review…
Tony writes, “If you want something that’s highly mobile, indeed a trailer that’s towable by a half-ton truck, an ESCAPE can do that. That trailer can be outfitted with holding tanks and RV-specific appliances. So it’s every bit as mobile as any other travel trailer we’ve looked at here.”
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
September 11–17, 2022
Next Saturday, Sept. 24, is National Public Lands Day, so good news: Entry to all National Park Service sites will be free. The holiday is one of five days in 2022 when NPS offers free admission to visitors — and comes just after the start of fall. While many visitors use the free day for recreation, National Public Lands Day is the largest single day of volunteering for parks and public lands all year.
In Chambers County, Texas, where the alligators outnumber humans almost 3 to 1, a 14-foot-long alligator has been captured from the waters off of Alligator Alley RV Park in Anahuac. The alligator is just three inches shy of the state record. David Fontenot, a 56-year-old part-time resident of the park, caught the giant reptile. Last year he caught a slightly smaller gator, 11-feet, 6-inches, at the same RV park.
THOR industries, one of the world’s largest RV manufacturers, has launched a new feature on its website: a Trip Calculator. The calculator is a fully customizable tool to help RV vacationers estimate the cost of a desired trip. The calculator will also compare those costs between plane, car, and RV travel. Additionally, the calculator will feature RV trip budget breakdowns, where RVers can break down the costs of trips they’ve taken, and how those same trips would compare had they not taken their RV.
Country singer John Michael Montgomery and two other people were injured Friday night, Sept. 11, when Montgomery’s motorhome crashed in Tennessee near the Kentucky state line. The 57-year-old performer was a passenger on a 2001 Prevost Featherlite motorhome traveling south on Interstate 75 south of Jellico when the vehicle veered off the road, struck an embankment and overturned, according to WATE-TV, which cited a report from the Tennessee Highway Patrol. “Despite some cuts and broken ribs, I am doing well,” Montgomery wrote later in a Facebook post.
The national average price for a gallon of gas fell seven cents in the past week to reach $3.71 on Thursday, a level not seen since the beginning of March. The primary reason for the decline is the recent lower cost for oil, according to a release from the American Automobile Association (AAA). Thursday’s national average of $3.71 was 26 cents less than a month ago.
Washington state’s Mount Rainier National Park has lifted its park-wide fire ban after consultation with area and regional fire management officials. Campfires will be permitted at the park’s three campgrounds, including the Ohanapecosh Campground, the Cougar Rock Campground and the White River Campground. This brings the park into alignment with adjacent U.S. Forest Service lands.
Worried about renegade commercial truck drivers ruining your RV road trip? Each year an International Roadcheck event puts the spotlight on commercial truckers and their rigs. This year, inspectors across the U.S. and Canada did 48,966 inspections. Of those, 11,181 rigs were taken off the road, and 3,118 drivers were sidelined for failing to pass various inspection criteria. The most stringent of inspections is a Level 1, which checklists 37 different items about the rig, and the driver’s credentials. More than 6% of drivers bombed out on their creds in the U.S.
Zachery Potts, 27, a staff member of U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski of Indiana was trying to pass a flat-bed truck on a northern Indiana highway last month when the SUV he was driving with the Congresswoman and another staff member aboard into an oncoming car, killing all three people in car plus the driver of the other vehicle. Walorski, 58, a Republican, was very supportive of the RV industry.
RV parks and resorts that use the online platform MYSites, a property management system, can now join Spot2Nite to list their available sites for instant booking. Spot2Nite allows RV travelers to discover and instantly book available RV sites near them in real-time.
Okay, here’s some very exciting news for at least a few of our readers — a way to camp comfortably in a Porsche. Well, not in it, but on top of it. Designed, developed and produced by German company Porsche Tequipment, the roof tent can be installed on the roof transport systems of models such as the 911, Macan, Cayenne, Panamera and Taycan. As far as a “recreational vehicle,” it’s darn cheap, only about $5,000. So what are you waiting for?
An Airstream motorhome that once transported astronauts to the Space Shuttle was auctioned off last week. The Airstream likely accompanied the space shuttle as the NASA Convoy Command Vehicle any time the shuttle landed in California at Edwards Air Force Base. Nineteen bidders vied for the historic RV, with the winner grabbing it “as is” for $21,061 plus a small purchase fee.
A popular Lake Okanagan campground in Peachland, British Columbia, has closed to make way for a new waterfront residential development. Todd’s RV and Camping, with 83 campsites, was in its 66th year of service to the southern BC area. Okanagan Lake is said by some to be home to a giant lake monster named Ogopogo.
Move over Florida, Alabama coming through! According to a Florida/Alabama RV Park and Campground Association press release, more and more snowbirds heading to Florida are choosing to stay longer in Alabama, some never even making it to Florida. Alabama parks tend to be cheaper than Florida parks and more available and easier to book.
The tourist-favorite Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In in Seligman, Arizona, has earned a Guinness World Record by offering 266 milkshake flavors — and making them all in just over an hour. Among the Route 66 landmark’s flavors are peanut butter and onion ring, banana and chili, and orange and fish burger. Sound appealing?
Harvest Hosts, a membership program giving RVers access to unique RV camping options, has now topped 200 hosts in its church category — joining a wider network of more than 7,000 Harvest Hosts locations across North America. Throughout the pandemic, millions were unable to attend religious services in person, and during this time some struggling congregations sought out unlikely ways to bring back members and monetize in the process — through inviting RVers to stay on their land.
Torrey Trails RV & Golf Resort in Bowling Green, Fla., has created 210 EV-ready campsites that include 50/30/20 hookups for RVs at the back of each campsite and a 50-amp pedestal to charge an EV at the front. The park currently has completed two phases with 368 sites and a golf course. Phases 3 and 4 will add an additional 361 sites, giving the resort a total of 729 sites.
Today is National Cheeseburger Day. No big deal? Well, it is, actually, a big deal if you’re into double cheeseburgers. All day long, with a minimum purchase of $1, you can get a free Double Cheeseburger at McDonald’s. Alas, there are catches: The deal is only available through the McDonald’s app and only at participating locations. So, maybe it’s not worth the hassle. You decide.
And speaking of special occasions… October is Bat Appreciation Month. To learn more about these fascinating mammals head over to Missouri’s Bennett Spring State Park nature center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at 26250 Highway 64A in Lebanon. Learn more at 417-532-4338.
As previously mentioned, thousands of volunteers will gather to help restore public lands on National Public Lands Day (NPLD) on September 24th. The day is also designated as “Fee-Free Day,” which grants free admission to visitors in National Parks, and on BLM, Forest Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land.
Heartland RV, a manufacturer of high-end fifth wheels, travel trailers and toy haulers, is offering a new line of solar packages available across its RV models. SOL-Powered By The Sun packages are available in all new Heartland models starting on October 1.
Colorado’s Eldorado Canyon State Park no longer require vehicle entry times starting as of last Thursday. Reservations for vehicles that include specific entry times will be required again next year starting May 15. Eldorado Canyon is the first Colorado state park to implement a timed entry system.
Thanks to progress made on Oregon’s Rum Creek Fire, Josephine County Parks is reopening some recreation sites along the Rogue River. Hog Creek County Park and Boat Ramp, Indian Mary Park and Campground, and Ennis Riffle County Park will be open starting Wednesday morning. The Alameda County Park and Campground and Galice Boat Ramp are still closed.
With construction work done, access to Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park in Washington state has reopened. The reopened Ruby Beach features significant improvements to accessibility, allowing visitors of all abilities to better access and use parking areas, overlooks and facilities.
Also in Olympic National Park, Hurricane Ridge Road will be closed at the Heart O’ the Hills entrance station from September 16 to October 21 while road improvements are made. Ditto for the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. The Heart O’ the Hills Campground will remain open.
A group of investors has spent $1 million to purchase 43.5 acres of land in Fayetteville, AR, for a new “high-end” “motor coach-only” RV resort, “Pigskin Park,” near the University of Arkansas campus and Centennial Park. The investor group expects construction to be completed by next summer.
A new campground in Ishpeming, Mich., is nearly completed and scheduled to open next spring. The Brasswire Campground will offer 50 campsites, bathrooms, water and easy access to RAMBA (Range Area Mountain Bike Association) biking trails.
These Death Valley National Park campgrounds are currently closed due to flood and/or road damage: Mesquite Springs, Sunset, Texas Spring, Stovepipe Wells, Emigrant, Wildrose, Thorndike and Mahogany Flat. Learn more.
Residents of Valley, NE, are suing their city council over a tie vote to approve a new 230-space RV park along the Platte River. The mayor cast the tie-breaking vote to approve the development. The complaint also raises a legal objection to the location of the RV park in a designated flood plain.
The Portland (Oregon) Bureau of Transportation attempted to clear out a homeless RV encampment last week on 157th Avenue, providing 72-hour notice of the city’s intent to clear the vehicles as part of a new enforcement initiative. Residents were offered transportation and relocation to a shelter but only some accepted. Police arrested one camper who allegedly set an RV on fire while crews attempted to tow it away.
Additional water restrictions are now in effect at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park due to a series of breaks in the Transcanyon Waterline. Among the new restrictions: Water spigots in Mather Campground and at Desert View Campground are now turned off.
Yellowstone National Park hosted 582,211 recreation visits in August, a 37% decrease from August 2021 (921,844 recreation visits), the most-visited August on record, and a 29% decrease from August 2019 (820,006), the last year pre-COVID. So far in 2022, the park has hosted 2,446,982 recreation visits, down 32% from 2021 at the same time.
Speaking of Yellowstone, West Thumb Geyser Basin, located in the southern part of the park, is closed until further notice due to hazardous conditions.
Ya like coffee? Well, good news if you’re a Starbucks fan. The Seattle coffee giant has announced it plans to add 2,000 new stores in the U.S. by 2025, diversifying its brick-and-mortar portfolio across cafes, pick-up stores, drive-thru-only, and delivery-only locations to meet “customers whenever and wherever they want,” the company said.
The city of Seattle estimates that there are more than 400 different RV encampments on the streets in the city, ranging in size from one or two RVs to dozens of RVs, cars, vans, and other vehicles used as shelters.
Today is the last day of the annual Hershey RV Show, billed as America’s largest such event. Get your ticket online and then head over.
COMING THIS 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 on Wednesday evenings, what you need to know to keep your RV in top condition and to troubleshoot problems. Hosted by Dave Solberg. Sign up.
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.
RECENT POPULAR POLL
We asked: Do you believe there should be “No Campfire” zones in RV parks? Find out here.
?? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??
Looking for a way to be a little more active? Spend more time outside? Well, throw a chicken! Yes, throw a chicken!
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
Grim happenings in Grimsby: Niagra Falls Regional Police in Ontario are asking local residents for security camera footage that might help them track down the crooks who stole a 2022 Grand River travel trailer. Last seen September 4 at 9:00 p.m., the 25-foot rig was ripped off right in front of a home on Elmer Street near Hunter Road in Grimsby, Ontario. At the time of the theft, the rig was wearing Ontario tag W6G017. Here’s your contact information: Phone 905-688-4111, option #3, extension #1009579.
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
Nothing significant to report this week.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Cover story: Best way to view the world: through a windshield
• Nail-biting stories of sketchy people while camping. What to do?
• Is new RV composite building material a game changer?
• RV Manufacturer Warranty, Part 3: Why you are getting the runaround from your RV dealership
• RV Service Centers and Repairs Report: “I was told that there will be problems, but wow! This is a lot!”
• My Weirdest RV Moment: “The giraffes that ate my motorhome”
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of September 12, 2022:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.69 [Calif.: $5.18]
Change from week before: Down 6 cents; Change from year before: Up 53 cents.
Diesel: $5.03 [Calif.: $6.16]
Change from week before: Down 5 cents; Change from year before: Up $1.66.
How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?
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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
by Hope Adcox from Monroe, GA
A fast and easy homemade fried rice that’s also easy on your wallet. Using leftover rice makes putting this dish together super simple. This fried rice has wonderful flavor from the sesame oil, garlic, and soy sauce. Tossed with a mixture of veggies, chicken, and eggs, this chicken fried rice is super hearty.
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.
Jeff Bezos lost $9.8 billion and Elon Musk lost $8.4 billion last Tuesday when stocks were hit hard by higher-than-expected inflation data.
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, J.R. Montigel, Randall Brink, Karel Carnohan DVM, Cheri Sicard, Dustin and Ashley Simpson, Dale Wade, Paul Lacitinola, Jeff Clemishaw 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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