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Sunday, February 5, 2023
Non-Members (advertising-supported) edition
South Dakota proposes law that would end full-time RVers’ domicile and voting rights
South Dakota has long been recognized as a haven for full-time RVers. With no state income tax, low fees on vehicle registration and other privileges, many RVers from other states have “set up shop” with one of the state’s private mailbox services to officially establish residency there. But proposed legislation would likely end such benefits for both existing and future full-timers. We’ve included the email addresses of the sponsors of the bills so you can make your voice heard. Read the article and watch a video that explains the bills and their implications.
Sit down! The high cost of camping here may make you faint!
Your first reaction to reading this may be that you have somehow slipped into the Twilight Zone, a world where the price of recreation is so ridiculously high by our normal standards that these new fees to camp cannot possibly apply to Planet Earth in 2023. Read Chuck Woodbury’s article, see pics, and please leave a comment.
Great job numbers, but not for RVers
By Andy Zipser
The jobs numbers out on Friday resulted in great giddiness in some quarters and foreboding in others. Giddiness because January’s 3.4% unemployment rate is the lowest the U.S. has seen since 1969. So let the good times roll? So, where do campgrounds and RV parks fit in all this? It’s fair to assume that very few of those employment gains are trickling down to your favorite RV park. Read more of Andy’s always stimulating observations about life and particularly RV life.
Mini ‘Walmarts’ of rural America expand to 19,000 stores.
Any RVer who has traveled in rural America has likely come across many Dollar General stores, and has probably stopped to buy something on occasion. In many cases, Dollar General is the only convenience-type store within miles. Continue reading, then please participate in our poll.
Essay: The reason boondocking is discouraged on our public lands
By Randall Brink
Dispersed camping (“boondocking”) refers to camping outside designated campgrounds. It is a preferred camping mode for many RVers who prefer to avoid the hassle and price of designated commercial campgrounds. Boondocking is a more secluded and natural camping experience at a lower cost and with fewer regulations than campground camping. However, with this lack of structure comes a greater risk of environmental damage and safety hazards, including wildfires. And therein lie the principal arguments against boondocking. Continue reading.
RVers who carry a firearm should pack this along to save them from trouble
Every year about this time we tell you about something every firearm-carrying RVer should have with them as they travel the USA. Without this, they could end up in a heap o’ trouble. This will cost you $16.95, but worth every penny, we think!
RVers discuss booking two sites side-by-side: ‘The second site is for all my toys’
By Nanci Dixon
RV sales have slowed (finally) and fewer people are buying RVs than has been the recent trend. Has that changed campground crowding? This week we hear from RVers and their experiences with the 10-year-old-RV rule, and one person’s plan to provide a campground to accommodate those who are refused elsewhere. Also, there is the opinion that campgrounds are crowded due to high housing costs. A couple of RVers explain why they reserve adjoining campsites. All that and much more here.
Remember: Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow earlier this week, so that means six more weeks of winter. So you’ll need to wait awhile to dewinterize your RV.
For Lovers Only…
“You’re far away but close in my heart. Can’t wait for our next camping road trip together. I love you BIG!”
From: Green Eyes
“Happy 22nd wedding anniversary and Happy Valentine’s Day. I love you!”
Send your Valentine greetings!
Listen up, romantics. Valentine’s Day is coming up. If you have a special someone you’d like to surprise with a secret message right here on this website (could be your wife, husband, partner, child, neighbor, friend, etc.) submit it to us here. Don’t use their real names, use a special name that only they’ll recognize. Oh, how fun it will be when they read it! You’ll make their day! We’ll feature these in our upcoming newsletters, so check back often and see if yours has been featured.
That was the RV week that was
January 29 – February 4, 2023
Amazon.com has quietly canceled its CamperForce program, which hired RVers to fill orders every holiday season. The work program was made famous in the Academy Award Winning book and movie “Nomadland.” We’ll have a full report next Sunday. The CamperForce website at Amazon.com now shows an error message.
Gas prices are easing, but slowly. On Friday, says AAA, a gallon of petrol sold for $3.49, a few cents more than a year ago. Still, prices are far less than they were last summer when they reached an all-time high on June 14 of $5.02 per gallon.
A herd of elk halted traffic on I-80 in Salt Lake City, Utah, several times this past week. The animals jumped over the road barriers to the grass on the opposite side of the wide, four-lane highway. Unfortunately, some elk were killed when hit by cars before traffic controls were put in place and vehicles were stopped while the elk crossed the highway.
Forbes reports that RV wholesale shipments last year ended up at about 495,300 units, or down about 17% from the 2021 record. For this year, the RV Industry Association has projected U.S. wholesale sales of 379,000 to 404,000 units, with a most likely year-end total of 392,500. That would represent a 21% decline from 2022 and would come close to matching the 2019 total of 406,000 units. The association predicted a continued retreat in RV shipments through the first half of this year because of the economic headwinds but the beginning of a recovery in the second half of 2023.
Pilot Flying J is kicking off American Heart Month Campaign with its annual round-up campaign, encouraging guests to stop at one of their participating locations to support heart health. The program inspires guests to celebrate their reasons to live healthier, longer lives by donating at participating Pilot, Flying J or One9 Fuel Network travel centers throughout the month of February. This year’s campaign focuses on the importance of CPR.
Black Book, which publishes vehicle appraisal guides, has released the Black Book RV market commentary for December that showed that the average sales prices for motorhomes and towables sold at wholesale auctions both increased last month. “This is a little bit surprising given the time of year,” reported Black Book’s Eric Lawrence. “Usually prices begin their seasonal uptick a little closer to the start of spring.” The report also shows that auction volume was down: motorhomes decreased 14.3% while towables dropped 1.51%, and the average age of motor homes was 12 years (2011) and towables was five.
Big changes for our Canadian campers. Parks Canada is moving its reservation system to a new platform. Parks Canada says the look and feel of the site will be different, but the features and functions will work the same. Reservations for the 2023 season will launch in March. Users should save information about previous bookings, as they’ll have to create a new user account after March 3rd.
France has launched its own similar version of North America’s popular Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome programs. Homecamper will connect travelers with hosts who offer interesting stays in backyards, farms, etc. The platform aims to provide a way to escape from popular mass tourism destinations and will provide unique camping spaces that are not found on other French vacation rental platforms.
The Biden administration took a first step Friday toward ending federal protections for grizzly bears in the northern Rocky Mountains, which would open the door to future hunting in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said state officials provided “substantial” information that grizzlies have recovered from the threat of extinction in the regions surrounding Yellowstone and Glacier national parks. Friday’s move kicks off at least a year of further study before final decisions about the Yellowstone and Glacier regions.
The U.S. government must pay $10.5 million to the family of the woman killed at Arches National Park. Esther Nakajjigo, a 25-year-old Ugandan woman, was killed in an accident at the park on June 13, 2020. Nakajjigo and her husband were leaving a park parking lot when a metal traffic control gate swung into the road and pierced the passenger side of the couple’s rental car, killing Nakajjigo. The couple’s parents insisted the National Park Service was negligent for not painting the gate. In his 10-page verdict, U.S. District Court Judge Bruce Jenkins said the government admitted fault.
More creeps are on the loose, harming our public lands. Since July 2022, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has experienced multiple incidents of vandalism, including the burning of vault public toilets around Lake Havasu, Arizona, which is a popular winter destination for RVers. RVing boondockers rely on these facilities. Learn more, including where to report the lowlifes who lit up the privies.
FMCA, an organization of North American RV owners, has revised the dates for its 108th International Convention & RV Expo in Tucson, Ariz., at the Pima County Fairgrounds. The new dates for the Expo are March 20-23, 2024. The original dates for the event were March 24-27, but a date conflict was discovered, hence the change. Read more.
The National Park Service is is looking for short-term housing in communities near Indiana Dunes National Park for its seasonal workforce of park rangers, guides, maintenance workers, and research aids. The park in Porter, Indiana, is interested in leasing housing for employee use for up to one year. Furnished multiple-bedroom units are preferred, but all proposals are welcome. Call Todd Fletcher at (219) 395-1751 if you can help.
Learn how to get along with bears at BearWise, a program from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW). The BearWise website offers a wealth of scientifically sound information and practical advice.
Glacier National Park vehicle reservations are now open for the 2023 season. Vehicle reservations will be required from late May through early September for Going-to-the-Sun Road and the North Fork Road. The park will also now require vehicle reservations for both the Many Glacier and Two Medicine valleys July through early September. The park plans to offer vehicle reservations four months and 24 hours in advance. If you want to drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road across the park, you can try to reserve your ticket beginning Wednesday at 8 a.m. MT time via recreation.gov.
Seven Tennessee State Parks restaurants will offer romantic dinners for Valentine’s Day on Tuesday, Feb. 14. Montgomery Bell State Park is serving Valentine’s meals on three separate dates (Feb. 10, 11 and 14). Participating parks on February 14: Montgomery Bell State Park, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Henry Horton State Park, Cumberland Mountain State Park, Pickwick Landing State Park, Natchez Trace State Park, and Paris Landing State Park. Find more details about price and menu options here.
California State Parks, First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and the California Natural Resources Agency are reminding visitors about three new ways to explore its parks for free. Fourth graders can obtain a free California State Park Adventure Pass to explore 19 select state parks for free for a full school year. All Californians can check out a California State Library Parks Pass by using their library cards to access more than 200 participating state park units. Families receiving California Work Opportunity and Responsibility for Kids (CalWORKs), individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and income-eligible Californians 62 and over can apply for the Golden Bear Pass with their smartphone or other web-based device in just minutes and have access to more than 200 park units.
RVshare, the largest online community for RV renters and owners, has released its first-ever quarterly guide for all RV travelers. The Road Ahead guide is designed to be a source of information for all future RVers. It will share travel trends, top destinations, and upcoming events across the country. You can find the first edition of the guide here.
Hey, if you’re headed to South Africa soon, mark your calendar for February 24, 25 and 26 to attend the 2023 Caravan Show at Gallagher Convention Center in Johannesburg. RVing is very popular in South Africa and this is THE annual RV show not to miss. Learn more and order your ticket here.
The most expensive 2023-model cars to fill up with fuel from empty, according to Consumer Reports, are: Toyota Tundra, which at $3.38 a gallon costs $109 to fill its 32.2-gallon tank. Second place was a tie, the Ford Expedition and Chevrolet Suburban, which cost $96 each to fill their 28-gallon tanks.
Looking for work? Try the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The DNR is hiring 1,300 seasonal workers at state parks and recreation areas. Seasonal DNR workers receive at least $15/hour, and park rangers can make between $19-$27 per hour. View open positions here.
A new Kampgrounds of America (KOA) press release states 1.5 million more people went camping in 2022 than in previous years. According to the report, 30 percent of campers were new to camping and 13 percent say they started camping as a result of the pandemic.
Greenbrier Road at U.S. 321 and access into the Greenbrier area of Great Smoky National Park will be closed starting February 13. The closure will allow contractors to repair road damage and replace washed out culverts caused by heavy rainfall in July of 2022. Work is scheduled to be completed by March 31, weather permitting.
The BLM Elko District basic camping fees at four campgrounds will increase June 1. The campgrounds and their fees: North Wildhorse goes from $6 to $10 a night; Wilson goes from $4 to $10; Zunino-Jiggs and Tabor Creek go from $2 to $5.
South Dakotan library card holders can now check out state park passes from public and academic libraries across the state through their Check Out South Dakota State Parks program. The three-day state park pass is free of charge. Normally a day pass costs $8.
Bish’s RV has acquired Stewart’s RV in American Fork, Utah. Family-owned Bish’s now has 21 locations in 10 states.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
RVtravel.com publisher Chuck Woodbury took this photo last Sunday in Washington State’s North Cascades, about a two-hour drive north of Seattle. The Mt. Baker ski area is in the distance. A half dozen RVers were camping in the resort’s parking lot. Click the photo to enlarge it.
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 and writers as they move about the country.
Click here to see if your RV made it into today’s issue.
?? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??
You KNOW we love space-saving, multi-use gadgets for our RVs, and this one does not disappoint. It’s brilliant!
Sorry, we’re having technical issues. We’ll be back …
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
This 2020 Endurance Toy Hauler RV and red Yanmar tractor were stolen recently from Laneville, Texas. The RV’s far-back right-side window and side are damaged. A reward is offered if you can find it. Call (936) 828-6700 (Source: Facebook).
Did someone rip off your ride? Let us post information on your stolen RV. Email Russ (at) rvtravel.com.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Cover story: Life expectancy calculator gives me sobering number: 16.9 years left to live. What to do with that precious time?
• RV Service Centers and Repairs Report: Former repair and manufacturing worker shares dirt: ‘Here’s what’s really wrong with the RV industry’
• What does AI know about RVing? Here’s photographic evidence!
• Caught in the scary Texas ice storms; winter RVing at its worst!
• Should you carry LP cylinders lying down?
• RV appliances: Readers share their ‘must have’ small RV appliances
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of January 30, 2023:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.49 [Calif.: $4.36]
Change from week before: Up 7 cents; Change from year before: Up 12 cents.
Diesel: $4.62 [Calif.: $5.51]
Change from week before: Up 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 78 cents.
When Ashley was 15, her mother was 37. Now, her mother is twice her age. How old is Ashley?
Upcoming RV shows
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Recipe of the Day
Chipotle Lime Chicken
by Lou Kostura from Belmont, CA
This grilled chicken is fantastic! The chipotle brings the heat and smokiness to this dish. We love how the beer helps tenderize the chicken and makes it super moist. Brown sugar and agave nectar add just a hint of sweetness. We let ours marinate for 48 hours and used skinless, boneless chicken thighs. This recipe turned out delicious and definitely feeds a crowd.
Thetford’s toilet seal isn’t crappy!
Nobody wants to talk about a yucky toilet, but nobody wants to actually have to deal with a yucky toilet either… Enter Thetford’s Toilet Seal Lube and Conditioner. It works on all RV and boat toilets and protects the seal from drying out. If your toilet’s seal dries out, it can prevent it from sealing and holding water. You don’t want that! This is one of those products you should really use, even if dealing with your toilet isn’t your all-time favorite thing to do. Check it out.
Brain teaser answer:
Ashley is 22. Her mother is 22 years older, so when Ashley is 22, she’s now half her mother’s age.
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 tallest man alive is Sultan Kosen, from Turkey. Kosen is 8 feet, 2.8 inches tall. His hands measure 11.22 inches and his feet measure 14.4 inches! Wow!
Small blind spot mirror good for all vehicles
If you don’t have one of these on your RV or tow vehicle, you need one! These small 2″ round glass blind spot mirrors easily stick onto your current mirror, no hard work is needed! They’re waterproof and rust-resistant and can rotate and sway to be adjusted for the best visibility. They’re affordable and could save you from an accident. Learn more or order.
(Could this possibly be at an RV service center?)
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, Gail Marsh, Dave Solberg. Contributors: Roger Marble, Dave Helgeson, J.R. Montigel, Randall Brink, Karel Carnohan DVM, Cheri Sicard, Dustin and Ashley Simpson, Dale Wade, Paul Lacitinola and Jeff Clemishaw. Special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. Special Reports: Bradford Geer. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen. Mascots: Archie and Astor “the Disaster”
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.
RVtravel.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers.
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Great issue today, one of the best I’ve seen – I appreciate all the work and effort you take on to inform and educate.
And we appreciate you and your very kind words, Michael! Thank you! Have a great day. 😀 –Diane at RVtravel.com
Regarding carrying firearms on cross country trips, a visit to USCCA.com will provide all the needed information for free. It is updated on a regular basis.
I find it annoying to read an article and select done and get returned to the beginning and have to scroll down to find where I was in the newsletter. There should be a way you could return me to the follow on article.
If you are using a Google Chrome browser, one way I have found to help mitigate that issue is to open the article that you want to read in a separate tab by pressing and holding the link for the article and then choose “Open New Tab in Group” when the prompt pops up. Then you can finish reading the newsletter and the other article(s) will be ready whenever you are. Hope this helps!