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Sunday, February 19, 2023
Free, shortened, non-subscriber edition
Finally! California state parks proposing to penalize no-shows, release sites to public
By Nanci Dixon
One of the biggest issues that RVers report in our Campground Crowding column is the number of empty campsites caused by no-shows. Now, finally, something is being done about it at California state parks. Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, a California state lawmaker, is proposing a bill that would hit the no-show right in their wallet and make it difficult to book again at any of California’s 280 state parks. Continue reading.
Details of two RV parks on prime oceanfront property spark controversy, community outrage
Two proposals to develop RV parks on prime southern California oceanfront property are stirring controversy in San Diego. Randall Brink writes here about these proposed developments at De Anza Cove in Mission Bay and Coronado Cays, the narrow spit of land on the west side of San Diego Bay.
New campground makes sense for the changing RVing landscape
A new RV park under construction in Elkhart, Indiana, where about 4 out of 5 American RVs are made, is different from most others currently under development. It’s not aimed at luxury RV owners or young families with children. There’s no pool, no jumping pillows, game room, mini-golf course, hot tubs or other amenities designed to entertain RVers and often their families. And it makes sense. Read more.
Where is it?
Where do you think you’d find this RV show? This is a photo from a past event. This year’s show gets underway next weekend. You want to attend? Well… it may not be easy. Find out where it’s located below at “WHERE IS IT?”
Reward offered to find persons who vandalized dinosaur tracks
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is offering a $2,000 reward for information that leads to the identification and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for vandalism within Utah’s Moccasin Mountain Dinosaur Tracksite. Do you know anything? Read more.
County reverses ban on Harvest Hosts stays
By Jeff Clemishaw
Back in December, I wrote an article detailing an ongoing conflict in San Luis Obispo (SLO) County, California, over Harvest Hosts locations. Over the course of 2022, numerous locations from vineyards to botanical shops received code violations for operating illegal campgrounds. With no laws drafted pertaining to Harvest Hosts, lawmakers and code enforcers believed that these locations were doing something wrong—even though Harvest Hosts is a nationally recognized program. Learn more.
For some, RV parks a last chance at housing; ‘We are homeless, not seasonal campers’
By Nanci Dixon
Campgrounds are changing and evolving, some for the better and some for the worse. We received many responses, including from some homeless RVers, to a comment last week from reader Nan A., who wrote about helping the unhoused and who blamed “seasonal campers” for forcing the unhoused into complete destitution. Also, many readers commented on the rising cost of fuel and campgrounds. But Keith M. gave us a more positive spin on RVing. (Yay!) All that and much more here.
Beginning the first weekend in March, our weekend newsletters will swap places. The one you are reading now, currently published on Sundays, will move to Saturday. Our current Saturday edition will move to Sunday. Publisher Chuck Woodbury offers a full explanation of why we felt we needed to make this change in today’s newsletter’s member edition.
For Lovers Only…
“Happy Valentine’s Day. You are the love of my life. It has been a wonderful 49+ years. I hope we have many more Valentine’s Days together. Love you forever.”
“I fell in love with you the first day we spoke and knew you were the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. 38 years of marriage and I love you more and more each and every day.”
Even though Valentine’s Day is over, we’ll continue this feature throughout the month since we got so many submissions. No more new submissions will be accepted, though.
That was the RV week that was
February 12–18, 2023
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean average pay of an RV technician in 2021 was $21.60 an hour and $44,930 a year. The top three paying states were Colorado, where technicians earned $56,630 a year, followed by California ($54,690) and Alaska at $53,380. The states with the most RV technicians were, in order, Florida (1,420), Texas (1,350), California (1,320), Indiana (1,060) and Arizona (820).
The three least reliable pickup trucks so far for 2023, says Consumer Reports, are the Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra 1500, and the Ford F-150 Hybrid. “Just because Consumer Reports predicts poor reliability, that doesn’t mean they will have trouble,” wrote MotorBiscuit. “The fact is, people buy Ford F-150s, Chevy Silverados, and GMC Sierras by the buckets. And for many people, these trucks offer everything customers need. Also, for some, extra maintenance is worth it to continue to own a Ford pickup truck or whichever model they are loyal to.”
Campspot, a leading outdoor marketplace and reservation software provider, reported a 130% year-over-year increase in January demand with campsite reservations for the 2023 spring months already outpacing last year’s by 35%. While demand has remained strong among frequent campers and full-time RVers, the company is noting fresh interest among Gen-Z and Millennial campers. Campspot reported that site visits in 2022 by campers in the 18-34 age range increased more than 140% year over year.
Camping in Michigan? You may have to re-think that… Many Michigan State Parks will temporarily close this summer and fall for much-needed improvements. $250 million was made available to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to address critical needs in the parks and on trails. To find a full list of the closures, click here.
Lazydays has acquired Findlay RV in Las Vegas, Nev. The store is strategically located bordering four of the top 15 RV market states, and complements the RV dealer group’s existing operations in Arizona. It’s Lazydays’ 19th location.
GOOD ADVICE: From Benjamin Franklin: “Well done is better than well said.”
PREPARE FOR HOT WEATHER AHEAD
Not enough power to run your air conditioner? Think again! In the summer heat if your 110 power is from a small portable generator or a 20-amp household hookup, you’re out of luck running an air conditioner. That is, unless you have a SoftStartRV. It’s inexpensive, simple to install, and makes running your A/C possible when you never could before. Used and endorsed by RVtravel.com publisher Chuck Woodbury. Learn more or order at discount price.
Looking for work? Washington State Parks is looking for 305 park aides to work from April through September. Park aides will assist with registering campers, maintaining trails, cleaning campgrounds and maintaining facilities. They may also staff park offices, assist visitors and help with educational programs. Park aides earn between $17-$21 an hour. Find more information here.
Beginning March 1, Badlands National Park in South Dakota will not accept cash for park entrance fees or permit fees and will only accept mobile or electronic payments. Visitors can purchase Badlands National Park entrance passes in advance by going to Recreation.gov or through the Recreation.gov application.
The North Highway that leads to the Mesquite Springs Campground and the Ubehebe Crater in Death Valley National Park has reopened after some concerted reconstruction work six months after torrential rains spawned historic flash floods that caused severe damage.
An elderly couple from Waxahachie, Texas, were killed in a crash on Thursday evening on Interstate 10 in Jackson County, Florida, when the motorhome’s driver lost control, most likely due to a tire failure, and crossed the eastbound lanes, colliding with the guardrail and bridge wall. It overturned and partially submerged in the Chipola River. When deputies arrived, they found the two occupants, a 73-year-old man and a 68-year-old female passenger, along with a dog, deceased. Let this serve as a reminder to always stay up-to-date on your tire maintenance.
WHERE IS IT?
The RV show pictured high above is from Johannesburg, South Africa. It runs Feb. 24-26. RVing is big in South Africa. The 2023 Caravan Show is the largest RV show held in the country each year.
Thor Motor Coach is recalling certain 2022-2023 Rize and Scope camper vans. The retractable awning may extend unintentionally during transit. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed April 7. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000289.
NeXus RV is recalling certain 2022 Triumph, Phantom, Viper, Ghost, Rebel, Wraith, and Verrado motorhomes, equipped with certain Electric Retractable Awnings. The welded seam on the fabric may separate, potentially allowing the awning to drop beyond normal operation. Owners may contact NeXus RV’s customer service at 1-574-970-0848 for information. The number for this recall is 058-001-2022 Lippert.
Winnebago Industries, Inc. is recalling certain 2023 Revel camper vans. The Tire and Loading Information Label has an incorrect tire size listed as R16, when the tire size should be R17. Winnebago will provide a new corrected label for free. Owners may contact Winnebago customer service at 1-641-585-6939 or 1-800-537-1885. Winnebago’s recall number is 172.
Random RV Thought
In the winter, carry candles with you in your car or RV. In a cold-weather emergency even the tiny bit of heat they produce can be a lifesaver if stranded in the middle of nowhere. Use carefully and responsibly. Always carry a good blanket or blankets, too. Emergency candles
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.
If you have lost a parent(s), do you dream about them?
Please take our poll. We invite you to comment.
WISE SAYING: Turkish proverb: “[He] who seeks a faultless friend remains friendless.”
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE STOLEN RVs?
Stealing a utility trailer proved too much of “start-up” for two guys in El Paso, Texas. It apparently gave them enough gumption to work into travel trailers. January 7, they got a utility trailer at 5007 Trowbridge. Late in the month, January 26, they ripped off a 2022 Forest River Vibe, 34 feet, that they took from the Extra Storage Facility on Joe Battle Road. Later that night they came back and left with a 31-foot 2012 Premier. Their choice of tow vehicle was a F-350 dually pickup, described as tan, gold, silver. Know something? Call Crime Stoppers of El Paso at (915) 566-8477.
Did someone rip off your ride? Let us post information on your stolen RV. Email Russ (at) rvtravel.com.
?? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??
Get ready, nice weather is just around the corner! This would be perfect to celebrate and spend more time outdoors at your campsite.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Cover story by Chuck Woodbury: The story I blew: The flyswatter repairman of Needles
• RV Service Centers and Repairs Report: Reader’s RV security cameras tell the real story behind service and repairs
• Serious consequences await those without proper RV insurance
• The dealer won’t tell you about these hidden RV expenses
• RVs vs. hotels: We put affordability and convenience to the test
• RV Fact or Fiction? Doing THIS is the number one cause of RV fires on highways
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of February 13, 2023:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.39 [Calif.: $4.43]
Change from week before: Down 5 cents; Change from year before: Down 10 cents.
Diesel: $4.44 [Calif.: $5.45]
Change from week before: Down 10 cents; Change from year before: Up 43 cents.
Walk on the living, they don’t even mumble; walk on the dead and they loudly groan and grumble. What are they?
Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
Upcoming RV shows
Click here for a directory of upcoming shows.
Recipe of the Day
Ham and Cheese Biscuits
by Janet Crow from Quinwood, WV
This is a recipe for easy drop biscuits that have a big punch of flavor. These biscuits are not only buttery, they are savory too. Each bite has a bit of salt from the ham and sharpness from the cheese. We guarantee you’ll have a hard time not eating these. They’re very versatile and so good. Serve alongside a bowl of soup, put them out at brunch, or have them handy for a yummy snack. The one trick is to make sure you do not overcrowd the pan when baking.
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.
Think being a neurosurgeon is a stressful job? Think again! Scientists at Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, have found it is more stressful to be a waiter in a restaurant than to be a neurosurgeon. If you’ve ever been rude to a server, you can read about the study here. You probably won’t be rude again!
If you want to have a wonderful day, send $10, $50 or $100 to a local food bank. Millions of our fellow citizens, including little kids, are going hungry. If you have ever considered donating, now is the time. You will feel so good if you contribute — helping people less fortunate than you go to bed without the pain of an empty stomach. Find a local food bank here.
Confused, auto accident victims sometimes give strange and often funny reasons for their mishaps, usually trying to sum them up in a few words. Here are a few excuses compiled by the Automotive Information Council. Yes, you’ll laugh! Some of these are absolutely baffling! Click here to read.
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, Janet Groene, Machelle James, 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.
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Side note for Chuck:
I for one, look forward to many more thoughtful contributions on AI. This is in all journalist’s interest and has the potential to have an irreparably negative consequence for all of us. It is exists on our shared highways, our News Papers and is infiltrating the consciousness of our children and grandchildren through social media.
What’s the whole deal on changing the days of the 2 newsletters. Not a big concern, just curious. Thanks.
If I’m reading it right, the people who pay for the newsletters received an article about that, the people who get it for free with ads didn’t. “Publisher Chuck Woodbury offers a full explanation of why we felt we needed to make this change in today’s newsletter’s member edition.”
Great issue Chuck. A lot to unpack on a variety of issues affecting most of us.
I have a different perspective on folks that are ‘ no- shows’ at any park. I don’t know why they didn’t or couldn’t but for us we plan way ahead. If the site next to us stays empty well that’s ok. Most every state or federal park keeps a percentage for those just showing up. On top of all that, do we need another law in California like this? I have been RV-ing and van camping and backpacking since 1972 and we learned that you must plan ahead. We boondock quite frequently also, which means planning ahead. I think that this opinion will upset some of you, but that’s ok, too. P.S. our RV is over ten years old!
Went to RV show in Little Rock, AR yesterday. Lot of units with show pricing deep discounts. Only saw one with a sold sticker. Lots of lookers out. Also looking at the build in some of those, the bed frames with 2×2 wood stick construction. Some looked like if the beds had anything more than a 40# kid on them they would fall apart pretty quick. Glad mine is welded aluminum frames.
So very sad to hear fellow RVers had passed, condolences to their family. Even with good maintenance on your tires, even brand new tires, that doesn’t guarantee you won’t have issues. Try to avoid things in the road is hard as some in front of you chose to just run over it. We blew a tire from a piece of metal that was sticking up from a connecting piece on bridges road. No way did we see it till we heard our tire go. It was part of the bridge’s construction. Told State Police but doubted he did anything.
I agree with consumer reports Ford F-150 Hybrid having reliable issues. Of all vehicles I’ve owned I have more issue with my Ford F-150 Hybrid. It makes me wonder how bad long term reliability issues will be. I couldn’t wait to get it and now I can’t wait to get rid of it. Had a 2018 Silverado for almost three years and never had any problems. The trouble with new vehicles is they have too much electronics and too many things controlled by a computer. Plus things we don’t need and could go bad down the road.
Re: Badlands fees
I am surprised that a federal agency can refuse to take the legal tender of the country as payment.
Further, if they are going to do it, it should be an NPS policy everywhere. It’s getting so one has to have an NPS guidebook to all the varying rules across their properties so you know how you must pay, if you need reservations, when reservations open, etc.
That seems illegal on some level Spike. Legal tender issued by the Fed, with the Fed Chairman’s signature is not an acceptable form of payment for a federal fee. Seems like a regulation from an unelected Beaurocrat to subvert legislation.
Plus now some government agencies won’t accept cash. They only want you to use credit cards.
I do not trust consumer reports evaluation of anything.
It’s another “pay me for a good review”
Saying the three most unreliable pickups does not take into account the number being sold. Most of the pickups sold are domestic. Of course there will be more complaints. I also can see where the complaints come from accessories or tech features not being available or not working because of the chip shortage. Considering the other two major manufacturers are Toyota and Nissan, who have better access to the technology parts, it’s unfair to categorize them.
Another category of foreign company products is home appliances. CR raves about the quality of LG and Samsung. I know many people who have bought these and have had nothing but problems. Multiple repairs done while under warranty and after that, they’re on their own.
I also don’t trust the results from Consumer Reports. I read their information, plus reviews and make an honest decision on my own. I’ve also found that their yearly book on items test were no longer available.
Agree, having a heat source is an excellent idea. Four or five candles may save your life or a bad case of frost bite. If I traveled in freezing weather, I would carry the best sleeping bag you can get to crawl into if necessary. never know when you might become stranded.
“Random RV Thought
In the winter, carry candles with you in your car or RV. In a cold-weather emergency even the tiny bit of heat they produce can be a lifesaver if stranded in the middle of nowhere. Use carefully and responsibly. Always carry a good blanket or blankets, too. Emergency candles”
Sure, let’s put multiple open uncontained FIRES inside an RV or an even smaller car or pickup. What could possibly go wrong? A fire or carbon monoxide poisoning perhaps? At least the raging inferno will keep you warm whether you get immolated or not.
I think this was a robot article! Lol
I had the same thought. There are SO many viable alternatives like the hand warmers you unwrap and shake ( that also come in larger sizes, body wraps, etc. ) that are safe and very effective to use anywhere.
Considering all the articles I have read on the dangers of open flames in an RV, and the news stories about fire fatalities attributed to candles, using candles seems like a terrible idea. It would be even more dangerous in a car where there are fewer safe surfaces upon which to put a candle.
One of the worst ideas I have ever heard! I am surprised this newsletter even published such a nearsighted idea such as this!