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Sunday, February 26, 2023
Free, abbreviated edition
THIS NEWSLETTER IS MOVING
NEXT WEEKEND our weekend newsletters will swap places. The one you are reading now, currently published on Sundays, will move to Saturday.
Lawsuit could upend operations of Recreation.gov
By Randall Brink
A federal lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, VA, could upend the operation of Recreation.gov, the website that RVers and other recreational users must use to reserve campsites on federal lands. Since 2018, the U.S. government has outsourced the operation of Recreation.gov to Booz Allen Hamilton (“Booz Allen”) of Fairfax, VA, a vast international consulting firm and major U.S. federal contractor. During that time, Booz Allen redesigned the Recreation.gov website and smartphone app and began taking reservations. … Wilson v. Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. has the potential to impact every person in the USA who has used Recreation.gov to make a reservation for the recreational use of federal lands. Learn more.
Travel trailers under 33 feet do not exist
If you disagree with that headline, then you must read publisher Chuck Woodbury’s article today, where he explains the headline and why its subject matter makes his blood boil. It’s a short article, but you should not miss it. Read it here.
Say it isn’t so! Be careful what videos you take in National Parks
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Do you film videos for your YouTube, TikTok, or other social media site? If you shoot video on property managed by the National Park Service and your site is monetized, look out! Ditto for still photos that you end up posting. A recent court ruling says anyone who has the “intent of generating income” from video shot in national parks—and other lands managed by the Service—must receive advanced permission to do so. Shoot without a permit and post it, you may find yourself in the crosshairs of the law. Learn more.
RV park tenants evicted after court ruling
By Randall Brink
Nearly all residents of the R.V. Park of San Rafael, in California, received eviction notices in early February after the property owner lost a rent battle in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. … The schism between what may be considered affordable rents in the low-income parks and the rapidly escalating property values in many communities across the nation creates intense pressure and conflict among property owners, local and state governments, and park residents living on low fixed incomes. At the same time eviction of low-income tenants often results in them becoming homeless. Read more.
BREAKING NEWS from Saturday afternoon
Watch this RV as it collapses into the Santa Clara River alongside the Valencia Travel Village RV Resort in Castaic, Calif., yesterday (Saturday). Two other RVs fell earlier into the raging river, which was eroding the embankment on the edge of the park after torrential rains.
Screaming kids, dogs, smoke, music, crowds… “Campgrounds weren’t like this before COVID”
By Nanci Dixon
Campgrounds are changing and evolving, some for the better and some for the worse. This week we hear from readers who continue to vent about how campgrounds are changing, and not for the better. Also there is advice about how to get the most useful information out of online campground reviews, and a suggestion that campgrounds designate separate “adults-only” and “family” areas. A reader asks if driving 650-700 miles a day is realistic. Your thoughts? All that and much more here.
BELIEVE IT OR NOT! Southern California’s Catalina Island is home to several hundred bison. They are the descendants of 14 of the animals brought over in 1924 for the filming of Zane Grey’s “The Vanishing American.” When the herd gets too large, a few are shipped to the mainland. Some return to the island later as burgers.
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That was the RV week that was
February 19–25, 2023
Two bills which could have had a major impact on full-time RVers registering to vote in South Dakota are dead on arrival. More on those bills here. Both House Bill 1232 and Senate Bill 124 died in committees before they could reach their respective floors for a vote. However, existing South Dakota law could still create legal problems for full-timers who claim the Mount Rushmore State as their legal home. We’re waiting for feedback from the state’s attorney general and will report back to you when we get word.
Three motorhomes fell into the Santa Clara River in Valencia, CA, early Saturday morning when an embankment collapsed at the Valencia Travel Village RV Park. The heavy storm rains caused the river to swell and run faster than normal, which led to the erosion of the bank at the edge of the park. No one was inside the motorhomes when the embankment collapsed and no injuries were reported. Other RVs were moved to safety. The park, with 381 RV sites, lost power and water. Large chunks of the embankment continued to fall into the river as of Saturday afternoon. Watch dramatic video from abc7.com here.
Camping World earned a gross profit of $2.3 billion in 2022, a drop of 7.9% over the year before. Net income was $351 million, a decrease of $291 million from 2022, or 45.3%. Used vehicle unit sales reached a record 51,325 units, an increase of 2,387 units, or 4.9%, while new vehicle unit sales dropped to 70,429, a 9.4% decrease over 2022.
From March 7–24, the composting toilet located at the “Tip Off” on the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park will be closed for needed maintenance. There will be no restroom facilities available for public use during this time. Hikers should plan ahead before entering the canyon and use either the restroom facilities at Cedar Ridge or at Phantom Ranch.
Oceans RV Resort is preparing to open the second phase next month, which will add 200 spaces to the facility, which opened last month. The resort south of Jacksonville off U.S. 17 near Surf City, promotes “luxury RV living” with full hookups. The park is four miles from the ocean shore. RV sites are gravel and are priced from roughly $60 to $90 a night.Beginning March 1, 2023, South Dakota’s Badlands National Park will transition to a fully cashless fee system and only accept mobile or electronic payments for entrance and permit fees. Visitors can also purchase Badlands National Park entrance passes in advance at Recreation.gov or through the Recreation.gov app. America the Beautiful annual and lifetime passes still cover the cost of entry into the park, and must be shown in conjunction with proper ID.
Jayco is recalling certain 2019-2023 Entegra Launch, Launch LE, Qwest, Jayco Melbourne, Melbourne Prestige, Terrain, and Terrain LE motorhomes. The guide bushing on the parking pawl may fatigue, which can cause the parking pawl not to engage and result in a vehicle rollaway. As many as 2,845 RVs may be affected. Learn more.
Speaking of recalls … Keystone RV Company is recalling certain 2021-2023 Carbon, Fuzion, Impact, and Raptor travel trailers. The fuel station controller may fail. Learn more.
Specialized Dispatch Services provides services to many RV owners. Here is a recent report from the company about its most requested service calls in the final quarter of 2022.
The Awosting Club, a controversial glamping site on the Shawangunk Ridge in New York, is facing closure by the Gardiner Town Board. Geo-domes have been rented out for overnight stays and the property has a lodge for events. The town alleges that it has been operating illegally for several years, citing code violations and lack of environmental assessment. The town board denied the club’s application to continue its operations, citing pre-existing code violations such as the illegal running of a lodging business, illegally constructed geo-domes, and an illegal water supply and sanitation system.
The Ada County (Idaho) Commissioners voted unanimously last Tuesday to approve a proposal for a 310-space RV resort near Boise. The roughly 40-acre property is currently the home of the Black Dog Clays shooting range. Ridgeview RV Resort will be constructed over three years. The first phase will include the common area improvements and 117 RV spaces and the second phase will build out 62 spaces. The final stage will fill out the last 208 spaces. Each site will accommodate two vehicles and an RV.
The SMART RV club, a group for military and ex-military RVers, is celebrating its 40th anniversary. The Special Military Active Recreational Travel (SMART) Club was formed in 1983 and since then more than 15,500 people have joined. To learn more about the group and its upcoming rally visit here.
New York’s state parks, campgrounds, historic sites, and trails achieved a new attendance record in 2022, with a total of 79.5 million visits, exceeding the previous year’s figure by more than a million visitors. This is a significant achievement for the state as attendance at state parks has been on a steady rise for more than ten years, increasing by nearly 43% since 2008.
Motor Home Specialist (MHS) was the No. 1 seller of new motorhomes in the U.S. by a single dealership in Alvarado, Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. It’s the 10th consecutive year the company received the honor, as reported by Statistical Surveys Inc.
The Dyrt, an app for camping information and booking, has released a list of the 10 hardest-to-book campgrounds in the United States. At the top are two parks near Yellowstone National Park — Slough Creek and Mammoth campgrounds. Both were 100 percent booked solid for the entire 2022 season. Third place went to Seven Points in Tennessee, which was booked 99.1% of the time.
Neighbors and friends of California’s Seacliff State Beach gathered on Saturday, February 18, for a beach cleanup and to bid farewell to the pier connecting the beach to the wreck of the SS Palo Alto. State Parks, partnering with Save Our Shores and Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, organized the cleanup to clear the trash that floated ashore after a January 5 storm. Besides devastating much of the beach, the storm also swept away half the pier and made the other half unsafe. Sometime by the end of this month, demolition crews will remove the rest of the pier.
If you live in the Seattle area and just took up full-time RVing, KING-TV 5, the NBC affiliate, would like to interview you for a special news feature on RVing. If interested, email Chuck (at) RVtravel.com and he will pass along your info to the show’s producer.
Death Valley National Park has reopened the Mud Canyon and Racetrack roads. Both were closed since August 2022 due to flash-flood damage.
The Enchantments near Leavenworth, Wash., is a popular hike-in alpine campground. The Forest Service is asking campers who want to stay to book early. In 2022, there were 39,000 applications for 2,700 camping slots between May 15 and October 31, which were offered through a lottery.
ENCHANTMENTS TRIVIA: The goats that live in the Enchantments have become accustomed to finding salt in the urine of hikers. This causes them to follow their human guests a little too closely. To help prevent this too-intimate interaction, campers and hikers are advised to use the privies provided.
A favorite appliance of RVtravel.com readers is the air fryer. Cosori is recalling two million air fryers after receiving 205 reports of the air fryers catching fire, burning, melting, overheating and smoking. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is urging consumers to immediately stop using the products. Affected consumers are entitled to a replacement air fryer or other type of Cosori product when they register at recall.cosori.com.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Are any of the original members of the Vienna Boys’ Choir still singing in public? Yes or no? Find out below.
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.
Where is it?
No, this is not THE Mount Rushmore, the one we know and love in South Dakota (that’s pretty obvious, eh?). Nope! This is a mini version at Legoland Windsor in London, England. The photo was taken by Rob Young (thanks!). The faces, of course, are made of Legos!
GET READY FOR HOT WEATHER
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.
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.
How disgusting is dumping your RV’s holding tanks?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
Crooks stole the inheritance in Texas. This 2015 Keystone Laredo travel trailer went missing at the hands of three men. In the wee hours of an October morning, they cut the fence at A-Affordable RV Storage in Justin, Texas, and made off with this rig. Mandy, the owner, is heartbroken, as the rig had belonged to her father. If you can help, please contact us so we can put you in touch. Russ atsign rvtravel.com.
Did someone rip off your ride? Let us post information on your stolen RV. Email Russ (at) rvtravel.com.
?? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??
The marketing here implies this is for kids… this is NOT for kids. It’ll light up any RVer’s life! We love it! Just take a look. You’ll love it too.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Cover story: Why I write for RVtravel.com
• RV Service Centers and Repairs Report: OMG! RVer needs pry bar to open stuck door on new RV!
• Should you tip campground workers?
• RV Business: Should you form a formal business entity?
• Not every RVer uses their RV’s toilet the same way… Wait, what?!
• Readers share their WEIRD real-life small-world RVing experiences
… and much more
WOW! The bustling airport in Frankfurt, Germany, is home to the largest McDonald’s in the world. Like many other McDonald’s in Germany, it offers table service in order to improve the quality of customers’ experiences. The restaurant occupies 43,055 square feet and can seat up to 650 guests.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of February 20, 2023:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.38 [Calif.: $4.52]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 15 cents.
Diesel: $4.38 [Calif.: $5.41]
Change from week before: Down 7 cents; Change from year before: Up 32 cents.
WHY IS IT that the other line moves faster until you get in it?
If 3 cats can catch 3 bunnies in 3 minutes, how long will it take 100 cats to catch 100 bunnies?
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
Tri-Color Spinach and Artichoke Mac and Cheese
by Ronna Farley from Rockville, MD
Sneak some greens into your meal with this one-pot macaroni and cheese. We love the addition of spinach and artichokes to this mac and cheese. They add another depth of flavor to the casserole. Nice and cheesy, with a hint of spice—you won’t be able to stop eating this.
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.
Confucius (not) say, two wrongs not make right, but two rights make U-turn.
Sewer fitting grip help! Gadget to the rescue!
If you find the bayonet mounts for your sewer hose connections are getting a bit hard to twist off and on (hate to say it, but it sometimes comes with age), here’s a tool that might help. An adjustable oil filter wrench, made to get a grip around automotive oil filters, can also provide a handy grip and plenty of leverage on the bayonet fitting of your sewer hose, and the termination cap as well. Here’s one we recommend.
Only 5 percent of people wash their hands long enough to kill germs. A study from Michigan State University secretly observed 3,749 people in public restrooms and found that nearly all of them, 95 percent, did not wash their hands for a long enough time to kill germs. In order to kill germs, you must wash your hands for a total of 20 seconds. This study showed the average time people washed their hands was for six seconds. Well, shoot…
Vienna Boys Choir trivia (from above)
Nope. If they are, they need to step forward and claim their award for world’s oldest performers. The choir was formed in 1498. That’s six years after Columbus headed off to America.
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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Todays recipe can use regular low fat milk instead of evaporated milk. Evaporated milk has hidden sugar that if you are watching your weight or what ever need to use regular milk. I have for years used frozen spinach and artichokes to watch out for the salt they use in canning. Also traditional mac and cheese does not use sugar. Omit. Otherwise looks like dinner tonight. No 25 foot trailers? I found one and want it. Nothing bigger for me.
I made a donation on January 21st but still receive the free edition. Is it just taking some time to process?
Sorry about that, Kathleen. We’re checking on it and should have an answer for you shortly. Have a good afternoon/evening. 😀 –Diane at RVtravel.com
Hi Kathleen, I found the issue and resolved it for you. Thank you for your contribution!
I have purchased books over the years and recently made a donation, but I still receive the advertisement news letters. Can you check on this ?
Sorry, Linda. I don’t know much about this so am forwarding it to someone who can probably help you. I didn’t see where you had donated, but I may have looked in the wrong place. Jessica or I will get back to you probably tomorrow. Have a good night. 😀 –Diane at RVtravel.com
We’ve taken care of it Linda, you are all set now.
Regarding the newsletter switch – what exactly are the differences between the two? I’m not sure I would even notice the change.
Hi, Ellen. Thanks for asking. We’re just switching the up-to-now Sunday “news” newsletter to Saturdays, and the Saturday RV Travel Newsletter to Sundays. The other change, as Chuck has mentioned, is that there will be more content in the Members (those who voluntarily donate to RVtravel.com, no matter the amount) edition of the newsletters. Have a great day. 😀 –Diane at RVtravel.com
I just don’t understand all these RV’s being stolen. I never leave my RV unhooked without a lockable theft device on the 5th wheel pin. I see so many RV’s in campgrounds and our storage area without them. Do they not know? Or do they just not care?
Correction…” Two wrongs don’t make a right, but three lefts do”.
“Southern California’s Catalina Island is home to several hundred buffalo.”
Thanks, Spike! It’s been corrected. (Didn’t think to look that up when I proofed for typos. Sorry.) Have a great day. 😀 -Diane at RVtravel.com