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Saturday, September 16, 2023
Free, abbreviated edition
Really? Yes, really! Paying $9 for 10 miles worth of fuel
RV staffer Gail Meyring snapped this photo on Sept. 11, in Mammoth, California. She said it was the highest price she had ever seen for gas or diesel in the USA. There are a lot of diesel pusher motorhomes out there that get six to eight miles per gallon and a whole lot more that get a more manageable 10 miles to the gallon. So how many miles can they travel for about $9? Continue reading.
Used towable prices drop 13% – but probably not why you think
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
In June, prices for travel trailers and fifth wheels at wholesale auction averaged just a bit over $25,000. In July—the most recent reporting month—those prices dropped to $21,750. Essentially, towable prices dropped 13.1% in the span of one month. Why such a huge drop? The answer might surprise you.
RV dealer sues customer for defamation over online reviews
By Randall Brink
A recent lawsuit by Vancouver Island-based RV dealer Big Boy’s Toys Ltd. against customers Marcus Willard and Lisa Redl is an illustration of the legal complexities associated with online reviews and the public airing of customer complaints. Customer dissatisfaction with RV quality and after-sale support has increased dramatically over the past two years, adding yet another layer to the burgeoning landscape of RV-related lawsuits. Continue reading about this interesting lawsuit.
Why are diesel prices rising—and what does the future hold?
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
If you’re filling a diesel pusher or “oil burner” pickup, you’ve seen the prices rise. It’s not your imagination. Just in the last week, across the U.S. prices for diesel have gone up nearly another nickel—4.8 cents, to be precise. The average price around the country is now $4.54. Why are diesel prices rising, and where will it end? Get some answers here.
Acadia National Park preparing for Hurricane Lee, closes campgrounds
To ensure the safety of park visitors, the National Park Service (NPS) closed several areas of Acadia National Park on Friday, September 15, in preparation for Hurricane Lee. Continue reading.
Who is the woman in this photo? Hint: If you have a certain brand of cell phone you know her well. Click here to learn her identity, and then watch the accompanying video to hear her fascinating story.
Reader says: “Campgrounds should be under investigation for price gouging”
RV sales have slowed and fewer people are buying RVs than has been the recent trend. Has that changed campground crowding? Find out what our readers have reported this week, as related by Nanci Dixon. Longtime RVer Bob L. says campgrounds are far superior to what they used to be; Katie D. is an RVer and a campground owner, and explains the increasing costs of camping from the owner’s perspective; but Katherine R. has seen monthly RV lot rents double and is asking for someone to investigate.
RVers who carry a firearm should pack this along to save them from trouble
This 2023 edition of Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States covers the basics for armed travel. What is legal in one state could be a felony in another. This book should be used as a reference before entering a new state so you avoid trouble. Clear writing gives you the basics for every state. Read more about the book here.
RV Video Tour
Wheelchair-accessible RV: Tour the Winnebago Roam
By Cheri Sicard
Those who are wheelchair-bound have extra obstacles when it comes to RVing as the choices of wheelchair-accessible RVs are few and far between. Enter the Winnebago Roam, one of the few wheelchair-accessible RVs on the market. In the video below, Joel from RV Management USA takes us on a tour of this unusual Class B motorhome.
From the Publisher
“Word-diarrhea is epidemic, and I question why I even write anymore”
RVtravel.com publisher Chuck Woodbury is bothered to his bones by robots (artificial intelligence) taking over the writing chores in one website after another. And a lot of what they produce is wrong, even dangerous. If you’re up for reading a passioned essay from a man who has worked hard on his way to writing success, then you should enjoy, or at least appreciate, this. It might even scare you, though — a peek into a very different future from even a year ago. Read on.
September 9–15, 2023
This is a shortened version of the news briefs section of our member’s newsletter.
America’s Largest RV Show is underway in Hershey, Pennsylvania, with a packed roster of exhibitors showcasing new RV models, some making their public debut. The show features more than 1,500 RVs—big, tiny and in-between. The event runs through tomorrow, Sunday, Sept. 17, at the Giant Center in Hershey. Learn more (and get tickets online, the only way to get them).
The national average for a gallon of gas rose by a nickel since last week, to hit $3.85 on Thursday. The primary culprit is the surge in oil costs, which have jumped several dollars to around $90 per barrel. “Oil costs are putting upward pressure on pump prices, but the rise is tempered by much lower demand,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “The slide in people fueling up is typical, with schools back in session, the days getting shorter, and the weather less pleasant. But the usual decline in pump prices is being stymied for now by these high oil costs.” Today’s national average of $3.85 is the same as a month ago but 15 cents more than a year ago.
September 23 is free entry day to all 425 sites within the U.S. National Parks System to celebrate National Public Lands Day. In addition to free entry, the parks are expecting more than 70,000 volunteers to chip in on hundreds of service projects ranging from pulling weeds to painting fences.
Encore RV is launching an all-aluminum travel trailer called the VENŪ. The first model, the 10KB, will debut at the upcoming industry-only Elkhart RV Open House. The company launched the RŎG Adventure Trailer line in July of 2021, and has found success in the smaller adventure trailer segment. Read more.
If you visited Yellowstone National Park recently and thought it was crowded, well … it was. The park hosted 846,389 recreation visits in August, a 45% increase from August 2022 (582,211 recreational visits) and a 3% increase from August 2019 (820,006 recreational visits). More.
Georgia motorists are getting some relief at the pump through Oct. 12. Last Tuesday, Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency authorizing a 30-day state fuel tax holiday. The state normally collects a 31.2 cent gas tax and a 35 cent diesel tax.
Leisure Valley RV Resort in Casa Grande, Ariz., was sold for $6,960,000 on Sept. 8. The 55+ park is 30 minutes from Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport and contains 125 RV sites and many cabins and park models.
Thor is introducing some new RVs at the current Hershey Show. Among them is the Riviera 34SD diesel pusher motorhome. Just shy of 35 feet long and with an MSRP of $356,850, it’s being billed as the company’s “most cost-efficient option” in the Riviera line. Among its features is a Tilt-A-View King bed, which adjusts to a desired angle, expanded closet space and a stacked washer-dryer.
The recently concluded Caravan Salon RV show in Dusseldorf, Germany, drew a crowd of 254,000. By comparison, attendance at the two largest North American shows, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and Tampa, Florida, each usually draws about one quarter of that number.
Due to favorable weather conditions and seasonal changes, Washington state’s Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest are rescinding temporary fire restrictions. Campfires are now allowed in accordance with standard rules and regulations.
New Facebook group: RVing New England.
Join and help get the group rolling. . .
Aliner, a popular hard-sided A-frame camping trailer, has introduced the first folding camping trailer in the industry powered by solar and electric sources. The new Aliner Amp offers two state-of-the-art 400-watt solar panels seamlessly integrated into its dormer roof that provides long-lasting, fully renewable power. If you’re at the Hershey RV Show this weekend, you can check out this new RV.
In Pet News, insurance firm Nationwide announced the finalists for its 2023 Hambone Award, which highlights the most unusual pet insurance claims of the year. The award is named in honor of a dog that ate an entire holiday ham while stuck in a refrigerator. Among this year’s winners was a Lab named Sunny, who managed to shimmy his crate 5 feet across a room so he could eat three phone charger cords.
A look into our future
More and more RV parks are turning to artificial intelligence — chatbots — to communicate with customers. Chatbots are artificial intelligence (A.I.) software designed to simulate conversations with users in natural language. They can interact with customers through messaging applications, websites, social media platforms, and even over the phone. Here’s the reason, claims one seller of the artificial intelligence service: 1: Chatbots are available 24/7, ensuring that customer queries can be addressed at any time of the day or night. 2. Efficiency: Chatbots can handle multiple queries at once, reducing wait times and improving overall service efficiency. So be prepared the next time you contact a park: Are you dealing with human or a robot?
Our favorite camping directories
At RVtravel.com we have worked closely with Roundabout Publications our favorite publisher of campground directories, for two decades. Here are some of their most recent titles:
Camping in America’s City & Town Parks • Camping in America’s County Parks • Camping in State Parks (Western USA) • Camping in State Parks (Eastern USA) • Corps of Engineers Camping • National Forest Camping • Bureau of Land Management Camping • Van and RV Camping at State Recreation Areas.
Camping World Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CWH), is set to acquire Edmundson RV in Edinburgh, Ind., in the first quarter of 2024. It will be Camping World’s first exclusive Forest River location in the state. Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis noted that his goal is to have 320 locations within the next 5 years.
In many (if not most) American cities, homelessness is a problem, and the “homeless,” often referred to as “houseless,” are included. Here’s a TV report from Omaha, Nebraska, where some people down on their luck are holing up in mostly inoperable RVs. This report may cause you mixed reactions — sympathy for local residents, or for the “houseless,” or for both.
How would you like to win this special edition National Parks Scrabble game?
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (September 16, 2023) by 7 p.m. Pacific time. Remember, you can only enter once and after we notify you by email via RVcontests@gmail.com that you won, you have 24 hours to respond or we’ll give the prize to someone else.
How well do you tell jokes?
Are you really good at it, or really bad, or somewhere in between? That’s today’s poll question. Respond here and see how others responded.
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE STOLEN RVs?
This blue and gray 31-foot Shasta toy hauler was stolen from the Largo-Clearwater, Florida, area a few days ago. Large Harley sticker on back. Contact Lisa Klinske on Facebook at facebook.com/lisa.klinske if you have information (no other contact info available now).
Law enforcement in Ontario are looking for a BIG stolen RV. Lovesick Lake RV Sales in Lakefield, Ontario, reports a new 2023 Forest River Wildwood Grand Lodge “travel trailer,” vanished from its lot between August 31 and September 5. Valued at $100,000 Canadian, this behemoth is best described as a destination trailer, and would be hard to miss heading down a highway. See it? Call Peterborough County OPP at 705-742-0401.
The El Paso County, Colorado, Sheriff’s Office is asking for help finding the trailer pictured above and those who stole it on August 25. The stolen RV is a gray 2018 Heartland Wilderness travel trailer with the Montana license plate 257822B. Learn more.
Did someone rip off your ride? Let us post information on your stolen RV. Email Russ (at) rvtravel.com.
?? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??
Just when you think they’ve invented it all… Actually, though, this really could be quite handy, especially since it’s getting darker earlier now and you may have to walk around at night.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of September 11, 2023:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.82
Change from week before: Up 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 13 cents.
Change from week before: Up 5 cents; Change from year before: Down 49 cents.
For fuel prices for specific regions, states, and cities, go to U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Upcoming RV shows
Click here for a directory of upcoming shows.
Recipe of the Day
My Mother’s One-Pan Cheesy Beef Dinner
by Terri Backhaus from Seattle, WA
This easy, cheesy, and beefy dinner is delish! You probably have all the ingredients handy to make this tonight. Except for boiling the pasta, everything is made in one pan. Adding a touch of sugar to the jarred sauce gives it a hint of sweetness. Sauteed onions, green peppers, and ground beef only add to the sauce’s flavor. The rotini soaks up the beefy sauce. On top is just the right amount of gooey cheese. Serve with a green salad to complete your meal.
When converted to miles per hour, the speed of light amounts to an astonishing 670,616,629 mph. To put this in perspective, if you could travel at the speed of light, you could circumnavigate the Earth 7.5 times within a single second.
Laugh of the Week
My friend composes songs about sewing machines. She’s a Singer songwriter, or sew it seams.
New directory of inexpensive city and small town campgrounds
Most times, camping in city and town parks costs far less than nearby private or public ones. The overnight fee can be $10 or less, even free. Some even have hookups. Now, our friends at Roundabout Publications and The Ultimate Campgrounds Project have published a directory of these surprisingly plentiful but little known places. The first edition of “Camping in America’s City & Town Parks” is now available. Read more about this great new resource.
Today in History
Coming tomorrow: Funny and scary, too
You will find it hard to believe what happened when publisher Chuck Woodbury asked ChatGPT to use artificial intelligence to write a “hilarious article about two pigs.” He expected a mediocre story, at best. Was he ever surprised at the result, which was both entertaining and scary in a way he will explain! That’s in tomorrow’s RVtravel.com newsletter.
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 and Cheri Sicard. Contributors: Roger Marble, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, J.R. Montigel, Randall Brink, Dustin Simpson, Dale Wade, Jan Steele and Tony Barthel. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen. Artificial Intelligence (AI) contributors: Johnny Robot and Milly MacWilly. Canine 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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