Here’s the latest news about RVing and more from the editors of RVtravel.com. This newsletter, along with each of our daily online publications, is funded in part by the voluntary subscription contributions of our readers. Thanks to all of you; you know who you are.
Sunday, October 13, 2019
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
California bans formaldehyde as holding tank chemical
If you’re still a fan of formaldehyde for your RV holding tanks, you may be in for disappointment. In California, the sale and use of the pungent potion as a holding tank chemical will be completely unlawful in 2022. That comes from the passage of Senate Bill 317, recently signed into law. Read more.
Popular RV show radio host undergoes emergency surgery
Alan Warren, the host of the popular social media and syndicated radio program The RV Show USA, was rushed to a San Antonio hospital Thursday in “the worst pain of my life,” he said. Surgeons performed an emergency gall bladder operation, which went well. Alan is now resting comfortably and will return to his show next Wednesday evening. We’re sure he’ll have a good tale to tell.
Marcus Lemonis wins his illegal flag battle
Statesville, North Carolina, city officials and Camping World and Good Sam Club CEO Marcus Lemonis have come to terms. Statesville gets $16,000 in fines and lawyer fees and Lemonis keeps his oversized flag. More.
So, asks RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury, was this about patriotism or publicity? Read his thoughts.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed: RV Winterizing Quick Tips • Avoid hitting low obstacles with this avoidance system • Your navigation system should tell you more than just “Turn right here.”
That was the week that was
October 6–12, 2019
Ohio, which has some of the least amount of land for recreational use per capita, is working on getting ahead in the game. The state is buying 31,000 acres in its eastern/southeastern region, formerly used for strip mining. The state will hand over $47 million to the American Electric Power company, and in return add 350 ponds and lakes, a 1,400+ mile hiking trail, and six campgrounds. Ohio has an option to buy up more than 18,000 additional acres by 2023.
The Trump administration is moving forward with a plan to provide private businesses greater access to national parks. Critics see corporate influence at work. Private businesses already operate in many national parks – including concessionaires and tour guides – but National Park Service chief David Bernhardt and a number of his deputies have argued that the parks have $12 billion in deferred maintenance and that funds are more easily found from outside the federal government than within.
Looks like there will be more RV parking available soon in Mesquite, Nevada. The burg’s city council voted unanimously on October 8 to change zoning to allow for a 15-acre RV park. Some nearby residents gave it a thumbs-down; but based on applause, local media says it appeared more people were in favor of the change. Plans call for 132 sites, two swimming pools, four hot tubs, four pickleball courts and two clubhouses. Mesquite is a good stopping point between Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.
“Slow it down” may be the maxim from the unfortunate experience of an RVer near Willcox, Arizona. A pickup driver towing a toy-hauler on Interstate 10 near milepost 344 apparently decided to give it a little gas to pass a semi-truck. The trailer got away, started to sway and sideswiped the semi en route to a rollover blocking the westbound lanes. While the trailer is doing a “rollover and play dead,” fortunately nobody was injured.
The overall U.S. motorhome market experienced a 14.8% year-over-year retail sales decrease for the first eight months of 2019 as both Class A and Class C markets registered double-digit declines. More.
Hard enough to deal with crazy car drivers on the highway? Imagine the plight of the trucking industry: In many states the recreational use of marijuana is legal. A truck driver uses it on his days off, but comes back to work and is fired after failing a drug test – marijuana use is illegal for driving professionals. In practice how does it fall out? Some trucking firms like J.B. Hunt are strict about drug testing, while others are not. “The truth is,” says Greer Woodruff of J.B. Hunt, “We’re probably pushing a lot of those drivers to other companies that don’t have the same type of drug-testing protocols that we have.” So just how bad is the situation for RVers and the rest of the motoring public? Says another trucking industry representative: “The alcoholic drives through the red light, while the intoxicated marijuana smoker stops at green lights, wondering if they should go. They’re so aware that they’re messed up. The impairment of marijuana lasts.”
It’s a first for these reporters: An RV used as a murder weapon. James Vanvactor (49) of Grand Rivers, Kentucky, allegedly used a motorhome to mow down a woman he’d had an argument with. It all took place at the Paducah/McCracken County Convention and Expo Center last Sunday.
The Gladeville, Tennessee, community is up in arms, but doing something about it. Bernadette Bidwell, an elderly, disabled woman, invested her life savings in buying a travel trailer to live out her life in. Then someone callously stole the rig, leaving Bernadette living on the porch of a vacant house. “She [Bernadette has] been a member of our community for a long time. We just try to take care of her and see to her, make sure she’s warm and fed, got a roof over her head,” Freida Beazley, Bidwell’s friend, told newschannel5.com. The community has started a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $8,000 to replace her trailer and possessions. As of Saturday, the site had raised more than $7,000.
• Protect your RV’s slideout with this rubber seal lubricant. Learn more or order.
• Attention Big Rig RV owners! This annual directory will keep you away from too-narrow roads and low bridges. Published in 2019. Learn more or order.
• Camping at Corps of Engineers Campgrounds. Many RVers consider these the very best places to stay. Learn more or order.
In a classic bureaucratic understatement, Kentucky state officials explained the ongoing closure of the Audubon State Park Scenic Lake campground as “a bit of a delay.” The campground was shut down after the 2017 season to allow rehabilitation work on the adjacent dam, but was slated to reopen in 2019. The 2019 season is now over, and officials say a reopening will be “well into 2020.” The actual dam rehab work was completed in the first year, but the snarl on reopening the campground hinges on “aesthetics” at the campground – it’s on the National Historic Register – with officials yammering about new concrete in a historic site. We hope to report next year that campers can return, and be aesthetically pleased.
In a good news/bad news scenario, British Columbia officials have announced the creation of a new provincial campground, set to open next year near Princeton. Ten developed sites on Martin Lake will be available for upwards of $12 per night. The bad news? The site has been free, but folks overstaying their welcome and dumping trash caused officials to develop the site, charging for camping, with the proceeds going to a manager who will keep an eye on things.
In an unusual move, it appears that California state officials are “bending over backwards” to help out residents of an Acton, California, RV park who had been slated to be moved out of the park due to code violations. When originally permitted, Cali Lake RV Resort was set for a maximum of 47 sites. Over time, the owners allowed more and more RVers on site – not from a profit motive, but out of concern for where they would otherwise go. In June inspectors found 49 non-permitted sites, many with code violations. In September, a 30-day vacate notice was served on the residents of those sites. Los Angeles County officials stepped in and negotiated with the state, setting up an arrangement to allow the park time to obtain permits and meet code compliance while still allowing the residents to stay on the property. While all the details are yet to be banged out, it looks as though a positive outcome to an otherwise untenable situation may be reached.
Fraser, Colorado, has long been a place where folks can live in RVs on private property without fear of legal reprisal. That may not be the case for long, as the town’s Board of Trustees is now investigating the potential need for new regulations. Apparently a citizen came to the board complaining about his loss of view when a neighbor allowed an RV dweller into the adjoining backyard. Some board members expressed concern for these types of situations, while recognizing that affordable housing was short in the area. Other council members were concerned that allowing RV dwelling might overrun the town’s utility capacity. Town staff has been tasked with looking into the matter.
It’s coming up on elections in Canada, and the promises are flying thick and fast. Canada’s Liberal party, under the spokesmanship of Prime Minister Trudeau, suggests a future where Canadians might see more of the great outdoors. In the vision, by school grade eight all Canadians would be taught camping skills. Further, low-income Canadians would be given campground space up to four days a year in a national or provincial park, and a stipend of up to $2,000 to help make the trip possible.
Amazing tool does so much!
This multifunctional tool is seven in one! This heavy-duty pen tool features a handy tablet or smartphone stylus, a sturdy screwdriver, a bubble level, a universal inch/cm ruler and a handy Phillips screwdriver flathead bit, and it’s only the size of a pen! Perfect for any weekend project, and it even makes a great gift. Learn more or order.
The North Rim of Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park is transitioning to off-season use. At noon Wednesday, October 16, visitors will see many services reduced or curtailed outright. While the campground, most roads and the visitor center will continue to be open (weather allowing), the Lodge and restaurants, showers and laundry, campground store, bookstore, trail rides and park ranger programs will all be shut down. Weather changes quickly, and unexpected snow or freezing conditions may make for uncertain travel. Call ahead or check the park website if planning a trip. If planning on using the campground, reservations will still be needed until October 31.
Detroit seems to have an RV problem. Not Michigan, but Detroit, Oregon. The town of about 200 depends on tourism for its economic livelihood, but with only two RV parks, there’s not enough space for summer visitors. Hence, the town has a broad approach to allowing private property owners to put up RVs. In 2011, the town wrote up local law to allow up to two lived-in RVs per property, and more units with a permit. But when some in town started complaining about RVs, the council thought maybe they should restrict RV parking. They got such an earful from RV lovers, the council has sent the idea back to town staff, and suggest it may never be brought up again.
A weird case out of Indiana. State police say they’re “investigating” a fiery crash that happened on Interstate 65 between Seymour and Columbus. On Wednesday, October 2, a Class A motorhome smashed into the median barrier of the northbound lanes, near milepost 55. The rig slid off the road, catching fire. The driver, Clarence Hamilton (37), of Orlando, was taken from the scene with serious injuries and later flown to an Indianapolis hospital; two passengers escaped injury. We followed up with the state police, asking for a report and further details. We got a cryptic e-mail in reply: “All that was released was that we gathered information at the scene that it was a deliberate act. We haven’t released any further information than that. We don’t send accident reports to anyone.” Deliberate act? Pretty spectacular effects.
“Moving at the speed of bureaucracy.” That’s the word from Hide-A-Way Lakes campground in Kendall County, Illinois. Last September the campground was given 10 days to fix code violations, largely “inoperable vehicle” and junk and debris issues. The order was handed out on September 12, and the place was reinspected October 1. The outcome? Apparently the amount of paperwork has snowed the solitary code enforcement officer, and an evidently embarrassed building and zoning committee chairman sheepishly says, “This is moving as fast as the speed of government,” indicating the report of the outcome is still in progress.
In Michigan, when you renew your vehicle registration, you can opt into paying extra for a “recreation passport” to get free entrance to state parks and some other recreation facilities. The passport fees generated go to local and state parks, and other recreational programs. But now a trinity of bills – if passed – would make “opting OUT” the only option. Forget to check the box, and you’ll automatically get the passport. Legislators promoting the sneaky change say under the current opt-in program, only about a third of vehicle owners get the pass. They figure if they change it, they could get as much as 50 percent participation.
In Lincoln County, Wisconsin, sometimes the “Ayes!” have it – even when outnumbered by “Nays!” The county zoning commission last week voted unanimously to approve a conditional use permit to allow a 32-acre RV park development. The outcome was despite the verbal testimony of 11 opposed to the move, with only one supporting it, and written observations of 92 people opposed to the passage and only 75 in favor. The usual litany of complaints including noise, road impacts, trespass and lowered property values apparently weren’t enough to sway the commission.
Whatcom County, Washington, sheriff’s deputies were called to a report of a woman threatening with a butcher knife. In the end, they arrested an accused arsonist, and prevented an RV fire. Nickiala Roshelle Harwood was booked after law enforcement arrived on scene and found her crouched behind a fifth-wheel, a small fire burning under it. Harwood excitedly told officers the rig’s owner had stolen her money, and she was going to “burn that (expletive) trailer down.” Deputies cooled the fire, and took Harwood to the cooler.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
Jayco recalls some motorhomes for seatbelt issue.
Jayco is recalling certain 2019-2020 Redhawk SE motorhomes. The seatbelt-unfastened warning light will not illuminate for approximately five seconds after the ignition is moved to the “on” or “start” position. More.
Pleasure-Way RV recall: Awning may unexpectedly extend
Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd. is recalling 1,148 model year 2018-2020 Plateau, Plateau XL, Ascent and Lexor motorhomes equipped with a Fiamma F45 Eagle or Fiamma F65 Eagle awning. The awning drive mechanism may fail causing the awning to extend unexpectedly without input from the user. More.
Jayco trailers recalled for emergency exit defect
Jayco, Inc. is recalling certain 2019-2020 Jay Feather X19H travel trailers. The handles for the emergency exit windows may not allow the windows to open sufficiently for them to be used as an emergency egress. More.
Keystone trailers recalled: Solar wiring kit could pose fire danger
Keystone RV Company is recalling certain 2020 Cougar fifth wheels and travel trailers, models 22RBS, 23MLS, 25RES, 26RBS, 26RKS, 27RES, 27SAB, 27SGS, 29BHS, 29FKD, 29RLD, 30RKD, 31MBS, 32RDB, 32RLI and 34TSB. The wiring for the solar preparation kit may have been incorrectly wired to the wrong side of the 12V breaker, potentially allowing an electrical short circuit in the event of damage to the wiring, which could lead to a fire. More.
Ford recalls 28,579 model year 2019 F-250, F-350 vehicles
Ford Motor Company is recalling 28,579 model year 2019 F-250 and F-350 vehicles equipped with electronically locking rear differentials. The passenger side rear axle shaft may fail prematurely due to a material issue. More.
Protect yourself and others from sharp edges of RV slideouts!
Cut your head just once on the corner of a sharp RV slideout and you’ll race out to buy a set of these so it never happens again! Camco’s Slide-Out Corner Guards offer a simple solution to the danger posed by sharp corners on RV slideouts. Simply place them on each exterior corner of the slide to provide a cushion zone. They’re made of advanced UV-stabilized resin for long life. Easy to install, no tools required. Learn more or order.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of October 7, 2019:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.65. [Calif.: $4.09]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 26 cents.
Diesel: $3.05. [Calif.: $3.98]
Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Down 34 cents.
Upcoming RV Shows
California RV Show, Now through the 13th, Fontana, CA
Oregon State Salem Fall RV Show, Now through the 13th, Salem, OR
Jacksonville Fall RV Show, Now through the 13th, Green Cove Springs, FL
RV Liquidation Super Sale, Now through the 13th, Pittsburgh, PA
Midwest RV Super Show, Oct. 17-20, Elkhart, IN
Toronto Fall RV Show, Oct. 18-20, Toronto, ON
Panhandle RV Show, Oct. 24-27, Ft. Walton Beach, FL
Best RVing books as recommended by our editors: Click here.
Free and bargain camping
Walmart Supercenter #5216, Amarillo, TX
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed, just obtain permission from the store. One RVer says a security van patrolled often during the night. There is a McDonald’s in the store, and an Applebee’s, Sonic, Wendy’s and Taco Villa close by. The lot is very clean. The service station on the corner has diesel. Click here for details.
Hieb Memorial Park, Marion, SD
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. The park has 10 back-in 30A E/W RV spaces. Park restrooms are open when Little League games are in progress. RV spaces are level, well-lit and quiet. Dump station nearby. City swimming pool across street from park, seasonal. Katie’s Malt Shoppe, Bud’s Tavern on Broadway Ave. both serve food. Park open Apr.-Oct., weather permitting. No reservations. Max stay: 7 nights. 2019 Rate: Free for up to 7 nights. Click here for details.
• Walmarts that do not allow overnight RV stays.
• Walmart Directory: Best printed directory of Walmart locations
• Guide to Free Campgrounds (best-selling directory, year after year).
Overnight RV Parking, with more than 14,000 locations listed, is the largest and best resource for locating free and inexpensive places to spend a night in an RV. For membership information and a demo of the site, click here. A modest membership fee required, but try the free demo. Watch a video about OvernightRVparking.com.
Glow-in-the-dark tape is brilliant for help at night
One of our readers recommended glow-in-the-dark tape to stick on things to see at night. We love this idea! Use this tape on light switches and slideout switches so they’re easy to see in the dark. The tape also works great to help find your door and lock at night, as well as your RV steps. Learn more or order here.
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RV Travel staff
CONTACT US at editor@RVtravel.com
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Emily Woodbury. Senior editors: Diane McGovern, Russ and Tiña De Maris.
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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