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 20, 2019
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
National Parks may slash Senior Pass holders’ benefits
If you have a senior pass for the national parks, you could be in for more surprises. Seniors already received an unwelcome surprise when lifetime passes for the over-62 set jumped from $10 to $80 a couple of years ago. Now a new recommendation may cut big benefits to those who hold the America the Beautiful Pass. Learn more.
Big logs appear along Oakland curbs to keep homeless RVers away
The number of people living in their vehicles in Oakland, California, has more than doubled over two years to 1,430, newly released data show, prompting the city to tackle its homeless crisis by designating parking areas specifically for RVs that now crowd the streets. In other parts of town, someone has placed huge logs by the curb in an apparent attempt to keep homeless people with RVs from parking there. More.
Camping World RV transporters lose jobs
What could just be a hiccup for Marcus Lemonis and Camping World is turning into a major issue for more than 500 RV transporters. On Friday, October 11, nearly 550 independent contractors who work with Country Wide RV Transport (CWRV) got an unwelcome message: Come November 1, CWRV will roll up the sidewalks and close for good, leaving drivers and families without that source of income. Read more.
“Abandoned” Seattle RV – Truth is stranger than fiction
An incredible series of events involving “homeless RVers” unfolded in Seattle recently, in a style that could have been scripted for a comedy TV series. Read this almost-unbelievable story here.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
That was the week that was
October 13–19, 2019
Dometic Corp. isn’t liable for damage caused by a fire allegedly triggered by a faulty Dometic refrigerator in an RV, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit said Oct. 17. The company isn’t liable under Iowa law for an alleged defect because it didn’t manufacture, design or assemble the product, the court said. Dometic, a North American company, purchased refrigerators made in Sweden by Dometic AB, a Swedish company, for resale in North America until manufacturing operations were shifted to Dometic’s U.S. facility in 2009.
At least three tornadoes were reported in the Tampa Bay, Florida, area on Friday night and into early Saturday morning from Tropical Storm Nestor, which by Saturday afternoon was a post-tropical cyclone. Power was knocked out for thousands. Several mobile homes were damaged, a fifth-wheel RV was blown over onto a house, and a semi was blown over on the highway. See photos and videos at wxtl.com.
Since June, a shooter has been frightening folks in Belen, N.M., including those in their RVs in two RV parks. One RV park owner told KRQE News 13 that several RVs have been hit by bullets he believes were fired from nearby hills. No serious injuries have been reported. It’s not clear if the shooter is just being careless or if they’re intentionally shooting toward homes and other buildings. Police are asking for tips to find the shooter.
In typical “positive spin” style, Woodall’s Campground Management recently trumpeted an 8 percent increase in Canadian park model trailer sales. The January through August 2019 sales for the “destination” vehicles were first thing out of the reporter’s box. And the rest of the news? Sales of other RVs throughout the north country flopped miserably: Travel trailers down 13 percent, fifth-wheels plunged 20 percent, pop-up trailers sank a deplorable 17 percent. The media outlet used data provided by Statistical Surveys, Inc.
October is here, and temperatures are almost survivable in California’s Death Valley National Park. Ten of the park’s 12 campgrounds are open; Texas Springs and Stovepipe Wells won’t open until the Service can hire enough help to keep them maintained. Camping is still free at seven campgrounds; five campgrounds change $14 to $22 per night. Hookup sites at Furnace Creek run $36. All sites are discounted for senior and disabled pass holders.
The taps are back open at Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park South Rim. Earlier this month, a leak in a pipeline valve caused officials to mandate water restrictions. Until the leak was fixed, restrictions ranged from no plant and lawn watering to shorter shower times and water at restaurants by request only.
In what may be a record involving animals and RV crashes, animal rescue agencies near Prineville, Oregon, say their resources were taxed to the limit after a travel trailer jumped U.S. Highway 26 near Oregon’s Ochoco Reservoir on October 10. Thomas Misik, 60, lost control of his 29-foot travel trailer reportedly because of bad weight distribution, leaving the highway and plunging down an embankment. His 20-year-old passenger was hurt, as well as a 53-year-old woman who was riding in the trailer. When authorities responded to the torn-open trailer scene, they found the three humans and a huge assortment of animals. The trailer had been carrying 47 cats, 11 dogs and a rabbit. Three of the cats died, and one dog took off after the wreck. Six volunteers were called out to assist with rescuing the animals. The local animal shelter took on care of all the animals except for six cats, which were accepted by a Bend, Oregon, animal agency, which itself was swamped the next day when 42 other animals were brought in for help.
If every dog has his day, a K-9 dog with the Brewster County, Texas, sheriff’s office got his in spades. On October 10 the canine “officer” was called out to investigate a suspicious travel trailer being detained by border patrol agents. The unnamed bow-wow alerted, and a subsequent search turned up nearly a ton-and-a-half of marijuana stashed behind a false wall in the trailer. The trailer, its tow rig, two suspects, and 2,957 pounds of MaryJane were all locked up.
Yogi Bear’s toe slid a little too far over the line in Gardiner, New York. A Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp operating as Lazy River Resorts, LLC, has received a slap from the town’s code enforcers. The camping outfit tacked a huge “overnight accommodation” building onto property adjacent to the campground. The construct, dubbed Cindy Bear’s Palace, was never approved as part of the campground. To get around that little problem, the park owners simply put it up as an Airbnb, rationalizing that the building was a “single-family dwelling with an accessory apartment.” They also managed to slide a racetrack, large tennis court and a basketball court onto the same property, none of which had town approval for use as a commercial operation. Park owners appealed the order of the code enforcement officer to shut down both the “Palace” and the recreation facility. When the appeal was taken up by the local zoning board October 3, the park owners sent an attorney who did more to raise hackles than to soothe the situation. In the end, an aggravated set of board members unanimously tossed the appeal out. As of Friday, Jellystone was still advertising Cindy Bear’s Palace on its Facebook page, but it was absent from the list of “cabins” on its internet page.
Newport, Vermont, city councilors got an earful after announcing rate jumps for seasonal camping at the city’s Prouty Beach Campground would be almost 20 percent next year. Users complained the city had done nothing to improve the campground, and that infrastructure needed help. City officials countered that they had plenty of plans for improvement but needed money to proceed. Locals responded, pointing out the city took in better than $161,000 in revenue from park users but had only $107,000 in park expenses – so why wasn’t the excess revenue spent on improvements? Complaints abounded about inadequate WiFi bandwidth, broken laundry machines and seedy conditions on the lake. In the end, the rate increases still stuck.
Campers near East Forks, North Dakota, got an unwelcome splash from nature last Monday when the Red River unexpectedly flooded. The camp host from Sherlock Campground was tasked, not with welcoming campers, but with sending them off in a hurry. At least one motorhome owner got his navigational wires crossed when attempting to escape the oncoming floodwaters and turned onto a flooded road. There was no escape – the more he pumped on the accelerator, the more his rig dug in. Finally, a tow truck driver got to wade in with a hook and fish his unit out. While some at the campground had planned on being there through the winter, their plans were dashed. Sherlock will slumber until spring.
When Chris Persic’s wife fired up the family’s SUV, something didn’t smell right. In fact, the rig, parked at their Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home smelled like it was burning. On popping open the hood, she soon found the problem: A big pile of grass and walnuts covered the engine. A mechanic pulled half a trashcan of walnuts out of the engine compartment, apparently stored there by squirrels. The Persic family is now seeking a quote – for the costs of getting walnut trees removed from their yard.
“Revenue shortfalls” are getting the blame for a proposal from South Dakota State Parks commissioners that would hike entrance fees and campground rates. Over the objection of the agency’s director, who warned hiking fees would cut use, the majority of Game, Fish and Parks Commission members approved the hikes, which if approved by the legislature would boil down to a $6 increase to $36 on an annual pass, and a $2 jump to $8 on a daily pass. Campground fees, which presently start as low as $11 for a non-utility site and $15 for an electrified one, will see jumps “starting at $20.”
A big fire on Saturday, October 12, at Big Bear Lake, California, wiped out three RVs, a boat and a storage trailer at Fox Farm Storage. The fire started in a motorhome and quickly spread to the other vehicles, including a travel trailer and second motorhome. One injured person was medevacked to a hospital suffering from burns.
Police in San Diego, California, doing a welfare check on a motorhome-dwelling woman at the Santa Fe Park RV Resort, made an unwelcome discovery. The woman was dead, apparently by homicide. Police are investigating whether the death may be related to that of her boyfriend, who jumped to his death from the Coronado Bridge on October 12, the day before her body was found.
A Cheshire, Massachusetts, RVer is being described as “very lucky” following a series of explosions that demolished his RV and seriously damaged his summer home. David Willet heard a “hissing noise” and smelled a strange odor then went outside of his rig to investigate. Evidently the hissing noise was coming from a 5-gallon LP cylinder under the RV, which exploded, turning the RV into a fireball. When firefighters responded, they found Willet’s wood-frame summer house on fire – at the same time encountering a nearby 250-gallon LP tank which was so hot its relief valve had opened and was then blasting flames at both the house and what was left of the RV. Firefighting triage called for dealing with the LP fire first and the house last. By the time the tank was cooled, fire had snaked into the attic of the home. On working toward accessing the house, yet another LP cylinder blasted away. Willet is now working out alternative living arrangements, and is “very lucky to be alive,” pronounced the fire chief.
When hooked up to power, how long do you typically leave your porch light on?
A Good Samaritan was killed while attempting to assist a man with his disabled motorhome in Toms River, New Jersey. Anne M. Lovallo happened on a disabled motorhome before 6:00 a.m. on Monday, October 14, stalled on a roadway. The motorhome, which gained much notoriety in the community as it was covered with both pro-Donald Trump signs, and an additional mixture of bumper stickers supporting the likes of Bernie Sanders and LGBT rights, was apparently not illuminated. While Lovallo was standing between the motorhome and an attached trailer, another motorist rammed the trailer, crushing Ms. Lovallo between the two units. She died at the scene.
An RV dealership in Lafayette, Indiana, has been hit by someone with a penchant for crawling around under motorhomes, and a yen for scrap materials. Seven motorhomes were found to have been relieved of their catalytic converters, with the thefts occurring sometime between last Sunday and Monday. Three of the rigs were customer-owned, waiting for repair service. The outrage took place at Happy Campers RV Sales and Service, which undoubtedly left management, well, unhappy.
The family dog is getting credit for saving the lives of his owners in a Pinellas Park, Florida, RV fire. Fire broke out in a fifth wheel early in the morning of October 12 at Robert’s Mobile Home RV Resort. A couple in the RV was roused by their dog and escaped only with their lives. An adjacent trailer was also wiped out but, happily, nobody was home at the time.
Unlawful use of RVs has struck a nerve with Santa Rosa County, Florida, officials. Evidently some RVers are parking on private property and hooking up to county water and sewer. The county engineer told the county commissioners it’s a “proliferation” of bad behavior on Navarre Beach. The county says it will be cracking down, noting two letters went out to violators just last week. If this weren’t bad enough, “bad boy” RVers have been camping on the Navarre Beach boat ramp. “On any given morning, there are at least five RVs parked at the boat ramp. They have their jacks down and their awnings out,” Danny Fureigh, the local fire rescue chief reported to local media. “I think they utilize the showers and stuff like that, but it’s clearly posted that you can’t camp overnight there, but I haven’t seen any enforcement.”
Santee, California, RVers may find it harder to park their RVs near their homes. Riled up by complaints from some locals squawking about RVs blocking their view and making safe traffic maneuvering difficult, city council members are now looking into making street parking ordinances tougher. Presently, RVs can be parked on city streets, but must be moved 300′ or more every 72 hours. Councilors are mulling over jacking the $62.50 fine for violations to $104.50. On-property parking is tough: in a garage or on a paved surface, taking up no more than half of a 20′ front yard area. And what about paid storage? Forget about it! Of the 1,100 RV spots in Santee, only nine are available; rental spots run clear up to $727 per month.
The Cook County, Minnesota, sheriff’s department got a tough case earlier this month. A caller to dispatch reported a burglary from their RV. What was taken? Two of a litter of kittens had been purloined. The complainant said earlier in the day the mother cat was present in the rig with three kittens, now there was only one kitten – someone surely broke into the rig and stole the other two. Before deputies could be dispatched, another call: Missing kittens located in cupboard in RV.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
10,446 Starcraft RV trailers recalled for unprotected circuit
Starcraft RV is recalling 10,446 model year 2018 Comet Mini, 2018-2019 GPS, Autumn Ridge Outfitter, Launch Ultra Lite, Launch Outfitter 7, Autumn Ridge, Launch Outfitter, Satellite and Avalon and 2019 Mossy Oak and Mossy Oak Lite travel trailers. The fuse/circuit breaker wiring between the battery and the converter may have bypassed the 30-amp fuse, creating an unprotected circuit. More.
Sprinter vehicles recalled for airbag issue
Daimler Vans USA, LLC, (DVUSA) is recalling 1,232 model year 2018-2019 Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner Sprinter vehicles. The airbag systems may not have been activated after vehicle production. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 208, “Occupant Crash Protection.” More.
Jayco trailer recall: Gas range does not vent outside
Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling 637 model year 2019 Eagle HT and Eagle travel trailers. The gas range does not vent outside. More.
3-in-1 NOAA radio, flashlight and charger must-have for RVers
This emergency hand-crank radio is a necessity for RVers. Keep it somewhere safe, you never know when it will come in handy. The 3-in-1 radio is also a bright LED flashlight and a smartphone charger. The radio can be charged via solar charging, hand cranking or a USB plug. You’ll want to buy one here.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of October 14, 2019:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.63. [Calif.: $4.09]
Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Down 25 cents.
Diesel: $3.05. [Calif.: $3.98]
Change from week before: No change; Change from year before: Down 34 cents.
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Upcoming RV Shows
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
Tampa Bay Fall RV Show, Nov. 7-10, Tampa, FL
If you have an RV, make sure you own our favorite tire pressure gauge. Click.
Free and bargain camping
Isle of Capri Casino, Waterloo, IA
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed and permission is not required. The lot is well-lit, appears level, and is believed to be quiet and safe. Buffet, Otis & Henry’s Steakhouse, Bar & Grill, and a bakery are on-site. Inquire about perks for obtaining Player’s Club card. Click here for details.
Sportsman’s Warehouse, Casper, WY
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed and permission is not required. Park parallel to the curb behind the store (overlooking an RV storage lot). Level, well-lit, quiet, and appears safe. Petco and Staples share this shopping center. Many other shopping and dining options nearby. 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.
KINDLE BOOKS ABOUT RVing. Instant reading! Click here to browse.
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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