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Sunday, January 19, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
Our story we highlighted in last Sunday’s newsletter titled “Is new self-service RV park the wave of the future?” has already been read 102,000 times with more than 100 comments. The fact is, the Sullivan, Missouri, Self-Park RV park is not really the wave of the future, as many of those who read the article commented. Here is why we aren’t excited about this.
“Curbside” street RVers may need “poop” permit
Human waste on the city streets of Seattle has caused one lawmaker to propose a law that “curbside RV campers” obtain a license similar to what a factory or sewage treatment plant would require. Read more.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Never buy an RV this way!
• Is novice RV buyer being “taken” by dealer? Your input requested.
• RV Electricity: Finding short circuits in 12-volt systems, Part 2A.
• Does raising a trailer’s height void its insurance coverage?
• Reader Poll: Do you believe Walmart will still allow free overnight RV parking in five years?
• LT versus ST tires for RV trailers.
• Tax credit for solar panels on an RV?
• Let Google Maps deliver food to your door.
… and much more!
That was the RV week that was
January 12–18, 2019
RV dealers got a sinking feeling when it came to sales of towables in 2019. The first 11 months of the year saw a 6 percent loss in sales compared to the same time in 2018. Travel trailer sales were down nearly 6 percent, while fifth-wheels took nearly an 8 percent hit. Pop-ups suffered the most, losing nearly 9 percent. The only bright spot on the market were park models, which bucked the trend and shot up almost 6 percent. Source: Statistical Surveys Inc.
A backpacking tour guide has seen his Eugene, Oregon, business go up in smoke at the hands of an arsonist. Elliot Morgan used a Class A motorhome to accommodate backpackers while taking them to hiking trails where he’d guide them on multi-day trips. But on January 8, someone torched Morgan’s motorhome, wiping out his business, and taking along business and personal property, leaving Morgan to clean up the shell of the motorhome. Nearby on that same night, someone with a torch entered an occupied RV, made contact with a person inside, and then set that place afire as well.
Camping World isn’t the only RV retailer seeking expansion. RV Retailer, LLC, which sells RVs from 26 locations in Arizona, Florida, Iowa, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas, says it is adding four more stores in Texas and Florida. Camper Clinic RV is selling three of its dealerships to RV Retailer in Texas. JD Sanders RV in Gainesville, Florida, has also sold out to the conglomerate.
A man who broke into a motorhome made the wrong move when confronting its alarmed – and armed – owner. The burglar reportedly lunged at the RV owner. The RV owner shot. Now Samuel White Jr. is in the hospital being treated for a leg injury, while the unnamed RV owner has no comment. His neighbors in Modesto, California, have plenty to say, largely favoring the actions the RV owner took in defending himself and his wife. Police have investigated the shooting and have not filed any charges against the RVer. The break-in and shooting unfolded December 9.
DATA: In Los Angeles County, an estimated 16,527 people live in cars, vans or RVs.
Indiana industrial health and safety inspectors have lowered the boom on an Elkhart, Indiana, RV manufacturer. The RV Factory, which turns out the Luxe line of fifth wheels, was inspected several times between August and October of 2019. Inspectors found multiple violations, including failing to keep workers safe from falls, concerns about respirators used in paint booths, safety in the use of industrial chemicals, and matters pertaining to safety training. At least four of the violations were listed as “serious.” The company faces up to $10,500 in fines.
If your RV travels include stops at Love’s Truck Stops, the company wants you to know you’ll soon have more opportunities. The company, which opened its 500th location last year, says it wants to bring 40 more online. That will provide 3,000 more truck parking spots, and 2,500 spots for more employees to work. The firm intends the new locations to be sited from coast-to-coast.
A Sacramento sheriff’s snail-speed chase is over – and the driver of two motorhomes is under arrest. Yes, it’s a bit convoluted, but we’ll get to that. It started last Tuesday when deputies chatted with Timothy Cummings (32) in Sacramento, California, calling him out for not registering his motorhome, nor fixing a window in the rig. After a half-hour, Cummings fired the rig up and pulled away, nearly clobbering a police officer who got in the way. Cummings then led police on a slow-speed chase, hitting speeds of as much as 15 miles per hour, while ignoring orders to stop. Perhaps what kept Cummings from accelerating was the fact he was towing yet another motorhome while making his grand exit. Spike strips eventually stopped the spectacle. Watch a news story video. [The video story ends at about the two-minute mark before moving on to another story.]
Stay in your RV in an RV park for more than six months? If you’re interested in such a venture, it may soon be legal in Moscow, Idaho. The city council will consider amending local ordinances to allow RV park owners to determine just how long a guest can stay in a park. Under present law, a six-month limit applies.
A Minnesota regional park is dreaming of some pretty large upgrades. Lake Washington Park put in for a $983,000 grant to upgrade its campgrounds, extend a park road, and add on a mile-and-a-half loop trail. The Le Sueur County park’s managers are hopeful it will all add up to more overnight guests. Park managers haven’t seen a check as of yet, but are positive the state’s legislature will see things their way and make some money appear.
Come November, Mountain View, California, voters will decide whether RVs should be banned from parking on most of the city’s residential streets. Last year the city council passed an ordinance that did just that – but a petition campaign forced a showdown over the matter. The petition gave the council three options: cancel the ordinance, put the measure on a special ballot in April, or put it to a vote during the November general election. The cost of an early ballot was too much, and councilors were loathe to kill their own law. In a recent city council meeting, council members had the option to tell residents what they thought the vote should be, but opted to keep mum on their views and let the electorate make the call.
Yet another set of RV park residents is living the life of misery – no water or electricity at the Gulf Coast RV Park in Waveland, Mississippi. Power, water and sewage service was cut off just before Thanksgiving, and residents have been toughing it out ever since. A single generator has been pumping out the kilowatts for residents to share – a clump of electrical cables leading to the generator looks like an octopus on LSD. Residents say utilities are included in their rent payment, which all say they made on time, but somehow the utilities never got paid. Many are unable to move out because of a lack of money to do so.
Is it an over-glorified “man camp” or something else? No matter, the Pittsylvania County, Vermont, zoning appeals board has approved a special use permit for a “campground” on Huntington Trail. Developers say their 36-site campground, Loblolly Lake RV Park, is needed to house workers that will be employed by a power plant and solar farm. The owner says he’ll provide “all the amenities” like water, electricity and sewage, and maybe even TV cable. A local resident brought a petition signed by 25 folks opposed to the park, concerned about “drug use” and property values. The commission was more worried about porches, shelters and foundations being tacked onto RVs at the site – which it wrote into the conditions of approval.
Early in December, we reported on the “Good Samaritan” RV park owner in Cañon City, Colorado, who took in down-on-their-luck RV dwellers for free. Rhonda Shirado of Prospectors RV Resort rang up a $35,000 electric bill helping out the homeless, hoping local government officials would help out. They didn’t. The power company extended a repayment schedule, which Shirado says she tried to keep up with. She couldn’t. Now the local utility has pulled the plug on Prospectors, and some of her paying tenants are up in arms, as they no longer have power or water (park pump down). Shirado says she’s trying to issue refund checks for those that paid, based on a pro-rata basis, but some say they still haven’t been paid. Shirado’s park is closed, obviously, and may go under.
The felonious assault criminal case of an RV dealer of Trenton, Ohio, has taken on yet another weird twist. Jeffrey Couch (51), of Jeff Couch’s RV Nation, was indicted last March on charges of brutally assaulting his wife by punching her face and battering her head against pavement. Back in March, while Couch was in lockup, prior to posting a $16,000 bond, the sheriff overseeing the jail turned down a request by the West Chester Police Chief Joel Herzog, who wanted a special visit with Couch, not as a police officer, but as “a friend.” The sheriff ruled the request “inappropriate” and “a conflict of interest,” in turning it down. Now the case gets stranger: Four judges on the county court have all recused themselves from the case. As is their right, none of the judges gave an explanation for their recusals. Couch’s trial is now ongoing, with a fifth judge, Michael Oster, Jr., presiding.
Renton, Washington, has a new RV parking ordinance. Previously residents were limited to having only four vehicles on a property, but now more than four can be there – including an RV, with some restrictions. RVs can be parked (in order of legal preference) in a garage or carport; in a side or backyard at least five feet from the property line; in a driveway (perpendicular to the street) at least five feet from the property line; or “in another location determined by the city or concealed with screening.” Additionally, the city now allows someone to live in an RV up to seven days in a six-month period or, by permit, up to 30 days, renewable four times per year.
YURTS SAVE THE DAY! Back in the early 1990s Oregon State Parks were low on money. They needed a big idea. By accident, a park manager stumbled upon a yurt display at the Oregon State Fair. That was it! The system started with two yurts but now has 192, most of which are booked year-round, even during the coldest, rainiest months.
RVers in Minnesota’s Wright County will have more places to overnight come 2021. Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park is gearing up for construction that will bring 44 RV sites online, with about half of those equipped with water and electric hookups. Managers note that the campground will be a fair hike to any lakeside views, but for those who want to swim, the new camping area will be adjacent to a YMCA with a pool.
In a news release sparse on details, the Tennessee Department of Revenue indicates that a man trying to save a few bucks while titling his new motorhome may pay dearly for his trouble. Edwin Gerald Kilgore was booked into the Sullivan County Jail last Wednesday, charged with two counts of tax evasion and forgery and a count of theft. The department alleges Kilgore provided phony information on his title application, and didn’t pay sales taxes due on the registration. The local district attorney is assisting the revenuers with prosecuting Kilgore’s case. There was no indication of the penalties, if convicted, Kilgore could face.
In a traffic accident and need medical care? That was the case of RVer David Pebley, back in 2011. Parked beside the highway, Pebley’s motorhome was mashed by a big commercial truck. Pebley sued the trucking company and the driver – but instead of using insurance to pay for medical treatment, he hired a “lien doctor.” Lien doctors charge far more than an insurance company would pay, but hold off on collecting until an accident lawsuit is settled. For Pebley, a jury trial granted him a $3.6 million settlement, which included $644,000 in medical costs, both those he’d already accrued and those that might present in the future. Here’s the rub: What if your suit loses? Lien doctors still expect to be paid, but professionals involved in this type of treatment say usually the doctors will negotiate their fees down. If you’re interested in this kind of a crapshoot, do an internet search for “Doctors on Liens,” or “Global Lien Doctors.”
Residents of a Woodland, Washington, RV park came close to losing their electric power this week – and still might. At the heart of the problem is a dispute over who owns the Lewis River RV Park. At one point, a builder named Jerry Reeves owned the park but lost it to an attorney, John Berman. Here’s where it gets murky: Berman says Reeves redeemed the park, and it’s in his name; Reeves says no, that Berman owns the park. No matter, the electric bill hasn’t been paid, and the local utility district said it would shut off the power on January 16. This leaves park residents, many of them on fixed incomes, caught in the middle. Local residents stepped up, offering to donate money to pay the bill, but the utility said it wouldn’t accept donations until Reeves signed a new electric contract. It appeared residents would be going without both power and water. But last Wednesday, the utility said it had “received permission” to take donations, and would keep the juice flowing until January 23.
The 2020 updated edition of the Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States has just been published. The book is always a best-seller among RVers, many of whom carry a firearm when they travel. The annual guidebook helps ensure they stay out of trouble when crossing state lines, where the laws may be different. Learn more in this article.
A planned luxury level resort for Class A motorhomes in Door County, Wisconsin, may not happen after all. The county’s planning commission denied a conditional use permit request for a 117-site upscale, gated community, which would have allowed RVers to build A-frame structures on their sites. Despite the argument made by developers that the resort would pump $200,000 in tax revenue and an additional $3 million of revenue per year (for seven years) into the local economy, the commission unanimously vetoed the proposal. But there’s still hope: the country Resource Planning Commission will soon have its say. So stay tuned. . .
A quiet Sunday evening at home with a bowl of chili and some cornbread got a little lively and nearly turned into a session of “Katey, get your gun,” when a police chase across state lines came to an abrupt halt. Last Sunday, a sheriff’s officer in Seminole, Alabama, spotted a suspect from an equipment theft case driving a pickup through the area. With the blue lights on behind him, the suspect didn’t stop, but instead accelerated – with a travel trailer hitched on the back of his truck. What followed was a 15-minute chase across the state line into Florida, during which the suspect’s truck, trailer in tow, left the highway and tried to negotiate through some woods. The trailer got left behind, and the truck, which had somehow caught on fire, smacked into a tree, this on Mobile Highway, in Escambia County. Across the street, Kathryn Emerson’s quiet meal was interrupted by the sound of the crash. “I have dogs and I was ready to go get my gun, cause I, you know, don’t want some crazy person coming over messing with me,” Emerson told fox10tv.com. But the deputy had his gun in hand, and approaching the flaming truck found the suspect had already made good his escape. Apparently Katey’s chili and cornbread were safe.
Where have you been all my life?
A useful quick tip from electricity expert Mike Sokol! “I used to drag out a bottle of Windex and a roll of paper towels to clean the inside of my windshield periodically, but unless I was home to think about and do the task right then, chances are I would forget about it until the next time I had to drive at night. My wife just gave me a pack of Windex Wipes for my truck, and now I can clean up the inside of my windshield any time it gets a film of streaky dust. Works great.” Buy them here.
What will today’s high temperature be for where you are right now?
Don’t scream, just fix the screen!
This roll of screen repair tape is just what you need to fix those torn or ripped screens in your home or RV. Don’t waste money on a new screen! Cut as much tape as you need, stick it over the torn patch and you’re good to go. Learn more or order here.
California’s historic ghost towns are the special focus of the 2020 edition of Camp-California’s “The Camper’s Guide to California,” which is now available in digital and printed formats. “This year’s guide is much more than a campground directory because it blends travel planning information with interesting articles about the history of nearly a dozen California ghost towns,” said Diana Kelley, the executive director and CEO of CampCalNOW RV Park and Campground Alliance. Get the digital edition here.
KOA recently announced it will open a new “glamping” resort in Bar Harbor, Maine. It was previously an RV park. It will open this summer with various types of luxury cabins, but don’t bring your RV.
Blue Dog RV, which retails and services RVs in fifteen locations, has announced the opening of new locations in Fleetwood, Pa., and Kalispell, Mont.
The “Illinois Go Camping 2020 RV & Camping Guide” is now available in printed and digital formats through the Illinois Campground Association (ICA), which hosts a mobile-friendly travel planning website at IllinoisGoCamping.com. The guide features write-ups on 40 campgrounds and includes a two-page travel planning map, as well as a grid that allows consumers to quickly see which campgrounds offer 26 different types of amenities and services.
The 34-foot-long Salem travel trailer pictured here was stolen earlier this month from a locked storage facility in O’Fallon, Missouri. The license plate is 06F0GV (Missouri). Help would be appreciated from anyone with cameras in the area (Highway P or North Main Street O’Fallon), or anyone else with information about the RV’s whereabouts. If so, call the O’Fallon PD at 636-240-3200.
Shootouts in Tombstone, Arizona, between cowboys and lawmen aren’t as big a deal these days, so the “Town Too Tough to Die” is looking for other tourist draws including mining exhibits, stagecoach rides and nightly ghost tours. “The gunfights won’t be interesting to younger generations,” said Tim Christie, who plays Doc Holliday in the fake gunfights. He said he has seen parents pull their kids away when a re-enactment shootout begins because they don’t want them to see it.
An RV fire in Dixie County, Florida, has investigators reaching out to the community. The vehicle caught fire on New Year’s Eve on Southeast Highway 19 across from the Weigh Station in Old Town. Anyone with information is asked to call the Fire and Arson Bureau with Dixie County Emergency Services. A reward is offered. Call 352-498-5018.
A trailer in Victoria, Texas, went up in flames last Tuesday. “An improper electrical hookup connecting the RV to the house started the fire,” said Victoria County Fire Marshal Richard Castillo. He noted the connection was not in accordance with national electric codes. The two people inside the trailer at the time escaped without injury. Meanwhile, in Kendall, Washington, a 61-year-old woman died Wednesday when her RV caught fire. The likely cause was a portable propane heater.
Last December authorities at California’s Joshua Tree National Park found human remains in the 49 Palms Canyon area. Now a coroner has determined the remains were of Ontario, Canada, resident, Paul Miller (51). Miller was last seen in the area in July 2018, but massive search efforts failed to turn him up alive.
Have you seen Samantha? She’s a 3-year-old standard black poodle who was lost recently at the Fishers Landing Camping Resort in Yuma, Arizona. She needs to go home to her brother and to her human daddy who is grieving right now. If you have information, please call Debra Sterns at 407-404-0812.
The city of Cullman, Alabama, is building an RV park on 8 to 10 acres just off the Exit 305 interchange. The property was once the planned home of the International Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, but the deal fell through. The city is starting with 50 RV pads but sees the opportunity to expand to include camping, glamping and “lakeside” homes, which are smaller modular units. “We think that the RV park will grow beyond what we’re building at this time,” said mayor Woody Jacobs.
Yosemite National Park has received reports of approximately 170 people who have recently experienced a gastrointestinal illness. Affected individuals include park visitors and employees. Most spent time in Yosemite Valley. So far, there have been two confirmed cases of norovirus. Most of the cases occurred on and around the first week of this month. Learn more.
The RV Show USA syndicated radio (and Facebook Live) program has added a new weekly segment featuring a representative from Rockwood/Flagstaff trailers who will respond to reader questions about RVs from a manufacturer’s perspective. The show is taped every Wednesday at 7 p.m., Central Time, on the program’s Facebook and YouTube channels.
Developments at RV parks and campgrounds across the USA
Janet Groene reports each week on developments at RV parks and campgrounds across the USA and Canada. There’s a lot of good information here that you can use to plan your travels. Read the current installment of “Campground Chatter” here.
Be like Mike Sokol, use silicone!
Mike says: Never use any kind of petroleum-based products on rubber or plastic components in your RV, such as your trailer connector. That includes products such as Vaseline, WD40 or any other type of spray lubricating oil. Doing so will eventually break down the plastic and/or rubber components causing them to swell up and eventually disintegrate. The proper treatment is anything silicone-based. We use a lot of Heavy Duty Silicone in our shop for general connector cleaning and lubrication. It’s also useful on rubberized door sweeps and such. You can get some of your own here.
For peace of mind, use a backflow preventer
Backflow happens when a fresh water system gets “cross-connected” with a source of bad water or other contaminants. You don’t want that! Prevent this from happening by using a backflow preventer. Here’s an affordable one. Use it and rest easier. (You can read more about backflow prevention here.)
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of January 13, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.57 [Calif.: $3.42]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 32 cents.
Diesel: $3.06 [Calif.: $3.87]
Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 9 cents.
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Upcoming RV shows
Ohio RV & Boat Show, Jan. 10-19, Columbus, OH
Pittsburgh RV Show, Jan. 11-19, Pittsburgh, PA
Manufacturers’ RV Show, Jan. 11-20, Pleasanton, CA
Florida RV Super Show, Jan. 15-19, Tampa, FL
Mid-America RV Show, Jan. 16-19, Kansas City, MO
Mid-Michigan RV Show, Jan. 16-19, East Lansing, MI
Tacoma RV Show, Jan. 16-19, Tacoma, WA
Toronto RV Show and Sale, Jan. 16-19, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
National RV Show, Jan. 16-20, Spokane, WA
Iowa Boat, RV & Vacation Show, Jan. 17-19, Cedar Falls, IA
New Jersey RV & Camping Show – Edison,Jan. 17-19, Edison, NJ
Greater Chicago RV Show, Jan. 17-19, Schaumburg, IL
Des Moines RV & Boat Show, Jan. 17-19, Des Moines, IA
Middle Tennessee RV Show, Jan. 17-20, Lebanon, TN
Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show, Jan. 18-26, Quartzsite, AZ RVtravel.com editor will be roaming around the Quartzsite show. Keep your eyes open. Say hi if you see him.
Louisville Boat, RV & Sportshow, Jan. 22-26, Louisville, KY
Ft. Myers RV Show, Jan. 23-26, Ft. Myers, FL
Halifax RV Show & Sale, Jan. 23-26, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Atlanta Camping & RV Show, Jan. 24-26, Atlanta, GA
Boston RV & Camping Expo, Jan. 24-26, Boston, MA – Free seminars with RV electricity expert Mike Sokol. Visit website. (driving directions)
East Texas Boat and RV Show, Jan. 24-26, Longview, TX
USED BY RV TECHNICIANS!
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Free and bargain camping
Click here to view this week’s free and bargain camping spots.
• 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.
• Free Camping group at Facebook.com.
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.
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.
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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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