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Sunday, January 26, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
Porsche Motorhome? You bet, and it’s here!
When you think of a Porsche you probably think of a high performance sports car. Well, add luxury and “expensive motorhome” to that. The coach is made by Newell, which calls Porsche its partner and collaborator on exterior design. The Oklahoma manufacturer’s advertisements overflow with superlatives with phrases like “classic, muscular lines,” a “fierce spoiler,” and a “dramatic ‘full frontal’ windshield,” wrapping it up with: “The overall design is aggressive, but refined.” So how much will this cost you (please sit down)? Click here to find out, and learn more about the motorhome.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have taken leave of royal duties to become commoners. What will they do now? According to social media reports, complete with photographic “proof,” the former-royals are evidently heading out on the road and taking up the RV lifestyle. Do you believe it? Click here for the “rest of the story.”
Opinion: Airstream’s far-out (wacky?) vision of the future
Wasn’t it the movie “Field of Dreams” where the saying “build it and they will come” was made famous? Well, sometimes you gotta think that in the RV industry it goes something like: “Add a new accessory, even if it’s not needed, brag about it, advertise it, and some people will buy it.” That pretty much sums up what editor Chuck Woodbury has to say about some of Airstream’s new “innovations” as noted by CEO Bob Wheeler. Read more.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed
• Why Walmart is banning RV overnight stays at more stores.
• Is reusable toilet paper a good idea in your RV?
• RVer takes pride in cheating campground reservation system.
• RV Shrink: Ripped off RVers considering extra security, i.e., “locked and loaded”
• RV Doctor: How to adjust a Lippert slideout.
• Is it a boat? An RV? Or a boat-RV?
• RV Electricity special announcement: URGENT! Warn your kids about the “Outlet Challenge”.
… and much more
That was the RV week that was
January 19–25, 2020
A couple who campground-host at Montana’s Glacier National Park are getting credit for their actions – taken in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park. Frank and Terry Dinovi spent last summer hosting in Glacier, and after their assignment were visiting Yellowstone on September 28. While at a campground, sharp-eyed Terry, trained as a nurse, spotted a group at the campground with a number of children. Her training suggested the kids appeared to be victims of child abuse, and she and Frank passed the information along to Yellowstone rangers. They in turn got in touch with other agencies. Bottom line: The adults in the party are alleged to be serial child-abusers, who had traveled about the West with the children. Six youngsters were removed from their custody, and the adults charged with felony child abuse, child endangerment, aggravated assault and kidnapping. The Dinovis have been officially recognized with the Yellowstone Superintendent’s Commendation for their part in the rescue.
Corpus Christi, Texas, city councilors got an earful from RVers, forcing them to take a step back from a hefty fee increase at the Sunrise Beach Park at Wesley Seale Dam. The park is actually in Mathis, but Corpus Christi’s water department owns the dam and park, and tenants got hit with a notice of a rent increase that would have jacked rates from $400 up to $650. The city tried to explain away the increase by pointing out there hadn’t been a rate jump in 10 years. Park users countered the city had done little to upgrade the park, the electrical system is sub-par, and the bathrooms don’t even meet ADA requirements. Councilors decided to hold the rent increase down to $500 and say they’ll work on making improvements.
Pay a dollar, get nearly $23 back? Not a bad deal, and Bonner County, Idaho, officials may just make it work – and benefit some RVers along the way. The county fairgrounds has an associated RV park, and the county says if it invests $10,000 of its money in improvements, the state park’s agency may just kick in $225,900 to help out. If the deal flies, the windfall will be used for paving, road repairs and better drainage, in what the county describes as Phase 1. From there, officials would like to add more campsites; later they’ll pave the campsites; finally they’d like to install a new bathhouse. The existing 33-site park is open year-round, but presently only electricity is available to RVers in the winter – something else park managers want to fix.
Truth can be stranger than fiction – and stranger even than a Hollywood-produced action scene. Firefighters were called out to the Emerald Coast Boat and RV Storage facility in Navarre, Florida, early last Monday when a speeding motorist missed a curve, hit an eight-foot fence, and – with the fence acting like a ramp – blasted into the storage yard. The resulting crash and fire took out at least four RVs and two boats, and left the driver in the hospital suffering burns and smoke inhalation.
What if they built a campground and nobody came? Well, the situation isn’t quite that bad, but officials in South Dakota say visitation is “off” in the state’s parks and other recreation areas. Revenue is down as fewer people visited the parks in 2019 when compared to visitation in 2018. “Sales” were down an average of 4 percent across the board. One area, the lower Francis Case, saw visitation drop 59 percent. Officials are blaming rains and flooding for the downturn. Interestingly, the state has pumped up fees this year.
NEW! 2020 edition is here! Learn what’s along the Interstate
Never take a wrong exit off an Interstate. The brand-new 2020 Next Exit lists every exit along every Interstate and lists what you’ll find: gas stations (including those with diesel), campgrounds, truck stops, casinos, retail stores (by name), malls, factory outlets, drug stores, hospitals, rest areas & more. Very helpful even if you have a GPS. Learn more or order.
There’s a name change in the wind: Pilot/Flying J has a new corporate name – Pilot Company. The company says the change is simply “Reflecting its expanding petroleum business and the reality of finite growth in new truck stops in the U.S. and Canada.” How much of a difference will it make to RVers and truckers who nuzzle at the company fuel pumps? Not much. Don’t expect any change in signage or logos – the company knows enough not to mess with the “strong equity” in the Pilot and Flying J brand names. Interestingly, Pilot Company is the third-largest tanker fleet owner in the U.S. Count out 18-seconds and somewhere, the company has delivered another load of liquids.
We ask for your support
As you can imagine when reading this issue, putting it together along with another 364 newsletters each year takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Advertising helps pay some of our bills, but the generous contributions of our voluntary subscribers allow us to bring you far more important and unbiased information. This Sunday newsletter would not exist without their contributions. If you value what we do, please join these readers by pledging your support.
A new RV park is under construction in Cullman, Alabama. The city is developing the park on a plot of land that was part of a larger parcel most recently intended to become home to the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. Due to a lack of funding, that plan was “one that got away,” and the city bought the property with future development in mind. Watching a seemingly endless parade of RVs roll by on a nearby interstate, city officials invested in market research which indicated an RV park might be a financial hit and, hence, the new 50-site park is in progress. If it goes well, the city may expand the park, including “glamping” in their plans. About half of the water installation is complete, with even more done on the electrical side, and city officials are hopeful to open the new spot at Exit 305 on Interstate 65 in May or June this year.
Powder Mountain Highway – a portion of Utah Highway 158 – is considered to be some of the most dangerous public roadway in the Beehive State. The five-mile stretch of 14-percent grade between Eden and Powder Mountain has claimed at least three lives due to brake failures, including an accident involving a motorhome in 2009. Now the state says it will not “reconstruct” but will “rehabilitate” part of the roadway. Consider this an editorial: If any “rehabilitation” needs to be done, it’s probably best done on the minds of RVers who’d even give a thought to taking a rig down that stretch.
A West Chester, Ohio, RV dealer, Jeffery Couch (52), has pleaded guilty to a felony charge in connection with the March 2019 beating of his wife. Couch, the owner of Jeff Couch’s RV Nation in Trenton, Ohio, acknowledged in court that he had repeatedly punched his wife in the face and slammed her head into pavement multiple times. He’ll face sentencing on February 24 that could mean up to 18 months in prison.
Be careful where you store your RV over the winter. RVers who left their rigs at Jelly Bean’s Riverside Campground along the St. Regis River in New York won’t be using them any time soon. About 86 of the park’s campsites are flooded and in many cases encased in ice, freezing some RVs in place. In some cases, according to NNY360, water has flowed into the RVs and frozen.
Harbor commissioners in El Granada, California, a tiny burg in San Mateo County, got a rough wake-up call from county officials. It seems that folks have been camping in RVs at Pillar Point, and others have been leaving crab pots in the parking lot overnight. County officials have ordered harbor commissioners to send the RVers and pots packing by March 1 or face significant fines. This put the commissioners in a bind, wherein many favor allowing both activities to continue but with one objecting, telling his fellow commissioners: “We’re a Harbor District, not an RV district!” His fellow commissioners say they want to figure out a way to roll out the welcome mat for RVers, and want to explore what’s necessary to bring in appropriate utilities for their use. The commission determined that RVers could stay on until March 1, provided they dump their holding tanks at an appropriate facility. After that, they’ll be disinvited until the commission can get permits to legally have them back.
Be like Mike! Use theatrical tie line at the campsite
Mike Sokol says: if you’ve never used theatrical tie line, then let me tell you how great this stuff is for hanging all sorts of things around camp. We use this if we need to lash a tent down to ground stakes, hang lights from an awning or secure a surge protector to a pedestal. I would say you should get at least the 300 ft. spool for RVing, and I like the 500 and 1,000 ft. spools for my own gigs. But I assure you, once you use real theatrical tie line, you won’t want to use anything else. Get some HERE.
Planning an RV trip to Northern Ontario? Don’t be surprised if you run into “a lot” of overseas tourists. Tourism promoter Destination Northern Ontario, Canada, is focusing on increasing visits from that spectrum of travelers. At this time, only 0.1 percent of Northern Ontario’s tourism comes from overseas, and officials would like to boost that number to 2 percent. Getting overseas visits up to the provincial average of 2 percent would bring in an additional $500 million in revenues.
The Oregon woman who took an ax and gave an RV many whacks has had sentence passed. As we’ve reported, Whitney Rene Montgomery (33) of Lebanon, Oregon, was upset to find an RVer parked – with permission – outside of Montgomery’s father’s home, hooked up to his electrical service. Montgomery was rather peeved, as she says she’d paid the power bill for her daddy. Responsively, she broke out all the windows of the motorhome, then used the same instrument to smack the RVer in the face. Fortunately, Montgomery used the flat side of the ax for the assault. Regardless, a judge says Montgomery will still be a guest of the Oregon Department of Corrections for 13 months for the results of her temper.
Most RVers consider “campground improvements” to mean an increase in the number of available sites. Not so at the Forest Service’s House Creek Campground near Dolores, Colorado. Officials say sagging occupancy has moved the Service to reduce the number of sites at the campground from 69 down to 23. The campground will be closed this spring, not reopening until sometime in June. However, the Service says it will upgrade 11 RV sites to 50-amp electrical service, and will work on plumbing leaks that have plagued the campground in the past.
Looking to travel across the big open spaces of the Cowboy State? Wyoming’s legislators may soon be making a decision that might make you want to think otherwise. A bill introduced in December would, if passed and approved by the governor, “fund repairs and maintenance” on the interstate. How? By turning the big, 400-mile concrete slab into a toll road. Says part of the bill, “The tolled configuration will allow Interstate 80 to be maintained and to be operated in a way that will reduce traffic congestion, delays, hazards, injuries and fatalities.” Previous attempts at turning the interstate into a toll route have flopped. Even if the bill were to pass, federal approval would be needed, and it could be a decade before dollars cross hands to make the east-west crossing.
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Budget RV Travel
Getting the juice will cause a campground closure near Grafton, Illinois. Officials say they’ll upgrade the electrical service at Pere Marquette State Park to 50-amp availability, and increase the number of water hookups, but that will mean RVers and tent campers will be locked out through mid-August for the improvements to be made. When they come back, they’ll also find road repairs and new camp pads.
Does the name Sean Borg ring a bell? As Star Trek fans, we searched out data files for information on a “Cube Rider” with such a name to no avail. Guess we’re just too old, as it turns out the Borg in question isn’t an alien intent on assimilating a new species, but instead, is “a leading expert in the field of entertainment television, lifestyle, and branding in London and Los Angeles,” according to media website IMDB. If you’ve stuck with us this long (and have any interest in this Borg), then know, it appears he’ll soon be adding another credential to his list: Borg was recently spotted by adoring fans and/or paparazzi motorhome shopping in the Palm Springs, California, area. Somehow we wouldn’t count on him pulling in next to you at Walmart.
Last chance to save on Overnight RV Parking membership
A one year membership in the most comprehensive directory of free and inexpensive places for RVers to stay is going up from $24.95 a year to $29.99 on February 1. RVtravel.com readers also get bonus months. It’s hard to imagine an RVer not saving many times the price of a membership on camping fees. Learn more or sign up for a membership.
Campers at two Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) lakes in Ohio are steaming hot over a plan to ban decks at conservancy district campsites. Camper Doug Saltz at Seneca Lake said he had just spent $12,000 to build a new deck at his campsite. “I’m going to be real upset if I’m told I need to trash that or you guys can throw it away,” he said. The MWCD has renovated its campsites at Atwood, Charles Mill, Piedmont, Pleasant Hill, Seneca and Tappan lake parks, offering new areas with full hook-up and 50-amp power service with level concrete pads. “We’re providing a level campsite with concrete pads, and so therefore, generally speaking, the need for wooden decks is no longer necessary,” said the executive director of the WMCD.
What is going on here? A certain RV manufacturer is advertising that its fifth wheel trailers are suitable “for full-time RVing.” The problem is that RVs are, by definition, for temporary living only. Here’s the wording right from the RV Industry Association’s website: “An RV is a vehicle that combines transportation and temporary living quarters for travel, recreation and camping.” Now, the problem: If an RV is advertised as being suitable for full-time living, then it is, by definition, a manufactured home, which must then be built to more stringent HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) standards. RV park owners who rent year-round to such full-timers then fall into a different business classification and must treat those residents like they would those who rent apartments and homes, which are more complex with different taxation requirements. We’ll have more on this soon.
A proposed 50-acre RV park near Punta Gorda, Florida, has hit a bit of a snag. The park would be along Burnt Store Road, that has traffic lanes that are only eight feet wide. County planning officials say eight feet isn’t wide enough to safely accommodate many RVs, and say the developer should widen two intersections and the roadway – the length of an entire mile. Not surprisingly, the developer of the proposed 234-site park is balking at taking on such an expense. Some members of the county planning commission say they sympathize with the developer, and suggest that if such demands were made, basically nobody would develop in the area. The matter has been pushed forward for county commissioners to consider.
It’s not just bees that sting – apparently so does “honey oil.” That’s the conclusion we’ve drawn from the experience of someone trying to make honey oil in an RV in Wildomar, California. The stuff is a concentrated extract of cannabis oil made from marijuana. Making it often involves the use of flammable solvents and butane gas. So, perhaps it was no surprise when last Monday, emergency dispatchers got a call about an explosion in a travel trailer. The rig was totally engulfed in flames, and witnesses reported a human figure departing the scene on foot at high speed. Police later located a suspect in an area hospital – being treated for burn injuries.
RVers can now stay in Moscow RV, Idaho, parks for longer than six months because of a new law. “We’ve talked about affordable housing for years now,” said Councilor Sandra Kelly. “I think this is a nice step in the right direction.” Councilor Art Bettge said he liked that the elimination of the six-month stay rule only applies to RVs with full hook-ups because otherwise “transient camping” could result. Councilor Brandy Sullivan said the ordinance should help out-of-town construction workers who wish to stay in RVs while working on an area project for longer than six months. What does this mean to other RVers? Good luck getting a spot in an RV park in Moscow, Idaho, when passing through.
You really have to wonder. Forest River, the second largest RV manufacturer behind Thor, also makes other vehicles including the Rockport Work Truck. “In 2002, Rockport Commercial Vehicles was founded in Elkhart, Indiana, as part of Forest River’s vision to build better commercial vehicles,” its website states. The trucks are built on several chassis including Ford and GMC. We shook our heads in wonder last week when a recall was issued for the vehicles. Apparently, on more than 4,100 model year 2014 to 2019 vehicles, “the roof and front cap may have been improperly fastened together, potentially allowing the roof to detach from the front cap and vehicle.” Now that would be a big ol’ unpleasant surprise if you were driving down the highway, wouldn’t it?
Most of us have traveled on multi-lane highways where one lane was being resurfaced. Changing lanes can be a little scary if the rise into the next lane is a couple of inches. Here’s a video captured by a dash cam that shows what can happen when such a lane change is made while towing a trailer. “I didn’t realize there was such a hump between the new and the old pavement,” said RVer Richard Owen. “I went to get in the middle lane and as soon as I hit it, I just lost everything.”
How important was the exterior of your RV (color/graphics) when you bought it?
Nearly 200 people employed at a Dometic RV awning manufacturing plant in LeGrange, Indiana, will lose their jobs in March. The company announced last week it would move production to an existing facility in Monterey, Mexico, where the company currently makes air conditioning units.
Two Camping World horror stories. We missed this news report from WMBF-TV in South Carolina when it originally aired in November. But it reinforces our belief that Camping World has a serious problem servicing the RVs it sells. In the second case here, the couple’s RV spent 14 of its first 19 months in the shop. Watch the video (or read a transcript of it). And if you think this sort of thing is rare, think again by reading our Facebook group RV Horror Stories.
REV Group, manufacturer of specialty vehicle brands, will begin offering the upgrade option of LiquidSpring on select Fleetwood RVs. LiquidSpring is a high-tech suspension system that reduces body roll and vibration with variable spring rates. The suspension uses a microprocessor to optimize the ride based on the vehicle’s steering, speed, braking level and the motion at each wheel. It also senses sharp turns or evasive maneuvers and stiffens in milliseconds to improve handling.
GM recently announced a new concept to help pickup trucks pulling trailers stop in much shorter distances. This new idea uses a modified version of GM’s electro-hydraulic eBoost braking system found in the 2020 GMC Sierra and 2020 Chevrolet Silverado trucks. In the trucks, instead of pulling vacuum from the intake manifold like a traditional brake booster, the system uses an electric actuator to apply pressure to the brake fluid. This system is more efficient, takes up less room and works even when the engine is off. Read more.
The final attendance for last week’s 35th Annual Florida RV SuperShow has been tabulated, and the “Tampa Show” set a record with 74,861 people passing through the gates, up about 600 from last year’s record crowd.
RV Industry Association (RVIA) Manager of Government Affairs Nick Rudowich recently testified in support of legislation that would amend the allowable length of a travel trailer in Washington state from a current limit of 40 feet to a new limit of 46 feet. If the industry is successful in amending the travel trailer length through the passage of these bills, Labor and Industries will approve plans of travel trailers up to 46 feet in overall length. Unfortunately, if the legislation is unsuccessful, Labor and Industries has confirmed that it will cease approving plans of selling travel trailers over 40 feet in overall length.
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.
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RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
Say goodbye to goop!
Have you ever seen the sediment that collects in your water heater? You probably don’t want to. Camco’s water tank rinser is an easy-to-use gadget that is a must-have for any RVer. The tank rinser will get out all the yucky sediment that’s been sitting at the bottom of your water heater and, most importantly, will extend the life of it too. Read the many positive reviews, and get one for yourself here.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of January 20, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.54 [Calif.: $3.41]
Change from week before: Down 3 cents; Change from year before: Up 29 cents.
Diesel: $3.04. [Calif.: $3.87]
Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 7 cents.
Sign up for an email reminder for our weekday RV Daily Tips Newsletter, published every Monday through Friday. You won’t want to miss it!
Upcoming RV shows
Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show, Ends today, Quartzsite, AZ
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
Calgary RV Expo & Sale, Jan. 30 – Feb. 2, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Fort Wayne RV & Camping Show, Jan. 30 – Feb. 2, Fort Wayne, IN
Detroit RV & Camping Show, Feb. 5-9, Novi, MI
Colorado Springs RV & Outdoor Show, Feb. 6-8, Colorado Springs, CO
Edmonton RV Expo & Sale, Feb. 6-9, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Erie RV, Camping & Powersports Spectacular, Feb. 6-9, Erie, PA
Jacksonville RV Mega Show, Feb. 6-9, Jacksonville, FL
Minneapolis / St. Paul RV, Vacation & Camping Show, Feb. 6-9, Minneapolis, MN
Seattle RV Show, Feb. 6-9, Seattle, WA. Visit website – See list of free seminars – Free parking when you purchase tickets online.
Midessa Boat, RV, Sport & Gun Show, Feb. 7-9, Odessa, TX
Ottawa RV Expo & Sale, Feb. 7-9, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Topeka RV & Sport Show, Feb. 7-9, Topeka, KS
Richmond Camping RV Expo, Feb. 7-9, Richmond, VA
Lap desk puts your back to rest!
If you find yourself using your computer on your lap, reading your Kindle on the couch, or having a hard time holding that heavy hardback, you need this lap desk! Staff writer Emily uses this when she works and highly recommends it. The desk has eight adjustable levels and even has a stopper to hold objects upright. Great for those who have lower back pain or terrible posture. Learn more or order.
Free and bargain camping
Click here to view this week’s free and bargain camping spots.
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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