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Sunday, June 21, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
Happy Father’s Day to the fathers, grandfathers, guardians, and all other dads out there! Today, we’re thinkin’ of you.
FMCA club woes continue
Problems continue for the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) which is experiencing a dramatic loss of members. The club’s recently passed budget for 2021 shows a deficit of $230,310, and that’s after 15 employee terminations and other cuts. Learn more.
Bear enters home, lounges on couch. Sad ending to story
This happened to the resident of a traditional home, but it can just as easily happen to an RVer camped in “bear country.” Every so often you hear a story like this. Sadly, this one, like many others, ends badly, with the bear being euthanized. Read more.
Destruction of motorhome from horrific crash hard to believe
There is good news here, and that is that nobody died in this horrific motorhome crash. Looking at the photo, it’s hard to imagine that anyone could survive such a catastrophic event. Learn more.
Hand sanitizer fake news: It doesn’t explode in hot cars, trucks, RVs
Don’t worry. The rumor about hand sanitizer exploding if left in a vehicle during hot weather is an internet myth. While flammable and quickly burning when ignited, hand sanitizer will not catch on fire if left in a vehicle during extreme conditions, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Read more.
Abandoned Winnebago in which Diff’rent Strokes actress died is for sale
Some home buyers are interested in celebrity homes with dubious histories while others stay away. It’s likely the same with potential motorhome buyers. Would you consider buying a used Winnebago in which a former actress died? The family of Dana Plato, who played Kimberly Drummond on the 1980s television show Diff’rent Strokes, is selling the 37-foot Winnebago in which the actress spent the last four months of her life. Learn more.
Drive-in movie theaters are back; They’re all the rage during COVID-19
There’s no wrong car or truck to drive to a drive-in movie theater. But some are better than others. And one of the best is a Ram 1500 pickup truck – at least according to Cars.com. Drive-in movie theaters are having a renaissance during the coronavirus as a safe escape via social distancing. Here are some vehicles Cars.com recommend for movie-viewing at the drive-in.
Thor revamps Class A diesel brands for 2021
Thor Motor Coach’s Palazzo, Aria, Venetian and Tuscany have been restyled and modernized for model year 2021. Read more.
DID YOU MISS THIS ARTICLE FROM YESTERDAY? RV park owner Andy Zipser says “My park is open, but campers are angry.”
Run your RV A/C with household power or a small generator
When the temperature heats up and your only power is from a small portable generator or an ordinary household plug, you’re out of luck running an air conditioner. That is, unless you have a SoftStartRV. It’s inexpensive, simple to install, and runs your A/C, no problem. Learn more or order at a special discount.
That was the RV week that was
June 14–20, 2020
Go north? Go south? It appears that when it comes to the U.S. borders, “Go neither” is the operative term. The Department of Homeland Security announced this week that the borders into Mexico and Canada will remain closed to all but essential traffic until at least July 21. This is yet another extension of the border closure that happened earlier this year. What’s defined as “essential” travel? Work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security.
Firefighters turned out Tuesday for a motorhome fire in Oliver, B.C. The fulltime RVer who owned the rig got out of the fire, but sustained injuries trying to fight the blaze. Sadly, the man’s dog didn’t make it out of the fire alive. Investigators say a towel dropped onto a hotplate and ignited the blaze which totally destroyed the motorhome.
Rhode Island is the country’s smallest state, but it has a BIG problem. Just ask Steve Romsey. Steve finally got to retire and bought himself a motorhome. We’re sure he has big travel plans, but first there’s that small matter of registering the motorhome. Speaking of the state’s motor vehicle authority, Romsey told a local news organization, “From May 8th to today, I have tried to get, every single day, tried to get an appointment. And there are no appointments available,” Romsey said. “It’s been extremely frustrating.” With coronavirus restrictions in place, applicants can be looking at literal months of waiting. Needless to say, an unhappy Steve Romsey has had to scrub his travel plans.Now, this here is a cool RV! No, you say, it’s just an old airplane without wings and engines. Well, either way you are right, it’s an airplane that doesn’t fly, but inside it has just about everything a regular RV has. You even drive it from the cockpit, where there’s a regular car steering wheel. This most unusual RV is for sale right now. Learn more.
Does this RVer feel like a fish out of water? Back in 2018, residents of the Green Bay Trailer Park in West Kelowana, B.C., fired off complaints to city officials. They didn’t like an RV perched in the middle of a mobile home park. A few months later, the city council brushed aside the concerns and gave the park a one-year conditional use permit to allow the RVer to stay. Now that year is coming to a close and, once again, park residents are having a hissy fit. The park’s owner had this to say about his RV tenants in a letter to the city council: “They are quiet, well-mannered, and help the neighbours. They have never caused a problem. This cannot be said for many of our tenants.” Park management is worried that one of his best tenants won’t have a place to go if given the boot. Since city ordinances don’t technically allow RVs to be used for year-round living, councilors will decide later just how to respond to the request for an extension.
With the coronavirus pandemic shutting things down a few months back, one RV owner parked her motorhome in the yard and carefully locked the rig up, leaving it to slumber until earlier this week. Needing something out of the basement storage, she popped the door open and did a double-take: Someone had set up a bed, hung clothes, brought food and turned her basement storage compartment into a makeshift bedroom. The RVer hurriedly called police, who advised her to pack the unknown-snoozer’s possessions in a bag, put a note of explanation with it, and leave it at the bottom of her driveway. The RVer, who only wants to be known as Angela, lives in Hollesley, a village in east England. In delightful Brit jargon, Angela tells the story on making the find: “When I opened the door I was so shocked. I showed my neighbour and they were gobsmacked.”
Truck driver statistics: With 10,000+ positive drug tests for marijuana reported for commercial truck drivers through May, pot-head drivers make up the biggest “test failed” category. The other “drugs of choice”? Cocaine, 3,192; methamphetamines, 2,184; and amphetamines, 1,108. Trucking industry officials say in some ways, this is a good thing. Abigail Potter, who manages safety and occupational health policy for the American Trucking Association says, “While the numbers have been high, it is a positive sign that drug testing is doing its job, and the Clearinghouse [a federally mandated reporting system] is doing its job to identify these drivers before they get behind the wheel,” Potter said. She does add, “There definitely are more positive drug test results than we expected.”
On June 5, restaurants, bars, and caterers in Ohio were given the green light to start live entertainment back up. So it was a bit of an unhappy surprise to the owners of LA-Z-Acres, an RV park in Nashport, Ohio, when they were told by county health authorities that they couldn’t have live music on their outdoor stage, nor serve food, nor allow guests to use the swimming pool. LA-Z-Acres filed suit against the county, and the health department quickly retreated, allowing the pool and food to go on, but wouldn’t back down on allowing live entertainment. The wheels of justice may be slow, but the RV park did get a concession from the judge: The court issued a temporary restraining order that prohibits the health board from taking action against the park if they choose to fire up their live entertainment, provided social distancing is observed. The matter now goes into full gear before the bench.
Debi Bair’s Michigan campground won’t be like many in her neighborhood. Located not far from Tippy Dam, that landmark may soon be redubbed “Trippy Dam,” as Bair’s Camp Happy Trees will cater to marijuana smoking RVers. With Michigan’s allowance of medical marijuana, Bair says there aren’t too many places where an RVer can camp, toke, and take a walk outside. She points to some KOA campgrounds where marijuana smoking is allowed, but order smokers to stay in their rigs. The park is awaiting permits to formally open. You’ll find Camp Happy Trees on Facebook.
The Chinook brand of RVs was big for a time, but when the 2006 recession came, the company went down with a whimper. Run forward to 2013, and the company’s name and intellectual property rights were bought up. Chinook was back in business, operating out of Elkhart, Indiana. Now another big move: The COVID-19 travel backlash is hitting the RV industry hard, and Chinook sees a great opportunity to advance. Chinook’s headquarters are moving out of Elkhart, and into Peru, Indiana, to a facility that once belonged to Riverside Travel Trailer. The company says it’s planning a “full speed ahead” approach and will be manufacturing motorized and towable RVs at a fast pace. It has openings for 250 new-hires and wants them now. A 65,000-square-foot building will open in about a month that will handle motorized products.
A nasty RV fire on Idaho’s Interstate 15 south of Pocatello created plenty of damage – and not just for the RVer. Last Sunday an Idaho man was pulling a travel trailer in the northbound lanes when his pickup caught fire. He managed to pull the rig off to the shoulder and bail out, but both the pickup and the travel trailer were totaled. Coming up behind, a Montana driver in a pickup slowed down, in view of the flames and smoke, but the SUV behind him wasn’t quick enough on the draw, plowing into the pickup ahead. Both northbound lanes had to be closed for an hour and a half.
A new, free dump station has opened in Albert Lea, Minnesota. You’ll find the dump station well marked at the intersection of Garfield and Front Streets. The project replaces a dump station which the city earlier closed to make way for a new fire department building. And if you’re in the area, head over to nearby Austin to explore the fabulous Spam Museum. If you’re looking for a gift for the guy who has everything, buy a pair of glow in the dark Spam boxer shorts. They are definitely cool!
If you’re in Colorado and have a SMALL motorhome or travel trailer, there’s a new campground on the Arkansas River just calling to you. Point Barr Campground near Howard, Colorado, offers 12 sites with a picnic table and fire ring. Officials say it’s a great spring and fall campground for fishing-folks when the river waters are a bit lower. To reach Point Barr from U.S. 50 at Wellsville, mile marker 227, turn north onto Fremont County Road 7 and cross the Arkansas River. The road turns into Fremont County Road 45 around a mile later. Follow the road 1.5 miles, drive under the railroad trestle and turn left. The campground is three-quarters of a mile farther, on the right. That “drive under the railroad trestle and turn left” part is the kicker for larger rigs. It’s unlikely a bigger rig will make the turn and the trestle negotiation safely.
Overnight fees have been temporarily reduced to $4 at Oregon’s Gerber North, Gerber South, and Gerber Horse Camp campgrounds, all in the Bureau of Land Management’s Lakeview District, east of Klamath Falls. Seems the well that serves the campgrounds must be replaced, and without water, the BLM has reduced the camping rate. The fees will head back up when the water is restored, likely toward late July.
A major city-owned RV park refurbishing project in Crookston, Minnesota, just got a fire lit under it. Crookston has been working on the Central Park campground project for some years, but city officials say the coronavirus pandemic has slowed work significantly. But last week the city’s park board heard that it had better get the project completed by next year, or grant funding that will repay the city nearly $2 million will evaporate. The park already has a few primitive RV sites, but the plan would see far more sites and plenty of hookups. To do the project the city got a $1.75 million promised grant reimbursement, provided the city would invest $400,000 in a specially constructed bathhouse that would double as an emergency shelter. Much of that cost might even be picked up under another grant. But it all hinges on getting the job done, pronto.
Easily repair a tear in your RV’s awning
Left on their own, small vinyl RV awning tears can get bigger. Fixing a small tear in an area, barring a person’s physical limitations, is easy. You may already have what you need for a fix. It’s called “RV GOOP” and is made by the same outfit that developed “GOOP” for shoe repairs. Read more about it here.
RV Crime News
From the “dumb crooks” file: A fifth-wheel owner whose rig was parked at a storage facility in Payson, Utah, reported someone had tried to break into his rig, and had ripped off a couple of batteries and a propane cylinder. A quick review of security cam video showed that on June 5, a car and a motorhome had hung around the storage lot for a long time after normal customer hours – and a couple of people were seen in the video walking around the fifth-wheel. A few days later, police spotted a motorhome that looked like the one from the video, and they checked it out. Jesse Isaacson told police he and his companion, Chrystal Johnson, had indeed kiped the batteries for use on his motorhome. That same rig was found to have a revoked registration, no insurance, and plates that didn’t belong to either suspect. Nor did the motorhome have an alcohol interlock, required as Isaacson was an alcohol-restricted driver. But the list goes on: Inside the motorhome police found drug paraphernalia. It all spelled a trip to the county jail, whereupon officials discovered that Chrystal Johnson was concealing “a white crystal substance consistent with methamphetamine and a brown substance consistent with heroin in a silver cylinder in a delicate bodily location.” Both were handed bail orders in multiple-thousand-dollar amounts.
A man’s concerns over a missing cat went a little overboard at a fire scene in La Pine, Oregon, on June 13. Repair work using a welder and cutting torch on an RV outside a tow company building caught the building on fire, and a company employee, Eddie Newingham, told firefighters he was worried about a cat in the building. So serious was Newingham’s worry, he ran into the building in search of the cat multiple times, being shooshed out each time by firefighters. He finally grabbed two axes – not to take on the fire – but to discourage his eviction. At one point, the fire fight had to be suspended until Newingham could be removed and cornered outside. At that point, says a fire department report, Newingham “Was coaxed into relinquishing the axes he was carrying, and deputies used further de-escalation techniques to calm Newingham’s aggressive behavior.” He’s been cited with interfering with a firefighter, interfering with a police officer and menacing. As for that cat? Never spotted nor found on the scene.
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE STOLEN RVs?
The McNairy County, Tennessee, Sheriff’s Office needs help identifying two men thought to have swiped a fifth-wheel on June 6th. Around 7:00 in the morning two white men driving what’s thought to be a 1990s white Ford dually pickup made off with a 40-foot, Montego Bay fifth-wheel, which had been parked on Sol Colston Road, near Finger, Tennessee. The rig has three slide-outs. One of the suspects is built husky; the other, younger man, is slim. Got info? Call Kevin Carter with the McNairy County Sheriff’s Office at (731) 645-0254.
Stolen, 2012 Wilderness travel trailer from Mid State Campers, Bluff City, Illinois, early June 2020. The very unhappy owner had dropped her rig off at the dealer for some repair work (roof vents). While the rig was to become a trade-in, the owner had plenty of sentimental items in the rig and would surely like to find them again. Neighbor reports seeing a champagne-and-tan-colored pickup (equipped with an off-white driver door) pull the rig away around 5:00 a.m. Jenny would love to hear from you at 618-267-5492.
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.)
Pickup truck news
According to our recent survey, about 80 percent of RVtravel.com readers own at least one pickup truck. Recognizing that, we’ll provide the latest news highlights about the vehicles here each week.
Double your pleasure, double your fun with two trucks as one
Eric Wright can’t drive far before people point, shout, make jokes and take pictures. Wright hasn’t done anything wrong. It’s just that most observers can’t figure out what’s going on … Is Wright driving on the wrong side of the road? Is he going against traffic? Is he driving backward? Just exactly what is he doing in his Chevy Silverado? Check this out! (Caution: May cause vertigo.)
Ford to show off next generation of F-150 truck
If someone offered you top dollar for your RV, would you sell it?
You must keep road flares in the RV for emergency
You should always have road flares in case of an emergency. This pack of three bright, waterproof and shatterproof LED disks are perfect to tuck away. They can be seen from a mile away and can be used for traffic control, as a warning light or rescue beacon, and for recreational activities such as camping and hiking. Learn more or order here.
My first is in ocean but never in sea. My second’s in wasp but never in bee. My third is in glider and also in flight. My whole is a creature that comes out at night. What am I?
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: Sir Isaac Newton once suggested curing the plague with lozenges made from toad vomit. Hmmmm. Do you think it might kill coronavirus?
New Jersey State Parks and Forests can reopen for camping June 22. But bad news, only tent-style camping will be allowed for now with some restrictions based on the park.
According to the RV Industry Association, many RV dealerships are reporting that 35% of their customers are first-time buyers, and some are reporting sales up 175% this spring from the same time last year. Surveys conducted by the association also show a double-digit uptick in interest toward buying an RV or renting one for a trip.
Two Philadelphia women have been ordered by a federal magistrate judge in Wyoming to spend two days in jail for leaving a boardwalk and damaging a thermal area in Yellowstone National Park.
The editors of RVtravel.com have created a Facebook Group titled RVing with a Disability. Join here.
Elkhart County, Ind., home of most RV manufacturers, had its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases yet as 122 new positive cases were reported last Thursday. State data showed that Elkhart County has had 2,400 positive cases since the outbreak began, just over 14 percent of the total 16,867 tests that have been performed. One death reported Monday brought the death toll to 36.
Winnebago will close its Winnebago/Country Coach Factory Service Center in Junction City, Oregon, toward the end of the month after five years in business.
Overnight use and campgrounds at New Mexico State Parks will remain closed through July 4. Visitors with overnight camping reservations through July 4 will be issued a refund. A total of 31 state parks remain open for day-use only.
Northern Lite is unleashing a torrent of new standard features and options across its clamshell fiberglass truck camper line, according to Truck Camper Magazine. For example, its new 10-2 EX dry bath is now the biggest in the company’s history.
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.
An alternative to RV parks: Stay free at farms, wineries and other scenic and peaceful locations for free. Save 15% on membership. Learn more.
Boondockers Welcome: Stay at homes of RVers who welcome you in their driveways, yards, farmland or other space on their private property. Modest membership fee. Learn more.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
• Forest River recalls some FR3 motorhomes. Jacks could deploy while RV moves.
• Airstream recalls some Basecamp trailers for entry door problems.
• Keystone recalls some 2020 trailers: Window glass may fall out.
• Thor recalls some motorhomes: Window glass may fall out.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Black Lives Matter as RVers too.
• Boondocking in a coronavirus world. Part 2: Stops along the way.
• Deep cleaning your RV for a quick sale.
• RV tire showing dangerous wear. What’s wrong?
• Oh, DEER! This highway disaster is WILD!
• Ask the RV Shrink: Full-time RVer DIY maintenance pit stop options.
• RV Electricity: The dangers of rewiring 240-volt dryer and welder outlets.
• No hot water shows RVer his rig is in big hot water.
• RV Education 101: Use the NADA Guide when buying a used RV.
• Another combo voltage and 3-light tester recommendation.
• Building an RV Park: Our beautiful state is on fire!
• Trailer hitch fail! Check this photo, then weep!
… and much more
‘Earthquake Putty’ keeps stuff in place
Do you have items in your RV you like to keep in place — on a table, bedstand or counter? You need this. Collectors Hold Museum Putty is designed to keep items secure in earthquakes! Hey, a moving RV is a constant earthquake! To use this, pull off what you need, roll until soft, apply to the base of the object then lightly press it to the surface. Later, it comes off clean. Learn more or order.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of June 15, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.10 [Calif.: $2.89]
Change from week before: Up 6 cents; Change from year before: Down 57 cents.
Diesel: $2.40 [Calif.: $3.22]
Change from week before: No change; Change from year before: Down 67 cents.
Upcoming RV shows
Time to start making plans to attend an upcoming show:
Enumclaw RV Show (Visit website), August 6-9, Enumclaw, WA
Midwest RV Super Show, August 13-16, Elkhart, IN
Raleigh Fall RV Show, August 28-30, Raleigh, NC
Great American RV & Camping Show, September 10-12, Colorado Springs, CO
Hershey America’s Largest RV Show, September 16-20, Hershey, PA – CANCELED
Portland Fall RV & Van Show, September 17-20, Portland, OR
Charlotte Fall RV Show, September 18-20, Charlotte, NC
Georgia RV & Camper Show, September 18-20, Atlanta, GA
Indianapolis Fall Boat & RV Show, September 25-27, Indianapolis, IN
New York State RV & Camping Show, September 25-27, Syracuse, NY
Washington State Evergreen Fall RV Show, September 25-27, Monroe, WA
Fall Detroit RV & Camping Show, September 30 – October 4, Novi, MI
These are the most-sold RV-related products online. Click here to see what other RVers are buying.
Free and bargain camping
Click here to view this week’s free and bargain camping spots.
• Walmart Directory: Best printed directory of Walmart locations.
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.
Brain teaser answer:
RV Travel staff
CONTACT US at editor@RVtravel.com
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Emily Woodbury, 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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