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Sunday, June 28, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
RV shipments drop for May, but retail sales pick up
May was the first month back for the RV industry following the large-scale shutdowns to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. RV manufacturers and suppliers adapted to a “new normal,” including supply chains that were still ramping up, limited production days, and modified manufacturing processes. These challenges impacted production capacity early on but eased considerably as the month continued. By month’s end, wholesale shipments totaled 27,999 units, down 29.7% from the 39,838 units shipped in May 2019, according to the RV Industry Association’s survey of manufacturers. Read more.
That was the RV week that was
June 21–27, 2020
From the sounds coming out of both RV rental and sales marketers, this summer should see roadways stacked, guardrail to guardrail, with travelers getting away from it all in an RV. But a comparison of travel expectations by AAA put a slightly different light on the matter. The auto support group expects 700 million trips to be taken this summer – that’s down 15 percent compared to July through September 2019. But those figures include huge drops in air travel – projected to be 74 percent less. Still, road tripping is forecast to be down as well, about 3 percent less than last year.
First responders to a spectacular motorhome rollover accident near Hamilton, Montana, last Sunday left shaking their heads in amazement. The crash happened south of the Lost Horse intersection on U.S. 93 when, for an unknown reason, a woman driving a PT Cruiser swerved across the centerline directly into a head-on position with the motorhome. The motorhome’s driver-side tires went up and over the Cruiser, leaving its 51-year-old female driver dead. The forces involved then rolled the motorhome onto its side where, according to first responders, “It basically disintegrated.” There were seven souls on board the rental unit, and the two adults and five children were ALL wearing seat belts. Only minor injuries resulted for them.
If your travel plans include a trip to New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut, you may be required to quarantine yourself on arrival for two weeks. On Wednesday, the three states said they would apply the rule to anyone who had been in any state with a high positive coronavirus test rate. At the time of the ruling, visitors who had recently traveled through Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, and Texas would need to quarantine. Each of the three states would handle its own quarantine enforcement. New York says violators could be subject to a $2,000 fine for the first violation, and $10,000 if harm is caused.
County residents and at least one religious leader are in an uproar in Anderson County, South Carolina, after they belatedly learned the county’s planning commission had given approval to a 100-site RV park. The site on Highway 29 was approved last November, but locals say this is the first they’ve heard about it. A rallying cry comes from David Neal, the pastor of South Pointe Baptist Church. Of the park, he says, “It will results [sic] in of course vagrancy, crime, and just the unknown.” He also says, “They will not bring anything to basically invest in our community.” Neal’s church is directly across the street from the RV park site. The commission’s county officials said residents who want to stay in-the-know should sign up for development packets on the commission’s website.
Don’t worry about crowds keeping you away from camping at California’s Yosemite National Park. Not even two weeks after camping had been reopened on a limited basis, a sudden spike in coronavirus has caused the shutdown of some of the reopened venues. The Park Service has canceled reservations with arrival dates through July 31 for Bridalveil Horse Camp, Crane Flat, Hodgdon Meadow, Lower Pines, North Pines and Tuolumne Meadows. Upper Pines campground remains open, but only at 50 percent of capacity.
Nevada’s fire season has a record start. The Bureau of Land Management opened fire restrictions in its southern district on May 9 – a week earlier than any previous record. On June 6, fire restrictions broke out for the entire state. Typically 80 percent of wildfires in the south end of the state are human-caused, and fire officials note with alarm that so far this year, 97 percent are of human origin.
Army Corps of Engineers officials say they’ve been forced to clamp down on recreation at Canyon Lake, Texas. They cite several problems: Weekend crowds aren’t maintaining social distancing, damaging property by parking on vegetation, and are littering to an extraordinary degree. Parking across from the dam at the Guadalupe Trail parking lot is now shut down on weekends and holidays. Other sites in the area have also been hit hard with trash. The Corps reports many are not following social distancing guidelines at the Nature Trail or at Overlook Park. The agency says it will not hold back from closures and restrictions to protect public health and safety, and natural resources.
A woman from Columbia, Missouri, who was hiking near Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park, got a real thrill last Monday. Hiking by herself along Fairy Falls Trail she ran into a couple of grizzly bears. Of the bear pair, Mama Grizzly took a swat at the hiker, knocking her down, and leaving her with a scratched thigh. Park Service reports indicated the woman “attempted to use” bear spray. Since Mama was displaying “natural protective behavior” in behalf of her cub, the Service says they have no plans to penalize the bruin. The trail was closed down, and will stay closed until the bears have enough time to move out of the area.
The National Park Service has warned visitors to the Grand Canyon last Wednesday that it was so hot the extreme heat could melt their shoes. In a tweet the park wrote, “The heat inside the canyon can cause shoes to come apart, and heavy hiking boots can trap sweat and lead to painful blisters. Before setting off on a hike, understand the limitations of yourself and your gear.” Temperatures in the park were predicted to hit 112 degrees, but the park warned they could get even higher deeper in the canyon. The warning came on top of additional concerns about extreme heat in the West.
For the last 55 years, KOA has held an annual convention for franchise owners, managers, and staff members to meet and rub elbows in one place. This year, the meet-and-greet site selected is Las Vegas – make that – WAS Las Vegas. With the uncertainties brought out by COVID-19, the convention will now be the first-ever KOA Virtual Convention, set for the same dates, November 16-19. Putting a positive-spin on the change, KOA bigwigs are touting the ability to increase the number of educational seminars – some 30 workshops are planned.
A nasty traffic stack-up on U.S. 95 a few miles into Oregon on the Oregon/Nevada border Friday, June 19, has left two people dead. Molly Stroup (38) of Tumwater, Washington, was heading southbound driving an SUV when she crossed into the northbound lanes and sideswiped a travel trailer. Stroup’s car continued on, sideswiping a Jeep, and finally stopped when she smashed head-on into a Lexus driven by Cheryl Gorman (73) of Redwood City, California. Both Stroup and Gorman were killed. One of Stroup’s wheels didn’t stop – rather it came off the SUV and smashed into another Lexus, injuring a passenger in the car.
It’s a “good news/bad news” presentation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Agency number crunchers recently came out with traffic fatality statistics for January through March 2020. Overall, there were 1 percent fewer fatalities than in the first quarter of 2019. That was the good news. The bad news is that the number of fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles driven actually increased from Q1 2019: 1.10 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles this year, with 1.05 last year. Agency gurus aren’t sure why this is, but hoped to have a handle on it later this year. They also pointed out that the number of miles traveled in the first quarter dropped by more than 5 percent, probably due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Camping World and Good Sam CEO Marcus Lemonis, the star of the CNBC reality show “The Profit,” sustained the opposite of a profit on Wednesday, taking a significant loss on his seven-bedroom, Georgian-style mansion in Lake Forest, Illinois, by selling it for $3.65 million. Lemonis, who paid $4.9 million for the mansion in 2013, also sold an adjoining 1-acre lot Wednesday to the same buyers for $1 million. Lemonis paid $1.65 million for the lot in 2013. In total, Lemonis lost nearly $2 million on the two properties.
Two new guides to free campgrounds
Roundabout Publications has teamed up with the Ultimate Public Campground Project on these two new guides. Discover thousands of designated camping areas in the West and in America’s Heartland – real places – not big box store parking lots. Included are areas managed by various governmental agencies. Learn more about the West edition or Heartland edition.
Where do you buy MOST of your RV parts and accessories?
Run your RV air conditioner with only 20 amps. Yes, it’s possible!
RV Crime News
Note to would-be motorhome thieves: Follow the checklist – and be quick about it! An Ocala, Florida, motorhome owner says he was sitting in his garage with the door open, his motorhome parked in the driveway. He noticed the brake lights on the RV flash, and got up to investigate. As he walked along the side of the rig, he heard the engine start and the sound of the motorhome levelers retracting. When the owner started to walk in front of the rig, it lurched several times, as if someone were trying – unsuccessfully – to move it. Sure enough, out of the rig leaped one Damien Aranguren (39), also of Ocala. Aranguren then ran up to a pickup truck, owned – and at the time occupied – by the RV owner’s son. Aranguren unsuccessfully tried opening the driver side door, and when he couldn’t get the passenger door open either, reacted out of apparent frustration, banging on the closed window multiple times. The would-be thief finally got smart and drove away in his own vehicle, and was arrested shortly afterward. Now charged with burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, grand theft of a motor vehicle, grand theft auto, burglary of an occupied dwelling and trespassing of an occupied structure, Aranguren is out of jail on a $12,000 bond. He might have had more success if he’d remembered to disengage the parking brake on the motorhome, and forget about trying to open doors on a locked pickup.
It was two days shy of a full moon in Escambia County, Florida, on June 3, but that didn’t seem to stop the purported antics of folks affected by the moon. The county sheriff received a report that a man had taken his frustration out on a coin machine at a flea market, kicking and punching it until it fell to the ground. Not content to stop, the man then exposed himself, screaming, “Call the cops! The dead are rising!” He then jumped up on the shoulders of a passerby, while punching an employee. When law enforcement arrived, they chased him into a parking lot, where he had enough time to strip off his clothes and make off with someone else’s car. A short time later, a 911 call came in from an older woman who described the same man, and complained he’d grabbed her by the hair and attempted to French kiss her. He also threatened to kill her with a chunk of concrete. He then tried to break into a motorhome, throwing a brick at the RV’s owner. Police finally located him. But not before he ripped someone’s mailbox out of the ground, broke into a house, and demolished the resident’s TV set. When finally arrested, Lahorace Pickett Jr. (23), was dressed … in a green housecoat. Police may have given him his clothes back that he’d left at the flea market – but not the gun he’d also dropped.
Since June 13 didn’t provide a full moon in Eugene, Oregon, apparently Brandon Lee Jackson (39) decided he’d give the locals one anyway. Jackson removed his clothes and climbed up onto a railroad crossing tower and perched himself, au-naturel, for nearly 12 hours. To pass the time between rain showers, Jackson hucked a few rocks at passersby. Police attempted to talk the dare-to-bare exhibitionist down from his aerie. When he finally did come down, he tried to run. Quickly apprehended, he didn’t give up easily, putting a headlock on a police officer and taking a few swings at a K-9 unit. He’s been charged with assault, criminal trespass, reckless endangering, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct and public indecency.
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE STOLEN RVs?
Whoever stole a 13-foot Skyline Bobcat travel trailer in Central Point, Oregon, may have gotten more than they bargained for – and police are hoping somebody knows something about it. The rig, stolen sometime between the 17th and 18th of June, also had two handguns inside. Those guns were listed as a Kahr CW .380 semi-auto and a High Standard Sentinel .22, black with brown grip. The rig also had the owner’s driver license and the title to the RV. Got information? Call the Jackson County Sheriff’s tip line at 541-774-8333, or call Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon Dispatch Center to speak with a deputy directly at 541-776-7206.
Somebody used a Ford F-250 pickup to unlawfully “pick up” a fifth wheel from a Kyle, Texas, storage yard back on May 23. The Hays County Sheriff would like help from anyone who may have information on the theft of the 2013 Primetime Crusader fiver. The pickup was equipped with a black bed-mounted toolbox, a fifth-wheel vented tailgate, chrome rims, and it’s possible it had a “buyers” paper license plate. Look for a dent on the bed behind the driver’s door. Contact Brian Wahlert at firstname.lastname@example.org, or dispatch at (512) 393-7896 and refer to case number HCSO-2043092.
This wonderful, nostalgic book should be your next read…
“Don’t Make Me Pull Over: The Informal History of the Family Road Trip” by Richard Ratay is a wonderful, nostalgic story of the golden age of family road trips. With the birth of America’s first interstate highways in the 1950s came the rush of the family road trip. Ratay and his family were a part of that packed-back-seat, souvenir-shopping, attraction-seeking era, and he’s here to tell you about it. Read more about it 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.
Ford Motor Company claims the association to O.J. Simpson was unintentional. But the re-debut of its iconic Bronco sport utility vehicle nearly 25 years after it first departed has been delayed for four days. The reason: It won’t now coincide with the notorious Simpson’s birthday. Read more.
Real-world test: Difference in solo vs. towing fuel economy in pickup trucks
Everybody wants something for nothing – or so the saying goes. In the RV towing world, pulling a travel trailer without pumping tons of fuel has a big appeal. Truck makers have responded with differing thoughts, and one of them, Dodge, brought a 3.0-liter diesel engine back to their Ram 1500 in the 2020 model year. Called the EcoDiesel, the revamped return claimed a 260 horsepower, 480 foot-pounds of torque. As to fuel economy? Find out here.
2021 Ford F-150 debuts as “luxury apartment on wheels”
Pickup trucks in recent years have become so spacious and uber-modern, they could easily be called apartments on wheels. The just-debuting 2021 Ford F-150 makes the concept a reality. It will include a passenger seat that folds flat – a “sleeper seat” – among its new design features. Learn more.
• • • SHOP FOR TRUCK PARTS AND ACCESSORIES AT AMAZON. • • •
What is higher without the head than with it?
Neat! Monocular telescope connects to phone
This is one of the neatest gadgets we’ve seen! This waterproof monocular telescope connects to your phone so you can take photos of that bird waaaaaaay over there. You can photograph anything up to 12x closer than before. Great for birdwatching, hiking or any sporting event. We already bought one! Learn more or order.
California’s gas tax is set to increase July 1, an automatic increase pegged to inflation. The third increase in the last four years is set to increase this time by 3.2 cents, to 50.5 cents per gallon. In all, the fuel taxes are expected to raise $7 billion during the new fiscal year to pay for road and bridge repairs.
Despite a desperate financial situation, the Executive Board of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) has voted to continue its $900,000 a year FMCAssist emergency evacuation insurance policy, a benefit to all members. The club’s monthly magazine, which is losing $350,000 a year, is also continuing. The board was unable to come up with a balanced budget for the coming year, setting instead for one with a $230,000 deficit.
Vermont State Parks opened for camping on Friday. They typically open in mid-May, but because of the coronavirus, are opening now at 75% capacity. Weekend campsites are filling up fast, with more availability during the week.
Thetford Corporation, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based manufacturer of RV and mobile home sanitation products, laid off 60 employees in March. All have now returned to work and the company says it is hiring to fill dozens of new positions.
At this time, 76 California State Park units have opened for camping at various capacity since June 12. Visitors with existing campground reservations will be notified via email in the case that their reservation must be canceled in compliance with local and public health orders. Learn more including what’s open and what’s not.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is shortening its window beginning July 1 for making reservations for camping and lodging in state parks and recreation areas to 120 days, in hopes of providing more opportunities for visitors. Previously, customers could reserve campsites and other lodging facilities up to one year in advance.
Zion National Park will resume its idled shuttle service and require all those visiting Zion Canyon to make reservations to use it, thus eliminating recent gridlock caused by private vehicles. Reservations can be made online, each costing $1. The goal is to ensure park visitors won’t queue up in big groups to board at the visitor center.
Camping has reopened in Death Valley National Park including Furnace Creek Campground (group and tent sites will remain closed), Thorndike, Mahogany Flats, Wildrose, Emigrant, Homestake Dry Camp, Eureka and Saline Valley campgrounds. The park has resumed collecting entrance and camping fees.
Starting on January 1, 2021, all newly manufactured RVs will be required to bear a label that clearly states their overall length. In the past, RV buyers found it difficult to compare competing brands based on their individual lengths. The new labels should help reduce consumer confusion.
Concerned about the growing numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in California and other parts of the nation, officials at Yosemite National Park have decided not to open any more campgrounds until at least August 1. “The campground closures that are currently in place will remain in place,” said a park spokesperson.
A project to house the homeless in RVs in San Jose has failed, despite its $2 million cost. Ninety refurbished FEMA trailers were set up in an RV park-like setting. But sewage backed up, there were electrical problems, and elderly people had trouble accessing the site. Only 37 people lived in the trailers for three weeks before the city pulled the plug. Added all up, the city spent more than $54,000 per person on the failed plan.
More New York state-managed lands have opened for overnight camping with more set to open July 1. Check before heading out to your favorite park.
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.
Stay free at more than 1,040 wineries and farms
Stay overnight for free at more than 1,040 wineries, farms, breweries, etc.! Harvest Hosts is an alternative to traditional campgrounds, where members can taste great wines and micro-brews, eat fresh produce and stay in peaceful settings. Save 15 percent on a membership by using code HHFRIENDS15 at checkout. Learn more
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
• Forest River recalls some toy haulers for propane leak issue.
• Newell RV recall: Object could get lodged under gas pedal.
• Forest River recalls motorhomes for potential loss of brake fluid.
• Grand Design recalls more than 22,000 Reflection trailers.
• Forest River RV recall: Surveyor trailer’s furnace may be installed wrong.
• Wrong info in Forest River Sprinter operator’s manual could cause crash.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• New non-profit RV electricity association.
• First impression of the SoftStartRV air conditioner device.
• Motorhome burns. See the results. Not pretty.
• RV Tire Safety: More important info on trailer vs. truck tires.
• Internet anywhere – Satellites in the sky … or pie in the sky?
• Can your air conditioner beat the heat?
• Ask the RV Shrink: Buying a rental RV – Good idea?
• This pickup truck drives upside-down, no joke!
• RV Education 101: RV black water holding tank tips.
• One reader’s very unusual pet. No one else has one!
… and much more
50-amp surge protectors finally available
Many RVers who have wanted to buy a Surge Guard surge protector have had problems finding them because of pandemic-caused manufacturing slowdowns. The folks at TechnoRV announced to their customers recently that they were taking delivery of 100 of the Surge Guard 34951, 50-amp models. The 30-amp models are expected soon. Learn more.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of June 22, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.13 [Calif.: $2.94]
Change from week before: Up 3 cents; Change from year before: Down 53 cents.
Diesel: $2.43 [Calif.: $3.24]
Change from week before: Up 3 cents; Change from year before: Down 62 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 – CANCELED
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
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.
Remove ticks easily from people or pets!
This highly rated Tick Twister Remover Set will remove ticks, large and small, without squeezing them, reducing the risk of infection. It does not leave the mouthparts of the tick in the skin. It’s the safest and easiest way to remove ticks and in just a few seconds, and it helps prevent Lyme Disease. Keep one of these in your RV. Learn more or order.
Brain teaser answer:
If you want to have a wonderful day, send $10, $50 or $100 to a local food bank. There are millions of our fellow citizens, including little kids, who are going hungry because their parents lost their jobs. You will feel so good if you contribute — helping people less fortunate than you go to bed without the pain of an empty stomach. Here’s where to donate.
Would you want to go through high school again?
That’s what we asked our readers in July 2019. Of the more than 2,100 responses, how many do you think said, yes, they would definitely want to go through high school again? Was it 19%, 32% or 49%? See if you’re right by clicking here to see the results of the poll.
So, when is this “old enough to know better” supposed to kick in?
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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