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Sunday, August 2, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
Would the angry few in the audience please leave and never return
Opinion, from editor Chuck Woodbury
What would you do in this situation? Let’s say you invited 50 fellow residents in your RV park to a gathering around the park campfire pit, where you would socialize and get to know each other.
But what if one or two of those 50 people turned out to be obnoxious, loud-mouthed know-it-alls who screamed at everyone about how wrong they all were about everything and how right they were? You’d ask them to leave, wouldn’t you? I would.
Well, RVtravel.com is such a gathering place with tens of thousands of people gathered around our cyber campfire pit on any given day. Ninety eight percent of them are kind, intelligent and respectful of others. But 2 percent are loud-mouthed jerks who raise their voice at every opportunity to tell everyone else how wrong they are about everything. They seem to believe that God blessed them with wisdom far beyond that of mere mortals. Read more.
Run two air conditioners on 30 amps – Wow!
When the temperature really gets sizzling and your 50-amp rig is stuck with a 30-amp hookup, you’re out of luck if you want to run two air conditioners. That is, unless you have a state-of-the-art SoftStartRV. It’s inexpensive, simple to install, and works just as promised. Don’t miss watching the short video by RV electricity expert Mike Sokol. Learn more or order at a special discount.
RVers evicted from RV park for receiving FedEx shipment
The couple unknowingly broke a park rule — no product deliveries allowed. And so, as their young children watched, sheriff deputies in three patrol cars showed up to escort them away. And the park refuses to refund their prepaid rent. Can this be true? Yes! Read about it and watch a video the couple made as they vacated the park.
Comprehensive list of RV-related recalls for July
The list of latest recalls on RVs and other vehicles and/or products of interest to RVers has been released by the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The list includes models from Airstream, Forest River, Jayco and others – plus other vehicles commonly used by RVers. Is your RV or other vehicle on the list? Find out here.
And recalls issued in the past week …
• Thor RV recall: Motorhome seat belts too short.
• Keystone RV recalls some toy haulers, transfer switch problem.
• Thor recalls 2,009 motorhomes: Wrong converter breaker installed, fire hazard.
• Thor recalls 1,780 motorhomes: Lighting issue could cause crash.
• Newmar RV recall: Exterior lights could fail, lead to crash.
• Thor motorhome recall: RV battery issue could cause fire.
RV shipments soar, but can they continue?
RV wholesale shipments tracked by the RV Industry Association (RVIA) posted their best month in 2020 in June and the highest monthly total since October 2018 as deliveries to retailers reached 40,462 units, a 10.8% rise over the June 2019 total of 36,525 units. The question is, can it continue, as a record number of people buy RVs, but manufacturers, most in Elkhart, Indiana, are unable to run their factories at full speed because of COVID-19 concerns? Learn more.
RVtravel.com editor Woodbury interviewed on CNBC about RVing
RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury was among several RV industry insiders interviewed by CNBC last week in a segment titled “Why RV Sales Are Growing.” Woodbury is interviewed five times in the piece, explaining how wonderful RVing can be, but that those just taking up the lifestyle need to be careful about their RV choices, and be honest about their expectations. Read more and watch the video.
Survey results: Plenty of Americans traveling this summer. Will they be in your way?
Are you planning to travel this summer? That was a question posed to Americans, Europeans, and Asians in 11 countries around the globe. Some 11,000 individuals responded to the extensive survey, and gave some interesting responses in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Just how many folks do you think you’ll encounter on the roads if you’ll be out and about with your RV? Find out here.
Walmart changing its tune about overnight RV camping
Staying overnight in a Walmart parking lot is more challenging these days. In 2010, about 78% of Walmart stores allowed overnight RV parking. Now, it’s close to 58%, according to Jim O’Briant, who runs OvernightRVParking.com, a website that tracks more than 14,000 free RV parking locations in the United States and Canada. Learn more.
Receive a pack of seeds from China? Don’t plant them!
Across the U.S., people are reporting receiving unsolicited packages containing seeds from China in the mail. State agricultural departments from 30 states are asking those who receive them to not open them, and by all means not plant them. Learn more.
Millennials and “boomers” differ on summer travel plans. How about you?
Where do your travel plans take you this summer? Will you pack up the RV and head out for the wide-open spaces far away? Or will you take the tag-along to an RV park or public campground close to home? A recent survey shows that most Americans – not specifically RVers – plan on sticking close to home. Learn more.
That was the RV week that was
July 26 – August 1, 2020
Some segments of the RV manufacturing industry are going great guns – but on the other hand … The RV Industry Association (RVIA) says June saw RV manufacturers’ best month of factory-to-dealer movement in 2020. It also beat any month’s movement since October 2018. RVIA crowed that June 2020 movement was up nearly 11 percent, compared to June 2019. But the devil is in the details: While towables showed a gain of nearly 13 percent, year-over-year for June, motorhomes dropped a dizzying 9.8 percent. Actual comparisons for the first six months of movement, year-over-year, also cast a frightening picture: Towables were off nearly 17 percent, while motorhomes cratered more 33 percent.
The second-most-visited U.S. National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, is now reopening some campgrounds closed earlier because of coronavirus. Reopened on July 31 were Julian Price Park, Linville Falls, Peaks of Otter, and Rocky Knob campgrounds. Other campgrounds in the park remain closed until further notice. Check ahead for status of other services.
Whiskey with your Winnebago? Could be, if things go well with a newly proposed RV park in Midway, Kentucky. The Bluegrass RV Resort Park has local officials excited, with visions of a new class of tourists coming into town. Bluegrass developers say they hope to attract a distillery to the parcel adjacent to the park, making hootch-making tours an easy walk away. Moonshine with your Monaco? Could be as soon as mid-2021.
Rocky Mountain High? Colorado is offering free entry to all of its state parks on August 3. The freebie is in honor of Colorado Day, marking the 144th anniversary of the state. Alas, all other fees are still in place, including campground fees, but the free entry is a chance to “scout out the country” for a future overnight visit. If you’re active duty or veteran military, you’ll get free admission to the parks all month. A free pass can be had beginning August 1, available at all park offices. Be prepared to show proof of military service.
The third time was NOT the charm in the case of an RV park developer in Phippsburg, Maine. We earlier reported that David and Tracey Percy, who used to own a small general store in the town, asked the local government for permission to ease back, and let them build a nine-site RV park where the store used to be. They first asked for an 11-site park, but neighbors bellyached that it would mean too much noise. The planning commission, for a third time, has declined to make a decision, citing persistent neighbor noise concerns. Officials now want the developer to get a professional sound engineer to comment on whether a six-foot fence or an eight-foot fence would be better to reduce all the racket that RVs can make.
A campground employee at the city of Marquette, Michigan’s Tourist Park Campground has tested positive for COVID-19. The unnamed employee last worked at the park on July 22. The county’s health department is investigating, and doing follow-up contact tracing.
Another story that doesn’t need repeating: Teach your dog to roll over, not your RV. Interstate 49 suffered shutdown lanes near Carthage, Missouri, July 26 when a travel trailer being pulled by an SUV jackknifed and rolled over. Happily, nobody was injured. It’s yet another reminder: Make sure your tow unit is rated to haul your trailer, and use sway control equipment to help keep things orderly.
If you can’t fix it – sell it. That could be the impression left by the Carolina Beach Family Campground in Wilmington, North Carolina. County officials served up violation orders for inadequate sewage treatment at the park, and for accumulating trash. A few days later, this notice appeared on the park’s Facebook page: “**ATTENTION** The campground is closed for long term maintenance and is not accepting reservations at this time.” When a local media station called the park for comment, an employee answering the phone told them the campground was for sale.
The Coronavirus is hitting RVers in many ways. Closures of popular RV parks. A shortage of RVs for sale on dealer lots. And an increase in RV-related scams. As many people see RVing to be an answer for safe summer travel, the demand for rigs is outstripping supply. But crooks are taking advantage, says the Tri-State Better Business Bureau. The BBB system has recorded a number of “on line sellers,” posting what appear to be legitimate pictures of RVs for sale, then directing gullible buyers to unsecure internet sites where they’re relieved of their money but never get their RV. Much of this would be eliminated if the simple rule “See it in person before you buy it” were followed.
It’s official: Another jump in toll rates will hit the Pennsylvania Turnpike come January 3, 2021. This time the rates will jump 6 percent for those who use the E-ZPass system to pay. Presently, if you used E-ZPass, and drove a 50,000-pound motorhome with three axles from one end of the pike to the other, you’d shell out $155.30. But take heart, most visitors probably don’t have E-ZPass installed, and so would shell out the “pay by cash” method, to the tune of $244. It looks like the rate increase won’t apply to cash payers. Decide to skip the turnpike? Expect more heavy truck traffic as truckers avoid the toll increase.
What if they had a hearing over a proposed RV park – and nobody objected? It happened – at a hearing at least – in Navajo County, Arizona. While a couple of local residents did register their discontent, when the public hearing on the matter came up this week, nobody testified. Most of the written letters to the board of supervisors were actually favorable toward the development, including at least one from RVers, who said they worried that too few parks were being approved. The 43-site park will be built on 15 acres on Highway 277 between the towns of Show Low and Payson.
August is the month for the great 80th Anniversary Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. In light of COVID-19, will the show go on? You can bet your Hog it will. There have actually been a few site openings in the Sturgis RV Park, owing to some countries’ tourists being unable to leave home. Campgrounds, bars and food service establishments have been working to meet health and safety requirements in light of the pandemic, so rally-goers will likely see less seating when looking for their favorite beverages.
A decision made last November by the Philomath, Oregon, city council to approve a 175-site RV park is still creating waves. It took months for the council to come around to the approval and, evidently, not all councilors are happy about it. Some are proposing code changes that could force potential park developers to prove the need for another RV park in the city. Another would allow the city to decide if the project would be the best option for the need. The proposed changes would give much more leverage to the planning commission to deny an application that they don’t feel right about, even if the developer brings in facts to prove their case.
With New York State coming down from its status as the locus of coronavirus, many New Yorkers still aren’t keen on traveling far. But they do want a vacation. Enter a Long Island firm, Glampers. The company is owned by dyed-in-the-wool RVers who’ve revamped RVs with individual themes. When a Glampers’ customer rents one of their rigs, the company pulls the rented unit to a spot that the customer has already reserved, leaving it there for the customer to use “in situ.” Right now Glampers has five rigs up for rent. The one pictured, “Sarabi,” is outfitted with zebra stripes outside, while inside the décor is pictures taken by the company owners on African safari.
Three RVs in a storage yard went up in smoke in South Beach, Oregon, victims of sleepers. Newport, Oregon, firefighters got the call at 10:45 p.m. on July 17, when huge flames drew multiple 9-1-1 calls. Firefighters initially directed their efforts at keeping a nearby warehouse from catching fire, then, knowing the RVs were fully involved, worked on them when additional crews arrived. The three RVs were parked side-by-side, and a couple who were working on the middle-placed RV said a candle caught the couch or curtains on fire. They weren’t clear on all the details – they’d fallen asleep in the middle of their project.
Planning an RV trip to Jackson, Wyoming? Better think twice. When nearby Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks reopened on May 18, the crowds flocked in. Cell phone data shows the biggest number of celly-users visiting the area in years, 14 percent above average. Commercial RV parks are booked full until October. Public lands managers say dispersed camping has become too popular, with resultant environmental damage. Recognized public campgrounds are being hit with rude guests who leave trash behind.
A proposed RV park in Virginia straddling a figurative fence wants to get moving. In Orange County, developers are seeking a permit to build a 250-site high-end RV park. The park would consist of owned lots, limited to “Class A upscale motorcoaches” aiming for “affluent, high-income, active adults and families.” The general public and “transient overnight campers” would not be welcome. At up to $375,000 a lot, one hardly pictures riff-raff RVers. The planning commission didn’t have much to say to the initial pitch, reminding developers that since their 127-acre property straddles the line with next-door Spotsylvania County, they have two jurisdictions to please.
While many proposals for new RV parks get a royal thumbs-down in many areas, it’s not so in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Despite a downturn in oil production, a staple of the local economy, a new 335-site RV park, got approval and will open this month. Coyote Flats appears to be a made-to-order spot for “temporary residents,” featuring gravel roads, limited greenery, and non-existent privacy. It does offer hard-wired internet access, as the developer said using wireless internet technology just didn’t seem to work well in RV parks.
City officials are shutting down their publicly owned Riverfront RV Park in Sedro-Woolley, Washington. But it’s just for the summer while workers replace a major water backflow prevention device. But since the park will need to shut down for that, the city says they’ll go ahead and install 50-amp electrical service at all sites to beef up the existing 30-amp pedestals. The park won’t reopen until the 2021 camping season.
This book is a must-have for state park campers!
This newly published book, “50 States: 500 State Parks,” is a must-have for all state park campers and explorers. The beautiful book takes you on a journey through America’s best state parks. Whether you’re looking for stunning vistas, rare wildlife, a dose of history or an enjoyable hike, state parks offer an array of experiences. Learn more or order.
RV Crime News
Texas wants two bad guys: No, this couple, Betina Kinsey (47) and Robin Bouthot (54) didn’t rob a bank. But what they did to six dogs is criminal. The pair allegedly left the six dogs locked up in a hot travel trailer in Atascosa County, Texas, and vanished. They’re up on six charges of animal abuse – that is – when they’re located. They were last known to be somewhere in Floresville, Texas. Know anything? Call Atascosa County Animal Control at 830-769-2341.
A “stolen” rock was recently returned to Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials. Was it a manifestation of a guilty conscience? Parks officials don’t know for sure, but they do have a letter from someone who needed help. Some folks have a penchant for taking a little souvenir from pretty places. Park rangers often remind visitors that if every visitor just took away a single pebble, soon there’d be none left to appreciate. So imagine the official on whose desk this letter landed. Read more.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
If the Canadian Mounties “always get their man,” they may need to be a bit more specific when asking us mortals for help. Apparently a brazen man, clad in shorts, gray shirt and a red hat, whipped his flatbed pickup into an RV dealer lot in daylight, hitched up a travel trailer and left with it. The deed was done at 8:00 p.m. on July 18th, right in front of some pretty high-quality security cameras in Lantzville, British Columbia. Sad to say, law enforcers didn’t bother to publish information about just what kind of trailer was swiped, nor how large, nor any other distinguishing features. Grab your crystal ball, check out this frame from security footage, and if a shaft of light strikes you as to who this character is, phone the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345.
Bad guys strike in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Jeff Marlow’s 2019 Keystone Hideout travel trailer vanished from there on July 28. It bears the license plate GUL756. If you have any information that might help get this rig back home, please call Jeff at 918-812-3182.
Time to cool off!
This compact, battery-powered, highly rated (the highest rated one on Amazon!), low-noise fan is just what you need to stay cool in your RV this summer. The rechargeable battery charges quick with a USB and will keep you cool for up to six hours at a time. Clip it to your table, bedside, driver or passenger seat or by your chair outside to stay cool. Learn more or order.
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.
Unexpected COVID-19 effects: Older, better, dirtier … cars, trucks, RVs
The average age of cars, trucks and RVs still on road will soon surpass 12 years – the highest level among American drivers in nearly two decades – according to industry analysts. The current rate is 11.9 years, a slight increase from 2018, reports IHS Markit Ltd., the England-based global data company. While vehicle longevity was increasing before the pandemic, the health crisis has resulted in further economic decision-making. How? Find out here.
Pending new Tesla pickup truck: Color me rainbow
As if the pending Tesla Cybertruck hasn’t received enough attention, leave it to company owner Elon Musk to generate more attention to the futuristic-looking machine. After announcing the electric vehicles manufacturer’s plans to build a new factory in Austin, Texas, Musk hinted at a few of his new truck’s color choices. The possible options are as unique as the car. Read more.
VW’s new mini-camper has an extension much like an adult slinky
Many companies make unusual-looking RVs, campers and minivans, but Volkswagen’s new entrant among the “fraternity of the odd” is its new mini-camper. The small camper is called a Caddy Camper. The full-sized model was launched in 2018. Its innovative junior sibling transforms a small van into a larger “glamping lodge.” Continue reading.
Make your phone screen quadruple in size!
This phone screen magnifier amplifies your phone screen 3 to 4 times its size. Using HD zoom optical technology, this lightweight projector is perfect for when you don’t have access to a TV, and want to watch videos on your phone. It doesn’t need a power supply, so you never have to charge it. Check it out here.
How long ago did you buy your first RV? Respond here.
On my way to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives. Each wife had seven sacks, each sack had seven cats, and each cat had seven kits. Kits, cats, sacks and wives. How many were going to St. Ives?
Cut up a whole watermelon in minutes!
This stainless steel watermelon slicer works like magic! If you eat watermelon, you need this! Simply push the tool into the watermelon, and pull out perfectly cubed pieces of this sweet summer treat. It couldn’t be easier. If you don’t believe us when we tell you it’s great, just read the reviews! Learn more or order here.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is offering active duty military, veterans and the National Guard free admission to all state parks for the month of August. Military members and veterans, resident and nonresident, can pick up a free August Military Pass at any Colorado state park or CPW office beginning August 1 by showing proof of service.
A Surrey, British Columbia, resident has stood up to the local council, crying “fowl” last week with a goose-and-gander analogy. The council was in the midst of considering a parking program for commercial truckers that would allow those with permits to park at any hour of the day or night in some industrial areas. But last November they’d made it illegal to sleep in an RV on any of Surrey’s streets. Read what happened.
The RV Technical Institute has announced the formation of the Gary Bunzer Memorial Scholarship which will honor his legacy by reaching those who aspire to become experts in the field of RV repair. Plans are that it will be used to assist training candidates in need of financial assistance and will be awarded for online and in-person training for both aspiring technicians and current techs seeking continuing education.
Since the Pandemic began, 50-80 percent of new RV purchases are by first-time buyers with the largest segment 25 to 40 years old. The biggest demand is for entry-level travel trailers in the $20,000 to $30,000 range. That’s according to RV Industry Association President Craig Kirby in an interview last Thursday on Fox Business. He said small camper vans are also hot items these days.
The Homestead RV Community coming soon in south Mobile County, Alabama, will feature 250 sites that are large enough to accommodate an RV, pickup-up truck and a hot tub, if you want to rent one.
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
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Traveling, camping and hunkering down in a COVID-19 world.
• I’ve had it! I’m tossing my GPS out the window!
• World War III: Our RV vs. pack rats, mice and scorpions.
• Full-time RVing: A good Eagles tune, some pillow talk, and life’s grand adventure.
• RV Electricity: Avoid potentially dangerous shore power meltdown.
• Make pandemic time planning time.
• Building an RV park: I see roads! And funding is finally on the way!
• The view from my RV window. What’s yours?
• The Digital RVer: Need a laptop? Get a Chromebook.
• NEW: RV Tech Corner: How to fix problem from neglected water heater element.
• Will dryer sheets keep mice and rats from your RV?
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of July 27, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.18 [Calif.: $3.05]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 54 cents.
Diesel: $2.43 [Calif.: $3.26]
Change from week before: No change; Change from year before: Down 61 cents.
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Upcoming RV shows
Most if not all RV shows for the remainder of the year are cancelled. We will restart this feature as RV shows begin again.
Fireproof bag keeps valuables safe!
This silicone-coated fire-resistant bag will save your money, documents, jewelry, passport and other valuables from a fire. Its two layers of supreme fire retardant fiberglass material make it resist fire and heat up to 1000 ℉. It’s waterproof, too, so when the hoses arrive, your valuables won’t be harmed. 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.
Brain teaser answer:
One! Only I was going to St. Ives.
Remember when you wished the weekend would last forever? Happy now?
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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