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Sunday, September 20, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
Airstream kills off new trailer after only a few years
Airstream has decided that it doesn’t like fiberglass RVs after all, killing production on its Airstream Nest travel trailer after just a few years. Airstream is known globally for its shiny aluminum RVs, which are admired for their snappy looks and easy towing capabilities. The first Nests hit the market in April 2018, and got a lot of media coverage due to their attractive exterior and fiberglass construction. But there were issues… Learn more.
That was the RV week that was
September 13–19, 2020
Folks staying at the Red River Adventure Campground in Menifee County, Kentucky, got a rude awakening last Sunday (September 13). At two in the morning, a camper was roused from his sleep when water came rolling into his tent. While waters from an adjacent river had apparently been expected, the river had its own ideas as to how fast to rise. Campground staff waded through waist-deep water to help evacuate the 30 guests. Red River Adventure indeed.
An unidentified firefighter is being credited with saving the lives of two campground hosts in Oregon. Richard and Josie Jensen host at Fishermen’s Bend Campground in Marion County, and recall a terrific scare last week. Wildfire crews were staying in the campground, and one came banging on their rig, warning of oncoming blaze. They quickly began to break camp, but before Richard could hitch the rig, the fireman returned – this time pointing to a fast-approaching 20-foot wall of flame. The Jensens made a quick grab for paperwork, jumped in their pickup, and drove – as flames rained down on their trailer. The couple want to thank the man, but have no idea which agency he works with. Richard is a former search-and-rescue team member, and says that the man “may have been doing his job” but needs recognition. The couple, who are full-time RVers, lost everything. Their daughter has set up a GoFundMe page to help them recover.
Got a 2021 model year motorhome built on a Ford F-53 chassis with a 7.3 liter gas engine? Has your engine gone and left you stuck when it refused to run? It could be the problem is a spark plug wiring harness glitch that connects the plug to the ignition coil. It’s a frustrating issue that can leave you stranded, but there appears to be a fix on the horizon. Ford has acknowledged the issue, and says owners of both motorhomes and 2020 Ford Super Duty trucks which are also afflicted may see relief under warranty. Only problem – harnesses with the fix are in short supply. It could take a while for supply to catch up with demand. Check with your dealer if you’re in a bind.
California is slowly relaxing COVID-19 restrictions in some areas. As a result, three state parks are reopening some of their campgrounds. Morro Bay State Park, Hearst San Simeon State Park and Morro Strand State Beach are opening, with health guidelines. Camping restarted yesterday, but all comers had to have reservations – walk-ups are not allowed. Up to eight people from the same household are allowed at any given site. Face masks will be required where a six-foot distance can’t be maintained from folks outside the immediate household.
Planning an RV trip for sometime this year? According to an RV vacation planning company, Tracks & Trails, you’d better get cracking. In a story released by a travel agency business publication, Travel Weekly, a Tracks & Trails spokesman says the company has found “U.S. state park and campsite reservations are largely booked up through the end of 2020.” What about next year? “There’s now so much pent-up demand for next summer, because all the people who didn’t get to go this summer are booking for next year. People are reserving and booking up campsites months earlier than ever in the past.”
Maine’s fall foliage season is off to a start and “the most accurate fall foliage news source” has taken to the podium. Gale Ross will update color-chasers every Wednesday afternoon through October. She’s been pointing toward the best colors on the legendary Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Maine Fall Foliage Report since 2002. Ironically, a media release from the state officially touts, “Ross is dedicated to helping residents and nonresidents navigate Maine’s foliage friendly scenic byways.” However, with Maine’s tight restrictions on out-of-state visitors, leaf-chasing may just be limited to Mainers. You can sign up for e-mail updates here.
Here’s a switch: We often report on how RV-dealing giant Lazydays has bought up yet another dealership. It ain’t so in Johnstown, Colorado. Instead, Lazydays RV is selling its dealership to Trailer Source, an area RV dealership. The nearly 28-acre site is going for $11 million for what the buyer calls “future expansion.” And future it is, as Lazydays has five years to stay on a lease agreement, and has a renewal option. Still, a Trailer Source representative described Lazydays as “Our chief competitor,” and said the firm will be ready to take over the property when Lazydays packs up and leaves.
Another sad “new” RV story, this time out of Roscoe, Illinois. Couple buys new motorhome. Takes rig out for a trip. Transmission acts up, refrigerator, levelers, air conditioner, electrical system all on the blink. Motorhome towed back to dealership. Dealership has motorhome for 98 days for repairs, while couple has possession for only 21 days. This time, the couple, Joseph and Sherry Chavez, don’t take it lying down. The Chavez family hired an attorney and is suing Camping World of Rockford, the dealer, and Jayco, the manufacturer of their 2020 Jayco Greyhawk 30X. They want their money back, all $94,758, plus they want restitution for loss of their RV, and punitive damages. The day following the suit filing, a Camping World spokesman announced the company is “Absolutely working on their issue to resolve it.”
Hopefully this is not a sign of things to come. Back in 2002, Colorado suffered its worst-to-date wildfire. The Hayman Fire broke out northwest of Colorado Springs, taking out 18 square miles of dense forests. Today, the forest has not come back. Instead of hiking through “forest primeval,” it’s more like crunching on dry ground. Tree scientists say the forest may never come back. Even if a seed falls on the ground, there’s not enough protection from the desiccating heat many blame on global warming. At best, grass may eventually take over the bare ground, but grass can’t store up carbon like trees can. That means more carbon released in the atmosphere – leading to even drier days ahead.
If ever there was an encouragement for frequent tire inspections and the use of tire pressure monitoring systems, this picture says it all. An RVer’s travel trailer tire blew on California’s I-680 near Danville. The resulting backlash tossed the rig into the center divider, effectively ruining the whole day. The crash, last Monday, ended up tossing the trailer into the northbound lanes, creating hours-long backups on both sides of the freeway. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.
East Coasters will have a broader range of winter camping options this season. Cape Hatteras National Seashore officials say they’ll be keeping their Ocracoke Campground open there in North Carolina. In years past, the campground would shut down right after Thanksgiving weekend, but the Park Service will keep it open year-round on a trial basis. The service strongly recommends reservations, which can be made through recreation.gov.
If you’ve passed from Utah to Arizona on Interstate 15, you’ll likely recall the curvy grade at the Virgin River Gorge, south of St. George. Last Sunday a messy accident shut down the skinny southbound lanes at the narrowest point of the gorge. Just after 11:00 a.m., a semi-driver hit the brakes as traffic ahead of him had stopped. Another semi, immediately following, ran up the first truck’s rear-end. What followed was a classic chain reaction accident, ending with the fourth rig, an SUV towing a travel trailer, making the “caboose” in the accident. The bottleneck of mashed rigs caused such a backup it took troopers a half hour just to make it from the end of the traffic jam to the scene itself. Meanwhile, three more cars back in line also jammed together. In all, five drivers, including the RVer, were cited for following too closely.
September typically marks the point where gasoline prices drop. As refineries switch over to winter-blend fuel, which costs less to produce, the price is typically reflected at the pump. But don’t expect it to happen this year, at least not as significantly as in years past. What’s up? Seems the demand for gasoline is way down, presently at 8.3 million barrels per day, the lowest demand since mid-June. Supply has likewise dropped, which usually translates to higher prices, but in a strange scenario, as the supply has dropped, the demand has dropped. Result? Lower pump prices. Since the prices are already so low, motorists’ club AAA says don’t expect to see the usual dip in prices as winter-blend fuel comes on line. Oil companies evidently want to keep their profits up.
Virginians who are hankering to get out again will soon have another place to go. Bark Camp Recreation Area in the Washington and Jefferson National Forest system will be back on-line for visitors in 2021. The campground, near Coeburn, Virginia, is hugely popular, but has been shut down for nearly two years because of a water supply failure. Rangers say the system had to be replaced to the tune of $215,000, but the cost has been met with park fees from the forest system.
Irate locals crowded an Antrim County, Michigan, zoning hearing in Milton Township. Estimates are that about 100 people turned up, most of them there to voice their objections to a proposed 80-site RV park. The usual arguments were made: too many RVs in such a small space, too much road traffic, suggestions that the park could have the largest septic system ever built in the area with a potential to pollute ground water. The local planning commission says they’ll entertain public comments until October 13. After that, a decision will be made. If it’s favorable toward the developer, permits can be pulled and work can move ahead.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has killed off many RV rallies and shows, apparently one group figures the show must go on. The 4th Annual Vintage Forester Travel Trailer Rally celebrates Winnebago-built Forester Travel Trailers. This weekend up to 40 of the vintage units were expected to turn up at Crystal Lake Park in Forest City, Iowa, and organizers said the public would be welcome to poke their noses inside for a look. It’s presumed the noses will be suitably covered with a face mask.
Mix a stick-built home at the bottom of a hill, a couple of parked vans in the driveway, and a Class A motorhome that’s lost its brakes and what do you get? A real mess for the tow truck guy. On Saturday, September 12, a woman piloting a motorhome lost her brakes on a downhill street in Surrey, B.C. Barricades at the bottom of the street didn’t stop the rig, nor did trees in the yard. A couple of parked vans in front of the house were no match for the hurtling motorhome. Firemen pulled the injured driver from the wreckage with the use of a “Jaws of Life” tool. The woman’s injuries were relatively minor, and nobody was in the house at the time. But it took plenty of planning and a crew of a dozen to finally pull the motorhome from the house – nearly a week after the crash.
Coronavirus is like the proverbial “ill wind that blows nobody good.” Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resorts says reservations at some of its locations are up 11% over 2019, despite the fact that many parks weren’t able to open until June. The company is expecting to see “a record fall,” not only in the numbers of reservations but also in increased knick-knack and “activities” sales. Many campers are locals, who feel safer camping close to home. With extra cash available due to lower fuel costs, families are renting golf carts and other equipment, and going on souvenir shopping sprees. But not only are family groups on Yogi’s radar: The company reports increased interest from real estate ventures looking to cash in by becoming franchisees.
What’s the future for motor fuel prices? It’s a murky crystal ball, but the OPEC oil cartel isn’t doing handsprings. OPEC says oil demand will drop off 400,000 barrels per day through 2021. Demand is way off because of problems in developing countries, and the U.S. and many European countries still can’t seem to get a grip on COVID-19. Oil giant BP sees a gloomy outlook for demand, expecting a peak demand of crude oil early in this decade, and says if governments get more serious about reducing carbon emissions that the demand for oil “might never” come back from the current slump. Not good news if you’re invested in oil stocks, but likely a better picture when it’s time to fill up the RV.
A proposal for a 374-site RV park is taking fire from opposing locals in Gilchrist County, Florida. If approved, the park on 120 acres would include a “gopher tortoise theater,” which must be a first for any RV park. Gopher tortoises are a threatened species in Florida. They are known as real diggers, and their work provides support for at least 100 other animal species. Developers say they want to focus on the turtles, running film showings in the theater. They’re also buying up an additional 80 acres that could be used as a refuge for the shelled critters. While neighbors may like turtles, they don’t like the soup they say would come from the RV park. Noise, traffic, and a possible depletion of water supplies. County commissioners will consider a permit request on Monday.
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.
Somebody tossed a rock in an otherwise quiet “pond” in Waynesville, North Carolina. Someone slipped flyers into local mailboxes with a map and a title, “Proposed RV Park.” The flyer suggested a 38-site motorcoach resort was heading in next to a fairway at the local golf course. Visions of plummeting property values galvanized locals into action. Attorneys were contacted. Monetary pledges to fight the project were made. A clutch of concerned citizens popped up at the town’s board meeting. But officials shrugged their shoulders – they’d never heard of the project, and certainly no permits had been drawn. Finally, golf course managers issued a statement. COVID-19 had chilled weddings and social functions, the golf course was having financial trouble. They’d kicked around the idea but, no, never did formalize a plan. Just who lit the fire with the anonymous flyers is still a mystery.
Vickie Larson and her husband are happy to be alive – and to have an RV. Earlier this month their home in Gates, Oregon, went up in smoke and ash when a wildfire blasted through. Trying to pick up the pieces, Vickie called her utility companies to tell them their home was no more, and to make needed arrangements. Dealing with the trauma of her losses, Vickie got insult added to injury when her broadband provider sent her a bill for $603 for company equipment destroyed along with the house. Other customers got similar bills. One told news media, “I didn’t think to run back into the fire to save my Wave equipment, that was not on my mind.” Vickie Larson and others complained to a local TV station, KGW. After reporters started asking questions, Wave Broadband did a back-step, apologized, and dropped the bills.
Boondockers Welcome — Stay at homes of RVers who welcome you in their driveways, yards, farmland or other space on their private property. Great alternative to crowded RV parks. Modest membership fee. Learn more.
Patent Depending: Vehicles
A FEATURE IN EACH SUNDAY’S RVTRAVEL.COM NEWSLETTER
By Steven M. Johnson
Above: The FlyHome: The FlyHome has been the subject of criticism for its irrational, poorly placed, and ungainly turboprop engines. Whenever the owner of the FlyHome travels, he or she can expect to be the subject of attention, and to be called to answer many questions.
An alternative to RV parks: Stay at farms, wineries and other scenic and peaceful locations for free. Save 15% on a membership to Harvest Hosts. Learn more.
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HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
Someone stole this 2000 Fleetwood Jamboree Class C in Portland, Oregon, on September 12 around 8:45 a.m. While it’s an older rig, the owners report it’s in good shape. At the time of the theft, there was a small piece of blue tape on the passenger side of the hood with a logo reading “Franz.” The yellow Oregon tags were expired, but read HC52688, and there was a trip permit in the rear window numbered 0262165. Know something? Call the Portland Police at (503) 823-3333.
Monocular telescope connects to phone, wow!
This is one of the neatest gadgets we’ve seen in a while! This waterproof monocular telescope connects right to your phone, so you can take photos of that bird waaaaaaay over there. You can now photograph anything up to 10x closer than before. Great for birdwatching, concerts or any sporting event. We already bought one! 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.
Ford announces two new F-150 pickup trucks
Production of the next generation of the popular Ford F-150 pickup trucks series has started. The trucks will be made in the company’s Dearborn, Michigan, plant. They’re expected to go on sale in November. The launch of the country’s top-selling vehicle is “on time and on track,” said new company CEO Jim Farley. It’s a top choice for RVers. Ford also announced it will join the electric truck market in mid-2022. Read more.
This is a necessity for your slides!
If you’ve heard a cracking or popping sound when extending your slide outs, it means your seals are sticking and/or drying out! Using a seal conditioner about every 8-12 weeks is recommended to avoid drying and cracking. Once they begin to wear and show damage, they are no longer working to their fullest capacity. We recommend using Thetford Premium RV Slide Out Rubber Seal Conditioner – it works like a charm.
For snowbirds: Will you head south this winter as normal?
Be like Mike: Don’t forget the fuse!
Mike Sokol says: Your RV has both 120-volt AC electrical systems (like your house), plus 12-volt DC battery systems (like your car). If the power goes out, it could be a circuit breaker (like in your house) or a blown fuse (like in your car). Always carry spare fuses that fit your RV’s battery system. Confirm the exact type and size of fuses your RV needs, then get a set of replacements. Here’s one pack, but be sure to check what your RV actually uses before ordering it.
The United States and Canada have confirmed that they will keep the border between the countries closed until at least Oct. 21.
Yosemite and Kings Canyon national park officials closed their parks Thursday evening because of hazardous air quality due to wildfires. “With air quality projected to be in the unhealthy to hazardous range over the next several days, the park anticipates the closure to be in effect at least throughout the weekend,” a Yosemite news release said.
The RV Industry Association (RVIA) has permanently terminated the 68-year-old California RV Show, the country’s third largest RV show. RVIA had already announced the cancellation of this year’s event in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Last year’s show drew about 45,000 attendees to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.
Idaho RV parks are packing the campers in. People displaced from their homes in Oregon and California have headed to the state to find refuge. The Idaho Transportation Department says traffic on I-84 has increased coming from Oregon, but decreased going to the state.
Glacier National Park could lose its glaciers completely within decades. Officials at the Montana park are asking the public about its future on Twitter with the hashtag #GlacierMovingForward. The park had more than 100 glaciers when it was founded in 1910. Between 1966 and 2015, all of the 26 named glaciers in the park got smaller. Some lost as much as 80% of their area, but the average loss was 40%.
Next Saturday is National Public Lands Day. It’s normally the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands. But not this year due to COVID concerns. But for visitors, admission is free.
New Mexico’s State Parks officials announced Friday the reopening of overnight camping in most state parks beginning October 1 to New Mexico residents only. Overnight camping will be available by online reservation only and a valid New Mexico license plate will be required to complete the transaction. Visitor centers and shower facilities remain closed.
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.
Save your teeth, get that corn off the cob!
Nobody likes eating corn on the cob with a group of people, only to find out later they’ve got half the corn still stuck in their teeth. Not to mention, for some of us it’s hard to hold the whole cob, and it hurts our teeth! This easy-to-use corn stripper takes all the corn off the cob in one easy gesture – your hands and teeth will thank you! Easy to clean and dishwasher safe. Order here for a great price.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
• Jayco recalls some Sprinter motorhomes. Seat and airbags issue.
• Big recall on Grand Design 5th wheels: LP supply line could catch fire.
• Jayco recalls some Entegra and Embark motorhomes.
• Forest River recalls some motorhomes for inverter issue.
• Keystone RV recalls trailers for wrong window crank handle.
3-in-1 NOAA radio, flashlight and charger must-have for RVers
This emergency hand-crank radio is a necessity for RVers. Keep it somewhere safe, you never know when it will come in handy. The 3-in-1 radio is also a bright LED flashlight and a smartphone charger. The radio can be charged via solar charging, hand cranking or a USB plug. You’ll want to buy one here.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Campground crowding. Discussion for September 19, 2020.
• Accurate RV tank gauges? This could be the real answer!
• A new blog: RV Warranties: What kind of extended warranty should I get?
• RVelectricity:12-volt battery dangers (Warning: graphic content).
• Hot, hotter, too hot… The snowbird migration is changing.
• Check the specs before buying an RV.
• RV mistakes. They’re part of the lifestyle.
• Meet your fellow RVers.
• RV Tire Safety: Rules of thumb regarding tire inflation.
• RVelectricity: Driving over wires is a bad idea.
• Casino RV camping, September 19, 2020.
• Is your RV out of balance? This might be the cause.
• Recipe: Instant Pot Spicy Chicken Curry Soup (Warning: This WILL make you hungry).
• Have an electric fireplace? Here’s a simple trick to get more heat.
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of September 14, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.18 [Calif.: $3.10]
Change from week before: Down 3 cents; Change from year before: Down 37 cents.
Diesel: $2.42 [Calif.: $3.27]
Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Down 57 cents.
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.
Two new guides to free campgrounds
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 agencies – federal, state, local, etc. Learn more about West edition or Heartland edition.
Free and bargain camping
From Overnight RV Parking
Click here to view this week’s free and bargain camping spots.
Brain teaser answer:
Bananas = 5
Pineapple = 4
Orange = 3
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Directory of RV parks with storm shelters
Where do you camp when a tornado is headed your direction? Hopefully in a park with a storm shelter. Here’s RVtravel.com’s ever-expanding directory of such places.
RV Travel staff
CONTACT US at editor@RVtravel.com
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