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Sunday, November 1, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
Is your RV safe when stored at a self-storage business?
Is an RV self-storage place a safe place to keep your RV when you’re not using it? According to some respondents it isn’t. Despite the barbed wire, security cameras and coded entry systems your RV may not be as secure as you think in these places. Tony Barthel spoke with a few RVers in a number of places who reported that their RVs had been broken into even though the lots told the right security story. Read more.
Pandemic continues to fuel popularity of RVs
The RV Industry Association’s September 2020 survey of manufacturers indicates that RV shipments ended the month with 41,509 units, an increase of 31.2% from the 31,639 units shipped in September 2019. … “The demand for RVs continues to be strong heading into the fall and the industry is on track to surpass last year’s numbers, despite the six to eight week closures earlier this spring,” said RV Industry Association President Craig Kirby. “Between the growing trend to work and learn from your RV and the incredible fall and winter RV travel options, we do not see the demand for RVs going down anytime soon.” Learn more.
Arizona – The Quartzsite RV Show must go on!
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Despite the vagaries of COVID-19, it seems that “The RV show must go on!” applies in Quartzsite. Yes, the Quartzsite Sports Vacation & RV Show, which has for 36 years been a staple of the tiny desert town that gets big every winter, will pop up the big tent for the 37th time – just a half-mile south of I-10. Read more, then let us know in the comments below the article if you’re planning on attending.
NOTE: We did not finish our article about the couple who got fined for shooting videos for their YouTube channel in a National Park. We’ll have it next week.
Today’s RV review…
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the Lance 975 truck camper. He writes, “With Lance’s reputation for quality and the very usable features in the 975, it bears consideration as a very logical alternative to a travel trailer or even a smaller motorhome.” Learn more.
2021 IBEX 20BHS travel trailer
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
That was the RV week that was
October 25–31, 2020
Some dump station users in Montrose County, Colorado, are smelling anything like a rose. The free, county fairgrounds-located dump station is closing down because it “is being abused,” according to county officials. Trash and other undesirables have been tossed into the system, causing backups. When the county responded by shutting down the station, some RVers then dumped their holding tanks in a parking lot. County officials say there are two “pay as you go” dump stations in town with one more opening soon, so they feel there’ll plenty of places to go – when you gotta go.
I think we’re in Kansas again, Toto! The Wizard of Oz may have had something to do with this ________ (fill in the blank with your own adjective) combination. Why spend big bucks on a big tow truck when your Class A won’t go? Hitch up that V-6 SUV to a tilting utility trailer and roll that sucker on. After all, you too can fabricate a tow dolly for a 38-foot motorhome. It all came apart when police evidently stopped the wacky combination near Ottawa, Kansas. One witness said the SUV’s front tires were barely steering before the traffic stop. No word on if citations were issued. How about one for “driving while insane”?
After a record-breaking season that could best be described as “hotter than hell,” Death Valley National Park is finally cooling off, and campgrounds are open. There are 762 sites spread across the park’s campgrounds and, oddly enough, one of them, Sunset Campground, rarely fills up – even on holiday weekends. Furnace Creek Campground is taking reservations through April 15 (recreation.gov). All other campgrounds are first-come, first-served.
Cost you less to fill up your gasser-RV? Gasoline prices are down, following a significant drop in demand. The federal government says demand hit 8.2 million barrels per day this week, down from 8.8 million barrels per day at the top of the month. Fall usually signals a demand fall, but the drop is a whopping 14% compared to demand for the same time period last year. Auto support group AAA says pump prices will continue to spiral down.
An RVer whose rig caught fire while driving I-40 near Knoxville, Tennessee, is fortunate to be alive. Authorities believe a fire originating in the brake drum of his fifth-wheel caught fire October 21. He managed to pull the flaming rig off to the shoulder, and passersby helped him unhitch his pickup. Before rescue crews could arrive, an off-duty university police officer, Kyle Botica, stopped by to help. While there, a bystander collapsed and was dragged away from the flames. Botica and a passing nurse (who didn’t stick around long enough to leave her name) determined he had no pulse, and started resuscitation efforts until a medic unit took over. The man survived an apparent heart attack. RV experts recommend an annual wheel bearing inspection on all towable units. While the drums are off for inspection, be sure to check the brakes.
Sharp eyes and social media are getting the credit for the return of a 4-year-old boy missing since July. A Kingsley, Michigan, RV repair shop manager went home one night and started flipping through Facebook. There he saw a face that seemed familiar – that of Azariah Petrick. The manager said he’d seen Azariah’s face every day for two weeks – staring out the window from a motorhome on the outfit’s lot. Seems Azariah’s father had cruised in, saying he wanted solar panels installed so he could stay off the grid “and not be found.” Good reason to hide, as Mark Petrick had absconded with Anthony back in July. Police say when they interviewed father and son, Azariah identified himself as missing. Dad wasn’t so cooperative – giving a phony name and backstory. Other than probably missing his mama, Azariah appeared to be in good shape and otherwise unharmed.
The Interior Department will soon expand it’s “free access” policy to military veterans and Gold Star families. Active duty military personnel and their families can already visit National Parks and other federal public lands without paying gate fees, but the move will open the way for 20 million others. The new policy waives entrance fees to the new group on Veterans Day, November 11.
A reward has been offered to help find the man who allegedly killed at least one fox at a campground north of Mount Lemmon, Arizona. The Arizona Game and Fish Department said its Operation Game Thief program is offering up to $1,250 for information leading to an arrest. At least one fox was killed at the Peppersauce Campground between Oct. 16-17. Officials said since there were reports of a shooting at the campground two nights in a row, more than one person may be involved. AGFD said one of the suspects allegedly used a rifle with a suppressor and a predator calling device to kill at least one fox. The suspect has been described as a white man with a shaved head driving a newer model white Dodge pickup truck. The campground is located in the Santa Catalina Mountains.
Authorities called out to a fatality “ejection” accident scene on an interstate highway in Belmont County, Ohio, got more than they bargained for. John Polen (31) departed the interstate, and hit an exit sign along the way. The force tossed passenger David Saunders (36) from the car. Medics found Saunders dead at the scene, and police wrote the death up as caused by the accident. But the medical examiner disagreed: The M.E. found Mr. Saunders was dead several hours before the crash; police are hypothesizing he died from drug use. Final autopsy results will hopefully reveal all. Meantime, driver John Polen is in plenty of hot water. Not only is he charged with impaired driving, he’s up on a felony count of offenses against a human corpse.
Arizona is a recognized “RVs welcome” state – or is it? Glendale, Arizona, may soon join the ranks of not-so-welcoming as its code review committee mulls changing laws in the metro-Phoenix city. Presently, towable RVs can park on Glendale’s public streets for up to 48 hours. We say “towables” because the city’s ordinance specifies “travel trailers” and “mobile homes.” Technically speaking, motorhomes can park on the streets without the time limitation. Towables not attached to a tow rig can’t be parked on the street at all. The review committee wants to fix that loophole – and go a gigantic step farther: Simply not allow ANY RV to park on a city street, unless loading or unloading. The matter will likely be taken up by the city’s council in the future.
If you know any fourth-grade student that had a National Park or wildlife refuge visit interfered with by the COVID-19 pandemic, listen up. The Interior Department says that fifth-grade students (and their families) may get a pass to waive entrance fees to all public lands managed by the department. It’s all part of the Every Kid Outdoors program to encourage outdoor experiences. Those eligible can download 5th grade passes online at www.nps.gov/kids
If you’re looking for a state park system that’s not crowded, avoid Pennsylvania. Measuring the period of March through September 2020 to the same months in 2019, visitation rates were up 26%. Mind you, many of the state parks were closed for the first two months of the count in 2020. And fall, which usually marks the slowdown, didn’t seem to matter. Most parks reported a double-digit increase in visitors, year over year, for the month of September.
The expression “lucky dog” got a new twist in Texas. Charles and Amanda York were cruising down US-190 near Rogers, Texas, on October 23. Their trip suffered a fatal interruption when an SUV driver lost control and hit the York’s Class A head-on, killing the SUV driver. The York’s rig slammed into a ditch and Amanda and her prized Havanese dog, Charlie, both blasted through the windshield. Amanda survived and spent a few days in the hospital. While she was laid up, Charles spent his time looking for Charlie. Frightened by the events, the traveling dog headed out on four paws. Facebook readers posted tips; sadly they didn’t pan out. But not giving up, Charles and his daughter found Charlie hanging out in a field not far from the crash scene.
The small town of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, is a popular beach attraction for nearby college kids. Maybe that’s what the locals were fearful of – another invasion. In any event, police got multiple calls about a motorhome parked on the ocean front. “Somebody’s living in it,” asserted callers, reporting shades going up and down. Police investigated and left a ticket on the windshield. Turns out, nobody was “living in” the motorhome. It was just a health-concerned couple who’d rented a beach house down the street. They didn’t want to risk COVID-19 while traveling to their vacation, so they bought the motorhome to avoid restaurants and motels. Oh, and they’d rented the parking spots where the motorhome was left, but to avoid hard feelings, are looking for a new spot for it.
Vehicles of the Imagination
From the mind of Steven M. Johnson
On Ramp Car Wash — Bankrupt state transportation departments resort to inducements like car wash on ramps and “fun” off ramps to help fund freeway maintenance and construction.
We reported earlier that city councilors in Longmont, Colorado, were conducting a “study session” on “sleeper vehicles” – RVs slept in overnight on city streets and rights-of-way. Last Tuesday in a 4-3 vote, the council voted initial approval of an ordinance that would basically prohibit RV parking on any of its streets, rights-of-way, or public parking lots. Since COVID-19 is a concern, the vote was held electronically, with no official public hearing. Some locals opposed to the issue were able to testify on the e-hookup, and complained bitterly that many who’ll be affected didn’t have the ability to tie-in to the vote.
Every year sees North American truckers expecting a potential inspection. August 23–29 marked the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance “Operation Airbrake” inspection. This year, the number of inspections were down due to COVID-19. Still, nearly 44,000 inspections were made. In the U.S., almost 36,000 trucks were checked and a whopping 13% were sidelined for safety violations. The award for the “worst” record goes to Canada, where 14% of inspected vehicles were wanting. Down south, Mexican inspections found only 6% of trucks warranted a shut-down.
In what local media describes as an example of “Hoosier horse-pitality,” a group of horsewomen, one of whom is an RVer, have gained new friends in Indiana. Jody Kuhn-Kauffman was piloting a motorhome as the lead rig of a three-party caravan, each rig towing a horse trailer on Boone County’s I-65. A cube van suddenly swerved in front of Jody and slammed on the brakes. Jody’s motorhome hit the truck, and the horse-carrying combination immediately behind slammed into Jody’s horse trailer. A vehicle following behind that combination then smacked into the second horse trailer. All the equestrians feared the worst for their four-legged cargoes, but peering into the trailers they found all horses still on their feet. What followed was a logistical issue. The motorhome was totaled, and the doors of two horse trailers were jammed shut. Happily, a local horse-lovers group got wind of the situation and soon arranged temporary boarding, and a local welder effected the necessary equine escape – by cutting the doors open.
Management at Wild Horse Hot Springs, an RV park and soaking pool, are too wild for county officials. The Hot Springs, Montana, park got a shut-down order from the county health department last September. Following on the heels of the order, police responded to the death of a woman on the premises on October 20. The health department says the RV park hasn’t been licensed in more than 10 years, and isn’t sure if the outfit even closed down in September. The dead woman was found at a soaking pool, but the local sheriff is keeping mum on whether she was an RV park guest, or whether he felt the outfit had been operating at the time of the death. Autopsy results are still pending. The park saw a hot time in August, when its owner allegedly set a woodpile on fire, which spread and burned several trailers and a fence. The owner pleaded innocent and has yet to stand trial.
Planning on checking out rigs at January’s Ohio RV Supershow in Cleveland? Make other plans. The big RV promotion, which usually turns out in the I-X Center, has been cancelled. Chalk it up to COVID-19 concerns. Add to it the unknown value of the I-X Center’s future – its owners say they’ll be shutting down due to lack of use, largely due to – you guessed it – COVID-19.
The people of Rochester, Wisconsin spoke; the government listened. In the end, it appears RVers and other campers came up short. Racine County had set aside $250,000 for planning a new campground in its Case Eagle Park in Rochester. But on October 22, the county executive caved in to public uproar and asked that the county’s finance committee find a new use for the quarter-million after he’d received “dozens of letters” complaining that the campground would have “negative impacts.”
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
The White Hall, Arkansas, police would like your help watching out for a stolen CrossRoads Zinger travel trailer. This 30′ rig has an electric awning. Details are slim, but if you see it, or know something, call the police at 870-274-1414.
Got mosquitoes? Not anymore!
We know it’s not mosquito season anymore, but have you heard about Grandpa Gus’s Natural Mosquito Repellent Spray? It’s too good not to tell you about it! RV gadgets and gizmos reviewer Tony Barthel swears by this stuff (and nothing has ever worked for him!). Read his rave review here then maybe order some for your next mosquito-filled trip.
Is this your RV?
If it’s yours and you can prove it to us (send a couple of photos for comparison), then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org by 9 p.m. Pacific Standard time today, Nov. 1, 2020. If it’s really yours you’ll win a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate. Include your mailing address and a phone number (in case there is a prize delivery issue).
We’ll have another photo in tomorrow’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter (sign up to receive an email alert so you don’t miss the issue or those that follow). So please be sure to check if it’s yours.
Protect your RV “pigtail”
That 7-way connector on your travel trailer or fifth wheel is a critical component. When not plugged into your tow rig, the thing is susceptible to the onslaught of dirt, rain and even bugs. Here’s a plug cover that slips right over your precious plug and keeps out the crud. One user says, “This works perfectly to keep the plug on my RV clear. I remove it when not in use and place it in my ‘RV emergency tool kit.’ This way, it’s not knocked around when driving.” 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.
Surprise! Many trucks cost less to insure than cars
Trucks are bigger and more versatile than cars, and are often required to drive in more difficult terrain and more severe conditions. But requiring trucks to do bigger tasks doesn’t always mean their insurance premiums are also larger. In its latest and just-released automotive study, Insure.com calculated the average yearly cost to insure a truck is $1,750. The average yearly cost to insure a car this year is $2,209, or 26 percent more than a truck. Read more, including the top five least expensive new trucks to insure.
Fiat Chrysler changes route – will offer Ram EV truck
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will soon join many other manufacturers and offer an electric truck in its Ram lineup. During the company’s recent quarterly business update, CEO Mike Manley surprisingly announced the plan – but just with vague information. Read what we know here.
Hitch Ball Lubricant extends the life of your hitch mount!
Protect hitch balls and receivers from corrosion with this high-film strength and waterproof grease. Formulated to stay where you apply it, this lubricant reduces friction, wear, rust, water corrosion and noise. Compatible with any variety of trailer applications like receiver hitches, ball mounts, hitch balls, locks, couplers, jacks, and more. Learn more or order here.
It’s Halloween (well, OK, it was yesterday…)! You decide to go explore an abandoned house. As you enter, an eerie silence embraces you. It’s pitch black. Using your flashlight, you fumble over and find the light switches. No luck, no electricity. You decide to leave! You turn around and WHAM, the door shuts. It won’t open. You’re trapped. Evil laughter echoes through the hallways and suddenly you see a figure appear in front of you, next to three doors. The figure says, “You must choose one door to free yourself.” The figure says the first door opens up to a room with a swarm of bees, you will be stung endlessly by them. The second door opens up to an electric chair. You will be strapped to the chair for five minutes and exposed to high voltage electricity. The third door opens up with a pool full of acid, you must jump in.
Which door will you choose if you have no other choice?
The annual migration of snowbirds to South Florida has begun, but it’s not as big of a flock as usual. The pandemic is to blame. County tourism bureaus don’t closely track snowbird traffic, but at the start of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show this week, Mayor Dean Trantalis guessed that the number of seasonal visitors could be off by as much as 20% to 25%.
Thursday, Oct. 29, marked the highest one-day total number of people who tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Elkhart County, the RV manufacturing capital of the world. That brings the total to 9,783 people who have tested positive for the virus. Positive test rates are three times the national average. “We have vast community spread and until people take it seriously and implement precautions … we’re not going to see a reduction,” said Elkhart County Health Department Public Information Officer Melanie Sizemore. The number of COVID-19 inpatients at Elkhart County hospitals keeps climbing. As of Monday, Oct. 26, there were 52 patients at Elkhart General and 26 at Goshen Hospital, almost four times as many as two months ago. About 85 percent of all RVs are made in the area.
The Dare County, North Carolina, Sheriff’s Office is searching for suspects in a series of vehicle break-ins that began in late August at the Cape Hatteras RV and KOA RV Resorts in Rodanthe. The thieves stole firearms, money, wallets, purses and other items from these unlocked vehicles. Anyone with information should contact the sheriff’s office at 252-475-5980 or the Dare County Crime Line, and can remain anonymous, at 252-473-3111.
Gasoline demand has dropped significantly since the beginning of the month, down from 8.8 million barrels per day to 8.2 million, according to the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. It’s the lowest demand measurement since mid-June, AAA reports.
Cummins Inc. has announced the launch of Cummins Advocating for Racial Equity (CARE), another step forward in Cummins’ intent to take a leading role in undoing systemic discrimination against the black community in the U.S. “Institutional racism is a disease; deeply rooted and longstanding, and makes our society weaker,” said Tom Linebarger, Chairman and CEO, Cummins Inc. “It will take decisive and sustained action to dismantle racism, and Cummins will be part of that action. We are in the midst of a national reckoning on race, and we need awareness, education and accountability to drive results. It’s the right thing to do and we will all benefit when we are cured of this disease.”
Help the FBI find most-wanted criminals
Because RVers are out and about so much, they come across a large number of strangers on a regular basis, including some who could be wanted for serious crimes. RVtravel.com posts this list of 50 of the FBI’s most-wanted persons once a month. Let’s help find some bad guys! This is for November.
When the opening of Maine’s State Park campgrounds was delayed this spring, few state park officials could imagine the exceptional season that would follow. In 2020 Maine’s State Parks set an all-time record for campers, with a whopping 270,974 (and counting – October numbers have not yet been tallied).
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.
Just published! Book for newbie RVers a must-have!
We are pleased to report that the printed edition of Chuck Woodbury’s new book The ABCs of RVing is now available. The book is aimed at aspiring and first-time RVers and will answer every question asked about the lifestyle. It can be ordered for immediate reading in a Kindle version. You can read more about it here.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
• Some Holiday Rambler RVs recalled for cooking stove danger.
• Bounder, Flair, Southwind RV recall: stove gas leak.
• Heartland recalls some fifth wheel trailers for outrigger issue.
• Some Ram trucks recalled for possible side mirror failure.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Campground crowding. How long do you spend looking for reservations?
• Your advice wanted about keeping mice out of your RV.
• A firsthand look at what it’s like to travel by RV with no reservations.
• RV Electricity: Power principles further explained.
• Tips to improve your RV’s gas mileage.
• RV Gadgets and Gizmos: The perfect RV cookware does exist!
• Avoid space heater danger: What you need to know – Part 2.
• RV Tire Safety: Is there a specific “safety margin” on tires?
• “They gave us earplugs at check-in.” Why are so many RV parks near train tracks?
• RV Short Stop: Elk, wildlife viewing perfect outdoor activity during pandemic.
• Spooktacular casino camping, October 31, 2020.
• Wacky rigs: Airplane RV.
… and much more
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Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of October 26, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.14 [Calif.: $3.05]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 45 cents.
Diesel: $2.39 [Calif.: $3.24]
Change from week before: No change; Change from year before: Down 68 cents.
Camping with the Corps of Engineers
Many RVers consider Corps of Engineers campgrounds to be the best in the country. This guide is just for RVers — boat-in and tent-only sites are not included. Of all the public lands, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has some of the best parks and campgrounds available. In fact, it’s the largest federal provider of outdoor recreation in the nation. Learn more or order.
Upcoming RV shows
Most if not all RV shows for the remainder of the year are cancelled. We will restart our show directory feature as shows begin again. In the meantime, most of the shows scheduled for 2021 (earliest beginning Dec. 31, 2020, in South Carolina) are still on. See the schedule (updated Nov. 1) here.
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:
You’d want to choose the room with the electric chair. There’s no electricity in the house, remember?
Device keeps fresh water tank clean
Tony Barthel writes: “The RV Inline Sanitizer is the simplest of solutions. It’s essentially a reservoir in which you put bleach and then use a source hose and a delivery hose to fill your fresh water tank. The sanitizer effectively adds the bleach as you fill the tank. It is truly that simple.” Read more about this nifty device here.
What do you call a parade of rabbits hopping backwards?
ANSWER: A receding hare-line.
*If you missed yesterday’s hilarious Halloween prank video, watch it here.
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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