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Sunday, November 15, 2020
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
Looking for a place to store your RV? Good luck!
By Nanci Dixon: As RV sales have exploded this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I can’t help but wonder: What is happening to all those RVs? Where are they now that extended vacation is over, working from the road has lost its allure, kids are back in school and 9-to-5 jobs are slowly opening back up? I had predicted back in August of 2020 that there would be a glut of RVs on the market soon. … So where are the RVs? Find out here.
Escapees cancel annual Escapade rally set for March
The 60th Escapees Escapade rally, scheduled for Tucson in March 2021, has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. The club hopes it can still hold the event in 2021, from July 18 to 23, in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Read more.
The Day It Rained Whale Blubber
It was 50 years ago this month, when a normally quiet day on an Oregon beach was disrupted by flying, stinky whale blubber. Watch this newscast of the event for “the rest of the story.” Click here.
Today’s RV review…
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the 2021 Forest River Wildwood X-Lite 28VBXL Travel Trailer. He writes, “While the obvious customer for this trailer might be a family, it would do very, very well as a two-room couples’ trailer with the back room easily being transformed into an office.” Learn more.
2021 Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RL
Last week’s reviews
2021 Newmar Canyon Star 3719 Front Diesel Motorhome • 2021 Grand Design Imagine 17MKE Travel Trailer • Homegrown Trailers Timberline Travel Trailer • Bowlus Road Chief Travel Trailer • 2021 Keystone Outback 260UML Travel Trailer
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
That was the RV week that was
November 8–14, 2020
If COVID-19 has proved to be a dark cloud for most, it certainly has a silver lining for the RV industry. With massive sales of new rigs to folks looking to avoid the pandemic and still get out on vacation, the industry has seen stock prices soar. But what happens when the wind shifts? Stock reporting group Seeking Alpha says that after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced its COVID-19 vaccine had a 90% efficacy rate, RV stocks took a major hit. A November 9 report showed Camping World down 15.55%, while manufacturers Winnebago and Thor dropped 9.4% and 7.3%, respectively.
An Alaska native tried to force her way into Canada at Stewart, B.C., and was arrested for her trouble. Canada Border Services reports on its Facebook page that the crosser tried “entry for essential reasons, but had no travel documents.” In the end, the young-thing, a 21-pound bear cub, was transferred to the custody of the Northern Lights Wildlife Society in Smithers. She has since been dubbed “Annie.” Annie’s persistence drew wide attention after the Facebook post went viral and landed in media accounts across Canada and the U.S.
They came. They saw. They lost. Residents in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, did their best to convince the Lee County commissioners to reject a build-out of an existing 293-site RV park by an additional 45 sites. They went so far as to hire a land-use planner and an attorney. They argued that allowing RVs any closer to their property lines would be a fire hazard. Their attorney pointed out that despite the fact his clients were living in what were technically “mobile homes,” they were still – in his words – “upscale” and evidently having RVs come any closer would be an affront. In the end, Fort Myers Beach Resort can expand, although the park’s owners say they’ll build a nice, solid fence to screen off the park.
A 1928 political campaign said voting “correctly” could lead to “A chicken in every pot!” All well and good, as long as the “pot” doesn’t happen to be one of Yellowstone National Park’s hot springs. Yes, it is as bad as it sounds, as three men “cooked their own goose” when they dipped burlap bags with a couple of ready-to-cook chickens in a Shoshone Geyser Basin thermal feature. The fowl deed was done in August, and now the egg of judicial judgment has hatched: The three, ages between 40s and 50s, have been fined between $540 and $1,250, and been put on probation. Two spent time in jail – probably eating peanut butter, not chicken, sandwiches. All three are banned from the park. Aside from running the risk of falling into the furiously hot water, tampering with thermal features can mess up the ecosystem which hosts micro-organisms called thermophiles.
With land crossing the U.S./Canada border closed to all except “essential” traffic, you’d think there won’t be any Canadian licensed RVs in “snowbird country’ this year. Think again. While RVers making snowbird trips aren’t classed “essential,” that doesn’t mean their rigs can’t cross the border. A commercial truck driver is classed an “essential worker,” so if a Canadian-tagged RV is loaded onto a commercial truck, it MAY be allowed across the border. There are a couple of provisos: The owner of the RV MUST be in the U.S. when the rig is hauled across the border, and if the border patrol agent is in a foul mood, he can simply declare the RV as non-essential and turn it back. Despite these uncertainties, one outfit, US Canada Auto Transport, says it’s transporting hundreds of RVs out of Canada and into Seattle, where their Canadian owners are waiting for them – having legally flown across the border.
Whataburger, whatawreck! A motorhomer had a bad day, and inadvertently shared it in San Antonio, Texas. On November 4, the RVer had been involved in a minor traffic accident on I-35. Troopers cleared the accident, and the motorhome pilot got off the freeway and onto a nearby access road. Attempting to make a tight turn across some railroad tracks, he couldn’t make the turn. His rig hung up, blocking traffic to the railroad crossing, but not on the tracks. Along came an 18-wheeler with a container-load of Whataburger drinking cups. The semi-driver, recognizing he couldn’t get through the mess and into the industrial park on the other side, decided to take a detour using the next grade crossing. While the tractor made it across the tracks, the trailer wasn’t so cooperative and hung up on the rails. A slow-moving, but nonetheless moving, freight train caught the trailer, unwittingly unloading a fair portion of the fast-food cups. Whataday!
The oil industry’s benchmark for pricing, West Texas Intermediate crude, made a sudden jump in price last Monday. The price pushed up above $40 per barrel, surprising some oil industry watchers. Last week the price was $36.98, better than a dip to $35.11 on October 29. So what accounted for the jump? Again, it’s COVID-related. That same day, two vaccine developers trotted out announcements that their vaccines showed a 90% prevention-of-COVID rate. This sparked the oil industry into hopes that there could be a life after COVID, and that 2021 might mark an upsurge in oil purchases.
COVID-19 is creating more than just physical distancing. With emotions riding high, a definite chill in Canada-U.S. relations has manifested. Late last month, Alaska officials asked both the Canadian federal government and Yukon Territory officials to cut a little slack – allow Alaskan snowbirds free passage back to the Lower 48 for the winter. Travel at this point is limited to “essential travel.” This week, the Yukon’s premier responded: “We are looking at what’s important to us here in Yukon as far as keeping you COVID safe,” Sandy Silver, the territory’s premier said in a statement published by Yukon News. “At the same time, we don’t want to be too restrictive. But in this particular case we do not believe that folks going from Alaska to the Lower 48 is an essential service.” The news service was quick to point out Alaska’s 17,750 COVID-19 cases, a bumper crop compared to 23 in the Yukon.
Mountain View, California, voters had more than just a presidential question to ponder. The city’s Measure C asked if RVs should be banned from streets 40 feet or less in width – which covers the majority of the city’s streets. As of early last week, more than 57% voted to oust the RVs, which makes for a very large population of folks who have no fixed residence having to pack up and go. The ban won’t materialize until city officials formally enact a new law – and determine precisely which streets fit the definition.
Last July, Springville, New York, campground owner Ronald Grottanelli flatly affirmed he would not follow state orders to stop his annual music festival. The annual Jamboree in the Woods, said the state, would violate health and safety regulations in light of COVID-19. “I’m an American,” Grottanelli told The Buffalo News. “I can read the Constitution. I have rights. The First Amendment affords us the ability to gather peacefully.” The state returned its own salvo, warning any musical groups that performed in defiance of the order could be arrested and prosecuted. Grottanelli then said the show was off, but apparently it still went on to some extent. But the owner of Hogarosa Campground is now singing a different tune – call it groveling in the key of G. Now facing civil and criminal charges for defying the order, Grottanelli wrote in an affidavit to the courts, “While I did permit Jamboree in the Woods to be held at my residence and campgrounds, I did not do so for the purposes of frustrating this court or in any way attempting to disrespect or challenge the authority of a justice of the Supreme Court. I believed that the temporary restraining order was issued in error and in violation of my constitutional rights.” He’s asking for leniency.
South Dakota chimes in with other state parks across the country to report that COVID-19 hasn’t beaten campers – perhaps only led them to the outdoors. The Mount Rushmore State’s state parks registered a 25% jump in camping nights comparing January through October visits in 2020 to the same months of 2019. October proved a major blast – 99% more campground nights in 2020 compared to 2019. Where’d all these folks come from? Mostly from South Dakota. The next two states rating high in visits showed Nebraska, closely followed by Minnesota.
City councilors in Longmont, Colorado, voted six to one to essentially ban RV parking on any of its streets, rights-of-way, or public parking lots. The lone holdout said she sided with RV-owning residents who complained that even though it appeared the aim of the ordinance was to get rid of “homeless” people, it would adversely impact them. Other council members pointed out locals could get a permit from city hall that would allow them to park their rigs near their homes for up to a week at a time. The new ordinance, unless changed, is effective January 1.
Some Indiana state parks will close their gates to the general public twice this month. Affected are Brown County, Chain O’ Lakes, Charlestown, Fort Harrison, Harmonie, Lincoln, McCormick’s Creek, Ouabache, Pokagon, Potato Creek, Prophetstown, Shades, Spring Mill, Turkey Run, Versailles, and Whitewater Memorial state parks. Closures will also affect Trine State Recreation Area. The closures will fall on November 16 and 17, and then again on November 30 and December 1. Why are these parks closing? “Too many Bambies,” appears to be the answer. Not Airstreams, but deer in extreme numbers, says the state, causing it to open these parks to hunters.
The REV Group is honoring the 35th anniversary of the Bounder Motorhome with a 2021 Anniversary Edition. It includes the most sought-after features which are normally available as options including an upgraded Wi-Fi package, Garmin Collision Mitigation, solar electric panel, and power cord reel. Customers can choose from two special Bounder 35th Anniversary Edition interiors – Inspiration with Greystone Cabinetry or Celebration with Fleetwood RV’s new classic white painted wood, Heritage. Other features include the exclusive Power Platform built on the Ford F-53 chassis with a towing capacity of up to 8,000 pounds. It also has a 7.3L 350HP engine with 468lb/ft torque. The MSRP starts at $186,515.
Vehicles of the Imagination
From the mind of Steven M. Johnson
RVers are lucky that we seldom need to deal with rush hour traffic. But Steven realizes that many people do, and he has a solution: Climb-Over cars. A freeway filled with these unique vehicles could offer impatient commuters a way to not just go around a stopped car in front of them, but over them!
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
Here’s a cold-case file: Four years ago someone swiped this twin axle Travelux trailer. The theft was from Toronto, Canada, so by now this rig could be anywhere. But MAVIS is a very unusual restoration, with the inside quite a bit different than one might expect. There’s a $3,500 reward being offered by its owners. If you spot it or know anything that might help, phone the RetroRVDudes at 416-804-7049.
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Is this your RV?
If it’s yours and you can prove it to us (send a couple of photos for comparison), tell us here by 9 p.m. Pacific Standard time today, Nov. 15, 2020. If it’s yours you’ll win a $25 Amazon gift certificate.
If this isn’t your RV, send us a photo of your RV here (if you haven’t already) for a chance to win in future issues.
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 the newsletters that follow). Some of these photos are submitted by readers while others were taken by our editors and writers on their travels around the USA.
Save on a SoftStartRV!
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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 says “no” to EV Super Duty trucks – for now
Super Duty Trucks add to Ford’s lineup of top-selling vehicles, and the carmaker is continually expanding its electric vehicle market. But there’s an exception – it won’t offer battery power to its strongest vehicles anytime soon. Continue reading.
Toyota leads pickup truck status with best five-year depreciation
Four pickup trucks, including two Toyota models, are among the top-10 list of vehicles with the lowest five-year depreciation. The results are the findings of iSeeCars.com, the automotive data and vehicle research website. Learn more.
Surprise! Santa Cruz will debut as first Hyundai pickup truck
After sliding sales for several years because of its emphasis on sedans, Hyundai will soon debut its first pickup truck, the 2021 Santa Cruz. First teased as a concept in 2015, the South Korean manufacturer will begin selling the Santa Cruz as a complement to its expanding non-sedan lineup. The debut date has not been announced. Read more.
Rivian sets debut, prices, specs for powerful EV trucks
The long-awaited Rivian, the uniquely designed electric pickup truck, will be available to consumers in the summer of 2021 and with a starting price of $75,000. … Rivian reported a towing capacity of up to 11,000 pounds for the R1T and 7,700 pounds for the R1S. Learn more.
Brain teaser (Answer below)
Hungarian artist Gergely Dudás/Dudolf creates these wonderful puzzles with hidden images. Be sure to check out his website. The nine differences are below.
Keep your pets safe in an emergency
Do you worry about what would happen to your pets if you had an emergency and you couldn’t get back to them? This Pet Alert sticker, wallet card, and keychain set is a necessity for all pet owners. It informs first responders you have pets at home. On the sticker, check off how many pets you have and stick it on your car or RV window. Also included: a keychain and wallet cards, in case you are hurt and can’t talk. Learn more or order.
Flash floods in Catawba County, North Carolina, Thursday had tragic results. RVers at the Hiddenite Family Campground were inundated with floodwaters so high their rig doors couldn’t be opened. Initial conflicting reports suggested somewhere between 20 and 33 had to be pulled from the water, some treated by paramedics. Rescuers on boats were searching for more victims. However, more recent reports tell us five people lost their lives, the youngest a one-year-old child. Our thoughts are with grieving loved ones.
The RV manufacturing capital of the world, Elkhart County, Indiana, is having a difficult time with the coronavirus, with tests revealing record numbers of positive cases. “If we’re watching the hospitalization rates and the infection rates, we’re setting new records, hospitals are full,” said Health Commissioner Mike Yoder. “We’re diverting patients to other hospitals outside of the county so, yeah, we have a very serious public health situation right now, much like the medical community had warned us months ago.”
Darrington, Washington, will soon have a new campground with 13 full-hookup RV sites and 5 equestrian sites. It will be located at 82-acre Whitehorse Community Park near town. It will open next spring at the earliest.
Thor Industries, Inc. is partnering with the National Forest Foundation (NFF) to plant a half-million new trees in national forests by 2025. The effort will support rebuilding of public lands that help capture greenhouse gases (GHG), filter pollutants, and release life-giving oxygen while providing a retreat for outdoor newcomers and enthusiasts. NFF is the only nonprofit dedicated to addressing the many challenges facing national forests and grasslands, including wildfires, insects, disease and funding shortfalls.
Neiman Marcus has teamed up with Bowlus Road Chief to unveil a Bowlus Endless Highways Bespoke Performance Edition travel trailer for the luxury department store’s 2020 Fantasy Gifts. The $255,000 home on wheels gives Neiman Marcus customers the opportunity to work with Bowlus Road Chief’s CEO and chief designer, Geneva Long, to create a custom interior.
R&B Hitch of Ocala has launched a service that offers mobile installations of trailer hitches for RVs in Ocala, Florida. It provides affordable and professional service in the Central Florida region.
Police have arrested a 26-year-old man accused of beating a person at the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino RV park on the Las Vegas Strip on November 8, authorities said. The incident was livestreamed on YouTube. People watching a livestream of the incident reported to police that a man had been hit at the park and had passed out.
If there is any doubt that it’s getting harder to get a campground reservation, simply look north of the U.S. border to Alberta for some evidence. … According to CTV News, numbers from the province show a massive jump in provincial park campsite reservations in recent months, going from 5,209 in September 2019 to 286,657 in September 2020 – an increase of more than 5,400 percent. Read more.
Camping World is acquiring Noble RV’s four Minnesota dealerships in Owatonna, Madelia, Oronoco (Rochester area) and Jordan. The ownership change should be finished in December. Also, Hilltop Camper has acquired Alexandria Recreational Vehicles – aka Alex RV – located in Alexandria, Minn., effective immediately.
Two women were seriously injured Thursday when an RV exploded, shaking and damaging an Auburn, Wash., neighborhood. First responders found debris from the blast scattered around the area. Pieces of the RV and its contents were found hanging in trees and on a neighboring property. Fire crews said the explosion was accidental from heating and electrical equipment.
Two hunters in Alberta, Canada, may have been well set – if they had an extra set of dry clothes. Parked beside a wooded roadway, they had what might have been unexpected company: a mother grizzly and three obviously well-fed cubs. Watch the one-minute up-close-and-personal (but cool!) video here.
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.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
• Keystone recalls Cougar trailers for solar wiring issue.
• Toyota recalls 1.5 million vehicles for fuel pump issue.
• Thor recalls some Four Winds motorhomes for transfer switch issue.
• Winnebago recall: Weld nut installed wrong, seat belt could fail.
Keep your brain sharp and your knives sharper!
Tired of dull knives in the kitchen? This easy-to-use knife sharpener (used by staff members, Emily, Gail and Nanci!) sharpens your knives with a few quick strokes. You’ll feel like a professional! The sharpener has two settings: one for fine blades, and another for coarse. Its small size is perfect for an RV, and it’s about $6. Learn more or order here.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Campground Crowding: “A loss of community” among RVers.
• How to winterize your RV’s toilet.
• What will your 2020 Thanksgiving look like?
• Meet your fellow RV Travel readers.
• RVelectricity: It may be time for SmartPlug upgrades.
• Casino Camping: Readers’ favorite casino RV parks.
• Caution! Snakes, scorpions and spiders lurk near campgrounds – beware!
• Reader Assignment: Do you work remotely from your RV?
• RV Short Stops: Many cities still host holiday light celebrations, but …
• Every RVer should have one of these portable air compressors.
• RV Tire Safety: What does the pressure number on tires refer to?
• Save your RV slideouts from damage with this amazing tool!
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of November 9, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.10 [Calif.: $3.03]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 52 cents.
Diesel: $2.38 [Calif.: $3.24]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 69 cents.
Sign up for an email reminder for our weekday RV Daily Tips Newsletter, published every Monday through Friday. You won’t want to miss it!
Amazing tool does so much!
This multifunctional tool is seven in one! This heavy-duty pen tool features a handy tablet or smartphone stylus, a sturdy screwdriver, a bubble level, a universal inch/cm ruler and a handy Phillips screwdriver flathead bit, and it’s only the size of a pen! Perfect for any weekend project, and it even makes a great gift. 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 here.
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.
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 from yesterday
See in tight spaces in your RV
This amazing Digital Inspection Endoscope makes discovering problems with your RV fun! This small two-camera endoscope with a viewing monitor allows you to see into tight, small, dark spaces to locate where problems might occur. Have mice? See where they’re coming in. Have a wire that has come loose? Peek at it and see where it needs to be tightened. Have a water leak? Find the source! Read more about this amazing device here. Every RVer needs one!
People who take naps are the real heroes of our time. It takes courage to wake up twice in one day.
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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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