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Sunday, January 3, 2021
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
Catalytic converter thefts on the rise. The scary truth
By Tony Barthel
Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise and are becoming ever more common according to a few sources. Stealing a catalytic converter is relatively easy and can net the thief a good return on their minimal time investment. How much? On the black market, used cats, as they’re called, can go for sometimes several hundred dollars. They may take as little as a minute to steal. Continue reading – you’ll be shocked! Includes videos and tips to prevent your catalytic converter from being stolen.
The National Park Service needs your help with solving a very cold case from California. In 1983 the body of a woman believed to be between the ages of 18 and 30 was found in Yosemite National Park. The victim was dumped at Summit Meadow, along Glacier Point Road. A CT scan has been used to put together a new facial reconstruction image that may help someone identify this victim. Learn more.
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the Coleman Lantern LT 202RD Travel Trailer. He writes that this “is a couples’ smaller camper that packs a fair amount of amenities into a small box without a slide room. Even at under 25’ in total length you still get a queen-sized bed, a dinette and even a jackknife sofa all in a package that my friend towed with a mid-size pickup.” Check it out here.
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
That was the RV week that was
December 27, 2020 – January 2, 2021
Beleaguered RV park residents in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, may have gotten a bit of a break. We reported earlier on how folks at the Hoback RV Park got notices to break camp and move – right in the middle of a cold winter. New owners said their failing septic system forced the decision. But on December 22, Teton County commissioners voted to extend a sewage shutdown order, giving residents until May to find a new place to park. But the legalities of the whole situation are about as clear as black water, so we’ll keep you posted as to what flushes out.
This is NOT the recommended way of checking your tow hitch connection. It happened when an RVer hit some ice just north of Roscoe, Texas, on Highway 84 Wednesday afternoon. The toppling travel trailer took the tow rig with it in the incident. It wasn’t clear if injuries resulted, but the old trucker’s maxim well-applies: Snow? Go slow. Ice? No go!
Pawn Stars celebrity Corey Harrison, also known as Big Hoss, has been accused to trashing an RV he rented from the peer-to-peer rental company RVshare. He told the RV’s owner, William Villafana, that he wanted to use it as an office on a three-day trip to the California desert. Villafana said Harrison returned it in six days, with the body of the RV badly damaged and the inside trashed – approximately $20,000 to $30,000 in damage. Harrison refused to pay for repairs. Villafana has filed a complaint with the North Las Vegas Police Department.
A little too late? Canada’s federal government is pumping $850,000 into an ad campaign to discourage Canadian snowbirds from heading south of the border. One advert pictures a sorry-looking older fellow in a hospital bed, dark background music playing. “Seniors are at a higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19,” reads the caption. True enough, but by now, many of the birds have already flown the coop.
Last summer, a major bloom of waterborne bacteria forced Zion National Park officials to curtail ranger patrols of The Narrows. It’s a popular trail that includes a section where wading through water is included. Recently, the toxic bloom subsided and “Ranger John” was the first official to walk the trail. He reported, “The graffiti was the worst I’ve ever seen, it seemed like the entire stretch I walked had something left on the rock: a handprint, a name, and I won’t go into detail about the poop. All in all, I picked up 14 pounds of trash (9 pounds were human waste) and cleaned probably 1000 handprints or etchings in less than a mile. While it hurts to see such a unique and beautiful place treated like this, I feel honored that I have the responsibility to protect it.”
For believers in bad luck, Norman Hoyt may have been begging for it when he tried to get a property use variance for an RV park in Warsaw, Indiana. Hoyt asked the local zoning board to allow him to build a 13-site RV park next door to an auto repair shop. Neighbors raised a variety of objections, from “the constant noise and aggravation” a campground would bring, to other “potential land use nuisances.” One interesting objection came from a zoning board member who, on learning that the campground would entertain families, objected that the small park didn’t appear to have anything to keep kiddies entertained. In the end, the zoning board gave the potential park a unanimous thumbs-down.
Park rangers had to hike through the snow to help rescue a bicyclist in Washington’s Olympic National Park. The man in his 60s was riding along a snow-covered Olympic Hot Springs Road in the Elwha Valley when an 18-inch-diameter tree fell – smashing down on the man and his bike. The victim was able to get out from under the tree, and managed to squeak out call for help on the edge of cellular range. The area where it all happened is out-of-reach to motor vehicles due to road washouts, and rescuers had to hike into where they could grab an ATV and pickup truck to go the balance of the trip. A medevac was called out to airlift the man to a hospital. Planning on recreating away from civilization? Always use the buddy system – physically distanced, of course.
Keep your doors locked! That’s the warning from Beaumont, Texas, police. They say RVers at the Jefferson County RV Park had been lax about security, allowing a carload of prowlers to cruise into the park on a Sunday and door-shake their way into a number of RVs. The result was the theft of several items, including two firearms. Much of the loot was recovered after a sharp-eyed deputy sheriff on the following Tuesday spotted lights on in a lot of RVs at the wrong time of day – early in the morning. Another deputy spotted a car leaving the park, and stopped it after it zipped into a dead-end road.
Arizona is a popular snowbird spot for Canadian visitors. Although their numbers are down, some in Arizona wonder – will they be competing for COVID-19 vaccinations? State health officials say it doesn’t matter which flag you fly under – the determinant is your priority group, not your place of residence. And how much will Canadians have to pay for the poke? Same as Arizonans: Vaccine jabs are free of charge for all. For those who make the trip into the U.S., they may actually get their vaccine much sooner than if they’d stayed at home. Media reports suggest Canada’s vaccine rollout is months behind that of the U.S.
“I don’t want to walk out my front door and see a damn camper. It degrades the neighborhood.” Sound like the words of some angry John Q. Smith? Nope, it’s the words of somebody with a bit more power – and it shows. Attribute the statement to Alan Moeder, a member of the Great Bend, Kansas, city council. The council has been batting the issue of RV parking back and forth since before November. Now the august body has determined RV owners can’t park their rigs just anywhere on their property. Instead, they may only be parked so that, “the entirety of the RV, including the hitch, must be behind the primary elevation.” Evidently Moeder got his way – if anyone drives by your house in Great Bend, they’d better not see your “damn camper.”
Don’t buy a portable generator
Use your car’s engine instead. Save money. Save hassle. Learn more at cargenerator.com.
Is it coronavirus? Your chances of getting carjacked are way up this year. In Minneapolis, the crime was up 537% last month. In Chicago, the rate is more than twice the norm. Statistics from across the country show cars stolen in potentially violent altercations are way up. The cause? With people wearing masks because of the pandemic, it’s harder to identify crooks from surveillance video, and drivers are less likely to be concerned about somebody in a mask who approaches them. Juveniles are fingered in many jackings, and often it’s to score social-media bragging points. Authorities say, “keep your head on a swivel,” as carjackers take advantage of distracted people. And if someone demands your car – give it to them. Your life is worth a bit more than your ride.
A Russian cat spared certain death has a new job title: Deputy environment minister. A worker in a chilly Russian waste-sorting facility thought something was a little odd with a bag that sailed past him on a conveyor belt. So Mikhail Tukash grabbed the bag and cut it open and peeped inside. Two small eyes peered back at him – a black and white short-haired cat. When news (or was it mews?) broke out, Minister of the Environment, Gulnara Rakmatulina adopted the cat, whose nine lives would have been put to the test had not Mikhail grabbed him back from the mechanical separator, not far down the conveyor belt. Rakmatulina assigned the cat the new title, but a name will come after a public contest.
Oregon State Parks have reopened yurt and cabin reservations along the Pacific coast. Reservations were opened on December 24, although actual use won’t begin until January 2 on a staggered basis, with others opening the 10th, and finally the last on the 15th. Campgrounds not now open will not reopen yurts and cabins until their normal opening dates. A two-night minimum reservation is required, and each unit will have at least one “open” day between reservations to allow for thorough cleaning. Make a reservation at stateparks.oregon.gov.
While Sunbelt park operators have been bracing for a major downturn in business this winter with the continued closing of the Canadian border and continuing concerns about the pandemic, business levels have remained strong at many parks that cater to snowbirds. Park operators say first-time RVers are helping offset the loss of Canadian customers. Sunbelt park operators told Woodall’s Campground Management they are seeing increasing numbers of people with mobile jobs who are working from the road. Some operators are also seeing something they don’t typically see at this time of year: large numbers of families traveling with young children.
Time for a new water filter?
Get ready for spring and summer travels. No matter what RV park you visit, you will find this water filter the most popular by far. It’s inexpensive and works great. It greatly reduces bad taste, odor, chlorine and sediment with its 20 micron sediment filter. With this offer get 2 filters, which should last you for about 6 months. Learn more or order.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
All these vehicles were stolen New Year’s Eve from a home in Rancho Cucamonga, California. License tags: Truck/camper 7B89389. Trailer 4TG7737. “They took everything!! Please keep an eye out,” the owners pleaded. If found, contact the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department.
POLICE SEEK SUSPECT IN CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFTS
The Charleston County (South Carolina) Sheriff’s Office is searching for the pictured suspect for allegedly stealing three catalytic converters off three RVs on Dec. 28 at Coastal RV in Ravenel. The suspect is a slender while male, between 25 and 35 years old. He was wearing blue jeans, a camo jacket, blue shirt, a blue and white hat and a face covering. If you have information contact Detective James Jacko at 843-529-5357 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stolen RVs – Help us recover stolen RVs. The more eyes we have searching for them, the better chance of getting them back to their rightful owners, and maybe putting the crooks who stole them in the slammer! See recent stolen RVs.
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There comes a time in many RVers’ lives when they are eternally grateful they were wise enough to bring these with them on a trip.
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.
Seat belt bracket issue prompts GM truck, SUV recall
In case you missed this news here last Sunday: Faulty seat belt brackets have prompted a recall of 624,000 pickup trucks and SUVs from the current and past two years of General Motors’ brands. … Vehicles affected have 40/20/40 split-folding front bench seats. Vehicles with front bucket seats are not being recalled. Learn more.
Does your RV have at least one permanently mounted solar panel?
New book plans the road trip for you!
This new book by Moon plans the 50 best road trips across the U.S. (organized by region) for you so you don’t have to do a thing! It’s perfect for jump-starting your 2021 travel planning. Each road trip lists must-see places, the best foods, gives you local tips and much more. Learn more about it here.
• Children, they adore me for they find me jolly, but I do not see them when the halls are decked with holly.
• My job often leaves me frozen.
• I am a man that all should know, but I do not do business in times of sleet or ice or snow.
• I travel much on business, but no reindeer haul me around, I do all my traveling firmly on the ground.
• I love the time of Christmas, but that’s not my vocational season,
• And I assure you that is because of a sound economic reason.
Who am I?
Is this your RV?
If it’s yours and you can prove it to us (send a photo for comparison), tell us here by 9 p.m. Pacific Standard time today, Jan. 3, 2021. 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 those 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.
This is one cool puzzle!
If you’re like a majority of people, you’ve done a puzzle or two (or 10) during quarantine. If you’re in need of a new one, check this one out. A vintage car with an Airstream on the beach. Puzzles don’t get much cooler – plus the sunset is beautiful! Get one for yourself here. It’s the perfect winter activity!
Planning a visit to Los Angeles County? Then add a 10-day quarantine to your agenda. “Because of the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19 while traveling outside of L.A. County, for everyone that traveled or are planning to travel back into L.A. County, you must quarantine for 10 days,” reads the order. Anyone experiencing symptoms or who tests positive must quarantine for 10 days, or until fever-free for 24 hours. The mandate was issued Monday.
New Year’s Day marks the beginning of a new RV parking ordinance in Longmont, Colorado. It will be illegal to park an RV on streets, alleys, in city parks, or on public rights-of-way. Exceptions will be made for folks actively loading or unloading a rig, or parked while shopping. Those with relatives coming who want to park outside a resident’s home can do so – after they buy a $25 permit good for a week.
How far will your dollar go in buying an RV park? Apache Junction, Arizona’s Meridian RV Resort changed hands for $11.6 million on December 14. The 252-site “five star, 55-plus senior community” was picked up by Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc., which also operates Thousand Trails.
Police in Louisville, Kentucky, reopened downtown streets after shutting down the area Friday afternoon due to a report of a suspicious motorhome found parked on a city street outside the Humana Tower. It turned out the RV was a rented by a family, who were visiting the Kentucky Science Center.
Wold’s RV Sales in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, had a most unwelcome happening last Tuesday night. A passing motorist spotted flames shooting out of the dealership’s windows at around 9:45 that night. It took an hour for firefighters to get the building fire under control, which they say was caused by arson. No RVs outside the building were damaged.
Some residents near Marble Falls, Texas, are up in arms about a new RV park, set to open next spring. The County Line Luxury RV Park is a proposed 125-site outfit that would sit on 35 acres on County Road 403, an area presently populated by multiple-acre mini-ranches. Locals say the water supply in the area is “iffy,” with complaints of cloudiness in times of drought. But county officials say they’re powerless to intervene, as state law doesn’t allow for counties to dabble in zoning issues.
Campground reservations for Maine State Parks open Friday, February 5, 2021, at 9 a.m. EST. Reservations for Sebago Lake State Park open February 1, same time.
More room at the inn for RVs, if you’re heading to Huntsville, Texas. The planning commission unanimously approved a conditional use permit for a 141-site RV park. The Lagoon Ranch RV Resort butts up to the Sam Houston National Forest. If Sam were alive today and RVing, he’d find a park with fishing ponds and a resort-style pool next door to the forest bearing his name.
COVID-19 has sounded a death knell for shopping malls that were struggling to survive before the pandemic struck, according to a new report from Coresight Research, which focuses on disruptions between physical and digital retail. It has predicted that up to 25,000 stores would close by the end of 2020 and that more than half of those closures will happen in malls. Within five years, this trend will spell an end for as many as 300 of the 1,200 malls currently in operation in the United States, the report said.
Rangers at Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park were kept busy on Tuesday when snow caught drivers unprepared. A number of vehicles were caught by snowfall and had to have help to get out. Roads to both Bryce and Inspiration Points were temporarily shut down, leaving Sunset Point the only accessible viewpoint to motorists.
Campground and RV Park News
Developments in places where we stay 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 and RV Park News” here.
Here’s an excellent look at what’s currently happening at Quartzsite, Arizona, the RV Snowbird Capital of the West. The Big Tent, the centerpiece of the annual Quartzsite RV Show coming in two weeks, has yet to go up. The crowds on the public lands are noticeably smaller with many vendors in the small down noticeably absent. We hope to have an update next week. Prime season is just getting underway, but our guess is that crowds will be smaller this year. Stay tuned.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
• Sprinter RVs recalled: Brake calipers may leak
• Jayco recalling some 2016-2020 Seneca motorhomes
• Thor motorhomes recalled: Overhead cabinets may detach
• Jayco recalls some motorhomes for mounting bracket problem
Two of the best black tank dumpin’ gadgets
Tony Barthel writes: “Dealing with the black tank is one of the least enjoyable parts of the RV lifestyle. When a product comes along that makes the process even a little bit friendlier, I’m in. As such, two Camco products have really made my black tank dealings less miserable and have taken some of the frustration out of parts of this process.” Read more about these two helpful products here.
Things to smile about this week
A weekly roundup of news stories that will make you smile (and maybe shed a tear or two…). This week, a little girl sees her parents for the first time with new glasses, a Jeep parade, Hammy the Hamster’s Christmas maze, a biodegradable plastic, and a weird, weird relative… Enjoy it all here.
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Service attendant overfills propane tank, RV almost goes up in flames
• RVelectricity: How to diagnose a hot-skin voltage (very important information)
• What do mice and birdseed have in common? Our mice battle continues…
• Is it OK to drive with one flat dually tire? Nope. Here’s why
• Test Drive Review: What we like, and don’t like, about these cars to flat tow
• Campground Crowding: Online fees; and is it easier to reserve by calling?
• COVID-free towns to visit this summer – No pandemic worries!
• RVelectricity: JAM Session – Why surge protectors and GFCI outlets don’t mix
• Digital RVer: View your campground reservations on your map
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of December 28, 2020:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.24 [Calif.: $3.09]
Change from week before: Up 2 cents; Change from year before: Down 33 cents.
Diesel: $2.64 [Calif.: $3.40]
Change from week before: Up 2 cents; Change from year before: Down 43 cents.
Book a must-have for state park campers!
This recently 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.
We work hard to bring you this newsletter
Out staff of editors and writers works tirelessly to bring you an average of 10 newsletters every week. If you appreciate our efforts and would like to help us become even more valuable to you and other readers, won’t you please considering making a volunteer contribution of whatever you can easily afford and believe is fair? We would appreciate it very much. Thank you. Learn more or contribute here.
Upcoming RV shows
Most of the RV shows in the early part of 2021 have been canceled. We will restart our show directory feature here as shows begin again. In the meantime, see the frequently updated schedule here.
Free and bargain camping
Lake Park Campground (City Park), Lewisville, TX
ALMOST FREE! Overnight parking is allowed! The City Park has 119 E/W sites, 6 are pull-thrus. At least 21 sites have 50A. Dump station, laundry, free Wi-Fi, and traffic control gate on-site. The 662-acre park has a swimming beach, two boat ramps, two courtesy docks, a fishing barge, and two golf courses. Open all year. Sites reservable by phone. 2-day minimum reservation on Holiday weekends. Maximum stay: 14 days in any 30-day period. $20/night; $475/month including utilities; camping fee includes a day-use fee for the remainder of the park. Click here for details.
Bedford Area Welcome Center, Bedford, VA
ALMOST FREE! Overnight parking is allowed! Welcome Center has 3 E/W/S RV spaces. Wi-Fi. Dump Station ($10, free to registered campers). Sites not level but manageable for most RVs. The lot is well-lit, appears safe, with possible highway noise. Gas station and convenience store across the street, no other travel-related businesses within walking distance. Open all year. No reservations. Maximum stay: 3 nights. $25/night. Click here for details.
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.
Say goodbye to back pain
As RVers, we spend a lot of time sitting while we drive from place-to-place. These orthopedic memory foam support back and bottom cushions will relieve you from any lower back pain and will instantly improve your posture. The washable covers can be removed, and a breathable mesh will keep the cushions from making you sweat. Look at all those amazing reviews! Click here.
Brain teaser answer:
The ice cream man!
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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