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Sunday, April 11, 2021
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
Are “bots” stealing your campsite? Answer: Yes!
If you’ve tried to book a camping reservation online at popular locations in the past five years, you’ve likely been stymied by a camping bot. Bots are ingenious little bits of computer code that allow a user’s computer to flood a reservation site with campsite requests. It all happens fast – a typical reservation bot can complete a purchase in .02 of a second. Good luck typing fast enough to keep up with that. Learn more.
National Parks want darkness; RV makers say, “Let there be light”
The National Park Service has announced a new partnership that will help reduce light pollution in its parks. “Staring at the night sky with the Milky Way streaking overhead is a quintessential experience for many national park visitors,” said Karen Trevino of the NPS. Meanwhile, RV makers continue to produce RVs that add to light pollution. RVtravel.com editor has an opinion about this. Read it here.
New RV inspection facilities may help RV quality issues
You don’t need to look far to find dissatisfaction among folks who’ve bought new RVs. It’s a matter of, “For the money we’ve spent, to have to send the thing back for service immediately is ridiculous.” This is a common refrain. But at least two RV manufacturers may alleviate some of that. A new RV inspection service has just opened in the heart of U.S. RV manufacturing country. General RV Center has thrown open the bay doors at its Bristol, Indiana, inspection plant. Continue reading.
SALE EXTENDED! Save now, or pay more later!
Harvest Hosts’ NEW member prices are going up to $99/yr. this coming Thursday, April 15. If you buy a membership now, it’s only $67.15 a year after a 15% discount for an entire year of unlimited overnight stays. Use HHFRIENDS15 at checkout for the discounted rate and to lock it in forever, regardless of how much the membership fee increases in the future. Learn more or join.
This week’s podcast (#2)
Host Scott Linden is back with another dose of RV news, information and entertainment. Listen to it on the official RV Travel Podcast page, where you can learn what’s up this week, or just click the play button below. Or download it here.
IDEA: Play the podcast as you read this newsletter.
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel looks at the Coachmen Catalina Legacy 333RETS Travel Trailer. Tony says this trailer “offers a large, usable and comfortable living space, which could be great for a destination trailer or even a full-time living situation.” Read more and see how it compares to yesterday’s Keystone Outback.
Last week’s reviews:
Newmar King Aire • Jayco Jay Flight SLX 8 264BHW & the Starcraft Autumn Ridge 26BH • Runaway Campers V-Series Mini-Campers • 2021 Rockwood Signature 8263MBR Travel Trailer • 2022 Arctic Fox Camper 1150
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
That was the RV week that was
April 4–10, 2021
If you’re a fan of “Camp Walmart,” here’s an “amenity” that may be going away: McDonald’s. The Golden Arches chain says it is shutting down hundreds of its in-store locations at Walmarts across the country. Plans are only about 150 locations will stay alive at the retailing chain that boasts 3,750 Supercenters. Blame it on COVID-19. More and more Wally shoppers are either having their groceries delivered straight to their door, or are picking up in the parking lot. Less foot traffic means a cut in Big Mac sales. Walmart says it will fill the vacant holes, in some cases with alternative “regional” restaurants.
A “temporary” day-use permit system will add another layer of reservations to your National Park visits in California’s Yosemite. If you plan on visiting the park between May 21 and September 30, you’ll need an advance reservation – that includes annual and lifetime passholders. Reservations can be made on recreation.gov starting at 8 a.m. on April 21. If you reserve one of the 580 camping spots available in the park, you won’t need to have the day-use reservation to enter the park on your camping date.
Fire-prone Forest River? For the second time in less than a month, firefighters were called to a Forest River manufacturing plant. This time, the Wednesday afternoon blaze broke out at a building off Old U.S. 20 in Elkhart, Indiana. The fire was in a stack of air conditioner units, and was largely outside of the building. Firefighters said they were a bit hampered in dealing with the flames: Fencing around the plant meant they had to route 2000 feet of fire hose to the nearest fire plug. No cause for this blaze pinpointed. However, a fire in a Forest River lamination plant a few weeks back was sparked by a space heater. That fire demolished that building, and the company has since relocated the operation to another available building.
Willie Nelson sang about his eagerness to get “On the road again.” Following the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, so many Americans have the same feeling that this summer will likely see the highest road fuel prices since 2018. That prediction comes from the Energy Information Administration’s Summer Fuels Outlook report, released April 6. Gasoline prices will average $2.78 a gallon from April to September in the U.S., up 30% from last summer. Diesel fuel prices are projected to average $2.96 over the summer, up 20% from last summer. These projections could be off – much depends on what happens to the price of crude oil.
Wildfire that hit North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park last week continues to burn. The 5,000-acre blaze is in the park’s North Unit, and a portion has made its way onto the Little Missouri National Grassland. As of Friday morning, firefighters had contained about 70% of the blaze. While no structures have been damaged, the historic CCC campground near the park is still at risk.
RV TRIVIA: In the year 1980, 5 million American households owned RVs. In 2020, the number had more than doubled to 11.2 million RV-owning households.
Retail RV sales in February set a new “best ever” record – up almost 18% from last year. Travel trailers pushed up better than 24% with 22,646 new rigs registered. That compared to February 2020’s 18,202. Fifth wheels posted a better than 21% increase: 6,627 new rigs registered compared to 5,549 in 2020. Pop-ups were likewise a marvel, up 24.5%: 482 in 2021 versus 387 in 2020. Park models, though small in numbers, saw a huge increase, up nearly 50% to 125 registrations in February 2021. Motorhomes were not nearly as stellar: Class A registrations sank almost 8%, down to 1,142 this year, versus 1,235 in February 2020. Class Cs also dove – down almost 1.5% to 1,658 this February from 2020’s 1,682. The only motorized bright spot were Class B campervans, roaring down the road with better than 43% increases – 621 this year, 433 in February 2020. Source: Statistical Surveys Inc.
“It is insane to spend $45,000 on temporarily mitigating an RV dump. I think it should be closed. People will drive with their crap anyway.” With that insightful comment from Councilwoman Laura Mitchell of the Crested Butte, Colorado, town council, the council has voted five to two to dump the town’s RV dump station. It was a colorful discussion, with many locals demanding the town’s RV dump station, previously located at the local sewage treatment plant, be closed for safety considerations. Last year an allegedly speeding RVer ran over and killed a pet in the area, and the naysayers were at the council meeting in droves. It seems residential development has grown out toward the sewage plant, and RVs are seen as speeding, unsafe hulks. Not everyone felt as Mitchell. “The hardest thing about being a tourist town is the impacts of tourism,” said Mayor Jim Schmidt, according to the Crested Butte News. “We don’t want the bad things that come with tourism but tourism is what keeps the town, the businesses here running. My preference is to keep it going for awhile and find a long-term solution.”
What if they gave an illegal party and 5,000 people came? It happened last weekend in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest when park rangers happened upon the huge event in the Lower Sycamore Creek Recreation Area. The service requires a pre-approved permit for a gathering of more than 75, but driven by social media invitations, the thousands, many equipped with off-road vehicles, turned up, taping off sections of the main road. When two quads cracked into each other, a helicopter had to be called for an evacuation, as party-goers blocked the roads. Citations (and potentially arrests) were issued for speeding, reckless driving, unlawful fireworks, double-riding, and DUIs. Adding to a volatile mix: Target shooting without knowing backstops.
Back in 2020 we wrote about the new, automated RV park on I-44 near West Sullivan, Missouri. Called RV Self-Park, armed with a credit card, weary RVers can pull in and get a full-hookup site for $25 for 12 hours, or $39 for 24 – all without speaking to a soul. Readers weren’t particularly enthusiastic, suggesting the rates seemed a bit steep. No mind, RV Self-Park developer Jim Turntine says he’s moving ahead with developing a franchise deal. Turntine is now consulting with a franchise group and attorneys, and is said to be writing up a 200-page “operations manual.” It looks like it’ll be a few months before franchise opportunities will be opened up, but Turntine and RV Self-Park are pushing ahead.
Refrigerator bars ensure nothing shifts while moving
It’s happened to most RVers – you open the fridge (even slowly) after a day of driving and a heavy jar falls on your toe – “Ouch!” Never have that happen again with these easy-to-install spring-loaded refrigerator bars. They’re also useful in cupboards and closets. Order for a good price.
Grand Canyon National Park’s east gate reopened last Thursday. The entrance at Desert View had been closed since April 1, 2020, to reduce traffic through the Navajo Nation in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Park officials consulted with the nation and other U.S. and Arizona health officials prior to the reopening. Although Highway 64 from Cameron to the park is open, no other roads – aside from state and federal highways – are open for use. Mask wearing on the reservation is required. No food or fuel will be available at Desert View, and the campground there continues closed. While credit cards are accepted at South Rim (Grand Canyon Village), cash IS NOT being accepted at this time.
How well would your motorhome hold up in a crash? That’s the question from ADAC – the largest motoring association in Europe. ADAC put a Class B campervan to the test, smashing it head-on into an SUV-like vehicle at 35 mph. Using crash test dummies to simulate driver, front-seat passenger, and children in the back, things didn’t go as well as they might. The front end of the rig crumpled up, and potential damage to the driver’s legs were seen. Those in the back seat were thrown forward as the seat moorings appeared to give way. While beds and cabinetry stayed in place, that couldn’t be said for the contents. Glassware flew through the air – in shards – creating all sorts of ballistic impact issues for people on board. ADAC not only recommends manufacturers should improve seat construction and front-end crumple zones, they had advice for RVers: Consider switching out to lightweight plastic dishes, always wear seat belts, and if a table is between rear-seated passengers and the front, it should be folded and put away when traveling.
????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
Sometimes we come across things that are so darned cool we buy them for ourselves… This is one of those things!
Montana’s Glacier National Park staff are trying a new approach to educating “the Selfie Generation.” Rangers have been unnerved as first-time visitors to the nation’s parks turn out in droves to take their own photos to post on social media. Trouble is, many seem to know nothing of the “no trace” ethic. Just ask any ranger who’s had the odious assignment of cleaning up and packing out human waste. Now the park is “partnering” with social media “influencers.” Selected posters who put information on their own sites about topics like leave no trace, social media ethics, and climate change will be offered the opportunity to have their posts re-posted on the park’s social media websites – garnering the opportunity to have their posts viewed by an additional 900,000 of the park’s own followers.
St. Paul, Minnesota, may be the capital of catalytic crooks. The city has the dubious distinction of having six of the pollution cutting vehicle devices stolen each day. Now police are fighting back: They scheduled a Saturday “drive through clinic” for owners to get help protecting their precious converters – and license plates. Police will spray paint the cat converters – making them less attractive to scrap buyers – and will install theft prevention screws on license plates. The latter have also become hot crook commodities, wherein the stolen plates are affixed to stolen vehicles to help conceal their identities.
We reported last month on Minnesotans Richard and Dana Laine. The Laines are dairy farmers who’d like to retire, and building an RV park on their land seemed like just the ticket. But locals have a beef with the idea, and have managed to convince local authorities to repeatedly shoot the idea down – until last month. A last-minute vote reversal by a Becker County commissioner took the proposal off death-row and put it in the realm of possibility. Now that same commission has completely riled locals and voted to approve an eight-site park on Big Toad Lake. Officials tied strict conditions to the permit, but residents weren’t happy. One predicted there’d be a complaint filed bright and early every Monday, he’s so certain the Laine’s operation will somehow violate those conditions.
And the dumb crook of the week award goes to … Chicagoan Lafayette Moore, who stole a car at a gas pump in Joliet, Illinois, on March 26. After toodling around a few miles, he found himself lost. What did mama say to do if you’re lost? Ask a policeman for help. Moore did. Helpful officer did more than give directions to Interstate 80, he gave Moore a ride to the police station. Aiding and abetting our dumb crook of the week, our dumb victim of the week. The car owner had left the car running, with the key in the ignition, at the gas station.
The National Transportation Safety Board says it wants more safety equipment in your vehicle. On Tuesday the board adopted a list of priorities, and included on it was a plea to car and truck builders to build in collision avoidance systems as standard equipment. The board said nearly 80% of all road crashes could have benefited if the vehicles involved had automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning systems.
A couple missing in Death Valley National Park were located. Alexander Lofgren, 32, and Emily Henkel, 27, from Tucson, Arizona, were supposed to have returned from a hiking trip last Sunday. When they didn’t show, a missing persons report was filed on Tuesday. Rangers checked every spot on their itinerary to no avail. On Thursday their car was found in a remote part of the park. Inside the car, a note which read, “Two flat tires, headed to Mormon Point, have three days’ worth of water.” An aerial rescue team spotted the couple on a high ledge on Friday and attempted to rescue them. Sadly, when they finally reached them on the second attempt, Lofgren was pronounced dead. Henkel was airlifted for medical treatment. Her condition as of press time is unknown.
As spring reaches Yellowstone National Park, creatures come out of hibernation. You might think bears, but snails? Hang on, these aren’t your typical garden pests, but rather, a rare snow formation. The Park Service released photos of the oddball things lined up at the bottom of a hill. Called “snow rollers,” “snow bails,” and, of course, “snow snails,” these crazy natural formations are caused when sticky, light snow is shoved by strong winds, or when rolling down a hill. “Unpredictability characterizes Yellowstone’s weather, especially during the shoulder season,” park officials said. “Big temperature swings are possible and can be hard to predict.”
Statistics suggest that if you’re looking to be involved in an accident with a big rig, Texas is the place to be. Some Lone Star State legislators are working to bring House Bill 19 to law that would make changes for how those who are injured in big truck accidents fare in court. The point of the bill is to shift responsibility for truck accidents from the companies that own the rigs to the individual drivers. Opponents blast the bill, saying it limits how much could be brought up in court as to how a trucking company maintains its rigs and monitors its drivers. Proponents say the bill protects trucking companies from multi-million-dollar jury awards. The bill is in committee, and has yet to be brought to the floor for a vote.
Campground hosts are needed in Southwest Virginia. The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests have openings for the Bark Camp and Cave Springs Campgrounds, and for the High Knob Recreation Area. The former two need hosts beginning in May, the latter starting in July; all run through September. Cleaning, greeting, and general maintenance are in return for an RV site – except at High Knob, where hosts get a cabin. Interested? Phone the ranger station at (276) 679-8370.
In case you missed this in our RV Daily Tips newsletter this week, Harvest Hosts, a membership program giving RVers access to unique RV camping options, announced that it has exceeded 2,000 host locations on its platform. This list includes more than 575 wineries, 500 farms, 241 breweries and distilleries, 390 golf courses, and 338 museums and other attractions, all with scenic overnight RV camping options. Continue reading.
A 126-site RV park will open in Nampa, Idaho, this summer. The 7.5-acre Central Point RV Park will be located off Northside Boulevard near Interstate 84. Developers say they’ll open to travelers, and those who’d like to rent on a month-to-month basis. They point to the area’s Amazon warehouse as a driver behind the limited amount of RV space in the area. Does your rig list its “birthdate” before 2010? Then you won’t necessarily be welcomed. Paul Hilbig says rigs that old will have to be evaluated on a “case by case basis” as to whether they’ll be admitted to the park.
After hundreds of searchers looked in vain for a woman said to have fallen from an overlook in West Virginia’s New River Gorge National Park, a man is going to jail. Nope, he didn’t toss his wife off a cliff but, rather, conspired to fake her death to avoid her own going to jail in a health care fraud case. Rodney Wheeler told authorities his wife fell at the park on May 31, 2020. Choppers, rappellers, and search dogs spent two days looking for Julie Wheeler, but didn’t find her in the park. Instead, she was hiding in a closet back home. Rodney told some big whoppers to try and keep her hidden, with the plan that he would care for her while she permanently disappeared. Instead he’ll spend two months in prison and six months of home confinement. Meanwhile, wife, Julie, is working through her own 42-month prison sentence for her conviction in the health care fraud case.
Folks camping in Utah’s Logan Canyon may see a bit of a spiff-up if they camp at the Guinavah/Malibu Campground. The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest got a $2 million economic kick-in from the Great American Outdoors Act to help handle deferred maintenance and other needs. The campground entry from the highway will be moved a bit – reducing traffic danger from another attraction across the street. In the campground, non-native crack willow trees which frequently lose heavy limbs in windstorms will be removed, to be replaced with native species. And, wary about creating issues in the historic (pre-20th century) campground, officials say they’ll be cautious as they make campground improvements in a way not to upset the historic apple cart.
National Park Service rangers are always on the lookout for resource poachers. From ancient artifacts to Saguaro cactuses, people will steal practically anything. Now there’s a new resource the poachers want: white oak. Recently a man was sentenced to nearly a year in jail for stealing dozens of white oak trees from Lookout Mountain in Tennessee’s Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. What makes the white oak attractive to bad guys? By law, Tennessee whiskey and Kentucky bourbon must be stored in barrels made of new white oak. With the price of the wood reaching more than $400 per 1,000 board feet, it’s attracting the criminal element.
RV TRIVIA – 37% of U.S. households intend to purchase an RV at some point in the future. Among the 20.5 million households intending to purchase an RV, 9.6 million (47%) plan to purchase within the next five years.
Vandals on public lands have struck again – this time in Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest. Someone has vandalized Native American petroglyphs in the forest’s Track Rock Gap. Speaking of the damage, the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation said in a statement: “They are special sites for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and for all people as part of the Heritage of this region. Whether through ignorance or malice – the result is irreparable damage to a unique site that connects us directly to the people of the past.” The Forest Service has not indicated if restoration to the rock carvings will be attempted.
Idaho’s Sawtooth National Forest was a $1.1 million winner in the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund handout. Their share will be used to replace a couple of bridges, repair a communications system building, and trail restoration, among other things. Of interest to RVers is a $90,000 earmark toward recreational site maintenance. A four-person team will do repairs and replacements to damaged infrastructure and some upgrades for disabled folk. They’ll also be upgrading toilets in a number of campground restrooms. Sawtooth’s $1.1 million share was part of the total $285 million package, funded by new oil, gas, coal, and alternative energy development on federal land.
The strains of marching band music won’t be heard in Washington, D.C., come July 4 – at least, not from the National Independence Day parade. The parade has been canceled for the second year in a row. Park Service officials say COVID-19 is responsible. “The marching units that travel from across the country to participate in the parade have not had the necessary 8 to 18 months to organize, rehearse and fund-raise before making the trip, and most are still unable to travel due to COVID-19 concerns,” said a Service announcement.
The villagers of Spring Lake, Michigan, have spoken: Out with the RVs. Back in 2018, the village’s Tanglefoot Park, a popular venue for RVers, was closed for repairs. It’s been closed ever since. Now the village manager says it’s time for a change. When locals were asked, apparently a typical response was like this of Stanford Butler: “While the summer renters enjoyed the beautiful riverfront view, the rest of the community did not,” Butler told the Grand Haven Tribune. “For up to six months of the year, the community was excluded from the river view, and for the other six they were left with a rather unattractive collection of concrete pads and dead grass.” The RV park will be no more.
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.
Rivian challenges Tesla with better EV truck, SUV battery warranty
A few months prior to its first deliveries, Rivian has taken the electric vehicle battery warranty lead over Tesla among pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles. The warranty for the Rivian R1T electric pickup and R1S electric SUV is eight years or 175,000 miles (whichever comes first). Continue reading.
Now, use your air conditioner in low-power situations never before possible!
At RVtravel.com we don’t see too many products that we go nuts over, but the SoftStartRV is a game changer. Here’s what it can do:
• Run one air conditioner using only a small portable generator.
• Run one air conditioner on 20-amp household current.
• Run two air conditioners (with two SoftStartRVs) on a 30-amp hookup.
• Run an air conditioner or two using your onboard inverter system. Save $30! Read more.
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 time today, April 11, 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 (if you haven’t already) for a chance to win in future issues.
Last week three readers claimed their $25 Amazon gift certificate: Eduardo W. of Weston, Florida, Roger B. of Lebanon, Tennessee, and Andrew K. of Clinton Township, Michigan.
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.
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 turtle-y awesome story of an endangered species, a restored cemetery, food-pantry donatin’ musicians, and, of course, several cute animal videos, not to mention a Sasquatch with some gas… Click here to smile.
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 stay-at-home activity!
Do you have dreams about “falling?”
Answer here and see how others respond.
They fill me up and you empty me almost every day; if you raise my arm, I respond in different ways. What am I?
Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
Popular articles you may have missed
• Propane shortages. Skyrocketing prices. Problems ahead?
• Improper trailer hitch extension – A disaster in the making
• Simple ways to keep RV pipes fresh and clean
• Values of used RVs doing something hard to believe!
• EZ Lynk being sued. EPA says no more “rolling coal” and modifying emission controls!
• California to roll out mandatory motorhome emissions testing
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.
The Idaho BLM needs a campground host for its Hammer Creek Campground on the Lower Salmon River, three miles from White Bird, Idaho. A full RV hookup and stipend is offered in exchange for the usual host duties. The term starts May 10 and runs until the end of November, and work days are Thursday through Monday, including holidays. Contact Joe O’Neill, 208-962-3683. More info and on-line application.
Tragedy has struck a Lower Township, New Jersey, RV park. Last Saturday police were called to the Sun Outdoors Cape May park when people pulled a 3-year-old girl from a park septic tank. Sadly, she was pronounced dead at a nearby medical center. Corporate owner, Sun RV Resort, through a media release described the incident as “a terrible accident.” The location had only opened for the season two days earlier. An investigation as to how the little girl could have fallen into a septic tank is ongoing.
When Skagway, Alaska’s governing body couldn’t find anyone willing to be a campground host for the Dyea Campground in exchange for an RV spot, they came up with another idea: Build a cabin, and let that serve as the host’s spot. But it seems like the city’s council can’t quite figure out the “scope” of the job. Initially the idea was to collect fees and keep an eye on things. But the councilors had a major brouhaha over whether the campground host should also monitor activities farther away on the river flats. In the end, it appears the host will simply work the campground – in the early morning hours – then have the rest of the day off to pursue a paying job.
A family-owned resort near Owensboro, Kentucky, is selling out to a mystery buyer. Diamond Lake Campground and Resort has been family owned since at least 2005. Current owners say Diamond Lake will soon sell, but say they can’t reveal who the new buyer is at this time. They did say the buyer does run other campgrounds and resorts around the country.
RVing families in Indiana may want to check out the new playground at Spring Mills State Park. Designed for kids 5 to 10, it’s up and running at the Donaldson Cave parking lot.
As the RV lifestyle breaks into the mainstream news market, it’s no surprise that business would follow along. Now there’s a new line of trailer tires available. Hankook Tire now offers Vantra Trailer Tires in a variety of sizes “that will fit,” says Hankook’s promotional literature, “most popular trailer applications.” Click here to learn more from the Hankook site.
Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park has attained status as the 100th International Dark Sky Park. It joins 169 International Dark Sky Places after a thorough application process.
Planning a visit to the Keystone State? You can get a directory of 231 RV resorts and campgrounds in the newly released Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association directory. The 68-pager is free: visit www.pacamping.com.
Firearms laws guide updated for 2021
The 2021 updated edition of the best-selling Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States is a must-have for firearm owners. The annual guidebook helps ensure RVers and others stay out of trouble when crossing state lines. What’s legal in one state may be a felony in another. More than 100 updates from last year. Learn more or order.
Previously closed due to COVID-19, Osceola National Forest’s Ocean Pond Campground in Sanderson, Florida, reopened last week. Capacity is limited to 50% to enhance social distancing. There are 67 primitive camping sites for RVs and tents as well as swimming, fishing and boating opportunities. Site fees range between $12 and $30 per night and are available on a first-come, first-served basis only.
The Army Corps of Engineers says it will open its Simon, West Virginia, R.D. Bailey Lake Campground on May 22. Of the 182 sites, 94 will be “first-come, first served,” including six with full hookups. The balance of sites will be on a reservation basis, which all have electric hookups. Fees range from $20 to $34 per night. The season will close come September 30. For more info call 304-664-3229.
RVers aren’t the only ones who love state parks. Up in Washington state, at the Lake Sammamish State Park, an enterprising mother goose has found a new home for her nestlings – in an abandoned eagle’s nest, 35 feet up a tree. Typically eagle families return to the same nest year after year, and since they nest before geese, they wouldn’t have had to evict the tenanting Canada goose.
RV TRIVIA – Approximately one-third (34 percent) of all RVers have children under 18 in the home. Current owners prefer towable RVs three to one over motorhomes.
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE STOLEN RVs?
This brand-new 2021 Salem Grand Villa 42DL was stolen March 17 from a campground in Marblehead, Ohio. If you have information about it, please call the Danbury Township Police Department at (419) 732-2549.
The Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Police Department is asking for help in locating this truck and fifth wheel. They were stolen from the parking lot of the Pines Mall while the owner was in a hotel. The theft occurred during the evening of April 1, 2021. The truck is a white 1999 Dodge 3500, license plate 839KEC. The RV is a 2021 Dutchman Astoria. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Detective Division at 870-730-2090.
See many more recently stolen RVs. Let’s help find these for their owners and maybe even put the crooks in the slammer. Click here.
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.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
• Some 2019-2020 Sprinter RVs, vans recalled
• Some Rockwood, Flagstaff fifth wheels recalled
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Campground Crowding: They counted, and 70% of reserved sites were empty!
• Shocked when touching your RV? This is a deadly serious problem. Do something!
• RVer’s scare: Motorhome pops out of gear in the night, starts rolling down the mountain
• RVer suspects sewer tank leak, but where is it?
• We got into an accident. Here’s what we learned that may help you
• Teardrop trailers: The only RVs to have seen combat!
• Video: How to avoid burning food in your RV oven
• Professional photographer says this tripod is best for RVers
• Video: Starlink Internet Service: The good news and the bad news
• Can I build my own “SoftStartRV”-type controller for cheap?
• What’s the “best” tire pressure monitoring system?
• Four smartphone tech seminars for you from the FMCA Rally
… and much more
Let your drill clean your RV – really!
This 4-piece cleaning brush attachment connects right to your drill. Deep-clean virtually any surface. Perfect for grout lines, corners, tiles, tubs, showers, carpets, wooden furniture, windows, shower doors, siding, linoleum, stoves, counters, fiberglass, grills, marble, and more. Learn more or order here.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of April 5, 2021:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.86 [Calif.: $3.79]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 93 cents.
Diesel: $3.14 [Calif.: $3.98]
Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 60 cents.
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.
Recipe of the Day
Almond Crusted Tilapia for Two
By Katrina Freed
My husband and I are trying to eat healthier and fresh foods are at the top of our list. I have never been much of a seafood fan, but this is so good I want to make it again soon! I just tweaked this recipe last night and this portion is perfect for just two people. Multiply this by the number of people and I am sure it will be a hit! I served it with mashed sour cream and green onion potatoes, and a side of asparagus and tomatoes.
Get the recipe and baking instructions.
Did you miss yesterday’s recipe, Jalapeño Bacon Wonton Poppers? Yum! Get it here.
Paint nick or chip on your RV? Easy fix!
Writer Nanci Dixon recently wrote about how to easily fix a paint nick or chip on your RV. The manufacturer showed her how to touch up the spot with mini automotive paintbrushes. “Merely wipe the damaged area clean, dip the paint stick in the touch-up paint, wipe off excess paint and dab the nick.” See the difference and buy the brushes here for about $10.
Brain teaser answer:
A farmer friend of mine was struggling financially and his chickens were struggling to mate, so he decided to set up a dating app exclusively for chickens. It’s a crazy idea, but can you blame a guy for trying to make hens meet?
Today in History
If you want to have a wonderful day, send $10, $50 or $100 to a local food bank. There are millions of our fellow citizens, including little kids, who are going hungry because their parents lost their jobs. You will feel so good if you contribute — helping people less fortunate than you go to bed without the pain of an empty stomach. Here’s where to donate.
RV Travel staff
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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I for one don’t understand why more (all) funds collected from timber, mining, grazing etc on public lands isn’t pumped back into the backlog of pubic land upkeep/ improvements. And after the land has been polluted/raped of value they are allowed to walk away and let us, the public, pay for the cleanup. Something is wrong in this picture. Currently we pay many ways, where is the responsibility…….!
After reading that gasoline prices would be $2.78 from April to Sept you can imagine my surprise when I read your weekly gasoline price of $2.86. Obviously someone isn’t paying attention.
“Gasoline prices will average $2.78 a gallon from April to September in the U.S.”
Still plenty of time for them to get to that average once they go above $3.50 per gallon.
Can the CARB story be updated please. I think I saw something about the bill had died in committee.
That must have been one hell of a party. I read about that one. As for the safety of the motorhome RV? They should be built like school buses. Tanks. They survive almost anything. Except head on with a semi. But that I have not seen yet. This is why I tow not drive one of those things. As for Mesa Verde? That was my mothers bucket list and she saw sadly before she passed. That out west trip was awesome. I also tell people get a campsite and their docent tour. Awesome. We got a FHU there 9 months before arriving because they only have 20 FHU sites. So go and have an awesome time. Anything west of the Mississippi I have done. Now to explore the eastern seaboard. Happy camping. And O BTW? This day in history? Frank Sinatra sang Strangers in the Nite.
RV park closures in towns: there will be more of these as accidents happen and the few inconsiderates ruin it for everyone. But in the end, money talks. Every RVer is someone who is not staying in a hotel or bed & breakfast. Small towns away from freeways will continue to open more small overnight lots (think maybe 5 spots in a city park). Towns nearer the freeway may not want RVers driving through town or taking up precious space on their waterfront property, but they’ll tolerate RV parks on the edge of town near the freeway, like near the chain hotels. Maybe not the most scenic, but it gets you a spot for a night or two.
Dump Buddy, for when you want a $40 solution to a problem that a simple brick will cure. Considering most dump stations are just a hole, there’s no way to attach this. Most FHU sites have a threaded pipe, so you just screw in your (Camco) elbow adapter which isn’t going to pop out. Sorry Dump Buddy, you have a $40 solution that’s not right for most situations.
$50 after paying for shipping. Not worth it. I’ll just use duct tape.
agreed. Most sites I’ve been to the dump hole is flush with the ground.
Is it possible to have a page devoted to listing places that are non-friendly to RVers (and friendly ones)? Then the first one I would nominate is Crested Butte, Colorado for their crazy answer (and crazy councilwoman) to why they would close a perfectly good dump station.
No Poop Here
Speeding RVers: tell me that the locals NEVER speed. And tell me that the locals don’t own any RVs, driving through neighborhoods to get back home, or use the dump facilities.
No proofreaders? Dictionary.com not working for you?
“Repellers” = rappellers
“Brew-ha-ha” = brouhaha
Come on, RV Travel. You’re better than this. Typos happen to everyone with a keyboard, but spell-check isn’t faultless. These two likely would have passed unnoticed by the spell-bot. Sometimes phonetics and/or millennial-abbrevospeak just make you look uneducated, careless, or maybe just rushed…staring down a rapidly approaching deadline…..?
Hi, Connie. Thank you. They’ve been corrected. (Although I liked the writer’s version of “brew-ha-ha” better than the correct spelling. 😆 ) Yep, in a hurry. Those slightly registered in my brain when I saw them, but not enough to follow up on them, unfortunately. I don’t use/trust spellchecker, and I hardly qualify for “millennial-abbrevospeak” – being 74! 😯 But I do like that term. Do you have any idea of how many hundreds of typos I correct every week? I worked for an attorney for 40+ years. Very rarely (maybe once or twice a year) he would catch a typo of mine, and he would say that he was happy to see one because it proved I was human. Have a great day! 😀 —Diane (the human proofreader) at RVtravel.com
Diane you are doing a great job.
Awww, thanks, Snayte. That’s very nice of you to say. I really hate it when I miss something. Have a great day! 😀 —Diane at RVtravel.com
Crusted Tilapia for Two.
Fried food in butter is NOT healthy. lol, nice try to fool yourself though.
Definition of a riot: three nutritionists asked to agree on healthy food choices. Honestly! One I read said that butter is little more than solidified grease, not for eating. Another said butter is loaded with unhealthy artery-clogging substances; and yet a third now claims that butter comprises an amazing variety of fatty-acid compounds beneficial to good health. So… pick any answer you like. According to some authority somewhere, you’ll be right!
Moderation seems to be key. A serving of food fried in a little butter is probably far more harmful to one’s imagination than it is to one’s health.
Remember eat right, exercise regularly, die anyway.
olive oil or other vegan oil. Vegetable is not healthy either.
““The hardest thing about being a tourist town is the impacts of tourism,” said Mayor Jim Schmidt”
A good friend years ago told me that the printing business (he owned a print shop) was “the greatest business in the world… except for the (censored) customers!”
It seems the current attitude in the U.S. concerning RV overnight parking and campgrounds is, “stay away but send your money!”
As hordes of RV’ers multiply and the size of a typical RV approaches the length of an 18-wheeler, triple-wide with slide-outs, expect the backlash to worsen. Gone are the days of the unassuming family tent or the compact two-wheel Spam-can trailer. Our town, on a popular tourist island, wiped out a municipal 40-site RV park after public hearings convinced city leaders it was unloved, unwanted, and in the way of more useful developments. Wrong-headed? Maybe… but few these days have affection for over-size RV traffic.