RV News for Feb. 24 – Mar. 2, 2018

RV News for Feb. 24 – Mar. 2, 2018

breaking-newsReturn to RV Travel Issue 835.

The RV industry is basking in the warm glow of recent production figures. In the “best January on record,” total RV shipments from manufacturers to dealers were 42,441, up more than 25 percent from January 2017. Towable units shot through the doors, totaling 36,322 – an increase of nearly 27 percent. Motorhomes were up 18 percent, with 5,819 rumbling onto dealer lots. Source: Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. 

January sales of used RVs at auction held the line, with values only declining slightly. Towable units lost close to 2 percent, with an average sale price of $13,301; motorhomes were down close to 1 percent, selling for an average price of $45,705. All comparisons were to December 2017 figures. Source: Black Book

If you spent any time RVing in Arizona this winter, you may have thought the herds (or flocks) of snowbirds were larger than normal. In any configuration, your thinking is supported by RV park owners. Members of the Arizona Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds are describing the season as “extremely busy” – some managers saying they’re “sold out” well into March. Getting some of the credit: an influx of those who’d normally winter in Florida or Texas but were put off by the hurricanes. 

Airstream is evidently feeling the wind of sales beneath its wings. The Thor-owned company says it will build a new manufacturing plant in Jackson Center, Ohio, that will employ up to 300 workers, with production slated to begin by May 2019. The company says the new plant will allow ramp-up in production of 50 percent. Last year’s production by Airstream was eight times greater than that of 2009. 

Just in time for the “argument around the campfire” season, Cummins has released a series of five videos “highlighting the benefits of diesel powered motorhomes compared to their gasoline counterparts.” From noise levels to fuel economy, hill climbing and braking differences, you’ll find plenty of “fuel for the fire” (or is it diesel?) for your next diesel versus gasser discussion. You can view the videos here.

FMCA’s monthly magazine — Family Motor Coaching — will have a new name and new look when the May issue hits mailboxes. The magazine makeover and its new title — Family RVing — follow a membership vote last year to expand FMCA’s reach and welcome owners of all self-contained RVs, not just motorized ones, into the organization.

Camping World Holdings‘ fourth-quarter revenue soared 33 percent to $889 million, far exceeding expected growth rates of 20 percent. Adjusted pro forma net income more than doubled to $22 million, and the resulting adjusted earnings of $0.25 per share was well ahead of the $0.22 per share that most of those following the stock had anticipated seeing.


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Campground hosts are needed in California’s Lassen National Forest. Free campsite and propane (or electric) are part of the deal for hosts who would serve at Almanor North, Almanor South, Domingo Springs, Elam and Battle Creek campgrounds, all near Chester, Calif. Contact Stacy Kronner 530-258-5162 (Almanor Ranger District) or srkronner@fs.fed.us or Tami Taylor 530-336-3360 or tataylor@fs.fed.us (Hat Creek Ranger District).

President Trump announced Thursday that he will impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum as early as next week. As reported by CNBC, the U.S. will set tariffs of 25 percent for steel and 10 percent for aluminum. Responding to the mandate, which would negatively impact RV suppliers and manufacturers, Jay Landers, vice president of government affairs for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), told RVbusiness.com that the organization vowed non-stop efforts to reverse Trump’s decision to impose the tariffs.

Coming on the heels of a record-breaking year of sales for the RV industry, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced Friday that RVs accounted for $30 billion in direct economic activity in 2016, the most recent year for which statistics are available. The data is from the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA), the first-ever government report recognizing outdoor recreation as a significant contributor to the U.S. economy.

In a first-ever arrangement, space at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers campground in California’s Mendocino County will be used to house residents displaced by the Redwood Complex wildfires. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says it will move in 29 “temporary housing units” once utility hookups are in place. Space at the Mendocino Kyen Campground could be expanded to handle up to 70 FEMA units. It will be at least a month before the units are available for occupancy. 

Photo: Florida Highway Patrol

A freak accident in Florida has left an RV passenger dead after he fell out of a motorhome and onto Interstate 75 last Sunday, north of Tampa. Keith Hertik, 52, a resident of Bay Shore, N.Y., was riding behind the driver of the motorhome when the driver lost control of the motorhome and it collided with a guardrail. The impact tore open a hole in the rig and Hertik fell out of the still-moving motorhome. He died at an Ocala, Fla., hospital. A representative of the Florida Highway Patrol told RVTravel.com that it did not appear that Hertik was wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.

Planning to overnight at Great Smoky Mountains National Park (N.C./Tenn.)? Changes rolled into place this week which might have an effect. Site fees at all nine campgrounds have jumped up a minimum of 10 percent, and in some cases 25 percent. And don’t think you’ll be able to slip in without a reservation. Balsam Mountain and Big Creek campgrounds, formerly on a first-come, first-served basis, have now been pushed over into a reservation-only basis. 

Whistler Campground, the popular Parks Canada site south of Jasper, Alberta, is getting a $30 million renovation. You’ll notice the first upgrade as you swing into the camp – the old two-man check station, responsible on a fast-paced day for processing a carload of visitors every minute-and-a-half, will be upgraded. After completion, six kiosks will handle traffic and direct them to the campground, which will sport 17 new or refurbished bathhouses – one no more than an 800-foot walk from each campsite. Officials expect to have a contract in hand by this summer – but no official word on when the project will start. 

A camper on California’s Catalina Island had an interesting run-in with wildlife. A man, sitting on a log and reportedly minding his own business, was attacked and his arm gored by a bison. Authorities say the “buffalo” was in a nearby meadow and approached, at which point the visiting biped attempted to walk away and he was attacked. After on-scene treatment the victim was airlifted to a hospital off-island. No further reports about his injuries were available.


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news524(2)More News

“No person shall park or leave standing any recreational vehicle, recreational trailer, or fifth-wheel, regardless of length or width, upon any public street or highway in the city for a period of time exceeding 48 hours.” So says a new ordinance in Banning, Calif. Just moving your RV a few feet won’t work to spare you trouble – the ordinance specifies that rigs must be moved at least a half-mile. 

Photo: Putnam County Rescue Squad on FB

An RVer in Jackson County, Tenn., got a rude awakening last Sunday when she found so much water outside her RV that the door couldn’t be opened. She’d made camp on the Roaring River, which lived up to its name. Rescuers from the Putnam County Rescue Squad put out in a raft and plucked the hapless woman from the flooded rig. No injuries.

Last month we reported on a Canadian 3-D printing company that was boldly going where no one had gone before: printing a 3-D travel trailer. Create Café 3D Printing in Saskatchewan reports they’ve successfully finished the printing stage of the 12-foot, 700-pound body, and will soon be sending the new rig in for installation of appliances. All went well, says the report, save for a few minor glitches, namely “slight blemishes” where the printer stopped or paused during the 10-day print cycle. Company whizzes say they look to a future of printing 16- and 19-foot varieties of the plastic travel trailer. Watch a video.

A recently released report of comments made by visitors to Alberta, Canada’s, provincial parks yielded results that many RVers could “second” about parks elsewhere. Chief complaint: Dogs. Noisy, running loose, frightening guests, pooping, etc. Second up? Stinky bathrooms. One park in particular came into singular focus from RVers: Bow Valley Provincial Park near Canmore. RVers repeatedly razzed the park for being horrifically difficult to maneuver a rig through, and even worse to attempt to set up camp. One RVer mentioned his site was so narrow they couldn’t exit the rig through the RV’s main door. “We could only access through our bathroom door — thankfully we had one.”

After Middletown, R.I., officials as much as announced they were jacking the seasonal camping fees at a municipally owned campground up a total of $4,000 per season over two years, they had to take a step back. Campers showed up, some traveling more than five hours, all to appeal to the town council’s common sense. After hearing testimony, one councilor, Barbara VonVillas made the impassioned statement, “We are a community that depends on the tourist economy. We must value what it gives us and not abuse it because we can. There is right and there is wrong. I believe that the campground fees should be increased as they have been in previous years, but an increase of $4,000 over two years is – to use the trite expression – highway robbery.” In the end, members deadlocked on pushing ahead with the increase on a three-to-three vote. No fee increase – at least for now. 


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After partaking in some “wildwood weed,” a Jacks Valley, Nev., man got a surprise visit from local law enforcement – and a free trip to the hoosegow. After copping some cannabis, Harold J. Nolte, 33, is said to have blasted nine holes from the inside out through his RV with a 9 mm handgun. If that wasn’t enough, he followed up with at least one shot from a long rifle. Not only did the bullets aerate the RV, one of them went through the RV and into the bedroom of Nolte’s grandmother’s house. Nolte told officers somebody had tried to break into his rig for a couple of hours, and that he only resorted to firearms after the bad guys didn’t respond to his loud ringing of a cowbell. Harold Nolte was charged with discharging a firearm in a structure.

When Harvey rolled through Texas, it turned many families’ lives upside down – including those of Travis Gilbert, Alura Ferguson, and their daughter Annahleigh. The Lumberton-area family lost their home and had little left. But after doing what they could, and investing their tax return money into buying a travel trailer, what Harvey’s wind and water didn’t take – fire did. Their first night in their new trailer, fire of an accidental origin broke out. Fortunately the family was able to escape with their lives and now will start the rebuilding process all over again. 

They were supposed to be barbecuing brisket but ended up cooking a car. That’s the scoop from a trail rider’s campground out of Prairie View, Texas. A trail rider’s club was putting on a barbecue benefit when a hot coal jumped out of a cooker and landed in dry grass. The ensuing chaos amounted to empty fire extinguishers and singed cowboy boots as the group tried stomping the fire out. But the wind proved the better, and a nearby car caught on fire. A single volunteer firefighting unit arrived and it, too, couldn’t quite cut the barbecue sauce – or the mustard. Finally, more units arrived and after 40 minutes the overheated hardtop was put out.

Call him Dexter the dexterous. Dexter, the cat, and his human family lived happily together in Williams Lake, British Columbia – that is, until last summer’s wildfires ran the family out. Dexter joined a half-dozen other cats, two dogs, a rabbit and six humans (friends and family) as they evacuated Williams Lake and drove nearly 400 miles to Pritchard, B.C. There, strangers provided them with all the comforts of home in a fifth-wheel trailer – including litter boxes and a rabbit hutch. Apparently Dexter didn’t cotton to the RV life, and popped open the rig’s screen door and took off. Dexter’s family couldn’t find him and feared he’d been snapped up as a coyote snack – until a few days ago, back in Williams Lake, when they got a phone call from Pritchard. Dexter had turned up at a garbage transfer station, not too much worse for wear after seven months, presumably living on leftovers. Credit a “lost pet” advert and a pet I.D. chip for getting Dexter home again. And a bit more human assistance too: Two volunteer firefighters who fished Dexter out of the dump also volunteered to drive the vagabond cat back to Williams Lake. 


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Return to RV Travel Issue 835.

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One thought on “RV News for Feb. 24 – Mar. 2, 2018

  1. Bobby Lester

    Get a chance check out the fact that Dito Landing and campground, (Madison county, Huntsville, Al.) is redoing the marina/Campground.
    It will start out with 73 FHU sites, ?? tent/primitive sites. Plans to have appox 134 sites when completed. No time line on finished, the first 73 sites are under construction at this time.
    Great news as the present CG is prone to flooding.

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