RV News for June 23–29, 2018

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Return to RV Travel Issue 852.

Thanks in part to favorable, wetter weather, Colorado has seen the reopening of the San Juan National Forest and Bureau of Land Management areas near Durango. There are still fire restrictions in place; please verify your plans before heading out.

NPS/Chad Gant

RVing stargazers have yet another park to add to their visit list. Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park has been designated an International Dark Sky Park. Park staff has worked hard to meet the qualifications. It took years to collect and interpret night sky data, retrofit park lighting and put together a 100+ page application. For more information on Dark Sky Parks, click here

An economist at Indiana’s Ball State University has released a policy statement that estimates fallout from President Donald Trump’s tariffs could result in the loss of more than 30,000 Hoosier jobs over the next seven years. Center for Business & Economic Research Director Mike Hicks told Inside Indiana Business that the “very conservative” estimates suggest big hits to Indiana’s Gross Domestic Product to the tune of $668 million next year alone if actions among the U.S., European Union, China and Canada persist. Sectors that stand to lose the most in Indiana, he says, include steel, aluminum, soybeans, corn and automobile manufacturing.

A number of Iowa state parks are facing a Fourth of July catastrophe. Heavy rains have brought flooding in north and northwestern parts of the state, causing some campgrounds to close, while others will join them soon. George Wyth State Park, Wilson Island State Recreation Area, Dolliver State Park, Ledges State Park and Backbone State Park will be closed on the 4th. Other state parks may have partial closures not affecting camping. Refunds are being issued to those with reservations.

Some National Park statistics for 2017: Money spent on search and rescue operations: $3 million plus. Employee hours for same: 71,000. Parks with top number of operations: Grand Canyon (290) represented 10 percent of all parks, and Yosemite (233) 8 percent. In all parks, 2,890 operations were mounted; 49 percent of those involved searches for men. 

Wholesale shipment of U.S.-built RVs hit a hiccup in May. According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, overall shipments were down close to 2 percent, compared with May 2017 shipments. Towables saw a wisp of an increase, up 0.1 percent, while motorhomes bogged down, losing more than 13 percent.

Some California public lands have been closed due to high fire danger. About 4,000 acres of lands in Riverside County’s Whitewater Canyon have been shut down by the Bureau of Land Management until further notice. More info here

Last year a Canadian couple started up WheelEstate, matching RV owners with folks who wanted to rent rigs. In 2017 the web company had 35 trailers to match up, a year later it’s 700 – more than a 1,900 percent increase. Some 6,000 people subscribe to the service that will help them find an RV to rent. Over the year, RV owners have “made” a half-million dollars in rent.


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Ill winds in Lawton, Oklahoma, sent two to the hospital and a dozen RVs were demolished at Lake Lawtonka. The winds hit on Friday, June 22, apparently without warning, catching many in their RVs.

The number of RV owners has grown by a million since 2005 – now estimated to be nearly 9 million households in the U.S. What about service for those rigs? The number of RV service technicians stands at 13,520 – one tech for every 658 RVs. That works out to a long wait if your rig is in need of repair. The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association claims RV repair waits now average four days. Source: rvdailyreport.com

Jeffrey Beall on flickr.com

On July 1, Colorado State Parks is rolling out a pilot program for a reservation-only camping system. Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Eleven Mile, Staunton, St. Vrain, and Trinidad Lake campgrounds will all immediately be on a reservation-only system; Ridgway State Park will join on September 15th, only for campsites in the F and G loops. If the pilot program works, reservation-only may become the state’s watchword for all state park campgrounds. 

A man who fought off a bear that was attacking his wife recalls, “That bear is really solid!” Casadi Schroeder was staying at a cabin in Saskatchewan’s Meadow Lake Provincial Park when a bear showed up. Her husband, Brad, went out to scare it away, but it didn’t go far. When Casadi went to warn neighbors, the bear grabbed her by the leg. Brad ran to the rescue, punching the bear until it unlatched and both got safely indoors. It took 34 staples for repair work, but staples will do nothing for Mrs. Schroeder’s mental trauma. The bear has been found and killed.

The Department of Commerce has determined the imports of aluminum sheets from China are being illegally sold at less than fair market value. The agency is now adding an “anti-dumping duty” which, when combined with aluminum tariffs, now brings the cost of aluminum imported from the Asian country up nearly 200 percent. Officials with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association say that industry had already seen a 10- to 40-percent price increase, and predict that RV buyers will see price hikes on finished rigs.


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Never take a wrong exit off an Interstate highway again. The 2018 Next Exit lists every exit along every Interstate and details exactly what you will find at each: gas stations (including if they offer diesel), campgrounds, truck stops, casinos, laundries, retail stores (by name), shopping malls, factory outlet malls, drug stores, hospitals, rest areas & more. Very helpful even if you have a GPS. Learn more or order.


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Real estate agents in West Michigan are noticing a new trend in home buyers: Living in RVs while they wait for a suitable home. It seems home sales are brisk, but finding a new place in a hot market can be a bit tough. Instead of moving into an apartment for the interim, some buyers are simply moving into local campgrounds in RVs. Some say it beats cramming in with relatives, and helps them have more money for the down payment.

dave_7 on flickr.com

Plenty of wrist-wringing among RV manufacturers about import tariffs. But one thing that really keeps the industry rolling is NOT on the list: steel wheels. These, according to RVIA Today Express, are not on the list of Chinese imports subject to a 25 percent import squeeze.

Enfield, North Carolina, will soon see a new 100-site full-hookup RV park – just don’t expect to see a lot of your “typical” RVers when it opens next month. Fishing Creek RV Park is aimed at natural gas pipeline workers who will soon inundate the area as construction gears up. What will happen to the campground next year as construction finishes up is yet to be seen.

New Jersey RV dealer Colonial Airstream & RV is building a 55,000-square-foot showroom, and pumping up 18,000 square feet of repair space, all of it brand-new in Millstone Township. Colonial, a family-owned concern for 37 years, holds the distinction of being “the world’s Top Selling Airstream dealer for 12 years.”

When Wisconsin’s Door County officials approved a permit for an RV park in Jacksonport, some locals weren’t too happy. Now a group of 12 of them have filed suit against those officials citing, “Errors of law, was arbitrary and unreasonable, and unsupported by evidence presented at the hearing….” The group wants the park stopped, and reimbursement for legal expenses.

Demand for campsites in British Columbia, says an expert economist, is far outweighing supply. Now the District of Sicamous council is mulling over permitting the construction of a 250-site campground near the downtown area. Sounding a little primitive, there will be no utility hookups provided, but bathrooms and potable water sources would be. The property was once attempted for farming, but fell flat. One naysayer said the healthy crop of mosquitoes might have an effect on guests: “When the campers come, they won’t be coming back.” 

Tree root rot has forced the Forest Service to shut down camping at the Wendover Campground in the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest. The site, near Kamiah, Idaho, will not reopen until 2019.


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Objections to expanding a campground in Brandon, Manitoba, have been raised as there may be bodies buried on the site. The focus is the Turtle Crossing Campground, formerly the site of the Brandon Indian Residential School. The campground was developed by the city, then later sold to a private owner. That owner says he’s seen evidence of a burial site, but thinks the city-developed campground is on top of the graves. The graves were likely for First Nation children who died at the school decades ago.

Plans for a county-owned campground in Burnett County, Wisconsin, have bitten the dust. The county had already applied for grants to help with financing the $1.2 million project, to be built near the town of Swiss. Officials from Swiss weren’t happy with the idea, citing noise and traffic, and other RV park owners had their own concerns. As reported on burnettcountysentinel.com, a local politician got the ball rolling to end it all this way: “Burnett County is not a commercial business,” said committee Chair and County Supervisor Ed Peterson. “Let’s have a vote to put this to rest. I say we officially withdraw our grants and deny the campground going forward.”

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“Honey! Please take the kids out to the RV for a swim!” Not so far fetched, at least not in Benedetto Bufalino’s backyard. The French artist took an RV and with a little remodeling, has turned it into the usable artwork he calls, “la caravane piscine.” The roof came off, as did the interior, and substantial refits were done to make it hold water. 

Prince Edward Island racing fans may find this news a bit of a drag. Raceway Park in Oyster Bed Bridge is no more. New owners of Raceway Park say they’ll continue to operate the RV park on the site, but the days of drag racing are history. In its past history, the racing park saw as many as 5,000 race fans fill the stands to cheer on their noisy favorites. Park managers have plans to expand the number of available RV sites.

The owner of a dubious RV park near Mendota, California, seems like he might have trouble with math problems. Multiply $500 times 161 and what do you get? Our calculator says $80,500, which is what Mohamed Saeed, owner of Jack’s Resort RV Park stands to be fined, per day, for code violations at the park. Saeed was originally cited back in April for septic tank issues, combustibles and non-permitted space rentals and given until June 18 to fix the problems. Saeed implied he’d get around to it – and hasn’t – according to park residents, and inspectors who checked the place out. He was given one last out, that ran out earlier this week.

The campground at Topaz Lake, Nevada, will likely see some changes in the way fees are collected. Under the existing system, users are to put their payment in an envelope, and put that in a “tin ranger.” Trouble is, many users are simply dumping an empty envelope in the collection box and skate away before the missing funds are caught. To fix the finks, it’s likely an electronic collection device (e-ranger?) will be put in place that accepts credit or debit card payments, issuing a receipt for proof of payment.

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Return to RV Travel Issue 852.

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7 Thoughts to “RV News for June 23–29, 2018”

  1. Tony Strungis

    In light of “Hot Skin” Month, I would like to know if the $200 Surge Protector I installed would indicate if the electrical pedestal had a broken ground? Or would have to buy an additional tester? Thanks

    1. Mike Sokol

      Tony, what brand and model Surge Protector do you have? They’re not all created equal. And remember that there is no Surge Protector on the market that can detect or disconnect your RV from something I call an RPBG (Reverse Polarity Bootleg Ground) which I describe at http://www.rvdoctor.com/2001/07/friends-of-gary-mike.html which is why you should always check for an RV Hot-Skin Stray Voltage with an Non-Contact Voltage Tester (NCVT) which costs less than $20.

  2. Phil Atterbery

    A network of overnite RV campgrounds sounds vaguely familiar . Wasn’t that the business model of KOA back in the 60’s? Will the business plan address (or can it address) the possibility of squatters over taking the facility?
    Can I suggest a test community for your overnight parks? My wife & I have called Wichita KS home since ’87 when I was assigned here as part of the B-1B build up at McConnell AFB. I retired from the AF in ’94 and never felt the need to leave. For many years a small RV park located on the west side of town offered the expected RV amenities in an easy on/off location from the main road (US54/400). The park was operated by the Blasi family and I think it was called the Blasi RV Park. They also operated a tire & auto service shop at the front of the property. The property was sold in the late ’90s. The shop was converted into a car dealer. I don’t know who owns the park now. The wire has been removed from electrical distribution system but it appears the boxes & conduit are in tact. The drive thru concrete pads are intact. I don’t know about the water systems. It can be seen on Google Earth near the intersection of US54 & 111th Street on the west side of Wichita. If someone wanted to start a park, using a property that has 60% of the infrastructure in place would be a prudent move.
    Anyway, just an idea. I’m told South Central KS isn’t an RV market. I think it could be with a little help. Happy Trails.

  3. Jennifer Lauter

    With regard to Search and Rescue: most SAR teams across the country are made up of volunteer members. I believe Yosemite is one of the only teams in California that is paid. Both of my daughters are SAR members in Marin County, California and they each volunteer about 500 hours per year. They get up in the middle of the night, get suited up and go out in all weather to find lost hikers, Alzheimer’s patients, and sadly, suicide victims. Our local SAR members also provide medical support for fairs, foot races, bike races and many local events. These people give very generously of their time and are heroes in my mind. Thanks SAR peeps.

  4. John Snell

    Trumps tariffs probably will raise the cost of new RVs. It’s hitting other users of steel and aluminum so this business will not be spared.

  5. Wayne Markle

    Do you have any articles for cargo trailer modifications for camping. I purchased a small trailer and have been modifying it for a weekender. Thanks for a great newsletter

    1. Tommy Molnar

      There’s a YouTube video (of course there is!) showing how this guy modified his cargo trailer into a ‘camp trailer’. I don’t have the link but I’ll bet with some proper search language you could find it.

      Btw, our “side by side” trailer states in a notice that it’s not intended for habitation, but that’s CYA, I’m sure.

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