Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Business slows as Winter Texan RVers hit the road.

Sitting in the cool, shaded office of the Lemon Tree RV Park in Mission, manager Cheryl Stanley was busy processing paperwork for about a dozen residents scheduled to head for home today. With the Winter Texan season drawing to a close, Stanley will watch her park’s population drop by close to 80 percent before the end of May.

"They’ve been leaving for the last two weeks," she said.

"It will be like this for another few weeks. Then it’s our break time."

As the Rio Grande Valley’s Winter Texans hit the road for summer homes in Des Moines, St. Paul, Kansas City and points between, local businesses are already preparing for the drop from a seasonal tourism industry worth around $328 million a year, according to the McAllen Chamber of Commerce.

"Directly or indirectly, we’re all affected by this," said Chamber Vice President Nancy Millar. Full Story...

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Motor home burns on Utah highway

Traffic slowed to a crawl on I-15 in Salt lake City, UT Friday afternoon.

The accident happened around 2:30 p.m. on Interstate 15 at North Temple Street. Authorities say the RV was traveling southbound on the freeway when it ran over a stray mattress which was lying in the road. The mattress became caught underneath the vehicle and was dragged for several yeards down the road. The matress eventually ignited which then set the motor home ablaze.

Everyone inside noticed the flames immediately and got out safely.
The motor home was destroyed. Photo and Story...

New state park is in the works for Kentucky

With a $2 million down payment tucked into the recently passed state budget, Kentucky is on its way to creating a state park at Herrington Lake near Lancaster -- potentially the first addition to the park system since 1997.

The parks department, according to the budget language, can use part of the money to purchase some of the 3,600 acres owned by Kentucky Utilities, which created the lake in 1920.

Rep. Lonnie Napier, a Republican from Lancaster, said the lake is a natural site for a new park because Central Kentuckians already make the trip to Herrington for fishing or for a round of golf at the nearby privately owned Peninsula golf course.

Commerce Secretary Jim Host said he is reserving judgment until he checks out potential resort sites near the lake in the coming weeks. But he said Central Kentucky would be an ideal location for a new park.

If plans for a resort go forward, it would be the first addition to the 17-park system since Dale Hollow Lake State Park opened in 1997. Full story...

Campground owners want city to outlaw RV parking at Wal-Mart, parks

JAMESTOWN, N.D. - Campground owners here want the city to outlaw free overnight camping for recreational vehicles at the Wal-Mart parking lot, city parks and elsewhere.

The Police Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to recommend that the City Council draft an ordinance to regulate RV parking.

Charlie Tanata, owner of a 60-space campground, complained to the committee about the number of RVs parked in the Wal-Mart parking lot each night. He said that hurts business at private campgrounds.

Tanata said the Buffalo Mall prohibits overnight parking. Mall officials outlawed overnight parking after Tanata and another campground owner complained about the practice.

"We asked Wal-Mart to do the same and they laughed at us," Tanata said. Full Story...

Higher gas prices not stopping many RVers

L.H. Boots, a retired Oklahoma rancher and oil man, enjoys traveling to Wyoming rodeos and Arizona horse sales in his $350,000 motor coach and he isn't about to let fuel prices of more than $2 per gallon spoil his fun.

"At my age, I'm going to do what I'm going to do," said the 90-year-old Boots, whose motor home was among about 6,000 parked at this week's Family Motor Coach Association's 73rd International Convention.

RV enthusiasts like Boots are one reason spiraling fuel prices have yet to put the brakes on the sales and use of gas-guzzling recreational vehicles. Full Story...

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Ford Recalls Trucks and SUVs

Federal regulators said Wednesday they are investigating more than 3.7 million Ford Motor Co. pickups and sport utility vehicles because of a defect in a cruise control switch that already has led to a recall.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it would examine Ford F-150 pickups from the 1995-1999 and 2001-2002 model years, and Ford Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators from the 1997-1999 and 2001-2002 model years.

Ford said the cruise control switch could short circuit and cause an engine compartment fire when the vehicle is parked or driven, even if cruise control is not in use.

Agency officials said they have received 218 complaints of engine fires from the cruise control switch in those models. No injuries or fatalities have been reported.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Kentucky is home of planned "RV Mecca"

A $53.3 million, 965 acre “RV Mecca,” will be the only attraction of its kind in the world. The property takes up more than a mile of frontage on both sides of I-65.

“We see this as the must-go-to place for any RVer in America,” said David C. Garvin. “It will be a manufacturer’s showcase.”

The centerpiece of the project, which is scheduled to open in 2007, is a building of over 500,000 square feet that they characterize as a year-round RV super-show.

RV manufacturers will be taking up the largest portion of that main building, as well as the largest Camping World store in the country at 50,000 square feet. Also included in the plans are separate buildings with about a 300-bay RV manufacturer’s warranty and repair center, a large fuel and convenience store and an area to dump holding tanks, refill fresh water tanks and propane tanks. There are also numerous complimentary campsites, a used RV exchange and auction, plus several other attractions.

They are also planning an RV museum display at the project that may include such treasures as the RV that actress Mae West used to stay in on movie sets and safety, training and even testing facilities for the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association. Full Story...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Man dies of carbon monoxide poisoning from motor home generator

A Cherokee County man was found dead of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning Monday morning inside an RV at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Henry County police said today. Police Lt. Jason Bolton said the RV's generator leaked, causing the deadly fumes to accumulate and kill B. Christopher Thompson, 37, of Ball Ground. Thompson's wife, Lori Thompson, 34, was airlifted to Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta. The hospital refused to give information on her condition Monday afternoon.

Bolton said the couple spent the weekend in the 1996 Dolphin 535 motor home while attending the Golden Corral 500 at the racetrack in Hampton.

Friends staying in another motor home found the couple about 10:30 a.m. Monday.

Motorhome prices rise with demand for more luxury

The dream home of Randy and Roxie Schreiber has four wheels, 350 horsepower and a price tag of about $200,000.

With retirement looming, they plan to sell their house and buy a recreational vehicle - but not just any RV.

Recently, the Schreibers checked out a 39-foot Fleetwood Excursion that comes equipped with a central vacuum, Corian countertops, a washer-dryer, a satellite dish and big-screen TVs front and back.

"We plan on living in it, so we want the nice stuff," Roxie Schreiber said. Full story...

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Couple joins RV rally in albany, NY

Joel and Annette Adler are always just a few steps from home.

That's the point when you travel the country RV style.

"This is like a condo on wheels," said Annette Adler.

"There's a lot of things that you'll see as you go across the country and just take your time and that's what's nice about RVing," Adler said.

They're in Albany to be part of the National RV Rally, because like everybody in this room, they're National RV owners. The company holds four of these a year. It's a sales strategy used to stay tight with their customers. Full Story...

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Canada’s national parks get new campground reservation system

Campers won’t have to linger in a long lineup to secure that perfect national park campsite after a new reservation system is implemented March 22.

The system allows visitors to book a site online or by phone in advance, avoiding hours of waiting time at more popular camping areas like Jasper National Park’s Whistler’s Campground.

The move will help Canada’s national parks catch up to private sector campgrounds and provincial campgrounds that already offer a similar service. “It’s really becoming an industry standard,” added Clark. “They were very pleased with the service, we had good feedback on it.”

Campers can book a site by calling 1-877 RESERVE or by going online to www.pccamping.ca. But campers will have to ante up an additional $11 to use the service. Full Story...

SAND & SUN ATTRACT 'WINTER TEXANS' RVers

For many years, Charlie Porter owned a company up in Portland, Maine, that would do anything that other people wanted done but didn't want to do. "We cleaned people's houses," he says, "we did painting, we purchased their cars and TVs for them. We did construction cleanups. We decorated people's houses for Christmas.

"The name of the company was At Your Service, and that pretty much says it. If you needed something done and didn't want to do it, we'd do it for you."

Then in January 2004 the Porters sold everything they owned -- business, home, furniture, the knickknacks in the living room, the stuff stored in the basement -- and gathered up their three dogs and hit the road.

"We ended up in Florida for the winter last year," Glenda says, "then Alaska in the summer, then here for this winter."

The Porters are relaxing in lawn chairs -- his in the shade, hers in the sun, the way they like it -- beside their $250,000 40-foot-long Holiday Rambler Endeavor motor home at Destination Resorts, an RV park on South Padre Island. A gentle breeze blows across the bright afternoon.

"Our home is wherever we are," says Glenda. Full Story...

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Washington State proposes 1.5 Cent per pound tax on RVs.

Some RVers may recall that Washington State made several attempts in 2003 to tax RVs and travel trailers. None of those bills succeeded, in part due to the response from RVers opposed to the new taxes. Unfortunately, there seems to be a new legislative effort to tax RVs in Washington. We recently heard about new bills being considered in the Washington State Legislature that RVers, especially those who live in Washington, should be aware of.

The House is considering HB 1871, a bill to provide funding for “transportation purposes” and highways. To provide this funding, the bill proposes that all motor vehicles, including motorhomes and travel trailers, be charged an annual fee of 1.5 cents per pound of vehicle empty weight. This can add up to a very substantial amount for owners of large vehicles, and it is pretty obvious that RV owners will be contributing a bit more than their fair share, depending on their vehicle’s weight.

A separate, but similar, bill is being introduced in the Senate. SB 6016 calls for an annual vehicle fee of $20 to $30, and an additional 1.5 cents per pound annual fee for all vehicles.

SB 6016 is sponsored by Senators Jacobsen, Poulsen, and Kohl-Welles and is currently in the hands of the Senate Committee on Transportation.

HB 1871 is sponsored by Representatives Hankins, Murray, Haler, and Simpson and is currently in the hands of the House Committee on Transportation.

If you own a motor home or travel trailer and are registered in Washington State, you may want to contact your representatives about these bills. Contact information is available on the Washington State Legislature Web site at www.leg.wa.gov. If you are in the state, you can call the Washington State Legislative Hotline at 800-562-6000.

Washington State proposes 1.5 Cent per pound tax on RVs

Some RVers may recall that Washington State made several attempts in 2003 to tax RVs and travel trailers. None of those bills succeeded, in part due to the response from RVers opposed to the new taxes. Unfortunately, there seems to be a new legislative effort to tax RVs in Washington. We recently heard about new bills being considered in the Washington State Legislature that RVers, especially those who live in Washington, should be aware of.

The House is considering HB 1871, a bill to provide funding for “transportation purposes” and highways. To provide this funding, the bill proposes that all motor vehicles, including motorhomes and travel trailers, be charged an annual fee of 1.5 cents per pound of vehicle empty weight. This can add up to a very substantial amount for owners of large vehicles, and it is pretty obvious that RV owners will be contributing a bit more than their fair share, depending on their vehicle’s weight.

A separate, but similar, bill is being introduced in the Senate. SB 6016 calls for an annual vehicle fee of $20 to $30, and an additional 1.5 cents per pound annual fee for all vehicles. 

SB 6016 is sponsored by Senators Jacobsen, Poulsen, and Kohl-Welles and is currently in the hands of the Senate Committee on Transportation.

HB 1871 is sponsored by Representatives Hankins, Murray, Haler, and Simpson and is currently in the hands of the House Committee on Transportation.

If you own a motor home or travel trailer and are registered in Washington State, you may want to contact your representatives about these bills. Contact information is available on the Washington State Legislature Web site at www.leg.wa.gov. If you are in the state, you can call the Washington State Legislative Hotline at 800-562-6000.

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