Saturday, April 30, 2005

Morro Bay State Park campground is scheduled to re-open Sunday

After a year-long closure, the Morro Bay State Park in California campground is scheduled to open again Sunday.

The north loop of the campground and the group camp area will open Sunday, as will electrical hook-ups, said Greg Smith, superintendent for the coastal sector for the state Department of Parks and Recreation. The rest of the campground's 135 campsites will open sometime before Memorial Day.

Visitors will notice "more campsite privacy, more space for each campsite, and everything ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant," Smith said.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Young Families Driving RV Market

Laura and Ben Soussan bought their first RV in February 2004, and it has enriched their lives far beyond their expectations.

Since November, they have been doing what most people only dream of -- seeing America in an RV. "It's been a mind-opening experience," says Laura. "Each day, we see and learn new things and we've become more well- rounded. We've been to places where we've expected nothing and when we got there, said 'Wow, I would have never imagined this!'" Full Story...

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Gas prices spark rise in California campground fees

Fees are increasing at many private and state campgrounds around the Lake Tahoe Basin in part because of the high price of gasoline.

"The cost of running the parks is going up," said Hayden Sohm, Sierra District superintendent for California State Parks. "You've probably seen the price of gas and propane. All those fixed costs are going up. The only way to keep parks open is to increase our fees, bottom line." Full Story...

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

General Motors vehicle Recall

General Motors Corp. is recalling more than 2 million vehicles, including nearly 1.5 million sport utility vans and pickup trucks that have problems with their seat belts.

The company said Monday a few minor injuries were associated with the six separate recalls and owners would be notified of the problems by mail.

Among the vehicles affected were 1.48 million SUVs and pickups from the 2003-2005 model years, including the Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab, Suburban, Tahoe, Avalanche; Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV, Escalade EXT; GMC Sierra Crew Cab, Yukon XL, Yukon; and the Hummer H2s. Full story...

Monday, April 25, 2005

High fuel prices have motorhome owners traveling shorter distances

Retirees Bill and Martha Slate drove to Point Mallard from their Hartselle home to enjoy a week of bike riding and visiting with friends from their motor-home club. The couple still travels by motor home at least once a month, though they're more likely to opt for closer destinations these days.

"People are watching it now that used to not pay attention," Martha Slate said. "We just canceled our long trip. This year we had planned to go to Maine, but it looks like it (fuel) is going higher." Full Story...

SkyTerra Communications buys share of Hughes Network Systems

The DIRECTV Group, Inc. and SkyTerra Communications, Inc. an affiliate of Apollo Management, L.P., a New York-based private equity firm, today announced the completion of transactions that resulted in SkyTerra acquiring a 50 percent interest in a new entity, Hughes Network Systems LLC (HNS LLC), that in turn had acquired substantially all of the remaining assets of Hughes Network Systems, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of The DIRECTV Group.

HNS LLC is primarily focused on providing broadband satellite networks and services to enterprises via its core enterprise Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) business. Its other businesses include Consumer DIRECWAY, Mobile Satellite and Carrier Networks, as well as the portion of the Spaceway satellite platform that is under development and that will not be used in DIRECTV's direct-to-home satellite video broadcasting business. Approximately 1,360 HNS employees transferred to HNS LLC. In connection with the transactions, SkyTerra will be responsible for day-to-day management of HNS LLC.

The DIRECTV Group received approximately $246 million in cash at closing, and 300,000 shares of SkyTerra common stock, and will retain a 50 percent interest in HNS LLC.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Iowa State Parks Free Camping Weekend May 13 to 15

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has set May 13, 14 and 15 for free camping weekend in Iowa State Parks. Free camping weekend is open to Iowa residents only. Campers are required to fill out a camping slip just like normal, but in the amount paid box write free. Nonresidents are allowed to camp, but must pay the appropriate fee.

As in previous years, many state parks are planning events and programs.

For a list of parks, go to www.exploreiowaparks.com

Campground hosts needed in Iowa state parks

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources needs volunteers at many state parks to serve as campground hosts.

Campground hosts are volunteers who stay in the campground and help campers with questions and also help park staff with routine maintenance. In turn, the hosts stay in the campground for free.

"Campground hosts help campers who are unfamiliar with the park and surrounding area find a place to eat or can point them in the right direction if they need a tire fixed or need things like bait or firewood," Jerry Reisinger, state parks supervisor for northeast Iowa, said in a statement. "They are a great help with keeping shower buildings clean and with reporting incidents related to campers and camp facilities to the park staff."

Campers can apply for these positions by contacting the park where they would like to be a host.

For a list of parks, go to www.exploreiowaparks.com

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Experiences outweigh fuel expenses for RVers

Making their own decisions and taking to the road at leisure, Charles and Lois Michael aren't intimidated by the rising fuel prices when it comes to taking off in their RV.

It may only get seven miles per gallon, but it's the experience, not the expense, that motivates their hobby.

Comfort and convenience were greater influences on their decision to continue traveling in light of the rising fuel costs than the financial forces. Full Story...

Thursday, April 21, 2005

RV history on tour

Hattiesburg, MS, One of the oldest recreational vehicles and a luxurious 21st century model will roll through the Hattiesburg Visitor's Center Friday.

David Woodworth, an American recreational vehicle historian, is taking these two campers across America for the National RV History Tour. Woodworth is the owner of the country's largest collection of antique camping vehicles and equipment and a consultant to the Smithsonian Institution. Although the tour is sponsored by the RV industry, Woodworth said he is out to promote history, not sales. Full Story...

Flat screen TVs and fireplaces make RVs a pretty sweet ride

Dottie and Jim Holmes are hardly pretentious people. She's a visiting nurse; he fixes alternators for a living. They own a modest home in Fairhaven, have adopted four dogs, and think picnics along the Cape Cod Canal are just grand.

But when you ask the Holmeses how big the television is aboard their 40-foot luxury motor home, well, they can't help but gloat a little. Full Story...

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Winnebago launches new Class C motor homes with fuel-efficient diesel engines.

Winnebago Industries, Inc. has now launched its new 2006 fuel-efficient Winnebago View and Itasca Navion Class C motor homes new styling and fuel-efficient diesel engines.

Winnebago Industries is currently the only RV manufacturer to offer a Class C diesel motor home built on the 10,200-lb. gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) Dodge Sprinter cutaway chassis from Daimler Chrysler. The chassis features a premium 2.7-liter CDI five cylinder turbo-diesel Mercedes Benz engine that delivers excellent power - 154 hp with 243 ft-lbs. of torque and excellent fuel economy estimated at 17-19 mpg. The View and Navion also feature five-speed tip shift automatic transmission that's designed to be one of the smoothest, most reliable transmissions on the market.

The vehicle's overall size makes it easy to drive, park and maneuver with an excellent turning radius of 23.5 feet. The View and Navion also have independent front suspension and ABS four-wheel-disc brakes.

A 3,500-lb. rated trailer hitch is also standard. Full Story...

Monday, April 18, 2005

The RV caucus

TALLAHASSEE, FL - For most of the year, Rep. Charlie Dean lives in a three-bedroom ranch-style house in a lakefront community just outside Inverness.

But for two months each spring, home is a 38-foot gray and green Safari Zanzibar in a recreational vehicle park on the outskirts of Tallahassee. His neighbors are all Republican legislators who prefer living on wheels to the sterile confines of a hotel room or furnished apartment.

They call themselves the "RV caucus." Or, more jokingly, the "trailer trash contingent." Members include a retired Army colonel from Jacksonville, a Bradenton insurance agent so immaculately groomed that even his jeans have creases and a health care administrator from Stuart whose husband is a doctor. Full Story...

Friday, April 15, 2005

RVs are home sweet home for Washington, DC workers.

WASHINGTON, DC -- Three years ago, Remi Bergeron set out in search of a home in the Washington region, alone and with a $150,000 budget.

"Around here, you have to go so far for a $150,000 house, forget it," he said. "I don't even think there are any."

So he drove his 36-foot RV from Winter Springs, Fla., to Hillwood Camping Park and made the rugged spot in suburban Prince William County, Va., his residence.

Bergeron chose the park for its proximity to work, the comforts of suburbia and, most important, its price: $513 a month. Here, he lives in his RV among other workers who also were drawn by the region's booming job market but were unable or unwilling to pay for its pricey housing. Full Story...

Beaver Motorhomes to be built in Coburg, OR

Monaco Coach Corporation announced today that it will move the production of all Beaver Class A motorhomes to its Coburg, Oregon, campus and permanently cease operations at its Bend, Oregon motorhome manufacturing facility. The Bend plant shutdown is presently scheduled for approximately June 15, 2005.

The Bend facility, due to its age and configuration, has consistently been the Company's least efficient motorhome operation. A significant capital investment in redesign and renovation would have been required to meet production requirements. Full Story...

RV Life in Death Valley

BEATTY, Nev. — Eastern gateway to California's Death Valley National Park. Population: 1,154. A couple of gas stations and motels, a few slot machines. No supermarket.

Gargantuan motor homes circle around the Burro Inn Motel and RV park like a skittywampus wagon train, parked so helter-skelter that the only way to get information is to rein up around the corner and wade through the chaos on foot. It's midafternoon. You either find a spot for the night pronto or you'll sleep in your vehicle at the side of the road.

"I never thought I'd see gridlock in Beatty, Nev. We've been coming through here for 40 years and I've never seen anything like this," says a mystified tourist from Arizona searching for a bed. She is the only person in sight who isn't going to, or coming from, Death Valley, and she seems unable to comprehend that the wildflower bloom of 2005 has incited bedlam in Beatty. Full Story...

Legislative Update on Issues in Nevada and Washington State

Escapees E-News Release

Legislative Update on Issues in Nevada and Washington State
4/15/05

Nevada Senate Bill 412 was introduced into the Nevada Senate to stop overnight RV parking on any public parking lot in the state. The bill was sponsored by campground owners, and they were backed up during committee testimony by representatives of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC). SB 412 was considered by the committee on government affairs, but due in part to the overwhelming negative response from RVers, it appears that the bill will die in committee. According to a report in the Nevada Appeal, committee Chairman Warren Hardy, R-Las Vegas, stated: "That's a local government issue. I don't think the state should be involved in it."

The Washington State Legislature has been considering two bills dealing with taxation of RVs. HB 1871 proposed that all motor vehicles, including motorhomes and travel trailers, be charged an annual fee of 1.5 cents per pound of vehicle empty weight. SB 6016, a similar bill, was introduced in the Senate, calling for an annual vehicle fee of $20 to $30 and an additional 1.5 cents per pound annual fee for all vehicles. While this is not an RV-only tax, it would add up to a very substantial amount for owners of large vehicles, and RV owners would be contributing a bit more than their fair share, depending on their vehicle’s weight. The House bill appears to have stalled in committee, and the Senate bill has been substituted by a new bill that no longer calls for the 1.5 cents per pound annual fee.

Unfortunately, we’ve just learned of two other bills in the Washington State Legislature that create similar unfair taxation. House Bill 2312 will add a flat $75 per year tax on motorhomes. Senate Bill 6103 calls for a weight tax on motor homes based on dry weight. That weight is multiplied by 150%, and then a table is used to determine the yearly tax. As the bill is currently written, a 15,000-lb. motorhome would be taxed $200 and a 20,000-lb. Motorhome would be taxed $287. It is imperative that Washington State residents contact their state representatives immediately if they wish to prevent passage of these bills.

Your emails and phone calls continue to make the difference in both of these states! We will continue to watch these bills and also will stay on the alert for any other RV-unfriendly legislation and keep you posted. Thank you for adding your voice to ours in support of these issues!

Monday, April 04, 2005

Nevada Senate Bill Restricts RV Parking

Escapees E-News Release

Nevada Senate Bill Restricts RV Parking

4/4/05

A bill (SB-412) has been introduced into the Nevada Senate to stop overnight RV parking on any public parking lot in the state. You can view the bill text and status at www.leg.state.nv.us/73rd/Reports/history.cfm?ID=2278.

This bill was introduced in the committee on government affairs and, if passed, would prohibit RV parking on any type of public parking lot anywhere in the state. Here is some of the text of the bill:

“Each board of county commissioners shall, by ordinance, prohibit an attended vehicle, recreational vehicle, motor home or travel trailer from parking overnight in a parking facility which is dedicated or intended for commercial use or for use by patrons of a shop, store or other business.

“Parking facility” means a parking deck, parking garage, parking structure or paved or unpaved parking lot that members of the public regularly enter, are reasonably likely to enter, or are invited or permitted to enter as invitees or licensees. The term does not include a recreational vehicle park as defined in NRS 108.2678.”

Due to the way this is worded, it is likely that these restrictions will apply to any publicly accessible parking lot. This could include casinos, truck stops, and even dirt or gravel boondock parking areas throughout the state.

This is not the first time that RVers have been faced with such a challenge on a state level. Several years ago, similar legislation was introduced in the State of Montana. Due to the protests from RVers all over the country, that attempt to regulate RV parking failed. It appears that we now face a similar challenge in Nevada. If this legislation passes, it may well set a precedent for the rest of the country, and we could see our freedom to choose where we park permanently revoked! All RVers and concerned individuals need to take immediate steps to contact the members of the Senate Government Affairs Committee as soon as possible and voice their opinions. Great haste is needed as the bill (SB-412) will be up for testimony in committee on April 6, 2005. Please make use of the contact list included below and write, call, or email right away!

Please remember that a calm, logical approach will make your letter or email much more likely to be read and considered. Here are a couple of sample paragraphs to aid you in writing your letter or email.

While RV parks are the best accommodations for RVers, sometimes commercial parks are full, or perhaps the RVer simply cannot find a local park, especially if it is late in the evening. Other issues come into play as well. For instance, how tired is the RV driver? Were it not for Wal-Mart and other similar locations that offer a resting place to RVers, you would see an increased accident rate. Far too often, RVers will drive too long, too late, or continue searching for an RV park way past their safety and comfort zone. Knowing that they are welcome to pull into a parking lot and get a few hours of rest anytime of the day or night is an enormous safety net for the traveler.

Typically, RVers make significant contributions financially to places that welcome them and, many times, will return to an area for an extended stay if they have been received in a friendly manner. Unfortunately, signs banning RVs from parking areas do not appear very friendly to the tired traveler who is just looking for a spot to rest. Please do not implement legislation that will send the RVing public away from your state, but rather welcome them with open arms and show them you care about their safety and respect their lifestyle.

Please take a moment to contact these Nevada legislators and let them know how you feel!

WARREN B. HARDY II
Chairman, Government Affairs Committee
6536 Blue Sapphire Court
Las Vegas, NV 89110-4049
702-227-0536
whardy@sen.state.nv.us

SANDRA J. TIFFANY
Vice-Chairman, Government Affairs Committee
61 Tanglewood Drive
Henderson, NV 89012-2117
702-451-7301
stiffany@sen.state.nv.us

WILLIAM J. RAGGIO
P.O. Box 281
Reno, NV 89504-0281
775-786-5000
wraggio@sen.state.nv.us

RANDOLPH J. TOWNSEND
P.O. Box 20923
Reno, NV 89515-0923
775-954-2020
rtownsend@sen.state.nv.us

ALICE COSTANDINA (DINA) TITUS
1637 Travois Circle
Las Vegas, NV 89119-6283
702-895-3756
dtitus@sen.state.nv.us

TERRY JOHN CARE
4371 Woodcrest Road
Las Vegas, NV 89121-4946
702-388-0098
tcare@sen.state.nv.us

JOHN JAY LEE
1340 Borderwood Lane
North Las Vegas, NV 89031-1816
702-647-3550
jlee@sen.state.nv.us

Friday, April 01, 2005

RV parks are interesting places.

RV parks are interesting places. I figure some people who come here are quite well-to-do and their RVs are simply another pleasure, something else to do, while others make their home at the parks, often in quite old, sometimes run down vehicles. Of course, there are all those people in between these extremes, but for some it is not a choice¿it is the only place they can afford to live.

We've all heard jokes about "trailer trash." It's a characterization that has made its way into movies, slovenly people who live full time and permanently in one place in a trailer.

My sister and brother live permanently in one place in trailerhouses, or mobile homes, the upscale way to say it, and that serves to remind me not to make too many assumptions from what I see. Full Story...

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