Saturday, May 28, 2005

RV sales rise, as their prices increase

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

With retirement looming, the Hugo couple plan to sell their house and buy a recreational vehicle — but not just any RV.

At the Minneapolis RV Show earlier this month, 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.

So do a lot of other American consumers. RV sales are up 44 percent in the last four years, and the 370,000 RVs sold nationwide in 2004 were the most since 1978.

Prices are rising, too, as baby-boomer buyers seek luxuries that previous generations of RVers never dreamed of.

At Iowa-based Winnebago Industries, the nation's RV sales leader, the average price of a motor home rose from $65,000 in 2000 to $85,000 in 2004. Full Story...

Friday, May 27, 2005

Many RV owners preparing to hit the road despite fuel cost

Many RV owners plan to use their vehicles more this spring and summer than last year, despite higher fuel prices.

About 70 percent of 444 RV owners surveyed by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association in March — as gasoline prices were climbing — said they planned to use their vehicles more than in 2004.

Roughly 27 percent said their use would not change, and about 4 percent said they would use their RVs less.

Retired farmer Phyllis Kahler and her husband, Edward, aren’t planning to make any changes to their RV use this summer, even though gas prices nationally are averaging more than $2 a gallon. Full Story...

Early birds get last few campsites

For those planning a camping trip this weekend, hopefully you already have reservations for a campsite.

If not, starting your trip early and being flexible is probably your best bet, according to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

"There are no guarantees for people without reservations, but sites are available," said Richard Walkoski, the department's recreation programs manager. Full Story...

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

RV buyers beware

The fallout over a consignment RV dealer is continuing three years after consumers were first warned about him.

Calgary, Alberta Canada, sellers lost more than seven hundred thousand dollars to dealership owner Daniel Owen.

And now buyers are discovering they are unknowing victims too.

Brent Brodoway and his wife bought a used RV and pickup truck from Owen RV's.

They paid in full but that wasn't enough to stop a bailiff from the bank from knocking on their door three years later.

"It was quite a shock," said Brodoway. "They didn't even have our name, they just tracked us down through the registration of our vehicle."

The previous owner of the vehicle had defaulted on the loan for the RV because he never received the cash from the sale from Owen.

Now the bank is trying to repossess the vehicle from Brodoway to cover its loss. Full Story...

Monday, May 23, 2005

Traveling Medicare Coverage

Q) I will turn 65 in July and am researching medicare supplement policies. We are full-time RV-ers, living in our motorhome and traveling throughout the country all year long. Are there any restrictions on where a medigap policy can be used?

A) You're in luck. Most medicare supplement policies can be used with any doctor or hospital that accepts medicare. As long as you get a traditional medigap policy -- not one that provides discounts to a preferred-provider network -- then you should get the same coverage anywhere your RV takes you. Full Story...

RV park owners don't like Wal-Mart 'campers'

Charlotte Pinick takes a quick inventory: Five recreational vehicles parked in a nearby truck stop parking lot; a few more up the road at the Wal-Mart.

That's more than $120 the owner of Emporia, Kansas, RV Park won't be bringing in this day as travelers choose free parking over the campsites with water, electricity, dump station and wireless Internet service Pinick and her husband are offering for $22.50 a night.

"We don't like it, but it's one of those things," Pinick says of the RVs that could have been filling the 20-some empty spaces in her RV park. Full Story...

Motorhome burns in Yuma, AZ, RV park

A fire that destroyed a small recreational vehicle Saturday evening whipped up some big flames, but resulted in no injuries.

Flames from the 24-foot RV at the Cardinal Adult Mobile Home and RV Park, 1232 S. 5th Ave., reached 45-50 feet in the air, leading to more danger by burning a series of power lines overhead, according to Charlie Smith, acting battalion chief for the city of Yuma Fire Department.

"The flames looked impressive," Smith said. Full Story...

Friday, May 20, 2005

Banjos come to RV Park for new bluegrass fest

Two years ago Don and Charlene Mathis turned their hobby into a business. Avid RVers, the couple transformed a 111-acre tract south of Milledgeville, Georga, into the Scenic Mountain RV Park, complete with two clubhouses, six ponds, a swimming pool and a hot tub.

Now the Mathises are adding another attraction: bluegrass music. The first Scenic Mountain RV Park Bluegrass Festival takes place this weekend. The Mathises plan to stage two a year from now on. Full Story...

Stone Mountain Park Family Campground Named as One of Nation’s Best

Stone Mountain, GA - Stone Mountain Park’s Campground is one of only 215 (out of over 15,000), listed in the 2005 Woodall’s North American Campground Directory, to attain the highest possible facilities and recreation rating. The criteria for the ratings were based on the company’s investment in the physical development of the park, personnel, recreation programs and top quality maintenance. According to Ann Emerson, associate publisher for Woodall’s Annual Publications, the ratings are not easy to attain or keep, putting the Park into a very select group. Full Story...

Thursday, May 19, 2005

New feature lets Michigan campers reserve specific campsites online

Campers now can reserve specific state park campsites on the Internet.

The Department of Natural Resources on Monday said the new feature -- part of its campground reservation system -- makes Michigan the only state to have color-coded maps showing campers immediately what sites are available.

The technology is similar to airline reservation systems that allow travelers to pick specific seats online. Free Story...

Minnie Winnie murder mystery rolls on

Other than the name, what's the difference between Sue Henry and Maxie McNabb?

Both are single women in their mid-60s from Alaska who love to get away in an RV.

Fortunately for Henry, it's only McNabb who encounters a murder. Henry is the one who wrote it into the plot of "The Serpent's Trail," which launched a new series for the popular author of Alaska mysteries.

Now Henry is on the road talking about her books and the joys of recreational vehicles. For the next two months, she's living in a 31-foot Minnie Winnie motor home as she drives from Washington to Colorado by way of North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana and New Mexico. Full Story...

When it comes to camping in Colorado, it's your choice

For some, camping is a tent carried on the back during a long hike into the backwoods to reach an isolated, idyllic spot.

For others, it's the soothing purr of an RV's air conditioning unit while dinner cooks in the microwave.

Whatever your preference, Colorado has thousands of campsites to accommodate most any camping choice. Full Story...

Embracing the RVing lifestyle

Tenting in the rain isn’t my idea of great fun anyway and when the air mattress developed a leak, the cold, hard ground brought me a little closer to nature than I wanted to be.

My wife wasn’t exactly thrilled with the experience, either.

Then we had children and moved to Calgary and bought a Class C motorhome.

Now that made sense.

It was high. It was dry. It had hot water. It had a bathroom — with a shower. It had all the cooking facilities we needed. Full Story...

Colorado RV Dealer #1 Laredo fifth wheel seller in the Country

LAKEWOOD, Colo., -- Windish RV sells more Laredo 5th
wheels than any other RV dealer in the United States. Laredo, a division of
Keystone, is the #1 selling 5th wheel in Colorado and the #4 fifth wheel in
the US. Laredo is known for their great floor plans, decor and the "best bang
for the buck."
Windish RV Center is a family owned, full service RV center specializing
in the sale of new and used units, as well as, service, parts, and
accessories. They stock gas and diesel Class A, B & C motorhomes, fifth
wheels, travel trailers, and toy haulers. The manufacturers include Country
Coach, Holiday Rambler, Airstream, Chateau, Excel, Laredo by Keystone and Next
Level by Holiday Rambler.
"Through the years my father believed, 'Loyalty, integrity, and customer
commitment would always be the foundation of Windish RV.' In his memory these
attributes have been the core of doing business the Windish Way," said Carolyn
Windish, the second-generation owner. "Our quality manufacturers and large
inventory allows us to match any and all RV needs," she said.
Windish is located at 11225 W. 6th Avenue between Kipling and Simms in
Lakewood. They have a nine acres facility with a nine million dollar
inventory.
Sales Manager, Jeff Majors, said, "This year's selection is better than
ever. We have entry level units all the way up to top of the line motorhomes.
We are off to a record start this year!"
If you would like to know more about Windish RV additional information is
available on their WEB site, http://www.windishrv.com.

Website Helps RVers Locate Free and Bargain Campgrounds

Just in time for the summer camping season, the popular website FreeCampgrounds.com has debuted a new directory of free and inexpensive places where RVers can spend the night.

Hundreds of camping locations throughout the United States are profiled with dozens more appearing every week. They range from scenic government campgrounds to rest areas, city-sponsored RV parks, truck stops, bargain-priced commercial RV parks, public lands and RV-friendly Wal-Mart stores. Most locations are posted by website visitors, who share their favorite places and also update or comment on those already listed. Full Story...

Visit: FreeCampgrounds.com

Campground zoning plan seen as attack on lifestyle

A proposed zoning change would prevent them from attaching screen porches and enclosed rooms to their recreational vehicles. And it popped up about the same time that town officials started going around campgrounds looking at how close together the buildings are.

At Camp Clearwater, some see the moves as an attack on a charming, decades-old lifestyle. I think they have a point.
About 100 people opposed to the zoning change came to the most recent Town Council meeting, even though it wasn’t on the agenda. That’s a big crowd in a town with 550 permanent residents.

White Lake is a Bladen County , North Carolina, resort of motels, gift shops, mobile home parks and campgrounds. Lakeside property values are rising, and some big homes are scattered here and there, particularly along the eastern shore.Full Story...

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Go over basics before your First RV trip

You’ve just bought your first recreational vehicle and you can’t wait to take that first trip.

You’re anxious to explore interesting off-the-beaten path destinations you’ve heard and read about. You’re ready and rarin’ to go.

Are you sure? Maybe you ought to consider some of the basics before you hit the road. It might keep you from hitting something else — like a ditch or another vehicle. Full Story...

Monday, May 09, 2005

RVs aren't just for retirees

The bend, OR, Spring Festival featured food, art work, live music and comedy shows and RVs.

Rick Schrameck weighed his options on Sunday, standing inside a recreation vehicle (RV) offering many of the comforts of home.

"I'm trying to decide whether I'm going to have a motor coach up here in the summers or a house — it's kind of looking to me like the same price," said Schrameck

Schrameck is planning a move to the Bend area along with his company, Las Vegas-based Aircraft Investor Resources. The company plans to manufacture a new aircraft called the Epic at the Bend Airport.

Recreational vehicles, increasingly high tech and versatile, aren't just for retirees anymore, said Tony Favia, an employee of Bend-based All Seasons RV & Marine. The company was a sponsor of the festival, and provided about $5 million worth of inventory — parked in rows throughout the downtown area. Full Story...

Father, daughter off on 'trip of a lifetime'

A father and daughter from Saint John are off to see as much of Canada as they can before the girl loses her eyesight.

Stephen Hawkins and Tabitha Dunphy sold almost everything they owned last fall so they could buy a motor home and travel across the country.

Tabitha, who's in her late teens, is losing her eyesight because of Sturge-Weber Syndrome.

The father and daughter are thrilled to be on their way, in spite of a rough start.

The two were only on the road a few hours when their touring vehicle broke down in Fredericton.

After spending about $18,000 to purchase the motor home and get it ready for the road, they decided to cut their losses.

"We just said that was enough. We ended up buying a newer one. It cost us $7,400 more. We got a 32-foot Roadmaster, which is working like a million dollars," Hawkins said. Full Story...

Life on wheels grows in appeal

When Bobbie and Vernon Weekley sold their house in North Carolina and returned to Brevard County in an RV, they had no idea they'd still be living in a rolling home three years later.

While no one's keeping official track of the trend nationwide, the two have unofficially joined a growing group pulling up at campgrounds and resorts from coast to coast -- folks choosing to park it long-term in a recreational vehicle rather than buy or rent a traditional home. Full Story...

Motorhome manufacturers need workers

JUNCTION CITY, Ore. — Joseph Ogundu, the new manufacturing engineering director at Country Coach, represents just how far and wide the RV maker has been searching to find key hires.

The Nigerian-born Ogundu, 43, comes to Country Coach from DaimlerChrysler in Detroit, with 14 years of experience in the automotive industry.

Before learning about the opening in Oregon from a recruiter for Country Coach, Ogundu hadn't spent much time thinking about RVs. And he certainly didn't know that the Eugene area — home of Country Coach, Marathon Coach and Monaco Coach — was a hub for high-end motorhome manufacturing. Full Story...

85 year old woman recalls childhood travels in motor home

Most people have fond memories of family vacations during their childhoods.

But few probably have memories quite like those of Winfield’s Dorothy Sheneman.

When Sheneman was young — she will turn 85 later this month — her family traveled in what is believed to be the first motor home in Cowley County, Kansas.

It had the frame of a school bus — even the steps and sliding door like a bus — but the interior was much different.

It included a kitchenette, complete with a Coleman stove and and an ice box underneath. That is where Sheneman’s mother, Edna Nelson, often spent time on trips preparing meals. It also had a bathroom area, with a sink and a “potty” just above the rear wheel.

Toward the back were seats that folded down for sleeping.

The bus also had storage space that included closets and compartments toward the top of the frame — much like passenger trains had at the time.

There was one seat near the driver — a seat Dorothy and her younger brother Bob often fought over who would get to use.

While the description may not sound fancy by the standards of today’s recreational vehicles, the motor home was certainly fancy in its day. Full Story...

Second home has wheels

After Dennis Nichols beat colon cancer, he made two quick decisions:

1. It was time to retire.

2. It was time to splurge on a motorhome and see the country.

‘‘I thought, ‘Life is too short. Why wait?''' said Nichols, 57, who lives in Marshfield and recently retired as a service technician for Bay State Gas.

Nichols, who has owned his luxurious $114,000 mega-motorhome for four months, has already taken it to Florida with his wife for six weeks, and some day, after his wife Dianne retires in the next few years, Nichols plans to take his RV cross country.

‘‘I want to see all the national parks out west,'' he said. ‘‘We're looking at it as a second home. The difference is, you have the ability to relocate your house whenever you want, to wherever you want.'' Full story...

Black RVers meet for rally

Jeff Brackett and his wife, Patricia, and 3-year-old grandson, Jayvan Washington, will call Holiday Trav-L Park in Virginia Beach, V, home for the next few days.

The Bracketts came up from outside Raleigh to join hundreds of families in town for this weekend’s Eastern Region Camp Rally of the National African-American RV’ers Association . Full Story...

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Campground hosts sought for Oregon Dunes

The U.S. Forest Service is seeking summer hosts for campgrounds near the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.

Duties include registration, cleaning and maintaining campgrounds and restrooms, and providing information to visitors. A full hookup site is provided.

Hosts are needed from mid-May to mid-September or longer.

Previous hosting experienced is preferred, however training is available. If interested, contact host coordinator Sarah Kellum at 541-271-6016.

Historian shares tales of RVing's Roots

From the "Tin Can Tourists" to the "Four Vagabonds," David Woodworth spins tales about the roots of American RVs. Take the Tin Can Tourists as an example. Almost as soon as motorized vehicles were invented, owners were modifying trucks and cars to provide portable living quarters. Full Story...

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