Friday, June 30, 2006

At Home on the Road - It Isn't A Bus

When the Pattersons of Pacific Palisades, California, embarked on a 7,500-mile round-trip journey across the United States in the summer of 1951, the local newspaper announced the family's departure: "Pattersons Leave on First Trip in Unique Private Bus."

Martha Patterson's husband, Pat, might have challenged that headline, arguing that what they were driving was not actually a bus. It was an early motor home'a 33-ft.-long, 8-ft-wide vehicle called a Flxible that they had converted into a house car for family travel.

"It Isn't A Bus" details the two-month trip that Martha and Pat took with their three young children, Charles, 12, Dave, 9, and Sally, 5. Told in Martha's warm and honest tone, with a good dose of humor, the story takes readers on a bumpy but joyous ride across the country and introduces them to a host of quirky characters from a female hitchhiker to vacationing school teachers driving a hearse.

Martha, who holds the distinction of having lived in the Palisades the longest of any current resident, tells the story of her family's adventure as pioneering motor homers in a new book, "It Isn't A Bus," written with her daughter, Sally Patterson Tubach. The authors will sign their self-published book at a party at Martha's home on July 3. For more information, call (213) 447-5188 or e-mail Full Story...

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Family sell ad space on their Motor Home

CBS TV steers its promotional machine into unchartered territory as the Network advertises on a motor home of a Peoria, Illinois man who is traveling the country this summer along with his wife and four teenage sons.

The family devised the innovative concept to sell advertising space on their motor home by posting information about their summer vacation plans on EBay. Full Story...

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

A different view of "camping with dogs"

"I read your (Wheel Life) column on Saturday with interest, hoping that you would really key in on the real problems of Rving with dogs, but you missed it again.

The problem with RVing with dogs is that not all RVers have dogs or want to meet or listen to your dog. Sadly, most RVers with dogs don't have a clue about the impact that their beloved pet is having on their neighbor RVers. Full Story...

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Full Time RVer turns gourds into an unlikely art form

Seventy-year-old divorcé Ted Mommsen has tried all kinds of hobbies, and has enjoyed them tremendously. However, Mommsen isn't the type of person satisfied maintaining the status quo; he is always looking for something new in which to immerse himself. His latest venture combines all of his previous hobbies into one neat vegetable package-gourds.

Long viewed as the vegetable world's version of an appendix-experts know they serve a purpose, they're just not quite sure what that purpose is-gourds are quickly becoming the latest trend in art work, largely because of their similar characteristics to wood.

Mommsen says he first learned of the creative potential of gourds from a friend of his in Georgia, where he chooses to spend his winter months. A self-described "full-time RVer," Mommsen admits he was looking for a new hobby to pass the time while hanging out during the summer at Chetek River Campground.

"He showed me a couple gourds he had decorated, and I thought it looked interesting," says Mommsen. "He gave me some gourds and I decided to give it a shot." Full Story...

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Carowinds reopens campground with new features

If you think about Paramount's Carowinds theme park in North Carolina chances are, you think about waterslides and roller coasters.

There's more, though.

After closing for two years and putting several million dollars into upgrades and renovations, the park's campsite is back in operation. Wireless Internet, air-conditioned cabins, a miniature golf course, a new playground and an air-conditioned tram that takes you to and from the theme park are among the new features.

The campground has a new name, too. Camp Wilderness Resort opened April 1 with a remodeled lodge and lots of new underground work that provides electricity and water, even to the 57 tent sites.

There are 199 sites available for rental, and next week, six of 15 air-conditioned log cabins will be available. Most of the sites are RV sites. Full Story...

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Free parking at Wal-Mart irks campground owners

New Brunswick campground owners say retail giant Wal-Mart is cutting into their business by allowing trailers and recreational vehicles to park overnight for free.

Wal-Mart stores have set up shop in virtually every city in the province, and many have invited summer travellers to make themselves at home in their parking lots. It's not exactly a back-to-nature experience, but it's free and many campers say it's a convenient place to spend the night and stock up on necessities.

However, Liberal tourism critic Don Arsenault says that attitude is hurting New Brunswick campground owners. "You know, they are nickel and dime and it's tough," he said in the legislature Thursday. "When you lose potential tourists such as the ones who are parking at Wal-Mart, it makes it even harder." Full Story...

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Campground hosts lovin' simple life

Now that summer is officially here, the Leeches are ready for whatever campers toss their way at the Jordan Pines campground in Big Cottonwood Canyon. As campground hosts, they've dealt with everything from overflowing latrines to rowdy card games since they quit their jobs two years ago and traded their four-bedroom house for a fifth-wheel trailer.

They downsized from a living space of 2,300 square feet to one that fills up less than 250, but now that they've sampled the simple life, they don't want to go back.
Instead of an alarm clock, the Leeches are awakened by the sound of birds singing and the tantalizing aroma of campfire bacon. There are no lawns to mow, no roofs to repair and no electric bills to pay. Their only big expense is filling their gas tank.

"Since we stay parked most of the summer, even that's not such a big deal," says Don, 56, a former software instructor at Hill Air Force Base. "This is the best lifestyle in the world. To be out in nature, to be able to see the stars and watch the wildlife. What's not to like about that?" Full Story...

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Chuck Wagon Nights, BBQ, & Old Time Country Music

On July 6, enjoy old time country music at Valley of the Rogue State Park near Gold Hill, Oregon. The BBQ takes place from 5-8pm, music by the Old Time Fiddlers from 7-8:30pm. Cost of the BBQ is $10/meal. Music is free (donations appreciated). Public is welcome to attend the music portion of the program whether or not they attend the BBQ. Bring a blanket and a shade umbrella for your personal comfort. This is the first event in a summer series of five Chuck Wagon Nights at the Park.

A pleasant green oasis awaits you in southern Oregon's Rogue Valley. Valley of the Rogue Park has both a day-use picnic area and an overnight campground along three miles of shoreline on the Rogue River. A meeting hall is available for groups. An easy, self-guided interpretive walking trail provides a relaxing 1.25 mile stroll along the river's edge.

Camp and play along the river made famous by novelist and avid fisherman Zane Grey. Full Story...

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Cushy camping trades up from sleeping under stars

Roughing it outdoors definitely isn't what it used to be, not with souped-up RVs, organized campsite activities and hotel-style amenities allowing families to do more than pitch a tent or sit around the fire with bags of marshmallows.

"I'm not sure if nature hikes are cutting it anymore," said Kari Geno of Lake of the Woods Campground in Wautoma. "I think kids are pressing their parents for something more. They're used to being entertained around the clock, so giving them more opportunities to be entertained is the route some families are taking at campgrounds."

Having watched an "evolution of camping" take hold in the last three to five years, Lake of the Woods is one of numerous Wisconsin locations adapting to recreational demographic shifts. While the campground's goal isn't to fully replicate home life for a younger generation of travelers, there is a new school of thought when it comes to enjoying the outdoors. Full Story...

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Missouri Runs Summer Camping Sale

Missouri Department of Natural Resources today announced a promotion that includes ways to receive free camping, free historic site tours, and an opportunity to win one of six free state park vacation packages.

During the month of July, anyone camping two or more nights in a state park or historic site campground will receive a promotional camping certificate for another free night of camping. This coupon will be good for any other campsite of the same or lesser value in any campground in a Missouri state park or historic site from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, 2006.

Also during July at historic sites, visitors can pay for one tour and get another free tour at the same time. Full Story...

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RV use grows as fun vacation vehicles for the whole family

In the midst of the peak summer travel season, a booming RV rental industry is drawing young families and baby boomers inside mammoth vehicles that roam the highways bound for national parks, relatives' homes, NASCAR races and just about anywhere else. RV rentals are expected to surge 24 percent this year, according to a survey released this month by the Recreation Vehicle Rental Association.

Sam Clayton, rental manager of Carolina Coach and Camper near Hickory, chalks up the increase to busy families yearning to spend time together.

"Families have changed," he says. "Families don't even eat together anymore. People are looking for quality time with their own family to get to know them."

Sandy Lankford, 41, said she was pleasantly surprised with her first RV trip earlier this month, when she, her husband, son, daughter and son-in-law went in a mini-motor home to a dirt-bike race in Pennsylvania for a week.

"It was definitely a little better than I thought it would be," said Lankford, who lives in Booneville, south of Winston-Salem. "I'm not much of a camping person. It's definitely a lot better than camping."

Staying in a motel might have been cheaper but less convenient, she said. Full Story...

Friday, June 16, 2006

Winnebago reports weaker sales and profits

Winnebago Industries of Forest City on Friday reported a drop in sales and profits for the third quarter, blaming reduced consumer confidence brought on by higher fuel prices and interest rates.

The company said it’s also seeing a shift in consumer demand toward smaller, lower-priced motor homes.

Demand for full-size Class A motorhomes has been weak, but the drop has been partially offset by higher demand for smaller Class C vehicles, Hertzke said. Class C motorhomes have a truck-like cab, while Class A vehicles have a bus-like look.

Class C sales have been driven in part by strong demand for diesel models, the Winnebago View and Itasca Navion, he added. Full Story...

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Campground adds RV spaces

GREENFIELD CENTER, NY -- With gas prices going up, trees are coming down at Kimberly and Scott Foro's campground.

The Foros, who own Whispering Pines Campsites & RV Park, are clearing space and installing electrical hookups to accommodate another 50 recreational vehicles at their 70-site park.

In fact, Scott Foro said, the park is seeing more interest in long-term seasonal rentals, from people who might otherwise have hauled their rolling vacation homes around with them on weekend getaways.

"They want to park these things," he said. "They don't want to be towing these things around everywhere." Full Story...

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Making happy campers

Growing up, the Sebring children spent much of their time outdoors on their 220-acre family farm.

They would swim in the land's two lakes — Little Pine Lake and Long Lake. They would pick berries. They would ride horses.

Since their parents had opened the land to the public years before, they decided to follow that lead.

"Our folks rented boats to people to fish in Little Pine Lake for 50 cents a day, and people were allowed to pick huckleberries for 25 cents a day," Bob Sebring said.

The three Sebring siblings — Bob and Jack Sebring and Jean Sebring-Gladstone, 73 — and their spouses decided to buy two adjoining farms to create a campground. Full Story...

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Motor home regulations anger owners

AZUSA, CA - John Rosedale and his family take mini-vacations twice a month in their motor home.

He says that's in jeopardy now that Azusa officials have stepped up code compliance on regulations for parking recreational vehicles in front of homes or in driveways.

The move will force most Azusa residents to pay roughly $100 a month to store their RVs elsewhere.

"I can't afford that," Rosedale said, adding that the fee would end the family's RV trips.

Rosedale was one of about 200 people who packed the Azusa Senior Center during a recent city-sponsored workshop on code compliance; a second workshop has been scheduled for Wednesday to gauge reaction to the city's latest move to crack down on violations. Full Story...

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Tin Can Tourist Caravan on journey along National Road

They rolled into Terre Haute, IN from the east and another era in America: 26 vintage trailers, campers and recreational vehicles and two fairly new but rare RVs are part of the Tin Can Tourists cruise that began in Cumberland, Md., and will end today in Vandalia, Ill.

The most freshly minted of the vintage vehicles — a Superior 2200 and a Boler 1300 — first hit the road in 1972, the oldest was constructed in 1932 and called a “Rear Porch.” Full Story...

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RV owners looking for fishing, nature trails and tourist attractions

The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds says one in 10 U.S. residents is classified as either an “active camper” or “RVer.” That’s more than 23 million people.

According to a recent survey conducted by Orlando-based Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown and Russell, nearly 85 percent of RV owners are taking to the roadways for a weekend getaway. More than 60 percent take trips of five nights or longer, and nearly 15 percent head out on season-long trips.

More than one half of both RV owners and active campers are interested in visiting the western United States during the next two years, four in 10 RV owners and one-third campers are interested in visiting the South, one quarter is interested in the Midwest, and about two in 10 are interested in the Northeast. Full Story...

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Lucky man' is rescued from RV sinking in to lake

The man clung to life, only his lips breaking the surface of the water as his motor home slipped further and further into the lake at Trinity Towers RV Park.

If it weren't for a weak cough, that motor home would likely have been his grave.

Jeff Smith, 43, and his son, Justin Smith, 15, were heading to a roofing job about 7:30 a.m. Saturday when Justin spotted something big in the RV park's lake.

The Smiths rushed to the old, Pace Arrow motor home. It couldn't have been in the water long, they surmised.

"It was still going down," Justin said. He plunged into the dark water and opened the door to the recreational vehicle. He yelled inside, but there was no answer. Smith called 911. Full Story...

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Friday, June 09, 2006

The Clinch clan sure

As a family, we thought it would be a ton of fun to head out on a camping trip.

Turns out that thinking about it was as fun as it got. It wasn't so much the fact that the campsites were cramped with trash, flies and people wanting to "get away from it all" that got us down. Nor was it that the last site had been condemned by the Health Department. It was the sign posted in the middle of the road that said, "Next Campsite 130 miles."

"Is there anything closer?" we asked the campground host with desperate optimism.

"Well," he replied as he raised a brow, "there is a campground." Then he paused for effect, looked all around him and leaned in. It was as if he were letting us in on the best-kept secret this side of the trees. "There is a campground that very few people know about," he whispered. "It's got wide open spaces, babbling brooks and the best part is.... it's got sweet-smelling outhouses." Full Story...

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RV Parking at a campground near you

Packing up and heading to the great outdoors means different things to different folks.

For some, it is getting everything packed snug into a comfortable backpack and hiking deep into the woods to set up camp for a long weekend.

For others, it means, making sure the refrigerator is cold, the tires are well treaded and the fuel tank is full, as the family heads out to an established spot with full hook-ups.

RVs tradionally have been associated with retirees hitting the road.

But General Manager Mark Rispens of D&D RV Center said there are no more “typical” RV users these days.
Full Story...

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

RV Rental Companies Forecast Growth in 2006

RV rental companies project another big year for motorhome and RV trailer rentals in 2006, according to a new survey. RV Rental Association (RVRA) members project RV rental activity will be up by an average of 24 percent this year.

“The majority of members report that 2006 will be a better year than last year for RV rentals,” said RVRA Chairman Bert Alanko. “Most people will not let higher fuel costs interfere with their vacation plans in an RV. When you do the math, gas prices are a small percentage of a vacation’s cost.” Full Story...

Monaco Coach Corporation Announces the Launch of Monaco Financial Service

naco Coach Corporation (NYSE: MNC - News), one of the nation's leading manufacturers of recreational vehicles, announced today the launch of Monaco Financial Services (MFS). Monaco Financial Services was jointly designed by Monaco Coach Corporation, GE Capital Solutions, and GE Consumer Finance to deliver cost effective commercial financing to Monaco's dealers and a specialized retail financing program which offers competitive rates to consumers. Full Story...

Tax-free RVs irk states

Thousands of Americans are avoiding millions of dollars in taxes by registering their motor homes in Montana — and there’s not much anyone is doing about it.

Many state officials elsewhere, including those in cash-hungry Missouri and Kansas, bitterly complain that the tax-free RV road show is turning the Treasure State into a tax scofflaw haven.

“This is a tax scam and fraud,” said Matt Moser, manager of the Title and Registration Bureau for the Kansas Department of Revenue.

Whether it is legal depends on whether you’re talking to state officials and lawyers in Montana or other states. Montana authorities maintain it is completely legal. Missouri and Kansas officials argue it isn’t. Full Story...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Texas state park named top 100 nationally

Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Trailway was recognized this year for its variety of activities as one of the top 100 family campgrounds in the country.

“Our fourth annual Top 100 Family Campground awards continue our commitment to creating a resource for the camping consumer looking to plan and reserve a camping trip for this spring or summer,” said Brendan Ross, ReserveAmerica president. “We are proud to honor these outstanding public outdoor recreation facilities that provide such a high level of service and dedication while protecting our beautiful natural areas for future generations.”

ReserveAmerica is a “recreation reservation and campground management solutions provider.” Full Story...

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Minnesota City could tighten RV laws

Neighbors in Burnsville grumbled last week about whether the city should tighten its recreational vehicle law.

The City Council began reviewing where and how RVs can be stored after hearing concerns from residents.

City staff received 68 complaints about RVs in 2004 and 2005, with the most common criticism being where utility trailers can be stored. Under Burnsville law, RVs include various trailers, motor homes, campers, snowmobiles, boats and all-terrain vehicles. Full Story...

Camping in comfort at Disney World Florida

If you want primitive camping, go to the Ocala National Forest and look for the pit toilets. If you want all the luxuries of home -- and still technically be camping -- go to Fort Wilderness.

"This is great," said Steve Richord, who brought his family and their pop-up camper from Peoria, Ill. "I don't think my wife would have come unless we had certain things real close and convenient."

There are 1,108 campsites and 750 acres at Fort Wilderness, giving it an outdoors feel with a strong tourism touch, nestled among tall pines and large oaks but still in the shadow of the theme parks. Full Story...

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