Sunday, August 27, 2006

RVing cross-country with grandchildren

Betty Marchon is not your ordinary grandmother.

Your ordinary grandmother wouldn't pile her grandchildren into a motor home and spend three weeks driving them thousands of miles cross-country.

Which Marchon did more than once and lived to tell the tales, going so far as to write an aptly-titled book about them, "In Grandmother's House We Go!"

After her husband, Don, died in 1994, Marchon never thought she'd be happy again. She had lost her travelmate and her best friend, and she thought she'd never get over her grief.

Slowly but surely, she grew content. After reading an article in RVing Women magazine about women who travel alone in their motor homes, Marchon decided to pick up where she and Don had left off, arranging to take their two oldest grandchildren RVing along the Oregon Trail.

Early in the summer of 1995, Marchon picked up cousins Danielle, then 11, and Aaron, 9 - she knew better than to take two siblings along - and they were on their way.

In the summer of 1999, Marchon took her four oldest grandchildren - Danielle, then 15; Aaron, 13; and Lauren and Justin, both 11 - on an expedition along the Lewis and Clark Trail.

This time it was sisters Danielle and Lauren and brothers Aaron and Justin, and Marchon warned them before departing that if any one of them got three strikes, she'd send him or her home right away. She didn't have to follow through with the threat, though, and she doesn't know that she would've had the heart to. "They're all good kids," she says. Full Story...


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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Homeowners check out for summer months

Duane Hanson laughs at the thought of being homeless. So does his wife, Anne, though the couple have never really attached that word to their situation.

But the description sort of fits.

"Our last home was in Cedar Falls," Duane says.

They moved out three years ago. No foundation. No permanent address. No shingles overhead. No garage ... Duane lets loose another belly laugh, the kind those in on a secret enjoy.

No property taxes. No homeowners insurance. No utility bills ... Others gathered around the picnic table, including Edna and Del Orr, smile and nod approval.

The question for these folks and many others during the summer --- or in many cases yearlong --- is not whether a person can survive without a house. The question is, why choose a lifestyle anchored on a foundation, particularly when the weather warms and fireflies dot summer evenings?

"We don't really miss our house. Not anymore," Edna says. Full Story...

MALIA LANE has a valuable new eBook titled MALIA’S RV CHECK-LIST. This book will simplify your planning and eliminate the possibility of missing an important step in an RVing task. Malia addresses all aspects of Pre-Delivery; to the Preparing for that First Step; to Getting In/Out of Campgrounds; to Hitching/Unhitching to Storage Procedures to Miscellaneous info plus, plus plus. Get more info on MALIA’S RV CHECK-LIST - Instant Download - Cost $11.95


The RV movement's on a roll

Six years ago, Carole and Eugene Brawner sold their home in Fredericksburg, Va., opting to live full-time in their motor home.

The Brawners, who started RV camping with their children in 1970, retired and were traveling most of the time before they decided to make the transition.

"It didn't make sense to cut the grass, dust the vacuum and leave again," said Carole, sitting near her RV with friends from her Colonial Virginians motor home group.

Moving from a fixed address to an RV may sound daunting, but the Brawners and others who have made the switch say it's not a huge adjustment. Groups such as the Family Motor Coach Association, which sponsored the convention, and the Good Sam Club cater to RV owners with no permanent address.

The Brawners were among the thousands who attended an FMCA RV convention this week at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Full Story & Video

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Affinity acquires campground guidebook company

Affinity Group Inc., a Ventura firm with 13 businesses that provide an array of products and services for outdoor recreation, has acquired another company.

American Guide Services Inc. of Port Angeles, Wash., was purchased for an undisclosed sum Aug 1 2006.

Owned by the same family for more than 30 years, American Guide Services publishes guest guides for campgrounds and recreational vehicle parks. Published in varying sizes, the guides contain directions to local attractions and businesses, as well as maps of parks and nearby areas, said Jo Daquino, Affinity's multimedia vice president.

The promotional products, including rack cards, brochures, mailers and post cards, are designed to attract guests to campgrounds and get them to stay longer. Daquino called the acquisition a good one for privately held Affinity.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Residents of Mountain View, California now have free broadband wireless access.

The Wi-Fi network Google built for Mountain View becomes generally available on Wednesday, providing free broadband wireless access in this California city that the search engine giant calls home.

Google's network includes 380 access points throughout this city, which has about 72,000 residents and covers a 12-square mile area, said Chris Sacca, Google's head of special initiatives.

It will offer 1 megabit per second of throughput both upstream and downstream, and that capacity can be increased if necessary, he said. Full Story...

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Black bear sightings in PA campgrounds becoming more frequent

Retired truck driver Jim Chaisson had just turned on the coffee maker one recent morning when he heard a strange sound coming from outside the motor home he shares with his wife, Jimmie, a retired nurse, on the grounds of the Fort Necessity National Battlefield in southern Fayette County.

A young, 200-pound black bear was outside, wrestling with the 4-inch sewer hose coming from the RV, trying to root out the food scraps inside.

Mr. Chaisson, of Greeley, Colo., a temporary volunteer at Fort Necessity, screamed and hollered at the bear, pounding on the side of the motor home to get it to go away.

"It didn't do anything," said Mr. Chaisson. "It just looked at us as if to say, 'You're infringing on my territory.' It was not afraid of us. It really did not want to leave, but I was just enough of an irritant to him."

The bear then lay down underneath a nearby tree for a while, before finally ambling off into the woods.

It was the bear's second visit to the RV, but Mr. Chaisson's first face-to-face encounter with one. Full Story...


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Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Galloping Gourmet rides a Motorhome

Two and half years ago, Graham Kerr, The Galloping Gourmet, and his bride of 50 years, Treena, decided to put their $800,000 (all figures U.S.), custom-built home on the market. They wanted to free up their money to help the less fortunate.

New the Kerrs are living in a Fleetwood Discovery 2006, Class A Motorhome. It is their second motorhome, purchased this past January. Unlike many buyers, they bought the 39-foot-long vehicle, with 380-square-feet of space, to downgrade not upgrade.

"We were attracted because there are less bells and whistles on it," explains Kerr, the former host of The Galloping Gourmet. "We are suspicious of the word upgrade. We think if it works and is comfortable and pleasant, it doesn't really need to be upgraded any more.

Kerr is currently on a 160,000-kilometre tour that will soon bring the couple and their motorhome to Toronto, where he will display his culinary talents at the Canadian National Exhibition from Aug. 18 to Aug. 20 (http://www.theex.com).

"We were told you should never tour in anything less than 36 feet long and this is three feet longer than that," he says. "This weighs 30,000 pounds and when you are guiding it down the road at 60 miles per hour, you would think it would be awkward, but it isn't. You get used to it. I think Treena and I would say we have never been happier in any dwelling place we've ever had in our life." Full Story...

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

RVs feel gas crunch

Parked in Camper World shopping center with his Bounder Diesel, a large Class A motor home, Tim Mott came to Myrtle Beach from Charleston for minor repairs on his vehicle. Mott uses his traveling home mainly for business, but he still likes to take it on occasional excursions.

But things have changed since gas prices have flared to new highs.

The average price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline in Myrtle Beach Thursday was $2.857 with some stations charging as much as $2.919, according to AAA Carolinas. In Georgetown, the average was $2.805 and the high $2.969. In Brunswick County, N.C., the average was $2.929 and the high $2.999.

"I cut down the [travel] time in half," said Mott, who also increased the frequency of his trips. "Instead of taking eight- to 10-hour trips, I take three- to four-hour trips."

Skyrocketing gas prices are having a dampening effect on the motor home industry.

While sales are up overall, it's being driven by towables - pulled by other vehicles - which are cheaper to run than full-sized motor homes. Motor homes get as little as seven miles per gallon.

RV owners aren't just switching to less-expensive RVs that get better gas mileage, they are taking shorter trips and staying longer at their destinations. Full Story...

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High Gas Prices Not Slowing RV Sales

With skyrocketing gas prices, the demand for fuel efficient hybrid vehicles is unprecedented. But so, too, is the demand for vehicles that rate among the worst when it comes to miles per gallon.

At the Solano RV Show, which opened Friday, sales manager Art Leclair expects to move at least 65 RVs and travel trailers by the time the show ends August 13. "If people can afford the RV, they usually can afford the gas," Leclair says. "Sales have never been better." Full Story...

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Road travelers: RV vacations increasing in popularity

Some use RVs to travel the country -- seeing our nation's natural wonders and getting a crash course in Americana along the way.

For others, recreational vehicles provide transportation to ski slopes or beaches, or their extreme sport spot of choice.

Tailgating and NASCAR races simply wouldn't be the same without them.

Modern RVs are nothing short of homes on wheels, and you just might see more of them on the road as a new generation is discovering their benefits.

Demographics regarding RV enthusiasts have changed dramatically in recent years.

These vehicles are no longer the province of retirees and the stereotypical men who wear plaid shorts and dark socks with sandals. Full Story...

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Monday, August 07, 2006

RV Travel is Fun

After Jim Fiske retired in the late 1980s, the couple decided it was time to leave their home in Virginia and see the country. They hitched their trailer to their Chevy Suburban, loaded it up and started a life of "trailering."
"When we hit the road we had two spinning wheels, a typewriter, sewing machine, golf clubs — you name it, we had it," said Joan Fiske, 82. "We wanted to see the country and this was a way to do it," she said.
The Fiskes moved into a "park model" — essentially a small, nonmobile home — at Voyager RV Park several years ago, but they still relish the days they could just pick up and go, Joan Fiske said. They started spending time at Voyager in 1987 as they cruised around the country, and when it came time to give up the rambling life, they decided to stay in Tucson. Full Story...

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Ford recalls trucks and SUVs

Ford Motor Co. is recalling 1.2 million vehicles, mostly pickups built at the Kentucky Truck Plant because cruise control switches on gasoline-burning models could pose a fire hazard.

The announcement is an expansion of last year’s 3.8 million-vehicle recall of pickups and sport utility vehicles.

The recall announced Thursday covers gasoline powered F-250, F-350, F-450 and F-550 trucks built in Louisville for the 1994-2002 model years. It also includes 2000-2004 Excursion SUVs, also built in Louisville, and 1998 model year Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer SUVs. The recall also covers 1996-2002 commercial vans. Check with your dealer if you believe your vehicle is part of the recall.


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