Sunday, October 29, 2006

Wheel Life: workshops offer RV basics

Let's say you are slightly interested in buying an RV but you don't know exactly what to look for or the best questions to ask in order to get the information you need before you buy – where can you turn?

One place to glom onto an extensive amount of basic information in a short amount of time is to attend one of the three-hour workshops being offered through the Spokane Community Colleges' Institute for Extended Learning.

John Morrill, a 25-year veteran of the RV industry, is teaching "RV Basic Training" and "RV Care and Maintenance" courses. (See E7 for details.)

In the basic workshop Morrill gives pointers on what to look for, especially if purchasing a used unit.

"It always surprises me how many people don't crawl under the coach and look up," says Morrill. Full Story...
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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Port Hood, N.S., making plans for RV park

The Cape Breton community of Port Hood wants to invest up to $900,000 in a new camping park for recreational vehicles to help boost tourism, create some seasonal employment and better utilize its sports centre during the summer.

Joe Morris, manager of the Al MacInnis Sports Centre, said Monday that an RV park, which is needed in the area, would tie in with the sports complex, which is, to some extent, closed for five months of the year.

A $12,000 independent feasibility study, conducted by Ontario-based Foresight Management Group, indicated the RV park was possible and economically sound. Full Story...
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Sunday, October 22, 2006

RV sales drag in a tough economy

Just as baby boomers cruise into retirement, their plans of buying a motor home or travel trailer have run into speed bumps such as higher interest rates and unstable fuel prices.

Ginger Mays of Hartland is asking $135,000 her 2-year-old, 39-foot Winnebago Journey motor home. It runs on diesel fuel and has three slide-out rooms and leather seats. First-time buyers might find it pricey, she says.

Nationally, motor home sales have been down every month since February 2005, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., a Grand Rapids, Mich., firm that tracks the industry.

Instead of taking out a $300,000 mortgage for a Class-A motor coach, more consumers are turning toward smaller units or used ones. Some are holding out until next year, hoping that the cost of borrowing money will edge down a little.

"We have had a lot of people who are going to wait," said Ron Peterson, owner of Scenic Traveler RV Centers in Slinger and Baraboo.

"We think they are ready to buy, and they just sort of back off," he said. Full Story...
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Friday, October 20, 2006

Canadians go to Plan B and sell a lot of motorhomes

Since 1990, Roadtrek Class B motorhomes, built by Home & Park Motorhomes, has been the No. 1 selling Class B motorhome in North America.

Roadtrek chairman Jeff Hanemaayer said the company will sell more than 1,400 motorhomes this year.

"To maintain our No. 1 position, we need to offer the best combination of design, quality, price and service," Hanemaayer said. "That's also how we achieved such strong export sales."

In addition, "being Canadian helps as well in the eyes of the U.S. consumer from a perception of better quality."

Most Roadtrek motorhomes -- 85 per cent -- are sold outside Canada with the bulk going to the United States. A small percentage is shipped to Japan. The remaining 15 per cent are sold in Canada.

Despite competition from a variety of U.S. firms and several in Canada, Roadtrek moved to the top of the Class B motorhome sales charts.

"Our strongest competition currently comes from other Canadian manufacturers," Hanemaayer said. Canadian competitors include Pleasureway in Saskatoon and two Manitoba firms -- Great West Van and Leisure Travel Vans. Full Story...
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Monday, October 16, 2006

Fort Smith, AR: Planners vote no on casino RV park

The Fort Smith Arkansas,Planning Commission has denied the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma’s request to rezone land it owns in Arkansas for a casino parking lot and RV park.

The requests were denied, Cathcart said, because the Choctaw Nation didn’t follow the commission’s requirement that the nation meet with a neighboring homeowners Nathan and Melanie Bradshaw.

A plan submitted to the commission by the Choctaw Nation showed a screening fence would be erected and trees planted around the Bradshaws’ property to block the car lights and that the parking lot lighting would be placed so it would not shine on the Bradshaw property. Full Story...

Manteca, CA Residents Face RV-Trailer Parking Dispute

The enforcement of an old city code is drawing fire. RV's, trailers, and boats parked at homes built after July 1978 must be parked at least 22 feet from the street. That means residents without enough distance can't park anything out front at all. Full Story & Video...

Friday, October 13, 2006

Winnebago Earnings Tumble on Sales Slide

DES MOINES, Iowa — Motor-home manufacturer Winnebago Industries Inc. reported sharply lower profits for its fiscal fourth quarter due to product liability claims and a decrease in sales because of higher interest rates and fuel prices.

Shares of the company fell $1.08, or 3.14 percent, to close at $33.28 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Forest-City, Iowa-based company earned $9.3 million, or 30 cents a share, for the quarter, compared with $15.4 million, or 46 cents a share, a year ago.

Sales for the quarter were reported at $205.4 million, a decreased of 11.3 percent from sales of $231.5 million a year ago. Full Story...

A Boomer Road Motorhome Trip

Nick DiBlasi was never much for pitching tents. "If I wanted to go camping, I'd have joined the Marines," says the 52-year-old former Navy officer.

Not that the alternative was any better. Longtime Harley-Davidson enthusiasts, DiBlasi and his wife, Sheila, had grown weary of sleeping in hotels every time they hit the road. So three years ago, they tried something they never thought they'd be caught dead doing: They bought an RV.

But the DiBlasis quickly found the view from behind the wheel of their 32-foot TropiCal motor home-which they picked up used for $20,000-wasn't all that bad. Nor was the queen-size bed, the onboard shower, or the kitchenette. In fact, they were so taken with the idea of camping in style that they soon traded up-not once but twice-most recently to a plush, $150,000 model.

"It's massive," DiBlasi boasts of the couple's 38-foot Newmar Kountry Star, which features four slide-out sections that accommodate dual facing sofas and a spacious master bedroom suite. "And it rides sweet, too." Full Story...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Newmar Owners Ralley to Enjoy Life on the Road

Thirty-somethings Kellie and Craig McHugh, and Lynne and Eddy Siroin (Kellie and Lynne are cousins) had what many would consider perfect lives -- lucrative careers, young children attending fine schools and nice homes in suburban Texas and California.

They wanted more -- more time with their kids and more freedom to see the country. So after some serious soul searching, the McHughs and Siroins either rented or sold their homes, quit their jobs to form a company that reviews RV campsites, bought top-of-the-line Newmar RVs, and are six months into what will be a two-year odyssey, crisscrossing the United States.

"It was very freeing and liberating," Lynne Siroin said of the life change that included downsizing from a 2,100-square-foot home in Austin, Texas, to a 400-square-foot motor home. "It's like the opposite of that saying, 'He who dies with the most toys wins.' Now it's like 'less is more.'" Full Story...
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RV owners wary of rule change

EATONTOWN NJ — David Harris' 28-foot recreational vehicle has all the amenities of home: a full kitchen and bath, and a queen-size bed. There's even an awning attachment and a screened-in porch, if he's inclined to hook it all up.

"You're sleeping in your own bed, you know where everything is in the kitchen, and you're not imposing on anyone," Harris said.

While it may be a good way to travel, parking his RV in town is a bit of a snag. Current borough ordinance requires RVs to be parked in the backyard, 15 feet away from property lines, and borough officials are looking into whether the local law should be changed.

That has put RV owners on alert.

Last week, a normally quiet Planning Board meeting turned raucous when dozens of RV owners, worried that they would have to find other places to park their mobile vacation homes, came to hear preliminary discussions about possible changes to the ordinance. Full Story...
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Over-Exposure Lands Man In Jail

RVers got a rude surprise when a man who came into their motor home and exposed himself.

The sheriff's office said the couple had set up camp Tuesday at Buck Creek State Park. They weren't suspicious when Mark Goodbar began asking questions about their motor home. They even invited him in to take a look, something they came to regret. Full Story...
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Eight years on the road; no looking back

When the travel bug bites, it's best sometimes to ride out the itch. That's what Larry Chiuppi and wife, Nancy Raimondi, discovered during a three-month cross-country trip back in 1995, traveling 11,500 miles between National Parks in a small truck camper.

It was on the drive back to Tilton, says Larry, that the couple started dreaming of a long-term commitment to the road. They decided to save up enough money to sustain them for two years of travel. In 1998, they sold their home and most of their stuff. Two months later they quit their jobs.

Four months into their trip, they knew two years wasn't going to be enough. Full Story...
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Sunday, October 08, 2006

What Does an RVer Do After Having Seen It All?

Many aspiring retirees can't wait for the day they can leave their cares behind and hit the road in an RV to explore America's highways and byways.

But what do you do after you've seen the most beautiful sites in North America and start getting a little tired of life behind the wheel?

Many RV enthusiasts buy a recreational park trailer or "park model," place it on a leased site at their favorite campground and stay there for weeks or months at a time, enjoying an outdoor-oriented lifestyle and establishing new, long-term relationships with other campers who have a similar background and love of the RV life.

"It's a great way for Snowbirds to escape the cold and follow the sun, while pursuing their love of the RV lifestyle in America's warmer climates," said Bill Garpow, executive director of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA), a Newnan, Ga.-based trade association. Full Story...

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Couple meets, and weds in RV bliss

Sometimes the journey is the destination, at least that's what Ginny Soucy has discovered.

It's been seven years since the single mother of two grown sons sold her Somersworth home with no particular plan.

"Pretty much I just follow the sun," says Soucy, 62, who spent four years on her own, just her and her RV.

Soucy spent the next several years working in various campsites in mostly southern climes when, in 2003, her solitary life got pleasantly crowded.

"I was working at a camp in Colorado when I met my husband," says Soucy.

Wayne Beck was a widower who had just taken his RV out of storage. He and his first wife had spent plenty of good times on the road. Full Story...

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Commisioners back away from enacting stricter RV law

Wilton Manors, FL · The law would have limited the number and height of recreational vehicles that residents could store on their front and side yards.

But when almost 100 residents jammed City Hall in protest at a recent meeting, commissioners thought twice about amending the city's recreational vehicle ordinance.

The law would have required recreational vehicles 6 feet or taller to be parked at least five feet from the neighbor's property line and allowed only two recreational vehicles to be stored in the front yard. Full Story...

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Burnsville, MN RV ordinance remains elusive

Burnsville City Council members agreed Sept. 26 to drop the screening requirement from a proposed ordinance regulating parking and storage of camping vehicles and trailers.

The agreement came before a feisty, sometimes irritable crowd of about 25 people, including retirees worried the council wants to place onerous restrictions on storage of their motorhomes.

Council members agreed that requiring fences or plantings to screen vehicles and trailers from view of neighboring properties would be a costly imposition on owners.

But council members did agree to curtail parking on driveways and require a hard surface underneath vehicles parked on side and rear yards.

The council will review a newly written ordinance Oct. 24. Full Story...

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