Attachable fold-down deck for the RV

InventHelp, America’s largest inventor service company, recently announced that one of its clients, an inventor from Pennsylvania, has designed an attachable deck for permanent installation on the side of an RV. This invention is patented.

According to a news release, the “RV/Trailer Outdoor Living Accessory” deck would incorporate fold-down furniture, adjustable legs, and collapsible rails. The unit would fold up against the side of the vehicle for storage and transport.

Design concept of the attachable fold-down deck for recreation vehicles

Easy to install, the unit would provide campers with a clean, dry, and stable place to eat or relax.

Additionally, the RV/Trailer Outdoor Living Accessory would help to prevent tracking of mud or grass in the camping vehicle.

The RV/Trailer Outdoor Living Accessory would consist of a deck that would attach to the side of a camping vehicle with piano-style hinges. The unit would incorporate a motor, fold-down side rails and legs, a built-in, fold-down picnic table and bench, and a four-foot-wide door. The deck and fold-down furniture would be producible from a strong synthetic compound or aluminum.

The motor would be battery-operated.

The deck would be designed for storage beneath the rolled-up awning.

To gain access to the trailer door while the deck is in stowed position, a user could unfasten the brackets on the deck door and pivot it downward.

To set up, a user would operate the motor to lower the deck to the ground level, fold down the legs, move the railings up into position and fold down the furniture.

The deck could also be produced in a manually operated design featuring a pulley system.

The RV/Trailer Outdoor Living Accessory could be produced in a variety of colors and designs and offered in sizes to fit camping trailers, RVs, and house trailers.

InventHelp is attempting to submit the invention to companies for review. If substantial interest is expressed, the company will attempt to negotiate for a sale or royalties for the inventor.

For additional information, telephone Dept. 07-KIP-455 at (800) 851-6030.

Worth Pondering…

Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple.

—C.W. Ceran

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Road to Recreation RV tour coming to Michigan

The "Road to Recreation" RV tour 32-foot motorhome Photo courtesy MI DNR

The Recreation Passport is coming, and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) wants everyone to know what a great deal it is for Michigan. That’s why the department is launching the “Road to Recreation” RV tour, a three-month tour of Michigan’s festivals, concerts, and best destinations.

At the heart of the tour is a 32-foot recreational vehicle completely wrapped with inspiring images of wildlife, beaches, outdoor activities, and smiling faces, thanks to the financial support of Merrell, a Michigan-based shoe and apparel company, and General RV Center, a Michigan-based dealer of recreational vehicles.

The motorhome makes stops along the tour to share information about the $10 Recreation Passport, which—starting October 1—will replace the current state park sticker and provide easy access into all Michigan state parks, recreation areas, and boat launches. The Recreation Passport will also help to preserve state forest campgrounds and trails, historic and cultural sites in state parks and local parks.

To get the Recreation Passport, Michigan residents can check “YES” on their license plate renewal forms.

Anyone meeting the RV can try their hand at bean bag toss and ladder golf, as well as enter to win one of three prime camping sites being given away for the July 4, 2011 weekend: Ludington State Park, Tahquamenon Falls State Park, or P.H. Hoeft State Park. Plus, freebies from Merrell and General RV will be given to anyone who stops by.

“We proudly support the Road to Recreation tour as it strongly ties back to our heritage of making public lands more accessible and getting more people outside,” said Amy Roder, marketing specialist at Merrell. “We are dedicated to working with our very own state parks and forest trails to educate people on the best ways to get outside and have fun.”

Ludington State Park is like an island, nestled between Lake Michigan and Hamlin Lake Photo courtesy MI DNR

The vehicle has been provided by General RV. General RV is a third-generation, family-owned and -operated dealer of recreational vehicles based in Michigan, and is the largest volume family-owned RV dealer in the country, with locations in Michigan, Ohio, Florida, and Utah. General RV Center is based in Wixom, Michigan.

“This is a great new way to support our state’s most important natural resource—our park and forest land,” said Dennis Anderson, spokesperson for General RV. “The Michigan state parks are a big part of why so many people vacation in Michigan and it is important we adequately fund them for the future of our state.”

To find out where the Road to Recreation tour is headed, visit the DNRE Facebook page.

To view the current RV tour schedule, click here.

Worth Pondering…
The nation behaves well when it treats the natural resources as assets, which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value.

—Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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Newmar Corp. launches 2011 fifth-wheel line

During the recent Newmar Kountry Klub Rally in Goshen, Indiana, Newmar Corp. unveiled its 2011 fifth-wheel line‐up.

Due to dealer and customer input, Nappanee, Indiana-based Newmar has resurrected its legacy towable brands of Kountry Star and Kountry Aire, replacing the Cypress and Torrey Pine brands, respectively. In addition, the toy hauler brand, X‐Aire, has gone through significant changes for 2011, according to a news release.

“The product brands Kountry Star and Kountry Aire are identified with Newmar. Dealers and customers realize the brand equity of both products. The decision to change names and revamp over eighty percent of the floor plans offered was met with great excitement by dealers and customers alike at the rally,” said John Sammut, Newmar vice president of sales and marketing.

Kountry Star will feature nine floor plans, ranging from 32 feet to 37 feet, with two wood and interior choices, Sony televisions, automatic television lifts on some models, and optional Villa Stone Tile floors and Corian countertops and stairs.

Kountry Aire will be offered in five floor plans all either 36 feet or 37 feet in length. Key features include four exterior graphics choices, hardwood desktops, and dinettes, Ultralux leather sofas, halogen lighting, and optional Manhattan Maple glazed cabinet doors, ceramic tile, Sleep Number Deluxe Air mattress, and hydraulic leveling jacks.

The X‐Aire toy hauler is available in five floor plans ranging from 38 feet to 41 feet, including a 41-foot bath-and-a-half floor plan. Changes for 2011 include two new graphic choices, two interior décor and wood choices, new fascia and headboard designs, new laminate countertops, larger Sony televisions, and popular options such as, solid surface countertops and side by side washer and dryer.

All three Newmar towable products will be introduced to the public at the upcoming Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show, located in Booth No. 522, September 15-19 in Hershey, Paennsylvania.

2011 Dutch Star Diesel Pusher

Newmar had previously unveiled its 2011 line of Class A gas and diesel motorhomes and luxury diesel pushers.

Details on the 2011 fifth-wheel line‐up have yet to be post on the Newmar website.

For additional information on Newmar’s 2011 line of motorhomes and fifth-wheels contact Midtown RV in Penticton, British Columbia, Western Canada’s largest Newmar dealer and the only full line Newmar dealer in Canada.

Worth Pondering…

Here is a simple but powerful rule: always give people more than they expect to get.

—Nelson Boswell

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Texas: Water woes affect RGV state parks

Water woes partly blamed on this summer’s Hurricane Alex has left two state parks in south Texas with different problems, reports Valley Morning Star.

3 turtles all in a row at Estero Llano Grande State Park; © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco, there’s too much water.

The problem at Resaca de la Palma State Park in Brownsville, about 30 miles away, is a lack of water.

Estero Llano Grande

At Estero Llano Grande, National Resource Specialist Kyle O’Haver estimates that a quarter of the park has been flooded and is inaccessible to visitors.

Lesser Yellowlegs at Estero Llano Grande; © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Estero Llano Grande is just one of numerous victims of flooding caused by back-to-back Hurricane Alex and Tropical Depression No. 2 in July.

“At our park, when the floodway filled up, the county had to shut drainage ditches in our area,” O’Haver said. “All the storm water that came through Weslaco started building up in our park. When the floodway level goes down, we may be able to open the drains.”

In the meantime, some of the park did flood and the trail to Alligator Lake and Grebe Marsh was submerged and the two bodies of water became one.

Fortunately for the park, the flooding came in late summer, typically the offseason for visitation.

O’Haver said migratory warblers are already showing up at the park and the first ducks, blue-winged teal, are populating the ponds.

The park will return to normal as soon as the water level lowers in the floodway and we can start moving the water out, O’Haver added.

Resaca de la Palma

The ever beautiful and saucy green jay, a common winter visitor to RGV; © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pablo de Yturbe, manager at Resaca de la Palma, said part of the culvert that transverses the tram road has collapsed and repairs are needed. The problem was detected in late 2009.

“Our resaca system is divided into five parts and two of the parts have no water,” de Yturbe said.

The observation deck closest to the visitor center now overlooks a dry resaca bed overgrown with weeds.

In better days, that overlook would have produced sightings of pied-billed and least grebes, green and ringed kingfishers, along with great kiskadees and white ibises.

Resacas are former channels of the Rio Grande River that have been cut off from the river and filled with silt and water creating marshes and ponds.

Great Kiskadee at Resca de la Palma State Park/World Birding Center in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) near Brownsville; © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

De Yturbe said electric cars now take visitors to parts of the nearly 2,000-acre park that have water.

He said that when park visitation picks up in the cooler months, it would be important that the entire resaca has water.

“Regardless of whether the culvert is fixed or not, we will begin pumping water in November,” he said. “We’re just mimicking what the river would naturally do,” he said.

Worth Pondering…

Wasn’t Born in Texas, But Got Here as Fast as I Could

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Texas: Garner State Park to expand

Cypress trees on the Frio Photo courtesy Bloggazzette

Year after year, people return to Garner State Park to admire the scenic hills and splash in the sparkling Frio River.

Cool evenings and nights, clear, spring-fed waters of the Frio, shade from huge bald cypress, oak, elm, and pecan trees make Garner one of the most popular camping spots in the Lone Star State.

Garner State Park is Texas’ No. 1 park for overnight camping. The park has about 330,000 visits per year and it is open seven days a week.

Enjoy the outdoors at Garner State Park Photo courtesy enjoy-the-outdoors

For many generations of families, Garner is not just a campground or an idyllic vacation spot. It is a passion, almost a shrine—a trip to Garner is like a pilgrimage.

And soon there’ll be even more space for hiking, biking, tubing, and camping in this beautiful Hill Country setting.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved a plan on Thursday (August 19) to purchase a 113.5-acre tract of ranch land to extend the size of Garner State Park.

The land is contiguous to the southern boundary of the state park, which is located west of San Antonio in Uvalde County, reported the San Antonio Business Journal.

Tubing is a favorite activity at Garner State Park Photo courtesy 4rranch.net

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is negotiating a contract to buy the land from John and Taylor Cummings, whose father Jack grew up on the ranch and helped develop Garner State Park. His sons later inherited the property from their aunt, who originally acquired the property back in the 1930s.

Once the purchase closes, the state plans to combine it with its recently acquired Old Baldy tract of land to increase the size of the park.

Garner State Park will soon encompass more than 1,600 acres. The newly acquired ranch land will be used for camping and hiking.

Taylor Cummings, who retired to the ranch and still lives there, will live on the remaining 100-plus acres of ranch not included in the sale.

The park is named for John Nance Garner, former vice-president of the United States who lived in nearby Uvalde, and was constructed in the late 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, adapting the architectural style of nearby French-Alsatian Castroville.

Planning your trip

Phone: (830) 232-6132

Location: 31 miles north of Uvalde, 9 miles south of Leakey, or 8 miles north of Concan on the Frio River

Directions: From US Highway 83, turn east on FM 1050 for .2 miles to Park Road 29 to the new entrance.

Entrance fee: $6/person

Camping fee: $10-20

Additional Information

Friends of Garner exists to preserve the cultural, historical and natural aspects of that park.

For map of campground and other facilities, click here.

For map of hiking trails, click here.

For local weather forecast, click here.

Worth Pondering…

No matter how far we may wander, Texas lingers with us, coloring our perceptions of the world.

—Elmer Kelto

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Bufalino squeezing a lot into a tiny RV

Interior view Photo courtesy Designboom

Many people around the world are experimenting with living in smaller spaces; some are living in recreational vehicles, but they tend to be larger and consume a lot of fuel.

Treehugger reports German industrial designer Cornelius Comanns has converted the existing Piaggio APE 50 three-wheeled delivery vehicle, a cheap, and fuel efficient platform, into a small camper, called the bufalino.

Interior view Photo courtesy Designboom

However, the more complex structural components such as the frame, the chassis, and engine are derived from the original piaggio model.

It is a small camper which is equipped to meet the basic needs of one person. The concept behind the project is to offer absolute flexibility during periods of travel.

Comanns tells Designboom, “My aim was to give people a better understanding of the country, the surrounding, and the range they have travelled. The travelling vehicle is always with you like some kind of a base camp, while also being used for moving on in an easygoing and spontaneous way.”

Interior view Photo courtesy Designboom

Bufalino encourages users to explore the surrounding off beaten tracks. Meanwhile the furnished interior consisting of a bed, two seating units, a cooking zone, a basin, storage space, a water tank, and a refrigerator offers the comforts of a home.

While it appears possible to do laundry and cook, there is no information regarding washroom and toilet facilities.

Worth Pondering…

Strive for perfection in everything you do.
Take the best that exists and make it better.
When it does not exist, design it.

—Sir Henry Royce

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New coastal state park campground for southern California

Construction workers are laying the infrastructure, building the restrooms, and the lifeguard headquarters, and pouring the concrete at what could very well be one of Southern California’s last coastal state park campgrounds, the Daily Pilot reported.

Crystal Cove enjoys over 3 miles of Pacific coastline between Corona Del Mar and Laguna Beach Photo courtesy ocbeachinfo

It’s all happening in Crystal Cove State Park along both sides of Coast Highway. The 2,400-acre gem combining coastal bluffs and wild backcountry is located between Laguna Beach and Newport Beach.

Park Superintendent Todd Lewis hopes to have the 60 campsites up and running by the 2011 Labor Day holiday weekend.

“This could be the last campgrounds we ever build,” said Lewis, referring to the California State Parks system. “There’s just not that much land available anymore in Southern California. And it’s not every day that you’re able to get approval from the California Coastal Commission.”

A new space under construction Photo courtesy Crystal Cove SP

The entire project will cost $12 million. It was funded by Proposition 12, bond money approved for state parks in 2000 but whose funds were put on hold for much of 2009. But early this year, sometime around January’s heavy rains, that taxpayer money was unfrozen, and work crews have been working since, inching closer to making the campground a reality.

The project will be built on 35 acres. There was once a mobile home park on the beach, but the state bought the land and has since returned the beach to its natural state, with the exception of the construction of a lifeguard headquarters.

The campsites will go up on the other side of Coast Highway.

The future campgrounds will pick up the slack for those who want to spend a few days near Laguna Beach or Newport Beach without having to travel to Doheny State Beach, near Dana Point, or Bolsa Chica State Beach, near Huntington Beach.

The overnight prices, Lewis said, are still being calculated, but so far the figure is falling between a range of $50 and $75.

Hook-ups for recreational vehicles would be $65 to $75, he added. And for those who just want to pitch a tent or drive their conversion van in and spend a night, they will probably be $50 to $60.

How about the view from this restroom? Photo courtesy Crystal Cove SP

Crystal Cove State Park has 3.2 miles of beach and 2,400 acres of undeveloped woodland, which is popular for hiking and horseback riding. The offshore waters are designated as an underwater park. Crystal Cove is used by mountain bikers inland and scuba and skin divers underwater. The beach is popular with swimmers and surfers. Visitors can also explore tidal pools and sandy coves.

Parking is plentiful with 3 parking lots on the Pacific Coast Highway between Corona Del Mar and Laguna Beach.

California’s State Parks includes 278 parks with more than 14,000 campsites, 320 miles of coastline, and more than 4,500 miles of trails, making it the largest state park system in the lower 48 states. In addition, it has the highest number of visitors of any state park system in the nation, with more than 76 million visitors yearly.

Additional information

One-day parking pass: $15.00

Worth Pondering…

I must go down to the seas again,

To the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star

To steer her by.

—John Masefield

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Schwarzenegger vetoes California holding-tank bill

One of many snowbird RV parks in the Coachella Valley of southern Calofornia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed AB 1824, a controversial bill that would have prohibited the sale and use of some of the most effective and widely employed holding tank chemicals utilized in waste facilities and toilets on boats and recreational vehicles.

“I am returning Assembly Bill 1824 without my signature,” the governor wrote to legislators upon vetoing the bill. “This bill prohibits the sale and use of a specified list of chemicals in chemical toilets and waste facilities of recreational vehicles.

“Current law already gives the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) the ability to address the issue of chemical toilet products in recreational vehicles. Additionally, DTSC has the ability to address this issue through the green chemistry process,” said Schwarzenegger. “This bill presents a scenario that is ripe for a green chemistry approach: competing science on each side of the issue; concern about the effectiveness of alternative products for the consumer’s intended use; consumer reaction in the wake of an ineffective alternative; and questions as to whether banning particular chemicals will actually address the underlying problem.

Burrowing owl at Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Neither I, nor members of the legislature, are best equipped to answer these questions,” he added. “We need science and scientists to undertake this challenge and develop a solution that both addresses the chemical problem and provides the consumer with a product that is both economical and effective for its intended purpose.

“Under the leadership of my secretary for environmental protection, the green chemistry process is well underway at DTSC. We will have regulations adopted by January 1, 2011, and DTSC should address the issue raised in this bill either in that process or under their existing authority,” Schwarzenegger explained. “The decision was reached after considerable input from those who would have been most impacted throughout the industry.”

Thetford Corporation, which had opposed the measure being championed by the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, applauded Schwarzenegger’s veto.

Late afternoon shadows at Joshua Tree National Park

“Thetford is very grateful for all the distributors, RV dealers, and other concerned industry organizations that rallied together and helped to provide education and understanding regarding this bill. Without them, this veto, which preserves consumer choice in RV deodorants, may not have been achieved,” said Kevin Phillips, Thetford’s vice president of sales and marketing.

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) had joined Thetford in opposing the bill, which would have banned formulas containing bronopol, dowicil, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, paraformaldehyde and paradichlorobenzene.

And RV and marine supplier Dometic Corp., Elkhart, Indiana, a key competitor of Thetford’s, had also taken exception to the bill and had sought to have it amended to eliminate one chemical—bronopol.

Opponents felt that the State of California needed better science that these chemicals are fouling up septic systems in the state. Thetford contended that use patterns—the fact that many people often dump holding tanks in a short period of time—is a more serious root cause of septic system problems.

Worth Pondering…

All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind.

—Martin H. Fischer

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Surles plans major Oklahoma RV resort

Master plan for Firekeepers' Resort in McLoud, Oklahoma Courtesy Bud Surles Resorts

Firekeepers’ RV Resorts Ltd. has announced to the city of McLoud, Oklahoma, its intentions of building a first-class RV resort on property it owns in that city, located just east of Oklahoma City in the center of the state. Firekeepers has teamed with Bud Surles’ Signature Resorts of Canton, Texas, to build the resort.

The new resort is to be located a mile from the Firelake Grand Casino, less than a half-mile from Wes Watkins Reservoir, easily accessible for travelers on 1-40 and across the road from two planned signature golf courses.

Grand Lodge at De Gray State Park, a Bud Surles-planned Resort

The new resort will be called Firekeepers’ Resort in respect and recognition of the Potawatomie Tribe (Potawatomie means “Keepers of the Fire”) and will provide resort accommodations for the many visitors to the area.

Firekeepers’ will have a rally park for motorcoach and RV rally groups, a first-class RV park, casitas for unique motorcoach visitors, special events facilities, beautiful ponds, and 70 cottages furnished by Athens Park Homes of Athens, Texas, according to a news release.

RV sites with ample space to comfortably accommodate big rigs

The cottages will provide first-class accommodations with a flair of Oklahoma history. Both the cottages and casitas will be available for purchase by the public.

Steven Gage, CEO of Firekeepers’, purchased the land seven years ago, and teamed up with Bud Surles to do the planning. The project was conceived years ago, but has been on hold until economic conditions improved and the casino was opened and operational.

Club house/lodge at Mill Creek Ranch Resort in canton, Texas

Gage announced the corporation’s intentions to move forward, as they feel the timing is finally right to begin the project. Surles’ firm has been selected to do the development. Surles told the McLoud City Council on July 22 that they will be prepared to move forward as soon as the permits are in place.

“The park will be built in the tradition of being the best,” Surles said.  His recent development project, Mill Creek Ranch Resort in Canton, Texas for Cottage Investors LLC was named “Park of the Year” in Texas, and he said this resort would be no less. The first phase of the resort is scheduled for a March 2011 opening.

Bud Surles’ Signature Resorts provides planning, design, and development services for visionary land owners and developers desiring first class utilization of their land.

Worth Pondering…

If you can dream it, you can do it.

—Walt Disney

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Spotlight on Midtown RV, BC, Part 2

Family owned and operated in Penticton since 1974, Midtown RV has become a traveler’s rendezvous. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Earlier this summer I sat down with Midtown RV President, George Stayberg, and son Kalvin, who has been involved in the day-to-day operations for the past 10 years.
George indicated that sales peaked in 2008 with 227 units sold, including 100 new Newmar products, with 95% being motorized.

Kalvin stated that loyal customers are the base to their success. Half of all sales are repeats and referrals with 55% from BC and over 40% from Alberta, much of which is oil driven.

Being a top Newmar dealer for both sales and service may seem like a dream but it took planning and attention to customer service.

Midtown RV President, George Stayberg, and son Kalvin © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Midtown RV has been recognized by the recreation vehicle industry as one of its premier service facilities.

“Service is key! Every member of our staff knows that their first and foremost duty is to look after our customers—and they do,” said George Stayberg. “In fact, we’re one of Newmar’s top RV warranty service centers in North America.”

“We believe that our business grows because of our customers’ support, and we strive to attract and keep outstanding people by creating a culture where they can grow to their full potential and make a positive and important contribution to our company and our customers.”

Midtown’s award-winning Service Department has been in the top tier of Newmar service providers for each of the past seven years. Excellence awards include recognition as a Newmar Platinum Service Dealer—a score 90% or higher for customer satisfaction—for the past seven years.

Midtown RV has been recognized by the recreation vehicle industry as one of its premier service facilities. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The RV Parts and Accessories store has its hand on the pulse of what the RV enthusiast needs to simplify the RV experience or save time and money on “Do It Yourself” RV repairs.

Midtown RV has actively supported local chapters of the Newmar Kountry Klub and the RV Owners Lifestyle Seminars held annually on the campus of Okanagan College in Kelowna.

The world of RVing has witnessed considerable change in the past, however, one thing that has not changed is the passion RVers share for chasing the adventure of the open road. For more than three decades, the men and women at Midtown RV have understood this passion and have assisted RVers in realizing their dreams.

Worth Pondering…
Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.

—Warren Buffett

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