Five Things You Need to Know Today: July 12

Since I like things to come in fives (and tens), here are five things YOU need to know TODAY!

1. Propane Safety

Avoid an RVing disaster by practicing propane safety. Photo above national park campground in Arches. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Propane gas smells like rotten eggs. If you think you smell propane in your RV:

  • Get everyone out of the RV immediately
  • Leave the door of your RV open to air out
  • Don’t smoke, light matches, operate electrical switches, use either cell or telephones, or create any other source of ignition
  • Turn your gas off at the main cylinder, if safe to do so and you know how
  • Call 911 or the local fire department
  • Do not turn the system back on until it has been repaired and inspected by a trained professional

Ensure that you have a LP gas detector—and make sure it’s working. Test weekly when RVing, and change the battery at least once a year.

2. Tracks to Adventure and Adventure Caravans Merge

Tracks to Adventure RV Tours are merging operations with Adventure Caravans of Livingston, Texas.

El Paso, Texas-based Tracks said the company will maintain office operations as long as necessary to complete scheduled 2011 Tracks tours. Adventure Caravans will assume operations for all Tracks tours 2012 and beyond.

Enjoy geocaching at a Texas State Park. Pictured above Texana State Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“No interruption of operations or change in service is anticipated,” stated Larry Olsen, president, owner and founder of Tracks to Adventure.

“Both Tracks and Adventure Caravans have been escorted RV tour industry leaders for quite some time. Our philosophies have remained the same—make every experience exceptional,” said Ron Kohn, owner/founder Adventure Caravans. Larry and Maria Olsen are retiring.

3. Going Down the Road

According to Dr. Larry Curtin, Director of Consumer Surveys at the University of Michigan, RV ownership rates have surged to the highest level ever seen with 8.9 million owners. Interestingly the 35-54 age group has seen the biggest increase of ownership from 9% of the household population in 2005 to 11.2% today. While the 55+ group increased from 8.6% to 9.4% in the same period. Ownership by those younger than 35 has declined slightly but still hovers around 5%.

All of this happened in spite of the economic downturn and rise in fuel prices. This trend is expected to continue. Fuel efficiency, livability, and lifestyle considerations are top priorities today. The demand from potential new owners is a driving force and we are all enjoying the benefits.

4. Geocachers find their way to Texas state parks

Eighty-eight state parks recently took part in the kickoff of the Texas State Park Geocache Challenge. Over 1000 participants have already logged their caches from the weekend with estimates of over 50,000 for total participation over the course of the year. Parks from the Franklins to Caddo and Eisenhower down to Resaca welcomed visitors for the event. The challenge runs from the summer of 2011 through the summer of 2012.

Participants may complete regional passports by visiting several parks within a given area. The completed passports may then be mailed to the challenge office for a special phone number they can call to purchase a commemorative challenge coin. The first 25 participants to complete each regional passport receive a free coin. For more information and geocache coordinates, visit the challenge site at:

5. Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Season to Open July 15

The Gulf of Mexico commercial shrimp season opens this Friday. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Gulf of Mexico commercial shrimp season for both state and federal waters will open 30 minutes after sunset Friday, July 15, 2011.

In making its determination, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Coastal Fisheries Division used the best available scientific information including samples collected by using trawls and bag seines in TPWD routine data collection.

The purpose of the closed Gulf season is to protect brown shrimp during their major period of emigration from the bays to the Gulf of Mexico until they reach a larger, more valuable size before harvest and to prevent waste caused by the discarding of smaller individuals.

Federal waters (from 9 to 200 nautical miles offshore) will open at the same time that state waters will open. The National Marine Fisheries Service chose to adopt rules compatible with those adopted by Texas.

Until next time, safe RV travels, and I’ll see you on the road!

Worth Pondering…
Have you put…

Step up

Antenna down

Wife in?

—sign at a Dickson, Tennessee campground

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