RV Ownership Hits Record 8.9M

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) latest RV Consumer Demographic Profile, scheduled to be released to the industry this fall, shows RV ownership has reached a new peak while also offering promising news on future RV purchase intentions.

The research, conducted by Richard Curtin, RV industry analyst and director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan, reveals the number of RV-owning households has grown to a new peak of 8.9 million households, up from 7.9 million in 2005. Nearly one-in-nine (8.5%) U.S. households now own RVs, up from 8.0% in 2005, according to an RVIA news release.

“Today’s record RV ownership levels reflect the enduring appeal of the RV lifestyle despite recent economic challenges,” said RVIA President Richard Coon.

In addition to showing that RV ownership rates have climbed steadily, the new RV Consumer Demographic Profile also offers promising news on future RV purchase intentions.

When RV purchase intentions are combined across current owners, former owners and new market entrants, a total of 21% of all U.S. households stated intentions to purchase an RV in the 2011 survey. This is on par with the 23% rate in 2005 and ahead of the 16% rate in 2001.

“These purchase intentions expressed in the new RV Consumer Demographic Profile are very encouraging for the industry,” added Coon. “The survey results gathered this year in a challenging financial environment track closely with the 2005 data when the economy and consumer outlook was much brighter. Overall, the results clearly indicate continued strong demand for RVs in the years ahead.”

Credit: rvia.org

Seventy percent of current RV owners plan to purchase another RV to replace their current unit. When compared to the purchase intentions of current owners in prior surveys, the 2011 data indicates a strong increase in new vehicle purchase intentions.

Among new market entrants, defined as households that have never owned an RV in the past, 14% planned on purchasing an RV in the future with more than a third of them intending to purchase a new RV.

Of all former owners, 27% plan to purchase another RV in the future. Here, age was a determining factor with younger former owners (age 18-34) more likely than older former owners to purchase another RV. This underscores the need for the RV industry to stay in touch with recent former owners and to continue to present them ownership options.

Details

Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA)

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is the national trade association representing recreation vehicle (RV) manufacturers and their component parts suppliers who together build more than 98 percent of all RVs produced in the U.S.

Headquartered in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Reston, Virginia, RVIA is a unifying force for safety and professionalism within the RV industry and works with both federal and state government agencies to protect the interests of its members.

Credit: rvtravel.com

A clearinghouse of industry facts and information, RVIA also provides free materials to consumers and other publics about RV travel and camping and actively works with the media nationwide to educate the public about the benefits of RVing.

Address: 1896 Preston White Drive, Reston, VA 20191

Phone: (703) 620-6003

Website: rvia.org

Worth Pondering…

There is a ripening of the season as fruit trees grow heavy with red apples; leaves turn golden to reveal a harvest of pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, and peppers in the field; and grape vines hang heavy with clusters of newly turned black and golden grapes.

Enjoy your days and love your life, because life is a journey to be savored.

Grab the keys and let’s go RVing.

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NPS Status Recommended for Valles Caldera

Valles Caldera National Preserve is an ecologically rich 89,000-acre swath of land in northwest New Mexico, one with a long human history and with a spectacular history of volcanism. And it’s an area that National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) officials believe would best be served as a unit of the National Park System, reports National Parks Traveler.

Credit: vallescaldera.gov

“The Valles Caldera National Preserve is an incredible cross-section of human history and impressive geological features, and, as a new economic report on the site states, with proper management by the National Park Service (NPS) it can be preserved for future generations while also providing an economic boon to local communities and New Mexico,” said David Nimkin, the NCPA’s Southwest Region director, on Monday (October 24) when the organization released a report on the preserve and how best to manage it.

Conducted by The Harbinger Consulting Group for Caldera Action and the NPCA, the report states that such action would support 202 local jobs, nearly $8 million in wages, and $11 million in economic activity by 2016. It reinforces a legislative push in the U.S. Senate to transfer management of the Valles Caldera to the Park Service, reports Bizjournals.com. The study’s conclusions were backed by the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, Audubon New Mexico, and the Sierra Club’s Pajarito Group and Rio Grande Chapter.

Currently, the National Preserve which was created in 2000 is managed by the Valles Caldera Trust. The structure was an experiment in semiprivate public land management, and the Trust was charged with making the preserve self-sufficient. But the report states the experiment has not succeeded and is unlikely to do so.

“The report from Caldera Action gives a detailed analysis in comparing the current private-public management of the site, which has failed to become sustainable, with multiple other scenarios,” said Nimkin. “And, unsurprisingly to those of us who treasure historic and natural sites, the report determines that the background, expertise, and workforce of the NPS is best suited for both preserving the site and using it as an anchor of local economic growth.”

Valles Caldera Preserve with fog in the valley. (Credit: vallescaldera.gov)

The Valles Caldera is a huge, dormant field of volcanoes that erupted between 1 million and 20 million years ago. The volcanism sculpted a magnificent and well-preserved complex of landscape features. The Pajarito Plateau (where the National Park Service’s Bandelier National Monument lies just east of the Valles Caldera) reveals orange and pink volcanic cliffs, rich with archeological sites. Many of the high Jemez Mountains formed by massive volcanic ash-spewing eruptions are contained within the Valles Caldera National Preserve and excite geologists, many of whom have called for the preserve to be declared a World Heritage Site.

This report finds that NPS management would provide more stable long-term local economic benefits, more reliable resource protection, and superior visitor experiences. Further, the report concludes that National Park Service management would better fulfill the primary purposes of the Preserve: protecting and preserving the resources of the historic Baca ranch, and providing opportunities for public recreation.

“In addition to preventing incompatible uses from marring Valles Caldera’s incredible landscapes, the report shows that NPS management will make it more accessible to visitors and give a major boost to the local and New Mexico economy, including increasing economic benefits by more than $110 million in the first 15 years,” Nimkin noted. “The report also points out that NPS management will also be able to eliminate current administrative inefficiencies by consolidating the management of Valles Caldera National Preserve and the adjacent Bandelier National Monument.”

Kevin Holsapple, executive director of the Los Alamos Commerce & Development Corp., said the Valles Caldera and Bandelier are important economic drivers of tourism for Los Alamos.

“We’ve always had an intuitive belief that the Park Service is the way to go to promote the maximum opportunities for that (economic development),” he said. “I’m glad to see that firmed up in a study that looked objectively at those issues.”

Advocates of NPS management said the Park Service brings a recognized name and infrastructure that tends to bring more visitors to sites. Michele Archie with Harbinger said her firm looked at the impact of National Park Service management on an area of the Texas Gulf Coast and found that in the first 10 years of operation under NPS, the number of visitors increased by 500 percent.

Details

Valles Caldera National Preserve

The Sierra de Toledo on the northeastern rim of the Valles Caldera is seen from Valle San Antonio. (Credit: vallescalderarim.blogspot.com)

The Valles Caldera Trust was created by the Valles Caldera Preservation Act of 2000 to preserve and protect the historic Baca Ranch of New Mexico’s Jemez Mountains. The groundbreaking legislation that provided for the federal purchase of this 89,000-acre ranch nestled inside a volcanic caldera also created a unique experiment in public land management.

Website: vallescaldera.gov

National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA)

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) is the only independent, membership organization devoted exclusively to advocacy on behalf of the National Parks System. Its mission is “to protect and enhance America’s National Park System for present and future generations.”

Website: npca.org

Worth Pondering…

If you ever go to New Mexico, it will itch you for the rest of your life.

—Georgia O’Keeffe

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Guide to Winterizing Your Motorhome

The following information on winterizing a motorhome is courtesy of Gaffney, North Carolina-based Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC). The author is Michael Cody, senior service trainer at FCCC.

With the arrival of autumn heralding the colder months to come, it’s the time of year when many travelers exit the highways and settle in until next year’s season. Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) knows that off-season RV care is a popular topic of discussion among owners and enthusiasts, and we regularly field questions and share tips at rallies and on our Facebook page.

If it’s time to park your motorhome for the winter, follow these guidelines to ensure your RV stays in top shape.

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. walk-in chassis. (Credit: n/m flickr)

Start by changing the oil, if you’ll be storing the motorhome for six months or more, and filling your fuel tank to prevent condensation above the fuel level. Also ensure that your tires are fully inflated.

Next, you’ll need to find the right storage location.

Inside storage spaces are ideal, provided you keep your RV away from electric generators or transformers and the garage is not illuminated by mercury vapor lamps. Welding equipment should also not be used in an RV storage space.

If your RV stays outside in the off-season, try to protect it from the elements as much as possible. If it will be receiving direct sunlight, cover the tires but do not put petroleum-based protective sprays or gels on them. Make sure you cover any areas that may attract nesting animals. And if you’re near the coast, diaper each wheel with a tarp to prevent salt air from damaging your brakes.

To prevent flat spots from forming on your tires, raise the vehicle and keep it elevated using jack stands or blocks. Ant spray around the base of the supports will help keep unwanted insects at bay.

Once your RV is in place, keep this checklist handy, and consult your owner’s manual for specific details regarding your model:

  • Lubricate all chassis grease fittings, checking for cracks or torn dust boots
  • Lubricate the exhaust brake cylinder (Pac Brake, if equipped) and other moving parts
  • Add fuel additives such as diesel stabilizer and algaecide
  • Clean the battery posts, and top off the battery with distilled water
  • Completely disconnect the batteries if possible. Otherwise, unhook the negative cables to prevent draining the batteries
  • Manually drain the air tanks
  • Clean the radiator’s exterior on both the engine side and the engine compartment door side with a solution such as Simple Green® Pro HD
  • Top off all fluids
  • Place laundry dryer sheets or flea collars in compartments to repel bugs
  • Place a can over the exhaust pipe
  • Turn off the propane gas
  • Follow generator storage instructions
  • Fill the shower and the toilet sprayer with antifreeze that is safe for drinking water holding tanks
Camp Freightliner accommodations include full hook-ups. (Credit: FCCC)

By taking the extra time to be thorough in preparing your RV for the off-season, you’ll be well on your way to a smooth start when the next travel season rolls around.

Worth Pondering…

The moment you stop learning, you stop living.

—Rick Warren

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October RV Manufacturer Recalls

Three recreational vehicle manufacturers—Airstream, Jayco, and Cruiser RV—have recently announced recalls.

Airstream, Inc.

Jackson Center, Ohio-based Airstream, Inc. is recalling 18 model year 2011-2012 International, 16-foot RVs, manufactured from May 10, 2010 through September 7, 2011. These vehicles were manufactured with the incorrect tire information label.

During replacement of the tires, a consumer could install the incorrect tire, potentially leading to property damage.

Airstream will mail to consumers the corrected label or the customers will have the option for dealers to install the label free of charge. Owners may contact Airstream at 1-937-596-6111.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1.800-424-9153), or go to safercar.gov.

Jayco, Inc.

Middlebury, Indiana-based Jayco, Inc. is recalling 502 model year 2010-2011 Greyhawk Class C Motorhomes manufactured from May 28, 2009 through September 22, 2010 for an improper electrical connection at the buss bar on the affected transfer switches.

This could lead to overheating and melting of the transfer switch, increasing the risk of a fire, injury, or death.

Dealers will replace the transfer switch free of charge. Owners may contact Jayco at 1-800-283-8267.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1.800-424-9153), or go to safercar.gov.

Jayco, Inc.

Middlebury, Indiana-based Jayco, Inc. is recalling 2,444 model year 2007-2008 Jay Feather LGT Travel Trailers manufactured from October 9, 2006 through April 17, 2008. These travel trailers may have insufficient clearance between the tires and the wheel well.

This could allow the tires to contact the wheel well, increasing the risk of a crash, injury, or death.

Jayco will notify owners, and Jayco dealers will add a spacer to increase the distance between the axle and the wheel well.

This service will be performed free of charge. Owners may contact Jayco at 1-800-283-8267.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1.800-424-9153), or go to safercar.gov.

Cruiser RV, LLC

Howe, Indiana-based Cruiser RV, LLC is recalling 1,362 model year 2011 Shadow Cruiser and Viewfinder RVs, manufactured from April 21, 2011 through September 6, 2011. These vehicles have the incorrect Federal ID Tag, Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) information labels, which fails to comply with the requirements of Part 567, “Certification.”

Failure to follow proper vehicle loading specifications because of a misprinted label could increase the risk of a crash.

Cruiser RV will mail to consumers the corrected label, or the customer will have the option for dealers to install the label free of charge.

Owners may contact Cruiser RV at 1-574-457-6472.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Note: Three articles relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls previously posted:

Worth Pondering…
Never forget your dreams.

—Corczak

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Whoopers Crane Their Necks toward Texas

Whooping cranes migrate more than 2,400 miles a year. (Credit: Canadian Wildlife Service)

Things are looking up for the endangered whooping crane. The bird made news three years ago when a record number of crane deaths were reported during drought conditions on the Texas Gulf Coast. But according to state and federal biologists, flock numbers have rebounded, and a new record high number of cranes should start arriving on the Texas coast later this month, according to a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) news release (October 26).

The Aransas-Wood Buffalo population of whooping cranes rebounded to 264 in the winter of 2009-10, back from 247 at the end of the 2008-09 winter, reported U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biologist Tom Stehn. With 46 chicks fledging from a record 74 nests in August 2010 the flock size should reach record levels this fall—expected to be somewhere around 290. Once numbering only 21 birds on earth, the previous population high was 270 in the fall of 2009.

Migration Is In Full Swing
Northerly winds accompanying a Canadian cold front the week of October 17 moved whooping cranes south from their summer nesting area in northwestern Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park toward their wintering grounds on the salt flats and marshes of Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

Whooping cranes commence their fall migration south to Texas in mid-September and begin the spring migration north to Canada in late March or early April. Whooping cranes migrate more than 2,400 miles a year.

Records indicate that the majority of cranes pass through Kansas between October 17 and November 10 and south through Texas from late October through the end of November.

Whooping cranes mate for life. (Credit: Earl Nottingham/TPWD)

As of October 19, two cranes were sighted as far south as northern Texas.

Additionally, there was a single whooper observed at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, near Stafford in central Kansas, the same evening, reports Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) in a news release (October 27).

The cranes usually pass through a migration corridor that extends through Kansas, the Texas Panhandle, eastward to Dallas-Fort Worth, and southward to their central Gulf Coast wintering grounds. Their flight path takes them over such Texas cities as Wichita Falls, Fort Worth, Waco, Austin, and Victoria.

This flock of whooping cranes represents the last remaining “natural” flock in the wild, and, according to Lee Ann Linam, TPWD biologist, Texas plays an important role in the species’ future recovery.

“Under good conditions, Texas’ coastal wetlands provide a variety and abundance of food and fresh water that normally lead to excellent survival of whoopers over the winter,” Linam said. “Such excellent winter survival has greatly aided the species’ amazing comeback.”

Sighting a whooper is a special experience for both casual and avid bird watchers.
Whooping cranes are the tallest birds in North America, standing nearly five feet. They have a wingspan of 7.5 feet. Whooping cranes are white with rust-colored patches on top and back of head, lack feathers on both sides of the head, yellow eyes, and long, black legs and bills. Their primary wing feathers are black but are visible only in flight.

Whooping cranes are the tallest birds in North America, standing nearly five feet. They have a wingspan of 7.5 feet. (Credit: Earl Nottingham/TPWD)

They fly with necks and legs outstretched. During migration they often pause overnight to use wetlands for roosting and agricultural fields for feeding, but seldom remain more than one night. They nearly always migrate in small groups of less than four-to-five birds, but they may be seen roosting and feeding with large flocks of the smaller sandhill cranes.

Whooping cranes are protected by federal and state endangered species laws.

Whooping cranes mate for life, but will accept a new mate if one dies. They can live up to 24 years in the wild. The mated pair shares brooding duties; either the male or the female is always on the nest. Generally, one chick survives. It can leave the nest while quite young, but is still protected and fed by its parents. Chicks are rust-colored when they hatch; at about four months, chicks’ feathers begin turning white. By the end of their first migration, they are brown and white, and as they enter their first spring, their plumage is white with black wing tips.

Worth Pondering…
In the end, we only conserve what we love.

We only love what we understand.

We will understand what we are taught.

—Baba Dioum, Sengalese poet

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Springs at Borrego RV Resort Expands

Snowbirds from the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada love to spend their winters in the Southwest Desert regions of southern California and Arizona.

A well-manicured green at The Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Golf Course. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

During recent years more and more snowbirds have discovered the Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Golf Course in Borrego Springs, California.

Spaces at the 90-site Springs at Borrego RV Resort are in such high demand that the resort often fills up and starts a waiting list long before the winter season begins.

General Manager Daniel Wright said that while financing remains tight, he recently found a lender willing to finance construction of the additional RV sites at the 90-site resort, according to a news release.

“Construction is underway now, and we expect to have the new sites available by January 1,” Wright said, adding that the new sites will have 70-foot-long cement slabs, which are long enough for a 40- to 45-foot RV and an extra vehicle of any size.

Wright said the additional spaces will increase the odds for the hundreds of American and Canadian snowbirds that patiently wait for a site to open up at the resort each winter.

“In the past three years, we’ve had to turn away more than 12,000 nights’ worth of business due to a shortage of campsites,” Wright said. “Hopefully, this expansion will be able to accommodate some of the additional demand.”

Meanwhile, the resort continues to build a loyal following with its increasing variety of activities, entertainment, and amenities.

Enjoy a nature trail at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The park is also just minutes from Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which offers numerous hiking trails as well as guided nature walks and other outdoor activities.

The resort offers classes in water aerobics, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and Yoga in addition to tennis clinics and line dancing. The resort also offers frequent wine tasting social hours as well as monthly “star parties” with world-renowned astronomer and sky photographer Dennis Mammana. The parties include a buffet-style dinner, after which Mammana provides a short lecture and slide show on a particular topic. He then invites the participants to look into the galaxies through telescopes that are set up within walking distance of the park for the convenience of resort guests.

The Springs at Borrego has also opened an onsite wellness center led by Anna Morris, a holistic health practitioner and expert in Ayurvedic massage who trained with Deepak Chopra and Dr. Vasant Lad, two of the nation’s premier experts in holistic health medicine.

Morris is joined by Amy Baay, a licensed massage practitioner, and Betty Patterson, a licensed acupuncturist who also does herbal medicine and teaches classes in Qi Gong, an energy building exercise with slow body movements.

Other improvements are also underway, including a new dog park and a traffic security gate. The park’s showers are also being remodeled, and the resort just completed construction of two new shower rooms.

“We will also be opening a new combination exhibition tennis court and outdoor entertainment venue. It’s a sunken bowl with a tennis court in the center and gently sloping sides with grass so we can hold an entertainment function, such as a live music performance for several hundred people,” Wright said, adding, “We are also ramping up our entertainment schedule and hope to have live music almost every week during the high season of January through mid-April.”

Debbie Sipe, executive director of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC), said The Springs at Borrego exemplifies some of the more innovative activities and amenities available in California’s RV resorts.

Details

Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Golf Course

The Springs at Borrego RV Resort (Credit: springsatborrego.com)

Awards: Best Small Park of the Year (ARVC)

Campground Directory Ratings:

Trailer Life Directory 2011 rating: 9.5, 10*, and 10

Woodall’s 2011 rating: 5W in facilities and recreation

Rates: Vary widely according to the time of year and length of stay

Amenities: Full hook-ups sites with 50-amp electric service, cable TV, Wi-Fi

Address: 2255 Di Giorgio Road, PO Box 70, Borrego Springs, CA 92004

Phone: (866) 330-0003 or (760) 767-0004

Website: springsatborrego.com

Worth Pondering…

One of the things I had a hard time getting used to when I came to California in ’78 was Santa Claus in shorts.

—Dennis Franz

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Camping World Announces Expansion Plans

Camping World, America’s number one source for RVs, camping accessories, RV maintenance and repair has announced a series of store openings in new markets over the next 12 months.

“Camping World is poised for growth in every segment of our business with a goal of 100 stores by 2014. A larger store base will allow us to better serve our 4 million customers nationwide and our 1.3 million Good Sam members. As our ecommerce business continues to explode with record traffic, page visits, and sales, we will continue to invest in our brick and mortar business units with the addition of over 200 service bays nationwide in the next 12 months including more paint and collision centers, accessory stores, and RV dealerships,” said Marcus Lemonis, Camping World’s Chairman & CEO, in a new release earlier this week (October 26).

Retail accessories store expansions are currently planned in Fort Myers, Detroit, Nashville, Las Vegas, Tucson, and Knoxville, including RV Sales offerings in select locations. Additionally, new store openings are coming in Orlando, Ocala, Cocoa Beach, Raleigh, South Florida, Harrisburg, Oklahoma, New England states, Virginia, Texas, and Washington State.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to grow our business through stand-alone new store openings as well as partnering with quality RV dealerships in strong RV markets. This strategy not only supports our consumer base but provides a great value to our vendor partners. As our national network continues to expand our brand value increases and the traffic benefits we offer a dealer partner multiply. I have had a number of RV dealers express their interest in partnering with us and I look forward to more of those calls,” replied John A. Sirpilla, President of Camping World’s Accessory Division.

Credit: rvtravel.com

Camping World carries the largest selection of RV related products in America, with over 81 Super Centers located nationwide. The company maintains an intense focus on strategic partners that provide new and cutting edge products and services for its customers.

“Dometic is proud to partner with Camping World and looks forward to being part of the future growth plans. We appreciate their forward thinking, aggressiveness, and drive in the RV marketplace. Dometic is committed to growing with them through continued product development and consumer education,” said Mark Minatel, Dometic Vice President of Sales.

Additionally, the Camping World brand is the clear market leader in the sale of new and used RVs, with over 35,000 units sold annually. The Camping World brand has been the leader in market share for the sale of new and used RVs for the past six years and continues this leading position in 2011.

Sirpilla added, “In addition to new growing our store footprint, new product offerings continue to be a significant focus for our merchandising team. Our customers continue to look to Camping World for value in products that cross over from RV to home use providing the best value for their shopping dollar. We are known for unbeatable value in core RV products and will continue to lead the industry in bringing exciting new products ranging from electronics, housewares, satellites, hitch and tow, and more into the RV lifestyle to enhance the RV experience. We are proud of our vendor line up and are working diligently to grow our product offering with the strongest vendors.”

Details

Camping World

Credit: venturedfw.com

Camping World is the world’s largest retailer of recreational vehicles and provides outdoor enthusiasts over 8,000 RV parts and accessories, service and collision centers along with other products and services to enhance the RV and outdoor lifestyle. Today the company serves RV enthusiasts with over 81 RV lifestyle retail locations engaging in the retail sale, finance, service, and rental of recreational vehicles, with over $300 million of new and used recreational vehicle inventory representing more than 13 RV manufacturers and 150 brand names.

Website: campingworld.com

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Five Things You Need to Know Today: October 28

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

1. Ford to Invest $128 Million for Ohio Chassis Plant

A proposed new contract between Ford Motor Co. and the United Autoworkers calls for the automaker to invest $128 million in the Ohio Assembly Plant to build medium-duty trucks and motorhome chassis, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Workers at the plant, which is in parts of Avon Lake, Sheffield Lake, and Sheffield, currently builds the E-Series vans. The plant is currently on a two-week shutdown.

Ford announced in a news release that it pledged to add 12,000 hourly jobs at its U.S. manufacturing plants by 2015 and invest $16 billion in its U.S. operations, including $6.2 billion for its plants as part of the proposed contract.

The tentative agreement must still win approval from rank-and-file union members across the United States before it goes into effect.

2. The Monarchs Return to Pismo Beach

From late October to February, the butterflies cluster in the limbs of a grove of Eucalyptus trees at Pismo State Beach. (Credit: avilalafonda.com)

State parks officials will hold an opening day celebration tomorrow (October 29) to welcome back the butterflies to the Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove, reports The Tribune.

The Pismo Beach colony of monarch butterflies is one of the largest in the nation, hosting an average of 25,000 butterflies over the past five years, according to monarchbutterfly.org, a site funded by the Pismo Beach Conference & Visitors Bureau.

The butterflies cluster in the limbs of a grove of eucalyptus trees from late October to February.

The event runs from noon to 2 p.m. at the grove, located on the west side of Highway 1, just south of the North Beach Campground in Pismo Beach.

The grove is staffed daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with docent programs at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

3. What To Do If You Smell Propane

If you smell propane in your RV, or if a detector signals the presence of propane, you should IMMEDIATELY follow these suggestions:

  • Extinguish all open flames and vacate the RV
  • Close the gas shutoff valve on the propane tank or cylinder
  • Contact your local fire department
  • Do not re-enter the RV until a qualified propane service technician and/or emergency personnel checks for escaped propane
  • Return to the RV only after a qualified service or emergency technician indicates it is safe to do so

4. Fuel Prices Heading Lower

Retail gasoline prices have dropped about 50 cents a gallon since the spring, and motorists could see them slide another 20 cents before the end of the year, Associated Press reports.

The national average, which slipped to $3.446 per gallon on Tuesday (October 25), should continue to fall at least through the new year, according to the Energy Information Administration.

“There’s a lot of relief at the pump,” said Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com. DeHaan expects pump prices to fall as low as $3.25 per gallon by the end of the year.

Prices flirted with $4 per gallon in May, and a gallon of regular is still about 63 cents higher than it was a year ago.

Overall, gasoline is expected to average $3.52 per gallon this year, a record high.

RV stands for Relaxing Vacation

There’s nothing like RVing when it comes to relaxation and good times. Take peace of mind and security with you as you travel the open road.

Make sure that you and your RV are protected with the right insurance coverage.

Driving an RV is nothing like driving a car, and requires a different skill set.

Have a great weekend.

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

Worth Pondering…

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the places and moments that take our breath away.
—George Carlin

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Tri-State Casino Plans to Add RV Park

Located in the Tri-State district where the Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas state borders meet, Downstream Casino Resort is expanding further into the Missouri side of its property with a RV park, and a 24-hour gas station, convenience, and liquor store.

Downstream C-Store and RV Park Complex will expand further into Missouri. (Credit: Downstream Casino Resort)

Downstream Development Authority, on behalf of the Quapaw Tribe, opened Phase I of the resort in July 2008. The casino employs about 1,050 team members, IndianCountryTodayMedia.com reported.

The new complex, slated to open in March, is expected to boost the Joplin, Missouri, regional economy with construction work and about 20 new permanent jobs. Downstream added 40 new jobs earlier this year when it opened its child care, and learning center on the Oklahoma side of the resort.

“One of these days we would like to expand on the Kansas side too,” said John Berrey, chairman of the Downstream Development Authority. “We have always planned that Downstream would be a hub for economic development and creating good jobs in the Tri-State region.”

Rendering of the Downstream gas station, convenience and liquor store. (Credit: Downstream Casino Resort)

The C-store complex will occupy about 10 acres across from Downstream’s main entrance. Plans also call for 40 RV camping sites with utility hook-ups and a shower and laundry building; at least 22 parking spaces for semi tractor-trailer trucks; four diesel fuel pumps and six gasoline pumps; and an 8,000-square-foot convenience and liquor store with an outdoor dining area and drive-through window. The gas station will likely be branded under one of the popular national brand names, said Downstream General Manager Steven Drewes in a press release.

“We are finalizing many of the details this week while the land is being cleared and prepared, and construction should begin next month,” Drewes said. “We should be ready to open in March.”

Details

Downstream Casino Resort

Website: downstreamcasino.com

Quapaw Tribe

Address: 5681 South 630 Road, Quapaw, OK 74363

Website: quapawtribe.com

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Festival of Cranes: Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

The Fly-Out in the morning and the Fly-In in the evening are memorable events. That’s part of the mystique, why the cranes get top billing here, why the organizers call this event The Festival of Cranes.

The refuge is open an hour before dawn and closes an hour after dusk, to enable visitors to be on hand when the birds begin and conclude their daily activities. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A week before Thanksgiving (November 15-20, in 2011), Bosque officials celebrate the birds’ arrival with six days of birding tours, field seminars, and formal lectures.

You’ll learn that these are ancient, ancient birds, and the sound they make is ancient and has never been imitated. It has echoed across geological time. They have seen mountains and rivers come and go. They have survived and adapted to everything.

Divided into two species—the lesser and the greater—sandhill cranes follow the seasons, the former summering as far away as Siberia and the latter in a refuge in southeastern Idaho.

Standing 4 feet tall on long, thin legs, with boat-shaped bodies, grayish plumage, featherless red caps, and ever-wary amber eyes, they are transformed by flight, fast becoming long, sleek, and sensual, powered by 6-foot wingspans.

Camping

We spent eight memorable days last November celebrating the return of the Cranes to Bosque. Bosque Birdwatchers RV Park, on State Route 1, several miles north of the Refuge, was our convenient home-base during this time. Long pull-through sites with 50/30 amp electricity, water, and sewer are available. Daily rates are $23-26. Weekly and monthly rates are also available.

Photo Tips

Bosque del Apache includes wetlands, farmlands, and riparian forests; and is considered one of the most spectacular refuges in North America and consistently recognized as one of the top birding areas in the United States. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sunrises and sunsets are magical times at Bosque, and often end up involving silhouettes. Silhouettes abstract objects into a two-dimensional shape, eliminating their color and texture.

Merging two cranes into one can either be electrifying or make the birds difficult to comprehend. In most cases, you’ll want to keep the objects in your photo separated and unmerged if you want the viewer to be able to make sense of the image.

For example, in Early Morning Anticipation, I worked not only to keep the four sandhill cranes apart, but I tried to selected moments when their heads and beaks were silhouetted against the water of the pond. Often times, easier said than done. That fourth crane just did not want to cooperate! You’ll require considerable patience and incredible luck—and a long lens that will accomplish this feat.

Details

Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

Operating Hours: Open year-round; Visitors Center: Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; weekends: 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Tour Loop: 1 hour before sunrise-1 hour after sunset

Location: From Socorro, 9 miles south in I-25 to exit 139, ¼-mile east on U.S. 380 to the flashing signal in San Antonio, and 9 miles south (turn right) on Old Highway 1 to refuge entrance

Best Times: November-January

Festival of the Cranes: November 15-20, 2011

Admission: $3/vehicle; all federal lands passes accepted

Contact: (575) 835-1828

Address: P.O. Box 340, San Antonio, NM 87832

Website: fws.gov

Friends of the Bosque del Apache NWR (Friends of the Bosque)

The refuge is open an hour before dawn and closes an hour after dusk, to enable visitors to be on hand when the birds begin and conclude their daily activities. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Website: friendsofthebosque.org
Note: This is the last of a three-part series on Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

Part 1: Birding Hotspot

Part 2: Woods of the Apache

Worth Pondering…
A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends to do otherwise.

—Henry David Thoreau

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