Five Things You Need to Know Today: April 27

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

1. Good Sam Appears Sunday on Celebrity Apprentice
Good Sam, one of America’s most recognized organizations was selected to be featured as a task sponsor on a 2012 segment of NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice” featuring American business mogul Donald J. Trump. The episode will highlight some of the many benefits and services Good Sam provides to the community.

Donald Trump commented, “Good Sam, one of the world’s largest lifestyle organizations, provides a wide and wonderful array of products and services, and we are very pleased to have them on our show.” Trump continued, “I think the episode is exciting and definitely a great fit for our audiences.”

“We are pleased to partner with Mr. Trump with his pop culture phenomenon, ‘The Celebrity Apprentice,” remarked Chairman and CEO of Good Sam, Marcus Lemonis. “Both Good Sam and ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ have a similar focus on charitable works and Good Sam is focused on providing customer assistance in a multitude of channels. Look forward to seeing Good Sam reveal a new image to the audience.”

The Good Sam featured episode will air this Sunday, April 29 on NBC at 9/8 Central.

2. 2013 Fleetwood 33-Foot Excursion Receives Good Reviews

Fleetwood RV Excursion Class A

Decatur, Indiana-based Fleetwood RV Inc. new Excursion Class A has drawn a lot of good reviews since its debut at RVIA’s National RV Trade Show last winter as one of a handful of shorter new diesel motorhomes.

But it’s not really the Excursion’s compact 33-foot length as much as its competitive $175,000 retail price tag that will draw buyers, says Fleetwood President and CEO John Draheim.

The Excursion, built on a Freightliner-based Power Bridge chassis powered by a 300-hp Cummins 6.7-Liter ISB engine mated to an Allison 2100MH transmission, has undergone minor dealer-suggested upgrades since its initial introduction.

For additional information on the 2013 Fleetwood 33-foot Excursion, click here.

3. No Finer Day in Shiner

The classic Shiner Bock is a God given blessing. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The classic Shiner Bock is a God given blessing. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In Texas, the mere mention of the word “Shiner” immediately brings to mind thoughts of a cold longneck and the distinctive brew within. However, before the beer, there was the town.

Not surprisingly, the best way to learn the history of Shiner is to learn the history of Shiner Beer, as the two have been intertwined for more than a hundred years. So, I headed to Spoetzl Brewery and joined the day’s first tour.

Shiner beer started in 1909 when the town’s thirsty German and Czech immigrants decided to start a brewery to make the traditional Bavarian brews of their homeland. In 1914, legendary brewmaster Kosmos Spoetzl took over and the rest is history.

The Spoetzl Brewery is now the oldest independent brewery in Texas and still brews every drop of Shiner Beer from its “little brewery” in Shiner.

The tour gave me a firsthand look into the brewing process and, of course, a firsthand sampling of the final product, from flagstaff Shiner Boch to the 102 Double Wheat. The tour is the best way to sample the spectrum of Shiner, and it whet my curiosity as to what else the town had to offer including Friday’s Chicken.

Click here to read more stories on Shiner Boch.

4. RVs May Soon Boycott Maine

The Maine Revenue Service (MRS) has decided that the business owner of an RV that is rented to a customer who spends more than 24 hours in Maine with that RV owes the state sales tax on the original price of the RV, reports Down East.

MRS is now auditing a Vermont company, Travel-Rite, in order to collect that sales tax on all of the company’s RVs that have been rented by customers for travel in Maine.

“Imagine this scenario,” testified Chad Shepard, Travel Rite’s owner.

“Under Maine’s current tax system, Maine would impose a $5,000 use tax, which is 5 percent of the original purchase price of $100,000, even though we only earned $200 of rent from the time the RV was in Maine,” he said.

Shepard was obviously worried that his liability will run “well into the six figures” after renting RVs that traveled to Maine for many years. After 17 years in business, he said a bill of this magnitude from the MRS would “put us out of business.”

He also reported that many other companies will be vulnerable, although right now the MRS seems to have targeted his company.

Vacationland to Taxationland! Call this change truth in advertising.

5. California Increased Cost of Annual State Park Passes
California State Parks announced it will be raising the price of four of its annual passes as of May 1, 2012. Day use and camping fees will remain at 2009 levels.
The passes to be increased are as follows:

  • Vehicle Day Use Annual Pass: Current: $125; New: $195
  • Golden Poppy Vehicle Day Use Pass: Current: $90; New: $125
  • Boat Use Pass (Sticker): Current: $75; New: $100
  • Limited Use Golden Bear Pass: Current: $10; New: $20

This increase will bring the price of the annual passes more in line with the standard of 12-15 visits to pay for an annual pass.

State Parks is not sure how much revenue this will generate in the short term, but roughly estimates between $1 million and $1.5 million per year more for state parks as visitors get accustomed to the new prices. This is not enough to prevent park closures brought about by the $22 million reduction in the State Parks’ budget, but it will help mitigate the severe service reductions at parks remaining open throughout the system.

Have a great weekend.

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

Worth Pondering…

Remember that happiness is a way of travel, not a destination.

—Roy Goodman

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