More June RV Manufacturer Recalls & Safety Notice

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced recall notices involving three recreational vehicle manufacturers—Keystone RV, Foretravel Motorcoach, Forest River, Winnebago Industries Inc., and Thor Motor Coach—and one safety notice from Atwood Mobile Products.

Keystone RV Company

Goshen, Indiana-based Keystone RV Company is recalling 440 model year 2012 and 2013 Vantage RVs manufactured from October 12, 2011 through May 7, 2012. These vehicles were manufactured without protective (aka. gimp) molding on the metal around the holding tank valves.

As a result, the user may suffer cuts to hands and arms when reaching past the sharp edges of the access cut-out in order to operate the holding tank valves.
Keystone will notify owners, and dealers will install the protective gimp molding around the access area for the holding tank valves, free of charge.

Owners may contact Keystone at 1-866-425-4369.

Keystone’s recall campaign number is 12-175.

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

Foretravel Motorcoach, Inc.

Nacogdoches, Texas-based Foretravel Motorcoach, Inc. is recalling 121 model year 2007-2010 Phenix and 2007-2011 Nimbus RVs equipped with SE-GI windows.

The adhesive bond on some panels between the glass portion and the hinge may de-bond, allowing the panel to detach and fall from the vehicle.
If this occurred during travel it could create a road hazard, increasing the risk of a crash or personal injury.

Foretravel will notify owners, and is working with SE-GI products to develop remedy instructions and obtain parts.

Owners may contact Foretravel Motorcoach, Inc. at 1-800-547-0712.

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

Forest River, Inc.

Elkhart, Indiana-based Forest River, Inc. is recalling seven model year 2012-2013 Shasta Revere RVs.

The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and Cargo Carrying Capacity Specification is incorrect on the federal certification label and the tire information label. Thus, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Part 567, “Certification.”

Incorrect weight information may lead to overloading, which may cause axle or tire failure, increasing the risk of a crash.

Forest River will notify owners, and include the corrected labels in each letter. Forest River has not provided a notification schedule. Owners should contact Forest River at 1-574-825-7178.

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

Winnebago Industries Inc.

Forest City, Iowa-based Winnebago Industries Inc. is recalling 62 model year 2009 through 2012 Winnebago Commercial vehicle model J38S and model year 2009 and 2010 Adventurer motorhomes manufactured from October 30, 2008 through September 9, 2011, and one 2009 Itasca Suncruiser motorhome built November 2009.

These motorhome chassis are equipped with Bosch hydraulic disc brakes which when exposed to long periods of time of non-driving may experience diametrical brake caliper piston growth and reduced piston to bore clearance, potentially leading to brake drag, and overheating, resulting in reduced brake performance.

Reduced brake performance increases the risk of a crash.

Freightliner Custom Chassis (FCCC) will notify owners, and dealers will repair the vehicles, free of charge.

The manufacturer has not yet provided the agency with a remedy or owner notification schedule for this campaign. Owners may contact Winnebago at 1-641-585-3535 or Daimler Trucks at 1-800-547-0712.

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

Thor Motor Coach

Elkhart, Indiana-based Thor Motor Coach (TMCRV) is recalling 90 model year 2008-2010 Outlaw and model year 2011 Avanti RVs manufactured from January 24, 2008 through September 28, 2010, equipped with Bosch hydraulic disc brakes.

Hydraulic brake equipped motorhome chassis exposed to long periods of time of non-driving may experience diametrical brake caliper piston growth and reduced piston to bore clearance, potentially leading to brake drag and overheating, resulting in reduced brake performance.

Reduced brake performance increases the risk of a crash.

Freightliner Custom Chassis (FCCC) will notify owners, and dealers will repair the vehicles, free of charge.

The manufacturer has not yet provided the agency with a remedy or owner notification schedule for this campaign. Owners may contact Thor Motor Coach at 1-877-500-1020.
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

Atwood Mobile Products LLC

Elkhart, Indiana-based Atwood Mobile Products LLC has determined that a safety issue may be present in the 8935-III AC and 8940-III AC Atwood furnaces powered by 110-volt/AC power (12-volt/DC models are not affected).

There have been gas control valves which are suspect and need to be replaced. The suspect furnaces are contained with a manufacturing date between May 18, 2009 and March 29, 2012.

Atwood said it is possible for the units affected that the gas valves can stick in the open position causing a potential fire hazard. Customers with one of these units must not operate the furnace until the replacement of the valve assembly has been completed by an Atwood Authorized Service Center.

To confirm whether or not a furnace is part of this campaign, review the serial number of the suspect furnace. The serial number will be listed on the blower housing of the furnace on the data tag. Identified units will meet the following criteria:

The model numbers affected are 8935-III AC and 8940-III AC furnaces

Manufacturing dates between 5/18/2009 and 3/29/2012

Once a unit has been identified as part of this service campaign, contact Atwood Mobile Products at 1-800-825-4328, ext. 114709.

Please Note: This is the fifteenth in a series of articles relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls.

Worth Pondering…

Every wall is a door.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Lightning: What You Need to Know

Before heading out in your recreational vehicle, ensure you have a plan and know what to do if you encounter severe weather.

Know what actions to take to protect yourself, family, pets, and property against severe weather. (Source: NOAA)

Summer is the peak season for one of the nation’s deadliest weather phenomena— lightning.

But don’t be fooled, lightning can strike year round.

Lightning is fascinating to watch but also extremely dangerous.

Understanding the dangers of lightning is important so that you can get to a safe place when thunderstorms threaten. If you hear thunder—even a distant rumble or a crackling aloft—you are already in danger of becoming a lightning victim.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), 1,800 thunderstorms occur at any moment around the world. That’s 16 million each year!

In the United States, there are about 25 million lightning flashes every year. Each of those 25 million flashes is a potential killer.

While lightning fatalities have decreased over the past 30 years, lightning continues to be one of the top three storm-related killers in the United States. In addition, lightning injures many more people than it kills and leaves some victims with life-long health problems.

In the United States an average of 54 people are reported killed each year by lightning. To date, there have been 4 deaths in 2012—two in Louisiana and one each in Alabama and Florida. During 2011 there were 26 fatalities in 18 states.

Lightning also causes 400 injuries each year and accounts for more than $1 billion in insured losses each year.

Lightning is one of Mother Nature’s visual wonders. However, it can be very deadly. (Source: NOAA)

People struck by lightning suffer from a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms, including memory loss, attention deficits, sleep disorders, chronic pain, numbness, dizziness, stiffness in joints, irritability, fatigue, weakness, muscle spasms, depression, and more.

How Lightning Forms

Lightning is a giant spark of electricity in the atmosphere or between the atmosphere and the ground. In the initial stages of development, air acts as an insulator between the positive and negative charges in the cloud and between the cloud and the ground; however, when the differences in charges become too great, this insulating capacity of the air breaks down and there is a rapid discharge of electricity that we know as lightning.

What is Thunder?

Thunder is the sound made by a flash of lightning. As lightning passes through the air, it heats the air quickly. This causes the air to expand rapidly and creates the sound wave that we hear as thunder.

Normally, you can hear thunder about 10 miles from a lightning strike. Since lightning can strike outward 10 miles from a thunderstorm, if you hear thunder, you are likely within striking distance of the storm.

Lightning Safety

There is no safe place outside when thunderstorms are in the area. If you hear thunder, you are likely within striking distance of the storm. Remember, When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!

Too many people wait far too long to get to a safe place when thunderstorms approach. Unfortunately, these delayed actions lead to many of the lightning deaths and injuries.

A safe vehicle is any fully enclosed metal-topped vehicle such as a hard-topped car, minivan, truck, motor coach, and recreational vehicle. It is the metal roof and metal sides that protect you, NOT the rubber tires.

When lightning strikes a vehicle, it goes through the metal frame into the ground.

Lightning is a serious danger. (Source: NOAA)

While inside a safe vehicle, do not use electronic devices such as radio communications during a thunderstorm.

Don’t lean on doors during a thunderstorm.

Unsafe vehicles include golf carts, convertibles, motorcycles, bicycles, or any open cab vehicle.

If you drive into a thunderstorm, slow down and use extra caution. If possible, pull off the road into a safe area. Do not leave the vehicle during a thunderstorm.

Worth Pondering…
It was one of those hot, silent nights, when people sit at windows, listening for the thunder which they know will shortly break; when they recall dismal tales of hurricanes and earthquakes; and of lonely travelers on open plains, and lonely ships at sea, struck by lightning.

—Charles Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit, Chapter XLII

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I Dream of Galveston: Seawolf Park

Seawolf Park, a popular fishing spot, features a three-story pavilion, the USS Cavalla, the USS Stewart, a fishing pier, and a children’s playground. The park was built on an immigration station site.

USS Cavalla

Seawolf Park as seen from the Galveston-Bolivar Ferry. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The USS Cavalla is berthed in Seawolf Park as a memorial to the lost submarine USS Seawolf. The Cavalla was a Gato class fleet sub, designed and built in the summer of 1943 by the Electric Boat Company and launched on November 14, 1943. She was commissioned on February 29, 1944. On June 19, 1944, on her maiden patrol, she sank the 30,000 ton aircraft carrier Shokaku—a veteran of Pearl Harbor and Battle of Coral Sea. This earned her the Presidential Unit Citation.

The Cavalla was decommissioned after the war (1946). She was brought back to service in 1951 and assigned to the Submarine Squadron 10 in New London, Connecticut. To meet the Soviet threat, she underwent conversion in 1952 to a new class of American sub—the SSK (hunter/killer).

On January 21, 1971, the U.S. Navy transferred possession of Cavalla to the Texas Submarine Veterans of WWII. The Cavalla was then delivered to her permanent berth in Seawolf Park.

USS Stewart

One of only two surviving destroyer escorts in the United States, the USS Stewart is berthed at Seawolf Park alongside the historic submarine, USS Cavalla.

Built at Brown Shipbuilding Company in Houston, Texas in 1942, and commissioned May 31, 1943, the 307 foot destroyer escort USS Stewart, is the second ship named for Rear Admiral Charles Stewart, commander of the USS Constitution from 1813 to 1815. Stewart began her service as a school ship, training student officers prior to escorting President Roosevelt in the presidential yacht down the Potomac River to rendezvous with USS Iowa in the Chesapeake Bay for his mission to Casablanca and Tehran.

Seawolf Park as seen from the Galveston-Bolivar Ferry. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

She commenced North Atlantic convoy operations in 1944, making 30 crossings with occasional enemy submarine and aircraft encounters. Stewart was moved to the Pacific theater in 1945, to conduct training exercises out of Pearl Harbor until the end of the war.

Decommissioned in late 1945, she was formally donated to Seawolf Park in 1972.

Phone: (409)797-5114


Admission: $6/vehicle; seniors $3/vehicle

RV Park

Plans are moving forward for an RV park at Seawolf Park, a project estimated to cost nearly $2 million.

Seawolf Park as seen from the Galveston-Bolivar Ferry. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Park Board of Trustees approved $120,000 from Federal Emergency Management Agency public works funds to pay for an architectural company’s engineering and administration fees to get the project started.

In a budget update to the park board, Randall-Porterfield Architects estimated the RV campground will cost $1.89 million and include 44 RV spaces.

It is expected that within the next six months, the park board will be ready to accept bids on construction of the RV Park. The RV site will be developed on about 4 acres left of the entrance to the park and west of the parking lot at Seawolf Park.

Please Note: This is the seventh in a series of stories on favorite Galveston attractions

Texas Spoken Friendly

Let your memory be your travel bag.

Worth Pondering…
Galveston, oh Galveston, I am so afraid of dying
Before I dry the tears she’s crying
Before I watch your sea birds flying in the sun
At Galveston, at Galveston.

—Glen Campbell

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Pull Aside Stay Alive

Will you know what to do if you encounter a dust storm?

An approaching dust storm over Phoenix. (Source:

Pull aside and stay alive!

Avoid driving into or through a dust storm.

If you encounter a dust storm, immediately check traffic around your vehicle (front, back, and to the side) and begin slowing down.

DO NOT wait until poor visibility makes it difficult to safely pull off the roadway—do it as soon as possible. Completely exit the highway if you can.

DO NOT stop in a travel lane or in the emergency lane. Look for a safe place to pull completely off the paved portion of the roadway.

Turn off all vehicle lights, including your emergency flashers.

Set your emergency brake and take your foot off the brake.

Stay in the vehicle with your seatbelts buckled and wait for the storm to pass.

Drivers of high-profile vehicles should be especially aware of changing weather conditions and travel at reduced speeds.

A major dust storm swept through Arizona on Tuesday, July 5, 2011 (see photo below). The dust storm was triggered from thunderstorms to the south of the Phoenix metro area. Dust was blown up by high winds. The winds were estimated to be over 60 miles per hour and caused low visibility. The storm went through the city of Phoenix a little after 7:00 p.m. local time.

A major dust storm swept through Arizona on Tuesday, July 5, 2011 (Credit: Joseph Pickett/

Local flights in the area were delayed because of the storm. Power outages were also reported.

Arizona transportation officials are getting the message out about dust storm safety — in precisely 17 syllables.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is encouraging Twitter users to tweet haikus around the theme safe driving in haboobs — severe dust storms that hit Phoenix in the summer.

An example, from Phoenix resident Mindy Lee, who goes by the Twitter handle mindyblee: “Haboobs blow through town / In one instant it is dark / Pull over and wait.”

Transportation department spokesman Timothy Tait says the agency was looking for a creative way to engage residents in its “Pull Aside Stay Alive” campaign.

So far they’ve seen more than 30 entries and are re-tweeting some of the best ones.

Some examples are “Haboobs will blind you / They will take you by surprise / In doubt? Don’t go out” and “The haboob hubbub/ The word glorifies dust walls/ Just keep yourself safe.”


Pull Aside Stay Alive

Dust Wall moves into Phoenix East Valley, July 5, 2011 (Source: Grand Canyon Suppliers/


Please Note: This is Part 2 of a 2-part series on Surviving Dust Storms

Part 1: How to Survive a Dust Storm

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Worth Pondering…

On the fourteenth day of April in 1935
There struck the worst of dust storms that ever filled the sky…
From Oklahoma City to the Arizona Line
Dakota and Nebraska to the lazy Rio Grande
It fell across our city like a curtain of black rolled down,
We thought it was our judgment, we thought it was our doom…
—Woody Guthrie, from his song, The Great Dust Storm

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Sani-Star Automated Dump Stations

RVers periodically find themselves needing to locate an RV dump station.

Sani-Star dump station

But there’s a problem: in these tough economic times, many RV dumping facilities are closing. Other things are deemed more important to cash-starved government agencies that have traditionally operated dump stations as a public service. Businesses close their RV dumps rather than operate at a loss.

Enter Sani-Star and Eric Huffman of Sisters, Oregon, who saw an opportunity.

Sani-Star, founded in 2009, envisions fully automated, turnkey, RV dump fee collection systems throughout North America, where those who operate them can cover their expenses or make a profit, according to a news release.

So far more than 300 Sani-Star facilities are in use in the United States and Canada.

Operating a dump station is not cheap. Public sewer rates are rising every year and the cost to maintain private septic systems and pump holding tanks, common in remote campgrounds, are significant.

“A campground with a 4,000 gallon underground holding tank would cost more than $1,000 to pump,” said Huffman, Sani-Star’s director of sales and marketing.

“An average pumping fee is about 25 cents a gallon plus round trip mileage by the truck. If you figure the average RV releases about 25 gallons per dump, that’s only about 160 uses until a tank that size is filled.”

Huffman said his surveys show that only about a third of RVers pay at honor-box fee locations. “That’s not good for the bottom line,” he noted. A key and lock system, also a common fee collection method, is labor intensive, slow, and inconvenient for the RV dump consumer.

Sani-Star Automated RV Dump Station

The Sani-Star system uses a patent-pending locking sewer cap that opens after payment and re-locks after dumping, eliminating no-pay drive offs. Customers pay by cash, custom token, coin, or credit card at the dump station’s kiosk or, if a merchant chooses, inside its store. There is also a reprogrammable keypad payment option.

The system is currently in use at all Pilot-Flying J Travel Center RV dump stations across the USA, where spot surveys have shown higher fee compliance for Sani-Star sites compared to the traditional honor payment system.

Most locations charge between $5 and $10. A private RV campground and service center in Quartzsite, Arizona, charges $15.

“They can charge whatever they want,” explained Huffman.

“Most of our customers, especially government campgrounds, just want to offset or cover their costs. Others want to make a profit. Our system, very simply, is a much more effective mechanism for collecting a fee than anything else out there. British Columbia Provincial Parks has several Sani-Star installations. The parks tried to collect $5 for years using an honor box. They didn’t realize how poor their fee compliance was until they installed our system. Now fee compliance often doubles and even triples in some campgrounds, ultimately helping the parks run more efficiently. A similar result has occurred in many city, county and National Forest campgrounds across the USA.”

British Columbia Provincial Parks has several Sani-Star installations. The parks tried to collect $5 for years using an honor box, said Huffman.

Dump station operators pay Sani-Star a onetime fee to set up the system and then a monthly fee (revenue sharing is also available). The operator pays for installation of electricity to power the Sani-Star kiosk (a solar or battery-only option is available for remote locations).

Sani-Star also provides parts and 24-hour phone support for its system above ground including the kiosk, payment mechanism, and the locking sewer cap for the life of the service agreement. No attendant is required, which allows for efficient 24-hour operation.

Sani-Star Automated RV Dump Station

“The goal with our program is for the dump station, at the very least, to generate enough income to justify keeping it open,” said Huffman.

“If the goal is to make a profit, so much the better. So far, our customers are happy with the results.”


Sani-Star Dump

Phone: (888) 611-9283 (toll free)


Related Stories

Worth Pondering…
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.

—G.K. Chesterton

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How to Survive a Dust Storm

Dust storms that turn day into night are a hazard to drivers.

A massive dust storm descended on the Phoenix area on Tuesday, July 5, 2011, drastically reducing visibility and delaying flights as strong winds toppled trees and caused power outages for thousands of residents in the city. (Source:

Dust storms can occur with little warning reducing visibility to near zero in seconds.

Dust Storms are among nature’s most violent and unpredictable phenomena. High winds lift dirt particles or, in the case of sandstorms, sand, into the air, unleashing a turbulent, suffocating cloud of particulates and reducing visibility to almost nothing in a matter of seconds.

Nearly all dust storms are capable of causing property damage, injuries, and deaths, and they can occur in any arid or semi-arid climate. No matter where you live, it’s a good idea to know what to do if you see a wall of sand racing toward you.

Heed Dust Storm Warnings

Dust storms are most likely to occur on hot summer days under certain atmospheric conditions, so meteorologists can frequently predict the possibility of these storms. Tune in to local TV or radio broadcasts before traveling in hot, dry conditions, and consider rerouting or delaying your trip if dust storms are predicted.

Be Prepared

If you are in a storm-prone area, carry a mask designed to filter out small particulates, and bring airtight goggles to protect your eyes. It’s also wise to carry a supply of water in case you are stuck in a storm. Dust storms are usually accompanied by high temperatures, and you can quickly become dehydrated in the dry heat and high winds. Wear or carry clothing that covers your body to protect you from the sandblasting.

Outrun the Storm?

Dust storm over Denver, Colorado. (Source:

If you see a dust storm from some distance, and you are in a vehicle or have access to one, you may be able to outrun it or detour around it. Some dust storms can travel at more than 75 miles per hour, but they frequently travel much slower.

Trying to outrun a storm, however, is not advisable if you have to put yourself at risk by traveling at high speeds. If the storm is catching up with you, it’s best to stop and prepare for it. Once consumed by the storm, your visibility can potentially be reduced to zero in a matter of seconds.

Pull Over

If you’re driving a vehicle and visibility drops to less than 300 feet, pull off the road (exit the freeway if possible), set your parking brake, turn OFF your headlights, and make sure brake lights and turn signals are also off.

If your exterior lights are on, other drivers will use the taillights of the person in front of them as a guide to help navigate the road ahead of them. If you are pulled off the road and are sitting there with your lights on, unbelievably, someone might think they can follow you and run right off the road or even collide with you! Turning your headlights off while stationed off the road, will reduce the possibility of a rear-end collision.

If you are NOT able to safely pull off the road, keep your headlights on, turn on your hazard lights, slow down, and proceed with caution, sounding your horn periodically. Use the highway’s centerline to guide you if you can’t see in front of you. Pull over at the nearest safe spot.

Take Cover and Stay Put

In a scene reminiscent of the 1930s Dust Bowl, on October 18, 2011, Lubbock, Texas went from light to dark in an instant, as the 8,000 foot dust cloud, traveling at a whizzing 70 mph, swept through. (Image via YouTube)

Do not attempt to move about in a blinding storm, as you will not be able to see potential hazards in your path.

Roll up the windows and turn off vents that bring outside air in.

Do not enter a dust storm. If you can avoid getting caught in a storm, do not tempt fate.

Please Note: This is Part 1 of a 2-part series on Surviving Dust Storms

Part 2: Pull Aside Stay Alive

Worth Pondering…

Houses were shut tight, and cloth wedged around doors and windows, but the dust came in so thinly that it could not be seen in the air, and it settled like pollen on the chairs and tables, on the dishes.”
—John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

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I Dream of Galveston: Pier 21 Theater, Seawall & More

Following are more of our favorite Galveston attractions.

Pier 21 Theater

The Pier 21 Theater features two theatrical presentations about Galveston’s historic past: The Great Storm and The Pirate Island of Jean Lafitte. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Pier 21 Theater features two theatrical presentations about Galveston’s historic past: The Great Storm and The Pirate Island of Jean Lafitte.

The Great Storm is a 27-minute, powerful, wide-screen multi-image presentation of the greatest disaster in Galveston history, the 1900 hurricane in which an estimated 6,000 people lost their lives. Photographs, eyewitness accounts, and dramatic sound and light effects honor the indomitable spirit of Galvestonians, who refused to accept defeat and rebuilt their city. Showtime is every hour on the hour.

The Pirate Island of Jean Lafitte tells the story of early island inhabitants and the pirate captain Jean Lafitte. Was the famous islander a pirate or patriot? Smuggler or businessman? Merciless murderer and thief, or hero in time of war? These are the contradictions of the legendary Jean Laffite, and the premise of this 18-minute film directed by C. Grant Mitchell. Showtime is every hour on the half-hour.

Admission: The Great Storm $5; The Pirate Island of Jean Laffite $4

Location: Pier 21, Harborside Drive

Information: (409) 763-8808

1859 St. Joseph Church

1860 St. Joseph’s Church is a deconsecrated historic church building managed as a community and historic resource by Galveston Historical Foundation. (Credit:

The oldest German Catholic Church in Texas and the oldest wooden church building in Galveston, St. Joseph’s was built by German immigrants in 1859-60. Bishop John Odin, the first Catholic bishop of Texas, recommended that a church be built for the German-speaking Catholics of the growing city. The church was dedicated in April 1860, to St. Joseph, the patron saint of laborers.

The building is a simple wooden Gothic Revival structure, rectangular with a square bell tower with trefoil window. The softly painted interior features a coffered ceiling with painted quatrefoils and other Gothic symbols.

Although damaged in the 1900 Storm, the church was repaired, enlarged, and redecorated within the year, retaining its original architectural character. In 1905, St. Joseph’s was raised 2 ½ feet for $290. In 1968, the Catholic Diocese closed the church and sold the contents at public auction. Upon learning that the building was to be used as a warehouse, Galveston Historical Foundation stepped in and leased the property. Most of the original furnishings were recovered, re-installed, and the structure was stabilized.

Galveston Historical Foundation continues to maintain the building and opens it for special occasions, prearranged group tours, and private functions.

Location: 2202 Avenue K

Information: (409) 765-7834

1839 Samuel May Williams Home

This rare combination of Creole-plantation and New England architectural styles was built in 1838 for Samuel May Williams, secretary to Stephen F. Austin and founder of the Texas Navy.

City of Galveston co-founder Samuel May Williams built his house on a large lot, well away from town. Today, the city surrounds it. (Credit:

Williams played an important role in early Texas history. The son of a ship captain, he was born on October 4, 1795, in Providence, Rhode Island. He learned the trades of bookkeeping and international commerce while employed by his uncle in Baltimore. After working in Buenos Aires and New Orleans, Williams arrived in Mexican Texas in 1822, settling in San Felipe de Austin. In 1838, Williams, along with Michel B. Menard and other early Texas businessmen, helped found the Galveston City Company. A year later the city of Galveston was incorporated.

Williams died on September 13, 1858, at the age of 63, without a will. The four surviving Williams children divided the property and sold the house to Philip Tucker. The Tucker family lived in the house until 1953, when it was sold to the Galveston Historical Foundation. The foundation restored the house and operated it as a house museum until 2007. Today it is a private residence, and closed to the public.

Location: 3601 Avenue P

Phone: (409)762-3933

The Seawall

Running parallel to Galveston Beach and the Gulf of Mexico is the island’s famous Seawall that stretches for more than 10 miles and rises 17 feet above mean sea level. The Seawall was built to protect Galveston from hurricanes, following the Hurricane of 1900 devastated the island.

The Seawall is as much a playground as it a protective barrier for the City against the ever changing tides of the Gulf of Mexico. Whether you enjoy biking, strolling, or just people watching, the Seawall is the place to visit!

Please Note: This is the sixth in a series of stories on favorite Galveston attractions

Texas Spoken Friendly

My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been…

Worth Pondering…
I still see her standing by the water
Standing there lookin’ out to sea
And is she waiting there for me?
On the beach where we used to run.
—Glen Campbell

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RV Cleaning Tips

It’s a fact of life that nothing stays clean for long—and that includes your recreational vehicle.

A newly mopped floor is just asking for a spill. If you have kids, you know what I mean. Plus, it seems that I always wash my motorhome just before a thunderstorm or sand storm blows through.

The need for cleaning never disappears. Fortunately, most cleaning isn’t difficult. Occasionally, though, you run into something that refuses to come clean, or you are convinced that there must be a better way.

That’s when it’s time to know How to Clean Anything and visit it’s aptly named website—How to Clean Anything.

Pretty much any surface or object you can think of is addressed.

This site contains more than 1,300 cleaning tips under seven broad categories:

  • House Cleaning
  • Vehicles
  • Animals
  • Seasonal
  • Recreational
  • Stain Removal
  • General Cleaning

Although few cleaning categories are RV-specific, you’ll find numerous topics that have direct application to cleaning the interior and exterior of your recreational vehicle and tow vehicle or toad.

Getting your motorhome looking good for the road is no small job, but it can be much easier with the right tools. (Photo Credit: Gary Wescott/

Several examples follow:

  • Washing the motorhome in springtime
  • How to clean mold from tent trailers
  • Car cleaning detail tips
  • Washing your car inside and out
  • Washing your car? Don’t forget the windows…
  • Leather care for your car interior
  • Rust stains
  • Water-based stains on carpets
  • Oil-based stains on carpets
  • What NOT to do when removing stains
  • How to clean your kitchen sink drain
  • How to clean your computer screen
  • How to clean a computer keyboard
  • Hiking boots-leather & suede
  • Dog grooming


How To Clean Anything

The art of cleaning almost anything…

Clean vehicle upholstery

Wash household items

Remove stubborn stains

Learn how to clean anything


Worth Pondering…
Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.
—Phyllis Diller

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RVC Outdoor Destinations Completes Upgrades at Florida Resort

Live Oak Landing, an RVC Outdoor Destination vacation property, announced the completion of numerous improvements to the resort, just in time for the summer travel season.

The property added more than three dozen modern RV sites and several new amenities designed to enhance each guest’s stay.

A screen-enclosed saline swimming pool with connected observation deck and lounge area, large playground area, and air conditioning in the resort’s pavilion are among the new additions to RVC’s Live Oak Landing.

Handicap-accessible boat tours are another new feature highlighted at the outdoor destination. These charters—called “Pondtoon” boats—allow individuals with disabilities to navigate the water on vessels specially manufactured to accommodate wheelchairs. Additionally, RVC increased the number of RV sites on the property, nearly tripling the number of space available for RV travelers.

“When we opened the property in November 2010, it was important to us to first define our core audience and add amenities as our guests requested them,” said Neil Sorrell, general manager at Live Oak Landing.

“So, after talking to our guests, we pinpointed additions that will give them exactly what they’re looking for in a memorable outdoor travel experience.”

At Live Oak Landing, guests have access to Florida’s Emerald Coast beaches and a wide range of onsite activities, including fishing charters, scooter, bicycle and boat rentals, and activities pavilion with a flat screen TV. The outdoor vacation property also features unique amenities in line with other RVC Outdoor Destination properties such as concierge service, coffee, beer and wine bars, a dog park and a variety of lodging options from RV sites to cottages.

Live Oak Landing is the only provider of overnight accommodations in the city of Freeport and is one of seven RVC Outdoor Destination locations in the United States.

RV sites at Live Oak Landing, an RVC Outdoor Destination. (Source:
RV sites at Live Oak Landing, an RVC Outdoor Destination. (Source:

“What we’re providing at RVC Outdoor Destinations is an upgraded version of what generally comes to mind when people think of camping,” said Andy Cates, president of RVC Outdoor Destinations.

“We’re redefining the outdoor vacation experience by combining guests’ favorite hotel amenities with their favorite outdoor activities, and it’s really gaining popularity with both avid and novice campers alike.”

Live Oak Landing is located along Black Creek in South Walton County at 229 Pitts Avenue in Freeport, Florida.


RVC Outdoor Destinations
RVC Outdoor Destinations develops, owns, and operates a portfolio of high-quality outdoor hospitality properties located within some of the country’s most beautiful natural settings and offering upscale services and amenities.

Memphis, Tennessee-based RVC is redefining the traditional camping experience with its original Outdoor Destination concept and upgraded RV Resort properties that provides guests with a comfortable, customizable, outdoor vacation through a variety of affordable lodging options, including RV sites, yurts, cabins, and cottages, all with enhanced guest amenities and recreational activities.

RVC operates seven Outdoor Destinations and RV Resorts in Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina.

Address: 429 N Main Street, Suite 100, Memphis, Tennessee 38103

Phone: (901) 432-4748


Live Oak Landing, an RVC Outdoor Destinations

Live Oak Landing, an RVC Outdoor Destinations location map.
Live Oak Landing, an RVC Outdoor Destinations location map.

Surrounded by water, and within minutes of the Emerald Coast beaches, Live Oak Landing, an RVC Outdoor Destinations, is just minutes from scenic Hwy 30A.

Live Oak Landing is on Black Creek just off of Choctawhatchee Bay in Freeport, north of Seaside and east of Destin.

Address: 229 Pitts Ave, Freeport, FL 32439

Phone: (877) 436-5063


Worth Pondering…

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.

—Peter Drucker

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Summer Travel Safety Tips

Final school bells are ringing, graduations underway, summer weather and vacations are on tap.

Drive with care and arrive at your destination safely. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Drive with care and arrive at your destination safely. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There’s something magical about a summer road trip. And it’s a standby in literature and movies—from John Steinbeck’s classic Travels with Charley to Smokey and the Bandit.

Times have certainly changed since Steinbeck and his dog Charley made their way across America 52 years ago.

But one thing hasn’t changed: A summer road trip is still the best way to see the country, its natural wonders, national parks and monuments, historic sites, and other scenic and fun-time wonders and attractions.

Hitting the open road can be the highlight of any spring or summer camping expedition but don’t let preventable maintenance issues put a damper on your summer travel season.

Before you hit the road, ensure your recreational vehicle is roadworthy, and that you’re prepared in case of emergency.

The proper maintenance of your recreational vehicle is a key to keeping you on the road to safety. An RV that’s mechanically sound will be less apt to break down.

Be meticulous about maintenance.

Plan Your Trip

  • Plan, map, and estimate the duration of your road trip
  • Expect to encounter roadwork, delays, and detours
  • ‘Slow for the Cone Zone’
  • Check road conditions, including possible road closures
  • Have a plan if you do break down—carry your mobile phone and know the emergency numbers to call
  • Leave your itinerary with relatives or friends so they can contact you in case of emergency

Prepare Your Vehicle

  • Inspect all belts and hoses for cracking and replace as required
  • Inspect the engine, battery, and fluids for proper levels
  • Check headlights, brake lights, and turn signals
  • Prepare an Emergency Roadside Kit, including jumper cables, a flashlight, and ample bottled water
Safety is no accident. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Safety is no accident. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tire Safety

  • Ensure your tires have the recommended air pressure, sufficient tread depth, and have not aged out (NOTE: RV tires typically should be replaced due to age after six to eight years)
  • Correct tire pressure is vital to your safety on the road
  • Under-inflated tires affect handling and grip, potentially causing irregular or unpredictable vehicle behavior
  • Under-inflated tires are more likely to suffer from a dangerous blowout, especially on high-speed motorway journeys

Safety First and Always

  • Buckle Up
  • If you have a flat tire, engine problems, or a fender bender, drive out of traffic lanes and off the highway if possible—freeway shoulders are NOT safe for repair work
  • Always plan ahead
  • Scheduled stops provide everyone a chance to stretch and refocus
It's a long, long ways down from the top of Mokee Dugway, Utah (1100 foot drop in 3 miles) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
It’s a long, long ways down from the top of Mokee Dugway, Utah (1100 foot drop in 3 miles) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Focus on the Road

  • DONOT text or talk on your cell phone while driving—not even hands-free
  • DONOT program your mobile GPS while driving
  • Share the driving with other passengers to avoid fatigue
  • Schedule your trip to allow for frequent breaks


Avoid these common causes of RV accidents:

  • Fires that occur from leaking LP gas (propane)
  • Tire blowouts due to overloading or to under inflated or worn-out tires
  • Ensure that you retract outside steps prior to traveling
  • Antenna down?

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!

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Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.

— Anonymous

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