February RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced five recall notices involving four recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers—Entegra Coach, Navistar, Dutchmen Manufacturing, and Forest River.

Entegra Coach

Entegra-Coach-Color-300x233Middlebury, Indiana-based Entegra Coach is recalling 37 model year 2013 Aspire Class A motorhomes manufactured April 11, 2012, through August 30, 2012. On the affected vehicles, the Certification label incorrectly identifies the size of the tires on the rear axles. Thus, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 120, “Tire Selection and Rims for Motor Vehicles Other Than Passenger Cars.”

An inaccurate label could lead to installation of improper replacement tires which may cause vehicle overloading which could lead to a tire failure resulting in personal injury or property damage.

Entegra Coach will notify owners and dealers will replace the Certification label. The recall is expected to begin during January 2013.

Owners may contact Entegra Coach at 1-800-945-4787.

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.

Navistar, Inc.

navistar+logoLisle, Illinois-based Navistar, Inc. is recalling 7,657 model year 2012-2013 IC Bus brand model 1300FBC, CE, HC, and RE buses; model year 2011-2013 International brand model Durastar, model year 2013 International brand Workstar trucks; model year 2013 Holiday Rambler brand model Ambassador and Endeavor vehicles; and model year 2013 Monaco brand model Diplomat and Knight vehicles.

These vehicles were manufactured August 5, 2010 through September 6, 2012 and are equipped with certain 2011-2013 model year I-6 engines with feature codes 12NUK, 12NUL, 12NUM, 12NUN, 12NUP, 12NUR, 12NUS, 12NUT, 12NUU, 12NUV, 12NUX, 12NUY and 12NUZ.

The injection pressure regulator (IPR) harness wire may break due to vibrational damage. This could cause an unexpected shut down of the engine.

An unexpected engine shut down while driving may increase the risk of a vehicle crash.
Navistar will notify owners, and dealers will replace the IPR wire connector free of charge. The safety recall is expected to begin by March 18, 2013. Owners may contact Navistar at 1-800-448-7825.

Navistar’s recall campaign number is 13501.

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.

Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc.

DutchmanGoshen, Indiana-based Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc. is recalling 698 model year 2007-2011 Grand Junction; model year 2008-2009 Victory Lane and Winners Circle; model year 2009-2010 N’Tense; model year 2010 Freedom Spirit, and model year 2009 Monte Vista recreational trailers.

The affected trailers are equipped with Iota ITS-50R transfer switches. Wiring connections inside the transfer switch are not adequate and, as a result, the switch may overheat.

An overheated switch could result in a fire.

Dutchmen will notify owners and replace the Iota transfer switch, free of charge. The safety recall is expected to begin in February 2013. Owners may contact Dutchmen at 1-574-537-0700.

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.

Entegra Coach

Entegra-Coach-Color-300x233Middlebury, Indiana-based Entegra Coach is recalling 359 model year 2011-2013 Aspire and Anthem Class A motorhomes and 2012-2013 Cornerstone Class A motorhomes, manufactured March 14,2011, through September 25, 2012. A wiper link was installed which is shorter than required for proper function of the wiper system.

The wipers may not operate as designed and the driver’s visibility can be reduced, increasing the risk of a crash.

Entegra Coach will notify owners and dealers will replace the wiper link, at no charge. The recall is expected to begin during February 2013. Owners may contact Entegra Coach at 1-800-945-4787.

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.

Forest River, Inc.

forest-RiverElkhart, Indiana-based Forest River, Inc. is recalling certain model year 2013 Concord, Leprechaun, Freelander, Lexington, Forester, and Sunseeker Class B and Class C motorhomes built on Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana chassis.

It may be possible to remove the key from the ignition when the vehicle is running or the transmission is not in the park position. As such, these vehicles fail to conform to the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 114, “Theft Protection.”

If the ignition key is removed while the vehicle is still on and/or the vehicle is not in park, the vehicle may roll away and the unintended movement of the vehicle may result in a possible crash or injury to pedestrians.

General Motors (GM) will notify owners on behalf of Forest River. GM dealers will replace the ignition lock cylinder and the two associated keys. This service will be performed free of charge. The recall will begin in February 2013.

For more information, GMC owners may call 1-866-996-9463 and Chevrolet owners may call 1-800-630-2438. Owners may also contact Forest River at 1-574-389-4600.
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.

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

Worth Pondering…

Learning is like rowing upstream; not to advance is to drop back.

—Chinese Proverb

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Swift Group Introduces Color Concept Caravan

Swift Group, a leader in design and construction over many decades, unveiled a unique prototype caravan at the Spring Caravan and Camping show at the NEC Birmingham from February 19-24.

Swift Color Concept Caravan
Swift Color Concept Caravan

This new caravan, called the Color Concept, has been built to gauge customer reaction to a more radical approach to interior decor in a touring caravan, according to a company news release.

The brief to the design team from Swift management was to explore how caravan interiors may look over the next few years, taking trends from today’s modern homes and other luxury leisure markets like boats.

A key aim was to use textured contrasts and colors to create a spacious and bright interior with a relaxing feeling of light and space.

Using feature wall panels with embossed patterned wallpaper the caravan has been visually divided into zones. Modern painted look furniture instead of traditional wood lightens the interior and clever use of LED lighting enhances the richness of the design.

Carpets have been replaced with quality laminate wood effect flooring and accent rugs, and the windows are framed with tabard curtains.

The use of new materials in kitchen and washroom areas accented with detailed finishes like rounding the edge of mirrors, offer tactile and visual appeal.

The Swift Color Concept comes complete with LED lighting for the ultimate in-vogue effect.

Details

The Swift Group

As the UK’s leading manufacturer of both touring caravans and motorhomes Swift Group products

Website: swiftrv.com.au

Worth Pondering…

I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.

—Albert Einstein

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Texas Bucket List for the RVer

No matter how you size it up, Texas is a BIG friendly state that offers a wealth of experiences for all RVers.

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

A trek across Texas’ 267,000 square miles brings you face to face with all kinds of natural wonders—from tumbleweeds, wildflowers, deserts and cedar forests to angular canyons, rivers and sandy beaches with sea-green surf.

Our Texas RV Travel Bucket List continues.

No Finer Day in Shiner

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 a 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.

As they say when toasting in Shiner, “Prosit!” © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
As they say when toasting in Shiner, “Prosit!” © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Thirsty no more, but definitely hungry, I went to Friday’s Fried Chicken, a local spot that’s part fried-chicken-joint and part Czech bakery. My two-piece golden-fried-chicken plate with cold slaw and French fries hit the spot. Then I finished my lunch with a slice of homemade pecan pie and a whole pie to go.

While Shiner Beer put Shiner on the map, it isn’t the only thing keeping it there. And a day trip to Shiner goes down as smooth as the namesake beverage. As they say when toasting in Shiner, “Prosit!”

Valley Nature Center

The Valley Nature Center is a 5-acre thicket of native vegetations, primarily upland scrub forest, with a courtyard of identified native plants, a butterfly garden, elevated lily pond, cactus gardens, and self-guiding, interpretive trails winding its way through nature vegetation.

The center features a courtyard dedicated to the preservation of endangered plants and teaches how these plants can be used in wildscaping land in the Valley.

A trail guide identifies native plants and animals of special interest.

The great kiskadee has yellow on its crown that is often obscured by the black stripes that frames it. However, if you get a view of the top of its head as I did in this photo, the yellow brightly stands out on this Rio Grande Valley specialty. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The great kiskadee has yellow on its crown that is often obscured by the black stripes that frames it. However, if you get a view of the top of its head as I did in this photo taken at the Valley Nature Center, the yellow brightly stands out on this Rio Grande Valley specialty. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Valley Nature Center is the oldest nature center in the Rio Grande Valley, and the only non-profit center fully dedicated to environmental education south of San Antonio and east of Eagle Pass. It has been in operation as a non-profit organization dedicated to its mission since 1984.

The park is a wonderful natural oasis in the middle of the city.

Native Plant Nursery open to the public—140 species of plants native to the Rio Grande Valley

Viva, Las Vegas Café

Las Vegas Café is a dining staple on West Harrison Avenue in Harlingen that serves breakfasts, lunches, and dinners Monday through Saturdays. The popular café began its operation with only three tables and eight stools and now has a seating capacity for 140 people.

The name has spicy origins and so do the recipes. The building was a go-go club in the early 1960s that went by the name of Las Vegas Lounge.

Las Vegas owners Julio Charles and his wife, Eloina, started the café in 1964. Today, their two daughters, Lori and Julie, primarily run the café.

The key to the eatery’s continued success is its consistency with good food, good service, and reasonable prices.

The specialties of the house include beef and cheese enchiladas that are prepared from a special recipe that is really their trademark. Plus they have several other quality Mexican dishes such as steak rancheros, fajitas, chicken fried steak, and chicken tenders.

Texas Spoken Friendly

Please Note: This is part 3 of an on-going series on our Texas Bucket List

Worth Pondering…

First buy a cowboy hat and boots. Then you’re on your way to being a Texan.

—James Michener

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RV Trip Wizard Updates Features

RV Trip Wizard (RVTW), a visual planning tool designed for RVers by RVers, listens to its users.

RV Trip Wizard Anim“Since its introduction, RVTW has encouraged users to suggest capabilities that would make their planning activity more fun and effective,” said Rick Sayers, president of RVTW in a news release.

“One such request was to add a way to output turn-by-turn driving instructions.”
Research was done by polling users; the results indicated that about half wanted this feature, so the RV Trip Wizard design team created the capability.

“The new feature makes navigating a trip a breeze even when no cell or computer connections are available,” according to Sayers.

This newest update is one of a number of features suggested by users and implemented by the RVTW team. Because RV Trip Wizard is a site based service, updates become available to all users immediately.

Featured in the May 2012 issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine, and in the current Passport America online newsletter, RV Trip Wizard addresses the often difficult task of how to plan long, multi-stop trips.

The visual way in which the system works makes trip planning fast, easy, and fun, says Sayers.

Also with RVTW, campground owners have the ability to enter and update information about their campgrounds for free, insuring better visibility to potential customers.

Targeted smart ads are also available to campgrounds. These are banner ads that appear only when the planner is within 50 miles of the campground or RV dealer. Thus, users aren’t barraged by ads that would never help them locate a campground or dealer that they could reasonably travel to.

RV Trip Wizard enewsletter_images_rv_trip_wizard_headerRVTW is accessible from all PCs, MACs, tablet computers, and smart phones. There is no software to buy, maintain, or update.

A subscription includes a 15-day free trial.

How The Wiz Works

How long does it take you to plan a trip of 300, 500, 1000 miles or more?

A long time, right? You may well use numerous campground directories, CDs, and online planners.

The frustrating problem is that most of these tools list only the campgrounds affiliated with the publisher! Or they provide you a “plan” only by email. And, like so many RVers, you may have several campground memberships and need to use many “tools” requiring considerable time when planning a trip.

Campgrounds and RV parks in the RVTW include: Good Sam, KOA, Yogi Bear, Encore, Best Parks in America, Escapees, FMCA, BLM campgrounds, Passport America, Happy Camper, Thousand Trails, Western Horizon, Coast to Coast, AOR, RPI, Resorts of Distinction (ROD), North American Camping Club. Recreation USA, Corps of Engineers campgrounds, city and county campgrounds, Military family campgrounds, National Park campgrounds, State Park campgrounds, Canadian National and Provincial Park campgrounds, and AAA.

The Wiz is a VISUAL planning tool that lets you actually SEE your route and ALL the parks as you plan.

In other words, doing things the way YOU want to—just click and GO!

Details

RV Trip Wizard Inc. (RVTW)

RV Trip Wizard head1RV Trip Wizard Inc. (RVTW) is a small group of devoted RVers and supporters who feel they have found a need and are filling it. They’ve done the baseline work and now to make things even better, need the help of all you RV Wizards around the country.

Once you begin using the system help to make this tool ever better by giving your feedback to make the site better, your suggestions, campground corrections, and additions.

Address: 13432 NW 135th Drive, Alachua, FL 32615

Phone: (941) 870-2297

Website: rvtripwizard.com

Worth Pondering…

I hear the highway calling. It’s time for a road trip.

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Atwood Introduces On-Demand Water Heater

Designed for use in recreational vehicles, Atwood Mobile Products’ On-Demand Water Heaters (ODWH) provides a continuous hot water experience.

Atwood Mobile logoAvailable in your choice of 45,000 or 50,000 BTU models, the high output burners are powerful enough to instantly heat and deliver a full flow of continuous hot water.

Best of all, it works just like home—simply turn on the water and mix cold to reach your desired temperature.

Over the past several months, Atwood has placed on-demand water heaters into retail consumer units for extensive real world testing, according to in a news release.

“These units were strategically located throughout the United States in order to expose them to a wide range of temperatures and conditions. Feedback from retail consumers using these test units has been extremely positive,” said Fay Flournoy, marketing associate.

“The Atwood ODWH is available in a 50,000-Btu model, which provides up to 50 percent more Btu output than any other large production unit on the market today.”

The Atwood ODWH offers the heating power and technology necessary to provide the comfort and ease of use of a residential shower in the customers coach.
Exclusive to the Atwood ODWH is a modulation valve that senses the flow of incoming water which allows the unit to adjust the burner flame based on hot water demand.

This is coupled with the fact that the Atwood ODWH can be installed in nearly any current water heater opening without any cutting or sidewall alterations.

How On-Demand Works

  1. Hot water tap is turned on
  2. Flow sensor detects flow of cold water coming in
  3. The burner is automatically ignited
  4. Water is instantly heated up as it circulates through the heat exchanger and out to the tap
Atwood Mobile Products’ On-Demand Water Heaters (ODWH) front view
Atwood Mobile Products’ On-Demand Water Heaters (ODWH) front view

An on-demand water heater does not use a tank, thus eliminates up to 115 pounds of dead water weight.

A flow controlled valve adjusts the burner input from 16,000 – 45,000/50,000 BTUs based on water flow rate (The slower the flow, the less heat that is needed). This provides for optimal operating efficiency.

Benefits of Atwood Mobile Products’ On-Demand Water Heaters (ODWH) include:

Performance – Class leading 45 and 50k BTU high output burners deliver more hot water, more days of the year

Operation – No customer training needed; turn on HOT and add cold to get desired temperature—just like home

Continuous hot water – No more RV showers; hot water is only limited by the fresh water supply

Save weight – No tank saves up to 100 pounds of unnecessary water weight

Energy efficient – Only uses energy when hot water is demanded

One size fits all – Designed to easily fit the rough opening for any brand of RV water heater

The Atwood ODWH is available in the aftermarket through major distributors and to OEM customers.

Atwood Mobile Products’ On-Demand Water Heaters (ODWH) with open door
Atwood Mobile Products’ On-Demand Water Heaters (ODWH) with open door

Details

Atwood Mobile Products, LLC

Atwood Mobile Products, LLC has been a world leader in designing, engineering, and manufacturing appliances and hardware for the RV industry for over 30 years.

Atwood has been manufacturing gas appliances since the acquisition of the Hemco Inc in 1964. Today, Atwood designs and manufactures lightweight ranges and cooktops, water heaters, furnaces, and LP and CO alarms.

Lightweight components make Atwood the natural choice for those applications that demand reliability but lighter weight.

Address: 1120 N. Main Street, Elkhart, IN 46514

Phone: (800) 546-8759 (U.S. only); (800) 825-4328 (Canada & U.S.)

Website: askforatwood.com

Worth Pondering…

The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.
—Alan Ashley-Pitt

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Newmar Support VetsRoll 4 Tour

Vets Roll, an organization created by RV dealer Mark Finnegan, owner of Finnegan’s RV Center, announces that Matthew Miller and Newmar Corporation will once again provide the media/pilot coach for the VetsRoll 4 tour that takes place May 19 to 22.

VetsRoll-LogoNewmar Corp also partnered with VetsRoll in May 2012.

Vets Roll was established to transport World War II and Korean era veterans and “Rosie-the-Riveters” to Washington, D.C., at zero cost to the participants so they can see the memorials erected in their honor, Finnegan explained.

“We currently have 200 veterans and Rosies scheduled to take this trip along with 100 assistants, including approximately 35 medical professionals,” he explained.

The caravan leaves Beloit, Wisconsin, at 5:14 a.m. May 19 and returns at approximately 9:15 p.m. May 22. The caravan include 10 56-passenger Prevost charter coaches from Badger Coaches in Madison, Wisconsin, as well as the Newmar coach and a wheelchair lift support van from Badger.

“We will have at least four pre- and post-trip coaches picking up veterans May 18 and returning them home May 23,” said Finnegan, who noted veterans from Wisconsin, Illinois, Indian, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Missouri, and Washington will make this year’s trip.

The agenda includes the following stops:

May 19 – Tour of the National Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio, with an overnight stop at the Crown Plaza Hotel in downtown Dayton

May 20 – Travel to Hagerstown, Maryland, with two overnight stays at the Clarion Suites in Hagerstown

1 (1)May 21 – Touring the war memorials in Washington, D.C., including the Iwo Jima, Korean, Lincoln, Vietnam, World War II memorials as well as Arlington Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

May 22 – Convoy back to Beloit, Wisconsin, with state police escorts where the veterans will be honored with a massive welcome home parade and a huge fireworks display

“I am very excited to hear how much the Miller family, like the Finnegan family, appreciates the sacrifices of American veterans and how so many of those senior veterans have helped to build the RV industry over the decades,” said Finnegan.

To make a tax deductible donation to the project, e-mail Finnegan at mark@vetsroll.org or send a check to Vets Roll, 1777 Gardner Street, South Beloit, IL 61080.

Details

VetsRoll.org

Mission: To provide the safe ground transportation and an enjoyable experience for
World War II and Korean Era US Military Veterans and “Rosie-the- Riveters” to visit THEIR war memorials (and other related sights) in and around Washington, DC, as soon as possible.

4Address: 1777 Gardner Street, South Beloit, IL  61080

Phone: (800) 383-2267

Website: vetsroll.org

Newmar Corporation

Established in 1968, Newmar is an innovator and leader in the RV manufacturing industry and recognized nationally for its excellence in quality.

Newmar is privately owned and has a dealer network that spans across the United States and Canada.

Address: 355 N. Delaware Street, PO Box 30, Nappanee, Indiana 46550-0030

Phone: (800) 860-0086

Website: newmarcorp.com

Worth Pondering…

My heroes are those who risk their lives every day to protect our world and make it a better place—police, firefighters, and members of our armed forces.
—Sidney Sheldon

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Which Lens Should I buy for my D-SLR?

The beauty of D-SLR is that you can attach a different lens to your camera depending on what and where you’re planning to photograph.

This photo was shot at Monahans Sandhills State Park, Texas, with a zoom lens set at 50mm. The image roughly matches what the human eye sees. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Some lenses are best suited for landscapes while others are better for birds and animals. There are no hard and fast rules and creative photography is all about breaking them.

Lenses have traditionally been grouped into three basic categories:

  • Normal (or standard)
  • Wide angle
  • Telephoto

Normal or Standard Lens

The 50mm prime lens is called “normal” or “standard” because it produces an image that roughly matches what the human eye sees, and which looks natural to the viewer.

It sits between the telephoto lens and the wide angle lens, which produce unnaturally zoomed-in and zoomed-out images respectively.

Most often in a zoom lens, the range of 35mm to 85mm is considered a normal or standard lens.

A standard lens is really a general purpose lens that works well for landscapes, group photos and other social occasions, portraits, and general use.

Telephoto lenses

This photo of a pair of Royal terns was taken at South Padre Island World Birding Center, Texas with a Canon 100-400 telephoto zoom lens set at 400mm. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Telephoto lenses make distant subjects appear closer; the longer the focal length the greater the magnification.

Telephoto lenses have focal lengths that range from about 85mm (great for portraits) to super-telephoto lenses of 300mm-600mm (lenses in this range are often used by sports and wildlife photographers).

The longer the focal length of a lens, the more difficult that lens will be to handhold.

This is true not only because longer lenses tend to be physically longer and heavier than wide-angle lenses, but also because subtle vibrations and camera shakes are amplified dramatically when using a telephoto lens.

A good rule of thumb is to use a minimum shutter speed equivalent to the focal length—for example, when handholding a 500mm telephoto lens, be sure to set the shutter speed no slower than 1/500th of a second.

Perhaps the most common use for a telephoto lens is to bring otherwise small and distant objects closer, such as wildlife.

Wide-angle lens

The wide-angle lens is the classic landscape lens because the short focal length allows you to capture a very wide angle of the scene in front of you. Wide-angle lenses reach out their wide-open arms to take in a sweeping view.

Think of wide-angle lenses as the opposite of telephoto lenses where you tend to back away from objects. Telephoto lenses tend to flatten depth of field, wide lenses exaggerate it.

This photo was taken “up-close and personal” at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona with a wide angle zoom set at 17mm. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wide-angle scenes can contain many objects at different distances, which helps draws the viewer into the scene.

Contrary to what you might expect, the most important element of your wide-angle landscapes is the foreground. The closer you are to your subject, the more dramatic your images will be. Yes, I mean move right up close and personal.

Include something of interest in the foreground otherwise you will get vast expanses of nothing. This can mean going low to include foreground wildflowers or cacti for example or getting really close to rocks so that you can see the rock grain.

As a result, if your foreground isn’t interesting, your photo won’t be interesting.

When you’re photographing wide, be sure to spend some time looking for the most interesting foreground available to combine with your grand vista.

Wide-angle lenses are good for a range of subjects, including landscapes (especially where you want to elongate spatial relationships), architecture (when you want to create dramatic or slightly distorted shots of exteriors), and in any situation where shooting space is tight.

Please Note: This is the tenth in a series of stories on Digital Photography and RVing

Worth Pondering…

It’s not the size of the lens. It’s how you use it.

—Groovasiousk

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Winnebago Number 1 in Sales for 2012

Forest City, Iowa-based Winnebago Industries, Inc., a leading United States recreation vehicle manufacturer, has been recognized by Statistical Surveys, Inc. (SSI), a retail reporting service in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as the top performing motorhome manufacturer with both the largest volume and the largest overall growth in motorhome retail registrations during calendar year 2012.

winnebago-quality-circle-award-255x144In the U.S. motorhome retail registration report issued February 13 for December of 2012, Winnebago Industries was listed as the top selling manufacturer for Class A and Class C motorhomes in calendar year 2012, with market share of 20.6 percent compared to 19 percent for calendar year 2011, according to a Winnebago news release.

Winnebago Industries’ volume growth was 16.1 percent above retail registrations during calendar year 2011 compared to industry growth of 7.3 percent.

In the U.S. Class A market segment, Winnebago Industries is also the top-selling market leader with 22.2 percent for calendar year 2012. In addition, the Company also led the U.S. Class A gas market segment with 24.2 percent market share, grew U.S. Class A diesel market share to 19.4 percent, and U.S. Class C market share to 18.5 percent for calendar year 2012, states the release.

“We are passionate about developing and delivering innovative new products of the highest quality backed by best-in-class support after the sale,” said Winnebago Industries Vice President of Sales and Product Management Scott Degnan.

“These dynamic retail statistics both confirm and continue to fuel that drive. Thanks to our industry leading and loyal dealer network along with the hard work of our employees, we are establishing new, higher benchmarks for ourselves. We congratulate our dedicated employees and our strong dealer partners in achieving this top selling position. We will continue to work diligently to develop exciting new products and to provide industry-leading support for our dealers and retail customers.”

Details

Winnebago Industries, Inc.

Forest City, Iowa-based Winnebago Industries, Inc., The Most Recognized Name In Motor Homes, is a leading U.S. manufacturer of recreation vehicles, which are used primarily in leisure travel and outdoor recreation activities.

The Company builds quality motorhomes, travel trailers, and fifth wheel products under the Winnebago, Itasca, Era, and SunnyBrook brand names.

Winnebago Sightseer 35G
Winnebago Sightseer 35G

Winnebago Industries has received the Quality Circle Award from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association every year since the award’s inception in 1996.

Postal Address: P.O. Box 152, Forest City, IA 50436

Street Address: 605 West Crystal Lake Road, Forest City, IA 50436

Phone: (641) 585-3535

Winnebago Website: gowinnebago.com

Itasca Website: goitasca.com

Worth Pondering…

What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do — especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.
—William Least Heat Moon

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Freightliner Introduces SL-M Modular Motorhome Chassis

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) introduces the SL-M modular motorhome chassis, adding design flexibility to the power and performance of its SL Series motorhome chassis line.

fccc_logo_fedIn designing the SL-M, FCCC engineers created a versatile RV chassis with a fully customizable basement storage space. Designed and engineered with the luxury RV in mind, the SL-M end result allows builders and owners to maximize their storage capacity and explore a wider range of interior layouts.

The SL-M can accommodate a variety of coach lengths and floor plans, opening up new configuration possibilities for coach manufacturers and RV owners, according to a news release.

“We created the SL Series out of our focus on our customers’ chassis needs and commitment to always providing them chassis options engineered to meet and exceed those needs,” said FCCC President Bob Harbin.

“We certainly took their insights and input into consideration in designing the SL-M. By adding a modular chassis to the SL Series line, we open up our most advanced, durable and reliable chassis to even more customization possibilities.”

The SL Series is the first and only Class A motorhome chassis to be equipped with the Detroit DD13 engine featuring BlueTec Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) emissions technology. This innovative chassis/engine combination offers customers outstanding fuel economy without compromising its powerful drive or comfortable ride, says the release.

detroit-dieselLike the entire SL Series, the SL-M offers the 13-liter, 500 hp DD13 engine from Detroit, which combines the power of 1,650 ft-lb of torque with an Amplified Common Rail System (ACRS) to optimize each injection event and improve fuel economy.

The DD13’s BlueTec SCR emissions technology is proven to meet long-term EPA 2010 emissions requirements by dramatically reducing nitrous oxide (NOx), particulate matter and fine particle emissions, while helping maximize fuel efficiency.

The DD13 also includes Virtual Technician, which integrates GPS technology with engine diagnostics. If the “check engine” light comes on in the RV, the data is sent to the Detroit Customer Support Center. The information is then provided to the customer, along with a choice of authorized service outlets and the opportunity to schedule a repair. Virtual Technician also lets the service outlet know which parts are needed, shortening the overall service time.

The FCCC SL Series offers a standard ZF independent front suspension handling a Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) of 14,600, 16,000, 18,000 and 20,000 lbs., and the result is a smoother ride.

Details

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC)

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) manufactures premium chassis for the motorhome, delivery walk-in van, and school bus, and shuttle bus markets.

Camp FreightlinerFCCC also offers the around-the-clock expertise of its FCCC 24/7 Direct customer service line and a network of more than 400 Freightliner service centers, including the motorhome-tailored Freightliner Oasis Network of more than 90 dealers.

FCCC is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, a Daimler company.

Address: 552 Hyatt Street, Gaffney, SC 29341

Phone: (864) 487-1700

Customer Support Center: (800) FTL-HELP (1-800-385-4357)

Website: freightlinerchassis.com

Worth Pondering…
Creative thinking may mean simply the realization that there’s no particular virtue in doing things the way they have always been done.

—Rudolph Flesch

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Airstream Interstate No. 1 in Sales for 2012

Jackson Center, Ohio-based Airstream Inc. announces that, for the second year in a row, its Airstream Interstate was named the No. 1 selling Class B motorhome model in the U.S., according to data from Statistical Surveys Inc.

Airstream Interstate Class B motorhome exterior
Airstream Interstate Class B motorhome exterior

Airstream also reported that 2012 marked the best-selling year in the company’s 82-year history.

“We are pleased but not surprised that the Interstate has held the top spot for two years running,” said Airstream CEO and President Bob Wheeler in a news release, noting that the builder grew market share in the touring coach segment by 20 percent and increased unit sales by 58 percent.

“Our focus on delivering a premium experience for our luxury buyer has been very effective, and our strong dealer network has been the key to our success in the marketplace.”

The Interstate, built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, fuses the legendary quality and design of Airstream with Mercedes-Benz’s comfort, control, and luxury.

Airstream said the blend of these two premium brands yields a fuel-efficient, luxurious, safe, and comfortable way for travelers to explore the open road.

The Airstream Interstate is available in three series—Lounge, Twin, and Extended—and varies in length from 22 feet 9 inches to 24 feet 1 inch.

Airstream Interstate Class B motorhome interior
Airstream Interstate Class B motorhome interior

Specifications common to all three series include:

Chassis – Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500 Series

Engine – Mercedes-Benz 3.0 liter V-6 turbo diesel, 188 hp/325 lb.-ft. torque

Wheelbase – 170 inches

Transmission – 5-speed automatic

GVWR – 11,030 pounds

GCWR – 15,250 pounds

Overall Height including A/C – 9 feet 8 inches

Overall Width – 6 feet 7.7 inches

Interior Height – 6 feet 2.25 inches

Interior Width – 5 feet 10 inches

Fresh Water Capacity – 32 gallons

Gray Water Capacity – 27 gallons

Black Water Capacity – 15 gallons

LP Gas Tank Capacity – 18.9 gallons

Fuel Tank Capacity (diesel) – 26.4 gallons

Furnace – 16,000 BTU

Details

Airstream

Airstream Interstate Class B motorhome interior
Airstream Interstate Class B motorhome interior

Airstream, maker of the iconic “silver bullet” travel trailer, is the oldest recreational vehicle manufacturer in North America.

Following founder Wally Byam’s credo, “Let’s not make changes, let’s only make improvements” Airstream has remained a timeless classic.

A division of Thor Industries, Airstream is based in Jackson Center, Ohio.

Address: 419 West Pike Street, P.O. Box 629, Jackson Center, OH 45334-0629

Phone: (877) 596-6111

Website: airstream.com

Worth Pondering…

I saw a peanut stand, heard a rubber band,
I saw a needle that winked its eye.
But I think I will have seen everything
When I see an Airstream fly.

—music and lyrics by Oliver Wallace and Ned Washington, in Dumbo

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