Turning Customers Into Advocates

In an earlier article, Vogel Talks RVing discussed how companies can built customer loyalty. In today’s post we expand on turning customers into advocates providing three examples from our personal experience.

As a customer I want stability—a stable relationship I can count on—and consistency. For these reasons I travel over 650 miles to Midtown RV in Penticton for RV sales and service where 62 percent of their sales are to repeat customers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
As a customer I want stability—a stable relationship I can count on—and consistency. For these reasons I travel over 650 miles to Midtown RV in Penticton for RV sales and service where 62 percent of their sales are to repeat customers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

I frequent businesses where I’ve had great experiences and end my relationship with companies that do not resolve my concerns in a timely manner.

To earn and maintain my loyalty as a customer, I expect a business to provide:

  • A quality product that meets my needs or solves my problem
  • Competitive prices
  • Superior customer service
  • These expectations are the basics.

Over the past 15 years, three businesses have earned my trust and commitment:

  • Midtown RV, Penticton, British Columbia (Newmar/Airstream dealer)
  • Competition Chevrolet, Stony Plain, Alberta
  • ABC Muffler & Hitch Shop, Edmonton, Alberta (Demco Towing Products)

These successful businesses empower their staff to make their No. 1 job taking care of the customers.

As a customer I want stability—a stable relationship I can count on—and consistency. For these reasons I travel over 650 miles to Midtown RV in Penticton for RV sales and service where 62 percent of their sales are to repeat customers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
As a customer I want stability—a stable relationship I can count on—and consistency. For these reasons I travel over 650 miles to Midtown RV in Penticton for RV sales and service where 62 percent of their sales are to repeat customers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As a customer I want stability—a stable relationship I can count on—and consistency. For these reasons I travel over 650 miles to Midtown RV in Penticton for RV sales and service where 62 percent of their sales are to repeat customers.

On the flip side, other businesses have failed to provide a consistent quality customer experience and I have taken my business elsewhere. These businesses lost my loyalty. If a business does not provide a quality customer experience, I’m out the door taking my business to the competition.

There are four criteria that businesses should focus on to earn loyalty from a customer. These criteria can be broken into four areas of focus. Businesses that maintain my loyalty likely have these four areas already in place. And as a bonus, have new customers come through their doors from referrals.

Trust—Trust is the first area of focus for building loyal customers. Why would I ever come back to your business if I don’t trust you? This trust is built on actions. If you promise a customer that service on their unit will be completed by Wednesday, yet it takes until Friday to get it done, that customer’s trust is tarnished.

Right to left, George and Kalvin Stayberg, Midtown RV President and Vice-President. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Right to left, George and Kalvin Stayberg, Midtown RV President and Vice-President. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Another way to build trust is consistently providing quality service. This may sound like a no-brainer. Why would a dealer not provide quality service? Believe me, it happens too often, way too often. Believe me. Been there, experienced that.

To built this loyalty a business needs to know the customer, who they are, and build a good relationship with them. And do it with a smile.

Commitment—How far out of the way will a business go to please me, the customer? Hopefully, their commitment doesn’t depend on the invoice amount. Every customer must be treated with their lifetime value in mind.

Communication—Timely communication builds customer loyalty and makes for a pleasant customer experience. Quickly responding to customer questions and answering the phone on the first couple of rings is a good business practice. What are your phone hold times like? How difficult is it to talk to a live body?

Conflict Resolution—It is likely that every business will at some point need to resolve an issue or concern with a customer. A business that calmly solves an issue in a fair and reasonable manner is well on the path to retaining the customer’s loyalty.

Our Newmar Dutch Star parked at Durango RV Resort, Red Bluff, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Our Newmar Dutch Star parked at Durango RV Resort, Red Bluff, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Adhering to these four areas will help a business grow their customer base. The principles of trust, commitment , communication, and conflict resolution may seem routine, but businesses that continually observe the basics of creating loyal customers will do just that: create a loyal customer.

Worth Pondering…

Here is a simple but powerful rule: always give people more than they expect to get.

—Nelson Boswell

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Top Campgrounds, RV Parks & Resorts Near Popular Water Recreation Areas

These selected campgrounds and RV parks are located on or near some of North America’s most popular water recreation areas including Lake Powell, Gulf Coast, and Colorado River.

Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Page, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Page, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

 

Wahweap RV Park and Campground is located near Page in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. This RV park is well laid out, offering spacious sites for rigs of any size—all with full hookups. The park sits on a sloping hillside overlooking Lake Powell. There are many wonderful scenic day trips to take from here. Don’t miss the trip over though Marble Canyon to Lee’s Ferry.

The newest RV Resort and Golf Club destination on the North Shore of the Alabama Gulf Coast, Lake Osprey RV Resort is designed for high-end RVs. Built for outdoor enthusiasts that boast beautiful, serene settings. Lake Osprey is nestled around several spring-fed lakes in a nature preserve and consists of 188 lushly landscaped extra-large RV sites. Sugar white sand beaches, a variety of vacation amenities, and world-class shopping are all nearby.

Lake Osprey RV Resort, Elberta, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Lake Osprey RV Resort, Elberta, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Brunswick is situated on a peninsula with Oglethorpe Bay to the west, the Brunswick River to the south, and the Intracoastal Waterway to the east. This offers you a choice of inshore, offshore, Gulfstream, and deep-sea fishing. Coastal Georgia RV Resort is conveniently located off I-95, situated on a beautiful south Georgia lake surrounded by lush landscaping, just minutes away. The resort offers 105 spacious sites, all 35 feet wide, with lengths ranging from 60 to 70 feet. Most sites are pull-through with full hookups including 30/50-amp electric service, tables, fire rings, and grills.

Enjoy the beaches, trolley tours, ghost tours, golfing, bicycling, or fishing off the pier. Visit historic sites like Fort Frederica and Bloody Marsh Battle Site. Jekyll Island also offers beaches, bicycling, horseback riding, nature trails, fish off the pier, and Historic Millionaire’s Village.

Moses Lake is the perfect place for boating and water based recreation. Located on one of Washington State’s largest natural fresh water lakes (featuring over 120 miles of shoreline), Moses Lake is an outdoor recreational oasis. Suncrest Resort offers 87 full hook-up sites, swimming pool, mini water slides, 30 person spa, and pet areas.

Resting on the high plains along Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front Range, Great Falls is located at the confluence of the Missouri and Sun Rivers. With more than 48 miles of trail along the historic Missouri River, the award winning River’s Edge Trail is the perfect setting for biking, walking, skating, or jogging. Conveniently located right off I-15, Dick’s RV Park offers 137 full-hookup sites, cable TV, and WiFi. Most pull through sites are big rig friendly with pads 70 feet in length.

Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Located in the city of Gulf Shores on the coast of Alabama, white sun-kissed beaches, surging surf, seagulls, and seashells greet you at Gulf State Park. Consisting of 6,150 acres with two miles of sugar white sand beaches and three fresh water lakes, Gulf State Park has a modern full-service campground, cabins, cottages, back country trails, and the largest fishing pier in the Gulf of Mexico.

The park also features an interactive nature center, nationally recognized scenic nature trail, tennis courts, beautiful beach pavilion, 18-hole Refuge Golf Course, and a 900-acre lake for fishing. Gulf State Park offers a 496-site campground with pull-through, back-in, and water front sites. All sites are big-rig friendly and have water, sewer, and 50/30/20- amp electric service, a paved camping pad, picnic table, and pedestal grill.

A Kleberg County park, SeaWind RV Resort is full-service campground located on the Texas Gulf Coast, 22 miles southeast of Kingsville on Baffin Bay, which holds the best trout fishing record of anywhere along the Gulf Coast. Red fish and Black Drum are also a very desirable catch.

Gulf State Park, Gulf Shore, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Gulf State Park, Gulf Shore, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Vogel Talks RVing selected the list of top campgrounds, RV parks, and resorts from parks personally visited.

Arizona Oasis RV Resort, Ehrenburg, Arizona

Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia

Dick’s RV, Great Falls, Montana

Gulf State Park, Gulf Shore, Alabama

Lake Osprey RV Resort, Elberta, Alabama

La Paz County Park, Parker, Arizona

Nk’Mip RV Park, Osoyoos, British Columbia

Riverbend RV Park, Luling, Texas

Seawind RV Park, Riviera Beach, Texas

Texas Lakeside RV Resort, Port Lavaca, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Texas Lakeside RV Resort, Port Lavaca, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Suncrest Resort, Moses Lake, Washington

Texas Lakeside RV Resort, Port Lavaca, Texas

Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Page, Arizona

Worth Pondering…

For all at last return to the sea—to Oceanus, the ocean river, like the ever-flowing stream of time, the beginning and the end.

—Rachel Carson, The Sea Around Us

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AmeriGO RV Club Suspending Operations

The AmeriGO RV Club notified its 50,000 consumer members as well as dealers, campgrounds, and other partners that, effective today (July 17) it is suspending business operations while still working to obtain financing for the fledgling national consumer club.

AmeriGO-RV-Club-LogoIn making the announcement, AmeriGO Chairman Joe McAdams said the interest from the RV industry and consumer market for the AmeriGO concept has been “very gratifying and extremely strong,” but the club’s management needed to suspend operations while it explored financing options.

“We still believe very strongly that the concept is much needed in our industry. We are continuing to search for additional funding or a suitable partner within the coming months,” McAdams stated, adding that AmeriGO officials will update members on further status changes as warranted.

AmeriGO was founded in 2013 by McAdams and fellow RV industry veterans Joe Daquino and Mike Schneider, all of whom are former executives of Ventura, California-based Affinity Group Inc.

The independent RV consumer club has been positioned as an affordable membership organization that cultivates a vibrant online community dedicated to RV enthusiasts throughout North America who enjoy benefits, services, and discounts via partnerships with companies across the industry, including resorts and campgrounds, RV dealers, and insurance, financing, and warranty providers.

“Our goal in creating AmeriGO is to build a trusted resource for products, services, and information that adds value and security for the RV enthusiast by providing access to and savings at our premier network of RV vendors, dealers, and campgrounds,” AmeriGO officials stated in September 2013 in announcing the formation of the club.

Joe McAdams, Chairman of AmeriGO RV Club
Joe McAdams, Chairman of AmeriGO RV Club

While it not that unusual for membership camping organizations to experience financial difficulties resulting in reduced services and camping options for its members, it is highly unusual to suspend operations during the first two years of operation.

One also wonders whether suspending operations and ceasing to operate as a viable company are, in this case, one and the same.

Unanswered questions remain. Are the membership camping organization’s financial difficulties due to a failed business model? Did the promoters fail to provide value to the network of RV business partners? Did the promoters over-compensate themselves? Will full disclosure to the membership be forthcoming?

Worth Pondering…

You don’t pay the price for success. You pay the price for failure.

—Zig Ziglar

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Building Customer Loyalty

People gravitate toward companies because of their products and leave them because of their service.

As a customer I want stability—a stable relationship I can count on—and consistency. For these reasons I travel over 650 miles to Midtown RV in Penticton for RV sales and service where 62 percent of their sales are to repeat customers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
As a customer I want stability—a stable relationship I can count on—and consistency. For these reasons I travel over 650 miles to Midtown RV in Penticton for RV sales and service where 62 percent of their sales are to repeat customers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Why is it then that so many companies under invest in this area? Research by Net Promoter Score inventor Fred Reichheld found that a mere five-percent increase in customer retention can boost company profitability by as much as 95 percent.

Most small businesses are keenly aware of the importance of customer retention—often because one lost customer can often make a huge financial impact on the company—and because of their size, they’re able to provide their customers personalized attention.

But what happens when a company begins to grow? How do they scale their customer service to help more people without losing the personal touch?

The Ritz Carlton opened in Boston in 1940, and revolutionized hospitality in America by creating a luxury hotel setting. Forty years later, they began to expand, keeping customer experience at the heart of their business by fulfilling not only the expressed but also the unexpressed wishes and needs of their customers. Now, not all of us mortals can deliver wow-factor service like the Ritz. (For $2,000 the hotel will give you a one-day course on how to deliver memorable customer service).

Newmar Factory Tour at the plant in Napannee, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Newmar Factory Tour at the plant in Napannee, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In today’s world of instant gratification, customers expect problems to be solved quickly and correctly the first time. For customers to remain loyal, they want a personalized experience that makes them feel as though they are a true priority—not just another sale.

If companies don’t provide personalized customer service, they’re setting themselves up for failure. Today’s consumers are more informed, less patient, and more mobile than ever.

Mattersight recently commissioned a study of more than 1,000 consumers and found that that one bad customer experience could stop 70 percent of them from purchasing from that brand again.

Companies that focus on creating hassle-free experiences are on the strongest path to loyalty and retention. As a starting point, this means having a better understanding of buyers, their lifestyles, and how they want to be served.

Rather than focusing on attracting new customers, companies should focus on the value of their existing customers by behaving as if losing a single customer will put them out of business.

Newmar and Nappanee, Indiana, are in the heart of Amish Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Newmar and Nappanee, Indiana, are in the heart of Amish Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It is easier to get existing customers to buy more and to help find new customers through their advocacy than it is for a business to try to garner new customers.

Happy customers are all alike: They become advocates—to one degree or another.

Because it’s a lifecycle, nothing ends here; instead, advocates help recruit the next wave of new customers through word of mouth, or on social media—and better yet, they buy more.

Customer advocates are the lifeblood of organizations: They bring new business, provide honest feedback, and speak on behalf of you to anyone that will listen.

Here are my top three tips for turning new customers into advocates:

Be responsive—always be responsive to customers. If you can’t respond immediately, let them know when you will get back to them.

Be accountable—if the product experienced an issue or if the business dropped the ball on a follow up item, take accountability for it.

Midtown RV and Penticton are in the heart of the South Okanagan Wine Country in southern British Columbia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Midtown RV and Penticton are in the heart of the South Okanagan Wine Country in southern British Columbia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Show value early—it’s not enough to just communicate to customers; businesses need to ensure customers are receiving value. If the customer isn’t getting value, determine what steps need to be taken to improve.

What sets a business apart is how they treat their customers. Attractive prices and range of quality products and services attract new customers, but it is only superior customer experience that will retain customers.

With so many companies providing competitive pricing for similar quality products, what sets a business apart is their ability to provide consistent and quality customer service and personalized transactions. This involves understanding the customer’s needs and then finding a way to deliver on those promises every time.

Worth Pondering…

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

—Aristotle

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Summer Is Season of Road Trips But Where To Go?

Summer, season of road trips, is upon us. But where should we go? That, my friends, depends on you.

The Old Talbott Tavern had its share of famous guests over the years. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The Old Talbott Tavern in Bardstown had its share of famous guests over the years. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With over 18,000 campgrounds, RV parks, and RV resorts, you have plenty of choices. Get out your maps and pinpoint a couple destinations—both large and small, renowned and obscure—that you think make a great spot to plot into a summer road trip plan. Be sure to include what about your pick (the food? an odd landmark? the view?) makes it so very worth the drive.

Following are four great summer destinations for RVers to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Bardstown, Kentucky

If you like visiting warm, welcoming small towns with beautiful old buildings and colorful history, you’ll love Bardstown, Kentucky. And if you favor bourbon, that’s an added bonus.

One of Bardstown’s most prominent buildings is the Old Talbott Tavern, which has offered shelter to weary travelers since 1779. Modern diners can enjoy Kentucky specialties in the same taproom where Daniel Boone, George Rogers Clark, and Abraham Lincoln once ate.

Bardstown has about 200 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but the two most famous are Wickland and Federal Hill. Wickland is generally regarded as one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the state. It’s Federal Hill, however, that has gained worldwide fame as, legend has it, the subject of composer Stephen Foster’s My Old Kentucky Home.

Monument Valley has isolated red mesas, buttes and a sprawling, sandy desert that has been photographed and filmed countless times. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Monument Valley has isolated red mesas, buttes and a sprawling, sandy desert that has been photographed and filmed countless times. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Monument Valley, Arizona and Utah

Magnificent Monument Valley is not a national or state park but, with 91,696 acres, it is a small part of the great Navajo Nation that covers much of northeastern Arizona and stretches into Utah and New Mexico.

Navajo Tribal Park has isolated red mesas, buttes and a sprawling, sandy desert that has been photographed and filmed countless times. Crimson mesas and surreal sandstone towers rise hundreds of feet into the air, some as tall as 1,000 feet.

Entering Monument Valley is to enter a world of mystery and incredible beauty. It is one of those sights that takes your breath away and makes you speechless. Explore this wonderland of rocks along a 17-mile self-guided dirt road. The road is dusty, steep in a couple of places and rather uneven, but does not need a four-wheel-drive.

Greenville, South Carolina

Falls Park on the Reedy, located in downtown Greenville'
Far more than a nature lover’s paradise, Falls Park on the Reedy, located in downtown Greenville’s Historic West End, is one of Greenville’s greatest treasures. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Located in the in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, South Carolina’s Upcountry packs plenty of alpine splendor. For starters, it’s home to the highest waterfall east of the Rockies—411-foot Whitewater Falls.

Known for its exceptional beauty, the two most distinctive natural features of downtown Greenville are its lush, tree-lined Main Street and the stunning Reedy River Falls, located in the heart of Falls Park.

Among the city’s several historic districts, the West End has developed into one of the Palmetto State’s most eclectic art districts, with buildings adapted for studio space and galleries.

Other attractions within Greenville include the Peace Center for the Performing Arts. a zoo with more than 200 animals and the Roper Mountain Science Center, which features an observatory, Sealife Room, living history farm, Discovery Room, chemistry/physic shows and a planetarium.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

A block east of Santa Fe Plaza is St. Francis Cathedral, named for Santa Fe’s patron saint, St. Francis of Assisi. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A block east of Santa Fe Plaza is St. Francis Cathedral, named for Santa Fe’s patron saint, St. Francis of Assisi. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A combination of altitude, desert, and pueblos has produced a magical city that bears little resemblance to nearby Albuquerque or anywhere else for that matter.

Santa Fe is the United States’ longest continuously occupied state capital. Located high and dry in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this well preserved center of Southwestern art and architecture attracts visitors with its galleries, cuisine, and play of light on its adobe buildings.

Santa Fe is referred to as “the city different,” a city that honors its Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo heritages and embraces its natural environment unlike any other in the United States. A city whose beautiful, brown adobe architecture blends with the high desert landscape and a city that is, at the same time, one of America’s great art and culinary capitals.

Worth Pondering…

Happy Trails. Life is an adventure. Enjoy your journey.

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Top Campgrounds, RV Parks & Resorts With Fun Activities For the Entire Family

These selected campgrounds and RV parks feature amenities, entertainment, and fun activities for the entire family and cultivate an atmosphere that’s welcoming for families of all ages. These campgrounds enable families to enjoy quality time together.

Cajun Palms RV Resort, Henderson, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Cajun Palms RV Resort, Henderson, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Nestled in the woods between Boston and Cape Cod, Normandy Farms is a luxury camping destination that has been a family tradition since 1971. Family amenities include four swimming pools, a Wellness Center, bike path, Creative Arts Center, 18-hole disc golf course, two playgrounds, fishing pond, nature trails, recreational lodge with indoor pool and Jacuzzi, volleyball and basketball courts, bocce ball and horseshoes, and dog park.

Featuring 85 foot pull-through sites and wide paved streets, Ambassador RV Resort is located near Idaho’s wine country and convenient to the Boise metro area: the perfect home base for all your family activities.

Fun for all ages, Cajun Palms RV Resort is a full service campground resort located at Henderson, near Breaux Bridge in Cajun Country. Accommodations consist of over 300 Deluxe RV sites and 25 cabins. Twenty cabins are facing the waterfront view stocked ponds. RV sites have full hookups, 30- and 50-amp electric service, on-site water and sewer, and 70+ channels of digital cable.

The clubhouse contains an assembly/reception hall and features two concession stands serving prepared food, a poolside patio, a second floor deck overlooking a resort style pool, and Kiddie pool. Fun attractions and amenities include Tiki Bar, band stand, beach volleyball, arcade, miniature golf, pool toys and waterslides, and Prehistoric Park.

With approximately 12 acres to explore, you will find yourself wandering amongst some of the most feared predators ever to walk the planet. Prehistoric Park offers a unique, natural setting featuring paved walkways where you will encounter a wide variety of realistic- looking steel and fiberglass dinosaur replicas, including some animated dinosaur exhibits. There is a concession stand, gift shop, and a sandbox with buried bones ready to be discovered by young paleontologists.

Orange Groove RV Park, Bakersfield, California
Orange Groove RV Park, Bakersfield, California. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved.

Lazydays RV Resort offers 300 sites with full utility hookups, entertainment, breakfast and lunch in The Front Porch Restaurant, sports facilities, complimentary morning coffee and newspaper, and much more. Close proximity to the Tampa Bay area and Orlando attractions and events ensure there is always something going on.

Lazydays provides fun activities for children of all ages, including a children’s playground and park. Other activities include a screened and heated pool and hot tub, tennis courts, horseshoes, beanbag tosses, ladderball, badminton, and pickleball. Whether the goal is to relax and unwind, or spend quality time with the family, the Lazydays RV Resort offers the complete RV campground package.

Nk’Mip Resort is a four season playground for the entire family, offering the ultimate Okanagan destination. South Okanagan’s largest RV park with over 400 full service sites has been welcoming guests since 1970. Perfectly situated along the shores of Osoyoos Lake with a private beach, playground, and convenience store, the all-season RV Park also offers yurt and cabin rentals and a club house with a seasonal pool and hot tub.

Nk’Mip Resort is a four-season tourism resort destination featuring premium accommodation and visitor experiences including an award-winning winery, gourmet dining, desert golf, a cultural centre, a full-service spa, and meeting space for up to 350 people.

Just a short drive from downtown Charleston, the 643-acre James Island County Park offers an abundance of exceptional recreation offerings and natural beauty with year-round enjoyment for the entire family. Activities include miles of paved trails for walking and biking, seasonal Splash Zone Waterpark, 16 acres of freshwater lakes with fishing, pedal boat and kayak rentals, modern playground, tidal creek fishing and crabbing dock, picnic areas, and off-leash dog park.

Vogel Talks RVing selected the list of top campgrounds, RV parks, and resorts from parks personally visited.

Ambassador RV Resort, Caldwell, Idaho

Cajun Palms RV Resort, Henderson, Louisiana

Gulf State Park, Gulf Shore, Alabama

Lazydays RV Resort, Seffner, Florida

Gulf State Park, Gulf Shore, Alabama Gulf State Park, Gulf Shore, Alabama
Gulf State Park, Gulf Shore, Alabama Gulf State Park, Gulf Shore, Alabama

Nk’Mip RV Park, Osoyoos, British Columbia

Normandy Farms Family Camping Resort, Foxboro, Massachusetts

Orange Groove RV Park, Bakersfield, California

The Campground at James Island County Park, Charleston, South Carolina

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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More June 2015 RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced 5 recall notices involving 2 recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers—Forest River and Tiffin Motorhomes.

Forest River, Inc.

forest-River-logoForest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain model year 2013-2015 Dynamax, 2014 Cardinal trailers, and 2015 Cedar Creek, Sierra and Sandpiper trailers. In the affected vehicles, a rivet for the quad entry steps may shear and fail, causing the steps to give when being used.

If the rivet shears causing the quad step to fail, the step user may fall, increasing the risk of personal injury.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will remove the rivets and the step sections will be bolted together, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin June 26, 2015. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-389-4600. Forest River’s number for this recall is 15-05062015-0034.

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

Forest River, Inc.

forest-River-logoForest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain model year 2014-2015 Glaval Universal, Titan II, Titan II Low Floor, Legacy, Concorde II, and Entourage transit buses manufactured April 9, 2014, to October 6, 2014. During the alignment process, a tie rod jam nut may have been left loose.

A loose tie rod jam nut may result in a loss of control, increasing the risk of a crash.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the tie rod end jam nut, tightening it as needed, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in July 2015. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-800-445-2825 extension 138. Forest River’s number for this recall is 35-05262015-0038.

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

Forest River, Inc.

forest-River-logoForest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain model year 2015-2016 Vengeance trailers, model numbers VGF377V, VGF378V, VGF394V13, and VGF396V, manufactured August 7, 2014, to May 12, 2015. The affected trailers may be equipped with incorrect certification labels that state the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is 18,500 pounds when the actual GVWR is 18,000 pounds. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of the Code of Federal Regulations number 567, “Certification.”

The incorrect GVWR on the labels may result in the vehicle operator over loading the vehicle which could increase the risk of a crash.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will install a new corrected label, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in June 2015. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-260-593-4005. Forest River’s number for this recall is 17B-05132015-0036.

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

Forest River, Inc.

forest-River-logoForest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain model year 2013-2015 Coachmen Shasta SHT27RL travel trailers manufactured May 7, 2013, to May 7, 2015. The affected trailers may have an incorrect gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) information stated on the Federal Weight Tags. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards No. 567, “Certification.”

Incorrect GVWR information on the label may lead the operator to load the trailer to an incorrect weight, increasing the risk of a vehicle crash.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will replace the incorrect label with a corrected label, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in June 2015. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-825-8717. Forest River’s number for this recall is 53-05132015-0035.

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

Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc.

TiffinLogo-UnitTiffin Motorhomes, Inc. (Tiffin) is recalling certain model year 2015 Allegro Red 36 QSA, Allegro Red 38 QBA, Phaeton 40 QBH, and Phaeton 40 QKH motorhomes manufactured April 22, 2014, to May 8, 2015. In the affected vehicles, moisture may enter the slide-out controller and cause the “switch out” connection to short, and cause the motorhome slide-out section to extend while the motorhome is moving.

If the slide-out opens during transit, there is an increased risk of a vehicle crash.

Tiffin will notify owners, and dealers will install a relay to disconnect the power source of the slide-out, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in June 2015. Owners may contact Tiffin customer service at 1-256-356-8661.

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

Please Note: This is the 59th in a series of articles relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort.

—John Ruskin

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Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together

With the arrival of summer Americans and Canadians are fleeing the cities by the thousands in search of open space and a chance to get away from others.

Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together.  Pictured above the Bavarian town of Helen, Georgia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together. Pictured above the Bavarian town of Helen, Georgia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

That means virtually every campground and outdoor recreation venue within four hours of every major cities will be at capacity every weekend— full of people getting away from others while doing it together.

Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together.  Pictured above the Snake River at Twin Falls, Idaho. © Rex Vogel, all rights
Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together. Pictured above the Snake River at Twin Falls, Idaho. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Camping courtesy (the unwritten rules of campground etiquette) is an easy way to ensure that a group of people living in close proximity together where sounds travel and light can be a disturbance continue to camp together in harmony.

Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together.  Pictured above an Acadian farmstead at Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site, Louisiana. © Rex
Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together. Pictured above an Acadian farmstead at Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site, Louisiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights

Spending time in a campground requires a certain level of community patience and a willingness to live and let live, there are some basic rules of campground etiquette that will help create a friendly atmosphere and make the camping experience more enjoyable for everyone.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to achieve and maintain friendly camper status.

Be a Friendly Camper

Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together.  Pictured above Plimoth Planation near Plymouth, Massachusetts. © Rex Vogel
Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together. Pictured above Plimoth Planation near Plymouth, Massachusetts. © Rex Vogel

Be friendly and greet other campers. This is part of being within the camping community and even though you may not know the other people, you all have a common goal of enjoying the camping experience.

Being a friendly camper is more than saying hi to your neighbors. It’s being the kind of camper who makes the experience better for their friends and family as well as other the folks sharing the campground. It’s really the little things that can truly make a camping trip amazing for everyone around you.

Obey Campground Rules

Follow the campground rules and regulations. These rules usually include speed limits, fire regulations, quiet times, and so on. Adhering to these rules is one of the basics of campground etiquette. Be sure to review and enforce the rules with your children, as well.

Respect Your Neighbors

Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together.  Pictured above Mount Mitchell State Park, North Caroina. © Rex Vogel
Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together. Pictured above Mount Mitchell State Park, North Caroina. © Rex Vogel

Campgrounds are for relaxing and having fun—consider your neighbors as you kick back and relax. Keep your music and other noise to a reasonable level so everyone can enjoy the serenity of the great outdoors.

Keep in mind that others may be in the campground to get away from it all and wish to hear the wind blowing through the aspens, the babbling of a brook, the chatter of squirrels, or perhaps the call of a jay. While I recognize your right to enjoy a little music, I don’t necessarily share your musical taste unless, of course, it’s Willie’s “On the road again…”. That is why they make headphones.

Power down at night; shut off your generator and dim the lights. Remember not all generators are created equal. Some are designed to run very quietly, and others are not. Quiet hours are there for a reason.

Don’t Feed the Wildlife

Classic camping treats like a perfectly roasted hot dog or some gooey s’mores are amazing, no doubt. They’re just not amazing for the wildlife that make their home in and around the campground. This is one instance where it’s ok to be greedy with your grub.

Pick Up After Your Pets

Be a responsible pet owner. Keep dogs on leashes whenever they are outside so they are not bothering your neighbors and discourage them from barking. Never leave a dog that barks or howls unattended.

It’s great to have a furry friend as a camping companion, but make sure your pet isn’t leaving any surprises behind. When taking your dog for a walk, always pick up all pet waste. Many campgrounds provide pet waste collection bags to make clean up easy and convenient.

Leave No Trace

Clean up after yourself. When you prepare to exit the campsite, be sure to remove all garbage regardless of its origin and if the campground has a recycling program, take advantage of it.

Always leave the campsite as clean, or cleaner, than it was when you arrived. The camp host and the next camper will appreciate it.

The bottom line is that camping requires us to respect the land and one another. When it comes down to it, continued success of this ongoing social experiment requires it.

Have an enjoyable and safe camping summer.

Worth Pondering…

When Robert Frost declared his intention to take the road less traveled in his 1916 poem “The Road Not Taken,” who could have guessed that so many people would take the same trip?

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Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!

Where will you be when the dust settles?

Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!
Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!

That’s a question the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is asking motorists this year as another summer monsoon season begins.

Each year, a variety of weather related dangers affect Arizona, New Mexico, and southwest Texas, especially from late spring into early autumn. Through a collaborative effort between National Weather Service offices serving the states of Arizona and New Mexico, which includes offices located in Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, El Paso/Santa Teresa, and Midland/Odessa, the time period from June 15th through September 30th has been defined as “The Monsoon”.

Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!
Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!

For the fourth consecutive year, ADOT is rolling out its “Pull Aside, Stay Alive” dust storm public awareness campaign in an ongoing effort to educate drivers about the year-round threat of dust storms as monsoon season officially began in Arizona last week. Dust storms pose a serious public safety risk because they can strike out of nowhere. Motorists can protect themselves if they plan ahead and know the safe actions to take when the dust hits.

This year, ADOT has created new television and radio public-education announcements that ask drivers if they know what to do if they get caught in a sudden dust storm event. The new TV public service announcement depicts a young driver following all the safety recommendations when she sees a dust storm while driving along a highway.

Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!
Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!

ADOT’s mission is to provide useful and memorable safety information to drivers before they get caught in a low-visibility dust storm. This year, the agency’s top recommendation is to avoid driving into a wall of dust at all costs.

“As the monsoon arrives, this year we’re asking drivers to do the smart thing, the safe thing, and plan ahead for possible blowing dust and limited visibility along the highway,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski.

“It’s better to alter travel plans rather than attempting to drive through dust storms. It’s a risk you don’t have to take.”

Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!
Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!

Dust storms develop quickly and dust-related crashes can occur, particularly along the Interstate 10 corridor between Phoenix and Tucson. To advise drivers of approaching storms, ADOT employs a range of strategies—including electronic highway message boards, social and traditional media, communication with ADOT staff, and law enforcement officers in the field, television, and radio advertising, and close coordination with partnering agencies—to keep information flowing to motorists.

Please visit pullasidestayalive.org for the new public-education video, along with videos from past years. The website also includes a safety tip sheet.

Tips For Drivers Who Encounter a Dust Storm

Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!
Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!

Avoid driving into or through a dust storm.

If you encounter a dust storm, check traffic immediately 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.

Stop your vehicle in a position ensuring it is a safe distance from the main roadway and away from where other vehicles may travel.

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 in high wind.

A driver’s alertness and safe driving ability are always the top factors in preventing crashes. It is your responsibility to avoid distracted or impaired driving.

Worth Pondering…

Sand from the desert

An oppressive wind blowing

Good grief, pull aside

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8 Reasons To Buy a Class B Motorhome

With an RV you can explore the world and take the comfort of your own home with you.

Airstream Interstate exterior
Airstream Interstate Class B motorhome

The RV industry offers a myriad of choices. From travel trailers and fifth wheel trailers to truck campers and motorhomes, there’s an RV for every budget and every lifestyle. And when it comes to motorized RVs, there are three basic choices—Class A (gas or diesel), Class B (camper van), and Class C .

For freedom and flexibility, motorhomes offer the ultimate experience. Transportation and living quarters are rolled into one comfortable experience. Ranging from the larger Class A motorhomes to the compact Class B camper vans, to the Class C, there is something for everyone.

With motorhomes ranging from compact and space saving models to luxury diesel pusher coaches that can pull a car in tow to zip around town for daytrips, there’s a motorized model for every family.

A small camper built on a van chassis, the Class B is the fastest growing segment of the motorhome market. They are easy to drive and maneuver in tight spots, easy to load, more fuel efficient, and can pack all the amenities of a home in a small, compact floor plan—but best of all they roll down the highways and byways on four wheels.

Roadtrek Introduces All New Zion Class B
Roadtrek Zion Class B motorhome

Easy on fuel, Class B motorhomes fit in most conventional parking spaces, and can be used as a second vehicle. With a class B you can travel anywhere, park anywhere, and sleep anywhere.

All the conveniences of home are packed on board in one compact and convenient package including bathing, sleeping, dining, and cooking facilities.

Without further ado, the top 8 reasons why a Class B motorhome may be the right RV for you and your family are…

  1. Easy to Drive
Imperial Class B motorhome by EverGreen
Imperial Class B motorhome by EverGreen

Class B motorhomes are easy to drive and maneuver pretty much anywhere a car can travel. They will take you wherever you want to go from shopping at Walmart to a remote camping site in a national forest or on BLM land, a scenic byway to an Interstate highway, and from winding mountain roads to crowded city streets. Class B motorhomes are maneuverable and easy to drive yet has all the comforts of home.

  1. Easy on Fuel

Easy on fuel, Class B motorhomes normally get 15-22 miles per gallon compared to 6-10 for a Class A or C.

  1. Easy to Park

Parking is always a hassle with large Class A and C motorhomes. Class B motorhomes can fit into most parking spaces and can be parked most anywhere.

  1. Camping Made Easy

Class B motorhomes requires little set-up and minimal take-down time. They’re easy to park in any camping site. Hooking up to city utilities takes minutes. Same with unhooking and you’re ready for a day of touring or onto the next camping site.

  1. Useful for Towing

Tow a boat, a utility trailer for your toys, a small car, and even a camping trailer for extra sleeping room.

  1. Easy to Store

No need to rent storage space due to lack of adequate parking at home or restrictive community ordinances. Since Class B motorhomes resemble passenger cars they’re not likely to offend community sensitivities.

7. Doubles as Second Vehicle

Triple E RV is celebrating its 50th anniversary with the introduction of the redesigned Leisure Travel Van 25-foot Unity luxury touring coach.
Leisure Travel Van 25-foot Unity luxury touring coach.

Class B motorhomes can be used as a second vehicle for everyday use including shopping at a local store or mall, driving to work, dropping the youngsters off at school.

  1. Touring Made Easy

Class B motorhomes are designed for touring. Unlike the larger Class A and C motorhomes, Class B camper vans accelerate, corner, and change lanes with ease. No concern about bridge or tunnel clearance.

Worth Pondering…

The past is a ghost, the future a dream. All we ever have is now.

—Bill Cosby

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