Top Tips For Driving in Winter Weather

RV travel doesn’t have to stop with the arrival of winter, but there are considerations to keep in mind when driving in cold weather.

The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it.

The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it.

The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it. Don’t go out until the snow plows and sanding trucks have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination. If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure you and your RV is prepared, and that you know how to handle winter road conditions.

Prepare an emergency survival kit containing a cell phone, warm blankets, gloves, salt or sand, LED flashlights, first aid kit, NOAA Weather Radio, road flares, bottled water, and non-perishable food. Inspect tires, use tires designed to operate in snow and ice, and keep tires inflated to proper levels. Inspect wipers and wiper blades. Make sure you have a snowbrush and ice scraper in to remove snow and ice. Sunglasses help cut glare from snow.

There are no secrets when it comes to winter driving. If there is ice on the road, it is dangerous.

If you’re driving on ice, you may not know it until you need to stop. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving a 4-wheel drive, a fifth-wheel or travel trailer, or a motorhome: brakes are the great equalizer.

Ice on your windshield means ice on the road. The ice doesn’t have to be packed up on the roadway to be dangerous—a thin sheet of ice can develop quickly into a thick problem.

Keep an eye on the temperature. Water freezes at 32 degrees. The roadways tend to be slightly warmer than the air temperature, but once you’re down that low in temperature, you need to be wary.

Winter

There are no secrets when it comes to winter driving. If there is ice on the road, it is dangerous.

Look for spray coming up from other vehicles. If spray is coming off the tires, it’s likely that the roads are wet (as opposed to ice covered), but keep in mind that a short stretch of road with ice on it can be just as dangerous as an ice-packed roadway.

Do not follow too close.

Watch for warning signs. If there are vehicles spun out in the median or shoulder, the roads are bad. If you start seeing big semis spun out, it’s time to get your RV off the road. It’s not worth endangering your life and the life of your family. If you can’t find a nearby RV park or campground locate the nearest truck stop or Walmart to overnight.

Be sure to keep your fuel tanks full so you won’t run out.

Prior to departure check weather conditions along your intended travel route. When traveling, listen to local radio stations for the forecast and update on current weather and road conditions.

Minnesota in winter (Source: minnesota.publicradio.org)

Minnesota in winter (Source: minnesota.publicradio.org)

Any vehicles traveling through mountain passes and northern states and provinces may be required to carry a set of tire chains available in case of a snow or ice storm. Practice putting them on while it’s warm and dry. Motorhome owners might want to consider the damage a broken tire chain could inflict upon the fiberglass body of their rig. If possible, avoid roads where chains are required.

Drive an RV slower than you would drive a car—especially in bad weather. Leave extra room between your RV and the vehicle in front of you. RVs require even more time and room to stop in bad weather.

Use extra caution when traveling across bridges and overpasses. They freeze before the road.

Vision can be hindered when driving during a bright, sunny day and the surroundings are snow covered. Wear sunglasses to reduce glare and improve vision.

winterrvtipsWorth Pondering…

Speed was high

Weather was hot

Tires were thin

X marks the spot

BURMA SHAVE

Posted in Road Trips, RV Safety | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Creepytings Vandalizes National Parks: How Stupid Can You Be?

The US National Park Service is investigating a woman who recently traveled from New York to a series of Western states in order to paint unsightly drivel all over a number of America’s most pristine and most iconic national parks.

Overlooking Crater Lake National Park

Overlooking Crater Lake National Park

National Park Service investigators have confirmed that images were painted on rocks or boulders in Zion National Park and Canyonlands National Park in Utah; Yosemite National Park, Death Valley National Park, and Joshua Tree National Park, all in California; Rocky Mountain National Park and Colorado National Monument in Colorado; and Crater Lake National Park in Oregon.

Casey Nocket, 21, is responsible for this wave of vandalism and the primary suspect in the criminal investigation. She proudly documented her trail of painting vandalism and defended her brazen defacements on her “Creepytings” Instagram page—which should make the eventual raft of felony vandalism charges easier.

Nocket also has a “Creepytings” Tumblr page where she also defended her shockingly bad national park doodles.

“It’s art, not vandalism,” she insisted. “I am an artist.”

She also compared her renderings to the work of Banksy, the English graffiti artist and political activist. And she claimed the mantle of feminism.

“Most people are respectful but graffiti is a growing problem. There’s a difference between art and vandalism,” said Aly Baltrus, spokeswoman for Zion National Park.

Creepytings Vandalizes National Parks: How Stupid Can You Be?

Creepytings Vandalizes National Parks: How Stupid Can You Be?

In general, graffiti in national parks is a growing problem, said David Nimkin, senior regional director for the National Park Conservation Association, southwest region.

“I have a hard time believing that she (Nocket) didn’t realize what she was doing was wrong. I think she clearly had a different agenda,” Nimkin said.

Nocket admits to knowing that what she is doing is wrong in a Facebook message saying that she knows she is a bad person.

Investigators continue to collect evidence, conduct interviews, and are consulting with the U.S. Attorney’s Office about potential charges. They ask the public to exercise patience and allow due process to take its course as the investigation moves forward, according to a statement written by National Park Service spokesman Jeffrey G. Olson.

Prior to the Park Service’s investigation, some of Nocket’s paintings were removed. The image found in Rocky Mountain National Park was reported to the park and then removed late September before similar images were found in the other national parks, according to the statement. Ice and snow have covered the image at Crater Lake National Park, and it may not be accessible for assessment and clean up until next summer. An image in Yosemite National Park was removed by an unknown person or persons.

While authorities could not discuss details of this case, they did stress the seriousness of vandalism in a released statement:

Death Valley vandalism

Death Valley vandalism

“There are forums for artistic expression in national parks because national parks inspire artistic creativity. These images are outside that forum and outside the law.”

One of the reasons national parks have been designated is to preserve and protect the nation’s natural, cultural, and historic heritage for both current and future generations. Vandalism is a violation of the law and it also damages and sometimes destroys irreplaceable treasures that belong to all Americans.

“It’s not like we have a slush fund to go and clean up vandalism,” a national parks said.

“Dealing with this means we’re not doing something else.”

Creepytings Nocket must  be held accountable and punished to a reasonable extent of the law―and banned from all US National Park Service sites. She needs to be fined and do some community service and she definitely needs to realize the consequences of her actions.

But more importantly, I hope that everyone who’s as outraged about this senseless act of vandalism as I am can take that rage and turn it into something positive. Find a park you care about and volunteer some time to help clean up or maintain trails. Donate to a conservancy.

Or better yet, find someone who doesn’t understand what the big deal is about this and take them outside, show them what a little time in the wilderness can do, and let them find out for themselves.

Worth Pondering…

Life is hard; it’s harder if you’re stupid.

―John Wayne

Posted in Hiking, Historic Sites, National Parks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Snowbird Tips

The end of fall signals the start of an annual migration of thousands of RVers to the Sunbelt.

Sunrise with mist rising at our campground near Unadilla, Georgia.

Sunrise with mist rising at our campground near Unadilla, Georgia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As the snow flies, so do the snowbirds who flock to the southern climates for months at a time.

With the cooler weather the south has strong appeal. Snowbirds desire the best weather wherever they are.

When it’s snowing and blowing with freezing temperatures in Canada and the northern U.S. states, snowbirds want to be somewhere where it’s sunny and a pleasant 75 degrees. When Arizona hits 120 degrees in the summer or Florida’s low temperature for the day will be a muggy 95 they want to be in the north country where it’s a pleasant 75 degrees.

Like other snowbirds our goal is to avoid the winter slush and cold.

But to accomplish snowbird status you really need to do some serious planning.

If you want to be a snowbird there truly is more to it than just pointing the RV southward. It is hard to pack it up and leave for 6 months or more. Some travelers have trouble with a 2 week vacation.

Route 66, also known as the Will Rogers Highway and colloquially known as the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, was one of the original highways within the U.S. Highway System and continues to captivate people around the world. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Route 66, also known as the Will Rogers Highway and colloquially known as the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, was one of the original highways within the U.S. Highway System and continues to captivate people around the world. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Do you only want to leave Minnesota during the worst of the winter? Maybe only January and February? Some snowbirds stick it out through the holidays and leave the first of the year to return in April.

Others, like us, head out as soon as the first frost hits the pumpkins in October coming back when the ground begins to thaw.

But first, there are so many decisions to make.

Secure Your Home Base

Leaving means more than packing and locking up your home. It takes planning to secure your home base and belongings and to make sure your abode is as welcoming upon your return as it was before you left.

Snowbirds should make copies of all documents in case of an emergency or if papers are lost or stolen. Leave a copy with a friend or relative at home and carry the other copy, stored separately from originals.

Also make copies of passport ID pages, planned itinerary, campground confirmations, driver’s license, insurance, and credit cards.

Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February

Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Check the expiry dates of all personal identification, travel documents, RV insurance, passports, and credit cards.

Before you leave, contact your home insurance provider to determine how your absence will affect coverage, and whether semi-regular check-ins are required. If you don’t meet the policy requirements, you may find difficulty obtaining compensation should something happen.

Inform neighbors of your trip, how long you’ll be away, where you’ll be traveling, and how to contact you in the event of an emergency.

Ask a friend, family member, or neighbor to regularly check the perimeter of your house, keep your sidewalks and driveway shoveled, and ensure that your doors and windows are securely fastened.

Disconnect all appliances and electrical devices, including microwave, washer and dryer, stove, refrigerator, coffee maker, televisions, entertainment centers, and lamps.

Make sure all smoke alarms are properly installed, in working order, and are equipped with fresh batteries.

Rockport is known as “The Charm of the Texas Coast” and for good reasons too. It’s a quiet, little town on the coast of Texas just 30 minutes north of Corpus Christi. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Rockport is known as “The Charm of the Texas Coast” and for good reasons too. It’s a quiet, little town on the coast of Texas just 30 minutes north of Corpus Christi. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Place a temporary hold on your newspaper delivery, and arrange with your local postal office to have your mail forwarded to a reliable mail forwarding service.

Don’t leave a message on the answering machine that tells callers you’re out-of-town.  Instead, say you’re away from the phone and you’ll get back to them.

Unplug your automatic garage-door opener and install a lock on the garage door track, so thieves can’t use a crowbar to pry it open.

Turn down thermostats to 50 degrees. Low heat will prevent a freeze-up.

Now, pack up the rig and head south.

Worth Pondering…

As Anne Murray sings in the popular song, “Snowbird”:

“Spread your tiny wings and fly away

And take the snow back with you

Where it came from on that day…

So, little snowbird, take me with you when you go

To that land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow…”

Posted in RV Lifestyle, RV Tips, Snowbird | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dry Falls: World’s Largest Waterfall

As the name suggests, Dry Falls no longer carries water, but is the remnant of what was once the world’s largest (in water volume) waterfall known to have existed on earth, but that was during the Great Missoula Floods at the end of the last Ice Age.

Dry Falls: World's Largest Waterfall

Dry Falls: World’s Largest Waterfall © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Today the falls is a massive cirque of basalt: Dry Falls Lake. The site is designated a National Natural Landmark.

Viewing the 3.5 miles of sheer cliffs that drop 400 feet, it is easy to imagine the roar of water pouring over them. Niagara Falls by comparison, is one mile wide with a drop of 165 feet.

The falls were created following the catastrophic collapse of an enormous ice-dam holding back the waters of Glacier Lake Missoula. Water covering three thousand square miles of northwest Montana, about the volume of Lake Ontario, was locked behind this glacial dam until the rising lake penetrated, lifted, and then blew out the ice dam. This massive torrent known as the Missoula Flood ran wild through the Idaho panhandle, the Spokane River Valley, much of eastern Washington, and into Oregon, flooding the area that is now the city of Portland under 400 feet of water.

Reaching the Dry Falls area, this tremendous force swept away earth and rock from a precipice 15 miles south of the falls near Soap Lake, causing the falls to retreat to its present position, now known as Dry Falls. The falls is considered a spectacular example of “headward erosion”. If this is confusing, given the present topography, it also helps to know the falls are on an ancient course of the Columbia River. The river had been diverted this way by the encroaching glaciers. It returned to its present course as the ice retreated.

Dry Falls: World's Largest Waterfall

Dry Falls: World’s Largest Waterfall © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Today, the former waterfall overlooks a desert oasis filled with lakes and abundant wildlife. It is now dry as a bone but water is still present in the Sun Lakes, a haven for fishing, swimming, and boating in this otherwise arid desert landscape.

Dry water channels from the Banks Lake area slide south to the lip of the falls, and then the land falls away in great basaltic cliffs. What was once an ancient splash pool at the base of the falls is now a broad desert meadow dotted with lakes and ponds, swarming with birds and animals of all kinds, shapes, and sizes. This is a uniquely beautiful area to explore, both to delve into the geologic history of the area and to reach out and touch the native flora and fauna of the Washington desert.

Umatilla Rock towers like a giant fin in the middle of Grand Coulee in the basin below Dry Falls. This rock would have been an island in the midst of swirling waters during the great floods.

Today it offers a clear look at the multiple layers of geologic soils and rock that make up these lands. At the junction where the road splits (left to Dry Falls Lake, right to Camp Delany), head left along the gravel road at the southwestern base of Umatilla Rock. Stray off the road and hike cross-country through the open sage prairie and you might spot a few pheasant or quail. In the first mile or so, you’ll pass Perch Lake and climb a small rise for views of the lake basin.

Dry Falls: World's Largest Waterfall © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Dry Falls: World’s Largest Waterfall © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Camping is very popular in the park, which offers over 150 campsites for RVs and tents. There are also boat rentals in the summer.

The best views of Dry Falls are from the Vista House Overlook. The Dry Falls visitor centre features displays about the geology and natural history of the area and tells the story of this amazing geological phenomenon. From lava flows to the Ice Age floods, and from the Native American legacy to the modern discovery of how Dry Falls was created, the Dry Falls story is revealed to tens of thousands of visitors each year.

A gift shop in the visitor center has a wide selection of books, maps, guides, videos, postcards, film, and other merchandise about Dry Falls and the surrounding area.

Now, that is really climate change. Man made? I don’t think so!

Details

Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park

Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park is a 4,027-acre camping park with 73,640 feet of freshwater shoreline at the foot of Dry Falls. The Dry Falls Interpretive Center is located two miles north of the main park on Highway 17.

Dry Falls: World's Largest Waterfall

Dry Falls: World’s Largest Waterfall © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Location: 7 miles southwest of Coulee City in northeast Washington. It is a feature of Grand Coulee Canyon, which is itself part of the Channeled Scablands that cover three-quarters of eastern Washington.

Directions: South of US-2 onto WA-17, and drive to the visitor center which is in sight of the highway, on the east side.

Address: 34875 Park Lake Road NE, Coulee City, WA 99115

Phone: (509) 632-5583

Website: www.parks.wa.gov

Worth Pondering…

Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.

Posted in Camping, Historic Sites, Road Trips, State Parks | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Differences Between Gas, Diesel & Luxury Diesel RVs

One of the primary aspects involved in selecting a new RV is making a decision on the type of motorhome you need.

2015 King Aire 4553 luxury motor coach with Florence Interior and Sable Maple Cabinetry

2015 King Aire 4553 luxury motor coach with Florence Interior and Sable Maple Cabinetry

The debate between gas vs. diesel motorhome engines has fueled many hours of debate within the RV community. It can be difficult knowing which way to go.

While many shoppers consider either a gas or diesel-powered coach, some prefer the added comfort and technology a luxury diesel RV provides.

If you are trying to decide between a gas or diesel motorhome, try to decide what features are most important to you. There is no right or wrong option, just advantages and disadvantages worth considering.

Gas or Diesel: Cost

The first consideration for many people shopping for a new motorhome is price. How expensive is the motor coach?

2015 Thor Motor Coach Axis RUV

2015 Thor Motor Coach Axis RUV

Motorhomes fueled by gasoline are often the choice of first-time RV buyers or RVers who don’t live in their coaches fulltime as they are less expensive than most diesel offerings. Gas models will usually not offer the same level of features and technology as their diesel counterparts, although some manufacturers build high-end gas motorhomes with amenities that rival many of the mid-level diesel units.

Long considered to have the most advantages, diesel engines typically have more power and increased torque compared to those that run on gas. With increased torque comes better towing capability and improved performance during hill climbs. If you are looking to purchase a large Class A or will be towing a boat or large SUV, then diesel may be your best option.

But for the most part, if you want to save money but still get a great coach, you’re probably looking for a higher-end gas model. If you have been saving for retirement in order to become a snowbird or full-time RVer, a luxury diesel pusher motor coach won’t disappoint. Also, diesel and luxury diesel coaches almost always retain their value longer than gas motorhomes.

2015 Fleetwood Storm shown in Platinum Onyx décor with Cinnabar wood cabinetry

2015 Fleetwood Storm shown in Platinum Onyx décor with Cinnabar wood cabinetry

Because most luxury diesel motorcoaches look and feel just like the nicest of homes, they are also the most expensive. Manufacturers equip their luxury diesel coaches with the latest and greatest features and technology available, so whether or not the increased price tag is worth it depends on what you want from your new motorhome.

While diesel engines have their advantages, these come at a price. Gasoline engines are cheaper to purchase and also less costly to maintain. If you are strictly making your decision on initial cost, then look at your gas options first.

Gas or Diesel: Fuel Efficiency

Despite that fact that diesel fuel is more expensive than gasoline, it’s no secret that diesel coaches are much more fuel efficient than gas-powered models.

This is due in large part to the fact that diesel has a greater energy value than gasoline, delivering up to 10 percent better fuel economy by volume.

If you are planning to rack up big miles on your motorhome or treat it as your year-round or seasonal residence, you’d be wise to at least consider a diesel-powered option. But if you intend to use your motorhome for the occasional vacation and weekends at the lake, and then store it for winter, or are still trying to decide if the RV lifestyle is right for you, a gas-powered coach may be a better fit.

Gas or Diesel: Interior Comfort

Quality RV manufacturers craft comfortable, well-appointed interiors for both their gas and diesel-powered models. Depending on the brand, some gas-powered motorhomes can look like luxury coaches on the inside. Still, gas motorcoaches typically offer less comfort and technology than diesel and luxury diesel RVs. It all comes down to what you and your travel partner find important to enjoying your home on the road.

Luxury Diesel Motorcoaches

Luxury Getaway in a Formula 1 Palatial Motorhome

Luxury Getaway in a Formula 1 Palatial Motorhome

For starters, luxury diesel RVs are diesel-powered coaches equipped with increased horsepower, a heightened level of features and technology and high-end furniture, cabinetry, and fixtures.

If you’re a retiree, someone who is planning to live in their motorhome full time, or just want and can afford the best that industry has to offer, you may be best suited by a luxury diesel coach.

The following are the largest differentiators associated with luxury diesel motorcoaches.

Most luxury diesel motorhomes feature a custom chassis built specifically for the unit it will support. This increases reliability, comfort, stability, and weight capacity. Luxury diesel motorhomes almost always offer a more powerful engine as well. Combine both of these advantages and you have a coach that can tow more than any other type of motorhome.

Please Note: This is Part 3 of a 5-part series on Tips For Purchasing a New RV

Worth Pondering…

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

—Aristotle

Posted in RV Dealers, RV Lifestyle, RV Manufactures, RV Tips, Snowbird | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

EverGreen Introduces Lightweight Ascend Cloud Trailer

Middlebury, Indiana-based EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC has expanded the 2015 Ascend lineup with the introduction of the super lightweight Ascend Cloud series.

2015 Ascend Cloud by EverGreen

2015 Ascend Cloud by EverGreen

The Ascend Cloud’s ultra light design is a welcome addition for those looking for a smaller trailer with all the standard features of larger coaches, according to a company news release. Ranging in length from 19 feet to 24 feet long and a width of less than 8 feet makes the Ascend Cloud easy to tow behind sedans, SUVs, and mid-sized pick-ups.

True to its name, the Ascend Cloud series is a super lightweight travel trailer featuring an aerodynamic, curved exterior. The graphics resemble flowing lines reminiscent of its namesake. Four new floor plans in the Ascend Cloud series provide customers more choices in a lightweight towable.

The Ascend Cloud’s 81-inch interior ceiling height creates an open, roomy space with plenty of room for all guests. A variety of floor plans with jackknife sofas, dinettes, and even a flip down bunk in the C193RD, create sleeping space for up to six adults. Skylights in the living area and bath allow plenty of natural light, creating an airy, open atmosphere. A large shower with radius door also adds to the spacious bath.

“Our Ascend line has always been popular among couples and young families so the Ascend Cloud series meets a need for those looking for something even lighter,” commented Ascend Cloud Series Product Manager Jeff Terhune.

2015 Ascend Cloud C193BH interior

2015 Ascend Cloud C193BH interior

“With the Ascend Cloud series we took the top Ascend features and modified them to create a super lightweight travel trailer that has all the function and storage of larger trailers. The high ceilings, reduced width and open concept are just a few of the best qualities we wanted to extend into the Ascend Cloud series.”

All Ascend Cloud models feature finished, lighted exterior pass through storage for packing all the camping essentials. Overhead cabinets and a wardrobe in the bedroom increase the storage capacity further. The bathroom has a large medicine cabinet for increased storage and function.

Like all EverGreen products, the Ascend Cloud is built with the DuraLite double welded aluminum structure, ensuring a long-lasting, durable trailer. The barreled laminated roof increases the interior height and creates a smooth exterior roofline that prevents water from pooling.

2015 Ascend Cloud C183RB interior

2015 Ascend Cloud C183RB interior

Unlike other smaller travel trailers the Ascend Cloud has a ducted A/C for the ultimate in cooling comfort. A black diamond plate front stone guard protects the trailer from rock dings and other roadside hazards. An enclosed, heated underbelly provides another line of protection from the elements and reduces wind turbulence.

Details

EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC

EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC was founded in December of 2008 with the premise that the recreational vehicle industry needed a new generation of innovative, sustainable, eco-friendly, green travel trailers and fifth wheels built like none before.

The vision of EverGreen is to use sustainable eco-friendly, recyclable, composite materials to replace wood and produce higher quality, longer-lasting products that are fully equipped, yet lightweight.

EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC is the first RV manufacturer to achieve the TRA Certified Green Emerald Rating for its eco-friendly Ever-Lite travel trailers and fifth wheels.

EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC currently offers six lines of travel trailers (Ever-Lite, Sun Valley, i-Go, Ascend, Element, and Amped), four lines of fifth wheel trailers (Bay Hill, Tesla, Lifestyle, and Alfa Gold), and two lines of toy haulers (Amped and Tesla).

Of the top 15 towable RV manufacturers, EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC, along with its Lifestyle Luxury RV fifth-wheel division, was the fastest growing company in the industry for both registered retail sales and total increase in market share for the year 2013.

Address: 10758 County Road 2, Middlebury, IN 46540

Phone: (574) 825-4298

Website: www.goevergreenrv.com

Worth Pondering…

The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.

—Ayn Rand

Posted in RV Lifestyle, RV Manufactures | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

October 2014 RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced five recall notices involving four recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers—Allied Recreation Group, Starcraft, Jayco, and Keystone Company.

Allied Recreation Group, Inc.

holidayrambler_logoDecatur, Indiana-based Allied Recreation Group, Inc. (ARG) is recalling certain model year 2015 Monaco Holiday Rambler Alumascape fifth wheel trailers, models 323RL and 343RE, manufactured August 28, 2013, to December 18, 2013. In the affected vehicles, the Federal Certification Label figures related to the front and rear tire type, front and rear tire width, front and rear tire load index letter designation, and front and rear tire pressure ratings, in pounds per square inch (PSI) and in kilopascals (KPA) are incorrect. As such, the vehicles do not conform to Part 567, “Certification.”

Incorrect information on the label may result in improper tire inflation which may contribute to tire failure, increasing the risk of a crash.

ARG will notify owners, and dealers will replace the tires with new tires of the same specification as the original tires in case any of them have been improperly inflated, and also replace the Federal Certification labels with corrected information, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on September 30, 2014. Owners may contact ARG customer service at 1-800-509-3417. ARG’s number for this recall is 140827ARG.

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.

Starcraft RV

Starcraft logoMiddlebury, Indiana-based Starcraft RV is recalling certain model year 2015 AR-One travel trailers, models 28P, 28R, 28U, 28V, 28S, and 28W, manufactured April 23, 2014, to July 18, 2014. The affected trailers are equipped with the roof AC option, eliminating the roof vent. As such, since there is no widow in the kitchen, there is inadequate venting for the gases emanating from the range.

In the event of a situation where the propane gas continues to flow, if the gas range cannot vent, an ignition source may ignite the propane gas, resulting in a fire.

Starcraft RV will notify owners, and dealers will install a range hood that vents to the outside of the trailer, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on October 17, 2014. Owners may contact Starcraft RV customer service at 1-800-945-4787. Starcraft RV’s number for this recall is 9902221.

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.

Jayco, Inc.

Jayco Color logo birdMiddlebury, Indiana-based Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain model year 2015 Jay Flight travel trailers, models 264BHW (7V) and 267BHSW (7W), manufactured April 23, 2014, to June 4, 2014. The affected trailers are equipped with the roof AC option, eliminating the roof vent. As such, since the window does not open, there is inadequate venting for the gases emanating from the range.

In the event of a situation where the propane gas continues to flow, if the gas range cannot vent, an ignition source may ignite the propane gas, resulting in a fire.

Jayco will notify owners, and dealers will replace the non-opening window with a window that opens, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on October 30, 2014. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267. Jayco’s number for this recall 9901221.

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.

Keystone RV Company

Keystone-Rv-Co.-logoGoshen, Indiana-based Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain model year 2014-2015 Hideout 308BHDS fifth wheel trailers manufactured October 2, 2013, to August 8, 2014. The affected trailers may have been built with a 120V outlet in the exterior kitchen that is not part of the GFCI protected circuit.

An outlet that is not part of the GFCI protected circuit has an increased risk of providing an electrical shock if an electrical fault exists in an appliance plugged into the receptacle.

Keystone has notified owners, and dealers will verify that the outside kitchen outlet is on a GFCI circuit, replacing it as necessary, free of charge. The recall began on September 15, 2014. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 14-216.

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.

Jayco, Inc.

Jayco Color logo birdMiddlebury, Indiana-based Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain model year 2015 19RD (TP) Jay Flight trailers manufactured May 19, 2014, to May 21, 2014. The affected trailers may have been manufactured with the roof ladder installed on the door side of the trailer. This incorrect location does not have a reinforcing backer to hold the ladder to the trailer.

If the ladder does not have the support of the backer, when the ladder is used, the screws can pull out of the trailer wall and the ladder may give, increasing the risk of injury to the ladder user.

Jayco will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the placement of the ladder, and install a backer if the ladder is installed on the wrong side, free of charge. The recall began on September 30, 2014. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267. Jayco’s number for this recall is 9901220.

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 43rd in a series of articles relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

Success is peace of mind in knowing you did your best.

—John Wooden

Posted in RV Manufactures, RV Safety | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ring of Fire: Lassen Volcanic National Park

RV destinations don’t get much better than Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Lassen Peak and Manzanita Lake near the Northwesr Entrance Station. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lassen Peak and Manzanita Lake near the Northwesr Entrance Station. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lassen is one of the most unusual places in California, yet is relatively little visited, partly because it is a long distance from most other famous natural attractions and major population centers in the state. Also, access is restricted due to the heavy snowfall that this area receives—the park is fully open for only three to four months of the year though is at least partially accessible in any month.

The main park road provides north-south access through Lassen. The road links Highway 89 from the Southwest Entrance Station near Highway 36 north past Bumpass Hell, Helen Lake, and the staging area for Lassen Peak. The park road continues along Summit Lake and past Chaos Crags en route to the Manzanita Lake Entrance Station near Highway 44.

The road through the park is usually closed late October through mid-June. During years of heavy snowfall, the road may open significantly later. The main park road can open as early as May 10 or as late as mid-July.

North Summit Lake Picnic Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

North Summit Lake Picnic Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lassen is spectacular. It’s the only place you can see several volcanoes that all have a different type of cone. Lassen is renowned for its volcanic past and its massive eruptions from 1914 through ’18, and as a destination for its lava-plug-dome volcanic peak, geothermal areas, great day hikes, and wilderness, including a section of the Pacific Crest Trail. And for RVers, it’s a wonderful destination with much to see and ample RV campsites.

From 1914 to early 1915, Lassen spewed steam and ashes in more than 150 eruptions. Finally, on May 19, 1915, the mountaintop exploded. Lava crashed through the 1914 crater. A 20-foot-high wall of mud, ash, and melted snow roared down the mountain, snapping tree trunks.

Three days later, a huge mass of ashes and gases shot out of the volcano, devastating a swath a mile wide and three miles long. Above the havoc a cloud of volcanic steam and ash rose 30,000 feet.

Eruptions of steam, ash, and tephra continued until June 1917, when the volcano resumed its quiet profile, with minor steam clouds occasionally reported. Since 1921 Lassen Peak has remained quiet. But it is still considered an active volcano, the centerpiece of a vast panorama, where volcanism displays its spectaculars—wrecked mountains, devastated land, bubbling cauldrons of mud.

Sulphur Works, the park's most easily accessible hydrothermal area. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sulphur Works, the park’s most easily accessible hydrothermal area. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Until Mount St. Helens blew in 1980, Lassen’s eruption was the most recent volcanic explosion in the lower 48 states. Ecologists now study Lassen’s landscape to see what the future may bring to the terrain around St. Helens.

Lassen Peak, which last erupted in 1915, is the largest of more than 30 volcanic domes in the park. Hissing fumaroles (steam vents) and boiling mud pots from those volcanoes continue to shape the park’s landscape. Though the climate is unpredictable, summer, with its warm, dry weather, may be the best time for a visit.

The focal point of the park is 10,457-foot Mt. Lassen, one of the world’s largest plug dome volcanoes and the southern-most peak in the Cascade range. Most of the park’s major attractions are along a 29-mile link in State Route 89 that encircles the peak’s east side.

The park has seven thermal areas with intriguing names like Devils Kitchen, Bumpass Hell, Sulphur Works, and Boiling Springs Lake. Perhaps the most fascinating area is Bumpass Hell—ten acres of sputtering hot springs, steaming fumaroles, boiling mudpots, and mud volcanoes. Visitors here enjoy the eerie sounds of mud plopping, steam hissing, and water boiling. The three-mile round trip hike is easy if you take your time.

Summit Viewpoint © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Summit Viewpoint © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Not far away, near the southwest entrance of the park, is Sulphur Works, a smaller and less-spectacular version of Bumpass Hell. If you can’t see Bumpass Hell, be sure to stop here, where everything is right off the road.

A day is not enough to appreciate all that the Lassen area has to offer. We will return.

Did You Know?

All four types of volcanoes found in the entire world are represented in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Volcanoes found in the park include shield (Prospect Peak), plug dome (Lassen Peak), Cinder Cone (Cinder Cone), and Composite (Brokeoff Volcano) volcanoes.

Details

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Established: August 9, 1916

Size: 106,452 acres

Summit Lake © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Summit Lake © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Entrance Fees: $10/vehicle (valid for 7 days); all federal lands passes accepted

Camping Info: Lassen has 8 campgrounds ranging from primitive and remote to developed and easier accessed; the smallest at 18 sites to the largest at 179 sites.

When to go: The park is open year-round, 24 hours per day. Road access is limited in the winter months. Check road conditions for road status if visiting October through June. Many facilities are open for the summer season only.

Mailing Address: PO Box 100, Mineral, CA 96063

Phone: (530) 595-6100

Website: www.nps.gov/lavo

Worth Pondering…

Miles of its flanks are reeking and bubbling with hot springs, many of them so boisterous and sulphurous they seem ever ready to become spouting geysers…

—John Muir,  Mountains of California (1894)

Posted in National Parks, Road Trips | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

B&W Introduces New 16K Patriot Slide Hitch

Humboldt, Kansas-based B&W Trailer Hitches announced that it will introduce its new 16,000-pound Patriot rail-mounted fifth wheel slider hitch at the 2014 SEMA Show, the premier automotive specialty products trade event, in Las Vegas from November 4-11, 2014.

B&W Introduces New 16K Patriot Slide Hitch

B&W Introduces New 16K Patriot Slide Hitch

The Patriot 16K RVK3270 Patriot rail-mounted slider hitch complements B&W’s full line of hitches and is built to exacting specifications for smooth, flawless, and virtually inaudible operation, according to a company news release.

Unlocking the slider hitch is made effortless, even on irregular terrain, via the locking mechanism’s gear-reduced cam ratio design, which gives the user mechanical advantage.

The Patriot’s two, solid one-inch tubular steel carriage rails are designed with sturdy center supports that prevent the rails from deforming or binding as a result of flexing under load. Hourglass-shaped rollers convey the carriage mechanism with fluid motion, regardless of topography. Once unlocked, the hitch is free to slide back into its maneuvering position and afterward, it glides up to its locked position just in front of the rear axle.

“Traditional slider hitches are known to make a bit of noise, and this can be disconcerting to some operators,” said Don Collins, president of DC’s RV Centers.

“With its precise fittings and smooth, quiet operation, B&W’s Patriot 16K slider will enhance the end-user’s towing experience.”

B&W Introduces New 16K Patriot Slide Hitch

B&W Introduces New 16K Patriot Slide Hitch

B&W’s versatile new 16,000-pound Patriot rail-mounted slide hitch accommodates 12 inches of slide and is perfect for popular short-bed pickup trucks that allow less travel distance to the cab. Vertical adjustments can be made from 17 inches to 19 inches, allowing ample clearance for taller truck-bed walls. The Patriot 16K slider will fit on all industry standard mounting rails.

The Patriot 16K slider makes it easy to engage and disengage a trailer, as well. Thanks to its cam-lock design and three-quarter-inch-thick wrap-around jaws, an operator can couple or uncouple any trailer, regardless of the lay of the land. Pivot arms feature tough polyurethane bushings that allow the engaged coupler head to pivot smoothly, and the fully articulating head is cushioned by an integrated leaf spring.

“The Patriot 16K rail-mounted fifth wheel slider hitch is an American-made alternative to the offshore-manufactured slider hitches that have proliferated in recent years,” said Travis McCall, product engineer for B&W Trailer Hitches.

“Our hitch is engineered to operate as a finely tuned system, and we think users will be very impressed with the fit, finish, operation and overall ergonomics of our newest hitch design.”

B&W’s new Patriot rail-mounted slider is made of top-quality, American AISI 1018 steel and is powder coated for a tough, durable finish.

The 16K Patriot RVK3270 rail-mounted fifth wheel slider hitch has been tested and meets or exceeds the J2638 standard for a 16,000-pound vehicle tow rating (VTR). As in any towing scenario, B&W strongly recommends that users never exceed the Patriot 16K slider’s VTR.

Details

B&W Trailer Hitches

patriot16klogoB&W Trailer Hitches specializes in designing and engineering trailer hitches and aftermarket truck/trailer accessories, and the company’s workforce makes all of its products entirely in Humboldt, Kansas.

B&W was formed in 1987, in a small garage in Humboldt, Kansas by Roger Baker and Joe Works. Roger had seen declining demand for his skills as a classic car restorer and Joe had fallen on hard times with the family farm.

Together, they started B&W Custom Truck Beds, Inc. with the goal of building the highest quality truck beds on the market. The truck beds proved exceptional, with custom headache racks, toolboxes, matched paint, and hand pin striping. Business grew quickly as word spread about the quality and good looks of B&W’s quality beds.

Together, Joe and Roger designed a hitch with a ball that could be pulled out, turned over, and stowed beneath the bed. The mounting framework they designed bolted to the truck frame and required no welding, drilling, or bed removal to install.

This new hitch, the Turnover Ball, revolutionized the gooseneck hitch industry, as this type of ball storage and mounting system is used by nearly every gooseneck hitch manufacturer today.

Address: 1216 Hwy 224, PO Box 186, Humboldt, KS 66748

Phone: (800) 810-4918

Website: www.turnoverball.com

Worth Pondering…

Courage is not absence of fear. It’s just realizing that some things are more important than fear. The courageous don’t live forever, but those without courage don’t really live at all.

—Anon

Posted in RV Accessories, RV Manufactures | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Selecting an RV is a Big Decision—Do Your Research

When it comes to researching your new RV purchase, the last thing you want to be is hasty.

2015 American Eagle 45A in Pacific Royale interior décor and Rich Caramel wood cabinetry

2015 American Eagle 45A in Pacific Royale interior décor and Rich Caramel wood cabinetry

It is important to take your time while considering your budget, wants and needs, future travel plans, and any other items you feel are important in making your decision, such as safety, quality, and reliability.

RV Shows

RV shows are a great place to begin exploring what’s out there. These events allow you to explore different RV manufacturers and models while providing you with an opportunity to speak with dealer and manufacturer representatives, as well as other owners and shoppers in an ideal setting where your questions can be answered.

You’ll also be able to compare floor plans and features side-by-side.

Aside from dealers and manufacturers, individuals representing virtually every aspect of the RV lifestyle are present at most events, so you can discover a wealth of knowledge that goes beyond your purchase decision.

RV Manufacturers

Millennium Luxury Coach

Millennium Luxury Coach

Even if you are not leaning toward a particular manufacturer, information provided by the companies that build recreational vehicles can be helpful in familiarizing yourself with the latest and greatest models being offered by each coach builder, as well as the principles and values that guide each organization.

If possible, visit the manufacturers you are considering, as many offer tours of their facilities. Manufacturer websites and brochures are also helpful in better getting to know the big players in the RV industry. Just as it is essential to find a reputable dealer, it is equally important to make sure a manufacturer you are considering stands behind its products.

Internet

Of course, there are plenty of ways to do your homework online using sites like vogeltalksrving.com. Sites like these provide news on the latest and greatest in RVing along with reviews on many of the newest models available.

2015 Fleetwood Bounder 34T in Carmel Kiss decor with spice wood cabinetry

2015 Fleetwood Bounder 34T in Carmel Kiss decor with spice wood cabinetry

Internet forums are a good way to obtain honest feedback from current owners and learn from their experiences.

Publications

Print publications are still a great place to find reviews and other helpful insights when searching for a new RV. Magazines such as MotorHome and RV Gazette can shed additional light on a coach you’re considering.

Tips For Selecting Your RV

Take notes on each coach you see, focusing on your likes and dislikes.

Do not accept that what you want is not available, because it probably is.

Do not underestimate the importance of selecting the right floor plan for your needs.

Remember that what is important to someone else may not be important to you. For example, an outdoor entertainment center may or may not be on your radar.

When exploring a coach that interests you, interact with the unit as much as you can—sit in the seats, test several features, adjust the mirrors, extend the slides, and walk around the interior as if you were already living inside, making sure there is enough room for you and your travel companions.

Examine the overall fit and finish of every RV you view, paying special attention to the quality of the materials used and the workmanship.

Newmar Reintroduces Iconic London Aire Brand

Newmar Reintroduces Iconic London Aire Brand

Choosing the right options is important. You may think you can get by with less, but  foregoing useful components can leave you without the items you really need to enjoy life’s highway.

If a certain level of privacy is important to you, keep that in mind while touring a particular model.

Please Note: This is Part 2 of a 5-part series on Tips For Purchasing a New RV

Worth Pondering…

The road to success is always under construction.

—Lily Tomlin

Posted in RV Dealers, RV Lifestyle, RV Manufactures, RV Tips, Snowbird | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment