RVer Fights City Hall…And Wins

In previous posts on Vogel Talks RVing I have reported on communities in the United States and Canada imposing restrictive rules, regulations, ordinances, and general hassles on owners of recreational vehicles.

RVer Fights City Hall...And Wins

The lakeside property at 791 Main Street in Madison Lake has been the subject of a six-year dispute between the city of Madison Lake and the property’s related owners. (Photo credit: Pat Christman/Mankato Free Press)

RV parking on private property has become a hot button issue for cities and RVers. For RVers, we’re simply looking for a place to park our RVs.

When it becomes a battle of RV owner versus the city, the city is always right, according to the law—and always wins. Until now.

In a six-year land usage dispute with Mid-Central Realty owners Scott and Patricia Mende and lakefront property owner Scott Schult, the Blue Earth County District Court recently ruled that the city of Madison Lake, Minnesota, cannot restrict Schultz’s usage of an recreational vehicle.

In law, a single word can make a big difference. The district court ruling was based on the difference of one word between two sections of the Madison Lake City Code, reports the Mankato Free Press.

The city of Madison Lake is appealing the district court ruling.

The city will present oral arguments to the Minnesota Court of Appeals on October 16. Attorneys for the Mendes and Schultz will argue in support of the district court ruling.

Madison Lake City Administrator Ari Klugman said the city believes the ruling disrupts its ability to interpret its own city code.

“The district court in this case failed to properly interpret the City’s zoning ordinance, resulting in a residential use of property that was never intended or allowed. It is important to the City that its Code be properly interpreted so that appropriate controls are in place for the benefit and protection of all its residents,” said the city in a written statement.

bureaucracyThe Mendes purchased the small lakefront property at 791 Main Street for $140,000 in May 2008. They were granted a conditional use permit by the city to build a boathouse. All of the parties in the case agree the property is too small to build a residential home based on city code requirements.

The Mendes quickly advertised the property for sale as a getaway location. Jeffery Schultz, who lives outside of Madison Lake, purchased the property and moved his RV to the location. In court documents, he said he plans to use the RV only during summer months and occasionally overnight after boating or fishing.

The city sent several messages to the Mendes and eventually to Schultz about concerns the RV usage was violating the city code. The Mendes disputed the assertion. The city sent Schultz a letter on June 2008 telling him the RV was not allowed for overnight use on the property.

The city eventually cited the Mendes and Schultz in October 2012 but declined to prosecute the citation. Schultz made several unsuccessful efforts to get a change of usage for the property.

Schultz sued the Mendes for damages in November 2011, claiming they misrepresented the allowed use of the property. The Mendes filed an answer in November 2011 and subsequently filed a third-party complaint against the city in October 2013. The Mendes claimed the city was improperly restricting the use of the property.

The city requested summary judgment in its favor in November 2013. The Mendes requested summary judgment in their favor in January 2014, including a court ruling allowing the RV usage. Schultz filed a similar request, stating his complaint would be satisfied if the Mendes received their summary judgment.

Blue Earth County District Court Judge Kurt Johnson ruled in favor of the Mendes and Schultz last March. He pointed to portion of the city code explicitly allowing RV usage as “accessory use” in R-1 properties.

The city argued Schultz still violated city code because the RV usage was not incidental, especially since he would live in the RV and use the boathouse for storage.

Johnson rejected the argument because the city code definition the city cited referred to “accessory building.” He said term was much more narrow than “accessory use.” He said the RV did not meet the narrow term’s restrictions and no other section laid out RV restrictions.

He also rejected the city’s efforts to claim the RV is a building based on its usage. He said an RV doesn’t meet common definitions of a building. He said the RV is analogous to a tent, which is allowed under the city code. He said the city’s argument would have unintended consequences if accepted, such as preventing the use of picnic tables, grills, and cars on the property.

The city’s appeal of the ruling was filed in May. The oral argument in the appeal is set for September 16.

Worth Pondering…

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.

—Thomas Jefferson

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Rand McNally Introduces All-New RV GPS

Just in time for Labor Day getaways, Rand McNally has introduced its third-generation RV GPS device.

Rand McNally Launches All-New RV GPS: RVND 7730 LM (Credit: Rand McNally)

Rand McNally Launches All-New RV GPS: RVND 7730 LM
(Credit: Rand McNally)

Redesigned inside and out, the RVND 7730 LM provides all-new hardware, a faster processor, two new graphical user interface options, with improved map appearance. Bringing together Rand McNally’s award-winning navigation and new features such as Toll Cost estimates and Advanced Lane Guidance, the RVND device delivers leading-edge technology and tools specifically designed for RVers.

“Rand McNally’s RVND was the first navigation device designed specifically for RVers. With this next generation device, we’ve incorporated an all-new look but more importantly, new features to better help RVers get the most out of their on-the-road adventures,” said Stephen Fletcher, CEO of Rand McNally.

The device features a new, sleeker hardware design with a 7-inch screen—rugged and large for any RV dashboard. Inside, the RVND has faster processing speed, allowing for quicker route calculation, point of interest searches, route comparisons, and screen-to-screen transitions.

New navigation options give RVers more assistance and the ability to further customize routes:

Estimated toll road costs are now included for more informed trip planning.

More Advanced Lane Guidance instruction, combined with an increased number of enhanced Junction Views, goes beyond just turns and shows the best lanes in which to drive when approaching a turn or heading toward a complicated intersection.

Rand McNally Launches All-New RV GPS: RVND 7730 LM (Credit: Rand McNally)

Rand McNally Launches All-New RV GPS: RVND 7730 LM
(Credit: Rand McNally)

And drivers may avoid areas permanently such as heavily congested city areas—or temporarily—to accommodate closures of bridges or other roads.

The onboard mapping has been upgraded to include improved text and road shields, and new coloration for certain reference points such as shopping centers and parks. There are two new color schemes for the maps, giving RVers even more personalization options.

To further customize the devices, RVers can choose between two new interface options—”Ice” (with a white background) and “Carbon” (with a steel grey background). Users also may choose the familiar “Classic” design interface, from prior generations of the device. The new, proprietary, color-saturated icons in the design were created by Rand McNally making features easy to recognize with just a glance.

The 7730 LM device includes extensive updates to features such as:

The addition of the latest Rand McNally Best of the Road towns with roadside attractions, dining, and historical sites.

Rand McNally Launches All-New RV GPS: RVND 7730 LM (Credit: Rand McNally)

Rand McNally Launches All-New RV GPS: RVND 7730 LM
(Credit: Rand McNally)

A complete update of campgrounds—with 1,521 additions—including Good Sam campgrounds, public and commercial campgrounds, and Good Sam-rated campgrounds.

An updated cross-reference to the new 2015 Rand McNally Road Atlas, with emergency and roadside assistance information by state.

A comprehensive update of RV parking including rest stops and welcome centers, travel centers with RV-friendly amenities, and stores such as Walmart and Sam’s Club locations.

In addition, Rand McNally has incorporated new features and thousands of updates derived from “Tell Rand”, Rand McNally’s proprietary feedback loop for RVND users. For example, multi-stop trip planning now provides the detail of upcoming legs of the journey color-coded for easy differentiation, allowing for easy analysis of trip segments. And, with a one-click selection, drivers may hide buttons on the display to provide a larger view of the map.

The RVND 7730 LM includes Lifetime Map updates and the ability to switch over to car routing. The device is Wi-Fi connected, allowing for up-to-the moment information along a route such as current fuel prices, weather, and traffic.

The new RVND 7730 LM device is available at RV dealers and other retail locations nationwide, and in online stores such as amazon.com, bestbuy.com, and walmart.com.

Retail Price: $349.99

Rand McNally Launches All-New RV GPS: RVND 7730 LM (Credit: Rand McNally)

Rand McNally Launches All-New RV GPS: RVND 7730 LM
(Credit: Rand McNally)


Rand McNally

Rand McNally is the most trusted source for maps, directions, and travel content.

Rand McNally’s products and services include road travel review site (bestoftheroad), interactive travel referral service (tripology), America’s #1 Road Atlas, TripMaker RVND GPS for RVers, IntelliRoute truck routing software and mobile communication solutions for the transportation industry, and the leading geography-based educational resources for the classroom.

Consumers, businesses, truckers, and educators depend upon Rand McNally to help navigate today’s world.

Address: 9855 Woods Drive Skokie, IL 60077

Phone: (800) 333-0136

Website: randmcnally.com

Best of RVing Website: bestoftheroad.com/rv

Best of the Road Website: bestoftheroad.com

Tripology Website: tripology.com/

Lifetime Maps Program Website: randmcnally.com/lifetimemaps

Worth Pondering…

I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks.

—Daniel Boone

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Climate a Key Factor in Planning an RV Camping Trip

RV camping styles and activities vary with location and climate.

High deserts are known for causing dehydration, sunburn, sunstroke, and dry skin. Drink plenty of water and apply sunscreen. Pictured above Arches National Park.

High deserts are known for causing dehydration, sunburn, sunstroke, and dry skin. Drink plenty of water and apply sunscreen. Pictured above Arches National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Climate is a key factor in the planning and enjoyment of a camping trip. Research the location to be aware of the type of climate and weather you’re likely to experience. Always be prepared for what mother nature may throw at you, especially if you are camping in a season when climate can adversely affect campers.

Desert Camping

Desert camping can be a unique and rewarding experience. The stark beauty of red rock mesas and mysterious hoodoos in the Southwest is enchanting. But the harsh climate and terrain that defines a desert requires certain precautions and special considerations especially during the summer months.

Drink large amounts of water. By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Arid climates require one gallon of water, per person, per day—minimum. Hiking in temperatures over 100 degrees in strenuous conditions may need up to four gallons a day.

Sun and heat are related factors to watch. Wear sunscreen, and reapply often. Sun-glasses and a wide-brimmed hat such as the lightweight and comfortable Tilley hat are advisable, as is light-weight clothes that cover exposed skin.

Nestled amongst the peaks of the Canadian Rockies, Banff is known as a traveler’s mecca for good reason. Whether by car, bicycle, hiking boots, skis, snowshoes or canoe, in Banff National

Nestled amongst the peaks of the Canadian Rockies, Banff is known as a traveler’s mecca for good reason. Respect the fact that mountain weather can change quickly and it can be severe. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Southwest abounds with places to camp: national parks, state parks, and county parks; national forests; and private Good Sam RV parks. You can camp year-round, and see everything from petroglyphs to ghost towns, white-water rivers to wind-scoured cliffs.

Stay safe in the sun: Slather on the sunscreen, and wear a hat and sunglasses to keep the sun out. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, too.

Camping in the Mountains

Campers who are physiologically used to living close to sea level can experience noticeable effects from high altitudes. Additionally weather conditions in the mountains are often unpredictable. Respect the fact that mountain weather can change quickly and it can be severe.

The air is dryer and sunlight tends to be more intense in mountainous areas—especially the Rockies. These areas are known for causing sunburn and dry skin, even in the winter.

Regardless of the season apply sunscreen. Use it regularly and generously on sensitive areas every day, especially your face and neck.

By taking these simple measures, you can help to ensure that your trip to the mountainous outdoors is the experience of a lifetime.

Storm Watching in the Pacific Northwest

November through February is peak storm season along the Pacific coastline of the northwest United States. As the raw power and energy of the winter storms meet the coastlines storm enthusiasts are captivated as twenty to thirty foot waves pound against the beach heads and steep cliffs. The inspiring display of nature’s power captivates the imagination and energizes the spirit.

One of the best places to view the storms is along the Oregon Coast. With its many lookout points along the shoreline, it’s easy to see why it’s such a hotspot for storm watching—especially for RVers on the move.

Winter Camping

Ice Fish Early & Stay Late in the All Season Sport Trailer

Ice Fish Early & Stay Late in the All Season Sport Trailer

While RV camping is generally considered fair-weather recreation, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. There are numerous ways to enjoy life on the road during the wintertime months, provided that you plan ahead.

Planning a trip in the winter means spending considerable time researching areas and conditions to determine where, when, and how the trip will work. It takes proper trip planning, experience, and the right equipment to travel safely in the winter environment.

Winter camping can offer campers and hikers a wonderful experience. In a tranquil world of white, you can enjoy down-hill and cross-country skiing, skating, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. Several RV manufacturers offer travel trailers designed specifically for ice fishing.

It is a winter RV wonderland out there, just waiting for you to explore. Best of all you are camping with all the toasty comforts of home. Where better to sip on apple cider and kick up your winter heels?

Plan ahead for the season and the climate for your intended location and you’ll find your trip that much more enjoyable.

Worth Pondering…

There aren’t four seasons a year in the mountains; there are forty seasons a day up there in those divine altitudes!

—Mehmet Muratildan

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Caring For Your RV Exterior

Regular cleaning of the exterior of your recreation vehicle is important for its maintenance and longevity.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Every six months or so I wash, wax and detail the RV. Pictured above camping at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Clean your RV as soon as possible after each trip using high-quality cleaning supplies that won’t scratch or mar the RV surface. Use soft, natural cotton washing cloths and soaps and cleansers made specifically for RVs.

Following are a few RV cleaning tips to use the next time you clean and maintain your RV.

Parking Under Trees

Rinse off any bird droppings and tree sap off as soon as possible. Tree sap is a form of sugar and will dissolve after several washings. Bird droppings can eat into a painted surface if left unattended and should be removed as soon as possible. Lukewarm soapy water can help speed up the cleaning process.

Parking Near Salt Spray

Regularly rinse off the salt mineral to minimize the corrosiveness of the salt.

Ice Or Snow

Canyon Vistas RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona

Never use a bristled brush or broom to wash the painted surface. This will cause scratches in the finish. Pictured above Canyon Vistas RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Scrape from the surface of the RV. Brush off but avoid being aggressive with the brush. Brush scratches may show once the RV thaws out and may be removed by hand waxing with a silicone free liquid wax.


Antifreeze, fuel, or window solutions spilled on the painted surface should be rinsed off immediately with water and allowed to air dry. Wiping dry with a towel may create fine scratches due to the sometimes aggressive nature of these types of fluids.

Antifreeze and window solutions can be diluted and will dissolve with water. Fuel will not and needs the attention of a mineral spirit-type cleaner (like Bug-B-Gone) or a silicone free spray wax and micro fiber cloth to remove the stain left by fuels.

When driving in wintry conditions the road surface may be covered with heavy salts or sand and small stones to improve road traction. These types of road conditions can cause undue surface damage to your RV. If possible, avoid driving in these conditions.


Commercial vehicle wash facilities should be avoided. The truck-style wash centers have high-pressure wands that emit higher than necessary water pressures. These brushes are designed to clean heavy road films on semi-trailers and are not designed for custom painted RVs.

Most truck wash brushes are made from a heavy plastic that increases their lifespan but will scratch the clearcoat finish. Many times the scratches can penetrate the clearcoat finish, causing delamination and/or other paint related issues not covered under warranty.

Wash with cool or lukewarm water. Use a standard RV washing soap such as Meguiar’s to wash your RV.

Ranch RV Park near Kingman, Arizona. A great home base to explore the area including Route 66 to Oatman and its wild burros.

It’s best to clean the RV from the top down. Pictured above camping at Blake Ranch RV Park near Kingman, Arizona. A great home base to explore the area including Route 66 to Oatman and its wild burros. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Never use a bristled brush or broom to wash the painted surface. This will cause scratches in the finish. Use a clean lamb’s wool mitt, sponge, or micro fiber mop to wash your unit. A dirty application can scratch your RV.

Washing Procedure

It’s best to clean the RV from the top down.

Rinse area to be washed with cold water to remove surface residue. Make sure you are not in direct sunlight.

With area to be washed still wet from the rinse, use the recommended soapy mixture to clean the area. Use care to make sure that a clean lamb’s wool mitt, sponge, or micro fiber mop is used to apply soapy water.

Rinse washed area before soap evaporates.

Dry rinsed area before rinsed area evaporates.

After a general cleaning with the soap and water it’s time to wax the beast using a quality RV wax such as Meguiar’s. Waxing the RV is a huge task. Compared to a car it has a massive surface area. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for your particular RV.

And finally, admire a great job well done.

There, what a beautiful RV.

Worth Pondering…
A bad day cleaning the RVing—is better than a good day—working.

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Vintage RVs: Canned Hams, Shiny Hineys & Tin Cans

Vintage trailers continue their popularity among today’s RVers. There is a certain charm and nostalgia with vintage trailers that you can’t find with new recreational vehicles.

The Tin Can Tourists heated tin cans of food on gasoline stoves by the roadside.

The Tin Can Tourists heated tin cans of food on gasoline stoves by the roadside

Nostalgia is tops on the list of reasons folks are attracted to vintage trailers. When they were kids, they went camping in something similar, so it brings back memories for those people.

And don’t forget the decorating. From kitschy pink flamingos to leopard spots to Route 66 memorabilia, folks love to make their trailers look different from everybody else’s.

The rolling homes were small: a bed, kitchen, and dinette in one room. Over the decades they expanded into today’s large-sized RVs, but there’s an increasing demand for the older trailers.

These vintage models are often called Canned Hams, Shiny Hineys, or Tin Cans. Whatever they’re called, classic trailers from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s are rolling back into popularity.

These vintage boxes on wheels are more artsy than your new trailers now, have a character, and a style.

This '60 Airstream Traveler has been completely restored. (Credit: rrvintagetrailers.com)

This ’60 Airstream Traveler has been completely restored. (Credit: rrvintagetrailers.com)

When travel trailers first started roaming American roads in the 1920s their owners were called Tin Can Tourists because they heated tin cans of food on gasoline stoves by the roadside.

The Tin Can Tourists formed the first camping club in the United States, holding their inaugural rally in Florida in 1919 and growing to 150,000 members by the mid-1930s. They had an initiation; an official song, “The More We Get Together;” and a secret handshake.

Women gather from across the country to camp out and many bring their vintage campers. They call themselves Sisters on the FlyFounded in 1999, Sisters on the Fly has grown from three members to nearly 4,500 worldwide including in Canada, England, and Australia, in addition to the United States.

The Get’away Gals, a group of women from Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, gather for camping trips once a month in their tricked-out vintage trailers.

Vintage style in tiny packages, teardrop trailers, around since the 1930s, are seeing a boom in popularity. Teardrops are streamlined, compact, lightweight travel trailers, which get their name from its teardrop profile. They usually range from 4 to 6 feet in width, 8 to 10 feet in length, and 4 to 5 feet in height, and have sleeping space for two adults and a basic kitchen in the rear.

In recent years, vintage trailers have been renovated into mobile store fronts, mobile eco-homes, mobile art galleries (Happy Camper Mobile Art Gallery), mobile gourmet coffee shops (Cadillac Coffee), a mobile distillery (2 Gingers Irish Whiskey), and a bargain clothing store (Buffalo Exchange).

Have you considered a vintage trailer? People around the country are restoring and refurbishing vintage trailers in unique ways and women are finding them particularly appealing.

Vistabule Teardrop Trailer

Vistabule Teardrop Trailer

Restoration is a slow, time-consuming process. Carpentry, plumbing, and electrical skills are needed to tackle a fix-up job on these old trailers. Always start at the top and work down. One panel at a time. Persistence, perseverance, and determination will get you to the end.

But, restoring vintage trailers is not for the fainthearted. That’s one reason Flyte Camp (Bend, Oregon) is in high demand and quickly earning a reputation as one of the best vintage RV restoration shops in the U.S.

Retro Trailer Design (Glenwood Springs, Colorado) recreates vintage travel trailers reminiscent of the canned hams of the 1950s and 1960s.

Hofmann Architecture (Santa Barbara, California) takes vintage trailers and brings them back to life through custom design based on the owner’s preference.

Mintage Airstreams (Missoula, Montana) is dedicated to restoring classic Airstreams. From the initial design to the finished product, each custom-made Airstream is designed to accommodate each customer’s personal preferences.

Russian River Vintage Travel Trailers (Guerneville, California) re-designs the interiors of Airstreams and other campers. Prices for restored vintage Airstreams vary wildly, depending on the age, the condition of the exterior shell, and the extent of the interior design.

1939 Charles Lindbergh Travel Trailer Up for Auction

1939 Charles Lindbergh Travel Trailer Up for Auction

Is the iconic Airstream a bit too passé for your tastes?

The 1939 Charles Lindbergh Travel Trailer is up for auction. Designed in San Carlos, California, by an engineer of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, this trailer was custom-built for famous aviator Charles Lindbergh, hence  its name.

Buying this legend’s trailer, however, won’t come easy on the wallet. The 1939 Lindbergh travel trailer is expected to fetch anywhere from $150,000-200,000. The 1939 Charles Lindbergh Travel Trailer is part of the Maranello Rosso Collection that will be auctioned at the 17th annual Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction in Carmel, California, August 15.

Worth Pondering…

As I read, and thought, and stared at my stuff around me, I slowly realized a simple truth. The amount of freedom in my life was inversely proportional to the amount of stuff I had.

—Emily Fagen’s blog, Road Less Traveled

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Planning an RV Rental Vacation

Recreational vehicles have become one of the most popular ways for Americans and Canadians to travel.

rent an rv

Considering the RV lifestyle? Try renting before laying down the cash. Camping in a rental Class C motorhome at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There is no time wasted rushing through the airport and dealing with delays or cancellations. Even with today’s fuel prices, RV travel is still a more economical way for families to travel than staying in hotels and eating in restaurants.

An RV vacation lets you determine your daily itinerary. Stop and stretch when you’re ready; enjoy drinks and snacks when you choose; use your own bathroom when public facilities are unavailable or unsanitary.

An RV vacation offers you the ultimate freedom to travel and explore at your own pace. You have complete control over your destination plans, including when you depart, where you travel, and what you do during your family vacation.

There are many destinations you can go as a family when taking an RV road trip. These types of vacations make it possible for families to enjoy the great outdoors, see historical sites, and spend time together sitting around the campfire. When selecting a destination, it is important to ensure there are ample activities to involve the entire family.

You can tour the continent from the Canadian Rockies to Arizona and from California to Texas, Alabama, and Georgia and everywhere in between.

RV sales continue to be strong. Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) reports that RV manufacturers shipped almost 286,000 vehicles in 2012, with a retail value of more than $10.8 billion.

Touring Jasper National with a Fraserway RV rental

Touring Jasper National with a Fraserway RV rental. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thanks to the popularity, RV rentals have also seen a boost.

There’s no better way to try before you buy than by renting an RV. Many people rent RVs simply for a change of pace by taking an RV trip to a special destination or event such as football tailgating or Mardi Gras.

You can rent near home and journey to your destination, or fly and pick up your RV at the other end. More than 460 national chain outlets and local RV dealerships rent RVs, including state-of-the-art, late-model-year units. A growing number of campgrounds offer on-site RV rentals as well.

Selecting the right RV rental company will take considerable research and price comparison. Before choosing a rental company, take time to speak to each company in your area to get a price quote and find out what is included with the rental.

RV rentals are available through both local and national companies. Some of the more popular national RV rental companies include Cruise America, El Monte RV, USA RV Rentals, and Camping World. The major rental companies in Canada include Canadream and Cruise Canada.

Most RV rental companies offer housekeeping packages (dishes, pots, pans, bed linens, etc.) for a nominal fee, or you can bring your own. Even if you’re driving or towing an RV for the first time, features like automatic transmissions, power steering, large external mirrors, and rear view cameras make it easy for experienced drivers to adjust to the difference in length, height, and weight.

Book your RV well in advance, especially if you plan to travel during the summer or on busy holiday weekends such as Memorial Day or Labor Day. These are the busiest times of the year.

Airstream trailer now available as a rental unit at Larimer County’s Horsetooth Reservoir South Bay Campground (Credit: Steve Stoner)

Airstream trailer now available as a rental unit at Larimer County’s Horsetooth Reservoir South Bay Campground (Credit: Steve Stoner)

Pre-select a few destinations and take a look at your budget. Though the cost of parking the RV for the night is less expensive than staying at a hotel, the costs for fuel and mileage can add up quickly.

Have a destination in mind before calling the RV rental company and ask for a total estimate, including rental fee and average mileage charges. Ask for several different destinations to compare rates and finally pick a location for your vacation.

It is important you understand your rights and responsibilities before signing an RV rental agreement.

When taking delivery of your rented RV, allow ample time to ensure everything is in working order and you are familiar with the operation all major systems including utility hookups (electrical, water, and sewer). Make sure you know how to hook these up before you leave on vacation and all required attachments are supplied. Check the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are operational.

Check for any manuals that can help answer questions along the way and look for any noticeable damage. Make sure to point out any damage or missing items to the rental agency before leaving. This way you are not responsible for the items.

Make a check list of everything you need for your RV vacation, including what to bring and what to do before leaving.

Renting an RV is a great way to test drive the RV lifestyle experience.

Worth Pondering…

The attraction of recreational vehicle travel is to see the country, visit new places, meet interesting people, and experience the freedom of the open road.

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World’s Most Expensive RV Sells For $3 Million

In earlier articles on Vogel Talks RVing, I’ve described the futuristic Marchi Mobile eleMMent, dubbed the most expensive motorhome in the world.

World's Most Expensive RV Sells For $3 Million

World’s Most Expensive RV Sells For $3 Million

I further indicated that space-age eleMMent Palazzo had gone on sale in Dubai for a cool £2 million, the equivalent of $3.1 million U.S. dollars.

Nowadays, you can’t help but pay a lot for a feature-laden motorhome. However, the expensive madness goes over the top with this opulent slightly bizarre luxury RV selling for a staggering $3 million in sunny Dubai.

The eleMMent Palazzo is made by an Austrian company called Marchi Mobile. Responding to the reception by American car enthusiasts of its remarkable vehicles and recognizing the importance of the US for its growth plans, the group opened a wholly-owned subsidiary in Aiken, South Carolina on January 27, 2014.

The Palazzo features two floors of entertainment and extravagance, with a giant master suite, multiple bars, and a liftable “flybridge” lounge up top.

It also features a pop-up cocktail lounge, a living room complete with a fireplace and a ginormous 40-inch TV set, and a master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom.

World's Most Expensive RV Sells For $3 Million

World’s Most Expensive RV Sells For $3 Million

The party piece of the eleMMent Palazzo is the Sky Lounge, a rooftop terrace that can be deployed or retracted at the simple press of a button. As if that wasn’t enough lavishness, then what about underfloor heating everywhere and ambient marble lighting?

If the weather isn’t conducive to rooftop cocktails, you can extend the driver’s side slide-out, increasing interior space by 80 percent. Marchi’s failure to incorporate a helipad is, to say the very least, rather disappointing.

From the conference/dining table to the entire lounge, you have the option of spreading the chassis out to suit your needs and retract when not needed. The tables and extra furniture are perfectly retractable to create the ambience you desire for special events, a small conference, or family reunion.

The 510 horsepower eleMMent coaches come configured with everything from mobile internet, a working fireplace recommended for use only when parked, streaming video surveillance, fog machine, and customized paint job that glows in the dark.

The eleMMent Palazzo combines the feel of a luxury home with a dual-sport exhaust system with carbon diffuser, 28-inch alloy wheels, single arm windscreen wiper, and aerodynamic design, all of which are responsible for the supreme riding experience.

World's Most Expensive RV Sells For $3 Million

World’s Most Expensive RV Sells For $3 Million

According to Marchi Mobile, the strange-looking design—described by some as ugly—is aerodynamic enough to give a fuel efficiency boost of about 20 percent along with what I would assume is a fairly tremendous view of the road. When compared to a similarly sized monstrosity, I imagine.

Another appealing feature is it can even clean itself after a dusty day of motoring through the desert.

The ultra-luxury RV can reach 93 mph despite its 44,000-pound (22-ton) weight.

A remote monitoring system lets you keep an eye on your rig while you’re out overindulging in some Monte Carlo cafe, and allows you to set the interior lighting to your liking well ahead of your return. Which raises the question, if you have a $3 million RV, why would you ever leave it in the first place?


World's Most Expensive RV Sells For $3 Million

World’s Most Expensive RV Sells For $3 Million


Marchi Mobile

A step up from the Palazzo is the eleMMent Viva–V.I.P. shuttle.

The Viva starts where the Palazzo leaves off but features a chauffeur booth and six high-end lounge and massage chairs that recline for sleeping.

Global Corporate Headquarters

Marchi Mobile GmbH

Address: Euro Plaza, Am Euro Platz 2, 1120 Wien, Austria

Phone: 0043 1 71 72 8 238

Website: www.marchi-mobile.com

US Corporate Headquarters

Marchi Mobile, Inc.

Address: Suite # C  I  1089 Augusta Road, Warrenville, SC 29851

Phone: (844-MARCHI8 (844-627-2448)

Worth Pondering…

Live with passion.

—Anthony Robbins

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CrossRoads Resurrects Carriage & Cameo Fifth Wheel Brands

Topeka, Indiana-based CrossRoads RV announced it will resurrect the Carriage and Cameo fifth-wheel brands during this year’s Elkhart County RV Open House, introducing the iconic lines as part of parent Thor Industries Inc.’s display at the RV/MH Hall of Fame.

CrossRoads RV will resurrect the Cameo fifth-wheel brand during this year’s Elkhart County RV Open House

CrossRoads RV will resurrect the Cameo fifth-wheel brand during this year’s Elkhart County RV Open House

CrossRoads and sister company Redwood RV acquired the Carriage and Cameo brands during a February 21 court-ordered liquidation of Carriage Inc.’s assets.

Carriage, a longtime luxury fifth-wheel builder based in Millersburg, Indiana, was forced to close its doors in late 2011 as a result of the recession.

The Cameo brand will target both weekend travelers and extended-stay snowbirds with a lineup that will offer a range of floor plans in a variety of lengths, according to a company news release.

CrossRoads said the Carriage brand will provide high-end, residential style of living as each floor plan has been carefully designed and specifically created to ensure a permanent way of living anywhere you choose.

The upscale brand will feature master suites, full-body paint exteriors, and a full two-year residential warranty.

“The team here at CrossRoads RV is extremely excited to offer these two iconic names back to the marketplace,” stated Product Manager Rudy Boals.

“We are confident that both past and new customers will appreciate the quality, craftsmanship, and design of these fifth wheels.”

Several floor plans of the Carriage and Cameo will be on display at the Elkhart County RV Open House, September 16-18.


CrossRoads RV, Inc.

CrossRoads logo3_smallCrossRoads RV, Inc. was established in 1996 in Topeka, Indiana where the company currently has five plant locations and employs over 400 people.

Its products are distributed by dealers throughout the United States, Canada, France, Japan, and Australia.

CrossRoads RV manufactures a full line of towable RV products including fifth wheels, travel trailers, ultra-light trailers, toy haulers, and destination trailers under the brand names of Rushmore, Cruiser Patriot/Provincial, Cruiser, Cruiser Sahara, Cruiser Aire, Zinger, Zinger SE, Z-1, Sunset Trail, Slingshot, Elevation, and Hampton.

CrossRoads RV factory tours are conducted Monday through Thursday at 1:30 p.m. To arrange a tour, please call (888) 226-7496.

CrossRoads RV, Inc. is a division of Thor Industries Inc.

Address: 1115 W Lake Street, Topeka, Indiana, 46571

Phone: (260) 593-3850 or (888) 226-7496 (toll free)

Website: www.crossroadsrv.com

Worth Pondering…

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

—Rudolph Flesch

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Cumberland Island: From Camping to the Carnegies

Explore Georgia’s Cumberland Island to witness the beauty of natural wilderness and historical intrigue. A trip to Cumberland Island can satisfy your mind’s curiosity with its historical secrets or relax it with tranquil scenery.

Dungeness Ruins has a very long history

Dungeness Ruins has a very long history to tell. The name came originally from the very first property, which was a hunting lodge named Dungeness, in the area, owned by James Oglethorpe in 1736. In 1803, it was replaced by a mansion built by Nathaniel Greene, which was later on used as a headquarters by the British. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cumberland is one of the largest undeveloped barrier islands along the Georgia coast. The National Park Service protects almost 36,000 acres of the island, including miles of unspoiled beaches.

The most intriguing part about Cumberland is its history. Once a working plantation, followed by a winter retreat for the wealthy Carnegie family, Cumberland Island is now home to the descendants of slaves and aristocrats, as well as approximately 150 feral horses with bloodlines that trace to the royal stables of the King of Arabia. The stories of the people weave a captivating tale of wealth, poverty, privilege, and sacrifice.

Visit Cumberland Island for the day, camp overnight, or be a guest at the upscale Greyfield Inn, made famous by John F. Kennedy Jr.’s wedding. Day visitors and campers reach the island by taking the Cumberland Island Ferry from the Cumberland Island Visitors Center in St. Marys, Georgia, to the Sea Camp Dock. Guests of the Greyfield Inn take the hotel’s private ferry, the Lucy Ferguson. The boat ride itself is wonderful way to see Cumberland’s beauty from the water.

The best way to unlock Cumberland’s secrets, whether historical or natural, is with a guide. You can take a Jeep tour as part of your stay at the Greyfield Inn, or choose the park ranger service, which offers walking or motorized tours that start at the Sea Camp Dock, or cell phone tours that originate at the Dungeness Docks. It’s best to reserve the motorized tour when you book the ferry. You’ll cover several hundred years of history in just a few hours, all while traveling the interior of one of the largest maritime forests remaining in the U.S.

feral horses

Visitors are reminded these are feral horses and should be treated as wild animals. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To truly explore the island further, you need a bike and a good pair of walking shoes. Guests at the Greyfield Inn have bikes at their disposal as part of their rooms. Otherwise, bikes are available for rent at the Sea Camp Dock. Bike rentals are first-come, first-served, though, so do this before anything else, including the tour.

A favorite destination is the Dungeness Ruins, the remains of Lucy Carnegie’s island mansion. Lucy, whose husband Thomas was the brother and business partner of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, once owned 90 percent of Cumberland Island and built grand homes for her children, including Greyfield.

Besides the mansion, be sure to explore the out buildings. The laundry is fascinating, not only because of the cleaning machines on display, but the innovations in cooling. It must have been sweltering hot to wash clothes in the summer, yet the height of the ceiling and fans that pulled out the hot air helped keep the building relatively cool. Dungeness is also a favorite spot for the island’s horses, so bring a camera!

A visit to Cumberland Island takes some preparation because visitors are limited and there are no concessions on the island. Start your planning and make reservations through the Cumberland Island National Seashore website (SEE link below). The site offers tips for a great visit and information on tours and activities.

We walked the raised boardwalk over the dunes to the wide, secluded beach

We walked the raised boardwalk over the dunes to the wide, secluded beach, alive with crabs and shorebirds. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Exploring the island requires considerable walking, and the island is not stroller friendly, so pack the little ones, leave them home, or wait a few years until they can get around on their own. That said, the Junior Ranger program is a wonderful way for kids 5-12 (and kids at heart) to learn about the island. It’s free, as are the Civil War trading cards available at the Sea Camp Ranger Station.


Cumberland Island National Seashore

Cumberland Island National Seashore, on the Georgia coast, includes one of the largest undeveloped barrier islands in the world. The park is also home to one of the largest maritime forests remaining in the United States, one of the largest wilderness areas in a National Seashore on the east coast, and a herd of feral, free-ranging horses.

Getting to the Island: Accessible by ferry boat from Visitor Center dock in St. Marys. Ferry is walk-on, passenger-only. All trips are round-trip. To make ferry reservation, 912-882-4335 or toll free, 800-860-6787 .

ferry boat returns from Cumberland Island to the dock in St. Marys

It’s the end of a wonderful day as our ferry boat returns from Cumberland Island to the dock in St. Marys. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Reservations are required for both the ferry and camping. Visitors must check in 30 minutes before departure at the Cumberland Island Visitor Center or the reservation will be canceled.

Ferry Fees: $20; Senior, $18; Children under 12 years, $14

Entrance Fees: $4/person (valid for 7 days) or Golden Age/Golden Access and America the Beautiful–National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass

Mailing Address: 101 Wheeler Street, St. Marys, GA 31558

Phone: (912) 882-4336

Website: www.nps.gov/cuis

Worth Pondering…

Georgia, Georgia, the whole day through

Just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind.

Georgia, Georgia, a song of you

Comes as sweet and clear as moonlight through the pines

—Georgia On My Mind, lyrics by Stuart Gorrell, written by Hoagy Carmichael (1930), recorded by Ray Charles (1960), official state song of the State of Georgia (1979)

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Famous RVs & Their Celebrity Owners

The RV lifestyle knows no boundaries when it comes to people who enjoy the comforts of traveling with their own home on wheels.

Life on the Road in an Airstream with Matthew McConaughey

Life on the Road in an Airstream with Matthew McConaughey

No other lifestyle is as versatile in accommodating the needs of such a diverse group of people.

The RV lifestyle has been adopted by people involved in a variety of different professions.

From entertainers to politicians, to sports professionals to sports commentators, some of the best known celebrities make use of RVs for a variety of reasons.

Like many of us, Oscar winning actor Matthew McConaughey enjoys spending time seeing the open road through the windshield of an RV—for McConaughey, it’s an Airstream. The actor bought his first Airstream in 2004. A road warrior, McConaughey is the proud owner of three Airstreams including a refurbished 1958 Ocean Breeze model which he lived in full time during 2008 in a trailer park in Malibu. McConaughey worked and lived in his tricked-out International CCD 28 Airstream trailer, nicknamed the Canoe, which he kept on a Malibu lot near prime surfing terrain.

It could be assumed that action star Vin Diesel of The Fast and the Furious fame has a love affair with wheels. It then only makes sense that he has a home on wheels as well. While it isn’t fast or furious, Vin Diesel’s customized and insanely over the top fifth wheel trailer is a mobile luxury getaway.

Vin Diesel's RV

Vin Diesel’s customized and insanely over the top fifth wheel trailer

Designed by Anderson Mobile Estates, one of Hollywood’s top mobile trailer companies, the two-story, 1100 square foot mansion-on-wheels requires a the power of a semi to keep it mobile. Once on location, the roof pops up and walls slide out to make way for additional floor space.  Top of the line media equipment, granite kitchen counter tops, a private office, and a kids play area are just some of the luxurious comforts of home that Vin Diesel can take on the road with him.

Will Smith earned headlines over his ridiculously huge double-decker trailer. It might not technically be an RV since he just used it while it was parked in the street, but it could definitely serve a person well during a cross-country pilgrimage. Maybe Will is an RV enthusiast at heart?

Where RV travel is concerned, some famous figures like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, have been exploring the different corners of America since 1999. Together with his wife, Ginny Thomas, Justice Thomas have visited 27 states since they purchased a 40-foot Class A. According to him, RVing not only helps the family get to know each other better but it also helps keep everyone grounded.

Joining this list of famous RV owners is professional golfer, Rory Sabbatini. In his case, his customized motorhome was the perfect way for him to connect with his wife, Amy Sabbatini, and children whilst on tour. Most sports usually drag the parent away on lengthy tours and golf was one instance where the family can join in the tour. For golfers like Sabbatini, his RV made it all possible.

Will Smith's huge double-decker trailer

Will Smith’s huge double-decker trailer

Some vehicles achieve iconic status based on their power and performance. Others become famous simply because they look really fun to drive. The Oscar Mayer Weinermobile falls into the latter category.

There have been numerous versions of the Wienermobile since 1936, when Carl Mayer, Oscar’s nephew, oversaw the construction of the first such promotional vehicle. Gas rationing kept the vehicle off the road during WWII, but in the 1950s, the Wienermobile come roaring back to life in a number of versions, including models built on Dodge and Willy’s Jeep chassis.

1969 and 1976 both saw new Wienermobiles built on Chevy motorhome frames. Over time, the various Wienermobile models have grown both in size and features. 1995 saw the release of one that was 11 feet high and 27 feet long. The 2004 version of the Wienermobile includes GPS navigation, a horn that plays 21 different takes on the company jingle and taillights from a Pontiac Firebird.

Oscar Mayer Wienermobile

Oscar Mayer Wienermobile

In that same year, the company held a contest in which winners could drive the Wienermobile for a day. Public response was overwhelming. After all, who wouldn’t want to pilot a giant hot dog across the country? Count me in if the job ever opens up.

In the early ’80s, Francis Ford Coppola had a special Airstream trailer commissioned which was subsequently fitted as a mobile film editing suite. It was nicknamed the Silverfish.

Please Note: This is Part 1 of a 2-part series on Celebrities And Their RVs

Worth Pondering…

There’s nothing not to like about it. The freedom of being able to pull up, stop, power up anywhere you want – beach or whatever. Set up and have your front yard different every single day.

—Matthew McConaughey, actor

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