RVs Rule the Road

Who is driving RV sales and why?

Canyon Vistas RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona
There’s an RV for every family’s budget and needs. Photo above: Canyon Vistas RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you’re one of the millions of Americans or Canadians planning to head out for a summer road trip, be prepared: RVs rule the road.

With prices ranging from $15,000 to just shy of $1 million, Americans and Canadian consumers have more options than ever when it comes to hitting the open road with a bed in tow.

For the big bucks your RV comes decked out with dual sinks in the master bathroom of a 46,000-pound diesel pusher built on a behemoth bus chassis. The Newmar King Aire also has Sleep Number beds, four flat-screen televisions, and a tablet to remotely manage the climate controls. Oh, and it also has a carbon-fiber steering wheel, and the driver sits in a captain’s chair with a built-in massager.

Canada’s number one Newmar dealer, Midtown RV in the southern Okanagan city of Penticton (British Columbia) sold 6 King Aires during the past 12 months.

“King Aire buyers are people looking for a modern contemporary design with the latest in residential amenities,” said Kalvin Stayberg, Midtown RV Vice-President and part owner.

Class A motorhome: 2015 Newmar King Aire
Class A motorhome: 2015 Newmar King Aire

“They also appreciate that the King Aire couples this modern design with the Newmar Heritage of quality, luxury, and power.”

While the King Aire may be over-the-top extravagant, buyers are demanding the same kinds of countertops and finishes they’re accustomed to having in their homes. Many RVs, for instance, have memory foam beds, tile floors, two bathrooms, and Corian countertops.

Those amenities are driving massive growth in what has been a sagging industry hit hard by a lousy economy and sky-high fuel prices. Last year RV dealers sold about 350,000 vehicles and expect even stronger growth this year. That’s a return to pre-recession levels not seen in nearly a decade.

Bottom-of-the-barrel fuel prices are also helping to drive interest in the RV lifestyle. Packing up the family for a summer vacation is less expensive than flying, especially when airlines with locked-in fuel costs haven’t yet passed along fuel savings to passengers. Camping is also more family-friendly and relaxing.

There’s been strong interest at both ends of the spectrum, from that $1 million King Aire to the 1930s-style teardrop trailers light enough to be towed behind a car and the always-popular Airstream.

Vistabule Introduces ‘Cab Forward’ Teardrop Trailer
Vistabule is a popular ‘Cab Forward’ teardrop trailer

Airstream celebrated a record year in 2014, with sales up 26 percent over 2013 numbers. The retro-glam travel trailer has found new life among an expanded clientele that includes baby boomers.

And smaller, cheaper, mini-trailers, like teardrop trailers, have also resurfaced as appealing options for road-trippers looking to go small.

Also receiving significant interest are “Tiny House” style RVs which some buyers remove from their wheels and use as a cozy home. The wood-sided Tumbleweed Tiny Homes were featured in an earlier post on Vogel Talks RVing.

Many consider small to be the new big. The small-house movement and a conscious move away from a consumptive lifestyle for many millennials.

But it’s not just the smaller and sleeker Airstream and teardrop trailers that are doing well. The whole industry has recently found a new stride. Behemoth motorhomes often with tag axles and travel and fifth wheel trailers—12, 28, 35 feet long—are hitting highways in the strongest numbers in years.

The design of the Cypress Tiny House RV  by Tumbleweed makes use of the most interior space, by incorporating a corner porch and utilizing the extra room as interior space.
The design of the Cypress Tiny House RV by Tumbleweed makes use of the most interior space, by incorporating a corner porch and utilizing the extra room as interior space.

Some 32,045 RVs were shipped from manufacturers to dealerships in February of this year. Compare that to 29,700 in February 2007 and 10,300 in February 2009 when the industry hit rock bottom. The industry projects it will hit its top sales in nearly a decade this year.

Plummeting fuel prices don’t hurt, either, and it’s also worth noting that Baby Boomers—folks between 51 and 69—are retiring in droves. At the same time, however, RV buyers are actually getting a little younger. According to recent report, in 2011, the average age of an RV buyer was 48 years old. The fastest-growing age bracket was 35-54.

Mainstream Class A motorhomes and fifth wheel and travel trailers run anywhere from $10,000 to $600,000 and more. After financial ability, family was the leading factor in the decision to buy an RV. People perceive these vehicles as a way to spend time with family and friends, without the hassle and expense of flights, lodging, and food.

But unless you’re living in your RV full-time, it’s about as discretionary a purchase as one can imagine. It’s a big upfront investment, and that’s before fuel costs, insurance, and license. Buying any RV indicates a high degree of consumer confidence.

The increase in sales of Airstreams and teardrops are merely part of a larger trend. Now that people perceive an improve economy, they’re buying RVs of all stripes.

The success of the RV industry is due in part to the diversity of product that offers something for every income level. You don’t have to be rich to buy a smaller trailer and go camping.

Monument Valley © Rex Vogel, all rights
An RV will take you whever you wish to go including Monument Valley © Rex Vogel, all rights

And for those families who want to spend time together while getting back to nature, RVs have an undeniable attraction and is a lifestyle that’s second to none.

Worth Pondering…

The American dream is no longer about home ownership. The American dream is that people want to travel and see America by RV.

—Andy Heck, co-owner Alpin Haus to Greg Gerber, RV Daily Report

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More April 2015 RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced 5 recall notices involving 4 recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers—KZRV, Airstream, Thor Motor Coach, and Motor Coach Industries (MCI).

KZRV, L.P.

KZ-logoKZRV, L.P. (KZRV) is recalling certain model year 2015 KZ-RV Gold, Goldrush, Goldrush Klondike, and Prestige, 2014-2015 Goldrush Discovery, 2013-2015 Goldrush Nugget and 2012-2015 Stoneridge recreational vehicles manufactured May 27, 2011, to December 8, 2014. In the affected vehicles, a rivet for the quad entry steps may shear and fail, causing the steps to give when being used.

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

KZRV will notify owners, and dealers will replace the defective rivets, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in April 2015. Owners may contact KZRV customer service at 1-800-768-4016.

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.

Airstream, Inc.

Airstream-logo-newAirstream, Inc. (Airstream) is recalling certain model year 2015 Interstate motorhomes manufactured from October 6, 2014, through March 25, 2015, and built on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis. In the affected vehicles, the abutting wedge, a component attached to the door jamb to make opening the door easier after a severe frontal crash, may have been installed incorrectly.

If a vehicle that has an incorrectly installed abutting wedge is involved in a severe frontal crash, a greater force may be necessary to open the doors, increasing the risk of injury.

Mercedes Benz will notify owners on behalf of Airstream, and dealers will inspect and, if necessary, correct the abutting wedge installation, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Airstream customer service at 1-937-596-6111 or owners may contact Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Customer Service at 1-877-762-8267.

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.

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach; North America's Best Selling Motorhome BrandThor Motor Coach (Thor) is recalling certain model year 2015 Siesta and Citation motorhomes manufactured from September 26, 2014, through February 27, 2015, and built on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis. In the affected vehicles, the abutting wedge, a component attached to the door jamb to make opening the door easier after a severe frontal crash, may have been installed incorrectly.

If a vehicle that has an incorrectly installed abutting wedge is involved in a severe frontal crash, a greater force may be necessary to open the doors, increasing the risk of injury.

Mercedes-Benz will notify owners on behalf of Thor, and dealers will inspect and, if necessary, correct the installation of the abutting wedge, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Thor customer service at 1-877-500-1020 or owners may contact Sprinter Customer Service at 1-877-762-8267.

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.

Motor Coach Industries (MCI)

logoMciMotor Coach Industries (MCI) is recalling certain model year 2007-2010 MCI E4500 and J4500 motor coaches manufactured November 21, 2006, to August 27, 2009, and equipped with certain Recaro Automotive Seating Ergo M bus driver seats. The affected seats were manufactured in a way that the tether bar may push into the retractor panel door and potentially interfere with the seat belt locking mechanism.

If the seat belt locking mechanism does not function as intended, the bus driver may not be properly restrained, increasing the risk of personal injury in the event of a crash.

The remedy for this recall is still under development. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact MCI customer service at 1-800-241-2947.

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.

Motor Coach Industries (MCI)

logoMciMotor Coach Industries (MCI) is recalling certain model year 2014 J4500 and model year 2015 D4000ISTV, D4005, D4500, and D4505 motor coaches manufactured August 26, 2014, to December 3, 2014. The affected motor coaches have front and steerable tag axles whose tie rod nuts may be improperly torqued.

If the tie rod nuts are not properly torqued, the tie rod may not be adequately secured, resulting in a loss of vehicle control and increasing the risk of a crash.

MCI will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the tie rod nut torque, replacing the parts as necessary, free of charge. The recall began on April 15, 2015. Owners may contact MCI customer service at 1-800-241-2947.

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 54th in a series of articles relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

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

—Aristotle

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Vintage Airstream: Museum on the Move

What began as an idea formed during a session at the National Council on Public History’s annual conference in 2011 is now a reality.

Vintage Airstream: Museum on the Move
Vintage Airstream: Museum on the Move

A group of University of Louisiana at Lafayette graduate students created a unique mobile museum exhibit.

It’s only fitting that the University of Louisiana at Lafayette History Department’s Museum on the Move (MoM) is a vintage Airstream, because the iconic brand has such a rich history of their own.

As Professor John Troutman, the history instructor that brought the museum concept to life told Airstream Life, “What vehicle to support a mobile museum is more historical, and timelessly attractive, than an Airstream?”

The university located the 26-foot 1954 Cruiser on an Airstream forum, and Troutman and a colleague picked it up outside of Birmingham, Alabama in February 2013.

Students from the School of Architecture and Design came up with concepts to remake the trailer into a functional and modifiable mobile museum . They hired a local contractor—and Airstream enthusiast—to gut it, rebuild the frame and floor, and rewire it.

All the retro comforts were replaced with wood flooring and industrial framing to accommodate museum panels.

Vintage Airstream: Museum on the Move
Vintage Airstream: Museum on the Move

Troutman’s graduate students developed the museum’s initial exhibit, “Crossing the Line: Louisiana Women in a Century of Change” during the fall semester of 2013.

Students and Troutman worked out the lighting, exhibit panel mountings, and exhibit “flow,” as well as acquired the show’s artifacts and images, and wrote the explanatory text.

The exhibit features 10 Louisiana women from the late 19th century to the present who created extraordinary change in the state.

The exhibit is based on research provided by students in a Louisiana Women course taught by history professor Mary Farmer-Kaiser. Troutman’s students pared down the list of 40 women to 10 after focusing on a theme of activism.

Vintage Airstream: Museum on the Move
Vintage Airstream: Museum on the Move

In the spring and fall of 2014, they toured the exhibit all over southern Louisiana—to historical association meetings, local civic group meetings, farmer’s markets, music festivals, and schools.

“That is one of our greatest successes in terms of developing this program—the Airstream draws people in, long before they read the exhibit description outside the door,” says Troutman. “Everyone wants to talk about the Airstream, tells us their Airstream experiences, and asks where we found it. That gets them in the door, so that they can see the exhibits that our students will design and install each year. Buying an Airstream to serve as the exhibit vehicle is the best decision we could have ever made.”

Troutman’s students love the MoM because it gets them professional, hands-on experience in museum work and gets them out in the community—even out into Troutman’s driveway, which he describes as being “ground zero for installing our exhibits in the trailer.”

The academic work for the museum’s next exhibit, covering the history of oil production in Louisiana’s oil-rich state, is now taking place in student seminars. In the fall, Troutman’s graduate student seminar will convert that scholarship into “Oil in Louisiana,” the next traveling exhibit.

Being a history professor, Dr. Troutman is eminently qualified to speak on the place of the Airstream in the historical record: “Airstreams are remarkable: Their popularity reflected the desire of Americans to learn about other parts of our country, and to expand the venues for their family time and their critical family experiences, beyond their homes, and onto the open road. The design aesthetic of these trailers is unmatched and a thing of wondrous beauty.”

Museum-quality beauty, it seems.

Vintage Airstream: Museum on the Move
Vintage Airstream: Museum on the Move

Details

Museum on the Move (MoM)

Museum on the Move (MoM) is a project of University of Louisiana at Lafayette History Department.

Public History students outfit a vintage Airstream trailer with an interpretive exhibit that will then hit the road to take history directly out of the classroom and to the public. Exhibits will be created on a rotating basis and require the melding of two courses and a cohort of students.

The first course is a traditional history course where students conduct research projects geared toward the planned exhibit. The next phase of the project is for a Museum Studies course, under the direction of Dr. John Troutman, where students re-craft the research done in the first class to create exhibit components that they will install in the trailer.

Once the exhibit is up and rolling, the trailer will be sent out on short runs to venues around the state where the students’ (and the program’s) work will be on display.

Website: www.museumonthemove.com

Worth Pondering…

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.

—Maya Angelou

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Testing an Airstream in the Arctic

It’s not unusual for auto engineers to test their vehicles in the arctic.

Testing an Airstream in the Arctic
Testing an Airstream in the Arctic

The frigid temperatures and slippery conditions offer a great opportunity to put a future product through its paces.

But the models aren’t usually hauling a travel trailer.

Land Rover recently teamed up with Airstream on an adventure to the Arctic Circle to demonstrate the capabilities of the new Range Rover Sport Hybrid.

The world’s first premium diesel hybrid towed the 27-foot-long Airstream travel trailer 2,500 miles to Land Rover’s cold-weather test centre in Arjeplog, Sweden, then on to the Arctic Circle.

In a dramatic real world test of the vehicle’s capability, the car was towing the Airstream through some of the worst winter weather Scandinavia has experienced in living memory, according to a company news release.

Gales, record snow depths, and freak icy road conditions tested crew, car, and trailer to the extreme.

Testing an Airstream in the Arctic
Testing an Airstream in the Arctic

More European Airstream owners choose Land Rover products to tow their ‘silver bullets’ than cars from any other manufacturer so the Range Rover Sport Hybrid and Airstream made an excellent match, according to the release.

Setting off from Land Rover’s Design and Engineering Centre at Gaydon in the English Midlands, the team headed to Mengerskirchen in Germany, where a specially winterized version of the shiny, aluminum 684 model travel trailer was waiting for them at Airstream Europe’s headquarters.

Top of Airstream’s European range of trailers, the 684 is 27 feet of boutique hotel suite on wheels, with two double beds, satellite television, and Corian surfaces in both its fully-equipped kitchen and spacious bathroom. It sure beats camping outside in the arctic.

Once the team had packed their gear on board, the Airstream weighed in at more than 5,510 pounds. For the Range Rover Sport Hybrid, that sort of weight proved no problem, whatever the weather did.

From Germany, the team set a course for Land Rover’s test center in Arjeplog, Sweden, and the journey covered a total of over 2,500 miles.

En route, Land Rover reports the team was buffeted by gale-force side winds, the tail end of Hurricane Ole, when crossing the five-mile-long Øresund Bridge and saw temperatures drop to -8 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, the rig and its custom camper eventually arrived at their chilly destination.

Testing an Airstream in the Arctic
Testing an Airstream in the Arctic

Off-road, the car proved its worth too, repeatedly pulling the trailer up and down snowy and often dangerously icy hills, and along forest tracks without fuss.

“We were closely watching the long range weather forecasts before we set off but nothing prepared us for how bad it got,” said team leader, Ben Samuelson.

“However, time after time, it was only as we got out of the car that we realized quite how treacherous it was outside.”

Further north, as temperatures continued to plummeted, both the vehicle and the trailer’s cold-climate capability and comfort ensured that driver, passengers, and indeed those cooking and sleeping in the trailer each evening, experienced nothing but unruffled luxury.

The demanding cold-weather facility at Arjeplog in northern Sweden is the winter proving ground for the full range of Land Rover’s all-terrain vehicles.

For four months every year, the company’s corps of engineers pitch vehicles to their limits against extreme winter conditions with temperatures which have been known to reach -39 degrees in daytime, but can plummet as low as -42 degrees overnight.

“The Range Rover Sport Hybrid has gone through the same grueling test and development regime that all our cars do,” said Phil Talboys, Arjeplog test facility manager.

“This journey just goes to show that the Range Rover Sport Hybrid is pure hybrid—with all the capability and versatility that you’d expect from a Land Rover.”

Testing an Airstream in the Arctic
Testing an Airstream in the Arctic

The same can be said of the Airstream family of travel trailers.

Worth Pondering…

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

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

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March 2015 RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced 4 recall notices involving 4 recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers—Forest River, Airstream, Keystone RV, and Cruiser RV.

Forest River, Inc.

forest-RiverForest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain model year 2014 Rockwood and Flagstaff recreational vehicles manufactured June 26, 2014, to October 9, 2014, and equipped with the Chill Chaser option. In the affected vehicles, excessive foam insulation and/or loose wiring may touch the Chill Chaser heating element.

If the foam insulation or loose wiring contacts the heating element, there is an increased risk of fire.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the foam insulation and wiring, making any necessary repair, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on, or about, March 9, 2015. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-642-2640. Forest River’s number for this recall is SB111014.

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.

Airstream, Inc.

Airstream-logo-newAirstream, Inc. (Airstream) is recalling certain model year 2014-2015 Land Yacht, Eddie Bauer, International, Flying Cloud, and Sport travel trailers manufactured August 1, 2013, to February 4, 2015. The screws that secure the tray for the liquid propane (LP) tanks may fail and the LP tanks may fall from the trailer.

If the screws that secures the tank to the trailer fails, the tank can separate from the trailer becoming an object that can impact another vehicle on the road. There is also an increased risk of a fire.

Airstream will notify owners, and dealers will install new attaching screws to secure the LP tank tray, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin March 2, 2015. The recall began on February 25, 2015. Owners may contact Airstream customer service at 1-937-596-6111.

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.-logoKeystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain model year 2013-2015 Montana vehicles manufactured November 1, 2012, to May 22, 2014, and 2014-2015 Raptor vehicles manufactured February 3, 2014, to January 15, 2015. In the affected vehicles, a rivet for the quad entry steps may shear and fail, causing the steps to give when being used.

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

The remedy for this recall is still under development. The recall is expected to begin March 16, 2015. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 15-224.

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.

Cruiser RV

Cruiser_RV_LogoCruiser RV (Cruiser) is recalling certain model year 2016 Stryker Toy and Stryker Toy Hauler trailers manufactured July 21, 2014, to January 9, 2015, and equipped with an optional slide floor. In the affected trailers, the slide floor can be flipped up to access the storage space underneath. If the floor is flipped up while the trailer is stationary, the trailer occupants may be exposed to exhaust fumes from the generator or fumes from the exterior fueling station.

If the optional slide floor is opened and the occupants are exposed to fumes, there is an increased risk of injury.

Cruiser will notify owners, and dealers will secure the slide floor so that it cannot be opened, completely sealing it from the occupant space, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin March 16, 2015. Owners may contact Cruiser customer service at 1-866-277-5630.

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 50th in a series of articles relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.

—Martin Van Buren

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Airstream Interstate Remains Top Selling Class B Motorhome

Jackson Center, Ohio-based Airstream announced the brand’s popular Interstate is the top selling Class B diesel motorhome in the U.S. for the third year in a row, according to Statistical Surveys Inc. Brand Market Share Report, which details total sales of diesel and gas class B models.

Airstream Interstate exterior
Airstream Interstate exterior

In 2014, Airstream Interstate unit sales increased 30.2 percent over 2013—nearly 8 percent higher than the overall B Van segment growth which was up 22.8 percent year over year. The Interstate now has 33.7 percent market share of the diesel class B segment.

“The momentum we have seen over the past three years is incredible,” said Airstream CEO and President Bob Wheeler, in a company news release.

“The collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and Airstream combines the best of two iconic and luxurious brands.”

The Airstream Interstate motorhome continues the tradition of extraordinary design and handcrafted quality that has made Airstream the leader in luxury RVs for 83 years. It serves as a fuel-efficient, luxurious and safe way for travelers to explore the open road and includes nearly 50 “Best in Class” features, enhancements, and a renewed commitment to safety and refined luxury.

The Interstate has a starting MSRP of $149,031.

“Interstate continues to lead sales for all Mercedes-Benz Sprinter-based platform models in the class B diesel space,” said Justin Humphreys, VP of Sales for Airstream.

Airstream Interstate interior
Airstream Interstate interior

“In fact, when looking at the market scope data from Stat Surveys, our Interstate van sold 76 percent more than the top class B gas model. Considering our premium position, this success is extraordinary and is a testament to both industry-leading luxury features combined with the industry’s best dealers.”

Airstream had a record-setting 2014, making it the best-selling year in the company’s 83-year history, and the third year of record sales in a row. The demand for Airstream’s design-driven products led to the company’s largest backlog in more than 30 years and plant expansions for both its van and travel trailer production facilities.

The Airstream Interstate is available in three models: Interstate Lounge XLT (starting at $151,736), Interstate Grand Tour XLT (starting at $151,736), and Interstate Lounge (starting at $149,031)

A fourth touring coach from Airstream, the Autobahn starting at ($134,906), is a luxury van, perfect for corporate travelers who place a premium on productivity, or for family road trippers in search of comfort and relaxation.

Airstream Interstate exterior
Airstream Interstate exterior

Your Airstream dealer in Western Canada is Midtown RV in the heart of the beautiful Okanagan Valley in Penticton.

Details

Winnebago Industries, Inc

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

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

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

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

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

Phone: (641) 585-3535

Winnebago Website: gowinnebago.com

Itasca Website: goitasca.com

goLife Website: www.winnebagolife.com

Worth Pondering…

Airstream Song

Sometimes I wish I lived in airstream homemade curtains
Lived just like a gypsy.
Break a heart, roll out of town
Cause gypsies never get tied down
—Lyrics by Miranda Lambert, Natalie Nicole Hemby, Natalie Hemby, Miranda Lambert; sung by Miranda Lamber

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RV Boondocking Capital of the World

Quartzsite, Arizona, a Sonora Desert community 18 miles east of the Colorado River, on I-10, is the RV Boondocking Capital of the World.

Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping.
Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The term boondocking, also known to RV enthusiasts as dispersed campingdry camping, or coyote camping, is used to describe camping in the midst of nature without the use of commercial campgrounds and hookups.

As you approach Quartzsite from any point on the compass, you begin seeing them approximately 20 miles away from town: clumps, groups, and temporary communities of RVs circled around common campfire rings like wagon trains of old. Many solo units also are scattered among the sagebrush. In early morning and late afternoon you will see tall, straight fingers of campfire smoke pointing upward from these campsites.

Hundreds of thousands of RV owners, enthusiasts, and dreamers descend on the flat, rocky desert fields surrounding the town. Folks come from all over the US and Canada to behold the wonder that happens in Quartzsite every January and February. They come for the warm sunny weather, and great deals—what more can you ask for?

As you enjoy your time at Q, you can also prepare for your next boondocking trip by getting tips on techniques and hotspots from all the new friends you’ll make. Plus with so many RV experts around if something does go wrong, help is just a short walk away.

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

You can find everything from geodes to GPS devices, and frying pans to dream catchers.  If you can’t find it at Quartzsite, it probably doesn’t exist!

The desert landscape is transformed into make-shift RV parks, little cities within a city. The streets have no name, but the purpose is the same—to boondock in the desert, rendezvous with old and new friends, visit the rock and gem shows and flea market vendors, participate in the Sell-A-Rama, wander the RV show under the Big Tent, and soak in the wonder of it all.

Quartzsite has become a mecca to visitors and exhibitors for rocks, gems, mineral specimens, and fossils during the town’s famous two-month-long gem and mineral show and flea market meet every January and February. From its humble beginnings the now-massive Quartzsite show has grown to epic proportions with vendors offering everything under the Quartzsite sun.

While in Quartzsite, check out the Hi Jolly Monument which honors the Arab camel driver, Hadji Ali, who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert.
While in Quartzsite, check out the Hi Jolly Monument which honors the Arab camel driver, Hadji Ali, who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Be warned, though. Don’t come in the summer when nothing much happens. The gypsy-like encampment will have long disappeared. Vendors start packing up in mid-February and are long gone before the snowbirds migrate north and the intense desert heat becomes unbearable.

But come winter, everything changes as the small desert community bustles with activity. RVs by the tens of thousands camp helter-skelter on the BLM land.

Originally built by Charles Tyson, Quartzsite began in 1856 as Fort Tyson, then became a stagecoach stopover called Tyson Wells and this name still echoes in the annual Tyson Wells Rock and Gem show. A mini mining boom led to its renaming as Quartzsite.

What started as a small-town mineral show in the late 1960s in western Arizona has developed into a phenomenon that peaks in January by bringing more than 1 million people to the town of Quartzsite, where a huge RV show greets them.

The 2015 Quartzsite Sports, Vacation and RV Show will run January 17-25. In 32 years, the event has evolved into the largest consumer RV show in the US.

The show is heaven on earth for RVers. It’s a ton of fun with hundreds of exhibits, live shows, bargain products, and fellow RV enthusiasts. The fact that the desert is gorgeous and the temperature is in the low-to-mid 70s in mid-January doesn’t hurt either!

Quartzsite is a popular destination for snowbirds on its own but many come for a week or two during the RV Show. When the gates open on the first day, people are lined up for a quarter-mile at each of the two main entrances to get in. It fills the tent and creates gridlock.

This may sound crazy, but I am going back to Crazy Quartzsite again this year!
This may sound crazy, but I am going back to Crazy Quartzsite again this year! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Add to that the Pow Wow rock and mineral show and the Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama and Quartzsite becomes the third-largest city in Arizona for a brief time.

If you’re an RVer, Quartzsite in January is on your bucket list.

Quartzsite is a phenomenon, a gathering place.

Let the shows begin!

I’ll see you at the Q!

Worth Pondering…

Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping.

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Take Airstream Everywhere With New App

Jackson Center, Ohio-based Airstream announced it is expanding its digital footprint by offering upgrades to multimedia platforms in order to bring its customers an even more personalized experience.

Take Airstream Everywhere With New App
Take Airstream Everywhere With New App

The newest of these is Airstream Everywhere, a free app available on iTunes that enables users to virtually add Airstream trailers to any photo or selfie in the editing process and instantly share it with friends, according to a company news release.

Available for free through the Apple iTunes Store, users can place an Airstream in their hand, on top of the Eiffel Tower, at the edge of a lake—everywhere they go!

Key app features include:

  • Users select their favorite trailer from the model gallery, place it in the photo and then size and rotate it into the perfect position for the ideal photo opportunity
  • Users have the option of pulling a photo from previously taken pictures on their phones, taking a new picture, or choosing from a miscellaneous selection of stored backgrounds
  • Users can add a text description of their Airstream Everywhere masterpiece
  • Filters allow users to add black and white and sepia tones to the images
  • Users can share their pictures on Facebook, Twitter, and via email
Take Airstream Everywhere With New App
Take Airstream Everywhere With New App

Airstream also updated its website (see link below) which now hosts panning photos of current models and a ‘History’ section to tell the brand story. Features like the ‘Choose Your Own’ section allows users to browse and view pricing on Airstream’s travel trailers and touring coaches based on the individual’s needs and budget.

The ‘Live Riveted’ page is a destination for people to share their Airstream experiences and read about the lives of other ‘Airstreamers, designed to be a destination for current and aspirational owners.

Additional new website upgrades include:

  • An Airstream dealer locator and service support portal
  • An Airstream library featuring owner’s manuals from 2001 through present model year
  • An up-to-date media center with press materials and images for download
Take Airstream Everywhere With New App
Take Airstream Everywhere With New App

“Just as the digital world continues to evolve, so does Airstream and it is important for us to continue to create more accessible and engaging offerings for our customers,” said Airstream Chief Executive Officer and President Bob Wheeler.

“This app, with the new website, hits every level of customer engagement both for first-time and long-time Airstreamers.”

Airstream has also partnered with Ends in Four Games, an independent video game publisher and maker of the family-friendly game franchise, to develop Family Vacation 2: Road Trip, where the Simmons family hits the open road on a hidden-object adventure in a modern Airstream travel trailer.

The family will travel the countryside visiting such locations as Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and other western states while stopping at some of the most historical attractions, including Yellowstone National Park, Hoover Dam, and the Grand Canyon.

Family Adventure 2: Road Trip is a hidden-object adventure that integrates mini-games and puzzles that help progress the storyline without interrupting the flow of the game. Key game features include:

  • 60+ hidden object / adventure locations
  • 25+ themed mini games and puzzles like white water rafting, Old Faithful, and more
  • Voice-over family and park introductions
  • Interact with family members for help and guidance
  • Hundreds of hidden objects to find
  • Locations come to life with wonderful animations and realistic sound effects
  • Keep a scrapbook of the family’s adventures and photos

Download the Airstream Everywhere app on iTunes for free at http://bit.ly/1u6xO9P.

Take Airstream Everywhere With New App
Take Airstream Everywhere With New App

Details

Airstream

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

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

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

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

Phone: (877) 596-6111 (toll free)

Website: www.airstream.com

Worth Pondering…

Airstream Song

Sometimes I wish I lived in airstream homemade curtains
Lived just like a gypsy.
Break a heart, roll out of town
Cause gypsies never get tied down
—Lyrics by Miranda Lambert, Natalie Hemby; sung by Miranda Lambert

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Airstream Announces Interstate Grand Tour Details & Pricing

In an earlier article on Vogel Talks RVing, I reported on the introduction of the new Airstream Interstate Grand Tour.

2015 Interstate Grand Tour
Airstream Announces 2015 Interstate Grand Tour Details & Pricing

Jackson Center Ohio-based Airstream Inc. has now announced additional details and pricing for its newly-released Interstate Grand Tour. The Class B motorhome built on an award-winning Mercedes-Benz chassis now offers custom-designed screen doors to allow Airstreamers to bring the outdoors in, and comes well-equipped at $153,000.

“Like our traditional Airstream travel trailers, the Interstate Grand Tour touring coach packs so much luxury and utility into a convenient package — office, bedroom, galley, the works,” said Airstream CEO and President Bob Wheeler, in a news release.

“It brings the classic Airstream design aesthetic to life, with well thought-out features, exceptional fit and finish and attention to detail.”

Built on the proven foundation of the Airstream Interstate EXT touring coach, the Grand Tour combines an amazing amount of functionality and “home on the road” features for everything from short camping trips to extended adventures with three luxurious Airstream interior décor choices.

The latest design options of the Grand Tour include:

  • Custom-designed screen doors, including a power rollaway screen at the rear and sliding door on the side
  • Larger galley with additional counter and multi-functional storage space
  • Flexible workspace desk and an expanded bathroom area
  • Oversized refrigerator and freezer
  • Standard power awning
2015 Interstate Grand Tour
Airstream Announces 2015 Interstate Grand Tour Details & Pricing

The Interstate is the best-selling Class B motorhome in the United States for three years running, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., and the Grand Tour model expands Airstream’s collaboration with Mercedes-Benz to appeal to the longer-term use buyer.

The Interstate Grand Tour EXT has an overall exterior length of 24 feet, 4.5 inches, an overall exterior width of 6 feet, 7.7 inches,  and an overall exterior height of 9 feet, 8 inches. With its car-like handling, state of the art Mercedes-Benz adaptive stability program, and standard rear backup camera, it is easy to maneuver on the road, in campsites and in parking lots.

Like all Airstream Interstate models, the Grand Tour is built on a proven, heavy-duty Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, providing exceptional fuel economy and driving range from its standard clean-diesel power plant. Safety and security features include six air bags, lane keeping, and collision prevention systems and parking sensors.

Standard features include UltraLeather seating, power rear sofa that converts to a 6-foot 10-inch double bed, Corian countertops, adjustable LED interior lighting, drawer microwave, refrigerator and freezer, large bathroom with shower, navigation system, Kenwood Multimedia Entertainment System with rear speakers, twin high definition LED televisions, and rear storage space. The interior is offered in a range of durable yet luxurious fabrics and colors.

The Interstate Grand Tour also includes Xenon headlights, forged aluminum-alloy wheels, hidden trailer hitch, power awning, and power entry step.

Airstream Interstate Grand Tour specifications include:

  • Chassis: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500 Series
  • Engine: Mercedes-Benz 3.0L V6 Turbo Diesel
  • GVWR: 11,030 pounds
  • GCWR: 15,250 pounds
  • Estimated Highway MPG: 18+
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 26.4 gallons
  • Fresh Water Tank Capacity: 32 gallons (26 fresh water/6 hot water heater)
  • Gray Water Tank Capacity: 27 gallons
  • Black Water Tank Capacity: 15 gallons
  • MSRP: Starting at $150,346

Details

Airstream

2015 Interstate Grand Tour
Airstream Announces Interstate Grand Tour Details & Pricing

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

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

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

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

Phone: (877) 596-6111 (toll free)

Website: www.airstream.com

Worth Pondering…

Airstream Song

Sometimes I wish I lived in airstream homemade curtains
Lived just like a gypsy.
Break a heart, roll out of town
Cause gypsies never get tied down
—Lyrics by Miranda Lambert, Natalie Nicole Hemby, Natalie Hemby, Miranda Lambert; sung by Miranda Lambert

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Airstream 2 Go & Exclusive Resorts Reinvent the Road Trip

Denver, Colorado-based Exclusive Resorts announced its newest strategic partnership with Airstream 2 Go, a new travel venture offering fully-outfitted Airstream trailer rentals, including luxury tow vehicles.

home-three-image-slide-show-6_16-ntDesigned exclusively for club travelers, each Airstream 2 Go road trip guides guests through the stunning landscapes and natural wonders of Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Montana, and Wyoming. The partnership joins Exclusive Resorts’ dynamic portfolio of unique accommodations including the newly added 114-foot Sea Legend yacht and four apartments aboard The World.

“Our club travelers want to invest in the intangible, not the tangible. They aren’t afraid to get their hands a little dirty. These types of do-it-yourself experiences like an Airstream road trip may, in fact, represent the ultimate luxury,” says Cathy Ross, chief operations officer of Exclusive Resorts, in a company news release.

“Our partnership with Airstream 2 Go opens up a new world of discovery for our guests beyond a traditional residence stay, inviting them to gently push their boundaries and fulfill that bucket list item—the great American road trip—in the world’s most iconic RV.”

Exclusive Resorts and Airstream 2 Go have carefully curated each eight- to 10-day road trip to include dedicated pre-trip planning and high-touch service experiences from catered BBQs prepared on-site to private guided hikes with local wildlife experts.

Club travelers can visit and explore America’s national parks, landmark destinations, and breathtaking landscapes from the comfort of their own sleek, modern 28-foot Airstream trailer paired with a dedicated GMC Yukon Denali. Designed by architect Christopher C. Deam, each Airstream interior is outfitted with luxe road tripping essentials from cotton-bamboo towels and flat-screen LED televisions, to integrated sound systems, iPads, camping chairs, and a portable gas grill.

PlanYourTrip“The itineraries we’ve created for Exclusive Resorts are truly one-of-a-kind and ensure that each guest enjoys an authentic road tripping experience without sacrificing the one-on-one service and creature comforts they have come to know and expect from Exclusive Resorts,” said Dicky Riegel, CEO of Airstream 2 Go.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to experience amazing American destinations in a quintessentially American way. It was our mission to make the Airstream 2 Go rental experience as easy and turnkey as possible for Exclusive Resorts, including all the right equipment and accessories to make it memorable.”

The eight-day ‘Canyon Country’ itinerary begins and ends with a luxurious stay at one of Exclusive Resorts’ two-bedroom apartments located on the Las Vegas Strip. On this trip, guests will drive through Canyon Country to Zion National Park in Utah, explore the Navajo Indian lands and stunning slot canyons of Arizona and journey through the majestic Grand Canyon National Park.

The 10-day ‘California Cruising’ itinerary guides travelers along the scenic California coast, leading them from Los Angeles through Yosemite National Park, Monterey, Morro Bay, and Santa Barbara. Along the way, they will partake in nature tours, surf lessons, tide-pool adventures, and more. Club travelers are invited to stop and extend their trip in one of Exclusive Resorts’ California destinations including a new three-bedroom residence in Sonoma or a villa in Newport Beach at the award-winning The Resort at Pelican Hill.

The 10-day ‘Big Sky Loop’ itinerary starts in Bozeman, Montana. From Bozeman, guests will stop to explore the famed Lewis and Clark Caverns before heading to their campsite at Henrys Fork River for a full day of fly-fishing. A guided exploration through the natural wonders of Yellowstone National Park and Gallatin Canyon concludes the Big Sky Country journey. During the trip, travelers can opt to stay at Exclusive Resorts’ sprawling four-bedroom villa in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

AirstreamtogoAirstream 2 Go joins Exclusive Resorts’ dynamic roster of luxury lifestyle partners including renowned event planner Jung Lee, Barneys New York, Leica Camera, and Alain Ducasse, providing members privileged access to some of the most elite happenings in the world traversing the realms of gastronomy, sports and recreation, fashion, and design.

Details

Airstream 2 Go

Airstream 2 Go is the exclusive, factory-authorized source in North America for dedicated rental Airstream trailers.

Phone: (800) 780-9880 (toll free)

Website: www.airstream2go.com

Exclusive Resorts

Exclusive Resorts features more than 300 multimillion-dollar vacation homes worldwide; curated members-only Journeys with exotic adventures spanning seven continents; privileged access to world-class events; exclusive partnerships with award-winning resorts; and a collection of exclusive VIP benefits and privileges with elite travel and luxury lifestyle brands.

Phone: (866) 863-2688 (toll free)

Website: www.exclusiveresorts.com

Worth Pondering…

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

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

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