$4.3 Million Class Action Fraud Verdict In Membership Camping Case

In previous articles on Vogel Talks RVing, I’ve discussed membership camping—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Securities-settlements-gavel-money-article-25In an earlier article I reviewed the current information, misinformation, and confusion about membership camping in order to assist the consumer in making a more informed decision.

Today’s post details an ugly aspect of membership camping as it pertains to one—and I emphasize, only one— membership campground system—Halo Resorts Inc.

Halo Resorts consists of two campgrounds located in southern California between San Bernardino and Palm Springs—Oak Glen Retreat (38955 Oak Glen Road, Yucaipa) and Fisherman’s Retreat (32300 San Timoteo Canyon Road, Redding).

After a two week trial, a San Bernardino Superior Court jury reached a unanimous fraud verdict for intentional misrepresentation, concealment, and negligent misrepresentation and awarded $3.585 million in damages and $750,000 in punitive damages to 2,500 members who purchased campground memberships and/or paid membership fees to Halo Resorts Inc. from December 16, 2007 to February 20, 2013, according to a written announcement from one of the law firms in the case.

fraudPrevention“A jury found Halo Resorts falsely represented to its members that it was entitled to charge these fees and concealed the fact that they were not entitled to charge the fees,” said attorney Kitty Szeto with the R. Rex Parris law firm who tried the case with attorney Kevin Shenkman of Shenkman and Hughes law firm.

“For several years, Halo Resorts has sold a ‘lifetime membership’ to thousands of consumers over those years. Essentially, the membership entitled consumers to utilize the facilities and amenities at Halo Resorts’ two membership campgrounds, and obligated members to pay annual dues to Halo Resorts,” said Szeto.

“Halo Resorts charged its members fees that were never disclosed in their contracts and in violation of the California Membership Camping Act. Members were charged termination fees, transfer fees, and were tricked into going to the campgrounds to take a new photo ID but then were forced into 10 -by-10 rooms and were presented with different options: (1) to leave their memberships alone but then their annual dues would increase and they would be assessed a $60 monthly surcharge for the next five years; (2) purchase an upgrade (gold, silver, or bronze for $3,994 and up) which essentially gave them nothing more than what they already paid for; and (3) terminate their membership by paying $2,350. Unconscionably, consumers were forced to make a decision that day within the hour,” said Szeto.

A judge will be deciding three remaining claims (violation of the California Membership Camping Act, Unfair Competition, and Unjust Enrichment).

Case Name: Wilkinson v. Halo Resorts, Inc. – Case No. CIV DS 1114158.

If you or a loved one have suffered losses in this case, click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a consumer frauds lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.

Disclaimer: I am a member of Thousand Trails, Western Horizon Resorts, and Passport America camping club but do not represent them or sell memberships.

Worth Pondering…

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.

—Peter Drucker

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Discover the Secrets to a Successful RV Lifestyle

Growing numbers of RVers are working as they travel across America.

Workcamper news logoAnd many of them are workampers, people who work part time handling maintenance, clerical, or marketing functions for weeks or months at campgrounds that are located in places they’ve always wanted to visit, according to a Workamper News Inc. news release.

Workamper Discovery Days: RV Education Rally

The workcamping lifestyle will be highlighted November 2–3 during Workamper Discovery Days at Shadow Hills RV Resort in Indio, California.

Workamper News Inc., a newspaper that provides classified listings of workamper jobs across North America, is conducting a series of seminars and workshops that will cover everything from RV maintenance to the ins and outs of workamping.

“This is the first time Workamper News has offered seminars like this in the Western U.S.,” said Shadow Hills RV Resort co-owner Paula Turner, who uses workampers during the winter snowbird season.

What is Workamper Discovery Days?

One hundred fifty dreamers and experienced workampers will be meeting for Workamper Discovery Days at the Shadow Hills RV Resort in Indio, California, to build and develop their Workamping knowledge and skills.

The two day event will be packed with great opportunities to learn from the pros as well as network with other likeminded folks who are either excited about entering the lifestyle or have past experience under their belts.

Discovery Days Seminar Topics

Jaimie Hall Bruzenak: Set Yourself Up For Success

banner2Have you had a Workamping position that didn’t turn out quite the way you wanted? Promises not kept? In “Set yourself up for success” you’ll learn what you need to do BEFORE you accept a job to make sure you have a successful summer. And, when things turn off course, you’ll know what to do to get them back on track.

George Montgomery: Workamper Tax Tips

This seminar will help you better understand the tax aspects of the Workamping and RVing lifestyle. During this session, George will review the definitions and differences between Domicile, Tax Home, and Home Base. He’ll go through being an Employee vs an Independent Contractor, along with doses of Recordkeeping info.

Terry Cooper: How to Inspect Your Next RV

You have found your dream RV and it looks great but how do you know that someone hasn’t put a bandage over a problem and is passing it off with a clean bill of health. Knowledge is Power and once you understand what to evaluate during your RV Inspection you will have the power to negotiate and save big $$ on your next RV purchase.

Gary Lewis: Zero Damage!

Have you ever hit the curb on a right turn? Has the back of your RV stuck the post when you left the gas station? Or worse, have you managed to peel off the compartment doors on your passengers side? We will explain all the things that CAN go wrong when you’re driving your RV or towing your trailer and show you what you have to do to reach our goal of ZERO DAMAGE!

Steve Anderson: Research & Design Your Future

Taking your Workamping lifestyle to the next level will be the outcome for this seminar. The emphasis of this seminar is to provide you with secrets of why some Workampers have no problems designing their future. Join us to learn the secrets that many Workampers know and are using to construct their awesome lifestyles.

Jody and Luke Duquette: Become a Workamper Website Wiz

Go on a guided tour of the Workamper News websites. You’ll walk away from this session knowing where the tools are on the website and how to use them. You will be taken, step-by-step through main tools like Awesome Applicants Resume Builder, online issues of the magazine, using PYE and the Workamper Experiences forum, and more.

Details

event-locationWorkamper Discovery Days

Location: Shadow Hills RV Resort, Indio, California

Main Event: November 2-3, 2013

Dreamer Bonus Day: Friday, November

More Bonus Day Opportunities: Monday, November 4

Website: workamper.com/discovery

Workamper News Inc.

Address: 110 Tulaka Blvd, Suite C, Heber Springs, AR 72543-6514

Phone: (501) 362-2637 or (800) 446-5627 (toll free)

Website: workamper.com

Worth Pondering…

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.

—Peter Drucker

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Still More May RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced four recall notices involving three recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers—Dutchmen Manufacturing, Tiffin Motorhomes, and Heartland Recreational Vehicles.

Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc.

DutchmanGoshen, Indiana-based Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc. is recalling five model year 2013 Breckenridge recreational vehicles manufactured February 13, 2013, through April 9, 2013. If the awning installation sequence was not completely followed, the awning motor may unknowingly become damaged.

If motor damage has occurred, it is possible that the awning can unfurl unexpectedly, either while the vehicle is at rest or while in transit, increasing the risk of personal injury or a vehicle crash.

Dutchmen will notify owners and dealers will replace the affected motors with a design that is not subject to an out-of-sequence installation error. This will be done at no cost to the owner. Owners are being instructed not to drive their vehicle until repairs can be performed.

Owners may contact Dutchmen at 1-574-537-0700.

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

Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc.

tiffin_logoRed Bay, Alabama-based Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc. is recalling 293 model year 2013 Breeze and Allegro motorhomes. If the awning installation sequence was not completely followed, the awning motor may unknowingly become damaged.

If motor damage has occurred, it is possible that the awning can unfurl unexpectedly, either while the motorhome is at rest or while in transit, increasing the risk of personal injury or a vehicle crash.

Tiffin will notify owners and Dometic staff will replace the affected motors with a design that is not subject to an out-of-sequence installation error. Tiffin has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Owners may contact Tiffin at 1-256-356-8661 or Dometic at 1-888-447-0003 for more information. Owners are being instructed not to drive their vehicle until repairs can be performed.

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

Heartland Recreational Vehicles

HeartlandElkhart, Indiana-based Heartland Recreational Vehicles is recalling 890 model year 2013-2014 Big Country, Bighorn, Elk Ridge, Elk Ridge Express, Landmark, Prowler, Sundance, Sundance XLT, and Silverado fifth wheels and travel trailers manufactured February 13, 2013, through April 16, 2013. If the awning installation sequence was not completely followed, the awning motor may unknowingly become damaged.

If motor damage has occurred, it is possible that the awning can unfurl unexpectedly, either while the trailer is at rest or while in transit, increasing the risk of personal injury or a vehicle crash.

Heartland will notify owners and Dometic staff will replace the affected motors with a design that is not subject to an out-of-sequence installation error. A notification schedule has not yet been provided.

Owners may contact Heartland Recreational Trailers at 1-888-262-5992 or Dometic at 1-888-447.0003 for more information. Owners are being instructed not to drive their vehicle until repairs can be performed. Heartland’s recall campaign number is 99-01-11.

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

Heartland Recreational Vehicles

HeartlandElkhart, Indiana-based Heartland Recreational Vehicles is recalling 55 model year 2013-2014 Sundance travel trailers, model 322RES, manufactured September 13, 2012, through April 30, 2013. The axles are mounted too far forward on the frame which may cause improper trailer balance while towing.

Improper trailer balance may lead to uncontrollable trailer sway, increasing the risk of a crash, property damage, and/or personal injury.

Heartland will notify owners and the trailers will be returned to the factory where axles will be moved rearward, free of charge. Owners may contact Heartland Recreational Trailers’ Warranty/Service Department by email at parts@heartlandrvs.com, or by phone at 1-877-262-8032. Heartland’s recall campaign number is 99-01-12.

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

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

Worth Pondering…

The trouble with learning from experience is that you get the test before the lesson.

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Planning a Successful Camping Trip

If you are going on a camping trip planning is essential.

Arches is renown for an awe-inspiring combination of arches, cliffs, stone spires, and other dramatic rock formations. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Arches is renown for an awe-inspiring combination of arches, cliffs, stone spires, and other dramatic rock formations. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Whether you are a retired senior planning the trip of a lifetime, a snowbird, family looking for an economical way to vacation, or a couple looking to get away from the stresses of the work week, camping provides the perfect alternative to the conventional holiday.

It also allows you to experience the fresh air that camping in the countryside offers and to meet new friends.

But like any getaway, whether it’s for a weekend, a month, or an extended period, camping requires careful preparation to ensure all goes smoothly. When you think of what you’ll need for a road trip, a common list unfolds. Food, beverages, snacks, paper products, lawn chairs, maps, and GPS are all normal items you might bring along.

Packing List

The night before leaving on the camping trip will be less hectic if you plan ahead what to pack. Be careful not to over pack, take only what you need. You can always do laundry on the road. Take snacks, especially healthy ones, to save on fuel stop cravings.

Pre-packed gear

If you are a frequent camper it pays to have the regular non-perishables stored together ready to go. Things like plates, cooking utensils, pots, pans, dishes, and cutlery can be washed after each camping trip and stored in tubs or cupboards in the RV.

You could use another tub to store items like canned goods, can opener, coffee, potholders, ziploc bags, aluminum foil, wax paper, saran wrap, and cooking oil as well as paper products, towels, and first aid kit. Being prepared will save time and frustration.

Lists

Encompassing over 1.2 million acres, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area offers unparalleled opportunities for water-based & backcountry recreation. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Encompassing over 1.2 million acres, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area offers unparalleled opportunities for water-based & backcountry recreation. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Make a list and check it twice. Using a checklist is an excellent way to make sure you have everything you need. Even if you are not a list person, make one. Checking off items as you pack will ensure you don’t find yourself in the middle of nowhere without toiletries or water.

While camping, make note of things to take on your next outing.

Must-haves

There are some items you CANNOT do without while camping and these should be at the top of your list. It’s important to take sufficient drinking water, well-stocked first aid kit, toilet paper, and clean-up materials (soaps, scrubbers, rags, trash bags, dish drainer).

Packing

Check the weather forecast and the facilities available at your camp site and plan accordingly.

Late afternoon light enhance the beauty of Joshua Tree. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Late afternoon light enhance the beauty of Joshua Tree. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It may make sense to pre-plan meals so you are not lugging unnecessary items back and forth. When planning for a road trip, people often think to check the weather at their destination so they know which clothes to pack and the type of activities to prepare for. But how many people think to track the weather along their route?

Try not to over pack. You can’t plan for every eventuality.

Set a Budget

Planning a budget first will help when planning the itinerary and will prevent over-spending. You’ll need to budget for:

  • Fuel
  • RV parks/campgrounds
  • Food
  • Admission fees
  • Miscellaneous expenses
  • Emergencies

Decide how much you will need to spend in each category. If you need to, adjust some categories to make the totals match.

Plan for Emergencies

While you hope nothing unforeseen happens, it’s better to be prepared in case it does:

  • Have all vehicle maintenance up to date
  • Understand all campground cancellation requirements
  • Let friends and relatives know your itinerary and how to contact you
  • Take a copy of your vehicle insurance policy with you
  • Include name and phone numbers of your family doctor
  • For long road trips, plan a variety of activities to keep everyone entertained, such as watching movies, car games, books to read aloud, and pillows for a comfortable nap

Please Note:

This is Part 1 of a 2-part series

Part 2: Make a Memorable Road Trip

Worth Pondering…

When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.

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7 Reasons to Go RVing

Fuel prices are on the rise, but that shouldn’t keep you off the road.

A fifth wheel trailer camped at Alamo Lake State Park, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A fifth wheel trailer camped at Alamo Lake State Park, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Michigan Live recently asked Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) Director Bill Sheffer the following question: In today’s economy, with fuel prices as they are, is there really any point in buying an RV?

The short answer, according to Sheffer, is YES.

Following is the longer version, seven reasons from Sheffer you might want to check out the latest motorhome, fifth-wheel or travel trailer, camping van, truck camper, or pop-up.

1. Gas prices shouldn’t deter you.

Yes, he was being serious.

“When you start to run the numbers,” he said, it might add up driving a vehicle that only gets 10 miles to the gallon isn’t actually as expensive as it sounds when you start to add up what an alternative choice involves: plane tickets, hotel room, restaurant food, and car rentals among them.

“A family of four can go easier on their pocketbook (in an RV) rather than getting on a plane and going to a resort,” he said.

Hunting Island is South Carolina’s single most popular state park, attracting more than a million visitors a year, as well as a vast array of land and marine wildlife. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Hunting Island is South Carolina’s single most popular state park, attracting more than a million visitors a year, as well as a vast array of land and marine wildlife. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. You can camp at your favorite resort destinations.

“There’s lots of campgrounds around Disney World. Now, it’s going to be a little bit longer … but if you’ve got the time and the option to do that with a family, it makes for a pretty special trip,” Sheffer said.

3. More people are doing it.

Sheffer said RV sales have grown 16 percent over the last year.

“I’m even surprised by that,” he said.

4. RVs might be more affordable than you think.

There will be 90 RVs at this year’s show, and you can essentially pay whatever you like. Sheffer said the prices range from about $7,000 to $90,000, adding that you can get a nice RV paying about $200 a month.

5. If you’re still worried about gas, you don’t have to drive very far.

If Disney World isn’t in the cards, or even if driving out of state isn’t an option, Sheffer said there are a lot of campgrounds throughout Michigan — even mid-Michigan — that are worth checking out.

“We don’t drive our RV to work every day so it’s not like it’s a big fuel buster because we only use these for vacations,” he said. “You can travel really quite close to home and still travel with your RV.”

6. You’re taking your home with you.

If you’re creeped out by wondering who slept on the hotel room bed last, that’s not a problem in an RV. And the sandwich you’ve been thinking about is never far away.

“When you lay your head on your pillow, it’s your pillow,” Sheffer said. “You have your own stuff, you take what you want. When you eat a snack or a sandwich you don’t have to worry about what restaurant you’re going to.”

A major concentration of snowbirds in Ol' Airy Zonie occurs each winter in the Tucson area. Pictured above is Catalina State Park located in the Tucson-Oro Valley area. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A major concentration of snowbirds in Ol’ Airy Zonie occurs each winter in the Tucson area. Pictured above is Catalina State Park located in the Tucson-Oro Valley area. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Make it a group activity.

Sheffer said it’s common for families to hit the road together, often renting campground spaces next to each other.

“Being outdoors is something special,” he said. “When you can get together around a campfire, that’s special.”

And sure, he admitted, you can travel together in hotels, too. But the campground experience is different.

“When’s the last time you went to the person in the hotel room next door and said, ‘hey you want to come over for a s’more?’” Sheffer said.

Worth Pondering…

Free again! All it takes is a clean windshield and a full tank of gas, and you feel a terrible craving to be “on the road again”. Let’s see what’s over the next hill complex. Is that Willie Nelson singing? For real, there’s the music of this friendly engine pushing you along with the lyrics of the road. The RV is familiar, always familiar. Cozy, like home. Better than home. It is home!

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RV Trip Wizard Updates Features

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A subscription includes a 15-day free trial.

How The Wiz Works

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

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

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

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

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

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

Details

RV Trip Wizard Inc. (RVTW)

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

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

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

Phone: (941) 870-2297

Website: rvtripwizard.com

Worth Pondering…

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

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Survey to Determine Why Winter Texan Numbers Have Declined

The number of Winter Texans coming to the Rio Grande Valley has fallen, and folks at the University of Texas-Pan American want to know why.

RGVThey’re asking Winter Texans to fill out a survey on its website.

Penny Simpson, director of the Valley Markets and Tourism Research Center, said it will take about 15-20 minutes.

“We want to know what we can do, both in the Valley to improve the Valley to make it very winter Texan friendly and for the parks, so they know what kind of amenities to offer,” Simpson told The Valley Morning Star.

Winter Texans make a big impact on the Valley economy. The report estimated each household spends almost $11,000 during each stay and estimated the total impact to the local economy at $751 million.

The Tourism Research Center conducts a survey every two years.

In 2010, it showed 140,000 Winter Texans in 75,000 households. By 2012, that number dropped to 133,000 in 69,000 households.

It also showed the average age of the Winter Texan had increased from 70 in 2010 to 71 in 2012. A study in 2004 estimated the average age at 68.

Simpson said it’s unclear if the younger baby boomer generation is just not coming to the Valley or if previous Winter Texans are not returning.

“The big concern is the age was also increasing,” Simpson said.

“The bigger question is are the younger ones going to come and replace the older ones as they no longer come?”

“This is, I think, a Winter Texan’s voice,” Simpson said.

“This is the opportunity to share their opinions. The results will be shared with the parks and valley leaders.”

The survey is available online at http://utpa.edu/wintertexan

Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort Super Site
Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort Super Site

Those who respond to the survey by February 26 will be eligible to win a Kindle Fire.

The survey is an important tool for the university Tourism Research Center to measure the economic impact of Winter Texans in the Rio Grande Valley.

“All information provided will be kept confidential. The data will be tabulated and only statistical information will be made public,” said Dr. Penny Simpson, associate dean of the College of Business Administration at UTPA.

Texas Spoken Friendly

Worth Pondering…

Winter Texan is Better Than No Texan

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Ocean Canyon Properties Acquires Alabama RV Resort

Ocean Canyon Properties, a privately owned membership camping system, announces the acquisition of Gemini Funding Company, Inc., the owner of Styx River Resort and RV Park in Robertsdale, Alabama.

good ocp logoOcean Canyon Properties has been participating in the management of Styx River Resort since 2009. The acquisition was completed on December 31, 2012.

Styx River Resort is a members-only resort located near the Gulf of Mexico, between Mobile, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida, on the 41-mile long Styx River. Styx River Resort is open year-round and features contemporary amenities with exciting activity programs for its members.

Amenities include a river-front beach, an outdoor and indoor pool, restaurant, a large clubhouse, and activity center with an adjoining outdoor patio, nature trails, and a children’s playground. The resort also features 30 cabins and cottages available for member rental and 150 RV sites.

From their initial involvement in the management of Styx River, Ocean Canyon focused on the improvement of the resort, including the leveling of RV sites, cabin renovation, road repair, general repairs, and cosmetic enhancement.

According to the news release, the company plans aggressive improvements to the resort now that it has assumed ownership.

Mike Pournoury, president of Ocean Canyon Properties, states, “We’ve been working on this acquisition since 2009 and we are very excited about taking ownership. It is a great resort, and although it has been a part of the Ocean Canyon resort system for some time now, full ownership and control will allow us to bring the development and improvement of Styx to the next level.”

Styx River Resort is Ocean Canyon Properties’ flagship property in Southern Alabama and is a geographical complement to Ocean Canyon’s Mountain Lakes Resort on Lake Guntersville in Northern Alabama, near Huntsville.

Styx-River-ResortIt is one of eight resorts in the Ocean Canyon private membership resort system, which also includes Bear’s Den Resort in Grove, Oklahoma; Tres Rios Resort in Glen Rose, Texas; Millwood Landing Golf and RV Resort in Ashdown, Arkansas; Abita Springs Resort in Abita Springs, Louisiana; North Shore Resort in Greensboro, Georgia; Mountain Lakes Resort in Langston, Alabama; and Texoma Shores Resort in Madill, Oklahoma.

Ocean Canyon Properties is a growing system of eight privately owned, membership resorts that offer The Ocean Canyon Properties senior management has been directly involved in the membership camping resort industry on a national platform for more than 30 years.

Details

Ocean Canyon Properties (OCP)

Ocean Canyon Properties (OCP) is a growing system of privately-owned membership resorts that offer RV campsites, vacation cabins, cottages, and condos along with a variety of private resort amenities.

With eight beautiful resort locations situated throughout the southern United States, OCP’s resorts provide the safe, secure, and enjoyable recreational experience that so many families seek.

The OCP senior management has been directly involved in the membership camping resort industry on a national platform for over 30 years.

As an OCP member you will enjoy the many amenities found at the varied resorts: golf, tennis, volleyball, horseshoes, fishing, and walking trails as well as swimming pools and eating and entertainment facilities.

Regularly planned activities are also scheduled for the whole family.

OCP also provides member access to over 300 other membership resorts around the U.S. and Canada. Whether you want to spend time at your OCP home resort or travel the country staying at reciprocal private membership RV resorts, you’ll enjoy the exclusive privileges of your OCP membership.

Styx River Resort map
Styx River Resort map

Address: 1911 Galleria Oaks Drive, Texarkana, TX 75503

Phone: (888) 567-5941 (toll free)

Website: oceancanyon.com

Worth Pondering…

Membership has its privileges.

—registered trademarks of American Express Company

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5 Ways to Save Fuel and Money

During the 2011-2012 Snowbird Season Arizona RV parks reported their winter residents appeared to be staying longer than in previous years, partially due to high fuel prices.

The annual O’Odham Tash Celebration, a gathering of tribes, is held in mid-February and features Native American arts and crafts, ceremonial dances, rodeos, powwows, and parades. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With thousands of snowbirds planning to hit the road during the coming weeks and months, two things will be on their minds—arriving at their destination safely and the price of fuel.

Nationally, average retail gas prices are approximately 50 cents higher than a year ago and one dollar higher than two years ago, according to gasbuddy.com.

With gas prices reaching record levels, it’s more important than ever to keep tabs on your fuel spending.

While we have no control over the price of fuel, we can do a few things to help save money.

Most motorists share one common goal—to get the best mileage possible. The desire for the best fuel efficiency is especially strong among recreational vehicle owners. There are many ways that you can reduce fuel and related costs while enjoying life ‘on the road’ in your recreational vehicle.

On the Colorado River in the southwest corner of Arizona, Yuma’s been at the crossroads for centuries. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV drivers are often quite frugal. They budget carefully and they make the most of every trip and vacation. Part of that is being aware of the potential savings that are available to the consumer.

Many RVers take measures to reduce fuel consumption through simple steps like driving 55 instead of 65 or 70 mph and packing lighter to reduce weight in the RV.

Following are five tips to help you save fuel:

1. Avoid High Speeds

Decreasing your speed saves money. The greatest improvement in fuel economy is the speed we drive. As your speed increases, your aerodynamic drag increases. Driving faster pushes more air ahead of the RV which creates more resistance to forward movement. Driving 62 mph rather than 75 mph will reduce fuel consumption by about 15 percent.

2. Do Not Accelerate or Brake Hard

Accelerate gradually, both from a stop and when entering a freeway; avoid sudden jack-rabbit starts and rapid acceleration. By anticipating the traffic and applying slow steady acceleration and braking, fuel economy may increase by as much as 20 percent.

3. Anticipate traffic flow

Look at the traffic as far ahead as possible in order to avoid unnecessary stopping and starting within the flow of traffic. Maintain a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead.

Brake smoothly, avoiding fast stops; rapid braking wastes fuel and cut down your mileage.

Look ahead and anticipate traffic conditions. Slow down well before you need to. Instead of slamming on your breaks just before the line, slowly ease off the accelerator, coasting to a stop and thus avoid wasting fuel and wear on the brakes.

When the light changes green, forget that pedal to the metal mindset and, again, ease into it.

4. Keep Tires Properly Inflated

Another fuel saver is to keep tire air pressures at the levels recommended by the tire manufacturer. Tire pressure can severely affects fuel economy.

If the tires are low on air, the engine has to push harder to move the RV ahead. It is important to know that tires can look normal when they are seriously under inflated.

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

Regularly check the air pressure in all tires, when the tires are cool (air pressure increases while you are driving).

Under-inflated tires can increase fuel consumption by up to 4 percent, according to International Energy Agency.

Proper inflation also reduces the incidence of tire failure.

5. Control your weight

Added weight significantly decreases fuel mileage and increases wear and tear on your tires.

Keep in mind that everything you put in your RV has weight. The average couple carries approximately 2,000 pounds of “stuff,” and many full-timing couples carry as much as 3,000 pounds.

When possible, travel with empty gray and black holding tanks and fresh water tank no more than ¼ full.

The following are approximate weights of the liquids that RVs commonly carry:

  • Water—8.3 pounds/gallon
  • Gasoline—6 pounds/gallon
  • Diesel fuel—6.6 pounds/gallon
  • Propane—4.5 pounds/gallon

Now Let’s Go RVing!

Please Note: This is the first in a two-part series on Saving Fuel and Arriving Safely

Part 2: Stay Safe & Save Fuel

Worth Pondering…

I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.

—Jackie Mason

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Best Kept Secret in Camping: Maricopa County Parks & BOGO

One of the best kept secrets in the World of RVing is campgrounds located in county parks!

A delightful end to another day in paradise at Usery Mountain Regional Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But where are they, and how do you find them? Sometimes they’re located in Woodall’s and Trailer Life Campground Directory. Often times they’re not.

County parks are often relatively small and off the beaten path. But if you’re looking for a quiet place to relax, do some bird watching, hike a near-by trail, or do some great sightseeing, it might be well worth seeking out some of these neat spots.

A county park system worth checking out is Maricopa County Regional Parks in Arizona. The parks circle the Phoenix metropolitan area and all are within a 45-minute drive from central Phoenix. And unlike Arizona State Parks, no Maricopa County park has been closed or has suffered cutback in services.

With 10 regional parks totaling more than 120,000 acres, Maricopa County Regional Parks feature the nation’s largest county park system. So many local attractions and the great variety of outdoor recreation are sure to keep you coming back over and over.

The park system began in 1954 to preserve the mountain areas for future generations to enjoy. A federal act in the 1970s called the Recreation and Public Purposes Act allowed Maricopa County to acquire thousands of acres of parkland from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)at $2.50 an acre.

Enjoy the beauty of sunrises and sunsets at Cave Creek Regional Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A combination of leased and purchased land has allowed this department to develop a regional park system that preserves open space and provides the residents of Maricopa County and visiting snowbirds with an opportunity to enjoy “Natural Arizona.”

Please note: Not all parks have developed camping facilities.

All trails within the Maricopa County Park System are for non-motorized use only.

BOGO

Cooler weather brings great opportunities for those campers and RVers who enjoy the outdoors.

Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department is offering free camping. Park visitors who pay the camping fee for one night at a desert mountain county park will receive the next night of equal or lesser value for free.

The offer is good at Usery Mountain Regional Park, Cave Creek Regional Park, Estrella Mountain Regional Park, McDowell Mountain Regional Park, and White Tank Mountain Regional Park.

The buy-one-get-one (BOGO) promotion applies to camping stays between October 1 and November 11.

To receive the free night, contact the Parks call center (see below). Reservations booked online or before July 1 are not eligible.

Lake Pleasant Regional Park is a scenic water recreation area in the northwest Valley. The breathtaking views offer visitors a great place to relax, whether it is from a boat or shoreline picnic or camping site. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Details

Maricopa County Regional Parks

Phone: (602) 506-2930

Website: maricopa.gov/parks

Cave Creek Regional Park

Cave Creek offers 38 developed camping sites suitable for RVs of all sizes, with water and electric hook-ups. Group camping available.

Location: 37019 N. Lava Lane, Cave Creek, AZ 85331

Phone: (623) 465-0431

Website: maricopa.gov/parks/cave_creek

Estrella Mountain Regional Park

Estrella Mountain offers seven developed camping sites suitable for RVs of all sizes, with water and electrical hook-ups. Group camping available.

Location: 14805 West Vineyard Avenue, Goodyear, AZ 85338

Phone: (623) 932-3811

Website: maricopa.gov/parks/estrella

McDowell Mountain Regional Park

McDowell Mountain offers 76 developed camping sites suitable for RVs of all sizes, with water and electrical hook-ups. Group camping available.

Location: 16300 McDowell Mountain Park Dr., Fountain Hills, Arizona 85255

Phone: (480) 471-0173

Website: maricopa.gov/parks/mcdowell

Usery Mountain Regional Park

Usery Mountain offers 73 developed camping sites suitable for RVs of all sizes, with water and electrical hook-ups. Group camping available.

Location: 3939 N. Usery Pass Road, Mesa, AZ 85207

Phone: (480) 984-0032

Website: maricopa.gov/parks/usery

White Tank Mountain Regional Park

White Tank Mountain offers 40 semi-developed sites with no water/electrical hook-ups. Group camping available.

Location: 13025 N. White Tank Mountain Road, Waddell, AZ 85355

Phone: (623) 935-2505

Website: maricopa.gov/parks/white_tank

Worth Pondering… 

Your future depends on many things, but mostly on you.

—Frank Tyger

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