MotorHome Magazine Announces 2012 Readers’ Choice Award Winners

The results of MotorHome magazine’s first-ever Readers’ Choice Awards are in and this year’s winners include many of North America’s most popular motorhomes, campgrounds, RV products, and services.

More than 130,000 MotorHome readers were invited to choose from 100 brands and cast votes online at MotorHomeMagazine.com for their favorites in 24 categories such as Class A Motorhome, RV Cleaner, and Satellite Hardware.

Among the winners are recognizable names such as Winnebago, Camping World, Blue Ox, ADCO, and Cracker Barrel.

As true RV enthusiasts, MotorHome readers are the experts. The Readers’ Choice Awards gave readers an opportunity to share their knowledge and recognize the companies that make their passion possible.

“We’re excited to tap into the wealth of knowledge MotorHome readers have gained during years of experience as RV owners and travelers, “MotorHome Chairman Marcus Lemonis said. “MotorHome readers know what works best, and for the first time—and moving forward on an annual basis—we’ve asked them to rate their favorite RVs, campgrounds, products and ancillary services.”

“The winners are the best of the best in the RV industry and we thank our loyal readers for participating in this valuable asset to the pages of MotorHome magazine,” MotorHome Publisher Bob Livingston said.

“Congratulations to all the winners for being at the top of their game.”

MotorHome 2012 Readers’ Choice Award Gold winners are:

  • ADCO for RV Cover
  • Banks Power for Performance Add-On
  • Blue Ox for Tow Bar
  • Camping World for RV Retailer
  • Carefree of Colorado for Motorhome Awning
  • Cracker Barrel for Sit-Down Restaurant
  • Cummins Onan for Motorhome Generator
  • DirecTV for Satellite Provider
  • Dometic for RV Refrigerator
  • Florida for State to RV In
  • Freightliner for Chassis
  • Michelin for RV Tires
  • Pechanga RV Resort for RV Campground
  • Pilot Flying J for Fuel Station
  • Protect All for RV Cleaner
  • Roadtrek for Class B Motorhome
  • Sea Foam for Fuel Additive
  • Shell Rotella for RV Engine Oil
  • SMI Manufacturing for Brake Actuator
  • Thetford for RV Toilet
  • TireMinder for Tire Monitoring
  • Winegard for Satellite Hardware
  • Winnebago Industries for Class A and C Motorhome

Gold, Silver, and Bronze levels were honored in each category, and the winners were presented with their awards at the 50th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky, November 27-29.

Details

MotorHome Magazine

For 45 years, MotorHome has been the trusted source for technical, travel and lifestyle information for savvy coach owners.

Each month, MotorHome delivers the latest news and information about motorhomes, RV product evaluations, objective coach reviews and tests, technical features, new RV accessories, and intriguing travel destinations, campgrounds and RV resorts.

MotorHome is published by GS Media & Events, a division of Good Sam Enterprises, LLC (GSE).

GSE and its wholly owned subsidiaries serve the safety, security, comfort, and convenience needs of the North American outdoor and recreational vehicle market. With various companies, brands, products and services, GSE targets almost every aspect of this diverse and dynamic niche market.

Website: motorhomemagazine.com

Worth Pondering…

Learning never exhausts the mind.

—Leonardo da Vinci

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Trailer Life Magazine Announces 2012 Readers’ Choice Award Winners

The results of Trailer Life magazine’s first-ever Readers’ Choice Awards are in and this year’s winners include many of North America’s most popular RVs, campgrounds, RV products, and services.

More than 220,000 Trailer Life readers were invited to choose from 100 brands and cast votes online at TrailerLife.com for their favorites in 25 categories such as Fifth-Wheel Trailer, Campground/Resort, and Satellite Hardware, according to a news release.

Among the winners are recognizable names such as Keystone, Camping World, Jayco, Banks Power, Pilot Flying J, and Cracker Barrel.

As true RV enthusiasts, Trailer Life readers are the experts. The Readers’ Choice Awards gave readers an opportunity to share their knowledge and recognize the companies that make their passion possible.

“We’re excited to tap into the wealth of knowledge Trailer Life readers have gained during years of experience as RV owners and travelers,” Trailer Life Chairman Marcus Lemonis said.

“Trailer Life readers know what works best, and for the first time—and moving forward on an annual basis—we’ve asked them to rate their favorite RVs, campgrounds, products and ancillary services.”

“The winners are the best of the best in the RV industry and we thank our loyal readers for participating in this valuable asset to the pages of Trailer Life magazine,” Trailer Life Publisher Bob Livingston said.

“Congratulations to all the winners for being at the top of their game.”

Trailer Life 2012 Readers’ Choice Award Gold winners are:

  • ADCO Products for Travel Trailer Cover
  • Banks Power for Performance Add-On
  • Camping World for RV Retailer
  • Carefree of Colorado for Awning
  • Colorado for State to RV In
  • Cracker Barrel for Sit-Down Restaurant
  • DirecTV for Satellite Provider
  • Dometic for Refrigerator
  • Equal-i-zer for Travel Trailer Hitch
  • Ford for Truck
  • Goodyear for Tires
  • Great Smoky Mountain Jellystone Camp-Resort for Campground/Resort
  • Honda for Portable Generator
  • Jayco for Folding Camper and Travel Trailer
  • Keystone for Fifth-wheel Trailer
  • Lance Camper for Truck Camper
  • Lucas Oil for Fuel Additive
  • Pilot Flying J for Fuel Station
  • Protect All for RV Cleaner
  • Reese for Fifth-wheel Hitch
  • Rhino Linings for Truck Bed Linings
  • Shell Rotella for Engine Oil
  • Thetford for RV Toilet
  • Winegard for Satellite Hardware

Gold, Silver, and Bronze levels were honored in each category, and the winners were presented with their awards at the 50th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky, November 27-29.

Details

Trailer Life Magazine

Trailer Life is the best-selling general interest RV publication in the country. Established in 1941, the magazine covers all recreational vehicles, including travel trailers, fifth-wheel trailers, folding trailers, pickup campers, and motorhomes. Trailer Life readers share an active interest in exploring the world and a love of RV travel.

In every issue, RV enthusiasts will find road tests, RV advice, travel features, product evaluations, and RV maintenance information.

Trailer Life is published by GS Media & Events, a division of Good Sam Enterprises, LLC (GSE).

GSE and its wholly owned subsidiaries serve the safety, security, comfort, and convenience needs of the North American outdoor and recreational vehicle market. With various companies, brands, products and services, GSE targets almost every aspect of this diverse and dynamic niche market.

Website: trailerlife.com

Worth Pondering…

Experience teaches only the teachable.

—Aldous Huxley

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Sani-Star Automated Dump Stations

RVers periodically find themselves needing to locate an RV dump station.

Sani-Star dump station

But there’s a problem: in these tough economic times, many RV dumping facilities are closing. Other things are deemed more important to cash-starved government agencies that have traditionally operated dump stations as a public service. Businesses close their RV dumps rather than operate at a loss.

Enter Sani-Star and Eric Huffman of Sisters, Oregon, who saw an opportunity.

Sani-Star, founded in 2009, envisions fully automated, turnkey, RV dump fee collection systems throughout North America, where those who operate them can cover their expenses or make a profit, according to a news release.

So far more than 300 Sani-Star facilities are in use in the United States and Canada.

Operating a dump station is not cheap. Public sewer rates are rising every year and the cost to maintain private septic systems and pump holding tanks, common in remote campgrounds, are significant.

“A campground with a 4,000 gallon underground holding tank would cost more than $1,000 to pump,” said Huffman, Sani-Star’s director of sales and marketing.

“An average pumping fee is about 25 cents a gallon plus round trip mileage by the truck. If you figure the average RV releases about 25 gallons per dump, that’s only about 160 uses until a tank that size is filled.”

Huffman said his surveys show that only about a third of RVers pay at honor-box fee locations. “That’s not good for the bottom line,” he noted. A key and lock system, also a common fee collection method, is labor intensive, slow, and inconvenient for the RV dump consumer.

Sani-Star Automated RV Dump Station

The Sani-Star system uses a patent-pending locking sewer cap that opens after payment and re-locks after dumping, eliminating no-pay drive offs. Customers pay by cash, custom token, coin, or credit card at the dump station’s kiosk or, if a merchant chooses, inside its store. There is also a reprogrammable keypad payment option.

The system is currently in use at all Pilot-Flying J Travel Center RV dump stations across the USA, where spot surveys have shown higher fee compliance for Sani-Star sites compared to the traditional honor payment system.

Most locations charge between $5 and $10. A private RV campground and service center in Quartzsite, Arizona, charges $15.

“They can charge whatever they want,” explained Huffman.

“Most of our customers, especially government campgrounds, just want to offset or cover their costs. Others want to make a profit. Our system, very simply, is a much more effective mechanism for collecting a fee than anything else out there. British Columbia Provincial Parks has several Sani-Star installations. The parks tried to collect $5 for years using an honor box. They didn’t realize how poor their fee compliance was until they installed our system. Now fee compliance often doubles and even triples in some campgrounds, ultimately helping the parks run more efficiently. A similar result has occurred in many city, county and National Forest campgrounds across the USA.”

British Columbia Provincial Parks has several Sani-Star installations. The parks tried to collect $5 for years using an honor box, said Huffman.

Dump station operators pay Sani-Star a onetime fee to set up the system and then a monthly fee (revenue sharing is also available). The operator pays for installation of electricity to power the Sani-Star kiosk (a solar or battery-only option is available for remote locations).

Sani-Star also provides parts and 24-hour phone support for its system above ground including the kiosk, payment mechanism, and the locking sewer cap for the life of the service agreement. No attendant is required, which allows for efficient 24-hour operation.

Sani-Star Automated RV Dump Station

“The goal with our program is for the dump station, at the very least, to generate enough income to justify keeping it open,” said Huffman.

“If the goal is to make a profit, so much the better. So far, our customers are happy with the results.”

Details

Sani-Star Dump

Phone: (888) 611-9283 (toll free)

Website: sanistardump.com

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Worth Pondering…
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.

—G.K. Chesterton

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Five Things You Need to Know Today: April 6

Since I like things to come in fives (and tens), here are five things YOU need to know TODAY!

1. Expanded Campground near Prescott Reopens

Massive boulders of ancient rock have weathered into delicately balanced forms and fanciful shapes, reflected in the surface of Watson Lake. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Massive boulders of ancient rock have weathered into delicately balanced forms and fanciful shapes, reflected in the surface of Watson Lake. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

City of Prescott officials are reopening the campground at Watson Lake following the addition of campsites and upgraded sites, bringing the total to 35, reports Prescott eNews.

The campground is open Thursday through Monday nights and camping costs $15 per night.

Watson Lake also offers fishing and boating with two different launch ramps and canoe and kayak rentals are available during the weekends. The lake is located in the Granite Dells area along Highway 89 in Prescott.

Click here to read more on Watson Lake and Prescott.

2. Tennessee Passes Law Requiring Carbon Monoxide Detector in Rental RVs

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has signed into law a bill to require working carbon monoxide detectors in leased recreational vehicles.

The bill was sponsored by two Clarksville Democrats, Sen. Tim Barnes and Rep. Joe Pitts, in response to the deaths of five people from carbon monoxide poisoning at a biker charity event last year, The Associated Press reported.

The measure requires all lease or rental agreements to contain a statement acknowledging that the vehicle is equipped with a working detector.

Police said the deaths were accidental after a generator was found near a vent for the trailer where the five people were sleeping. There was no working carbon monoxide detector in the trailer.

To read more on the dangers posed by carbon dioxide, click here.

3. Save with Good Sam Club Pilot Flying J RV Plus Card

Members of the Good Sam Club, the world’s largest RV owner’s organization with over 1.3 million members across North America, now enjoy a new exclusive money-saving benefit with the Good Sam Club Pilot Flying J RV Plus Card.

Good Sam Club members can apply for their Pilot Flying J RV Plus Card which will allow them to save up to $.06 on each gallon of gasoline purchased and $.08 on diesel fuel purchased; 10 cents per gallon on bulk propane purchased, and 50 percent on holding tank dump station charges at all applicable Pilot Flying J locations in the United States.

Member discount is tied to length of time as an active Good Sam Member. The longer the card holder has been active member, the larger the discount.

Click here to read more.

4. Escapees RV Club September Rally in Missouri

The Escapees RV Club, headquartered in Livingston, Texas, will host the 52nd Escapade at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia Septenber 16-21.

A new series of seminar topics will focus on the full-time lifestyle in addition to an extensive lineup of educational workshops and lifestyle presentations for the RV enthusiast, according to a news release.

The Escapees RV Club currently has almost 60,000 members.

The gathering will also feature a number of activities, including evening entertainment, crafts sessions, line-dancing, RV driving classes, travel, computer, RV technical presentations, and daily socials.

In keeping with the Escapees mind-set of giving something back, the Club will support the Sedalia community with a food drive during the event.

In addition, Escapade delivers as much as a million dollars into the local economy while attendees shop, dine, and enjoy the charm of the local areas.

5. San Antonio River Walk: Jewel of the City

San Antonio is best known for being the Home of the Alamo and the San Antonio River, the center points of numerous activities in the downtown area. The river actually has its headwaters in northern San Antonio and travels southward through the city.

The Alamo is part of a chain of five Spanish missions that still stand along the river and served as religious institutions and economic centers 200 years ago. The five missions are somewhat connected by their proximity to the river and signage linking them along a route called the Mission Trail.

The River Walk has grown to a stunning eight miles and will stretch to 15 miles by 2013. Each part offers a unique look and feel. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The River Walk has grown to a stunning eight miles and will stretch to 15 miles by 2013. Each part offers a unique look and feel. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

San Antonio’s Paseo del Río, or River Walk, ranks No. 1 or No. 2 each year as the most popular tourist attraction in Texas, with up to 3 million people visiting from throughout the world. The other No. 1 or No. 2 is The Alamo. It’s a moot issue really. If you travel here to take in the River Walk, you’ll almost certainly visit The Alamo, and vice versa. They’re just a couple blocks apart, connected by an “alley” with waterfalls, snazzy shops, and lush gardens.

To continue reading, click here.

Have a great weekend.

Until next time, safe RV travels, and we’ll see you on the road!

Worth Pondering…

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Pilot Flying J Launches New MyRewards Loyalty Program

Knoxville, Tennessee-based Pilot Flying J announced yesterday (March 16) it will launch its new MyRewards loyalty program this spring.

The MyRewards program has a card for every customer: RV customers, professional drivers, and now for preferred fuel customers as well.

MyRewards members are eligible for in-store retail and restaurant discounts.

MyRewards for the RV customer will offer discounts on fuel and dumping fees. Professional drivers will accumulate shower credits and points for purchasing fuel that are redeemable for in-store merchandise and food.

Customers can find their MyRewards account details on customer receipts, at the in-store kiosk or on the Pilot Flying J website.

“MyRewards allows us to tailor rewards and benefits that best fit our customers’ needs and wants,” said Jimmy Haslam, CEO of Pilot Flying J.

“As the driver-driven company, serving our customers is always our top priority, and we wanted to make it easy for them to simply ‘join, drive and save.’ That’s how the MyRewards loyalty program works.”

Customers can pick up a MyRewards loyalty card at any participating Pilot or Flying J location and register it online, with the store cashier, or at the store kiosk.

Professional drivers and RV owners who have a Driver Payback or Frequent Fueler Advantage card are not required to get a new loyalty card or re-register.

As part of the launch, each customer will have a chance to win $10,000 in the “Trace Adkins Ride for Rewards” cash giveaway.

Adkins, the country music star and new Pilot Flying J spokesperson, said he is proud to represent Pilot Flying J’s new rewards program for customers because it’s all about loyalty.

“Loyalty is important to me, my fans and the hardworking Americans out there who know the value of a dollar and who appreciate a company that values its customers like Pilot Flying J does,” Adkins said.

“The people who rely on Pilot Flying J for fast, friendly service will get great value from this new loyalty program.”

Now through the end of April, every time customers swipe their MyRewards card at the register, in-store kiosk or the fuel pump, they’ll be entered in the “Trace Adkins Ride for Rewards” sweepstakes to win $10,000 cash.

Which cardholder are you?

If you’re an RVer, professional driver, or frequent customer, Pilot Flying J has rewards designed specifically for you. With MyRewards, it’s your card, your choice.

RV Customer: RV customers want to get in and fuel up easily. Your fuel discounts, Start the Pump registration to stop fuel cut-offs, plus other great rewards are just our way of making life easier for you!

Professional Driver:  Professional Drivers spend long days out on the road. Your rewards are designed to help you refuel and refresh so you can keep truckin’ day in and day out.

Preferred Customer: Not a professional driver or RV Customer? No problem! This is the card for you to get great rewards in our travel centers and restaurants.

Details

Pilot Flying J

Pilot Flying J, the driver-driven company, is headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, and has more than 550 retail locations across North America. Pilot Flying J is also one of the nation’s largest wholesale fuel providers, delivering over 500 million gallons of fuel to thousands of customers in 47 states and eight Canadian provinces.

The company employs approximately 18,000 people and is the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America.

Website: pilotflyingj.com

Pilot Flying J MyRewards Program

Website: pilotflyingj.com

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Worth Pondering…

The older I get, the more I learn to tolerate human shortcomings—and the less I tolerate bad attitudes.

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Five Things You Need to Know Today: March 9

Since I like things to come in fives (and tens), here are five things YOU need to know TODAY!

1. RV Catches Fire in Texas

This photo was taken approximately four minutes after a motorhome caught fire. It gives you an idea of how fast you need to get out of your coach if it ever catches on fire. (Source: http://rvtravel.com)

A man and a woman were temporarily stranded in Beaumont, Texas, Tuesday (March 6) after their recreational vehicle burst into flames, reports KIIITV.

The couple says they were traveling to Austin from Louisiana and got stuck in traffic on I-10 due to an overturned 18-wheeler. The driver says he was being re-routed onto Eastex Freeway when he and his wife smelled smoke and pulled onto the side of the road.

The man was trying to disconnect several batteries used to power appliances in the RV, when the vehicle caught fire.

2. Maintenance Tip

You’ve got a lot riding on your tires. The better you take care of them, the better they’ll take care of you.  Proper tire pressure:

  • Helps you get the most from every gallon of fuel
  • Helps maximize the life of your tires
  • Helps your motor home ride and handle the way it’s designed to
  • Helps ensure your coach can safely handle loads up to its Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

So it’s important to check tire pressure at least once a week when you’re traveling. And since tires warm up as you drive, it’s important to check the pressure cold—before you start driving.

3. Flying J Opens Travel Center in Utah Dixie

Knoxville, Tennessee-based Pilot Flying J has opened a new travel center location in St. George, Utah. The new Flying J Travel Plaza is located at 113 Motel Drive at Exit 77 off Interstate 15 along U.S. Highway 78.

The 13,350-square-foot travel center features six gasoline islands, eight diesel lanes, and two RV lanes along with Diesel Exhaust Fluid at the pump. The facility also features high-speed fuel pumps that provide faster flow so customers can refuel quickly as well as a restaurant and a wide variety of convenience items.

The St. George location includes a Denny’s restaurant; food deli; restrooms; Western Union and check cashing; an ATM; laundry services; 108 parking spaces for cars and general merchandise.

RV customers have access to parking, bulk propane, and a dump station in addition to the two RV fuel lanes.

As with all other Pilot Flying J locations, the St. George Flying J Travel Plaza honors the Frequent Fueler Advantage card.

Pilot and Flying J merged in 2010, and both brands are still available on U.S. highways. Pilot Flying J has more than 550 retail locations across North America. The company is located in 47 states and eight Canadian provinces.

4. Yellowstone Campgrounds Start to Reopen May 4

Xanterra Parks and Resorts, the concessioner that runs lodges, restaurants, and activities in Yellowstone National Park, will start opening campgrounds there in early May, The Associated Press reports. Campgrounds start to open on May 4 with the Madison Campground, followed by Fishing Bridge RV Park on May 11.

The park itself reopens to automobiles in April when the major roads are cleared of snow.

The Old Faithful Snow Lodge Geyser Grill and gift shop will be first to open on April 20, followed by the Mammoth Hot Springs gift shop and grill on April 27. The major lodging facilities will open throughout May.

According to Xanterra Parks and Resorts all park operations will be up and running by mid-June.

5. Exploring Verde Valley

Pink Jeep tours are a popular way to venture into Red Rock Country. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

At our core, we are explorers. It’s in our bones, our marrow, our guts to venture out and discover. Exploration and adventure are vital to the human soul. Called by distant voices or prodded by an inner whisper, we travel, we seek adventure.

During the past several years we have enjoyed months at a time RVing throughout southern Arizona, enjoying abundant sunshine, and a fascinating backdrop of mountain ranges. Whether we’re at Yuma, along the Colorado River at Lake Havasu or Bullhead City, Quartzsite, Catalina State Park, and Tucson, Ajo, and Organ Pipe National Park, Tombstone, Bisbee, Patagonia, Coronado National Memorial, or Ramsey Canyon in southeastern Arizona, or a Maricopa County Regional Park in the Phoenix area, there’s much to explore.

But, each spring finds us gravitating north to the scenic and historic wonders of Verde Valley.

To continue reading, click here.

Have a great weekend.

Until next time, safe RV travels, and we’ll see you on the road!

Worth Pondering…

Destination is merely a byproduct of the journey.
—Eric Hansen

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Five Things You Need to Know Today: March 2

Since I like things to come in fives (and tens), here are five things YOU need to know TODAY!

1. Virginia State Parks app available

Virginia State Parks are now as close as your smartphone with the introduction of the new Virginia State Parks Pocket Ranger app. Developed collaboratively by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and ParksByNature, the new Pocket Ranger Mobile Tour Guide is available at no charge thanks to the Virginia Association for Parks and Imperial Multimedia.

Virginia is the latest of 12 states to partner with ParksByNature in developing official state park mobile tour guides. In other states, there is a basic guide and one with advanced GPS technology available at an additional charge.

Thanks to the VAFP and Imperial Multimedia, there is no charge for the advanced Virginia app. The partnership is also finalizing details on a sponsorship plan so that users are supporting Virginia State Parks each time they use the app. The mobile guide is available for Apple and some Android devices.

To download the Virginia State Parks Pocket Ranger app, go to stateparkapps.com. It can also be downloaded by visiting Apple iTunes or Android Market.

2. Save with Good Sam Club Pilot Flying J RV Plus Card

Members of the Good Sam Club, the world’s largest RV owner’s organization with over 1.3 million members across North America, now enjoy a new exclusive money-saving benefit with the Good Sam Club Pilot Flying J RV Plus Card.

Good Sam Club members can apply for their Pilot Flying J RV Plus Card which will allow them to save up to $.06 on each gallon of gasoline purchased and $.08 on diesel fuel purchased; 10 cents per gallon on bulk propane purchased, and 50 percent on holding tank dump station charges at all applicable Pilot Flying J locations in the United States.

Member discount is tied to length of time as an active Good Sam Member. The longer the card holder has been active member, the larger the discount.

To continue reading, click here.

3. Newell Aligns with Tom Johnson Camping Center

Miami, Oklahoma-based Newell Coach Corp. and Tom Johnson Camping Center have joined forces to provide expanded motorcoach sales and service to their respective customers.

The partnership allows Tom Johnson Camping Center, based in North Carolina, to assist their customers in the purchase of new and used Newell motorcoaches, and to also provide warranty and other services to Newell motorhome owners.

“A number of our customers are interested in the type of large, ultra-luxury, innovative motorhome Newell manufactures,” said Tom Johnson, president of Tom Johnson Camping Center.

“The Tom Johnson organization’s commitment to customer satisfaction will be a valuable asset to existing and prospective Newell coach owners, especially those in the Eastern U.S, and those near Marion and Charlotte, North Carolina, where the two Tom Johnson Camping Centers are located,” said Newell Coach President Karl Blade. “The partnership will also offer Newell’s autoracing customers expanded levels of service.”

4. Pipeline Proposal a Boon for RV Parks

More than 1,000 jobs would come with the construction of a new pipeline in Oklahoma, KTLU reports.

TransCanada was turned down last month by the President when it comes to the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, but the company is going ahead with one leg of the pipeline. The company does not need presidential approval for the stretch between Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast.

In the oil industry, you move where the work is.

“We are supposed to be the pipeline capital of the world where all of the pipelines cross,” says Cushing City Manager Steve Spears.

With this new pipeline project expected to finish sometime in 2013, the community and state will see jobs come in.

“Somewhere between 1,200 to 1,500 jobs in the Oklahoma market,” says Spears, who says that includes welders, inspectors, land men and safety inspectors.

5. How to Locate a Dump Station?

RV owners periodically find themselves needing to locate an RV dump station.

This may be a result of dry camping with no sewer service or dump station available, spending the night at Wal-Mart or a truck stop or the weekend at a public recreation area without dumping facilities, or trying to get on the road quickly without taking the time to use the campground dump station.

Also affected are RVers that work on the road, tailgate at college and pro games, NASCAR races, agricultural fairs and exhibitions, dog shows, and other local and national events.

Finding an RV dump station along your route, near your destination, or in your home town can be a major challenge.

To continue reading, click here.

Have a great weekend.

Until next time, safe RV travels, and we’ll see you on the road!

Worth Pondering…

Destination is merely a byproduct of the journey.
—Eric Hansen

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Save with Good Sam Club Pilot Flying J RV Plus Card

Members of the Good Sam Club, the world’s largest RV owner’s organization with over 1.3 million members across North America, now enjoy a new exclusive money-saving benefit with the Good Sam Club Pilot Flying J RV Plus Card, according to a recent news release (January 5).

Effective immediately, Good Sam Club members can apply for their Pilot Flying J RV Plus Card which will allow them to save up to $.06 on each gallon of gasoline purchased and $.08 on diesel fuel purchased; 10 cents per gallon on bulk propane purchased, and 50 percent on holding tank dump station charges at all applicable Pilot Flying J locations in the United States.

Member discount is tied to length of time as an active Good Sam Member. The longer the card holder has been active member, the larger the discount.

The RV Plus Card must be used as the method of payment in order to receive the fuel discounts.

Since the RV Plus Card is also a method of payment, card holders pay at the pump without having to come inside. This is true for auto, RV, and truck diesel lanes.

When paying the RV Plus Card bill, members can either choose to make a payment manually online or sign up for auto-draft payments.

The recent decision to combine the former Camping World President’s Club and the Good Sam Club into a newly-expanded, upgraded club was a key element in the club’s partnering with Pilot Flying J.

“The extra leverage of our combined member numbers helped make the Pilot Flying J discount possible,” said Good Sam Chairman and CEO Marcus Lemonis. “Our members have been asking for this benefit for some time, and it is one that we are especially happy to make available to them.”

“The price of fuel represents the single biggest expense in most of our budgets as we enjoy the RV lifestyle,” said Lemonis. “Securing discounts on a commodity like fuel is not easy. Finding a provider who has a nationwide network of locations and the facilities to properly serve our members is even more challenging.”

“I think we have found the right partner in Pilot Flying J,” he added. “They have built a great program that provides discounts to our members in addition to offering some of the lowest fuel prices in the market. They also met the tough standards we set for first class facilities in convenient locations when we first started our search of a fuel discount for our members. This commitment to our members naturally led to naming Pilot Flying J the Official Fuel Provider and Travel Center for the Good Sam Club.”

Pilot Flying J’s CEO and President Jimmy Haslam concurred with Lemonis noting, “We value our recreational vehicle customers and are pleased to offer them this exciting new benefit. Good Sam Club is a household name in the RV world, and we’re proud to partner with them in order to best reach the RV owner community, understand their needs and provide them with quality products and services. This is just another way we can thank our RV customers for their loyalty in choosing Pilot Flying J, the driver-driven company.”

Along with savings on gasoline, diesel, propane, and dump services, Pilot Flying J locations offer a wide array of conveniences and services well-suited for RV travelers, including dedicated RV fuel lanes, convenience stores, on-site restaurants, safety, and a clean environment for families.

As part of the exclusive new program for Good Sam members the companies have co-produced an RV Travel Guide which lists all the participating Pilot Flying J locations and the RV specific services available to members at each location.

Additional information and application form is available on The Good Sam Club website.

Details

The Good Sam Club

The Good Sam Club is the world’s largest RV owner’s organization with over 1.3 million members. Founded in 1966, the club offers its members a wide variety of services, including the Good Sam Extended Service Plan, Roadside Assistance, RV and Vehicle Insurance, RV Financing, Good Sam Visa Card, Life and Health Insurance and member discounts at parks, campgrounds and RV events. Good Sam Club members also receive a subscription to Highways, the club’s popular RV travel magazine. Additionally, the club represents more than 1,500 local RV chapters designed to bring RVers together from similar geographic regions for group camping excursions.

The newly-expanded Good Sam Club offers members savings of up to 30 percent on merchandise, installation, and service at Camping World and 10 percent savings on nightly fees at over 1,700 Good Sam RV Parks and campgrounds in the U.S. and Canada.

Website: goodsamclub.com

Pilot Flying J

Knoxville, Tennessee-based Pilot Flying J, the driver-driven company has more than 550 retail locations across North America. Pilot Flying J is also one of the nation’s largest wholesale fuel providers, delivering over 500 million gallons of fuel to thousands of customers in 47 states and eight Canadian provinces. The company employs approximately 18,000 people and is the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas Website: pilotflyingj.com

Worth Pondering…

The journey not the arrival matters.

—T. S. Eliot

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Five Things You Need to Know Today: November 18

This is Post Number 500!

This is an anniversary of sorts. I have been posting articles on the RVing Lifestyle since August 2010. I started not knowing if RVers and wannabes would read my articles.

Now 400 to 1,000 read my entries each day—and I truly appreciate it!

This is my 500th posting!

Since I like things to come in fives (and tens), here are five things YOU need to know TODAY!

1. Minnesota Investigates RVers Evading Sales Tax

The Minnesota Department of Revenue said Wednesday (November 16) in a news release it is investigating 270 cases in which Minnesotans may have set up shell companies to evade paying sales tax on luxury recreational vehicles. It has closed 22 other cases since October 2010, collecting $230,000 in sales taxes, penalties, and fines.

The department said in most cases, the Minnesota residents set up shell limited liability corporations in Montana, which does not charge sales tax. The Minnesotans buy the RVs through the Montana corporations and register the vehicles in that state, yet the RVs are kept in Minnesota.

The state said the high-end RVs cost between $150,000 to more than $1 million.

Minnesota has a 6.5% sales tax, which translates into $9,750 for a $150,000 RV and $65,000 for a $1 million RV.

2. Pilot Flying J Acquires North Dakota Travel Center

Pilot Flying J recently acquired a travel center in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and will remodel the Pilot Travel Center to feature full amenities for professional drivers and the motoring public. The travel center is located at Exit 12 off Interstate 29, and the remodeling is expected to be complete for a grand opening in mid-January 2012.

CSP Daily News reported Wednesday (November 16) the 10,310-square-foot travel center will feature four fuel islands and four diesel islands along with a restaurant and a wide variety of convenience items.

Pilot Flying J plans to add four additional diesel islands and two RV fuel islands by the spring of 2012 after opening to the public. The facility will feature high-speed fuel pumps that provide faster flow so customers can refuel quickly.

3. Go RVing Canada Release Industry Results

RVing remains a popular travel option for Canadian families, who are discovering the fun, flexibility, and affordability that the RV lifestyle provides, according to a Go RVing Canada news release issued yesterday (November 17).

With a strong rebound in demand in July and August, total revenues in the RV industry now stand at just over $2.3 billion dollars, bringing it close to the equivalent sales period in 2010.

“This is wonderful news for the RV industry,” said Go RVing Canada Spokesperson Angèle Lapointe. “Much of the sales rebound in this year’s third quarter can be attributed to strong demand brought about by the continued affordability of RVs in Canada. This has come largely as a result of our strong currency.”

Depending on the RV model, a typical family RV vacation can be up to 75% less expensive per day than other forms of vacation travel. According to a cost-comparison study conducted by PKF Consulting, an RV trip is shown to be more economical when compared to a traditional week’s vacation for a family of four, when the costs of flights, car rental, hotels and eating out at restaurants are considered.

4. Great Smoky Mountains National Park See Decline in Visitation

Visits to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park fell 9.5 percent in October from the same month in 2010 and year-to-date visits are off more than a half-million, according to an Associated Press report.

The National Park Service said there were 1,133,520 visitors last month, compared with 1,252,357 in October 2010. October is one of the stronger months for park visitation because tourists come to see the autumn foliage.

All entrances to the park showed declines last month.

For the first 10 months of 2011, there were 7,931,484 visitors to the 500,000-acre park on the Tennessee-North Carolina border. That was 6.7 percent fewer than at the same time last year—a drop of 568,330 people.

The Smokies remains America’s most-visited national park.

5. Idaho RV Park Explosion Caused by Propane Leak

Fire officials are trying to determine the cause of an explosion at the Boise-Meridian RV Resort near the Meridian Street/Franklin Road intersection in Meridian early yesterday (November 17), which sent one man to University of Utah Burn Center in Salt Lake City.

The Idaho Statesman reports that the Meridian police were first to arrive on the scene and found a man semi-conscious lying next to a burning trailer. He was moved away from the fire and eventually flown to the burn center.

Fire officials know that a propane leak is what caused the explosion in the trailer but are still not sure how that gas was ignited, Deputy Fire Chief Perry Palmer said.

Have a great weekend.

Until next time, safe RV travels, and we’ll see you on the road!

Worth Pondering…

If you put off everything till you’re sure of it, you’ll never get anything done.

—Norman Vincent Peale

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Good Sam Refocuses Core Business

The evolution of the former Affinity Group Inc. (AGI) continues. The name of the company was changed on May 2 to Good Sam Enterprises LLC, and Friday (November 11) during a conference call to bondholders, CEO Marcus Lemonis offered the public a new description of the company, according to a recent report in Woodall’s Campground Management.

He said the company could best be described as “a financial services company that has some clubs and magazines as marketing tools.”

“Roadside assistance is the No. 1 service offered by the company today. Roadside assistance has become the product of the day,” he explained.

Good Sam offers road assistance to nearly 500,000 RV, car, and truck customers and is close to announcing major private label insurance programs with Flying J (400,000 in its database) and NASCAR (72 million fans nationwide) and is in negotiations on establishing similar programs with leading RV builders Thor Industries Inc. and Winnebago Industries Inc., Lemonis said.

In preparation for the expected membership increase, Good Sam previously announced it has hired senior industry executive Ed Thor as vice president of business development. Thor joins the company after serving for more than 10 years with Coach-Net, a roadside assistance company focused on serving the manufacturers and dealers.

The move toward the financial services emphasis is a major redirection for the company which had been best known in recent years for its magazines and club member services.

Good Sam is also parent to national RV dealer network FreedomRoads LLC and Camping World retail stores.

Lemonis was named CEO less than a year ago but since that time, the company has disposed of six or seven businesses (primarily magazines) he deemed not in the core focus.

In its quarterly report filed on Thursday (November 10), the company reported revenues of $128.6 million for the third quarter of 2011 increased by $4.0 million, or 3.2%, from the comparable period in 2010.

Net income in the third quarter of 2011 was $2.0 million compared to $1.8 million for the same period in 2010.

For the nine months, revenues were $362.3 million, an increase of $0.6 million, or 0.2%, from the comparable period in 2010. Net income during the nine-month period was $4.6 million compared to a net loss of $6.2 million for the same period in 2010.

“We feel very good where our business is at today,” Lemonis said.

He said getting the company’s sales, general and administrative costs down has been a primary focus this year. Approximately 100 employees were let go this year from the organization, and Lemonis anticipates no more than a dozen or 15 additional layoffs systemwide.

He noted that the company incurred in the third quarter health insurance costs totaling $600,000 above the third quarter in 2010.

The company also has incurred severance costs this year as well as costs associated with the businesses it sold, he added.

Lemonis concluded saying he would be visiting with investors in California and New York in the coming weeks to expand upon certain details contained in the company’s financial report.

The company intends to make a replay of the conference call available through November 23. The replay may be accessed by logging onto earningscall.goodsamfamily.com.

Details

Good Sam Enterprises, LLC

Good Sam Enterprises, LLC (GSE) and its wholly owned subsidiaries, serve the safety, security, comfort, and convenience needs of the North American outdoor and recreational vehicle market. The goal of GSE is to make RV ownership and the RV lifestyle more enjoyable. With various companies, brands, products, and services, GSE targets almost every aspect of this diverse and dynamic niche market.

The corporate headquarters is located in Ventura, California. Subsidiary operations and divisions can be found at multiple locations throughout the United States.

Website: goodsamclub.com

Worth Pondering…
An RV travel adventure has no substitute. It is the ultimate experience, your one big opportunity for flair.

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