West Texas & Big Bend: The Mysterious Lands With Majestic Vistas

Nothing beats the West Texas sky when the clouds roll in. Or when the sun sets. Or when the stars come out. Take a tour of Big Bend National Park, Marathon, Alpine, Marfa, Fort Davis, and Balmorhea State Park.

Big Bend National Park with the Rio Grande River © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Big Bend National Park with the Rio Grande River © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend is Texas’ best-kept secret. The 800,000-acre park is a stunning mix of topography and ecosystems from the rugged Chisos Mountains and the Chihuahuan Desert to the verdant banks of the Rio Grande River.

Marathon

Lying some 36 miles to the north, the tiny community of Marathon is dotted with adorable old-timey eateries and other super Texas-y things. Built in 1927 by acclaimed architect, Henry Trost, the legendary Gage Hotel offers authentic laid-back luxury and a first class dining experience. 12 Gage Restaurant is a sophisticated restaurant to satisfy even the most ardent foodies. The hotel’s famous White Buffalo Bar was selected by Texas Monthly Magazine as “Best Hotel Bar” in Texas.

Established in 1991 by Shirley Rooney, Shirley Burn’t Biscuit Bakery is a Marathon institution  providing fresh baked goods daily. Dine in, carry-out, or have any of the freshly baked goods, specialty fried pies, donuts, pastries, cookies, or cinnamon rolls shipped anywhere in the world.

Big Bend National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Big Bend National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Alpine

Alpine is a gem. A remote, high-desert jewel nestled in the tall hills of West Texas at an elevation of 4,475 feet. It is a friendly, bustling community of a little over 5,000 people in a scenic valley with surrounding mountain peaks over a mile high. You’ll immediately take note of the natural beauty surrounding the city.

For more than 70 years the Museum of the Big Bend has been collecting and exhibiting artifacts of the vast Big Bend region. Located on the campus of Sul Ross State University, this is a great starting off point for visitors to the region.

Don’t Miss the Alpine Mural Project, a salute to the town’s ranch heritage.

Fort Davis

Fort Davis is pure Texas, as genuine as the working cattle ranches on the outskirts of town.

The area’s lively military history is preserved at Fort Davis National Historic Site. This 19th-century frontier fort has one of the best preserved “Buffalo Soldier” outposts.

Big Bend Country sunset © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Big Bend Country sunset © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Another internationally known attraction is McDonald Observatory, a 17 mile drive up a pretty canyon north of Fort Davis.

The Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center and Botanical Gardens is located on 507 acres, four miles south of Fort Davis on Highway 118. The Center is in a marvelous setting, with views of Mt. Livermore to the north and Blue Mountain to the southwest. The Center is an interesting blend of informative exhibits and programs, a greenhouse and botanical center, and picturesque hikes featuring spectacular views of the Davis Mountains.

Marfa

Marfa has long been known for its art-world, off-beat cool factor, a mix of kitsch and bizarre.

The 1956 filming of “Giant” starring Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, and Rock Hudson first put Marfa on the cultural map. Then Donald Judd, the late minimalist artist, moved to this tiny town to escape New York’s art scene in the ’70s; instead he transported a little piece of it to West Texas. Today Marfa is home to the Judd and Chinati Foundations and Ballroom Marfa, a cultural arts center, as well as several galleries.

Balmorhea State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Balmorhea State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

El Cosmico, hippie-chic hotel and campground offers accommodations in vintage trailers, teepees, tents, and an authentic Mongolian yurt. The 18-acre property also includes a communal bathhouse with showers and a tub, hammocks, and an outdoor kitchen area.

Accounts of strange and unexplained mystery lights just outside of Marfa began during the 19th century and continue to this day. The Marfa Ghost Lights are sometimes red, sometimes blue, sometimes white, and appear randomly throughout the night. The official Marfa Lights Viewing Area is located 9 miles east of town on Highway 90, towards Alpine. Bring an open mind. The Marfa Lights Festival kicks off on the Labor Day weekend (29th annual; September 4-6, 2015).

Balmorhea

Balmorhea State Park is an oasis in the desert north of Big Bend. The San Soloman Springs feed the swimming pool, keeping the water at a refreshing 74 degrees. The size (1.75 acres, 25 feet deep), temperature, and chlorine-free water make this a great scuba-diving spot.

Texas Spoken Friendly

Worth Pondering…

The forces of nature and their impact on the Texas landscape and sky combine to offer an element of drama that would whet the imagination of artists from any medium.

—Wyman Meinzer

Read More

Keystone RV Bullet Ultra Lite Division Introduce Crossfire Series

Goshen, Indiana-based Keystone RV Company’s Bullet Ultra Lite division has unveiled the new Crossfire series of travel trailers.

Keystone RV Bullet Ultra Lite Division Introduce Crossfire Series
Keystone RV Bullet Ultra Lite Division Introduce Crossfire Series

Designed to be towed by smaller vehicles and offer families a full-featured alternative to pop ups or tents, Crossfire is available in both single and double-axle models starting at 3,255 pounds shipping weight, according to a company news release.

“Bullet dealers and retail customers have been asking for a Bullet model with all the bells and whistles at a lighter weight. This new Crossfire was designed to fill that need and exceed expectations,” said Bullet product manager Nick Sweazy.

“For example, Crossfire offers as standard equipment a full sized RV refrigerator, full sized kitchen sink, three burner range, roof air-conditioning, power awning, and an exclusive Murphy-bed design that looks as good open as it does closed. These are some of the areas in which competitors cut corners. Not so with the Bullet Crossfire.”

Keystone RV Bullet Ultra Lite Division Introduce Crossfire Series
Keystone RV Bullet Ultra Lite Division Introduce Crossfire Series

Currently available in two floor plans—an 1800RB single axle rear bath and a 2070BH bunk house model—more floor plans are on the drawing board. Specifications are not available at this time.

“Dealers will see the Crossfire models at the Keystone Open House in September, as well as the many upgrades we have made to the Bullet and Premier luxury line,” said Sweazy.

“We stepped up our game across the board and dealers will like what they see.”

The Crossfire builds on Bullet’s string of success. Keystone’s Bullet division has experienced six consecutive years of 20 percent-plus growth. This year the brand is up 23 percent in retail sales to date.

Keystone RV Bullet Ultra Lite Division Introduce Crossfire Series
Keystone RV Bullet Ultra Lite Division Introduce Crossfire Series

“It is our attention to detail that we believe sets us apart,” added Sweazy.

“Starting with the upscale look of our exteriors and interiors to the use of full sized appliances and furnishings. Bullet delivers a high-end look in an ultra lite, easy to tow package.”

Details

Keystone RV Company

Keystone RV Company is a producer of travel trailers, fifth wheels, and toy haulers, with manufacturing facilities at its headquarters in Goshen, Indiana, and Pendleton, Oregon.

Keystone RV brands include Montana, Cougar, Outback, Springdale, Raptor, Residence, Retreat, Passport, Hornet, Sprinter, Laredo, Mountaineer, Big Sky, High Country, Fuzion, X-lite, Bullet, Premier, Alpine, and Avalanche.

Keystone is a subsidiary of Thor Industries, Inc., Jackson Center, Ohio, the world’s largest manufacturer of recreation vehicles and a major builder of commercial buses.

Address: 2642 Hackberry Drive, PO Box 2000, Goshen, IN 46527-2000

Phone: (574) 535-2100

Website: www.keystonerv.com

Worth Pondering…

A time to be Creative

I choose to live by Choice, not by chance; to make Changes, not excuses.

To be motivated, not manipulated; to be useful, not compete.

I choose self-esteem, not self-pity.

I choose to listen to my inner voice, not the random opinions of others.

—author unknown

Read More

Gulf Stream Introduces Vintage Cruiser Ultra-Light Travel Trailers

Nappanee, Indiana-based Gulf Stream Coach has announced the release of the Vintage Cruiser, a distinctive new line of ultra-light aerodynamic fiberglass trailers that recapture the style and fun of camping in the 1950s while using the latest technology, materials, and conveniences of the 21st century.

vintagecruiserprjul2015emailThe Vintage Cruiser project was born when photos and other records of camping in the 1950s inspired a team of designers, engineers, sales executives, and product managers, according to a company news release.

They saw how couples and families enjoyed the great outdoors when life was less complicated, less stressful, and simpler.

“Our team realized how much there was to love about the positive attitude, can-do spirit, and prosperity of the 50s generation. There was something about the look, the sound, the spirit, and the life of that era that everyone would like to recapture,” said Sue Fiedeke, Gulf Stream interior designer.

“And that’s what the design team tried to do with the Vintage Cruiser: Recapture the style of that bygone era for campers to enjoy today.”

vintage19erdawningextgspond2email“While the team explored camping in the 50s, we realized that there was plenty to love about the advances we’ve made in the way travel trailers are built and equipped in 2015,” said Gulf Stream Ultralight Division National Sales Manager Tim Dennig.

“That’s why the Vintage Cruiser combines the colors, shapes, style, and fun of the 50s, with the latest engineering, materials, features and functions that today’s campers simply can’t live without! Think about it—As great as the 50s were, who wants to go camping without a microwave oven, an HDTV, and a full bath?”

The Vintage Cruiser is currently available in two 19-foot floor plans each weighing less than 3,000 pounds. Both offer campers the fun and style of the 50s, with the technological advances of today in efficient, lightweight travel trailers with vacuum-bonded laminated walls, a seamless laminated fiberglass roof, premium-quality cabinetry, and appliances.

vintagecruiserSpecifications common to both Vintage Cruiser 19ERD and 19RBS include:

Overall Length: 22 feet 11 inches

Overall Width: 7 feet 6 inches

Exterior Height: 9 feet 10 inches

Interior Height: 6 feet 11 inches

Fresh Water Tank Capacity: 28 gallons

Grey Water Tank Capacity: 30 gallons

Black Water Tank Capacity: 30 gallons

LP Tank Capacity: 2 X 20

Furnace: 20,000 BTU

Water Heater: 6 gallons

The Vintage Cruiser is shipping to dealers’ lots now.

Gulf Stream Vintage Cruiser 19ERD floor plan
Gulf Stream Vintage Cruiser 19ERD floor plan

Details

Gulf Stream Coach Inc.

Established in 1983, Nappanee, Indiana-based Gulf Stream is a leading manufacturer of Class A Gas motorhomes, diesel pushers, Class C motorhomes, fifth-wheel trailers, and travel trailers.

Gulf Stream is organized into three divisions: Luxury Class A Motorhomes, Travel Trailers and Luxury Fifth Wheels, and Yellowstone RV Travel Trailers and Fifth Wheels.

Location: 503 South Oakland Avenue, Nappanee, Indiana

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1005, Nappanee, Indiana 46550

Phone: (800) 289-8787 (toll free)

Website: www.gulfstreamrvtrailers.com

Worth Pondering…

Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.

—Aldous Huxley

Read More

From Ecocapsule To Romotow: 5 Cool Trailers To Love

Contemporary living design, mobility, and living on the move are very important themes of our fast-moving age.

Fun, creative, and futuristic, here are five distinctly different in design and function.

Ecocapsule

Live Off-grid In An Ecocapsule
Live Off-grid In An Ecocapsule

For many the appeal of an RV road trip is enhanced by getting away from it all and living off the grid for a few days. Now, one design company seems to have taken the idea and turned it on its head, with the introduction of the Ecocapsule.

Packed into a compact form (it’s 14 feet 7 inches long and 7 feet 10 inches wide), the solar-and-wind-powered Ecocapsule merges an energy efficient shape, compact volume, and off-grid capabilities with the luxuries of a warm bed, running water, and a hot meal. The completely self-sustaining design, featuring its own solar panel system and high-capacity 9,700-watt-hour battery, tripled with a 750-watt wind turbine, allows for up to a year’s worth of energy.

BeauEr 3X

BeauEr 3X slide-out caravan
BeauEr 3X slide-out caravan

Originally launched in 2010, this tin-can shaped tourer looks like just another micro-caravan, until you put the key in and operate the telescopic sliding mechanism, which allows this trailer to slide out in both directions, tripling the interior space in just 20 seconds.

Built on an Al-Ko chassis with a polyester bodyshell, Beau claims it is also highly aerodynamic due to its smoothly curved exterior design.

The four-berth layout comprises a pair of double beds, measuring up at an ample 6 feet 3 inches x 4 feet 7 inches and 6 feet 10 inches x 4 feet 7 inches respectively.

But one thing’s for sure—if you pitch up in one of these this summer you will certainly turn heads.

Odorico Pordenone

Odorico Pordenone concept (named after an Italian late-medieval Franciscan friar and missionary explorer traveler)
Odorico Pordenone concept (named after an Italian late-medieval Franciscan friar and missionary explorer traveler)

Czech designer Jakub Novak’s Odorico Pordenone concept (named after an Italian late-medieval Franciscan friar and missionary explorer traveler) allows up to four people to travel together in a home-like environment. Novak envisioned the trailer to have aluminum walls with padding to keep the temperature stable, painted white on the inside but kept silver and given a brushed texture on the outside.

Since Novak’s concept is meant to accommodate four people, the usual lack of living space inside a trailer is addressed by building expandable wings that can pop out at the push of a button.

Safari Condo

Safari Condo Alto R Series (retractable roof)
Safari Condo Alto R Series (retractable roof)

Safari Condo teardrop trailers are lightweight and boast an aerodynamic shape increasing the ease of towing. The Alto R series incorporates an electric retractable roof providing more interior space than traditional teardrop trailers. With the rood open the Safari Condo offers a very comfortable interior height of 82 inches.

Romotow

The Romotow folds out like a Swiss Army Knife
The Romotow folds out like a Swiss Army Knife

A combination of the words ‘room to move’, the Romotow offers a contemporary mobile living design that delivers an experience in a class of its own. A radical departure from current boxy and cumbersome travel trailer designs, it folds out like a Swiss Army Knife to offer roughly 70 percent more living space than an average caravan trailer.

Features include aerodynamic and lightweight construction for increased fuel efficiency and towing stability, power assisted braking, pneumatic shocks, gyro assisted self-leveling pads and struts, and a rear mounted camera. Fit-out variations can include a sheltered BBQ deck area for entertaining and relaxing, windbreak, sliding doors, louvered windows, stylish and easy clean furniture, and more.

Worth Pondering…

Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.

—James Dean (1931-1955)

Read More

And Still More July 2015 RV Manufacturer Recalls

Your recreational vehicle may be involved in a safety recall and may create a safety risk for you or your passengers. Safety defects must be repaired by a certified dealer at no cost to you. However, if left unrepaired, a potential safety defect in your vehicle could lead to injury or even death.

What is a recall?
When a manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines that a recreational vehicle or item of RV equipment creates an unreasonable risk to safety or fails to meet minimum safety standards, the manufacturer is required to fix that vehicle or equipment at no cost to the consumer.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced 5 recall notices involving 5 recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers—Cruiser RV, Starcraft RV, Roadtrek Motorhomes, Keystone RV Company, and Allied Recreation Group.

Cruiser RV

CruiserCruiser RV (Cruiser) is recalling certain model year 2016 Stryker travel trailers manufactured March 23, 2015, to April 20, 2015. In the affected trailers, the studs that are used to attach the wheels to the axle hubs may break.

If the wheel studs break, the wheel could detach from the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

Cruiser will notify owners, and dealers will replace any affected wheel hub, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin June 24, 2015. Owners may contact Cruiser customer service at 1-866-277-5630. Cruiser’s number for this recall is 11043R & 11044R.

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

Starcraft RV

starcraftStarcraft RV (Starcraft) is recalling certain model year 2014-2016 AR-ONE TT trailers and 2014-2016 Comet CT Hard Sided camping trailers, models 28V, 28P, 28R, 28S, 28V, 28W, BC, and BH, manufactured June 3, 2013, to February 6, 2015 and equipped with the Extreme Package Option. The affected trailers have Certification labels that incorrectly state a tire size of ST205/75R 14C when the actual tire size is LT235/75R 15C. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of 49 CFR Part 567, “Certification.”

If the operator installs the incorrect tires due to the information on the certification label, vehicle handling could be affected, increasing the risk of a crash.

Starcraft will notify owners, and dealers will install a corrected label, free of charge. The recall began on July 17, 2015. Owners may contact Starcraft customer service at 1-800-945-4787. Starcraft’s number for this recall is 9902240.

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.

Roadtrek Motorhomes

roadtrek_logoRoadtrek Motorhomes Inc. (Roadtrek) is recalling certain model year 2014 CS Adventurous, E-Trek, RS Adventurous, SS Agile, and TS Adventurous vehicles manufactured from September 18, 2013, through April 9, 2015, and built on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Chassis. The affected vehicles have electrical wiring connections under the front seats that can become dislodged or damaged and prevent the optional front seat SH9 Thorax air bags from deploying.

If the front thorax air bag fails to deploy in the event of a crash, the seat occupant has a increased risk of injury.

Roadtrek will notify owners, and dealers will modify the electrical connections, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Roadtrek customer service at 1-888-762-3873.

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 Montana trailers, models 3100RL, 3150RL13, 3400RL, 3402RL, 3582RL, 3625RE, 3725RL, 3750FL and 3900FB, manufactured November 12, 2012, to January 30, 2013, and 2014 Mountaineer trailers, models 331RLT, 356TBF and 375FLF, manufactured August 21, 2013, to September 18, 2013. In all models except the Mountaineer 375FLF, the rear windows are labeled with an exit sticker, but the rear window is not intended to be a secondary emergency exit. With the Mountaineer 375FLF, the rear window is intended as the secondary emergency exit, but it may be blocked by the rear ladder.

In the event of an emergency, occupants could try to escape through the rear window, but would not be able to. This delay in their escape may increase the risk of injury.

Keystone has notified owners, and dealers will remove the emergency exit sticker from the windows that were not intended to be emergency exits. Mountaineer 375FLF vehicles will have the window replaced, so that egress section of the window is on the opposite side of where the ladder is installed. These repairs will be performed free of charge. The recall began on July 9, 2015. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 15-232.

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

Allied Recreation Group, Inc. (ARG)

argLogo_bigAllied Recreation Group, Inc. (ARG) is recalling certain model year 2015-2016 Fleetwood Southwind recreational vehicles, model 32 VS, manufactured April 16, 2014, to June 19, 2015. The affected vehicles may have been manufactured without an emergency exit window on the road side bedroom wall.

In the event of an emergency, the occupant’s exit from the vehicle may be delayed or prevented, increasing their risk of injury.

ARG will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the vehicles and, if necessary, they will replace the existing road side bedroom wall window with an emergency exit window, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin August 18, 2015. Owners can contact ARG customer service at 1-800-509-3417. ARG’s number for this recall number is 150625ARG.

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 64th 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

Read More

More July 2015 RV Manufacturer Recalls

Your recreational vehicle may be involved in a safety recall and may create a safety risk for you or your passengers. Safety defects must be repaired by a certified dealer at no cost to you. However, if left unrepaired, a potential safety defect in your vehicle could lead to injury or even death.

What is a recall?
When a manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines that a recreational vehicle or item of RV equipment creates an unreasonable risk to safety or fails to meet minimum safety standards, the manufacturer is required to fix that vehicle or equipment at no cost to the consumer.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced 5 recall notices involving 3 recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers— EverGreen Recreational Vehicles, Winnebago, and Newmar.

EverGreen Recreational Vehicles, LLC

evergreen3EverGreen Recreational Vehicles, LLC (EverGreen) is recalling certain model year 2015 i-Go, Ever-Lite, Sun Valley and Ascend travel trailers manufactured March 12, 2015, to May 29, 2015. In the affected trailers, the studs that are used to attach the wheels to the axle hubs may break.

If the wheel studs break, the wheel could detach from the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

EverGreen will notify owners, and dealers will replace any affected wheel hub, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact EverGreen customer service at 1-574-825-4298.

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.

EverGreen Recreational Vehicles, LLC

evergreen3EverGreen Recreational Vehicles, LLC (EverGreen) is recalling certain model year 2014-2016 Lifestyle, Bay Hill, Alpha Gold and Tesla fifth wheel recreational trailers manufactured March 11, 2014, to January 23, 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 under occupant load, the steps may give and the occupant may fall, increasing the risk of personal injury.

Evergreen will notify owners, and dealers will remove the rivets and the step sections will be bolted together, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact EverGreen customer service at 1-574-825-4298.

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.

Winnebago Industries

winnebago-quality-circle-award-255x144Winnebago Industries, Inc. (Winnebago) is recalling certain model year 2014-2015 Metro Link transit buses manufactured December 20, 2013, to April 9, 2015. The affected buses may have been built without shims and flat washers on the seat pedestal, allowing the seat to detach from the floor in the event of a crash.

If the seat detaches from the floor during a vehicle crash, the seat occupant would be at an increased risk of personal injury.

Winnebago will work with Metro Worldwide, the transit bus distributor, to notify owners and remedy the vehicles, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in July 2015. Owners may contact Metro Worldwide customer service at 1-641-903-7377. Winnebago’s number for this recall is 132.

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.

Newmar Corporation

Newmar Corp image001Newmar Corporation (Newmar) is recalling certain model year 2015 Essex and King Aire vehicles manufactured March 26, 2014, to December 4, 2014. The affected vehicles have tag axle suspension hangers that may move, allowing the tag axle assembly to shift off center.

If the tag axle moves off center, vehicle handling may suddenly be affected, increasing the risk of a crash.

Newmar has notified owners, and dealers will weld the tag axle suspension hangers to the chassis frame, free of charge. The recall began on June 22, 2015. Owners may contact Newmar customer service at 1-800-731-8300.

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.

Newmar Corporation

Newmar Corporation (Newmar) is recalling certain model year 2015-2016 King Aire and Essex vehicles manufactured from March 13, 2014, and May 13, 2015, and model year 2016 Mountain Aire vehicles manufactured from March 17, 2015, through April 17, 2015. The affected vehicles, built on a Spartan Chassis, have fasteners that attach the stay rod (v-rod) to the rear drive axle that may not have been installed with thread locker or tightened in the correct sequence.

If the fasteners loosen, the stay rod may disconnect from the rear axle, allowing the rear axle to move freely, increasing the risk of a vehicle crash.

Spartan will notify owners on behalf of Newmar, and dealers will replace the fasteners using thread lock, tightening them in the proper sequence and with the required torque values, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin August 23, 2015. Owners may contact Newmar customer service at 1-800-731-8300 or Spartan customer service at 1-800-582-3454.

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 62nd in a series of articles relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

The one quality that all successful people have is the ability to take on responsibility

—Michael Korda

Read More

July 2015 RV Manufacturer Recalls

Your recreational vehicle may be involved in a safety recall and may create a safety risk for you or your passengers. Safety defects must be repaired by a certified dealer at no cost to you. However, if left unrepaired, a potential safety defect in your vehicle could lead to injury or even death.

What is a recall?
When a manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines that a recreational vehicle or item of RV equipment creates an unreasonable risk to safety or fails to meet minimum safety standards, the manufacturer is required to fix that vehicle or equipment at no cost to the consumer.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced 5 recall notices involving 2 recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers— Gulf Stream Coach and Forest River.

Gulf Stream Coach, Inc.

gulf-stream-logoGulf Stream Coach, Inc. (Gulf Stream) is recalling certain model year 2015 Canyon Trail and Sedona trailers manufactured April 3, 2014, to September 30, 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.

Gulf Stream will notify owners, and dealers will remove the rivets and the step sections will be bolted together, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on June 30, 2015. Owners may contact Gulf Stream customer service at 1-800-289-8787. Gulf Stream’s number for this recall is HS060215.

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.

Forest River, Inc.

forest-River-logoForest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain model year 2016 Evo, Salem, Sandstorm, Shockwave, Stealth, Wildwood, Cherokee Grey Wolf, Wildcat Maxx, Vibe, R-Pod, and Surveyor trailers. In the affected trailers, the studs that are used to attach the wheels to the axle hubs may break.

If the wheel studs break, the wheel could detach from the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and replace any affected wheel hub, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin August 1, 2015. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-909-873-3777. Forest River’s number for this recall is 51-05142015-0037.

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.

Forest River, Inc.

forest-River-logoForest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain model year 2015 Shasta Airflyte SAT16 and SAT19 recreational travel trailers manufactured September 15, 2014, to October 22, 2014. The affected trailers have a Federal Certification Label that incorrectly lists the tire size, gross axle weight rating (GAWR), gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and cargo carrying capacity. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of 49 CFR Part 567, “Certification.”

If the operator overloads the trailer due to the incorrect information on the Certification label, the tires may fail suddenly, increasing the risk of a crash.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will install a corrected label, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in July 2015. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-825-8717. Forest River’s number for this recall is 54-06052015-0047.

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.

Forest River, Inc.

forest-River-logoForest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain model year 2013 XLR and Vengeance, 2010 Sandpiper, 2004 Auto Plus, 2008 Cargo Mate and 2015-2016 Hydra-Lift trailers. In the affected trailers, the studs that are used to attach the wheels to the axle hubs may break.

If the wheel studs break, the wheel could detach from the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will replace any affected wheel hub, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 10, 2015. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-534-3167. Forest River’s number for this recall is 51-05282015-0042.

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.

Forest River, Inc.

forest-River-logoForest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain model year 2015 Dynamax Rev vehicles manufactured November 25, 2014, to November 26, 2014. The affected vehicles may have been manufactured with head restraints that exceed the maximum backset measurement limit of 55mm. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 202a, “Head Restraints.”

If the vehicle is struck from behind, the head restraint may not properly limit the seat occupant’s head movement rearward, increasing the risk of injury.

Forest River will notify owners, and Chrysler dealers will replace the front seat head restraints, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-262-3474 ext. 212. Forest River’s number for this recall is 55-06112015-0051.

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 61st in a series of articles relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

People forget how fast you did a job but they remember how well you did it.

—Howard W. Newton

Read More

Thor Motor Coach Introduces Pet-Friendly Class A Motorhomes

Elkhart, Indiana-based Thor Motor Coach introduces the 2016 A.C.E., Hurricane, and Windsport Class A motorhomes.

2016 A.C.E.

2016 Thor Motor Coach A.C.E.
2016 Thor Motor Coach A.C.E.

The A.C.E. continues to evolve this year. Along with the distinctive front brow, which eliminates distracting sunlight and heat, Thor Motor Coach incorporates a new automotive-style front cap and integrated LED driving lights into the coach, according to a company news release.

New inside the cockpit of the A.C.E. is the screen mirroring technology in the touchscreen dash radio that allows you to use your own GPS navigation from your tablet or smart phone.

Luxury interiors are included in all A.C.E. motorhomes featuring the Better Homes and Gardens RV Fabric Collection.

The 2016 A.C.E. is available in six floor plans with the exterior length ranging from 28 feet 8 inches to 31 feet 5 inches.

Specifications common to all models include:

  • Chassis: Ford F-53
  • Engine: 6.8L V10 362 HP 457 lb-ft torque
  • GCWR: 23,000 pounds
  • Exterior Height: 12 feet 2 inches
  • Exterior Width: 99 inches
  • Interior Height: 7 feet
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 80 gallons
  • LPG Tank Capacity: 88 pounds
  • Fresh Water Tank Capacity: 50 gallons

2016 Hurricane and Windsport

2016 Thor Motor Coach Windsport
2016 Thor Motor Coach Windsport

The 2016 Hurricane and Windsport brands have new standard upgrades adding extra convenience for customers.

Thor Motor Coach knows how important your four-legged friends are and want to keep them safe and close, according to the release. That is why they placed the Pet-Link Multi-Purpose Tie-Down in all Hurricane and Windsport motorhomes. It has always received rave reviews from A.C.E. owners and Thor Motor Coach wanted to expand their pet-friendly philosophy to more brands.

The Pet-Link allows you to keep your pets within plain view while you’re relaxing outside. You can also use it to lock down your bike while you’re away for the day.

Also new this model year is the blank tank flush system, which rinses the blank tank clean prior to dumping the holding tanks.

Select models feature an 11-cubic-foot residential refrigerator with an ice-maker and inverter, plus auto-generator start to ensure the batteries will stay charged.

All floor plans have a master bedroom featuring a premium Denver Mattress bed and a new Cotton Cloud mattress in the hide-away overhead bunk.

2016 Thor Motor Coach Hurricane
2016 Thor Motor Coach Hurricane

Details

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach was formed when Damon Motor Coach and Four Winds International strategically merged in late 2010. For over 23 years Damon and Four Winds have been building many of the most recognized brands of motorhomes. Thor Motor Coach manufactures Class A Front Engine Diesel motorhomes (Serrano and Avanti), Class A Diesel Pusher motorhomes (Astoria, Tuscany, and Palazzo), Class A Gas motorhomes (A.C.E., Hurricane, Daybreak, Windsport, Challenger, and Outlaw), and Class C motorhomes (Four Winds, Chateau, Siesta, Siesta Sprinter, Citation, and Citation Sprinter).

Thor Motor Coach is a subsidiary of Thor Industries, Inc., Jackson Center, Ohio, the world’s largest manufacturer of recreational vehicles.

Address: 701 County Road 15, PO Box 1486, Elkhart, Indiana 46516

Phone: (800) 860-5658

Website: www.thormotorcoach.com

Worth Pondering…

I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.

—Stephen Covey

Read More

Grand Design Introduces Imagine Lightweight Travel Trailer Series

Middlebury, Indiana-based Grand Design Recreational Vehicle Company announces the introduction of its lightweight travel trailers.

Grand Design Introduces Imagine Lightweight Travel Trailer Series
Grand Design Introduces Imagine Lightweight Travel Trailer Series

The Imagine travel trailer series is the follow up to the firm’s Reflection travel trailers and fifth wheels, flagship Solitude extended stay fifth wheels, and popular Momentum toy haulers.

“Following the bar set by these brands, Imagine stays true to the company’s commitment of focusing on the customer to steer design and fuel innovation,” said General Manager Micah Staley.

With floor plans starting well under 6,000 pounds, Imagine travel trailers hit the towing sweet spot of today’s medium duty trucks and SUVs, according to a company news release.

“We wanted Imagine to not only hit the weight goals, but do it without the compromise that so many feel forced to in the pursuit of lighter weight. Industry leading tank capacities, 30-by-36-inch walk in shower, 60-by-80-inch queen beds, and 81-inch interior radius ceilings are just a few of the areas where customers will no longer have to sacrifice,” said Staley.

“The early buzz from dealers and customers point to another home run for Grand Design.”

Imagine travel trailers debut on dealers’ lots the first week of August.

Details

Grand Design Recreational Vehicle Company

Grand Design Corp-Logo-blackGrand Design RV is a privately owned company founded by close friends Don Clark and brothers Ron and Bill Fenech (each having over 25 years of experience in the RV industry).

Their careers have been devoted to leading some of the most successful companies in the RV industry, being part of the ownership team that led Keystone RV Company to be the largest travel trailer and fifth wheel company in the world.

Grand Design RV Company has over 400,000 square feet of manufacturing facilities located on 67 acres in the rural community of Middlebury, Indiana.

Address: 11333 County Road 2, Middlebury, IN 46540

Phone: (574) 825-8000

Website: www.granddesignrv.com

Worth Pondering…

Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.

—Arthur Ashe

Read More

From Modern-day Ark To Futuristic Helicopter: 5 Cool Trailers To Love

Mobility and living on the move are important themes in today’s fast-moving world.

Fun, creative, and futuristic, here are five revolutionary RV models that are sure to turn heads.

Blue Eye Noah

Blue Eye Noah exterior
Blue Eye Noah exterior

This revolutionary RV model is considered as a modern-day Ark constructed for those “Blue-eyed Noahs” with full protections and best facilities, it’s an ultimate sanctuary more than the pleasure road trips in leisure days.

An innovative design for multiple uses—recreational mobile home for fun, safety, and survival. Optional packages will give this RV multi-function adaptability to serve as a boat house, ice-fishing house, snowmobile house, and even to meet other challenging landscapes.

Innovan 

The efficient and flexible Innovan slide-on truck camper
The efficient and flexible Innovan slide-on truck camper

The efficient and flexible Innovan slide-on truck camper and the Innovan XC off-road trailer caravan are really quite different from anything else on the market.

The Innovan can be fully setup including awning is less than 30 seconds. It opens out like a Swiss Army Knife. When configured for travel, the aerodynamic shape of the camper minimizes wind drag and the cross-wind problems usually associated with campers and vans. Its light weight means that when attached to a four wheel drive, it can go just about anywhere.

This space-efficient caravan is designed to seamlessly slide onto the back of a truck and comes with a whopping 13 storage compartments for all your outdoor gear. It weighs 1,100 pounds and boasts a queen-size bed, pull-out dining area, and air conditioning, among a slew of other sweet features.

SylvanSport GO

Lightweight and easy to manage, the SylvanSport GO can be pulled by even the smallest of cars.
Lightweight and easy to manage, the SylvanSport GO can be pulled by even the smallest of cars.

Billed as “Mobile Adventure Gear” rather than a trailer, the Sylvan Sport Go is an 840-pound pop-up trailer that can carry extra gear and outdoor equipment such as canoes and trailers and can be towed by a small car.

To complement its GO trailer line, SylvanSport has recently introduced the GO-Easy adventure trailer.

Bufalino

Bufalino Camper
Bufalino Camper

German industrial designer Cornelius Comanns has converted the existing Piaggio APE 50 three-wheeled delivery vehicle, a cheap, and fuel efficient platform, into a small camper, called the Bufalino.

It is a small camper which is equipped to meet the basic needs of one person. The concept behind the project is to offer absolute flexibility during periods of travel.

Bufalino encourages users to explore the surrounding off beaten tracks. Meanwhile the furnished interior consisting of a bed, two seating units, a cooking zone, a basin, storage space, a water tank, and a refrigerator offers the comforts of a home.

Monopod 660

Out of this world: the Monopod 660 is the first ever caravan from IH Leisure
Out of this world: the Monopod 660 is the first ever caravan from IH Leisure

Is it a spaceship on wheels? Is it a futuristic helicopter?

A wildly futuristic space-age vehicle, the Monopod 660 is a high-end luxury caravan with an extraordinary striking look. The name derives from the one piece monocoque body shell, a design technique taken from the automotive industry which allows stresses and strains on the vehicle to be carried by the outer skin.

The front section is reminiscent of a helicopter with its slanted separate windows and curved front, while the design allows for a pure shape with few visible joins.

Inside, the Monopod 660 feels like stepping into a boutique hotel from another age, with warm contrasting tones and rich woods. The Truma blown air heating system is used throughout, while the lounge area is large and well appointed with comfortable foam back rests.

Worth Pondering…

The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes.

—Frank Lloyd Wright

Read More