Selfies Don’t Kill People

Height, water, trains, and animals lead the list of factors involved in selfie deaths

259 deaths worldwide have been attributed to the selfie between 2011 and 2017.

While that statistic may sound alarming, there are well over 1.4 million accidental deaths per year worldwide. Risk taking is not a new phenomenon nor is doing it in an attempt to become famous. That we are all talking about selfie deaths is likely just the result of the media’s obsession with reporting about them. 

Canyonlands National Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

No one has ever been killed by a selfie. A lot of people have been killed by stupid behavior. No beautiful destination has ever been ruined by an Instagram post. A lot of beautiful places have been ruined by irresponsible assholes. 

selfie

[sel-fee]
noun
An image that includes oneself (often with another person or as part of a group) and is taken by oneself using a digital camera or smart phone, especially for posting on social networks.

New River Gorge National River, West Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In 2016, Ponnurangam Kumaraguru, an associate professor with Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Delhi in India, served as the principal investigator with researchers at IIIT and Carnegie Mellon University on a study called “Me, Myself and My Killfie: Characterizing and Preventing Selfie Deaths.”

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Kumaraguru, a computer scientist who is interested in following societal problems and patterns and developing solutions through technology, said he read an article about someone who died while taking a selfie and was intrigued. He lives in India which leads the world in “killfies,” the word sometimes used to talk about deaths tied to selfies.

Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

He and his team collected newspaper articles on selfie-related fatalities to document and categorize the problem. Height, water, trains, and animals were the leading causes of death in the 127 cases the team studied. They also found that the victims were primarily young and male: The majority was 24 years old or younger and 75.5 percent were male.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In 2016, a man was taking a selfie by the Ganges River in India when he slipped and fell in. Six others tried to save him and all seven died after being swept away. “It is not about just me trying to take a selfie and making my life dangerous, but I’m actually putting others also at risk,” Kumaraguru says.

The so-called selfie deaths aren’t anything new. There’s hasn’t been an increase in the frequency of accidental deaths since the advent of Instagram—people have always managed to find stupid ways to die. Smart phones could stop working tomorrow and a teenage boy will still find a way to put his life at risk in order to impress a girl even if he can’t snap a photo in the process. The biggest change would just be that the rest of us wouldn’t see a photo of the shenanigans and would never get the chance to get outraged about it. 

Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When people get the opportunity to visit a really cool national park or see a neat wild animal, it is only natural that they want to document the experience and share it with their friends. Again, this is not a new phenomenon. Are Ansel Adams’s photos of Yosemite Valley really that different from an Instagram photo that tourists snap in the same spot?

Clingmans Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Every time I see a news story about national parks and other public lands being “loved to death,” and blaming social media for a boom in visitation, I can’t help but see a missed opportunity. More visitors should equal more dollars for the places that we love; the only reason that it doesn’t is that the media and politicians would rather grandstand about other issues.  

Jungle Gardens, Avery Island, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Every time I see a news story blaming a selfie for a death, I also see a missed opportunity. If social media was powerful enough to draw a person to that place and inspire them to take a photo then surely it can also be powerful enough to reach that person with a powerful message about responsible recreation. 

Are you practicing safe selfies? It might be time to examine your photo-clicking habits and put caution first. Consider these suggestions for practicing safe selfies:

Snake River at Twin Falls, Idaho © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Stay focused on your surroundings, not your shot. Tripping, slipping, and falling have all led to selfie deaths. A single distraction or moment of inattention could mean the difference between life and death. Keep your eyes focused on where you’re going and where your feet are when taking a selfie. Make sure your feet are planted firmly before you line up the shot, and then don’t move once you do that.

Worth Pondering…

As Yogi Berra said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

RV Emergency Kit Essentials

Here are nine RV emergency kit essentials

While the optimists among us tend to imagine life through the lens of the best case scenario, the realists of this world know that things don’t always go according to plan. That’s why it’s important to think about disaster preparation and to have an emergency essentials kit packed and ready to go for whenever the need arises.

For peace of mind consider the following for your RV emergency kit.

Camping at Leaf Verde RV Park, Buckeye, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Important Documents

Keep paper copies in your RV emergency kit of all important documents including: Identification (driver’s license, birth certificate, Passport), health care information, insurance documents, proof of ownership, banking information, and list of emergency and other important phone numbers.

Camping at Eagles Landing RV Park, Auburn, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

First Aid Kit

Your first aid kit should include: Bandages (different sizes), sterile gauze (different sizes), rolled bandages, triangular bandage, cleansing wipes, tape, safety pins, tweezers, scissors, skin rash cream, anti-itch cream, antiseptic cream, sunburn cream, painkillers, antihistamine, ice packs, emergency blanket, disposable sterile gloves, and first aid manual. You should also have any prescription medications on hand. 

Camping at River Run RV Park, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Flashlights

A flashlight is essential to help you get around in the dark. It can also be used as a signal. As a camper, it’s likely you have a few flashlights already in your RV. Make sure you keep at least one per person and have spare batteries. 

Camping at Creek Fire RV Park, Savannah, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Non-Perishable Food

You already have food in your RV—the fridge and freezer found in most RVs make it easier to bring food. However, you also need non-perishable food. This includes: Canned food, fruit, granola bars, cereal, dry beans and peas, sauces and condiments, trail mix, chips, spices, flour, sugar, oils. Most of these food items are useful to have in your RV, emergency kit aside. Make sure you check expiry dates and store this food in a sealable, animal/rodent-proof container. Of course, you’ll need a can opener at the minimum.

Camping at Terre Haute KOA, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Water

As most RVers don’t keep their water tanks filled (especially when traveling), you should always keep an emergency supply of water. The general recommendation is 4 gallons per person, per day. 

Camping at Lakeside RV Park, Livingston, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Clothing

Be prepared for a variety of weather. Layers are always important, as many places can get quite cold or wet. Include the following for each member of your family: Socks, underwear, warm sweater, warm jacket, waterproof jacket, wide-brimmed hat, sturdy footwear.

Camping at Buccaneer State Park, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cell Phone Charger

Cell phones are incredibly useful in emergency situations—you can communicate with loved ones, seek emergency help, figure out where you are, and get important information and updates. Always keep a phone charger in your RV emergency kit.

Camping at Hacienda RV Resort, Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Personal Toiletries

Personal toiletries can provide comfort and be functional during an emergency. Here are some of the items you should keep in your RV emergency kit: Toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, hairbrush or comb, shampoo and conditioner, hand sanitizer, toilet paper.

Camping at 7 Feathers Casino RV Park, Canyonville, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Roadside Maintenance Kit

Here are a few basic tools to keep in your RV emergency kit: High visibility cones, reflectors and/or vest, wheel chocks, tire pressure gauge, assorted wrenches and screwdrivers, pliers, hammer, duct/gorilla tape, work gloves. You should also keep jumper cables and extra fluids (windshield washer, oil, and coolant). If you’re driving in winter you should also keep an ice scraper, shovel, and traction aid (cat litter or sand).

Camping at New Green Acres RV Park, Walterboro, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Other Items for your RV Emergency Kit

There are a few other items that can be included in your RV emergency kit, too: Whistle, garbage bags, waterproof matches, paper and pen, extra blankets, tarps and ties, maps.

Camping at Dakota Campground, Mitchell, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pet RV Emergency Kit

If you have pets, you shouldn’t forget to include them in your RV emergency kit: Pet food, medications, toys, blanket, collapsible food/water bowls, cat litter and pan (if you have a cat), leash, collar/harness, and copy of your pet’s vaccination and medical records.

Camping at Goose Island State Park, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Assembling Your RV Emergency Kit

You likely have many of these items in your RV already. Even if you do, it’s important to ensure you have all necessary items and have them organized. Start with making a list. Identify the items you have and what you’ll need to buy. Assemble and pack them in your RV. Regularly check on first aid, toiletries, and pet items to ensure they haven’t expired.

While you hopefully won’t need to use of the items you have assembled, it’s important in the event of an emergency situation.

Worth Pondering…

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!

August 2020 RV Manufacturer Recalls

A manufacturer recall can create a safety risk if not repaired

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.

Camping at Dakota Campground, Mitchell, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

NHTSA releases its most recent list of recalls each Monday.

It should be noted that RV recalls are related to vehicle safety and not product quality. NHTSA has no interest in an air conditioner failing to cool or slide out failing to extend or retract—unless they can be directly attributed to product safety.

NHTSA announced 16 recall notices during August 2020. These recalls involved 8 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Thor Motor Coach (6 recalls), Forest River (3 recalls), Winnebago (2 recalls), Keystone (1 recall), Newmar (1 recall), Tiffin Motorhomes (1 recall), REV (1 recall), and Jayco (1 recall).

Camping at Clinton-Knoxville North KOA, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2021 Daybreak, Four Winds, Quantum, Chateau, and Freedom Elite motorhomes built on the 2020 Ford E-Series chassis. The battery cable may not have been properly secured within the chassis rail, which can cause it to contact the exhaust manifold and heat shield.

TMC will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the routing of the battery cable. If needed the cable will be re-routed and properly secured, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin September 20, 2020. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000197.

Camping at Hollywood Casino RV Park, Bay St. Lewis, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2017-2020 Aria, Venetian and Tuscany, 2017 Tuscany XTE and 2017-2019 Palazzo motorhomes vehicles that received an inspection-only remedy for recall 18V-763. The rear mounted Power Distribution Module (PDM) may have been damaged during manufacturing, possibly resulting in the rear marker lights, brake lights, or turn signals not functioning.

TMC will notify owners, and Daimler Trucks dealers will replace the PDM, free of charge. This recall is expected to begin September 20, 2020. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000196.

Camping at Flag City RV Resort, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Sequence and Tellaro motorhomes. The dinette booth seat belts may be too short preventing them from being usable by some occupants. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) numbers 208, “Occupant Crash Protection” and 209, “Seat Belt Assemblies.”

TMC will notify owners, and dealers will replace the 18-inch seat belt tether with a 24-inch tether on both sides of the dinette booth, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin September 22, 2020. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000198.

Camping at Tucson Lazydays KOA, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2017-2021 Freedom Elite motorhomes. A 100amp converter breaker was incorrectly installed at the battery tray when a 70amp breaker is required, possibly resulting in the wiring connected to the breaker overheating.

TMC will notify owners, and dealers will replace the converter breaker with one of the correct amperage if needed, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin September 22, 2020. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000199.

Camping at Wind Creek Casino Resort, Atwood, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (Thor) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Daybreak, Four Winds, Quantum, Delano, Tiburon, Chateau and Freedom Elite motorhomes and 2020 Gemini, Chateau Citation, Compass, Siesta, and Synergy motorhomes built on Sprinter Van chassis (platform 970 (VS30), equipped with swivel seats. The wiring harnesses for the front seats may have been routed incorrectly and could become jammed and damaged in the swivel seat frames.

Thor will notify owners, and Mercedes-Benz dealers will inspect the wire harness routing for both front seats and will repair the wiring and add clips or cable ties as needed, free of charge. Owners may contact Thor customer service at 1-877-855-2867 Mercedes-Benz customer service at 1-877-762-8267. Thor’s number for this recall is RC000200.

Camping at Columbia Sun RV Resort, Kennewick, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Daybreak 23DB, 2018-2021 Four Winds 23U, and 2018-2021 Chateau 23U motorhomes. Bolts of the wrong size were used to secure the barrel chair pedestals, allowing the pedestal to separate from the floor in the event of a crash. As such, these motorhomes fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 207, “Seating Systems” and number 210, “Seat Belt Assembly Anchorages.”

TMC will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the pedestal bolt size, correcting the hardware as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin October 5, 2020. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000202.

Ambassador RV Resort, Caldwell, Idaho © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2019-2021 Salem and Wildwood motorhomes. The fresh water tank may not be properly secured to the vehicle’s frame.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will properly secure the holding tank, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin September 23, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-503-831-5410. Forest River’s number for this recall is 22-1219.

Camping at 12 Tribes Casino RV Park, Omak, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. is recalling certain 2020 Coachmen Beyond, 2017-2019 Coachmen CrossFit, and 2016-2020 Galleria motorhomes. The awning may deploy while the vehicle is moving.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will install a circuit interrupter, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin September 23, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-825-6310. Forest Rivers’s number for this recall is 225-1217.

Camping at Cochise Terrace RV Resort, Benson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Forest River Forester, Sunseeker, Dynamax Isata and Coachmen Galleria and Prism motorhomes built on Sprinter Van chassis equipped with swivel seats. The wiring harnesses for the front seats may have been routed incorrectly and could become jammed and damaged in the swivel seat frames.

Forest River will notify owners, and Sprinter dealers will inspect the wire harness routing for both front seats and will repair the wiring and add clips or cable ties as needed, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin September 23, 2020. Owners may contact Daimler Vans customer service at 1-877-762-8267. Daimler Vans number for their recall is VS3DREHSIK. Forest’s number for this recall is 51-1206.

Camping at Phoenix Destiny RV Resort, Goodyear, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winnebago

Winnebago Towable (Winnebago) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Micro Minnie 5 travel trailers. An emergency exit window was not installed in the bedroom.

Winnebago will notify owners, and dealers will replace the right side bedroom window with an escape window, free of charge. The manufacturer has not provided a schedule for the recall notification. Owners may contact Winnebago customer service at 1-574-825-5280 extension 5220.

Camping at Distant Drum RV Resort, Camp Verde, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winnebago

Winnebago Industries, Inc (Winnebago) is recalling certain 2021 Revel motorhomes. These motorhomes have an auxiliary alternator belt that may wear and detach.

Winnebago will notify owners, and dealers will coordinate the inspection and proper alignment of the belt pulleys, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin October 9, 2020. Owners may contact Winnebago customer service at 1-800-798-2002. Winnebago’s number for this recall is 162.

Camping at Rio Bend Golf and RV Resort, El Centro, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keystone

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Keystone Fuzion (models 357, 369, 373, 379, 419, 424, 427, 429 and 430) and Impact (models 26V, 28V, 29V, 311, 317, 330, 343, 359, 367 and 415) toy hauler travel trailers. The generator transfer switch may be incorrectly wired with the transfer switch “Line” wiring (shore cord) and “Load” wiring (power center wiring) reversed, allowing the generator power to energize the shore power connection.

Keystone will notify owners, and dealers will run the generator to check for the proper power output, correcting the wiring as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin August 27, 2020. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 20-382. Note: If there is no power inside the unit while the generator is running, owners are instructed to discontinue using the generator until the recall remedy is performed.

Camping at Palm Canyon Campground, Anza-Borrego State Park, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Newmar

Newmar Corporaton (Newmar) is recalling certain 2016-2019 Ventana LE, 2017-2020 Ventana, London Aire, Essex and Dutch Star, 2017-2019 Mountain Aire, 2018-2020 New Aire, and 2020 Kountry Star motorhomes that received the ‘inspection-only’ remedy from recall 19V-426. The rear mounted Power Distribution Module (PDM) may have been damaged during manufacturing, possibly resulting in the rear marker lights, brake lights, or turn signals not functioning.

Newmar will notify owners, and Daimler Trucks North America dealers will replace the PDM, free of charge. This recall is expected to begin September 19, 2020. Owners may contact Newmar’s customer service at 1-800-731-8300. Newmar’s number for this recall is 20V-404.

Camping at River Run RV Park, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tiffin Motorhomes

Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc. (Tiffin) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Tiffin Bus and 2018-2020 Zephyr motorhomes. The windshield wipers may not work due to the control module being improperly wired.

Tiffin will notify owners, and dealers will be inspect control module, correcting the wiring as needed, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a schedule for recall notification. Owners may contact Tiffin customer service at 1-256-356-8661.

Camping at Blake Ranch RV Park, Kingman, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

REV

REV Recreation Group (REV) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Fleetwood Pace Arrow motorhomes, models 33D, 36U, 35QS, 35S, 35RB and 35E. The auxiliary batteries, located inside the interior step compartment, were secured in place with a metal hold-down bracket secured with carriage bolts and standard nuts. This hardware may loosen and allow the metal hold-down bracket to shift or move and make contact with the battery terminals.

REV will notify owners, and dealers will install replacement battery hold-down mounting hardware, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin September 25, 2020. Owners may contact REV customer service at 1-800-509-3417. REV’s number for this recall is 200728REV.

Camping at Meaher State Park, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Jayco Melbourne, Melbourne Prestige and Entegra Qwest motorhomes built on Sprinter chassis and equipped with swivel seats. The wiring harnesses for the front seats may have been routed incorrectly and could become jammed and damaged in the swivel seat frames.

Jayco will notify owners, and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter dealers will inspect the wire harness routing for both front seats and will repair the wiring and add clips or cable ties as needed, free of charge. The recall began August 21, 2020. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-517-9137.

Please Note: This is the 19th in a series of posts 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

Top 7 Tragic Rookie RV Mistakes To Avoid

Make sure to avoid the following rookie mistakes

You’re out on the road in your new recreation vehicle for the first time and you commit that huge mistake that tells the world you’re a newcomer to the world of RVing. It’s embarrassing and there may be a mess to clean up, but it wouldn’t be so bad if there weren’t witnesses to see your mistake.

Before departure ensure all cords and hoses have been securely stored © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For the first couple of years of RVing it seemed I learned something new every time I pulled into a campground. Sometimes, it was not the most enjoyable experience but a learning experience. 

Everyone makes rookie RV mistakes, but you can avoid the worst ones if you do your homework ahead of time. Here are the most common mistakes new RVers make—and how to avoid them.

Back-in campsites are more challenging than pull-through sites and require considerable practice © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Drive-off Disasters

The most horrifying mistake a new RVer can make is driving off while you’re still connected to water, sewer, and/or power. The damage is expensive, and it’s extremely embarrassing.

Forgetting to lower the TV antenna is common mistake of even much traveled RVers © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Also make sure you lower the satellite dish and TV antenna, retract the awnings and slides, and pick up and stow any jack pads, leveling boards, or wheel chocks prior to departure.

And don’t forget to check head lights, tail lights, and signal lights, front and rear.

Camping at White Tank Mountains, a Maricopa County Park in Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Using Your RV before Learning How

It’s Sunday morning and you’ve had your first awesome camping experience in your newly purchased RV. Before leaving the campground, you make a pit stop at the dump station only to realize you have no idea what to do. As you search through the manual, you realize you have a line of vehicles behind you waiting to dump. 

Ensure you know how to use a dump station correctly and have adequate heavy duty hoses © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are many new procedures you need to learn—from simple things to more complex items. Before leaving home on your first camping trip, read through your operator’s manual and conduct a practice run of the major procedures, including hooking up utilities, leveling the RV, extending and retracting the slideouts, and dumping gray and black water. 

Driving a large Class A motorhome can be challenging especially on narrow roads with limited shoulder © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Not Knowing the Size of Your RV

First time RVers often have a difficult time managing the large size of their RV. Usually, cornering and parking are the toughest tasks. Also, ensure know your height and width.

Know and post on dash height of you RV © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

No Plan No Prep

Many new RVers make their first mistakes before they even hit the road. The key to success is in the planning. For a smooth, worry-free trip, make sure you consider all of these things:

  • Your budget. Set aside more money than you think you’ll need—especially for food, fuel, and camping fees. Also, be sure to set aside enough money specifically for an emergency.
  • Your route. Avoid narrow roads with sharp turns, and highways with low bridges or tunnels. There are apps for this.
  • Your reservations. Many an RVer has been denied entrance to a campground because they didn’t have a reservation. Popular camps fill up quickly and RV sites are limited.
  • Your necessities. RVs are tiny places, making it easy to overpack. Make sure you only bring what you need.
Be prepared for all kinds of weather…and an amazing sky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Not Using a Checklist!

These newbie RV mistakes can be avoided by using a checklist before, during, and after your trip. Update your checklist with every trip—you’re bound to learn a lesson or two as time goes on.

We love pull-through RV sites © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Not Doing a Walk Around?

There are many things that must be done when breaking camp with your RV. Often, a checklist is followed to assure that each item has been readied and checked before hitting the road.

The larger the RV the greater the challenge! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Generally, the last item to be completed is a full walk around. This involves the driver walking entirely around the vehicle and checking everything, verifying that all slides and awnings are fully retracted and locked, jacks are up, all appendages are disconnected from the services and stored, the hitch is secure, tires are fully inflated and not damaged, windows and vents are closed, antennas are down, and no kids, items, or other obstructions lie under the vehicle. The ground should be checked to make sure no fluids are leaking.

Now relax and enjoy the sunset… © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Remember—everyone’s an RV newbie at some point, and we’ve all made some of these newbie mistakes. You’re in good company, so keep your sense of humor, a toolbox, first aid kit, and consider yourself officially a veteran RVer.

Worth Pondering…

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

—Stephen Covey

6 Great Tips for RV Beginners

Here are six quick tips for every RV beginner to consider

Have you ever loaded up a camper and ventured into the wilderness? RVing might not be everyone’s idea of a great vacation but that hasn’t stopped it from growing in popularity over the last few years. With many favorite summer activities closed by COVID-19, more people are turning to RV trips to have a safe and exciting vacation this year. Even if you’ve never gone RVing before, now is the perfect chance to try.

Fifth wheel trailers at Canyon Vista RV Park, Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RVs are exciting and they come with some new challenges, ranging from finding the right RV to getting comfortable with driving your home-on-the-road. This is all part of a journey that will bring a sense of freedom and discovery to your life.

Here are six quick tips to consider before you pile in and head out.

Class A motorhomes at Hilltop RV Park, Fort Stockton, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 1: Choose the Right RV For You

There is no right or wrong choice. Each type of RV has features that are attractive to some RVers, and less attractive to others. It’s really not a matter of a towable is better than a motorized, or vice versa, rather, it’s a matter of what will fit best with your RVing lifestyle.

Fifth wheel trailers at Katy Lake RV Resort, Katy, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Factors such as family size, whether you want to tow it, or need a bathroom play a role in your choice.

Class C motorhome rental from Cruise America at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 2: Decide Whether to Buy or Rent

This isn’t always an easy decision, with pros and cons for both. However, when you consider a few key factors, the answer becomes clearer.

Buy: You plan to go RV camping often or full-time and you have storage for the times when you aren’t traveling.

Rent: You plan to go on a single trip, or want to test the waters before making a purchase.

Class C motorhome at Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 3: Get to Know Your RV

With little road experience, it’s especially important that RV beginners take time to learn how the RV works, even if it’s a rental. If something breaks, you should be able to assess the problem, and potentially fix it. This saves time and money spent on a mechanic.

Know how to hook up and use electric, water, and sewer servies © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When you get to know your RV, you’re less likely to make operational errors. For example, if you don’t know how many amps your main breaker can handle, there’s a good chance you’ll blow it. This is a potentially expensive error that can be avoided by getting to know your rig.

Class A motorhome traveling north to Page, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 4: Take a Practice Drive

Many find driving an RV easier than they thought, but it’s important to practice. Get in the driver’s seat and adjust the mirrors, seat belt height, lumbar support, and armrests so you’re comfortable, and make sure you can easily turn your head to see in all directions. Become familiar with all switches and controls.

Class A motorhomes on Utah Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Then take your RV for a drive around a big parking lot practicing backing up, turning, braking, and parking. It’s best to have a partner to assist with the backing up. Finally, take your it for a drive on the road over varied terrain, if possible.

Once you know the intricacies of driving an RV, you can make necessary adjustments. For example, if your drawers pop open you need to find a way to keep them shut.

Learn the correct way to use a dump station © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 5: Pack Tools and Spare Parts

Pack a well-stocked tool kit and store on the curb side of your RV. Include basic tools and items that may need to be replaced including LCD flashlights, spare fuses, LCD lights, jumper cables, nuts and bolts, WD-40, silicon spray, duct and gorilla tape, and cleaning supplies. Be sure to bring spare parts that are unique to your rig.

Know how before you go © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 5: Don’t Wing It

The urge to be spontaneous is tempting when your home is on wheels. There’s a certain pleasure in going where you want, when you want. However, it does help to have a solid plan in place especially if it’s your first RV trip.

When planning your RV trip, consider:

Use a pressure regulator when hooking up to city water © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 6: Use a Campground Setup Checklist

Pulling into your RV campground is just the start. A set-up checklist will help you keep everything in order and make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Use an electric management system to protect against surges and high and low voltage © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Walk your RV site before you pull in to ensure you have the adequate space and clearance for your vehicle checking for low hanging branches and obstacles on the ground. Locate the hookups, including electric, water, cable TV, and sewer. Level the RV if needed. Test that the hookups are working properly.

Worth Pondering…

Our wish to you is this: drive a little slower, take the backroads sometimes, and stay a little longer. Enjoy, learn, relax, and then…plan your next RV journey.

Hurricane Season: Staying Safe in your RV

Your safety and the safety of your family is most important, so develop a hurricane preparedness plan before a hurricane strikes

Stormy conditions appear to be on the horizon for the 2020 hurricane season with government forecasters announcing the possibility of an “extremely active” period. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in its pre-season outlook there’s a 60 percent chance of an above-normal hurricane season which officially starts June 1 and runs until November 30.

Rokport-Fulton, Texas following Hurricane Harvey, a Cat 4 hurricane (August 25, 2017) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

NOAA forecasters are calling for 13 to 19 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher; of those, six to 10 could become hurricanes. Among those hurricanes, three to six will be major, classified as Category 3, 4, and 5 with winds of 111 mph or higher.

Rokport-Fulton, Texas following Hurricane Harvey, a Cat 4 hurricane (August 25, 2017) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With hurricane season officially upon us, it’s important to know the ins and outs of RV safety—when to ride out a tropical storm and when it’s time to head out of Dodge to a safer locale. Motorhomes and travel trailers are ideal ‘survival’ vehicles during natural disasters. When faced with a possible hurricane, your recreational vehicle can transport you, your loved ones, and your home to a safer place.

Goose Island State Park, Texas following Hurricane Harvey, a Cat 4 hurricane (August 25, 2017) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Here’s what you need to know.

Hurricane season is no joke. The devastating power of these twisting tropical storms is humbling—and it can change your life, or even end it, in a second. That’s why folks who live near the coastal areas most vulnerable to hurricanes carefully track each storm over the course of the season, even the small ones. It might just end up being a tropical depression that spins off harmlessly into the ocean… but you just can’t be too careful when dealing with nature’s fury.

Goose Island State Park, Texas following Hurricane Harvey, a Cat 4 hurricane (August 25, 2017) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Of course, that goes double, if not triple, for those of us who live or travel in a recreational vehicle. We’ll cut right to the chase: no matter what kind of rig you call home, an RV is not a safe place to ride out a hurricane. In fact, even tropical storms and smaller thunderstorms can cause serious and life-threatening damage to your home-on-wheels.

The Big Tree at Goose Island State Park, Texas stood firm during Hurricane Harvey, a Cat 4 hurricane (August 25, 2017). Your RV would not be this fortunate. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Nature’s fury has a knack of catching you off-guard; hurricanes are no exceptions. Hurricanes pack enough punch to destroy everything in their wake and in those times it is best to be prepared for an immediate evacuation. Tropical storms and hurricanes are unpredictable to a large extent and must not be treated lightly. Your RV can become your best friend and your ticket to safety if you take certain safety measures for yourself and your vehicle.

Fortunately this was not a major storm approaching Capitol City RV Park in Montgomery, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When you’re traveling by RV, the weather takes on a whole new level of importance. Motorhomes and travel trailers are not safe places to take shelter during extreme weather events which means it’s critical to stay up to date and alert about changing weather patterns and potential severe weather warnings in your area. It’s not melodramatic to say that your life and the lives of your family could hang in the balance.

Sunrise RV Park in Texarkana, Arkansas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fortunately, the same feature that makes RVs an unsafe place to weather a storm makes it relatively easy to avoid bad weather in the first place: they’re on wheels! Evacuation is the key to surviving a hurricane in an RV. It may actually take days to reach a safe destination. In addition, the path of the storm may change requiring you to change directions.

Eagles Landing RV Park, Auburn, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Don’t wait too long and get stuck in heavy traffic with last minute, mandatory evacuees. As soon as you know a hurricane is likely to come your way, load up your RV and head out before the Interstate becomes a virtual parking lot.

Tom Sawyer RV Park, West Memphis, Arkansas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Prepare an emergency kit by stocking your RV with items such as water, non-perishable foods, and prescription medications. Before the storm, fill your vehicle with fuel and check the windshield wipers and tires. Place your RV and house insurance documents, vehicle registration, title, passport, and other important documents in a waterproof bag and keep them with you.

Buckhorn RV Resort, Kerrville, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keep handy items such as tarps, flashlights and extra batteries, candles and extra lighters or waterproof matches, disposable garbage bags, NOAA Weather Radio, first aid kit, and a toolkit ready at all times.

Stay safe out there!

Worth Pondering…

In reality, you don’t ever change the hurricane. You just learn how to stay out of its path.     

—Jodi Picoult

Considering a Summer Getaway? Tips for Reducing Your Risk during the Pandemic

If you’re looking for a COVID-friendly summer vacation, an RV road trip is a solid way to go

If the coronavirus has you going stir-crazy, there’s a good chance you’ve thought about taking an RV road trip. After all, an RV allows you to travel without exposing yourself to germy airports and hotels.

Your summer vacation plans probably look a little different this year. For many families, that may mean skipping the airport and loading up the RV for a family road trip. If you’re planning a trip before the end of summer, a little advance planning can go a long way toward making your vacation safe and fun for everyone.

Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fears about the coronavirus are forcing many people to rethink traditional air travel and hotel stays and look into recreational vehicles as a safer alternative. Some RV dealerships have seen an increase in sales of up to 170 percent and many customers are first-time buyers. In May, peer-to-peer rental service RVshare saw a 650 percent spike in bookings since the beginning of April.

Along a scenic route in eastern Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

An RV allows you and your family to get out of the house while maintaining social distancing. It even allows you to avoid places you might feel uncomfortable being in like a hotel or restaurant. With an RV, you can bring everything with you!

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in the Texas Hill Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are two types of RVs to consider: a motorhome that combines the living quarters and vehicle in one package and a travel or fifth-wheel trailer.

What should travelers take into account when deciding whether to travel?

Psychologically, people are getting tired, and it’s only natural to want to get away and go out. The first step is ‘How much risk you’re willing to tolerate?’ And that has to do with our own health condition but also the health conditions of the people around you. We have to be able to live with the virus to some degree and manage the risk that we take. A lot of it has to do with thinking of other people and how your actions impact your community. 

Dauphin Island, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Are some forms of travel safer than others? Is it better to drive or to fly?

I don’t know that we can necessarily say one is less risky. If you’re going on a road trip, for example, and have a large number of other people with you then it defeats the purpose. The larger the group the greater the chance of being exposed to others who may be infected with the virus!

Along Utah Highway 12 Scenic Byway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When we talk about flying, a lot of airline companies have requirements in place for mask wearing, and they do health screening. But the risk of flying with people that we don’t know is higher than the risk of driving in an RV or car with people that we do know and that we live with. Looking at the risk overall, road trips with family members seems to be the safest at this point.

Trapp Family Lodge near Stowe, Vermont © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What precautions should a person take when planning a road trip?

The shorter distance you have to travel the better, especially if you have family with young children. You have to think about rest stops and bathroom breaks and where you’re going to be taking those. You have to think about where you’re going to be stopping to eat. The number of stops you make along the way increases the chances of being exposed to other individuals who may be infected.

Schulenburg, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Given the rise of COVID-19 cases across the country, should travelers be careful about when or where they go?

I think we can safely say that the coronavirus is everywhere, so I wouldn’t say that any place is 100 percent safe. Avoid traveling to areas where the number of cases are on the rise. Definitely look at being flexible in your plans and in your final destination.

Lakeside RV Park, Livingston, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Here a several additional tips to help make your next road trip memorable—and prepare for whatever may come your way.

Pack smart and make a checklist. To avoid leaving any essentials at home, create a checklist a few weeks before you leave—and add to it as you think of new items.

Woods Hole on Cape Cod, Massachusetts © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bring an atlas. Even though you haven’t used one in ages, keeping a road atlas in the RV and car is always a good idea. With an old-school paper map, you don’t have to worry about losing your GPS signal, heading down a non-existent road, or running out of battery. And if you have kids, they may enjoy tracking your travels.

Seaside, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Check your tires. Before you leave home, inspect the condition of your tires and inflate them to the pressure recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer.

Sedona, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Check your emergency kit. If you find yourself stranded, a well-stocked emergency kit could help you get back on the road quickly and safely. Pre-assembled kits are available for purchase, or you can assemble your own kit.

Worth Pondering…

If you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured, it may never arrive. Mountains will not be climbed, races won, or lasting happiness achieved.

—Maurice Chevalier

July 2020 RV Manufacturer Recalls

A manufacturer recall can create a safety risk if not repaired

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.

Harvest Moon RV Park, Adairsville, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

NHTSA releases its most recent list of recalls each Monday.

It should be noted that RV recalls are related to vehicle safety and not product quality. NHTSA has no interest in an air conditioner failing to cool or slide out failing to extend or retract—unless they can be directly attributed to product safety.

NHTSA announced 14 recall notices during July 2020. These recalls involved 6 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Forest River (7 recalls), Jayco (3 recalls), Keystone (1 recall), Triple E (1 recall), Airstream (1 recall), and Gulf Stream (1 recall).

Eagles Landing RV Park, Auburn, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2020 Cedar Creek, Columbus, Flagstaff, Coachmen Apex, Palomino, Rockwood, and Sunseeker recreational vehicles and Palomino soft and hard-side truck campers and Real-Lite Truck Campers. The adhesive bond between the glass and the metal hinge frame of the frameless crank out vent and egress windows may fail which would then allow the glass to detach and fall out.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the windows for proper adhesive bond strength, replacing the windows as necessary, free of charge. This recall is expected to begin August 3, 2020. Owners may contact Rockwood & Flagstaff Customer Service at 1-574-642-8943, Cedar Creek Customer Service at 1-260-593-4000, Sunseeker Customer Service at 1-574-206-7600, Coachmen Apex and Apex Nano Customer Service at 1-574-358-0401, Palomino Customer Service at 1-269-432-3246, Columbus Customer Service at 1-574-821-1487 or Lippert Customer Service at 1-574-537-8900.

Leaf Verde RV Park, Buckeye, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Rockwood trailers, model RLT2205S-W. The Federal Placard indicates an incorrect Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR).

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will provide replacement placards that contain the accurate information, free of charge. This recall is expected to begin August 5, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-642-8943. Forest River’s number for this recall is 10B-1185.

Sunrise RV Park, Texarkana, Arkansas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2021 Palomino Columbus recreational trailers, models CMF389FL, CMF389FLC and CMF389FLW. As built, the furnace vents under the rear slide out room, allowing exhaust fumes to re-enter the trailer through the slide-out room seals.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will remedy the location of the furnace vent. This recall is expected to begin August 5, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-821-1487. Forest River’s number for this recall is 410-1187.

California RV Park, Action, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling 2016 Amera-Lite Cargo Van trailers, model ALD612SA. The thickness of the steel tubes used to manufacture the trailer’s drawbars may be insufficient for the vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will replace the drawbars, free of charge. This recall is expected to begin August 10, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-848-1335. Forest River’s number for this recall is 24-1191.

Whispering Hills RV Park, Georgetown, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Vengeance trailers, models VGF351A13-81, VGF371A13-81, VGF383V16-81 and VGF4007V-81. The fifth-wheel landing legs may not be seated properly with enough space between the brackets which are welded to the chassis, allowing the fifth wheel to slip down the landing leg and can puncture the floor of the vehicle.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will correct the spacing of the landing leg installation to the chassis from 17 1/2″ to 17 3/4″. These repairs will be done free of charge. The recall is expected to begin August 10, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-260-499-2100. Forest River’s number for this recall is 81-1180.

Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2021 No Boundaries (NOBO) 10.5 and 10.6 travel trailers equipped with Dometic CFX3 Series chest refrigerators (models CFX3 35, CFX3 45, CFX3 55IM, CFX3 75DZ, CFX3 95DZ and CFX3 100). The protection device on the electrical circuit may fail when the refrigerator is connected to both AC and DC power, allowing the AC/DC power supply to back feed through some or all of the other appliances (such as the air conditioner, water pump, lights, furnace, etc.) that are connected to the 12V DC system. A voltage overload may result, causing DC appliances on the same circuit to fail.

The remedy is still under development. This recall is expected to begin August 11, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-642-3119 Option 2, or Dometic customer service at 1-888-943-4905. Forest River’s number for this recall is 51-1189.

Golden Village Palms RV Park, Hemet, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2021 Riverstone trailers, models RSF37MRE, RSF381FB, RSF383MB, SF383MB-W, RSF39FK, RSF38FKTH, RSF39FKTH-W, RSF39FK-W, RSF39RBFL, RSF39KFB and RSF39RKFB-W, equipped with an optional generator prep package. Incorrect transfer switch wiring may allow a voltage back feed to the power cord when plugged into shore power.

Forest River will notify owners, dealers will correct the wiring to the generator, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin August 19, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-260-593-2425. Forest River’s number for this recall is 70-1194.

Cajun Palms RV Resort, Henderson, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2017 North Point fifth wheel trailers. The leaf springs in the front and rear suspension of the vehicle do not provide adequate load support and may allow the tires to contact the surrounding structure under certain dynamic load conditions.

Jayco will notify owners, and dealers will install a rubber bump stop into the top sides of the axles, as well as inspect the suspension and replace any defective leaf springs as necessary. Tires with visible damage will be replaced as well. All repairs will be performed free of charge. This recall is expected to begin July 17, 2020. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-517-9137. Jayco’s number for this recall is 9901513.

Sunny Acres RV Park, Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2019-2021 Entegra Qwest and Jayco Melbourne and Melbourne Prestige motorhomes built on Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis. The rear part of the fender liner on the front axle may contact and chafe the brake hose, possibly resulting in a loss of brake fluid.

Jayco will notify owners, and Mercedes Sprinter dealers will inspect and replace the brake hoses, and the fender liners will be modified, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 17, 2020. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-517-9137.

7 Feathers Casino RV Park, Canyonville, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2016-2018 Greyhawk and Redhawk and 2018 Envoy 100 and 200 Series motorhomes. The mounting bracket for the leveling system hydraulic pump may fail and allow the pump or the fluid reservoir to contact the ground.

Jayco will notify owners and dealers will add a support bracket to reinforce the existing support bracket, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin August 14, 2020. Owners may contact Jayco’s customer service at 1-800-517-9137. Jayco’s number for this recall is 9903515.

Hidden Lake RV Park, Beaumont, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keystone

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Keystone Carbon, Cougar, Fuzion, Impact and Raptor fifth-wheel trailers equipped with a Furrion over the air (OTA) wing-style television antenna. The antenna may separate from the mounting base during transit, becoming a road hazard.

Keystone will notify owners, and dealers will replace the Furrion wing-style antenna with a Winegard dome-style antenna, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin August 31, 2020. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 20-381.

Columbia Riverfront RV Park, Woodland, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Triple E

Triple E Recreational Vehicles (Triple E) is recalling certain 2020 Wonder W24RTB, W24MB, and W24FTB motorhomes built on a Ford transit chassis. The CCP1 electrical connection located on the driver’s seat base was not tightened to the correct specification and may short circuit.

Triple E has notified owners, and dealers will tighten the electrical connection to specification, free of charge. This recall began June 26, 2020. Owners may contact Triple E customer service at 1-877-992-9906. Triple E’s number for this recall is CA#9711-1.

River Run RV Park, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Airstream

Airstream, Inc. (Airstream) is recalling certain model year 2020-2021 Airstream Interstate motorhomes equipped with VB suspension systems. The lock portion of the countersink bolts attaching the VB Suspension system to the vehicle may be too long preventing the panhard rod bracket from fully contacting the springs, resulting in bolts absorbing the load instead of the bracket.

Airstream will notify owners, and dealers will replace the suspension bolts, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin August 31, 2020. Owners may contact Airstream customer service at 1-877-596-6505.

Ambassador RV Resort, Caldwell, Idaho © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Gulf Stream

Gulf Stream Coach, Inc. (Gulfstream) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Super-Lite 19RD Travel Trailers. When the black water holding tank is full, the clearance between the axle and the black water holding tank may be insufficient.

Gulf Stream will notify owners, and dealers will replace the axle with a drop axle to allow more clearance between the top of the axle tube and the black water holding tank. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule for this recall. Owners may contact Gulf Stream customer service at 1-800-289-8787.

Please Note: This is the 18th in a series of posts 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

On the Road Again: Summer Road Trip Safety Tips

Get on the road and stay safe with these safety tips

Days of packed resorts and amusement parks might be a thing of the past until we see a more consistent decrease in COVID-19 cases. Instead of packing out theme parks and resorts, families are gearing up and hitting the road. Millions of RV and camping enthusiasts are traveling the highways and byways of the U.S. and Canada this summer, many for the first time. And as more people join the RV lifestyle, it is increasingly important that RVers take the time to understand ways to safely enjoy these fun but challenging recreational vehicles.

Along Newfound Gap Road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Here’s how to stay safe on the road and avoid accidents that may take you off the road for costly and time-consuming repairs—and raise your insurance premiums.

Always conduct a pre-drive safety check.

A “walk-around” visual inspection can save your life.

Driving north to Page and Lake Powell on US Highway 89 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Make sure bay doors are closed and secured.

Double-check tow bar and safety cables.

Disconnect all power, cable TV, phone, water, and sewer hoses.

Retract jacks, steps, and awnings.

Driving Utah Highway 12 Scenic Byway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Look under the rig for signs of fluid leaks.

Check signal lights, brake lights, and headlights prior to departure.

Check oil, transmission, and coolant levels.

Check the propane tank for leaks and intake/exhaust lines for blockages.

Driving a scenic road in Organ Pipe National Monument, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Check tire inflation pressure and examine tread wear.

Make sure carbon monoxide, smoke, and LP gas (propane) detectors are operational.

Check your surroundings (weather, overhangs, and ground hazards).

Turn LP gas (propane) OFF at the tank when traveling.

Connected to city water using a pressure regulator © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Never refill propane tanks with appliances or engine running.

Avoid refrigerator fires. Have your propane tank regularly checked by a certified dealer to ensure lines are in good operating condition and not leaking.

Follow the Rule of 20 Percent. Fully loaded rigs have slower acceleration and take longer to stop than cars. To compensate, add 20 percent to everything you do, from increasing your following distance, to judging if you have enough clearance, to safely merging into traffic.

Not the way to care for your tires © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Protect yourself from blowouts. Blowouts count for the majority of RV insurance claims. They’re caused by improper inflation, worn tread, an overloaded/overweight vehicle, and aged-out tires. To avoid cracking, regularly wash your tires with mild soap, water, and a soft brush. To prevent UV damage, keep your tires covered when you’re not driving.

Whispering Oaks RV Park, Weimar, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Under- and over-inflation can both lead to blowouts. Check the inflation pressure on your tires at least once a month and always before a trip. Do this when tires are cold, since heat from driving temporarily increases air pressure. Never remove air from a hot tire. It can create dangerous under-inflation when the tire cools.

Check the age stamp on the tire and replace when 7 years old, no matter the condition of the tire.

Holiday Travel Park of Chattanooga, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Practice S.A.F.E. cornering:

  • Slowly approach the turn.
  • Arc the turn. Be careful not to start by swinging in the opposite direction, which can confuse drivers behind you.
  • Finish your turn completely. Don’t straighten the wheel before the back of the vehicle has cleared the pivot point.
Know your height. Covered bridge in Parke County, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Experience is Key. Practice! Practice! Practice!

Know your height. Believe it or not, hitting bridges and overhangs is one of the most common RV accidents. Know your exact clearance and write it on a sticky note on your dashboard. Speaking of measurement, most RVs are 8.5 feet wide and the average highway, about 10 feet. That gives you only a foot and a half of wiggle room.

Hacienda RV Resort, Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you feel your front wheel slipping off the road into a rut, take your foot off the gas and gently brake. Jamming the brakes can get you deeper into the rut. Keep steering your RV forward. Once you’ve slowed down, gently turn to the left and ease out of the rut slowly. If you overcorrect by jerking the wheel left, you might jackknife.

Blake Ranch RV Park, Kingman, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Always back in to tight places, and pull out facing forward.

Worth Pondering…

Remember, safety is no accident.

June 2020 RV Manufacturer Recalls

A manufacturer recall can create a safety risk if not repaired

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.

NHTSA releases its most recent list of recalls each Monday.

Hidden Valley RV Park, Beaumont, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It should be noted that RV recalls are related to vehicle safety and not product quality. NHTSA has no interest in an air conditioner failing to cool or slide out failing to extend or retract—unless they can be directly attributed to product safety.

NHTSA announced 26 recall notices during June 2020. These recalls involved 10 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Forest River (9 recalls), Keystone RV Company (4 recalls), Thor Motor Coach (4 recalls), Jayco (3 recalls), KZRV (1 recall), Triple E (1 recall), Highland Ridge RV (1 recall), Airstream (1 recall), Grand Design (1 recall), and Newell (1 recall).

Barnyard RV Park, Lexington, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Surveyor Travel Trailers, model SVT296QBLE. The safety chains are insufficient for the trailer’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and may break in the event of the trailer coming unhitched.

Forest River will notify owners, and a dealer or service center will replace the safety chains, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 1, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-642-3112. Forest River’s number for this recall is 37-1170.

Tri-Mountain RV Park, Ridgefield, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Coachmen Mirada and Pursuit Class A motorhomes. The gasoline-powered generator fuel supply hose may leak.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the fuel hose, replacing it if necessary, free of charge. This recall is expected to begin July 6, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-825-8212. Forest River’s number for this recall is 310-1168.

Katy Lake RV Resort, Katy, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Haulin, US Cargo, and US Cargo Trail N Sport cargo trailers. The safety chains are insufficient for the trailer’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and may break if the trailer comes unhitched.

Forest River will notify owners, and a dealer or service center will replace the safety chains, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 8, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-848-1335. Forest River’s number for this recall is 24-1167.

Buccaneer State Park, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2021 Prime Time Avenger travel trailers. The safety chains that help prevent a total trailer separation may have been incorrectly attached to the trailer.

Forest River will notify owners, and a dealer or service center will install the missing safety chain attaching hardware, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 15, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-862-1025. Forest River’s number for this recall is 51-1163.

A+ Motel & RV Park, Sulphur, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2021 FR3 recreational vehicles built on a Ford chassis with a V8 engine. The wiring harness may have an incorrect wire connected to the parking brake, allowing the leveling jacks to deploy inadvertently while the vehicle is in motion.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will correct the wiring harness, free of charge. This recall is expected to begin July 29, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-206-7600. Forest River’s number for this recall is 68-1178.

Terre Haute KOA, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2021 Cherokee Wolf Pack toyhaulers, model CKF325PACK13. The propane gas line may be routed around sharp edges which may cause a propane leak.

Forest River will notify owners and dealers will reroute the propane line and/or replace it if necessary, free of charge. This recall is expected to begin August 5, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-260-499-2100. Forest River’s number for this recall is 73-1182.

Creek Fire RV Resort, Savannah, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Coachmen Galleria, Dynamax Isata, and Forest River Battisti Coach, Forester, and Sunseeker motorhomes, built on 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis. The rear part of the front fender liner may contact and chafe the brake hose, possibly resulting in a loss of brake fluid.

Forest River will notify owners, and Mercedes-Benz or Freightliner Sprinter dealers will inspect and replace the brake hoses, as necessary. Additionally, the fender liners will be modified. All services will be performed free of charge. This recall is expected to begin July 29, 2020. Owners may contact DVUSA customer service at 1-877-762-8267. DVUSA’s number for this recall is VS3BRADVER. Forest River’s number for this recall is 51-1177.

Eagel’s Landing RV Park, Holt, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2020 Surveyor recreational trailers equipped with a specific 30K BTU furnace. The furnace may not have been properly secured inside the furnace cabinet, allowing it to move freely inside the cabinet.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will secure the furnace and verify the exhaust vent connections, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 29th, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-642-3119 Option 2. Forest River’s number for this recall is 47-1175.

West Creek Casino RV Park, Atmore, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Coachmen Galleria and PRISM, Forest River Forester, Battisti and Sunseeker and Dynamax Isata recreational vehicles built on Sprinter chassis with automatic transmission. The operator’s manual does not correctly specify certain conditions under which the automatic parking function (“Auto-P”) operates.

Forest River will notify owners, and Mercedes-Benz dealers will provide the correct description of the Auto-P function for the Operator’s Manual, free of charge. The manufacturer has not provided a notification schedule for this recall. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-800-348-7440 or Sprinter service at 1-877-762-8267. The booklet with correct information is also available online through Mercedes-Benz, free of charge.

Cochise Terrace RV Resort, Benson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keystone RV Company

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Cougar travel trailers, model 24RDS, equipped with a Furrion range cook top. The interior range cooktop is installed in a cabinet that may not be entirely sealed from the furnace cavity. As a result, during furnace operation, the interior range cooktop burner flame may invert.

Keystone will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the interior range cooktop with the furnace running, installing a plywood panel to seal it as necessary, free of charge. This recall is expected to begin July 17, 2020. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 20-377.

Ambassador RV Resort, Caldwell, Idaho © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keystone RV Company

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2020 Springdale trailers, model 295BHWE. The Federal Identification Tag incorrectly indicates the tire load range and size as ST255/75R15E with 80 psi; however, the correct load range and tire size is ST255/75R15D with 65 psi. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of 49 CFR Part 567, “Certification.”

Keystone will notify owners, and dealers will replace the Federal Identification Tag. This recall is expected to begin July 27, 2020. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 20-378.

12 Tribes Casino RV Park, Omak, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keystone RV Company

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2020 Springdale trailers, model 335BHWE. The affected trailers incorrectly have 4400 pound axles and ST255/75R15D tires and rims, instead of the correct 5200 pound axles and ST255/75R15E tires and rims as specified on the Federal Identification Tag.

Keystone will notify owners, and dealers will replace the 4400 pound axles, ST225/75R15D tires, and rims with 5200 pound axles, ST225/75R15E tires, and rims. This recall is expected to begin July 27, 2020. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 20-379.

Eagle’s Landing RV Park, Auburn, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keystone RV Company

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2020 Alpine, Avalanche, Fuzion, Laredo, Montana, Raptor, Crossroads Redwood, and Dutchmen Voltage trailers. The adhesive bond between the glass and the metal frame of the frameless windows may fail which can allow the glass to detach while moving.

Keystone will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the windows for proper adhesive bond strength, replacing the windows as necessary, free of charge. This recall is expected to begin July 29, 2020. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 20-375.

Leaf Verde RV Park, Buckeye, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Quantum, Chateau and Four Winds, and 2020 Vegas and Axis motorhomes built on a Ford E-series chassis. A wire harness in the rear of the vehicle may contact the vehicle frame, resulting in damage to the circuits that support the fuel pump and the anti-lock braking system (ABS).

TMC will notify owners, and Ford dealers will inspect the wire harness for damage. If no damage is found, dealers will apply anti-abrasion tape over the area and ensure clearance to surrounding components. If damage is found, dealers will splice in new wire and apply anti-abrasion tape over the area and ensure clearance to surrounding components. All services will be performed free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 27, 2020. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000189.

Sunrise RV Park, Texarkana, Arkansas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2020 Daybreak, Four Winds, Delano, Gemini, Quantum, Tiburon, Chateau Citation, Compass, Chateau, Siesta, Freedom Elite, and Synergy motorhomes built on Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis [platform 907 (VS30)] equipped with automatic transmissions. The owner’s manual does not correctly specify the certain conditions under which the automatic parking function (Auto-P) operates.

TMC will notify owners, and a Mercedes Benz dealer will supplement the Operator’s Manual with a correct description of the Auto-P function equipped in the vehicle. This recall is expected to begin July 26, 2020. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000190.

Alamo Lake State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2020 Daybreak, Four Winds, Delano, Gemini, Quantum, Tiburon, Chateau Citation, Compass, Chateau, Siesta, Freedom Elite, and Synergy motorhomes built on Mercedes Benz Sprinter chassis [platform 907 (VS30)]. The rear part of the fender liner on the front axle may contact and chafe the brake hose, possibly resulting in a loss of brake fluid.

TMC will notify owners, and an authorized Mercedes-Benz dealer will inspect the brake hoses for chafing and replacement if necessary. The fender liner will also be altered to permit more clearance. All repairs will be performed free of charge. This recall is expected to begin July 27, 2020. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000191.

Meaher State Park, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2020-2021 ACE, 2021 Four Winds and 2020 Gemini, Axis, Compass, Delano, Windsport, Hurricane, Outlaw, and Vegas motorhomes. The adhesive bond between the glass and the metal hinge frame of the frameless windows may fail which would then allow the glass to detach and fall out.

TMC will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the frameless windows for proper adhesive bond strength, replacing the windows as necessary, free of charge. This recall is expected to begin July 5, 2020. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000192.

Lake Osprey RV Resort, Elberta, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Entegra Qwest and 2019-2021 Jayco Melbourne and Melbourne Prestige Class C motorhomes built on Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis. The Operator’s Manual may not contain the correct information about how the automatic parking function (“Auto-P”) operates.

Jayco will notify owners, and Mercedes-Benz or Freightliner Sprinter dealers will provide the correct description of the Auto-P function for the Operator’s Manual, free of charge. This recall is expected to begin June 12, 2020. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-517-9137 or Sprinter service at 1-877-762-8267. The booklet with correct information is also available online, free of charge.

The Motorcoach Resort, Chandler, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2020 Towable Eagle, Eagle HT, JayFlight, NorthPoint, Octane, Pinnacle, Seismic, and Talon recreational vehicles. The adhesive bond between the glass and the metal hinge frame of the frameless crank out vent and egress windows may fail which would then allow the glass to detach and fall out.

Jayco will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the frameless windows for proper adhesive bond strength, replacing the windows as necessary, free of charge. This recall is expected to begin June 15, 2020. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-517-9137. Jayco’s number for this recall is 9901508.

River Run RV Resort, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2020 Motorized Alante, Greyhawk, Melbourne, Precept, Redhawk, Seneca, Accolade, Emblem, Esteem, Odyssey, Qwest, and Vision recreational vehicles. The adhesive bond between the glass and the metal hinge frame of the frameless crank out vent and egress windows may fail which would then allow the glass to detach and fall out.

Jayco will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the frameless windows for proper adhesive bond strength, replacing the windows as necessary, free of charge. This recall is expected to begin June 15, 2020. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-517-9137. Jayco’s number for this recall is 9901508.

Harvest Moon RV Park, Adairsville, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

KZRV

KZRV, L.P. (KZRV) is recalling certain 2018 Escape recreational trailers. The Federal Identification Tag and Tire Inflation Pressure Label indicates an incorrect Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR), and an incorrect tire and rim size with incorrect tire inflation pressure, which can result in the tires being overinflated. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 110, “Tire Selection and Rims.”

KZRV will mail corrected labels to owners with instructions for their application, free of charge. This recall is expected to begin June 30, 2020. Owners may contact KZRV customer service at 1-800-768-4016, extension 154 or 153. KZRV’s number for this recall is KZ-2020-02.

JGW RV Park, Redding, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Triple E

Triple E Recreational Vehicles (Triple E) is recalling certain 2020 Unity travel trailers, model U24RL. The utility compartment’s inner latch mechanism may rotate due to vehicle motion, becoming locked.

Triple E will notify owners, and dealers will repair the utility compartment latch mechanism, free of charge. This recall began June 2, 2020. Owners may contact Triple E customer service at 1-877-992-9906. Triple E’s number for this recall is CA#9681-1.

Flag City RV Resort, Lodi, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Highland Ridge RV

Highland Ridge RV (Highland Ridge) is recalling certain 2020 Ridge, Open Range, and Silverstar recreational trailers. The adhesive bond between the glass and the metal hinge frame of the frameless crank out vent and egress windows may fail which would then allow the glass to detach and fall out.

Highland RV will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the frameless windows for proper adhesive bond strength, replacing the windows as necessary, free of charge. This recall began June 15, 2020. Owners may contact Highland RV customer service at 1-260-768-7771. Highland RV’s number for this recall is 9901508.

Pleasant Harbor RV Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Airstream

Airstream, Inc. (Airstream) is recalling certain 2017-2018 Basecamp travel trailers. The adhesive bond between the glass and the metal frame of the entry door window may fail, allowing the glass to separate while the trailer is moving.

Airstream will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the windows for proper adhesive bond strength, replacing the windows as necessary and installing updated adhesive strips to all windows, free of charge. This recall is expected to begin August 11, 2020. Owners may contact Airstream customer service at 1-877-596-6505 or 1-937-596-6111, extension 7401 or 7411.

Pala Casino RV Resort, Pala, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Grand Design

Grand Design RV, LLC (Grand Design) is recalling certain 2016-2018 Reflection trailers. A wiring connector in the vehicle underbody may not be properly secured, allowing water intrusion into the wiring connector, possibly resulting in an electrical short circuit.

Grand Design will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and secure the wiring connectors up to prevent water intrusion, free of charge. This recall is expected to begin July 27, 2020. Owners may contact Grand Design’s customer service at 1-574-825-9679. Grand Design’s number for this recall is 910020.

Rain Spirit RV Park, Cottonwood, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Newell

Newell Coach Corp. (Newell) is recalling certain 2020-2021 P50 motor coaches. The decorative cover for the center console column may be knocked loose by the driver’s foot, allowing the piece to become lodged under the brake pedal.

Newell will notify owners and request the owners remove and discard the decorative cover. Dealers will install a replacement apron cover, free of charge. This recall is expected to begin July 13, 2020. Owners may contact Newell customer service at 1-888-363-9355. Newell’s number for this recall is 124.

Please Note: This is the 17th in a series of posts 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