What to Do During a Wildlife Collision

If a crash with wildlife is inevitable, you should aim for the spot where the animal is coming from rather than where it is going

We’ve all been there. You’re on a wide, dry, empty country road, and you wonder “why does it have such a low-speed limit? I’m a good driver, I’ve got good tires, I can speed through here without any problems.”

But, maybe traffic engineers set the speed limit low not because of the road design but because this is an area where deer keep diving through windshields. That slow speed limit is there so you have enough time to scan the bushes for suicidal deer and stop in time if one wanders into the roadway.

Elk in Jasper National Park, Alberta © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Deer and moose will leap in front of your vehicle for seemingly no reason. Also, the faster your speed, the worse the collision!

In an earlier post, I reviewed what drivers can do to reduce the chances of having a wildlife-vehicle collision. Wild animals are a threat to motorists, but there are measures you can take to avoid hitting them.

Heed the warning signs and increase your roadside awareness. Reduce speed in wildlife zones. Drive defensibly and actively watch for wildlife movement or shining eyes on and beside the road. Actively scan the sides of the roads as you drive for any signs of wildlife.

Bighorn sheep in Jasper National Park, Alberta © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One deer means more deer. Deer travel in herds and if you see one, slow right down as there will be many more. Moose are less gregarious, so one moose may simply mean one moose but it is still suggestive that more moose are in the area. And cows are frequently with a calf.

Bison in Elk Island National Park, Alberta © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What if a Wildlife Collision is Inevitable?

In certain situations, there is no real choice except to hit the wild animal. Diminish the impact if it is inevitable. If an accident with a deer, elk, or moose is inevitable, consider the following suggestions for lessening the impact.

If it appears impossible to avoid the animal, aim for the spot the animal came from, not where it is going. This may take you away from it and the animal is more likely to keep moving forward rather than backtracking. This will only work if there is one animal.

Deer in Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Shift your line of eyesight to where you want to go, not at the animal. You tend to drive where you look―if you are looking at the animal, that is where the vehicle tends to go.

Try to skim rather than fully impact the animal. If you must hit something, try for a glancing blow rather than a head-on hit. Brake firmly and quickly, then look and steer your vehicle to strike the animal at an angle. Take your foot off the brake as you impact. The release of the brake causes a slight lift of the front end of the vehicle and reduces the chances of the animal coming through your windshield if your vehicle is tall enough. The deer isn’t going to be okay, but you will.

If you’re heading into a collision, lean toward the door pillar. In the Mythbusters where they tested this, the center of the car was completely crushed in every impact but the triangle by the door pillar was intact in each accident. No guarantees are offered; you are far better off avoiding the collision.

Elk in Jasper National Park, Alberta © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What to do Following a Wildlife Collision?

This depends on the type and condition of the road, the amount of traffic, the type of animal, and the condition of the driver. Take care after a collision with a deer, elk, bear, or moose. 

Check passengers for injuries and treat accordingly. Even if there are no injuries, shock may occur fairly quickly. Try to reassure one another and if it is cold, put on warmer clothing immediately as shock or fear increases the inability to ward off cold. If it is winter, stay in the car for warmth.

Rocky Mountain goat in Jasper National Park, Alberta © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are some important steps to take after assessing if everyone is relatively unharmed. Pull off the road if possible. Turn on hazard lights and if you can, illuminate the animal with your headlights. Use road flares or triangles if you have them. Warn other drivers if there is a carcass on the road which poses a hazard. 

Bison in Custer State Park, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You may choose to carefully approach the animal to determine if it is dead or injured. If it is injured, back off. An injured animal can be very dangerous; it may kick or gore you from fear and pain.

You may choose to remove a dead animal from the road so that it does not present a hazard to other drivers. Quick removal prevents other animals from being attracted to the highway. Only attempt to remove the animal if you are 100 percent certain that it is dead, it is safe to do so, and you are physically capable of moving it. 

Inspect your vehicle to see if it is safe to continue driving.

Bison at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Call the police immediately or flag down help. Remember that most insurance companies won’t pay for the damages you suffer from hitting a deer or a moose if you don’t file a police report. Report vehicle damage to your insurance company.  

Worth Pondering…

Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast—you miss the sense of where you’re going and why.

—Eddie Cantor

The Best RV Camping September 2021

Explore this guide to find some of the best in September camping across America

Where should you park your RV? With so many options out there you may be overwhelmed with the number of locales calling your name.

Here are 10 of the top locations to explore in September. RVing with Rex selected this list of 5 star RV resorts from parks personally visited.

Planning an RV trip for a different time of year? Check out our monthly RV park recommendations for the best places to camp in July and August.

Grand Canyon Railway RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Grand Canyon Railway RV Park, Williams, Arizona

Set in the mountain community of Williams—Gateway to the Grand Canyon—the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park is the ideal place to unwind and relax. The park has three types of RV spaces: select from pull-through, buddy spaces, or back-in sites. All spaces are 50-amp and large enough for big rigs. Each space comes with high definition digital TV provided by DirecTV, wireless Internet, and access to the indoor swimming pool and hot tub at the adjacent Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. The property has coin-operated laundry machines and a common picnic area with gas grills and a fire pit. Take the historic train from Williams into Grand Canyon National Park. Adjacent to the historic train depot, Grand Canyon Railway RV Park is just two blocks away from Route 66 and downtown Williams.

Coastal Georgia RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia

Coastal Georgia RV Resorts offer 105 spacious sites, all 35 feet wide with lengths ranging from 60 to 70 feet. Most sites are pull-through with full hookups including 30 and 50 amp service and tables. The Resort’s roads are all paved. Fire rings are available at the Pavilion. Amenities include a game room, conference room, two bathhouses, two laundromats, a dock, and a store where you can find RV supplies as well as LP gas. The resort also offers a swimming pool, horseshoe pits, and shuffleboard courts. A cable TV and Wi-Fi are included. From I-95 (exit 29) and US 17, go ½ mile west on SR-17, turn left onto US-17 south for ¼ mile, turn east onto Martin Palmer Dr for 1 mile and enter straight ahead.

Las Vegas RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Las Vegas RV Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas RV Resort is a 378 site RV park restricted to guests 18 years of age or older with a great location a short distance from the action of ‘The Strip’. The resort offers full hook-ups with back-in and pull-through sites available. Amenities include free Wi-Fi throughout the resort, pool and spa, fitness center, laundry facilities, pet area, picnic tables at every site, and 24-hour patrol.

Capital City RV Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Capital City RV Park, Montgomery, Alabama

Approximately 6 miles north of I-85 (Exit 6), Capital City RV Park is a 5-star park located on the northeastern edge of Montgomery. The park offers clean and quiet sites at reasonable rates.

Capital City features full-hookup sites with 20/30/50 amp electric service, cable TV, high-speed wireless Internet, a complete laundry facility, and private bathrooms with showers. Our pull-through site was 70 feet long and 35 feet wide with centrally located utilities. Interior roads and individual sites are gravel. This is a well-designed and maintained RV park.

Ambassador RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ambassador RV Resort, Caldwell, Idaho

Ambassador RV Resort is a 5-star resort that is easy-on, easy-off (I-84 at Exit 29) with 188 full-service sites, pool, spa, sauna, and 5,000 square foot recreation hall. Features 30-foot x 85-foot short term pull-through sites, 35-foot x 75-foot long term pull-through sites, 45-foot x 60-foot back-in sites, and wide-paved streets. Pets are welcome if friendly and the owner is well trained.

Located near Idaho’s wine country and convenient to the Boise metro area, the Ambassador is the perfect home base for all your activities.

Grandma’s RV Camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Grandma’s RV Camping, Shepherdsville, Kentucky

New in 2002 Grandma’s pull-through sites are in the 70-75 foot range. Back-in sites are also available. Easy-on, easy-off, the park is located off I-65 at Exit 116, an excellent location for touring Louisville, Bardstown, and Bourbon Country. Streets are paved and sites are gravel. With no one in the office, we picked a site and registered later. Since utilities are located near the rear of the site, the toad needs to be unhooked and parked at the front of the site.

Hacienda RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Hacienda RV Resort, Las Cruces, New Mexico

Hacienda RV Resort is located off the I-10, exit 140, in Las Cruces, 1.5 miles from Historic Old Mesilla. Hacienda offers paved roads leading to 113 spacious RV sites with a variety of sizes and layouts with many boasting breathtaking views of the Organ Mountains. Relax in the large outdoor patio with a wood-burning fireplace or enjoy the comfortable southwestern community clubhouse with an indoor fireplace, workout facility, and gift shop. Park amenities include 30/50 amp service with full hookup (electric, water, and sewer), private showers/dressing rooms with hairdryers, free cable TV, high-speed Wi-Fi, and a large, enclosed dog run. Choose from pull-through sites (55– 59 feet), back-in sites (34–36 feet), extra-long back-in sites (52–53 feet), and extra-long, big-rig pull-through sites (69–130 feet).

RV Park at Rolling Hills © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV Park at Rolling Hills Casino and Resort, Corning, California

The RV Park at Rolling Hills Casino is an easy-on, easy-off (I-5; Exit 628) 96-space RV park with long pull-through sites (up to 75 feet in length) with 30/50 amp electric service, water, and sewer conveniently located. All spaces are pull-through. Wi-Fi access is available over most of the park. The RV Park is within an easy walk of the Casino and golf course. Laundry facilities are available nearby at the Traveler’s Clubhouse. The site is safe and secure with a 24-hour patrol.

Galveston Island State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Galveston Island State Park, Galveston, Texas

With both beach and bay sides, Galveston Island State Park offers activities for every coast lover. Hike or bike four miles of trails through the park’s varied habitats. Stop at the observation platform or photo blinds, and stroll boardwalks over dunes and marshes. Twenty camping sites are available on the bayside of the park. Each site offers 50/30 amp electricity, water, a picnic table, and nearby restrooms with showers. These sites are for RV camping only. Additionally, 10 sites are available for tent camping only.

Columbia River RV Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Columbia Riverfront RV Park, Woodland, Washington

Developed in 2006 by the present owners who are former RVers, Columbia Riverfront RV Park is a 5-star resort. A quiet getaway on ten acres of beautifully maintained property right on the sandy beach of the Columbia River, Columbia Riverfront is big-rig friendly. With a view of the Columbia River out of our windshield, our pull-in site was 45 feet in length with room for the toad. Utilities including 50/30/20-amp electric service, water, sewer, and cable are centrally located. Pull-through sites in the 85-95 foot range are also available. Wi-Fi works well. Interior roads are paved and sites are crushed gravel and level. Columbia Riverfront is located 22 miles north of Portland, Oregon, in Woodland off I-5 (Exit 22); west 3.25 miles on Dike Access and Dike roads.

Worth Pondering…

Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort.

—John Ruskin

August 2021 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.

Camping at Blake Ranch RV Park, Kingman, Arizona © 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 August 2021. These recalls involved 9 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Newmar (4 recalls), Forest River (3 recalls), Heartland (1 recall), Eclipse (1 recall), Newell (1 recall), Airstream (1 recall), Entegra (1 recall), Tiffin (1 recall), and Grand Design (1 recall).

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

Newmar

Newmar Corporation (Newmar) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Kountry Star and 2021 Ventana motorhomes. The tie rod clamps may be loose, which could result in loose tie rod ends that could break or detach.

Dealers will replace the tie rod clamp bolts and nuts, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on September 17, 2021. Owners may contact Newmar customer service at 1-800-731-8300. Newmar’s number for this recall is FL-888.

Camping at Bellingham RV Park, Bellingham, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Newmar

Newmar Corporation (Newmar) is recalling certain 2019-2021 Bay Star, Ventana, New Aire, 2019-2020 Canyon Star, Bay Star Sport, Essex, King Aire, London Aire, Mountain Aire, 2018-2021 Dutch Star, 2020 Kountry Star, and 2019 Ventana LE recreational vehicles. The adhesive that bonds the vented portion of the window may fail.

Dealers will inspect the windows, and replace the vent if necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on September 25, 2021. Owners may contact Newmar customer service at 1-800-731-8300. Newmar’s number for this recall is 21E 047.

Camping at Grand Canyon Railway RV Resort, Williams, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Newmar

Newmar Corporation (Newmar) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Dutch Star, New Aire, and Ventana motorhomes equipped with Cummins L9 diesel engines. A fuel leak may occur from the fuel hose between the fuel pump and the remote fuel filter head.

Cummins will replace the fuel hoses, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on October 3, 2021. Owners may contact Newmar’s customer service at 1-800-731-8300. Newmar’s number for this recall is Cummins 21E-063.

Camping at The Lakes Golf and RV Resort, Chowchilla, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Newmar

Newmar Corporation (Newmar) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Dutch Star, New Aire, and Ventana vehicles equipped with Cummins L9 diesel engines. A fuel leak may occur from the fuel hose between the fuel pump and the remote fuel filter head.

Cummins will replace the fuel hoses, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on October 16, 2021. Owners may contact Newmar’s customer service at 1-800-731-8300 or Cummins’ customer service at 1-800-286-6467. Newmar’s number for this recall is DTNA #21V556/FL-897.

Camping at The Californian RV Resort, Acton, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2021 Prime Time Tracer TRT22RBS recreational trailers. The tail light is located too close to the water heater exhaust, which may cause the tail light to become distorted and fail.

Dealers will install a new water heater, and replace the tail light if necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on September 6, 2021. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1574-862-1025. Forest River’s number for this recall is 51-1389.

Camping at Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2019-2021 Salem, Wildwood, and 2020-2021 Stealth EVO travel trailers. The freshwater tank may not be properly secured to the vehicle’s frame.

Dealers will properly secure the holding tank, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on September 19, 2021. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-503-831-5410. Forest River’s number for this recall is 22-1400.

Camping at Eagles Landing RV Park, Holt, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2017-2018 Starcraft Allstar XL transit buses equipped with Cummins B6.7 diesel engines. The electric fuel heater within the fuel module may overheat, causing plastic in the fuel heater to melt and potentially catch fire. It may also lead to engine stalling.

The remedy is still under development. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on September 19, 2021. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-800-348-7440. Forest River’s number for this recall is 05-1401.

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

Heartland

Heartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC (Heartland) is recalling certain 2021 North Trail and Mallard recreational trailers. The refrigerator roof vents were not routed properly during production.

Dealers will inspect the roof vent, and repair the vent sleeve connection if necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on September 16, 2021. Owners may contact Heartland customer service at 1-877-262-8032.

Camping at Grandmas RV Park, Shepherdsville, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Eclipse

Eclipse Recreational Vehicles, Inc. (Eclipse) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Attitude, Stellar, and Iconic trailers equipped with Dometic S31, R731, and R2131 3-burner cooking stoves. The saddle valve securing bolt may be overtightened, possibly damaging the o-ring seal and causing a continuous gas leak.

Dometic service centers will install a remedy kit of gaskets, washers, thread locker bolts, and two round orange labels, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a schedule for recall notification. Owners may contact Eclipse customer service at 1-269-342-3184.

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

Newell

Newell Coach Corp. (Newell) is recalling certain 2008-2022 P50 vehicles. The adhesive that bonds the vented portion of the window may fail.

Newell will inspect the windows, and replace the vent if necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed in July 2021. Owners may contact Newell’s customer service at 1-888-363-9355.

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

Airstream

Airstream, Inc. (Airstream) is recalling certain 2022 Interstate 24X recreational vehicles. The inverters may have been improperly wired with incorrectly sized wires and circuit breakers.

Dealers will install additional wiring and circuit breakers, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a schedule for recall notification. Owners may contact Airstream customer service at 1-877-596-6505 or 1-937-596-6111 ext. 7401 or 7411.

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

Entegra

Entegra Coach (Entegra) is recalling certain 2018-2022 Anthem, Aspire, Insignia, and Reatta XL Class A vehicles. The sealing washer may not seat correctly in the pilot boreholes, allowing the high-pressure fuel rail assembly to leak.

Entegra will work with Spartan and Cummins to inspect the rail threads and fuel lines and replace the rail as necessary, free of charge. Cummins began to notify owners on July 30, 2021. Owners may contact Entegra Coach customer service at 1-800-517-9137.

Camping at Portland Fairview RV Park, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tiffin

Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc. (Tiffin) is recalling certain 2017-2022 Wayfarer motorhomes. Continuous stress on the frame rail hitch extensions may cause them to fail.

The remedy is still under development. Owner notification letters are expected to be mail October 4, 2021. Owners may contact Tiffin customer service at 1-256-356-8661. Tiffin’s number for this recall is WAY-101.

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

Grand Design

Grand Design RV, LLC (Grand Design) is recalling certain 2021 Imagine recreational trailers equipped with Dexter D30 axles. The axles may have been assembled with incorrect inner bearings.

Dealers will inspect the axles for incorrect bearings and replace the bearings as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on September 13, 2021. Owners may contact Grand Design customer service at 1-574-825-9679. Grand Design’s number for this recall is 910024.

Please Note: This is the 31st 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

The Top 5 Considerations when Trading in or Selling Your RV

Tips on how to get maximum value when upgrading to a newer RV

Whether you own a teardrop camper trailer or a diesel-powered motorhome, RVing provides you the freedom to roam where and when you want before planting your stakes at a rustic campground or scenic resort—not some seedy inn or cookie-cutter hotel located miles from the action of the outdoors.

Every year, thousands of RVers trade up to a new recreational vehicle with more room and newer, more advanced amenities. There comes a time when every RV owner, whether they’ve had their coach for two years or 20, decides it’s time to upgrade.

Moving from the old to the new © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thanks to recent innovations, RVs have become much more user-friendly and advanced than they used to be. Residential-quality kitchen appliances, assisted steering, LED TVs, ultra-maneuverable chassis, and automatic generators all represent available technology that might be missing from your current motorhome, trailer, or fifth wheel. These innovations have dramatically improved engine efficiency, energy usage, in-dashboard navigation, and storage capacity. When you see these advances, you may feel enticed to trade in your RV for an upgraded model, or maybe switch to a different class.

New motorhome at a dealership © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Should you find yourself on the cusp of becoming a “full-timer,” you may discover that your weekender RV isn’t up to the task of acting as your primary residence. Features and comforts you never thought about become necessary to living comfortably on a full-time basis. If this sounds like your situation, a larger, more residential arrangement is the answer.

For you, that time may be now. It can be tough to know where to begin—and how to go about—the RV trade-in process.

Side by side, the old and the new © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Whatever your reason for trading up, this guide can assist you in navigating the most important aspects of trading in your current unit. You can save yourself some cash when you apply a generous trade value credit to your new, upgraded purchase. We’ve outlined five things to keep in mind as you prepare your RV for trade-in to ensure you receive the maximum value credit.

A bucket of household cleaning supplies and a little elbow grease can transform your RV’s appearance from “worn down” to “like-new” in less than a day’s time. A coach that sparkles and shines both inside and out can have a significant positive impact on its trade-in or resale value.

Washington the exterior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Exterior Condition

Start by washing your RV’s exterior and addressing any cosmetic damage the best you can. If your paint appears dull, consider waxing it or paying someone to detail it for you. I prefer Meguiar’s product line.

Check the roof for signs of damage, rust, or mold, especially around vents and in and around any awnings or cloth-like materials. The same goes for windows which can collect moisture, mold, and rust from precipitation. Be sure to clean the windows inside and out.

Check the tires, fill them to their recommended pressure and, if necessary, rotate them. Examine them for excessive wear and replace them if necessary. In most cases, RV tires age out before they wear out.

Other items often overlooked? Windshield wipers, side mirrors, and doorsteps are all apt to show signs of wear and tear, mold, or rust.

Prep the interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Interior Condition

Some simple repairs may be in order for the interior of your RV. You’ll want to check to see if any of the cabinet or door hinges are loose and make sure all of the power outlets are functioning. If you’ve experienced issues with any of your appliances, consider having an electrician check the wiring. In some cases, reupholstering can also increase the trade-in value.

All appliances should be clean and in proper operating condition. Gather any owner’s guides or instruction manuals.

Check all systems © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Engine, Batteries & Maintenance

Making sure your travel vehicle is in good working order and sound mechanical condition are the two most important aspects when it comes to receiving maximum value for your trade or sale.

Take the RV in for maintenance and scheduled service and be sure to get an idea of the condition of your engine and battery. Ask the technicians working on your RV to keep an eye out for ways to increase the value of the RV.

Check interior for general impression © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

General Style and Cleanliness

Ensure your RV interior makes a first great impression: vacuum, wipe down surfaces, dust, clean out cabinets, and shampoo upholstery or carpets if necessary. Consider what future buyers’ impression of the cabin will be. Does it have an odd or stale odor or dated or out-of-place styling?

Everything in working order © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Gather All Paperwork

Ensure all important documents and paperwork is available, including the deed, transferable warranty, mileage and year, service and maintenance records, purchase receipts (tires, wiper blades, batteries, aftermarket items, etc.), documented changes that you’ve made to the RV over time, and any other documents you’ve accrued during the ownership of the RV.

Other key documents include your RV owner’s manual; paperwork or instruction booklets associated with appliances, electronics, and aftermarket items; and current registration.

Worth Pondering…

Far too late to understand many of the missed goals in life:

Joy, beauty of nature, health, travel, and culture,

Therefore, man is, time-wise!

High time is it! Travel, travel!

—Wilhelm Busch (1832-1908)

An RVers Guide to Campground Etiquette

Do you practice good RV campground etiquette?

Unless you are about to embark on your first RV road trip, you probably already practice the basic, common-sense rules of campground etiquette. They simply reflect the good manners that most of us observe in our everyday lives.

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

Unfortunately, many of us have encountered that rare individual with rude or thoughtless behavior that spoils a camping experience for others. It all begins with the Golden Rule. If we expect our campgrounds to be friendly, well-mannered communities, we should make sure we are friendly and courteous campers.

Virtually every RV Park has posted speed limits usually in the range of 5-10 miles per hour. Courteous behavior and good manners begin with observing speed limits throughout the park. Obey one-way signs as well.

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

Every campground has its own set of rules and regulations usually included in a park brochure or handout sheet. Read them carefully as they serve as a guide to what you can and cannot do at that particular campground.

Avoid walking through someone else’s campsite. You wouldn’t walk through a stranger’s yard without asking—so be polite and go the extra distance around.

Most RV campgrounds are family-friendly and, yes, kids deserve to have fun too. However, the fun shouldn’t be at the expense of the neighbors in your campground. Make sure they’re supervised when roaming about and know the campground rules.

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

Many RVers love to take their pets camping—and they love it too—but irresponsible pet owners are one of the most common causes of campground etiquette complaints. Keep your dogs on a short leash when walking and make sure they are properly restrained at the campsite. Not even the most ardent of dog lovers can put up with incessant barking, so if your pooch is one of those non-stop yappers plan to leave it with a sitter when you go camping.

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

Finally, it goes without saying that you should be prepared to clean up after your pet. If you forget to bring your own, most campgrounds provide doggie bags to make the cleanup easy and convenient.

Keeping the noise down is another important campground courtesy. You might jam to heavy metal but chances are your neighbor prefers Tchaikovsky. So, it’s good to remember that your sounds shouldn’t travel beyond your own campsite.

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

Most campgrounds post quiet hours so be sure you know when they are and be doubly sure to keep things quiet during that period. Outside lighting can be an irritant to neighbors as well so turn off your awning and/or porch lights when you retire for the evening.

Emptying holding tanks is not a popular task—but dumping those tanks is a nasty fact of life for every camper and should be done courteously and with consideration of your neighbors. Don’t do it when they are relaxing with a drink or enjoying a meal.

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

Late arrivals and early departures can create a campground disturbance, so try to be as quiet as possible. If you’re planning an early getaway, stow your camping gear the evening before.

Some state parks and most federal campgrounds don’t have power outlets, so in those instances, you’ll need to rely on your batteries, solar, or a generator. You shouldn’t need to run the generator for long to maintain your RV batteries. Having a solar system and generator is the best of both worlds minimizing generator usage for a more peaceful campground experience.

Columbia River RV Park, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Since your campsite is just on loan to you, it’s important to leave it as you found it. Don’t move fire rings or boundary stones and if you relocate the picnic table, return it to its original place when you leave. Never cut branches or pound nails into trees for clotheslines or hammocks. Before departing, take a look around the site for personal items or litter.

As a final thought, take time to make some new friends. We all spend too much time on our personal devices these days, so crank up your communications skills and go for some old fashion personal contact. Time on the road is precious—so relax, have fun, and enjoy the company of some newfound friends.

Worth Pondering…

Enjoy your days and love your life, because life is a journey to be savored.

What I’ve learned at 80

With more age comes more wisdom…sort of

Eventually, you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it. Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me. I want people to know why I look this way. I’ve traveled a long way and a lot of the roads were not paved.

Ah! Being young is beautiful but being old is comfortable.

Devonian Botanical Gardens, Edmonton, Alberta © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In a few days, I will turn fourscore years or in modern parlance: I’ll be 80 years old. Man, that age sounds rickety to me.

After poking around online last week, I discovered a site featuring a “life expectancy calculator” that estimates how much longer I’ll still be drinking coffee every morning. One of the questions asked of me was inadequate and I fudged on another, but according to this life expectancy site, I will likely be sipping my cup of Joe for another 19 years. Knock off three years for my tomfoolery on the site and I still have a way to go.

Fort Assiniboine, Alberta © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Good news? Bad news! I suppose that will depend on the state of my health.

Squeeze as much as possible from the time given to you on this earth.

All I can say for certain is that turning 80 seems impossible to me, a huge chunk of days, weeks, and months. And what a trip it’s been.

I was born during World War II. Since then, a dozen or more wars have been fought, and America won the Cold War, put men on the moon, gave untold billions of dollars in aid to the rest of the world, and created an economy never before seen in world history.

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

During that time, our world has undergone immense changes. I rode a horse to and from a one-room schoolhouse. The horse was an old (I mean “old”) gray mare, she was swaybacked and all. Reading, good penmanship, and arithmetic were stressed more than the other subjects. These subjects were known as the “Three R’s”—Reading, ‘Riting, and ‘Rithmetic. And, many prairie farmers still used horses and thrashing machines to take off the crop. Polio ravaged the world before Jonas Salk found a vaccine to prevent it.

Those days are long gone, but I remember so much of what happened along the way since then, bits and pieces, some vivid reminiscences, some dim with the shadows of time. So many memories, so many faces, and names, and so much joy and sorrow!

Okanagan Wine Country, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Young people—and by young people, I mean anyone half my age or less—odds are the minutes, hours, days, and years of your life will fly by as well. At some point in the future, you’ll be as I am today, looking back into the recesses of time and wondering how everything went by so quickly.

In the words of Jordon Peterson in 12 Rules for Life, “Everyone needs a concrete, specific goal—an ambition, and a purpose—to limit chaos and make intelligible sense of his or her life.”

Joshua Tree National Park, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There’s beauty in a brand new day. The turn from dawn into morning gives us the chance to start anew, begin fresh. Nina Simone may have put it best when she sang in Feeling Good: It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me!

What, then, are my favorite reasons for waking up in the morning?

To enjoy another sunrise!

Because I am alive and there is something new to be explored, learned, observed in the day to start.

Highlands Hammock State Park, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Carpe diem: Seize the day! Appreciate the value of every moment in life. Every day is a gift.

Because I still can and I know that someday in the not too distant future, I won’t be able to anymore. Got to live the life I have while I have it.

And I believe it behooves us old fogeys to make as many decisions as possible, no matter how tiny, to keep our brains in gear.

Having reached four score years, I look back with enormous gratitude at some of the blessings bestowed on me by life.

Ocmulgee National Monument, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What I’ve Learned At 80

I’d rather be 75.

I still miss my old job like I miss the flu.

At 80, routine is king.

There’s a big difference between prostate and prostrate.

Bend over slowly or you might not get up.

Lake Wawasee at Syracuse, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Stay off ladders.

For a price, there’s always someone who will do your household chores.

If you always look up at the stars you may miss the dog poop at your feet.

Two beers is a party.

Bernheim Forest, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Aging works for wine and cheese but not necessarily for people.

You no longer have to ask for the senior’s discount.

Using the TV remote is the only workout you need.

Wrinkles are just wisdom creases.

Duct tape can fix most problems. Most, but not all!

After 80, no one will ask you to help them move.

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

By the time you’re 80, doctors will have probed every orifice in your body no matter how small or remote.

Don’t worry about how you’ll fill up the days when you’re retired. At least half of your time will be spent on medical tests, appointments, and procedures.

You can now probably open your own pharmacy.

You can live on less than you thought.

Consider buying Velcro sneakers.

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

You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar but who the hell wants to catch flies?

Grass seed seldom grows.

No matter what anyone says, you don’t really need new slippers.

Avoid the things you cannot change, defer those you can, and don’t be afraid to say no.

Cradle Of Forestry in America, North Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Age is just a number but it can be a pretty big number.

Getting old is not for sissies.

Life goes by fast.

A piece of advice: Don’t let the sweep of your schedule hide the beauty that lies all around you.

The second piece of advice from this old guy: Live one day at a time.

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jordon B. Peterson asks in 12 Rules for Life, An Antidote To Chaos, “What shall I do with the fact of aging? Replace the potential of my youth with the accomplishment of my maturity.”

Worth Pondering…

Don’t try to be young. Just open your mind. Stay interested in stuff. There are so many things I won’t live long enough to find out about, but I’m still curious about them.

—Betty White

How to Avoid a Wildlife Collision

Every year wildlife collisions are the cause of hundreds of thousands of vehicle accidents along North American roads

Colliding with deer, elk, bear, and moose is potentially fatal for drivers and passengers and is likely to cause significant damage to your vehicle—and to the animals. To avoid a collision, whether driving a car, truck, or recreational vehicle, be alert and know what to do if you come head-to-head with one.

Deer crossing Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It is important for motorists to have information about the factors that influence animal behavior. This will lead to an increased level of understanding about when, where, and why wildlife is most likely to be present near the road. Animals are active 24 hours of the day and all year round, but records kept by insurance and government agencies show that there are peak times when wildlife-vehicle collisions are more likely and drivers should be especially alert.

Drivers need to be alert and cautious because moose are on the move, according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Moose are more likely to be crossing roadways at this time of year, especially after dark or early in the morning as they move from wintering areas to spring feeding locations.

Bison in Elk Island National Park, Alberta © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

More moose are hit by motorists in the spring than at any other time of the year. There is another peak of activity in September and October, the breeding season for moose. Moose are especially difficult to see at night because their fur is very dark, and they are so tall that their eyes are normally above most headlight beams, and therefore their eyes may not reflect the headlights.

Drivers need to be especially careful and people should enjoy watching moose from a safe distance. Moose can be unpredictable and dangerous if you get too close and they feel cornered or get irritated.

Elk in Jasper National Park, Alberta © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Most literature suggests that dusk and dawn are traditionally times of high wildlife-vehicle collisions. Light levels are low and animals are active at these times.

Based in British Columbia, the Wildlife Collision Prevention Program (WCPP) reports that 35-45 percent of all collisions with wildlife in British Columbia and Alberta occur between 7:00 p.m. and midnight with Fridays accounting for 15.8 percent of all collisions.

Deer are involved in approximately 80 percent of wildlife-vehicle collisions. May and November have the highest rates of collisions involving deer.

Rocky Mountain Sheep in Jasper National Park, Alberta © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Moose are involved in approximately 7 percent of all wildlife-vehicle collisions. Due to the extremely large size of these animals, (a mature bull moose may weigh up to 1,200 pounds), there is a significant chance that a moose-vehicle collision will result in a human fatality.

Elk are involved in approximately 3 percent of wildlife-vehicle collisions.

Wild animals are a threat to motorists, but there are measures you can take to avoid hitting them. Collisions occur most often in prime deer, elk, and moose habitats such as forested areas and waterways. Heed the warning signs and increase your roadside awareness. If you see a deer, elk, or moose crossing sign, be extra alert and slow down. These wild animals crossroads for a wide variety of reasons and at different times of the year. They cross the road randomly as well as at their regular crossings.

Bison in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Reduce speed. Speed is a major factor in collisions. Wildlife experts have recommended 55 mph as a suitable speed for wildlife zones in good weather conditions as it provides you with some reaction time to stop. Also, the faster the speed, the worse the collision!

Drive defensively. Actively watch for wildlife movement or shining eyes on and beside the road. Drivers should be cautious between dusk and dawn. Light levels are low and animals are active. Always be aware of the danger.

Deer in Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Observe your surroundings. Actively scan the sides of the roads as you drive for any signs of wildlife. Look on the roadsides, the shoulders, down into ditches (they love the grass there), median strips, intersecting roads, on the road itself and try to spot any signs of movement, flashes of eyes, or body shapes. Be sure to scan both sides.

In most vehicle collisions, particularly fatal ones, you usually don’t see the animal before it slams into you. That’s why the best way to keep bear fur out of your grille is to slow down, stay alert, and continually scan the ditches for glowing eyes.

Bison in Custer State Park, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But if all that fails and you’re finding your car hurtling directly towards Bambi, there is one last-second tip that could save your life.

Slam on the brakes until the moment just before impact, then release them. This lifts the nose of the car just enough so that you may deflect the animal away from the vehicle and prevent it from flying directly at you.

The deer isn’t going to be okay, but you will.

Worth Pondering…

The best way of being kind to bears is not to be very close to them.

―Margaret Atwood, MaddAddam

July 2021 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.

Texas Lakeside RV Resort, Port Lavaca, Texas © 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 10 recall notices during July 2021. These recalls involved 10 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Forest River (1 recall), Winnebago (1 recall), Thor Motor Coach (1 recall), Jayco (1 recall), Roadtrek (1 recall), VanLeigh RV (1 recall), Heartland (1 recall), Newmar (1 recall), Braxton Creek (1 recall), and Tiffin (1 recall).

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2015-2017 Coachmen Cross Country, 2015 Coachmen Encore, 2016-2020 Coachmen Mirada, 2018-2021 Coachmen Sportscoach, 2019-2021 Forest River Berkshire, 2011-2016 Forest River Blue Ridge, 2014-2019 Forest River Cardinal, 2014-2020 Forest River Cedar Creek, 2014-2021 Forest River Georgetown, 2019 Forest River Legacy, and 2017-2018 Forest River Riverstone recreational vehicles equipped with Hehr 6400 Series windows. The adhesive that bonds the vented portion of the window may fail.

Dealers will inspect the windows, and replace the vent if necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed August 18, 2021. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-825-8600. Forest River’s number for this recall is 51-1380.

Sun Outdoors Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winnebago

Winnebago Industries, Inc. (Winnebago) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Solis, Travato, and Ekko vehicles, equipped with GE-ES Double Flipseats. The seat belt retractors may lock up when the vehicle is on a slight incline. As such, these seats fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards numbers 208, “Occupant Crash Protection” and 209, “Seat Belt Assemblies.”

Winnebago will work with Freedman to notify owners, and dealers will inspect the seat and repair, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a schedule for recall notification. Owners may contact Winnebago customer service at 1-614-585-6939 or 1-800-537-1885 or Freedman customer service at 1-800-443-4540.

Hilltop RV Park, Fort Stockton, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2019-2021 Aria, Challenger, Miramar, Outlaw, Palazzo, Tuscany, and Venetian recreational vehicles equipped with Hehr 6400 series windows. The adhesive that bonds the vented portion of the window may fail.

Dealers will inspect the windows, and replace the vent if necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed September 8, 2021. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000232.

Portland Fairview RV Park, Portland, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2019-2021 Anthem, Aspire, Cornerstone, Insignia, Reatta, and Embark recreational vehicles equipped with Hehr 6400 series windows. The adhesive that bonds the vented portion of the window may fail.

Dealers will inspect the windows, and replace the vent if necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed August 16, 2021. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267. Jayco’s number for this recall is 9903569.

Frog City RV Park, Duson, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Roadtrek

Roadtrek Inc. (Roadtrek) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Zion, Zion SRT, Play, and Slumber vehicles. An incorrect gas detector that is missing the carbon monoxide alarm may have been installed.

Roadtrek will ship owners a carbon monoxide detector to mount to their vehicle, free of charge. Owner notification letters were mailed on June 29, 2021. Owners may contact Roadtrek customer service at 1-519-745-1160. Roadtrek’s number for this recall is 2021-02.

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

VanLeigh RV

VanLeigh RV (VanLeigh) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Vanleigh Beacon recreational vehicles. Interference from the rear ladder can prevent the rear egress window from fully opening.

Dealers will replace the egress window, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a schedule for recall notification. Owners may contact VanLeigh customer service at 1-662-612-4040.

RV Park at Rolling Hills Casino, Corning, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Heartland

Heartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC (Heartland) is recalling certain 2021 Heartland Pioneer SS171 travel trailers. The Federal Certification label has the incorrect Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and axle rating. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 120, “Wheels and Rims – Other Than Passenger Cars” and 49 CFR Part 567, “Certification.”

Heartland will mail replacement labels to owners, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed August 27, 2021. Owners may contact Heartland customer service at 1-877-262-8032.

Capital City RV Park, Montgomery, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Newmar

Newmar Corporation (Newmar) is recalling certain 2019 Mountain Aire, 2020-2021 New Aire, 2020-2022 Super Star, 2018-2021 Ventana, and Dutch Star vehicles equipped with certain Cummins diesel engines. The sealing washer may not seat correctly in the pilot boreholes, allowing the high-pressure fuel rail assembly to leak.

Cummins service centers will inspect the rail threads and fuel lines, and replace the rail as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed August 31, 2021. Owners may contact Newmar customer service at 1-800-731-8300. Newmar’s number for this recall is Cummins 21E-32.

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

Braxton Creek

Braxton Creek RV (Braxton) is recalling certain 2020-2021 LX and BX travel trailers, equipped with Dometic R1731, R2131, and S31 3-burner cooking stoves. The saddle valve securing bolt may be overtightened, possibly damaging the o-ring seal and causing a continuous gas leak.

Braxton Creek will install a remedy kit of gaskets, washers, thread locker bolts, and two round orange labels, free of charge.. Owner notification letters were mailed July 2, 2021. Owners may contact Braxton customer service at 1-260-768-7932. Braxton’s number for this recall is 20E071.

Grand Canyon Railroad RV Resort, Williams, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tiffin

Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc. (Tiffin) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Allegro Bus and Phaeton motorhomes, equipped with certain Cummins L9 diesel engines. A fuel leak may occur from the fuel hose between the fuel pump and remote filter head.

Dealers will replace the fuel hoses, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed September 6, 2021. Owners may contact Tiffin customer service at 1-256-356-8661. Tiffin’s number for this recall is TIF-117.

Please Note: This is the 30th 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

Camping Travel Tips for Pet Owners

Whether you’ll be camping with your pet for the first time or just need a reminder, this article may provide some helpful hints for you

Planning to take your pet camping with you this summer?

Then you are in good company.

Traveling with your pet © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

More and more campers and RVers are traveling with their pets and finding it makes camping even more enjoyable. Camping and pets are, in most cases, a good mix.

According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), more than 50 percent of RV travelers bring pets on their travels. Among these pet owners, 78 percent bring dogs, 15 percent travel with cats, and the remaining pet owners travel with birds or other small pets.

Pet parade in an RV park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And in the travel industry at large, more and more families are traveling with their pets and experts say pet travel is fast becoming a multi-billion dollar industry due to the popular trend.

Traveling with your pet can be rewarding for you and your family’s pet but the key to a successful camping trip or any mode of vacation travel is advanced planning and preparation, common sense, and sometimes a dose of creativity. Only friendly, non-aggressive dogs should be brought to campgrounds.

A cat on a mission in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The most important thing to remember before making plans is to make sure your pet is healthy enough to travel. A pre-vacation check-up with your veterinarian is just what the doctor ordered to make sure Fido or Fluffy is up to snuff and ready to hit the road. Make sure your pet is up to date on all shots and bring copies of vaccination records with you, as you never know when you might need them.

Some RV parks offer dog-washing stations © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When packing for pets, it’s important to remember food and water dishes, an extra collar and leash, licenses, medicines or supplements, brushes, tie-outs, shampoo, and something familiar from home like a toy or blanket. If a dog is comfortable sleeping in a crate at home, that should be brought along too. Consider giving your pet bottled water for continued consistency.

Ensure your pet is properly identified. Also, obtain identification with the address of your destination. Carry a photo of your pet. You’ll be glad you did if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of making, photocopying, and posting “lost pet” notices.

Pet parade in an RV park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bring along your pet’s bed and favorite toys so it will feel comfortable and at home on the road. If traveling with a feline friend, think through the cat-box arrangement. Having extra litter, a covered litter box, plastic bags for disposal, a scoop, and baking soda to cover the bottom of the box will keep mess and odor to a minimum.

Your dog feels as cramped as you do after hours of traveling. You must walk your canine pet when you take rest stops. If your pet is a cat, walks aren’t an issue, but plenty of stretching room is.

Pet-washing station at Tucson/Lazydays KOA © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To make camping with your pet an exciting experience for the both of you, be sure to research the campsite ahead of time, take note of any restrictions or regulations, and bring the essentials along with you.

When registering at a campground or RV park check the location of the nearest veterinary doctor or clinic and how to get there. After settling into a camp or RV site with pets, it is important to be a responsible camper and pet owner. This includes cleaning up after pets, keeping them leashed, and making sure they stay out of prohibited areas.

Looking for your pet cat? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The most important thing to remember is they are your pets and you must make some changes to your RVing lifestyle to ensure their comfort. They may have an accident in the RV and you need to accept that. They may require medical attention that could extend a stay when you are traveling. You need to be flexible in your plans to accommodate pets when you decide to bring them along on your travels and camping trips.

If you plan and are prepared, camping can be a rewarding, memorable experience for both owners and pets.

Worth Pondering…

A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones.

―Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

Stay Safe this Summer by Using These Outdoor Heat Hacks

Heat Safety

High temperatures can be dangerous for humans and their pets. Make your visit to a national park, state park, or other recreation areas memorable for the right reasons!

Last year, as temperatures soared into the triple digits in Texas, staff at 39 Texas State Parks handled 132 heat-related illnesses in humans and pets. Now that summer has begun and temperatures are steadily climbing, consider these six heat hacks for staying safe in the outdoors. Then read about heat illness and care of your four-legged friend while on the trail.

Golfing in Hurricane Valley near St. George, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Heat Hacks

Plan your trip with these heat hacks in mind.

Here are the top six heat hacks recommended for park visitors:

Hydrate

Drink at least 16 ounces of water every hour in the heat to replenish your body and prevent dehydration. Don’t forget to bring enough for your four-legged family members too.

Horse back riding in Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Block the Rays

Apply a generous amount of sunscreen before heading outdoors. Apply liberally and frequently and reapply every couple of hours and after swimming or sweating.

There goes my Tilley! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Dress Smart

Wear light, loose-fitting, breathable clothing; a wide-brimmed hat (I prefer a Tilley), good walking shoes, sunscreen, and wet bandanas to keep you cool while in the sun. For pets, protect paws against blistering by hitting the trails during cooler times of the day when the ground isn’t hot or by putting booties on pets to help shield paws from the hot ground. Touch the pavement or ground with the back of your hand. If you cannot hold it there for five seconds, the surface is too hot for your dog’s paws.

Stay Salty

Food helps keep up energy and replace salt lost from sweating. Eating snacks such as jerky, granola, trail mix, pretzels, tuna, and dried fruit is a fantastic way to nourish your body while on the trails.

Hiking Catalina State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Buddy System

Two brains are better than one. It’s beneficial to have someone with you in hot conditions so you can look after each other on the trail. With high temperatures hitting the US and Canada, heat-related illnesses are common, and having a friend around to help recognize the early symptoms can save you from getting sick.

Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Plan Ahead

Study a trail map and take it with you. Average hikers move at 2 miles per hour, so allow yourself sufficient time to avoid hiking in the heat of the day. Be sure to rest in a cool or shaded area to recover from the heat if necessary. It is also a good idea to let someone know your hiking route before you hit the trails and what time you should be back. That way, if you become lost, people know where to look.

Hiking Badlands National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Heat Illness

Look for these symptoms of heat illness.

Heat Strokes

  • Throbbing headache
  • No sweating
  • Red, hot, dry skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid, strong pulse
Hiking Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Heat Exhaustion

  • Faint or dizzy
  • Excessive sweating
  • Cool, pale, clammy skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Muscle cramps

If someone shows signs of heat illness, take these steps:

  • Move person to a half-sitting position in the shade
  • Call 911 immediately
  • Treat based on humidity: If below 75 percent, spray the victim with water and vigorously fan; or above 75 percent, apply ice packs on neck, armpits, or groin
It’s a dog’s life! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Heat and Dogs

Every year, dogs die after hiking with their owners in parks. Your dog will follow wherever you lead. But remember, your pet is wearing a fur coat and isn’t wearing shoes. Remember the five-second rule. Place the back of your hand on the pavement or ground. If you cannot hold it there for five seconds, the surface is too hot for your dog’s paws.

Photography in Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Dog’s Hiking List

  • Leash (no more than 6 feet)
  • Collar with tags
  • Water
  • Food/treats
  • Dog booties
  • Plastic bags (for poop pickup)
  • Foot care
Staying cool in the shade along the Lower Colorado River, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For practical steps on staying cool in your RV this summer, click here.

Worth Pondering…

“‘Heat, ma’am!’ I said; ‘it was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.”

—Sydney Smith