December 2019 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.

Gila Bend KOA, Gila Bend, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The number of RV recalls has increased significantly in recent years: 169 recalls were issued during 2016, 203 recalls during 2017, and 230 for 2018.

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 15 recall notices during December 2019. These recalls involved 8 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Forest River (6 recalls), REV Recreation Group (2 recalls), Keystone RV Company (2 recalls), Jayco (2 recalls), KZRV (1 recall), Entegra Coach (1 recall), Triple E (1 recall), Foretravel (1 recall)

Ivy Acres RV Park, Greenville, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2018-2019 Glaval Bus Apollo, Commute, Concorde II, Entourage, Legacy, Primetime, Titan, Titan II Low Floor, and Universal shuttle buses equipped with Safe Fleet Prolo Roof Escape hatches. Due to a manufacturing issue, the roof hatch external handle may unexpectedly break under reasonable use. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 217, “Bus Emergency Exits and Window Retention and Release.”

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will replace the hatch, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin December 27, 2019. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-800-748-3440. Forest River’s number for this recall is 05-1115.

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2020 Rockwood RLF8298KS and Flagstaff FLF8529RLS recreational trailers. Due to improper tire clearance, the tire may contact the steel chassis outrigger, possibly resulting in tire failure.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will install a new outrigger to achieve the proper tire clearance, and damaged tires will be replaced, free of charge. The recall began December 10, 2019. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-642-8954. Forest River’s number for this recall is 10C-1116.

Two Rivers Landing RV Resort, Sevierville, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2018-2020 Cascade and Cherokee travel trailers. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle exceeds the GVWR of the trailer hitch coupler, potentially resulting in the coupler failing and the trailer detaching.

The remedy for this recall is still under development. The recall is expected to begin January 11, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-260-499-2100 or 1-541-995-3447. Forest River’s number for this recall is 64-1114.

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2020 XLR Boost trailers, model XLT18RLE. An undersized axle, tire, and rim combination were installed, possibly resulting in the trailer being overloaded.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will install properly sized axles and tire/wheel combinations, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin January 6, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-642-0432. Forest River’s number for this recall is 79-1117.

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2020 Georgetown and FR3 motorhomes. The trailer hitch bolts may not have been properly tightened, which can allow cause the hitch to detach from the chassis.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will properly torque the bolts, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin February 10, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-296-7600. Forest River’s number for this recall is 68-1119.

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2018-2020 Dynamax Isata motorhomes. The slim-rack slide out mechanisms may activate unintentionally, extending or retracting the slide room unexpectedly.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will install a new controller and switch for the slideout mechanism, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin January 27, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River at 1-574-206-7600. Forest River’s number for this recall is 55-1030.

Irvin’s RV Park, Valemont, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

REV Recreation Group

REV Recreation Group (REV) is recalling certain 2020 Fleetwood Pace Arrow LXE, Discovery and Discovery LXE, and Holiday Rambler Navigator and Endeavor motorhomes. The wire harness/plumbing bundle within the slideout raceway may have been improperly wrapped and secured.

REV will notify owners, and dealers will inspect, repair, reroute and resecure the wire harness/plumbing bundle, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin January 31, 2020. Owners may contact REV customer service at 1-800-509-3417. REV’s number for this recall is 191126REV.

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

REV Recreation Group

REV Recreation Group (REV) is recalling certain 2016-2020 Fleetwood Bounder, Holiday Rambler Vacationer, and 2018-2020 Fleetwood Southwind motorhomes. The generator exhaust pipe placement exits the motorhome within the vehicle’s departure angle.

REV will notify owners, and dealers will inspect, replace and reroute the generator exhaust pipe, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin January 31, 2020. Owners may contact REV customer service at 1-800-509-3417. REV’s number for this recall is 191125REV.

Las Vegas RV Park, Las Vegas, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keystone RV Company

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2014 Springdale 253FWRLLS trailers. The Federal Identification Tag may have the incorrect tire, rim, and axle size. 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, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin December 2, 2019. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 19-364.

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

Keystone RV Company

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2020 Springdale trailers, models 1700FQ, 1750RD, 1760BH, 1790FQ, and 1800BH. The Federal Identification Tag lists incorrect rim size, tire size, and tire pressure information. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of 49 CFR Part 567, “Certification.”

Keystone will notify owners, and will provide replacement Federal Identification Tags, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin January 15, 2020. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 20-366.

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

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2018-2020 Melbourne Prestige motorhomes. The liquid propane (LP) tank hangers may be the wrong size and have insufficient welding, allowing the LP tank to dislodge.

Jayco has notified owners, and dealers will install a support bracket on each side of the propane tank, free of charge. The recall began December 9, 2019. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-517-9137. Jayco’s number for this recall is 9903501.

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

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2019-2020 White Hawk (144) travel trailers, model 24MBH. The rear emergency escape window can not fully open due to the placement of exterior ladder.

Jayco will notify owners, and dealers will remove and relocate the existing ladder to prevent interference with the emergency escape safety window, free of charge. The recall began December 20, 2019. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267. Jayco’s number for this recall is 9901503.

The Springs at Borrego Golf and Resort, Borrego Springs, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

KZRV

KZRV, L.P. (KZRV) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Connect and Sportsmen trailers equipped with an optional Rock Run flip up rear storage rack. The racks may detach from the trailer when loaded.

KZRV will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and replace the mounting brackets. If the existing rack is damaged, it will be replaced with a redesigned version, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin January 4, 2020. Owners may contact KZRV customer service at 1-800-768-4016, extension 154 or 153. KZRV’s number for this recall is KZ-2019-02.

Creekfire RV Resort, Savannah, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Entegra Coach

Entegra Coach (Entegra) is recalling certain 2018-2020 Qwest motorhomes. The liquid propane (LP) tank hangers may be the wrong size and have insufficient welding, allowing the LP tank to dislodge.

Entegra has notified owners, and dealers will install a support bracket on each side of the propane tank, free of charge. The recall began December 9, 2019. Owners may contact Entegra customer service at 1-800-517-9137. Entegra’s number for this recall is 9903502.

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

Triple E

Triple E Recreational Vehicles (Triple E) is recalling certain 2020 Unity U24RL trailers. The propane tubing for the water heater may be routed too close to the tire tread possibly resulting in contact between the tire and the tubing.

Triple E will notify owners, and dealers will install a metal shield around the propane tubing for protection, free of charge. Owners may contact Triple E customer service at 1-877-992-9906. Triple E’s number for this recall is CA#9572-1.

Freightliner Custom Chassis Service Center, Gaffney, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Foretravel

Foretravel, Inc. (Foretravel) is recalling certain 2020 Realm and iH45 vehicles built on a Spartan chassis. The brake relay valve may have an air flow restriction, which may result in an extended stopping distance. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 121, “Air Brake Systems.”

Foretravel will notify owners, and Spartan dealers will inspect and replace the valves, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin December 30, 2019. Owners may contact Foretravel customer service at 1-800-955-6226.

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

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

Please Note: This is the 11th 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

Consider Your Needs When Choosing RV Parks and Campgrounds

Prioritize your wants and needs

Nothing can make or break your RV trip like choosing a campground not suited to your family’s needs and interests. When selecting a park, think about your camping style and ask yourself the following questions:

Palm Creek Golf and RV Park, Casa Grande, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Are you camping with a young family, are you an active couple looking for outdoor adventures, or are you a snowbird who enjoys on-site activities and the opportunity to meet new friends?

Orange Groove RV Park, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How large is your RV and what amenities do you require? Full hook-ups? 30- or 50-amp electric service? Are you looking for a rural or urban setting and do you travel with pets?

Creekfire RV Resort, Savannah, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When researching campgrounds we normally contact the campground office and ask specific questions about their policies and their park. Questions to ask include:

  • Rental rates (nightly, weekly, monthly per your needs) including taxes? Any discounts available?
  • Availability of Wi-Fi and cable TV?
  • What is included in the above rate—full hook-ups, 20/30-50-amp electric service, Wi-Fi, cable TV?
  • Is the park big-rig friendly? Length and width of sites? Are sites relatively level? Do the sites have concrete pads, grass, gravel, or dirt?
  • Will I have difficulty obtaining a satellite TV signal?
  • What are the park’s amenities—club house/activity room, pool, spa, rest room and shower facilities, laundry?
  • What is your pet policy? Restrictions on certain dogs breeds?
  • What is your reservation policy? Is a credit card required to hold a site? If so, is it processed immediately? What is your cancellation policy?

Make note of the name of the person you talked to.

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

The “perfect” campsite is likely to vary from person to person. Think about what you want to do as well as what those in your group want to do and choose accordingly. Although there may be some variations of what you are looking for, you may want to take some of the factors mentioned below into consideration, when choosing the “perfect campsite”.

Terre Haute RV Park, Terre Haute, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Do I have a preference for a pull-through or back-in site?

What are your electric requirements? 20, 30, or 50-amp service?

Is the breaker box in reasonable condition and does the polarity check out?

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

Do you require a sewer site?

Is the site long enough?

Is the site wide enough?

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

Is the site relatively level?

Is the site in a high-traffic area? Near a dumpster? Dump station?

Are there low-hanging branches?

Columbia River RV Park, Portland, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Will I be able to extend all slides?

Will I be able to extend the awning?

Will I be able to open all bins?

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

Will I be able to obtain a TV satellite signal?

Do I want the afternoon or morning sun?

Where are the utilities located?

Where is the closest Wi-Fi tower?

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

Whether you plan to stay one night, a weekend, a week, or longer, there are campgrounds that meet your needs. All are unique. No two parks are the same. Each campground will provide something a little different.

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

Worth Pondering…

But do not ask me where I am heading,

As I travel in this limitless world

Where every step I take is my home.

—Eihei Dogen

Methods of Heating Your RV

How to stay warm in an RV during colder weather

In an earlier article we discussed the cold weather limitations of recreational vehicles and things you can do to reduce heat loss plus when RVing in cold weather.

Once the heat loss has been minimized, it is time to consider methods of heating your rig.

RVs are not designed for this weather but you can survive © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s best to use a combination of heating methods when dealing with extreme cold weather while RVing.

A word of caution: Be very aware of the dangers associated with each heating method and take proper safety precautions to avoid an RV fire, asphyxiation, carbon monoxide poisoning, or even death.

RVs are not designed for this weather but you can survive © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Make absolutely certain you have a carbon monoxide, smoke, and LP gas detector in good working condition. Change batteries annually.

Never use your oven to heat your RV.

RVs are not designed for this weather but you can survive © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Electric space heaters are cheap and can help in reducing your heating costs if you’re NOT on a metered site. Some RV parks forbid these or will charge you extra.

We use our electric heater during the day while at home and the RV furnace at night on a low setting (between 50 and 55 degrees) and in the mornings to take off the chill.

RVs are not designed for this weather but you can survive © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Today’s portable heater models include a variety of safety features that help take a lot of the concern out of using them. A heater equipped with a tip-over protection switch will automatically shut off if it’s tipped over for any reason, and cool-touch housing prevents accidental burns on the exterior. These are useful safety features, particularly in areas with active children or pets.

Space heaters with overheat protection switches function in nearly the same manner. They use a temperature sensor, detecting when internal components become too hot. When an unsafe temperature is detected, the switch automatically shuts off the unit to prevent overheating.

RVs are not designed for this weather but you can survive © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Be certain to check for these safety features when purchasing a new electric heater. As a safety precaution, shut off and unplug for the night and when you’re away from the RV.

RVs are not designed for this weather but you can survive © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Educating yourself about the safety hazards that come with the improper use of portable heaters will help you achieve better peace of mind as you keep your RV warm, comfortable, and fire hazard-free during the winter.

Once you have your rig insulated and warm, the next consideration is how to get the moisture out so dreaded condensation inside the RV does not occur.

RVs are not designed for this weather but you can survive © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In the course of a day living in the RV, you put a great deal of water vapor into the air space. Showers, dishes, cooking, heating, and our own breathing all contribute and it needs to be expelled from the RV. Left unchecked the condensation can quickly build up on all the windows and some walls and lead to mold.

RVs are not designed for this weather but you can survive © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Use the stove vent and fan when cooking, especially when boiling vegetables on the burner top. The quicker you can get the moisture out the better. Use absorbent cloths for removing moisture. Wipe down the shower stall and any condensation that builds up on the windows.

RVs are not designed for this weather but you can survive © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are numerous small portable, dehumidifiers on the market that are suitable for use in your RV. Place one near the shower and in various locations inside the RV and in basement compartments.

RVs are not designed for this weather but you can survive © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RVs aren’t designed for cold, but you can survive!

But the best advice of all is “The RV has wheels, Go South!

Worth Pondering…

My parents live in the part of the United States that is Canada. It is so far north that Minnesota lies in the same direction as Miami. They have four distinct seasons: Winter, More Winter, Still More Winter, and That One Day of Summer.

—W. Bruce Cameron

How Can You Travel In Your RV Without Worrying About Your Home?

With a little preparation you can travel to your snowbird roost without concern about your home

In 1969, the comedy troupe Firesign Theater asked, “How can you be in two places at once without being anywhere at all?” In the counter-culture haze of the late ’60s, this question was both strangely funny and unanswerable.

Taking inspiration from Firesign Theaters’ absurd musing, we offer a new, obviously not as funny question; “How can you travel in your RV without worrying about your home?”

Leaving Kansas for a snowbird roost © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In the days leading up to your departure, scour your house for anything you might have borrowed from the library, a family member, or friend, and ensure those they are returned prior to leaving.

Leaving Pennsylvania for a snowbird roost © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Even the most experienced RVers worry about their homes while they’re away. From the threat of a break-in to a failed heating system causing the pipes to freeze, the range of things that can go wrong at home are enough to keep folks awake at night. Did you remember to lock the sliding doors?

Leaving Alberta for a snowbird roost © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With a little preparation, and a dose of prevention, none of these fears should keep you from embarking on your much-anticipated snowbird travels. No worries.

Leaving northern California for a snowbird roost © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lock All External Doors, Windows, and the Garage

Lock your front door. Lock your back door. Lock the door between your garage and your house.  Lock all sliding doors with security locks. Lock pet doors and any other external entry ways into your house. Whenever possible, use deadbolt locks. And don’t forget to make sure that all of your windows are also locked.

Leaving Idaho for a snowbird roost © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Garage doors with electric garage door openers are vulnerable to thieves with garage door opener scanners. To defeat these scanners, unplug your garage door opener when you’re away from home. Additionally, remove garage door openers and valuables from cars stored in the garage. Inform anyone with access to your home that you have disabled the garage door system and/or manually locked the garage.

Leaving Indiana for a snowbird roost © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Do Not Hide House Keys

Hiding a house key under the mat, in a fake rock, or inside a magnetic house key box stuck to the underside of an outdoor pipe is never a good idea. The thieves know about these products and tricks and look for these easy access vulnerabilities.

Leaving Massachusetts for a snowbird roost © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ask Neighbors To Watch

Let your neighbors know how long you will be away. In addition, provide a responsible neighbor with keys to your home and garage. Have them walk through your house on a regular basis. Check with your insurance provider to determine the frequency they require.

Leaving Montana for a snowbird roost © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If the power went out, did your alarm turn back on? Is the furnace still up and running? A trusted neighbor can check and answer these questions instantly. Developing and maintaining good relationships with your neighbors is key to preparing for an extended trip.

Leaving New Hampshire for a snowbird roost © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Security Alarm System

Some folks wouldn’t consider leaving their house to go grocery shopping without setting the alarm system while some rural folks have never locked their front door.

Leaving South Dakota for a snowbird roost © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you have an alarm system installed, be sure to keep your contacts current with the names and contact information of neighbors and house sitters who may be at the premises.

Leaving New York for a snowbird roost © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Check All Smoke Detectors

Even though you will not be home, it’s still important that your smoke detectors are functioning properly. Change the smoke detector batteries on an annual basis, and test.

Leaving Ohio for a snowbird roost © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Motion Activated Outdoor Lights

Having exterior lights turn on is an excellent theft deterrent. Outdoor lights with built in motion sensors are available at Home Depot, Lowes, and Amazon (among others) and do an excellent job at detecting and deterring would-be thieves. They can also automatically light the way when you get home.

Leaving Rhode Island for a snowbird roost © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Be a Good Neighbor

As you can see, you are relying on your trusted neighbors or home-watching friends to help keep your home safe and intervening in any disaster. Consider thanking them with a thank you card and gift certificate at appropriate occasions. Also, when they are away, perform the same type of duties. 

Leaving North Dakota for a snowbird roost © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The best part of the above recommendations is the peace of mind they’ll give you if you’re away from home. 

Worth Pondering…

You’ve heard the old Willie Nelson country music song with the lyrics, “On the road again. Just can’t wait to get on the road again…” We’ll be singing this song for sure.

November 2019 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.

The number of RV recalls has increased significantly in recent years: 169 recalls were issued during 2016, 203 recalls during 2017, and 230 for 2018.

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 20 recall notices during November 2019. These recalls involved 8 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Forest River (7 recalls), Thor Motor Coach (4 recalls), Jayco (2 recalls), Airstream (2 recall), Keystone RV Company (2 recalls), Outdoors RV Manufacturing (1 recall), Starcraft RV (1 recall), Gulf Stream Coach (1 recall)

The Motor Coach Resort, Chandler, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2020 Shasta Oasis SST30QB and SST31OK trailers. The trailers may have been built with an incorrect length axle hanger, allowing the axle to contact the chassis while moving.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will replace the equalizers, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin November 25, 2019. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-528-8717. Forest River’s number for this recall is 53-1100.

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2020 Sunseeker SSC2250SLEC, Freelander FLC26RSC, and Leprechaun LPC240FSC vehicles. The seatbelt-unfastened warning light will not illuminate for approximately five seconds after the ignition is moved to the “on” or “start” position. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 208, “Occupant Crash Protection.”

Forest River will notify owners, and GM dealers will reprogram the instrument panel, free of charge. The recall began on October 29, 2019. Owners may contact GMC customer service at 1-800-462-8782 or Forest River customer service at 1-800-348-7440. Forest River’s number for this recall is 51-1084.

Orange Groove RV Park, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2017 Dynamax DX3 and Force motorhomes. The front axle stabilizer bracket may not properly mount to the axle, and may break as a result.

Forest River has notified owners, and a Detroit Diesel dealer will perform the recall remedy. The stabilizer brackets and I-beams will be inspected and spacers and replacement stabilizer brackets will be installed, as necessary, free of charge. The recall began November 6, 2019. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-800-348-7440 or find a Detroit Diesel location at www.detroitdiesel.com/locations/default.aspx. Forest River’s number for this recall is 55-1105.

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2020 EVO, Salem and Wildwood travel trailers. The trailer cooktops were installed with a rubber liquid propane (LP) gas line instead of a copper one.

Forest River has notified owners, and dealers will replace the rubber LP gas line with a copper gas line, free of charge. The recall began November 7, 2019. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-909-873-3777. Forest River’s number for this recall is 67A-1107.

Reunion Lake RV Resort, Ponchatoula, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2020 Surveyor trailers, model SVT33KFKDS. A fuse of the incorrect amperage was installed for the 12V refrigerator, potentially allowing the wiring to overheat.

Forest River has notified owners, and dealers will replace the incorrect fuse with one of the correct amperage, free of charge. The recall began November 7, 2019. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-260-499-2100. Forest River’s number for this recall is 37-1108.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. is recalling certain 2020 East to West Delta Terra (model 312BH) and East to West Silver Lake (model 31KBH) recreational trailers. The overhead bunk fasteners may not be properly secured to the backer board of the bunk.

Forest River has notified owners, and dealers will properly secure the bunk to the backer, free of charge. The recall began November 1, 2019. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-264-6664. Forest River’s number for this recall is 500-1112.

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2020 Cherokee Alpha Wolf Travel Trailers. The wire supplying the 12V power for the refrigerator may have been connected incorrectly to the circuit breaker.

Forest River has notified owners, and dealers will correct the wiring, free of charge. The recall began November 19, 2019. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-260-499-2100. Forest River’s number for this recall is 76-1109.

Two Rivers Landing RV Resort, Severeville, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2014 Tuscany 36M, 40E, 2015 Citation 24SL, Siesta 24SL, Axis 25.1 and Vegas 25.1, 2016 Four Winds 31E, 31W, 35SF, Chateau 31E, 31W, Synergy SD24, Citation 24SL, 24SS and Siesta 24SL, 24SS, 2017 Four Winds 31E, 31W, Chateau 31E, 35SD, Citation 24SS and Siesta 24SS, 2018 Citation 24SS and Siesta 24SS, 2019 Quantum CR24, Four Winds 24BL, Citation 24MB and Siesta 24MB and 2020 Quantum CR24, Citation 24MB, Siesta 24MB, Chateau 24BL and Synergy 24MB vehicles. The Occupant and Cargo Carrying Capacity (OCCC) label has the incorrect carrying capacity listed, which can allow the vehicle to be overloaded. 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.”

TMC will notify owners, and dealers will issue new OCCC labels with correct seating positions and weight calculations, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin December 2, 2019. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000176.

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

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Chateau 22B, 22E, 23U, 24F, 25V, and 28A, Daybreak 22GO, Four Winds 22B, 22E, 24F, 26B and 28A, Freedom Elite 22HE and 2020 Quantum GR22, and SE22 motorhomes. The seatbelt-unfastened warning light will not illuminate for approximately five seconds after the ignition is moved to the “on” or “start” position. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 208, “Occupant Crash Protection.”

GM will notify TMC owners, and dealers will reprogram the instrument panel cluster, free of charge. The recall began October 3, 2019. Owners may contact Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-630-2438, GMC customer service at 1-800-462-8782 or TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000177.

Columbia Sun RV Park, Kennewick, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Magnitude and Omni motorhomes. The seat recliner mechanisms may be missing the third pawl required for seat back strength, resulting in a loose seat back. These vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) numbers 202, “Head Restraints” and 207, “Seating Systems.”

Ford has notified TMC owners, and Ford dealers will inspect the seat structures and replace them, as necessary, free of charge. The recall began October 21, 2019. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332 or TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000178.

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

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2020 Sequence 20L motorhomes. The screws securing the solar panel to the luggage rack may fail causing the solar panel to detach.

TMC will notify owners, and dealers will replace the screws with plates, carriage bolts, washers, and locking nuts, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin January 3, 2020. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000179.

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

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2016-2017 Alante motorhomes built on Ford F53 chassis. A heat shield may have not have been installed, allowing the hydraulic lines to be exposed to excessive heat.

Jayco will notify owners, and dealers will install aftermarket heat shields to the chassis, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin November 15, 2019. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-517-9137. Jayco’s number for this recall is 9903442.

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

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2017 Pinnacle Fifth Wheel trailers. The suspension system may fail.

The remedy for this recall is still under development. The recall is expected to begin December 2, 2019. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-517-9137. Jayco’s number for this recall is 9901443.

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

Airstream

Airstream, Inc. (Airstream) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Atlas motorhomes. The SH1 Breaker Terminal may be wired incorrectly, causing some of the 12V circuits to have insufficient overcurrent protection.

Airstream will notify owners, and dealers will correct the wiring, as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin December 14, 2019. Owners may contact Airstream customer service at 1-877-596-6505 or 1-937-596-6111, extension 7401 or 7411.

Creekside RV Resort, Savannah, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Airstream

Airstream, Inc. (Airstream) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Sport, Nest, Flying Cloud, International Serenity, International Signature, Classic, Globetrotter and Tommy Bahama trailers and 2020 Basecamp, Bambi and Caravel trailers. Due to improper welding, the Demco ball coupler installed on the travel trailers may not provide enough clamping force on the tow ball, potentially causing the coupler to separate from the tow ball.

Airstream will notify owners, and will send a temporary use adaptor that can be slipped over the ball portion of the coupler to allow owners to tow their trailers. For the final remedy, dealers will add a shim plate to the backside of the ball coupler clamp to put it in position to apply the required clamping force on the tow ball, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin December 20, 2019. Owners may contact Airstream customer service at 1-877-596-6505 or 1-937-596-6111 extension 7401 or 7411.

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

Keystone RV Company

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2020 Dutchmen Atlas 3382BH trailers. The trailers may have a non-metallic propane supply hose installed inside the burner box of the cooktop, instead of a copper supply hose.

Keystone will notify owners, and dealers will remove the non-metallic propane gas line and attach it to a copper propane gas line, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin November 15, 2019. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 19-363.

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

Keystone RV Company

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Crossroads Sunset trailers, model 242BH. 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, sealing it as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin December 16, 2019. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 19-362.

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

Outdoors RV Manufacturing (ORV)

Outdoors RV Manufacturing (ORV) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Trail Series MTN TRX 22TRX toyhauler travel trailers. The axles may be incorrectly mounted too far forward, potentially causing light tongue weight on the tow vehicle.

ORV will notify owners, and dealers will move the axles 10 inches back towards the rear of the trailer to increase the tongue weight, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin October 21, 2019. Owners may contact ORV customer service at 1-541-962-1866, extension 222. ORV’s number for this recall is 2019-001.

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

Starcraft RV

Starcraft RV (Starcraft) is recalling 2016 Solstice Travel Star fifth wheel trailers equipped with Atwood on-demand water heaters. The water heaters have a water and gas valve that may cause the water heater to overheat the water in the hot water supply tap.

Starcraft will notify owners, and Atwood dealers will install a water flow adjustment stop key that prevents the recall condition from occurring, free of charge. The recall began on October 23, 2019. Owners may contact Starcraft customer service at 1-800-945-4787 or Atwood customer service at 1-877-546-9074.

Palm Springs-Joshua Tree KOA, California

Gulf Stream Coach

Gulf Stream Coach, Inc. (Gulf Stream) is recalling certain 2020 Amerilite, Conquest, Innsbruck, Grand River, Kingsport and Trail Master trailers. The gas refrigerator compartment may not be properly sealed, potentially releasing carbon monoxide or flammable unburned Liquid Petroleum (LP) gases throughout the trailer.

Gulf Stream will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the gas refrigerator for proper sealing and repair, as necessary. Owners may contact Gulf Stream customer service at 1-800-289-8787. Gulf Stream’s number for this recall is 102919.

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

Please Note: This is the tenth 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

Thanksgiving & Staying Safe

Here are our top tips for making your road trip safe and enjoyable this Thanksgiving

As the busy Thanksgiving holiday travel season kicks off and cold temperatures begin blanketing many parts of the country, it’s time to pack a little more patience as hundreds of thousands more travelers head out for turkey and stuffing this year.

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thanksgiving is the biggest travel weekend in America and RVers are out in force, back on the road, crossing the country in their RVs to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends. And many snowbirds are traveling south to their favorite Sunbelt roost to avoid the rigors of another northern winter.

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

More than 55 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home for the holiday, according to an AAA news release. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, November 27, to Sunday December 1.

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The busiest days to travel are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after Thanksgiving. If possible, AAA recommends that motorists plan their travel around these days (Thanksgiving Day is actually the best day to be on the roads).

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, predicts road trips could take as much as four times longer than normal in major metros on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For the nearly 90 percent of travelers who will drive to their destinations there is good news: Fuel prices have been fluctuating as of late, but are currently cheaper than the national average at this time last year, giving travelers a little extra money to spend and motivating millions to take road trips. In most regions of the country, prices average about 10 cents less than last Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Plan your travel and route by checking the weather, road conditions, and traffic. Leave early, if possible, and allow plenty of time to safely get to your destination. Carry items in your vehicle that may prove useful in the event of an emergency or if you get stranded, including: snow shovel, broom, ice scraper, jumper cables, flashlight, flares/emergency markers, blankets, mobile phone with charger, water, food, and any necessary medication.

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you become stranded, don’t run your vehicle with the windows up or in an enclosed space for an extended period of time to avoid asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning. If you must run your vehicle, clear the exhaust pipe of any snow and run it only sporadically—just long enough to stay warm.

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Inspect your tires to avoid a blowout and to ensure proper grip in inclement weather. Make sure each tire is filled to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure. Don’t forget to check your spare tire to ensure it is properly inflated.

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Make sure your windshield wipers work and, if necessary, replace worn blades and completely fill your vehicle’s windshield wiper fluid reservoir.

Keep up with routine maintenance and tune ups. Have your entire vehicle checked thoroughly for leaks, badly worn hoses, or other needed parts, repairs, and replacements.

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Remember to always wear your seat belt and ensure that children are buckled up in age- and size-appropriate restraints. Children under age 13 should be seated in the back seat.

We can all do our part by buckling up, obeying the speed limit, and avoiding distractions while driving.

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Never drive drunk or distracted. Driving drunk kills people. In every state, it’s is against the law to drive with a blood-alcohol content of .08 or higher.

The spotlight on holiday driving led to warnings about avoiding drunken drivers. Over 1,000 people died in drunken driving crashes during the holiday season last year, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures reviewed by the advocacy group Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

So obey the law; stay focused and alert at all times.

Doing so could save your life.

Be a patient driver and don’t speed when out on the nation’s highways.

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Drivers are urged to keep their speed in check, buckle up and avoid distractions, especially texting while driving.

Drivers also should get a good night’s rest before traveling, check their vehicles’ tire pressure and be prepared for unscheduled closures due to crashes or disabled vehicles.

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Staying up to date on weather conditions and packing an emergency preparedness kit, with items such as blankets, flashlights, extra clothes, drinking water and snack foods, is another smart idea.

Worth Pondering…

Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.

—Edward Sandford Martin

Handling Cold Weather in Your RV

Here’s how we handle cold weather in our motorhome

A major benefit of the RV lifestyle is the ability to follow good weather.

Diamond Groove RV Park, Spruce Groove, Alberta © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You can hide out in the south during the winter and cool off in the north in the summer. Plus, you can enjoy spring and fall for several months as you move in between.

Creekside RV Resort, Savannah, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But sometimes you get caught in cold weather due to an early winter or unexpected circumstance. The typical recreational vehicle is not designed for use in the snowy, cold, and icy northern climates. Some RV manufacturers offer a “Polar Package”—don’t believe it, mostly marketing hype. There is not a chance it would keep you cozy warm in any “polar” climate.

Angel Lake RV Resort, Wells, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Even with the cold weather limitations of most RVs, there are things you can do to reduce heat loss plus items you should have ready just in case.

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

It is not the scope of this article to address winter-proofing an RV for those who are staying long-term in the cold.

Pony Express RV Park, Salt Lake City, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Most RVs have furnaces, but cranking up the heat is expensive and counter-productive if you are losing too much heat at the same time. Look for ways to reduce this heat loss. Of course, you can pull out the sweaters and sweatshirts during the cold so you don’t have to keep the furnace temperature setting as high.

Gila Bend KOA, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When you arrive at your destination, try selecting a site that will receive sun exposure throughout the day, and also offer some type of wind break. Position your RV in such a way that the front or rear—and not the side—receive the force of the wind.

Quail Ridge RV Resort, near Sierra Vista, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved rt, Sierra Vista, Arizona

Windows are a major heat loss in RVs. The first thing is to lock your windows. That extra latch helps close the seals in the window.

Close the blinds when you don’t need them open for the view or the warming sunshine. If you have curtains or secondary blackout blinds, use them.

The Springs at Borrego Golf and RV Resort, Borrego Springs, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Use Reflectix bubble foil. It is available from stores like Walmart, Lowe’s, or Home Depot, and comes in rolls. It can be cut to fit into window openings or anywhere you want to add an extra layer of insulation.

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

The foil will reflect the heat back in and the bubbles provide insulating air gaps. It can be used for both cold and heat. When not needed, it rolls back up for easy storage.

Jekyll Island Campground, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you really need to reduce heat loss overnight, bring in your slides. This reduces heat loss from the seals and reduces the exposed surface area. It also reduces the volume of the air inside your RV that needs to be heated. You may wish to retract your slides when dry camping and are trying to keep energy usage to a minimum.

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

A goose down duvet is an investment with high returns that’s realized every time you cozily cuddle in bed. A duvet cover is typically purchased separately.

Down is a great natural insulator. It is the very first undercoating of goose feathers. The clusters of down are made of plenty of soft fibers that directly radiate out from the central core of the feather. The structure of down is perfectly created to trap air. For this peculiar characteristic, goose down duvets keeps you suitably warm. It still allows the moisture to escape and is a great product to keep snug yet dry. Goose down duvets is amazingly soft and light.

Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The quality of down duvets is measured by its insulation abilities. The best quality down duvets would have larger clusters of down. Best quality down would be capable to acclimatize according to warmer or cooler atmospheric temperatures. If the thick, fluffy and breathable down can keep the goose so cozy out in the cold, it definitely is a sure winner for you.

Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort, Casa Grande, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You won’t need spare blankets for your bed with your down duvet but they add another layer in insulation during your waking hours. You can also hang a light blanket to add an extra layer over the door and the seal around the door.

Palm Springs-Joshua Tree KOA, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Clothespins can be used to keep it in place. This especially helps if you need to go in and out the door as a temporary vestibule. More blankets or towels can be used to block any cold drafts.

Keeping warm in our motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fill your fresh water tank and use the pump instead of the city connection. Disconnect the outside supply water hose, drain it, and store it in your water/sewer compartment. Remember to turn on the tank heaters in your RV.

Keeping warm in our motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Try to dump your holding tanks during the warmer afternoon since everything is more difficult to work with in a cold morning. Depending on the temperature, you may wish to stow your sewer hose. Using it on an extremely cold morning may result in a cracked sewer hose.

Worth Pondering…

And finally Winter, with its bitin’, whinin’ wind, and all the land will be mantled with snow.

—Roy Bean

Not All Snowbirds Have Wings

As refugees from the frozen north, snowbirds escape winter at home by migrating southward each year

For many, snowbirding isn’t just about having fun—it’s about avoiding the miseries of a northern winter. With the challenge of icy roads, shoveling snow, the cold, and being stormbound, is it any wonder so many of us like to escape winter?

Texas Lakeside RV Resort, Port Lavaca, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

More and more snowbirds are now choosing RVing to the Sunbelt over flying to a rented or owned vacation home. RV snowbirding gives you the freedom to travel to different destinations, to leave and return when you want, and to enjoy the comfort of having your own stuff with you all the time. It’s your vacation home on wheels—how great is that?

Las Vegas RV Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Preparing your home for an extended absence requires thorough thought and planning. Before heading south for the season, snowbirds must take steps to secure and winterize their homes. A key aspect of this preparation is making sure your home appears occupied.

Bella Terra of Gulf Shores, Gulf Shores, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Whether you’re new to the snowbird lifestyle or an experienced RVer, creating your own customized checklist is a great way to keep track of your seasonal preparations.

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO? (And how will you get there?)

Selecting a balmy snowbird roost is when all the fun begins. Choice is in rich supply.

Picacho Peak State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Many snowbirds are north-south creatures, meaning those from the Northwest tend to settle in Arizona, Nevada, and California; those from the Midwest flock to TexasMississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana; and those from the Northeast head for Florida.

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

Are you planning on heading directly south from your home location? Or will you cut across the country in a diagonal direction, exploring a whole new longitude?

Clermont Golf and RV Resort, Clermont, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Choice of route is subject to your own inclinations. Do you want to visit friends or sightsee along the way, or—as might be the case in mid-winter—do you prefer to go hell-bent-for- leather to the Sunbelt?

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

Maybe your plan is to head to a single destination, park there, and treat your RV like a cottage; taking day trips and excursions from one home base. Or maybe your plan is to visit several destinations, spending a few weeks or even a month at each. This is ideal if you’re attending festivals and events, or checking off a bucket list, like your top 10 national parks or roadside attractions.

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

Either way, experienced RVers know that your first step—after you’re comfortable driving the RV, of course—should be to plan your route and research your overnight stops.

Pro Tips:

Arizona Oasis RV Park, Ehrenberg, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Be realistic about how many hours you can drive in a day.

Reserve your RV parks in advance, based on your route. This guarantees you’ll have a spot to stop each night.

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

Make sure the park can accommodate the size of your rig. Plan to get there while it’s still daylight so you can park and set up and have time to relax.

Take holidays and long weekends into account: this will affect availability of camping sites.

Is Rover Roving with You?

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

Furry friends have their own needs when traveling, too.

Make sure your dog is trained, fit, and healthy for the type of travel you plan. Take into account the type of transportation, activities, and living situation. Ensure your dog responds to recall and “leave it” commands for everyone’s safety.

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

Make sure your dog is vaccinated.

Worth Pondering…

We have chosen to be reasonably warm year-round, so we are snowbirds. Every year when I hear the honks of the Canada geese overhead at our home in Alberta, something in my genes starts pulling my inner-compass to the South. And an inner voice whispers: “Surely you’re as smart as a goose.” Feeling that I am at least as smart as a silly goose, I line up the motorhome with that compass pointer and head for the Sun Belt.

What to Pack for Extended RV Trips

Here are the essentials for an extended RV trip including snowbird travel

Over the course of 22 years of our snowbird RV lifestyle, we have learned what we really need to pack and what we can do without. Our list of “essentials” has changed over the years based on changing needs and available storage space.

It all fits somewhere. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Before leaving on our snowbird journey we go through the RV to determine the items needed and those no longer required.

It all fits somewhere. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Following is a list of the items we currently pack into our RV for our snowbird travels to the U.S. Sunbelt. It should be noted that the majority of these items are never removed from the RV.

It all fits somewhere. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Hopefully, if you are new to the snowbird lifestyle the following list will provide some assistance on the essentials required when planning an extended RV trip.

It all fits somewhere. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Inside Items

  • Laptop computer, printer, camera, lens, and camera bag
  • Manuals for the motorhome and toad
  • Atlases and maps
  • Campground directories (Good Sam and Big Rigs)
  • Office supplies
It all fits somewhere. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Kitchen Stuff

  • Place setting for four people
  • Eating utensils
  • Coffee mugs and assorted glassware
  • Placemats
  • Small, medium, and large pots w/lids
  • Electric fry pan
  • Salad spinner
  • Roasting pans
  • Air tight plastic containers of various sizes for food storage
  • Toaster oven
  • Slow cooker
  • Kettle
  • Kitchen knives
  • Mixing bowls
  • Coffee maker
  • Cutting boards
  • Assorted utensils (spatula, ice cream scoop, can opener, measuring spoons, peeler, etc.)
It all fits somewhere. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Outside Items

  • Camping chairs
  • Folding tables
  • Outside mat
  • Tire covers
  • Tarp
  • Jack pads
  • RV Leveling Blocks (plastic stacking blocks in carrying case)
  • 5 gallon bucket
It all fits somewhere. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Utility Hookups

  • Fresh water hoses
  • Water pressure regulators
  • Sewer hoses, connections including clear plastic elbow, and support
  • Disposable plastic gloves
  • Coaxial TV cable
  • Progressive Industries Electric Management System
  • 30-amp extension cord
It all fits somewhere. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cleaners & Lubricants

  • Windex
  • 303 Aerospace Protectant
  • Meguires RV wash and wax
  • Long adjustable pole with attachments
  • Silicone and white lithium spray lubricants
  • WD-40
It all fits somewhere. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tools & Maintenance Items

  • Basic tool kit (Screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, hammer, tape measure, etc.)
  • Assorted screws, nuts, bolts, and washers
  • Heavy duty tire pressure gauge
  • Folding shovel
  • Duct and Gorilla Tape
  • Spare oil, hydraulic fluid, transmission fluid for motorhome
  • Distilled water
  • Funnels
  • Work gloves
  • Portable collapsible ladder
  • Heavy duty clippers with extendable handles
It all fits somewhere. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Safety & Emergency Items

  • 4 fire extinguishers—bedroom, entrance, storage, and toad
  • Emergency road side reflective triangles
  • First aid kit
  • Spare batteries for LED flashlights, CO, smoke, and LP gas detectors
  • Battery jumper cables
At the Newmar Service Center in Nappanee, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wow! When I actually sat down and listed our stuff and it sure adds up. It’s hard to believe it all fits in our rig, but it does. Fortunately, our Dutch Star diesel pusher’s ample storage space and a decent amount of extra cargo weight capacity.

At the Newmar Service Center in Nappanee, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Along with the reliability of Newmar motorhomes and the quality service provided by our dealer—Midtown RV in Penticton, British Columbia—the ample cargo carrying capacity was one of the reasons we chose it. Something to think about if you’re buying a rig for extended RV trips.

At the Newmar Service Center in Nappanee, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

No matter where we go in our motorhome, that sense of independence is satisfying. We have our own facilities, from comfortable bed to a fridge full of our favorite foods. We set the thermostat the way we like it and go to bed and get up in our usual routine.

Securing Your Home for Snowbird Travel

Here are some things you can do to help protect your home while you head for warmer weather.

If you’re planning for snowbird travel or other long-term RV adventure, you need to prepare your home to be unoccupied for months at a time. A key aspect of this preparation is making sure your home appears occupied.

There are many alternatives to a northern winter. Pictured above is Gila Bend KOA in Gila Bend, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Stop the Mail and Newspaper Deliveries

The mail is often a never-ending cascade of advertising and other solicitations—with bills and an occasional letter or card in-between. Left unchecked, mail will likely accumulate beyond your mail box capacity and potentially announce your absence. Thank you, junk mail.

There are many alternatives to a northern winter. Pictured above is Pala Casino RV Resort in Pala, California. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thankfully, stopping the mail is as easy as going onto USPS.com and requesting your mail to be held or forwarded. For $1 you can have your mail forwarded for as short as fifteen days or as long as one year. After the first six months, you can extend for another six months. Even better, you can adjust the amount of time your mail is forwarded online. You can shortened or extended mail forwarding based on changing road plans.

There are many alternatives to a northern winter. Pictured above is Jekyll Island Campground on Jekyll, Georgia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Canadians have a similar mail forwarding system but pay a minimum of $52.95 for four months of mail forwarding within their province, $65.95 within Canada, and $152.95 to the U.S. For more information about mail forwarding in Canada visit CanadaPost.ca.

There are many alternatives to a northern winter. Pictured above is A+ Motel and RV Park in Sulphur, Louisiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For many, there’s nothing better than reading a physical newspaper or magazine. Be sure to pause those newspaper drops while you’re away, or they may give your absence away.

Even if you have your newspapers stopped, circulars and phone books may be dropped at your house. Again, ask your neighbor to check for these. There is nothing that says, “no one at home” like an accumulation of newspapers on your front step or at the end of your driveway. 

Snow Removal

Sometimes you can’t escape the snow © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Arrange with a neighbor, relative, or commercial service for snow removal. Depending on the season of your absence, and your home climate, it may also be necessary to have someone help with lawn maintenance, weed control, leaf raking and removal, and lawn and shrub watering.

Did someone say “snow”? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Those with house plants should also make arrangements to have their plants watered and cared for.

Consider a Web Camera System

There are many alternatives to a northern winter. Pictured above is Lake Osprey RV Resort in Elberta, Alabama. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With high-speed internet and a high quality camera, it’s possible to see a live video feed of your house and property from almost anywhere. That’s right, you can watch your house yourself when you’re away.

There are many alternatives to a northern winter. Pictured above is Vista del Sol RV Resort in Bullhead City, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Many of the internet and security system companies now sell and install web camera systems for a monthly fee. On the other hand, there are companies that sell do-it-yourself kits including the web cameras, digital hubs, and software that allows you to install, set-up, and use such a system. Be aware that these web camera kits are not for the technologically challenged, and likely require running wire and cables throughout your attic and crawl spaces.

Never Post Travel Plans or Events on Social Media

There are many alternatives to a northern winter. Pictured above is Jamaica Beach RV Resort on Galveston Island, Texas. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s common sense that you don’t run around telling everyone that you’ll be away and your house will be unoccupied, but that’s exactly what you do by posting your trip plans and adventure to social media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. It’s also not a good idea to change your answering machine message to anything implying your absence.

Take Pictures

There are many alternatives to a northern winter. Pictured above is Bentsen Palm Village in Mission, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Naturally you might think taking pictures is what you do once you’re on the road and exploring new places. While this is certainly true, you also should take pictures of your home and possessions prior to leaving. In case of a fire, flood, or other disaster, these photographs will prove what you had, and in what overall condition it was in.

There are many alternatives to a northern winter. Pictured above is All About Relaxing RV Park in Theodore, Alabama. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You may also consider photocopying your passport, credit cards, drivers license, and other important documents. Hopefully you will not need these images but having evidence of this information can make or break travel plans in case of an emergency.

The best part of the above recommendations is the peace of mind they’ll give you if you’re away from home. 

There are many alternatives to a northern winter. Pictured above is Rain Spirit RV Park in Clarkdale, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

We have chosen to be reasonably warm year-round, so we are snowbirds. Every year when I hear the honks of the Canada geese overhead, something in my genes starts pulling my inner-compass to the South. And an inner voice whispers: “Surely you’re as smart as a goose.” Feeling that I am at least as smart as a silly goose, I line up the motorhome with that compass pointer and head for the Sun Belt.