How to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in your RV?

CO poisoning is entirely preventable. Protect yourself and your family by learning the symptoms of CO poisoning and how to prevent it.

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that you don’t expect to encounter when traveling the great outdoors. However, some of your RV appliances emit carbon monoxide which can be dangerous to your health. It’s important to be aware of the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to reduce your exposure while enjoying your RV.

Motorhome interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Every year, at least 430 people die in the U.S. from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. Approximately 50,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency department each year due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

Be aware of your neighbor’s exhaust especially at an RV rally © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Carbon monoxide is created when any fuel is burned such as gasoline, propane, natural gas, wood, and coal. It is extremely serious when combustion by-products are not vented outside. Carbon monoxide is the number one cause of poisoning deaths in the United States each year in homes and RVs. It is important to identify the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and to know how you can prevent it from leaking in your RV.

Some of these risks are located inside your RV but many surround your RV at camp. Be mindful of things that emit carbon monoxide not only in your RV but around it. Including your neighbors’ equipment! The first rule in how to detect carbon monoxide in your RV is to be aware of the sources of carbon dioxide.

Motorhome interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In RVs, carbon monoxide gas usually results from:

  • Exhaust leaks from either a vehicle engine or a generator
  • Improper use of portable gas-powered heaters
  • Someone else’s vehicle or generator when camping in close quarters
Be aware of your neighbor’s exhaust © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How to detect carbon monoxide in your RV? You can’t. Humans cannot detect carbon monoxide. It is odorless and colorless, which is why it’s called the quiet killer. We must rely on sensors to detect carbon monoxide.

If your RV is not already outfitted with a carbon monoxide detector, you must install one right away. It can save your life. These are as essential as smoke detectors. You can purchase a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector designed for use in RVs.

Be aware of your neighbor’s exhaust especially when boondocking © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Make sure you test the detector every time you use the RV and replace the carbon monoxide detector batteries at least once a year. A good time to do this is when you change clocks for daylight savings time or at the beginning of a new camping season.

Related: The Ultimate Guide for Winter Camping

If the detector senses an unsafe amount of carbon monoxide, it will sound the alarm. The alarm is much louder than the beep that warns of a low battery.

Don’t forget about your pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Though humans can’t detect carbon monoxide, we certainly show symptoms of it. If you are aware of these symptoms, you can realize there’s a serious problem more quickly.  Besides the detector, the symptoms are another way to detect carbon monoxide in your RV. These symptoms progress fast—Do not try to “shake them off”!

Motorhome interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure include:

  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Muscular twitching
  • Intense headache
  • Throbbing in the temples
  • Weakness and sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness
Be aware of your neighbor’s exhaust especially at an RV rally © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And don’t forget about your pets! Despite their superior sense of smell, dogs and other pets cannot detect carbon monoxide either. They will be affected much more quickly than humans due to their smaller size.

Related: The 10 Essentials Every RV Owner Should Buy Before Their First Road Trip

If you or anyone else experiences any of these, get to fresh air immediately. If the symptoms persist you need to seek medical attention. Shut off the vehicle or power the generator down and do not operate it until it has been inspected and repaired by a professional.

Motorhome interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Exposure to carbon monoxide is a huge health hazard and can cause death. It is important to stay vigilant and to be aware of the risk at all times. Take precautions and follow these prevention tips to reduce exposure and keep you and your family safe:

  • Inspect your RV’s chassis and generator exhaust system regularly
  • Yellow flames in propane-burning appliances usually indicate a lack of oxygen and should be checked by a qualified technician
  • Park your RV so that the exhaust may easily dissipate away from the vehicle
  • Never sleep with a generator running
  • Always have a window open when operating a gas-burning appliance or generator
  • Keep any windows and vents closed if in close proximity to a running vehicle or generator
  • Never use range burners or ovens to heat your RV
  • When cooking with the range, use the range fan and keep a nearby window cracked open
  • Be aware of your neighbor’s setup and make sure they are not directing any exhaust your way
Motorhome interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Follow all directions and warnings if using gas-powered heaters.

Related: 12 Simple RV Maintenance Tips

Don’t take safety for granted while RVing.

Since we’re talking safety…

Read Next: RV Emergency Kit Essentials

Worth Pondering…

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!

December 2021 RV Manufacturer Recalls: 3 Recalls Involving 3 RV Manufactures

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.

Orange Grove RV Park, Bakersfield, California © 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.

Sundance 1 RV Resort, Casa Grande, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

Related: November 2021 RV Manufacturer Recalls: 15 Recalls Involving 7 RV Manufactures

NHTSA announced 3 recall notices during December 2021. These recalls involved 3 recreational vehicle manufacturers— Roadtrek (1 recall), Winnebago (1 recall), and MCI (1 recall).

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

Roadtrek

Roadtrek Inc. (Roadtrek) is recalling certain 2021 Play, Play Slumber, and Zion Slumber recreational vehicles. The Federal Placard and Tire Pressure labels state the incorrect tire size. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 110, “Tire Selection and Rims.”

Roadtrek will send owners replacement labels, free of charge. Owner notification letters were mailed on December 9, 2021. Owners may contact Roadtrek customer service at 1-888-762-3873. Roadtrek’s number for this recall 2021-03.

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

Winnebago

Winnebago Industries, Inc. (Winnebago) is recalling certain 2022 Ekko vehicles. The shower and sink drainage system may leak and allow water to infiltrate nearby electrical components, which could cause an electrical short.

Related: October 2021 RV Manufacturer Recalls: 27 Recalls Involving 15 RV Manufactures

Dealers will replace the shower and sink drainage pump system, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on February 3, 2022. Owners may contact Winnebago customer service at 1-641-585-6939 or 1-800-537-1885. Winnebago’s number for this recall is 165.

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

MCI

Motor Coach Industries (MCI) is recalling certain 2019-2022 D4000 ISTV, D4500, 2021 D4000, D4520, 2020-2021 D4505, D4005, 2020-2022 D45CRTLE, and 2019-2021 J4500 vehicles equipped with certain Cummins X12 diesel engines. The fuel tubes between the fuel rail and the injectors for cylinders four, five, and six may fatigue and crack, which can result in a high-pressure fuel leak.

Related: September 2021 RV Manufacturer Recalls

On engines with 75 miles or less, Cummins dealers will install vibration isolators to the fuel tubes. Engines with more than 75 miles will receive new fuel tubes with vibration isolators. Repairs will be performed free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a schedule for recall notification. Owners may contact MCI customer service at 1-800-241-2947. MCI’s number for this recall is R21-028.

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

Please Note: This is the 35th 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

I Did What My GPS Told Me: When GPS Replaces Common Sense

GPS is useful tool for navigation but it shouldn’t be followed blindly

The last thing you want in your travels is to turn down the wrong road onto what could be a dangerous route.

When a highway closes or you’re just looking for possible routes, it’s natural to consult a GPS or navigation app. But drivers need to apply common sense to a computer’s suggestions, starting with not taking RVs, buses, and other vehicles that aren’t up to the task down unpaved roads.

A recent snowfall blankets Pony Express RV Park, Salt Lake City, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Since Arizona State Highway 64 closed due to heavy snow between Grand Canyon Village and Grand Canyon National Park’s east entrance, a large tour bus, a smaller bus, and at least two passenger vehicles carrying tourists have gotten stuck on a forest road heading east from US 180 between Valle and Flagstaff toward US 89, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT).

Moki Dugway (Utah) is not recommended for RV travel © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

While tow trucks were able to free the other vehicles and head them back to US 180, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, with help from an ADOT snowplow, had to rescue 45 people from the tour bus as a recent snowstorm moved in. The driver of the bus, which was bound for Page, said his GPS unit recommended taking the forest road.

Related Article: Top 8 Tips for Planning a Road Trip this Thanksgiving and throughout the Holiday Season

A recent snowfall at Angel Lake RV Park in Wells, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office receives many calls throughout the year from motorists who get stuck following suggested alternate routes onto unpaved roads. It’s a big concern for ADOT during the winter when snowstorms can cause sudden and prolonged highway closures.

Burr Trail (Utah) is not an RV friendly route © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Sticking to the main highways is a driver’s best bet, especially during snowstorms,” said Audra Merrick, district engineer for ADOT’s North Central District.

“Our snowplow crews are out clearing these roads around the clock along with patrols from the Department of Public Safety and ADOT’s motor-assist vehicles. Don’t follow an alternate route that’s not regularly plowed during winter storms.”

Moki Dugway (Utah) is not recommended for RV travel © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Earlier, a Pennsylvania family wanting to see Grand Canyon National Park’s North Rim got stranded following forest roads suggested as an alternate route to State Route 67 which closes for the winter along with park facilities. A woman suffered frostbite walking 26 miles trying to get help while her husband eventually was able to call rescuers by climbing high enough to get a cell phone signal.

Related Article: 7 Driving Tips You Should Know

A recent snowfall blankets Pony Express RV Park, Salt Lake City, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sgt. Aaron Dick, the search-and-rescue coordinator for the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, said if a suggested road becomes rough or difficult to navigate the best thing to do is turn around. Motorists also can prevent problems by understanding the settings on their GPS units or navigation apps, starting with making sure they are ranking alternate routes by “shortest time” rather than “shortest distance.”

Piano Bridge Road (Fayette County, Texas) is not for RVs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The dramatic story of a British Columbia couple who made a tragic wrong turn on their trip to Las Vegas also offers a startling reminder of the need for road travelers to make plans and preparations before heading out on the road.

Albert and Rita Chretien were traveling from their home in Penticton, British Columbia, to a trade show in Las Vegas when their 2000 Chevrolet Astro ran into trouble on a logging road in Elko County in March 2011.

Covered Bridges Scenic Byway (Ohio) is not for high-profile vehicles © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Rita was rescued on the verge of starvation in early May after spending seven weeks alone in the wilderness. She told investigators she hasn’t seen Albert since he left with the GPS to try to find a state highway.

She had survived on a tablespoon of trail mix, a single fish oil pill, and one hard candy a day.

Recent snowfall at Angel Lake RV Park in Wells, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

She reportedly lost as much as 30 pounds during the 49-day ordeal, and family members and doctors agree she faced the prospect of death had she waited much longer to be found.

Related Article: Raise Your RV IQ with These Tips

Authorities shed new light onto the tragedy in November 2012 after elk hunters discovered Albert’s body in a secluded area west from where he set off.

Piano Bridge Road (Fayette County, Texas) is not for RVs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Albert had hiked nearly 9 miles on his winding route and was within 6 miles of the community of Mountain City when the battery in the GPS he was using probably burned out and his path began to angle too far north. Had he been able to keep his bearings, there’s a slim chance he might have made it to a highway and then into town.

As an added precaution, always carry an emergency survival kit in your vehicle.

Snow falls at Diamond Groove RV Campground in Spruce Groove, Alberta © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And, if you travel in a big rig such as a Class A motorhome or fifth-wheel trailer and rely on a car GPS you could be in for double-trouble. One driver recently learned this the hard way when he tried to take his 30-foot vehicle over Engineer Pass, a rugged mountain road in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains and became stuck near the top of the pass. Blindly following his car GPS, the driver did not realize this high mountain pass (sitting at 12,800 feet) is a difficult, narrow road that is typically traversed by 4-wheel drive high clearance vehicles.  Engineer Pass is part of the scenic high country Alpine Loop which connects Silverton to Ouray and Lake City through the San Juan Mountains.

Moki Dugway (Utah) is not recommended for RV travel © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

That’s why it’s wise to travel with an RV-specific GPS to navigate safely based on your vehicle dimensions. You can input your vehicle’s height, length, and weight as well as fuel information like whether or not you’re carrying propane. This will not only help you avoid steep mountain roads but also low clearance bridges, bridge weight limits, and tunnels with propane restrictions.

Related Article: 5 Tips for Safe RV Travel

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!

Worth Pondering…

The only aspect of our travels that is interesting to others is a disaster.

—Martha Gellman

November 2021 RV Manufacturer Recalls: 15 Recalls Involving 7 RV Manufactures

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.

Pechango Casino RV Park, Temecula, California © 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 15 recall notices during November 2021. These recalls involved 7 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Forest River (6 recalls), Jayco (4 recalls), Triple E (1 recall), Thor Motor Coach (1 recall), Newmar (1 recall), Heartland (1 recall), Keystone (1 recall),

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2021-2022 XLR Toy Hauler recreational vehicles. The protective panel that separates the furnace and furnace components from the mid-deck cargo area is missing.

Dealers will install a felt-covered wall panel, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on December 1, 2021. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-574-642-0432. Forest River’s number for this recall is 79-1432.

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2022 XLR Toy Hauler Recreational Vehicles. The vehicles were incorrectly wired, and they are missing 250AMP over-current protection, which could result in melted wires and an electrical short.

Related: October 2021 RV Manufacturer Recalls: 27 Recalls Involving 15 RV Manufactures

Dealers will replace the gauge wire, and install a sub panel with the correct breaker, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on December 1, 2021. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-574-642-0432. Forest River’s number for this recall is 79-1429.

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2022 Coachmen Catalina travel trailers. The panel that separates the furnace from the cooktop was not sealed, which could result in an inverted cooktop flame.

Dealers will seal the furnace from the cooktop, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on December 1, 2021. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-574-825-8657. Forest River’s number for this recall is 203-1434.

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Continental and Cargo Mate Cargo Trailers. The coupler was improperly welded, which may cause the trailer to separate from the tow vehicle.

Dealers will inspect and replace the coupler, as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on December 22, 2021. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-254-420-0171. Forest River’s number for this recall is 700-1438.

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Cherokee ACKT29TEBL travel trailers. The tire size and Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) on the Federal Placard are incorrect, which could result in the vehicle being overloaded. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 110, “Tire Selection and Rims” and 49 CFR Part 567, “Certification.”

Forest River will mail owners a new Federal Placard, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on December 22, 2021. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service at 1-260-499-2100. Forest River’s number for this recall is 17A-1439.

Clinton/Knoxville North KOA, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Impression Fifth Wheel Recreational Vehicles. The center identification light on the rear of the vehicle was incorrectly installed at a higher position than the other lights. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 108, “Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment.”

The remedy for this recall is still under development. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on December 29, 2021. Owners may contact Forest River Customer Service Phone Number 1-574-296-2084. Forest River’s number for this recall is 83-1441.

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

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2021 Class A Cornerstone motorhomes. A machining defect may cause pressure to build in the power steering pump and break the shaft seal, resulting in a loss of power steering assist.

Related: September 2021 RV Manufacturer Recalls

A Spartan or Shyft Group repair center will inspect the pump serial number, and replace the power steering pump if necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on January 10, 2022. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267.

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

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2020-2022 Anthem, Embark, Reatta, and Reatta XL motorhomes. The rear suspension mounting fasteners that attach the rear-drive axle to the rear suspension may not have been tightened properly, which could allow the fasteners to loosen or break.

Jayco will work with Shyft to notify owners, and dealers will inspect the rear suspension fasteners for damage, and replace and tighten them as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on January 10, 2022. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267.

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

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2021 Jay Flight Octane travel trailers. The water heater was installed in the incorrect location, which could result in exhaust fumes entering the slide-out area of the trailer.

Dealers will relocate the water heater, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on January 13, 2022. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267.

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

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Jayco Swift and Entegra Ethos motorhomes. The seat belt automatic locking retractors may deactivate early, which can prevent the child restraint system from securing properly. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 208, “Occupant Crash Protection.”

Related: August 2021 RV Manufacturer Recalls

Dealers will inspect and replace the seat belt retractors as needed, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on January 12, 2022. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267.

Sundance 1 RV Resort, Casa Grande, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Triple E

Triple E Recreational Vehicles (Triple E) is recalling certain 2015 Free Spirit, 2015-2018 Unity, 2015-2016 Libero, 2015-2018 Serenity, and Wonder recreational vehicles. Please see attached 573 for a complete list of model numbers. The refrigerator exhaust vents directly onto the wood frame and surfaces, which can overheat the wood.

Dealers will install metal heat deflectors and screws, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on October 27, 2021. Owners may contact Triple E customer service at 1-877-992-9906. Triple E’s number for this recall is CA#8721-1.

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

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2017 Challenger, Miramar, and Outlaw motorhomes. The external compartment outer door skin may separate from the motorhome during transit.

Dealers will inspect the compartment door skin and replace the door as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on December 29, 2021. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000247.

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

Newmar

Newmar Corporation (Newmar) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Essex, 2020-2022 King Aire, and London Aire motorhomes. A machining defect may cause pressure to build in the power steering pump and break the shaft seal, resulting in a loss of power steering assist.

On behalf of Newmar Corporation, Shyft Group will inspect the pump serial number, and replace the power steering pump if necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on December 18, 2021. Owners may contact Newmar’s customer service at 1-800-731-8300.

Distant Drums RV Park, Camp Verde, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Heartland

Heartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC (Heartland) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Heartland Cyclone and 2019-2021 Road Warrior Toy Hauler recreational trailers. The transfer switch wire securement lugs may have been improperly tightened during production, causing the wires to come loose.

Related: July 2021 RV Manufacturer Recalls

Dealers will inspect and tighten the securement lugs, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on December 29, 2021. Owners may contact Heartland customer service at 1-877-262-8032.

Tucson/Lazydays KOA, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keystone

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain Arcadia 3660RL fifth-wheel travel trailers. The Federal Identification Label has the incorrect tire size and tire pressure information.

Dealers will replace the Federal Identification Label, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on December 29, 2021. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 21-417.

Please Note: This is the 34th 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

September 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.

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.

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

NHTSA releases its most recent list of recalls each Monday.

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

NHTSA announced 14 recall notices during September 2021. These recalls involved 12 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Forest River (3 recalls), Airstream (1 recall), KZRV (1 recall), Space Craft (1 recall), Coach House (1 recall), Escape Trailer (1 recall), Triple E (1 recall), Tiffin (1 recall), Jayco (1 recall), Highland Ridge (1 recall), Starcraft (1 recall), and Newmar (1 recall).

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Coachmen Sportscoach motorhomes. The outdoor cooktop can be stowed with the propane hose connected.

Dealers will move the quick disconnect and install a new shorter LP supply hose, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on October 19, 2021. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-825-8212. Forest River’s number for this recall is 310-1418.

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Coachmen Nova motorhomes. The Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) battery was incorrectly installed inside the vehicle, which can allow hydrogen gas to enter the vehicle.

Dealers will install a battery box to the exterior of the vehicle and vent it, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed October 13, 2021. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-825-6319 or 1-574-825-6625. Forest River’s number for this recall is 225-1416.

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2021 Berkshire recreational vehicles. These vehicles may have been manufactured with unsealed 5-AMP and 20-AMP mini-breakers, which could cause a spark in the battery compartment.

Dealers will install sealed mini-breakers, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed October 13, 2021. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-522-1368. Forest River’s number for this recall is 40-1414.

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

Airstream

Airstream, Inc. (Airstream) is recalling certain 2021 Flying Cloud, Bambi, Caravel, Classic, Globetrotter, and International recreational vehicles, equipped with Winntec model 6020 two-stage propane regulators. The regulator may fail, causing an increase in propane pressure.

Dealers will inspect and replace the regulator, as necessary, and test the propane system for leaks, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed October 26, 2021. Owners may contact Airstream customer service at 1-877-596-6505 or 1-937-596-6111 ext. 7401 or 7411.

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

KZRV

KZRV, L.P. (KZRV) is recalling certain 2018-2022 Camplite, Confluence, Connect, Connect SE, Connect Lite, Durango, Durango Gold, Durango Half Ton, Durango Sport, Durango 1500, Quicksilver, Sonic, Sonic X, Sportsmen, Sportsmen FW, Sportsmen LE, Sportsmen SE, Sportsmen Sportster, Sportster, SportTrek, SportTrek Touring, Spree, Stratus, Venom, and Venom V Series recreational vehicles, equipped with Winntec model 6020 two-stage propane regulators. The regulator may fail, causing an increase in propane pressure.

Dealers will replace the regulator and pigtail hoses, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed October 26, 2021. Owners may contact KZRV customer service at 1-800-768-4016 ext. 154 or 153. KZRV’s number for this recall is KZ-2021-05.

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

Space Craft

Space Craft MFG (Space Craft) is recalling certain 2019-2021 travel, fifth-wheel, and semi-trailers (see recall report for specific model numbers). The adhesive that bonds the vented portion of the window may fail.

Space Craft will inspect the windows, and replace the vent if necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed in September 2021. Owners may contact Space Craft customer service at 1-660-463-7520.

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

Coach House

Coach House, Inc. (Coach House) is recalling certain 2019-2022 Platinum II and 2022 Platinum recreational vehicles. The adhesive that bonds the vented portion of the window may fail.

On behalf of Coach House, Lippert will send owners an inspection tool with instructions to inspect the window. Affected windows will be replaced by Lippert, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed September 30, 2021. Owners may contact Coach House customer service at 1-800-235-0984.

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

Escape Trailer

Escape Trailer (Escape Trailer) is recalling certain 2019 E17A, E17B, E19, E21C, E21NE, and E5.0 recreational trailers. 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 6, 2021. Owners may contact Escape Trailer customer service at 1-604-703-1650.

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

Triple E

Triple E Recreational Vehicles (Triple E) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Unity U24IB, U24TB, U24RL, Wonder W24RL, and W24RTB vehicles. The 12-volt wire for the illuminated assist handle is routed too close to the refrigerator exhaust, which could melt the wire and blow the fuse.

Dealers will install foil tape over the 12-volt wire, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed in September 2021. Owners may contact Triple E customer service at 1-877-992-9906. Triple E’s number for this recall is CA#9949-1.

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

Tiffin

Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc. (Tiffin) is recalling certain 2018-2022 Allegro Breeze, Allegro Red, Allegro, Allegro Bus, Phaeton, and 2018-2021 Zephyr recreational vehicles. The sofa seat belts may not have been installed correctly, which could result in unsecured passengers. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 210, “Seat Belt Assembly Anchorages.”

Dealers will inspect and repair the seat belts as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed October 31, 2021. Owners may contact Tiffin customer service at 1-256-356-8661. Tiffin’s number for this recall is TIF-118.

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

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2018-2021 Jayco Eagle, Talon, 2020 Eagle HT, 2021 Jay Feather, Jay Flight Bungalow, Jay Flight Octane, North Point, Octane Super Lite, Pinnacle, White Hawk, 2021-2022 Jay Flights SLX, Jay Flight, and 2017-2021 Seismic recreational vehicles equipped with Winntec model 6020 two-stage propane regulators. The regulator may fail, causing an increase in propane pressure.

Dealers will replace the regulator, and test the propane system for leaks, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 1, 2021. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267.

Sea Breeze RV Park, Poetland, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Highland Ridge

Highland Ridge RV (Highland Ridge) is recalling certain 2021 Mesa Ridge Limited, Mesa Ridge Lite, Open Range Light, Open Range Ultra Lite, Silverstar Limited, Silverstar Lite, 2021-2022 Olympia, and Open Range recreational vehicles, equipped with Winntec model 6020 two-stage propane regulators. The regulator may fail, causing an increase in propane pressure.

Dealers will replace the regulator and test the propane system for leaks, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 1, 2021. Owners may contact Highland Ridge customer service at 1-260-768-7771.

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

Starcraft

Starcraft RV (Starcraft) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Starcraft Autumn Ridge Outfitter, 2021 Super Lite, and Telluride recreational vehicles, equipped with Winntec model 6020 two-stage propane regulators. The regulator may fail, causing an increase in propane pressure.

Dealers will replace the regulator and test the propane system for leaks, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 1, 2021. Owners may contact Starcraft customer service at 1-800-283-8267.

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

Newmar

Newmar Corporation (Newmar) is recalling certain 2019-2021 London Aire, Dutch Star, Essex, King Aire, Mountain Aire, 2020-2021 Ventana, and 2021 New Aire recreational vehicles. The instrument cluster may intermittently go blank while the vehicle is in motion.

Dealers will update the control module software, and reroute and secure the ductwork, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on November 8, 2021. Owners may contact Newmar’s customer service at 1-800-731-8300.

Please Note: This is the 32nd 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

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

Are You Ready? The Hurricane Season is Just Starting

The tropics are heating back up

Will Grace top Elsa as the headliner storm of the season, even though Elsa was more than a month ago when the tropics were just beginning to stir?

As the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred degenerated into a tropical wave and its path swung further west into the Gulf of Mexico this past Saturday (August 14, 2021), Southwest Florida already had its eyes set on a new threat. The overnight formation of Tropical Storm Grace marked the second storm in a week the area has to monitor. The storm could make landfall in Florida by the end of the week, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Amelia Island, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

August is when the tropics typically fire up. But we aren’t there just yet. Dr. William “Bill” Gray (1929-2016), regarded as a pioneer in the science of hurricane forecasting, would literally ring a bell on August 20 to announce the real start of hurricane season. That’s several days out.

There is definitely something that “clicks” in late August allowing for tropical systems to shift from mostly rainmakers (in some cases, these are still catastrophic) to extreme wind makers. Wind damage and deaths due to storm surge could jump dramatically in the weeks ahead.

Cedar Creek, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Here’s the good news: Fred was not one of those storms (and at the time of writing it’s too early to know about Grace). And that’s actually a little bit surprising considering that storm names beginning with the letter “F” are the second most likely names to be retired, meaning they were particularly deadly or destructive.

Here’s a breakdown of retired hurricane names categorized by the letter:

Letter of the alphabet             Number of retired storm names

A                                 7

Agnes, Alicia, Allen, Allison, Andrew, Anita, Audrey

Crystal River, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

B                                 3

Betsy, Beulah, Bob

C                                 9

Camille, Carla, Carmen, Carol, Celia, Cesar, Charley, Cleo, Connie

D                                 8

David, Dean, Dennis, Diana, Diane, Donna, Dora, Dorian

E                                  5

Edna, Elena, Eloise, Erika, Eta

Daytona Beach, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

F                                  9

Fabian, Felix, Fifi, Flora, Florence, Floyd, Fran, Frances, Frederic

G                                 5

Georges, Gilbert, Gloria, Greta, Gustav

H                                 6

Harvey, Hattie, Hazel, Hilda, Hortense, Hugo

I                                   12

Igor, Ike, Inez, Ingrid, Ione, Iota, Irene, Iris, Irma, Isabel, Isisdore, Ivan

Venice, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

J                                  5

Janet, Jeanne, Joan, Joaquin, Juan

K                                 3

Katrina, Keith, Klaus

L                                  4

Laura, Lenny, Lili, Luis

M                                6

Maria, Marilyn, Matthew, Michael, Michelle, Mitch

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

N                                 2

Nate, Noel

O                                 2

Opal, Otto

P                                  1

Paloma

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

R                                 2

Rita, Roxanne

S                                  2

Sandy, Stan

T                                  1

Tomas

W                                1

Wilma

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

No, that’s not a typo. Believe it or not, the letter “I” is responsible for the most retired hurricane names. According to the Weather Authority at News 4 JAX, the best guess this year is that we’ll see the “I” storm sometime shortly after Labor Day. That would be near the peak of hurricane season which is September 10.

Ida will be this year’s “I” storm.

But which storm will be this year’s strongest? Possibly, Julian. It doesn’t sound particularly intimidating (none of them does, really), but that’s as good a guess as any. And again, that’s purely a guess.

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

Dr. Klotzbach, the lead CSU forecaster, recently updated his seasonal hurricane forecast. He’s now expecting us to see four major hurricanes. In other words, the weeks ahead are likely to be very challenging for many people.

Worth Pondering…

Hurricane season brings a humbling reminder that, despite our technologies, most of nature remains unpredictable.

—Diane Ackerman

How and How Often Do People Die in America’s National Parks?

Traveling to a national park this summer? What are the odds of dying during a visit?

For travelers heading to national parks this summer, fun and sun are on most visitors’ minds. While some danger lurks at these natural treasures, new data shows that park-goers, by and large, survive the great outdoors.

An October 2020 analysis from Panish Shea & Boyle LLP which reportedly used data provided by National Park Service (NPS) for the years 2007 through 2018 showed there had been a total of 2,727 deaths spread over hundreds of sites across that 12-year period while approximately 3.5 billion visited during that same period. This equates to less than eight deaths per 10 million visits to park sites during that time frame. It is important to say that based on this data visiting national parks is very safe overall.

Joshua Tree National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Additionally, the NPS Public Risk Management Program (PRMP) analyzes mortality data to identify trends, leading causes of death, and high-risk populations. While injury rates in national parks are very low compared to injury rates in the U.S., injuries can and do happen when visitors are unprepared, exceed their experience or fitness level, or do not understand or heed hazard warnings. Being aware of the common causes of injuries in parks can help visitors understand the hazards associated with their activities and be better prepared before they go.

Badlands National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

PRMP reported that between the calendar year 2014 and 2016, 143 of 419 park units reported one or more deaths for a total of 990 deaths or six deaths per week. The mortality rate was 0.1 deaths per 100,000 recreation visits with 53 percent of deaths in that time frame due to unintentional causes like drowning and vehicle crashes. Around half of the medical deaths occurred as an individual was engaged in physical activity—like hiking, biking, or swimming—and 79 percent of deaths occurred among males.

Banish Shea & Boyle LLP data showed that drowning, motor vehicle crashes, “undetermined” causes, and falls were the top four killers highlighting the rural and scenic nature of most sites.

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

Washington’s North Cascades National Park was the most dangerous, statistics-wise, with 652 deaths per 10 million visits. Lake Mead National Recreation Area saw the most deaths during the period of the study at over 200 though there were more than 85 million recreational visits to the site during the years measured.

Data on fatalities in the parks from 2010 to 2020 released by Outforia in May—obtained using a Freedom of Information Act request to the NPS—showed the most common causes of death were falls, medical or natural deaths, or “undetermined” or “unexplained” deaths.

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Unsurprisingly, the most visited parks tend to have the most visitor fatalities. Over the last ten years, Grand Canyon had the most visitor deaths, 134, followed closely by often densely-packed Yosemite, 126. Deaths and disappearances continue at Yosemite into 2021.

Great Smoky Mountains was the most visited park in 2019 with over 12 million visitors. It experienced 92 visitor deaths since 2010 while Yellowstone had 52. Interestingly, the park with the sixth-highest number of death, Alaska’s rugged Denali, had far fewer visitors than the other five. Yellowstone had 4,020,288 annual visitors and 52 deaths. Denali had 51 deaths and just 601,152 annual visitors.

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

Of course, while every death is tragic, the National Parks had nearly 3 billion visitors from 2010 to 2020 including 327.52 million people in 2019 alone. Due to the pandemic 2020 visitation numbers fell to 318.21 million people. If you’re careful, the parks can be quite safe.

Falls are by far the biggest killer of park visitors responsible for 245 deaths over the ten-year period studied. Medical or natural death was responsible for 192 mortalities followed by “undetermined” (166), motor vehicle crashes (140), and drowning responsible for 139 deaths.

White Sands National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Suicides were uncommon; just two parks, Grand Canyon (15) and Rocky Mountain (11) had more than ten deaths in ten years. More people were killed by wild animal attacks (6) than homicide (5.) Deaths from environmental factors were most common at Denali (18) and Grand Canyon (14) with one known for extreme cold and the other for extreme heat.

It can reach 120 degrees in the shade in the lower portions of Grand Canyon and tragedies do occur. A 49-year-old woman, her husband, and a friend hiked about four miles down the South Kaibab Trail when the woman became dizzy, disoriented, and then stopped breathing. The cause of death was believed to be heat-related. The high at Phantom Ranch that day was approximately 114 degrees. But even first-time campers, like those flocking to the parks in 2021 as the pandemic wanes can survive by using common sense like drinking plenty of water, avoiding the hottest parts of the day, and wearing a wide-brimmed hat (I prefer a Tilley).

Saguaro National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But these statistics do not take into account the numerous near-death experiences in the national parks such as the 21-year-old woman who recently fell into the icy waters of Maligne River in Alberta’s Jasper National Park. She slipped from a rock near the bank of the river while taking a photo. Fortunately, a 48-year-old man and his wife were in the right place at the right time and were able to rescue her from the fast-moving water.

Sequoia National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

While 2021 mortality data is not currently available recently reported deaths offers further insight into the issue:

  • New Mexico State Police reported on July 6 that a 63-year-old man had been found dead in the shadeless White Sands National Park
  • In April, a grizzly bear attacked and killed a backcountry guide while fishing along the Yellowstone National Park border in southwestern Montana
  • In June, a 26-year-old woman fell to her death at Zion National Park while canyoneering
  • A 56-year-old man fell to his death from Sequoia National Park on Memorial Day
  • A 53-year-old woman on a backpacking trip at the Grand Canyon died of a heat-related illness in June
  • A 64-year-old professor of Biology died last month while solo hiking in Yosemite National Park

Worth Pondering…

It is what we think we know already that often prevents us from learning.

—Claude Bernard

HURRICANE 2021 SURVIVAL GUIDE: STAYING SAFE IN YOUR RV

Storm season is here! Are You Ready?

Believe it or not, June is already winding down. And while I’m sure there’s plenty of excitement left in the month (especially with hurricane season officially underway), now’s a great time to reflect on what an amazing month we’re having. As you know, it’s the time of year when spring really starts to look like summer.

It always throws people off when it’s the eve of the Atlantic hurricane season. No, not during hurricane season—not unless a hurricane comes within 1,000 miles, anyway!

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

I thought it might be nice to start off with some good news. Of course, that statement is a “no brainer” since the 2020 Hurricane Season was the most active in modern times (since 1851). There were 30 named storms, 14 hurricanes, and seven major hurricanes. Boom! Actually, the past decade has been off the charts in terms of activity. There have been on average 17 named storms each year making the past decade the busiest on record. It has also been the busiest 30 years on record as well with two years, 2020 and 2005, both having record seasons. Those two seasons combined for nearly 60 named storms and 14 major hurricanes. For perspective, there have been decades when the total number of storms was under 90. During the 1910s-1920s there were only 60 named storms over a 10-year period. As recently as 1992, there were only 91 storms over a 10-year period.

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

Now, the bad news! Despite no La Niña, this will still be an active hurricane season. It just won’t be a super season!

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

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

Here’s what you need to know

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

According to News4Jax Insider, your first aid kit should include sterile adhesive bandages, sterile gauze pads, hypoallergenic adhesive tape, triangular bandages (3), sterile roller bandages, antibiotic ointment, scissors, tweezers, needle, moistened towelettes, antiseptic, thermometer, tongue blades (2), a tube of petroleum jelly or another lubricant, assorted sizes of safety pins, cleansing agent/soap, latex gloves (2 pairs), sunscreen, bug repellent, Tylenol or other pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacid, syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center) and laxatives, activated charcoal (if advised by the Poison Control Center), bottled water and additional sterilizing liquids (alcohol and acetone).

Stay safe out there! Remember, run from the water and hide from the wind.

Worth Pondering…

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

—Jodi Picoult

Is Your RV Protected from Electrical Issues?

Most RVers are not protecting their RV from electrical issues

There are four electrical issues an RVer can encounter while traveling: surges, miswired pedestals, high/low voltage, and wiring issues inside the RV.

It is unbelievable to think that 90 percent of RVs do not have any type of electrical protection system in place. We’ve had a power surge, situations where pedestals were miswired, and both high and low voltage situations. Fortunately, our Progressive Electric Management System has protected us from all of these situations.

Electric Management system attached to electric cord at pedestal © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What exactly are you protecting your RV from when you use an electrical protection device? It’s much more than power surges which we typically associate surge protectors with. Surges are actually the least common problem with RV electricity. An RV typically has a lot of sensitive electronic circuitry in it, and having steady power is crucial to keeping these components from having an early funeral. Failure of components like AC units, refrigerators, washer/dryer, and even computers plugged into a wall outlet can be very expensive to replace.

While the expense is a big deal, there are other considerations like the inconvenience of getting your RV to a repair shop. And, if you are on the road and something fails you’ll be scrambling to find a reputable repair shop. One of the best things you can do to prevent these type failures is to make sure that the power coming into your RV is monitored. Let’s look at the four areas that need to be addressed as it relates to RV electricity.

Progressive Electric Management System © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Electrical Issue #1: Surges

The first issue that most RVers think of as it relates to power coming into the RV is surge protection. A surge is a quick electrical spike that can quickly destroy anything in its path. Surge protection is rated in joules; the higher the level of joules the better the protection. When shopping for an electrical protection system take a look at the joules level, and remember, no system can completely protect you from a direct lightning strike.

Electric Management system attached to electric cord at pedestal © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Electrical Issue #2: Miswired Pedestals

A good electrical protection system will analyze the pedestal and let you know if there are any issues with the ground wire, neutral wire, and if there are any reverse polarity issues.

Let’s consider RV parks for a moment. The original design should have been professionally inspected but then the years start to pile on and over time the electrical pedestals that we plug into can begin to have problems. Thousands of RVs may have plugged into the pedestal before you and over time, pedestals can start to wear down. Wiring can come loose in the pedestal and you could lose the ground wire which can be dangerous. The neutral wire could become disconnected and put your RV in danger of up to 240 volts running to one side of your RV.

Progressive Electric Management System © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Electrical Issue #3: High/Low Voltage

Your electrical protection system should have the ability to cut you off from the power if the voltage drops too low or goes too high. Usually systems will cut off at 102-104 volts and on the high side at around 132 volts.

So, what causes a low or high voltage situation? Imagine you are at a crowded park in the middle of the summer and everyone is turning on their AC units. A low voltage situation will not always zap an appliance but it will reduce the life expectancy of an appliance over time. Low voltage and high voltage are the silent killers and dealing with this should be a part of your plan to protect your RV.

Rest assured that your electric system is fully protected © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Electrical Issue #4: Wiring Inside the RV

What if the incoming power is fine, but you have a wiring issue inside of your RV? A good electrical protection system will detect elevated ground currents and open neutral conditions in the RV. This level of protection is new to the market (within the last year) and can be found in the Surge Guard brand.

You may be protected against some of these issues with devices that were installed in your RV from the factory. But, you are not covered from all of these issues with a built-in unit from the factory. Many Diesel Pushers have some type of built in surge protector that is combined with the transfer switch. Smaller class A, B, and C motorhomes may or may not have any electrical protection built in, and fifth-wheels and travel trailers likely have nothing built into the unit.

Enjoying a sunset on the Texas Gulf Coast © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It surprised me to learn that I did not have the protection from my built-in unit I thought I had. When I checked the model number of the built in electrical protection system and studied the manual, I found that it had nothing more than a surge protector and all of the other elements we discussed were not accounted for.

You can use one of the Progressive Electric Management Systems or Surge Guard portable units even if you have a hardwired unit installed. They will work together to protect your RV.

You don’t need electrical protection until you need it. Saving a few hundred bucks and risking damage due to your lack of electrical protection just does not make sense. I can tell you that having my Progressive Electric Management System plugged into the pedestal makes me feel a whole lot better about being protected from poor park power.

Why would any RVer not want such protection?

Worth Pondering…

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