September 2020 RV Manufacturer Recalls

A manufacturer recall can create a safety risk if not repaired

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

What is a recall?

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

Bellingham RV Park, Bellingham, Washington © 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 17 recall notices during September 2020. These recalls involved 11 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Forest River (3 recalls), Keystone (3 recalls), Heartland (2 recalls), Gulf Stream (2 recalls), Thor Motor Coach (1 recall), Jayco (1 recall), Foretravel (1 recall), Newmar (1 recall), Grand Design (1 recall), Tiffin (1 recall), and MCI (1 recall).

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2017-2018 Charleston, 2017-2019 Legacy, 2017-2020 Berkshire, 2017 Coachmen Cross Country, and 2017-2020 Sportscoach motorhomes built on certain FCCC XB and XC chassis that received an inspection-only remedy for recall 18V-763. The rear mounted Power Distribution Module (PDM) may have been damaged during manufacturing, possibly resulting in the rear marker lights, brake lights, or turn signals not functioning.

Forest Rivers will notify owners, and Daimler Trucks dealers will replace the old Power Distribution Module (PDM) with a new PDM, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin September 27, 2020. Owners may contact DTNA customer service at 1-800-745-8000. Forest’s number for this recall is 51-1203.

Durango RV Resort, Red Bluff, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2021 Coachmen Catalina CAT261BHS-8 and CAT263BHSCKLE recreational trailers. The exterior griddle was built with a six foot hose, allowing the griddle to be stowed in the vehicle with an open flame.

None of the vehicles have been retailed yet. Forest River dealers will install a three foot LPG hose instead of the six foot one, free of charge. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-825-4995. Forest River’s number for this recall is 103-1227.

Western Way RV Resort, Tucson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest) is recalling certain 2021 Berkshire BEA40C-380, BEA40E-380, BEA45A-450, and BEA45CA-450 motorhomes equipped with 3000W inverters. These inverters supply too much current to the 10 gauge Romex wire.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will replace the 3000W inverter with a 2800W inverter, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin October 14, 2020. Owners may contact Forest customer service at 1-754-533-5934. Forest’s number for this recall is 40-1225.

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

Keystone

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2021 Outback travel trailers. The Federal Identification Tag incorrectly states that the tire pressure should be 65 PSI, when the correct tire pressure is 80 PSI. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of 49 CFR Part 567, “Certification.”

Keystone will notify owners, and dealers will replace the Federal Identification Tag, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin September 21, 2020. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 20-384.

Canyon Vista RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keystone

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2021 Fuzion recreational trailers (models 357, 369, 373, 379, 419, 424, 427, 429 and 430) and 2021 Impact recreational trailers (models 343, 359, 367 and 415). The auxiliary fuel supply tank mounting straps may have been improperly secured with grade 2 bolts instead of grade 5 bolts.

Keystone will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and replace the tank strap mounting bolts, as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin October 19, 2020. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 20-385.

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

Keystone

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Dutchmen Yukon 399ML, 400RL and 410RD recreational trailers. The bedroom egress window has a black round knob installed rather than a narrow crank handle.

Keystone will notify owners, and dealers will remove the existing black round knob and replace it with a narrow crank handle, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin October 19, 2020. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 20-386.

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

Heartland

Heartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC (Heartland) is recalling certain 2021 Mallard travel trailers. The liquid propane (LP) hose and connector may contact the suspension shackle.

Heartland will notify owners, and dealers will relocate the hose to prevent the LP hose/connector from being able to make contact with the shackle. The manufacturer has not yet provided a schedule for recall notification. Owners may contact Heartland customer service at 1-877-262-8032.

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

Heartland

Heartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC (Heartland) is recalling certain 2019-2021 Cyclone and 2020-2021 Bighorn Traveler recreational trailers. Due to insufficient bracing, the front landing legs may buckle and collapse while the trailer is parked.

Heartland will notify owners, and dealers will install a jack bracket to reinforce the landing legs, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a recall schedule. Owners may contact Heartland customer service at 1-877-262-8032.

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

Gulf Stream

Gulf Stream Coach, Inc. (Gulf Stream) is recalling certain 2021 Enlighten 25BH travel trailers. The lower front trim strip may be missing from the refrigerator. The front strip is required to make the refrigerator cabinet seal complete, and provides complete isolation of the combustion system from the travel trailer interior.

All of the trailers affected by this recall have been repaired and owner letters will not be sent. Owners may contact Gulf Stream customer service at 1-800-289-8787. Gulf Stream’s number for this recall is 08312020.

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

Gulf Stream

Gulf Stream Coach, Inc. (Gulf Stream) is recalling certain 2020 Enlighten 25BH and 248BH travel trailers. The lower front trim strip may be missing from the refrigerator. The front strip is required to make the refrigerator cabinet seal complete, and provides complete isolation of the combustion system from the travel trailer interior.

Gulf Stream will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the trailers and verify that the seal at the bottom of the refrigerator cabinet is installed properly, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in September 2020. Owners may contact Gulf Stream customer service at 1-800-289-8787. Gulf Stream’s number for this recall is 08282020.

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

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (Thor) is recalling certain 2019-2021 Hurricane and Windsport motorhomes, models 27B, 29M, 32T, 33X, 34J, 34R and 35M. The electronic control center circuit board may be damaged from voltages over 17 volts or a reverse polarity situation.

Thor will notify owners, and dealers will add an additional circuit module to the existing component board to provide reverse polarity and over-current protection, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin October 20, 2020. Owners may contact Thor customer service at 1-877-855-2867. Thor’s number for this recall is RC000203.

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

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Entegra Reatta and Jayco Embark and 2020 Entegra ReattaXL motorhomes. The electronic control center circuit board may be damaged from voltages over 17 volts, causing the components on the board to become damaged.

Jayco will notify owners, and dealers will install an additional circuit module to the existing component board to provide over-current protection, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin October 9, 2020. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-517-9137. Jayco’s number for this recall is 9903518.

Colorado River Thousand Trails Preserve, Columbus, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Foretravel

Foretravel, Inc. is recalling certain 2020 iC-37 motorhomes equipped with Xantrex Inverters which have an internal ground neutral bond. The vehicles were also wired with an additional external ground neutral bond. Having more than one ground/neutral bond in a system creates the possibility of electrical shock when making contact with the metal surfaces of the coach.

All of the affected units have been remedied and owner notification letters will not be sent. Owners may contact Foretravel customer service at 1-800-955-6226.

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

Newmar

Newmar Corporation (Newmar) is recalling certain 2018-2019 Essex and New Aire, 2019 Dutch Star, London Aire, Mountain Aire, and Ventana motorhomes. The instrument panel brightness cannot be adjusted, possibly causing glare when driving at night. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 101, “Control and Displays.”

Newmar will notify owner, and dealers will update the software and processor, as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin October 25, 2020. Owners may contact Newmar customer service at 1-800-731-8300.

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

Grand Design

Grand Design RV, LLC (Grand Design) is recalling certain 2017-2021 Solitude recreational trailers. The liquid propane (LP) supply line that runs through the exterior lower refrigerator compartment may contact the burner tube of the refrigerator, possibly damaging the line and causing an LP gas leak.

Grand Design will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the LP supply line for damage, replacing it as necessary. All lines in the vicinity of the burner tube will be wrapped in a thermal foil heat barrier material, then secured away from the burner tube of the refrigerator with additional P-clamps, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin September 30, 2020. Owners may contact Grand Design customer service at 1-574-825-9679. Grand Design’s number for this recall is 910021.

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

Tiffin

Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc. (Tiffin) is recalling certain 2020 Bus and Phaeton motorhomes. The steering pinch bolts may not have been properly tightened.

Tiffin will notify owners, and dealers will tighten the steering bolts to specification, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a schedule for recall notification. Owners may contact Tiffin customer service at 1-256-356-8661.

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

MCI

Motor Coach Industries (MCI) is recalling certain 2017-2020 J4500 motor coaches. The coolant hose may fail, resulting in a low coolant warning followed by an engine shut down sequence, as well as the potential for engine coolant spilling on the roadway.

MCI will notify owners, and dealers will replace the coolant hose, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin October 23, 2020. Owners may contact MCI customer service at 1-800-241-2947. MCI’s number for this recall is SB 486.

Please Note: This is the 20th 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

Hurricane Season: Staying Safe in your RV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s what you need to know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay safe out there!

Worth Pondering…

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

—Jodi Picoult

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dauphin Island, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Schulenburg, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seaside, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

Sedona, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

Worth Pondering…

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

—Maurice Chevalier

July 2020 RV Manufacturer Recalls

A manufacturer recall can create a safety risk if not repaired

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

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

What is a recall?

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

NHTSA releases its most recent list of recalls each Monday.

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

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

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

Forest River

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

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

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

Forest River

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

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

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

Forest River

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

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

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

Forest River

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

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

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

Forest River

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

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

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

Forest River

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

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

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

Forest River

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

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

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

Jayco

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

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

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

Jayco

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

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

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

Jayco

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

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

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

Keystone

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

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

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

Triple E

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

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

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

Airstream

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

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

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

Gulf Stream

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

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

Please Note: This is the 18th in a series of posts relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.

—Martin Van Buren

On the Road Again: Summer Road Trip Safety Tips

Get on the road and stay safe with these safety tips

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

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

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

Always conduct a pre-drive safety check.

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

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

Make sure bay doors are closed and secured.

Double-check tow bar and safety cables.

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

Retract jacks, steps, and awnings.

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

Look under the rig for signs of fluid leaks.

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

Check oil, transmission, and coolant levels.

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

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

Check tire inflation pressure and examine tread wear.

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

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

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

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

Never refill propane tanks with appliances or engine running.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Practice S.A.F.E. cornering:

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

Experience is Key. Practice! Practice! Practice!

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

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

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

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

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

Worth Pondering…

Remember, safety is no accident.

6 Essential Tips for the First Time RVer

6 Essential Tips for the First Time RVer

There are many people out there who love to commune with nature and take every opportunity to grab their camping gear and head out into the great outdoors. Then, there are those people who decide to take camping to the next level and become RV campers instead. 

Touring Wild Turkey Bourbon Distillery © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

However, whether you’re headed across the country to tour a Kentucky bourbon distillery or to the mountains to take a hike, there are a few tips you need to follow as a beginning RVer

Heading to the mountains for a hike at Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Be Thorough 

Even seasoned RVers leave things behind when it’s time to move on, so as a beginner it’s important to be thorough when packing up to move to the next location. You have to pack up your RV and make sure that its road ready when it’s time to move on. Develop a checklist to follow so you don’t forget to secure a latch or close a drawer. 

Slow down and enjoy nature at Padre Island National Seashore © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Take Your Time on the Road 

This tip applies to how much time you plan to spend on the road each day and even how long you intend to stay in one spot. It’s important not to try and cover too many miles in a day. Not only is that dangerous, but you’re failing to enjoy the beauty of the area you’re in at the same time.

Taking time to relax and enjoy your camping site along the Mississippi River at Tom Sawyer RV Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One of the best parts of becoming an RVer is taking the time to enjoy the views you would have easily passed by without seeing before. A good rule of thumb to follow is 300 miles or 3 pm as your cut-off point for traveling each day. If you reach either, it’s time to call it a day, set up camp, and just enjoy the area. 

Take time to enjoy the journey along the Colorado River near Moab, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Once you reach your destination, don’t just head back out the next morning. Spend a few days relaxing and getting to know and appreciate the area. In this way, you’ll be fresh to get back on the road and have a relaxing time as well. There are many places to see when you’re an RV camper, take your time and enjoy them all. 

Enjoying the sunset at Sea Breeze RV Park near Corpus Christi, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ask a Ton of Questions 

One of the best things about being an RVer is that the community is so big you can easily get answers to the questions you have, and you should have a ton when you are first starting out. Talk to RVers along your route and ask questions. You can pretty much guarantee that if they don’t know the answer, they will find someone that does. 

Colorado River Thousand Trails Preserve at Columbus, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pack Tools and Spare Parts

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

Camping amid the beauty of Badlands National Park in South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Be Flexible 

RVing is about taking it easy and enjoying the experience. A lot of things can happen on the road, from bad weather to someone getting sick. You need to be flexible with your plans. If weather or sickness puts you behind a day so be it! Enjoy where you’re at and then ride towards a sunnier spot when everyone is on the mend. 

Castle Valley Gourd Festival was a pleasant surprise on a day trip from Moab, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Becoming an RVer is all about the journey and the adventure that awaits you from town to town and state to state. Plan your trip, pack well, ask questions, and get to know your fellow RV community members. RV camping is fun and relaxing and you shouldn’t make it anything but that for you and your family. 

Settling into Harvest Moon RV Park in Historic Adairsville, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Don’t Wing It

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

  • Your budget
  • Your food supplies
  • Your travel route
  • Attractions to see along the way
  • Fuel stops
  • Campgrounds/RV parks
Enjoying the beauty at Columbia River RV Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

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

Arrival of Summer: On Dehydration, Hurricane Season & RVs

Many summer deaths are caused by dehydration especially during heat waves

With the official start to summer looming the prospect of becoming dehydrated is an ever-present danger. Dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions, according to Mayo Clinic. If you don’t replace lost fluids, you will get dehydrated.

Folly Beach, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Anyone may become dehydrated but the condition is especially dangerous for young children and older adults. Older adults naturally have a lower volume of water in their bodies and may have conditions or take medications that increase the risk of dehydration.

This is your friendly reminder to drink some water. Go fill up your water bottle, I’ll wait. 

Good? 

Elephant Butte Lake State Park, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Alright, let’s get after it.

The arrival of summer also means the beginning of hurricane season and experts think it’s going to be a doozy. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center shows a 60 percent chance of an above-normal season. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.

Storm damage at Rockport from Hurricane Harvey (August 2017) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a likely range of 13 to 19 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher) of which six to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher) including three to six major hurricanes (category 3, 4, or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70 percent confidence. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes including three major hurricanes.

Storm damage at Fulton from Hurricane Harvey (August 2017) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But that’s not the most alarming hurricane-related news you’ll read this month. On June 1, a Texas Rep. introduced a bill to Congress that would “prohibit the President from deploying any strategic weapon such as a nuclear bomb for purposes of altering weather patterns or addressing climate change and for other purposes.”

What??

Storm damage at Goose Island State Park from Hurricane Harvey (August 2017) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As crazy as it sounds, scientists and world leaders have considered using nuclear bombs as hurricane disruptors for decades. Indeed, the idea of nuking the weather into submission is nothing new: According to James Fleming, a professor at Colby College and author of “Fixing the Sky: The checkered history of weather and climate control,” people have been discussing the possibility for almost as long as nuclear weapons have existed.

Storm damage at Goose Island State Park from Hurricane Harvey (August 2017) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In October 1945, Vladimir Zworykin, associate research director at Radio Corporation of America, suggested that if humans had technology to perfectly predict the weather, military forces could be sent out to disrupt storms before they formed perhaps using atomic bombs. That same year, UNESCO director Julian Huxley spoke at an arms control conference in Manhattan where he discussed using nuclear weapons for “landscaping the Earth” or dissolving the polar ice cap. In a 1961 speech at the National Press Club, U.S. Weather Bureau head Francis Reichelderfer said he could “imagine the possibility someday of exploding a nuclear bomb on a hurricane far at sea,” according to a 2016 report by National Geographic.

The Big Tree at Goose Island State Park following Hurricane Harvey © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There’s been enough conversation around nuking hurricanes that the NOAA felt compelled to address it on its FAQ page.

The agency’s take: “Needless to say, this is not a good idea.”

Storm damage at Goose Island State Park from Hurricane Harvey (August 2017) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

+ Go deeper: National Geographic wrote a great history of nukes and hurricanes. If you are really interested in the topic, read “Fixing the Sky” that charts humanity’s attempts to control the weather through engineering. 

Storm damage at Goose Island State Park from Hurricane Harvey (August 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 potential severe weather warnings in your area. It’s not melodramatic to say that your life and the lives of your family could hang in the balance.

Know when it’s time to leave Dodge (Botany Bay on Edisto Island, South Carolina) © 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!

Worth Pondering…

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

—Jodi Picoult

Life after Coronavirus: Ready to Travel as Soon as it’s Safe? So Is Everyone Else

How to stay safe but get somewhere too? Recreational vehicles are perfect for self-isolating at 65 mph.

The first half of 2020 has been filled with twists, turns, and roadblocks none of us expected. We’ve had to change our lifestyle … say good-bye … learn to wait. 

Make every day an adventure! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Everyone has a touch of cabin fever after the worldwide COVID-19 (coronavirus) lockdowns. So it’s no surprise that people want to travel soon. The travel industry took a hit during the crisis. Suddenly the idea of crowded airports made travel less appealing or even impossible for most people. It was no different for the RV industry. With campgrounds shutting down and stay-at-home mandates, RVing was also put on hold.

Bush Highway, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But, this pandemic won’t last forever and it’s important to look to the brighter future. After spending months at home cooped up inside, many people are planning to book, or rebook, a much-needed vacation.

Near Lodi, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

According to a recent survey of RV travelers, 77 percent are looking to make travel plans within the next three months. While the rush back to airports or hotels in busy cities will take more time, many will turn to RV travel.

Mount Dora, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RVing is the ideal way to travel to not only avoid large groups, but a way to escape into nature and spend time outdoors whether it’s hiking your favorite trails, reading a book beside the lake, or cozying up around a campfire. RVs not only enable the outdoor lifestyle; they also provide a self-contained existence that other forms of travel don’t allow.

St. Mary’s, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV travel allows people to sleep in their own bed, cook gourmet meals, and control where they go and when. As federal and state restrictions are lifted, they’ll be able to experience the endless range of outdoor wonders throughout the country and the freedom of independent travel that RVs offer.

Lava fields, Idaho © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RVs are the ultimate self-contained units—it’s the reason why so many RVs are being used by medical professionals and others to self-isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic. RVs range from small towables to large motorhomes and many of them are designed to be completely self-contained with generators, solar panels, and laundry facilities.

Old Bag Factory, Goshen, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RVs provide travelers control: they allow people to travel where they want and when they want. And they do this with the ability to stay connected with family and friends. These features are particularly attractive during this most unprecedented time. RVs provide a wonderful opportunity for people to enjoy vacations with their families while still adhering to social distancing which may stayin place in some form for a considerable time.

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

Trips that focus on outdoors/nature will be on the rise. People are ready to stretch their legs and get outside after months of being confined indoors with 65 percent of travelers reporting they will be heading somewhere in nature such as a national or state park.

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

Most RV parks provide site maps on their websites which offers the ability to note the general layout of the park along with the amount space between sites. Privately owned and operated parks usually offer numerous amenities including full hookups, Wi-Fi, cable TV, and laundry facilities. Public campgrounds offer fewer amenities and are typically found in national and state parks and local recreational areas. Visit recreation.gov to find listings of campgrounds on US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and other public lands. 

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What kind of trips will be popular after the pandemic? 

RV travel, outdoor and nature style experiences like camping will likely see a surge of popularity. Vacations that minimize risks by avoiding crowded areas such as large cities and public transportation will provide a sense of comfort and security.

El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

That’s it for today. Hope you enjoyed this edition of RVing with Rex.

Worth Pondering…

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

Your Essential COVID-19 Guide to Staying Safe on the Family Road Trip This Summer

Traveling alone, together

Memorial Day is less than three weeks away which means the summer travel season is here. But with major airlines grounded, 90 percent of routes cancelled, the cruise industry hemorrhaging, and travel to Europe banned, the pickings are slim.

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

However, on the upside, fuel is cheap, crowds are down, traffic’s light, and RV rental deals abound. With 28 states slowly re-opening and easing stay-at-home orders, non-essential travel is back throughout most of America. So instead of sacking your summer plans and sulking at home there’s never been a better time to pack your family up in the RV and hit the road on an adventure.

Bush Highway, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Here are 10 tips to make sure your summer vacation road trip is safe, sane, and life-sustaining.

1. Assemble a Corona Road Kit to assist in practicing safe hygiene and social distancing wherever you are and in all types of different public environments. This is as much for your own safety as the safety of the people you come into contact with. Some of the obvious basics include disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, disposable plastic gloves (buy them in bulk), face masks, rubbing alcohol, and bleach.

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

2. Disinfect your RV and car frequently. Your vehicles are mobile “high-touch” surface areas both inside and out. Your door handles, seatbelts, gear shift, emergency brake, steering wheel, turn signals, phone chargers, seat adjusters, and every other knob and button you’re constantly grabbing are potential sources to transmit coronavirus. The good news is that you and your family likely will be the only ones in your vehicles. The risk is when you get back into your car from the grocery store, eating at a restaurant, fueling up, or returning to your RV you could be bringing the virus with you.

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

3. Use disinfecting wipes to clean down all the high-contact surfaces every time you get back into your car or RV. On any road trip your RV and car are your safe spaces. Keep it that way.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Stock up on essentials. A simple way to avoid the risk of contracting coronavirus is to avoid doing the same thing more times than necessary. Plan your trip to include stops at the grocery store and fueling up to minimize social contact.

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

5. Stay in areas where social distancing comes naturally. The last place anyone looking after their health right now likely wants to be is in Las Vegas or any other large city. It’s more difficult to maintain social distance in high density areas than in small towns and rural areas. Consider not only where you’re traveling but also the availability of RV parks and campgrounds in the area.

Grand Canyon Railway RV Park, Williams, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Pre-plan your activities. Wherever you travel this summer many locations and activities that require close contact with others including amusement and theme parks, casinos, and water parks will be closed. Research in advance what you can and cannot do wherever you’re going, especially if you’re traveling with children and plan accordingly for your own quarantine entertainment. Bring hiking boots, bikes, fishing rods, and golf clubs. Pack board games, puzzles, iPads, and charger.

Lassen Volcanic National Park, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Be sensitive to locals. Numerous articles have been written recently criticizing the tens of thousands of people who fled New York and Toronto and other dense, urban cities to second homes and vacation rentals in more rural areas. Be respectful of the full-time residents in any town or location you’re visiting. They are struggling to keep their small businesses afloat and their families safe and will appreciate every effort you make to support them through your travel spending while respecting local social distancing guidelines and quarantine requirements.

Lake County, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8. Understand your health insurance and have a plan. This should go without saying especially for those traveling with children or anyone already predisposed to contracting coronavirus due to pre-existing conditions or compromised immunities. If you do get sick on the road, understand exactly where and how to get treated immediately. Put a plan in place in advance. When you register at an RV park inquire as to the protocols they have in place should someone become infected.

Wawasee Lake, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

9. Always be prepared. Do your due diligence by completing preventive maintenance on the RV and toad. Carry a basic tool kit (store on curb side), LCD flashlights, spare batteries, and first aid kit.

Bluegrass Country, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. Last but not least. Enjoy nature. Get off the beaten path. Go some place that you’ve never been. Explore. The coronavirus pandemic has confined hundreds of millions like never before. A good old-fashioned road trip will remind you to never take your freedom for granted again.

Crowley, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

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

Top 10 RV Travel Tips of All Time

Here are some tips to consider before you pile into the RV and head out

I have read hundreds of tips and hacks for traveling and have tried many of them. Some are game changers and others sound great in theory but are more trouble than they are worth. Here is a list of our favorite tried and true tips that make RV travel a breeze.

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

1. Be flexible. It is a given that something won’t go as planned. Embrace that in advance and the little annoyances won’t be a big deal.

Saguaro Lake, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Don’t rely on GPS. Think maps are outdated? You won’t feel that way when you lose service or you find yourself on an old forestry road in the middle of nowhere.

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

3. USB charger. Don’t let your gadgets die on you. Modern USB connections aren’t just faster than their predecessors—they consume less power, too.

Utah Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. With moist cool weather our first instinct is to keep those windows and vents tightly closed. Today’s RV doors and windows do a great job sealing everything up but with that come ventilation issues. To reduce condensation keep one or two windows or vents slightly cracked and make sure to use your hood vent fan when cooking. Keep a small, portable dehumidifier in the bathroom, kitchen, and in an outside bin.

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

5. Don’t let your RV adventure start before you reach your destination. Make sure your RV maintenance checklist is complete and all major components are in working order before you depart. If you do end up with deviations from your plans make the best of it and enjoy wherever life takes you.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Bring Tools and Spare Parts. Pack a well-stocked tool kit that should include screw drivers, sockets, claw hammer, pliers, utility knife, tape measure, cordless drill, and adjustable and combination wrenches. Also add in the things that your RV might need like extra fuses, LCD lights, batteries, jumper cables, nuts, bolts, and connectors.

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

7. First Aid Kit. Like a tool box, a first aid kit is a must for road trippers. This way you’ll have essential first-aid supplies to help treat most common injuries, including cuts, scrapes, swelling, sprains, and strains. Your first aid kit should include antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone cream, antiseptic cleansing wipes, gauze dressing pads in varied sizes, tape roll, tweezers, adhesive bandages in varied sizes, scissors, disposable vinyl gloves, and Red Cross Emergency First Aid Guide.

Covered bridge, Parke County, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8. When you see flashing lights, “Move Over”

FLASHING LIGHTS? GIVE ‘EM SPACE! MOVE OVER!

We hope “Move Over” rings familiar. If not, let’s refresh your memory: “Move Over” is a law in most states (and Canadian provinces) that requires motorists to move over one lane—or slow down if it is not safe to change lanes—when approaching any vehicle with flashing lights pulled to the side of a road or highway.

Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

That includes first responder vehicles such as tow trucks, fire trucks, ambulances, and police cruisers, as well as utility trucks and even passenger vehicles that have emergency flashers blinking. Lives can be saved when vehicles “Move Over.”

Organ Pipe National Monument, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tragically, tow truck operators being struck and killed is not uncommon as being a first responder to vehicle crashes and disabled motorists is dangerous work. Nationally, one tow truck operator is killed every six days. On average, about 23 highway workers and one law enforcement officer are killed every month and five fire fighters are killed every year in the United States.

Remember, when you see flashing lights on, give ’em space and “Move Over.” 

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

9. Install and maintain a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide and propane (LP gas) detector.

Special 12v smoke alarms, designed specifically for RVs, are available from RV dealers. Test monthly and replace batteries annually. Install and maintain a carbon monoxide alarm in your RV near the sleeping area. Test monthly and replace batteries annually. Install and maintain a propane (LP gas) leak alarm at floor level in your RV, no more than six inches above the floor. Test monthly and replace batteries annually.

Ajo Scenic Loop Drive, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. Camera. This one is obvious, but don’t leave home without it. How else are you going to document your visit to the world’s only corn palace, located in Mitchell, South Dakota?

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

Worth Pondering…

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