November 2019 RV Manufacturer Recalls

A manufacturer recall can create a safety risk if not repaired

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

What is a recall?

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

NHTSA releases its most recent list of recalls each Monday.

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

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

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

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

Forest River

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

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

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

Forest River

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

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

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

Forest River

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

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

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

Forest River

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

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

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

Forest River

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

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

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

Forest River

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

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

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

Forest River

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

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

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

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2014 Tuscany 36M, 40E, 2015 Citation 24SL, Siesta 24SL, Axis 25.1 and Vegas 25.1, 2016 Four Winds 31E, 31W, 35SF, Chateau 31E, 31W, Synergy SD24, Citation 24SL, 24SS and Siesta 24SL, 24SS, 2017 Four Winds 31E, 31W, Chateau 31E, 35SD, Citation 24SS and Siesta 24SS, 2018 Citation 24SS and Siesta 24SS, 2019 Quantum CR24, Four Winds 24BL, Citation 24MB and Siesta 24MB and 2020 Quantum CR24, Citation 24MB, Siesta 24MB, Chateau 24BL and Synergy 24MB vehicles. The Occupant and Cargo Carrying Capacity (OCCC) label has the incorrect carrying capacity listed, which can allow the vehicle to be overloaded. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 120, “Wheels and Rims – Other Than Passenger Cars.”

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

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

Thor Motor Coach

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

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

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

Thor Motor Coach

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

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

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

Thor Motor Coach

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

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

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

Jayco

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

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

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

Jayco

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

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

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

Airstream

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

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

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

Airstream

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

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

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

Keystone RV Company

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

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

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

Keystone RV Company

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Crossroads Sunset trailers, model 242BH. The interior range cooktop is installed in a cabinet that may not be entirely sealed from the furnace cavity. As a result, during furnace operation, the interior range cooktop burner flame may invert.

Keystone will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the interior range cooktop with the furnace running, sealing it as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin December 16, 2019. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 19-362.

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

Outdoors RV Manufacturing (ORV)

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

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

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

Starcraft RV

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

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

Palm Springs-Joshua Tree KOA, California

Gulf Stream Coach

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

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

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

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

Worth Pondering…

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

—Martin Van Buren

Thanksgiving & Staying Safe

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

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

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

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

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

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

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

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

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

Doing so could save your life.

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

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

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

Thanksgiving and giving thanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

Worth Pondering…

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

—Edward Sandford Martin

Raise Your RV IQ with These Tips

Steering RV owners both new and seasoned in the right direction with these tips

Your recreational vehicle is a vacation home wherever you want it, whenever you want it. It is freedom and security in equal measure. It’s Lewis and Clark on turbo-charge.

Whether you just bought your first RV or you have owned one for a while, nothing beats the ease and freedom of walking into your unit and hitting the open road. 

Before setting out on your next adventure, consider the following five tips to raise your RV IQ.

Travel with Propane Off

Travel safely with the propane turned off at the tank © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This is a common topic discussed around the campfire, and it is a bit controversial. The best I can do is to offer my personal opinion. It really is safer to drive with the propane supply turned off at the tank.

Travel safely with the propane turned off at the tank © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

I believe that having the propane on while traveling increases the risk of a fire if you are involved in an accident. If a gas line is damaged or broken, and the propane tank supply valves are open, there will be a release of potentially explosive propane gas. That’s a bad thing. For this reason, I choose to run with the main tank valve off.

Travel safely with the propane turned off at the tank © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Now, many folks will say: Hey, I’ve been running with the propane on for XX years, and nothing bad has ever happened to me. That may be true, but having the tank valves open increases your risk—it just does.

Travel safely with the propane turned off at the tank © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Many RVers want the propane on in order to run their fridges while traveling. Most folks find that, for the average trip, the refrigerator will maintain a low enough internal temperature to keep your food fresh. It is also possible to freeze some blue ice packs the night before and use them in the refrigerator compartment to help keep everything cold while traveling.

Extension Cords

If using an extension cord be aware of the dangers © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you use an extension cord to plug in your RV to the shoreline power, it’s essential that you utilize the right one. We’ve seen it happen far too many times: an RV owner uses a standard orange extension cord with a 15 amp rating to run their 30 amp power center. This is asking for trouble as the excessive power draw can overheat the cord and connection which can melt the cord and possibly cause a fire. 

Give Me Forty Acres

Practice tow bar safety © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When I’m hooked up to drive down the road, my setup is 58 feet long. That’s 38 feet of rig, almost 15 feet of Chevrolet Equinox, and a few feet of tow bar.

As most of you know, when towing a car with an RV, you should not back up. Some tow systems allow it for very short distances, but most advise never to do it; depending on the manufacturer, you will void your warranty.

Practice tow bar safety © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s not an equipment or skills issue; it’s a physics issue. If you have experience backing trailers, you know that trailers move opposite to the rear of your tow vehicle; you can end up in a jackknife situation very quickly when in reverse. But, here’s the critical difference between a trailer and a toad: a toad has a steering wheel, and the toad’s tires can turn in all directions! You simply cannot back a toad the same way as a trailer. It will end up turning “Every Which Way But Loose,” as Eddie Rabbitt sang for that Clint Eastwood movie.

Practice tow bar safety © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Since you can’t back up, it’s important to know your turn radius.You may wish to practice doing circles in a parking lot.

Install a Clear Sewer Hose Elbow

Clear See Through Elbow sewer hose connection © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

No one really wants to see what is going on inside the sewer hose. They make those things brown or black for a reason. But the truth is that by installing a clear elbow at the end you can prevent a lot of potential problems down the road. Seeing what is going on in your hose allows you to check for undissolved toilet paper (in which case you might want to switch brands), to know ahead of time if a clog is about to happen, and to have visual confirmation that the tank is done emptying. Also, when you’re performing a black water flush you can easily see the color of the water, and when it runs clear be confident that the tank is clean.

Move Over Law

Practice safety © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Always be aware of emergency responders, including tow providers, when they are on the side of road assisting motorists.  More than 150 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed since 1999 after being struck by vehicles along America’s highways. Each year tow company drivers are also struck and killed on the side of the road. Let’s do our part and be sure to change lanes. And remember, it is the law.

Practice safety © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

Remember, safety is no accident.

Keys to Avoiding RV Accidents

A key to avoiding RV accidents is a basic understanding of the most common ones and how best to avoid them

Driving an RV is like driving a small house around the country—down highways, through back roads, and up and over mountain passes. And as more people join the RV lifestyle, it becomes increasingly important that RVers have a basic understanding of common RV accidents and how best to avoid them.

Driving safely on Scenic Byway 12 in Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Before you hit the road, ensure your recreational vehicle is roadworthy, and that you’re prepared in case of emergency.

Most of the common RV accidents can be avoided by preventive maintenance and proactive attentiveness.

Driving safely on Newfound Gap Road in Smoky Mountains National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

While the hazards are numerous, taking simple steps to avoid them is much easier than finding yourself facing the consequences of an RV accident or mishap. Knowing the most common mistakes and having the knowledge to prevent them will keep RV drivers safe and their trip enjoyable. Accidents such as lack of clearance can cost more than just the expense of the RV repair—such disasters can harm the traveling family as well.

The Low Hanging Tree Branch

Use special care when driving to your camping site in an RV park with overhanging trees © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One of the problems with certain campground owners is that they can be sloppy about trimming tree branches that hang over their roads. They make the mistaken assumption that people who buy travel units know enough to look up as they drive through RV parks, but many do not. The problem is that many recreational vehicles these days sit high, so when you put that kind of height together with an overhanging branch, you’ve got the recipe for problems.

Use extra care when driving in or backing out of a camping sites © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One newbie learned this the hard way. She was pulling out of a campground and, although she was trying to be careful, she forgot to look up. Even though she was driving slowly, her roof hit a heavy tree branch, and she was unable to stop in time to keep it from doing major damage.

Know your clearance height and don’t take unnecessary risks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The branch actually curled the front portion of her fifth wheel roof back a few feet, and this also loosened and misplaced the area that was a few feet behind it. It was an expensive way to learn an important lesson.

Know Your Height

Know your height, width, and total combined weight © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Know your height and always look up when you are driving in areas where overhangs of any kind are present. Sounds simple, but it’s amazing how many people forget the extra height of an RV while driving. Hitting bridges, low hanging trees, and overhangs or misjudging the amount of clearance beneath an overpass or inside a tunnel can put an immediate stopper on your road trip.

Use extreme care and caution on backroads. Pictured above Moke Dugway as it drops into Valley of the Gods in Southern Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In order to keep your RV in one piece and avoid getting hung up—literally— consider the following guidelines:

  • Pay close attention to posted clearance measurements
  • Know the height of your RV and place a sticky note on the dashboard with your exact height (remember to include A/C)
“We’ll probably fit” doesn’t cut it! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“We’ll probably fit” does not cut it—don’t take the risk

Also be aware that the typical width of an RV is 8.5 feet and the typical highway lane is 10 feet in width. This gives you about a foot-and-a-half to work with.

Learn From This Story

Lessons like these are hard ones, but people can avoid having to learn them if they take an RV Driving Course that is taught by a certified instructor prior to taking their coaches out on the road.

Use extreme care when approaching a bridge or tunnel with low clearance © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you want to protect yourself from having the kind of accidents you’ve learned about in this article, my best advice is to learn to drive an RV before taking it out on the highway, maintain it well, pay attention to what you’re doing when you travel, and always be aware of what the drivers around you are doing. Be proactive!

Drive safely! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!

Worth Pondering…

Speed was high

Weather was hot

Tires were thin

X marks the spot

BURMA SHAVE

Take a Hike. Do it Right!

During the summer, staying hydrated and cool is vital!

More than 200 hikers annually are rescued from City of Phoenix desert and mountain parks and preserves.

Courtesy the City of Phoenix, the following checklist can help keep you from being a statistic.

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

Watch the weather

Yes, “it’s a dry heat”—but Arizona’s temperature can be deceiving and deadly. Hike when it’s cool outside, try early morning and evenings when there’s more shade.

Hiking Old Baldy Trail at Medera Canyon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Dress appropriately

Wear proper shoes, clothing, wide-brimmed hat (we recommend a Tilley Hat), and sunscreen.

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

Bring Water

Hydrate before you go. Have plenty of water, more than you think you need. Turn around and head back before you drink half of your water.

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

Keep in Contact

Carry a mobile phone.

Team up: Hike with others. If hiking solo, tell someone your start and end times and location.

Hiking Bell Rock Trail in Red Rock Country near Sedona, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Be honest

Do you have a medical condition? Asthma, heart problems, diabetes, knee or back problems? Don’t push yourself?

Hiking the White Tank Mountains, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Take Responsibility

Don’t be “that person”—the one who wasn’t prepared, shouldn’t have been there for health reasons or ignored safety guidelines. Be the responsible hiker who takes a hike and does it right!

Worth Pondering…

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

—Sydney Smith, in Lady Holland, Memoir