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

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

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

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

Joshua Tree National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

Badlands National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

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

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

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

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

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

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

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

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

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

White Sands National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

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

Saguaro National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

Sequoia National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

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

Worth Pondering…

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

—Claude Bernard

HURRICANE 2021 SURVIVAL GUIDE: STAYING SAFE IN YOUR RV

Storm season is here! Are You Ready?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s what you need to know

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worth Pondering…

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

—Jodi Picoult

Is Your RV Protected from Electrical Issues?

Most RVers are not protecting their RV from electrical issues

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

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

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

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

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

Progressive Electric Management System © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Electrical Issue #1: Surges

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

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

Electrical Issue #2: Miswired Pedestals

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

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

Progressive Electric Management System © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Electrical Issue #3: High/Low Voltage

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

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

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

Electrical Issue #4: Wiring Inside the RV

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why would any RVer not want such protection?

Worth Pondering…

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

7 Driving Tips You Should Know

Tips for staying safe and alert while driving

Taking a road trip seems like an obvious choice in terms of the safest way to travel during the coronavirus pandemic. But spending hours—or days—driving can be mentally taxing. And accidents on the road are a very real concern. In fact, nearly 2 million people are injured in auto accidents each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving caused 91,000 accidents in 2017 and nodding off while driving can happen more easily than you may think when you’re on the road for long periods of time.

Driving a motorhome south of Page, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

That’s why we need to find strategies to stay alert and safe when driving. Follow these safety tips to arrive safely at your destination. Here’s what you should know.

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

1. Plan your itinerary

Mapping out the specifics of your road trip is the best way to eliminate stress and even avoid hazards when driving. Too many people simply plug their destination into a Navigation System without any idea about when and where they want to make pit stops. There’s nothing wrong with using GPS to give you an idea. The best way to prepare is by figuring out how long it will take you to get from point A to point B. Then, look for recreation areas, rest rooms, and fuel stops along the way. Even though planning ahead is a great idea, you shouldn’t feel unnecessarily restricted by your itinerary. It doesn’t mean that you’re deadlocked into that.

Driving a motorhome on Utah Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Eat, sleep, and hydrate well

It’s important to be well-rested before you get behind the wheel. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night (research shows that people feel their best after getting that much rest).

Snake River at Twin Falls, Idaho © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Eat a good meal before starting your drive. Some prefer a protein-heavy breakfast to help feel more satisfied and alert. Keeping prepared food in a cooler is particularly helpful for people who don’t want to stop and eat at restaurants. Of course, you’ll want to find somewhere safe to enjoy your snacks and meals—like a rest area or truck stop—since eating while driving is a distraction.

Drink plenty of water throughout the trip, which yes, means more bathroom breaks. But stopping more often is better than experiencing headaches or dizziness associated with dehydration which can happen when you skimp on water.

Georgia Welcome Center © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Stop often

You might try to drive to your destination with minimal pit stops. Resist the temptation. It’s important to stop every two to three hours to stretch, use the bathroom, and do a walkabout. I try to stop about every 100-120 miles. Moving and getting my circulation going helps me stay alert during long drives. And of course, stop if you’re tired. Avoid pulling over onto the shoulder and look for a rest area or off ramp instead.

Driving in Zion National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Scan your surroundings

Constantly check your surroundings to know what is ahead. Scanning your surroundings (keeping your eyes moving) includes keeping a safe distance around your vehicle. To avoid last minute moves, scan the road 10–15 seconds ahead of your vehicle so you can see hazards early. When another driver makes a mistake, you need time to react. Give yourself this time by keeping a “space cushion” on all sides of your vehicle. This space cushion will give you room to brake or maneuver if you need the space. While keeping an eye on the road up ahead, look for animals on the side of the road, monitor your gauges, and scan the mirrors.

There are some roads to avoid in a large RV; Mokee Dugway in southern Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Get to know road signs

Understanding road signage is one of the best ways to boost your confidence about highway driving. If you train your eye to read the signs and know what the signs mean, then you can drive down the roads confidently. For example, construction signs have an orange background and will always trump other signage. Yellow signs are cautionary. You can check out the U.S. Department of Transportation for more information about road symbols and signs.

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

6. Make your vehicle road-trip-ready

Taking the time for preventative maintenance will pay big dividends down the road. Recreational vehicles require all the standard maintenance of your car plus a whole lot more (if you had your RV for more than a few months then you may have learned this the hard way). After all, an RV is more than just a vehicle. It is a home on wheels with a kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom. Inflate tires to recommended specifications and check them often. Inspect for any imperfections before travel.

Driving Mike O’Callighan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge over the Colorado River © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Make room for trucks

You may have felt that twinge in your gut when driving near or past large semi trucks and rightfully so, because it can be scary—those trucks are huuuuuge! It’s important to allow plenty of following room when driving behind these massive machines. Give them space. Large trucks need extra room to slow down and come to a complete stop as well as to make a turn. Don’t ride next to semis—they can’t see you. Their blind spots are humongous. You need to leave enough space so that you can see both of the truck’s side mirrors. And while you may be anxious to get in front of a slow-moving vehicle, never cut in front of large trucks. A truck traveling at highway speeds in regular conditions needs a distance of roughly two football fields to stop safely

Welcome to Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

Speed was high

Weather was hot

Tires were thin

X marks the spot

BURMA SHAVE

November 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.

Pleasant Harbor RV Park, Lake Pleasant, Arizona © 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 13 recall notices during November 2020. These recalls involved 9 recreational vehicle manufacturers— Forest River (4 recalls), Lance Camper (2 recalls), REV (1 recall), Heartland (1 recall), Winnebago (1 recall), Jayco (1 recall), Keystone (1 recall), Thor Motor Coach (1 recall), and Triple E (1 recall).

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2021 Cardinal fifth wheel trailers. The fresh air intake sleeve for the furnace is too short and does not have proper connection of the furnace to the exterior, allowing furnace exhaust to enter the trailer.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will install the correct intake sleeve to allow for proper connection on the furnace, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin December 2, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-296-7700. Forest River’s number for this recall is 15-1245.

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2019-2021 Palomino trailers. The antenna wing may not be properly secured to the roof, allowing it to detach from the roof while moving.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will inspect, repair or replace the antenna, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin December 2, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-269-432-3271. Forest River’s number for this recall is 400-1243.

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2019-2021 Cherokee recreational trailers. The shore cord inlet wiring insulation may not have been sufficiently stripped back, causing a poor connection with the set screw.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will remove the inlet, and rewire or replace the inlet completely if necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin December 2, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-260-499-2100. Forest River’s number for this recall is 17D-1201.

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

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Rockport work trucks. The battery box installed on these vehicles may be inadequately welded, and could detach.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will ensure the battery boxes are properly welded, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin December 16, 2020. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-522-7599. Forest River’s number for this recall is 29-1252.

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

Lance Camper

Lance Camper Manufacturing. Corp. (Lance Camper) is recalling certain 2018-2021 Lance Camper trailers (models 855S, 850, 960, 975, 995, 1062, and 1172) equipped with a Dometic propane gas stove, model R1731 or R2131 manufactured November 2018 or later or model S31 manufactured November 2018 or later. In certain stove serial number ranges, a gas leak may occur in the cooking stove.

Lance Camper will notify owners, and Dometic dealers will repair the affected stoves. The recall is expected to begin December 7, 2020. Owners may contact Lance Camper customer service at 1-661-949-3322.

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

Lance Camper

Lance Camper Manufacturing. Corp. (Lance Camper) is recalling certain 2018-2021 Lance trailers (models 1995, 2185, 2285, 1475, 1575, 1685, 1985, 2295, 2375, 2445, and 2465) equipped with a Dometic propane gas stove, model R1731 or R2131 manufactured November 2018 or later or model S31 manufactured November 2018 or later. In certain stove serial number ranges, a gas leak may occur in the cooking stove.

Lance Camper will notify owners, and Dometic will repair the stoves, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin December 7, 2020. Owners may contact Lance Camper customer service at 1-661-949-3322.

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

REV

REV Recreation Group (REV) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Fleetwood Flair, Bounder, Southwind and Fortis and Holiday Rambler Vacationer, Invicta, and Admiral motorhomes equipped with a Dometic propane gas stove, model R1731 or R2131 manufactured November 2018 or later or model S31 manufactured November 2018 or later. In certain stove serial number ranges, a gas leak may occur in the cooking stove.

REV will notify owners, and Dometic dealers will repair the affected stoves, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin December 4, 2020. Owners may contact REV customer service at 1-800-509-3417.

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

Heartland

Heartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC (Heartland) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Milestone fifth-wheel trailers. The outriggers may bend due to loading within the rear storage area.

Heartland will notify owners, and dealers will reinforce the frame, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin December 18, 2020. Owners may contact Heartland customer service at 1-877-262-8032.

Arizona Oasis RV Resort, Ehrenburg, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winnebago

Winnebago Industries, Inc (Winnebago) is recalling certain 2012-2021 Era 170X vehicles. The weld nut was installed on the wrong side of the bracket where the shoulder belt attaches, reducing the retention strength of the seat belt.

Winnebago will notify owners, and dealers will coordinate the inspection of affected units and the installation of a serrated flange nut in the intended weld nut location, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin December 21, 2020. Owners may contact Winnebago customer service at 1-800-798-2002.

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

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2021 Vision, Emblem, Vision XL, Alante, Precept, and Precept Prestige recreational vehicles, equipped with a Power Bedlift System. The bedlift motor may fail due to internal gear failure, causing the overhead bunk bed to release from the stowed position.

Jayco will notify owners, and dealers will replace the bed motor, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin November 30, 2020. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-617-776-0344. Jayco’s number for this recall is 9903525.

Sunshine Valley RV Resort, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keystone

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Cougar trailers equipped with the Off the Grid (OTG) Solar package. The inverter may have been incorrectly wired, causing power to energize the shore power connection, when in use.

Keystone will notify owners, and dealers will test the function of the inverter and rewire it as needed, free of charge. Ther recall is expected to begin December 18, 2020. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 20-389.

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

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2010-2011 Four Winds Montecito 38D, 38E, 40J, 42B, 42C motorhomes, equipped with an Iota ITS-50R transfer switch. The transfer switch may experience a heat related failure due to being exposed to high electrical loads when used in higher ambient temperatures.

TMC will notify owners, and dealers will replace the Iota ITS-50R transfer switch with a different brand of switch, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin January 3, 2021. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000205.

Fort McDowell Regional Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Triple E

Triple E Recreational Vehicles (Triple E) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Wonder W24FTB, W24RTB, and W24MB motorhomes. The Multiplex G9 electronic control center can fail if excessive voltage is applied.

Triple E will notify owners, and dealers will install a protection module on the G9 system, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in November 2020. Owners may contact Triple E customer service at 1-800-447-0343. Triple E’s number for this recall is CA#9830-1.

Please Note: This is the 22nd in a series of posts relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

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

—Martin Van Buren

September 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.