RV Travel Grabs Headlines in July 4 Coverage

July 7, 2011 by · Comments Off on RV Travel Grabs Headlines in July 4 Coverage 

As a result of outreach by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and its agency Barton Gilanelli, RVs were a hot topic in local Fourth of July holiday coverage around the country. Media reported that five million RVers would be on the road during the July 4 weekend despite fuel prices.

RV-related stories were broadcasted more than 50 times in 39 media markets around the country. Reports reflected RVIA messaging that RVers planned to use their RVs more this summer because they save on hotel rooms, airfares and eating out.

“For a family of five it was still cheaper to travel by RV than it was to rent hotel rooms,” RVer Christine Torres told a Las Vegas TV news team. “By the time you add two hotel rooms, per night, and pay for three meals out, it gets really expensive.”

Stories appeared in major markets, including Sacramento; Pittsburgh; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Las Vegas; Harrisburg, Pa.; Birmingham, Ala.; Cleveland; St. Louis; Indianapolis; Norfolk, Va.; Los Angeles; and Oklahoma City.

Capping off the holiday weekend, RVIA President Richard Coon appeared on the Fox Business cable network on July 5 to show off a luxury fifth-wheel toy hauler provided by Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc., and discuss the industry’s recovery and enduring popularity.

“The RV industry is up 57% from 2009 and eight percent from last year,” Coon told Fox Business. “People love RVing for the convenience and the savings. A family of four can save two-thirds by not spending on hotels, eating out and airline tickets.”

The four-and-a-half minute live interview took place inside the Dutchmen trailer and effectively showcased the industry and one of its more popular product types before an affluent business audience.

RVers on the Go RVing Facebook page enjoyed the segment, posting overwhelmingly positive comments about their own RVing experiences, including:

• “I love our RV,” wrote Leslie Harris on Facebook. “I like to sleep in my own bed and not worry about bedbugs in hotels and motels. We relax and have all the wonderful things our home has. If we don’t like a particular place, we are up and driving down the road.”

• “We love our 27-foot travel trailer!” wrote Becky Brown Hecker. “Knowing your kids are sleeping and playing in clean beds. Having the ocean in your backyard, or beautiful views right outside your door. Having a yard for the kids to play in. When we are in our camper, we are as comfortable as being home — just having a lot more fun. We are able to go on more vacations, and can afford to do more when we are on vacation.”

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Woodall’s Rolls Out Campground Mobile App

July 5, 2011 by · Comments Off on Woodall’s Rolls Out Campground Mobile App 

Woodall’s, a Camping World company and the leading brand in campground directories, today (July 5) announced the launch of RV & Camping Copilot, the most comprehensive campground mobile application available for iPhone and iPad.

The free app provides RVers and outdoor enthusiasts instant and convenient access to more than 12,000 private and public campgrounds and RV parks in the United States and Canada, plus Mexico. It can be downloaded for free at

Woodall’s RV & Camping Copilot can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store and provides complete campground information, including amenities, services, types of campsites, on-site recreation and identifies many camping discounts offered at parks. Private campgrounds also include Woodall’s 5W/5W Rating System, which is the most trusted consumer campground rating.

“Woodall’s RV & Camping Copilot is a groundbreaking mobile application that provides RVers and family campers access to campground information from the comfort of home or their home on the road,” said Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World. “This mobile app is the first of its kind, and we are pleased to lead the industry into the mobile space. But more importantly, we are thrilled to offer this app to camping enthusiasts for free.”

Woodall’s is also allowing RVers and campers the opportunity to enter to win $250 cash to support their summer camping plans. Consumers can simply download the app, try it, write a review on both iTunes and on the Woodall’s Facebook page at and they will be automatically entered to win.

The Woodall’s mobile application interface is intuitive and easy to navigate. It will offer the ability to search campgrounds by city, state/province, nearest location or by campground name in an easy one-click search format. Users will also have the ability to view photos, take virtual tours and indicate their favorite campgrounds as well as share them on Facebook, Twitter or email to a friend. More than 1,000 popular attractions, in addition to Camping World retail locations, are accessible on the application.

The Woodall’s RV & Camping Copilot App supports the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad and requires the iOS 4.2 system or higher, and was developed in collaboration with Consent Media.

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Camping Pioneer Turns to Hot Tub Business

April 21, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

It was a year ago this week when Casey Loyd, president of spa-maker LMS Inc. in Pomona, Calif, sat down with executives from Coleman over coffee and made a proposal he was really sure would hold water, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

What if, he said, Coleman, which for more than 100 years has built up a camping-supply empire, would attach its names to spas that his 30-year-old company made?

Lo and behold, Coleman liked the idea.

On Tuesday (April 20), Loyd’s proposal started bearing fruit, as his Pomona-based, 1-million-square-foot manufacturing plant churned out Coleman hot tubs.

“This is truly a winning combination,” he told an audience of about 100 spa dealers from around the country and from Canada, who came to an open house at LMS’ Cal Spas plant in Pomona.

And consumers, even in a sluggish economy, are ready for it, he said, adding that there’s pent-up demand among people ready to invest in their homes’ backyards.

“We think the big investment that consumers are going to make — besides their home — is in their backyard,” he said.

Coleman agreed. And if consumers do, the licensing agreement with the camping-supply titan could mean the creation of 250 jobs over the next 12 to 18 months, Loyd said.

The spas, complete with features that include an iPod dock, speakers and energy efficient “smart” technology, will carry the Coleman brand name and will ultimately be distributed worldwide, Loyd said.

Dealers and LMS distributor Poolcorp representatives said Coleman’s entry into the spa marketplace will be a boon for the industry. The company has felt the hit from a recession that began in a housing market that was vital for the spa business.

Most people really don’t know what the brand of their spa is, many observers said. But with Coleman in the picture, that changes.

“It brings out that name recognition to the industry,” said Jim Dale, president of Pelican Pool Supply, based in Quakertown, Penn.

And frankly, he added, “(The industry) could use a little shove here and there.”

If that shove comes, Loyd said it will also be a boon for manufacturing in California – a sector he still has seemingly boundless faith in.

“You just have got to have the will … and if there’s a will, there’s a way,” he said.

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Bristol Speedway Campground Occupancy Off

March 19, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Usually, the campgrounds surrounding the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn., are wall-to-wall celebration in the days leading to the spring NASCAR race, according to the Bristol Herald Courier.

Not this time.

By Thursday afternoon (March 18), most of the grassy lots that should by now be in the shadow of RVs and camping tents were just soaking in the sun.

“This is usually (filled on) both sides as far as the eye can see,” retired truck driver Gerald Wilder said as he waved both hands at the Twin-City Drive-In Theatre lot, on U.S. Highway 11E within sight of the speedway.

The theater’s billboard-sized screen towered above a dozen RVs, two tents and acres of empty space.

Wilder’s camper stood off to the side of the drive-in entrance, in the very spot he’d rented three weeks ago in anticipation of a packed lot. Why? Because it’s been that way with each spring trek from his home in the Northern Tennessee city of Speedwell.

“People are losing jobs,” he said of the sour economy. “This was their vacation.”

He’s betting more fans will arrive today. They’ve probably decided to trade an expensive, week-long camping trip for a cheaper weekend stay.

Drive-in owner Danny Warden hopes that is the case.

“Some of them will just drive in for the race and drive back out,” he said. Even if cars and trucks arrive without campers, he could still turn a profit by renting out parking space.

Track officials also have pointed to the poor national economy to explain why they can no longer sell out 160,000 seats weeks before the race. Tickets were still available Thursday. It’s also why much of the corporate sector has stopped buying seats in blocks.

Waving goodbye to the corporate sector might have a positive, yet still bitter, benefit, said Danny Gentry, owner of Gentry’s Camping and Parking.

“You’re back to the true race fans … like it was 15 years ago,” Gentry said while patiently awaiting more arrivals at the entrance of his near-empty 15-acre lot.

There could be trouble for BMS if only the diehard fans are left. Many fans grumbled after the 2007 resurfacing project that widened the track. Getting ahead on the previously slim BMS track meant drivers had to smash their way to the front. It’s what fans said they expected to see at Bristol.

Those spectacular pileups had fans returning for more every March and August.

Now, drivers have enough room to slip past slower cars without risking a spectacular finish on the day.

“It made a big difference” to fans, Gentry said.

Wilder, from the drive-in, hopes recent track upgrades will pump some adrenaline back into the show.

BMS officials have extended the crash barriers at the exits for two turns by more than 160 feet, thereby reducing the racing groove by nearly three feet.

“I think it’s going to be like it used to be,” Wilder said.

Still, some campers wondered if forces more powerful than economics and track width are to blame for the weak early turnout.

Canadians Isobel and Wilf Cobb looked down on the speedway from their lot atop a hill on Gentry’s campground. They arrived in Bristol on Saturday, after motoring hundreds of miles from their home in Ontario. It’s a trip they’ve made annually for 10 years.

Clouds have blanketed the sky for most of the week, parting for the first time Thursday, Isobel Cobb said.

At that, she motioned a hand to the heavens: “Maybe they’re waiting for the weather (to clear). You just don’t know.”

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California RV Park Occupancy Down 0.6% in ’09

March 17, 2010 by · Comments Off on California RV Park Occupancy Down 0.6% in ’09 

CalARVC logoThe occupancy at private RV parks and campgrounds in California in 2009 was 57.8% or down 0.6% from 2008, according to a study by the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC).

The 2009 occupancy rate was down 2.7% from 2007 and down 4.9% from 2006, making 2009 the lowest occupancy for the past 10 years, CalARVC noted in its current Wednesday Morning Coffee Talk & Updates e-newsletter.

Occupancy was highest in 2005 at 63.8%, followed by 2001 at 63.5%. Statewide occupancy at 57.8% is 0.6% less than the average for the past 20 years. This slip in occupancy is widely attributed to continued high fuel prices and a slumped economy that resulted in many job losses and home foreclosures.

Occupancy decreased in eight regions, with San Francisco showing a 15.4% decline. Monthly regional averages vary in accuracy depending upon which CalARVC members respond in any month resulting in a margin of error of plus or minus two to five percentage points. The error of margin for the statewide averages is one to two percentage points.

Average statewide occupancy increased over last year in six months, and decreased six months resulting in an overall decrease of approximately a half percentage point.

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Most State Parks Report Camping Increase in 2009

January 4, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

National Association of State Park Directors logoA brand new survey of state parks by the National Association of State Park Directors has some very encouraging news for the camping and RV industry.

For 28 state park systems reporting on camping activity for calendar year 2009, all but one reported an increase in camping. Hawaii was the sole exception – and the state has experienced a very significant drop in tourism. The average increase in campground stays for 2009 over 2008 for the 28 states was 7.38%, according to a preliminary report issued by Philip McKnelly, NASPD executive director.

The same states also reported a significant increase in overall state park visitations with just two states — New Jersey and Arkansas — reporting declines. The overall increase in visits for 2009 was 6.94%.

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Herkimer Diamond KOA Named Top KOA Campground

November 19, 2009 by · Comments Off on Herkimer Diamond KOA Named Top KOA Campground 


The owners of the Herkimer Diamond, N.Y., KOA are flanked by KOA CEO Jim Rogers, left, and COO Pat Hittmeier, right.

The owners of the Herkimer Diamond, N.Y., KOA are flanked by KOA CEO Jim Rogers, left, and COO Pat Hittmeier, right.

The Herkimer Diamond, N.Y., KOA Kampground was named Kampgrounds of America Inc.’s (KOA) Kamground of the Year during a ceremony Wednesday (Nov. 18) at KOA’s annual convention in Houston, Texas.

“Being named Kampground of the Year is the highest award in the KOA system,” said KOA President Pat Hittmeier. It is only given to those campground franchisees who truly are the very best of the best in every aspect of what they do, he added

Purchased in 1981 by Rudy and Rena Scialdo, and now run by their daughter, Dr. Renee Scialdo Shevat, and her husband Sam Shevat, the Herkimer Diamond, N.Y., KOA has gained local and national acclaim for its excellent accommodations and outstanding customer service, according to a news release. Its beginnings were a bit more humble, however.

It is said that the farmer who owned the property would see the cattle in his pastures trip, as their hooves broke through the ground. In the hole left behind, he would find a large pocket full of naturally occurring, 18-faceted quartz crystals, now known as Herkimer Diamonds.

The Herkimer Diamond Mines first opened to the public in 1955, with prospectors leaving a dollar in a mailbox as their fee. Eventually, the mines were sold to a group of investors, who built a rock shop and a public campground to serve the needs of the prospectors. That campground eventually became the KOA gem that it is today.

At the Herkimer Diamond KOA, guests find 135 sites, including tent and RV sites. There are also 16 Kabins, five Kottages and two Lodges. Each of the heated and air-conditioned Kottages, which come with a private bath, kitchenette and dining area, have a different theme and are decorated accordingly. Those themes include “World Wide Gems,” “Fish Tales,” “Captains Quarters” and more. Each of the kabins is named after a gemstone, like “Shady Sapphires,” “Amber Annex” or “Peridot Place.”

On site, campers will enjoy spending time on the West Canada Creek, jumping in the pool or playing disc golf, and there is always something fun happening during the season (April 15-Nov. 1). And of course, everyone likes to try their hand at finding fortune at the Herkimer Diamond Mines.

For a minimal fee (kids age 4 and under are free), campers receive a prospecting admission ticket/wristband, a hammer and a collector’s bag for their finds. They watch an instructional video and head off to the mining area, where they can spend the day finding — and breaking — rocks and digging in pockets. They can then take their treasures to the rock shop to have custom jewelry made for them.

Also available are sluice bags full of rough material, perfect for young campers.

“Of course, the mines are a huge draw for the Herkimer KOA,” Hittmeier said. “But what we hear from KOA guests time and time again is how well they’re taken care of when they stay there.”

That includes, he said, the friendliness of the staff and their willingness to go out of their way to meet the needs of campers.

“At KOA, we frequently survey our campers,” Hittmier noted, “and time and time again, this campground gets some of the highest scores anywhere in North America. That’s why they won the President’s and Founders Awards this year as well.

“It’s an outstanding accomplishment that accurately reflects the outstanding efforts of the Scialdos and the Shevats.”

Watch a video from Wednesday’s convention highlights in the featured video elsewhere on this page.

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Australia’s BIG4 Holiday Parks Execs on U.S. Tour

November 10, 2009 by · Comments Off on Australia’s BIG4 Holiday Parks Execs on U.S. Tour 

big4-logoDes Watts, one of the founding members of BIG4 Holiday Parks of Australia, is part of a contingent of Australian camping experts on a tour of the United States that will include a stop Nov. 18-20 at Kampgrounds of America’s (KOA) annual Convention in Houston, Texas.

There will be more than 10 BIG4 Holiday Parks represented at the KOA Convention this year, according to a news release.

Watts, owner of several BIG4 Holiday Parks in Australia, was one of the original four park owners who, in 1978, decided to combine forces to better market their camping properties and amenities to Australians.

BIG4 Holiday Parks is now the leading chain of holiday parks in Australia, with more than 180 individually owned and operated parks. BIG4’s Holiday Park Club membership stands at more than 176,000 members, and the parks host more than 4 million visitors each year.

BIG4 provides a wide variety of high-quality accommodations throughout Australia, including full-service, luxury cabins

The BIG4 contingent at the KOA Convention will also once again include BIG4 Chairman Rodger Powell. Powell also attended last year’s KOA Convention in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

BIG4 Holiday Parks has had close ties with KOA for the past five years. KOA CEO and Chairman Jim Rogers and his wife, Sandy, recently returned from BIG4’s National Conference in Alice Springs, Australia.

Josh Bell, a member of the Bell family which owns both the San Diego Metro KOA in California and the Grand Canyon/Williams KOA in Arizona, was recently named general manager of park systems for BIG4. Bell has spent the last year in Australia working as a liaison between BIG4 and KOA, primarily working on transitioning BIG4 to KOA’s KampSight campground operating system.

KOA recently signed an exclusive 10-year agreement with BIG4 to share intellectual property.

“The agreement will accelerate the progress of these two world-leading outdoor hospitality organizations,” said Rogers.

As part of the agreement, BIG4 recently purchased the KampSight system from KOA and plans to develop the system to better fit BIG4’s needs. BIG4 will call their system PAM, for Park Accommodation Manager.

“We’re planning to give the operating system a facelift,” Bell said of his new duties. “We’ve got 30 BIG4 Holiday Parks ready to go with PAM right now. It’s going to change the way Holiday Parks in Australia do business, and it all started with KOA. It’s nice having a great partner like that in the states.”

While in the United States, the BIG4 group will also be visiting the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) Convention in underway this week in Orlando, Fla., and a variety of campground locations.

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Outdoor Study: Camping Increased 7% in 2008

September 16, 2009 by · Comments Off on Outdoor Study: Camping Increased 7% in 2008 

In 2008, American participation in outdoor recreation was marked by encouraging growth in important segments of core outdoor activities as well as continuing, though less dramatic, declines in youth participation, according to a new report, the 2009 Outdoor Recreation Participation Report, released today (Sept. 15) by The Outdoor Foundation.

These trends show the beginning of adjustments in American lifestyles brought about by a challenging economy, shifting demographics and changing times, according to a news release.

“In today’s economy, people are returning to simpler lifestyles,” said Christine Fanning, executive director of The Outdoor Foundation. “Historically economic downturns have resulted in increased participation in outdoor recreation. Nature-based activities provide fun, affordable recreation and vacation opportunities for individuals and families.”

The Outdoor Foundation’s 2009 Outdoor Recreation Participation Report is the only detailed study of its kind tracking American participation trends in outdoor recreation. The study is based on an on-line survey capturing responses from over 40,000 Americans ages 6-plus and covers 114 different activities.

Key Findings

  • Popular Pastimes: In 2008, 48.6% of Americans ages 6-plus participated in outdoor recreation and made an estimated 11.16 billion outdoor excursions.
  • A Return to Nature: Activities like backpacking, mountain biking and trail running showed double-digit increases in participation in 2008, and hiking and camping showed 9% and 7% increases, respectively.
  • More Indoor Youth: Participation in outdoor recreation among youth ages 6-17 dropped 6% — resulting in a combined 16.7% drop over the last three years.
  • Busy Lifestyles: Today’s kids are struggling to find time to get active outdoors and are foregoing outdoor pursuits in favor of other competing priorities. Among outdoor participants ages 6-17, lack of time is the primary reason they don’t get outdoors more often.
  • Outdoor Participation Varies by Ethnicity: Participation in outdoor activities is higher among Caucasians than any other ethnicity and lowest among African Americans in nearly all age groups.

The 2009 Outdoor Recreation Participation Report is available at

About The Outdoor Foundation

The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Through ground-breaking research, action-oriented convening and outreach and education programs, The foundation is working with partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors.

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Bargain Hunters Shaped Minnesota Tourism Season

September 3, 2009 by · Comments Off on Bargain Hunters Shaped Minnesota Tourism Season 

This summer, travelers chose vacations to fit the economic times, and Minnesota tourism businesses and attractions felt the impact, for better or worse, according to a news release from Explore Minnesota Tourism.

As consumers looked for affordable getaways, campgrounds filled up and festivals drew crowds. But many hotels and other accommodations saw fewer guests this summer.

In an end-of-the-summer survey taken by Explore Minnesota Tourism, the state’s tourism promotion office, half of more than 300 reporting accommodations noted that both occupancy and revenue were down this summer. On the other hand, one out of four reported that business was up. The mixed picture reflects that while some businesses struggled, others benefited from this summer’s travel trends.

“Minnesota still hosted plenty of travelers this summer, but the way they are traveling has really changed,” said John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota Tourism. “People are traveling closer to home and looking for good values, often waiting until the last minute to book their trip. Typically, they are taking shorter trips and spending less while they travel. But people are still taking trips and finding ways to have fun on a budget.”

Overall, travelers looked for bargains, and businesses that did well said they offered affordable rates, special deals, or packages that included activities, free breakfasts or other extras. Campgrounds fared especially well, with close to half reporting an increase in revenues. Fishing, hiking, festivals, amateur sporting events and other low-cost activities were popular this summer, and state parks saw an increase in visitors.

Many resorts reported that their traditional housekeeping cabins, where guests can cook their own meals, remained popular this summer, and that they draw loyal, return customers who often book for the next year during their stay. On the other hand, large resorts saw a downturn in bookings by corporate groups and conferences. Occupancy and revenue were down at the majority of hotels, especially in the Twin Cities area; hotels, in particular, are suffering from a decline in business travel and convention attendance.

In spite of the toll the recession has taken on the travel industry, just over half (52%) of the accommodation businesses responding to the recent Explore Minnesota Tourism survey reported “stable, but positive” financial health, and another 14% indicated that their financial health was “growing.” Overall, businesses expect the summer’s travel trends to continue into the fall.

Tourism is an $11 billion industry in Minnesota, a key sector of the state’s economy. The leisure and hospitality industry, a major provider of tourism services, employs more than 248,000 Minnesotans.

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Boomers Find Comfort Aplenty in Their Motorhome

July 13, 2009 by · Comments Off on Boomers Find Comfort Aplenty in Their Motorhome 

Ron Haynes’ 35-foot recreational vehicle has all the conveniences of home, including a roomy bathroom, recliners, satellite television and the same brand and style of mattress he sleeps on in his Pella, Iowa, home.

“So I sleep well,” says Haynes, an avid camper – ummm, RVer. Haynes, 52, and his wife, Carol, 54, take their Winnebago Chieftain on four trips a year. And most of the summer, the home on wheels is parked at Cutty’s Campgrounds near Grimes, Iowa, where the Hayneses spend weekends. “We love the comfort and freedom of the RV,” Haynes says.

Baby Boomers such as the Hayneses make up the largest number of RV owners, according to Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). The typical RV owner is 49 years old, married, with annual household income of $68,000. On average, owners spend 26 days a year traveling in their RVs, covering about 4,500 miles.

Camping, even locally, is a chance to get away from the daily grind, if only for a weekend, says Nocona Mollendor, assistant business manager at Cutty’s. The RVs she sees at the campgrounds have become more elaborate over the years, now including washers and dryers, fireplaces, expensive countertops, built-in computer stations and more, she says. “Those are their second homes,” she says.

Many of the Cutty’s visitors park their RVs there all season, some year-round. Some take side trips with their motor homes, others never move them, she says. Haynes, who is semi-retired from the Culligan water systems dealership he owns in Pella, takes yearly treks to Door County in Wisconsin and to Florida, Arkansas and other locales.

The trips are easier because of the RV, he says. “You are taking your home with you,” he says. “When we visit relatives, we don’t intrude on them. With the RV, we have our own beds and shower.”

The family cat nestles onto the dashboard for long trips, and there is never a worry about hotel reservations or crowded restaurants, he says. His grandmother was able to join the couple recently on a trip to Florida because in the RV she could plug in her oxygen machine. And the couple bring along their Wii Fit program so they can get do their daily aerobic exercise while on the road, Haynes says. “We make sure the curtains are down,” he says. “It keeps us on track.”

Like many RV owners, the Hayneses started their camping career in tents about 15 years ago. From there, they moved to a pop-up trailer. “As our finances got better, we went to a motorhome,” Ron Haynes says. Three years ago, they “traded up” to the Winnebago Chieftain, which has two slide-outs, a spacious living room, bedroom and bathroom, a roomy refrigerator and two air conditioners. Haynes already is crafting his wish list for the next RV.

“The next one will be a little bigger, run on diesel fuel and have a washer and dryer,” he says. He also would like a one-touch system for retracting the awnings, a built-in wind meter for the roof and a desk area for a laptop. “I might as well get it the way I want it,” he says.

Touring the United States in comfort appeals to Baby Boomers, says Mark Polk, owner of RV Education 101, which publishes books and videos on owning and operating RVs. The sour economy is taking a bite out of large motorhome sales, he says. As the economy recovers from recession, a new generation of RVs will emerge, he predicts. “They won’t do away with amenities, but they will scale down in size,” he says.

“They will be more fuel-efficient and be smaller and lighter, like the European version.”

Linda Schinckel and her husband, David, of Grinnell take their large Holiday Admiral motorhome on jaunts to the Iowa Speedway in Newton on race weekends or to campgrounds with trails, where they can ride their horses. “It’s like having our home with us wherever we go,” says Schinckel, 56. “We love to sit outside our RV with our coffee and watch the sun come up.”

The couple pull a horse trailer or a smaller one toting their Harley motorcycles.

“We just throw in our clothes and go,” Schinckel says. Their retirement plan will include a bigger RV and more travel, she says.

“It’s on our bucket list.”

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Atlanta Motor Speedway Opens New Campgrounds

May 28, 2009 by · Comments Off on Atlanta Motor Speedway Opens New Campgrounds 

Having sold out of reserved tent camping, Atlanta Motor Speedway has opened two new campgrounds to accommodate fans attending the speedway’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup night race on Labor Day weekend, Sept. 5 and 6.

The Legends Reserved Tent Campground and Elliott Reserved Campground have been created by Atlanta Motor Speedway to meet surging camping demand for Atlanta’s first full weekend of night racing, according to, a racing news service.

“With a host of fans eager to camp at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Labor Day weekend for our first NASCAR Sprint Cup night race, it was critical that we add additional camping spaces to meet fan demand,” said Atlanta Motor Speedway president and general manager Ed Clark. “Two groups specifically – handicap camping and tents and popups – sold out rather quickly, so we wanted to provide additional camping opportunities for fans with these needs.”

Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Elliott Reserved Campground is located directly behind the Elliott Grandstand overlooking Turn 3 and will include two additional rows of camping for handicap patrons. The Elliott Reserved Campground also features a large number of sites adjacent to handicap camping for additional fans. Each RV spot is approximately 45 feet long by 25 feet and costs $150.

Shaded by a tree grove, the Legends Reserved Tent Campground is located between Atlanta Motor Speedway’s main entrance and the Legends Campground. With more than 230 campsites with dimensions of 20 feet by 30 feet for $125, the Legends Reserved Tent Campground will be one of the most desired camping locations on the Atlanta Motor Speedway property, Clark predicted.

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Jellystone Parks Mark 40th Anniversary With Contest

May 27, 2009 by · Comments Off on Jellystone Parks Mark 40th Anniversary With Contest 

The Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park franchise is celebrating its 40th anniversary by hosting a video contest for campers to capture how they have fun at Jellystone Park. The grand prize is $10,000.

“Our mission is to foster a fun family experience that creates lasting memories,” said Michele Wisher, director of marketing for Leisure Systems  Inc.yogi-40th-logo, the franchisor of Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts. “We’re excited to see how our  campers enjoy our parks and to share that enthusiasm with others.” 

 The videos must be taken at any of the 71 Jellystone Park Camp-Resort locations and be  30 to 90 seconds in length (maximum length is 3 minutes.) Videos can also be comprised  of various still photos in a slideshow. 

 Each person submitting a video  to  is eligible to win special  Jellystone Park gift baskets full of Yogi Bear souvenirs during weekly prize drawings.  Some baskets may include a free night of camping at a Jellystone Park. 

 For the grand prize, contest participants are encouraged to forward their videos to friends  to generate votes. The five videos receiving the most votes will be entered to win the $10,000 grand prize. Finalists will receive a Jellystone Park gift basket full of Yogi Bear souvenirs and a free weekend stay at a Jellystone Park. The grand prize winner will be selected by Leisure Systems Inc. and announced in October. 

The contest started May 23 and runs to Sept. 8.

For more information on contest rules and regulations, visit <> .

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Dry Summer Forecast May Spur European RVing

May 14, 2009 by · Comments Off on Dry Summer Forecast May Spur European RVing 

United Kingdom-based Canvas, a leading tour operator for RV and camping holidays in Europe, has reported a surge in bookings for French camping holidays following the announcement that Europe is in for a warm and dry summer.

The announcement couldn’t have come at a better time, as a recent study by SunSmart discovered that 34% of people said that they were less likely to take their summer holidays this year because of the credit crunch, according to a press release.

Now it seems that a sunny week on a family camping holiday in France could be the answer to their prayers. Canvas has negotiated deals with local businesses around their campsites, so that campers can save even more money while on their trip. The selection of offers includes deals at local health spas, wine tasting tours, theme parks and canoe adventures, “a far cry from the image of muddy fields and baked beans normally associated with camping holidays.”

Paul Carter, managing director of Canvas holidays said, “A lot of adults choose to spend their summer holidays at one of our campsite as we offer many free activities for children, meaning, that if they choose, they can get away with spending next to nothing whilst on their camping holidays.”

The Vendee, a coastal resort region in west central France on the Atlantic Ocean, seems to be the area of the season, with bookings up by 28% this year. This resort’s perfect combination of bustling beaches and peaceful retreats definitely strikes a chord with first-time campers.

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