Editor’s Note: The following New York Times article, authored by contributor Andy Isaacson, chronicles his first trip behind the wheel of an RV. Isaacson and friends rented a motorhome from Cruise America and headed out for an RV rally in Oregon. To view the entire piece along with accompanying photos click here.
I have spent the night in a Walmart parking lot. I have driven through a national park with a trail of cars in my rearview mirror. I have learned how to dispose of my waste through a plastic hose, and I have filled my gas tank more times in one week than I thought was possible.
But this is to be expected when you’re driving a small studio apartment, or, as I began to call it, my “rig.” One man in a rural California border town even called it cute. He said it reminded him of a Doritos delivery truck.
The rig was a 19-foot-long, gleaming white, class-C motor home — an RV that I rented from Cruise America, the country’s largest recreational vehicle rental company; 800-RV-4RENT was prominently emblazoned across the exterior, as were colorful images of America’s national parks and natural patrimony.
It was a proverbial flag patch sewn on a backpack, and as someone who makes an effort to downplay the fact that I’m a tourist when I travel, this granted no disguise. And just as well: I had never driven an RV before, and for this I could say I had never experienced my own country as millions do every summer, and have for more than a century.
When I booked the RV online a couple of months earlier, I found myself signing up for not so much a mode of transportation as a set of desirable feelings. “With a Cruise America RV,” the Web site said, “you can roam wherever your spirit takes you, throughout the US and Canada. And with a full kitchen in your RV, you can skip out on endless drive-through menus and enjoy more satisfying meals and snacks.” Roam, spirit, satisfying meals: these are not the sort of words used to tout a rental car or an airplane seat. An RV road trip promised the distinction of freedom and flexibility, comfort and convenience: a travel experience unencumbered by the need for reservations.
To view the entire article click here.
California-based rental firm Lost Campers USA announced its new double-decker campervans, featuring roof-top tents, and a greatly expanded fleet for summer travelers.
According to a press release, owners Nick and Emma Thomson have partnered with Cascadia Tents to design platform tents fitted to their Dodge Grand Caravan minivans, creating a new option called Hotel Sierra.
The tents snap onto a frame, easily collapse for travel and are accessible by a ladder. Lost Campers’ modern Sierra Class vans also feature dual-sliding doors, a double bed with privacy curtains, plenty of storage, and back seats accommodating two children’s car seats. The Hotel Sierra option comfortably sleeps four adults, with two on the roof.
Lost Campers was founded in 2007 by the Thomsons, Australian natives who saw potential in the U.S. market for budget campervans, a minivan-sized camper. The company has nearly doubled each year, offering 10 vans in 2008, 25 vans in 2009, 40 vans in 2010 and 60 vans in 2011. Self-financed until recently, the company received its first major business loan from New Resource Bank in March, allowing an expansion to 90 campervans by this summer.
Based in San Francisco, Lost Campers opened a Los Angeles satellite office in 2011, and now does 50% of its business from L.A. The Thomsons plan to open an East Coast venue later this year and acquired the new domain of www.lostcampers.com.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has signed into law a bill to require working carbon monoxide detectors in leased recreational vehicles.
The Associated Press reported that the bill was sponsored by two Clarksville Democrats, Sen. Tim Barnes and Rep. Joe Pitts, in response to the deaths of five people from carbon monoxide poisoning at a biker charity event last year.
The measure requires all lease or rental agreements to contain a statement acknowledging that the vehicle is equipped with a working detector.
Police said the deaths were accidental after a generator was found near a vent for the trailer where the five people were sleeping. There was no working carbon monoxide detector in the trailer.
A bill sponsored by Tennessee State Sen. Tim Barnes and Tennessee State Rep. Joe Pitts to protect renters of recreation vehicles from carbon monoxide poisoning passed both the House and Senate on Monday.
“This legislation comes too late for those who have lost their loved ones, but with the help of their family members, we can ensure that such a tragedy never happens again,” Barnes said.
Clarksville Online reported that Senate Bill 2357/House Bill 2734 requires all lease or rental recreational vehicles in Tennessee to have working carbon monoxide detectors. The bill was brought to the state legislature after a tragic incident in Clarksville last year in which five people were killed from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning during a charity event.
Clarksville Police found the victims in an RV with a generator near a vent and all the windows and doors shut. All five had fatal amounts of carbon monoxide in their blood.
Christine and Ed Watson, whose daughter and husband were killed, came to Pitts and Barnes with the legislation. The bill requires all lease or rental agreements to contain as statement acknowledging that the vehicle is equipped with a working detector.
Under the bill, companies can be held liable for violating the requirement.
“The Watsons have worked tirelessly to educate both lawmakers and the public about the dangers of carbon monoxide and how to prevent such a terrible heartbreak from happening to other Tennesseans,” Pitts said. “In our eyes, Christine and Ed Watson are heroes.”
The legislation now goes to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam for his signature.
Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort in Santa Claus, Ind., will open for its 52nd season on April 2 with the addition of 12 new super king size rental RVs, according to a news release.
With the addition of these new rentals Lake Rudolph now offers three different options of rental RVs: 38-foot standard size, 44-foot king size and the new 44-foot super king size. All told, the campground features 197 rental RVs, all trailers built by Hy-Line Enterprises of Elkhart, Ind.
The super king size units are similar to the king size rentals, but are enhanced with a full shower in the master bedroom, larger kitchen appliances including a smooth top stove and an expanded dining area that now seats six people. All of the rentals sleep four adults and four children.
“Visiting us during our off-season is a great way for families to save money and to enjoy the serenity of the campground before our busy summer season,” says Philip Koch, owner of Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort. “This year the new super king size rental RVs will offer yet another family lodging option for our guests.”
The closest lodging to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Lake Rudolph features 216 family lodging options including rental RVs and cabins. The campground also offers 200 full-hookup RV sites, including 100 sites with concrete pads. The resort also includes 40 tent sites with water and electric.