Two tornadoes touched down in northern Arizona early today (Oct. 6), derailing 28 cars of a parked freight train, blowing semis off the highway and trashing an RV dealership, Associated Press reported.
The first tornado hit Bellemont — west of Flagstaff — around 5:30 a.m.and the second touched down east of the small community a short time later.
Fifteen homes in Bellemont were so badly damaged that they were uninhabitable and the estimated 30 people who lived in them were evacuated. Authorities were setting up a shelter at midmorning Wednesday, said Coconino County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Gerry Blair.
About 30 RVs were damaged at the Camper World RV Park in Bellemont that sells the vehicles and runs a campground for RVs. No other information on the damage was immediately available.
No serious injuries or deaths were reported.
A Florida couple who shot and killed an intruder in their motorhome while it was parked in the lot of the Cedar City, Utah, Wal-Mart are suing the retailer, claiming store officials knew the man was loitering in the lot, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Carl and Tracy Coltellino were settled in their motorhome the night of July 26, 2006, when their nightmare began.
The couple and their two daughters, ages 9 and 15 at the time, were traveling to Grand Canyon National Park from Florida and had taken the company up on its open invitation to park free of charge in the store’s huge lot.
When Carl Coltellino answered a knock at the door, he confronted Steven Stubbs, who allegedly had been observed that day “behaving badly” in the parking lot, urinating and even trying to break into a vehicle. He asked if the Coltellinos were heading south.
When Carl Coltellino told Stubbs, 26, to leave, Stubbs forced his way into the motorhome. Coltellino grabbed a shotgun and a struggle ensued as the couple tried to force him out the door. During the struggle, Stubbs grabbed the gun as the men wrestled for control of the weapon. When the gun went off, Stubbs was killed.
No charges were ever filed in the case.
Deliveries to retailers of all RVs climbed to their highest level in more than two years as June shipments reached 27,000 units, 10% greater than May and 72.6% greater than June last year, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) reported today (July 26).
This marked the 10th consecutive month where shipments were greater than the same month one year earlier, and the June totals presented an annualized rate of more than 285,000 units, RVIA noted.
Towable RV shipments increased 67.3% over June last year as travel trailers improved 65.3%, while fifth-wheel trailers nearly doubled. Conventional Class A motorhomes tripled in June helping to raise all motorhome totals to 2,500 units in the month and raised year-to-date totals to 13,500 units, which is slightly better than all of 2009.
All categories rose in June over June 2009 and are well ahead of the 2009 pace. In particular:
- Travel trailer shipments totaled 16,700, up 65.3%.
- Fifth-wheel shipments totaled 5,900, up 90.3%.
- Folding camping trailer shipments totaled 1,700, up 30.8%.
- Truck camper shipments totaled 300, up 50%.
In the motorized sector:
- Class A shipments totaled 1,200, up 200%.
- Class B shipments totaled 200, up 100%.
- Class C shipments totaled 1,100, up 120%.
- Travel trailer shipments totaled 81,500, up 84.8%.
- Fifth-wheel shipments totaled 30,100, up 96.7%.
- Folding camping trailer shipments totaled 9,400, up 40.3%.
- Truck camper shipments totaled 1,500, up 50%.
- Class A shipments totaled 6,500, up 195.5%.
- Class B shipments totaled 900, up 80%.
- Class C shipments totaled 6,100, up 110.3%.
Year-to-date, towable shipments are up 82.6%, motorized shipments are up 141.1% and towable and motorized combined are up 87.1%.
For a complete look at the June shipments, see the table below.
Some Saskatchewan camping enthusiasts are unhappy with the increasing number of recreational vehicles encroaching on Saskatchewan campgrounds, CBC Canada reported.
Jeremy Pilon is an avid camper with a bent for the traditional.
For the past several days, he’s been tenting and trying to enjoy the quiet and look at the nighttime stars at Echo Valley Provincial Park just east of Regina.
But Pilon said the growing number of RVs at provincial parks has disrupted the sense of peace and quiet at the campground.
“It’s bothersome,” Pilon said.
“They’re louder, they’ve got a lot of bright lights … it gets late at night and there’s still people buzzing around with generators on.
“We just come for the quiet so it will be bothersome. It’ll be troublesome,” Pilon said.
He said he’d resist the creature comforts of an RV even if offered one for free.
“I’d stick with the tent. It’s really, really comfortable,” Pilon said.
But the province seems to be equally comfortable with the number of RVs now coming to campsites across Saskatchewan. In the past few years, parks officials have added electrical service to 1,000 spots.
RV enthusiasts told CBC News that heading into the wild with the vehicles makes life easier — especially if kids are along for the trip.
For Bart Thistlewaite, having the option of dining and sleeping indoors is why he’s happy with his RV.
“As you get older, [you’d like] a little more comfort. Don’t like sleeping on the ground anymore,” he said.
Go RVing’s blog, You Are Here: Brad Herzog’s Family Travel Journal, has attracted over 2,000 new subscribers this year, who regularly follow the RV journeys of award-winning author Brad Herzog and his family, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
Now in its second year of publication, the blog’s popularity has steadily grown along with the success of RVIA’s media tours with the Herzogs, billed as the “National Explore America Family.” The family of four began their Summer 2010 media tour in early June in a 33-foot Vista motorhome provided by Winnebago Industries Inc. Since they hit the road, reader interaction with the blog has also been growing.
“I am a bit envious of the places you will be heading out to,” said one fan. Another, inspired to buy an RV, commented, “You don’t know how much this last entry means to us. Retirement at 63 is on April 1st. . . Our first trip in our new motorhome is planned for two weeks later. You gave us just the encouragement we needed. I think I will laminate your suggestions and lay them on the dash where we can refer to them often.”
Herzog helps his readers discover the joys of RVing: beautiful scenery, quirky small towns, interesting people and family-friendly, educational attractions along the way. In 2010, he is blogging about family RV trips to Buffalo, N.Y., Burlington, Vt., and Bangor, Maine, national parks and lakeshores in Maine, Ohio and Michigan, a balloon festival in Vermont, a baseball game in South Bend, Ind., an amusement park in Pennsylvania, and kid-friendly museums ranging from the National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, to the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind.
In engaging, graceful prose, Herzog captures the benefits of RVing, from practical cost savings to priceless family experiences:
“When we hit the road in a house on wheels, we visit with the rest of the world, various subcultures, diverse scenery, people with whom we would never have had contact had we not parked next to them in some random campground in northern Ohio or stood next to them on a boat tour of Niagara Falls or chatted amiably with them while strolling through a children’s museum in upstate New York or bantered with them at a diner in Indiana….We can appreciate the myriad American options. And then we can return with a better understanding of our own lives.”
Since the family’s summer travels began, Herzog has posted colorful, humorous and insightful accounts of his RV travels two to three times per week, drawing over 40 comments. Out of the 7,700 people who have subscribed since the blog’s launch in 2008, nearly one-third have signed up in 2010 – the result of easier access and increased promotion on www.GoRVing.com, Go RVing’s Facebook page and Twitter, as well as the Herzog media tour for RVIA.
To read the travel journal and subscribe, visit the Go RVing website at http://www.gorving.org/blog. The Go RVing blog can also be accessed from Brad Herzog’s own website, www.BradHerzog.com, along with information about his RV travel books including the new Turn Left at the Trojan Horse, available at major bookstores nationwide.
RVs were a big part of holiday media coverage in local markets nationwide, as a result of pitches from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and its agency, Barton Gilanelli and Associates, the RVIA reported.
Holiday weekend coverage got a national kickoff on July 1 when cable network Fox Business interviewed Monaco RV LLC President and CEO Kay Toolson. Toolson told viewers that industry shipments are recovering, and that RV companies are rehiring workers.
“It’s a resilient industry,” Toolson said. “People in America love to RV. We’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of the RV industry this year, and we’re excited about the climb-out and leading the country out of recession.”
RVs and RV travel were also featured on local television more than 20 markets, including Las Vegas, Charlotte, N.C., Savannah, Ga., Norfolk, Va., and St. Louis. Reporters told their audiences that approximately 18 million Americans would be traveling in their RVs this weekend. They also reported on results from RVIA’s Campfire Canvass survey of RV owners, which showed that cost-savings appeal to RV owners.
“Camping is way more affordable,” holiday RVer Greg Yeamans told Norfolk’s ABC affiliate. “About a third, maybe even a quarter of the cost of a hotel room on the beach.”
Among the most popular recreational vehicles Wisconsin consumers purchase are motor boats, ATVs and motorhomes. But sales were in the doldrums until recently, according to Mike Prosser of Prosser RV on Milwaukee’s far south side. He even plowed his own salary into the business in order to retain his employees and keep the company operating, according to a report from WUWM Public Radio, Milwaukee.
“When people aren’t working they don’t buy our stuff, and when people are afraid of losing their jobs, they’re not going to buy stuff. But as people begin to see there’s light at the end of the tunnel, their pent up demand for products like we sell comes to market and our sales increase,” Prosser says.
And Prosser says he has noticed a dramatic jump in sales of his mothomes and campers over the past five months. In fact, he’s had customers purchase $50,000 to $80,000 RVs. The secret, according to Prosser, is to be consumer-friendly. He’s increased his credit line with a few banks in order to purchase and keep more vehicles on the lot, so buyers can drive away in them and he’s reduced the traditional 30% markup on motorhomes.
“Those of us that are more aggressive in the market have aligned our margin expectations to the reality of the current situation and we’re actually selling stuff. (We’re) not making as much money on that perhaps, but we’re moving products and keeping the doors open and keeping customers happy,” Prosser says.
Prosser says at the present time, it’s often possible to purchase a new motorhome as cheaply as a used one. But he expects that trend to be short term. There are good deals out there, at least for now, according to Daniel Burdett. He’s general manager of Action Sports in Waukesha. It sells ATVs and dirt bikes. Burdett says there’s now a surplus of some bikes, so prices are dropping.
“You might be able to buy a new ATV, a really nice ATV for $4,500 to $5,500, and in a lot of cases, that’s what a used one is costing. It might not be first choice as far as features or equipment, that type of thing, but definitely in the area of what the customer is looking for,” Burdett says.
Burdett has noticed fewer customers entering his shop these days, but those who do, are serious about buying.
“And many times, the customers will just tell you what it takes to do business with them,” Burdett says.
Burdett describes his business as brisk, not stellar, but brisk. However, sales are still about 40% lower than before the recession hit. John Kukuk is in the same boat. He owns Nestage Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin. Kukuk says business is improving in 2010 but still down considerably from five years ago. In order to survive the downturn, his company has cut back on inventory. It used to have several large boats on hand, but now has only one or two. Kukuk says he’s also begun pursuing potential customers, because there are still people out there, able to buy.
“We’re using new methodologies associated with the internet, more direct contact. We’re still using the old boat show methodology, but waiting for the walk-in customer, that’s a thing of the past and it’s not going to work,” Kukuk says.
Kukuk says he’s trying to be optimistic, knowing the marina industry is slower to rebound than others. His latest worry is that the oil spill in the Gulf could slow boating use and sales there and eventually have a ripple effect on companies like his.
Go RVing’s Facebook fan page is surging in popularity with the site now boasting more than 10,000 registered fans.
The number of fans of the page has grown steadily since being launched in May 2008, and passing the 10,000 milestone is a significant development, placing the Go RVing page in elite company, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) reported in a news release. According to Sysomos, a social media monitoring and analytics firm, only 4% of Facebook fan pages have more than 10,000 fans. The company also reports that a full 77% have fewer than 1,000 fans.
“The popularity of the Go RVing page is a tremendous boost to our efforts,” said RVIA Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Gary LaBella. “It is a popular online meeting place where avid and would-be RVers alike share their passion for RV vacations, and there’s no endorsement as powerful as one that comes from an actual RVer.”
While staff posts comments or asks questions intended to elicit fan responses, active fans also regularly post questions to each other for advice and engage in enthusiastic conversations about the RV lifestyle.
“RVing is the best way to go!” proclaimed one recent post. “I am so happy to have found Go RVing on Facebook. I’m always looking for somewhere to go and other RVers to travel with,” reads another. “My husband and I just purchased our first RV this week and we’re excited to take it out for the first time. So much to learn…” added a new RV owner. “Love this site,” one enthusiastic fan simply wrote.
Once thought of as a social networking site for kids and teens, now 45% of Facebook’s 45.3 million active users are 26 years of age or older. Although users are growing exponentially in every demographic, women over 55 are the site’s fastest growing audience.
Go RVing’s presence on Facebook is part of a larger effort by the group to make use of low-cost, highly popular social media outlets to deliver Go RVing messages to consumers. Go RVing also actively cross-promotes its social media presence through entries on Twitter, an eNewsletter with over a quarter million subscribers, a blog by travel writer Brad Herzog, and the interactive GoRVing.com website.
To view Go RVing’s Facebook page, go to www.Facebook.com and create a free account. Then enter “Go RVing” in the search box to become a fan.
It may be a quiet week at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds in Goshen, Ind., but not for a lack of activity.
This week, the fairgrounds are home to the 12th Biennial National Campvention of the Deaf, a traveling RV/camping rally cosponsored this year by Indiana Deaf Campers, according to The Goshen News. The event was established in 1986 by the Kansas Deaf Road Runners Club and has been held mostly in the western states, such as Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and South Dakota.
“It’s like a family,” IDC Chairperson Bob Downing said. “You get to see people you haven’t seen in a long time and make new friends; get a chance to socialize. So now we’re all really good friends, it’s awesome.”
Downing said there are currently about 400 campers at the fairgrounds for the event. It could swell to 600 by the weekend, he said. Some of those campers came from as far away as Arizona, Florida, Maine and New York, with representatives from a total of 26 states.
In addition to games, shows and a membership meeting tonight, campers will be taking in the local sights and sounds, visiting the Shipshewana flea market and eating at Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury. They also have the opportunity to go on RV-related tours to the Jayco Inc. factory in Middlebury and the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart. The event wraps up Saturday night with a banquet-style dinner theater.
According to Downing, the group started looking at Goshen as a possible site for the event three years ago.
“We wanted something in Indiana,” he said. “We were in Montana at the time and were looking around different states for campgrounds. We found this one in Goshen and it seemed like the best.”
Fellow IDC Chairperson Greg Gantt said the area’s designation as Amish country was also a draw, something you don’t see out West.
“It’s another opportunity to see a different area,” Gantt said. “A lot of these people are retired, so I figured it was perfect with the flea market and RV manufacturers. They can see where their trailers were made.”
He pointed out that the Campvention is the only such national event, although there are some similar events held regionally.
Among the attendees was Nappanee resident and Goshen College American Sign Language teacher Debbie Gessinger.
“I’m looking forward to meeting new people,” Gessinger said.
Gessinger originally heard about the event from Downing, with whose daughter she had attended school. While at the event, she is coordinating the unofficial interpreters, all students from her class.
The U-Haul Co. of Arkansas is offering 30 days of free car, boat or RV storage to Arkansas residents who need to find storage for their car, boat or RV due to a law that went into affect this week that prohibits the parking of these vehicles on the grass. The 30 days free car, boat or RV storage will be good with the purchase of at least one month of rental, according to a news release.
Families needing more information about the 30-days-free self-storage assistance program should contact the company at (800) 722-4923.
“U-Haul Co. of Arkansas is on your side when it comes to this new law about not being able to store your car, boat or RV on your grass,” stated Ken Vadnais, U-Haul Co. of Arkansas president. “We are offering you the opportunity to receive 30 days free storage by entering into a rental agreement to pay for at least one month of inside or outside car, boat or RV storage.”
This offer is available at all U-Haul storage locations in Arkansas.
“RV Buddies,” the Internet-based adventure-lifestyle show, has announced the launching of “Project RV,” a series of “webisodes” that will follow the bumper-to-bumper restoration of a classic 1977 GMC 26-foot Royale.
“We’re really excited about this,” said show host Mark Summers in a news release. “Restoring, repairing or upgrading an RV is something most of the 8.2 million RV-owning households have either done, wanted to do or dreamed about doing over the course of their RV ownership. ‘RV Buddies’ wanted to show them how we’d do it — in a way that maintains the integrity of a coach’s original design but updates it to supply the owner with the modern amenities that he or she wants.”
“RV Buddies” selected a very used 1977 GMC 26-foot Royale because it is a true classic with unique design, detailing and engineering features. It is one of 12,921 models GMC built from 1973 to 1978 before deciding to discontinue producing luxury motorhomes to focus on their truck operations.
“It’s a great example of a coach that has good bones but its fine points have suffered from the ravages of time,” Summers said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun for our audience to follow the process.”
Over the next nine months, “RV Buddies” will film and report on Project RV through four phases – demolition, chassis and drive train, interior, and exterior body and paint. Audience members will be able to follow the process through a combination of video and written reports and even email their questions to Summers.
“That’s the beauty of the Internet,” Summers said, “Our audience will be able to interact with us during the project and apply what they learn to their own projects.”
Episodes will air on a weekly basis starting the second week of June.
For many years, America’s campgrounds and RV parks were simply designated areas where people could pitch their tents or park their RVs for the night. The better ones had clean restrooms and showers and a perhaps a swimming pool and a small playground and a camp store, but not much more than that.
It’s a different story today, according to a news release.
Privately owned campgrounds and RV parks are increasingly moving into the accommodations business with luxury cabins, park models and yurts with clean linens and daily maid service.
Many are also moving into the entertainment business, offering their guests a growing array of activities and special events, from weekend scavenger hunts and arts and crafts classes to Karaoke contests and live entertainment with professional entertainers.
But while the private park industry’s twin thrusts into the accommodations and entertainment businesses are proving to be very successful, these initiatives have also created a need for more and better trained park managers and support staff.
“It’s a constant struggle for our members to find the managers and support staff who have the training and experience they need to know how to deliver a top notch guest experience,” said Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
The challenge is compounded by the fact that an entire generation of private park owners who started their campgrounds and RV parks in the 1960s and 70s are now retiring and selling their parks to new owners.
“Much of the hospitality industry does not even know that hospitality, entertainment and management job opportunities exist in the private park sector, which is why we’re trying to get the word out,” Profaizer said.
ARVC has created a national job listings section on its members’ only website and the association regularly fields calls from job seekers looking for career opportunities in what the association calls “the outdoor hospitality business.”
The national association has also developed a fast track park management training program, The National School of RV Park & Campground Management, which is offered at the Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, W. Va., Registration information is available at www.campgroundschool.com.
The national association has also begun to develop park management and guest service training programs through local universities, the first of which is now being offered through Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff as part of the university’s accredited Parks and Recreation Management Program.
A scruffy group of Brooklyn, N.Y., artists are revving up a new kind of workspace inside a Bushwick warehouse – a trailer park.
They’ve rounded up a collection of dilapidated trailers and RVs, with names like Shasta Strato Flyte, Aristocrat and Yellowstone and plan to put them outside come spring, according to the New York Daily News.
“It doesn’t look like much now, but that kind of works to our advantage because anyone with an imagination can use their creativity to help us get it going,” said Hayden Cummings, one of the founders of the workspace project.
There are nine trailers so far, and eventually they’ll all be outfitted with electricity hookups, running water and hot plates. Artists will pay a “membership fee” that starts at $590 a month and grants each person access to a trailer for use as personal workspace.
Inside the warehouse, near the Montrose Avenue L-train stop, the artists are building community spaces – including a photography darkroom, ceramics kilns, a wood workshop, a recording studio and a kitchen.
There’s a no-smoking and no-pets policy, save Murry the dog, Buddy the cat and Ruda the hen, who moved into her own trailer Monday.
The warehouse is designated by the city for commercial-only use, so the trailers aren’t intended as living quarters.
Public records show Ethel and Louis Oberlander of Brooklyn own the lot. A man identified as the landlord who was there Tuesday declined to comment.
Cummings came up with the trailer park idea with a few friends. For the past month, they’ve been placing ads on craigslist, looking for potential trailer-mates and investors. So far, about 50 people have shown interest.
“I want it to be a community, so this is all about human interaction and finding the right people,” said another founder, Liam Grill, 32. “We’re gonna have fun, make art and live on the cheap.”
The whole thing will run on Brooklyn hipster staples, he joked: Cheese sandwiches and cheap malt liquor.
Neighbors were bemused but generally supportive of the project.
“They are doing what?” asked Judy Sarante, an office clerk at a plastic bag factory across the street. “I guess it’s OK. People want to express themselves.”
“It’s clever,” said Matt Kipp, 41, who is installing an instrument supply store annex down the block. “Maybe it will generate energy and get more people coming out here.”
“I just hope the cops don’t mess with them,” said Astrid Smith, a painter. “The days of Bohemia in this neighborhood seem to be over. Maybe they will save some of it.”
RVs will likely get some exposure in the upcoming Disney film “Secretariat.”
A major casting call for the movie about the famous race horse will be held Sunday at the Cajundome in Lafayette, La., and RVs dating from the 1970s are among the filmmaker’s needs, according to the Lafayette Advertiser.
More than 4,000 extras are needed for the film, much of which is being shot and produced in the Cajun state. People of all ages, races and ethnicities are needed, as are actors and actresses to play hippie-type characters, military and police officers and media reporters.
In addition, the casting company is asking for experienced horse handlers and trainers, 1970s cars, horse trailers and RVs and photo doubles for stars Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Dylan Walsh and Nelsan Ellis.
The film chronicles the life story of Penny Chenery, owner of the race horse “Secretariat” who won the Triple Crown in 1973. Filming is scheduled to begin at the end of the month. The film stars Diane Lane as Chenery.
The Skyline Homes Inc. plant in Halstead, Kan., is closing Nov. 18, with 82 workers to be laid off, according to the Associated Press.
Skyline Homes Inc., which builds manufactured homes, is a division of Skyline Corp., based in Elkhart, Ind.
Tom McGillicuddy, vice president of human resources, referred to a statement saying the company notified employees Wednesday (Sept. 16) and has filed the appropriate paperwork under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. McGillicuddy said the company was “working with employees” to notify them but would not elaborate, according to The Kansan, Newton, Kan.
Under the WARN Act, an employer must give notice if an employment site or one or more facilities or operating units within an employment site will be shut down, and the shutdown will result in an employment loss for 50 or more employees during any 30-day period, according to the Department of Labor Web site. This does not count employees who have worked less than six months in the last 12 months or employees who work an average of less than 20 hours a week for that employer.
Skyline Corp., which also manufactures RVs, has 15 operating divisions in 10 states across the country, according to its website.