Thursday, December 29, 2011

Stand alone all-electric forced air heating system debuts for park model trailers

Bothell, Wash., Dec 29, 2011. -- RV Comfort Systems has introduced a new stand-alone all electric forced air heating system for park model trailers. The new system does not require a gas furnace to be hooked inline with the electric heater. It has its own fan with cabinet and works with the current CheapHeat controller and electric heater. This system is UL certified and RVIA compliant in both the United States and Canada.

The system consists of a multi-position combination ducted/Plenum cabinet that allows the tri-stage heater element to be installed from either side to allow users to use the system in multiple locations. RV Comfort System's Larry McGaugh notes that one of the product's best features is that a trailer manufacturer is no longer required to place the furnace next to an outside wall for venting, which provides more flexibility in its floor plans.

RV Comfort Systems is based in Bothell, Wash., and is the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) patent holder for the CheapHeat electric heating system for recreational vehicles. The company will be making its new system available for public purchase on January 1.

More information is available by calling 425-408-3140 or visiting

SOURCE: RV Comfort Systems news release and

Thursday, December 22, 2011

World’s first electric truck to debut in January

DETROIT, MI, December 20, 2012 -- VIA Motors announced today that Bob Lutz, former Vice Chairman of General Motors and father of the Chevy Volt, will introduce the world’s first extended range electric pickup in a press conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Tuesday, January 10.

The truck can be charged from a standard outlet, or charge faster with a 240 volt outlet or charging station. Driving in all-electric mode costs approximately six cents a mile. The vehicle will travel up to 40 miles on electricity, but it can be driven farther after that using gasoline up to a total of about 300 miles. The truck generates its own electricity using a small fuel-efficient gas-powered generator or “range extender” when needed.

The company says the vehicle's 402 hp high torque electric motor provides ample towing capacity and will be available in two-wheel and four-wheel drive configurations.

“VIA Motors has developed the first extended range electric powertrain capable of replacing the V8 engine. It was my great privilege to introduce the Chevy Volt, and it will be a great honor to introduce the world’s first line of eREV Trucks, Vans and SUVs by VIA Motors.”

After retiring from General Motors in 2010, Bob Lutz has continued his vision for extended range electric vehicles in his recent move to join the VIA Motors Board of Directors. Known as both the king of the American “muscle car,” bringing to market iconic cars like the Chevy Camaro and the Dodge Viper, Bob Lutz is also considered the champion of GM’s greenest production vehicle, the Chevy Volt. Mr. Lutz has both a keen eye for what Americans prefer to drive and an understanding of their desire to adopt cleaner, more efficient technologies.

“This new breed of full size utility vehicles can deliver the power and performance of a V8, with better fuel economy than many smaller cars, by driving on electricity for about $2 a day,” adds Alan Perriton, Chief Operations Officer for VIA Motors, and himself a former GM senior executive. “It actually costs less to own and operate a clean VIA electrified truck or SUV than a gas truck,” added Perriton.

In addition to the full size Pickup Truck, VIA will unveil two new eREV vehicles at the North American International Auto Show: a full size, four wheel drive SUV, and a three-quarter-ton, full-size Cargo Van at its booth on the main floor of the show. Like VIA’s eREV truck, all three vehicles can drive 30 to 40 miles on advanced, non-flammable, lithium ion batteries, then up to 400 miles using the onboard generator, averaging up to 100 mpg.

VIA Motors has begun taking orders for 2012 for its extended range electric pickup truck from many of America’s largest fleets. Production of VIA’s eREV pickup is scheduled to begin in 2012, with plans to ramp up production to 20,000 units per year over the next few years including the eREV SUV, Van and other large eREV vehicles.

To learn more, download a PDF brochure with extensive information about the truck.

Big turnout expected for Indiana FMCA rally in August, 2012

As many as 2,400 motorhomes are expected for the Family Motor Coach Association's 87th Family Reunion and Motor Coach Showcase, August 27-30, 2012. FMCA members can also look forward to nine regional rallies during the year.

The Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis will be the epicenter of the national event which FMCA is calling “Formula For Fun.”

The August gathering will provide motorhome owners the occasion to explore the local area and to socialize with others who share their interest in the RV lifestyle. In addition, a full slate of seminars will be offered. Topics will include motorhome maintenance, dinghy towing, travel destinations, the RV electrical system, and health and wellness. Approximately 150 different technical and lifestyle topics will be covered, all focused on enhancing the motorhome lifestyle, which is FMCA’s mission.

Motorhome dealers and manufacturers from around the country will display motorhomes that showcase the latest amenities.

Most FMCA members will drive to the Indianapolis gathering in their motorhomes and stay on-site after pre-registering. (Registration begins in January, 2012 at The public is may attend by purchasing a pass at the FMCA public gate.

Even before the conclave in Indianapolis, FMCA will offer motorhome owners opportunities to gather for similar, but smaller events. Each of FMCA’s nine geographic areas will host regional rallies in 2012.

The year will kick off with the Western Area Rally, January 11-15 at the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival grounds in Indio, California. Following closely will be the Southeast Area Rally, February 1-5, in Brooksville, Florida. Memorial Day weekend will bring the Great Lakes Area Rally, May 24-28, in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Summer events will include the Northwest Area Rally, June 21-24, in North Bend, Oregon; the Midwest Area Rally, June 27-30, in Pecatonica, Illinois; and the Northeast Area Rally, July 19-22, in Essex Junction, Vermont.

The Rocky Mountain Ramble takes place September 11-16 in Gillette, Wyoming. The South Central Area Rally will follow in Shawnee, Oklahoma, September 26 through 30. The Eastern Area Rally is set for York, Pennsylvania, October 10-14.

Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) is an international organization for families who own and enjoy the use of self-contained motorhomes. The association maintains its national headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently has nearly 90,000 active member families.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Editor of RV websites sold on Facebook

EDMONDS, Wash., Dec. 20, 2011 -- editor and publisher Chuck Woodbury is a huge believer of Facebook as a marketing tool. In a 24-hour period beginning Monday morning, Woodbury posted seven times to the Facebook page, and was rewarded with 1,702 click thrus.

All the Facebook postings were linked to articles on blogs operated by Woodbury said there are currently about 50 of them, all aimed at narrow niches within the broader category of RVing.

Woodbury began his online business 13 years ago with, and was among the very first in the RV industry to embrace pay per click advertising, now dominated by Google. "Back then, you could buy a click for a penny," he said. "We were spending several thousand dollars a month, which was growing our business at a pace we could never have achieved any other way. These days, pay per click programs cost far more, with charges of $1 to $2 per click typical on Google."

Facebook, he explained, offers its own pay-per-click program. "They recommend that I pay between 33 cents and 67 cents a click," he said. "If I paid 50 cents for all those 1,702 clicks that would have been $850 in that one day alone."

WOODBURY SAYS HIS MAIN SOURCE of traffic to both his bookstore and blogs besides search engines is his weekly newsletter, now in its 11th year of publication. "On a Saturday morning, after our email alert goes out, we'll see 1,500 to 2,000 visitors an hour for most of the morning," he said. "It slows down by mid afternoon but continues throughout the week." Woodbury says each weekly issue is read by approximately 60,000 RVers.

With the success of his Facebook efforts, Woodbury envisions that perhaps in a year or two it could drive traffic to his websites as effectively as his newsletter with far less effort and no expense beyond the time to post. "The number of people liking us on Facebook is growing all the time," he said. "We have about 3,400 'likes' now. It's exciting to think of when that number will double or triple."

Woodbury believes that most businesses on Facebook don't realize the importance of the quality of information they post, and are then disappointed with the results. "If what they post is self-serving, the readership will be weak and they will get nowhere. But if they provide solid, useful information, they will end up with a strong and loyal readership that can build their website's traffic steadily and economically."

SOURCE: news release.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tom Johnson Camping Center assists extreme makeover:home edition

MARION, N.C., Dec. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Tom Johnson Camping Center announced they have donated the use of 12 RVs to Extreme Makeover:Home Edition and Bellamy Homes to be used by the designers and builders to increase their productivity. A mix of travel trailers, fifth wheels and a Class A motorhome are being utilized as office space allowing the designers and builders to be on-site around the clock during the build in Lincolnton, NC.

"Tom Johnson Camping Center has continuously worked to better the community and the help Extreme Makeover:Home Edition provides aligns with that goal," said Gary Stroud, Vice President, Tom Johnson Camping Center.

This is the third Extreme Makeover:Home Edition that Tom Johnson Camping Center has participated in during 2011. Previous builds this year included a project outside of Atlanta, GA and the Fayetteville, NCbuild that featured First Lady Michelle Obama utilizing a Tom Johnson Camping Center motorhome as an office.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Good Sam cancels its half price camping pass

Good Sam Enterprises has alerted its Camp Club USA members that it is shutting down its half price camping club. Good Sam has negotiated a deal with Passport America to provide the service to club members.

"We have negotiated a deal to team with Passport America, whereby you, as a member of Camp Club USA, will have the ability to enjoy the approximately 1,800 campgrounds in the Passport America network where you can save 50 percent off nightly camping," said Good Sam CEO Marcus Lemonis in a letter to members. "This combination will provide you with approximately 600 additional campgrounds where you can enjoy discounted camping.

"As part of this combination, your Camp Club USA membership will be converted to a Passport America membership," he said. "We will be working closely with Passport America to ensure this transition is a smooth one for you, and going forward we will be offering the Passport America membership to all of our loyal customers and members through our Camping World retail stores and catalogs as well as online."

Current members of Passport America will have the remainder of their membership term in Camp Club USA added to their current Passport America membership with one additional month.

SOURCE: RV Daily Report.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thousand Trails zone passes enable affordable camping to RV enthusiasts

CHICAGO (December 13, 2011) -- RVers now have the luxury of expanding their potential list of destinations through the value and convenience of the Thousand Trails Zone Camping Pass. The annual pass provides the freedom of flexible, any-time access to up to 81 Thousand Trails RV destinations, depending on the number of zones selected.

Available for $499 for a year of camping, the Thousand Trails Zone Camping Pass gives unlimited camping (subject to length-of-stay policies) at any of the destinations included in the selected zone. Participating RV resorts offer full hook-up sites and access to amenities such as pools and spas, hiking trails, fishing, boat ramps, canoe and paddle boats, game rooms, playgrounds, miniature golf, hot showers and Wi-Fi. Additionally, zone Camping pass holders enjoy discounts at Encore RV Resorts. After staying 30 nights at the Thousand Trails destinations in their chosen zone, pass users pay a modest $3-per-day usage fee.

"We understand that outdoor enthusiasts have a number of places they wish to see and that they want first-class properties and amenities wherever they go," said Seth Rosenberg, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Equity LifeStyle Properties Inc. (NYSE: ELS). "Through the Zone Camping Pass, RVers can make the most of all the unique destinations and amenities that Thousand Trails properties have to offer while maximizing their outdoor recreation dollar."

Additional Zones are available for $795 each; an annual pass that provide access to 81 campgrounds across the U.S. (four Zones) is $2,884. For more information including the locations of the zones, visit or call 800-205-0606.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Protest: RV residents speak out against new ordinance

Valley Morning Star

SAN BENITO — City commissioners Tuesday agreed to consider revising a new ordinance that charges a base water and sewer fee to RV parks for empty spaces and for vacant apartments.

Winter Texans packed City Hall to protest the law that some warned would force small RV parks to shut down.

Commissioners said they would also consider amending the ordinance’s clause that allows the city to charge a $10 base water and sewer fee for every vacant apartment unit.

Commissioners took the action a day after the city’s utility board voted 3-1 against changing the ordinance.

Commissioners would have to determine how to calculate the number of empty RV spaces and vacant apartment units if they agree not to charge them, Pete Claudio, chairman of the utility board, told commissioners.

Commissioners could rely on occupancy reports from RV parks and apartment complexes or assign a city employee to determine the number of empty spaces and vacancies, Claudio said.

“Be fair,” Bonnie Dominguez, manager of Fun N Sun RV Resort, said after the meeting.

Under the new ordinance, the city charges Fun N Sun $168,000 a year for the park’s 1,400 spaces, Dominguez said.

But as many of 300 of those spaces remain empty year-long because they are too small for bigger, late-model mobile homes and RVs, she said.

“It’s dead space,” Dominguez said. “There’s no toilet, no building, no unit. There’s nothing there but a meter and a sewer pipe.”

Winter Texans returned to City Hall on Tuesday to protest the new ordinance they warned would drive up rents and lead some park residents to move out of town.

“That $10 will be coming back to me and all of us with permanent homes there,” Alice Nash, a Fun N Sun resident, told commissioners.

The new ordinance that charges $10 for about 2,900 park spaces and apartment units in the city will generate about $348,000 a year to help boost city coffers amid a national recession that’s driven sales tax revenues to six-year lows, Claudio has said.

Monday, utility board members argued the ordinance makes RV parks and apartment complexes shoulder part of the burden of high water rates that have climbed since 2004. Single-family homes bear the brunt of average monthly base water and sewer fees of $49.68, they said.


Cirque Du Soieil RV fire shuts down highway

By Chris Dougherty
Certified RV Technician

A conversion coach for the Cirque Du Soieil performers caught fire and burned in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana. The vehicle was a total loss.

According to KATC-TV, the cause of the fire hasn't been determined, although fire investigators suspect some sort of mechanical malfunction was responsible. The driver was the only occupant, and he escaped without injury.

The blaze reached as high as 50 feet in the air and damaged some electrical transmission lines. Utility crews rendered repairs and reopened the area to traffic.

While motorhome fires are relatively rare compared to the number of units out there, they are still a concern for RVers. Proper maintenance is essential to help avoid the possibility of fire. Make certain your RV has smoke, propane, and carbon monoxide detectors, and that they work.

Just like at home, use EDITH - Exit Drills In The Home. Have an escape plan for your RV. Have fire extinguishers in various places within the RV and in an easily accessed outside compartment.

Before driving, look around your coach for anything that looks amiss, like a leak, something that has landed on the engine, or an unusual smell, and investigate and fix the issue before leaving.

Source & Photo: KATC-TV

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Best RV parks named by campground association

The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) recognized the achievements by private parks during its annual industry awards competition held Dec. 2 at the Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo in Savannah, Ga.

Park of the Year awards were given to RV parks and resorts based on several criteria, including customer service, employee training, operational excellence, national directory ratings and community service, according to ARVC. Winners included: 

Small Park of the Year:
Nashville Country RV Park in Goodlettsville, Tenn.

Medium-Size Park of the Year:
Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resort at Kozy Rest in Harrisville, Pa.

Large Park of the Year:
Buttonwood Campground in Mexico, Pa.

Mega Park of the Year:
Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Parks that made exemplary efforts to become environmentally friendly received the Association's Plan it Green award. The winners were:

Small/Medium Park category:
Guadalupe River RV Park Campground and Nature Trails in Spring Branch, Texas.

Mega Park category:
Lakewood Camping Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C.


Forest River introduces Aviator at RV trade show

By Chris Dougherty
Certified RV Technician

Many manufacturers at the recent National RV Trade Show in Louisville had interesting new RVs on display, but the Aviator Touring Edition by Forest River was so intriguing, it warranted a second visit.

The Aviator is a new composite-built high-end trailer from Forest River, and just about everything about this RV is unique and interesting.

From the outside, the trailer.. and yes, it's a travel trailer (although it seems hard to call it that) looks like a Space Shuttle replacement. The front end is absolutely unique in design and construction. A travel trailer first, this unit has a full size, two piece, tinted glass windshield, epoxied into place. With its aerodynamic shape, it makes for a very interesting front dinette. The sides of the coach are contoured slightly and with the full paint and tinted surface mounted thermo-pane windows give this coach an amazing look . Next to the front door is a full size built-in entertainment center... but more about that later.

The Aviator is available in two floor plans. The 'Wright Flyer', which was displayed at the National RV Trade Show, has one living room slideout which holds the couch, with a front dinette and rear bedroom. The 'Spirit of St.Louis' is a front bedroom unit with two slideouts in the livingroom and a rear wall mounted entertainment center. Both floorplans feature a fireplace as well.

The trailer features a powder coated frame, one-piece fiberglass roof with aluminum truss rafters, a one-piece laminated composite floor, Celtec (foamed PVC) cabinetry with aluminum facing, heated and enclosed underbelly with Ultra-Heat equipped holding tanks. All the lighting inside and outside the coach is LED. The Aviator is equipped with a 57 gallon fresh water tank, 94 gallon gray water tank, and 47 gallon black tank.

Of particular note is the fully integrated Sony entertainment systems.. yes, systems. The systems consist of the outside 32" LCD HDTV, and DVD stereo, the living room 32" LCD HDTV, Blueray home theater system and fireplace, and the bedroom 32" LED HDTV and are all linked by a central router and a Sony 16GB tablet computer. All the A/V equipment and the fireplace are controlled by the tablet from anywhere around the coach. Besides being pre-programmed for easy swipe and tap control of all the components, plus full control of the electric fireplace, the tablet has the entire set of owner's manuals on there too. An interesting educational add are the videos on how to operate various parts of the coach, which are loaded on the tablet, but viewable on any or all of the TVs as well.

The interior of the 'Wright Flyer' is well appointed with plenty of headroom. The front dinette allows for an amazing view, and great seating for family and guests. A hydraulically controlled table drops down to make a dinette, although the table was extremely wobbly and needs work. A 'dashboard' behind the dinette has room for knickknacks. The kitchen cabinets have a very lightweight feel to them due to their unique lightweight construction of aluminum clad Celtec, but are attractive nonetheless. The nine cubic foot Dometic refrigerator with icemaker is a nice touch for a travel trailer but its location in the middle of the hallway across from the bathroom seems a bit out of the way. The kitchen has a stainless steel convection microwave oven by Frigidaire, a stainless LPG cooktop by Atwood, solid surface counters, under-mounted sink, pull out pantry and garbage can.

The bathroom has adequate space. It consists of a one-piece fiberglass shower, solid surface counter with under-mounted lavatory sink, and an Aqua-Magic ceramic toilet.

As mentioned previously, all lighting in the Aviator is LED, with some with dimmers. High-end wall mounted rocker switches are a nice touch, and the livingroom entertainment system sounds good and is visible from most of the seating positions. A Fantastic Vent is on the living room ceiling, a great feature. However, it cannot be controlled from the Sony system, nor can the furnace, air conditioning, awning or lighting.

With this level of technological sophistication, it would make sense that the Aviator was built to be RV-C compliant, but it isn't. RV-C is a communications standard being developed by the RV industry to allow technicians a single point of connection for electronic diagnostics, similar to what is found in modern cars. A number of component manufacturers are working to develop the standard, and some components have been released, but Forest River was not willing to bet on it yet.

Built as an all-season RV, the thermo-pane windows should work well to enhance cold weather comfort. They are covered on the inside with daylight shades, with the exception of the windshield which, unfortunately, has no shades at all.

Storage in this unit is plentiful, and includes a sliding storage tray with spare tire carrier. The nose compartment holds the LP gas bottles and the dual battery system. The lower part of the nose is a door that lifts like the hood of a motorhome. We found however that this didn't work particularly well and needed adjustment. There is also storage under the dinette, which is accessible from outside via slam latch doors, and there is more storage under the 60" x 80" queen bed. Inside is a closet and two wards, which should be adequate for a trailer this size.

With its estimated $60,000 price tag, the Aviator is positioned as a first class RV. While not for everyone it is certainly in a league of its own from a standpoint of design and technology, and offers a look at the RVs to come.

Forest River RV helping out with Toys for Tots

Mishawaka, Ind. -- The holiday season is well under way for Toys for Tots, and in Indiana, they just received a big shot in the arm as employees at Forest River RV have donated nearly $18,000 worth of toys to Toys for Tots this year. Employees from Forest River RV rolled up in one of their RV's Friday at the Meijer on Bremen Highway in Mishawaka.

The company says employees pitched in $17,800 hundred this year for the Toys for Tots program.

Angie Garza, Human Resource Manager, explains how this yearly tradition is something everyone looks forward to because they know it's going to a great cause, "I have two children of my own and see them open up something they really wanted to maybe be able to help some other family get something their child really wants it's a great feeling."

The RV full of toys arrives Saturday morning at the Toys for Tots site at the Concord Mall in Elkhart.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Nearly four dozen RV parks and campgrounds get top rankings

DENVER, Colo., Dec. 5, 2011 – Four-four campgrounds, RV parks and resorts earned all around “A” grades in the fourth annual consumer satisfaction survey of campgrounds, RV parks and resorts. The top parks were announced Friday during the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds’ annual Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo at the Westin Savannah Harbor Resort & Spa and Savannah International Trade and Convention Center.

More than 30,000 camping and RV enthusiasts participated in the online survey, which evaluated guest experiences at campgrounds, RV parks and resorts that are affiliated with the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.

 “Consistently earning an overall ‘A’ grade from guests is difficult, and our 44 winners this year represent less than two percent of all of the nation’s campgrounds. But what is even more impressive is that 12 of this year’s winners have also received this award four years in a row,” said Bob MacKinnon, president and CEO of, the Murrieta, Calif.-based company that conducted the online survey.

“We are quite confident telling consumers that we have 44 ‘A’ rated parks among our members because of the feedback we have received from more than 30,000 consumers across the country who have participated in the GuestRated survey program,” said Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.

The 44 parks earning “A” grades:
-- Acres of Wildlife Campground in Steep Falls, Maine
-- Anaheim Resort RV Park, Anaheim, Calif.
-- Ashland Resort, Northfork, W.V.
-- AtRivers Edge RV Resort, Brookings, Ore.
-- Brookdale Family Campground, Meadville, Penn.
-- Buffalo Lake Camping Resort, Montello, Wis.
-- Buttonwood Campground, Mexico, Penn.
-- Camp A Way, Lincoln, Neb.
-- Chalk Creek Campground & RV Park, Nathrop, Colo.
-- Cherry Hill Park, College Park, Md.
-- Cross Creek Camping Resort, Delaware, Ohio
-- D & W Lake Camping and RV Park, Champaign, Ill.
-- Dogwood Acres Campground, Newville, Penn.
-- Emerald Coast RV Beach Resort, Panama City, Fla.
-- Gettysburg Campground, Gettysburg, Penn.
-- Gold Country Campground Resort, Pine Grove, Calif.
-- Hidden Valley RV Park, Von Ormy, Texas
-- High Plains Camping, Oakley, Kansas

-- Kalyumet Camping & Cabins, Lucinda, Penn.
-- Keen Lake Camping & Cottage Resort, Waymart, Penn.
-- Kozy Rest Kampground, Harrisville, Penn.
-- Lake George RV Park, Lake George, N.Y.
-- Las Vegas RV Resort, Las Vegas, Nev.
-- Magnolia RV Park & Campground, Kinards, S.C.
-- Meadowcliff Lodge & RV Resort, Coleville, Calif.
-- Mill Creek Ranch RV & Cottage Resort, Canton, Texas
-- Misty River Cabins & RV Resort, Walland, Tenn.
-- Moose River Campground, Saint Johnsbury, Vt.
-- Mountain Vista Campground, East Stroudsburg, Penn.
-- Myrtle Beach Travel Park, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
-- Ocean Lakes Family Campground, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
-- Pecan Park Campground, San Marcos, Texas
-- Pioneer Campground, Laporte, Penn.
-- Pismo Coast Village RV Resort, Pismo Beach, Calif.
-- Pontchartrain Landing, New Orleans, La.
-- Red Apple Campground, Kennebunkport, Me.
-- Rose Point Park, New Castle, Penn.
-- Sunny Brook RV Resort, South Haven, Mich.
-- The Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Golf Course, Borrego Springs, Calif.
-- The Vineyards Campground & Cabins, Grapevine, Texas
-- West Canada Creek Campsites, Poland, N.Y.
-- Willow Tree Resort, Longs, S.C.
-- Yellowstone Holiday Campground, West Yellowstone, Mont.

Ford to end E series vans; Class C chassis not included

Louisville., KY—A representative of Ford Motor Company at the RVIA National RV Show in Louisville confirmed to RV Travel that Ford will be discontinuing the E series van starting in model year 2013, and will be replaced with the European styled Transit van, in a larger size than the current Transit available in the United States.

According to a Ford press release, “Production of Ford’s E-Series, currently built at Ohio Assembly Plant, will continue to be available in certain variations through most of the decade. A new full-size van called the Transit – slated for production beginning in 2013 at Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Mo. – also will be introduced for Ford’s commercial van customers in North America.”

Ford will, however, continue to build the E series cutaway van chassis used for class-c motorhomes, and other cutaway van applications such as box trucks and ambulances. In addition, production of F-650, F-750, and the F-53 motorhome chassis will move from Escobedo, Mexico to its Ohio Assembly Plant in Avalon Lake, Ohio. “By moving our commercial vehicle production in-house, we will be able to streamline and strengthen the engineering and manufacturing of our next-generation medium-duty trucks,” said Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company’s president of The Americas.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thousand Trails introduces new trip planner app

CHICAGO (December 1, 2011) - Thousand Trails has debuted its new Thousand Trails RV Trip Planner App for Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. The free app is available in iTunes and the App Store, and provides outdoor enthusiasts with the freedom to research and plan trips to more than 80 Thousand Trails RV resorts, located in top vacation destinations across North America, from the convenience of their Apple devices.

The planner lets RV travelers and outdoor vacationers search for their favorite Thousand Trails RV resort by location or park name; view each resort's amenity list; and browse the property specific photo galleries. App users can also plan their routes using Google maps, and are able to email park information to a friend.

"Our guests are accustomed to using technology in their everyday lives including when planning their next RV trip," said ELS' Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Seth Rosenberg. "We are working to continually provide tools that make it easier for our customers to plan their next trip to one our many RV resorts across the country."

The Thousand Trails Trip Planner App also gives the user the ability to create lists of their favorite Thousand Trails resorts and has a "click to call" feature to contact Thousand Trails with questions or to make a reservation over the phone. The free Thousand Trails Trip Planner App is available through iTunes or the App Store by searching  "Thousand Trails."

Learn more about the Trip Planner App or get it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Born Free introduces its first towable RV at Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Dodgen Industries, renowned for its high quality Class C Born Free motorhomes, unveiled its first-ever travel trailer this week at the RV National Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The concept Born Free Trail-R Lodge is poised as a high-end titan with the quality of construction and amenities on par with its Class C motorhome.

The trailer is 23 feet long, eight feet wide, with a hefty base weight of 6,160 lbs. According to Dennis Day, vice president of the Born Free commercial division, the trailer was built in response to the overall market conditions and to fit in with the company’s new wholesale marketing strategy. This is a new approach for Born Free, which has sold its RVs only on a factory direct basis until recently. Day said the company's new dealer base will give it more market penetration while firming up after-sale support for its RVs, which carry a three-year bumper to bumper warranty, as well as a 10-year fiberglass and floor warranty.

While the production unit may see some significant changes, the concept trailer framing, built by Aluma Trailer, features a full two by eight inch aluminum trailer frame with cross members on 16 inch centers. The body construction is built in basically the same way as its motor coaches, except the roll bar construction is made of aluminum instead of steel. The glossy fiberglass construction is attractive and easy to maintain, and the coach features "basement" style compartments under the floor, which is unusual for this style trailer, but does result in a higher than usual trailer frame. The Trail-R Lodge will be available as a true four-season unit, with standard radius thermo-pane windows, and a fully enclosed and heated underbelly. The waste holding tanks are under the floor, but the fresh water is located under the galley sink.

The concept unit has a GVWR of 8,000 lbs., and a net cargo carrying capacity as equipped of 1,840 lbs., which is ample for a unit this size, and allows good use of the many solid wood cabinets inside the coach, as well as the outside storage. The Trail-R Lodge is slated to come with a substantial standard equipment list, which includes a 13,500 BTU Roof A/C, a 30,000 BTU LP furnace (which is impressive for a coach this size), Jack TV antenna, 26” LCD TV, and A&E manual awning. Options will include a microwave/convection oven, rear trailer hitch for tandem towing, stabilizer jacks, bedroom TV and more.

In addition, the coach is equipped with two-20 lb LP gas cylinders which are mounted on the tongue but which may be integrated into the front cap on production units. The coach comes with two absorbed glass mat maintenance free deep cycle batteries, which are installed within one of the underside compartments.

Day says the Trail-R Lodge will have an estimated MSRP of $85,500. He expects production to begin during the first quarter of 2012.

Jayco unveils 2012 White Hawk ultra lite travel trailer

LOUISVILLE, Ky – The 2012 White Hawk, Jayco’s newest entry into the ultra lite travel trailer market, was unveiled this week at the RVIA National Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The White Hawk has an impressive list of features and amenities and can be towed by most half-ton pickups and mid-sized SUVs.

“We recognize the light weight market is more competitive today than ever before,” said Sid Johnson, Jayco director of marketing. “The goal was to provide a unit that could be towed by most family vehicles but offers standard amenities and features not traditionally found on units in this price range. We wanted to make the entire camping experience even more enjoyable for the owner, from towing to set up to take down.”

The 2012 White Hawk provides considerably more room with its deep slide outs. Each is 36 inches deep, adding twice the expandable living space over traditional lightweights.

It also offers several unique standard features including the Chil N’ Stor outdoor baggage compartment with a 1.5 cubic foot exterior refrigerator, Max View dinette window for extra light and comfort, Wide Stance Tracker Axles for more stable towing, several extra exterior lights for added safety and convenience, a thermal package with a heated and enclosed underbelly, and a standard premium exterior paint option. The White Hawk’s Kitchen includes recessed halogen lights, feature kitchen cabinetry, large rounded countertops, deep 60/40 acrylic sink with sink covers, decorative backsplash, 6.3-cubic foot Norcold refrigerator with external temperature adjustments and black metal door inserts, and an Atwood high-efficiency oven.

Other standard amenities include dark-tint safety glass windows, four-inch crowned, fully-walkable roof, marine-grade exterior speakers, residential-style furniture and carpeting, hidden switch command/charging center, burnished, cherry stained hardwood cabinetry, ball bearing drawer guides, woodgrain accent wall paneling and dinette table, Atwood high-efficiency furnace and water heater, and central air conditioning with directional and closeable vents.

SOURCE: Jayco News Release and

Fleetwood adds diesel option on its classic motorhome

Fleetwood RV Inc. debuted a front-diesel chassis option for its 2012 Bounder Classic Class A motorhome at this week’s National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.

Fleetwood said the new, front-engine diesel adds increased power and contributes to better fuel efficiency, featuring a Cummins ISB 6.7L engine, full air suspension and air brakes. According to a news release the platform represents a collaboration between Fleetwood RV and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC).

“One of the most exciting features of the new Bounder Classic diesel is that it has air brakes and air-ride,” said John Draheim, president and CEO of Decatur, Ind.-based Fleetwood RV. “It offers a premium ride and drive, which is something our customers have been asking for.”

The diesel chassis on the Bounder Classic also eliminates the “dog-house” -- a hump between the driver and passenger seats. The flat floor in the cockpit allows both the driver and the passenger to have improved access to the cockpit area. It also creates additional legroom when the chairs are swiveled to be part of the living area.

Consumer research in this product category has shown potential buyers have concerns about increased noise and heat in front-engine diesel applications, which Fleetwood said has been addressed in the new Bounder Classic. The coach features a newly engineered cockpit sub-floor and engine compartment with premium thermo-acoustic liners and insulation. The result is a driver’s cabin that is said to be quieter and has less noise intrusion than comparable gas powered coaches at cruising-speeds.

Lance Campers introduces its largest travel trailer

Lance Camper announces has debuted its newest travel trailer, the 2385. It's the largest travel trailer in the Lance product line-up. The new RV features a large kitchen with almost eight feet of counter space, a full wall slide with “Super Dinette” and private bedroom.

With a dry weight of 4615 pounds, the 2385 is an easy tow for most V-8 powered SUVs and light duty trucks. “The full wall slide and enormous kitchen really make this trailer stand out,” said Gary Conley, national sales manager for Lance Camper. “For RVers looking for the quality they’ve come to expect from Lance in a larger package – this is it.”

"Graffiti-bombed" motormhome has life as mobile art gallery

NEW YORK, N.Y. --'s ArtV is a 36 foot Class A motorhome retrofitted as a mobile, pop-up art gallery that is staking a claim on the future of displaying art. From New York's Chelsea neighborhood to Florida for North America's largest international art fair, ArtV is there--and making waves.

Every day the graffiti-bombed mobile gallery will shuttle anyone and everyone that hops onboard regardless of VIP status between the myriad of art fairs comprising the world's largest conglomeration of art for sale. While doing so, Welcome to COMPANY will provide collectors a welcome respite from the art orgy by hosting a gypsy-style mobile party with DJ music and free-flowing, complimentary "beverages."

"This is the coolest thing I've experienced in the art world in years. As an emerging artist, I have been wresting with how to make my art more accessible, really reach the public and not just the two percent jaded art snobs. This mobile art gallery literally takes the artwork to the streets. Totally dope," commented Dani Howard of Brooklyn during the city's recent art crawl.

Disrupting the traditional gallery system seems to be a hot trend, what with the proliferation of online art websites; but as one of the fastest growing companies, is easily the most ambitious. In addition to its mobile art gallery, this early stage company hosts a monthly meetup for new art enthusiasts called The Collector Series™ and they are producing a documentary series to discover emerging artists in each of NYC's boroughs, which will air on cable TV beginning in January for six weekly episodes.

"Art is life and if there is a way to make it more approachable to everyone without the attitude or economic intimidation, then I gurantee we will try it. It is way too much fun so why not?" claims Founder/Prexy CJ Follini.

Source: WelcometoCOMPANY news release and

Evergreen RV brings all-composite construction to all 2012 Ever-Lite trailers

Middlebury, Ind., Nov. 30, 2011 -- EverGreen Recreational Vehicles, LLC. is building its original all composite Ever-Lite travel trailers in all seven of its Deep Slide models plus its 27RB and the 29FK floor plans for 2012. EverGreen recently debuted two new economy minded brands for 2012, the i-Go Lite and Ever-Lite Select brands.

Limiting production of the original Ever-Lite brand makes it the only EverGreen product built for buyers seeking an all composite, more durable, longer lasting, sustainable travel trailer. A total of nine floor plans will be produced in the full composite Ever-Lite brand for 2012.

ComposiTek Construction
According to a company press release, Ever-Lite's exclusive ComposiTek construction makes it 20 percent lighter than competing brands. The all-composite walls, floor and roof mean that in addition to being lighter than wood products, it is also far stronger, and resists rot, mold and mildew. The ComposiTek manufacturing process replaces 50 sheets of lauan plywood in each trailer to yield an RV with virtually no harmful VOC off-gassing air--especially noticeable to people with allergies or eye sensitivity to formaldehyde.

A four-point, gear-driven slide out is engineered to simultaneously open and close at all corners of the Deep Slide units. This provides a tighter seal when closed and smooth operation which the company claims is superior to conventional two-point cable systems. The 100 point factory testing of every Ever-Lite includes simulated six inches of rainfall in 12 minutes with the slides in both the open and closed positions.

SOURCE: EverGreen News Release and

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New, all-electric motorhome debuts at RV trade show.

LOUISVILLE, Ky., November 29, 2011-- MVP RV, Inc. is showing off an all-electric, zero-emissions Class C motorhome at the National RV Trade Show that opened today. The 24-foot pre-production E Tahoe is powered by lithium-ion batteries.

MVP is showcasing a similar, all-electric Class A vehicle in China.

The RV is fitted with a drive train, external charger, and battery system developed by Harbor City, Calif.-based Balqon Corporation, which develops zero emission heavy-duty electric trucks, lithium battery packs and electric vehicle drive systems.

According to Scott Degnan, MVP vice president of sales, production models will produce more power than the pre-production model. The pre-production E Tahoe uses 96, 260-amp-hour-batteries to generate 332 volts DC. The production model will have 1,000-amp-hour-batteries.

Depending on options and use, the coach should travel about 100 to 250 miles on a charge. A full recharge takes about 90 minutes. The pre-production coach requires a 240 volt AC shore line connection for charging. The company is exploring various on-board recharging options. MVP expects the batteries to last 10,000 cycles.

The battery system is liquid cooled. Unlike present day RVs, the entire coach will operate off the 96 batteries instead of separate automotive and house systems.

The coach has about 10 percent less storage space than a traditional Tahoe due to space occupied by the batteries. The batteries weigh about 3,000 pounds. The extra weight is offset by the absence of a powertrain: the company has not released the actual difference.

Degnan would not discuss price, but said the coach should be available for retail sale by the third quarter of 2012.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We will have more detailed report on this RV within a week or two. Our big question: is this "for real" or a gimmick? It's hard for us to imagine why anyone would buy an RV that needed constant recharging, especially when such facilities are rare.

Airstream unveils Sterling concept trailer

Louisville., KY. (November 29, 2011) – Airstream unveiled its newest design concept today at the 49th annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky. The Airstream Sterling Concept Trailer, designed by architect Christopher Deam, continues the partnership between Airstream and Deam that started more than a decade ago with the 2001 Airstream International CCD.

The most striking design feature of the Sterling Concept trailer is the use of anodized aluminum surfaces for the interior. Deam wanted to bring the unmistakable appearance of the Airstream’s exterior to the interior of the unit and use a premium, lustrous material that provided plenty of light and reflectivity. The aircraft-like aesthetic and modern monocoque design required high precision, resulting in a product that is both aggressively modern and timeless.

The Sterling Concept trailer features bright yellow woven vinyl flooring that has a soft, luxurious feel and is perfectly complemented by the white ultra-leather upholstery and classic midcentury Merimekko fabric used throughout the unit. All countertops and roof lockers are edged with pure aluminum extrusions which harmonize with the aluminum interior skin and premium fixtures in the galley and lavatory.

“Airstream is the ultimate object of design,” said Deam. “The Sterling Concept trailer project was a true collaboration with Airstream and forced us both to push the limits of what is possible. For a designer it is always great to work with a brand where you can exercise furniture and product design together with manufacturing – it is the ultimate!”

The Sterling Concept captures what is essential about Airstream travel trailers and imparts to it a modern flair, demonstrating Airstream’s continuing commitment to be a thought leader for the RV industry. “This concept trailer represents a fresh take on Airstream, and we think it will appeal to people who are design-savvy and appreciate quality construction and unique, modern design,” said Airstream President and CEO Bob Wheeler.

According to Wheeler, the Sterling Concept trailer will be presented at various events over the next couple of months before a final production decision is made.

SOURCE: Airstream Press Release

Airstream adds 24 hour roadside and technical assistance program

November 29, 2011 -- National Motor Club (NMC) today announced a partnership agreement with Airstream, Inc. Beginning with Airstream’s 2012 models, all units will include a two-year Coach-Net RV technical and roadside assistance program.

The program began mid-September and expands Airstream’s service and provides factory-trained reps to assist Airstream owners 24/7 wherever they travel throughout the United States and Canada.

“We believe the addition of Coach-Net is a great way to round out our service offering and add support to our valued owners,” explained Justin Humphreys, Airstream’s vice president of sales. “Whether they are on the side of the road, in a campground, or just have a technical question after hours, we want to give our owners peace of mind knowing that they have a respected, knowledgeable RV industry leader available to help.”

For 55 years, National Motor Club (NMC) has provided emergency roadside assistance and other travel related services over its 55-year history. Through its Coach-Net line of services, NMC has served the RV industry for the last 25 years and is included with vehicle purchase in 70 percent of all new RV models.

Thor introduces new Palazzo diesel motor coach

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Nov. 29, 2011 -- Thor Motor Coach showed off its new Palazzo diesel motorhome at the Louisville National Trade Show today. The Palazzo’s foundation is a 26,000-lb GVWR Freightliner rear diesel chassis powered by a 300 horsepower Cummins ISB/660 Ft-lb Toque engine.

Features includes two slideouts, Vizio Home Theatre Bar, a residential Whirlpool refrigerator, cockpit PC workstation, solid surface countertops and a 6,000 watt Onan generator.

The RV features more than 5,000 pounds of cargo carrying capacity. It's patio area is completely covered by the awning, and slide rooms do not take away from living area or storage access. The interior of the coach has eliminated the typical diesel cockpit wind noise, the living area is not fully traversed to get to the bath, and cabinet and wardrobe storage is spacious. “Outside of the box thinking, plus an understanding of what will make a dealer successful with today’s diesels, are the reasons we created the Palazzo, explained Dana Simon, VP of Sales and Marketing for Thor Motor Coach.

Lance Camper debuts small trailer

LOUISVILLE, KY, Nov. 29, 2011 -- Lance Camper debuted today its latest and smallest travel trailer, the 1274, at the National RV Trade Show. The RV features a large slide-out, a pop out tent sleeper and dry bath. With a dry weight of 2,250 pounds, the 1274 is an easy tow for vehicles with a 5,000 pound tow rating. “The 1274 feels a lot larger than it is with the pop-out tent sleeper,” said Gary Conley, National Sales Manager for Lance Camper.

Monday, November 28, 2011

FMCA executive director resigns, new interim director named

Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov. 28, 2011 -- The Family Motor Coach Association, FMCA, an international organization for motorhome owners, has announced that longtime staff member Jerry Yeatts has assumed responsibilities as executive director of the association.

Mr. Yeatts will take on responsibilities formerly handled by Bradford Koshland, who tendered his resignation in early November for family reasons. He had served in the position for less than one year.

“Brad made a very difficult decision that required him to set aside his duties at FMCA headquarters in Cincinnati and take on a new challenge with his immediate family,” said FMCA president Charlie Schrenkel. “We certainly understand the need to put family first, and we wish Brad well with this and all of his future endeavors.”

In addition to fulfilling the obligations of executive director, Mr. Yeatts also will maintain oversight for the member services area. Previously, he served the association as director of conventions and commercial services for more than a decade.

“Jerry is well-acquainted with the RV industry and well-versed in the needs of FMCA. His years of experience will be an asset as he leads the association and also works to grow FMCA’s membership base,” Mr. Schrenkel noted.

Heartland RV to debut lightweight toy haulers at National Trade Show

Elkhart, Ind., Nov. 28, 2011 - Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC will introduce its line of lightweight Torque toy haulers at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.

Available in both travel trailer and mid-profile fifth-wheel floorplans, Heartland said Torque will give dealers “an all-new option in the very fast growing toy hauler segment.”

“Torque is like nothing else in the RV industry,” said General Manager AJ Jones in a press release. “When looking at the current trend in toy haulers, most companies are building units that are higher-priced with heavier GVWR’s. That means that most manufacturers are only competing for shelf space in the higher price points. Torque offers a completely new approach, specializing in lightweight, inexpensive toy haulers.”

Heartland said it has emerged as one of the top-selling toy hauler manufacturers this year with its Cyclone/Road Warrior brands, which had increased market share by nearly 22% in the U.S. and 45% in Canada through September, according to Statistical Surveys Inc.

Jones noted, “It is the perfect time to release Torque, with the huge momentum swing that we are having in the toy hauler division. This is a product that will not compromise any of our existing toy hauler sales – it will only supplement what we are already doing with different price points and weights never seen before.”

Initially, Torque will be offered in seven floor plans – three travel trailers and four mid-profile fifth-wheels – ranging in a variety of lengths and sizes. Prospective dealers will be able to see the all-new Torque product at Booth No. 5025 in the West Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) during the Louisville Show.

PHOTO: 2012 Torque Fifth Wheel.

SOURCE: Heartland news release and

Forest River to debut futuristic Aviator travel trailer

Forest River Inc. will introduce its luxury Aviator travel trailer at this week's National RV Trade Show. “When we sat down to design the Aviator over a year and a half ago, we wanted to bring to market a luxury travel trailer that would revolutionize this industry. Low maintenance, customer friendliness and a unique look were the criteria we used in developing this product,” said Kevin McArt, general manager for the new unit.

Features in the Aviator include an aerodynamic front cap with integrated windshield, contoured composite sidewalls and a maintenance-free fiberglass roof. The RV is entirely wood-free. “Not only is the absence of wood material a strong environmental commitment, but the implementation of aluminum and composite materials add higher strength tolerances and are impermeable to moisture,” noted McArt.

Aviator is also the first RV unit in any segment to introduce Smart Technology, a system that uses a Sony tablet computer. “We’ve assembled a system of familiar components that when combined together deliver unparalleled access to information, entertainment and ease-of-use for our customers,” said Cody Schade, regional sales manager for the Aviator.

According to Schade, Mobile Onboard Smart Technology (MOST) allows customers to share a direct service link not only with the dealer network but also with Forest River. It provides a personal, interactive guide including how-to videos and tutorials, troubleshooting, and any question a customer may encounter on set-up, appliances, or other features.

SOURCE: Forest River news release and