New Book Covers National Park Camping
National Park Service Camping Guide ($12.95, Roundabout Publications), by William C. Herow, provides information for all 118 National Park Service areas that offer camping. The 256-page book lists more than 400 campgrounds throughout the United States.
Information included in the book is presented in a straightforward, easy-to-use format. The guide details a campground’s name and location; season of operation; number of RV and tent sites; number of sites with hookups; RV length limits; camping fees; and campsite reservation information. The book also includes a list of amenities for each campground, such as the availability of drinking water, picnic tables, rest rooms, showers, pay phones, dump stations, and laundry facilities.
The book is divided by state, with each National Park Service area listed and clearly numbered on a map. Contact information is included for each area, as well as a brief park summary, entrance fees, and visitors center locations.
The book is available through online booksellers, from Camping World, or direct from the publisher by calling (800) 455-2207 or visiting www.travelbooksusa.com.
Jeep Introducing The 2003 Wrangler Rubicon
Jeep vehicles, in their various forms, are a favorite towed vehicle choice for motorhome owners. And while the 2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon may look exactly like the 2002 Wrangler, under its skin is a whole new animal.
The Rubicon model currently is available with a five-speed manual transmission or an automatic transmission. Also included in the Rubicon package are front and rear pneumatic axle locks (differentials that can be locked up at the touch of a button to provide real four-wheel drive); lower differential gear ratios (higher numerically); 4:1 low-range ratio in the transfer case; side body armor (to protect the body from rocks, trees, etc.); and Goodyear Wrangler MT/R tires. In addition to all these mechanical features, DaimlerChrysler is offering a full warranty package.
The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon model is not for everyone. But avid hunters, fishing fanatics, bird-watchers, and other off-road enthusiasts will enjoy its four-wheeling capabilities. It’s fully towable (both manual and automatic) and relatively light at approximately 3,700 pounds. Prices for this vehicle were not available at press time. Production of the Rubicon model was to begin this summer, and the vehicles should be at dealerships this fall. DaimlerChrysler plans to manufacture only 8,000 of these rugged beauties for the 2003 model year.
— Jim Brightly, Technical Editor
RVIA Spokespersons Tout Travel Freedom
A trio of Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) media tours have made their way around the United States so far in 2002, showcasing the many advantages of RV travel.
Veteran spokesperson David Woodworth is back on the road with “The National RV History Tour,” scheduled to appear in 30 cities by the end of summer. Mr. Woodworth, owner of the largest collection of antique RVs in existence, will travel across the country in a Holiday Rambler Endeavor — selected through a member lottery — with his 1937 art-deco-style Hunt HouseCar in tow. The RV historian and travel expert has a long track record of successfully conveying the message that RV travel has an ageless appeal.
Travel cinematographer and lecturer John Holod will finish his “RVing To Extremes” tour this summer. During his many stops on tour, Mr. Holod has elaborated on how RV travel is ideal for trips to remote destinations such as Alaska and the Baja peninsula, two locations where he’s shot footage for his films.
Brad and Amy Herzog recently completed their coast-to-coast “Baby Makes Three in an RV” tour, their third as spokespersons for RVIA. The couple and their toddler son, Luke, made the trip in a Winnebago Adventurer motorhome to convey how easy, cost-efficient, and comfortable RV travel can be for families.
RVIA Honors Industry Leaders
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) honored several industry leaders during its 2001 awards ceremony, March 9, 2002, at the association’s annual membership meeting in Orlando, Florida. These awards recognized outstanding contributions to the recreation vehicle industry and RVIA.
The Distinguished Service to the RV Industry Award — RVIA’s highest honor — was given to Virgil Miller, chairman of Newmar Corporation, for his exceptional service over a long period of time.
RVIA’s Special Award, presented annually to an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the industry’s overall success, was given to Bob Tiffin, president of Tiffin Motor Homes, as a result of his exemplary attention to customer satisfaction.
Other awards presented at the ceremony included the National Scholastic Award to Jim Carr of Lake City Community College in Florida; the Distinguished Achievement in RV Standards Award to Don Mockford of the Canadian RV Association; the National Legislative Award to Peter Rogoff of the United States Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee; and the National Education Service Award to Rick Horsey of Parkview RV Center.
RVIA is the national association representing nearly 500 manufacturers and component suppliers producing approximately 98 percent of all RVs made in the United States.
American Carriage Building New Production Facility
Earlier this year, American Carriage Inc., C7791, a custom coach conversion company, broke ground for a new production facility in Tehachapi, California. When completed this fall, the new 28,000-square-foot facility will house the company’s growing custom motor coach manufacturing operation. The building will accommodate up to six coaches on the floor at any time — a 300 percent increase from the company’s current location — and also will include greatly enhanced office space and conference rooms.
Construction began on February 12, 2002, when American Carriage owners Mark and Jocelyn Fechner were joined by officials from Kern County and the city of Tehachapi, local business owners, and American Carriage employees for the official groundbreaking ceremony. The Fechners expect to move the company into the new facility by the end of September 2002. It is located on Goodrick Road in Tehachapi, visible and easily accessible from California State Route 58.
Survey Says RVers Plan To Travel More This Summer
According to the “Campfire Canvass,” a biannual survey of RV owners by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), 75 percent of RV owners expected to travel more this summer than they did last year. The survey, conducted by Robert Hitlin Research Associates of Reston, Virginia, indicated that just 1 percent of those asked planned to travel less this year than they did last summer.
Ninety percent of those surveyed said that the freedom, flexibility, and control they have with RV travel is now more important to them than ever, especially in contrast to the long lines and luggage restrictions in airports. In addition, RV rentals from the nation’s two largest rental companies — Cruise America and El Monte RV — are up more than a third from last year.
The survey also revealed a greater sense of patriotism among RVers this year. Fifty-two percent of RV owners surveyed expect to visit historic sites around the United States; 77 percent plan to visit a national park; and 72 percent say they will display the American flag either on their RV or at their campsite. “Clearly, we’re in store for a ‘See America’ summer,” said Linda Profaizer, president of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. “Families want to reconnect with our country, and RVs give them a safe, secure, and intimate camping environment.” She noted that campground reservations are 12 to 15 percent higher than last year, and many bookings are being made by people who have never traveled by RV.
Making RVing Possible For Anyone
Private Motor Coach Inc., C8341, based in Whitehouse, Texas, offers those who do not own a motorhome the opportunity to entertain clients, take day trips, or vacation anywhere aboard a chauffeur-driven MCI bus conversion. The motor coach can accommodate 8 to 10 people for a day trip and 2 to 4 people for overnight trips that can last as long as the traveler desires.
Company founder and president Ed Lonsbary will schedule vacation trips throughout the United States and Canada, Mexico, and even Central and South America. The bus also can be used for trips to NASCAR and other sporting events; family trips; golf outings; weddings; and other activities. The coach is driven to the customer’s location, wherever that may be. Pets are permitted also.
The MCI bus conversion features numerous amenities, including a queen-size bed, large private bathroom and shower, stereo, TV, VCR, and cell phone — and even an optional towed vehicle if necessary.
Private Motor Coach Inc. also provides travel opportunities for those with disabilities who want to vacation and see North America by motorhome. Special arrangements can be made to accommodate those individuals to make their trip enjoyable.
For more information, call (800) 936-5265 or visit www.privatemotorcoach.com.
Spartan Motors Names New Chassis Division President, Produces New “Intelligent” Suspension System
In late February 2002 Spartan Motors Inc., C3322, announced that Richard Schalter has been appointed president of Spartan Motors Chassis, the company’s largest subsidiary. The appointment became effective in March 2002. Mr. Schalter, 48, has been with Spartan Motors Inc. since 1996, serving as secretary, treasurer, and, most recently, chief financial officer and executive vice president. He will retain the title of executive vice president for the parent company.
Mr. Schalter fills a position previously held by John Sztykiel, who became president and chief operating officer of Spartan Motors Inc. in June 2002.
The Charlotte, Michigan-based company also has begun production of motorhome chassis that incorporate its new intelligent suspension system (ISS) for the 2003 model year. This real-time electronic system is designed to continually adjust to the configuration of the road using a combination of hydraulics, electronic sensors, and computer controls. The ISS “reads” the condition of the road and responds to control vehicle roll, pitch, and stability. The system reportedly eliminates vehicle sway by applying the precise amount of force between the motorhome’s chassis and the suspension system to keep it level through turns and lane changes and on windy days. It also eliminates forward pitch when the brakes are applied quickly.
Fleetwood Enterprises recently began using Spartan ISS-equipped chassis for some of its 2003 American Eagle motorhomes.
“The ISS is replacing ride-control technology that hasn’t changed in decades,” Mr. Sztykiel said. He said that in the future, Spartan Motors intends to use the ISS technology in all product lines, including its emergency vehicles.
Allison Transmission Extends Drain Intervals For TranSynd Fluid
Allison Transmission, C4454, manufacturer of automatic transmissions for recreation vehicles, trucks, buses, and off-road and military vehicles, has extended the drain intervals for TranSynd synthetic automatic transmission fluid (ATF). This ATF was specially formulated by Castrol Heavy Duty Lubricants Inc. for use in heavy-duty Allison automatic transmissions. The company also has begun using TranSynd as the “factory fill” ATF for its World Transmission (WT) product line.
The new drain intervals for TranSynd have been set at 75,000 miles for severe-duty applications and 150,000 miles for general-duty use. Previously the fluid was rated for 50,000 miles severe duty and 100,000 miles general duty. Company officials say the decision to extend the drain intervals was made after more than three years of testing the product in a broad range of applications in which TranSynd performed successfully.
“Today’s transmissions operate at higher temperatures and in far more demanding conditions than in the past,” said Mitch Murray, manager of tactical marketing at Allison. “TranSynd offers significantly longer oil drain intervals compared with other automatic transmission fluids.”
As part of the drain interval extension, Allison also has begun using Gold Series oil filters on all its WT products. Company officials note that these filters offer increased filtration capacity that also plays a key role in extending TranSynd drain intervals by up to 50 percent.
For more information about Allison Transmission maintenance and TranSynd ATF, visit the company’s Web site at www.allisontransmission.com or contact your Allison distributor/dealer.
Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts System Honors Its Best Of 2001
During its recent annual convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort system recognized 10 of its franchises for excellence in management, operations, and performance in 2001.
The Jellystone Park system, which includes more than 70 independently owned and operated facilities throughout North America, is the second-largest campground operation in the United States. The camping resorts are franchised through Leisure Systems Inc., C3439.
Awards at the convention included:
- “Camp-Resort of the Year,” the system’s highest honor, recognizing overall excellence in management, operations, appearance, and performance, was awarded to Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Camp-Resort in Luray, Virginia.
- The “Entrepreneur of the Year” award, recognizing solid growth performance during the year, was given to two New York parks: Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Camp-Resort at Crystal Lake, near Cooperstown, and Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Camp-Resort at Paradise Pines in North Hudson.
- The franchise’s “Facility of the Year” award, acknowledging a campground’s sustained improvements to its facilities and management, was given to Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Parks in Missoula, Montana, and in Warrens, Wisconsin.
- Two Jellystone Park owners — Tim and Trudi Gordon, who own the six-acre Great Smoky Jellystone Camp-Resort in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Maurice and Me-Me LeBlanc, owners of the Jellystone Park in Robert, Louisiana — received the “Operator of the Year” award for management excellence.
- The “Carroll Award” for achieving the highest annual inspection rating of all Jellystone facilities was given to the Jellystone Camping-Resort in Grand Haven, Michigan.
- The Jellystone Park Camp-Resort near Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada, received the franchise system’s “Maple Leaf” award, presented each year to a Canadian campground for its overall excellence.
- The “Jim Webb Spirit” award, which goes to a franchise facility that consistently maintains outstanding customer service and high quality, was given to the Jellystone Park Camp-Resort near Hagerstown, Maryland.
To learn more about Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort system or individual parks within the system, call (800) 558-2954 or visit www.campjellystone.com.
Study Indicates Participation Increases For Most Recreational Activities
A national survey conducted by Roper Starch Worldwide for the Recreational Roundtable, an arm of the American Recreation Coalition, revealed an increase in outdoor recreation participation by adults in the United States during 2001. This was the eighth survey in an annual series that measures the public’s satisfaction with recreation experiences and explores why it participates.
The survey, titled “Outdoor Recreation In America 2001,” questioned 2,000 participants, and showed that in 20 of the 37 tracked activities, the percentage of Americans participating increased during the 12-month period. The sharpest reported climbs occurred in wildlife viewing (up 4 points); and hiking, running/jogging, and motor boating (each up 3 points).
The study also provided information about respondents’ attitudes concerning fee increases at federally managed recreation sites; activity preferences among men and women, and among different age groups; income levels of groups and their preferred activities; and the public’s perception of the recreation community.
During the seven years that the survey has been conducted, the most popular recreational activities have remained nearly constant. In 2001, top activities included walking for fitness (57 percent); driving for pleasure (41 percent); swimming (39 percent); picnicking (36 percent); fishing (26 percent); and bicycling (23 percent).
Survey Of Professional Drivers Reveals Bests, Favorites
Ever wondered where you might find the most scenic stretch of highway in the United States? Which state has the best rest stops? Or which antacid gets rid of heartburn the quickest? These and other questions were posed by Atlas Van Lines to 330 of its company drivers for the “Mostly Scientific & Nearly Indispensable 2002 Survey of Driver Tendencies.”
“The majority of our drivers are not regional movers — they crisscross the country doing household goods or specialized moves, so they see and experience a lot of our country,” said Greg Hoover, vice president of Atlas Van Lines. “That’s why we thought it would be interesting to capture a cross section of their road experience.”
Although some of the questions were specific to truck driving, others applied to anyone traveling on the country’s highways, including those in motorhomes. For instance, the top pick for the most scenic stretch of highway was Interstate 70 in Colorado, followed closely by Highway 101 in California and Interstate 90 in Montana. The safest highway was deemed to be Interstate 10 in Texas. And Florida easily won the title as the state with the best rest stops.
The survey also asked truck drivers to list their favorite antacid (Tums); fast food (Wendy’s); radio station format (classic ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s rock); and coffee (with sugar and cream).
Bill Plemmons RV World Expands
Bill Plemmons RV World, C5878, located in Rural Hall, North Carolina (near Winston-Salem), recently purchased four acres of property adjacent to its existing facility with plans to upgrade and expand its sales and service operation.
Company owner Jeff Plemmons said the improvements will include the addition of two new service bays; a new paint booth; additional customer parking; a new roof for the main building; new paint; repaving of all lots; and an enlarged front entrance. When completed, the expanded property will total approximately 17 acres. The renovation is expected to take two to six months.