Hit The Road With Florida’s “Worth The Drive” Tours
VISIT FLORIDA, the official tourism marketing corporation for the state of Florida, has published the newly revised Worth the Drive guidebook, containing 17 self-guided driving tours of the state.
The tours are designed to take travelers off the beaten path and help them discover some of Florida’s best-kept secrets. They meander through undiscovered Florida, from American Indian sites and pristine natural areas to historic restaurants and cultural attractions.
The tours are categorized as Theme Tours; Road Tours; and City Tours with day trips to surrounding areas. Each tour highlights locations that can be visited throughout different regions of the state, all in just a few days.
New Theme Tours included in the book are the African American Heritage Trail; the Birding Trail; the Cuban Heritage Trail; and the Lighthouse Trail.
The Road Tours are designed to move travelers around the state without using the interstates.
The City Tours use a new hub-and-spoke approach to provide travelers with an opportunity to experience the history, nature, and culture of a particular city and its surrounding areas. The “hub” cities include Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola, Tallahassee, and Tampa.
Worth the Drive tours were developed in 1998 as a series of individual brochures and were compiled into a guidebook in 1999. This is the first revision to the book, and it contains all new tours.
Travelers can receive a free copy of Worth the Drive by calling (888) 735-2872 or by visiting one of five Official Florida Welcome Centers, located on Interstate 10, U.S. 231, Interstate 75, Interstate 95, and in the state capitol. The guidebook also can be ordered online and individual tours can be downloaded from www.flausa.com/interests/tours/.
Rest Areas Guide Improved And Expanded
The 2003 edition of Rest Areas & Welcome Centers ($9.95, Roundabout Publications) by William C. Herow, is a compilation of rest areas, welcome centers, discount stores, and other stopping spots along the U.S. interstate system. This revised and updated version also includes a new section with listings for travel centers.
The rest stop and welcome center listings include the amenities found at each stop, such as phones, vending machines, RV dump stations, and pet walk areas. In addition, the book includes rest area usage rules; phone numbers for road conditions and emergencies; state tourism contacts; and clear channel radio stations.
The 192-page book can be purchased by sending your name, address, and $9.95 to Roundabout Publications, P.O. Box 19235, Lenexa, KS 66285; by calling (800) 455-2207; or online at www.travelbooksusa.com.
Monaco Coach Corporation Purchases Resort Properties
Monaco Coach Corporation, C2111, has purchased three luxury motor coach resort properties that were being developed by Outdoor Resorts of America, C402. The properties are located in Las Vegas, Nevada; Indio, California; and Naples, Florida. Monaco had previously loaned Outdoor Resorts $8 million on the three projects and co-guaranteed $10 million in bank debt on the Las Vegas project.
Monaco has a tentative agreement to sell the Florida property, which is currently undeveloped, for approximately $7 million. According to Monaco President John Nepute, the Las Vegas and Indio projects have both completed phase one of lot development. “We firmly believe in the need for these upscale resorts,” he said. Under a new management agreement with Monaco, Outdoor Resorts will focus on lot sales at both locations.
New Texas State Park Program Provides Benefits To RV Groups
RV groups can receive a special deal on overnight stays at select Texas state parks thanks to a new promotional program unveiled recently by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The “Great Texas State RV Package” targets RV groups that plan to stay Sunday evenings through Friday mornings at participating state parks and is offered during off-peak time periods, which vary throughout the state. The offer does not apply to individual RV users.
The package features a special price per RV per day and includes entrance, campsite, and facility use fees and a park-provided special program. RV groups can make reservations up to 11 months in advance.
“The RV program recognizes important state park constituent groups by providing quality camping experiences in some of our finest state parks during off-peak periods when our facilities are often underutilized,” said state parks director Walt Dabney. “It also will encourage our RV groups to discover the natural beauty of our wide-open spaces, explore the rich history and diverse cultures of Texas, and provide an opportunity for RV groups to relax with family and friends in a safe and scenic environment.”
Mr. Dabney said group members also will benefit from being accommodated in the same part of the park campground or near a group facility, and from special programs presented on natural and cultural history.
RV groups can make reservations by calling the Group Reservation Desk at (512) 389-8900 and requesting dates for the scheduled visit. A small deposit will hold the group camping facility at the park. To learn more about the parks participating in the RV group camping program, visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/rvgroup. Or send an e-mail message to [email protected] to request a copy of the RV group brochure and a free park information guide. The RV group brochure also can be downloaded from the Web site.
Winnebago Industries Announces Executive Appointments
On January 31, Winnebago Industries Inc., C93, announced two key executive appointments.
Ed Barker, who had served as vice president, CFO for the company since 1989, was elected to the newly created position of senior vice president, CFO by the company’s board of directors. In his expanded capacity, Mr. Barker will broaden his involvement to all aspects of operations, while continuing to oversee the company’s financial and purchasing operations.
Mr. Barker joined Winnebago Industries in 1969 and has served in finance supervisory and management positions since 1973. He is a graduate of Gates Business College in Waterloo, Iowa, with a major in executive accounting.
Roger Martin was named to the position of vice president sales and marketing. In this position, he will be responsible for all areas of sales, marketing, distribution, service, and parts. He replaces Jim Jaskoviak who resigned from the position effective January 10.
Mr. Martin joined Winnebago Industries as director of marketing in 1994, overseeing the company’s marketing, advertising, public relations, owners club, and show/event activities. Prior to joining Winnebago Industries, he worked in a variety of sales and marketing capacities with Carlson Marketing Group/Carlson Companies in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Steiger Tractor Inc., in Fargo, North Dakota. Mr. Martin is a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, with a bachelor’s degree in communications.
RV Shipments Forecast To Reach 25-Year High In 2003
Factory-to-dealer deliveries of recreation vehicles are expected to reach their highest levels in 25 years as baby boomers continue to drive up sales, according to newly released forecasts for 2003 published by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). The basis for this finding comes from research conducted by Dr. Richard Curtin, director, surveys of consumers, of the University of Michigan Survey Research Center. He predicts that RV wholesale shipments this year will rise to 323,000 units — topping the most recent peak of 321,000 units shipped in 1999, which would make 2003 the best year since 1978.
Market data compiled by RVIA shows that approximately 20 percent more RVs rolled out of manufacturing plants in 2002 compared with 2001. Another 5 percent gain in RV wholesale shipments is predicted for 2003, according to Dr. Curtin, who produces the Index of Consumer Sentiment released monthly to business clients and the media.
“Strong RV sales have directly benefited from low interest rates and indirectly benefited from the extra money generated from mortgage refinancing,” explained Dr. Curtin, who also provides quarterly market forecasts for the RV industry.
During November 2002, total RV shipments jumped 32 percent compared to November 2001, according to RVIA figures, indicating continued consumer demand.
“Helping drive RV sales are the vast baby boomer market and the surging popularity of driving vacations in the United States,” said RVIA president David J. Humphreys. “Families want to escape to America’s outdoors in these uncertain times, spend quality time together, and avoid hassles associated with flying — all long-term trends likely to sustain continued RV market growth.”
RVIA is the national association representing nearly 500 manufacturers and component suppliers that produce approximately 98 percent of all RVs made in the United States.
Barbecue Guru Gets Lift From Georgie Boy
Barbecue connoisseur Rick Browne, co-author of The Barbecue America Cookbook ($19.95, The Lyons Press), is on a mission to find the best barbecue in the United States, and Georgie Boy Manufacturing, C1344, a division of Coachmen Industries, is helping out.
Mr. Browne is making his nationwide search for barbecuing excellence in a specially painted 35-foot 2003-model Georgie Boy Landau motorhome, in which Mr. Browne can relax after a hard day of eating.
“Georgie Boy has afforded me the chance to live a dream,” said Mr. Browne, who is easy to spot in his signature red-and-white tablecloth shirt. “They made it not only possible, but also exceedingly comfortable.”
During the tour, Mr. Browne is hosting a 13-part PBS series titled Barbecue America, which is slated to air this spring. The show will highlight the festivals, restaurants, and people that make the barbecuing subculture unique.