California RV Resort Continues To Grow
Desert Shores Motor Coach Resort, C9627 “” an exclusive 64-acre gated community of 141 waterfront sites in the Palm Springs Desert Resorts area of Southern California “” reported a successful 2003 summer construction period.
Desert Shores developer Bob Lee, founder of Country Coach Inc., said, “We have been in the construction season for the past several months and will complete 24 custom casitas by mid-October, which will be in addition to 42 completed and sold lots. Our goal is to have half of the total sites completed this year.”
A “casita,” or “little house,” includes 750 square feet. It can be a three-car garage with a complete bath, or serve as additional living space with roll-up doors that open to a patio. Some people prefer a combination of the two in their dedicated indoor space. Each casita is designed to be a natural extension of the living and entertaining space of the motor coach. “The idea was not to replace the outdoor lifestyle with the addition of our casitas, but to enhance it.” Mr. Lee said. “According to our buyers’ feedback, we have successfully accomplished that goal.”
Mr. Lee also announced the addition of 34-year RV industry veteran Rod Paulson to the management team as president of Desert Shores. Mr. Paulson replaced Jay Howard in day-to-day management of resort operations, sales, and grounds development when Mr. Howard accepted a position with Country Coach Inc.
The resort offers a lushly landscaped tropical setting with waterfalls and 22 acres of lakes. A pair of black swans are the newest, and by far the most popular, resort residents. Each lot averages 60 feet by 120 feet and includes a custom-finished casita/garage arrangement and lakefront property with a spectacular view.
Staff designers work with site owners to personalize their casita. This process includes spatial planning as well as interior finishes. Each site is landscaped to suit its owner, incorporating outdoor living features such as swimming pools, spas, California kitchens, and other items.
Community amenities at Desert Shores Motor Coach Resort include a 5,300-square-foot clubhouse that features a dance floor, a stage, a bar, a fully appointed kitchen, and an 11-foot-by-11-foot big screen projection television. A tennis court, a spa, a fitness center, an “infinity edge” swimming pool, and a 16-hole putting course, as well as lakes fully stocked with catfish and bass, also are available. Desert Shores is surrounded by world-class golf and tennis; dining; shopping; and outdoor recreation opportunities such as hiking, rock climbing, trail riding, hot-air ballooning, and more.
The resort’s newest lot plans include the construction of “carriage houses,” which total 1,680 square feet and include a full-height motorhome garage built in conjunction with the casitas.
A DVD describing the resort is available by calling Barbara Gilfoy at (760) 775-9808; or, visit www.desertshoresresort.com.
Coleman Web Site Aids In Travel Planning
The Coleman Company, a manufacturer and distributor of camping accessories, is now offering comprehensive outdoor travel and activity planning on its “Outernet” Web site, www.coleman.com/outernet.
The Coleman Outernet includes information about more than 16,000 public and private campground locations throughout the United States. For added convenience, many of the campsites can be reserved online. Nearly 10,000 sites are at private RV parks; 4,400 at national forests; 1,000 at state parks; 400 at national parks; and 350 at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes. Campground listings include rates, descriptions, features, available activities, special events, and wildlife guides. The campground database continues to grow, thanks to a network of more than 500 field experts who contribute local information and updates.
The “Great Outdoor Experiences” section of the Outernet allows visitors to search for guides, outfitters, RV rental companies, and other outdoor recreation providers.
The site’s “Find Places” function enables visitors to find attractions by entering a keyword location and requesting a search within a specified radius. Advanced searches can provide users with information about locations that most appeal to them, based on various options such as the type of camping they want to do or the activities that they enjoy.
Anyone visiting the Coleman Outernet can search for locations and find basic location information, but to take advantage of the site’s full content, visitors will need to register. Registering, which can be done at no charge, allows visitors to create their own travel profile and maintain a list of locations and commercial experience providers that can be used as a reference for trip planning.
Fleetwood Introduces New Liberty Chassis
Fleetwood RV, C985, has announced that its new Liberty chassis will become the standard platform for all 2004 motorhomes in its American Coach line. Employing bridge-type construction, the Liberty chassis provides the torsional strength needed to accommodate the weight and wall penetrations required for the two-, three-, and four-slideout models offered on American Tradition and American Eagle luxury motorhomes for 2004.
The Liberty chassis is available with state-of-the-art active-ride control. Using laser devices (one at each corner of the coach) that sense road irregularities at a rate of up to 400 times per second, the computer-managed hydraulic actuator ride adjustment system reportedly provides a smooth ride for those inside. Four large air springs make up the air-ride suspension on all 38-foot and 40-foot coaches, and six air springs are used on all 42-foot tag-axle units. Shock absorbers typically have a response range of up to 300 pounds, but each hydraulic actuator in this system has a real-time adjustment capability of between 300 pounds and 2,700 pounds. The Liberty chassis also includes independent front suspension as standard equipment.
The chassis is available with three different Cummins turbocharged diesel engines “” the 370-horsepower ISL, the 400-horsepower ISL, and the 500-horsepower ISM “” mated to either an Allison 3000MH or 4000MH six-speed automatic transmission. All 2004 American Eagle and American Tradition models have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 34,200 pounds, except for the 42-foot American Eagle models, which have a tag axle that boosts their GVWR to 44,200 pounds.
The Liberty chassis yields up to 125 cubic feet of exterior cargo storage space. Its fully insulated aluminum exterior bay doors feature new two-position pneumatic struts that allow the doors to be fully or partially articulated to accommodate the slideouts in either the extended or retracted position.
The bridge portion of the chassis is created with welded tubular steel members, while a process called huck bolting is used to attach the front rails and rear rails to the bridge. Huck bolting, which also is used in building railroad cars, ships, and long-haul trucks, is said to protect the integrity of the chassis from being affected by low-frequency vibrations.
For more information, contact Fleetwood Enterprises at (800) 322-8216 or visit www.fleetwood.com.
Glacier National Park Open Despite Summer Wildfires
Although wildfires at Glacier National Park were highly publicized this past summer, park officials stressed that camping remained available on the west and east sides of the park, with opportunities for hiking, fishing, boating, bicycling, and viewing wildlife.
In this part of western Montana, wildfires are a natural part of the forest’s life cycle. Only a small percentage of the park’s 1.2 million acres burned, many of those in the backcountry. Those who visit the park after the fires have the opportunity to see firsthand how this element works within the ecosystem as it replenishes and regenerates the land.
The entire 50-mile-long Going-to-the-Sun Road remained open after the wildfires, with a “No Stopping” zone from Avalanche to Bird Woman Falls Overlook (3.5 miles east of the Loop). The road can accommodate motorhomes less than 21 feet in length.
An engineering masterpiece, the 50-mile road scales the heights of the Continental Divide. Visitors may also hop aboard an antique red “jammer” bus, one of a fleet of vintage 1930s sedans with canvas roll-back tops that provide one of Glacier Country’s most memorable rides.
Glacier National Park stays open year-round, although winter weather may close some roads. Going-to-the-Sun Road will close for the season on October 20 this year, unless it’s closed earlier because of snow. It typically reopens sometime during the first two weeks of June. Primitive camping is available throughout the winter at certain locations.
For more information, contact Glacier National Park, P.O. Box 128, West Glacier, MT 59936; (406) 888-7800; www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm. For a complete list of campgrounds and RV parks throughout western Montana, visit http://glacier.visitmt.com.
OnStar Helps Police Recover Stolen Motorhome
A $350,000 American Eagle motorhome stolen in Florida was recovered by police in Palos Park, Illinois, with assistance from the RV’s OnStar in-vehicle safety and security system. This was the first instance of a stolen motorhome being found using the OnStar system since motorhome manufacturers began offering it in their vehicles earlier this year.
The American Eagle was recovered on March 24, several days after the owner discovered it was stolen and notified police. Using OnStar’s global positioning system and wireless technology, police were able to track the location of the motorhome to a personal residence. The vehicle was returned to its owner in good condition.
“We’re not surprised that OnStar performed as designed and was a major factor in the recovery of the stolen RV and protected the owner’s investment,” said OnStar president Chet Huber. “OnStar is a natural fit for the RV industry to provide road travelers with route support, travel connections, emergency assistance, and hands-free, voice-activated calling, and now we’ve demonstrated another great OnStar benefit for the RV market.”
OnStar has been used by law enforcement agencies for more than 10,000 stolen vehicle location requests. There are more than 2 million OnStar subscribers on the road today.
Motorhome manufacturers that have or will include the OnStar system in their vehicles include Fleetwood, Monaco, and Newmar.
New Ownership For Hilton Head Outdoor Resorts Facility
The members of the owners association at Outdoor Resorts Motorcoach Resort in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, announced this past February that they had purchased the facility. The resort’s developer, Outdoor Resorts of America, had owned and operated the resort for 25 years. As part of the purchase agreement, the owners association will continue to operate as a member of the Outdoor Resorts of America group of premier resorts.
The sale includes the rental and sales operation, building, and land. The resort is located on Hilton Head Island and includes 401 paved, landscaped sites. The luxury sites have full hookups with 30- and 50-amp service and cable TV; many have phone hookups also. A swimming pool, a hot tub, tennis courts, and other amenities and activities are available. The new owners are offering their sites for rent to motorhome owners for individual stays or for rallies.
This is the fourth ORA-developed facility to have been purchased by an owners association. The three other facilities “” in Melbourne Beach, Florida; Chokoloskee Island, Florida; and Indio, California (the Motor Coach Resort and Health Spa) “” also continue to offer site rentals to motorhome owners under the ORA banner. According to Ron Petty, ORA president and chief operating officer, many years after developing a location, ORA often finds it more economically feasible to sell its developed facilities as RVers purchase sites and the number of available rental sites shrink.
For more information about the Hilton Head facility, contact the rental office at (843) 785-7699 or visit www.hiltonheadmotorcoachresort.com.
Recreation Area Access Criticized By Congressman
U.S. Representative Richard Pombo, chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Resources, criticized several of the country’s resource-related laws and policies during remarks at the American Recreation Coalition’s June Recreation Exchange. Mr. Pombo faulted legislation that had been passed by the Congress to protect land areas and endangered species for its significant social costs. He also criticized the federal land management agencies for their fee programs and funding priorities.
Mr. Pombo became chairman of the Resources Committee in January 2003 and said that over the past 30 years, an increasing amount of public land has been closed to an increasing number of people. He cited the California Desert Protection Act of 1994 as an example, noting that people who previously visited the desert could no longer do so because they now were unable to carry the water they would need. Mr. Pombo also called for a review of the impact of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, emphasizing the need to identify a more successful way to recover species. He faulted the law for trying to pretend that man is not part of the environment.
Regarding recreation fees, Mr. Pombo expressed support for using fee revenues where they are collected and for authorizing multiple-year fee programs. However, he said the National Park Service was the only federal land management agency that had “proven success” in imposing fees. He called for Congress to be involved in the design of fee structures to ensure that the public’s concerns about fees were properly addressed.