Diner Exhibit Opens At Route 66 Museum
The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton, Oklahoma, now offers visitors a peek inside a historic diner, similar to those that lined Route 66 many years ago.
The restored Route 66 Diner, which opened this past May, is not being used as a working restaurant, but it contains original equipment from an eatery that operated from 1956 to 1964 in Shamrock, Texas, called the Porter House Cafe. The silver diner building was built by Valentine Manufacturing Company in Wichita, Kansas. Valentine and other companies sold hundreds of these kits, which came fully equipped and cost approximately $5,000.
Museum volunteers spent a year restoring the floor and ceiling before opening the diner to the public. It still contains the original menu board, stools, counter, grill, vent, sink, refrigerator, ice cream machine, malt machine, and soft drink dispenser.
Museum director Pat Smith said that most of the time the exhibit is open only to groups or by prior arrangement. If visitors wish to go inside for a tour, they may phone the museum in advance or e-mail Ms. Smith at email@example.com.
The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum is located at 2229 W. Gary Blvd. in Clinton and is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. A small admission fee is charged. Phone (580) 323-7866 or visit www.route66.org for more information.
Henderson’s Line-Up Helps Make Christmas Happier For Needy Kids
For the sixth year, Henderson’s Line-Up, Brake & RV, C5009, of Grants Pass, Oregon, is participating in Operation Christmas Child as a Relay Center for the collection of gift-filled shoeboxes to be given to needy children around the world. During the first five years Henderson’s Line-Up collected and delivered more than 3,260 shoeboxes to the cause.
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, which is involved in Christian relief and evangelism ministry. The project encourages companies, organizations, churches, families, and individuals to fill simple shoeboxes with items such as toys, candy, school supplies, and hygiene items.
Last year, more than 6 million children in 125 countries received the shoeboxes during the holiday season. The project’s goal for this year is to collect 7 million gift-filled shoeboxes that will then be distributed to children who face a daily struggle against war, persecution, disease, natural disaster, and poverty. Not only do the children experience the joy of Christmas through the shoebox gifts, but they also are introduced to the Christian ministry through an enclosed storybook, called “The Greatest Gift of All,” published in 52 different languages.
Participants are asked to deliver the gift-filled boxes to the nearest Relay Center. Free brochures, Relay Center locations, and additional information may be obtained by calling (800) 353-5949 or visiting the Samaritan’s Purse Web site at www.samaritanspurse.org. The last day the public may deliver gift boxes to a Relay Center in their area will be Monday, November 24th.
Gold Coast RV Products Acquired By DPI RV Products
Gold Coast C3279, a manufacturer of RV covers, RV masks, awning screen rooms, custom windshield covers, and SunShield reflective products, has been purchased by DPI RV Products of San Clemente, California. Gold Coast will now operate under the name DPI – Gold Coast RV Products and remain at its Oxnard, California, location.
Tom McNamee, who founded Gold Coast RV Products 18 years ago, will stay on with the company as its new products development manager. “I am pleased to turn over the reins to an RV family,” he said. “As the successful owners of DPI RV Products, they know the industry and the importance of quality manufacturing.”
DPI RV Products manufactures RV accessories and replacement parts such as exterior flag holders; vent insulation, covers, and clips; replacement screen door plastic slides; pan and dish protectors; and clips to secure outdoor carpet.
Take Pride In America Focuses On Stewardship, Volunteering
The new executive director of Take Pride in America, Marti Allbright, outlined her plans for the federal government’s recently revitalized stewardship and volunteerism program at a meeting with recreation community leaders. Ms. Allbright was named to the position in late June by Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton.
The original Take Pride in America program was begun during the Reagan Administration and continued until 1993. The program’s relaunch was announced by Secretary Norton in April 2003.
Ms. Allbright emphasized that the country’s public lands, historic sites, and cultural resources belong to the American people, not the government. She noted that the message of Take Pride in America is “This Is Your Land.” Take Pride in America relies on volunteer efforts to protect and improve upon such locations. “We are trying to build public awareness of stewardship messages,” she said, “and then encourage volunteers.” The agency is interested in encouraging people who lack the time for longer-term or full-time volunteer commitments to become involved in short-term events and service projects. She said that Take Pride in America would be recognizing volunteers with special awards based on hours of service over their lifetime.
Coachmen RV Introduces Two New Type C Models
Coachmen RV Company, C328, based in Middlebury, Indiana, has introduced two new entry-level type C motorhomes for 2004: the Freelander and the Concord.
The Freelander, which is built on both Ford and Chevy chassis, is designed for first-timers just entering the RV market, as well as RV veterans looking for an economical type C motorhome filled with features. The model currently is available in five floor plans (several have slideouts), including a 31-foot model with a rear king bed.
Entertainment package options include a DVD-VCR combo; several flat screen TVs; a deluxe AM-FM stereo with cassette, CD player, speakers, wireless headsets, and weather band; and an Omni directional satellite TV antenna.
The Freelander offers plenty of storage space inside and out with numerous overhead cabinets, booth dinette storage, generous wardrobes, and Coachmen’s Stow-n-Go garage storage area in the rear of three floor plans.
The new Concord is called a type “C+” motorhome without the normal front overhead bunk area but featuring a curved, eye-catching design. The surprisingly spacious motorhome was designed to appeal to couples and type A aficionados now looking to travel only part-time.
The Concord is built on the Ford E-45 chassis, with a gross vehicle weight rating of 14,050 pounds. It’s available in 22-foot and 23-foot floor plans, with two 27-foot floor plans coming soon. The three largest floor plans each will include a slideout.
A highlight of the Concord is the 78-inch ceiling height, which makes it possible for most people to stand inside the coach without stooping.
The front entertainment center can accommodate a 24-inch flat screen TV, and extra sleeping space is provided by the 80-inch sofa bed.
A double-door, cedar-lined wardrobe offers plenty of storage. The Concord also features five exterior storage compartments, including the rear Stow-n-Go compartment.
For more information about these new Coachmen motorhomes, call (574) 825-5821 or visit www.coachmenrv.com.
Thor Industries Completes Purchase Of Damon Corp.
Thor Industries Inc., C847, based in Jackson Center, Ohio, recently acquired type A motorhome manufacturer Damon Corporation, C4690, for $46 million. The purchase was made to boost the company’s presence in the type A motorhome market.
Damon Corporation, which is based in Elkhart, Indiana, offers three gasoline-powered models “” the Daybreak, the Challenger, and the Intruder “” and three diesel-pusher models “” the Ultrasport, the Escaper, and the Escaper LX 400.
Thor Industries is the parent company of Airstream; Four Winds International, C7457; and several other RV manufacturing divisions.
Camping World, Alpin Haus Join To Create RV Supercenter
Camping World, C1970, has partnered with Alpin Haus, C3646, in the first phase of an expansion plan to align the company with several prominent RV dealerships during the next two years. The partnership is the first in Camping World’s Gold Medal Dealer Program, which is designed to create all-inclusive, one-stop outlets for RV sales and service.
The grand opening for the new facility, located in Amsterdam, New York, took place June 26 through 29, 2003. The project includes a new 67,000-square-foot facility dedicated to Alpin Haus RV operations, which will include new vehicle sales, RV rentals, and 24 service bays. Camping World will occupy 15,000 square feet of space in the center of the store to showcase its RV accessories and supplies.
In addition to Alpin Haus, Camping World is committed to alliances with Holiday RV in Spartanburg, South Carolina; Tom Stinnett RV in Clarksville, Indiana; and Hart City RV Supercenter in Elkhart, Indiana.
Monaco Coach Corp. Sells Florida Investment Property
Monaco Coach Corporation, C2111, announced that it has sold its undeveloped property in Naples, Florida, resulting in net proceeds that have reduced the company’s debt by approximately $6.5 million. The property was part of Monaco’s acquisition of three Outdoor Resorts of America properties in November 2002. At the time of the acquisition, Monaco had already reached a tentative agreement to sell the Naples property.
The other two properties involved in the acquisition are located in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Indio, California. Development at those resorts has proceeded and together includes 388 completed lots, with 103 already sold.
Final Dodge-Based Roadtrek Built By Home & Park
On June 26, 2003, employees of Home & Park Motorhomes, C3790, based in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, commemorated the completion of the last Roadtrek to be built on a Dodge chassis. The coach subsequently was delivered to American RV, a Roadtrek dealer based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Chairman and owner of Home & Park, Jeff Hanemaayer, said, “The Dodge Ram full-size van has been the mainstay of Home & Park Motorhomes. Since 1974, we have built almost 13,000 Roadtreks on the Dodge van. Although the Dodge Ram has been a very reliable, well-performing van, our production has shifted to two-thirds Chevrolet since introducing our main model line on the newly designed Chevy Express van in 2002. Due to DaimlerChrysler’s decision to stop building the Dodge Ram vans, our output will be 100 percent Chevrolet from this day forward.
“Several weeks ago, I took one of these new Chevy-based Roadtrek models on a tour of the national parks of the western United States and was thoroughly impressed by its driving performance and motorhome features.”
The Roadtrek is said to be the best-selling type B motorhome in North America.
Interstate 95 Book Guides Travelers Along East Coast
Motorhomers who travel the East Coast will find Drive I-95: Exit by Exit Info, Maps, History and Trivia ($22.95, Travelsmart) to be a handy reference for all types of information when driving between Boston, Massachusetts, and the Florida border.
The combination map and guidebook, written by the husband-wife team of Stan Posner and Sandra Phillips-Posner, includes 101 easy-to-follow pictorial maps broken into 30-mile sections. Each map lists gas stations, restaurants, RV centers, campgrounds, and other places of interest to travelers for every exit along the interstate. The book also provides the locations of 24-hour pharmacies and rest stops, areas known for radar speed traps, and even radio station frequencies for numerous large cities along the route “” and the type of music they play.
In addition to travel information, the authors have included tidbits about museums, Americana trivia, products that were invented on or near the road, shopping outlets, artsy towns, kid-friendly towns, and events that happened along I-95.
The book is available at bookstores, from online booksellers, or from the publisher by calling (888) 484-3395 or visiting www.drivei95.com.
On September 30, 2003, the U.S. District Court in San Antonio, Texas, approved a class action settlement that resolved a lawsuit against Fleetwood RV. The lawsuit alleged that Fleetwood should have told motorhome buyers that a supplemental braking system may be needed to stop safely when towing a vehicle or trailer behind the company’s motorhomes.
The settlement involves Fleetwood motorhome owners who purchased a new 1994 to 2000 model year Fleetwood type A or type C motorhome, and who still owned it as of June 25, 2003. Customers who purchased a preowned motorhome are not included in the settlement. According to the settlement terms, Fleetwood will pay owners $250 to be applied toward the purchase of a supplemental braking system, for which proof of purchase will be required. Motorhome owners who choose to accept the settlement are required to send in a claim form to request payment. Claim forms must be postmarked by April 18, 2004. Notice of the settlement has been sent to owners via direct mail.
According to a Fleetwood official, the company has begun processing claims for payment.
For more information about the settlement, call (888) 505-3001 or visit www.brakingclaims.com. The Web site contains detailed information about the class action lawsuit, the settlement agreement, a list of motorhome models that are included, and a downloadable claim form.
Firearm Laws Book Updated For 2003
The Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States has been updated for 2003 and includes information about the gun laws in each state, as well as in Canada and Mexico. The 64-page book was researched and written by attorney J. Scott Kappas. It addresses topics such as concealed carry, glove compartment carry, vehicle carry and transportation (including locations such as front seat storage, and whether the gun should be loaded or unloaded), how to handle a traffic stop, reciprocity, and more.
The book is written in easy-to-understand language and has information about handguns, rifles, shotguns, semiautomatics, and machine guns.
The Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States costs $12.95 including shipping and handling and is available from Travelers’ Guide, P.O. Box 2156, Covington, KY 41012-2156 when paying by check, money order, or credit card. VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express orders also can be taken by phone at (859) 647-5100 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, or at the Web site www.gunlawguide.com
Kwikee Products Purchased By Actuant Corporation
Actuant Corporation recently announced the acquisition of Kwikee Products Company, C990, a manufacturer of actuation and storage systems for the RV industry.
Kwikee, which is headquartered in Cottage Grove, Oregon, employs approximately 115 people at its Oregon and Indiana operations where it manufactures and sells electrically actuated retractable step systems, slideout and leveling systems, and cargo and utility trays to RV manufacturers. According to the announcement, Kwikee’s management team will continue to lead the company, which will operate as part of Actuant’s Engineered Solutions business segment.
Actuant, which is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a diversified industrial company that manufactures motion control systems and branded hydraulic and electrical tools. One of its companies, Power Gear, C6143, also manufactures slideout and leveling systems for the RV industry.
Country Coach Names New President, CEO
National RV Holdings Inc. recently announced the promotion of Jay Howard to president of its Country Coach subsidiary. Mr. Howard has served as the company’s executive vice president since February 2003 and as a consultant previously. He takes over for company founder Bob Lee, who was appointed CEO of Country Coach.
“We’ve set a course for returning the company to profitability and Jay figures prominently into this picture,” said Mr. Lee. “He brings more than 25 years of executive-level manufacturing experience to Country Coach, including a good, solid background in both the retail and wholesale sides of the RV industry. With the rest of our management team, whose company longevity ranges as high as 27 years, I am very confident we will carry on our tradition of providing our dealers and our customers with the world’s finest motor coaches.”
Earlier this year the company introduced an entry-level diesel, the Inspire, which retails in the low $200,000s. Now available in a 36-foot quad slide, the Inspire is part of the company’s plan to enable entry into the Country Coach family at a lower price point, thus broadening the company’s market.
Country Coach is based in Junction City, Oregon, and designs, manufactures, and markets high-line type A diesel motorhomes under the brand names of Inspire, Allure, Intrigue, Magna, Affinity, and Lexa, and bus conversions under the Country Coach brand.
Dometic Acquires Taylor Made Environmental
Dometic Corporation, C306 “” a manufacturer of refrigerators, air conditioners, generators, windows and doors, stove tops, lights, sanitation systems, and awning products for the RV and pleasure boat industry “” recently acquired Taylor Made Environmental Inc, C1230, one of several companies that make up the Taylor Made Group.
Taylor Made Environmental manufactures air conditioners, refrigerators, and battery charging systems, including brands such as Cruisair, Tundra, and Sentry, for the RV and marine industry. The company, which employs approximately 290 workers, has manufacturing facilities in Virginia, Florida, and Italy, and has a sales and service office in the United Kingdom. The company will be integrated into Dometic’s Recreation Vehicle and Pleasure Boat Systems business unit.
This is Dometic’s third significant acquisition since the company separated from Electrolux in January 2002. In January 2002 it acquired SeaLand, maker of sanitation systems. In January 2003 Dometic purchased MIKO, a German manufacturer of RV lighting.
WebRangers Internet Site Brings National Parks To Junior Rangers
The National Park Service (NPS) has created a Web site in conjunction with its Junior Rangers program to encourage youngsters to become interested in the nation’s parks. The new WebRangers Internet site takes the Junior Rangers program into the world of high tech.
Young people from three different age groups “” 6 to 9, 10 to 12, and 13 and older “” are presented with age-appropriate and challenging activities to broaden their interests in park stewardship and history, and to give them a sense of “citizen ownership” in the park system. After the completion of each activity, users are given a secret word that they later can use to download a printable WebRangers certificate.
The Web site, which was developed by a team of NPS park rangers and made its debut in April 2003, also includes sections for kids and parents on how to use the Internet safely.
The WebRangers program is located at www.nps.gov/webrangers.
“” Russ & Tiña De Maris
South Dakota Bound? New Campgrounds Await
If you’re planning a trip along the Missouri River in South Dakota anytime soon, the South Dakota State Park System encourages RVers to visit one of its parks that are either new or have undergone significant improvements during the past year.
At the north end of the state, the West Pollock Recreation Area now sports a campground with 29 electrical sites for RVs, a modern comfort station, a fish cleaning station, and a dump station. At the state’s south end, visitors to Pease Creek Recreation Area (11 miles east of Lake Andes) now will be able to pull their motorhomes into 24 electrically equipped sites and take showers in its modernized comfort station. And if too many guests make for tight quarters in your motorhome, put them up in one of the new camping cabins at either Oahe Downstream State Park near the capital city of Pierre, or at North Point Recreation Area or Randall Creek Recreation Area, both near Pickstown.
For more information about South Dakota state parks, visit www.sdgfp.info/parks, or call (605) 773-3391.
“” Russ & Tiña De Maris