Damon Unveils All-New Astoria And Tuscany Diesel Pushers
Damon Motor Coach, C4690, based in Elkhart, Indiana, has unveiled its all-new 2005 Astoria and Tuscany diesel pushers.
According to Dave Miller, Damon vice president of diesel sales and product development, the production of the Astoria and Tuscany are the result of Damon’s return to the “Value by Design” philosophy, a longtime theme for the company.
The 2005 Astoria features the ultimate option package “” the Waldorf Edition “” an upgrade that bundles numerous popular options in one package. Included in the Astoria Waldorf Edition are full-body paint, an upgraded furniture package, a home theater system with surround-sound stereo, and ceramic tile in the entry and kitchen/bath areas.
The Astoria also features a Freightliner XC raised-rail chassis, a 300-horsepower Cummins engine, full air brakes, a 100-gallon fuel tank, and up to two slideouts. It is available in four models that range in length from 35 feet 3 inches to 39 feet 5 inches, and all can sleep four. In addition, the Generac 7.5-kilowatt Quietpact generator comes standard, as does the deluxe paint package.
The all-new 2005 Tuscany offers standard features such as a home theater system; Corian countertops in the kitchen, bath, and bedroom; and ceramic tile flooring in the kitchen and bath. A 350-horsepower Caterpillar engine, a full-body paint package, and a raised-rail chassis are among the coach’s dozen standard exterior features.
For more information about the 2005 Astoria and Tuscany motorhomes, contact Damon Motor Coach at (800) 860-5658 or visit Damon’s Web site at www.damonrv.com.
Jeff Green Receives RV Journalism Award
Jeff Green, automotive/recreation vehicle correspondent for Bloomberg News, received the 2004 Distinguished Achievement in RV Journalism Award on December 1, 2004, during the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky.
During the award ceremony, Mr. Green was recognized as a leading journalist whose reports have helped raise the RV industry’s profile and educated the business community about the industry’s status as a leading economic indicator. Since 2001, Mr. Green’s monthly reports have appeared in newspapers worldwide, exposing many other business journalists and analysts to the RV market sector.
As the 26th recipient of the award, Mr. Green joins a distinguished list of previous honorees that includes publisher Arthur Frommer; “PBS MotorWeek” executive producer and host John Davis; Field & Stream editor Slaton White; and Washington Post automotive industry reporter Warren Brown.
Congress Replaces National Recreation Fee Demonstration Program
The National Recreation Fee Demonstration Program, created in 1996 as a three-year experiment, will soon be replaced by a new recreation fee program that will cover five federal agencies and provide a 10-year fee authorization. The agencies included in the program are the National Park Service, the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Reclamation. The new Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act is based upon legislation approved by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Resources.
The new federal recreation fee program is supported by most recreation and tourism interests, largely because at least 80 percent of the fees collected will be retained at the local sites and should result in improved visitor experiences. Other key provisions of the legislation include:
- Well-defined guidelines on where recreation fees may be imposed, specifically prohibiting fees for locations that proved most controversial during the fee demonstration program.
- Clear direction to the five federal agencies to coordinate fee programs and avoid multiple or layered recreation fees.
- Continued special treatment for certain Americans, exempting or charging nominal fees for children, seniors, people with disabilities, and schools.
- The creation of a two-tier daily/short-duration fee program for Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Forest Service, and Bureau of Reclamation lands; a standard amenity recreation fee; and an expanded amenity recreation fee when the use of special facilities (including campsites) or the receipt of special services is involved.
- Explicit requirements for public involvement in the development or changing of a recreation fee and for reporting on the use of collected fees.
- A new interagency annual pass called the “America the Beautiful “” the National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass.” All other national passes are prohibited, including existing single-agency passes. The new pass may be marketed through government and non-government entities. The pass will be valid for 12 months after purchase (not for a specific calendar year), and when purchased by a citizen or person living in the United States over the age of 62, will cost $10 and be valid for the passholder’s lifetime. Details about the pass will be determined by the secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior but are expected to resemble those that now apply to Golden Eagle and National Park passes.
- The authority for site-specific annual passes.
- The authority for special recreation permit fees for group activities, recreation events, and motorized recreation vehicle use.
- The authority for regional, multientity passes that could cover areas managed by a variety of federal, other governmental, and nongovernmental entities for periods up to one year “” including federal agencies not included under this legislation, such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
- The authority for discounted and free admission days.
According to Derrick Crandall, president of the American Recreation Coalition, the result of this legislation should be $200 million or more in new resources every year above and beyond appropriations. “Fees will remain only one part of caring for our legacy of public access to public lands by anyone, regardless of their financial situation,” he said.
RV Shipments Reach Highest Level In Decades; “RV” Leads Search Terms On eBay
Factory-to-dealer deliveries of recreation vehicles (RVs) surged by double digits in 2004, reaching their highest level since 1978, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Strong RV sales are expected to continue during the decade ahead.
Dr. Richard Curtin, director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan, who produces quarterly forecasts for the RV industry, projects that 2004 will set a new quarter-century record of 364,900 RV shipments, shattering 1999’s peak of 321,200. This represents an almost 14 percent gain over the 320,800 units shipped in 2003.
Final year-end 2004 figures are being collected by RVIA for release in February 2005.
“RV shipments during the decade ahead are expected to be very strong given the growing preference among consumers for the RV lifestyle as well as record increases in the number of consumers now entering the prime age range that purchases new RVs,” explained Dr. Curtin. Economic factors in the RV industry’s favor are increases in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), personal disposable income, and personal consumption, according to Dr. Curtin, who also authors the closely watched monthly Index of Consumer Sentiment.
Reflecting the hot RV demand, online auction Web site eBay reported that “RV” was the most popular search term in 2004 among its 125 million users. As a barometer of societal trends, eBay’s search rankings show the growing preference for comfortable leisure travel among families and retirees, observers said.
The RV industry’s optimism was evident at RVIA’s National RV Trade Show, held November 30 through December 2, 2004, in Louisville, Kentucky, which posted its highest attendance ever with 14,450 attendees, a 7.5 percent increase from 2003. The show also set records for dealer attendance and exhibit space.
RVIA is the national association that represents more than 550 manufacturers and component suppliers that produce approximately 98 percent of all RVs made in the United States.
Kwikee/Power Gear Opens R&D Center
Kwikee/Power Gear, C6143, recently announced the opening of a new research and development center, located near the Power Gear plant in Mishawaka, Indiana. The complex will more than triple the amount of space previously dedicated to product development and testing from 6,000 square feet to more than 20,000 square feet.
The company also plans to add state-of-the-art test equipment to aid in developing new products. Several Kwikee/Power Gear products were unveiled during the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky, November 30 through December 2, 2004. They included an all-electric jack with 12,000 pounds of lifting capacity; a cable room slideout system with four-point connections and superior sealing capabilities; an electric bed-lifting system for toy haulers; and a type C motorhome hydraulic leveling system.
The new research and development center also will include a product showcase area, scheduled for completion in February 2005, which will allow customers to see newly developed products in actual working applications.
For more information about Kwikee/Power Gear products, call Kwikee at (800) 736-9961 or Power Gear at (888) 339-2537; or visit www.kwikeepowergear.com.
Coachmen RV Opens West Coast Regional Service Center
Coachmen Industries has opened a new regional service center in Chino, California, to better meet the needs of its dealers and retail customers. The new service center’s location, a 12-acre complex in San Bernardino County just outside Los Angeles, will provide a state-of-the-art facility to assist its West Coast dealers in servicing Coachmen Industries RVs.
The complex will include three separate buildings: a 65,000-square-foot combination full-service center and wholesale parts distribution warehouse; a 12,000-square-foot paint and body repair facility; and an 8,000-square-foot multiuse training center.
The service center will boast a full menu of repair and maintenance options for both dealers and RV owners. The center will service RVs built by Coachmen Industries’ RV Group: Coachmen Recreational Vehicle Company, C328; Georgie Boy Manufacturing, C1344; and Viking Recreational Vehicles.
With a wholesale parts warehouse under the same roof, Coachmen’s West Coast dealers will be able to get needed parts much faster, while the training center will allow a wide range of educational opportunities. RV technicians, dealership sales representatives, and RV suppliers will all benefit from this new resource.
Coachmen’s RV Group also has service facilities in Middlebury, Indiana; Edwardsburg, Michigan; and Fitzgerald, Georgia.
Guide To RV-Friendly Casinos
Casino Camping: Guide To RV-Friendly Casinos
Casino Camping: Guide To RV-Friendly Casinos ($14.95, Roundabout Publications) includes hundreds of RV-friendly casinos throughout the United States that either have an RV park or campground as part of their facility or allow free overnight parking.
The book provides maps for locating the casinos, descriptions of each casino and campground, available discounts, detailed driving directions, and parking information for recreation vehicles. In addition, short chapters provide tips on various aspects of visiting the casinos, including courteous boondocking.
Readers will find that many casino campgrounds provide modern, upscale facilities at reasonable prices. Plus, RVers can enjoy the amenities of the casino, including restaurants, pools, golf, and gaming. Some casinos that allow free boondocking in their parking lots even offer free electric hookups.
This 256-page book is available from the publisher by calling (800) 455-2207 or visiting www.roadnotes.com.
U.S. Congress Votes To Keep Yellowstone National Park Open For Winter
The United States Senate and House of Representatives enacted legislation in November 2004 to keep Yellowstone National Park open for winter recreation enthusiasts. The legislative action affirms National Park Service rules to continue limited guided-snowmobile access on groomed roads in the park, using only new-technology snowmobiles. The affirmed rules also provide for snowcoach (modified van) access and cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks this winter.
For more information about winter activities in Yellowstone National Park, visit www.nps.gov/yell.
Damon Intruder Featured On Travel Channel Program
Damon Motor Coach, C4690, has made it to Hollywood “” via the Travel Channel “” appearing in episodes of “John Ratzenberger’s Made in America.”
Throughout the summer and fall of 2004, Mr. Ratzenberger “” best known for his role as Cliff Clavin on the longtime TV series “Cheers” “” traveled the United States in a Damon Intruder, compiling stories about the best people, places, and products in the country. Features filmed during trips to such locations as Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, Seattle, and Los Angeles will air on the Travel Channel through the spring of 2005.
According to Dave Olson, Damon’s vice president of gas sales and product development, the show targets a type A motorhome audience demographic. He also said that one factor that led to Damon’s selection was the availability of rear living area floor plans suitable for production shots with Mr. Ratzenberger.
Damon receives credit at the end of the show and the Intruder is featured prominently in the episodes, usually at the beginning of the features.
Reyco Granning Unveils New AlignDrive Suspension System
Reyco Granning, a manufacturer of suspension systems and auxiliary axles for recreation vehicles, buses, trucks, and trailers, introduced its AlignDrive RD 2300NR suspension during the National RV Trade Show, November 30 through December 2, 2004, in Louisville, Kentucky.
The new suspension was designed specifically for type A motorhomes and has a capacity of up to 23,000 pounds. Yet it is said to be lighter than comparable suspensions by nearly 60 pounds.
AlignDrive features a parallelogram design that is said to virtually eliminate vibration and shudder associated with vehicles that have rear-mounted, high-horsepower engines. Other suspension features include the company’s ReyAlign suspension alignment system, which allows precision adjustments to be made to the suspension without the need for cutting and welding, and modular installation technology, which eases the time and effort required by chassis manufacturers during assembly.
Dynamax Unveils New ISATA Trans Sedan, Redesigned DynaSport UTV
Dynamax Corporation, C7599, based in Elkhart, Indiana, rolled out a new motorhome model and a redesigned model in late 2004.
Joining the company’s ISATA lineup in 2005 is the Trans Sedan, a compact motorhome that is said to offer maneuverability and drivability. It is built on a Ford E-450 chassis with either a standard 305-horsepower Triton V-10 engine or an optional 235-horsepower Power Stroke DI turbo diesel V-8 power plant.
The Trans Sedan features full-body Sport paint packages, a 24-inch flat-screen TV with surround sound, maple cabinets, Corian countertop options, and a roof-mounted air-conditioning system with ceiling ducts and vents. It is available in five floor plans, which range from 21 feet to 25 feet in length.
The completely redesigned DynaSport Ultimate Touring Vehicle (UTV) features an element not found in most other coaches in its class “” a 33-cubic-foot rear trunk. The DynaSport also boasts a redesigned interior that reflects the motorhome’s automotive styling, along with three interior décor packages and three wood choices. Other features include a 22-inch flat-screen TV, a 4-cubic-foot two-way refrigerator, a microwave oven, and a generator.
Like the Trans Sedan, the DynaSport UTV is built on Ford’s E-450 chassis and comes standard with a 305-horsepower Triton V-10 engine (a 235-horsepower turbo diesel V-8 is available), four-wheel antilock brakes, and driver and front passenger air bags. Two floor plans are available in this 24-foot, 6-inch-long coach.
For more information about Dynamax motorhomes, call (888) 295-7859 or visit www.dynamaxcorp.com.