New Big Rigs Best Bets Edition Available
The fifth edition of the Big Rigs Best Bets campground directory is now available to assist motorhomers who travel in coaches that are 35 to 45 feet in length. The new edition covers all 48 states in the continental United States and lists more than 900 campgrounds that can accommodate large motorhomes.
The directory provides detailed information about each park listed, including recommendations for specific sites; whether the sites are pull-through or back-in; utilities available (electrical amperage and sewer); approximate length of the sites; directions; telephone numbers and Web site addresses; and more.
Besides the addition of nine more states and roughly 100 more campgrounds to this edition, readers also will find a new Wi-Fi section. This section includes parks approximately one-third of all the campgrounds mentioned in the guide that offer Wi-Fi Internet service to their visitors.
The book is priced at $19.95 (add $4 for shipping and handling, $10 in Canada) and can be purchased by calling (830) 792-9170 or by visiting www.big-rigs-rv.com. Texas residents should add $1.65 sales tax.
Lazydays RV Supercenter Celebrates Grand Reopening
Lazydays RV Supercenter, C1702, located near Tampa, Florida, hosted the grand reopening of its dealership on March 8 and 9. The event marked the culmination of nearly a year’s worth of renovations and dealership expansion that company officials anticipate will enhance Lazydays’ ability to provide superior customer service.
More than $3 million was invested in the project, which included expanding the main dealership building to 86,625 square feet, as well as major renovations and updates throughout the existing structure. According to Dan Padley, Lazydays project manager, a total of 50,400 square feet of the building was remodeled or redecorated, and 8,600 square feet of space was added.
The renovation included a number of new amenities to make customers more comfortable during their visit to Lazydays RV Supercenter. The Service Pavilion now includes a 6,600-square-foot customer lounge with a professional concierge station; a Starbucks coffee bar; flat-screen TVs; and 10 seating areas where visitors can read, connect to the Internet, or play games. The company also opened the new Lazydays Café, replacing Festival Hall, which is expected to serve 300,000 meals to customers and guests each year.
Other improvements include the development of the Learning Center, which has 170 seats for customer seminars and employee training; new offices for more than 45 customer service personnel, as well as new office space for five full-time manufacturer’s representatives; a new executive board room; and 160 newly renovated offices in the sales department.
For more information about Lazydays RV Supercenter, visit www.lazydays.com or call (888) 500-5299.
Desert Shores Announces Grand Opening Of Latest Phase
Desert Shores Motor Coach Resort, C9627, a premier destination resort in Indio, California, celebrated the grand opening of the latest phase of its development, the Mountain Vista Collection, on March 26.
The 60-acre resort features 141 waterfront sites on large 60-foot-by-120-foot lots, each with its own custom-built 1,200-square-foot casita adjacent to the motorhome pad.
The new Mountain Vista Collection offers some of the best lots available at the resort, along with three newly designed floor plans for the accompanying casitas and a choice of two exterior elevations featuring new architectural detailing. Each casita includes an expansive kitchen and veranda with a gas fireplace, a hobby room, a full bath, and ample garage and storage space. Optional backyard packages include a private pool and spa, an outdoor fireplace, custom lighting, and landscaping.
“We’re very pleased with the reception to the resort,” noted motorhome manufacturer Bob Lee, Desert Shores developer and founder of Country Coach Inc. “People appreciate the generous lot sizes and the opportunity for customization.”
For more information about Desert Shores, contact Barbara Gilfoy at (760) 775-9808 or visitwww.desertshoresresort.com.
Fleetwood’s Ultimate Tailgate Party Program Scores With Dealers And Consumers
While the University of Southern California Trojans football team was winning its second-straight national title, Fleetwood RV, C985, was on hand at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, to wrap up a successful marketing program that brought college football tailgating fever to dealers and consumers alike.
In partnership with Athlon Sports, a leading publisher of sports annuals, Fleetwood RV coordinated a two-pronged program that put Fleetwood dealers in high-traffic areas during tailgate parties at major college football games and simultaneously attracted consumers to visit a dedicated Fleetwood Web site where they could register for a chance to win a variety of prizes. The prizes included a trip for five to the 2005 college football national championship game, a Yamaha ATV, and a flat-screen television.
Ten of the top college football games on the 2004 schedule were identified, and a Fleetwood dealer in each of these markets was invited to participate in the program. The dealers received a block of tickets to the game and a prime location where they could stage a Fleetwood Pace Arrow motorhome and GearBox travel trailer for consumers to tour. Each dealer also was provided with a catered tailgate party for 30 of its key customers.
During each event, a team of Athlon staffers distributed a glossy “Fleetwood Ultimate Tailgate Party” guide to fans and tailgaters. The guide contained recipes and articles about RV-style tailgating, and directed consumers to the Web site to enter the consumer sweepstakes.
New Jersey residents Rick and Constance Keller won the grand prize: a trip for five to the national championship game in Miami, which included a private tailgate party before the game. “We’re big Penn State fans and have marveled at how many people have RVs at the games; now we know why,” Mr. Keller said. “It really is the ultimate way to enjoy tailgating.”
Blue Ox Continues As Official Campground Sponsor At Bristol Motor Speedway
Blue Ox, C2903, recently extended its contract with Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) in Bristol, Tennessee, to continue as the official campground sponsor of the speedway through 2007. The company began sponsoring the campground for NASCAR’s 2004 Busch Series and Nextel Cup Series events at BMS. Blue Ox Campground, located at Bristol Dragway, will play host to more than 1,300 campers and RVs during the events in April and August of this year.
According to a survey conducted by the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, more than 55 percent of Bristol race fans stay in campgrounds, both on and surrounding speedway property, during race weekends.
“The decision to continue our sponsorship of the Blue Ox Campground and our partnership with Bristol Motor Speedway came naturally,” said Jay Hesse, president of Blue Ox. “After all, Blue Ox hitches and equipment can be found on many of the fans’ RVs and campers as well as the drivers’ motor coaches. Our relationship with BMS has proven to be beneficial and we are looking forward to continuing our role in making fans’ Bristol camping experience the best in racing.”
As an official sponsor, Blue Ox receives campground naming rights, signage opportunities on track property as well as along the highways leading to the track, public address announcements, and race weekend display space.
KOA Giving Away Free Campsites
Kampgrounds of America, C456, will offer campers across North America a free night of camping on Friday, May 13, during the second annual KOA “Come Camp With Us Day.”
More than 350 participating KOA campgrounds in the United States and Canada will provide in excess of 30,000 free tent and RV sites and Kamping Kabins. During the May 13-14 weekend, many of the campgrounds will offer special events, including ice cream socials.
Campers also will have an opportunity to give freewill donations to help support KOA’s 34 Care Camps. Located throughout the United States, these facilities give children with cancer an opportunity to take part in a genuine summer camping experience while continuing their medical treatments. Last year more than $28,000 was raised during the “Come Camp With Us Day” to benefit Care Camps.
To make a reservation for “Come Camp With Us Day,” visit www.koa.com. There you can find a list of participating campgrounds, make a reservation online, or find the phone number of the campground you wish to visit.
New Edition Of Book By First Woman To Drive Coast To Coast
The Patrice Press recently republished Alice Ramsey’s book, Veil, Duster, and Tire Iron ($19.95), in which she describes her 1909 journey from Manhattan, New York, to San Francisco, California, to become the first woman to drive across the United States. Besides her account, the new edition includes other information about the expedition not known before.
Alice Ramsey’s original story details her motoring adventures after she was selected by the Maxwell-Briscoe Company to pilot a new four-seat, 30-horsepower 1909 Maxwell DA across the country. Only 22 and the mother of a 1-year-old at the time she made the trip, she was joined by a friend and two of her husband’s older sisters, along with an advance man who arranged for publicity and overnight accommodations for the group at the next stop. After surviving multiple breakdowns and other hardships along the way, the group arrived in San Francisco 59 days after leaving New York.
Besides the original text, the new edition includes 108 notes and another 100 pages of text written by Gregory M. Franzwa, founder of the Lincoln Highway Association and editor of the association’s quarterly magazine, The Lincoln Highway Forum, who traced the author’s route.
The 268-page book, which includes 200 photos and maps, can be ordered by calling (800) 367-9242. The book also can be purchased by printing off the order form at www.patricepress.com and faxing it to (520) 743-7034 or by sending it to P.O. Box 85639, Tucson, AZ 85754-5639. Include $4.95 for shipping and handling.
Freightliner Introduces Mercedes-Benz Engine To RV Market
Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation, C1905, based in Gaffney, South Carolina, recently announced that it will begin using the Mercedes-Benz MBE 926 diesel engine in its XC chassis. This is the first time the high-performance engine has been used in an RV application. Both Freightliner and Mercedes Benz are subsidiaries of DaimlerChrysler. As such, Freightliner is the only chassis supplier able to bring the Mercedes-Benz engine to the type A motorhome market.
The MBE 926 is a 7.2-liter, six-cylinder engine capable of providing 330 horsepower at 2,200 rpm with 1,000 pound-feet of torque. The engine is designed to deliver excellent fuel economy and boasts long service intervals. Its rated horsepower output and torque are said to make it ideal for motorhome applications, since many RVers tow vehicles behind their coaches in mountainous terrain.
Although the MBE 926 is new to the RV industry, it has been used in the medium-duty truck sector, and Freightliner executives expect it to become a mainstay in the diesel motorhome market. According to Dean Schaper, director of sales and marketing, motorhome manufacturers are already designing 2006 models around the engine.
For more information about Freightliner Custom Chassis, visit www.freightlinerchassis.com or call (864) 487-1700.
New Book Helps RVers Navigate In The 21st Century
RV Living in the 21st Century book by Peggi McDonaldPeggi McDonald, F71504, author of Spirit of the Open Road in 1997, has published her second book, RV Living in the 21st Century ($16.95 paperback; $29.45 hardcover, AuthorHouse). In her latest publication, Ms. McDonald continues where the first book left off, with updated information to reflect the changing technology and rules of the road since the turn of the century.
RV Living in the 21st Century includes subjects that hadn’t even been developed when her first book was written. As a Canadian full-timer who spends half of her time in the United States and the other half in Canada, Ms. McDonald addresses topics such as border crossings, types of campgrounds, and how to get the most for your camping dollars. The book also covers technology-related topics such as satellite service, cell phones, and Internet usage while on the road. No book about RVing would be complete without solutions to everyday living, and RV Living in the 21st Century includes maintenance reminders and information about how to prepare a budget, traveling with pets, and making the most of your living space.
The book is available at bookstores, through online booksellers, or from the publisher at www.authorhouse.com; (888) 280-7715.
American Hiking Society Volunteers Give Back To Trails
For nearly three decades the American Hiking Society has celebrated trail stewardship by offering volunteers the opportunity to spend one to two weeks building and maintaining trails in national parks, national forests, and other public lands across the nation in its Volunteer Vacations program.
Through this program the American Hiking Society brings hundreds of people together each year from all walks of life for a common cause: to connect people to the environment through trails. Projects range from easy to strenuous and offer something for everyone. The time and energy volunteers contribute to the great outdoors also leads to increased personal fitness and growth. Many American Hiking Society volunteers return year after year, and some make lifelong friends on the trail.
These adventure opportunities cost $120 ($95 for American Hiking Society members) plus transportation, and include food, lodging, or an RV site, and plenty of memorable tales.
In 2005 the American Hiking Society is offering more than 100 retreats to states from Florida to Alaska, including areas of desert, shoreline, and alpine forest, all rich in extraordinary wildlife. In July participants will help maintain trails in Point Bridget State Park, located between the waters of Alaska’s Inside Passage and inland snowcapped mountains. These volunteers will have the opportunity to watch whales, seals, and otters from the shore as eagles and hawks soar overhead. In September a volunteer crew will be surrounded by magnificent fall foliage while building primitive trails through Vermont’s Green Mountains.
Last year American Hiking Society volunteers invested more than 26,500 hours of valuable service to the country’s trail system.
For a list of 2005 Volunteer Vacations, visit www.americanhiking.org or call volunteer project manager Shirley Hearn at (301) 565-6704, ext. 206.
Gulf Stream Building New Welcome Center
Gulf Stream Coach Inc., C2697, is continuing construction of its new welcome center for the company’s motorized division in Nappanee, Indiana. The center is expected to enhance communication and efficiency between departments and serve as a first-class welcome center for dealers, RV customers, and suppliers. The company anticipates moving into the building prior to Gulf Stream’s new-product show in mid-June.
The new facility is approximately 15,000 square feet in size and will be used by accounting, finance, marketing, dispatch, sales and administration, service, and information services departments.
The first-floor entrance area will feature a reception room. Meeting or conference rooms will be located on each floor, with the second-floor meeting room wired for multimedia presentations and computer training.
The current administration buildings eventually will be removed to make way for better traffic flow and to relieve congestion in the receiving area. The new office building will comfortably house 60 employees with room for growth.
For more information about Gulf Stream Coach, visit www.gulfstreamrv.com or call (800) 289-8787.
Koyote Ranch Hill Country Opens In Texas
Koyote Holdings, C9421, opened its first upscale camping resort, Koyote Ranch Hill Country, on February 19 near Medina, Texas.
The resort, located on scenic State Route 16 between Kerrville and Bandera, sits on a 100-acre preserve at the headwaters of the Medina River. Koyote Ranch offers 50 luxury RV sites with views of the surrounding hills; 50 log cabins; and 15 safari-style furnished tents.
The resort features a fossilized limestone lodge that was built in 1947, which has been restored to provide bed-and-breakfast suites, along with an activity pool. The grounds themselves, set at an elevation of 2,000 feet, are part of the beautiful Texas hills scenery.
Visitors also can check out the Koyote Mercantile and Biergarten, located on the grounds and open to the public. The mercantile includes a general store, complete with a full-service kitchen, groceries, indoor and outdoor dining, a fire pit, and horseshoes.
Koyote Holdings partners Brad McJunkin and Bill Goad expect to invest approximately $6 million to develop each resort in the Koyote Ranch chain and will add new properties at a rate of one to two per year.
For more information about Koyote Ranch Hill Country, call (800) 225-0991 or visit www.koyoteranch.com.
CAT RV Club Chapter Tours Michelin Manufacturing Facility
FMCA’s CAT RV Club chapter recently visited Michelin’s commercial truck tire manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Sixty motorhome owners from the chapter toured the plant where they learned more about tire maintenance, safety, and manufacturing.
“It is absolutely amazing how much goes into a tire,” said Don Tallman, L1956, chapter president. “Seeing this process in person really makes you appreciate just how much technology and engineering goes into making a tire. It also makes you see why it is so important that you take care of your tires.”
During the visit, Michelin engineers encouraged CAT RV Club chapter members to regularly check air pressure, visually inspect the tires prior to operating their motorhomes, make sure the tires are not exceeding the manufacturer’s load limit, properly maintain tires when not in use, and to avoid mixing tire brands and lines on their vehicles.
For more information about Michelin tires and their use in the motorhome market, visit www.michelinrvtires.com or call (800) 847-3435.