National Park Centennial Projects Begin
The first round of national park improvement projects, funded by a combination of public and private funds under President Bush’s National Park Centennial Initiative, began this spring. The Initiative, announced in 2006, proposed a federal Centennial Challenge matching fund used to match philanthropic contributions for the benefit of U.S. national parks between now and the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016.
This year more than $50 million “” $24.6 million in federal funds to match nearly $27 million in philanthropic contributions “” will be spent for projects in 110 parks.
Among the many projects being done are an expansion of a popular outdoor stewardship education outreach program for teenagers in the Washington, D.C., area; saving endangered sea turtles along the Texas coast at Padre Island; renovation of Yosemite National Park’s iconic Tunnel View Overlook; and citizen scientist and citizen naturalist projects at national parks across the country. For a complete list of the 2008 National Park Service Centennial Challenge Projects and Programs, visit www.nps.gov/2016.
The Milepost Celebrates 60 Years
The 60th edition of The Milepost ($27.95 U.S., $35.95 Canadian; Morris Communications) is an extensive travel guide that includes mile-by-mile highway logs for routes in Alaska, as well as northwestern Canada. The 800-page guidebook also provides information about ferry travel, with schedules for the Alaska Marine Highway System, BC Ferries, and the Inter-Island Ferry Authority. Readers also will discover information about major attractions in Alaska, as well as an expanded itineraries section with suggestions for one-day to three-day and longer driving trips.
This year’s edition also celebrates the 50th anniversary of Alaska’s admittance into statehood, which officially took place on January 3, 1959. The guide includes several vignettes describing the history of “The Last Frontier” as well as its efforts to become the 49th state. Also included is a list of upcoming events to commemorate the anniversary.
The Milepost is available at bookstores, through online booksellers, via http://www.themilepost.com/, or by calling (800) 726-4707.
A new service called Motorhome Holiday Swap is setting out to provide motorhome owners the same foreign travel benefits as people who exchange their stationary homes.
The company, created by Chris Farrow, an enthusiastic motorhome owner from England, provides a Web site link for folks to exchange their motorhomes when traveling abroad. By registering and paying an annual fee, motorhome owners throughout the world can make their motorhomes available to other like-minded travelers, opening up the vacation of a lifetime for thousands of people, and just for the price of the flight.
Motorhome owners are asked to provide details about their motorhome and where they live, as well as information about when and where they would like to travel. The service then searches for a match. For more information, or to sign up, visit http://www.motorhomeholidayswap.com/.
New Service Center For Travel Supreme RVs
Owners of motorhomes made by Travel Supreme, which ceased operations earlier this year, may be able to find service assistance at Supreme RV Service Inc., located in Elkhart, Indiana. This company was started by three former Travel Supreme service employees, Bishop Christensen, Ronnie Miller, and Joshua Northam. The 2 1/2-acre complex includes a 10,000-square-foot service building, 2,000 square feet of office space, and eight RV parking spots on concrete with 50-amp electrical hookups. Although the center officially opened on April 14, the group began helping folks out even before then, said Mr. Miller. “[We] actually did some work on coaches that were en route to Travel Supreme when the company closed.”
Both Christensen and Miller had thought about starting a company such as Supreme RV Service even before Travel Supreme went out of business. “We saw how much retail work [Travel Supreme] was turning away,” said Mr. Miller. “People came in wanting upgrades, but they weren’t able to have [this work] done because [the company] was doing so much warranty work.”
Mr. Miller said Travel Supreme owners are finding out about their business through word of mouth, Internet forums, and owners associations. He also said the folks at Entegra Coach, the newly formed Jayco subsidiary operating in the former Travel Supreme facility, are referring calls to them.
Company officials have indicated that their short-term focus will be to provide service and upgrades on RVs built by Travel Supreme, but eventually they plan to extend service to other high-end coaches.
To contact Supreme RV Service, call (574) 206-1302 or visit http://www.supremervservice.com/.
Jayco Creates New Division
Jayco Corporation, manufacturer of type C motorhomes and towable RVs based in Middlebury, Indiana, announced that it has established a new subsidiary to manufacture products for the luxury RV market. The company, Entegra Coach Inc., initially will build diesel-powered type A motorhomes and luxury fifth-wheel trailers.
Entegra Coach will operate from a 160,000-square-foot facility in Wakarusa, Indiana, that previously housed the operations of Travel Supreme. Jayco Corporation acquired the assets of Travel Supreme in April and appointed Glenn Troyer, former president of Travel Supreme, as president of the new company.
According to Wilbur Bontrager, president and CEO of Jayco Corporation, Entegra Coach will build three lines of diesel-pusher type A motorhomes and two lines of upscale fifth-wheel travel trailers. In addition, he indicated that the new division could ultimately build products for two other Jayco Corporation subsidiaries, Jayco Inc. and Starcraft RV.
RV Manufacturers Cease Operations
A trio of longtime RV manufacturers have closed their doors in recent months.
Alfa Leisure, which maintained its headquarters in Ontario, California, and manufactured See Ya! type A motorhomes and luxury fifth-wheel trailers, reportedly suspended manufacturing operations in late April. The company was established in 1973 by Johnnie Crean, son of Fleetwood Industries founder John Crean.
Western RV, based in Yakima, Washington, which produced high-end type A motorhomes under the Alpine name, as well as towable RVs, also closed in April. The company was founded in 1971 by Bill and Suzanne Doyle.
In late 2007, National RV Inc., maker of gas- and diesel-powered motorhomes in Perris, California, closed down its manufacturing facilities and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Triple E Acquires Leisure Travel Vans
On March 31, Canadian motorhome manufacturer Triple E Recreational Vehicles, based in Winkler, Manitoba, acquired Leisure Travel Vans, which operates out of Morden, Manitoba.
According to Triple E officials, the deal provides opportunities for economies of scale in terms of material acquisition, labor, and administrative costs. In addition, the arrangement brings together complementary segments of the industry. Triple E manufactures type A diesel pushers and upscale travel trailers and fifth wheels, while Leisure Travel Vans specializes in type B and type C motorhomes.
Leisure Travel Vans will continue to operate in its current location in Morden and will retain its distinctive corporate branding under the Leisure Travel Vans name.
County Locator Guidebook
Have you ever been on the road and heard an emergency weather alert on the radio covering a number of counties but not known whether you were in one of the counties mentioned? The Traveler’s Guide For Emergency Alerts ($24.95, Pine Island Publishers Inc.) lists a number of cities in each of the 50 states and indicates in what county the cities are located.
The book also includes general information about various weather situations (thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, forest fires, and wildfires) and the steps you should take to find safety, along with differences between weather watches and warnings.
To order the book, e-mail [email protected]; call (772) 475-5421; or write to Liason LLC, 1249 S.E. Coral Reef St., Port St. Lucie, FL 34983. Mention that you are a member of FMCA and the price is $20 (plus approximately $2 shipping).
South Carolina Cooking Contest
If you will be traveling in the Palmetto State during the middle of September and want to show off your campfire cooking prowess, make plans to participate in the first Campground Cookoff in South Carolina. The event will be held September 19 through 21, 2008, at Calhoun Falls State Recreation Area on Lake Russell and is sponsored by the South Carolina Old 96 Tourism Commission.
Participants will create recipes (up to three per contestant) that can fall into one of three categories: appetizer, entrée, or dessert. All food must be made from scratch “” no frozen or prepackaged food allowed “” and cooked over a campfire using logs, wood chips, or charcoal. Contestants can enter as a team of no more than three members and must be 16 years of age or older.
A trio of celebrity judges will crown the winners with cash prizes of $500, $300, and $200 for first- through third-place winners. They are Rick Browne from PBS “Barbecue America”; Dotty Griffith, former dining and food editor for 30 years at the Dallas Morning News; and Charles Mattocks, also known as “The Poor Chef,” whose cooking show can be seen on NBC affiliates.
A minimum two-night stay at the campground is required. Other activities during the weekend will include a complimentary barbecue, bluegrass music, a beach and blues music party, and more. For a complete list of rules and additional information, visit http://www.campgroundcookoff.com/ or call (866) 354-0003. Applications must be received by August 15.
AMSOIL Broadens Oil Analysis Program
AMSOIL Inc. has announced that its Oil Analyzers Inc. (OAI) division has been expanded and is now available with three state-of-the-art testing facilities strategically located across the United States.
OAI now has oil analysis labs in Salt Lake City, Utah; Houston, Texas; and Indianapolis, Indiana, to enable faster turnaround times. The expansion allows oil samples to be sent via ground shipping and arrive at a testing facility within 48 hours from anywhere in the continental United States. When the testing is complete, it is compiled into a user-friendly report with detailed information on the condition of the engine. In most cases, a report is available online within 24 hours.
Oil analysis allows motorists to uncover potentially critical issues before they become severe and to obtain optimum equipment life by preventing premature failure. Testing includes, but is not limited to, dirt, wear particles, fuel dilution, and coolant. The company also has expanded its services to include a full complement of diesel fuel and coolant testing.
OAI sample kits are available individually or per case of 50 or 100. Consumers have the option of purchasing the kits with return postage paid, or they can choose to pay when they return the kit for testing.
To order a testing kit or find out more information about this service, call (800) 956-5695 or visit http://www.oaitesting.com/.