Cruise Master Returns
Georgie Boy Manufacturing, based in Middlebury, Indiana, has brought back its popular type A Cruise Master model for 2008. And the company is building it on a Workhorse UFO chassis, which is powered by GM’s Vortec 8.1-liter V-8 rear gasoline engine and boasts a 26,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating.
“The Cruise Master name has a lot of history as a touring coach, and we thought a motorhome built on the UFO chassis was perfect for rekindling this great brand,” said Mike Scheetz, vice president of motorized product for Coachmen RV Group. “One of the things we like most about the UFO platform is all that it does to improve driver and passenger comfort. With the engine in the rear, there is much less cabin noise and less cabin heat. Also, because we don’t have a driveshaft running the length of the coach, there is less vibration; and we can build in more pass-through storage.”
The Cruise Master features a full-wall slideout. The UFO platform’s flat floor allows designers more leeway in locating furniture and amenities. With 22.5-inch wheels and a cockpit door entrance, the 37-foot coach has the look of a diesel pusher.
Other features include a one-piece windshield, residential-style furniture, a 32-inch LCD television, a solid-surface kitchen countertop, a large double-door refrigerator with a freezer shelf, and fully automatic hydraulic leveling jacks.
For more information about the Cruise Master, visit www.georgieboy.com or call (877) 876-9024.
New Book About Route 66
Legendary Route 66: A Journey Through Time Along America’s Mother RoadReaders interested in discovering the past and present of Route 66 will find both in Legendary Route 66: A Journey Through Time Along America’s Mother Road ($29.95, Voyageur Press). Authors Michael Witzel and Gyvel Young-Witzel recount the route’s history in this wonderfully illustrated tribute to the best-loved highway in the United States.
This hardbound coffee table book highlights the sights along the highway “” beginning in Chicago, Illinois, and running to Santa Monica, California “” with more than 600 historic and current photos in then-and-now pairings, and includes Route 66 postcards, road signs, trinkets, maps, brochures, and advertisements. The book reveals how Route 66 appeared in its heyday compared to what it looks like now; the neon glamour of yesterday versus the ghost towns of today. It also includes numerous profiles about people with close ties to the road, roadside oddities, classic neon signs, memorabilia, and more.
Legendary Route 66 is available in bookstores, at online bookselling sites, or through the publisher at www.voyageurpress.com; (800) 826-6600.
Caravan Companies Revamp Copper Canyon Rail Trips
New restrictions from the Mexican government have led caravan companies to rearrange their excursions through Mexico’s Copper Canyon, as piggyback train trips through the canyon are no longer available.
The piggyback trips involved loading motorhomes onto rail flatcars. RVers stayed in their coaches as the train toured the magnificent canyon. The excursion had been popular since the 1980s.
The three main companies that offered the trip “” Adventure Caravans, Creative World/Fantasy Caravans, and Tracks to Adventure “” have adapted and will provide alternative trips. RVers still get to see the beautiful canyon, and take a very similar route, but now by passenger train instead.
Each company offers somewhat different tour packages, so RVers should check to decide which is right for them.
Officials from the caravan companies said that those who had piggyback train reservations were responding positively to excursions involving the passenger train. Rick Nelson, vice president and general manager of Creative World/Fantasy Caravans, and Larry Olsen, Tracks to Adventure founder, both said that motorhome owners appreciated the cost savings with the new packages, as well as all the great sights they offer.
“They’re still going to get to see the Copper Canyon and still have a wonderful time,” Mr. Nelson said, “It’s just going to be different.”
Mr. Olsen noted that RVers should not hold out hope that the piggyback train trips will return. “There’s no question of it being over,” he said. “Life is better and we’re selling a new tour.”
Job Fairs For Workampers
Workamper News Inc., based in Heber Springs, Arkansas, will present a pair of events in early 2008 to help match RVers looking for jobs with prospective employers. The Workamper News Job Fairs will take place January 10 and 11, 2008, at the Lakeland Center in Lakeland, Florida, and January 29 and 30, 2008, at the Mesa Convention Center in Mesa, Arizona.
The job fairs will provide people who combine any type of full-time or part-time work with RV camping an opportunity for face-to-face interviews with employers from across America. Thousands of related part-time and full-time jobs will be available. Workamper employers can include private campgrounds, state and national parks, amusement facilities, hotels, monuments, motor sports facilities, sales, etc.
Attendees also will have the opportunity to participate in seminar sessions on topics that include Workamping Basics, RV Retirement Planning, and Resumé Writing.
Workampers can obtain tickets ahead of time by calling (501) 362-2637. Additional job fair and attendee camping information is available at www.workamper.com/workampernews/twninterviewsession.cfm.
Employers can reserve exhibit space on a first-come, first-served basis by calling Workamper News at (501) 362-2637.
Workamper News Inc., which is celebrating its 20th year in business, publishes a bimonthly magazine and hosts www.workamper.com, which provides online tools and resources for working RVers and employers.
Damon Boosts Power And Performance Of 2008 Astoria
Damon Motor Coach, based in Elkhart, Indiana, announced that it has increased the power and performance of its 2008 Astoria diesel pusher with the integration of a 340-horsepower Cummins ISB engine and an Allison 2500 MH six-speed transmission. According to company officials, the new model will be the highest-powered Astoria ever.
The new engine provides 40 more horsepower than the 2007 model, while boosting the torque to 660 pound-feet at 2,600 rpm. The engine also is reputed to be one of the quietest diesel motorhome engines in the Cummins lineup.
The new engine is complemented with the high-performance Allison 2500 MH six-speed transmission. With its advanced electronic controls, the transmission is designed to get more out of the Cummins engine while putting more control to the wheels.
Damon has projected that the 2008 Astoria will have a base suggested retail price of $163,240.
Zip Dee To Offer Colored Awning Hardware
Zip Dee Inc., based in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, has begun offering awnings with metal hardware in a variety of colors, a departure from the traditional classic silver hardware found on Zip Dee products.
For more than 40 years, Zip Dee awnings have been handcrafted using high-quality steel and aluminum. But company officials have noted with changing preferences in the RV market, two choices are just not enough.
“The paint jobs on Class A motorhomes have become so extravagant that we needed to offer different colors to keep the design teams happy,” said national sales manager Kent Silbert. “For the most part, the Class A market seems to lean toward the black awnings.”
This past summer, Foretravel, Dynamax, and Featherlite, among others, began offering Zip Dee awning packages with black hardware. Although the company will continue to provide the traditional silver-colored hardware, officials indicated that the company will be equipped to meet whatever changes the industry demands.
For more information about Awnings By Zip Dee, visit www.zipdeeinc.com or call (800) 338-2378.
Recreation Forum Highlights Opportunities
The American Recreation Coalition (ARC) hosted a national forum called “Recreation 2008: Making Our Issues Count” on September 20, 2007, in Washington, D.C. The forum brought together key recreation and conservation leaders to discuss ways to encourage candidates for federal and state offices in 2008 to consider recreation and conservation issues as key means of achieving important goals in health-care, education, crime deterrence, and other voter concerns.
The keynote speaker was U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who offered insights derived from his service in Washington and as governor of Tennessee. He emphasized the value of connecting national issues with local, grassroots efforts, and stressed the importance of addressing recreation as a vital tool in combating health concerns associated with physical inactivity.
Senator Alexander’s key recommendation was to create a third national recreation commission, suggesting that the popularity of video games, films, and video be used to attract youth to the outdoors.
The forum also included a pair of panels to discuss ways to bring more attention to the benefits provided through the nation’s recreation resources. One recommendation was to present recreation as a solution to the nation’s most pressing concerns rather than championing recreation issues as a goal. Other issues discussed included working on a local level and creating opportunities, such as a legislative conference to bring recreation advocates to Washington, D.C., and utilizing the media by writing letters to the editor or submitting health and recreation questions for televised national debates to bolster the prominence of recreation issues. It was noted that creating opportunities for public figures and celebrities to champion the great outdoors could also be a successful tool.
Former senator Dale Bumpers of Arkansas closed the session by telling forum participants that the American people recognize that recreation and conservation initiatives are important to the country’s heritage. He echoed calls for strategic planning and reiterated that local issues can be a decisive factor in the outcome of an election.
Americans Spend Billions On Wildlife-Related Recreation
America’s passion for wildlife and the outdoors continues to play a major role in the nation’s economy, according to preliminary survey data released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In 2006 more than 87 million Americans, or 38 percent of the United States’ population age 16 and older, hunted, fished, or observed wildlife. They spent $120 billion that year pursuing those activities “” an amount roughly equal to Americans’ total spending at all spectator sports, casinos, motion pictures, golf courses and country clubs, amusement parks, and arcades combined.
Preliminary data from the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation shows the importance of wildlife-related recreation to the American people. Of all Americans age 16 or older, 30 million or 13 percent fished and spent $41 billion on their activities; 12.5 million or 5 percent hunted and spent $23 billion; and ?71 million or 31 percent observed wildlife and spent $45 billion.
The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation has been conducted every five years since 1955 and is one of the nation’s most important wildlife recreation databases. It is considered to be the definitive source of information concerning participation and expenditures associated with hunting, fishing, and other forms of wildlife recreation nationwide.
Firestone Web Site Celebrates Interstate Travel
To help commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United States’ interstate highway system, Bridgestone Firestone has developed an interactive Web site to help folks enjoy their time on the road.
The site, www.firestonelegendarydrives.com, offers several scenic drives within each state, providing a description of the route, its length, points of interest along the way, and a list of destination restaurants for travelers to try. Each listing also includes information and history about the interstates within the particular state, and names of automotive museums and museums with auto exhibits to visit. Plus, the Web site includes a special photo gallery where travelers are encouraged to submit photos taken along their road to adventure.
Coachmen RV Group Testing Environmentally Friendly RVs
Folks attending the Coachmen RV Group owners rally this past summer had an opportunity to see some of the new “green” technology the company is developing for use in its next generation of RVs.
The company displayed a Sportscoach Elite type A diesel coach that employs a hydrogen generating system to produce a portion of its fuel, as well as a motorhome powered by biodiesel fuel and equipped with an electrical system that operates on solar power.
Coachmen RV Group recently completed a yearlong test of the Sportscoach Elite that was outfitted with a hydrogen generating system (HGS) developed by Hy-Drive Technologies Ltd. of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
The patented system uses electrolysis to produce hydrogen and oxygen from distilled water. A vacuum pump injects the gases into the combustion chamber of the motorhome’s engine, helping the diesel fuel burn more completely. The burn occurs earlier in the ignition stroke of the piston, producing more power.
Hy-Drive designed the HGS to work on a variety of internal combustion engines. The company reported its testing trials showed that vehicles equipped with this technology experienced 9 percent to 30 percent fuel savings; 2 percent to 6 percent horsepower improvement; and significant reductions in carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and particulate emissions.
The Sportscoach type A diesel that was decked out with solar panels is the result of an operating agreement between Coachmen RV and Natural Source Energy Systems Inc. (NSESI). Coachmen teamed with NSESI to outfit the diesel motorhome, as well as a type C motorhome and a fifth-wheel trailer, with state-of-the-art, high-efficiency solar panels. In addition to solar energy research, Coachmen and NSESI are conducting research on biodiesel fuel in diesel-powered motorhomes designed and manufactured by Coachmen.
For more information about Coachmen RV Group products, visit www.coachmenrv.com or call (800) 353-7383.
Caravan Salon 2007 Dí¼sseldorf A Success
A total of 567 exhibitors from 22 countries showcased their products and technologies at Caravan Salon 2007, an international trade fair for recreation vehicles and camping equipment, August 24 through September 2, 2007, in Dusseldorf, Germany. The event attracted 165,000 visitors.
Organizers said that visitor numbers from outside Germany accounted for 13 percent of all attendees, and trade visitors made up 10 percent of the total. Although the attendance figure for 2007 was slightly less than the record set in 2006, organizers pointed out that the fair remains a major attraction for European RV enthusiasts, with more than 50 percent of attendees traveling in excess of 150 miles for the event.
Caravan Salon 2008 is scheduled to take place August 29 through September 7, 2008, again in Dusseldorf. For more information about visiting or exhibiting at the show, contact Messe Dusseldorf North America at (312) 781-5180 or visit www.mdna.com.