Update: How COVID-19 is affecting the RV Lifestyle

 Update: How COVID-19 is affecting the RV Lifestyle

In an effort to give you the latest about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting RVers, we have up to date interviews with some key folks representing several different segments of the RV Industry.

Show Notes for Episode #287 March 25, 2020 of The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

JENNIFER

Like almost all of you, we’re hunkered down, avoiding in-person social contact with others and staying off the road as we follow the recommendations of our national leaders during this unprecedented coronavirus emergency
 
MIKE

Jennifer and I are still at our condo along the Emerald Coast of the Florida panhandle. We’re unsure of our future travel plans right now and taking it day by day. 

JENNIFER

We prefer to say we have postponed, not canceled out travel plans. This will end. I wish I knew when. But I am convinced we will all get through this.

MIKE

We’ve been doing a lot of live YouTube videos. Besides our regular Sunday night Ask Us Anything show at 7PM Eastern time, we’ve added a Friday Night 7PM “Virtual Campfire” YouTube live stream in which we can connect, interact, answer questions and talk about the places we want to go once this crisis ends. You can find links to these live broadcasts on our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel. 

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE.

Then click the little bell icon to be notified when we have new broadcasts or are going on with an update.

JENNIFER

RV-related shows around the country have all be cancelled. In addition, the Escapees RV Club has cancelled or postponed all events currently scheduled through June 17. This includes Convergences, Hangouts, and Head-out Program (HOP) events as well as our RVers Boot Camps.

MIKE

The FMCA, which just cancelled its March Tucson Convention, has now cancelled its big summer rally and exhibition scheduled for Aug. 26-29 at the Lancaster Event Center in Lincoln, Neb. The FMCA’s next national rally will now be March 10-13, 2021, at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry

JENNIFER

And also this week, Pleasure-Way, Thor, Winnebago, Grand Design RV, Newmar Corp. and numerous other RV Manufacturers have temporarily suspended production and closed their manufacturing plants because of the COVID-19 virus.

This part of the podcast is brought to you by the Nimble Pet Monitor 4G, the surest way we know of to have peace of mind that the temperature for your pets back in the RV is not too high. More information and a discount for listeners ot the RV Podcast is available at https://rvlifestyle.com/nimble

RV LIFESTYLE NEWS OF THE WEEK

Entrance to national parks may be temporarily free, but many locals are urging visitors not to come amid Covid-19
Most national parks throughout the country are generally open, as of this writing, and entrance is free, but visitor centers, lodges, shuttles and restaurants are closed, and many surrounding communities are urging people not to come. Some national parks, such as Yosemite or Rocky Mountain, are closed. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt last week temporarily waived entrance fees at national parks to make it easier for people to get outdoors and practice social distancing. But hospital staffs near the national parks are urging people to stay away, saying they can not handle more patients. And even some park officials say if someone is injured, they may not be able to get rescued because resources are focused on fighting coronavirus.

While some state parks are closed, others are open urging people to get outdoors while practicing social distancing
As far as state parks go, we are also hearing reports of more people than ever heading outdoors to state parks as daily life as we have known it comes to a temporary stop around the country. Some states are encouraging people to get outdoors – as long as they practice social distancing and stay away from things like playgrounds – while other states are completely closing their state parks. Missouri (click here), Wisconsin, (click here) and Colorado (click here) are open. And since things are changing everywhere so quickly, if you find yourself near a state park and are seeking to practice social distancing outdoors, be sure to check first if that park is still open.

RV manufacturers offer to donate rigs to help those fighting the coronavirus
The industry group for RV manufacturers is offering to donate RVs to hospitals or other organizations that may need them to fight the coronavirus outbreak. The agency wrote a letter to the head of the Coronavirus Task Force making the offer to donate 20 to the most critical health care settings in the country, and another 100 at below market costs. Overworked healthcare workers, nurses and physicians could use the RVs for much needed rest.

Parks Canada keeping “doors” open to national parks, but camping, restrooms, other services closed
In Canada, Parks Canada closed campgrounds, restrooms, and visitor centers to its national parks last week, but is still allowing visitors to enter for day use. Visitors are being told if they enter the park they are responsible for their own safety. But the parks are still open for those seeking a place to enjoy nature. 

 This part of the podcast is brought to you by RadPower Bikes, America’s #1 e-bike brand, offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping  

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

From Rich – Hi. Since we have a lot of time on our hands and we live in New York where everything is closed down, my wife and I are thinking of getting out of the cold and heading down towards Florida to get warm in the sun. I know the state parks are closed but you never could get into them anyway because in the best of times they are always filled. So no loss there. Can you recommend some private parks? Will we encounter any problem getting fuel as we drive?

Our advice: We have not heard of any issues with fuel….BUT…Stay Home! New Yorkers are not welcome in Florida right now. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he plans to issue an executive order mandating that anyone arriving on a flight from New York City and the surrounding area submit to self-quarantine for two weeks. Granted you may be coming by RV but that should give you an idea of the sentiments down here. The Florida Keys are totally shut down to visitors. Almost all Florida beaches are closed. All bars, restaurants and tourist attractions are shut down. This is NOT a good time to be traveling. And with New York being the epicenter of this pandemic in the U.S., I think you will find lots of resentment that you are traveling and encountering fears – justified or not – that you are bringing the disease with you.

Here’s something from our Facebook Group that I feel I need to bring up. It comes from an RVer named Susan:

“We just lost our caretaking job and are evicted. We live in our RV and have a very limited income. We are retired. Does anyone know of a place we could either get a workamping g position or monthly, reasonable priced spot in Arizona, Nevada, Utah areas.

Then, in response to that, another RVer, named Rach, said: “So am I I am stuck on a side road with no plug in, shower, way to cook.”

And out in California and a famous place called Slab City where a lot of RVers have boondocked set up semi permanent camp to save money… there is this from an RVer named Virgo…also from our RV Lifestyle Facebook Group:

“Several travelers have posted on this and other group pages that they were turned away at Beal Road by the Sheriff. Just wanted everyone to know that *Slab City is closed to new entries*. The Slabbers are no longer allowing any new RVs to come into town, nor are they allowing any tourists. The number of tourist have shot up to 600 people per day going to Salvation Mountain and the Slabbers quickly realized they putting them in danger. So no new RVs/campers/weekenders allowed. The road is blocked and closed, and at night there is someone at the guard station to make sure people don’t try to sneak in. There are a few thousand people there, the last thing they need is for someone to start infecting that community. There is a very very small hospital nearby, it has exactly 35 respirators.S o, if you thought you would plan to ride this out at the Slabs or you are already on your way, change your plans accordingly. They are seriously not letting people in. and they are very serious about it.”

Here in Florida, on our limited outings in the dog park, we have seen several times over the past few days, rundown, ratty-looking RVes day camping in the park. The police come by and chase them away at night but clearly, these people are finding n where to stay.

Folks, this is the danger of so many people who have limited incomes who think that fulltime RVing is the right way to live. When a disaster or crisis hits like this, they encounter serious problems and become, essentially, homeless

But there is one resource I want to share. It’s a Facebook Group called Displaced Nomads and Full Time RVers Relocation Service. Here is the link – https://www.facebook.com/groups/DisplacedNomadsandRVers/

Do you have a question you’d like us to answer, or a comment on the things we’re discussing. If so, we invite you to leave us that question or comment on the special voicemail number we have for the podcast – it’s 586-372-6990.  If you are driving and can’t write it down right now, just go to the RV Lifestyle travel blog at rvlifestyle.com and scroll down the page. You’ll see that number prominently posted on the blog.

This part of the RV Podcast is brought to you by Battle Born Batteries, maker of quality, safe and reliable lithium batteries that can be installed in just about every RV. Get in touch with Battle Born to find out what lithium batteries and an upgraded energy management system can add to your RV Lifestyle. Check them out at https://rvlifestyle.com/lithium

RV INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

In an effort to give you the latest about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting RVers, we have up to date interviews with some key folks representing several different segments of the RV Industry.

Here’s a video version of the interviews:

Here are links to resources for RVers about what is open and closed:

RESOURCES:

The interview of the week is brought to you by SunshinestateRVs.com, where every new  motorhome is delivered to the customer free, anywhere in the country

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT   

By Tom Burkett

When you drive into Picher, Oklahoma one of the first things you notice are the unusual hills all around the town.  This is fairly flat country, and they seem out of place.  Of course, it’s because they are.  They’re giant mounds of mine tailings called chat, and they’re incredibly toxic.  This area is called the tri-state mining district, and for more than a century produced vast quantities of lead and zinc for the industrial needs of the country.  The heavy metals in the waste material leach into the groundwater and make it unsafe for drinking or agricultural use.

The second thing you notice is that there’s no town there anymore.  Street signs, yes.  Sidewalks and driveways and even flower plantings and some overgrown vegetable gardens, but the houses are gone, leaving the lots with only sidewalks leading up to cement slabs where houses once stood.  Here and there is a house, still occupied, maybe one to each square block.  These residents are the holdouts, who elected not to take the federal relocation checks offered in 2008.

A few buildings remain – the High School, a church, a municipal building, and a few houses.  Several buildings have been destroyed by arsonists, and the site of the town bank now holds only collapsed remains and the skeleton of the vault.  The ground beneath the town is honeycombed by mine tunnels, and the Army Corps of Engineers determined twenty years ago that the ground was so unstable as to make the houses and buildings dangerous to inhabit.  This was true of the nearby town of Treece, Kansas.

This is an interesting place to put up a drone if you travel with one.  From that vantage you can clearly see the foundations of the destroyed houses and the eerily empty grid of streets that once served more than 1500 residents.  The chat hills are fenced off, but are easily examined with binoculars and make for interesting photographs.

Nearby is the town of Quapaw, home to the Native American nation of the same name.  It’s home to a casino that offers free RV parking with hookups.  As you travel the uncrowded roads in this corner of the country, there are lots of things to see.  Not all of them are beautiful, but every one is interesting and reminds you that its worth the time it takes to poke around in forgotten corners off the beaten path.

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Mike Wendland

Mike is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road. He enjoys camping (obviously), hiking, biking, fitness, photography, kayaking, video editing, and all things dealing with technology and the outdoors. See and subscribe to his RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube, where he has hundreds of RV and travel related videos. His PC MIke TV reports, on personal technology are distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations.

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