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RVs, California
•  RV Places - This is a directory of campground and recreational vehicle services.
Information compiled by rv enthusiasts for use byRV Places rv'rs.
Find out about an rv campsite, rv campground, rv park, or rv service
BEFORE you spend your time & money!

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By: Erin Simpson

Worldly Road Warriors

RVers are becoming an ever sophisticated group, with many taking ‘grown-up vacations’ through California’s world-renowned wine country.

Despite a deep recession that has consumers pinching their pennies and business owners worrying about how to make payroll, Vineyard RV Park manager Meaghan Bertram wasn’t surprised when a caravan of custom-built, million-dollar recreational vehicles recently rolled into her Vacaville facility.
With many vacationers staying closer to home in order to save a few bucks, RVing has become an increasingly alluring option for people with sophisticated tastes to indulge in their pastimes, Bertram said. In her neck of the woods, many of those rolling bon vivants are focused on one thing: Wine.
“About 25 percent of people we see are specifically coming to see the Napa and Sonoma valleys,” Bertram said, “(With the economy), more people are traveling from closer destinations – people from L.A. or parts of the Bay Area are doing a local trip. A lot of people have lived here their whole life and have not spent time in the wine country.”
Bill Mundee, along with his brother Ken, opened the Wine Country RV Park in Paso Robles six years ago. They figured that between Hearst Castle, the Central Coast and the area’s wine country, there was a lot of business to be had. Catering to RVers who want to taste at the region’s increasingly popular wineries has become a large part of their business.
“That’s been our main customer since we opened,” Bill Mundee said.
The Mundees offer wine tasting at the park, point oenophiles to good wineries and are even thinking of starting a shuttle service to take RVers on wine tours.
Business is good, Mundee said. On the weekends when wine festivals pepper area parks and downtowns, his facility will be sold out months in advance.
Though he hasn’t been in the business for that long, Mundee thinks it’s fair to say RV culture has grown more sophisticated.
“They want a place to sleep. They want wi-fi,” he said. “They want to drink wine.”
Mike Nohr, manager of the 21st Annual Manufacturers’ RV and Boat Show, said he’s noticed the growing sophistication of RVers as well, and sees it as a market he can tap. At his Pleasanton RV show, for instance, consumers will be able to purchase hot tubs and customized kitchens – luxuries that would never have popped up at his shows a decade ago.
“The old RV stereotype has definitely changed. These are cultured people with distinctive tastes,” said Nohr, whose show is slated to open at the Alameda County fairgrounds on May 15 and run through May 24. “I’ve noticed more and more RVers focusing their trips on exploring our region’s wine country – which is a great thing.”
Case in point: Suzanne and Bill Wilkinson, who love to travel to the Paso Robles RV park and taste what the region has to offer. After buying their first tent trailer years ago to camp with the kids, they upgraded in 2005 to a Holiday Rambler Savoy travel trailer and now say they go wine tasting four or five days a month.
The couple from Wood Park in Southern California find taking their RV for weekends in Paso Robles is the perfect way to find new wineries and taste new wines – a pastime they’ve enjoyed for a decade.
“The RV allows us to go where the functions are and enjoy the functions to the fullest without worrying about being on the road and the distance,” said Suzanne Wilkinson, 51. “And we get to meet other people that enjoy the same passion.”
They do run into many like-minded RVers on the wine trail
“It used to be what I would see was dirt bikes and beer,” said Bob Wilkinson, 58. “This isn't that at all. It’s very much more sophisticated than the camping I used to do years ago.”
The Wilkinsons enjoy the convenience, freedom and romance that traveling with their RV gives them.
“It’s a grown-up getaway,” Suzanne Wilkinson said.
Many people, like the Wilkinsons, choose to RV because of the convenience of having a “home on wheels,” said Vineyard RV Park employee Elena Brown. There is never the disappointment of finding out the room is much smaller than it looked on the hotel Web site, no hassles with disinterested clerks and no need to pack and repack at different stops along the way.
What’s more, there is a definite cost-savings to RVing. A recent study for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association showed that typical family RV camping vacations on average are 27 to 61 percent less expensive on a per-day basis than other types of vacations.
“Traveling is more economical that way,” Brown said, “and there is a greater population of people who own these (RVs) now.”

What to do in the area:

San Francisco Bay Area

Wente Vineyards:
5050 Arroyo Road - Livermore, CA
Phone 925.456.2400

Vacaville RV Park:
4985 Midway Road
Vacaville, CA 95688
Phone: (707) 693-8797

What to do in the area:

V. Sattui Winery
1111 White Lane, St. Helena, CA
Pet friendly; great place for a picnic. Deli and gift store.

Robert Mondavi
Hwy 29, Oakville, CA

Castello di Amorosa
A 12th Century Tuscan Castle-Winery
4045 St. Helena Hwy (Hwy 29), Calistoga, CA

Kendall-Jackson  Annual Barrel Tasting
11am-4pm
Paso Robles RV Park:
2500 Airport Road, Paso Robles, CA
805-238-4560 or Toll Free 866-927-8669

What to do in the area:

Penman Springs – Coziest and friendliest tasting room

Clautiere Vineyards – Most outlandish tasting room, a must see

 Annual Zinfandel Festival Weekend
 

Traveling Safely – Tips To Keep You, Your Family And Your Possessions Safe While On The Road

Doing a tour of the country in an RV is certainly a thrilling way to see a variety of destinations. However, RV’s are large vehicles, and most are trailers, which you may not be used to towing. One of the many concerns that crop up with a towing trailer is its weight. RV weight can vary greatly, and the towing vehicle needs to be able to accommodate the RV.

You already have the ability to drive an RV if you’re a skilled car driver. However, like all drivers, an RV operator can be placed in an emergency situation at any point. Good defensive driving techniques will keep you from being involved in accidents. Always keep a three-second or more following distance from the vehicle ahead of you. Also, you should always use your vehicle’s mechanical signals when you move in and out of traffic.

Here are some free RV safety trips:  Look over all your RV’s gear and systems at least a week before you take to the open road. Always examine tires, brakes, jacks, lights, oil, radiator, belts, horn, shocks, steering, windshield wipers and washers, lubrication and other critical equipment. Tires are one of the most important factors to safe RVing. Well-adjusted brakes are also crucial.

Tools to keep handy:

§         Screwdrivers

§         Camp Axe

§         Pliers

§         Duct tape

§         Road flares

§         Flashlight

§         Jumper cables

§         Adjustable wrench

§         Swiss Army Knives

It’s easy to let your guard down at times and overlook the fact that not everybody you come across will be as law abiding as you might be. RVer's are a prime target for the criminal mind. To reduce the probability that you will be a victim, take these precautions:

§         Rest stops attract criminals, so never stay overnight

§         Get in the habit of locking the doors when no one is in the RV

§         Schedule stops at gas stations, convenience stores and ATM’s during daylight hours, and be aware of your surroundings whenever you stop

§         Always park in a well-lit area with the entry door of the RV facing where most of the action is

§         Keep any valuables inside the RV secured and out of sight

§         Do not store valuable equipment in outside storage compartments – many of these compartments can be accessed with keys belonging to any other RV

Plan your trip carefully before you set out. Driving too fast or for long periods of time can cause fatigue and falling asleep at the wheel. Limit your driving time to 5 or 6 hours per day. Stay alert and monitor what is going on around you at all times. Avoid driving or pulling your RV during bad weather and high winds. Finally, stay safe and smart, and enjoy your RV experience.

Adam O’Connor

www.InsideYourRV.com

 

 
Related Resources
Amusement Parks
Anaheim
ATVs
Auto Racing
Backpacking/Hiking
Bakersfield
Baseball
Basketball
Beaches
Bed and Breakfast
Beverly Hills
Big Bear
Big Sur
Biking
Bishop
Blues Music
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California Schools
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Casinos
Catalina Island
Channel Islands
Charter Boats
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Lake Arrowhead
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Los Angeles
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Media Sources
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Nonprofit Groups
Oakland
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RV Parks
Sacramento
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San Francisco
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Skydiving
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Living out of an RV in California Jack D Deal Videos

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By: Erin Simpson

As might be expected, sales of recreational vehicles have plummeted in the last year as the recession deepens, credit dries up and consumers concentrate on saving money.

But over the past couple months, RV dealers have begun to experience something unexpected – an uptick in the number of savvy buyers drawn to their sales lots by steep discounts. Like businesses looking to lure customers, dealers are cutting prices to move their products. Industry experts say that makes this the best time in 30 years to buy an RV.

"We're having people coming in saying 'make me a deal I can't refuse,'" said Michael Jacque, president of Morgan Hill-based Alpine RV, who said buyers can expect price cuts of 15 to 20 percent across the board. "If you have the means, without a doubt this is the best time to buy an RV."

Sales of RVs, from economical towables to luxurious land-yachts, dropped almost 41 percent in California between November 2008 and the previous year, according to Statistical Surveys, which tracks RV retail sales. Nationally, sales were down 28 percent during that same time period.

Slashed prices and fiscal incentives, including the recently signed $789 billion federal economic stimulus package that includes tax breaks for people buying RVs, are combining to create one of the best buyers' markets in decades, RV dealers say.

Jacque, who’s been in the business for 30 years, said this recession is the worst hit he’s seen the industry take. However, with sales and traffic on the rise, hope and optimism are starting to creep back in. He expects business to get better in the following months and possibly peak in May – something Mike Nohr, director of the 21st Annual Manufacturers’ RV and Boat Show, is banking on.

Nohr originally had his Pleasanton-based show planned for early January but changed the dates to the last two weeks in May in the hopes of catching an upsurge in business.

“It's an oxymoron in a way,” Nohr said. “The industry is hurting, yet we're hearing more and more of our vendors saying people are interested in getting into an RV because they realize this is the time to get a deal.”

When he made the decision to change the dates of his show, which has been a staple at the Alameda County Fairgrounds for two decades, Nohr knew it was a gamble. But with nearly 30 dealers planning to attend, he believes he'll be holding the right cards come May.

"Obviously it's best to shop around when you're looking to save money," he said. “And with this many dealers in one place willing to negotiate, people could save a boatload.”

One of those dealers is Henry Flores, general manager of Los Banos-based Toscano RV. Flores believes the industry has already hit rock bottom and things are beginning to look up. While his sales haven’t surged yet, he’s seen more traffic on his lot than in previous months. The buyers perusing his wares are hip to the situation the industry is in and willing to capitalize on it, too, he said.

“They know it is the time to buy. They know they can buy something reasonable and get a deal,” Flores said. “Two to three years ago, no way. The market was hot. But now, people know they’re gonna be able to steal it. They know.”

Recession RVing by the Numbers (info box):

· Best time in 30 years to buy an RV

· RV sales in California are down nearly 41 percent and 28 percent nationwide

· Dealers are experiencing more buyer interest now than they were six months ago

· The Pleasanton Manufacturers' RV and Boat Show, held from May 15-24, will host nearly 30 dealerships in one place offering reduced prices

· Buyers can experience 15-20 percent discounts across the board

· Economic stimulus package allows a portion of the sales tax on motorhomes to be deducted; applies to the first $49,500 of the purchase price for people with an income of up to $125,000


By: Erin Simpson

As might be expected, sales of recreational vehicles have plummeted in the last year as the recession deepens, credit dries up and consumers concentrate on saving money.

But over the past couple months, RV dealers have begun to experience something unexpected – an uptick in the number of savvy buyers drawn to their sales lots by steep discounts. Like businesses looking to lure customers, dealers are cutting prices to move their products. Industry experts say that makes this the best time in 30 years to buy an RV.

"We're having people coming in saying 'make me a deal I can't refuse,'" said Michael Jacque, president of Morgan Hill-based Alpine RV, who said buyers can expect price cuts of 15 to 20 percent across the board. "If you have the means, without a doubt this is the best time to buy an RV."

Sales of RVs, from economical towables to luxurious land-yachts, dropped almost 41 percent in California between November 2008 and the previous year, according to Statistical Surveys, which tracks RV retail sales. Nationally, sales were down 28 percent during that same time period.

Slashed prices and fiscal incentives, including the recently signed $789 billion federal economic stimulus package that includes tax breaks for people buying RVs, are combining to create one of the best buyers' markets in decades, RV dealers say.

Jacque, who’s been in the business for 30 years, said this recession is the worst hit he’s seen the industry take. However, with sales and traffic on the rise, hope and optimism are starting to creep back in. He expects business to get better in the following months and possibly peak in May – something Mike Nohr, director of the 21st Annual Manufacturers’ RV and Boat Show, is banking on.

Nohr originally had his Pleasanton-based show planned for early January but changed the dates to the last two weeks in May in the hopes of catching an upsurge in business.

“It's an oxymoron in a way,” Nohr said. “The industry is hurting, yet we're hearing more and more of our vendors saying people are interested in getting into an RV because they realize this is the time to get a deal.”

When he made the decision to change the dates of his show, which has been a staple at the Alameda County Fairgrounds for two decades, Nohr knew it was a gamble. But with nearly 30 dealers planning to attend, he believes he'll be holding the right cards come May.

"Obviously it's best to shop around when you're looking to save money," he said. “And with this many dealers in one place willing to negotiate, people could save a boatload.”

One of those dealers is Henry Flores, general manager of Los Banos-based Toscano RV. Flores believes the industry has already hit rock bottom and things are beginning to look up. While his sales haven’t surged yet, he’s seen more traffic on his lot than in previous months. The buyers perusing his wares are hip to the situation the industry is in and willing to capitalize on it, too, he said.

“They know it is the time to buy. They know they can buy something reasonable and get a deal,” Flores said. “Two to three years ago, no way. The market was hot. But now, people know they’re gonna be able to steal it. They know.”

Recession RVing by the Numbers (info box):

· Best time in 30 years to buy an RV

· RV sales in California are down nearly 41 percent and 28 percent nationwide

· Dealers are experiencing more buyer interest now than they were six months ago

· The Pleasanton Manufacturers' RV and Boat Show, held from May 15-24, will host nearly 30 dealerships in one place offering reduced prices

· Buyers can experience 15-20 percent discounts across the board

· Economic stimulus package allows a portion of the sales tax on motorhomes to be deducted; applies to the first $49,500 of the purchase price for people with an income of up to $125,000

A Greener Path
By Erin Simpson

Earth-friendly recreational vehicles and accessories on the rise as consumers demand more green options

Living lightly on the planet is entering mainstream American culture as consumers demand eco-friendly products ranging from organic clothing to hybrid cars. Even recreational vehicle owners, a group of consumers not immediately associated with environmental responsibility, are jumping on the green bandwagon.


Eighteen percent of RV owners are already using solar panels, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), and new regulations are being instated to ensure wood products in all new RVs for sale in California have low formaldehyde levels. While green RVs aren’t mainstream yet, experts agree the industry is moving in that direction.


“It’s basic supply and demand,” said Michael Nohr, manager of the Pleasanton-based 21st Annual Manufacturers’ RV Show, which runs May 15-25 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. “Consumers want more green features, so manufacturers are beginning to respond.”

When he hosted his first RV show two decades ago, Nohr joked that the only green option was for the paint job. In fact, even five years ago, the average RVer would have “looked at me sideways” if he tried to steer them toward a vendor hawking green wares, he said.

“Now I’d get a sideways look if I didn’t have vendors offering those amenities – like rigs already fitted with solar panels,” Nohr said. “And it’s really not that big of a leap when you look at the numbers. RV vacations are actually greener than other ones.”

A recent study for the RVIA found that RV vacations have a significantly smaller carbon footprint than their plane/car/hotel counterparts. In many cases, the more traditional vacation emitted nearly twice the amount of CO2 than the same RV vacation, the study showed.

Vacaville-based Vineyard RV Park owner Meaghan Bertram, whose park is a certified green business, said despite the bad rap they get, RVs are inherently efficient – especially where water and electricity are concerned. The downfall is gas consumption; however she echoed Nohr’s sentiments that consumer demands for a lighter, more fuel efficient model will force the industry to pay attention.

“Overall, I think the industry is really at the crossroads of a huge change,” Bertram said. “Five years ago, nobody in this industry even talked about green. Now it is the new buzzword.”

Sales manager Jim Eberhardt of McMahons RV Santa Cruz – a city known for its green inclinations – said he gets consumers asking about green RVs “all the time.” He estimated that 20 to 40 percent of his customers want to know about eco-friendly options – specifically hybrid engines.

“Fuel economy is what it is,” said Eberhardt, who believes a true hybrid RV will be a huge success when it hits the marketplace. “(Consumers) never ask about price. A lot of them don’t understand why (manufacturers) aren’t doing it now.”

Until they do, consumers will have to green their rigs in other ways, such as installing wind turbines and converting their engines to use bio-diesel.

Brian Brawdy, an ex-New York police officer turned green RVer, did just that when he decided to hit the road just over a year ago in a quest to live off the grid and get in touch with nature and himself.

“I did it not only to be environmentally friendly. The environment I’m most interested to be friendly to is the mental environment of me being out in the middle of nowhere,” Brawdy said. “For me, it’s the combination of green RVing, but also self-reliance and independence.”

Brawdy estimated he invested upwards of $10,000 in greening his RV – a 2008 Ford pickup truck with a Lance camper – and hit the road. His journey has taken him to 48 states so far. Thanks to his green modifications, much of the voyage has been augmented by nature.

He installed solar panels and a wind turbine on the RV to help generate electricity. He uses a rain filtration system. And he uses electricity-sipping LED lights and fills up with bio-diesel when possible – last year he was able to use it about a third of the time.


The modifications mean he can pull over wherever and whenever – even in the middle of nowhere – because he doesn’t have the need for power hookups holding him back. That, Brawdy said, is exactly what more people need to do to send green RVing into the mainstream.


“More people need to get out. You’re more inclined to want to save something if you’ve savored it first,” he said. “Unless we start encouraging people to explore off the beaten path, nobody’s gonna want to protect it. RVing is not going away. You can’t legislate the nomadic human spirit out of people.”

How you can be a green RVer:

· Purchase an RV with green accoutrements already installed: Models available at the 21st Annual Manufacturers’ RV Show at the Alameda County Fairgrounds from May 15-25.

· Keep the speedometer between 55 and 60 mph to conserve fuel.

· Keep the tire pressure at about 100 pounds to reduce rolling resistance.

· Don’t idle – idling for 10 seconds generates more carbon dioxide than restarting.

· Turn off the lights when you don’t need them and use LED lights in lieu of traditional bulbs.

· Keep engines well-tuned to conserve energy and reduce emissions.

· Live light -- literally. Carrying less in your vehicle increases fuel efficiency.