Van Horn RV Park

An overnight stay. In the dirt. But with a lot of Texas character.

Our travel plan, when we left Myakka River Motorcoach Resort on February 6th, looked like this:

The drive from Alsatian RV Resort to Van Horn RV Park was one of the longest legs of our trip clocking in at almost nine hours behind the wheel. We were now better than halfway across the southern United States.

There are very few choices in places to stay in this part of Texas. I must admit that our arrival into Van Horn RV Park was not very promising.

Entering the park confirmed my suspicion that this was really not much more than a dirt field.

There was character here. Especially with a few of the rigs that were clearly planted for the long term. Those of us looking for an overnight stay were placed in a faraway corner of the park. Safety in numbers I guess.

There was a certain rustic charm to the place. We walked back out to the sign thoroughly enjoying the experience of being in this part of Texas.

The sign does say free WiFi. And you definitely get what you pay for namely unusable WiFi. I couldn’t pull in any cellular either. Unplugged for the day.

The toad was covered in dirt. I found a spray wash about two miles from the RV park and gave the car a bit of a bath. Detailing the coach and toad will have to wait until we get to California.

We made a decision to drop our next stop on the way. Hacienda RV Resort, a mere three hour drive from Van Horn RV Park, was cancelled and our stay at the Motorcoach Resort in Chandler, Arizona, extended.

A very long day behind the wheel to get to the Motorcoach Resort.

Here is a quick video of our trip from Alsatian to Van Horn. Aside from the congestion in San Antonio, the drive was wonderful.

2019 Florida RV Supershow

This will be our first visit to the Florida RV Supershow. We have been to the other large RV show in Hershey, Pennsylvania a few times and I think we know what to expect in terms of the crowds and the vendors.

We purchased our tickets in advance. You can buy your tickets online here. Getting them ahead of time will save you a bit of money, 9 dollars per admission as opposed to 10 dollars, and it gives you a second day admission at no extra charge. You have to pick up the second day ticket when your first day ticket gets scanned at the gate.

We will be heading out to the show from Myakka River Motorcoach Resort tomorrow morning. The drive is roughly 90 minutes and we plan to leave by 7:00am. The gates open at 9:00am.

A number of our friends left with their coaches yesterday. We are leaving our coach behind for this event as we will be spending only one day at the show.

From what I have learned, we have to bring some cash along. Parking at the Fairgrounds is cash only, 8 dollars a car, and some of the food vendors likely only take cash as well.

Weather looks like it will be comfortable tomorrow. Sunny and mild.

There is a show app that we will have with us along with a camera. I’ve taken a look at the map and the list of seminars although we will pick up the paper versions at the show.

I have one major item on my list that I would like to buy at the show if I can get a good deal: a Marathon, perhaps a Newell or even a Foretravel.

Just don’t tell Lorraine. It will be our secret, okay?

Lost Cat

“One of our guests is missing his tan Rafamuffin cat.” So read the email alert from the resort office yesterday.

Wilson, the name of the cat, left his coach just before midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Wilson’s home is this Marathon coach which was built back in the late 1990s. The owner was staying at Myakka for a few days along with some friends in another coach, a Beaver, also built in the late 1990s.

The two owners are actively racing cars. The owner of the lost cat shared with me a recent record for one of his vintage roadsters, powered by an Offenhauser engine. The car had set a speed record of 181mph based on two runs of 176mph and 185mph. Hot Rod covered the run at Bonneville and this is one of their photos from the day:

The owner of the lost cat was on his way to auction off several vintage cars including the Offy powered roadster to help fund his retirement.

His cat, Wilson, had been by his side for 11 years.

I’m not sure how the cat left the coach so late at night. And there are numerous predators in this area so I hope Wilson survived.

The owner stayed on the grounds for several hours after his checkout to look for his cat.

He has left now but I do not know whether Wilson was found.

Ban Fossil Fuel Vehicles

This headline was in the Globe and Mail today:

General Motors to shut down Oshawa plant in global restructuring.

Very bad news for the Canadian automotive industry. Many Canadians are blaming their government: an uncompetitive taxation system, high costs for energy and a burdensome regulatory environment.

Why is GM shutting down Oshawa? To focus on autonomous and zero-emission vehicles. And probably to relocate manufacturing activities from a higher cost country to a lower cost country.

It is too easy in North America to be isolated from what is happening around the world. For example, did you know that China announced a ban in 2017 on all production and new vehicle sales of gasoline and diesel by 2040?

And they are not alone.

Here is a current list of the bans that have been announced worldwide:

The auto industry is pouring billions into ramping up the production of electric vehicles in response to the bans that governments are imposing on gasoline and diesel vehicles. I’ve read estimates of roughly $100 billion with the expectation that 40 to 50 percent of all new production will be electric by 2040. Electric vehicles are less than 3 percent of the global market today. Here is one article about the upcoming changes to the automotive industry from an investor’s perspective.

Both the Canadian and U.S. governments have been rather silent on the banning of fossil fuel vehicles. There have been attempts by lobby groups to get the North American governments to impose bans at a national level. Even an online petition.

How possible would it be to pivot the automotive industry in 15 to 20 years? For most of the politicians ushering in these bans, they likely won’t be around to see them implemented. It’s also very difficult to predict how the technology will change over the next two decades. Likely these dates are soft dates intended to get an industry to focus on moving beyond conventional combustion engines.

I may well see a time when fossil fuel cars are no longer allowed to operate within large North American cities. It is already starting to happen in some cities in Europe.

Lorraine and I have not decided on our timing to change our coach. It seems, at least with what we have been seeing in our network of friends, that some owners of high-end motorhomes change their coaches frequently. As in every year or two. I suspect that within ten years, the decision to change a coach will be influenced by the actions of government on fossil fuels. The cost of diesel fuel may well become prohibitive and the RV industry will have to respond with a cost-effective alternative.

Regardless of whether you accept or deny climate change, fossil fuels appear to be on their way out. Perhaps even during my lifetime.

Essex On Fire

The Essex is a beautiful coach built by Newmar. You can find out more about the Essex on Newmar’s website here.

For Canadians, the Essex comes in at around $900,000, basically a million-dollar coach.

Which makes the following video somewhat hard to watch. If you have any issues viewing the video from this post, you can find it on Facebook here.

Their Essex and their toad were basically brand new. The toad caught fire first. They were able to bring their rig to a stop safely but they were unable to unhitch their toad and the fire spread to the back of their coach.

The owners were able to exit safely. Heartbreaking though. It would be so hard to watch your coach go up in flames.

What might have caused their toad to catch fire? I don’t know the reason for this incident. It could be due to an electrical fault. It could be due to friction if the toad was in gear or if the toad’s braking system was left engaged.

From what I have read, there are anywhere between 4,000 to 6,000 RV fires a year or about 15 RVs catching fire every day. Half of the fires are stationary.  I could not find any data on the number of RV fires caused by a towed vehicle.

When an RV is moving, the main culprits are engine fire or fire due to friction from the wheels and axles — tires and brakes account for roughly 20 percent of RV fires.

Using checklists might seem like overkill given the convenience and reliability of automobiles but there is good reason to be thorough when getting ready to head out on the road with a diesel pusher.

Diesel pusher engines are prone to engine fires and that reinforces the need to do frequent and thorough checks of the engine compartment for any signs of leaking.

Our toad, a Lincoln MKX, has a specific protocol to enter neutral towing mode. We make sure to check the free motion of the vehicle before we head out on the road and that the tow bar is properly engaged.

Checklists force a discipline to ensure that both our vehicles are safe and ready to operate.