Monthly Archives: October 2015

Doug Lantz Named Shasta’s New Leader

Shasta RV today has named RV industry veteran Doug Lantz as president and general manager of the Middlebury, Indiana based manufacturer. As we reported this week, the position was made open by the sudden resignation of Mark Lucas to pursue other interests.

imagesLantz brings over 25 years experience in the RV industry to Shasta. He began his career in 1988 with Coachmen RV, but more important is he was a co-founder of EverGreen RV and served as its president from 2008-2012, while also serving in other roles with Evergreen in recent years.

Tribune Photo/GREG SWIERCZ The Ever-Lite line of RVs features environmentally conscious materials and is offered by EverGreen RV of Middlebury. Standing at the door is Douglas M. Lantz, president and chief operations officer of Evergreen RV.

photo courtesy indianaeconomicdigest.com

It’ll be interesting to watch Shasta going forward to see if we’ll see some of the same eco-friendly construction methods that have been used in Evergreen since their inception. Below is a video I found of Doug Lantz being interviewed while with Evergreen back in 2010.

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Shasta President Mark Lucas Resigns

Today I received word that a post on a Shasta Facebook page informed members that Shasta RV president Mark Lucas had resigned his position to pursue other interests. In an e-mail late tonight, Mark told me, “Well, the grapevine is fast and accurate. True, I chose to resign, but I can’t yet reveal any details of the new venture. I’ll keep you posted as soon as I can.”

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Lucas was hired on as president of Shasta in early 2012 after serving as the president and general manager at CrossRoads RV from 2002 through 2010. Under his leadership, the Shasta lineup saw a lot of reorganization and addition of new models, including the Phoenix 5th wheel and Flyte travel trailer to go along with the Revere and Oasis travel trailers. In a short span of time, Shasta’s market share has continued to grow and has quickly become an affordable and readily available brand for those budget conscious RVers.

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photo courtesy RV Business

His signature move was the one time project to reissue 1,941 1961 Shasta Airflyte 16 and 19 foot travel trailers that spanned late 2014 and into most of 2015. The reissue of the Airflyte took the RV industry by storm and infused a new crop of RVers into the market who never had an RV before, thanks to the introduction of the reissued Airflytes. However, the Airflyte didn’t come without its share of problems for Shasta, as nearly all but a couple hundred reissues were recalled in late September 2015 by parent company Forest River due to axle and window issues that were discussed here.

There’s been no official press release by Shasta or Forest River on his resignation, so there’s no word on who’ll be taking the helm at Shasta’s Middlebury, Indiana plant. I’ll have more updates as they become available.

 

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In 6 Short Years…

It was this afternoon in 2009 when I hitched up our brand new red 2010 T@B, “Cherry Bomb”, and headed for our first camping trip, a weekend trip to Summit Lake State Park near New Castle, Indiana. We had the T@B for about a month, but when we bought it, I had to borrow my dad’s truck to haul it from Tiara RV in Elkhart, Indiana to Indianapolis. You see, we didn’t have a tow vehicle when we bought it. And the reason we didn’t? Prior to September 2009, we weren’t RVers, let alone campers.

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Buying a teardrop trailer was something we always wanted to do, and I always had an interest in the “Airstream of teardrops”, the Camp-Inn. I spent many a night in the mid 2000’s browsing their website and thinking “one day” we’d be in a position to get one. In 2009 when we saw our first T@B while in Missouri one weekend, the following Wednesday we made a deal over the phone with Tiara RV on one of a few T@Bs they had left, as then manufacturer Dutchmen had ceased production of the T@B about a month prior. Sight unseen, other than the pictures on their website, we took the plunge and bought it without having anything to tow it with. 4023631479_90de42e073_zOur first priority was to get it and get it home. After that, I found a high mileage 1997 GMC Sierra that fit our budget, so we were set. And the fact the Sierra was red too was icing on the cake. By the time I replaced the rusting hitch on it, we were ready for our first camping trip. That happened on this day in 2009. We were on a T@B online forum on Yahoo Groups when we found out a small group of T@B owners were meeting for the weekend at Summit Lake State Park. We decided this would be a great way to meet other owners and for them to educate us on what we had. It was a rainy afternoon when we arrived, but we were met with open arms. We got a tutorial on how to set up our awning and we ourselves got an indoctrination into the “process” of camping, because when you’re new at camping, there are a lot of new processes to learn.

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That weekend started a new way of life for us. We’ve made more new and close friends than I can count and that purchase has opened more doors than I ever imagined it would. I never thought that chilly weekend in October that 6 years later I’d be reminiscing about it on a website dedicated to small travel trailers I created that nearly 2,000 people visit a day either. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you already have a trailer, but if you don’t and need a life change, you won’t find a better way to change it.

 

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Reintroduction of the Hi-Lo Brand Set for 2016

It was just over 4 years ago in the same month The Small Trailer Enthusiast hit the internet that I posted a story about a deal between Pennsylvania RV dealer Bill Kerola and the Snyder family, owners of Hi-Lo Trailers. Despite plans to have prototypes being built in the winter of 2012, things got sidetracked and put on the backburner. imagesNLIVU32KHowever, things picked up late in 2014 and pictures on the Kerola’s Camper Store Facebook page started to pop up, which resulted in a follow-up post by me here.  Throughout this year there have been a few more pictures surface and I finally contacted Bill Kerola to get the latest. “The Hi-Lo project had to get on the back burner but is now very close to reality. I have not prepared any press releases at this time but as you know we have posted some teasers and the new models are close. Very close.”

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“I have begun on design of the new website and need the new models for the website and brochures. After initial prototypes I will test camp in them and a production run will start. Some basic important stats are that we are building the exact same lift system that was the original lift system they used, the original front caps (with improved lift struts on the rock guard). I am extremely excited with the way it is progressing.”

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“The RV legend of Jim Snyder has been intricate in the new design. Believe it or not Mr. Snyder does all of his CAD work himself! I do plan on the Hi-Lo being offered for purchase in the Spring or sooner of 2016.”

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The initial model set to be released is the 16 foot Wanderer and will have two floor plans, the Wanderer RB and the Wanderer SD. Both floorplans will have a rear bed, Fantastic Fan, 3.0 cubic foot 3-way refrigerator, 2-burner stove,  propane furnace, 6,000 BTU air conditioner, fresh water tank, water pump, sink, and awning.

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“We are projecting a dry weight of 2600 lbs and a tongue weight around 270 lbs, but won’t know for sure until complete and tested”.  

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One important note is that the Hi-Lo will initially be offered as factory direct only, meaning no dealer network. However, Bill tells me that could change in the future. “As we grow I would consider a distributor network, perhaps a western and southern outlet. It’s sufficient to say that will be a future consideration.”

I’ll be updating this story over the next few months as Bill gets the Hi-Lo website up and running and the prototypes get tested and tweaked. With any luck, I’ll be able to make a trip out to Pennsylvania to get an up close look at one. Hi-Lo is one of the classic trailers that is well known in the industry. Their 55 year run from 1955-2010 left a lasting imprint in the RV industry, and now that the return of Hi-Lo is imminent, it’ll be worth watching their growth and how well they’ll be accepted. With former Hi-Lo exec Jim Snyder part of the process, I believe it should be a well built and thought out product. With the recent wave of reissued and retro travel trailers from the past, the time may be right for Hi-Lo to hit the market again with a fresh set of eyes and a new direction. Stay tuned…

 

**NOTE**: All pictures courtesy Bill Kerola

 

 

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2016 White Water Retro 177SE: Firsthand Report

Back in May, I told you of a special edition version of the White Water Retro 177 that was scheduled to hit the dealer lots in June. Through the summer, production of the 177SE has been brisk, and as of October, they’re still being produced.

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This past weekend I had the opportunity to get a firsthand tour of a 177SE, courtesy of the fine folks at Braun’s Fun Time Campers, an Indianapolis White Water Retro dealer. Since I first became aware of White Water back in 2011, I’ve paid close attention to the quality of the units, as I’ve gone on record in the past how disappointing some of the craftsmanship was early on.

DSC_0397However I began noticing great improvements in quality around 2013 and it’s been getting better ever since. The 177SE has some pop to it with the baby moon hubcaps and Coker whitewall tires. The paint schemes you can get on the 177SE are many, but I’m fond of both the red on white and the turquoise on white, both of which Fun Time Campers had on their lot that day.

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DSC_0398From a construction standpoint, all indications show the Retro is a well built unit, starting with an aluminum frame sitting on a 3500 lbs axle. The dry weight is around 2600 lbs and length is 18’6″. There are two exterior storage hatches, one on the front street side that is accessible from inside, and one hatch in the rear.

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The interior of the 177SE is well laid out. Up front there’s a dinette with sliding table that has storage underneath the booth.  It also converts to a bed for increased sleeping capacity. DSC_0381As wet baths go, the size of the 177SE’s is larger than most that I’ve seen. Comparing it to the Scotty I used to have, it’s probably about 1/3 larger, and should be more than adequate, as long as you understand a wet bath isn’t going to give you the size as a regular RV bathroom.  Next to the wet bath is a 6 cubic foot refrigerator/freezer that runs on electric or propane.

DSC_0382  DSC_0394 Across from the wet bath and refrigerator is the kitchenette, which includes a 2-burner stove, overhead microwave, sink, range, 3 drawers, 2 cabinets, and a wall mounted air conditioner. To aid with extra counter space, a flip-up counter top extension on the side next to the stove. DSC_0391

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The rear walk around island bed measures 60″ x 74″. There is plenty of storage around the bed with two wardrobes and 5 overhead cabinet doors, as well as storage underneath the bed as well. Atop the wardrobes are shelves for smaller items. Both sides have 110 electrical outlets and one side also has a combination USB and 12 volt charging outlet. There are also two LED reading lights overhead with each having its own on/off switch. DSC_0384

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What really sets off the interior is the birch wood that is along not only the walls, but up on the ceiling as well. That along with the black & white checkered floor and 1950’s era design on the dinette cushions completes what is a really well thought out interior that complements the exterior quite well.

Other key features of the 177SE include a 20 gallon fresh water tank, a 32 gallon gray water tank, a 10 gallon black water tank, and a 6 gallon DSI water heater. The floor is a stout 5/8″ thick plywood, and is supported by 4 stabilizer jacks. It’s also insulated with Radiant Barrier technology and includes a 16,000 BTU furnace.

There’s an active Facebook page for White Water Retro owners that I keep tabs on from time to time. I see very little in regards to any type of major problems with White Water products, and after spending quite a bit of time with this one this past weekend, I’d personally have no hesitation about having it for my next trailer. It’s really an ideal camper for two people. Coming from a Scotty where the bed was perpendicular to the length of the trailer, it left that unavoidable task of having to climb over my wife at night when I needed to use the bathroom. The island bed completely eliminates that and makes for a comfortable arrangement. Often times I get asked where a reproduction Serro Scotty HiLander can be found, but since they’re no longer in production, I often point those folks to the White Water Retro 177. Especially if you go with the turquoise on white, it gives you the same color scheme as the Scotty, with a similar floor plan, but with a bit more length and overall comfort.

Special thanks to Matt and Austin Braun at Braun’s Fun Time Campers for the chance to give the 177SE a look at their northeastside Indianapolis dealership. Matt’s been in the RV industry for nearly 40 years and he told me the White Water products are excellent, quality built products that haven’t come back for any type of serious issues since he first started carrying them in 2013.

For more info on the 177SE and other White Water products, check out the Riverside RVs website at http://riversidervs.net. To join other White Water Retro owners on Facebook, join the White Water Retro Trailer Owners page by clicking here.

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Free Roadside Assistance with 2016 Lance Campers

In a press release this week, Lancaster, California based Lance Camper has announced they’re adding a one year roadside assistance membership with the purchase of any 2016 Lance.

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The Lance Emergency Roadside Assistance membership covers the owner, a spouse or significant other, and children age 24 or younger licensed to drive, your RV or other vehicles owned. An independent third party manages the service for Lance, which includes:

Technical Support and Roadside Assistance provides 24/7 technical assistance from a staff of RVIA/ RVDA and ASE certified technicians.

Towing of the disabled vehicle to the nearest qualified repair facility.

Tire Assistance including changing of the vehicles flat tires or towing of the vehicle to a tire facility.

Delivery of Fuel and Emergency Fluids as necessary to remedy any disablement.

Locksmith/ Lockout Services to the vehicle and assistance in the opening of the locked vehicle, and or/ obtaining a replacement key.

Jump-Starts to the vehicles dead battery or a tow to a qualified facility.

RV Mobile Mechanic Dispatching of a mechanic to the site of the mechanically disabled vehicle.

Dealer locator will guide the customer to the nearest Lance authorized location.

The member is responsible for all charges related to on site repairs including but not limited to fuel, fluid, key services, parts and labor costs. Lance Emergency Roadside Assistance can be reached at 1.877.219.9641. lance-logo-t

 

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