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    • larrypennington

      Update from Texas Assn of Campground Owners re: Evacuees   08/28/17

      Good morning, There are now at least 18 privately owned and operated campgrounds and RV parks across Texas that are accepting evacuees. The attached news release, updated from the one the association issued yesterday, includes the names and contact info for the parks. Consumers can also do their own research to identify parks with RV spaces and rental cabins at www.TexasCampgrounds.com and www.TexasCabinRentals.net. Please contact Brian Schaeffer, executive director and CEO of the Texas Association of Campground Owners, on his cell phone at (817) 307-0129 for any questions. We will continue to update this release over the weekend based on the feedback we receive from campgrounds and RV parks across Texas. Many thanks for including our information in your reports yesterday. We appreciate it. Sincerely, Jeff Crider
      (760) 567-9775 (cell)
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The Economy Is Getting Better?

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I find it amazing the the government says that the economy is getting better. But unemployment is still high. The prices of RVs are getting higher and higher. Soon the only ones RVing will be the one percent. The little guy will be priced out, as well as the full-timer. In 347 days I will be going full-time and other than workcamping will only have S.S. income and pension. It does look scary.

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Better is a relative term. Better doesn't mean great or even good. Is the economy better than January 2008? Absolutely, no question in my mind. Does it still have a long way to go? Absolutely, again, no question about that.

One way I know that things are better is that the park where I'm parked now is full of RV's. In 2008, parks were pretty empty all the time. The only people in many parks were people who had lost their home and were living in a trailer rather than living out of their cars or in shelters as many were doing at that time. In 2008 you could drive all day and not see an RV on the road. Now you see them everywhere. In 2008 RV manufacturers were dropping like raindrops in a thunderstorm. Today, the remaining RV manufacturers are manufacturing fewer RV's but are in a stable business environment. I'm not aware of any RV manufacturer who has gone out of business in the last few months or year. There is probably some example that can be cited but I'm betting it isn't more than one or two in the last two years.

Is the economy better for everyone? No, almost certainly some people are in the same situation they were in January 2008. Many jobs were lost and not all have come back. Many people who lost jobs ended up with a lower paying job. But a lower paying job is better than no job at all. So for those people it is better though not good or great. You get the idea.

I've cited examples from the RV world because that is the focus of this forum but there are examples to be seen everywhere. Housing beginning to recover, faster in some areas than others but it is coming back to life. Autos are selling like hotcakes according to the latest news stories. I fly small airplanes and the news in the aviation industry is positive, way better than after 2001 and also better than 2008. We would all like things to be much better and I have no doubt that they will but the road to great will almost certainly involve a few bumps along the way.

If you are feeling uncertain about your future and your finances, going full time on the road may not be the best plan. There is a great deal of risk when putting all your eggs in an RV and setting out on the road. It is one of the great American dreams but not everyone can make it work. If you can do it and enjoy it, then life on the road is wonderful. But if you are going to be struggling to make it work and worried about maintenance and repair costs, you may not get the enjoyment you are expecting from this venture.

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I submit we're in the midst of "The Golden Age" for RV'ing. Virtually every aspect of the burgeoning US economy is riding in our favor.

Money is cheaper than ever, people forget that. Heck, we paid 17% interest rates in the 1980s. I'd always envied my parents for their 4% VA loan, taken out in 1965. Lately, countless homeowners have refinanced for less than that. RV loans aren't too much more expensive.

Gas is below historical averages, in terms of inflation-adjusted dollars. Check the price of gas against the minimum wage. Historically, 30 minutes of work bought you about one gallon of gas. Since we're in a period of lower than average minimum wage (about $16/hr in 2013 dollars, average, from 1937 to present), that would put gas at $8 per gallon. Easy to prove on your own, look it up yourselves. Again, we're talking averages, some people can cite paying more and others, less.

Taxes are at an all-time low. If you don't believe me, simulate doing your income taxes at 1945, 1950 or 1960 rates. The results will amaze you.

If that trifecta of conditions favorable to RV'ers isn't enough, used rig prices are still down from the depressed market of several years back. Oh, and the Dow has shattered records, which means your retirement investments are up.

Oh yeh. Not that it directly affects RV'ers much, but the National Unemployment Rate has nearly returned to historical averages, and we're basking in an unusual break from inflation.

1990 Holiday Rambler Imperial, $103,758 MSRP ($185,667 in 2013 dollars) Pick a rig, compare its price in today's dollars. It's fun!

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