The RV Podcast

RV Podcast Episode 201: The Different Stages of the RV Lifestyle

 Show Notes for Episode #201 July 18, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

Are you an RV newbie? Maybe you travel with young kids. Or grandkids. How far do you drive each day? Do you like state parks? Commercial campgrounds? Or are you interested in boondocking and camping off the grid? Then, perhaps you’re a seasoned RVer entering those golden years and not able to be quite as physically active as you once were. In this episode of the podcast, we talk about the different stages of the RV Lifestyle and the opportunities and challenges each stage presents along the way.

I think you’ll really enjoy – and perhaps learn a few things – in this picnic table campsite conversation we had with a fellow RVer coming up in our interview of the week segment a little later in the program.

Also in this Episode. Lots of RV news, RV tips , technology ideas and a wonderful off the beaten path report from the Burketts.

But first, my lifelong traveling companion and my bride… Jennifer.

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

MIKE

As this 201st episode of the RV Podcast is released, it finds Jennifer us in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, staying in Bingeman’s Campground along the Grand River, just a couple miles from the Roadtrek Motorhomes factory. We’re up here this week to present a seminar at the Owner’s Academy organized by the Erwin Hymer Group of North America. 

 

JENNIFER

We have been very busy. We came here fresh from a wonderful week in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, at another one of our Roadtreking Gatherings. This was the fifth gathering of the year and one of the most active ones we have ever had. We did white water rafting, tubing down a river, took a train excursion in the Nantahala River gorge and Mike is still pumped about an exhilarating zip line mountaintop to mountaintop adventure he took part in.

 

MIKE

Exhilarating is right. That zip line had us traveling 1.5 miles across the mountains at speeds of up to 55 miles an hour and 350 feet above the ground. It was a blast.

 

JENNIFER

 

 We’ll have a video coming out about the week there but if you are looking for lots of outdoor adventure, the area around Bryson City, NC is a perfect place to go. But now we’re off on another trip, this one to Canada. We’ll finish our seminar and immediately hit the road again, making a beeline south to the Memphis, TN area, where we’ll be for another week. I’ll tell you, no grass is ground under our tires this summer. We have been criss-crossing North America pretty much on stop since May!

 

MIKE

Besides the traveling and exploring, we’ve been shooting videos every day and have a whole bunch of them to edit. Besides that, we’ve been working on a special book, a guide to RV Traveling with a dog. It has lots of tips and helpful advice, learned first hand by us with our dog Bo and shared by many of you who have been gracious enough to share your K9 wisdom. How much will it cost? Nothing. We will be giving it away. It should be done over the next couple of weeks.

 

JENNIFER

What about our Merch store? How is that coming along? People are asking all the time about our RV hats and T-shirts and the like.

 

MIKE

That, too, will soon be ready. We’ll start with a few items and then expand it. The best way for people to know about these things is through our RV Lifestyle newsletter. We’ll notify subscribers there first. The newsletter is free. They can sign up from our RV Lifestyle travel Blog at Roadtreking.com

 

JENNIFER

Here’s something I want to make people aware of…. This has been a really, really bad year for ticks. They are everywhere this year. Every area of the country that we have visited has reported serious tick infestations.  Tick bites can transmit Lyme disease and public health officials nationwide are urging people to wear long pants and long sleeved shirts when hiking in tick country and to carefully check themselves each day. Same with pets. Our friend Yan Seiner shared on our Facebook Group that he had to pull off six ticks after our Roadtreking gathering in the Smoky Mountains last week. One, he said, was hiding in a hat he wore. We’ll link in the show notes to a story we did on the blog about how to safely remove ticks from people and pets.

 

MIKE

That tick removal tool IS CALLED The Tick Key, $15.95 for a set of three on Amazon. It makes tick removal quick and easy. I keep one on my key chain.

Meanwhile, here is the RV news this week.

JENNIFER

Banff closes section of park after bear stomps tent to get wine
Parks Canada closed a section of Banff National Park last week to protect the public from a bear. It will remained closed for up to three weeks, and the section closed, along the Lake EDIT

Minnewanka trails, includes six campgrounds. What happened was a couple, camping in a tent, went away from their tent to prepare a meal and eat at the designated eating area. When they returned to their tent they found bear bites and scratches on their tent and belongings, and realized they had accidentally left a glass of wine inside. Park officials said bears are very curious, likely smelled the wine, and went into the tent to drink it. Now, for everyone's safety, people need to remain out of the area for the next few weeks. Violators could face a $25,000 fine. To learn more, click here.

MIKE
Texas RV Museum celebrates history of motorized campers
If you're traveling anywhere near Amarillo, Texas, and have an interest in historical RVs, be sure to swing by the Jack Sisemore Traveland RV Museum. The free museum draws up to 150 people daily, according to a story out last week, and features restored historical RVs. It is believed to be one of two RV museums in the country, and features a 1915 motorhome built on a Model T Ford (apparently Henry Ford was a camper), a 1937 Kozy Kamp which was one of the first tent trailers, and a 1937 Airstream. To read more about the interesting collection and man behind it, click here.

JENNIFER

Wolves surround woman at Washington campground, she climbs tree to escaped and is  rescued by helicopter

Officials at Tiffany Spring Campground in northern Washington are trying to determine whether it is safe for the public to visit the area after a helicopter had to rescue a woman there after a pack of wolves surrounded her. The woman, a research student, found the pack closing in on her. She climbed a tree to escape and called for help. A helicopter was sent to rescue her. While the wolves were still there when it arrived, rescuers were able to land and take the researcher away. To learn more, click here.

 

MIKE
Kentucky State Park campgrounds offering two-for-one sale in September
Planning to camp in Kentucky this September? If yes, you want to listen to this. Kentucky State Parks is offering a special two-for-one camping price at campgrounds throughout the month of September. To qualify you would need to stay on a Sunday-Thursday night, and give a special coupon code. You would then pay for one night, with the second night free. To learn more click here.

JENNIFER

Need to smile? Watch Katmai's live bearcams this July
Stuck inside and need a reason to smile? Try watching the BearCam. Katmai National Park in Alaska has ther bear cams are up and operating and July is prime bear watching. The cameras stream live footage from throughout the park to literally thousands from around the world. One of the most popular live cameras is at Brooks Falls, where views can watch salmon jumping up the stream to bears trying to catch them. To watch for yourself, and learn more about Katmai's bears, click here or here.

 

 

This part of the program is brought to you by AllStays Pro, the best tool for RVers looking for places to camp, boondock or stay free overnight. Go to http://roadtreking.com/allstays for more info.

 

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

 

We RVers are always looking for ways to save space. Here’s one that I have heard from several different people that is worth passing on to you.

We all pack our refrigerators with condiments. Catsup, mustard, relish, perhaps steak sauce or mayonnaise.

Next time you eat out in a restaurant, look for those little individual sized condiment packages that so many places offer instead of having big bottle of catsup or mustard or whatever on the table.

Now don’t be greedy or obnoxious about it but take a couple of them with you for the RV. After a while, you’ll have a nice assortment. They store easily in a drawer, or, better yet, a small plastic container.

Because the individual packets don’t need to be refrigerated, they can be stored anywhere. Thus, you save valuable space in the refrigerator for food that does need to be kept cold.

That’s just a simple tip. But often simple is the best, right?

Now… be sure to send me your tips and suggestions for the RV lifestyle. You can use the “Leave Voicemail” link at Roadtreking.com. Just click it and then use the built-in microphone on your computer or mobile devise to record a message to me. You can do it over as many times as you want, until you are satisfied. And then you just click a button and it comes right to my email inbox.

I love hearing from you!

 Jennifer's tip of the week is brought to you by RadPower Bikes ,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping  

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

Mark and Nancy lost their Serpentine belt and is stranded on the road without a spare.

            The serpentine belt is called that because it has many twists and turns as it wraps around pulleys and such in the engine handing things like the vehicle’s air conditioning and, in the case of your RV, the battery charging system.  Most any RV or auto repair facility can change it…it’s too involved to describe that process verbally. But the more challenging task is to find the right sized belt. The model we have for our V-6 Sprinter Roadtrek is from NAPA and a Micro-V, model number NBH 25060523HD. The HD is for Heavy Duty as it considered a truck version and is colored  green, not black like most automotive belts. It costs $33. You can order at most any auto parts store and it's aways good to have a spare. Call 1-888-ROADTREK to double check the correct size belt and part number.

Another listener named Nancy has a broken water pump.

            To clean the water pump strainer make sure the water pump and any water supply going to the RV is turned off. Open a faucet in the RV to relieve the water pressure. Disconnect the water line going to the strainer. On most water pumps you simply grasp the front section of the strainer, push in slightly and turn counter clockwise. It will separate from the section of the strainer that is screwed into the pump. Note: You do not need to unscrew the entire strainer assembly from the pump. Now you can remove and clean the strainer screen. When the strainer is clean reassemble in the opposite order. Make sure there is water in the fresh water holding tank, turn the pump on to pressurize the system and check for leaks.

 

And a listener named Lynn has an older Class A. She’s worried about taking it out on the open road far from home.

 

This part of the podcast is sponsored by Steinbring Motorcoach, Roadtrek’s newest dealer and a third generation family business in Minnesota’s beautiful Chain of Lakes region built on quality motorhomes and excellent pricing and service.

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

 

Are you an RV newbie? Maybe you travel with young kids. Or grandkids. How far do you drive each day? Do you like state parks? Commercial campgrounds? Or are you interested in boondocking and camping off the grid?

Then again, perhaps you’re a seasoned RVer entering those golden years and not able to be quite as physically active as you once were. In this episode of the podcast, we talk about the different stages of the RV Lifestyle and the opportunities and challenges each stage presents along the way.

I think you’ll really enjoy – and perhaps learn a few things – in this picnic table campsite conversation we had with a fellow RVer named Jim Blair.

 

Here’s a video version of the conversation.

 

And here’s a full word-for-word transcript.

 

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

 

At Sunshine State RV’s you’ll find the largest selection of some of the rarest Class B RVs in the United States of America. If you are looking for a Class B RV, you need to make a trip to Sunny Florida. Our RVs range from 1990 to our current year and everything in between. They also carry the most popular brands like Roadtrek, Pleasure Way, Winnebago, Leisure Travel, and more. You will not find a wider selection anywhere else. 

Every RV they sell has been through a very thorough 172-point inspection in which the ensure that all the mechanical and manual systems are in top condition. Every RV is road tested to make sure it runs and drives the way that it should. They go over the interior components just as entirely as the outside, and every component is turned on and tested to make sure it works. All of their used RVs are thoroughly cleaned and detailed inside and out, and they even check the roof for cracks and replace any silicone caulking. 

 

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

 

Growing up in Wisconsin, we’d have a family reunion every July. But I had no idea that July was actually recognized as Family Reunion Month!

So as you’re traveling around the country, you and others are likely making a point to stop and visit relatives. Or maybe you’re looking to host a larger gathering of your own? Which is why today I wanted to talk about the tech to help make your own family reunion a success.

First, what’s a reunion without reminiscing? Consider making a photo collage board that attendees can look at. While many of our photos are digital today, apps like Free Prints Now, make it easy to print them out. In fact, with Free Prints you can order up to 85 free 4 x 6 inch photos a month - all you pay is shipping.

Next, set up your own selfie station at the reunion. Simply mount a Samsung Galaxy S9 or S9+ and launch the camera in selfie mode. Now all guests have to do is position themselves in front of the camera and then hold up a palm when ready. The phone will start a two second timer and automatically take the picture!

You can then print those selfies on the spot with the Lifeprint Photo Printer. This portable, battery powered printer requires no ink - it uses special paper and heat to print photos sent to it via Bluetooth. And it gets better. The paper itself is sticky backed. Just peel off the protective film and stick the photos wherever you’d like.

Lastly,  if you haven’t decided on a date, no need to try and figure it out for yourself. Instead put some tech to work. With the site, Doodle, you choose the date and time options and send your attendees a link. They click the dates/times that work for them and you see the options that work best for the most people. Easy as that!

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Verizon, which operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with more than 112 million retail connections nationwide.

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT -  Mobridge, South Dakota.

 

By Tom and Patti Burkett

The Standing Rock reservation of the Lakota and Dakota peoples has had a lot of attention over the past couple of years, mostly due to the pipeline demonstrations that occurred there. Like everywhere else, though, it's mostly a country inhabited by ordinary and not so ordinary folks going about their daily lives. We were passing through the area when Patti decided she would be much happier if she had a haircut. Though we'd just passed Konnie's Kountry Kut 'n' Kurl, she was particular about the haircut she wanted ("Not just any old lady cut," she said) so she looked ahead and found a suitable shop in the town of Mobridge, South Dakota.

As we drove through the town to familiarize ourselves a bit, we passed a large brick building. The sign above the doors reads “Scherr-Howe Arena” and on the glass below is lettered “maintained by the US Department of the Interior. Intrigued, we nosed into a parking spot and found that the front anteroom of the building houses the local chamber of commerce. The building was constructed in the 1930s by the WPA. It’s essentially a basketball court with a stage on one side. You’ve seen them in hundreds of schools. What you haven’t seen are the murals. Filling the walls around the interior are ten large murals illustrating events in the history of the town and region.

Oscar Howe was born into the Crow Creek Sioux tribe in 1915. Originally from Minnesota, the tribe was forcibly relocated west following the Sioux Uprising of 1862, even though the tribe had not participated in the uprising. Fluent in his birth language, Howe began early on to express in art his understanding of tribal and family lore and the Dakota landscape around him. The murals in the arena are among his earliest works, painted in 1942. He was inducted into the Army before they were complete, but was given a furlough to finish them before reporting for service in Europe.

Down the street at the library they happily provided internet access in exchange for our email addresses, and we chatted on for some minutes about town history. “Did you see the gravesite on your way in?” they wanted to know. “Sitting Bull’s gravesite?” I allowed that we had not yet made the pilgrimage, and asked about the feud between Mobridge and the town of Fort Yates, North Dakota. “Oh, we’ve got the bones all right,” she asserted, “and when the boys brought ‘em back for the last time we cemented ‘em in so they wouldn’t be going anywhere.” Not so, say the residents of Fort Yates, who assert the bones captured in a stealthy early morning backhoe raid on April 8, 1953 are either horse bones or the bones of some random white man put on top of the actual grave to serve as bait.

I didn't want to stir up their civic ire, so I asked (as we always do) for a lunch recommendation. The two of them looked at each other and agreed the Great Plains Diner was the place to go. “Well,” said the one, “there is Rick’s, down at the other end of town. . .”
The other looked a bit startled, then pensive, and they discussed it as if I weren’t there.

“He might not be open. He’s only there when he feels like it.”
“Yeah, but his buffalo chili is so good. He’s won like a gazillion contests.”
“And he’s such a grouch. It’s like he doesn’t care whether you come in or not”
“That’s true, but have you eaten that roast beef sandwich he makes? And I saw cars there when I was coming in, too. I’ll bet he’s open.”
“Well, it is good, and (aside to me) the Great Plains is all German food. If you want more South Dakota food, I guess it couldn’t hurt.”
“Rick’s then?”

They both looked at me, as if I hadn’t been sitting there the whole time. “Rick’s would be good,” said the one. “Yeah,” said the other, try Rick’s—if he’s open.”

There's more to be told about Mobridge, the town where we stopped for a haircut and ended up getting an education. We'll tell you about it next week. Meanwhile, if you yourself have stopped for a haircut, look around for us, Patti and Tom Burkett, out there off the beaten path.

 

 

Direct download: RV201.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 3:47pm EDT

RV Podcast #200 – How to stay safe from lighting while camping

 

On this 200th episode of the podcast we talk about a very serious issue – lightning and the particular dangers it poses to campers and RVers this time of the year. Lightning is nothing to take for granted as is all too evident by simply following the news. Campers are injured or kllled by lighting much more frequently that the general population and this week coming u in our interview of the week, we talk with a top expert

 

Show Notes for Episode #200 July 11, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

MIKE

This episode of the podcast comes to you from the heart of the Smoky Mountains in Bryson City, NC. We are recording this very special episode - number 200 – from the picnic table outside our RV at our Roadtreking Whitewater River Gathering near the banks of the beautiful Natahala River.

 

JENNIFER

And what a special gathering it is. We were surprised by a beautiful 200th episode cake, complete with our logo, by our fellow Roadtrekers at our social hour get together last night. What a great way to celebrate. Thanks to everyone for making us feel so special. Tom McAlister, who says he has listened to every episode, orchestrated it all and it was as delicious as it looked.

 

MIKE

We have people here from across the country and again, as always, our gatherings are for people in every sort of RV. Roadtreking is built around a lifestyle, a state of mind, not a particular brand. We have people in Airstreams and other travel trailer brands, an Itasca Navion  Class C, a Coachmen on the Ford Transit chassis and of course lots of Roadtreks.

 

JENNIFER

Our people will be spending the week whitewater rafting down the Natahala and a couple of other rivers nearby, doing a mountaintop to mountaintop mega zip line ride and sightseeing on a train that takes us into the Natahala National Forest gorge. The weather has been great and the scenery is terrific, unbeatable.

 

MIKE

We have had a great time and we had a great time getting here. Our GPS directed us on US Highway 129 after we left I75 near Knoxville, TN. And the two lame road took us into North Carolina. It started out like any other two lane road but after a couple miles as it climbed from the foothills into the Smoky Mountains, we noticed it seemed to have a lot of curves. Then we noticed how many motorcycles there were n the road with us.

 

JENNIFER

Turned out the road is one of the most famous in the world for motocyclists. It’s called the Dragon and one particular stretch if it – 11 miles in length - is known as the Trail of the Dragon. It has 318 curves in those 11 miles. And we did it in our RV! We were so impressed by it we shot a video on it that you’ll be able to see in a couple of weeks.

 

MIKE

Speaking of videos, we have posted a special video about our 200th episode. We’ll embed it with the shownotes for this episode at Roadtreking-dot-com-slash-200.

 

JENNIFER

And tomorrow on our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube, we will post our video of the week, which takes you on a boat ride in Lake Superior to visit the spectacularly beautiful Apostle Islands. Please check it out and be sure to subscribe to our videos there on YouTube. A new video is released every Thursday morning. Of course, Sunday night at 7PM eastern is our Ask Us Anything Live You Tube broadcast and on Wednesdays with the podcast, we try to do a video version of our interview of the week.

 

MIKE

Here’s the RV news for this week…

 

JENNIFER

Spending time in nature is officially good for your health

A story about research out of England last week made official what many of us long suspected - being outdoors not only makes us feel better, it is literally good for our health. A University study in England examined  global data from 290 million people in 20 countries, included the US, and found living close to nature, and spending time outdoors reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure. To read more, click here.

 

MIKE

Rocky Mountain National Park bans all fires as 11 wildfires burn throughout Colorado

Extreme dry conditions led officials to ban all fires from Rocky Mountain National Park last Friday until further notice. That includes a ban on using charcoal grills, though propane grills are allowed if there is an on/off switch on the grill. This is the first time since 2012 such a ban was in place, according to a press release from the National Park Service (click here for more information). Colorado firefighters were battling 11 forest fires of 100 acres or more last weekend throughout the state, affecting more than 200,000 acres according to one story. To learn more about fires in Colorado, and how they may affect your camping plans, click here.   

 

JENNIFER

Tragedies powerful reminder to be careful & stay on trails

National Park officials in the U.S. and Canada were urging visitors to be careful and stay on the designated trails and walkways after a number of tragic accidents last week. At the Grand Canyon National Park last week a visitor climbed over a railing at Mather Point, lost his footing and fell 500 feet to his death. At Canada's Shannon Falls, one of British Columbia's tallest waterfalls, three YouTube daredevil travel stars died after one slipped while walking along the waterfall and fell, and two others jumped in to save her. The same three were fined and banned from American national parks after going off trail two years ago walking on a delicate area of a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park, among other things. To learn more about their tragic accident click here. For safety tips and more on the Grand Canyon accident click here.

 

MIKE

Class B stolen at Alamo, recovered hours later with thousands stolen

A North Carolina couple's brand new Class B Mercedes chassis was stolen when they made a stop at San Antonio to view the Alamo and eat on the Riverwalk. It was recovered later that day eight miles away. The couple was on a cross country trip, when they returned from exploring to discover the RV was gone. A security camera caught the theft on camera. The couple was grateful when police found their RV, but the inside was trashed and thousands of dollars in electronics and valuables missing. The couple told reporters who interviewed them that they were going to continue on their road trip, and not let the thieves win. Click here to see the story. Thieves entered their vehicle by jamming their lock, something similar of which happened to us several years ago outside St. Louis, though thieves just took our valuables, not the whole RV. Click here to see that report

 

JENNIFER

Dispersed camping rules to change around Grand Teton

If you are planning to do any boondocking on federal land near Grand Teton National Park or the National Elk Refuge anytime soon, be sure you're up on the latest camping changes. A story out last week stated the U.S Forest Service is concerned that the large number of dispersed campers in the area is damaging wildlife and vegetation. The Forest Service will be updating its Motor Vehicle Use map and changing some dispersed camping rules to protect the area. Officials are also concerned about the amount of trash dispersed campers are leaving behind. To read more, click here.

 

This part of the program is brought to you by AllStays Pro, the best tool for RVers looking for places to camp, boondock or stay free overnight. Go to http://roadtreking.com/allstays for more info.

 

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

Lately, people have been asking Mike about the dry erase board we keep on our RV’s refrigerator.  It was a great reminder that some things we do and take for granted may be a new thought for others, so I thought I would tell everyone about it this week on the tip of the week section, in case it could help you.

 

On our refrigerator we keep have a small dry erase board attached by double-sided sticky tape. On the board we always write down the name of the place we are camping, and if we're in a campground, our site number. Why do this? In case of an emergency.

 

Long ago when we were newbies we were taught to do this in case we ever had an emergency, maybe someone was injured and we needed to call for help in the middle of the night. If something like this were to happen, in such a time of stress it could be hard to remember our site number, or even the official name of the campground. So by always writing down the name of the campground and our site number on this board, we know where to look if an emergency were to happen.

 

But it has become very help for jotting down a campground’s wifi access code, and we use it to jot down things we need to pick up when we go in for supplies, the lot numbers of fellow campers, the schedule of activities we want to take in and reminders about the things we need to do that day.

 

Small dry erase boards do not take up much space and are quite inexpensive. We found ours in a local hardware store in  a little town in Minnesota earlier this year. While I could not find the exact one Mike and I have, I did find one on Amazon, sized 11 x 17 for $5.99.   https://amzn.to/2KKPXz6

 

I will publish a link to it in the show notes, along with a picture of our dry erase board, in case that would help you.

 

And be sure to send me your tips and suggestions for the RV lifestyle. You can use the “Leave Voicemail” link at Roadtreking.com. Just click it and then use the built-in microphone on your computer or mobile devise to record a message to me. You can do it over as many times as you want, until you are satisfied. And then you just click a button and it comes right to my email inbox.

 

I love hearing from you!

 

 Jennifer's tip of the week is brought to you by RadPower Bikes ,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping  

To see our Rad Power Bikes in action, just click here. Visit WWW.RADPOWERBIKES.COM 

 

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

 

Gary, who is six five, is worried about finding a Class B RV that can accommodate his height. And he is also worried about enough room for his wife and three digs.

 

Gretchen has asthma and wants to see more smokeless campfires.

 

Dan read about our burglary several years ago and wants to know how the thieves got in to our RV

 

This part of the podcast is sponsored by Steinbring Motorcoach, Roadtrek’s newest dealer and a third generation family business in Minnesota’s beautiful Chain of Lakes region built on quality motorhomes and excellent pricing and service.

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

In Colorado over the weekend, a 19-year-old man camping in Ruby Gulch south of Ward was struck by lightning  Saturday afternoon as he stood next to his tent.

The man was with his girlfriend in Ruby Gulch, located off of U.S. Forest Service Road 328E, when he was struck at about 2:30 p.m. His girlfriend immediately tried to revive him as she called 911 for help, according to a news release from the Boulder County Sheriff's Office.

The woman was able haul her boyfriend into a car and drive him to Colo. 72 and Forest Service Road 328 north of Nederland. Medical personnel responded and took the man, who was conscious and breathing at the time he was transported.

He is lucky. Over the last 20 years, the United States averaged 51 annual lightning strike fatalities, placing it in the second position, just behind floods for deadly weather. In the US, between 9% and10% of those struck die, for an average of 40 to 50 deaths per year (28 in 2008).

 

Two of the most at risk groups are campers and hikers.

 

This week, we talk about lightning safety. What RVers should do when a thunderstorm approaches, where and when to sake shelter and what to do if you are caught out in the open.

 

Our guest is John Jensenius, a lightening specialist meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

 

Here is a full transcript of the interview:

Mike Wendland:         Well, John joins us right now. And John, you are in, as I understand, in a cabin up in the Adirondacks. Is that right?

John Jensenius:           Hello, Mike. Yes, I'm in a cabin in the Adirondacks of New York State and enjoying some rather warm weather. We should be seeing some thunder storms later today.

Mike Wendland:         Well, yeah, I'm recording you from actually Michigan, and we have the same thing coming. And that's, of course, what we want to talk about.

                                    The Lightning Safety Council came out with a report last week, examining lightning stats, and I was amazed to see that camping is the number three most common activity people are doing when they're hit by lightning. What is it about camping that puts people at risk?

John Jensenius:           Well, the fact that people are outdoors, and a lot of the times, they're in tents, which leaves them completely unprotected from the dangers of lightning, so when we talk about lightning, in order to be safe, you need to get to a safe place. And in terms of camping, and especially if you're some distance from safety, it can take a while to get there, and if it's at night, people just can't get to safety in time.

                                    So it's always good to plan ahead so you can get to a safe place.

Mike Wendland:         Well, if you are in typical campground and a thunder storm is rolling in, I guess the first question is where is lightning likely to hit, and probably before that happens, what should the camper or the RVer do?

John Jensenius:           Well, the most important thing to know about lightning is that it comes down somewhat blindly from the sky. It does tend to strike the tallest objects in the immediate area, so you don't want to be near the tallest object, or you don't want to be the tallest object.

                                    But really, when it comes down to it, where you want to be is inside, either a substantial building that has wiring and plumbing, or else inside a hard-topped metal vehicle. And that metal vehicle will provide you with safety.

                                    But as far as camping, probably one of the biggest concerns is that people simply wait too long to get to that safe place. Lightning can strike outward from a thunder storm as much as 10 miles or more, which is about the distance that you can hear thunder. So if you're hearing thunder, even a distant rumble, you are in danger of being struck and need to get to that safe place immediately.

Mike Wendland:         Now, you mentioned a metal RV, I guess, with the hard top. Would an automobile or a truck? Is that a good thing to go inside of?

John Jensenius:           Yes, a metal RV, a truck, a car. And it's not the rubber tires that protect you; it's that metal shell that protects you. So any one of those will offer you protection. The key is that you're completely inside. We often recommend just closing the windows, just to make sure that you are completely inside. But they do offer protection from a thunderstorm.

                                    And I should point out that they may get struck. If they do, sometimes the electronics get fried, but the people inside are safe.

Mike Wendland:         Now, a lot of our RVs now have become super lightweight, with aluminum or fiberglass. Is that safe?

John Jensenius:           Well, the more metal around you, the safer you're going to be. So if it has a metal frame around the RV itself, it's probably fairly safe, particularly if it has a metal shell. Makes it even safer. But for the most part, you're going to be safe inside an RV.

                                    Now, if you have a part that extends outward that's not metal, not safe to be in that part.

Mike Wendland:         Like an awning or something. And I suppose if you were in a park, an organized campground, go into, if nothing else, to the bathroom, which are usually brick, or somehow they're built up a little more substantial. Or the office area or the clubhouse, and I know most campgrounds have information about where to take shelter.

                                    That takes me to choosing a camp site. Is there any type of advice that you would offer about choosing a camp site in the time when thunder storms are coming? What's a good camp site to choose? What's one to stay away from?

John Jensenius:           Well, there are a couple dangers that come with thunder storms. One, of course, is the lightning. The other is the wind. Lightning tends to strike the tallest object, so for lightning, you would want to stay away from any of the taller trees.

                                    But the other part of it is, of course, the wind. And wind often snaps trees or uproots trees, so again, if you can get away from those taller trees, particularly the pines, you'll be safer that way.

                                    Another thing that people don't understand is that when lightning strikes a tree, people assume it just goes deep into the ground, and in reality, it spreads along the ground surface. So anywhere near that tree can be dangerous. Lightning will strike the tree. It will spread out along the ground, so the entire ground around a tree that is struck by lightning becomes electrified, which is why it's important to get inside.

Mike Wendland:         Now, many of our listeners enjoy going out for hikes. If a thunder storm happens when they're out on a hike, and perhaps your RV or buildings are far away, what should you do?

John Jensenius:           Well, that becomes a very dangerous situation, and the truth of the matter is that once you're in that situation, there's not an awful lot you can do to be safe. So rather than trying to figure out what to do when you're out there and a thunder storm arrives, it's important to try and plan ahead, so that you don't get in that situation.

                                    So first of all, we would recommend listening to the forecast and if there are thunder storms in the forecast, that you consider canceling or postponing that activity. Many areas, in fact most areas, thunder storms tend to develop in the afternoon and evening, so if you have an activity, for example, if you want to go on a hike, go early in the day, so you would tend to avoid that thunder storm threat.

                                    And that's particularly true in the western part of the United States, where we generally recommend that any hiking be completed by about noon. And then if you are going outside, keep an eye on the sky. Watch for any clouds that are developing vertically, developing into what we call a cumulonimbus cloud, a thunder storm cloud.

                                    And if you see that start to develop, head to safety right away, because if you are some distance from safety and suddenly there's a thunder storm there, there really is very little you can do. The one thing we do recommend in that situation is that you run as quickly as you can toward a safe place. You may not be able to get there within five minutes, 10 minutes, but a typical thunder storm may last 30 minutes or more. So that may allow you time to be safe from at least a part of a thunder storm.

                                    The other thing it does, is it keeps one foot off the ground, if you're running. And that, in fact, actually reduces the chances of the ground current affecting you.

Mike Wendland:         Really? Yeah. That makes me ask. Do the directions change by the type of terrain you happen to be in? You know, rolling hills, mountains, flat land, in the woods. Do the directions alter anywhere, in that area?

John Jensenius:           Well, not really. In all those situations, we don't want people to be caught outside. In your higher mountains of the west, because they typically do have afternoon thunder storms just about every day, we do recommend that people do any hiking before noon.

                                    And in a situation, for example, if you're camping in Florida, typically, you see afternoon thunder storms pop up every afternoon, in some areas. And again, it's a similar thing, that if you know your area and know when the thunder storms pop up, you just try and avoid that time.

                                    But at the same time, not every day is the same, so you do have to keep track of the sky. Watch it. Listen for thunder, and if you do hear thunder, get to a safe place right away. As many campers know, it is not easy at times, especially if you're in a wooded area, to see the sky. So again, that listening to the forecast, and taking it very seriously, is important, because once you get out there, and once you start hearing thunder, if you're some distance from safety, it is very dangerous. And potentially deadly.

Mike Wendland:         Now, I've heard stories ... I think my parents taught us this, that you could tell how far lightning was away by counting the seconds after you see the flash, until you hear the thunder. Is there any truth to that?

John Jensenius:           Yeah, well, the speed of sound is about 1100 feet per second, which means that it takes the sound of thunder about five seconds to go a mile. So if you count the number of seconds between the flash of lightning and the sound of thunder, then divide by five, that will tell you how far away that particular flash was.  Doesn't tell you how far away the next one is going to be, but it does give you some indication.

                                    Now, I mentioned before that lightning can strike outward ten miles, which would mean that would be a full 50 seconds of counting, and people usually assume that it's a much longer distance away when it's that much time in between the flash and the thunder.

                                    So as another example, if you count to 20, that means the storm is only four miles away, which is much too close.

Mike Wendland:         And last question I want to ask is, we talked about the time of day. What about the region of the country? Where are most of the lightning deaths or injuries? Where do they occur? I would guess Florida, probably, because it's at peninsula?

John Jensenius:           Well, it's an interesting question you ask there, because when we look at the number of flashes and the number of people, obviously, Florida is an area where we do see the most lightning deaths.

                                    However, but if you look at it in terms of per capita, so how many people per million are being struck, it's usually areas where people tend to be outside, areas of the west, the northeast, where people tend to be vacationing, camping, doing all kinds of outdoor activities, and maybe not wanting to be inconvenienced by a thunder storm.

                                    And it's that combination of those outdoor activities and the lightning that causes the deaths and injuries. In fact, about two thirds of the fatalities we see come from people involved in leisure activities, whether it be camping, fishing, boating, beach activities.

                                    And those are all concerns, and as I said, I think part of the problem is that people just simply don't want to be inconvenienced by a thunder storm, particularly if they perceive it as being somewhat distant. And in that particular case, where you're hearing that rumble of thunder, you really need to get inside.

Mike Wendland:         Well, John, I want to thank you for making time from your getaway there in the Adirondacks, to help us get our heads around lightning safety. We'll put links to brochures and information, The Lightning Safety Council.

                                    And I want to thank you again for being with us, and I guess, keep your head down out there, John.

John Jensenius:           Well, thank you, Mike, for having me on. And as you said, The Lightning Safety Council has a website. The National Weather Service has a lightning safety website as well, and all kinds of good information on both.

Mike Wendland:         We will link to all of them, and throw in a couple of apps that people should have that will help them keep track of the weather as well.

                                    John, thank you again, and have a great rest of the month.

John Jensenius:           All right. Thank you, Mike.   

 

For more info on camping safety see:

https://www.weather.gov/media/safety/backcountry_lightning.pdf

 

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

 

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

 

Think about the last time you gave someone your location. Bet you gave a street address. But chances are you still had to give those folks additional directions once they got on site, right?

Well that’s where a new map app called What 3 Words comes in. They’ve gone ahead and sliced the entire world up into a grid of 3 meter by 3 meter squares. And each of those squares is labeled - not with latitude and longitude or street names - but instead with three words.

So let’s take your recent trip to Glacier National Park. You all parked your RVs at the Chewing Black Bones Campground. The address on US-89 will get you to the park, but from there you’d have to give any visitors to your site additional instructions or landmarks to find you. Instead, if you used What 3 Words, you could give visitors the address of: bumping.credential.stormed. This not only directs them to the campground, but your exact campsite in the campground. Pretty neat, right?

And if you’re thinking you don’t need another map app, keep in mind you can still use the maps you know and love - like Google Maps, Waze, etc - you just plug the three words into What 3 Words first.

It’s precision and simplicity all rolled up into one!

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Verizon, which operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with more than 112 million retail connections nationwide.

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH

The Nantahala is in western North Carolina in the United States, within the Nantahala National Forest, and near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Two-lane U.S. Highway 19/74, once part of the Trail of Tears, runs along the river, picnic areas dotting the route.

The River rises near the border of Georgia and North Carolina, close to the Southern Nantahala Wilderness and the Appalachian Trail. It empties into the Little Tennessee River at Fontana Lake.The word Nantahala is Cherokee and means "Land of the Noonday Sun". The river runs through a narrow and steep gorge where in some areas the sun reaches the ground only when it is directly overhead during the middle of the day.

This river is popular with whitewater rafters, canoeists, and kayakers. Commercial rafting began in 1972 when the Nantahala Outdoor Center opened, leading to thousands of paddlers annually running the river. Today there are ten different outfitters operating on the Nantahala river. Each outfitter has a permit issued by the Forest Service which allows them to commercially raft the river. The Nantahala is one of the most popular rivers in the southeastern United States for paddlers of all skill levels.

The river is i popular as a fly fishing destination. Although it is regularly stocked under North Carolina's Hatchery Supported regulations, it is home to one of North Carolina's healthiest populations of wild, stream-born Rainbow Trout. The river also has a self sustaining population of Brown Trout, many of which grow large.

The current North Carolina state record Brown Trout, weighing 24 lb 10 oz (11.2 kg), was caught from the Lower Nantahala in 1998, and specimens of 10 lb (4.5 kg) or greater are fairly common.

Bryson City which is the nearest town to us is a small town that serves as a gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with wildflowers, streams and part of the Appalachian Trail. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers train rides through the park, plus the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum.

The Tuckasegee River runs through the middle of town and is also popular for white-water rafting. The Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians has fishing gear and 1800s fly rods.

There are lots of campgrounds in the area. We’re staying at the Smoky Mountain Meadows Camground just outside town.

 

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

JULY

18-21

FMCA International Convention and RV Expo

Cam-Plex Multi-Event Facilities
Gillette, WY

 
   

JULY

20-22

Green Country RV Show

River Spirit Expo at Expo Square

Tulsa, OK

 
   

AUGUST

9-12

Midwest RV Super Show

RV/MH Hall of Fame Elkhart, IN

 

Direct download: RV200.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 12:59pm EDT

RV Podcast 199: How to Write a Book in Your RV

In this episode, an interview with a best-selling author on something that a lot of RVers are interested in: Writing from the road. We’ll help you scratch that creativity itch that traveling unleashes in all of us. Who know, you may have a best seller just waiting to come out in you RV, just like Kevin Tumlinson, an avid RVer himself, keeps turning out.

Plus lots of news, RV tips, off the beaten path destination suggestions and much more.

But first my lifelong traveling companion and my bride, Jennifer

Click the player below to Listen Now or scroll down through the show note details. When you see a time code hyperlink, you can click it to jump directly to that segment of the podcast.

 

Shownotes for Episode 199 of the RV Podcast

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

 

JENNIFER

Happy 4th of July to all our American listeners. And we hope or Canadian listeners enjoyed their Canada Day on July 1. We are in the heart of the summer travel season!

 

MIKE

The Auto Club says fuel prices are the highest they have been in at least four years for this holiday. Gas nationwide averages $2.86 for regular, diesel is $3.16. Highest prices are in the west  and New England where regular is over $3 a gallon. Cheapest is Texas, the Dakotas and the deep south, where it’s under $2.70

 

JENNIFER

We’re home but packing… heading out for North Carolina and the eastern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains. We’ll be there starting this weekend and most of next week, attending another one of our Roadtreking RV Gatherings. This one is themed around river rafting and white water adventure along the Natahala River. We’ll be doing next week’s podcast from there and we will also be broadcasting our weekly Live You Tube “Ask Us Anything” video show on Sunday night.

 

MIKE

Speaking of which we are moving the Sunday night Live Broadcast up a couple of hours. We will be going on our RV Lifestyle Channel live at 7PM Eastern Time on Sunday nights, instead of 9M as we had been doing.

 

JENNIFER

Here’s a quick programming note: Tomorrow, Thursday July 5, on our RV Lifestyle Channel on You Tube, we'll release our newest video,  a recap of our just finished  fabulous gathering at Glacier National Park. We even got most of our encounter with a hungry bear and a very frightened Mama Moose and her calf on video. It was an exciting time with a happy ending.

 

Here’s the RV News of the week:

JENNIFER

Summer is lightning season, make sure you stay safe

Did you know there are places in the country that have a lightning season? A report released last week by the National Lightning Safety Council analyzed U.S. lightning deaths between 2008-2017 and ranked states. What caught my eye from the numerous stories around the country it triggered was some national parks have a lightning season. For instance at Zion National Park, 20,000 incidences of lightning traveling from a cloud to the ground were reported during a nine year period with 82 percent of the lightning happening between July to September, usually between noon and 8 pm. Here is a link to the Utah story, or click here for the report, and here for safety tips.

 

MIKE

Story gives helpful tips to avoid crowds at national parks

Last year roughly 331 million people visited the nation's national parks - that is roughly the exact population of the United States. No wonder it is so crowded out there! A story out of the Los Angeles Times over the weekend provides helpful tips on where to go and where to stay if a crowded national park is in your plans this summer. The story focuses on Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and other iconic parks out west. To read more click here.

 

JENNIFER

Oklahoma RV campground adds drive-in movie theater

Increasingly we are hearing about campgrounds offering new experiences to campers who want to have wifi, screened in picnic tables and more. Well,a story out of Oklahoma that continues this theme showcased a new RV vacation park with its very own drive in movie theater! The Cool Breeze RV Cinema and Resort opened the camping area of the park in May, and will open its drive-in movie theater in mid-July. Apparently the owner thought it would be fun to combine camping and movies. The drive-in will have a place for vehicles and a place for people to sit on blankets our chairs outside. To read more about the Oklahoma campground, click here.

 

MIKE

Wyoming State Parks relase plan to increase camping fees

The Wyoming Division of State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails is accepting public comment on its plan to increase the costs of visiting and camping in its parks during peak season starting Jan. 1. The proposed change would, among other things, increase the cost of camping by $3 a day for residents, $5 a day for non-residents. The change is necessary, officials said in a recent story, to cover the costs of running the parks. Wyoming State Parks are currently a bargain - with sites typically costing $10 per night for residents, $17 for non-residents. To read more click here.

 

JENNIFER

Popular California campground closed indefinitely as shooting investigation grows

Police are asking for the public's help to find the person who shot and killed a 35-year-old father who was camping with his 2 and 4 year old daughters in California. The Malibu Creek State Park is now closed for camping indefinitely as police say there were other shootings at the park recently that are now part of the investigation. To learn more click here

 

This part of the program is brought to you by AllStays Pro, the best tool for RVers looking for places to camp, boondock or stay free overnight. Go to http://roadtreking.com/allstays for more info.

 

So now you know the secret to why we keep finding such great camping sites. Now you can too. Go to roadtreking.com/allstays10 and check it out yourself.

 

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

 

One of the reasons I so enjoy attending our various gatherings and meet-ups around the country is being able to meet other RVers and learn about all the things they do to make their RV uniquely their own. So many have their own cleaver little ways of doing things that I am always getting new tips for you.  

 

So it was at our recent gathering in Montana when I looked at the RV just across the campground street from us. It belonged to Cindy and Jim Blair and the Blairs had come up with a great way to keep wet clothes like raincoats and jackets from dripping inside the RV.

They attached some suction cup hooks on the outside of their RV.

Here’ let let’s let Cindy explain.

Cindy explains…

Thanks Cindy. That’s a great idea. Amazon sells a whole bunch of different kinds of suction cups. The ones closest to what you were using cost $8.99 for a set of two, They are billed as heavy duty and can hold about six and a half pounds each. Here’s the ink on Amazon -

https://amzn.to/2NjZo69

Meanwhile, be sure to send me your tips and suggestions for the RV lifestyle. You can use the “Leave Voicemail” link at Roadtreking.com. Just click it and then use the built-in microphone on your computer or mobile devise to record a message to me. You can do it over as many times as you want, until you are satisfied. And then you just click a button and it comes right to my email inbox.

I love hearing from you!

 

 Jennifer's tip of the week is brought to you by RadPower Bikes ,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping  

To see our Rad Power Bikes in action, just click here.

 

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

 

  • A woman is looking for the U.S. Senior Pass for National parks for her dad. They are available for $80 and are good for his lifetime. They are officially called the America the Beautiful National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Lifetime Senior Pass and are only for U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over and may be obtained in person at a federal recreation site or through the mail using the application form. Here’s a link to just how to get one https://store.usgs.gov/senior-pass There is a $10 handling fee for doing this by mail but in person at a National park, just show his ID and there is no handling fee. So it’s $90 by mail, $80 if bought in person.  By the way, Passes are NON-REFUNDABLE, NON-TRANSFERABLE, and cannot be replaced if lost or stolen. Besides free admission to National Parks and monuments, you get a 50 percent discount on fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, boat launch, and specialized interpretive services.

 

  • A caller wants to know the brand of solar panels and the solar controller we use in our RV. The panels were installed at the factory by Roadtrek. The controller is made the EPever Tracer. The controller and panels came from Roadtrek but I did add the MT-50 remote meter that I picked up on Amazon. That little $28 meter gives a real-time display the operational data, voltage and working status of the connection devices in digital, graphic and textual forms. It lets me see how efficient my panels are and confirms at a glance that they my solar power is charging the batteries.

 

This part of the podcast is sponsored by Steinbring Motorcoach, Roadtrek’s newest dealer and a third generation family business in Minnesota’s beautiful Chain of Lakes region built on quality motorhomes and excellent pricing and service.

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

 

Our guest in this episode is Kevin Tumlinson, an award-winning and bestselling author, host of the popular Wordslinger Podcast, and the Director of Marketing and Brand Evangelist for Draft2Digital. He and his wife travel the country in their 38' motorcoach, attending book signings and author conferences around the country, when they aren't too busy simply enjoying themselves.

 

Links we discussed:

Kevin’s books:

His entire library is available from his Books page: https://kevintumlinson.com/books

And his Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B007POXGEG 

 

Here are the titles from his archaeological thrillers (his Dan Kotler series):

You can hear Mike and Jennifer interviewed on Kevin’s Wordslinger Podcast at: https://www.kevintumlinson.com/podcast-rss/153

 

Here’s a video of Mike’s interview of Kevin from the RV Podcast, Episode 199:

 

And here’s a full transcript of the interview:

 

Mike Wendland:         Well, Kevin joins us right now, and this has really been fun 'cause I have just spent close to an hour on your Wordslinger podcast, and found out we have a lot in common, and you have a lot in common with a lot of off listeners as well, and people who watch our videos. Thanks for agreeing to come on the podcast. 

                                    Kevin, first of all tell me maybe a little bit about what Wordslinger is?

Kevin Tumlinson:        All right. Well, Wordslinger, Wordslinger podcast is something I started about five years ago now, as a means for me to first connect with people that I wanted to talk to, so that I could learn things from people who were doing what I wanted to do. I talked to entrepreneurs, I talked to other authors, and it was a great way for me to connect, and learn, and I figured if I'm doing that, and if it's valuable to me, it's going to be valuable to others, so I started sharing those episodes, and it has been going strong ever since, man.

Mike Wendland:         Now you are also an author. Tell us about the books you've written, and a little bit about what you've learned about publishing, and how it's changed.

Kevin Tumlinson:        Yeah.

Mike Wendland:         Then we'll get into the RV stuff, and opportunities for others.

Kevin Tumlinson:        Yeah. I've been a writer my whole life. I started writing very young. I wrote for newspapers all the way back when I was 12 years old. That's been in my ...

Mike Wendland:         When I started, 12 years old I sold my first story.

Kevin Tumlinson:        Really?

Mike Wendland:         Actually, Kevin, I beat you though. I was the publisher I'll have you know, of the neighborhood news in Bay City, Michigan, and that started at the age of 12. I remember my first headline, "Lappans Get New Car." They were my next door neighbors. Anyway, we both started early.

Kevin Tumlinson:        There you go. Yeah. I did publish a small newsletter for my church, but I don't remember if that was before or after I started publishing. But yeah, so, you know, I've been doing it for a while. It has been in my blood since I could write, honestly. And over the years I got into media. I got into copywriting for marketing, and advertising, that sort of thing. That was my bread and butter. I did that freelance as a contractor for a few years, more than I can count I think. And I always wanted to write fiction, and I was always writing short stories, and getting those published.

                                    And you know I had, had my, what I always call my starter chapters. That's where you start writing a book, and you kind of abandon it. You know?

Mike Wendland:         Yeah.

Kevin Tumlinson:        But eventually I got it down. I figured out a process that worked for me for producing a book, and I had a traditional contract briefly, but because I can do basic math, I figured out right away that I was gonna lose money. They gave me an advance, but I was gonna be responsible for travel expenses, and I had to do the book tour as part of the contract. I had a whole lot of expenses, and it was all coming out of my pocket, and I wouldn't make any money until I paid that advance back basically. My royalties wouldn't come to me.

                                    I pulled out of that contract. I lost the book for a good four years. I couldn't publish it elsewhere because of my terms. Bad contract, but because of that experience I started looking into self publishing, which at that time was still sort of a ... There was a stigma. People don't self publish. If you self publish it means you couldn't make it.

Mike Wendland:         Well, we used to call it the vanity press.

Kevin Tumlinson:        Vanity. Right.

Mike Wendland:         Yeah.

Kevin Tumlinson:        And yeah that whole vanity press idea is still around. People still think of it that way. There are predatory services even that charge people to publish, and you don't need to pay a dime to publish, that's the chief lesson I would love for people to take out of any conversation they have with me. And I figured if there are services ... Like Amazon has a service called Kindle Direct Publishing. Barnes & Noble has a service that's now called Nook Press I believe. There are all ... All the major retailers online have their own service.

                                    Now I have connected with a company called Draft 2 Digital, which actually aggregates all of those services so you can publish from one place. That was a game changer for me. But having that control, and I have a design background, so I was designing my own covers. I recruited people to do editing. I recruited people to help out with some of the promotion, and eventually built a pretty solid ... I mean, I'm no Brad Thor, or Stephen King, or anyone along those lines, but I make a living from ...

Mike Wendland:         Tell us about the books that you have ...

Kevin Tumlinson:        Well, I started life writing science fiction and fantasy, which was fun, and I still enjoy writing short stories in those genres, but I was on air with a buddy of mine, a co-author of mine, who dared me on air to write a thriller, along the lines of like a Dan Brown Da Vinci Code. And so I took that dare, and I wrote a book, my first thriller called the Cohelo Medallion, that's a Portuguese name, or Cohelo as some people say. Cohelo Medallion.

                                    And didn't expect it to do anything, but then suddenly it became a best seller, and won some awards, and suddenly I was a thriller writer. And so I write, currently write archeological thrillers that are very much like what you'd expect to find with Dan Brown. People have compared him to Indiana Jones, he is like a modern day Indiana Jones.

Mike Wendland:         We'll put links to all your books online. Now I want to talk about the many people who are listening out there, who are RVers, and they want to write.

Kevin Tumlinson:        Yeah.

Mike Wendland:         I am amazed at how big that community is, and when I realized that you are an RVer yourself, I figured this is a great way to put some encouragement out to some people. Let me give you just a preface, we just finished one of our Roadtreking gatherings up at Glacier National Park, and one of the people there who likes to write says, "I'd love to set up a little creativity camper session, where those who are interested in this could show up." We filled a room at this RV park. There were, I don't know, I didn't count, but probably 25 people showed up. There is a lot of people, either blogs, or stories, or children's stories, or novels.

Kevin Tumlinson:        Right.

Mike Wendland:         What is it about RV travel that seems to be so appealing to writers?

Kevin Tumlinson:        It's always on an inspiration. What you go gonna do with all that inspiration? It's almost like you're being commanded to produce something while you're out on the road. I mean, you feel it. You produce your show, you know?

Mike Wendland:         Yeah.

Kevin Tumlinson:        You produce quite a bit of content above and beyond the show.

Mike Wendland:         I could not travel and not write.

Kevin Tumlinson:        That's exactly what happens.

Mike Wendland:         That's how much of a part it is for me.

Kevin Tumlinson:        Yeah.

Mike Wendland:         But I don't know if I'm just weird.

Kevin Tumlinson:        I don't think that. I don't think you're weird. I think some people don't necessarily connect writing with that activity. Because we have a tendency to think writing is hard, you know? We've been taught since grade school that writing was hard. Turns out writing is hard, but you can make it fun, and make it interesting, and in some cases make it lucrative. I happen to enjoy the process of writing, that maybe we're unique in enjoying that process. But I know people who actually hated writing before they did it, and now are successful authors.

                                    I think it's just that you get out on the road. My wife has commented on this more times than I can count, but we were just in San Antonio on a trip in the RV, and she ... We're on the River Walk in San Antonio, and I came up with this idea while we were on the River Walk, just told her a story about ... An idea that I thought, I'll put this in a book someday, and she says, "This is exactly why we travel because every time we go somewhere, you come up with a new idea, and it ends up in a book, and then that finances travel."

Mike Wendland:         All right. Right now there are people who are listening to this, I know this, I'll get email from them who are saying, "That's exactly the way I feel."

Kevin Tumlinson:        Yeah.

Mike Wendland:         They just read that connecting the dots. What is your advice to them? How do they begin this process? You said earlier on that you don't have to pay a dime to be a writer, and to get it published.

Kevin Tumlinson:        That's right. There is a ton of stuff there that will allow you to write from anywhere. I sometimes use my iPhone, and a small Bluetooth keyboard if I don't have a ... Or I'll write on the onscreen keyboard sometimes if I get an inspiration. I write primarily with my iPad, which is always connected to the internet. But whatever ... The technology has made it so that you can write from anywhere, anytime. There are things like Google Drive, Google Docs is a free word processor on the level of Microsoft Word. If you don't want to pay for Microsoft Office, you've got that tool. And as long as you can generate a Word document, or an RTF document, that's another sort of text document.

Mike Wendland:         Yeah.

Kevin Tumlinson:        As long as you can do that, there are services out there like Draft 2 Digital. Draft 2 Digital will let you upload that manuscript, and it'll convert it to an ebook, and a print book, print ready PDF, and you can do that, and it doesn't cost anything. They don't even require you to use the service for distribution, you can just do it. You can distribute the book through them, which means you can hit all of those different retailers all at one time.

                                    There’s little things like that. There are so many tools out there. There is a service called Canva, C-A-N-V-A.com that has templates for building a book cover, an ebook cover. You can just, you can use some of their free stock photography if you'd like, or you can import some of your own, or you can buy some. And then it'll handle all the text, treatment, and all that stuff. There is a piece of software, if you are Mac owner, and you've got a couple hundred bucks to spare, there is a piece of software called Vellum. It's about a $200 piece of software, but it'll convert your book, and ... For ebook and print, it's nice and beautiful, and it has some templates and things.

                                    But if you don't have a budget, and you just want to do this for free, something like Draft 2 Digital will do that, give you the nice looking template, and get you out there, and it doesn't cost you anything. People think publishing requires you to spend thousands of dollars. The real money when it comes to publishing, the reality of publishing is in promotion and marketing. And getting your book out there takes nothing. You can go from idea to making a book available for sale over a weekend if you're dedicated enough.

                                    It's more about how to bring readers to that book, and that's where money can help, but that's not even necessarily required.

Mike Wendland:         Then there’s  Social media.

Kevin Tumlinson:        Right.

Mike Wendland:         Anybody can be their own publicist.

Kevin Tumlinson:        Yeah, it's all about building a platform.

Mike Wendland:         But the idea of being able to write, and actually produce an ebook, or a digital book, or a hard copy, if that's how you want it, has never been more accessible. What kind of ... I don't want to ... Not everybody is going to be a best seller, but in general how do the market, margins compare to compare in writing a digital product versus the traditional print product?

Kevin Tumlinson:        All right. On traditional books, you're looking at usually around a three percent royalty, to if you're very lucky and you're making the publisher a lot of money, maybe thirteen to fifteen percent. When you publish ebooks, and you can do print by the way as an indie publisher, there are services like CreateSpace, and some others out there. But when you are an indie publisher, typically you're gonna be able to take anywhere from forty percent on the low end, to seventy percent on the high end of your book sale. Your royalty can be forty to seventy percent, which is ...

Mike Wendland:         Yeah, that's ... That's of course only applicable I guess if you sell it.

Kevin Tumlinson:        That's true. Now that is always the catch, right? But that same catch actually does apply if you get a traditional contract, and you don't sell any books, they're not gonna offer you another contract. They expect now that authors will aid in the marketing. If you're gonna have to market anyway, you might as well keep a bigger chunk of your royalty.

Mike Wendland:         Before I let you go, for the blogger, the writer, the RVer who wants to try a book, a novel, a non-fiction book, a kid's book, give them, where do they begin? They begin by writing it, we got that.

Kevin Tumlinson:        That's right.

Mike Wendland:         They can do the software, but then they contact somebody like Draft Digital. What's your advice? What are the questions they need to do ... Quests they need to do to be ready to go?

Kevin Tumlinson:        Yeah. The absolute must is sit down and write. Here's my advice: I have a book called 30 Day Author by the way that goes through this process. You are not required to buy this to get this. Here is the free version: Sit down and decide what you want your word count to be, let's say 60,000 words. NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, they have a contest, and they say if you can hit 50,000 words you've written a book. Let's just use that. And you just say I do 50,000 words, and I want to get it done in 30 days, or I want to get it done in 60 days, you just divide that to get how many words per day you need to produce, right?

                                    If you can just sit down, and consistently write those words every day you'll have that book. You have to turn off your inner editor. Don't edit as you write, that will just cause you to never finish that book. Just write it, and then edit it later. That said, the next step would be to take that finished manuscript, get it to an editor, get them to clean it up, find the typos, tell you when you called this person Bob in chapter one, but you called them Joe in chapter five, right?

Mike Wendland:         I thought I was the only one who did that.

Kevin Tumlinson:        Fix the things that are wrong with the book. Get it as close to road ready as you can get it, and then you'll need a cover, which you can hire someone. There are services out there that will do a cover. You can look to pay about $300. $200 to $300 for a cover. There are some pre-made covers available for maybe $50. I wouldn't advise most people design their own 'cause most people don't have that talent, or skill. But you'll need a cover.

                                    Once you've got your finished manuscript, and a cover, you can go to ... Let's just use Draft 2 Digital. You can go to Draft, and number 2, Digital. Draft2Digital.com, and you create an account. It doesn't cost a thing. You upload your manuscript, you upload your cover, you write a little description about the book, you choose what genre it is, what categories it fits into, and you choose the storefronts you want to distribute to, and you hit publish. And I have literally taken people through that process that I just described, from uploading the manuscript to making it available for sale in less than 10 minutes. You can actually be out there.

                                    And then it's just start learning some marketing techniques. Start learning how to promote the book without being spammy. Start building an email list, an email mailing list, that is a key component to marketing. It's something you can control, so it's the best way to market.

Mike Wendland:         And all of this can be done as you travel in your RV.

Kevin Tumlinson:        Yep.

Mike Wendland:         Where you're getting all that inspiration.

Kevin Tumlinson:        You can do every single bit of this ... Here, here's a story for you Mike. I was at a conference in Orlando, and I had a layover day, and so I went to Disney World. I went to Animal Kingdom. I got in line for the Flight of Passage ride in Animal Kingdom, which is built, based around Avatar, the movie Avatar.

Mike Wendland:         Right.

Kevin Tumlinson:        It was like a three hour wait to get on this ride. I had nothing but my iPhone with me. I opened up ... I use an app called Scrivener to do my writing, but you can use anything. But I wrote, as I was standing in line, I wrote a short story, and then just to test it out I spit that out into Dropbox as a Word document. I got on Draft 2 Digital and uploaded that. I went on Canva and created a cover. I got all the way to the point where all I had to do was hit publish. I wanted to go back and edit this story, so I got all the way to the point where I could have just published it, and I did all that inside of three hours with nothing but an iPhone.

Mike Wendland:         Wow.

Kevin Tumlinson:        That's all it takes now. You can be an author as little as three hours. That's my current record.

Mike Wendland:         And the inspiration from traveling, and living in the RV, and getting you out of your familiar environment makes it easier to focus, I think in writing.

Kevin Tumlinson:        Yeah, absolutely.

Mike Wendland:         Well, we'll put links to Draft 2 Digital, all that stuff, your books, and other resources that would be RVing writers would like to take advantage of, and I had a ball on your program. I'll put a link to us on your show.

Kevin Tumlinson:        Absolutely.

Mike Wendland:         And we look forward to hearing lots of people talk about how they have become a writer thanks to Kevin Tumlinson. Thank you so much.

Kevin Tumlinson:        Well, that made my day. Thank you, Mike.

  

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

 

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

 

I know you and your listeners spend a ton of time on the road, so I wanted to share with you some important stats to ensure a safer driving experience.

First, some information to throw your way. According to data by Wakefield Research, 4 in 5 people surveyed said drivers were more likely to speed in summer than any other season. In addition, 41 percent of drivers admit to losing focus on the road in summer more than any other time of year.

And when it comes to accidents, last year more than 40,000 people died in crashes with the three biggest causes being: alcohol, speeding and distracted driving.

Summer tends to be when we’re all out and about more and the risk of encountering danger on the road is highest. That’s why Hum by Verizon is working to make Memorial Day to Labor Day the 100 Safer Days of Summer. Learn more about how to keep yourself and your younger drivers safe by checking out the daily tips at facebook.com/hum.

Hum is aftermarket vehicle technology you can install on your own that helps predict potential issues, prevents breakdowns and offers protections when problems arise. It also allows you to receive live consults with mechanics and on-demand help from emergency personnel should you need it. And speed alerts help keep every driver in your vehicle more aware of when they’re going too fast.

Here’s to a safe and happy summer!

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Verizon, which operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with more than 112 million retail connections nationwide.

 

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT -  Kentucky Byways

 

By Tom & Patti Burkett

If you're traveling to the Roadtrek get-together in North Carolina soon, you may well be going through Kentucky. You can enjoy the Kentucky Horse Park and the Bourbon Trail if you like, stop in to see the original Kentucky Fried Chicken in Corbin and, if you're lucky, see the moonbow at Cumberland Falls. And if you want to get off the beaten path, you can see some things most people never do. In Lexington, you can begin your day at Magee's bakery, where the bagels are big and delicious, and you can pick up a slice of transparent pie, a Kentucky specialty and delicious to boot.

Follow US 460 east out of town toward Georgetown. As you drive through, have a look at Ward Hall, an amazingly beautiful plantation era home now owned by a local historical society. Head on toward the little town of Paris and find the Cane Ridge Meetinghouse. This, the largest single room log structure in the USA, was built in 1791, just after the Cumberland Gap Trail was widened to allow the passage of wagons in 1790.

Just ten short years later, more than ten thousand people converged on the building for an event that would later be called the Second Great Awakening. Among the crowd were many freed slaves, indentured European immigrants, participants in the Whisky Rebellion, and veterans of the Revolutionary War. The sentiments of this gathering ultimately led to the foundation of three new Christian denominations and the strengthening of the women's rights, abolition, and temperance movements. A stone building has now been erected around the meetinghouse to protect it from the elements. The grounds include a historic cemetery and places to walk, sit, and picnic.

Swing south when you leave the meetinghouse and near Richmond, Kentucky you'll find the oldest operating business in the Commonwealth. The Valley View Ferry across the Kentucky River has been in continuous service since 1780, more than a decade before Kentucky became a state. There is no charge to ride the ferry, and it was operated by the same family for more than 200 years until it was purchased by the county government in 1991. In 2000, the barge was replaced with a newer, longer model, allowing it to carry three cars instead of two. There are excellent vantage points from which to take a photo of your Roadtrek making the crossing.

A couple of hours west, just south of Louisville, you will find the Gospel Kingdom campground. It is used several weeks out of the year for revival style meetings, but the rest of the year is sparsely populated. We were told the camping area (with hookups) is available to anyone when not in use for an event. The most interesting thing (of many on the site) are the tiny houses built by regular attenders for their use while at camp. They're actually just bedrooms with a roof and a door. Bathhouse, kitchen, and dining room are all communal. We had a very pleasant visit with several volunteers who were there doing maintenance when we visited.

Kentucky, old and new, is a labyrinth of places and events waiting to be discovered. Wander any backroad and you're likely to see something you can't resist stopping for. Maybe it's fresh brown eggs for $1.50 a dozen. Maybe it's four mules pulling a hay baler. When you stop, look around. You might well notice us, Patti and Tom Burkett, out there off the beaten path.

 

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

JULY

9-13

Roadtreking Natahala River Wildwater Adventure

Smoky Mountains Meadows Campground
Bryson City, NC

 
   

JULY

18-21

FMCA International Convention and RV Expo

Cam-Plex Multi-Event Facilities
Gillette, WY

 
   

JULY

20-22

Green Country RV Show

River Spirit Expo at Expo Square

Tulsa, OK

 

 

 

Direct download: RV199.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 5:41pm EDT

Episode 198: Top 5 must-visit RV places you never heard of

 

A fun and helpful podcast episode is in store for you this week as we look at Five Top Must-Visit RV Places that you have never heard of. As Jennifer and I have traveled the country this summer, we’ve been asking RVers to give us a report on their absolute favorite places. We expected them to be the standard bucketlist destinations, like Alaska, or Yellowstone or the Maritimes.

Instead, they were much more obscure, places not in the major RV guidebooks, places unique and very appealing. You’ll hear them all coming up in a few minutes in our interview of the week segment.

Also this week, lots of RV news you need to know, a very handy clean up tip from Jennifer, the best on the road apps in our traveling technology segment and much more.

Show Notes for Episode #198 June 27, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast: 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

MIKE

Well here it is the 4th of July Holiday is almost here and June has sped right by!

JENNIFER

It sure has. We just pulled into our driveway for a brief stop at our sticks and bricks home in Michigan after being on the road pretty much the entire month. In all we covered 4,384.7 miles from the time we left the driveway until last night when we pulled back in. We traveled through nine states making our way to Montana and Glacier National Park, where we just finished an awesome Roadtreking gathering attended by more than 130 people from all across North America.

MIKE

There’s a post on the roadtreking.com travel blog with a full report and lots of photos from the gathering. And we’ll also have a video on it…. Just as soon as I have time to edit it. We came back with 9 videos in the can ready to be edited. But since each one takes about 20 hours to complete, I have my work cut out for me.

JENNIFER

As we reported last week, we did great going out and keeping to our “330 Rule” of driving no more than 330 miles in a single day, or stopping by 3:30 pm local time so we can still be refreshed and not too tired from the road. That gives us lots of time to explore… and shoot those videos! Coming back…. Well, let’s just say it was hammer time, pedal to the metal all the way, though we did stop by 3:30 one time.

MIKE

Except it was 3:30 AM! That was Sunday night. We stopped on the way back in the Wisconsin Dells and did our regular 9 PM Sunday night You Tube Live report on our RV Lifestyle Channel. But then we made the tactical decision that because we didn’t want to drive through Monday morning traffic in Chicago – which even during no rush hour time is horrific – we would drive through the night and avoid the traffic jams.

JENNIFER

But there was still lots of traffic… even at 1 in the morning. We debated taking the ferry across Lake Michigan. They have ferry service from a couple places in Wisconsin. But we couldn’t justify spending $400 to get us and the RV across. So we drive around, spent what was left of the night in a rest area just inside the Michigan border, and then made our way home.

MIKE

So we’re back in our sticks and bricks house. There’s lots of laundry to do and some house and yard chores but we take off in just a few days for our next Roadtreking gathering, this one to Bryson City, North Carolina on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We’ll be camped on the Natahala River there, a beautiful white water river and we will have calm river float tours, raging rapid runs in a raft for those willing to brave it, zip line rides and, of course, lots of good socializing.

JENNIFER

And we still have openings. We’ll put a link on the shownotes for this episode where you can get details and sign up. But it’s July 9-13 and we’d love to see you there. We have an interview with Yan and Kiki who will be our guides for the event coming up a little later in the podcast.

MIKE

 Hey, I am really excited about the response we have had from listeners to this podcast about the extra features we have added because of popular demand. We now have a full and detailed transcript that will accompany our interview of the week AND we also have a video version, too, which we post on our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube. I have found an awesome service to do the transcriptions of the interview for me and I am now recording the interviews in video as well as audio. You can see all this on the shownotes page for each episode. In the case of this episode, it is at http://roadtreking.com/198.

JENNIFER

I just noticed. Episode 198. We are almost at our 200th episode! Who would have thought we would be able to do this for 200 weeks in a row, never missing a single one. We should have a party! Figure out a way to celebrate! That really is quite an accomplishment. I’m proud of us! 

MIKE

Yup. And in that time, besides social media and our blog, we have added a free weekly email newsletter that we send out to 24,000 people each week and our YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel, which has two or three new videos released every week. We did a tally of how many people we reach on all those platforms each week and it is a community of over 550,000 people. Who’d have thought this would take off like that? Allright, enough about us… here is the RV News you need to know about this week:

JENNIFER

Search and rescues up in national parks, costing millions

As record numbers of people visit the national parks, apparently the number needing to be rescued is also climbing. Nearly 3,000 people needed to be rescued last year from national parks, with search and rescues costing the park system more than $3 million in 2017 alone. About 10 percent of the search and rescues were at the Grand Canyon and 8 percent at Yosemite. Utah saw a jump of 68 percent between 2014 and 2017, but the problem exists throughout the country. The story got me thinking of a podcast interview we did a year ago with a hiking safety expert.  For a link to it go here - it is full of valuable tips on how to stay safe on the trails. To read some of the national stories, click here or here.

MIKE

Colorado launches pilot reservation program at 6 campgrounds

If you're looking to stay at a Colorado State Campground this summer better check to see if it is a reservation only campground first. Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced last week that it is launching a pilot program at six campgrounds July 1 that requires reservations to stay. Reservations, however, will no longer need to be made 3 days in advance. But, if you try to stay without a reservation you could be fined $50. To read more, click here.

JENNIFER

Grandmother, granddaughter die when tree falls on camper

Ohio police reported a grandmother and 2-year-old granddaughter died in a tragic accident last week after a tree fell on their camper while they were sleeping. Apparently a grandfather and grandmother had taken their grandchildren - twin 2-year-olds - camping outside Cincinnati when, in the middle of the night, a 70-90 foot tree fell on them. The family was stuck in the camper until rescuers arrived. The grandfather and other twin survived. To read more click here

MIKE

Vermont State Parks offers free camping raffle to newbies

First it was New York state, now it is Vermont, as Vermont State Parks announced last week its new program to provide free camping to families who have never camped. Those interested must enter their names in a drawing, and the winners will get use of a free campsite, firewood, tent, camp stove, lantern and sleeping pads. Guides will be available to help the chosen families all weekend with the goal of spreading the love of camping. To read more click here.

JENNIFER

Report examines impact of critical RV technician shortage 

Our friends at the RV Daily News published a special report on the RV technician shortage. We've been talking about that a lot for the past year as it's become a major issue for the industry. With about 8.9 million households RV owners, and only about 13,520 RV repair technicians to service them, the report noted there is about one technician for every 658 RVs. To read their special report, and learn more about this important, click here

This portion of the Podcast is brought to you by Campers Inn, the RVer’s trusted resource for over 50 years, the nation’s largest family-operated RV dealership with 19 locations and growing 

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

We have been on the road now for the past several weeks and one thing that is starting to get a little dirty is my kitchen screen. Mostly there are seeds, those fuzzy kinds, that seemed to be everywhere in certain parts of the country, but also some small bugs. 

Taking out the screens to clean them is too much when I'm traveling and having fun, but still I do not like to look out the dirty screens. 

So, that is why I was so excited to read a tip listener Connie emailed to me this week. Connie's solution for dirty screens? A lint roller - one of those round giant tape rolls on a stick that can be rolled over clothes to get lint off.

Connie's email was short and sweet. She wrote:  "Dear Mike and Jennifer, thank you so much for all you do. We enjoy your webpage and podcast very much. I have a tip for Jennifer. If your screens get dirty when you are out on a trip, try using a lint roller. They also come in handy getting dog hair off the cushions. Hope that helps someone. Connie from KY"

Well thank you, Connie, for taking the time to send me an email to share this tip with other RVers. That is what this section of the podcast is all about - sharing little things we pick up to make the RV lifestyle all that much more enjoyable.

I usually have a lint roller already with me to help control Bo's hair, but i had never thought of using one on the screens. I tried it, after reading Connie's tip, and it worked great! Thank you again.

 Lint rollers can be purchased just about anywhere for as little as about $2-3. Here’s a link to a roller and a bunch of refills on Amazon - https://amzn.to/2KiDim7

And be sure to send me your tips and suggestions for the RV lifestyle. You can use the “Leave Voicemail” link at Roadtreking.com. Just click it and then use the built-in microphone on your computer or mobile devise to record a message to me. You can do it over as many times as you want, until you are satisfied. And then you just click a button and it comes right to my email inbox.

I love hearing from you!

 Jennifer's tip of the week is brought to you by RadPower Bikes ,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping  To see our Rad Power Bikes in action, just click here.

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

Paul is looking for an app that will let him communicate one on one with his family. He saw it demonstrated on an LA to Chicago flight but forgot the name. He thought it used satellites and not wifi or cellular.

            There are satellite messaging programs but they are VERY costly.

            The only free apps that can send long distance messengers need wifi or cellular with an Internet connection. There are some that work within a 200 foot radius using Bluetooth but for longer distances, you need the Internet

            We suggest WhatsApp or Signal, two of the best apps out there.

            WhatsApp uses your phone's Internet connection (4G/3G/2G/EDGE or Wi-Fi, as available) to let you message and call friends and family. Switch from SMS to WhatsApp to send and receive messages, calls, photos, videos, and Voice Messages. 

Signal does the same thing but uses advanced end-to-end encryption protocol that provides privacy for every message every time.


Sheila has an older RV and is looking for parts. We explain that she should call the manufacturer of her 1994 Roadtrek. She also wants to attend our Roadtreking gathering on the Natahala River in North Carolina July 9-13 for a day. We talk about the gathering. Details and reservations are handled by Eventbrite on this page. Hurry, though, as time is limited and our few remaining spaces will go fast.

This part of the podcast is sponsored by Steinbring Motorcoach, Roadtrek’s newest dealer and a third generation family business in Minnesota’s beautiful Chain of Lakes region built on quality motorhomes and excellent pricing and service.

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

As Jennifer and I have traveled the country this summer, we’ve been asking RVers to give us a report on their absolute favorite places. We expected them to be the standard bucketlist destinations, like Alaska, or Yellowstone or the Maritimes.

Instead, they were much more obscure, places not in the major RV guidebooks, places unique and very appealing. 

Here’s the full transcript:

Mike Wendland:         So, what is your favorite place that you've been to and camped in so far?

John Mills:                  One of the favorite places, especially if you like beach camping, we camped when our children were younger, we had a little pop-up camper, we camped on Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks. You take a ferry to Hatteras-

Jennifer Mills:             From Hatteras.

John Mills:                  ... or from Hatteras to Ocracoke. It's the only way you can get there is by Ferry. Most of the island is national seashore, just beautiful, and then a little village there. Beautiful place.

Mike Wendland:         What did you like most about it?

Jennifer Mills:             Oh, gosh. I don't know.

John Mills:                  The solitude, I think. It was very quiet.

Jennifer Mills:             Yeah, it was. It was quiet. You're just camping. You walk over the dune. You're right on the ocean and then you can ... it's about a mile to town and there's coffee shops, little-

John Mills:                  Book stores.

Jennifer Mills:             ... restaurants, just home-town feeling. There's a lot of history involved and it's just a really relaxing place to be.

John Mills:                  Supposedly, it's one of the places where Blackbeard would hide out.

Mike Wendland:         A-ha. And what do you guys camp in now?

John Mills:                  We've got a little 16-foot Airstream Bambi. We've had it for about three years now. We love it. We love the national parks. We love the national park campgrounds, the quiet, the nice people we meet.

Jim Blair:                     Hi. My name is Jim Blair and I travel in a 2016 Roadtrek 210. One of our most favorite spots that we discovered by accident is in southern New Mexico, about 15 miles north of Interstate 10, over by Deming. It's actually in New Mexico State Park, called City of Rocks, which is an interesting name, which caught our attention, and as you drive off Interstate 10 and go north towards City of Rocks, all of a sudden you come over a rise and there are these boulders the size of houses and this massive set of boulders. There are campsites in amongst the boulders, where you get to boondock, and it's in the middle of nowhere, so at night the stars come out. They're awesome. You get to see the Milky Way and you're parked in this spot that is just absolutely magical. There are some great hikes out of there, up to Table Mountain. It's about a three-hour hike. There are some places to bike ride. You can take a mountain bike and go mountain biking around here. It is the south of New Mexico, so it's the Mexico kind of desert, but out of nowhere are these massive rocks and there must be, maybe 100 of these massive rocks, and they've built roads in between them and camping spots and picnic tables and it's in the middle of nowhere and it is absolutely stunningly beautiful and peaceful and quiet.

Jim Blair:                     Most of it is boondocking. They do have a few electrical sites set off on the side that are more ... have facilities. There's a great visitor's center down there and we just go down there whenever we get a chance to get away, because it's absolutely beautiful.

Gary Wormus:            Hi, my name's Gary, this is Caril. We've got a Sprinter Conversion made by Gulf Stream, who no longer does that. One of the unique places we've traveled in our rig was from Carson City, Nevada across Highway 50 to the east, and it's called the loneliest highway in America. It's unique and we enjoyed it.

Mike Wendland:         How is it unique?

Caril Wormus:             Well, it's the little small mining towns that you go through on a two-lane highway, not a major, you know, mega highway. They have a passport system. You pick it up either, if you're going east or west, and then each little mining town you go through stamps your passport and then they give you a certificate of completion. It was fun.

Gary Wormus:            It's the loneliest highway in America because it's-

Caril Wormus:             Because you're untraveled-

Gary Wormus:            It's not very well traveled. There's some hot springs along there and we didn't have to worry about a crowd anywhere.

Caril Wormus:             Right. Hot springs. State park camping, forest. What was that, National Forest, through there, so it was-

Gary Wormus:            Oh, yeah, we went through the Great Basin National Forest, which was-

Caril Wormus:             National Park, there.

Gary Wormus:            ... National Park and it was interesting.

Mike Wendland:         How long should somebody allot to do that drive and to explore that area?

Gary Wormus:            We were traveling from Carson City back to Colorado, but we usually only go three or four hours a day because it's comfortable.

Caril Wormus:             Right, so I'd say three or four days.

Mike Wendland:         Yeah.

Caril Wormus:             Take your time. Enjoy each little community that you go through.

Mike Wendland:         The loneliest highway in America.

Caril Wormus:             Yes it is.

Gary Wormus:            [crosstalk 00:04:53].

Mike Wendland:         Highway 50 in Nevada.

Dinah Davis:                Hi, I'm Dinah Davis from Sisters, Oregon. We did a wonderful trip where we stopped at hot springs every night for five nights running. We stopped first in southeast Oregon at Summer Lake Hot Springs. This is about, I'm going to say, an hour, hour and a half, southeast of Bend, Oregon. Next, we stopped at Surprise Valley Hot Springs, which is not an RV park. It is a motel, but each motel room has its own spring-fed hot tub, which is a really nice break. Then, we found ourselves at Sierra Hot Springs, near the town of Sierra in north California. We worked our way further on down the Sierras on the eastern side, staying at Grover's Hot Springs, which is a state park and beautiful, big campground, very inexpensive and a big bathhouse with a huge, heated swimming pool and then the warmer hot springs available.

Dinah Davis:                Our next, and final, stop at the hot springs was at Keough Hot Springs, which was a commercial place, but they have a lovely campground and a very nostalgic bathhouse. I think was probably built in the '30s, so you can be out of the wind and enjoying, not only, their very hot pool, but again, another full-size swimming pool. So, this is a great way to enjoy the amazing scenery along 395, US 395, and have a fabulous, relaxing hot spring every night on the trip.

Debbie Cook:               I'm Debbie Cook.

John Fisher:                I'm John Fisher.

Debbie Cook:               And we're from Huntington Beach, California. We are driving a 2018 Pleasure-Way Ascent that we love. One of our favorite places to camp has turned out to be a place that's locally called The Pads. It's right outside of Death Valley when you're coming in from the Pahrump side of Death Valley and it's just before you get to the park. If you look off to the left, there're these flat, concrete pads that used to be the concrete slabs for mobile homes that the miners used, one of the local mining companies there. It's perfectly flat. You just drive right up on top of the pads. No leveling, no nothing, but it's quiet. It's peaceful. It's gorgeous.

John Fisher:                It's dark.

Debbie Cook:               Obviously, it's very hot in the summer and it can be very dark. It's a great place to see dark sky.

John Fisher:                It's really quiet. It's really dark. At night when you want to sleep, and we go to bed early, it's glorious. Very much so.

Debbie Cook:               And we love Death Valley and just being so close to Death Valley, not having to stay in the campgrounds there that can be crowded.

John Fisher:                And noisy.

Debbie Cook:               Yeah.

John Fisher:                Everyone runs their generator till midnight.

Debbie Cook:               Right, so, it's just a great spot. You might find a few people camped out there, but everybody spaces out and there's probably, I think we counted, like 50 pads-

John Fisher:                50 pads.

Debbie Cook:               ... so, you have a lot of space.

Mike Wendland:         What was it originally for?

Debbie Cook:               It was, so they had-

John Fisher:                The town, [Ryan 00:07:56], wasn't it?

Debbie Cook:               No. There's still mining going on in Death Valley and at one point they had mobile homes where the miners were housed and when they moved the mobile homes, then the pads were left. And actually, we explored a little bit around there and if you walk down a few, I don't know, a hundred yards or so, you'll see the old septic system and there's an old warehouse and things [crosstalk 00:08:20] like that. Where they had dumped some of the mattresses and things like that.

Mike Wendland:         And do they charge you to just stay there?

Debbie Cook:               No, it's free. It's totally free.

John Fisher:                You Google the pads and you'll see in an aerial shot from the map, and it just lays itself out. You're going, this is interesting.

Debbie Cook:               And it's the eastern approach to Death Valley, coming in from Las Vegas through Pahrump and it's on that road.

Mike Wendland:         I just have to go to Pahrump just to say, I was in Pahrump.

 

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

 

TRAVELING TECH TIP: Best Summer Road Trip Apps

 

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

 

Back when I was a kid, my parents would load us up in the car and have us stare out the window on summer roadtrips for entertainment. But when the terrain was smooth and flat and without trees, inevitably my sister and I would start to pick at each other and small fights would break out.

Fortunately, today there are a plethora of ways to keep the family entertained and in harmony while traveling.

 

First up a classic...Roadtrip bingo. Once loaded up on your iPad, simply turn it into landscape mode to display two gameboards side by side. Now, just look for the items on your gameboard and click them to turn them red. First one to get five in a row yells bingo and wins!

 

Sometimes the open road is the best time for creativity to strike. That’s why I recommend you load up the family smartphone or tablet with SketchBook by Autodesk. This fully featured app allows you or your kids to doodle away anytime using just their thoughts and a finger.

 

Maybe someone in your family is destined for YouTube stardom? See how they stack up against their favorite stars by singing karaoke in the Smule app. Sing side by side with your favorite artist or challenge a friend. You can also add fun filters and even enhance your audio with special effects.

 

And lastly, when you get to your destination a great game to play with the whole family is Heads Up created by Ellen DeGeneres. You’ll split off into teams and one person holds the phone at their forehead to display a word. Their teammate has to give them clues to guess the word before time runs out. In addition to the adult version there’s a kid’s only version

 

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Verizon, which operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with more than 112 million retail connections nationwide.

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT -   the Natahala River in North Carolina

 

In our off the beaten path report this week, a special look at our upcoming Roadtreking Whitewater adventure to the Natahala River in North Carolina. We will be there July 9-13 and you are invited. We still have some extra room available and if you have never attended one of our Roadtreking gatherings before, there is a special discount you can get by using the code “welcome.”

 

To tell us about the river and the area and the things awaiting a visitor, we bring on our and exploring guides for this gathering, Yan Seiner and Kiki Dunigan.

 

They explain that at the event you can spend a day in a river raft, either cruising down the guided and mild Class I-III rapids, or for the more adventurous, taking on Class IV-V white water while your guide gives you an unforgettable experience! Or go for a drive on the Road to Nowhere in the Great Smoky Mountains that was supposed to assuage a displaced community, but ended up a $58 million dead end. Walk the ¼ tunnel at the end of the road to find easy trails and stunning views.

Ziplining is on the schedule too, for those who want to soar through the trees like a bird of prey. Expect spontaneous laughter, and maybe a few screams of delight.

We will camp at Smoky Mountain Meadows campground, with a group area for boondocking. A few sites with full hook-ups are available for those who need them. Water and dump station will be accessible. Hot showers and flush toilets are on site. As promised on the campground’s website, “You will find yourself in a beautiful valley with quiet green meadows and a bubbling brook encompassing your surroundings. When you rise in the morning with dew on the grass, the birds singing, and the aroma of coffee brewing, you will feel a quiet peacefulness beyond your imagination.”

Within 30 miles you will find Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Deep Creek Entrance, Great Smoky Mountain Scenic Railway, Bicycling at Tsali, Antique stores and flea markets, Cherokee Indian Reservation, including "Unto These Hills" Indian Drama, Oconaluftee Indian Village, Harrah's Cherokee Casino, Museum of the Cherokee Indians, Dillsboro - a village of craft and speciality shops, Blue Ridge Parkway, Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests, and Gem Mining. Grow your retirement account with rubies, sapphires, and more.

After all that, relax at the end of the day with dinner at Nantahala Outdoor Center, or one of the many local restaurants in Bryson City. Then sit by a fire under the stars and hear Kiki tell stories which may or may not be true.

There is something for everyone here. 

 

Here’s a link where you can get details and sign up. Again, it’s July 9-13 and we’d love to see you there.

 

This part of the program is brought to you by AllStays Pro, the best app for RVers looking for places to camp, boondock or stay free overnight. Go to http://roadtreking.com/allstays for more info.

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

JULY

9-13

Roadtreking Natahala River Wildwater Adventure

Smoky Mountains Meadows Campground
Bryson City, NC

 
   

JULY

18-21

FMCA International Convention and RV Expo

Cam-Plex Multi-Event Facilities
Gillette, WY

 
   

JULY

20-22

Green Country RV Show

River Spirit Expo at Expo Square

Tulsa, OK

 

 

 

Direct download: RV198.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 5:23pm EDT

Episode 197: How to Camp for Free

Camping fees are skyrocketing. It’s common to pay $30 a night at state parks, nearly $50 at commercial campgrounds. Even close to $100 a night at some of the resort-style campgrounds.  Many of us think there is a better way. A free way, in fact.

And this week on the podcast, we sit down with our friend Campskunk, a fulltimer and a regular reporter on our Roadtreking.com blog. And Campskunk tells us how to camp free, for if you must pay, how to camp for a very low cost. He’ll reveal his secrets in our interview of the week, coming up a little later in the program.

Also this week, RV tips, lots of RV news and a great off the beaten path report.

But first, my lifelong traveling companion and my bride…Jennifer.

Click the player below to Listen Now or scroll down through the show note details. When you see a time code hyperlink, you can click it to jump directly to that segment of the podcast.

 

Show Notes for Episode #197 June 20,2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

We are coming to you this week from the Big Sky country of Montana, right, in fact, outside the entrance to Glacier National Park.

The big news for us is that we followed out own rule – the 330 rule and kept it for 10 days in a row, stopping by 3:30 pm every day local time wherever we happened to be, or driving no more than 330 miles, thus assuring we would be fresh and not too tired each day to explore the area we happened to be in. If you are a regular follower, you know that while Mike and I recommend that rule to everyone, we have had trouble keeping it sometimes ourselves.

But we did it this time and has a ball.  Going home may be a different story as we have to be in certain places at certain times but we will try.

We are having a wonderful time here in Montana. This is where we are holding one of our Roadtreking Gatherings this week and we have just over 100 people here from all across North America in all sorts of different style RVs. We are hiking and doing nature walks, taking wildlife and landscape photographs and doing a lot of socializing. Last night, we did an RV stuffing contest to see how many people we could fit into a Class B Roadtrek RV. We think we set a world record with 22!

Here's a video of the shenanigans!

The weather for the first two days has been pretty wet with all day rain. The forecast is great for the rest of the week but everyone is having a great time.

Here are the stories making RV News this week, starting off with a very sad story:

Man camping with wife dies after getting pinned between trailer and truck
A man died at a North Carolina campground last week after getting pinned between his pick up truck and his fifth wheel camper. The 63-year-old man was trying to hook the camper to the truck when the accident happened. The man's wife called for help, a campground employee used a tractor to lift the camper and free the man, who later died. To read more click here


Oil Refinery gets permit approval from North Dakota officials to build near Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Last week, while Jennifer and I were camping at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, I read a story saying North Dakota Health Department officials approved a permit for the construction of an oil refinery three miles from the park. While there are still a few hurdles for the company to pass, placing an oil refinery so close to a national treasure is something conservation and environmentalists are fighting. To read the story, click here.

Florida police arrest drunk woman driving car and honking horn at 3 am through campground

This next story is something you would NOT want to experience while trying to get away. A Florida woman was arrested after she apparently drove drunk through Fort DeSoto Park's campgrounds at 3 am last week, blasting her horn to wake everyone up. Pinellas County's Fort DeSoto Park's campground is located outside St. Petersburg on the gulf. When police arrived the 31-year-old woman was sitting in her car, holding the keys in one hand, a bottle of wine in the other, while screaming at someone. To read more click here.


Georgia officials to charge teens rescued from rapids after ignoring state park signs
Georgia officials decided to file charges against two teens who had to be rescued by helicopter at a state park with charges carrying the maximum penalty of a year in jail or a $1,000 fine. The teens were at High Falls State Park last week when of teens ignored the clearly posted signs to stay out of the rapids, went in, and had to be rescued by helicopter and a dive team. Last year a teen did the same thing and died. Georgia officials said they are charging the teens because their actions not only endanger their lives, but the lives of their rescuers. To learn more click here.  

 

RV Industry expected to set new record in units shipped
EDIEDIT EDIT.  A story out of Indiana last week reported the RV industry expects to ship 539,900 units this year. That is the ninth year in a row of growth. That figure is up 7 percent from the 504,600 record set in 2017. And in 2019 the number is expected to rise yet again. To read more about the forecast, click here.

 

This portion of the Podcast is brought to you by Campers Inn, the RVer’s trusted resource for over 50 years, the nation’s largest family-operated RV dealership with 19 locations and growing

 

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

 

Have you ever struggled to find the perfect gift for someone close to you who loves to camp? Well, just a couple months ago our son, Jeff, and his wife, Aimee, bought their first RV,  a new 27-foot Keystone Springdale Special Edition travel trailer.

 

Mike and I went with them and our grandchildren, Jovie and Jax, on their first camping trip, and had so much fun, that I started thinking about how I would like give them a little something whimsical from us with a camping theme to keep in it.

 

Well, I visited a few camping stores near home and during our time on the road and nothing seemed right. But then I went online to Etsy, and I think I found just thing - a personalized "happy camper" hand towel for their kitchen!

 

For those unfamiliar, Etsy is a website where many creative people make an item, then sell it directly to customers.  And I can tell you it is filled with some of the cutest camper hand towels and hot plate holders I have seen.

The towels contain catchy phrases, like "Happy Camper" "Keep Calm and RV On" or "Home is Where You Roam." 

 

Some of the towels are terrycloth, others are not. Some of the towels can be personalized with a name, some can not. But all have cute designs, often featuring embroidered campers, like Class As, Class Bs, towable trailers, or vintage trailers. The prices vary from $8-$25.99 on the day I looked.

 

After browsing through all these cute items, I was able to choose just the perfect one for my son and daughter in law that I hope they will enjoy for years to come. But then I got so excited, I had to share it with all of you in case anyone else is looking for a little something whimsical to give to a camper friend or family member in your life.

 

Resources

https://www.etsy.com/market/camper_towels?ref=pagination&page=2

 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/527979759/class-b-plus-conversion-camper-van?ref=related-1

 

 

 Jennifer's tip of the week is brought to you by RadPower Bikes ,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping  To see our Rad Power Bikes in action, just click here.

 

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

 

A listener asks us to explain more about the 330 Rule and also to help her find interesting places to visit between Colorado and Montana. We explain the rule and refer her to Roadtreking.com/allstays for a guide on places to stay, roadtrippers.com for things to see along the route and roadsideamerica.com for quirky places to visit.

 

A listener asks if people can just drop in our gatherings and hang out. We invite him and offer some suggestions on what time to come. He was interested in our North Carolina gathering along the Natahala River from July 9-13. We still have some openings and we have a special discount for those who have never before attended one of our gatherings. First timers who use the coupon code “Welcome” at check out get a $50 discount off the ticket price for the event.

 

This part of the podcast is sponsored by Steinbring Motorcoach, Roadtrek’s newest dealer and a third generation family business in Minnesota’s beautiful Chain of Lakes region built on quality motorhomes and excellent pricing and service.

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

 

Camping fees are skyrocketing. It’s common to pay $30 a night at state parks, nearly $50 at commercial campgrounds. Even cose to $100 a night at some of the resort-style campgrounds.  Many of us think there is a better way. A free way, in fact. And this week on the podcast, we sit down with our friend Campskunk, a fulltimer and a regular reporter on our Roadtreking.com blog. And Campskunk tells us how to camp free, for if you must pay, how to camp for a very low cost. He’ll reveal his secrets in our interview of the week.

 

We have a video version of his interview on our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube.

 

And a transcript of the interview appears below:

 

 

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

 

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

 

The Fourth of July holiday means gathering with friends and family, barbecues and pool parties. And nothing pairs better with these summer activities than tech.

For any outdoor gathering, music can make or break a celebration. But since showers or splashes can happen at anytime, you also want to make sure your speakers are summer ready.

A great choice is the UE Blast with Alexa. This speaker will be the talk of any pool party or BBQ. Not only is it waterproof and drop proof, but it also comes packed with Amazon’s Alexa allowing anyone to request a song via voice. It’ll also connect via bluetooth giving you yet another option for playing music. And with a battery life of 12 hours, it’ll definitely last the whole party.

Next, you’re going to want pics or the party didn’t happen right? That’s where the Go Pro Hero 5 comes in. Unlike other Go Pros, the Hero 5 doesn’t need a waterproof case, it’s waterproof right out of the box. And that makes it great for pool candids. Its one button operation means it’s simpler than ever to capture pictures or 4K video. And you can review what you shot right from your smartphone.

If you’ve got your own pool, or are looking to get fit this summer by swimming more, then you’ll want to have a gadget that can track your progress in the pool. The FitBit Versa is made for swimming. Just click on swimming mode and it’ll track your time in the pool, distance you’ve swam, pace and calories burned. And it’s completely waterproof up to a depth of 33 feet so you can swim with confidence.

Now onto the barbecue. Maybe you’re a master griller looking to do more or a novice that needs a little guidance? Either way, you’ll want the JBL Link 10 speaker by your side. Not only can it play songs to keep you company, but when those all important grilling questions come up like “how long to grill corn on the cob” or “what herbs go well with grilled chicken” you can ask the Google Assistant built into the speaker. And no need to sit over the hot grill to monitor your meats, instead ask google to set a timer to remind you.

Lastly, you may be juggling food cooking inside as well as outside. So how can you keep track of both? Grab a $20 WyzeCam and set it inside. Now you can watch what’s going on in the kitchen live from your smartphone. And when you’re done, just move the camera anywhere inside your house to monitor your child’s playroom, your front door or even a birdhouse.

Everything talked about here besides the WyzeCam can be found at your local Verizon store or VerizonWireless.com. The WyzeCam can be found at WyzeCam.com.

 

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Verizon, which operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with more than 112 million retail connections nationwide.

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT -  

Imagine a hunting lodge, long and low, nestled on a hillside overlooking a lake. There's a happy hum of conversation, the clink of glasses, and the smell of steak on the grill. Add some tiki torches and a well-stocked bar and you have the elements of a Wisconsin supper club. One of the granddaddies of these is the 1930s-era Ishnala, set on the shore of Mirror Lake within a state park that was created around it. But that's where our story ends. It begins in a swimming pool. We were visiting the Wisconsin Dells for the first time and struck up a conversation with another swimmer, who'd vacationed here more than fifty times. He recommended we try a restaurant called Wally's House of Embers. 

Set a bit back from the road, the building of stacked stone sports a ten-foot-tall neon martini glass with a cherry inside and bubbles floating up from it. Inside, it's all dark wood and brocade fabrics. Polished glassware and cutlery sparkle on white linen tablecloths, and a hostess burbled "We're so glad you came" nearly before we were in the door. The two-sided menu was simple. Steak, fish, ribs, a choice of potato, a soup, and a few desserts. Soon enough our platters arrived, the meat perfectly prepared and the portions generous. Our server, an area native, was pleasantly attentive and chatty, responding to our many questions about the restaurant and the town.

The next day, on the way north to visit relatives, we passed a billboard advertising a book about Supper Clubs. "Hmm," I said from behind the wheel, and with an overly dramatic sigh of resignation, Patti pulled out her cell phone and began to type. Supper clubs, it turns out, are a phenomenon of the upper Midwest, but especially Wisconsin. Sixty years ago there were thousands of these restaurants, and though perhaps a thousand remain, many no longer fit the true ideal. Even experts struggle to provide a succinct definition, but a comprehensive one would include the words road trip, relish tray, fish, steak, prime rib, and tradition.

As you might have guessed, the House of Embers is a supper club. Looking forward to the ubiquitous fish fry on Friday night, we hunted around for another of these establishments, and settled on the Summit House, about a 30 minute drive away. It was much simpler and more rustic, along a country highway, but still had the bustling well-stocked bar (Did we mention that cocktails are also part of the supper club experience?) and the simple predictable menu. We ordered fish, which was delicious, and as we ate watched multiple generations of families arrive and gather around long tables.

Having dined in modest and mid-range examples, we decided we really should make the trip over to the Ishnala, where if we weren't willing to spring for dinner we could at least enjoy dessert. We arrived a bit before nine and there were still parties waiting for a table. The dining area is on two levels to ensure everyone an expansive view of the lake. Decks and patios provide additional outdoor seating. We chose to sit in one of the three bars to avoid a wait, and watched darkness fall across the water. The moment had a magical feel.

Wisconsin has many supper clubs, and each one will provide a different experience. Pick one, anywhere, and keep an eye open for us, Patti & Tom Burkett, because nearly every one of them is off the beaten path.

Resources:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/chi-defining-wisconsins-supper-club-culture-20150119-story.html

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16000410-wisconsin-supper-clubs

http://www.houseofembers.com/

http://www.ishnala.com/

 

This part of the podcast is sponsored by All Stays Pro, the best, most detailed and helpful website and app available for finding great campgrounds and places to stay all across North America. Go to http://roadtreking.com/allstays to see for yourself.

 

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

JUNE

25-29

Passport America

Music City USA Mega Rally

Wilson County Fairgrounds
Lebanon, TN

 
   

JULY

9-13

Roadtreking Natahalla River Wildwater Adventure

Smoky Mountains Meadows Campground
Bryson City, NC

 
   

JULY

18-21

FMCA International Convention and RV Expo

Cam-Plex Multi-Event Facilities
Gillette, WY

 

 

Direct download: RV197.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 5:30pm EDT

 Episode 196: The 330 Rule for the RV Lifestyle

This episode comes to you from the road as we head west towards Glacier National Park and our annual Roadtreking photo safari there next week. We’re recording this episode from North Dakota after leisurely traveling through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, northern Wisconsin and northern Minnesota. We’re in the RV on the banks of the Red River of the North, which separates Minnesota from North Dakota.

We are following our 330 Rule and in this episode, we’ll give a detailed description of how that traveling rule works and why it is so important.

Also, one thing we’ve encountered on this trip common to all those locations and this time of year has been bugs…lots of bugs. Swarming bugs. Mosquitoes, black flies and clouds of insects called midges. In this episode, we’ll also talk about dealing with bugs while exploring the outdoors…what works, what doesn’t work and how to cope with them.

Plus we have lots of your questions and comments, RV news, tips and a great off the beaten path destination report, all coming up in this edition of the RV Podcast.

But first, my lifelong traveling companion and my bride…Jennifer.

Show Notes for Episode #196 June 13, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

We update our experiences on the road this past week, traveling with no reservations.

We have been doing a great job of keeping to our 330 Rule, of traveling no more than 330 miles or stopping by 3:30PM each afternoon. Some of those days, we barely drove 100 miles. We’ve been able to stop, explore, visit with friends along the way and even take a boat ride into Lake Superior to see the Apostle Islands on Wisconsin’s North shore.

We’ll talk more about the 330 Rule and what we learned by following it this past week coming up a little later when we play part of a presentation we recently did before a group of RVers that explains the rule in detail. We have been videoing each day of our trip from multiple cameras and we had planned to release them sequentially for several days in a row but here’s the problem: To do that, I’d have to do our traveling and exploring and then, work till very late each night to get each story edited. It takes about 8 to 12 hours to edit a single video and there’s no way I can do that.

I already had a serious heart to heart talk to Mike about this. He’s working all the time. From the moment he gets up till bedtime and as much as he likes it, that’s a pace no one should keep.

 So the first of our traveling videos will start on our normal new video day -Thursday – and we’ll release a new one each week…always on Thursday. This is in addition to our weekly live “Ask Us Anything” interactive webcast, which airs every Sunday night at 9PM Eastern Time on our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel.

 

Meanwhile, we have lots of RV news to report this week, starting out with some dangerous encounters with wild animals.

Three women injured in three different wildlife encounters at Yellowstone National Park 
News last week out of Yellowstone National Park was a good reminder of the importance of keeping a healthy distance from wildlife. Three different women were sent to the hospital on three different days after animals charged them. Two of the women were kicked in the head by an elk believed to be protecting her baby; one woman was gored by a bison after getting too close - about 10 feet away. Officials recommend visitors stay at least 25 feet away from bison and elk. To read more click here or here

 

A Colorado fire department sent into woods to rescue fluffy, exhausted dog 
We've read plenty of stories about people going off on a hike, and for whatever reason, needing help but last week an article about the fire department being sent to a help an exhausted dog was a first. Apparently a 120 pound Great Pyrenees was out for a hike with his owners in Colorado when he simply couldn't go on. So, the volunteer fire department was called. Members hiked up to where the dog laid on a trail, picked him up, placed him on a stretcher and carried him down - at no cost to the owner. What did the fire department say? All in a day's work. To read more, click here.

Thousands from around world descend on Great Smokies to watch synchronized fireflies
Twenty-one thousand people applied to watch the synchronized fireflies this year at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, according to a story out last week. The fireflies really do synchronize their flashing lights, and attract visitors from all over the world. To read a story out last week on the amazing insects click here. The story reminded me of a report Off the Beaten Path reporters Tom and Patti Burkett did on their visit. To read that report click here.

Bear attacks family of four tent camping in Colorado
A family of four camping in Colorado was attacked by a bear, which ripped into their tent when they were sleeping. The family was on U.S. Forest Service property in a dispersed camping area. Officials believe the bear was attracted to the smell of food. The father was injured and taken to a hospital but is expected to make a full recovery.  To read more click here.

Minnesota opens new modern campground at site of iron ore mine

Minnesota's newest 3,000 acre state campground is now open after an official ribbon cutting ceremony last week. Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park is the first new Minnesota campground in 26 years, offering modern camping accommodations including wifi, flush toilets and screened picnic shelters.  Located in the northern part of the state, it also offers underground tours of a former iron-ore mine. To learn more click here or the park's site here.

 

This portion of the Podcast is brought to you by Campers Inn, the RVer’s trusted resource for over 50 years, the nation’s largest family-operated RV dealership with 19 locations and growing

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

When Mike and I planned this trip to Glacier National Park, we knew we would be winding our way west through Michigan's beautiful upper peninsula on into Wisconsin and then Minnesota. While I love driving along Lake Superior, and the deep forests so common in all three states, I couldn't help but think about flies. Black files. Those nasty, disgusting bugs that seem to be everywhere in this part of the country every June.

A few years back when we were camping in the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan's upper peninsula, Mike brought a whole arsenal of fly repellants, but nothing seemed to work. The flies were horrible.... and they were everywhere.

Here, listen to yourself from what Mike’s experiment taught him

Bug video https://youtu.be/g-UkHfr85mA

In the video, you can see how Mike’s entire leg was covered in black flies. Disgusting. That’s why I stayed inside the RV in that bug free zine. 

Anyway, this year I did some research, and it is amazing how many homemade concoctions are out there. One site recommended spraying original Listerine throughout your campsite. Flies apparently do not like the stuff.

Many, many sites recommend putting water in clear plastic resealable bags, and hanging the bags from various spots around the campsite. Others recommended placing a couple pennies in the water filled bags. Why do this? The theory goes that the clear, water filled bags with pennies will confuse the fly, which has a compound eye. Many people on many sites recommended this method and swore it worked.  

See https://holistichorse.com/health-care/keep-flies-away-with-water-and-pennies-2/ or https://animals.howstuffworks.com/insects/water-bags-repel-flies.htm

 But before you get to excited about those water bags, let me add that after I did a little more snooping I found stories at both Snopes https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/fly-bye/and Mythbusters https://mythresults.com/bug-special

that said the water filled bags do not work, leaving me back at square one.

How’s this for an ideas? Some people recommend spraying your body with vodka - swearing flies hate vodka. But, Mike and I are out meeting a lot of people, working on this podcast and our YouTube channel, and I did not want to be covered in in vodka when out reporting. I don’t think that is a very good idea… though I suppose if you sprayed yourself with enough vodka, you would feel no pain. 

Another website I found swore flies hate Pinesol. So, to keep them away simply combine water and Pinesol in a 50-50 solution, wash down your picnic table, and the flies will supposedly stay away. The problem with this method is the Pinesol smell doesn't last very long. When the table is dry, or a few minutes pass, will it keep working?  I found a website that tried this method and the reviewer gave it a C. See

https://www.ksl.com/?sid=21402146

In the end, Mike and I have come to the conclusion that if you can avoid visiting the Northwoods in June and July… do so. But if you must go,  limit your time outside to the hours of 10 am to about 6 am…that’s when the mosquitoes are least active. Black Flies are another matter. If you are in a place like the Upper Peninsula where they are active all the time, well, there’s not much you can do. Hope for windy days as that helps keep them down.

The other tip is wear long pants and long sleeved shirts. And you can buy hats with mosquito netting all around your head. You may look a little silly but that helps.

Does anyone any other methods that work? If yes, I would love to hear about it! 

Meanwhile,  be sure to send me your tips and suggestions for the RV lifestyle. You can use the “Leave Voicemail” link at Roadtreking.com. Just click it and then use the built-in microphone on your computer or mobile devise to record a message to me. You can do it over as many times as you want, until you are satisfied. And then you just click a button and it comes right to my email inbox. 

I love hearing from you!

  Jennifer's tip of the week is brought to you by RadPower Bikes ,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping  To see our Rad Power Bikes in action, just click here.

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

Kent lives in Northern California and is looking for a good dealer. He says Yelp reviews on the dealers he has checked are terrible.

Jacqui wonders about the Kymetta Internet satellite system we are testing out and wants an update.

Brian has a new Pleasure-Way on order and wants a rear mounted swing away bike mount. He reads elsewhere that bouncing causes issues. He asks out experience. We recommend Thule hitches, which have several swing away models. As does Yakima.

 

This part of the podcast is sponsored by Steinbring Motorcoach, Roadtrek’s newest dealer and a third generation family business in Minnesota’s beautiful Chain of Lakes region built on quality motorhomes and excellent pricing and service.

 

All about the 330 Rule

You have heard us talk a lot about the 330 Rule. That’s what we have been following on our trip west this week.

Here is an excerpt from a presentation we recently did before a group of RV owners that explains it in detail.

 

 

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

  

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

Now that we’ve hit the mid part of June, the road is truly an open book just waiting to be explored. So today I thought we could talk about some great apps that can help enhance your journey.

First up, with gas prices hitting levels we haven’t seen in some time, saving a dime or two a gallon is more important than ever. That’s why one of my favorite apps is Gas Buddy. Free for Android and iOS, this app lets you see the current gas prices from stations around the area. It’ll also tell you what’s the most and least expensive and how far those are away - making it easier than ever to save money on fuel. And if you can’t download the app, you can get the same information from gasbuddy.com

Next, Android Auto and Apple Car Play make it easier than ever to navigate, play music and respond to text messages while driving all via voice. But what if you don’t have a car that has this capability? That’s where the standalone Android Auto app for Android phones comes into play. Simply download the app and launch it before hitting the road. Now it doesn’t matter what vehicle you’re in. Your phone acts as the car’s entertainment and navigation system giving you huge easy to see buttons and voice control for all things music, navigation and messaging. And with Google Maps, you can also ask Google for the price of gas at gas stations along your route.

Lastly, school may not be in session but that doesn’t mean grading ends entirely. Verizon has a free app, called Hum, for Android and iOS. It’ll automatically recognize when the vehicle is in motion and grade your driving skills based on how often you speed, how hard you brake or take corners and how often you touch your phone while driving. After each trip you’ll get a safety score based out of 100 to help you become a better driver.

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Verizon, which operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with more than 112 million retail connections nationwide.

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT -  The Wisconsin Dells

 

By Tom and Patti Burkett

 

It seems that every major urban area has a favored natural retreat that draws its residents when the weather gets hot and summer vacation time rolls around. For Angelinos it's the beach. Atlantans head for the family 'camp' on a lake somewhere, and New Yorkers head upstate. If you live in Chicago, or anywhere in northern Illinois or Indiana, you might make your vacation plans for the Wisconsin Dells. The Dells are the Gatlinburg of the North, miles of kitschy, vintage tourist traps and t-shirt shops set amid dozens of waterparks, definitely not off the beaten path. And still, in the course of a week spent there recently, we found that this place has interesting and less-known stories to tell.

To begin with, the word dells is a corruption of the French word dalles. You're likely familiar with the dalles of the Columbia River in Oregon, which posed a considerable obstacle to the pioneers headed west on the Oregon Trail. The word describes a place where a river is squeezed through a deep rocky gorge, resulting in formidable rapids. Europeans first became familiar with Wisconsin as part of the fur-trading empire of the voyageurs, but it soon became a source of vast quantities of timber. Huge rafts of logs were floated down the Wisconsin River toward what is now Chicago. At the Dells, the rafts were broken up into smaller units and guided through the tight turns and churning water caused by the sandstone walls.

You'd never know about this, or even see the beauty of the river, from the area's roads. We took a two hour boat trip through the upper Dells (above the dam), and saw little but water carved sandstone formations and hillsides of trees, preserved from development by forward thinking residents a century ago. The boat made two stops, one for us to wind our through a narrow canyon along a boardwalk while water rushed beneath our feet, and one to climb to an overlook above the river. It was quiet and tranquil in the midst of a thundering vacationland. For a slightly more rollicking experience, you can take a similar trip on the Lower Dells in surplus military amphibious vehicles called ducks.

Wisconsin Dells is one of three towns that make up the resort area. Lake Delton, the second, appeared to be a solid mecca of tourist delights. T he third, Baraboo, is home to several interesting sites. The first we came across was a casino operated by the Ho-Chunk nation. If you like to wager a bit now and then, you might enjoy this large and glittering collection of gaming tables, restaurants, and slot machines. Also in Baraboo is the International Crane Foundation. After visiting the Platte River in Nebraska for the sandhill crane migration, we were interested to see this attractive operation with an extensive network of trails and the opportunity to view every specie of crane found on Earth in a large display habitat.

We spent most of our day in Baraboo at the Circus World Museum. Covering several city blocks, this was the winter home of the Ringling Brothers Circus. The circus, which was operated by six of the seven Ringling Brothers, performed continuously from 1884 until it closed in 2017. The grounds, now owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society, include a splendid collection of restored circus wagons, displays covering history and costumes, and documentary films. Best, though, are the live acts including a tiger show and big top performance, all included in the admission price.

Perhaps the most interesting, and least known, discovery of our visit was Wisconsin's long love affair with supper clubs. That deserves its own report, so we'll save it for next week. Meanwhile, safe travels to those of you headed for the Roadtrek photo event in Glacier National Park. If you're avoiding the interstates, and eating at the mom and pop diners, or spending the night in small town municipal campgrounds, you're likely to come across us, Patti & Tom Burkett, out there off the beaten path.

RESOURCES
https://www.savingcranes.org/plan-a-visit/
http://www.circusworldbaraboo.org/
http://www.dellsboats.com/upper-dells-tours/

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

JUNE

18-22

Roadtreking Photo Safari at Glacier NP

Chewing Blackbones RV Park
Babb, MT

 
   

JUNE

25-29

Passport America

Music City USA Mega Rally

Wilson County Fairgrounds
Lebanon, TN

 
   

JULY

9-13

Roadtreking Natahala River Wildwater Adventure

Smoky Mountains Meadows Campground
Bryson City, NC

   

JULY

18-21

FMCA International Convention and RV Expo

Cam-Plex Multi-Event Facilities
Gillette, WY

 
   

JULY

20-22

Green Country RV Show

River Spirit Expo at Expo Square

Tulsa, OK

 
   

AUGUST

9-12

Midwest RV Super Show

RV/MH Hall of Fame Elkhart, IN

 

 

 

Direct download: RV196.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 2:39pm EDT

It’s no secret the RV Industry is on a tear. Record sales continue and every month, thousands of new RVers are hitting the roads. But where will they all stay?

The sad fact of the matter is there just are not enough campsites to keep place with the growth in RV sales. And many of the existing campgrounds are poorly kept up. Fortunately, all that is about to change as across North America, developers are building out new, modern, state of the art campgrounds that sometimes more resemble all-inclusive vacation spots than empty fields with electric pedestals.

In this week’s podcast, we talk to one of those developers who talks about the upcoming boom in RV resorts.

Plus, lots of RV news, RV tips, your questions, traveling technology advice and an off the beaten path report.

Show Notes for Episode #195 June 6, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

We’re busy packing. Had to stop to do this podcast but we take off soon for the first long trip of the summer, heading to Glacier National Park in Northern Montana. We have a Roadtreking gathering there staring in less than two weeks and this time, instead of rushing, we are going to take our time.

We are viewing to follow our 330 Rule – which means quit by 330 PM in the afternoon or stop after driving no more than 330 miles. Now if you are a regular follower, you know Mike and I haven’t been real successful at following our own rule. But this time, we are going to promise. And to be accountable to that, we are going to post a video every day that we’re traveling on our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube.

I should point out that we won’t be traveling every day. We have a business meeting we have to do and we have a couple of stories we’ll be shooting on the way out so because unexpected things always arise, we don’t plan to be driving every single day. But, every day that we are on the road, we will do our best to keep that 330 Rule.

That, of course, depends on us leaving. Even though we travel in a Class B campervan, it takes forever to get it packed and stocked….and Mike doesn’t help with all his camera and video gear and drone taking up all our storage space! If you wonder just what we do to get ready on a long trip like this, check out our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube as we will have a video coming out Thursday June 7 first thing in the morning showing the various things we did to prepare for this trip. 

We are planning on making a gazillion videos on this trip. Oh yeah, that reminds me to announce that those videos include a brand new weekly Live Webcast that we are doing at 9 PM every Sunday night. We call is “Ask Us Anything” and we go live from wherever we are to talk about what’s happening in the RV world and to answer whatever questions you sent in. We did our first one this past Sunday and it was a ball. We had SO MANY questions.  I can’t wait to go live this coming Sunday. We’re not sure where we’ll be. Maybe the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Maybe somewhere in Northern Wisconsin or Minnesota.

We should point out that if we are in a really remote location and we do not have a robust Internet connection, we won’t be able to go live. But most times we are just fine and we anticipate being able to do the program most weeks….  By the way… Bo will NOT be accompanying us on this trip. We have a lot of work to do there and on the way out and National Parks are not very dog friendly…so he will be staying with our daughter and her family in Michigan.

Ok. That’s what we are up to. Meantime, here is the RV News you need to know about this week:

Utah national park considering limiting daily visitors after record numbers visit Memorial Day
Officials at Utah's Zion National Park are studying plans to limit the number of daily visitors and require reservations to walk on popular trails after being overwhelmed Memorial Day weekend. A story out last week stated that 30,000 people visited Zion on Sunday alone, creating two hour shuttle bus waits, long lines on trails and overflowing trash cans. At Arches National Park, Memorial Day numbers were so overwhelming rangers had to turn people away and tell them to come back later. About 4.5 million people visited Zion in 2017, making it one of the more popular parks in the country. To read more click here.

Dog lost camping found after two months living in Utah wilderness
A Utah family whose dog ran away while camping found their missing pup last week, ending a two month search. Cooter, a mini Aussie, lost 16 pounds during his two months in the wilderness, was visibly malnourished, missing teeth, and covered with fleas and ticks. But the dog was thrilled to be home. A volunteer helped the owner find the missing pup, which got me to thinking back to an interview we did with a pet detective who offered valuable insight into how to keep your pet safe while camping. To read more about the story click here. To listen to the podcast, click here.

Officials considering gas and oil drilling one mile from Colorado national park
Federal officials are considering a plan to allow oil and gas development within a mile of Colorado's Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. The plan is something environmentalists oppose, and the Environmental Protection Agency is urging officials from Bureau of Land Management to consider air quality concerns before making a final decision. To learn more, click here.

Calling all snake hunters: Florida national park needs you!
Everglades National Park is seeking to hire about 120 paid snake hunters to find and kill Burmese pythons who are destroying the park's ecosystem, nearly wiping out bobcats, rabbits and other small mammals. The invasive species has been a problem for years, with park officials trying all kinds of things to get rid of them from bringing in python hunters from India, using volunteers, and other methods. Hunters will be vetted and could be working as early as July. To read more click here.

All Canadian national parks offering different 2018 free day

All of Canada's national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas are offering a free day in 2018. Many of these dates are different, meaning it is possible to visit many for free with a little planning. To learn more click here or here.

This portion of the Podcast is brought to you by Campers Inn, the RVer’s trusted resource for over 50 years, the nation’s largest family-operated RV dealership with 19 locations and growing 

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

This week I received an email from a listener named Donna, who wanted to share a tip on an inexpensive item that she has found extremely handy.

Donna writes: "Hi Jennifer. I really enjoy listening to your and Mike's podcast. I have a tip of something I'd like to share with your listeners. It is about something I  always try to keep stocked in the camper -  a box of waterproof, disposable  shower caps picked up at the dollar store.

I know that sounds like a strange must-have camping item, but they are super handy! 

I use them to cover up plates of food when my husband and I are eating outside and we need to make a few trips back and forth to get everything on the table. The plastic shower caps are the perfect size to cover a large bowl, or our plates, and then I do not need to worry about flies or any other bugs getting at our food before we sit down.

I also use shower caps over my sneakers when I need to run into the camper for a minute but do not want to take the time to take off my shoes. I like to keep the floor clean, and found that taking off our shoes at the door really helps. But when I just need to run in for a minute and do not want to take the time to untie and tie my shoes, the plastic shower caps are perfect! I just slip them over my feet, go inside, and slip them off, and there is no mess.

My husband and I like to ride our bikes when we camp. I place a shower cap on each of our seats to keep them clean and dry when not in use.

I have even used the shower caps as a rain cover. Sometimes we'll be out for a walk and I want to use my phone to take a picture but it is raining. By putting the phone in the shower cap, everything stays dry, and I can still take my picture.

I hope this idea can help someone, and thank you and Mike again for all you do!"

Well thank you, Donna, for that tip! I never thought of using a plastic shower cap in so many ways, but those are all excellent ideas. I can see how the size, elastic and waterproof plastic could be very handy.

I looked online to see how much they cost and noticed the Dollar Tree sells an 8 pack of disposable shower caps for $1. Amazon also sells them. I found 100 clear waterproof and disposable shower caps selling for $6.99 at Amazon.  

I will put links and information on this idea in the show notes. 

 Jennifer's tip of the week is brought to you by RadPower Bikes ,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping  

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK 

Here are the questions we answered this week:

Yvonne asks about Mobile RV Repair Services and how to find one.

Look them up or ask the nearest RV campground. Every campground knows at least one RV Mobile Tech. 

Sharon asks can she use a regular metal roasting pan to roast vegetables in the Highpoint microwave/convection oven found in many RVs.

            Metal cookware should not be used in a microwave. Metal will not allow microwaves to penetrate; the food behind the metal will not be cooked. The metal could also cause arcing in the oven. Microwave convection ovens can use metal and foil safely during the convection cooking. But make sure it is used for convection cooking, not microwave! 

Rachel is a new Rver and solo traveler and wants to know how far ahead to plan for RV site reservations. Far in advance? The day of your travels? 

e-mail:

Hi...we were in the Upper Peninsula (MI) on a gravel road and our popular 190 started shaking so bad in the front end we had to go about 5 mph max...Some cars were whizzing past us. Anybody have this problem? Shocks? Tie rods? ball joints? We don't expect to try any 4 wheel drive roads but we'd like to be able to navigate the occasional gravel road. Thanks, Stefan 

            RVs do NOT like washboard roads. Also, many gravel and dirt roads are tarred and tar sticks to the rubber on your tires, gathers rocks and stones and makes the vehicle drive like you described. If that happens, you need to scrape the tar off.

This part of the podcast is sponsored by Steinbring Motorcoach, Roadtrek’s newest dealer and a third generation family business in Minnesota’s beautiful Chain of Lakes region built on quality motorhomes and excellent pricing and service.

  

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

As we noted at the top of the podcast, record sales continue and every month, thousands of new RVers are hitting the roads. But the question is….where will they all stay? The sad fact of the matter is there just are not enough campsites to keep place with the growth in RV sales. And many of the existing campgrounds are poorly kept up. Fortunately, all that is about to change as across North America, developers are building out new, modern, state of the art campgrounds that sometimes more resemble all-inclusive vacation spots than empty fields with electric pedestals.

In this week’s podcast, we talk to one of those developers who talks about the upcoming boom in RV resorts.

Our guest is Todd Burbage, a real estate developer specializing in commercial and hospitality properties operating in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Maine, New Jersey and North Carolina. Todd is head of Blue Water Development, one of a number of companies throughout North America that recognizes the need for more high-quality campgrounds and is working to meet it.

Blue Water's diverse portfolio includes five luxury RV resort properties: The Resort at Massey's Landing in Millsboro, DE, Chincoteague Island KOA in Chincoteague, VA, Cape Charles/Chesapeake Bay KOA in Cape Charles, VA, Flat Rock Bridge Family Campground in Lebanon, ME, and Hampton Lodge Campground in Coinjock, NC.

All these luxury campgrounds have one major thing in common: Sophisticated designs and superior amenities.

I invited Todd to help us understand what goes into making a modern RV campground. It’s much more than you think.

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

TRAVELING TECH TIP: The Google Pixelbook

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless 

Living life on the road certainly has its perks - getting to see the countryside, meeting new people, and enjoying every kind of food imaginable. And for those working remotely from their RVs, having a mobile office solution that is a joy to use makes a big difference. Or just having a device that’s comfortable to use while paying bills, writing emails and doing research.

So let me introduce you to a device you’ve probably never heard of. It’s called the Google Pixelbook, and it’s a laptop that runs on an efficient and easy to use operating system called Chrome OS.

There are many many things I like about this laptop. First, it is easy to carry around. While the screen itself is a decent sized 12.3 inches, it’s only 4/10 of an inch thick! It lasts a long time on battery - up to 10 hours. And it can be charged by using your phone’s USB C charging cable.

Next the form factor. It can be used as a laptop with an attached keyboard that is one of the best I’ve used. Or you can bend it into a tent and watch streaming videos like Netflix. And finally you can fold it completely over and use as a tablet. It also looks really nice and feels durable.

Now onto Chrome OS. If you’re like me and hate waiting for a device to turn on, you’re going to love Chrome OS. It boots up in less than 10 seconds and because of how it’s built will never slow down over time. It also has access to the Google Play store meaning you can download apps to use on it like you would your phone. And it’s the first laptop with the Google Assistant built in so getting answers to your questions is as easy as talking to your Google Home.

And when it comes to connectivity, if you have a Google Pixel phone it can use instant tethering. This let’s the Pixelbook share your phone’s data connection without needing to even touch your phone. Or you can connect to any wifi hotspot.

Lastly, if you’re artistic or prefer to handwrite notes, you can using the Pixelbook Pen.

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Verizon, which operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with more than 112 million retail connections nationwide.

 

RV SHOWS THIS WEEKEND

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

JUNE

7-10

Tampa Bay Summer RV Show

Florida State Fairgrounds
Tampa, FL

 
   

JUNE

18-22

Roadtreking Photo Safari at Glacier NP

Chewing Blackbones RV Park
Babb, MT

 
   

JUNE

25-29

Passport America

Music City USA Mega Rally

Wilson County Fairgrounds
Lebanon, TN

 

 

Direct download: RV195.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 4:14pm EDT

Episode 194: Why you need a Cell Phone Booster for your RV

 

We all rely on our cellphones when we’re traveling by RV but sometimes, we’re in remote areas where a cellphone signal is marginal at best. That’s where cellphone boosters come in. They make it possible to turn a weak signal into a strong one and this week, we’ll learn from an expert just why every RVer can use a cell booster. He’ll explain how they work, the different kinds available and how to choose the one best for you and your RV.

Plus, lots of RV news this week that you need to know about, some RV resources that will help you save money, RV tips and answers to your questions about the RV Lifestyle.

 

Show Notes for Episode #194 May 30, 2018 of The RV Podcast:

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

 

So much for easing into summer. It was 95 in Michigan on Memorial Day. A friend in Minneapolis said the temperature actually hit 100 there for a couple hours. For a lot of RVers out for the long Memorial Day weekend on their first campouts of the season, you just know those air conditioners got a big workout.

 

Talk about this heat reminds me of something our friend Laura Robinson recently posted on our Roadtreking Facebook Group. It’s a warning about walking your dog across hot parking lots or sidewalks and how fast your pet’s paws can be seriously burned. Listen to this: When the air temperature is 77 degrees, asphalt can heat up to 125 degrees. When the air temperature is 86, it can reach 136 degrees. And when the air temperature is 87 degrees, the asphalt can be 143 degrees. Since the experts say skin destruction can occur with just 60 seconds exposure to 125 degrees, the warning is very clear: Your pet’s paws will be burned if you insist on walking them across hot asphalt. Always check the asphalt prior to walking your pet. If it is painful to your hand, it will hurt your pet.

 

We’ll put a little graphic of that up with the shownotes for this episode. You can find it at Roadtreking.com/194. But that is very good advice. And it applies to hot sand and hot concrete, or hot rocks and granite as well. Our pets will follow us anywhere so its up to us to be responsible.

 

We’re getting ready to begin a very full summer season of travel. Mike had the tires rotated and balanced on our RV last week. This week, we’re doing an oil change, fluid and belt checks and a lot of preparation inside the RV. Mike has some new camera gear he’ll be taking on our travels this year and I’m doing a thorough cleaning. Once we take off next week for Montana, we’ll be on the road pretty much all the way through until we take a little break at Christmas.

 

One thing we and everyone else will notice is how much more expensive fuel is this year. After a few years of decline, prices are way up there again. Well over $3 a gallon for gas, about $3.25 for diesel. And the auto club is predicting that trend to continue for most of the summer.

 

Just as a comparison, last year at this time, the average for gas in the US was about $2.37. Diesel was $2.65. So both are up a little over 60-cents a gallon. We just out a video up on our RV Lifestyle You Tube Channel on three apps we use in our smartphones that help us find stations with the best prices as we travel.

 

Here’s something else we need to pass along relating to technology. The FBI and Homeland Security had a big announcement over the weekend about another hacking attack, this one directed at routers. The warning had to do with malware being injected in various routers, which many people have in their homes for their wifi setups. Let me quote from the release: “The FBI recommends any owner of small office and home office routers reboot the devices to temporarily disrupt the malware and aid the potential identification of infected devices.”

The natural question for RVers us does this apply to mobile hotspots or devices like the WiFi Ranger, which many of us use?  Since both of those function, in effect, as mini routers, outfits that we trust like the Mobile Internet Resource Center recommends that, at the minimum, we should unplug and reboot those hotspots and RV routers.

 

OK… now three news stories thus week of interest to RVers, all relating to wildlife

 

Washington officials urging campers, hikers to review cougar safety tips after fatal attack


After two bike riders were attacked, one fatally, by a cougar in the woods outside Seattle last week, Washington officials are urging all campers and outdoor enthusiasts to review cougar safety tips. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said there are about 80,000 cougars in the state, which are most active from dust to dawn. Some tips include hiking in small groups, keeping camps clean, making sure small children in a group, and more. To read the tips click here, to read about the attack click here.



 

Camper out for a jog gored by bison at Canadian national park


A man was out for a morning run at Canada's Elk Island National Park when a bison charged him, goring him in the rear end. The man and his wife were camping at the park's campground. The man apparently left his wife sleeping in the tent when he went out for a morning jog and was attacked. He ended up in the hospital. For more information click here.



 

Whale watching business called 'wild west' in British Columbia

Have you ever been on a Pacific coast vacation and decided to take a whale viewing boat to sea? A story was in the Canadian news last week that showed 10 boats chasing around a pod of Orcas, and  is triggering a discussion about whether the whale watching business needs greater regulation. Some residents of British Columbia said they have seen 25 boats chasing around the giants for whale watching tourists. Because of this some predict tough new regulations out of Canada in the fall, with Washington state also studying the issue. Click here to read more.

 

This portion of the Podcast is brought to you by Campers Inn, the RVer’s trusted resource for over 50 years, the nation’s largest family-operated RV dealership with 19 locations and growing

JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

 

Do you have a favorite campground where you return to again and again? You may visit annually, or maybe once every couple years. But have you ever started to make reservations at a favorite spot only to find you can't remember which sites were the best - and which were the ones to avoid.

 

Well, I recently stumbled across something on the internet that offers just the fix. It is a campground review sheet I found on a website called "All Those Details" produced by a woman named Sarah in the California bay area.

 

The sheets contain prompts where you write down the name of the campground, the dates you visited, the good and bad spots, where the closest diesel selling gas station is located, and other such details.

 

The page includes suggestions on what to list in each category. For example, under general details Sarah recommends describing such things as the shower and toilet condition, water source, and if it is quiet at night. 

 

In the spot for site details, Sarah recommends writing about how level the site is, how close the neighbors are and maybe something on the firepit.

 

The sheets on this website can be printed, easily filled out, then stored in a three ring binder. And the best part? it is completely free!

 

I could also see recording such information electronically on a database you create and keeping with you on your computer. And if you are boondocking,  versus staying at an official campground, recording descriptions of where you are so you can find it again could still be helpful.

 

I thought the idea of having an organized system for taking notes on the campgrounds we visit was excellent. I am looking forward to printing some of these sheets, and using them to better remember places in the future.

 

Here’s a link to the sheets that you can download - http://www.allthosedetails.com/campground-reviews/#more-1012

 

And be sure to send me your tips and suggestions for the RV lifestyle. You can use the “Leave Voicemail” link at Roadtreking.com. Just click it and then use the built-in microphone on your computer or mobile devise to record a message to me. You can do it over as many times as you want, until you are satisfied. And then you just click a button and it comes right to my email inbox.

 

I love hearing from you!

 

 Jennifer's tip of the week is brought to you by RadPower Bikes ,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping  

To see our Rad Power Bikes in action, just click here. Visit WWW.RADPOWERBIKES.COM 

 

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

 

Joseph wants to retire and travel in an RV across the country, maybe settling down someplace nice for six months of the year. But his wife is not on the same page. He is asking for advice. We jump in both feet.

 

Dena is seeking info on the RV parks we stay at as we travel and wants us to share a list. Since we never know where we will stay until we’re there, we can’t help much. We share our style of traveling.

 

Lois asks about the American Coach Patriot  and wonders what we think about it. We will soon have a video on the Patriot Cruiser model. We give some quick impressions. Made by the REV Group, formerly Allied Specialty Vehicles, we saw them at an RV show in Phoenix a few weeks ago. The parent company makes buses, fire and emergency vehicles and now luxury conversion vehicles after some corporate acquisitions. They have Class A, C and B RVs…Besides American Coach, they have own the Fleetwood, Monaco and Holiday Rambler brands. Their Class B vans came from their acquisition of Midwest Automotive Designs, a super nice Class B and Luxuty van manufacturer in Elkhart, IN. We were very impressed by what we saw. That video on the Patriot model will be coming in a couple weeks to our YouTube Channel at RVLifestyleChannel.com. Subscribe and click the little bell icon when you do and you will be notified of new videos as they are released.

 

This part of the podcast is sponsored by Steinbring Motorcoach, Roadtrek’s newest dealer and a third generation family business in Minnesota’s beautiful Chain of Lakes region built on quality motorhomes and excellent pricing and service.

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

 

We all rely on our cellphones when we’re traveling by RV but sometimes, we’re in remote areas where a cellphone signal is marginal at best. That’s where cellphone boosters come in. They make it possible to turn a weak signal into a strong one and this week, we’ll learn from an expert just why every RVer can use a cell booster.

 

He is Josh Barnes, a Senior Product Line Manager for Wilson Electronics, maker of the popular Weboost line of cell boosters for autos, trucks and RVs.

I’ve been using the Weboost line in our RV for the past six years. I can’t begin to count the number of times my cell booster made all the difference in getting me a useable connection through my cell phone or Jetpack datacard.

 

In this interview, Josh explains how these systems work and how to determine what model may be best for you.

 

To get more information on the Weboost system and their various systems, use my special affliate link at: http://roadtreking.com/weboost

 

The model recommended for most RVs is the Drive 4G-X . Click on this Amazon affiliate link and you can see every part of the system and a video on how and where it can be installed.- https://amzn.to/2xnV0z4

 

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

 

 

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

 

With the kids’ summer vacation close at hand, they’re going to be looking for more freedom. But with that freedom can come some added dangers. Today, I wanted to talk about some apps that can help families out.

First, the Verizon Family Locator app. It helps you monitor where your children are at any time. Not only will you get email or text alerts when they get to or leave their friend’s house for instance, but you can also see their location as a pin on a map anytime you’d like.

Second, seasoned parents know that—like it or not—we all end up in the emergency room with our kids eventually. Luckily there’s an app to help you navigate that experience. The Family Medical Info app can store vital information on your family’s medical history, including lists of prescriptions, allergies and vaccinations along with any medical conditions. The app also allows you to contact your primary care physician or insurance rep with the tap of a button.

A companion app—ICE: In Case of Emergency—makes your child’s medical info available to EMTs and doctors even when the smartphone is locked.

For better parental control over your child’s digital interactions, Verizon Smart Family lets you govern when, how and with whom your child communicates, restricting their usage hours and limiting calls, text messages and purchase options. As an added bonus, it can help manage your child’s data usage—ensuring you don’t exceed your monthly limit.

And lastly, there’s always the scary thought in the back of a parent’s mind that their child could go missing while out in a crowd. Unfortunately, according to the FBI, more than 400,000 children are reported missing each year. That sobering statistic is why the FBI has created a free Child ID app (available for Android™ and iOS) with safety tips and advice on what to do in the event of a crisis.

The app lets you store up-to-date photos and information about your child that is vital to detectives in the critical first 48 hours of a missing person investigation. Simply use the special tab on the app to quickly e-mail the information to authorities with a few clicks.

With any luck, you won’t need a lot of these apps. But it might just make you sleep better knowing you have them.

 

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Verizon, which operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with more than 112 million retail connections nationwide.

 

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

JUNE

7-10

Tampa Bay Summer RV Show

Florida State Fairgrounds
Tampa, FL

 
   

JUNE

18-22

Roadtreking Photo Safari at Glacier NP

Chewing Blackbones RV Park
Babb, MT

 
   

JUNE

25-29

Passport America

Music City USA Mega Rally

Wilson County Fairgrounds
Lebanon, TN

 

 

 

Direct download: RV194.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 4:27pm EDT

RV Podcast Episode 193: How to get a complete RV Education!

 

In this episode… we talk about RV Education 101, how to learn how to maintain, repair and operate your RV and all the intricate parts and accessories through affordable online training. Our special interview guest this week is with our friend Mark Polk, who has made available an amazing library of how-to tips, videos and RV training courses. Mark is the best in the business at this and I’m sure you’ll find the wealth of knowledge he is offers will greatly enhance your RV Lifestyle.

Plus lots of questions, comments, RV trip reports, traveling technology ideas and another wonderful off the beaten path segment from Tom and Patti Burkett.

But first, my lifelong traveling companion and my bride… Jennifer. 

 

Show Notes for Episode #193 May 23, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

 

Are you ready for the big Memorial Day weekend? It's the unofficial start of summer and if you don't have reservations, finding an open campsite will be very challenging. Boondockers, of course, can pretty much always find a great spot in state or national forests, BLM land and dispersed camping area.

Here's hoping you have a wonderful time and are able to get out there this coming weekend!

We’re planning our next big trip…out to Glacier National Park for our Roadtreking Photo Safari gathering in a few weeks. We are planning to take our time, taking the Northern Route. US 2 in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula all the way west through Minnesota, North Dakota on into Montana. About 2,000 miles one way and we’re planning to leave early so we can follow out 330 rule of no more than 330 miles in a single day or stopping by 330PM so we can explore and enjoy the areas we’re passing through.

 

We are, though, having a problem with Bo, our Norwegian Elkhound. He no longer will ride in the back and insists on crowding between us up front as we drive. That can be dangerous when he bumps the transmission shifter. We put a short little video up on our Roadtreking Facebook Group about this that we’ll also link in the shownotes for this episode. He used to be fine at the back if the RV but when the refrigerator door wasn’t shut properly and stuff started rolling out on him he got spooked. But when not crowding us he insists on trying to share the passenger seat with whichever one of us happens to be sitting in. That is not a pleasant thing with a 6o pound dog!

 

As a result, we are not sure we will take him with us to Glacier. Maybe a seat belt and a harness that would keep him on the unused third seat will work. He’s pretty big for a crate, as some have suggested. And no way will be drug him, as others have urged. So we’re looking for advice. Otherwise, he’s staying with our daughter on our big trip west.

 

Meanwhile, here are the RV stories we came across making news this week.

 

Zion National Park officials use social media to track vandal
Last week we told you about Colorado officials using social media to track down a man harassing wildlife. This week in the news a story circled about about social media users themselves going after a man who defaced rocks at Zion National Park. A professional photographer was upset when he saw graffiti on rocks at Zion that included a heart and the vandal's Instagram ID. That photographer put it on his social media page, and that complaint went viral. It was so bad, the vandal turned himself in. To read more click here.  

 

Oregon officials offering free camping, day use and other events June 2 
Oregon is offering free camping and day use at many of its state parks on June 2 to thank campers for their support for state parks. Oregon's Department of Fish and Wildlife is also permitting fishing, clamming and crabbing anywhere in the state June 2 and 3 without a license as part of the thank you. To find out more and reserve a free camp spot click here or here.

Dog killed by bear at Canada's Jasper National Park
How many of us drive through the national parks, with the window rolled down a bit, so our dog can get some air? A story out of Canada last week was a strong reminder of why that is not such a good idea. Last week a dog was killed by a bear at Canada's Jasper National Park. Apparently the dog's owners had pulled over to look at a bear when their dog leapt out the window to chase it, and was killed. Wildlife officials stressed the importance of controlling pets at all times in a national park, and said the bear would be monitored. To read more, click here.  

E. Coli detected in water at Bryce Canyon National Park
Prairie dogs burrowing near a water spring are being blamed for water contamination at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. County officials have declared the national park's water to be a "significant threat to the health" of visitors and residents after detecting E. Coli multiple times in recent years. County officials are calling on the National Parks Service to fix the problem. For more information click here.

Just two wolves left at Michigan's Isle Royale National Park
The two wolves  of Michigan's Isle Royale National Park survived the winter, as did about 1,475 moose on the island park, officials announced last week. Since each moose can eat up to 60 pounds of plants per day, some scientists are concerned about their impact on the island's ecology, and continuing to call for more wolves to be brought to the island park this fall. To read more click here.   

 

This portion of the Podcast is brought to you by Campers Inn, the RVer’s trusted resource for over 50 years, the nation’s largest family-operated RV dealership with 19 locations and growing

 

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

Have you ever camped at a particularly dark campground, then stumbled on the stairs going up to your RV at night?

 

Well, a listener named Richard sent us an email, with a really helpful solution - glow in the dark duck tape.

 

Richard said he first placed the tape across the entire step, but found that was too much. What has worked best is placing about three inches of the luminous tape on the left and the right sides of the stairs. 

 

 Since he started using the tape, Richard said he has had no trouble with the steps - and so he wanted to write in case it could help someone else.

 

When we got our current Roadtrek, I found I needed a step to help me get in and out. Our current RV is 4 x 4 and we use it a lot to take us to some great boondocking spots down forest roads, which means it sits a little higher off the ground than previous ones. I have also found myself stumbling a bit at night with that step, so I really appreciate this tip.

 

Richard did not say what type of tape he purchased, but I did a quick look around the internet and found glow in the dark duck tape selling everywhere from Michaels to Walmart and Amazon selling at a variety of lengths and widths.  One tape that seemed to get particularly good reviews I found on Amazon selling for $12.49 a roll. It is waterproof, can glow for 12 hours, and purchasers said it was durable.

 

I will include links to the tape in the shownotes, in case this tip could help you. Richard, thank you so much for emailing us your suggestion!

 

And be sure to send me your tips and suggestions for the RV lifestyle. You can use the “Leave Voicemail” link at Roadtreking.com. Just click it and then use the built-in microphone on your computer or mobile devise to record a message to me. You can do it over as many times as you want, until you are satisfied. And then you just click a button and it comes right to my email inbox.

 

I love hearing from you!

 

 Jennifer's tip of the week is brought to you by RadPower Bikes ,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping  

To see our Rad Power Bikes in action, just click here.

 

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

 

A Canadian listener named Dennis called in with a shame-on-you report about a state park charging a pretty ridiculous “transaction fee” for campers. He also has a great “atta boy” report about a gas station on Antigonish, Nova Scotia, that has gone above and beyond for RVers.

  • We checked and indeed, Dennis is right. The exorbitant charges are in effect in Maryland State Parks this year. Transaction fees are $6.25 per reservation (except for Assateague State Park, which is $6.25 per night) and $4.75 per transaction to cancel or change a reservation (except Assateague State Park, which is $4.75 per night to change or cancel).

 

Dena and Jim made a request for a video that they would like us to do that documents every step of camp set up. She is a new camper and has so much enthusiasm. And, we promise, Dena, we will do such a video for you soon!

 

A listener named Terry wants to know if we have a search box on our RV Lifestyle Blog. We do and you can find on the top right of the page. We sent Terry this image showing its location.

 

This part of the podcast is sponsored by Steinbring Motorcoach, Roadtrek’s newest dealer and a third generation family business in Minnesota’s beautiful Chain of Lakes region built on quality motorhomes and excellent pricing and service.

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

 

Our special interview guest this week is with our friend Mark Polk, who has made available an amazing library of how-to tips, videos and RV training courses. Mark is the best in the business at this and I’m sure you’ll find the wealth of knowledge he is offers will greatly enhance your RV Lifestyle.

 

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

 

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

 

Memorial Day marks the kickoff to summer. So grab some friends and get ready to kick back and relax. And, oh, you’re probably going to want some cool tech as well.

Whether you’re hiking, biking, or just striking a pose by the pool– the UE Blast powered by Alexa – may become your favorite summer companion. It’s dustproof and waterproof - which means it’s also summerproof. And when connected to bluetooth you can ask it to play music, get the weather, and even shop from Amazon all via voice.

Maybe audiobooks are your key to relaxation. If so, pick up a pair of LG Tone Free bluetooth ear buds. These lightweight, rechargeable Bluetooth headphones deliver high–quality sound and let you kick back and relax in your chair without the hassle of tangles and snags. The neckband allows for easy docking and recharging, plus vibrating alerts for incoming calls.

When you’re out and about, you can’t be worried about whether or not your devices are charged. That’s why it’s a great idea to have the mophie charge force powerstation on hand. This handy battery pack charges up to two devices simultaneously - one wirelessly and the other wired - providing up to 48 hours of extra use!


When you want to lighten your load, you definitely want the kate spade sticker pocket. Keep your drivers license, cash and credit cards close at hand while leaving the rest of your purse at home. This handy sticker pocket is easy to attach to the back of your smartphone.

And if you have a Motorola Mods compatible device, summer just got a whole lot more entertaining. First the insta-print Moto Mod. It lets you instantly print out any photo you capture all while on the go. And with no ink required, there’s no hassle.

Lastly for great 360 photos and videos of your summer adventures just snap on the moto 360 camera mod.

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Verizon, which operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with more than 112 million retail connections nationwide.

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT

 

By Tom and Patti Burkett

We were sitting in the waiting room of the train station, listening to the incessant tick-tick-tock of the Morse code sounder in the ticket window. This was the women's waiting room, but no one objected to Tom's presence there. We walked through the car room, where equipment as large as steam locomotives was serviced, and out along the tracks. The freight house, next door, surprised us with a model of the original line, running from Baltimore's roundhouse depot to this, the oldest station in the USA. Tiny freight and passenger trains ran the double set of tracks past models of mills and factories, hotels and quarries, fields and little towns.

Three Quaker brothers from Pennsylvania founded Ellicott City Maryland in 1772. It was originally a mill town, and still has one operating mill, the only remaining grist mill in Maryland. Set in a striking limestone gorge, the city offers a picturesque Main Street, lined with offbeat boutiques and quirky eateries, but the number one reason to visit is the B&O Railroad Station Museum. The B&O was the first commercial railroad in the country, established to run freight from the port of Baltimore to Wheeling in the Ohio territory. A group of Baltimore investors gambled that the shorter route of the tracks would make it more profitable than the competing C&O canal.

This thoughtfully designed free museum retains its original floor plan. At street level, where you have to duck your head to get through the freight loading door which now serves as the entrance, you turn left past a small gift shop (and an enthusiastic docent) to get to the freight agent's quarters, which served as both office and living space. The rest of the first floor is warehouse space, where manufactured goods were stored before being hoisted upstairs to the platform at track level. Upstairs is the ticket office, two waiting rooms, and the car room, which has two huge exhaust funnels in the roof to carry off the fumes from the running stock.

Outside, you can climb aboard a caboose and sample the living quarters of the train crew--a tiny kitchen and beds that double as seats. Also outside is one of the original horse-drawn passenger cars, looking surprisingly like a stagecoach with train wheels. Wind your way into Ellicott City, on US 29, a bit west of Baltimore, and look for us, Patti and Tom Burkett, off the beaten railroad tracks.

 

RESOURCE:

http://www.ellicottcity.net/tourism/attractions/bo_railroad_museums_ellicott_city_station/

 

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

MAY-JUNE

27-1

Escapade-Escapees RV Club National Rally

Missouri State Fairgrounds
Sedalia, MO

 
   

JUNE

7-10

Tampa Bay Summer RV Show

Florida State Fairgrounds
Tampa, FL

 
   

JUNE

18-22

Roadtreking Photo Safari at Glacier NP

Chewing Blackbones RV Park
Babb, MT

   

JUNE

25-29

Passport America Music City USA Mega Rally

Wilson County Fairgrounds
Lebanon, TN

 
   

JULY

9-13

Roadtreking Natahalla River Wildwater Adventure

Smoky Mountains Meadows Campground
Bryson City, NC

 
   

JULY

18-21

FMCA International Convention and RV Expo

Cam-Plex Multi-Event Facilities
Gillette, WY

 

 

Direct download: RV193.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 6:38pm EDT

 When it comes to maintenance and do-it-yourself repairs of your RV, are you a bit intimidated Are you, like me, not exactly the most handy of handymen? If so, and even if you are comfortable doing things mechanically, listen up because in this episode, we’re going to talk to a top service technician about preventative maintenance that everyone can do to keep their RVs in tip top shape.

Plus, lots of RV News, this week, your RV questions, traveling tech suggestions and another fascinating off the beaten path report from the Burketts. 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

We just returned from a great experience at the Owner’s Academy, held last week for three days by Roadtrek and the Erwin Hymer Group of North America’s headquarters in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. We were there to talk about our style of Serendipity Travel but we found the presentations by the factory staff so helpful that not only did we stuck around and listen but we did this week’s podcast interview on the preventative maintenance tips we learned.

It really was a lot of fun. People came from all over North America and everyone left so much more confident about handling the preventative maintenance things they were taught. They are doing two more Owner’s Academy this year and we look forward to attending them, too. Both, though, are sold out but based on the great reception to them I’m sure there will be others scheduled. When they are, we’ll let you know as soon as we do.

We’ve been working hard on videos these past few weeks. We have a whole bunch in the hopper and you can see new ones on our RV Lifestyle Channel on You Tube. New videos are released every Thursday morning. Best way to know about them is to go to the channel and subscribe. Then you can clock on a a bell icon and every time a new one is ready, you’ll get an immediate notification. But we have travel videos coming, a review of a new cellular booster system we’re trying out, RV model walk-throughs and all sorts of other surprises. 

Here's the RV News of the week…

Colorado Wildlife officers using social media to track people who harass moose
Colorado wildlife officers are using social media to help them track down people who take pictures of themselves standing near and otherwise harassing moose. The desire to take a selfie near wildlife has been a growing problem at national parks and federal lands throughout the country, putting the wildlife and people at risk. In Colorado officers are using pictures, posted on social media, to successfully track down wildlife harassers to either issue tickets or issue warnings.

RVs on fire filled last week's news; Take steps to stay safe
Last week's RV news was full of what felt like an unusual number of RV fire reports. There was the story of a fifth wheel trailer fire in Arizona that reportedly appeared to start near the refrigerator. A woman and her cats were inside an RV in Florida when it caught aflame, apparently because of an electrical problem. A trailer was being towed in North Carolina when it caught a blaze, cause not immediately known. In Virginia an RV was parked in the owner's driveway when it caught on fire, spreading to the owner's home. All of these stories, and a few others, got me thinking back to an interview we did last year for the podcast on fire safety with Mark Polk of RVEducation101.com. Folks, it is important to do everything you can to stay safe. Click here to review that conversation and hear Mark's helpful safety tips.

Kentucky combining camping and fine dining in new state park program  
Kentucky officials recently kicked off their "Kentucky State Parks Culinary Trail," a tourism project hoping to attract visitors to the Bluegrass state through offering good food at state park locations that typically also offer camping. The state created nine "signature meals" created by top chefs to highlight regional food in nine areas of the state. A state park restaurant in each region will offer one of the designated meals, and tourists are encouraged to collect stamps for each meal they try. Anyone who collects stamps from all nine receives a special gift. Click here or here to learn more. 


Courts clarify that yes, you can be ticketed for left lane driving in Washington
An editorial out of a newspaper in Everett, Washington focused on drivers who insist upon driving in the left lane. Washington, as many of you may remember from past podacasts, has a state law that permits officers to pull over a driver and issue a ticket if the driver is staying in the left lane instead of using it for passing something, sadly, many RV drivers are guilty of doing. Well, apparently the law was challenged by a man, high on marijuana, who was pulled over for driving in the left lane. The editorial details why the law is good, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see other such laws elsewhere. Click here to read more.

This portion of the Podcast is brought to you by Campers Inn, the RVer’s trusted resource for over 50 years, the nation’s largest family-operated RV dealership with 19 locations and growing

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

Everyone who has ever camped in a tent knows how important it is to get a good sleeping bag, but have you ever thought of getting a sleeping bag for your pet? 

Last Sunday our daughter Wendy, her husband and our two granddaughters were over for Mother's Day and they told me about an item their dog would have loved, and that is a sleeping bag for dogs! Many dogs do not have the thick fur coat that Bo has and if the family is tent camping, or for some reason not able to use a heater in their trailer, temperatures out in the woods after the sun sets can get quite chilly - even for our pets. 

I decided to take a quick look into dog sleeping bags and found several for sale on Amazon. The sleeping bags for dogs  look a lot like human sleeping bags, with an opening for the head and a zipper all around the edges to tuck your animal in so he's nice and toasty. Dog sleeping bags come in several sizes, and the pictures of happy dogs zipped in tight  lying next to their owners is enough to make anyone smile.

I found one by Ruffwear Highland selling for $99.95 

Another one by Ozark Trail sold for $32.53

And there were several others.

With Bo's thick snow dog fur, and the heated Alde floors in our Roadtrek, I do not see us investing in one of these anytime soon. But I wanted to share this idea because so many of us camp with our pets, and if you are in a tent, or if your dog does not have a thick fur coat, I thought it might be helpful. 

I will post pictures of these bags on the show notes, as well as links to them on Amazon if you want to check them out in more detail. Just go to Roadtreking-dot-com-slash-192

Meanwhile  be sure to send me your tips and suggestions for the RV lifestyle. You can use the “Leave Voicemail” link at Roadtreking.com. Just click it and then use the built-in microphone on your computer or mobile devise to record a message to me. You can do it over as many times as you want, until you are satisfied. And then you just click a button and it comes right to my email inbox.

I love hearing from you! 

 Jennifer's tip of the week is brought to you by RadPower Bikes ,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping  

To see our Rad Power Bikes in action, just click here.

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

Barabara doesn’t want to join Facebook as a member but wants to read our Roadtreking RV posts on our Facebook group. We explain that if she is not a member of Facebook, she is out of luck. She says she used to be able to read it without being a Facebook member. We are unsure how that happened but probably all the security changes at Facebook have now closed that door.

We have two Facebook presences… a Facebook Page: http//facebook.com/Roadtreking that is public and has lots of info… and our Facebook Group at http://www.facebook.com/groups/roadtreking  that is a Closed Group for members only. That is where a lot of questions and answers and very lively discussions, travel reports and more are posted but you have to be a Facebook member AND request membership in the group. We have it closed because, sadly, there are people who try to exploit the group with spam or personal vendettas and we only accept members who our moderators can vet as real RVers who will abide by the rules of the group. But again, the Roadtreking page and the Roadtreking group ARE on Facebook and if you are not a Facebook member, then you won’t see the material.

Nicole has a bulging disk and wants a more comfortable chair like the truckers have in her RV. There are lots of companies that offer so-called air ride seats and you can just Google them to see. Nicole doesn’t tell us what kind of RV she has. We know that some of the big Class A RVs do have such seats, or offer them as an option. So she could check with Class A dealers for more info. Now with Class C and Class B seats, the seats that come standard often swivel around or recline. Most of the trucker-grade Air Ride seats don’t do that. We invite RVers who have similar back problems to call in our voicemail line on the blog to offer their solutions.

Johanne asks about what we use to sleep in whole in our RV. We tell her about the various solutions and the RV Superbag that we have had now for six years and the various mattress toppers and pads we also use to sleep comfortably in the RV.

This part of the podcast is sponsored by Steinbring Motorcoach, Roadtrek’s newest dealer and a third generation family business in Minnesota’s beautiful Chain of Lakes region built on quality motorhomes and excellent pricing and service.

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

Our interview of the week is very timely for this episode because many RVers are now getting their RVs out of winter storage and preparing for another season of travel.

Our guest this week is Sean Heintz, the service and warranty coordinator for the Erwin Hymer Group of North America. We met Sean last week at the new Hymer factory in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. We were there to do a presentation to a special Owner’s Academy that brought Hymer and Roadtrek owners to the factory for several days of intense hands-on training in maintaining and understanding how their RVs work.

We heard Sean do a couple of sessions and just knew we needed to have him as a special guest on the podcast.

Now we have a special bonus for you this week. Here in the podcast, you’ll hear Sean talk about the things every RVer can do to keep their RV in tip top condition.

But over on our RV Lifestyle Channel on You Tube, you will also be able to see a video version of this interview, with some photos and videos about the things Sean is describing. But whether audio or video, you’re going to learn a lot from Sean.

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

TRAVELING TECH TIP

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

With the kids off of school, summer is a popular time to hit the road. In fact, more than 80 percent of American families with children under the age of 18 intend to take a family vacation this summer. But is your family ready to make the most of your time away?

First, make sure you avoid any traffic hassles. With Google Maps, you can plan your route out in advance. And if you add in the time and date you’d like to leave or when you’d like to arrive at your destination, Google will give you an estimate of what traffic is like or when’s the best time to leave.

If summer travel takes you near a beach, you’re gonna want some music - and you’re going to want to make sure your speaker can handle life at the beach. That’s where the UE Wonderboom comes in handy. This portable bluetooth speaker is not only easy to pack, it’s also waterproof and sounds great!

If your travels are outside the US, you may just want to upgrade your smartphone to the Samsung Galaxy S9 before you leave. A new translation feature built into Bixby allows it to translate street signs, menus and anything else in a foreign language just by pointing your phone’s camera at it. Language will never be a barrier again!

Are you at all a forgetful person? When traveling, your keys, wallet and passport are something you can’t afford to lose. Keep track of them with the Tile Sport tracker. Just attach these intelligent squares to anything you want to keep track of and you’ll easily be able to locate them should they go missing.

And lastly, if you’re away from home for a decent amount of time, you want to make sure you’re keeping track of what’s going on at your house. The Arlo Go home security camera will provide peace of mind with its 24/7 live streaming. And since it has battery backup and connectivity via wifi and 4G LTE, even if the power goes out at home, you’ll still be able to look in.

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Verizon, which operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with more than 112 million retail connections nationwide.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT   

By Tom and Patty Burkett

We're wondering if you remember Joe Palooka.

If you don't, we'll remind you that he's an easygoing animated heavyweight prize fighter who starred in comic strips, radio shows, and movies from the 1920s to the 60s. We ask because you can see a famous statue of him in the little town of Oolitic Indiana.

A few miles north of US 50 on Indiana 37, it calls itself the limestone capital of the world. In addition to the statue, which sits out front of the town hall, there are a number of beautiful limestone buildings along the streets, though sadly several of them are sitting empty.

One of the most interesting is the town jail, which even has a limestone roof. The Indiana limestone company, in business here for more than 100 years, ships out thousands of tons of dressed stone each week for use in monuments, memorials, and building construction. They occasionally offer tours, so check in if you're visiting the area.

The quarries are spread across adjoining counties, and beside one of them, where Indiana Route 37 dead ends into a rusted iron gate, Bill Cook’s grand dream is being overtaken by weeds. 

Cook was, in the 1970s, a local entrepreneur who believed the area should have a tourist attraction to complement its prodigious industry. He drew up plans that included a replica of Cheops’ pyramid from Egypt and the great wall of China, set amid amusement rides, food stands, and a gift shop. With the promise of several hundred thousand dollars in federal funding, the first few courses of the pyramid were laid in place, and restrooms and a visitor center took shape. 

Meanwhile, back in Washington DC, Wisconsin senator William Proxmire‘s fiscal conservation agenda was getting widespread support. When Cook's project received a Golden Fleece award, the ensuing spotlight dried up federal funding and the project died in its tracks. Local residents complained bitterly that a Democrat senator from Wisconsin could have something to say about what was happening in this conservative southern Indiana town, but the belt-tightening mood of the country meant the show was over. 

Pillars sit on either side of the gate that marks the end of the highway. One is topped by a small limestone pyramid. The other clearly had one too, once upon a time. Walk around the gate and along the crumbling asphalt, and what's left of the park sprawls out along one side. On the other is a stunning view of a vast limestone quarry, still operating, with monolithic blocks lining the equipment roadways. Some dreams live on, and some flame out in a blaze of glory. This one died young, but you can still see the shape of it, out here off the beaten path. 

https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2924 

http://eerie-indiana.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-great-pyramid-of-bedford-needmore.html

https://www.indianalimestonecompany.com/our-quarries/our-story/

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

MAY

17-20

Tin Can Tourist Annual Gathering

Camp Dearborn
Milford, MI

 
   

MAY-JUNE

27-1

Escapade-Escapees RV Club National Rally

Missouri State Fairgrounds
Sedalia, MO

 
   

JUNE

7-10

Tampa Bay Summer RV Show

Florida State Fairgrounds
Tampa, FL

   

JUNE

18-22

Roadtreking Photo Safari at Glacier NP

Chewing Blackbones RV Park
Babb, MT

 
   

JULY

9-13

Roadtreking Natahalla River Wildwater Adventure

Smoky Mountains Meadows Campground
Bryson City, NC

 
   

JULY

18-21

FMCA International Convention and RV Expo

Cam-Plex Multi-Event Facilities
Gillette, WY

 

 

Direct download: RV192.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 3:42pm EDT