The RV Podcast

Episode 103: Protecting your house while away on RV trips 

This week we offer tips and suggestions on what do about your sticks and bricks house when you are off traveling in your RV. We share the ways Jennifer and Mike make sure things are safe and secure back home while they’re out traveling

We also offer a very detailed report about going to and coming back from Canada -what you need to know, what you can and cannot bring into each country and what to expect when you travel between the two countries.

Plus info on the best way to level and stabilize your RV at the campground, tech tips, RV news and lots of audience questions and comments.

We talk at length at our experiences of going back and forth between the U.S. in Canada all the time. Among other things, we cover:

·      Why you need to remove your sunglasses at the border check point

·      What questions to expect

·      Will they search or enter your RV?

·      What food can you bring in?

·      Can you take pets?

Traveling into Canada from the U.S. in your RV

Coming back to the U.S. from Canada When returning to the U.S. from Canada, all travelers are required to declare at customs any items purchased or acquired during their stay.

Food that can be brought into the U.S. from Canada – Detailed info

This part of the podcast brought to you by RadPower Bikes (www.RadPowerBikes.com_… an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes.

JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

Most RVers are not fulltimers and thus, when you hit the road, you have a sticks and bricks home to worry about. Mike and I travel about half the year, oftenfor weeks at a time, so we’ve learned by experience how to make sure everything will be just fine at home when we return. So here’s a list of the things we do:

First, we have a home alarm system. The one we use is SimpliSafe. It’s a do-it-yourself system, You buy the various sensors, attach them to the walls and it’s done. There are no holes to drill and the system is all wireless. It is extremely reliable and for $14.95 a month, we have 24 x 7 monitoring with it. Mike installed the system himself and we couldn’t be happier. We have an app that lets us control the whole system from wherever we are. But whatever system you do choose, we do recommend you have an alarm system and monitoring.

Okay, here’s what we do before leaving?

Stop mail delivery – You can do it online or stop by the post office and get a supply of their yellow hold mail cards. They need three days notice but we fill out ours with the date we’re going to be away and they hold it until our return. On the day we return, they deliver it to our door.

Alert neighbors or a friend that you will be gone – We have friends who periodically stop by to check the house. The friend water my plants, makes sure everything is okay inside and does a check of the property. We deactivate the alarm by our app for the time they visit and then remotely reactivate it after they leave.

Have the lawn cut – We use a lawn service and they cut our lawn weekly. In the winter we use a snow removal company. Nothing indicates a home is empty more than unkempt landscaping or snow covered driveways.

There are lots of other things you can do. Some experts recommend unplugging television sets, major appliances, turning off water and that sort of stuff. We have an automatic whole house generator so we don’t worry about power interruptions but in cold climates you want to make sure your furnace is always working so if travel is going to take you away a lot in the winter, the idea of an automatic generator may be worth the investment.

The tip of the week is brought to you by Good Sam, the world's most popular RV organization, now celebrating its 50th year.

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK:

Catrien asks about a list of RV dump sites. Mike refers him to the allstays.com website and app. It’s the best, most detalied list of dump sites available anywhere.

James asks about how to find a replacement parts for the Fantastic Vent on his RV, We send him to the company itself at fantasticvent.com or call them at 800-521-0298. They welcome calls.

Pamela inherited a 2000 190 Roadtrek Popular has questions. Refer her to a real mechanic. We refer her to the Facebook Roadtreking group and someone near her will surely help. We suggest she talk to https://rvinspection.com/

Bill is planning an RV trip to Florida next winter. He wants to know how to handle fresh water needs when traveling in sub freezing weather. 

Sponsoring this part of the podcast is Van City RV in St. Louis, and their Partner Dealerships Creston RV in Kalispell, Montana, and Wagon Trail RV in Las Vegas. Bringing You the largest Inventory of class B’s from three locations.

RV BASIC TRAINING

How to Level your RV

The big Class A RVs most all have aitoatic levelers and stabilizers.

So this is directed more towards towables and small motorhomes.

First thing is to get a level. I have one on my smartphone. Just search for levels in the app store. Or you can buy one of those little circle or bullseye levels at just about any hardware store. They cost just a couple of bucks.

The cheapest way to get your RV level is to make your own…place a stack of 2x10s under as many tires as it takes to get the bubble on the level centered.I’m not a big fan of bringing and using wood. They take up a lot of storage room.  And more importantly, will the stack hold together as you try to run up on it with your tires?  This method is not only an inconvenience, but also a possible safety hazard

The best way to get your RV level is to use a set of RV leveling blocks. (Lynx Levelers are my favorite.) They cost less than $30. These interlocking plastic blocks are designed to handle the weight of the largest motorhome around.  You just snap them together and form a ramp that will stay stable while you drive or pull your RV onto them.  When your ready to leave, they unsnap and can be easily stored in a handy carrying case.å

They not only configure to fit any leveling function, but they also withstand tremendous weight

To use: simply set them into a pyramid shape to the desired height that the RV needs to be raised and drive onto the stack

The levelers can also be used as a support base for other stabilizing equipment

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Campers Inn, the nation’s largest family-operated RV dealership with 15 locations on the East Coast 

RV NEWS OF THE WEEK:

This portion of the podcast is brought to you by Alde  the only name in heat that you need to know for your RV 

TRAVELING TECH TIP: Health Apps

Verizon's Steve Van Dinter reports

Staying well while on the go can be a bit of a challenge. But that’s no reason to make your health and well-being less of a priority.

Fortunately there are gadgets that can help us stay well...and today I’ve got three such ideas you’ll definitely want to keep in mind.

First off...high blood pressure. It is often called the silent killer and affects millions of Americans. The best way to control it is with diet and exercise and also to make sure you’re regularly checking those numbers. Thankfully the folks at Withings have made that easy with their portable Bluetooth blood pressure cuff. Slip it on anywhere - at the beach, in the passenger seat of your RV or at your office and it’ll take an FDA-certified reading of your blood pressure. It then sends the info directly to your phone for tracking. Should you notice a trend or wonder if it’s something you should be concerned about, sharing it with your physician is just a few taps away. Again that’s called the Withings Blood Pressure Cuff.

Next...carrying around a thermometer isn’t always something we think about when running out the door. But this latest gadget, Thermo, makes it easy. The pill container shaped device slips easily into luggage or a purse and is just as easy to use. To take a reading, simply hold within ½ inch of the middle of your forehead and move it left or right toward your hair. It’ll take 4,000 infrared temperature readings and send it - you guessed it - wirelessly to your phone where it will keep track of your readings and also any symptoms you’d like to log with it. How great would this be especially for those with little ones?! That one again is Thermo.

And finally, fitness trackers are all the rage...but sometimes we don’t need all the bells and whistles. With the Withings Go, you attach the coin-shaped device to your belt or where as a watch and it’ll keep track of when and how you’re moving. Graphically it displays how many steps you’ve taken and all that info is fed wirelessly to your phone. In addition to running and walking, it’s waterproof and can keep track of your swims. Wear it to bed and you’ll get a good idea of how well you’ve slept. Also...the best part - with the Withings go you get up to 8 months of use on one battery!

All of these great gadgets can be found at your local Verizon store or at verizonwireless.com

This 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

America’s Largest RV Show Sept. 14-18 in Hershey , PA

 Mike and Jennifer will be hanging out at the Roadtrek Motorhomes and Erwin Hymer of North Amercia booths. We will also be posting reports on the roadtreking.com blog and live video on our Facebook Roadtreking Group.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT -  The world’s largest wind chime and other small town wonders

By Tom Burkett

When I was growing up, we made a lot of trips from the eastern US to Colorado.  Camping was an adventure, but I can imagine what a job it must have been to set up our old canvas tent and wrangle two meals and a bedtime for four young children for one night, so we almost always did it straight through—Ohio to Kansas City where we overnighted with family, then another long day to Denver, where other relatives were waiting.

As an adult, I’ve repeated the same trip many times, often taking my grandmother to a family cabin in the Rockies.  The big difference was that she was willing to stop anywhere, any time.  We often drove the smaller state highways north and south of the interstate and passed through the towns that grew up to serve local farms and ranches and, later, travelers as they made their way west.

A surprising number of these little towns had (and have) quirky museums that highlight local history.  Over the years we visited the steamboat museum, the post rock museum, the barbed wire museum, the forgotten fossil museum, and many others.  Some of these are still around to enjoy, and now some of these bypassed towns are making an effort to lure us off the big road with something unusual.  High marks go to Casey, Ill.

As you ride Interstate 70 you may see a billboard inviting you to visit the world’s largest wind chime.  With its longest tube a whopping 42 feet , it sets up a low lonesome ringing when the wind begins to blow.  Looking like a modern sculpture, it towers over the town and dwarfs the tiny park in which it’s set.  The sunshine shimmers off it and on a gray day it looks ready step off down the road to better weather.

If you listen to Prairie Home Companion, or if you grew up here, you know Midwesterners are given to overachievement.  What surprise then, to look across the street and see the world’s largest rocking chair.  You can wander down the street and climb up to stand in the world’s largest mailbox.  Largest knitting needles? Check.  Largest golf tee? Check.  Pitchfork?  Wooden shoes?  Check and check.  You never know what’ll be next, so stop in.  Have a meal at the wind chime cafe.  Shoot an entire roll of film in one small town block.

Then leave Casey if you like, but keep your eyes open.  Little towns aren’t so little in their own eyes.  I’ll let you discover for yourself which tiny Midwest museum will hand crank ice cream to order while you look at the exhibits.  And which one will allow you to design your own cattle brand and burn it into a wall plaque.  And where you can eat homemade kolaches in the shadow of a giant psankey egg.  Or where you can wake the neighborhood by making a fifty foot dragon breathe real fire in the middle of the night.  They’re all out there.  Happy travels

For more info: http://www.bigthingssmalltown.com/learn-more.html

This part of the podcast is brought to you by AllStays - the Internets #1 RV and camping app since 2010

 

Direct download: RT103.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 4:35pm EDT

In this episode we talk about fall fun and RV travel… plus we discuss seat belt laws and sleeping in the back of a motorhome while driving, choosing the right vehicle to tow a travel trailer. There’s lots of tips, interesting RV news and a fun off the beaten path report… so stay tuned…

In this episode, we talk about our fall schedule and some fall activities that our readers can participate in. They include:

Or check out this full list of the Best Fall Festivals

And here is a list of two of the big events Mike and Jennifer will be attending.

This part of the podcast brought to you by RadPower Bikes (www.RadPowerBikes.com_… an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes.

JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

Shari has a tip about Getting rid of sand and dust… and a question, too, about sleeping in the back of a motorhome while moving.

There’s lots of controversy about the issue of walking around in a moving motothome.

As to legality, as far as we could find out, in most states, you can. Kids have to be buckled in the regular seats. Always. So do the front seat driver and passenger.

In a motorhome, though, even the seat-belt law becomes very questionable. Most states only require those in the front seats, the driving area, to wear seatbelts. Those in the living area are free to roam or sit without belts. Therefore, it would be legal to sleep in the back bed while driving.

Trailers are different. Most states only allow passengers in a trailer when it is a 5th wheel and there is a communication system to the driver.

It basically comes down to a risk management decision

We do. We also have belts back there. Think of a tour bus or an airplane. Each of these vehicles permit you to move about when safe. There is always that risk that something could happen. Many of the long haul trucks with sleepers you see on the highway have the other driver sleeping in the bunk.

The tip of the week is brought to you by Good Sam, the world's most popular RV organization, now celebrating its 50th year.

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK:

Chuck asks about choosing the proper tow vehicle for his new travel trailer that has a unit base weight of 5,600 pounds, a gross vehicle weight rating of 7,600 pounds and a tongue weight of 775 pound

We towed a 21 foot trailer with our Roadtrek, which was on a diesel Sprinter 3500 chassis. It was rated to tow at 7,500 and the Ultra lite we towed near 5,000 pounds with passengers and weight… it handled it fine

The number of actual vehicles you may need to sort through is limited by the weight of the trailer you wish to tow. If all you plan to pull is a 3,000 to 4,000 pound popup camper, you have dozens of possibilities. If the trailer weighs 4,000 to 9,000 pounds, choices become fewer – usually full size trucks, vans or SUVs. And when contemplating 9,000 to 20,000 pounds or more, you are far more likely to become a customer of the American Big Three – Ford, Chevy/GMC or Dodge, although Toyota or Nissan have full-size trucks suitable for the lower end of this scale.

You also want to use a weight distributing hitch with sway control. You will also need a brake controller.

I personally would not recommend using any 1/2 ton to pull that kind of weight. Step up to a 3/4 ton.

Here are some of the resources we referenced:

Sponsoring this part of the podcast is Van City RV in St. Louis, and their Partner Dealerships Creston RV in Kalispell, Montana, and Wagon Trail RV in Las Vegas. Bringing You the largest Inventory of class B’s from three locations.

RV BASIC TRAINING

This week, we talk about using the awnings and getting shade for your RV. The helpful info we report comes from our own Roadtreking Reporters, Roger and Lynn Brucker. Here’s a link to their entire report.

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Campers Inn, the nation’s largest family-operated RV dealership with 15 locations on the East Coast 

RV NEWS OF THE WEEK: 

Unprecedented Fish Kill Shuts Down Yellowstone River in Montana

Terrible Hammock Accident Injures Two on Isle Royale National Park

This portion of the podcast is brought to you by Alde  the only name in heat that you need to know for your RV

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

Verizon's Steve Van Dinter reports:

With summer coming quickly to a close, we all focus our attention a bit more on being productive.

Smartphones are an indispensable part of the workforce, and now there’s a smartphone that fits perfectly for that business person or college student on the go.

Fresh from Samsung it’s the Galaxy Note 7. It improves upon the already impressive design and specs of the Galaxy S7 edge and adds Samsung’s signature S pen - now upgraded - and comes water resistant like the phone as well as with a smaller, more pressure-sensitive tip to allow for more precise note taking and drawing.

Security is also enhanced on the Galaxy Note 7...in addition to an impressive fingerprint reader, you can also use your eyes to unlock your phone - yes it has a built in iris scanner!

You also get an amazing 12 megapixel rapid firing camera, 64 gb of memory and built in wireless charger.

Couple that with America’s best network - Verizon - and you’ve got a winning combination!

This 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

Listener Lyle Phillips tells us about a nostalgic place in the northeast Georgia mountains - the Tiger Drive In Theater, in Tiger, GA, where RVs are most welcome.

This part of the podcast is brought to you by AllStays - the Internets #1 RV and camping app since 2010

 

Direct download: RT102.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 5:58pm EDT

In this episode of the Roadtreking RV Lifestyle Podcast, we talk about how RV Travel has spoiled us, especially when it comes to automobile travel. Ten reasons immediately come to mind.

Plus, we have reader questions about emptying RV waste water tanks, a tip on a way to sanitize and clean them, traveling tech info, RV news of the week and a great off the beaten path report. Click the player to Listen Now or scroll down through the show note details and resources and click the player below to start listening. When you see a time code hyperlink, you can click it to jump directly to that segment of the podcast.

We’ve just driven about 1,000 miles in an automobile instead of our RV.

And we can’t believe how much we disliked it.

Traveling by motorhome has spoiled us.

The trip, from our Michigan home to Atlanta, was unplanned and very quick, made necessary by a family medical emergency. Because we were going to be in downtown Atlanta around the Grady Memorial Hospital medical complex, we only had parking garage space available. Same with the downtown hotel where our other family members were staying: There was only underground parking available.

Our Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL motorhome was too tall to bring.

So we drove. By car.

First, let me say that the medical emergency passed and had an excellent outcome. We had hundreds of people praying, many connected to me from Facebook and many part of our Roadtreking Facebook Group. The Roadtreking community support was so comforting.

But the drive down and back in our personal vehicle was anything but comforting and made us really miss the motorhome.

To that end, Jennifer and I have identified 10 ways Motorhome Travel has spoiled us. Here’s what we missed:

  • The high seats in the motorhome – We love sitting up high, over the road, with a huge panoramic windshield that lets us see the road, traffic, the conditions around us from a position much higher than that in our SUV. We feel more “on top of things” in the motorhome, better able to see road conditions and traffic and anticipate corrective moves when needed.
  • The refrigerator – In the motorhome, the fridge is always on, always cool and we have lots of water, snacks, fruit and refreshments on hand. A great road snack is sliced apples and cheese. I suppose we could have packed a cooler for the Yukon. But the fridge in the RV is much more convenient.
  • The bathroom – Have you stopped at gasoline station rest rooms or interstate rest areas lately? Most all leave something to be desired in the cleanliness department. Our own bathroom in the RV is clean. Always.
  • The kitchen – Eating on the road while driving in a car almost invariably means fast food or lots of online searching and review checking to find nice places to eat on route. In our motorhome, we can quickly prepare anything – breakfast, lunch, dinner. We just pull over and eat off our own plates, with our own utensils and always, the food we prepare ourselves in the RV is cleaner, healthier and better tasting than what we’d find at a roadside diner or fast food joint.
  • Being in control – This is a real intangible. But it provides a great sense of security. We are not dependent on anything other than fuel as we travel. We are self-contained. Everything we need is with us. This has to truly be one of the nicest things about RV travel.
  • Closets – We have plenty of extra clothes with us in the RV. If the weather turns suddenly cooler, we can go to the closet and replace shorts and T-shirts with long pants and sweaters. We have extra shoes on board the RV. Raincoats, jackets, hats and gloves. We are ready for most anything Mother Nature delivers. For a trip by automobile, where you have to pack everything in suitcases, it’s difficult to be prepared for different weather conditions.
  • A bed – I cannot begin to say how nice it is while traveling long distances to pull over and lay down in the motorhome’s bed for a quick roadside nap. On this recent trip down to Georgia, we were challenged by torrential rains. We had to pull over three times and wait a half hour or so each time for storms to pass. It’s very hard to nap in a car. In our Roadtrek, with the patter of rain on the roof, a rain delay makes for a wonderful nap. How we missed being able to do that on this trip!
  • Big side mirrors – I’m talking here about the mirrors outside the driver and passenger windows. The motorhome side mirrors are big and cover a very wide area. We feel we really can see what is around us and behind us in the motorhome. The mirrors on our automobile are much smaller.   Was not nearly as comfortable making lane changes as I would have been in the RV.
  • Being able to stand up and stretch – Our motorhome lets me walk around and stand up. I can move around and stretch out (while Jennifer is driving, of course!). We felt cramped and a bit claustrophobic in the car.
  • Our Home on Wheels - Put all of the above reasons together and that’s what our RV clearly is: Our Home on Wheels. It has all the comforts of home because it is That’s really what we missed when we traveled by our car.

This part of the podcast brought to you by RadPower Bikes (www.RadPowerBikes.com_… an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Mention Roadtreking and take $75 off your purchase price.

JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

If you are like us, you have drawers full of T-shirts you’ve collected over the years from your various travels. Most are seldom or ever worn, yet you’ve hung on to them all because they represent nice memories. But all they are really doing is gathering dust.

Here’s an idea: Make a quilt from them.

If you’re handy at such things, by all means do it yourself. I’m not. That’s why a service like Project Repat is so appealing.

Project Repat is a company that turns t-shirts into quilts or pillows. Just send in your t-shirts or sweatshirts and they will turn it into a personalized, unique quilt or pillow within a couple short weeks.

Project Repat quilts and pillows are fun to use for RV Travel t-shirts and sweatshirts collected over the years that would otherwise sit in a drawer, or by anyone cleaning out the closet who can’t bear to part with nostalgic t-shirts

They charge $75 for a basic lap quilt. They make them in various sizes up to king, depending on how many t-shirts you send them. Each t-shirt is typically cut down to a 12 by 12 or 14 by 14 panel, with fleece lining sewn in.

The tip of the week is brought to you by Good Sam, the world's most popular RV organization, now celebrating its 50th year.

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK:

A listener named Kelly wants Mike’s opinion on the Pantech 4g LTE Tablet versus the iPad or Kindle Fire.

AT&T has been steadily growing the number of 4G LTE devices they offer and one of the more recent 4G LTE tablets is this $299 8-inch tablet, the Pantech Element. It’s about a hundred bucks cheaper than the new iPad mini 4. The big claim to fame in our book is it is waterproof! But the cons outweigh that in our book. Incompatible with some apps. No hotspot functionality. Here’s a link to a PC Magazine review of this unit.

We had a couple of questions abut emptying the waste water tanks:

One listener thinks the Roadtrek macerator pump takes too long and wonders about the reliability of the indicator lights that supposedly show when it is full.

And another listener asks about using a composting toilet and whether she will have to empty her waste tanks every other day as she currently encounters.

Listener Kevin explains how and why we should track our fuel expenses.

And listener Sue is planning to visit Yellowstone and wants to make sure she doesn’t lose her spot when she drives off in her Class B from one of those first come, first served camping sites.

Sponsoring this part of the podcast is Van City RV in St. Louis, and their Partner Dealerships Creston RV in Kalispell, Montana, and Wagon Trail RV in Las Vegas. Bringing You the largest Inventory of class B’s from three locations.

RV BASIC TRAINING

Maintaining your Waste Water Tank with The GEO method 

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Campers Inn, the nation’s largest family-operated RV dealership with 15 locations on the East Coast 

RV NEWS OF THE WEEK:

Floods Cause $50 million in damage to Louisiana RV Dealer - Dixie RV

Road Construction Will Close Arches National Park's Campground For Most Of 2017

Monkey escapes from RV, scares Walmart shoppers

This portion of the podcast is brought to you by Alde  the only name in heat that you need to know for your RV

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

Verizon's Steve Van Dinter reports

With back to school season in full swing, many parents are stuck with the perennial dilemma of driving their students to and from school or letting them walk to school on their own.

But how do you know if they made it there safely and if you’re not at home when they return, how do you know they came right back?

Thanks to technology it’s easy.

There’s a great gadget out called My Gizmo Pal 2 by Verizon.

This cool looking wearable brings parents peace of mind by providing automatic alerts when their child enters or leaves specific geofenced areas like school, home or a friend’s house.

In addition, should a child go somewhere they’re not supposed to, parents automatically are alerted to that as well. You can even check in live at any time to see where your child is at...and their unique icon appears on the map allowing you to track multiple children at once.

Kids enjoy Gizmopal because it allows them to call one of four predetermined contacts at any time...like parents when they’re ready to be picked up from a friend’s house or practice.

GizmoPal has customizable stickers and is also rugged and waterproof so you don’t ever have to worry about it.

You can find GizmoPal 2 at your local Verizon store or at verizonwireless.com

This 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’d like to tell our fellow roadtrekers about a monster we encountered on our recent visit to Charleston, South Carolina.  Charleston is full of bloody history, lowcountry folklore, and pirate tales, so finding such a thing here is maybe not a surprise.

John’s Island, a bit south and west of the city, is home to one of the largest trees in the USA—the Angel Oak.  It’s a southern live oak tree with a canopy that extends over most of an acre.  This tree was already huge when the Revolutionary war started.  Its longest branch is 187 feet, and five adults can barely reach around it.

It’s said that the name comes from the angel ghosts of slaves who gather in its branches on moonless nights, but actually, the land it’s on was owned for many years by the Angel family and called Angel Farm.  Nowadays it belongs to the city of Charleston and operates as a free city park, host to nature talks and occasional parties.

Many of the branches of the tree support patches of epiphytic ferns that dry up and turn brown when water is scarce.  When it rains, they become lush and green.  It’s no surprise they’re called resurrection ferns.

We visited on a wet morning after a rainstorm and the tree was covered with them.  Photo opportunities a-plenty, but for a reason we couldn’t discover, tripods are not allowed, so bring a steady hand.

As you travel around the country, you can visit other big and famous trees, and maybe you have.  There are the Evangeline Oaks in St. Martinsville, Louisiana, where the lovers in Longfellow’s poem met, and the Survivor Tree in Oklahoma

City, veteran of the bombing of the Murrah Building there.  The Hangman’s Elm in Manhattan’s Washington Park is over 300 years old, and the Big Tree (catchy name, right?) on Goose Island in Texas has been there for more than a thousand years.

Sure, the General Sherman sequoia in California is impressive, and worth as many visits as you can make, and the bristlecone pines of Utah’s Great Basin may be 4000 years old, but there are lots of arboreal superstars scattered across the country.  Visit Charleston.  Eat shrimp and grits. Buy a Gullah basket. Take pictures of Rainbow Row.  Then head out to spend some time with the serene majesty of the Angel Oak.  You’ll be glad you did.  Happy travels!

This part of the podcast is brought to you by AllStays - the Internets #1 RV and camping app since 2010

 

Direct download: RT101.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 10:39pm EDT

This is the 100th episode of the Roadtreking RV Podcast and in it, Mike and Jennifer reflect on what they’ve learned in putting the hour-long program together each week. Jennifer shares a secret – namely, that she didn’t think it would last or be popular.

As we look ahead to the next 100 episodes we feel very blessed in traveling North America by RV, seeing so much and meeting such interesting people.

JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

It’s the time of year that stargazers have been waiting for: the Perseid meteor shower. On the night of August 11th and the morning of August 12th, hundreds of tiny meteors will dart through Earth’s night sky, putting on a spectacular light show for late-night viewers. And those who stay up for the shower this year may be rewarded with a particularly special cosmic performance. Experts suspect there will be even more shooting stars than average in this year’s shower.

If you want to catch the Perseid meteor shower, the best time to start watching is after midnight local time. If you aren’t able to watch on the 11th, the shower may still be visible on the night of August 12th and the morning of the 13th. And remember, to see lights in the sky, you’ll want to get away from lights on Earth.

To learn more about the Perseids and other summer meteor showers, we’ll ut a link to Space.com’s Best Summer Meteor Showers Guide on our shownotes page at Roadtreking-dot-com-forward slash-100.

The tip of the week is brought to you by Good Sam, the world's most popular RV organization, now celebrating its 50th year.

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK:

We had two questions this week from listeners about the Roadtrek Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL, the RV Mike and Jennifer use.

David wanted to know if there was a way to increase counter space, something Mike and Jennifer discouraged because it would do away with what they think is extremely useful – the large pantry in the CS.

And Listener Daryl likes the idea of an undermounted air conditioner, as Mike and Jennifer have, but he is concerned about getting it serviced. Mike and Jennifer note how the new undermounts from ProAir come on easy to access drawyers that sort of drop down for easy access. And they share how impressed with were by ProAir, the maker of the undermount on their RV.

In email this week, we answer reader questions about:

Cell phone boosters - Mike refers him to http://wilsonamplifiers.com/

Reader Vic passes along this tip about traveling with a dog:

Great newsletter this week as usual. In reference to your request for input while traveling with our pet. When we got our Nova Scotia Duck Toller, Daisy, from the breeder she asked us to promise that Daisy was in a crate while our van/car was moving.

Since she was a puppy, Daisy has traveled in her crate which we take on our 3- 4 month trips thru the United States. We have a sof-krate brand which has a metal frame but canvas  material with plenty of screening. We only place her in the crate when the van is in motion and she never complains and we never worry about a possible sudden stop and her becoming a projectile. Our SS Agile is smaller than yours and the nice thing about this crate is that it sits easily in the aisle when in use but flattens to the thickness of a pancake when folded.

It folds quickly and can be placed outside while camping without fear of getting wet. Hope the info is useful. Orvis sells the crate but we bought the identical crate on line thru another website for $60 dollars.

And reader Catrien asks: Good Day… I am wondering why I do not see anything in your news letters pertaining to dumping sites in Canada and US, especially for ones who cannot get camp sites and use the free stopping places, like Wal-Mart. -- Mike refers them to the AllStays app.

Sponsoring this part of the podcast is Van City RV in St. Louis, and their Partner Dealerships Creston RV in Kalispell, Montana, and Wagon Trail RV in Las Vegas. Bringing You the largest Inventory of class B’s from three locations.

RV BASIC TRAINING

This week, we look at ways to improve fuel economy. Thanks to Mark Polk, of RVEducation101.com, and Kampgrounds of Amreica, for some suggesting some easy ways to get more miles from each Gallon of Fuel.

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Campers Inn, the nation’s largest family-operated RV dealership with 15 locations on the East Coast 

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Campers Inn, the nation’s largest family-operated RV dealership with 15 locations on the East Coast 

RV NEWS OF THE WEEK:

Bear Rips open side of Travel Trailer

Yellowstone Bans all Backcountry Campfires

NatGeo launches Free Website to Print Topographic Maps 

This portion of the podcast is brought to you by Alde  the only name in heat that you need to know for your RV 

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

Verizon's Steve Van Dinter reports…

Last week we started talking about some great apps for back to school season. But I didn’t get a chance to mention all of my favorites so I thought we’d continue this week with a few more. So grab your pen and paper or ask Google or Siri to remind you of the following because they’re all free for Android and iOS devices.


BRAINSCAPE

First up...flashcards are helpful not just for improving math skills, but foreign language, history facts...pretty much anything you can think of.

But making them out of paper can take time and they’re not always the easiest to carry around.

Thanks to an app called brainscape, you can create and review flashcards from any internet-connected device.

Simply sign up for a free account and then choose from a list of already-created flashcards based on a topic area...or make your own.

In addition to text you can add images and even multimedia!

And they’re super portable and don’t take up any space…so there’s no excuse for not using them.



CAMSCANNER



Next…there can be times when you are working on a paper and need to scan in a document or image.

But scanners aren’t always around when you need them or you may not have access at home at all.

Thankfully if you have a smartphone or tablet you’re all set thanks to a free app called camscanner.

Fire up the app and it uses your device’s built in camera to take a picture of a document or image. It’ll automatically crop that photo or document, enhance it and then allow you to share it as a pdf or jpg.

And it works great for parents as well…allowing you to scan business cards and have them automatically added as contacts!

What will they think of next?

This 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

 This part of the podcast is brought to you by AllStays - the Internets #1 RV and camping app since 2010

Reader Larry Daniel, known on our Facebook Group as Ozarks Photo, sends along an off the beaten path report from Oregon – the Alfred A Loeb State Park and Campground

 After spending a night on the Oregon beach we drove into Brookings to get my favorite Starbucks. And a few groceries.

Then we decided to do a little exploring to find a place for mittens to take Marilyn for his walk. Anytime mittens is outside our Roadtrek he has Maryland on a leash. He decides where they're going!

First we went to the city park. They were having a music festival and there was no parking to be found and we figured that mittens might not enjoy the music.

We saw on the map there was a campground and Park about 8 miles east of Brookings so we decided to explore a little more. Well off the beaten track we discovered the Alford a Loeb state park and campground. There was a large open area tt Mariln felt mittens would enjoy walking. As she was finishing her exploration of the area with mittens a nice couple walked by and commented on the cat on a leash and admired our new Roadtrek. They said they had just walked out of the campground and noticed that their favorite spot was open. They encouraged us to register for that spot and enjoy the campground. We decided to give it a try and are happy that we did. They have electric so we could watch a DVD that we had not viewed and enjoyed a couple of games of Skip Bo. We liked the spot so well we decided to spend another night.

If any of your members are in the area they may want to check out the Alfred a Loeb state park and campground. They have 45 electrical sites, three cabins and it is located on the Chetco River.

This part of the podcast brought to you by RadPower Bikes (www.RadPowerBikes.com_… an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Mention Roadtreking to save $75

Remember, if you would like to have your voice heard and be a part of the podcast, you can record a Voice Mail message by clicking the right hand button on the roadtreking.com website

Direct download: RT100.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 4:56pm EDT

The hot and humid days of summer are coinciding with peak RV travel time and one thing almost ever RVer out there is keenly interested in this time of year if the air conditioning unit for their rig. In this episode, we talk about the latest innovations in RV AC - smaller, quieter, stealthier and more efficient.

Plus lots of listener comments and suggestions, tech tips, an off-the-beaten-path report and some helpful RV Basic Training for those who travel with small children.

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

Complete shownotes for episode 99 of the Roadtreking RV Travel Podcast

Mike and Jennifer are coming to you this week from their sticks and bricks home in Michigan, afer being on the road for the past six weeks. They pan to hit the road again in mid August and are using their time to catch up on some home maintenance and plan the rest of their travels for the year.

People have asked what we do with our home as we travel so much.  We are in the road about half the year. While we're away we:

  • Pay all our bills online - Credit cards, utilities and more all have e-pay services. PayPal is great for sending money to friends or family. Mike uses Quickbooks Online for his business accounts. Jen uses online banking to manage our personal accounts.
  • Stop mail - We have the post office hold all our mail
  • Lawn Service - We pay a lawn service to cut our lawn each week
  • Get friends to visit - We have friends regularly stop buy and check on the house and property. Neighbors know when we are gone and when we are back and to report suspicious vehicles
  • Alarm system - We use the SimplySafe alarm system. It's a DIY system that costs a fraction of what the competition does and provides very reliable 24x7 monitoring
  • Whole house generator - We have invested in a whole house generator to protect our appliances and home in the event of a power loss

This part of the podcast brought to you by RadPower Bikes

JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK - Tips on Getting Older

Today’s tip came from our Facebook Group and was posted by my friend Cindy Larsen. It’s actually a whole bunch of tips about getting older. Cindy also fond this on Facebook and was unable to trace it back to the original source.

We don’t have time to read off of them, but here are a few of the best.

  1. It’s time to use the money you saved up. Use it and enjoy it. Don’t just keep it for those who may have no notion of the sacrifices you made to get it. Remember there is nothing more dangerous than a son or daughter-in-law with big ideas for your hard-earned capital.
  2. Stop worrying about the financial situation of your children and grandchildren, and don’t feel bad spending your money on yourself. You’ve taken care of them for many years, and you’ve taught them what you could. You gave them an education, food, shelter and support. The responsibility is now theirs to earn their own money.
  3. Keep a healthy life, without great physical effort. Do moderate exercise (like walking every day), eat well and get your sleep. It’s easy to become sick, and it gets harder to remain healthy. That is why you need to keep yourself in good shape and be aware of your medical and physical needs. Keep in touch with your doctor, do tests even when you’re feeling well. Stay informed.
  4. Don’t stress over the little things. You’ve already overcome so much in your life. You have good memories and bad ones, but the important thing is the present. Don’t let the past drag you down and don’t let the future frighten you. Feel good in the now. Small issues will soon be forgotten.
  5. ALWAYS stay up-to-date. Read newspapers, watch the news. Go online and read what people are saying. Make sure you have an active email account and try to use some of those social networks. You’ll be surprised what old friends you’ll meet. Keeping in touch with what is going on and with the people you know is important at any age.
  6. Respect the younger generation and their opinions. They may not have the same ideals as you, but they are the future, and will take the world in their direction. Give advice, not criticism, and try to remind them that yesterday’s wisdom still applies today.
  7. Never use the phrase: “In my time.” Your time is now. As long as you’re alive, you are part of this time. You may have been younger, but you are still you now, having fun and enjoying life.
  8. Some people embrace their golden years, while others become bitter and surly. Life is too short to waste your days on the latter. Spend your time with positive, cheerful people, it’ll rub off on you and your days will seem that much better. Spending your time with bitter people will make you older and harder to be around.
  9. Do not surrender to the temptation of living with your children or grandchildren (if you have a financial choice, that is). Sure, being surrounded by family sounds great, but we all need our privacy. They need theirs and you need yours. If you’ve lost your partner (our deepest condolences), then find a person to move in with you and help out. Even then, do so only if you feel you really need the help or do not want to live alone.
  10. Don’t abandon your hobbies. If you don’t have any, make new ones. You can travel, hike, cook, read, dance. You can adopt a cat or a dog, grow a garden, play cards, checkers, chess, dominoes, golf. You can paint, volunteer or just collect certain items. Find something you like and spend some real time having fun with it.
  11. Finally  find things to be grateful for every day. And, do something nice for someone

That’s an abbreviated version of the whole list. We’ll put a link up to the entire post on the shownotes to this episode at Roadtreking.com/99

Meanwhile if you have a tip for me, use the Leave Voicemail link at Roadtreking.com. I love hearing from our listeners.

The tip of the week is brought to you by Good Sam, the world's most popular RV organization, now celebrating its 50th year.

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK:

 Listener Judy is about to become an RVer and will be traveling alone with her two small dogs. She asks about finding solo female RVers that she can connect with. Besides our Roadtreking Facebook Group, which has lots of solo travelers, Mike suggests two websites – RVingWomen.org and Sisters on the Fly. There is also a solo group connected with Roadtrek International, a part of the Family Motor Coach Association.

 

Troy Becktel, Director of Service and warranty, Erwin Hymer Group North America, Inc

Two questions about RV air conditioners this week: Tom has one that is acting up. Lori is concerned about the noise. So we turn to Troy Beckel, from the Erwin Hymer Group of North America, the makers of Roadtrek motorhomes, to talk about the latest in RV AC technology. Try talks about the revolutionary undermont air conditioning system from ProAir, an Elhart, IN supplier that Roadtrek is using for select Sprinter-based RV models. It's a system cools at least 10 degrees colder than traditional roof mouned RV AC units.

Sponsoring this part of the podcast is Van City RV in St. Louis, and their Partner Dealerships Creston RV in Kalispell, Montana, and Wagon Trail RV in Las Vegas. Bringing You the largest Inventory of class B’s from three locations.

RV BASIC TRAINING

This week, in answer to a voice message question left by Christine from Oklahoma, we talk about traveling with infants and toddlers in an RV.

We share info from SafeRideNews.com and RVSafely.com

Often, even parents who normally are careful to use a CR for their children for every ride imagine that the interior of a recreational vehicle (RV, or motor home) is somehow a magical zone where the laws of physics do not apply.  Caregivers need to know that an RV may not be safe for children.  Children still need to be buckled up appropriately any time they are riding in a vehicle, and this can be a real challenge in an RV.  RVs come in a range of style classes (A, B, C, C+, etc.) and, although these do vary in appropriateness for families, none is ideal.

People reason that bigger vehicles tend to withstand crash forces better, and this may lull some RVers into a false sense of security. However, bigger isn’t actually safer when it comes to RVs.  Unlike school buses, which must meet the strict structural standards of several FMVSSs, RVs are not subject to school bus standards, nor do many of the crashworthiness standards governing cars apply.  Because of this and design features that may include seams in the sides for things like galley slide-outs, an RV’s size may not translate to superior structural soundness.

In addition, although seat belts are sometimes present in the living areas, the anchorages for these are not required to comply with FMVSS 208.   In some cases, the belts are just anchored to a piece of board!  Also, LATCH anchors are not required.
Parents also must know that CRs should never be installed on rearward- or side-facing vehicle seats, further limiting options.  And the problem of loose objects causing injury can be a greater concern aboard a traveling motel room. Even “built-in” cabinets have been known to come loose due to the force of a crash.

Consider these safety tips if considering traveling in an RV with children:

  • Anytime you’re on the road, be sure that children always ride properly in a child safety seat.
    • Check in the cab of an RV for seating positions that are appropriate for car seat installation.  Unlike Class As, smaller Class B and C RVs are built on a regular van/truck chassis. These types must meet the same safety standards as passenger vehicles, and therefore are more likely to have the features needed for car seat use.
    • Since a car seat is more likely to fit safely in a regular passenger vehicle, consider using one to tow a trailer rather than using an RV.
    • If you plan to tow a car behind an RV for local jaunts, consider driving this vehicle instead, with children properly buckled up inside.
    • Make a rule that all occupants stay buckled up properly inside an RV anytime it is moving.

According to Carla Levinski at the Oregon Department of Transportation, "Most vehicle and child seat manufacturers warn against using a side-facing passenger seat for installing child seats." It's also not safe for a child safety seat to be placed in a chair that swivels. Where, then, is the best location for a child safety seat in your RV? According to Levinski, even though it's recommended all children under the age of 12 ride in the back seat of a vehicle, if your RV doesn't have any forward-facing, non-swivel seats, the only option is to place a child, from birth to 8 years, in a car or booster seat properly restrained in the front passenger position.

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Campers Inn, the nation’s largest family-operated RV dealership with 15 locations on the East Coast 

RV NEWS OF THE WEEK:

This portion of the podcast is brought to you by Alde  the only name in heat that you need to know for your RV

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

Verizon's Steve Van Dinter reports on Back to School Apps

Typically smartphones are thought of as a distraction when it comes to being successful at school. However today I’ve got some apps that will do everything from organize your child’s schoolwork...to helping prepare them for the big exam.

MyHomework Student Planner

First up, forget the paper organizer we all had in high school and college today staying on top of schoolwork can be done digitally.

The app is called myhomework student planner and will keep track of your deadlines, tests, homework, and remind you if you haven’t completed an assignment.

And the nice thing is it’s really simple to use. Just download the free app, set up an account so the data syncs between a smartphone and the web for instance and then input in daily homework, upcoming tests, and how soon you want to be reminded.

The app is also compatible with teachers. So if your child’s teacher is using this software the assignments, schedule and other important information will also be added automatically by adding the class.

And the price is right...it’s free for both android and ios. Again it’s called myhomework student planner.

EasyBib

Next remember writing those papers and then having to cite your sources? Formatting the bibliography was basically an assignment in itself.

And here comes technology to help! This app is called easy bib...and makes citations easier than ever.

Simply launch the app and scan the book you are citing and a librarian-verified citation will be created instantly in whatever format you need.

In addition, using the search feature you’re able to cite any websites or online materials you use.

Once you have the list, it can be emailed from your phone and inserted into your document.

Easy as that!

Oh to be a student today!

This 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 bats of Austin, Texas

By Tom and Patti Burkett

Austin, Texas is definitely not off the beaten path. It's a real hipster mecca for music, art, and popular culture. You Roadtrekers traveling the roads of the USA will probably end up there sooner or later.   When you do, be sure not to miss out on one of the country's greatest natural spectacles.

Every night just before sunset, from March to November, hundreds of folks gather along the Congress Avenue bridge, because the crevices built into the underside of the bridge are home to as many as a million and a half Mexican freetail bats.  Many people watch from the bridge, but if you do you'll miss all the early action. Instead, come a little early and get a parking spot at the Austin American-Statesman lot on the south side of the span.

 

Walk out into the attached park.  Take a lawn chair, even a picnic or a beverage if you like. The park also often features displays and information stations staffed by bat experts who can answer your questions.  As the sun gets low, you'll see these tiny mammals begin to circle around under the bridge.  More and more of them emerge and join the aerial dance as twilight comes on. Then, at one moment, they all swoop out from underneath and head upriver to devour tons of mosquitoes before returning to feed their young.

Sometimes the fly-out takes as long as two hours, so take your time.  You can sit for the twenty minutes or so it takes for the parking lot to clear or, for a romantic treat, skip the traffic and take a pedicab from the park.  You can enjoy the nighttime lights of the city on your way to one of Austin's many great restaurants. We really like Frank & Angie's Pizza, an old time Italian eatery tucked in the back of a parking lot a few blocks from the bridge.

Austin isn't the only place to see this amazing display, but it's the only city where it happens, and the biggest urban bat colony in the world. If you prefer a more rural setting, further west you can watch a similar  departure at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Wherever you see it, you'll never forget it. Bats are great friends to campers, eating as many as a thousand bugs an hour, so take the time to cheer them on. Happy travels!

http://austinot.com/guide-bat-season-in-austin

http://www.batcon.org/index.php/our-work/regions/usa-canada/protect-mega-populations/cab-intro

This part of the podcast is brought to you by AllStays - the Internets #1 RV and camping app since 2010

Direct download: RT99.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 5:12pm EDT

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