The RV Podcast

In this episode, we talk about the RV accessory that we probably complain about the most but also depend upon to get where we are going - the GPS navigation system.

We talk to a top government GPS expert this week who explains how GPS works; how accurate and reliable it is, or isn’t; what system – the one in the dashboard or the one on your smartphone or tablet - is most accurate and what to do when it is not accurate.

Also some spring cleaning ideas for your traveling tech, a great off the beaten path report from New Mexico, RV tips and your questions.

 Show Notes for Episode #185 March 28, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

 

Happy Easter everyone!  It's Spring Break and Easter Vacation time for much of North America this week and campgrounds are experiencing their first major rush of the 2018 camping season.

We’re in Florida at our Emerald Coast Location on the Gulf of Mexico again after a great visit last week to Texas. And the first of two videos we did on that trip will go live tomorrow – Thursday April 29 – on our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube. It’s about our trip to Waco and all the fun we had there. 

Two of our three kids and five of our eight grandkids will be joining us over the weekend here at the beach to celebrate Easter so we’re looking forward to some fun family time. Then we hit the road again for what promises to be perhaps our busiest travel season ever. Though we’ve been busy all year so far. In fact we travel somewhere in our RV every month.

Now…here are the top RV related stories that have interested us this week….

Rangers at Arizona's Saguaro National Park using microchips to thwart thieves 

So many people are taking home a piece of Arizona's Saguaro National Park's famous saguaro cactus that rangers have started the unusual practice of micro chipping them. Yes, you read that right. Microchips are being inserted into the iconic plant that can grow up to 40 feet tall and live 200 years because selling them has become a lucrative market that is hurting the national park.

Ohio buys 60,000 acres to develop new park, complete with camping

We always like seeing stories about new state parks. Ohio announced its plans to buy 60,000 acres of privately owned land in the southeastern part of the state and turn it into the Jesse Owens State Park and Wildlife Area, complete with camping. The rolling hills and lake-specked land is owned by American Electric Power and was once mined for coal. In recent years the electric company allowed public use of the land, and a recent story we will link to in the shownotes presents an interesting picture of how one state is trying to preserve undeveloped land for future generations.

Night sky educational programs to get even better at national parks

Enjoy viewing the night sky in the nation's national parks? Your experience may be even a bit better this summer. The University of Texas-Austin's McDonald Observatory is creating a training program for park rangers to help them develop better night sky experiences for visitors.

 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: An easy way to make eggs right every time

In this week’s tip, we meet Kristi Gilson, a new RVer, who recently showed us a gizmo she travels with in her RV that makes a perfect egg breakfast every time.

The device Kristi showed us is called the Egg Central Egg Cooker by Quisinart. You use distilled water and it quickly cooks eggs just about any way you want from omelets to hard boiled. It costs $39 and you can find it on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2pLi5oi

You can also find it – and all the various products and services we talk about here on the podcast and our blog – at http://roadtreking.com/gear

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   

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

Listener Donna is wondering about places to stay on a motorcycle camping trip to Texas

We suggest Canyon of the Eagles, northwest of Burnet, for Texas hill country scenery and great camping; the area around Fredicksburg for shipping and wineries and wildflowers, Big Bend for rugged wilderness and the Padre Islands National Seashore for beach camping.

Mary is planning a trip along the Oregon coast in May and wants some places to overnight, especially one called Cook’s Chasm that she read about in this post from 2013 -

http://roadtreking.com/boondocking-along-the-middle-oregon-coast/

 Oregon made some very wise land use decisions fifty-sixty years ago, and practically the whole coastline is state parks and national forest. Oregon also has a liberal boondocking policy – you can stay for 12 hours at any spot not otherwise posted, as long as it's outside a state park.

Cook's Chasm is a parking area maybe 2-3 miles south of the town of Yachats (YAH-hots)

Old lava flows to the ocean are all up and down the coast here, and at Cook's Chasm the lava has been eroded by wave action into caves and chasms – the waves really boom and spout out the blowholes of these when the surf's up and the tide is right. It's a large parking area on the ocean side of the highway, overlooking Thor's Well, a giant blowhole in an underwater cave that you can watch for hours as the waves come in and waters sloshes in and out of it. And the best part is – the waves are phosphorescent on moonless late summer nights. It's an eerie blue-green glow in the breakers – unforgettable.

 Sponsoring this part of the podcast is Van City RV  Bringing You the largest Inventory of class B’ RVs with locations St. Louis, Missouri; Las Vegas, Nevada; Kalispell, Montana and now… Colorado Springs, Colorado..

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

We’ve all cursed our GPS system, right? We’re driving a bunch of strange roads following the GPS map in our RV but instead of getting to where we programmed it, we find ourselves somewhere else closer to the middle of nowhere.

It’s happened to us all, right?

In this episode, we talk to Jason Kim. Jason is  a Senior Advisor for the National Coordination Office for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing for the U.S. government. His agency’s website is www.gps.gov

As such, he is a top government GPS expert and in this week’s episode, he explains how GPS works; how accurate and reliable it is, or isn’t; what system – the one in the dashboard or the one on your smartphone or tablet - is most accurate and what to do when it is not accurate.

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: Spring Clean Your Tech

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

Now that the weather’s getting warmer it’s just about time to spring open those windows and let in the fresh air. There’s something magical about the season and it really can get us energized to do some cleaning in our homes. But did you know your smartphone could use a good cleansing as well?

Here are some quick and easy tips to get you started:

First...storage. Those photos and videos on your phone take up a ton of space! Google Photos is free app for iOS and Android that gives you free unlimited storage of those photos! You click on free up space and it’ll automatically backup your photos for free in the cloud and then delete them off your device.

Or, you can use the Sandisk Connect Wireless Stick to wirelessly transfer files between your smartphone and laptop.

Next there are all those random menus you’ve downloaded, practice schedules, etc. You probably don’t even know where they are! But for Android users, the app, Files Go, can help. It’ll scan your phone and let you know what’s taking up space and if you haven’t accessed an app or a file for a while it’ll recommend deletion. Or if you want to save the file, it can be sent to Google Drive for storage.

If you use an iPhone, go to Settings > General > Storage > to see all of your apps. And you’ll also see how long it’s been since you used them. If you haven’t used it in about six months, I’d say you can delete it. If there’s an app you haven’t used in a while but you don’t want to delete, you can offload it when you’re low on storage and that app’s data will be saved.

Organize your apps. Take a look at what you use most and sort – for instance, texting, phone, email and your camera should always be right at your fingertips.

Finally, do your constant notifications make you anxious? Prioritize what you need to know and be alerted about and change your settings accordingly.

Happy cleaning!

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 -  Gila Hot Springs, New Mexico

It was well below freezing in the Gila National Forest, and we were happy the Roadtrek was still winterized.  We’d thought about filling the tanks more than once in the previous week, but hadn’t gotten around to it.  The previous night we’d made the acquaintance of a couple from Alaska, and as I walked up to the hot spring pool in the pre-dawn darkness, I heard them chatting.  “ I hope it’s still clothing optional hours, “ I said, “because my suit is too cold to put on this morning.”  “Not to worry,” said John, who reached out of the pool and picked his own suit up to show me—board stiff and covered with frost.

We were at the Gila Hot Springs campground on a New Mexico scenic roadway called the Trail of The Mountain Spirits, which begins in the town of Silver City, north of Deming off Interstate 10.  The previous night our dinner server had recommended the museum there, and it happened that a Silver City mechanic had time to take care of a small problem with the Roadtrek.  At the museum, we were surprised to find a detailed exhibit about flamenco dancing and the growing flamenco culture in New Mexico.  It was a very interesting museum, and we enjoyed a nice walk through the historic downtown as well.

Traveling counterclockwise on the circular Trail of the Mountain Spirits, we spent quite a while driving through the Mimbres valley, an area that’s been cultivated and inhabited for perhaps as much as three thousand years.  We were looking forward to a stop at the Three Questions Coffeehouse, where breakfast and lunch are served from pots on the stove and you simply help yourself.  Sadly, we found the shop already closed for the day when we arrived.

Finding the Gila Hot Springs campground was not a simple task.  As we approached, there was a large sign for the Gila RV Park.  Thinking this was it, we pulled in, only to discover a perfectly adequate facility, with hookups and a spring-fed hot tub, but not the place we were looking for.  Back down the road a mile or so, we located the sign for the Gila Wilderness Lodge (and camping).  The approach looked like a farm lane—a steep downhill between paddocks of goats, with a few rugged driveways branching off from it.  Down we went, and enjoyed the dozens of baby goats scrambling on both sides.  Sure enough, as we approached the river, a sign pointed left to the campground.

Allen and Carla Campbell own the hot springs, and have operated it since 1992.  Allen was born and raised here, and can answer any question about local history.  Carla told us the river floods every few years, and they take these opportunities to make improvements to the springs.  There are three spring pools of varying temperatures, surrounded by natural rock walls with gravel bottoms.  The pools range from bathtub to hot tub temperature and are drained and cleaned regularly.  Spread out along the riverbank are about a dozen roomy campsites, each with river access and fire rings.  Eight dollars a person buys you a campsite and unlimited soaking in the pools.

If you’d rather, you can stay at the RV park with full hookups and get a day pass to the springs for five bucks.  Across the road from the RV park is a nice store with groceries, souvenirs, and a selection of art and craft work by local artisans.  There’s no cell service here, but the store has free wifi, and even posts the password on a sign out front by a strategically placed picnic table.  There’s more to see and do on the Trail of the Mountain Spirits, and we’ll tell you about it next time, from this mile high corner of New Mexico, off the beaten path.

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.

RV SHOWS THIS WEEKEND

There are no RV shows this weekend because of the Easter holiday weekend.

But here’s a heads up for those of you in the southwest. Jennifer and I will be meeting and greeting folks at the Super B RV show in Phoenix. The show runs Phoenix April 12-15, a Thursday through Sunday. Please out it on your schedule and come say hello! It’s at the University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale and is run by LaMesa RV. This is only for Class B and small motorhomes and well over 100 will be in display.

 

 

Direct download: RV185.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 4:34pm EDT

There are a lot of RVs out there. And there are a lot of reasons people buy them. So the RV Lifestyle takes many different forms. In this episode, we will introduce you to a wonderful group of people we spent time with this past weekend at an informal meet-up in Waco Texas. I think you’ll find it very interesting how the RV lifestyle can fulfill so many dreams and be used in so many different ways.

Plus, coming up, your RV questions, RV tips, traveling tech suggestions and a great off the beaten path report.

Show Notes for Episode #184 March 21, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

We are doing this podcast from the beautiful Texas Hill Country, specifically at the Canyon of the Eagles Park on the shores of Lake Buchanan.

It’s called the Canyon of the Eagles because lots of bald eagles winter here each year, fishing the warm waters of the lake. We are in a beautiful campground overlooking the lake. It’s just us and one other RV in the entire campground and but is so quiet and peaceful we keep extending our stay. What was to be a quick visit to the area is now on its fourth day!

We posted lots of photos on the blog already and we’ll talk more about this place in an off the beaten path report a little later in the podcast.

But we’ve had a great week of traveling and have so enjoyed Texas. We spent the past weekend in Waco, Texas, a place well known to fans of the HGTV television show Fixer Upper as the home of Chip and Joanna Gaines, the stars of the show.

It is unbelievable how the popularity of the show and Chip and Joanna’s Magnolia branded businesses have transformed Waco.  They have a bakery, they renovated two old grain Silos and turned it into a design boutique and they just opened a restaurant… that has a 2 ½ hour wait to get in.

20,000 tourists a week come to Waco… Waco is the 2nd most searched zip code on realtor.com… David Ridley, who owned ne of the homes Chip and Joanna fixed up, runs a tour bus company.

This was a really, really busy weekend in Waco. Chip and Joann had their Spring celebration and they say as many as 150,000 people came from all over the country. Every hotel and RV park was supposedly booked up for 80 miles around.

We also had our expert tour guide… and we want to give a big shout to David Hunt, one of our Roadtreking followers. David lives in Waco and generously gave us a our past many of the homes featured over six seasons if the TV show.

Besides that, we toured the Dr. Pepper Museum and the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame.

And we had an informal meet-up on Saturday with a bunch of folks who fo0llow us who live in Texas. You’ll hear from some of them in a few minutes in our interview if the week segment on the podcast.

We love hearing from our listeners. In fact, if you heard last week’s episode, Dan Izzard, who lives in Georgetown, Texas, called in with a suggested route we travel to see bluebonnets. And That led us to the beautiful spot we are now in and will soon be talking about in our off the beaten path report.

Here are some stories in the news this week of interest to RVers…

National Parks considering per person charge, Interior Secretary tells Congress

Too many people get into the national parks for free, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last week. The National Parks Services offers free or discounted entrance to active military service members, disabled people, seniors and fourth graders. Zinke said that is too many discounts, and the cost per vehicle needs to go up or instead of charging per carload, parks need to charge per person to help bring in revenue.

Family says they were locked inside a Camping World RV lot in Arizona

A couple and their two small children were in the news last week after being locked inside an outdoor lot of a Camping World RV store in Mesa, Arizona. The couple was interviewed by their local television station and said an employee showed them the outside lot, left, and before long they realized they were locked inside. The store was closed and they were stuck. They called the police and then chronicled the event in a Live Facebook post, much to the embarrassment of Camping World.

Navy Seals requesting use of Washington state parks for stealth training drills

Imagine camping in one of Washington's beautiful state parks, deciding to head out to the beach for a midnight stroll and seeing ... a U.S. Navy Seals invasion? An interesting story that came over the news this week covered a request from the elite fighting force to increase access to Washington State Parks for training exercises. Apparently the U.S. Navy Seals already  use some state parks for mainly nighttime training drills, but are requesting permission to use more. Since they want to use public land, including some where campers visit, there is controversy..

Camping in outback will now require permit at Michigan's Porcupine Mountain

Michigan's remote Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park boasts more than 60,000 acres of old hardwoods in the state's upper peninsula, and is apparently becoming a backpackers favorite. To cope with the growing crowds, Michigan's Department of Natural Resources is now requiring a permit to camp in remote spots and will limit how many are issued.

 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

As we’ve said before…we love campfires. But the smoke that often envelopes those gathered around a campfire? Not so much.

That’s why we’ve been really interested in the various portable propane campfire solutions, like the Outland Firebowl Model 870 Premium Portable Propane Gas Fire Pit that we talked about in a recent episode.

This week, we heard about another such solution from a listener named John.

The portable firepit John alerted us to can burn wood…but with none of that stinky smoke that permeates your clothing and hair of you sit around a traditional campfire long enough.

The firepit John told us about is from a company called BiolLite. The company’s website says it has a capacity for four wood logs. If you don’t want to use it as a campfire, you can also throw in charcoal and use it as a grill. It sells for $199 but won’t be shipping until August 2018. We’ll put a link to it on the shownotes to this episode at Roadtreking-dot-com-slash-184

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  

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

A listener named Roy wants advice on finding affordable insurance for his RV

            We suggest:

 

 

John wants to know the best way to do taxes online.

We suggest:

Sponsoring this part of the podcast is Van City RV  Bringing You the largest Inventory of class B’ RVs with locations St. Louis, Missouri; Las Vegas, Nevada; Kalispell, Montana and now… Colorado Springs, Colorado..

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK - What’s your RV Lifestyle

We love meeting other RVers on the road and recently during a trip to Texas, we had an informal meetup with a bunch of folks who follow our reports.

We thought you’d enjoy meeting some of them, too, as they share just what the RV Lifestyle means to them.

This group comes from all walks of life, all have different reasons they chose the RV lifestyle and all were just a joy to be around.

If you’d like to see a video version of this interview, head offer to our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube at http://rvlifestylechannel.com 

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

Spring is here (according to the calendar, anyway!) and as the trees bud and flowers begin to bloom, you’re going to want to capture the world around you. Fortunately, tech makes it easier than ever before! Today I wanted to give you some tips to take those photos to a new level.

First let’s talk about the Samsung Galaxy S9 - With this phone you can become a photography pro: manually adjust shutter speeds, set exposure levels, select filters and more using Pro Mode. Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) compensates for your movement to give you clear, crisp photos. And if you’re shooting in low light, you’re going to be quite pleased with the results.

When you’re ready to take your photos to a new dimension, you’re going to want to check out the Samsung Gear 360 This pocket–sized camera shoots immersive 360–degree scenes at quadruple the resolution of standard HD, so your videos have more detail in every direction. With Verizon's super fast 4G LTE network, you can easily share your videos on YouTube and Facebook bringing your friends and family along for the journey.

If you’re planning to take a lot of photos or videos, space on your device could become a concern. That’s why you may want to download the Google Photos app. It’s free for Android and iOS and includes unlimited storage of your photos! Not a bad deal...plus you can easily search for old photos by location, date and even the person that appears in the picture.

Sometimes you actually want to physically hold a photo, right? And that’s where the Polaroid Insta-Share Printer Moto Mod comes in. Take a picture and print a 2x3” photo right from your phone - all it takes is a click of a button when you have a Polaroid mod attached to your Motorola phone. You can even customize your favorite photos by picking the combination of filters, borders and designs that suit your mood. 

Happy snapping!

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 Texas Bluebonnet Trail and the Canyon of the Eagles Nature Park

We’re on the Bluebonnet trail in Texas. And as we said at the top of the program, we’re staying at The Canyon of the Eagles nature park. It is privately owned resort offering pet friendly lodge style cabins, a full service high end restaurant and lots of amenities. There are two primitive campgrounds ($25 a night), a group camping area and a full service RV park) $45 a night). It's located about 16 miles from Burnet, the nearest town, a friendly little place which proudly proclaims itself to be the Bluebonnet Capital of Texas. 

We arrived about 10 days before the peak bluebonnet time but they are blooming fast and even during our short stay we found them popping up all along the winding road that leads to the park and, indeed, even on our campsite. Bluebonnets are the official state flower of Texas.

They are so named because of the shape of the pedals on the flower, which resembled the bonnets worn by pioneer women to shield them to the sun. Texas historian Jack MacGuire says the bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland or the tulip is to Holland.

They are worth a springtime visit as they blanket the countryside around here. The south central Texas hill country is where they grow the best. Thanks to the highway beautification efforts of former first lady Lady Bird Johnson who encouraged the planting of native plants along Texas highways after she left the White House, they can be found statewide.

We planned to just pay a quick visit to this region and then move on.

But then we were struck by the silence. And the beauty. The 25-site campground where we are staying was all but deserted. Just us, Jim the astronomer, and a couple of other RVers. For $45 you get full hookups and – from many of the sites – great views of Lake Buchanan, a 40-mile long lake formed by the construction of Buchanan Dam by the Lower Colorado River Authority.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time here. (For a full account of this destination, go to: http://roadtreking.com/bluebonnets-and-the-canyon-of-the-eagles-in-the-texas-hill-country)

 

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.

RV Shows this weekend: 

Before we get started with this weekend’s events. Here’s a heads up for those of you in the southwest. Jennifer and I will be meeting and greeting folks at the Super B RV show in Phoenix. The show runs Phoenix April 12-15, a Thursday through Sunday. Please out it on your schedule and come say hello! It’s at the University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale and is run by LaMesa RV. This is only for Class B and small motorhomes and well over 100 will be in display. 

Northwest Sportshow

March 22-25

Minneapolis Convention Center

Minneapolis, MN 

Quebec RV Show

March 22-25

Centre de Foires ExpoCite

Quebec, QC (Canada)

Greater Tuscon RV Show

March 23-25

Tuscon Convention Center

Tuscon, AZ 

New Hampshire Camping & RV Show

March 23-25

New Hampshire Sportsplex

Bedford, NH

Northwest Michigan Camper & RV Show

March 23-25

Grand Traverse County Civic Center

Traverse City, MI

Springfield RV & Camping Show

March 23-25

BOS Convention Center

Springfield, IL

Champlain Valley RV & Boat Show

March 24-25

Crete Civic Center

Plattsburgh, NY

 

Direct download: RV184.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 3:58pm EDT

RV Podcast #183: Why you need to attend an RV Rally or Gathering this year

RV rallies and gatherings are wonderful ways to connect with other RVers, to become a part of the RV community and to sharpen your RV skills, develop more practical, on-the-road and camping knowledge and to truly enhance your RV Lifestyle.

Every RVer is really missing out if they don’t take advantage of these special gatherings and in this episode, Jennifer and I are going to offer a guide to finding an RV rally or gathering this year that is just right for you.

Plus lots of listener questions, RV tips and much more.

 

Show Notes for Episode #183 3/14/18 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast: 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

We’re on the road in Texas this week, enjoying all this great state has to offer. Headed to Waco this weekend and will be planning an impromptu meet-up Saturday afternoon, March 17 in Waco. We’ll be at the I-35 RV Park and Resort in Elm Mott, Texas, which is just off I-35 at Exit 346, a few miles north of Waco. We’ll share more details on the Roadtreking Facebook Group but let’s plan from 3-6PM Saturday. Bring a chair, some food or refreshments and we’ll all hang out. And yes, for his fans…. Bo will be with us.

Not Getting Enough Sleep? Go Camping

As much of the country deals with the after effects of daylight savings time this week, I got to thinking of a study on sleep I saw last year. Do you know that camping outdoors has actually been found to be good for you sleep-wise? Turning off the artificial lights, getting outdoors and rising and sleeping with the sun actually improves your  health, the study showed. So if you're groggy this week from springing forward, get outside! And to learn more of the study click here or here.

Congress proposes ways to solve $12 billion national parks deferred maintenance costs

Congress is beginning to discuss the nation's rapidly growing need for maintenance in the national parks system, but like much in Congress, disagreement on how to proceed dominates. Currently there are at least three different bills  proposing ways to fund the $12 billion and growing backlog, including one that proposes gas and oil drilling on federal land. To read an overview, 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

Jennifer shares a great tip from Tom about making a photo memory book on your next RV trip.

Here are the services Tom uses to make his photobooks:

Shutterfly - https://www.shutterfly.com

Photo Book America - http://www.photobookamerica.com/

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

Sarah is considering an RV and has some questions about boondocking and traveling with a dog.

John asks about the Hollywood brand rack we have on the back of our 2017 Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL 4X4 to hold our two Rad Power Bikes ebikes. He wants to know about opening the rear doors.

And a listener wants to know about some the model year designation for RVs versus the model year for the chassis.

Sponsoring this part of the podcast is Van City RV  Bringing You the largest Inventory of class B’ RVs with locations St. Louis, Missouri; Las Vegas, Nevada; Kalispell, Montana and now… Colorado Springs, Colorado..

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK – Why you need to attend an RV rally or gathering this year! 

RV rallies and gatherings are wonderful ways to connect with other RVers, to become a family-like part of the RV community and to sharpen your RV skills, develop more practical, on-the-road and camping knowledge and to truly enhance your RV Lifestyle.

Every RVer is really missing out if they don’t take advantage of these special gatherings and in this episode, Jennifer and I are going to offer a guide to finding an RV rally or gathering that is just right for you.

There are many different types of RV get-togethers, ranging from super-sized, fairground-filling mega events attended by thousands of RVers to small regional and local rallies limited to a few dozen RVers.  Each type of rally has its place. We have attended just about every kind you can imagine, and we’ve been enriched by them all. We’ve also met other RVers who have become dear friends who we continue to see year after year all across the country.

Lets’ start out by talking about the mega rallies. A great example of that is the one going on this week – March 15-18, 2018 – in Perry, GA. It’s sponsored by the FMCA, a large, international group whose initials stand for Family Motorcoach Association. It’s been around more than 50 years and this year, it recently opened its membership up to all RVers, even those in trailers. And their rallies, which they call an International Convention and RV Expo, are held twice a year. Since it may be difficult for you on short notice to drop everything and drop in to this week’s rally at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, you may want to check out the summer FMCA convention July 18-21 in Gilette, WY.

We have attended many different FMCA convention and we can attest to big and fun they are. Cost is typically a little over $200 per couple and includes on-site camping for your RV and full access to the many educational seminars, displays and excellent evening entertainment.

The seminars at these events are what draws us back to them. You can learn everything there, from how to plan an RV trip to Alaska, to understanding your RV’s electrical system, to staying fit and healthy on the road and many, many more topics. There are trams and golf carts whisking attendees from one event to another all day long, strolling musicians and new RVs on display to tour. They also have huge areas filled with vendors who sell just about every type of RV appliance or accessory you could ever hope to have.

So the FMCA has two big, international conventions each year. But the FMCA is made up of various chapters around North America and those regions also hold smaller-scale rallies and activities throughout the year. These gatherings are frequently held on weekends, and they are often organized locally, so long trips aren't necessary. Each FMCA chapter develops its own personality and ways to have fun.

Often, chapters hold gatherings in conjunction with a notable event or attraction that chapter members can enjoy, in addition to the traditional rally activities like potlucks or campfires. Some of the chapters are made up of owners of a particular brand of RV. For example, Roadtrek International is one of the FMCA’s largest chapters and is made up by owners of Roadtrek brand motorhomes.

The FMCA is just one of the big national organizations that hold rallies. Three others include:

  • The Good Sam Club, which holds state and provincial rallies across North America.
  • The Escapees RV Club, which is holding a national rally May 27th through June 1 in Sedalia, MO. The Escapees club has almost 60 chapters, all over North America and many of them also have smaller rallies on a regional scale. In episode 161, Mike did an interview with the leaders of Escapees.
  • Passport America is an RV club that offers discounts and lots of campgrounds across the country. It too sponsors rallies. They have a big one scheduled for Nashville June 25-29, 2018. They call it the Music City Mega Rally.

So those are the big mega or statewide events. Another organizer of rallies are the various manufacturers of the RVs themselves or clubs made up of owners of a certain brand, like the Roadtrek International FMCA chapter talked about earlier. We can’t mention all of them but almost every RV manufacturer has a club for its owners. For example, Airstream, which makes trailers and motorhomes, has the Wally Byam Caravan Club International. They have 122 chapters in 12 regions and are really active, with rallies and gathering held every month, sometimes twice a month. Owners of Winnebago RVs have Winnebago International and they have an annual rally on the grounds of the Winnebago factory in Forest City, IA. This year’s event is July 23-28. They also have smaller state events, too. Leisure Travel Vans has an owners’ club. Their Annual Fall Rally is scheduled for Sept. 5-8 in Manitoba, Canada. Then there’s the FROG Club – the Forest River Owner’s Group. They have a huge rally planned for August 12-14 at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds in Goshen, IN. The Forest River club has several regional rallies scheduled this year as well across North America.

Now all these rallies that we’ve been talking about are very organized, with scheduled activities and seminars. And those formal gatherings are great.

But sometimes, we just want to get together with others to enjoy an area or just hang out. That’s how our Roadtreking RV Lifestyle gatherings came to be (Here’s a link to our schedule). Our gatherings include things like boondocking for several nights on the grounds of a winery in Sonoma, California in May; taking photographs at Glacier National Park in June, and white water rafting in North Carolina in July. Our gatherings are for everyone. You don’t have to have a certain kind of RV or belong to a club. We usually talk and plan them on our Facebook Group. 

Sometimes, individual members of that Facebook Group just say, hey, I’m going to be camping in such a such a place on a certain weekend and others decide that sounds fun and show up, too. We’ve got one such gathering that happened just that way that we’ll be joining this November, at Fort Wilderness at Walt Disney World in Florida. Again, owners of any and all kinds of RVs are welcome to our Facebook Group, which, with 16,000-plus members, has launched more RV friendships over the years that could be counted.

We hope all this talk has given you some ideas and inspires you to get together with a group of other RVers this year. There is a rally or a gathering happening this year that will fit every RVers needs.

So pick one and reserve a spot. Many people even plan out extended road trips to and from the Rally, using it as a launchpad to tour certain areas of the country, with lots of stops to and from the rally.

Hope we didn’t give you too much information. But most of all, Mike and I hope to see you out there with us at one of those rallies. Thanks for listening!

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

Ever have one of those moments when you wished you had your camera out but realized there just wasn’t enough time to pull out your smartphone? I’m pretty sure all of us have.

A new gadget, by Google, aims to reduce the number of times we experience this with a unique camera that you can set to be “always on”.

It’s called Google Clips and it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Using it’s kickstand you can set or clip this tiny battery powered camera onto anything. And the next part is where things get interesting. Clips will hang out and, using Google’s artificial intelligence engine, it’ll watch for you, your family, friends or even pets to do something cool. Then it’ll automatically take a short video of the action and send it to your phone.

So where would this come in handy? How about in the kids playroom while they’re just being kids. Or watching over your pets while you’re away?

Or how about special events like family gatherings, weddings, vacations...you’re probably getting the picture.

These short video clips can be shared online as gifs or you can go frame by frame and export high quality stills as well.

Google Clips is compatible with many Android and iOS devices and available now at your local Verizon store or VerizonWireless.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- Texas!  

We’ve been talking about our trip to Texas. Listener Dan called in a bunch of them that will keep us quite busy!! 

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. 

RV SHOWS THIS WEEKEND

Flint Camper & RV Show

March 15-18

Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center

Flint, MI

 

East Kentucky Sport, Boat & RV Show

March 16-18

East Kentucky Expo Center

Pikeville, KY

 

Great Rockies Sportshow

March 16-18

Adams Center at University of Montana

Missoula, MT

 

Memphis RV Show

March 16-18

Memphis Convention Center

Memphis, TN

 

Mid-Atlantic RV Expo

March 16-18

Meadow Event Park

Doswell, VA

 

Montana RV, Boat and Powersports Show

March 16-18

MetraPark Expo Center

Billings, MT​​​​​​​

 

 

Direct download: RV183.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 11:09pm EDT

RV Podcast #182: Our National Parks are in Crisis

 

There’s a good news/bad news story about our National Parks that you need to know about.

The good news is the parks have never been more popular and attendance continues at all-time high.

Unfortunately, though, the bad news is so bad that it is jeopardizing our much-loved National Parks. Devastating budget cutbacks, staff reductions, backlogged maintenance and indifferent Congressional inaction have created a crisis that could result in partial shutdowns at many parks.

We’ll talk to an expert and explain the problem as well as what you can do to help.

Also this week, lots of travel advice, RV and tech tips and another great off the beaten path report about a place you will want to visit.

 

Show Notes for Episode #182 March 7, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

 

We’re planning a trip to Texas, hugging the Gulf Shore through Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, before entering Texas and eventually up towards Waco and the wide open spaces south of San Antonio. We’re calling it our “Barbecue and Bluebonnets Tour” as we’ll be scouring the area for good Texas barbecue, maybe a little Tex Mex and then to take in the magnificent display of the blooming bluebonnet wild flowers that turn the hill country into carpets of blue each spring.

 

We are considering an impromptu meet-up for Sunday March 18, somewhere near Waco. If we hear from enough people interested, we’ll let you know in next week’s podcast and on our Facebook Group.

 

We’re still on the Emerald Coast, our winter travel base. We’ve spent the week catching up on video editing for our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube and planning out our spring and summer travel schedule. So many places to go, so little time!

 

Here’s what is in the news this week..


National Parks Release Attendance Numbers

 

The National Parks System visitation numbers are in and the number of visitors in 2017 was almost identical to the record setting visitor count in 2016 (330,882,751 verses 330,971,689).

Some of the parks broke attendance records because of the solar eclipse. Overall national records show, visitors are staying in the parks longer.

 

And the most Visited National Parks in 2017 are ...

 

Speaking of national parks, ever wondered what the top ten most visited national parks are? Here's your official list, with recreational visitors recorded for 2017.

 

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 11.39 million
  2. Grand Canyon National Park - 6.25 million
  3. Zion National Park - 4.5 million
  4. Rocky Mountain National Park - 4.44 million
  5. Yosemite National Park - 4.34 million
  6. Yellowstone National Park - 4.12 million
  7. Acadia National Park - 3.51 million
  8. Olympic National Park - 3.4 million
  9. Grand Teton National Park - 3.32 million
  10. Glacier National Park - 3.31 million

 

RV Industry reports record setting January

 

The latest survey of manufacturers tracked by the Recreation Vehicle  Industry Association show January 2018 was the best on record. The survey of manufacturers found RV wholesale shipments were up 25.3 percent with 42,441 wholesale shipments in January 2018 verses 33,859 in January 2017. Towable RVs were also up, reporting an increase of 26.6 percent with 28,931 in January 2017 and 36,322 in January 2018.

 

Sandhill Cranes arriving in Nebraska en masse

 

Planning to be anywhere near central Nebraska this month? If so, be sure to not to miss the great Sandhill Crane migration. Each year about 500,000 - 600,000 of the beautiful birds, standing roughly 4-feet tall with 6-foot wingspans, pass through Nebraska's Platte River Valley region on their way north. Some estimate 80 percent of the bird's population passes through this area this month, attracting thousands of visitors. The migration typically runs all of March, peeking mid-to late month, and into early April. To read 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

 

One of the things about having a house on wheels is - well, it's on wheels! That means your home is constantly moving from one great camping location to another, causing the items in your refrigerator to move, too. I can't tell you how many times I have opened the door of our RV refrigerator, after settling into a new spot for the night, and a cup of yogurt, or carton of some other item slides out, having shifted during our time on the road.

 

Recently I came across something I am anxious to try. It is a spring-loaded suspension bar that is designed to hold your food items in place when you travel. The bars remind me of the suspension curtain rods many people use over their bathtub showers, only these are a double rod, designed to fit across an RV refrigerator and hold everything on its shelf.

 

Manufactured by Camco, their price is $5.15. I found them at Home Depot, Amazon, and several other retailers.. I am planning to order some myself to see how they work.

 

Here’s the direct link on Amazon - http://amzn.to/2BCIsRl

 

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  

 

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

QUESTION:

Chuck is planning to head to Glacier National Park this summer heading out from Indiana and wants to know about the best routes and what to see along the way.

 

ANSWER:

There are two main routes:

 

The first is interstate 90, from Chicago all the way through to Montana, from where you’d make your way north and east. On the way there, you’ll travel through South Dakota. We did a video on five of our favorite spots to stop in South Dakota along I-90.

 

The other route is also fast. It’s I-94. You can take that from Chicago, too, heading a more northerly route before turning west. This takes you through North Dakota. Again, you follow 94 to the Montana border and then, right after you cross over, you head north again, picking up US 2, a two lane highway that is just south of the Canadian border. They call this the Hi Line country. It will take you right into Glacier. There’s lots to see here, too. In North Dakota, a great sidetrip is along the Enchanted Highway. We did a video on it at https://youtu.be/kOCqN1DtqQ4 . In Montana, make sure you stop and see the Underground City in Havre. Yes, we did a video on it, too. You can find it at https://youtu.be/R0vHqf2m5c8

 

LISTENER COMMENTARY:

Listener Kevin sent us a short little commentary that delivers a very powerful message we all need to hear. It has a happy ending but you need to hear it yourself.

 

Sponsoring this part of the podcast is Van City RV  Bringing You the largest Inventory of class B’ RVs with locations St. Louis, Missouri; Las Vegas, Nevada; Kalispell, Montana and now… Colorado Springs, Colorado..

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

 

There’s a good news/bad news story about our National Parks that you need to know about.

The good news is the parks have never been more popular and attendance continues at all time high.

Unfortunately, though, the bad news is so bad that it is jeopardizing our much-loved National Parks. Devastating budget cutbacks, staff reductions, backlogged maintenance and indifferent Congressional inaction have created a crisis that could result in partial shutdowns at many parks.

Our guest in this podcast is Emily Douce, the Director of Budget & Appropriations for the Government Affairs team of the National Parks Conservation Association  In that role, she advocates for additional funding for the national parks, both through appropriations and supplementary sources.

She leads the National Parks Second Century Action Coalition comprised of travel and tourism, outdoor industry, and historic preservation groups to advocate for additional park funding with Congress and the Administration. She has a M.S. in Environmental Resource Policy from The George Washington University and a B.S. from Texas A&M University. Prior to working at NPCA, she worked at Marine Conservation Institute on ocean conservation issues.

For more information, read this news release from the National Parks Conservation  Association.

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

 

Hi Mike and congrats everyone, we made it through the worst of winter!

And as those spring plants start to peek out for the first time this year, we’re also getting a sneak peek at some next generation smartphones as well.

Samsung recently announced it’s latest flagships - the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+. With a quick glance you may think you recognize these devices, but the truth is there’s much more than meets the eye.

What is back is that incredibly beautiful and immersive infinity display stretching from side to side. Now, you can add immersive virtual sound in there as well with speakers than are 40 percent louder! And if you’re looking to keep your music to yourself, just plug in a pair of headphones - yes a headphone jack is still included!

One of the biggest innovations in this next generation device comes in its cameras. Dual aperture on both devices means amazing low light photos with even the smallest amount of light. And on the Galaxy S9+ you get a dual camera on the back allowing you to zoom in and also preview background blurring with its live focus.

And when you’re ready to express yourself, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ have upped the emoji game - with AR emojis. Simply let the phone take a picture of yourself and it’ll create an avatar that looks like you and expresses itself in real time the same as you. And when you’re ready to message others, you can use your own emoji set to let the world know how you feel!

Lastly all of the conveniences you’ve known and loved over the years are still there as well - water resistance, wireless charging and Samsung Pay - to name a few.

Preorders are going on right now and you can reserve yours at verizonwireless.com. The phones launch on March 16.

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.

If you’re stuck on the wrong network, head over to Verizon and get unstuck. 

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT

By Tom and Patti Burkett

 

We were in Franklin, Indiana, and Rob Shilts was waiting for us, out of the rain, beneath a marquee that dazzled with a half-mile of neon and a thousand chasing lamps.  SHREK, it proclaimed, today at 2 and 7:30 PM. 

Shilts has been involved in Franklin Heritage, the local historic preservation group, for more than twenty years. 

 “When the Artcraft Theater came up for sale,” he told us, “I told the board that if we didn’t buy it, we might as well pack our tent and go home.” 

With the ceiling falling in and the front wall falling toward the street under the weight of the rusting marquee, it was a much bigger challenge than the group had ever taken on.  Now, more than a decade later, more than two million dollars have been poured into the building, with plans for a million more.  

Kirk the ticket booth man, who daylights in the career office at Franklin College, sits in front of a bustling concession counter where a half dozen volunteers serve patrons from the vintage popcorn machine and candy counter. 

More neon graces the ceiling above them, as do mirrors that set off the hand painted period signage for entrances, exits, and amenities.  While I’m waiting in line for my popcorn, I’m greeted by a young woman. 

“Hi, I’m Ashlee.  I’m one of the A-Teens, and we have a souvenir booth over there.  I bet you’d really like the Christmas tree ornaments we made from shredded tickets.  I hope you’ll come over and see them when you’re done!”

While I’m standing at the counter juggling popcorn, water, lemonade, coat, camera, and a Shrek cookie, the concessionaire asks,  “Do you need help getting all this to your seat?”   “Take out,” she calls, and immediately a young man with a tray appears to assist me to my seat in the theater.  

Like Ashlee, everyone in the theater seems to be a volunteer, which contributes to the very reasonable admission and concession prices. 

Bolstering that are numerous show sponsors.  The film this weekend is sponsored by Dr. John Shafer and his dogs Josey and Jaden.  There’s a concession sponsor (who gets to choose the candy of the week), program sponsor, a sponsor for the short feature, and a prize sponsor, who personally donated the prizes for the preshow drawing. 

Yes, there’s a preshow prize drawing, but not before two high school actors appear onstage to provide a 30 second dramatic synopsis of the show for those with short attention spans.  Out comes the prize hopper, full of ticket stubs—blue (our revered elders), yellow (our fragile youth), white (VIPs), and red (the rest of y’all out there). 

The donor volunteers beam from the aisle as winners receive prizes (a crown, a dragon, a Red Riding Hood book) clearly themed on tonight’s show.  

Mary, queen of the backstage, banters with Rob, the emcee, about the prize drawing while the two actors wheel out an old-school blackboard with a map of the USA. 

“Now,” says Rob, “a special prize for our visitors from farthest away.”  We’re feeling pretty confident, being from far away Ohio, until we hear “What? Italy? Come on down!”

A student from Franklin College abashedly makes his way forward while the actors quickly spin the blackboard to show a map of the world.  And the prize? A certificate, a candle made out of earwax, and a jumbo tub of popcorn. 

“Locally grown,” reports the emcee, “and internationally known,” chants back the audience.  Before the curtain rises, the volunteers onstage and in the aisles take on a flight attendant pose as they point one by one to the exits, and each exit gets catcalls or applause.  Exit number five is clearly the most popular.

Families and couples stream out of the theater toward the cafes, coffee shops, and boutiques that have gathered around the skirts of this grand old lady. 

After a quick visit to the gift shop we stand again below the glorious marquee and we appreciate the chance to spend time with some of the people across this country who believe in their home towns and work hard to build communities that nurture hope, joy, and welcome. The neon casts its glow for blocks in every direction.  If you look hard you can just see it, over there, off the beaten path.

 

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.

 

RV Shows this weekend: 

Manitoba RV Show and Sale

March 8-11

RBC Convention Centre

Winnipeg, MB (Canada)

 

Port Huron Camper & RV Show

March 8-11

​​​​​​​Blue Water Convention Center

Port Huron, MI

 

The Real RV Show

March 8-11

Cal Expo

Sacramento, CA

 

Sioux Empire Sportsmen's Boat, Camping & Vacation Show

March 8-11

Sioux Falls Arena

Sioux Falls, SD

 

 

Atlantic Outdoor Sports & RV Show

March 9-11

Exhibition Park

Halifax, NS (Canada)

 

Eastern Iowa Sportshow

March 9-11 

UNI-Dome

Cedar Falls, IA

 

KX Sports Show

March 9-11

North Dakota State Fair Center

Minot, ND

 

Moncton RV Show

March 9-11

Moncton Coliseum Complex

Moncton, NB (Canada)

 

Quinte Sportsman Boat & RV Show

March 9-11

Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre

Belleville, ON (Canada)

 

Rockford RV, Camping & Travel Show

March 9-11

Indoor Sports Center

Loves Park, IL

 

Virginia RV Show - Hampton

March 9-11

Hampton Roads Convention Center

Hampton, VA

 

Central Wisconsin RV & Camping Show

March 9-11

Central Wisconsin Convention & Expo Center

Wausau, WI

 

York RV Show

March 9-11

York Expo Center

York, PA

 

Direct download: RV182.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 6:38pm EDT

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