The RV Podcast (travel)

The Big Story this week, and we mean BIG, is the purchase of the Erwin Hymer Group of Europe and North America by Thor Industries, which already is the biggest RV company in North America. By making this purchase, which also includes the sale of Roadtrek Motorhomes, Thor will become the biggest RV company in the world, with more than 24 separate RV brands.

In this week’s episode, coming up in our News of the Week segment, I’ll talk about this massive $2.45 billion deal and explain what this means to the RV community as a whole and especially those who own Roadtrek or Hymer of North America models.

Also this week… we have lots more news, your questions, lots of apps to suggest that will help with your road trips and a great off the beaten path report. 

Show Notes for Episode #210 Sept. 18, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

MIKE

Before we get going let me offer this programming note. The “You are Never Too Old” segment about RVing that I had promised in our newsletter and Sunday night in our Ask Us Anything RV Lifestyle broadcast on YouTube won’t be airing this week. The magnitude of the Thor plan to purchase Roadtrek’s parent company is breaking news that we need to devote an extended period of time discussion. But never fear, that segment and interview with an 87 year old RVer will be coming in just a couple of weeks.

We’ll get to the Thor/Hymer deal in our News of the Week segment in a few minutes, so stick around for that.

Mewnwhile, we’re just back from the Hershey RV Show, known as America’s Largest. We’ll have a full video on it Thursday.

JENNIFER

It was so great to meet so many of our fans and followers. We felt like celebrities there! Everywhere we went people were recognizing us and sharing their love of the RV Lifestyle. We were overwhelmed with the kid words and encouragement and had a ball meeting so many people. I had Mike video many of them so they can share their excitement about this lifestyle and inspire our entire audience. But it was a great show. They had just under 60,000 in attendance that week and we walked miles looking at new RVs. The show occupied more than three football fields and had over 1,400 new RVs of every shape, size and form on display. 

MIKE

Next, we head to Elkhart, Indiana, the RV Capital of America. In fact, next week’s podcast will come from there. We will be attending RV Dealer Open House. It’s not open to the public but to RV dealers and sales people. All the major RV manufacturers have displays there and many use the Elkhart event to introduce new products and innovations.  Thus, it’s become a major event for the industry, so we need to be there, too, and will be reporting it for you.

JENNIFER

A couple of Episodes back, Episode 208, we talked about how the RV Lifestyle can NOT be healthy for us because we often sit too much and eat too much. Mike interviewed a weight loss expert and decided then and there to go on a healthy eating program. He’s sharing his progress at 7PM every Sunday night on our Ask Us Anything live broadcast on YouTube. But since that healthy eating program started on this podcast, I think Mike should give a short progress report right now. 

MIKE

Well, it’s been very good. I am down 11 pounds from what I was when we recorded that segment two weeks ago. This a very easy program, consisting of lean, organic program and limiting sugars and carbs.

We were a little worried how it would be sticking to it on the road and since I started, we did our Roadtreking gathering at Algonquin Provincial Park up in Canada and the Hershey RV show in Pennsylvania last week. And because we had our own kitchen with us at both events, it was easy to do our own meal prep and then be sure I was eating properly.

JENNIFER

That is so true. Instead of fast food at the RV show, we just went out to our RV in the parking lot, turned on the AC and I was able to fix everything. I don’t know what we would have done of we didn’t have our Roadtrek with us because most restaurants use sugar and heap on the carbs and it’s very hard to eat correctly on the road unless you make your own food.

This part of the podcast 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.

RV NEWS OF THE WEEK

Thor to become new owners of Roadtrek/Hymer of North America by purchasing parent company

This is a huge RV industry story and it is breaking today as we record this Podcast, though we’ve been reporting on the possibility for several weeks now.

But now it is official:

Thor Industries Inc., based in Elkhart, IN, and the shareholders of Erwin Hymer Group SE. based in Germany, announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for Thor to acquire Erwin Hymer Group, a privately held European-based international company, for an enterprise value of approximately $2.45 billion.

Hymer bought Roadtrek Motorhomes about two-and-a-half years ago and launched the Erwin Hymer Group of North American as a separate company that now builds Roadtreks and Hymer-branded Class B campervans and ultra-lightweight towable trailers.

In terms of RV world impact, acquisition will make Thor the world’s largest RV manufacturer, with the leading position in both North America and Europe and establishes a global sales and production footprint for the company that is absolutely immense in scope.

Consider this, Thor owns the following 18 well-known brands: Airstream;  Entegra Coach; Heartland RV; Jayco RV; Bison Coach, Crossroads Fifth Wheels, Cruiser Towables, high end DRV Fifth Wheels; Dutchmen which in turn builds the Aerolite, Aspen Trail, Coleman, Denali, Dutchmen, Kodiak, Razorback, Rubicon, and Voltage trailers and RVs; Highland Ridge Fifth Wheels and towables; Keystone RVs; and K-Z towables.
Now you can add to that the associated Roadtrek Motorhome and Hymer brands, which also includes Sunlight, Carado, Eriba and more.

So, what does this mean to current Roadtrek or Hymer customers, or those who have been considering buying one of their brands? Nothing. Things will go on just as they have. The same people will lead those companies, including Jim Hammill, the CEO of Roadtrek and the Erwin Hymer Group of North America, who is very well known to the RV community of North America for his accessibility and his involvement in the RV Lifestyle Community.

Jim told me by email and in a letter sent to customers that he thinks this a great situation for Roadtrek and Hymer of North America. Specifically, he talked about Thor’s decentralized. entrepreneurial business model, which has been the hallmark of Jim’s personal leadership style.

It has been widely known for a couple of months that the Hymer family members were open to selling the company and had several suitors, including Thor.

And according to Bob Martin the Thor CEO, who did a conference call yesterday with investors, one of the key factors in the decision to sell by the Hymer family in Europe was the way Thor had handled the acquisition of Jayco, another huge RV company they bought a couple of years ago.

“We looked at Hymer as being very similar to Jayco. It was very important to the family to know that the legacy and the name of Erwin Hymer would continue,” Martin said. ““Hymer has the No. 1 brand recognition in Europe with a family legacy. The family really wanted to turn the company over to someone that they really felt comfortable with carrying on the legacy. And so that’s where a lot of our meetings were about. It was less about price and it was more about cultural fit. We’ve got a proven track record of doing that. Then that’s where I think, for the family, that’s what really hit home.”

Martin stressed that like its North American-based subsidiaries, Hymer would operate autonomously with its management team.

Christian Hymer, son of the late founder, Erwin Hymer and member of the EHG Supervisory Board said, "With Thor Industries, our family has found the ideal new owner partner for the Erwin Hymer Group to successfully continue on its long-term growth and internationalization path. Thor Industries and the Erwin Hymer Group are cut from the same cloth and, in their philosophy, still bear the stamp of their founders. An entrepreneurial mindset, a spirit of innovation and quality leadership are top priorities for both groups.”

Thor says going forward, once the deal is finalized, there will be sharing of best practices among all the Thor properties including Roadtrek and the Hymer North American operation, in such things as production methods and streamlined operations that will provide major benefits in design, engineering and manufacturing excellence.

Martin said: “Knowledge sharing and R&D will accelerate development of technology, innovation, and ensure new technologies or features are rapidly adopted in North America and in Europe.”

Bottom line here: What does that mean for people who own a Roadtrek or Hymer product or have one ordered or are planning to do so.

I have spent a lot of time talking to my Roadtrek and Hymer sources on and off the record and the answer to that question is that nothing will change in day to day operations. 

The six-year warranties from Roadtrek will continue. New models will keep being made and dealers and customers will be getting everything they have ordered. Consumers should see absolutely no change and, if anything, faster production, continued innovation, new models and styles.

I’ve already said existing top management will stay in place. There will be no plant closings or job cuts. In fact just the opposite. Roadtrek and the North American Hymer brand will continue to grow with new products, new innovations and new lines.

I think Jim Hammill sums it up best. He said: “We are the same great company today as we always have been, we are not going to change our formula as it’s that formula, great people, and great innovative products that made us so desirable for someone to acquire us.” 

All right, now on to more. Animals were sure making a lot of news this week!

JENNIFER:

Monarch butterflies descend on Canadian park by thousands, covering trees, bushes 
If you are anywhere near Ontario's Point Pelee National Park between now and mid-October, be sure to stop by to see thousands of monarch butterflies as they stop on their way to Mexico. The Canadian park is on a strip of land that reaches into Lake Erie and is a favorite resting spot for migrating birds. But what makes it truly unique this time of year are the monarch butterflies which descend by the thousands, often waiting on this last bit of land for the weather to be just right before they take off over the water. To learn more and see pictures click here or here.

MIKE:
Mountain goats blindfolded, airlifted out of Olympic National Park
Did you see the pictures of the blindfolded and bound mountain goats dangling through the air while being airlifted by helicopter from Washington's Olympic National Park?  It was quite the sight. The mountain goats were brought to Olympic in the 1920s and are not a native species. They've become quite a problem, destroying the vegetation and ecosystem. And they've become aggressive towards humans, goring a man to death in 2010. The goats are native to the North Cascades, about 100 miles away. So plans have been in the works for years to transfer several hundred of them there. The plan started last week and it included airlifts. To read more click here or here.

JENNIFER:
Oregon officials wait to see if the cougar they shot is the one who killed hiker 
Officials with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife are waiting for test results to see if a cougar shot last weekend was the same cougar who killed a woman hiking in the state's Mount Hood National Forest. Cougar attacks are very rare and last week's death was believed to be the first cougar caused death in the state. To read more about what happened, and what you should do if you come across a cougar while on the trails, click here or here.

MIKE:
Elk charges man at Yellowstone National Park who got too close
Another story about people getting too close to wildlife came out of Yellowstone National Park last week. This time two bull elk were sparing, and a crowd formed to watch. One of the bulls seemed to be concerned his cows were separated from him, so he ran through the crowd, charging one of the men watching, to get to his cows. The man did not appear to be seriously injured. Yellowstone officials require people to stay 25 feet away from large animals, like elk, and 100 feet away from animals like bears. To read more click here or here. 

This part of the program is brought to you by AllStays Pro, the best tool for RVers looking for places to camp; Harvest Hosts, a unique membership service that allows members to stay free overnight in wineries, farms and attractions across North America; and Overnight RV Parking, a subscription service that provides details for over 12,000 free or nearly free RV overnight parking locations. All three services offer greatly discounted rates to listeners of this podcast

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

Questions this week:

A listener asks about how we use a dog seat belt for Bo.

We refer her to our recent “Bo on the Road” video on our YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel in which we demonstrated its use. The seatbelt goes with a safety harness.  Ours came from a company called Mighty Paw. Their safety belt uses the same specifications for securing child car seats and you can directly connect it to the frame of the vehicle for better security. The safety belt is available at http://bit.ly/2oix4WG. We like these over other models out there because other dog seat belt systems can easily be released by your dog stepping on the buckle button, but this cannot happen with the Mighty Paw safety belt. Also, keep in mind, many states now require dogs to be in a crate or on a leash while in a vehicle so if you get pulled over without either then there's an annoying ticket to deal with. For your dog's safety, the seatbelt should also be attached to a safety harness vs. directly to your dog's collar. This is much safer for your dog, especially in an accident or if you'll be leaving him unsupervised. This is the one we have http://bit.ly/2LExtvU

Here is an email questions we received this week:

We are heading from Virginia to Phoenix tomorrow and are wondering what you have found to be the latest best apps or website for weather, flooding on roads, and road closure info.  Thanks in advance and we love your newsletter - Barbara 

            Here are my favorite apps for traveling.

MyRadar – This is hands down the best weather app you can find to see what weather is coming your way, to track storms with high def radar, to get NOAA weather alerts. This is an extremely fast way to get an overall at-a-glance check at potential radar precipitation headed your way. It’s free and works on all platforms.

Accuweather -  This is my favorite for checking weather forecasts. Set whatever location you want and it gives you the forecast. Also free and for all platforms.

Waze – I use this for keeping track of driving conditions, accidents, road construction, traffic jams, etc. on my route. It is very current, crowd-sourced by other drivers in whatever area you are traveling through who share real-time traffic and road info.

If you want a bunch more recommendations, check out this review of road trip apps.

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.

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Andy Choi

 Verizon Wireless

Summer's just about over, students are back in school, football season is in full swing. But let's not forget it's an exciting time for new tech with some hot new devices released for your enjoyment. So let's dial into Verizon's latest and greatest phones.

First there's the Moto Z3 by Motorola, also known as the world's first 5G upgradeable smartphone. The Moto Z3 will be the first phone to run on Verizon’s 5G network when paired with the 5G Moto Mod -- the mod set for release at a later date. With up to 10 times the speed of today’s technology, you won't have to worry about live-streaming sports or downloading movies. Not to mention, the Moto Z3 is compatible with previous mod attachements, such as the Insta-Share Projector and the JBL speaker mods.

If you're all about taking notes with your phone, how about Samsung's Galaxy Note9. The Note9’s new S-Pen boasts improved accuracy for taking notes and Bluetooth functionality, allowing you to remotely control and listen to audio recordings or your favorite jams. The device’s upgraded dual aperture system and improved battery life will allow users to capture the best photos and videos in any situation without having to worry about a total loss of power.

Of course, we couldn't forget our friends at Apple with the recent release of the I-Phone XS and the I-Phone XS Max. featuring 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch Super Retina displays with 60 percent greater dynamic range in HDR photos. The XS and the XS Max bring an improved dual camera system, an A12 Bionic chip with next-generation Neural Engine, faster Face ID, wider stereo sound, longer battery life, and splash and water resistance. Both i-phones will be available in stores starting September 21st.

For more information on these or more great devices, head to verizonwireless.com. With this week's traveling technology tip, I'm Andy Choi with Verizon.

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

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT   

By Tom and Patti Burkett

We'd enjoyed an overnight and a visit with family in Bloomington, Indiana and were heading out of town.  Bloomington, a bit south of Indianapolis, is home to Indiana University and, as college towns often do, boasts some great food and some unusual attractions.  Not for us, though, as we had our GPS set for Evansville on the Ohio River.  Passing through a nondescript residential area, we noticed a small sign that caused us to turn around and head down a side road.

A mile or two along we turned in at the entrance to the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center.  The first thing we encountered along the drive was a stupa.  We, of course, didn't know what it was until we'd looked at a map and read a description.  On the grounds, there are two of these brilliant white structures roofed in gold.  On contains a beautiful Buddhist sand art mandala protected under glass.

Another building houses a set of Tibetan prayer wheels--cast bronze cylinders mounted on rods which allow them to rotate at a touch.  Practitioners walk along one side of this row and down the other, spinning each wheel and making a prayer.  Across a lawn is the monastery, where we found the saffron-clad monks and a number of guests attending a study group led from an Ipad by a leader who was being skyped in from far away.  A monk was stationed just inside the door to greet visitors.  "Feel free to go on in," he said, noticing we were reticent because of our late arrival, "the wisdom isn't only at the beginning of the lesson.

Walking down the road we came to the Happy Yak gift shop and cultural museum.  The museum was mostly an illustrated history covering three walls of a large meeting room, but there was an impressive library covering one wall, and a large display of intricate butter art.  These works, traditionally made from yak butter mixed with flour, have a limited lifespan.  Like the sand mandalas, the spiritual value is in the creation, not the viewing. 

In the gift shop I purchased a colorful woven cord to use for a fan pull at home.  As I left the shop, I was engaged in conversation by a monk, who eventually asked if he could hold the cord.  He closed his eyes and, after a few moments, handed it back.  "I've prayed that the room in which this hangs should be full of enlightenment and harmony," he told me.  That certainly seemed the vibe of this beautiful, colorful, peaceful place.  Opened in 1979 by a retired Indiana University professor, it aims to promote understanding of this far away, exotic culture.

It's become nearly a truism of our travels.  See a sign, spend half a day doing something you never expected to do.  We encourage you to include enough time in your schedule to allow for surprises.  A plan is good.  Sometimes a busted plan is even better.  

Off the Beaten Path is brought to you this week by SunshinestateRVs.com, where every new or used Roadtrek motorhome is delivered to the customer free, anywhere in the country

RV SHOWS THIS WEEKEND

 

Direct download: RVPodcast210.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 5:52pm EDT

RV podcast #209: America’s National Parks are in crisis

Show Notes for Episode #209 Sept. 12.2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

 

America’s National Parks are in crisis. A growing near $12 billion backlog of desperately needed repairs and maintenance is seriously affecting America's National Parks. Inadequate federal campgrounds and deteriorating or closed roads, bridges and facilities negatively impact visitor experiences and RVers in particular. In our interview of the week, we talk to Chris Bornemann, Senior Manager of Government Affairs for the RV Industry Association, who will tell us what we can do to help persuade Congress to restore our parks.

Plus, your questions, comments, lots of RV news and Tips and a great off-the-beaten-path report from the Burketts.

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

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

 

JENNIFER

As this episode comes your way, we’re way up north at Algonquin Provincial Park in Canada, attending one of our Roadtreking boondocking gatherings with a couple dozen fellow RVers. We’re enjoying the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, hiking, taking a lot of pictures and enjoying some early fall weather. Though it’s supposed to warm up later in the week up here, the nighttime temperatures have been in the mid 40’s.

 

MIKE

And Bo, our Norwegian Elkhound, loves it. He’s grown weary of the heat and humidity of the past few months as we’ve traveled through the southern US and the Gulf Coast. This Ontario weather is much more to his liking.

 

JENNIFER

This is a very busy week for us. We have to leave here and on Thursday start traveling to Hershey, PA and America’s Largest RV show there. We always have a ball at this show. More than 45 RV manufacturers will be displaying over 1,300 RVs here and there are over 100 other companies that make RV accessories and provide RV related services. We will be shooting videos and we have two live broadcasts we plan to do on our Facebook Roadtreking Page.

 

MIKE

We will be doing two Facebook Live broadcasts from the Hershey show next weekend. The first will be on Fri\iday at 3:30 PM. The second will be Saturday at 3 PM. Also, we’ll be doing meet at greet appearances at the Roadtrek and Hymer display on Saturday and also Sunday from 11 am to 1 PM. We love meeting you and invite you to come by if you are attending the show. If not, then tune in to our Live reports on the Facebook Page for a look at what we’re discovering. Again, that first live report is Saturday at 3 PM. The second will be on Sunday at 3PM, when we’ll go live from the show from the Rad Power Bikes display.

 

JENNIFER

This has also been an exciting week for us as Mike is now well underway on his new healthy living program. If you heard Episode 208 last week, you learned why the RV Lifestyle and all the sitting while driving and eating at those great RV gathering pot lucks can really put on the pounds. Anyway, Mike entered the program that is run by the weight loss expert he interviewed last week and we’ve been following it faithfully. So far so good, right?

 

MIKE

Oh yeah… very right. We update my progress on this plan every Sunday night on our YouTube Live broadcast on our RV Lifestyle Channel there. So if you want the details, make sure you tune in Sunday night. But so far, in the first week, I’ve lost several pounds and because this is a simple plan that basically cuts out sugars and starches – carbohydrates – we’re eating healthy, organic, whole foods as much as possible, something we can easily prepare on the road.  Anyway, go to our YouTube Channel at RVLifestyleChannel.com and you can see the most recent update. But I can report there’s definitely less of me this week than there was last week!

 

JENNIFER
So, that’s what we’ve been up to. We’re having a ball meeting others, traveling in our RV and seeing North America.

 

This part of the program is brought to you Overnight RV Parking, a subscription service that provides details for over 12,000 free or nearly free RV overnight parking locations. And by AllStays Pro, the best tool for RVers who prefer computers or tablets and their bigger

screens. AllStays Pro is is updated daily.  If you join through the links here, both programs will offer you significant discounts.

 

RV NEWS OF THE WEEK

 

MIKE

Mercedes Opens New Factory in U.S. to Build Sprinter Vans

Mercedes-Benz opened a new factory in North Charleston, S.C., where it will build the latest generation Sprinter van. Sprinter vans have become the most popular chassis for Class B RVs built by the RV manufacturers and, over the past year or so, the demand has been so great that Mercedes was not able to keep up. This new plant will help with that. And it will help Mercedes,too.  Building cargo vans in the U.S. allows Mercedes to avoid a 25 percent tariff on imported commercial vehicles and trucks. At the plant opening, the German automaker said that one of its first big orders was a deal to make 20,000 Amazon-branded Sprinter vans for the online retailer’s new Delivery Service Partner program. The agreement calls for Mercedes to deliver the vans by the end of next year. The new plant is an expansion of a previous facility that assembled van kits imported from Germany. It includes two new buildings, a 450,000-square-foot paint shop and a body shop of more than 500,000 square feet. A 1.2-mile conveyor connects the two facilities. Mercedes-Benz spent $500 million on the factory expansion.The plant will have the capacity to employ 1,300 workers to build an estimated 40,000 vans annually. The human workers are supported by 182 robots. About half the vans sold in the U.S. have commercial uses. Another 30 percent are built for the recreational vehicle trade and about 20 percent are sold as passenger shuttles and for other use. A key change for the North American market is the introduction of a gasoline engine option that will be available next year. 

 

JENNIFER
RV becomes wedged under drive in restaurant roof

Here’s a story that is a warning to all of us in RVs to check for overhead obstructions when making turns. A recreational vehicle attempted to go through the opposite end of a Boston Market’s drive-through in Santa Clarita Valley, CA and damaged not only the RV but the building when it became wedged under the roof overhang. Sheriff’s deputies said the driver was apparently trying to turn around and went through the drive-in lane without noticing that overhang. Ouch! The story doesn’t say what sized RV it was.

 

MIKE

Teen falls to death at Yosemite when trying to take a selfie

Here’s another warning story, very sad. An 18-year-old hiker died last Wednesday after losing his balance and slipping off a cliff at Yosemite National Park while trying to take a selfie. It happened at the edge of Nevada Fall at the park. It was over 800 feet to the bottom. We’ve seen hikers try to take selfies like that in dangerous places many times. No photo is worth taking such a chance.

 

JENNIFER

HBO to air new comedy show called Camping

OK, rounding out our news of the week… something a little lighter. HBO has a new original series that will start next month called Camping. It stars Jennifer Garner as an uptight, Instagram-obsessed mom who plans a camping trip for her husband to celebrate his 45th birthday with a group of friends. Things start to go sideways almost immediately and from looking at the trailer, it appears there are many funny things that any camper can relate to. The show premieres Sunday October 14

 

This part of the podcast is brought to you by RadPower Bikes ,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping  To see our Rad Power Bikes in action, just click here. Visit WWW.RADPOWERBIKES.COM 

 

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

 

Questions this week are about:

 

The advantages of nitrogen vs air in RV tires

            Proponents of nitrogen-filled tires say that inconsistent and under-inflation is minimized by filling tires with nitrogen because air leaks from tires three to four times faster than nitrogen does. Regular RV tires can be filled with nitrogen, so there are no 'special' tires to purchase.

The best place to find nitrogen is at large retailers with tire departments or at tire stores. You can locate places in the United States and Canada that fill tires with nitrogen with a locater tool at GetNitrogen.org (http://www.getnitrogen.org/). If your tire pressure is low and you can't find a place to get nitrogen near you, it's safe and non-problematic to top off the tire pressure with air. When you get to the next available nitrogen or get home, you can have the tires purged of air and refilled with nitrogen.

 

Crosswinds in September across South Dakota for someone towing a long travel trailer   We have made this trip lots of times in our Class B Roadtrek campervan, traveling I 90 east to west and west to east. And South Dakota is a long stretch of that Interstate, measuring 410 miles from Minnesota to Montana and almost all of it across wide open prairie. Crosswinds are certainly a factor there because there no trees or structures to break the wind. The interstate is closed several times a year because of serious crosswinds. Semitrucks get blown over from time to time. The winds are strongest in the winter and spring but can be present anytime. You should also know that the speed limit on I90 there is 80 miles an hour. So if you’re pulling a trailer you will surely be traveling less than that so be siue and stay in the right lane and know that, besides battling those crosswinds, there may be some buffeting going on as you are passed by cars. By the way, I should note that 80 miles an hour as the limit means 80 miles an hour. The State Troopers there give no wiggle room. They will stop and ticket you for exceeding that by even a couple of miles an hour. That said, we love South Dakota and I-90. We have a video on our Top 5 Places to Stop for sightseeing  while traveling I 90 in South Dakota. Here’s a link to it - https://youtu.be/kOCqN1DtqQ4

 

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

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

America’s National Parks are in crisis.

In our interview of the week, we talk to Chris Bornemann, Senior Manager of Government Affairs for the RV Industry Association, about the growing backlog of desperately needed repairs and maintenance affecting America's National Parks. Inadequate federal campgrounds and deteriorating or closed roads, bridges and facilities negatively impact visitor experiences and RVers in particular.

At a time when the RV industry is growing at record levels, RV overnight stays at National Parks have been declining from over 4.5 million overnights in the early 1980s to only 2.5 million overnight stays in 2016 due to outdated Eisenhower-era infrastructure, deferred maintenance needs and limited RV camping availability. As outdoor recreation and RV camping on our public lands continues to grow in popularity, unfortunately maintenance and infrastructure funding has not kept up.

In this interview, you'll learn what you can do about it and how you can help let Congress know you want to restore our parks.

The website Chris speaks of is http://rvact.org/restore

 

Here’s a video version of our interview:

 

Here’s a full transcript:

 

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

 

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

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

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT -  

By Tom & Patti Burkett

Recently we spent a weekend at a music festival in New York’s Catskill Mountains.  The couple camped next to us were from Vermont, and we visited about the places we’d been, the places they’d been, and what we like to do when traveling.  Next morning they provided us with a handwritten list of things to do in Vermont, based on our conversation of the previous day.  “But,” said Vicki, “don’t leave New York without going to see the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.”  Come Monday, we rolled out of the festival grounds and set the GPS as she directed.

 

It was an hour’s drive to the rural location, and as we approached we could see a big peace sign mowed into grassy hillside.  The hill and the mowing job made it unmistakable.  This was Woodstock, site of the 1969 music festival that defined a generation.  The Arts Center stood high on the hill, where once a makeshift kitchen had fed a half million hungry mouths.  Just over the hill was a modern outdoor performance venue, with ample parking, toilets, and food kiosks to service concertgoers.

 

The Arts Center building is spacious, cool, and restrained.  It seems to strike a balance with the frenzied energy of the event itself.  The displays are thoughtfully laid out, but don’t hold back when it comes to presenting the outrageous nature of what happened that August weekend.  Hundreds of cars were abandoned in the median of the highway when traffic came to a standstill and folks got out and walked, some more than ten miles, to Yasgur’s farm.  The first attendees arrived before the ticket booths were built and, within hours, the organizers threw open the gates and made it a free festival.

 

A New York City commune, the Hog Farm, had been engaged to provide food stands.  Their supplies and capacity were rapidly outstripped.  Area residents pitched in, buying out the entire production of local farms and preparing food in garbage can sized batches to feed the crowd.  Because of the jammed roads, helicopters were required to bring in the performers.  As the rain continued and the need became dire, the Army flew in teams to staff makeshift medical facilities.  Despite the nearly unimaginable challenge of coping with a half million people crowded into the space, the event was remarkably free of violence and mishap.  Two people died and maybe as many as four babies were born.

 

The museum presents a comprehensive look at the event.  The carefully laid plans of the experienced group of promoters are documented, as is the extensive publicity campaign that brought in a national audience.  All in the era before the internet and in the early years of television.  There is much information about the notable personalities of the movement—civil rights, ecology, women’s empowerment, and social experimentation.  There’s also lots about the music.  A 30 foot high surround screen puts you right in front of the stage for some of the iconic performances.

 

Best, though, are the first hand accounts of those who were there. Teenage attendees report the challenge of dealing with the mud and standing in line for half a day to use an overflowing port-a-potty.  Local residents describe efforts to deal with the obvious need for food and medical help.  Politicians detail the effect of the event on national policy, and musicians recall the way in which it was a watershed moment in their craft.

 

Literally in the middle of nowhere, this fascinating and comprehensive museum is worth a the drive down a patchwork of backroads for anyone who wants to know what it was like on that weekend, or who wants to understand the social and political currents that made it happen.  On top of that, much like a visit to Gettysburg or the Edmund Pettis Bridge, standing on the site of the stage and looking out at the grassy hillside felt a bit like standing on hallowed ground. 

 

Off the Beaten Path is brought to you by Harvest Hosts http://roadtreking.com/harvesthosts, a membership site that provides truly unique overnight stops at wineries, farms and attractions. 

 

If you've had it with having to spend $30 to $50 to overnight at a crowded campground, or if you're tired of being awakened by all the noise and lights at a Walmart, Harvest Hosts offers overnight stops in all sorts of oil of the way places…wineries across all across the country, farms of all types, from lavender farms to maple sugar farms to furry orchards and vegetable fare. You need to be self contained and must call ahead and arrive during business hours but your stay is absolutely free… though to be polite it is expected that you buy a bottle of wine to some fruit. 

It costs $49 a year to being to Harvest Hosts… but because as a listener of the RV Podcast, we have an awesome deal for you… You can take 10% of that cost by using the discount code HHFRIENDS. Just go to http://roadtreking.com/harvesthosts  

Again, to get that 10% discount you must use the special address roadtreking.com/harvesthosts. Discount code HHFRIENDS.

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

  

Direct download: RV209.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 3:57pm EDT

RV Podcast #208: Is the RV Lifestyle Making You Fat?

Today’s interview has to do with weight gain and unhealthy eating habits and examines the way the RV Lifestyle can contribute to both. For me it’s true confession time. And from this week forward, I’m going to do something about it. This week, you’ll meet Dr. Jason Olafsson, whose Custom Health Centers have helped more than 10,000 people lose weight and regain control over their eating habits. Specifically, he’ll address the RV Lifestyle and why you, too, need to pay attention to his insights. Plus, we have lots and lots of RV news and tips, your questions and a great off the beaten path report.

 Show Notes for Episode #208 Sept. 5 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

MIKE

First off, we want to celebrate a major milestone! Our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel now has over 50,000 subscribers! We had a contest on our Ask Us Anything Live YouTube show the other night asking viewers to guess the rime and day we would hit that mark. And the winner is Thresa Abramson. Her 3 PM Monday prediction was the closest to the time we hit that mark... which happened at 3:39 PM Monday. Theresa wins two T-shirts from our shop.rvlifestyle.com store. Now...on to 100K!!!!

 

JENNIFER

That is so exciting. 50,000 is a lot and it’s happened pretty much over the oast year and a hakf or so… we’re very happy! So… you are doing a true confession this week about losing weight. I’m impressed. Are you going to tell everyone that you are going on Dr. Jason’s program?

 

MIKE

I am. And I’m then going to give weekly progress reports on how I’m doing on our Sunday night “Ask Us Anything” Live YouTube show. I’ve done just about every weight loss program out there and am hoping this one is the one that results in a permanent lifestyle change.

 

JENNIFER

How will you be able to do this in the road?

 

MIKE

It’s a sensible plan, with real food, organic food, lots of fruits and vegetables and healthy fats and, besides, Dr. Jason specializes in long distance clients, using technology and video conferences. Anyway, we’ll talk more about it in the interview if the week, especially the part that relates to the RV Lifestyle. 

 

JENNIFER

We are coming to you this week from our Michigan sticks and bricks home where we’re catching up on some chores and appointments before we hit the road again thus coming weekend for a very busy fall travel schedule. Essentially, we’ll be crisscrossing North America from this weekend through just before Thanksgiving, chasing down RV Lifestyle stories, attending Roadtreking gatherings and making appearances at RV shows across the country.

 

MIKE

Speaking of those shows, lets share the location and dates. We'll be attending America's Largest RV Show in Hershey, PA Sept. 15 and 16; RV Open House in Elkhart, IN  (not open to the public, for dealers only) Sept. 21-22; and the RVIA California RV Show in Pomona, CA Oct. 5-6. We'll be doing meet and greets those days from 11am-1pm at the Erwin Hymer/Roadtrek displays as well as some live on our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel and Facebook reports. And of course, we'll be touring the shows working on special videos for you on what's new.

 

JENNIFER

I can’t wait to get out there. Meanwhile, it has been a very bust week for RV News. Here’s the RV stories people need to know about:

 

MIKE

Is Roadtrek's parent company for sale?
I wish I had $1 for every time I've been asked that question this week. It all started from a story that broke a few days ago from Bloomberg that Thor Industries (maker of Airstream vans and trailers) was among several firms interested in buying German motor-home maker Hymer GmbH, the parent company that owns Roadtrek Motorhomes and the Erwin Hymer Group of North America. The story claimed Hymer’s family owners have received offers from four suitors and could make a decision about a sale in the next couple of weeks. It was also speculated that if an outright sale wasn't made, the privately owned firm was considering going public with an IPO on the Frankfurt stock exchange. I reached out to several of my contacts at Hymer and all said that because private talks in Germany were underway, they were instructed not to discuss the matter. Hymer is in Europe like Winnebago is in the U.S., a huge corporation with many brands and a reported value in excess of $2.2 billion. If U.S.-based Thor was to buy it, there is lots of speculation on what would happen with the Roadtrek brand as Thor already makes a Class B RV - the Airstream Interstate. Most likely scenario is they would continue the Roadtrek brand just as they have separate brands for the other models they make, like Airstream, Starcraft, Keystone, Crossroads, Entegra and a couple of other RV brands.


JENNIFER

Theft problems of resources in national parks

An interesting story aired last week about the problem of theft in our national parks. Visitors are stealing cacti at Arizona's Saguaro National Park, petrified wood from Arizona's Petrified Forest National Park, American ginseng from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and even burls from redwoods at California's Redwood National and State Parks, among other things. The items are often sold on the black market for profit. But when things are taken, they can't be replaced, and it is hurting our national treasures. To read more about the problem and what is being done to fight it, click here.

MIKE
California legislature moves to ban smoking from state's parks, beaches, to reduce wildfires
California is moving to ban smoking at many of its beaches and state parks hoping it will help reduce wildfires. Last year California had a number of devastating wildfires and this year isn't much better. According to a story in the Los Angeles Times, Cal Fire responds to an average of 47 wildfires each year caused by people smoking. Efforts to ban public smoking at beaches and in parks have been tried before, but this time backers believe conditions are different.

 

JENNIFER
Georgia State Parks opens website to help campers track best fall colors
Do you love fall camping? One of the best parts can be the breathtaking colors as leaves transform to brilliant golds, oranges and reds. Georgia State Parks is offering a leaf watch site to help campers know the best colors at various locations. It even includes a map for the country. Colors start to change in September in Georgia, with the best viewing in late October or early November.

 

MIKE
Strangers help carry injured woman down Colorado mountain
Jennifer and I often say how camping and being out in nature brings people together, and often brings out the best in humanity. That is why I have to share this next story. It is about a woman who was hiking at 14,000 feet in Colorado when she injured her leg and could no longer walk. Strangers banned together to help her. Some active military even slung her 160 pound body over their shoulders, taking turns carrying down her the mountain - some 2.5 miles.

 

 

This part of the program is brought to you by Harvest Hosts, a unique membership service that allows members to stay free overnight in wineries, farms and attractions across North America.

 

 

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

When we went camping last month near Sliver Lake Sand Dunes in northern Michigan, we stayed at a family friendly campground with four of our eight grandchildren, our daughter Wendy and her husband Dan, and our son Jeff and his wife Aimee.

 

It was not the type of place we normally camp, but we stayed because of all the activities available for children.

 

One morning when we were enjoying our coffee and cleaning up breakfast, one of the families camping next to us came over to our site and asked if we'd like some homemade donuts as they had extra. The donuts were cooked over the campfire, and smelled so delicious.

 

Our granddaughters Jovie, Hua Hua and Rachel each tried one, so I decided to try one, too, and boy, was it ever good!  It reminded me of a sugar-cinnamon donut, like the kind apple orchards make fresh and sell during apple season back in Michigan. 

 

So, I asked the mom how she made them and it was so easy!  She simply took a package of biscuit dough that you find in the refrigerated section of the grocery store and cut it in the shape of a doughnut. She heated about a third of a cup of oil over the campfire in a cast iron pan. When the oil was hot she put the donuts in, flipping them when they turned brown.

 

She put the donuts on paper towels to absorb some of the grease once they were cooked. Then the donuts were placed in a brown paper bag with sugar and cinnamon where she would shake them to coat the donut, covering it with the sugar/cinnamon mix thoroughly.

 

They are that easy to make, and boy are they ever delicious, though they will be off limits for Mike in his new healthy eating plan.

 

So even though this isn't my normal kind of tip, I thought I would share in case you are looking for something fun and different to cook over a campfire with your children or grandchildren. You could make it even more memorable for the kids by letting them cut their own donut shapes and letting them do their own brown bag shaking. 

 

I even found a copy of this campfire recipe on the internet, and I'll include a link in the shownotes, in case it is helpful.

 

https://musthavemom.com/favorite-kids-camping-recipes-campfire-donuts-recipe/

 

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

 

I love hearing from you!

 

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

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

 

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

 

A listener asks about propane availability for RVs in Central and South America. Here’s a discussion and list if the differences and adapters that may be needed - http://www.drivetheamericas.com/forums/availability-propane-thru-central-amp-s-america

 

A listener called to comment about our recent tip on how to clean the filter on an RV water pump. Here’s a link to that video - https://roadtreking.com/rv-quick-tip-unclog-your-water-pump-filter/

 

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

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

 

Today’s interview has to do with weight gain and unhealthy eating habits and examines the way the RV Lifestyle can contribute to both. For me it’s true confession time. And from this week forward, I’. going to do something about it. This week, you’ll meet Dr. Jason Olafsson, whose Custom Health Centers have helped more than 10,000 people lose weight and regain control over their eating habits. Specifically, he’ll address the RV Lifestyle and why you, too, need to pay attention to his insights.

 

Here’s a video of the in interview:

 

Here’s a full transcript of the interview:

Mike Wendland:         Joining us right now from Custom Health Centers is Dr. Jason Olaffson. Dr. Jason, this is great to have you on because I've got to have a serious talk with myself and with our followers here on YouTube and on the podcast about taking care of ourselves.

                                    So this lifestyle of RV travel can be pretty unhealthy. What can we do about taking better care of our health, and all of us getting rid of those extra pounds that creep up?

Dr. Jason Olafsson:     Well, first of all, Mike, thank you so much for having me on with you guys. I know that you guys are growing and this is a growing community. I'm honored to be speaking to the RV Lifestyle community. First and foremost, we've got an epidemic in our society. This epidemic is something that most people don't really think about. We might think, "Oh that person could lose a couple pounds." But statistics actually are saying that over 80% of Americans are now overweight.

                                    I actually found myself in this category. Actually, I was in the obese category a couple years ago. About five or six years ago, I woke up one morning and I just decided it's time to step on the scale, I'd like to see what the number reads. It read 292 pounds. I couldn't believe it. So I decided to really start making some healthy lifestyle changes for myself. I ended up losing about 60 pounds and have been able to keep that off over the six year period of time.

                                    The nice part is that I started helping the clients that came into my office. We've got a custom weight loss program that's specific for each and every person that walks in the door. It's been a lot of fun. We've helped over 10,000 people worldwide.

Mike Wendland:         Wow, that's a lot of people. Let's talk about this RV lifestyle for a minute. You mention 80% of the public is obese or overweight. One of the problems about the RV lifestyle, of course, is people are on the road. They're experiencing new things. They're in vacation mode, they're tempted to overindulge. Then they're doing a lot of sitting, driving, hanging out at a campfire. What are some of the things that people can do to still enjoy this lifestyle but to get a grip on this growing problem of obesity?

Dr. Jason Olafsson:     Well, I think you brought something up that's really important. I actually call sitting too much "sitting disease". So sitting disease has been coined by some medical research in the past, but we do a lot of education around that in my offices. I don't know if you know this, Mike, but inactivity is actually the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality.

                                    So people sitting too much equals a risk factor for death. It really is something that we've got to watch out for. So the RV lifestyle, actually, I think it sounds amazing. But one of the biggest things that I can stress for the people in RVs around the country is, hey, it's time to get up every 20 or 30 minutes, take a walk. If you're going to be on an extended drive for a while, a couple hours between gas stops, then make sure that while you're filling up, you're getting a good 20 or 30 minutes of exercise. That can be as easy as a walk around the gas station and back into the RV.

Mike Wendland:         Now when we're on the road, eating is always an issue. People tend to fill up on the bad stuff. What are some things that we can do about making sure the food we eat is good for us? Not only good tasting but good for us. We're always told more fruits and vegetables and lean meats and all that stuff, but is there an easier way here?

Dr. Jason Olafsson:     Well, I think that preparation is always the answer. So I know that for myself, we took a spring break trip this year as a family. I've got five little kids, and we went down to Destin, Florida, from Michigan.

Mike Wendland:         You know where we are right now?

Dr. Jason Olafsson:     Where are you?

Mike Wendland:         Destin, Florida.

Dr. Jason Olafsson:     Are you really? Oh man.

Mike Wendland:         This is our condo down here, yeah.

Dr. Jason Olafsson:     Destin is such a beautiful area. We actually asked ourselves, "Why don't we move to Destin? This is beautiful." So good choice. Well, on the road we actually stocked up. So we went to Costco before we got on the road. We had a cooler in between our seats in the van that we've got. We loaded up with healthy alternatives to junk food on the road, because I know myself. I can easily get sidetracked while on a road trip. So it's easy to pull into a fast food restaurant. It's easy to pull into the gas station and grab a bag of chips or a bag of candy of some kind and then just start munching away.

                                    But if you start thinking ahead, and you start saying, "Okay, if I'm on the road, what things do I like to eat?" Then, "What things will keep me from eating other things." So if chips are a big thing, I'm a big believer that a lower carb lifestyle is the lifestyle most of us need. Now there's exceptions to that, but I'm a big believer in that.

                                    So I always grab a bag of what's called Whisps. Costco’s around the country carry them and they are Parmesan cheese crisps. They taste like you're munching on chips, but they're made out of Parmesan cheese and they're satisfying. So that's a good choice. I also stock up on lots of fruits and vegetables. We also stock up on a whole bunch of different waters and different Stevia drops for the waters. So when you're on the road, you can make healthy choices, rather than just the fast food choices that we normally would.

Mike Wendland:         What about aging and weight? I've heard people say, "Oh I've dieted and I've fought this stuff all my life, but I'm at an age now where it doesn't make any difference. I'm never going to get it off." Are people ever too old to take control, eat healthy and lose weight?

Dr. Jason Olafsson:     Actually, Mike, the science doesn't say that. What science says it that as people age, they typically become more sedentary. So the RV lifestyle might lead to some of that excess weight gain, so people start to feel like, "I'm not as active as I used to be. I'm not in the gym as much as I used to be so I don't carry as much muscle mass." Muscle mass is what really sort of sets our metabolism in motion. So if you've got some muscle mass loss from being sedentary and then you're going to travel around the country as we age ... My grandpa is an RV lifestyle fan. So he's gained a couple pounds and we've worked with him to get it off.

                                    Now he's 84 years old. I've had clients as old as 94 years old who have done my program. That client actually ended up losing 42 pounds. So I don't believe that there's ever an age that is too old, but I do believe that it will take a little bit more effort the older you are, and the more established end of the habits that you've been leading in your life.

                                    So if you've got habits that are not conducive to weight loss or not conducive to a fitness regime, then it might be a little bit more difficult, but it's just about learning new habits.

Mike Wendland:         One of the things that has interested me in your program is you help people all across the country. Technology plays a big role in that. Tell us how that works. Also, your company is Custom Health Centers, so that implies to me that there's something individual about the programs you put out. It's not just slash 800 calories a day off your diet and eat twigs and lose weight, which I guess you would for a while. How does it work?

Dr. Jason Olafsson:     I think we've all seen the "eat twig" diet work for the short-term, but most people can't last on it more than a month or two. So what we do is we take a look at the person as an individual. So we gather a detailed health history, whether you're in our offices in Metro Detroit, whether you fill out our detailed health history online and then we review it in the office.

                                    If someone is in Metro Detroit, we start them on all the supplements that day. If someone's outside of Metro Detroit, we actually mail the correct supplements based on their health history to help them lose weight. Then we stand by you every step of the way. So if someone is outside of the Metro Detroit area, we actually use what's called Zoom calls online, so that we're face to face with the person.

Mike Wendland:         That's what this is. This is a Zoom call. So yeah, very simple to use.

Dr. Jason Olafsson:     Exactly. Yeah, so the people who are ... We just had a client finish up our program in England. They ended up losing 46 pounds and all of it was done via Zoom calls. So it's been a really fun addition to our offices, because so many people are now taking advantage of the technology that's out there.

Mike Wendland:         I should point out that as this podcast airs, and as this interview on YouTube airs, I will one day into your program. So I'm actually going to put this all to the test, because as all my followers know, I share everything about my life. So we're going to actually try it. We are doing a ton of traveling and making personal appearances around the country. That's kind of what has motivated me is I have looked at the videos I shoot and say, "What happened to me?"

                                    So I'm very anxious to try your program. I've just heard great things about it. I don't mean this to be a sales pitch for your program, but I want everybody to know that I'm going on it and we're going to probably get you to come on a couple of times so I do progress reports. I do a live thing every Sunday night at 7:00, and we'll use part of that to update it.

                                    When you talk about supplements, I've heard a lot of stuff back and forth on supplements. Some doctors say, "You don't need it! You get it from the food you eat." Problem is our food is different now, isn't it?

Dr. Jason Olafsson:     Yeah, it sure is. In the early 1900s, if you took a cup of spinach and measured the amount of iron in that cup of spinach, you'd have 50 times the amount of iron in that cup of spinach versus a cup of spinach from today. So the foods that we are eating are different. They're a lot of times genetically modified, and a lot of times the foods that we're eating are lower quality in terms of their nutrient status.

                                    So one of the things that we do recognize at the Custom Health Centers is that many times we need extra vitamins. We need extra minerals to help us through our day. Then I really have like the study of herbology. So we use herbs to help calm down nervous people or support different organs and glands and tissues in the body, and speed up a person's weight loss journey or venture while on our program.

Mike Wendland:         Now, how much typically ... I know it depends on every person, but how much typically does somebody lose? The big question is ... We've all lost weight. I've probably lost tons of weight over my years. How do you keep it off? That's the next thing.

Dr. Jason Olafsson:     That is the thing. I just met with a woman who came into our office and she said, "Dr. Jason, I've lost over 2,000 pounds." I looked at her and I'm like, "What?" She goes, "Yeah, it's the same 20 over and over and over and over again."

                                    So the big goal that I have as a doctor, as a weight loss practitioner is that we want people to lose weight and then learn the tips, tricks and strategies to keep the weight off. So at the Custom Health Centers, there's nothing worse than meeting somebody six or eight months later where they've gained the weight, they've fallen back into an old lifestyle pattern. So at the Custom Health Centers, what we actually do is do some hand-holding, not only through our 60 or 90 day program, but also through the remainder of that year. We want to walk beside you through every anniversary and birthday party, every celebration, every big game or sporting event or holiday that comes up, so that you learn how to eat, move and think like a thin person for the remainder of your life, and you can keep that weight off.

Mike Wendland:         You know, you just said something, "move, eat and think like a thin person". My wife, who is a gym rat and does not suffer the same tendencies I do, will often say to me, "Look at the people that are coming out of that fast food restaurant. Look at them!" You know, it's pretty effective. Thin people do eat differently, don't they?

Dr. Jason Olafsson:     Oh, absolutely. Yes. So thin people tend to have yes, a faster metabolism. But many times it's because they're making the correct choices over and over again. So that's what we help people think about and really address in their lifestyle. We see incredible transformations in very short periods of time. But the best part is when I talk to somebody who's done our program two years ago and they're saying, "I've got a totally different lifestyle now, and I've kept all the weight off." That's where it really makes my heart go, "Yay!"

Mike Wendland:         Well, I'm going to share some of the tips that I learned from your program with our audience. We're going to try and pass along some things that they can all do eat and be a little healthier, get control of what can be a vacation mode syndrome, where all the time we're on the road, we're on vacation mode. Which you can't live like that every day.

                                    Dr. Jason, I know you're a busy guy. I will be sharing a lot with this. Thanks and I look forward to having you back on the program and a little less of me next time.

Dr. Jason Olafsson:     I'm really looking forward to seeing you in the offices and I'm looking forward to seeing less of you. That's going to be a lot of fun.

Mike Wendland:         All right, thanks. Dr. Jason Olaffson on the podcast and YouTube.

 

 

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 Andy Choi

 Verizon Wireless

 

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend. You know, just a year ago, we saw historic natural disasters unfold across the country. Disaster preparedness remains top-of-mind in communities across the nation. And with September being National Preparedness Month, it's a great time for you and your families to stay prepared with tech. 

 

With the nation’s largest and most reliable 4G LTE network, Verizon considers every month preparedness month. Most of Verizon’s cell sites have battery backup and generators to ensure your phone continues to work even when local commercial power is lost. Our decades-long commitment to public safety, unparalleled redundancy, and backup systems provide emergency responders with service they can count on.

And you too can take steps to help stay connected during an emergency. First, store phones, tablets, batteries, chargers and other equipment in a dry, accessible location. Ziploc storage bags will do the trick or look into waterproof phone cases or other protective accessories.

 

Try to keep those phones and tablets fully charged – just in case local power is lost. And have additional batteries and car-chargers available for backup power. A nice variety, including solar-powered devices, make it easy to stay powered up. And use your phone or tablet to photograph and catalog your valuables and other household belongings for possible insurance claims.

 

For additional tools and apps you can use to prepare your family, check out the website Ready.gov, and make sure you and your family remain well prepared in the event of an emergency. With this week's traveling technology tip, I'm Andy Choi with Verizon.

 

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

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT   

 

By Tom & Patti Burkett

US Route 22 is one of the original national highways proposed in 1926.  Beginning in Cincinnati, it crosses Ohio, winds through the hills of Pittsburgh, then climbs over a thousand feet into the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. Beautiful in the fall color season, the Highlands also have many farms and orchards where travelers can pick up something for dinner or a snack.  And if you happen to be in the tiny town of New Alexandria come evening, you can have some entertainment with your dinner.

 

Speal’s Tavern has been family run for more than 50 years, and it’s like a lot of bars you’ve been in.  Wings and burgers on the menu, several beers on tap, and the regulars hanging around at the bar or at a table in the corner.  What’s different is on the walls.  Dozens of guitars are hanging for your inspection, enough that locals call the place “our own hard rock café.”  These are no ordinary guitars, though.  You won’t find a Waylon Jennings autograph or a concert special played by Alanis Morissette.

 

These are cigar box guitars.  Heralded in the blues community, these simple, often homemade instruments were the beginner instruments for two generations of impoverished rural musicians. Lightnin’ Hopkins and many other Delta bluesmen of that generation played cigar box guitars throughout their careers.  Jimi Hendrix, PaulMcCartney, and Tom Waits can be heard playing the instrument on their recordings, too.

 

Shane Speal (of the Speal’s Tavern family) is known as the king of the cigar box guitar, hence the collection in the family bar.  Starting with simple rudimentary one-string version, played in the Vaudeville era, and working up to modern instruments with six strings and on-board electronics, the collection is fascinating both for its visual appeal and the history it represents.  Every Friday the bar hosts a blues jam, and chances are good you’ll get to hear a cigar-box guitar played if you stop in.

 

Being musicians ourselves, we arrived on Thursday night thinking we might step up for the weekly open mic session, but arrived a bit too late.  The music had ended and the bar was getting ready to close.  “Come on in and let me buy you a beer. at least,” said Bill, the owner.  So we shared a Yuengling, looked at the guitars, and had a bit of a visit.  The several locals still hanging around gave us a few recommendations for places to park overnight, and everyone encouraged us to come back.  “It’s guitar-b-que in two weeks,” they said, “all day blues and ribs!”

 

Speal’s Taverns is a block off US 22.  It has no signs, and nothing on the building would clue you in to the fact it anything more than a neighborhood bar.  On the other hand, folks know about it for miles around, and are proud to tell you about it.  Without that question, you’d drive by it without a clue, as we’ve done many times.  Lesson learned.  Always take the time to ask.  We’ll look for you out here, maybe at a open mic night, somewhere off the beaten path.

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

 

 

Direct download: RV208.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 10:09pm EDT

RV Podcast #207: Before you buy an RV, have it inspected

 

Show Notes for Episode #207 august 29, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

 

OPEN

Welcome to another edition of the RV  Podcast. No matter what type of RV you have – a motorhome – a towable trailer – a tent – even if your are just dreaming about getting an RV someday – this show is for you. Here, we talk about getting out there, enjoying God’s amazing creation, meeting interesting people, boondocking, discovering interesting places and using the right gear and technology to enhance our RVing lifestyle. So welcome, we are honored that you chose to put us in your ears this week  

 

TEEZE COMING UP…

Next to our house, buying an RV is probably the most expensive purchase you will make in a lifetime. When buying a house, it’s normal to have it checked out by a home inspector. Do you realize you can do the same thing with an RV? In this week’s RV interview of the week, we’ll introduce you to the RV Inspectors Association of America and tell you what needs to be checked out by a pro before you sign on the dotted line.

Plus this week, some great RV tips, lots of RV news and a wonderful off the beaten path report from the Burketts.

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

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

Well here it is…it’s the big Labor Day Weekend. Summer’s last big hurrah and a major travel time for millions.

 

JENNIFER

I can’t believe how fast summer has gone by. It seems like we were just talking about Memorial Day and the start of summer and now Summer is coming to a close. I saw on our Roadtreking Facebook Group that our friend Campskunk awoke in the Beartooth Mountains out west to a pretty thick covering if snow the other day! Snow! Can you believe it?  We’ve been sweating in the heat and humidity that has gripped most of North America these past couple of weeks but those snow pictures from Campskunk tell us what is coming.


MIKE

Seeing those snow pictures got me thinking about snow and winter and our annual campout in the snow that we do every January. So, Jennifer and I want you to know that we are once again taking Bo up camping at Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan's Upper Peninsula January 11-13, 2019. If you want to come, you need to make reservations now.

 

JENNIFER
This is an informal gathering open to all. We have a tradition of five years of doing this and Bo insists on a snow vacation before we head south. Anyway, we have reserved site 177. If you also want to head up there, you need to reserve your own spot with the Michigan DNR at Tahquamenon Falls State Park, at the Lower Falls Hemlock campground. We’ll put a link to the Michigan DNR booking site in the shownotes for this episode at Roadtreking-dot-com-slash-207

There are electric hookups at each site.

MIKE

If you do reserve a spot, then join our Facebook group for the winter campout. We’ll also put a link to that closed Facebook Group site in the shownotes for this episode at Roadtreking-dot-com-slash-207 Let us know there that you're coming and what spot you reserve.

JENNIFER

Depending on how many will also be there that weekend, we will make dinner reservations in Paradise.
There will be snow shoeing, hiking and exploring. All kinds of RVs are welcome!

 

Here’s the RV News of the week:

 

Bear attacks boy, 10, hiking with family at Yellowstone

A 10-year-old boy was attacked by a bear at Yellowstone National Park last week while hiking with his family up Divide Trail. The bear appeared out of the bush and charged the family, causing the boy to flee. The bear chased the boy, knocking him to the ground, while his parents got out their bear spray, sprayed the bear in the face,  enabling them to grab their son and flee. The boy was taken to an area hospital and is expected to be ok. But the report got me thinking back to an interview we did on the podcast two years ago with an expert on Bear Spray. (Click here to listen.) Bear spray is something everyone should have when hiking in bear country. To learn more about the Yellowstone attack, click here.

 

Man caught on video harassing a Yellowstone bison apologizes, sentenced to 130 days behind bars

Speaking of Yellowstone, do you remember the report we shared with you recently about the man caught on video taunting a bison at Yellowstone National Park late last month? The man apologized in court last week, and pleaded guilty to four charges tied to drunken misbehavior at both Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone. His sentence included 130 days behind bars, banned from three national parks for five years, and other things. The man's charges included disorderly conduct, resisting/interfering with a law enforcement officer, storing open alcohol in a vehicle and, of course, disturbing wildlife. To learn more click here or here.

 

Thieves break into 23 RVs stored at California storage and repair business

Theft from RV repair and storage facilities is a growing problem we've discussed with you on the Podcast, and once again it made the news last week. This time thieves hurt a small business in California (click here) breaking into 23 RVs stealing televisions, tools, propane tanks, and other miscellaneous items. The problem of RV thefts from storage lots is so bad, in northern Indiana, where RVs and travel trailers are made, police created a special crime investigation unit specializing in RV thefts. (To read more click here).  As the summer travel season is winding down, if you store your RV somewhere, be sure to ask what is done to guard against theft.

 

National Parks sound tracks are just a click away

One of my favorite things about visiting national parks, and getting away from everything, is the silence. An interesting article out last week pointed out that the national parks aren't really silent, rather they are lacking human noise -but full of animal and nature noise. And hearing those sounds is good for you. The National Park Service has a division that's been recording the sound of the national parks, and this week you can listen for free here. To read more about the story behind it, click here.

 

Oregon offering discount to camp at select state parks in September and October

Oregon Parks and Recreation is lowering the price of campsites offering electrical and full hook-ups by $7 per night in a special pilot program this fall. Parks officials want to see if discounted prices will lure more people outdoors, according to an article out last week. So anyone making a new reservation for Sunday-Thursday in September, or any night in October, can use a special code at select state parks and save . To learn more click here.

 

This part of the program is brought to you by AllStays Pro, the best tool for RVers looking for places to camp; Harvest Hosts, a unique membership service that allows members to stay free overnight in wineries, farms and attractions across North America; and Overnight RV Parking, a subscription service that provides details for over 12,000 free or nearly free RV overnight parking locations. All three services offer greatly discounted rates to listeners of this podcast

 

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

This week's tip comes from a listener named Barbara, who lives in Arizona with her husband Ken. Barbara and Ken were RVers for about 12 years and had two motorhomes: First, a Class C, then a Class A.  Barbara writes that she and Ken met Mike back in June 2013 at a seminar he taught for the FMCA Convention. Just six weeks after that convention Ken had a stroke and their RV days came to an end.

 

Ken could no longer drive their RV, and Barbara writes she was a "total chicken" to drive the Class A, so they sold it. But, after several years of staying put, their house is on the market and Barbara and Ken hope to move to North Carolina and get a CS Adventurous XL.  Barbara said she has already taken the CS XL for a test drive and was shocked how easy it was for her to drive. Barbara really wants to travel more, but does not like flying, so she says it is time to get back to RVing.

 

Barbara wrote to share two quick tips she hopes will be helpful for others. Let me read Barbara's words to you:

 

 "On one of our RV trips, a plastic jug of milk leaked in the Class C refrigerator.  The leaked milk puddled in the refrigerator bottom and dripped down onto the cabinet and heater vents below.  What a smelly mess!!  After that, I set all liquid containers on plastic trays to catch any leaks in the Class C and the Class A refrigerators.  The trays I used are the same type one would use in a hotel to hold coffee makers, etc.  I actually bought our trays at a hotel “going out of business” sale.  But the same type of trays can be purchased at a restaurant supply store.  Just make sure the trays have raised sides to hold leaks/spills."

 

And the second tip?

 

Writes Barbara: " I wanted a space saving way to keep the motorhome refrigerator and freezer odor free, when on the road and in storage.  We have a cat, and it occurred to me to try a litter box filter.  I used Petmate Zeolite/Charcoal filters, left the filters in the plastic packages and cut off the tops to expose the filters.  The packages were thin enough to slip behind items in the refrigerator and freezer doors.  Voila!!  No more odors.  I think it is Petmate’s combination of zeolite and charcoal that prevented odors."

 

Barbara - I love both of these tips and appreciate you taking the time to write and share them. Sometimes it is the little things like this that make a huge difference while we're out there in our RVs!

 

I had no trouble finding trays like you described on restaurant supply webpages. And of course looked at Amazon, and found many different sizes a types there.

 

Amazon  had a set of 12 blue plastic trays, 10 by 14, selling for  -  $22.95

 

I also found one that was 12 by 16, made of black plastic and described as like a fast food tray, selling for just $2.72.

 

Barbara's other trip, of putting the Petmate Zeolite/charcoal filters in the refrigerator to control odors was something that never occurred to me but it sounds like a space saving way to effectively control freezer odor. The filters can be found at pet stores, and of course Amazon has those too. On Amazon they sold for $4.79

 

I'll attach the two pictures that Barbara sent us and some links to the products in the show notes. Thank you so much Barbara for writing and sharing your knowledge and I hope we get to meet you and Ken out there on the road someday.  

 

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

 

I love hearing from you!

 

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

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

 

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

 

Questions we address this week:

 

  • How to get our RV Packing List free – sign up for our RV Lifestyle newsletter
  • How do you use an inverter and the Road5rek Voltstart System? – Easy. Turn the inverter on. Turn on Voltstart. If the battery gets low, Voltstart starts the engine and the engine generator to start charging it and give you power to keep doing whatever you were doing before the battery dipped. It’s all part if the Roadtrek Ecotrek system. Here’s a video that explains in great detail how it works and what you need to do.
  • Why do Airstream trailers hold their value so well and have such a loyal following – Short answer: Quality

 

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 INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

 

Next to our house, buying an RV is probably the most expensive purchase you will make in a lifetime. When buying a house, it’s normal to have it checked out by a home inspector. Do you realize you can do the same thing with an RV? In this week’s RV interview of the week, we’ll introduce you to the RV Inspectors Association of America and tell you what needs to be checked out by a pro before you sign on the dotted line.

 

Here’s a video of the interview:

 

Here’s a transcript of the interview:

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Andy Choi

 Verizon Wireless

 

If your RV is finding its way to a football stadium for the start of a new season, here are some game winning ideas to make sure your next gridiron adventure is a tech touchdown!

 

First, make sure your phone lasts the tailgate, the game, and the post party celebration with the Belkin BoostUp Charge Power Ban. And no need to worry about losing your lightning cable, this battery pack has it built right in.

 

Listen to the live play by play of the game or get an update on any other game you choose with the JBL Everest 110GA Wireless In Ear Headphones. And when it comes to instantly finding out scores around the league, just ask the built in Google Assistant and you won’t even need to pull out your phone.

 

But if you do want that phone nearby, score big with the new Samsung Galaxy Note9 - With an all-day battery, water resistance, and a camera with auto flaw detection, this is your perfect game time companion for snapping a selfie in the stands, or posting that game winning catch.

 

And don't forget to use that Galaxy Note 9 to download the Yahoo Fantasy Sports app so you can dominate your fantasy leagues on-the-go. Set up lineups, talk up those fantasy stats with your friends on chat, and check live fantasy scores.

So whether your team's the favorite to win or the underdog looking for a Cinderella season, make sure your tech playbook sets you up for a winning drive.

 

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.

 

 When Verizon says better matters, they mean it. 

Only Verizon ranked highest in  leading network studies, in multiple tests, year after year that measure Network quality performance in the United States by RootMetrics for the fifth consecutive testing period. 

Can your network say that?

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 spent a lot of our early years driving back and forth on interstate 70--Philadelphia, Columbus, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Denver. It’s one of the unsexiest roads in America: ragged pavement, relentless trucks, miles of urban and industrial sprawl. Because the road is so disagreeable, we've blown through the stretch from Columbus to St. Louis more times than we can count. On a recent trip, we were driving US 40 (the National Road) instead, just to avoid the interstate, and passed through downtown Terre Haute, Indiana, a place we’ve skirted dozens of times.

Sitting proudly on a corner was a nicely kept brick building with a big green awning that sported the distinctive red and white Clabber Girl logo. If you’ve ever been at a Roadtrek gathering with the Burketts, you’ll know that we are biscuit makers, and that box of baking powder with the picture of the curly-haired girl is always on our shelf.  The sign in the window below the awning said bakery-café, and who could pass that up? 

To our great disappointment, the café had closed for the day, but the museum with which is shared the first floor was still open.  We spent the better part of an hour wandering through the building.  To be fair, the story should start with clabber.  Early Scots immigrants brought this yogurt-like curdled milk dish with them when they came to Appalachia.  Southern cooks soon realized that a couple of spoonsful, added to a batter, made biscuit, cake, and bread doughs rise quickly and reliably.  Soon after, enterprising homemakers mixed dried clabber with a few other common kitchen ingredients and made the first baking powder.

At the museum, we learned that Francis Hulman, a German immigrant, was a successful grocer in Terre Haute.  In 1850 he convinced his brother Herman to join him, and they began a wholesale grocery enterprise that is still robust today, known mostly for kitchen basics like baking powder, cornstarch, gelatin, and pudding mixes.  Their grandson Tony is a legendary figure in the town.  He was a major donor in the campaign to build the Catholic church, a major donor to the first local hospital, and helped build the Rose-Hulman technical institute.  The Hulman company installed the first telephone switchboard in town (you can see it in the museum), and were early adopters of electric lights and equipment.

Tony spread the Clabber Girl brand far and wide with advertising campaigns. His branded horse-drawn delivery wagons traveled four states to promote and deliver Clabber Girl products to hundreds of mom and pop grocery stores in cities and little towns.  After World War 2, Tony's friend Eddie Rickenbacker convinced him that the run-down Indianapolis Motor Speedway would be another great advertising gambit, and even today the Hulman Company owns The Brickyard.  Hulman himself raced a bit, and his car, The Gray Ghost, is on display at the museum.

Also at the museum a replica kitchens from different eras.  In the 1850s kitchen, we learned that bakers tested the temperature of their coal or wood fired oven by sticking in a hand.  A quick oven was one from which the hand was withdrawn in a hurry, and was best for cooking biscuits and such.  A slow oven was just the opposite, and was the way to go with roasts and tough cuts of meat.  Beyond the museum is the cafe, a display of the original electric generator for the factory, and a teaching kitchen, where bakers demonstrate their craft.  A tray of danish pastries, clearly left over from a recent event, was on the counter.  Tom didn't see why we shouldn't sample one, but I was adamant that he leave them alone.

One door, a dozen stories.  We literally had the place to ourselves.  Next time our paths cross, we'll tell you about Rex Coffee and how it was resurrected.  Or about Francis' letter to Herman that convinced him to emigrate.  If you don't stop here, stop somewhere else.  Just stop, and you'll find something worth looking at.  Chances are good you might see us too, because we spend almost all our time hanging out here, far off (or just off) the beaten path.

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

 

Direct download: RV207.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 5:28pm EDT

Episode 206: See your campsite before you reserve it

 

Ever booked a campsite that sounded great when you read the description only to be very disappointed once you arrive? This week…coming up in our RV Interview of the Week, we’ll learn about a free service that lets you see photos and videos of campgrounds and even individual sites. Also this week, we answer a bunch of your RV-related questions, offer up some RV Tips and share some traveling technology tools to make your RV Lifestyle a little more fun and efficient.

 

Show Notes for Episode #206 August 22, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

 

MIKE

We’re still down on Okaloosa Island on the Florida panhandle’s Emerald Coast. We’ll be here another couple weeks, doing weekend tailgating trips to Georgia to watch our grandson, Matthew play high school football.

 

JENNIFER

Yup. School has been in session down south since early August. I don’t know how the kids play when the temperatures are in the 90’s and the humidity nearly matches.

 

MIKE

We have Bo with us. He stayed in the RV with the AC on last week while we attended Matthew’s first game. But they take football very seriously down here and whenever one of the teams scored a touchdown they fired off a canon… a canon!.... and they also launched fireworks at the beginning and end of the game. Bo is not a huge fan of fireworks or canon blasts!

 

JENNIFER

Nor does he like the heat and humidity. We take him out every morning and night for exercise. But even at 7 am, the temperature is in the mid-eighties. Same right after sunset. We visit dog parks in Fort Walton Beach and Destin FL but really have to watch him because with his Norwegian Elkhound double coat, he can overheat very easily. Most if the days he stays in our condo, soaking up the AC.

 

MIKE   

 

Speaking of Bo and the heat and relying on AC, I’m anxiously awaiting a new pet safety temperature monitoring system that I’ll be installing in the RV this week. We have tried list of different systems over the years. But none are quite as reliable or a rugged as I would like. The new one is the most pricey one yet but I’ve come to the conclusion that you get what you pay for and when it comes to a pet safety in an RV bargain prices seldom bring satisfactory results.

Those who subscribe to our RV Newsletter got a heads up about this system in an email over the weekend but for everyone else, I’ll show more in a video I’m planning for sometime next week.

 

JENNIFER

There’s a lot of continuing talk down here about the red tide. It has devasted Gulf of Mexico beaches in south Florida all summer and shows no signs of easing off. Several have asked us if the red tide is affecting the beaches up here in the Florida panhandle. It is not. There is no indication that it is moving north at all. There is a lot of sea grass or seaweed in the water up here this week but those are seasonal in nature and usually don’t last long. The red tide further south is horrendous. It’s been going on for 10 months now.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee said the red tide outbreak continues to occur on both coastal and inshore sites from Manatee to Collier counties, over 130 miles of coastline.

 

MIKE

The outbreaks have caused respiratory and other health problems in humans. It has also caused the massive kill off of marine wildlife. Over 100 tons of dead animals have washed on up beaches in the last few months, including 12 dolphins in the span of just one week. The current red tide began in October 2017 but has intensified in the last few months. Earlier this month, Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in seven Florida counties, clearing the way for additional funding to assist with red tide cleanup.

 

Here‘s the RV News of the Week:

 

JENNIFER

Glacier National Park evacuates areas as wildfires spread
Fires again dominated the outdoors news last week, this time attention on Glacier National Park. The several small lightning fires that we told you about in last week's newsletter spread into roaring infernos this week. The Lake McDonald Lodge closed early for the 2018 season as evacuation orders were issued for parts of the park, including Lake McDonald Valley where Avalanche and Sprague Campgrounds are located. (Click here or here.) One the more terrifying videos to emerge was of a father and son, driving thru the flames trying to escape. (click here). Numerous new wildfires also happened in central Oregon Friday after a storm went through causing as many as 46 wildfires. To read more click here.

MIKE
Fire almost out, Yosemite National Park's air improves, more roads expected to open
Meanwhile officials reported the Yosemite fire is 90 percent contained as of the weekend, with Highway 41 expected to open soon. Air quality around Yosemite that had reached hazardous levels is also improving. To read more click here.

JENNIFER
Have you seen this RV? If so, police want to know
A RV dealer in St. George, Utah, is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of whomever stole a $118,000 rig out of its lot earlier this month. Nielson RV's surveillance cameras caught several suspicious people on its lot near the 2018 Ford Leprechaun Model 260 shortly before the camper was stolen, and turned the footage over to police. To see pictures of the vehicle, in case you've seen it out there, or to learn more click here.  

MIKE
Researchers warn new tick blamed for spread of deadly Rocky Mountain spotted fever 
The spread of ticks and the deadly diseases they carry continued to make headlines last week as a study released in Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases warned a new species of tick is causing Rocky Mountain spotted fever to ravage parts of Mexico and all indications are it will spread to the U.S. Already some cases are being reported in Arizona. What makes this particularly troublesome is this type of tick is more likely to bite humans than others and this disease is causing deaths. To read a story on it click here. To watch to a recent interview we had on the RVPodcast with a top CDC expert about mosquitoes and ticks click here. To learn more about tick prevention from previous reports click here

JENNIFER
Trump administration opposed turning Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore into national park

A movement by Indiana's Republican and Democratic senators to turn the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore into the country's 61st national park met a formidable obstacle last week when a Trump administration representative told a Senate subcommittee it was against it. The representative said the 15,000 acre park on Lake Michigan did not meet the "size or amenity standards" associated with national parks. Proponents say they will continue to move forward. To read more, click here or here.

 

This part of the program is brought to you by AllStays Pro, the best tool for RVers looking for places to camp; Harvest Hosts, a unique membership service that allows members to stay free overnight in wineries, farms and attractions across North America; and Overnight RV Parking, a subscription service that provides details for over 12,000 free or nearly free RV overnight parking locations. All three services offer greatly discounted rates to listeners of this podcast.

 

 

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

 

When Mike and I were at Glacier National Park back in the beginning of summer at a Roadtrek gathering, many of us were in and out of one another's rigs, sharing those little things that make camping that much better.

 

Well, one of the those little things is the Handi Hanger Trash bag holder. What is that you ask? It is a simple solution to having a trash bin. Recently I had a moment to look it up, and thought I would share what I learned with you.

 

The Handi Hanger Trash bag holder is a plastic contraption that hangs on the inside of a cupboard door. The hanger holds those plastic grocery bags that seemingly every grocery store gives you and turns them into something useful, a trash bag!

 

Using it is very simple. You simply attach the two arms to the inside cupboard with sticky tape or a screw. Then you take your plastic grocery bag and hang it over each arm. When you close the cupboard door you will not see your trash.  It is that simple.

 

I like this idea for several reasons. First, it provides a simple way to keep your trash out of sight and off the floor. Freeing up valuable floor space in a class B campervan RV - or really any kind of RV - is important, I think everyone can agree. Also it provides a useful purpose for those free plastic grocery bags. And, because your trash bag is now relatively small, it will encourage you to remove your trash from your rig regularly, eliminating odor.

 

I found the Handi Hanger Trash Bag Holder on Amazon for less than $10, and will provide a link in the shownotes for this episode at Roadtreking-dot-com-slash-206.   Again, that’s Roadtreking-dot-com-slash-206

 

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

 

Questions we answered this week:

 

  • A listener installed a brand new water pump on his RV. It works but the pump never shuts off.

There’s a lot you didn’t say. Such as does water come out the faucet when the pump is on? But either the pump is not doing its job or you have an air leak on the inlet side or you don’t have enough water in the fresh water tanks.

There are some other things to check. Is there debris in the water filter? It’s a new pump so that’s highly unlikely but check the filter just in case something got in there during the installation process or when you connected it to the water supply.

Make sure the hose clamps on the suction side of the pump are tight. Make sure there’s no kink in any of the hoses. Are all your valve handles turned properly?

 

  • A listener has a 1990 RV and has been told she needs her AC replaced or Freon added. She wonders if that’s true

Most RV air conditioners are not designed to be opened and repaired, and if a repair is possible it is often very costly.

It is an unwritten rule most RV Tech's go by to replace any roof AC over 10 years old with major problems. Replacing a bad compressor is just not cost effective on an older unit, and if a unit has lost its charge then it has a leak and is not cost effective to repair that either. So save some money in the long run and replace instead of repairing your old AC.

Unlike air conditioners used to cool a house, an RV air conditioner is very different in the way it cools. Nearly all RV air conditioners out there work on the same basic principle as a refrigerator. RV air conditioners also differ from ones found to cool a house in the fact that it is hermetically sealed (Closed System). Because the AC is hermetically sealed you can see why you cannot get your Freon checked or replaced.

  • A listener is looking for the frame for a 1998 Roadtrek RV.

 

I don’t believe these were factory installed. But call Roadtrek Motorhomes directly at 888-ROADTREK

 

  • A couple wants to rent out their townhome and live in an RV but where can they park it?


We do our best to answer.

 

 

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

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

 

Ever booked a campsite that sounded great when you read the description only to be very disappointed once you arrive? Listen up,  because in the interview of the week for this episode, we will introduce you to a terrific and totally free website that can greatly lessen the problem.

 

Our guest is Mark Koep, the founder and CEO of CampgroundViews.com, a free website that lets you find and tour RV parks across the country and see photos and videos of the sites before you book.

 

Here’s a video of the interview:

 

Here’s a full transcript of the interview for those of you who prefer to read.

 

 

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 Andy Choi

 Verizon Wireless

Camping is on the rise in the U.S. – and the trend is expected to continue. Millennials now account for 38 percent of the 75 million active camper households in the U.S, according to the national camping report by Kampgrounds of America.

 

Whether you’re a millennial traveling with a group of friends or a boomer taking extended family, Verizon has some recommendations to make end-of-summer camping trip a success.

 

You can set up your secure perimeter in the wild and monitor your outdoor surroundings with the Arlo Go security cam. No Wi-Fi? No problem. Arlo Go is truly mobile, thanks to the Verizon 4G LTE network and a rechargeable battery. This camera allows you to put it anywhere you want to monitor. Its IP65-rated weatherproof, to stand up to rain and dust. The Arlo Go can also see with night vision illuminating sights up to 25 feet away.

 

You’re always gonna want a little extra juice out there, and Belkin’s Road Rockstar charger gets the job done. Power up four devices at once while you’re driving. In addition, the mophie charge force powerstation supplies smartphones with an extra 48 hours of power.

 

And finally, the RV Parky app is a comprehensive collection of RV parks, campgrounds, rest areas, gas stations, and stores. Read up on where you’ll be visiting, view pictures, and get directions to where you are headed to next. You can also find RV friendly stores, rest areas, welcome centers, best fuel stops and low-bridge warnings along your route.

So whether your route takes you to the campsite across town, or the one across the country, make sure you pack a healthy supply of camp-related tech. With this week’s traveling technology tip, I’m Andy Choi with Verizon.

 

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

 

 

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

SEPTEMBER

6-9

The Real RV Show - Sacramento

Cal Expo     Sacramento, CA

 
   

SEPTEMBER

12-16

Hershey - America's Largest RV Show

Giant Center    Hershey, PA

 
   

SEPTEMBER

13-15

Great American RV Show Colorado Springs

Norris Penrose Event Center
Colorado Springs, CO

 

 

 

Direct download: RV206.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 4:18pm EDT

Episode 205: The Brown Bears of Alaska’s Brooks Falls

 

Show Notes for Episode #205 August 15, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

 

Every spring and fall, Brooks Falls in Alaska's Katmai National Park is the scene of a massive sockeye salmon run that draws dozens of magnificent brown bears. Thanks to a network of webcams, the bears are watched around the clock by tens of thousands across the world. In our interview of the week, we talk to a ranger at Katmai and learn more about the bears and what it’s like being there.

Plus, lots of your questions, RV News, RV Tips and a fun off the beaten path report from the Burketts

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

 

Show Notes for Episode #205 August 15, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

 

MIKE

Greetings from the hot and humid Emerald Coast of Florida’s panhandle. This episode finds us on Okaloosa Island, overlooking the beautiful turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Last week we were on a family campout at Silver Lake Michigan and had a ball exploring the awesome Lake Michigan sand dunes there. We’ll have a full video on that coming our tomorrow on our RV Lifestyle You Tube Channel.  But now we’re in Florida. We’re down here through the end of the month. Catching some down time, catching up on some video editing and catching as many of our grandson Matthew’s high school football games in southwestern Georgia, which is a couple hour drive from our condo here on the Gulf.

 

JENNIFER

That’s right, school has started in the south and even though the temperatures are often pushing nearly 100 degrees at this time of the year in Georgia, the Friday Night Lights are shining again. This Friday is Matthew’s first game and we’ll be driving over to cheer him on. We hope to get to three of his games before we have to head up to Northern Ontario for our Roadtreking gathering next month at the Algonquin Provincial Park.

 

MIKE

And then we hit the road for a the very busy fall season for RV shows. We’ll start out in Hershey, PA at what is billed as America’s largest RV show. We’ll be doing meet and greets at the Erwin Hymer/Roadtrek display on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15 and 16. We’ll also be visiting the Rad Power Bikes ebike display at Hershey on Saturday afternoon. Then we’re off next to RV Capital of the World, which is Elkhart, Indiana, where we’ll be meeting and greeting at Elkhart RV Open House. Elkhart-based RV firms account for more than 80% of industry shipments. The Elkhart Open House draws most major manufacturers, thousands of dealers and by most estimates, for as much as $2 billion in wholesale sales. So you can bet we’ll be there! After that, we’ll be in Los Angeles, attending the huge California RV Show on Saturday and Sunday, October 6 and 7. Look us up there you West Coasties… we’ll be hanging around the Roadtrek/Hymer display area and Mike Thompson RV.

 

JENNIFER

I love RV shows. They are places where you can see every make and model RV in one place, allowing you to see different floorplans, walk around and see how they will fit with your RV Lifestyle and, of course, get good deals and trade ins. I like them because of all the other Rvers we meet and get to hang out with, picking up different tips from them and learning about places we should visit. I can’t wait for the shows. They’re great opportunities for learning.

 

MIKE

One quick announcement. If you haven’t been to our RV Lifestyle Merch Store yet, be sure to check out the new T-shirt designs we have added. We have a great line of men’s and women’s apparel that celebrate serendipity travel, boondocking and our small house, big yard lifestyle. Head over to http://roadtreking.com/shop to see the designs.

 

OK…now on to the RV News of the week.

 

JENNIFER

First it was Yosemite, now it’s Glacier National Park shut because of wildfires

California’s Yosemite National Park remained partially closed for the third week because of wildfires. But now in Montana parts of Glacier National Park have been shut down because of out of control fires. Lightning started the fire on the north side of Lake Macdonald over the weekend and now the entire side of a mountain seems to be on fire. Several buildings have been destroyed and parts of the park are under mandatory evacuations as firefighters try to contain the fire. EDIT EDIT EDIT There are also major fires in Yellowstone National Park that haveclosed some trails and Yosemite remains partially closed as well.

 

MIKE

Man charged with harassing Yellowstone bison plead not guilty; held behind bars until trial

Remember that guy who was arrested for taunting a bison at Yellowstone National Park earlier this month?  Well, he plead not guilty last week to five various charges at Grand Teton and Yellowstone, the most famous one for harassing wildlife. The judge decided Raymond Reinke is a flight risk and will hold him behind bars until his bench trial Aug. 23. The video of him yelling at a bison earlier this month went viral, upsetting wildlife lovers from around the world.

 

JENNIFER

Three men face criminal charges for approaching bears at Alaska park; taking selfie

Speaking of people caught on video doing foolish things, did you hear about about the man who waded into the river at Brooks Falls at Alaska's Katmai National Park and Preserve to take a selfie in front of bears hunting fish? Apparently the man and two friends went into a restricted area and one was caught on the park's bearcam, a webcam that shows live footage 24/7 of the bears hunting salmon, watched by thousands from all around the world. Park rules prohibit people from getting close to the bears and one man was recorded on the bearcam wading into the water to take a selfie. Their actions endanger not just the humans but also the bears, park officials said in a statement. Be sure and stay tuned for our interview of the week with a ranger up at Katmai, coming up in just a few minutes.

 

MIKE

Class B RV wholesale shipments rise while others down from 2017

Class B Campervan sales continue to lead the RV industry, according to wholesale recreational vehicle shipment statistics released by the RV Industry Association.  As of June 2018,   Class B shipments were up 33.8 percent, while shipments for Class As were down 26.7 percent, Class Cs down 20.7 percent and all travel trailers down 8.5 percent.

 

JENNIFER

Minnesota Health officials continue to investigate parasite caused sickness at campground, 72 now sick

The Minnesota Department of Health says 72 people and counting became sick from a microscopic parasite that causes diarrhea-related symptoms while staying at the Shades of Sherwood Campground in Zumbrota. A large number of those sick only swam in a man-made pond at the site, though some only swam in the swimming pool and others only in a river. The campground's owners closed the pond to swimmers and treated the swimming pool and health officials are continuing to ask visitors to contact them as they investigate.

 

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

 

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

 

Last week while we were camping with two of our three kids and their families, my daughter in law Aimee was asking me about our clothesline. She didn't bring one with her, and it made me realize that something we never camp without may be a new idea for others. So, I'd like to tell you all about our clothesline, and why we never leave home without it!

 

We use a 100 foot line made with cotton on the outside and a synthetic fiber on the inside. This is really important, we have found, because the cotton outside makes tying and untying knots easy, while the synthetic inside helps reduce line sag, which can become a problem with an all cotton rope.

 

We also make sure our rope is at least 100 feet long because we want to be sure it's long enough to reach between two trees, and that seems to be a sufficient length. We have found 200 feet is too much, and then the extra rope ends up being in the way.

 

So what do we hang from the rope? anything that is wet! We hang our towels and washcloths, dishtowels, bathing suits, beach towels. We found that hanging wet items outside in the sun really speeds up the drying process. But, even if the item is not completely dry, it is very important to bring it in at night because the morning dew can really set the drying process back a few hours. I learned that the hard way when I accidentally left my beach towel outside last week. When i went to pick it up in the morning it was more wet then than it was before I went to bed!

 

Another important details to to be sure to hang the rope high. If you hang it too low, you may accidentally run into it when you are walking around camp, and your towels may end up dragging against the ground.

 

You can find a clothes line everywhere - Walmart, grocery stores, hardware stores and of course Amazon. A good quality one tends to run around $20-$25. I found a quarter-inch, 100 foot, cotton outside synthetic inside rope on Amazon selling for $23. I will leave a link to it on the shownotes in case that is helpful.

 

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

 

I love hearing from you!

 

 

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

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

 

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

 

Tom is a fifth wheeler who wants to know if we will he having a Roadtreking gathering at Glacier National Park next year. The answer is…. it doesn’t look like it…But we will have many other great spots to choose from when the 2019 schedule is finished by fall.

 

Parker asks about visiting Muskegon, MI on Lake Michigan. We have… and talk about it, recommending Muskegon State Park and the nearby Grand Haven State Park. Also Silver Lake State Park, which is just a half hour north of Muskegon.

 

John saw our review of the Blustream temperature monitoring device. He lives in Canada and is frustrated that Amazon doesn’t ship items some there. We suggest he contact the company directly at http://blustreamcorp.com/

 

And Sandra from Ontario asks us about cooking on the road.

 

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

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

 

Every spring and fall, Brooks Falls in Alaska's Katmai National Park is the scene of a massive sockeye salmon run that draws dozens of magnificent brown bears. Thanks to a network of webcams, the bears are watched around the clock by tens of thousands across the world. In our interview of the week, we talk to a ranger at Katmai and learn more about the bears and what it’s like being there.

 

Here’s a video of the interview…

 

Here’s the full transcript of the interview…

Mike Wendland:         In our interview of the week segment, we're going to talk to Andrew LaValle. He is a ranger and he is going to tell us all about these wonderful webcams that allow us to watch those bears anytime we want.

                                    Well let's go up to Katmai National Park in Alaska right now, right at Brooks Falls, the Brooks River where all those magnificent bears are and are so accessible to us thanks to that network of webcams that are set up there.

                                    Andrew, thanks for being with us and tell us what it's like there. What about that network? What does that network of cameras allow the world to do? And how far away from civilization are you and those bears?

Andrew LaValle:         Only accessible by boat or plane. So realistically, most people are not going to be able to visit us in person. And what the bear cams allow us to do is reach audiences, as you said, from around the world. People are able to stream these bears 24/7 during the summer. And a lot of our audience, they get to know the bears quite well.

                                    We have six different cameras. Five in Brooks Camps. We have a few up at Brooks Falls, obviously the famous waterfall that many people are familiar with, seeing the bears catch the salmon as they're standing on the lip of the falls there. We also have some down at the lower river closer to Brooks Camp. And we have a webcam on Dumpling Mountain as well.

                                    And then during the winter months when the bears are all hibernating, we actually have a camera here in King Salmon, Alaska on the Naknek River.

Mike Wendland:         Now the bears are brown bears. So there's always a lot of confusion. People say, "Oh they're grizzlies." I guess they're the same species, if I understand right, but brown bear is their genre if I can use [crosstalk 00:02:30].

Andrew LaValle:         Exactly. So they're technically the same species. Brown bears would be a subspecies. Basically the big difference is what they eat and then accordingly how big they get. So brown bears are typically found within 100 miles of the coast. And so they have access to a lot more seafood, to put it simply. And that means salmon, that means clams, that means costal sedges. They have access to a lot more food resources than interior grizzlies.

                                    And because of that they get big. Bears in interior parks like Denali or Yellowstone tend to be a lot smaller because they have to travel a lot more to get adequate sources of food.

Mike Wendland:         Now these bears, how big are they? They look pretty immense on the camera. They look way way, they look ... And describe the Kodiak bear. Are they related to the Kodiak or is that the same species?

Andrew LaValle:         Again it's sort of, it's the same species. Kodiak bears are isolated on the island of Kodiak and Alaska and similar deal, it's all about the access to food and coastal food resources. And so Kodiak bears will actually get even bigger than coastal brown bears generally.

Mike Wendland:         Now when I look at the camera, I look at it a lot, I just looked a few minutes ago and there's 1,000 people watching right now. from all over the world. But I also sometimes see people in those shots.

Andrew LaValle:         Yes.

Mike Wendland:         So you actually, as a photographer if I could get there, there's an overlook and there are people there. How do the bears react to people?

Andrew LaValle:         Absolutely. So, the Brooks River is a relatively confined area. The river itself I think is only about a mile and a half long. And we get quite a bit of visitation during the summer, during July especially.

                                    Some of those cameras are located on what we call the lower river which is basically where the Brooks River empties into Naknek Lake. And there's a floating bridge currently that crosses the river and that is how people cross to get to places like Brooks Falls or the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. So mostly that's where you'll be seeing people is sort of in the vicinity of that bridge.

                                    And these bears are relatively accustomed to seeing people and other bears at close proximity. It's important to remember that bears are normally very solitary creatures. These bears would, in other places, live most of their lives without seeing other bears or people this close of distance.

                                    Places like Denali, for example. If a bear comes across another large animal, it's either food or trying to kill it, right? But these bears, it's all about the concentration of food. They're willing to tolerate other bears at close proximity because there is all that salmon in the river.

                                    So they sort of grow up from cubs, from cubhood if you will, seeing these bears at close distances. And-

Mike Wendland:         Now I sometimes see these bears kind of swatting each other, but I never see them really fighting and it seems like they just kind of yell at each other. On your webcams there's actually sound as well, isn't there?

Andrew LaValle:         There is sound, yeah. So a lot of these bears, it's sort of a begrudging tolerance of other bears. Again, they all want access to that food so they're sort of forced to live peaceably if you think about it that way. They will tolerate other bears at close distances.

                                    And occasionally, they will engage in conflict. It's inevitable. Bears are very big on dominance, especially amongst the male bears and if other bears get too close or question another bear's dominance, they will come to fisticuffs.

                                    Most of the time with these bears, it is bluffing. And that's when you get some of the most fantastic sound as you say because we do have those microphones. Bears will vocalize and sort of open their mouths and growl in various ways. And that is one of the more fascinating things about these cams is we can see them in their full spectrum of behavior. Sometimes these younger bears will be playing and tolerating other bears. And other times they will be hashing it out.

Mike Wendland:         How have the cameras been used to help Katmai National Park and really creating awareness of awesome creatures, but they've become so popular. How have they affected ... I know the parks are always looking for resources. This is got to have helped.

Andrew LaValle:         Yeah, absolutely. So again, this is a partnership we do with explore.org. And again, we're a relatively remote park. It's hard for people to visit us. Most people will not have the means to in their lifetimes.

                                    So what the cams do is it allows people to connect to this resource and develop an emotional connection to this place. And in that way, they're doing exactly what they were supposed to. People from Baltimore, Maryland, or Hong Kong, or London can tune in, see what these bears are doing and learn about this place.

                                    So it's a pretty remarkable tool in that way. It's facilitating this emotional connection to a place most people won't visit. And we've seen that. We have communities of people, some folks will actually meet on the bear cams in the chats and then take their vacations together to Katmai National Park with someone they've never met before. And it's all about this resource. People care a lot about these bears and what makes the Brooks River special is that we're able to follow these bears from the time they're cubs to the time they get older and sometimes will pass away.

                                    Cams have only been on for about six years now, but the Brooks River area allows us to fill in those gaps in these bears' biographies more so than we would in any other place.

Mike Wendland:         Now July is always a busy month. There's so many of them there in July. Then they seem to ... even I'm noticing now as we're in early August, the numbers are kind of down, but they come back up. They're feeding on sockeye salmon. Is that what the species they're eating?

Andrew LaValle:         Yes, absolutely. Sockeye salmon. So Bristol Bay, our neighbor to the west is actually one of the most productive fisheries in the entire world. And 51.3 million sockeye salmon were forecasted to come through Bristol Bay this year. Several hundred thousand of those fish will come into the Brooks River where the cameras are located and that's a small river.

                                    And bears will be feeding on these fish as they come up to spawn in early July. And so we'll first show up generally the first week in July and by the end of July, they're tapering off. And so right about now, we're going to expect to see bear activity decrease. But later in the fall, about September we're going to see the bears come back and begin to congregate especially in the lower river because the bear's going to be entering what we call hyperphasia which is the lead up to hibernation. And they're going to be especially hungry. And so they'll feed on a lot of these salmon carcasses.

                                    So we see two real peaks in bear activity. July and then again in September.

Mike Wendland:         And the bear, the ones I've been looking at so far this summer, it doesn't seem like they eat the whole salmon. rip it off and eat. You're wasting your food, but what’s with that.

Andrew LaValle:         Exactly. It can be kind of hard to understand. Very observant of you as well. Yeah, these bears are engaging in what we call high grading. And these bears are pretty spoiled if you think about it that way especially compared to interior grizzlies which have less food.

                                    These coastal brown bears have essentially so much food in front of them that they can afford to be picky. And their number one goal is to put on weight for the winter. And to achieve that, they're going to eat the fattiest parts of the fish. So that's going to be mainly the brains, the skin, and the eggs. I use the analogy of going to a restaurant and not wanting to fill up on bread. They want to eat the fattiest parts just to put on those pounds as quickly as possible.

                                    So you'll see them eat the skin off of a fish, for example and just let the rest drift down river. Because again, they just want the fattiest parts. They don't want to fill up on anything else.

Mike Wendland:         How big do they get? How many pounds do they weigh as an adult male or as an adult female?

Andrew LaValle:         Yeah I can tell you that as big as they look on the cams, it is completely different to see them in person. They are absolutely large, massive. And even these cubs that look so cute and cuddly, when you see them in person, they're like miniature St Bernards. They're massive. And a fully grown adult male, what we call a boar, could easily tip the scale about 1,000 pounds.

Mike Wendland:         How does that compare to a grizzly at Yellowstone, for example, that we'd see out that way?

Andrew LaValle:         Yeah it's going to be several hundred pounds more. I would guess that a large grizzly at somewhere like Denali or Yellowstone might be somewhere around 600-700 pounds at most.

Mike Wendland:         How can someone get there and I know that there are a lot of ... there's people who camp out out that way. Photographers. That's on my bucket list. I would love to get there and actually get photos of these guys with my own camera. How possible is that and what's involved in getting there?

Andrew LaValle:         So again, Katmai is a pretty remote park. We're out on the Alaska Peninsula, southwest Alaska. And it's only accessible by boat or plane. So what most people do is they'll travel to Anchorage, our regional hub, and then take a smaller airline out to the bush community of King Salmon and from there you can take another small airplane out either to the Brooks River area which is where the webcams are located or a different area in the park.

                                    And in Brooks Camp, we have a campground as well as there's the Brooks Lodge which is the only lodge in the Brooks River area. There's also dispersed camping allowed. If you're more than 1.5 miles from the Brooks Camp developed area.

Mike Wendland:         I guess the concern I would have with that is I would imagine mostly tent camping. I've seen and Glacier and other places, you don't want to be in a tent in bear country. So what do they do about the bears wandering through the campground?

Andrew LaValle:         Yeah so it's something we take pretty seriously here. Obviously because we have a lot of bears. I think last July there were about 49 individual bears seen at the Brooks River, which again is a lot for a really small area.

                                    The campground in Brooks Camp is actually surrounded by an electric fence. So it's fortified and we haven't had really any safety issues with that. And part of that is that we take really careful steps to make sure that bears don't get a hold of food or human objects. So they don't really have that association between people and food.

                                    And that's important. That's why we're able to do what we do. If you're going to be back country camping in Katmai which is an experience, we often will bring electric fences. Either portable electric fences on the market and that's just additional protection. They're not always necessary, but many people do choose to purchase those.

Mike Wendland:         Well Andrew, I will be out there someday and I hope to run into you in person and I thank you for making time to talk by video like this with us. And we're going to show all these great pictures. I am probably your number one fan. I will spend the entire day with that with the webcam on sometimes watching the bears. It's on my bucket list. So I'm coming out there.

                                    But I know, as you said, so many people just falling in love with these animals and I want to thank you guys for making and all that work that's involved in the technology so that the world can enjoy the beauty that's outside your backyard up there in Alaska.

Andrew LaValle:         Absolutely. We look forward to seeing you.

Mike Wendland:         Thanks again.

 

To see the bearcams live, go to https://explore.org/livecams/brown-bears/brown-bear-salmon-cam-brooks-falls

 

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 Andy Choi

 Verizon Wireless

 

Mike, there are countless ways to enjoy the open road. One of the most exhilarating ways, of course, is on a motorcycle. And it just so happens to be National Motorcycle Week! So let’s get on our bikes and highlight some apps that not only heighten your riding experience, they’ll also keep you safe. By the way, you can find these apps on your Google Play or Apple app store.

 

First, there’s the “Eat Sleep Ride” app, specifically tailored for the motorcycle rider. From route sharing to planning future rides, tracking group rides, even replaying rides with speed and elevation data. It’s an all-in-one app that keeps safety top of mind. With a feature that uses your phone’s accelerometer to help detect potential crashes, Eat Sleep Ride will automatically send alerts to your pre-selected contacts with your exact location in the event of an emergency.

 

Check out the “RoadTrippers” app to make sure you’re not missing out on any hidden gems along your route. Not only can you plan long, multi-day touring rides, the app will also help you discover great roadside destinations -- places to eat, scenic locales, hotels, and local entertainment. RoadTrippers will make sure your eyes are on the journey, not just the destination.

Shifting your eyes to the skies now, you know weather is always on the mind of the motorcycle rider. And the “Motorcycle Weather” app helps you plan for those rides under perfect conditions. Open the app, set your favorite riding conditions by temperature, precipitation, wind speed --  the app will analyze the forecast for the week ahead and tell you which days are best suited to ride. The “Motorcycle Weather” app can also send you an alert when the weather matches your ideal conditions.

So with that leather jacket and helmet, let’s hope these apps make for a smooth ride, wherever you go on that bike!

 

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 -  Mangum, OK

By Tom and Patti Burkett

Sometimes it happens on the road, at least to us.  We've been going a bit too long, or the sun is shining in and making us hot, or the asphalt is rough and we just need a stop.  Such was the case on an overcast morning in rural Oklahoma when we checked the google map and noted there was something to see in the little town of Mangum.  Mangum is in the heart of an area with a fascinating history.  It was platted along a trail described as "a road older than recorded history; carved out in centuries of wintertime travel to the south and spring migration to the north by millions of bison and Indians who lived by hunting them."  We were largely ignorant of all this as we circled two or three blocks looking for the fire station.  The station was empty, but there was a man out front, working on a beefy looking old military truck.  He told us it had been inherited from the Army and would be going into service to fight brush fires.  "Just go into the firehouse over there and holler.  Somebody'll show it to you."

It was the third longest burning light bulb in the USA, according to long-burning-light-bulb experts.  Fred Wills, the fire chief, answered the holler, and led the way upstairs to the bunkroom.  "Just a minute," he said, "I need a screwdriver."  Proceeding to remove a glass globe painted black from a wall fixture, he revealed the miracle bulb.  "It doesn't have a switch, and we can't turn it off on account of the record, but the light keeps the men awake, so we cover it up."  The bulb, an original Thomas Edison, has been lit continuously since 1926, except for occasional power outages.  "Every time the power goes out we wonder if the bulb--that's what we call it, The Bulb--will come back on again.  So far it has." This is a very casual circumstance compared to the longest burning light bulb, which has been lit in Livermore, California since 1901.  The Livermore bulb has a dedicated power supply and a webcam.

Lights and lighting tell us a lot about a place and its history, and the history of lighting itself parallels the development of modern life.  Lighted business signs, and especially neon signs, are telltales for the knowledgeable traveler.  An interesting place to see examples and hear about it is at the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati Ohio, where founder Todd Swormstedt will give you tour and a history lesson.  As you travel, take time to see the neon sign graveyard in Las Vegas,  the world’s oldest traffic light in Ashville, Ohio, and the Boston Light, oldest operating lighthouse in the USA.

We never leave a town without looking around a bit, and Mangum rewarded us with a number of imposing brick buildings.  Sadly, many of them appeared to be unoccupied.  We discovered that the Mangum Brick Company has been operating here since 1902, and is one of the oldest brick kilns in the country.  A lot filled with identical granite markers, head high, drew our attention, and w stopped on the grounds of the Greer County Historical Museum.  We’ll tell you a bit more about that in another segment, but nearby was a fully furnished dugout home from the days of the Oklahoma Sooners.  My grandmother grew up in a similar home on the plains of eastern Colorado.  It is well worth a look as is the 1928 fire engine in a building nearby.

Doubtless most residents of Mangum would laugh if you asked them what’s going on in town.  “Nothing ever happens here,” they’d say.  It often seems like that in the place you live, but to the visitor with a sharp eye and a bit of patience, the stories begin to emerge.  Do you remember the old railroad signs that said STOP-LOOK-LISTEN?  It’s sage advice for the traveler, too, if you have a hankering  to understand the places you visit.  

We’re Patti & Tom Burkett, and we’ll look for you out here, off the beaten path.

 

Off the Beaten Path is brought to you by Harvest Hosts http://roadtreking.com/harvesthosts, a membership site that provides truly unique overnight stops at wineries, farms and attractions. You can take 10% of that cost by using the discount code HHFRIENDS. Just go to http://roadtreking.com/harvesthosts  

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

AUGUST

17-19

Hampton Roads RV Super Sale

Hampton Roads Convention Center Hampton, VA

 
   

SEPTEMBER

6-9

The Real RV Show - Sacramento

Cal Expo     Sacramento, CA

 
   

SEPTEMBER

12-16

Hershey - America's Largest RV Show

Giant Center    Hershey, PA

 

 

Direct download: RV205.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 7:47pm EDT

Episode 204: Dealing with Mosquitos while camping

Show Notes for Episode #204 Aug. 6, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast: 

 It’s summertime, a great time to be outdoors. Except for one thing: Mosquitos. They can really ruin a day outside. In this week’s episode, we talk to the Centers for Disease Control’s top expert on mosquitos, Dr. Janet McAllister, on just what we can do to keep them from ruining a camping trip. We also ask her about ticks and an alarming new trend the CDC is noticing about these disease-carrying bugs. So stay tuned for our interview of the week.

Also, this week, lots of your questions, our answers, RV news, RV tips and much, much more.

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

MIKE

Well, here we go. We are back on the road after a week’s respite at our sticks and bricks home in Michigan.

JENNIFER 

And I can’t wait! This is going to be a camping trip with two of our kids son, Jeff, and daughter Wendy, their spouses and four of our eight grandkids. We’re headed up to the sand dunes along the Lake Michigan shoreline for several days of family camping.  

MIKE

Then, we leave Lake Michigan and start heading south, through Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and eventually Florida. We hope to take in a couple of football games played by grandsons Matthew and Jacob and then grad some downtime along the Emerald Coast down around Destin Florida.

JENNIFER

Speaking of downtime, just when are you planning to do that? Between the blog, the podcast, the newsletter, YouTube and social media, you’ve been working seven days a week now for years. You have never missed a podcast in 204 weeks! I know you love it and don’t consider it a job but that’s a lot of stress! 

MIKE

Good stress, but stress nonetheless. As all if our platforms have grown so has the workload. But, yes, I have a plan. I plan to take two whole weeks off… the last two weeks of December. That’s the plan.

JENNIFER

But can you keep it? I think you can. I will help.

MIKE

Hey, have you see our new T-Shirt designs on our RV Lifestyle Merch Store? We have a bunch of new designs for the T-shirts. I especially like the new Small House, Big Yard shirt. We have new ones coming for Serendipity Travel and lots of other concepts we talk about here. I love the new designs and we have lots of ideas of fun things we can add to the collection.

JENNIFER

I can’t believe that summer is almost over. School has already started in some of the southern states, with more resuming classes each week. And Labor Day is just around the corner, signaling the unofficial end of summer. High School football – which we’ll be watching – starts the 17th. Those Friday Night Lights are about to shine again. Time just passes so fast, doesn’t it? On the positive side, with the kids back in school, that means it will be easier to find open campsites again.

MIKE

Meanwhile, here’s the RV News of the week:

JENNIFER

Man caught on video harassing Yellowstone bison alleged involved in slew of issues at several national parks 

Did you see the video of the guy caught harassing a bison at Yellowstone National Park last week? The video has gone viral, and as more information is known about this guy, it appears he was causing disturbances at a number of national parks.  At Grand Teton he was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct. At Yellowstone he was involved in a traffic incident before he harassed the bison. Then at Glacier's Many Glacier Hotel he was apparently creating a disturbance when rangers caught and arrested him over the incident with the Yellowstone bison. He spent the weekend in jail. To read more click here or to watch click here

MIKE

Yosemite National Park may reopen today but fires continue to burn throughout California, elsewhere

Yosemite National Park is expected to reopen this week - if the smoke from nearby wildfires clears a bit so it is not dangerous to breathe. Some 17 large wildfires were burning throughout California last weekend causing President Trump to declare a state of emergency. Yosemite closed July 25 because of smoke and so firefighters could more easily battle a blaze on the park's edge near a grove of ancient sequoia trees. California's wildfires are blamed for seven deaths and are being fought by some 14,000 people coming from states throughout the country. (click here). Wildfires are also burning in Oregon where the National Guard was called in (click here) and in several other western states including Montana (click here).

JENNIFER

Parasite linked to Minnesota campground, state's health department seeking help

The Minnesota Department of Health is asking anyone who visited the Shades of Sherwood Campground in Zumbrota last month to call them. An outbreak of a waterborne disease called cryptosporidiosis has been connected to people who visited the park in July. Cryptosporidiosis is a disease caused by a microscopic parasite, with symptoms that could include diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, weight loss and low grade fever.

Some affected will require hospitalization. Health officials are interested in talking to anyone who stayed at the campground last month - even if no symptoms emerged. To read more click here.

MIKE

Texas RV dealer says woman who is suing over 'hopelessly flawed product' can't request a jury trial

A Texas judge is expected to decide soon whether a woman gave up her right to sue an RV dealer there whom she accuses of selling her a "hopelessly flawed product." A story out of San Angelo details a lawsuit a woman filed against Funtown RV and Forest River Recreational Vehicle Company earlier this year after she said the RV she purchased from the dealer had more than 70 defects the warranty would not cover. But the RV dealer argued she waived her right to a jury trial when she signed her purchase document for the fifth wheel. To read more click here.

JENNIFER

Storm rolls through, flooding only way in or out of North Carolina campground

Imagine being at a remote campground when a heavy rain storm comes in, washing out the only road in - or out. Apparently that is exactly what happened to those staying at the Real McCoy Family Campground in Statesville, North Carolina last week. Torrential rains hit the North Carolina area, washing out the gravel road but never damaging the campground itself. To read more click here or here.

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

 JENNIFER'S RV TIP OF THE WEEK 

A couple weeks ago Mike and I shared how Bo has become afraid of our Roadtrek. This is completely our fault. One too many times we failed to securely latch the refrigerator and things fell out as we drove, so now Bo has decided the safest place to be is on the front passenger seat with us.  This is not only uncomfortable for whomever is in the passenger seat - usually me - but it is also dangerous since Bo could  bump the gear shift lever, causing the vehicle to switch gears on the road. 

Since we shared Bo's fear on this podcast, several of you have offered suggestions. Recently a friend named Dan asked if we had investigated getting a mesh net to block Bo out of the front seat. He said he had one for his car to keep his goldendoodle in the back when he drove. 

So I went online to see if I could find something similar and found the  Wellbro Dog Car Backseat Barrier,  a padded and adjustable nylon pet barrier that serves as a vehicle dog fence with 2 Mesh Windows. It’s only about $14 on Amazon and measures 24” x 24” with adjustable strap clips. which covers the gap between the front two seats. The manufacturer says it fits most vehicles, like cars, SUVs and trucks.

Maybe it will work. We’re not sure.

Others have suggested we get an individual collapsible crate for him and secure that but with only a 22 inch center corridor down our Roadtrek and a 65 pound dog, we can’t find a crate that will fit.

Right now, we think the best solution for us is a safety belt combined with a vehicle safety harness that will keep Bo on the third seat, located right behind the front passenger and adjacent to the center sliding door. That would keep Bo off the floor and allow him to look out the window. So we have ordered them from a company called Mighty Dog. We reached out to them and they agreed to offer any of our listeners a 10% discount if they use the code RV.

It’s going to take some training and persuasion to convince Bo that is where he should sit but we’ll document it all with photos and videos and share the experience here. 

Anyway, we’ll put links to all these possible solutions in the shownotes for this episode. 

And by the way, we have a free ebook that is all about RV Travel with a Dog. You can download it free at http://roadtreking.com/dogguide.

Meanwhile, as always, we welcome your suggestions and your tips. 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 questions we answer this week:

  • How do you winterize a 2018 RS Adventurous RV?

            Here’s a link to our video: https://youtu.be/3KclDkjfnak

            Here’s an even easier way: https://youtu.be/_IbStxTTGEk

Here’s a link to Roadtrek’s manual: http://www.roadtrek.com/support-contact/#section-manuals 

What is the brand of bedding we use on our RV bed? 

            We use a product called the RV Superbag. Here’s a video on how it works: https://youtu.be/xm6gWwcJOt0

  • How do you learn more about your RV and, specifically, how do you check the oil in an Onan generator?          Here’s a blog post showing how: http://roadtreking.com/checking-oil-onan-generator/
  • How do you work the Highpointe Convection Oven/Microwave in an RV?

            Here’s a link to the owner’s manual:

https://www.collinssupport.com/manuals/EC028BMR-Instruction.pdf

            Here’s a link to our step-by-step RV convection oven cooking video: https://youtu.be/kWSQAj7UD9Q

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

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK 

It’s summertime, a great time to be outdoors. Except for one thing: Mosquitos. They can really ruin a day outside. In this week’s episode, we talk to the Centers for Disease Control’s top expert on mosquitos, Dr. Janet McAllister, on just what we can do to keep them from ruining a camping trip. We also ask her about ticks and an alarming new trend the CDC is noticing about these disease-carrying bugs.

Here’s a Video version of the podcast from our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube: 

Here’s a full transcript of the interview:

Mike Wendland:           Joining us now, from Fort Collins, Colorado, is Dr. Janet McAllister, from the Center for Disease Control. Thank you for making some time for us. We're talking about bugs and insects. Before we get into that, why don't you tell everybody, share a little bit about your background, and your specialty there at the CDC?

Dr. Janet McAllister::    Okay. I'm a medical entomologist. I do research on mosquitoes. I look at ways to control mosquitoes. I also look at insecticide resistance.

Mike Wendland:           You're everybody's favorite person right now, 'cause we're all swatting mosquitoes. We're all having interesting times with mosquitoes. Would you start off, by giving us an idea of what we need to be worried about with mosquitoes? Now, we keep hearing about West Nile. We keep hearing about Zika. How big of a problems are those, nationwide? And, are there other problems about mosquitoes, besides the irritating bites these we but from them?

Dr. Janet McAllister::    Yeah. West Nile virus is the most common virus, that is spread by mosquitoes in the United States. It has been found in the past, in all of the lower 48 states. We don't see it in Hawaii. We don't see it in Alaska. There are some other viruses that are, what's called endemic, in that they are found in the United States. Those would be La Crosse encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis, and St. Louis encephalitis. Those are pretty similar to West Nile virus, but they're not as commonly found in the US. Things like Zika virus, are not endemic in the United States. We will see Zika virus when it is introduced from other countries, but it's not circulating all the time in the US.

Mike Wendland:           I guess some of my other colleagues in the more traditional media, seem to jump all over every time West Nile virus is reported, or Zika virus is reported. But for the average person ... and in our case, our audience, the average RVer, who are prowling all around the country ... how worried do people have to really be, about this?

Dr. Janet McAllister::    For most people who might become infected with West Nile virus, they may not even know that they're infected. The disease itself, ranges in severity, from you don't know you have it, all the way through neurological damage, paralysis, and maybe even death.

                                    But, the severe forms of West Nile virus ... out of all the people who may be bitten by a mosquito, and become infected with the virus, maybe 1 in 150 of those people are really gonna become sick enough to go seek medical help, and to, maybe, have one of these severe outcomes. At least the severe disease that they cause, is pretty rare.

Mike Wendland:           Well, that's encouraging to hear. Now, that doesn't say that we aren't bugged ... oh, horrible pun ... I'm sure you've heard that before ... that we aren't bothered a lot, by mosquitoes, and other flying insects. What are some of the simpler things that we can do? I did a video once, where I tried every gadget, and every claim that I could find on the internet, from Skin So Soft on your arms-

Dr. Janet McAllister::    Yeah.

Mike Wendland:           ... to some electronic thing in a fan. None of them worked. So, from an expert, when we're out in a camp site, or we're outside, what are some of the things we can do to minimize the problem we have with mosquitoes?

Dr. Janet McAllister::    Wearing mosquito repellent is one of the primary things that you can do, to prevent mosquito bites. You can also dress with long sleeves, and long pants on. If they don't have access to your skin, of course, they can't easily bite through most clothing. If it's something that's really light, and gauzy, then, they might be able to bite through that. Mosquito repellents are really the number one line of defense, for not being bitten by mosquitoes.

Mike Wendland:           In terms of the environment, campsites, tall grass, times of day ... windy conditions ... what are our best options, environmentally, to avoid being bothered by those biting mosquitoes?

Dr. Janet McAllister::    Well, certainly, if there's a lot of vegetation around your campsite, like you mentioned, tall grass or bushes, some place that adult mosquitoes can find harborage in ... those are going to be more likely to have mosquitoes in them, that would then come out and bite. So, more open areas, as far as vegetation. Also, people don't like to be bitten by any kind of mosquito, but, a lot of the mosquitoes that are going to bite you, are not actually the mosquito that's going to transmit some of these mosquito-borne diseases.

Mike Wendland:           I'm curious now. Are there different kinds of mosquitoes? I thought there was only one mosquito?

Dr. Janet McAllister::    Yeah. Absolutely. People think that a mosquito, is a mosquito. Kind of like if you think about dogs ... all dogs are dogs. They may be brown ones and black ones, and big ones, and little ones, and spotted ones, but they're all dogs. That's not the case. Mosquitoes are more like birds.

                                    `People get that a hummingbird is a very different animal from a bald eagle. They eat different things. They do different things. Mosquitoes are the same way. While they all start their life in standing water, and end up as this flying pest, they eat different things, they prefer different types of water. The majority of the mosquito species, actually don't even feed on humans. There are some mosquitoes that are specialized, so that they only feed on frogs, which they certainly wouldn't be a problem for us.

Mike Wendland:           I always heard it was just the female mosquito that bit. Is that true? Or, is that one of the myth-

Dr. Janet McAllister::    That is true. She needs a blood meal to get enough protein, to develop eggs.

Mike Wendland:           Is there any benefit to a mosquito? I mean, do they do anything? People say snakes, for example, I know nobody likes snakes, most people don't, but snakes do good things in the ... what about mosquitoes? Is there any function that they form out there, other than making us glad to go inside at night?

Dr. Janet McAllister::    Well, they do serve as a source of food for other animals. They're not the sole source of food. There's not any particular animal that only eats mosquitoes, and if mosquitoes went away, that animal would suffer. But, they do serve as part of the food chain to us.

Mike Wendland:           The symptoms that somebody has, that should cause them to seek medical assistance ... what are those symptoms?

Dr. Janet McAllister::    Really, if you feel bad enough to go to the doctor ... some of the symptoms are going to include high fever. You may have headaches. Occasionally, there could be a rash. I'm glancing over, 'cause I have a list of my symptoms, here. Body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea.

                                    These viruses cause kind of a flu-like illness. Certainly, flu is associated with winter months. If you're having some sort of flu-like illness in the summer months, if they're severe enough, you should be going to the doctor, and trying to figure out what is causing those symptoms.

Mike Wendland:           The best time of day or night to avoid a mosquito. Then, sunshine versus cloudy days. Anything that we should know about them, if we want to minimize our exposure to getting bit by these vermins.

Dr. Janet McAllister::    Yes. The majority of mosquitoes feed, either at night, or right around dusk or dawn. There are some mosquitoes that will bite any time of day or night. Some of the more pesty mosquitoes, like the Aedes albopictus, or the Asian Tiger mosquito, will bite anytime day or night, but they really don't prefer to get out of the shade.

                                    If they're in the bright sun, that's gonna be drying on them. That's going to be detrimental for them. So, they tend to not follow they out into bright sunny areas. Certainly on a cloudy day, they don't have that issue, so, they can hunt you during the day, as well.

Mike Wendland:           Did you say Asian Tiger mosquitoes?

Dr. Janet McAllister::    Yes. Yes.

Mike Wendland:           That sounds like an invasive species. Is that a normal ... I mean ... just ...

Dr. Janet McAllister::    Yes, it is an invasive species. It came into the United States, we think, through the used tire trade, and established itself back in 1986, and has been spreading since then throughout the southeast, and now, the eastern US.

Mike Wendland:           The other thing that we hear about, are ticks. It seems like we're having an epidemic, I hear, of ticks. We hear so much more about Lyme disease. I know, I don't think that's ... is that your ... that's not your specialty, or maybe it is, but we're talking mostly mosquitoes. I have to ask about the tick thing. Is that getting worse or better?

Dr. Janet McAllister::    Yes. Ceratinly, ticks are very important. There are a lot more cases of tick-borne diseases, than there are of mosquito-borne diseases. We estimate, there's probably, on the order of 300,000 new cases a year, of Lyme disease. We have also found several new tick-borne diseases here, in the United States. They're pretty rare, but we're just starting to really, I think, scratch the surface on what's going on in ticks.

Mike Wendland:           Before we get off ticks, I know as we travel, I have seen more signs in places that say, "Ticks are now here." It's almost like they're going into areas that were not much of a problem before. Is there any validity to that, or are we just hearing more about it?

Dr. Janet McAllister::    Yeah. Ticks seem to be expanding their ranges. We're starting to see some of the, for example, the main tick that transmits Lyme disease, it's range is expanding. It's expanding further to the west, to the south, and to the north. It seems to be moving. We don't know exactly why we're seeing more of the ticks.

Mike Wendland:           Well, you have certainly ... I could go on all day here. You've got ... listen, I wanna thank you for helping us get a grip on how big this problem is, how we can minimize it, and what we have to be worried about. Maybe, as we get more information about ticks and other things, we can have you back. I just want to thank you for making time, there, for us.

                                    Dr. Janet McAllister, it's a been a pleasure talking with you. Thank you.

Dr. Janet McAllister::    And, it's been a pleasure talking with you. Again, thank you for inviting me, to talk with you.

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 Andy Choi

 Verizon Wireless

As we approach the final leg of our summer adventures, we continue to think about ways to make sure your children and grandchildren are ready for that first day of school. And this week, we take a look at gadgets for different age groups. By the way, it's estimated this year Americans will spend nearly $83 billion dollars before the welcome back school bell rings. And you want to make sure those investments are all age-appropriate.

So let's start with our youngsters, our little ones in grade school. Perhaps your child or grandchild is asking you, "Hey, am I ready for a smartphone yet?" If you feel like they're just not ready, consider a basic phone or a prepaid device. Think of this as a phone with "training wheels" without all the bells and whistles. Additionally the GizmoGadget by LG is a wearable that allows your child to call up to 10 contacts that you choose. Parents can also send short messages to that GizmoGadget and locate it on a map from their phone.

How about a little classroom tech for the middle schoolers? Especially for the ones who lose everything! Backpacks, keys, smartphones missing and the bus is pulling up right now? The Tile Mate Bluetooth tracker to the rescue! Attach these key-ring-size chips to any items you misplace regularly and track them via the Tile app. In addition, you can hit a button on the Tiles and find your phone as well. Honestly, you don't have to be a middle schooler to realize these Tiles can save all kinds of time!

And for our seasoned students, our high schoolers... Whether it's listening to music, podcasts, or making a phone call back home, a great set of headphones go a long way. And these days, truly wireless bluetooth headphones are head of the class! Check out the Jabra Elite 65t Wireless Earbuds. With up to 5 hours of battery life and a pocket–friendly charging case, these earbuds are ideal companions for our busy high schoolers.

So whether they're ready to work their times tables or their graphing calculators, make sure your students' back to school gadgets are ones they enjoy and utilize to the fullest. 

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.

 When Verizon says better matters, they mean it. 

Only Verizon ranked highest in  leading network studies, in multiple tests, year after year that measure Network quality performance in the United States by RootMetrics for the fifth consecutive testing period. 

Can your network say that?

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

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

AUGUST

9-12

Midwest RV Super Show

RV/MH Hall of Fame Elkhart, IN

 
   

AUGUST

17-19

Hampton Roads RV Super Sale

Hampton Roads Convention Center Hampton, VA

 
   

SEPTEMBER

6-9

The Real RV Show - Sacramento

Cal Expo     Sacramento, CA

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Harvest Hosts http://roadtreking.com/harvesthosts, a membership site that provides truly unique overnight stops at wineries, farms and attractions. 

 

 

Direct download: RV204.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 5:12pm EDT

RV Podcast 203: Finding Idyllic Places to Overnight with Harvest Hosts

Lots of us have had it with crowded campgrounds. And we resent having to pay $30 bucks and up for a simple overnight stay. But then, we’d like something a little better than a Walmart parking lot. Sure, there are alternatives.

But just for overnight, finding a dispersed camping spot in a state or national forest is often too much of a hassle. Well, we have a much better alternative: Harvest Hosts, a unique membership service that lets you stay for free at hundreds of wineries, farms and attractions across the country.

Coming up in our interview of the week, you’ll met the new owner of Harvest Hosts and learn just why you should consider joining the service and what it offers you.

Plus your RV questions, RV tips and a wonderful off the beaten path report from the Burketts.

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

 

Show Notes for Episode #203 August 1, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

 

MIKE

This episode is coming to you from our sticks and bricks home in Michigan where we just returned after about two months of travel that had us crisscrossing North America, traveling over 10,000 miles and visiting 14 different states and a Canadian province. Whew! No wonder we’re tired!

 

JENNIFER

But we won’t be here very long. We take off in a few days for a family vacation along the Lake Michigan shore. Naturally, it’s a camping vacation and we’ll be in our RV. Joining us will be two of our three children and four of our eight grandchildren. Son Jeff and his family will be in their 27-foot travel trailer and Wendy and her family will be tenting. We’ll be in our Class B Roadtrek campervan with Bo, our Norwegian Elkhound.

 

MIKE

Bo’s a great camper. He loves the adventure of it and the togetherness. We love traveling with him. Speaking of which, we have put together a new ebook called The Ultimate Guide to RV Travel with a Dog. It’s filled with lots of tips, suggestions and information about RVing with your dog and its absolutely free. You can get an instant download of it by going to http://roadtreking.com/dogguide.

 

JENNIFER

Meanwhile, here’s the RV News you need to know about this week…

 

Extreme dry conditions trigger wildfires throughout western states

The devastating fIres out west really is THE story this week. Extremely dry conditions are contributing to fires throughout the western states… some on federal land and in or near national parks.   Wildfires were reported on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, but there are also wildfires burning at Yellowstone, Crater Lake and Sequoia national parks. A fire in northern California has claimed several lives, and fires are also burning in Oregon. For a summary of what is happening at the national parks click here. For more on the northern California wildfires click here or Oregon wildfires click here.

 

MIKE

Yosemite expected to open this Friday as firefighters work to protect ancient sequoia grove

Yosemite National Park is expected to remain closed until Friday, August 3 as officials work to contain the fire ravaging the forest just outside the park. The fire is on the edge of an ancient sequoia grove, with trees believed to be more than 1,000 years old, towering more than 200 feet in the air. The park has been closed since July 25 because of massive smoke infiltrating the park. When it opens this Friday all services - including campground and food related ones- are expected to be very limited. To learn more click here.

 

JENNIFER

RV wholesale shipments down for second month

RV wholesale shipments were down 11.4 percent from the previous year, according to a story out of Goshen, Indiana last week. The story was based on information released by the RV Industry Association's survey of manufacturers. It also found shipments were down last May from the previous year. The RV industry  reported a record year in 2017, with 504,600 units shipped to dealers. To read the story, click here.

 

MIKE

Admission to Colorado state parks free for veterans & active-duty military in August

Are you a veteran or currently serving in the military? If yes, you can visit all 41 of Colorado's state parks for free anytime in August. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is offering free state park admission throughout August with proof of service as a way of saying thank you for your service. To learn more, click here.

 

JENNIFER

New campground on island overlooking Manhattan, Statue of Liberty making headlines

We all keep hearing that camping is "cool" right now, so I can't say I'm completely surprised by a story I came across last week about camping in New York City. That's right, it is now possible to camp in the city that never sleeps. There is a 172-acre plot of land on Governor's Island, which sits overlooking the tip of Manhattan and Statute of Liberty now open for camping. But this type of camping might be hard for many of us to recognize. the campground is only reachable by ferry, luxurious tents are supplied, complete with full beds, plush towels, a personal chef .... The cost? $700 a night.

 

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

 

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

 

Have you ever been boondocking, trying to conserve water to stay out in the back country as long as possible, but your hair just feels - well - disgusting? Taking a Navy shower - that is a quick rinse and soap off - can be done pretty efficiently with minimal water. But when it comes to washing and conditioning your hair, especially for many of us women with full heads of thick hair, there is no way to get that shampoo and then conditioner out without using lots and lots of water.

 

Well, let me share with you a product I recently learned about called dry shampoo. It is designed to refresh your hair and prevent a greasy feeling between washes. Several companies make it, and it really does help.

 

Here's how it works. It comes in a spray can.  Shake it thoroughly. Then hold it about 8-12 inches from the roots of your hair and spray. You will need to section off your hair, and spray it directly on those oily roots systematically all over your head. Then use the palm of your hand to rub any extra powder directly on to your roots, letting it absorb the oil, and watch that yucky feeling - and look - go away. 

 

Many companies now make dry shampoos. You can find it at Walmart, drug stores, and even Amazon.  Suave's version sells for about $13 on Amazon.

 

Personally, the hardest thing about boondocking for me is the challenge of washing. I do not like how I feel when I go too long between shampoos and finding something that can make me feel better when out there is totally worth it

 

I will put links to the Suave product I mentioned in the show notes, in case it can also help you.

 

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

 

I love hearing from you!

 

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

 

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

 

Michelle has a very old campervan she just bought but needs a power solution for her various electronic gadgets.

One I suggest is the Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station. It costs about $400 but it is a battery power supply that can power up to seven devices at once. It lets you charge phones, tablets, laptops, cameras, and most small devices. It is even enough backup power for small appliances, lights and so on. It is billed as an off grid solution fr places without power and has USB, AC and 12V outputs. It is rechargeable and at home is completely charged after plugged in for 5 hours from a wall outlet with the included AC charger. You can pug it into your towing vehicles cigarette adapter and it will be completely charged  in 13 hours with the available car charger. They even have solar panels you can buy that can top it off in about 8 hours.

 

A listener headed to Alaska next year wants to avoid the insects up there, where the mosquitos are so big they are the unofficial state bird. Since Mike was just interviewing an e entomologist for the Centers for Disease Control for something we’ll be reporting on next week, I put the question to here. Dr. Janet McAlister answers

 

Terry had a comment about a recent video story Jennifer did on cooking with the RV’s convection oven

 

And Gene says he now understands how the Alde hydronic heating system works in and RV after reading this story in on our RV Lifestyle blog.

 

Roseann asks about finding an owners manual for an old Roadtrek. Here’s the link for finding owner manuals on all Roadtrek models going back to the 1980s - http://www.roadtrek.com/support-contact/#section-manuals

 

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

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

 

Our guest today is Joel Holland, the new owner of Harvest Hosts.

Harvest Hosts is a network of wineries, farms and attractions that invite self-contained RVers to visit and stay overnight.

Membership costs $49 a year but, as you’ll hear later in the interview, there’s a special discount to our RV Lifestyle community that will save you 10%.

 

Here’s a video version of the Interview:

 

Here’s a full transcript of the interview:

Mike Wendland:         Well, Joel Holland joins us right now from his home in Vail, Colorado. Wow, Joel, Hi. If I had a place in Vail, Colorado I don't know if I'd be an RVer. You've got the best of both worlds up there.

Joel Holland:               Well, thank you. So, my wife and I moved here two years ago from Washington DC. We kind of just hit this breaking point. We were tired of the congestion and the traffic. We'd always wanted to live in the mountains and we did it. We jumped in the RV and drove across country. I'll say, actually, as an RV-er, Colorado's a great jumping off point because we're able to ... We were in Moab last weekend and that's only about three and a half hours away. So, it's nice and central.

Mike Wendland:         You truly are in the central part of the country. I wanna do, if not next year, I wanna do a circle tour of Colorado. Maybe we can get involved with you guys there and stay in some of those great places that are part of Harvest Host.

                                    Let's about that. Our regular listeners and viewers that one of my key grips about the whole RV lifestyle is the bill of good that we're sold on one hand by the industry, that you can find these great wonderful campgrounds in these ideallic settings. There are some out there, but for most of them, most who get out there, it's commercial campground clutter, I call it. Almost like [inaudible 00:01:30]. They're old campgrounds.

                                    The industry can't keep up with the demand and so we've turned a lot to boon docking. We love the wilderness, but there is a whole nother area, which arguably, may be the best way to stay and that's where Harvest Host comes in. For those who are watching this and listening and are not familiar with Harvest Host, give us a minute to summary of how it came to be and where it is right now. 

Joel Holland:               Perfect. So, I'm with you. My wife and I, we love RV-ing because we feel this sense of freedom, unbridled freedom when we're driving down the road. That illusion of freedom is crushed when we reach many of these campgrounds where at best, they're just all the same and you're 10 feet away from your neighbor.

                                    Harvest Hosts is a huge camping experience. We have over 600 hosts in the program: farms, wineries, breweries, distilleries, a lot of unique locations like lavender farms, alpaca farms. The idea is you pay $49 a year to Harvest Hosts and you can then stay at any of these hosts for free. As a good guest, we hope that you give back a little, buy some local wines, buy ... When I went to an alpaca farm recently I bought really nice alpaca scarf for my wife. It was still less than staying at a traditional campground and the experience was phenomenal. I stayed on a 1,000 acre farm and I parked my RV looking over this endless Kansas farm vista. It was wonderful. It was that freedom I was looking for.

Mike Wendland:         Now, $49 to join and that's for a year's membership. By the way, we'll mention at the end of this interview, a way our viewers, our listeners can get a discount off of that and get a part of it. So, you go to the website or an app, and how do they find these places as they travel around the country?

Joel Holland:               Yeah, there's a couple ways you can search. If you use the website you can either search by state, you can search by host's name, you can search by type, or you can actually put your route in. I like to use a route planner. I'll say, "Starting in Vail, Colorado. Ending in Charlottesville, Virginia," and in that case it'll route you probably down 70 and show you all the different hosts that are very close to your route. That's how I found most of the locations I've stayed.

Mike Wendland:         When you find a host, you don't just pull in. You should give 'em a call, right, and tell 'em that you're coming and make sure they're open or they leave the gate open for you. Where, typically, do people stay? Are there any services or perk ups at those places?

Joel Holland:               Yes, great question. Like you mentioned, on our website or on the app, we give contact information for the host. Typically it's a phone number. You call and say, "Hi, I'm with Harvest Hosts. I'd like to visit you tomorrow and stay with you for the night. Do you have availability?" It's almost all dry camping. So, it's almost entirely boon docking. Some hosts do offer hookups, but that is not ... I'd say those are the exceptions. Typically, you're coming in. Make sure you have a fully self contained vehicle, bathrooms, water.

                                    The locations all vary. I've stayed now at a number of vineyards. A lot of times they try to ... either you're staying in the parking lot or somewhere pretty scenic right near the vines. On the farms, really there's ... a lot of times you show up and they say, "Here's the property. Park either in this location or this location," but you have a lot of flexibility.

Mike Wendland:         Looking at some of the photos and some of the places that are offered, they're just stunning, beautiful places, and in great areas. How can we go wrong with an alpaca farm? I noticed some of the other places looking at the list, the Mount Washington Cog Railroad, the Golden Spike Tower and Visitor's Center in the largest rail yard. That is pretty cool, in the Midwest there. The Gulf Coast Gator Ranch, those are just some of the examples, and of course, you mentioned the lavender farm, which is called Purple Haze, by the way, which is a great name.

                                    I stayed at a winery once as we were coming up from the south. I think what I'm gonna do is, our next big road trip is in about two weeks. We're heading from roughly Michigan down to the Florida, Mississippi, Alabama coast, and I'll plug it in and we'll actually show folks what these are like as we go along.

Joel Holland:               Wonderful.

Mike Wendland:         Now, there are no hookups. Many of our people travel with pets. So, what's you're advice to them with pets, 'cause farms have dogs also running around. What's the advice on pets?

Joel Holland:               Yes. When you actually pull up the host page, either on the website or on the app, we'll show you whether they're pet friendly. That's actually one of the sections 'cause we know that RV-ers, myself included, travel with pets. Some farms are perfectly fine with pets, some are not, but they always tell you on their page whether they are or are not.

Mike Wendland:         Just be smart, check up, and if they don't bring pets, we don't have to tell people clean up after 'em. RV-ers know that.

Joel Holland:               Yes.

Mike Wendland:         That's great. The only cost when you're there is do some shopping. You're in a winery, sample the wine. If you're at a farm, maybe pick up some produce. It sounds like ... how would you describe [inaudible 00:07:08]? It's boon docking or dry camping, but it's on a higher level than being in the wilderness. Give us a sense of image [inaudible 00:07:16] places. We've talked about some others. What's it like out there, Harvest Hosts site?

Joel Holland:               Yeah. So, to me, you kind of mentioned it. There's three categories. You have your traditional campground and sometimes that's great. You just need a hookup, turn on the air conditioner, and sit back. Those serve a purpose and they're everywhere.

                                    You've got true boon docking out in the wilderness or in some of the parks. Those are also quite nice, very remote, but sometimes you want a little bit of culture. That's, I think, where Harvest Hosts comes in. I think we provide access to the hidden gems of America. I went to a vineyard two weeks ago in Kansas. I never though about Kansas as a state for growing wine. I've always driven through it on 70, not thought much about it, and here I was meeting these wonderful hosts that took me on a full tour of the property. The wine maker actually showed me how he makes the wine, and they make really unique fruit wines. I tried a plum wine that was really good and he walked me through the whole process. At the end of the day, I felt like I made two new friends, learned something, and had a very, very enjoyable stay.

Mike Wendland:         Are you often alone? Are you usually often the only RV-er or are there just a couple others there or do these get pretty crowded at times?

Joel Holland:               No. Let's see, I've stayed this year at about five of them, and only one time was there another RV. That was a pretty popular vineyard in Tennessee. Typically, you have the place to yourself.

Mike Wendland:         No campground clutter.

Joel Holland:               Zero. I mean, zero. There's something nice about showing up at the end of the day and feeling space and quiet. Again, it just keeps that whole concept of freedom, and I love that.

Mike Wendland:         Now Joel, you've recently bought Harvest Hosts after the founders have kind of retired. We had them on the program about a year ago. What can we join this thing, what can we look forward to as Joel Holland takes over?

Joel Holland:               Yeah, it's funny. I used the program. I fell in love with the program, and I then reached out to Don and Kim Green who were running it. I said, "Look, I genuinely love what you've built. I would be honored if you would sell it to me. I wanna be a good steward of the program. I want to grow the program responsibly." We got to know each other over a few months, and actually just recently, finished the transaction in May.

                                    They did so many things correctly, that there's not a ton for me to do. I will say we're going to focus on improving the technology. The last company I started was a technology company. We're going to rebuild the website, rebuild the app, and make it a lot easier for members to find hosts, and then actually stay with them. We're gonna add a lot of new hosts to the program. So, I'm excited about ... just the other day I added a distillery here in Colorado, and I think there are thousands of cool places around this country that should be in the program.

Mike Wendland:         Yeah, it's great for the hosts and of course for RV-ers. I'm just looking at your statistics. 621 Harvest Hosts in the program today. That's a lot. 291 wineries, 34 breweries and distilleries, 164 farms. You've got museums and attraction, 86 of those, and 3 restaurants, of all things. You can really plan a trip and not have to go through that commercial campground clutter or have to be struggling with reservations.

                                    Well, Joel Holland, I think this is a great program. We're gonna talk about it in the future on our podcast. Let's talk now, for those who are following us either on the podcast or through YouTube, how they can get in a little cheaper than that $49.

Joel Holland:               Yeah. We're very big fans of what you've done with RV lifestyle, and we would love to offer your listeners, your readers, a 10% discount on the program. So, when you're signing up on our website, just enter the coupon code RVLIFESTYLE, all together, all caps. It probably doesn't matter, but RVLIFESTYLE, one word, and that should knock $5 off your membership.

Mike Wendland:         Okay, and the website again? The address is?

Joel Holland:               Is harvesthosts.com.

Mike Wendland:         Pretty easy. Harvesthosts.com. I gotta do one more thing. I need to put up a picture of your RV. Tell the audience what the Holland's are driving around with.

Joel Holland:               We drive around in a Reflection by Grand Design. It's 33 foot, fifth wheel, and we just recently had the entire thing wrapped head to toe in Harvest Hosts branding. That's actually been a lot of fun as we drive down the highway and pull into campgrounds or gas stations. We get a lot of questions about it, but we're very proud of the program. So, I'm excited to wear it as a badge of honor.

Mike Wendland:         I've actually thought about doing a wrap on our RV as well, promting RV Lifestyle on YouTube and all that

Joel Holland:               No, you really should. I think that would be a good look for you.

Mike Wendland:         It can be kind of fun, too. I don't know if Jennifer would go for that. Well Joel, we'll see you out there on the road. We'll be talking a lot about you guys going forward and in a couple weeks I'm going to follow one of the routes I'm doing, and we'll get people the sense of what it's like out there. I think the encouraging thing is that you don't have to stay in a campground ghetto. You don't have to be ... now, there's some great campgrounds and the industry is trying to build new ones. Don't get me wrong there, folks, but the fact of the matter is most campgrounds are over filled, over booked, and many, many of them need a lot of repair. That's not the case as you'll find when you're out there enjoying the beauty that Harvest Hosts offers at many of its member sites.

                                    Joel Holland, thanks so much for being on the program and being our interview of the week.

Joel Holland:               Thank you, Mike. I appreciate it.

 

 

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 Andy Choi

 Verizon Wireless

 

We are still thinking back to school. And we’ve got some great apps for kids to get a jump start before the school year. These are apps you can easily find in the Google Play or Apple app store.

First there’s the Easybib app: It’s never been easier to include citations in your schoolwork! Simply scan the barcodes of the books you are referencing or drop in the URL of the website and Easybib does the rest!

Look up Free Graphing Calculator: on your smartphone, and that’s what you’ll get! Graph up to four equations at once, quickly reference constants like the speed of light, gravity, etc., and have instant access to the quadratic equation.

Let’s stay on the subject of math with Mathway: If you’ve ever run into a math problem you just couldn’t figure out, then this app is for you. Just enter in the equation and choose solve. Rather than simply give you an answer like a calculator, Mathway even shows you the steps along the way. ‘Cause you know it’s all about showing your work!

And lastly, the Office Lens app: Not every professor makes their slides available for download. No worries. Just fire up this app and point it at the screen. No matter if you’re sitting straight on or at an extreme angle, it’ll make sure you capture slides and whiteboards for easy viewing later. And if you prefer to annotate, you can do that as well!

 

In the meantime, enjoy those last few weeks of summer.

 

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

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT -  

By Tom & Patti Burkett

If you're someone who enjoys boondocking, you're sure to have discovered the treasures to be found in the US National Forests. Some of these tracts are huge, and most of them include at least some variety of campsites.

The Wayne National Forest, in our home state of Ohio, is small compared to some of the western lands. Nevertheless, it offers several options. Some National Forest campgrounds are developed, with running water and even a showerhouse here and there. Mostly, though, they're primitive, with simple sites that include a picnic table and a nearby vault toilet.

 Lane Farm Campground near Marietta, Ohio is one of these. Four tree-shaded sites with picnic tables and fire rings, a ten minute drive from the first city settled on the Ohio River. Even better, the Hidden Hills Orchard is just three miles down the road, offering fresh fruit throughout the camping season.
National Forests encompass some of the most dramatic and unspoiled scenery on the continent, and even though they're managed for resource production (among other things), the vistas to be seen while traveling through them are often spectacular.

For many years, we've relied on a set of books to help us include these out of the way gems on our travels. National Forest Scenic Byways has been extended into several volumes since it first came out in 1990, and now there are even detailed guides to some of the longer drives.  There's also a website that offers an interactive map.
But let's get back to camping. One of our favorite spots is just west of the Continental Divide on the edge of Colorado's South Park. Jefferson Lake is a stunning and pristine alpine lake nestled at about 11,000 feet in the Pike National Forest. There are a couple of Forest Service Campgrounds nearby, but we've not seen a sign prohibiting overnight stays in the picnic area that overlooks the lake itself.

Flipping pancakes on a Coleman stove under the watchful eyes of the scrub jays and the chipmunks, while looking over the lake, makes for an unforgettable morning. Our last visit even include sighting a moose.
We really like the Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway through the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina, which passes by Sliding Rock and the Forest History Center. Just recently we traveled the King's Hill Scenic Byway in Montana, and there were small streamside campgrounds every few miles.

Another favorite is the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, a loop that includes Taos, NM and some of the nearby ski areas in the Santa Fe National Forest. Part of the old Taos Trail runs through it, so it has interesting history as well as mountain views.
Don't forget that many of the busiest National Parks adjoin National Forests that have nice campgrounds. These are frequently less crowded and more available on short notice than the sites in the parks themselves.

Sites on the water often offer boat launches, good fishing spots, and immediate access to hiking trails. No matter what you're looking for, there's a good chance you'll find it in a National Forest.

And keep your eyes open for us, Patti and Tom Burkett, out there off the beaten scenic byway.

 

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

AUGUST

9-12

Midwest RV Super Show

RV/MH Hall of Fame Elkhart, IN

 
   

AUGUST

17-19

Hampton Roads RV Super Sale

Hampton Roads Convention Center Hampton, VA

 
   

SEPTEMBER

6-9

The Real RV Show - Sacramento

Cal Expo     Sacramento, CA

 

Direct download: RV203.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 5:48pm EDT

RV Podcast Episode 202: Is your RV water safe to drink?

 

In this episode of the RV Podcast we look at the hidden dangers of campground water supplies and the water in your RV’s fresh water tank.

There are concerns that bacteria and E.coli contamination are much more prevalent in RV water systems and that without proper filtration you and your family could be at risk when drinking water out of RV faucets. Coming up in our interview of the week segment, we’ll talk to the former CEO of a large RV manufacturer about what you need to do to have safe drinking water.

Plus, a serious warning about an outbreak of canine influenza, Jennifer’s RV Tip of the week, your RV questions, lots of important RV News, traveling technology ideas and an off the beaten path report from the Burketts.

 

Show Notes for Episode #202 July 25, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

 

MIKE

Greetings from Southaven, MS, just outside Memphis, TN, where we have been all week watching our 12-year-olld grandson, Jacob, play in the Dizzy Dean League World Series on a team coached by our son, Scott. It’s been great family time for us and we’ve been using our Roadtrek RV as a “boy cave,” an air-conditioned respite for Jacob and his teammates from the 100 degree heat they’ve been having down here, a place to chill out with the AC between games. Those solar panels on our roof have soaked up the southern sun and kept our lithium batteries charged up and we’ve had plenty of power out there in the parking lot.

 

JENNIFER

This heat we have experienced this week is happening in many parts of the country. Temperatures approached 120 degrees in parts of the U.S. Southwest on Monday, and forecasters said this week could bring the region's hottest weather of the year. Forecasters issued excessive heat warnings to much of Arizona, including parts of Grand Canyon National Park, and extended into areas of Southern California and Nevada. A heat advisory was in effect for west Texas and southeast New Mexico with high temperatures well into the triple digits. In Waco it was 114 degrees. Parts of Utah were also issued an excessive heat warning with temperatures this week expected to approach 109 degrees. Phoenix reached a sweltering 115 degrees, which broke the previous daily record, according to the National Weather Service.

 

MIKE

We are excited this week to announce that our online store is now up and running. If you’ve been watching our RV Lifestyle You Tube Channel you’ve seen us both wearing our hats and shirts complete with our logo. Lots of you have asked how you can get them and we promised we’d find a way. Well we finally have it all set up. Just go to shop.rvlifestyle.com. That’s shop.rvlifestyle.com. And let us know what you think about it. We’ll be adding lots of cool things in the weeks ahead, but right now it has the T-shirts, in men and women sizes, our, hats and a very nice sweatshirt for the colder months that are just around the corner.

 

JENNIFER

We’ll be leaving Memphis by the weekend and headed back north again to Michigan where we’ll pick up Bo. He’s been at our daughter’s house there. It has just been too hot for him down here in Memphis. We did take him with us last week to the Owner’s Academy in Cambridge Ontario. We were there in April and they invited us back to the Roadtrek and Erwin Hymer of North America factory there last week. We presented a seminar on our Serendipity Travel style and told some stories from the road as we got to hang out with another cool group of fellow RVers. Bo was really well behaved. The Roadtrek folks are very dog friendly and he was right in the seminar room with us.

 

MIKE

We’ve been on the road a lot this year and we wanted to share a concern we have about something that we are seeing more and more. Distracted drivers. On the way down here to Memphis this past week, we were almost hit twice by distracted drivers. In both cases it looked like the drivers were texting as they drove the interstate at speeds over 70 miles an hour. It drives me nuts that I can’t get their attention. I honk the horn in our RV but sfor some reason, Mercedes has built in this wimpy little “meep Meep” horn that nobody can hear and if they do hear it, it gets no respect.

 

JENNIFER

Seriously, tough, distracted driving is a huge problem out there. Most states have put distracted driving laws on the books over the past few years. Getting caught calling or texting behind the wheel can cost drivers from $1000 in Oregon for a first offense to a whopping $10,000 in Alaska. But if you look around in traffic on any given day, you know that fines are not enough to stop some people from checking incoming text messages or Facebook status updates while driving. Some states are now adding jailtime as an even stronger deterrent. But in our travels, we’re seeing more distracted driving, not less. And it’s not just cell phones. GPS units and in dash vehicle entertainment systems all too easily lure driver’s attention off the road and onto electronic screens.

 

MIKE

Over the past two years there's been a 14 percent rise in roadway fatalities in the US, and the largest back-to-back increase in motor vehicle–related death rates per mile driven in more than 50 years. In some parts of the country, distracted driving causes more vehicle crashes than drunk driving. So we point this all out to say that it is dangerous out there. Be alert as you drive this summer and don’t be one of those distracted by all the gadgetry on your dashboard..

 

Meanwhile, here’s the RV News of the week you need to know about:

 

JENNIFER

New fissure at Grand Teton National Park does NOT equal imminent volcanic eruption 

Did you see the stories out of the UK last week about a giant fissure appearing on a volcano at Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park? They stated the giant crack so close to Yellowstone National Park was causing concern a massive volcano was about to blow (see here ). We want to put your mind at ease. The 100 foot crack is NOT a sign of imminent disaster.  Rather this part of the country is simply geologically active, and activity does not equal a massive volcanic eruption is coming soon. To read a through story debunking the hype on the Snopes website, click here.

 

MIKE

Study finds air pollution in U.S. national parks similar to American cities

A study released last week found that air pollution at U.S. national parks is just as bad as many U.S. cities. It also found that many national parks experienced ozone action days, when the public is urged to avoid being outside or doing vigorous outdoor activities, during the same summer months visitation is expected to be highest, among other things. Several media outlets featured the findings. To learn more click here or here.

 

JENNIFER

Wildfires burning, triggering campfire bans, evacuations Oregon, Colorado, California, elsewhere

Planning to do any camping in Oregon this week? If so, listen up. Due to extremely dry conditions all campfires and open flames in campgrounds are banned, likely for the entire week, in response to the Governor's declaration of a wildfire emergency. Two people died in wildfires as of the weekend, and many had been evacuated from their homes. Wildfires are also burning in northern California - with one near Yosemite National Park and throughout Colorado, so be sure to double check conditions before heading to campsites in any of those areas. To read more about the Oregon fires, click here.

 

MIKE

Walmart in Canada's Yukon Territory to end overnight stays this summer

A story out of the Yukon Territory in Canada last week focused on the decision of a Walmart there to end overnight stays for campers in their parking lot. It appears the ban will only happen in the summer. The Yukon News quoted Walmart officials as saying customers had complained about the large amount of debris campers left in the camping lot, and an area campground owner said the Walmart was hurting business, while Walmart campers were quoted saying there was no where to stay. To read the story, click here.

 

JENNIFER

California's Highway 1 near Big Sur opens for first time since 2017 mudslide

Good news for all of you California west coast lovers - Highway 1 near Big Sur opened last week for the first time in about 14 months. The road was closed for nearly a year and a half when the worse mudslide in Big Sur's history swept a section of the road into the ocean, making it very difficult for campers or other tourists to reach the popular area. To see before and after pictures, and learn more, click here.

 

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

 

JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

Our tip of the week for this episode is really a warning for dog owners. We want to pass along an alert we received from Lea DiBella, the excellent dog trainer we used for Bo last year. She sent out an alert to her clients warning about a rash of confirmed cases of canine influenza in Southeastern Michigan, particularly in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

 

Several boarding kennels in those counties have been forced to cancel reservations for upcoming stays in order to thoroughly disinfect their facilities.  Canine Influenza can seem similar to Canine Cough except it is significantly more contagious (nearly every dog will contract it when exposed) and has a shorter incubation period. And Michigan is not the only area experiencing an outbreak of this. It is throughout the Midwest.

 

It is recommended that you contact your vet and ask if there is an outbreak in your area. If so, many vets recommend owners of young, elderly or at risk dogs keep their dogs at home until it subsides 

 

Please ask your vet whether or not your dog should receive the Canine Influenza vaccine. 

If there is an outbreaK in your area, consider keeping your dog at home instead of using daycare or boarding facilities, especially if your dog has not received the vaccine.

 

For more info on canine influenza:

https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/CanineInfluenza.aspx

https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/FAQs/Pages/Control-of-Canine-Influenza-in-Dogs.aspx

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/common-conditions/kennel-cough-symptoms-treatment-and-prevention/

 

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

 

Nadine bought a 26-year-old RV with battery issues. She lives in New York City hand has been to four different repair facilities. Best guess is there is some sort of parasitic drain from the coach. She wants some advice.

            We suggest she review an article by our friend Mark Polk that really will help her understand the many different causes of old batteries failing - https://blog.gorving.com/2016/10/not-another-dead-rv-battery/

Mark says “the number one cause for lead-acid battery failure, sulfation. When you use a battery small crystals of sulfuric acid start forming on the plates in the battery. This is normal and when the battery is charged on a regular basis these crystals convert back into active plate material. The problem starts when a battery remains in a low state-of-charge for an extended period of time. Sulfation starts to form on plates when a battery drops below 12.5 volts. The longer a battery remains in a low state-of-charge condition the larger the sulfate crystals get until the sulfate cannot be converted back into active plate material and the battery is ruined. This can happen regardless if the battery is 1-year-old or 7-years-old. The important thing to remember is to always recharge a discharged battery in a timely manner.

There are numerous electronic devices and equipment in your RV that can drain the battery when you are not using the RV. These are referred to as parasitic loads and they slowly drain the battery, even when you are confident nothing was left on in the RV. Some examples are the TV antenna booster, the LP gas leak detector, clocks in stereos, electronic circuit boards, or accidentally leaving a 12-volt light on in the RV.  Your automobile has the same type of parasitic drains on the battery, but it doesn’t drain the battery because you drive the vehicle and recharge the battery on a regular basis. In your RV it’s possible for these parasitic loads to drain the battery when you don’t use or charge the battery for long periods of time. And remember as soon as the battery state-of-charge drops below 12.5 volts sulfation starts, and if the battery stays in that condition for an extended period of time the battery will die. It’s a vicious cycle!

Another interesting dilemma not every RV owner is aware of is that batteries self-discharge while in storage. It’s not uncommon for a battery to discharge up to 10% a month in storage. At this rate it won’t take long to completely discharge the battery, and you guessed it if the battery is not recharged sulfation starts forming and the battery will die.”

 

Richard has a towable and wants to upgrade to a motorhome. He plans n visitng RV shows but wonders about the trade-in process, how it works and whether he should tow his trailer to the show itself to get a price.

 

Paul heard us talking about an old motorhome made by Henry Ford and shares some early RV trivia.

The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn has lots of information about it. In fact, between 1915 and 1924, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, tire magnate Harvey Firestone and naturalist John Burroughs (who took part 1916-1920), calling themselves "the Four Vagabonds," embarked on a series of summer camping trips. Others joined the group at various times, among them family, business associates and politicians, including U.S. presidents. Over the years, the group crisscrossed the mountains, valleys and scenic countryside of Upstate New York, the New England states, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia,Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

 The group traveled in style and their adventures were well-documented and publicized. Equipment used by the party included a folding circular camp table with lazy Susan seating twenty, a twenty-square-foot dining tent, sleeping tents with mosquito netting, a gasoline stove and a refrigerated Lincoln camping truck.  A professional chef prepared the group's meals and film crews and numerous outside journalists followed in their wake. Ford complained of the attention and its hampering effects on their trips, but there are strong indications that he nevertheless relished the publicity

Here's a link to a full article and lots of old photos describing Henry Ford and his Vagabonds - https://www.thehenryford.org/explore/blog/camping-with-henry-ford-and-the-vagabonds/

 

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

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

 

Just how safe is the water in your RV? From dirty campground water supplies and old, rusty faucets to stagnant water that gets very hot in RV tanks, there’s growing concern about contaminated water that can make you sick.

 

In the interview of the week segment, I interview John Sztykiel, the retired CEO of Spartan Motors, who has come up with a unique water purification system that works extremely well on RVs.

 

You can learn more about the filter and John’s effort to bring clean water to the developing world on is NoDirtyWater.com website.

 

His RV filter is available through RV dealers or his website.

 

Here’s a video version of the interview, followed by a complete transcript of our conversation.

 

John Sztykiel (from seminar): ... because I'm going to talk a little bit about water.

Mike Wendland:         I met John Sztykiel, a retired CEO from the RV industry, as he was speaking to a group of RV owners about his passion for clean water. He was talking of course about helping bring clean water to the developed world, but he was also showing off a device he said is perfect for RVers that brings clean water to an RV. The water found in some campgrounds around the country can only be described, he says, as toxic. I had to sit him down and have an interview about this.

John Sztykiel:              Well, actually what's interesting ... I'll talk first about the RV than the campground, but when you think about it water in an RV holding tank is the perfect setup to create bacteria. It's dark, it gets warm, and there's period of time where there's no flow or activity at all. So what's interesting is after two or three days in an RV, people are definitely going to notice a difference in the smell, and then they start to wonder what's going on within the tank. There's serious concerns about the quality and the health of water in an RV tank today, which is where no dirty water comes about. Within the campground, again the same things start coming to light, no different than city water, home, et cetera.

John Sztykiel:              If you think the water is safe in a campground today, you're playing Russian roulette. And so what's interesting is, whether it be in a holding tank or within a campground, when people are traveling, whether it be in an RV, camping, or whatever, there are serious concerns about the quality and the safety of the water

Mike Wendland:         And when we talk about the quality and the safety of the water, are we talking about just the water doesn't taste right or doesn't smell right, or are our people getting sick from this? Is there any qualitative studies on it?

John Sztykiel:              There are now cases being written where people are getting, for lack of a better term, where you're getting E. coli, legionellae, et cetera, from water either within the RV or within the campgrounds, which results ... you're not feeling well, you could have diarrhea, you could throw up, you get a slight case of what you think might be food poisoning, but it's actually coming from the water. So what you're seeing again is more people camp or RV, and the data shows more people are going out and about. There's more and more concerns going on about the quality of the water.

Mike Wendland:         The solution that you have with No Dirty Water, this little gizmo right in front of you here, this is pretty interesting stuff. How clean does that make the water? How easy is that to install? How easy is that to maintain? And since this technology has been around a while, right, why haven't we seen this before?

John Sztykiel:              Well one, only now are you seeing the technology where it's low voltage, lightweight, high capacity. So this product here will process 2,880 gallons a day. That's never been available before. It only weighs 7.2 pounds. It only draws one amp of electricity. So the redefining or revolutionary part of this is the activated oxygen or ozone is now in a very, very small package specifically set up for an RV or outdoor adventure kind of camping. So that's what's new and different. Easy to install, you can install it in one of two areas, either going from your line into the tank so it ozonates or activates and purifies everything within your RV holding tank.

Mike Wendland:         You hook it up probably before or somewhere around the water pump-

John Sztykiel:              Yeah.

Mike Wendland:         ... because that's where the [city 00:03:43] water comes in, then it goes to the fresh. And is this on constantly?

John Sztykiel:              It works when the water pump works.

Mike Wendland:         And explain how that ozonates into the freshwater tank.

John Sztykiel:              Well, we use the term we're purifying the fresh water. But what this does is when the water pump works, it actually shoots short, small bursts of activated oxygen, which is another term for ozone. And that ozone literally as it goes from an O3 molecule to O2, that's what kills the bacteria. It also creates a great taste, and it eliminates any odor whatsoever.

Mike Wendland:         Yeah, larger question, could this go on a home system?

John Sztykiel:              Right now, we're very focused on RVs, camping, outdoor adventure, but absolutely. This system is set up for an RV, which is why you see a five gallon per minute filter, but the black box could work on a home, absolutely.

Mike Wendland:         The larger social issues, which I know you guys are very much aware of, is something we should just touch on for a moment. Your real passion is in bringing safe, pure water to the developing world.

John Sztykiel:              Well exactly, and what's interesting is what NDW does, it was created to solve the world's water issues. And 2 billion people a day interact with dirty water. Just over 9,000 people will die each day from water related diseases. So when we were working with our partners, we wanted a lightweight system less than 10 pounds, one that drew one amp or less, and third could do at least 2,000 gallons per day because it is set up perfectly to be solar powered if necessary and work in a developing world. So now the question is getting the wells drilled, but now we've got a lightweight, low cost, high capacity, portable system that could be solar powered if necessary for developing nations to give people clean, pure, safe water every day.

Mike Wendland:         And meanwhile, it's perfect for RVs because you've got this system that's relatively contained that this can easily be interchanged with.

John Sztykiel:              Absolutely, and that was the beauty. When I retired from Spartan Motors, I wanted a system which could solve the world's water issues. And to do that, I knew I would do something which would work very well within an RV or camping because it's got to be lightweight to solve the world's water issues, it's got to be lightweight to be in an RV, it's got to be small to be in an RV, it's got to be small to solve the world's water issues, and it's got to be low voltage or less than one amp because the sun is the only thing you can rely on in a developing nation. And in an RV, you want to be very, very concerned how you're using your electricity.

Mike Wendland:         That one amp draw, particularly for those who are doing more and more boondocking, living off the grid, just off of your solar powered batteries in your RV, this thing can go for days. That's not gonna draw anything down.

John Sztykiel:              No, you are absolutely right.

Mike Wendland:         And that's the actual technology breakthrough, right?

John Sztykiel:              Yeah.

Mike Wendland:         That low power that-

John Sztykiel:              Low power, lightweight, low cost, and what's interesting is the black box. The key item within the black box, the activated oxygen item, the ozone generators, has a shelf life of the 130 years. So the filter would have to be replaced probably once every six months. Your ozone, the most important part of it, the activated oxygen piece, life of once every 130 years.

Mike Wendland:         And this is of course the filter part right here.

John Sztykiel:              Yeah.

Mike Wendland:         It looks like this just unscrews, you just put a new filter in it. Even I can do this.

John Sztykiel:              Yeah, it's simple. We want to make it very simple and easy to use, very simple and easy to install. Some people in an existing RV, they will put it right underneath their sink going right up to their fresh water tap. So every time they turn their faucet on, you're going to get activated oxygen, you'll purify the water, it'll give a great taste, and it will also eliminate any odor.

Mike Wendland:         The fact that it also purifies the water in the fresh water holding tanks is particularly of interest to me because as I said, I think a lot of people fill that up and they keep that water in there for a couple or three weeks.

John Sztykiel:              Yeah. And then when you get into the summer time, and it's like 80, 90 degrees in the tank, it's probably 10 to 15 degrees higher. That is a perfect Petri dish for bacteria.

Mike Wendland:         Yeah. Well, this is pretty good. This is available now-

John Sztykiel:              Yes.

Mike Wendland:         ... and we're going to see more and more RV manufacturers offering this-

John Sztykiel:              Yes.

Mike Wendland:         ... as an option. We'll put some links on the show notes for the podcast and here on our YouTube video as well to No Dirty Water, your great website. They can learn about the social footprint that this little gadget's going to have. So this is how you're spending your retirement from Spartan Motors, eh?

John Sztykiel:              Yeah, it really is. I love it because one, I know we're creating value but second, I know we're creating a better world. And we're making people smile, and it is so neat. When we do live tests, and we'll be at a show next week, but when you see people smile from a great glass of water, it is an unbelievable feeling.

Mike Wendland:         And the water really does taste better.

John Sztykiel:              It does taste better.

Mike Wendland:         Well, I want one on my RV, so we'll look-

John Sztykiel:              Look for it online.

Mike Wendland:         Thank you so much.

John Sztykiel:              Awesome.

 

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

 

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

The days are barely getting shorter, but in many parts of the country we’re just a week or so away from kids going back to school. And this year rather than dread the ringing bell, send them back to class all teched out.

For those entering into high school or college, chances are good there’s a smartphone also coming along. New cases, like the ones featuring the Avengers, Star Wars and Disney Princesses, make securing these devices a smart and stylish decision. Coming in a variety of colors and looks, there’s one sure to fit your interests and protect your investment from failing a test by gravity!

Keeping your phone powered up and ready to handle whatever the semester throws at it is also important. And especially in the dorm rooms, there never seem to be enough power outlets. That’s where the Verizon 5 Port Charging Hub comes in handy. Just insert the plug into one of your wall outlets, then connect up to 4 USB devices and an additional 1 USB-C device to the hub itself.

Newer phones - like the iPhone 8 and iPhone X along with most Android devices - can be charged wirelessly in addition to wired. So if you’re looking for the ultimate in charging convenience, consider picking up the Samsung Fast Charge Wireless Charging Stand. Not only do you not have to worry about messing around with cables, since your phone is upright and charging you can easily see text messages and respond without having to pick it up.

What tends to happen in the morning when you’re running a bit late for class or the school bus is about to pull up? You can’t find your backpack, right?! The Tile Combo 4-Pack can help with that. Just slip a Tile onto your backpack, purse, or wallet. Now the next time you lose them, just open up your phone’s Tile app, click on the title of the item you lost, and it’ll start to ring so you can find it. And if it’s your smartphone that’s lost, no worries. Just pick up any of your Tiles and double-punch the “e” to automatically ring your phone - even if it’s on silent.

 

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 -  More about Mobridge.

We were stopped on Mobridge, on the South Dakota plains, so I could get a haircut.  Online research from the seat of the Roadtrek had turned up a suitable shop here, and I had an appointment for just after lunch.  On the recommendation of the local librarians, we were eating at Rick’s, a pink stucco café on the edge of the downtown.  As promised, the bison chili was first-rate, and we emptied our styrofoam bowls and wished for more. 

While Patti walked across the street to Studio 650,I drove to the edge of town, where the US 12 bridge crosses Lake Oahe.  The lake, created by a dam on the Missouri River,  stretches more than two hundred miles through South and North Dakota.  There are stories buried in the lake.  Forest City is down there.  Cedars transplanted from its watery town square now surround the Mobridge county courthouse.  Several Native American villages are down there too, their residents still uncompensated for the forced relocation they endured in the 1960s.  Across from the library I stopped to take a picture of the Fool Soldier monument in the park.  A woman sitting on a nearby bench asked if I knew the story.  “Not really,” I admitted.  “They didn’t get anything but grief for what they did,” she told me, “until somebody finally put up that monument.” I asked if I could join her on the bench.  “Hey,” she said. “there’s plenty of sunshine to go around.”  Had she lived in Mobridge for a long time?  “All my life.  I was born in that house right there.”  I wondered aloud if things had changed much.  “Not so you’d know,” was her response.  “It’s mostly snow and the rodeo, and the occasional tornado.” 

Rodeo is the big deal in Mobridge for much of the year, I discovered.  My hairstylist, Rudy, had opened the shop just to cut my hair, interrupting an afternoon of practice for her day job barrel racing.  “I grew up working on a ranch and went to school to become a stylist.  I never rode much as a kid.  Growing up on a ranch it was too much like work.  I started racing as an adult and discovered I loved it. I was living in the city, and it was hard to find a spot I could keep my horses. One day my mom called and told me the woman who owned this salon was retiring and selling out.  I told her I wasn’t interested.  No way was I moving back to Mobridge. Okay, I said to Mom, I’d come just to have a look.  That was on a Friday.  A week later I’d signed a mortgage and moved back here.  It’s a pretty good place to live if you like to ride, and the shop does OK.

After my stop in the park, I wanted to find out about the Fool Soldiers, so I headed back to the library.  The librarians were just finishing their lunch and again greeted me warmly. “Rick’s?” asked the one.  I nodded.  “Good, right?” asked the other, who seemed gratified we’d been brave and stepped into the unknown.  I asked them to tell me about something that happened in town that folks still talk about, thinking it might be the bull I’d just heard about, or maybe the Fool Soldiers.  Nope.  They agreed it would be the tumbleweeds. Back in 1989, a drought lowered the level of Lake Oahe by nearly forty feet.  Russian thistle quickly colonized the fertile soil.  One night in early November, a strong wind started the weeds tumbling, and Mobridge residents woke to find streets blocked and weeds piled like sand dunes against houses and treelines. It cost more than $8000 to clear the town, and the story made the New York Times and People magazine.

As it turned out, we spent several hours in Mobridge.  Tom heard about Dakota Twister, the runaway rodeo bull, and we discovered the sad and fascinating story of the Fool Soldiers.  We’ll share those another time.  For now, you’ll just have to make do with tumbleweeds, murals, buffalo chili, and a cowgirl hairstylist.  You can find them all on US 12 in the middle of South Dakota.  We’re Patti and Tom Burkett, and we’ve always got our eyes open for other travelers, out here off the beaten path.

Resources:

https://www.mobridge.org/mobridge.php?subid=8

https://www.travelsouthdakota.com/business-detail/oscar-howes-mobridge-murals

http://sdmissouririver.com/follow-the-river/the-four-lakes-and-dams/lake-oahe/

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

JULY

27-29

Beat the Heat Chicago RV Show

Renaissance Convention Center Schaumburg, IL

 
   

AUGUST

9-12

Midwest RV Super Show

RV/MH Hall of Fame Elkhart, IN

 
   

AUGUST

17-19

Hampton Roads RV Super Sale

Hampton Roads Convention Center Hampton, VA

 

Direct download: RV202.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 7:07pm EDT

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

MIKE

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

 

JENNIFER

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

 

MIKE

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

 

JENNIFER

 

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

 

MIKE

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

 

JENNIFER

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

 

MIKE

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

 

JENNIFER

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

 

MIKE

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

Meanwhile, here is the RV news this week.

JENNIFER

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

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

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

JENNIFER

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

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

 

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

JENNIFER

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

 

 

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

 

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love hearing from you!

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

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

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

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

Another listener named Nancy has a broken water pump.

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

 

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

 

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

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

 

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

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

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

 

Here’s a video version of the conversation.

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT -  Mobridge, South Dakota.

 

By Tom and Patti Burkett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

MIKE

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

 

JENNIFER

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

 

MIKE

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

 

JENNIFER

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

 

MIKE

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

 

JENNIFER

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

 

MIKE

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

 

JENNIFER

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

 

MIKE

Here’s the RV news for this week…

 

JENNIFER

Spending time in nature is officially good for your health

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

 

MIKE

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

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

 

JENNIFER

Tragedies powerful reminder to be careful & stay on trails

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

 

MIKE

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

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

 

JENNIFER

Dispersed camping rules to change around Grand Teton

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

 

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

 

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

I love hearing from you!

 

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

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

 

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

 

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

 

Gretchen has asthma and wants to see more smokeless campfires.

 

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

 

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

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Here is a full transcript of the interview:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Jensenius:           All right. Thank you, Mike.   

 

For more info on camping safety see:

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

 

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

 

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

JULY

18-21

FMCA International Convention and RV Expo

Cam-Plex Multi-Event Facilities
Gillette, WY

 
   

JULY

20-22

Green Country RV Show

River Spirit Expo at Expo Square

Tulsa, OK

 
   

AUGUST

9-12

Midwest RV Super Show

RV/MH Hall of Fame Elkhart, IN

 

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

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

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

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

But first my lifelong traveling companion and my bride, Jennifer

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

 

Shownotes for Episode 199 of the RV Podcast

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

 

JENNIFER

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

 

MIKE

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

 

JENNIFER

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

 

MIKE

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

 

JENNIFER

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

 

Here’s the RV News of the week:

JENNIFER

Summer is lightning season, make sure you stay safe

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

 

MIKE

Story gives helpful tips to avoid crowds at national parks

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

 

JENNIFER

Oklahoma RV campground adds drive-in movie theater

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

 

MIKE

Wyoming State Parks relase plan to increase camping fees

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

 

JENNIFER

Popular California campground closed indefinitely as shooting investigation grows

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

 

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

 

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

 

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

 

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

 

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

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

Here’ let let’s let Cindy explain.

Cindy explains…

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

https://amzn.to/2NjZo69

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

I love hearing from you!

 

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

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

 

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

 

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

 

Links we discussed:

Kevin’s books:

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

And here’s a full transcript of the interview:

 

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

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

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

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

Kevin Tumlinson:        Yeah.

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

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

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

Kevin Tumlinson:        Really?

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

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

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

Mike Wendland:         Yeah.

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

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

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

Kevin Tumlinson:        Vanity. Right.

Mike Wendland:         Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kevin Tumlinson:        Yeah.

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

Kevin Tumlinson:        Right.

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

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

Mike Wendland:         Yeah.

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

Mike Wendland:         I could not travel and not write.

Kevin Tumlinson:        That's exactly what happens.

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

Kevin Tumlinson:        Yeah.

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

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

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

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

Kevin Tumlinson:        Yeah.

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

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

Mike Wendland:         Yeah.

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

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

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

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

Mike Wendland:         Then there’s  Social media.

Kevin Tumlinson:        Right.

Mike Wendland:         Anybody can be their own publicist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kevin Tumlinson:        That's right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kevin Tumlinson:        Yep.

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

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

Mike Wendland:         Right.

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

Mike Wendland:         Wow.

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

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

Kevin Tumlinson:        Yeah, absolutely.

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

Kevin Tumlinson:        Absolutely.

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

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

  

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

 

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

 

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s to a safe and happy summer!

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

 

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT -  Kentucky Byways

 

By Tom & Patti Burkett

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

JULY

9-13

Roadtreking Natahala River Wildwater Adventure

Smoky Mountains Meadows Campground
Bryson City, NC

 
   

JULY

18-21

FMCA International Convention and RV Expo

Cam-Plex Multi-Event Facilities
Gillette, WY

 
   

JULY

20-22

Green Country RV Show

River Spirit Expo at Expo Square

Tulsa, OK

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

MIKE

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

JENNIFER

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

MIKE

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

JENNIFER

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

MIKE

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

JENNIFER

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

MIKE

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

JENNIFER

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

MIKE

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

JENNIFER

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

MIKE

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

JENNIFER

Search and rescues up in national parks, costing millions

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

MIKE

Colorado launches pilot reservation program at 6 campgrounds

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

JENNIFER

Grandmother, granddaughter die when tree falls on camper

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

MIKE

Vermont State Parks offers free camping raffle to newbies

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

JENNIFER

Report examines impact of critical RV technician shortage 

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

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

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love hearing from you!

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

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

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

            There are satellite messaging programs but they are VERY costly.

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

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

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

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


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

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

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

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

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

Here’s the full transcript:

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

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

Jennifer Mills:             From Hatteras.

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

Mike Wendland:         What did you like most about it?

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

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

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

John Mills:                  Book stores.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike Wendland:         How is it unique?

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

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

Caril Wormus:             Because you're untraveled-

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

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

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

Caril Wormus:             National Park, there.

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

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

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

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

Mike Wendland:         Yeah.

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

Mike Wendland:         The loneliest highway in America.

Caril Wormus:             Yes it is.

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

Mike Wendland:         Highway 50 in Nevada.

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

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

Debbie Cook:               I'm Debbie Cook.

John Fisher:                I'm John Fisher.

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

John Fisher:                It's dark.

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

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

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

John Fisher:                And noisy.

Debbie Cook:               Yeah.

John Fisher:                Everyone runs their generator till midnight.

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

John Fisher:                50 pads.

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

Mike Wendland:         What was it originally for?

Debbie Cook:               It was, so they had-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

TRAVELING TECH TIP: Best Summer Road Trip Apps

 

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

There is something for everyone here. 

 

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

 

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

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

JULY

9-13

Roadtreking Natahala River Wildwater Adventure

Smoky Mountains Meadows Campground
Bryson City, NC

 
   

JULY

18-21

FMCA International Convention and RV Expo

Cam-Plex Multi-Event Facilities
Gillette, WY

 
   

JULY

20-22

Green Country RV Show

River Spirit Expo at Expo Square

Tulsa, OK

 

 

 

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

Episode 197: How to Camp for Free

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

Here's a video of the shenanigans!

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

 

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

 

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

 

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Resources

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

 

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

 

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

 

And a transcript of the interview appears below:

 

 

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

 

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT -  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.houseofembers.com/

http://www.ishnala.com/

 

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

 

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

JUNE

25-29

Passport America

Music City USA Mega Rally

Wilson County Fairgrounds
Lebanon, TN

 
   

JULY

9-13

Roadtreking Natahalla River Wildwater Adventure

Smoky Mountains Meadows Campground
Bryson City, NC

 
   

JULY

18-21

FMCA International Convention and RV Expo

Cam-Plex Multi-Event Facilities
Gillette, WY

 

 

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

 Episode 196: The 330 Rule for the RV Lifestyle

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

Minnesota opens new modern campground at site of iron ore mine

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

 

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

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love hearing from you!

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

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

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

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

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

 

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

 

All about the 330 Rule

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

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

 

 

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

  

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

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

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

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

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

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

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT -  The Wisconsin Dells

 

By Tom and Patti Burkett

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

JUNE

18-22

Roadtreking Photo Safari at Glacier NP

Chewing Blackbones RV Park
Babb, MT

 
   

JUNE

25-29

Passport America

Music City USA Mega Rally

Wilson County Fairgrounds
Lebanon, TN

 
   

JULY

9-13

Roadtreking Natahala River Wildwater Adventure

Smoky Mountains Meadows Campground
Bryson City, NC

   

JULY

18-21

FMCA International Convention and RV Expo

Cam-Plex Multi-Event Facilities
Gillette, WY

 
   

JULY

20-22

Green Country RV Show

River Spirit Expo at Expo Square

Tulsa, OK

 
   

AUGUST

9-12

Midwest RV Super Show

RV/MH Hall of Fame Elkhart, IN

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All Canadian national parks offering different 2018 free day

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

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

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK 

Here are the questions we answered this week:

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

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

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

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

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

e-mail:

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

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

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

  

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRAVELING TECH TIP: The Google Pixelbook

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

RV SHOWS THIS WEEKEND

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

JUNE

7-10

Tampa Bay Summer RV Show

Florida State Fairgrounds
Tampa, FL

 
   

JUNE

18-22

Roadtreking Photo Safari at Glacier NP

Chewing Blackbones RV Park
Babb, MT

 
   

JUNE

25-29

Passport America

Music City USA Mega Rally

Wilson County Fairgrounds
Lebanon, TN

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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



 

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

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



 

Whale watching business called 'wild west' in British Columbia

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

 

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

JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

I love hearing from you!

 

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

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

 

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

JUNE

7-10

Tampa Bay Summer RV Show

Florida State Fairgrounds
Tampa, FL

 
   

JUNE

18-22

Roadtreking Photo Safari at Glacier NP

Chewing Blackbones RV Park
Babb, MT

 
   

JUNE

25-29

Passport America

Music City USA Mega Rally

Wilson County Fairgrounds
Lebanon, TN

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

I love hearing from you!

 

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

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

 

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

 

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

 

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

 

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

 

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT

 

By Tom and Patti Burkett

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

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

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

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

 

RESOURCE:

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

 

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

MAY-JUNE

27-1

Escapade-Escapees RV Club National Rally

Missouri State Fairgrounds
Sedalia, MO

 
   

JUNE

7-10

Tampa Bay Summer RV Show

Florida State Fairgrounds
Tampa, FL

 
   

JUNE

18-22

Roadtreking Photo Safari at Glacier NP

Chewing Blackbones RV Park
Babb, MT

   

JUNE

25-29

Passport America Music City USA Mega Rally

Wilson County Fairgrounds
Lebanon, TN

 
   

JULY

9-13

Roadtreking Natahalla River Wildwater Adventure

Smoky Mountains Meadows Campground
Bryson City, NC

 
   

JULY

18-21

FMCA International Convention and RV Expo

Cam-Plex Multi-Event Facilities
Gillette, WY

 

 

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

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

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

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

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

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

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

Here's the RV News of the week…

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

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

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


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

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

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

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

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

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

I found one by Ruffwear Highland selling for $99.95 

Another one by Ozark Trail sold for $32.53

And there were several others.

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

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

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

I love hearing from you! 

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

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

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRAVELING TECH TIP

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT   

By Tom and Patty Burkett

We're wondering if you remember Joe Palooka.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

MAY

17-20

Tin Can Tourist Annual Gathering

Camp Dearborn
Milford, MI

 
   

MAY-JUNE

27-1

Escapade-Escapees RV Club National Rally

Missouri State Fairgrounds
Sedalia, MO

 
   

JUNE

7-10

Tampa Bay Summer RV Show

Florida State Fairgrounds
Tampa, FL

   

JUNE

18-22

Roadtreking Photo Safari at Glacier NP

Chewing Blackbones RV Park
Babb, MT

 
   

JULY

9-13

Roadtreking Natahalla River Wildwater Adventure

Smoky Mountains Meadows Campground
Bryson City, NC

 
   

JULY

18-21

FMCA International Convention and RV Expo

Cam-Plex Multi-Event Facilities
Gillette, WY

 

 

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

RV Podcast 191: The many different ways to use your RV

It always amazes me how our RVs enhance our lifestyle. We collect stories from the road on how people use their RV and the stories are endless. The hobbies, personal interests and the discoveries people make when they start traveling in an RV inspires us and gives us ideas on activities we can participate in and places we need to visit.

In this week’s episode during our interview segment, you’ll meet a bunch of different RVers we met on the road a couple of weeks ago when we were in Arizona. You’ll enjoy learning the many ways we can use our RV.

Plus much more, RV News, RV Tips Traveling Tech ideas and much more. 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

As this episode goes live we find ourselves in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. We’re doing a seminar this week at the headquarters of Roadtrek and the Erwin Hymer Group of North America at “Owners School,” a special three-day event at the assembly factory for new owners of Hymer and Roadtrek motorhomes. This is the first of three sessions they will be having this year and all are filled right now, with no openings. But fear not, future sessions are being planned and we’ll do a best to give you a feel for it on our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube.

 

Mike is recovering fine from his elbow surgery.

 

Jennifer almost lost her key to the RV.

 

Meanwhile, here’s the RV News you need to know about this week:

 

JENNIFER

National parks visitors bring billions into U.S. economy in 2017
The new report shows national parks visitors bring in $35.8 billion in benefits last year to the U.S. economy. The report by economist in the U.S Geological Survey and the National Park Service showed 330 million national park visitors brought in $18.6 million of direct spending to communities within 60 miles of a national park. That spending contributed toward 306,000 jobs, with an overall economic benefit of nearly $36 billion. 

 

MIKE
Plan calls for removal of mountain goats from Olympic National Park
A plan is underway to remove the mountain goats from Washington's Olympic National Park. The mountain goat was reportedly brought into the park by hunters in the 1920s, before Olympic was designated as a national park. In recent years, however, the goats have become a problem. As a non-native species there is no natural salt, essential to their diet. Some blame this for the rare goring of a hiker several years back, and the animals' occasional aggressive behavior towards people. And they hurt native plants. The plan is to move to as many as possible to North Cascades and kill any that remain over two years.

JENNIFER
Hiker bit by copperhead good reminder to know your snake safety before hitting the trails 
A woman hiking at Kentucky's Red River Gorge last week was bit by a copperhead snake, and carried away in an ambulance. The incident led to many reminders about the importance of snake safety when out on the trails. To read more safety tips click here. To listen to a  podcast we published that covered North American venomous snakes and safety tips, click here

MIKE
CDC reports number of people contacting insect-borne disease triples
The Centers for Disease Control issued a warning last week about the rise of disease and illness caused from ticks, mosquitoes and fleas. The CDC reported the number of people reporting insect-borne illness between 2004 and 2016 tripled. More than 96,000 people reported insect-borne illness last year alone. The best defense? Prot ect yourself. Click here to listen to listen to podcast we did on tick protection.

 

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

 

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

 

Have you ever had a bar of soap slip out of your hands while using your small, RV shower? Sometimes bending over to pick it up is not all that easy when showering in a small space.

 

This week reader Liz wrote in to share her solution - a terry cloth cotton washcloth soap holder, complete with an attached string for easy storing.

 

Liz wrote she made her washcloth soap holder to use specifically in her RV shower. After dropping her soap one too many times, Liz said she found the washcloth soap holder extremely helpful when showering in a small space. With the slippery soap secure in the washcloth holder, she no longer has to worry about it slipping out of her hands. She also likes that she can hang it up when it is not in use, eliminating soap messes in her RV. 

 

I think this concept could also work well when using public campground shower, too. Sometimes those showers are not the cleanest. We wear flip-flops while in the public showers, so having something to protect the soap from hitting the ground could be helpful, too.

 

I did a little research and found the cotton terry cloth washcloth holder is a pretty popular idea! I saw several reviewers say they simply take the soap out of the washcloth holders and wash the cloth with their regular towels, keeping them sanitary.

 

I found several links with step by step tips on how you could make your own washcloth soap holder, and I will include those in the show notes.

 

Or, if you do not sew, I also found several stores that sell washcloth soap holders. I found them on Amazon, Walmart, Bed, Bath Beyond, Etsy, and several other sites. Amazon sold three for $10.49. I will include a link to that on the show notes.

 

Thank you, Liz, for sending me an email with that very helpful suggestion!

 

 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

 Lisa wants to buy a new motorhome but has some questions about using it at high altitude and on ice and snow. She asks for our experience in our 2017 Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL 4X4.

 

A listener wants to know where he can go to look at a Hymer RV in Colorado. We refer him to the gohymer.com website. Buy Van City in Colorado Springs is a Hymer dealer.

 

And we had a very nice email with some questions:

Mike and Jennifer – Thank you so much for all the information you put out on you tube, and in the newsletter. We cannot thank you enough. We are new RVers having purchased our 2016 CS Adventurous in Dec. So far so good!
A couple of questions I have found answers to yet; how is the best way to wash your Roadtrek particularly the roof? 2) Do rely solely on your Verizon hot spot (jet pack ) to connect to the internet ? I hear some prefer a satellite of some kind. Thanks again... we will keep watching and following you!- George McClure 

 

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

 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

It always amazes me how our RVs enhance our lifestyle. We collect stories from the road on how people use their RV and the stories are endless. The hobbies, personal interests and the discoveries people make when they start traveling in an RV inspires us and gives us ideas on activities we can participate in and places we need to visit. In this week’s episode during our interview segment, you’ll meet a bunch of different RVers we met on the road a couple of weeks ago when we were in Arizona. You’ll enjoy learning the many ways we can use our RV.

 

This week we meet and interview several different RVing couples who tell us the many different ways use their RV

 

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

 

Last week we talked about some great gift ideas for Mom. But if that wasn’t enough to get you inspired for Mother’s Day, today I’ve got a few more great gift suggestions.

First, quality time with the family poolside, beachside, outside or inside never sounded so good with the JBL Link 10 speaker. It’s a small and super-portable - not to mention bluetooth and wi-fi enabled wireless speaker. Plus, it’s water- and drop-proof and is compatible with the Google Assistant - so Mom totally won’t have to lift a finger to ask what the weather’s like or call up her favortie song.

 

For the mom on the go, the PopSockets Vent Mount is the perfect travel companion. As long as she has a PopSocket on her phone, all she needs to do is slide it into the vent mount and then attach to her vent. Now it’ll hold her phone in place so that she can use it to navigate or for playing music.

And if she’s spending time a lot of time out and about, she’d probably appreciate a free hand while taking phone calls. The brand new Jabra Elite 65t Wireless earbuds are a stylish and functional way to do that! Four on-board microphones mean crystal clear audio. And she has the choice of tuning out ambient noise or allowing it in. The earbuds are also compatible with Google Assistant, Siri and Amazon’s Alexa - letting her get information and stay connected all via voice.

Lastly, does mom have a cracked smartphone screen and no time to fix it? Verizon’s Total Mobile Protection has her covered with fast, convenient cracked screen repairs. Plus, repairs are cost-effective, at a $29 deductible for select smartphones.  

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

 

 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

MAY

10-14

Roadtreking Sonoma Wine Tour Gathering

Indian Leap Winery
Sonoma, CA

 
   

MAY

10-13

West Palm Beach Summer RV Show

South Florida Fairgrounds
West Palm Beach, FL

 
   

MAY-JUNE

27-1

Escapade-Escapees RV Club National Rally

Missouri State Fairgrounds
Sedalia, MO

   

JUNE

7-10

Tampa Bay Summer RV Show

Florida State Fairgrounds
Tampa, FL

 
   

JUNE

18-22

Roadtreking Photo Safari at Glacier NP

Chewing Blackbones RV Park
Babb, MT

 
   

JULY

9-13

Roadtreking Natahalla River Wildwater Adventure

Smoky Mountains Meadows Campground
Bryson City, NC

 

 

 

 

Direct download: RV191.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 12:43pm EDT

RV Podcast 190: How to travel in your RV and help others with Habitat for Humanity

 

How would you like to make a difference in this world with your RV travels? To really help individuals and local communities, while still enjoying the RV Lifestyle and traveling to the destinations of your choice? In this episode, we’re going to learn about an off shoot of Habitat for Humanity, in which RVers build homes with Habitat homeowners in the U.S. and Canada.

Plus, we have lots of RV news, RV tips, tech ideas, an off the beaten path report and much more.

 

Show Notes for Episode #190 May 2, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

 

We’re back home in our Michigan sticks and bricks house for a few days. We emphasize few as we hit the road again next week. Will be heading to Canada next week, where we will be teaching a session at “Owners School” for owners of Roadtrek and Hymer RVs next week at the Cambridge, Ontario headquarters of the Erwin Hymer Group of North America.

 

Yes, and we’re staying at a local campground there and look forward to lots of visiting around a campfire with the students, who will be attending this gathering from all across North America. We’ll take our video gear and see if we can find some interesting people to interview. It should be a lot of fun!

 

This week, though, Mike will be doing a bit of recuperating. I have surgery scheduled this week to repair some damage done to my right elbow. I broke it back in January when I slipped on the ice up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It was during our Roadtreking gathering there and I was getting out of the RV to photograph a bunch of Roadtrekers crossing the Mackinac Bridge that separates Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. It should be minor surgery but It’s time I get it tended to before we are tied up with our summer camping travels.

 

Meantime, here’s the RV news of the week…

 

Highest fuel prices in three years greet RVers as they hit the road again
Fuel prices are causing sticker shock across North America. Blame it on demand, caused by pent up desires to get outside and travel again. And more demand means you pay more at the pump. The federal Energy Information Administration’s latest data indicates consumer gasoline demand is at 9.857 million barrels per day, which is at the highest level ever on record for the month of April and exceeds typical summer demand measurements, driving up prices at the pump all across the U.S, according to analysts at AAA. Five states reported double-digit increases and the national average went up a nickel to $2.76, AAA reported. Overall prices are at the highest level in three years. Gas is selling at $2.26 or more at every gas station in America. More so, 13% of stations have pump prices set at $3 or more



Unlucky man survives bear, rattlesnake and shark bites in four years
Did you remember hearing about the young man who woke last summer the crunching sound of a black bear biting him in the head? The young man was at a camp in Colorado, and while he was sleeping a bear bit him in the head and tried to drag him out of his tent. Other staff members scared the bear away and likely saved his life. The young man, now 20, was in the news again this week for surviving a shark bite. This time the Colorado man was on vacation in Hawaii when he was bit by a shark. He had been in the ocean on a board when a shark bit his leg. And four years ago he was bitten by a rattlesnake! Talk about bad luck.

 

Yellowstone's Steamboat Geyser erupts for third time in six weeks 
Steamboat geyser is the largest of Yellowstone's many thermal features and something
is up with it. After being dormant for years, it has erupted three times now in six weeks, the latest this past Friday. When it blows, it goes as high as 400 feet, compared to 150 feet for Old Faithful. The extensive geothermal activity at the park is caused by a magma chamber more than 50 miles long and 12 miles wide beneath the earth’s surface.


Mainstream media recognizes what RVers have already known: Boomers love small motorhomes
There was lots of media buzz last week when the Wall Street Journal ran a major story reporting how the Baby Boomer generation has embraced small, luxury campervans. The article talked about what many of us know: the small van life can open up a world of adventure and travel. It’s old news, of course, to those of us already living the dream, but stories like that can have a major effect on the industry, driving up demand and making sure that campervans and small motorhome sales will be continuing to go through the roof.

 

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

 

Our tip this week has to do with another handy app for your smartphone. Mike had a blog post earlier this week on a bunch of different apps that are especially handy for RVers.

But the one that caught my attention s an app called PlantSnap.

How many times have you been camping somewhere and wondered what species of plant or trees you were seeing?

This app lets you instantly identify plants of all kinds: flowers, trees and much more, simply by taking a picture of the plant. The developers claim the app is able to recognize 90 percent of all plant species on the planet, with hundreds of thousands in its database.

It’s always adding new species, too, and the app automatically updates for you.

The app is $3.99 for iOS and Android.

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

 

Mark rechecks in from Texas, where he is building an RV Park. Some months ago, he sought ideas about what features people want in a park. This week, he asks for advice about setting up an online reservation system. We have several suggestions.

 

Our friend Campskunk checks in from the Big Sur area along the Pacific Coast in Northern California. We talk about staying in pullouts and parking areas further north in Oregon and note that we are receiving reports about police evicting RVers from staying overnight as campers, instead of just getting a few hours rest. Cooking a meal in the RV is considered camping, according to one report we received.

 

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

 

Everyone has heard about Habitat for Humanity. But do you realize there is a robust RV component to this wonderful organization?

Established in 1989, Habitat RV Care-A-Vanners is an all-volunteer run program with nearly 2,000 active volunteers traveling and building throughout the year.

Habitat for Humanity’s RV Care-A-Vanners is a unique opportunity for people traveling by recreational vehicle to build homes with Habitat homeowners in the U.S. and Canada.
Habitat RV Care-A-Vanners give people the freedom to travel to their destination of choice to volunteer and come back to the comfort of their own recreational vehicles at the end of a hard working day.
In this interview, we’re going to learn all about this opportunity by meeting a Care-A-Vanner named Larry Halstead.
Larry has been volunteering as a Habitat for Humanity RV Care-A-Vanner with his wife, Mem, since 2008. Both retired, they’ve traveled across the country volunteering from Michigan to Colorado to Georgia, and to Virginia, where they’re currently located. They’ve been construction team leaders and mentored students during Collegiate Challenges.

Volunteers with little to no experience can register to build with Habitat RV Care-A-Vanners by going to www.habitat.org/rv

 

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

 

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

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

 

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

 

If I asked you to name the three biggest gifting holidays of the year, would you guess that Mother’s Day would be on that list? It’s true. After winter holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day is right there.

And while Mom sure loves her flowers and jewelry, this year you may want to consider something a little different and tech her out for a change.

Perhaps she’s a music connoisseur who likes spending time by the pool? Then I’d suggest picking her up a UE Wonderboom. These small and super-portable wireless speakers are water- and drop-proof and come in six fun colors including cashmere pink, fireball red and lilac.

 

Or maybe she’s into fitness and loves to go hiking with the family? The Fitbit Versa waterproof smartwatch will help her keep track of those steps in style. And, an added benefit for moms: beginning this month, the Fitbit app can now track female health as well.

 

For the mom that loves taking pics with the fam, or just pictures in general, there’s no better option than the Google Pixel 2. This phone continues to be recognized on top for its amazing photos. And couple that with a fast-charging battery and the Google Assistant built-in, and you’ve got one awesome companion.

 

Once Mom’s taken the pictures she wants, she’s going to want to save them and put them on display for all to see. And that’s where the Lifeprint Photo Printer comes in. This portable bluetooth printer requires no ink, and prints high quality images onto special 2 x 3” paper.

 

And lastly if Mom’s a fashionista, help her protect her phone and complement her wardrobe at the same time with a new Kate Spade case. These stylish, flexible covers will make sure her device stays protected no matter what she encounters in her active life and the options are endless!

 

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 -  Silver Lake

Last week we did some early season exploring along the Lake Michigan coastline and spent a delightful couple of days in and around Silver Lake, located halfway along Lake Michigan coastline on Michigan’s power Peninsula.

Silver Lake is a very small town that owes its existence these days to tourism and the very beautiful sand dunes that tower above the shoreline of Lake Michigan. And Silver Lake is a small little inland Lake that would be part of Lake Michigan were it not for those sand dunes, that tower above it by 150 feet or so.

Sand dunes run all along the north and central coastline of the big lake but what makes Silver Lake unique is the fact that you can drive all terrain vehicles and beach buddies there. Most of the sand dunes are protected and, in fact, the most impressive section, called Sleeping Bear Dunes, has sand dunes that are over 400 feet high. That stretch is designated as a National Seashore by the National Parks Service and no motorized vehicles are allowed there. Even pedestrian access is limited.

But at Silver Lake, the state of Michigan has okayed a 450 acre section of the 2,000 acre denes area, as an area where Off Road Vehicles can scramble up and down the dunes. People bring their own vehicles and the town has several businesses that specialize in dune rides or the rental of ATVs.

There are numerous campgrounds in the area including a large state park. That’s where we stayed last week in a campsite loop that is directly on the lake. As the weather gets warmer, all the parks fill up and reservations are a must.

Here’s a link about our stay last week - http://roadtreking.com/alone-at-silver-lake/

 

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 CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

MAY

3-6

Puyallup RV Show

Washington State Fair Events Center
Puyallup, WA

 
   

MAY

3-6

Tin Can Tourists Bull Shoals Gathering

Bull Shoals Dam Site Park
Bull Shoals, Arkansas

 
   

MAY

5-6

Let's Camp America - State Park events

Participating State Parks
Across America
 

 

 

Direct download: RV190.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 4:13pm EDT

RV Podcast 189: The 2018 North American Camping Report

This week we dig into the 2018 North American Camping Report, an exhaustive study done each year by researchers into every aspect of camping and RV use. Our guest is Toby O’Rourke, president of Kampgrounds of America, which underwrites the study, and she will help unpack this report which is followed by the RV industry as the Bible of where camping is headed and what needs to be done.

Plus we have lots more for you this week, including a bunch of RV news, listener questions and comments, traveling technology tips and a wonderful off-the-beaten-path report.

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

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

We’ve been on the road to western Michigan these past several days, taking advantage of the first really nice spring weather and the reopening of state and RV parks. This early in the season, we’ve had our pick of really great sites along the awe-inspiring shoreline of Lake Michigan. Some of these parks we stayed at are so in demand that to get in during peak season, you need to make reservations months and months in advance. 

We started out at a Yogi Bear Camp Jellystone RV resort on Grand Rapids, MI. Yup. You heard that right. Now usually, it’s just me and Mike and Bo so those family parks with all those kid activities are something usually bypass. But this time, we were there because our son, Jeff, and his wife, Aimee, just bought a new travel trailer and this was their very first outing in it. So we invited ourselves to come along and had an absolute ball watching our grandchildren, Jovie, 3, and Jax, 8 months. We had a ball!

We’ll have a video in a few days about the experience and Jeff will give us a tour of their new bunk house trailer. After Jeff, Aimee and the kids headed back for to their home Sunday and a new work week, we decided that RVing was our work so we started exploring the coastline towns of South Haven, Holland, Saugatuck, Grand Haven, Muskegon and Silver lake. You can follow our adventures on our blog at Roadtreking.com, where we shared lots of photos.

Lake Michigan is part of what is called the Third Coast. Now sometimes, those along the Gulf Coast argue for that title but considering its Great Lakes coasts, Michigan has more miles of shoreline than does any other of the lower 48 states and more fresh water shoreline than any other state. In fact, a couple years ago, we decided to drive and camo our way across the US shoreline of all five Great Lakes. The mileage totaled 3,000-plus miles! In case you are interested, just click the link to the Great Lakes shoreline videos we did on that trip.

Meanwhile, here’s what’s making RV news this week:

Too many tourists using drones to illegally take video at Oregon's Crater Lake National Park
As prices drop, and technology continually improves, drone use is becoming an increasing problem at some national parks, such as Oregon's Crater Lake National Park.
While drone use at all national parks has been outlawed since 2014, some may find getting an aerial view at some of America's most breath-taking scenarios too hard to resist. According to a story published last week, flying the unmanned aircraft has been an increasing problem at Crater Lake National Park, with some of the illegal camera activity showing up in places like You Tube. Drones can bother wildlife and visitors seeking a pristine natural environment. To read more, click here.

New York wants more residents to go camping, so is providing it for free 
New York's first time camper program was so popular last year, the state has decided to do it again. New York's Department of Environmental Conservation and Office of Parks and Recreation is taking applications for 65 families to try out camping at various state campgrounds. Winners will have all their camping gear provided, such as a tent, sleeping bags, firewood and more for free, and receive instruction on how to camp. This has been so successful for New York that other states are eyeing similar programs for their parks.

 
Are You Bear Aware? 
As bears are waking up from hibernation and people are increasing heading outdoors in the warming weather, Be Bear Aware. Officials in states throughout much of the country are urging people to keep an eye out for bears, and be prepared ahead of time by knowing what to do if they should encounter one.

For example, if a black bear makes contact with you, roll on to your stomach, cover your neck, and play dead. If it rolls you over, continue to roll until you are back on your stomach. If a bear is in the distance and stands up, it is trying to smell and figure out what you are. There are other suggestions for dealing with Grizzlies. For tips on what to do in various scenarios, we’ll put a link to the visit the Be Bear Aware webpage in the shownotes for this episode at Roadtreking-dot-com-slash-189. 

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

Ever wonder about the best way to hide extra cash, a special pair of earrings, or even a credit card when you are away from your RV for a bit?  Well a reader named Rachel wrote to tell us about something she recently bought.

The item looks like a canister of Morton salt, complete with the exact same labeling as one you would buy at the grocery store. But instead of salt, the container actually has a bottom that easily unscrews, opening up to a hollowed out tube perfect for storing small valuables.

No one would suspect, at first glance, that the salt container doesn't actually hold salt, Rachel writes. When you pick it up it feels like there is salt inside, and it even makes a salt shaking sound. When it is placed in with her other spices in the cupboard, Rachel said it blends right in.

I went on Amazon and found the Morton salt container selling for around $14. I also discovered all types of everyday items, also sold to be secret containers for valuables.  I found one disguised as a bottle of regular drinking water, another as a Sharpie pen, another as a can of Pringles.

There were all sorts of everyday items under the diversion safe stash category complete with pictures and dimensions about the size of the items that can be secretly stashed inside.

Thank you, Rachel, for this great tip. I will put links to the items mentioned in the shownotes, if anyone would like to learn more.

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

I love hearing from you!

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

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

Gary took better notes than I did and has the name of the service that will help you find campsites that open up do to cancellations. It’s http://yesyoucamp.com

Dan has another site http://reserve-beta.wanderinglabs.com

After you specify a part and sold out date, they will check the http://reserveamerica.com website, which is the largest onling booking aggregator used by most campgrounds. YesYouCamp checks once a day. The WanderingLabs site checks several times a day, even more if you sign up for a subscription.

Both text you when they find an opening.

Listener Andy calls in with a complaint about money grubbing campgrounds that pressure politicians in various towns to enact local ordinances that prohibit overnight camping in places like Walmart. He talks about how unfair this is and what a hardship it causes those just passing through an area.

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

More than 6 million new North American households have adopted the camping lifestyle since 2014, with the number of campers who camp three times or more each year – the most avid group of campers – having increased by 64 percent. This growth, according to the results of the 2018 North American Camping Report, an annual independent study supported by Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA), is an indicator that camping is fast becoming a lifestyle attribute among U.S. and Canadian households – and there is no indication this trend is slowing down.

Millennials, Gen Xers,  African American and Hispanics are the demographic groups showing the biggest increase in camping.

Our guest this week is Toby O’Rourke, recently promoted to President of KOA.

Among other findings:

  • Among campers who claim an RV as their primary way of camping, 44 percent do not own the RV they use most.
  • A full one-fourth of this subset of campers say they borrow the RV, and 1-in-5 say they rent from a company or peer-to-peer rental service. Borrowing an RV is most common among Gen Xers.
  • Among millennials, those with families are most likely to consider renting an RV from a peer-to-peer service (followed by millennial couples).
  • The largest growth in RV usage is among African American campers, with 27 percent stating that an RV is their primary way of camping, which is up from 19 percent last year. Forty-one percent of African American campers state they tried an RV for the first time in 2017.
  • Among new campers in 2017, one-fourth camped in cabins – a rate much higher than last year (moving ahead of RVs as the primary way of camping). This could be due at least in part to the large influx of non-white campers in 2017, many of whom not only start camping in cabins, but are also likely to express a preference for cabins.

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

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

The northern US states may not be feeling it, but we’re almost halfway through spring already. And if you’re like me, that means it’s time for a little tech refresh!

First up... spring means more time outdoors, and more opportunities to entertain with music. And for a speaker than can handle and do it all, I can’t think of a better option than the JBL Link 10 speaker. Not only is this a bluetooth speaker that’s weatherproof and drop proof, but it also features wifi, meaning you can play music even when no phone is around. It also has the Google Assistant built in, meaning you can get a weather forecast, sports score, or summon music all without lifting a finger!

I know you and your listeners spend a lot of time in their RVS, so the following would make a great addition - the PopSockets Vent Mount. You just attach this mount to your vehicle’s vent and it’ll hold your phone in place so that you can navigate or use it for playing music. And the best part it’s compatible with all phones, all you need is a PopSocket!

If you’re spending time in the vehicle this spring, you want to be safe if you’ll be taking any phone calls. The brand new Jabra Elite 65t Wireless earbuds are a stylish and functional way to do that! Four on-board microphones mean crystal clear audio. And you have the choice of tuning out ambient noise or allowing it in. The earbuds are also compatible with Google Assistant, Siri and Amazon’s Alexa - letting you get information and stay connected all via voice.

And lastly two great apps to share with you for spring. First up, the QSun app. This free app for iOS and Android will let you know the UV levels in your location and what protection you should be wearing to stay safe.

The second app to check out is also free for Android and iOS. It’s called PackPoint. Just let it know where you’re traveling to, how long you’ll be there and the activities you plan to participate in. It’ll then create a list of things to pack! You can, of course, customize to your own liking. But by all means, let the app do the heavy lifting!

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  

We'd spent a few days wandering around bluebonnet country, looking for the best pictures. We'd taken a few good shots, found some nice campsites and even had a fun evening with you two on the shore of Buchanan Lake. Now we were driving through the plains of North Central Texas and beginning to see signs for pecan ranches. This early in the season, the trees were still bare of leaves, but they were lined up in pristine rows with the ground beneath cleared of everything but a carpet of spring grass. We wanted to visit a pecan shop, and we needed some place to spread out the maps and think about our route.

So we did what we often do, pulled off in the next small town and went into the library. We found a quiet and comfortable place to sit, a nice big table to work on, power for the laptop, clean bathrooms, and free Wi-Fi. This was the Jennie Trent Dew Library in Goldthwaite, Texas, on route 16 between Llano and Comanche. Chatting up the librarian, we discovered that the three don't miss sights in town were the botanical garden, the Mercantile, and pecans.com, the local pecan processing plant. She began to tell us about the botanical garden, then said, "Wait, wait, I’ll let Susan tell you about it when she comes in. She’ll be here in a few minutes."

Soon Susan arrived and pulled up a chair at our table. Having seen several botanical gardens, and an awful lot of desert plants on the trip already, including the absolutely amazing Sonoran desert museum in Tucson, we politely told her that we didn’t think we would visit the gardens. At that, she waxed so enthusiastic that we just couldn’t say no. After completing our research, we walked the block down the street to the visitor center, where Savannah gave us an illustrated guide to the plants and a key to the garden enclosure.

Boy, were we ever surprised. Taking up less than half a square city block, the garden was exquisite. Rocks had been laid to simulate small cliffs and grottoes. Water flowed through it, both in streams and down short waterfalls. It is landscaped with local native plants, and the signs describe how those plants had been used by native peoples for thousands of years. There were benches to sit in the shade, and along one side a large pavilion with a concrete floor. The walkways and many of the trees were lined with tiny Christmas lights.

Back at the visitor center where we returned the key, Savannah told us that the pavilion and lights were set up for high school prom, which would be happening tomorrow. On the day, each couple walks down the steps of the courthouse while everyone in town watches from their chairs on the lawn. Then every fancy car for miles around is pressed into service to drive the couples the three blocks to the pavilion. Having shepherded my own three girls through the prom experience, I noted with approval that not only was the venue lovely, but it was surrounded by a large fence which would contain the kids. No sneaking in or out.

We debated staying to watch the show, but settled on the chance of a weekend rodeo in Oklahoma. Before leaving town, we stopped at Pecans.com and sampled more varieties of pecan goodies than you could list on a page. Next time you’re traveling, look up the local library as a place to get some elbow room, rest and research, and find out exactly what’s going on in town. It's never let us down, so we'll keep an eye open for you among the stacks in some dusty little town, out there off the beaten path.

RESOURCES:
http://www.texasescapes.com/TexasHillCountryTowns/GoldthwaiteTexas/GoldthwaiteTexas.htm

http://legacyplaza.org/

pecans.com 

 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

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

   

APRIL

26-29

Spring Hall of Fame RV Show

RV/Motorhome Hall of Fame
Elkhart, IN

 
   

MAY

3-6

Puyallup RV Show

Washington State Fair Events Center
Puyallup, WA

 
   

MAY

5-6

Let's Camp America - State Park events

Participating State Parks
Across America
 

   

MAY

10-14

Roadtreking Sonoma Wine Tour Gathering

Indian Leap Winery
Sonoma, CA

 
   

JUNE

18-22

Roadtreking Photo Safari at Glacier NP

Chewing Blackbones RV Park
Babb, MT

 
   

JULY

9-13

Roadtreking Natahalla River Wildwater Adventure

Smoky Mountains Meadows Campground
Bryson City, NC

 

 

 

Direct download: RV189.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 8:11pm EDT

RV Podcast 188: Finding places to boondock and RV downsizing

It this week’s episode, two topics that always have a lot of interest. First, we’ll offer up a list of resources to help you find places to boondock or stay overnight for free or very low fees.

Then, we’ll talk about a big trend driving record sales for smaller Class B RVs: Downsizing. You’ll meet an RVing couple who have done just that. In a matter of a few years, they went from a Class B to a Class C to a Class A motorhome but then, gave up all those big rigs and downsized back to a Class B. They’ll explain why they have gone full circle and how that’s working out for them.

Plus we have much more for you, including RV tips, RV news and a great place to visit if you’re traveling anywhere near Atlanta.

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

Shownotes for Episode 188, April 18, 2018

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

We’ve been out in Phoenix, Arizona at the Super B RV Show. Had a great time meeting lots of people and learning all about what’s new in small motorhomes. 

We’ll have several videos over the next few weeks on our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel showing the latest RVs we saw.

We left 90 degree sunny weather in Phoenix to return to an ice storm in Michigan. Spring sure is taking its time coming to the Midwest, where temperatures are 20 degrees below normal.

Meanwhile, here’s the RV news of the week:


National park day fee to rise $5 starting in June

Heading to a national park this summer? Starting in June, getting in will cost a little more. The daily per vehicle or in some cases per person entrance fee at the 117 fee charging parks will rise by about $5. The price hikes were announced last week to help with the maintenance backlog. This does not apply to seniors who have the lifetime annual entrance pass. The increased fee is predicted to raise $60 million annually. To read more click here or here. To see the list of fee increases per park click here.

Visit the national parks for free this Saturday

Speaking of national parks, this Saturday April 21, there is no cost to enter any of the nation's national parks in honor of National Parks Week. Many parks throughout the country will be holding special events from April 21-29,  though only on the first day, April 21, is entering free. Park entry is free only four days this year, with the next free day September 22.

Tree falls on sleeping family in trailer, kills girl

Severe weather swept through northern Louisiana early Saturday morning, causing a tree to fall on a travel trailer, splitting it in two, killing a 20-month-old girl inside. The family was apparently sleeping when the storm blew through bringing with it strong winds and heavy rain.

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

While we were in Arizona over the weekend we met a lot of wonderful people and picked up lots of tips. One of the best had to do with monitoring the temperature inside an RV so you can make sure your pets are okay while you are out hiking or eating in a restaurant or otherwise away from the RV for a while.

We’ve talked a lot about various gadgets and gizmos that do that in past podcasts. Most of those require a wifi network and can be challenging to set up.

But a listener named Deb told us about the device she uses, which may be just the right solution many of us have been looking for.

The device Deb is talking about is the RV Pet Safety temperature alarm from a company called Nimble wireless. They have several different models and subscription packages to choose from depending on whether you want coverage in just the US, just Canada or both countries.

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

A caller asks for info on an app for finding places to boondock.

OUR ANSWER:

  • For starters, check out the app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices by AllStays (allstays.com). They list more than 22,000 commercial campgrounds, state and national parks and boondocking spots, everything from KOAs and Walmarts to state and federal forests, military and BLM land. This is my favorite app and website, offering the most detailed information of any app I've yet found on places to stay.
  • Free Campgrounds for RVs (http://www.freecampgrounds.com) has a big database, sorted by state, of state, federal and county land open to camping, most without hookups or services.
  • For boondocking and camping information about National Forests, check out the very useful U.S. National Forest Campground Guide (http://www.forestcamping.com). Much of the research was done by Fred and Suzi Dow, a couple of avid RVers who have spent the last 17 years visiting 155 national forests, 20 national grasslands, 1 national tallgrass prairie and 2,383 developed campgrounds.
  • We also like the Free Campsites website (http://freecampsites.net). There’s an interactive map as well as comments and reviews of boondocking spots.
  • You can also check the site http://boondocking.org. It’s a database of free boondocking spots based on GPS coordinates. Enter in your location’s latitude and longitude and it will tell you whether the closest boondocking spot may be.
  • If you are looking for places to boondock on private land, you'll find no greater resource than Boondockers Welcome
  • Then there isHarvest Hosts, a membership service that allows RVers to camp overnight for free at wineries, farms and special attractionsWhile there is no charge for camping, you are asked to purchase a bottle of wine or some produce or items grown on the property.More than 540 beautiful places around North America are part of Harvest Hosts, located in all the lower 48 states, Canada, Alaska and Baja California.

QUESTION:

Debby asks us about a service we once featured that would let you tell them about a campground you need reservations for and they would keep calling and notify you when there was a cancellation.

OUR ANSWER

We are unable to find any such services anymore. There used to be one but we couldn’tfdind the name, either.

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

Jim Van Heule has gone full circle in his choice of RVs over the past few years – from a Class B to a Class C to a Class A and then, all the way back to a Class B again.

We met Jim and his wife Kris at the recent Super B RV Show in Phoenix and asked him to share his experiences with the different sized motorhomes and what caused him to finally downsize.

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

Did you know that each year, roughly 17 million Americans will lace up their shoes and participate in an organized race? An additional 48 million decide in spring it’s time to give their couch a break and participate in recreational running. So if this sounds a lot like you, listen up because tech can help put some pep in your step!

When it comes to sustained success, many find other people can be a motivating factor. But that doesn’t mean you necessarily need a buddy along on the journey.

Wearables like the new Fitbit Versa can do just the trick. Compatible with third party running apps like RunKeeper, this sleek looking, waterproof device, will give you a quick glance at how far you’ve run, it’ll help you control your music, and it’ll track your pulse at the same time. Then, following your run, you can share your stats to social and show the world your progress!

When you’re running out of steam, the perfect pick-me-up song can give you the extra burst of energy you need. So you want to have some nice sounding headphones that won’t get in the way. The Bose Soundsport Free are a great choice. These bluetooth headphones seriously cut the wire. There’s nothing connecting them to your phone or each ear. And with five hours of battery life they’ll last you your entire run. Not to mention sweat and water resistant so you won’t have to worry about the weather.

Another great option is the Plantronics BackBeat Fit Wireless Sport Earbuds. These lightweight bluetooth headphones use bluetooth to connect to your phone but do have a wire keeping the two earbuds themselves together. Because of that they come in well under half the price. But they still last for hours and are sweat and weatherproof.

Tying everything together on your run is your smartphone - it’s probably how you stream your music to your headphones and use its GPS to track and time your runs. But you certainly don’t want to hold it the whole time or have it flopping around in a pocket. That’s where the Incase Active Armband comes in. This sturdy and comfortable armband keeps your phone where you want it and provides access when you want it. Plus its touch sensitive screen cover means you can even touch apps or notifications without having to remove it from the protector.

Lastly, if you’re training for a long race, like a marathon, you’ll be out on the road for hours. Keep track of who’s visiting your home with the Nest Hello Video Doorbell. This new addition to the Nest Family will let you know anytime someone shows up on your doorstep - even if they don’t ring the bell. You get a crisp live video stream day or night and can even talk to the person on your porch straight from our smartphone!

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.

DESTINATION OF THE WEEK -  Georgia Aquarium

Right off I-75 in downtown Atlanta is the Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere with 10 million gallons of fresh and marine water and tens of thousands of animals.

We've heard great things about it for several years now but never had a chance to spend time there until just recently, when we took our 10-year-old grandson Jacob, for a visit. We were blown away by the quality exhibits and size. For RVers, the only downside is parking. The parking deck attached to the aquarium is enclosed and too low to accommodate even Class B RVs. There are a couple of open air street lots within an easy walk that will do just fine for Class B and C units. None can handle Class A RVs.

Opening in 2005. It's origins go back to November 2001, when Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus announced his vision of presenting Atlanta with an aquarium that would encourage both education and economic growth. After visiting 56 aquariums in 13 countries with his wife, Billi, he donated $250 million toward what was to become Georgia Aquarium. Corporate contributions totaling an additional $40 million allowed the aquarium to open debt-free.

The most notable exhibit is the massive 6.3 million gallon tank containing four whale sharks, taken from Taiwan's annual fishing kill quota, under which they would have been eaten had they not been purchased by the aquarium. Since 2007, a ban on whale shark capture has been in effect, making the Georgia Aquarium the only institution outside of Asia housing the species.

The whole aquarium was built around whale shark exhibit, with tunnels, walk-in windows and a huge 30 foot high plexiglass wall allowing for very up-close observation. The whale sharks cruise with giant manta rays, sharks and dozens of other species.

Another exhibit and another tank holds several beluga whales, distinctively white and as long as 11 feet.

Plan on spending at least four hours to take it all in.

And plan on spending lots of money. Adult tickets cost $36.95. Seniors are charged $32.95. Kids are $30.05. If you order online you can save $3 a ticket.

Expensive it is. But it's worth it. We'll be back. Several times. It's that impressive. If you've never been there, put it on your bucket list

Here’s a link to a full blog post on our visit, with lots of photos: http://roadtreking.com/rv-sidetrip-georgia-aquarium-atlanta/

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

RV SuperSaver Show

April 20-22

Century Link - Lee Sports Complex

Ft. Myers, FL​​​​​​​

 

 

Direct download: RV188.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 5:01pm EDT

RV Podcast 187 -  Lost in the Wilderness: A Survivor’s Story of Lessons Learned

In this episode, a spring break RV trip that turned into a nightmare. A solo female RVer, on her way from California to Washington, made a wrong turn in a National forest, got turned around lost in the wilderness. She and her Golden Retriever, Walter, were stuck on a steep and rocky mountain road and ended up spending four night and five days far from civilization just as local bears were hungrily waking up from hibernation.   You’ll hear this harrowing tale from the lost RVer herself, 63-year-old Penelope Bax, whose strong spirit and calm actions kept her safe until a California Highway Patrol helicopter spotted her RV and airlifted her and Walter to safety. You’ll love meeting Penelope and hearing the lessons she learned from being lost in the wilderness. Plus, RV tips, questions and answers and a fascinating off the beaten path report… all coming up for you in episode 187 of the RV Podcast.

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

 

Show Notes for Episode #187 April 11, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

 

As this episode is being released, we are scheduled to arrive in Phoenix, Arizona, where we’ll be attending the big Super B RV Show put on each year at this time by the folks at LaMesa RV.

 

We will be at the University of Phoenix Stadium, on the playing field as a matter of fact, meeting and greeting folks from all over the southwest. I think we’re even going to present a seminar or two about our experience traveling and exploring in a Class B motorhome

 

We’ll also have a Facebook Live report on our Roadtreking Facebook Page that we’ll do sometime Friday or Saturday and, of course, we’ll be shooting a video for our RV Lifestyle You Tube Channel on everything that is new in the Class B world.

 

Well, we’re back in Michigan for a few days, recording this episode from our sticks and bricks house just before we head to Arizona. We’re flying out there because we ran out of time to drive there. We did drive our RV up from Florida and watched springtime disappear. We have a video on that trip that will be published Thursday April 12 on our RV Lifestyle You Tube Channel but needless to say, we had to re-winterize again as we came back from the cold.

 

We watched spring come down south but it sure disappeared as we headed north. Jennifer likes to say that coming back to the cold will let us experience spring again. That’s the good news

 

But the bad news, as Mike likes to say, we also get to experience winter twice.

 

Besides the rescue of that stranded RVer in California that we’ll soon hear about in our interview of the week, there’s a lot of RV news you need to now about this weekend.

The first story is: that the government issued a report last week linking faulty Goodyear motor home tires to as many as 95 deaths or injuries over the past two decades. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration started investigating last year.  The investigation centers on tires made between 1996 and 2003, alleging they were made for delivery trucks not motor homes which travel at high speeds on freeways. To read more click here or here

 

We RVers love to travel with our pets. But have you heard about Henry and Baloo? The dog and cat are best friends whose owners photograph them camping and hiking in Colorado, clearly enjoying every minute of it. The cat likes to sit on the dog as he walks or swims, and the two cuddle, making quite a photogenic pair, gaining a large and ever growing social media following. To read more click here or check out their Instagram here.

 

And Speaking of dogs and cats, pets are no longer allowed on Canada's Prince Edward Island's National Park beaches under a new law. From April 1 - October 15 domestic animals are banned from the beach, and violators face a $125 fine. To learn more, click here

 

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

going, going, gone!

 

JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

We talked a couple of episodes back about making photobooks out of the pictures we take on our RV adventures. But listener Tom from Ottawa, Canada has another way you can relive all those great memories… right on your television.

The app Tom suggests is called PhotoCloud. It’s for Android devices. A similar app for the iPhone is TV Assist. We’ll put links to them in the shownotes for this episode at Roadtreking-dot-com-slash-187

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

 

Phil tows a long trailer with his Sprinter-based Roadtrek eTrek RV. He recently replaced the stock Continental tires with Michelins but now notices a lot more sway when he tows the trailer. He wonders what he can do about it.

 

We note the best defense against trailer sway in all conditions is proper trailer loading. You will need to check your trailer tongue weight and gross trailer weight and get the weight distributed properly. Most times sway is induced by too little tongue weight on the trailer ball. Experts say your trailer’s tongue weight should be 10 to 15 percent of the total trailer weight, loaded and ready to tow. Most of the time redistributing weight in the trailer will solve sway issues especially if a weight distribution system with sway control is used..

 

Email question:

Hi...would love to subscribe to your weekly newsletter.  What are the procedures to do so?
Carol Campbell

Here is how to subscribe…go to http://archive.aweber.com/roadtreking. You can see past issues there and, if you want to subscribe, use the form on the lower left.

 

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

 

It was supposed to be a spring break getaway in her RV for Penelope Bax, a 63-year-old flower shop owner fro. San Diego. She was heading up to Washington State to visit relatives over the Easter holiday in her brand new Class C RV. She would camp her way north and enjoy northern California’s beautiful wilderness.

But she made a wrong turn in a mountainous area of Shasta County and, with her Golden Retreiver, Walter, became stranded in the wilderness for four nights. As frantic relatives posted missing person alerts on RV websites and social media, dozens of search and rescue volunteers combed the rough terrain. Many feared the worst. Finally, she was spotted by a California Highway Patrol Helicopter.

Penelope Bax is our interview of the week. We caught up with her not long after she returned to her San Diego home, in remarkably good health and with an optimistic can-do attitude that will soon have her out RVing again. Her story could happen to anyone and she has learned some powerful lessons from the experience that just might keep the same thing from happening to you.

play interview

 

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 the time many families start to plan their summer travel. While the main point is to kick back and relax, travel also brings about an increased risk of damaging or losing your smartphone. That’s why protecting your device is important - I’m talking more than just a case here.  If you didn’t take advantage of protecting your phone when you got it, Verizon is offering an open enrollment period from now through May 31 to sign up for Total Mobile Protection or any of our other protection options.

It’s more than just peace of mind if an unexpected drop, break or loss happens here or abroad, it can also help you save time and money.

Here are five ways:

Save money on cracked screens - Cracked screens happen, but with Total Mobile Protection, you have access to our coast-to-coast cracked screen repair network. Repairs are cost-effective, just a $29 deductible for select smartphones.


Save time getting your screen fixed. Did you know you can get many smartphone screens replaced on site in more than 360 markets nationwide? Or you can send in your damaged device and it’ll be repaired and shipped back to you.


Save time with replacement devices, even while traveling internationally. Time is of the essence when something happens to your phone or tablet. If your cracked screen can’t be repaired or your device is lost, stolen or damaged, only Verizon will send you a replacement - even internationally - as soon as the next day. Or, in many international destinations you can also get your cracked smartphone screen repaired by a local shop and Verizon will reimburse you.

Get time-saving help with Tech Coach. Tap the Tech Coach app to connect with a live expert in seconds. Get more from your phone or tablet with unlimited access to experts who can help transfer content, explain error messages and manage connected devices.

Save money with multiple lines. If you’ve got three or more lines on your account, Total Mobile Protection Multi-Device provides flexible account coverage for $39 per month. You can also add Additional Coverage for up to 7 more lines at $9 per month, per line.

You can learn more at verizonwireless.com/tmp

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 -  

 

We were standing at the top of a very large, very deep hole, looking down at a pool of water. And we were inside. It was an odd feeling. When we entered the Big Well Museum in Greensburg, Kansas on US 400, we were greeted by two women. They asked us to sign the guest book and then if we knew much about the history of the town. Hearing that we did not, one said, "Did you know our town was completely destroyed by a tornado ten years ago? You can see it on that screen." We turned around and watched in fascination as news reports and video showed a scene of utter destruction with people wandering aimlessly among the rubble. "We were here then," the other said, "my son and I made it through by holding onto the toilet in the bathroom. Everything else blew away." 

 

With this to whet our appetites, we went on along into the museum. The Big Well takes up the center of the building. More than 30 feet in diameter and over a hundred deep, it's imposing. Dug entirely by hand and completed in 1888, it isn't quite the largest hand dug well in the world, but it's close. We walked the spiral staircase that lines the wall down to near the surface of the water.

 

Originally ten feet deep, the pool sits now at less than four feet, a stark indicator of just how much water has been pumped out of the Oglalla aquifer that feeds it. The water supplied the needs of the town, surrounding farms, and as many as three railroad lines during the town's boom years around the turn of the twentieth century. Then the railroad line moved, taking much of the population with it.

 

In 1937 the well was covered and advertised as a tourist attraction for the growing number of motorists exploring the USA. As traveling tourists became fewer, the well was boarded over and left idle. On May 4, 2007, the EF5 tornado ripped through the town. leaving only three buildings standing. Facing a daunting rebuilding challenge and the prospect of few local jobs, many of the remaining residents moved away. Those who remained were determined that Greensburg should not fade off the map. 

 

Enter FEMA and the state of Kansas, who collaborated with the residents to help reimagine the town as a showplace of green energy. The circular museum displays surrounding the Big Well tell the story of the town's beginnings, the tornado, and its new beginnings. Climb down into the Big Well in the middle of its new museum.

 

Climb up from the well and you can look through 360 degrees of windows accompanied by explanatory displays. There are many things to see around town, too. Reimagined Greensburg has public art and free self-guided bicycle tours and a rebuilt historic theater. US 400 is the main street, and there are still only a few businesses, so come help support this scrappy little town in the flat lands of Kansas, far off the beaten path. 

 

Resources

https://www.greensburgks.org/ 

http://www.bigwell.org/

 

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

 

Super B RV Show

April 12-15

University of Phoenix Stadium

Phoenix, AZ

 

Acadiana RV, Sport & Boat Show

April 13-15

Cajun Field

Lafayette, LA

 

Washington State Evergreen Spring RV Show

April 13-15

Evergreen State Fairgrounds

Monroe, WA​​​​​​​

 

 

Direct download: RV187.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 3:35pm EDT

RV Podcast #186: What can happen when mice invade and infest an RV

In this week’s episode, a cautionary tale about what can happen when you buy a used RV that’s been sitting in one place for a long time from a dealer who seems to be less than thorough in quality control. But more than that, it’s a nightmare true story about the hidden damage that can be done to an RV by mice and what questions you should ask when buying a used RV to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.

Plus, an off the beaten path report, your RV questions, RV news and tips you can use. All this coming up in this episode of the RV Podcast.

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

Show Notes for Episode #186 April 4, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

It’s April already and springtime is slowly making its way north to those still in the unseasonable cold Midwest and northern states.

We’re finishing up a nearly three month trip that has us coming to you this week from Florida.

We just had a long aster weekend visit fom two of our three adult children, their spouses and five of our eight grandkids. It was great family time here on the Emerald Coast hanging out at the beach and enjoying the sunshine.

We will hit the Road Thursday of this week and make our way back to check up on our sticks and bricks home in Michigan. But it will be a very brief visit of about three days because next week, we will head to Phoenix, Arizona, here we will be putting on a couple of seminars and hanging out at the Super B RV Show being held April 12-15 at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

We’ve been reporting a lot on past podcasts about a proposal by the government to dramatically increase entry fees to National Parks. Well this week we can report that Interior Department officials are backing away from that after receiving more than 100,000 public comments from Americans nearly unanimously opposed to the idea.

In October, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke proposed to increase peak-season entrance fees at 17 parks from $25 to $70 — the largest hike since World War II. Joshua Tree National Park in California, where the peak season starts in January, would have been the first to charge the higher rate, followed by a dozen other parks where visitation peaks in May and June. The cost of riding a motorcycle into the parks would have risen to $50, and walking or biking in would have cost $30.

But as temperatures climb and parks prepare for another season of potentially record-breaking visitation, Interior and National Park Service officials are rethinking the plan based on public comments that inundated the NPS website over an abbreviated 30-day period.

An Interior official familiar with the changes now being discussed told the Washington Post that some type of increase remains almost certain but that the dramatic hike is being reconsidered for fear that it would cause visitation to plunge, reducing sorely needed revenue at top destinations such as Yosemite in California, the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Zion and Bryce Canyon in Utah, and Yellowstone in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming

Here's something else that has been making the news and RV related social media. It has to do with a 63 year old San Diego woman who was missing over the Easter weekend. Elizabeth Bax was on her way to the Seattke area to visit relatives for the holiday but never showed up.

We’re happy to say she was fund and rescued near Hirz Bay, a campground off of Lake Shasta in California, which has 6,200 miles of rivers and streams. Her sister says she thinks Bax ran out of gas in her Winnebago Class C  RV and her cell phone was dead. Bax was found dehydrated but stable and was airlifted to a local hospital. Her dog Walter is also being treated.

Here’s some other things happening this week that we think will be of interest to RVers…

Pain at the pump – Gas Prices on the Rise
I saw a story this morning that fuel prices nationwide have been creeping up in recent days by about a penny a gallon and that we are now paying the highest for fuel for this time of the year since 2014. That’s according to the Automobile Club of America. Gas companies are changing over to a different summer blend. To do so, some refineries shut down, leading to the classic market principal of supply and demand. A tighter supply means they can demand more for your fuel. Demand is up as people are driving more, and crude oil prices are up $15 per barrel compared to this time last year. Every time crude oil prices rise a dollar, consumers will pay roughly 2.4 cents more per gallon, says the auto club. This week, the average price for gas is $2.67 a gallon. Diesel is near $3 a gallon in many parts of the country.

Sleepy black bear at Glacier National Park drawing viewers by the thousands

In need of something sure to make you smile? You aren't alone. People have been clicking a webcam of a black bear emerging from hibernation at Glacier National Park by the thousands. The bear is inside a hollowed out cottonwood tree, yawning, and trying to decide whether to wake up and get out.

Hey Thief: Smile, You're On Camera! RV Dealer Searching for Man Captured on Camera

Speaking of hidden cameras, a Michigan RV Dealer is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a man, captured on camera, stealing a $40,000 camping trailer from its lot. It happened in Coldwater, MI at the Haylett Auto & RV Supercenter. The 35-foot travel trailer was found nearby at a Walmart, stripped. The man apparently used his pick up truck to haul the trailer out of the RV lot, all of which was captured on video.

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

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

This week, we are introduced to a microfiber cloth by our friend Patti Burkett, who says it has all sorts of uses around the RV, not the least of which is removing condensation from glass surfaces.

Patti uses Norwex cloths available in Amazon.

You can get a large pack of them in assorted sizes and colors for about $41. The microfiber cloths are antibacterial and have all sorts of uses.

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

Newbie question. If I park my RV at home and it has a 30amp cord, how do I plug it in to a cord from my house??? Alan

We are looking for a place that will avoid large crowds, Spring Break and hurricane season. We've narrowed the search to northern FL and have found a few locations the Destin/Miramar area. That is the good news. The bad news so far is that none of the places we have found allow dogs on the beach. Our question to you is this...how have you been able to spend time in FL with your dogs at the beach? And, if so, where have you been able to stay? - Carol

I have a 26 ft class c and thinking about going smaller. The problem the class Bs do not have jacks. Appreciate your thoughts since you go to a lot of places – Hayden

My wife and I are considering Rad Power Bikes RadCity bikes for our RV travels but am concerned about how all those electric components will fare after continued exposure to the elements (particularly water, road salts and grime) while being transported on the hitch mounted carrier. How do you plan to mitigate the effects of those damaging elements when the weather gets foul while you are driving between camp spots? Tom

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

 In our interview of the week segment for this episode we introduce you to our friend Ginny Evans. Ginny is a solo RVer with a lot of experience.

But that experience was no match for the nightmare situation she encountered when she bought a used RV half way across the country…only to find that instead if the great bargain she thought she was getting, she instead was buying an RV that had been inFested by mice who did a tremendous amount of damage that you would not believe.

This is a cautionary tale about what can happen when you buy a used RV that’s been sitting in one place for a long time from a dealer who seems to be less than thorough in quality control. But more than that, it’s a nightmare true story about the hidden damage that can be done to an RV by mice and what questions you should ask when buying a used RV to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.

 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: It’s Baseball time again!

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

Despite the late season blast of winter weather, spring baseball season is upon us! Today I wanted to talk about the tech you can have on hand to take your game to the next level.

For instance, with the new Samsung Galaxy S9+, you can capture and share even the fastest pitch or swing in super slow motion. The device’s revolutionary new camera also lets you take incredible photos in low-light situations (like a night game).

Can’t make it to the game? Google’s Daydream View coupled with virtual reality games like Home Run Derby will put you at home plate in the big leagues.

Whether you're in the stands or the front lawn, the JBL Free wireless in-ear headphones make it easy to listen to the game, while keeping your hands free for important things like peanuts and Cracker Jacks (or mowing your lawn!).

Have more than one team you want to keep track of? The Fitbit Versa will display score updates from across the league right on your wrist. Not to mention it'll give you credit for the steps you took to go pick up a hot dog at the concessions stand!

Lastly, are you getting in the game yourself? Reviewing your swing is easy when you have the Under Armour Connect Magnetic Mount. Snap the Magnetic Mount onto your phone case and attach it to the batting cage while recording a video to give you a perspective of what you’re doing right and what you may need to focus on.

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 Cliff Dwellings

By Tom and Patti Burkett

We were traveling the Trail of the Mountain Spirits in the Gila National Forest of New Mexico.  After a night at Gila Hot Springs Campground, a fun and rustic spot along the Gila River, we drove a few miles north to the visitor center for the Gila Cliff Dwellings.  This site is in the National Forest, and is jointly administered by the Park Service and the Forest Service.  Unlike the ruins at Mesa Verde, these are largely un-excavated and receive relatively few visitors.  In the couple of hours we spent there, we saw about a dozen others.  The visitor center had some interesting displays of artifacts, but the real action was out on the trails.

The ruin itself has forty-six rooms spread over five caves.  It was discovered in 1878 by a man from Silver City who’d organized a quick prospecting trip in order to get out of jury duty.  After improving the access to the site, he built a resort at the hot springs and began providing guided trips.  Shortly thereafter, the discovery of mummified remains in the caves piqued the interest of both scientists and the general public.

Nowadays, you get to the caves by a footpath that climbs ramps and stairs about 200 feet over the course of a half mile and deposits visitors on ledge from which ladders and stairs rise into the caves themselves.  One of the things we really enjoyed here was the access.  We were able to walk through almost all the rooms and imagine what the life might have been like for the mostly nomadic people who settled here a thousand years ago to learn how to grow crops.

The caves were staffed by a very knowledgeable young man who was able to answer all our questions.  At the foot of the trail we spoke with a young woman, a trained archaeologist, who was also a volunteer at the site.  Just before we left, while visiting the museum, we finally encountered the only ranger at the park, who told us he’d just arrived onsite a few weeks earlier.  We’ve seen this at many parks, where most of the work is done by volunteers.  A good use of resources, to be sure, but it seems the park staffs are getting smaller and smaller as visitor numbers increase.  Hardly any of the desert parks we visited on this trip were offering ranger programs, even though it was their busy season.

After the caves, we continued along the Trail of The Mountain Spirits, making our way south on New Mexico 15 through the mountain wilderness.  The Roadtrek gave us an advantage on the twisty, narrow roads from which the views were spectacular.  All along the way were attractive small Forest Service campgrounds, any one of which we’d have been happy to spend some time visiting.  You’d enjoy them too, we’ll wager, so come on along one of these days, and we’ll look for you in the Gila Wilderness, 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

 

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 put 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 125 will be in display.

 

RV shows this weekend

 

Colorado Springs RV & Travel Expo

April 5-7

Colorado Springs Event Center

Colorado Springs, CO

 

BC Interior RV  Show

April 6-8

​​​​​​​Penticton Trade & Convention Centre

Penticton, BC (Canada)

 

Kitchener RV Show and Sale

April 6-8

Kitchener Memorial Auditorium

Kitchener, ON (Canada)

 

UP Boat, Sport & RV Show

April 6-8

Superior Dome

Marquette, MI

 

Vacationland RV & Camping Show

April 7-8

Norway Savings Bank Arena

Auburn, Maine

 

 

Direct download: RV186.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 3:50pm EDT

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

As the warm weather starts to arrive, many are planning their cross country RV adventures. Many of those routes will be on toll roads. Do you need to purchase a sticker or toll device for your RV? Which toll stickers are the best to get? What happens when you encounter unmanned tool booths?

In this episode, we answer those questions and sort out all those potential issues with an expert who will help us all make sense of turnpikes and toll roads.

Plus RV News and Tips, listener questions and comments and a suggested destination for your bucket list and much more.

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

As the nation copes with late winter storms and flooding, we’re still down along the Emerald coast on Florida’s panhandle enjoying sunny skies and upper 70 temps.

People are swimming in the gulf…shorts and T-shirt weather

We’re planning our next adventure, a leisurely exploration of the Alabama and Mississippi Gulf coast, Louisiana and into Texas, where we hope to time our arrival to the blooming of the bluebonnets, a dainty little plant which paints the sandy, rolling hills of coastal and southern Texas with sheets of royal-blue in the early spring. They have already begun to bloom in many places across Texas thanks to recent, unseasonably warm weather. 

We report that Bo no longer has the cone of shame. He either got some sand in his eye or was scratched while playing in the Destin, FL dog park last week and needed the cone for a few days to keep him from itching it. It has healed up well but we have on order a pair of something called Doggles to keep him from doing it again. 

Here’s what caught our attention this week:

Wyoming legislature want to collect new wildlife fee from Yellowstone visitors

There is a move underway in the Wyoming legislature to collect a fee from Yellowstone National Park visitors for wildlife management. The states surrounding Yellowstone say there is a cost they incur from wandering elk, bison and other creatures that leave Yellowstone's property and collide with cars, spread disease among cattle, and cause other problems. A bill proposing the new fee is moving through the Wyoming legislature but it will need the federal government's approval to take effect. To learn more click here

More than 200 earthquakes strike Yellowstone

Speaking of Yellowstone, did you hear that 200 earthquakes hit the iconic park over two weeks in February? Geologists say the swarm of quakes is nothing to worry about. In fact, Yellowstone gets about 1,000 to 3,000 earthquakes each year, and scientists say the quakes do not mean the super volcano under Yellowstone is ready to blow. Click here or here for more info.

RV industry brought billions into U.S. economy

Outdoor recreation accounted for 2 percent of the U.S. economy in 2016, about $374 billion according to a recent report from the U.S. Commerce Department. The impact of outdoor recreation on the U.S. economy is growing. While the report looked at boating, fishing, hunting and a variety of activities, it noted that outdoor activities centered on motorized vehicles, including RVs and motorcycles, were particularly popular, bringing in $59.5 billion with most of that from RVs alone. To read more click here

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

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

I always have my eyes open for tips for you when visiting folks in their RVs. Not long ago while hanging out with my friend Lisa Gruner from Huntsville, AL, I noticed she had a rather unique privacy curtain separating the back from the front of her RV.

 It didn’t cost much of anything except for a couple of stick on hooks. And it involved a bright and colorful beach towel.

There you go…

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

I love hearing from you!

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

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

A listener named Pat asks about whether Roadtrek motorhomes have slides.

(Nope)

Here’s some email questions we have received:

In one of your videos you showed a sprinter side door screen with magnets.  You said it was new and aftermarket. So, how do you like it now?  Jennifer did not say who made it.., so who makes it, what is website. Have you come across any other you might like better? Thanks!! – Mike

(Call your Roadtrek dealer)

Hi Mike & Jennifer, I was wondering if Roadtrek is has a group/membership that travel to places together and if it is open to new travelers? Can you explain Roadtrekers? Thank you -Nancy

(Check out our Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/roadtreking/)

The other day I saw on one of your Youtube blogs that you had purchased at on time a Stowaway carrier for your RoadTrek CS Adventurous.  I, too,  have a 2017 Roadtrek  CS Adventurous XL 4x4. I am looking for extra storage and was intrigued with your discussion of the Stowaway Carrier.  In reading the reviews by individuals who had a Mercedes Benz diesel Roadtrek I noted a common problem described by each—When they used the adapter to connect the flat 4-prong end from the carrier to the 6-prong round receiver near the trailer receiver hitch, the Mercedes Blind spot warning system was eliminated.  Did you have this problem and what did you do to solve it?  Or, did you elect to live with the loss of the warning system?  Looking forward to your thoughts.
I have talked to Mercedes and they tell me I have to live with it because the sensors on the bumper are so sensitive that the red warning light would continuously flash sensing a object (trailer) behind the rig.  I have certainly learned a lot from you and Jennifer about the Roadtrek and have enjoyed all of the “pearls” and “ratifacts”. Keep ‘em comin’. Mike R

(That’s why we stopped using the Stowaway and another even more deluxe one we tried out)

 

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

As the warm weather starts to arrive, may are planning their cross country RV adventures. Many of those routes will be on toll roads. Do you need to purchase a sticker or toll device for your RV? Which toll stickers are the best to get? What happens when you encounter unmanned tool booths?

In this episode, we answer those questions and sort out all those potential issues with an expert who will help us all make sense of turnpikes and toll roads.

Our guest is Danny Pryor, the executive director of Turnpike Information Company, overseeing a website dedicated to providing information on toll roads throughout the United States.

To learn more about the Turnpike Information Company click here. For a helpful breakdown of what passes work where, visit the Turnpike Information Company site here.

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

Parenting in the Digital Age Part 2

Last week we talked about the dangers our kids face when online and how important it is to talk to them when young so they’re prepared.

A study by Pew Research Center found 92 percent of kids age 13-17 go online daily. And social media tends to be a big draw - with the sharing of pictures right up at the top. Did you know, though, that the location you took the photo can be embedded in the photo itself? That’s why it’s important to check your child’s phone and make sure this feature is disabled. You can turn off geotagging for Android and Apple devices in the settings menu. Otherwise your child may be unknowingly sharing the location of their home and school.

Whether you have a tablet-obsessed child, or a smartphone-addicted teen, you can monitor the way they use these devices. For example, Family Base by Verizon allows parents to take back family time by limiting access to calls, texts and data, blocking unwanted contacts, viewing and monitoring a child’s text and call history, setting filters to block access to inappropriate apps/websites and more. Although you can’t be everywhere all the time, apps like these can help you rest assured someone is always watching to keep them safe.

The internet and social media have greatly enhanced our lives, but as they say, with great power comes great responsibility. That’s why it’s important to start conversations early with your children. And if you're unsure how to begin, well that’s where Google can help. 

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  

Craters of the Moon is a U.S. National Monument and National Preserve in the Snake River Plain in central Idaho that is like no where else on earth, a volcanic wonderland that is easy and fun to explore in one of the weirdest landscapes you can find anywhere.

And it’s perfect for Class B recreational vehicles.

Craters of the Moon formed during eight major eruptive periods between 15,000 and 2000 years ago. Lava erupted from the Great Rift, a series of deep cracks that start near the visitor center and stretch 52 miles (84 km.) to the southeast. During this time the Craters of the Moon lava field grew to cover 618 square miles (1600 square km).

And it’s still pretty active. Over the past 30 million years, this region has experienced extensive stretching. A recent example of these on-going forces was the 1983 Mount Borah earthquake. During that event the highest point in Idaho, Mount Borah, got a bit higher when a magnitude 6.9 earthquake occurred across the base of the Lost River Range.

As Jennifer and I toured the preserve, National Park Service rangers told us the volume of past eruptive events suggests that slightly over one cubic mile (4.2 cubic km.) of lava will be erupted during the next event. And that is expected within the next 1,000 years – relatively soon on the geologic time table.

The park is very accessible to cars, small trucks and small RVs. A seven mile loop road takes you past all the major interest points, with comfortable walking trails everywhere.

There’s a nice first come, first server $10 a night campground at Craters of the Moon, right on the lava beds. The 51 sites sare perfect for tents, Class B or Class C motorhomes but too small for big rigs, though there are a couple of sites one could squeeze into. There is fresh water and restrooms but no hookups, showers or waste water dump.

To get there, plan on driving two-lanes. Craters of the Moon is located 18 miles southwest of Arco, Idaho on Highway 20/26/93, 24 miles northeast of Carey, Idaho on Highway 20/26/93, 84 miles from Idaho Falls, and 90 miles from Twin Falls.

Give yourself two to four hours to see it all, longer if you want to walk to the top of the cinder cone or check out the caves.

To see some photos of our visit, go to: http://roadtreking.com/rv-trip-craters-of-the-moon/

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: 

31st Annual Battle Creek Camper & RV Show

March 1-4

Kellogg Arena

Battle Creek, MI 

 

53rd Annual Red River Valley Sportsmen's Show

March 1-4

Fargo Dome

Fargo, ND

 

Colorado RV, Sports & Travel Show

March 1-4

National Western Complex

Denver, CO

 

CNY RV & Camping Show

March 1-4

New York State Fairgrounds

Syracuse, NY

 

Milwaukee RV Show

March 1-4

Wisconsin Exposition Center

West Alias, WI

 

Ocala RV Show

March 1-4

Florida Horse Park

Ocala, FL

 

Greater Philadelphia RV Show

March 1-4

Greater Philadelphia Expo Center

Oaks, PA

 

Toronto Spring Camping & RV Show & Sale

March 1-4

International Centre

Toronto, ON

 

Central Illinois RV Show

March 2-4

Peoria Civic Center

Peoria, IL

 

Central Valley's Sportsmen's Boat, RV & Outdoor Living Show

March 2-4

Kern County Fairgrounds

Bakersfield, CA​​​​​​​

 

Fredericksburg RV Show

March 2-4

Fredericksburg Expo & Conference Center

Fredericksburg, VA 

 

New Orleans Spring RV & Camping Show

March 2-4

Pontchartrain Center

Kenner, LA

 

Oregon State Eugene Spring RV Show

March 2-4

Lane County Fairgrounds

Eugene, OR

 

Rhode Island RV & Camping Show

March 2-4

Rhode Island Convention Center

Providence, RI

 

Springfield RV Mega Show

March 2-4

Ozark Empire Fairgrounds

Springfield, MO

 

10th Annual Spring Clean-Out RV Show

March 3-5

Germain Arena

Estero, FL

 

Direct download: RV181.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 5:21pm EDT

RV Podcast #180: Why you need to have a bucket list!

 

“What’s on your bucket list?” is a question we all understand and perhaps have asked or had asked of us. As RVers, it’s important to dream about and plan the places we want to visit before, well, before we kick the bucket. You may be surprised to know that psychologists say having a bucket list is very healthy for your mental well being. Plus it’s a lot of fun. In this episode, we’ll talk about how to make your RV bucket list fit your desires and goals and we’ll learn some great tips from a very efficient bucket list-keeper.

Plus, also in this episode, your questions, RV tips and a great off the beaten path report.

Show Notes for Episode #180 Feb. 21, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

This podcast comes to you from Okaloosa Island, FL, our home away from home, where we will be hanging out and exploring Florida and the Gulf Coast at least through April. We will be making a trip to Phoenix Arizona to meet and greet folks at the annual Super B RV Show held at the University of Phoenix Stadium March 12th to the 15th.

We had a great time last week at the Manatee Springs State Park along the Suwannee You can read about it on the blog at http://roadtreking.com/way-upon-suwannee-river

This week, we’ll be out on the Gulf Islands National Seashore just east of Pensacola, putting the finishing touches on our video review of our new e-bikes.

 Here’s what caught our attention in the news this week:

Plan to reorganize Interior Dept. causing concern

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's plan to reorganize his department by moving federal employees out of Washington, D.C. and into 13 newly created regions dominated national parks news last week. Zinke says he wants the federal employees to be located closer to the federal lands, rivers and ecosystems they manage. To do this he is proposing creating 13 regions that do not follow state boundaries. He says it will streamline federal government but not everyone is so sure. A few stories to follow can be found here or here.  

 

Climbers may soon need to haul their excrement out of Alaska park​​​​​​​

 

Denali National Park is considering proposing a poop carry-out rule, according to a story that caught my eye this week. About 1,000 people try to climb the Kahiltna Glacier annually, and because everything is frozen, this waste never breaks down. The result is about 150,000 pounds of human excrement in the glacier's crevices, by conservative estimates, frozen in time. Officials are discussing requiring climbers to carry their waste out in biodegradable bags. To read more click here

 

Rare month for stargazers: No full moon to view

 

Excited to get out there and gaze at a full moon? Well, better wait for March. February 2018 is the very rare month (roughly once every 25 years) where there is NO full moon to view. After two full moons in January, one a super moon because it was so close, there will be none this month. Click here to learn more or  here.

 

Canadian officials study how to legalize pot sales near national parks

 

The Canadian Government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to have marijuana available for legal purchase everywhere in the country by July, but officials are saying they may need more time. Canada is on tract to become the second country in the world to legalize marijuana sales everywhere. But figuring out how to do this is causing some headaches for its national park communities as leaders try to figure out the right way to legalize and regulate pot sales in heavy tourist areas. For more information read here or here.  

 

If you read our RV Newsletter, you would have learned about these stories and more. It’s sent out absolutely free every Monday morning to our subscribers. Just go to http://archive.aweber.com/roadtreking

 

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 travel across North America, we love meeting and visiting with those who follow us on the blog, podcast and our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel. Everyone, it seems, has a tip of suggestion that is very helpful.

At the recent Jacksonville RV Show in Florida, we ran into a listener of the podcast named Ron. He shared with us how a mouse that got into the front part of his RV caused a massive amount of damage.

And he passed along a great tip on how we can avoid having the same thing happen to us.

Ron made small containers that held peppermint oil that he fastened with a magnet around the RV

Ron says, they are doing a very effective job in keeping mice out of his RV.

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!

 

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

  • A listener asks how much RV antifreeze do you pour into the toilet when camping in cold weather an RV that has been winterized.

 

  • A listener named Bruce responded to our request last week to send us a voice message about how and where they are listening to the podcast.

 

  • By e-mail: I recently received my senior lifetime pass to all National parks unfortunately I. Just discovered that the pass is not good for State Parks.  Is there a similar pass for State Parks and if so how do I apply for one.  If not, would it behoove us to start a united petition to get All States to get together and offer such a pass for Seniors, something like a Senior Lifetime State Park Passport, for Seniors and Veterans - Jesse, Camden, DE 

 

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 on your bucket list is a question we all understand and perhaps have asked or had asked of us.  “The Bucket List” is a phrase that’s been around awhile but entered the common vernacular in 2007 following a film of the same name, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as two aging and terminally ill men who strike out together to cross accomplishments off their bucket lists – their term for those things they hope to achieve before kicking the bucket.  The idea of reaching certain goals and milestones before crossing life’s finish line is nothing new, really, but now we have a name for it and countless people have embraced the idea since. 

 

Having a bucket list is important because it will help keep your spirit of adventure going. Just having the list itself is great because through it, you are keeping your goals and dreams alive. Writing them down or making them vocal makes them more real and it will build your confidence and drive to fulfill them .Studies show that learning and seeing new things helps ward off dementia. Think of it this way: A mind that is growing is a mind that is young.

 

A bucket list is not about dying but about living, Life is all about making memories. Your bucket list certainly will give you plenty of them. They will be memories you will hold onto forever, and give you great stories to tell other people. It'll be nice to look back on the things you've experienced and seen, something to make you feel fulfilled and something you can share with other people.

 

The idea of making a bucket list to create a more meaningful life is certainly bolstered by anecdotal evidence. Just ask those who have one. But research also supports it. One study found that participants who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not. Other psychology research suggests that accomplishing goals that connect us to something larger than ourselves (say touring Alaska in an RV) is important for a fulfilled life.


And here’s the thing about a bucket list: A bucket list is never ending. You can always come up with new ideas, always try new things. It's not a list that's meant to be completed.

At our recent RV Lifestyle Roadtreking Gathering at Manatee Springs State Park in Florida, we spent some time with one of the most efficient bucket list keepers we’ve ever met and she shared just how she handles her list.

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

 

Parenting in the Digital Age Part 1

It’s a parent’s worst nightmare. You find out that your child has been put in danger after having a conversation with someone they met online. Unfortunately, stories like this one happen every day. So what can you as a parent do to protect them?

First things first: communicate. And often.

Stephen Balkam, founder and CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute says the number one thing to do is talk to your kids. Start as early as two or three years old and continue talking all the way until they get into college. Ask your child how they feel about social media. Create a social media contract outlining expectations and repercussions they may face if the contract is broken.

If you can’t beat them, join them! Follow your kids on all social media platforms and keep up with key trends. While you may not have time to be an active user across all platforms, it is important that you monitor their activity from a user’s standpoint. This will help you look for any red flags.

Unfortunately, what lands online today, stays online - forever. But your children may not think about the future consequences, so be sure to talk to them about this. Additionally, according to a recent Up to Speed podcast by Verizon, parents must learn to be digital role models. Children are far more likely to do what you do as opposed to what you say, so be sure your actions line up with your words.

This is just the first part of protecting your child online. Next week we’ll talk about important settings on your phone you’ll want to check and how to keep tabs on what your kids are doing online, even when you’re not around.

 

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 -  

September was cold in the Montana mountains, and we’d just enjoyed an afternoon soak in the hot springs at White Sulphur Springs.  We debated spending the night.  After all, it was hunting season, and there was live music at the local hangout.  There were a few other things to poke into around town, too, including a mansion built by one of the Ringling Brothers, of circus fame.  On the other hand, there was enough light left to enjoy the King’s Hill Scenic Byway through the Lewis & Clark National Forest.  Besides, it was Thursday night, and there were mermaids in Great Falls.

The byway was sprinkled with small national forest campgrounds, and as we pulled through a couple of them, mostly deserted and mostly strung along small mountain streams, we again considered just pulling off for the night.  Frankly, I was for it, but Tom was determined to see the mermaids, even if it meant night driving in the mountains.  Sure enough, it was plenty dark when we arrived in Great Falls, and the lights of the big refinery there lit up the horizon.

The O’Haire Motor Inn was built almost fifty years ago during the heyday of motor vacations.  It features a casino, an enclosed parking garage, a restaurant called Clark & Lewie’s, and, most importantly, the Sip ’n’ Dip Lounge.  There was a time in the fifties and sixties when tiki bars were all the rage.  Some still survive, and as you travel around North America, we encourage you to visit one for a bit of kitschy nostalgia.  The Sip ’n’ Dip is one of these.  Things were buzzing when we arrived, and we counted ourselves lucky to find two seats at the bar.

A gregarious bartender immediately greeted us and informed us that we looked like we could use a fishbowl.  The signature tropical drink was soon in front of us, yes, in a fishbowl (yours to take home) and sporting two straws.  While we waited for fish tacos, we visited with our neighbors at the bar.  On one side were two bikers from Jasper. Alberta making their way south on a long weekend fall ride.  On the other was the morning news anchor from the public radio station in Valdez, Alaska.  

I immediately chatted up the Canadians about the best route and things to see between here and Jasper, and Patti found out from Karen the news anchor just why there was so much excitement.  Over in the corner, surrounded by a crowd of barroom singers, sat Pat Spoonheim at the keyboard.  Piano Pat has been tickling the ivories in this room since the bar opened in 1969, and tonight the New York Times was in town for an interview and photos.  

And let’s not forget the mermaids.  Tonight there were two of them,  swimming on the other side of tall glass windows behind the bar.  Up and down they cruised, blowing bubbly kisses to patrons and posing for pictures.  The bartender told us mermaids are surprisingly hard to find, and both of these would be graduating from high school soon and swimming off somewhere else.  I wasn’t surprised.  After all, these were the only ones I’d ever seen except the ones at Weeki Wachee Spring in Florida.

Going out to a bar is not one of our regular travel activities, but we agreed, as we settled down to sleep in a parking lot a few blocks away, that festive atmosphere and easy conversation had made this one of the absolute highlights in our years of traveling.  So, you can click through to the New York Times article linked below and see us, sitting there with the mermaids, or just maybe you can find an empty bar stool yourself, somewhere off the beaten path.
RESOURCES MENTIONED:
http://www.spahotsprings.com/index.html
https://ohairemotorinn.com/sip-n-dip/
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/25/style/mermaid-tiki-bar-sip-n-dip.html

 

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: 

Indianapolis Boat, Sport & Travel Show

February 19-25

Indiana State Fairgrounds

Indianapolis, IN

 

Red Deer RV Show

February 19-25

Westerner Park

Red Deer, AB (Canada)

 

Billings RV & Boat Show & Sale

February 22-25

MetraPark

Billings, MT

 

Dallas RV Super Sale

February 22-25

Dallas Market Hall

Dallas, TX

 

Harrisburg RV & Camping Show

February 22-25

PA Farm Show Complex & Expo Center

Harrisburg, PA

 

18th Annual Vermont State RV & Camping

February 23-25

Champlain Valley Expo

Essex Junction, VT

 

Belleville RV & Camping Show

February 23-25

Belle-Clair Fairgrounds

Belleville, IL

 

Birmingham RV Super Show

February 23-25

Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center

Birmingham, AL

 

Columbus RV Show

February 23-25

Greater Columbus Convention Center

Columbus, OH

 

Great Rockies Sport, RV & Boat Show- Bozeman

February 23-25

Brick Breeden Fieldhouse

Bozeman, MT

 

Hot Springs Boat, Tackle & RV Show

February 23-25

Hot Springs Convention Center

Hot Springs, AR

 

Maryland RV Show

February 23-25

Maryland State Fairgrounds

Lutherville/Timonium, MD

 

NCRVDA Raleigh RV Show

February 23-25

Raleigh State Fairgrounds

Raleigh, NC

 

Pennsylvania Adventure RV Expo

February 23-25

Blair County Convention Center

Altoona, PA

 

RV and Boat Show Main Event

February 23-25

EAA Grounds

Oshkosh, WI

 

Worcester RV & Camping Show

February 23-25

DCU Center

Worcester, MA 

 

 

Direct download: RV180.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 4:06pm EDT

RV Podcast 179: What solo women RVers need to know about the RV Lifestyle

Are women more adventurous than men when it comes to the RV lifestyle? Some estimates put the number of female RVers traveling alone as much as 30 percent. That may be a bit high, but not by much, because it’s been our experience that solo women travelers do indeed make up a huge segment of the RVing community.

In this episode of the podcast, Jennifer will introduce you to three such solo travelers who will share their traveling expertise on everything from staying safe to the RV adventures they have on the road. Plus your questions, RV news and Tips and much more.

 

Show Notes for Episode #179  Feb. 14 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

This episode is coming to you from Manatee Springs State Park in Chiefland, Florida, near the famed Suwanee River. The Suwannee River is a federally designated wild river.

We were at the Jacksonville RV show over the weekend. A shoutout to Ron and Sharri Chafin who were the first to meet us. They brought a very nice birthday gift for Jennifer! 

We are camping on the Suwanee River, which is the only major waterway in the southeastern United States that is still unspoiled. The Suwanee flows from the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia to the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. It winds for almost 266 miles through swamps, high limestone banks, hammocks of hardwood, and salt marshes. It also has fifty-five springs along the way. 

But besides that, it’s particularly famous because of Stephen Foster. He became America’s first professional songwriter in the 1800s. He wrote more than 200 songs with tunes and lyrics that captured the heart and spirit of the nation.

While writing “Old Folks at Home,” Foster had difficulty finding the right words to complete a verse joining his image of a beautiful river and longings for family and home. According to legend, his brother suggested the Suwannee River after consulting a world atlas. The words fit, and “Way down upon the Suwannee River” was on its way to making the Suwannee River famous around the world.

Foster never visited Florida and he never saw the Suwannee River. Nevertheless, since 1935, it has also been Florida’s state song.

In the 1950s, land was acquired on the Suwannee River at White Springs. The land was developed into the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park. Shortly thereafter, the Florida Folk Festival was established to highlight the state’s cultural history and traditions.

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

It can be hard to pack enough clothes for RV trips sometimes, especially if you are on the road for protracted periods of time.

Doing laundry can be a challenge, too, as often the washers and dryers at campgrounds are all being used.

At one of our recent Roadtreking gatherings, one of our fellow campers shared how they handle dirty laundry while traveling.

Steve uses “Wash and Go” services at local laundrymat.,

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

A very basic question from a newbie on your site.  I understand that you are a long-time owner of and very devoted to the automotive technology offered by Roadtrek RV vehicles.  However, I have been watching various  RV B+ machines for quite a long time now, and I have found quite by accident that I really admire only the Roadtrek and Airstream B+ models for their looks, conveniences, reputation, reliability, and overall technology.  As these critters are major purchases, much like a home, have you any advice or cautionary tales about buying either of them. or might there be something else out there even more desirable?    Thanks.   >>>   John  

Mike will you help the rv people? Do a piece on unfriendly towns that pass ordinances against anyone stopping to rest in there town.  Case in point Crescent city Ca. I got woke up at 3 am and made to leave the city.   I am not a vagrant and I drive a Roadtrek64 200 that looks good.  ( not a rust bucket) I think we all need to change this anti freedom cancer in America.  Not all of us can afford a camp at 50 dollars a night! – Mike T

 I have a question that maybe Jennifer can answer for me. What brand of toilet paper do you use? The brands at Camping World is over priced and poor quality. I read that any kind that is safe in septic systems work, but I would appreciate your input. Thank you, Linda 

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

Are women more adventurous than men when it comes to the RV lifestyle? Some estimates put the number of female RVers traveling alone as much as 30 percent. That may be a bit high, but not by much, because it’s been our experience that solo women travelers do indeed make up a huge segment of the RVing community. In this episode of the podcast, Jennifer will introduce you to three such solo travelers who will share their traveling expertise on everything from staying safe to the RV adventures they have on the road

Here’s a link to a video version of this interview: 

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

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

With the Olympics in full swing in South Korea, I thought it would be fitting today to talk about how technology is changing the way we enjoy and follow the big event.

First up - how to take it all in. If you have a cable subscription, you can watch any event you’d like streamed live at NBCOlympics.com. You’ll just log in with your cable provider’s credentials and choose the event.

If you’re a cord cutter or find yourself watching in your RV, there are some other ways to tune in. Those near a metro area and who have an antenna can watch the over the air broadcast. But if streaming is more your style, sign up for YouTubeTV. It has a free 14 day trial that’ll let you stream all the action and last you until the closing ceremonies.

And while you’re streaming from your phone or tablet, you can pump up the volume with the UE Wonderboom, a portable, waterproof Bluetooth speaker.  

After watching figure skating, maybe you’re inspired to hit the ice but worried about injuries. The Google Daydream is all the equipment you’ll need. Just pop in your phone and enjoy 50 hours of live virtual reality coverage by NBC Olympics.

Perhaps you’re feeling a bit more adventurous. You can create your own Olympic-inspired videos when you hit the slopes with a GoPro and Head Strap that can be worn over a helmet or directly on your head.

Speaking of the sporty types, you certainly wouldn’t want to lose your phone or other valuables when you’re out on the hill. That’s where the new Tile Sport Bluetooth waterproof tracker comes in. Just clip these on to the things you don’t want to lose...and their 200-ft. radius will help you find your lost belongings whether on the slopes, in the stands or in your hotel room. And you can even reverse roles and use the Tile to find your smartphone.

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  

Campskunk joins us to talk about the land around Manatee Springs and this geologically unique part of Florida – a place abounding in natural springs and lots of interesting things for the RVer to see,

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: 

Duluth Boat, Sports, Travel & RV Show

February 14-18

Duluth Entertainment Convention Center

Duluth, MN

 

49th Annual RV Super Show

February 15-18

State Fair Park 

Oklahoma City, OK

 

50th Annual Chicago RV & Camping Show

February 15-18

Donald E. Stephens Convention Center

Rosemont, IL

 

Austin RV Expo

February 15-18

Austin Convention Center

Austin, TX

 

Earlybird RV Show & Sale

February 15-18

Tradex Building

Abbotsford, BC (Canada)

 

Utah Sportsmen, Vacation & RV Show

February 15-18

South Towne Expo Center

Sandy, UT

 

West Palm Beach RV Show

February 15-18

South Florida Fairgrounds

West Palm Beach, FL

 

Alabama RV Super Show

February 16-18

Von Braun Civic Center

Huntsville, AL

 

44th Annual Northeast RV Show

February 16-19

Rockland Community College Field House

Suffern, NY

 

Atlantic City RV & Camping Show

February 16-18

Atlantic City Convention Center

Atlantic City, NJ

 

Central Gulf Coast Boat, Sport & RV Show

February 16-18

Lake Charles Civic Center

Lake Charles, LA

 

Chattanooga RV Show

February 16-18

Chattanooga Convention Center

Chattanooga, TN

 

Indianapolis Boat, Sport & Travel Show

February 16-25

Indiana State Fairgrounds

Indianapolis, IN

 

Gulf Coast RV Show - Mobile

February 16-18

Mobile Convention Center

Mobile, AL

 

London RV Show

February 16-19

Metroland Media Agriplex

London, Ontario (Canada)

 

Maryland RV Show

February 16-18 and 23-25

Maryland State Fairgrounds

Lutherville/Timonium, MD

 

Red Deer RV Show

February 16-25

Westerner Park

Red Deer, AB (Canada)

 

Springfield RV Camping & Outdoor Show

February 16-19

Eastern States Exposition Grounds

West Springfield, MA

 

 

 

Direct download: RV179.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 2:14pm EDT

Episode 178: The Unwritten Rules of the RV Lifestyle

There is a certain etiquette and behavior standard that RV owners are expected to adhere to. The problem is, many of the key tenants of that etiquette are learned through experience. Many are unwritten and usually learned through trial and error. We're going to help you avoid the errors by sharing 10 of those unwritten rules of the road and how to camp. EDIT

Plus we have lots of listener questions, some great tips, a traveling tech report and an off the beaten path restaurant destination that believes if a little food is good, a lot of food is even better,

Show Notes for Episode #178 Feb. 7, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

We come to you this week from sunny Okaloosa Island, on Florida’s Emerald Coast, where we’ll be spending the next couple of months, except for the long list of side trips we plan up and down the Florida peninsula and across the Gulf Coast.

We both celebrate our birthdays in the week ahead. Mike’s is Thursday Feb 8, Jennifer’s Monday Feb. 12.

One of those sidetrips will be this coming weekend. Sunday, Feb. 11, we will be at the Jacksonville RV Show in Jacksonville, FL. The show is being held at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center at 13611 Normandy Boulevard in Jacksonville. We’ll be hanging out with the folks at Sunshine State RVs and we’re planning to do a Facebook Live report from the show Sunday afternoon.

Another sidetrip starts February, 12. We’ll be at Manatee Springs State Park in Chiefland, FL for a Roadtreking gathering with lots of other RVers. We’ll be kayaking and snorkeling with the manatees, as well as taking boat tours of the area. We’ll have live reports from there next week but this gathering sold out within two ours after we announced it last summer. 

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

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

 We love sitting around a campfire. But, like a lot of people, we are not big fans of the smoke and mess that comes with a traditional campfire. That smoky smell permeates or clothes and even our hair and it can be quite unpleasant.

On a recent campout in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, we spent some time around Mark Fawcett’s campfire. Mark is from the Minneapolis area and he was using a portable firepit that uses propane and did an excellent job in keeping us warm while providing all the ambiance of a traditional campfire.

The name of the firepit Mark has is the Outland Firebowl Model 870 Premium Portable Propane Gas Fire Pit. It comes with a Cover & Carry Kit and measures 19-Inches in Diameter , making it easy to store in the back of an RV. And we can attest to how warm and pleasant it is to sit around.

To see it yourself, here is the direct Amazon link - amzn.to/2BZqWa8

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

Alexios just bought a used Class C motorhome and wants to replace the flooring. He asks what’s best – a floating floor or a glue down?

Jim wants to visit our gathering in Manatee Springs next week

Beverly asks about bringing a printer along in an RV

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 is a certain etiquette and behavior standard that RV owners are expected to adhere to. The problem is, many of the key tenants of that etiquette are learned through experience. Many are unwritten and usually learned through trial and error. We're going to help you avoid the errors by sharing 10 of those unwritten rules of the road and how to camp.

Here’s a video version of this report:

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

February is a month devoted to the heart in every sense. We don red throughout in support of National Heart Month and warm the hearts of those we cherish with special gifts for Valentine’s Day. And like other parts of our lives, tech now plays a role in both helping keep us healthy and also making a special night more memorable.

Looking to set the mood for a romantic night in? The Google Home Max is the perfect companion. With its built in Google Assistant, you can use it to walk you step by step through recipes of your date’s favorite meal. It’ll play your favorite love song simply by asking for it by name. And after dinner, it’ll help you watch your favorite romantic comedy. All you need to do is say, “Hey Google, play Sleepless in Seattle on the living room TV” (provided you have a Google Chromecast Ultra plugged in to your TV).

It's said that a picture is worth 1,000 words, but only if you can actually find that picture! In today's digital world, keeping track of the 1,000's of photos taken every year can be a challenge in itself. So when you snap a photo this Valentine's Day and want to cherish it, use the Lifeprint Photo and Video Printer.

In today's world it can be tough to stay connected and look good while doing it. But when you've got the Fossil Q Accomplice Hybrid, you don't have to worry. This smartwatch features Fossil's thinnest design. And because it's a smartwatch hybrid you get all of the notifications without the battery drain - in fact the watch lasts for 6 months without needing a charge!

Did you know that nearly 9 in 10 New Year's resolutions don't stick?! This year, let's change that and use motivation from the Apple Watch LTE to help! Have it walk you through a workout in the gym, or keep track of your heart rate and distance traveled while on a run. And with LTE built in, you can stream Apple Music to your bluetooth headphones and leave your phone at home!

And finally if you are getting out and about more, you'll want to keep that phone protected. And with the Case-Mate Waterfall Case you'll glitter and shimmer every time you pull it out.

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 – Tony’s Restaurant, Birch Run, MI

By Tom and Patti Burkett

One of the pleasures, and occasional challenges, of traveling away from the main routes is finding a good local restaurant.  Forty years ago, around the time we got married, Patti gave me a copy of the first edition of Jane & Michael Stern’s book Roadfood.  It’s a listing, with a few details, of great, mostly inexpensive food joints within a few miles of our country’s most traveled interstates.  The book went through numerous editions, each one thicker than the last, until it finally became a website.  We’ve had the pleasure of adding to the collection several times over the years, and one of our favorite contributions is a diner in Birch Run, Michigan, just off interstate 75.

Whenever we travel to the upper peninsula, as we did recently for the Roadtrek winter freezeout, we pull off for a meal.  It’s always best if it’s breakfast, and on this trip we spent the night in the parking lot of the nearby Meijer store.  The Meijer parking lot is quiet, the staff is friendly, and the doors are open 24 hours.  And Tony’s is just a few hundred yards down the road.  The menu looks like a tabloid newspaper, and you’re encouraged to take it with you.  Tony’s has a lot of tasty offerings, but they’re best known for bacon.  Ridiculous amounts of bacon.  Their BLT has a pound of fried meat, and I don’t know anyone who can get their mouth around it.

We asked for a cheese omelet and an order of bacon to share.  The omelet is made with at least a dozen eggs and a half pound of cheese, and comes with two thick slabs of toasted Italian bread, made in-house every day.  Loaves of it are offered for sale at the counter, and it goes out the door by the sackful.  Looking forward to a weekend of visiting, we also brought in a half gallon thermos.  They filled it with coffee without batting an eye, and at no charge.  We took most of the bacon away in a carry out box, ate two more meals off it, and served it with biscuits to the early risers in the campground on Sunday morning.  There’s still a little of it in the fridge.

Tony’s has been in business for nearly seventy years here.  They serve eleven thousand pound of bacon a week.  That’s right, five and a half tons.  That same amount of hash browns will hit the plates in a weekend.  Their desserts are as legendary as their bacon, with slices of pie that weigh in at a pound and a half, and a banana split that can serve a table of eight.  And just in case, they give you a handful of candy on your way out the door—wouldn’t want you to leave hungry.  

Roadfood finds are great fun.  They give you something to look forward to when traveling in a particular part of the country.  Like the throwed rolls at Lambert’s in Sikeston, Missouri or the foot high pie at the Crystal Cafe in South Sioux City, Nebraska, Tony’s lives up to its legend at every visit.  And just like that granddad catfish lurking in the bottom of every farm pond, you know there’s another one out there waiting to be discovered.  We’ll happily keep looking, and we’ll look for you, too, asking for just one more cup of coffee, at a booth in the corner, somewhere 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: 

Detroit Camper & RV Show

February 7-11

Suburban Showcase Collection

Novi, MI

Houston RV Show

February 7-11

Reliant Center

Houston, TX 

Colorado Springs RV & Outdoor Show

February 8-10

Altered Reality Event Center

Colorado Springs, CO

Edmonton RV Expo & Sale

February 8-11

Edmonton Expo Centre

Edmonton, Alberta

Erie RV Show Powersports &  Camping

February 8-11

Bayfront Convention Center

Erie, PA

Jacksonville RV Show

February 8-11

Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Jacksonville, FL

La Crosse Boat, Sports, Travel, RV & Hunting Show

February 8-11

La Crosse Center

La Crosse, WI

Oregon State Salem Spring RV Show

February 8-11

Oregon State Fair & Expo Center

Salem, OR 

Seattle RV Show

February 8-11

Quest Field & Event Center

Seattle, WA 

Arkansas RV Show

February 9-11

Statehouse Convention Center

Little Rock, AR 

Cedar Rapids Sportshow

February 9-11

Hawkeye Downs Expo Center

Cedar Rapids, IA

Lawton RV, Boat & Outdoor Leisure Show

February 9-11

Commanche County Fairgrounds

Lawton, OK

Midessa Boat, RV, Sport & Gun Show

February 9-11

Ector County Coliseum

Odessa, TX

Minneapolis/St. Paul RV Vacation & Camping Show

February 9-11

Minneapolis Convention Center

Minneapolis, MN

Montana RV & Boat Show

February 9-11

Four Seasons Arena

Great Falls, MT

Ottawa RV Expo & Sale

February 9-11

EY Centre

Ottawa, ON

Richmond Camping RV Expo

February 9-11

Richmond International Raceway

Richmond, VA

St. Cloud Sportsmen's Boat, Camping & Vacation Show

Feb. 9-11

St. Cloud Civic Center

St. Cloud, MN 

 

Direct download: RV178.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 3:41pm EDT

 Episode 177: How to find the best off-the-beaten path places 

There’s a great saying about the RV Lifestyle: The journey IS the destination. What it means is that the things we discover AS we travel are just as much a part of the adventure as the place we’re heading.

In other, words, off the beaten path discoveries. In this episode, you’ll meet a couple who have perfected the adventure of uncovering the fascinating things you can encounter on the way to somewhere else. Stay tuned as our Interview Segment this week features our own Tom and Patti Burkett, the best off the beaten path explorers we’ve ever met. They’ll share their secrets and tips that you can put in practice on your next RV trip.

Plus, we have listener questions, feedback, RV tips, Traveling with Technology advise and much more.

Show Notes for Episode #177 January 31, 2018 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO AND INTERESTED IN THIS WEEK

We’re packing again, about to head off for a very long trip that will have us on the road pretty much through April.

We signed up for the Dakota Post mail forwarding service to handle our mail while we’re away. DakotaPost, located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has been in the mail forwarding business since 1989 and provides a safe and secure service. Options for receiving your mail include monthly, twice a month, weekly, or on demand.  The company’s new secure Client Portal gives you direct access to request your mail, change your mailing address, or update your account information online. It starts at $12 a month, $15 a month for short term of 3-9 months. I opted for Virtual Mailbox. It’s $19 a month but it lets you immediately see your physical mail. Virtual Mailbox will display an exterior image of each piece of mail received in your mailbox in an online space called your Client Portal. We can have it opened or scanned or mailed to us wherever we happen to be. We’ll let you know how it goes.

We discuss an interesting story in the Miami Herald, headlined “Dont be distracted by the beauty: Florida’s National Parks are falling apart.” It talks about the massive repair backlog, to Everglades National Park in particular. A backlog of repairs at the park now tops $88 million, with about $254 million in repairs needed at national parks across the state.

If you think those campgrounds and the roads you travel are more congested with RVs these days, you’re right. For the first time in more than four decades – and the first time since the RV Industry Association has been keeping statistics – wholesale shipments topped half-a-million, with a total of 504,599 units moving from manufacturers to RV dealers in 2017. That figure is a 17.2% increase compared to the 430,691 units shipped in 2016. Towable units, by far the largest-selling segment of the RV market, led again in 2017, with 441,691 such units shipped, a 17.6% increase year over year. This included 31,541 towable units shipped in December, a 9.5% bump from the previous December. Motorhome shipments were also strong in 2017, finishing the year at 62,638 units on 14.4% growth over the 54,741 units shipped during 2016. December motorhome shipments were up 12.2% year over year

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

Last week Mike and I were winter camping in the Michigan's Upper Peninsula with our annual winter campout. We had so much fun we decided to stay an extra two nights at Lower Falls campground in the Tahquamenon Falls State Park to experience camping in an Upper Peninsula blizzard. We really enjoyed the peace and beauty, and we had a ball. We also spent plenty of time outdoors on walks with our dog, Bo.

Whenever we go winter camping I buy a box or two of Hot Hands, a chemical activator that comes in a packet to keep my hands warm. The packets work well, but buying them by the box adds up. And one thing that has always bothered me is the heaters can only be used once, which means a lot of packages sent to the local landfill. 

Well, recently I discovered another type of hand warmer that may solve this problem - and save us money as well. The item is an electric hand warmer. Designed to fit in your palm, the hand warmer slips into your gloves and heats up in 3 seconds, keeping your hands warm for hours. The best part is the warmers can be charged, so unlike the throwaway warmers, you can use them again and again. Their size is roughly 4 by 2.2 inches, and many I found online that double as a phone charger. Some even come in three heat settings.

There are several types of electric hand warmers out there. One I found on Amazon by Letouch costs $21.97. You will need two of them - one for each hand - but it will mean no more tossing the heat packs into the garbage, and no more need to continually buy new disposable hand heaters.

I'm curious to know, has anyone tried the electric hand warmers? How did it work out? Since we are heading to warmer weather I may not get a chance to try until the next winter season. I will put a link on the show notes to the one on Amazon that caught my eye if you would like to learn more. 

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!

For a complete list of all the products, gear and apps mentioned by Mike and Jennifer on their podcast, YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel and here on the blog, go to http://roadtreking.com/gear

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 Jerrod in Alabama asks for our tips on how to find a mobile RV technician when he needs service and is in different parts of the country. 

Mark from Minnesota has a comment on temperature sensors for the freezer and the need to use lithium batteries for them

We answer an email sent to us by a soon to be new RVer, who writes:

I have enjoyed your videos and adventures in your website/youtube.  I am a 57 year old woman who has always dreamed of camping and who loves the outdoors. This coming summer, I am hoping to be on the road for one month in a rented Class B camper.  I am still exploring which area to visit but Montana, Wyoming and California are my top contenders.  Not sure which one I will select.  I have found available vehicles for rent in Arizona, so maybe I could go there.It will be my first time doing this and I am understandably a little apprehensive. I am writing to you in the hopes that you can point me in the right direction with perhaps a book recommendation so I can educate myself as a newbie to the RV world. Also, if you have a recommendation of what would be a good first trip to take. While I would love to go to remote places just me and my dog, I am afraid for my safety all alone.  So I will start by staying on campgrounds around other adventurous people. I live in Miami, FL but would really rather explore the areas mentioned above.  My plan is to fly out to the place where I rent the camper and set off from there. I hope you can help me with some direction, advice and recommendations of resources (books, etc) so I can educate and prepare myself. Thank you so much, Marisa  

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

Our guests this week for our interview of the week segment are Tom and Patti Burkett. If you are a regular listener of this podcast, you know them from their off the beaten path reports that take us to obscure but always fascinating new places.

I urge you to listen to the interview for lots of tips on discovering the stories in the towns you pass during your RV travels. It was recorded a couple of weeks ago in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, during our annual Roadtreking winter campout at Tahquamenon Falls State Park. 

But this week, I’m trying something new: A full transcript of the interview. This is something many people have asked for over the years, Now I know I can’t do this every week, with every interview. But if this is helpful, please let me know and maybe we can do this again sometime.

Also, we have made a video version of the interview. You can find it on our RV Lifestyle You Tube Channel at http://rvlifestylechannel.com

Mike: If you're a regular follower of our RV podcast or RV travel blog Roadtreking.com, you're familiar with Tom and Patty Burkett. They are experts in finding places off the beaten path. Well you guys have been doing these wonderful off the beaten path reports now for a couple three years and the question I get asked more often than not everyplace I go about you is how do they find those incredible places? So Tom and Patty Burkett, how do you find those off the beaten path reports?

Tom: Well you tell a little bit about this book that sort of. Changed the way we look at things when we travel.

Patti: Right. So a few years ago we read this book called Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places. And it's a it's a great read and what it does is sort of makes you look at places where you are and look for clues of what was there before. So you're sort of paying attention to road signs and types of signs and the way the architecture is changed. And from that you start getting hints about what was there before. And so I think that kind of has piqued our curiosity and our interest in knowing, you know, sort of the local story. What's there, what’s here now and what's been there in the past.

Tom: You see the way the roads are laid out and the way the streets are laid out in the town and what kinds of buildings are grouped together. And over time you begin to to see patterns emerge and all of a sudden you understand the history of the place a lot better and it helps you know what kind of questions to ask and sort of what are some of the the likelihoods about a place when you start to talk to people who live there and it just helps. It helps you know a little bit more about where you are.

Mike: So how do you plan for a trip.

Tom: Well we start out by planning a trip that avoids interstates and one of the things that we've come to realize is that the the old US highways the major highways are frequently treasure troves of things of things to discover and talk to people about. And so often we'll plan a trip that that proceeds along one of those roads. And once we've picked a road, or a route for someplace we go and we sort of lay out the shape of the trip and then look for the look for the roads that go there. And we avoid roads that go through cities unless we're specifically looking for a city for specific things in a city to visit. But what we look at the small towns and then I have a long list of newsletters and Websites that I look at on a regular basis and things that come to me in the e-mail. And I keep a running Google map of places that we're going to see and it has hundreds of hundreds of spots on it.

Patti: I mean you put on the Google map before we're even planning a trip. 

Tom: Right.

Patti: So he has a map that has you know if he finds something interesting and someplace in Oregon he puts a marker on that map. 

Tom: And then once we have a route laid out then we'll start to research some of the Web sites like Roadside America and Atlas Obscura and I discover and they have of course interesting places and there's a whole series of websites that talk about unusual places that every state and series that talks about ghost towns and I'll go through all of those and I'll pick out things that are close to where we're going at all. I'll put those on the map for the particular trip we're going and then as we travel when we feel like taking a break we look around and say OK what is there around here to look at. And then as often as not we get to a place like that. And we have a little conversation with the people who either live there or visiting there and they say oh you know if you like this have you seen thus a such a thing which is six miles up the road. And of course, we didn't have any idea about such a place. But we get in the car we drive out there and look at it and then you go along the road to and you see signs for things that you never thought that you know that you never that you didn't recognize or didn't find ahead of time. We have a daughter who lives in Baltimore and we drive back and forth on Interstate 68 and for three or four years we drove past the little brown side along the side that said Arthurdale - This E xit. it's one of those brown signs like they have for the national parks. 

Patti: I think it's a new deal museum. 

Tom: And we thought we had one of these days we ought to stop and see that. And sure enough about three four months ago we had enough time that we pulled off and drove down and we were just completely taken with it.

Patti: And we just and we did a recent report on it. But you know it was a place that's not very well known yet because it's just developing. It's a group of people local people who you know are working their hearts out to preserve this you know New Deal town that was an important part of the history after the Depression. And, you know it's not very fancy at it's not very slick. They you can see their intentions you can see their hopes.

Tom: No the woman we talked to said you know if you know some other RVers who are willing to help us out we'll be glad to give you a campsite and a place to plug your vehicle in if you'll come in and do some research or some cataloguing for us we can use all the help we can get.

Mike: And there are so many places like that all across the country.

Patti: Everywhere! I mean that's the thing you start realizing is that every town has a story. I mean it makes me sometimes now when we're driving around near our own house I think, wow I wonder how I would see this if I was visiting it as a visitor. You know I think there's things in my own town that I've never noticed.

Mike: Now you said a couple of things. One, I like what you just said Patti that every town has a story. And then talking to the locals. So many people just kind of rush and go and maybe they have a couple stuff and now they'll stop at an attraction and then they'll be on the road again. I got a feeling that you kind of never get where you are intending to get to and you get waylaid by these awesome places and find that the destination is the journey and not the place you end up.

Tom: Well that's absolutely true. A couple of years ago I decided I was going to drive the Ohio River from Cincinnati to Wheeling West Virginia just the southern border of the state of Ohio. We live in Ohio and I started in Cincinnati and some little towns along the way I Pulled up in the parking lot of a building that had a sign that said cardboard boat museum. And it was closed but I looked in the big plate glass windows and sure enough there are six or seven large cardboard boats in there. You know one of the things that's great about the current age for doing this kind of exploration is that you can you can look on Google and I pulled out the phone and I looked at sure enough, up here along the Ohio River they have a cardboard boat race every year and a big festival. So we put that on our calendar for the next year to go down there see the cardboard dome races and got to the next little town. And I have a distant relative who used to work making buttons out of mussel shells during the during the mid nineteen hundreds and this particular little town Mansfield, Ohio along the river had a button factory at one time and they said all these button factories, the shells pile up outside to the size of mountains and they've just got all of these holes punched in them where they cut out the buttons. And I thought it would be kind of nice to have one of those just as a memento. The family history so I said I will stop and see if I can find one. I pulled in. Spent the night there. I just park right along the river as the local police said you know I'm just traveling through and I want to stay here and have breakfast is there a place I can park and they said Yeah just park down here. They drove by two or three times during the night to make sure everything was OK. And the next morning I went to the local cafe and I sat down at the diner counter and ordered my breakfast and there's a as there always is the little towns that table full of old guys sitting up by the window.

Patti: They're there every day every day.

Tom: I said to the waitress who is also the grill cook. So like a one person shop, I said do you suppose those guys would mind if I came and sat with him she said, Hey Arnold OK this guy comes and says and he said sure. So, we went over and I sat down I talked to him about the town and told him I was interested in this history of button making it all. We have a great display of that in our local museum, but it closed a couple of years ago. Another gut said, doesn’t your granddaughter used to work at that museum. He said why dont you call her and see if she'll take this fellow down there and show him the museum. And he did. Ad she invited me down to the museum and she opened it up and went in and looked around and she said Now you go talk to Harold he'll be having lunch down at the cafe. So I went back down there and she said he used to work in the Button Factory and he's, I don't know 90 years old. He said Yeah come on. So, he took me out we got in his pickup truck we drove down to where the factory used to be and he told me all about it was gone. Most have been washed away by the river.

Mike: So, give us some advice for all those other RVers out there and how to enjoy their travel more.

Patti: So, I was just thinking while he was talking so I think a couple of things play into this. Sometimes it actually drives me a little crazy.

Mike: Sometimes I have to go by myself.

Like the great doughnut trail.

Tom: I'm the doughnut lover of the family.

Patti: But I think first of all it takes a keen sense of curiosity. So there are many times when Tom pulls out the phone to look something up like really, really you're going to look at this thought look this up and we're going to end up having to stop at this thing which I don't necessarily care about. So partly I think that's one of Tom's gifts is that he's just incredibly curious about things and always wants to know. So that's one thing is when you see something that just piques your interest even a little bit. At least look it up because there may be something way more

Tom: That's how we found beer and bacon in Medora, North Dakota

Patti: Right. Yeah right. Yeah. And then the second thing is I think you have to have. Well I think the other thing when he was just talking people love to tell their stories. So you're not for the most part. I mean you'll get the feeling if you are but for the most part people love to tell their stories. So, you're not imposing on them to ask. You know to say, hey do you know anything about button factories here?

Tom: They like to show off their I like to show off their towns.

Patti: You know it's a lot of these towns don't look that great. You know their towns that have been hit by the economy. But they have a proud history. And so to have somebody ask some questions about that means the world to them. You know they love to have the chance to talk to about it.

Tom: They do. Every town. Just like you said every town has stuff they like to show off. You don't find it unless you ask.

Patti: And then I think the thing you have to do is have a pretty good spirit. Because some of the stuff we found find is duds. I mean there's stuff we've driven two or three hours out of our way to go see. Usually because he's had an on that map, on his list. We got to go see those. And we drive there and I'm like. Really? Really? we just drove two hours to come see that. But, you know nothing nothing lost, nothing gained. I mean if we were afraid of hitting a dud every now and then, think of all the other things we would have missed along the way.

Mike: Well we will take a list of all of those resources you shared. We'll put them in the description below the video and in the podcast notes and we hope that the Burkett's continue out there, off that beaten path. And thank you for sitting down and sharing these tips and some of those stories with us today.

Tom and Patti: You're welcome. Thanks. Always a pleasure.

Items we discussed in the interview:

Outside Lies Magic

Smithsonian Guides to Historic America

Roadside America

Roadfood

Atlas Obscura

Only In Your State

Scenic Byways (NFS)

Scenic Byways (NFS)

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

As you’re crisscrossing the country taking in all the sights, I’ll bet you and your wife take a lot of pictures.

But what do you do with them afterwards? Do they live on your phone forever?

It’s nice to have some physical prints once in a while, and that’s why my first cool gadget I wanted to tell you about is the Lifeprint photo printer. This is a wireless photo printer that easily fits into a purse. You connect to it via wifi or bluetooth, select the photos you want printed out and the printer will print you a 2x3” photo that also has a sticky adhesive on the back so you can stick it anywhere. We all know ink on printers runs out at the worst times but you’ll never have to worry about that with this printer. It uses heat and a special paper to give you perfect pictures every time.

Next we talked a lot last year about Motorola’s unique smartphones that have the moto mods. Well there’s a new one that’s just been released you should know about. It’s called the smart speaker. This is a speaker that attaches to the back of phones like the Moto Z2 Force and lets you play beautifully rich sounding music. And it’s smart because it has Amazon’s Alexa built in. Combined with the 4 sensitive microphones you can talk to this smart speaker attachment like you would with any of Amazon’s Alexa smart speakers. Pretty cool, huh?

And lastly, when it comes to roadtrips, I know music choice can sometimes divide everyone in the vehicle. Why compromise on songs that not everyone really enjoys when you can use the Bose QuietComfort 35 bluetooth headphones? Now your front or backseat customers can enjoy their own quality music experience, catch some soothing shuteye or just have a little me time. And with 20 hours of battery life, it’s the ultimate travel companion.

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

 RV Show Schedule for Next Weekend

Tulsa Boat, Sports & Travel Show

January 29- February 4

Muscogee Creek Nation Center & Expo Square

Tulsa, OK

 

Fort Wayne RV & Camping Show

February 1-4

Allen County War Memorial Coliseum

Fort Wayne, IN

 

Iowa's Original RV Camping Show

February 1-4

Iowa State Fairgrounds

Des Moines, IA

 

St. Louis RV, Vacation & Travel Show

February 1-4

America's Center

St. Louis, MO

Hamilton RV Show and Sale

February 2-4

Players Paradise Sports Complex

Stoney Creek, ON

 

Madison Camper & RV Show & Sale

February 2-4

Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall

Madison, WI

 

Mid-Michigan Camper & RV Show

February 2-4

SVSU Ryder Center

Saginaw, MI

 

Nebraska Boat, Sport & Travel Show

February 2-4

Lancaster Event Center

Lincoln, NE

 

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.

 

A special message from Mike and Jennifer:

 

I want to thank so many of you for being a part of our RV Podcast community. We are constantly working to make this podcast more relevant to you. Please contact us directly if you have any suggestions!

Now... Many I ask a favor of YOU?

For months now, we have been working really, really hard on our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube. We now have it organized and set up the way we wanted and have hundreds of videos now online about every aspect of the RV lifestyle.

If you haven't done so, would you please subscribe to the channel?

Just go to http://rvlifestylechannel.com and click the subscribe button.

We put new videos up every week and subscribers get first notice when new content is online.

Also, subscribers can use the Community tab on the Channel to post comments, questions or get special tips.

Thank you in advance...

 

 

Direct download: RV177.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 5:52pm EDT

Among a host of topics, today’s episode features a “For Women Only” advice section for RV wives. Now I think husbands will also benefit to this but what she’s done is address a bunch of concerns that RV women have raised with her as she has met them in our travels across North America.

She alleviates most of these concerns with some very practical advice. That’s coming up in our interview of the week time.

But also this week. Your RV questions and comments, RV tips, a great off the beaten path destination to put on your bucket list, and more RV shows this coming weekend than you can shake a stick at. This is the heart of the RV show season and do we have a long list for you to consider!

Show Notes for Episode #175 Jan. 17, 2017 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

We’re getting ready to head to the Great White North of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and, specifically Tahquamenon State Park where there is nearly three feet of snow on the ground. We’ll be joined by dozens of their RVers, who’ve made their way to our annual Winter Campout. We’ll have a Facebook Live report sometime mid-Friday afternoon on our Facebook Page at http://facebook.com/roadtreking.  If you hit like on the page you should get a notice when the report will go live but I’m shooting for about 3PM eastern January 19.

After that, we’ll be heading south, to much warmer climates.  We’ll be at the Jacksonville Florida RV Show the afternoon of Fed. 11… and then Feb 12-16 we’ll be at another Roadtreking Gathering, this one at the Manatee Springs State Park in Florida.

For a full list of all the gatherings we have on tap for this year, go to http://roadtreking.com/2018-calendar/

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 topic RVers love to talk and learn about is cooking and eating. Finding good and easy to prepare meals on the road can be quite challenging.     Episode 175: Straight Talk for RV Wives Only

One method that has been getting a lot of attention on our Roadtreking Facebook Group lately is called Sous-Vide … for “under vacuum.”

Essentially it means cooking food in sealed plastic bags immersed in hot water for long periods of time. Depending on the cut, type, and thickness of the meat or the type of food in question, cooking Sous-Vide for several hours is not out of the ordinary.

The key is managing the temperature of the water so it stays hot enough to cook the food thoroughly and evenly, and long enough to kill any food-borne pathogens that may be in the bag along with the food.

Cooking in sealed bags (usually vacuum sealed) at lower temperatures also results in juicier food, since there's no significant transfer of moisture from the food in the way there is with others cooking method like grilling or broiling, and the cooking temperatures don't get so high that the food starts to dry out.

Now there are devices and kits you can get to make this process easy. We’ll do a tip on that sometime soon. But in today’s tip, a husband and wife team of listeners to this podcast sent us this tip on how the Sous-Vide cooking method made a winter camping trip very tasty… and easy.

Like I said, we’ll talk more about Sous-Vide cooking in a future episode.

Meantime, 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

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 

QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

  • A caller asks about what app to use to clear up and manage memory on her smartphone.

Everyone knows that the more we use our smartphones, the higher the chance that we’ll run out of storage space on them at the worst possible moment. I recently did one of my NBC-TV PC Mike reports on just that, showing three apps proven useful in managing smartphone space.

Files Go is the new Google-made app that checks storage and frees up more space by identifying and deleting old files, Best of all it it takes up a relatively small amount of space on your device with no extras that can affect a phone’s performance. The app is free for Android.

AMC Cleaner is another free and easy-to-use Android tool that does deep scans that reveal the big files that occupy the most phone space, such as old undeleted messages in social apps, unknown files, photos, music, videos and more.

IPhone users have the Magic Phone Cleaner app. It features a simple interface to free up space. It evaluates available storage and identifies large photos and video files before giving users the option to decide if they want to keep or delete them. The app is free for iOS.

To see the apps in operation and for more info go to: http://pcmike.com/smartphone-memory-management-apps/

  • Greg remembers Mike talking about a great new handheld vacuum he got for his RV and wants more info.

The one we have we bought from a local store. They make it themselves. But the one its patterned after and the closest one we can find to it is the BISSELL Lightweight Cordless Hand Vacuum and Car Vacuum, model 1985. Equipped with high-performance, cordless technology, it's engineered for versatile cleaning in even the hardest-to-reach spots. Powered by a removable, professional-grade, 22V lithium-ion battery, this lightweight, ergonomically designed hand vacuum delivers total cleaning comfort with up to 15 minutes of fade-free suction. And once you've tackled that mess, its removable dirt bin with Easy Empty lid makes for a quick, mess-free empty. For a complete list of all the products, gear and apps mentioned by Mike and Jennifer on their podcast, YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel and here on the blog, go to http://roadtreking.com/gear

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

Let’s face it, sometimes it’s men who – at least initially – are the most excited about embarking on the RV Lifestyle.

This is not always the case to be sure,  but as Jennifer and I travel around North America and meet people, very often the women will gravitate to her and take her aside to express some private concerns about RVing.

So in this special report, Jennifer talks to RV Wives, addressing a bunch of concerns that RV women have raised with her. She alleviates most of these concerns with some very practical advice.

And although she’s talking to the women…. Men, I think you’ll benefit, too, by listening in.
I’ll follow this with my own advice for RV husbands in a future episode. But if you’d like to see a video version of what you just heard Jennifer say, head over to our YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel 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

It’s NFL playoff season and no matter if your team is still in the running or preparing for next year, everyone’s a winner when it comes to tech.

If you’re lucky enough to have tickets to a playoff game, you can take your tailgate to the next level with bluetooth speakers like the UE Wonderboom 2. They’re portable, loud and waterproof - making them the perfect choice for any outdoor conditions. 

When it comes to taking pictures you’ll want to cherish, I can’t think of a better pocket partner than the Google Pixel 2. It’s best in class camera and portrait mode will produce touchdown worthy celebrations and it’s fast charge and Google Assistant will keep you going for hours and hours.

Sometimes game day turns into game night and when it does, make sure you’re packing the Mophie Powerstation mini 3000. It quickly charges most smartphones or USB devices and fits in your pocket so you don’t run out of juice when posting your selfie. 

When you’re on the go and still want to watch the games, you’ve got many options. Starting this month you can catch all NFL playoff games live-streamed for free on Yahoo and Yahoo Sports in addition to go90 and the NFL Mobile app.

Lastly when it comes to making your home or RV more festive, you can easily show your spirit with Phillips Hue lights. Each bulb lets you choose from up to 16 million colors...and you can set team color presets so you’re always game day ready.

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 -  Northern Wisconsin

 Say “Wisconsin” to almost anyone, and they’re likely to think of cheese.  There is cheese in this story, but you’ll have to wait for it.  This is a trip along US 8, which runs through pinewoods, across rivers, and along lakes in the north woods.  As we approached the highway strange creatures appeared out of the fog.  Along one side of the Saint Croix Trail was the Franconia Sculpture Park. 

As we strolled the grounds, creations of all sorts emerged from the mist, some quite realistic, others taking a good bit of scrutiny before we could puzzle out what they were.  At one end of the park is a large sturdy farmhouse that’s home to the several artists in residence. 

Toward the back of the property are workshops, a welding shop, a foundry, and piles and piles of materials.  The park has a gift and information shop near the parking lot and offers community maker days at which you can learn how to work metal or wood with guidance from the rotating staff of artists.
     Below the Saint Croix River bridge, the wild rice waved as the river passed around it.  A canoe worked through the stand, collecting ripe grain.  This is an annual harvest, conducted mostly by the native Anishinabe people who’ve lived here for millennia.  Once the canoe is full of dark grains, the processing begins.  First, the rice is dried in the sun. 

Then it’s parched, which is a bit like roasting, done in a cast iron kettle over a fire.  The parched rice is placed in a pit, and moccasin-shod rice dancers separate the grain from the chaff.  Finally, it’s passed in front of a fan or the wind to blow the chaff away.  There are more mechanized methods for all these things, but if you’re lucky, you can be here at harvest time and see it done this way.
     Northern Wisconsin is sprinkled with interesting things to see, and if you’re willing to wander a bit, you can see many of them from route 8.  We consulted a list of creameries and found the Comstock Creamery a few miles north on US 63.  This is an old school cheese house, with milk being delivered from local farms in the back, while the cheese is going out the front. 

Many samples were available, and we left with several items intended for friends and family back home.  Most of them did not survive the rest of the trip, but we enjoyed them all.  This was a great place for conversation, with locals coming i and out to stock up for the holidays.  Several suggested we make time for the local cranberry festival, and nearly everyone told us not to miss Louie’s Finer Meats a few miles farther north.
     We’ve learned not to ignore recommendations like these, and even though it was a detour from a detour, off to Louie’s we went.  A big smoker and an industrial size barbecue grill were set up and smoking in the parking lot when we arrived.  Inside, the meat counter ran the forty foot length of the store, and the wall behind it was covered with certificates and award ribbons from international sausage competitions—there were more than a hundred dating back decades. 

On a counter was one of those rotating three-tier pizza display warmers, each level loaded with hot sausage samples.  First cheese, now sausage, and we thought we might not need to eat for a day or two.  More goodies for the fridge, and we got into the Roadtrek a bit more slowly than before.
     For better or worse, our next stop was at the Norske Nook a few miles distant in Rice Lake.  This Norwegian eatery is as celebrated for its pies as Louie’s is for its sausage.  We parked in the lot right next to a Roadtrek of the same vintage as ours, and visited with its owners as we waited for our order. 

The menu includes specialties like lefse and meatballs, but we settled for pie.  Sometimes a day seems to be all about eating, and this one was way up there on the list.  One of the nice things about driving a road like US 8 is that it runs straight and long and travels through many interesting small towns, but has relatively little traffic.  In this case, it was also a very nice surface, free of potholes and construction.
     We followed it to Ladysmith and the Toad House.  A big porch wrapped around two sides of the house, with a comfortable bench looking out toward the town.  Piled on one end were several large zucchinis and two but Hubbard squashes almost as big as beach balls. 

A sign above them offered: “if you can carry it, you can have it.”  Inside, a cozy cafe served up homemade bread and soups.  Side rooms were full of work by local artists.  A whole set of meticulously crafted felted animals prowled the shelves and tables, some life size, others miniature. 

There were watercolors of flowers and wildlife and landscapes, and jewelry made from polished stones and worked silver.  Upstairs a weaver welcomed us into her studio and told us about the jacquard method she used to create tablecloths and tapestries.  Local authors were also on display, with a rack of children’s book, memoirs, and novels.
     Fred Smith, we discovered was an artist of quite a different sort.  A retired lumberjack, who never learned to read or write, he chose to spend his retirement years sculpting people, animals, and objects out of concrete.  Studded with smooth stones and bits of glass, his life-size works capture the events and personalities of his time. 

Want to see a twelve-foot surgeon?  A twenty mule team?  A politician with his hand in someone’s pocket?  Look no farther than the Fred Smith Concrete Park, now run by a non-profit foundation dedicated to preserving the sculptures and encouraging other for artists in their work.
     We ended the day with some relatives of mine who live on the Wisconsin River.  It is tradition, they told us, in the northwoods, to eat fish fry on Friday night.  So much so that when they moved to the area a year ago, a friend gave them a book of more than twenty two-for-one fish fry coupons to different bars and restaurants so they could select their favorites for regular attendance. 

So after a day of cheese, sausage, pie, and soup, we sat around a high-top table at the North Wind Bar, sipping a beer and eating fried walleye.  Come on along to northern Wisconsin.  There’s plenty here to see and do, all of it off the beaten path.

RESOURCES:

http://www.franconia.org/
https://www.ellsworthcheese.com/visit/comstock/
https://louiesfinermeats.com/
https://norskenook.com/
https://sites.google.com/site/zieslertoadhouse/
https://wisconsinconcretepark.org/

 

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 Show Schedule for Next Weekend

Boston RV & Camping Expo

January 15

Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

Boston, MA

 

Cincinnati Travel, Sports & Boat Show

January 17-21

Duke Energy Convention Center

Cincinnati, OH

 

Florida RV SuperShow

January 17-21

Florida State Fairgrounds

Tampa, FL

 

30th Annual Inland Northwest RV Show and Sale

January 18-21

Spokane Fair and Expo Center

Spokane, WA

 

36th Annual Idaho RV Supershow

January 18-21

Expo Idaho

Bloise, ID

 

Austin Boat & Travel Trailer Show

January 18-21

Austin Convention Center

Austin, TX

 

Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show

January 18-21

DeVos Place

Grand Rapids, MI

 

Mid-Michigan RV Show

January 18-21

MSU Pavilion

East Lansing, MI

 

Minnesota Sportsmen's Boat, Camping & Vacation Show

January 18-21

St. Paul River Centre

St. Paul, MN

 

Tacoma RV Show

January 18-21

Tacoma Dome

Tacoma, WA

 

Toronto RV Show and Sale

January 18-21

Toronto Congress Centre

Toronto, ON

 

30th Annual Iowa Boat, RV & Vacation Show

January 19-21

UNI-Dome

Cedar Falls, IA

 

Charlotte RV Show

January 19-21

Park Expo & Conference Center

Charlotte, NC

 

Georgia RV & Camper Show

January 19-21

Cobb Galleria Centre

Atlanta, GA

 

Greater Chicago RV Show

January 19-21

Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center

Schaumburg, IL

 

Great Rockies Sports Show

January 19-21

MetraPark Expo Center

Billings, MT

 

Lexington RV Show

January 19-21

Kentucky Horse Park

Lexington, KY

 

Nashville RV Super Show

January 19-21

Music City Center

Nashville, TN

 

New Jersey RV & Camping Show - Edison

January 19-21

NJ Convention & Expo Center

Edison, NJ

 

Northeast RV & Camping Show

January 19-21

CT Convention Center

Hartford, CT

 

37th Annual Tidewater RV Show

January 19-21

Virginia Beach Convention Center

Virginia Beach, VA

 

Western New York RV Show

January 19-28

Hamburg Fairgrounds Events Center

Hamburg, NY

 

Quartzside Sports, Vacation & RV Show

January 20-28

Show Grounds Location

Quartzside, AZ

 

 

 

Direct download: RT175.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 7:13pm EDT

This is a jam packed episode where we talk about:

  • TPMS – Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems for RVers. Do you need one? Stay tuned and we’ll explain why you may.
  • How to Shop an RV Show – We’re in the heart of the RV Show season right now. Before you attend a show, though, you need to make a plan. In this episode we talk to the marketing director for what many think is the biggest RV show in the country: The Florida RV Supershow, which opens next week. Dave Kelly will join us with some great tips appropriate for whatever show you attend anywhere in the country.
  • And we’ve all heard of the Bourbon Trail, right. Well there’s another trail in Ohio that is equally rewarding. We’ll have an awesome Off the Beaten Path Report about the Great Donut Trail of Butler County, OH.

All that, plus your RV questions, RV News, Traveling Tech Tips and much more.

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

We’re back home from Rochester, MN and a visit to the Mayo Clinic for an annual physical. We share our very positive experience with the place voted the Best Hospital in America.

The bitter cold has finally broken but for more than 10 days, nighttime temperatures were well below zero F in many parts of North America. Even parts of Florida saw snow! We talk about problems that can arise if you leave your sticks and bricks house unattended while on an RV trip and the temperatures drop so low.

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

Here’s a question for you: How do you place your hands on the steering wheel when you drive?  For decades, driver's ed teachers recommended that students place their hands at the ten o'clock and two o'clock positions, which were assumed to be the gold standard for leverage, comfort and control. 

But as a listener named Tom pointed out in an email he sent to us recently, that's not true anymore, due to new research in ergonomics, and new technology in steering wheels.

Placing the hands at nine and three—"parallel position," it's called—is now recommended by AAA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and other authorities. This is especially important for unsure drivers, who often get into accidents by oversteering. Parallel position lowers the body's center of gravity, and tends to allow smaller and more accurate steering corrections.

But airbags are an even bigger issue.

Many of us learned how to handle a steering wheel in an age when there wasn't a super-heated gas ready to explode right into our head and hands in case of impact.

The old ten-and-two position puts the hands closer together, and has led to many cases of fractures and serious injuries when airbags deploy.

Parallel position keeps your hands farther from the point of airbag impact.

Also, to better protect your thumbs in case of a collision, rest them on the wheel itself rather than hooking them around its interior edge.

And more driving myth buster: Thanks to airbags, that crossover "hand-over-hand" way that old-timers were taught to make sharp turns is now out of date as well, say many insurers and driving instructors. Crossing your arms can knock your other hand off the wheel, or seriously injure you when airbags pop.

Here’s a link to a detailed article in this - https://www.woot.com/blog/post/the-debunker-should-your-hands-be-at-ten-and-two-on-the-steering-wheel

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! 

For a complete list of all the products, gear and apps mentioned by Mike and Jennifer on their podcast, YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel and here on the blog, go to http://roadtreking.com/gear

 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 Jacqueline asks for an update on the highly advanced Kymeta Satellite Internet system we are evaluating on our 2017 Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL 4X4. We first talked about this system in Episode 158 (to listen to it go to http://roadtreking.com/158 )  While the system is not yet commercially available in production vehicles, there may be a way, albeit expensive, for early adapters to order one. We explain.

Listener Patrick asks for our recommendations for a TPMS for his 2018 Coachmen Freelander Class C RV. We do a deep dive, first explaining that a TPMS means Tire Pressure Monitoring System. Then we go into how it works and why you may want one of these for your RV, depending on what kinds of an RV you have.  We suggest a review of the top file systems for RVers that can be found at https://weekendrvadventures.com/best-rv-tpms/

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 - How to Shop an RV Show

We’re in the heart of the RV Show season right now. Before you attend a show, though, you need to make a plan. In this episode we talk to the marketing director for what many think is the biggest RV show in the country: The Florida RV Supershow, which opens next week.

Dave Kelly join’s us with some great tips appropriate for whatever show you attend anywhere in the country.

Meanwhile The 33nd Annual 2018 Florida RV SuperShow opens Wednesday, January 17 and runs through Sunday, January 21 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida.

For info, go to http://www.frvta.org/show/florida-rv-supershow/

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

From Miami to Maine, winter has made its presence known recently. And while it’s a nuisance for some, it’s downright dangerous for others. Did you know the cold can also take its toll on your devices?

With roughly 80% of consumers using their wireless phones to get help in emergencies, it’s important to protect your phone from the effects of the cold. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • If you’re going outdoors, keep your phone close to your body - like in your pocket or inside of your coat. That way your body heat will keep the phone from getting too cold. Extreme cold can greatly shorten your phone’s battery life. And especially if the temperature is expected to fall below freezing, it’s a good idea not to leave it outside in a parked car.
  • Try not to pull it out much in the cold to use it. Instead consider answering your incoming calls with a paired Bluetooth headset.  
  • Many of today’s newest phones like the Samsung Galaxy S8, Google Pixel 2 and iPhone X are water resistant so snow or a cold rain won’t hurt them. But if you have an older device, consider investing in a waterproof protective case. This will help prevent any liquid damage to your phone, should you accidentally drop it in the snow.
  • Should your car break down or you get stuck on the side of the road, it’s a good idea to have an extra battery pack, like a mophie powerstation, or keep a mobile charger in your car.
  • Cold temperatures can make your smartphone’s screen more fragile as well—leading to potential screen cracks. Verizon’s Total Mobile Protection can ease the pain with cracked screen repair as soon as the same day and next-day shipping for replacements.  

And, if your device does get cold, Asurion recommends warming it up to room temperature before using it to avoid condensation forming inside and damaging your phone.

Stay warm out there!

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 Great Donut Trail

By Anna and Tom Burkett

Here’s a transcript of the story recorded by Anna Burkett and her dad – Tom.

Mom and wife Patti slept in that morning and missed the grand adventure.

 It was middle of the night dark when four of us piled into the car two days after Christmas.  I’m Anna,  and I last traveled with my parents last summer to Fiddle Camp and the Schoodic Peninsula in Maine.  My cousin Kelsey was with us, who was with them for a visit to the nudist camp sundial in Indiana, and her brother TJ who lives in New York City and isn’t surprised by much of anything.  Today we were headed for southwestern Ohio and something new to all of us - the Butler County Donut Trail.  My dad has an insane fondness for donuts, and this was just too good an opportunity to pass up.
     If you’re not a regular donut consumer, you might wonder why were were up at such an early hour.  Donuts are made in the wee hours of the morning.  They’re at their best when steamy hot, and many shops sell out and close up early in the day.  Indeed, the brochure for the donut trail clearly warned about this possibility.  The first stop was more than two hours distant, and we thought five AM the latest we could wait and still hope to successfully complete the trail.
     The night before we’d downloaded a map and our passports from the visitors’ bureau website.  We’d also  noted with dismay that four of the twelve shops on the trail were closed for the holidays.  Running the trail was a gamble, then, because we had no guarantee that if we completed the stops we would still be able to collect our commemorative t-shirts.  To enhance our chances, TJ suggested we stop by the closed shops as well and take a selfie with the sign to show we’d been there.
     The first two bakeries were closed.  At each we piled out of the car and took a snap, looking longingly at the darkened kitchens behind the glass.  Third on the list was Martin’s.  It shone like a beacon in the dark, a converted gas station with a neon ‘OPEN’ sign.  The garage bay side was now floor to ceiling glass windows opening onto the kitchen.  Bags of flour and glaze lined the walls, with flour and mixers in the center.  The office area was four large no-nonsense cases resplendent with donuts and a couple of coffee urns.  
     We talked it over in the car on the way down.  We’d get three donuts at each shop, two to split between us and one to take back to those still asleep at home.  We walked out with one maple bacon bar, a banana creme filled, and an apple fritter.  “Oh, let’s get one of those, too,” said Kelsey, pointing to the large chocolate frosted ring.  It was a mistake that would later haunt us.  Cathy Mason, owner and donut purveyor, advised us to go big early when she heard we were on the donut trail.  “By the end you’ll be pretty full of donuts, “she promised.
     On we went, winding our way through Middletown and Trenton, Hamilton and Fairfield, stopping at the Donut King, the Donut Spot, the Donut House, and the Donut Man.  We ate crullers and fried croissants, red velvet and german chocolate concoctions, classic glazed and Lucky Charms frosted.  At the eighth stop, Kelsey picked out a large Buckeye donut, topped with chocolate and filled with peanut butter creme.  “Be careful,” warned her brother, “that’s pretty big and you’re going to have to eat it.”  Sure enough, after everyone had had a bite or two, she was left holding half the pastry.  “Ooonh, I don’t think I can eat this,” she complained.  “Told you so,” said TJ as he watched her furtively throw the evidence in a trash can outside the next stop on the circuit.
     Just before ten AM we pulled up to the Butler County Visitors Bureau, where the young woman on duty was delighted to award us each a t-shirt and take our picture in front of the donut trail signpost.  TJ, thinking we were true pioneers, asked how long the trail had been in operation and if many people finished it.  “Well,” she told us proudly, “it opened about two years ago, and so far more than eighty-six hundred people have completed it.”  Seeing his deflated look, she added, “but not very many do it in a day.”  Three of the people in the car slept for the two hour ride home, deep in a donut coma.
     We noticed as we passed through each inviting door that these shops opened at either three or four in the morning.  By the end of our run the cases were already mostly empty, so if you want to have the best selection get up early wherever you are and look for the local donut shop.  I do.  So far nothing in my taste experience has bettered Red’s in Paducah, Kentucky for the best donut in America, but I’ll continue to hunt.  If you’re a hunter, too, you may find us out there somewhere in the steam and the sugar glaze, wandering the wee hours, off the beaten path.

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 Show Schedule for Next Weekend

63rd Annual Houston Boat, Sport & Travel Show

January 5-14

NRG Center

Houston, TX

 

Indy RV Expo

January 6-14

Indiana State Fairgrounds

Indianapolis, IN

 

2018 Pittsburgh RV Show

January 6-14

David L. Lawrence Convention Center

Pittsburgh, PA

 

Ohio RV Supershow

January 10-14

I-X Center

Cleveland, OH

 

Mid America RV Show

January 11-14

Kansas City Convention Center-Bartle Hall

Kansas City, MO

 

57th Annual RV & Campgrounds Show

January 12-14

Allentown Fairgrounds

Allentown, PA

 

Boston RV & Camping Expo

January 12-15

Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

Boston, MA

 

The OKC Boat & RV Show

January 12-14

OK State Fair Park

Oklahoma City, OK

 

Valley RV & Camping Show

January 12-14

Century Center

South Bend, IN

 

Washington Camping RV Expo

January 12-14

Dulles Expo Center

Chantilly, VA

 

 

Direct download: RT174.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 5:38pm EDT

Episode 173: What happens if you get sick?

 

What happens if you get sick while out on the road? What happens if you need a doctor and you are far from home in another state? In this episode, we will tell you about a terrific plan that I think every RVer should consider. An organization that provides on-call doctors for RVers in every state, doctors who can talk to you on the phone or via video, prescribe most drugs you’ll need for any sudden illness, even help you find a local specialist.

Plus… this episode is chock full of RV tips, questioned and answers about the RV lifestyle, RV news, the full RV show schedule for the coming weekend and some wonderful off the beaten path advice.

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

 

We’re comng t you this week from the Wisconsin Dells…

 

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

 

Our dog Bo loves the winter. And he really loves snow. But sometimes, the snow and ice can build up on his paws and cause him some pain.

So we use a product called Musher’s Secret.

We learned about this product while covering dog sled races for the blog and it goes on his paws whenever we take him out for extended play in the snow. Musher's Secret is a dense, barrier wax that forms a breathable bond with your dog's paws. Developed in Canada for use with sledding dogs, it provides tenacious protection even in the most extreme conditions.

Just spread a light coating of Musher's Secret on the pads and rub in. It protects the paws and still allows perspiration to escape through the toes.

The neat thing about this product is that it is not just for ice and snow and salt protection in the wintertime. It also protects your dog in sand and from hot pavement during those summertime hikes. It can be used weekly or as needed to prevent abrasions, burning, drying and cracking. 

Think of it as an invisible boot.

It’s $19 on Amazon and at pet stores everywhere.

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

 

Stephanie saw our report on the need for RV service technicians and wonders where to find help. We referred her to the educational programs offered by the RecreatIon Vehicle Industry Association - http://www.rvia.org/?ESID=educational and its many in person and elearning programs. Also the RV Maintenance Tech Course offered online and through hands on programs at https://rvtechcourse.com/

 

Listener Pat asks about a recent development that makes the very po;ular and helpful AllStays app now unavailable for Android users. We explain and tell her those Android users who have the app will find it still works, there just wot be updates. The iOS app will continue to be updated, and of course the Allstays website also has up to date infor at https://www.allstays.com/apps/camprv.htm

 

And a listener has a question about mixing different blends of diesel fuel in his sprinter-based RV. We try to clear up the confusion, which we covered in depth in episode 171 - http://roadtreking.com/episode-171-clearing-lingering-questions/

 

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 happens if you get sick while out on the road? What happens if you need a doctor and you are far from home in another state? In this episode, we will tell you about a terrific plan that I think every RVer should consider. An organization that provides on-call doctors for RVers in every state, doctors who can talk to you on the phone or via video, prescribe most drugs you’ll need for any sudden illness, even help you find a local specialist.

 

The service is called RV Health.

 

You can use RV Health for many of your medical issues instead of expensive and timely urgent care visits. For example you wake up one morning with sudden cold-like symptoms: stuffy nose, cough, congestion. You have trouble getting an appointment with an area doctor while traveling and you don’t want to miss time at work or going through the hassle of sitting in an urgent care or hospital waiting room. What to do?

 

Our guest is Scott Blair, the fulltime RVer who set up the service, which is called RV Health - https://rvhealth.com/RVPODCAST

 

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

 

Happy New Year to you and your listeners! As we look to get our lives off on the right foot, it’s time we take a look at our entertainment options at home as well.

 

And if your Bluetooth speaker has become long in the tooth, perhaps it’s time for an upgrade. 

 

I can’t think of a better edition to your home, than the newly launched Google Home Max (https://www.verizonwireless.com/accessories/google-home-max/)  Think of this as Google Home’s ultra cool older brother.

 

Not only does it do everything a Google Home or Google Home Mini does - like turn your smart lights on and off, answer your questions and help you out in the kitchen - but it also packs a seriously awesome array of speakers.

 

In fact, the Google Home Max has two 4.5 inch woofers and two tweeters which will pump out some high fidelity sounds.

 

And using its smart sound technology, it’ll automatically measure the acoustics in your room (or RV) and tweak the audio so your Pandora, Spotify and YouTube music will sound better than ever before.

 

All you need to make it work is wifi in your home and you’re good to go.

 

It’s an audiophile’s dream come true.

 

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 -  

Tom and Patti Burtkett recap their favorite trips from the past year as they7 look forward to new adventures in 2018.

 

 

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 SHOW CALENDAR FOR THIS WEEKEND

 

Colorado RV Adventure & Travel Show

January 4-6

Colorado Convention Center

Denver, CO

 

63rd Annual Houston Boat, Sport & Travel Show

January 5-14

NRG Center

Houston, TX

 

Greater Atlanta RV Show

January 5-7

Georgia International Convention Center

College Park, GA

 

Knoxville RV Show

January 5-7

Sevierville Convention Center

Sevierville, TN

 

South Carolina RV & Camping Show - Greenville

January 5-7

TD Convention Center

Greenville, SC

 

Wisconsin RV Show

January 5-7

Wisconsin Center District

Milwaukee, WI

 

Indy RV Expo

January 6-14

Indiana State Fairgrounds

Indianapolis, IN

 

2018 Pittsburgh RV Show

January 6-14

David L. Lawrence Convention Center

Pittsburgh, PA

 

Direct download: RT173.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 11:43am EDT

In the last RV Podcast episode of the year, we hear from RVers across North America as they share their RV bucket list trade plans for 2018

Direct download: RT172.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 4:37pm EDT

                                    

Episode 171: Clearing up some lingering questions

It’s the week before Christmas, a time when most RVers are staying put, hunkered down to be with family and friends for the holiday. We thought this would be the perfect week to settle some nagging RV questions that have been surfacing all year around.

Chief among them has to do with biodiesel fuel, and in particular, the Sprinter RV. What happens when an RVer is in a state that only sells high percentage bio diesel fuel, like B20 or more??

Is it OK to use occasionally? Or are you putting your Sprinter engine in jeopardy by using high percentage biodiesel fuel? We’ll try to sort that out in this week’s podcast and answer your questions. Plus we have lots of RV news and tips and a great off the beaten path report.  

Show Notes for Episode #171 Dec. 20, 2017 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

Christmas Week… we’re at our Michigan home, celebrating with family

We just released a really fun video on dog parks, offering tips and lots of photos from our dog park visits around the country. Our dog Bo travels with us in our RV and dog parks give him and us the exercise we so badly need after a long day’s drive. You can see it on our RV Lifestyle Channel on You Tube at http://rvlifestylechannel.com

Just a warning. Out in Oregon, an RV caught fire after the family dog oknocked over a portable propane-fueled heater that was being used inside the RV. No one was hurt and the local fire department kept it from spreading to nearly vehicles. Fire experts say you should only use electric heaters inside confined spaces..

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

JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

We get lots of ideas and tips sent in by our audience. Some are too short for a full-length report, but still useful. We’ve saved all the tips you have sent us this year and by combining a bunch of them together, we’ve got a great report. So listen up… here are 8 RV tips that will make your life on the road and at camp a little easier.

1) Wrap a wet paper towel around a bottle and out it into the freezer. In 15 minutes, it will be almost completely ice cold.

2) Use Doritos as a fire starter. Really. They burn better than crumbled up newspaper. 

3) Freeze green grapes to chill a class of white wine down without watering it down.

4) Put a small glass of water in the microwave when you warm up pizza to keep it from getting chewy

5) Save your empty Chapstick containers for an emergency cash stash.  Take our the little plunger push up thing and you can store some rolled up bills in it for an emergency  stash you leave in the RV.

6) If your RV has a slide out, use cut a length-long slice of a swimming pool noodle and put that over the sharp edges so you won’t hurt yourself if you accidentally bump into it at camp.

7) Get a small dry erase board and use it to write down the name of the campground, the phone number of the campground, the address and your campsite spot number. In case you need t call emergency help, this will save you lots of time in talking with police of emergency dispatchers.

8) Rub an onion on your barbeque grill to keep things from sticking on it.

So there you go. Hope those tips come in handy!

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 device 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

Here are the email questions we answered in this episode…

It's winter, it's cold, and we're getting ready to take our new (to us) on a trip. Do I need to Winterizing or simply Sanitize and then refill the inside fresh water tank? I can understand Winterizing if our Roadtrek were going to sit in the driveway, but not if its on the road. Perhaps Winterizing the holding tanks might be in order? What's the scoop? I'm confused. Thanks for your help. I just want to take good care or our new Class B as we plan on keeping it for a long time.  Terry, Fresno CA

My wife and I purchased a Roadtrek Zion this year. Your videos were a big part of decision making process. Thank you! Now I am in the process of deciding which Weboost kit to install. I saw that at one point you had trucker antenna attached to your rear door hinge. I thought that was very ingenious. I am wondering: Are you continuing to use that option with your new van, or if you have gone to the newer Weboost RV kit? If you are still using a trucker antenna, are you using the 19" with the spring base or the 24" solid rod? Do/did you think the trucker antenna reach up high enough above the van roof? If you are using the newer RV kit antenna, how did you mount it on the roof? Do you know whether the trucker or the RV antenna get better reception? That's enough. Thank your in advance for your consideration of my inquires!  -Ron 

Hey Mike I am getting into looking at buying a Class B I like the ERA 170x and really am thinking  of a 4x4 one for the snow. If I do settle for a 2 wheel drive how do they do in snow going to ski areas? off road is not as important as snow to me and I could just beef up the shocks and raise it for some off road if I had to- Mike

Hello, I am curious, If I were to order a new fully loaded 4X4 CS EX with the super battery and solar package, along with all the options, diesel, all electric, screen, under mount ac, under hood generator, and so on, how long is the wait? Basically I want a bad to the bone, fully loaded 4X4 cs ex to go travel and find out of the way places to camp and be very comfortable whether desert heat or mountain cold. So is there a possibility of extra insulation or is that something I will have to address after delivery? I live in the Phoenix area. I also love the mountains so a variety of conditions will be encountered. I know it isn't a jeep but 4wd is a nice thing to have to help get unstuck. Thank you, Ron H.

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

This week, we talk about the use of bio diesel fuel in RVs, especially the very popular Sprinter vans that major RV makers like Winnebago, Airstream, Roadtrek, Leisure Travel Van, Chinook, Coachmen, Pleasure-Way, Advanced RV and other RV manufacturers use for their Class B and B Plus Vans.

Biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that is reducing U.S. dependence on foreign petroleum, creating jobs and improving the environment. Made from a diverse mix of feedstocks including recycled cooking oil, soybean oil, and animal fats, it is the first and only EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel in commercial-scale production across the country and the first to reach 1 billion gallons of annual production. Meeting strict technical fuel quality and engine performance specifications, it can be used in existing diesel engines without modification and is covered by all major engine manufacturers’ warranties, most often in blends of up to 5 percent or 20 percent biodiesel. It is produced at plants in nearly every state in the country.

The biodiesel market has increased from about 25 million gallons in the early 2000s to over 3 billion gallons of advanced biofuel in 2016. This represents a small but growing component of the annual U.S. on-road diesel market of about 35 billion to 40 billion gallons. Consistent with projected feedstock availability, the industry has established a goal of producing about 10 percent of the diesel transportation market by 2022

States where biodiesel is showing up include Illinois, Alabama, Colorado , Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington. Most are 2 to 5% blends, though more and more states are starting to offer higher blends. Minnesota. starting May 1, will mandate B20 from May through October.

But here’s the rub: Mercedes has discouraged use of any biodiesel fuel above the B5 rating in its Blue-Tec diesel (2010 and later) Sprinters.

As to the B20 standard, Mercedes says: “B20 blends are generally not approved and should be only used on a very limited basis and only if unavoidable.”

Just as we started recording this episode, I received an official statement from Christian Bokich, Dept. Manager, Product & Technology Communications, Mercedes-Benz USA.

He said: “only in certain cases can we recommend B20 but only if it’s (Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel) under 15ppm.  B20 in general is not an approved fuel, especially for prolonged use.”

Note that Mercedes “can” recommend B20 - meaning when that’s all the owner can choose from at the pump. It is prolonged use that  Mercedes discourages.

References:

This story, appearing in the Canadian publication Driving, claims that Mercedes is abandoning the diesel vehicle market in North America because of improper fuel mandated in some states. - http://driving.ca/mercedes-benz/auto-news/news/mercedes-says-goodbye-to-diesel-in-north-america

Best as far we can tell, that premise is not true. Mercedes has big plans for the North American Sprinter market, For proof, just see this story -  https://www.postandcourier.com/business/mercedes-benz-vans-marks-construction-milestone-at-north-charleston-sprinter/article_ad68e0de-04d8-11e7-b53f-5fec2ae1f5d2.html

Here is the official brochure from Mercedes about using biodiesel in its engines, including the Sprinter. https://www.mbusa.com/vcm/MB/DigitalAssets/pdfmb/serviceandparts/biodiesel_Brochure5.pdf

Here is an interesting discussion thread on the issue from the Sprinter forum - https://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=38965

Our interview is with Scott Fenwick, the Technical Director of the National Biodiesel Board, which is the national trade association representing the biodiesel industry in the United States – http://biodiesel.org

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

For many of us the holidays evoke strong nostalgic feelings. We search for updated versions of our favorite childhood toys, dust off Grandpa’s pumpkin pie recipe and work hard to recreate that traditional holiday feel for ourselves, our family and friends. For those of us who yearn for holidays past, today’s technology can help you turn back the clock and get in the holiday spirit.

Nothing will get you in the festive mood for baking gingerbread or wrapping gifts than the holiday music classics. With a simple verbal command--“Hey Google, play some holiday music”--your Google Home Mini will get you rockin’ around the tree. If you have multiple google homes in your house you can link them all together so your favorite holiday tunes follow you from room to room.

Feeling the urge to roast chestnuts on an open fire but don’t have a fireplace?  While you may have to imagine the chestnuts, you can still enjoy a high definition virtual fireplace with a flat screen TV and Chromecast Ultra. Or make it a holiday movie marathon by inviting friends and family over to help decorate the tree to classics like Miracle on 42nd Street or Christmas Vacation.

Illuminate your holiday spirit by synchronizing your Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance lights to flash and fade in time to your holiday playlist and create a warm inviting and festive home.

Missing the days when you went caroling with the old gang? Connect with Facetime, Google Hangout or any number of group chat options and virtually walk the old neighborhood together singing your favorite holiday songs.

Here's to an old fashioned holiday!

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 -  

Here’s a Miami Herald story about the reopening of Shark Valley - http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article190182909.html

Everglades National Park reopened Shark Valley on Saturday, much to the delight of cyclists who have made the park a popular attraction for decades.

Shark Valley had been closed for three months since Hurricane Irma flooded the 15-mile loop road, which draws bicyclists, walkers and tram riders. The park also serves as home to alligators, otters, fish, turtles and birds. A wetter than normal season made water rise thigh-high in the parking lots, said Everglades National Park ranger Kimberly Oppen.

You might not see sharks from the observation tower that gives visitors a 360-degree view of the Everglades, but the park is populated by alligators who sun themselves on the trail during chilly winter days. The tower’s viewing deck overlooks a water hole used by turtles, fish and birds. Shark Valley, in the heartland of the Everglades, is so named because its water flows southwest to Shark River.

Not everything is back to normal, though. Everglades National Park is still working to restore potable water to Shark Valley, so bring your own for the time being. Some portions of the loop road and trails are also still under water, like Otter Cave Trail and Bobcat Boardwalk. The latter was due for renovation and will reopen when the work is completed.

Some areas remain under a few inches of water — near the observation tower, for example — or are slick with algae from the wetness, so bicyclists and pedestrians are cautioned to take care.

The park is open 24 hours but bike rentals and tram tours are from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and vehicles don’t have access to the Shark Valley area after 6 p.m.

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.

 

 

Direct download: RT171.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 6:43pm EDT

 

In this episode, we talk about Walmart parking lots, one of the favorite overnight camping spots used by RVers when they need a quick place to spend the night.  Over the past couple of years, Walmart parking lots have been linked to story after story about high crime rates.

Many RVers, in fact, now stay away from them. Is the anxiety justified? We’ll answer a call from a worried listener and do our best to clarify the concerns and let you know our thoughts abut this.

Plus more of your questions, a great off the beaten path report, tips on saving money this shopping season and an interview with Mary Jane Curry on the top gadgets uou need in your RV kitchen.

Show Notes for Episode #170 December 13, 2017 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

Mike and Jennifer are both recovering from severe head colds. But the show must go on… 

We discuss a major change in direction for the Family Motorcoach Association - FMCA votes to allow owners of all self-contained RVs in 

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

RVers love their pets!  In fact, surveys show that one of the main reasons people buy an RV is so they can travel with their pets.

At a recent RV show in Louisville, we ran into our friends Mark and Dawn Polk, of RV Education 101. They travel with not one, not two but three dogs.

How do they do it?

We whipped out the recorder and asked Dawn for some tips…

Good advice from the Polks!

And be sure to send me your tips and suggestions about any aspect of 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

Hal is a new Pleasureway owner. He shares his travel plans. He likes the blog post we had some time back from Campskunk on staying in 70 degree weather and moving with the season all year

Peggy has a 2004 Chevy 190 from Roadtrek and needs to replace some of her old plumbing. She also asks for input on a composting toilet.

And despite some distortion on the call, Teri has a problem with swaying with her Serenity RV from Leisure Travel Vans. She’s looking for advice.

 And a caller questioned a recent guest’s worry about crime in Walmart parking lots. She’s looking for advice on straying there when needed.

 Here's our take:

Here are some recent headlines a quick Google search returns from over the last year or so:

From Bloomberg - Walmart's Out-of-Control Crime Problem Is Driving Police Crazy

From NPR - Wal-Mart's Crime Problem Overwhelms Police Across 

From JR Security - Wal-Mart Parking Lots Are Virtual Magnet For Crime 

From the publication This Week - Why criminals flock to Walmart

From the NY Daily News - Violent crimes at Walmart top 200 this year as cops slam retailer 

Let me read this from Time Magazine: “Across the U.S., Walmarts have become a regular stop for law enforcement responding to calls. In Camden, The State reported in July that 187 of the police department’s 1,372 calls from January to June this year occurred at Walmart. The Tampa Bay Times found 16,800 calls to police for Walmarts in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties in just one year—four times the number of calls to Targets in the area—and amounting to the equivalent of two calls an hour. In Louisville, WDRB reported more than 9,200 calls for police at area Walmarts since 2012, by far the most of any location in the city. In April 2015, a Portsmouth, Va., Walmart was the scene of a fatal encounter between a white police officer and a black unarmed man accused of shoplifting. Police in Amherst, N.Y., recently discovered a meth lab inside a drainage pipe underneath a Walmart parking lot. And earlier this month, criminal charges were brought against three employees of a Florida Walmart Supercenter accused of fatally injuring a shoplifter who was trying to steal $380 worth of DVDs.”

And this from the All Stays RV site and app developer:

“There are some issues with parking in Wal-Mart parking lots but it is mostly a safe thing to do. You just to need to use common sense and look around the surrounding neighborhood as well. The location has a lot to do with the safety factor. There are some Wal-Marts in bad neighborhoods of some cities. Look around as you drive near the Wal-Mart store . If there are lots of other nice stores nearby, the police will be around. If there are bars on windows nearby, the police will also be around but you shouldn't be. It is all about what you are comfortable with 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

No matter what size RV you have, storage room is always at a premium. Food preparation products and storage is one area every RVer needs to maximize for efficiency.

That's why we asked Mary Jane Curry, a Personal Chef and the RV Recipes writer for our roadtreking.com RV Travel Blog, to help us identify the best products we can get that will save space and efficiently use the RV kitchen. In this report, we visit her in her RV and she shows us her favorite Must-Have Products for the RV Kitchen.

To see the complete interview with Mar Jane demonstrating those RV kitchen products and more, check out the video version of the report at https://youtu.be/wr0kXmNEx24

Check out gear page at http://roadtreking.com/gear You'll find direct Amazon links to the exact products Mary Jane shows in the video.

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

Tis the season of giving and that also means there’s the biggest opportunity to snag some savings. So grab your smartphones because I’ve got a couple of apps that are going to come in quite handy as you hustle and bustle around doing your holiday shopping.

First up...an app called ShopSavvy. Let’s say you’re browsing at Best Buy and decide you want to buy a new FitBit. Before making the purchase, let’s make sure you’re getting the cheapest price by using ShopSavvy. Open the app, scan the product’s barcode and app goes to work checking other physical store locations and online to see how much it’ll cost elsewhere. And then you can decide if the savings are worth another stop along the way.

And if you decide you’re making the purchase at Best Buy, I’ve got one other app for you to check out. It’s called RetailMeNot. This app will use your phone’s GPS and know which store you’re visiting. Then it’ll check online and physical ads to see if there are any coupons or discount codes you can use to save even more money. I was recently at a mall in Cleveland and used the app to save shoppers anywhere from $10 - $50 on a transaction. And it’s so easy to use!

Last but not least, consider using your phone to check out. Samsung Pay, a free app for most newer Samsung phones makes it easy to pay with your smartphone at pretty much any store that allows you to swipe a card. In addition, Samsung Pay has additional deals at some retail locations, not to mention promotions and incentives for using your card. For instance, if you have any Gap Brands credit card and add it into Samsung Pay you’ll get up to $20 in gap gift cards just for paying with your phone.

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

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT -  

By Tom and Patti Burkett

If you were a West Virginia coal miner, life was especially hard in the early 1930s.  The Great Depression had pulled the bottom out of the coal market, and there were no jobs to be found anywhere in the region.  When Eleanor Roosevelt visited a friend in Morgantown, she saw the terrible conditions in which out of work mining families were living and determined to do something about it.  She began to plan and to prod her husband Franklin.  In 1934, the first New Deal town was begun on 600 acres of farmland near Reedsville.  It was eventually named Arthurdale after the man from whom the property was purchased.
    Each mining family was offered a few acres of land, a kit house, a refrigerator, and a cow.  The family was required to build the house, learn how to farm, contribute to community efforts, and support themselves through the work of cooperatives.  Over time, Arthurdale included a forge, a furniture factory, a weaving cooperative, a tractor assembly shop, and one of the regions first gas stations.  One hundred sixty two houses were built from kits supplied by the Hodgson and Wagner companies.  The homes had indoor plumbing and electricity, a rarity at the time.
    Eleanor Roosevelt made this one of her pet projects.  She visited the community often, and became well known to the residents, who squabbled over the opportunity to partner with her at the square dances always held when she was in town.  Each year she attended the school graduation and handed out diplomas.  She insisted that each resident be paid a living wage, and help establish and promote the cooperatives.
    At its peak population, the industries were producing a substantial output of high quality products and might have succeeded but for the limitations of its location.  There was no easy access to shipping for the furniture, tractors, rugs, and farm goods produced, so the experiment eventually failed.  Some families moved away, others took jobs in nearby Morgantown as the roads and economy improved, and in 1947 the government sold off its assets and left town.  There were. eventually, more than six hundred New Deal towns, some more successful than others.  Among the best known are Roosevelt, New Jersey and Greenbelt, Maryland.
    In 1985 a group of local citizens bought the crumbling central core of the historical village and began to restore it.  Today you can visit the administration building, the forge, the gas station, one of the original Hodgson houses, and the community hall where Eleanor Roosevelt square danced.  The work here is currently being enhanced by the efforts of Americorps historians who are conducting research and restoration work.  Jane, our enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide, remarked that the organization would be happy to provide a campsite and electrical hookup to anyone willing to volunteer some time to the effort.
    Of the one hundred sixty two buildings originally built here, all but two are still standing.  Many of the residents are descendants of the coal miners who arrived in the years following 1934.  As travelers, we often visit nicely restored historical sites with finished museums and manicured lawns.  It was exciting, here, to see such a project in its early stages.  Some work is finished, but much remains to be done.  The bones of buildings are waiting to be put back in service.  Stacks of photos and historical documents sit on tabletops, undoubtedly hiding hidden treasures.  
    There’s even one of the original Wagner kit houses for sale at an attractive price.  Since our sticks and bricks house was built from a Sears kit, we were intrigued with the notion of about having our own piece of history in this place where our national government flexed its muscle on behalf of struggling citizens. We’ll definitely be going back.  Head south from interstate 68 on US 119 and look for West Virginia 92 south.  You could find us there, Patti and Tom Burkett, working on a fixer-upper off the beaten path.

https://arthurdaleheritage.org/

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.

Direct download: RT170.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 8:14pm EDT

This week, we meet the Russos, Joe and Kait, a California couple oin heir early thirties who quit their corporate jobs for a life of fulltime travel in an RV. We’ll hear their story, how it applies to you and the pros and cons of living in a van. Plus, lots of questions this week. Tech tips and a must-visit National Park that needs to be on your bucket list.

 

Show Notes for Episode #169 Dec. 6, 2017 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

 

We’re back home from Louisville and the big National RV Trade Show. We still have a couple of videos to do of interesting things we came across at the show. They’ll be up on our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube soon.

 

We discussed two items in the news this week of strong interest to RVers:

 

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

JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

We met lots of interesting people at the RV Industry Trade Show last week in Louisville. One of our new friends is Janine Pettit, who has become an ambassador for what is called the Girl Camping Movement. Janine was a recent guest on Episode 165 and talked with Mike at length about solo women campers.

But in Louisville, Janine and I got to talk about something that affects all of us. Unloading and cleaning our RVs after a trip.

We recorded the conversation and you get to listen in at

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

 

A listener named Darrell heard our podcast last week from Louisville where we talked about the lack of campground spaces caused by the booming RV sales. He raises a related and equally serious issue: The shameful state of disrepair that characterizes some campground.

 

Listener Cheryl gave us some kind feedback about our recent video on our RV Lifestyle Channel on You Tube about our Top Ten Holiday Gift Suggestions for RVers.

 

Carl from Pennsylvania is worried about fire safety and RV refrigerators

 

David has a question about RVs and who does the repair on the various components of an RV

 

Jean is a new RVer who want to know about using an RV bathroom in the winter after the RV has been winterized with antifreeze

 

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

 Joe and Kait Russo are travel writers and videographers who live, along with their dog Leo, full-time in a Class B RV - but it didn't used to be that way. For years the Russos, originally from California, worked in demanding jobs with a desire for adventure and travel but little vacation time to do it. In 2015 all that changed, when Joe and Kait dramatically downsized, quit their 9-to-5 jobs, and decided to hit the road in an RV.  Joe recently wrote a book about their decision called:  "Take Risks: One Couple's Journey to Quit Their Jobs and Hit the Open Road."

RESOURCES

The book: https://www.amazon.com/Take-Risks-Couples-Journey-Russos-ebook/dp/B07566RT6B

 

Website: http://: https://weretherussos.com

 

YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/weretherussos

 

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

 

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

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

 

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

I’m back this week with some more great gift ideas under $100.

First up...home automation the easy way with the Wemo Mini Smart Plug. You can add wifi capabilities to anything that plugs in. This smart outlet connects to your home’s wifi network. Now, anything you plug in from your coffee pot to holiday lighting can be controlled via a smartphone app. And when paired with a Google Home or Mini, you can control via voice as well!

Next...There’s no need to worry about running out of power when you’re packing the Kate Spade Slim Battery Bank. Its slim, sleek, design means it’ll fit in your purse or backpack with ease...not to mention it’s quite the attractive looking device. And with its built in lightning tip there are no connectors you have to worry about carrying around.

Finally music to keep you going this holiday season courtesy of the Braven Stryde 360. Durability, sound quality and looks - this bluetooth speaker has it all. And its convenient size makes it easy to carry with you anywhere. It’s also dustproof, waterproof and shockproof so you don’t need to worry about the elements hurting it. And if a call comes in while using it, no need to pick up the phone. Thanks to built in noise-canceling microphones, you can have clear conversations even in a noisy environment.

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.

 

 When Verizon says better matters, they mean it. 

Only Verizon ranked highest in  leading network studies, in multiple tests, year after year that measure Network quality performance in the United States by RootMetrics for the fifth consecutive testing period. 

Can your network say that?

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

 

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT -  Mesa Verde National park

 

The key attraction at Mesa Verde are the amazing archeological cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived here between 600 to 1300 in structures built within caves and under outcroppings in cliffs. The ruins are the largest archaeological preserve in the United States, scattered across 81.4 square miles.

 

The park was created  in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt and there are lots of spots to see them and even crawl through them.

 

No one knows why the ancestral pueblo people settled here, in an arid and hot high desert. More mysteriously, no one knows why, after centuries of living here, they suddenly moved. But the sandstone dwellings are amazingly well preserved and the U.S. Forest Service does a great job

 

The Morefield Campground at Mesa Verde National Park is nestled into a scenic canyon some four and a half miles off US 160 from the park entrance. With 267 sites, it seldom fills up. That's because all but 15 are for dry camping only and of the 15 with full hookups, none accomodate RVs over 45 feet in length. The Class A congestion that turns so many other campgrounds into “tinominium “complexes is refreshingly absent here.

 

Each site has lots of space between its neighbors and native Gambel oaks, tall prairie grasses and wild flowers and make for a spectacular wooded canyon that abounds with wildlife.

 

See photos and a review of the park at http://roadtreking.com/mesa-verde-national-park-great-for-boondocking/

 

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.

 

Since 1917, the Steinbring family has been bringing you the best products and service within the transportation industry. The sales staff at Steinbring Motorcoach brings you decades of experience in the recreational vehicle industry and is celebrating 100 years in business and a 3rd generation family business. 

Along with being named a Blue Ribbon dealer by RV Business Magazine, Steinbring’s has been named a Top 50 Dealer numerous times including in 2015. Steinbring Motorcoach offers new and used Newmar Class A motorhomes as well as Roadtrek Class Bs. Also for sale are pre-owned coaches from popular brands such as Roadtrek, Winnebago, Itasca, Tiffin, Fleetwood, Holiday Rambler and Monaco along with a wide selection of consignments.  

Whether you are looking for a Class A, Class B, Class C, a diesel pusher, gas or a toy hauler, you’re sure to find your next RV at Steinbring’s. 

Along with award winning sales, Steinbring Motorcoach offers award winning service.

 

 

RV SHOWS THIS WEEKEND

20th Annual Palm Springs Area RV Show & Sale

Dec. 7-10

Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival Grounds 

Indo, CA

 

CLOSING

And so ends anther episode of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast.  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…. Please subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. New episodes are released…every Wednesday. Join our mailing list… we send out a special newsletter to subscribers every Monday. And don’t forget our YouTube Channel, loaded with helpful videos on the RV Lifsetyle. Search YouTube for the RV Lifestyle Channel and you;ll find us. Till the next time, I’m Mike Wendland… Roadtreking across North America.\ So long everyone

 

 

Direct download: RT169.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 6:08pm EDT

RT168 The Big Issues Facing the RV Industry for 2018

 

This episode of the podcast is coming to you direct from the 2017 RV Industry Trade Show in Louisville, KY. Taking questions and comments received over the past week from our Roadtreking.com blog readers, out Roadtreking Facebook Group and Page and our RV lifestyle Channel on YouTube, we’ve interviewed top leaders in the RV industry and identified the three biggest issues this booming industry needs to address as 2018 approaches. You’ll hear their responses in this podcast, plus much more.

 

Show Notes for Episode #168 Nov. 29, 2017 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

 

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

 

Jennifer and I have been in Louisville all week and we are actually doing this episode right from the show floor.

  • This show is not open to the public, just RV manufacturers, RV dealers, service techs and parts suppliers. Plus the RV media, of course
  • 2 million square feet of exhibitor space
  • Hundreds of new RVs for 2018
  • Seminars, accessory dealers, parts dealers and the elite of the industry.

 

We are moving from our standard podcast format to instead identify the three major issues and bring on industry experts to help shed their insights on what it means.

 

The three issues are:

  1. With a million new RVers this year, and another million expected in 2018, where will they take their RVs? Campground development is not keeping space with RV sales. What can RVers do? We’ll try to put it into perspective
  2. Our audience identifies RV service as another channeling issue. RV repairs are often hard to get done. Sometime, it takes weeks to get an appointment and when you’re out of town and need help, what can an RV owner do? What’s the industry’s effort to add more service personnel.
  3. RV quality is the third issue our audience raised. With manufacturers rolling our new RVs as fast as they can, many of our readers and viewers think quality has taken a backseat. What is the industry doing to insure the quality of the new RVs they are building in record numbers?

 

We’ll talk about these, in depth.

 

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 16 locations and growing

 

 

ISSUE #1 – With so many RVers on the road, where will they stay?

 

We discuss this with industry leaders

 

 

 

 This part of the podcast 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  

 

Issue #2 – The need for more service techs to repair and maintain RVs

 

We discuss this with industry leaders:

 

  • Marl Polk runs com, a website devoted to teaching RVers how to do it themselves. He shares his thoughts.

 

  • Bob Zagami is executive director of the New England RV Dealers Association. He says the problem is a serious problem and has helped pioneer some innovate ways for the industry to solve it.

 

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..

 

Issue #3: RV quality

 

Talking about this issue is:

 

  • Walter Cannon is a well-respected leader in the RV industry, specializing in safety and technical issues. He is the director of com and has extensive experience as a fulltimer. He puts the issue into perspective

 

 

 

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

 

 

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

 

With Thanksgiving now behind us, we’re solidly locked into the holiday season. So do you know what you’re getting for those on your list this year?

Over the next few weeks I’ll bring you and your listeners some high tech options...starting this week with gifts under $100.

First up...the Google Home Mini. When it comes to adding smarts to your home, look no further than this doughnut sized device. Stick it in the kitchen, living room, bedroom or all three and when connected to wifi it’ll answer all of your burning questions, from what’s the weather like, to how to cook a turkey, to playing your favorite holiday songs. And all of that happens simply by saying, “Ok, Google.”

Next...sometimes your standard white lighting just won’t cut it. And that’s where the Philips Hue White Starter Kit comes in. These LED lights have their own built in wifi chip. And when connected to your home network, you can turn them on and off, automate them and even change the color temperature from cool daylight to warm relaxing light all through an app. These lights can also be connected to your Google Home device allowing you truly hands free control!

And finally the Chromecast Ultra - this is the dongle that truly does it all! Plug it into any TV or monitor. And using your smartphone, tablet or laptop, you can cast YouTube videos, Spotify, Netflix and other content to the display with ease. Now you can bask in the warm glow by simply casting a YouTube fireplace video onto your TV

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

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT

 

By Tom and Patti Burkett

If you’re headed to or from Houston, or New Orleans, or Pensacola along the gulf coast, it’s easy to get on I-10 and zip through the bayou country.  If you do, you’ll be missing out on some entertaining and unexpected attractions.  After crossing on the Galveston-Port Bolivar ferry at sunset, we drove on a couple of hours to Nibletts’s Bluff outside Vinton, Louisiana.  As we settled into our inexpensive full hookup campsite at this county park, we heard banjos and fiddles.  We’d arrived at the end of a five-day bluegrass jam that’s held here annually.  The music was pleasant, and the showers had plenty of hot water.  We walked out on a long fishing boardwalk that wound over the bayou about a foot above the water, but turned around when we saw a sign that warned ‘BE AWARE.  ALLIGATORS CAN JUMP.’
    Not too far down the road was the Gator Chateau.  This large roadside park is operated by the oil and gas industry association, and has a few exhibits explaining the history and process of mineral extraction along the Gulf coast.  But that’s not the real attraction.  A small building along the park drive offers the opportunity for you to hold an alligator.  When we stopped in, a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic young woman explained the do’s and don’ts before handing over a two foot gator to Patti.  Pools nearby held more of the reptiles, large and small.  
    Next door in a small gift shop, we told the clerk we were planning too stop at a nearby shop for some boudin.  We’d seen it advertised a number of places along our way.  “Well,” she said, “y’all can do that.  It’s pretty commercial.  If you want the real thing, you’d best head over to Billy’s, though, down at Scott”   Down the road it was then, to Scott, and at about ten in the morning, we stood in line for a good fifteen minutes for our turn at the counter.  Boudin is a sausage, particular to Cajun country, and it’s usually served with cracklings, which are deep fried bits of pig intestine.  We shared a mid-morning boudin ball and a small bag of cracklings as we drove on to the Atchafalaya Visitor Center.
    The Atchafalaya is the largest wetland in the United States.  Made up of bogs, cypress swamps, and marshes, it’s a nursery for hundreds of species and home to many of the Cajun folk of this region.  Acadians, French loyalists during the French and Indian War, were forced out of the Canadian Maritimes when the war ended in 1765, and settled here along the Gulf before the Revolutionary War.  Their unique music and cuisine have become part of our wider US culture over the past century.  The visitor center houses excellent displays about wildlife and ecology and offers an informative film.  Best, though, is the animatronic swamp critter band that looks like an escaped exhibit from Disney World.
    This coastline was devastated by hurricane Katrina, and if you drive along the coast itself, you’ll see countless lots for sale, and beautiful seaside mansions that can be yours for practically a song.  Remember, though, that they are uninsurable.  As you pass through Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, stop and see the angel tree.  During the hurricane, three humans and a Scottish terrier clung to this tree and were able to survive the storm surge.  The tree died from salt poisoning after the storm, but one of the survivors commissioned a sculptor to turn it into a depiction of angels.  There are many art trees along the coast, but this one is especially symbolic.
    From Galveston, Texas to the Gulf Islands National Seashore every mile of coastline and every interstate exit offers unexpected surprises that will play hob with the plans you made over breakfast.  Give in, and look for us, Patti and Tom Burkett, somewhere among the zydeco and etouffé, off the beaten path.

RESOURCES

http://www.niblettsbluffpark.com/

http://www.jeffdavis.org/tourism/attractions/gator-chateau.html

http://www.billysboudin.com/

http://www.atchafalaya.org/

 

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.

 

Direct download: RT168.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 9:05pm EDT

Episode 167: How to Find the Ultimate Camping Site in 2018

Before you start making your RV travel plans for the next camping season, you’ll want to listen to this week’s interview about a great resource for finding the perfect spot in public campgrounds. From state and out of the way municipal spots to outstanding boondocking campsites in state and national forests or other wilderness areas, our guest Ted Houghton has a resource that will truly help you find the ultimate camping spot in 2018. That’s coming up in our interview of the week in this episode.

Also this week, great RV tips, travel ideas, news affecting RVs and, of course, your comments and questions.

Show Notes for Episode #167 Nov. 22, 2017 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

We share our Thanksgiving plans and talk about what parts of the RV Lifestyle we live that we are most thankful for over the past year. There are free entry days on Black Friday in state parks in several states.  Indiana, Minnesota, Oregon, New York, Arizona, Washington, California, Missouri, Michigan… here’s a link to the ones we’ve heard about https://gearjunkie.com/get-outside-black-friday-freebies-state-parks

We update Bo’s progress after six weeks of obedience training. So far…so good!

We talk about the big Recreation Vehicle Industry Association Trade Show coming up next week in Louisville and our plans to ask the questions and find the info our readers, listeners and YouTube viewers want us to dig out for them from the show. 

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

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

We received a great tip from a listener named Anne who emailed us two tips this week.

The first tip has to do with wet towels and where to hang them.

What Anne did was to purchase one of those tension bars that people use for closet organizers or even sometimes bathroom shower curtains. Ann set hers up across the back of the bathroom in the RV.

She says she set it about an inch from the wall and that it is perfect for hanging those wet towels. They dry perfectly, she says…and out of the way.

A second tip involves something available in various places like Bed, Bath and Beyond, Walmart and even some of those dollar stores. What she did was buy sock dividers. They’re normally used to keep socks neat in a drawer. But Ann uses them in her RV kitchen cabinet to keep drinking and wine glasses from falling over. Now, she says, everything arrives intact.

Thanks Anne for sharing those great tips

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

Sue has a comment on how hard to is to find a service tech for an RV and wants to know what can be done about it. We comment.

Sandra wants to know about where to find resources about boondocking in Canada. We refer her to boondockerswelcome.com, which has nearly 300 spots listed on their handy membership site. Also ultimatecampgrounds.com. We interview the man behind that site in a few minutes but he lists more than 4,000 great spots to camp in Canada, many of them perfect for boondockers. He even has an app devoted just to Canadian public campgrounds.  We also like and are a member ourselves of HarvestHosts.com. They have more than 570 farms and wineries where you can camp for free in the U,S. and Canada. Also in Ontario, there’s mostly free camping on Crown land and conservation reserves, free to Canadian citizens for up to21 days – see https://www.ontario.ca/page/camping-crown-land

 

Email

First of all, let me tell you how much I enjoy your Roadtreking Newsletter.  I have learned a lot of tips from the two of you.  Thank you for sharing your experiences.  
My wife, Eileen, and I are the proud owners of a new RoadTrek Agile.  We took delivery of her in early October.  Although I have driven her around town and on two overnight outings, our first real road trip will be in mid-January when we will take off to Florida for several weeks or more.   Lake Superior and beyond. 
We live in the Twin City area of Minnesota.  I anticipate it will take us three days to drive out of the freeze belt when we leave on our trip in January (we tend to only want to drive for about 6 hours/day).  When I purchased the Agile, I had the dealer install heat pads on the bottom of the potable water tank, the grey water tank, and the black water tank.  I can turn those on until we get out of the cold weather to keep the contents of the tanks from freezing.  However, the water lines themselves are not insulated.  Is there a way to insulate them? Do I need to worry about the pipes freezing during the day as we drive down the road and at night when we are stopped?  The unit is currently winterized.  Would I be wise to wait until we are out of the freeze belt before I de-winterize it and fill the water tanks?  Likewise, do I want to winterize it again before I re-enter the freeze belt on our return trip?
We answer… recommending he stay winterized until it gets warm and then re-winterize when its time to return home

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

Our guest today is Ted Houghton, who has created a website that we believe is the most comprehensive and accurate resource you will find that lists public campgrounds of all types, in Canada and the US.

Ted has a great resource for finding the perfect spot in public campgrounds.

From state parks and out of the way municipal spots to outstanding boondocking campsites in state and national forests or other wilderness areas, Ted can truly help you find the ultimate camping spot in 2018.

His website is ultimatecampgrounds.com

Apps are available for all major platforms.

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

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

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

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

 Verizon Wireless

This year I want you and your listeners to own the holiday season. And with a little planning along with the following apps, you’ll be well on your way to doing just that!

First up...gift giving. It can be a pain to think up gift ideas or to remember what you got your special someone especially if you’ve been buying over the course of the year. That’s why I love the Gift Planner app for iOS and Christmas Gift List app for Android. Both of these free apps let you set a budget and stick to it. As you buy gifts just note who they’re for and the price in the app and you’ll see how much is left to spend. Easy as that!

Next up...my favorite part...saving money!

I’ve got a couple of great websites that also have free Android and iOS apps.

On the top of that list for me is DealNews.com. This site is great for gift ideation as you see what’s currently on sale in all sorts of categories from electronics to health and beauty. It’s a great way to get some ideas especially for the person that has everything. Be careful though as the deals are so tempting you may walk away with something for yourself as well!

And when you know what you want or where you plan to shop, I’ve got one more site for you to check out - RetailMeNot.com. Let’s say you want to pick something up at the Gap, for instance. Just go to the site and type in Gap - you just might be surprised to find coupon codes that will save you 10% or more on your purchase. It’s not going to have something for you every time but definitely worth checking out before you press the buy button.

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 -  Bronner’s in Frankenmuth

Bronner’s is America’s Christmas store. You’ve probably seen the billboards urging you to visit them all across the country. They are located in Frankenmuth Michigan, about an hour and a half north of Detroit.

The store is called America’s Christmas Wonderland and as soon as you walk inside, the sights and sounds and spirit of Christmas will surround and overwhelm you.

The store is huge – the size of one and a half football fields. They have over 50,000 gift items, trims and decorations.

It is the largest Christmas store in America, first opened in 1945.

And it's crowded, especially at this time of the year. Over the three-day Black Friday weekend, 50,000 people will have shopped at Bronner's.

Bronner's and Frankenmuth make for a great RV trip. There are two fully equipped campgrounds within spitting distance of the store. They are, alas, closed this time of the year. But there are lots of RV spaces in the Bronner’s parking lot, although no overnight stays are allowed. The store is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day and Easter Sunday.
A few years ago, we drove our RV up to Bronners and had it decorated in what turned out to be a really fun story. Here’s a link to it on our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube - https://youtu.be/6-O_EOb8XAY

 

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.

 

Direct download: RT167.mp3
Category:Travel -- posted at: 6:06pm EDT

Episode 166: Camping’s Dirty Little Secret

We have a jam-packed show for you this week. First off, we’ll tackle the dirty little secret of the RV industry. Yes, they are indeed selling lots and lots of new RVs. Setting sales records seemingly every month. But what they don’t tell you is that you’re going to have a very difficult time finding a place to camp in that RV because we’re not building campgrounds fast enough to keep up with all those new RVers. We’ll tackle this issue in our question of the week segment coming up in a couple of minutes.

Also…

We RVers love our dogs. Many in fact, cite traveling with a dog as one of the chief reasons they even have an RV! But here’s the deal: Dogs are….well, dogs. Not people. And too many of us do a disservice to our pets by treating them as if they were human.  In this week’s podcast, we get some great advice from a professional dog trainer about traveling with our dogs and making the experience enjoyable for our pets as well as ourselves.

Plus lots of audience comments, questions, tips and more all coming up in this episode of The RV Podcast.

 

Show Notes for Episode #166 Nov. 15, 2017 of Roadtreking - The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

Bo is back – You can see the reunion at https://youtu.be/mCEuuy71E28  We share how his training went and what it’s like having a Smart Dog.

We are at our sticks and bricks home in Michigan for the next couple weeks. We’ll send Thanksgiving here and then hit the road again, traveling to Louisville for the annual Recreation Vehicle Industry Association annual Trade Show.

Our 2018 Travel Schedule is slowly coming together. Many of or destinations will be anchored around one of the many Roadtreking gatherings we will be attending across the country. You can see a full list of those gatherings at http://roadtreking.com/2018-calendar/

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 - Stopping those weird noises from your RV heater

There are a lot of moving parts in our RVs. And we’re not talking just about the engine We’re talking about the appliances and the RV accessories that we use on every trip…. Things like the heater.

Sure, there’s usually a manual that comes with the gadget. But owner’s manuals don’t necessarily cover everything.

We got a great tip this week from a listener named Bob whose,  Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL uses the Alde heating system. Bob’s heater made some weird noises and he shares with us how he fixed it in this week’s Tip of the Week…

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 John noticed the big boom in RV sales but is worried that with all those new campers out there, where will they go? Finding an open campsite without making a reservation long in advance grows more difficult each day. He asks for Mike and Jennifer’s thoughts on the issue. We’re more than willing to weigh in on this issue, which is really the dirty little secret of the RV industry.

Via email:
My husband and I bought a 2003 190 Roadtrek with 210,000 miles on it. It currently has 4 captain seats and I'm wondering if it's possible to put a twin bed where the seat behind the driver is. Also, can I expect this 3500 engine to go 300,000 if it's well care for? I know there are no guarantees. Thanks. Debra

I love following your Roadtreking podcast and hearing about your adventures together. I read that you are going to be at your 'sticks and bricks' home through Thanksgiving, then you are leaving Michigan. Do you plan and follow an annual travel calendar, with some months set aside to be on the road, and other stay at home months? My wife and I are considering retiring to a state like Michigan, and don't think we'd want to spend the whole winter there, but were wondering what would be the best months to be home, and to be RVing. Thanks, and Happy Roadtreking Travels! Carlos

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.

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK  - Lea DiBella, Smart Dog LLC

Lea DiBella is the owner and head trainer at Smart Dog LLC, the Metamora, Michigan – based company that we choose to have Bo trained at. For six weeks, Bo stayed with Lea and was trained to obey

16 basic commands. Now that he’s back with us, we are thrilled at the changes in his behavior. He’s still the fin-loving, friendly and enthusiastic dog we had before, but now he is obedient, doesn’t pull on the leash, comes the first time he’s called, every time.. and much more.

But I wanted to have Lea on the program this week not to talk so much about the training but about the way we treat our canine companions. Too many of us, and I’m talking about a lot of RVers here, treat our dogs as if they were human.

They are not. They’re dogs. A different species. And we do harm to them when we treat them as if they are human, no matter even if the motivation is love on our part.

If you think that means you can’t still shower them with affection, even spoil them a bit, you’ll learn from Lea that…you still can. I think you’ll enjoy her insights and her tips for traveling with our pets.

See how Lea trained Bo in this video I shot the day she brought him back to us as a trained “Smart Dog.” https://youtu.be/mCEuuy71E28

You can reach Lea through her website at https://www.smartdogllc.com/

Follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Smartdogllc/

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

TRAVELING TECH TIP:

By Steve Van Dinter

Verizon Wireless

With the holiday stress not yet upon us, now’s the time to start pulling together those great gift ideas for you and your loved ones.

And I’ve got one to add on to your list this year - Google Pixel Buds.

These are bluetooth wireless headphones that provide amazing sound and one touch control of your music along with access to your Google Assistant.

That’s right, thanks to its built in microphone, when a question pops into your head at any time, just tap on your Pixel Buds and ask away.

That means quick access to whether there’s snow in the forecast, how tall this year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is, and what Santa is up to at the North Pole.