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Episode 107: RV Lifestyle Q&A, Tips, News and More

| Updated Sep 28, 2016

In this episode, we tackle a whole bunch of audience questions, on everything from camping in cold weather, to showering in an RV to staying connected to the Internet while traveling. Plus we have lots of news, tips and travel suggestions.

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


Show Notes for Episode #107 Sept. 28, 2016 of Roadtreking – The RV Lifestyle Podcast:

Jennifer and I catch you up on our recent travels and experiences and preview where we’re headed. It’s fall and as it finally cools off down south and in the southwest, the forests of the northwest, mountain states, Midwest, northeast and Canada are starting to change colors. It’s a perfect time to get out there on a fall RV trip. [spp-timestamp time=”1:11″]

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


Today’s tip has to do with making the front seats into a bed on a Class B motorhome. [spp-timestamp time=”6:17″]

We just came back from a boondocking getaway in Northern Michigan with our two grandchildren.

Now our Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL best sleeps two… so, with me and the two granddaughters, that meant Mike and Bo were outside, in a tent. No problem there, though Mike may have a different opinion after sleeping on the hard ground. But that’s another topic.

This tip has to do with sleeping three in the Roadtrek. I made the back up into two twin beds. Thirteen-year-old Hua Hua slept on the passenger side bed. I had the driver’s side twin.

So where to put 10 year old Rachel?

Up front, of course.

Now Roadtrek and its dealers sell a sort of folding bed that works. But we improvised and found a great solution. We brought along a thick, four inch folding pad that we had used back in our tenting days.

Rachel's bed across the front seats
Rachel's bed across the front seats

What we did to make a bed for Rachel was push the driver and passenger seats back, pull out one of the tables and put that across the space between the two seats. Then we put the four-inch pad, about the size of a twin bed, right across the seats. The table gave solid support. Rachel’s sleeping bag went on top of the pad and she was as snug as a bug in a rug. She says she slept great and was very comfy.

The configuration is fine for kids. An adult could manage there in a pinch but we wouldn’t recommend it.

We’ll put a photo of Rachel and her sleeping arrangements in the shownotes for this episode at

Rachel and Hua Hua are already looking forward to their next boondocking trip with us.

Mike says he needs a little more padding for the tent outslde.

Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Use the Leave Voicemail link on the website. It lets you record a message using the built in microphone in your computer, smartphone or tablet and send it directly to me.

I love hearing from you!

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


Lots of questions this week! [spp-timestamp time=”13:23″]

Listener John talked about his interest in the new Hymer Activ Class B motorhome and noted that new production models starting in January will have some nice finishing touches.

Bruce called in from Western Colorado where the temperature dropped to 28 degrees. He wonders when he has to start worrying about freezing his pipes in cold weather.

Joanne, a semiretired teacher from Ontario, is new to RVing and is planning a long trip to Florida and wants to know about finding some great campsites.

This rack holds two kayaks and two bicycles and attaches to the bumper hitch
This rack holds two kayaks and two bicycles and attaches to the bumper hitch

A listener is looking for a side rack to carry a surfboard on his Roadtrek. We suggest he look at They are side mounted on the driver’s side. For kayaks, the best Mike has seen are from They are vertical racks at the back of the van that connect to the trailer hitch. For Class B RV’s – maximum kayak length recommended: 10′ They even have a kayak rack with an attachment that lets you haul two bicycles. The racks cost from $1,200 to about $1,600 for the krack for two kayaks and two bikes. Shipping os about $200.

Matt from North Carolina is a popup camper owner. He wants to know costs of the JetPack Wi-Fi data card. He also asks about setting the right expectations for people who come stay with them while camping. For the JetPACK, USERS can either buy the jetpack outright at $199.99 or on two year contract at $49.99. They can then connect up to 15 devices at once. This can be added to any Verizon plan for $10 line access and then it shares the data from your data bucket.

Jan asks about showering in a Roadtrek and how to you keep the towels and toilet paper from getting wet.

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

RV BASIC TRAINING – Boondocking Basics

Boondocking is camping without being plugged in to commercial power or using a commercial campground. Most boondockers enjoy getting away from crowds to truly experience nature in the middle of nowhere, like in a national forest. [spp-timestamp time=”44:31″]

On an episode of the podcast recorded last year, Roadtreking Reporter and veteran Boondocker Campskunk provided some things to consider for those planning to head out for the first time:

  • Animal safety. Make sure no food goes outside the unit to keep bears, raccoons, fox, even mice far away.
  • Water management. Use less. Take sponge baths. If using your sink, try collecting grey water in a container and dumping it outside instead of filling your tank.
  • Choose your site carefully. Make sure you are not the highest spot around to stay safe from lightening. If you rely on solar power, pick a spot in the sun.
  • Light management. Use light at night sparingly. Your batteries will last much longer if you are not lighting up the whole wilderness.

Listen to the full interview with Campskunk at

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


We have five stories this week of special interest to RVers: [spp-timestamp time=”51:24″]

  • Western cougars expanding their range, new sighting confirmed in southern Tennessee last week. Read more
  • Montana Department of Fish,Wildlife and Parks plans to open last section of Yellowstone River closed previously from fish kill. Read more
  • Canadian National Parks service to remove bear-attracting buffalo bushes from four campgrounds in national parks as preventive measure. Read more
  • High housing cost in Mountain View in San Francisco area has lead to families living full-time in RVs parked on streets. Read more
  • Realtors getting into the RV hype, developing neighborhoods in retirement markets complete with a spot to park your RV. Read more

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


Verizon's Steve Van Dinter reports about how to safely store your precious photos with Google Photos: [spp-timestamp time=”59:38″]

I’m sure as you’re traveling about the country you are taking a ton of pictures…and with today’s amazing smartphone cameras I’m guessing most of them end up on your phone, right?

Well as you know those photos can take up precious megabytes and eventually gigabytes of space.

So what do you do when your phone says you’re out of space?

No need to dump them, a free app from Google called Google Photos can save the day.

This app, which is free for iOS and Android devices, will automatically back up your photos and videos to the cloud.

And the best part…you can store unlimited pictures up to 16mega pixels for free.

You can’t beat that.

Now you’ll never have to worry about whether or not to save or delete your amazing photos…or whether you have enough room for that next must have app. And should you lose your phone, just download the app onto your next smartphone and all your pictures will still be there.

Google photos also makes finding your pictures a breeze as well. If you search in the app for Mount Rushmore, for instance, it’ll pull all of your photos from there.

Or maybe you remember you took a picture of a cool flower but can’t remember where or when. Just search for flowers and it’ll pull all of the pictures you took with a flower in them. Basically if you can remember something in the photo, you can find it with ease.

Google photos does back up over the internet so to save on your precious data make sure you set the app to only back up when you’re connected to wifi.

So go ahead…and snap away!

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.


Tom and Patti Burkett take us to Pittsburgh and a fun ride on a vertical railway. [spp-timestamp time=”1:02:47″]

By Tom and Patti Burkett

We recently stood on a mountainside overlooking the lights of Pittsburgh on a summer night.  The Pirates were playing baseball, city park soccer fields were lit for the evening games, and the streets were full of pedestrians enjoying the restaurants and museums of the downtown.  We achieved this marvelous view thanks to a device built in 1877, the Duquesne incline.  If you travel at all in Europe, you’ll be familiar with the funiculars that shuttle passengers from riverside to mountaintop in many locations, but they’re a rarity in the USA.

The Duquesne Heights, then called Coal Hill and now known as Mt. Washington, were home to four of these vertical railways in the early twentieth century.  They hauled both passengers and freight up the face of this mountain, and made it possible for businesses to serve clientele both in the heights and the city below.  The viewing deck at the top offers not only great vistas, but a good deal of history around the topic of the flood of 1936.

 On St. Patrick’s Day of that year, a wall of water swelled the Allegheny River and created what the New York Times called “a disaster of undreamt of proportions that beggars the imagination.”  The entire downtown was underwater, much of it to the second story of buildings.  Power was gone, the public water supply was out of commission, and fire crews were unable to respond to the many blazes caused by ruptured gas lines.  The river reached a historic 46 feet that day, and it took Pittsburgh decades to recover. 

 The inclines were invaluable during those days, operating continuously to move people, equipment, animals, and supplies from the usable roads above to the stricken city below.  Looking down, it’s easy to see how the narrow river valley could suffer such a calamity and might again.

 Just down the road you’ll find the city of Johnstown.  In the spring of 1889, Johnstown’s rivers were swollen to capacity by melting snow when a dam just above town gave way.  Fourteen miles of Pennsylvania countryside swept down the valley in a 40 foot wall of debris, scouring most of Johnstown off the map.  The survivors settled into tents provided by towns across the country.  Clara Barton came from Washington, DC with the newly-formed Red Cross.  And on the steep hillside above Johnstown construction began on another inclined plane.

 The Johnstown Plane, completed in 1891, helped evacuate residents before the floods of 1936 and 1977.  It, too, is still in operation, and for a few dollars, you can ride this piece of history and look down from the heights of eagles.  Local ice cream, cityscapes, and creaky old machines.  Spend some time in western Pennsylvania.  Happy travels!

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

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2016-09-28

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

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