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EPISODE 119: The Evolution of Recreational Camping

| Updated Dec 21, 2016

Modern campgrounds are replete with delightful irony: an increasingly sophisticated range of utilities and conveniences services them, yet they are marketed to perpetuate the cherished American ideal of the backwoods camp.   This week, we meet Martin Hogue, a landscape architect and professor who has studied the emergence of the American campground.

Hogue has produced a coffee table book, called Thirty-Four Campgrounds, that traces the history of modern campground and looks at thousands of campsites from an academician’s viewpoint.

Also in this weeks podcast, major RV News for those who love National Parks, your questions and answers, RV tips and much more.

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 #119 Dec. 21 2016 of Roadtreking – The RV Lifestyle Podcast:

EPISODE 119: The Evolution of Recreational Camping 1JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK

Well, as we said, we’re about to hit the road for several weeks and that means, we’ll be camping out in some cold conditions until we get far down south for Florida’s sunshime. [spp-timestamp time=”8:50″]

And in a little less than a month’s time, we’ll have made out way back to the cold and to Tahquamenon Falls, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, for our annual Roadtreking January Freezeout winter camping trip.

People ask how we stay warm and we love to tell them about Reflectix.

Reflectix looks like bubble wrap between two layers of aluminum foil. It is available in rolls at Lowes or Home Depot.

Reflectix is very helpful in the winter to prevent heat loss around the windows.

EPISODE 119: The Evolution of Recreational Camping 2You can easily use scissors to cut it in any shape you want.

The first thing you should do is to cut pieces that fit the windows tightly. Most of the time you can press them into the window and they will stay in place. Put it on every window. For us, we use one of those aluminum-sided sun shields for the massive front window. Instead of putting the aluminum facing out, as we do in the summer to keep the heat out, we place it so the aluminum side faces inward, to keep the heart in.

We also stuff a big piece of Reflectix around the tops and bottoms of the center and rear doors, temporarily holding in in place with duct tape.

If you like cold weather camping, try it. Reflectix will be one of your best tools to keep warm and comfy.

For more about Reflectix check out these stories from Roadtreking Reporters Roger and Lynn Brucker:

Be sure to send me your tips and suggestions for the RV lifestyle. You can use the “Leave Voicemail” link at 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 (www.RadPowerBikes.com_… an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes.


A listener named Mavis lives in Virginia and wonders I she needs to winterize when the weather only occasionally gets below 30. The catch is, she sometimes travels to New Jersey in the winter. [spp-timestamp time=”14:00″]

And a reader named Jim called in to offer a resource for those whose RVs are made by Omnistor. RV dealers tell him parts are no longer available but he found a website in the UK that shipped him what he needs. [spp-timestamp time=”17:44″]  The address is:

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.


EPISODE 119: The Evolution of Recreational Camping 3Modern campgrounds are replete with delightful irony: an increasingly sophisticated range of utilities and conveniences services them, yet they are marketed to perpetuate the cherished American ideal of the backwoods camp. [spp-timestamp time=”23:05]

Martin Hogue is a landscape architect and professor who set out to study the emergence, standardization, and modernization of the American campground. And what he found is that the campsite upon which travelers may pitch a tent and will almost certainly park their car, trailer, camper, or RV is thus only an imagined ideal.

Despite the nearly one million campsites across the country, demand for sites remains so high at popular destinations like Yosemite National Park that would-be campers reportedly turn to Craigslist to purchase campsite reservations at three or four times their original price.

Hogue has produced a coffee table book, called Thirty-Four Campgrounds, that traces the history of modern campground and looks at thousands of campsites from an academician’s viewpoint.

The central part of the book consists of color photographs of individual campsites, downloaded from such online reservation websites as and, organized by zip code, and arranged in grids across the pages. The campsite pictures seem at first endlessly repetitious; but then the repetition makes way for difference.

Time reveals itself in fading light and passing clouds, the weather changes between photographs of neighboring sites, leaves turn color and fall, in an unexpected kind of time-lapse photography.

The interview of the week is brought to you by, where every new or used Roadtrek motorhome is delivered free to the customer free, anywhere in the country. [spp-timestamp time=”38:52″]


Three stories for you this week…[spp-timestamp time=”41:40″]

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


EPISODE 119: The Evolution of Recreational Camping 4
Steve Van Dinter

Verizon's Steve Van Dinter reports on Apps to help you this Holiday Season [spp-timestamp time=”49:11″]

As we pack up our sleighs to head over the river and through the woods this holiday season, most of us are bringing a smartphone along.

So I thought it would be fitting to talk about some of my favorite apps that can help make your trek a more enjoyable one.

First up, Android Auto. If you have an Android phone, this one is a must – especially if you’re driving. When you get into the car just place your smartphone somewhere in the front seat, fire up the app and now you have navigation, calling and streaming music available all via voice. And I love that when text messages or other notifications come in they’re read off to you and you can respond via voice without having to touch your phone.

If you have a newer car with Android auto built in, simply plug your phone into the car’s USB port and away you go! Again that one is called Android Auto.

If you’re taking to the skies, then you’ll want to check out the app, App in the Air. This free app for Android, iOS, and Windows phones lets you know your flight status, how long you have left to check in, the time until boarding ends and more. In addition, you get access to tips and tricks from others like the best restaurant or places with free wifi. Finally it connects with your TripIt account for easy integration. Again, that is called App in the Air.

And finally, if you’re looking to make some money to afford paid apps or movies while on the road, and you have an Android phone, then be sure to download a free app called Google Opinion Rewards. As you answer quick survey questions you’ll rack up a quarter here or a dollar there. It’s not a lot each time but it does add up. And it’ll help you pass the time.

Here’s wishing you and yours a great 2017!

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.


By Tom and Patti Burkett [spp-timestamp time=”52:07″]

EPISODE 119: The Evolution of Recreational Camping 5
Patti and Tom Burkett

A few weeks ago, as I was thinking about making my annual holiday fruitcake, my mind wandered (as it often does) to traveling in the Roadtrek, and a visit we made to an orchard last spring.  Utah is legend for the sights you can see there—arches, hoodoos, swirling stone landscapes, cliffs and canyons.  Visit in season and you’ll definitely be on the beaten path.  But there are places even here that most people never see.  Far from the interstate you’ll find Capitol Reef.  This park is, at most, often a drive-through on the trip between Zion and Bryce Canyon. It has its own charms, though, well worth the time it takes to stop and smell the baked goods.  Near the center of the park is the town of Fruita, right along the beautiful Fremont River, and is home to one of a surprising number of orchards maintained by the National Park Service.

The orchards at Fruita grow apples and apricots, pears and a variety of berries.  This was a serendipitously fertile area in a pretty barren landscape when it was settled by Mormons a hundred years ago.  You’re welcome to walk through the fruit trees.  If fruit is in season, feel free to pick what you can eat.  A nearby historic bake shop turns the produce into pies and jams for you to stick in your RV cupboard.  There’s freshly-baked bread. too.  Right next door is a tree-shaded campground with direct access to the riverside paths and the orchard walks.

You may not know that the NPS takes responsibility for quite a few fruit trees, all across the continent.  In the northeast there are orchards in Massachusetts and in the Delaware Water Gap.  You’ll find them on the Blue Ridge Parkway and in the Smokies, on Manitou Island in Sleeping Bear Dunes, and at the Japanese-American internment camp in Manzanar, California.  You can even pick olives in a historic grove at John Muir’s gravesite.

So, watch out.  This next year we hope to gather enough fruit on our travels to at least make a good contribution to our holiday fruitcake.  I guess that means planning a travel schedule that accommodates harvest season in parks from California to Massachusetts.  No reason that can’t work.  Add in some Michigan cherries, Hawaiian pineapple, and Texas pecans and it could be a very good Roadtreking season.

Happy holidays.  When the year turns we’ll be out there again, hoping to run into you somewhere under the trees, off the beaten path.


Here's what's coming up… [spp-timestamp time=”55:44″]

Florida RV SuperShow

January 18-22
Florida State Fairgrounds
Tampa, FL

Tacoma RV Show
January 19-22
Tacoma Dome
Tacoma, WA

Austin Boat & Travel Trailer Show
January 19-22
Austin Convention Center
Austin, TX

Toronto RV Show & Sale
January 19-22
Toronto Congress Centre
Toronto, ON, Canada

Northeast RV and Camping Show
January 20-22
CT Convention Center
Hartford, CT

Chattanooga RV Show
January 20-22
Chattanooga Convention Center
Chattanooga, TN

New Jersey RV & Camping Show 
January 20-22
New Jersey Convention Center
Edison, NJ

Georgia RV & Camper Show
January 23-25
Cobb Galleria Centre
Atlanta, GA

Louisville Boat, RV Sport Show
January 25-29
Kentucky Exposition Center
Louisville , KY

Ft. Myers RV Show
January 26-29
Lee Civic Center
Ft. Myers, FL

Atlanta Camping & RV Show
January 27-29
Atlanta Exposition Center South
Atlanta, GA

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2016-12-21

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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