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Episode 134: What you Need to Know About Blacktop Boondocking

| Updated Apr 5, 2017

In Episode 134 of the RV Podcast, we talk about Blacktop Boondocking, free or very low cost self-contained overnight camping on blacktop, specifically parking lots at businesses and places that welcome RVer, like casinos, Walmarts, Cracker Barrel restaurants and many others.

Unlike traditional boondocking in wild places that allow dispersed camping like national and state forests or Bureau of Land Management holdings out West, Blacktop Boondocking has its own distinctive rules. This week, we talk to an expert who sets us right on the benefits and etiquette of Blacktop Boondocking.

Plus, as always, your tips, suggestions questions, as well as RV news, the RV calendar and a great off-the-beaten path report.

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 #134 April 5, 2017 of The RV Podcast:


Episode 134: What you Need to Know About Blacktop Boondocking 1

Well, it’s April and for most RVers who live in the Midwest, mountain and northern states, that means it’s time to de-winterize their rigs, draining out all that sticky, sweet-smelling pink antifreeze, sanitizing and filling their fresh water tanks for a new RV season.

For a lot of folks, one of the hardest things about dewinterizing is to make that water taste clean, without that bleach odor or aftertaste that seems to linger from the sanitizing process.

A listener of the RV Podcast named Bob from the state of Arkansas has sent in a great tip about how to get rid of that chlorine or bleach taste.

Bob suggests using one cup of white vinegar for every 15 gallons of fresh water. You can her him at [spp-timestamp time=”6:37″] into the interview.

We love to get 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.

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. Now with free shipping!


  • Yvonne is a new RVer and she hates laundromats but asks what we do about washing clothes on the road. [spp-timestamp time=”10:31″]
  • Trish asks what was the follow up to the break in we had a couple of years ago, as discussed in the RV Podcast Episode 36  [spp-timestamp time=”13:57″]
  • And a new RVer named Sharon is headed to Yellowstone National park with her husband on what will be their first big camping adventure. She asks for our recommendations. [spp-timestamp time=”22:35″]

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.


If you are a regular listener, you’ve heard us talk a lot about our dog Bo and how much energy he has. Bo is 16 months old this week which, in dog years, makes him a very active teenager. We’ve shared before about finding places to exercise Bo as we travel. We love to find various off leash dog parks and have found it’s also a great way to get to know the towns and places we’re traveling through. [spp-timestamp time=”29:20″]

Episode 134: What you Need to Know About Blacktop Boondocking 2
Bo and his K9 pals Sushi and Princess playing at an off-leash dog park in Fort Walton Beach, FL

But this week, we want to stress just how important it is for your pets to get exercise. We know it’s important for people. But with dogs, it is even more important.

According to, exercise a necessity for maintaining optimal physical and mental well-being in your dog. As with people, obesity is a major health problem in today's dogs. Between 20 and 40 percent of all dogs seen by veterinarians in the United States are considered overweight, and many are clinically obese.

If the health threats associated with obesity aren't enough, consider the behavioral aspects of a lack of exercise. Dogs are active by nature. Their ancestors, wolves, covered many miles every day in search of food. Many domestic dogs were selectively bred to be even more active, with a focus on hunting or herding or patrolling. Preventing them from their genetically programmed activity level can build frustration, which may exhibit itself in the form of hyperactivity, barking, digging, tail chasing, and home destruction. Boredom has also been associated with behavioral problems in some dogs.

How much exercise depends on your dogs age and health but generally, dogs should be exercised twice a day. If it’s just walks that consist of his exercise, make them brisk and give him two to three walks a day. Shoot for at least 20 minutes at a time. Playing fetch, letting him play with other dogs or jogging with you will also help.

Talk to your vet for a specific plan. But be sure and exercise that dog, taking frequent breaks to move around, especially after he’s been cooped up during long RV drives.

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Dozers Dental Chews, an all natural and healthy treat your dog will love. Available direct through Amazon , Retailers and Pet Shops across the USA


Episode 134: What you Need to Know About Blacktop Boondocking 3Our main interview subject this week deals with Blacktop Boondocking, or self-contained overnight camping on blacktop, specifically parking lots at businesses and places that welcome RVer, like casinos, Walmarts, Cracker Barrel restaurants and many others. [spp-timestamp time=”33:32″]

Jane Kerry is an expert in Blacktop Boondocking. She is the author of the book Casino Camping , now in its 8th edition. She has been a fulltime RVer and has put together the best guide I’ve found to locating free or dirt cheap places to stay at nearly 400 casinos in 37 states across the U.S.

She believes casinos just may be the absolute best places for RVers to overnight while on long trips, noting that a great many now offer modern, upscale facilities for free or at reasonable rates. But whether at a casino or a Walmart, Blacktop Boondocking has its own special etiquette.

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


Three stories this week… [spp-timestamp time=”51:10″]

  • Oregon man finds baby bear in woods off trail, “rescues” it; wildlife specialists say finding baby animals alone in woods common. Read more
  • Trump donates first quarter salary to National parks Read more
  • Major League Pitcher lives in an 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


Episode 134: What you Need to Know About Blacktop Boondocking 4
Steve Van Dinter

By Steve Van Dinter
Verizon Wireless

As the trees green up and the weather gets warmer, this is the time of year when many of us are ready to go out with the old and in with the new. [spp-timestamp time=”57:33″]

And if you’re looking for a new smartphone to take cross country, have I got the travel partner for you! Two actually – the newly announced Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

With the world’s first infinity screen, these new smartphones look more like a gem than a piece of technology. The infinity screen stretches basically from side to side and top to bottom of the phone. In fact the S8 Plus has Samsung’s biggest smartphone screen at 6.2”…and this means more screen real estate than ever for gaming, browsing and watching movies. But it doesn’t feel that much bigger thanks to the two gentle curves on either side of the device.

In addition, the S8’s feature iris recognition for security – yes you can literally unlock your phone with your eyes! They’re also water resistant to five feet…have fast wireless charging…expandable micro sd storage…a physical headphone jack and are VR ready – meaning you can plug them into the new Gear VR with in-hand controller for the ultimate immersive experience.

And these phones feature Samsung’s artificial intelligence engine…called Bixby. Bixby is so smart it’ll learn your typical habits and then prompt you. For instance, let’s say you call your loved one every day when you’re five minutes from home. If you forget one day, Bixby will remind you! It’s that smart!

Lastly…back to the amazing infinity screen. It’s the world’s first HDR premium certified smartphone meaning the level of detail in the HD videos you watch is unparalleled. That would certainly come in handy for your passengers on those long flat stretches of highway. And paired with Verizon’s new Unlimited plan, you won’t have to worry about running out of data or facing overages.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are currently on pre-order at and will be in store beginning April 21.

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

Episode 134: What you Need to Know About Blacktop Boondocking 5
Patti and Tom Burkett

On a recent trip, I stopped after dark at the city park in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. [spp-timestamp time=”1:01:12″] There were all night bathrooms with showers and even electrical hookups, but no signage at all about rules or fees.  It took most of an hour to track down one of the local police officers, but he gave the thumbs up and I settled into an area near the outdoor basketball court.  The court was in use, and the players were blasting music from their car radio, but they soon left, and after finding the switch that turned off the court lights, I passed a restful night.  Even the trains running through on the nearby track didn’t disturb us too much.

Walnut Ridge is home to the guitar walkway.  Set in the ground is a large replica guitar.  Walking down the neck of this facsimile Fender, the visitor is treated to several displays, each featuring a famous R&B or country artist who has some connection to the area.  Each display is equipped with a speaker, and the push of a button delivers a notable performance by the artist.  Amazingly, all of them worked!  The installation sits alongside the railroad station, which now houses the visitor bureau.  Just across the street is the local diner.

We’ve always loved diners, and not just for the grits, eggs, and biscuits (which were delicious), but for the opening they give onto the local culture.  Invariably there will be a group of locals, usually retired men, drinking coffee at the corner table.  Ask a question of your waitress, loudly enough to be overheard, and within a few minutes one or more of them will begin to volunteer information on the topic.  Then you’re in.  You can take your cup, move over to their table, and spend the rest of the morning talking over local history, politics, and sports as if you were a native. I remember on morning along the Ohio River when I asked about a factory that used to make buttons from the shells of freshwater clams harvested from the river.  I spent the rest of the day on a private tour of the local museum, which had been closed for two years, and being driven to the site of the factory by the only man still living who’d worked there.  But I digress.  “What can you tell me about the guitar across the street,” I asked, just a little too loudly. “I don’t really know anything about it,” admitted the waitress.  Pause. Pause. And one of the old guys at the front table called out, “Ask Danny about it. He runs the yogurt stand around the corner.”

Walk around the corner, as instructed, and you come face to face with the Beatles crossing Abbey Road.  Tucked into a corner park by Art & Culture Frozen Yogurt and The Dark Side Coffee Shop is a life-size sculpture and the story that inspired it.  It seems the Fab Four, on their 1964 tour of the USA, were offered a bit of R&R at a dude ranch near here.  Secretly they flew into the small local airport, it being the closest to the dude ranch in question.  But small towns are small towns, and the secret didn’t last.  A screaming crowd of locals greeted them on the single runway.  Danny West, owner of the coffee shop and yogurt stand is also Danny West, sculptor and artist.  He was there the day it happened.

So drive down US 67, the music highway, through Arkansas.  Stop in Walnut Ridge to see the Beatles and the guitar walkway.  Enjoy some R&B at one of the roadhouses that still survive along the way.  And whatever else you do, don’t skip breakfast and morning chat at the local diner.  We’re Patti and Tom Burkett, and we hope to run into you out there, 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 suburban Minneapolis built on quality motohomes and excellent pricing and service.


Two shows to talk about this month…[spp-timestamp time=”1:07:20″]

The Fifth Annual Vancouver Island RV Show and Sale

April 7-10

Arbutus Meadows Equestrian Centre in Nanoose Bay

British Columbia Canada


The Super B RV Show

April 27-30

University of Phoenix Stadium


La Mesa, AZ

(Jennifer and I will be there. Come meet us!)

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2017-04-05

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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