Episode 142: The New Trends Shaping the RV Park and Campground Industry

 Episode 142: The New Trends Shaping the RV Park and Campground Industry

As the demand for recreational vehicles continues to grow, the RV Park and Campground industry is working hard to add new camping sites, new pricing and new amenities. This week’s guest is Paul Bambei, the President and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds and he shares about how the campground industry plans to make your camping experience this year better than ever.

Besides Paul we have lots of audience questions, feedback, RV news and tips, along with 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 #142 May 31, 2017 of Roadtreking – The RV Podcast:



There are so many hobbies and activities that fit so well with the RV Lifestyle. Some of those activities can help us stay fit, too.

So we learn with a tip we received this week from listeners Jeff and Deb Spencer. [spp-timestamp time=”11:42″]

They share a great resource from those who like to run – a website called vacationraces.com


The group has info on boondocking, camping and RVing in beautiful wilderness areas where trail runs and races can be found.

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 (www.RadPowerBikes.com_… an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping!


  • Listener Bill wonders whether he should rent or buy. He’s new to RVing, thinks he wants to do it but asks our recommendations. We are big believers in renting. If he can’t find one at a dealer to rent – they are in high demand and dealers have limited rental fleets – we suggest he try a website called RVShare  [spp-timestamp time=”15:49″]
  • And we received a nice voice mail this week from, a listener named John who understands that Roadtreking isn’t about any specific brand…its all about the lifestyle w-no matter what size RV you have. [spp-timestamp time=”22:00″]

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.


When we travel with our pets, there are things we need to bring with us, besides their food, bedding and some toys. Just like with humans, you should have a basic pet first-aid kit on hand. [spp-timestamp time=”25:20″]

Keep your pet’s first-aid kit in your home and take it with you if you are traveling with your pet.

One way to start your kit is to buy a first-aid kit designed for people and add pet-specific items to it. Or you can also purchase a pet first-aid kit from a pet-supply store or catalog. But you can easily assemble your own kit by gathering the items suggested by the Veterinary Medical Society. They have an special first aid for pets handout .

But besides the first aid kit, make sure you also bring along the phone number of your veterinarian and health paperwork for your pet, including proof of rabies-vaccination status, copies of other immunization medical records and a current photo of your pet – in case he gets lost.

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Dozers Dental Chews, an all natural and healthy treat your dog will love. 

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK – Paul Bambei, Campground Association


Paul Bambei, President and CEO of the National Association of RV arks and Campgrounds

As the demand for recreational vehicles continues to grow, the RV Park and Campground industry is experiencing a “brand new world” and working hard to add new camping sites, new pricing and new amenities. [spp-timestamp time=”28:35″]

This week’s guest is Paul Bambei, the President and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds and he shares how the campground industry plans to make your camping experience this year better than ever.

Among the topics we discuss:

  • All-inclusive pricing at some parks and campgrounds
  • New and easier-to-access reservation systems
  • New amenities that are in demand at campgrounds
  • How parks are trying to increase Internet bandwidth
  • The changes millennial campers are bringing to the campground industry
  • More pet-friendly campgrounds
  • Park expansion to improve the “no vacancy” problems

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


Three stories this week… [spp-timestamp time=”50:00″]

  • Motorists Waste 29 Hours a Year Using GPS Gadgets – Read More
  • Giant mudslide near California’s Big Sur expected to close scenic Highway 1 for a year – Read More
  • Group works to stop oil refinery from opening just outside North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park. 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


By Steve Van Dinter
Verizon Wireless

Steve Van Dinter

I’m coming to you from Indianapolis this week, home of the 101st running of the Indy 500 and this year a huge milestone for Verizon. As speed records fall at the track, Verizon is racing ahead to bring the fastest possible wireless speeds to market. [spp-timestamp time=”58:22″]

In fact, just west of IMS, Verizon has a pre-commercial 5G network up and running providing a consistent 1.6 Gbps connection to a real home. It’s one of 11 cities across the country where these tests are occurring.

This connection is powering a whole home of the future including multiple 4K screens running streaming video, a live 4K VR stream from the track and smart devices like Google Home, Ring Doorbell and Phillips Hue lighting.

It’s called fixed line of sight 5G and it’ll be here before we know it! And while that happens, Verizon is also working on bringing 5G to our smartphones and devices as well. In fact, a recent test showed consistent 5+ Gbps mobile speeds with a vehicle driving 60mph around the track.

So what’s that mean for you and your listeners? Within the next year or two you’ll likely have faster than fiber internet speeds available wirelessly to your home. This will enable you to download movies in the blink of an eye, stream extremely high quality content and experience events – like Indy 500 – in 4K streamed live in VR. And before 2020, these speeds will be available to the latest smartphones as well!

Stay tuned…5G is coming soon!

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.


Patti and Tom Burkett

We’re in the middle of an extended visit to the ‪Great Smoky Mountains national park. We came to look at spring wildflowers and see the synchronous fireflies. Having been here any number of times, and given that it’s the most visited of all our parks, we didn’t expect it to generate any off the beaten path reports. I’m happy to report we were wrong. [spp-timestamp time=”1:03:04″]

Did you know it was possible to enter the Smokies from the north and completely miss Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg?  Driving in through the tiny town of Wears Valley, we noticed a sign in front of a local church advertising a potluck dinner and talk by a park ranger the following night.

Up and over the mountain we arrived at Elkmont campground. On the road in, we remarked a dead end spur with a sign–Elkmont cemetery. The next morning we took the spur and found ourselves alone in a light mist in a graveyard filled with stones–some simply large rocks–from the early 1900s. We were struck with a number of markers for children only days old.

A little used path across from the gate struck off across a hillside where we’d seen a ‪tumbledown house, so we took it in hopes it would lead to the ruin. Sure enough it did, and we found not one but a half dozen old summer homes in various stages of collapse, all perched overlooking the little river below. The path was rich in wildflowers and discarded artifacts from a century ago.

Ruins of old summer cabins

Conversation with the campground ranger about the dwellings led us to another nearby area, not on any visitor map, where the park service is restoring a street of summer homes from the same era. At the end of the row is a fully restored social club built in 1934, complete with rockers on the wide porch and a big dance hall.

We spent the afternoon wandering along the street, thinking about what it must have been like to summer in the mountains a century ago, gathering in te evenings for card games at the club or a weekend dance. Then we hopped in the RoadTrek and drove back over the mountain to Wears Valley and the little Methodist church.

After surveying the pantry, we were able to come up with a satisfactory plate of deviled eggs as our ticket to the dinner. And what a dinner it was!  The church members insisted the speaker and his family go first, followed by a couple of folks with canes and wheelchairs. Next, all eyes turned to us, in the back corner of the room. “You’re next,” they said. As the only ‘guests’ in the hall, we got special treatment.

Church pot luck

Like most good small town potlucks, there was a feast of choices and a separate table for desserts. After the meal, everyone gathered in the sanctuary for the talk. The speaker was introduced as the recently retired chief wildlife ranger from the park, who grew up in the valley and worked in the park for more than forty years. “Well,” he said, “when I looked in the rear view mirror of the jeep and saw a bear looking back at me, I knew it wasn’t going to be an ordinary day.”  He spent the next two hours telling stories about skunks, elk, river otters, beaver and, of course, bears. He also told a few stories about hunters and tourons.

We’ve been to the Smokies any number of times, but nearly everything on this trip was a surprise. Almost all of it came from a willingness to take a little risk, dig a little deeper, and step a bit outside the comfort zone. The reward was spectacular–history, entertainment, and an afternoon completely alone with history and nature in this beautiful and crowded park. So turn left when everyone else is turning right and you may find us, 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 motorhomes and excellent pricing and service.

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Mike Wendland

Mike is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road. He enjoys camping (obviously), hiking, biking, fitness, photography, kayaking, video editing, and all things dealing with technology and the outdoors. See and subscribe to his RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube, where he has hundreds of RV and travel related videos. His PC MIke TV reports, on personal technology are distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations.