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Episode 153 The Biggest RV Event of the Year: The Total Eclipse

| Updated Aug 16, 2017

This week we are talking about THE outdoor and RV event of the year, and that is Monday’s total solar eclipse. We’ll tell you why this is so important, why it’s perfect for RVers, how to view it safely, how to find a place to watch it and why, even if you have to skip work or school, this is the one event of the year just made to be experienced by RV.

Plus, your RV questions, RV news of the week, traveling tech tips and Jennifer will tell you how to once and for all solve the pesky problem of RV light pollution from those inside switches and LED lights.



We’re in Albany, GA…on the road, visiting our son, Scott, and his family for a couple of weeks, and catching our grandson’s Jacob and Matthew playing football. We also plan to watch the eclipse down here with them and then maybe head out for some exploring maybe down towards the Emerald Coast after Labor Day.

In mid September, it’s our Blues and BBQ gathering in Tupelo MS and in late September, we’ll be heading to Ashevile NC to the Overland East Expo, a trade show for those go what’s called overlanding in extreme, off the grid, 4X4  adventure-type vehicles.

We met an interesting RVer this week, a nurse named Tiffany. She’s a traveling nurse and apparently, part of a group of traveling medical professionals who journey around the country in an RV, taking on short and long term contract work. Tiffany, her husband and two young preschool children, are in a small RV at a RV park near here. We suspect this is more common that we realized. TIffany is on a 13 week contract with the hospital here in Albany. Last year, Mike met physician, a coronary surgeon, who did the same thing. He’s from Orlando and travels throughout Florida and the Gulf States as far as New Orleans in a big new Tiffin Class A motorhome.

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


It’s been an ongoing discussion here on the RV Podcast for the past several months about how to dim or block out all that bright LED light from the electronics and switches in our RVs so we’re able to sleep in the dark.

Episode 153 The Biggest RV Event of the Year: The Total Eclipse 1Listen up… this tip from and RVer we met named Ken is probably that last idea you’ll need on How to finally solve the The Great LED Light issue.

This IS the ultimate solution!

Once again, the product Ken said is called LED Light Dims and we have built in direct links to them on our special site at There you will find a master list of every product we talk about on the podcast and the Light Dims are there. Amazon sells two types, one which dims the LED by about 50%, and another kind that dims by 100% – or completely blocking all light. They cost about $8 for a package that will let you cover up just about any offending light in your RV or your home.

And 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 ,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping


  • Elaine is in a Class B Winnebago and she’s suffering with vertigo while fulltiming. They are missionaries and wants to find a solution to better ride
  • Rich from California is upgrading to a Sprinter Based 2017 Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL and is concerned about using 20% diesel bio He asks are take.
  • Susan from Pennsylvania wants to know if a good quick grip solution for fresh water hose.
  • Gerald wonders about needing a spare tire on his Pleasureway, and also about a storage box for the back to carry things

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.


A total solar eclipse is when the moon moves between the earth and the sun, so that it completely blocks the light from the sun. During a total eclipse the shadow of the moon falls on the Earth, and you can see the atmosphere around the sun, called the corona, which you usually can’t see.

During that time it gets like dusk, and the animals react, and it is just a really special time. At the eclipse’s peak, four planets can be seen, and you can even see stars!

Everyone in the continental US will see at least a partial eclipse, weather permitting.

The total eclipse will start in Oregon at 10:15 am local time, traveling about 1,600 miles per hour (that is three times faster than a jet plane) to South Carolina. About a 70 mile swath of land in 12 states will be the path of totality – that is complete darkness – with an area in southern Illinois, called Giant City State Park, experiencing the longest period of darkness, at about 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

A total solar eclipse is rare. The last one to hit the U.S. mainland came in 1979, but it could be seen in only five states. A total solar eclipse from coast to coast has not crossed the entire country since 1918. Next one IS April 8,2024.

( (good state by state description and overview)

What you need:   Glasses….

You cannot look at the solar eclipse without wearing glasses to protect your eyes. You can not only injure your eyes, but you could actually go blind.

Unfortunately, as Aug. 21st gets closer, it is getting harder and harder to find safe glasses.  The glasses must have ISO on them – for International Organization for Standardization. And they must have this reference number: 12312-2.

Five companies make eclipse glasses that the American Astronomical Society and NASA have certified are safe: American Paper Optics, the Baader Planetarium (in Germany), Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.

NASA says once you have the  glasses, there are steps you need to take to wear and use them safely: Again, we’ll link to those steps in our shownotes for this episode at Roadtreking-dot-com-slash-153

If you can’t find approved solar eclipse viewing glasses, check your local library. Many have glasses they will be distributing for free. Many of the public viewing events in the path of totality will be providing public viewing glasses as part of their price of admission. Also many science websites have information on how to make your own safe viewing device.

National parks

There are 21 national parks and seven NPS trails that lie in the path of totality. Many of these parks are expecting record setting crowds and planning special events. They’ll all be listed in the shownotes.

This site lists each national park by name and says what is going on that them.


In Oregon state officials are warning people not to camp on the beach in hopes of experiencing the solar eclipse, because of dangerous changes in tides. Officials said Aug. 20 and 21s will have very high and very low tides, making it potentially dangerous when the high tide rolls in.


NASA has a count down and will be reporting live from noon-4 pm eastern at its website tracking the eclipse.  It is one of the best sites to visit before Monday to watch interviews with scientists and learn more about what you are about to watch.

NASA also has a webpage listing community events throughout the stream of totalitaty. (below really good interactive map with community /small town listings)

We are excited to bring back to the podcast Michael Zeiler, the map making solar eclipse expert behind the Great American Eclipse Website

Michael’s wesbite is hands down the best resource you will find on this momentous event, where to best see it, how to see it and how to how RVers are best poised to be a part of this.

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


Breaking News!!!!

Episode 153 The Biggest RV Event of the Year: The Total Eclipse 2
Meet Jax Jeffrey Wendland, born Aug. 12, 2017 to son and daughter in law Jeff and Aimee Wendland. Jax was 9 lb 1.7 oz and 21 1/2 inches. He and mama are doing well.Our eighth grandchild!

Two RV-relayted new stories this week…

But first, breaking news. Announcing the birth of our 8th grandchild, Jax Jeffrey Wendland, born Aug.12 in Kalamazoo, MI to son Jeff and daughter-in-law Aimee. Jax was 9 pounds, one inches.

Disney World Unveils New Glamping Resort for RVers  read more

Michigan to Raise Camping Fees Starting Nov. 1  read more

This portion of the podcast is brought to you by Alde,  the only name in heat that you need to

TRAVELING TECH TIP: What do we need? More Power! When do we need it? Now!

By Steve Van Dinter
Verizon Wireless

Episode 153 The Biggest RV Event of the Year: The Total Eclipse 3
Steve Van Dinter

With fall quickly approaching, our already packed schedules start to overflow with work, school, practices and games. And all that extra running can put a strain on our device's batteries. But fear not, there are some easy ways to power up.

SoundSport Charging Case

Your SoundSport bluetooth headphones can be a lifesaver – playing your favorite tunes while on the run, allowing you to finish a conference call on the go, or letting you listen to an audiobook for work while watching your child's game. Spend less time charging and more time using them with the SoundSport Charging Case. With just 15 minutes of charge time, you get an additional hour of listening time. Or leave your headphones in here for two hours for a full charge.

Wireless Charging Pad

Have a device like the Samsung Galaxy S8 or LG G6? Then you can wirelessly charge it! With a wireless charging pad you simply set your phone on and charging begins instantly. No more fussing around with tangled or lost wires. Simply set it and forget it! And with 15 watt fast charging, devices that support fast charging will wirelessly charge about as fast as when they're plugged into the wall.

Mophie Juice Pack Wireless

Turn any phone into a wirelessly charging phone with the Mophie Juice Pack Wireless. This protective case will provide an additional 50% power to your device making sure you make it through the day. And when it's running low, simply lay it on the included wireless charger to get a boost.

Mophie Powerstation XXL 20000

Find all of your devices are always running on empty? Now you can power your tablet, smartphone and another USB device at once with the Mophie Powerstation XXL 20000. This is seriously the king of battery packs with enough capacity to fill your smartphone six times over! And it's slim size means it easily slips into a backpack, briefcase or purse.

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.


Our off the beaten path report this week is about what you need to know, state by state, about the eclipse.


  • All Oregon State Park Campgrounds are full. This is not the weekend to wing it!
  • Expect unprecedented traffic before, during and after the eclipse. Avoid travel on Aug. 21.
  • The usual conveniences may be hard to get to. Fill your tank and stock up early on food, medicine, cash and anything else you can't live without.
  • Cell phone service may become iffy.
  • Expect campfire bans in central and eastern Oregon.
  • Expect very high tides at the coast overnight: camping on the beach is risky. Overnight parking on the beach is prohibited.

Idaho and Wyoming:

Officials have no idea how many people will come, crowds ranging from 50,000 to 500,000 were the estimates according to the Idaho Falls Fire chief. Toilets, food,  medical emergencies, crowds heading outside increasing the risk of wildfires are all real concerns.

Nebraska has banned oversized trucks from traveling I-80 for four days  from sundown Friday to sunrise Tuesday to ease traffic around the eclipse. (Wyoming and Oregon doing the same)

Missouri Department of Transportation were anticipating more than a million visitors heading to its state to view the eclipse. Residents are being warned to expect extreme gridlock.  Officials are also warning people not to stop in the middle of the road to watch.

Illinois  The Carbondale – southern Illinois University football stadium is being converted into a stadium viewing spot. Tickets are selling for $25 a piece.

South Carolina

And officials with the SC Emergency Management Division  issued a tongue in cheek   warning to citizens in several of its counties to be vigilant of paranormal activity associated with the upcoming total solar eclipse. Specifically they are asking for residents to report any sightings of lizard men – a report that gained a lot of traction at news agencies across the country last week.

And across the country..

Individual states are setting up portajohns, setting up extra emergency rooms, canceling optional surgeries, setting up additional cell towers, stocking up on toilet paper….

Weather forecasts

The weather forecast is the one variable that could ruin your view of the total solar eclipse. At the time of this recording,  a six days ahead of the event, the forecast was for clear skies in the west of the country and chance of showers in the southeast.

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.

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2017-08-16

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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