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Episode 154  Wanna Be an Author? Telling Your Stories On the Road

| Updated Aug 23, 2017

Have you a story to tell, a book to write, a blog to do? This week, we are going to meet an on-the-road author, an RVer who likes to say she tells lies for a living. Writer Judy Howard will be our guest. Judy teaches creative writing to RVers at gatherings and rallies and workshops all across the country, at the same time writing her own novels while fulltiming on the road. You will enjoy our discussion.

Plus we have lots of RV news this week, including a big political controversy involving Camping World that is resulting in calls for a boycott of the nation’s biggest RV retailer, tips on how to get more from your RV and next outing and a great off the beaten path report that belongs on your bucket list.


Show Notes for Episode #154 Aug. 23, 2017 of Roadtreking – The RV Podcast:


We sure had a lot of fun with the Eclipse. Over on our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube you can see a one hour Live Video special we did on RV gatherings from across the country formed to witness the event. We had video check ins from 10 different RV gatherings from Oregon to the Carolinas. It was a ball and we believe the largest single RV Travel weekend in history.

Episode 154  Wanna Be an Author? Telling Your Stories On the Road 1Labor Day Weekend is right around the corner. And finding a spot in a campground may be harder than ever. Advanced reservations for the Labor Day Weekend at more than 500 Kampgrounds of America locations in North America are running more than 10 percent higher than those for the same period last year. The Labor Day numbers look to continue a string of record results for holiday weekends at KOA this year. In fact, the world's largest system of family-friendly campgrounds is on track to set yet another annual record for camping in 2017. KOA has set a new record for camping each of the past five years. October is also an amazingly busy month because of fall color, cooler weather and Halloween celebrations that go on every weekend at hundreds of campgrounds across the country.

We’re still in Georgia, to catch a couple of grandsons playing football this week. For the weekend, we’ll scoot down to the Emerald Coast on Florida’s panhandle, and then, for Labor Day, head on up to Michigan to catch up on some chores around the house before we set off on another very ambitious fall travel schedule that will have us in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida again and Mississippi.

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


Last minute reminder: The price of the America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass increased for the first time since 1994. On Aug.28 it will go from $10 to $80. Those with current passes are lifetime passes and will remain valid.

Episode 154  Wanna Be an Author? Telling Your Stories On the Road 2

US citizens or permanent residents 62 years or older are eligible for the Senior Pass. Annual and lifetime Senior Passes provide access to more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by six federal agencies:

  • National Park Service
  • US Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • US Forest Service
  • US Army Corps of Engineers

The passes cover entrance and standard amenity (day-use) recreation fees and provide discounts on some expanded amenity recreation fees.

Traveling companions can also enter for free. The Senior Passes admit pass owner/s and passengers in a noncommercial vehicle at per-vehicle fee areas, not to exceed four adults, where per-person fees are charged. (Children under 16 are always admitted free.) Also, at many sites, the Senior Passes provide the pass owner (only) a discount on Expanded Amenity Fees (such as camping, swimming, boat launching, and guided tours).
Senior Passes can be purchased at any federal recreation site, including national parks, that charges an entrance or standard amenity (day-use) fee. Many on site parks have sold out of the oases so the parks service is urging people to buy online.

That way you can get one instantly. An additional $10 processing fee will be added to the price. We will put a direct link in the shownotes for this episode, under my Tip of the Week section, to where you can go online and get your pass.

Episode 154  Wanna Be an Author? Telling Your Stories On the Road 3You can order online at

To allow visitors to use a recently purchased Senior Pass before they receive the printed pass, the National Park Service and five other land management agencies that honor the pass will accept the order confirmation generated from the online sale of the pass as proof of pass ownership until the backlog is cleared. Eligible visitors who purchase a Senior Pass online can now bring their order confirmation along with a photo ID to one of the more than 2,000 sites and parks that accept the pass.

Additionally, some National Park Service and other agency sites that sell the Senior Pass will immediately begin issuing rain checks to eligible visitors who wish to purchase a pass if the site has no more printed passes. Purchasers can access a park with the rain check until they can exchange it for the Senior Pass. Visitors are encouraged to contact the national park or other agency site they plan to visit to ensure the availability of rain checks at that location before traveling there.

So remember, the deadline is Aug.28. After that, it’s $80.

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.

If I use your tip in the podcast, we’ll send you a free Roadtreking hat!

I love hearing from you!

For a complete list of all the products, gear and apps mentioned by Mike and Jennifer on their podcast, YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel and here on the blog, go to

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


A listener named Gerhard called in to wonder why if the podcast is released every Wednesday morning, he doesn’t hear about it until he gets the newsletter every Monday. So, to clear up any confusion and make sure others like Gerhard understand our varuous platforms, let us explain:

The RV Podcast – this show – goes live every Wednesday morning. The absolute best way to hear it is on a smartphone or tablet app like iTunes or the Google Play Store. When you subscribe via iTunes, it will automatically be downloaded to your device on release and then, just click the app to play it. The vast majority of our hundreds of thousands of listeners listen to it that way.

But you can also listen to it on the Blog – the RV Lifestyle Blog. Every Wednesday morning, the latest episode, with complete shownotes and links to everything we report in the show, is published online. There are also links in the blog to subscribe by iTunes.

The third way…the only way our caller apparently knew about…is in the weekly newsletter we send out free every Monday morning. You can also sign up for the newsletter through the blog –at The newsletter lists all sorts of RV stories and tips and it always has a link to the previous week’s podcast. But if the only way you get to the podcast is through the newsletter, it will be almost a week late.

There’s one more platform you hear us talk about a lot. That’s our YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. This is where we publish our RV travel videos, our question and answer videos and our how-to videos about the RV lifestyle. We typically have one or two new videos being posted there every week and plan to soon have contests, lots more RV reviews and other interesting things. You can also subscribe to the Video channel so you will automatically be notified as soon as a new video goes online. We’ll put links in the shownotes for this episode n how to do all this.

To subscribe to the Podcast via iTunes go to:

To  subscribe to the newsletter go to:

To subscribe to our YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel go to:

Caller Jeanne wants to know how to clean off the dirt under her solar panel. We recommend a hose with a steady stream of water.

And caller Kevin wants to downsize from a Class A to a Class B motorhome. He’s looking at Roadtrek and is confused about the differences between the RS Adventurous, the CS Adventurous and the eTrek. We try to sort it out.

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 154  Wanna Be an Author? Telling Your Stories On the Road 4
Judy Howard, RVing Author

Have you a story to tell, a book to write, a blog to do? This week, we are going to meet an on-the-road author, an RVer who likes to say she tells lies for a living. Writer Judy Howard is our our guest.

Judy is a motivational speaker and she teaches creative writing to RVers at gatherings and rallies and workshops all across the country, at the same time writing her own novels while fulltiming on the road.

She is a top ranking Amazon author travels in a Class C motorhome she calls The Big Story, followed closely by her towed Smart Car she’s named The Short Story.

Episode 154  Wanna Be an Author? Telling Your Stories On the Road 5
Her Class C RV – “the Big Story”
Episode 154  Wanna Be an Author? Telling Your Stories On the Road 6
Her Smart tow car – “the Short Story”

You will enjoy our discussion.

Here’s links to her blog and all of Judy’s books:

Her Facebook Group: Authors on the Road

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


  • Political Remarks by CEO has calls for a Camping World Boycott mounting Read More
  • Canada's national parks facing record crowds which bring unique challenges during country's 150th birthday.  Read more
  • Nine-year-old trying to save the 27 national monuments the Trump administration is reviewing, inspired by a Dr. Seuss book and movie. Read and listen 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

AR you Ready to Blend Digital with Reality?

Episode 154  Wanna Be an Author? Telling Your Stories On the Road 7
Steve Van Dinter

If you think about it, our smartphones have really become the smart hub of our busy lives – keeping track of our schedules, helping navigate us around traffic and connecting us unlike ever before.

But would ever think to pick up your phone to help measure how tall your ceilings are? Or how about to see how a new couch looks in your living room? Or to virtually try on clothes?

Well add this all to the list, because the Asus ZenFone AR can do all of that and then some. This exclusive to Verizon device is the first project Tango phone certified by Google – meaning it has the sensors necessary to help it “see” the physical spaces around it and add in virtual elements.

For instance, ever wonder what your kitchen would look like with wood floors? Using the Lowe’s app on the Asus ZenFone AR – you can virtually replace your current flooring with wood floors and walk around your room seeing how it looks from any angle – using your phone as a window to this virtual world.

Or maybe your son or daughter is totally into dinosaurs? Using the Dinosaurs Among Us app created by the American Museum of Natural History you can drop a live velociraptor into your living room, walk around it and see it in all it’s animated glory!

All told there are dozens of these augmented reality apps that have been developed for this device with more on the way.

If you haven’t experienced AR, now’s the time!

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 154  Wanna Be an Author? Telling Your Stories On the Road 8
Patti and Tom Burkett

New Haven Connecticut is probably best known as he home of Yale University, and if you go there, you would certainly enjoy a walk around that iconic campus.  But New Haven has some other things to offer that are not quite as obvious.  Connecticut is nicknamed the nutmeg state.  Early ship captains, and some industrious crew, brought these valuable spices back with them from voyages to the east and provided a steady supply for the bakers and meat packers of the east coast.  Southerners, unaware that the nuts had to be grated, accused the sailors of palming off worthless carved fakes, but were soon put into the picture.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s the population in some areas of the city was so completely Italian that visitors thought they had been transported to the old country.  Italians now make up only about 20% of the population, but the historic influence is still strong today.  An outstanding example of this is pizza.  Some pizza shops in the city have been in business for nearly a century.  Frank Pepe moved from Italy to New Haven in 1909.

Episode 154  Wanna Be an Author? Telling Your Stories On the Road 9
Pepe's Pizza

Within a few years Frank was selling his inimitable tomato pies in the city market, where he carried his wares on a specially made headdress.  In 1925 he bought his boss’ bakery and renamed it Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napolitana.  Look at any list of the ten best pizzas in America, and you’ll find Pepe’s near the top.  It’s a traditional tomato pie, baked in a coal fired oven, and dressed with sauce and romano cheese.  Specify all toppings, including mozzarella if you want it.  Now there are several locations, but you can still eat at the original on Wooster Square and see where it all began.  Wander next door for a gelato after you’ve had your fill of pizza.

New Haven is home to a much more macabre story as well.  It centers around Mary Hart.  Mary is buried under a large granite block in Evergreen Cemetery.  Across the top of the block is a quote from the book of Job—THE PEOPLE SHALL BE TROUBLED AT MIDNIGHT AND PASS AWAY.  More information follows below, and the story goes like this.  In 1872 the city was besieged by an epidemic of an unknown disease.  It spread easily from one person to another and from the corpses of the dead to the living.  When Hart, a young woman, died suddenly, her family had her quickly buried to protect others from the contagion.  That night her aunt dreamed that Mary was alive, and the next morning insisted the grave be dug up.  Mary was found in the coffin with bloody fingertips, the coffin lining shredded from her efforts to get out.  She had died of suffocation.  Some legends claim she was a witch and haunts her family home.  Others claim she walks the cemetery at night.

Episode 154  Wanna Be an Author? Telling Your Stories On the Road 10
Mary Hart's spooky grave

If you’d like to hang on to the creepy vibe, head on over to the Yale University library and have a look at the Cushing Collection.  Harvey Cushing was a distinguished surgeon and Pulitzer prize winning author.  He also collected brains.  More than four hundred of them are tastefully displayed at the library, with more being added as they finish the conservation process.  Look over tools from Cushing’s work and his remarkable set of infant skulls.  The whole thing was just recently redone and is nicely organized.

Make your last stop at Louis’ Lunch, where the hamburger was invented around 1900.  They’re still cooked in strange looking vertical cookers powered by gas, and served without condiments.  You can easily spend a week in this industrial city, hunting up oddball sites and stories that range from prehistory to the space age.  Find out why Connecticut’s other nickname is “the Constitution State.”  Try to break the code of the Voynich Manuscript.  Sneak into a meeting of Skull & Bones.  And while you’re there, look for us, Patti & Tom Burkett, 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 Minnesota’s beautiful Chain of Lakes region built on quality motorhomes and excellent pricing and service.

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2017-08-23

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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