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Episode 161: An RV Club for Today’s RVers

| Updated May 11, 2023

There are RV Clubs and then there are the Escapees. Ever heard of them before? If you’re an active RVer, if you dream of working from the road, or retiring to an RVing life of adventure, or packing the most fun you can into your weekend camping tips, you need to know about the Escapees.

This week, in our interview segment, you’ll meet the young couple who are leading the Escapees community and discover just why this club may be the perfect fit for you.

Also this week, lots of listener questions and answers, plenty of tips, RV news and an off-the-beaten path report about two great Georgia state parks that Jennifer and I visited last week.

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 #161 October 11, 2017 of Roadtreking – The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK[spp-timestamp time=”3:10″]

Episode 161: An RV Club for Today's RVers 1We’re coming to you from Florida’s beautiful Emerald Coast after a very eventful trip down here, in which we were brushed by Hurricane Nate. You can see a video on that adventure at

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

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK [spp-timestamp time=”12:48″]

Two weeks ago back in Episode 159, Mike interviewed veteran automobile sales consultant Gary Tilkin, who shared his expertise about the RV buying experience. Gary gave a lot of very helpful tips and if you are shopping for an RV, I urge you to go back and listen to episode 159.

But we just heard back from Gary, who wanted us to know that he has just signed the bottom line to buy a new motorcoach. And Gary put into personal practice many of the tips he offered here in the RV Podcast.

Gary called in with a follow up tip on buying an RV from a dealer located far away.

Thanks, Gary. We are delighted to hear back from you. Congratulations on that new motorhome. And Mike and I look forward to taking you up on that kind invitation for a visit while we are here on the Florida Emerald Coast.

And for all of you listening this week, please 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

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK [spp-timestamp time=”18:00″]

  • Brian asks if 80 years old is too old for he and his wife to start a life of RVing in a small motorhome – the Roadtrek Agile SS.
  • Lisa asks Mike and Jennifer about the varying amounts of solar panels they have had in previous RVs they’ve owned. She wants to know the ideal setup.
  • A caller with an older RV is frustrated that when he puts in gas, the pump keeps shutting off, unless he holds the handle down a tiny bit so the gas going through the nozzle flows out very slow.
  • And a caller wants to know if she still needs to winterize the hot water heater even though it didn’t work last year.

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.

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK [spp-timestamp time=”33:47″]

The Escapees RV Club has been around since 1978 and is a community that perhaps is more in tune with today’s RVer than any other organization out there. It’s open to everyone, no matter what kind of RV they have and it comes with lots of great benefits, not the least of which is the cool and fun aspects of RVing.

I love the club’s motto: An RV club that gives you the freedom to break the mold and do something different with your life.

Episode 161: An RV Club for Today's RVers 2
Travis and Melanie Carr

Escapees is now being run by Travis and Melanie Carr, a young couple with two young children who are on the road about half the time who represent the third generation of Escapee’s leadership. Travis, the grandson of the original founders, was exposed to RVing from a young age. After he served in the military, Travis and his wife Melanie returned to the RVing lifestyle.

He began in the maintenance department for the club’s network of RV Parks, but his focus quickly shifted as he took the lead on upgrading every park’s reservation system, bringing them into the digital age. Since then, Travis and Melanie have made themselves an irreplaceable part of the Escapees culture. In 2015, they founded Xscapers, a lifestyle group of Escapees that brings the club back to its origins. Xscapers are RVers who work full-time while traveling, just like Travis’ grandparents Joe and Kay Peterson did in the 70s. Under their guidance, Xscapers has grown to provide numerous benefits targeting the needs of this demographic, including the development of Escapees’ Job Board and diversifying Escapees’ social and educational opportunities.

We’re delighted to have Travis and Melanie join us in our RV interview of the week.


Escapees Website:

Escapees info kit:

Escapees Online Tools:

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

RV NEWS OF THE WEEK [spp-timestamp time=”52:29″] 

Cougar shot at Oregon RV park after it was caught hunting house cats

Everglades National Park re-opens, but funding needed for hurricane repairs

Next generation state campground, now open in Minnesota

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

TRAVELING TECH TIP [spp-timestamp time=”58:29″]

Episode 161: An RV Club for Today's RVers 3
Steve Van Dinter

By Steve Van Dinter

Verizon Wireless

Google Pixel is Back and Better Than Ever

Last year Google Pixel unexpectedly took the world by storm. And this year Pixel is back and better than ever!

At Google’s recent announcement, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were unveiled and boy are they something to be excited about!

With Google Assistant front and center of both devices, Pixel 2 helps you get answers and get things done. To activate you can say “ok Google” like you can on most android devices. But with Pixel 2, you can also squeeze the phone’s frame and activate your assistant that way.

Also, let’s say you are traveling and want to know what the name of the building is you’re looking at. Simply fire up your camera and click on the Google Lens icon and you’ll instantly receive a ton of information – like when it was built, what it’s called, and see other pictures that people took of it.

Speaking of pictures, Pixel 2 features the highest rated smartphone camera and can take professional looking portraits from its rear and front cameras. And Google is also throwing in unlimited photo and video storing for Pixel 2 users – so you never have to worry about running out of space.

Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are also IP 67 water resistant, come in 64GB and 128GB sizes and are available in a number of colors.

Plus they’re both Gigabit LTE ready, meaning they’ll have access to Verizon’s fastest possible network speeds right out of the box.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use smartphone that gets thing done, check the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 out at any Verizon store or at

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.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT –  Georgia’s Black Rock Mountain and Tallulah Gorge State Parks [spp-timestamp time=”1:01:06″]

Jennifer and I just visited these two state parks, located in north Georgia, right near the North Carolina line. And you couldn’t find two parks more diverse…even though they are located just 15 miles apart.

Black Rock Mountain State Park is the highest state park in Georgia, offering some of the most outstanding scenery in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Roadside overlooks provide spectacular 80-mile vistas, and four hiking trails lead visitors past wildflowers, streams, small waterfalls and lush forests. Visitors enjoy the summit visitor center for its views, gift shop and picnic tables.

Episode 161: An RV Club for Today's RVers 4
The view at Black Rock Mountain State Park

Campsites are nestled under rhododendron and gnarled oaks. Tent campers will appreciate the walk-in sites that allow extra privacy. The park’s small lake is popular with anglers and circled by an easy walking trail. At an altitude of 3,640 feet, Black Rock Mountain is often cooler than other Georgia parks and may close during icy weather. RVers should be comfortable driving on steep, winding roads.

Tallulah Gorge State Park, meanwhile, is the exact opposite. Where Black Rock Mountain’s attraction is its height, Tallulah Gorge draws folks because of its deep, 1,000 foot gorge. One of the most spectacular canyons in the eastern U.S., Tallulah Gorge is two miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep.

Episode 161: An RV Club for Today's RVers 5

Visitors can hike rim trails to several overlooks, or they can obtain a permit to hike to the gorge floor (100 per day, not available during water releases). A suspension bridge sways 80 feet above the rocky bottom, providing spectacular views of the river and waterfalls. Tightrope walkers have twice crossed the gorge, and visitors can still see towers used by Karl Wallenda. A paved path follows an on old railroad bed, and mountain bikers can test their skills on a challenging 10 mile trail.

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.

RV SHOWS NEXT WEEKEND [spp-timestamp time=”1:08:19″]

Oregon State Salem Fall RV Show

October 12-15

Oregon State Fair & Expo Center

Salem, OR

Georgia RV & Camper Show

October 13-15

Cobb Galleria Centre

Atlanta, GA

RV Liquidation Super Sale

Oct. 13-15

David L Lawrence Convention Center

Pittsburgh, PA

Toronto Fall RV Show and Sale

October 13-15

Toronto Congress Centre

Toronto, ON (Canada)

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Many listeners are asking how they can subscribe, review and rate the Roadtreking Podcast on iTunes. With a new podcast like this, those reviews and ratings are really important to be able to show well in the iTunes listings. So if you can, I’d sure appreciate it if you’d subscribe and leave me your review.

Here’s how:

How to subscribe, rate and review a podcast

First, open up the iTunes app on your computer or mobile device. Click on Podcasts up on the top
> From the iTunes Podcasts page, use the “Search Store” field up at the top right corner of the page. Type in Mike Wendland or Roadtreking RV Podcast.
> Click on the logo image of the Roadtreking RV Podcast on the search return page
> From there (see photo above), you can…

1) Subscribe

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Thanks to all for the kind reviews we’ve received so far. That got us noticed by Apple/iTunes as “New and Noteworthy.” I appreciate every review!

And remember, you can appear in future episodes. Ask a question or voice your comments about RV topics by clicking the Leave Voicemail tab on the right side of this page here at You can then use the microphone on your computer to record your words.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2017-10-11

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.

One Response to “Episode 161: An RV Club for Today’s RVers”

October 12, 2017at8:27 am, Leigh Nielsen said:

We can relate to the caller who called in with trouble filling his 2004 with gas. We own a 2007 190P and have also had trouble filling it with gas. My husband did some research and found that if we point the front of the van sloping down when we fill up we don’t have a problem. Make sure that when filling that the nose of the van is lower than the back. Also, turn the nozzle about a quarter turn. Hope this helps the caller. Not sure how to let him know.

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