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Episode 91: How to find free or inexpensive RV camping sites

| Updated Jun 8, 2016

This week, we talk about how to find free or very cheap sites in National Forests and we offer up some major motivation about why you need to get out there RVing.

We also report on a study that shows one of the top of the list regrets Baby Boomers have is not traveling more. And we note how the kind of travel that RVing offers builds lasting memories and true contentment. Plus listener questions, comments, lots of tips and an of-the-beaten-path report.

Scroll down for show note details and resources and click the player below to start listening. When you see a time code hyperlink, you can click it to jump directly to that segment of the podcast.


Show Notes for Episode #91 June 8 2016 of Roadtreking – The RV Lifestyle Podcast

JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK [spp-timestamp time=”5:12″]

Space is always at a premium in an RV so finding ways to maximize storage and take up less room at the same time is quite the balancing act.

That’s where Zip Lock Bags come in so handy.

Most of us use them for things like sandwiches. And that’s good.

But in the RV, we use them for lots more.

In the fridge, I use them for leftovers, for veggies, for premade meals. They pack well and don’t roll around or rattle.

But in our pantry, they’re great for storing things like cereal and dry goods and things that come with lots of packaging, in big boxes that take up lots of space.

Just empty the box into a baggie. You’ve instantly saved at lots of space. And because they seal up tight, things stay fresher than when stored in an open box.

Mike uses Zip Lock bags to hold screws, fuses, cables, spare latches for the cabinet doors and various maintenance parts.

Because the bags are clear, you instantly know what’s inside. And they come in different sizes.

Zip Lock Bags make great space savers!

Do you have a tip that we should share on the podcast? Use the Leave Voicemail link on the right side of the screen to send it in.

I love hearing from you!

The tip of the week is brought to you by Good Sam, the world’s most popular RV organization, now celebrating its 50thyear.

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK: [spp-timestamp time=”9:04″]

Listener Jan has a question about the piece of wood that connects the lower part of the two rear sofa beds at the back of a Roadtrek. Mike and Jennifer share their experience on how to keep it from falling down.

Gina asks about the app Roadside America and what mobile platforms it worked on. Alas, as Mike says, it’s only for iOS devices, not Android. The app helps users find all of the oddities across the United States and Canada, from giant twine balls to other off-the-wall attractions like the Cathedral of Junk in Austin, Texas. Search for attractions nearby, where headed – even by theme. The Roadside America app delivers a short description, address, and directions. The app is $2.99 for iOS with in-app purchases available to expand capabilities.

By email, reader Loretta asks: Hi!  We are not new to camping, but new to Roadtreking:)  we have a small dog that we need to check on with our iPad using ATT cell data.  Do you know of a compatible ‘spy' camera?  I have read so many descriptions on different make cameras, but they always want you to use Wifi – which we will not have on the road.Thanks so much! Loretta

Mike shares his solution, Canary, noting that all remote monitoring systems DO require Wi-Fi. But her iPad can set up its own hotspot, which in turn can be used by Canary.

The Canary device works through a free app and it provides live, wide angle streaming video and audio. We set it up before we leave the RV and we can use our smartphones to check up on what’s happening and how Bo is doing from anywhere.

Something else we really like about the Canary: It provides real time readouts of the temperature, humidity and air quality so we can be sure the AC is working.

The cost is $200. There are premium fees that you can upgrade to that archives your video, a feature more suited to fulltime use in a fixed residence. Since we are in an RV and only use the Canary from time to time while traveling, I’ll stick with the free service for a while. The Canary is available online at Amazon and at most big box stores.

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.

RV BASIC TRAINING [spp-timestamp time=”26:34″]

How to find free or very cheap places to stay in National Forest Campgrounds

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Campers Inn, the nation’s largest family-operated RV dealership with 15 locations on the East Coast. Campers Inn RV is giving away The Ultimate Camping Package! The camping package includes a: propane grill, large cooler, 2 camping chairs, a two-person lazy river tube and more. A $500 value! Go to for your chance to win.  Promo code: camping. Winner will be announced Aug 1, 2016.

RV NEWS OF THE WEEK: [spp-timestamp time=”36:30″]

 National Park Service Plans rate hikes, other charges for Great Smoky Mountains National ParkThanks to reader Ian, who sends us the following note:

Mike , I know you are heading to the Smokies for a photo shoot in a few weeks. Are you aware of the recent proposals from the NPS regarding the GSMNP? Attached is a link to the proposal, it's on their website. They will be accepting comments till the 27th of this month. Maybe you could make folks aware of the proposal. Personally, fee increase is probably acceptable. The reservation issue is another whole issue. Charging $10 just to make the reservation is insane. Also at least some sites need to be left open for a first come – first serve basis. Especially in the more remote campgrounds. Maybe you could make folks aware of these proposals before the Park Service stops accepting comments and input. Thanks, Ian

Did a bear attack a woman camper in Ohio? An Ohio couple camping early Friday morning told investigators they were attacked by a large bear but fought back with a machete. Investigators found no evidence of a bear.

Major regret for older people? Not traveling more  Now is the time to buy an RV and get out there!

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=”49:05″]

Verizon's Steve Van Dinter reports on HD Voice, a major new quality upgrade to mobile phone audio.

Meanwhile, Mike has some fun apps that let you share those RV travel memories:

Steller lets you upload photos and videos and type in text to create a mobile storybook experience – and can all be done on an iPhone. You can edit your stories before publishing them and then share on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Readers flip through photos, videos, and text pages as if reading an e-book. The app is free for iOS.

Storehouse also allows users to import photos and videos from sources like an iPhone’s Camera Roll or other places like Instagram, Flickr, Dropbox, and Lightroom. You can’t add text to individual photos like with Steller, but it has more design options The app is free for iOS.

Android users should consider Storyo. The customizable app makes chronicling life easy by automatically searching your photos for set times or locations. Storyo also quickly combines video from the Internet along with maps, and titles to create stories that can then be shared with others. The app is free.

It’s easy to share the storybooks you create with these apps with friends and family.

Here’s one I did on a beachfront camping spot we just visited in Florida.

This 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 –  Northwestern Lower Michigan [spp-timestamp time=”54:24″]

Ari Adler takes us to Michigan’s Northwestern coastline to a place called the Tunnel of Trees. See

Please Subscribe and Give Us a Rating and Review!

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

2) Choose and Click on a star (1-5) that reflects your rating. Five stars means you really like it, one star not so much.

3) Leave a written review.

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 2016-06-08

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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