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Episode 96: Santa’s Got a Brand New RV Ride

| Updated Jul 13, 2016

We meet a lot of interesting people out on the road. Not long ago, we met Santa, in the form of a super nice guy named Steve Dodd.

Santa drives (besides the sleigh, of course) a Roadtrek.

Listen to Steve’s interview in this episode of the podcast, along with lots of listener questions, RV Basic Training, Traveling Tech Tips, RV News of the Week and a great Off-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 #96 July 13, 2016 of Roadtreking – The RV Lifestyle Podcast:

JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK [spp-timestamp time=”6:06″]

This week’s tip would come from our Norwegian Elkhound puppy, Bo… if he could give it. As many of you know, Bo has been traveling with us this summer and having a great time. He loves everything about RVing… except for one thing: The heat.

Bo cooling pad
Bo on his cooling pad

Right now, we’re in the deep south, near the Florida/Alabama border and the daytime temperatures have been over 100 degrees a couple of days over the past week. We spend as much time on the Gulf shore, where there’s always a nice cooling breeze off the water. But dogs are not allowed n the beach and Bo needs a little help.

So we got him a cooling pad. It’s a matt made out of cold gel. We bought it at a pet store and Amazon has a whole bunch of them in different sizes. [spp-timestamp time=”6:05″]

The pad is soft and the gel inside is noticeably cool to the touch. Bo loves it. He finds it very comfy and in this hot weather, prefers it to the thick cloth bed he usually sleeps in.

We put it on the floor of our Roadtrek for him at night and while we’re driving and, when we are at a campsite, we put it down on top of the ground pad under the awning.

The pads are around $30 or so and they are very easy to clean.

My only suggestion is to get one big enough for your pet to fully stretch out on.

Bo loves his. I bet your pet would as well.

That’s my tip this week. If you have a traveling tip to share, either e-mail me at Jennifer At Roadtreking Dot Com or use the “Leave Voicemail” link on the Roatreking Dot Com blog to record one and send it to me by using the built in microphone on your computer, tablet or smartphone.

I love getting your tips… so let me hear from you!

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

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK:[spp-timestamp time=”9:52″]

Listener Lee is shopping for an RV. But with six kids who he plans to “roadschool,” he’s wondering what size RV he needs. [spp-timestamp time=”9:51″]

Rob from Fairbanks, Alaska, is also shopping for an RV. He has it narrowed down between a Class B campervan and a travel trailer and wants to know how challenging it is to “decamp” with an RV and whether a travel trailer is easier. [spp-timestamp time=”13:36″]

e-mail questions:

Just wondering if you or Jennifer could give us more information on the bed pads that you're using now and where you purchased them. Thanks.

– Gary and Carol [spp-timestamp time=”17:09″]

Thanks for this website and your experiences How do you Wifi from an RV? I am about to retire and am thinking of buying a New Road Trek and traveling the USA on and off the grid. 1) Can you tell me the downside of Living for months at a time in a Road Trek class B RV? 2) What do RV parks typically cost when traveling? Any tips on negotiating the price of a new RV? Thank you. I Hope to meet you on the road someday.

-Al [spp-timestamp time=”20:30″]

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=”25:57″]

How to sanitize your RV’s fresh water tank.

I sanitize our fresh water tanks at least twice every year. The steps are pretty simple. [spp-timestamp time=”29:00″]

  • Fill and empty the fresh water tank
  • After the initial drain, I fill up the fresh water tank with clean water.
  • Going inside, I run the galley and bathroom faucets for a couple of minutes. You may want to also do this with the shower.
  • Outside again, I once again drain and then refill the fresh water tanks, this time adding about two ounces of bleach. I let it sit like that overnight if parked at home and I’m not on the road.
  • The next morning, I go back inside the coach and again ran the faucets and flush the toilet with lots of water, getting some of that sanitizied water into all the pipes. Again, you may want to also run it through the shower for a bit.
  • After doing all of that, I dump both the black and grey water so I could start out with clean, empty storage tanks.
  • Back in the driveway, I fill the fresh water tanks one more time, but about half way so I’ll have enough on hand for our traveling needs, but not so much as to add unnecessary weight while on the road.
  • Something else I did: I changed the filter that I put on the hose. I use the Camco water filterbetween the hose and the water intake. I change this once or twice a year, depending on use. It does a great job removing or reducing bad taste, odors, chlorine and sediment in drinking water. I also replaced the filter on the instant-on clean water tap by the sink.

Before heading out, I run a glass of water through the galley faucet and take a sample drink, making sure there was no bleach taste. If there was, I just would drain and refilled once more.

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  Go to for your chance to win an Ulimate Camping package.  Promo code: camping. Winner will be announced Aug 1, 2016.

RV NEWS OF THE WEEK: [spp-timestamp time=”32:21″]

Woman dies in RV fire along I-75 in Georgia

Anchorage not an RV friendly town

Teen killed when grill falls off RV, striking car

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=”39:26″]

Verizon's Steve Van Dinter reports..

During the school year there never seems to be enough time. But once you get the family out on vacation, there’s usually more to go around. Enjoy this break from the hustle and bustle and use the extra time to get out and explore! Today I’ve got some great free apps you and your children can use to explore the world around you.


Scavenger hunts are no longer a thing of the past thanks to the game of geocaching! Geocaches are hidden treasures that you can only find with clues – using an app or website. Geocaching is a great way to get out and learn more about your community. And no matter where you’re located there’s bound to be a geocache near you!


How much free time would you like to fill? 10 minutes? A half day? You just open this app and let it know. Then it will come up with new and interesting suggestions. And the best part – all you need is the app and your imagination.

Oh Ranger, ParkFinder

No matter if you’re in your backyard or far away from home, a park is never too far away. But sometimes they can be hard to find! Open up this app and you’ll see where your nearest park is located. In addition, you can learn all about what there is to do, the best time to visit and even what to wear to be ready for the weather!

This year is the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary. And if you’re out exploring America’s backyard, make sure to use this app to see all there is to offer!

Star Chart

If you’re at all interested in the night sky then you have to download this app!

Choose augmented reality mode and point your phone at the sky and you’ll see the names of planets and stars in your field of vision. Not only that, but click on any of the planets, stars or constellations and you’ll see detailed pictures, how far away it is and even watch some of them move in real-time.

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 –  The Ark Encounter [spp-timestamp time=”43:55″]

Listener Sheri recommends a visit to the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, KY, as well as the nearby Creation MuseumDaniel boone and a restored frontier fort called Boonesborough, that is named after Daniel Boone in a nearby state park.

This part of the podcast is brought to you by AllStays – the Internets #1 RV and camping app since 2010

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK – [spp-timestamp time=”50:50″]

Santa’s Got a New Way to Travel

rudolph_the_red_nose_roadtrekMike interviews Steve Dodd, who works as a professional Santa and uses a Roadtrek Class B Motorhome to supplement his sleigh for traveling. You’ll meet this new RVer in this week’s Roadtreking interview of the week. [spp-timestamp time=”50:50″]

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Rad Power Bikes, an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes.

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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 2016-07-13

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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