In this Episode of the podcast we talk about thePokémon GO phenomenon and what the RV industry can learn from it about community, getting people outdoors and creating relationships built around shared experiences.
Less than a month after its release, the game has surpassed Twitter and Facebook in daily usage. Visit any park or outdoor space and you'll see people of all ages engaging with the game and each other. Jennifer and I talk about it this week in the podcast, noting the good things we have seen as we've been traveling this week.
Plus we have lots of listener tips and suggestions, questions and answers and a terrific off-the-beaten-path report.
Click the player to Listen Now or scroll down through the 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.
Lessons from Pokémon GO [spp-timestamp time=”2;18″]
You have surely seen the phenomenon by now. People of all ages and sexes shambling along, staring intently at their phones, stopping intermittently to excitedly swipe, or tap, or just shout excitedly at their screens before moving on. No matter how strange, self-absorbed, or entirely out of place these people may seem, they all have one thing in common: They’re catching Pokémon.
Pokémon GO attracts more than 21 million daily active users in the United States, making it the biggest mobile game in US history. To play, users must physically navigate through 3D space in order to find and capture virtual monsters hidden in the real world, but seen through an augmented reality layer displayed on their smartphone’s screen.
We are not gamers. But over the past week, Jennifer and I have been delighted to see so many people – particularly families – outside, interacting with each other, smiling, laughing, relating and having fun. And that is good, very good. For Pokémon Go has a noticeable social effect on its players —one which has seen people from across any number of demographic lines come together to share in the real thrill of the game’s virtual hunt.
We downloaded the game. And the other night, walking along a beachfront park in Fort Walton Beach, FL, I stopped one of the three dozen players we saw wandering the park with us and asked him to show me how it works. He was a young kid, maybe 16 or 17. He was delighted to explain how to play.
A few minutes later, I stopped a family: A Mom, Dad and two of their early teenaged kids. “We've never done anything like this,” said the Dad. “We're having a ball. We haven't spent this must time together in a long time.”
Across social media, players have begun chiming in with their own stories of bonding with strangers while walking outside and playing the game.
What’s more, not only is the game bringing together strangers who might otherwise never have met—it isalso be good for their health. Since its release, users have been posting screenshots of their step-counting apps to document how the game has upped their physical activity.
So what does this have to do with RVing?
Shared experiences. Community. The Outdoors. The very thing that appeals to so many about RVing. People are starved for those things. The RV lifestyle meets those needs much more than a smartphone video game. So, like we try to do with our Roadtreking Blog and Podcast, the industry needs to focus on the lifestyle, the experience, the community benefits of RVing.
The biggest lesson to learn is this: If you have a great product, you can use it to unite people rather than divide them into categories of demographic data points.
This part of the podcast brought to you by RadPower Bikes , an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes.
We're on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach, FL.
As we were recording this episode, Bo, our Norwegian Elkhound, decided he needed some attention. So he jumped up and started niping at Jennifer. I took the photo of him above.
Like a little kid, he wanted in on whatever we were doing!
JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK – Cooking in Your RV [spp-timestamp time=”9:40″]
If you love to cook, you can still prepare fabulous meals in your RV kitchen. Just use a few common sense RV cooking tips to create wonderful meals the entire family will love.
- Plan Ahead. This is one of the most important elements of RV cooking. You can make sauces, stews, soups, and other side dishes ahead and freeze them, then you just need to warm them up for dinner.
- Make mixes ahead of time. If you're going to make bread, measure out all the dry ingredients into a plastic bag, and then simply add the wet ingredients when you're ready to bake. The same goes for pancakes, waffles, breading mixes, and other types of flours and mixes. Measure them out ahead of time, then you only have to mix and cook in the kitchen, and you don't have to carry around all the different ingredients, taking up space in your small RV pantry.
- Marinate meats and vegetables ahead of time. You can transport meats and vegetables in their marinades in plastic bags. When you're ready to cook, they're already marinated, which saves you another step along the way.
- Plan to grill several meals, or at least grill some of the items on the menu, to help free up space in the kitchen.
- Cook pastas and other starches at least part way at home, and then put them in a plastic bag. That way, all you have to do is warm them up, rather than wait for water to boil and cook.
As you travel in your RV, you'll devise your own RV cooking tips to help you save time and energy in your RV kitchen!
Do you have a tip for me? It can be anything at all about the RV lifestyle, camping or traveling. Use the “Leave Voicemail” link at Roadtreking-dot-com.
I love hearing from our listeners… so don’t be shy.
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=”16:43″]
Listener Mar Ellen asks about the problem of biting black and stable flies. She saw Mike’s reports on the flies that plague visitors in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Summer is black fly season. It’s also stable fly season. Both species torment folks up there every summer.
Technically, Black flies are small, dark flies with a humped back that can give a painful bite. Unlike a mosquito (which sucks up blood through a proboscis), black flies slash the skin and lap up the pooled blood.
Stable flies have dark stripes on their back and a checkerboard-like pattern on the top of their abdomen. A distinguishing feature of the sable fly, visible to the naked eye, is the distinct stiletto-like proboscis of the stable fly which extends forward beyond the head. This sharply pointed beak is used to pierce the skin and draw blood.
I really can’t tell you which is which, or which is worse. In my book, the two are equally evil. In July along the Lake Superior shoreline, you'll find them everywhere – on the beach, in the woods, at the campground.
Below is a video that I did gives you a sense of what to expect if you’ll be visiting the area. If camping, get some fly traps or fly strips. That seems to catch a few hundred every day. You’ll still get bit, but maybe not as much.
Wear light colored clothing
Wear long pants or jeans (they tend to bite the most below the knees, especially around the ankles)
Protect your pets (they bite dogs, too)
Use an insect repellent like Bugzilla intended for biting flies.
- Listener Sampson heard us talking on Episode about entering GPS coordinates and he offers another suggestion that works on a smartphone with Google Maps. Check the shownotes page for this episode… radtreking.com/97
E-Mail from Listeners:
- Hi Mike and Jennifer, Well, we did it, our 2017 CS Adventurous XL is going into production this week and we should take delivery in August! We are so excited to begin our Roadtreking adventures. I am trying to get organized so that when our RV arrives we will be ready to hit the road. Your podcasts and the Roadtreking FB pages have been a wonderful source of information. In episode 96 you covered mattress pads again. We too are having the drop down cabinet installed in our RT so we will have similar storage. I have ordered a king RV Superbag and am on the hunt for a mattress pad. I'm like you Jennifer, I want the bed put away every day to increase living space and keep things looking tidy. In the podcast you mentioned 1 1/2 in foam “pads”. Do you have multiple smaller pads? I am just wondering how bulky and heavy even a thin king pad would be. We rented an RS last spring to try out class B living and the bedding option in the rental was cumbersome and needed to be stuffed under the wardrobe cabinet that extended over the couch each morning. I really want to be able to stuff all the bedding in the cabinets above the bed. Hope to see you around the Lakes Region of NH sometime! Thanks, Lynne
We bought two twin sized 1.5 inch foam pads that go on top of the sofa. We can't remember where we bought them. Mike thinks REI. Jennifer thinks Bed Bath & Beyond. We roll them up tight and they stow in that drop down cabinet. Any wider pad – they come in 2 inch and 3 inch sizes – would be to bulky to stow in a Class B RV like we have.
- Peter and Judy ask: “Hi Mike, We own an 2015 Agile RoadTrek. The back of the RV gets excessively warm as we drive down the road. The air conditioning unit from Mercedes-Benz seems to have no effect on cooling beyond the two front seats. We recently read that it is OK to run your propane generator and the cabin air conditioning unit while your RV is running down the road. Is that a safe practice? Peter & Judy”
Yes. Most RVers I know indeed do run the generator on the road to run the house A/C, or other electrical devices, and normally without a problem. One thing to remember is to shut it off when fueling. Easy to forget at self service. On many gas coaches the Gen. in very near the fuel tank fill. A static spark from entering and exiting a vehicle can set off vapors, so too an errant spark from a plug wire on a running generator could make for a real bad day. Also, make sure your generator exhaust system is in good condition and not leaking AND there are no openings or holes in the coach floor or anywhere exhaust can get in-
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=”33:55″]
Today’s topic has to do with climbing and going down hills in an RV. I want to credit the Family Motor Coach Association, the U.S. Department of Transportation and Workhouse Custom Chassis for their expertise in putting this week’s training tip together. Here's a link to theFMCA's full written transcript.
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
RV NEWS OF THE WEEK [spp-timestamp time=”42:38″]
Erwin Hymer Group North America, Inc. Granted MasterUpfitter Status
Rant of the week – Noisy generators at campgrounds
Shortest rest times at Interstate Rest Stop –Sharon Burgess reports I-90 Rest Area west of Erie, PA. Shortest parking limit she's seen at any rest area. She posted a photo showing a two hour limit. Violators are subject to being towed and assessed a $50 minimum/$200 maximum fine
Grand Canyon National Park Wildfire nearing 14,000 acres – While winds have pushed the Fuller Fire on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park across nearly 14,000 acres. Numerous roads and trails were closed.
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=”48:38″]
By Steve Van Dinter, from Verizon Wireless
For those of us living the mobile life – and I suspect that’s a lot of your listeners – there’s too much out there to Facebook, Snapchat and Tweet, and not always enough data in your smartphone plan to go around.
For those who worry about going over their data limits and getting hit with overages it’s time to breathe easier…that’s because Verizon recently announced a huge change to its plans and a completely redesigned new app that transforms the industry.
It’s all about giving consumers choice. First off, Verizon plans now come with at least 30% more data and if you don’t use all your data in a month, it will carry over to the next month.
In addition, for those who are running up against their plan limits, you now have choice on what you want to do next. For those who want more control of their bill you can turn on a new feature called Safety Mode. This kicks in after you’ve exhausted all of your data in a given month. Speeds will be reduced to 128kbps but you can use as much data as you want the rest of the month and not worry about getting hit with an overage. High speed data returns then on the first day of your next plan month.
Maybe you need to take a video call or download a large file on 4G LTE…no worries. Using Verizon’s new app, simply use the data boost feature. That lets you purchase 1GB of high speed access for just $15 at any time.
Or maybe this happens to you month after month and it’s time to bump up your data package. Just use the new app, select the plan that will fit you better and have it take effect that day or back date it to the start of your plan month – again so you don’t have to worry about going over.
Speaking of that new app…never before has it been so easy to see how much data is left on your plan or what your total bill will be…or any other features of your account. You should definitely check it out!
Learn more at your local Verizon store or www.verizonwireless.com.
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 [spp-timestamp time=”51:52″]
The Great River Road
By Tom Burkett
We know at least some Roadtrekkers have traveled the Great River Road along the Mississippi. We love river drives, especially on the big rivers of the Midwest. They’re dotted with cities and small towns, and their long tenure as transportation corridors means they’re full of history and great stories.
A hundred years ago button factories and mussel camps lined both banks of the big, slow-moving rivers in the middle of the country. Freshwater mussels abounded in these bodies of water and often collected in shoals, areas where the current slowed as the river made a turn. Maybe the most famous of these is Mussel Shoals, Alabama, home of some great music history. Native Americans collected and smoked the meat of these bivalves, leaving great mounds of shells, called middens.
Through the last half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth, mussel boats used brails and free divers dove from the banks, collecting mollusks as big as dinner plates. Often they found freshwater pearls inside. The meat was used as animal feed, and the shells themselves were cut into mother of pearl buttons. Plastic spelled the downfall of the button factories, all of which have disappeared.
Manchester, on the Ohio River, has a small museum with button factory history. Muscatine, Iowa was once known as the pearl button capital of the world with half the population making buttons from the harvest of the Mississippi. Arkansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Kentucky all participated in the booming mussel industry of the time, making buttons and shipping raw materials to factories in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
Near the town of Camden, Tennessee, a bit off I-40 at exit 133, you’ll find the Tennessee Freshwater Pearl Museum. Housed in the side room of a marina and RV park office, this little spot is rich with pearls and mussel harvesting history, and offers tours of their cultured pearl farming operation. Tours are sporadic, so be sure to call ahead. There’s good camping in the Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park, and the nearby National Wildlife Refuge offers the opportunity for great birding during spring and fall waterfowl migrations.
As you meander along these mighty rivers, don’t pass up the opportunity to dive into the past that ebbs and flows through them. Get your feet wet! Happy travels!
This part of the podcast is brought to you by AllStays – the Internets #1 RV and camping app since 2010
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