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RV Podcast: Finding RV Community on the Road

| Updated Oct 6, 2023

Finding RV Community on the road can be a challenge. But joining a club or attending a rally or a meetup can bring you lifelong friends.

Show Notes for Episode #467 of The RV Podcast: Finding RV Community

You can watch the video version from our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel by clicking the player below.

If you prefer an audio-only podcast, you can hear us through your favorite podcast app or listen now through the player below.

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Our interview guests are Travis Carr, president and co-CEO, and Melanie Carr, vice president and co-CEO, of the Escapees RV Club and the topic is finding community on the road.

And that is what we are doing this week as we’re coming to you from the KOA Resort and Campground in Nashville, TN where we’ll be all week with 65 or so of our followers at our annual fall campout.

Hat's off to the Sponsors who have helped us with the expense and/or provided prizes for the attendees. They include:

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK

This from Deborah: I keep a 3 ring binder with tabs for each trip. I record where we go, where we stay, and who we see. When the binder is full, I take it all out, store it in a folder at home, and put in more tabs and paper.

We love hearing how other RVers started their RV Lifestyle and we had a nice email this week from Glenn and Ginger. They wrote:

About 20 years ago, we owned a beef cattle operation in a little town in north Florida. Prior to that, my wife and I were both part of the corporate world. My wife Ginger was a manager for Blue Cross Blue Shield, and I was a VP with a large computer company. 

We both became disillusioned with the corporate world, quit our jobs, and bought the farm. While I was with the computer company, I traveled the country extensively while Ginger raised the family and worked her job. She always talked about my traveling and how we would someday travel together. 

When we had the farm, neither of us had much of an opportunity to travel, but, on one of our shopping trips to town, we saw a 5th wheel parked in the lot at our local Walmart. We approached the couple and started talking with them about their travels. All their stories sounded really great, and the bug apparently bit us.

We bought a 5th wheel shortly after that, sold the farm and all our stuff, and hit the road. We traveled about 3 years and then fell in love with a Newmar class A. We've been full time in our Dutch Star ever since and have stayed in every state except Delaware. 

We've been all through Canada as well. We normally travel April through November and spend the winters in Saint Augustine, Florida. I normally do all my own repairs and upgrades to our coach, so I'm always looking for new ideas, tips and tricks, or hints which pertain to the RV or traveling. 

Right now I don't really have any problems pertaining to RV'ing, other than the usual high fuel prices, high campground pricing, full campgrounds, and long parts shipping schedules.

We love hearing from folks like that!

Something else we love reading are all the posts on our RV Lifestyle Facebook Group, now 232,000+ members strong.

SOCIAL MEDIA BUZZ – Wendy Bowyer

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Wendy Bowyer reports on the hot issues most talked about this past week on our RV Lifestyle Facebook Group

The RVLifestyle Facebook group contains a lot of information about all sorts of situations you may come across while out there on the road, and last week Theresa wrote the group to THANK everyone for information she read that helped her stay safe in a dangerous situation.

Theresa and her traveling companion were on their first long trip, from Nevada to Maryland. Just  90 minutes out of Las Vegas they experienced their first-ever flat in the front right tire.

Because of what she had read in the group, she said they knew just what to do and they were able to stay in control of the vehicle,  pull over to the side of the road with their toad and all, and safely navigate the whole situation.

I thought that post was so encouraging!

Next, Steven had a question for the group. He took a picture of a bug, said he had been killing four of them a day for the past week, and asked the group what IS this bug and what do I do?

The bug was a stink bug, and as Julie wrote, they are everywhere right now.

Some suggested Steven vacuum them up, trap and release them outside, diffuse peppermint oil (they apparently don't like it), use poison, spray them with a water and dish soap concoction…

Many said to keep the RV's porch light off at night because they are attracted to light.

And everyone said whatever you do, don't smash them in the RV because they stink and the odor attracts even more.

Judging by the large number of responses Steven got, many are feeling his pain right now.

Finally, I'd like to share with you a story from Bob.

Bob is a widower who lost his wife 10 years ago. Recently he decided to stay at High Falls State Park, just south of Atlanta, a place he and his late wife had camped at decades ago.  He said he stopped hoping to experience some good memories.

Well, when he got to the campground he had to change his campsite. So he went to the office and was given some options, and just picked one at random.

What happened next he said was like something out of a storybook

The campsite he randomly chose was the exact one he had camped at with his late wife 30 years before. He was very moved, said he had to share it with the group, and he showed a picture of him alone now and he and his late wife in the exact same spot many years ago.

The post sparked many conversations, and so many said what a blessing that must have been for him. Bob said he had a great time those few days there and his post certainly triggered lots of comments in the group.

RV INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

Finding RV Community on the Road

We get asked a lot of questions by our audience, and one we see often is: “How can I find others to camp with?” Camping with family or alone can be great,  but sometimes it IS more fun to share a camping experience with friends. So how do you make that happen?  Today on the podcast, we are going to share with you some ideas on how to find community on the road.

With us are Travis and Melanie Carr, president and vice president and co-CEOs of the Escapees RV Club, a multi-generational RV club made up of full-time, part-time, and occasional weekend campers in every kind of rig. With about 60,000 members, the Escapees offer all sorts of services, but what we would like to talk about today are the Escapee's smaller groups designed specifically to help people find community. 

RV NEWS OF THE WEEK

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National Parks will stay open – for now – as Congress reaches a stopgap measure to continue funding the government temporarily

Everyone planning to visit one of the nation's national parks for a camping trip this week can breathe a sigh of relief because the parks ARE staying open this week after Congress reached a 48-day agreement last minute that provides the money needed to keep the government operating for a few more weeks.

Both sides were still far apart Saturday morning and the Department of Interior announced that without a funding agreement, most of the national parks would close and thousands of rangers would be furloughed beginning Sunday morning.

Many RVers spend years dreaming and planning a camping trip to the national parks. We are so glad those trips can continue as planned.

Congress now has until mid-November to come up with some sort of compromise or we will be dealing with this again when the stopgap measure expires.

Let's hope they can do it.

An RV burst into flames at a suburban Chicago gas station killing a person trapped inside, injuring two others

Investigators are hoping to discover why an RV burst into flames last week at a suburban Chicago gas station, killing one person trapped inside, injuring two others who managed to escape.

A passer-by videotaped the fire, which had flames soaring 20 feet in the air as it was parked at a fuel pump at the Gas-N-Wash fueling station in Stickney.

The three people filled two gas cans at the pump, and then placed the cans inside the RV near the motor shortly before the explosion. Investigators are working to determine what happened next to cause the RV to ignite and explode.

The two injured men were taken to area hospitals, and the name of the deceased has not been released.

Couple's RV explodes after propane left on

A couple in their mid-70s left their propane tanks on overnight in their camper truck, causing the propane to flood their rig and explode when the stove was turned on in the morning.

The couple live in the Syracruse, New York, area and were home when this happened. Both were injured in the explosion with non-life threatening injuries.

Their RV, however, looks totaled.

Fire danger causes new mandatory precautions at Alabama state parks

Campers planning to visit any of Alabama's state parks this week will need to take extra precautions because of the state's extremely dry conditions.

Gas-fueled stoves or barbeque grills can only be used in designated areas. Campfires can only be in pits at the campsite and must be completely distinguished before going to bed by state order.

Alabama's Forestry Commission issued a statewide fire alert recently because of the drought being experienced there and stricter fire safety guidelines are being enforced at all campgrounds.

Recently we had a wildfire expert from the National Interagency Fire Center on the podcast to provide helpful tips on how to reduce the likelihood of accidentally causing a fire. You can access it here.

RV QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

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QUESTION: Why aren’t you and Jennifer fulltime RVers?

ANSWER: We are what they call longtimers. We’re typically on the road in our RV two or three times a month, but we love having a home base to return to. So we have our condo in Florida, our five acres in Tennessee, and our 10 acres in Michigan. We go between all three places, do long trips east and west, visit RV shows, have meetups like the one we are currently at, and next year we’re doing a group tour to the Canadian Maritimes.

We value family time, and we have hobbies and activities at our various locations and find that dividing our time of travel and home the only way we could have been doing this for the past 12 years. Remember, this is also a business for us and of the 11 million RVers in the US today, only about a million are fulltimers.

Fulltiming is NOT for everyone. Most who start don't last for a long time, coming off the road in just a few years.

For those who do stick with it, more power to them. But for us, having a home base to return to from time to time is what has kept us us fresh and excited about this lifestyle for the past 12 years.

QUESTION: We’re having a really difficult time getting our RV in our dealer for repairs. None are that serious but they say they will need it for a month, maybe 6 weeks. I don’t want to lose that much camping time. What should we do? -Jack

ANSWER: Don't use RV dealers. They love to sell your RV but getting timely service from them is usually a big disappointment. Besides, most dealerships have a policy of replace instead of repair. It’s a lot more profitable to put new parts on instead of fixing things. Now this is not all dealerships. There are some excellent ones out there. But it's been our experience that finding excellent repair service at an RV dealership is a challenge. Our advice is to use a Mobile RV tech. Not only do they come to you but we’ve found they can fix most anything. Many had previously worked at RV dealerships and got fed up with the policies they had to work under.

Where to Next?

Plan Your Next Adventure to Coastal Maine

By popular demand, we announce the publication of the latest in our library of RV travel guides – a 7-Day Adventure Guide to Coastal Maine.

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With its dramatic rocky coastline, enchanting fishing towns, and windswept sandy beaches, Coastal Maine is a destination that should be on every RVers’ bucket list. 

We call these guides “7 days,” but they really are seven stops. They’re meant to be experienced at your own pace, a couple of days at one stop, a week at another, however long you want.

We have carefully curated this 66-page digital guide (not a printed book) so you can take in all Coastal Maine has to offer. We give you the routes to drive, the spot to stop, the places to eat, and the museums, excursions, hikes and adventures we think you will enjoy the most.

For an RVer, Coastal Maine has it all: stunning landscapes, short drives between stops, spacious campsites, that perfect small city and nature mixed with a seemingly endless variety of things to see and explore.


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Mike and Jennifer Wendland

Curious about the gear, gadgets, accessories, and RV products Mike & Jennifer use and recommend?

On this RV Lifestyle Travel blog, our RV Podcast and our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel, we mention all sorts of RV-related products and gear that we use, So we created a special page that links to them. We update this all the time.  CLICK HERE to go to it directly. Have you caught one of our Amazon LIVE events yet? Just go here and Follow us – to be notified every time we go live.


Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-10-04

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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