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Episode 81: Livin’ in a Van

| Updated Mar 30, 2016

Remember the famous SNL Skit that Chris Farley did as he hilariously portrayed Mat Foley, an erstwhile “motivational speaker” who was “Livin in a Van Down by the River?” Well, in this episode of the Roadtreking RV Podcast, we talk to a whole bunch of people who are just that…livin in a van down by the river…. And down by the beach…and on the mountaintops…and in state and national forests and campgrounds all across North America.

We talk to them about what it’s really like, living in a van – a Class B motorhome, to be precise. You’ll hear them talk about the plusses and minuses and much more.

Also this week, a great tip about keeping your clothes looking great while traveling in your RV, the RV News of the Week that reports on a bunch of RV related safety recalls, some tech tips and an off the beaten path report about a destination you’ll want to check out.


Jennifer’s Tip of the Week – Power Steam Pro

This week’s tip is about a very handy way to make sure your clothes look good and are wrinkle free as you’re traveling in your RV. It’s a very special iron called the Power Steam Pro. I bought one at the recent Family Motorcoach Association Family Reunion rally in Perry, Georgia a couple of weeks ago, but it’s also available online on Amazon.[spp-timestamp time=”4:15″]

power steam proIt costs $70 and I am really impressed by what a wonderful job this does. We keep ours right in the RV.

It is a commercial grade garment steamer that steams in minutes and produces consistent steam for approximately 20 minutes. It can be used to get rid of wrinkles and odors from any type of fabric without the use of a metal plate.

It won’t burn you or scorch your garments and you can use any type of water for the steam, it doesn’t have to be distilled. Even tap water is okay with the Power Steam Pro.

It even is safe to be used for silk and delicate fabrics.

When I bought mine, a sweet young woman named Ginny was demonstrating it so we pulled out the recorder and I asked her to share some of the features.

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

  • Save 10% on the nightly rate at 2,100+ Good Sam RV Parks & Campgrounds
  • Save on fuel at Pilot Flying J
  • Save at Camping World—the Club’s official RV accessory retailer!


  • Listener Geoff is outfitting his new RV and has questions about the RV Superbag that Jennifer and I use. Here’s a video Jennifer did about the king-sized bag we have. We also have two singles. [spp-timestamp time=”11:53″]
  • Julie called in with a question about de-winterizing her RV and reinstalling the water heater’s anode rod. I referred her to the specifics on her model from the online manuals at . I sent her to this link with step by step instructions on how to remove and replace a rod. She also asks about a list for what to check before heading off on a trip. Every RV is different and you need to make up your own for your specific model but a good place to start is this pre-trip checklist I found at RV University. [spp-timestamp time=”17:10″]
  • Andy is in the market for a new RV but wants to guard against depreciation. Bob Gummersall, the chief technical editor of RVers Online, has been studying and analyzing NADA and Kelly Blue Book RV prices for years and concludes that RVs pretty much all depreciate at the same rate, no matter whether Class A,B, or C. Here is a link to his report, which notes that starting with the MSRP, the depreciation is 30% driving it off the lot, another 10% at the end of the first year and 6% for each year following. By the 6th year, he says, the ownership of an RV is worth approximately one half its net purchase price.[spp-timestamp time=”23:10″]
  • Becky has some questions about the undermounted air conditioner Jennifer and I have on our Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL. We talk about our system, now available as a factory add-on by Roadtrek[spp-timestamp time=”29:00″]
  • And Paul plans lots of backcountry RVing and wants to make sure he has enough clearance for unimproved roads. We share our experiences.[spp-timestamp time=”31:36″]

 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.


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

The Alde hydronic system brings many features and benefits not found with any other product.

  1. Silent Radiant Heat – providing a warm even natural heated interior. Great for pets. (And Humans)
  2. Increased Interior Space by combining two systems in one.
  3. Efficiency. The whole system draws less than 1 amp on 12V DC and will extend the life of your propane roughly 40 percent over forced air.
  4. Heating on Electric or Gas.
  5. Multiple Options and Amenities: Towel Warmers, Floor Heat, Tank Heating, 4 Season Camping, Engine Heat, Driver Comfort,
  6. Modern Programable Color Touch Screen Thermostat and Interface
  7. Minimal Side-Wall Penetration. Small combined intake and exhaust eliminate big cut outs and sidewall congestion.


Whether saving for a big RV trip or to get some new RV gear, a number of apps are designed to help you save money in brand new ways – just a few bucks at a time.[spp-timestamp time=”41:21″]

This week, I have three of the best personal finance savings apps to help you do just that.

Qapital puts a unique spin on saving. It lets users set up so-called rules – for example, buy a specialty coffee drink and transfer $5 to your FDIC-insured account. The idea is that it will add up and you can withdraw from your savings with the push of a button. The app is free for iOS and Android.

Acorns allows users to not only save but invest in very small amounts. Users set up the Acorns app to take whatever change users are due and instead invest it. For example, if you spend $3.75 on a coffee and pay with $4, you can invest the 25 cents you are due back. If you want to cash out at anytime, no big deal – just push a button. The app is free for iOS and Android. It costs a buck a month.

The app Digit helps users save by monitoring spending habits with the users’ permission and using complex math to figure out exactly what you can afford. Every few days, it will withdraw a few bucks to a Digit account that is FDIC-insured up to $250,000. And if you are ready to spend what you’ve saved, withdrawing is a simple as sending a text. The money is in your checking account the next day. The app is free for iOS.

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.

Ever wonder what it would be like to swim with sharks or have a close encounter with a dinosaur? What if I said you could experience those fantasies from the comfort of your own home?

Verizon is making virtual reality…a reality with the new Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus.

The Gear VR is a mobile, virtual reality headset that can transport you to amazing new worlds, in games, video and images.

Think of it as watching movies in your own private cinema, being at the center of your favorite video games or socializing with friends in a virtual world all your own.

The lightweight design and intuitive touchpad drop you right into the action and allow for hours of immersive entertainment.

Sounds pretty fun, right? Visit your local Verizon retailer to take the Gear VR for a test drive.

And, don’t forget to visit for stories about how technology can enhance and improve your life.


Tom and Patty Burkette take us to Baltimore and a whole bunch in interesting museums, historic sites and places of interest. [spp-timestamp time=”45:54″]

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

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK – Livin’ in a Class B Van

We talk to folks at the recent Family Motorcoach Association rally in Perry, GA about what it’s really like, livin’ in a van – a Class B motorhome, to be precise. You’ll hear them talk about the plusses and minuses and much more. [spp-timestamp time=”55:25″]

Here’s video of them:

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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 2016-03-30

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 81: Livin’ in a Van”

March 30, 2016at9:39 pm, TDHIll said:

Awesome video with excellent points about living in a Class B! So many wonderful folks at that rally who took the time to show us their rigs- fun to see them on film. Thanks for sharing.

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