This week, we have lots of RV news for you, plus an interview with one of the organizers of an event called Fulltime Freedom Week that brings together more than 30 top RVers to help teach you what you need yo totally embrace the RV Lifestyle, whether as a fulltimer or a successful vacation and weekend RVer.
We also have a great off the beaten path report and a rundown on the major RV happenings this week.
Show Notes for Episode #264 October 16, 2019 of The RV Podcast;
WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK
We just returned from an awesome family getaway over a long weekend on Mackinac Island, where motorized vehicles like cars, trucks, motorcycles and RVs are not permitted. Walking, horse drawn carriages and bicycles are the way most people get around the 8.3 mile island and we had a ball.
The weather was cool, brisk and a little rainy at times. High waves on Lake Huron washed over the road in a couple spots. But we rode bikes around and through the island, toured the attractions and had a ball. And yes, there were frequent fudge breaks (Mackinac Island is famous for fudge)! Look for a video in a couple weeks.
As this podcast is being released, we expect to be on the road again, this time headed once again for Florida, by way of our grandson Matthew’s football games in southwest Georgia.
We expect to attend as many as we can, hanging out at our condo on Okaloosa Island and also traveling Florida to do some research for some upcoming 7 day Adventure Guides we hope to publish right after the holidays.
You can get info about the five we already have published at https://rvlifestyle.com/books
This part of the podcast is brought to you by Dish Outdoors, which lets RVers pay as they go and watch HD satellite television from wherever they are camped with easy to set up gear made with the RVer in mind. Just go to https://rvlifestyle.com/dish for details on the service and special deal just for listeners of this podcast.
RV LIFESTYLE NEWS OF THE WEEK
Smoking banned on California state parks and beaches under new law
Planning to light up on a California beach? Better think again. Starting Jan. 1 smoking is banned in all California state parks and beaches in an effort to reduce wildfire risks, pollution and liter. The smoking ban includes cigarettes, cigars, pipes, vaping devices “or any other lighted or heated tobacco or plant product intended for inhalation.” Makes me wonder what other states will be next.
Committee recommends National Parks Service privatize campgrounds, limit senior discounts and more to raise money
An advisory committee is recommending the national park service privatize campgrounds in the national parks, limit senior citizen benefits and allow food trucks into the parks as a way to bring in new money. The committee said the campgrounds have outmoded infrastructure, and not enough funds to keep up with demands. The committee also wants to have senior discount blackout periods to bring in more money. You can bet this idea will stir up some heated debate!
Keep your distance from the elk park service warns visitors in North Carolina and Tennessee
The National Park Service is warning visitors to national parks in North Carolina and Tennessee to beware of elk. Elk were reintroduced to the area in 2001-2002 after over hunting and loss of habitat had eliminated them. But since their reintroduction, their numbers have grown significantly. The NPS last week urged visitors to keep their distance, because they have been know to be aggressive and charge when they feel threatened.
Dog saves sleeping couple after fire breaks out in their travel trailer
A dog saved a couple who were asleep in their camper in the middle of the night when a fire broke out last weekend. The couple were camping in Pinellas Park, Florida, sound asleep, when their dog woke them up. The couple told officials they felt heat, looked around, saw the fire and were able to escape with their dog. A second travel trailer also caught on fire, but the owner was not at home. No one was hurt in the blaze.
Holly, the bear, wins Katmai’s fattest bear contest for 2019
Last year we interviewed a ranger at Katmai National Park & Preserve (listen here) to learn more about the Alaska park’s amazing bears. So, when we heard about this year’s fattest bear contest at Katmai, we had to share. Since 2014 the park has organized a “fattest bear” contest where the public can vote. People view pictures of how specific bears looked in the spring, and how they looked in the fall after gorging on salmon all season long, and cast their votes. Bears need to fatten up for hibernation, and the whole contest is a fun way to educate the public on the park’s bears. This year’s winner was Holly, and you can see her for yourself here, she is one plump creature.
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LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK
Listener Don called in to offer a name suggestion for our RV… as we talked about last week. He thinks we should call it Bowie… named after our dog, Bo, we suppose. Hmmm. We’ll think about that.
By email from a listener named Bob:
QUESTION: Do you tow a vehicle with your RV?
ANSWER: No, we never have and don’t plan to. Between our ebikes and just picking up and driving the RV whenever and wherever we want to go, we never had a need to go to the expense and hassle of towing a car.
Do you have a question you’d like us to answer, or a comment on the things we’re discussing. If so, we invite you to leave us that question or comment on the special voicemail number we have for the podcast – it’s 586-372-6990. If you are driving and can’t write it down right now, just go to the RV Lifestyle travel blog at rvlifestyle.com and scroll down the page. You’ll see that number prominently posted on the blog.
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RV INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK
Have you been dreaming of the RV Lifestyle, ether as a fulltimer, a vacation timer or a weekend warrior? But maybe you don’t know how to start? What you need to do to find and buy an RV…how to manage mail…what to pack…what kind of maintenance will be required…or how to find work you can do from the road?
Well, coming up November 5-8, 2019 is an event we want to tell you about called Fulltime Freedom Week and for would be RVers, this can save you a lot of time. It taps into the knowledge of 30 top RVers and the best part is you can get a free pass to the whole event.
Our guest this week on the podcast is one of the organizers, Camille Atell, who with husband Bryce, runs the RV travel blog More Than A Wheelin’
Here’s a transcript of the interview:
Mike Wendland: Well, as I said, you know Camille Attell from her website, More Than a Wheelin’ and she is a key part of the Full-Time Freedom Week event. This is the third one coming up. And for full-timers and would-be full-timers, this is something I think that you really want to pay attention to because if you’ve been dreaming about RVing and spending hours researching, this is going to help you make it a reality. Camille, welcome to the podcast.
Camille Attell: Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here.
Mike Wendland: Well, we’re excited to have you because this is the year-long goal for a lot of people. They started this year saying, “I’m going to be a full-time RVer,” or they’re looking… Some of them have been dreaming about this for years.
Camille Attell: Yeah.
Mike Wendland: Tell us about this event and how… Why will just this event help them get off their sofa and get in the RV?
Camille Attell: Absolutely. Well, so you mentioned Full-Time Freedom Week. That’s the official title. And I’m sure you’ll link to it in your notes. And so this is a third-year event that friends of mine and I have designed. We’re all full-time RVers, but we’ve designed this event not only for people who want to full-time, but really who want to live an RV lifestyle their way. So it’s kind of like a full-time mindset. It doesn’t mean you have to live on the road forever, or you have to give up your house. You can, and we’ll certainly provide content to teach you that, but we provide content that will help you figure out how to make it happen, how to find the right RV, what you need to know before you get in the RV, how to stay in that RV. Everything from maintenance to lifestyle decisions when you RV, where to find camping, how to work from your RV, finding a community and so much more, Mike. We’ve packed it full of everything you could ever imagine to start RVing and stay RVing.
Mike Wendland: Well, explain how this works. People have heard about blog series and digital summits and all that kind of stuff, but how is this, how is this structured? How does someone partake of Full-Time Freedom WeeK? What will they get out of it?
Camille Attell: Yeah, so I’m so glad you mentioned that because there are some amazing blogs and vlogs and podcasts, like yours, out there where people can go and learn all kinds of things. So what we’ve done is we’ve pulled together some of the best out there. We’ve got over 30 RV experts over four days. We even have some amazing partners that are joining us, different brands, and we make it all available online. So you don’t have to go anywhere, you don’t have to drive your RV, you don’t have to find parking and hook up. You can watch it from your home, your RV, a coffee shop, wherever you want and there’s really nothing else like it out there in terms of an online summit for RVers or people who want to RV that packs this much content in a really cohesive manner, bringing together the best in the RV space.
Mike Wendland: Now you say this is a four day event. How much time is it, will it take up during each of those days?
Camille Attell: That’s a great question. I’m going to go look at our schedule right now, and again, anyone can figure out what’s going to work for them. We have it starting on Tuesday, November 5th, and that day we have about four different, what we’d call videos and some of them are prerecorded and live. We do a lot of live stuff too [inaudible 00:03:40] that could be anywhere. And that actually starts 11:00 AM and the last video goes live at 8:00 PM. So, if you’re a working person and you want to kind of hop on and pick and choose the topics that work for you. Great. If you want to watch it all in one day, fabulous. And it is free, by the way, to attend during that week. But of course we also have paid options if you want to watch it on your own time later. Maybe you’ve got some downtime during the holidays or you’ve got a weekend here or there where you want to binge watch it. So we’ve got all the options available.
Mike Wendland: I think what is interesting to me is that this is not just a 30 minute read or a bunch of PDF files that you’ll be looking at. These are videos, they’ve all been produced by people who are doing this for a living, and in four days you can pack it all in and it’s free. You don’t charge them for that. That’s really pretty commendable. And then, of course, I guess where you guys make your money is you’re able then to package it and people can take it with them, they can download it, they can experience it even more in-depth in different ways you have it. But what will they learn? Let’s put somebody on that sofa. They want it, they’ve been dreaming about RVing for a long time. They’ve never really gotten set in their research, other than watching videos and saying, “I want to do that.” How will this help them after those four days? Or if they take a package and look at it later on their own time. But how will that help them get off that sofa?
Camille Attell: Yeah. That’s fabulous. I’m so glad you asked that. Well, let me first tell you who the partners are and why our partnership makes such a difference. So it’s, of course myself and then Liz Wilcox from The Virtual Campground, [inaudible 00:05:29] Lindsay McKenzie from Follow Your Detour. The four of us come from education, whether it be in traditional education or corporate education. So we design programs that educate people.
So what we’ve done is we’ve made sure to blend content that helps people take action and have inspiration. So it’s not just telling you, “Oh, this is amazing. You can do this,” but we will have people that help you plan it. You will walk away knowing how to buy the right RV, what kind of tools do you need in that RV to keep it running and maintain it. If you want a boondock, how do you boondock? What will you need for solar? How do you manage your resources when you’re off grid? If you want to work with your RV, I do a whole thing on where do you find jobs? How do you find a job? How do you plug into a community on the road? I mean, I could go on and on, I’m literally reading the list on our website right now, by the way, but that’s just a sampling of some of the things that, again, not only will people hear about, but they’ll learn actionable steps that they can go do right after the summit and just start building a plan.
Mike Wendland: Well, it’s interesting, a number of the of your speakers and presenters are no stranger to our audience. I know Amy Burkett a from Go Pet Friendly, we had her on the podcast I think a couple of times, and she really helps our viewers who are traveling with pets. Just a wealth of research. We know Robert Morales, Traveling Robert, we see him all around. We know Tom and Caitlin Morton, the Mortons on the Move, and of course there’s Camille, who we’re talking about right now, with More Than a Wheelin’. Gosh, you’ve been on the road for how long now, Camille?
Camille Attell: So my husband, Bryce, and I left in August of 2016. So at this point we’re a little over three years, full-time.
Mike Wendland: And you earn your living out there, right? You’re one of many who are RV nomads, but you’re hard at work, and I think that’s… I’m sure you’re going to teach a lot about that, about how whatever skills people bring to their full-time life, they can leverage those in the RV. There’s so much work now out there.
Camille Attell: Yes.
Mike Wendland: Some of the other things that I think people are always interested in is how do you pay for that? And will you be talking about, besides making an income and saving money, [inaudible 00:08:00] what about the financial part of it?
Camille Attell: Absolutely. We have people that specialize in saving money on the road. In fact, [inaudible 00:08:09], they’ll be talking about budgeting unexpected which is so important. And it’s so cool about their story. They’ve actually gotten out of, and they say this on their website, they’ve gotten themselves out of debt after RVing. Not even before.
Mike Wendland: Really?
Camille Attell: Yeah. And they write about it, there’s books about it, so they’re experts on that subject. And then how to build a budget to plan for the unexpected. And then we’ll have other experts talking about ways to offset costs. I mentioned boondocking, going off-grid are things you can do. Even work camping for another remote work example. That’s a way to save on cost. So I love how you mentioned some of the people you talk to on your podcast because all of these people have some sort of expertise about something. It’s all unique and all different and when you bring them all together [inaudible 00:09:05] comprehensive and cohesive set of information and resource.
Mike Wendland: Yeah. Another couple that we know and have had on the show many times, good friends, Cherie and Chris from Technomadia. These are the folks who can help you figure out how to stay connected on the internet. I don’t think there’s anyone out there that knows more about internet conductivity than Chris and Cherie. You really do have a great lineup of true experts in this thing. All right, so somebody signs up, walk me through what they need to do to sign up. I built in a link, by the way, which I’ll put in our show notes. It’s just RVlifestyle.com/freedom so they can find it really easy. I assume that’s the first step, right? Go there. And then what happens after that?
Camille Attell: You can pick any of the options. The free path, like I said, is free. You can start with that, check everything out, and then decide later if you’d like to buy pack as well.
Mike Wendland: This starts November 5th so time is kind of getting close to the thing, but it’s all set. They can find out more from the website. Again, it’s just go to RVlifestyle.com/freedom and they’ll find all they need. How’s that for an easy URL. Yeah. All right. Camille, let me just ask you the biggest challenge. Most of those who really want to embrace this lifetime has. From your perspective as you’ve coached people and walked them through this, what is the biggest challenge they have to overcome?
Camille Attell: Well, I think it’s different for everyone, but the core challenge that people have is just fear. And that shows up for people in different ways. Maybe they feel like, well they’ve never done it before, so how do they do it now? Or maybe they’re nervous that it’s going to be too expensive or they don’t know how to work an RV. All of that is totally solvable. Again, we cover all of that in Full-Time Freedom Week. But I tell people if it’s something you want to do, if you have a passion for it, if you want to RV, whether it’s just on the weekends or full-time, you can do it because everyone at this summit was right where you were. Everyone was on that side of fear and this group has all gone over to the other side of really embracing the lifestyle and loving it.
Mike Wendland: Well, it’s called Full-Time Freedom Week and it begins November 5th, it runs through the 8th. Go to that link. You’ll see it in the show notes for this episode. Camille Attell, More Than a Wheelin’ is your website. Thank you for getting us all excited. The RV lifestyle is in reach. If you’ve been dreaming about it, this’ll help you make that a reality. Thank you so much, Camille.
Camille Attell: Thanks, Mike.
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OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT
By Tom and Patti Burkett
We’re just back from our first ever off the beaten path road trip, which we shared with folks from Chicago, Georgia, and Ontario. Rain was threatening when our group gathered at Mr. Ed’s Elephant Emporium on the Lincoln Highway in Pennsylvania. Isaac was there to greet us and recount the story of how Ed Gottwalt bought an elephant on his honeymoon and built this matchless collection of more than twelve thousand pachyderms. We learned how Isaac and his wife Nicole, Mr. Ed’s granddaughter, have maintained and grown the small family business by becoming fudge moguls. The shop sells more the twenty thousand pounds a year. By the end of the talk and tour, the rain was pouring down, but the group took up umbrellas to see the gardens and Pat’s teapot collection. Fortunately, our evening campground had a nice dry picnic shelter where we enjoyed dinner and occasional greetings from hikers passing by on the Appalachian Trail.
Tuesday morning found us on the production floor at Martin’s Potato Chips, where we viewed the chipmaking process from semi trailers full of potatoes to the warehouse full of boxes waiting to be delivered. The business began with bags of kitchen-made chips sold at the local farm market in the late 1930s. Martin’s kettle cooked chips were added to the line in 1971, and quickly became the bestseller and the trademark item for the company. Our tour guide treated us to a big trayful hot off the production line.
Later in the day we met Marc Charisse in Hanover for a showing of the Gettysburg Electric Map. The map was a feature of the visitor center at the battlefield until 2008 when it was retired by the park service. After a good deal of sleuthing and an auction, Scott Roland bought it, moved it to Hanover, and put in several hundred hours rewiring and replacing the more than 600 lights built into its plaster contours. The lights represent the movement of soldiers and show developments through the three-day-long Battle of Gettysburg. Charisse is a true showman, and ended the presentation with a recitation of the Gettysburg Address while performing Lincoln’s favorite magic trick.
We had an equally enthusiastic guide the following day at the Ephrata Cloister. Established in 1732 by a religious emigrant from Germany, this farm and workshop complex eventually housed eighty celibate brothers and sisters, and worked in tandem with another 200 families from nearby towns and businesses. Each day, residents in the Cloister ate one meal, worked twelve hours, and spent six hours in religious study and worship. Their services included hymns with 200-400 verses. They’re publishing hymnal later this year, if you’d like to sing a few.
A local church in Manheim (population 4900) offered to let us camp on their lawn so we could attend parade night at the Manheim Farm Show. Nearly two hours of fire trucks, marching bands, livestock queens, political candidates, and candy-flinging businesses passed by as we watched from the curb on a perfect fall evening under a nearly full harvest moon. Wandering through the animal barns, home-making, and crop displays, we feasted on fair food and mingled with the locals at this quintessential county fair.
Thursday morning we learned how to twist pretzels at the oldest hard pretzel bakery in the USA before assembling at an Amish farm in the countryside where host Ruth Lapp treated us to a hearty farm meal, served family style. A long grassy lawn along the Susquehanna River was the perfect spot to doze a bit after lunch, as we explored the unique architecture and exhibits of the Indian Steps Museum. This personal collection of a local attorney was amassed during the period when the US government was attempting to integrate Native Americans through forced schooling, and preserves cultural artifacts that might otherwise have been lost during those years.
The week included too many experiences to report in detail, but we shared meals and evening campfires, saw some one-of-a-kind things, and took the opportunity to get to know each other and trade stories from our travels. We all encourage you to spend some time in the company of your fellow RVers. Building a network of friends and common experiences makes this traveling life richer for everyone who takes time to wander the small towns and farm fields, out here off the beaten path.
RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS
- October 17-20, Midwest RV Super Show, RV/MH Hall of Fame, Elkhart, IN
- October 18-20, Toronto Fall RV Show, Toronto Congress Centre, Toronto, ON
- October 24-27, Panhandle RV Show, Emerald Coast Convention Center, Ft. Walton Beach, FL
- October 25-27, OCK Fall RV Show, Oklahoma State Fair Park, Oklahoma City, OK