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Our 500th RV Podcast: How it all began and where it’s going

| Updated Jun 5, 2024

This week on the RV Podcast:

  • This is our 500th RV Podcast.🎉 For close to 10 years, we’ve been doing this show. This week, we tell you how it all began…and where we’re headed…
  • We have some clarification on those controversial new CDC rules on bringing your dog back from Canada and Mexico. But that clarification doesn't mean it still isn’t confusing.
  • In our social media buzz segment, we have tips on keeping cool while camping in the summer heat. 
  • All this, plus the RV News of the Week and your questions coming up in Episode #500 of the RV Podcast.

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.

Our 500th RV Podcast: How it all began and where it’s going 1

The Latest from the CDC on their new rules for bringing your dog back from Canada and Mexico

As we’ve been reporting, starting August 1 some very detailed and complicated new rules will go into effect for anyone who enters the United States with a dog. 

And while these new rules are aimed at keeping so-called rescue dogs being imported into the US from countries that have high rates of canine rabies, they also affect tourists and RVers who take their dogs with them on vacation to Canada and Mexico and then come back home.

You heard that right. The rules about bringing animals in from nations that have problems with rabies also apply to family pets owned either by Canadians coming to vacation in the US, or US citizens who have traveled to Canada and are returning home.

After almost two weeks of trying, we finally got a written response to our questions from the CDC. The CDC refused to be interviewed and would only respond to written questions, providing us the following information:

  • To come back onto the US, your dog must be at least six months old. So if you have a young dog or puppy, even if you left the US with it for your vacation, you can not return to the US with the pup until it is six months old.
  • All dogs returning to the US must be microchipped. 
  • You must have the dog vaccinated for rabies and have written proof of that and the microchip number from your vet
  • Your vet must fill out a form and send it to the USDA.
  • Finally, 2-10 days before returning to the US, you must take face and body photos of your dog, complete a CDC Dog import form, note the microchip number on it, identify which port of entry you will use to return to the US and upload it to the CDC, keeping a copy of the receipt they send you back that you can show at the border when you chrome back to the US.

Did you get all that? 

We asked our vet and after checking, his response was “Good God what a mess!

All the forms, all the paperwork seemed overwhelming. 

The CDC recommends you begin getting the documentation done 60-90 days before leaving the country with your pet.

All of those rules must go into effect Aug. 1. If you have not followed them, your dog will not be allowed to return to the US.

Now here’s the rub. Some of the required forms won't be available until after July 15. The rules take affect two weeks later.

The CDC is putting as much of this as they can online. We have two resources they shared.

The first is a checklist for when to see your vet, what forms to get and where to send them –

The second is the required document needed after Aug. 1 to bring a pet into the United States – 

There is a tremendous amount of confusion about these new rules. Our best advice to you is to call your vet as soon as possible if you are planning to visit either Camada or Mexico this summer.  If you think these rules are confusing for pet owners, they are even more so for veterinarians.


Our 500th RV Podcast: How it all began and where it’s going 2

Wendy Bowyer reports on the hot issues most talked about this past week on social media and our RV Lifestyle Community group.

Andrew said he has lots of solar panels and he relies on them to keep the batteries topped off.

Douglas lives in Florida. He installed a 30 amp RV outlet in the garage and they keep their rig plugged in that way.

Robert does the same thing. It sounds like they run the AC to help with the humidity, keeping the temperature at 78. He added shore power is not very expensive – especially when compared to the cost of good batteries.

Others said they keep the RV plugged in so they can keep the refrigerator running and not bother taking the food in and out. One couple who used to live in California said they left theirs plugged in so they were always ready to go in case of a wildfire.  Makes sense!

Also in our community, in the e-Bikes Space, Andrew had a tip that was worth sharing for all the ebike users out there. Andrew said they own two ebikes, and their biggest complaint is communication while riding. So, to solve that, they got Sena helmets – he said it was a game changer and they highly recommend them. The helmets enable them to talk as they ride, even a full half a mile apart. He said they're not cheap but well worth the money. 

It looks like there are a lot of varieties of Sena helmets but in general they are bluetooth connected with headsets, even sometimes cameras, to help communicate with other riders. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing, Andrew.

Meanwhile, in the RVLifestyle Facebook Group, Vanessa asked: “How do you keep the inside cool  on super hot days? ” Sounds like she is camping where there is no shade, AC is running non-stop and still 90-plus inside.

Lots of good tips here. Some  recommended placing cardboard or black out shades over the windows. Many recommended using Reflectix, the silver, reflective bubble-wrap-like material. And a few suggested tinting the windows to keep the heat out.

Some got very creative – suggesting she install an outdoor shade, sort of like a canopy or tent, to keep the sun off the rig.

And others said the key is airflow, and Vanessa needs several fans so the air is always moving throughout the rig.

A couple of people pointed out that most air conditioning units are only meant to cool the inside air about 20 degrees cooler than the outside air.

And more than one person suggested Vanessa add another air conditioning unit,  and get her AC checked out to make sure it is working properly.

So many great tips here, more than 470 comments, if you are going to be camping in the heat any time soon, you may want to check it out.


It was sometime back in 2013 – 9.58 years ago to be precise – that we released Episode 1 of this Podcast.

We’d been doing the RV Lifestyle since March of 2012 when we started a blog, quickly followed by a YouTube Channel and then the podcast.

At the time, there was one other couple doing this… John and Kathy Huggins who were the first with an RV-themed podcast called Livin’ the RV Dream. They started as a radio show for a local station in Florida and did a little over 400 episodes before Kathy’s declining health ended their show.

When we started, there were very few other YouTubers or so-called RV influencers. The only other couple I knew was Jason and Niki Wynn of Gone with the Wynns, though they sold their RVs and moved on to sailboats.

There were probably a few others, but nothing like now, when, last I tried to count them, there are something like 350 other couples or RV-related podcasts, YouTube Channels, and blogs.

Most won't last long because, as much fun as the RV Lifestyle is, it can be very challenging. So reaching 500 Podcast episodes is worth celebrating.🎉

Actually, this is probably more like Episode 525 or more because in the early years, we did special edition podcasts from RV shows and rallies for breaking news and individual stories. Sometimes, in the early months, we had two or three a month, but I didn't count them as full Episodes… though they were.

So, when I say this is our 500th podcast… it is at least that. 

We have a post up on our blog about how the RV Lifestyle all started but here are the highlights.

It started as a hobby back in 2012 when Mike left a long career in journalism.

Now, this podcast and our many different platforms have become what we really believe is a calling. We feel this is exactly what we were meant to do.

It started when we bought a used Roadtrek Class B campervan-type motor home in early 2012 after years of dreaming. When we did, Mike started writing a blog about seeing North America, enjoying our RV, and the interesting stories about the people and places we came across.

See, as a journalist, Mike had traveled everywhere. Across the U.S. and Canada, even overseas, chasing wars and rumors of wars. He’s covered presidents, the Pope, even the Queen. He’s attended the big political conventions of both parties and worked for big city newspapers, television stations, even NBC News.

At one time, I traveled so much that my newspaper at the time took out an advertisement in a trade publication promoting me as “one of America's Most-Traveled Reporters.”

But that kind of travel is what we call “parachute journalism.” We drop into an area, focused on just one story, and then head out to the next. Sometimes after just a few hours.

When I left daily journalism, I wanted to go back to many of those places to see what I missed. So I bought an RV and, with Jennifer and our Norwegian Elkhounds, we've been traveling and sharing our adventures ever since. Our first dog was Tai. When he died, we got Bo, who since as a puppy has been traveling in RVs.

Since then, we have traveled over 300,000 miles. Typically, we mark out a route, identify a few spots we want to be sure to visit, and then take off, stopping when we want or find something that interests us. An old editor of mine once told me that “every person has a story to tell.”

My journalism career has shown me that to be very true. It's the same with most places. Places have stories, too. So we like to wander, chat up the people we meet, and start taking photos and videos. Usually, we return with more stories than we can do. 

Where is this all headed? What’s next for us?

Well, what’s around the next bend in the road. That's where we’re headed. We seldom plan more than two or three months out. We are very much serendipity travelers. 

Serendipity means a “happy accident” or “pleasant surprise,” something fun and useful and enjoyable that was discovered by happenstance along the way. That's a perfect description of what we find every day in this wandering life in an RV. 

We plan to keep doing this… until we don't want to. Or declining health or circumstance makes it clear to us that it’s time to slow down or come off the road.

We can honestly say we enjoy it every bit as much as we did when we began. Maybe more.

We have no plans to quit anytime soon and look forward to each trip like newbies.

So that's our story. It's still unfolding. 


Our 500th RV Podcast: How it all began and where it’s going 3

The cicadas – are HERE!

The cicadas – are here! Have you run into any while camping yet?

Mike and I have not, but this week we will be camping in southeast Michigan and next week we will be camping in northern Indiana and I am kinda hoping we do.

If you remember, this year was to be a cicada apocalypse, with as many as 1.5 MILLION cicadas per acre emerging from underground in places of the Southeast and Midwest. The reason is two broods were appearing at the same time – Broods XIII that appear every 17 years, and Brood XIX that emerges from the ground every 13 years.

This is so rare it hasn't happened in 221 years.

Seventeen states in the Southeast and Midwest have reported cicada sightings but not all have emerged yet. Scientists say the broods emerge once the soil eight inches underground reaches 64 degrees.

These winged bugs spend most of their lives underground. They come up to mate, lay eggs and die. While they do not bite, they do make a LOT of noise – especially at dawn and dusk. And when they have their die off, it can be, well, disgusting.

Earlier this year we interviewed a cicada expert on the podcast who shared lots of interesting facts. You can listen to that here at about 13 minutes in.

There is also a map where broods are reported. If you want to see if any are near you, click here.

The latest RV recalls

More RV recalls were announced last week by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that included some Tiffins, Forest Rivers, Aluminum Trailer Company and more.

When I read the list of issues, all I could think was that this does NOT help the industry gain confidence among consumers who are increasingly concerned about shoddy quality.

The recall included 24 Tiffin 2024-2025 Byway motorhomes because the secondary emergency exit in the bedroom was not installed. Owner notification letters will be mailed out July 12.

Forest River is recalling 2,204 of the 2020-2023 Coachmen Independence Trail, 2020-2024 Viking, and 2021-2024 Clipper travel trailers. Their issue is – get this – the freshwater tank may detach from the vehicle when full or overfilled. Can you imagine? Owner notification letters will be mailed June 24.

Forest River is also recalling 318 of the 2024 Solera, 2024-2025 Forester, and Sunseeker motorhomes. Their issue is the LP ga line may not be properly secured, which can cause the line to become damaged and leak. Yikes! Owner notification letters will be mailed June 26.

The Aluminum Trailer Company is recalling 398 of some of its 2021-2024 Toy Hauler 5th wheel trailers. The LED backlight circuit board in the cooktop range may fail, causing the board to overheat. Owner letters will be mailed out June 14.

And finally, Prime-Time Specialty Vehicles is recalling about nine 2023-2024 Ford Transit vehicles equipped with certain GO-ES Space Saver Foldaway Seats. In this case the recliner mechanism may not engage at times putting it out of compliance with seat belt regulations. Owners letters on this recall were mailed letters May 27.

If you want to learn more about these recalls check out the full details from our friends at RVBusiness here.

Glacier National Park still plowing Going-to-the Sun Road, no open date yet

Anyone planning an early summer trip to Glacier National Park may need to wait to drive the infamous Going-to-the-Sun Road because no date has been set yet for its opening.

The reason is snow. Lots and lots of snow. And late-season avalanches.

Road crews say there have been 74 avalanches, many late season, including 34 that happened after the road was cleared, meaning snow trucks then had to do the work to clear them again. And last weekend, it was still snowing up there.

Remember if Glacier National Park is on your bucket list, reservations are now needed to enter during the summer season. Click here for more information.

We love Glacier National Park and it is definitely one of our favorites. To see why, click here


Our 500th RV Podcast: How it all began and where it’s going 4

In celebration of our 500th podcast episode, we thought we’d combine our storytime of the week feature with some extra questions that are more personal in nature.

QUESTION: Do you ever get tired of all the travel? – Alicia

ANSWER: Yes, there are times we get tired of all the traveling, but those times don’t last long. We’ve learned to recognize the signs of travel fatigue, and take time to rest accordingly. Sometimes that means camping in one place longer. Sometimes that means returning to our sticks-and-bricks house that we still live in for about ¼ of the year. In most cases, it means spending time with our family to refuel our emotional tanks, so to speak. These intermittent rests recharge us, and it’s never long before the travel bug starts to bite again.

QUESTION: You two seem to really like each other and genuinely get along. But you have to get on each other’s nerves from time to time being cooped up in an RV so much. How do you handle that? – Missy

ANSWER: I don’t think we could do this if we really weren’t best friends.

But I think it mainly comes down to mutual respect, patience, and understanding that the other person isn’t perfect. And neither are you.

When traveling together, it’s also important not to lose sight of your individuality. There are still things you like to do that your partner does not, and vice versa. 

It’s important not to give up those things but be open to enjoying those things on your own or with other friends. Or to take turns enjoying each other’s hobbies.

The real reason we get along so well is our faith. We believe in a loving, patient, and forgiving God, and we try to emulate that in our relationships.

QUESTION: Is RVLifestyle a hobby or a business? – Ken

ANSWER: Both! There’s no way we could have kept RV Lifestyle up this long if we didn’t love doing it. We started it in our retirement mainly as a hobby, but it has grown into a money-making business for us. We make income from writing books and running ads and affiliates on our videos, blog, books and podcast at no extra cost to our followers.

It’s a fantastic way to fund our travels while sharing all of our lessons and experiences along the way. It’s a win-win for us as we get to do what we love even more because of the extra income.

QUESTION: Do you get a lot of free things? – Randy

ANSWER: Sometimes.

Not a day goes by that some company doesn't offer to send us their products for a review. The vast majority of the time, we turn them down. If we do accept the product, we always make sure we tell you that they sent it to us. And we make it clear that if they send it to us and we try it out, we will tell our audience the good and the bad and what we really think of it.

And when we’re done with it, we usually give it away, as prizes at our RV gatherings, like the one we’re having next week in Shipshewana, IN.

But most of the products you see us review or use are things we actually purchased ourselves. We bought our fifth wheel. We bought our RV property in Tennessee and Michigan. When we recommend a product or service, it is mostly because we use it ourselves or it comes highly recommended by our experienced RV audience.

We're OVER 12,500 members in our NEW Community!

Our 500th RV Podcast: How it all began and where it’s going 5

We have a Space for all sorts of things you want to know as an RVer, including Boondocking, Travel Planning, Electrical, Plumbing, Traveling with Pets, Gear, and more.

You can join each Space individually and only see what's being discussed in just that Space. Or you can see everything in the main Feed.

You can watch livestreams that are focused on one Space or another – like we recently did for Internet on the Road!

It's a calm, well-organized, friendly space to meet other RVers who might be traveling near you!

Join us

Mike Wendland

Published on 2024-06-05

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 “Our 500th RV Podcast: How it all began and where it’s going”

June 05, 2024at11:22 am, Mary Brown said:

Are they going to require the same thing for cats?


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