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Podcast 284: RVers share why they chose the RV Lifestyle

| Updated Mar 4, 2020

We’ve had  many fun conversations with RVers as we’ve met up with them in our travels over the past few weeks. In our interview of the week segment coming up, you’ll meet and hear from a bunch of them as they share just why they have chosen the RV Lifestyle.

Plus we have RV News, tips, Q&A and an Off the Beaten Path report from the Burketts.


Podcast 284: RVers share why they chose the RV Lifestyle 1
Mike and Jen at the back of their campsite at Boyd's campground in Key West, FL

Mike and Jennifer share their travels and their current location – Key West, FL!

Note: Our next meetup will be this coming Sunday, March 8, in Naples, FL. We'll  meet from 3-5pm on Sunday March 8th at Bone Hook Brewing Company, 1514 Immokalee Rd, Naples, FL 34110.  

Podcast 284: RVers share why they chose the RV Lifestyle 2
Mike, Jen and Bo on their golf cart touring Key West
Podcast 284: RVers share why they chose the RV Lifestyle 3
Our campsite at Boyds Campground in Key West with our rented golf cart for exploring

This part of the podcast is brought to you by the Nimble Pet Monitor 4G, the surest way we know of to have peace of mind that the temperature for your pets back in the RV is not too high. More information and a big discount for listeners ft the RV Podcast is available at


Drivers who stay in the left lane instead of using it to pass can now be ticketed in Arizona
If you are planning on driving through Arizona on any interstate anytime soon, be sure to only use the passing line for, well, passing. A new state law that went into effect in January permits police to ticket drivers who stay in the fast lane instead of using it to pass. Increasingly states are enacting laws permitting police to ticket those who stay in the left lane since it not only is poor driving, but it can be dangerous, putting other drivers at risk. To read more about Arizona's law click here.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park leads country with most visitors in 2019
Ever wonder which American national parks get the most visitors? The Great Smoky Mountains National park received the most visitors with 12.5 million in 2019, followed by the Grand Canyon National Park at 5.97 million and the Rocky Mountains National Park at 4.7 million. The figures were released last week and showed 327.5 million visitors to all of the national parks in 2019, up by 2.9 percent from 2018. Also, the 2019 visitors number was the third highest recorded since 1904.
Volunteer RVers help repair Florida's Caverns State Park campground so site can soon reopen from Hurricane Michael
A team of RVers descended on Florida's Caverns State Park to help officials restore the campground devastated by Hurricane Michael in October 2018. Contractors did some repairs but much still needed to be done, and Florida state park staff were limited in how much time they could spend restoring the campground. So, the team of volunteers descended and completed almost all of the jobs, leaving just one – involving the campground's well- to be done before the site can reopen. Click here to see our visit to the state park before Hurricane Michael hit.

Space heater, extension cords blamed for fire in Florida RV park that claimed two lives
A very sad story out of Florida last week highlighted a couple, snowbirds, who died in their RV because of a fire at the Highbanks Marina Camp and resort on West Highbanks Road near the Central Florida town of Debary. While fire officials were still investigating, it appeared to be caused by a space heater. Apparently multiple space heaters, extension cords and power strips were in use in the RV. In a report on fire safety we did a few years back, we learned there are about 1,000 RV fires each year, and space heaters are a common cause. Our heart goes out to the loved ones of this RVing couple, and we thought it could be helpful to share this post, to remind us all on what we can do to reduce the likelihood of accidentally starting a fire while we camp.

Article examines the true costs of RVing fulltime
Readers Digest had a story last week examining how much it really costs to live fulltime in an RV. Long time readers know this is a subject we covered many times through the years (click here or here), and much of the costs depend on how you choose to travel. (RV parks or boondocking, eating out or preparing your own meals, etc.) Still the article does include some important information about budgeting for RV maintenance, insurance, and such, so wanted to share it with those considering such a move.

 This part of the podcast is brought to you by RadPower Bikes, America's #1 e-bike brand, offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping  


A listener asks about adaptive safety features on RVs.   We answer…

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 and scroll down the page. You’ll see that number prominently posted on the blog.

This part of the RV Podcast is brought to you by Battle Born Batteries, maker of quality, safe and reliable lithium batteries that can be installed in just about every RV. Get in touch with Battle Born to find out what lithium batteries and an upgraded energy management system can add to your RV Lifestyle. Check them out at


We’ve had  many fun conversations with RVers as we’ve met up with them in our travels over the past few weeks. In our interview of the week segment coming up, you’ll meet and hear from a bunch of them as they share just why they have chosen the RV Lifestyle.

Here’s a video of the interviews:

The interview of the week is brought to you by, where every new  motorhome is delivered to the customer free, anywhere in the country


By Tom and Patti Burkett

Podcast 284: RVers share why they chose the RV Lifestyle 4Before it gets to Lake Michigan, the Kalamazoo River widens to form a couple of connected lakes.  On either side are the towns of Saugatuck and Douglas.  There seems to be a (mostly) friendly rivalry between the two, both established as getaway destinations for Chicago residents fleeing the summer heat.  Saugatuck has a reputation as an artist colony, and Douglas as a classic lake resort town.  You can’t visit one without seeing the other, and there’s no reason to try.  Both are delightful and, although residents have turned down a merger more than once, they share a school, a library, and a fire department.

In the 1950s, when resort life was getting fired up (and still today), Oval Beach on Lake Michigan was a favorite summertime hangout for families.  Joe Decker got the idea he could make a good living selling cold drinks and hot dogs to beach visitors.  This was the heyday of the American road trip, and roadside attractions were springing up everywhere.  Decker and his friend Kelly went to work in his back yard in Flint.  They cut and fitted staves to make a twenty-foot-high barrel.  After it was finished, they took it apart and moved it to Douglas, where Decker owned a piece of land right on the way to the beach.

The Douglas Root Beer Barrel was the spot to be in those days, selling frosty mugs of Mason’s signature brew along with footlong hot dogs.  Inside the barrel was room for two workers, and outside a carhop or two took and delivered orders to the thirsty patrons just arrived from the city or returning from a long day at the beach.  Residents who worked at the barrel in the summers recall lines a block or more long on many summer nights, and how the local doctor and police officer were always passed to the front of the line as a courtesy.

Podcast 284: RVers share why they chose the RV Lifestyle 5The barrel operated until the early 1970s.  Then, as was the case with many outdated notions, it lost its popularity, closed, and fell into disrepair.  When word began to circulate in 2011 that the barrel was going to be demolished, residents formed a group called Friends of the Barrel and rallied to save it.  The building was once again dismantled, and dozens of volunteers repaired and refinished the 125 staves that make up the exterior.  Students from the high school industrial arts program built a new base and support structure for it, and in 2018, it reopened at a new home along the beach road.

Now, again, you can stop in for a frosty mug of barrel root beer and a footlong coney dog on your way to or from the beach.  And if you’re traveling near Westport or Olney, Illinois, keep your eyes open, because that’s where the other two of these can be found.  They’ll be in a back yard or on a street corner in one of the neighborhoods you won’t ever see unless you take time to wander off the beaten path.




Mike Wendland

Published on 2020-03-04

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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