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RT168 The Big Issues Facing the RV Industry for 2018

| Updated Nov 29, 2017

This episode of the podcast is coming to you direct from the 2017 RV Industry Trade Show in Louisville, KY. Taking questions and comments received over the past week from our blog readers, out Roadtreking Facebook Group and Roadtreking Facebook Page and our RV lifestyle Channel on YouTube, we’ve interviewed top leaders in the RV industry and identified the three biggest issues this booming industry needs to address as 2018 approaches. You’ll hear their responses in this podcast, plus much more.

Click the player below to Listen Now or scroll down through the show note details. When you see a time code hyperlink, you can click it to jump directly to that segment of the podcast.


Show Notes for Episode #168 Nov. 29, 2017 of Roadtreking – The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK [spp-timestamp time=”2:07″]

RT168 The Big Issues Facing the RV Industry for 2018 1
Mike and Jenifer podcasting live from the floor at the 2017 National RV Trade Show in Louisville, KY

Jennifer and I have been in Louisville all week and we are actually doing this episode right from the show floor.

  • This show is not open to the public, just RV manufacturers, RV dealers, service techs and parts suppliers. Plus the RV media, of course
  • 2 million square feet of exhibitor space
  • Hundreds of new RVs for 2018
  • Seminars, accessory dealers, parts dealers and the elite of the industry.

We are moving from our standard podcast format to instead identify the three major issues and bring on industry experts to help shed their insights on what it means.

The three issues are:

  1. With a million new RVers this year, and another million expected in 2018, where will they take their RVs? Campground development is not keeping space with RV sales. What can RVers do? We’ll try to put it into perspective
  2. Our audience identifies RV service as another channeling issue. RV repairs are often hard to get done. Sometime, it takes weeks to get an appointment and when you’re out of town and need help, what can an RV owner do? What’s the industry’s effort to add more service personnel.
  3. RV quality is the third issue our audience raised. With manufacturers rolling our new RVs as fast as they can, many of our readers and viewers think quality has taken a backseat. What is the industry doing to insure the quality of the new RVs they are building in record numbers?

We’ll talk about these, in depth.

This portion of the Podcast is brought to you by Campers Inn, the RVer’s trusted resource for over 50 years, the nation’s largest family-operated RV dealership with 19 locations and growing

ISSUE #1 – With so many RVers on the road, where will they stay? [spp-timestamp time=”12:30″]

We discuss this with industry leaders

This part of the podcast is brought to you by RadPower Bikes ,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping

Issue #2 – The need for more service techs to repair and maintain RVs [spp-timestamp time=”27:32″]

We discuss this with industry leaders:

  • Marl Polk runs , a website devoted to teaching RVers how to do it themselves. He shares his thoughts. [spp-timestamp time=”28:07″]
  • Bob Zagami is executive director of the New England RV Dealers Association. He says the problem is a serious problem and has helped pioneer some innovate ways for the industry to solve it. [spp-timestamp time=”34:56″]

Sponsoring this part of the podcast is Van City RV  Bringing You the largest Inventory of class B’ RVs with locations St. Louis, Missouri; Las Vegas, Nevada; Kalispell, Montana and now… Colorado Springs, Colorado..

Issue #3: RV quality [spp-timestamp time=”43:38″]

Talking about this issue is:

  • Walter Cannon is a well-respected leader in the RV industry, specializing in safety and technical issues. He is the director of com and has extensive experience as a fulltimer. He puts the issue into perspective [spp-timestamp time=”44:45″]
  • Jim Hammill,  [spp-timestamp time=”48:09″]  CEO of the Erwin Hymer Group of North America and Roadtrek Motorhomes

This part of the podcast is brought to you by, where every new or used Roadtrek motorhome is delivered to the customer free, anywhere in the country

TRAVELING TECH TIP: [spp-timestamp time=”59:40″]

RT168 The Big Issues Facing the RV Industry for 2018 2
Steve Van Dinter

By Steve Van Dinter
Verizon Wireless

With Thanksgiving now behind us, we’re solidly locked into the holiday season. So do you know what you’re getting for those on your list this year?

Over the next few weeks I’ll bring you and your listeners some high tech options…starting this week with gifts under $100.

First up…the Google Home Mini. When it comes to adding smarts to your home, look no further than this doughnut sized device. Stick it in the kitchen, living room, bedroom or all three and when connected to wifi it’ll answer all of your burning questions, from what’s the weather like, to how to cook a turkey, to playing your favorite holiday songs. And all of that happens simply by saying, “Ok, Google.”

Next…sometimes your standard white lighting just won’t cut it. And that’s where the Philips Hue White Starter Kit comes in. These LED lights have their own built in wifi chip. And when connected to your home network, you can turn them on and off, automate them and even change the color temperature from cool daylight to warm relaxing light all through an app. These lights can also be connected to your Google Home device allowing you truly hands free control!

And finally the Chromecast Ultra – this is the dongle that truly does it all! Plug it into any TV or monitor. And using your smartphone, tablet or laptop, you can cast YouTube videos, Spotify, Netflix and other content to the display with ease. Now you can bask in the warm glow by simply casting a YouTube fireplace video onto your TV

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.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT [spp-timestamp time=”1:03:02″]

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Patti Burkett and her little gator buddy

By Tom and Patti Burkett

If you’re headed to or from Houston, or New Orleans, or Pensacola along the gulf coast, it’s easy to get on I-10 and zip through the bayou country.  If you do, you’ll be missing out on some entertaining and unexpected attractions.  After crossing on the Galveston-Port Bolivar ferry at sunset, we drove on a couple of hours to Nibletts’s Bluff outside Vinton, Louisiana.  As we settled into our inexpensive full hookup campsite at this county park, we heard banjos and fiddles.  We’d arrived at the end of a five-day bluegrass jam that’s held here annually.  The music was pleasant, and the showers had plenty of hot water.  We walked out on a long fishing boardwalk that wound over the bayou about a foot above the water, but turned around when we saw a sign that warned ‘BE AWARE.  ALLIGATORS CAN JUMP.’
Not too far down the road was the Gator Chateau.  This large roadside park is operated by the oil and gas industry association, and has a few exhibits explaining the history and process of mineral extraction along the Gulf coast.  But that’s not the real attraction.  A small building along the park drive offers the opportunity for you to hold an alligator.  When we stopped in, a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic young woman explained the do’s and don’ts before handing over a two foot gator to Patti.  Pools nearby held more of the reptiles, large and small.
Next door in a small gift shop, we told the clerk we were planning too stop at a nearby shop for some boudin.  We’d seen it advertised a number of places along our way.  “Well,” she said, “y’all can do that.  It’s pretty commercial.  If you want the real thing, you’d best head over to Billy’s, though, down at Scott”   Down the road it was then, to Scott, and at about ten in the morning, we stood in line for a good fifteen minutes for our turn at the counter.  Boudin is a sausage, particular to Cajun country, and it’s usually served with cracklings, which are deep fried bits of pig intestine.  We shared a mid-morning boudin ball and a small bag of cracklings as we drove on to the Atchafalaya Visitor Center.
The Atchafalaya is the largest wetland in the United States.  Made up of bogs, cypress swamps, and marshes, it’s a nursery for hundreds of species and home to many of the Cajun folk of this region.  Acadians, French loyalists during the French and Indian War, were forced out of the Canadian Maritimes when the war ended in 1765, and settled here along the Gulf before the Revolutionary War.  Their unique music and cuisine have become part of our wider US culture over the past century.  The visitor center houses excellent displays about wildlife and ecology and offers an informative film.  Best, though, is the animatronic swamp critter band that looks like an escaped exhibit from Disney World.
This coastline was devastated by hurricane Katrina, and if you drive along the coast itself, you’ll see countless lots for sale, and beautiful seaside mansions that can be yours for practically a song.  Remember, though, that they are uninsurable.  As you pass through Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, stop and see the angel tree.  During the hurricane, three humans and a Scottish terrier clung to this tree and were able to survive the storm surge.  The tree died from salt poisoning after the storm, but one of the survivors commissioned a sculptor to turn it into a depiction of angels.  There are many art trees along the coast, but this one is especially symbolic.
From Galveston, Texas to the Gulf Islands National Seashore every mile of coastline and every interstate exit offers unexpected surprises that will play hob with the plans you made over breakfast.  Give in, and look for us, Patti and Tom Burkett, somewhere among the zydeco and etouffé, off the beaten path.


This part of the podcast is sponsored by Steinbring Motorcoach, Roadtrek’s newest dealer and a third generation family business in Minnesota’s beautiful Chain of Lakes region built on quality motorhomes and excellent pricing and service.

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2017-11-29

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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