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RT59 Discovering the Fun Stuff the RV Travel Books Don’t Know About

| Updated Oct 27, 2015

It's been said by many that every place has a story to tell. And in this episode of Roadtreking the RV Podcast we learn that many of the most interesting places also have a festival or special event to celebrate their stories.

Just about every weekend, somewhere in North America, there's a small town festival celebrating something. And finding those festivals – be they music, food or event-centered – is just one of several topics we tackle this week in Episode 59.

We interview the author of a great book that belongs in every RV, a book that helps you find hundreds of small town festivals and events that let you not only have fun but experience great food and learn about interesting people and places far off the interstates.

We have some traveling tech tips, a bucket list destination of the week for you to explore and, of course, lots of RV news, tips and trends.


Here are the complete shownotes for Episode 59 of Roadtreking the RV Podcast:

Mike and Jennifer's Whereabouts

As this episode begins, we find the Wendlands in Southwest Georgia, after a leisurely RV trip that took them to a Halloween celebration campout in Kentucky and a great fall color tour in Tennessee and North Dakota.

Listen carefully and – between the lines – Mike shares how they find free places to overnight when traveling from place to place, besides the old favorites like Walmart and Cracker Barrel. He doesn't want to name names and spoil a good thing but, if you have a small motorhome that doesn't scream “RV!!!!,”  Mike suggests lots of other places.

JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK: Star Shower Laser Light Projector

We got this idea from visiting the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky last week. It’s a way to decorate your RV…or your full sticks and bricks house for that matter – with literally thousands, of beautifully colored sparkling lights.

startshower (1 of 1)
This is what the Star Shower looks like when projected on an RV

They’re billed as Christmas lights, but we saw folks down in Kentucky who were using them as Halloween decorations.

They’re called the Star Shower  and they really aren't lights in the traditional sense at all. You don’t have to hang string after string of lights. Not even a single sting.

The Star Shower is a laser light projection system. They cover 600 square feet and utilize a tiny projector to shine all over your RV. This is so cool. The Star Shower laser light allows you to display thousands of green stars, or a green and red star combination. You can select whatever display you want.

The company says one set will cover the typical single story house.

Now the folks we saw using this had two Star Shower Projectors going and it perfectly covered their entire 32-foot-long Fifth Wheel, plus a size-able part of the ground around.

The display is very bright and we thought they were real lights until we got right next to the RV.

They require a 110-volt electric system to work, either from your RV or from the shore power electric box outside the rig.

They are available all over the place, at many big box and hardware stores or directly from Amazon at ( $39.

These are a lot of fun. We might use one at our home this holiday season…besides the RV.


LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK: Finding the right RV, understanding lithium batteries, finding RV park reviews

From listener Dolores came a question about finding an RV she saw a video on some time back:

Q: was electric, had solar panels pre-installed on the roof, and you could run all of the systems from a tablet! They advertised leaving the rig and wanting to turn the lights back on or check the dog (there was an inside camera). The table piece really intrigued me along with the camera. I travel for a military contractor 3-6 months at a time and rather than hotels I'd like to have an RV so no matter where I am (meaning parked on post or at an armory) my home is outside and I can keep an eye on Yogi (my rescued dog). Do you have any idea which RV I was looking at? Uggggh, I can't believe I didn't save it as a favorite! Thanks for any leads you can give me that will take me to what may be my perfect RV! [8:33]

A: We suggest she look at the Roadtrek TS Adventurous. That’s the model she was intrigued by but it was from an old video. Since then, the many feautres that caught her eye with the TS are available in other models.

It has the innovative and interactive Coach-Connect monitoring system (optional) and Two deployable work stations. But Mike suggests other solutions may work for her as well. Various third party Wi-Fi cameras and a data card can help her keep track of her dog. Most all Roadtrek models now offer Solar packages, as well.

Q: Theresa writes: We just bought our 210 Popular and it was part of the ECO200 promotion that started in August through September 30.   One of the Facebook members commented on their ECO 800 and how they are able to camp using the batteries for an extended period.   I would love to have more information about what it is and how it works.  All the information I have so far is rather vague: “it’s lithium batteries” – “just a small plug in”- “a little module”—etc.   How does this plug into a van after market?  Or where?    Can you help with this, please? [12:07]

A: We explain these are not aftermarket items. Lithium batteries must be factory installed and adjusted. We urge her to contact a dealer or manufacturer. But we share our experience of being energy independent and why we love this combination of solar and lithium ion batteries.

Q: From Laurie – We always seem to be scrambling to find a place to camp at the end of a traveling day. Many times we’ve been burned to pull into a pretty miserable campground. Is there a source you and Jennifer use to rate or screen campgrounds? [14:59]

A: We like RV Park Reviews….


Halloween fills campgrounds as season closes

Mike and Jennifer share an interview they did last week with two campers in Kentucky, gathered around a campfire to celebrate the Halloween weekend. [22:39]

Halloween has become so popular with RVers that most campgrounds around the country are filled every weekend during October. The couples Mike interviewed made their reservations a year in advance! Mike did a recent post with lots of photos showing how elaborately some Halloween campers decorate.

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.

All three have a great fly and drive program. They'll pick you up from the airport and will reimburse you $500 toward your airfare. Then, your RV will be fully prepared for travel, complete with full tanks of fuel and propane. Dan the Van Man offers up the late specials for us. [26:48]

RV NEWS OF THE WEEK: Flooded campgrounds, a new Class B motorhome and hungry bears in the Smoky Mountains

Heavy rains in Texas floats some RVs at campground- Read more  [28:31]

Another big RV maker jumps into the Booming Small Motorhome market – Read more [29:57]

Bears in the Smoky Mountains are ranging far and wide – read more [32:57]

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Leisure Time RV, serving central Florida and the Internet from Winter Garden, Florida.

Leisure Time RV, a family-owned dealership in Winter Garden, Florida, near Orlando has been in business for 45 years and is consistently among the top Roadtrek dealers in North America. They have a full line of the Roadtrek inventory as well as travel trailers and used RVs. Jennifer and I have visited Leisure Time RV and we know the staff and we are very impressed by the honesty, integrity and first rate service we found there. [35:50]


THINGAMAJIG OF THE WEEK: OS Rivalries between Android and iOS

Paul Ulreich, Verizon's “Uber User,” tells us the different operating systems available on today’s smartphone. Paul’s thought is that both systems are pretty similar in terms of the apps they use. Listen up and see if he helps you make a decision on switching to a different system. [37:55]

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Verizon Wireless, the nation’s largest and most reliable 4G LTE network.

With the end of Major League Baseball season rapidly approaching, it’s perfect timing that RootMetrics released stats on how cellular data networks performed at 29 MLB venues.

Proving Verizon’s point about why “better matters” when it comes to your wireless network, Verizon scored the most number 1 rankings, with RootMetrics giving Verizon outright wins or ties for wins at 15 of the 29 venues reviewed.

When things aren’t made well, you find out sooner or later. It’s like that with a 
wireless network, too. True, you might not be able to see it, but just like everything: If it’s important to you, it’s important that it works.

Visit to learn more about why “better matters” when it comes to your wireless network.[40:38]

Visit for stories about how technology can enhance and improve your life.

RV CALENDAR: Show in Florida and Texas this weekend

The Fall Clean Sweep RV Show in Estero Beach, FL Oct-30-Nov. 1 – Go to for details[42:01]

At Germain Arena, free admission and free parking   exit 173 off I75

The Austin RV Super Sale Oct. 30-Nv. 1 in Round Rock, TX – Go to

At the Dell Diamond in Round Rock. It features area RV Dealers in an end of season sale


OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT – Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Check out for Mike's blog report on his visit and details on why now is such a great time to visit this stunningly beautiful park.

Hear Mike's podcast description at [43:50]

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.


INTERVIEW: Amazing Festivals to Visit

Our interview this week is with Donald Vaughn, the co-author of “Amazing Festivals – Hundreds of Hometown Festivals,” This books lists hundreds of hometown festivals across North America.

 It costs only $7 on Amazon. Don talks about how to find festivals, what are his favorites and which ones are must-visits for RVers.[50:53]

Please Subscribe and Give Us a Rating and Review!

Many listeners are asking how they can subscribe, review and rate the Roadtreking Podcast on iTunes. With a new podcast like this, those reviews and ratings are really important to be able to show well in the iTunes listings. So if you can, I’d sure appreciate it if you’d subscribe and leave me your review.

Here’s how:

How to subscribe, rate and review a podcast

First, open up the iTunes app on your computer or mobile device. Click on Podcasts up on the top
> From the iTunes Podcasts page, use the “Search Store” field up at the top right corner of the page. Type in Mike Wendland or Roadtreking RV Podcast.
> Click on the logo image of the Roadtreking RV Podcast on the search return page
> From there (see photo above), you can…

1) Subscribe

2) Choose and Click on a star (1-5) that reflects your rating. Five stars means you really like it, one star not so much.

3) Leave a written review.

Thanks to all for the kind reviews we’ve received so far. That got us noticed by Apple/iTunes as “New and Noteworthy.” I appreciate every review!

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 2015-10-27

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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