RV thefts are on the rise. An RV GPS tracker will help recover your investment if thieves decide to steal it. Here's what to look for in choosing a tracker and how to install it.
This week on Episode 474 of the RV Podcast:
- Why your RV needs a GPS tracker
- Why you may want not to take your RV on the Pennsylvania Turnpike!
- Apps to help RVers easily send out their holiday greetings
- All this, plus the RV News of the Week and your questions coming up in Episode #474 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.
Interview of the Week: Installing an RV GPS Tracker
This week, we’re going to talk about how to combat a growing problem facing RV owners – Theft.
Your RV is more than just a vehicle; it's a home on wheels. Safeguarding this significant investment is crucial, and a GPS tracker provides an additional layer of security. In the unfortunate event of theft, having real-time location data significantly increases the chances of recovering your beloved RV.
Every week we hear about stolen RVs that are never recovered. Just the other day, a Class A motorhome was stolen from Myrtle Beach and the owner said, “My whole life is in that RV. I want it back.”
But like so many other stolen RVs, police have no clue where it is and the likelihood of it being found and recovered is pretty slim.
That’s where a GPS tracker would help. First, it would have alerted the owner when his RV was moved. And more importantly it would allow police to know where it is and then recover it.
Recently we told the story of a camper whose RV was stolen from an RV storage facility in California and she was never notified. During that interview, we shared several tips that you could take to safeguard your RV, and today we would like to share one more.
Our guest is Conrad Galambos, president of Solutions into Motion LTD which owns a product called WhereSafe, a GPS tracking device. Conrad explains various ways a GPS tracker on an RV can be used by RVers, that you'll not want to miss.
Listen or watch the interview with the players above.
What is an RV GPS Tracker?
RV GPS tracker devices are specialized tracking systems designed for recreational vehicles (RVs) to help owners keep tabs on the location and status of their vehicles. These devices utilize Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to determine the precise location of the RV and often provide additional features for enhanced monitoring and security.
Here are some key aspects of RV GPS tracker devices:
- Location Tracking: The primary function of an RV GPS tracker is to provide real-time location information. This allows owners to know the current whereabouts of their RV, which can be crucial for planning trips, ensuring security, and locating the vehicle in case of theft.
- Geo-Fencing: Many RV GPS trackers offer geo-fencing capabilities. Users can define virtual boundaries on a map, and if the RV moves in or out of these predefined areas, the device sends alerts to the owner. This is useful for monitoring unauthorized use or theft.
- Route History: Some devices store historical data about the routes taken by the RV. This feature can be helpful for reviewing past trips, tracking mileage, and analyzing driving patterns.
- Speed Monitoring: RV GPS trackers often include speed monitoring features, allowing owners to receive alerts if the vehicle exceeds pre-set speed limits. This can be valuable for safety concerns and adherence to regulations.
- Remote Monitoring: Many trackers come with mobile apps or online platforms that enable owners to remotely monitor their RV's location and status. This can be especially useful for owners who want to keep an eye on their vehicles while they are away.
- Battery Monitoring: RV GPS trackers may have features to monitor the vehicle's battery status. This is crucial for preventing unexpected battery drain, especially if the RV is parked for an extended period.
- Anti-Theft Features: Some devices come with anti-theft functionalities, such as remote engine immobilization or ignition alerts. These features add an extra layer of security to protect the RV from theft.
- Compatibility: RV GPS trackers are designed to be compatible with various types of recreational vehicles, including motorhomes, trailers, and campers. They may also work with different power sources, such as the RV's battery or an independent power supply.
When considering an RV GPS tracker, it's essential to choose a device that aligns with your specific needs and preferences. Additionally, check for subscription costs and ensure that the device is user-friendly and reliable for your intended use.
Social Media Buzz
Wendy Bowyer reports on the hot issues most talked about this past week on our RV Lifestyle Facebook Group:
Linda wrote: “Just got the bill from the Pennsylvania Turnpike from our trip in October!! WOW!!! Didn’t realize how expensive it was to drive that stretch of road compared to other toll roads in other states!”
This post got a LOT of comments in the RVLifestyle Facebook group, and Linda explained they had a teardrop, entered PA from Ohio and took the turnpike to the Reading exit. A week later they went back through PA the same way to Ohio. The total for in and out of PA was $284. She said she could have flown round trip from MI to Philly for a little less than that!
This post really got people talking about how expensive the PA Turnpike is for RVers. Roger said you are billed by axle. And Anna ended up looking it up and said the cost is generally $150 to $250 per RV.
The E-Z Pass does bring the price down, but the overall theme of this conversation is if you are in your RV, avoid the Pennsylvania Turnpike if you can! And several folks who are planning trips out east this summer thanked Linda for sharing this tip.
Next, I'd like to tell you about a different group member, also named Linda, who asked: What is the best Christmas town you've ever visited, and what did you love about it?
Teresa said Breckenridge, Colorado, because it looks like it is right out of a Hallmark movie.
Many liked Frankenmuth, Michigan. Kristen said there is always a festival of some kind going on, carriage rides, dinner cruises, great restaurants, and Bronner's, billed as the world's largest Christmas store.
Then Katie was one of several who recommended Leavenworth, WA, the Alps of the US. She said the town is tucked in the Cascade Mountain range and has Christmas lights galore, horse-drawn carriage rides, outdoor snow excursions like cross-country skiing, downhill skiing and snowshoeing. She described it as a winter playground.
We had a couple hundred suggestions here and if you're looking for a town to visit this holiday season, you might want to check out this post.
And perhaps one of my favorite posts from the week came from Fran. Fran took a picture of her Riverstone hooked up to her pick up,
and said: “Purchased this beauty in July. Getting the heck out of Idaho. Tucson here we come.”
So many people admired her Fifth Wheel, shared their enthusiasm for Tucson, their excitement of getting out of the snow and into the sunshine and warm weather, there was such a sense of camaraderie among the snowbirds, it was fun to read. And as I look out my snowy window today in the north, Fran, I wish I was heading to Arizona, too!
RV NEWS OF THE WEEK
Arches National Park is considering making its timed entry reservation system permanent, drawing mixed public feedback.
Park officials say the timed entry system it instituted in April 2022 for the busy summer months helped it manage crowds, improve visitors' experience, and prevented having to close the gate for hours at a time because all of the parking lots were full.
But local businesses, especially hotels and tour groups, blame the system for hurting their business and causing significant reductions in income – 11 percent less bookings for one hotel.
Arches visitation increased by 74 percent between 2011 and 2021, when the system went into place. But all the extra people put a strain on the park's infrastructure.
Before the pilot peak season reservation system went into place, when the park's parking lots were full, it would simply close entrance gates – sometimes for five hours or more – causing long lines and back ups as folks waited their turn to get in.
Next year, the park's reservation system will be in place from April 1 to Oct. 31 for those wishing to arrive between 7 am and 4 pm. It costs $2 per the timed entry reservation.
Besides making the pilot entry reservation program permanent, the park is considering more crowd-management plans including requiring reservations to enter certain trails and the development of more parking lots.
If you are planning to visit Arches, be sure to check out our 7 Day Adventure Guide for southern Utah to help you plan an epic trip here.
Scientists may have identified mysterious bacterium infecting dogs, sometimes fatally, throughout the country
An extremely contagious disease that's spreading among dogs throughout the country, killing many, has some RV dog owners worried as they travel with their much-loved pets.
This upper respiratory disease is being reported in ten states, including New Hampshire, Oregon, California, Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, Washington, Idaho, Georgia, and Florida, but it could be in many more.
Symptoms include cough, eye or nasal discharge, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. It can lead to death. Many describe it as similar to kennel cough and say it is extremely contagious and lasts for more than a month.
Now vets believe they may have identified the bacterium causing this illness, which is great news because it will help them correctly identify which antibiotic could help.
Many are recommending avoiding dog parks and other such places until more is learned.
Meanwhile, if you are traveling with your dog, be sure to check out our free Ultimate Dog Resource Guide.
The National Parks Service offers a reward for tips that lead to the arrest of an arsonist at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The National Parks Service believes someone may have seen something that would help them arrest whoever started two fires at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Monday, Nov. 20, during a park-wide burn ban.
The arsonist started the two fires during high wind conditions and a red flag warning near the intersection of Old Cades Cove Road and Rich Mountain Road. The blaze was first reported at 2:30 pm.
The fire is contained as of this writing, and a financial reward is being offered for verified tips.
For more information click here.
If you are interested in seeing Yosemite National Park's “firefall” this February listen up: Reservations open up Dec. 1 at 8 am.
Each February when conditions are just right, Yosemite's Horsetail Fall glows orange, giving the appearance that fire is pouring down the cliff instead of water. This can only be seen on evenings with a clear sky, when the water is flowing and the sun is at a right angle – generally in mid-February.
This natural phenomenon is on many people's bucket-list and attracts such huge crowds the National Parks Service has started requiring reservations.
Anyone wishing to visit Yosemite Feb. 10-11, Feb. 17-19 and Feb. 24-25 must have a reservation which is expected to sell out quickly. Half of the spots will be available this Friday, with the rest rolling out in the days ahead.
To see our story on bucket-list worthy places not on many bucket-lists, click here.
APP OF THE WEEK
If your hand is tired from writing so many holiday cards, or you simply don’t have the time, help is available.
A number of apps can make it much easier to send warm wishes this time of year,
For RVers and fulltimers who want to reach out but find it hard to do so while traveling, we have three apps that make the task of holiday card-sending very easy.
Ink Cards allows for creating and sending holiday cards via mail. Simply upload a picture, like a family photo, and then use the app’s features to customize your text. When you’re ready, cards are sent directly to those you pick from your mailing list. The app is free for and cards are currently $2 apiece with free shipping.
If you want to go pure digital consider the American Greetings app. Pick from the app’s many greetings, personalize them however you like. You need a membership subscription to use the service, which runs about $29 a year for unlimited access. If you want to use it for just a month, it costs $7.
The app called Punkpost is a bit different. Select a card, type in your message, and add decorations. When you hit the “send” button, it is sent to a handwriting artist who actually handwrites your message, adds your decorations, puts it in an envelope and mails it for you. Note cards start at $6 with deluxe ones going for $10.50
RV QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK
QUESTION: We have winterized our Airstream travel trailer and have it in storage at the back of our lot. Should we add skirting to protect the underside? We see some RVers use airbags to protect the underside from wind and cold – Cody and Merissa
ANSWER: Not if you are just storing it. If you have winterized the plumbing system, you don’t need to skirt it. Those airbags you talked about are great, but very expensive.
We recommend skirting to fulltimers who live in an RV all year round and are keeping it in a region of the country that gets cold. It goes without saying, but if the underside of your RV is warmer, the inside will be warmer too.
By keeping that air column under the RV separated and warmer, you gain an extra layer of insulation under the rig. That makes it easier to heat and saves on propane.
A less expensive skirting solution than those inflatable air bags is simply using vinyl skirting or even sturdy cardboard. Some RVers put hay bales under there but we dont recommend it as it will attract mice and other critters.
We’ve also seen some RVers use plywood and that works but is pretty heavy and cumbersome.
If you're in a campground, check with the hosts to make sure they have no issues with you skirting the rig.
But back to Cody and Merissi’s question… again… there’s no need to skirt the trailer while in storage. That would be just wasted money.
But by all means go in and check out the RV every week or so… just look it over and make sure all is well.
One more question…
QUESTION: When will you guys show us your Michigan property? Have you moved into the house you were restoring? How about the property, what have you done there? You promised a video of the finished project and we’ve heard you talk a bit about it taking longer than you expected. But you fans want to see. When will you show us? – Maggie
ANSWER: How about this coming Saturday? It's on my list to edit a year’s worth of video into a full tour of our 10-acre Michigan homestead. Hopefully, Saturday on our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel.