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RV Podcast 190: How to travel in your RV and help others

| Updated May 2, 2018

How would you like to make a difference in this world with your RV travels? To really help individuals and local communities, while still enjoying the RV Lifestyle and traveling to the destinations of your choice? In this episode, we’re going to learn about an off shoot of Habitat for Humanity, in which RVers build homes with Habitat homeowners in the U.S. and Canada.

Plus, we have lots of RV news, RV tips, tech ideas, an off the beaten path report and 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 #190 May 2, 2018 of Roadtreking – The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK [spp-timestamp time=”1:50″]

RV Podcast 190: How to travel in your RV and help others 1We’re back home in our Michigan sticks and bricks house for a few days. We emphasize few as we hit the road again next week. Will be heading to Canada next week, where we will be teaching a session at “Owners School” for owners of Roadtrek and Hymer RVs next week at the Cambridge, Ontario headquarters of the Erwin Hymer Group of North America.

Yes, and we’re staying at a local campground there and look forward to lots of visiting around a campfire with the students, who will be attending this gathering from all across North America. We’ll take our video gear and see if we can find some interesting people to interview. It should be a lot of fun!

This week, though, Mike will be doing a bit of recuperating. I have surgery scheduled this week to repair some damage done to my right elbow. I broke it back in January when I slipped on the ice up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It was during our Roadtreking gathering there and I was getting out of the RV to photograph a bunch of Roadtrekers crossing the Mackinac Bridge that separates Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. It should be minor surgery but It’s time I get it tended to before we are tied up with our summer camping travels.

Meantime, here’s the RV news of the week…

Highest fuel prices in three years greet RVers as they hit the road again
Fuel prices are causing sticker shock across North America. Blame it on demand, caused by pent up desires to get outside and travel again. And more demand means you pay more at the pump. The federal Energy Information Administration’s latest data indicates consumer gasoline demand is at 9.857 million barrels per day, which is at the highest level ever on record for the month of April and exceeds typical summer demand measurements, driving up prices at the pump all across the U.S, according to analysts at AAA. Five states reported double-digit increases and the national average went up a nickel to $2.76, AAA reported. Overall prices are at the highest level in three years. Gas is selling at $2.26 or more at every gas station in America. More so, 13% of stations have pump prices set at $3 or more

Unlucky man survives bear, rattlesnake and shark bites in four years
Did you remember hearing about the young man who woke last summer the crunching sound of a black bear biting him in the head? The young man was at a camp in Colorado, and while he was sleeping a bear bit him in the head and tried to drag him out of his tent. Other staff members scared the bear away and likely saved his life. The young man, now 20, was in the news again this week for surviving a shark bite. This time the Colorado man was on vacation in Hawaii when he was bit by a shark. He had been in the ocean on a board when a shark bit his leg. And four years ago he was bitten by a rattlesnake! Talk about bad luck.

Yellowstone's Steamboat Geyser erupts for third time in six weeks 
Steamboat geyser is the largest of Yellowstone's many thermal features and something
is up with it. After being dormant for years, it has erupted three times now in six weeks, the latest this past Friday. When it blows, it goes as high as 400 feet, compared to 150 feet for Old Faithful. The extensive geothermal activity at the park is caused by a magma chamber more than 50 miles long and 12 miles wide beneath the earth’s surface.

Mainstream media recognizes what RVers have already known: Boomers love small motorhomes
There was lots of media buzz last week when the Wall Street Journal ran a major story reporting how the Baby Boomer generation has embraced small, luxury campervans. The article talked about what many of us know: the small van life can open up a world of adventure and travel. It’s old news, of course, to those of us already living the dream, but stories like that can have a major effect on the industry, driving up demand and making sure that campervans and small motorhome sales will be continuing to go through the roof.

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

JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK [spp-timestamp time=”13:42″]

Our tip this week has to do with another handy app for your smartphone. Mike had a blog post earlier this week on a bunch of different apps that are especially handy for RVers.

But the one that caught my attention s an app called PlantSnap.

How many times have you been camping somewhere and wondered what species of plant or trees you were seeing?

This app lets you instantly identify plants of all kinds: flowers, trees and much more, simply by taking a picture of the plant. The developers claim the app is able to recognize 90 percent of all plant species on the planet, with hundreds of thousands in its database.

It’s always adding new species, too, and the app automatically updates for you.

The app is $3.99 for iOS and Android.

Meanwhile, be sure to send me your tips and suggestions for the RV lifestyle. You can use the “Leave Voicemail” link at Just click it and then use the built-in microphone on your computer or mobile devise to record a message to me. You can do it over as many times as you want, until you are satisfied. And then you just click a button and it comes right to my email inbox.

I love hearing from you!

Jennifer's tip of the week 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

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK [spp-timestamp time=”18:30″]

Mark rechecks in from Texas, where he is building an RV Park. Some months ago, he sought ideas about what features people want in a park. This week, he asks for advice about setting up an online reservation system. We have several suggestions.

Our friend Campskunk checks in from the Big Sur area along the Pacific Coast in Northern California. We talk about staying in pullouts and parking areas further north in Oregon and note that we are receiving reports about police evicting RVers from staying overnight as campers, instead of just getting a few hours rest. Cooking a meal in the RV is considered camping, according to one report we received.

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..

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK [spp-timestamp time=”30:03″]

RV Podcast 190: How to travel in your RV and help others 2
Larry and Mem Halstead from Habitat for Humanity's Care-a-Vanners

Everyone has heard about Habitat for Humanity. But do you realize there is a robust RV component to this wonderful organization?

Established in 1989, Habitat RV Care-A-Vanners is an all-volunteer run program with nearly 2,000 active volunteers traveling and building throughout the year.

Habitat for Humanity’s RV Care-A-Vanners is a unique opportunity for people traveling by recreational vehicle to build homes with Habitat homeowners in the U.S. and Canada.

Habitat RV Care-A-Vanners give people the freedom to travel to their destination of choice to volunteer and come back to the comfort of their own recreational vehicles at the end of a hard working day.

In this interview, we’re going to learn all about this opportunity by meeting a Care-A-Vanner named Larry Halstead.

Larry has been volunteering as a Habitat for Humanity RV Care-A-Vanner with his wife, Mem, since 2008. Both retired, they’ve traveled across the country volunteering from Michigan to Colorado to Georgia, and to Virginia, where they’re currently located. They’ve been construction team leaders and mentored students during Collegiate Challenges.

Volunteers with little to no experience can register to build with Habitat RV Care-A-Vanners by going to

The interview of the week 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=”45:03″]

By Steve Van Dinter
Verizon Wireless

RV Podcast 190: How to travel in your RV and help others 3
Steve Van Dinter

If I asked you to name the three biggest gifting holidays of the year, would you guess that Mother’s Day would be on that list? It’s true. After winter holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day is right there.

And while Mom sure loves her flowers and jewelry, this year you may want to consider something a little different and tech her out for a change.

Perhaps she’s a music connoisseur who likes spending time by the pool? Then I’d suggest picking her up a UE Wonderboom. These small and super-portable wireless speakers are water- and drop-proof and come in six fun colors including cashmere pink, fireball red and lilac.

Or maybe she’s into fitness and loves to go hiking with the family? The Fitbit Versa waterproof smartwatch will help her keep track of those steps in style. And, an added benefit for moms: beginning this month, the Fitbit app can now track female health as well.

For the mom that loves taking pics with the fam, or just pictures in general, there’s no better option than the Google Pixel 2. This phone continues to be recognized on top for its amazing photos. And couple that with a fast-charging battery and the Google Assistant built-in, and you’ve got one awesome companion.

Once Mom’s taken the pictures she wants, she’s going to want to save them and put them on display for all to see. And that’s where the Lifeprint Photo Printer comes in. This portable bluetooth printer requires no ink, and prints high quality images onto special 2 x 3” paper.

And lastly if Mom’s a fashionista, help her protect her phone and complement her wardrobe at the same time with a new Kate Spade case. These stylish, flexible covers will make sure her device stays protected no matter what she encounters in her active life and the options are endless!

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 –  Silver Lake, Michigan [spp-timestamp time=”47:37″]

Last week we did some early season exploring along the Lake Michigan coastline and spent a delightful couple of days in and around Silver Lake, located halfway along Lake Michigan coastline on Michigan’s power Peninsula.

RV Podcast 190: How to travel in your RV and help others 4
Bo on the sand dunes near Silver Lake

Silver Lake is a very small town that owes its existence these days to tourism and the very beautiful sand dunes that tower above the shoreline of Lake Michigan. And Silver Lake is a small little inland Lake that would be part of Lake Michigan were it not for those sand dunes, that tower above it by 150 feet or so.

Sand dunes run all along the north and central coastline of the big lake but what makes Silver Lake unique is the fact that you can drive all terrain vehicles and beach buggies there. Most of the sand dunes are protected and, in fact, the most impressive section, called Sleeping Bear Dunes, has sand dunes that are over 400 feet high. That stretch is designated as a National Seashore by the National Parks Service and no motorized vehicles are allowed there. Even pedestrian access is limited.

But at Silver Lake, the state of Michigan has okayed a 450 acre section of the 2,000 acre denes area, as an area where Off Road Vehicles can scramble up and down the dunes. People bring their own vehicles and the town has several businesses that specialize in dune rides or the rental of ATVs.

There are numerous campgrounds in the area including a large state park. That’s where we stayed last week in a campsite loop that is directly on the lake. As the weather gets warmer, all the parks fill up and reservations are a must.

Here’s a link about our stay last week –

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.

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS [spp-timestamp time=”53:26″]
Puyallup RV Show
Washington State Fair Events Center
Puyallup, WA
Tin Can Tourists Bull Shoals Gathering
Bull Shoals Dam Site Park
Bull Shoals, Arkansas
Let's Camp America – State Park events
Participating State Parks
Across America


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Mike Wendland

Published on 2018-05-02

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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