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RV Podcast #212: You’re Never Too Old! 

| Updated Oct 3, 2018

One of the things we RVers invariably ask ourselves at some point is, “How long will I be able to keep on doing this?” Well this week, in our interview of the week, we're going to hear from an RVer who says, “As long as you're moving, you're never too old.” Plus, a report on 5G, the blazingly fast new mobile Internet network launching this week and what it means to RVers. Plus lots of your questions, RV News and tips and another wonderful off the beaten path report from the Burketts.

Show Notes for Episode #Oct. 3, 2018 The RV Podcast:



Can you believe it’s October already!


One of my favorite times of the year for the RV Lifestyle. I love fall camping!


We’re headed to California this week and the 66th annual California RV Show at the LA Fairplex in Pomona. Although Hershey calls it’s September show the World’s Largest RV Show and Tampa’s RV Supershow in Florida every January says it is bigger yet, there are many who think the California show is really the biggest. Big it is, too. The show covers over one million square feet of displays and includes a large exhibitor tent featuring countless accessories and aftermarket products to personalize RVs, plus 40 informative seminars on a variety of RV-related subjects.


There’s lots of convenient parking and easy access to the show is assured with three entrance gates. There will also be three food courts for hungry show goers, and entertainment for everyone from free Ferris wheel rides, meet and greet celebrities, music and an amazing archer. The show runs from Oct. 5 through 14, 2018 at the Fairplex in Pomona, Gate 9. Show hours are 10AM until 6PM daily. There are supposed to be 1,300 new 2019 models on display and a bunch more 2018s and earlier, so just in terms of space and the sheer number of RVs on site, this show promises to be every bit as big as Hershey, if not more.


We will be doing meet and greets both Saturday and Sunday this coming weekend, October 6th and 7th. You can find us at the Roadtrek Display and the Mike Thomson dealership space there. For those of you in different parts of the country, we will be doing our regular Sunday night Ask Us Anything YouTube live broadcast from the California RV Show at 4PM Pacific, 7PM Eastern this Sunday night.


We are really looking forward to attending this show and meeting folks. Adult admission to the show is $15; kids 17 and under are free. There’s lots of RV Parking available. You can save $2 by purchasing tickets online at This promises to be a lot of fun, we’ve wanted to get out to California for this show for years.


Something else we are really excited about is the publication of our book, “A Beginner’s Guide to Boondocking.”  We thank you for all those early buyers who have been sending us such kind reviews but it really was a labor of love. We’re asked all the time how do I start out boondocking so we sat down and did a guide, covering everything on managing power use while camping off the grid, to meal prep, handling water needs while boondocking and much more.


I think what people will like the most is our suggestions on how to find the perfect boondocking spot, whether just as an overnight stop, or a place to really get away from it all deep in the woods for a few days.  We also address the safety issue and candidly talk about what it’s like to be off the grid, both the challenges and the benefits.


We have special introductory pricing on it that will expire in a couple days, but if you want to learn more about it, go to


We should also give our weekly update on Mike’s Healthy Eating plan. If you heard Episode 208, you’ll remember Mike sharing how all that traveling and eating on the road has caused him to gain much more weight than he wanted. He resolved then to go on a healthy lifestyle plan, basically cutting way back on sugar and carbohydrates. Well, a month has come and gone since then and I have to say, I am very proud of him. He’s sticking to it! Tell everyone how you’re doing, Mike.


Total weight loss is now 17 pounds. And we’ve been on the road every week since I started so it’s a pretty good regimen. If people want to hear why I started and an interview with the health expert who designed my program, they can catch it at   But, bottom line, the pounds are really coming off and I am not hungry at all. In fact, I feel better than I have since… I can’t remember when.

Meanwhile, here’s the RV News of the week.


California’s “Slab City” off grid RV parking spot profiled by Smithsonian

Many of you have heard of Slab City, a 640 acre former military base in the California desert about 50 miles north of the border that has become this weird off grid camping spot by RV boondockers, squatters, artists, snowbirds, migrants, survivalists, and homeless people. We talked about it in a podcast episode back in June. Well the strange encampment has caught the attention of the Smithsonian Institute magazine, which has published a photo essay on Slab City. It’s pretty interesting reading that we think will whet your appetite to check the place out.

Tourist uncovers nearly 3-carat diamond in Arkansas state park
A 71-year-old Colorado woman visiting Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park recently found a nearly 3-carat diamond. According to a story out last week, she initially thought it was glass. The diamond was lying on top of the park's diamond search area, and the article said it was not immediately clear what it is worth. To read more click here or here.

Photographers selling their art work for non-profit organization to raise money for national parks 
Everyone knows about the funding shortage facing our national parks, but last week we came across a story of a project two professional photographers started to help. The two started Art Rangers, an on-line photo gallery of sorts, filled with breathtaking pictures of the more than 400 nationally preserved lands that are for sale. Anyone can buy print outs from this site and according to the webpage, 100 percent of the profit going to the National Parks Foundation, which is National Park Service's official charity. An 8 x 10 print costs $35, cell phone cases can also be ordered with the price around $40, and even a stretched canvas with prices generally more than $200. To see the Art Rangers website click here. To read a story about the project click here.

Thousands watch annual buffalo round-up at Custer State Park
Last weekend thousands of visitors headed to South Dakota's Custer State Park to watch the annual buffalo round up. Wranglers herded some 1,300 buffalo in the park to corrals for health evaluations. Calves are also vaccinated and branded. This year's round up included 55 wranglers on horse back, in pick-ups and utility vehicles. To read click here or here.

This part of the program is brought to you by AllStays Pro, the best tool for RVers looking for places to camp; Harvest Hosts, a unique membership service that allows members to stay free overnight in wineries, farms and attractions across North America; and Overnight RV Parking, a subscription service that provides details for over 12,000 free or nearly free RV overnight parking locations. All three services offer greatly discounted rates to listeners of this podcast


Listener Heidi shares a great memory about camping, kindled by Jennifer’s tip two weeks ago about making donuts while camping.

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  To see our Rad Power Bikes in action, just click here. Visit WWW.RADPOWERBIKES.COM 


Questions, comments we addressed this week:

My question is about the photo of the CS Adventurous RV towards the end of the book. There is a storage container in the hitch at the rear. Does this move somehow so that you can open the back doors? If you know anything about it, like who makes it, where to get it etc. I would really appreciate the information. Thanks. From Martha.

It’s the StowAway 2 from

We just recently bought a motor home and discovered there was a mouse issue. We have gone through the entire motor home and used Kilz as well as replaced boards, etc. I can still smell the mice waste.  Do you know of anything that will get rid of that smell?  From Mari

Yes. We use this small, portable air purification device in our RV –   It plugs in, consumes very little energy and eliminates smoke, cooking smells and odors of all sorts.

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.


One  of the things we RVers invariably ask ourselves at some point is, “How long will I be able to keep on doing this?” Well this week, in our interview of the week, we're going to hear from an RVer who says, “As long as you're moving, you're never too old.”

Here’s a video version of the interview:

Here's a full transcript:

Loren Phillips:             Well, I'm 87. Well we started out with a tent in about 1970, and then graduated up to the Volkswagen Bus. And then the Volkswagen van again, and then the Roadtrek. I've had this Roadtrek since 97.

Mike Wendland:         How many miles are on this Roadtrek?

Loren Phillips:             It's just about to flip up to 314,000.

Mike Wendland:         314,000 miles of memories the whole way.

Loren Phillips:             Yep, yep. I lost my wife in five years ago from breast cancer. She died suddenly. We go to California for the winter. She died in Phoenix on the way home. Her breast cancer came back after seven years and just took her all within about three weeks.

Mike Wendland:         You know Loren, so many people say, “I can't go on after I've lost a spouse.” Or, “I'm too old to do this.” Give me some advice. I mean 87, and you just got back from Alaska.

Loren Phillips:             Yeah, that's right. Well my suggestion to how it worked with me, the first two years was a little tough. Then the third year was a transition year. And then since then, I've been fully enjoying my independence. Everybody I talk to, that's in a similar position, all say the same thing.

So I'm out living the rest of my years in the fullest, and enjoying my Roadtrek. I just got back from a 12,000 mile, 10 week trip to Alaska and the Yukon, and British Columbia. I took my daughter with me on this trip since my wife is passed. We just had a ball.

Mike Wendland:         Now you do solo traveling, what's that like? Are there any challenges to solo traveling? You talk about independence. I got a feeling that, that's one of benefits in this.

Loren Phillips:             Yeah, it is. I can go and come when I please. I don't have to ask anybody. If I get the urge, like last fall, I said to my daughter, “I think I'll go back to Alaska next year.” She perked up, and she wanted to go along. So we set up some rules, and we took her along. It was a great, great, father, daughter relationship.

Now, let me say that I'm 87, and I'm planning on doing the same thing that I'm doing as long as I can. My best advice to anybody is, as long as … Well don't put things off. Because if you lose a spouse, you're never going to be the same. So get out there and do it while you got your health, your desire, and the means to do so.

Mike Wendland:         And then if you do lose your spouse, you don't have to sell your RV.

Loren Phillips:             Oh heck no. I never gave that a thought.

Mike Wendland:         A lot of people do.

Loren Phillips:             No, I … You got the rest of your life to live, and you just better live it to the fullest, because you never know when your number's up either.

Mike Wendland:         What do you like about this lifestyle?

Loren Phillips:             Well, I can come and go as I please. I can do a lot of boondocking. Our Alaska trip, for 10 weeks, I spent about 300 bucks on camping fees. The rest of the time it's boondocking.

Mike Wendland:         Really?

Loren Phillips:             Yep.

Mike Wendland:         Really.

Loren Phillips:             It keeps the cost down. In Alaska, and the Yukon, and BC, you come along, pull off alongside of the river, spend the night there. Get out, get your grill out and cook dinner, and it works out good.

But the nice thing about being in an RV like this, I love the Class B, you can park it anywhere, drive it anywhere. You can come and go as you please, and you're free to do whatever you want with minimum restrictions.

Mike Wendland:         Tell us about your background. What did you do for a living?

Loren Phillips:             Well I grew up on a farm. Graduated from high school in 1949. Then the Korean War came along, so I did a three year hitch in the Coast Guard, in the Aviation Search and Rescue, and got all my electronics training in the Coast Guard. Radio school, and then aircraft radio school, and then aviation, we went to school for aircraft instruments.

So when I got out of the service in 54, I got involved in the TV business. The TV business and appliance business, and did that for 48 years. Retired in 2001, at the age of 70.

Mike Wendland:         Wow.

Loren Phillips:             Oh, one other thing. I got hooked on flying in the service as a radio op. The airplanes and doing maintenance in the shop, when you weren't flying or doing inspections on the airplanes.

At 35, I started, got my private license. I got a commercial license. I had a instrument license, and flew single engines, for I think, let's see, that was in the mid 60s. Then about 98 or 99, decided didn't want to fly anymore.

Mike Wendland:         How's your health?

Loren Phillips:             Health, I take a little heart, blood pressure medicine, and just a basic for blood pressure and basic GERD, that's about it.

Mike Wendland:         Yeah, 87 that's all you take?

Loren Phillips:             Yeah.

Mike Wendland:         Do you attribute the lifestyle to keeping you so healthy? Seeing new things, doing new things?

Loren Phillips:             Well, you … Oh, absolutely. You gotta keep moving. Every summer, I spend the winters in California for four months. And then every summer I take about a six week trip someplace out west or some place. And then this summer it was a 10 week trip. But I think the fact that you're free to go and come as you please on your own four wheels, it's your second home, and I just …

Another thing, I come from good genes, I think. My father was 86, and mom was 92. I watch my diet. I'm pretty well-disciplined on what I eat. I'm at my high school weight now, 165. Which is good. So I keep moving.

Mike Wendland:         You keep moving. Now, so does your RV. This has 314,000 miles. It's almost 25 years old.

Loren Phillips:             Yeah.

Mike Wendland:         And it looks pristine.

Loren Phillips:             It is.

Mike Wendland:         How do you keep it that way?

Loren Phillips:             Well I keep it in the garage.

Mike Wendland:         Yeah.

Loren Phillips:             And I meticulously take care of something, if something comes up. This is original paint. It looks like factory paint right now.

Mike Wendland:         It does.

Loren Phillips:             I got the original muffler system on it yet. I've replaced the whole front end, period. And I've had the rear end rebuilt at 225,000, due to the fact there was this little growl. When you're going down a hill and let up on the gas, there was a little growl, and that bothered me a little.

I went to the Dodge dealer and he went for a ride and he said, “Okay, you can go back. I know what the problem is.” So I had the rear end totally rebuilt, including the outer bearings.

Mike Wendland:         Now, do you do your own oil changes?

Loren Phillips:             Oh yeah. I use, well let me say, I had to do a transmission at 203,000.

Mike Wendland:         You did that yourself?

Loren Phillips:             No, it died out in the desert, 80 miles east of Yuma, on I-8.

Mike Wendland:         Yeah.

Loren Phillips:             So I got hauled into Phoenix and had a new transmission, a Mopar put in.

Mike Wendland:         So the idea of just taking care of these things.

Loren Phillips:             Absolutely.

Mike Wendland:         They're bulletproof.

Loren Phillips:             Now my engine is a 318. Every 100,000, I change the ignition system. That's … I use genuine Mopar ignition wiring harness, and the rotor cap and the rotor. And then at 200,000, I replaced that little timer plate down below, where the distributor sits.

Mike Wendland:         Your advice for people who maybe are not mechanically inclined like you are? What should they do?

Loren Phillips:             Well when you have a little problem, catch it in the bud. Don't let it create more problems.

Mike Wendland:         Now the other thing that you're very interested in, is electronics, and radio, we share that hobby. Amateur radio.

Loren Phillips:             Yep.

Mike Wendland:         You've got this thing tricked out with two kinds of amateur radio equipment.

Loren Phillips:             Right.

Mike Wendland:         Citizens band radio, the CB radio.

Loren Phillips:             I've been a ham since 1954.

Mike Wendland:         That's Francis?

Loren Phillips:             That's Francis, yep. We were married for 57 years.

Mike Wendland:         Wow. What's that?

Loren Phillips:             That's some urn. It's a little keepsaker, and I carry some of her with me all the time.

Mike Wendland:         Do you … Are you into computers at all?

Loren Phillips:             Yeah, I got a laptop I carry, and I got a desktop at the home.

Mike Wendland:         Now people, I've heard so many people say, “Oh, I'm too old to learn that stuff.”

Loren Phillips:             Nah.

Mike Wendland:         Yeah.

Loren Phillips:             They're only too old because they want to be. If you got an open mind and a halfway decent memory, you can do about anything you want to do. I'm doing basically everything I did when I was 20 years younger.

Mike Wendland:         You are an example to all of us, that this is a lifestyle that is truly lifelong.

Loren Phillips:             Yeah.

Mike Wendland:         Thanks for spending some time with us.

Loren Phillips:             Yeah, you're most welcome, Mike.

Mike Wendland:         So there you go, as long as you're moving, you're never too old. What an inspiring story. I'm Mike Wendland, I want to thank you for watching.

Invite you also to listen to our RV podcast. You can hear it on all your favorite podcast platforms. Every Wednesday it's released. And don't forget, while you're right here watching this on YouTube, do subscribe to our RV Lifestyle channel. Thanks so much, and happy trails.

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


By Andy Choi
Verizon Wireless

For those on the open road in their RVs, staying mobile and staying connected is always top of mind, not to mention moving at high speed. And this week, Verizon is proud to make history as we launch the world's first 5G broadband service for consumers in Houston, Indy, LA, and Sacramento.

Built on Verizon's proprietary, pre-standard 5G network, Verizon 5G Home is the next generation of home broadband internet service that blankets your entire house in super-fast Wi-Fi. We're talking speeds up to 100 times fast than 4G.

From connecting smart devices for the home, to sparking inspiration for entirely new industries, 5G will change the way we live, work, and play in ways bound only by our imagination. Think autonomous vehicles, smart surgeries, and a growing list of the Internet of Things. Imagine what your RV would look like with 5G? The good news is, we won't have to imagine much longer.

As we continue to build our 5G network for the home, we know for so many families, home is where the road takes you. And we're looking to introduce our 5G mobile network for handsets in early 2019. So as we make history this week as the first to offer 5G, we invite you to learn more by logging onto

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 nationwid


By Tom and Patti Burkett

Mobridge, South Dakota sits on the edge of Lake Oahe along US 12, just outside the Standing Rock Reservation.  It’s an unassuming ranch town with a surprising number of stories.  We stopped here so I could get a haircut.  While waiting, we spent some time in the public library, had lunch at a local restaurant, and visited several of the local landmarks.  Among them were Sitting Bull’s gravesite, the Oscar Howe murals, and, in the city park, the monument to the Fool Soldiers.  Tom went to the park while I was getting my hair cut by young woman whose real job was barrel racing.  As Tom found out, rodeo is big in Mobridge.

As I stood looking at the monument, a local woman sitting on a nearby bench asked if I knew much about the events surrounding the Fool Soldiers.  Admitting I didn’t, I joined her on the bench, thinking I’d hear more about it.  Instead, after telling me how she grew up in town, she informed me that the Sitting Bull Stampede Rodeo happens every fourth of July.  “Do you like it,” I wanted to know.  “Every now and again,” she admitted, and told me about what happened a few years ago during a morning load-in.  It seems one of the rodeo bulls was accidentally left untethered.  Unnoticed by the rodeo staff, it wandered off into the town.  Shortly, the one police officer on duty began to get calls—-there’s a bull in my yard, there’s a bull on Railroad Street, there’s a bull in the park.  Despite a full-on search by the officer and several of the rodeo hands, the bull could not be found.  The rodeo hands worried about both the animal, a cantankerous performer named Dakota Twister, and any locals who might unwittingly come afoul of him.  In mid afternoon a retired local rancher, Howard Dempster, walked into the arena leading Twister on a rope. “And what do you think he said?” she laughed out loud.  “Old Howie just said ‘You youngsters oughta keep better track of your stock’ and handed over the rope.”

Across the street, the library provided a good synopsis of the story behind the monument.  In the Sioux Uprising of 1862 (also called the Dakota War), a group of Dakota Sioux attacked a group of settlers fleeing from Lake Shetek in Minnesota. Several settlers and several Sioux were killed, and the remaining settlers, all women and children, were taken prisoner.  The captives were farmed out to a number of native families in the Santee tribe and traveled with them for several weeks. Meanwhile, Martin Charger of the Teton tribe heard about the captives and called together a group of young braves known to their own tribe as the “Crazy Band.”  These men had agreed among themselves to provide whatever assistance they could to both Sioux and white without making enemies among either.  This was their big test.

Martin Charger and his friend Kills and Comes gathered Four Bear, Mad Bear, Pretty Bear, Sitting Bear, Swift Bird, One Rib, Strikes Fire, Red Dog, and Charging Dog.  They pooled their possessions and took them to the local trading post, where they traded for sweets and other goods they thought would be attractive to the Santees. After nearly thirty hours of bargaining and offerings, the captives were secured.  The Teton band had only one horse and one rifle left, and days of travel before them to reach a fort where the captives could be turned over.

The details of the negotiation and the journey to Fort Pierre read like an adventure story.  Sadly, it is one that did not end well for the Fool Soldiers, as is often the case for peacemakers.  The men were jailed at the fort, and several died before their eventual release.  Marcella Lebeau, a living grand-daughter of Four Bear, said, “They weren’t very well treated by their own people either because of what they did. Some folks called them evil and said they were betraying their own people.”  Mobridge was the site of the negotiation between the Fool Soldiers and the Santee, and so is home to the marker in their honor, the only recognition they ever got.  That and Oscar Howe’s somber mural of the encounter.

Stop for a haircut.  Stop for lunch.  Stop to use the wifi and the bathroom at the library, but stop.  There’s a world of new things to discover in every town.  And when you stop, look around for us, Patti and Tom Burkett, out here off the beaten path.



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Mike Wendland

Published on 2018-10-03

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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