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RV Podcast Episode 150: Snakes Alive!

| Updated Jul 26, 2017

Snakes. They are out there. And RVers, campers and hikers are much more likely to encounter them than the average person, especially this time of the year, when warm weather has these cold blooded reptiles slithering around.

And their territory is likely to be close to where you park your RV and do your exploring.

How worried should you be about encountering venomous snakes? What’s the best way to deal with a snake encounter?

Our guest is an expert on snakes, especially the five types of venomous snakes found in North America. He is David A. Steen Ph.D., Assistant Research Professor, Auburn University Museum of Natural History, Alabama Natural Heritage Program.

If you are wondering what those five species are and where you are most likely to stumble on them, you’re going to want to hear the interview with Dr. Steen.

Also this week, we have a lot of questions, tips and feedbacks from listeners, some great RV ideas and a fascinating off the beaten path report. And – in what soon may be a sign of the times – there is a proposal afoot to require reservations just to visit a national park.

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 #150 July 26, 2017 of The RV Podcast

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

If you are anywhere near Grand Rapids, MI, we invite you to come meet us at American RV there on Thursday, July 27. Jennifer and I (and Bo) will be joined by Steve VanDinter, our pal from Verizon Wireless, for a live, in-person demonstration of the traveling tech gear we talk about each week on the podcast. There will be free hot dogs, chips and refreshments. Don't worry, if you can't get there in person, we'll be doing a Live Report from there on our Facebook Group (

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 16 locations and growing


RV Podcast Episode 150: Snakes Alive! 1

We’re always looking for great spots to overnight while we’re traveling.

This week, a listener from California named Sharon called in with a great tip about where to find free overnight parking spots in where you can boondock out on the west coast. [spp-timestamp time=”11:15″]

Sharon’s specific info had to do with Sno-Parks, which are snow-cleared parking lots in California, Oregon and Idaho ski areas. From November 1 through May 30, you need a paid permit to use them but during the summer and fall months, when there is no snow, the permits are not required and overnight parking and sleeping in an RV is allowed, unless a sign notes it is specifically prohibited.

God tip, Sharon!

And 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


Five comments and questions this week…

  • A solo woman traveler has a new unit on order and wonders about electricity use while boondocking [spp-timestamp time=”15:07″]
  • A Pennsylvania man is considering buying a 20-year-old RV and wants to update it with a generator and a new refrigerator and wants to now if this is feasible and where it can be done. [spp-timestamp time=”19:57″]
  • A couple of listeners wonder about the music accompanying one of our RV Lifestyle videos on You Tube [spp-timestamp time=”24:08″]
  • Al from Hawaii likes the new camera we are using for our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube  [spp-timestamp time=”26:29″]
  • And a listener suggests sanitizing the hose that is used to connect your RV to city water [spp-timestamp time=”28:49″]

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.


RV Podcast Episode 150: Snakes Alive! 2
Dr. David Steen

How worried should you be about encountering venomous snakes? What’s the best way to deal with a snake encounter. [spp-timestamp time=”30:49″]

Our guest is is an expert on snakes, especially the five types of venomous snakes found in North America. He is David A. Steen Ph.D., Assistant Research Professor, Auburn University Museum of Natural History, Alabama Natural Heritage Program. If you are wondering what those five species are and where you are most likely to stubmble on them, you’re going to want to hear the interview with Dr. Steen.

You can learn more about Dr. Steen’s interests and expertise through the following platforms:






Also, for more information about snakes, check out the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles:

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


Three stories this week… [spp-timestamp time=”53:38″]

  • Cat lost camping in Oregon found six weeks later and returned to owners. Read more
  • Zion National Park considering taking reservations to handle budget cutbacks and swelling crowds. Read more
  • Idaho campground reopens, but officials continue to search for bear that placed woman's foot in its mouth, letting go when she awoke and screamed. Read more 

This portion of the podcast is brought to you by Alde,  the only name in heat that you need to know for your RV


By Steve Van Dinter
Verizon Wireless

RV Podcast Episode 150: Snakes Alive! 3
Steve Van Dinter

We don’t always think about tech for the little ones…but this week as we continue to talk about back to school let’s not forget them. [spp-timestamp time=”1:00:56″]

First up…the LG GizmoGadget. This Dick Tracey looking device helps parents keep track of their little ones while at the same time giving them a bit more freedom. Know exactly when they make it to school or home thanks to its built in GPS and alerts. Your child can also stay connected by using its 1.3 inch touchscreen to call any of the up to 10 pre-programmed contacts.

Next up…the GizmoTab. This child-friendly educational tablet comes with up to 300 premium learning apps. Parents are able to control age-appropriate usage, set play and learning times, and manage profiles and passwords through a portal. The tablet supports up to three profiles per device with separate permissions and applications and it’s perfect for children ages 3 to 8.

With the tablet you may want some apps.

First up Penzu. Journaling is perfect for children of any age and this free app for Android and iOS will let them get creative anytime they want.

Lastly…finding time to hang out with friends, to study or even to relax isn’t always the easiest once school gets up and running. But thanks to the Google Goals feature as part of Google Calendar, it’s a little easier. Touch the plus button in your Google Calendar app and choose what type of goal you’d like to set. Then select when you’d like to accomplish it (in the morning, night, etc). Google will automatically scan your calendar and find time for you to focus on your goal. You’ll also get regular reminders for class and even homework.

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 –  Mexico . [spp-timestamp time=”1:03;55″]

By Tom and Patti Burkett

RV Podcast Episode 150: Snakes Alive! 4
Patti and Tom Burkett

We know there are intrepid RV folks out there, including Roadtrekkers, who drive their rigs into Mexico for a season or a shorter visit. One favorite destination of norteamericanos is San Miguel de Allende, which has a large US and Canadian ex-pat community. We visited here expecting to see the well preserved and historic central city and were not disappointed. During our visit we also met three particularly interesting people, two of whom were expats.

RV Podcast Episode 150: Snakes Alive! 5

Bill and Heidi LaVasseur operate a beautiful B&B called Casa de la Cuesta.  It's full of striking Mexican folk art. The real treasures, however, are next door.  For nearly forty years Bill has been visiting remote indigenous villages to observe their ritual and community celebrations. From these travels, he has brought back more than 600 carved wooden masks.  Each is handcrafted by a traditional village artist and has a specific role in the community's oral history.  At the mask museum, they're presented with detailed information about the community and the ritual, and many are accompanied by videos. The masks are stunning, and on their own would make a visit to San Juan worthwhile. Call for an appointment if you go.

RV Podcast Episode 150: Snakes Alive! 6

You'll need to eat while you're in town, and there are plenty of options from upscale to US chains to street food.  We really enjoyed La Fondita, a tiny little place off the Main Street near the downtown.  There are six or seven tables, and the menu is on a chalkboard at the back.  Everything we had was good, but especially the cecina, grilled thin slices of pork.  Owner and hostess Sandra beams at the guests, explains the menu, and generally makes you feel like you're the best thing that's happened today.   She also has a few guest rooms if you'd like to stay overnight.

Call and make an appointment with Anando McLaughlin if you'd like to see the Chapel of Jimmy Ray and the Casa de las Ranas.  McLaughlin and his partner, aging hippies from the US, have lived and worked here for decades.  The house, grounds, and chapel (dedicated to McLaughlin's martinet father) are covered with wildly colorful mosaics of animals, people, indigenous history and myths, and historical events.  You'll probably have a chance to visit the studio and see works in progress.  Anando himself conducts the tours, and provides garrulous commentary on art, politics, and the changes in his neighborhood over the past twenty years.


As we left San Miguel, we began to pass walkers along the roadside–large groups and small.  One particularly large group was carrying posters and accompanied by a police escort.  A few miles down the road the groups were turning off onto a small side road, and being how we are, we followed.  About a mile of bumpy cobblestones led us to an old church, Atotonilco, and an annual celebration of the church's saint.  The church itself was stunning.  A large side chapel features three full size three dimensional carvings of events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus. They were made by untrained indiginous artists more than a century ago.

The plaza outside played host to a group of traditional  dancers in elaborate dress, some masked, and some wearing fabulous feather headdresses. We visited stands selling every manner of meat, tortilla, toy, and religious trinket. We tasted shaved ice made from cactus fruits and agave leaves. Among the hundreds gathered there, we saw only two other Anglo faces.

North or south of the border, it seems to be the same. People are happy to tell their stories, share their hometowns, and feed you their most unusual foods.  And wherever there's a road, there's a side road. We're Patti and Tom Burkett, and we'll look for you on that one, somewhere 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 2017-07-26

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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