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RV Podcast Episode 193: How to get a complete RV Education

| Updated May 23, 2018

In this episode… we talk about RV Education 101, how to learn how to maintain, repair and operate your RV and all the intricate parts and accessories through affordable online training. Our special interview guest this week is with our friend Mark Polk, who has made available an amazing library of how-to tips, videos and RV training courses. Mark is the best in the business at this and I’m sure you’ll find the wealth of knowledge he is offers will greatly enhance your RV Lifestyle.

Plus lots of questions, comments, RV trip reports, traveling technology ideas and another wonderful off the beaten path segment from Tom and Patti Burkett.

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 #193 May 23, 2018 of Roadtreking – The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK  [spp-timestamp time=”1:31″]

RV Podcast Episode 193: How to get a complete RV Education 1Are you ready for the big Memorial Day weekend? It's the unofficial start of summer and if you don't have reservations, finding an open campsite will be very challenging. Boondockers, of course, can pretty much always find a great spot in state or national forests, BLM land and dispersed camping area.

Here's hoping you have a wonderful time and are able to get out there this coming weekend!

We’re planning our next big trip…out to Glacier National Park for our Roadtreking Photo Safari gathering in a few weeks. We are planning to take our time, taking the Northern Route. US 2 in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula all the way west through Minnesota, North Dakota on into Montana. About 2,000 miles one way and we’re planning to leave early so we can follow out 330 rule of no more than 330 miles in a single day or stopping by 330PM so we can explore and enjoy the areas we’re passing through.

We are, though, having a problem with Bo, our Norwegian Elkhound. He no longer will ride in the back and insists on crowding between us up front as we drive. That can be dangerous when he bumps the transmission shifter. We put a short little video up on our Roadtreking Facebook Group about this that we’ll also link in the shownotes for this episode. He used to be fine at the back if the RV but when the refrigerator door wasn’t shut properly and stuff started rolling out on him he got spooked. But when not crowding us he insists on trying to share the passenger seat with whichever one of us happens to be sitting in. That is not a pleasant thing with a 6o pound dog! Here's a short video explaining the issue:

As a result, we are not sure we will take him with us to Glacier. Maybe a seat belt and a harness that would keep him on the unused third seat will work. He’s pretty big for a crate, as some have suggested. And no way will we drug him, as others have urged. So we’re looking for a solution. Otherwise, he’s staying with our daughter on our big trip west.

Meanwhile, here are the RV stories we came across making news this week.

Zion National Park officials use social media to track vandal
Last week we told you about Colorado officials using social media to track down a man harassing wildlife. This week in the news a story circled about about social media users themselves going after a man who defaced rocks at Zion National Park. A professional photographer was upset when he saw graffiti on rocks at Zion that included a heart and the vandal's Instagram ID. That photographer put it on his social media page, and that complaint went viral. It was so bad, the vandal turned himself in. To read more click here.

Oregon officials offering free camping, day use and other events June 2 
Oregon is offering free camping and day use at many of its state parks on June 2 to thank campers for their support for state parks. Oregon's Department of Fish and Wildlife is also permitting fishing, clamming and crabbing anywhere in the state June 2 and 3 without a license as part of the thank you. To find out more and reserve a free camp spot click here or here.

Dog killed by bear at Canada's Jasper National Park
How many of us drive through the national parks, with the window rolled down a bit, so our dog can get some air? A story out of Canada last week was a strong reminder of why that is not such a good idea. Last week a dog was killed by a bear at Canada's Jasper National Park. Apparently the dog's owners had pulled over to look at a bear when their dog leapt out the window to chase it, and was killed. Wildlife officials stressed the importance of controlling pets at all times in a national park, and said the bear would be monitored. To read more, click here.

E. Coli detected in water at Bryce Canyon National Park
Prairie dogs burrowing near a water spring are being blamed for water contamination at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. County officials have declared the national park's water to be a “significant threat to the health” of visitors and residents after detecting E. Coli multiple times in recent years. County officials are calling on the National Parks Service to fix the problem. For more information click here.

Just two wolves left at Michigan's Isle Royale National Park
The two wolves  of Michigan's Isle Royale National Park survived the winter, as did about 1,475 moose on the island park, officials announced last week. Since each moose can eat up to 60 pounds of plants per day, some scientists are concerned about their impact on the island's ecology, and continuing to call for more wolves to be brought to the island park this fall. To read more click here.

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=”16:42″]

Have you ever camped at a particularly dark campground, then stumbled on the stairs going up to your RV at night?

Well, a listener named Richard sent us an email, with a really helpful solution – glow in the dark duck tape.

RV Podcast Episode 193: How to get a complete RV Education 2Richard said he first placed the tape across the entire step, but found that was too much. What has worked best is placing about three inches of the luminous tape on the left and the right sides of the stairs.

Since he started using the tape, Richard said he has had no trouble with the steps – and so he wanted to write in case it could help someone else.

When we got our current Roadtrek, I found I needed a step to help me get in and out. Our current RV is 4 x 4 and we use it a lot to take us to some great boondocking spots down forest roads, which means it sits a little higher off the ground than previous ones. I have also found myself stumbling a bit at night with that step, so I really appreciate this tip.

Richard did not say what type of tape he purchased, but I did a quick look around the internet and found glow in the dark duck tape selling everywhere from Michaels to Walmart and Amazon selling at a variety of lengths and widths.  One tape that seemed to get particularly good reviews I found on Amazon selling for $12.49 a roll. It is waterproof, can glow for 12 hours, and purchasers said it was durable.

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  To see our Rad Power Bikes in action, just click here.

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK [spp-timestamp time=”21:09″]

A Canadian listener named Dennis called in with a shame-on-you report about a state park charging a pretty ridiculous “transaction fee” for campers. He also has a great “atta boy” report about a gas station on Antigonish, Nova Scotia, that has gone above and beyond for RVers.

  • We checked and indeed, Dennis is right. The exorbitant charges are in effect in Maryland State Parks this year. Transaction fees are $6.25 per reservation (except for Assateague State Park, which is $6.25 per night) and $4.75 per transaction to cancel or change a reservation (except Assateague State Park, which is $4.75 per night to change or cancel).

Dena and Jim made a request for a video that they would like us to do that documents every step of camp set up. She is a new camper and has so much enthusiasm. And, we promise, Dena, we will do such a video for you soon!

A listener named Terry wants to know if we have a search box on our RV Lifestyle Blog. We do and you can find it on the top right of the page. We sent Terry this image showing its location.

RV Podcast Episode 193: How to get a complete RV Education 3

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.

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK [spp-timestamp time=”35:50″]

RV Podcast Episode 193: How to get a complete RV Education 4
Mark Polk of RVEducation101

Our special interview guest this week is with our friend Mark Polk, who has made available an amazing library of how-to tips, videos and RV training courses. Mark is the best in the business at this and I’m sure you’ll find the wealth of knowledge he is offers will greatly enhance your RV Lifestyle.

You can access Mark's complete curriculum of RV training courses at

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=”50:22″]

RV Podcast Episode 193: How to get a complete RV Education 5
Steve Van Dinter

By Steve Van Dinter
Verizon Wireless

Memorial Day marks the kickoff to summer. So grab some friends and get ready to kick back and relax. And, oh, you’re probably going to want some cool tech as well.

Whether you’re hiking, biking, or just striking a pose by the pool– the UE Blast powered by Alexa – may become your favorite summer companion. It’s dustproof and waterproof – which means it’s also summerproof. And when connected to bluetooth you can ask it to play music, get the weather, and even shop from Amazon all via voice.

Maybe audiobooks are your key to relaxation. If so, pick up a pair of LG Tone Free bluetooth ear buds. These lightweight, rechargeable Bluetooth headphones deliver high–quality sound and let you kick back and relax in your chair without the hassle of tangles and snags. The neckband allows for easy docking and recharging, plus vibrating alerts for incoming calls.

When you’re out and about, you can’t be worried about whether or not your devices are charged. That’s why it’s a great idea to have the mophie charge force powerstation on hand. This handy battery pack charges up to two devices simultaneously – one wirelessly and the other wired – providing up to 48 hours of extra use!

When you want to lighten your load, you definitely want the kate spade sticker pocket. Keep your drivers license, cash and credit cards close at hand while leaving the rest of your purse at home. This handy sticker pocket is easy to attach to the back of your smartphone.

And if you have a Motorola Mods compatible device, summer just got a whole lot more entertaining. First the insta-print Moto Mod. It lets you instantly print out any photo you capture all while on the go. And with no ink required, there’s no hassle.

Lastly for great 360 photos and videos of your summer adventures just snap on the moto 360 camera mod.

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 [spp-timestamp time=”53:14″]

By Tom and Patti Burkett

We were sitting in the waiting room of the train station, listening to the incessant tick-tick-tock of the Morse code sounder in the ticket window. This was the women's waiting room, but no one objected to Tom's presence there. We walked through the car room, where equipment as large as steam locomotives was serviced, and out along the tracks. The freight house, next door, surprised us with a model of the original line, running from Baltimore's roundhouse depot to this, the oldest station in the USA. Tiny freight and passenger trains ran the double set of tracks past models of mills and factories, hotels and quarries, fields and little towns.

RV Podcast Episode 193: How to get a complete RV Education 6
Ellicott City

Three Quaker brothers from Pennsylvania founded Ellicott City Maryland in 1772. It was originally a mill town, and still has one operating mill, the only remaining grist mill in Maryland. Set in a striking limestone gorge, the city offers a picturesque Main Street, lined with offbeat boutiques and quirky eateries, but the number one reason to visit is the B&O Railroad Station Museum. The B&O was the first commercial railroad in the country, established to run freight from the port of Baltimore to Wheeling in the Ohio territory. A group of Baltimore investors gambled that the shorter route of the tracks would make it more profitable than the competing C&O canal.

This thoughtfully designed free museum retains its original floor plan. At street level, where you have to duck your head to get through the freight loading door which now serves as the entrance, you turn left past a small gift shop (and an enthusiastic docent) to get to the freight agent's quarters, which served as both office and living space. The rest of the first floor is warehouse space, where manufactured goods were stored before being hoisted upstairs to the platform at track level. Upstairs is the ticket office, two waiting rooms, and the car room, which has two huge exhaust funnels in the roof to carry off the fumes from the running stock.

Outside, you can climb aboard a caboose and sample the living quarters of the train crew–a tiny kitchen and beds that double as seats. Also outside is one of the original horse-drawn passenger cars, looking surprisingly like a stagecoach with train wheels. Wind your way into Ellicott City, on US 29, a bit west of Baltimore, and look for us, Patti and Tom Burkett, off the beaten railroad tracks.


RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS  [spp-timestamp time=”56:20″]
Escapade-Escapees RV Club National Rally
Missouri State Fairgrounds
Sedalia, MO
Tampa Bay Summer RV Show
Florida State Fairgrounds
Tampa, FL
Roadtreking Photo Safari at Glacier NP
Chewing Blackbones RV Park
Babb, MT
Passport America Music City USA Mega Rally
Wilson County Fairgrounds
Lebanon, TN
Roadtreking Natahalla River Wildwater Adventure
Smoky Mountains Meadows Campground
Bryson City, NC
FMCA International Convention and RV Expo
Cam-Plex Multi-Event Facilities
Gillette, WY


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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…

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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 2018-05-23

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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