It’s a New Year filled with opportunities and adventures just waiting around the next bend in the road. This week, we hear from RVers all across North America about their Bucket List Trips planned for 2019.

Show Notes for Episode #223 Jan 2, 2019 of Roadtreking – The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

We’re back from vacation and looking forward to a 2019 travel season

  • New videos resume Thursday on the RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube with a look at two electronic gadgets I wouldn’t travel without, a high quality dashcam system and a cellular booster. I’ll reveal what brands I chose and just how we installed them Thursday Jan. 3. You can find our channel at https://www.youtube.com/rvlifestyle
  • Our Ask Us Anything Live Stream on YouTube resumes Sunday night January 6 at &PM Eastern Time.
  • And our RV Lifestyle Newsletter will begin its 2019 publication season Monday, January 7.
  • Changes? We’re considering several that we’ll be sharing down the line here about our content production every week on the many different platforms – the Roadtreking RV Travel Blog, the RV Newsletter, the RV Podcast and our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel. What would you like us to change about the podcast in 2019? Add new segments? Too many commercials? More Q&A? Longer episodes? Shorter episodes? Let us know. I want to work smarter, giving you what you want.

We share our upcoming travel plans:

  • Our annual winter campout at Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula next week.
  • And our trip to the RVSupershow at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Florida. We’ll be there most of the week of January 16-20 and doing a special Meet and Greet with our RV Lifestyle Community at the Roadtrek Motorhomes display area on Saturday Jan. 19 from 11AM-2PM.

We have a new way to leave us voice questions, tips and comments that we can use in the podcast. We now have a special voice mail number set up. You can find a link to it on our Roadtreking.com RV Travel blog. Or if you want to jot it down now, it’s (586) 372-6990. In fact, in 2019 we want to feature your voices more on the podcast. Here’s one topic for you to consider and leave us a message about: My Most Embarrassing Newbie Mistakes. Maybe leaving tht antenna up… pulling away from a campsite with the sewer hose still in the drain… trying to back into a campsite. We’ve all been there, done that. So lets share some laughs about the subject…and maybe help a newbie today avoid the same mistakes. Use that number – (586)-372-6990. Call on your phone and tell us all the embarrassing details and we will share it on an upcoming episode. Also, of course, you can use that number to ask your RV questions, make comments and share your favorite trips. The number is on the Roadtreking RV Travel Blog on the right hand side but, again, if you want to jot it down, its (586)-372-6990. We really want to hear from you!

RV NEWS OF THE WEEK

Government shutdown makes a mess in National Parks

As you know, the government has been partially shutdown for the past two weeks in a huge political fight. As a result, we’re seeing human feces, overflowing garbage, illegal off-roading and other damaging behavior in fragile areas beginning to overwhelm some of the West’s iconic national parks, as the partial government shutdown left the areas open to visitors but with little staff on duty. This has left many parks without most of the rangers and others who staff campgrounds and otherwise keep parks running. Under the park service’s shutdown plan, authorities have to close any area where garbage or other problems become threats to health and safety or to wildlife. In the southern Sierra Nevada in Central California, some areas of the Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks were closed Monday evening. In Sequoia, home to immense and ancient giant sequoias, General Highway was closed because overflowing trash bins were spreading litter and posed a threat to wildlife and the icy, jammed roadway was seeing up to three-hour delays, according to the National Park Service. Campers at Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California’s deserts were reporting squabbles as different families laid claims to sites, with no rangers on hand to mediate. At Yosemite crowds of visitors were driving into the park to take advantage of free admission, with only a few park rangers working and a limited number of restrooms open.Visitors were allowing their dogs to run off-leash in an area rich with bears and other wildlife, and scattering bags of garbage along the roads. Officials at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado said Monday they were closing restrooms and locking up trash bins in many locations. In Yellowstone National Park, private companies have picked up some of the maintenance normally done by federal workers. The contractors that operate park tours by snowmobile, buses and vans are grooming trails, hauling trash and replacing toilet paper at pit toilets and restrooms along their routes.

Gas prices are at lowest level in years

If you are looking for a reason to hit the road in your RV, the continuing drops in fuel prices is as good an excuse as any. Nearly 20 percent of states are currently enjoying prices below $2 per gallon. Nationally, retail averages have dropped 83 of the past 90 days. The national average for regular unleaded gasoline currently sits at $2.30 per gallon, which is six cents less than one week ago, 24 cents less than one month ago and 16 cents less than at the same time last year. The nation’s top 5 least expensive markets are:

  • Missouri ($1.87)
  • Oklahoma ($1.95)
  • Arkansas ($1.97)
  • South Carolina ($1.97)
  • Texas ($1.97)

It’s dangerous to drive with an unrestrained dog

A lot of RVers travel with their dogs and if I’d have to guess, I’d say most of their dogs are unrestrained, allowed to move around the vehicle as you drive down the road. The Michigan State Police is sending out that warning after a recent accident on I-75 while traveling Up North. A 54-year-old woman who flipped her van on Dec. 23 told a trooper from Houghton Lake that she lost control of the vehicle when her German Shepherd jumped on the dashboard to bark at the wipers. A passenger received a minor injury, the agency said, while the dog is fine. The moral of the story is to keep pets restrained while traveling, the agency said. Several states are considering legislation that would make it illegal for a driver to have a dog on your lap while operating a motor vehicle. But in almost all states, having an an unrestrained dog could be enough reason for you to be pulled over and cited for distracted driving

The tale of two winters as told by two Farmers Almanacs

How many of you like to follow the long range winter forecast as predicted each year in the Farmers Almanac? But how many of you realize there are two different Farmers Almanacs? And this year they couldn’t be more different in predicting what kind of winter it will be. The Old Farmers’ Almanac has been around since 1792. That’s the familiar one with the yellow cover. However in 1818, competition developed when the rival Farmers’ Almanac – with an orange cover and no “Old” in the title – started being published. Usually, the two have similar winter forecasts. Not this year. The Old Farmers’ Almanac predicts a generally warm and wet winter. The upstart Farmers’ Almanac says it will be bitterly cold with lots of snow. Which one to believe? Well, in our part of Michigan, it’s the Old Farmers’ Almanac that has nailed it so far this winter as December has gone down as one of the warmest Decembers ever with less than a half inch of snow.  Alas… winter has really only just started and there is plenty of time for the other forecast to come true. We’ll put a link to the tale of the two almanacs, as well as the other stories we have reported, on the shownotes page for this episode at Roadtreking-dot-com-slash-223.

 This part of the podcast 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

A reader with a brand new RV called for some hand holding about using and charging the Lithium batteries.

RV INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

RVers from all over share their 2019 bucket list travel plans

The interview of the week is brought to you by SunshinestateRVs.com, where every new or used Roadtrek motorhome is delivered to the customer free, anywhere in the country

TRAVELING TECH TIP

By Andy Choi
Verizon Wireless

Feeling good about a wonderful new year means getting a jump start on those goals. And when it comes to those 2019 resolutions, Verizon can help put a little pep in your step if health and fitness are on your 2019 to-do list.

Wearables have been hot for the past few years, and the Fitbit Versa is the perfect fitness companion for recording workouts, heart rate zones, sleep patterns and more. And with the Fitbit app connecting you to your fitness minded loved ones, a little healthy competition among family goes a long way to keeping your goals accountable.

Perhaps your new year is all about staying present. Look no further than the Google Pixel 3. With Pixel 3’s digital wellbeing, you’ll see how often you’re checking your phone. And wind down mode will start to prompt you to put your phone down as bedtime nears. Plus Google Fit is more powerful than ever so when you want to work out you’ll get just the stats you need!

Back to that gym motivation. You’re going to want a sweet soundtrack to go with those fitness goals. Make sure to pump up the jam with the JBL Free Truly Wireless In-Ear Headphones. Free yourself with these completely wireless headphones, ideal for your active lifestyle. All with that incredible JBL sound so many have come to appreciate.

So when it comes to feeling happy and healthy in 2019, don’t forget a little tech goes a long way to keep your goals going strong! With this week’s traveling technology tip, I’m Andy Choi with Verizon.

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

By Tom and Patti Burkett

Patti and Tom Burkett

Southern Illinois is nestled between two of the biggest rivers on the continent.  Historically, regular floods of both the Ohio and the Mississippi left the region covered deep in silt, fantastically fertile soil.  Until the early twentieth century, most of our country’s wheat was grown here.  Settlers arrived here early, brought in by the rivers and the trails made by migrating bison.  A longstanding family feud, the Bloody Vendetta, claimed hundreds of lives.  Prohibition era gangsters and bootleggers crisscrossed the area, and it was at the center of the chilling Reverse Underground Railroad.

Coal was discovered here in the 1880s and quickly became big business.  Mine owners from then into the early 1900s scoured Eastern Europe for cheap labor, and brought many immigrants to southern Illinois.  It was noted in 1915 that “a person standing on the steps of the courthouse in Harrisburg (the county seat of Saline county) can hear a dozen different languages in as many minutes.”

One of those early mines was the Big Muddy, where the mine owner built a company town and populated it with workers from Slovakia.  These were Russian Orthodox people, and in 1913 they built a church dedicated to Saint Iosaph of Belgorod.  Sixty families made up the parish, and the church had two bells that, when rung together sounded “foreign and mysterious” to quote one man who grew up here in the thirties.

It was eerie, bumping over the railroad tracks into the town of Muddy.  Maybe the people who live there are content as they can be, but we know only what we can see until we learn otherwise.  Now home to about seventy souls, the town is dominated by a concrete coal tipple built in 1923.  It processed coal from the Big Muddy mine until the mine closed for good after the historic Ohio River flood of 1937.  Other nearby operations continued to provide employment, but the population of Muddy began a long slow decline.

We wandered around the tipple, from which coal was loaded into railroad cars.  A nearby brick building, maybe a house or an office, had one wall partially blown out.  Down the road was the Orthodox Church.  Neatly cut grass and a well kept cemetery surrounded it, but it was clearly closed for good.  We discovered that it is part of the diocese of Saint Louis, two hours distant.  Once a year a priest and a contingent from the St. Louis church come to celebrate a service on behalf of the church and those buried here.

Since the sixties the shuttered church has been cared for by a brother and sister who grew up in the parish.  We emailed the priest in Saint Louis, hoping we might be able to talk with one of them.  “No,” he told us, “they’re both in their nineties and no longer live nearby.”  “Soon,” he said, “we’ll burn the building down and bury the ashes, just as we would for a person.  It’s our custom.”  So the church will go the way of the mine, the dance hall, the union picnics, and so many other memories that were born here.  We continue to make our own memories as we go, and sometimes we’re lucky enough to hear the echoes of another age out here, off the beaten

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