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RV Podcast #321: Using Google Photos [FREE!]

| Updated Nov 18, 2020

If you’re like most RVers, you take a lot of pictures. But what to do with them? In this week’s episode of the RV Podcast, we learn about using Google Photos and what it can do for you. 

Our Interview of the Week guests are Chris and Jim Guld, known as the “Geeks on Tour” to thousands because of the seminars they do across the country at RV rallies and shows and their online instruction. Chris just released her updated “Learn Google Photos” book and joins us to talk about how to store, organize, edit and share all those photos you take on your RV adventures.

Plus, we have the latest RV News of the Week for you, RV tips, and another great off-the-beaten-path report from the Burketts.


RV Podcast #321: Using Google Photos [FREE!] 1This week, we put up our Christmas Tree. It's a bit early, we know, but we all need some cheer.

Besides, we've heard from lots of other RVers who have told us that they, too, were doing some early holiday decorating. Thus has been a challenging year, to be sure. But thinking about Christmas is a great way to shake off the negativity that seems to be hanging over the world in 2020.

RV Podcast Programming Note:

We're taking Thanksgiving week off the podcast. It's a busy time for everyone, us included, so we're off next Wednesday (Nov. 25). We'll be back the following week on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020

This part of the RV Podcast is brought to you by Camping World – America’s #1 RV Dealer You can get 10% off all purchases over $99 with the discount code RVLIFESTYLE10.


AAA expects Thanksgiving travel to drop significantly this year
AAA is projecting about 50 million Americans will travel this Thanksgiving, but the organization says this is the biggest drop in travel seen since the recession of 2008. The decline is blamed on rising COVID-19 cases and an increase in unemployment and financial strain. The majority of those who do travel – 95 percent – will do so in a vehicle. And AAA is urging all travelers to plan ahead, know the route, and be sure to know the COVID-19 rules for any stops.

Five die, including 1-year-old baby and a teenager, after floodwaters ravage North Carolina campground
Five people died, including a 1-year-old child and a teenager, after floodwaters rushed through the Hiddenite Family Campground about 50 miles north of Charlotte last week. The heavy rain and accompanying flooding were the result of tropical storm Eta moving through the country. About 7-10 inches of rain fell in the downpour. Emergency personnel were able to rescue more than 30 people at the campground.

Python hunters break records in snake capture in the Florida Everglades
Florida snake hunters have caught a record number of Burmese pythons this year in the Florida Everglades – great news for everyone who loves that part of the country. (See our recent story on Flamingo Campground in the Everglades National Park here.) Burmese pythons are an invasive species that pet owners illegally released in the Everglades years ago, and have now increased in numbers so rapidly, they are causing massive damage to this unique ecosystem of the Everglades.

The Florida governor has challenged two state agencies to take out more of the snakes, and the result has been competition and an increased effort by various snake hunters. As of mid–October, about 4,000 pythons have been caught and removed this year – shattering previous records. 

Louisiana state parks add safari-style glamping options to eight campgrounds
Eight Louisiana state parks are offering camping experiences for those who don't own a camper or a tent. The state park created 60 “glamping” sites in its park system, each featuring safari-style tents on a raised floor with canvas sides. Each tent will have a bed, heating source, fire pit, chairs. The glampling sites are part of a state partnership with a company called Tentrr, with prices starting at $85 per night.

Rocky Mountain National Park releases video so visitors can see damage caused by last month's massive wildfires
Rocky Mountain National Park is continuing to open up more parts of the popular park closed after wildfires surged through the area last month, consuming hundreds of thousands of acres of forest, including about 30,000 acres – or 9 percent of the land inside the national park. Besides forests, the fires destroyed many historic structures.

In fact, the fires are still burning, but because of snow and accompanying moisture, are not considered as much of a threat. The park put a video on its Facebook page so visitors could see for themselves what the fire did. It is a powerful video that we would urge anyone who cares about the park and is curious to know more to check out the video here.

This part of the podcast is brought to you by RadPower Bikes, America's #1 e-bike brand, offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping  


We answer some questions from listeners and play some of their recorded messages.

To hear this segment, use the player below and go about 13:27 in

We also share this tip:

I just found out something interesting after getting my RV serviced. I have a 2017 class c with only 5000 miles and was told that, much to my suprise, the tires are old. I know that you have a big following with new and veteran rv'ers, and after a lengthy conversation with a tire manufacturer, I found this to be true.

There is a DOT stamp on the tire with the date the tire was made and if not paid attention to could lead to a blowout. Maybe you could pass this along in one of your tire safety segments. Thank You – Burt Roy

Good advice.

Stamped on the outer sidewall of each tire is its birth date in a straightforward week/year format.

Scan the tire sidewall in a clockwise pattern and find the letters “DOT” (which signifies the tire’s compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation’s laws & regulations). Just to the right of “DOT” (going clockwise) are a series of letters and numbers, followed by an encircled group of four, tightly spaced numbers – these are the numbers you need.

The first two numbers represent the week of manufacture, the last two numbers indicate the year. For example, on one tire, the date code is “2118.” Which indicates the tire was manufactured in the 21st week of the year. The number “18” represents the year 2018.

A general rule of thumb is a tire has a maximum life of about ten years. Beginning at five years, tires should be annually inspected for condition and signs of age-related degradation.

“If the tires haven't been replaced 10 years after their date of manufacture, as a precaution, Michelin recommends replacing them with new tires. Even if they appear to be in usable condition and have not worn down to the tread wear indicator. This applies to spare tires as well.” –

Dry rotting and cracking are common with aged tires. As the tire materials degrade, they show the visual signs of breaking down.

Here’s a helpful link on determining the age of your tire.

Do you have a question you’d like us to answer or a comment on the things we’re discussing? If so, we invite you to leave us that question or comment on the special voicemail number we have for the podcast – it’s 586-372-6990.  

This part of the RV Podcast is brought to you by Battle Born Batteries, maker of quality, safe and reliable- and NOW HEATED –  lithium batteries that can be installed in just about every RV. Get in touch with Battle Born to find out what lithium batteries and an upgraded energy management system can add to your RV Lifestyle. Check them out at


To hear this segment, use the player below and go about 22:32 in

Our guests are Chris and Jim Guld, known as the “Geeks on Tour” to thousands because of the seminar they do across the country at RV rallies and shows and their online instruction. Chris just released her updated “Learn Google Photos” book and is here to talk about how to store, organize, edit and share all those photos you take on your RV adventures.

You can get  more info about Chris’ book “Learn Google Photos” at Learn Google Photos Book Summary

Here is a video version of our interview about Using Google Photos in which Chris shows some of the things she made with the app:


Here is a full transcript of the interview about Using Google Photos:

Mike Wendland:           From the RV influential community out there, Jim and Chris Guld, you know them as the Geeks on Tour or Mr. and Mrs. Geek. Guys, it's great to see you. How are you?

Jim Guld:                      Oh, great, man. How are you?

Mike Wendland:           I'm great

Chris Guld:                    We are doing exceptionally well for the times that we are in.

Mike Wendland:           Yes, these are strange times. And one of the reasons I asked you on the show this week is to kind of help people take advantage of maybe a little extra time they have, because few people are traveling as much as they used to.

And that has to do with the stuff that you, Chris just wrote about in your new book, Learn Google Photos. Hey, I got one, you got one. Now we got to get all of our audience to get one, and we'll work with links. We'll put links t in the description below so you can find this book.

Jim Guld:                      Cool.

Mike Wendland:           But Chris and Jim have been teaching, as I said in the intro, they've been teaching photos and tech stuff to the RV community for years, and this book is just a really handy resource for us as we look at photos.

But right now, as we approach the holidays, as this episode is being aired, a lot of people are thinking about holiday gifts or they're going back and thinking about all those photos they've taken over the last several years. Chris, give us first some ideas of what we can do with those photos and how your book and using Google Photos in particular can help.

Chris Guld:                    Thanks, Mike. And it's great to see you again too. We really miss running into you at the RV rallies and we haven't been to an RV rally in a long time, so thanks for having us on, and photos has been my main focus for a long time. We take all those photos with our smartphones then what do you do with them?

What is Google Photos?

The first, just in case there's anybody out there who does not know what Google Photos is, I need to say just a few words about that before I talk about the things you can do with it. Google Photos is from Google obviously, and it's an app on your phone.

It's a website where you can store your lifetime of photos, private to you. So you just upload all and you can upload photos that you take with your phone, you can upload all the photos that are on your computer, you can upload photos from other cameras. So it's a collection in the cloud for all of your lifetime of photos.

I have a hundred thousand photos in my Google Photos library and nobody know-how can see them except for me, unless I choose to share. But since it's cloud-based, it's very easy to share. So that's the first thing that you can do with your photos, it's just collect them all in one place.

And then what's Google mostly known for? I mean just Google as a brand. Search, right? So I can bring up my hundred thousand photos, and in a split second, I can show you photos of kayaking in Venice. We did kayak in Venice, it was so cool, or Mount Rushmore, or an Elks Lodge in Idaho.

I can just search for that and boom, there are my photos. So that's the number one beauty and purpose of using Google Photos. Collect-

Mike Wendland:           Now one thing we should ask or we should explain to everybody is that Google Photos is free. It's a free app, right?

Chris Guld:                    Yes. It is a free app.

Mike Wendland:           There are some storage issues if you get way up there, but well that's for practical purposes.

Chris Guld:                    Right. You will have to pay for some storage if you have multiple hundreds of thousands of pictures, you will have to pay for some storage, but-

Mike Wendland:           Yeah, I think it's very reasonable, it's nothing that people have to worry about at this point.

Chris Guld:                    Two dollars a month, but the idea is that it is still unlimited storage, you just may have to end up paying a little for it.

Mike Wendland:           It's awesome. It's awesome that way. So that's what we can put all your photos. You talked about how you have yours organized and those are all tips that we'll talk a little bit about in the book in a minute, but [crosstalk 00:04:47] coax some ideas right now that they can do with those photos.

image for book about using google photos
Chris Guld's newly updated book on using Google Photos as discussed in Episode 321 of the RV Podcast. 

Chris Guld:                    Well, you can make albums and share albums. Does anybody you know have one of a little smart screen devices, a Google Home Hub or a Chromecast on your TV? Here's one thing that a lot of people do, they buy their parents a Google Home Hub, oh no, it's called Nest Home Hub now.

Jim Guld:                      I think so.

Chris Guld:                    Right. Nest Home Hub. And it's a screen. And then they share, it's talking to us, they share an album-

Mike Wendland:           I think that's like, “Hello Google.”

Jim Guld:                      Hey Google, stop.

Mike Wendland:           I am going to mess with you this real time. Hey Google, what time is it?

Jim Guld:                      You probably have an Alexa so we can mess with you too, don't you?

Mike Wendland:           Okay. Okay. Well, no more. I do, as a matter of fact.

Google Photos recognizes faces

Jim Guld:                      Well, the ones with the screens on them, will show pictures and Google Photos has a way to say, make me an album and automatically put every photo of the grandkids in it. Whenever I take a photo of the kids, put it into this album, you share that album with grandma, and it shows up on her Nest Home Hub. So anytime you take a picture within minutes, it's being shown at grandma's house.

Mike Wendland:           Now, somehow along the line you have to identify that photo, do you not? Don't you have to… You don't? So how does it-

Chris Guld:                    No.

Mike Wendland:           So how does it know the grandkids and grandmas?

Chris Guld:                    Well, at one point in time, it will not really. Google has face recognition. So whenever you take a picture, Google Photos can see if there's a face in that picture. And if there is, it recognizes that, that's the same face in this picture and that picture and the other picture and it groups them together, all pictures with one face will be grouped together.

And you can say, “That's the face of the grandkids, put that into an automatic album and then share that album with grandma.”

Mike Wendland:           You could put that in the RV as well, couldn't you?

Chris Guld:                    Absolutely.

Jim Guld:                      Oh yeah. We do. Yeah. And if you have a new smart TV, very likely this capability is built into it. If you don't have a fairly new smart TV, then you can add on these tools that would allow that. All of our screens in our house have connectivity, so we just have them running slide shows of our pictures all the time on all of our devices. We don't watch TV, there's nothing on.

Mike Wendland:           No there isn't.

Chris Guld:                    But we have other TV's on, because it's showing our photos. So we'll go on a little two day RV trip. When we walked back in the door and turn the TV on, we're seeing our best photos from that RV trip on the TV.

Mike Wendland:           Oh my gosh. That's so great idea. All right. Give us a couple more things. What else can we do?

Chris Guld:                    Okay. A couple more things. And this is just through Google, if you see a picture you like, you can say, “Ooh, I want a wall hanging of that.” And they will make a canvas print. So I love this. And this was, I don't know, $30. And it comes all ready to hang. All you have to do is have a hook on the wall and you get your picture.

Make stuff with Google Photos

Mike Wendland:           And you can do that right through the Google Photos app?

Chris Guld:                    Right in Google Photos. You just open up the photos, say, “Make me a print, make me an eight by eight or a 11 by 14 or a 16 by 20 canvas print.” You pay it, you give your address and you get it in the mail.

Jim Guld:                      Or you could even have it sent somewhere else.

Chris Guld:                    You could have it sent as a gift somewhere else. Yeah. And the other thing is the books. I love, I love my-

Mike Wendland:           There's your road [crosstalk 00:09:04]

Chris Guld:                    Yep. There's my Roadtrek.

Mike Wendland:           And the Tetons.

Chris Guld:                    Yep. I think the quality is just really, really nice. So there we are at a rally.

Chris Guld:                    Yeah. Quality is real, and this was, I don't know, $30 or something about a hundred pages. And once again, there's lots of ways that you can make a book using your photos, but they're all a lot of work. If you've ever gone to Shutterfly or one of those, you can do it, but they tell you, “Okay, which picture do you want on this page, and where do you want it positioned?

And what texts do you want on there? All right. Now let's go to page two.” No, this book took me three clicks. I just said, “I already made an album of my 2018 pictures, put them in a book and send it to me.” That's all I did. It's books, prints, and canvas wall hangings.

Mike Wendland:           I know a lot of people are paying a lot of attention to this right now and what they want to know is how to do it. And of course, this is how to do it with Learn Google Photos. And we're going to put a link to it. Talk a little bit about that book, Chris, so people can understand what they will learn from that and just how it will help them do this kind of stuff.

Chris Guld:                    Okay. Well, the link that you're going to give them actually goes to where I wrote a summary. (Learn Google Photos Book Summary) So there's 13 chapters I think, 13 chapters and the link gives just a paragraph about each chapter. So you will see everything that's in it. This is my third edition. And before Google Photos, I wrote a book on the Picasa.

As you know, we taught seminars at RV rallies all over the country and what to do with all those photos. It was a very popular seminar. And I had just little seminar handouts, and after a while, and then I answered questions and then I wrote a website and had all these articles.

And I said, wouldn't it be nice if there was just one place where it was all together and people could go page, but there's still something valuable, isn't there?

Mike Wendland:           Yes.

Chris Guld:                    In having something physical in your hands that you can turn the pages, take notes on. So that's why I came up with this.

Mike Wendland:           Many of us grew up like this, with newspapers and things and just the tactile part of holding onto it and being able to look at it, not have to click. It's great. It is great. Well, we'll get into that.

Chris Guld:                    But what's the problem with paper books these days? Google Photos changes weekly. So the minute that this was published and we did it self-publishing at Amazon, by the way. So you can get it at Amazon. The minute that this was published, there were pieces of it that were out of date.

So I have a companion webpage and the link is written in the book where you can go and like I just wrote in there something today, and I wrote in there something yesterday, and I specify which chapter is affected by whatever change just happened. So this book is alive. It's not just a book, it's a book and a webpage and a whole website and a YouTube channel.

Mike Wendland:           And now, as my segue into… This is new for you guys. You now have put together a YouTube channel, all about learning and working with Google Photos.

Chris Guld:                    Yeah.

Mike Wendland:           So we should put that up on the screen a little bit and show everybody what that website looks like, but talk us through how you came about the RV channel. The RV channel that you're doing with Google Photos

Chris Guld:                    Yeah. We've had our geeks on tour channel for many years. We do a weekly, well, it's gotten to be every other week now, a show called What Does This Button Do, where we deal with general issues of smartphones and technology. You've been a guest of ours on there a couple times talking about how to manage passwords and just general technology stuff. Well, but we've developed such a specialty on Google Photos.

It was recommended to us. I'm still not completely sure about this, but it was recommended to us to start another YouTube channel dedicated to Google Photos. So we've done that. And to get some more traction on there, we are going to do an open Google Photos Q and A. Kind of an ask us anything like you do on Sunday afternoons. We're going to do it just once a month on Monday afternoons.

Mike Wendland:           So in your experience, as you've traveled around, what are the biggest mistakes, RVers make when they take their photos, what they do with them after there?

The biggest mistake people make in Using Google Photos

Chris Guld:                    Okay. I think the biggest mistake is thinking that it's a lot of work and therefore never going back and doing anything. I love my photos of our travels. There are such beautiful places and it is just such a shame when I hear people say, “Oh yeah, they take photos and maybe they'll scroll through them on their phone again, but then they forget all about them and never do anything.” No, it's really easy with Google Photos anyway.

After you take a picture, if you say, “Ooh, that's a really good one.” You just tap a button and make it a favorite. And then you can put your favorites into a book or onto your TV, or at least share it in an album to your friends. And you can look at your albums again. So that to me is the number one mistake that people make, is just thinking that it's a lot of work and never getting around to doing it.

Mike Wendland:           One of the things that we should point out in our last bit here together is the fact that this works really seamlessly with your smartphone, whether it's an Android device, whether it is a Apple device, like my iPhone here, and it will work in conjunction with your regular apps that you use. For example, I take a lot of video and a lot of stills with my phone. Look at that, there's three camera lens on there, it's doesn't [crosstalk 00:16:27] Incredible job.

Chris Guld:                    Hey, I have an iPhone now, too.

Mike Wendland:           I'm getting my new iPhone 12, this is the 11 and now I'm getting the 12. But well I have set, so all of my photos are saved in my regular photo album from Apple, but also Google Photos. So I almost think of it as having a cloud backup as well.

Chris Guld:                    Absolutely.

Mike Wendland:           I don't have to worry and I… What I have to get better at, which I'm going to follow in your book, Chris Guld, is how to organize my photos better. I think that is probably the best tool that there's out there is organizing.

Using Google Photos makes it easy to organize your pictures

Chris Guld:                    Yeah, the first thing is that Google does an off a lot of organization for you. They are automatically organized by date. So all I have to do is say, “Gee, I think it was summer of 2017 that we were in the Rocky's.” And I just scroll down to summer '17 and there they are. However, I'll be looking at all my photos from summer of 2017 and I do not believe that you should delete.

I took 25 pictures of this mountain and rivers scene. I like them all. I can't delete any of them, but I can mark one as my best and put it in the album. And then that's, I share the album. So there is some… That's the only thing that you need to do for organizing. Is just pick your best ones and mark them.

Mike Wendland:           Well, our guest has been Chris Guld, Mrs. Geek, and right next to her and we'll see if instantly we can bring him on there, it's Mr. Geek, Jim Guld, and you guys as always are just of such a wealth of information. Learn Google Photos is the book, look down below in the description, you'll see how to get it. And we'll put a link to your Google's Photos Facebook or Facebook.

If I have a Facebook. But we'll put a link to your YouTube channel and how you can learn more about it right from YouTube. And we'll keep up with all your other links, the geeks and tour links, what does this button do, and how long has Jim's mustache going to be next year.

Chris Guld:                    At least he let me cut his hair. His COVID hair was getting almost shoulder length.

Mike Wendland:           Re-living your youth. Mr. Guld.

Jim Guld:                      I don't know. I was just lazy and I wasn't being seen by anyone but her.

Mike Wendland:           Well, listen, I hope we see you in person in Tampa at the RV SuperShow. I know that [crosstalk 00:19:12] you're going to be speaking there as a matter of fact, but it's still on, but who knows what this year holds, but we will stay in touch with you guys, is your main website.

And again, all those links to the YouTube channel and the book are below. Jim and Chris, thank you guys so much for being on the show this week.

Jim Guld:                      Thank you too, Mike. Say hi to Jen for us.

More about the Geeks:

Learn Google Photos Book –

Learn Google Photos YouTube show –

Geeks on Tour website –

Geeks on Tour YouTube Channel –

The interview of the week is brought to you by, where every new  motorhome is delivered to the customer free, anywhere in the country


To hear this segment, use the player below and go about 47:17 in

Tom & Patti Burkett of the Rv Podcast
The RV Podcast off the beaten path reporters Tom & Patti Burkett


We've heard a lot, lately, about droughts and wildfires, and they cause massive destruction, to be sure.  But there are some places in the USA that have just the opposite problem: water, water, and more water.  

A lot of these are along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, where flooding is a regular occurrence, so much so that some towns have been relocated to higher ground.  Others just keep flooding periodically and seem to take it in stride.  One such place is Cairo, Illinois, a city with a rich history, both of culture and disaster.

RV Podcast #321: Using Google Photos [FREE!] 2

The most recent chapter was written about ten years ago, with the spring flood of 2011.  After devastating floods earlier in the century, the Army Corps of Engineers, who try to manage water levels on the nation's big rivers, designed a floodway to protect the city.  

The floodway is a large tract of land just across the border in Missouri.  A levee along the river protected the low-lying land from lesser changes in river level, and the landowners accepted a cash payment from the Federal government to allow flooding of the area if needed.  In the late days of April that year, a flood was imminent. 

RV Podcast #321: Using Google Photos [FREE!] 3

Here where the Ohio meets the Mississippi there’s so much water that there’s very little place for an excess to go.

Water began to flood the town, and business and civic leaders pressed the Army to blow the levee and activate the floodway.  

City residents stood side by side along the levee, stacking sandbags and holding them in place with their bodies.  Meanwhile, the Army Corps delayed.  

In the intervening eighty years, the floodway had become some of the most productive farmland in Missouri and was home to more than two hundred people.  Cairo, like many river towns, was on hard times, poor and deteriorating. 

 Missouri’s US Representative argued publicly that Cairo wasn’t worth saving.  Ultimately the levee was blown and the water went down, but not before Cairo and other surrounding towns had suffered millions of dollars worth of damage.

RV Podcast #321: Using Google Photos [FREE!] 4

Lewis and Clark made one of their first stops in Cairo, in November 1803.  They took measurements and practiced their surveying technique.  

One of the local Shawnee offered Lewis three beaver pelts in exchange for his dog, Seaman, but Lewis declined.  

They even took a day off to paddle down the river and look at an abandoned fort that Clark’s brother had built twenty-five years earlier.  By the time of the Civil War, Cairo was a boomtown, handling trade from both rivers and shipping in and out from a railway hub that linked several lines.

Ulysses S. Grant made the town a headquarters for the Western Army, and it became an important destination on the Underground Railroad. 

 By the end of the war, thousands of escaped slaves, now free, lived in the city.  In 1885, when Huckleberry Finn and his friend Jim set out for Cairo and freedom, the city was important in the shipment of cotton, coal, lumber, and agricultural products.  Then things began to go downhill.  

RV Podcast #321: Using Google Photos [FREE!] 5Segregation and racial strife created a toxic climate for business.  A race war lasted into the 1960s, and by last year, the population was a tenth of what it was in 1920.

There are grand things to see in Cairo, like the Magnolia Manor Museum with its double walls, a sculpture called The Hewer, called by some the finest male nude in the USA, and Fort Defiance Park where two great rivers meet. 

 Maybe the most valuable thing to do here, though, is to wander the streets of historic downtown Cairo and ponder the decaying ruins of grand hotels, stately homes, and once-thriving factories and businesses.

It’s important to remember that for every story of rebirth and renewal there’s another one about hard times and tough luck, out here off the beaten path.


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On this RV Lifestyle Travel blog, our RV Podcast and our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel, we mention all sorts of RV-related products and gear that we use, So we created a special page links to them. We update this all the time.  CLICK HERE to go to it directly. 

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2020-11-18

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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