This week on the RV Podcast we talk about working remotely from an RV from a remote and beautiful area far away from the crowds.
That’s where we are this week, camping in Michigan’s remote Upper Peninsula. Now as RV travel writers and reporters, we’re always working remotely from an RV. But with the pandemic, we’re noticing a lot more people also doing their remote work in remote locations, too.
In our interview of the week coming up in a few minutes, we’ll talk to a local tourist official in the UP who is running a national advertising campaign urging remote workers to come do that remote work in one of the most remote and beautiful areas of the UP. You may get some great ideas from this interview about how you can also be working remotely from an RV instead of staying close to home.
Also, this week, travel tips, your RV Lifestyle Questions, and a great off the beaten path report from the Patti and Tom Burkett.
You can listen to the podcast in the player below. And scroll down this page for shownotes with links and resources about all the things we talk about.
Show Notes for Episode #314 of The RV Podcast:
WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK
We’re having an awesome time in the Upper Peninsula. And yes, as we prepare this podcast, we are indeed following our own advice and working remotely from an RV. This report is coming to you from Copper Harbor, MI on the Keweenaw Peninsula, which juts out like a thumb into Lake Superior at the northwestern end of the Upper Peninsula.
We’ve been on the road a week so far, boondocking some nights in really wild country, other nights staying in state parks. We’re slowly making our way from one end of the UP to the other. We couldn’t have timed it any better. The weather is cool and crisp. And the fall color is spectacular. Peak color up here is right now.
I don’t think we’ve ever seen the fall foliage so brilliant. Naturally, we’ll have a video about it on our YouTube RV Lifestyle channel. And stay tuned for the News of the Week segment a little further down because we’ll have a resource that we’ll share that will let you know when peak fall color will happen in your area.
If folks are coming up here, we should remind them that, except for the lone interstate in the UP – I-75 – the speed limit on all two-lane roads in the Upper Peninsula is 55. And it IS enforced. We should also note that it is much more crowded up here this fall than we’ve seen on previous fall trips. One reason, of course, is because of what we’ll learn in our interview segment coming up about working remotely from an RV.
Also, we need to report that many of the U.S. Forest Service campgrounds will be shutting down across the UP starting next week. Most of the state parks will be open a bit later but there’s no doubt, the season is coming to an end.
That’s been brought home this week by a cold snap. Last week we had temperatures up here in the mid-seventies. This week, daytime highs are in the 50’s and the nighttime temperatures are expected to drop near freezing. We find it very pleasant. And Bo is thrilled. We’ve been taking two or three hikes every day and enjoying every minute or it.
We mention on the RV Podcast about the winter season and snow up here. Below is a sign on the Keweenaw Peninsula showing how much snow falls annually. The record is nearly 32 feet. Last year was about 27 feet.
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RV PODCAST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Many planning to go camping this month for some Halloween fun
October officially arrives this week and that can only mean one thing for many – the official start of Halloween camping! Many campgrounds, especially private ones that cater to families with young children, are booked each weekend in October because of special Halloween themed family friendly events. Jellystone Park (click here) is one private campground system with plans, but many other private and government-run campgrounds also have activities, even during COVID-19. Many campgrounds are limiting trick or treating but having Halloween decoration or costume parities, all with social distancing, of course. And, should we say, with many already wearing… masks. To see a story we did last year explaining more on the Halloween camping trend, click here.
Zion National Park officials dealing with unprecedented amounts of graffiti
Rangers at Zion National Park are dealing with unprecedented levels of graffiti this year, something rangers are blaming – in part – on the COVID-19 pandemic. This year many coming to the park are different than normal visitors. One ranger said many have never been to a national park, and are there because they are tired of being cooped up. Some of these visitors are carving the cliff faces and leaving behind literally miles of graffiti-covered rock. Volunteers are spending hours trying to remove the damage. But once the damage is done removing the mess causes permanent damage to the delicate landscape. Zion is a beautiful park, one of our favorites. To see our past reports click here.
It is Fat Bear Week at Katmai National Park and Preserve. What is Fat Bear Week you ask? It is a fun way to help the public connect with the hard-to-reach Alaska park, famous for its bears who feast on salmon and get, well, very, very fat before hibernation. The annual event begins Sept. 30, and is designed a bit like a Big 10 tournament with the public casting its vote for the winners between rounds. Not too long ago we did an interview with a Katmai ranger about the bears in this unique part of the world. To see our piece and a link to the live bear cam at Katmai, click here.
Vintage Airstream community helps locate stolen 1950s trailer and capture thief
People who love a particular brand of camper or RV can form a tight group, as many of us know. It was just such a tight community that helped the owners of a restored 1953 Airstream Flying Cloud – decked out in its full 1950s glory – find its trailer after it was stolen. The 19-foot camper, a favorite rental at the Dolores River Campground, was stolen in the middle of the night in August when thieves backed up to it and hauled it away. The owners turned to social media for help locating it. And that is how the trailer was found, the thieves were caught and charged, and the trailer returned. Gotta love a story with a happy ending!
Use a fall color predictor to help you plan your fall travels
As noted earlier, Mike and I are in Michigan's Upper Peninsula visiting some of our favorite UP campgrounds enjoying the fall colors. We are big fans of fall camping, as usually, the campgrounds are less busy (not necessarily so this year, however!), the bugs are gone, and the colors are just spectacular. If you plan to head out to see the colors, check out this national fall color predictor to help you plan. We have an Upper Peninsula travel guide to help you plan your trip which you can learn more about here.
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RV PODCAST QUESTION OF THE WEEK
This week’s question comes from a member of our RV Lifestyle Facebook Group named Jerry, who asks:
I am curious what are some of the things one would not think of to have/stock an RV with. Essentials like pots, pans, dishes, flashlights, small tool bag, replacement fuses etc………I get, but it’s the things you thought of like 6mo, year + in and were like….I wish I thought of that in the beginning, LOLFrom you seasoned folks – any suggestions?
Jerry’s question brough more than 200 suggestions from our members:
Dee: Deck of cards in case of rain.
Randall: Collapsible sink. Comes in handy to keep gray water out of tank when not hooked up to sewer. The one we have also comes with drain platform.
Judy: Pizza Pzazz electrical pizza cooker. We don't use it often, but it doesn't take up much room & is great for cooking a pizza or reheating leftovers. This is especially helpful if you don't have an oven.
Linda: My two suggestions would be a well-stocked first aid kit and the weather radio. A suggestion to go along with the weather radio is that every time you check in at a campground ask what county you are in. TV and weather radio warnings come in by counties and if you don’t know which county you’re in you may not be warned in time.
Elisabeth: We bring along solar-powered cell phone chargers.
Vicki: Wooden matches. Paper clips. Envelope and stamps. Scissors. AA batteries.
Patricia: I have a clear shoe bag hanging behind the door in the bathroom. Top half for small things that I might need (batteries), bottom half for small things that honey might need (fuses). It has saved lots of space and time searching for those little things.
Julie: We just bought a small, collapsible electric leaf blower and it is wonderful. So easy to blow off the leaves and dirt from our outside mats, concrete pad, etc. Makes it much nicer while camping and helps during clean up, too!
Patricia: Small, inexpensive shower mat with suction cups on the bottom for inside the main door. It’s easy to hose and rinse off and catches the first bit of water, dirt, etc. Then a dirt catching mat that can be shaken out.
And… Mark, with perhaps the best advice yet: Don't worry, you are never more than 10 miles from a Walmart
As you can see, our 44,000-member RV Lifestyle Facebook Group is the place to go with you RV questions. Our folks are the most helpful community you’ll find online. You can join them at https://rvlifestyle.com/facebook
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. If you are driving and can’t write it down right now, just go to the RV Lifestyle travel blog at rvlifestyle.com and scroll down the page. You’ll see that number prominently posted on the blog.
This part of the RV Podcast is brought to you by Battle Born Batteries, maker of quality, safe and reliable 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 https://rvlifestyle.com/lithium
RV PODCAST INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK – Working Remotely from an RV
This is an unusual year, that’s for sure. With social distancing still the rule and many people having to work remotely, a lot of people have come to the realization that if you can now do your job from anywhere, why not make it someplace awesome.
And since social distancing is a given with an RV, more and more people are finding themselves working and playing in pretty spectacular places.
One of them is where we are now, the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This place, about the most remote region of the already remote UP has embarked on a national advertising campaign urging folks to come to the Keweenaw for their remote work and then enjoy the area’s spectacular outdoor beauty,
While not aimed specifically at RVers, a lot of RVers are getting the message, as we learn in this week’s interview of the week with Brad Barnett, the executive director of the Keweenaw Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
Brad is an RVer himself and says the reasons places like the UP are seeing so many visitors this fall is precisely because people have decided that since they can work remotely, a beautiful remote location is a good place for that to happen.
“We really think that there’s an opportunity to explore the area now with remote working being embraced across the county. If you can work from anywhere, why not opt to do it where you want to be,” says Brad.
Here's a video version of the interview. (The video quality is poor as I was streaming over a poor Internet connection)
The interview of the week is brought to you by SunshinestateRVs.com, where every new motorhome is delivered to the customer free, anywhere in the country
RV PODCAST OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT
BY PATTI & TOM BURKETT
We were driving along the beautiful Ohio River Scenic Byway when we saw one of those little brown signs the park service puts up. Not being in any hurry (as usual) we made the turn to see just what the Fatima Shrine and the Ginalt Creek might have to offer.
The creek was simply a boat launch, a nice place to put in kayaks or canoes if you want to do a bit of paddling on the Ohio River. A couple of miles the other way we found the Fatima Shrine.
This is a religious shrine, like many we’ve seen across the continent, built by a follower as a sign of faith and devotion. Set in the middle of the Ohio cornfields, it’s a lovely oasis, with a big reflecting pool and a series of mosaics along an elevated walkway.
Roadside shrines take many forms, small and large, simple and grand. Perhaps the most interesting we’ve seen were in Argentina. There, as you drive in the rural areas, you’ll often see a cross or small structure, the size of a large birdhouse, surrounded by liter and two liter water bottles.
These are offering in honor of the Difunta Correa. Deolinda Correa’s husband was forcibly recruited into the military during the Argentine Civil War in 1840. When he got sick, he was abandoned by his unit and left to die. Deolinda tried to reach him, but herself died of thirst in the effort. Three days after her death, a passing group of herders found her body and her baby, still miraculously still alive.
Nowadays, it’s a custom to leave offerings of water at her shrines, both to honor her memory and to assist thirsty travelers who might happen by.
Here in the USA most of our roadside memorials are crosses or gravestones marked with flowers and stuffed animal commemorating a death by accident, but some are more elaborate or unusual.
Among these are the Catholic religious shrines like the one by the Ohio River. Some of our favorites are Our Lady of La Leche in St. Augustine, Our Lady of the Sierras in Hereford, Arizona, and the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, Iowa. On the Ohio-Indiana border, the convent church of Maria Stein has more than nine hundred holy relics, the largest collection in the USA
Other religions have shrines as well. At the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas near Allee, Montana, still under construction, the ten acres are laid out to symbolize the Noble Eightfold Path.
Prabhupada’s Temple Of Gold in New Vrindiban, West Virginia is a pilgrimage site for Hare Krisha practitioners, and Bawa’s Mazar, a Sufi holy site in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, commemorates the teachings of a beloved Muslim cleric, just on the edge of Amish country.
In Pilchuck, Washington you can see the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America, the first Shinto shrine built in the country following World War 2.
Like little towns and venerable roadside attractions, each shrine or memorial has a story to tell. Some are simple and sad, some touching, and some inspiring. Each one, though, is born of devotion, reverence, and memory, and they often touch in us our own memories of events or friends long past.
As it says on one gravestone in a little cemetery deep in the Smoky Mountains, “Who lingers here has lost no time that lives’t, Eternity forgives the time Thou givs’t. It’s sometimes refreshing, and humbling, to draw a deep breath and contemplate the many
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