RV Podcast #318: RV Questions and Monster Stories for the campfire!

 RV Podcast #318: RV Questions and Monster Stories for the campfire!

Questions! We get RV questions! And we have Monster stories to tell around the campfire!

This week on the RV Podcast, we answer the most recent RV questions you’ve been asking about the RV Lifestyle as our Interview of the Week. 

And in honor of Halloween, we have Monster Stories for the campfire from Patti and Tom Burkett

Plus, we have lots of RV News, tips, the RV Show Calendar, and much more.

You can listen to the podcast in the player below. And scroll down this page for shownotes, photos, videos, links and resources about all the things we talk about.

Show Notes for Episode #318 of The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

Photo of Mike and Jennifer, hosts of the RV Podcast
Mike and Jennifer, hosts of the RV Podcast

It’s Halloween week and despite COVID and social distancing which are still very much with us, most campgrounds will be full this weekend for end of season camping and Halloween fun.

Many places are urging that trick or treating be foregone this year, but costumes and decorated RVs will keep the spooky good times going.

And come Sunday, Nov. 1, don’t forget to fall back… to set your clock back an hour as Daylight Savings Time comes to an end.

RV Podcast #318: RV Questions and Monster Stories for the campfire! 1
RV News – The Michigan UP is getting snow! photo by Dan Spase via Upspash

The cold is coming. Some parts of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula have received over 19 inches of snow this month, the most they’ve had in October in many years.

chart of gasoline prices used in RV news storyNot surprisingly, Gasoline prices – and demand – has dropped significantly since the beginning of October, down from 8.8 million barrels per day to 8.2 million b/d, according to the AAA auto club. This latest demand measurement is the lowest since mid-June. While the drop isn’t out of the ordinary for this time of year, people tend to drive less in the fall, it is a staggering 14% less than last October. 

Gas prices for a gallon of regular-grade is now averaging $2.16

RV usage though is just the opposite. Informal surveys of state parks and campgrounds show much higher occupancy rates in October, compared to previous years.

And RV sales continue to be on fire. The RV Industry released its September 2020 survey of manufacturers showing that total RV shipments ended the month with 41,509 units, an increase of 31.2% from September last year. This is the fourth month in a row that wholesale shipments showed a year-over-year increase.

And then there is the matter of RV Rentals. RV rental company Outdoorsy reports it is already on pace to exceed last year’s November bookings. Initially, the company said RV rental demand was because of quarantine fatigue, where travelers were eager to spend more time outdoors, in a safe and socially distant way, after months cooped up inside. Now, the company says the new catalyst for bookings is coming from travelers in search of a safe way to visit family over the holidays.

Still, COVID has cast a dark shadow over us again as it appears the nation is experiencing a second wave. Infection rates and hospitalizations are showing dramatic increases as October comes to an end. There is just so much uncertainty.

This part of the RV Podcast is brought to you by Camping World – America’s #1 RV Dealer For a 10% discount on purchases over $99, use the discount code RVLIFESTYE10.

RV PODCAST NEWS OF THE WEEK

Rocky Mountains National Park and nearby towns evacuated because of roaring wildfire and dense smoke
Rocky Mountain National Park closed, and the neighboring city of Estes Park, CO was among many evacuated late last week as a huge fire roared across the area. As many as 6,000 acres an hour burned, sending up massive smoke clouds that caused the day sky to turn dark, as was captured in very eerie photographs by many of those escaping. More than 4 million acres have burned in Colorado this year, one of many places in the west affected by massive, out-of-control wildfires this camping season.

Colorado to officially open parts of its newest state park this Friday
Colorado's newest state park is scheduled to open this Friday. Called Fishers Peak State Park, the park is the state's 42nd. The park was previously a private ranch that was purchased for $25 million. The 19,200 acre park is near the city of Trinidad, and will open in stages. Campgrounds are planned for the site, but not expected to open until 2021 at the earliest.

Study examines which national parks report the most deaths
Ever wonder which national park is the most deadly? A law firm out west recently examined the 2,727 deaths in national parks between 2007 and 2018 and discovered only four parks had 100 or more deaths during that time period. The parks were Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon National Park and Natchez Trace Parkway in order. Also the majority of the deaths – 81 percent – were males. These parks are among the most visited in the U.S. When the data is crunched to examine the most deaths per visit, the number one “most deadly” park becomes North Cascades National Park in Washington state. The most common cause of death was drowning, followed by a vehicle accident. Falls and slips were also among the top causes.

Tourists get too close to herd of bison at Yellowstone National Park, causing animals to stampede
Tourists getting too close to the bison at Yellowstone National Park last week caused a stampede. About six people – maybe more – walked out toward the wild animals, causing them to grunt, stomp their feet, and clearly show their agitation. Then, when the people kept approaching, the animals went on a stampede, causing the ground to rumble. People fishing near the herd had to grab their stuff and run. The whole thing was captured on video and no one was hurt. But every year we see reports of tourists getting too close to these wild animals, and just this season two people were hurt after doing just that. It is recommended everyone stay at least 25 feet away from bison, and after reading this story we thought it might be a good time to show the Yellowstone Pledge here.

Snowbird Canadians may not be able to drive across the U.S. border, but they can still fly
We have reported here a bit about the U.S.-Canadian border being closed to non-essential travel because of COVID-19. This closure to RVers who travel from Canada to sunny U.S. states each winter has posed many questions about where to stay when the temperatures drop. Well, a story out last week showed that even though Canadians can not drive across the border, they can fly. Air travel from Canada to the U.S. is permitted, and quarantining may not even be required. In fact, during this entire pandemic, air travel between the two nations has been allowed, perhaps providing another winter option for our Canadian snowbird friends.

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  Use the coupon code rvlifestyle for an additional $75 off

RV PODCAST RV QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

QUESTION: We are thinking of getting a camper van. I was wondering what your average gas mileage is? We are kinda partial to the Ford brand, so we wondered what is the mileage you’re getting on your Transit? I will be looking into the sprinter as well, but I'm thinking the cost difference may persuade my choice – Donna

ANSWER: Our Ford Transit-based Wonder RTB from Leisure Travel Vans has averaged about 12.6 miles per gallon. The Transit uses gasoline

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.

RV PODCAST INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

This week, as we like to do from time to time, we catch up on your questions and devote our Interview of the Week segment to cleaning up some of the most-asked questions we get. These questions and answers from our regular “Ask Us Anything” live video show that we do every Sunday night at 7 PM Eastern Time on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel.

If you have never tuned in and joined us, check us out this Sunday.

Meanwhile, here’s a video entire show from which this week’s questions are drawn from:

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  – Monster Stories for the Campfire!

BY TOM & PATTI BURKETT

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

One of the best things about sitting around a campfire, to our way of thinking, is telling stories.  And at this time of year, ghost stories and other scary tales are the best!  Most of us can recount the tale of the severed hand, or the Windigo that haunts the North Woods.  As we travel around the country, one very enjoyable pastime is finding and collecting lore about local monsters, creatures, and unknown phenomena.  

In honor of Hallowe’en, here are a few of the best Campfire Stories we’ve encountered.

Southwestern Ohio is a lovely area, full of interesting things to see and do.  And if you happen to be camping near the Little Miami Scenic River, you’ll want to be careful at night.  Several times over the past fifty years local police have reported seeing a strange creature on the surrounding roadways.  Like many reptiles, it sits on the tarmac at night soaking up the warmth.

RV Podcast #318: RV Questions and Monster Stories for the campfire! 2
The Mothman Museum

Said Officer Mark Matthews, “It was about sixty pounds and four feet high.  It stood up on its two hind feet, turned and looked at me with a face that looked like a frog or lizard, then hoped down the embankment and into the Little Miami River.”  In the ensuing years. there have been several reported sightings of the Loveland Frogman.  It’s even spawned a bluegrass musical.

An example of the “fiercest, strangest, most frightening monster ever to set razor-sharp claws on Earth” was caught and killed (using dynamite, no less) by a group of locals near the town of Rhinelander, Wisconsin in 1893. Born from the ashes of cremated oxen and driven by memories of the abuse they suffered in life, this was a Hodag, one of the few remaining in the area after its preferred food, bulldogs, became scarce.  

A second example was caught alive in 1896 and put on display by Eugene Shepherd, who showed the creature at the Oneida County Fair.  For patrons safety, the hodag was drugged into a near stupor, but its occasional movements never failed to set skittish onlookers to flight. 

On July 25, 1977, ten-year-old Martin Lowe was attacked by two large birds while he was playing in his yard.  One of them, with a wingspan of at least ten feet, picked him up and carried him two houses down the street before his mom scared it into dropping him.  Several neighbors witnessed the event and swore to its accuracy.  The Lawndale Thunderbird was never seen again, but similar birds have been reported all across the USA. 

 The name comes, most likely, from a story told by the Passamaquoddy people of Maine.  In your travels, you may have collected a thunderstone, thought to be the egg of this monstrous flying beast.

RV Podcast #318: RV Questions and Monster Stories for the campfire! 3
The Hodag

Bigfoot, the best known cryptid in North America, has some cousins you might not know about.  When we were in New Mexico at the Gila Hot Springs campground, we were warned not to leave any food outside, and to beware of straying too far from the campsite after dark.  

There had been sightings, we were told, of the Mogollon Monster, an eight-foot tall, fantastically muscled ape man which robbed campers of their food and tore deer and bears limb from limb.  Occasional sightings, campsite destruction, hair samples, and strange nighttime noises all make it seem just possible that he’s out there, somewhere.

And speaking of nighttime noises, the eerie calls of the Shunka Warak’in can sometimes be heard along the Madison Valley in Montana.  The only known example of the creature was shot in 1886 by an early settler and mounted by a local taxidermist.  

Twenty years ago, under dubious circumstances, the mount disappeared while under study by biologists. It is now in the care of the grandson of the man who shot it.  It’s like a curious cross between a wolf and a hyena.  Watch out for your pets, as its name in the Ioway language translates as ‘carries off dogs.’

Whether it’s the Mothman of the Ohio River, the Jersey Devil of the Pine Barrens, the Pukwudgie of the Massachussetts woodlands, or Puerto Rico’s Chupacabra, weird things stalk the land.  And you’re no more safe in the water, be it in the rivers of Georgia where Altimaha-ha stalks its prey or Nebraska’s Walgren Lake, where the Alkali Lake Monster feeds on fishermen and cattle.  Oh yes, there are plenty of reasons to be afraid, very afraid, out here off the beaten path.

NOTE FROM MIKE:

At the end of the Burkett's report on the Podcast, I talked about some of the Bigfoot stories I have done. Here's the actual TV story I did when we went live from Foley Swamp. 

 

RV PODCAST CALENDAR OF EVENTS

 

Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at RVLifestyle.com. He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.

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