In honor of this being the 300th episode of the RV Podcast, we will share our Top 10 Rules for RV Couples who want to get along in the confined space of an RV. The advice is timeless, especially with so many newcomers coming to the RV world.
We also have lots of important RV news this week, plus your RV questions, RV tips, and a fun off the beaten path report from the Burketts.
Show Notes for Episode #300 June 24, 2020 of The RV Podcast:
WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER WENDLAND ARE UP TO THIS WEEK
We are back in Michigan! We got back late Friday, just in time for Father’s Day weekend. After six months on the road, I confess it’s nice to be back in our official state of domicile for a few days!
On Wednesday, we are scheduled to pick up our brand new RV – a 2021 Leisure Trave Vans Wonder. We'll be videoing and blogging about the big day and our first camping trips. No matter how many times we get a new RV, we can hardly sleep we get so excited.
So say tuned. We can't wait to get the keys!
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RV NEWS OF THE WEEK
Senate passes bill that will send billions to national parks for much-needed maintenance, improvements
Last week the U.S. Senate passed the “Great American Outdoors Act,” a bill described as the most far-reaching conservation law in 40 years, that is expected to send millions of dollars from offshore oil drilling to pay for campgrounds, city parks, trails and more in all 50 states. The bill would provide $9.5 billion over five years to repair roads, restrooms, trails and campgrounds at the national parks. And it would guarantee $900 million a year to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The bill now heads to the House, where quick passage is expected, President Donald Trump has said he will sign it into law. We will be following this as it looks like great news for America's national parks.
Borders between U.S., Canada and Mexico to remain closed for another month to nonessential travel – at least
Campers hoping to head to Canada or Mexico anytime soon learned last week that they will have to wait another month after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security extended the border closure to July 21 because of COVID-19. Borders are closed to nonessential travel, which is what camping is considered, and have been so for months. The order was supposed to lift in June but was extended last week as each nation seeks to limit the spread of the virus. We wrote about how seriously Canadians are taking this last week (click here) and urge you to follow the law, knowing that one day borders will open again. Just yesterday Fellow Traveler Rick Eles sent us a link to a big story on the Canadian Television network explaining how angry Canadians, spotting license pastes from the US at Canadian national parks like Banff, were calling in the Mounties! And they’ve been writing tickets – at least seven last week – that carry a $1,200 fine.
Two women face jail time, fines and ban from Yellowstone for going off-trail and damaging thermal zone
Two women who went off trail and damaged the delicate thermal zone at Yellowstone National Park were sentenced last week to jail time, ordered to pay fines, and banned from re-entering the park for two years. The women, from Philadelphia, damaged orange bacteria mats at Opal Pool in the Midway Geyser Basin when they illegally decided to walk off-trail. These mats are made of heat-loving bacteria that give the thermal beds their color and are a primary attraction to the area. To see some pictures of the beauty of Yellowstone, check out this oldie but goodie post we did here.
Nine states still report closed or restricted campgrounds, the rest are now open
State campgrounds opened in Michigan Monday (June 22) and New Jersey now permits camping at 12 of its state parks or forests as well. But as we've been telling you, check what the rules are in your destination before leaving. Some places permit tents, some do not. Some allow camping only for state residents, some are open to all. Some require reservations, some prohibit camping with friends and limit the number of people at a site and require those people all be in the same household. It all is very confusing. Campendium reported as we prepared this report that at last count only 9 state campground systems are closed or open to state residents only. And slowly, that number that continues to drop. If you are heading out, check ahead by clicking here.
Camping remains a low-risk activity, just like going to a beach,
As more of us are camping, and deciding whether to swim at a beach, hike a trail, or dine at a restaurant amid COVID-19, we thought it might be a good time to share a story that came out last weekend in the Washington Post that quoted a number of experts about outdoor activities. The story, as others we have seen, pointed out that camping remains a VERY low-risk activity as the virus does not survive for long outside, and when camping in your RV, you are living in your own “little house on wheels” with your own family. The story also reviewed the risk of swimming in a lake or ocean (very low), using a public restroom (some risk), eating at a restaurant (even more risk), and more.
LISTENER RV QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK
QUESTION: From Anne and Mark – We've followed you for a few years now and really enjoy the information and forum you provide.
Wanted to say that we hope your presentations at Lakeside Chautauqua happen as we've reserved a site there so we can attend and hope to meet you.
We're currently at Yellowstone (Anne's first time!) and have enjoyed using your seven-day adventure guide. We've had an amazing time. Planning to hike your favorite hike tomorrow!
Anne and Mark
ANSWER: No big live entertainment events at Hoover auditorium this summer. Most of the lectures will be online. There are other restrictions. The pool is by reservations only and for 2-hour limits. I’d say the situation is fluid as the staff tries to evaluate. We’re doubtful we will be there the week of Aug. 3-6, as scheduled, and doing a Zoom meeting is just not the same as interacting live, in person. So unless something dramatically changes soon, I don’t see us going there this summer. We’ll let you know if that changes.
QUESTION: From Tim – We went looking at class C RVs , we’re like two years out, looking at 25-30’ , I asked the salesman about boondocking, he said most people with class C camp at campsites not boondock, so is it possible or do any of you boondock with a class C ? We watch a lot of YouTube of people camping in BLM and such, I’m just wondering if that’s too big?? – From Tim
ANSWER – Not at all, especially with a 25 footer. The 30 footer may present more of a challenge in really remote spots but lots and lots of Class C RVers boondock. Tim asked this question on our RV Lifestyle Facebook Group and got lots of suggestions. Donna noted “Most Boondocking places give you a good description of how the roads are getting to their spot. Read them and use common sense” Jim was very blunt, saying “Sales person is an idiot …. guessing he has never been in a camper.” Any noted “The 30-33’ class c’s are a little scary off road because their back end is big and long and hits the ground if your rear axle rolls into a low spot.” And Ron very accurately suggests “take a look at RV Lifestyle, hosted by Mike Wendland and his wife. They have a C, Leisure a Time Travel, and boondock with regularity.” Indeed we do.
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 INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK
The Top 10 RV Rules for Couples who want to get along
Mike Wendland: On a recent trip, Jennifer and I were doing some stuff and well, I forgot we were in a motor home until she said.
Jennifer: I need a little bit of space with you not in it.
Mike Wendland: I withdrew immediately. But the incident got me thinking, see there's really not a whole lot of room in there so to survive and enjoy the adventure, we've come up with our top 10 rules for getting along in a motor home.
Jennifer: Rule number one, if you have problems getting along at home, don't expect it to be easier in a motor home. Two people can share the same space, but the most important rule is mutual respect and don't try to do two different things in the same space.
Mike Wendland: Rule number two, don't over pack. You really don't need to have any more than say a three day supply of food or clothes. You can do laundry on the road and you can buy food locally, where it's the freshest.
Jennifer: Rule number three, everything has a place and a place for everything. Agree beforehand where you're going to store things. When done using, return them to that place and nowhere else.
Mike Wendland: Rule number four, if you travel with pets, assign them a space too. Dogs and cats love to know where they're supposed to be. Assign them their spot in the motor home and train them to sleep there. Not in front of the bathroom door, where you'll trip on them in the middle of the night.
Jennifer: Rule number five, as much as possible plan ahead those meals. Grill outside and if you're dirty a dish or glass, clean it. Put it away right away after eating.
Mike Wendland: Don't over drive. Going any more than 350, 400 miles in a day, it's going to tire you out. Remember you're motor homing because it's fun. Driving too far and too long makes everybody cranky.
Jennifer: Rule number seven, stay fit. Exercise, don't pack on those extra pounds. Take long walks, bring a bike, find and visit health clubs along way. Too much sitting, like too much driving isn't good for anyone.
Mike Wendland: Rule number eight, explore. Use Google or the internet or your GPS to find interesting spots in the towns and the places that you're passing. Visit a museum. Learn the location's history. Try to eat at a locally owned restaurant instead of fast food places. Don't be in such a hurry all the time.
Jennifer: Rule number nine, be careful buying souvenirs. Your motor home only has so much space. Ship the must have things home instead of jamming every available storage spot with things that aren't essential for being on the road.
Mike Wendland: Rule number 10, this is the big one, when you're wrong, admit it. Conflict is inevitable. Jen, I'm sorry I invaded your space back there.
Jennifer: Don't hesitate to forgive. That's okay. You're forgiven.
Mike Wendland: Well, we hope this helps.
Here's a video version of the interview from our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube:
This segment of the RV Podcast is brought to you by SunshinestateRVs.com, where every new motorhome is delivered to the customer free, anywhere in the country
OFF THE BEATEN PATH RV REPORT
By Tom & Patti Burkett
Imagine a warehouse, full of barrels aging for several years to produce a rare and delicious delicacy. Bourbon, you might think, or wine, or maybe rum. But no, here the barrels are full of crushed peppers and are on their way to becoming Tabasco sauce. And if you look closely at the label, you’ll see it says McIlhenny Company, Avery Island, Louisiana. So they grow peppers on an island? Well, yes and no. The island is the highest point on the Gulf coast, rising 163 feet above sea level. It has such remarkable elevation because it sits on a salt dome, and it’s surrounded by swamps and marshes, so is geographically and culturally isolated. That isolation, and the presence of salt, help explain how it came to be a mecca for all things spicy.
Originally called Petite Anse Island (little cove in French), it can be accessed from Vermillion Bay by boat. Anyone who’s a fan of mystery stories may well have read the Dave Robicheaux books, set on Bayou Teche in Iberia Parish, Louisiana, a slow-moving stream that is rich in Southern lore and tradition. The oral history of the Chitimacha nation tells of a great snake that once threatened the People. The tribe’s bravest warriors did battle with the snake, which was miles long. In its death throes, it thrashed out the shape of the bayou. Geologists tell us it was one of the early courses of the Mississippi River. The bayou itself has an important role in the story we’re telling.
Salt springs here have always attracted a variety of animals, and Native Americans began making regular visits nearly five thousand years ago to boil down the island’s briny spring water and extract salt, which they traded far and wide. It’s been found in Texas and
Ohio excavations, among others. The natives also hunted such tasty treats as mastodon, dire wolf, and giant sloth among the swamps and hammocks. There’s no written record of whether these favorite barbecue items were enjoyed with a piquant sauce, but they were remarkably popular, as the bones of the animals have also been found over a wide area of the Eastern USA. Animals figure prominently in island history, as we’ll see in a bit.
Petite Anse was first developed as a sugar plantation by the Marsh family. So these were the Marsh swamps. Daniel Avery married the Marshs’ daughter and eventually bought the property from them. Sometime later it was renamed Avery Island. The salt mine, pure rock salt, was first mined to provide the mineral to the Confederacy during the Civil War. During the war, the mine was protected by southern troops. When their commander took them farther up the bayou on a raid, Union soldiers advanced from the Gulf and destroyed the mine’s equipment and stockpiled salt, and captured more than a ton of gunpowder. The mine went back into service after the war, and in 1980 was flooded when an oil drilling rig punctured the cavern and emptied millions of gallons of brackish water from the Gulf into what was once a small freshwater lake. Visitors can see historic salt mining artifacts on the Jungle Gardens tour.
Before the war, Edmund McIlhenny married an Avery daughter and joined the family, bringing a number of changes to the island. Most of them began to bear fruit after the war ended when he received a patent for his pepper processing system and built a small factory to produce the sauce that was first sold in New Orleans restaurants in 1868. In 1895 he created a sanctuary for rapidly disappearing snowy egrets, and a few years later helped to introduce the widely despised nutria to Louisiana waters. And wait, you say, what about Tabasco sauce? Well, those are stories for another episode, which you can hear from us next week, or first-person if you choose to join us out here off the beaten path.
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