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The Uncertainty of RV Travel in 2021

| Updated Dec 2, 2020

What a year 2020 has been. We can’t wait till 2021 begins. But that said, there are no guarantees on what RV Travel in 2021 will be like.

It promises to still be challenging. Very challenging in certain places.

In fact, as we review all the growing travel restrictions, lockdowns and restrictions as we experience what is described as the Third Wave of COVID, uncertain seems to be the one word that best describes what will most characterize RV travel in 2021.

To listen to this episode of the RV Podcast, click the player below:

Take RV Travel in Pennsylvania for example

For now and in the indefinite future, its state parks are off-limits to out-of-staters, unless they meet some tough requirements. If you live in another state and visit a state park in Pennsylvania, you must show proof of a COVID-19 test, with negative results, that was taken within 72 hours of arriving in the commonwealth. If you can't prove you test negative,  you must quarantine 14 days on arrival in Pennsylvania. And camping in a state park or forest as part of the quarantine regimen is not allowed. Fines for violations can be as high as $300. Read more here from our friends at RVTravel.

New Mexico has similar restrictions

It is pretty much the same in New Mexico. No out of state residents can camp in any of the state parks until Dec. 31. Only people with a New Mexico driver’s license are allowed in the state’s parks According to the order, out of state visitors must do a two-week quarantine if they plan to travel within the state.

Our immediate plans for RV Travel in early 2021

So, let me tell you what we are doing: 

We're staying relatively close to home and not planning any long trips for most of December. What RV travel we will be doing for the next few weeks will be in the Great Lakes region, or, after Christmas,  down near our Florida condo, where we'll closely monitor local conditions and maintain social distancing.

Yes, we are going camping… just not far from home for a few weeks. We'll be avoiding any gatherings or groups and stick pretty much to ourselves.

Our Annual Winter Campout in January is on hold

Every winter, we gather with about 50 other RVers for Winter Campout at Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The dates for the 2021 gathering are January 8-12. But Michigan is a state with lots of COVID restrictions, including a liit of groups of over 10. Also, restaurants are closed. Usually, our group takes over local restaurants on Friday and Saturday nights.

We haven't ruled it completely out but, unless things drastically change, it looks like this gathering may not be the smartest thing for 2021

The Florida RV Supershow is still on

florida rv supershow banner

This is one of the biggest RV shows in the nation. We attend every year. As of now, it's still on, scheduled for Jan 13-17 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. But many manufacturers say they are skipping the show this year. Camping World is not going. Neither is Leisure Travel Vans.

Frankly, we're not sure if we will go. While the show is mostly outdoors, traipsing in and out of small RVs all day long seems unduly risky. Yes, most will be wearing masks. But even if they regulate how many can go inside an RV at any given time, you will still be exposed to a lot of air in a confined space that was breathed out by a lot of people.

We're holding the dates open. Maybe things will improve over the next two months. If so, we'll go. If not, we won't.

Being flexible is the key in the midst of the uncertainty involving RV travel in 2021.

Is the RV Industry “Essential?”

One worry many in the RV industry have has to do with government shutdowns of RV dealerships and campgrounds deemed as nonessential businesses by government regulators. That’s what happened in the spring.

With this latest surge, the industry is fighting hard to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

The RV Industry Association (RVIA) is pulling out the stops in attempting to convince both federal and state governments their operations are “essential” business.

The RVIA has sent letters to all 50 states’ governors and several federal agencies stating every sector of the RV industry, from manufacturing to dealerships, and service centers to RV parks and campgrounds should be allowed to stay open.

The group makes its case that RVs are critical resources for medical uses, including rolling clinics and personnel sleeping quarters. Likewise, service centers will keep these necessary rigs working, as well as helping families who need their rigs running “as a reasonable and socially distant way to spend quality time.”

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.


To listen to this episode of the RV Podcast, click the player below:

Man trying to take a picture at Great Smoky Mountains National Park loses footing and falls to his death
An Alabama man fell to his death at Chimney Tops Overlook at Great Smoky Mountains National Park last week while trying to take a picture. The man was with his family, and went off trail to try to take a better shot. While climbing down a steep dirt embankment he lost his footing and plummeted 50 feet below. He died from head trauma, officials said, and is the first person to die at this park while taking pictures.

Ioway Tribal National Park to offer camping and will be the second national park on tribal land
The Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska is creating the nation’s largest tribal national park on a forested bluff overlooking the Missouri River. The 444-acre park in Nebraska will have camping, hiking and presentations where the tribe tells the story of their people to visitors. Called the Loway Tribal National Park, the land will overlook a historic trading village and burial mounds. This national park will be the second national park on tribal land in the country. The Iowa Tribe once had about 12,000 acres on both sides of the Nebraska-Kansas border. The tribe lost most of this land in 1887.

Pandemic blamed for more hiking injuries
During the pandemic more and more people are venturing outdoors. We've seen an increase in RV sales, RV rentals, national park visitations, campground reservations and even trail use. The increase in hikers was the topic of a recent story we saw (click here) which highlighted how more people on the trails has resulted in more hiking injuries throughout the country. The story made me think of a podcast we did some time back with an expert hiker to discuss hiking safety. Whether you are a newbie or an experienced trail explorer, it is a good thing to review, so we have linked it here.

Rhode Island campground transforms into a drive thru holiday light show
A campground in Rhode Island is getting into the holiday cheer by hosting a drive thru light show. The Wawaloam Campground created a mile long light show synchronized to music that the public can drive through to spread the holiday cheer. The idea started a year ago, before COVID-19, but organizers said the event is perfect during a pandemic as visitors, who must purchase a ticket electronically to enter, stay in their car and drive through the woods for some holiday cheer. To see the light show click here.

Colorado to receive new campground at Carter Lake Reservoir by spring 2022
Great Outdoors Colorado gave a county in Colorado $475,000 to create a campground at Carter Lake Reservoir in Loveland. Called the Sky View Campground, each site will have electric hookups, picnic tables, and fire rings. Sky View Campground will also have sites for people with limited mobility and have group camping options. The campground will open next year or in spring of 2022. Great Outdoors Colorado receives a portion of that state's lottery income to help preserve and enhance the state's parks.

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  


To listen to this episode of the RV Podcast, click the player below:


What are the three most important things or tips you would give us knowing we are picking up a new RV from near Phoenix, AZ in a few weeks and driving across the country to home??? -Laura and Steve, Columbus, Ohio


Before we give you our three tips, let me first suggest you really plan your route. Weather can change on a time between Arizona and Ohio in the winter and

If you have to change routes or find a place to stay because of weather, you want to know your options. To that end, I recommend you get the RV Trip Wizard app and membership. You can find it at

It is simply THE BEST tool there is for planning RV trips.

Our top 3 tips for what to do when getting a new RV:

  1. Video the entire walkthrough that the dealer gives you when you take possession of the RV. One of you should video, the other should take notes. Don’t let the person giving you the walkthrough rush. Make sure you understand everything they show you.
  2. If it’s something mechanical…like putting out a slide, setting auto levelers, even simple thinks like turning the propane on or controlling the refrigerator, have them demonstrate and then both of you do it. Make sure you can reach the walkthrough person on the phone the next day.
  3. When you get to your first overnight stop, do as many things that you were shown in the walkthrough as you set up camp for the first time. Consult the notes and the video. As soon as possible, make checklists for setting up camp, turning on things, getting ready to leave camp. Make a page of questions and then call that walkthrough person the next day to go over them.

We want to invite people to be a part of our RV Lifestyle Group on Facebook.Just go to There are more than 45,000 RVers there and they love to help, no matter what kind of RV you have.

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


To listen to this episode of the RV Podcast, click the player below:

The Uncertainty of RV Travel in 2021 1

Billed as the “RV to Freedom: Learn to RV Summit,” The Escapees RV Club welcomes RVers, RV enthusiasts and RV hopefuls to a day of learning from one of the top sources for reliable, experienced RV education!

To be held Dec. 6, officials said this one-day program answers crucial questions about RVing, like overlooked maintenance and how to stay connected to the internet while traveling. Summit speakers will also discuss the key steps needed to make the transition to full-time RVing.

As such, it will serve as a kickoff for something much bigger that is called RVers Online University and is sponsored by the Escapees RV Club.

Our guest is Brandon Hatcher, one of the organizers of the event who will lead a seminar on Fulltime RVing.

The summit is free. More info can be found at

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

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT  – Mr. Imagination and Community Art across America

To listen to this episode of the RV Podcast, click the player below:

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


Gregory Warmack was born in a Chicago suburb in 1948.  A middle child in a family of nine, he helped with the meager family income by creating craft items from found and discarded objects and selling them at street fairs.  

He continued creating, making mostly jewelry and giving free art lessons to neighborhood children. In his early thirties, while making a sales call, he was shot during a mugging and lapsed into a coma.  He emerged after several weeks and reported having had a spiritual vision,   “. . . there was a bright tunnel that I went through that was brighter than the sun. [It was] very peaceful, almost as if I was traveling through history and looking at ancient civilizations.”  

Warmack changed his name to Mr. Imagination and re-focused his work back into the community.

We visited one of his community projects in Sanford, Florida, north of Orlando on one of our favorite roads, US Highway 17.

The Uncertainty of RV Travel in 2021 2
The Abp Imagination wall

Jeanine Taylor runs a folk art gallery here, and in 2007 she invited Warmack to be an artist in residence.  While here, he worked with the town’s residents to create Mr. Imagination’s Memory Wall.  

They began by coating the front of the historic Hotchkiss Building in Sanford’s downtown with cement.  Then residents brought their treasures-keys, photos, dog tags, old cell phones, Christmas tree ornaments and bits of bric-a-brac. 

 There’s a piece of the Berlin wall and a rosary, a shotgun shell and the skull of the duck it killed, seashells, fossils, a signed baseball, and the pink slip from someone’s first car.

While not unique to the United States, community art has a solid foothold in many places, allowing people to express their fondness for their hometowns as well as their frustration over unmet needs and unsolved problems.  

Take Lucas, Kansas for example.  This little plains town, home to the noted Garden of Eden, is slowly withering away.  The many artists who live here decided to make a bid for some tourists and constructed a public toilet with fabulous mosaic walls on a plaza right on the main street.  

“Yes,” we were told by one of the creators, “there’s a reason we chose this particular theme.  Living here, it’s easy to feel like this is how important we are in the grand scheme of things.”

The Uncertainty of RV Travel in 2021 3

You won’t miss the public art in Ajo, Arizona either.  

The brightly painted murals are found on nearly every street in town.  Once a location where Natives came to collect material for paints, it became a mining community until the mine was exhausted.  

Now slowly being reborn as a place where artists and retirees congregate, the residents are trying to reconcile the competing stories of the past – exploitative and historical – with a present that’s informed by economic struggle and the tensions of living in the thick of the border immigrant conflict. 

Detroit is a city that’s seen some hard times.  Just how one neighborhood feels about this is expressed in the middle of Calimera Park by the Edible Hut.  The hut is symbolic of the feeling shared by many that they and their community have been abandoned and are reduced to subsistence living.  

In contrast, the Hut’s rooftop garden grows produce for the use of anyone who needs it, and the interior is both a calming place to relax and a gathering space for neighborhood rallies and celebrations.

When her friend Joan died, Candy Chang found herself dwelling on death.  

Knowing Joan would not want her to do that, she decided to turn an abandoned house into an affirmation of life.  

Before I Die, she painted, with many, many blanks for others to fill in. 

She left a bucket of chalk, and the wall filled up.  Then someone painted another in a different part of town.  The original wall is long one, casualty of an urban renewal project, but thousands of new ones have sprung up across the world.  

You can find them on the project’s website, along with instructions for how to make your own.

These intensely personal expressions can be found across the country, but they’re unlikely to be mentioned in a guidebook.  You have to look twice, drive down that other street, and be alert for that thing that you notice out of the corner of your eye, out here off the beaten path.

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2020-12-02

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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