We have a fun episode in store for you this week as we welcome Heath Padgett to the podcast. Many of you know Heath and his wife Alyssa, the hosts of the RV Entrepreneur Website, YouTube Channel and Podcast. Heath and Alyssa are a young couple who have traveled all over North America as a couple but, about six months ago, were blessed with the birth of a baby girl… Ellie.
And now, they are RVing with an infant. Heath shares what that changes, compared to their previous traveling routines. And we talk about being an RV Entrepreneur and working remotely from the road.
Also, we have lots of RV News, Tips, comments questions and another fun off-the-beaten-path report from the Burketts.
But first my lifelong traveling companion and my bride…Jennifer.
Show Notes for Episode #272 Dec. 11, 2019 of The RV Podcast;
WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK
We are in Christmas mode here… hanging with family and friends, attending our grandkids Christmas recitals and concerts, getting the shopping done, the tree up and looking forward to the Big Day.
Speaking of which, since Christmas and New Years’s Day both occur this year on Wednesday – our normal podcast release day – we will be taking off the 25th and January 1st from producing the podcast. So our last episode of the year will be next Wednesday, Dec. 18. And our next episode after that will be January 8.
Also this week, we’re doing the finishing edits of our next 7 Day Adventure Guide ebook, which will cover Florida’s fabulous Gulf Coast.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, it should be released next week. In fact I hope we can announce its availability on our Sunday night “Ask Us Anything” live broadcast on YouTube. If you’ve never caught us in that live Q&A show, just go to YouTube.com/RVLifestyle and subscribe. When you click the little bell icon, you will then be notified when we go live or have a new video to see.
So the plan is to make it available after 7PM Sunday, to be officially announced on our YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. That way it will be able to help those snowbirds planning to head to Florida after the holidays. And just a heads up, our Seven Day Adventure Guide to the Gulf Coast will be followed in a few weeks with a Seven Day Adventure Guide to the Atlantic Coast… so we will soon have two guides out covering Florida. The Gulf Cast guide will be ready next week. So stay tuned!
We hope you are enjoying this podcast. If so, will you help us get the word out? The best way to do that is to share a link to the RV Podcast by email or social media to friends who would benefit from all the RV travel information and advice we put out every week? Thanks for helping us get the word out about the RV Podcast!
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RV LIFESTYLE NEWS OF THE WEEK
Invasive species pose real problems to the national parks
A report out last week said many of America’s national parks are under a “deep and immediate threat,” posed by non-native species, like rats, domesticated cats and feral pigs. Since non-native species have no natural predator, they can breed and reproduce quickly, causing problems to the ecosystem of national parks. Whenever I read reports like this, I always think of the problem with Burmese boa constrictors in the Everglades and Big Cypress National Preserve (see story here of our visit a while back) but apparently there are all sorts of various critters causing all sorts of problems.
Plans for New Year’s Day? Why not take a hike?
State parks throughout the country are planning First Day Hikes on New Year’s Day – which believe it or not is less than a month away. The free, guided hikes will be offered in parks in all 50 states, and are part of a program seeking to connect exercise and nature. First Day Hikes started 25 years ago in Massachusetts and has grown. The idea sounds like a wonderful way to kick off a new year.
Woman driving under the influence gets RV stuck in Taco Bell drive through
We’ve all most likely heard stories of someone having a craving for a particular type of fast food late at night. Well, a 56-year-woman in Washington REALLY must have wanted some Taco Bell when she drove her RV the wrong way into the fast food restaurant’s drive through, and then got stuck very late one night. Police arrived and charged her with driving under the influence.
Group files lawsuit to block e-bikes from national parks
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility along with three other conservation groups filed a lawsuit last week to block an August order allowing e-bikes in national parks, among other things. E-bikes, such as what Jennifer and I use (click here) are regular bicycles that provide motorized pedal assist when the biker is tired, going up hill, or just wants a little help. The lawsuit is concerned about the speed e-bike users could have while on bike trails and the impact that will have on others using those trails.
Canada’s British Columbia gets new computer program to manage camping reservations
Canada’s British Columbia is putting into place a new, online reservation system that sounds very interesting. If you call for a camping reservation and all of the spots are full, the system will allow you to get notified if something opens up and will show you nearby campgrounds that have openings. The system will also have options like buying firewood, or even ice, on line before you arrive. British Columbia has about 10,700 campsites, about 55 percent accept reservations.
This part of the podcast is brought to you by RadPower Bikes, a electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping
LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK
Before we get to the email questions, here’s a voice message left us by our friend Tom Burkett in regards to a story we reported in last week’s episode about an RV Toll Pass that is supposedly good on most of the nation’s toll roads. Tom has what he says is a much less expensive solution to the problem of all those toll roads requiring different passes fr their systems.
(Play Tom’s message..suggesting the North Carolina Quick Pass)
Email from Deborah:
Hello Mike, Jennifer and Bo. First want to say Bless you for putting out such great content on youtube. My husband found you during a rough patch of chemo about 2 years ago. He has done OK since completion. We first started watching because he could still “get out and about” by watching your videos. He loves Bo and looks for him every video. We are now in the past dreaming- now planning stage to get a rig. There will be 3 adult size folks (son is 17 and will remain living with us as adult.) The class B choices are few for sleeping 3 adults 5-7, 5-10, and 6-1. Hope to see you out on the road
Email from Rosemarie:
We can’t figure out a good solution to Sat TV and Internet. Is there a unit that does both? We have a new 2019 Holiday Rambler Admiral and are scared to death about choosing a not so great product only to have to reinstall another one.Do we really need one unit for internet and one for Sat TV?
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
Time now to welcome Heath Padgett to the interview of the week segment. Many of you know Heath and his wife Alyssa, the hosts of the RV Entrepreneur Website, YouTube Channel and Podcast. Heath and Alyssa are a young couple who have traveled all over North America as a couple but, about six months ago, were blessed with the birth of a baby girl… Ellie.
And now, they are RVing with an infant. Heath shares what that changes compared to their previous traveling routines and we talk about being an RV Entrepreneur and working remotely from the road.
We also have a video version of this Interview, showing lots of photos and images from Heath and Alyssa’s travels. You can see that on our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel or in the shownotes for this episode at RVLifestyle.com/272
Here’s a video of the interview, with photos:
Here’s a transcript of the interview, with links:
Mike Wendland: Well, joining us right now is Heath Padgett. Good day, Heath. How are you doing?
Heath Padgett: Good morning, Mike. Yeah, I’m doing great. Thanks for having me again.
Mike Wendland: We’re recording this bright and early for both of us. It turns out we’re both early risers, so this is good. Right?
Heath Padgett: I’m early riser as a default, even if I wasn’t before because now I have a six-month-old daughter, and so you have to just be up when she’s up.
Mike Wendland: Yeah. I’m going to jump in today. Do you have a morning routine? Do you get up regularly every morning? I’ve always found that’s the best way to get the day done.
Heath Padgett: I would say that, anybody probably who has went through the newborn process, any morning routine that I had before is thrown out the window. I guess there’s a few things that I’ve done every morning since we started traveling in 2014, which is I journal, I drink at least probably two cups of coffee, and I try to read. Although, this year I’ve gotten away from reading in the morning I’ll typically read non-fiction in the morning. Whether that’s a business book or just a book that challenges me in a way. That’s usually my ramp up morning routine, and then I get into it.
In an ideal world, there would be exercise in there, but I’m just being honest that it hasn’t looked like that. But at one point, I’d like to get more exercise in. Alyssa and I go on a walk every morning, so I guess that’s a light exercise but nothing crazy.
Mike Wendland: You’re moving and fortunately, you’re young. You’ll be chasing around little Ellie soon enough. It sounds like you read Hal Elrod’s book, the power of morning routine because that’s pretty much what I do as well. I’m surprised at how effective journaling is to get you started.
Heath Padgett: Yeah. I did read it a few years ago, after we started traveling. I know that it was the book … It’s called the five AM morning miracle or something like that or the Morning Miracle.
Mike Wendland: Yeah, the Morning Miracle.
Heath Padgett: It was good. I fortunately, started journaling before that. I think journaling is one of those things that people love to talk about doing. But I use a program called OneNote, and even though I’m a Mac user, it’s actually one of the few PC programs that I still use, just because I like the layout of it. It looks like a tabular notebook. But it’s cool because I just journal every morning, and I put the date. I do an automatic timestamp type of thing, and then I put a headline for that day, like I’m writing a blog post or something.
The fun part about that has been, once it was created as a habit, I can look back on our travels from three or four years ago and see, “What was I doing today?” And look at things that I’ve struggled with over time, or the highlights of the past year, then it’s all recorded. Otherwise, you just forget.
Mike Wendland: You do. You do, indeed. I’ve found the same basic thing. Well, hey! We’re getting off topic here.
Heath Padgett: Sorry.
Mike Wendland: But I know a lot of people love to talk about all this stuff, about how everybody gets going. We were going to talk about RVing with an infant, soon to be a toddler. Ellie is six-months-old now?
Heath Padgett: Correct.
Mike Wendland: That’s right. We’ll talk about traveling full-time in an RV at a young age in just a minute. Let’s offer up, how did Ellie change everything in the RV for you guys?
Heath Padgett: I guess for context, Alyssa and I traveled full-time for almost five years, and then when we got pregnant last year, we decided to not stay full-time on the road in an RV. We got an apartment outside of Dallas this past year.
A lot of families do make the transition to parenthood, staying in the RV, and that’s totally cool. My wife was really sick at the time. Every time I made things like Brussels sprouts or walked around the RV, she was just nauseous. She was like, “I want a bath. I want some room.” We were like, “Let’s go be near family, be in one place, and just like make this transition to parenthood in a little bit more room.”
That was what we did the past year. Although, by the time Ellie was four weeks old, we realized, “Hey, we’ve got this parent thing down. She’s four weeks old already.” We took our first road trip to Colorado. And then last month, we actually spent most of the month in a motor home over in Italy with her, and so that was our first foray into RVing with a baby. It was totally different and it was in the same size rig as you currently have now. It was 23-24 foot.
That’s where we spent most of our time in the past 18 months. We’re in rigs of that size. We had a Wonder for a little while. We were in New Zealand in a 24 foot camper van. And then in Italy, it was about the same size because you don’t have big rigs over there. It was definitely a different experience, as far as for us, it was kind of like, “Here is the beta, the test trip to see how it goes for us traveling with a baby, and see if it’s something that we want to continue doing moving forward.” Because we didn’t know.
Mike Wendland: A lot of people. A lot of young people are thinking about going out and traveling, young families. They say, “Oh, the kids are too young. The baby, I’ve got a baby.” Tell us how it’s done. What are the changes you have to make? What are the challenges you face? And how did you ultimately decide that this works and it works well?
Heath Padgett: I would say that there are a million other families who are way more qualified to talk about this than me because we’ve only done it for a month. But I think the encouraging thing that whenever Alyssa and I started traveling, we were newlyweds. A lot of people, whenever they looked at us and the fact that we were a little bit younger, and things like that, they basically said, “Get it out of your system before you have kids.” I understood where they’re coming from. I didn’t give it much thought. But then when we got pregnant I was like, “Wait, does that mean our travel is over? Is it done?” We didn’t believe that but it was just something that so many people said to us over the past few years.
And so, whenever we had Ellie, we were like, “Hey, she’s here, and we also still can work from anywhere. We still have a lot of places on our list that we want to go see.” Instead of just saying, “We’re going to buy another rig here in the States immediately,” we wanted to go travel internationally because that’s been a lot of the higher ups on our list of places we wanted to go visit. We wanted to go to Italy.
And so basically, we were like, “Let’s go do a test trip in an RV with her and just see how she does.” It’s one of those things that if she didn’t that if she didn’t respond well to being on the road, I don’t even know what that would’ve looked like. Maybe she cried the whole time. Maybe we just felt like she hated it. We didn’t want to make that decision if it wasn’t best for our family.
We went over there and actually, when we put it out there on social media, people were really supportive, versus before we felt like people were not supportive. I was scared to tell people we were traveling with our four to five month old baby because they would judge us or something. So many people reached out and were like, “I traveled with my kids during that time and it was an amazing time because you can strap them on your chest, you can go explore, you can do everything you need to do, and they’re just happy if they’re with you.” And obviously, they’re not going to remember any of it but it’s not necessarily about them. It’s about you’re continuing to live your life, and now you’re bringing another teammate along for the ride. That’s how we approached it.
When we got over there, we immediately picked up our motor home outside of Venice, and we drove to the Northern Italian Dolomites. The first stretch of the road, I was driving a manual motor home. A lot of them are manual in Italy, and I’ve never driven a manual really before in my life. I was learning how to drive a manual. And luckily, she slept the first stretch of our trip, to get into the first campeggio, which is what they call campgrounds in Italy.
Yeah, and then for the rest of the trip, it was really just a matter for her at that age, for us to navigate around her naps. We realized, “Hey, she’s going to wake up in the morning, she’ll hang out, she’ll poop, she’ll eat, and then at a certain point she’ll get tired, and that’s a good time for us to hit the Autostrada, the major highway in Italy, and go travel for a few hours, and then we’ll stop, and we’ll go to a castle, or something like that.”
It was really just a matter of timing it with her naps, and then when she’d wake up, and we’d be exploring, she loved it. There were days where we were out all day. But for us, the key takeaway from what you were asking was, I guess we realized that it was totally possible and doable that we could continue living our traveling lifestyle with a little one. There was just more things that we have to be intentional about. I think that was the key takeaway from us, after doing that for a month in Italy. And it could totally change but at this point, that’s where we’re at.
Mike Wendland: You’re back in the states. Ellie is now six-months-old, those nap times will move out and change a little bit. Tell us about your RV plans for 2020.
Heath Padgett: I was talking with you about this yesterday. We’re going the polar opposite way for most people. Most people talk about they buy a big rig and then they downsize. That’s what we did for a couple years. And then the other thing that we realized, being in a 24 foot rig with a baby was, we didn’t have anywhere to put her during the day. If we wanted her to roll around, and get tummy time, and things like that, you have to be there on the bed with her, and monitor, and keep her contained, so she doesn’t fall off the rear twin bed, or she’s in her car seat. Ideally, we could like put her in a little area outside with her bed that we brought. But you know, weather pending. It was cold.
We basically realized that we didn’t want to be in a much smaller rig, so in a couple of weeks, we’re picking up a 40 foot Winnebago Forza, it’s a 38 D diesel pusher. We weren’t planning on going that big. But a couple years Winnebago came to our RV entrepreneur summit, and so there’s a couple of reasons why we ended up going with this rig. One, I’m nerding out and excited about driving a diesel rig because I drove by Class A Gas over the mountains for many years, and that wasn’t really fun. So, I’ve always like the idea of having a diesel rig for a little period of time.
The other reason why, was because Winnebago, they came to our summit, our conference that we hosted a couple years ago for people who work on the road, and they interviewed people over the weekend. We were basically like, “Hey, we’ve probably got one of the biggest gatherings of people who are running a business or working remotely from their RV. Why don’t you take advantage of that interview people about what they would really want in a desk space and set up?” We booked out slots all over the weekend and basically, they did one-on-one chats with a lot of our attendees. Our attendees were really excited to give feedback, and their product managers were really excited to take some of these ideas back.
They went back up to Forest City, and a few months later we were at their rally, and they said, “Heath and Alyssa come over to our warehouse or whatever manufacturing area, and we’re going to show you some of the things that came out of that.” They basically had all these desk prototypes that all came from feedback from our attendees. Long story short, for the first time, the removed the bunk beds, and they created a floor plan specifically with a dual desk in this particular unit. It’s got not just a little area of a afterthought desk, but actually a desk space for both Alyssa and I. They put it in this 38 D.
While we may have not went this big just on our own accord because it had this really cool desk and it was a tie in for them coming to our conference, we were like, “Why not? It will be fun.” That’s the backstory, that you didn’t ask for, about why we’re getting this rig.
Mike Wendland: Let’s talk about that. Traveling with an infant, you do need more room. Many of the smaller RVs are limited in seat belts. If you travel with an infant, that infant needs to be in a car seat.
Heath Padgett: For sure.
Mike Wendland: Which means you have to have a seat belt, and then that means your third passenger doesn’t have one. There is a challenge, I can see that, for RV manufacturers to be aware of this, and to design even the smaller Class C’s and Class B’s, with the idea that you’re going to need to have some more.
Heath Padgett: If you’re listening Mike Elias, we need some leisure travel vans that have good rear facing seats.
Mike Wendland: Yeah. Yeah! I hope Mike listens to this. I don’t know if he listens to the podcast but yes Mike, you do. Although, we have a Unity and we love it but we really liked that Wonder that we tried out too, and we loved that Ford Chassis, so who knows.
Heath Padgett: Yeah.
Mike Wendland: But the other thing, and for those who are young people or people who travel with an infant, you are going to have a job or have a way to generate income, most of you, 99% as you’re out there. Having workspace is another big issue for so many RV manufacturers, so hats off to Winnebago for that. I look forward to seeing that new one of yours at your summit. You talked about the summit, that Winnebago came. You mentioned early on that you are one of many, many, many young families who travel with infants and very young children. Talk to us about this summit and who is that for? Is it just for young families? What happens at that summit? And give us an idea who’s going to be there?
Heath Padgett: You’re going to be there. Jennifer’s going to be there.
Mike Wendland: Yeah, we will. We’re excited about it, actually.
Heath Padgett: Basically, a few years ago … Well, I guess restart and give you the high level overview. Alyssa and I started traveling in 2014. That first year on the road, it was a lot of people who decided to go out and travel. Maybe not everybody’s story, but I’ve definitely heard this narrative a few times, which is, “I’ve saved up, I’m going to go travel the country for a year, and then I’ll maybe go back to my life.” But then you realize, “This is really fun.”
Mike Wendland: This is my life!
Heath Padgett: Yeah, exactly. If you have skills that you can translate into profit or things that people will pay for, then maybe you can continue making that your forever life kind of thing. And for us, we were learning video. My wife is a great writer, and we both went to school for business communications, and a mixture of that. After that first year of traveling, we had built up skills and video production. It took us nine months from learning no video, to getting our first paid clients, a half day shoot. It was $1,000, which for us was huge. We realized, we can make money outside of our typical hourly rate for what we were making in our first jobs out of college.
We started meeting other people who were trying to figure this out and make an income in life for themselves, and so I started the podcast, The RV Entrepreneur, which you’ve been a guest on, and basically, just tried to share stories of how other people were making this lifestyle work. We also started a Facebook group at the time, which you’ve done. We actually have a lot of similarities, Mike, even though we’ve had different career paths. There’s a Facebook group, The RV Entrepreneur and the podcast. And basically, over the past few years, this has been a place where we’ve tried to bring together a community of people to share resources and learning around how they’ve made this lifestyle work because there’s a million different paths. There’s no one path. It’s a crazy idea when you first think about it, and you tell your family, and you tell your friends. And so to be able to land in a place where it doesn’t seem as crazy, is really meaningful, where it seems like it’s a normal thing.
Now, most of our really good friends that we know have started some type of business that allows them to travel full-time. It’s totally normal but in most scenarios, people would think that’s nuts.
Mike Wendland: They do.
Heath Padgett: After doing the podcast for a year, we decided, “Let’s try to bring together this group of people in person.” I was like, “If we can get 30 people there, that’d be really cool.” We didn’t know what it would be. We didn’t really know the format. But we ended up having 120 people come. And then the next year, 250. Last year, 350. This will be our fourth year and we don’t want to grow too much bigger than last year because then it gets a bit more unmanageable, and my wife and I do a lot of other things outside of this conference.
But essentially, it’s become a business conference for people who happen to live in RVs. It’s about 60 to 70% of people who are already out on the road or part-timing in some capacity. Some people are still making the transition. Age does not matter whatsoever. We have people who are 20, people who are in their 70s. It’s basically, I think more of a mentality thing. Some people are just getting started in their career, and they’re trying to figure it out. Some people have been running a business in person for a while. We have a couple of folks who have physical businesses in different parts of the country, but they’re navigating and want to be around the community of entrepreneurs who are building other things because now they’re on the road with their family. And then we’ve got people who are maybe at the retirement age or a little bit later even, who are trying to figure out, “How can I now spend my time doing what I want to do? And if I can make a few bucks from it, cool.”
I think it’s about bringing together that community. Over the weekend, we have workshops, main stage talks, and it’s really all centered more like a business conference, than it is any type of rally. We have like legit business spaces and we don’t really have any RV specific workshops or things like that. The way we see it is, you can go to any rally and learn about solar or something like that, so we try to really hone in on the business side of things, if that makes sense.
Mike Wendland: Yeah, and it does. I like the fact that you have it for all sorts of different people in different stages of living this RV lifestyle. Whether you have a young family, and an infant, whether you’re just a couple, or whether you’re a solo traveler, or whether you are facing your retirement and wondering, “I don’t want to be bored. How can I find fun and adventure?” This is the thing where you gather together and you learned all sorts of stuff from others. I think probably the benefit of a gathering like this is you guys are camped, this is what drew us there, on a gorgeous state park, the largest Lake in Alabama, and it’s in March, 2020. The weather will be pretty good up there about then. We’ll put links on the show notes to this conference and all of that stuff.
Going right back to our topic about traveling with infants, I would gather as you work with this community, how many young families do you think are out there full-timing or almost full-timing in an RV, and earning their living on the road as they raise up these kids?
Heath Padgett: I would assume all of them who are traveling with their families are earning their income on the road. But it’s funny because our first couple years of hosting the summit, there were quite a few families who came but nobody really brought their kids. Some of the families who came, actually had parents in the area, or brought them in and they hung out with the kids, and so we just didn’t see kids around at all.
And then last year, it was an explosion of families with kids. Some of them were mega-families, families with six, seven, eight kids. And there were so many. And at one point, we were walking around the campground, and these kids had formed their own collective company, essentially, and they were picking up sticks around the campground and then reselling them to attendees.
Mike Wendland: For firewood. Young entrepreneurs.
Heath Padgett: Yeah. I’m sure this is illegal in the state park but I loved their drive here. This is amazing.
Long story short, we’ve become good friends with Jill Denkins and Dustin Denkins, who bought Fulltime Families last year, now they have partners Dustin and Nicole. I know that their membership has soared. I don’t know the numbers but it seems like there are a lot more families who are out on the road doing this, and making this lifestyle work. I give a shout out to full-time families because they’re doing a really good job of bringing communities together to be in person, and connect, so the kids can have people to play with.
I’m sure that would be my biggest concern if I was taking Ellie out on the road when she’s 10-years-old or something like. I want her to have friends, I want her to socialize. So many of these families, they travel together. They probably get as much, if not more time, being in their RV and going to these types of rallies and meetups, then maybe they would even in person, and they’re also getting really cool life experiences too.
It seems like there are a lot, maybe more than there have ever been because of technology and being able to see them on social media and things like that, but it seems like quite a bit.
Mike Wendland: Yep. One of the challenges that you will have to make with Ellie is, while she’s only six-months-old, six years comes very quickly, and she’s going to need schooling. Many people are doing what we call roads schooling, Fulltime Families can help with that, that’s one decision. Another question people would ask about traveling with an infant is doctor appointments, the pediatrician. How are you going to handle that on the road?
Heath Padgett: The first part, about road schooling is a problem for future Heath and Alyssa. We’re just deferring that.
Mike Wendland: Trust me, six years is going to come very quickly.
Heath Padgett: I know.
Mike Wendland: You’re going to say, “What happened? He was right.”
Heath Padgett: Yeah. It’s weird though because it’s one of those things where we know we want to give her a great education, but as far as the specifics around that, our lives have changed so dramatically in various times. This year we’re hitting the road with the sole goal of buying a piece of property in a campground in a particular place, which we don’t know where it’s going to be yet. It’s one of those things where if we end up-
Mike Wendland: You want to build a campground or buy one and make it-
Heath Padgett: 2020. We’re hitting the road with that sole purpose this year. That’s why we’re getting back on the road. That’s a whole other story, I guess. I guess I didn’t tell you that.
Mike Wendland: I knew this from watching one of your reports. But yeah, we could talk for two hours about all of this.
Heath Padgett: It depends where we land. Are the school systems are really good? Are we still having a great time traveling? Is she still enjoying it? If she’s into things like music lessons or dance, that we are in one place already. Maybe it makes sense to put her in a school. I’m totally open to what happens in our lives over the next few years. It’s not really a big concern for me. We’ll figure it out. She’ll be fine.
As far as the doctor’s appointments go, we’re still here and she’s past six months now, so she’s had a lot of her big checkups. After this, they get further and further in between. Whenever it’s time for like, I don’t know if it’s six months after this time at one year or whatever, we have a whole schedule at home. We can just come swing back through North Texas where our pediatrician is. And we’ve also got him on speed dial if we need him or anything like that.
I was more concerned about being in Italy, where I don’t speak the language, and hospitals are very different. That was more of a concern for me. Traveling around the US, there’s hospitals everywhere. People speak the language.
Mike Wendland: That’s what we found. But that’s one of the big questions, particularly people with kids as they travel, they worry about that and it’s good to adjust that because it’s not that hard to find care.
Heath Padgett: Sure.
Mike Wendland: What many RVers do, is like Jennifer and I, we’re home Thanksgiving through Christmas and a little bit in the new year. We schedule all of our annual appointments when we’re back at our Michigan home and we don’t have to worry about them on the road, and then we carry all those records. You’ll be doing that as you’re taking Ellie.
All right, we’ll give a shout out to all those people. Tell everybody, Heath, how they can follow you and Alyssa. And Alyssa I know would be with us this morning, but she’s got a young six month old baby.
Heath Padgett: She did want to be on. When we had this originally scheduled at noon, she was all in and we rescheduled to 8:00 AM and she was like, “I’m not going to make it.”
Mike Wendland: Yeah, I don’t blame her. It’s early. What’s the best way for people to follow you guys? I know you’ve got so many irons in the fire but what’s the single best way that they can connect with all the things you do?
Mike Wendland: Last question is speak to those who are like you, young, starting off with a family, want to see the world but are still a little … One foot is still like, “Oh, I got to stay in a traditional nine to five and security. Talk about that.
Heath Padgett: Yeah, I would say, obviously, you need to take care of your family, first and foremost. Be a responsible adult and things like that. But I think for the way I see it, is part of my responsibility is doing my best for us to live a life that makes us excited, and happy, and to be that example for Ellie, and not make decisions based on fear.
I would say that if you’re making a decision because you have to make money, then you obviously need to provide for your family first and foremost. I’m not trying to promote, throw caution to the wind, especially now that you have a kid or something like that. But I think that, for her to be able to see us out traveling, and going on hikes, and doing the things that make us really excited and happy, I think is going to be really good for her, versus me making 50 to $100,000 more if I was in a traditional job. To me, that’s an easy decision.
Mike Wendland: Well, Heath Padgett, give our best to Alyssa. Jennifer and I look forward to being with you. We’ll be at the summit and we’ll be addressing people who are wondering how they do this, and talking about technology, and working from the road, and finding fun and freedom out there. That’s the one thing that no matter what age, the RV still offers everybody, is fun, freedom, adventure, and community. And I’m glad to be part of your community, Heath.
Heath Padgett: Thanks, Mike.
Heath mentioned the RV Entrepreneur Summit ,coming up next March 19-22, 2020 at Lake Guntersville State Park in Alabama. Jennifer and I are excited to announce that we will be main stage speakers at the event, which is aimed at all those who want to work or earn a living on the road, in an RV, through remote of location independent work/ We’ll share our story and you’ll also meet many other RV entrepreneurs at the awesome event to see invite you to check it out and consider joining us at the RV Summit. We’ll put a link to it in the shownotes at https://rvlifestyle.com/272.
Just a heads up and programming note… next week on the podcast, we’ll be interviewing Marc and Trish of the hugely popular Keep Your Daydream YouTube Channel. Among a host of topics, we’ll be talking to them about RV Living with Teenagers. You will really enjoy that interview, coming next week.
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
OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT
By Tom and Patti Burkett
Bonne Terre is a mining town, and probably best known for the mine tour which takes visitors on boats along an underground river to see historic structures from the mine and some unusual subterranean sights. It’s also a top destination for cave divers, with support systems, organized tours, and safety experts to promote a one-of-a-kind SCUBA experience. The mine is definitely worth a stop, but it was closed on the day we drove through. Anxious for a break from the road, we spied a car lot on which several elephants and a couple of bulls were interspersed with the vehicles. What more excuse does a person need?
We pulled onto the lot in the middle of a crisp and sunny fall afternoon and were greeted by Dennis, who seemed undismayed when we told him we’d stopped to see the animals. “Everybody does,” he told us. “When you’re through looking around out here there’s lots more to see inside.” It seems the collection started when a local businessman was retiring and couldn’t figure out what to do with the giant elephant on a pole outside his shop. Local businessman and entrepreneur Kevin Blackwell agreed to purchase the elephant and so, as we’re told, the story began.
Regardless of its origin, the collection is impressive. There’s the pink elephant with glasses, the gray elephant with pink spots, the maharajah’s elephant, and more. And there are bulls. Big, brawny bulls with signs on their sides. Inside the showroom are more animals, including a giant bass, but those aren’t the showstoppers. You can take a long hard look at the Trans Am from Smokey & the Bandit, signed on the hood by Burt Reynolds. Or you could think about what it might feel like to throw your leg across Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Harley-Davison.
There’s a shotgun owned by John Wayne. And costumes from Sharon Stone and Will Smith. Commander Data’s life mask is here, from Star Trek, as is T. G. Sheppard’s Mercedes convertible. Signed fight club gloves. Signed basketballs and baseballs. An impressive collection of classic model cars. Tickets, and jerseys, and posters, and shoes. You could easily while away an hour wandering through the things on display, and the folks here were quite friendly, despite the fact we clearly weren’t looking to buy a car.
US highway 67 winds its way from Iowa to the border with Mexico, then continues as a Mexican federal highway. It’s one of the long roads in the USA, stretching more than 1500 miles through Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas. In Arkansas, part of it is called the Rock & Roll Highway, and we once visited Walnut Creek to see the Beatles memorial and the giant Fender guitar. There’s much more to see along this road, and we’re planning to see it all, eventually. We’ll look for you out here, off the beaten path.
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