This week on the RV Podcast we ask and answer the question: When are you TOO Old for the RV Lifestyle? And rather than beat around the bush, let’s answer that question right now with just five words:
You are NEVER Too Old!
This week, we will hear the encouraging answers from lots of RVers on that question plus a very special interview with one of our favorite people, soon-to-be-90-years-old Loren Phillis, who travels cross-country in his meticulously maintained quarter-century-old RV.
Loren shares his experience with solo traveling as a senior and is sure to inspire and motivate you to get out there and enjoy the RV Lifestyle as long as you can.
Plus we have lots of RV News this week, an update on the still closed US/Canadian/Mexican border, and a fascinating off the beaten path RV report from our friends, Patti & Tom Burkett.
But first, my lifelong traveling companion and my bride… Jennifer.
You can listen to the podcast in the player below. And scroll down this page for shownotes and a transcript of the interview, plus links and resources about all the things we talk about.
WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK
We’ve been on the road for the past week, finishing up our fall color tour with a visit to Southwestern Michigan and the beautiful Lake Michigan Shoreline.
We stayed at the Holland State Park last week and had an awesome time, hiking and also visiting a nearby apple orchard.
We brought the apples back to the campsite and even made some caramel apples.
And we did it all being carefully watched and videotaped by a six-person crew who used two cameras and a drone to document our camping experience there for a future story being done about us.
We promised not to reveal by who and where it will be shown until it's ready, but we do promise to tell you as soon as it premieres. Meantime, though, we had a lot of fun. The crew was great to work with.
I will say they had us smiling for almost every shot. It was a lot of work to always be smiling! And we got a new sensitivity for what it’s like being on the other end of the camera, being the interviewees instead of the interviewers.
Bo was with us and he had a ball. The crew loved Bo, especially when he got loose at the apple orchard and went running u and down the orchard, eating as many apples as he could find.
And after the trip to Holland, we headed to the Michigan Indiana border for a weekend camping trip with our son Jeff and his wife, Aimee, and our grandkids Jax and Joie and Aimee’s mom, sister, and brother in law and their kids.
We had five kids and three generations of family fun… plus three dogs. And although the weather turned pretty chilly, there was lots of fun and big, war campgrounds.
In fact, the weather has definitely changed. Peak color has passed and those falling leaves will soon be followed by falling snow. For a lot of people in the north and Upper Peninsula, the 2021 camping season has pretty much come to an end.
Maybe one more weekend but once Halloween is past, the majority of campgrounds will be closed.
This part of the RV Podcast is brought to you by Camping World – America’s #1 RV Dealer
RV PODCAST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Rangers seek public's help finding vandals who destroyed eight iconic saguaros at Arizona's Saguaro National Park
Rangers at Saguaro National Park are searching for vandals who slashed eight iconic saguaros earlier this month. The cactuses were between one and 10 feet tall and were either slashed open or cut down along the Scenic Trail. The saguaro cactus grow very slowly, with one ranger saying a 10 foot cactus could easily be 100 years old. If you were there in October and may have seen something, call the park service’s Investigative Services Branch tipline at 1-888-653-0009. Again, that tipline is 1-888-653-0009
Campfire hops outside firepit, burns three acres in Wyoming after campers went inside trailer to eat
Some campers in Wyoming recently received a frightening reminder of the importance of not leaving a campfire unattended. The campers were at Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area and had made a fire in their designated fire pit. After their meal was cooked, they went inside their trailer to eat and did not make sure the fire was completely out. Apparently, a strong wind blew and their fire hopped outside of the designated pit and on to the grass while they were inside. Another visitor saw the blaze, alerted the campers and called the fire department, which quickly arrived. About three acres were destroyed before the fire was out, and the camper was completely destroyed. We share this story because it is a good reminder to us all to never, ever, leave a fire unattended – even for just a few minutes.
Bear takes California's family's food while family watches just feet away from tent
A family camping at California's Mammoth Lakes area in the Sierra Nevada Mountains last week were in their tent when they heard a weird noise. Just a few feet away a large bear was tearing through their cooler, eating their food. The family had just arrived at the campground, was taking things out of their vehicle and had just finished setting up the tent. The bear left and came back to their cooler three times, hauling off all their “good” stuff. Thankfully no one was hurt. It is a good reminder, however, of the importance of practicing bear safety. Click here to see a story we did previously on how to camp safely in bear country.
US border with Canada and Mexico remains closed
The US Border to Canada and Mexico will remain closed to RVers and nonessential travel at least another month, due to concerns over COVID-19, At least until Nov. 21. Some experts don’t see it reopening until spring, at the earliest. The borders shut down in mid-March and although essential business travel is allowed, RV travel is not. The closing has disrupted the winter travel plans for thousands of Canadian snowbirds, who usually winter in Florida, Arizona and Texas
New Mexico state parks extend ban on non-state residents through mid-November
Out-of-towners hoping to camp in a New Mexico state park will have to wait a little longer. The New Mexico State Park division is keeping state parks and state campgrounds off limits to those who do not live in the state through Nov. 13. Previously the ban on out-of-state residents was to end in mid-October. Anyone who had a reservation and does not live in the state will get a refund. New Mexico state campgrounds have been among the nation's strictest in battling COVID-19.
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RV PODCAST QUESTION OF THE WEEK –
A reader asks: Are We Too Old for the RV Lifestyle?
This question comes from Diane via our RV Lifestyle Facebook Group:
QUESTION: “Hubby and I are 64/62 and we were thinking we want to get an RV to start doing some traveling. But, we’re wondering if we’re too old to do it!
We’ve recently started making day trips with our dogs. It’s exhausting – lol! By the time we pack for the day, drive 2-3 hours, hike with the dogs, and then drive back, we need a nap!
How do people our age do it? Did we miss the window to travel due to our age?”
ANSWER: The answer to this is an unequivocal NO!
Diane’s question brought a huge response from members of our RV Lifestyle Facebook Group. More than 400 in just the first day! And the answers are awesome:
Jerry: We're 73 & 70 love it. Take longer trips with some do-nothing days. Take a drive, then a nap.
Henrik: My dear, I'm 60, my wife 65.. we are currently prepping our house to go on the market in the spring.. plan is to get a 30′ TT and get out! Never too old! If your body can tolerate the adventures, I say go for it! I can not imagine starting our retirement doing this.. it's our dream. And it will come true! Good luck and hope to bump into you and some of the great people in this group next year!
Larry: Diane Alverez your only too old if you think you are. I am 63 tomorrow and will be taking off in my MH in March with a friend who is turning 62.
Lindsay: Your not. Do it do it now. So many older ppl wait till the last minute and can’t. Do it while you can enjoy.
Amy: I'm 64 and a widow. I'm doing it!
Carol: We are 69 wife, 65 husband. Husband and wife good health …feel our age… hubby still works own business retires in July. I have a very bad back and use a walker or electric trike. I wanted this lifestyle but hubby thought I was nuts. We have never camped out, know no one who did this. Reluctantly he agreed and we bought a very nice new Class C. From day 1 to now, 5 yrs later, we love it. We still stay 1-2 hrs from home until retirement, then we will do our long trips and we can’t wait. We are not athletic, adventurist or very social. We do as we please, always meet new people and there are weekends I don’t leave our now Class A. Do it ….
Patricia: We are 73 and just bought a 25ft class c. Use to have a 40 ft diesel pusher for twenty years. We got rid of it a year and a half ago. Missed the freedom to travel. So bought something smaller.
Ann: I'm 68 & my husband is 73. We bought a used motorhome 4 years ago & have been heading South for 3 months in the winter. We do not pull a car. We have ebikes. We previously stayed in about 20 different places, shopping or doing laundry between campgrounds. We stay mostly at state, county, & municipal campgrounds with a few “ Boondockers Welcome” spots thrown in. This year we only have reservations at 7 campgrounds. Hard to get reservations, even 11 months in advance, when you have a budget. We have enjoyed it immensely! I know there will come a time when we may not be able to do it. Enjoy it while you can.
Vicky: Are you kidding me? I didn’t even start full-timing until I hit 62! 2 cross country trips in my class A motorhome towing my car behind. My only travel companions were 2 Dobermans and a cattle dog. I’m 72 now, down to 2 dogs and just completed 3400 mile trip to Maine, again, towing my car behind my motorhome, just me and my dogs. After this last east coast trip, I’m pretty much going to spend 5 months in the winter in Vegas, 5 months on the coast of Oregon and or Washington in the summer, and 2 months down in San Diego area visiting my family. I still have a few good years left in me to keep those wheels rolling!
Charis: My parents are both 80. They don’t full time but we (my siblings and I) can never keep up with them. Every time we talk they seem to be in a different location and/or state. We think it’s great, it has definitely helped keep them young. I only ask.. they let me know what direction they’re heading in so I have a general sense of where they are in case I need to go get them for whatever reason (which has never happened).
Debra: 64 & 65? Too old? Please! I’m 63 and I’m having more fun in my life than EVER! I pace myself though. I don’t drive 12 hr days like I used to. I take 2-3 days to go where I used to go in one day. And I take care of myself. Good food and exercise help keep my energy level up. AND I make checklists for prepping to go, setting up, and breaking down. Go for it!
Cary: But let me say, 64 & 62 are YOUNG!! I’ll be 77 in another month, and although it’s not as easy as it once was, I’m still enjoying the RV life and plan to continue for many years to come.
Bev: I’m over 80 years old and a Solo RV traveler. My little dog goes everywhere with me. I check in with my kids, when on the road, every night so they know where I am. Keeps me young and active
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RV PODCAST INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK –
When are you Too Old for the RV Lifestyle? NEVER!
We're going to continue our conversation now about how old is too old tp enjoy the RV lifestyle by hearing from a friend of ours who epitomizes the joy or RV travel even in old age. He's been featured before on our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel and as this subject came up this week we thought it would be fun to check in with him since the last time we talked.
His name is Loren Phillips and he will be 90 years old on his next birthday.
We also made a video version of the interview you are about to hear on the RV Podcast and we'll post that in the shownotes so you can see just how strong and vibrant Loren is.
I think you will find this interview very inspiring!
Here is a video version of the RV Podcast of the Week Interview with Loren:
Here is a transcript o the interview for those who prefer to read it:
Mike Wendland: Well, we are greatly honored to have Loren Phillips joining us live right now. Loren, how are you? Great to be seeing you again.
Loren Phillips: I'm terrific, thanks.
Mike Wendland: I did, in our question of the week, we went into some length about that post in our Facebook group about this couple in their early to mid-sixties, wondering if they were too old to RV and I was going through it, I was taking the notes for what we were going to share and then I came way at the end to Loren Phillips. I said, “I know that guy.” And you've got the you are never too old t-shirt on.
Loren Phillips: That's right.
Mike Wendland: Which is awesome. And that was Loren's saying, when we interviewed you about two years.
Loren Phillips: Up in Algonquin Park in Canada.
Mike Wendland: Yep. We were up in Canada and lots of people saw that video, we'll actually embed that video into this. But this is an important question that I think that no one can answer it better. You were a 77 working on 78, I think, or I'm sorry, 87 working on 88 when we talked to two years ago. That would put you now about 89 going on 90, right?
Loren Phillips: 89 plus, that's correct.
Mike Wendland: And tell us about your activity. You were very active back then. How is your traveling now? Are you still traveling? Give us a quick recap of where you've been, what you have planned and how often you are still out there RVing?
Loren Phillips: Well, I sorry to say this summer with COVID, it's been a problem. I haven't been anywhere this summer, but if it wasn't for COVID, that would be a different story. I just kind of, at my age of 89, I decided I ought to just kind of stay put. However, last year I went to Colorado for, I took a week going out and a week coming back and met my daughter there, who was there on for their home office for her business.
And we did a two week loop through Colorado in the RV and just, those that might be wondering, we have a 1994 Dodge, a 190V that's got 337,000 miles on it. And it looks like a new one in the showroom because I take meticulous care of it. And so Beth and I did a two-week tour through Colorado and it's more beautiful than I had remembered. We had a great time.
Mike Wendland: How many miles have you put on? You said 300,000 miles on that 190 and how many miles do you typically put on a year?
Loren Phillips: Well, depends. Two years ago, I took my daughter. First I might say that my wife passed seven years ago and she loved to travel on the road truck. And I took my daughter to Alaska two years ago for 10 weeks we went up there and spent two weeks in the passageway going up, getting off in Ketchikan and Sitka and then went on up to the mainland. And that was 12,000 miles just for that trip.
And normally I take a trip from Ohio to the Northwest two years in a row prior to that and doing my thing. How many miles per year? It varies, this year minimal, but we're planning on heading out to the West Coast for the winter in mid November.
Mike Wendland: Leaving in just a few weeks then, heading out West. Well, Loren, you saw that post. Your advice, your shirt says it all, you are never too old. And I got to find out where I'm selling those shirts so we can tell everybody how to get those. Have to cut you in as a royalty because that was your saying, but obviously sometime there is a time that comes when you are too old. It hasn't happened with Loren Phillips that now pushing 90 years old. Give us some advice about age, about health and about travel in an RV.
Loren Phillips: Well, I've been doing it for several years. We started out in a tent in 1970 then I got a little Volkswagen bus. It was a 73, I think. And then I had an 83 Volkswagen Vanagon. Neither of those Volkswagens were campers. They were just vans that I converted. And then Fred and I took the one up and let's see, Frannie retired in 96 so we took Volkswagen up there in Alaska for seven weeks that time.
But I would say it kind of depends upon your health and your desire to travel. Because without that, it's a little bit of a problem and I'm still planning. I got things to do and places to go and I'm ticked off that I wasn't able to do anything that summer, per se. I could have, but I didn't want to run the risk. And so I guess you're never too old. However, when the time comes that you don't want to do it anymore, regardless of age, that'll be the time to hang it up. Whenever that is. I'm not ready to do that yet. I got lots of plans.
Mike Wendland: I could see that very well. You look amazingly healthy. I understand from our friend, Jim Defenbrooke, who's another one of our RV lifestyle buddies. He lives near you, that you're putting on a roof. Putting on a roof, you have a project, you're doing that besides taking care of that RV of yours.
Loren Phillips: Yeah, we got the roof all done this week and now on the porch upstairs there's side railings and this was external and there's safety boards on the side for below the railings and on the landing and on the steps and we're tearing that all out. And my daughter, Beth is, I'm putting her to work since she's here and knocking all those boards. I got all the boards cut and kind of rainy right now, but I want to get that finished up this week and I'll have that project done then I'll move on to something else.
Mike Wendland: Now you still do your own oil changes. Is that right on your own?
Loren Phillips: Yeah. And I do a lot, almost all my own maintenance except things I can't handle.
Mike Wendland: Right behind you, we have a mutual thing. Right behind me people sometimes can see part of my ham radio station. That's the mic I use. And that was how Loren and I actually met at a camp out a couple of years ago. And that's Loren's ham radio station there. He has his RV all equipped with it and we will have some fun. We would just get there. Yeah, we got to share our call signs.
Loren Phillips: Our call signs.
Mike Wendland: Yeah, there's mine.
Loren Phillips: That was interesting to be back in January 13th, 1954.
Mike Wendland: Wow. Well, mine was about 10, 12 years after yours I think in the early sixties, I think. I show all this to tell people about how important it is to have activities and hobbies and interests. And of course, you can't find a better one than RV traveling and the RV lifestyle. Talk about that, about what you've observed in your life, Loren, with your peers, people who kind of just sit and vegetate and don't stay active like you have been.
Loren Phillips: Well, the key to longevity is hopefully good genes and good health. However, you got to remain active. Man, you got to keep moving because you sit around, the old rocking chair's going to get the best of you and then more problems develop. I'm active.
I have some commercial property and I do a lot of maintenance on that. And if I sit around for a day or two, I get bored, I got to be doing something. That's one of the keys to maintaining good health. Fortunately, I have pretty good health at my age and it's just I'm enjoying to the fullest at the moment.
Mike Wendland: Give some travel advice for those who like that couple that wrote on our Facebook page, are wondering about it, how do you start off? Do you manage it small? Do you just, how many miles should they drive a day? Give those who are wondering about how old is too old, how they can keep doing it.
Loren Phillips: Well, first you got to have the desire to travel and do things and the lifestyle of RVing isn't for everybody. But for those that like it, it's a great way to go and you can go and come as you please. You're not committed to finding a motel every night and all that stuff. We do a lot of boondocking, quite frankly.
And it's a kind of a thing that the age really doesn't matter as long as you have the desire and the health to get out and do things. And my road truck has been in every Canadian province except Nunavut. And it's been including Labrador in Newfoundland and it's been in every US providence.
HERE'S THE Original interview I did with Loren two years ago:
And I can say, it's there to use. It's not doing any good sitting in the garage so get out and use it and go see the things. There's so many national parks and stuff to see in this country that's absolutely gorgeous and you just really need to get out and see the good old USA and Canada's got a lot of interesting visiting sites too. Between the US and Canada, although you can't go up there right now, hopefully by spring, you'll be able to do that. I have no desire to slow down.
Mike Wendland: I don't blame you. And I can't wait to get out on the road ourselves every time I talk to you. Loren Phillips has been our guest and again, that shirt that he's got on says it all, you are never too old and don't just sit around. Loren, thank you so much for joining us. Please give our best to your daughter, Beth, who I think is there with you. I could see her shadow at one point there. Say hi to Beth. Hey Beth, come and say hi to everybody.
Loren Phillips: Yeah, Beth, come and say hi. Come on.
Mike Wendland: Come on, Beth.
Loren Phillips: She's complaining she doesn't have her hair combed.
Mike Wendland: Oh, there's Beth. Hi Beth. It's great to see you.
Beth: Hi, Mike.
Mike Wendland: Hey, we got to just, we got to have Beth come on. You're off. You've gone to Alaska with your dad, right?
Beth: Yeah, boy did we have fun. Great time.
Mike Wendland: And now you're off to Arizona soon and then he's going to join you in California.
Mike Wendland: I don't want to put you on the spot here, but I'm going to put you on this spot.
Beth: It's okay.
Mike Wendland: Tell everybody, your dad is the real deal. He really is.
Beth: Did I lose you?
Mike Wendland: Let him know that.
Beth: I think I might've lost you there for a minute, Mike.
Mike Wendland: Okay. Can you hear me okay now?
Beth: Yep. I can.
Mike Wendland: No?
Mike Wendland: You can hear me? All right. You had the real deal. He really is.
Beth: He's totally the real deal.
Mike Wendland: Let him know. Yeah. And that t-shirt, that's great motivation for all of us, isn't it?
Beth: Yep. Absolutely. People look at that and they get a big smile on their face when we're out hiking on some trails and it makes everybody realize that you really are not too old, unless you want to be.
Mike Wendland: Unless you want to be. Great thing. Thank you, Beth, for jumping in. Thank your dad for joining this. I don't think he can hear us without the headset on. And there we go. Well, you have a great traveling companion there, Loren. You're very lucky.
Loren Phillips: Yeah, yeah, yeah. She does a great job on our 10 week trip to Alaska, we had zero problems. We just set up some rules in advance, then we knew what the score was and everything worked out beautifully.
Mike Wendland: There you go. That's great advice from Loren Phillips. You're never too old. And his daughter, Beth, who's going to be traveling with him in this next trip. Loren, thanks for joining us.
Loren Phillips: My pleasure, Mike.
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RV PODCAST OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT- Washinton's birthplace
BY TOM & PATTI BURKETT
Many of us have visited George Washington’s famous plantation at Mount Vernon, but we were intrigued to stop in at Pope’s Creek Farm, the spot on the Potomac where our first President was born. More interesting by far than the displays was what we found out from the ranger on duty at the COVID era open air station outside the closed visitor center. About sixty miles by water from our capitol city, the area has remained virtually unchanged for more than two hundred years, making it possible to experience some of the sights and sounds familiar to the Washington family.
The farm was first developed by George’s great-grandfather John Washington in the mid-17th century. What makes the story particularly interesting is that the property went out of family hands and belonged to several people before the state of Virginia acquired it in 1858. The financial aftermath of the Civil War made belt-tightening a necessity, and the state donated the property to the federal government in 1882. It sat fallow for nearly fifty years, the original homestead, called Wakefield, long gone.
The Wakefield National Memorial Association was formed in 1923 with the intention of restoring the property. A generous donation from John D. Rockefeller and the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps saw a period-faithful planters home and several outbuildings constructed in time for a dedication by the Park Service in 1932 on the 200th anniversary of Washington’s birth. The entrance is marked by a scaled-down replica of the monument on the National Mall.
As you might imagine, archeological techniques and methods in the 1920s were not what they are today, and modern researchers have discovered that much of the reconstruction is incorrect or misleading. The original house was quite different, and its location and foundation shape are now marked on the grounds. The formal garden, which includes many kitchen plants (mostly herbs) is also slowly being replanted with species more appropriate to the time and climate of the Washington family’s tenure here.
We remember hearing from a ranger at the Memorial to the Battle of Greasy Grass, where George Custer’s forces were so badly beaten, that much of the battlefield has not been excavated. “We dug up some interesting artifacts,” she told us, “but we left most of the ground undisturbed, because a hundred years from now they’ll have tools we can’t even imagine, and we want them to have something undisturbed to analyze.”
It’s this ethic that drives one of the big questions at the Washington birthplace. Do we correct the mistakes made in the 30s, which involve destroying the CCC works and changing the entire feel of the estate? Or do we try to interpret the history of restoration as well as the history of the homestead? In some ways, it’s like the questions facing communities as they wrestle with the issue of statues and memorials to figures from the ages of conquest, slavery, and the Civil War. For the next few decades, at least, we’ll be able to watch it play out in a variety of places around the country.
Speaking of the Civil War, just a few miles down the road from here is Stratford Hall Plantation, the birthplace of Robert E. Lee. This, too, is a place wrestling with how historical stories might best be told in this time and place. And a few miles north is the home of John Tyler. The tenth President of the USA was known in Washington as political outlaw and for that reason named his home Sherwood Forest. At 300 feet, it’s the longest frame house in the country, and is still owned and maintained by the Tyler family. Lots to see, lots to think about, and lots to make you wonder, here on Virginia’s Northern Neck, just off the beaten pat