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Tourons, TechTalk & Tales from the Road

| Updated May 8, 2024

Shownotes for this week on the RV Lifestyle RV Podcast:

  • In the interview of the week segment, tech talks about lithium batteries, how to replace your existing AGM or wet cell batteries, how to pair lithium with an inverter, and what you need for wiring.
  • Yellowstone National Park just reopened for the new season and already, there’s been a touron incident – a tourist moron who dangerously messed with the wildlife.
  • And we introduce a new segment at the end of the podcast – Mike & Jen’s Storytime, in which we share a tale and lesson we’ve learned from our many years on the road. This week, we talk about the time we were robbed!
  • All this plus the RV News of the Week and your questions coming up in Episode #496 of the RV Podcast

You can watch the video version from our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel by clicking the player below.

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We’re excited about our new Mike & Jen’s Storytime… a story with some lessons we've learned. You'll find it at the end of the podcast. Let us know what you think of this new feature.

SOCIAL MEDIA BUZZ – Wendy Bowyer

Tourons, TechTalk & Tales from the Road 1

Wendy Bowyer reports on the hot issues most talked about this past week on social media and our RV Lifestyle Community group.

In our RVLifestyle Community General Discussions Space Tim asked: “If you're going on an extended RV trip,  how do you get prescriptions filled?” Tim's insurance only permits 90 day refills. 

Richard shared some options for Veterans. Dennis suggested Walgreens or CVS, and Robin said they use CVS. She said the script can be filled anywhere in the country. CVS just looks you up in their system and transfers it to the right store to fill it. Then, when you go home, they transfer it back to your home store. Arvis suggested Walmart Pharmacy, and let's face it: There seems to be a Walmart everywhere! Great tips!

Also, in the Community, we have a new space called Weather for RVers because weather is a BIG deal not only on travel days but also when you are in a location where something severe is heading your way. With all the tornadoes, flooding, strong winds, and hail storms in many areas of the country for more than a week, this group has been pretty busy.

Chris has been regularly sharing real-time alerts, which have been very helpful. Brenda and Marc shared several posts, including one about those strong winds. Chris even shared a picture of giant hail stones that fell in Texas. The picture showed a hand holding three hail stones, and these things were the size of a baseball—it was unreal. Can you imagine the damage one of those would cause?

Again lots of good information and conversations in this new space.  I strongly suggest checking it out.

Meanwhile over on our RVLifestyle Facebook Group, things are busy as always. In one post Kay wrote: “I want to make a list of things we absolutely have to do when breaking camp. We know to dump the tanks, but what are the things we dare not forget?”

Many recommended Kay make a tear down checklist specific to her unit and keep it on the phone or print and laminate it and keep it in the rig.

But some common suggestions were:

Clear small items from tables or countertops that could roll or fall.

  • Clear small items from tables or countertops that could roll or fall.
  • Put down any antenna. 
  • Close the roof vents
  • Rinse the sewer line.
  • Lock the frig.
  • Drain your hose before putting it away.
  • Check your tire pressure.
  • Jacks up, awnings in.
  • If you use leveler pads, make sure you have them packed.

All great suggestions – but what do you think? Did the group forget to mention anything?

You can always check our Checklists for tear down here.

RV INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK – Lithium Battery Tech Talk

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Our guest this week is Jesse Asay, of Battleborn Batteries, answering lots and lots of questions about lithium batteries and the RVer.

You can read the entire interview using the NEW transcript in the podcast player above starting around the 18 minute mark. Check it out!

RV NEWS OF THE WEEK

Tourons, TechTalk & Tales from the Road 3

Man who kicked Yellowstone National Park bison is the first injury of 2024

Well, that didn't take long. 

Yellowstone National Park hasn't even fully opened for the 2024 season and ALREADY a touron – that's the slang for a tourist who is also a moron – was injured by a bison.

So what did this guy do? 

Get this – he encountered a herd of bison on West Entrance Road near the Seven Mile Bridge, got out of his vehicle and kicked one in the leg.

The animal then mildly injured the man. That injury earned this guy the dubious distinction of being the first human injured by a Yellowstone bison in 2024.

Thankfully, someone saw this happen in late April and told a ranger who arrested him in the town of West Yellowstone. His injuries were mild, but the 40-year-old man from Idaho has now been cited for being under the influence of alcohol to the degree that he could injure himself, disorderly conduct, and approaching and disturbing wildlife. The man driving the vehicle he was in is also facing charges.

Last year, we interviewed a Yellowstone ranger about this growing problem of tourists doing really stupid and dangerous things at this beloved national park. She had some wild stories. 

To hear our interview click here. It starts about 13 minutes in. To see our Yellowstone Adventure Guide with tips on what to see, what to do and where to camp at Yellowstone, click here.

Less than half of all campers use all the reservations they made in 2023

Doesn't it drive you crazy when you're told a campground is completely booked, but maybe you are in the area so you drive through and observe site after empty site because of no shows?

Or maybe you are trying to book that dream camping trip to a popular park, you get online to book minutes after reservations open only to find everything is already taken and you can't get a spot?

The camping app The Dryt recently announced that less than half of campers (42.7%) used all the reservations they made in 2023. And their report found it was four times more difficult to get a camping reservation in 2023 than it was in 2019.

While most of those who have a change of plans do cancel their reservations, 14.9 percent were no shows at least once in 2023.

It is that later number that really infuriates me, and a lot of other campers out there, too. Someone could be enjoying that camping spot. To not cancel is the epitome of selfish. Now I understand emergencies do happen, but often it seems that is not the case.

We told you several months back about a new law in California that penalizes those who don't cancel their reservations – even banning them from making future reservations if they are a no show three times or more. We think there needs to be more policies like that around the country. 

Last year we interviewed the CEO of The Dyrt on the podcast where he talked about some ways his app tries to get people into campsites that open because of cancellations. Click here to listen – the interview starts about 11 minutes and 30 seconds in.

Eta Aquariid Meteor Show visible now and expected to be best in years

A spectacular meteorite show is happening this week with as many as 10 to 30 meteors zipping through the sky at rates of 148,000 miles per hour.

The only bad news is the best time to see it is around 3 am. But hey, if you are out there camping in a great dark sky spot, this is totally worth it.

The Eta Aquariid meteor shower happens every April or May when the earth crosses the orbital path of Halley's comet. What we see flashing through our sky are small grains of rock and dust shed by the comet as it strikes our planet's atmosphere.

This year's show is expected to be the best in years. Its peak was this morning (May 6), but it will be spectacular all this week and visible through May 27.

Our new property in southwest Michigan has very little light pollution, so I am going to see if I can get Jen to wake up early with me tonight. Wish me luck!

If you, like me, enjoy getting away from the city and viewing a spectacular star-lit sky, check out our story here on the 5 Best Dark Sky Locations for Stargazing in the U.S.

Grizzly bears to be helicoptered into Washington's North Cascade Mountain range

Campers heading to Washington's North Cascade mountain range may soon be able to see an animal not spotted there since 1996 – the grizzly bear.

The federal government recently decided to transplant grizzly bears back into the North Cascades mountain range despite local residents' concerns about safety and harm to livestock and fruit orchards.

The National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will release three to seven bears a year, helicoptering them into the Cascades' most remote areas. The goal is to have 25 bears transported over the next five to 10 years — and a population of 200 grizzlies in 60 to 100 years.

The plan was blasted by Washington Rep. Dan Newhouse, who called it outrageous and accused the federal government of totally disregarding local residents valid safety concerns. 

Grizzly bears were once prevalent in the area, and the federal government says they are necessary to restore the ecosystem to full health.

I am not sure where I come down on this. People over-hunting the grizzlies for their fur is why the bear disappeared. But if I lived there, and relied on something like an apple orchard for my livelihood, I doubt I would be very happy.

The Northern Cascades are on the Canadian border and are just stunning. In fact, we wrote about the North Cascades National Park in our list of stunning but least visited national parks here.

RV QUESTION OF THE WEEK – RV Washer/Dryer combo or separate units?

QUESTION: Which is best? The washer and dryer being separate OR the all in one? Joe

ANSWER: A space-saving combo unit seems is the direction we're heading into. Our research shows they do a great job if you follow the instruction manual, which many people fail to read. It's biggest advantage, of course, is that it takes up less room and weighs less than the separate units.

Ignore the critics who often lack experience with combo units or haven't taken the time to properly review the instructions. It's crucial to use the appropriate detergent and to avoid overloading the machine. Remember, these units are not designed to handle the same capacity as standard home appliances, so adjusting your expectations accordingly is key to achieving the best results.

With these machines, you simply load your dry, dirty clothes and later remove them clean and dry. There's no need to be present to transfer clothes from the washer to the dryer.

If YOU have a question you want us to answer during the RV Lifestyle RV Podcast – you can post it RIGHT HERE in our New Community!

Mike & Jen’s Storytime – The time we were robbed!

mike and jennifer wendland storytime - robbery

It happened just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis in Collinsville, Il., when we stopped for dinner at about 6:15 p.m. at a restaurant in a busy shopping mall off Interstate-55. It was a pretty upscale mall, too, with lots of well-known stores and restaurants and traffic.

While we were inside eating, at least two thieves somehow gained entry to our Class B campervan and, in about seven minutes, took more than $12,000 worth of electronic gear from our rig – including all of the video and still cameras and most of the mobile podcasting studio gear I had taken for the trip.

Police blamed gangs from nearby East St. Louis. A guy towing a U-Haul who also stopped for dinner and parked a few spaces down was also hit. They smashed a window out to gain entry to his vehicle and also took a computer.

We wrote all about this RV Robbery on the blog back when it happened in 2015 and in this retelling of the story on the podcast, we recount the lessons we learned as we tell the details of the robbery – which was caught on dash cam and happened while our dog was in the RV.

Bottom line, this was a royal pain. But in the end, it was just stuff. And stuff is replaceable. We're much wiser from the experience.

Listen to the whole story on the podcast and then let us know in comments below if we should keep sharing the stories we've picked up from the road. We have a bunch of them!

Happy Trails!

We're OVER 12,500 members in our NEW Community!

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We have a Space for all sorts of things you want to know as an RVer, including Boondocking, Travel Planning, Electrical, Plumbing, Traveling with Pets, Gear, and more.

You can join each Space individually and only see what's being discussed in just that Space. Or you can see everything in the main Feed.

You can watch livestreams that are focused on one Space or another – like we recently did for Internet on the Road!

It's a calm, well-organized, friendly space to meet other RVers who might be traveling near you!

Join us https://community.rvlifestyle.com

Mike Wendland

Published on 2024-05-08

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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