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We recorded the whole podcast at a beautiful spot in Florida. We're in the Emerald Coast area, overlooking the water. It was gorgeous. Beautiful day. And the wind noise was so bad. It is un-usable. So we retreated to the inside of the RV where we are now, we got about a quarter way through the second time.
And our dog decided that he had a lot to say, and he just went on a barking spree. So it took us three times to get this podcast done.
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We got our Starlink system from SpaceX Starlink. Of course, the very high-speed internet system that Elon Musk is building with a constellation of these low orbiting earth satellites.
It took what, 10 minutes to set it up. Not long at all. And it's awesome. We'll have lots more videos about this. We're going to kind of do a little permanent system here in the RV and we'll show you what that's like when we get it done, but just great results so far.
But the news part of it was no sooner than we finished that.
We got a note saying that they had raised the price on Starlink and we skated in because we had ordered it six days before we got it delivered. And the day that we said. Starlink went from $499, which is what we paid for the system to $599. They raised it a hundred bucks cause of inflation.
We got our service, which we originally contracted for $99 a month. Now they've raised that to $110. We'll have to pay that. I'm fine with that because it's system is so fast.
We'll have a lot more to talk about, and we've got a couple of questions about it and some comments coming up in the next segment, but some other feedback that we have, we want to share with you.
Our RV Lifestyle Community
We totaled up how many supporters and followers we have from all of our different platforms and our audience. And it is half a million, half a million people between all of our different platforms, Facebook, and you know LinkedIn and YouTube and Instagram and all of our different social media. A half a million people.
And because of this, we get a lot of email, lots of comments, lots of great information to share.
And that's what we want to do with you in this episode – share a few of the questions we've received from our social accounts.
By the way, here are the quick links to all our social media accounts (so far) 🙂 :
No-see-ums are no-joke
Like this note that came from David – he was commenting about our last Ask Us Anything live program that we did in the big bend area, Florida, and your town, the fishing town of Steinhatchee.
About a half-hour after we were on the air and the sun started to set well, frankly on live YouTube and Facebook, we were attacked.
I threw in the towel. I waved the white flag. I was not going to get eaten alive by no-see-ums. My goodness. It was unreal. They were so bad. They forced us to retreat into the RV where we are now.
And I can prove it. I got so many bugs bites.
David: We are preparing for a full-time RV next year and bought a property in Keaton Beach.
Mike: That's just a few miles down the coastline from where we were.
David: Our lot has terrible, no-see-ums. But they go, then they go away. I don't know where they go in the daytime, but they go away. I have lived in Florida all my life and have been in south Florida for 40 plus. I know it's too late, but Roy's and most of the businesses sell repellent at the registers
Mike: This is the restaurant that we were doing that live show from.
David: When I first went to the keys in 1985, we found that an Avon product called Skin So Soft works well and smells good. Maybe your followers might like to have that information. Can't wait to get the information on the new lots you're looking at. That's why we were in the big bend area. We were checking out another development that sells RV property.
Mike: These are lots that are like 30 times the normal size of an RV lot. We'll have a video. That'll explain all that. They're not quite ready to go full public on the next offering. And we'll try and give you advanced notice that a video is coming up on that.
What RVers Are Thinking – Dogs in Vehicles Laws
The other thing we talked about that we got a lot of comments, whereas is we mentioned in answering a question in last week's podcast about how 31 states have various laws about leaving dogs or pets unattended in a vehicle. And a lot of it, you know, it's to keep the animals safe.
And many of those states you can, anybody who sees a dog, think can break through the glass and rescue the dog. And we talked about how important it is to be close by. So you can, if something goes wrong.
Well, we got a note here from Dennis one of our viewers.
Dennis: It's always a pleasure to watch your podcast and videos.
We have something to add regarding the question. It was about leaving your pet alone in the RV. Something happened to us. It could have turned out badly if we hadn't come back in time, we were on the way to South Carolina with our 26-foot class, on the highway, a couple in the car next to us, waved at us, showing, pointing at the side of our RV and the driver's side.
We stopped quickly. We checked, we couldn't find anything. That same evening. We stopped at a shopping center where there were several restaurants. So we left our Miniature Pinscher in the RV with the air conditioner running from the generator power. The whole thing took us about 20 to 30 minutes. As we were bringing our meal back to eat inside the RV.
When we got near our RV. We heard the carbon monoxide detector beeping. We entered immediately and there was a very strong exhaust odor. Our dog was barking continuously and was very upset. We no longer used the generator for the rest of that trip.
Afterward, we had our RV inspected and they discovered that the generator exhaust pipe was missing. It had fallen off somehow causing fumes to enter the interior of the RV. Fortunately, our dog had no serious after-effects except that she never had the same barking. Again, she's always maintained a hoarse voice constantly.
Mike: That we have to be careful with our pets. This is from Nicole and Dennis from Quebec, Canada. And, and that is a pretty good example right there of why there are unexpected things that shouldn't happen. Nobody could predict things like that. You have to be alert.
We love our dog Bo – you see him, he's a star in every one of our videos. He makes an appearance one way or another, but you, there are places you can't go. And when you do want to sneak out for a little while to get lunch or dinner, or maybe run into a museum or something,
Jennifer: Yeah, you can leave the air conditioner on, but something could go wrong in this case, the air conditioner worked, but they didn't know they had all that exhaust coming in from the generator.
Jennifer: Welcome back, everybody. And Mike, let's start out with what people are thinking about Starlink.
Mike: This came from Alan Campbell and he says,
Alan: Mike, I have experience with Starlink and several zoom users for my company.
And what I've seen is that the signal Starlink signal sometimes degrades when the satellite overhead nears the horizon and it does a handoff to the next satellite seems to affect video more than not. The latency and that's how long it takes for their signal on the ground to get to the satellite or back again.
The latency seems to vary at the same time, more satellites will improve this. And of course, more open view of the sky would give you more satellites to see.
Mike: And I appreciate that. Alan, that's a great tip. Right now, I think 250,000 Starlink users, most of them in the US.
And they have about 2,500 satellites up. They have plans to put over 40,000 up. So they're launching new ones every month. And as that system fills in it's all gonna work better. Right now it already works pretty well for us. And we'll tell you more about it later on.
What RVers Are Thinking – The Plus of Having a Truck
DRanger: I have been following you since I bought my road Trek in 2013. Two years ago, I sold it and got a new Ram 2,500 and a Lance truck camper. Once you have a truck, there is no going back.
I love the power handling and four-wheel drive. And another plus is the option to drop your camper and have a daily driver.
Mike: We're looking we've made any decisions yet, but we've considered, you know, maybe picking up a fifth wheel or travel trailer. And then we can leave that at our property in Tennessee and also the property we soon hope to get in Northern Michigan.
And be able to use and go back and forth in our, you know, the one we're in now, the Leisure Travel Van Wonder – we're just thinking about it.
But I’ve been pricing trucks.
Oh, my goodness. Ridiculous expensive. Absolutely ridiculous.
So thank you. That's one of the reasons they had to have that daily driver. And you know, you don't have to pack, break camp every time you want to go off exploring.
Jennifer: And I think with gas prices being what they are, people want to go someplace and stay there longer. So you would like that option of not having to break camp.
What RVers Are Thinking – Gas Prices…
And that takes us to our next thing from Keith.
Keith: have an 83 gallon. It costs just under $400 to fill up. Still traveling it's only money.
Mike: Well, that's true, but 83 gallons, $400 to fill up. That is a lot.
And we get another, some more comments, lots of people talking about gas prices and fuel prices and diesel prices.
Andrew: I have a Class A with 80 gallons, and I always have to authorize my car a second time during the fillup. Pro tip – If you go inside, they can authorize it for more pumps are set for automatically authorizing $75 purchases.
Mike: That happened to us at one point on this trip, this extended trip. No, I couldn't believe it. It wouldn't fill it up to $75. Wouldn't fill. And then since then, I've had a couple that is in the 80, $85 and it's fine, but I think more and more of the gas stations are having to reprogram their pumps to handle these expensive gas prices.
Well the good news is I think that fuel prices seem to have gone down. I'm noticing they're down five, 6 cents a gallon.
Here's one from Robere, and he's talking about prices and it, and this was posted on our Facebook page.
Robere: It's too expensive. Fuel is astronomical park rents are sky high and that's after paying thousands, if not hundreds of thousands to get an RV. It used to be a common man's pastime, but no more.
Mike: And then there was a great response to that from Bob about that.
Bob: Doesn't have to be like that at all.
Emergency Alert tone —
Mike: I am not going to edit this out. This is a missing child.
Jennifer: I always think the world's coming to an end and a bomb has been launched or something.
Mike: Barking dogs, naked girl. And an emergency alert.
So Bob was saying…
Bob: It doesn't have to be like that. Plenty of free places to camp. Don't have to move all the time and you can find reasonably priced older RV unit.
Mike: And I tend to agree with him with that. It is expensive. I mean, everything is expensive. And we have seen this before.
We'll see it again. It will come down. I don't know when, maybe not soon, but it's going to come down, but you know, there are ways around and one of the ways, a lot of people are buying their own property, staying there longer others are boondocking, more learning more about that. Buying older RVs, they are available.
They're more expensive than they used. But, you know, you can either choose, you know, to be a victim about all of this, or to try and find ways around it. And that's, that's the way we're doing it. We're, we're staying out there on the road. We want to do our best to keep finding it.
What RVers Are Thinking About Being Full time on the Road
And I really liked this from Melissa and she posted this on our RV lifestyle, Facebook group. And it's kind of a breakdown from a very experienced full-timer about what to expect out there on the road.
So they're, full-timers first, you need eight to $10,000 put up for emergency and you know, that is what everybody recommends. Anyway, but in particular, if you're going to full-time in an RV, remember that is your home.
If it has to get repaired and it has to be in a shop, then what are you going to do? So don't even think about going off full-time unless you have such a cushion of at least a month, they say two months of emergency funds. Well, you know, it depends on what your lifestyle is.
You have to be able to do your own repairs. And the reason you want to do your own repairs is because she says the RV guys will eat you for dinner. They get 150 bucks an hour and rightfully so since that's their livelihood and it's a particular skill.
And sites can routinely cost $75 for a full hookup can be less depending on the park and the amenities and the location.
I think we're seeing that in our travels that 70, $75 is a pretty common fee now used to be 30, and then it was 40. And then 50 the last one we stayed at at at a Koa was $77. And we have a KOA membership card, but it was still 75 bucks a night. Yes, it is. So we don't do that every night. What other costs did she tell you?
125 a month for vehicle insurance, full coverage, both vehicles, the car and the truck rather than the, and the trailer. Yeah, 240 minimum for phones, internet, 240 bucks a month. They have two phones. They have a tablet. So there that's about normal, you know, for, for most people who need connections on the road, $84 a month or 900 a year RV full-timers insurance on RV.
Food. She says $560 is what this couple in their sixties pay and eating out 300. And of course your entertainment, how much you eat out, where you eat out, whether it's McDonald's or if it's steak house. Yeah. That's up to you, but an idea of what food and entertainment costs.
About 860 bucks a month, a thousand a month. Yeah, I think that's particularly with food prices, almost like gas, but we're not done yet. And then you have your doctor visits and medicine also, depending on insurance. That's what they pay monthly and live comfortably. And they've been doing this full-time for 18 years.
So they point out that over the past couple of years, there's been some 500,000 new RVs or used RVs that have gone back on the road that, because of that RV parks, she's noticing are much stricter and the age of an RV that they allow to camp there. And they're also strict about the breeds of dogs.
She notes that there are not enough sites to go around unless you book months or maybe even a year in advance and monthly rates. That's the cheapest way to do it. If you can do it for a month, if you can find a park, that'll allow you to do that. Yeah. Anyway her last line is just, don't go into full-time living, thinking that it's easy.
And it's going to be cheaper and cheaper than a house. And it, you know, it's all. Okay. But you gotta have your eyes open when you go into something. Yep. Do your research. And we really, really want to thank this couple for taking the time. I mean, veteran viewers, who've been there 18 years.
They know what they're talking about, and that was great advice.
Can You buy RVs right from the Manufacturer?
And let's start off with this from Lisa – Is that possible to order just straight from the factory and not have to get a local dealer involved? And if we do, how do you do the deposit and not sure how this all works. We have just heard and continue to hear horrible things about salespeople and hidden costs at RV dealers. What would you propose?
Well, that's a big question. The first question is no, and not if you're looking for a Leisure for example, you cannot order directly from the factory. They're not factory direct. You have to go through one of their dealers. However, you can go to their website and you can kind of build the quotes around it, your own RV with all the features and the options that you want.
And then your job is then to take that to a dealer, you'll have a rough idea of the price. Now understand that dealers tack on delivery fees and inspection fees and transportation fees. And, and depending on how scrupulous the dealer – that's how high the fees are, but there will be some extra fees and whatever you figure out online.
But they are not factory direct. So you can't buy that way. Do you remember how upset we got? We got our first one and there was like a $750 inspection fee. Oh my goodness.
But if you don't like the way they're treating you go somewhere else. You do have to put a deposit. You talking about still, there's a long delay involved between ordering and getting delivery.
You might have to put several thousand dollars down in a deposit. We have heard about some dealers, not Leisure travel van dealers, but other dealers who've insisted on a non-refundable deposit. That's painful. I would not recommend that you do. That's exploiting you – don't ever pay a non-refundable deposit, go somewhere else.
There are some RV manufacturers where you can order directly from the factory.
I think of Coach House. We just did a story on Hoosier Crusiers? Yeah. In Elkhart, Indiana. That makes it really nice. Classy. So you can find them. So there you go. Thank you, Lisa, for that question.
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What RVers Are Thinking About Towing a Car
Pam: Do you ever consider towing a car?
Mike: Yes, we do. More. So the longer we go, the more we're thinking about towing a car, and it goes back again to when you find someplace because of the price of gas and everything, stay there longer, you don't have to unhook, have a car readily available.
Much of our camping now is to stay in different spots a little longer than we normally did for the first 10 years, particularly the first few years. We were seldom in any place, more than one or two nights at the most. And while we had so much of the country, we wanted to see, we really find that we have to go back.
Now, we really want to experience certain places. I think like with the Nebraska Sandhills, we just love that area, but we only spent a couple of days there. I'd love to go spend a week or so or two. So that's when we think why it would be nice just to set up camp, you know, and leave everything here.
It's not a big deal to unhook, particularly in a smaller RV like this, but still, it would be nice and then travel. It's easier to park. And if you're going to visit a city, it's easier to get parking on the street. So yes, we definitely have thought of that.
Here's one from Wendy.
How Do you Charge Your Ebikes?
Wendy: She says we hope to boondock with our RV. How do you manage to recharge your e-bikes?
Mike: We just plug them in. No, I don't know what kind of an RV you have in terms of you know, whether you have solar and how big your inverter is, but if you have inverted plugs and you have a full battery, you can charge those little Lithium batteries. We are currently riding our Lectric ebikes.
Doesn't empty my house batteries or anything. So if you, if you have a generator start to generate her up, if you're worried about it, about that, or use your, your engine on your motor home to start that up, then if that charges your house batteries, but just, just running those little lithium batteries for an ebike, you can plug it into an inverted plug.
Hard time finding a fifth wheel without water damage
This is from Trent and he says,
Trent: Hey. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my email. I recently just found about your podcast. I've been listening, my wife and I are planning to live on a hundred acres for two years in an RV.
Then build our home there as well in Tennessee. Our house is currently under contract to sell and we have been frantically searching for an RV. Specifically a fifth wheel. We desire to buy used, but everyone we've looked at has had water damage on both the master bedroom and the living room on the corners. Thanks for your help.
Mike: Yeah, it is a big deal. If it's serious water damage, now there might be some stains and discoloration from some water that came in. And if that's the case it doesn't necessarily mean that it's a major fix, but I would certainly have a professional look at it.
You don't want mold to grow. Many of the older RVs do indeed have some water damage. This is why when even if you're buying a new one – have a professional look at it and make sure, because it can be very expensive to fix or it can be just something that's more cosmetic.
Maybe they've already fixed it. Maybe they've done some caulking. Typically you'll find those leaks developing around the vents around the air conditioning systems. Sometimes at the very front where the cab connects with the box, with the RV box.
So Trent, you're doing the right thing. You're checking it all over like that, but you will find what you want. Just keep looking because they're not all like that.
Harvest Hosts Question
There's a question from Joe.
Joe: He says we joined Harvest Hosts, contacted a host to make a reservation. We left a message. But not heard back, is this a common problem?
Mike: It shouldn't be a big problem. I think then the people that you're staying with and they have lives and they have emergencies and kids and performances and plays to go to and whatever, I wouldn't judge the whole program like that. We've used Harvest Hosts all across the country.
We've never not been able to reach the host. But you know, many of them are just mom and pop operations. Maybe it's a farm. Taking care of the animals. And you know, you wanted something for that night. They didn't get to you and the night's already gone.
So, if you don't get a call back, just always have a plan B, go to another one, find another Harvest Hosts. But we found nothing but great things about the program. If you're interested in Harvest Hosts, we can save you 20%, by the way, just go to https://rvlifestyle.com/hh you can learn more about the program.
And more importantly for you use that link RV lifestyle.com/hh it'll save you 20%. So that's a good deal. All right.
What are your questions?
Now we've got a rough idea of what you, our viewers are thinking about out there. Keep those cards and letters coming in and emails. I don't think anybody writes cards or letters anymore.
But I can't remember when the last time I even got a letter. No, maybe a card, but anyway, we'd love to hear from you. Our private email is Mike and email@example.com. That's it for episode 389, wherever you are. We hope you're having a great time and we'll be back next week.
Jennifer: Happy trails.