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Journalist Mike Wendland Travels North America in a Class B Motorhome

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Montana LLC RV Titling: Tax avoidance or Tax Evasion?

One of the biggest controversies in the RV world these days has to do with the fine line between tax avoidance and tax evasion. I’m talking about the practice of setting up an LLC business in Montana to purchase a motorhome, thus avoiding sales and use tax and often stiff registration fees in the owner’s home state. Thousands of RV owners around the country do this and dozens of Montana legal firms specialize in making it happen. I live in a state that has very high taxes. As I am shopping aro

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Farewell to a Friend

"How lucky I am to have known someone who was so hard to say goodbye to.” – Anonymous I write this with tears steaming down my face. Our noble friend and companion, Tai, has crossed the Rainbow Bridge – that sappy, mythical but nevertheless comforting place where much-loved pets go to await their masters. He would have been 12 this December. I debated whether I should do a blog post about this. But Tai was so well known by the Roadtreking community that he was a celebrity in and of himself, of

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Our Roadtreking RV Burglarized in Illinois

Seven minutes is all it took for our RV to be burglarized, to lose $12,000 and counting worth of equipment – just about everything of value inside the motorhome except the dog. Yes, just seven minutes. That’s all it took for the bad guys to come into our space, take our stuff. We know it was only seven minutes, too, from our dash cam recording most of it. But as Jennifer points out, what they physically took are only things. The stuff is just that – stuff. And, yes, it isn’t fun, but it is

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Weather Apps for RVers

No matter what kind of RV we have, one thing that we are all interested in is the weather. Nothing affects traveling more. Across North America, the cold weather is coming fast and that means snow and ice and dicey weather conditions. Thanks to apps, tablets and the Web, you never again need to wonder what its going to be like out there. I’m always installing and uninstalling weather apps. I’ve tried dozens of them and I’m sure I’ll try dozens more in the months ahead. But for now, here’s a rou

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

RVing and My New Smartphone

I’ve switched smartphones and it’s all because of RVing. I now use the Samsung Galaxy S 4. I traded my iPhone 5 in at my local Verizon store and now am tasked with learning a new system. I feel a little guilty about it. I have been told that the iPhone I bought at 6PM EST on June 29, 2007 was the first one sold. It was part of a TV live shot I was doing and I had stood all night long, first in a long line. Working with the manager of at AT&T store, we arranged for me to be standing at the c

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Taxes and Fees for RVs Can Be Very Confusing

One of the most confusing aspects of buying an RV is the vast differences paid in sales tax and various licensing fees. And many states do what is called “double dipping,” charging full sales tax when you buy the vehicle, and then again charging you tax on the full purchase price of a new one when you you trade it in, ignoring the trade-in price. It doesn’t take a genius to know that it is patently unfair. In Michigan at least, that double dip tax is about to go away. State lawmakers are gett

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

A Crock-Pot Cooker for Our RV: Recipes Wanted!

It’s hard to believe how much a $16 purchase at Walmart can brighten your day. Such it was the other day when we spotted a pile of Crock-Pots on sale. It was exactly what we needed. Small, round and just the right size to fit in the sink of our Roadtrek eTrek RV. The sink? Exactly. That way, as we travel across the country during the day, the slow cooking crock pot can prepare our evening meals. By the time we reach our destination, a hot, sumptuous dinner is ready. Let’s face it, one of the b

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Yellowstone: At the top of every RV Bucket List

Yellowstone National Park is America’s first national park, a national treasure and a must visit for every RVer. A place so big it lies in part of two states, Montana and Wyoming. We just finished our second trip to Yellowstone in less than a year. I was warned before the first that the place will get in your blood and you will keep coming back, again and again. http://youtu.be/e7iUKCJY95Q So if you haven’t been there yet, I pass along the same warning. It’s that spectacular for those who lo

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Our top five RV frustrations

Not all is always good about RVing. Here are our top five RV frustrations: 1) Deplorable campground conditions – This, we believe, is one of the biggest scandals of the RV world. There are many campgrounds that could more accurately be described as overcrowded slums. What amazes me is that they have good reviews in the big publications, which tells me that either the reviews are phony, the publication doesn’t physically inspect the campgrounds or they are so out of date they are worthless. Jus

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Carrying a gun in an RV

It was 3 AM and we were deep in the woods, camped on a friend’s 200 acres of fenced and posted private property off an obscure fire trail more than two miles from the nearest paved road. I jolted awake. I heard a vehicle with a slightly knocking engine. bumping and scraping on the underbrush of the trail. Then I saw its headlights, slowly making its way down the trail towards us. Jennifer was still asleep. So was my Norweigian Elkhound, Tai. Fine watchdog he was. There was no reason for the o

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Top 10 RV Lessons Learned After 75,000 Miles

We just turned 60,000 miles on our Roadtrek Etrek as we pulled into our Michigan driveway after our latest trip, which essentially was four months on the road through 21 states, taking us from Cape Cod on the Atlantic to the far Pacific Northwest. When you add the 15,000 miles we drove in our first RV – a 2006 RS Adventurous – that now gives us 75,000 miles under our collective wheels. We are no longer rookies. Indeed, we’ve learned a few things. And I’ve made some mistakes. But you’ll have t

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Gadget preview: My new Go Pro Hero 3 Black Edition camera

I use a lot of cameras while we travel North America in our Roadtrek RV. One of my favorites is the GoPro Hero, a very tiny high def camera that I can mount to the side of my vehicle, wear on a bike hemet or attach to just about anything. The folks who make the camera just released some free editing software called GoPro Studio. I couldn’t resist downloading it last night and throwing in a few of our driving shots from this summer. The music comes with the template you download, so no complaint

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

RV Vacations Ruined as National Parks Shut Down

The budgeting mess and political wrangling in Congress over Obamacare has ruined the vacation plans of tens of thousands of RVers who had planned to camp in a national park this week. The closure of the national parks is also hitting hard the bordering communities whose economic livelihood is closely tied to a steady stream of national park visitors. At midnight, all activities at the parks, except for necessary emergency services, were immediately suspended and the parks closed indefinitely.

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

How We Roll in our RV: Removing Pet Hair

Yesterday it was bad pet breath, today, readers want to know how we remove pet hair from our RV. Jennifer and I share how we clean p after our Norwegian Elkhound, Tai. It's not rocket science. The Halo Leather seats of our eTrek help. We throw a cover over them, then shake the hair out each day. As for the throw runs and the rest of the interior of the Roadtrek eTrek we travel in, Jen uses a collapsible broom, an old fashioned whisk brook and sometimes, good old duct tape. One thing we p

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

When is It Too Cold to RV?

I am beginning to have some serious doubts about the wisdom of taking our Roadtrek eTrek to the wilderness of Northern Minnesota next week to report on a dog sled marathon from Duluth to the Canadian border. The long term weather forecast predicts lows of -20F/-28C along the Northern Shore of Lake Superior, where we would be boondocking with no outside power. I had really looked forward to this but it seems foolhardy to do camp out under such extreme cold. We handled -5F/-20C last year in Febru

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Stolen Roadtrek Recovered: The Victim’s Story

Dennis George couldn’t believe his eyes. It was the morning of Tuesday Jan. 28, and he was staying at a Hampton Inn in Lakeland, FL He looked out his hotel room window and saw an empty parking spot where he had parked the brand new Roadtrek CS Adventurous the night before. “I thought maybe the hotel had towed it for some reason,” he said. “So I ran down to the desk and asked them. The clerk said no. Then one of their workers came in and said there was all sorts of broken glass out on the asph

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

The Tech Gear I Take on the Road RVing

I get lots of questions and requests for suggestions and recommendations about the tech gear I use to capture and blog the reports I’m doing out on the road. I’m always adding various things, but here’s my latest update on the gear I like to take with me. My main video camera – I use the Canon XA20 Professional Video Camera. I love this camera. I got this in the fall of 2013 and have found it to be the perfect ”run-and-gun” camcorder, suitable for HD ENG work (Electronic News Gathering), event

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Protecting Your Sticks-and-Brick House While You’re RVing

We’ve been traveling about two weeks out of every month and a nagging worry that doesn’t go away is the safety and protection of our sticks-and-bricks house. So this past week, I just installed an alarm system on every door, every window, as well as motion detectors, water detectors, freeze monitors and carbon monoxide and fire alarms on both levels of our two-story home. All of the alarms are monitored 24 x 7 and I have a remote app for my smartphone and computer that lets me check in on what’

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Finding Free Places to Overnight in Your RV

There’s a real battle going on out there in the RV world and it pits some powerful interests against those who resent paying for services they don’t need and only want to take advantage of the generous offers of places like Wal-Mart, Cabella’s, Cracker Barrel and other businesses that not only allow but welcome brief overnight stays by traveling RVers. But for more than a decade now, campground owners and their national association have quietly been working behind the scenes to convince local g

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

When an RV trip comes to an end

Is there anything more exciting about leaving on an RV Trip? Anticipation fuels each mile. Excitement about what lies ahead runs high. The sights are new, the day’s drive full of expectation. Conversely, is there anything more mind-numbing than the drive back home? Been there, done that syndrome kicks in. The vacation is over. There are so many miles to go on a road we’ve traveled before. On return from many a previous trip, Jennifer and I would resolve ourself just to drive. To get home as fa

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Anticipation: A Month of Travel Awaits

Anticipation, they say, is half the fun. I think there’s a point there. Thinking, planning, dreaming and looking forward to the next trip is indeed pretty exciting. And as Jennifer and I look at the calendar, we have a lot of miles we’ll be traveling in some pretty diverse places. Here’s what’s on our Roadtreking road map for the next month: Northern Minnesota – A Jan. 23-29th winter camping trip to Duluth, MN via Michigan’s UP from, and then north to the Canadian border as we do reporting

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

How We Roll in Our RV -- Episode #1

http://youtu.be/Q3mx8b5NsV4 We get lots of questions about the places we go, the things we see and how we roll in our RV. Thus, this new reccurring video feature, in which we’ll try to do every week, answering reader questions (e-mail me here or via our Facebook Roadtreking page). In this first episode, Jennifer and I talk about how we pack and store items in our Class B motorhome and how we stay connected to the Internet while on the road. Jennifer swears by eBags, a handy way to neatly pack

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

RVing to Canada? Things you should know about our cultural differences

Canada is a very popular destination for American RVers. And it’s home to several of the world’s best-selling Class B motorhome makers. So a lot is us travel there. Canada feels very much at home. It’s people are open and welcoming. In the last year, I’ve made over a dozen visits to the Kitchener, Ontario, headquarters of Roadtrek Motorhomes. And while I am very comfortable in Canada, there are some cultural differences. I’ve been taking notes. Here are 15 things to know about Canada: It’s

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

The Battle of the Bugs in Michigan’s UP

I have a serious bone to pick with whoever calls Michigan’s Upper Peninsula a paradise. Not this trip. This RV adventure was a battle of the bugs. And while it looks pretty out the window of the motor coach, venture outside and you are fair game for swarms of insects that see you as smorgasbord. The mosquitoes and biting black and stable flies of the Lake Superior region are the worst they’ve been in years. Locals blame it on the unusually wet spring and summer we’ve had this year. http://you

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

The Bighorn Medicine Wheel

On top of the Bighorn Range in Wyoming is Medicine Mountain, desolate and nearly 10,000 feet high and only reachable during the warm summer months. And on top of it lies a mysterious and ancient Native American medicine wheel that precisely predicts certain astronomical events. This is not a casual walk. It is 1 1/2 miles from the parking lot to the medicine wheel. And 1 1/2 miles back down to the parking lot again. That’s a three-mile roundtrip hike, at altitude. The wind blows continually and

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

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