The bitter cold of the north keeps many RVers from using their motorhomes all year round. For many, their coaches sit in driveways, winterized and waiting for the thaw.
I plan on taking my Class B to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in mid-February. I’ll probably go alone as my wife doesn’t like the idea of having to forgo showers while using it in the winter. While you can use it in the winter, you have to carry bottled water. And if you use the toilet, you have to”chase” it with antifreeze.
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
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
It has happened again. This time in Alabama at a campground near the Talladega Speedway. Craig Franklin Morgan, 46, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Morgan and his wife, Jami Allison Morgan, 38, were discovered unresponsive by friends who went into their RV at the South Campground outside the track.
Jami Morgan was unconscious and was airlifted to a nearby Hospital, where she remained in critical condition and unconscious Monday morning.
Police said the carbon monox
There are fulltime RVers and then there is Campskunk.
Most fulltimers travel in Type A motorhomes or Fifth Wheels. They also tow a car. And though their RVs are as long as many a subdivision house, they are still a rare breed, disposing of only what they can put in storage or pack in their 36, 40 or 43 foot long RV. They’re generally celebrated by the RV community, looked up to and envied for their independence and vagabond freedom.
But imagine doing it in a 22-foot long Class B campervan. Tha
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
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
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
The Florida Caverns State Park is one of those perfect half-a-day side trips, offering a guided tour of a fascinating geologic wonder, some nice hikes and an opportunity to kayak and explore a wilderness river that offers up a blue hole as a bonus.
And at the end of the exploring, there’s a nice campground available, too, if you’re in need of a place to overnight.
Located near the town of Marianna in Florida’s panhandle just off I-10, the underground tour offers inspiring vews of limestone sta
"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
Type Bs and Cs, the smaller versions of the rapidly growing motorhome market, are leading the way in the dramatic turnaround in the RV industry thanks to the ever growing number of Baby Boomer retirees used to active, mobile lifestyles.
I’ve spent much of the past week here at the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association’s annual trade show in Louisville, Ky., talking to leading recreational vehicle industry experts, trade association officials, manufacturers and dealers and all agreed that sa
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.
So if you haven’t been there yet, I pass along the same warning.
It’s that spectacular for those who lo
Inevitably, if you do a lot of wilderness camping in your RV, you’re going to find yourself in bear country. It’s a sad fact of life that there are camping fatalities and injuries every year because of bear attacks and, during peak season, it's rare that at least one bear every week is not put down by game officials somewhere in North America because it strayed into a campground, usually because of irresponsible humans who left food out.
When we were in Yellowstone National Park this summer, th
One of the most asked questions Jennifer and I receive from readers deals with how we sleep in our Roadtrek eTrek Class B motorthome. Our answer is … great!
Seriously, we both agree we sleep better in the Roadtrek than we do in our king-sized Sleep Number bed at home.
And that has to do with that we sleep on and in while camping out in the Roadtrek.
In this edition of How We Roll in our RV, we answer two reader questions about where we store our bedding.
We make the eTrek sofa up into a
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
We RVers love to share modifications we’ve done to our vehicles to make they fit our personal style. So it is with delight that a share a series of photos that show some very unique customizations done by blog reader Alan Shafer from Rockford, Mich., to his Roadtrek 2006 RS Adventurous.
His photos are included. Here is his account:
As you can see by the pics, it had four captain’s chairs. I removed the rear chairs and started from there. I have detailed pics of the whole process. The good t
One of the most discussed how-to threads on the blog and our Facebook Group has to do with the latches and hinges used on the cabinets on new Roadtrek Sprinter models like the RS Adventurous, the eTrek and the CS Adventurous. The same push button latches are on some of the recent Chevy-based models like the 40th Anniversary Special. They are sold by a Montreal-based speciality hardware import firm called Richelieu.
The issue is, depending on a lot of load and environmental factors, the latches
With more and more RVers heading to the great outdoors this time of year, it’s time to sound two warnings. Depending on where you are, it’s now either snake season or tick season.
For some parts of the U.S., it’s both.
Both creatures post particular problems with pets. And humans, too, if they get bit. And both are very active right now.
And RVers, who are out there camping in the woods and wilds and deserts and fields, could very easily come into contact with them. RVers with pets need to be
I’ve messed around with some low end flying helicopters before and found them to be lots of fun. But I’ve just, gulp, added a big ticket item to my photographic and video arsenal of tools to be used while Roadtreking: A Phantom 2 drone.
I’ll be using it for AVC, or aerial video cinematography. It’s really a flying machine, a quadricopter, with four opposing blades sending it up and our as far as a kilometer (3,240 feet) from where I’m standing with the controller.
The unit I bought carries
Yuck. Nothing tastes worse that the first sip of water through a just de-winterized RV’s plumbing system on the first trip of the year. That’s why it is important to sanitize that fresh water tank. And for that, there are lots of different approaches.
Everybody seems to have their favorite way of sanitizing the fresh water system.
Roadtrek Motorhomes has a suggested way, though. Here it is, lifted from the instruction manual for the eTrek we use. There are similar instructions for all Roadtrek
Buying an RV is perhaps the second biggest purchase most of us will make next to our house. In some cases, with kids grown and newly retired from our jobs, it becomes our house as more and more people embrace the fulltiming style of a life on wheels.
And these days, Type B RVs seem to be at the top of the motorhome popularity chart. Many who bought larger Type A or C motorhomes are downsizing, or “rightsizing,,” as some call it, for the more mobile and maneuverable Type B-style campervan motorh
No matter where or how you roll, the one thing all RVers have in common is the way the RV lifestyle seems to bring people together - literally and figuratively. For snowbirds, full-timers, near full-timers like Jennifer and me or weekend campers, it's the sheer joy of getting out and meeting new people or simply spending quality time with your spouse or friends.
For families with younger children or grandchildren, it means bonding time away from the distractions of day-to-day living, TV, video
We’ve now officially begun our trip west, a journey that will follow parts of two historic routes: The Lewis and Clark Expedition and the Oregon Trail.
It’s hard to over emphasize the importance of these two 19th century routes. Lewis and Clark discovered the overland route to the Pacific, thus opening up the nation to east-west travel in the days immediately after the Louisiana Purchase. It was a trip that in its day, was as monumental as the American landing on the moon is to ours.
I know we’ve talked a lot about winterizing over the past few weeks. But here’s one more report, this one documenting my do-it-yourself winterizing of my Roadtrek eTrek.
For the past two years, I’ve paid over $100 to have it winterized by RV service dealers.
From the blog and our Facebook page, readers have told me that it’s no big deal and it it is something that even an unhandy handyman like me can do.
So this year, I decided to see take their advice and do my own winterizing.
When we talk about boondocking in an RV, we usually mean dry camping, off the grid camping in out of the way, wilderness areas, far from civilization and deep in the boonies.
Indeed, for Jennifer and I, that is our favorite place to be.
But that’s not the only place to be.
As I write this, we just spend a night boondocking in the parking lot of a hotel near Memphis, Tenn.
It was a quiet, peaceful night. We parked in an out-of -the-way spot in our Roadtrek Etrek. It was typically hot, as it a