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About this blog

Journalist Mike Wendland Travels North America in a Class B Motorhome

Entries in this blog

 

Michigan’s UP in the Fall and Twelvemile Beach

This is the time to “come up to da UP,” as the Yoopers like to say. The flies and mosquitoes are gone, so are the crowds and the whole peninsula is bursting with bright yellows and reds as the annual fall foliage change explodes the hardwoods into jaw-dropping displays. And the sunsets are to die for. This year, the color change is later than normal. We came up last Thursday and it was just starting. As we head back downstate today five days later, it’s clear that its moving fast now. This com

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Our RV Life: Discovering the Beauty Beneath the Blur

All my life as a journalist- for more than three decades – I’ve been on deadline. The presses would roll, the red light on the studio camera would blink on and, that was it. I had to be ready. Done. No more time. So the clock ruled my days. I was single-mindedly focused on finishing, getting to press time or air time. Then, I could breathe a little… and get ready for the next day. It was a wild, crazy, fun, frustrating and high-adrenaline occupation and I wouldn’t have traded it for the worl

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Meet Deby Dixon: Living the Dream as Yellowstone’s Storyteller

Yellowstone National Park is a captivating place. It grabs the soul and pulls us back year after year. At the top of every RVers bucket list, it is a place so majestic, so wild and big that it calls us to return, to explore, to get to know the diversity of its land and animals over and over again. Some RVers make annual pilgrimages. Some volunteer as workers or hire on as temporary employees at the various concessions and park businesses. Anything to spend as much time there as possible. A few

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Carrying a kayak on a Roadtrek

I love kayaking. Except for occasional rental places I find in our travels, though, it’s pretty hard to do while Roadtreking. I’ve been tempted to get an inflatable kayak but, well, I want a real one, with a composite body. The problem, though, is how do I carry it? My friend Gary Hennes from Minnesota has solved that problem with a roof mount and a Hullavator mechanism that effortlessly lifts the kayak up to the roof of his 2006 Roadtrek RS-Adventurous. He got his from a local outfitter nea

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

 

Behind the Class B RV sales boom

When we first started out 18 months ago, I have to admit, I had my doubts about a life of RVing in a Class B motorhome, sometimes referred to as Type B to do away with all the negative stereotypes that come with the word “Class.” Anyway, I was sure it would be fine for weekend getaways but as the this blog took off and it became apparent that we were going to be traveling a lot more than I first planned, we secretly wondered whether the 23-foot Roadtrek we travel in would be big enough. Now, w

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

How We Roll in our RV: Keeping it clean

In the latest edition of How We Roll in our RV, Jennifer and I answer a question from Sarah in Omaha, NE about how we clean it, inside and outside. Jennifer says she uses Clorox Wips inside, along with wood and leather cleaner. But has us both excited is this mazing KAYWOS (Klean Anything Without Streaking) cloth … It is great at removing bugs, road gunk, bird droppings, dirt and grime from the exterir of our RV. In fact, without soap or water, we in essence cleaned the whole RV with the cloth

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Top 5 RV Joys

On this Labor Day weekend, we’re in Southwest Georgia, after driving down from Michigan last week with some fun stops along the way. We plan to take our time going home, too, enjoying the freedom that our little Roadtrek eTrek RV gives us. After almost two years of this lifestyle, Jen and I are finding ourselves on the road more and more. We were at our Michigan sticks and bricks home for less than a week all August. We just turned 30,000 miles on the new eTrek we picked up in December! When w

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

 

Mammoth Cave National Park is a perfect RV destination

In central Kentucky, the Mammoth Cave National Park is not only a geological wonder that is unequaled in scope, it is also a great getaway for a long RV weekend, with a terrific campground, beautiful scenery and bike paths through a heavily forested area of gently rolling hills and the lush Green River valley. Located 15 minutes off I-65 at Cave City Exit (Exit 53) or Park City (Exit 48), the park encompasses 53,000 acres. But it is the 400 miles of caves beneath the surface that make it so dra

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Blown truck tires are a serious highway hazard

We were on I-69 a few miles north of I-94 in Michigan, headed off for a 10 day swing through Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. We came close to ending it on our first day. Bang! Like a small explosion, a tire on a huge semi-tractor rig blew, just as we were about to pass it. Instinctively, I braked and swerved left onto the shoulder, just as a huge chunk of tire came careening into my lane, right about where the windshield would have been if I hadn’t hit the brakes. In my rear view m

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

See the Movie! The Great Roadtreking Family Vacation of 2013

Two-and-a-half weeks of the Great Roadtreking Family Vacation of 2013 in two-and-a-half minutes – that’s the just-finished movie version (see below) that highlights the recent Roadtreking caravan that was our family vacation to Colorado this summer. We traveled in four vehicles: My Roadtrek eTrek pulling a 21-foot travel trailer, followed by a Roadtrek SS driven by my son and, following us all, my daughter and her family in an SUV. We made a great circle tour of Colorado. Here are some of the

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

RV Traveling with dogs

One of the main reasons people buy RVs is because they like to travel with their dogs. But the fact is, not all places are dog friendly. If you want to bring your pooch along, you need to make some adjustments. On our big Roadtreking Family Vacation of 2013 out west, we traveled with six adults, two kids and three dogs. You need to understand, our dogs are big dogs. Their heads are the size of most other RVers pets. The lightest among them is my Norwegian Elkhound, Tai. He weighs 70 pounds. N

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

 

Rocky Mountain High in the Rocky Mountain National Park

I now understand what John Denver meant by his song: I’ve now been Rocky Mountain High. And like Denver, who penned the song shortly after moving to Aspen to celebrate his love for his new state and the awe-inspiring mountains, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park made me want to sing, too. If I could only have caught my breath. For there, somewhere well above 12,000 feet, a quarter mile up a tundra bordered trail from an overlook off Trail Ridge Road , were three Bighorn Sheep, standing lik

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Glenwood Springs, Colo., and Colorado River camping

One of the things about traveling by RV that makes it so much fun is the serendipity, the unscheduled things that you just happen upon and, in the moment, take advantage of because, with an RV, you can. Such was the town of Glenwood Springs along I-70 180 miles west of Denver, home of the world’s largest hot springs pool. The hot mineral water has been drawing visitors from all over the world since 1888, when a resort and original spa officially opened for business. But even before that, the U

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Colorado National Monument: Not what you’d think

Quick now, when I say we visited the Colorado National Monument, what did you think? Unless you’ve been here and seen it, I bet you thought is was a statue of some sort, didn’t you? I know I did when my daughter, Wendy, first insisted we include it in our list of ”must sees” during our Great Roadtreking Family Vacation of 2013. The monument is not what we expected. It is nothing short of stupendously beautiful, a long stretch of spectacular rock monotliths cut deep into the sandstone and ev

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison

I bet many reading this have not heard of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. It’s probably not on many RVer’s bucket list. It should be. Invariably, it is compared to its more famous Big Brother, the Grand Canyon. But while the Grand Canyon is deeper (6,000 feet at its greatest depth) and longer (277 miles), the Black Canyon of the Gunnison is an amazing tourist attraction for RVers that is often overlooked because it isn’t surrounded by highly commercialized parks and campgrounds that cater t

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Getting high near Telluride, Colorado

Man we got high near Telluride! At 9,500 feet in elevation, the Matterhorn Campground just south of Telluride, CO was the highest place we’ve overnighted yet on this Great Roadtreking Family Vacation of 2013. Son-in-law, Dan, noticeably felt the effects of the altitude and all of us noticed a bit of dizzyness on exertion, especially when hiking. The Matterhorn Campground is just off Colorado Highway 145, about an hour and a half’s drive from our stay at Mesa Verde National Park. Run by the USD

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Towing a travel trailer with a Roadtrek

If I had known ahead of time how high some of these mountains out here in Colorado really were, I’m not sure I would have decided to tow a travel trailer on our Great Roadtreking Family Vacation of 2013. But now that I’m here and have climbed those super steep grades and come down them with brakes nearly smoking, I’m glad I did. I’m towing a 21-foot-long AmerLite travel trailer that we bought just for this trip from American RV in Grand Rapids, MI. It weighs 2,780 pounds. Empty. With supplies

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Why Colorado is such a great RV destination

If you like driving your RV, drive it in Colorado. Look at the photos. Around every corner is another great, sweeping vista. Today, we drove about 80 miles from Mesa Verde National park in the far southwest corner up Highway 145 to the Matterhorn Campground in the San Juan Mountains a dozen or so miles south of Telluride. From the semi-arid canyon country to alpine forests, the drive couldn’t be prettier. Even towing that new AmerLite Travel Trailer I bought from American RV in Grand Rapids,

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Making the Best of Mountain Monsoons

The people who live in southwest Colorado have big smiles on their faces these days. Us, camped for our last day in the knock-your-socks-off beautiful Mesa Verde National Forest before moving on to Telluride and a few more spots, not so much. t The locals are grinning because the risk of wildfires - which devastated the region last year – is way down now. We’re not quite as appreciative because our plans were altered by a day of mountain monsoons. We had planned to do some video and still be

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Mesa Verde National Park – Great for Boondocking

The Morefield Campground at Mesa Verde National Park is nestled into a scenic canyon some four and a half miles off US 160 from the park entrance. With 267 sites, it seldom fills up. That’s because all but 15 are for dry camping only and of the 15 with full hookups, none accomodate RVs over 45 feet in length. The Class A congestion that turns so many other campgrounds into “tinominium “complexes is refreshingly absent here. Each site has lots of space between its neighbors and native Gambel oak

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Phoneless in Colorado

Remember that new Samsung Galaxy 4S that I wrote about two weeks ago -- RVing and My New Smartphone -- Well, that smartphone did a dumb thing: It up and died on me. It won’t charge, won’t power up and is totally dead. And I’m in the middle of a two-week RV trip in the Rockies. I tried all the reset tricks, like removing the battery. Its certifiably dead. Yesterday was the first time in two decades that I was without a cell phone and … I survived. I had my calls forwarded to Jennifer Wendland

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Wolf Creek Pass and the Roadtrek eTrek

I have a whole new appreciation for my Roadtrek eTrek. It not only allows us to boondock, or dry camp, for days on end, it can haul us up some of the steepest mountains in Southwest Colorado… while hauling a travel trailer. Our little family caravan made our way south from Colorado Springs in some pretty dicey driving conditions. Heavy downpours, fog, slippery roads and high altitude. But it wasn’t until we hit US 160 near Wolf Creek Pass when I put the eTrek to the hauling test. Some 37 Miles

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

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