Upgrading your RV to solar power
Advances in power management and solar power have made big news in the RV world of late, especially with the new eTrek and CS-Adventurous models built on the Mercedes Sprinter chasis by Roadtrek Motorhomes. New and efficient power control and management systems have put these advanced new Class B motorhomes on many a wish list [...]
Roadtreking - A Journalist takes up the RV lifestyle - People and Places Encountered on the Open Road
RVers think of the Mercedes Sprinter van as a great motorhome. Indeed, the resurgence of the RV industry and the boom in Class B sales can largely be traced to the popularity of Sprinter-based RVs, like those sold by Roadtrek and other RV makers.
But for the past several months in in the service bays of American RV in Grand Rapids, MI, a stripped down Sprinter van has been converted into something much more: A mobile medical suite to be sent to Haiti as part of a church mission project.
Here’s another edition of “How We Roll,” answering RV questions from readers about our travels in our Class B motorhome.
In this episode, we talk about how to do online bill paying and mail forwarding.
I mention in particular the mail forwarding service of the Family Motor Coach Association. You can get details here.
We also answer a question about sharing the driving responsibilities, something we strongly suggest so one person doesn’t have to do all the mileage alone.
We post a new “How We
Florida’s panhandle is a special place. And the area from Panama on the East on to the Alabama border on the west may be the most special. It’s called the Emerald Coast, named after the stunning color of the Gulf of Mexico. Check out our video to see why we were so taken with this area.
Our base for this trip was the new Destin West RV Resort, located on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach.
We lucked out with an awesome spot, yards away from the 27-mile long Choc
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
We spent much of the weekend in Georgia at a soccer tournament one of my grandsons was playing in and found yet another use for our Roadtrek eTrek – as a place for the younger brothers and their friends to hang out in.
It wasn’t planned. They just sort of took it over once they discovered how much fun it was. And between games, I became babysitter-in-chief.
We went through four bags of popcorn. Pretty much a case of bottled water.
We charged iPods and iPads and watched TV and the DVD. Oh yeah
We’re on a we’re-so-tired-of-winter search for spring.
It has not been easy. It took almost 800 miles, heading straight down I-75 from our Michigan home.
At the Wal-Mart parking lot where we spent the first night in Findlay, Ohio, we parked next to a pile of snow. The overnight temps were in the upper 20s. This was our first time at a Wal-Mart. Except for a couple of big trucks, we were pretty much alone. It was not particularly scenic and there was lots of traffic noise. “You don’t need an al
A horrific, fiery crash along I-65 in Kentucky that claimed six lives has focused new attention on the need to be able to break through automotive safety glass to rescue people trapped in smashed cars.
The six people who died were in an SUV from Marion, Wis., traveling north near Glendale. The vehicle caught fire after it was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer.
Lynn and Roger Brucker, from Dayton, Ohio, were driving home in their Roadtrek van when the crash occurred behind them. They had slowed b
The hardest thing about finding a spot to camp in the wintertime in the north is finding an open campground. As we toured Michigan's beautiful snow covered Upper Peninsula in mid-February looking for a place to spend the night, all we found were Wal-Mart and Indian casino parking lots.
Sorry, but those kind of environments are not our idea of camping. All the regular campgrounds we passed were closed and unplowed. The unplowed part is a big deal. Because on the leve
We’re just back from a 1,100 mile RV trip that took us across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – in the wintertime.
We headquartered our trip in Marquette, where we got a chance to take in all the excitement around the annual UP200 dog sled race, one of the nation’s premier such events, a qualifying race for Alaska’s famed Iditarod. I wrote about that the other day.
We really fell in love with Marquette, a city of about 21,000 in the north central UP, right on the shores of Lake Superior. The town
MARQUETTE, MI – Winter in Michigan's Upper Peninsula is not for warm weather sissies. In the town of Marquette, hard on the shore of Lake Superior, nearly 149 inches of snow falls each winter. That works out to nearly 12 and-a-half feet of snow.
Up here, from late October to mid April, snowmobiles are seemingly as common as trucks. But all that snow also enables another form of transportation: Dog sleds.
Each February, Marquette hosts one of the nation's premier dog sled races, the UP200, a
It's a long way to Michigan's UP -- 450 miles from my house north of Detroit to Marquette, our destination for the big UP200 dog sled race this weekend. For me, besides the fun of this big event – a qualifier race for Alaska’s famed Idiatrod – it was also a chance to test out the new Roadtrek eTrek in the winter.
One thing we learned. Plan on extra time at rest stops. Once people see the eTrek, they ask questions. And want a tour. At the Linwood Rest Stop, two broth
Tarry gunk still evident on Gulf beaches
More than two and a half years after the disastrous Deepwater oil spill by BP, tarry, gunky deposits of what appears to be dried oil are still all too evident on stretches of Northwest Florida gulfshore beaches.
“This is atrocious,” reports RT Campskunk, a fulltiming RVer in a Roadtrek 190 from St. George Island, Florida. “It’s just a shame. These were the best beaches in the country. I was used to tar on the beaches out in Texas and Louisiana where all
We're in the midst of prime time for RV shows.
Starting in January and running until early March, dozens of RV shows are staged in cities across the country. Jennifer and I have attended a slew of them this year as we, along with tens of thousands of other RVers, await warmer weather.
One thing you can expect to find at just about any RV show – besides motorhomes, travel-trailers, fifth-wheels and lots of salespeople to haggle with -- are exhibitors like campground operators, RV accessory make
I love kayaking. But with a Class B campervan-style RV, there just isn’t enough storage room to take one along. At least that’s what I thought until I discovered the Sea Eagle inflatable Kayak.
Facebook friends on our Roadtreking page alerted me to it and I’m planning to order one before spring. The one I’m looking at is the SeaEagle 330. It weighs just 26 lbs. and packs down small enough to fit in the “basement” of my Roadtrek Sprinter van, the storage space under
This could be the first Type B motorhome ever Henry Fords 1937 House Car.
They supposedly only build a handful of these each year. This one is on a 1937 Ford Pickup frame and was found in a private garage in Minnesota in the summer of 2001 with only 19,000 miles on it.
A collector named Graham Thickins restored it to original and drivable condition.
Check out this story by Thickins to see lots of photos and get the details but it had an all wood lined interior with a metal skin wrapped aro
RV Repair and Maintenance Manual 4th Edition
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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
John and Terry O’Brien love old travel trailers.
From their Silver Springs, FL home, the New York transplants did one up in the style of the Fifties a couple of years ago. It was so unique that the Travel Channel saw it at an RV show they were covering, did a feature on it and as a result, John received an offer he couldn’t refuse.
So when they saw an old beat up old 1987 16-foot Casita travel trailer in a junkyard not long afterwards, they knew it was time for another restoration project.
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.
I am a huge fan of the Webasto Dual Top RHA 100 diesel-powered combined air and water heater for the Roadtrek eTrek and, as an option, on other Roadtrek models.
In terms of heat, it both heats up the inside of the coach and provides hot domestic water. The entire unit fits under the vehicle chassis, saving precious space inside. A small fuel line runs under the coach from the Mercedes engine up front to the Dual Top, mounted under the rear of the vehicle. Heat is pushed out through two air out
Time to re-winterize
It got down to 21 degrees as we spent the night in Kentucky on the way back to Michigan from a brief January visit to Florida and some southern states.
Guess it’s time to find some pink stuff and re-winterize. Sigh.
That warmer weather down south sure was nice.
Tai loved being out in the cold night air with the gusto that only a double coated Norwegian Elkhound can exhibit. I had trouble getting him to come inside for the night.
We slept comfortably in our Roadtrek eTre
Our favorite features on 2013 model Type B motorhomes
We spent most of the past week touring the 2013 edition of the Florida RV Supershow, arguably the nation’s biggest and best RV shows.
Some 1,100 RVs spread out over 16 acres were on display this year from just about every RV manufacturer in North America.
Since we concentrate our coverage on small motorhomes and Type B coaches in particular, we had lots of time to inspect the 2013 models from the leading Type B manufacturers.
Great West Vans Revamps 2013 Legend Lineup under New Ownership
Canadian Type B RV maker Great West Vans was bought out last year by one of their suppliers and the new owner, Dave DeBraga, has big plans for the company’s Legend brand of Mercedes Sprinter models.
DeBraga, the owner and new President of Great West Vans, was all over the Florida RV Supershow in Tampa in January, meeting customers and sharing his excitement for the luxury Legend series of Sprinters sold by the company, now based in
Stroller Dogs: RVers love their dogs
Find a group of RVers and you’ll find dogs.
And you won’t have to look too hard to find some very pampered pooches.
Long after many RVers have raised their own families, many are back pushing strollers. This time, instead of their own babies or grandkids, they’re pushing strollers with their new babies – dogs.
RV shows draw huge crowds. From the inside exhibition space to the outdoor displays, it can get very congested at times and if you are accompanied