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About this blog

Journalist Mike Wendland Travels North America in a Class B Motorhome

Entries in this blog

 

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

 

An RV gathering of friends

Please do not call it a rally. There was no itinerary. No organized programs. And no nametags. We all made our own reservations and the only coordinated planning was letting the word out on our Roadtreking Facebook Group that a bunch of us were going to meet on a particular weekend at a particular campground in Michigan. It was more fun than any of us expected and a great example that great RVing times can be spontaneous and as easy as just showing up and getting together. In all 10 coaches

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Understanding Data Usage and the MiFi Data Card

Staying in touch while RVing is a challenge we all face. And a key tool many of us end up acquiring is a data card that lets us set up our own Wi-Fi networks to connect our various tablets and computers to the Internet. True, many of today’s tablets and smartphones have a feature that will let you do that without the need for special card. But a special data card adds, in my view, more convenience. It can be plugged in and kept somewhere in the RV and be always charged, always ready and not pul

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

 

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

 

Apps and Websites to Help You Find the Perfect Boondocking Spot

Ah ... the Sound of Silence. There really is a sound to it, you know. On a boondocking trip deep in the Michigan woods in Ogemaw County, we heard it good. There was the crackle of our campfire. A hoot of a distant owl. The yips of a pack of coyotes somewhere far to the west. The gurgle of the Rifle River moving over a stretch of rocks just downstream from where we were camped. The whooshing sound of wind whipping through a stand of pine. And on that clear night, the sound of boondocking silen

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Why Roadtreking is Better Than Air Travel

I hate flying. In my past life as a journalist, I was frequently in the air, flying here or there for this story or that. I grew to dread air travel. But now that I travel in an RV, I hate flying even more. I write this from Albany, GA, where we are visiting family. It’s a quick visit, to watch the grandsons play football and to attend grandparent’s day at the youngest one’s school. We’re flying on gift tickets, down here just for the weekend and then back to Michigan. This is the first air

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

As the RVing Days Dwindle Down

The temperature outside my Roadtrek in the driveway of our Michigan home was 34 degrees this morning. That’s the coldest yet this season and a reminder that soon, there will be no putting off the fact that it needs to be winterized. We still have a couple of long weekend trips planned and I am hoping that I can do them without pushing antifreeze down all the pipes. It’s funny, really, because even when the RV is winterized, there’s no reason I can’t use it. You just carry drinking water and us

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

The RVer's Biggest Danger: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Planning for the Next RV Year

Jennifer and I went to the local office supply store over the weekend and picked up a new planning calendar for 2014. It’s one of those big, poster-sized ones with the entire year laid out in neat little blocks for each day of each month. It’s erasable – a good thing with our propensity for last minute trips and change of plans – and right now, it’s blank. But we’re about to start filling it in. We’ve gone through and listed all the places we want to go, the things we want to see, the people we

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

My RV Has Turned Into an Igloo

This is only temporary. That’s what I keep telling myself when I look out in in my snowy Michigan driveway and instead of seeing our Roadtrek eTrek out there, we only see an igloo. Look for yourself at the accompanying photos, below. We got our first big snow over the weekend and while it indeed is looking a lot like Christmas, it just seems, well, wrong, to see the RV covered under all that white stuff. I snowblowed the driveway and then took some photos before I removed as much of the snow

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Yellowstone Supervolcano is Not About to Blow, Says Park Service

Well, at least it’s not going to erupt anytime soon. Probably. This has been a strange year at Yellowstone National Park, which indeed sits atop a supervolcano. Two months ago, extreme heat from the thermal features below caused oil to bubble on a road surface and damage a 3.3-mile loop road that takes visitors past White Dome Geyser, Great Fountain Geyser and Firehole Lake. A couple months before that, some yahoo posted a video on YouTube purportedly showing bison in the park supposedly evac

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

RVers' Health Risk: Sitting Disease

If you’re like me and the pounds have been hard to get off lately, maybe you have sitting disease. Yes, there really is such an disease. And it’s reached epidemic proportions, linked to all sorts of other ailments, the first and foremost of which is obesity. Blame it on our sedentary lifestyle. Our desk-bound working days. Our computer and Internet use. TV watching But the fact is, the average American these days sits — at a desk, in the car or RV, on a couch – eight to 10 hours every day. Sit

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Our 2014 Roadtreking Goals

Happy New Year! Like many we’ve been reflecting a lot on the places we’ve been and the people we met in 2013. We’ve even drawn up a tentative travel schedule of our planned travel destinations for the new year. But I’ve also come up with some new goals, above and beyond the specifics of where and when we’ll go. I call it my Roadtreking self improvement list. Here are the things I want to learn or do better with in 2014: 1) Stop, look and listen more – Last year was a crazy year, travel wise

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

RV Destination: Southwest Georgia

We visit Southwest Georgia about every two months, and have been for about ten years now. The big attraction for us is that thus is where our son and his family live but besides that, we have found lots to recommend here to RVers looking for a great place to get away from the RV travel routine and connect with the true deep south. In the winter, the sun shines most of the time and daytime temps in the 60s are pretty normal. Sometimes even in the 70s. They have to start cutting the grass in Marc

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Yes, You Can Happily Boondock at 21 Below!

We just hit the road after a long weekend boondocking in our Roadtrek eTrek in the wilderness of northeast Minnesota, spending the weekend in it miles from civilization when the overnight temperature dropped to -21F/-29C. Call us Ice Station eTrek. Those frigid temperatures in the woods were the ambient, real temperature. But we had a very stiff northwestern wind that not only swirled up snow drifts all around s but made for wind chill readings of -50F/-45C. We could not have been more comfor

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

RVing to Gobbler’s Knob for Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney

Okay. Do not panic. So the groundhog saw his shadow here atop Gobblers Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa. The rodent, if you check the history books, has been right just 39 percent of the time since this little community in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains . But that didn’t stop tens of thousands of people from all across the U.S. from traveling here, many in RVs, like us. While the campgrounds are closed, the local Walmart welcomed them. For us in our Roadtrek eTrek Class B, wherever we stopped

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Potholes: Worst Year Rver

It’s not just the snow and ice that have been setting records in northern states and provinces this winter: So have potholes. Before setting off on a long trip south yesterday, I stopped by my local tire shop to check the air in my Roadtrek eTrek’s tires. While doing so, I noted how busy the place was. The guy behind the counter beckoned me to take a peek in the garage, where a huge pile of rims were taking up a corner of the workspace. “Potholes,” he said. “We’ve never seen so much damage,” h

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

RVing's Dirty Little Secret: Filthy Campgrounds

People wonder why we prefer boondocking over campgrounds. Here’s why: Too many campgrounds are dirty. Not all. But way too many. In the bathrooms, there are almost always spiders, bugs, things in the toilets and stalls that disgust you, broken windows, mold, rusty pipes, grimy sinks. In Mississippi earlier this year, one of the showers I used this year had a cracked floor. When you stepped on it, blank gunk seeped out around your feet. In Missouri, a long broken and unrepaired window had the

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

If Headed to Florida, Better Learn Pickleball

Actually, amend that headline. Pickleball is everywhere. In fact, its leading proponents claim it is the fastest-growing sport in North America,.though verifying that is not easy to do. But there is no doubt that the sport, invented in 1965, is now hugely popular, particularly among retirees and in campgrounds, RV resorts, retirement communities and the like across Florida and the Sunbelt. Further, many snowbrird return to their northern homes each spring and bring their love of the game back w

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Amateur Radio and the RVer

Thanks to the Internet and email, text messaging and Facebook updates, it’s easy to stay in touch with friends and family while traveling. But a very active group of RVers takes such connectivity to a whole new level, out-Interneting even the Internet when it comes to being able to communicate with the world. They take their own radio stations with them. They are members of the Amateur Radio Chapter of the Family Motorcoach Association and their radio stations are ham radio transceivers that

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

To Plant a Garden, or Not

Jennifer and I love watching things grow, planting them, tending to them and then – with our vegetable garden – picking them when they are fresh and ripe and enjoying them. We’ve planted a garden for many ears but the last two years, because of our travel schedule, we’ve returned home from RV trips to find it mostly shriveled up from lack of water or, unpicked, gone to seed. Nevertheless, there we were this week, getting the vegetable beds ready again, hoeing, weeding, improving the soil and p

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

RV Destination: New York’s Letchworth State Park

One of the nicest state parks we’ve found anywhere in the country is the 14,000 acre Letchworth State Park, 35 miles southwest of Rochester and about 60 miles south of Buffalo. Often dubbed as “the Grand Canyon of the East,” Letchworth offers easily accessible and spectacular views of a deep, 600-foot gorge carved out of the limestone and sandstone shale by the Genesee River. Suggested to us as we were making our way from Michigan to Cape Cod by Roadtreking regular W. Dan Hulchanski, Jennifer a

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

RV Boondocking in Non-traditional Ways

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

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Spritzing up your RV with Lavender at the Tumalo Lavender Farm

Lavender. Just the word brings olfactory recall, doesn’t it? Such a pleasant smell, such a pleasant flower. While we were RVing in the Pacific Northwest, I saw a notice in a local publication about a lavender farm that invited visitors. Before Mike could say “where are we headed today?”, I had the GPS programmed. The Tumalo Lavender Farm is located just outside of Bend, Ore., and is a 10-acre garden filled with the sweet fragrance of 10,000 mature plants, all grown organically, pollinated by s

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

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