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About this blog

Journalist Mike Wendland Travels North America in a Class B Motorhome

Entries in this blog

 

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

 

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

 

Crossing the Mackinac Bridge in an RV

Spanning the two Michigan peninsulas is the Mackinac Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere. It is always a highlight of our trips to the Upper Peninsula. When you say “Big Mac” to a Michigander, the bridge is what they think of, not the hamburger. Counting the approaches, the bridge is five miles long. What makes it so interesting is the very nature of its construction. A suspension bridge is designed to move to accommodate wind. And high above the Straits of Mack

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

 

Why We Boondock

It sounds like it’s raining. But it’s not. It’s the sound of acorns dropping from the oak trees all around us as we boondock in the middle of the woods overlooking the Rifle River in northern Michigan’s Ogemaw County. This is not a particularly pretty time of the year. The beautiful fall leaves have turned brown and now cover the ground. Only the oaks, with their shriveled up leaves and their dropping acorns, still have a covering. Squirrels are running all over gathering the bounty. Deer, too

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

IPhone 6 Plus is Now My Main Mobile Device

That’s my old iPhone 5 on the left. The new gigantic iPhone 6 Plus on the right. For as 10 million other people have done over the past two weeks, I’ve upgraded to the new and very large iPhone 6 Plus. It’s massive 5.5-inch size was a big reason. I spend a lot of time online. Too much, in fact. And my eyes and my thumbs appreciate the extra real estate the new iPhone provides. The first thing I did after transferring all my apps and settings over to the new phone from iCloud (a process that

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Great West Vans Revamps 2013 Legend Lineup under New Ownership

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

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Kentucky's Bourbon Trail: A great RV tour

In the heart of central Kentucky – not far from it’s famed bluegrass country – is an area known as the Bourbon Trail, a confluence of seven distilleries that produce the bulk of the world’s Bourbon. Formally designated by Congress as “America’s Official Native Spirit.” The distilleries offer tours and tastings and offer a perfect RV getaway. http://youtu.be/W_wm129Uk30 Bourbon has a rich history and proud tradition that dates back to the late 1700s. For more than two centuries, no family has

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Questions About Winterizing an RV

We’ve been talking all week about winterizing our RVs. Yes, the time has come .... Those living in the northern states and those who live where the temperatures drop below freezing, can’t put it off much longer. But people still have a lot of questions and as we wrap up our winterizing series, Jennifer and I answer some reader questions about topics that haven’t yet been addressed. In this edition of How We Roll in our RV, we talk about the need to re-winterize when folks head south and then

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Checking Off the RV Travel Bucket List

I’m about to check off a couple more items from our RV travel bucket list, trips that will take us coast to coast on a summer travel schedule that will have us going from Cape Cod to the Oregon coast, with numerous stops and detours along the way. The Cape Cod trip is from June 8-11th as we attend a sold-out Roadtrek International chapter rally of the Family Motorcoach Association that will be held in Brewster, MA. Jennifer and I will meet and visit with over 100 other Roadtrek owners, sharing

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

 

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

 

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

 

Winterized again: I love my RV's Webasto heater

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

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Decorating the RV for Christmas

Every year since we were married more than 40 years ago, Jennifer and I have made our way to the little town of Frankenmuth, Mich., at the base of the Michigan Mitt’s Thumb region where we pay a visit to Bronner’s – the world’s largest Christmas store. Doubtless you’ve seen the signs along the interstates, more than 60 of them all over the country, inviting tourists to make the drive. It’s a huge store, over seven acres in size. And it’s crowded, especially at this time of the year. Over the t

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Climbing Pikes Peak in an RV

I’m often asked about the favorite things we’ve done in our Roadtrek eTrek. At the top of my list is mountain climbing. We used it to drive to the top of Pikes Peak, some 14,114 feet high. It’s a long haul up and when we entered the road that would take us to the top off Highway 24 west of Colorado Springs, we had to have the ranger help us drive around a barrier meant to keep larger vehicles from attempting the climb. At first, they tried to wave us off. Then they saw that our Roadtrek RV was

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

New eco-friendly, all electric eTrek Class B Motorhome now available

Roadtrek Motorhome’s new e-Trek is now showing up in dealer showrooms across North America and I just may be the very first consumer to take possession. Or so Chad Neff of American RV in Grand Rapids told me as he handed over the keys to Jennifer and I. Tai, our Norwegian Elkhound, had already ensconced himself inside. My trek for the eTrek began in September when I went to the Roadtrek factory in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada to do a video news story on the new model, built on the Mercedes Spr

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

 

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

 

How to Unclutter your RV

We have discovered he one all important guiding principle that more than anything determines the success or failure of an RV trip: There needs to be a place for everything and everything should be in its place. When we first began our RV travels, we took everything. Sometimes two of everything. Both Jennifer and I were so paranoid that we left something behind that we overcompensated. Our little 24 foot Class B RV looked like a scene out of that Hoarders reality TV show, you know, the one where

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

New all-season Roadtrek Popular 190 Anniversary Edition Revealed

Roadtrek Motorhomes has released a new all-season, solar-powered 40th Anniversary edition of it’s 190 Popular coach that features a redesigned, higher interior and a stunning Mocha Steel tri-coat paint job that looks like diamonds have been embedded into the finish. Roadtrek President Jim Hammill says the new model, revealed to attendees at the corporate anniversary rally in Branson, MO, continues a trend towards green energy use and extended dry camping through solar power. Pricing information

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

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