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Journalist Mike Wendland Travels North America in a Class B Motorhome

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Amazing story: the Wreck of the Steamship Arabia

Sometimes, as we Roadtrek across North America in our RV, we run into stories that are so amazing that you don’t know how to categorize them. So it was with us in downtown Kansas City when we toured one of the most fascinating museums we have ever seen. It’s a museum devoted to the Steamboat Arabia, which sunk after running into a tree snag in the muddy Missouri River on September 5, 1856 as it was carrying 200 tons of supplies destined for a string of frontier towns to the west. But like the

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Amazing story: the Wreck of the Steamship Arabia

Sometimes, as we Roadtrek across North America in our RV, we run into stories that are so amazing that you don’t know how to categorize them. So it was with us in downtown Kansas City when we toured one of the most fascinating museums we have ever seen. It’s a museum devoted to the Steamboat Arabia, which sunk after running into a tree snag in the muddy Missouri River on September 5, 1856 as it was carrying 200 tons of supplies destined for a string of frontier towns to the west. But like the

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Across the Wide Missouri on the Lewis and Clark Trail

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. The 100,0

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Finding Loving Dog Sitters While on an RV Trip

The surveys show well over 75% of all RVrs travel with dogs. In fact, many said because they want to take their pets with them is one of the major reasons they bought an RV in the first place. Jennifer and I are the same. We enjoy the company of our Norwegian Elkhound, Tai, and bring him with us on most of our trips. But there are times while we’re on the road that Tai doesn’t quite fit in. Take the long trip west that we’re now on. Tai will be great for most of it. But the first part, a we

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

 

Great Lakes Shoreline Tour – Southwest Michigan

Of all the eight states that touch the Great Lakes , Michigan – with 2,147 miles – has the most coastline. So as we rounded the bottom of Lake Michigan from the Indiana border and made our way into Southwest Michigan on the last leg of out 10-segment adventure, there was a sense of déjà vu about it all. Around us were beautiful blue waters, sand dunes, lush green agricultural fields and even a wine trail, much like we have seen to different degrees on all of the lake shorelines we’ve visited ov

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Great Lakes Shoreline Tour – Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana

The one thing we have learned on this Verizon Great Lakes Shoreline Roadtreking Tour is that very often, a surprise is literally around the next corner. So it was when we got off the car ferry in Manitowoc, WI, directly across Lake Michigan from Ludington, MI As we made a right turn out of the parking lot, we spotted a submarine. What on earth is a submarine doing in Manitowoc, WS? We had to find out. The sub is docked out front of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, a fascinating place dedicated t

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Great Lakes Shoreline Tour – Crossing Lake Michigan

Our Roadtrek Etrek now has its sea legs. Sometimes, to really appreciate something, you have to immerse yourself in it. So it was with Lake Michigan as we’ve been traveling around the Great Lakes Region these past several weeks on our Verizon Great Lakes Shoreline Roadtreking tour. No, we didn’t go swimming in it. The heavy ice up this past winter has left it and the other four Great lakes, abnormally cold. And normal is cold. This summer, it is really cold. So instead of getting wet in the

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Great Lakes Shoreline Tour – Lake Michigan’s Northern Shores

Michigan’s UP is hemmed in by three of the Great Lakes. Everyone knows about Superior and Huron but the lake on the UP’s southern border has some great camping and exploring opportunities, too. So. after three weeks of travel on our Verizon Great Lakes Roadtreking Shoreline Tour, we have now arrived at the fifth of the big lakes – Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan touches four states and is the only one of the Great Lakes that doesn’t share a coastline with Canada. We started out following it

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Great Lakes Shoreline Tour: Superior’s North Shore

Of all the traveling we’ve done on this 4,000-mile Verizon Great Lakes Roadtreking Shoreline Tour, Lake Superior’s North Shore in Wisconsin and Minnesota has provided the most diverse scenery to date. Up there, as we rounded the US-side of the lake and started heading north to Canada, especially north of Duluth, we were overwhelmed by the sheer size of the Big Lake the Ojibwe call Gitchegume. It is so big it has tides. That was the first thing we learned as we moved from the Porcupine Mou

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Great Lakes Shoreline Tour: Lake Superior’s UP Coastline

There’s a reason it’s called Superior. There is no other lake like it in the world. It is truly immense, so big that it contains more water that all four of the other Great Lakes combined. You’d need two more Lake Eries to equal the water in Superior. Superior is so big we will need two reports to cover it all for our Verizon Great Lakes Roadtreking Tour. In the video above, we head out from Saulte Ste Marie, Mich., where Superior flows into the St Mary’s River and, eventually all of the

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

How We Roll: Working Out on the Road

Jennifer has one requirement as we travel: We find a place to work out. She’s a fitness instructor by occupation, though lately, because of our near-fulltime traveling schedule, she’s had to cut back on the classes she teaches. But that doesn’t mean she cuts back on her fitness goals. We're on a very hectic Great Lakes Shoreline Tour that we’re doing for Verizon Wireles, so finding time to pull over and find a gym hasn’t happened as much as she’d like. I can usually tell when I better get her

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

The Great Lakes Shoreline Tour: Lake Huron’s Upper Peninsula Coast

Oh, boy. There goes the schedule. With 10 segments due on our Verizon Wireless Tour of the Great Lakes shoreline across eight states, I have a pretty ambitious travel schedule. We were doing all right until we crossed over the Big Mac Bridge into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula following the Lake Huron shoreline. But then we were seduced by the wide open spaces, the sparkling blue water, the big freighters and clean, fresh lake air. Instead of sticking to the schedule, we tossed the planning aside

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

RV Destination: Michigan’s Buggy Bois Blanc Island

Scratch another place off my bucket list: Bois Blanc Island, in the middle of Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac, half way between the Upper Peninsula and the Lower. As we were rounding the Lake Huron shoreline of the Michigan Mitt and driving through the northeastern town of Cheboygan on our Verizon Great Lakes Shoreline Tour, we saw a sign that directed us to the ferry dock. The Straits of Mackinac were right off our righthand side as we made our way north on US 23 but this ferry was not for

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Using Apps to Track and Share Your RV Travel

Summer travel and vacation is upon us and as many of us hit the road, we’re sharing our travel with friends and families. Many of you know I also am a techology correspondent for the 215 NBC-TV Newschannel affiliate stations across the country. I do a weekly “PC MIke” Tech feature for the network and, these days, I am usually doing it from the back of my Roadtrek Etrek as we travel the country. In this week’s report, I featured three apps and Internet services that can map and track your trave

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Shhh! Michigan’s Sunrise Side is the Best-kept Secret of the Great Lakes

Michigan’s Sunrise Side is one of the best-kept secrets in the Great Lakes. The state’s west coast Lake Michigan PR machine has done a better job of promoting the beaches and trendy little communities there while the Lake Huron coast along the state’s east coast has stayed purposefully low-keyed. And that has been just fine with the locals and the sharp-eyed tourists who love the area. That means there are no traffic jams. Prices for food, lodging and the like are usually more affordable than

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

The Tech I Use on the Great Lakes Tour

Lots of people have asked how I’m filing my Great Lakes Shoreline Tour reports and what tech gear I have on our Roadtrek Etrek. It was raining yesterday and we were stuck in cam so I did a short little video to show some of the gear I'm using. I’ll do more and show the drone and some other gadgets and gizmos in future reports, but right now, here’s what was handy as I was shooting the report. The Wilson Sleek cell phone booster I use comes with a small magnetic mount antenna, a couple of

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

The Great Lakes Shoreline Tour: Lakes Ontario and Erie

I always knew I was lucky to live in Michigan, the very heart of the Great Lakes. But until I started this drive along the shoreline of all five Great Lakes, I didn’t realize how fortunate I truly am to call this area home. I also didn’t realize how interconnected they are. From a hydrological standpoint, they are all intermingled and pretty much part of one system. The water that passes the rocky northern Superior shore in Minnesota eventually makes its way to the sandy bluffs of Lake Ontario

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Thinking of a Type B RV? Here Are the Questions You Should Ask

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

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Of Rainy Days and Meandering

“Not all those who wander are lost." -- J. R. R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings. We love that quote because we love to meander, to take roads less traveled, off the Interstate. And as we are starting our Great Lakes Shoreline Tour that will take us 3,500 miles across eight states along the shorelines of all five Great Lakes, we are reminded again about the absolute joy of slow exploration. We’ve tried to explain it to non-RV people. Their eyes sort of glaze over. But you understand, don’t

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

The Great Lakes Roadtreking Shoreline Tour

We’re about to set off on a 3,500-mile trip that will take us farther than if we drove across country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. And although we till visit eight states, we will never really leave the Midwest. We’ll be driving much of the U.S. shorelines that touches the five Great Lakes. I’ve wanted to do this trip for years. ow, thanks to Verizon Wireless and in partnership with Pure Michigan, we’re about to set off, starting from the Lake Ontario shoreline near Otswego, NY, and the

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Cape Cod: Where All of America is Behind You

I confess to being a bit of a snob about the east. My journalist days often took me up and down the eastern seaboard, mostly to big cities where crime, decay, overcrowded neighborhoods and a general malaise of discontent seemed to be the chief characteristic of the people and places. Such is the danger of journalism. Seeing bad news makes you skeptical. Seeing too much bad news makes you a cynic. And being cynical is not a good way to live. So it’s good to visit the east now in an RV, where we

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

The Making of a Roadtrek: The Movie

If any of you have been to the Roadtrek factory in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada for a tour, you would have an idea of what it takes to build a Roadtrek, how busy the manufacturing floor is and how passionate everyone there is about the product. For those who have not been able to make the trip (and we highly recommend that you do), we are happy to present a video tour for you on what it takes to build the #1 selling Class B Motorhome in North America. Jennifer and I spent two weeks in Kitch

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

 

Finding Free Places to Overnight in Your RV

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

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

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