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Journalist Mike Wendland Travels North America in a Class B Motorhome

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Campskunk: The Interview

Ever wondered how Campskunk got his name? Or how it is possible for he and his wife and their cat to life full-time in a 20-foot camper van? Then click on the Campskunk interview below. It's the latest in our series of live chats via Google Hangouts. We chat for an extended period about full-timing, life on the road and how to manage grocery shopping, doctor and dentist appointments and bill paying without a permanent address. I also ask Campskunk why he chose a Roadtrek for his home. I’

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

RV side Trip: Ride a Covered Wagon Aong the Oregon Trail

The Oregon Trail, and the ancillary trails that led from it, constituted the single greatest migration in America – as many as a half a million men, women and children who traveled by wagon and by foot west for two decades in the mid-19th Century. There are lots of books on the trail and lots of academic experts. But when it really comes to knowing the trail and experiencing it, there are few who can match Morris Carter. Morris Carter has not only built wagons that replicate those used by the

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Heading to Canada? Spend Time in Port Huron, Mich.

RVers heading to Canada via Port Huron, MI and the Blue Water Bridge may want to budget a few hours so pull off the freeway and take in the sights of this very busy port city. On a nice sunny day, the drive and park along the busy St. Clair River offers parking nose first, right smack dab on the riverbank. A Type B RV fits perfectly and the view of the fast-moving river is mesmerizing. The river is one of the busiest water routes in the Great Lakes, connecting Lake Huron just north of the Blue

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Apps for the Open Road

At FMCA's Family Reunion in Redmond last week, I presented a seminar called Apps for the Open Road in which I share some of my favorite apps and online resources for RVers. Now we RVers all have our favorite technology devices, with Android and Apple smartphones and tablets accounting for the vast majority. Most apps now come in versions for different platforms. Most, but not all. I am a pretty diehard Apple fan. Though I’ve used Android gizmos, I keep coming back to Apple, especially the iPho

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Photos: What it’s like at a big RV Rally

RV rallys can be small or spectacularly huge. FMA's 88th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase in Gillette Wyoming, in June 2013 was one of the big ones. There were more than 2,300 coaches, 5,000-plus RVers and several hundred other vendors, dealers and exhibitors. Gillette’s massive 1,100-acre CAM-PLEX exhibition center was jammed with motorhomes literally as far as you could see in any direction. Big rallies like this are not for everyone. Camping spaces are cramped, with rigs parked just a f

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

An RV Trip to Devils Tower

If you thought you saw Devils Tower in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, you haven’t seen Devils Tower. It’s much more impressive, even without the Hollywood special effects aliens. We made our way to the Devils Tower National Monument from Gillette, WY, about 55 miles away. It’s a great drive through lush and wide open Wyoming rangeland and prairie. There are two RV parks there, one from the National Parks Service, one from KOA. Both offer spectacular views of Devils Tower. But w

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

 

How We Roll in Our RV -- Episode #1

http://youtu.be/Q3mx8b5NsV4 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

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

An RV boom town in a Western Boom Town

Gillette, Wyoming, is a certified American boom town. It’s 30,000 residents have grown by a whopping 48% in the past decade as this western city has become the nation’s self-declared “energy capital of America,” thanks to its vast quantities of coal, oil and coal bed methane gas. But today, it just grew by thousands more as 2,500 motorhomes of all shapes and sizes rolled into the sprawling CAM-PLEX exhibition center just east of town. Add another 5,000-plus people to Gillette. Most of those her

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Shakedown cruise: Getting used to my new RV

We were deep in the piney woods of Southwest Georgia, a half mile off a red dirt road, parked in a small clearing not far from our deer blind. It was the last weekend of Georgia’s months-long deer season and Matthew, who just took up hunting as any good Southern boy does, had invited me down. Since we were heading to the big Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa Jan.16-21, the hunting trip made for a perfect stopover. We were seriously boondocking. There was no power or sewer hookups, no cable TV, n

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Five Tips to Find a Good RV Mechanic

I’m lucky. To tend to the mechanical work on my Roadtrek eTrek on the Sprinter chassis, I have two great technicians: Daryl and Josh. Plus Eric, a great service manager who always manages to squeeze me in. I was just in the other day after a check engine light came on. Wouldn’t you know, it was one of those erratic issues. When I drove it into Hoekstra Transportation in Troy, MI, I felt somewhat sheepish. The warning light had something to do with a sensor that we had replaced about 20,000 mile

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

The 10 Reasons why a Type B RV May Be Right for You

The RV life offers a lot of choices. From travel trailers, to fifth wheels to motorhomes, there is a vehicle to suit every style. And when it comes to motorhomes, there are essentially three choices – a big Type A (as long as 40+ feet, usually with multiple slides), a Type C (less than 30 but tall and wide, sometimes with slides) and a Type B, often called a camper van and anywhere from 20-25-feet or so in length. You may know them as Class A, C and B. The industry thought the term “Class” soun

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Details on the Travel Trailer We’ll Tow with Our Roadtrek

Lots of you have written asking for a show and tell and some details about the travel trailer we just just purchased to take on our “Great Roadtreking Family Vacation of 2013,” which starts Saturday. The video gives you a quick peek at what it looks like. http://youtu.be/kR7LVaLLR94 Jennifer and I love the 2012 Roadtrek eTrek. We’ve put well over 20,000 miles on it since we got it around the first of the year. But Class B motorhomes in and of themselves are not a family RV. While we could tak

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

How We Roll: Online bill paying, mail forwarding and shared driving

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

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

RV Boondocking and Elk Watching in the Pigeon River State Forest

Now this is boondocking. We drove 11 miles off the Interstate, down a forest road lined by brilliant yellows and red birches and oaks. Then we turned off that and went a mile and a half off down a washboard two-track, pulling into a state forest campground on a little circular lake aptly named Round Lake. We haven’t seen another car in miles. Its pouring rain. The heater is keeping out the 44-degree weather and we are toasty comfy in our Roadtrek eTrek, watching Game 4 of the American League Pl

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Men Don’t Talk in a Duck Blind

I didn’t think I’d make it down the narrow, twisting and very bumpy forest two-track that led to my current camping spot in the middle of a marsh on the edge of Rush Lake, a compact little frown-shaped lake a mile or so south of Lake Huron at the tip of the Michigan thumb. I’m surrounded by state land and cattails, a half dozen yards from where my buddy Jay launched our duck boat. Jay and I have been coming up here to hunt ducks and geese for years. Usually, we stay in a motel in Caseville, th

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

RV company converts Mercedes Sprinter to mobile medical van for Haiti

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. jonan

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Video project: The Making of a Roadtrek

I’m at the Roadtrek factory in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada for the next two weeks shooting and producing a film to be called The Making of a Roadtrek. This is a project I’ve wanted to do for two years and, with the company’s blessings, I am now be documenting the creation of a Roadtrek. We began filming Tuesday morning as a brand-new but stripped-down Mercedes Sprinter was driven into the factory for what will be about a 10-day build. The model I am following through the assembly process will b

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

KOA rebranding of campgrounds underway

Kampgrounds Of America’s rebranding of its campgrounds based on their features and amenities has kicked off with the Billings, Montana KOA Campground, which officially becomes the Billings KOA Holiday Campground. The change is the beginning of a new brand structure for the 51-year-old iconic North American camping company. Three new brand segments will better identify the specific offerings of KOA’s 485 campgrounds for the millions of North American camping families that use KOA each year. Ove

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

 

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

 

Perfect RV take-along: An inflatable kayak

http://youtu.be/ikwYoAmuQQk 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

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Stranded in Montana: It’s All Good

So, what’s your worse nightmare about an RV trip? Having a mechanical breakdown in the middle of, say, Montana, at the start of a weekend? Trust me, it’s not so bad. I can say this because it happened to us last weekend, just as we were leaving Glacier National Park and the Many Glacier area, about as remote a place as you can find, where even the cell phones don’t reach. This was the culprit … the sensor (black) at the right of the fuel rail. There is one inescapable thing about RV trave

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

How We Roll in our RV: Removing Pet Hair

Yesterday it was bad pet breath, today, readers want to know how we remove pet hair from our RV. Jennifer and I share how we clean p after our Norwegian Elkhound, Tai. It's not rocket science. The Halo Leather seats of our eTrek help. We throw a cover over them, then shake the hair out each day. As for the throw runs and the rest of the interior of the Roadtrek eTrek we travel in, Jen uses a collapsible broom, an old fashioned whisk brook and sometimes, good old duct tape. One thing we p

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Henry Ford's 1937 House Car

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

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

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