In this edition of “How We Roll,” Jennifer answers a question about budgeting and how much it costs us to take a typical week to 10-day trip. In these days of $4+ fuel, that’s the killer to any budget that involves mileage. Jennifer shares our actual costs and ways we try to save money.
Then I tackle a stinky question ... about odor control and how we’re trying something called the “Geo Method” that mixes water softener and household detergent in a gallon of water that is poured down the toilet
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.
RVers love their GPS units. Can you imagine traveling without one?
But do you know that many of today’s most popular units can be customized to show the special places you are most interested in? Called POIs – short for Points of Interest – there are so many lists of them available now that downloading them to your GPS unit can make travel much more efficient and convenient.
You need to have a stand alone GPS unit that can connect to your computer to be able to download POIs. Tom Tom, Magel
The Beartooth Highway is one of the more spectacular drives you can take when touring in your RV out West, comparable to the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. It’s a 1930s WPA project that opened access to the Yellowstone region from the northeast, and an impressive engineering accomplishment.
Fortunately for us, it’s still in good repair and easily traversable by all but the most anemic RVs – there are probably a few gas Class As that shouldn’t attempt it, but the rest of us can
It’s pretty amazing what a few hundred miles can do to the view. That was driven home to us today as we made our way across South Dakota, taking in the vast green prairie and its lush grasslands, the wind-carved canyons, ravines and hoodoos of the Badlands and the rolling thick pine forests of the Black Hills.
Our Roadtrek heads across South Dakota, en route to FMCA'S Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase in Gillette, Wyo.I’d send along a video but I’m barely able to get a cell signal from
Last night in Iowa, I was complaining abut the gnats.
Tonight in South Dakota, it’s the Frankenbugs.
The bugs have only gotten bigger as we’ve moved west
Honestly, I dont know what they are. Way bigger than a gnat. Some are beetles, or what we used to call June bugs. But there are so many and they are so big that as we drove down I-90 in South Dakota, they hit the windshield with an intensity that sometimes sounded like hail.
Jennifer said it was a bugout.
You can see from this photo and t
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
“Not all those who wander are lost,” so wrote J. R. R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings.
It is so true when it comes to RVing. We love to meander, to take roads less traveled, off the Interstate. But even the Interstates are fun, especially out of urban areas.
As Jennifer and I made our way west this week to attend the Family Motor Coach rally in Gillette, Wyo., we realized something about our wanderings:
We love to drive.
That is so weird for me to write because when I commuted to and from
Yellowstone National Park is one of our most favorite places to RV in all of North America. It draws us back and its sheer size and beauty is breathtaking.
We couldn’t resist sharing the wildflowers with you. I don’t know the names of them. But I do know they are stunningly beautiful. I think you’ll agree.
As macro as the place is, it is also meant to be seen on the micro level, close up.
So it was on our most recent trip, which just happened to correspond to the height of the spring wildflo
On June 22, 2013 – at sunset local time from coast to coast, across the U.S., into Canada, as far north as Alaska – 19 different Roadtrek owners took a photo of their Roadtrek.
Some were parked at campgrounds. Others in their driveway. Some drove to a special setting near their hometowns. I was at a rodeo in Cody, WY with mine.
The point was to get a photo of our Roadtrek motorhomes at sunset, wherever we were.
We’re thinking about doing this sort of thing a couple of times a year. Maybe for
It was a day of superlatives as our Roadtrek eTrek literally took us to the heights of RVing – climbing Pikes Peak.
Making it even better because it was our wedding anniversary and we were spending it with family in one of the continent’s most beautiful regions.
Pikes Peak surely is the most accessible big mountain on the continent, with a first rate road all the way up, despite some hairpin curves with little or no shoulder or guardrails. The only issue we had was on the descent, where at the
Now I know how Class A motorhome drivers live. They spend lots of time checking their mirrors, looking for places to park that are big enough to handle their length and…. visiting gas stations.
As we are towing a 21-foot travel trailer behind our Roadtrek on a family caravan vacation trip to the Rockies, I’ve found towing very easy and parking not so bad as long as I don’t try pulling in to fast-food places with my 30-foot-plus length.
Truthfully, I’ve quickly gotten used to towing and with 1,
One of the challenges of being on the road so much and doing a blog like this is being reliably connected to the Internet in a whole bunch of different places.
I’ve been a huge fan of the Verizon Mi-Fi card and the network’s strong nationwide footprint of 4G connectivity. It very reliably gives me near broadband speed as I travel. Sending video gobbles up a lot of bandwidth and almost all the videos I do for this blog were sent via the Verizon network.
But lately, I’ve been going to some reall
Remember that new Samsung Galaxy 4S that I wrote about two weeks ago -- RVing and My New Smartphone -- Well, that smartphone did a dumb thing: It up and died on me.
It won’t charge, won’t power up and is totally dead. And I’m in the middle of a two-week RV trip in the Rockies.
I tried all the reset tricks, like removing the battery. Its certifiably dead.
Yesterday was the first time in two decades that I was without a cell phone and … I survived.
I had my calls forwarded to Jennifer Wendland
The Morefield Campground at Mesa Verde National Park is nestled into a scenic canyon some four and a half miles off US 160 from the park entrance. With 267 sites, it seldom fills up. That’s because all but 15 are for dry camping only and of the 15 with full hookups, none accomodate RVs over 45 feet in length. The Class A congestion that turns so many other campgrounds into “tinominium “complexes is refreshingly absent here.
Each site has lots of space between its neighbors and native Gambel oak
One of the reasons so many RVers love Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is because of all the wildlife. And in recent years, the chance, albeit slim, of seeing a wolf has been at least a possibility that has made the place pretty exciting. For the introduction of the grey wolf into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is one of the greatest wildlife management success stories in generations. Where there were none just a couple of decades ago, there are now around 700.
On calm, clear nights, hearing the howls of
If you like driving your RV, drive it in Colorado.
Look at the photos.
Around every corner is another great, sweeping vista.
Today, we drove about 80 miles from Mesa Verde National park in the far southwest corner up Highway 145 to the Matterhorn Campground in the San Juan Mountains a dozen or so miles south of Telluride.
From the semi-arid canyon country to alpine forests, the drive couldn’t be prettier. Even towing that new AmerLite Travel Trailer I bought from American RV in Grand Rapids,
The people who live in southwest Colorado have big smiles on their faces these days.
Us, camped for our last day in the knock-your-socks-off beautiful Mesa Verde National Forest before moving on to Telluride and a few more spots, not so much. t
The locals are grinning because the risk of wildfires - which devastated the region last year – is way down now. We’re not quite as appreciative because our plans were altered by a day of mountain monsoons.
We had planned to do some video and still be
We RVers love to share modifications we’ve done to our vehicles to make they fit our personal style. So it is with delight that a share a series of photos that show some very unique customizations done by blog reader Alan Shafer from Rockford, Mich., to his Roadtrek 2006 RS Adventurous.
His photos are included. Here is his account:
As you can see by the pics, it had four captain’s chairs. I removed the rear chairs and started from there. I have detailed pics of the whole process. The good t
I’m a sucker for hats. Ball caps, cowboy hats, straw hats, watch caps and lately, Stormy Kromer hats.
We picked up our first Stormy Kromer hats while doing some winter camping last February in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Seemed like every Yooper we saw was wearing one. So Jennifer and I both got one, me a rakish black, Jennifer’s a demure grey with pink trim.
As we returned from that trip but kept wearing our hats, we met lots of other people who either had one, knew someone who had one or
One of the great things about having a Class B RV like our Roadtrek eTrek is that it also can function as a second vehicle.
I’ve used it to run errands, drive to and from meetings and work-related activities, church and – while Jennifer is shopping – a comfortable place to chill out while in the parking lot of the mall.
I’ve also used it for what I call mini-vacations, short day trip respites of a few hours to parks, lakeshores and the like. Sometimes, I’ve put the bike rack on, drove to a big
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
Inevitably, if you do a lot of wilderness camping in your RV, you’re going to find yourself in bear country. It’s a sad fact of life that there are camping fatalities and injuries every year because of bear attacks and, during peak season, it's rare that at least one bear every week is not put down by game officials somewhere in North America because it strayed into a campground, usually because of irresponsible humans who left food out.
When we were in Yellowstone National Park this summer, th
Who says small motorhomes are only made for small vacations?
In an effort to prove that the small motorhome lifestyle is very conductive to large family vacations, I’ll be turning a summer road trip into an RV caravan that my family and I are calling the “Great Roadtreking Family Vacation of 2013”
It’s set to kick off Saturday, August 3, 2013. The road trip will consist of six adults, two kids and three dogs and we will travel through Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, New
Every week we get at least one question about how we use technology while traveling. In this edition of How We Roll in our RV, you get to see the way I stay connected all the time. Updating this blog, our Facebook Page and Facebook Group, plus the newsletter, means I need a reliable connection to the Internet.
I’ve written before about my tech gear and the the MiFi card I use from Verizon Wireless to create a 4G network in my Roadtrek Class B motorhome. And a few weeks ago, I added a cell phone