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Journalist Mike Wendland Travels North America in a Class B Motorhome

Entries in this blog

 

RVing Into the Heart of the Arctic Vortex in Michigan’s UP

I’m not going to lie to you. We didn’t sleep in the Roadtrek eTrek last night. We spent the night in a motel in Escanaba, at the far western end of the Lower Peninsula’s northern Lake Michigan shoreline. I suppose if I looked around long enough I would have found a place to camp. But all the state and federal forests where we normally boondock up here in the UP were all but inaccessible because of unplowed roads. Somebody told me there was an Indian casino a dozen miles out of town but they we

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Driving the Sprinter RV in Extreme Cold

What a winter this has been. The arctic vortex or whatever we call the cold air that has been making repeated appearances throughout the Upper Midwest has kept many an RVer housebound before the fireplace. Not us. We’re about to head up to Northern Minnesota along the Lake Superior northern shore where the temperature is expected to be -26F/-32C. I wrote about it earlier when the bitter cold forecast was causing our plans to waver. Many of you offered advice. Most said don’t go. Some said head

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

The Ghostly Mystery of the Paulding Light

Every place, it seems, has its own ghosts and mysteries. So it is just north of the tiny Upper Peninsula town of Watersmeet where, for generations, people have gathered at the end of a gravel road to watch some mystery lights. The lights appear nightly, year round near a crossroads community called Paulding. The first reported sightings were back in the 1960s and various investigations have been inconclusive, though a university team from a Michigan Technological University claimed the lights w

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

When is It Too Cold to RV?

I am beginning to have some serious doubts about the wisdom of taking our Roadtrek eTrek to the wilderness of Northern Minnesota next week to report on a dog sled marathon from Duluth to the Canadian border. The long term weather forecast predicts lows of -20F/-28C along the Northern Shore of Lake Superior, where we would be boondocking with no outside power. I had really looked forward to this but it seems foolhardy to do camp out under such extreme cold. We handled -5F/-20C last year in Febru

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Anticipation: A Month of Travel Awaits

Anticipation, they say, is half the fun. I think there’s a point there. Thinking, planning, dreaming and looking forward to the next trip is indeed pretty exciting. And as Jennifer and I look at the calendar, we have a lot of miles we’ll be traveling in some pretty diverse places. Here’s what’s on our Roadtreking road map for the next month: Northern Minnesota – A Jan. 23-29th winter camping trip to Duluth, MN via Michigan’s UP from, and then north to the Canadian border as we do reporting

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

 

Warming Up the RV When It’s -12F Outside

My Roadtrek has been encased in ice and snow for the better part of a week now with several days of subzero temperatures. Inside, shielded from the wind with the sun helping to mitigate the extreme outdoor temperature, it was about 15 degrees. So, I got to wondering, how long will it take to warm it up, if, indeed such a thing was possible? Slipping on my boots, a parka and my fuzzy warm hat with ear flaps, I donned my Google Glass and set out to video a first-person experiment. Everythin

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

What RVers Need to Know: Weather Lingo

All the winter storm advisories, alerts, watches and warnings that we’ve had lately can be confusing. The National Weather Service does a great job of disseminating weather predictions but sometimes it can be hard to know just what is what. So, for your future reference, here’s a weather lingo tutorial. Weather watches A watch means conditions are right for dangerous weather. In other words, a “watch” means watch out for what the weather could do, be ready to act. For events that come and

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Trying to Beat a Blizzard

We’ve been riding hard up I75 today, trying to get to our southeastern Michigan home before yet another big winter snowstorm dumps another predicted foot. All the way north, traffic has been unusually heavy in both directions. Lots of other northbounders are returning from long holiday breaks. The southbounders seem downright frantic, fleeing the cold. I’m fighting a strong urge not to turn around. Early afternoon, I did an mobile phone interview from the road with the Internet adviser show on

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

 

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

 

My New Roadtreking Tech Tool: A Phantom 2 Drone

I’ve messed around with some low end flying helicopters before and found them to be lots of fun. But I’ve just, gulp, added a big ticket item to my photographic and video arsenal of tools to be used while Roadtreking: A Phantom 2 drone. I’ll be using it for AVC, or aerial video cinematography. It’s really a flying machine, a quadricopter, with four opposing blades sending it up and our as far as a kilometer (3,240 feet) from where I’m standing with the controller. The unit I bought carries

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

My New Roadtreking Tech Tool: A Phantom 2 Drone

I’ve messed around with some low end flying helicopters before and found them to be lots of fun. But I’ve just, gulp, added a big ticket item to my photographic and video arsenal of tools to be used while Roadtreking: A Phantom 2 drone. I’ll be using it for AVC, or aerial video cinematography. It’s really a flying machine, a quadricopter, with four opposing blades sending it up and our as far as a kilometer (3,240 feet) from where I’m standing with the controller. The unit I bought carries

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

 

Cool App for RVers: Voyzee

Taking “selfies” and sharing photos and videos with our smartphones is worldwide phenomenon these days and there are lots of apps available to help you take them and share them. But one in particular stands out to me for RV use. It’s called Voyzee and as you can see in the accompanying video, it lets you select your photos and videos, edit them together, add music as a soundtrack and titles to your images. You can even do your own voiceovers. Then, you share it on social media. You can do all

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

We’re Not Full-timers, But We Sure are Close to It

I’ll say one thing about our traveling this past year: No dust is gathering under the RV. We received our new 2013 Roadtrek eTrek one year ago, in December 2012. When I pulled into the driveway Thursday night after returning from an RV trade show in Louisville, the odometer read 34,156 miles. We take off again today for a weekend trip to Western Michigan where we’ll visit Jeff and Aimee in Kalamazoo, our son and daughter-in-law. We’ll probably sleep in the Roadtrek in his driveway. We love ou

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Why Small Motorhomes are Leading the RV Industry Sales Boom

Type Bs and Cs, the smaller versions of the rapidly growing motorhome market, are leading the way in the dramatic turnaround in the RV industry thanks to the ever growing number of Baby Boomer retirees used to active, mobile lifestyles. I’ve spent much of the past week here at the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association’s annual trade show in Louisville, Ky., talking to leading recreational vehicle industry experts, trade association officials, manufacturers and dealers and all agreed that sa

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Sneak Peek at National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.

The annual Recreation Vehicle Industry Association trade show in Louisville is the big one for the RV industry, providing a sneak peek at what’s new aimed at dealers and industry insiders to help them get ready for the next year. Held at the Massive Kentucky Exposition Center, this year’s 51st edition of the show opens Tuesday. But Jennifer and I got in early for a sneak peek of our own. The RVIA expects more than 8,000 attendees this week. Over 300 acres of display space will be filled by 61

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

 

How We Roll in our RV – Putting on Make-up and Finding a Rental Roadtrek

In this edition of How We Roll in our RV, we tackle two completely different questions: Jennifer answers a reader named Karen, who wants to know how the Roadtrek eTrek we have works out for her putting on make-up. Jen shows the mirrors she uses along with a handy sticky pad called the Dash Stick that holds a magnifying mirror in place. My question came from a reader named Maggie, who asks about how to find a rental Roadtrek to try out, something Jen and I wish we could have done before we boug

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

A Roadtreking Happy Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S., a few weeks after our Canadian friends celebrated their nation’s holiday of the same name. A tradition at our family is that as we gather round the Thanksgiving dinner table – and yes, we always do turkey and all the trimmings – each one of us says what we are most thankful for this past year. Remember that old Irving Berlin song, “Count Your Blessings?” If we’re breathing and relatively upright – though football and ODing on turkey will probably render many of u

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Tis the Season Again – Be Careful Out There

It’s been a long and busy week with two big road trips this past week – one in the Roadtrek eTrek to Kitchener, Ontario, and a visit to the Roadtrek factory for some video work, the other to Pittsburgh, Pa., on another video project. While the Kitchener trip was blessed with great weather, the Pittsburgh trip led to some very white knuckle driving on the way back home when we unexpectedly encountered near white-out conditions from Lake Erie effect snow squalls just est of Cleveland. It was a g

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Adjusting the Cabinet Latches and Hinges on a Roadtrek

One of the most discussed how-to threads on the blog and our Facebook Group has to do with the latches and hinges used on the cabinets on new Roadtrek Sprinter models like the RS Adventurous, the eTrek and the CS Adventurous. The same push button latches are on some of the recent Chevy-based models like the 40th Anniversary Special. They are sold by a Montreal-based speciality hardware import firm called Richelieu. The issue is, depending on a lot of load and environmental factors, the latches

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

 

Solving the Problem of Bad Doggie Breath in the RV

We love to take our Norwegian Elkhound, Tai, with us when we go Roadtreking. Except for one thing. His breath. It stinks. Literally. In the confined space of an RV, dog breath can get pretty disgusting. We’ve tried chicken-flavored dog toothpaste and brushing his teeth. It works a little. But chicken flavored dog breath is almost as bad as regular dog breath. So it was with great interest that we just discovered something called Orapup – a dog breath brush. It comes with a couple bott

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

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