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Journalist Mike Wendland Travels North America in a Class B Motorhome

Entries in this blog

 

Total Off-grid Solar-powered RV

I came across this interesting You Tube video from a guy who calls himself “Master Luke.” It shows a 24-foot cargo trailer that he made into a totally solar-powered RV. The entire roof of the trailer is covered with solar panels - 3,130 watts worth of them. The Roadtrek eTrek we drive has a 5,000-watt inverter, a diesel generator and about 250 watts of solar power. But I reckon that we can get more practical RVing use out of our rig than he can with his. That diesel generator charges those ba

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

 

Do RVs Dream?

It sits out there in the driveway with the season’s first snow flurries dusting its windshield as the last of the leaves fall from the trees. Inside the RV, there’s the faint but sweet smell of the antifreeze I ran through the plumbing last week. The doors to the refrigerator and the freezer are open to air out. The food and coffee in the storage cupboards are emptied. Only a Roadtreking sweatshirt and a Family Motorcoach Association nylon jacket hang in the once crowded wardrobe. My wide brim

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Winterizing an RV: The Easy Way

I know we’ve talked a lot about winterizing over the past few weeks. But here’s one more report, this one documenting my do-it-yourself winterizing of my Roadtrek eTrek. For the past two years, I’ve paid over $100 to have it winterized by RV service dealers. From the blog and our Facebook page, readers have told me that it’s no big deal and it it is something that even an unhandy handyman like me can do. So this year, I decided to see take their advice and do my own winterizing. I’ve rea

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

How We Roll in Our RV: Air Conditioning and Unattended Pets

It can heat up very fast inside an RV and in this edition of How We Roll in our RV, Jennifer and I answer a question from a reader named Danielle who asks: “I’m thinking about taking my freelance writing business on the road in a small motorhome, and I have a question. I’ll be bringing my dog with me and I’m concerned about leaving her in the RV while running errands. Can a dog overheat in a motorhome as they can in a car? Can the A/C run off the battery while sitting in a parking lot, or would

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Apps to Stay in Touch with Family Members

One of the biggest challenges for couples and families these days is staying connected…and keeping busy and often confusing schedules coordinated. When you throw in an RV and lots of traveling, life can really get complicated. That’s where smartphone technology can really help. I have some great apps I juts shared with my NBC-TV audience this week that will help you stay in touch with your spouse and other family members and bring some organization to those busy schedules. One of the handiest

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

 

How We Roll in Our RV – Bedding Storage

One of the most asked questions Jennifer and I receive from readers deals with how we sleep in our Roadtrek eTrek Class B motorthome. Our answer is … great! Seriously, we both agree we sleep better in the Roadtrek than we do in our king-sized Sleep Number bed at home. And that has to do with that we sleep on and in while camping out in the Roadtrek. In this edition of How We Roll in our RV, we answer two reader questions about where we store our bedding. We make the eTrek sofa up into a

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Planning for the Next RV Year

Jennifer and I went to the local office supply store over the weekend and picked up a new planning calendar for 2014. It’s one of those big, poster-sized ones with the entire year laid out in neat little blocks for each day of each month. It’s erasable – a good thing with our propensity for last minute trips and change of plans – and right now, it’s blank. But we’re about to start filling it in. We’ve gone through and listed all the places we want to go, the things we want to see, the people we

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

 

Weather Apps for RVers

No matter what kind of RV we have, one thing that we are all interested in is the weather. Nothing affects traveling more. Across North America, the cold weather is coming fast and that means snow and ice and dicey weather conditions. Thanks to apps, tablets and the Web, you never again need to wonder what its going to be like out there. I’m always installing and uninstalling weather apps. I’ve tried dozens of them and I’m sure I’ll try dozens more in the months ahead. But for now, here’s a rou

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Taxes and Fees for RVs Can Be Very Confusing

One of the most confusing aspects of buying an RV is the vast differences paid in sales tax and various licensing fees. And many states do what is called “double dipping,” charging full sales tax when you buy the vehicle, and then again charging you tax on the full purchase price of a new one when you you trade it in, ignoring the trade-in price. It doesn’t take a genius to know that it is patently unfair. In Michigan at least, that double dip tax is about to go away. State lawmakers are gett

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

The RVer's Biggest Danger: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

It has happened again. This time in Alabama at a campground near the Talladega Speedway. Craig Franklin Morgan, 46, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Morgan and his wife, Jami Allison Morgan, 38, were discovered unresponsive by friends who went into their RV at the South Campground outside the track. Jami Morgan was unconscious and was airlifted to a nearby Hospital, where she remained in critical condition and unconscious Monday morning. Police said the carbon monox

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Dancing the Weekend Away on Mackinac Island: Where your RV Can’t Go

RVers aren’t the only ones winding down the season this time of year. So is Mackinac Island, the summer resort island located in the Straits of Mackinac at the tip of the Michigan mitt, right where Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron. Next weekend, the place shuts down until spring, with only a single hotel, restaurant and bar left open to serve the several hundred full-time residents and the workmen who come in during the winter to renovate, repair and restore the hotels and shops. Many shops were

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

 

As the RVing Days Dwindle Down

The temperature outside my Roadtrek in the driveway of our Michigan home was 34 degrees this morning. That’s the coldest yet this season and a reminder that soon, there will be no putting off the fact that it needs to be winterized. We still have a couple of long weekend trips planned and I am hoping that I can do them without pushing antifreeze down all the pipes. It’s funny, really, because even when the RV is winterized, there’s no reason I can’t use it. You just carry drinking water and us

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

 

Why Roadtreking is Better Than Air Travel

I hate flying. In my past life as a journalist, I was frequently in the air, flying here or there for this story or that. I grew to dread air travel. But now that I travel in an RV, I hate flying even more. I write this from Albany, GA, where we are visiting family. It’s a quick visit, to watch the grandsons play football and to attend grandparent’s day at the youngest one’s school. We’re flying on gift tickets, down here just for the weekend and then back to Michigan. This is the first air

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Albuquerque Balloon Launch Draws Class B RV Owners

When blog reader Harry Salt sent me these spectacular photos (see below), I just knew I had to share them. They are from the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, now under way in New Mexico. Harry was part of two RV groups that attended – a Class B group and a Roadtrek group. “The festival goes thru Oct 13,” writes Salt. “After Oct 7 some of the group went on a ’walkabout’ for about 30 days. Supposed to have been at National Parks and Monuments but now they are improvising. It wi

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

RV Halloween Weekends Draw Big Crowds

The active RV season in the north is on limited time as the cold weather approaches, but before many of the RVs are put to bed or in storage, many RV parks around the country are hosting special Halloween get-togethers and site decorating contests. And the parks are filling up. At the Addison Oaks County park near our Michigan home, where we walk our dog several times a week, the Halloween weekend turns into quite a spectacle, with contests, trick-or-treating and prizes for the best-decorated

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Apps and Websites to Help You Find the Perfect Boondocking Spot

Ah ... the Sound of Silence. There really is a sound to it, you know. On a boondocking trip deep in the Michigan woods in Ogemaw County, we heard it good. There was the crackle of our campfire. A hoot of a distant owl. The yips of a pack of coyotes somewhere far to the west. The gurgle of the Rifle River moving over a stretch of rocks just downstream from where we were camped. The whooshing sound of wind whipping through a stand of pine. And on that clear night, the sound of boondocking silen

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

RV Vacations Ruined as National Parks Shut Down

The budgeting mess and political wrangling in Congress over Obamacare has ruined the vacation plans of tens of thousands of RVers who had planned to camp in a national park this week. The closure of the national parks is also hitting hard the bordering communities whose economic livelihood is closely tied to a steady stream of national park visitors. At midnight, all activities at the parks, except for necessary emergency services, were immediately suspended and the parks closed indefinitely.

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Copper Harbor, Mich. – the End of the Road

Everyone knows we Michganders love to represent our state by showing our hand. Here, try it. Take your left hand and extend it, palm facing out. That’s the Lower Peninsula, the familiar Michigan mitt. Okay, now turn your extended left hand to the left, and bring your handdown to the right so the fingers are pointing horizontally to the right. That’s the Upper Peninsula. Now bring up your right hand, palm facing you, thumb to the right. Put the left hand at the top of the right and…voila… a ma

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Here Comes Cold Weather: I Don’t Want to Stop Roadtreking for the Season!

I love fall. The blue skies are more blue, the air smells clean and crisp and has no more of the sweltering heaviness of summer. But it also makes me a little sad because, living in a northern climate like Ido, the approaching cold weather means it’s time to curtail my travel. It means long stretches of RVing inactivity. Of watching snow accumulate on top of the Roadtrek. Of having to winterize it. Of sneaking out there, turning on the heat, and sitting in it, remembering the places we’ve v

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Roadtreking and the Interesting People You Meet

The RV life is so much fun because you don’t know what adventure is around the next bend. But the people you meet along the way are equally enjoyable. I don’t think Jennifer and I have yet to return from a Roadtreking trip without making some new friends. On our most recent trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, we met interesting people at each stop. Up at the Historic Fort Wilkins State Park in Copper Harbor Michigan, we found ourselves sharing a campground with husband and wife Roadtrekers Dav

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

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