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Journalist Mike Wendland Travels North America in a Class B Motorhome

Entries in this blog

 

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

 

RVing Into the Arctic Vortex, Part 2

It took two days and 700 miles – all of it in the face of bitter cold and most of it on snow covered and slippery roads – but we finally made it to Minnesota and saw not a single other RV on the road. “They don’t know what they are missing.” I said to Jen as we dodged logging trucks, snowplows and snowmobilers in the Great White North. Truly, now we know how that saying came about. I have never seen so much white. Not the slushy, dirty snow of the city and suburbs but sparkling clean, pure, dee

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

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

 

How to Dress for Warmth on Winter RV Trips

We’re in northeastern Wisconsin and Minnesota in the midst of what the news media says is the coldest stretch of prolonged frigid temperatures to hit the continental U.S. in a century and yet, everywhere I go around here, the locals seem to shrug it all off and continue with their winter activities of snow shoeing, cross country skiing, hockey playing, hiking, ice fishing and dog sled racing. They seem to actually embrace the cold in an area where the snow is three feet deep and the snow drifts

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

An RVing Trip to the Beargrease Dog Sled Marathon

I think I have become a big fan of winter RVing. And dog sled races. Last year, we reported on the Michigan UP 200 dog sled race. Our friend and fellow Roadtreker Gary Hennes met us up there and told us about the Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in Duluth, which is the longest such sled dog race in the Lower 48 states. And so we went this year. We boondocked overnight in the middle of the woods in the middle of nowhere and I volunteered and worked on the communications team, using my amateur rad

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

How We Roll in our RV: Finding Rental and Used Roadtreks

You can tell winter is wearing thin and folks are starting to think about spring and warm weather because we’re getting lots of questions about people wanting to rent a Roadtrek or find a used one to purchase. So in this edition of How We Roll in our RV, we try and answer both. Bottom line is – you will have to work at it. Roadtreks are in high demand, both for rental units and for used ones to purchase. The main Roadtrek website has a dealer locator feature that you can use to find the neare

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

What Offseason?

We just came back from our latest trip, a 1,000 mile journey that took us to northeastern Pennsylvania and back. We had spent exactly one day at our Michigan home before leaving for that trip, returning from a 2,000 mile journey up to the north shore of Lake Superior the week before. We leave in about 10 days for Mississippi, the Gulf Coast and Florida. In fact, since the so-called RV season ended in October, we’re averaging two long trips a month. That’s about what we do during the summer.

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Travels with the eTrek: A Photo Montage

Like a lot of RVers, I’ve been reviewing memories and photographs this winter. That’s what we do during the down time: Go back and look at our photos and thus get excited by the places we’ll be going once the weather arms up. If you’re like me, I bet you have a lot of photos of your RV. We take pictures of them in the places they take us. That got me thinking about pulling a bunch of them and putting them together in a slide show. So, here’s about 100 of them, taken all over North America ove

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Live from the FMCA Roadtrek International Rally in Kissimmee, Fla.

As part of our blogging, we now have the ability to do live videos and interviews with folks of interest to the Roadtreking world. With that, we can answer questions, too. The videos are broadcast as live events on the Net, but also available for later playback on demand from You Tube. The first one I did was this week with my friends Jim and Chris Guld of Geeks on Tour fame. Many of you have met the Gulds as they’ve taught technoogy at various RV gatherings around the country. Today, while t

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

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

 

Jennifer: The Interview

Our latest interview is with …ta da … my wife, Jennifer, as suggested by various readers when I asked for ideas on who they’d next like me to interview. And in this one, Jennifer opens up and tells it like it is when she is asked not what her greatest joys are while traveling, but what bugs her the most. I asked the questions you sent me. Her chief frustrations: Finding good food on the road. A refrigerator that is too small and what to do with dirty laundry. We’re using Google Hangouts

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Travels with Tai

So far this year, Tai has had his hackles raised by a wolf in northeastern Minnesota, been terrorized by a Chihuahua and yesterday in Alabama, he came snout to snout with a horse. But when we arrived at Pogo’s pre Mardi Gras “Smokin’ on the Bayou” Roadtrek gathering in Gautier, MS, he seemed rather indifferent to all the excitement of a dozen plus Roadtrekers coming together. Instead, he opted to just hang out on the rug outside his Roadtrek. Alone, if you don’t mind. His breed is known for its

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Mardi Gras Along the Gulf Coast

The Gulf Coast is now recovered from the ravages of Katrina and the BP oil spill and is now celebrating Mardi Gras in communities large and small. From Mobile to New Orleans and all in between, the fun starts as early as two weeks before the Fat Tuesday final day before Lent and if you time a visit right down here, you can take in Mardi Gras parades every day and many a night. RV parks are all along the coast in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana and this time of year, when the weather can stil

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

The Everglades and the Big Cypress National Preserve

One of the places that has a special hold on me is the Everglades area of Florida, a wild, huge place filled with birds and wildlife as diverse as the flooded cypress and sawgrass prairies that make up the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. Every time I’m in south Florida, I budget time for the glades. I’ve ridden my bicycle along an eight mile paved loop at Shark Valley, cruising yards past snoozing gators with their huge tooth filled mouths open to cool off. There are air bo

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Naples and Southwest Florida: Where it’s Always Warmer

Naples, Florida is the crown jewel of Southwest Florida, a west gulf coast town known for upscale dining and shopping, designer golf courses, awesome boating and fishing and the best weather in a state that is built around tourism and sunny skies. It’s always 10 to 20 degrees warmer here than most other places in the Sunshine State. Our destination for this trip was the Naples Motorcoach Resort on U.S. 41 just east of Collier Boulevard. Highway 41, also known as the Tamiami Trail, leads to the

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Okeechobee – A Texas Cow Town in the Middle of Florida

I didn’t know what to expect when I pulled into Okeechobee, Fla., but I can defiately say that I didn’t expect it to remind me of West Texas, right down to the city calling itself ”Cow Town.” But this is a western style town in the middle of the sunshine state, it’s dry and windy and surrounded by wide open spaces and lots and lots of cows. Rodeos are a big deal here and the name of the best local restaurant tells you what the local culture revolves around. It’s simply called “The Cowboy.” In

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

The Manatees of Florida’s Blue Springs

There are few animals as universally popular and liked as much as the Florida Manatee. Yet there are few animals in more danger. The Florida Manatee, a large and slow moving aquatic animal, is protected by the federal Engangered Species Act of 1973, primarily because they are too big and slow to get out of the way of speedboats. As Florida’s boating population has exploded, the manatee has declined to an estimated statewide population today of under 5,000. They used to be everywhere. And despi

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Keeping the Windows Open and the Bugs Out

We’ve sure enjoyed the warm weather down along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and throughout Florida the past few weeks except for one thing: Bugs The mosquitoes are hatched down south. As are the No-See-Ums, Biting Midges and Sand Flies. They are particularly bad at night. With the warm weather, that means it can get pretty hot inside a camper van or Class B motorhome. We could have run the air conditioner. But that’s pretty loud. And it tends to make it too cold late at night. So we rolled d

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

When You Become Ill in an RV

It ain’t pretty. But it isn’t as bad as I though it would be, either. I knew something was wrong as soon as I got up that morning. I was queezy feeling and very chilled. Yet the sun was shining and it was already in the 70′s outside. We had arrived in Naples, FL the afternoon before. We ate dinner at a local restaurant and, 12 hours later, I could feel that dinner still sitting in my belly like a brick. I’m not sure whether it was food poisoning or the stomach flu or if there is really a diff

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

The Things I Like Most About My Roadtreking Life

As we wait to set off on our next trip, I’m thinking about all the things I like about this new small motorhome lifestyle we have embraced. Waking up to sunlight streaming around the edges of the shades of our Roadtrek and the smell of that first cup of coffee brewing as I start the day. The first peek out the window at our surroundings. We boondock a lot so often, it’s wildlife I see. I love to sip that coffee and quietly watch the world wake up. The smell of bacon frying as I start to

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Carbon Monoxide and Propane Issues Spike in Spring for RVers

As spring and warm weather approaches, this is again the time for a semiannual spike in carbon monoxide deaths and propane issues for RVers. This week at a KOA in Nashville, a couple was found dead in their RV by relatives who drove to the campground after not being able to reach them for several days. Carbon monoxide poisoning was the cause, said authorities, caused by a their propane burner. In Washington State the week before, a propane tank explosion inside an RV east of Lacey sent a coupl

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Critter Signs Along the Way While RVing

Over the last week, I’ve been organizing the thousands of photos I’ve taken over the past few years and noticed that I have a pretty good collection of animal crossing signs. Like a lot of people, I love seeing wildlife while Roadtreking. Somehow, I started taking photos of them as we traveled. From there, well, it sort of evolved into all sorts of signs about critters … of all sorts. Since I had them all organized, I thought I’d put them together in this little slide show. I know. taking ph

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

 

How to Sanitize Your RV Fresh Water Tanks

Yuck. Nothing tastes worse that the first sip of water through a just de-winterized RV’s plumbing system on the first trip of the year. That’s why it is important to sanitize that fresh water tank. And for that, there are lots of different approaches. Everybody seems to have their favorite way of sanitizing the fresh water system. Roadtrek Motorhomes has a suggested way, though. Here it is, lifted from the instruction manual for the eTrek we use. There are similar instructions for all Roadtrek

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

 

Where Do You Park Your RV?

The snow is gone and the 5-foot-high banks that formed a wall along the driver’s side of our Roadtrek eTrek has melted away. As I look at it sitting there on it’s special little apron in the driveway, I can almost hear it calling: “Take me someplace fun. Now.” When I snapped this photo yesterday, it got me wondering how and where most of you keep your RVs when at home. Most of the bigger Type C and Type A’s, of course, need to have lots of room, and that usually entails a storage facility. Bu

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

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