83 episodes

Celebrating the RV Lifestyle by Mike and Jennifer Wendland. Tips, travel ideas, RV news and great interviews about the RV Lifestyle.

RV Podcast Mike Wendland

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Celebrating the RV Lifestyle by Mike and Jennifer Wendland. Tips, travel ideas, RV news and great interviews about the RV Lifestyle.

    What is an Extended RV Warranty and is it worth it?

    What is an Extended RV Warranty and is it worth it?

    Many RVers wonder whether an Extended RV Warranty is worth the investment of protecting what already is the most expensive investment they will ever make besides their sticks and bricks home - the RV.

    The answer is dependent on a number of factors that we consider in Episode 344 of the RV Podcast. But for those who plan to keep their RV for many years, an extended RV warranty provides something hard to measure: The peace of mind of knowing that pretty much whatever happens, whenever it happens, they're covered.

    Listen to the entire podcast in the player below. Scroll to about 25 minutes in to hear the interview. And keep reading below for a transcript of the interview

    Here's a transcript of my Interview with Staci Ritchie Roman of Wholesale Warranties

    What is an Extended RV Warranty?

    Mike Wendland:           Well, joining us now to sort out this whole issue of extended RV warranties is our friend Staci Ritchie Roman from Wholesale Warranties. And Staci, first of all, welcome to the podcast. It's always great to have you on. I think you've been on, a couple years ago we had you.

    Staci Ritchie Roman:      Yeah, thank you so much for having us on again.

    Mike Wendland:           It's such a crazy time in the RV business. Let's start off with the real basic discussion. What is an extended RV warranty?

    Staci Ritchie Roman:      Sure. So what most of us know as an extended RV warranty is actually an RV extended service contract, and what it is, is a policy that will step in to pay for repairs to some of the most common mechanical failures your RV is going to face. And so that ranges, everything from a diesel engine down to a microwave, and pretty much everything mechanical and electrical in between.

    Do you need an Extended RV Warranty for a new RV?

    Mike Wendland:           Well, then what about when someone buys a new RV? Do they need an extended warranty for a new RV?

    Staci Ritchie Roman:      Yeah, so it kind of comes down to personal preference, but we'll tell you what we think. So your RV comes with a manufacturer's warranty and that definitely takes precedence. So if you have a manufacturer warranty, you're going to go there first. Those don't always cover everything, and things start to drop off after a couple of years.

    The great thing about an extended warranty is you can lock in several years of coverage all at once, and the best rate you're ever going to get, the best price you're ever going to get for an extended warranty, is when it's brand new because the extended warranty companies know that they're probably not going to be paying too many claims right off the bat.

    So the longest term, the best price you're ever going to get is to buy right when your rig is brand new. And there are some added benefits that come with the extended warranty that you'll be able to use as well, during that first year of manufacturer coverage.

    What are the added benefits of an Extended RV Warranty

    The most common times major breakdowns occur on an RV  Source: Wholesale Warranties

    Mike Wendland:           What are some of those added benefits that you can use?

    The 10 Unwritten Rules for Campers

    The 10 Unwritten Rules for Campers

    With so many newcomers embracing the RV Lifestyle, this is a good time to go over 10 Unwritten Rules for Campers.

    For the fact is, there are too many inconsiderate campers these days, people who think it is all about them and that because they rented a space in a campground, they can do as they please with no regard to those who also rented their spaces and are camped nearby.

    They also need some etiquette suggestions about driving their campers and parking it in parking lots.

    I know this post will stir up some angry reactions.

    Whenever you suggest that people adjust their behavior in consideration of others, there are a few who will loudly push back.

    But in the interest of making it better for everyone, I'm going to share them anyway. We talked about this a lot in Episode 343 of our RV Podcast

    You can listen to the podcast in the player below. And scroll down this page for shownotes and a transcript of the interview, plus links and resources about all the things we talk about.

    We did a video version of the rules for our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube. Click below to see:

    Our 10 Unwritten Rules for Campers

    The reason these rules are unwritten is that there once was a time when people were polite and considerate. Some things didn't need to be said.

    Unfortunately, those days are gone and the same rudeness and incivility that we see in social media becomes evident in all aspects of life, including camping.

    Jennifer and I have been RVing for almost 10 years,

    We've covered at least 250,000 and crisscrossed the country numerous times staying in all sorts of campgrounds.

    And we know, there already are lots of rules you'll see posted along the way. Rules like:

    * Don't burn trash in your fire pit.

    * Clean up after your dog

    * Make sure your TV antenna is down and the steps are in before you take off

    * Don't drive fast in campgrounds

    * Don't overload your RV

    You know all about those kinds of rules, or if you are a newbie, you'll soon find about them.

    But, there are also some unwritten rules we want to pass on, some things that we've learned probably through trial and error. A lot of error. On our part and the part of others. 

    Ready? Take 'em or leave 'em, here they are:

    #1 - Try not to park right next to another camper

    Now, there are times you're going to have to break the first of our unwritten rules for camping if there is just no other room except next to somebody. 

    People will understand that.

    But if you're in a campground and there are two empty spots on both sides of somebody who is already there, and there are other empty spots down the way, take one of those other empty spots. Let them enjoy that space, and you'll get some extra space too.

    Just because they have a good spot, don't think have to get right next to them. It's kind of like when somebody is in a fishing hole and you've come into your boat right next to them, it's just not good manners. 

    That especially is true for when you're boondocking. I remember we were boondocking somewhere in Arizona, and we're in the middle of nowhere and when we woke up in the morning, we had somebody right next to us. 

    It was crazy. There was room. It was a huge national forest, and they set up right next to us.

    eBike Boondocking : One man’s awesome cross-country adventure

    eBike Boondocking : One man’s awesome cross-country adventure

    Roger Golden is eBike boondocking his way across the United States, living, in his words, "home free, not homeless." He has a great story and some boondocking tips we can all take to heart.

    Out on the road I recently met into Roger, a "home-free" American with a dream to travel around the USA and raise awareness for Ostomates through his nomad lifestyle.

    I met Roger in a park off US 98 in Fort Walton Beach, FL a few weeks ago.

    When I checked in with him tonight as I wrote this post, he was in Texas, still headed west.

    Roger is on an eBike boondocking cross country trip, towing a customized trailer with two solar panels

    Roger rides a converted 26" mountain/eBike, pulling a trailer that houses his 200 Watts of solar power and a place to store his gear. He doesn't travel alone though... his cat Phideaux comes along on every trip.

    Roger's store of ebike boondocking is featured in Episode 342 of the RV Podcast. You can hear the whole podcast in the player below. Or scroll down for a video version of the interview, and a transcript of our conversation

    You can learn more about Roger, and follow him as he continues his mission here: https://www.facebook.com/diginomad3

     Here's my video interview:

    Here's an edited transcript of our interview:

    Roger's story of eBike boondocking

    Mike Wendland:           Meet Roger. He is on an e-bike and he is on his way across the country from Florida to California, boondocking all the way. He wants you to know that he is not homeless, he's home-free. Having sold off his sticks and bricks home, he is towing a small homemade trailer with solar panels that charge the battery for his e-bike, his laptop, and cell phone. He is not alone. He travels with a very cool cat and he is the ultimate boondocker who's doing this for the adventure, despite some very serious health issues.

    Roger:              This will be my second trip across the country. My first trip was from Washington state to Florida, now I'm going from Florida to California. In 2019 we went from Jackson... That was the first trip my cat was with me, we went from Jacksonville, Florida to Calais, Maine at the border, turned around, and came back. I got about as far as Washington DC and started having problems.

    Roger is doing this eBike boondocking adventure despite a major health challenge

    Mike Wendland:           Chest problems?

    Roger:              No intestinal problems. I got as far as Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and I couldn't do it anymore. I called a friend in Jacksonville to come pick me up. That's the first time I've ever had to give up on a trip. I got back down to Jacksonville and I had surgery and I woke up and there were intestines sticking out of my belly. They told me I had to give up my biking lifestyle.

                            He said, "You can't do that anymore." I told him, "That's not an option. That's what I do." So here I am doing the impossible with a cat, 200 watts, a solar panel and electric bike.

    Mike Wendland:           I want to just look at this....

    • 48 min
    The Best Weather App for RV Travel in 2021

    The Best Weather App for RV Travel in 2021

    We have found the best weather app for RV travel. It takes the National Weather Service's weather forecast showing RVers the weather along their route at the time they reach each point.

    It allows comparison of different routes, creating stops, interactively changing departure time, and other features that help RVers plan trips around the weather.

    You can easily switch between routes, adjust your leave time, add stops - all so you can find the safest way with the best weather to get to your destination.

    Drive Weather is all about decision-making in regards to the weather. Like a pilot before taking off in an airplane and checking the expected weather en route, the app takes just a few seconds to get “briefed” on the safest route and safest time to leave.

    We interviewed the developer of this awesome app on Episode 350 of the RV Podcast.

    You can listen to the entire RV Podcast episode in the player below. Or keep scrolling down for an edited transcript of our interview.

    Best weather app for Rv travel? Here is the interview with Paxton Calvanese, the developer of the Drive Weather app:

    Mike Wendland:          

    Well, the developer of road trip weather, Paxton Calvanese joins us right now on the RV podcast phone line. And Paxton, you have a really neat app. I'm very impressed.

    Paxton Calvanese:        Thank you. Thank you.

    Mike Wendland:          

    Let's tell everybody a little bit about what it does and how it is different than the standard weather apps out there. Give us the 10th, you are a pilot, so this is an easy one for you. Give us the 10,000-foot overview of how it came to be and what this app does and why it's of particular interest to RVers.

    Paxton Calvanese:       

    Okay. I'll be happy to. So I'll tell you what it does right off the bat. It essentially shows you all the weather at each point of your routes when you would get there. And so, and that's kind of the heart of what it does. It presents the weather very clearly in a way that you can make a quick decision.

    And so going back to, I developed a pilot app a few years prior to this one where, and I'm a private pilot. And I'm in Chicago and I would fly up to the Rocky Mountains and in a small airplane, you're very susceptible to the weather. And actually, a lot of pilots end up in a lot of trouble and end up in fatal accidents because of the weather.

    And I didn't want to be one of those guys. So I would spend a lot of time evaluating the weather as it relates to flights. And with aviation weather, there's a lot to look at. And it would take me about 15 to 20 minutes to do a full weather planning before I would fly.

    And that's a lot of time. And it wasn't particularly difficult, but it was very tedious and time-consuming, and a lot of mathematics and a lot of opportunities for errors.

    And so I was a software developer for way too many years consulting in Chicago. And then I finally kind of got out of that and I was learning how to fly. And I kind of saw this opportunity where nobody had made this, put these, really put all the weather together in one app or one presentation. And so I did that and it worked pretty good. It basically took that 15-minute process down to like literally seconds, because I could just look at everything at once. And the app would calculate when I would be at each point in my trip. So, go ahead.

    Mike Wendland:          

    Yeah, so I'm leaving for a trip. And let's say, actually,

    • 39 min
    2021 Camping Crisis: They’re shutting down boondocking

    2021 Camping Crisis: They’re shutting down boondocking

    Across the country, officials are shutting down boondocking areas in many areas because of growing problems with vandalism, litter, and even human waste.

    Blame it on a combination of homeless encampments in some areas and inconsiderate campers who fail to clean up after themselves and keep clean campsites.

    But the result is the same, frustrated state, federal, and local officials in charge of public lands once open to dispersed camping, are closing them down rather than fight what they see as a losing battle.

    But the people who lose the most are those who like to boondock in wilderness areas, campers who do follow the rules but now find themselves with fewer and fewer places to enjoy off the grid camping on public land.

    For RV Podcast Episode 349, we talk with an expert in free camping spots, Kyle Brady, publisher of the Drivin and Vibin Website. Kyle has been closely tracking the growing list of closed boondocking locations and has lots to share.

    You can listen to the entire RV Podcast episode in the player below. Or keep scrolling down for an edited transcript of our interview.

    Why are authorities shutting down boondocking?

    This is a reason why authorities are shutting down boondocking

    For starters, consider these recent stories about the shutting down of boondocking areas:

    * In Oregon, Trash, Human Waste, Forces Authorities on Oregon to Shut Down Dispersed Camping

    * In Utah overnight camping has been banned in Middle Fork because of trash, vandalism and rowdyism

    * Popular Colorado area closed to dispersed camping

    Those are just three examples. There are many more, from all over the US.

    We talk about the trend in-depth with Kyle Brady. Here is an edited transcript of our interview:

    Mike Wendland:          

    Kyle Brady joins us right now. Hey, Kyle. How are you doing?

    Kyle Brady:                  

    Very good, Mike. Thank you so much for having me on today.

    Mike Wendland:           

    Kyle, you are the guy when it comes to finding free camping spots and all these dispersed spots. You've been a specialist in that. And I know you are disturbed and have been keeping track. They're shutting down boondocking. What's going on.

    They are shutting down boondocking indefinitely

    Kyle Brady:                  

    We have seen so many reports over the last six months, and even the more specifically, in the last three months of these sites getting shut down indefinitely. And it's just becoming a problem because so many more people are out there on the road. And I guess these sites are seeing more usage than they've ever seen before.

    Mike Wendland:          

    I get email, and I bet you do too, from people saying, quit telling everybody where to go boondocking.

    • 45 min
    Insider tips on how to get a camping reservation this summer [2021]

    Insider tips on how to get a camping reservation this summer [2021]

    Frustrated about how to get a camping reservation this summer? We can help with some insider tips on using campground reservation technology.

    We know. There are a lot of people trying to book camping reservations this summer. Demand has never been higher.

    It seems like the entire country - frustrated after a long year of COVID-19 travel restrictions - is anxious to hit the road in their RV and find the perfect camping spot.

    But campgrounds across America are reporting record demand. In the most popular destinations - around national parks, for instance - finding an open spot will not be as easy as it was pre-COVID.

    Mark Koep, the CEO of CampgroundViews.com, is our special guest on Episode #339 of the RV Podcast. He offers up lots of insider tips for us on how to get a camping reservation this summer. You can listen to the podcast in the player below.

    Or keep scrolling down for a video version - in which he demonstrates just how to use the Internet to get a camping reservation. There's also a full transcript of the interview, so keep reading!

    How to Get a Camping Reservation: Tips from Mark Koep

    First, here's a video of the interview in which Mark demonstrates how to get a camping reservation this summer:


    Here's an edited transcript of the Interview:

    Mike Wendland:          

    To help us get into the right possible groove for finding those difficult-to-locate open campsites is our friend Mark Koep, of CampgroundViews.com. First of all. Hi Mark. How are ya?

    Mark Koep:                  

    Hey, Mike, doing good. How are you doing?

    Mike Wendland:         

    The camping season is here. People are out moving about and I thought, there's no one better suited to help us learn how to navigate the challenges of finding open reservations than my friend Mark Koep. So Mark, let's talk about your site for starters.

    I know we have a big surprise that we'll have coming up in a few minutes, but first of all, a lot of people are in the planning mode right now and they hear all these stories, "We can't find a spot. We can't find a spot."

    How can we help them with finding a spot? And maybe we can actually bring up your site and show them. 

    How to get a Camping Reservation: Get Creative

    Mark Koep:                  

    Yeah, Mike, it's going to be a busy camping season, flat out. We did a survey last week of 2000 campground owners. And 50% of them said that their advanced bookings are up significantly over average, everybody's just going camping.

    But Mike you've been camping long enough. I've been camping long enough to know that this is true.

    You can find a campsite anywhere you go as long as you're willing to travel a little bit to go do it. And the best example-

    Mike Wendland:          

    And do a little research.

    Mark Koep:                  


    Mike Wendland:           

    I'm looking at your site.  Walk us through. We see a map, what are we looking at?

    How to get a Camping Reservation: Widen your search area

    Mark Koep of CampgroundViews.

    • 54 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
522 Ratings

522 Ratings

BooRae1 ,

Great podcast, but...

This would be a solid 5star and the best RV Podcast available but the segment lead ins are so obnoxiously loud and abrupt that you do not want to listen to this podcast with head phones on (painful) or if someone is sleeping while you are driving. Several people have commented the same so hopefully they will fix it, but haven’t yet. The news segment is awesome, but is the worst with the lead in. Again, great podcast, just not fun to listen to.

Love2basket ,

Great info on many RV related topics

Listen here or watch on YouTube and you will learn valuable information on many RV topics. They cover it all!

Hiding out in North Idaho ,

A lot of good information

I am pretty new to all this RV stuff. I really appreciate the information you share, especially regarding medical emergencies. As we get older, that becomes important stuff.

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