This episode comes to you from the road as we head west towards Glacier National Park and our annual Roadtreking photo safari there next week. We’re recording this episode from North Dakota after leisurely traveling through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, northern Wisconsin and northern Minnesota. We’re in the RV on the banks of the Red River of the North, which separates Minnesota from North Dakota.
We are following our 330 Rule and in this episode, we’ll give a detailed description of how that traveling rule works and why it is so important.
Also, one thing we’ve encountered on this trip common to all those locations and this time of year has been bugs…lots of bugs. Swarming bugs. Mosquitoes, black flies and clouds of insects called midges. In this episode, we’ll also talk about dealing with bugs while exploring the outdoors…what works, what doesn’t work and how to cope with them.
Plus we have lots of your questions and comments, RV news, tips and a great off the beaten path destination report, all coming up in this edition of the RV Podcast.
Click the player below to Listen Now or scroll down through the show note details. When you see a time code hyperlink, you can click it to jump directly to that segment of the podcast.
Show Notes for Episode #196 June 13, 2018 of Roadtreking – The RV Podcast:
WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK [2:45]
We update our experiences on the road this past week, traveling with no reservations.
We have been doing a great job of keeping to our 330 Rule, of traveling no more than 330 miles or stopping by [3:30]PM each afternoon. Some of those days, we barely drove 100 miles. We’ve been able to stop, explore, visit with friends along the way and even take a boat ride into Lake Superior to see the Apostle Islands on Wisconsin’s North shore
We’ll talk more about the 330 Rule and what we learned by following it this past week coming up a little later when we play part of a presentation we recently did before a group of RVers that explains the rule in detail. We have been videoing each day of our trip from multiple cameras and we had planned to release them sequentially for several days in a row but here’s the problem: To do that, I’d have to do our traveling and exploring and then, work till very late each night to get each story edited. It takes about 8 to 12 hours to edit a single video and there’s no way I can do that.
Jennifer: I already had a serious heart to heart talk to Mike about this. He’s working all the time. From the moment he gets up till bedtime and as much as he likes it, that’s a pace no one should keep.
So the first of our traveling videos will start on our normal new video day -Thursday – and we’ll release a new one each week…always on Thursday. This is in addition to our weekly live “Ask Us Anything” interactive webcast, which airs every Sunday night at 9PM Eastern Time on our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel.
Meanwhile, we have lots of RV news to report this week, starting out with some dangerous encounters with wild animals.
Three women injured in three different wildlife encounters at Yellowstone National Park
News last week out of Yellowstone National Park was a good reminder of the importance of keeping a healthy distance from wildlife. Three different women were sent to the hospital on three different days after animals charged them. Two of the women were kicked in the head by an elk believed to be protecting her baby; one woman was gored by a bison after getting too close – about 10 feet away. Officials recommend visitors stay at least 25 feet away from bison and elk. To read more click here or here.
A Colorado fire department sent into woods to rescue fluffy, exhausted dog
We've read plenty of stories about people going off on a hike, and for whatever reason, needing help but last week an article about the fire department being sent to a help an exhausted dog was a first. Apparently a 120 pound Great Pyrenees was out for a hike with his owners in Colorado when he simply couldn't go on. So, the volunteer fire department was called. Members hiked up to where the dog laid on a trail, picked him up, placed him on a stretcher and carried him down – at no cost to the owner. What did the fire department say? All in a day's work. To read more, click here.
Thousands from around world descend on Great Smokies to watch synchronized fireflies
Twenty-one thousand people applied to watch the synchronized fireflies this year at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, according to a story out last week. The fireflies really do synchronize their flashing lights, and attract visitors from all over the world. To read a story out last week on the amazing insects click here. The story reminded me of a report Off the Beaten Path reporters Tom and Patti Burkett did on their visit. To read that report click here.
Bear attacks family of four tent camping in Colorado
A family of four camping in Colorado was attacked by a bear, which ripped into their tent when they were sleeping. The family was on U.S. Forest Service property in a dispersed camping area. Officials believe the bear was attracted to the smell of food. The father was injured and taken to a hospital but is expected to make a full recovery. To read more click here.
Minnesota's newest 3,000 acre state campground is now open after an official ribbon cutting ceremony last week. Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park is the first new Minnesota campground in 26 years, offering modern camping accommodations including wifi, flush toilets and screened picnic shelters. Located in the northern part of the state, it also offers underground tours of a former iron-ore mine. To learn more click here or the park's site here.
This portion of the Podcast is brought to you by Campers Inn, the RVer’s trusted resource for over 50 years, the nation’s largest family-operated RV dealership with 19 locations and growing
JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK [19:12]
When Mike and I planned this trip to Glacier National Park, we knew we would be winding our way west through Michigan's beautiful upper peninsula on into Wisconsin and then Minnesota. While I love driving along Lake Superior, and the deep forests so common in all three states, I couldn't help but think about flies. Black files. Those nasty, disgusting bugs that seem to be everywhere in this part of the country every June.
A few years back when we were camping in the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan's upper peninsula, Mike brought a whole arsenal of fly repellants, but nothing seemed to work. The flies were horrible…. and they were everywhere.
Here’ listen to yourself from what Mike’s experiment taught him
Bug video https://youtu.be/g-UkHfr85mA
In the video, you can see how Mike’s entire leg was covered in black flies. Disgusting. That’s why I stayed inside the RV in that bug free zine.
Anyway, this year I did some research, and it is amazing how many homemade concoctions are out there. One site recommended spraying original Listerine throughout your campsite. Flies apparently do not like the stuff.
Many, many sites recommend putting water in clear plastic resealable bags, and hanging the bags from various spots around the campsite. Others recommended placing a couple pennies in the water filled bags. Why do this? The theory goes that the clear, water filled bags with pennies will confuse the fly, which has a compound eye. Many people on many sites recommended this method and swore it worked.
But before you get to excited about those water bags, let me add that after I did a little more snooping I found stories at both Snopes https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/fly-bye/and Mythbusters https://mythresults.com/bug-special that said the water filled bags do not work, leaving me back at square one.
How’s this for an idea? Some people recommend spraying your body with vodka – swearing flies hate vodka. But, Mike and I are out meeting a lot of people, working on this podcast and our YouTube channel, and I did not want to be covered in in vodka when out reporting. I don’t think that is a very good idea… though I suppose if you sprayed yourself with enough vodka, you would feel no pain.
Another website I found swore flies hate Pinesol. So, to keep them away simply combine water and Pinesol in a 50-50 solution, wash down your picnic table, and the flies will supposedly stay away. The problem with this method is the Pinesol smell doesn't last very long. When the table is dry, or a few minutes pass, will it keep working? I found a website that tried this method and the reviewer gave it a C. See
In the end, Mike and I have come to the conclusion that if you can avoid visiting the Northwoods in June and July… do so. But if you must go, limit your time outside to the hours of 10 am to about 6 am…that’s when the mosquitoes are least active. Black Flies are another matter. If you are in a place like the Upper Peninsula where they are active all the time, well, there’s not much you can do. Hope for windy days as that helps keep them down.
The other tip is wear long pants and long sleeved shirts. And you can buy hats with mosquito netting all around your head. You may look a little silly but that helps.
Does anyone any other methods that work? If yes, I would love to hear about it!
Meanwhile, be sure to send me your tips and suggestions for the RV lifestyle. You can use the “Leave Voicemail” link at Roadtreking.com. Just click it and then use the built-in microphone on your computer or mobile devise to record a message to me. You can do it over as many times as you want, until you are satisfied. And then you just click a button and it comes right to my email inbox.
I love hearing from you!
Jennifer's tip of the week is brought to you by RadPower Bikes ,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping To see our Rad Power Bikes in action, just click here.
LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK [30:34]
Kent lives in Northern California and is looking for a good dealer. He says Yelp reviews on the dealers he has checked are terrible.
Jacqui wonders about the Kymetta Internet satellite system we are testing out and wants an update.
Brian has a new Pleasure-Way on order and wants a rear mounted swing away bike mount. He reads elsewhere that bouncing causes issues. He asks out experience. We recommend Thule hitches, which have several swing away models. As does Yakima.
This part of the podcast is sponsored by Steinbring Motorcoach, Roadtrek’s newest dealer and a third generation family business in Minnesota’s beautiful Chain of Lakes region built on quality motorhomes and excellent pricing and service.
All about the 330 Rule [42:50]
You have heard us talk a lot about the 330 Rule. That’s what we have been following on our trip west this week.
Here is an excerpt from a presentation we recently did before a group of RV owners that explains it in detail.
The interview of the week is brought to you by SunshinestateRVs.com, where every new or used Roadtrek motorhome is delivered to the customer free, anywhere in the country
TRAVELING TECH TIP [56:52]
By Steve Van Dinter
Now that we’ve hit the mid part of June, the road is truly an open book just waiting to be explored. So today I thought we could talk about some great apps that can help enhance your journey.
First up, with gas prices hitting levels we haven’t seen in some time, saving a dime or two a gallon is more important than ever. That’s why one of my favorite apps is Gas Buddy. Free for Android and iOS, this app lets you see the current gas prices from stations around the area. It’ll also tell you what’s the most and least expensive and how far those are away – making it easier than ever to save money on fuel. And if you can’t download the app, you can get the same information from gasbuddy.com
Next, Android Auto and Apple Car Play make it easier than ever to navigate, play music and respond to text messages while driving all via voice. But what if you don’t have a car that has this capability? That’s where the standalone Android Auto app for Android phones comes into play. Simply download the app and launch it before hitting the road. Now it doesn’t matter what vehicle you’re in. Your phone acts as the car’s entertainment and navigation system giving you huge easy to see buttons and voice control for all things music, navigation and messaging. And with Google Maps, you can also ask Google for the price of gas at gas stations along your route.
Lastly, school may not be in session but that doesn’t mean grading ends entirely. Verizon has a free app, called Hum, for Android and iOS. It’ll automatically recognize when the vehicle is in motion and grade your driving skills based on how often you speed, how hard you brake or take corners and how often you touch your phone while driving. After each trip you’ll get a safety score based out of 100 to help you become a better driver.
This part of the podcast is brought to you by Verizon, which operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with more than 112 million retail connections nationwide.
OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT – The Wisconsin Dells [59:55]
By Tom and Patti Burkett
It seems that every major urban area has a favored natural retreat that draws its residents when the weather gets hot and summer vacation time rolls around. For Angelinos it's the beach. Atlantans head for the family ‘camp' on a lake somewhere, and New Yorkers head upstate. If you live in Chicago, or anywhere in northern Illinois or Indiana, you might make your vacation plans for the Wisconsin Dells. The Dells are the Gatlinburg of the North, miles of kitschy, vintage tourist traps and t-shirt shops set amid dozens of waterparks, definitely not off the beaten path. And still, in the course of a week spent there recently, we found that this place has interesting and less-known stories to tell.
To begin with, the word dells is a corruption of the French word dalles. You're likely familiar with the dalles of the Columbia River in Oregon, which posed a considerable obstacle to the pioneers headed west on the Oregon Trail. The word describes a place where a river is squeezed through a deep rocky gorge, resulting in formidable rapids. Europeans first became familiar with Wisconsin as part of the fur-trading empire of the voyageurs, but it soon became a source of vast quantities of timber. Huge rafts of logs were floated down the Wisconsin River toward what is now Chicago. At the Dells, the rafts were broken up into smaller units and guided through the tight turns and churning water caused by the sandstone walls.
You'd never know about this, or even see the beauty of the river, from the area's roads. We took a two hour boat trip through the upper Dells (above the dam), and saw little but water carved sandstone formations and hillsides of trees, preserved from development by forward thinking residents a century ago. The boat made two stops, one for us to wind our through a narrow canyon along a boardwalk while water rushed beneath our feet, and one to climb to an overlook above the river. It was quiet and tranquil in the midst of a thundering vacationland. For a slightly more rollicking experience, you can take a similar trip on the Lower Dells in surplus military amphibious vehicles called ducks.
Wisconsin Dells is one of three towns that make up the resort area. Lake Delton, the second, appeared to be a solid mecca of tourist delights. T he third, Baraboo, is home to several interesting sites. The first we came across was a casino operated by the Ho-Chunk nation. If you like to wager a bit now and then, you might enjoy this large and glittering collection of gaming tables, restaurants, and slot machines. Also in Baraboo is the International Crane Foundation. After visiting the Platte River in Nebraska for the sandhill crane migration, we were interested to see this attractive operation with an extensive network of trails and the opportunity to view every specie of crane found on Earth in a large display habitat.
We spent most of our day in Baraboo at the Circus World Museum. Covering several city blocks, this was the winter home of the Ringling Brothers Circus. The circus, which was operated by six of the seven Ringling Brothers, performed continuously from 1884 until it closed in 2017. The grounds, now owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society, include a splendid collection of restored circus wagons, displays covering history and costumes, and documentary films. Best, though, are the live acts including a tiger show and big top performance, all included in the admission price.
Perhaps the most interesting, and least known, discovery of our visit was Wisconsin's long love affair with supper clubs. That deserves its own report, so we'll save it for next week. Meanwhile, safe travels to those of you headed for the Roadtrek photo event in Glacier National Park. If you're avoiding the interstates, and eating at the mom and pop diners, or spending the night in small town municipal campgrounds, you're likely to come across us, Patti & Tom Burkett, out there off the beaten path.
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