The hot and humid days of summer are coinciding with peak RV travel time and one thing almost ever RVer out there is keenly interested in this time of year if the air conditioning unit for their rig. In this episode, we talk about the latest innovations in RV AC – smaller, quieter, stealthier and more efficient.
Plus lots of listener comments and suggestions, tech tips, an off-the-beaten-path report and some helpful RV Basic Training for those who travel with small children.
Click the player to Listen Now or scroll down through the show note details and resources and click the player below to start listening. When you see a time code hyperlink, you can click it to jump directly to that segment of the podcast.
Complete shownotes for episode 99 of the Roadtreking RV Travel Podcast
Mike and Jennifer are coming to you this week from their sticks and bricks home in Michigan, afer being on the road for the past six weeks. They pan to hit the road again in mid August and are using their time to catch up on some home maintenance and plan the rest of their travels for the year.
People have asked what we do with our home as we travel so much. We are in the road about half the year. While we're away we: [1:57]
- Pay all our bills online – Credit cards, utilities and more all have e-pay services. PayPal is great for sending money to friends or family. Mike uses Quickbooks Online for his business accounts. Jen uses online banking to manage our personal accounts.
- Stop mail – We have the post office hold all our mail
- Lawn Service – We pay a lawn service to cut our lawn each week
- Get friends to visit – We have friends regularly stop buy and check on the house and property. Neighbors know when we are gone and when we are back and to report suspicious vehicles
- Alarm system – We use the SimplySafe alarm system. It's a DIY system that costs a fraction of what the competition does and provides very reliable 24×7 monitoring
- Whole house generator – We have invested in a whole house generator to protect our appliances and home in the event of a power loss
This part of the podcast brought to you by RadPower Bikes
JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK – Tips on Getting Older
Today’s tip came from our Facebook Group and was posted by my friend Cindy Larsen. It’s actually a whole bunch of tips about getting older. Cindy also fond this on Facebook and was unable to trace it back to the original source. [9:12]
We don’t have time to read off of them, but here are a few of the best.
- It’s time to use the money you saved up. Use it and enjoy it. Don’t just keep it for those who may have no notion of the sacrifices you made to get it. Remember there is nothing more dangerous than a son or daughter-in-law with big ideas for your hard-earned capital.
- Stop worrying about the financial situation of your children and grandchildren, and don’t feel bad spending your money on yourself. You’ve taken care of them for many years, and you’ve taught them what you could. You gave them an education, food, shelter and support. The responsibility is now theirs to earn their own money.
- Keep a healthy life, without great physical effort. Do moderate exercise (like walking every day), eat well and get your sleep. It’s easy to become sick, and it gets harder to remain healthy. That is why you need to keep yourself in good shape and be aware of your medical and physical needs. Keep in touch with your doctor, do tests even when you’re feeling well. Stay informed.
- Don’t stress over the little things. You’ve already overcome so much in your life. You have good memories and bad ones, but the important thing is the present. Don’t let the past drag you down and don’t let the future frighten you. Feel good in the now. Small issues will soon be forgotten.
- ALWAYS stay up-to-date. Read newspapers, watch the news. Go online and read what people are saying. Make sure you have an active email account and try to use some of those social networks. You’ll be surprised what old friends you’ll meet. Keeping in touch with what is going on and with the people you know is important at any age.
- Respect the younger generation and their opinions. They may not have the same ideals as you, but they are the future, and will take the world in their direction. Give advice, not criticism, and try to remind them that yesterday’s wisdom still applies today.
- Never use the phrase: “In my time.” Your time is now. As long as you’re alive, you are part of this time. You may have been younger, but you are still you now, having fun and enjoying life.
- Some people embrace their golden years, while others become bitter and surly. Life is too short to waste your days on the latter. Spend your time with positive, cheerful people, it’ll rub off on you and your days will seem that much better. Spending your time with bitter people will make you older and harder to be around.
- Do not surrender to the temptation of living with your children or grandchildren (if you have a financial choice, that is). Sure, being surrounded by family sounds great, but we all need our privacy. They need theirs and you need yours. If you’ve lost your partner (our deepest condolences), then find a person to move in with you and help out. Even then, do so only if you feel you really need the help or do not want to live alone.
- Don’t abandon your hobbies. If you don’t have any, make new ones. You can travel, hike, cook, read, dance. You can adopt a cat or a dog, grow a garden, play cards, checkers, chess, dominoes, golf. You can paint, volunteer or just collect certain items. Find something you like and spend some real time having fun with it.
- Finally find things to be grateful for every day. And, do something nice for someone
Meanwhile if you have a tip for me, use the Leave Voicemail link at Roadtreking.com. I love hearing from our listeners.
The tip of the week is brought to you by Good Sam, the world's most popular RV organization, now celebrating its 50th year.
LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK:
Listener Judy is about to become an RVer and will be traveling alone with her two small dogs. She asks about finding solo female RVers that she can connect with. Besides our Roadtreking Facebook Group, which has lots of solo travelers, Mike suggests two websites – RVingWomen.org and Sisters on the Fly. There is also a solo group connected with Roadtrek International, a part of the Family Motor Coach Association. [17:10]
Two questions about RV air conditioners this week: Tom has one that is acting up. Lori is concerned about the noise. So we turn to Troy Beckel, from the Erwin Hymer Group of North America, the makers of Roadtrek motorhomes, to talk about the latest in RV AC technology. Try talks about the revolutionary undermont air conditioning system from ProAir, an Elhart, IN supplier that Roadtrek is using for select Sprinter-based RV models. It's a system cools at least 10 degrees colder than traditional roof mounted RV AC units. [20:16]
Sponsoring this part of the podcast is Van City RV in St. Louis, and their Partner Dealerships Creston RV in Kalispell, Montana, and Wagon Trail RV in Las Vegas. Bringing You the largest Inventory of class B’s from three locations.
RV BASIC TRAINING
This week, in answer to a voice message question left by Christine from Oklahoma, we talk about traveling with infants and toddlers in an RV. [38:00]
Often, even parents who normally are careful to use a CR for their children for every ride imagine that the interior of a recreational vehicle (RV, or motor home) is somehow a magical zone where the laws of physics do not apply. Caregivers need to know that an RV may not be safe for children. Children still need to be buckled up appropriately any time they are riding in a vehicle, and this can be a real challenge in an RV. RVs come in a range of style classes (A, B, C, C+, etc.) and, although these do vary in appropriateness for families, none is ideal.
People reason that bigger vehicles tend to withstand crash forces better, and this may lull some RVers into a false sense of security. However, bigger isn’t actually safer when it comes to RVs. Unlike school buses, which must meet the strict structural standards of several FMVSSs, RVs are not subject to school bus standards, nor do many of the crashworthiness standards governing cars apply. Because of this and design features that may include seams in the sides for things like galley slide-outs, an RV’s size may not translate to superior structural soundness.
In addition, although seat belts are sometimes present in the living areas, the anchorages for these are not required to comply with FMVSS 208. In some cases, the belts are just anchored to a piece of board! Also, LATCH anchors are not required.
Parents also must know that CRs should never be installed on rearward- or side-facing vehicle seats, further limiting options. And the problem of loose objects causing injury can be a greater concern aboard a traveling motel room. Even “built-in” cabinets have been known to come loose due to the force of a crash.
Consider these safety tips if considering traveling in an RV with children:
- Anytime you’re on the road, be sure that children always ride properly in a child safety seat.
• Check in the cab of an RV for seating positions that are appropriate for car seat installation. Unlike Class As, smaller Class B and C RVs are built on a regular van/truck chassis. These types must meet the same safety standards as passenger vehicles, and therefore are more likely to have the features needed for car seat use.
• Since a car seat is more likely to fit safely in a regular passenger vehicle, consider using one to tow a trailer rather than using an RV.
• If you plan to tow a car behind an RV for local jaunts, consider driving this vehicle instead, with children properly buckled up inside.
• Make a rule that all occupants stay buckled up properly inside an RV anytime it is moving.
According to Carla Levinski at the Oregon Department of Transportation, “Most vehicle and child seat manufacturers warn against using a side-facing passenger seat for installing child seats.” It's also not safe for a child safety seat to be placed in a chair that swivels. Where, then, is the best location for a child safety seat in your RV? According to Levinski, even though it's recommended all children under the age of 12 ride in the back seat of a vehicle, if your RV doesn't have any forward-facing, non-swivel seats, the only option is to place a child, from birth to 8 years, in a car or booster seat properly restrained in the front passenger position.
This part of the podcast is brought to you by Campers Inn, the nation’s largest family-operated RV dealership with 15 locations on the East Coast
RV NEWS OF THE WEEK: [45:08]
- Man jailed for carving initials in Roosevelt Arch at Yellowstone
- 80-Year-old arrested after leading police on high speed RV chase
- Find 45,000 of back road maps great for RVing– A brand new RVing listener named Tom left us a great voicemail suggestion for those who like to travel the back roads. He suggests RVers check Adventure Cycling to learn about traveling back roads and maybe tapping into their extensive systems of maps. TheAdventure Cycling Route Network is an established cycling route network with 45,003 miles of routes throughout North America. [48:34]
This portion of the podcast is brought to you by Alde the only name in heat that you need to know for your RV
TRAVELING TECH TIP:
Verizon's Steve Van Dinter reports on Back to School Apps [53:20]
Typically smartphones are thought of as a distraction when it comes to being successful at school. However today I’ve got some apps that will do everything from organize your child’s schoolwork…to helping prepare them for the big exam.
First up, forget the paper organizer we all had in high school and college today staying on top of schoolwork can be done digitally.
The app is called myhomework student planner and will keep track of your deadlines, tests, homework, and remind you if you haven’t completed an assignment.
And the nice thing is it’s really simple to use. Just download the free app, set up an account so the data syncs between a smartphone and the web for instance and then input in daily homework, upcoming tests, and how soon you want to be reminded.
The app is also compatible with teachers. So if your child’s teacher is using this software the assignments, schedule and other important information will also be added automatically by adding the class.
And the price is right…it’s free for both android and ios. Again it’s called myhomework student planner.
Next remember writing those papers and then having to cite your sources? Formatting the bibliography was basically an assignment in itself.
And here comes technology to help! This app is called easy bib…and makes citations easier than ever.
Simply launch the app and scan the book you are citing and a librarian-verified citation will be created instantly in whatever format you need.
In addition, using the search feature you’re able to cite any websites or online materials you use.
Once you have the list, it can be emailed from your phone and inserted into your document.
Easy as that!
Oh to be a student today!
This 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 bats of Austin, Texas
By Tom and Patti Burkett [57:29]
Austin, Texas is definitely not off the beaten path. It's a real hipster mecca for music, art, and popular culture. You Roadtrekers traveling the roads of the USA will probably end up there sooner or later. When you do, be sure not to miss out on one of the country's greatest natural spectacles.
Every night just before sunset, from March to November, hundreds of folks gather along the Congress Avenue bridge, because the crevices built into the underside of the bridge are home to as many as a million and a half Mexican freetail bats. Many people watch from the bridge, but if you do you'll miss all the early action. Instead, come a little early and get a parking spot at the Austin American-Statesman lot on the south side of the span.
Walk out into the attached park. Take a lawn chair, even a picnic or a beverage if you like. The park also often features displays and information stations staffed by bat experts who can answer your questions. As the sun gets low, you'll see these tiny mammals begin to circle around under the bridge. More and more of them emerge and join the aerial dance as twilight comes on. Then, at one moment, they all swoop out from underneath and head upriver to devour tons of mosquitoes before returning to feed their young.
Sometimes the fly-out takes as long as two hours, so take your time. You can sit for the twenty minutes or so it takes for the parking lot to clear or, for a romantic treat, skip the traffic and take a pedicab from the park. You can enjoy the nighttime lights of the city on your way to one of Austin's many great restaurants. We really like Frank & Angie's Pizza, an old time Italian eatery tucked in the back of a parking lot a few blocks from the bridge.
Austin isn't the only place to see this amazing display, but it's the only city where it happens, and the biggest urban bat colony in the world. If you prefer a more rural setting, further west you can watch a similar departure at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Wherever you see it, you'll never forget it. Bats are great friends to campers, eating as many as a thousand bugs an hour, so take the time to cheer them on. Happy travels!
This part of the podcast is brought to you by AllStays – the Internets #1 RV and camping app since 2010
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