We’re not fulltimers, but we sure are close to it

Written by on December 7, 2013 in Observations, Trips with 25 Comments

I’ll say one thing about our traveling this past year: No dust is gathering under the RV.

We received our new 2013 Roadtrek eTrek one year ago, in December 2012.

When I pulled into the driveway Thursday night after returning from an RV trade show in Louisville, the odometer read 34,156 miles.

boondock2We take off again today for a weekend trip to Western Michigan where we’ll visit Jeff and Aimee in Kalamazoo, our son and daughter-in-law. We’ll probably sleep in the Roadtrek in his driveway. We love our king sized bed in the back of the RV and the Webosto heater keeps things comfy cozy. And yes, even though it is winterized, we can use the facilities. We use antifreeze to flush it.

We have traveled out of state every month this year, using our sticks and bricks home as a base. And even when at our Michigan home, I often find myself using the Roadtrek as a second vehicle.

I am actually more comfortable driving it than our passenger car.

Our travel calendar for 2014 starts Jan. 1, when we head south to Florida for the first half of January. Then, after a quick stop home, it’s up to the frozen wilds of Northern Minnesota and a dog sled race that runs to the Canadian border in the Great White North.

Every month of the coming year, we have a trip planned. I met with our friends at the Family Motor Coach Association last week at that RV show in Louisville and we made plans to attend and meet folks at rallies in Georgia, Massachusetts and Oregon next year.

We have trips planned for several national parks, a tour of the Texas Hill Country, a visit to the Alabama-Mississippi coasts, and, of course, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Jennifer and I are getting requests to make personal appearances and do seminars at RV trade shows across North America and we will try to do as many as we can.

Unlike a lot of the fulltimers we’ve met, who tend to stay in one place for extended periods of time, we seldom stay more than a few days in any one campsite when we travel. As I look back over 2013, the longest we stayed in any one location was five days, at Yellowstone National Park last summer. And since we don’t have a tow a second vehicle to get around, we use the Roadtrek to explore the areas we visit, returning to our spot at night or, as often happens, finding an even cooler place to stay during our excursions. That’s why we prefer boondocking, or staying in free sites in national forests on on BLM land. That way, if we decide the grass is greener somewhere else, we’re not out money if we decide to stay in the new location.

All this is to say, we are more than casual campers, something less than RV fulltimers. What should we call what we do?

3/4 timers?

All I know is… we sure are having a ball.




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About the Author

About the Author: Mike is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, and Norweigian Elkhound, Tai, travels North America in a Type B motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and frustrations of RV life on the road. He is the official on-the-road reporter for the Family Motor Coach Association. a columnist with Family Motor Coaching Magazine and his Roadtreking reports appear in numerous newspapers and publications. He enjoys camping (obviously), hiking, biking, fitness, photography, video editing and all things dealing with technology. His PC MIke TV reports, on personal technology are distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations. .


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25 Reader Comments

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  1. Mike, Really enjoy your posts. You provide the best information of all that I’ve found on this subject. Now that I’m retired I would like to convince my wife to travel in one. In 1973 I began my career working for a van conversion company and spent the next 37 years in that industry with a number of companies… so I love to hear your stories. I spent that time marketing and selling to new car dealers throughout the US. It would fun to relive that great experience by traveling to see many of friends all over the county again.

    Would you share some of the places you stay and your experience doing that? For people who haven’t camped a great deal I think those tips might be helpful.

    Stay Happy on the Road… John

  2. campskunk says:

    you’re getting there, Mike. one thing i noticed is that people who first hit the road tend to drive a lot, and dash around from place to place. as you gain full-timing wisdom, all this running back and forth evolves into a stately progression from spot to spot, so that you hit each area at the ideal time of year. look at it this way – since you still have a house, half your miles are driving back home. that’s why you’re covering about twice the miles per year that i am.

  3. Phyllis says:

    Still a tent camper, E trek is the dream of future journeys. I’m waiting till it is not necessary to winterize with antifreeze for the few hard freezes that punctuate our north Florida winters. I’d rather just plug into land power for those few nights to keep our fresh water flowing with no frozen pipes. Could we drip a faucet like we do in the shed, to prevent freezing when it reaches the 20s one or two nights each winter? Recently tent camping on “the forgotten coast” I met a SS Agile Roadtreker who drove from Alaska! Tell me more …


    Muito obrigado pelas histórias e informações que vc nos presenteia….

  5. Mike Wendland says:

    I don’t see us sitting still in one place for a few years yet. We’re too active. Roaming and exploring and running from one story to the next. We thrive on all that. And as long as there are grandkids to see, we’ll be regularly touching base back home and in Georgia where they all live. So mobility that a Type B offers fits our lifestyle perfectly.

    • Phyllis says:

      Tell the RV dealers that! Type B fits. Try to find an E trek to look at and test drive within a five hour drive. They aren’t out here yet.

      • Jennifer Wendland says:

        Phyllis….. We are driving the first eTrek that Roadtrek made. I think it would be hard to find a used one to look at. Although we learned Wednesday when Mike was interviewing Chad Neff, the owner of American RV in Grand Rapids MI, that he had a used eTrek for sale. Jim Hammil, the president of Roadtrek, told Mike all of the eTreks they make are sold. They are working hard to keep up with the demand. If we are ever in your area you can see ours.

        • Phyllis says:

          I’d love to meet you Jennifer. If you’re coming to north Florida, lets meet up. I’ve found my favorite state park to set my tent at. Have you tried St. Joseph’s on Cape San Blas? Alligators and snakes settle down a little in winter, and the hurricanes are over for awhile. I’d be interested in a new E-Trek, or used perhaps. Can you put me in contact with Chad Neff if his used E-Trek is available? I do travel some.
          It seems a waste to put antifeeze in the cooking water, and have to wash dishes in that pink stuff just because it freezes once or twice a winter around here. Winter is the time to camp in the Panhandle. The tent is all right for now so long as the neighbors don’t play their tv too loud, and the rain, wind and lightening are easy on the tent

  6. The only thing I’d say is to be very careful about flushing the commode with antifreeze if you travel with pets. Dogs drink out of the commode, and I caught our cat trying to do so! Our holding tank already has antifreeze, so I just pour water from a bottle to flush. After camping, I pour more antifreeze down the pot and so far, all is good!

  7. Captain George says:

    Also a good idea to run the antifreeze out the external shower if you have one. It should stay in the lines until you run fresh water thru it in the spring.

  8. Sounds like you’re having a blast Mike. :)

    Question: When it was summer, how did the AC work without a gen (just the battery bank)? I’m thinking of getting an etrek next year.

    Keep up the great work! :)


    • Jennifer Wendland says:

      Kenneth…. The longest we ran our AC without being plugged into shore power was six hours one night. It probably could have gone longer, but Mike had to get up to turn it off because it got too cold. The next morning there was still plenty of power to make coffee. You can go to the Roadtrek.com website to get more information.

  9. Maureen says:

    Mike and Jennifer. Now that you both have E-trek experience and have viewed the new TS Adventurous, outside of the technical additions and 4 seasons ability, what difference is there in the two models. I originally thought I would like the SS Agile but the TS Adventurous is enticing….getting closer to making a final decision.

  10. les shanteau says:

    I would call what you do—smart. And you—blessed to be able to do what you want to do.
    To Phyllis, we have an ’06 Chevy 190 Versatile and it has two water tanks. One is set up to be able to withstand temps in the 20′s.
    We will be in the Panhandle on Okaloosa Island at our condo in January with our RT.

    • Morning Star says:

      les Shanteau, you mentioned that you have two tanks and one runs in cold weather.Is the tank that can endure 20′ weather in side of your coach? If so did you give up some of your storage space for it? I think that is great that you took the initiative to do that and am interested in the simple facts. Thank You.Morning Star

  11. Jim Temple says:

    Mike and Jennifer, do you ever think you will become fulltimers?

  12. Sherry T says:

    I am 3/4 timing too but I base it on the weeks in my RT vs. weeks in the ‘big’ house. I would imagine the next couple of years will increase my RT time even more as I will be more involved with Roadtrek International than ever before. When my Petey got sick and I had take him from the big house into the RT for him to use the litter, everyone said that he is telling me something and now that we have been a month living in the gypsy, he is healthy again.

  13. Kerri Weisgerber says:

    I could live in one of those.

  14. René Genest René Genest says:

    Si seulement il était 4 X 4, j’en prendrais un.

  15. Kim Bourne Kim Bourne says:

    We are very close also it coming.

  16. Kiki Dunigan says:

    I think I would call you “most-timers”. It sounds like you spend most of your time either traveling, researching traveling, or writing about traveling! Just because you return to a permanent home doesn’t mean you aren’t still in “traveling” mode. I know I am!

  17. Bethann Duff Bethann Duff says:

    Sure would love one. My way of traveling.

  18. Hope it’s warm where you are. Getting cold in Va. 18 tomorrow nite with snow….

  19. Phyllis Hytnen says:

    If I’m reading this correctly, the ’06 Chevy 190 Versatile was manufactured this way, with two water tanks. One is set up to be able to withstand temps in the 20′s. However it is not tall enough for a guy 6′ 2″ to stand up inside.

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