RV Podcast 192: Preventive Maintenance Every RVer Needs to Do

When it comes to maintenance and do-it-yourself repairs of your RV, are you a bit intimidated Are you, like me, not exactly the most handy of handymen? If so, and even if you are comfortable doing things mechanically, listen up because in this episode, we’re going to talk to a top service technician about preventive maintenance that everyone can do to keep their RVs in tip top shape.

Plus, lots of RV News, this week, your RV questions, traveling tech suggestions and another fascinating off the beaten path report from the Burketts.

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.

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK [1:09]

We just returned from a great experience at the Owner’s Academy, held last week for three days by Roadtrek and the Erwin Hymer Group of North America’s headquarters in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. We were there to talk about our style of Serendipity Travel but we found the presentations by the factory staff so helpful that not only did we stuck around and listen but we did this week’s podcast interview on the preventative maintenance tips we learned.

It really was a lot of fun. People came from all over North America and everyone left so much more confident about handling the preventative maintenance things they were taught. They are doing two more Owner’s Academy this year and we look forward to attending them, too. Both, though, are sold out but based on the great reception to them I’m sure there will be others scheduled. When they are, we’ll let you know as soon as we do.

We’ve been working hard on videos these past few weeks. We have a whole bunch in the hopper and you can see new ones on our RV Lifestyle Channel on You Tube. New videos are released every Thursday morning. Best way to know about them is to go to the channel and subscribe. Then you can clock on a a bell icon and every time a new one is ready, you’ll get an immediate notification. But we have travel videos coming, a review of a new cellular booster system we’re trying out, RV model walk-throughs and all sorts of other surprises.

Here's the RV News of the week…

Colorado Wildlife officers using social media to track people who harass moose
Colorado wildlife officers are using social media to help them track down people who take pictures of themselves standing near and otherwise harassing moose. The desire to take a selfie near wildlife has been a growing problem at national parks and federal lands throughout the country, putting the wildlife and people at risk. In Colorado officers are using pictures, posted on social media, to successfully track down wildlife harassers to either issue tickets or issue warnings.

RVs on fire filled last week's news; Take steps to stay safe
Last week's RV news was full of what felt like an unusual number of RV fire reports. There was the story of a fifth wheel trailer fire in Arizona that reportedly appeared to start near the refrigerator. A woman and her cats were inside an RV in Florida when it caught aflame, apparently because of an electrical problem. A trailer was being towed in North Carolina when it caught a blaze, cause not immediately known. In Virginia an RV was parked in the owner's driveway when it caught on fire, spreading to the owner's home. All of these stories, and a few others, got me thinking back to an interview we did last year for the podcast on fire safety with Mark Polk of RVEducation101.com. Folks, it is important to do everything you can to stay safe. Click here to review that conversation and hear Mark's helpful safety tips.
Kentucky combining camping and fine dining in new state park program  
Kentucky officials recently kicked off their “Kentucky State Parks Culinary Trail,” a tourism project hoping to attract visitors to the Bluegrass state through offering good food at state park locations that typically also offer camping. The state created nine “signature meals” created by top chefs to highlight regional food in nine areas of the state. A state park restaurant in each region will offer one of the designated meals, and tourists are encouraged to collect stamps for each meal they try. Anyone who collects stamps from all nine receives a special gift. Click here or here to learn more.

Courts clarify that yes, you can be ticketed for left lane driving in Washington
An editorial out of a newspaper in Everett, Washington focused on drivers who insist upon driving in the left lane. Washington, as many of you may remember from past podacasts, has a state law that permits officers to pull over a driver and issue a ticket if the driver is staying in the left lane instead of using it for passing something, sadly, many RV drivers are guilty of doing. Well, apparently the law was challenged by a man, high on marijuana, who was pulled over for driving in the left lane. The editorial details why the law is good, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see other such laws elsewhere. Click here to read more.

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 [13:57]

Everyone who has ever camped in a tent knows how important it is to get a good sleeping bag, but have you ever thought of getting a sleeping bag for your pet?

The Ozark Trail dog bag

Last Sunday our daughter Wendy, her husband and our two granddaughters were over for Mother's Day and they told me about an item their dog would have loved, and that is a sleeping bag for dogs! Many dogs do not have the thick fur coat that Bo has and if the family is tent camping, or for some reason not able to use a heater in their trailer, temperatures out in the woods after the sun sets can get quite chilly – even for our pets.

I decided to take a quick look into dog sleeping bags and found several for sale on Amazon. The sleeping bags for dogs  look a lot like human sleeping bags, with an opening for the head and a zipper all around the edges to tuck your animal in so he's nice and toasty. Dog sleeping bags come in several sizes, and the pictures of happy dogs zipped in tight  lying next to their owners is enough to make anyone smile.

I found one by Ruffwear Highland selling for $99.95

Another one by Ozark Trail sold for $32.53

And there were several others.

The Ruffwear Highland dog bag

With Bo's thick snow dog fur, and the heated Alde floors in our Roadtrek, I do not see us investing in one of these anytime soon. But I wanted to share this idea because so many of us camp with our pets, and if you are in a tent, or if your dog does not have a thick fur coat, I thought it might be helpful.

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 [19:12]

Barabara doesn’t want to join Facebook as a member but wants to read our Roadtreking RV posts on our Facebook group. We explain that if she is not a member of Facebook, she is out of luck. She says she used to be able to read it without being a Facebook member. We are unsure how that happened but probably all the security changes at Facebook have now closed that door.

We have two Facebook presences… a Facebook Page: http//facebook.com/Roadtreking that is public and has lots of info… and our Facebook Group at http://www.facebook.com/groups/roadtreking  that is a Closed Group for members only. That is where a lot of questions and answers and very lively discussions, travel reports and more are posted but you have to be a Facebook member AND request membership in the group. We have it closed because, sadly, there are people who try to exploit the group with spam or personal vendettas and we only accept members who our moderators can vet as real RVers who will abide by the rules of the group. But again, the Roadtreking page and the Roadtreking group ARE on Facebook and if you are not a Facebook member, then you won’t see the material.

Nicole has a bulging disk and wants a more comfortable chair like the truckers have in her RV. There are lots of companies that offer so-called air ride seats and you can just Google them to see. Nicole doesn’t tell us what kind of RV she has. We know that some of the big Class A RVs do have such seats, or offer them as an option. So she could check with Class A dealers for more info. Now with Class C and Class B seats, the seats that come standard often swivel around or recline. Most of the trucker-grade Air Ride seats don’t do that. We invite RVers who have similar back problems to call in our voicemail line on the blog to offer their solutions.

Johanne asks about what we use to sleep in whole in our RV. We tell her about the various solutions and the RV Superbag that we have had now for six years and the various mattress toppers and pads we also use to sleep comfortably in the RV. Here's a video we did on the RV Superbag – https://youtu.be/xm6gWwcJOt0

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.

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK [33:35]

Our interview of the week is very timely for this episode because many RVers are now getting their RVs out of winter storage and preparing for another season of travel.

Sean Heintz, the service and warranty coordinator for the Erwin Hymer Group of North America

Our guest this week is Sean Heintz, the service and warranty coordinator for the Erwin Hymer Group of North America. We met Sean last week at the new Hymer factory in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. We were there to do a presentation to a special Owner’s Academy that brought Hymer and Roadtrek owners to the factory for several days of intense hands-on training in maintaining and understanding how their RVs work.

We heard Sean do a couple of sessions and just knew we needed to have him as a special guest on the podcast.

Now we have a special bonus for you this week. Here in the podcast, you’ll hear Sean talk about the things every RVer can do to keep their RV in tip top condition.

But over on our RV Lifestyle Channel on You Tube, you will also be able to see a video version of this interview, with some photos and videos about the things Sean is describing. But whether audio or video, you’re going to learn a lot from Sean.

Here's the video version of the interview:

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 [52:47]

Steve Van Dinter

By Steve Van Dinter
Verizon Wireless

With the kids off of school, summer is a popular time to hit the road. In fact, more than 80 percent of American families with children under the age of 18 intend to take a family vacation this summer. But is your family ready to make the most of your time away?

First, make sure you avoid any traffic hassles. With Google Maps, you can plan your route out in advance. And if you add in the time and date you’d like to leave or when you’d like to arrive at your destination, Google will give you an estimate of what traffic is like or when’s the best time to leave.

If summer travel takes you near a beach, you’re gonna want some music – and you’re going to want to make sure your speaker can handle life at the beach. That’s where the UE Wonderboom comes in handy. This portable bluetooth speaker is not only easy to pack, it’s also waterproof and sounds great!

If your travels are outside the US, you may just want to upgrade your smartphone to the Samsung Galaxy S9 before you leave. A new translation feature built into Bixby allows it to translate street signs, menus and anything else in a foreign language just by pointing your phone’s camera at it. Language will never be a barrier again!

Are you at all a forgetful person? When traveling, your keys, wallet and passport are something you can’t afford to lose. Keep track of them with the Tile Sport tracker. Just attach these intelligent squares to anything you want to keep track of and you’ll easily be able to locate them should they go missing.

And lastly, if you’re away from home for a decent amount of time, you want to make sure you’re keeping track of what’s going on at your house. The Arlo Go home security camera will provide peace of mind with its 24/7 live streaming. And since it has battery backup and connectivity via wifi and 4G LTE, even if the power goes out at home, you’ll still be able to look in.

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   [55:54]

By Tom and Patty Burkett

We're wondering if you remember Joe Palooka.

Patti and Tom Burkett

If you don't, we'll remind you that he's an easygoing animated heavyweight prize fighter who starred in comic strips, radio shows, and movies from the 1920s to the 60s. We ask because you can see a famous statue of him in the little town of Oolitic Indiana.

A few miles north of US 50 on Indiana 37, it calls itself the limestone capital of the world. In addition to the statue, which sits out front of the town hall, there are a number of beautiful limestone buildings along the streets, though sadly several of them are sitting empty.

One of the most interesting is the town jail, which even has a limestone roof. The Indiana limestone company, in business here for more than 100 years, ships out thousands of tons of dressed stone each week for use in monuments, memorials, and building construction. They occasionally offer tours, so check in if you're visiting the area.

The quarries are spread across adjoining counties, and beside one of them, where Indiana Route 37 dead ends into a rusted iron gate, Bill Cook’s grand dream is being overtaken by weeds.

What's left

The end of the road

Cook was, in the 1970s, a local entrepreneur who believed the area should have a tourist attraction to complement its prodigious industry. He drew up plans that included a replica of Cheops’ pyramid from Egypt and the great wall of China, set amid amusement rides, food stands, and a gift shop. With the promise of several hundred thousand dollars in federal funding, the first few courses of the pyramid were laid in place, and restrooms and a visitor center took shape.

Meanwhile, back in Washington DC, Wisconsin senator William Proxmire‘s fiscal conservation agenda was getting widespread support. When Cook's project received a Golden Fleece award, the ensuing spotlight dried up federal funding and the project died in its tracks. Local residents complained bitterly that a Democrat senator from Wisconsin could have something to say about what was happening in this conservative southern Indiana town, but the belt-tightening mood of the country meant the show was over.

Pillars sit on either side of the gate that marks the end of the highway. One is topped by a small limestone pyramid. The other clearly had one too, once upon a time. Walk around the gate and along the crumbling asphalt, and what's left of the park sprawls out along one side. On the other is a stunning view of a vast limestone quarry, still operating, with monolithic blocks lining the equipment roadways. Some dreams live on, and some flame out in a blaze of glory. This one died young, but you can still see the shape of it, out here off the beaten path.

Resources:

https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2924 

http://eerie-indiana.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-great-pyramid-of-bedford-needmore.html

https://www.indianalimestonecompany.com/our-quarries/our-story/

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS [58:59]
MAY
17-20
Tin Can Tourist Annual Gathering
Camp Dearborn
Milford, MI
MAY-JUNE
27-1
Escapade-Escapees RV Club National Rally
Missouri State Fairgrounds
Sedalia, MO
JUNE
7-10
Tampa Bay Summer RV Show
Florida State Fairgrounds
Tampa, FL
JUNE
18-22
Roadtreking Photo Safari at Glacier NP
Chewing Blackbones RV Park
Babb, MT
JULY
9-13
Roadtreking Natahalla River Wildwater Adventure
Smoky Mountains Meadows Campground
Bryson City, NC
JULY
18-21
FMCA International Convention and RV Expo
Cam-Plex Multi-Event Facilities
Gillette, WY

 

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