RV Podcast 185: What you need to know about your RV’s GPS System

In this episode, we talk about the RV accessory that we probably complain about the most but also depend upon to get where we are going – the GPS navigation system.

We talk to a top government GPS expert this week who explains how GPS works; how accurate and reliable it is, or isn’t; what system – the one in the dashboard or the one on your smartphone or tablet – is most accurate and what to do when it is not accurate.

Also some spring cleaning ideas for your traveling tech, a great off the beaten path report from New Mexico, RV tips and your questions.

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 #185 March 28, 2018 of Roadtreking – The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK [2:05]

Happy Easter everyone!  It's Spring Break and Easter Vacation time for much of North America this week and campgrounds are experiencing their first major rush of the 2018 camping season.

We’re in Florida at our Emerald Coast Location on the Gulf of Mexico again after a great visit last week to Texas. And the first of two videos we did on that trip will go live tomorrow – Thursday April 29 – on our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube. It’s about our trip to Waco and all the fun we had there.

Two of our three kids and five of our eight grandkids will be joining us over the weekend here at the beach to celebrate Easter so we’re looking forward to some fun family time. Then we hit the road again for what promises to be perhaps our busiest travel season ever. Though we’ve been busy all year so far. In fact we travel somewhere in our RV every month.

Now…here are the top RV related stories that have interested us this week….

Rangers at Arizona's Saguaro National Park using microchips to thwart thieves 

So many people are taking home a piece of Arizona's Saguaro National Park's famous saguaro cactus that rangers have started the unusual practice of micro chipping them. Yes, you read that right. Microchips are being inserted into the iconic plant that can grow up to 40 feet tall and live 200 years because selling them has become a lucrative market that is hurting the national park.

Ohio buys 60,000 acres to develop new park, complete with camping

We always like seeing stories about new state parks. Ohio announced its plans to buy 60,000 acres of privately owned land in the southeastern part of the state and turn it into the Jesse Owens State Park and Wildlife Area, complete with camping. The rolling hills and lake-specked land is owned by American Electric Power and was once mined for coal. In recent years the electric company allowed public use of the land, and a recent story we will link to in the shownotes presents an interesting picture of how one state is trying to preserve undeveloped land for future generations.

Night sky educational programs to get even better at national parks

Enjoy viewing the night sky in the nation's national parks? Your experience may be even a bit better this summer. The University of Texas-Austin's McDonald Observatory is creating a training program for park rangers to help them develop better night sky experiences for visitors.

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: An easy way to make eggs right every time [13:00]

Kristi Gilson and her Egg Central Egg Cooker by Quisinart

In this week’s tip, we meet Kristi Gilson, a new RVer, who recently showed us a gizmo she travels with in her RV that makes a perfect egg breakfast every time.

The device Kristi showed us is called the Egg Central Egg Cooker by Quisinart. You use distilled water and it quickly cooks eggs just about any way you want from omelets to hard boiled. It costs $39 and you can find it on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2pLi5oi

You can also find it – and all the various products and services we talk about here on the podcast and our blog – at https://roadtreking.com/gear

And 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

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK [19:15]

Listener Donna is wondering about places to stay on a motorcycle camping trip to Texas

—- We suggest Canyon of the Eagles, northwest of Burnet, for Texas hill country scenery and great camping; the area around Fredicksburg for shipping and wineries and wildflowers, Big Bend for rugged wilderness and the Padre Islands National Seashore for beach camping.

Mary is planning a trip along the Oregon coast in May and wants some places to overnight, especially one called Cook’s Chasm that she read about in this post from 2013 –https://roadtreking.com/boondocking-along-the-middle-oregon-coast/

—Oregon made some very wise land use decisions fifty-sixty years ago, and practically the whole coastline is state parks and national forest. Oregon also has a liberal boondocking policy – you can stay for 12 hours at any spot not otherwise posted, as long as it's outside a state park.

Cook's Chasm is a parking area maybe 2-3 miles south of the town of Yachats (YAH-hots)

Old lava flows to the ocean are all up and down the coast here, and at Cook's Chasm the lava has been eroded by wave action into caves and chasms – the waves really boom and spout out the blowholes of these when the surf's up and the tide is right. It's a large parking area on the ocean side of the highway, overlooking Thor's Well, a giant blowhole in an underwater cave that you can watch for hours as the waves come in and waters sloshes in and out of it. And the best part is – the waves are phosphorescent on moonless late summer nights. It's an eerie blue-green glow in the breakers – unforgettable.

Sponsoring this part of the podcast is Van City RV  Bringing You the largest Inventory of class B’ RVs with locations St. Louis, Missouri; Las Vegas, Nevada; Kalispell, Montana and now… Colorado Springs, Colorado..

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK: All about GPS  [30:00]

Jason Kim, Senior Advisor for the National Coordination Office for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing, at www.gps.gov.

We’ve all cursed our GPS system, right? We’re driving a bunch of strange roads following the GPS map in our RV but instead of getting to where we programmed it, we find ourselves somewhere else closer to the middle of nowhere.

It’s happened to us all, right?

In this episode, we talk to Jason Kim. Jason is  a Senior Advisor for the National Coordination Office for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing for the U.S. government. His agency’s website is www.gps.gov

He is a Department of Commerce employee who has been involved in the national management of the Global Positioning System and its U.S. augmentations since 1998. In 2008, he was named one of GPS World's “50+ Leaders to Watch.” As such, he is a top government GPS expert and in this week’s episode, he explains how GPS works; how accurate and reliable it is, or isn’t; what system – the one in the dashboard or the one on your smartphone or tablet – is most accurate and what to do when it is not accurate.

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: Spring Clean Your Tech [52:44]

By Steve Van Dinter
Verizon Wireless

Steve Van Dinter

Now that the weather’s getting warmer it’s just about time to spring open those windows and let in the fresh air. There’s something magical about the season and it really can get us energized to do some cleaning in our homes. But did you know your smartphone could use a good cleansing as well?

Here are some quick and easy tips to get you started:

First…storage. Those photos and videos on your phone take up a ton of space! Google Photos is free app for iOS and Android that gives you free unlimited storage of those photos! You click on free up space and it’ll automatically backup your photos for free in the cloud and then delete them off your device.

Or, you can use the Sandisk Connect Wireless Stick to wirelessly transfer files between your smartphone and laptop.

Next there are all those random menus you’ve downloaded, practice schedules, etc. You probably don’t even know where they are! But for Android users, the app, Files Go, can help. It’ll scan your phone and let you know what’s taking up space and if you haven’t accessed an app or a file for a while it’ll recommend deletion. Or if you want to save the file, it can be sent to Google Drive for storage.

If you use an iPhone, go to Settings > General > Storage > to see all of your apps. And you’ll also see how long it’s been since you used them. If you haven’t used it in about six months, I’d say you can delete it. If there’s an app you haven’t used in a while but you don’t want to delete, you can offload it when you’re low on storage and that app’s data will be saved.

Organize your apps. Take a look at what you use most and sort – for instance, texting, phone, email and your camera should always be right at your fingertips.

Finally, do your constant notifications make you anxious? Prioritize what you need to know and be alerted about and change your settings accordingly.

Happy cleaning!

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 –  Gila Hot Springs, New Mexico  [56:19]

Patti and Tom Burkett

t was well below freezing in the Gila National Forest, and we were happy the Roadtrek was still winterized.  We’d thought about filling the tanks more than once in the previous week, but hadn’t gotten around to it.  The previous night we’d made the acquaintance of a couple from Alaska, and as I walked up to the hot spring pool in the pre-dawn darkness, I heard them chatting.  “ I hope it’s still clothing optional hours, “ I said, “because my suit is too cold to put on this morning.”  “Not to worry,” said John, who reached out of the pool and picked his own suit up to show me—board stiff and covered with frost.

We were at the Gila Hot Springs campground on a New Mexico scenic roadway called the Trail of The Mountain Spirits, which begins in the town of Silver City, north of Deming off Interstate 10.  The previous night our dinner server had recommended the museum there, and it happened that a Silver City mechanic had time to take care of a small problem with the Roadtrek.  At the museum, we were surprised to find a detailed exhibit about flamenco dancing and the growing flamenco culture in New Mexico.  It was a very interesting museum, and we enjoyed a nice walk through the historic downtown as well.

Traveling counterclockwise on the circular Trail of the Mountain Spirits, we spent quite a while driving through the Mimbres valley, an area that’s been cultivated and inhabited for perhaps as much as three thousand years.  We were looking forward to a stop at the Three Questions Coffeehouse, where breakfast and lunch are served from pots on the stove and you simply help yourself.  Sadly, we found the shop already closed for the day when we arrived.

Finding the Gila Hot Springs campground was not a simple task.  As we approached, there was a large sign for the Gila RV Park.  Thinking this was it, we pulled in, only to discover a perfectly adequate facility, with hookups and a spring-fed hot tub, but not the place we were looking for.  Back down the road a mile or so, we located the sign for the Gila Wilderness Lodge (and camping).  The approach looked like a farm lane—a steep downhill between paddocks of goats, with a few rugged driveways branching off from it.  Down we went, and enjoyed the dozens of baby goats scrambling on both sides.  Sure enough, as we approached the river, a sign pointed left to the campground.

Allen and Carla Campbell own the hot springs, and have operated it since 1992.  Allen was born and raised here, and can answer any question about local history.  Carla told us the river floods every few years, and they take these opportunities to make improvements to the springs.  There are three spring pools of varying temperatures, surrounded by natural rock walls with gravel bottoms.  The pools range from bathtub to hot tub temperature and are drained and cleaned regularly.  Spread out along the riverbank are about a dozen roomy campsites, each with river access and fire rings.  Eight dollars a person buys you a campsite and unlimited soaking in the pools.

If you’d rather, you can stay at the RV park with full hookups and get a day pass to the springs for five bucks.  Across the road from the RV park is a nice store with groceries, souvenirs, and a selection of art and craft work by local artisans.  There’s no cell service here, but the store has free wifi, and even posts the password on a sign out front by a strategically placed picnic table.  There’s more to see and do on the Trail of the Mountain Spirits, and we’ll tell you about it next time, from this mile high corner of New Mexico, off the beaten path.

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.

RV SHOWS THIS WEEKEND [1:03:08]

There are no RV shows this weekend because of the Easter holiday weekend.

But here’s a heads up for those of you in the southwest. Jennifer and I will be meeting and greeting folks at the Super B RV show in Phoenix. The show runs Phoenix April 12-15, a Thursday through Sunday. Please out it on your schedule and come say hello! It’s at the University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale and is run by LaMesa RV. This is only for Class B and small motorhomes and well over 100 will be in display.

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