RV Podcast 213 What does the RV Lifestyle mean to you?

The RV Lifestyle means different things to different people. This week, we’ll hear from a collection of RVers we just met at the ongoing California RV Show about the many different ways they use and enjoy their RVs and what part of the lifestyle they enjoy the most. Plus lots of RV News, RV Tips and a great off the beaten path report.

Show Notes for Episode #213 Oct. 19, 2018 of Roadtreking – The RV Podcast

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

MIKE

We've been on the west coast the past few days meeting folks and hanging out at the huge California RV Show in Pomona. It’s our first time attending this annual fall show, which in every way rivals the September RV Show in Hershey and the January Tampa, Florida RV Supershow in size and vendors. It’s hard to say which is the biggest but lets just say you can walk a lot of miles at Pomona and still not see everything!

JENNIFER.

This is the third RV show we’ve attended in as many weeks. First was Hershey, then the RV Open House in Elkhart and now the California Show. If we had to take our impressions on all three of these shows and identify the one or two big trends we saw, we’d have to say all the industry momentum seems to be focused these days on boondocking and smaller RVs like teardrops and Class B campervans.  The industry’s clear emphasis is on drawing younger people into the RV Lifestyle and they are trying to do that with smaller more efficient units that are able to do off grid and sometimes off road camping.

MIKE

I agree with that assessment. I think the question we were asked more than any other one over the weekend had to do with boondocking. And not necessarily by young people. Campers of all sorts, especially babyboomers expressed frustration over trying to book space in commercial campgrounds and state parks. So many RVs have been sold in recent years and there are so many new RVers out there that tit is getting harder and harder to book a spot at a commercial or state park type campground without making reservations long in advance. So RVers are increasingly looking towards boondocking. Which is just why we wrote our new book,  the Beginner's Guide to Boondocking .  Sales have been amazing, and we so appreciate the kind words we heard from many at the show who have already read it. But in three days of doing meet and greets out there, we heard so many people talk about wanting to give boondocking a try.

We were also asked a lot where Bo was and we explained that we left him back home because we had to fly out to California because there just was not enough time for us to drive in our RV between all the shows we had to attend and our next event, which gets underway tomorrow. That event is another one of our Roadtreking gatherings, the eighth of the year. It’s on the prairie in the Flinthills region of Kansas on the Flying W Ranch. The Flying W is a working cattle ranch and we will be camped there in our RVs and participating in all sorts of things, including a longhorn cattle drive, a photography tour and something I am really looking forward to, a night star gazing party with an astronomer. It should be an awesome time.

JENNIFER

As this podcast is being released the Panhandle region of Florida is being affected by Hurricane Michael. Our thoughts and prayers are with those in the affected areas. This looks like a major storm and it hits home for us…literally. As many of you know we have a condo on Okaloosa Island near Destin which is right in the thick of it all. We have been relying on friends, including  Roadtrekers Les and Kathy Shanteau, who we want to give a big shout out to. They live in the area and have helped us move a car that we keep down there to higher ground. Other friends have moved our patio furniture indoors, too. But hurricanes are scary things and we’re hoping and praying this one is not as bad as they say.

MIKE

Along those lines I have received a news release from the Florida Campground Association. The panhandle and Emerald Coast are very popular with RVers and this is a very busy time down there as it is fall break for many of the southern schools.

Many RV parks and campgrounds along northern Florida’s Gulf Coast are closing before Hurricane Michael hit the state. Here’s the release:

“RV parks and campgrounds along the Coastal Region, from Destin to Cedar Key or from Santa Rosa County to Levy County, are having to heed emergency evacuation orders and are closing their parks until the hurricane passes,” said Bobby Cornwell, executive director of the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.

“Some RV Parks farther inland in the panhandle region may still be open. However, RVers and campers are advised to travel west of Pensacola or east of Madison to stay away from the storm’s path.”

Inland RV parks and campgrounds may be used to accommodate visitors and hurricane evacuees, however.

“Those seeking campground accommodations should have no trouble finding RV sites in Florida as the campgrounds in the northeast region, the center, and the southern parts of the state are far away from the storm path and are open for visitors and evacuees,” Cornwell said.

For a list of campgrounds and RV parks in Florida, please visit www.campflorida.com. For more information on RV park availability and updates on the status of Florida RV parks following the storm, please visit www.facebook.com/CampFlorida.

Meanwhile, here's the RV news and happenings you need to know about this week:

RV NEWS OF THE WEEK

JENNIFER

Fat Bear Week draws worldwide attention to Alaska's Katmai National Park
Have you cast your vote during Fat Bear Week? Alaska's Katmai National Park & Reserve runs a March-madness style competition where the public gets to vote on which bear appears the heaviest each day Oct. 3-9. Packing on the pounds is a matter of life or death for the bears, which can lose one-third of their weight during hibernation. Katmai started their competition a few years ago to bring attention to the bears, famous for their salmon fishing, and it has really caught on. Katmai is the same park we featured in August on the podcast for attracting literally thousands of followers from around the world with their bearcam. (To hear podcast click here.) The park's Fat Bear Week is another fun activity the park holds to interact with the public through social media. To learn more read the park's news release here. To read a story on the BBC click here. And read the rankings, click here.

MIKE
Conservationists say over-crowding in some Canadian national parks causing problems, damaging ecosystem 
Conservationists are calling for a limit to daily visitors in some of Canada's most popular national parks. Like the U.S. National Parks system, the Canadian parks are also seeing record numbers of visitors. The result is massive congestion, inadequate parking, and damage to the ecological system, according to a couple stories out last week. The conservationists pointed to the closure of Waterton in 2017 briefly, because of over crowding – a first- and stressed something needs to be done. To learn more click here or here.

JENNIFER
RV Industry Association says new agreement with Canada and Mexico will benefit RV makers
The new trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico to replace NAFTA will benefit the RV Industry, the RV Industry Association said in a press release last week. Motorhomes and travel trailers are not included in the pact's rules of origin for motor vehicles, something the RV industry calls a victory  and the agreement includes language exempting Canada and Mexico from future U.S. tariffs on imported automobiles and parts. To read more click here.

MIKE
Mother dies while hiking at Great Smoky Mountains National Park with daughter
Sad news last week on another death while hiking in the Smokies – the 11th death from various causes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this year.  Apparently a mother and daughter, both experienced hikers, were hiking for several days, agreeing to separate for a time, so the daughter to get more miles, before meeting up at an agreed upon place. When the mother never arrived at the agreed upon destination the daughter alerted authorities and a search was launched. The mother's body was found last week and no foul play is suspected. The whole story reminded me of the importance of hiking safety – something that is good for everyone to review from time to time. I will click hereto an interview we did with a hiking specialist last year. Click here to read the story out last week.

JENNIFER
Check out this excellent fall color map that changes by dates
Fall is one of our favorite times to camp, but knowing where to go for optimal color viewing can be a bit tricky. That is why I am excited to share this map of the entire continental U.S., color coded and adjustable by date, to see when colors are expected to be most brilliant near you. Check it out by clicking here.

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.

 JENNIFER'S RV TIP OF THE WEEK 

One of my favorite things about camping, is gazing up at the night sky. Seeing all the stars, the Milky Way, even the moon just thrills me. There is nothing like the display that happens every clear evening when you're camping in the woods. And it is something most of us never fully appreciate at home in our sticks and bricks house either because we are so busy at home we don't take the time to gaze up, or because of the light pollution in our cities mudding the view.

From time to time there are national – even international – events aimed at getting people to look up into the sky, and one such event is coming up Oct. 20. It is the international Observe the Moon Day, held sometime typically in September or October every year.

The event started in 2010, and is held when the moon is at its first quarter, because a first quarter moon is typically visible in the late afternoon or evening and it provides the best lunar viewing because shadows are at their longest.

I wanted to tell you about this event because special activities will be held throughout the country – and even world. Many spots will open their telescopes to the public on Oct. 20 with chances to view the moon, and experts will hold informative talks. Many of these events are held in planetariums, and near cities, so you do not need to be out in the woods to participate.

I'll enclose a link to the NASA information site along with a location finder.

https://moon.nasa.gov/observe-the-moon/annual-event/overview/

To find spot near you: (enter zip code)

https://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/clubs-and-events.cfm

Where will you be Oct. 20? See if you can attend the closest event near you so the next time you're out camping and look up, you can appreciate what you see just a little bit more.

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  To see our Rad Power Bikes in action, just click here. Visit WWW.RADPOWERBIKES.COM  

RV INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

At the California RV Show, we got to talk to a lot of people about RVing. We asked many of them what the RV Lifestyle meant to them and were very encouraged and inspired by their answers.

Here's a video of interviews demonstrating the many ways we all live out our RV travel dreams:

 

Here’s a transcript of the interviews:

Jennifer Wendland:    We had a ball at the California RV Show. And one of the questions we asked everybody was, what does the RV Lifestyle mean to you?

Mike Wendland:         So we thought we might as well roll the camera and share it all with you and make it our interview of the week.

We spent several hours each day doing meet and greets, getting a chance to talk to the people who came by to say hello, and it was so much fun.

Jen Wendland:            It really is, to put some faces to the people that we're talking to, because we don't know who's out there and it's great fun to meet them.

Mike Wendland:         Tell me your name and what does the RV Lifestyle mean to you?

Ariel:                           My name is [Ariel 00:00:35], and a lot of it is just seeing the country. And I've cross-countried in a car, and it's not the same as actually seeing it and experiencing it. We've got so many beautiful national parks throughout this country, that I want to see it in person.

Mike Wendland:         And why an RV?

Ariel:                           You can go into the park and spend several days as opposed at staying at a Marriott or a Hilton outside of the park, and having to go in and fight the crowds for parking, when you're already inside the national parks. It's actually experiencing it when people have already gone home. And going into the park and experiencing the evening and early hours.

In the morning, when the animals are coming out and possibly a bear or a deer coming through the campground, that would be fascinating to see.

Jennifer Wendland:    When you spend the night there, like you say, and you wake up in the morning with the first light and the fog and the animals and everything, or the evening, that's, I think, when the animals … because you haven't done this yet.

Ariel:                           I haven't done this yet.

Jennifer Wendland:    In the evening, that's when you're more up to have-

Ariel:                           Really?

Jennifer Wendland:    … the bison come through your campground, and that is so much fun. That is so exciting.

Ariel:                           Oh. See, that's what I want to experience, because right now, I'm in a car. I go in, I go in with the crowds, and then I have to leave before it's sunset, with the crowds, and I don't get to stay in the park and experience what it's really like inside the park.

Jennifer Wendland:    You're going to love it.

Ariel:                           I certainly hope so.

Jennifer Wendland:    You will.

Mark Hopkins:            Mark Hopkins.

Mike Wendland:         And Mark, what does the RV Lifestyle mean to you?

Mark Hopkins:            Well, it means right now, patience, patience with ordering one that's just the way you want it. It's home away from home, and it's taking, well, the big backyard approach all the way.

Mike Wendland:         Hey, that's a pretty cool T-shirt. Show everybody. Where did you get that T-shirt?

Mark Hopkins:            Well, I found it on your site.

Mike Wendland:         Oh, no kidding! No, I like that. It looks good on you.

Jen Wendland:            We got to make something for [Hitch 00:02:31].

Mike Wendland:         Yeah, Hitch, you need one.

Mark Hopkins:            Hitch is, the Lifestyle for him is relaxing no matter where he is.

Mike Wendland:         Yeah.

Now you've had one on order and you're about ready to get one.

Mark Hopkins:            I am.

Mike Wendland:         What's your first trip going to be?

Mark Hopkins:            Well, it will be a trip to Florida to see family, and I will be vacationing in a campground in Key West for the month of January.

Barbara L.:                  Ken and Barbara Longeway. We currently live in New Mexico, looking to relocate. We've had two other motorhomes before, a class C and a class A, and we want to go down to a class B that I can drive, and we can visit relatives that are located all over the country and not have to be in a campground, because several of them live in places that are nowhere near a campground. Take the cat with us and not have to leave her with a sitter, and just have total freedom of, “Hey, let's go somewhere this weekend and do it.”

Ken Longeway:           And with a RV Lifestyle, we've learned how to take baths like a navy shower. We learned how to minimize use of water, how we can heat water without needing a lot of electricity and stuff. So when we have problems at the home, we can revert to our RV Lifestyle learning and not lose a beat.

Paul Erickson:             Hi. I'm Paul Erickson. RV Lifestyle? Gosh.

Well we enjoy getting out when we can. We've never spent any time boondocking, per se, but we enjoy traveling the country. Earlier this year, we took off from our home in Vancouver, Washington, visited family in Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho, great-grandkids in Montana, before we went on to Crazy Horse then over to Nebraska to visit my wife's aunt. Then we swung home through Jackson, Wyoming, where another sister lives, and then on into Idaho Falls where Idaho, where we're originally from, and back home.

This trip, we're out, we went to Mesa, Arizona to visit a grandson and then we came here to Pomona to meet Mike and Jennifer and catch up with the Roadtrek people here. So we're headed out later today for Vancouver and home.

Mike Wendland:         So what are you doing when you're at all these places? What do you like about it?

Paul Erickson:             Oh, gosh. Well, on this trip we actually stopped and hiked through the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, which was a lot of fun. And of course, we were in Montana with the great-grandsons; they're a hoot, just to get together with those five little boys. They never stop moving. And just trying to keep up with them.

And then of course, with sisters and brothers, it's just laugh and joke and kid each other and eat a lot, of course, when you're traveling like that.

Mike Wendland:         Do you wish you'd started earlier?

Paul Erickson:             Well actually, we started with a tent when our kids were really young. Then we went to a tent trailer and then a Toyota chassis RV, little Coachman. And then we went to a class C Jayco, and that's when the grandkids traveled with us a lot to Disneyland, Yellowstone Park.

Mike Wendland:         Yeah?

Paul Erickson:             So yeah, just get out and do anything and everything we can. We did take the one RV to Orlando one time to go to Disney World.

Mike Wendland:         So you use it for transportation or would you live in it? What do you like about it?

Paul Erickson:             I don't know that we're ready to live in it, so we just like to use it to get from point A to point B to do stuff, and most of that stuff is with family.

Mike Wendland:         But you camp in it, right?

Paul Erickson:             Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mike Wendland:         Yeah.

Paul Erickson:             We just haven't boondocked much. We usually end up in some RV park where we plug in the power and let her go.

Mike Wendland:         Well you got to get our boondocking book.

Paul Erickson:             Yes, we do, because we want to try some of that.

Mike Wendland:         It's a great way to go.

Paul Erickson:             Yeah. I believe that. I believe that.

Mike Wendland:         So if people were thinking about the Lifestyle, what do you say?

Paul Erickson:             Oh, go for it. I mean, you're never too early to start. I mean, goodness gracious, I retired from full-time work nine years ago now, and so we get out at least once a month and go somewhere for three days.

Gayle:                          My name is Gayle and I retired six years ago. Within two months I went out and bought an RV, and I've tried three of them in the last six years and they've all been Sprinters. Love the Sprinter. Had a Roadtrek SS Agile recently, but we like to do backcountry in Death Valley or Borrego Springs or there's always some dirt roads back there, and so we go in by 4X4.

Mike Wendland:         You've got a 4X4?

Gayle:                          Yes.

Mike Wendland:         Well you do go backcountry then.

Gayle:                          Well, I don't know about the RV, but at least we know it can go there.

Mike Wendland:         Yeah. What do you like about the backcountry?

Gayle:                          Oh my gosh. Since we were little kids, our father and parents would take us out in Jeeps and things out back a way away kind of thing too, but now we go with a couple of vehicles together, with the water and the tow and the satellite phone and all the safety things. But Death Valley's exquisite.

Mike Wendland:         Death Valley?

Gayle:                          You have to you get back. Uh-huh.

Mike Wendland:         Really?

Gayle:                          Yes.

Mike Wendland:         It's real hot there, isn't it?

Gayle:                          Very. Yeah. November's about the time to start thinking of going.

Mike Wendland:         Really?

Gayle:                          Yeah, to go in the wintertime. Yeah, the summers-

Jen Wendland:            And what about the flowers, what about the snakes and scorpions, things like that?

Gayle:                          Well, the snakes come out in the springe when it gets warm; that's anywhere in the desert, but the springtime in the desert's probably the prettiest place in the world. And you'll be on a little road somewhere in the middle of nowhere, and all of a sudden you'll see this gorgeous cactus in bloom, all by itself. You're 23 miles off the main highway and you just stand there staring at it, it's so pretty.

Mike Wendland:         Yeah. People hear you talk about that and they say, “Oh, aren't you ever worried about your safety out there?”

Gayle:                          Yes. The number one thing is water, water, and never less than two vehicles. We have winches, extra fuel and we have satellite phones so that if you … I would urge your listeners, some of the ones, you've had stories where they got stranded because they didn't have a cell signal. A satellite phone, you will pick up a signal anywhere, and in fact, we carry two of them as a backup, so that you could be in the middle of nowhere and you could still dial out and call somebody.

Mike Wendland:         Yes.

Gayle:                          It's really a good thing to carry around.

Mike Wendland:         Are satellite phones very expensive?

Gayle:                          Yes. Well, iPhones now, they're still a thousand, $1200 or whatever, so a satellite phone would be in that range, but the thing that's most expensive about it, is you're paying almost $60 a month not to use it, just to have it. So it's not a, “Hi, Honey. Hello. How are you?” phone and you want to talk for five hours, because they charge you by the minute.

Mike Wendland:         Yeah.

Gayle:                          So the whole idea is just to have it and then if you ever did get in a situation, you'll always have a signal where you can call out.

Mike Wendland:         That's great.

Jim Hands:                  My name is Jim Hands. That's my name. And it's the Roadtreking, really. I stumbled onto your podcast and came to the Pomona RV Show about two years ago. I met Jim Hammill and the crew and really like it.

Long story short, we got a used 190 Versatile, upgraded to a 210 Popular; we love it. It's nice to be able to have that freedom to go where you'd like to go and to go off the beaten path. And it's just been really nice to be together and going and seeing family and things like that and being able to get away from family in a quick … sometimes we just leave the motor running and we come back out when it gets a little crazy.

But we really enjoy it and we're looking forward to putting many more miles on it.

Mary Lou Young:         My name is Mary Lou Young. And the RV Lifestyle, which I've been doing for years, means freedom; freedom to go where I want, see who I want, visit friends and family and just have the openness of the road. And we take the blue roads instead of the freeways so that we can go on the backroads. And we've been all over, even into Canada and just absolutely love it.

Jen Wendland:            I can't begin to tell you how much fun it is to meet other folks and share your love of the RV Lifestyle.

Mike Wendland:         Sometimes we think we're just doing this in a vacuum, because we're basically talking to a camera or a computer, and we forget that there are really people out there. Sometimes we say, “Nobody's listening to this,” and it's really fun to meet these people, wasn't it?

Jen Wendland:            It was. It was great.

Mike Wendland:         Yeah.

And what I really enjoyed about it is, the many different ways people are enjoying the RV Lifestyle. It's not just, go camp someplace and go home for the week; there's so many different ways.

We hope you enjoyed all of this and we'd love to hear your story some day and what the RV Lifestyle means to you.

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:

By Andy Choi
Verizon Wireless

Here’s a question: Would you rather lose your cellphone or lose your favorite sports team to another city? According to a new Verizon survey, 34 percent of Americans would rather see their favorite team leave for another city than lose their smartphone. 39 percent would rather lose their favorite athlete to another team than lose that mobile phone.

A few more interesting stats from this latest survey with more than a thousand people responding: One in four mobile phone owners report they’ve broken, damaged, or lost their phone while out and about, with sporting events leading to the demise of 16.9 million phones.

The bottom line is Americans are getting clumsier with their phones. Verizon’s survey found 56% of mobile phone owners have broken or lost their phones in 2018, up from 49% in 2016. But Americans are also taking steps to remedy the problem. The majority have invested in protective gear or insurance plans.

This new survey has been released in conjunction with the start of the enrollment period for Verizon’s Total Mobile Protection program, an equipment protection program that protects Verizon customers’ mobile devices from theft or damage for as low as $10 a month. As a member, customers are eligible to receive next-day and in-home repairs of their devices. Total Mobile Protection’s open enrollment is available now until November 25th. You can find more information on verizonwireless.com.

So wherever you go beyond the confines of your RV, you never know when you might need Total Mobile Protection. For this week’s traveling technology tip, I’m Andy Choi with Verizon.

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  

By Tom Burkett

Patti’s off in New England this week, so it’s just me. Despite the fact we love to travel together, sometimes it works out that a solo trip makes sense. Do you two ever do that? Anyway, I know some people will be making their way west for the Roadtrek cattle drive soon. Kansas seems like a 300 mile long farm field if you drive through it on I-70, but if you get off the four-lane, there’s a world of things to see among the wheat fields and in the river drainages.
Kansas City has the world’s first shopping center for shoppers in cars, and legendary barbecue. Wichita has an amazing riverfront, and Topeka is rich in history and beautiful city parks, but you won’t be surprised when I encourage you to spend your exploring time in small towns.

Off the beaten path travel is all about small towns. The last generation highways and two-lane roads that wind through every state go right down the main street of every county seat, shipping terminal, and stringtown strip built since we began to travel on four wheels. Transportation, too, has had a vivid impact on this landscape of gas stations and post offices. The fortunes of many a settlement have been made or lost from the siting of a canal, railroad, or highway. For better or worse, we humans have a deep-seated loyalty to place. I’ve talked to many a resident of a dying town who would no sooner consider moving to another town than moving to the moon.

Patti and I enjoy a good hike to a beautiful viewpoint or camping by the side of a lake, but what we enjoy most is exploring the history and lives of the towns we come across. Whether it’s the Midwest, Deep South, or Mountain West, a majority of small towns have fallen on hard times. Centralized manufacturing has largely done away with the small forge that used to make implements for local farmers. Corporate agriculture has taken away the farm families that shopped on the local main street, and instantaneous access to a world of culture and information has made young and old alike yearn for a broader and less parochial experience.

In some small towns, civic leaders and local philanthropists have gone at the problem vigorously and have, through a variety of projects, revitalized the community. Sometimes the revival has centered on an attraction that brings pride and tourist dollars. In other cases, a boutique or specialized industry has been the key. What makes it work in some places, while others struggle mightily, is a question we’ve been thinking about for some time.

Take for example, Lucas, Kansas. We visited Lucas in the Spring, outside of the typical tourist season. Just outside of town is a beautiful Corps of Engineers lake with three full service campgrounds. We joined a handful of off-season campers along the shore. Lucas bills itself as the grassroots art capital of the state. It’s home to the Garden of Eden. In 1902, Samuel Dinsmoor, a Civil War veteran, built his wife a home from carved limestone logs. He then proceeded to form concrete trees around it to display an extraordinary collection of figures he created. It’s an otherworldly experience to see this assemblage in the early morning light.

Downtown you’ll find the country’s number two best public restroom, so voted in 2014. It’s amazing, with specially themed men’s and women’s areas. There’s an art shop that offers classes, at least three studios of outsider artists, and a restored 1930s movie theater. Still, when we visited, there was not a soul in sight on the streets. At the library, we chatted with Mary Ann, the librarian. “It’s a real struggle,” she told us. “We’re trying to bring this town back to life, and we’ve got a lot to work with. There’s the Garden of Eden (she’s a tour guide) and the movie theater, where we show a new movie every week (she’s a projectionist), and our award winning restroom (she organized the fundraising).”

Still, things are tough. Brant’s meat market, an area institution and home of Czechoslovakian ring bologna, closed in January after 75 years in the same family. A few months earlier, the town grocery store shut its doors. “They were doing a good business,” says Mary Ann, “but the young couple who ran it felt to stifled by small-town life and, when they moved away, nobody was interested in taking it over. The convenience store out by the highway is putting on an addition so they can carry more stuff, and that’s good for everyone, but it’s not like having a grocery store downtown. It’s just not the same.”

Folks in Lucas are working hard to keep their town alive. The outsider art is beginning to draw in more visitors. Brant’s has new owners who plan to reopen soon. Fishing at nearby Wilson Lake keeps the gas station and a downtown cafe open, and Mary Ann is hopeful. “We’ll figure it out,” she says. We hope she’s right. Places like this enrich not only the ones who live there, but also those of us who just stop by for a visit. We look at the hours and dollars we spend out here as an investment in the fabric that keeps us all resilient and challenged. We hope to see you out here too, along the roads that lead off the beaten path.

Off the Beaten Path is brought to you by Harvest Hosts http://roadtreking.com/harvesthosts, a membership site that provides truly unique overnight stops at wineries, farms and attractions. You can take 10% of that cost by using the discount code HHFRIENDS. Just go to http://roadtreking.com/harvesthosts  

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS

 

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