There is no excuse anymore to overnight in your RV in crowded, brightly lit, noisy parking lots. This week, we bring back the CEO of Harvest Hosts who will tell us in the interview of the week about a huge expansion in the number of farms, wineries, fruit orchards, attractions, and now golf courses across North America that welcome members of Harvest Hosts to stay on their scenic, beautiful grounds. We’ll also have him explain how listeners to this podcast can avoid the price hike coming January 1 and even get a nice discount not available to others.

Also in this podcast, also answer your RV questions, share some tech tips and bring the Burketts on for another off the beaten path report. Lots to share this week.

Show Notes for Episode #222 December 12, 2018 of Roadtreking – The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

MIKE

This is our last podcast of the year. We’re taking our first real vacation break in almost seven years of creating RV and Travel content. Besides pausing the podcasts to enjoy some time off at this special time of the year, we’ll be taking a break on our newsletters, videos and blog posts. In fact, speaking of the Roadtreking RV Lifestyle blog, we’ll be doing a redesign and giving it a slightly different look. We’ll still be checking in on social media but we’re planning a real break. The podcast will return on Jan. 2, 2019 and all our other content will also pick back up right after the New Year.

JENNIFER

We have a new way to leave us voice messages, besides the link on the right side of the Roadtreking RV Lifestyle blog. You can call us on Google Voice. From any phone, just dial 586-372-6990 and leave a question, comment, tip or any message. We really love hearing everyone’s voices and featuring them in the podcast so we hope you will use that service. We’ll post that number in the shownotes for this episode but again, if you want to jot it down now, it’s 586-372-6990.

RV NEWS OF THE WEEK

MIKE

Class B RV Sales Continues record setting growth

 Class B sales continued to enjoy year-over-year sales growth during the first 10 months of 2018, as overall retail registrations climbed 27.8% in the period. Statistical Surveys Inc. reported that Winnebago Industries Inc. led the segment through October with a 39.6% market share followed by Erwin Hymer Group North America (29.3%) and Thor Industries Inc. (10.9%). 

JENNIFER

Officials discuss ways to ‘haze' Yellowstone National Park's wolves after beloved wolf legally killed by hunter
Last week we told you about the legal shooting of a beloved Yellowstone National Park wolf which had wandered just outside the park's entrance and was shot during hunting season. The death grieved both park and wildlife officials who are now working on developing a way to ‘haze' the wolves so they are less accustomed to humans.The Yellowstone wolves are used to humans watching them from a distance which makes them an easy hit for hunters looking for a trophy kill, officials said. To read more click here. Others are petitioning for a a buffer zone around Yellowstone, so hunters can't shoot the animals just outside the entrance, like what happened in this case. To read more click here.

MIKE

Homeowner decorates house and RV to raise toys for needy children
Have you ever watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation? Apparently a man from New Jersey is a HUGE fan, deciding to decorate his house in the same way the Griswold family did in the movie – complete with an RV. The homeowner used mannequins to mimic scenes from the movie. While the decor is fun, the homeowner did it with a purpose. Those who come by to see the display are encouraged to leave a toy for needy kids inside the RV. Visitors are dropping off about 100 toys a night. To see for yourself, click here.

JENNIFER

Best meteor shower of the year – the Geminid – peaks this week 
Anyone who loves a good meteor shower needs to be sure to get outside this Thursday and Friday. The Geminid meteor shower is widely thought of as one of the best  of the year with bold, quick white lights falling, as many as 50 an hour during its peak, which is this Dec. 13 and 14. To learn more click here.

MIKE

State park transforms cave into underground Santa workshop
Searching for a unique way to celebrate the season? Anyone near Alabama may want to visit Rickwood Caverns State Park. For the second year now the state park is having “Santa's Underground Workshop,” where park officials have turned an underground cave into a scene from the north pole. Laser lights, LED lights, fog machines, fake snow, and even Santa are all there, hard at work. To learn more about the unique cave experience, click here

 JENNIFER'S RV TIP OF THE WEEK

As many of you know, Mike, Bo and I are getting ready for Bo's favorite camping trip of the year – the Great Winter Camp Out at Tahquamenom  Falls. It is so much fun to travel to Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and then go deep into the woods and camp with friends during winter. There is something magical about looking out the window of our toasty RV, and seeing the woods covered in white, the sun glistening off the snow, creating this fresh brightness which is hard to capture with words. 

But obviously camping when temperatures are below zero does pose some challenges. Last week I shared how I was buying glove and toe warmers to stay warm during walks outside, which we do a lot of. 

Well today I'd like to tell you about a way I am planning to stay clean while camping without running water. This tip was given to me by our friend, Jan Matthews, during a previous winter camp out.

And what is that tip? Bring a package  of disposable cleaning washcloths and use them for dry showering. Such washcloths are produced for those who can't, for whatever reason, take a shower and need a way to stay clean while being bedridden.

The brand our friend Jan recommended was called Comfort Bath Cleaning Washcloths. The cloths are about 8 by 8 and are not too thin, made out of a polyester blend. They are enriched with aloe and vitamin E, making them soft. They are meant to use one time to clean one part of your body. You will likely need a couple to feel clean all over. When you are finished with the cloths, you simply toss them in the trash.

These disposable washcloths come in a package already moist. Another thing I like is that they they can be warmed up in the microwave (directions are on the packaging), making that dry bath warm.

While we are using these disposable washcloths for winter camping, really they are a great option for any type of boondocking when you need to conserve water, can't shower, but want to feel clean.

I found a box on Amazon, with two packages of 8 Comfort Bath Cleaning Washcoths per package selling for about $12. https://amzn.to/2LbMbvM

I hope this tip helps one of you.

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.

 This part of the podcast is brought to you by RadPower Bikes ,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free

Visit WWW.RADPOWERBIKES.COM 

LISTENER RV QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

We’ve had several questions by voice and email asking for more information on the upgrade we did to the stock radio on our Sprinter based Roadtrek campervan. (You can see that story at https://roadtreking.com/replacing-the-standard-radio-on-the-sprinter-van 

A listener asked how to subscribe to the podcast on an app. We explain that the RV Podcast is available on all the major podcast apps, be they for Apple’s iOS system or Google’s Android, apps like Spotify, Stitcher, iTunes, TuneIn and many many others. Just open up that app and search for RV Podcast and then hit subscribe and you will automatically have the latest episode app available on you on that player whenever you want to listen to it.

RV INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

There is no excuse anymore to overnight in your RV in crowded, brightly lit, noisy parking lots. This week, we bring back the CEO of Harvest Hosts who will tell us in the interview of the week about a huge expansion in the number of farms, wineries, fruit orchards, attractions, and now golf courses across North America that welcome members of Harvest Hosts to stay on their scenic, beautiful grounds. We’ll also have him explain how listeners to this podcast can avoid the price hike coming January 1 and even get a nice discount not available to others.

Here’s a video version of the interview:

Here’s a written transcript of the interview:

Mike Wendland:         Well joining us right now from Harvest Hosts is Joel Holland and we've got some news. You guys have been very busy lately. How you doing Joel?

Joel Holland:               I'm good Mike, how are you? Thanks for having me on.

Mike Wendland:         Well we have had a lot of people who have been so excited about our partnership with you guys and the 10% discount that they can get, but let's talk right away about some of the big changes that have been happening recently with Harvest Host and your plans for 2019. Where are we going? This is just getting better and better.

Joel Holland:               Well I appreciate that. So as you know, Harvest Hosts Community is a very special program that connects our viewers with all these unique small businesses, wineries, breweries, distilleries all over the country. We're basically trying to get it to more people because we've found that RV-ing is a very active lifestyle, it makes people happy and being able to go stay on a farm instead of in a Wal-Mart parking lot makes them even happier.

                                    So we've been hard at work on a couple things. On the technology, we redeveloped both apps, so both apps have been relaunched in the last month. We're redeveloping the website, so you've noticed it looks different. We're doing a number of changes to the website to make it a lot easier to find hosts and then we're expanding the number of hosts quite dramatically. Each month we're adding between 15 to 20 new locations to harvesthosts.com, but then the big news was last month we purchased the RV Golf Club and we now own 329 courses to add to our inventory.

                                    We've actually thrown them into existing inventory for free for any of our members through the end of this year. So, if you're a Harvest Hosts member, you'll notice it now includes a bunch of these beautiful golf courses. But starting in January, the price for the Golf Plus Program will be $27 if you're an existing member. Basically we're keeping that price really low for existing members. I think the RV Golf Club used to be $99 a year, we're basically giving you Harvest Hosts and the RV Golf Club for $76 a year.

Mike Wendland:         Let's clear up that because everybody gets confused when you talk about pricing. Right now, the cost to join Harvest Hosts between now and the end of the years is how much?

Joel Holland:               $49 unless they use your coupon code, so use RVLifestyle as the coupon code, one word all together, and that'll actually drop the price to $44 a year and we lock that price in for you for life. We don't raise prices on members.

Mike Wendland:         So the price after the first of the year for Harvest Hosts itself is going to be how much?

Joel Holland:               It'll be $79 a year.

Mike Wendland:         $79 a year. So, if they join between now and the end of December 2018 … Now, people will be listening to this long in advance and you still can get a discount by the way with that coupon code, but between now and the end of December 2018, they can lock into that for $49 less 10% using our coupon code. Then they've got it covered. Now, after the first of the year, if they do that now and they've joined at that special rate, after the first of the year to take advantage of the golf add on, that's another $27?

Joel Holland:               Yes. So after the first of the year, it'll be $79 for a Harvest Hosts membership and then to add golf will be an extra $20. So it'll get you to a total of $99 for over 1,000 locations. Golf courses, farms, breweries, wineries, the whole kit and caboodle.

Mike Wendland:         Our people, if they sign up between the end of the year, the cost then for them to have all of that is just an extra $27 next year?

Joel Holland:               Correct. Yep, exactly. So then their price would be $76 per year to have Harvest Hosts and the golf courses. So over a thousand locations. 76 per year and that price is locked in and it would not increase.

Mike Wendland:         And you get a Harvest Hosts membership and not have the golf membership?

Joel Holland:               Yes, you can certainly do that. That would just be the $44 per year.

Mike Wendland:         Okay, so the golf thing is an extra. Now, tell me about the golf thing. Where do they stay at the golf courses?

Joel Holland:               Yeah, the way that we, that I originally found Harvest Hosts was through wineries because I love … I think wineries are so picturesque and if you can stay on a winery it's just a wonderful experience. Well, the other big group of places that are obviously gorgeous are golf courses. I learned of the RV Golf Club, got to know the founder, really nice guy, and I started actually looking into the program as a member and finding that you get to stay … Every course is different, but they typically have you in a pretty good location.

                                    Even if it's in their parking lot, it's usually sitting right beside one of the holes so you can see a golf course, which is going to be perfectly manicured and beautiful, you can go over to the club to have breakfast or dinner, go to the pro shop to buy some gear and I guess the point is you don't actually have to be a golfer in order to use the RV Golf Club. It's still free to stay at any of these courses, of course our program is give back to the business, but you can do that by eating in the restaurant or going to the pro shop, you don't necessarily have to-

Mike Wendland:         Or playing a round of golf.

Joel Holland:               If you're a golfer … So I'm a terrible golfer and my goal this year is to become a half decent terrible golfer.

Mike Wendland:         So how many golf courses are in this program?

Joel Holland:               329 as of today and we are continuing to recruit new courses. So just like Harvest Hosts, we'll be adding new courses every month.

Mike Wendland:         In terms of Harvest Hosts locations, how many of those are there now?

Joel Holland:               We are up to over 670.

Mike Wendland:         670, so we're talking a thousand places that you can stay free other than a Wal-Mart parking lot or one of those sneaking into a rest area along an interstate. These are beautiful locations, wineries. My wife's favorite is the Lavender Farm and some of the-

Joel Holland:               Beautiful.

Mike Wendland:         But I guess the important thing is to clear up this idea why people want to lock into this especially with our 10% discount between now and the end of the year. You can do that by going to harvesthosts.com and then when you buy you use that discount code, RVLifestyle. Well Joel, I am pretty excited about staying at a golf course, I've never done that before.

Joel Holland:               Well good. Yeah, I think you'll enjoy it. I think it's going to be a very serene and peaceful experience.

Mike Wendland:         To get the app, this is all searchable on an app now. Just search under your favorite, whatever device you have, the app store for Harvest Hosts?

Joel Holland:               That's right, on Google Play Store or on the Apple Store for iPad and the iPhone. It's a very good quick and easy way to find locations.

Mike Wendland:         All right. Again, we want to explain to people there is a coupon code involved. You use RVLifestyle, you get 10% off all of this which is a great price. Well Joel, thanks for being with us. I want to wish you great season's greetings as we wind down the year and I can't wait. We'll have you back in a month or two and update some of these locations, but I wanted to get you on now to help people understand why they want to do this right now because you can lock in, for life, at that $49 less 10% if use our coupon, that price and then the extra add on now with the golf courses.

                                    It's always a pleasure to have you on and we'll be talking to you down the line. Have a great year.

Joel Holland:               Thanks Mike, appreciate it. Happy holidays. 

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

He's making a list, checking it twice, and chances are you are too when it comes to holiday shopping. So as Santa makes his way to your town, this may be a good time to turn your home into a well-connected smart home.

First, the Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera – Keep an eye on your home's exterior even when you're not physically present with the Nest Cam. With so many packages making their way to your front door these days, this camera will ensure your presents stay grinch-proof.

Next, how about the Nest Thermostat – This smart thermostat can recognize your phone’s location to save you money on your heating bill. Like the outdoor cam, you can always check on your phone just how toasty it feels inside, even when you're out.

And finally, the Google Home Hub – Control your smart lights, watch YouTube videos, see a rundown of the day and even control your TV that’s connected via Google Chromecast. And it’s all done via voice. It’s the next generation speaker you’ve wanted and it’s here today.

So while it may not be as busy as the big guy's workshop up north, you don't need a house full of elves to keep your home well-connected and ready for Santa's arrival. With 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   

Patti and Tom Burkett

By Tom & Patti Burkett

Imagine one of those single seater vault toilets you find at most campgrounds.  Then imagine the walls are made of glass.  Boom!  You’ve got a pretty clear picture of the two public toilets on the courthouse square in Sulphur Springs, Texas.  The residents here have done a lot to revitalize their downtown, including a complete cleaning and restoration of the ornate Romanesque Revival courthouse, built in 1894.  It features a double helix staircase and, unlike most courthouses of the era, has its entrances on the corners rather than the sides. 

The Hopkins County courthouse square takes up a city block, and sits on a beautiful brick plaza.  Grassy lawns, native trees, and colorful flags radiate out from the building.  Around the perimeter of the square are benches, human-sized chess boards, gardens, and an intricate kinetic fountain in the shape of the Texas star – a splash fountain that draws a crowd of youngsters on hot Texas afternoons.

Marc Maxwell has been the city manager here for 23 years, and when the downtown revitalization began about ten years ago, he wanted to include a surprise around every corner.  The glass-walled bathrooms are one of these.  Sit inside, day or night, and you can watch what’e going on in the square without being seen.  When I was in it, a man sat on a bench outside, close enough I could have tugged his sleeve were there no wall between us. 

I asked local woman on the square if she used the toilets and she said, “Oh yes, all the time.  One day I was in there at lunch and a bus load of tourists came to see the courthouse.”  A man from the bus walked up to the outside and used the mirror to comb his hair.  Then he got out a tooth pick and worked on his teeth.  It was hilarious.  I wanted to walk out while he was there, but I was afraid I might give him a heart attack.”

There’s more to see here.  One of the crosswalks downtown has, instead of the normal crosswalk signs, has signs showing the Monty Python silly walk.  Just off the square a store called Confetti Popcorn features a vintage rolling popcorn popper that was restored by Rick Dale on the show American Restorations.  Bestselling author Colleen Hoover has a bookstore here called the Bookworm Box, and there are a number of other quaint shops to visit.

Hopkins County once produced the most milk in Texas.  Today most of the state’s dairy production has moved to the Panhandle, but Sulphur Springs still hosts a dairy festival the first weekend in June.  When you’re driving across the Lone Star State on I-30, pull off here for a memorable bathroom stop.  Have a tall glass of milk and a bag of popcorn.  We’ll look for you behind the mirrored glass, out here off the beaten path.

Please Subscribe and Give Us a Rating and Review!

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