A big shout out to Tony and Peggy Barthel of Stressless Camping for having me on their podcast last week! I had the opportunity to meet those two at the RVE Roundtable in Montrose, CO back in September 2022 and it really proves that in-person networking and campfire hanging is the best medicine for trying to spread the word on a project. Aside from Stressless Camping, Tony and Peggy contribute to a host of publications and have been a fixture in the RV scene for some time. Cheers to you two, and thanks again for having me on!!
Below is a recap from the Stressless Camping website!
This week’s RV podcast features Michael Andersen who founded Traveling Gatherings, a website to help you find and share great community festivals, gatherings, shows, and more. We love community festivals so this is right up our alley.
Then we head to Joshua Tree for a visit. There’s also our fondue recipe, an unusual homemade trailer as well as a unique aerodynamic trailer and much more.
We got an app for our iPad that purports to transcribe the podcast. Below is the example of that – it’s actually not bad all things considered.
Welcome to the Weekly podcast, all about turning the great American RV adventure into Stressless camping. Each week we explore tips, tricks, ideas, and destinations, and talk to the happiest campers in the RV world. Pull up a seat at the campfire as we enjoy some StressLess Camping.
Welcome to the New Year.
<Laugh>. Well, almost,.
Well, a couple of days away, but I’m still Tony.
I’m still Peggy.
And we’re still two RV industry veterans who travel part-time.
In a brand new small trailer.
Absolutely. Look at, to share big adventures and help you with great tips,.
We hope that you all had a super happy, Merry Christmas and all the holidays that you celebrate.
Right. And we also hope that you are able to stay warm. Yeah, my gosh. We have friends.
Cold, cold places out there. That.
Boy. Oh boy. Yeah. No, thank you. Yeah. And we have some friends who are stuck in it, so, uh, wish them the best. Wish you the best. By the way, speaking of staying warm, we did put an article on Stressless camping to help keep your RV from freezing. So that is something you might want to check out. And not only is their information in the article itself, but we have some tips to help you, uh, with some other articles that are there. So StressLess Camping.com or try to put some things there that, that you.
Like. So we are going to kind of, uh, talk about a possible New Year’s resolution that we might wanna make. And, first, we wanna remind you, some of you are already in Quartzsite, Arizona, boondocking in the desert. We, in fact, our guest that we’ll speak with later is Boondocking in the Desert. And one of the things he mentioned was he was having issues with his solar system. And maybe that’s because, uh, I don’t believe he got his from ABC up Outfitters <laugh>.
I know we have ours in our new trailer and it’s five 200-watt solar panels, 400 amp hour battery, uh, 3000-watt inverter, and, and just all those systems.
And of course, there are lots of ways you can put systems like this together. What we like about working with A B C Upfitters is they custom design the systems for your RV and Doug on it. They just work.
I mean, you know, there’s nothing worse than trying to figure out, well, why didn’t this happen? Or why is that not working? And that’s one of the things we truly like about working with ABC Upfitters, is.
Everything works together. Yeah. It’s all designed together.
Yeah. And they’re high-quality and relatively compact systems.
Yeah. So if you’ve been following us since our first system that we picked up in May and couldn’t talk about until August, and then we lost in an accident, the amount of space that the system takes up now, they have really made leaps and bounds in redesigning how they installed the systems. And we almost have an entire passthrough to use for storage now.
Well, I mean, when we were there at ABC Upfitters last week, we saw an entire high-end battery system under a jackknife sofa.
Right. Well, and with room to grow under like system. Process.
Yeah. So we just can’t be more thrilled with the system we have from ABC Upfitters. In fact, as you know, it was installed from the factory by Rockwood and it just shows that the caliber of systems that they put in are worthy of the manufacturers putting their own names on. So yeah, something to think about. If you’re thinking about going solar or lithium contacted ABC Outfitters, I think they do a terrific job.
Right. So just real quick, we mentioned a brand-new RV and that is true. Yeah. You may know that. We drove to Indiana over a nine-day period. We drove to Indiana, picked up our new travel trailer, and hightailed it out of there before the weather got bad. We will talk more about our new Rockwood mini light 2205S when we actually get to use it because it’s winterized. So we basically just transported it here this week. We’ll be filling it up because we’ll be using it soon.
Very soon in fact. So we hope to see you at some of the places we’ll be using it and we’ll talk a little bit more about that. But, um, to our guest.
Do you make New Year’s resolutions Ha?
Well, some do. I don’t. I kind of don’t anymore because my resolution was to like break every resolution. So what’s the point? <laugh> <laugh>. But if your resolution happens to be, to spend more time making friends while camping, we have got a tip for you. And we also have a guest for you. And his name is Michael Andersen and he is with Traveling Gatherings. And he is gonna tell us how he resolved to make it easier to meet people on the road. Hi Michael. Thank you for joining us.
Thank you so much, Tony and Peggy. You guys are awesome. It was awesome meeting you guys in Montrose. Yes. You know, it’s funny, I started this website the week after I met you two. Oh. I was out watching the Border Hookups at a brewery in Montrose with the Campers Hub, Always on Liberty were there, David Blackman there was just, you know, kind of this core group that stuck around the Ouray / Montrose area. And that night, you know, after listening to everyone talk, I was like, okay, I don’t wanna be a YouTuber. I’m not gonna be a travel blogger. I, I knew all the things that I didn’t wanna do.
I’ve been a corporate event planner for 20 plus years and it’s something I didn’t want to dive back into doing the actual planning, planning of the events. But the thing missing is a one-stop shop for people who are traveling full-time, where you can all come together.
You know, RV shows are listed on everyone’s site because it’s great for SEO and it’s great for Poland and traffic. I totally get it. But there wasn’t something that could take your 20-year-old van lifer as well as your 80-something-year-old couple that is traveling full-time in retirement. There wasn’t that place that pulled everyone together. And that’s kind of why I, I went to bed, woke up the next morning, had the name bought the.com, and started building the website pretty much immediately. Traveling gatherings.com is just a place for, you know, you’re on the road and like right now I’m in this beautiful desert boondocking and it’s like, I’m looking forward to going and hanging out with, uh, you know, over the holidays, just seeing some people and just interacting and being able to search for those events and gatherings on my website has been pretty easy to do.
And it’s funny cause I’m importing all of them myself, so I’m like, yeah, I know what’s going on, but Right. My memory is not what it should be. So. Sure. And yeah, just kind of having a platform where, you know, it’s, there, there are Facebook groups or every sort of type of subgenre of RV. You’ve got your grand design groups, your vintage trailers, your Van life or Schoolies, et cetera. But just put ’em all together in one place. Cuz the, the common theme amongst all of us is we’re a little crazy and we decide like, hey, let’s live in a thing that moves <laugh>.
And we have a lot more in common than I first perceived hitting the road. I mean, I’m, I’m a newbie, so, um, yeah, it’s just, it was kind of a, just a fun thing to put together and now I’m spreading the word and, uh, everyone seems to be loving the idea and yeah. I’m just gonna keep plugging away at it.
So tell us a little bit about your, your travels and your, your life <laugh>, you know, do you,.
How much time do we have?
I know, right? <laugh>, do you travel, you know, like, we travel part-time and we usually, gosh are we go somewhere because we’re going to an event. We just extend our travels around that event. But you’re full-time. So do you just pop from event to event or gathering to gathering or?
When we first set out, we left Asheville, North Carolina full-time and our travel schedule was completely dictated by the events we’re going to. So Andrea, my partner in crime, uh, she had tickets to go see Red Hot Chili Peppers in Detroit. So we’re like, all right, we gotta get to Detroit by the certain time. And then the RV Entrepreneur Roundtable was a date. So we’re like, okay, we gotta get to Montrose by then. We were gonna go up to Seattle because Andrea’s a Michigan State alum go party. And the Spartans happen to be playing a game in Seattle, which they never do.
So we were going to make that track. We ended up not doing it cuz you know, it turns out it’s not close.
It’s <laugh>, it’s quite a trip.
I get like seven miles to the gallon. So I’m like, <laugh>. Like that kind of changed that a little bit. But yeah, right now we’re just kind of the number one goal is to see stuff we haven’t seen seen before. So, you know, the desert, I, I’m born and raised in Chicago, so I, I don’t see landscape like this ever. You know, we, we moved to Asheville, got to hang out in the mountains for a little bit. That was amazing. But yeah, just kind of just seeing stuff, you know, experiencing stuff and then along the way, finding events that we wanna attend and, uh, you know, popping in.
Um, honestly I haven’t been to a ton since we’ve been on the road just cuz we’ve kind of been all over and, you know, different things in our personal lives have dictated, uh, the direction we’re headed. I experienced court site for the first time on Saturday and I’m gonna be there for New Year’s and throughout January just hanging out, seeing ground zero of it all. Yeah. You know, the ultimate goal to meet Bob Wells. Cause I’m like, I gotta meet Santa Claus, you know,.
<Laugh>. Yeah. He’s there. Right. So the website traveling gatherings has events. What type of events? Like how large or small events are listed and, and how do, tell us a little bit about how it all works.
Basically, it’s set up full disclosure, three websites. Can’t come to mind when I designed it. This little known website called Harvest House <laugh>, maybe you’ve heard of it. Also compendium. And then really the main goal or the, the, the main idea came from there was a site called do three twelve.com. That was in Chicago and there’s one due five 12 in Austin, Texas. Same parent company. But the idea is that pretty much anything that you want to do, you can just go on there, say, I want something tonight, I want it free, I want a kid friendly, et cetera.
And kind of design that platform around that as far as the different sizes of events. And that’s kind of the fun part is I’ve got, you know, some New Year’s campfires listed on there out in court site. There’s this little cactus comes to mind. A guy who’s got a stand out on L T B A and he’s just, you know, 30 rigs hanging out.
So it’s that, it’s also your Camp RV show, it’s your Hershey show, it’s the Q 23 YouTube gathering is on there. It’s pretty much anything I can find that relates to some sort of nomadic travel. And then, you know, tours and activities. I also add included on there, you know, you wanna go see the Take a Cave tour or something. I’m slowly getting the, all those in there. You know, not, not doing your, your Disney World. I, I don’t need to advertise them, you know, but just your, anything that’s gonna help support a local kind of oddity I’m trying to include on there as well.
So you have added all of the destinations or events?
Correct. Okay. Yeah, I would say about 95% I’ve, uh, personally manually imported. Uh, and I try to, you know, try to keep it around 400, uh, listings total. Obviously as things expire they go off the site. But yeah, just try to, you know, just make it a goal each week to add 50 new events and it’s just constant digging and finding out what’s cool. And, you know, meeting nomadic people on camp with right now, I’m like, oh, I haven’t heard of that. I have to include that. So that’s after this will be giving a lot of, uh, data entry,.
It’s also possible for your members to add events.
Correct. Yeah. And it’s encouraged. Um, and it’s something that, you know, there’s not a lot of motivation there at the moment, but, we’ll, you know, that’s something to develop. But yeah, it’s free to list, free to use. That’s something too that, you know, a lot of people aren’t fixed incomes in this lifestyle and just trying to, I’m not trying to nickel and dime anyone. In fact, I’m not getting a single dime from anyone. So that’s, um, just using, you know, Google Ad Sense and uh, just using advertisement is the, to make it profitable in some regard. It’s pennies, uh, at this time.
But it’s something that I’m not doing it to retire, I’m just doing it because it’s something that I found a need for that I personally use and I feel like other people can. Um, and just making this resource available to, to everybody,.
You know. Okay. So there’s no charge to be a member and you can go in and correct. Look up events if you are going to be in certain area, you can look and see if anything’s happening or if you’re trying to decide where to go in March, you can look up March events Yep. And figure out which direction to head to go to the one you like the best.
Yeah, I mean you can, literally, looking at the website, you can plan your trips around events because it looks like you can search by location or time and you have a pretty good search function on the site too. If somebody has an event, like I assume you’ll, you’ll add things like community festivals, I see car shows, things like that. They can also send you information and have you list the events.
Correct. Yeah. And my first, you know, phase one was getting the site live. Phase two, which I’m kind of on now, is just letting people know it’s there and just, you know, getting users to send me, you know, any feedback that that’s been the, the most helpful is, you know, I’m, I am working in a bubble. I’m in my RV and it’s, I’m, you know, included music festivals on there cause I love going to music festivals. So it’s something like, let’s include those. A lot of those, you know, your Bon Rouges, Coachellas, et cetera, like those are huge, but there’s a camping in component to it.
So also finding, you know, your smaller music festivals specifically that aren’t named brand, you know, they like Lollapalooza. Everyone knows Lalapalooza. Uh, but you can’t really camp in Chicago <laugh>. I’m from there. I know that, you know, it’s, nor probably would you, you don’t want to.
But yeah, just trying to, you know, this next phase and I’m, I am gonna be a media sponsor for a Camp Nation expo coming up in August. Um, and just, you know, just trying to, now with the planners themselves, because I’m a planner, I totally get what it takes, all the nuts and bolts that go into it and you know, just starting to work with more of those sorts of people as well as local chambers of commerce was speaking to some recently and it’s like how many county fairs are out there that it’s something that, you know, you’re, you’re driving through Albuquerque or whatever, you’re going to the balloon fest, but oh my God, there’s taste of Albuquerque.
Yeah. Whatever, whatever that thing is that’s, you know, that’s there that people might not know about. And trying to be, you know, all encompassing but also knowing that my limitations is it’s run by me. Yeah. Right. <laugh>. So.
It’s a lot of work to find, enlist these, these gatherings. I ran a car show, Cal, I run a car show calendar and have for years. And just finding the events, even ones that are recurring is a lot of work. But, so my hat’s off to you cuz it ain’t easy. But yeah, community festivals, like the Albuquerque Wine Festival mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And then there’s the Lake County Wine Adventure. Wine Adventure. It’s three days of driving to 30 wineries, you know, getting yourself a good dui, <laugh>.
<Laugh> don’t do that. Have a DD.
With good, that designated.
Yes. But yeah, those of course, of course we love music and events and community festivals and so this is right up our alley. We for sure gonna be on your site quite a bit.
Yeah. I find a lot of different ways to, as I said, we have a certain destination, we’ve got a rally and it’s got these dates and we have two weeks to get there. So what can we, how can we entertain ourselves on the way when, you know, instead of just doing what we did on our way to Indiana. Drive, drive, drive, drive, drive, drive, drive, drive, drive, drive, <laugh>.
Right. Exactly. Yeah. And that’s a huge part of it. And once again, you know, I, I understand I’m, I have Google, I have the internet. I’m not trying to do campground bookings. I’m not trying to do, you know, a harvest host that all those lands have been filled. I’ve got my one lane, I’m sticking in it, I play well. What I was doing as an event planner was, you know, I I worked for a destination management company, which is the bottom of the food chain and the corporate event planner. You know, I, I was an expert of Chicago and of Asheville, North Carolina.
You come to Chicago, Asheville, I can tell you everything to do. And I, it was just something I had to know firsthand. So one of my goals is how do you do that for the entire United States specifically geared towards nomads. Yeah.
Which is, it’s a lot, but it’s, um, you know, I just welcome any feedback anytime. You know, and I, I, I listen to one of your podcasts where you talked about your car show calendar, and I’m like, oh, I’m stepping on Tony’s toe, you know, but it’s just one of those so that like, you know, the more people I meet, I met this guy who travels full-time on his motorcycle with his dog. And immediately when I met him, and he had one of his friends come through, we’re sitting outside of Joshua Tree South, and I’m like, how many of there are you? And he’s like, oh, there’s a huge network of people who travel full-time in motorcycles.
Oh. And I, I’ve seen Easy Rider <laugh>. I mean, I know <laugh>, it goes, it goes back.
But how many of those travel on a motorcycle full-time with a dog? <laugh>? Yeah.
That I, I mean, I don’t, and of course all stats regarding full-time travel is a little, little weird. But, um, um Right. The, but because of it, I immediately was like, well, let me put some bike events on there because it’s something that, you know, there’s, there are people on there. There’s, he’s got a sticker on his motorcycle. So I’m like, let’s, let’s go after it. Yeah. Um, I have had some requests to do, you know, more international events, but I dunno if you guys ever seen the United States kind of big Yeah. A lot of, lot of ground to cover <laugh>.
Yeah. Just getting between New Mexico and Indiana, for example, is days of cruise control, podcasts and cornfield. Yeah,.
Exactly. We said we moved farther east so we could be closer to Indiana and we certainly are, but it’s, uh, still considerable distance <laugh>.
And you guys got to see snow. That’s, that’s my one goal of travel is not to see snow. So that’s.
<Laugh>. Yeah, that’s, I’m with you. I’ll avoid it at all costs. I don’t, not not a fan. It’s pretty in pictures, but Right,.
Right. Fortunately, we just saw a little bit and we were leaving as it was happening. So we didn’t, you know, I, I know in this past week I’ve seen a lot of posts of people, vehicles stuck on highways and snow banks that are covering RVs. <laugh>, I’m glad we’re back in our relatively warm, dry place. <laugh>,.
I feel bad for people who, you know, this surprise cold snap is no fun. Right,.
So if we decided we wanted to maybe host an event and try to turn it into a big annual event, this would be a good place to start. Let you know about our event and when and where it’s going to be. And then, you know, we can get more traction because your readers, your members are going to find out about us. And it’s a kind of a two-way street, right. You get more listings and we get more readers.
Yeah, yeah. Exactly. And it’s a, a piece that, that goes along with your event Brights and your Facebooks. And there’s, you know, it’s, it’s a way, and I also, for our social media, I kind of look at what’s coming up, what are things that should be spotlighted? There’s a YouTube channel, the Wandering Shores, that was my post today. I met them boondocking in Utah. Uh, we ended up hanging out with them recently at an L T B A, um, the Imperial Dam, L T B A. And they’re doing their first Facebook Live. And I’m like, they’re a small channel, they’re really awesome people.
They’re just like, good Midwest, you know, salt of the Earth type of people. And I’m like, I want to throw a spotlight on ’em. I, my read, you know, my Instagram very small right now, but I’m only three months old on this thing.
So, um, but yeah, exactly. You know, post, let me know about the event. I’ll manually input it. You can also put it in there. Anyone using the website and Yeah. Just, I have no problem. You know, especially the smaller events, it’s like I’m starting a ground zero. Other people are too. We, let’s, let’s help each other up. You know, and it’s not, I’m not trying to say like, okay, big event organizer is going to own the, the airwaves, but really try to spread that out as much as possible. I’ve got farmer’s markets listed on there, and that was cuz we were somewhere in Colorado and couldn’t get produce at a grocery store.
And I’m like, here’s something I actually really need in my own life is like, how do I find local? Yeah. Good produce. And so that’s on there, you know, it’s just, and I try to spotlight, you know, certain ones that are, um, I, I’m not, I’m not like a farmer’s market expert by any means, but, you know, I like when they have a brewery attached or whatever, you know, <laugh>.
But yeah, no, exactly. It’s just, you know, another vehicle for letting people know. And I think for that, the site can, you know, people start coming to it more, the better. And you know, it’s gonna be a great resource. I, I’m, my goal is by Memorial Day to really be, you know, firing in all cylinders. You know, right now is a lot of trial and error of just plugging away and slowly building. You know, the, the number one thing for me right now is that, that hand-to-hand, that gorilla marketing, you know, that’s where it comes to my mind is, you know, letting people know face-to-face as much as possible.
Obviously spreading the word through podcasts and blog articles, et cetera is super helpful. But it’s something that cuz people, you know, you’re out in the desert boondock, and, and every now and again, you need some human interaction. Yeah. <laugh>. And it’s, it’s that, that part that people are like, oh wait, I actually really need this. And I’m like, I know I did too. Yeah.
Even I need that once in a while and I’m, I could spend days in silence with nobody else around me, but even I wanna go to a festival or a, a gathering and certainly a farmer’s market in between my quiet times.
I don’t know if there’s any quiet times you live with me. Well,.
Right. <laugh>, I’ll send you to a festival and then I’ll have a quiet day. Hey,.
If it’s a car show or involves beer, I’m.
There. I did send him to a train show recently. Oh yeah. Like why don’t you go look at trains.
That’s cool. And leave me home by myself for a little while.
Yeah. That was fun.
<Laugh>. But also for the full-time travelers. I mean like Andrea and I, we love each other. We have a great, great relationship, but it’s 2 34 foot rv. Yeah. And it’s nice to like break it up a little bit. Yeah. <laugh>. Yeah. So like, hey, there’s someone else we can tell that story that we’ve told each other, you know, a hundred times too.
<Laugh>. Right. Absolutely. So yeah. Well, yeah, we really encourage people to go check out traveling gatherings and submit your events. Cuz you know, this community is great at working together to make things better. And I, I really like the idea of what you’re, what you’re doing. And we will definitely use it to find events and festivals and just all the, all the stuff that we like when we’re on the road that we haven’t been able to find easily. I’m really happy that you started the website.
And we’ll have to submit our own court site gathering.
We will have to submit our Quartzsite.
Yet. It actually might already be on there. I’m not gonna lie. You know, I’m, that’s kinda my full-time job is like, what’s going on? Okay. Get it on there. Quick. <laugh> <laugh> and Tony, you’ll be glad to know I will be adding a lot more beer events. I am a untapped, uh, beer nerd, so I’m, it can’t say no to the, the beer events. Yeah. Yeah. One, there’s so many people. One,.
That’s, that’s one of my absolute favorites is in April right around my birthday. Anderson Valley. Valley. Yeah. Anderson Valley Brewing Company has the Anderson Valley Beer Festival in Anderson Valley. And that’s, uh, northern California. It is, there are a hundred breweries. They cap it at a hundred breweries. Wow. They’re, they, I think they say that there’s about 700 different beers you can taste during that in a day and Yeah.
In one day. And it’s a camping event. Yeah.
Oh, that’s cool. Yeah, it’s at.
The fairgrounds. So they have.
The, there’s camping and beer and music and, and food. And I, I remember at least a third of that day,.
But it’s seriously, that event is so much fun.
That’s awesome. And having that camping component is like so huge. Yeah. Cause I, I’ve been to a ton of brewery, you know, beer fests and you’re like, okay, well first of all, finding a cab or an Uber Oh right. Host event is, you know, takes forever. There was one in Chicago I’d go to, it was called Beer Under Glass and it was at our conservatory. So it was this, you’re in the most picturesque park, but it was in the middle of nowhere west side of Chicago. When you hear all the like shootings and things, it was in that neighborhood <laugh>. So not a lot, not a lot of foot traffic leaving outta there. But yeah, it’s just this, these am amazing.
Yeah. You try all these great beers and starts at two and by five you’re like, ah, I can’t see you strike. Right.
You know <laugh> Right. I’m going to bed. Yeah.
Yeah. One of the interesting things, the first year I believe of that Anderson Valley beer festival, they used to have like, you get a necklace with a hoop on it and a little shot glass. So you’re going around tasting beers. Well, the first year the shot glasses were glass. Well that was a problem. And so then they came up with these little plastic cups and some of the buildings are indoors and people dropped those little cups. And it’s amazing how loud it is until you hear the response from the audience or from the others because you drop that cup and everyone in the room just.
Screams. It doesn’t seem likely that you could even hear the cup because everybody’s drinking and wild and having a good time. But then you hear this Tang Tang and everybody just cheers and goes crazy cuz a cup fell. It’s.
Yeah. And I mean it’s definitely loud when the people are screaming.
<Laugh>. Part of my life, I worked in whiskey and did a lot of whiskey events. So I, I would go to these whiskey events and that same thing. But imagine, imagine a beer event, but with like higher octane, the middle of the rooms would just be piles of mashed potatoes and like bread <laugh> so that you could like soak it up a little bit.
<Laugh>. Oh, I can imagine the fights at a whiskey event.
Well it’s always the, the after parties. That’s when it would really get crazy. Yeah. Okay. Who knows A lot of, lot of whiskey reps and, you know, know a lot of bar owners, but then the, the after party. Yeah, that’s, that’s the crazy part. <laugh>. Well here’s a question for you guys. What are your, like what, you know, when you’re doing your travels, what, obviously you mentioned music festivals, you know, RV shows. What are some of those oddball things that you like to check out? Any.
Type of community festival, the celebrates local stuff.
Yeah. Like a garlic festival, a strawberry festival, the Pear Festival festival and you know, all we love those because they’re all like hometown local vendors and that’s the kind of, you know, like, like farmers’ markets. You get all those local vendors and you get to try things. Maybe you don’t get in, you’re part of the country and those are really enjoyable to us.
Yeah. Things that celebrate whatever is unique to that community. Those are fun. Yeah. Uh, as you said, anything with music is fun for me. Cars, trains.
Cars. Trains and beer. Yeah. <laugh>,.
There’s a huge community around quilting and there are a lot more RVers who are quilters than I had originally thought. Some of these people, especially with toy haulers, are big into quilting.
Or vice versa. Some quilters.
Are big into.
Rv <laugh>. Yeah. To get the big RVs so they have room for all their machines and everything.
Yeah. Have you guys been down to Paducah, Kentucky by chance? No,.
We ran through Kentucky for our very first time on the way home from Indiana. So that is on our spring list. That whole corner of the country is our spring list.
I fell in love with Paducah. They have the quilting Hall of Fame or Yeah. Museum or something there. It’s a wonderful and going back to like why, why we rv, why we travel is exactly what you just mentioned. That that local, what is that local flavor? That town of Paducah is the most charming downtown. They’ve got the brick streets and they’ve got the big, you know, market that’s in the kind of like Charleston where they have all the artist stalls and whatnot. Just such a really cool town. And then the, one of the local shafts was on, you know, top chef, uh, and came in like first or second and there’s great culinary scene going on there.
It’s just, just one of those little gems. You mentioned quilting. I’m like, you can’t not talk about Paducah. Cause that’s, you know, they’re crazy. I’m like, I rolled in the town. Like what? Quilting.
<Laugh>. <laugh>. Yeah.
But then I’m looking in it, I’m like, this is awesome. And that’s the, the generations of, it’s like folklore, you know, it’s the stories getting passed along via quilting.
Yeah, I know the Amish are known for their quilts too. Yeah.
So we like to always ask our guests for their favorite camping memory.
Yeah. Anything particular that sticks out?
Yes. In fact, so this is very timely as well because my uncle Don, my mom is one of 10 kids, very large Catholic family. They were all pretty much hippies growing up. They were all in Chicago. I don’t know if you guys heard of the 68 riots that happened in Chicago. My family were there. <laugh>, they were probably the instigators. They were with Abby Hoffman. They were, you know, they were, half my family were that side of the other half. Were like, let’s beat up the hippies. A fun story when I was a kid and I had been camping, single mother, huge family. That was just part of what we did. That was our weekend away. We didn’t, you know, kind of poor fam, you know.
Yep. Not to go into too much detail, but that was kind of what we did, was set up a tent, go to, you know, some state park.
So my uncle Don, who randomly just left where I’m at right now, he was like, Mikey, we’re going camping. And so I’m thinking, oh, we’re going to a campground now. He didn’t bring a tent, he just brought his dog, uh, a handgun, <laugh> and like some matches. And we end up camping in a cave in this beautiful area of central Illinois, uh, starve rock area. And we are camping in this cave and all around and we’re in this like valley looking thing all around us.
There are like either wolves or coyotes that have completely circled us. Oh geez. And all they’re doing is howling. And I’m terrified. I’m like eight years old, you know. So this three, four years ago, cause I’m so young <laugh>, but, and I, I was terrified and I’m like, man, this, this seems really scary for a kid. But then the dog was whimpering because he was also terrified. And this is a big like lab and I’m like, oh, this is, this is bad. We’re not gonna survive this. We did. But it’s something that as an eight year old and flash forward 40 years, I something I still remember of like, don’t do that again.
But yeah, no, I’ve, I’ve got lots of stories. That’s one that stands out in my head of, you know, that’s, that’s what I get from being a seventies baby. You could do that when you’re <laugh> that particular generation, you know.
So do you have also, conversely a worst camping memory.
That’s probably the same <laugh> <laugh>.
That’s totally fair.
No, we recently were through some pretty, and this is all recent since we’ve got on the road, uh, we’re outside of Moab and just got hit with like, some really intense storms. So it was one of those, we pulled our slides in and I like had to, you know, we, we couldn’t go anywhere. You could see where the water had drained through, you know, we were staying away from the washes. But it, there was a moment of like, you know, like, what are we gonna do? Hmm. Fortunately had self-service. We were not far from the highway, but just it would would’ve been unsafe to, to drive anywhere.
So just kind of hunkering down and just waiting out the storm. That was not a fun experience, but it was something that, you know, the natural instincts, the survival instincts kicked in mm-hmm. <affirmative> and just try to keep the, you know, keep us from tipping over, basically. Oh.
Yeah. That’s no fun. Wow. Yeah. I’m glad you made it out of both of those. Right. <laugh> your best and worst.
Well cool. Again, we, we encourage everyone to go visit traveling gatherings.com and submit items and find items and just enjoy and, and help Michael with a really, really good idea that we, we completely support. So Yeah,.
And we look forward to seeing you in court site cuz you know, we’ll be there. Yep. At the big quartzite sports vacation in RV show <laugh>.
Right. Yeah. They had to make it a longer Yeah. Yeah.
I have the hardest time remembering like, I think I finally got it, but it’s taken me three years to remember all the words po to the show.
Yeah. Yeah. We’re, we’re actually gonna be camped right there on the midway, so come and come and look for us. We’ll be there. Pick up. And we have, uh, absolutely an official gathering happening, which will be on, on our website and.
Also on yours.
Yeah. That will be fun. We’ll look forward to seeing you in person as well as the border hookups. They’re gonna be performing one day there. Yeah,.
Yeah. I know they’re going to what the Escapers bash, but then heading kind of bouncing back and forth, so Yeah. Yep.
Yeah. Yeah. It’s gonna be great.
Yeah. We’ll say hi to Dave and Jacqueline, I’m staring at their wreck right now. <laugh> <laugh>.
Throw something out. Yeah, absolutely.
Well Michael, thank you so much for your time and we will see you in a few weeks here. Yeah,.
Yeah. Awesome. Thank you so much. You too. Oh,.
Our pleasure. All.
Right. Bye. See.
Well, Peggy mentioned that we’re heading out soon and we’re heading out soon. <laugh>.
Yes, we are. We have about two weeks to get the camper all put together and everything loaded back in that’s been stored in the garage since the last one was hauled. Yeah. And then we will be heading out, we will likely stop in Phoenix and pick up some new electric e-bikes.
Yes, we absolutely will. Stop excited in Phoenix and pick up electric e-bikes.
Then we will be going to and Indio for Fmca a’s Western area Rally. That’s in the kind of middle of January. And then of course we will be making our way to court site where we usually spend the second half of January every year for the court site, sports, vacation and RV show. Val,.
You got the whole thing.
Remember the whole name?
I’m impressed. We are going to be managing the media tent, which is kind of interesting. There’s gonna be a whole bunch of workshops and seminars. We will have a couple of seminars and workshops ourselves, a few gatherings. There is gonna be, uh, YouTube creators get together. Hello. Some of your favorite YouTubers.
And if we can find five minutes to record <laugh>, the five minutes at the state that the tent isn’t being used, we’ll even do a live recording as we often do. We will update you on that next week because we are literally looking for a time slot that isn’t already booked.
Yeah. If you are not in our Facebook group, we have the Stresses Camping podcast Facebook group. So we will announce when we’re doing the live recording there and on our website and if you get our email newsletter, we will put it there as well. So Right. Lots of ways that we can keep in touch with you with what’s going on and all of that. So make sure that, uh, you know, if, if you’re interested, that’s where you can find us near qu site sorta is Indio.
Right. So before and or after QU site we usually go, well, we will be in Indio for the FM c a, but if there’s not time before that or in between the two, then we’ll probably go back after because we really like to hang out in Indio and there’s a few things that we particularly like to do.
Yes. There are.
One of them, of course is to stay at the Joshua Tree, k o a, where they have hot water mineral springs that we just pretty much like to go and sit in the Mineral springs for, I don’t know, half the time that we’re there. <laugh>.
Yeah. The, the k a is, it’s a nicely maintained, you know, typical k a they’ve got mini golf and few other things, but the hot springs, they have three different temperatures based on where they derive the water from. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So we really enjoy sitting in those that’s worth going to that k a all by itself to.
Us. Yeah. And also the pool is heated enough that I go in it, even in January I’ll go in the pool and in the right season, I, I think they do it this, this time of year is a morning water aerobics class. So I go get my, my exercising done in the morning with some other people and then I’m done for the.
Day. And then also near there is Joshua Tree. Yes. Which we absolutely love. It’s a, it’s a beautiful thing to drive through. There’s some boondocking sites and if you are not familiar with the Southern California desert, it, it’s a magical place to us.
Yeah. And I just really like to go and check out Joshua Tree. I mean it doesn’t change that much. It’s rocks. They’re really, really old but <laugh>. But it kind of changes with the season and it’ll be too early for a wild flowers, but that’s also a good time of year anyway, it’s just a really beautiful place to hang out. Yeah.
If you’d like to know a little more about Joshua Tree, we have an article about it. Uh, and Peggy wrote it from the standpoint of she has a degree in groundwater geology and uh, so she wrote it from that standpoint. So we’ll put a link to that in the show notes. Another thing, you know, Peggy said she likes to exercise at the water aerobics mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but she’s exercising so she could work off a date shake. Yeah. <laugh> from Shield’s Date Garden.
Right. Shield’s Date Garden is like the place to go and get date shakes in Indio. So that’s always a highlight of a stop.
Yeah. I don’t know. Like I say, we, we enjoy the desert a lot. Well we live there, so There you go. <laugh>.
So, as you may or may not know, we have a Christmas tradition of making fondu on the 24th of December. Yeah. And we invited some of our new friends, our neighbors, our.
Rv and friends.
Here, our RV and friends here in town, and we had Fondu for our Christmas tradition. And then of course we went to their houses for <laugh> for Christmas meals on the 25th. So that was great. But we have posted in the past about our fondue while we’re camping. And so we’ll put a link to that recipe and those pictures of being camping and sitting around the picnic table, eating fondue.
We’ve done it for several years and one of the tricks, of course is to shred the cheese in advance, but Yes. And then you could be a total cheater and, uh, they have pre-done fondues and you just heat ’em up in a pan.
Yeah. They’re basically all already melted cheese and you just squeeze ’em out into a pan and warm ’em up and then.
Yeah. And they’re not horrible.
At all. They’re not horrible. So if you really just don’t feel like you can do the effort of making a full fondue, that’s a decent option.
Yeah. And one of the things that’s neat about fondue is it’s a very social meal. One of the things we did, uh, this year was we made a pot of broth and we had shrimp and, uh, roast beef mm-hmm. <affirmative> that you could put in. And then of course the wonderful cheese and we had apples and bread you could put in and it’s just fun cuz you walk around and talk and Right. Very, very social meal.
And which is good because we don’t actually have six chairs, so we had six people in the house and we couldn’t seat everyone, so we just made it a walk around and talk and eat stations.
Yep. So there you go.
Well, once you’ve had a lot of cheese, you’re gonna have to, oh no. Get rid of that cheese.
You’re gonna be like Cousin Eddie <laugh>.
Oh boy. What a, what a visual. And we got, uh, updated Gadget to one that we have had in the past called the Dump Buddy. Yes. And essentially a very simple way to describe this is it’s a collar that you put on a sewer pipe coming up out of the ground and then, you know those headlights that you put on your head Yeah. The, those.
Like a doctor’s headlight. Yeah,.
Yeah. Like a doctor’s headlight. Except what this thing does is it attaches to the sewer hose sticking up out of the ground and then there’s another collar that goes over your dump hose and it essentially makes sure that it doesn’t come shooting out of the ground. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> like in the Robin Williams movie.
<Laugh>. And it’s a nifty gadget. Well, this week we got the new and updated version of the Dump Buddy. And interestingly the gentleman who invented it is sending these out to people who have bought them in the past. It’s a really simple gadget. It works. Comes in a really fancy case. They’re 40 bucks. You know, there was some chatter on, uh, one of the websites. Is it worth 40 bucks? Well, it’s up to you. I think it’s a pretty neat little gadget.
And so I’ll put a link to the, the article on our website of the Dump Buddy and decide for yourself. But I, I do admire the fact that he sent an update and.
Uh, yeah, I kind of can’t wait to use it. I mean, you know, as much as anyone cannot wait to dump their tanks, <laugh>,.
She’s flushed for the excitement. Excitement,.
Gentlemen. But it is a slightly different design, some, uh, made of a new material. So we will give that a test just as soon as we are able to use our camper.
<Laugh>. We’ll give it a whirl when we want the water to swirl.
Oh boy. Oh boy.
Okay. On that note, <laugh>, speaking of uh, things swirling around, you know, aerodynamics are something that a lot of towable RVs are honestly horrible in terms of aerodynamics.
Sure. They’re just like a big box that you’re trying to drag through the air.
That’s basically, and then on top of that, quite literally they put air conditioners and vents and all kinds of wacky gadgets, which takes the bad aerodynamics. Yeah. Makes ’em worse. So one of the companies that’s out there, safari Condo, has a model called the Alto 8 21 2 4. And what this is, is essentially a wedge-shaped travel trailer and the company claims that they dropped the wind resistance of a travel trailer by 47%.
Wow. It’s an odd looking trailer. But I suspect that we may be seeing more RVs shaped like this in the future.
If they get good aerodynamic results.
Yeah. I mean, you know, PE of course the obvious thing people are talking about how lousy the range is with electric pickup trucks. But let’s be honest, I mean, who wouldn’t like better fuel mileage if you’re towing with a internal combustion engine? Sure. And so this trailer is a neat trailer. I like their build methodology. It’s very unusual looking, but one of the things, we have some friends who had another model from this company and they said that in summer the insulation’s not all that great.
Uh, it’s an aluminum sandwich construction, but not the way typical RVs are made. Uh, there’s no styrofoam insulation. It’s sort of plastic cardboard for lack of a better description. It’s not that, but that’s the best way I can describe it. Like.
Yeah. It’s a corrugated plastic. And then aluminum is glued to the, or laminated to the inner and outer side of this. Huh Uh, so they were saying that in summer it got pretty toasty. These are made up in Canada by the way, and in summer it got pretty toasty inside. So there you go. Depends on where you, you camp and what your demand is. But certainly worth looking at. And I’m gonna pitch another story that appeared in the daily RV reviews, a homemade trailer called a foamy trailer foamy.
And this like made out of bubbles?
Uh, no, it’s made out of styrofoam. Oh. It’s called Poor Man’s Fiberglass. And it was hand built by a gentleman Thomas Burrick and he tows it with a Vespa. Oh.
And you met him last year. Yeah. It’s another interesting story. So a couple RVs for you to look at that are very much off the beaten.
Path. So if you are camping and it’s cold, I mean it is cold. So if you’re camping <laugh>.
Oh, there’s some parts of the country that aren’t. Mike said it was like 70, he.
Was Yeah. Freezing your, took us off.
And if you are camping and you are using, you know, all those flaming things like the stove and the furnace and water heater and stuff, you wanna check all your exhaust ports on the outside of the camper, make sure they’re not getting clogged up. Yeah. I mean it’s not gonna look like your dryer vent, but <laugh>, you still wanna make sure that those stay clear so that you’re venting everything properly and everything, all your gas burns. Right. And all that. So that is just a little reminder to go out when the sun comes out and give a quick check to those exhausts before you go back in and get.
Warm up. Make, make sure they’re clear <laugh> if the snow’s up to the exhaust level. Yeah. Clear the snow. Maybe shovel it a little.
Oh man. I hope that’s not happening.
Oh boy. You hope not. We,.
Well we ask a question of the week every week on our fun and friendly Stressless camping podcast Facebook group.
Do. And it’s been a couple of weeks because we liked Tom’s question so much last time. Tom Taylor had a question and it got a lot of airtime so.
Right. So I just wanted to kind of share the answers that we received on there because Tom’s question was, in what way has camping or traveling changed you or your family’s life? Or what benefit have you gained from it? And we thought that was just such a fabulous question. And you know, we’ve been kind of busy being silly and doing holiday things so we haven’t asked a new question.
And driving to Indiana. Driving.
To Indiana. So it was a question worth keeping around for a while. So I just wanted to share some of the answers. Jerry said that she has camped ever since she can remember and she and her husband started an tent and now they’re on their fourth trailer. I have been in all of those <laugh>.
<Laugh>. Even in her.
Tent. No, in all the trailers. Okay. She says, I like how relaxed the people are that you meet when they’re camping. It’s such a different feel when they’re camping versus other vacations. I always say when you’re camping, everyone is on vacation.
Real briefly, since we have had to go to Indiana and back, it’s been all hotels and boy do I miss the.
Rv. Oh boy. Do we miss the rv? Yeah. Yeah. It’s, there’s nothing like a seven consecutive nights in different hotels to make you really appreciate.
The RV <laugh>.
Yeah. Tony says that it has completely transformed their lives since they decided to go full-time on the road. She said we have met amazing people and seen parts of the country that we never would’ve been able to see otherwise. We are currently wintering in Florida and loving it. I had lived in the same small town for almost my entire life except for college and during my son’s cancer treatment when he was a child, we moved my daughter into a dorm on Tuesday and we left on Wednesday. This has given us a freedom that we had not had in our adult lives.
Tom started his response with, I’m famous, I got shouted out. <laugh> <laugh> Tom again, thank you for your question. It was such a good one. Uh, Tom’s story is that he got, they got their little Coleman 17 FQ as a starter camper in 2020 just before the prices jumped up. He’s a male carrier at the post office and it has always been a stressful job but increased enormously with Covid. He says, I also suffer from migraine headaches and stress is a huge trigger. Before Covid, I would get a bad headache a couple times a month and couldn’t work since getting the camper, I don’t get nearly the number of migraines, maybe two or three a year.
We can’t go on long trips, but we do four day trips and take advantage of some great state parks here in Tennessee. We average nine trips in nine months each of the last two years. Getting out releases the stress from work and lets me unwind and decompress. It has worked magic on me and I can’t wait for three more years to pass and retirement to get here. That is so awesome to hear like it’s not only just fun and relaxing and wonderful and you get to see new places, but it actually has been medically really good.
For Tom <laugh>. Yeah. It can’t beat that.
Right. Eric shared that. It has brought us closer together from planning trips to the adventures of traveling and manage managing the unexpected dips. We have created a stronger partnership sharing the experiences of our journey and creating memories that will last a lifetime. I was fearful living in a small place could amplify negatives, but we each like each other even when we’re trapped inside <laugh> during 28 hours of rain. It’s good to always like each other. I think that’s a, a great lesson is if you can go camping and spend 28 straight hours in a little tiny trailer, then that’s a good sign.
<Laugh>. Yeah. And if you don’t get along well one of you is in the bathhouse, the other one could hook up and leave. No, no, no. I’m never.
Going to the bathhouse again.
<Laugh> <laugh> don’t do that. That’s bad.
Pat says that it has brought she and hubby closer together to their happy place where they share new adventures together and with good friends and family. And Ezekiel Andrews said camping makes traveling and creating wonderful memories with my partner. So much more accessible. I enjoy having our welcoming camper to return to after a long day out or even Laz around the campsite all day. It is definitely better than jumping around expensive and unfamiliar motels. Oh yes. Yeah.
<Laugh> boy, can we attest to that?
I would much rather have a wasp stuck in my pancake batter. I want to hear that story. Yeah. Than to deal with hotel bedbugs. Well, our cooking could use some practice like some crunchy raw potatoes in the foil campfire dinners. <laugh>, part of the fun is learning from your silly mistakes and looking back with a smile. Our little popup is an itty bitty piece of home on wheels for us. I can’t wait to get back out there in the spring or maybe just have a little snowbird adventure in the Southern us. Well, you know, if you can make it to quartz I in January, come by and say hi <laugh>.
Abaya all of you. Yeah. Whoever happens to be in or around court site, boy we sure hope to be able to meet you.
So those were some really terrific responses. As we have said before, if you have a question that you’d like to ask, let us know and we will put that in our list of questions this week. Of course, I have a new question of the week and I want to know what is your first 2023 camping destination? Yeah,.
That would be great. And you know, that is a question that we ask over at our fun and friendly Stressless camping podcast, Facebook group, <laugh>. The nice thing is there are some really neat people there, people who are willing to answer questions and it just is a polite place to go.
Right. And those questions could be about, you know, how do you feel about things? Or it could be how do you, you know, give me a tip about how to do a certain thing. So.
Yeah. So check out that Facebook group, the Stressless Camping podcast Facebook group, and read some of those questions and answers. It’s a good place to.
Hang out. And the way you can get to that, if you are not already there, is go on our website and there’s all those social links up at the upper right corner for Facebook and Pinterest and Twitter and LinkedIn and YouTube and blah blah blah <laugh>. So, uh, that’s a place to you start at the website and click there and off you go into our group. While you’re on our website, you can also sign up for our weekly newsletter, which of course is free. And we provide links to the stories and videos and podcasts that we hope help you get the most out of your RV experience.
In order to sign up for that newsletter, just go to stressless camping.com. If it’s your first time, it’ll pop up a message that asks if you wanna sign up, but if you’ve already been there and haven’t signed up, go to the bottom of any page and you will have an opportunity to sign up for the newsletter.
Also, while you’re on the website, before you use those links to all those social places, you can find the show notes for this episode in the 180 2 on the podcast.
Oh no, it’s 180 3. I was just double checking. Sorry. Oh, my fault. I just wrote that and I was double.
Checking it. Oh, that’s why my screen is popping around all over the place. Okay, let me try that again. Then you will find the show. Stop it. You will find show notes for this episode 180 3 on the podcast of stresses camping.com,.
Or you’ll find notes and informations and all that, which is what, what Peggy.
Just said, links to the things we’ve talked about and to Michael’s website, traveling gatherings.
Yeah, absolutely. And of course also on our website are discounts and deals for the best deals on the things you’ll need on your stresses, camping, adventure. Ooh, we have a new deal coming out pretty soon here on something nifty as well, so stay tuned. Intriguing. I’m gonna probably post it. It may be up by the time you hear this. It.
May be in the newsletter. Yeah, <laugh>. So if your New Year’s resolution is to help us out, <laugh>, I have a plan for you. Oh, just go to wherever you get podcasts and whatever podcast to capture you use, you can subscribe to our podcast, but also it would really be helpful to us if you would write us a review.
Absolutely. And you can do that on Apple Podcasts, in particular a Spotify, and on our podcast page, there are links to how you can do that. We’re there to help you so you can help us. And hey, thank you very much.
Yeah. Thank you for everyone who has written us a review, and thank you to those of you who are gonna go do that right now. <laugh>.
<Laugh>. Okay. Well,.
Before you forget again, you know.
Absolutely. Well, with that said, we hope we will see you in the next few weeks or all the places we are or sometime in this coming year, and we really appreciate being able to serve you with the podcast and articles and all of that stuff. With that being said,.
Camping, happy camping.
We hope you learned a lot and had some fun and got some tips for your next Stressless Camping Adventure. We’re honored by your reviews on Apple Podcasts, which helps others find us too. Don’t forget to subscribe so you won’t miss out on the adventure, and we look forward to your joining us next week. Until then, happy camping.