LTRVD Episode 14 – RV Road Trip to the Wild West Part 2

In this week’s edition we talk about Mesa Verde National Park, the Four Corners Monument, Monument Valley, Page Arizona, and the Navajo Nation. It can all be summarized as the Wild, Wild, West if you think about it.

This podcast is sponsored by Rad Power Bikes
www.radpowerbikes.com (800) 939-0310

Previously on Living the RV Dream

We begin where we left off in the previous episode, in which we drove from Denver, Colorado to Moab, Utah and visited Arches National Park. We spent the night at the town of Cortez, Colorado, at the Sundance RV Resort.

Mesa Verde National Park

Cortez, Colorado happens to be very close to Mesa Verde National Park. The main reason I wanted to visit this park is because of the cliff dwellings abandoned by the Ancestral Pueblo Peoples about 700 years ago. The actual reasons why the abandoned this area remain a mystery to this day. The ancestral pueblo people built this amazing dwellings, almost like apartment building on the side walls of the numerous canyons. If you want to visit the main structures you must make a reservation at the Visitors Center before you enter the park. We reserved a guided tour of the Cliff Palace, one of the largest and more accessible of the structures and were very impressed.

Cliff Palace

Video—> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzV9GA1a21g

Four Corners

After our visit to Mesa Verde National Park we continued towards the Four Corners Monument. It marks the point where the states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico converge. This is the only point in the United States where the boundaries of four states coincide. It is also the only time we area going to step onto New Mexico soil. I didn’t add NM to my sticker map because it doesn’t really count.

Four Corners Monument
Goosenecks State Park

From here we continued deeper into the Wild West. We spent the night at Goosenecks State Park in Utah. At night, thanks to the lack of light pollution, I was able to see the Milky Way with the naked eye for the first time in my life.

Goosenecks State Park
Stars long exposure at Goosenecks State Park
The Milky Way, Goosenecks State Park
Mexican Hat
The Alhambra Rock, near Goosenecks State Park
Monument Valley: The Wild West

On the next day we visited Monument Valley. The place that epitomizes the “look” of the Wild West thanks to movie director John Ford. It was his movie Stagecoach starring a young John Wayne that put Monument Valley on the pop culture map. We had to take the very expensive tour of Monument Valley because RVs are not allowed on the dirt road, for good reason. Here we also eat some unimpressive Navajo stew and honey fry bread.

Pretending to be Forrest Gump near Monument Valley
The “Mittens” at Monument Valley
John Ford Point, Monument Valley
Our Navajo Guide, Monument Valley

Video—> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0h7XOlEWZY

From here we continued towards Page, Arizona where we would spend the next two nights with breathtaking views of Lake Powell.

For more details listen to the podcast.

Living the RV Dream Website
WRVO Radio Network 1
CDs and Stickers
Video gear I use

Sony 4K HD Video Recording FDRAX33 Handycam Camcorder
Sony Action Cam FDR-X3000 Wi-Fi GPS 4K HD Video Camera
DJI Mavic Pro Drone
If you buy on Amazon follow the link below. It will cost you the same and I get a bit of commission for sending you over.

Music for all my videos is also available at Amazon Music.

LTRVD Episode 13 – RV Road Trip to the Wild West Part 1

In this edition of Living the RV Dream with Traveling Robert we talk about RV upgrades and modifications, and one of my favorite road trips in the United States. This road trip involves the Four Corners region, more colloquially know as the Wild, Wild West.

This podcast is sponsored by Rad Power Bikes
www.radpowerbikes.com (800) 939-0310

RV Upgrades and Modifications

Last weekend I spent my Sunday making some more upgrades and modifications to Minitini the Trailer. First of all we finally took care of an underused space above our refrigerator. We found a net that fit the opening of this space and now we have a bit more storage.

While I was doing this my wife noticed a large gap behind our television set. We hardly ever watch our TV so I said, what if we get rid of it and the enclosure behind it. While we are at it let’s get rid of the shelf below it, and voila. Now we have enough room for a coat closet. All we need now is a matching door, and a closet rod. Something tells me the closet rod will be a lot easier.

Four Corners Road Trip (The American Wild West)

The main topic of this episode is the first leg of our second road trip in an RV. By this time we were a lot more confident, as we had already read many books on RVing, including John Huggins’ So You Want To Be an RVer. We had also attended the Tampa show once and we were pretty sure we would get a small gas class A. How things change with time!

We flew from Miami to Denver, Colorado, and rented a 28-foot class C from El Monte. The first leg was a breathtakingly drive on I-70 crossing the Rockies. We spent the night at the Colorado River State Park, at the Island Acres campground, near Grand Junction, Colorado.

Arches National Park

In the morning we continued into Utah, and we took State Route 128, another beautiful drive. It goes through the Colorado River Gorge, and Castle Valley. In this area we began to see the type of landscape that Hollywood epitomized as the Wild West. We spent the better part of the day visiting Arches National Park. While in the park we did the Delicate Arch trail, which is in my opinion a must if you are in decent shape. It is a moderately strenuous hike.

After a quick visit to the neighboring town of Moab, we continued driving south towards Cortez, Colorado, which is the gateway to Mesa Verde National Park. See some pictures below and listen to the podcast for more details.

Crossing the Rockies
Crossing the Rockies, by Lake Dillon
Island Acres Campground
Island Acres Campground
Castle Valley
La Sal Mountains Overlook, Arches National Park
Delicate Arch, Arches National Park
VIDEOS:

Living the RV Dream website
WRVO Radio Network 1
CDs and Stickers
Video gear I use

Sony 4K HD Video Recording FDRAX33 Handycam Camcorder
Sony Action Cam FDR-X3000 Wi-Fi GPS 4K HD Video Camera
DJI Mavic Pro Drone
If you buy on Amazon follow the link below. It will cost you the same and I get a bit of commission for sending you over.

Music for all my videos is also available at Amazon Music.

How to Try Out an RV Before Committing

The RV lifestyle is one that attracts thousands of newcomers each year. Whether it’s the lure of living simply and freely, or the promise of having fewer bills, people all across the United States are trading in their sticks and bricks houses for homes on wheels. However, full-time RVing can be a gamble if you’re not experienced. The thought of packing your bags, ditching your hometown roots, and living life on the road can be an intimidating one for most people. Luckily, there’s a way to try before you buy: renting an RV.

From Corporate to Neighborly – Your Options for Renting an RV

Americans love having options. When it comes to renting an RV, you have options aplenty. So many, in fact, that you might not know where to start. You can rent an RV in one of three ways, and each way has its own strong points:

  • Large RV rental chains benefit from their size. With dozens of branches across the country, rental chains are able to offer one-way specials and other location-specific deals. They’re handy if you want to rent an RV just to get you from A to B, and not back.
  • Local RV rental companies offer personalized customer service and occasional deals. They’re great if you want to have the RV delivered somewhere, or if you’re looking for specials that coincide with specific events, like music festivals. You might also find a few companies that specialize in certain vehicles, like vintage buses or luxury trailers.
  • Peer-to-Peer networks are something like a hybrid between big rental companies and small ones: you have the widespread inventory of a big rental chain, with the individualized offerings and customer service of a small company. P2P networks like RVshare put RV owners and renters in touch with one another using an online platform.

Why P2P Might be The Best Choice For RV Newbies

We like the idea of starting your “trial period” search with a P2P site for a few reasons. For one, you’ll have access to a much larger inventory than you would with any other rental option. Like, seriously large – there are hundreds of thousands of members across the U.S.! Second, you’ll be helping out individual RV owners who don’t have the time to use their RVs as much as they like anymore. Don’t you want to support your fellow RV enthusiasts? In addition to feeling warm and fuzzy inside, there are several tangible benefits of renting from a P2P site:

  • There are a ton of different types of RVs! They have everything from tiny, pop-up campers to oversized motor coaches. It’s the perfect solution if you have a few types of RVs in mind, and want to test each one out before you commit to buying one.
  • You’ll probably find cheaper rates than you would elsewhere. Most RV owners are trying to offset the cost of storage fees with the possibility of making a little extra income on the side. Therefore, they tend to set their prices lower than the competitions’. Keep in mind though, owners can charge whatever they want, so if you find an overpriced RV, don’t get discouraged – just keep looking!
  • You don’t have to worry about feeling safe while you’re on the road. P2P websites offer up to $1 million in liability coverage. RVshare also offers free, 24/7 roadside assistance. You might even be able to buy additional auto insurance directly from the owner for a small daily fee.
  • RVshare offers 5% cash back rewards on rentals, which is quite helpful if you plan on trying out several RVs!
  • The platform has a review and rating system integrated into each listing. You can check out *REAL* customer reviews, without having to search through Yelp or Google Review.
  • Lastly, the biggest benefit from working directly with the owner is the ability to find deals that cater to your needs. You might find discounts on long-term rentals, off-season rentals, unlimited mileage, and more. Or, you can use the messaging feature to try and hash out a new deal with the owner!

Hot Tips for First-Time RVers

Okay, so now that we’ve covered where and how to rent an RV, we thought we’d offer a few tips for beginners. These tips will help you save money and travel comfortably:

  • Always plan your campground stays and travel routes ahead of time. Check with the campground to make sure your RV is allowed, since some campgrounds only accept RVs within certain age or size ranges. The goal is to avoid getting lost or turned away from a campground, which wastes a lot of gas. Use Roadtrippers to plan your route, and Allstays to find nearby campgrounds.
  • Gas is a major expense when you’re RVing, regardless of whether you’re vacationing or living in your RV. The GasBuddy app helps you find the cheapest gas in any given area, updated in real time.
  • If you’ve never driven an RV before, you’re probably a bit nervous. The DMV website has some excellent tips for driving large motorhomes or pulling trailers. If you really want to get into it, you can watch a video tutorial here.
  • The RV owner will show you how to use all the systems in the RV when you go to pick it up. But, knowing how to correctly dump your tanks is imperative, so it might be helpful to bookmark this step-by-step walkthrough in case you need it later.
  • Packing for an RV trip can be a bit of a compromise. You don’t want to bring too much stuff and weigh down the RV, but you also need to make sure you’ll have the appropriate supplies for any kind of situation. Here’s a good list to get you started. Try to bring linens and cooking supplies if you have room since most rental services will make you buy them if you forget.

What Are You Waiting For?! Let’s Hit the Road!

Testing out the RV life has never been easier. Whether you’re thinking about buying an RV for vacations, or you’re considering becoming a full-timer, renting an RV is an affordable, convenient way to try before you buy. We hope to see you on the road soon! Have you rented an RV before? Share your experience in the comments section!


This views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured in this site are those of the guest author, and do not necessarily reflect the views an opinions of Traveling Robert

Boating in Miami, Florida – Stiltsville and Key Biscayne

Boating in Biscayne Bay, Miami, Florida

In this week’s video we join our friends Raul and Dany for a whole day of fun in the water, cruising in Miami aboard their power boat.

Boating in Miami, Florida
Video thumbnail. Click to watch

This video is sponsored by Rad Power Bikes
www.radpowerbikes.com (800) 939-0310

Stiltsville

Our first point of interest is Stiltsville, nowadays a ghost town on the water. It began early in the 20th century as a gambling and bootlegging operation, as it was legal one mile offshore. From the 60’s until the late 80’s it was very much a party scene. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew was the last nail on the coffin of what was a town on stilts. Only seven structures remain, most of them in ruins.

Nixon Beach Sandbar, Miami

Next we go to the famous Nixon Beach Sandbar for a swim. It is located right by the entrance of Hurricane Harbor. This area is home to many lavish waterfront mansions. Nixon Beach Sandbar is notorious for the numerous boat parties that happen here. People tie their boats together, and the flow of booze and loud music go on throughout the day. When we went, May 20, it wasn’t so crowded. Perhaps because the water had not reached that magical 90ºF mark. After our swim and some drone flying we cruised around the harbor to see the homes of the rich and famous, and their boats up close and personal.

No Name Harbor and Boater’s Grill

After all this we have worked up an appetite, so we navigate east, towards Cape Florida State Park and the creatively named No Name Harbor. After a pitcher of sangria, some minuscule conch fritters, and a delicious seafood paella, we decide to call it a day, sailing into the sunset, back to the marina.

Video gear I use
Sony 4K HD Video Recording FDRAX33 Handycam Camcorder
Sony Action Cam FDR-X3000 Wi-Fi GPS 4K HD Video Camera
DJI Mavic Pro Drone
If you buy on Amazon do me solid and follow the link below. It will cost you the same and I get a bit of commission for sending you over.

Get you bumper stickers and CDs

Music for all my videos is also available at Amazon Music.

LTRVD Episode 12 – First RV Road Trip

In this episode I document our first RV road trip from South Florida to North Ohio about a rental motorhome.

This episode is sponsored by RAD Power Bikes
RV model numbers and length

In this first segment I discuss the apparent difference between the hinted length in the model number and the actual outside length.

Last week’s video
Key West Sunset Cruise Video
This week’s video (available at noon)
Video thumbnail. Click to watch
This is the video of the trip I mention in the podcast

Camera Technology

As I talk about publishing one of my older videos soon, I also ramble about how camera technology has improved in the past 10 years. It is not the 4K resolution, or the high dynamic range of the high end models. It is the optical and electronic image stabilization, nowadays present even in phones. I find it really noticeable while editing older videos. While the image quality is almost the same, camera shake is impossible to overlook.

Our first RV road trip

We began our first RV road trip ever by going north on 1-95. We stopped several times to make coffee and take a break. Tripped the circuit breaker when we tried to run the air conditioner and the microwave simultaneously off the generator. We even managed to parallel park the rig at Delray Beach.

Parallel parked on Ocean Boulevard (A1A), Delray Beach, FL

The idea was to spend the night in Saint Augustine but among the lessons learned during this trip was the fact that the ETA on the GPS does not necessarily apply to RVs.

Eventually we made it to Savannah in the middle of the night. The next morning we took a lunch river cruise, and wandered around the streets of the Historic District ending up at famous and historic Forsyth Park.

Forsyth Park

We continue through South Carolina, we stop briefly for dinner at Charlotte, North Carolina. Then, we continue under a torrential thunderstorm and end up boondocking at e Walmart in Whytheville, Virginia

Driving the RV

On the next day we traversed some of the narrowest back roads of West Virginia due to a navigational error on my part.

Lost on the back roads of West Virginia

On on the return trip we spent the first night at Winton Woods in the outskirts of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Winton Woods

Then we explored the Smoky Mountains National Park.

Sunset from Balsam Mountain, near the Smoky Mountains

 

Living the RV Dream website
WRVO Radio Network 1
CDs and Stickers
Video gear I use

Sony 4K HD Video Recording FDRAX33 Handycam Camcorder
Sony Action Cam FDR-X3000 Wi-Fi GPS 4K HD Video Camera
DJI Mavic Pro Drone
If you buy on Amazon follow the link below. It will cost you the same and I get a bit of commission for sending you over.

Music for all my videos is also available at Amazon Music.

Key West Sunset Cruise and the Lower Florida Keys

The Florida Keys

In today’s video we are going back to the Florida Keys. The Keys are divided in three main sections. The Upper Keys encompass Key Largo, Tavernier, and Islamorada. The Middle Keys is basically Marathon, and perhaps the most developed area of the Keys. The Lower Keys are basically everything south (or west rather) of the Seven Mile Bridge, my favorite part of the Keys, and that’s where we’re going.
Click on the image below for video

Key West Sunset Cruise Video

By the way, this video is sponsored by Rad Power Bikes. Visit www.radpowerbikes.com for more information about their models and free shipping.
www.radpowerbikes.com (800) 939-0310

Our first stop is at the Indian Key Fill, a man-made Island that is roughly at the halfway point. I usually like to stop here when going to the Lower Keys because there’s usually plenty of room to park and have a snack, stretch our legs. In the distance you can see Indian Key, a historic site and ghost town only accessible by boat. Taking advantage of the remoteness and natural beauty of this area I decide to test out the new DJI Mavic Drone, which just arrived this morning.

Sugarloaf / Key West KOA

After going through Marathon, Big Pine Key, and many of the other Lower Keys, we arrive at our campground, the Sugarloaf / Key West KOA, self-proclaimed the Southernmost KOA. We are only 20 miles from Key West so everything from here on is pretty much the “southernmost”.

We spend the next day and a half frolicking by the pool, kayaking, eating and drinking. The two main places we visited were Mangrove Mama’s and Boondocks, which were not very lively this time of the year. I never realized before how low the low season really is around here. The campground was half full, and at one point we were the only people at Mangrove Mama’s.

Key West Sunset Cruise

On the second day we drove to Key West to sail on a sunset cruise. We’ve wanted to do this for a while. After some research we opted for Sebago, one of many companies that offer this type of cruise. The cruise takes two house and we were pleasantly surprised that there was an open bar with all you can drink champagne, sangria, select beers, wine, and margaritas. Oh, by the way, the sunset was pretty spectacular too.

Video gear I use
Sony 4K HD Video Recording FDRAX33 Handycam Camcorder
Sony Action Cam FDR-X3000 Wi-Fi GPS 4K HD Video Camera
DJI Mavic Pro Drone
If you buy on Amazon do me solid and follow the link below. It will cost you the same and I get a bit of commission for sending you over.

Get you bumper stickers and CDs

Music for all my videos is also available at Amazon Music.

LTRVD Episode 11 – Full Time Family

In this episode we chat with full time RVing family Engjell and Kaleigh Vrapy. They are travling the USA with three children and have plans to continue towards Europe and Asia. The currently travel the USA on a class A motorhome but plan to downsize to a camper van for their European adventure.

This episode is sponsored by Rad Power Bikes
www.radpowerbikes.com (800) 939-0310

Links

When in Rome Travels Website

Living the RV Dream website

WRVO Radio Network 1

CDs and Stickers

Video gear I use

Sony 4K HD Video Recording FDRAX33 Handycam Camcorder
Sony Action Cam FDR-X3000 Wi-Fi GPS 4K HD Video Camera
DJI Mavic Pro Drone
If you buy on Amazon follow the link below. It will cost you the same and I get a bit of commission for sending you over.

Music for all my videos is also available at Amazon Music.

LTRVD Episode 10 – San Francisco

  1. In today’s edition of the podcast we talk about South Dakota, how to travel more comfortably, and San Francisco.
San Francisco

There is so much to see in this city that it is impossible to mention them all. I am just going to mention a few and show you pictures.

The view from Twin Peaks
San Francisco from Hawk Hill
Alcatraz Island
Alamo Square, San Francisco
Transamerica Pyramid, from Chinatown, San Francisco
Lombard Street
Powell Street Cable Car
Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill
Wine tasting at the Hess Collection, Napa Valley
Hess Collection, Napa Valley
Babbage Difference Engine at the Computer History Museum

Living the RV Dream website

WRVO Radio Network 1

Video gear I use

Sony 4K HD Video Recording FDRAX33 Handycam Camcorder
Sony Action Cam FDR-X3000 Wi-Fi GPS 4K HD Video Camera Camcorder with Flat Surface & Helmet Mounts + 64GB Card + Battery + Case + Flex Tripod + Kit
If you buy on Amazon follow the link below. It will cost you the same and I get a bit of commission for sending you over.

Music for all my videos is also available at Amazon Music.

Snorkeling and Kayaking in the Florida Keys

In this week’s video we return to Key Largo, this time staying at John Pennekamp Cora Reef State Park, and we’re going to do some snorkeling and kayaking.

Snorkeling at Key Largo – Click for video
Campground

We stayed at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. It exceeded our expectations except for the fact that the sites were perhaps a little too close together.

Dining

We arrived on Friday afternoon and went to Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill. Great place for sundowners, and we also had some delicious nachos. On Saturday we had lunch at Hobo’s Cafe.

Activities

The main event was a kayaking trip to the Coral Reef that was the absolute highlight of the whole trip. $29.95 per person. We also rented a dual kayak for $17

LTRVD Episode 9 – The Pacific Coast Highway

In this week’s edition of the podcast, we talk about one of the most epic trip one can take in the United States: California Highway 1, The Pacific Coast Highway

Low Season at the Florida Keys

In the fist segment of the episode I ramble about our recent trips to the Florida Keys, and how, for the first time, we have noticed the noticeable differences between the high and low seasons. This time of the year everything is either under construction or sad in comparison to the high season.
The main subject of the episode is the trip we took in 2012 on the Pacific Coast Highway, from Los Angeles to San Francisco on a large classic American vehicle.

Los Angeles

First we talk about Los Angeles and its points of interest.

• Hollywood Sign
• Hollywood Boulevard and Walk of Fame
• Griffith Observatory
• Beverly Hills
• Music Center
• Olvera Street
• Venice Beach
• Santa Monica Beach

The Pacific Coast Highway

Main points of interest along the way
• Malibu
• Rincon Parkway Campground
• Summerland
• Santa Barbara
• Solvang and Santa Ynez Valley
• Moro Bay
• Cambria
• Hearst Castle
• Elephant seal beach at Piedras Blancas
• Big Sur
• Julia Pfiffer Burns State Park
• Monterey
• Half Moon Bay
The following are some photos of this epic trip

Western terminus of Route 66
McWay Rocks
Pacific Coast Highway
Pacific Coast Highway, near Big Sur
Elephant Seal Beach, Piedras Blancas
Elephant Seal Beach, Piedras Blancas
The Hollywood Sign
Grauman’s Chinese Theater
Venice Beach
LA at night from the Griffith Observatory
The California Cruiser
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Nitt Witt Ridge
Clam Chowder Sourdough Bowl in Morro Bay
Morro Bay
Summerland Winery
Solvang

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Bixby Creek Bridge
Pacific Coast
San Francisco, California

Free in my RV