15 Dec

RVFTA #120 Saying Goodbye to Our Jayco White Hawk Travel Trailer


Podcast Episode #120:

Saying Goodbye to Our Jayco White Hawk Travel Trailer

Well, the day is finally here. After 5 years, dozens of epic adventures, and hundreds of camping nights, we are finally saying goodbye to our Jayco White Hawk SQB Travel Trailer and trading her in for another rig.

We had a fantastic experience with this trailer, and we are only trading it in because we are entering a new season of RVing with bigger boys and bigger toys.

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14 Oct

RVFTA #110 Say Hello to Winnebago Towables


On this podcast episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are taking our listeners back to Middlebury, Indiana and talking to Mark Gerber, the Director of Marketing for Winnebago Towables. Mark gave our family an awesome tour of the factory during our visit, and then sat down to chat about what’s in the future for this iconic RV manufacturer.


Plus, we know many of our listeners heard the news last week that Winnebago acquired Grand Design, the 5-year old RV manufacturer that has caused quite a splash in the industry over a very short period of time (you can read the press release here). So we called Sam Jefson, Public Relations Specialist at Winnebago, and talked about why Grand Design was such a good fit for an iconic RV company, and what kinds of products we might expect in the future.

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12 Apr

Stephanie’s No-Mod RV Makeover


On Episode #82: RV Makeover 101 with the Pop Up Princess, I shared 5 ways I had given our RV a little face lift this Spring. After that episode aired, I was surprised by a deluge of emails and social media comments asking when we were going to share pictures of the makeover.

Insert long, uncomfortable pause.

I’m certainly not an interior designer, and I’m basically the anti-crafty mom. So while I was happy to talk about my RV changes on the podcast episode, I was sort of nervous about sharing photos. I imagined the response would be: So what? Big deal. You barely made any changes at all!

And then I realized that was exactly the point. It wasn’t a big deal. Everyone can do what I did, and with pretty little effort. I didn’t put a single hole in the wall, paint anything,  or install shelving and cabinets. I just made our home-away-from-home a bit more pretty.

5 Tips for an Easy RV Makeover-3

So here they are. Pictures of my small, no-mod changes that made a big difference for our family. To hear us chat further about the makeover, check out the podcast episode. And a  very special thanks to the Pop Up Princess and the Making Something Happy Etsy shop for all your inspiration!

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15 Feb

Are We a Travel Trailer Nation?


After a two year infatuation with the possibility of motorhome ownership I find myself firmly back in the camp of travel trailer owners.   I still think that I will eventually find myself behind the wheel of a Class A or Class C, but I am fairly certain that day is decades away. So why the change of heart? Is it just an economic reality?  Does a motorhome simply not  fit into our current budget? Or is it a matter of taste? Do I actually like travel trailers better?

It’s actually a combination of both.

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28 Jan

RVFTA #73: Living in RV Luxury

Living in RV Luxury blog

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, Living in RV Luxury, we are talking about Luxury options for both motorized and towable RVs.

But first in the News Roundup, we shared some important information:

  1. If you are attending the RVFTA 2016 Spring Rally, you must register at Eventbrite so we have an accurate number for our attendees!
  2. We were honored to be interviewed on Keep Your Daydream this week. Listen to hear about all the behind the scenes RVFTA stuff that we don’t normally talk about on the podcast, including some major life changes that have recently occurred round these parts.

Now onto the featured topic…

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14 Jan

RVFTA #71: Color In Those Campers!

Color In Those Campers!

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we introduce the adult coloring craze to our RV enthusiasts. It turns out that coloring is quite the therapautic pastime for all of us busy, overworked Americans. So we decided it might help get us all through the dreary winter months.


We will review our three favorite travel trailer coloring books and give the details for our Camper Coloring Contest. Once you have all the tools, you can get on your way to becoming the Picasso of the RV world. If we don’t beat you to it first. For links to all the coloring books we discuss, click here.

Plus, to round out all the travel trailer talk, we have a great interview with Jayco’s Amy Duthie, the product manager of the Jayflight line, which has been America’s best-selling travel trailer for 10 years straight. Amy talks about all the options available in the Jayflight travel trailers, and why it is such a popular pick for RV enthusiasts. You can watch the video on Sway Command that we discuss here.

You might think you have to pony up hundreds of dollars for a decent therapy session to get you through the winter. But we know some colored pencils and a decent travel trailer sketch can get you into that camping state of mind. You are listening to Episode #71: Color In Those Campers!

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09 Jan

The RVFTA Coloring Contest: A Cure For the Winterization Blues

Travel Trailer Coloring Page

They say that camping is the best kind of therapy. But when you can’t camp, coloring pictures of travel trailers works pretty well, too.

Inspired by a post on our RVFTA forum, Jeremy recently went a little hog wild and bought us three camping coloring books. They were supposed to be for the adults, but the boys jumped on the camper coloring crazy train, and now its a bit of a thing in our house.

Yesterday, I noticed the colored pages were beginning to pile up in various areas of the house. The boys have honestly put so much effort into the project, and I hated the thought of the papers getting crumbled, torn, and eventually thrown out in one of my cleaning furies.

So I went to the Dollar Store and bought of stack of frames. Viola! Playroom wall art. This is as crafty as I get, people.

camper coloring

Now it seems like everyone else wants to join in on the camper coloring fun, so we are announcing our RVFTA Coloring Contest. Here is what you need to do:

  • Get a copy of one of the coloring books listed below.
  • Create your artistic masterpiece.
  • Take a picture and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #RVFTAcoloring

We will pick a favorite picture every week and regram it. Then on March 1st, we will pick from the regrammed finalists to award the RVFTA Camper Coloring Champion. The winner will receive a signed copy of our book, The Idiot’s Guide to RV Vacations, when it comes out in May 2016.


So get yourself a coloring book and a nice cup of tea. Therapist’s orders.

06 Nov

RVFTA #61: Six RV Picks for 2016

six rv picks for 2016

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about six of our favorite RV Picks for 2016. After touring hundreds of campers, pouring over brochures, and peppering manufacturers reps with questions, we decided on six RVs that stand out in the crowd.

From travel trailers to fifth wheels, Class C’s to Class A’s, we are covering a variety of types AND price points. Listen to see if any of these 2016 highlights peak your interest.

Six RV Picks for 2016 Infographic

Plus we will give our best tips for unpacking the RV after a camping trip. You asked, we answered. It may not be our favorite chore, but we have figured out a few things that make it a bit easier.

You might think it is the same ole same ole out there in RV land. But we here at RVFTA found some new features that could make a big difference. This is Episode #61: Six RV Picks for 2016!

Here links and floor plans for the models discussed in this episode:

Thanks so much for listening! If you haven’t already, please head over to iTunes and take a minute to subscribe to our podcast and leave a review. We sure do appreciate it…


16 Oct

RVFTA #58: Top 5 Shows of the Year!

RVFTA Top 5 Shows of the Year

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are looking back on our first year as podcasters and sharing the top 5 most popular episodes.

Looking back on the stats, we were not surprised to see that our listeners love some good rig talk. But destination episodes and general tips and tricks topics made at the list as well.

We spend quite a bit of time sharing emails and reviews from our listeners, mostly because you are the reason we record and release this podcast every single week. From young families that are researching their first purchase to grandparents excited about camping with their 17 (yes!) grandchildren, the diversity of our audience is always inspiring to us.

And we are lucky enough to have listeners that write us haiku. Seriously.

Plus, we recorded a lively interview with Janine Pettit, Go RVing blogger, Girl Camper Ambassador, and world-class story teller. Listen for a big announcement at the end of our chat!

Trust us. It’s big. Very big.

You may adore every one of our podcast episodes equally. But we here at RVFTA are playing favorites and giving a shout out to our best performing topics. You are listening to Episode #58: RVFTA’s Top 5 Shows of the Year!

14 Mar

RVFTA #26: Meet Mr. Trailerama

Meet Mr. Trailerama

On Episode #26 of RVFTA: Meet Mr. Trailerama our featured segment is an interview with Phil Noyes, the author of Trailer Travel and Trailerama. We reviewed this great coffee table book on Episode 20 of this podcast and enjoyed the book so much that we wanted to dig a little deeper into the history of the travel trailer. Vintage RVs are all the rage, and Phil Noyes knows pretty much everything there is to know about them. We learned a lot and we know you will, too.

Phil is also the producer of a PBS documentary called Mobile America, which you should definitely checkout after listening to this week’s podcast!

We couldn’t help but replay our movie review of the Long, Long Trailer from Episode 13 of RVFTA. We loved watching this movie and were surprised to realize that even though the campers look different these days, the RV culture hasn’t changed that much at all.

And our last segment is a piece of our own vintage travel trailer history. We are talking about the first trip we took in our own travel trailer to the Finger Lakes Region in New York State, where we stayed at Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort.

Hickory Hill campground

We had an amazing time swimming, hiking, kayaking, and exploring beautiful lakes and waterfalls in three state parks.

Keuka Lake State Park

keuka lake state park

Watkins Glen State Park

Watkins Glen State Park


Buttermilk Falls State Park

Buttermilk Falls Waterfall

cliff jumping buttermilk falls state park

This region is often overlooked as an East Coast RV destination, but we think it is definitely worth a visit!

All of this…and another great giveaway on Episode #26 of RVFTA: Meet Mr. Trailerama!

[contesthopper contest=”4634″]


10 Mar

Teardrop Campers, Jumping Jacks, A-frames and other RV Showstoppers

During our speaking engagement at the Colorado RV Sports, Boat & Travel Show, we spent a lot of time window shopping and taking the pulse of the crowd.  It quickly became clear that the smallest trailers were the biggest showstoppers–particularly the teardrop campers.  We heard many “oohs” and “ahhs” and had a hard time getting pictures of the trailers without dozens of people in the way. So without further ado, here are our eight favorite small campers–including four fabulous teardrops that made us want to ditch the kids and hitch up for a second honeymoon.

 For more info about all of these units, check out Episode #25 of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast.

Teardrop Campers

T@G Max by Little Guy Worldwide (163 inches, 995 LBS)


The T@G was basically a super-stylish and amenity-filled bed on wheels with rear kitchen.  If you’re looking to get off the ground and cook in a dedicated kitchen with hook ups–then this may be the right teardrop for you.


T@B S by Little Guy Worldwide (182 inches, 1670 LBS)


Looking for more than just a bed on wheels?  With a U-Shaped dinette, indoor kitchen and wet bath, the T@B S is one teardrop that won’t give you anything to cry about.  No worries about cooking in the rain either–this kitchen is totally enclosed.


T@B CS-S by Little Guy Worldwide (180 inches, 1760 LBS)


Prefer the cute as a button outdoor kitchen but still want the comfort of the U-Shaped dinette and wet bath?  Have no fear, the CS-S is here!  We ultimately liked this T@B best on account of that awesome kitchen and because it provides extra seating on the inside.


Basecamp Teardrop by Colorado Teardrops (156 inches, 858 LBS)


Looking for a lower-priced teardrop camper with all of the style but fewer amenities?  Prefer a DIY camp kitchen anyway?  Then check out the Basecamp model from Colorado Teardrops.  Add the bargain-priced solar package to head off the grid for your next great adventure.


Other Small Trailers

Jumping Jack Jump-Up Tent Trailer (12 Feet, 1245 LBS)


This multi-purpose trailer is not a pop-up.  It’s a jump up!  Store your ATV’s or kayaks on top and easily unload them at the campground.  Then set this bad boy up in seconds for a comfortable and spacious above ground tent for dry camping in the wild.  Back at home you can quickly turn the Jumping Jack into a utility trailer–perfect for yard work or trips to the recycling center.


Aliner Classic A-frame (18 Feet, 1850 LBS)


We have always admired these Aliner a-frames from a distance and now we know why.  They are light, sturdy, and comfortable. With available dormers on select models they are also surprisingly spacious.  Cassette potties and wet baths are available in select models.


Camp Lite 11-FK Hybrid (11 Foot Box, 1,800 LBS)


We were immediately attracted by the bold coloring and surprisingly spacious interior of this Camp Lite hybrid.  Because of its aluminum build the manufacturers promise “no rust” and “no rot.”  Because of its stylish looks we promise that it will turn heads at the campground–and man oh man is it lite!


Arctic Fox 811 Truck Camper (16’8 Feet, 2873 LBS)


Are truck campers just for hunters and fishermen who like to camp off the grid?  Not when they are as spacious and comfortable as the Arctic Fox 811!  Stephanie had never stepped inside a truck camper before–and she was completely impressed.  The kitchen was larger than kitchens in travel trailers twice its length–and the bedroom looked cozy and comfortable.


We had such a great time browsing through these units at the Colorado RV Show.  The variety was dazzling–and possibly overwhelming to the first-time buyer.  We can’t wait to spot these sporty and lightweight trailers in a more natural environment…the campground!





07 Mar

RVFTA #25: Hello, Cutie! (We Heart Tiny Trailers)

From teardrops to truck campers our featured segment this week is all about the tiny trailer.

We were hanging out at the Colorado RV Show last weekend and couldn’t believe the crowds that gathered around all the small campers. With beds and bathrooms and indoor and outdoor kitchens, these mini RVs can pack a lot of punch.

In this episode, we talk about our eight favorite little cuties from the show (links to each below). Although a tiny trailer doesn’t work for our family right now, it was easy to understand the appeal of traveling lightweight and small.

We also have the second interview in our RV Park Entrepreneurs series.   A little while ago we noticed a trend of young families opening up campgrounds in hip urban areas. On this episode we are talking to Todd Spencer who, along with his wife Dawna, is about to open Sentinel Peak RV Park in Tucson, Arizona. By the end of this interview, a visit to Tucson will be high on your list.

And in case you missed our first interview in the series with Inntown Campground in Nevada City, California, check out RVFTA Episode #21 to catch up!

Stay tuned for a blog post this week with pictures and video clips of all these tiny trailers. If you happen to own a small camper, we would love to hear from you. Brand, quality, pros and cons…send us an email and we will share during our mailbag segment next week!

The Teardrop Cuties:

T@G Max

T@B B@sic S

T@B B@sic CS-S

Basecamp Teardrop

A Variety of Cuties:

Jumping Jack Jump-Up Tent Trailers

ALiner Classic

Camp Lite 11-FK

Arctic Fox 811

Lastly, don’t forget to check out the new blog, Campfire Travelers. Podcast listeners Mandy and Jason came to meet us at the Denver Show and are the definition of enthusiastic family travelers. They are pumping out travel blog content like mad, so head on over and drop them a comment.

All of this…and so much more on Episode 25 of RV Family Travel Atlas: Hello, Cutie! (We Heart Tiny Trailers).


21 Feb

RVFTA #23: Meet the Girl Campers!

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas we interview Go RVing blogger, girl camper, and all around charm school graduate Janine Pettit. She is a girl camping ambassador and world class storyteller who is “incapable of being boring.” Listen to hear how Janine hooked up with Sisters on the Fly, her favorite campground, and her biggest camping fail ever. We would sit around a campfire with this lovely lady any night of the year!

We are also talking about some of the interesting people that we met at the Atlantic City RV Show: from our podcast listeners, to RV safety experts, to representatives from Jayco’s headquarters in Middlebury, Indiana, we made the rounds and made new friends.

And we convinced the nicest RV rep in America, Tom Wylie, to give us a walk-through tour of the 2015 Jayco White Hawk 28DSBH. After talking to Tom we kinda wanna upgrade to a new 2015. It was pretty sweet!

Don’t forget to check out our interview on this week’s episode of Roadtreking, a podcast by journalist Mike Wendland. We chatted with Mike about why we do what we do with our children and some of our recommendations for taking kids and grandkids on the road.

And we are hanging out as guest bloggers over the Camp Jellystone blog! Our post this week is about fun activities in the Luray, Virginia area. Next up? The perfect day in Shenandoah National Park.

All of this and so much more on episode 23 of RV Family Travel Atlas: Meet the Girl Campers.


14 Dec

RVFTA #13: Pros and Cons of a Travel Trailer


On Episode 13 of RV Family Travel Atlas, it’s all about the travel trailer! We are sharing some personal stories about our own trailer, and you will find out why an Airstream will probably never work for us.

We will also discuss the pros and cons of a travel trailer. With all of the models and floor plans available, there is a trailer for any sized family. However, a pop-up, fifth wheel, or Class C might be a better fit for you. We will help you sort it all out.

And our first movie review on the Long, Long Trailer with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez. Great campy fun, make sure you add it to your Netflix queue.

All of this and more, on this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas!

20 Feb

Thinking About Buying a Pop-Up Camper? Consider This…

Stephanie and I often joke that buying our first pop up camper was the best and worst decision that we ever made.  When we say that we really mean that entering into the RVing lifestyle was a profoundly awesome decision for our family–but we bought the wrong pop up camper.  We bought a shiny new unit with all of the bells and whistles for over ten thousand dollars–when we probably should have bought a used one for two or three thousand dollars.  Don’t get me wrong–our camper had a bathroom, stereo, air conditioner, large slide out, hot water heater, kitchenette etc, etc, etc, and in many ways it was pretty awesome.


CanonPhotoDump 1009

So what was the problem?  Well, we loved RVing so much that we started to camp a lot, and we started to take longer and longer trips.  After spending 16 days in Vermont and Maine on a four stop trip we realized that all of the setting up and breaking down was eating up a lot of precious vacation time.  Eventually, we decided to sell the pop up camper and buy a travel trailer.  Unfortunately, we owed more on the camper than it was worth. This is common when you buy an RV with a long term loan and sell it too quickly.  Just like with an auto loan, those early payments are mostly interest–and RV values depreciate more quickly than car and truck values.  Live and learn, right?


So that’s why I wished we bought a used one–so that we would have been better prepared for the highly desired upgrade two years later.  You see, an awful lot of RVers start out with a pop camper, fall in love with camping and traveling, and move up into larger units–and that’s why it’s wise to start with a used unit and pay cash–not because you won’t use the camper, but because you will, and you may want to upgrade very quickly.

Two of our friends, who have become our close camping buddies, took this approach when they purchased their first pop up camper.  They found a used unit, in great shape, at a great price.  They also fell in love with RVing, but when they eventually sold their little Jayco pop up after almost two years they actually made a profit.  So, I would recommend that you buy a used unit, or a less expensive one than we bought.  But, as you can see, the memories we made in our first camper were absolutely priceless.


When I was young my grandfather often told me that he did not spend enough time with his children when they were growing up–and he told me not to make the same mistake.  Well, I can confidently say that I am not making that mistake. I think that our decision to purchase a pop up, and then a travel trailer, has played a major role in bringing our family close together over the past four years.

So the best advice I can give you is this: if your thinking about buying a pop up camper but having some doubts, put them aside and buy one.  Here are ten great reasons to take the plunge:

1. Campgrounds are much cheaper than hotels.

2. Campgrounds usually have more family-friendly activities than hotels.

3.  You save tons of money by making your own meals instead of eating out in restaurants.

4. You can put your kids to bed and hang out around a campfire instead of setting up a mini bar in the hotel bathroom.

5.  Sleeping in a pop up camper on a cool fall night is heaven itself.

6.  Your bed is your bed.  A stranger did not sleep in it the night before, and the night before that, and the night before that.  You get the point.

7. Closer and easier access to nature: hiking, swimming, canoeing–all of God’s creation is waiting outside your door.

8.  It is acceptable for children to run around and scream at a campground–at a hotel? Not so much.

9.  If I can figure out how to back the darn thing up, then you can too…

10.  You will meet other campers.  And campers are happy people.  You will be happy, too.