Mike and Jennifer Wendland are no rookies when it comes to RVing. For the last eight years, this dynamic duo has been living the ultimate RV lifestyle and sharing their findings along the way with an extensive community of over 650,000. Last year we sat down with the inspiring couple to chat about how Mike went from being an Investigative Journalist to RV Lifestyle Reporter. Today we’re deep diving into the duo’s favorite places to RV, their new Leisure Travel Unity FX, and the upcoming plans they have for their RV Lifestyle website. From week long road trip guides to Podcast discussions with some of the most well known RVer’s around, we’ve covered it all. The Wendland’s are seasoned RVer’s who have generously shared their RV hacks, knowledge and experience. Enjoy the meaty details below.
All photography provided by RV Lifestyle
La Mesa RV: It’s been a year since our last chat. Let’s do a deep dive into what you guys have been up to. What was your favorite place (or two, or five) you traveled during 2018 in your RV?
Mike Wendland: We always say our favorite place is where we happen to be at the minute but here are some highlights from last year:
January | Tahquamenon Falls, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula: It’s been a tradition of ours for the past five years to do a winter campout in the snow. In 2018 we had over 50 people come up to camp and enjoy the snow with us.
February | Manatee Springs State Park, Florida: Seeing the gentle and giant manatees that come to the warm waters each winter was awesome.
March | Waco, Texas: We hung out and experienced Texas culture, learned about the Texas Rangers and saw first hand what Joanna and Chip Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper have done to help revitalize the town. There was great shopping for Jennifer. I preferred the Texas Rangers Museum.
June |North Dakota & Montana: We took a long trip through the Upper Peninsula and then headed west on US 2, spending time at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (one of the least known but amazing treasure of a National Park) and then out to our absolute favorite National Park, Glacier National Park, in the heart of the Northern Rockies.
July | North Carolina & Michigan: We enjoyed the Great Smoky Mountain’s by white water rafting, kayaking and zip-lining around the Natahala River Gorge. In late July we headed to Lake Michigan and Silver Lake Sand Dunes in West Michigan. We enjoyed dune buggy rides and hiked all over.
September | Florida Panhandle: We enjoyed our favorite beach near Destin, known as the world’s luckiest fishing village, on Florida’s Emerald Coast.
October | Kansas: We were out on the prairie in Kansas, boondocking at a working cattle ranch. We got to horseback ride and hike in the biggest espouses of prairie land left in North America.
November | Orlando, Florida: We set up with a group of RV pals in Fort Wilderness at Walt Disney World. Who says you need kids to enjoy the Magic Kingdom? We had a ball.
LMRV: Tell us about your new RV! Why did you decide on this particular rig?
MW: It was love at first sight. We have always been attracted to the extra room and openness of Leisure Travel Vans, ever since we started seeing them at RV shows around the country a number of years ago. In early February, we visited their Manitoba, Canada factory and found a 2019 Leisure Travel Vans Unity FX on the assembly line that we fell in love with. We purchased it March 15th from La Mesa RV’s Albuquerque dealership. We’re still pinching ourselves.
LMRV: What are your top 5 favorite features on the LTV Unity FX?
– The sky light you can open for air
– The real mattress on the comfy king sized Murphy Bed
– The roomy bathroom with a stand up dry shower
– Having a large wardroom
– The bathroom’s deep sink and arched galley faucet
– The incredible 2019 Mercedes Sprinter redesigned dashboard
– The small slide out and the extra room it gives to the RV
– The space gives me the opportunity to have a dedicated work area for video editing and writing, in either the rear or the front lounge
– The massive outside storage compartments
– The small personal safe
LMRV: What is your favorite podcast you’ve done to date?
MW: We’ve done 240 RV Lifestyle Podcasts so far! Our favorites are ones about boondocking. We also enjoy hearing about other RVer’s adventures as well as learning about wildlife and wilderness. We’ve talked to forest rangers, boondocking legends like Campskunk, off the beaten path travel guides, self help experts, RVer’s who full-time RV with their families, solo travelers who are boldly exploring every state and digital nomads who earn fantastic incomes while on the road full-time. So many RVer’s. So many stories!
LMRV: Where will you be traveling this summer season?
MW: We start out in Quebec this June, then we will be making our way into New England and down the Atlantic coast. We’re planning on spending a few weeks in the Adirondack Mountains where we will be researching and capturing content for our upcoming Seven Day Adventure Guides. We’ll make our way back west from there and are considering two or three other parts of the country for extended travel. We haven’t decided where yet and we tend to keep our plans pretty loose so we can follow the winds of serendipity.
LMRV: Any books you’re reading or would recommend to RVers?
MW: Ours! We have two Seven Day Adventure Guides we just published. One is about Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the other is on Utah. By the time this published our third one on Colorado will be out! We have about 20 of them planned over the next few years and we want to cover all parts of North America.
As for other books, we’re loving Small Kitchen, Big Flavors, an awesome cookbook for RVers by Chef MJ Curry, who is also a frequent RV Recipes contributor to our travel blog.
LMRV: What are your golden rules when it comes to budget travel?
MW: We do our best to camp free. We’re big fans of Harvest Hosts. We’ve stayed at wineries, an alligator farm and an alpaca farm… and that’s just this year. We use Boondockers Welcome and Overnight RV Parking a lot too, and of course we spend a lot of nights on state and federal lands where dispersed camping is free. It also helps to cook your own meals. Besides being healthier, it saves a lot of money. We like to eat out but we tend to pick mom and pop restaurants or occasionally, really good restaurants when they come our way. We have a golden rule: No impulse buying. We both check with the other about any out of the ordinary expenditures.
LMRV: Why do you prefer Class B RV’s over the other classes?
MW: We like Class B and B+ RVs because we can pretty much park them anywhere (and we can both drive). We don’t need to tow a car to be able to get out and explore, we can just drive the RV. Our Class B also serves as a second vehicle when we’re at home and fits our lifestyle.
LMRV: Do you have any fun projects on the horizon for RV Lifestyle that you’d like to share?
MW: Traveling and writing our travel guides will take up big chunks of our time. But we love meeting people on the road so we’re thinking about doing a caravan type tour. The idea would be to visit sites along a week long route and invite people to follow digitally or even meet us at the overnight stops. We are having a ball doing our weekly Ask Us Anything live video reports on our YouTube Channel. Each week thousands of people join us live, from wherever we are as we share our adventures and answer their questions in real time. We have some grand adventures on our bucket list to still do… Alaska, the Maritimes and the Baja Peninsula.
If the Wendland’s inspired you to hop in your RV and travel this coming season, check out our Top Travel Destinations for Summer 2019. Are you a road warrior? Leave us a comment in the section below telling us where your RV is headed this year for a chance to be featured on our Experience Life blog!