RV LIFE Podcast

Unveiling Thousand Trails: A Deep Dive into RV Membership, Community, and Controversy

July 12, 2023 Dan & Patti Hunt Season 2 Episode 37
Unveiling Thousand Trails: A Deep Dive into RV Membership, Community, and Controversy
RV LIFE Podcast
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RV LIFE Podcast
Unveiling Thousand Trails: A Deep Dive into RV Membership, Community, and Controversy
Jul 12, 2023 Season 2 Episode 37
Dan & Patti Hunt

Why is Thousand Trails so controversial? Pull up a chair, because we're about to uncover the good, the bad, and the misinformed in this compelling chat with long-time members and membership specialists, Jim and Brandy. These seasoned RVers take us through their adventurous journey from Atlanta to Florida, sharing favorite experiences, learned lessons, and how they've come to call Thousand Trails home.

Join us as we navigate through the differences between Thousand Trails and Encore, both under the same umbrella of Equity Lifestyles (ELS). We discuss how Thousand Trails has allowed Dan and I (Patti) to travel the country full time paying around $9 a night for camping.

Jim and Brandy are full time with their dogs and they have a Facebook group  RVing With Dogs Club. They share their  journey with Tango, the world's greatest dog, and debunk some myths around Thousand Trails and give the scoop on the new reservation system.

We believe in the power of conversation — especially when it comes to joining Thousand Trails. We stress the importance of talking to a membership specialist to get all the correct information as there is a lot of miss information out there.

You can  fill out the questionnaire below to get started. We then delve into the benefits of both long-term planning and spontaneous trips possible with a Thousand Trails membership. From the vibrant community to the unique events, Thousand Trails offers an experience like no other.

You want to know more about how we camp for less than $9 a night....

Fill out the form to get the latest information and special promotions.
      http://bit.ly/3Ql3eMX 
   
Quicker response Call/text: Jim Reneau at  (770) 622-4188

Let them know Dan & Patti Hunt sent you and they will give you the best promotion available.

Special Discounts Codes: Click Link & Use Code

RV LIFE Pro Click the link for 25% off
• Motorhome Tires: $50 discount FIND MY INSTALLER
•Thousand Trail Membership Call/Text Warren & Sharon Lewis
804-366-0798
National Indoor RV Centers
6 great locations: Buy, Consign, Storage, Service & so much more.
CLEAR2O Save 15% w/ Code: RVLIFEPODCAST
Open Road Fuel Card save on Diesel Fuel
LITO - Luxury In The Outdoors
Open Roads Innovative Tolling Solutions
All 48 states
Open Road Resorts Mention RV LIFE Podcast
National Vehicle Buy or Sell Your RV
Harvest Hosts Boondockers Welcome
Code: HUN...

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Why is Thousand Trails so controversial? Pull up a chair, because we're about to uncover the good, the bad, and the misinformed in this compelling chat with long-time members and membership specialists, Jim and Brandy. These seasoned RVers take us through their adventurous journey from Atlanta to Florida, sharing favorite experiences, learned lessons, and how they've come to call Thousand Trails home.

Join us as we navigate through the differences between Thousand Trails and Encore, both under the same umbrella of Equity Lifestyles (ELS). We discuss how Thousand Trails has allowed Dan and I (Patti) to travel the country full time paying around $9 a night for camping.

Jim and Brandy are full time with their dogs and they have a Facebook group  RVing With Dogs Club. They share their  journey with Tango, the world's greatest dog, and debunk some myths around Thousand Trails and give the scoop on the new reservation system.

We believe in the power of conversation — especially when it comes to joining Thousand Trails. We stress the importance of talking to a membership specialist to get all the correct information as there is a lot of miss information out there.

You can  fill out the questionnaire below to get started. We then delve into the benefits of both long-term planning and spontaneous trips possible with a Thousand Trails membership. From the vibrant community to the unique events, Thousand Trails offers an experience like no other.

You want to know more about how we camp for less than $9 a night....

Fill out the form to get the latest information and special promotions.
      http://bit.ly/3Ql3eMX 
   
Quicker response Call/text: Jim Reneau at  (770) 622-4188

Let them know Dan & Patti Hunt sent you and they will give you the best promotion available.

Special Discounts Codes: Click Link & Use Code

RV LIFE Pro Click the link for 25% off
• Motorhome Tires: $50 discount FIND MY INSTALLER
•Thousand Trail Membership Call/Text Warren & Sharon Lewis
804-366-0798
National Indoor RV Centers
6 great locations: Buy, Consign, Storage, Service & so much more.
CLEAR2O Save 15% w/ Code: RVLIFEPODCAST
Open Road Fuel Card save on Diesel Fuel
LITO - Luxury In The Outdoors
Open Roads Innovative Tolling Solutions
All 48 states
Open Road Resorts Mention RV LIFE Podcast
National Vehicle Buy or Sell Your RV
Harvest Hosts Boondockers Welcome
Code: HUN...

Dan Hunt:

Thousand Trails. What's all the controversy? We just don't get it. Listening to the RV live podcast, i'm Dan Hunt, with my incredible wife, patty Hunt, and today's guest well, they're not only members of Thousand Trails for the last ten years, but they are also membership specials. Membership specials, they are special people. Okay, let's go down to take two. Take two, take two, take two in three. Two one Countdown again in three. Please don't do that.

Jim Reneau:

I stepped away.

Dan Hunt:

I know, but I heard it like it was right inside of me. In three, two, one Thousand Trails. What's all the controversy? We just don't get it. You're listening to the RV live podcast. I'm Dan Hunt with my incredible wife, patty Hunt, and we are your host and for the next hour We're gonna take you and talk to you with some guests that are just incredible people. They have been members of Thousand Trails for the last ten years and not only are they members, but they're membership specialists. So if you hang around, for the next 30 minutes to an hour, we're gonna talk all things Thousand Trails, that's right the good, the bad and the ugly.

Jim Reneau:

We have been full-time for going on close to three years and have been members of Thousand Trails for For close to two years, and I'll tell you we couldn't live the RV life that we are living without Thousand Trails you know, we hear a lot and and and feels, a lot of questions from people that said, well, we just can't get reservations.

Dan Hunt:

Well, let me tell you something. Right now We are in Virginia and we have had a family I don't want to call it an emergency, but a family situation. Patty's mom recently passed and, and so here we are. We didn't know what we were doing, living this lifestyle. We were able to come and spend the last few months of Patty's mom life with her and Being here and helping to take care of her, but we have no plans for the future. So what happened?

Jim Reneau:

so, okay, last I guess three months We've been here, maybe even more than that and I kept thinking, okay, we've got to make reservations for where we're gonna go when we leave here. We're staying here at my brother's house, we were staying with my mom and you can't make reservations if you don't know what's gonna happen. So she did pass a little over a week ago and We want to be able to leave and get back on the road next week. And I went wow, it's the middle of summer and We have nothing, absolutely No reservations, except for the one in Hershey, which we will talk about a little bit further in the show. But I was able to get on Book some places. We decided we were just gonna go into Pennsylvania and hang out We are in Virginia right now And get ourselves back organized, and I've now wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.

Dan Hunt:

You mean, we're not summering in Maine?

Jim Reneau:

We are not summering in Maine. That was originally our plan. But we are not summering in Maine. We are gonna go into Pennsylvania, we're gonna get ourselves, you know, just some downtime. Certainly I need some time by a pool or a lake or a river. A body of water is what I'm looking for, a hot tub at night if it cools off a little bit. But the story is that between going online and booking, calling Thousand Trails customer service, we are now booked from July 10th all the way through the middle of October With a five day. There's only five days We don't have booked and we will be spending time with a friend at a cabin in the Poconos.

Dan Hunt:

So who's talking? my favorite thing, bob, we love you.

Jim Reneau:

Yes, so all is well. It can be done. We are living proof of it. So stick with us as we talk about Thousand Trails and how we've made it work.

Dan Hunt:

Now that sound means it's time for today's fun fact brought to you by open road resorts. These people are just really special people. We truly enjoy chase and his whole crew of people. We have not been up to The resorts near Yosemite yet.

Jim Reneau:

Yes, near Yellowstone. Yeah so they have three resorts in the Montana Utah area That sound absolutely amazing. We spoke with chase on the show several months ago. They also have a campground in right near Dallas, texas, which these places sound amazing. We want to thank open road resorts for sponsoring the question. I'm sorry. Today's fun fact. Today's fun fact.

Dan Hunt:

And this kind of shocked me a little bit. I know it shocked Patty a lot. What are the most popular months for camping?

Jim Reneau:

And the most popular month is April, april, i would have absolutely bet money On the summer months, but April actually makes sense. It's still not April. Then June, july and August are the biggies, right? and then?

Dan Hunt:

finally, september is the next big one.

Jim Reneau:

Which is surprising as well, now and then for full-timers, it's.

Dan Hunt:

Down to Florida for everybody right and some go Texas. So I'm going to ask people.

Jim Reneau:

We have our social media, at Instagram and Facebook It is RV life podcast, so either platform. Let us know what your favorite month is to camp. Let us know if you're full-time part-time sometime. We'd love hearing from you.

Dan Hunt:

Now it is starting to get hot, and one of the things that really brings me down in June, july and August is humidity, depending upon where we are in the country, but I will tell you that right now It has just been beautiful in the evenings here in the northeast part of the country.

Jim Reneau:

Yes, the evenings are pretty nice. They, during the day, is a bit humid these last couple days. That's why I need to be sitting in some water somewhere. I can't wait.

Dan Hunt:

Well, it is called today's fun fact and the fact is that April is the most popular month for camping, followed by June, july and August. Does that work with you guys? I'd like to hear some feedback on that and let us know what your You know most popular times for camping April. I didn't think would be up there because kids are still in school and all that kind of stuff is going on Right where you take, you know, here the first week of July All the kids are out of school, so you can easily take off and go if you're not homeschooled.

Jim Reneau:

And when I did the research on this fun fact, i did not look to see if they were talking about weekenders. I know, as we were in Pennsylvania last summer as well, the campground would be kind of empty during the week and then Thursday You'd see an influx of. Friday was just get your lawn chair, sit out and watch the the people moving, you know moving RVs in, and then Sunday or Monday morning they would move out. So I I didn't check to see if this is a weekend thing or during the week, but April it kind of makes sense. It's not super hot Now. We do travel full-time, so we're, you know, except when we're in this odd ball situation.

Dan Hunt:

We're out on the road all the time. So I'm going to think back to last 4th of July. We were at a campground, a thousand trails campground in Pennsylvania. Yes, i believe that's correct. It was called Circle.

Jim Reneau:

M. I'm not sure. I don't remember. I'm glad you do. That's the one with the rubber around the outside. Yes, and I got to tell you.

Dan Hunt:

That 4th of July weekend that place was packed. I mean they brought people in and actually I think even made campgrounds for people, right? so holidays and weekends.

Jim Reneau:

We do see an influx, and so I I can't wait to get back on the road, but, more importantly, i can't wait to talk to our guests today and talk all things Thousand trails.

Dan Hunt:

You know one of the trends that I'm noticing and as we do the research to find these fun facts, more and more people are going camping every single year. More and more people are wanting to get out and have experiences all around this amazing country And it is nice to see people and meet people and hear their stories. And one of the things that we do like to do is bring people stories to you. Our guests today again full timers, and They're just not our Membership specialists. For a thousand trails. They have become our friends. We've gone to dinner with them all over the country.

Dan Hunt:

We've gone on a bike ride in the beach in savannah by by, where they have a permanent site, hilton head, hilton head, yeah, it's just just beautiful there. And to get out on the bikes with them, with the dog and you know, head the beach, go up and down the beach. When I say with the dog, i'm talking about their dog, because we don't have a dog. But it's just an amazing country. There's so many things to see. We were just talking about this the other day. I've probably got five or six lifetime bucket list items that we have done in the last two years, including driving a train. I got to drive a train, guys, i got to drive a train. It was so cool. But you know we're gonna talk with jim and brandy And just have a really good time talking about Thousand trails and trying to figure out what all this controversy is about, and we're gonna do all of that Right after this. The most important part of your RV is the roof.

Patti Hunt:

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Dan Hunt:

National indoor is the number one new mar dealer in the nation and also features brands like Integra, winnebago and much more. Visit NIRVCcom and become a part of the national indoor RV centers family. They met in Atlanta. He owned several martial art studios And she was looking for her next adventure. He had a medical issue that changed the direction of their lives forever. They decided to hit the road and see this beautiful country of ours, found that camping sites were just a little bit expensive, so they started looking for ways to save money and found Thousand trails. They loved it and they started recommending it to others. Now they are one of the top sales teams in the industry And they have a great attitude and approach for life And business today we're talking to Jim and brandy verno.

Jim Reneau:

Welcome Jim to the rv life podcast.

Jim Reneau:

Well, thank you very much, and brandy's gonna try and step in here in a minute. We're over at the blue mace RV resort in colorado, which is the newest thousand trails, and we had someone walk in asking some questions, so she's talking to them right now and We'll be hopefully having her join us soon.

Jim Reneau:

That sounds great. Now, as dan said, you guys were thousand trails members and now your member specialist, and dan and i Truly love your no pressure approach. But before we jump into all that, tell us a little bit about your story before you went on to living this RV life.

Jim Reneau:

Well, you know, we had martial arts schools in the, in the alana area and around the country. Um, i've been a martial arts since 1968 and that that was always my pride and joy. And i had a injury that happened on the side of my neck where i tore a major artery and it caused a major stroke, and when that happened i lost the use of half of my body. For a long time i was in the hospital and in a wheelchair and, um, the one thing that i kept thinking the whole time that i was down was you know, i Won the martial arts part i loved. I can still teach and help out my upper ranking people, but, you know, doing a lot of it I'm not able to do anymore. Um, but the thing that that was really catching me was There was a whole lot of this country I hadn't seen.

Jim Reneau:

I'd flown everywhere for karate tournaments and, and we, we had a team, team storm that we traveled all over the country with and we'd fly into california ago the battle of itlana or something. Wherever New york or wherever we'd fly in, we'd get to the hotel and, uh, we'd run to the tournament, compete for two days and then fly home and we had never really stopped to smell the roses, and When i was laying in the hospital, i kept thinking about the fact that i'd flown over the, the grand canyon, and how i heard it was the, you know, the, everybody. If you look down to your left, you'll see uh, uh, first of the grand canyon, and, and that that's what i had seen of it. I wanted to really go in it, you know, and i wanted to see the redwood forest and go set foot in the pacific.

Jim Reneau:

I grew up on the east coast, so, um, as soon as we were able to, we we got a, a little e-class to start with and uh Took off. We were in itlana, georgia. When we got together, we went down to florida and discovered how expensive it. The first place we went to, it was a hundred and twenty two a night And I was like, wow, i got to look for different ways of doing this. We started searching, came across thousand trails and been doing it ever since.

Dan Hunt:

So now, let me, let me get this story right. Jim, you met Brandy in Atlanta and you talked her into getting a B class with you, and then getting in and leaving Atlanta and going to Florida. Yeah Well, that's one way to do it, yeah.

Jim Reneau:

But yeah, it was a lot of fun, and do you have?

Dan Hunt:

to remember what time of the year it was when you went down to Florida.

Jim Reneau:

Yeah, we went down there and it was just, it was early spring, okay, i think it was June or July.

Jim Reneau:

So that's not necessarily prime season And you said the campground was really expensive that you went to.

Jim Reneau:

Yeah, we went to a little campground and it was on the beach, had no amenities whatsoever, but you could actually see the water wasn't a thousand trails, it was before we got a thousand trails. There were a hundred and twenty two a night And I was like I thought camping was like thirty five a night. Oh no, i got to do some thinking here, yeah.

Jim Reneau:

Yep.

Patti Hunt:

Exactly Yeah.

Jim Reneau:

It gets expensive. So from there, you decided that RVing was for you. How did you then decide? Did you decide to go full time RVing, or what's it a process?

Jim Reneau:

We took off and we said we weren't going to sell a house, we were just going to go for three or four months and see how we liked it. And that was going on nine years ago And we haven't gone back. We kept our house for the first couple of years. Just use it for a closet. What I mean by that? we'd stop by, put our winter stuff up, grab our summer stuff and go in a different direction and then come back and reverse that. But after a while we finally sold the house and just took off And it has been an incredible adventure. We've seen things I never I didn't know existed, you know. You know, going up to Bend, oregon, and seeing Crater Lake I didn't know those such thing as a crater lake. I'm an East Coast guy, you know seeing the whales and taking the helicopter ride through the Grand Canyon finally and going into it and seeing it. You know we got to actually adventure. So it's been been really, really cool.

Dan Hunt:

Yes, you know we live in one of the most beautiful places on earth and most of us don't see it. Like you said, we fly over top of it, all over the place and, you know, do a lot of things. But one of the things that I love about the RV lifestyle is we have literally been from Bend, oregon, to Miami, florida, and up in Maine and down in San Diego, california, so we've crisscrossed the country quite a few times. We have seen things and been able to do things that I just don't think a lot of people get to do or get to see, and now I'm talking about you seeing things.

Jim Reneau:

I remember seeing you going off a slide up in New Jersey at the lakin shore and looking like a 10 year old kid with that face going yeah.

Jim Reneau:

I would say a two year old, but okay, we'll give you a 10 year old And you can actually check that out on our YouTube channel at exploring through our lens.

Dan Hunt:

We'll put a link in the show notes We will, And sometimes it is the.

Jim Reneau:

That's one of the smaller things that we got to enjoy. You know it's just going on this great big water slide. I did not go on it, And now lakin shore is a thousand trails resort and we kind of want to, you know, jump in. What was it like when you first became a customer? You said you decided to go to thousand trails because of how expensive campgrounds were. So tell us about that decision to be a customer.

Jim Reneau:

Right, well, you first went. We were, like I said, we were in Florida when I started exploring And I was just sitting on the beach going, man, my dream of being able to travel. I just don't think it's going to work. And we heard about thousand trails. So we went up to forest lake up in North Carolina That was the closest one to us at the time, that and we saw that and and got their little camping pass they had. And we went all the way up to Green Mountain, north Carolina, and then there I didn't want to talk to one of those you know those sales guys like I'm doing now.

Jim Reneau:

I'll tell you how I got into that later. But I didn't want to talk to one of those sales people out there. But I actually had another camper in Green Mountain sitting there and go well, look, this is what I'm doing, i'm full time and I travel with my elite membership. And that's where I got in, went back and talked to them there and became an elite member And then six months later, i wound up becoming a salesperson 4,000 trails after I sent them so many people.

Jim Reneau:

There you go.

Dan Hunt:

Now that you know that's how it works. Our story is similar to yours in that, you know, we left Las Vegas with our you know, new to us 40 foot class A diesel pusher And we headed up to Bend Oregon. That was our first trip, our inaugural trip to see my son and our grandkids that were up there, and we were in Bend Oregon, and the fires were astronomical at that time of year, a couple of years back, the air quality was so bad you couldn't go outside without choking. So you know, we, we, we had heard a lot of stories about thousand trails, some incredibly great and, most incredibly, they just didn't like it, and so we were very, very hesitant about thousand trails. But we found this place called whalers rest And yeah, been there, done that.

Jim Reneau:

Well, let's back up a second because I think it's important to tell this story. I had honestly listened to a lot of the negative.

Dan Hunt:

Right The video. The negative videos on YouTube Yeah, the negative videos.

Jim Reneau:

You know the YouTube videos that say no way, And I had listened to it. So when Dan said, well, let's call that thousand trails and see what that is about, I sat there thinking, no way, It's a salesperson not doing it. And that's where Dan called you, Jim you know, I picked up the phone.

Dan Hunt:

I called this guy named Jim. Yeah, My wife my wife proceeded to take my wallet with my credit cards away from me.

Jim Reneau:

And I was sitting there. I was like, yes, this is, this is actually a true story. I was sitting there like, oh no. And so Dan got off the phone and he said look. He said I signed up for the camping pass. And you know, i thought, okay, like a timeshare, we're going to try now to get a camp. You know a site and they're going to be booked. Well, this was Saturday that we talked to Jim And we called and on Sunday we were able to go to Whalers Rest, which is right on the Pacific coast. It is beautiful. Sunday packed up, went to Whalers Rest, stayed till Friday. While we were there, we asked if we could say stay the weekend, and we stayed the weekend. And we have been hooked ever since.

Dan Hunt:

I just that's how it really did it And you know Patty has it written on our notes here five different places, no pressure approach. You know there's ways to sell. You can go into a car dealership and get attacked by 50 salespeople And we did not want that. We, this is our life, this is what we do, and I think it's something that you and Brandy understood. You explained how the program worked to us, you answered all of our questions and then you didn't call back.

Dan Hunt:

You didn't call me every day for a week And I think that's just a great way to do business. And when you did call back, we talked about our kids and our grandkids and our dogs and that type of stuff. So it has really been. the sales process that we, Dan and Patty, went through with Jim and Brandy was one that we really really appreciated, especially Patty, because Patty hates salespeople.

Jim Reneau:

Yes, i do With a passion, yes, i really do, because I feel like and again, dan and I have done sales and it's, you know, if we explain something and we give the detail and somebody wants it, great. If they don't, you know, that's fine too And what we love, because Dan and I, like I said, have a YouTube channel and obviously, this podcast, and we then wanted to recommend it to people because we had such a great experience. So we probably reached out to Jim and or Brandy every other week to ask questions so that we could then tell people what we knew, not try and sell the product, but you know, just to say, hey, this is the detail, make sure we had them down. And, jim, you said, do what works best for you and your family. And that's all it took. There was no pressure. You never called and said okay, so do you want to? do you want to upgrade? Do you want that? it never happened, and so I know we've spent a lot of time talking about this, but I think it is so very important.

Jim Reneau:

Well, i appreciate you saying that. That makes me feel really good. Yeah, and that comes back from when I first got into it. I needed 1,000 trails, i needed to find out about it, but I didn't want to talk to somebody that was going to be, you know, trying to push me into what something I didn't need. So we try and share that same approach And if it works for you, great. And if it doesn't, great. You know it's not for everybody, but most people are going to find it's going to save you a lot of money and make life a lot easier for you.

Dan Hunt:

Now, jim, one of the questions that we get all the time and I'm just going to throw it over to you is people ask us all the time 1,000 trails on core, what the hell is the difference? Why are they separated? Just just let's, let's talk about 1,000 trails and on core and how they are one company divided.

Jim Reneau:

ELS owns 1,000 trails. They're traded on the New York Stock Exchange under ELS ELS So what is that?

Jim Reneau:

It's a great company And what we like to say is one pair of pants, two pockets. You got 1,000 trails as our retail division And the on core trails collection is our I actually said that backwards 1,000 trails as our membership division And then the on core trails collection is our retail division And we call it pay as you play. They've added the trails collection where people who are members with 1,000 trails can experience a lot of the on core parks and go out and explore and those also. So if you want any information, there's some great parks out there. If you're ever traveling any 1,000 trail park and they have, you know, a rep in the park, go talk to them and they get a lot of the information for you. Or call us if you can't find anyone else. But the information is is available for you to to travel in all of it.

Jim Reneau:

But the ELS, like I said, that's our retail spot. The new adventure program actually allows you to travel three weeks at a time at all of your on core campgrounds and go park to park in those, along with all of your 1,000 trails. So it gives you tons of places to go camping for free. Plan your trips ahead of everyone else and then come out. That's the new adventure that came out about a year and a half ago.

Dan Hunt:

Well, Jim, you know, the last time I calculated it and I did it for a video on 1,000 trails, we calculated that we spend less than $9 a night on camping at 1,000 trails campgrounds. So that is really, really a testament to the dollars and cents, because you said the campground that you were looking at in Florida was what? a hundred and something dollars a night. Yeah.

Jim Reneau:

And you know all your camping is free when you're a member. out there with 1,000 trails and all your 1,000 trail campgrounds are free. But you know, if you're calculating how much you spent for your membership and everything, you had to drop down to eight, nine dollars a night, $10 depending on how often you use it. It's a great value.

Dan Hunt:

It really, really is a great value. And just so everybody knows what we're talking about, first of all, els is equity lifestyles correct, correct, that's the name of the main company. So you said ELS. I'm just trying to get everybody on the podcast, all of our listeners, up to the same thing Understand that Jim and Brandi, his wife the better part of Jim is they are members. They are not just salespeople, they are members, they live full time. And, jim, i think we have actually been with you in two or three different campgrounds around the country. Yeah, you know, we've actually hung out with you and camped with you guys. And so you guys, you guys are full time, 24, seven, 365 full timers.

Jim Reneau:

Correct. Yeah, and right now we're at the Blue Mesa RV resort, or actually have our office set up. This is the newest resort, with 1000 trails, and it is absolutely spectacular The park, the amenities we got indoor pools, outdoor pools, hot tubs, the roads every day. Being an East Coast person, i've never lived like I said, i've flown over and everything, but I feel like I'm walking around in a postcard every time I come out here. It is just absolutely gorgeous.

Jim Reneau:

Jim, and I'm a little annoyed with you because we're on Facebook and I keep seeing these pictures. Dan and I are on the East Coast and I was born and raised on the East Coast, so I'm living, you know, through you looking at these pictures of, just like you said, it looks like a postcard And I wish we could be there this summer out of this humidity that we're in right now. So I'm going to have to plan them for next summer to be there, but it absolutely looks incredible.

Jim Reneau:

Did you see the horses?

Jim Reneau:

I did see the horses.

Dan Hunt:

Yes, the horses.

Jim Reneau:

But Blue Mesa, you said, is a new campground. Talk about how the 1000 trail system is adding on new campgrounds. That is something they're continuing to do.

Jim Reneau:

Yeah, a thousand trails started, you know, 50 years ago. The one campground, shehalis, washington, please, man, and they started. They started yeah, it's nice And they started adding campgrounds. They're up to 82 campgrounds now, so they're constantly working and adding to the portfolio And this was the newest one. They added it And last year it became a regular 1000 trail campground And the response has been phenomenal. It's just absolutely gorgeous. You get a chance to come out and experience it.

Jim Reneau:

We sure will be going to. We're going to put that on our list, actually.

Dan Hunt:

It's on our must do list next summer.

Jim Reneau:

Yeah, we're going to see you guys out there.

Dan Hunt:

Now just and you may be able to chirp in a little bit about this but in the summertime we were at a place called Teresia in Florida And they 1000, when I say they, i mean 1000 trails bought the lot right next door to the campground that they have there. They bought the lot right next door and they are building a beautiful 300 site facility. It is just gorgeous. I was invited to go over and take a look at the clubhouse that they had just finished and the pool that they were actually putting. in the day that I was there They were actually shooting the stucco on the side. So just a beautiful, beautiful facility there in Teresia, florida. So we're, you know like you talk about that they're not only just buying other parks, they're. they're going out and actively and aggressively looking for land to build campgrounds as well.

Jim Reneau:

Yeah, i haven't seen that one in Florida, but I'm looking forward to trying to get down there and see it as soon as they get that thing going. That would be nice.

Dan Hunt:

Yeah, That that that we really really enjoyed it down there. Now you know, Jim, we're going to go and take a break here for a second, but I just wanted to say, before we go and take a break, that you are somebody very, very special to the RV life podcast because you are the only person to be a guest on the show twice. You were a guest with me in episode 22. We did it live. We were both together for the dogs club, for the dogs club, Yeah, On your Facebook group, And we're going to put a link to that. That is episode 22.

Dan Hunt:

If you want to hear Jim and talk about what he does for RVers and pets and dogs primarily dogs I think your, your Facebook is primarily dogs And you know, when you're talking about dogs, you have, I'm going to say, the world's greatest dog. Tango is just, he's just my favorite dog in the entire world And he loves me to death And he loves you to death. He just goes everywhere with you. But when you and I were down in South Carolina I think it was right, The Oaks, The Oaks in South Carolina You and I took the electric bikes out with the dogs And you know we just took off when a couple of miles down the road and got Tango some chicken McNuggets and you and I got a cheeseburger and just went on from there.

Jim Reneau:

That's right. I remember that That was nice Tango loved it. I'm sure He's like can we go to McDonald's every day? I'm like no dog.

Dan Hunt:

But you know one of the things that Jim's does with his Facebook group is, you know, talk about how to RV with dogs and pets, and it's a great Facebook group. What's the name of that group?

Jim Reneau:

RVing with dogs club. Just a group page on Facebook And we just help each other from dogs sitting where the best pets are, but we got about 7,000 dogs on there now, so just the pictures are awesome.

Dan Hunt:

Yeah, it really was something, a very well received episode. It's episode 22 of the RV life podcast. You can find that on Apple or Google or Spotify, all of those different places. Just look for episode 22. You'll, you'll learn all about that stuff. It is worth your time, definitely worth your time. Now we're going to go into break here and talk about RV life, trip wizard, but after the break we're going to come back and we're going to talk about what's new at Thousand Trails, what's coming up. We're going to talk about how to buy a Thousand Trails membership And we're going to talk about all the misinformation that's out there. We'll do all of that right after this.

Jim Reneau:

When traveling in your RV, how do you navigate? Do you use a paper map, a GPS, or do you use Google Maps? Our sponsor, rv trip wizard, has the solution and it just works.

Dan Hunt:

It just works. You know, we do not move our RV one inch without first consulting RV life trip wizard.

Jim Reneau:

RV life trip. Wizard has really saved us miles time money. It has been a lifesaver for sure.

Dan Hunt:

Now, if you are going to the Hershey RV show, which is America's largest RV show. But if you're going to the Hershey RV show, patty and I have just been named featured speakers there. Our seminar will be on how to plan a trip, an RV trip. Yes, and we have just spent the last two days working ourselves through planning the rest of this year, with no reservations, mind you.

Jim Reneau:

Yes, and I have to say something about that. I'm sorry I'm cutting Dan off, but this is super important. As we said in the beginning of the show, dan and I have been staying with my mother, who was in hospice, for I've been here for five months. She passed a little over a week ago and we had absolutely no reservations until the Hershey show in September And I just booked with Thousand Trails the entire summer. I'm missing about three days and we're thinking about going to a friend's house. Anyway, we're going to do some mooch talking. But I was able last minute in the summer in Pennsylvania, book the whole summer and they are all Thousand Trails. So I know cost is zero And I could not be more grateful to be able to spend the time we did stressful situation, get back on the road and be able to book. Now I will. I'll be very honest, it wasn't. It took some doing. I had to go online a few times. I called reps a few times. That were incredible And you know I we made it work. So now we are booked through till the middle of October, from next Monday to the middle of October. So yes and applause Definitely an applause to Thousand Trails.

Jim Reneau:

But I do want to address the elephant in the room. There's a lot of misinformation And we're going to talk about it right now. So one of the things that I see all the time is misinformation about Thousand Trails and getting reservations. So, jim, what are you seeing? What are you hearing? What can you tell people from your side of things?

Jim Reneau:

Well, you know there's, when Thousand Trails started out there they had the one campground. They're up to 82 now. They're constantly getting bigger and better. The new computer system that's coming out in reservation system they're working on now is going to improve that even well, 10 fold I believe. So I think you'll see some good things in that area. There's always, when you go in, when I tell someone they just get a new membership. That first, like you said. Well, you had a situation and again I'm so sorry to hear about your mother and thank you But when you came on and you suddenly had to book, for how many months? five months.

Jim Reneau:

Yeah, pretty much.

Jim Reneau:

Okay. So you had to book for a five month period and you had no reservation, so that first time you sit down you got to kind of work at that and get everything set up. But once you're set up then the reservation system becomes easy, because then only every few months you go and you add a couple more months to it. So the process becomes easy as you go And I think you'll find that it's getting better and better in that area.

Jim Reneau:

And that's what we've been seeing over the last two years. But now I want to talk a little bit about Florida in the winter. A lot of misinformation, Oh goodness, I will never be able to get reservations. Can you talk a little bit about? I'm putting you on the spot here. We didn't pre, you know, give the questions. Totally putting you on the spot, This is what people are talking about. But let's talk Florida in the winter.

Jim Reneau:

They're right, you're never going to get a reservation If you quote and just click this out, then you got me, because you're never going to get a reservation if you wait till the last minute. You want to be. you want to plan for your major events out, even outside of Florida, for, like, a Memorial Day, fourth of July, labor Day, going to Florida in December, january, february. you want to plan that out as far ahead as possible and book it. You got to keep in mind that you've got the entire United States and the whole country of Canada trying to get down into Florida every single year. So book those ahead of time and the bigger booking windows are really important for that.

Dan Hunt:

And you know I just want to say that this is a real good place to segue into having the different types of memberships and the booking windows of those memberships. You know, you and I both started with a camping pass, And with a camping pass you have a very short booking window, but we have both upgraded to connections memberships. So we have a 120-day booking window right now, six months, 180, 180-day booking windows, six months. So you know we can book something six months out and pay zero for it. You know, and I'm seeing them come on, the emails come in It's like we just booked a campground, Your reservation is confirmed. Thank you, Mr and Mrs Hunt, And the total amount due is zero. We absolutely love that. But Me too. Can you just break down? Let's just talk about I don't want you to sell, I just want you to talk about the different membership tiers in the Thousand Trails program. So it all starts with the camping pass.

Jim Reneau:

And the camping pass. you can make work. I don't want to make it sound like you can't make it work. You just got to really work hard at it to get into those high-end areas. Having the basic elite, which has the 120-day or the elite connection in a venture membership that has 180-day, is just priceless when it comes to being able to relax and make your reservations and do it, and ahead of time, so you know where you're going to be and you have a place to be.

Jim Reneau:

That sums it up. That is a snapshot of memberships. Dan and I had the camping pass. We were in the Oregon area. We made it work. Now Dan and I are full-time and having that 180 days, having that back-to-back.

Jim Reneau:

And here's the thing If we sat and talked about All the details of membership, it could start to get a little complicated. Here's where Dan and I say all the time talk to a reputable sales membership specialist, not a salesman, but a membership specialist. We love Jim and Brandi and we are just saying that as customers from our heart. These people have sat down and explained and re-explained, and never pressure, because then you also have the trails collection that people could add on. So that's a whole another conversation. And the thing for Dan and I we would have missed out on promotion money, we would have missed out on details If we had just gone online and signed up. And I hear people all the time they went online, they signed up and now they're massively confused. They didn't get the best price, they didn't get the best details, they didn't get what's going to work for them. I hear it all the time. So use a reputable membership specialist in our minds at, jim and Brandi just had to go on a rant here.

Jim Reneau:

Now I appreciate the rant out there and sending people to a circle being blue Mesa all the way until during the whole summer. They would probably go back down to the Oaks in South Carolina because we like getting down that area. But, like you said, finding someone in the parks that you can talk to is great. You can go online and get everything, but being able to sit down in front of somebody to talk to them really helps.

Dan Hunt:

Well, you know, monthly 1000 trails has promotions This promotion for this and that, and the fourth of July and this. So they have promotions and all of those are not explained online the way that you can explain them to me. So what I have done to make it easier for the listener and also easier for Jim and Brandi is I have put together a little questionnaire It's about five or six questions talks about what you're looking for, what kind of camper you are, where you're going, what part of the country you live in. So when Jim gets on the phone with you, you can be, he could be prepared, so he knows what to talk to you about and has all of your information, like what kind of camper you have, what part of the country that you live in. Those types of things are really, really important. There is no obligation and I am telling you it will not be a hard sales call. It'll be like talking to your best friend And that is how you want to do business talking to your best friend Because Jim has and I have become very close over the years that we've known each other.

Dan Hunt:

You know, and I was Patty is already up here in Virginia and I was down in South Carolina at the Oaks with you and Brandi was off on a I think she was at a wedding. She went to a wedding up in Atlanta that week with one of her friends and you and I just hung out. We took bike rides, we went out and did some photo shoots And you know I'll never forget the day we went out to your place in Hilton Head and we went out to the beach on the bikes and just rode the bikes down the beach. What a great time that was.

Jim Reneau:

So come here go horseback riding with us.

Jim Reneau:

That is definitely a plan for next year, without a doubt. We've got to get out of this humidity. I'm glad we have the 60, six month booking window because we will be booking that as soon as we can. Now. One way to get ahold of you, jim, is through the form that Dan spoke about, and then you know. You know what somebody's looking for, but I also give your number out all the time. You did give me permission. I had some point, so I will put your information, your phone number and the form in the show notes so people can get to Jim and Brandi and just talk things through, figure out if this is right for you. As Dan said earlier, we pay an average of $9 a night and that's all of our costs included. We do have the trails collection. We have 180 days, so at $9 a night, it is why Dan and I can be full time on the road. It really has been just a huge help.

Dan Hunt:

Yeah, we literally just booked over 40 days and I was just looking at it while we're talking here. So over 40 days this summer we have just booked and our cost on that is zero, zero It's our membership fees Yeah.

Dan Hunt:

Yes, and I also want to point out that you know the misinformation out there. I look at these Facebook groups and people will put comments on our videos that you know. I can never get somebody on the phone. I can't get reservations.

Dan Hunt:

Persistence If you plan and then you are persistent, i will tell you that in the middle of the winter we were at the Tampa RV show. We had Patty had to get on an airplane and leave Tampa and come back up here to Virginia And I had to switch campgrounds on a day to day basis. I had to go over to Orlando because I was asked to go to a convention over there and be a speaker. So I'm just saying that it just if you are persistent, you can get it done. Just don't give up. Just because you go online and they say, well, we have nothing available, that doesn't mean that you're not going to get to a campground. What that means is you got to pick up the phone and call a rep and then maybe call back every day.

Dan Hunt:

You know Orlando, one of the premier flagship campgrounds for the 1000 trail system is the Orlando campground And correct me if I'm wrong, but Jim, i think there's over 1200 camping spots there. With that new list. That went over And we got in there with one day's notice in the middle of July.

Jim Reneau:

Yes, no, in the middle of January. You mean January.

Jim Reneau:

In the middle of the winter.

Jim Reneau:

Now here's something that comes up in these groups all the time. Let's talk about different types of campers. Dan and I are full time and we do often change and wing it. We're asked to do a speaking event. Unfortunately, this year we had a medical emergencies, So we were pretty good at winging it. What do you recommend as far as membership, Jim, for somebody who does like to plan out long term and you don't know, hey, in six months from now I'm going to be in this specific campground Is there a membership? that's probably better for those type of people that don't like to wing it.

Jim Reneau:

Yeah, so you know I'll cover both sides of winging in on winging the fact that what I like to do, what works good to me, getting a membership that's got a bigger booking window, like the elite connection of the adventure. I plan out all major holidays Memorial Day, fourth of July, labor Day, and then special events, like when we went up to Bend, oregon, back in 2017, went up during the solar eclipse. That was ground zero for the solar eclipse and there was people all from all over the world there. So, having a bigger booking window for special occasions If you know there's going to be a big event like the Hershey Halloween show or something, you know using it for that But then you can still be spur of the moment. You don't have to plan 180 days Quite often, you can do it on shorter term And then, as you get closer to it, if you see you need to change something, then you can adjust your schedule.

Dan Hunt:

Okay, now full disclosure here. We are part of the Thousand Trails affiliate program, so we do make a commission when we recommend people. But, jim, let's just talk about when someone reaches out to us or you to get information about Thousand Trails. Let's talk about that process. You know, the first thing I've got to say is put your credit card away for that first phone call, because you're not going to need it on that first phone call unless you want to buy us a lottery ticket.

Jim Reneau:

Yeah, if I get a phone call or an email, we'll contact you and we'll get together and go over. You know what's best for you. We can set up a presentation, or I can do a side by side video conference and show you everything, or just talk on the phone, whichever is more comfortable for you, And then if you see something you like, you can actually join. You make reservations that day. It's a very simple process.

Jim Reneau:

Now let me understand that. So the camping pass is the basic. Somebody could actually start with the camping pass to get a feel for things. We did, dan and I did that, so can you explain that just a little bit?

Jim Reneau:

Yeah, we did too.

Jim Reneau:

You get the camping pass At camp recognition yeah, yeah, you get a camping pass.

Jim Reneau:

It's good for a year. You can try it and see, and then after that, if you see that, oh yeah, this makes a lot of sense. And the campgrounds are also the biggest thing about you know the the the thousand trails network as a whole, you start like we've run each other. Now, we never planned to run each other before you're planning on coming here, but we've managed in three different campgrounds. I believe We've wound up being in the same campground together. But there's people like that all over and you start traveling together and you know we pull into a campground, we know four, five, six, seven people and we get together for dinners and bonfires and stuff, and that part of it's really unique. But you know, i'm getting off the part that you talked about but it's the part that excited me the most is just the community of Thousand Trails. It was a really neat community.

Dan Hunt:

Well, we've actually adopted some of your friends and now have been around with them in certain places. So, you know, you introduced us to some of your friends down in New Jersey who were the reps at the other park, and you actually went on a cruise with them and then they ended up being in Tampa with us And so we hung out with them. Oh yeah, the Lewises, the Lewises, yeah Yeah, great people.

Jim Reneau:

Community is such a big part of it. It amazes me, dan and I have probably been to 30 plus different Thousand Trails across the country and you are somewhere random and you find somebody and it's not even in the same area. We went to Florida and somebody said Patty, and I'm like I wasn't sure who it was until it registered I had met her in Pennsylvania. So community is an awesome part of it And Thousand Trails is certainly part of creating that community.

Dan Hunt:

One of the things that I just love is something that camping when you and I were kids, jim, the campgrounds always had all these different events and bingo and basketball and they put all these bingo and these nights together and playing cards and you meet all these people. That went away. Covid kind of killed a lot of that, but it's really coming back And it's something that I have noticed very, very heavily. When we were in Orlando. They have poker tournaments on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and Saturday nights. I guess Just really, really enjoyed going and meeting some people from all over the country And now some of those people have become friends and call in to the podcast all the time and do different things with the podcast. I actually met a chef there.

Jim Reneau:

Yes, who cooked us dinner?

Dan Hunt:

Who cooked us dinner. That's a good one to meet Yes.

Jim Reneau:

Absolutely, and it wasn't like hot dogs and hamburgers. This was a full on chicken dinner. Again, you could go to our YouTube channel and see that he was. Did we put that on there? We did, but we also did a podcast with him. But let's talk a little bit about the 1000 Trails activities that are back seemingly all over. They're back in full swing, right, let's talk activities.

Jim Reneau:

Yes, and it's been fantastic. They had a poker tournament here yesterday and they had. we had our fourth of July parade, which was led by the horses, and then the the side by sides, all the four wheelers come through, because that's real popular here in Colorado, and then all the golf cards, those different parade that I'm used to, because there's more four wheelers and horses than golf carts.

Dan Hunt:

But did you light up the horses? I gotta know. Did you light up the horses? and how does tango deal with the horses? Does he chase them?

Jim Reneau:

He's just in awe. He's like Whoa, that's a big dog. But yeah, so it was. You know it. We used to have a lot of potluck dinners and stuff And you're seeing stuff like that. Come back and and, like I said earlier, just people that we've met from all over, and you'll have someone tap you on the shoulder, like you just said. I had someone go, didn't? you used to have a big dog And I'm like, yeah, that wasn't me And we got a different one now, but it's a.

Jim Reneau:

When I first got into RV and we're ready to sell the house, i made that little list where you had the left side was the yes and the right side was the no, and one of the things was on the negative We're going to miss all our friends, you know. But in reality we used to go out or walk out to our car in our driveway We had not our head and wave at that that person and get our car to drive off, and once a year we'd have a barbecue on that way I have barbecues every week, so it's just pretty nice with new friends every week, absolutely, and if you don't like your friends, you pick up and move to the next campground.

Jim Reneau:

Yeah, Why do you think we're in different campgrounds now?

Jim Reneau:

Oh no.

Jim Reneau:

I'm joking. No, okay, i can't wait to see y'all again. You're going to love it when you come here.

Jim Reneau:

Yeah, so we're going to see you in October in the Oaks. We are headed down to Florida, but I do have to say anybody, let's talk about the Hershey Thousand Trails. It is fantastic. Dan and I will be there in September. There is the Hershey RV show. That's America's largest RV show And Dan and I are going to be speaking at that show And we have an event that RV Life is putting on on Thursday night, september 14th. I'm looking at Dan for a nod. Yes, but I'm the one that handles the calendar.

Jim Reneau:

So anybody that's going to be in Hershey now that I'm announcing on the podcast, you better get in and get your reservation for the Hershey Thousand Trails. It's about 15, 20 minutes to the venue. It is an awesome campground. We were there last year and we love it there. So definitely, if you don't have a membership, you might want to get one. If you're going to be in Hershey, please reach out to us on social media. I'll put a link in the show notes for the event. I'm just so excited about this event because, again, it's about meeting people, it's the connections, it's the community. That's what our RV Life is about, and Thousand Trails has certainly been a huge part of it And unfortunately, jim and Brandi, we won't see you in Hershey, but we'll definitely see you at the Oaks after Hershey.

Dan Hunt:

Right now, Hershey, it's only $15 for tickets to this event. It's a full dinner and they do it right. I gotta tell you they do it right there. Buffet dinner, A buffet dinner, but it's also beer and wine is included in that.

Jim Reneau:

So even better, you can win an electric bike. I know, Jim, you have an electric bike. You're kind of looking for a new one. So an electric bike, not a small one. This $2,000 electric bike is going to be given away $500 open road gas card. That's amazing. A diesel card I could use that.

Dan Hunt:

I guess we can apply for to win friends at the rubber roof liquid rubber. They gave us a cornhole Yes Game. I love that game.

Jim Reneau:

Yes, and you don't want to play with Dan because he has to win, so I don't play.

Jim Reneau:

I already played with him once and he won You did You?

Jim Reneau:

did I just go hide, but that's, that's a, that's a big thing, a Thousand Trails And there's lots of other prizes for those of you that are going to be in Hershey. There are other campgrounds in the area as well Thousand Trails Campgrounds. That's where we're going to spend the summer in Pennsylvania, hip-hopping through the Thousand Trails campgrounds.

Dan Hunt:

Yeah, we're going to hit them all. We're going to hit them all, but you'll enjoy.

Jim Reneau:

in Pennsylvania You've got some beautiful campgrounds. We spent a whole summer in Hershey and my wife's favorite campground, still to this day in the springtime is the farm up there, gettysburg.

Dan Hunt:

Farm.

Jim Reneau:

Gettysburg Farm. Yep, you go there in the spring and they have all the little farm They have. The babies are there and the chickens and goats and just absolutely beautiful. You'll love it there.

Dan Hunt:

We are actually going there next week. We are leaving here and going to Gettysburg Farm.

Jim Reneau:

Sorry, change plans Change plans. We're not going there. We're going there in October. Yeah, So we change things all the time. We did have a reservation for that. I switched it up. We will be at Gettysburg Farm in October, the end of September. Circle M is another beautiful campground in Pennsylvania the Lazy River And I will say that we have a lot of Thousand Trials Campground reviews on our YouTube channel at exploring through our lens so people could actually check them out.

Dan Hunt:

Yes, it's really part of our life and we really enjoy the lifestyle and we enjoy the properties. I mean, you know, i don't know if you go out there and you watch these negative YouTube videos that talk about all the problems and I just I'm not sure what those people are talking about. I really am not sure, because we have so few problems.

Jim Reneau:

Yes.

Jim Reneau:

You know what. You see, i think I told you once before. We talked about this once before. I know we're running out of time, but there's me and my wife when we first started camping. Our views gotten real close together now, but when we first started camping we both had a totally different idea what a perfect campground was. I like the woods. I like to open the door and see in the bear. You know She liked being able to walk out and know that she's not going to see a bear.

Jim Reneau:

She wanted to walk and see. You know the concrete roads and all that up and I didn't particularly like that type of camping to start with. But now, as we started traveling, now our views have gotten to where we kind of like we share our idea of what a perfect campground is and when people first start camping they may be that person that didn't like the bear, so they're going to say that campground was terrible. Then the other person saying, well, that was perfect. Then you go to the next campground, then you'll flip it around. So everyone's got their opinions.

Jim Reneau:

And the neat thing about 1000 trails are all different and you go to a campground If it fits your lifestyle and it's like what you enjoy. Enjoy the campground If you don't like that particular setup. If you're not, if the campground's set up for fishing people, people like fishing, you don't like fishing, well, go there. You got a safe spot to park your RV. Enjoy the amenities and go see the area and explore the camp, the area and go see you know, crested Butte when I'm here or whatever. And then the biggest thing is just enjoy life, have fun with it. There's no, there's no wrong answer for it.

Jim Reneau:

And Jim, that is perfect. You say exactly what I do. People have asked us now what's your favorite campground? Where should we go? What do you like best? And there's no favorite. Dan and I have been in Las Vegas. It's a small campground. There's nothing inside really. They do have a pool, they have clean bathrooms, they have laundry, but it's not the campground. I'm sitting by the fire and enjoying scenery. It's a campground, like you said. I'm parking my RV. I feel like it's safe. I am exploring so many things in that area. You could never spend enough time there. I go to Verde Valley in Arizona and I could sit at my campsite around the fire and enjoy the scenery. Every campground is different and they're not all for everyone, and I do like the difference. I like opening my door and not necessarily seeing a bear, but being in the woods And, like next week when we're in Pennsylvania, i want to open my door and see water and decompress for a couple weeks. So it's a valid point and there's definitely something for everyone.

Dan Hunt:

And that's the point of this show right here today is that there is something for everyone, and I'm not going to say it's everybody's experience, but our personal experiences. We have had a great experience with Thousand Trails. We love the system, we love the program, we love the price. We really, really enjoy it. And, jim, before I let you go talk real quick about financing, thousand Trails will actually finance your membership for you over a certain period of time. How long is that and how does that work?

Jim Reneau:

Depending on which membership you get. If it's something you're sitting and you talk to the rep that's close by, you'll call us. We can get a membership You can get where you can live full time, campground to campground for less than $200 a month and stay in three, four weeks at a time, go straight to your next campground And if you divide that by 21, well now you're getting down to less than the cost of your talking about. It's absolutely incredible way to travel and save money.

Jim Reneau:

We first got into it. We thought we was going to be able to do this for about 1200 a month. Then we went to Florida and found out we were wrong. Then we got 1000 Trails And that extra money we used. We had almost $1000. We had set aside for our camping experience And now we finance this for less than $200. We took that extra money and used it for helicopter rides through the Grand Canyon and cruises and just having fun. So that's what life's about, because the only thing life Yep, the only thing you're going to have when you're done is memories. So go get them.

Dan Hunt:

That's right. Well, jim, i I I appreciate you being with us today. I'm sorry we didn't have a little more brandy in here, but next time we're going to interview just brandy and we'll let you sit on the sideline.

Jim Reneau:

She's a lot more fun So thank you guys.

Dan Hunt:

Thank you. Okay, You are listening to the RV life podcast. Our guest today Jim and Brandy Renault. They are membership specialists with 1000 Trails. They're also members of 1000 Trails. They don't just walk the walk, They talk the talk and walk the walk. So it's great to have you guys on with us today and we will be back with more right after this.

Patti Hunt:

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Jim Reneau:

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Dan Hunt:

You're listening to the RV Life podcast. I'm Dan Hunt, your host, with my incredible wife and co-host, patty Hunt. We are in Virginia, where it is just beautiful. Being around here for the Fourth of July around our nation's capital has just been something very, very fun.

Jim Reneau:

It has been fun. I got to say honestly I'm ready to get in the RV and take off.

Dan Hunt:

Now we also have been able to be around because our RV is parked at one of our sponsors, National Indoor RV Centers. Brett and his team have done an incredible job as they put this new dealership here in the Washington area.

Jim Reneau:

It is. It's actually right outside Washington, in Manassas, and it's one of six National Indoor RV Centers locations and they are throughout the country.

Dan Hunt:

They are throughout the country. Now they are an Integra dealer. As a matter of fact, they're the biggest Integra dealer in the country. They are a high end Newmar dealer. They are a Winnebago dealer and they've got a lot of class Bs over there too. So they they just an incredible company, Great people to do business with. If you are going to start your RV life, these are the kind of people that you want to have in your RV life with you. Now it is time for the RV life pro tip of the week with Patrick Buchanan.

Jim Reneau:

RV life makes it easy to share your exciting RV trip with friends and family via the RV life trip wizard. To share a trip with another trip wizard user, first open your trip, click on the wrench icon and choose share trip. Now click share trip with another trip wizard user and enter the email address that person uses for their own trip wizard account and click send.

Jim Reneau:

Your friend or family member will find your trip in their own trip wizard account under tentative trips, where they can view, copy or even change the trip according to their own needs. If you simply want to share a view of your trip, even to those without an RV life pro account, simply choose visitor view after clicking share trip and create a shareable link that allows others to see your RV journey just as you've planned it. I'm Pat Buchanan with your RV life pro tip of the week.

Jim Reneau:

Thank you, patrick Buchanan, for that incredible tip. Now I love that we could share our trip. Dan and I are on the road full time, so we could share a trip with somebody who already has RV trip wizard or somebody who doesn't, and that way they could kind of track us so if something should happen, they know where we're at, where we are supposed to be. So I think it's an incredible safety feature that somebody is keeping track of where you're going as you're on the roads across the country.

Dan Hunt:

It really is, especially for those of you that are solo RVers. You know, having somebody watch where you're going. You know, it's just a great comfort to me to be able to send this right out of RV trip wizard. I send it to my son, danny, and I send it to Bob, our friend, and I tell him that we should be getting in around this time and they look and you know, if they haven't heard from us to you know that we've told them that we've got to where we're going. They give us a call. It just is so nice to have that backup. You know, we really really enjoy that particular feature and we use it on every single trip that we do.

Jim Reneau:

Yes, every time we move the RV.

Dan Hunt:

We let somebody know where we're going and where we're going to be and how long it's going to take.

Jim Reneau:

Yes, and RV trip wizard certainly makes it easy to share these things. Now talk about enjoy. You can hear, we really, really enjoy our Thousand Trails membership. We would not be able to do this full-time RV life for even when we were just starting, we would not be able to do this without Thousand Trails, knowing we can go to a campground. We have a set monthly fee because our membership is being financed, and we are under $9 a night for camping And we just couldn't be more excited about 1000 trouts.

Dan Hunt:

We really couldn't be more excited And I just want to put out there that on the airwaves on YouTube, there's a lot of negative stuff out there And I'm, you know one of the things that I was talking to somebody earlier today and they said you know, you can find negative stuff about Disneyland if you really go out and look for it. Well, that has not been our personal experience And that's what we were talking about today is Dan and Patty's personal experience. We've done podcast at 1000 trails campgrounds. We've done them live in the stage or the studio type area. We've done them around campgrounds. We've done them at our campsite. So we, we love this lifestyle. We love our lifestyle. It has allowed us to do something that we probably would not have been able to do If we still had our jobs and we were back in Philadelphia or Las Vegas living the way we live. We would not have been able to spend these last three to six months with your mom.

Jim Reneau:

Yes, absolutely. And for those of you who listened to the beginning part of the show, she was sick And I've been here since February taking care of her. A little over a week ago She passed. And, yes, being able to live this life and part of that is knowing exactly what we're going to pay for camping fees I mean, that is a big thing. I'm in a lot of groups and people wondering and worrying about how much they're going to pay to camp, whether they're part time or full time. And, yes, we are very, very grateful to have the life we chose to live.

Dan Hunt:

We really, really are. So my advice to all of you out there is stop complaining and just do it. Just do it. Sorry, nike, i borrowed your, your, your slogan there your tagline there.

Dan Hunt:

But. But if you stop complaining and you just get on the phone and call, if you can't get a reservation, just keep calling back again and again, and again and again, and you might think that you're bothering them, but you're not. It really, really is working out And it doesn't matter. It's not just a thousand trails thing, it's any reservations at any campgrounds?

Jim Reneau:

Yes, absolutely. And and you know we did talk today to Jim and Brandy for no, and they are member specialists And Dan and I recommend them because they were there for us throughout the entire process. We started with a camping pass. We chose to upgrade. They were never pushy. We highly recommend Jim and Brandy or finding that membership specialist that you know hears you and is not trying to push something on you. Jim and Brandy was that for us And we've become friends with them, as you heard on the show.

Dan Hunt:

That sound means it's time for our question of the week, and this week's question comes from Crystal L And her question is from social media. Anyone, has anyone ever had to remove their RV refrigerator, like a Norcold or something like that, and put in a residential refrigerator? What's the process?

Jim Reneau:

So we could speak from our experience. We have a 2002 Monaco and it had the Norcold refrigerator And it started to give us problems And Dan was kind of upset with Norcold until Norcold, however you say it, until I reminded him that it was a 20 year old refrigerator. We went through the whole process trying to see if we can fix it And in the end it was not able to be fixed. Now we did replace it with a residential refrigerator. A couple things to consider is the space that you're going to put it in, so we were limited on space. The refrigerator we purchased is a residential refrigerator, so it only works on electric, which you know is a whole nother thing to think about. I was honestly stressed about getting our residential refrigerator in the RV and in the space, but I love our residential refrigerator. It's a double door, it's got a big bottom freezer with three different shelves. I love it. So I'm glad we went through it. But again, to answer your question, there is a lot to consider, dan. I'm sure you could talk more on the details.

Dan Hunt:

Well, there is a lot to consider. You need to look at your electric system in the RV, because most of the RV refrigerators primarily run on propane. So you need to really understand how big your batteries are and what kind of inverter you have and how long that inverter will put out the power that a refrigerator needs to work. For us it was a big investment. It was twice the price of the refrigerator because we had to upgrade our batteries. And then when you upgrade the batteries and you put a new lithium battery in, you may as well put solar on, because we also had to upgrade our inverter as well. So you need to think about, or talk to somebody that knows about, the entire process. It's more than just saying, well, let's just throw a new refrigerator in there. It's more than that, because most RVs I don't think will support the power that a new refrigerator uses.

Jim Reneau:

And again the question was asked. I've seen it asked many times on social media. We're giving you our experience. If you go on social media you'll get a lot of people, good-hearted people, that are giving thoughts and opinions. Certainly check with an expert, do lots of research and really find out before you make the jump to a residential refrigerator. We know people who chose another RV refrigerator and kept it with propane. So it is an individual decision based on the RV. You have, like Dan said, the power you have in all of those things.

Dan Hunt:

Now another big thing to consider is the door swing, because one of the things that we did not look at and when we first put the RV, the residential refrigerator in, if we would have bought one that had the two side-by-side doors, that door swing would have, on the bottom, hit the cabinets that are directly across from the refrigerator. That is why a lot of RVs you see have the bottom drawer freezer and then the refrigerator that has the two shorter double doors up on top. A refrigerator door that was the entire refrigerator door opening out would have hit the cabinetry across the way. So you have two considerations on size to deal with. A, can you take the doors off the refrigerator and get the unit into the RV? Now we had to take the one captain's chair, the passenger captain's chair. We had to take that out and move it so we could get it up and turn that corner to get the refrigerator in.

Dan Hunt:

But myself and my son-in-law we were able to pick it up and carry it into the RV and then get it up into place and install it and put it in there. I had already rerun power lines and taken out the old gas lines that we weren't using. We didn't want to just leave them sitting in there. so we actually took them out from the tank all the way up.

Dan Hunt:

But the one thing that I have to say, going through it and we didn't make the decision to do it that decision was made for us by our refrigerator dying and then putting a new card in it and the card didn't fix the problem and then all kinds of problems. So we had all kinds of problems with that 20-year-old refrigerator, which is to be expected. So once we decided that replacing it with that same old refrigerator didn't make sense financially because that was way out of line price-wise. But we spent twice as much money as we thought we were going to spend because we didn't really think about the lithium batteries and the solar and the inverter and the solar controller and all of the things that go along with that.

Jim Reneau:

But in all fairness, we needed to upgrade the batteries anyway.

Jim Reneau:

So we did.

Jim Reneau:

And again it just goes to the point of there's a lot of things to consider. I will ask that are the listeners on social media. if you've done something with our refrigerator, share a picture on the Facebook or Instagram page at RV Life podcast. Tell us your experience and certainly send us a question, if you have one, and we'll answer the best we can, and or get an expert to answer questions for you. We've got people to do that. We've got people, so we just thought we'd share our experience with this.

Dan Hunt:

Well, you are listening to the RV Life podcast. I'm Dan Hunt, with my incredible wife, patty Hunt. We are right now in Virginia. We are going to be leaving Virginia very shortly and making our way up into the Pennsylvania. Where are we going from here?

Jim Reneau:

We are going, and at the time that this episode goes out we are going to be in Pennsylvania, in the Pennsylvania Dutch area.

Dan Hunt:

Okay. So we're looking forward to getting back up to our home ground, which is, you know, pennsylvania, and so I want to thank Jim and Brandy for being just wonderful guests today. I want to thank Thousand Trails for everything they've done for us And I want to thank you, our listener, for coming back to the RV Life podcast each and every week and making it so successful. So, with that, we are just about done for the day, and I am going to say my name is Dan Hunt, i'm the host of the RV Life podcast, along with my incredible wife, patty Hunt, and I'm going to say I'm going to remind you to have a great rest of today.

Jim Reneau:

And an even better day tomorrow.

Thousand Trails Membership and Controversy
Discovering the RV Lifestyle and Trails
Positive Experience With Thousand Trails
Understanding 1,000 Trails and on Core
RV Life and Thousand Trails Membership
Talking to Someone in Person Benefits
Thousand Trails Membership and Community Benefits
Thousand Trails RV Membership and Experience
Sharing RV Trips and Upgrading Refrigerators
Refrigerator Troubles and RV Life Updates