RV LIFE Podcast

Escapees RV Club co-CEOs Travis & Melanie Carr Explain It All

August 16, 2023 Dan & Patti Hunt Season 2 Episode 42
Escapees RV Club co-CEOs Travis & Melanie Carr Explain It All
RV LIFE Podcast
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RV LIFE Podcast
Escapees RV Club co-CEOs Travis & Melanie Carr Explain It All
Aug 16, 2023 Season 2 Episode 42
Dan & Patti Hunt

We've got Travis and Melanie Carr, the co-CEOs of Escapees RV Club, as our guests. They will share everything your need to know about membership so you can determine if it's right for you.
Are you a full time,  part time or sometime RVer? What if you could navigate this exciting adventure with the help from an RV Club that has so much valuable services?

From the genesis of the Escapees RV Club, founded by Travis's grandparents, to the exciting offshoot group, the Xscapers, what asked Travis and Melanie "What's the difference?" It's not just about freedom on wheels, it's about community, camaraderie, and the unique lifestyle RVing offers. We delve into the importance of domicile selection for full-time RVers, the challenges of staying connected while on the road, and how Escapees RV Club makes life easier with services like roadside assistance, the RVers Bootcamp, mail services, and discounts on essentials like tires.

To get more information:
Escapees RV Club

Social Media my platforms 
@EscapeesRVClub

We also touch on the RVers Bootcamp, a game-changer for those new to RVing. As a three-day course covering RV operation, maintenance, and safety, it's the perfect head start for your journey. The Carrs also discuss the exciting launch of RVers Online University, a virtual version of the Bootcamp. We wrap things up with incredible Escapees community at events like the RV Life "Live" Event in Hershey on September 14th information below. The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Quartzite just to name a few of the many events Escapees puts on around the US . 

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
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: HUNT20 for 20% off
National Indoor RV Centers
6 great locations: Buy, Consign, Storage, Service & so m...

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

We've got Travis and Melanie Carr, the co-CEOs of Escapees RV Club, as our guests. They will share everything your need to know about membership so you can determine if it's right for you.
Are you a full time,  part time or sometime RVer? What if you could navigate this exciting adventure with the help from an RV Club that has so much valuable services?

From the genesis of the Escapees RV Club, founded by Travis's grandparents, to the exciting offshoot group, the Xscapers, what asked Travis and Melanie "What's the difference?" It's not just about freedom on wheels, it's about community, camaraderie, and the unique lifestyle RVing offers. We delve into the importance of domicile selection for full-time RVers, the challenges of staying connected while on the road, and how Escapees RV Club makes life easier with services like roadside assistance, the RVers Bootcamp, mail services, and discounts on essentials like tires.

To get more information:
Escapees RV Club

Social Media my platforms 
@EscapeesRVClub

We also touch on the RVers Bootcamp, a game-changer for those new to RVing. As a three-day course covering RV operation, maintenance, and safety, it's the perfect head start for your journey. The Carrs also discuss the exciting launch of RVers Online University, a virtual version of the Bootcamp. We wrap things up with incredible Escapees community at events like the RV Life "Live" Event in Hershey on September 14th information below. The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Quartzite just to name a few of the many events Escapees puts on around the US . 

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
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: HUNT20 for 20% off
National Indoor RV Centers
6 great locations: Buy, Consign, Storage, Service & so m...

Speaker 1:

This is the RV Life Podcast. I'm Dan Hunt with my incredible wife, fattie Hunt, and our guests today are husband and wife and they sit next to each other in the boardroom. Now they flip a coin to see who gets to have the gavel as they enter the boardrooms. Travis's grandparents well, they founded a Skate Bees RV Club in 1978, and this power couple have expanded the club into escapees and escape-ers for the more mature crowd and the working crowd, with one of the largest RV communities in the entire industry. Welcome to escapees and escape-ers. What's the difference?

Speaker 2:

Dan is talking about Travis and Melanie Carr, co-CEO's of Escapees RV Club, with the mission to provide a total support network for all RV-ers, and I love that. Welcome to the RV Life Podcast.

Speaker 3:

Thank you for having us. We're so excited to be here.

Speaker 2:

Yes, so happy to have you Now. Your story is really an interesting one and I just want our listeners to be able to get to know you tell our listeners about how you guys got started and where your RV life is right now.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's kind of a long story just because it's been my entire life as well as most of Melanie's, so we'll try to keep it as short as we can. But really, like I said, my grandparents founded the organization back in 1978, and from there my parents Buddy Kathy Carr took over leadership as well. So I was RVing in my mom's belly, I guess, you could say and ever since then I traveled to all 50 states as a teenager, and most of that was in an RV other than Hawaii, of course. So really my RV life is my entire life and that's definitely kind of creates a unique aspect. And luckily I got to meet Melanie in high school and she kind of joined the journey along the way.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, and after high school, Travis went to the Army for four and a half years and then we moved back to Texas, kind of close to the Escapies headquarters in Livingston, and that was kind of where we went to college and we decided to start working part-time at Escapies and quickly we started sitting on the board. We took on larger projects like installing the reservation systems to bring our campgrounds up to modern times, and that is where we purchased our first RV together. Our son was born shortly after, when he was about. One is when we started traveling about six to eight months out of the year and just really fell in love with the lifestyle because we realized, hey, we can do our jobs from the road, everything that we need to do we can take with us on our computers and didn't feel tied to any sort of home base at that point. So it was a really great time traveling. We started out in a Class C and we loved it.

Speaker 3:

And I guess you could say you know, fast forward a decade from there. We had another kid five years later and our lifestyle changed a little bit. So we don't travel quite as much as we did back in the other days just because our kids are in school, which is a whole conversation of itself, but that kind of tied us down a little bit.

Speaker 4:

So we are definitely more part-timers nowadays and try to hit those holidays and summer travels, but we do have a Class A Winnebago, which we're super happy with right now, and we take it out as much as possible to travel to our events through Escapers and Escapers and also just whenever we can get the kids out for summer break and things like that. So we still thoroughly love the lifestyle and fully believe in everything that it offers.

Speaker 1:

Now full disclosure to our RV Life Podcast listeners. Patty and I are members of Escapers and Escapers, which brings me to my next question. I was sitting around a campfire at court site and we were we kind of joined the Escapers group there. Several people tried to explain to me the difference between Escapers and Escapers, and I know that you guys are the founders of Escapers and the CEOs of Escapers, so who better to ask what the heck is the difference between Escapers and Escapers? Let's get that right out of the way right now.

Speaker 4:

Awesome. Well, I will start with kind of the background of why it started and then I'll let Travis kind of explain what it is today and those differences that you're talking about. But essentially when Travis and I started RVing and we were extensively traveling for months and months at a time, we would meet people who had kids or we felt like they were our age, kind of doing the same thing, and we'd always ask the question are you a member of Escapers? Because we wanted people to be in our club that we were like-minded with and that we would want to sit around a campfire with, so that ultimately we were getting the same answer to that question every time.

Speaker 4:

That was Escapers is for retired RVers and there's nothing for me. And that's when we knew, okay, something needs to change and how do we bring we were kind of looking at our membership numbers decline and realizing we do have to do something, also not only selfishly so we can have people like us in the club, but also for the longevity of Escapers. So about a year or two later is when we met Chris and Cherie from TechnoMadia and we sat around around Margaritas and in Curtis Coleman, the founder of our village, and it was there that night, that kind of the idea of starting an off-shoot group like Escapers was born and we kind of took it and ran from there with Chris and Cherie that consulted with us for the next year and in 2015, escapers was launched.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and it's really. It's really, like most said, it was way to bring the club back to its roots. You know, back when the club was founded, joan came we're 43-year-old when they hit the road they were working on the road, they had two kids and really the early years of the membership was mostly working age RVers. So this was a way to bring the club back to its roots and reinvigorate this working demographic into the club. And really what it is today is to say every Escaper is an Escapees RV member, but maybe not every Escapees is an Escapers, because Escapers is here for the working age community. So our events are catered more to the lifestyle of working on the road. So things happen later at night. You know, definitely there's different interests. There's more kids around at these events and in the community and that's really the biggest difference. It's just a catering to this lifestyle and understanding, connecting to your peers who work in the road.

Speaker 4:

But it's really important to understand that all Escapers are Escapers first, so you have to go through the Escapes membership to join. It's just basically a checkbox that says this is what I'm interested in and that gets you access to well, not access, anybody can access it but it gets you a more personalized experience where you can go see the Escapers convergences that are taking place, which are our events, and also the resources that come along with the community.

Speaker 3:

And the one thing I want to say is the final point so we turn it over is there is no age requirement, there is no kid requirement. It is open and inclusive to everyone, just like Escapers as a whole is. So this is a lifestyle group that anybody is welcome into. You just kind of have the mindset and the feeling that it's the right community for you and that's really the end of the story.

Speaker 2:

Well, guys, you really explained it in a way that anybody sitting around a campfire now can understand. Now, dan and I are part of Escapies and we're going to talk a little bit later in this podcast about you know your services. But Dan and I did join Escapies and one of the big reasons and we are Escapers because, well, well, at least in to retirement age we do work full time from the road, so the services really help and we're going to talk about all the services. But right now I want to talk about you know we planned events that we were supposed to attend in the winter months this past winter. Because of medical issues with my mother, we didn't get to do that, but we do plan to get started with events in October. Let's talk about the events and the types of events that you guys do.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, sure, and it's. You know this has been a program that has grown over the years and again it kind of boils down to the fundamental understanding of what you said earlier about our tagline right A total support network for all RVers. And we realize, you know as escapees and as RVers ourselves, that there are a lot of different RV lifestyles and demographics and interests within the RVing community. I mean it's huge spectrum. So with that we had to create over the years kind of a variety of events to cater to those different interests, those different needs and those different lifestyles. So I'll turn it over to Mel. She's better explaining each other a little bit.

Speaker 4:

Well, we have quite a variety of offerings, like Travis is talking about. Our biggest one, though, and our longest standing event would be our annual escapade and that kind of varies. We go to Tucson every other year and then on the off years we go to a new location, so 2024 will be in Rock Springs, wyoming, and that is the biggest event. Like I said, it brings thousands of RVers. Sometimes together it could have up to a thousand RVs on site.

Speaker 4:

We have some great industry support from our sponsors who come out and participate with attendees. It's basically a week long of our five days full of education through seminars, evening happy hours with fellow attendees and then evening entertainment. So that's the biggest one. And then, when we're talking a little about the escapers community, we have a similar event that takes place annually Right now. It goes to like Habasoo every January and it is called the annual bash, and that one is a week long, kind of I would say, not as robust as an escapade, but it's still got education, it's got highly entertainment and tons of socializing, but you will find the entertainment is much different than what you'd find at a traditional event.

Speaker 3:

It's just definitely a one of a kind RV rally and kind of a slogan that stuck with that one is it ain't your grandma's RV rally, which we didn't come up with, that, but that's just somehow floating around, kind of the sub tagline I guess you could say with the event and then we have our actual event programs.

Speaker 4:

And so the smaller event programs.

Speaker 4:

Some can still range to have a couple hundred RVs through, like the escapers, convergences, and those are still week long events but those aren't quite as big as the annual bash.

Speaker 4:

So you'll find that it really does cater to those who are working from the road, but activities take place on workdays in the afternoon and evenings and then the schedule is more heavy on the weekends and the travel days are also on the weekends to accommodate that.

Speaker 4:

And then we have our head out program, which is the Apernema's hops, which you'll find on our website. That is more of a white glove experience or highest level of event where everything's taken care of from the campground, there's catered meals, your tours are included in that. So it's really a great way to be in a more smaller, intimate setting and do things like the balloon fiesta, the rose parade we kind of hit, and the cruises as well. So that's a great one for those looking for kind of that white glove, luxury style event. And then the Hangouts program is a newer one that was launched about four or five years ago and I would say that's a mix between probably the convergences and the Hangouts program, where it caters to a more active and adventurous group, but things take place during the day that's not necessarily catered around that working schedule.

Speaker 3:

And it's a little more add-on, all cart style Versus a hop yeah, it's more casual than a hop our head out program. So those are the ones, the national events we have, and then we also have community events, which is kind of another whole topic. But those are kind of the main events which I know we kind of went on a bit there.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, and really we try to offer a good amount of opportunities for each program throughout the year. So you'll find each program has around probably eight yeah, six to eight events per year and they kind of just range all across the country. So you'll have to check out the event maps but they're quite full at this point.

Speaker 1:

Patty and I have been on the road for about two and a half years and I'm going to say about two years ago. When we first got started, we were camping at Courtsite and we ran into. We just happened to be camping right next to where the escapees and escapers were set up and what a community, what a bunch of happy people. I mean some great, great people. They invited us over to the campfire, they invited us over to dinner. They told us we could leave our credit cards back at our RV. We didn't have to buy anything, we didn't have to hook up. And I'll tell you, it was a bucket list item for me because one of your entertainers and I don't remember the gentleman's name actually took the sticker for the RV Life podcast and put it right on his guitar. I thought that was just so cool. He just stuck it right there on the guitar.

Speaker 1:

Also, there's a lot of things that we have in common the entertainment that you guys have decided to use on a fairly annual basis, the status crows and the border hookups. There are two RV couples that just incredible musicians and we really enjoy them. We had them as guests on the RV Life podcast. The border hookups will actually be the entertainment for the RV Life event, which you guys are a co-sponsor of, and it's called the RV Life event live at Hershey. It's $15 a person. Am I getting all this right? Patty Yell at me.

Speaker 2:

Yep, Yep. So so far the RV Life $15 a person.

Speaker 1:

Yes, it is unlimited food. It is unlimited Pennsylvania Dutch wine, it is unlimited Pennsylvania Dutch beer and kids.

Speaker 2:

Under 12 are free. I don't know that there's Pennsylvania beer, but we'll check that out. I'm not sure about that, so details are important. What's really cool is anybody that's in Hershey or at this event can meet Robin and Larry, because they will be at the RV Life live event and they're going to be in Hershey. Escapees will be in Hershey, so why don't you talk a little bit about Robin and Larry and what people can expect? I'm sure they could go ask them questions. Let's talk about them, yeah.

Speaker 4:

Well, first I want to say that event sounds amazing. I hope there's Pennsylvania beer there, because that sounds amazing and then also just about the border hookups and status curves. Those are amazing people that we love having at our events and I say the most unique and amazing thing about having them perform is that they're community members. You know, they're living the RV lifestyle just like everybody else and that's kind of how they're making their living on the road and they're shining examples of what escapees is about.

Speaker 3:

Exactly. And then, yeah, robin and Larry, you know they're our show team directors and they are just, they're truly awesome. They are such great representatives for the club and our Sharon Turing philosophy and just a wealth of knowledge they are. They are there to answer all your questions and really on anything, because there is quite a lot with the club. You're not going to get it all in a, in this podcast or even in a blog or whatever it is. There is a lot, so definitely take advantage of the HRT show. If you're going to be there, and go say hello to the escapee scene and Robin, larry, they will definitely be there to help you with whatever your needs are, whether it's community events, services, so forth, so on.

Speaker 1:

Okay, we're having a little bit of dropout program. I'm going to just jump in here and talk about them, robin and Larry. They are just incredible people. I have a personal story that I'm going to tell. Down at the Tampa RV show, patty's mom had gotten sick, so Patty got on an airplane and left the Tampa RV show.

Speaker 2:

I left you all alone, sorry.

Speaker 1:

We had like four lectures to give and I had to do them all by myself and I had to do all the RV life podcast by myself. But Robin and Larry were camping just behind me and maybe two campers down, and they invited me to dinner. We sat around a campfire, had a great conversation with all the escapees team there. It was really, really nice to be by yourself in a very uncomfortable, difficult situation and basically have family come up next to you and talk to you and treat you like family.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and this is for Dan and I what RV life is about. We are full-time, but whether you're full-time or part-time, community, I feel like, is the most important thing. And for Dan to call me because he was there by himself and I was worried about him and say, hey, I met these great people. They invited me over for dinner that's just awesome.

Speaker 1:

There we go, so we're going to go to break real quick and we will be back and talk about mail service. We're going to answer the question what the heck is a domicile and why do I need one. We're going to talk about events and we're going to talk about all of these great services. And let's not forget, we were talking about community when we were so rudely interrupted by the Internet. So we're going to get to all of that and more right after this.

Speaker 2:

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Speaker 5:

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Speaker 1:

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Speaker 1:

I want to start a conversation about internet. While you're out on the road, how do you connect to the internet? Some people use their hotspots and their telephones. Well, that's great, unless you're a podcast, because there's certainly not enough bandwidth to do that. We personally have Starlink and then we have a backup of a T-Mobile dedicated card in a Pep Wave unit. That depends on where you are. We have some rather slow connections with that.

Speaker 1:

Where we are here in Lancaster Pennsylvania or outside of Lancaster Pennsylvania, I think. The actual town is called Honeybrook. It's called New Holland, new Holland, so we're actually in someplace called New Holland, pennsylvania. Let me talk about domicile service. We lived in Pennsylvania. We had moved to Las Vegas, so when we started our RV life, we left from Las Vegas, nevada. We had an address through a mail service and our driver's licenses and everything were set up in Nevada. At the end of last year, on December 31st, nevada changed their law or rules. They no longer allowed driver's license to be at a mail service. What that means is we had to go find a different domicile, a different place to call our home, a place where you vote, a place where you have your driver's license and your medical insurance and all of those types of things. That's what domicile is.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so now I have them back on and again excuse the on and off, I have them on the phone.

Speaker 1:

Travis, I'm doing your job.

Speaker 2:

How do I?

Speaker 1:

Can you hear me, Travis? We hear you much better now and I've got you as well. So we just had a little bit of an internet problem there.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so I just want to backtrack to get this question because it is so important. So let's go back to the question Dan and I started talking about. First of all, Dan did a good job explaining domicile, but can you guys just also explain it to make sure we weren't missing anything? What does domicile mean? Get this question all the time.

Speaker 3:

Well, we normally have a bunch of fancy attorneys answer this question, because it's kind of one.

Speaker 4:

It's really complex and our piece in domicile essentially domicile is what you need to have an address to be able to vote, register your vehicles and take care of your state business. So there are a lot of complexities that go into choosing what you want to use as your domicile when you're a full-time reviewer and kind of where a state piece comes in is. We do have a lot of education and resources on our website surrounding the topic and through our mail service. We service three different states Texas, south Dakota and Florida which you can use for your domicile, but we do recommend, when it comes to choosing the state that you want to use, well, we highly recommend our resources online to help you guide you through that process. When it comes to any questions you might have that you want to be answered, that you aren't able to get through, that to contact an attorney, that is.

Speaker 3:

That's an easy way to think about it to a degree and again, this is not domicile advice but you can have multiple residencies, right, but you can only have one domicile. And generally that is what your driver's license is in most cases. So that's just a roundabout way to say domicile, but it's the place in which you intend to return. So if you're a full-time reviewer, where do you intend to return to? That's generally what an attorney will say.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, and another piece that we kind of play in this is through our advocacy with the state piece. We have long protected full-time reviewer's rights, especially when it comes to voting. Travis's mom, kathy, actually won a huge legal battle what was it back in the 80s or 90s the 90s surrounding the topic, and she secured the right for a full-time reviewer's to vote. So we do take the topic very seriously and kind of where you intend to return to Definitely visit the place which you're claiming as your domicile, do your doctor's appointments, do stuff in the city, and that just protects your story that you are intending to return there and participating in that, that county's stuff.

Speaker 1:

Well, your domicile in Florida for escapees. There's actually a RV park there that we spent a couple weeks in when we went down to do this process. So we at the RV Life podcast strongly support the education program and the domicile program that escapees has put together. It made something that is very complicated a very simple process to the point that escapees even has relationships with people in the courthouse where we went and got our driver's license and all the documents and they were so helpful and knew all the information and knew that we hadn't filled one form outright and had another form there, pulled it out and started to fill it out.

Speaker 1:

Now we also want to talk about the support services. Escapees, you have roadside assistance, you have RVers boot camp. That's a lot of services. Does roadside assistance mean that when I break down, travis and Melanie are going to reach out to me in there when Abego and come out and help us out?

Speaker 4:

Well, yeah, no, yeah, no.

Speaker 3:

I can barely keep up with my own in this half-time With others can be interesting, but no, it is definitely a full-service roadside assistance program. It's actually one of the best in my opinion my humble opinion one of the best options out there, especially when you compare pricing or what you're getting. It's a yeah and the bar bacon.

Speaker 4:

you know in the past and we highly recommend everybody have some sort of roadside assistance program on their travel RV so that you don't get to the roadside assistance program on their travel. Rv so that you don't get stuck in a bad situation and have something that you can call for, that assistance.

Speaker 3:

And speaking of services as a whole too. That's just one thing. Like you said, you also talk about our education services, but we also have a lot of discount services. So we recognize that we can't provide everything. I mean, there is no way to escape. We already have too much. To be honest, it's hard to keep track of everything we already have. So, for services that we don't provide, we work with a lot of industry professionals and experts to provide these services that we're just not capable of doing to the level of which we would be proud to do. So we also work with a lot of partners, a lot of relationships, to bring services to the community as well, yeah, and then there are different ways.

Speaker 4:

but you know, through our partnership programs we work with people like RV life who do trip planning and do all of those things in a way that's going to enrich somebody's RV lifestyle and that we know will take care of our members. So we're proud to have so many partners and industry relations that we work with.

Speaker 1:

And there are a lot of discount services, including one of the largest expenses that we have, which is tires. We've got six of them on this thing and they're almost $1,000 a piece. So being able to get a discount coupon or discount services on when we needed new tires was very, very, very helpful. Now I think we got disconnected when we were talking about the mail service, so we're going to talk about it again because it is so important.

Speaker 1:

One of the things that I love in all honesty is your people. When I was first signing up and I had a problem and there's some stupid mail form that you have to fill out some I don't know what the number is over, but it's a US mail postal service form that you got to fill out. It says that it's okay for you to accept my mail and I was having a problem with it. Your girl in the office got on the phone and walked me through the process and just made a very stressful situation. So we really, really enjoyed the fact that I believe that you have great people and you have trained them very, very well.

Speaker 2:

That's great, because there's so much mail we get. So we're going to let you guys talk about mail service. But for us there's so much mail you get, there's so much junk that you absolutely don't need. So talk a little bit about how your mail service works, who it's for, give us some details about it, yeah absolutely so.

Speaker 3:

The mail service, like I said, is definitely kind of an essential need for RVers, especially for RVers because you can establish that don't sell. But again, you also just need access to your mail, right? Whether that be it forwarded to you or you see it online, or a combination of both, we all need our mail sent somewhere in some fashion. So that's really what mail forwarding services such as escapees provides, and there's other services out there and we're definitely biased towards our own, but you're more than welcome to go search and look at other mail forwarding services.

Speaker 6:

But I will say.

Speaker 3:

The one thing that's really important about us is, once you kind of Figure out you need a mail forward service is identifying what makes sense for your lifestyle and how much mail you kind of generally see. So for us, for example, we have different categories that allow you to either just receive kind of all mail types or even specific mail types, such as you know, I want all my magazines or I want all of my XYZ in that regard, or we can even customize it even farther to specific magazines, specific sorting options as well, so we can save time and money on the road and I think you know, just to kind of go back to like, our roots of the club is really our RV group that was created for RVers by RVers.

Speaker 4:

Travis's mom, kathy, was the one who created this mail service and she was traveling full time, and it really was born from the need of discovering and learning about the lifestyle and what different types of things people need on the road, and so that's why it is so custom and why the customer service aspect is so important to us is to make sure that we're really understanding the needs and catering.

Speaker 3:

Right and just how it generally works is you know, once you get your address, your mail forwarding address, your mail is just sent to wherever you decide to forward it. For us, for example, one thing I encourage you to look at if you are exploring mail forwarding services is to look at how often and how much mail you can send on a regular basis.

Speaker 3:

We allow complete flexibility in that regard, which is something we kind of fry ourselves on. Is that flexibility? So once you get your address, you can say, hey, I can't ground so and so, or I'm here and we will forward that mail in your mailbox to that address when you need it, as many times as you need it. So that's kind of the second process. And then you know from there what happens is we also take all your mail, sort it, scan it, you shred it all upon your request as well, so you can call in at any time and that's what's in your box. If you know, something's supposed to be there if you're not using the scanning service. So we really want to be there and provide the customer service that we know you need from the road, because your mailbox is here in our place.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, and kind of what you said about the assistance with filling out the form is that is kind of. The other side of it is our customer service is here to help you along the way and make sure that your answer or your questions are being answered. And those are areas you know, even though we think we do a great job with it, we're always, you know, looking at it and saying how can we improve. So, even over the coming next year's, we hope to have easier processes for that and more customized experiences. So, yeah, we're just one of the things that we know is crucial to in our bigger lifestyle. So we want to make sure that we're doing it right and making it the best we can.

Speaker 1:

Okay, we're talking about support services with Travis and Melanie Carr. They are the co CEOs of Escapies RV Club. I want to talk about RVers Bootcamp. What the heck is that? Do you teach Patty how to drive the RV, because she doesn't? Melanie, do you drive?

Speaker 4:

your RV, be honest. I'm embarrassed to say no, there we go.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for supporting me. I'm with you.

Speaker 4:

Okay, yeah, I have long said oh, I'm just going to, sometime we'll go to a big car heal and try it, and unfortunately just hasn't happened.

Speaker 3:

She definitely relied on me for the RV travels, regardless of the RV type we've been in.

Speaker 4:

Yes, and now that we're in a big class A, I regret not doing it. We'll get a class B, but nonetheless.

Speaker 1:

Well, we have something in common with you because we have a class A Monaco, an older unit. Now we actually did a whole show over on the YouTube side about this, about is it time to buy a new RV or should you renovate yours. And what we did is we put a new floor in. You know that Monaco had that white carpet when you walked in and ours was 20 years old so it was more like a brown carpet. So we took that out and we put some machine flooring in. We liked that machine flooring so much. We even did a backsplash and some walls. We took out the couch, put a new couch in, we have a workstation here with two editing computers on it, and Patty put a live wood table in. We took out the dining room table. We'll have pictures and a video of all of that over on the R Exploring, exploring through our lens yeah, youtube channel.

Speaker 1:

So what kind of things do you do at boot camp? What do you take people through?

Speaker 3:

Yes, that's your question. Rvers Boot Camp was created really to give RVers expert information that they could rely on trust, and it covers topics from really. The three main topics are operation, maintenance and safety. So, from how to choose an RV, hooking up your toad safely, towing your vehicle and then covering your RV systems such as jacks, separate water, your batteries and maintenance as well in there on those items, and, of course, your safety, such as just your driving safety, your personal safety, fire and life safety and so forth so on.

Speaker 3:

So it's a three day course, an in-person course with expert instructors, to kind of bring whether it's a new. Rver or a seasoned RVer, a welter of knowledge to give you the confidence on the range and you also get a little bit of community there.

Speaker 4:

You get to meet people that are either just starting their RV lifestyle or looking to join the lifestyle, so it's pretty cool to see everybody come together in that way. But kind of inspired, or was inspired, by a mix between the Boot Camp and the Xpapers community. Bringing things more into the online aspect is the launch of our RVers online university, and we call it RVOU, and it's basically the Boot Camp brought into an online format where you can take the courses at your own pace and in an online setting, versus having to go to somewhere in person. And on that expansion is also courses. We have domicile courses in there. We also have our Vita Freedom courses, which covers the full time transition and all you need to know about that lifestyle. So it's a great way to get all of that same information, but kind of at your own pace and at your own time.

Speaker 1:

Now, melanie, I got to ask the question does your transition Boot Camp to full time talk about mindset for women, in that they can't bring all their shoes on the RV?

Speaker 4:

Yes, it's a roundabout, I don't know if it says it so specifically. Hey, I will find a place to shove them like a faucet or a corner, but just don't wave the RV through our smart wafers.

Speaker 3:

Yes, all right, that's exactly what we're going to do.

Speaker 2:

So it's not about not bringing them on board. It's about teaching people women how to find space for them. So I love that we are on the same page, love that they gave.

Speaker 1:

I have got to tell a little bit of a story here, because Patty, my lovely wife, was watching too many YouTube videos and she found, or came across a video that talked about finding extra space in an RV behind this cabinet or behind that cabinet. So what does she do? She gets my drill gun out and she starts unscrewing panels in this RV and found probably 20 square feet of space behind a wall that only had a pipe, a drain pipe, going through that. There was nothing going there, because it's where the back corner is, one of the two locations for the washer dryer in a Monaco and we have it midship. We don't have it in that back corner. So behind that closet there where, if you take that back panel off, there was six feet tall by two feet deep, by three feet across, a space back there.

Speaker 2:

That's a lot of shoes to put back there.

Speaker 1:

Oh, my God.

Speaker 2:

I could come on your boot camp as a teacher or come on your boot camp and help teach people how to find spaces.

Speaker 1:

Now I'm not one to talk because, as a professional MC, I live in an RV that's less than 500 square feet and I do carry two tuxedos, because they just never know what you're going to get into. So I carry two tuxedos with me.

Speaker 2:

Don't even ask yeah, that's one of those things that maybe, as part of boot camp, you could teach couples how to communicate and not want to kill each other. We did a podcast on that, but that might be a boot camp topic. So let's talk. We talked about a lot of events that you guys do, but Escapies also has a presence at some of the big events. So, as Dan said, you guys were in Tampa not the two of you, but Robin and Larry were in Tampa at the RV show and Robin and Larry are going to be at the Hershey RV show. That's just coming up in about three weeks from this recording.

Speaker 1:

And you know what? I'm going to put a little Easter egg here. I'm going to go over and give Larry two RV life t-shirts and if you go up to Larry and say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, he will give you one of those two. If you're one of the first two people to go to the Escapies booth at Hershey Now we don't know what the number is, we don't even know where the booth is. I think it's on the concourse level up on top, because I think I remember seeing them there last year.

Speaker 2:

And the easiest way to find anything at the Hershey RV show. It is a great place to you know, build a community. It's a great place if you're buying an RV. To buy an RV, you could stop by the Escapies booth. Ask Larry and Robin your questions. They're going to be very helpful. And the way to find it the easiest way there's a directory online. There's a directory and a book. When you walk into the Hershey event, there's ways to find the Escapies. Now they're also going to be at, as Dan talked about, our RV Life Live event, which is going to be on Thursday, the 14th, from 6 to 10. Robin and Larry will be there and they'll be there. Go up and say hi, ask questions, if you have it Now. Do you guys ever attend these kinds of events? I'm putting you on the spot here.

Speaker 3:

So us personally we actually did a couple of shows way back in the day. We definitely have been to Quartzside, helped out there. We used to help out at St Antonia, because that's kind of where our home base is nowadays. But, no, it's been quite a while, to be honest, since we've made our way to the events, the actual shows themselves.

Speaker 2:

It's okay, you have great representatives that will be there.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you have incredible people and I know a little birdie told me that your company is going to be giving away a great door prize that I get to give away from the stage and I love giving away stuff. I just love giving away stuff.

Speaker 2:

Right Now. That'll be at the RV Life event that we were talking about. Yep Correct Thursday night. Get your tickets. Information will be in the show notes. I've got to say that.

Speaker 1:

Okay, now we are currently in Pennsylvania and we're here because of the show in Hershey. We are going to be leaving Hershey and hightailing it to the middle of the country to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, something that is probably one of the greatest times that we've ever had, when we went there for a week. Now you guys have a rather strong presence there, right?

Speaker 4:

Yes, we have been traveling there through the hops program for Probably over a decade at this point, for easily and. Yeah yeah, and we have our some of our BOS groups that go there and get a gathering together. And then also our stapler community goes.

Speaker 4:

That was actually our very first convergence, and that was back when he and Travis used to host them all and it was such a great time and we fell in love with it too. But yeah, since then we kind of took a few years off and now we go back and take about 30 RVs at a time we can hold, yeah, and then we kind of break it up into two groups so that we can get more people into experience magic of the balloon fiesta.

Speaker 1:

But yeah, it's a wonderful event now let's talk to some of our listeners that are fairly new or weekenders and they just don't really do these great big trips across the country like we do. So Events like the Albuquerque balloon fiesta and I'm gonna talk about the Reno air races, sturgis, the, the motorcycle rally there are some really really good court site. It is another one of big tent, the big tent event at port site. There's some really really great RV Events around the country that a lot of RVers go to and with the support of groups like escapees Having a rather large presence. If I remember correctly, when we were there two years ago, you guys had a tent there, yeah, a whole tent.

Speaker 2:

Talking about now. But Karki, yeah now.

Speaker 1:

Yes, oh yeah. So it's just really something and and Unfortunately, fortunately, it's just like RV campsites people buy them up very, very early. So Planning your schedule and what you're going to be doing is Really really important, because I believe, if I was just reading correctly, albuquerque is already sold out for escapees, correct?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I would be shocked. If there's any sites we do offer wait list for those. They do sell out there very quickly and just that balloon fiesta and a hole sold out, and so I Remember back in the day, open up the sites and as many people could come because they just registered directly through the balloon fiesta. And now we have to go through the whole group process by the early, do all of that to be able to secure them.

Speaker 3:

But they're awesome. Oh, what's the saying? It's totally correct. Yeah, I have to plan ahead for these larger events nowadays. That's kind of part of the the joys of the big boom the big.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's. It just gets a little difficult, like for Hershey for instance, when we get invited to speak or Produce the podcast from Hershey at the last minute, we have to change our plans around and it gets a little bit difficult sometimes.

Speaker 2:

But thankfully that wasn't a last minute thing because I don't know if I could have. I Don't know if I would have had the bandwidth to do that too. Yes, I've been to definitely have to try and plan in advance now the RV life podcast.

Speaker 1:

Patty and Dan will be at the Albuquerque balloon fiesta this year and we're going to try to find a location where we can do the RV life podcast live from the balloon fiesta. I'm actually on the crew of one of the balloons. I'm a pilot myself, so I have some friends that own balloons and so I'm on the crew of one of the balloons that are there. So we're gonna try to Put something together where we can get that all that done.

Speaker 2:

Patty, go ahead now I just want to make sure we get in here. You know you gave us so much great information that helps our listeners to figure escapees out. Certainly could go and talk to Robin and Larry to see if it's the right type of membership from that, for you know the individual person. Where can can you just guide people to where they can go to find out more about escapees a website or Social media wherever you could direct people.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, absolutely Our websites, definitely the best place with just all the information into now, as well as a bunch of resources and Goodies there too. But that is escapeescom pretty short, sweet, just came to come where you just Google escapees are good, I'm sure it will show up, but that is the best resource for all things escapees. And then if you're kind of interested in this whole escapees concept and consider yourself more of the you know, looking to hang around with more work, the HR years or work from the road at kids, then definitely check out escapeescom. And that is with anX, it's paperscom.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, and we for the social media side, we are on basically all the platforms and things that Twitter, we have Facebook pages, we have Facebook groups, we have Instagrams for both communities. So Definitely check us out on there and get to know probably others in the community by joining those groups that we have great.

Speaker 2:

That's Great information to pass along.

Speaker 1:

We are talking to Travis and Melanie Carr from escapees RV club. I'd love to have you guys stick around for the third segment. We have our RV question of the week and it has to do With RV clubs. So we have that coming up and a lot, lot more guys. We'll stick around with us. Okay, we have that coming up and a lot lot more right after this.

Speaker 5:

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Speaker 1:

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Speaker 2:

National indoor RV centers. It truly is a family. If you're looking for Integra new mar, they have RVs on consignment and this is the place to go. Dan and I love nirvc. We met the owner, we met A salesperson and these are truly amazing people and we certainly feel like their family.

Speaker 1:

They will definitely be the place that we buy our next RV. Just a great thought process and a great mindset they have about RVers and taking care of your RV. Now National indoor RV centers they actually have places that they have a whole different attitude about RVing and and storing your RV so they actually have storage for your RV. So when you buy an RV from nirvc and you take it out for the weekend and when you come back you take it back to their location and they wash it for you and they clean it out and they throw it through the shop and make sure every the batteries are right and pop off all the fluids. What a great way to do it. It's kind of like a marina concept. Like when you have a boat, you always bring your boat back to the same marina. So it's kind of like a marina concept.

Speaker 1:

We really enjoy national indoor. We enjoy Brett davis, the owner. What a great person. If you ever get an opportunity to sit and talk with him, he is the most knowledgeable person that I have ever met in the RV business. Now we also had a spot there with one of our other spots of liquid rubber. They're giving away some stuff at the RV life live event in Hershey.

Speaker 2:

They are. They are, they're giving away a Game. What is it called corn hole? I always forget what it's called cornhole game. Uh, liquid rubber is a liquid coating for your roof. We did do a podcast with them and explained this and it was so much information that I had no idea about. But protecting your roof, liquid rubber sounds like the best way to go to protect most Roofs and, of course, if your roof leaks, that is, as they said in the commercial, going to ruin your trip.

Speaker 1:

Having water inside the RV is not a fun thing. Nope, nope, we can tell you this from first-hand service experience. First-hand experience and I'm sure it's one of the topics you just discuss In your RV boot camp.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, of course it definitely is, and we actually even have a nice little discount with a couple people. If you complete the uh of your food camp, you get a little certificate and you can use that for insurance discounts and some some carriers.

Speaker 1:

So that is great. Now that sound means it is time for the RV life pro tip of the week with Patrick.

Speaker 6:

Buchanan New RV life trip wizard. Customers are often surprised to see how many campgrounds are displayed on the map. To help narrow the selection of which campgrounds to add to your trip, use the filters feature built into the research menu. You can filter based on your preference of park type, rating, reviews, hookups, amenities, price and club memberships, just to name a few. Virtually every part of the RV lifestyle can be identified and filtered to show you the campgrounds, rv parks, state parks and more that are important to you. You'll find much of the same filtering available on the RV life pro mobile app as well, for those spur of the moment journeys. Create your best RV trip with the best filtering available. I'm pat Buchanan with your RV life pro tip of the week.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, patrick Buchanan, these filters. So when you go on to RV trip wizard and All of the campgrounds are showing you could hardly see the map. I mean, that's just how many there are. So being able to filter whether, like Patrick said, it's the park type or the ratings or reviews, this is an amazing feature. And the one thing I have to point out is I depend on the campground reviews from RV life Because these reviews are only from other RVers, so they're for RVers by RVers, and that really makes me feel confident. I love reading what people think about a campground, so you know. The filter feature, the RV reviews, these are two things we use all the time.

Speaker 1:

Patty, when I teach, podcasting or being on the air as a radio personality or a commercial personality, I always use the term I want you to paint with your voice. Paint a picture with your voice, and In this case, I think it's very, very difficult to paint a picture of just how many campgrounds are in the United States. So what I'm going to do? Even though I'm supposed to stay out of the social media, I'm going to go ahead and I'm going to do a screenshot of every single campground in the United States and see what Patty's talking about, where you can't even see the map, because the map is white on RV TripWizard, but the campgrounds come up in green and the entire United States of America is almost completely green. It's just an amazing sight to see. So I'm going to go ahead and put that up on our Instagram page at rvlifepodcastinstagramcom, whatever it is.

Speaker 2:

Okay, let me handle that. When you say you're going to put it up, you mean you're going to give it to me to put it up, and our social media is RV Life Podcast on Facebook or Instagram.

Speaker 1:

We'll put it up on both.

Speaker 2:

I'll put it up on both. Yes and comment about the different. Do you use RV Life TripWizard? What is the feature you like best? Let's have a conversation about it.

Speaker 1:

Okay, I'm going to push one of my favorite buttons again. That is actually the air horns off our unit and I just love those things. I push them every time we go over a state line. I hit the air horns, boom boom, because we went over a state line. Every time we leave a campground I wake everybody up and say boom boom, dan and Patty are leaving. But that sound now in the podcast world means it is time for our question of the week Now.

Speaker 2:

Travis and.

Speaker 1:

Melanie, you're still with us over there, right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, okay, great, because this is what we need you for. Our question comes from social media and guys, anybody out there. If you have questions, private message me, put it in our social media. We'd love to hear your questions, and this one was a question I got a long time ago, but I'm glad I held it because Melanie and Travis can help us with it. It's from Larry J, who is in Washington DC I hope he doesn't have a great big RV there and we asked are RV memberships worth the money? So, travis and Melanie, we're sort of putting you on the spot. Well, we're putting you on the spot here. Let's get real. How would you answer him?

Speaker 4:

I think we're a little biased, but the answer is absolutely yes when it comes to a state views. We have really tried to build our organization off of the needs of our beers and that's why we offer such a robust amount of different services, but not only to treat our own horn. We think there's a lot of great memberships out there that service a lot of needs that help you save money on the road through discount parking and all the various things like trip planning. All of those things are so important to the RV lifestyle In Yolka.

Speaker 3:

I mean us. For example, we have memberships in several organizations and most especially serious RVers, rv enthusiasts, have more than one membership because you kind of find that each club even though they may look similar on their website on resources, you'll kind of find that they have their own unique flavor, especially if you get involved.

Speaker 3:

So I would say clubs are important if you use them. If you're not going to use them, then they're not going to do much for you. So you have to take advantage of the benefits of the club that you join to get the most out of it.

Speaker 4:

And you guys, you're probably just kind of wasting time and we think probably one of the most important things that you can find out for the RV life is community, and there are a lot of great companies and clubs out there and we hear all the time from our members that people join a scapegoat or maybe the mail service or another benefit that we offer, but they end up staying for the family that they find in the community on the road. So if you're looking for something like that, clubs are an invaluable resource.

Speaker 1:

Well, I'll tell you that there's nothing more clear than that. When I was at Tampa, Robin and Larry just took me in like I was part of their family and part of the community, and it was just wonderful when you're at a strange place and your wife up and leaves you and goes up to Washington, and you know, I mean we had a family emergency situation so she had to go, but that left me down there all by myself and it was really great to be able to sit and really be treated like family.

Speaker 2:

And I'd love what you guys said, that you know there's different memberships. Stan and I have a number of different memberships and, in all honesty, there have been a couple of memberships one or two that we had that just didn't fit what we were looking for. We have joined escapees about a year ago, I guess it is now, and this is a membership that fits in with other memberships we have. So, to answer Larry's question, you know it does depend. I totally believe that, yes, you need at least some memberships. Like you said, trip planning, having a place of community and doing events, being at events, I think is, you know, these are great reasons to have membership. So good question.

Speaker 1:

So the escapees slash escapeers membership and it doesn't cost more to be both. I don't think Right.

Speaker 2:

No, you've joined escapees, so I was paying attention.

Speaker 1:

And you click a box and then you go to escapeers.

Speaker 2:

And then you could be part of the escapeers. Do we get that right? Yeah, we got it right.

Speaker 3:

Patty, yeah, it's all one memberships it's all one annual membership.

Speaker 1:

Great. It's all one big manual membership. So, larry, I am going to say to you that the escapees escapeers membership, it's one of the memberships that we really love and feel that it's really worth the money. Now we all saw our members of 1000 Trails and that membership to us is invaluable. I mean invaluable. We travel all over the country and our camping fees are just what we paid for up front. So on a month-to-month basis they're zero. We just changed our plans because we have a meeting in New York and we had to change our plans around for the next two weeks and we switched campgrounds and did all kinds of things and the bill was zero.

Speaker 2:

Right, and what you're saying is so we do our annual membership and this is the same thing that you guys are talking about membership, so they worth the money. And again, escapees, definitely with 1000 Trails. We pay out our membership monthly, we know what it's going to cost and no matter how many times we use the campground, we don't pay anything extra. So just to be clear there.

Speaker 1:

Now, we did a podcast with our sales reps of 1000 Trails just a few weeks ago. So if you go back on the shows and take a look at the 1000 Trails Gem and Brandy Renault we answered every question that you could possibly ever have asked about 1000 Trails. We had them answer those questions. Yes. Yeah, Gem and Brandy don't talk to us anymore because we were tough on them, but Travis and Melanie hopefully you will still be our friends after this show is over.

Speaker 4:

It's been a great time.

Speaker 2:

Thank you so much for taking the time to be on with us.

Speaker 1:

I want to talk to Larry from Washington C one more time. There's one more membership that I was dead set against. But when you look at the money, when you look at it from a money standpoint only, we have actually re-bought this membership twice now. And I'm talking about the Good Sam membership, because if you go to Camping World and buy something, you get a discount if you have a Good Sam membership. So that membership paid for itself. It was actually free for us for the entire year because we needed a new GPS. So we went in there and we bought a GPS. The salesman was very, very helpful and said are you Good Sam's members? And I screamed and yelled at him and said, no, I'm not a Good Sam member. I'm not going to be a Good Sam member Because I thought he was just trying to sell me something else, but he actually showed me.

Speaker 1:

He said look, the membership was 50 bucks or something, and then he gave me $75 off the GPS. So I would be very cautious with some of the memberships that are out there. But there are a lot of very good memberships out there that will save you money. But you need to look at them logically and slowly. Don't be pressured into buying something.

Speaker 2:

Right, Absolutely so. And again, a great question from our listeners, and I encourage people to get on social media let us know what questions we work to bring experts on to answer these questions, and you know it was great having Travis and Melanie on to help answer them. Okay, you're listening, Thank you again. Yeah, thank you.

Speaker 1:

Travis Melanie, thank you so much for being with us. You are listening to the RV Life Podcast. Our guests today were Travis and Melanie Carr, who are the co-CEO's of the Escapies RV Club. Okay, I'll do this again. I'm Dan Hunt, with my incredible wife, patty Hunt, and our guest today, travis and Mary Ann Carr. Melanie Carr, melanie Carr Wow Saying, have a great rest of today.

Speaker 2:

And an even better day tomorrow.

Escapees vs. Escapers
Escapers
Importance of Community in RV Life
RVers' Domicile and Mail Services
RVers Bootcamp and Online University
RV Life and Escapees Events
RV Memberships and Trip Planning Benefits