In yesterday’s blog I mentioned the fellow who told me he only comes to this blog to enter the weekly contest and was upset because he has not won yet. But he’s not the only ingrate around. Not by a long shot.
I heard from a longtime reader who owns a campground in Kentucky who is also an RV snowbird, who told me that as soon as the snow flies they close up for the winter and head south to enjoy the sunshine. He said that because they themselves will often pull into a Walmart or someplace like that for the night when they traveling from point A to point B, they understand that sometimes people just need a safe place to park without hookups. For that reason, they have an area set aside for dry camping on a first-come, first-served basis, with no charge.
Signs are posted that it is for one night only, and if someone wants to use the shower houses or the dump station there is a fee for that. He said it’s bad enough that they are always cleaning up trash people who use the dry camping leave behind, or arguing with people who overstay the one night limit, or who don’t feel they should have to pay to use the shower house or the dump station while they’re staying there (again, these are people staying in the free dry camping area), but that the final straw was that in the last week three different people have dumped their black tanks on the ground because they refuse to pay $5 just to dump. So now that nice little free camping place on Interstate 65 is no more. We are our own worst enemy.
Speaking of the blog, it continues to challenge me. Quite often people who use Google Chrome cannot access the latest blog, always getting the one from the previous day. About the time I thought we had that problem handled, this week the new contest page would not open correctly, again just with Google Chrome. And yesterday, the headline did not show up on the blog. Don’t ask me why. I did things the way I always do. Later in the day I tried a test post and the headline worked on that. My buddy Greg White is somewhere in Europe by now, so I can’t bother him about it, and I’ve given up on Go Daddy’s customer support. I think it’s time to find a new host.
And in closing, here is an update on update on cousin Beverly for those who have been asking. She had surgery Monday to relieve pressure on her brain from excess fluid, and originally they said she should be home in a day or two. But then her blood pressure spiked to over 200, so they’re going to keep her for a while longer to get that under control, and then for physical therapy and rehabilitation. She said it looks like it will be a couple of weeks before she can escape. Prayers and positive thoughts are always appreciated.
Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of The Gecko In The Corner, the second book in my John Lee Quarrels series. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – Do you think stupid people ever reach a point in life where they realize they are stupid?
Yesterday was a cold, windy day, it was cold last night, and today is starting out cold. But the weatherman does say that things are going to start warming up this afternoon sometime. I hope so, because I’m about to launch into an epic snivel, and trust me, none of us wants that to happen.
In yesterday’s blog I told you about problems I was having trying to upload new covers for the first four books in the Big Lake series to Amazon, as well as the print edition of Big Lake Wedding. After fiddling with it for a while again yesterday, I thought I had finally solved the problem. I even got a message saying that everything was accepted and going through the final stages before going live. But then about 4 PM I got the same messages I have been getting all along, which really don’t say anything except that they rejected the uploads and to fix the issues and try again. I would be happy to do so, but they can’t seem to tell me what those issues are. I finally gave up in frustration and will tackle it again today.
A while back I asked for recommendations on Canadian pharmacies, trying to find some way to get Terry’s Viberzi prescription down to a more affordable price than the $1500 a month it costs here, since Medicare and our AARP supplement won’t cover it. A bunch of you responded, and I appreciate that, but as it turns out, Viberzi is some kind of controlled substance and can’t be purchased from Canadian pharmacies. Nor can it be purchased in Mexico and brought across the border. So, we’re still dealing with that hurdle and trying to find some way to get over or around it.
But the world is not all doom and gloom. It never is. When my cousin Beverly came to live with us we added a third recliner in the living room. Terry and I have never been happy with the end table we had been using between our two recliners. It was too big and always in the way. Terry did some looking around on Amazon and found a solution.
She ordered two of these Leick Recliner Wedge End Tables, which are shaped just like a wedge, as the name implies. They’ve got enough surface area for everything we want and fit perfectly but between the recliners.
Terry and I joke that our living room is beginning to look like the community common area in a retirement home. That’s us, three old farts enjoying our golden years.
It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of Terry’s popular cookbook, Miss Terry’s Kitchen. I don’t care if you can’t even boil water, if you follow her recipes and direction you’ll be the hit at any campground potluck dinner or with your own family every time they sit down at the table. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – Sometimes you have to let go of the picture you thought life would be like and learn to find joy in the life you are living.
I called my buddy Greg White last night, and assuming you can believe him, he is still alive. I think it’s probably true, I can’t think of any reason why Greg would lie to me about that. Now, that thing about him and Annette Funicello making out in the backseat of his dad’s Rambler station wagon at the Starlite Drive-in is a bit far-fetched, and no way am I believing his claim that Chumlee from the TV show Pawn Stars is the love child that resulted from a drunken weekend he spent with Phyllis Diller in Paducah, but I think he’s probably telling the truth about being alive.
I have been getting a lot of emails from fans of Greg’s daily Our RV Adventures blog asking if he and his wife Jan are okay, since his blog’s been missing in action for over two weeks now. Yes, they are fine, just very frustrated that the dweebs at Go Daddy keep messing up his blog. Sometimes it will go live for a few minutes, maybe as much as half an hour or so, then it disappears again for who knows how long. And yesterday someone contacted me to say that he had heard that Greg had passed away, which was why the blog stopped. Nope, not according to Greg. He said he doesn’t remember dying, and he’s got a pretty good memory, so I think he would know if it were true or not.
Sometimes I wonder where people come up with this weird stuff, but then I remember that not once, but three times in my life the same thing has happened with me. The first was when I was in the newspaper business back in Arizona’s White Mountains. There was a cinder pit where everybody used to go to do some informal target shooting, and one terrible Sunday afternoon a man accidentally shot and killed his best friend while they were out plinking. The next day I went into our bank to make a deposit, and when the teller, who I knew well, looked up from her window to see me standing there, she turned pale and started shaking. I asked her what was wrong and she said, “You’re alive!” Just to be sure, I checked my pulse before agreeing with her that yes, I was alive. As it turned out, I had been at that same cinder pit target shooting earlier in the day, before the tragedy happened, and some fool who heard about the shooting decided it was me and started telling people I was dead.
The second time it happened was shortly after Miss Terry and I were married. I was driving a step van loaded with newsprint, which comes in huge rolls that weigh about 1800 pounds, back to my newspaper office from the paper mill. Somebody ran a red light and I had to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision. The people at the mill had not chocked the load down properly and it came loose, crushing me between the metal seat of the van and the steering wheel. I somehow managed to turn the key off, then extricated myself and fell out into the street. I guess I passed out, because the next thing I knew, paramedics were working on me. One of them was holding a blanket over me while they cut my clothes off to see what injuries I might have. Apparently a passerby decided I was dead because he called Terry at her business and told her I had been killed and that he had seen them covering up my body. He told her she needed to come to the hospital to identify my remains.
It was a small town where everybody knew everybody, and when Terry frantically called my office to see what was going on, my secretary could only tell her that the police scanner said there had been an accident and my name was mentioned. The poor woman rushed to hospital, thinking she was going to identify my body, only to find me bruised and battered, but very much alive. Somebody, we assume the same person, called the postmaster, who was a very good friend of mine, and told him the same story. We never did find out who that was, but that near brush with death was the reason we decided to chuck it all and follow our dream to become fulltime RVers.
The third time I “died” Terry was a victim with me. Back in the days before everybody had cell phones and Wi-Fi hotspots, we were on the road in our old MCI bus conversion and stopped for a few days at a Corps of Engineers campground in Fort Smith, Arkansas. At that time we had one of the huge old Hughes rooftop satellite dishes to get online, but our campsite was under a lot of trees and we could not get a signal. Which meant I did not post the blog for the time we were there. We left and arrived at our new location, where we were able to get online and were shocked to find out that we were dead. Apparently somebody had seen or heard of a bus accident somewhere in Oklahoma with two fatalities, and since there was no blog they decided we were those unfortunate souls.
Why do people do things like this? I have no idea. I guess when someone asks you, “Hey what happened to so-and-so?” and you don’t know the answer, the best thing to do is declare them dead. I mean, think about it, if you live long enough and say the same person is dead often enough, someday they might have the courtesy to die and make you right. But I’m just not that accommodating, and apparently neither is Greg. At least that’s what he told me. Until I get notice of his funeral service, I’m going to believe he is being truthful.
It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Honeymoon, the seventh book in my Big Lake mystery series. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – Never let a fool kiss you, or a kiss fool you.
I expected to set off some fireworks in yesterday’s blog about the woman being thrown out of the campground swimming pool because she had her two emotional support dogs in the water with her, and I wasn’t disappointed. And while most of the blog comments were positive, I did get hammered by email.
One blog commenter said it was obvious I have never experienced pain, suffering, or loss. Somebody in an email told me that I needed to walk a mile in her shoes because I have no empathy for others. In another email, someone asked if spent my free time kicking puppies and pulling the wings off of butterflies. And then there were one or two who just said it was too bad I was such an animal hater.
I did not feel the need to reply to any of them because when someone’s mind is already made up, it’s just a waste of time trying to confuse them with facts.
Moving on to another subject, I also got an email from a campground owner who complained about people who pull in late in the evening after hours, dump their tanks, hook up water and electric, and then are gone early the next morning before the office even opens. He’s not the first campground owner to share the same experience. And it’s interesting that everyone who has said something about problems like that also add that it’s usually the folks in the biggest, most expensive RVs doing it.
I guess if I cheated enough people, I could have one of them fancy high dollar diesel pushers, too. The problem is, I would not be able to sleep during those quick overnight rip-off stays because in the morning I have to look at myself in the mirror when I brush my teeth. Trust me, that’s bad enough to have to see under the best of circumstances!
Our accountant says Terry and I need to take a couple of trips before the end of the year, and I need to get some new stories, too. So we are trying to work our schedule around doctor appointments and things like that. We had hoped to go down to the Keys this coming week, but the weather reports don’t look very promising. So maybe we’ll go the other direction and take a short trip to Georgia. We always love visiting Savannah and there’s so much to see and do there. Then, in December, we want to take off again for a week or so. We may not be RVers anymore, but once you get hitch itch it’s hard to shake it.
Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for a campground rating, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.
To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.
Thought For The Day – Remember, if you lose a sock in the dryer, it comes back as a Tupperware lid that doesn’t fit any of your containers.
In a Q&A blog post a while back, somebody asked if there was any place that Terry and I wanted to visit while we were fulltiming but never managed to get to. As I said then, we crossed every place off of our bucket list that we wanted to see. A couple of days later I got a question from somebody asking if there were any places we might want to return to.
Oh, yes. No question about it. We both love the Florida Keys, and we want to go back down to Marathon Key again and spend some time hanging out there. Key West is a little too busy for us, but the middle Keys are fantastic.
We never got the opportunity to spend as much time in New England as we would have liked to, and we want to go back. During Terry’s dad’s Air Force career they lived in Bangor and Limestone/Caribou, Maine and she would like to see them again. Boston is an amazing city, full of history, and there are so many back roads wandering through small towns and villages that we would love to explore.
I spent part of my Army time stationed at the US Military Academy at West Point, and I love the place and the entire Hudson Valley. If we ever go back to New England we plan to spend some time there, too.
Our favorite city is Savannah, Georgia. I can’t explain why I’m so drawn to this historic old town, but if there really is such a thing as reincarnation, I do believe I lived there at some time in the past. Savanna is only about four hours from us, and we will definitely return again.
Another place that we would like to see again is Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. I could spend a day watching the big Great Lakes freighters going through the locks there. In fact, I have! Talk about a tight squeeze. I have no idea how they manage to do it.
We made several trips to Branson, Missouri before we ever got around to taking in a show there. The countryside is just beautiful, especially in the spring when the dogwoods are in bloom. We spent a couple of days going through the Ralph Foster Museum at the College of the Ozarks and I don’t think we managed to see it all. Definitely worth a return trip.
Speaking of museums, I don’t think anybody could live long enough to see everything there is at all the museums in Washington, DC. We have been to several of them, and I want to go back and see some more.
One of my favorite places is Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. All of Pennsylvania is great, but Gettysburg especially draws me. As history nuts, we love touring the old battlefield, but we are just as fascinated with the old downtown area, which also saw a lot of combat during the Civil War battle there. It’s a charming little town and I look forward to seeing it again.
Another place we really enjoyed was North Carolina’s Outer Banks. We only managed one short visit there, and we want to go back.
And, of course, the Pacific Northwest coast holds a special place in our hearts. It was a real tossup trying to decide between there or here on Florida’s Central Coast when we were looking for a place to hang up the keys. We decided we could tolerate the hot, humid summers here better than we could the cold clammy winners up there. But I’ll admit that there has been a time or two when we both have wondered “what if”?
These ten places are just off the top of my head. I’m sure with a little bit of thought I could come up with twice that many more. And while we are not RVing anymore, our traveling days are not over. Who knows? We may see you someday at one of our favorite places.
Thought For The Day – I was chasing my dreams, but I tripped over reality and busted my head on the truth.
You know that old saying that if it’s on the Internet, it must be true? I thought I debunked that with my blog post You Decide What’s True a week or so ago. Obviously not, because there are so many keyboard commandos out there who are all “experts” and so many fools willing to believe what they say, just because it’s on the Internet.
I was reminded of this when I was reading an online RV forum and there was a discussion about the high cost of insuring an RV as a fulltimer. Somebody was bemoaning the expense, and two different people told them not to tell their insurance company they are fulltiming, to just say they use it for vacations or occasional weekend outings.
Another person, who happens to be one of those RV “life coaches” I wrote about a while back, went so far as to suggest that they have their insurance company list the RV as in storage at their son’s house for five or six months of the year, even though they are fulltiming. That way they only pay a very minimum for insurance during that time period.
I only have one thing to say about that. Don’t do it! Don’t even think about it! No, No, and Hell No!
Never lie to your insurance company! Never! You can lie to wife, your boss, and your priest. You can even lie to yourself. But two entities you never want to lie to are the IRS and your insurance company. Either one can quickly result in you swimming in a lake full of hungry alligators just waiting to take a bite out of your butt.
Seriously, in all of our years of fulltime RVing and publishing an RV newspaper and blog, this is just about the stupidest advice I have ever heard of. If you are fulltiming and lie to your insurance company about your status, then have an accident or a major loss your claim is going to be denied. No question about it. And the insurance company may choose not to renew your policy, or cancel you right there.
When I asked this “life coach” how one would explain to their insurance company why the RV that is supposedly “in storage” in Michigan is involved in an accident in Florida, she said the odds of that happening to that particular RV, given the huge number of RVs running around the country, were very small and it was worth taking the chance to save a lot of money.
No, it isn’t! That’s why we have insurance, because bad things do happen, and they can happen to any of us at any time. Don’t be a fool and risk a huge loss just to save some money. Believe me, it’s not worth the risk.
You might drive for the next 20 years and never have any problems at all. Or you can have a fender bender, or worse, the next time you get behind the wheel. If you want to gamble, go to Vegas and put some money in a slot machine or throw it on a blackjack table. Don’t do it with your RV.
It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Burning, the sixth book in my Big Lake mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – I sat quietly with my own thoughts today. Remind me never to do that again.
Definition of potpourri – 1: a mixture of flowers, herbs, and spices that is usually kept in a jar and used for scent. 2: a miscellaneous collection. The second definition above pretty much describes today’s blog. This is another post in a collection of miscellaneous thoughts and info that I’m sharing because I really don’t have anything else to talk about today.
After reading yesterday’s blog about the haunted antique mall, somebody asked me if I believe in ghosts, and if so, have I ever seen one myself. No, I’ve never seen a ghost. At least, not one that I know of. But I do think there are things that defy explanation, and I’ve had some experiences in my life that you probably wouldn’t believe if I told you about them.
I have heard from several blog readers asking me if we have maintained our membership in Thousand Trails or in any of the RV clubs we belonged to when we were fulltiming, or the Elks or Moose or any other membership that gave us free or discounted overnight RV parking. We sold our Thousand Trails Elite membership when we decided not to travel by RV anymore, and I have not renewed my memberships in the Moose or the Elks. We remain lifetime members of the Escapees RV Club and of Passport America. While we will probably never use either membership again, there are no annual dues and we like to get the Escapees Magazine and keep up with what is going on with so many people from our extended RV family. The only reason we’ve kept Passport America is because I really don’t how to go about canceling it. But again, there are no annual dues so I’m not too worried about it.
Somebody forwarded me a blog post yesterday, and I didn’t know whether to shake my head or laugh out loud. I won’t share the name of the blog because I don’t want to give them any publicity, but it’s put out by a husband-and-wife team who are “life coaches.” They started fulltiming in early January and they already have the answer to anything you ever need to know about RVing. Want to know what the best mail forwarding service is for fulltime RVers? Just log onto their blog and send them $2.99 and they will email you a report on just that topic. Is a diesel pusher or a gas powered Class A motorhome your best choice for fulltiming? Again, send them $2.99 and they will email you a report telling you exactly what to buy, where to buy it, and how much to pay for it. Not sure about campground memberships? Guess what? If you send them $2.99, they’ve got a report about that, too! And a lot more. Yeah I know, that sounds ridiculous. And you don’t have to give them that kind of money for information like that. No, for just $650 per year you can have access to all of the RV knowledge they have acquired in their time on the road. But wait, that’s not all! That $650 also entitles you to an hour long Skype conversation with them to discuss your goals in life and how you can achieve them. Where were these people when I was a young man and didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up? Come to think of it, I’m an old man now and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Maybe I’ll send them some money and see what they say.
I’ve mentioned several times that years ago Terry and I converted a 1976 MCI bus into a motorhome, which we lived and traveled in, fulltime, for over eight years. It was quite a project. We stripped the bus down to bare metal inside, insulated it, removed the bus windows and re-sided it, then installed RV windows. By the time we were done, it was a very comfortable rig. I occasionally hear from people who are thinking about converting a bus, asking me for advice. My first thought is to say “don’t do it!” Well, not unless you have a place to work on it and the tools and knowledge to do so. We had none of the above, and we flew by the seat of our pants, learning as the project progressed. Back in those days we were still broke after dealing with Terry’s cancer, and we called the bus our buckboard, because every time we got a buck, we bought another board to put in it. It was a great experience, and that old bus got attention everywhere we went. But it was a lot of work. My best advice to anybody considering building a bus conversion is to get a newer 102 inch wide coach with a four stroke electronic diesel engine and an automatic transmission. The old 8V-72 Detroit diesel that powered our bus was bulletproof, but it was also very underpowered and tended to overheat when we were climbing. And, it’s getting harder to find mechanics that know how to work on those old engines.
Finally, a new free drawing contest starts today. People are always asking me what they can do to increase their odds of winning. Nothing, because the winners are selected at random by a computer program. But here’s what you shouldn’t do in the hopes of upping the odds in your favor. Do not enter multiple times. Only one entry is allowed per drawing, and if you enter a second time it gets deleted. If you continue to submit multiple entries you go into the spam folder and you will never get a chance to win. And one other thing, even though it clearly states that you have to use your first and last name to enter, not made up names, and not just your first name, people still do that. Those entries get shuffled to the trash immediately as well. I’m not comfortable with the computer program picking a winner and just announcing that Joe or Bill or Sally won. First and last name, that’s how it works. My best advice is to just enter every week. I’ve had a lot of winners who have told me it was the first time they ever won anything in their life. I guess consistency pays off.
Speaking of which, it’s Thursday and time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Mountain Angel by my friend Suzie O’Connell. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – If you’re gonna go down, go down swinging.
Note: This is an updated repost of a blog from January, 2014 and is based on the seminar by the same name that I have presented at RV rallies coast to coast.
We all change and evolve over time, including fulltime RVers. While Terry and I reached the point where we preferred the comforts of a full hookup RV park toward the end of our fulltiming adventure, we are no strangers to dry camping. In fact, we probably have a lot more experience at it than most folks we know.
There was a time when we spent more time boondocking than we did in RV parks. In fact, our longest continuous time spent off the grid was over seven months. During that time we had a residential refrigerator and we (mostly Terry) built the cabinets in our MCI bus conversion, using power saws, a sander, and other tools you would normally expect to find in a woodshop. All power was supplied by our generator and solar panels. I’m telling you this to explain that, with a little bit of pre-planning and effort, you can live just as well off the grid as you can when plugged in to a full hookup RV site. Today I thought I’d share some tips for living well off the grid.
The first thing to do is to define boondocking and dry camping, which I consider to be the same thing. It is spending a day, a week, a month or however long you care to not be plugged in to a campground’s utilities. Even if you don’t plan to boondock out in the middle of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in Arizona or at Slab City in California, some day you may find yourself in a situation where you need to be off the grid for a day or two. You may be stuck in a repair shop’s parking lot over the weekend waiting for parts to arrive, sitting in a rest area or truck stop waiting for bad weather to pass, parked in a relative’s driveway for a visit, dry camping at an RV rally, or in a hospital parking lot during a medical emergency. Knowing how to get the most out of your RV’s systems will make the experience much more comfortable.
Serious boondockers equip their RVs with solar panels, generators, large battery banks, and inverters to make it possible to stay out in the middle of nowhere for extended periods. We found that Absorbed Glassmat (AGM) batteries last longer, can be pulled down further, and provide overall better performance than typical wet cell deep cycle RV batteries. But no matter how it is equipped, any RV can be used for dry camping for a short period of time.
Power conservation is the first consideration for dry camping. The longer you have power, the longer you can stay put. Beware of phantom loads! Television sets, satellite TV receivers, DVD players, and other electronic goodies draw power even when turned off. Plug them into power strips with an On/Off switch and leave them off when not in use. Use a percolator stove top coffee pot. Switch your RV refrigerator and water heater to propane. Consider replacing your incandescent and fluorescent lights with LEDs, which use much less power. Be aware that any heat source (hair dryers, curling irons, coffee pots, etc,) draws down your battery bank. Do heavy load chores while running your generator to charge your batteries. If you’re not using it, turn it off.
Get a good 12 volt battery monitor. This little LED Digital Voltmeter only costs a few bucks on Amazon, can be installed in minutes, and tells you the state of your house battery bank at a glance.
The next factor in how long you can dry camp is water conservation. Take Navy showers, turning on the water just long enough to get wet, then soap up and turn the water back on to rinse. You don’t have to wash your hair every day. We used a pump up water mister jug like you find in the garden center at home improvement stores for hand washing, which saved a lot of water. Waterless hand soap and paper plates are invaluable to dry campers. Many use a small plastic dish pan to catch gray water, and use it to flush the toilet. Keep a bottle of 50/50 water and vinegar solution to spray the toilet bowl before use. Don’t waste water letting it run down the drain while waiting for it to warm up when you can catch it for other uses. This helps conserve your water supply and extends the time you can stay out before you have to find a dump station.
Climate control is also important. To keep things cool inside the RV, use awnings to keep the sun away, close windows and blinds on the sunny side, open the windows on the shady side, and use roof vent fans to create an airflow. For keeping warm, an Olympian Catalytic Heater is much more efficient than an RV furnace, which wastes a lot of propane and draws down your battery bank to operate the fan. Cover your windshield and skylights with foil bubble wrap or RV solar screening and you’ll be surprised at the difference in the temperature inside your RV.
None of this is rocket science, and a lot of it is just a matter of forming the proper habits for boondocking. With just a little effort and the right mindset, you can live just as comfortably parked out in the middle of the desert as you can in an RV park.
You still have a few days left to take advantage of our special offer of digital back issues of the Gypsy Journal for the years 2003 through 2017. They are in PDF format on a USB thumb drive and will provide you with weeks of great reading about places to visit from coast to coast and our adventures as fulltime RVers. The normal cost of the back issue collection is $75, but we are running a special through the end of April for just $65, which includes shipping. Don’t miss out on this great deal. If interested, you can log onto www.paypal.com and make payment to email@example.com. Be sure to include your mailing address for fast delivery.
Thought For The Day – Don’t put a coin in the jukebox if you can’t dance to the tune.
Note: This is a repost of a blog from a few years ago, and I still hear these wild tales now and then.
I guess when you fulltimed for as many years as we did and you publish an RV newspaper and blog, people seem to think that you’re some kind of expert. We all know better, but it doesn’t stop people from asking me questions. I try to answer them to the best of my ability, and if I don’t know and can’t find the answer, I tell them so. But apparently there are some folks who don’t really care what they tell people, as long as they say something.
This is evidenced by the same stories I hear over and over and the same questions that are repeated on almost a weekly basis. Sometimes these “RV myths” are no more than urban legends that started years ago and never completely die, but I truly believe some are spread by people in the RV industry for their own selfish reasons. With most of them, just a little bit of common sense will make you realize they are false.
The Gas Thief – I can’t remember when I first heard the tale of an RV owner who went outside one morning to find a garden hose sticking out of his black water tank and a pool of vomit on the ground. As the story goes, some miscreant thought he was stealing gas and siphoned the black tank instead. While we’d all like to see karma coming around and biting some jerk like that in the butt, it’s not true. I’ve been around every kind of RV ever made over the years and I have never seen one with a cap or outside access to siphon the waste tanks.
Ten Year Rule – Another one that I hear about over and over is the Ten Year Rule, and I have heard this myself from an RV salesman. According to the story, RV parks have a rule not to allow any RV over ten years old, so you need to buy a brand new rig if you plan to travel for a long time. Yes, there are a relatively few RV parks nationwide that have a ten year rule, but they are few and far between.
Rest Area Attacks – Never stay in a rest area overnight. Roving gangs of drug fiends are just waiting to prey on you! They will climb up on the roof, pry open your fan vent cover, spray pepper spray inside to force you out, and then rob you. That’s nonsense. First of all “drug fiends” don’t run around in gangs and they aren’t energetic or smart enough to go to all that work when they can steal a bike or TV or something right there in town to sell or trade for their next high. We have spent the night at rest areas from coast to coast and never had a problem with drug fiends or anyone else.
Becoming A Drug Mule – Apparently it’s not just the “drug fiends” you have to watch out for. Another popular story is about how drug dealers will stash their product in your storage bays or on the roof or wherever while you are looking the other way and you drive off not knowing you have just become a drug smuggler. Whenever I hear this one, I always ask how they know where you are headed so they can retrieve the drugs when you get there? Is their network so big that they have contacts all over the country? And how do they know when you arrive wherever you are going?
Vandalism At WalMart – Recently I’ve heard three or four stories about RVers who spent the night at WalMart only to wake up the next morning to find tires slashed and graffiti sprayed on their RV, and a note under their windshield wiper that says “Next time don’t be a cheapskate!” and signed “Local RV park owner.” I have no doubt that there have been occasional incidents of vandalism at rest areas, truck stops and WalMarts, but I seriously doubt any RV park owner is responsible. And if they were, what are the chances they’d take the time to leave such a note? I think a very few RV park owners might spread a rumor like that, but usually if they want to stop RVers from stopping at WalMart they go to the city council and try to get a rule passed to ban the practice.
Fuel Island Mishap – This is one that makes the rounds every so often. An RVer stops at a Flying J fuel island and is distracted by a phone call or whatever and fills his tank with the water hose used to flush down spills. Is anybody really that dumb? I know of a couple of instances where people pumped gas in to a diesel or the other way around, but if you can’t tell the difference between a water hose laying on the ground and a fuel hose attached to a pump, you’re probably better off staying home.
More Fuel Island Dangers – There was a self-styled “security expert” doing seminars at RV rallies a while back who claimed that while you were filling your tank at truck stop fuel islands, criminals would slip inside your motorhome and hide until you got back on the road. Then they would walk up behind you and shoot you in the back of the head. He never could explain why they did this, or how they survived the crash after the RV went off the road with a dead driver behind the wheel.
Cruise Control – I think I heard this the first time about an hour after the first car came out with cruise control. Back then a driver supposedly put the car on cruise control and took a nap or read a newspaper. These days it’s an RVer pushing the cruise control button and then walking to the back of the rig to make a sandwich or go to the bathroom.
Residential Appliances – More than once I have heard somebody insist that you can’t put a residential refrigerator in an RV. The fact that a lot of RVs come with residential refrigerators right from the factory doesn’t sway their opinion. Yes, you can put residential appliances in an RV. In our MCI bus conversion we had a residential refrigerator, stove, washing machine, and dryer. One “expert” insisted that we could not have a house style refrigerator in our bus and every time we crossed paths at an RV rally he reminded us it would not work. As much as five years after we installed it he was telling us it was only a matter of time before it failed. We also replaced the factory installed Norcold RV refrigerator with a Samsung residential model in our Winnebago diesel pusher.
Deadly Dishes – We don’t hear this one very often any more since newer technology has pretty much replaced them, but we still see a tripod mounted two-way satellite dish occasionally. Back in the day, the folks who sold the much more expensive roof mounted automatic dishes were spreading all kinds of nonsense. Among the rumors and lies floating around that we have heard ourselves is that the dishes put out high degrees of RF energy that could be lethal, and that a person had walked past an RV where a tripod dish was being used and it “blew an ink pen he had in his shirt pocket clear through his heart.” Another popular rumor we heard over and over again was that the dishes were illegal and that government agents were cruising through RV parks looking for tripod dishes to confiscate, and the owners of said dishes to arrest and to confiscate their RVs. We were also told that if a user did not aim the dish properly it could do anything from disrupt other satellite communications to “knock communications satellites and aircraft out of the sky.” My response to this is that if the dishes had that capability, every teenage kid and home-grown terrorist would be out in his backyard right now zapping things out of the heavens.
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Thought For The Day – Relax, we’re all crazy. It’s not a competition.
After reading yesterday’s blog, a regular reader posted a couple comments suggesting that people form an LLC and avoid all the registration hassles from their state. For those who haven’t heard the term before, an LLC is a limited liability corporation. Many people form them in Montana, which welcomes out-of-state residents to do so. To hear the guys that are making money forming them talk, it’s a great way to save a fortune on taxes and registration. Well, maybe not.
I have been preaching against setting up a Montana LLC to avoid paying sales taxes on an RV for years. It’s popular with people who live in a state with high registration costs and sales taxes who want to save money. However, it can really bite you in the butt if your home state catches you. Fines can be well over $10,000 and several states are actively looking for residents who do this, including Colorado, Arizona and California. Another state that frowns on LLCs is Iowa. Go back to yesterday’s blog and read the comment by longtime reader Gary Hershlander, who formed a Montana LLC and found himself in court facing both civil and criminal penalties.
There are also problems for fulltimers who use LLCs. In one case I know of, there was a major accident and the RVer’s insurance company would not pay because he bought the insurance as a private individual and the RV was registered to an LLC, which is a company. They said he needed commercial insurance. There have been other problems, including California demanding road taxes because an RV licensed to an LLC is considered a commercial vehicle. We also had a subscriber whose bank called the loans on his RV and car because by setting up an LLC he had limited his personal liability and they loaned the money to buy the RV based upon his creditworthiness.
There are several paralegals and attorneys in Montana who advertise in RV magazines to set up LLCs for RVers and, of course, they will assure you this will never happen. A few years ago one of these outfits challenged me for writing about my stand on this. I replied that if he would buy a $100,000 insurance bond to guarantee to protect me if I got in trouble with his LLC, I would not only set one up, but would admit I was wrong and promote it in every issue of the Gypsy Journal. He declined. I wonder why.
On another topic, somebody yesterday told me that he, his wife, and daughter are all avid readers, but even with average prices of $2.99 to $3.99 for e-books, keeping up with their favorite authors is starting to put a strain on the budget. I suggested he look at Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited subscription program. A monthly fee of just $9.99 gives KU subscribers access to over 1 million e-books (including all of mine), as well as thousands of audiobooks and issues of current magazines that they can read on any device. If you are an active reader and buy more than three e-books a month it can save you a lot of money. Click this link to learn more and sign up for a free no obligation 30 day trial of Kindle Unlimited.
And finally, apparently the latest scam going around is an instant message I received from somebody saying that he is from the Facebook main office and that Mark Zuckerberg is selecting certain Facebook members to receive $50,000 as compensation for the information leaks that are currently in the news. And can you believe that I’m one of the lucky ones chosen to receive this windfall? Of course, it’s small potatoes compared to the $10 million that nice man from Nigeria is going to be depositing in my bank account any day now. But what the heck, $50,000 is $50,000. I’ll take it.
Every day we are getting orders from readers taking us up on our special offer of digital back issues of the Gypsy Journal for the years 2003 through 2017. They come in PDF format on a USB thumb drive and will provide you with weeks of great reading about places to visit from coast to coast and our adventures as fulltime RVers. The normal cost of the back issue collection is $75, but we are running a special through the end of April for just $65, which includes shipping. Don’t miss out on this great deal. If interested, you can log onto www.paypal.com and make payment to firstname.lastname@example.org Be sure to include your mailing address for fast delivery.
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Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Chesapeake 1880 by my friend Ken Rossignol, a tale of life in the Chesapeake Bay region as the industrial revolution changed the world forever. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – In my defense, I was left unsupervised.