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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 editor@gypsyjournal.net. 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.

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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.

A lot of you do your online shopping by clicking this Amazon link. We appreciate that, because when you purchase an item on Amazon any time of the year from one of our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.

Thought For The Day – Relax, we’re all crazy. It’s not a competition.

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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.

Here is an excellent article on Montana LLCs with a lot of information that you need to read and understand before you think about setting one up.



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 editor@gypsyjournal.net  Be sure to include your mailing address for fast delivery.

A lot of you do your online shopping by clicking this Amazon link or the Amazon Search box at the top right sidebar of this blog. We appreciate that, because when you purchase an item on Amazon any time of the year from one of our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.



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.

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Every so often I hear from RVers who are not fulltimers wanting to know about establishing an address with a mail forwarding service and then buying an RV out-of-state and registering it in one of the more RV friendly states like Texas, South Dakota, or Florida. Some of them plan to leave their homes and become fulltimers, while others just want to establish a domicile in one of the states listed above to save money on sales tax, registration fees, and insurance. My advice is always, don’t do it!

It’s perfectly legal to choose any state you want as your legal domicile, but that has to be your legal domicile. For example, you can’t live in New Jersey and have a Florida drivers license and your vehicles registered in Florida. Either you live in Florida or you live in New Jersey, or wherever, but you can’t have both. Yes, you can own property in more than one state, you can even own a home in more than one state, but you still have to be a resident of just one state. I always tell people that you can’t be a little bit pregnant, and you can’t be a little bit of a resident of one state and a little bit of a resident of another.

If you live in New Jersey or Colorado, or whatever state you call home at this point, be aware that you can face heavy fines and penalties for registering your vehicles in another state. A while back a lot of Californians and people who lived in Colorado, for example, were registering their RVs in Montana but still actually resided in their home state. They did it to save money, but for many of them it didn’t work out that way. Their home states, the places where they owned a house and went to work every day and paid utility bills made a case that they were being cheated out of tax funds and prosecuted. It was very costly. I have heard of fines totaling tens of thousands of dollars.

If you plan to become a fulltimer, you can establish your legal domicile in another state as long as you don’t do it and then wait six months or a year or so to hit the road. Trust me, if the police know you live in your town and see you driving around in a car with out-of-state plates, you very likely will get pulled over.

Years ago when we changed vehicles, we gave the one we had been using, which was registered in Texas, to my daughter and her husband, who lived in northern Arizona. It took a couple of months to get a lien release and get the title to them, and in that time they were stopped three or four times by the police in their small town. The last time they were told that if they were caught driving the truck again while it was still registered out-of-state and in our names, they were going to get a ticket and the vehicle would be impounded. Do things right and save yourself a lot of hassle.



After reading yesterday’s blog, Kayaks and RVing, two different readers wanted to know if Terry and I would be interested in selling our Sea Eagle inflatable kayaks now that we are not traveling and have the hard shell Old Town Predator 13s. No, thanks. We really like the Sea Eagles, and it’s good to have a couple of extra boats around for when we have visitors. Plus, we have talked about throwing them in the van when we take some trips this coming summer. There is still a lot of good paddling to be done all over the country.

Yesterday was another marathon writing day for me, and by the time I knocked off about 7:30 PM I had gotten another 8,500 words out in my new John Lee Quarrels book. At this rate, I’m pretty sure I’ll have it finished by the weekend.

While I was doing that, Miss Terry was busy putting hundreds of new string heddles on one of her big Glimakra looms and getting it ready for her next weaving project. Crawling around inside that thing is a lot of work and she wound up with enough bruises on her legs that I’m glad someone didn’t see her and think I was abusing her. But she says it’s worth it, and we all know how much she loves weaving.

Several blog readers have taken 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. If interested, you can log onto www.paypal.com and make payment to editor@gypsyjournal.net

A lot of you do your online shopping by clicking this Amazon link or the Amazon Search box at the top right sidebar of this blog. We appreciate that, because when you purchase an item on Amazon any time of the year from one of our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.



It’s Thursday and time to kick off a new 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 – Mother Nature apologizes for the lateness of Spring, but Father Time was driving and refused to stop and ask for directions!

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In a blog post the other day titled Finally Got It Wet, I wrote about our first outing with our Bennington pontoon boat. I also shared that while our time on the water was very nice, we ran into a problem once we had the boat loaded onto the scissor trailer and inside our garage. We had difficulty unhooking the trailer from our pickup truck, and when we did get it to come loose, the back end of the boat slammed about six inches down and hit the floor, while the trailer’s tongue was sticking up about three feet in the air. And to make matters worse, the scissor trailer was stuck under the boat and we couldn’t pull it out.

I was sure I had done some major damage to the boat and was just sick about it. But yesterday, Rich, the sales manager at Gerry’s Marina in New Smyrna Beach where I bought the boat, came by to check things out for me. He told me not to worry, Bennington’s are built like tanks, and there was no damage done. Then he had our friend Jim Lewis and me stand on the trailer’s tongue and gently bounce up and down a couple of times, and when we did, the back end came up enough that he and Miss Terry could put 4×4 blocks under the rear of the pontoons. Then Rich put two more blocks under the pontoons toward the front and cranked the trailer down, setting the weight on those blocks. You couldn’t do that on some brands of pontoon boat without crushing the tubes, but like Rich said, Bennington’s are made like tanks. It’s one reason I chose that brand.

So now the boat is level on the blocks, the trailer is loose and waiting to be cranked up the next time we take the boat out, and we know now to put the boat down on the blocks and then to crank the trailer all the way down before we unhook it from the truck. Lesson learned, and everything is right in my world again. Thanks Rich, you’re a lifesaver!

I’ve been getting quite a few questions from readers about the Facebook scandal, and how personal information was being mined from user profiles. People are asking me if it is safe to use Facebook anymore. Some also want to know how to protect their identity when they are on the road, using credit cards and putting down their personal information on campground check-in cards.



Is that any different than when you go to a hotel and check in, and give them your home address and telephone number? Or when you purchase something in a store and they want your information for the warranty? Or when you take your car or RV in for service? Face it folks, we live in a world where nothing is really private anymore. Sure, you can take precautions, but most people don’t realize how much information there is about you floating around out there.

Most people post so much personal crap on Facebook anyway that it’s a wonder anybody has to look hard for information. Just the other day somebody I know had a post on Facebook from her sister saying that she may not be home when they arrive, but to park the RV in the driveway and the house key is under a statue of a turtle on the front porch. Talk about asking to get ripped off!

And it’s not just Facebook. Google your own name sometime. You may be amazed at what’s out there. Some of you know that I am into genealogy, a popular hobby with RVers. Did you know that a simple subscription to Ancestry.com can give you all kinds of information, not just about dead relatives, but about lots of people who are alive and well, too?

If you don’t believe me, you can check it out without even subscribing to Ancestry. Just go to a public library and ask to use one of their computers. These days many libraries have Ancestry subscriptions. Log onto the website and type in your name, the state you were born in or a state you once lived in, and a birthday range of say 2 to 5 years. You will probably find addresses of places where you lived, quite often telephone numbers, possibly marriage or divorce records, names of close relatives, and a lot more.

Like I said, nothing is really private anymore. So don’t worry too much about giving a campground owner your name and telephone number when you check in. There are a lot more nefarious characters out there you should be worried about than the guy standing behind the counter at your local campground.



A lot of you do your online shopping by clicking this Amazon link or the Amazon Search box at the top right sidebar of this blog. We appreciate that, because when you purchase an item on Amazon any time of the year from one of our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.

Thought For The Day – Growing old is not easy. Sometimes the mind says “yes” but the body says “What the hell were you thinking?”

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If acquiring one antique console radio is good, getting two of them must be better, right? At least, that’s how I planned to explain it to Miss Terry.



As I wrote in a recent blog post titled Radios And More Radios!, I have been looking for a nice old console radio to put in my office for quite some time now, and the other day I found one on Craigslist at a town about 75 miles south of us. We went down to check it out and came home with this great old 1940 Westinghouse. Or maybe it’s a 1939, according to a couple of references I have seen.

At any rate, as I said in the blog, the person selling it has an amazing collection of antique radios and TVs and such, and he was kind enough to let us see some of them. While we were there I also spotted a 1939 Zenith Stars & Stripes model console radio and my heart skipped a beat.

When I was a kid, my Aunt Trudy had one and I used to love to sit on the floor and listen to it. Uncle Andy had rigged some kind of antenna on the roof of their farmhouse and the old Zenith could pick up stations all around the world. I remember listening to things like Radio Free Europe on it, and stations with people speaking foreign languages. I have wanted a radio just like that for as long as I can remember.

I told the collector that if he ever wanted to part with that Zenith, I was very interested. He said he would think it over, and maybe check it out and see if it needed anything. Then on Saturday he called me and said if I wanted the radio, it was mine. So yesterday we drove back to his place a second time and now the Zenith sits in my office, and every time I look up at it I get a smile on my face.

Oh, and I didn’t have to “explain” it to Terry at all. She gets it. Yes, I know. I’m a very lucky man.

As for the first radio I bought from him, the Westinghouse, we moved it into our guest bedroom. We may need to build an addition onto the house!



In a Facebook post yesterday, my friend Coleen Sykora from Workers on Wheels asked if anybody had pulled any April Fool’s pranks. I replied that I did. When Miss Terry woke up yesterday morning, I was still here. It’s the same prank I’ve pulled on her every morning for over 20 years. The stunned deer in the headlights look on her face never gets old.

Several people have written about the problem with our pontoon boat that I wrote about in yesterday’s blog, offering suggestions or just commiserating. I appreciate everybody’s concern, and have a couple of ideas about how to remedy matters. I’ll be talking to the guys at the marina today to get their input and see what they suggest. I will let you know what we come up with.

A lot of you do your online shopping by clicking this Amazon link or the Amazon Search box at the top right sidebar of this blog. We appreciate that, because when you purchase an item on Amazon any time of the year from one of our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.

Congratulations Norm Stoysich, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake Burning, the sixth book in my Big Lake mystery series. We had 71 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.

Thought For The Day – Every twenty minute job is only one broken bolt away from becoming a three day ordeal.

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Gypsy Journal RV Travel Newspaper by Nick Russell - 4M ago

I guess if you raise enough hell on social media and in a blog it gets things done, since yesterday we received our long awaited refund from SimpliSafe for the alarm system we returned weeks ago. It’s about time.



The refund will just about cover the cost of all the material we bought to finish off the inside of the garage. By the way, I forgot to mention in yesterday’s blog that we really appreciate the 10% discount Lowes gives to all veterans. That came to a pretty good chunk of money when we bought everything the other day. If you’re a veteran, just get the free My Lowes card and show it to the clerk when you check out, and they automatically give you the discount. This is not a credit card, it simply verifies your veteran’s status.

Now if the pending deal on our motorhome will just close like they said it was going to do today. Supposedly it was all worked out, but then PPL’s sales manager called yesterday afternoon to say that the starting batteries were dead and needed to be replaced. I asked him if they had turned on the battery disconnect switch inside the front entry and he didn’t know. He just knew it needed new batteries. I told him that the batteries were brand new and installed last June, and still under their three year warranty. All they have to do is take them to an Auto Zone and get them replaced. The sales manager hemmed and hawed about that, saying that was a lot of work for his people to do. Hey, you guys are making several thousand dollars commission on the sale, get off your butts and do it.

In a blog the other day I talked about RV insurance companies. Which reminded me of the TV commercials for Liberty Mutual where the two brain dead teenagers have a flat tire and need their insurance company to come and save them. Really?

Have kids really become that helpless? When I was a teenager, a million years ago, even the girls I knew could change a tire. I guess we were all strong enough for the job because we didn’t have power steering, we actually had to shift our transmissions, and if it was too hot inside our cars we rolled the windows down by hand. If you are too dumb or immature to handle a simple problem like changing a tire, I don’t want you driving down the road in my direction in a ton of steel. What the heck are you going to do if a real problem comes up? The Liberty Mutual ad reminds me of the wimps in Oregon whining because in some places they now have to pump their own gas, which was illegal statewide until recently.

It’s kind of like the people who are always freaked out about dumping their RV’s holding tank. I just don’t see what the problem is with that. You hook up a hose, you pull the valve to your black tank, when it’s empty you close that valve and pull the valve to your gray tank to wash everything out, then you close that valve and you put the hose away. Didn’t these people ever change a diaper when they had kids? If they are that terrified of bodily wastes, I suspect I know who is letting their dog crap all over the campground and not picking up after it. As my son Travis used to say, some people’s children…

A lot of you do your online shopping by clicking this Amazon link or the Amazon Search box at the top right sidebar of this blog. We appreciate that, because when you purchase an item on Amazon any time of the year from one of our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.



Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Lynching, the second 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 – Sometimes I wish I was an octopus, so I could slap eight people at once.

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