Nick Russell

Vampire Begone!

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 202014
 

With the new issue of the paper finished and at our printer’s in Michigan, we have a few days to goof off before it gets delivered to us here in Pennsylvania. So yesterday, that’s what we did.

A while back Miss Terry had read about a place in nearby Gettysburg called Hacienda Shiloh in Karen Eidson’s FabGrandma blog, so we decided to go check it out.

Hacienda Shiloh sign

Owned by Marda Mattox, an outspoken women who told us a whole lot more about garlic and garlic farming than I ever knew, Hacienda Shiloh is a small organic herb farm located in the rolling hills above Gettysburg. Marda sells 20 different varieties of garlic in season, which is about 19 more varieties than I knew existed.

Garlic

They say that if you wear a bulb of garlic around your neck it will ward off vampires. I’m pretty sure there’s not a vampire within 500 miles of Gettysburg. The small gift shop at Hacienda Shiloh also has over 200 different custom blended teas, herbs, peppercorns, pepper blends, sea salts, and other natural products.

Bagged herbs

Spices

We’re history nuts and I love Gettysburg because there’s so much history there that you can almost feel it in the air you breathe. It’s hard to imagine that such a pretty place saw so much pain and suffering when Union and Confederate troops clashed here back in 1863, when three days of fighting left more than 30,000 dead and wounded soldiers in their wake.

Cannons

More than 1,400 monuments, markers and tablets at Gettysburg honor the men from both sides who fought here and it seems like everywhere you turn there is a reminder of the battle.

80th New York monument

This monument honors Abner Doubleday, a Major General in the Union Army who is credited with inventing the game of baseball in a cow pasture in Cooperstown, New York in 1839.

Abner Doubleday statue 

Five years ago we spent a few days in Gettysburg, and while we were there we found a nice little store called Wilderness Lodge Leather & Hat Shop, which is where I finally found my beloved fedoras after looking for just the right hats for years. Back then we met a wonderful lady named Gail, who was very friendly and a wealth of knowledge about the town. She was fascinated by our lifestyle and we gave her a copy of the Gypsy Journal.

When we were in town yesterday we decided to stop at the shop again, and Gail immediately recognized us. We chatted for a few minutes and then had to leave, because I was seeing a couple of new hats and found my hand involuntarily reaching for my wallet. I mean, how many hats does a guy really need?

Gray hat

Brown hat

White hat

Nick jester hat

It’s Wednesday and that means it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Dog’s Run, my mystery set in a small Ohio town in 1951. If I had to name one of my books as my favorite, it would be this one. To enter, all you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name 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.

DogsRun_AudioCover

Thought For The Day – You can’t grasp today if you’re still holding onto yesterday.

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That’s 92!

 Posted by at 12:15 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 192014
 

Last night I finished the new issue of the Gypsy Journal and I will upload it to our printer’s web server this morning. This is issue 92, and that’s a lot of travel stories! And there’s still so much that we want to see and do, and tell you about.

Overheard yesterday morning at the campground between a mother and a little boy of about 5 years old:

Mom – Jackson, you come back here!

Mom – Jackson, I said come back here!

Mom – I know you can hear me! Get back here.

Kid – NO!

Mom – Don’t you sass me! I said get back here!

Mom – Jackson, I’m not going to tell you again. Get back here.

Kid – NO!

Mom – Jackson, I’m telling you for the last time!

Mom – Jackson, I’m warning you! I won’t tell you again.

Mom – Jackson, I’m not going to tell you again. Get back here!

Geez, mom, you’ve already taught him that you ARE going to tell him again and again and he doesn’t have to listen. Spank his butt and you might get his attention!

I got an e-mail from a reader asking me if it really is possible for RVers to make enough money to supplement their Social Security. Sure you can, we’ve been making our entire living on the road for fifteen years now. Some good resources for finding ways to do it are John and Kathy Huggins’ excellent So, You Want to be a Workamper?, my own book Work Your Way Across The USA, and Workamper News. You’ll also find a lot of ideas in this article on Mobile Income Sources for Non-Retired RVers from the nice folks at Technomadia.

With the new issue out of the way and a few days to kill before we get it back from the printer, we’re going to try to see some of the local attractions around York and Gettysburg. York is known as the Factory Tour Capital of the World and there are tours locally for everything from the Harley Davidson motorcycle factory to pretzel factories, and one that manufactures violins. We did the Harley Davidson tour several years ago, but we hope to squeeze in some of the others while we’re here.

A lot of people have been asking me when my new book, Big Lake Scandal, will be released. It’s in the final editing stage now and as soon as I get it back and make any last minute corrections I’ll upload it to Amazon and Barnes & Noble for Nook readers. I’m hoping it will be by the end of the month, but there are some things that can’t be rushed if one wants to turn out a quality product. And after all the months it takes to write a book, I feel an obligation to myself and my readers to take the time to do it right and not take any shortcuts along the way.

I’m eager to get this new book out so I can get to work on the next one in the Big Lake series. Actually, I’ve been writing it in my head for a while now and I’m looking forward to getting it down on paper. Or at least into my computer.

Thought For The Day – Flattery is from the teeth out. Sincere appreciation is from the heart out. – Dale Carnegie

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A Trip From Hell

 Posted by at 12:37 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 182014
 

I wrote in yesterday’s blog that we only had a short 45 mile drive from the Hershey Thousand Trails to the Gettysburg Farm RV Resort near Dover, Pennsylvania. Easy peasy. Yeah, right.

It was raining when we woke up and continued while I had my Corn Pops, checked e-mail, and answered those that needed immediate attention. Not hard, just a steady gentle rain that lasted while I took the trash down to the dumpster, came back and dumped our holding tanks, put the window awning up, unhooked the utilities and stored things away, then went inside to pull in our slide rooms and retract the jacks, and went back outside to get the jack pads out from under the motorhome and stored them away. Once I had all of that done, the rain stopped. That should have told me something about what my day was going to be like.

Once we had the Explorer hooked up to our Blue Ox tow bar we pulled out of the campground about 10:30 a.m. There is a Hess gas station about five miles from the campground with diesel pumps and easy access in and out, and their prices are always competitive. We had a little over half a tank of fuel but I wanted to top the tank off because I’m not sure what we’ll find as we travel south in a couple of weeks.

Back on the road, I missed a turn and somehow ended up in a huge pack of cars seven lanes wide going into Hershey Theme Park, with no way to turn around. Now that was fun! We eventually inched our way up to a VERY narrow entrance gate where I told the attendant that all I wanted to do was get the hell out of there. He gave me directions around the complex to get back out onto the highway and I managed to thread our way through all of the cars to get there, nerves totally frazzled.

You’d think that would be enough fun for one day, wouldn’t you? You’d be wrong. We planned to go west to U.S. Highway 15 and follow it south, the same route we took a couple of weeks ago when we drove down in the Explorer to check out Gettysburg Farm. But I’m pretty sure that the spirits of both of my ex-mothers-in-law had invaded our Rand McNally RV GPS and it had other plans. Before I knew it we were on the north side of Harrisburg, then got dumped off on two lane roads, turned here, turned there, and pretty soon I was wishing I was back in the crowd at Hershey Theme Park.

Finally I saw a sign for Interstate 83, which I knew would take us to York, from which we could follow U.S. 30 west toward our destination. But again, the GPS kept nagging me to get off on every exit, gravel road, cow path, and weigh station along the way. I don’t know what the heck was wrong with it, I checked and it was set in RV mode with our rig’s size and weight entered in. Tired of its noise, Terry turned it off and we resorted to our tried and true road atlas.

By the time we arrived at the campground, our 45 mile trip had stretched to over 85 miles! It was 2:30 by the time we got settled into our site, only two hours later than I expected to be there. But the good news is that even though the campground is very crowded we got a nice back in full hookup 50 amp site with a clear view of the sky for our satellite dish, and everybody here seems very friendly. So it was worth all the time and aggravation. Well, maybe.

I guess whoever vacated our site just before we got here must have read yesterday’s blog about smoky campfires, because they left a smoldering log in the fire ring. Once I had everything hooked up, I poured a couple of pans of water on it and put an end to that nonsense. We’ll be here through Labor Day weekend, seeing some of the local attractions and taking life easy once I get the new issue finished and off to the printer.

And finally, congratulations to Sandy Dealy, this week’s winner of an audiobook of George Wier’s Longnecks & Twisted Hearts in our Gypsy Journal drawing!

Thought For The Day – Sometimes you succeed, and other times you learn.

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Aug 172014
 

Except for a quick trip to the dumpster I haven’t left the motorhome. Actually, I pretty much haven’t left my desk. But the good news is that I’ve only got a little over three pages left to go on the new issue of the paper.

That trip to the dumpster was enough. There are a lot of weekend campers here and it seems like every one of them has a campfire going. By the time I got back to the motorhome my eyes were watering. In fact, it got so bad that Terry finally had to close the windows and roof vents and used the air conditioning to clear the air.

Yeah, I know, campfires are a part of the whole camping experience experience, yada yada yada. Let’s all go to the great outdoors and pollute the air until we think we’re in Los Angeles on a bad smog day. I can see sitting around the campfire at night toasting marshmallows and having a good time, but what’s with having a roaring, or more often smoldering fire, going from dawn until the bats and owls finally can’t take it any more and go to bed?

I have a question for Gypsy Journal subscribers. In each issue I usually write about the places we have visited recently. For example, the new issue will cover our time in southern Indiana and Ohio, with stories from those areas, which makes it handy to have if you are going to be in that part of the country. You’ll have lots of places to go and things to do, all in one issue. Do you prefer it that way, or would you rather see a mix of stories from different places in each issue?

You may notice a slightly different look to today’s blog. Something changed somewhere along the way and for some reason the text links have blended into the rest of the type and were hard to see. I am now manually converting them to blue to hopefully make them stand out more.

A while back I held a self-publishing workshop at Elkhart Campground, and I was really thrilled the other day when I got an e-mail from one of the attendees, Roger King, telling me that the workshop helped him realize his dream of getting his own book, The Watchers, published and online. You can learn more about Roger’s book and purchase a copy at www.thewatcherslive.com.

Many of you are already familiar with my friend Randy Morris’ excellent photo travel books and he has two of them free on Amazon this weekend, Traveling the U.S.: Hawaii and Traveling Asia: Tokyo, Taipei, and Hong Kong. Both books are excellent, and how can you beat free?

Today is your last chance to enter this week’s free drawing for an audiobook of Longnecks & Twisted Hearts, the third book in my friend George Weir’s excellent Bill Travis mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on the Free Drawings link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name 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.

Longnecks cover

Our two weeks here are up and we’re leaving the Hershey Thousand Trails today. But we only have a short drive to our next destination, the Gettysburg Farm Resort, an Outdoor World property in Dover, about 45 miles from here. We’re looking forward to spending time there and exploring the local area.

Thought For The Day – I do not have gray hair. I have wisdom highlights.

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Aug 162014
 

Except for a quick run to Annville to mail out an order and stop at a roadside produce stand and a very nice meat market next to it called Laudermilch’s Meats, we were busy at home all day yesterday.

After dealing with the usual morning load of e-mail, I parked myself at my desk and stayed there most of the day. I wrote stories for and then laid out seven more pages of the new issue of the Gypsy Journal. After I finish every issue, I say I’m going to write a couple of stories a week for the next one so a lot of it will be done ahead of time. And every issue I get busy with other projects and procrastinate and it doesn’t get done. That’s the procrastinator’s code, right – Why do today what you can put off until next week?

While I was doing that, Miss Terry got a lot of work done on her current weaving project. This photo only shows a small portion of what she has done already. There are a couple of feet that you can’t see that are already wound on the front apron.

 2014-08-15 23.43.54

And here is a close up of the pattern. The actual diameter of the thread she is using is no bigger than a heavy sewing thread.

2014-08-15 23.44.56

This project is a multicolored shawl made with tencel thread and much more complicated than anything she’s tackled yet. She’s still in the learning curve as a self-taught weaver and hit a couple of stumbling blocks before she figured things out and it began to flow for her. I love seeing her smiling when she masters some new technique, but I know Terry enough to know that there will always be another challenge to overcome, because she loves learning.

Quite a few readers have asked how to get an autographed copy of her cookbook, Miss Terry’s Kitchen. While you can order the book in printed or e-book format from Amazon, up until now most of the autographed copies have been sold in person or at Escapade back in Goshen. But we have a small supply on hand, and if you want one we can mail it to you. Cost of the book, including shipping, is $19.45 and you can order it by logging onto www.paypal.com and making payment to editor@gypsyjournal.net or by sending a check to Gypsy Journal, 1400 Colorado Street C-16, Boulder City, NV 89005. Please include a note telling Terry who you want it autographed to. Because we are on the road and have to wait for our mail to catch up to us, if you order by snail mail, please allow up to three weeks for delivery.

CoverTerry

Have you entered our latest Free Drawing yet? This week’s prize is an audiobook of Longnecks & Twisted Hearts, the third book in my friend George Weir’s excellent Bill Travis mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name 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.

Longnecks cover

I have several great books to tell you about today from some of my author pals. There’s good news for science fiction readers this weekend. Bestselling author Saxon Andrew has just released Taming a Planet, book two in his Trapped in Time series and it’s already climbing the charts and looking like another blockbuster hit.

Stephen Arseneault just released AMP The Core, the seventh book in his exciting AMP series. And like Saxon’s new title, it’s also headed for bestseller status. As an independent author myself, I can tell you that’s not an easy accomplishment. These guys’ success impresses the hell out of me.

Two other guys that impress me are Billy Kring and George Weir, and they just published a new steampunk book, 1889: Journey To The Moon, about eleven people on a trip to the Moon in a strange steam-powered anti-gravity spaceship.

And as always, folks, the best thing you can do for an independent author is to leave a review. It really helps us market our books.

Thought For The Day – Experience is the one thing you can’t get on the easy payment plan.

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Roadside America

 Posted by at 12:50 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 152014
 

We’ve seen a lot of roadside attractions from coast to coast in our time on the road, some that were really good and some that made us yawn and say, “Uh huh, can we go now?” But yesterday we saw what Terry and I both agree is the best one ever.

Roadside America, located just off Interstate 78 in Shartlesville, Pennsylvania, is an amazing miniature world that takes visitors on a trip back through time to small town America, spanning over 200 years in a way that you have to see to believe.

Roadside America outside

Though it’s a miniature, this larger than life Quaker couple celebrating their 50th anniversary greeted us in the parking lot.

Quaker Couple

This isn’t your typical model train layout! Created by Laurence T. Gieringer, who became interested in miniatures back in 1899 when he was five years old, the 8,000 square foot fully landscaped display is the work of over 60 years.

Railroad bridge

Overview

Country scene

It has more than 300 miniature structures, 10,000 hand-made trees, 4,000 miniature people, and 18 trains, trollies and cable cars running throughout the display. Not to mention rivers, streams and waterways with live fish and recirculating water, an animated circus parade, and dozens of other moving pieces and parts.

Country church

Grist mill

It’s amazing to realize just what it took to build Roadside America; 600 miniature light bulbs, 21,500 feet of electrical wiring, 17,700 board feet of lumber, 2,250 feet of railroad track, 18,000 pounds of plaster, 4,000 pounds of sheet iron, 900 pounds of nails and several more truckloads of materials!

Town view

town View 2

The attention to detail is unbelievable. The Cathedral has 44 hand-painted windows and it took over 400 hours to create this building alone.

Cathedral

You can’t tour Roadside America quickly, there is just too much to take in. Pause here to see workers smoothing out concrete in a new sidewalk, and at Long’s Esso station, where they actually pump your gas for you and wash your windshield.

Cul de sac

Esso station

At the coal mine, trucks, trains and conveyors are busy loading anthracite for transport.

Coal Mine 

Every half hour the overhead lights begin to dim, lights come on in shops and houses, and then full nightfall sets in as patriotic music plays a tribute to America. And then the sky begins to glow and a new day breaks over Roadside America and it all starts over again.

We’ll have a feature story on Roadside America in an upcoming issue, but in the meantime, if you pass through eastern Pennsylvania on your route south for the winter, make it a point to stop for a visit. There is plenty of room for RVs to park, it’s handicapped accessible, and I guarantee it’s a stop you won’t soon forget.

Have you entered our latest free drawing yet? This week’s prize is an audiobook of Longnecks & Twisted Hearts, the third book in my friend George Weir’s excellent Bill Travis mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on the Free Drawings link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name 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.

Longnecks cover

Thought For The Day – The best sermons are lived, not preached.

Check Out Nick’s E-Books In Our E-Book Store

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Aug 142014
 

Over the years I’ve given new and wannabe RVers a lot of advice to help them make the best choices, but today I thought we’d go in a different direction and we’ll talk about some things NOT to do.

We thought we had done our research, but starting out we made just about every mistake a greenhorn can make. Hopefully you can learn from us and save yourself a lot of time and trouble.

Trusting An RV Salesman – There’s a reason for the saying “If an RV salesman’s lips are moving, he’s lying.” I believe there are some honest RV sales reps in the country who care about putting customers in the RV that fits their needs, but then again, I still believe in the Easter Bunny, too. It’s a sad fact that far too many RV sales reps will tell you anything to make a sale. I’ve had them tell me tall tales that make Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan seem believable, and make claims that are not just wrong, but ridiculous. Not long ago one told me that the four slide 42 foot diesel pusher he thought I really needed to buy would easily get 17-19 miles per gallon cruising down the highway fully loaded and pulling a toad. Perhaps the worst thing they routinely do is sell people trailers that are far too heavy for the trucks they plan to pull them with, assuring the unsuspecting customers that everything will be fine. In my opinion this is not just dishonest, it’s criminal.

Buying The Wrong RV – So what’s the right RV for you? I have no idea, all of our needs are different, and the longer we do this the more we all change. My friend John Huggins from Living The RV Dream always advises newbies to buy their third RV first. That’s good advice. If I could give a newbie one piece of advice on what to buy, it would be to purchase a used upscale model instead of a new entry level rig. No matter what you buy, if it’s new, you lose a ton of money the moment you drive off the dealer’s lot. Let somebody else eat that depreciation, spend those first months running back to the dealer to get things fixed, and have a better quality home on wheels for the same or less money than an entry or mid-level RV would cost.

Listening To The Experts – Every third guy on the internet RV forums is an expert. Just ask them. Sometimes I want to shake my head and laugh when I read the advice they so freely dispense, but more often I want to hang my head and cry. Just recently in on online forum a self-proclaimed journeyman electrician claiming to have over thirty years experience assured someone that they did not need any type of electrical management system or surge protector because, “by law, all RV park hookups must meet code and be in proper working order.” Yes, you do need an electrical management system. I can’t tell you how many RV sites we’ve had with bad power.

Buying A Campground Membership – In our first three months on the road we listened to a fast talking salesman and purchased an expensive campground membership that was a bad fit for us and a bad choice financially. I always tell new fulltimers to wait at least a year before they buy anything but Passport America, because it will take them that long to slow down and figure out their traveling style and likes and dislikes. And then, if you do decide to buy a membership, consider a used one, or something like a Thousand Trails Zone Pass to determine if membership campgrounds are right for you.

Thinking You Don’t Need A Checklist – “A checklist? We don’t need no stinking checklist! I’ve unhooked our campground utilities a dozen times. I got this!” Uh, no, you don’t. Trust me, sooner or later you’re going to pull out of a campsite without unhooking the water hose or electrical cord, or you’re going to forget to secure your fifth wheel hitch and ding the back end of your truck, or neglect to put your toad in neutral if you don’t use a checklist. Trust me, it will happen.

Not Knowing Your Height – How tall is your RV? Are you sure? Does the height listed in the rig’s specs include rooftop air conditioning units and satellite dishes and domes? Have you actually climbed up on the roof and measured? And do you have that posted on your dashboard? Sooner or later you’ll thank me if you do.

Trusting That Automatic Step – You open the door and that nifty electric step automatically goes out. How cool is that? Until it doesn’t. I know just how much it hurts when you step out into thin air and end up on your butt on the asphalt. If you’re lucky like me, the worst you’ll suffer is a bruised ego. If not, you may find yourself sitting in an ER with a broken ankle or worse, as several RVing friends we know have done.

Trusting Your RV Ladder – If you think you can hurt yourself when your automatic step fails, wait until you see how much damage you can do when the ladder on the back of your RV comes loose or collapses. A couple of years ago three of our readers suffered serious injuries while using RV ladders.

And Then There’s The GPS – Don’t depend on a GPS made for automobiles. Your RV is wider, longer, and heavier than a car and it can’t go places a car can. Get yourself a good truck or RV GPS. And then don’t blindly trust it, either. In a few weeks we’re going to the Harbor View Outdoor World campground near Colonial Beach, Virginia. I know from our last trip there that if we follow our GPS we’ll end up on a road where the bridge washed our several years ago and then have to back up on a narrow two lane road to find a way around it.

Don’t Freak Out – Sooner or later you’re going to make one of the mistakes listed above, or one of the dozens of others we’ve made. As long as nobody gets hurt and the damage isn’t too severe, laugh it off and get on with your life. Yeah, I know, it’s no laughing matter when it happens. Trust me, somewhere down the road it’s going to make one hell of a good campfire story!

Have you entered our latest free drawing yet? This week’s prize is an audiobook of Longnecks & Twisted Hearts, the third book in my friend George Weir’s excellent Bill Travis mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on the Free Drawings link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name 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.

Longnecks cover

Thought For The Day – You can teach a cat to do anything that it wants to do.

Check Out Nick’s E-Books In Our E-Book Store

Click Here For Back Issues Of The Gypsy Journal

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Waterworld

 Posted by at 1:10 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 132014
 

The weatherman predicted heavy rains for yesterday and he wasn’t fibbing! It started coming down just after midnight and never stopped all day long. Sometimes it eased up to just a light shower, but then it would pour again. It was still raining 24 hours later when I was getting this blog ready to post last night around midnight. The news said some areas around Harrisburg and Lancaster County received over two inches of rain and the ground was saturated. I’m glad we’re high and dry in our space here at the Hershey Thousand Trails preserve, because there were flash flood watches throughout the area.

Every time I talk about wanting to get a boat, my pals Ron Speidel and Greg White tell me that’s not a good idea. If this keeps up much longer, our Winnebago might become a boat!

It wasn’t a good day to be outside, unless you were a duck, and even though I waddle quite well, I’m not one. So I spent the day working on the new issue of the Gypsy Journal, and by the time I knocked off a little after 11 p.m. I had twenty pages laid out.

Terry was busy getting her new weaving project ready to put on the loom. Remember those 578 pieces of thread I told you about a couple of days ago? Here they are, all threaded onto the reed. That took several hours.

Yarn on reed

And then they had to be individually sleyed through the metal heddles on the eight shafts of her loom. The next step will be winding it all unto the warping beam. And then she can actually start weaving!

Yarn on loom

It’s Wednesday and that means it’s time for a new contest. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Longnecks & Twisted Hearts, the third book in my friend George Weir’s excellent Bill Travis mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on the Free Drawings link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name 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.

Longnecks cover

I’m not sure what’s on the agenda today. We may stay home and keep on doing what we have been, or if the weather breaks we may poke our noses outside and get a breath of fresh air.

Thought For The Day – If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.

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15 Under $10

 Posted by at 12:31 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 122014
 

A while back I wrote a blog about RV Goodies that was very well received, so today I’m going to put a twist on that theme and tell you about fifteen handy gadgets that no RV should be without, and none of them will set you back more than a sawbuck.

Brass Water Pressure Regulator – You never know how much pressure that campground water outlet is going to deliver, and a water pressure regulator can save your RV from burst water lines due to high pressure. In fact, buy two, because RVers seem to lose a lot of these when they are unhooking to hit the road.

Extra Drinking Water Hose – Sooner or later you’re going to run into a situation where one water hose is not enough. I carry three different white fresh water hoses and have had to use all three more than once.

Dual Outlet Hose Adapter – This is another must have. I like to keep a second water hose connected to a Y adapter. It comes in handy for washing the RV in campgrounds that allow it, and can be invaluable if a fire starts.

Fresh Water Bandit – Don’t worry about unthreaded faucets or those with stripped threads, this little adapter lets you attach your water hose with ease!

41E9o11LJML

All-in-One Handheld Tool Kit – You won’t believe how many times this handy little multipurpose tool comes in handy. It has a mini-hammer, measurement tap, bubble level, a screwdriver with 12 bits, and a flashlight.

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4-In-1 Pocket Screwdriver – Have the convenience of a set of precision screwdrivers in one small pocket tool!

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Stubby Ratcheting MultiBit Screwdriver – You can never have too many screwdrivers, and this little wonder will come in handy for those tight places where a full size screwdriver can’t fit.

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Leveling Scissor Jack Socket – If you have manual scissor jacks, you’ll love this little tool. It saves time and effort to raise or lower scissor jacks, fits 3/8" or 1/2" power drills, and works with all 3/4" hex drive jacks.

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SunShield Reflective Door Window Cover – Control the temperature in your RV and protect the interior from harmful UV rays. Hook and loop fasteners allow for easy installation

Wheel Chocks – Secure your trailer in place and prevent movement with these durable hard plastic wheel chocks with UV inhibitors.

Double Refrigerator Bar – How many times have you opened your refrigerator on a trip and had everything come crashing out? You can put a stop to that with these spring loaded bars.

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Water Heater Tank Flush – Extend the life of your RV water heater with this must-have tool! Attach to garden hose and insert into your water heater drain opening and easily flush out sediment.

15/30 AMP PowerGrip Adapter – You’ll appreciate this little adapter when visiting family and you need to plug into 15 AMP power source. It’s contoured shape makes for easy removal from outlet.

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Master Blaster Tank Wand – This wand is invaluable for flushing RV black water tanks and preventing blockages.

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12/24 Volt LED Digital Volt Meter – I have one of these mounted below the overhead cabinets above my desk and can monitor my house battery voltage at a glance. Quick and easy to connect and install.

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Thought For The Day – An expert is a person who has made every possible mistake in a small field of study.

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Aug 112014
 

I spent most of the weekend working on the new issue of the Gypsy Journal, and by the time I knocked off last night, I had gotten a lot accomplished. I should be on track to make our deadline for the printer with no problem.

Actually, I did take some time away from the keyboard to give my friend John Huggins my input on a new page he added to his Living The RV Dream website comparing the pros and cons of Motorhomes vs Fifth Wheel Trailers.

I also spent some time in my online authors group sharing some advice on blogging and how to monetize a blog. A lot of people don’t realize the amount of work involved in creating a successful blog, nor how financially rewarding it can be. When I hear from RVers looking for ways to supplement their income on the road, my first reaction is to suggest a blog. If you can string words together reasonably well and are just a little bit creative it can be a great part time job.

While I was doing all that, Miss Terry was busy planning her next weaving project, which she says is going to be her most complicated one yet. It has 578 separate threads to be wound onto the warping frame, and then carefully removed keeping the cross. The next step will be to actually warp the loom. Which means that each one of those 578 threads must be threaded through the reed and sleyed through the metal heddles on the eight shafts of her loom and then wound unto the warping beam, all before she can actually start weaving!

Yarn

If that is confusing to read, imagine what it’s like to actually see the complicated process. But Terry thrives on the challenge, and I know her, once she’s got this one finished she’ll find something even more demanding to create. I’m constantly amazed at what she can do, and it’s all self-taught, relying on books, DVDs and You Tube videos. (Can you tell that my wife impresses the hell out of me?)

Congratulations Marlene Tillery, this week’s winner of an audiobook of Carol Ann Newsome’s Maximum Security the third book in her Dog Park mystery series. We had 106 entries in this week’s contest and stay tuned because a new contest starts soon.

A few readers have asked how we choose our winners. I use a random number generator on a free website called Random.org, entering in the number of valid entries, and it spits out a winner. Quick and easy. I say valid entries, because every week we get a few duplicate entries and I delete the extra ones. I like to believe that it’s an honest mistake, though there have been a very few people who I’ve banned because they entered five or ten times in one week. I can understand the occasional accidental duplicate, but when the same person enters that many times in a five day contest I warn them once and then ban them the next time it happens.

I have some new books to suggest to you for your reading pleasure today. My buddy Cleve Sylcox has a new mystery on Amazon; Death In Gravely Falls: Sometimes, Justice Isn’t Enough, which is set in a small Colorado town on the outskirts of ski country.

If you like fantasy books, check out The Road To Cordia by Allison Blake, a fantasy tale filled with tricksters, slavers, warlords, and werewolves, that will keep you turning the pages.

And if your taste runs toward metaphysical fantasy, my pal Randy Morris’ first full-length novel, Minor Demons, is free today. It follows Shadow, Leech, and Lilith as demons-in-training as they fight in Hell and on Earth to become minor demons.

I mentioned RVers looking for ways to supplement their income above. You can learn just about everything there is to learn about workamping in John and Kathy Huggins’ excellent book, So, You Want to be a Workamper. I know it’s a good book, because I helped proofread it! Smile

Thought For The Day – It takes nothing to join the crowd. It takes everything to stand alone.

Check Out Nick’s E-Books In Our E-Book Store

Click Here For Back Issues Of The Gypsy Journal

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