Nick Russell

Nov 292014
 

Any major change in life can cause stress, be it changing jobs, getting married, buying a home, and yes, even retirement. So it should come as no surprise that making the decision to become a fulltime RVer, or even a snowbird escaping the cold winter months to someplace warm and sunny, can cause a certain amount of angst.

Of the many different seminars I present at RV rallies, one called The Reluctant RVer in which I discuss the fears that new RVers experience always gets a full house. I’ve given this seminar at RV events from coast to coast for years, and the same concerns are always voiced at every session, so let’s discuss some of them here.

Separation – “I can’t leave my grandkids. They need me!” No they don’t. That why they have parents. Sure, they love you and can’t get enough of you when they’re little, but guess what? Give them a few years and those kids are going to grow up and are going to be busy with their friends and not have nearly as much time for you. There are lots of ways to keep in contact with the little ones. You can Skype, call them, send them postcards of the places you visit (kids love getting their own mail), go home for visits where you have quality time, and even take them with you for short trips.

Illness or Death – It happens. People get sick on the road, and yes, sometimes they die. Just like they do living in houses and apartments. There are good doctors and hospitals all over the country. In an emergency, you can go to an urgent care center or hospital emergency room. And having wheels under your house gives you the ability to go wherever you want for the best medical care for your needs. Companies like Sky Med and Medical Air Services Association (MASA) will not only provide air or ground transportation for medical patients, but will also transport your spouse, and pay a professional driver to take your RV wherever you have designated.

arlington graves

Accidents & Breakdowns – They happen too, and there are good repair shops and mechanics everywhere. We provide an excellent list of reliable RV service facilities in our Guide To RV Good Guys, and you can also check out a prospective shop on the website RV Service Reviews. Having a good roadside service company that specializes in RVs is very important. Fulltime RVers Charles and Chris Yust at C&C Insurance sell Good Sam Roadside Assistance plans and are great to work with. Another good roadside assistance program is Coach-Net.

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Getting Lost – I’ve met some RVers who have an irrational fear of getting lost. Don’t worry about it, it can’t happen. If you drive far enough east or west you’ll run into an ocean and have to stop, and if you go too far north or south there are nice people at the border who will turn you around and point you in the right direction. And you’re in your RV, so every place else is home, baby! Get an RV GPS and learn how to read a map and you’ll be fine. Sure, you may get “misdirected” somewhere along the way, but that’s all part of the adventure.

Parting With Our Treasures – It’s just “stuff” and they make “stuff” every day. Right now somebody somewhere is making stuff. There’s never an end to the supply of stuff. The problem is that sooner or later we get to the point where our stuff owns us, instead of the other way around. Every fulltimer we have ever known said that when they started disposing of their stuff they felt a tremendous load leaving their shoulders. Don’t be a slave to your “stuff.”

Making New Friends – Everybody back home knows you; the ladies at the nail salon, the guys at the bowling alley, your family and friends. And then suddenly you’re among strangers. But a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet. Get involved. Go down to the RV park’s activity center and sit in on a game of cards, or join a line dancing class. Just walk around the RV park and say hello to the people you see and ask them how they like their RV. Before you know it you’ll have a whole bunch of new friends.

Leaving Our Comfort Zone – To learn and grow, we have to step out of our comfort zone. It’s kind of like a new sky diver stepping out the door of that airplane for the first time. It can be terrifying, but trust me, once you take that step, it’s one hell of a ride!

Being An Outsider – You can be an outsider in the neighborhood where you were born and raised, if you choose to be. Or you can be an active, involved citizen. It’s the same way in the RV lifestyle. If you get out there and make friends, participate in the many activities available, or volunteer for a project or two, you will find yourself right in the middle of things.

Fire – Yes, RVs do burn, and they burn fast. But houses burn too. We have good fire alarms in our motorhome, as well as fire extinguishers, and automatic fire suppression units in our engine bay and refrigerator from Mac McCoy, the recognized RV fire safety expert.

Motorhome on fire

Engine unit installed 2

Losing Our Financial Cushion – Do you know anybody who worked all their lives and then saw their 401K and retirement disappear in a financial downturn. Sure you do, just look around you. There is no security in life, no matter what the investment counselors tell you. There’s a reason they call those guys brokers! RVing can be a very inexpensive lifestyle if you need it to be. And you can make money on the road to supplement your income if you feel the need.

Never Being Able To Afford Another Home – Some people keep their homes and rent them out so they will have a place to go back to. Others invest the proceeds from the sale of their homes, and plan to use that money to buy a home wherever they decide to settle down. Millions of Americans never own homes. They rent apartments and let the maintenance department take care of all those chores. Many RVers don’t ever want to deal with the hassles of home ownership again and plan to park their rig in a nice RV or mobile home park and live in it when it’s time to hang up the keys.

Don’t forget to enter this week’s Free Drawing for my buddy George Weir’s audiobook The Devil To Pay. This is the fourth book in George’s excellent Bill Travis mystery series, and every book is better than the last. 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.

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Thought For The Day – The older you get, the more important it is to not act your age.

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Nov 282014
 

Note: I’m too full of turkey and Miss Terry’s delicious homemade pecan pie to want to work, so I’m giving myself the night off and re-posting this blog from earlier this year. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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. A good example is following a GPS the Harbor View Outdoor World campground near Colonial Beach, Virginia. If you do you will end up on a road where the bridge washed out 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!

Don’t forget to enter this week’s Free Drawing for my buddy George Weir’s audiobook The Devil To Pay. This is the fourth book in George’s excellent Bill Travis mystery series, and every book is better than the last. 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.

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Thought For The Day – I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not sure.

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Happy Thanksgiving

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 272014
 

Wherever you are today and whoever you are sharing the holiday with, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope you take a few moments to consider all we have to be thankful for. Don’t just give it a passing thought, think about it. With all of our problems, we live in the greatest country in the world, we’re able to enjoy a standard of living most of the rest of the world can only dream of, and if we don’t like the neighbors we can just turn the key and move, taking our house with us!

Thanks for all the get well wishes, everybody. Except for persistent coughs, I think Terry and I are pretty well over our colds. But the last week or ten days really sucked. I’m glad that’s over.

The rain finally stopped and we had blue skies yesterday, but it was a chilly day. I spent the day writing more stories for the next issue of the paper, while Terry was busy proofreading, making a couple of her delicious deep dish pizzas for dinner, and starting on today’s dinner. Although I don’t know how she could top that pizza! Then again, I know she will.

Some people who aren’t fulltimers seem surprised that Terry can cook such great meals, or that we live in our motorhome just as comfortably as we could in a house, but really, there isn’t any big difference. We just have a little less space to walk around in, and no grass to mow or snow to shovel. I’ll happily take less square feet of floor space in exchange for not having to mess with all of that any day.

In her blog Wheeled & Free, Kate Hopson shares 5 Surprising Things No One Tells You About RV Living that most people don’t know, including a lot of RVers. You can also follow Kate on her Facebook page.

Don’t forget to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is my buddy George Weir’s newest audiobook, The Devil To Pay. This is the fourth book in George’s excellent Bill Travis mystery series, and every book is better than the last. 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.

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Thought For The Day – I’ve noticed many of the books in my personal library have titles that end with the word Dummies.

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A Soggy Day

 Posted by at 12:05 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 262014
 

It started raining hard in the wee hours of the morning yesterday and never stopped for more than a few minutes all day long. Many areas in central Florida were under flood watches, there were a few tornado warnings, and many areas got as much as seven inches of rain! Yes, SEVEN inches! That’s a lot of water.

Terry was feeling better yesterday, and since we needed to stock up on some things at the grocery store, we took advantage of a brief break in the storms and headed out. I guess our timing was good, because it started raining just as we went into the store, but when we came back out it had stopped again just long enough for us to get back home and unload everything. Then it poured again. And more rain is coming today.

Something else that has really surprised me is how darned windy it has been here in Bradenton. I’m talking 20 to 30 miles per hour winds almost every day. If I felt just a little bit better and things were not so wet I’d break out my Prism Snapshot speed foil kite and give it (and me) a workout.

What one piece of advice would you give a new RVer? It’s a question that I have been asked many times over the years. My standard answer is, slooooow doooown. Most new RVers run the wheels off the first year or two trying to see everything and everybody. That’s no fun at all. I know, because we were guilty of it, too. Friends and family members all over the country wanted us to come by for a visit, there were places we just couldn’t wait to see, and an ongoing issue back in Arizona kept pulling us back there.

Here’s a news flash for you folks, no matter how little you sleep, no matter how fast you drive, and no matter how many places you go, you’re never going to see it all! You can’t. There’s just too much out there to see and do.

Christina Harris has a new blog out called RV Living Now and she asked a dozen longtime RVers that same question recently. Read what we had to say in her blog post 12 Full Time RV Living Tips To Start RV Living. So how about you? What one piece of advice would you give a newbie?

It’s Wednesday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is my buddy George Weir’s audiobook The Devil To Pay. This is the fourth book in George’s excellent Bill Travis mystery series, and every book is better than the last. 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.

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Thought For The Day – It’s easy to identify people who can’t count to ten. They’re in front of you in the supermarket express lane.

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Time To Go Shopping

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 252014
 

No, not Christmas shopping. Except for my two granddaughters, I don’t do that. But it’s time to go computer shopping. After three years of constant battles I’ve had it with this piece of crap iMac.

I reported in yesterday’s blog that the computer, which has been back to Apple more times than I can remember, has been freezing again, and deleted a story I had worked on most of the day. Yesterday both the wireless track pad and keyboard went crazy.

The track pad acted like a mouse will do when you click and hold a button and scroll across a page, highlighting everything in its path. And when I stopped moving it everything in its path opened. So if I tried to click on an icon to open a Word document, it opened every document the curser passed over to get to that icon. If I tried to open a program it would open three or four or five other programs at the same time. I dug my wireless mouse out of a drawer, thinking the track pad had gone bad, and got the same result with it.

The keyboard decided to play along. Either it would not work at all, or else I’d type a word or two and suddenly they would become highlighted and then disappear. Or I might type a word and get something else entirely. For example, I typed “Fredericksburg” and instead got “Fpemwpleckqprm.” And yes, I put fresh batteries in everything.

I did some research online and asked for advice on Facebook and tried a lot of things, including turning the computer off, unplugging the power cord and letting it sit for an hour, deleting all of the wireless devices under the Bluetooth connection and then reloading them, and nothing worked. Finally, after about five hours of frustration I just gave up and switched to my old Asus laptop.

I give up, Apple wins. And please don’t tell me how great your Mac is, or to call Apple and demand a new computer. Terry’s iMac is fine, too. Mine is junk and has been from the start. They have already told me they will not replace it because they know they can fix it, even though they have failed to do so over and over. Life is too short for this nonsense. I just need to save up enough money to buy a another Windows-base computer and all of the software programs I need to be able to work.

Okay, long winded rant over, what else is new? Terry isn’t completely over her cold yet, but she says she feels almost human again. I sure hope so, I hate seeing her feeling so terrible.

Some of you may remember that a while back I mentioned how much I missed having a hammock. But since RV parks often frown on you tying things to their trees, I couldn’t figure out how to use one on the road. Then yesterday I saw this on an online RV forum. Apparently you can use it for two chairs or a hammock. I’d be tempted to get one, but I’m afraid if I did, I’d be outside taking a nice nap and Miss Terry would decide it was a good time to go to the grocery store. And you can bet she’d take the freeway too, not the slower paced two lane road!

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And finally, with Thanksgiving coming I went to my first turkey shoot yesterday. I really liked it, but it scared the hell out of a bunch of shoppers in the frozen food section of Publix. I’ve been asked not to shop there anymore. In fact, they were quite insistent about it.

Thought For The Day – If stress burned calories, I’d be a supermodel.

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They Lied

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 242014
 

Congratulations Gail Faries, winner of our contest for an audiobook of Dog’s Run, my mystery set in a small Ohio town in 1951. We had 162 entries in last week’s contest. Stay tuned, a new drawing starts soon.

I told you in yesterday’s blog that the weather forecasters were calling for thunderstorms starting yesterday and continuing for several days. But weathermen are like politicians; just because they promise you something or warn you about something doesn’t mean any of it’s true.

We woke up to strong winds yesterday, but not a drop of rain. By mid-morning the clouds had all been blown away and we had temperatures in the low 80s and lots of blue sky. But on the evening news the same weathermen were warning of strong thunderstorms starting this evening, or maybe on Tuesday, depending on which station you were watching. Check with me Thursday, I’ll tell you what happened.

I was reminded of a time we were staying at Kentucky Horse Park, the only campground in Lexington, Kentucky. It was late December, a time we prefer to be much further south, but I had been getting something done at the VA hospital there. With that all finished, we were watching the weather for updates on a strong storm system crossing the country, getting ready to make a run for it as soon as it was safe.

Of the three news stations in Lexington, one said we could expect up to a foot of snow, another predicted four to six inches, and the third said the most there would be were snow flurries. I can’t tell you what they actually got, because we pointed the nose of our old MCI bus conversion south and made a beeline for Florida.

Terry’s cold was still kicking her butt yesterday, so we never ventured outside all day long. She slept in for a while, then when she woke up she did her best to raise the fourth quarter sales for the Kleenex company. She also managed to finish making a delicious dinner of chicken noodle soup from scratch that she had started the night before. Anything that tastes that good and is good for you too, can’t be beat!

I spent the day writing, getting a couple of stories done for the next issue of the Gypsy Journal. I’m not sure what happened but I had just finished one 1,100 word story and when I tried to close the document my iMac froze, something it’s done ever since I bought it. I finally had to unplug the power cord because the regular reboot procedures would not work, and when I plugged it back in and rebooted the computer, the document I had just finished was gone.

That made no sense to me because Word automatically saves as you go, and I also frequently save what I’m working on. And I had saved it again as soon as I finished it, right before I tried to close it and the computer locked up. I searched all of my documents, did a full search of the entire computer, and it was nowhere to be found. I even searched for several of the words in the story, the names of places and people, and still came up empty. It’s like it just disappeared into some black hole, never to be seen again. Three hours of research and two hours of writing, all wasted.

So I had to rewrite the whole thing. Fortunately it was fresh enough in my mind that I was able to knock it back out without too much effort, but with a fair amount of grumbling.

Hopefully Terry will get back on her feet in a few days and we can get out and see some of this area. Unless it rains.

Thought For The Day – Life is like an onion; you peel off one layer at a time and sometimes you cry.

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I Broke Florida

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 232014
 

I have a not undeserved reputation for bringing bad weather with me wherever I go. Did you ever see that old movie The Rainmaker? Burt Lancaster was conning drought-stricken farmers, promising to make it rain, a promise he could not deliver on. I don’t charge a penny, but I’m starting to think maybe I could do that gig in reverse, charging places who want good weather for me to to stay away.

A few years ago on the first day of one of our Gypsy Journal rallies in Yuma, Arizona, we got the town’s regular annual rainfall in one day. And I’ve done it other places, too. A lot of places. And now it looks like I broke Florida, too.

John Huggins insisted that the weather has been perfect here in Bradenton, with no rain since August. But the sky turned cloudy the day we got here at Pleasant Lake RV Resort, and it doesn’t look like it’s over yet. The forecast is calling for thunderstorms again today, and for the next four days. Seriously, I got to town and John and Kathy packed up their car and made a beeline for Maryland.

I hear folks all across the Sunshine State are taking up a collection now to get me to go to Texas for the winter. If I play this right, I may be able to pay my Winnebago off in a season or two.

Except for a persistent cough, I’m pretty much over the nasty cold that laid me low for a week, but now poor Miss Terry has it. When you live in the close quarters of an RV you share everything, good and bad. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving.

I’ve taken advantage of the last few days to get a lot of writing done, both on my next Big Lake book and the next issue of the Gypsy Journal. Terry started a new project on her loom a few days ago, but she’s been so out of it that she hasn’t been able to get much accomplished since then. Hopefully this thing will run its course soon and she’ll get to feeling better.

Today is your last chance to enter this week’s Free Drawing for an audiobook of Dog’s Run, my mystery set in a small Ohio town in 1951. It’s narrated by Eric G. Dove, one of the best storytellers in the industry. Many people tell me this is my best book ever, and I have to admit that it’s my favorite. 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 this evening.

Thought For The Day – Sometimes the thoughts in my head get bored and go for a stroll out my mouth. This is never a good thing.

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Almost Overlooked

 Posted by at 12:33 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 222014
 

I’m always surprised at how many neat places get overlooked because they are in the shadow of more well-known attractions and visitors never hear about them. So today I thought I’d share some interesting stops you shouldn’t miss on your way to the big attraction down the road.

Gettysburg – We have paid many visits to Gettysburg over the years and spent days exploring the historic battlefield, and I know we’ll go back again. However, just 30 miles to the east, York, Pennsylvania is known as the Factory Tour Capital of the World. Here you can watch Harley Davidson motorcycles being made, tour the Utz potato chip factory, and tour the Sunrise Soap Company and Bluett Brothers Violins, to name just some of the most popular tours available.

Harley on display 2

Old Tucson – You can’t spend much time in this sun drenched Arizona city without knowing all about Old Tucson, the historic movie set where hundreds of well known Western movies and TV shows have been filmed, and it’s certainly worth spending a day wandering the dusty streets, watching the stuntmen perform and the dance hall girls kicking their heels. But while you’re in the area, be sure to check out the wonderful Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures, a fascinating collection of miniature buildings accurate to the tiniest detail, a world of whimsy, and a trip back in time and to the land of fairytales, all in one. Give yourself lots of time when you visit, because the detail in the displays here is amazing and there is a lot to see.

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Branson – Everybody knows about all of the great shows in Branson, Missouri, and you could easily spend a month there and wear yourself out tapping your toes and clapping your hands every night. But have you ever been to the excellent Ralph Foster Museum at the College of the Ozarks, in nearby Hollister? Sometimes called the "Smithsonian of the Ozarks," the museum is home to a fascinating collection of exhibits centered on the Ozark region, and items on display include the original vehicle used in the old Beverly Hillbillies television series, firearms, Kewpie dolls, antiques, and artwork.

Mammoth Cave – Besides a variety of underground tours, Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky offers miles of hiking trails, camping, kayaking, and a variety of programs presented by Park Rangers. That’s all a lot of fun, but if you appreciate fine automobiles, travel 25 miles south to Bowling Green and tour the National Corvette Museum. Corvettes are America’s sports car, and the museum has the finest collection of them to be found anywhere, as well as displays on how these powerful automobiles are designed and manufactured.

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Disney World – The Magic Kingdom is supposed to be the happiest place on earth, but tell that to somebody’s who’s been stuck in one of the massive traffic jams getting into or out of the theme park, or a harried mother and father shepherding a bunch of kids who are tired, cranky, and high on sugar and adrenalin. For a break from all things Mouse, take a drive east to Titusville and the excellent American Police Hall of Fame & Museum. Displays included police cars and motorcycles, weapons exhibits on police procedures and investigations, and lots more.

Police Hall of Fame outside

Crime scene

Those are just five examples. Don’t you wonder how many others you have missed in your travels? Trust me, they’re in every corner of America. You just have to take the time to look for them.

Have you entered this week’s Free Drawing yet? This week’s prize is an audiobook of Dog’s Run, my mystery set in a small Ohio town in 1951. It’s narrated by Eric G. Dove, one of the best storytellers in the industry. Many people tell me this is my best book ever, and I have to admit that it’s my favorite. 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.

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Thought For The Day – Eighty percent of success is showing up. – Woody Allen

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Nov 212014
 

With Christmas coming our way, I thought today I’d share some ideas for inexpensive stocking stuffers every RVer can use. They’re great for gift exchanges, showing your appreciation for the guy in the next site who helped you with some repair around your rig, and even for friends living in sticks and bricks houses who don’t get to enjoy the RV lifestyle.

Rescue TapeThis is the most versatile and easy-to-use emergency repair product we’ve ever found, and I can’t count the number of times we’ve used it for everything from stopping a leaking hose to getting a bundle of wiring out of the way, to awning repairs. Get several rolls in different colors because I bet you’ll end up keeping some for yourself too!

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LED Flashlights – I’ve talked about these Techlite Lumen Master 250-lumen LED tactical flashlights before because I use have them stashed all around our RV and in our Explorer. They are small, super bright, virtually indestructible, and include a strobe feature for emergencies. And if I found a couple more in my Christmas stocking I’d be delighted.

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Digital Compass – This 4-in-1 unit includes a compass, clock, calendar, and indoor/outdoor temperature display.

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Buff Headwear – I was introduced to these versatile fiber UV protection scarves during my recent skin cancer treatment. Men and women who spend a lot of time in the outdoors use them for head scarves, doo-rags, headbands, face masks, and the list goes on and on. Great for golfers, fishermen, hikers, bikers, and anyone else who enjoys outdoor sports and worries about the damage the sun can do to their skin.

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DoohicKey MultiTool – Order a bunch of these key-sized stainless steel multi-tools, because everybody who sees one will want it. They incorporate a box cutter, bottle opener, wrench, ruler, and flathead screwdriver, and attach to a key chain.

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Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas – Okay, maybe it’s a little big to fit in a stocking, but anybody who drive a big rig will appreciate having this important reference at hand.

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High Speed Desktop USB Charger – Cell phones, tablets, iPads, whatever you have, they all need charging, and sometimes all at once. Outputting 40 watts through five ports lets you do it in a hurry.

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Best RV Tips – Full of useful information on everything from simple RV maintenance to traveling tips to internet access on the road, this collection of tips gathered from weekend campers, snowbirds, and fulltimers will save RVers time and money and make their travels more enjoyable.

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12 Volt LED Lights – I’ve seen these used to illuminate steps, outline RV sites, light bays, and at least a dozen other places around the campground.

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Off The Beaten Path – When I’m not on the road in my RV, I’m usually thinking about the next place I want to go in it. Off the Beaten Path spotlights over 1,000 of the United States’ most overlooked must-see destinations in a state-by-state A-to-Z format.

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Have you entered this week’s Free Drawing yet? This week’s prize is an audiobook of Dog’s Run, my mystery set in a small Ohio town in 1951. It’s narrated by Eric G. Dove, one of the best storytellers in the industry. Many people tell me this is my best book ever, and I have to admit that it’s my favorite. 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.

Thought For The Day – Many people want to serve God, but only as an advisor.

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Nov 202014
 

It was so cold here on Florida’s west coast yesterday that I saw a teenager with his pants pulled all the way up! I think our high was only about 62, and yes, I know that compared to the rest of the country, that’s a heat wave. But I’m not in the rest of the country! I do my sniveling where I’m at.

Really, looking at the mess so many people are dealing with this week and the cold weather they are enduring, I’m really glad I said my final goodbye to my snow shovel fifteen years ago. As the folks here in Bradenton say, my favorite part of winter is watching it on television from Florida.

I got an e-mail from a couple yesterday who are about 35 miles from Buffalo, New York, telling me that they decided to chance it and hang out in their old hometown for Thanksgiving with the family before heading south for the winter. They said everything in, on, and around their motorhome is buried under several feet of snow and their son spent most of the day shoveling a path to where they were parked in his driveway, and then shovel more snow away so they could get the door open! I wrote back and told them that that darned turkey had better taste really good to make all that nonsense worthwhile.

After two nights of good sleep, by the time I woke up yesterday morning I was feeling pretty good again. I still have a bit of a cough, but that’s all. Terry, on the other hand, is feeling the effects of the cold I gave her. To her credit, she’s not sniveling nearly as much as I did.

I spent most of the day writing and managed to knock out about 3100 words in my new book by the end of the day, and only stopped a little after 11 p.m. because I still had the 600+ word blog to write and post before I went to bed. I wish I was more than a two finger typist.

The proof of the print version of Big Lake Scandal arrived yesterday afternoon and Terry and I checked it over and then I went online and approved it. It’s available now on CreateSpace at this link and should be available on Amazon within the next day or two.

And how about a gift of an autographed copy of Miss Terry’s Kitchen for the cook on your Christmas shopping list? And they don’t even have to live in an RV to use these delicious recipes! To order a copy, just log onto www.paypal.com and make a payment of $19.45 to editor@gypsyjournal.net to cover the cost of the book and shipping. Please include a note telling her who to autograph it to. To ensure arrival by Christmas, please get your orders in by December 10.

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Over 100 people have already entered this week’s Free Drawing for an audiobook of Dog’s Run, my mystery set in a small Ohio town in 1951. It’s narrated by Eric G. Dove, one of the best storytellers in the industry. Many people tell me this is my best book ever, and I have to admit that it’s my favorite. 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 – So when is that “old enough to know better” thing supposed to kick in?

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