Nick Russell

The Long Gray Line

 Posted by at 12:42 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 272016
 

We spent a couple of hours Monday evening watching the old 1955 movie The Long Gray Line, starring Tyrone Power and Maureen O’Hara. It’s the story of Martin ‘Marty’ Maher, who is a legend at the United States Military Academy at West Point.



Maher was an Irishman who immigrated to America in 1898 and found work as a waiter at West Point. He later enlisted in the Army and remained at the Military Academy until he retired from the Army in 1928 after nearly 30 years of service. During that time he served in various capacities, including as an athletic and swimming instructor.

He was beloved by generations of cadets, so much so that he was named an Honorary Graduate of three different classes, the Class of 1912, 1926, and 1928.

He was instrumental in helping train the Class of 1915, known as “The Class the Stars Fell On.” Among the 164 graduates of the Class of 1915, an amazing 59 of them rose through the ranks to become generals. Two members of the class would go on to earn the rank of 5 star General of the Army; Omar Bradley and Dwight D. Eisenhower, with Eisenhower later becoming President of the United States.



But Marty Maher wasn’t ready to leave the Gothic fortress on the bank of the Hudson River, and after retiring from the Army he became a civilian employee and put in another 20 years before retiring a second time. In total, Maher spent more than fifty years at West Point!

And he never left. When Marty Maher died, in 1961, he was buried at the West Point Cemetery, the final resting place of such luminaries as Winfield Scott, George Armstrong Custer, and William Westmorland.

Maher grave

The Long Gray Line was one of the first movies I ever remember watching. Even then as a little kid, I was fascinated by the beauty of the Academy, with it’s beautiful granite buildings and long traditions, and made up my mind that someday I was going to go there and see it myself.

West Point winter small

Of course, I had no idea that one day I would actually be a young soldier assigned to West Point and have the opportunity to help train cadets there myself. And it was everything I expected and much more. You can literally feel the history when you walk the same hallowed ground that so many American heroes have. If I could have stayed there throughout my career like Marty Maher did, I would have made a career of the Army.

I’ve been back to the Military Academy a couple of times over the years, and it always feels like I’m coming home. If you ever get the opportunity to visit, do so. You will come away with a whole new perspective on the young men and women who are training to become tomorrow’s military leaders.

Thought For The Day – I changed all of my passwords to “incorrect” so whenever I forget it the computer will say, “Your password is incorrect.”

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Jul 262016
 

Sunday evening we got an email from our old friend Pat Astbury, telling us she was at Elkhart Campground and had been thinking about us and the times we have crossed paths here. Pat and her husband Scott were a very nice couple that we always enjoyed visiting with, and we were heartbroken when Scott passed away a few years back. It’s been quite a while since we’ve heard from Pat, and we didn’t know she was traveling again.



As soon as I got her email I sent a reply that we were also at the campground. Unfortunately, apparently she doesn’t check her email all that often, because yesterday when I went up to the office to find out what site she was in, she had already left. What a bummer. Hopefully we will cross paths again somewhere down the road.

The new glasses Terry got a week or so ago weren’t fitting her right and the placement of the bifocal in the lenses was giving her difficulty. EyeMart has a free replacement guarantee, so yesterday we drove to Mishawaka and she explained the problem she was having to one of their opticians, who ordered her a new pair. They should be here in about two weeks, and at no charge. That’s pretty good service.



Elkhart Campground is one of our favorite places to hang out in the whole country, but the water in much of Elkhart is terrible and always has been. We have to change our water filters more frequently than in other places, and when we got back to the campground that was the first order of business. We use a two-stage filter system in our motorhome; the primary is a string or fiber cartridge, and the secondary filter uses a charcoal cartridge.

While we were doing that, longtime blog reader Gary Materne came by to say hello. The last time we saw Gary was when we had our Gypsy Gathering rally here back in 2010. We visited for a while, and he told us that they were only here overnight. After a stop at the RV Museum this morning, they’re going to continue heading east, back home to New York. It was nice to see Gary again.

In yesterday’s blog I showed you a huge Haulmark truck conversion and matching double stacker trailer. Here is the opposite end of the spectrum. There is a vintage RV rally at the campground this week, and this is one of the early arrivals. And do you know the great thing about RVing? Whether you are in that that gigantic toy hauler, or a tiny little rig like this, the view from under the awning is the same. How cool is that?

Tiny trailer

Since we were busy running around yesterday, I only managed to get 2500 words written. I was aiming for 5000, but the day just got away from me. I’ll get back to it today and make up for lost time.

Thought For The Day – I find it ironic that the colors red, white, and blue stand for freedom, until they’re flashing behind you.

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Boys And Their Toys

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 252016
 

Yesterday was the hottest day we’ve seen yet here at Elkhart Campground this year. I’m not sure where the thermometer topped out at, but twice during the day power went out in the whole area for a minute or so. I think everybody in northern Indiana was running every air conditioner they had, at full blast, which overloads the system and causes the power levels to drop.



I sure was glad we have our Progressive Industries electrical management system (EMS) to protect us from low voltage, which is just as dangerous to an RV’s systems as high voltages. Seriously folks, if you don’t have an EMS, you’re playing with fire. We had one in our old MCI bus conversion, and it saved our butt several times. And when we got our Winnebago Ultimate Advantage diesel pusher, it was the first thing we added to it.

Progressive really stands behind their products, too. More than once the EMS has sacrificed itself to protect us from damage, which is what they are designed to do. Each time, Progressive has sent us the replacement board we needed to get up and running again. In fact, twice, once while we were in northern Michigan, and again when we were boondocking out in Quartzsite, Arizona, they actually sent a tech to us to get us up and running again.



It was way too hot to do anything outside, so I did what I’ve been doing, I stayed inside and wrote all day long. By the end of the day I had 7,650 more words done, and I’m over 25,000 words into the new book that I started on Wednesday.

The other day Miss Terry made several loaves of her delicious oat/flax/wheat bread. I guess Al Hesselbart could smell it all the way up at his old Newell motorhome, because sometime yeterday afternoon he showed up at our door with a hungry look on his face. Not only did Miss Terry send him home with a couple of loaves, she also invited him to stay for dinner, which was her outstanding pizza, which she makes from scratch, just like everything else. Al left here with a full tummy and a big smile on his face.

You know the old saying that the only difference between men and boys is the cost of their toys. But some boys have more toys than others. When this huge Haulmark truck conversion pulled in yesterday, towing a trailer almost as long as it is with a lift inside, I knew they had to have something fun in the back of that thing. And sure enough, they have two jet powered dragsters and a wheelie car that they take around the country and put on demonstrations at fairgrounds and racetracks. I guess they are only here for the one night, and the young man we were talking to said they had just left Wisconsin and were heading for the East Coast. With a rig like that, I could carry all kinds of toys with me! And Terry said she could carry a couple of huge looms!

Haulmark and trailer

Congratulations Bridget Wiemken, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of my friend Ken Rossignol’s Pirate Trials: Famous Murderous Pirates Book Series: THE LIVES AND ADVENTURES of FAMOUS and SUNDRY PIRATES. We had 57 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.

Thought For The Day – Life is too short to waste one precious minute of it thinking about people you don’t like.

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Don’t Blame Me!

 Posted by at 12:14 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 242016
 

I have a reputation for taking bad weather with me wherever I go. People can be enjoying balmy sunshine for weeks on end, and the day after I arrive it starts to snow or they get a record rainfall. At our Gypsy Journal rally in Yuma, Arizona years ago, they got their whole year’s quota of rain on the day we were parking everybody for the event.



But when longtime reader Steve Fischer sent me this radar map from Essex Junction, Vermont, showing big storms where the Escapees RV Club is holding its rally this coming week, I was able to claim innocence. I’m way over here in Indiana minding my own business, so don’t blame me.

Essex

Of course, the entire Midwest is in the middle of a terrible heat wave that has been hanging on for days now, so maybe I’m not entirely innocent in what’s happening here.



I was talking to my buddy Greg White the other day about the different parts of the country we like and might consider for our “someday home” if we ever hang up the keys. The two places we like the most are a continent apart, the Long Beach Peninsula on the Washington coast, and the area around New Smyrna Beach, Florida. If we could afford it I would think about trying to get a place in each location, but the commute would kill us.

Both places have a lot to offer of the things that we like, and both places also have a few months a year that really suck. In the Pacific Northwest, the winters are cold and wet for about four months, I know, because I got my start in the newspaper business on the Northwest coast many years ago. On the other hand, in Florida the summers are hot and sticky for about four months. In one place you go from your warm house to your warm car to a warm store, and in the other you go from your air-conditioned house to your air-conditioned car to an air-conditioned store. Take your pick.

And yes, I know they have hurricanes in Florida, and the doom and gloom prognosticators say the entire west coast is going to fall into the ocean someday. I plan to be out of town that week, so I’m not really worried about it.

I actually watch the weather pretty closely in both places, as well as where we are right now. For the last couple of weeks, temperatures in the New Smyrna Beach area have been within 4 or 5 degrees of what we’re having here in Elkhart, Indiana, so it’s really no big deal. We’re doing the same thing here that we would be doing if we were down there, staying inside and appreciating the air-conditioning most of the time.

Meanwhile, it’s in the mid to upper 60s on the Oregon and Washington coasts, and our pal Nancy Kissack has been busy flying kites. I hate Nancy.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of my friend Ken Rossignol’s Pirate Trials: Famous Murderous Pirates Book Series: THE LIVES AND ADVENTURES of FAMOUS and SUNDRY PIRATES. 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 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.

Pirate Trials book 3

Thought For The Day – Give a man a parachute, and he’ll fly for a day. Throw a man from a plane, and he’ll fly for the rest of his life.

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Puppy Kisses

 Posted by at 12:54 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 232016
 

We made the decision long ago not to own any more pets because one would not fit well with our lifestyle since we are on the go so much covering stories for the Gypsy Journal, and the animal would be stuck at home by itself for hours on end. But I do love dogs. Not yappy little dogs, but real dogs, and I have several loaner dogs around the country that I can go visit when I need a puppy fix. It’s kind of like being a grandparent; I can show up, have fun playing and loving on it, then I can take off and let somebody else be responsible for making sure it’s fed and cared for. It’s the best of both worlds.



And sometimes, I don’t even have to go anywhere to get my puppy fix! Here at Elkhart Campground we’re parked next to the dog run and I’ve met several very nice canines. And yesterday our pal Al Hesselbart and his son Shaun came by for a visit and brought Shaun’s dog, Bo. We made friends instantly.

Nick Bo 1

Bo is an American Bully Dog, which is a recently developed breed created to be a companion dog and a show version of the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier. He is 80 pounds of solid muscle and love, and believe me, when this guy gives you kisses, you know you’ve been kissed!

Nick Bo 2

Nick Bo 4

It’s been said that art imitates life. Or is it life imitates art? I’m not sure which, but it does happen. In my newly released book, Big Lake Abduction, I have someone using a drone to search for a missing child. Then yesterday I saw this story online about two teenagers in Washington state who used a drone to follow a pair of boat thieves and relay the information to deputies so they could arrest them.



Speaking of Big Lake Abduction, it already has six 5 star reviews on Amazon. It’s also available on Barnes & Noble for Nook e-book readers, iTunes, and other online e-book retailers. Have you got your copy yet?

As I said the other day, as soon as Big Lake Abduction was out I started work on a new book. Yesterday I got just over 6,000 words done, which brings me to a little over 10,000 total. One thing about being anchored here in Elkhart for the summer while we take care of things is that it has really given me the opportunity to increase my output. I may be able to crank out a couple more books before it’s time to move on.

Be sure to enter or latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of my friend Ken Rossignol’s Pirate Trials: Famous Murderous Pirates Book Series: THE LIVES AND ADVENTURES of FAMOUS and SUNDRY PIRATES. 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 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.

Pirate Trials book 3

Thought For The Day – Give me ambiguity or give me something else.

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The Park Model Option

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 222016
 

Something we started hearing almost as soon as we became fulltime RVers 17 years ago was about the importance of having an exit plan. Back then we were in our mid-40s and among the youngest full timers out there. My, how things have changed since then!



More and more of the baby boomer generation retired and hit the road, and many of them are still out here running up and down the highway exploring America in their RVs. Others only lasted a year or two, or five, and found a place to settle down for one reason or another. Sometimes because the lifestyle didn’t fit them, sometimes because they found what they thought would be their forever place, and sometimes because of economics. We saw a lot of people from our generation that had to get off the road and go back to work when the stock market crashed and their retirements went away.

Since then we’ve seen new RVers come and go, and others that have continued traveling and enjoying the mobile lifestyle. But we still hear about exit plans, and I think it’s a good thing to have one.

Exit plans can involve everything from selling the RV and buying another house or renting an apartment, to getting a base someplace and becoming a snowbird, or just parking the rig in a place you like and staying put and living in it.



We have always said that we would love to do this forever, but the reality is that we are slowing down. I don’t see us ever hanging up the keys, but I do see us someday scaling way back and becoming seasonal travelers. Even now we find ourselves staying places for a few weeks to a month or more, when back in the old days we seldom remained any place more than a few days.

One option to consider is a park model trailer, which would be on a lot someplace and serve as a base, while traveling at our leisure when hitch itch sets in. In doing our research, we found that this might be a viable option for us when and if that day comes.

Park model trailer

A while back we toured the Kropf Industries factory in Goshen, Indiana. Kropf is a family owned company and has been building park models since the 1970s, and in our research has been one of the most recommended brands on the market.

They pretty much do everything in-house, including building their own cabinets, and will custom make a park model just about any way the customer wants, within certain limitations. One of those limitations is that it cannot be over 400 square feet of floor space, which is a requirement to be listed as an RV. But they pack an amazing amount of amenities and livability into that space!

Some models even include lofts, which can be used as a sleeping area when grandkids visit, or for storage, though even short people like myself and Miss Terry cannot stand up straight in the loft area. But some loft models allow for sit down options, such as for a desk or sewing area.

We were impressed not only with the quality of materials and the construction techniques we saw at Kropf, but also with their attention to detail. These folks are good, and they care about what they put out. If we do go the park model option at sometime in the future, it may well be one of their products. We liked what we saw!

Production line

Insulation

Be sure to enter or latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of my friend Ken Rossignol’s Pirate Trials: Famous Murderous Pirates Book Series: THE LIVES AND ADVENTURES of FAMOUS and SUNDRY PIRATES. 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 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.

Pirate Trials book 3

Thought For The Day – The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.

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Weave Me To The Moon

 Posted by at 12:19 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 212016
 

(Sung to the tune of Fly Me To The Moon)

Anybody who knows us knows that Miss Terry is an avid weaver, and you have probably seen my pictures of the beautiful articles she has produced on her loom. Weaving is one of the earliest known art forms, dating back to Neolithic times, approximately 12,000 years ago. But did you know that weaving also helped reach the moon?



Back in the days of the Apollo missions, scientists were having difficulties with the spacecrafts’ onboard computer systems. The necessary programs were coded onto magnetic tapes that had to be read by disc drives that were too big to fit in the spacecraft, or on paper punch cards that required equally large machines to read them. Besides space limitations, the equipment needed to read the codes would not have withstood the punishment of space travel

NASA solved the problem with a technology called core rope memory. Instead of using disks or punch cards, the core was composed of magnets and wires hand woven on a specialized type of loom where individual wires were threaded through specific holes, much like Terry threads individual pieces of yarn through the wire heddles on her loom. Just like computer programming, weaving is based upon a form of binary language created by the raising and lowering of shafts.



In the case of the Apollo moon launches, the necessary computer programs were woven by hand into a format that looked like a rope, but was really complex woven electrical pathways. The work was done by highly skilled garment workers, many of whom were older women. In somewhat dubious honor of their contribution, core rope memory was sometimes referred to as LOL memory, the LOL standing for “Little Old Ladies.”

So when Miss Terry is sitting here weaving away, I guess that means she’s part of a proud tradition that stretches all the way from our motorhome to the moon. Who knew?

Thank you to everybody who purchased my new book, Big Lake Abduction, told their friends about it and shared it on their Facebook pages and in their blogs. You all have helped get it off to a running start. At 11:30 last night it already had two 5 star reviews and was ranked at #2,708 in all Amazon paid Kindle books and #61 in the Kindle Mystery, Thriller & Suspense category.

After sending out my Author’s Newsletter yesterday afternoon, I didn’t have anything else to do, so I started writing a new book. When I knocked off about 11 PM, I had just over 2,000 words written. Here we go again!

It’s Thursday and that means it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of my friend Ken Rossignol’s Pirate Trials: Famous Murderous Pirates Book Series: THE LIVES AND ADVENTURES of FAMOUS and SUNDRY PIRATES. 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 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.

Pirate Trials book 3

Thought For The Day – If tomatoes are technically a fruit, is ketchup a smoothie?

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Jul 202016
 

I know you’ve heard it before, the old saying that boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses. Don’t believe it, because this boy (okay, old man) does!



Yesterday we had to drive to Mishawaka so Terry could pick up her new glasses at EyeMart. I think she looks darned good in them, how about you?

Terry new glasses small

She actually got two pair of glasses, one which has progressive transition lenses that get dark when she’s outside and then lighten up when she comes inside. They are for everyday use. She also got a second pair with a different bifocal progression to use just when she’s working at the computer or weaving on her loom. With her old glasses she was constantly moving her head up and down from the computer to her paperwork, and the same with weaving. I thought she looked kind of funny being a bobble head, but apparently she wasn’t enjoying it all that much.



We made a couple of other stops while we were in Mishawaka, then stopped at WalMart on the way back home. Terry saw a big cloud of smoke off in the distance, but we didn’t know what it was until the evening news reported a major fire in downtown Elkhart and that a historic building on Main Street across from the post office had burned. I guess much of the downtown area was shut down for most of the afternoon and evening, and even at 11 o’clock firefighters were still on the scene putting out hotspots. Fortunately, except for the occupant of an apartment in the building and a couple of firefighters, who were all treated for minor smoke inhalation, there were no injuries.

Back at the campground I took a quick nap, and then my cousin Beverly called to tell me that she had finished the second proofreading of my new book, Big Lake Abduction. I made the changes she recommended and formatted it, and about 10:30 I uploaded it to the Amazon Kindle e-book store. Within about 90 minutes it was live and you can order it at this link. It should be live anytime now on Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and other e-book venues. It will be a couple of weeks before the printed version is formatted.

alone cabin in the woods

This is the 10th book in my Big Lake mystery series, my 13th novel, and my 23rd book. Today I will send out my Author’s Newsletter, and in a day or so I’ll start working on another book. If you would like to be on my newsletter mailing list, send me your e-mail address at editor@gypsyjournal.net and I’ll include you. It comes out about once a month and includes information on my writing activities, special offers, and a short story by one of my author friends.

Thought For The Day – A man only learns by two things, one is reading, and the other is association with smarter people. – Will Rogers

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Jul 192016
 

There are a lot of things in the RV lifestyle you should know, from how to get your mail forwarded to which are the best states to choose for your legal domicile, to what kinds of (choose one – fire extinguisher, insurance company, tire pressure monitoring system, toilet paper, etc. you should choose). I have covered most, if not all of them, here in the blog in the past.



And if there’s anything I have missed, or that you missed by skipping the blog for a day (how dare you!), some Internet research can usually provide the answer you need. Or, you can order John and Kathy Huggins’ excellent book So, You Want to be an RVer?: Celebrating the RV Lifestyle, which I consider to be the bible of RVing.

Tent camping couple romantic sitting by bonfire night countryside

These are all important things to know, but today I’m going to talk about some things you can just ignore, because they really aren’t issues. Yes, a lot of people talk about them, and worry about them, and work themselves up into a tizzy, but you really can ignore them.




The first thing is the 10 year rule. At least once a week I hear from somebody who has been told that RV parks will not let any rig in that is more than 10 years old. They usually hear this on the Internet, and we all know if it’s on the Internet it has to be true, right? Because they can’t put stuff on there that isn’t true. Everybody knows that. Well, maybe they can, and they definitely do! Yes, there are some upscale RV resorts that enforce a 10 year rule. The idea is that they don’t want run down, junkie looking rigs staying there. But trust me, for every one of those parks, there are dozens, even hundreds more, who will welcome you with open arms. For over eight years we fulltimed in a 30 year old MCI bus conversion that we built ourselves. We were never turned away anywhere we wanted to go. Yes, I’m sure if we pulled up to the gate at one of those fancy elitist campgrounds, they would have turned their nose up at us. But that’s okay. That’s not the kind of place we want to hang out anyway, so we don’t go there.

Another thing you can ignore if you’re a member of Thousand Trails, are those calls inviting you to an important meeting about changes in your membership. They are just a tactic to get you to sit down for a sales presentation, and the only changes that are going to happen in your membership are if you buy whatever they’re selling and upgrade. Last year I was getting calls every day telling me that it was very important that I had to come to one of these meetings. At the time we were at the Seaside Thousand Trails in Oregon and I talked to both the manager and the on-site salesperson there. They both told me that these calls come from an outside company, they are not even Thousand Trails employees. They work for a company contracted by Thousand Trails to try to bring in more money by selling membership upgrades. If you want an upgrade, talk to the on-site salesman at your favorite Thousand Trails preserve.

The third thing you can ignore is highway weigh stations. Unless you are a commercial vehicle, just keep on driving. Yes, I know some of them say vehicles with tow bars must stop, but they don’t mean motorhomes pulling dinghies, and nobody is going to chase you down and give you a ticket. All you will accomplish by stopping is to irritate the people who work there and the truckers waiting their turn to get weighed and back on the road.

As long as you are ignoring things, go ahead and ignore your black holding tank monitor. I think the false readings they give create more angst among RVers than bad weather, the yappy little dog next door, and slow campground WiFi combined. I have heard about a thousand solutions, from fancy commercial chemicals that will clean the gunk from the probes inside the black tank, to homegrown remedies like baking soda or throwing a bag of ice cubes in the tank and driving down the highway. None of them have ever worked for me or anyone else I know. Over time you will begin to recognize the sound your toilet makes when it is getting full. Or, just go by your old Uncle Nicky’s simple rule – when you flush the toilet and your butt gets wet, it’s time to dump.

And finally, there used to be 10 million experts about everything related to the RV lifestyle. Then the Internet came along and now there are 100 million experts. No matter what question you have, all you have to do is post it on any of the Internet forums and you’ll get dozens of answers, and many of them contradict each other. You’d be surprised how many of these experts have spent little if any time at all in an RV, yet they know everything. So just ignore the so-called experts. Half of them don’t know what they’re talking about, and the rest are liars. Trust me on this, I know, because I’m an expert.

Thought For The Day – I talk to myself because sometimes I need expert advice.

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Frugal Or Cheap?

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 182016
 

I got an e-mail yesterday from a reader who asked why anyone would consider spending a night at a WalMart, truck stop, or highway rest area when there are so many campgrounds around the country. She asked if the RVers who do this are all cheapskates, or it there is ever a legitimate reason to do so.



In our many years traveling around the country in an RV, we have spent a lot of nights at the places she asked about. And yes, I have been called a cheapskate on occasion, though I prefer the term frugal. If we are on the road going from point A to point B and only want to stop and sleep for a few hours, I see no reason to go into an RV park and spend $25 or more when I have a self-contained motorhome. I’m not going to use the swimming pool or activity center or any of the other amenities of the campground, I can produce my own electricity, I have water on board, and holding tanks. So what do I need an RV park for?

Now, that’s when we are on the road going someplace. I do know RVers who spend more nights in truck stops and WalMarts and places like that than they ever do campgrounds. In fact, they brag about it. A few years ago we had a fellow who told us that he had been on the road for a full year and not once had he been in a campground. Every night was spent blacktop boondocking somewhere. His wife also told us that she was ready to get on a plane and fly back to where they came from because she did not become a fulltime RVer to spend her nights living in a parking lot. That guy was not frugal, he was a cheapskate.



There is also the convenience factor. If you don’t have to get off the highway and find a campground, stop at the office and register, pull into a site, and hook up, you save a lot of time. And sometimes bad weather, traffic delays, mechanical issues, or whatever may throw our schedule off and we don’t get to where we planned to be for the night. In that case, we just find a safe place where we can park, with permission, and go on down the road the next morning.

Do I prefer the comforts of a campground? At one time we spent over seven months straight dry camping on a friend’s land, not hooked up to campground utilities. Our MCI bus conversion was set up for dry camping and it was no problem at all. That was then and this is now, and given the choice, yes, we prefer the comforts of a campground. There’s a lot to be said for full hookups. But to each their own, and we know a lot of people who really enjoy boondocking, whether it’s out in the middle of the desert somewhere in Arizona, or in a parking lot for a quick overnight stay. To each their own.

Yesterday Terry finished proofing my new Big Lake mystery novel and I made the corrections she suggested. With that done, now my cousin Beverly will go over it a second time. Things are moving right along and it will be out in just a few days.

A while back in my Author’s Newsletter I invited readers to send me a short description of themselves and I would pick one to become a character in my new book. Julie Berquist said she always wanted to be a cop, so I included FBI Special Agent Julie Berquist, who heads up a special team sent to Big Lake to help find a small child that has been abducted.

If you would like to be on my newsletter mailing list, send me your e-mail address at editor@gypsyjournal.net and I’ll include you. It comes out about once a month and includes information on my writing activities, special offers, and a short story by one of my author friends.

Congratulations Phyllis Frey, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Sentinel In Elysium, the first book in my buddy George Weir’s excellent Elysium Chronicles mystery series set in a small Texas town. We had 93 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.

Thought For The Day – We are drowning in information while starving for wisdom.

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