Nick Russell

Dec 032016
 

After I mentioned camping opportunities at Elks and Moose lodges and VFW posts in yesterday’s blog, More Snowbird Options, I got quite a few emails from people asking more about joining the Elks and Moose, as well as the VFW. Here is a link to a blog post I wrote a while back about Camping With The Elks, and a lot of the same information applies to the Moose as well.



I belong to the Elks Lodge in our old hometown of Show Low, Arizona, and the Moose Lodge in Elkhart, Indiana. Both organizations are always looking for new members, and yes, ladies are welcome to join, too. As for the VFW, having been in the military is not enough for full membership. You must have served overseas in a combat zone during a time of war. You don’t have to have been up front where the fighting was, you could have been a company clerk, or a cook, or a mechanic, or whatever. As long as you were there and have a DD-214 to verify your service, you are eligible to join. I understand that some people have joined the VFW as auxiliary members, due to a family member belonging. I’m not familiar with that, so I can’t tell you anything about it. My suggestion would be to contact your local VFW post and ask them.

In past blog posts I have shared a few pictures of Terry’s loom room, a huge place measuring somewhere around 12 feet wide by 24 feet long that holds her two looms and her weaving paraphernalia and equipment, along with her desk. She also has turned one of the bedrooms into a sewing room, and it’s about finished. Here are a couple of pictures of it. Yes, that’s a lot of yarn, but trust me, there’s a lot more where that came from! Our Winnebago motorhome was a rolling fiber factory.sewing-room

sewing-room-2

A number of readers have contacted me asking about the adhesive spray that Terry used on the headliner of our Ford pickup. It’s the same 3M headliner spray adhesive that we used when we were building our MCI bus conversion, and you can get it on Amazon.

3m-headliner

Another product people ask me about quite a bit is Strike Hold, which is a cleaner, lubricant, and protectant that both myself and Greg White use on everything from RV electrical cord contacts to guns, and just about anything else you can think of. Greg has even used it on his Amazon Kindles when the power cord ports got grungy and they didn’t want to charge correctly anymore. Yes, it really is that good.

strike-hold

And finally, a couple of years ago when we developed a leak in our motorhome’s black water tank, we repaired it with J-B Weld WaterWeld. It’s another amazing product that works on fiberglass, PVC plastic, most metals, and is resistant to water, gasoline, oil, and a lot of other chemicals. It’s one of those things that doesn’t cost much or take up much space, but it can be a real lifesaver when you need it.

jb-water-weld

People have been asking me if we will be at the Escapees Escapade Rally in Tucson in March and if I will be doing any of my seminars there. I haven’t been asked, and at this point we don’t have any plans to head west that soon. We probably won’t leave here until sometime in April or May to begin our summer RV travels.



Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Mountain Angel by my friend Suzie O’Connell. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name 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 – One thing is for certain in life, you will never learn if you are only speaking.

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More Snowbird Options

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Dec 022016
 

Based upon the comments I got both here in the blog and by email in response to yesterday’s blog, You Must Plan Ahead, it’s obvious that there is a lot of interest in being able to spend the winter in places like Arizona and Florida, and also obvious that there are a lot of people who have not made reservations or don’t care to.



The good news is, all is not lost. There are a lot of places in both popular states where RV snowbirds can enjoy the sunshine while their friends and family up north are shoveling snow. Even for those who did not plan well ahead. The bad news is, they are not always in the places where you thought you were going to be.

While it can be hard to find an RV site in the winter on either coast in Florida, it’s not impossible. Go inland 40 miles or so and there are options available. They may not be beachside resorts, and they may not have every amenity you were hoping for, but there are plenty of small mom-and-pop RV parks in central Florida with affordable rates that you may still get into. Check out places like Ocala, Gainesville, Winter Haven, and Avon Park. We’ve seen quite a few campgrounds with empty sites in those areas in the wintertime.

And if Arizona was your target, get away from Phoenix and Tucson and Yuma and take a look in Coolidge, Eloy, Florence, and Arizona City, all located south of the Phoenix metropolitan area. They are small towns with not a lot going on, but again, I’ve seen lots of RV spaces available even during the busiest winter months.

Something else to think about is that you don’t have to be in a traditional RV park to enjoy the Sun Belt in the wintertime. The Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson has lots of full hookup RV sites, both 30 and 50 amp, with very good weekly and monthly rates. Most fairgrounds have RV sites available, and a lot of them are happy to welcome you for a stay during the wintertime.

There are also other locations to consider. Baldwin County, Alabama, sandwiched between Mobile Bay on the west and the Florida state line to the east, is a pleasant place to spend the winter. It’s affordable, and there are lots of RV parks that will make you welcome. Have you ever spent any time on the Mississippi Gulf Coast? If not, check it out. They have white sand beaches, charming small towns, friendly people, and even lots of casinos, if you feel lucky. Further west, while we don’t care for it very much personally, we know a lot of RV snowbirds who love the Rio Grande Valley, more commonly just called the Valley, in Texas. Again, there are a lot of RV parks, you can usually find a vacancy without too much effort, and you will be paying a lot less than you would in Florida, Tucson, Phoenix, or southern California.

Consider other options besides RV parks, such as membership in the Elks, Moose, and VFW, if you qualify. Many of the lodges and posts have RV parking available, some even with full hookups. They are not going to have all of the amenities of a full-service RV park, but you’re also not going to pay as much. And you won’t be stuck up north for the winter. And if you like “roughing it” there is a lot of land for boondocking in the Southwest. Get a little creative and think outside the box, you might be surprised what you will come up with.



Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Mountain Angel by my friend Suzie O’Connell. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name 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.Mountain-Angel_thumb.jpg

Thought For The Day – Of course I talk to myself; sometimes I need expert advice.

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You Must Plan Ahead

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Dec 012016
 

Apparently some folks don’t understand my twisted sense of humor. So just to clear the air, no, I did not change my car’s horn to gunshots as I said in yesterday’s thought for the day. Four different people posted blog comments or sent me e-mails to say that was scary or dangerous and I might get shot or arrested. It was a joke, folks, I promise.



I’ve been hearing a lot from people complaining that they have decided to spend the winter in Florida or Arizona, and now they can’t get reservations at the places they want to go using Passport America or Thousand Trails, or at most RV parks.

Yes, folks, that’s the way it is. This is peak season, and if you snooze you lose. We have spent many, many winters in Florida, Arizona, and across the Sunbelt. Just like we have spent summers in popular places like the Oregon and Washington coast, and even one in New England. It can be done, but you have to plan ahead.

We don’t like making schedules and having to have reservations in place far ahead of time, but the reality is, there are only so many RV spaces available and a whole lot of people who want them. Somebody complaining to me about the lack of sites in Florida said that he understood that campgrounds like to have reservations ahead of time, but it was his feeling that they should leave maybe 25% of their sites open for drive-up customers.

Why? If you owned or managed a campground and you had guaranteed 100% occupancy, with reservations made and a deposit paid far in advance, why would you instead leave a fourth of your sites open because somebody might show up at the last minute? What if they don’t show up? That’s lost revenue, and no business can survive by losing money.

One of the complaints was about Passport America, whose members have access to over 1800 campgrounds nationwide, usually at half price. The person who wrote me said that he has not been able to find a Passport America campground on either the East or West coast of Florida that he can use during January and February. No, you probably won’t. Again, why would a campground do that? The reason they join discount camping clubs is to fill empty sites during their slow periods. If it’s June and a good number of your sites are sitting empty, half of something is better than all of nothing. But in your busiest time of year, when you’re turning people away, why would you want to rent a campsite for half price? I sure wouldn’t do it!

Again folks, plan ahead. Yeah, I know, we all want to think we’re free spirited gypsies running up and down the road in our RVs without a care in the world, stopping wherever we want to on a whim, and then taking off whenever the mood strikes us, looking for a new adventure. That’s great, but it doesn’t really happen like that. Not in a popular location during their peak periods. Work within the systems if you have a campground membership, plan ahead and make your reservations well in advance if you want to be assured of a place. How soon is too soon? There’s no such thing. In popular places like the Florida Keys, some RVers make their reservations a year in advance, and renew them before they leave at the end of the season.

Yes, I know. It sucks. But it’s kind of like eating your vegetables – you may not want to, but you have to, like it or not.



It’s Thursday, and you know what that means. It’s time to kick off a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Mountain Angel by my friend Suzie O’Connell. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name 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 don’t have the time nor the crayons to explain this to you.

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Miss Terry Gets Smart

 Posted by at 12:34 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 302016
 

We were up early again yesterday, since we are trying to readjust our sleeping patterns and get to bed earlier and get up earlier than normal. We have company visiting from out of state in a couple of weeks and we kind of thought it might be polite to not sleep the day away while they are here.



Usually I write late into the night, and we go to bed anywhere from 2 to 3 AM, then get up sometime around 10. But we wanted to change that, so we have been trying to get to bed by 1 AM or so and getting up about 8:30. Our bodies haven’t quite adjusted yet, but hopefully we’ll get there.

We spent most of the day in Daytona Beach, looking for that extra bedroom set I mentioned in yesterday’s blog. No luck there, but we did get real lucky at one of the used furniture stores we stopped into. A while back, at another store, we found a nice quilt rack and purchased it to put in our hallway to display some of Terry’s weaving creations. Yesterday, we saw an even nicer rack that was priced at $25. But they had a sign saying that everything was on sale, just ask for the price. So I took it up to the counter, thinking they might knock $5, or possibly even $10 off. I thought the lady was telling me the discount when she said, “How about $3?” but as it turned out, that was her price! She said it had been sitting around the shop for a while and she just wanted it gone. At that price, I was happy to help her out.

new-quilt-rack

As I said in today’s blog title, Miss Terry finally got smart. No, she didn’t kick me to the curb. She hasn’t gotten that smart yet! For years, Terry has been using an ancient flip phone that she picked up when Fred Flintstone was having a yard sale. It served her purpose and she was quite happy with it, but lately she’s been talking about getting a smart phone to take advantages of some of the features they have on them.



Regular blog readers will know that we’ve had a real problem getting our Verizon cell phones to work here at our house, even using the Verizon network extender they sent me, which I returned because it didn’t do any good. We had talked about Terry getting a new phone with AT&T, since the signal is better here for them.

But the last Brighthouse cable man who was here told me that I could use our Brighthouse Wi-Fi here at the house to make and receive calls. But he wasn’t sure exactly how I would go about doing that. No problem, I called Greg White, who knows just about everything there is to know about all things mechanical or technical, and he talked me through the process.

The result was that my phone now works great here at home. But Terry’s was so old that it could not even connect to the Wi-Fi. So while we were in town yesterday we stopped at Verizon and got her a new Droid MotoZ phone. I think she likes the new phone, except that now I can call her from my office when she’s in her loom room. Nope, she can’t escape.

And before I close, just a note for my friends back in our hometown in Arizona’s White Mountains and in the upper Midwest, where they have had snow already. It’s going to be 82° here today. Eat your hearts out!

Thought For The Day – I changed my car horn to gunshot sounds. People get out of the way much faster now.

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Piddling

 Posted by at 12:04 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 292016
 

We were awake by 8:30 yesterday morning and spent the day piddling around here at the house, taking care of some little things we wanted to get done.



Two things have been irritations for me since we bought our used F-150 pickup. One was that the windshield, in fact all the glass, had a film on it. Overall, the previous owner took very good care of the truck, and for a 1999, it’s in excellent condition. But I’m not sure he ever took a rag to the glass. Terry spent a couple of hours and cleaned the glass inside and out three or four times. By the time she was done it really sparkled and the view out the windshield is a lot better.

There were also two spots, just above the sun visors, where the headliner had come loose. We found some special spray glue just for headliners, and Terry fixed that, too. I love being married to a handylady. Especially since I’ll never be a handyman.



Another little project was to hang up two key racks in our hallway. That didn’t take long, and now we don’t have to spend time looking through our desk drawers for keys when we need them. The top rack is for my keys, and the bottom is for Terry’s. I guess she needs to look in her desk drawers and find her keys so she can hang them up, too.

key-rack

With that done we tackled another task that I was looking forward to getting done, hanging this .50 Hawken rifle in the hallway just before the steps go down to my office and our bedroom. Though I have shot several muzzleloaders over the years, I never owned one before this one I picked up some time ago. I haven’t fired it yet, but I think it looks pretty good hanging there.

hawken

I have really enjoyed my Amazon Echo and been amazed by the quality of the music it puts out. When Terry mentioned that she wished she had some music back in her loom room, where she spends a lot of time, my buddy Greg White suggested an Echo Dot, which is a smaller version of the Echo. I ordered one for her from Amazon, along with a Bluetooth speaker, and it came yesterday afternoon.

dot-2

Of course I always try to buy at the top of the market, just to keep the economy in good shape. The day after I ordered it they went on sale for $10 less, just $39.99. That’s a heck of a deal. Timing is everything. Grab one while it’s on sale, I think you’ll be glad you did. The full-size Echoes are also on sale, for $40 off.

Though the quality of the music with its onboard speaker is not as good as with the full-size Echo, it wasn’t bad. And when paired with the inexpensive Cambridge SoundWorks wireless bluetooth speaker I ordered with it, it’s pretty impressive. Miss Terry is a happy camper. Or weaver. Or handylady.

speaker

I also did some writing yesterday, cranking out another 2,500 words in my current Big Lake book. Getting sidetracked by Hurricane Matthew, and then buying the house and getting moved in and settled in really put me off schedule. This book should have been out weeks ago, and some of my fans are letting me know that. Hopefully, when it’s done it will be worth the wait

Terry’s Trek bicycle had been riding on the ladder on the back of our Winnebago for a long time and really needed serviced. So a while back we took it to a local bike shop and had them go through it and get it road ready. She took it for a ride around the neighborhood yesterday afternoon and came back with a big smile on her face. She said it was good to be riding again.

Amazon isn’t the only place offering special deals right now. Our pals John and Kathy Huggins at Living the RV Dream have a Christmas special going on that’s pretty hard to pass up. They are offering a 16GB USB3 flash drive with all current shows of Living the RV Dream podscast, along with their Radio Days recordings and  show notes. That’s over 400 hours of great RVing tips, wisdom and interviews with industry experts! And just to sweeten the pot, they are also including e-files of all three of their books. That’s like going to RV college right from the comfort of your own home! All of this is just $100, and they pay the shipping! Whether you’re a new RVer or a veteran road warrior, you really can’t afford to pass up this deal. Check it out on their website at this link.

By shopping local thrift stores and Craigslist, we have pretty much got our house furnished. But we still need to find a bedroom set, and we need to do it pretty soon because our first houseguest will be here in about two weeks. So I think today, or maybe tomorrow, will be spent shopping some more. Hopefully we will find what we need pretty soon.

Thought For The Day – Alcohol – because no great story ever started with, “Let’s go have us a couple of salads.”

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A Beachy Day

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 282016
 

We’ve been spending too much time at home and both had a touch of cabin fever, so Saturday evening I told Miss Terry that we needed to get up early the next day and go for a ride or do something.



And then, wouldn’t you know it, I had a bad night and woke up feeling sick to my stomach and wrung out yesterday morning. So much so that I actually slept through the alarm and Terry was up an hour or so ahead of me. She said if I wanted to reschedule our day away we could do that, but after moping around for a while I decided we would at least go over to the storage lot and check on our motorhome, since we hadn’t done so since we parked it a month ago.

The first thing Terry said when we walked inside our Winnebago was, “It seems so small!” And I had to agree, after being in this big old house. But we never felt cramped living in it when we were fulltimers. Everything seemed to be fine, so we locked it back up and then went down to our private fishing dock.



We got there just in time to see these two nice sailboats going by, headed south. It was a windy day and their sails were full. I have no idea why the sky is a different color from one picture to the other, since I took them less than a minute apart.

sailboat

sailboat-2

We hung out on the dock for little bit, and the resident dolphins came by to greet us, rolling over in the water and huffing as they came up for air. I could sit there and watch them all day long.

After a while we decided to drive into New Smyrna Beach and see what was happening. If you don’t want to park and walk out onto the sand, you have to have a special permit to drive on the beach here, which is $25 a year for Volusia County residents, or you can pay a daily fee of $10. The nice lady at the entrance booth said that the passes are done on an annual basis, and that if we came back on December 1 we could buy our 2017 pass.

So we thanked her, made a U-turn, and drove a few miles down to the Canaveral National Seashore. You can’t drive on the beach there, but it’s free to get in with our Senior Pass, and there are several parking lots with beach access. The beaches there are also not nearly as crowded as they are in town.

long-beach-view

We spent some time walking down the beach, picking up shells and enjoying the wonderful sea air. We always love being on a beach, whether it’s here in Florida or on the Pacific Northwest coast, as the big smile on Terry’s face shows.

terry-at-seashore-3

This formation of pelicans flew by overhead and I was able to get a picture of them. I always worry when birds this big fly over me. I mean, they eat a lot, so it stands to reason…

flight-of-pelicans

I even held my breath when these two passed over until they were out of range, just in case.

two-pelicans

We wandered around on the beach for quite a while, until our stomachs started growling and we decided we had better do something about that. This surf fisherman was trying hard to catch his own dinner, but not having much luck at it.

surf-fisherman

We took the easy way out and went to the New Smyrna Beach Seashack, a restaurant we discovered a while back. As it turned out, it was customer appreciation day, and many of their dishes were half price. That’s a heck of a deal! I had shrimp and French fries, and Terry had cod and fries. And just as it was the first time we ate there, the portions were huge and everything was delicious. This place is definitely on our go back to list!

Congratulations Otto Henderson, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Point Taken, the tenth book in my friend Ben Rehder’s excellent Blanco County mystery series. We had 87 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.

Thought For The Day – I was going to wear my camouflage shirt today, but I couldn’t find it.

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Nov 272016
 

When we first started spending our winters in Florida, even before we bought our house, people kept telling us about how bad this region was for hurricanes and asking us if we weren’t afraid of getting caught in one.



No, not at all. In our 17+ years of fulltime RVing we dealt with tornadoes, wildfires, unexpected snowstorms, and even an earthquake. At least a hurricane has the courtesy to tell you it’s coming well in advance so you can get out of its way. And besides, hurricane season usually begins about July and goes through early November. When we were fulltiming we weren’t usually in Florida during that time. And now that we own a house here, we will probably be on the road somewhere much of that time.

However, we were here in October when Hurricane Matthew came up the coast and did a lot of damage in some areas. Here are a few lessons we learned from that incident, but they apply just as much anytime you are on the road traveling in an RV.



Don’t wait too long – We were staying at a campground in the Daytona Beach area, and as soon as it looked like the hurricane was heading our way we left the coast and drove inland to the Tallahassee area until the storm had passed. One fellow at the campground told me he was going to stay put because he had already paid for his reservation and he was darned sure going to get his money’s worth. There is no way I’m going to put our lives or our motorhome in danger for the sake of a few bucks. If you have to leave, get out while the getting’s good. We made a quick trip across the state and had no problem finding a campground, while folks who waited longer found themselves stuck in long traffic jams, and when they finally did get clear of this area, many of them ended up spending days dry camping in parking lots because all the campgrounds motels, and hotels were full.

Always have full fuel and water tanks – Some people who waited too long to leave found that fuel was hard to come by in some areas during the mass exodus. Whenever we are going to be parked anywhere for more than a night or two, I always fill our Winnebago’s fuel tank before we go into a campground and I keep our water tank full. Remember those folks who spent all that time dry camping after they fled the hurricane? A lot of them did so with no water on board. That’s too much like roughing it for me.

Have cash available – We always try to keep at least $500 in cash on hand. In many areas power was out for several days. When that happens it doesn’t matter how many credit and debit cards you have in your wallet, plastic does not work.

Have a weather radio – Tallahassee isn’t that far from Daytona Beach but it seemed like the local news stations there didn’t much care about what was happening on the coast. They talked more about the weather in Pensacola and Mobile, Alabama than they did Daytona Beach. We learned more about what was going on from the Internet and a weather radio.

Let people know where you are – My son and daughter and Terry’s parents were obviously very worried about us. We let them know when we were leaving, we told them where we were headed, and we let them know when we arrived. When you’re on the other side of the country and your loved ones are in the path of some kind of natural disaster, it can be just as frightening for those waiting for that phone call to let them know that everything is okay.

Don’t return too soon – We waited two or three days after the hurricane had passed and the all clear was announced. We knew there was going to be a lot of cleanup to be done, a lot of power outages to deal with, and a lot of traffic headed back to the coast. And we wanted to be sure that when we did get back, we would be able to buy fuel to refill our tank, just in case we had to make a second fast getaway. Sometimes lightning does strike twice in the same place.

Keep a positive attitude – Yes, we would have rather been in our nice campground in Daytona Beach instead of parked in what was basically a grassy field with hookups, but what the heck, we were safe and dry, and we met some nice folks who were doing the same thing we were – waiting out the storm. Life’s an adventure, and when it’s all over you’ve got a great story to tell!

Today is your last chance to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Point Taken, the tenth book in my friend Ben Rehder’s excellent Blanco County mystery series. I’ve read just about all of Ben’s books, and I don’t think he could write a bad story if he tried. 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.

point-taken

Thought For The Day – Only a true friend sees invisible tears.

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I’m So Stuffed!

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 262016
 

I’ll tell you right now, the turkey wasn’t the only thing to get stuffed at our house for Thanksgiving! We had a quiet day at home, just the two of us, which is just the way we like it. Miss Terry had bought a turkey breast and cooked it, along with all the goodies, and topped it off with a delicious homemade pumpkin pie. When I saw all that food laid out on the table my eyes bulged. And by the end of the meal it was my stomach that was bulging! Well, bulging even more than normal.



Then, yesterday, she cooked some wild rice and served it with leftover turkey and gravy on top of it. And since there was still pie left over, it would’ve been rude of me not to have some, right?

We never go to any big box store during the Black Friday rush. In fact, we prefer to stay home and let all the crazy people do their thing, which is just what we did yesterday. I spent much of the day writing, correcting a major plot fault in my current work in progress and had to rewrite two chapters. Once I had that taken care of, I still managed to crank out another 3,000 words.



Meanwhile, Terry was busy in her loom room getting the final touches put on her huge Glimakara counter marche rug loom. We took a lot of pictures while we were disassembling it over in Panama City, but there was one critical area that I seem to have overlooked, and now she’s having to figure out how the warp extender works.

Her loom room is coming together very well. The small loom in the front is the Baby Wolf that she’s been using in our motorhome for the last couple of years, with the Glimakara in the rear in this picture. And I thought the Baby Wolf was big!

loom-room

Several people have asked me if we plan to go back on the road again, and if so, when. Yes, we will definitely be enjoying the gypsy lifestyle for a long while yet. We will probably hang out here at home until sometime in April, or maybe May, or whenever the hitch itch gets too bad. Then we will fire up the Winnebago and take off, looking for new adventures. We may not be fulltimers anymore, but we’re not planning to become housebound either.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Point Taken, the tenth book in my friend Ben Rehder’s excellent Blanco County mystery series. I’ve read just about all of Ben’s books, and I don’t think he could write a bad story if he tried. 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.

point-taken

Thought For The Day – Our days are happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind.

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Nov 252016
 

In Wednesday’s blog we discussed ways RVers can make money with a computer as they travel the country. Here is a second helping of ways that different RVers we know or have met are earning a full or part time income with their computers.



Affiliate Marketing – There are many different affiliate marketing websites online that offer income potential. To make money with affiliate marketing, you sign up with a company that brings advertisers and hosts together, and pick the advertisements you want to run on your website(s) or blog(s). The advertiser pays you for every visitor, subscriber and/or customer who comes to them from your site(s). Depending on the agreement, your commission may be as low as a penny or two per click, to a percentage of each sale made. To be successful with affiliate marketing, you have to have a website or blog that draws a lot of readers every day. Some popular affiliate marketing companies include Commission Junction, Amazon, and Click Bank.

E-Zines – Another popular money making opportunity is publishing e-zines, which are online magazines. These days you can find e-zines on everything from outdoor sports to computers, sailing, crafts, and anything else you can think of. Publishers of e-zines make money from advertising and from selling products they create themselves. An example of a quality e-zine is Destinations Travel Magazine. The Gypsy Journal went all digital early this year, and you can get a sample copy at this link.

Day Trading – At a campground on the Mississippi Gulf coast, we met a man who made a very good living as a day trader. A year later we ran into a gentleman doing the same thing in Tennessee. If you study the markets and aren’t afraid to gamble, maybe you can, too.

Creating Web Pages For Businesses – I’m not much of a technical guy, but I’ve built several websites using simple, inexpensive drop and drag programs. I’ve also built a couple of websites for friends’ businesses, and been paid as much as $1,000 to do so. We know a number of RVers who pay for their winter RV parks with the money they make creating websites for small businesses, including the RV parks where they stay.



Custom Children’s Books – With a simple desktop publishing program, a digital camera and scanner, and some relatively inexpensive bindery equipment, you can create a line of simple customized small children’s books. By writing several short stories into different books, you can set up your computer program to allow you to drop in the name and photograph of children to create their own custom book – Johnny Goes To The Grand Canyon With Grandma and Grandpa, Susie’s Special Saturday, Billy’s Summer Adventure – you get the idea. Doting grandparents will love giving these personalized gifts to the kids back home.

Teaching Computer Classes – They say that those who can’t, teach. I don’t know about that, but there are a lot of computer savvy people offering classes in everything from basic computer operation to advanced things like managing digital photos, desktop publishing, etc. Our friends Jim and Chris Guld from Geeks on Tour have created a very successful business traveling around the country teaching a wide range of computer topics at RV rallies and events, campgrounds, and with online tutorials.

Niche Publishing – A major part of our annual income comes from the sale of the many niche publications we sell to RVers, such as our Guide To Free Campgrounds, Guide to Casino Camping, etc. We print them out on our laser printer as the orders come in and ship them out, or send them as PDF files by e-mail. Over the years I have helped many people create nice publications on everything from recipes to restoring classic cars, to regional historical guides. Here is a link to an article on niche publishing from my self-publishing website.

Computer Repair – Like anything made by man, computers are going to break now and then, or pick up a virus, or develop some problem. If you know how to fix and upgrade computers, and how to clean up viruses and other malware, you can make a lot of your RV park neighbors happy and make money at the same time.

E-Publishing – E-books are revolutionizing the publishing world and there are many people making huge profits self-publishing both fiction and nonfiction e-books. My first mystery novel, Big Lake, has sold over 350,000 copies to date and made the New York Times Kindle bestseller list a few months after it came out. I currently have 25 e-books on Amazon and I am busy writing more.

Services To E-Publishers – You don’t have to write books yourself to cash in on the e-book boom. An entire cottage industry has been created by people who offer services to e-book authors that include proofreading, editing, cover design, and e-book formatting.

So there you have it, ten more ways to make money with your computer. And there are many more I have not mentioned. Get creative, do some research, then roll up your sleeves and get to work! If I can do it, you can, too.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Point Taken, the tenth book in my friend Ben Rehder’s excellent Blanco County mystery series. I’ve read just about all of Ben’s books, and I don’t think he could write a bad story if he tried. 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.

point-taken

Thought For The Day – In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.

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Happy Thanksgiving

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 242016
 

Wherever you are today, be it boondocking in the Arizona desert, attending a potluck at your favorite RV resort, or having dinner at home with lots of family surrounding you, Miss Terry and I wish you a very, very happy Thanksgiving.



This is our first major holiday since we bought our house and left the world of fulltime RVers. I believe our little manufactured home community is having a potluck, with the residents association buying the turkeys and ham, but we plan to spend a quiet day at home, just the two of us.

Terry bought a turkey breast, cranberries, and a lot of other stuff and she’s looking forward to making dinner here. After years of cooking in an RV kitchen, she says it’s going to be a bit of a different experience for her. I don’t know about that, but I do know that I’m in for some good eating later on today. I even heard a rumor about pie!



And of course, this marks the day I make my annual vow to avoid any big box store until after the holidays. I’m not always successful at that, but I really try. I can’t handle the crowds and all of the commercialism. When I do have to buy something, I’m happy to pay a buck or two more and buy it from a small businessman (or woman) running a mom-and-pop shop anyway. Those were the folks who bought the ads that kept my small-town weekly newspapers going for most of my working life.

Now I’m not saying I won’t find myself venturing into some kind of chain store in the next two months, because sometimes it happens. But I really work hard to avoid it if I can.

And Black Friday shopping? Forget about it! I wouldn’t go into any store on Friday even to buy bandages if I was bleeding to death. Those people are crazy!

If you don’t believe me, get a copy of my book Black Friday and see what happened to an average guy from just down the road from us in Titusville when he went shopping the day after Thanksgiving. I guarantee you, it’s a page turner.

Black Friday cover small

It’s Thursday, and you know what that means. It’s time to kick off a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Point Taken, the tenth book in my friend Ben Rehder’s excellent Blanco County mystery series. I’ve read just about all of Ben’s books, and I don’t think he could write a bad story if he tried. 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.

point-taken

Thought For The Day – It doesn’t matter if the glass is half empty or half full, there is clearly room for more wine.

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

Click Here For Back Issues Of The Gypsy Journal

Click Here To Subscribe To The Gypsy Journal