Nick Russell

RVing Is Hard Work

 Posted by at 12:10 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 182018
 

The other day I received an email from somebody who was telling me that they were totally unprepared for how much work is involved in the RV lifestyle. They weren’t talking about workamping or making a living on the road. Their revelation was about how much goes into traveling in an RV; packing the rig for travel and unpacking it when you get arrive at your destination, backing into campsites, hooking and unhooking from campground utilities, connecting a tow vehicle to the back of the motorhome, and things like that. Not to mention the effort it takes to maintain any kind of RV.



The lady writing me said she did not want to sound like a prima donna, and that she was certainly capable of doing what needed to be done, either helping her husband or by herself if necessary, but she said she never realized how much is involved in all of that, and how much time it takes. “To be honest, Nick,” she wrote, “I guess we went into this with rose-colored glasses and never realized that there’s more to it than sitting around a campfire toasting marshmallows and making s’mores. We find ourselves staying longer and longer at campgrounds because we don’t want the hassle of moving.”

She is right. While RVing is a wonderful lifestyle, whether you do it as a fulltimer, a snowbird, or a weekend warrior, there is work involved. And some of it can be a grind at times.

I’ve always disagreed with the theory of blue jobs that the men take care of outside of the RV and pink jobs that the women do inside. Traditionally, it seems like I see more men driving or towing RVs while the wives are passengers when underway. This is not to say that I don’t know a lot of women who are quite capable of, and do, drive their RVs. It just seems that, overall, if it’s a couple it’s usually the man behind the wheel. The man is also usually the one that hooks up to the campground utilities and connects everything for towing. Meanwhile, the wife is inside stowing things away so they don’t move while in transit, and she’s in charge of cooking and cleaning and things like that. This is a mistake for both men and women. Both of you should know how to do every job that’s necessary around the RV. It doesn’t mean you have to do it all the time, but there’s nothing wrong with sharing the workload inside and out.

Eventually you get into a routine when you are getting ready to leave a campground that makes things easier. But that doesn’t mean there is no work involved. It’s amazing how stiff and hard to handle a 50 amp power cord can be, especially on a chilly morning. Hooking up a tow bar can be a hassle, too, at times.

Since I’ve never had a fifth wheel, I don’t know what all is involved in connecting to the truck, but I know it doesn’t do it by itself automatically. And the older we get, as our backs and joints stiffen and our eyesight diminishes a bit, it gets even more difficult. Inside the rig, things have to be stored so they don’t fall and break while traveling, or don’t become deadly missiles in the event of an accident.

Once you get on the road it’s not just about holding the steering wheel and pointing the rig in the direction you want to go. Rough roads, construction zones, and other drivers all have to be dealt with. We’ve been on a few roads where it took as much as we could do just to maneuver through the potholes and frost heaves. And traveling on a windy day can wear you out in a hurry!

The driver isn’t the only one doing all of the work. The copilot should be on the alert to warn of merging traffic, hazards ahead and to the side, and be watching out for directional signs because we all know you can’t trust a GPS 100% of the time. The copilot also needs to help navigate into and out of fuel stops. I can’t tell you how many times somebody has driven across right in front of us in a truck stop parking lot like we weren’t even there!

And once you arrive at your campground, you don’t get to just shut off the key and say “Honey, we’re home.” Now you get to do it all in reverse. Backing into a site can be a real challenge for some people, and again, having a copilot outside guiding you in can make it a lot easier. Then you get to do everything all over again, dragging the power cord out and connecting it, hooking up to water and sewer, aiming a TV dish if you don’t have an automatic one, and getting everything squared away inside. Then you have to get the awnings out, drag the lawn chairs out of a storage bay if you want to use them, walk the dog if it needs it, and oh, by the way, what are we going to do about dinner?



No, it’s not all fun and games. There’s some real work involved now and then. But the rewards when you are parked in a nice campground listening to the birds chirping and the wind rustling through the trees can make it all worthwhile. That is, if you can ignore the noise made by the screaming kids running through your site, the barking dogs, and hey, is that a railroad track right next door?

This is not to say that the RV lifestyle isn’t wonderful, because it can be. No matter what you do in life there are always good days and bad days. In RVing, the good days usually outnumber the bad days by a wide margin.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake Burning, the sixth book in my Big Lake Mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.

Thought For The Day – Sometimes my life feels like a test I didn’t study for.

We Got Our Exercise

 Posted by at 1:15 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 172018
 

I have been walking a mile a day on my treadmill, trying to get at least a little bit of exercise to help overcome my pretty much sedentary lifestyle. I don’t think I’m ever going to be skinny, but I would sure like to shed enough pounds get down to just being fat instead of damn fat. But yesterday we both got plenty of exercise and the treadmill never even got turned on.



We were up early and out the door just after 9 AM, headed for Mount Dora, which is 61 miles from us in the central part of the state. 61 miles doesn’t seem like it’s very far, but there’s no easy way to get there from here. No matter which route you take, it’s going to take you an hour and a half, part of it on two lane roads with a lot of construction and traffic. But it was worth it, but because we went there for the Antique Extravaganza, which was advertised to have over 800 vendors selling all kinds of trinkets, trash, and treasures from days gone by.

The facility was huge, well over 100 acres, with vendors outside and inside several buildings. By the time we saw everything, we had walked until our feet were screaming at us and our hips were aching. Yep, we got our exercise all right. And surprisingly, unlike here on the coast where it’s pretty much flat, we had some hills to walk up and down. Not steep hills, mind you, but when your butt is dragging, a hill is a hill.

It was a bit chilly, with temperatures in the mid-50s to low 60s, but it was a beautiful day with plenty of sunshine and blue sky. There was a lot of stuff that we just ignored because it didn’t match our tastes or interest, but there was also a lot of stuff that was really cool. We could have easily spent a lot of money there in a hurry if we had the money, if we had a way to haul it, and if we had a place to put it all once we got back home.

The fellow selling these Jack Daniels whiskey barrels was doing a brisk business. He probably had at least 20 or 25, and many of them already had sold signs on them.

Lots of vendors had old advertising signs, everything from beer and soda to gasoline and motor oil.

This vendor was selling damn fine stuff. I know, because that’s what the sign said. If you can’t believe a sign, what can you believe?

I kind of liked the barber pole, but is it really appropriate for a bald man to own something like that? I’m not sure.

I don’t know if this came from a Halloween fun house or a something like that, but Terry said she feels like she should have this and turn it on every time I mess with electrical stuff.

There were also vendors selling some cheap swap meet junk, but we didn’t spend much time with them. We did talk to a lot of nice people, saw some really interesting stuff, and I picked up a couple of police badges to add to my collection. I also found this sword, which will look good hanging on my office wall.

Before we got together Terry had a very impressive collection of Aladdin oil lamps, which she sold when we became fulltime RVers. She really wants a Lincoln Drape model Aladdin and I was hoping that with so many vendors there we might be able to find one, but no such luck.

We walked around the show for a good five hours, and by the time things were wrapping up for the day we were more than happy to head back to our van. Except for the fact that it was parked uphill from where we were, and that hill was a lot steeper going back up then it was coming down earlier in the day!

If you are in the area and like antiques, or just enjoy browsing vendors and getting some exercise as you stroll around the grounds, head to Mount Dora and the Antique Extravaganza. It goes on through this weekend and is well worth the trip.

We talked about going back another day, but if we do it will be on Sunday. I don’t think we can put our feet through all of that walking two days in a row.



Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Burning, the sixth book in my Big Lake Mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – I think it’s wrong that only one company gets to make the game Monopoly.

A Short One Today

 Posted by at 12:32 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 162018
 

We hit the ground running yesterday morning and were on the go all day long, getting back late in the evening, so this is going to be a short blog today.

Yesterday we drove into Daytona Beach and picked up some more cannabis oil at Surterra, the medical marijuana dispensary. In yesterday’s blog I said that the medical marijuana hasn’t helped my back issues. I guess that’s not entirely accurate, because for the most part it does give me some relief, probably as much as I was getting from the opioids, without the side effects. But there’s still plenty of times when it seems like nothing is doing any good.



After we were done at the dispensary we stopped at Bed, Bath and Beyond and purchased a new dual head WaterPik shower massager. We bought a Moen when we bought the house, but the selector on it broke after just a few months.

From there we went to the new Academy Sporting Goods store and checked it out. It’s one of my favorite stores and they have lots of goodies. I picked up a couple of pairs of lightweight lounge pants, which I like to wear when I’m at home writing.

Then, of course, we had to stop at the Auto Mall and drool over Mustangs. They didn’t have what I was looking for there, and I told Terry and this will probably be the last new car I will buy for myself, so if I’m going to do it, I’m going to get exactly what I want.

Since nothing thrilled me there, we stopped at Mullinax Ford in New Smyrna Beach on the way home. It’s the dealership that has the silver Mustang that was in yesterday’s blog. No, I didn’t bring one home. Yet. But I foresee the strong possibility of a new addition in our garage before too long if things all work out.

Today were off to Mount Dora for the big Antique Extravaganza, which is held three times a year and will have over 800 dealers. Who knows? We might pick up some pretty good bargains while we are there.



Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Burning, the sixth book in my Big Lake Mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – Don’t invent with your mouth what you don’t see with your eyes.

Making Headway

 Posted by at 12:16 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 152018
 

I spent most of yesterday dealing with computer issues. I started out deleting any personal files from my old Asus old laptop, which is going to a good home, and getting it boxed up and ready to ship out.

As I said a couple of days ago in a blog titled Frustration City, when I set up my new Dell laptop computer I couldn’t get the Dragon NaturallySpeaking software to work. It would load fine, but once the installation was completed, it wouldn’t open. I did some research online and couldn’t figure out what the problem was, so I called their tech support number. That’s always fun.



The gentleman I spoke to told me in very broken English that since I’m using version 13 of the software and it’s three or four years old, it won’t allow me to load it onto another computer. Instead he wanted to sell me a package with the latest version of the Dragon Professional software that I could load up onto as many as five computers, for just $499. I told him that wasn’t going to happen and immediately the price dropped down to $399. Thanks, but no thanks.

Version 13 works just fine on my desktop computer, and I found that I can order another Version 13 on Amazon for just $29.99. I don’t care if it’s not the latest and greatest, I just care that it works. Otherwise, I’ve made good headway and I think I’ve finally got the new computer set up and working fine.

I had planned to use it on a short out-of-town trip we were going to take this week, but my back had other plans and decided to waylay me and start kicking my portly posterior again. So things are on hold at the moment.

In dealing with my back, I have tried opioid pain pills, I’ve tried chiropractic, I’ve tried trigger point injections, massage therapy, and medical marijuana. Some things work a little better than others, but nothing really solves the problem. Since two doctors have told me I’m not a candidate for surgery, I looked into a spinal block shot, which I know has done wonders for many people. I had an appointment for a consultation about that today, but the doctor’s office called last week and rescheduled it for the 29th of this month. That’s frustrating.



Since nothing else has worked, I wonder if this is an option. No, a new Mustang won’t make my back better. But wouldn’t I look good driving to the chiropractor in it? Miss Terry keeps telling me I should buy it if I want it, and I really do, but I just can’t bring myself to pull the trigger on it. At least I haven’t been able to yet. Feel free to encourage me if you must.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Burning, the sixth book in my Big Lake Mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

How about I finish today’s blog with another from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us?

Thought For The Day – I’m not sure where you learned to whisper, but I’m guessing it was inside a helicopter surrounded by chainsaws.

Nov 142018
 

Note: This story is from my book Highway History And Back Road Mystery II.

These days, Eastland, Texas is a quiet little town located just off Interstate 20, between Fort Worth and Abilene. But at one time Eastland was a bustling place, as the county seat and the center of trade for the local oil booms that took place across the region.



In the 1920s, Eastland boasted a population of over 25,000, with five banks, several hotels, and shops selling the finest wares. Who could blame the good citizens of Eastland if they might occasionally look down their noses at the less refined rough and tumble roustabouts who spent their time in some of the smaller oil patch towns in the area? But before the decade was out, Eastland would take a walk on the dark side itself.

The neighboring town of Cisco, just a few miles to the west, was busy on December 23, 1927, as people went about their daily routines or made last minute preparations for Christmas, only two days away.

Just about noon, a local ne’er-do-well named Marshall Ratliff, who had served time for armed robbery, walked down the sidewalk wearing a Santa Claus costume and entered the First National Bank. At the same time three accomplices, Louis Davis, Robert Hill, and Henry Helms entered the bank by a rear door that opened onto a busy alley. Both Helms and Hill were also ex-cons, with records for armed robbery.

While his accomplices drew guns and announced a robbery, “Santa Claus” grabbed the money from the bank tellers’ drawers and forced one bank employee into the vault. The robbery was ill-planned right from the start, and things quickly went downhill when a woman entered the bank with her daughter to make a deposit. Realizing that a robbery was in progress she fled back outside, ignoring the bandits’ orders to halt, and reported the crime to Chief of Police G. E. (Bit) Bedford.

As the chief and his deputies rushed toward the bank, word spread quickly through the little town. Citizens armed themselves with rifles, pistols, and shotguns and descended on the scene of the crime.

Realizing that their plan had been exposed, the robbers fled out the back door of the bank and into the alley, directly into the gun sights of Chief Bedford and his hastily assembled posse. At 6’4” tall, and 220 pounds, Bit Bedford was a formidable man, and as a lawman, he was absolutely fearless. He had arrested bootleggers and murderers in his time and faced down armed mobs without flinching. So it was without hesitation that he fearlessly advanced down the alley at the outlaws, firing a shotgun as he went. When his shotgun jammed, the brave lawman threw it aside and reached for his revolver, but a round from one of the robbers’ guns slammed into him and knocked him off his feet. Seconds later, police officer George Carmichael was shot in the head and fell.

By the time the brief but bloody shootout was over, Ratliff and Davis were both wounded, as was Alex Spears, the bank president, and several hostages the robbers used as a shield.



Escaping into their car under a fusillade of bullets, the outlaws only made it a short distance before commandeering an automobile driven by a local family. But they were thwarted when the fourteen year old son, who was behind the wheel, took the Oldsmobile’s keys with him when ordered out of the car. Frustrated, the bandits crawled back into their original car, managing to leave their wounded comrade Davis and the $12,500 loot from their robbery behind in the Oldsmobile.

Running a gauntlet of angry bullets fired at them from both sides as they passed, one tire shot out on their car, and Hill now wounded, they somehow managed to get away from town and disappeared into the sagebrush north of Cisco.

The manhunt that followed was one of the biggest in Texas history, but the three remaining members of the gang managed to elude capture for several days, stealing cars and kidnapping one driver as they went. In a skirmish with deputies, Helms was also wounded and Ratliff was captured. Helms and Hill escaped but were captured a few days later.

In all, the robbery and shootouts that followed claimed the lives of Police Chief Bedford and Officer Carmichael, as well as robber Louis Davis. At least six civilians were wounded, along with the other three bandits.

When brought to trial for their crimes, Hill entered a guilty plea to armed robbery and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. Over the next several years, he escaped custody three times, and was recaptured each time. Eventually he seemed to see the error of his ways, becoming a model prisoner, and was paroled in the mid-1940s. He changed his name, moved to a small town in west Texas, and by all accounts became a productive citizen.

Witnesses at the scene identified Helms as the one who actually shot the two policemen, and he was convicted of their murders. He was executed on September 6, 1929, after an unsuccessful attempt to escape the electric chair with an insanity plea.

The last member of the gang, Marshall Ratliff, was sentenced to 99 years in prison for the bank robbery, and was also given the death sentence for taking part in the shootout that took the lives of Bedford and Carmichael.

Faking an insanity case, Ratliff was returned to Eastland County in late 1929 and held in the Eastland jail while his competency was determined. So convincing was he that jailers Tom Jones and Pack Kilbourn believed that he really was insane and fed him and bathed him every day.

Taking advantage of their belief that he was not dangerous, Ratliff played along until November 18, when the jailers let their guard down for one second. Springing to the attack, he grabbed Pack Kilbourn’s .38 revolver and shot Jones three times before Kilbourn jumped on him and knocked him to his knees. In the brutal fight that followed, both men were battered and bloodied, but Kilbourn was eventually able to wrest the gun from the madman’s hands and club him into submission with it.

Tensions were already high in Eastland County over the criminal’s ploy to escape justice with his insanity plea. When word of the escape attempt and Tom Jones’ injuries spread, a mob began to form outside of the old brick jail. All day long, reports from the hospital brought news of Tom Jones’ condition. First he rallied, and then he began to fail.

Everybody knew something was going to happen, and soon the streets of Eastland were packed with hard eyed oil field workers, ranch hands, and families who came to see the excitement. All that day, and into the night, the crowd continued to grow. Estimates were that over 1,000 people filled the streets around the jail.

By noon on the 19th, it was obvious that Tom Jones was not gong to live much longer, and the mood of the mob grew uglier. The County Sheriff was out of town, delivering a prisoner to the state prison in Huntsville, and the jailer knew that he was on his own. As darkness fell, the mob rushed the jail, sweeping Pack Kilbourn aside as he tried to stop them. They stormed upstairs, dragged Ratliff from his cell, and took him a block away, where a rope dangled from a utility pole.

Placing the noose around his neck, the outlaw was dragged off his feet, only to come crashing back to earth when the rope broke. Several men ran to a nearby hardware store and secured another rope, and Ratliff was again pulled into the air, kicking and screaming. His protests were cut off as the rope dug into his neck, and soon he was dead.

The crowd eventually dispersed, leaving the body of the outlaw dangling as a warning to others who might consider a life of crime. Hours later, Tom Jones died of his injuries, leaving behind a wife and six children.

Nobody was ever indicted in the hanging of Marshal Ratliff, known as the Santa Claus bank robber. His lynching was the last to take place in Texas and there are few alive today who remember that violent time in Eastland’s history. Today the old jail building, located at 210 W. White Street, is used by the Sheriff’s Department for storage, and visitors can tour a small museum on the first floor, by appointment.

A block west, at the corner of Mulberry and White Streets, a granite tablet tells the story of the Cicso bank robbery and the events that followed, the only telltale reminder of why Eastland, Texas became known as the town that hung Santa Claus.

Thought For The Day – If you don’t want a sarcastic answer, don’t ask a stupid question.

Frustration City

 Posted by at 12:39 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 132018
 

My driver’s license may say I live in Edgewater, Florida, but yesterday I felt like I spent much of the day in Frustration City. That’s not a pleasant place to be, and I’m not a pleasant person to be around when I’m stuck there.



The day started off on a bad note when I stepped on the scale and found I was up over a pound from the day before, even though I’ve cut out most of my junk food and have been walking a mile a day on the treadmill at as fast a pace as my back will allow me. Miss Terry tells me that’s to be expected and that I should only weigh myself once a week. That doesn’t work for me. I want instant results! No, I’m not unrealistic in the least little bit, what are you talking about?

I’ve been having a problem with the Facebook app on my smart phone. It was working fine until a couple of days ago, and then every time I click on the app, Facebook opens and then immediately closes. I tried uninstalling it and then reinstalling two or three times with no success, and I can’t figure out what’s causing the problem. I know it has to be in the app itself, because if I go to the browser on my phone and type in Facebook.com it opens with no problem. I spent some time trying to figure that out and finally gave up, feeling like I had been beating my head against the wall.

As if that wasn’t enough technological challenge, the new Dell 17 inch laptop with Windows 10 I had ordered to replace the ancient laptop I’ve been using for the last 10 years or so was delivered. Though I do most of my work on a desktop computer, there are times when I do need a laptop, especially when we go out of town.

When I bought my Dell desktop computer a few months ago, I also got a year’s subscription to Microsoft Office 365. It’s supposed to be good on a total of five computers, but when I tried to activate it on the new laptop it kept asking me for a product key. The program came preloaded and activated on the desktop computer and I never did get a product key. Calls to Microsoft only added to my frustration. After several hours I figured out how to get that to work, then installed Adobe Photoshop Elements and Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

Photoshop went in without a problem, but every time I clicked Install on Dragon, the CD drive would light up but nothing would happen. After about the sixth try it finally installed and I thought we were good to go. But as it turns out, the program won’t open when I click on the shortcut or type the name in. The little wheel just turns and turns and turns, and eventually it stops and nothing happens. I uninstalled it and it took several more times to get it to install again, with the same results.

Then, just to add to the fun, when I was sitting up the laptop a screen in the setup process asked me if I wanted to sync my smart phone to it. Sure, why not? I clicked the icon to do that and all of a sudden my phone went crazy. All of my app icons disappeared, along with the Google search bar, and even the clock at the top of the screen. All I had left was a Microsoft Launch icon. As it turns out the icons were not the only thing that had gone missing; at least half the apps themselves were deleted from the phone.

On Greg White’s suggestion, I called our friend Barbara Westerfield, who is the smart phone guru. Barb was able to clear that problem up by talking me through a reset. At this point I don’t know if the phone and laptop are synced, and I really don’t care. I’m not going to mess with it again!



The good news is that even with all of that going on, I still managed to get another 3,500 words done in my new Big Lake book. I’ve been off the pain pills that the VA gave me for a while, and I have finally been able to come up with what seems to be the right dosage of the medical marijuana oil to give me some, though not complete, pain relief. At least my head isn’t so fuzzy like it has been for the last several weeks and I can concentrate once again. Now I need to make up for lost time!

And in closing, here’s a chuckle to start your day, from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – My stomach is flat. The L is just silent.

Nov 122018
 

Thank a veteran. It’s that simple. Because every man and woman who ever stepped up and raise their right hand and took the oath and put on a uniform to serve this country has earned our support, our respect, and our undying gratitude.



In a time when the country is divided in so many ways along racial, economic, and political lines, No matter where you stand on the issues, one thing remains the same. None of us would have the freedom to express ourselves on those or any other topics if it wasn’t for our veterans and active duty military personnel worldwide.

In a few days we’re all going to sit down to a big Thanksgiving dinner, surrounded by friends and loved ones. When you say your blessing that day, I want you to take a moment to remember that there are many service members away from home and their loved ones. They may have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in a mess hall or they might have chow flown into wherever they are out in the field. I’ve had those dinners myself, in the mess halls and in the field. Trust me, every one of them would rather be home with their families. But instead, they’re out there protecting all of us.

And at the same time, remember that they are not the only ones who put service before self on every holiday. Police officers, the fire service, first responders, doctors and nurses, and yes, even waitresses are away from their family to make life just a little bit better for everybody else.

After reading yesterday’s blog in which I said we were going to be taking a couple of trips out of town, several people emailed me or sent messages inviting us to their homes in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and even here in Florida for a few days. While we appreciate your generosity, the reason our accountant wants us to take a couple of trips and gather some stories is so we will have some much-needed business deductions come tax time. I’ve always heard that you have to spend money to make money, but apparently you also have to spend money to keep money.

We’re still not sure when we are going, or where. Sometimes we like to fly by the seat of our pants. We have had some of our best adventures doing that.



Congratulations Carol Haggard, winner of our drawing for an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. We had 110 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.

And in closing, here’s a chuckle to start your day, from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – Accidentally liking someone’s post while snooping through their online profile is the digital equivalent of stepping on a twig while sneaking through the forest.

Fireworks In November

 Posted by at 12:19 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 112018
 

I expected to set off some fireworks in yesterday’s blog about the woman being thrown out of the campground swimming pool because she had her two emotional support dogs in the water with her, and I wasn’t disappointed. And while most of the blog comments were positive, I did get hammered by email.



One blog commenter said it was obvious I have never experienced pain, suffering, or loss. Somebody in an email told me that I needed to walk a mile in her shoes because I have no empathy for others. In another email, someone asked if spent my free time kicking puppies and pulling the wings off of butterflies. And then there were one or two who just said it was too bad I was such an animal hater.

I did not feel the need to reply to any of them because when someone’s mind is already made up, it’s just a waste of time trying to confuse them with facts.

Moving on to another subject, I also got an email from a campground owner who complained about people who pull in late in the evening after hours, dump their tanks, hook up water and electric, and then are gone early the next morning before the office even opens. He’s not the first campground owner to share the same experience. And it’s interesting that everyone who has said something about problems like that also add that it’s usually the folks in the biggest, most expensive RVs doing it.

I guess if I cheated enough people, I could have one of them fancy high dollar diesel pushers, too. The problem is, I would not be able to sleep during those quick overnight rip-off stays because in the morning I have to look at myself in the mirror when I brush my teeth. Trust me, that’s bad enough to have to see under the best of circumstances!

Our accountant says Terry and I need to take a couple of trips before the end of the year, and I need to get some new stories, too. So we are trying to work our schedule around doctor appointments and things like that. We had hoped to go down to the Keys this coming week, but the weather reports don’t look very promising. So maybe we’ll go the other direction and take a short trip to Georgia. We always love visiting Savannah and there’s so much to see and do there. Then, in December, we want to take off again for a week or so. We may not be RVers anymore, but once you get hitch itch it’s hard to shake it.



Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for a campground rating, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.

Thought For The Day – Remember, if you lose a sock in the dryer, it comes back as a Tupperware lid that doesn’t fit any of your containers.

Nov 102018
 

I received an email yesterday from an irate woman who wanted me to help spread the word that a campground, whose name I won’t be mentioning here, threw her and her husband out “for no reason at all.” She said they have four Pomeranian dogs, of which two of them are his emotional support animals and two of them are hers.



She said she was at the swimming pool and had the dogs in the water with her when the campground owner saw them and told her to get them out of the water and out of the pool area. That led to an argument about her rights as a person with disabilities, and then she called her husband and he decided to come over and join in the debate. Long story short, it got ugly and the campground owner told them they had to leave. They kept insisting they could take their emotional support animals anywhere they wanted at any time, and he told them not in his swimming pool!

Sorry lady, I’m not going to help you bash a business just because they wouldn’t put up with your “emotional support animal” silliness. There is a difference between a service animal trained to help somebody with a disability and someone who just wants to have their pets with them all the time, so they suddenly need them for “emotional support.” I think the campground owner was well within his rights. I don’t want to get in a swimming pool after your mutts have been paddling around in it.

I’ll probably offend somebody here, but it won’t be the first time, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. As far as I’m concerned, this whole emotional support crap is just that, crap. We live in a world where we all want to be surrounded by gauze to keep us from getting the smallest little scrape or bruise, where we think our brain will burst into flames if somebody says something that we find personally offensive, where we truly believe we are entitled to say and do whatever we want, whenever we want, wherever we want. Sorry. You need to grow up. The real world doesn’t work like that. Sometimes things don’t go your way.

I have had emails from people who were totally blown away by the fact that they had to use a 30 amp adapter on their 50 amp coach, because a campground didn’t have any 50 amp sites available when they showed up without a reservation. A while back I heard from a lady who was freaked out because her son picked up a fishing sinker and none of the first responders she called was willing to believe he was going to die of lead poisoning. A couple of days ago somebody wrote to complain that he can’t get a reservation anywhere near a beach in Florida this late in the season and that’s unfair.

Truly, I think some of these people just need to stay home. No matter where they go, they are not going to have a good time. So stay home and let the rest of us enjoy our winter.



On another note, as I have mentioned before, I have a collection of police badges that has been growing recently, as my readers have been sending me old ones they had and ones I have found here and there. Yesterday I received the coolest one of all. Check out the name on this one and the department it comes from. I know that guy, and so do some of you!

I had it custom made and had to jump through some hoops to get it, due to Homeland Security, but it was worth it. I plan to have my excellent cover artist, Elizabeth Mackey, incorporate it into one of my upcoming book covers.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for a campground rating, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – The object of golf is to play the least amount of golf.