Nick Russell

Sep 082017
 

Rising eerily out of the prairie along U.S. Highway 385 a few miles north of Alliance, Nebraska, a cluster of gray forms, arranged haphazardly, draws the eye. “What is that?’ you ask yourself. Then, as you draw closer, you realize that what you are seeing are the hulks of old automobiles. But this is no ordinary roadside junkyard, and you have to pull over to investigate. You have stumbled upon an iconic piece of American folk art named Carhenge.



Modeled after Stonehenge, the prehistoric English monument, Carhenge is the brainchild of Jim Reinders, who erected the monument on the family farm to honor his father’s memory. Reinders had visited Stonehenge as a young man and remained impressed with it all of his life.

His creation incorporates 38 vintage American automobiles, all painted flat gray and arranged in the same proportions as Stonehenge. The sculpture’s circle measures approximately 96 feet in diameter. Some of the cars are buried trunk end down, while those used to form the arches have been welded in place. A 1962 Cadillac has the honor of placement as the heel stone.

Visitors to Carhenge over the age of 40 will see many old automobiles they remember, from a Chevrolet Vega station wagon to an AMC Gremlin, a Plymouth Valiant and vintage Cadillacs. The cars were rescued from farm fields and junkyards to become part of the sculpture, living on long after their useful life was seemingly over.

When Reinders and his family began erecting Carhenge, the folks around Alliance were not impressed. In 1989, the Alliance City Council ordered it torn down because the land was zoned for agricultural use. The State of Nebraska called it a junkyard and demanded that a fence be put up around the perimeter. A group called Friends of Carhenge was formed and began a crusade to save the sculpture. Soon protests were coming in from across the country and around the world.

When the townsfolk realized that what they were calling a junkyard was actually fast becoming a tourist attraction that would bring visitor dollars to the community, they did an abrupt about face and embraced Carhenge. Visitors to town are greeted with signs that proudly identify Alliance as the “Home of Carhenge.”

Today the Friends of Carhenge manage the sculpture, which sits on ten acres that Reinders donated. A parking area can accommodate RVs, there is a small gift shop and picnic tables. Other pieces of car art have been added, including animals made from car parts. Carhenge is open 24 hours a day, but overnight parking is not allowed. Over 80,000 visitors from around the world come here every year to walk the paths and admire the old cars that once were junk, but now are a work of art.



A lot of you do your online shopping by clicking this Amazon link or the Amazon Search box at the top right sidebar of this blog. We appreciate that, because when you purchase an item on Amazon any time of the year from one of our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.

Thought For The Day – I think I’m starting to lose my mind. But as long as I can retain the part that tells when I have to pee, I’ll be okay.

Reluctant Evacuees

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 072017
 

Nobody really knows where Hurricane Irma is headed, but things aren’t looking good for Florida. As of last night they said there is a very good chance it would come up the east coastline, which puts us right in its path. We had planned on leaving Saturday to go up to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for my daughter-in-law’s medical procedure, but seeing the news and knowing what kind of gridlock is possible, we changed our minds and decided to leave early.



We really don’t want to go, but it seems like the wisest decision based upon the news reports.

So we spent yesterday getting ready to evacuate. While Terry was packing things, I uploaded a week’s worth of blogs about different places we have traveled over the years and set them to automatically post at midnight local time each day. Not knowing what’s in store for us, it’s one less thing for me to worry about. We are leaving early this morning, headed for Birmingham, Alabama, where we will spend three nights. Then we’ll go over to Tuscaloosa for three more nights.

The reason we aren’t going right to Tuscaloosa is because this is a University of Alabama football weekend and it’s going to be packed. The cheapest motel rooms we could find were $350 a night on Friday and Saturday nights. That’s a little beyond the budget.

When I started calling around yesterday afternoon looking for someplace to stay before we go to Tuscaloosa on Sunday, I quickly discovered that there are very few hotel rooms available anywhere south of Birmingham, and a lot of them are ripping people off on the rates. Some hotels in Montgomery whose website showed anywhere from $95 to $125 a night quoted me over $500 a night when I called to make a reservation and made no apologies for it.

Somebody asked why we are not taking the RV. When I made the reservations in Tuscaloosa three weeks ago, we were hoping that the RV would be sold by now. Besides, during football season RV sites cost over $100 a night and most are booked a year in advance. Those fanatical football fans will pay just about anything, apparently.

A lot of people have contacted us, offering to let us park our RV at their house and stay in the driveway, or just to come to their homes and stay. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate the generosity, but we are good for now.

Hopefully the storm will bypass us, or do minimal damage, but nobody really knows what to expect. It’s kind of ironic. Just the other night I was telling Miss Terry that for the first time in my life I’m 100% content. I have a wonderful marriage to an amazing woman, a great house in a community that we really enjoy, and I’m able to make a living writing my books. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Hopefully I’ll still have the great house to come back to. But do you know what? If the darned thing blew away, I’d still have a great marriage to a wonderful woman. That’s really all that matters.



A lot of you do your online shopping by clicking this Amazon link or the Amazon Search box at the top right sidebar of this blog. We appreciate that, because when you purchase an item on Amazon any time of the year from one of our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.

Thought For The Day – I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.

Blog Problems And Irma

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 062017
 

Thank you to everybody that sent emails or messages expressing concern for our safety with Hurricane Irma looking like it will impact Florida. At this point, nobody really knows where it’s going to go. Depending on which weather map you want to believe, it could be a real problem or it could miss us completely. It’s just part of life on the coast, folks.



Either way, we don’t plan to be here to find out. We had planned to leave on Saturday to go to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to be there for my daughter-in-law’s surgical procedure on Monday. But we will probably leave before that to beat the crowds if there’s a mass evacuation. There is already a run on gas stations and people are stocking up on water and buying plywood to board up windows way up here in central Florida, so folks are taking the storm seriously.

We’ve been having a lot of problems with our blog lately, with slow loading, some people who subscribe to it are not getting the daily update, and for some reason my spam filters have stopped working. So every day I have to manually delete well over a hundred spam posts. As typical, the folks at Go Daddy were no help. They don’t know what’s causing the problem, but they are sure it’s on my end, not theirs, even though it’s a managed WordPress site that I pay extra to have them take care of and update.

I talked to Greg White about it and he’s going to try some things to see if he can fix it and get the spam filters working again. The problem with that is that there’s a possibility that when he resets everything it may also delete our blog subscribers’ addresses. So if you don’t get the blog automatically, you will have to log in and re-subscribe. I apologize in advance if that happens.

Because I don’t know when we’re going to be leaving, or sure how long we’re going to be gone, I am going to upload some travel stories from the Gypsy Journal to post automatically for the next few days, starting about Thursday or Friday.

Along those same lines, there will be no free drawing this week, since I don’t know if we’ll be home or Hurricane Irma refugees for a while. I hope things are back to normal and we can start the drawings again next week.



We have had a lot of calls about our 2002 Winnebago Ultimate Advantage motorhome and some people seem to be very interested, but at this point it is still for sale. If you know anybody in the market for a very nice upscale diesel coach, they can find pictures and information on a special page I set up for it, with lots of info and photos. You can access it here at this Motorhome For Sale link.

A lot of you do your online shopping by clicking this Amazon link or the Amazon Search box at the top right sidebar of this blog. We appreciate that, because when you purchase an item on Amazon any time of the year from one of our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.

Thought For The Day – Everybody appreciates your honesty until you are honest with them. Then they all think you’re a jerk.

Stay Away, Irma!

 Posted by at 12:05 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 052017
 

While folks in Texas and Louisiana are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, here in Florida we are watching the Caribbean, where Hurricane Irma is making a path toward us. Or at least that’s one of the paths. If and where she will land in Florida is still in question.



Here’s an idea; just stay away, Irma! People here are still rebuilding from last year’s Hurricane Matthew. We don’t need another one.

When we bought a house in Florida we knew that hurricanes were a reality. In fact, we were still in closing when Matthew came up the coast. Not wanting to hang around any longer than we had to, we took off ahead of the storm and waited it out in a small campground west of Tallahassee. Watching the news reports on TV, we weren’t sure we would have a place to come back to. A couple of homes in our little community were destroyed, and there was a lot of damage up around Daytona Beach, but the only thing we had to deal with was a little bit of trash blown into our yard from a carport that got torn up down the street.

We are supposed to be in Tuscaloosa, Alabama this coming weekend getting ready for daughter-in-law Geli’s medical procedure on Monday. So I’m not really worried about our personal safety, since we will be gone ahead of the storm. If it does hit around here, we’ll just stay put a little longer until it’s safe to come home. What else can you do?

Among the things on my to do list are to purchase a Honda generator to keep in the garage in case we have a power loss during one of our storms. Those things are quiet and bulletproof. Years ago our friends Dave and Sandy Baleria had two Honda generators hooked together and running to supply air conditioning to their fifth wheel while they were teaching seminars at an RV rally someplace. A big storm came along and flooded the area where they were parked, and when they went back to their rig the generators were underwater.

Dave assumed they were trashed and bought two new ones to replace them. He was going to throw the first pair away, but I asked if I could have them, thinking our son-in-law might be able to use them for parts or something. As it turns out, once the old oil and gas was poured out of them, new filters installed, and new needle valves put in the carburetors, both generators fired right up and are still running today. Keep in mind, not only were they in a flood, they were in a flood while they were running, and they still survived. That’s pretty darned impressive, if you ask me.



We have had a lot of calls about our 2002 Winnebago Ultimate Advantage motorhome and some people seem to be very interested, but at this point it is still for sale. If you know anybody in the market for a very nice upscale diesel coach, they can find pictures and information on a page special page I set up for it, with lots of info and photos. You can access it here at this Motorhome For Sale link.

A lot of you do your online shopping by clicking this Amazon link or the Amazon Search box at the top right sidebar of this blog. We appreciate that, because when you purchase an item on Amazon any time of the year from one of our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.

Thought For The Day – Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Sep 042017
 

We made some wonderful memories and met some amazing people during our years as fulltime RVers. If nothing else, there was never a dull moment!



The other day our friend Lynette Milligan McHenry had this photo on her Facebook wall, and it sure got a lot of laughs.

This was during our Indiana Gypsy Journal rally at Elkhart Campground seven years ago. At every rally we had a “beauty contest” where we got a bunch of the guys to dress up in drag and strut their stuff. A lot of times the men didn’t want to do it, but their wives or significant others coerced them into it, and it was always hilarious. By the time it was done, the contestants had more fun than the audience. And I don’t think anybody had any more fun than I did!

I made up names for all the contestants and gave them all bios. Some memorable ones included Armenia Pitts (a hairy girl with a heart of gold), Kathleen Coldcream, Zenda Zitts, Lotti Hotti (who had more tattoos than a Hell’s Angel), the sticky fingered Claudia Clepto, Boom Boom Betty Bedwetter, Olivia Outhouser (who was featured in a recent issue of the E-Coli Times), Esther Estrogena (a menopausal lady who has been known to set off WalMart sprinkler systems with her hot flashes), and the ever popular Sally Salmonella. Yeah, it was that kind of event.

I’ll tell you what, until you stand up there all alone and see a bunch of middle-aged men in drag bumping and grinding their way across the stage toward you, you haven’t had a real reason to drink. In this photo Lynette’s husband Greg, who’s stage name I don’t recall thanks to years of therapy, was trying to do a little bit of extra “performing” in the hopes of winning favor with me and the audience.

After I announced the winner, this little lovely, based upon audience applause, all of the “girls” covered my bald head with kisses. Like I said, it was that kind of event.

Later on we went out to grab a bite to eat with Greg and Jan White, and our waitress noticed the cold cream left over on my face, along with all of the lipstick kisses. She looked at me kind of strange, but when Greg White told her I had just been molested by a bunch of old guys in drag, she said, “Whatever floats your boat. I’m just here to take your orders, not judge to anybody.”

Oh yes, we had us some good times over the years!



We had some good times yesterday, too. While Miss Terry worked on getting her loom project ready to go, I was busy with my next John Lee Quarrels book. I’m a little over 9,000 words into it and it’s coming along very nicely. Later, our friend Jim Lewis came over and Terry made a delicious dinner of roasted pork tenderloin, baked potatoes, and veggies. We were all stuffed by the time we were done eating, so it took a while before we had room for this delicious dessert of berry cheesecake made from scratch. And believe it or not, it tasted even better than it looks!

We have had a lot of calls about our 2002 Winnebago Ultimate Advantage motorhome and some people seem to be very interested, but at this point it is still for sale. If you know anybody in the market for a very nice upscale diesel coach, they can find pictures and information on a page special page I set up for it, with lots of info and photos. You can access it here at this We have had a lot of calls about our 2002 Winnebago Ultimate Advantage motorhome and some people seem to be very interested, but at this point it is still for sale. If you know anybody in the market for a very nice upscale diesel coach, they can find pictures and information on a page special page I set up for it, with lots of info and photos. You can access it here at this Motorhome For Sale link.

Congratulations Char Salzbrun, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Coast to Coast With a Cat and a Ghost, by Judy Howard. We had 89 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon!

A lot of you do your online shopping by clicking this Amazon link or the Amazon Search box at the top right sidebar of this blog. We appreciate that, because when you purchase an item on Amazon any time of the year from one of our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.

Thought For The Day – I’m beginning to think I’m never going to be old enough to know better.

It’s Not Gonna Work

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 032017
 

We made our entire living on the road for over 17 years, publishing the Gypsy Journal and our RV related guidebooks, vending at RV rallies, doing speaking gigs at RV events, blogging, and writing and self-publishing books. So I know little bit about what it takes to make the kind of money required to live the fulltime RV lifestyle. I’ve also been around long enough to know what doesn’t work.



Sometimes in my seminars on working on the road at RV rallies or through email, I have to burst somebody’s bubble by giving them a dose of reality. Sometimes they listen, and sometimes they don’t. Either way, I don’t have a dog in the fight so I wish them well.

Many of the folks I hear from want to start their own business like we did. A few of them have had very good ideas and the experience and drive to make it happen. Others seem to be enamored with the idea of being their own boss, but it’s obvious they are only fooling themselves about how easy it will be.

One example is a couple who contacted me recently telling me they had come up with a surefire way to support their RV adventures. “Everybody loves seeing their name in print,” they told me, “and we’ve come up with a way to give them that kind of recognition and make money at the same time.” They’re going to start an RV blog! Yeah, I know, everybody and his brother has an RV blog, so what? But these folks assured me they have a new angle on things that just can’t miss.

Their blog isn’t going to be about them. No it’s going to be about you! They’re going to call it RV Buddies Blog (not the real name they plan to use) and for just $100 they promise to mention your name at least once a month, in a short line or two that says “Bill Smith (replace with your name) is enjoying the sunshine in Yuma at XYZ campground this winter and not missing shoveling snow back home in Michigan” or some such thing. And for an extra $50 a year, you can actually send them a photo of you relaxing at your winter site or wherever you happen to be, and they will include the photo with their update on your whereabouts.

“It’s a great way to let the world know where you are and what you’re doing,” they told me enthusiastically, “while getting the recognition of having your name out there.” Uh yeah, I’m afraid somebody beat you to that idea. It’s called Facebook, and it’s free.

They were little taken aback by that news, but they quickly rebounded, telling me that the personal mentions were only part of their business plan. They are also going to get people to pay to subscribe to the blog. I asked them why anybody would pay to subscribe to their blog when there are so many free blogs to read. Their reply was that they are going to hold a drawing every week or two for their subscribers and give away some kind of free gift every week. I guess they didn’t see the drawing at the bottom of this week’s blog, or all the other ones I’ve done before it for the last few years.



I’ll give them this, this couple were not going to be put off by anything as petty as reality. They have lots of ideas. Did I know that their blog was going to become so popular that campgrounds would let them stay for free because folks would come and fill every site to meet them? Or that they were contacting companies all over the country to sponsor them in exchange for a mention in the blog? By that point I didn’t feel up to telling them that companies get thousands of solicitations for money every year, so I just wished them well. I don’t know what disappointed them most, me trying to tell them their plans probably wouldn’t work, or the fact that after hearing all they had to offer, I wouldn’t give them a hundred bucks to be the very first RV Buddy. They even offered to throw in the photo option for free!

We have had a lot of calls about our 2002 Winnebago Ultimate Advantage motorhome and some people seem to be very interested, but at this point it is still for sale. If you know anybody in the market for a very nice upscale diesel coach, they can find pictures and information on a page special page I set up for it, with lots of info and photos. You can access it here at this Motorhome For Sale link.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of Coast to Coast With a Cat and a Ghost, RVing author Judy Howard’s autobiographical story of her road trip across country after the death of her loving, yet at times abusive, husband. 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.

Good news for fans of my friend George Wier’s Bill Travis mystery series. Today George is offering Trinity Trio, the 14th book in the series, free in the Amazon Kindle bookstore. Grab it while you can!

A lot of you do your online shopping by clicking this Amazon link or the Amazon Search box at the top right sidebar of this blog. We appreciate that, because when you purchase an item on Amazon any time of the year from one of our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.

Thought For The Day – Never feel remorse for what you have thought about your wife; she has thought much worse things about you. ~Jean Rostand

So Darned Tired

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 022017
 

Terry and I seldom go anywhere on holiday weekends, just to avoid the traffic and the crowds. But this weekend I think we’re going to take it a step further and turn off the telephones, keep the blinds closed, and hibernate until Tuesday, because both of us are just so darn tired.



As most of you know, we are night owls. I usually write until about midnight or 1 AM, then I post my blog, and we get to bed about 2 AM. Which means that we normally get up about 10. But the last three nights we have not slept well at all, tossing and turning and not getting much rest. And for the last three mornings we have had telephone calls between 7:30 and 8 o’clock and had to get up to take care of things with our new air-conditioning installation.

When we were youngsters we could get by on only a few hours sleep a night, but as old farts we find our bodies need more time to recharge. I don’t understand that because many of the elderly people I have talked to said they don’t need nearly as much sleep anymore. I guess that means we’re just old and not elderly yet.

Yesterday morning’s 7:40 phone call was from the company that we are getting the new air-conditioning system from. We were told that they had to wait until an electrician could run a heavier electric line run from the power box outside to the new AC unit, since the existing line is marginal at best. But when the rep called yesterday morning, he said he talked to his boss about the fact that none of us thought our old AC unit would make it through the holiday weekend. He was told that the existing line would be fine for the AC, just not for when we use the heating side of things in the winter. So they called and got the go-ahead from the building inspector to set the unit in place and hook it up as is until the electrician can get here on Tuesday, with a promise from us that we would not turn on the heat. Yeah guys, it’s about 99° and 90% humidity. I don’t really think we will be turning the heat on anytime soon.



45 minutes later the installation crew was here and got to work. And here is the finished product, a very nice Carrier unit with a 10 year warranty that is installed and working great! What looks like a piece of loose metal at the top is actually the coil that covers the exhaust fan. Now I just need to write another book to pay for it.

After reading yesterday’s blog, So Much Has Changed, several RVers who have been around a long time sent me messages telling me that when I talked about the advancements in technology for getting online, I didn’t mention PocketMail.

How could I have forgotten PocketMail? For those of you who don’t have any idea what I’m talking about, PocketMail was a little device with a keyboard and a tiny screen that you typed messages into, and then you held the back of it up to a telephone and it transmitted your emails back and forth, sounding similar to a fax machine. We had one of those, too! That was a long time ago!

Several blog readers have asked where they can find pictures and information on the 2002 Winnebago Ultimate Advantage motorhome we are selling. I have set up a page for it, with lots of info and photos. You can access it here at this Motorhome For Sale link.

So far we have had almost 50 entries in our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Coast to Coast With a Cat and a Ghost, RVing author Judy Howard’s autobiographical story of her road trip across country after the death of her loving, yet at times abusive, husband. Several years ago, back when she was fairly new to RVing and to writing, we met Judy at one of our Gypsy Journal rallies. I gave her a few words of encouragement and advice, and she took them to heart. Since then she has made quite a name for herself, putting out several more books, and now doing seminars on writing and self-publishing at RV rallies across the country. 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.

A lot of you do your online shopping by clicking this Amazon link or the Amazon Search box at the top right sidebar of this blog. We appreciate that, because when you purchase an item on Amazon any time of the year from one of our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.

Thought For The Day – A giraffe’s coffee would be cold by the time it reached the bottom of its throat. Did you ever think about that? No, because you only think about yourself!

So Much Has Changed

 Posted by at 12:41 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 012017
 

Any parent knows that we often don’t see the changes as our children grow up. But when we look back at old pictures we wonder how things changed so fast. Looking back over our 17+ years as fulltime RVers, I’m amazed at the changes we have seen. Most of them good, some not so good.



We started fulltiming in a 36 foot gas powered Class A motorhome with a tag axle and thought it was huge. Now they make 45 foot diesel coaches with two bathrooms!

Back when we started out, cell phone service wasn’t as widespread as it is now, and they still had things called payphones at campgrounds. You actually had to go to them and put coins in to call somebody! Primitive, right? Then technology changed and pretty soon everybody had flip phones that they carried in a little pouch on their belt. How can it possibly get better than this? But it did. Now we’ve all got smart phones in our back pocket that work just about any place in the country. But they are not just telephones, but also cameras and computers and e-book readers. Move over Dick Tracy! (If you don’t know who Dick Tracy was, just stop reading today’s blog and come back tomorrow. A lot of it won’t make sense to you.)

Speaking of computers, in our first couple of years on the road we had to lug our laptop up to the campground office and usually pay a dollar to plug into a phone line and download our email. Everybody standing in line behind us looked over her shoulder and said things like, “Isn’t that wonderful? His daughter is going to have a baby!” or maybe “Isn’t that so sad? His brother’s drinking again!” Then we got this marvelous thing called an Ace of Spades air card. It was about the size of a credit card but thicker, and you stuck it into a port on the side of a laptop. If Jesus loved you and the wind was out of the south, and you held your head just right, you could sometimes stay online for as much as five minutes at dial-up speeds. (Again, if you don’t know what dial-up speeds were, you’re too young to read today’s blog.)

Then came a time when everybody was buying huge and expensive rooftop mounted automatic satellite dishes for getting on the internet.

Unless you were an outlaw like me, in which case you had a tripod mounted satellite dish sitting on the ground, which you had to aim yourself. The folks who had the automatic dishes were all convinced that those were illegal and we heard all sorts of terrible stories that were the stuff of urban legends. Like the fellow who was walking in front of one with an ink pen in his pocket, and the death rays from the dish drove than pen right through his heart! Or that if you didn’t aim it properly you could knock an airliner out of the sky. And then there was the time that the Federal Communications Commission was supposedly driving through RV parks and RV rallies, not only confiscating the tripod dishes, but also the owner’s RVs, which they would not need anyway because they were taken right to federal prison in handcuffs.

And now we all have air cards and hotspots and all kinds of fun things, and can cruise the internet no matter where we are. Well, at least as long as we can get a phone signal.



Does anybody remember paper maps? (If you don’t… just read the comments above, you silly kids.) When we got our first GPS, I didn’t trust the darned thing and we still used our Walmart road atlas just to be sure the GPS was telling us the truth. And more than once, it wasn’t. Now I have a built-in GPS in my minivan, and another one in my phone. And guess what? I still have a Walmart road atlas, because both of those darned GPS units lie to me from time to time!

Those are some of the good things. What are some of the bad? Well, the roads have gotten a lot worse, the quality of most RVs still sucks, some (but not all) RV salesmen will still tell you anything to get you to buy something, and there’s one other thing that I’m sure is going to offend some people, but echoes the comments I get from many others who have been out there a while. There are a whole lot of folks out on the road these days who packed an attitude with them when they left home. They are more demanding, they feel entitled to anything and everything, and if you object to their dogs leaving a mess that they don’t clean up or to their kids running through your site, they think you’re just a grouchy old fart. They want campgrounds to furnish free high-speed internet, 50 amp full hookup pull-through sites, heated swimming pools, hot tubs, and a hundred other amenities, but they only want to pay $15 a night for them. These people are not in the majority. At least not yet. Most RVers are still wonderful people. But any campground owner or workamper or RVer with some miles behind him or her will tell you that there seems to be more and more of them every year.

Given all that, it was still a wonderful lifestyle for us, and remains so for many people. Get out there and enjoy it.

Several blog readers have asked where they can find pictures and information on the 2002 Winnebago Ultimate Advantage motorhome we are selling. I have set up a page for it, with lots of info and photos. You can access it here at this Motorhome For Sale link.

So far we have had almost 50 entries in our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Coast to Coast With a Cat and a Ghost, RVing author Judy Howard’s autobiographical story of her road trip across country after the death of her loving, yet at times abusive, husband. Several years ago, back when she was fairly new to RVing and to writing, we met Judy at one of our Gypsy Journal rallies. I gave her a few words of encouragement and advice, and she took them to heart. Since then she has made quite a name for herself, putting out several more books, and now doing seminars on writing and self-publishing at RV rallies across the country. 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.

Thought For The Day – I can’t believe how old people my age are.

Two For Two

 Posted by at 1:14 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 312017
 

I wrote in yesterday’s blog that after the air conditioning repair company we called in July never got back to us with an estimate for a new unit, the folks we had come out to get it running again on Tuesday followed through and gave us not one, but three estimates on the spot. That kind of follow-up is not all that common around here, where service people make all kinds of promises but very seldom deliver. It looks like I may be two for two.



One of the things the AC tech said when he gave us the estimate was that we would have to have a heavier electric cable run from the power box outside to the new AC unit, since the existing line is marginal at best and not up to code. He recommended some different electricians we might call to get an estimate for that. I called one of them yesterday afternoon and got a voicemail asking me to leave a name and number and a brief message, promising they would call me back. I did so, not really expecting to hear from them very soon, if at all. But sure enough, at 8:30 yesterday morning the phone rang and it was them, setting up an appointment to come out on Tuesday morning to give us an estimate. That’s the kind of service I appreciate.

When you have a blog that gets 700,000 hits a year, you’re bound to get approached by all kinds of scam artists wanting something out of you. Especially after something as big as Hurricane Harvey. I did a quick count last night, and I’ve had at least 26 different people contacting me wanting me to post a link to hurricane relief Go Fund Me pages or asking me to post a link to an email address where people can make a direct donation to help out RVers who are stranded in the hurricane zone, a mother and three children who were left homeless, pets who are going to be put down because there is no place to take them in, and a pregnant military wife who lost everything and is living in the crawlspace of her garage. I know there are many thousands of people who have been devastated by the hurricane and the floods that followed, but if you want to help there are many recognized ways to do so. Please don’t fall for these kind of scams.

Yesterday I finished formatting the new issue of the Gypsy Journal and sent it out to our subscribers. If you didn’t get it in your email, please check your spam and trash folders. Sometimes the notice ends up there.

Once I was done with that I began working on my new John Lee Quarrels mystery, Badge Bunny, and I knocked out close to 3,500 words by the end of the day. That old boy’s got a mess on his hands this time, it looks like it’s going to get worse before it gets better.



Several blog readers have asked where they can find pictures and information on the 2002 Winnebago Ultimate Advantage motorhome we are selling. I have set up a page for it, with lots of info and photos. You can access it here at this Motorhome For Sale link.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Coast to Coast With a Cat and a Ghost, RVing author Judy Howard’s autobiographical story of her road trip across country after the death of her loving, yet at times abusive, husband. Several years ago, back when she was fairly new to RVing and to writing, we met Judy at one of our Gypsy Journal rallies. I gave her a few words of encouragement and advice, and she took them to heart. Since then she has made quite a name for herself, putting out several more books, and now doing seminars on writing and self-publishing at RV rallies across the country. 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.

A lot of you do your online shopping by clicking this Amazon link or the Amazon Search box at the top right sidebar of this blog. We appreciate that, because when you purchase an item on Amazon any time of the year from one of our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.

Thought For The Day – I want to be like a caterpillar. Eat a lot, go to sleep, and wake up beautiful.

Enough Is Enough

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 302017
 

Yesterday morning I work up with a warm, fuzzy feeling. The fuzzy was because I haven’t shaved my back recently, and the warm was because our darned air conditioner quit again. By noon it was 85° inside our house. Okay, that’s enough! Time to call somebody to come out and fix it.



You may remember that just before we made our frantic trip to Arizona following my daughter’s heart attack, the air conditioner had quit and I called a local company and asked them to come out and get it running again. At that time, their tech told me that the AC unit was on its last legs (which we already knew) and it was only a matter of time before it gave up the ghost. I asked if his company could replace it with a new unit, and he said they could and he would get an estimate to me. But like so many service people in this area, and nationwide from what I’m hearing, I never heard from him again. I always figure if you’re not going to follow through when you’re trying to earn my business, there’s not much chance you’ll take care of me after you have my money, either. So this time I called another company which was well recommended.

Their tech spent an hour or so working on it and got it running again, and like the first fellow, told me that it was liable to let us down again at any time. So I asked for an estimate, and he actually went to work right then and gave me three different options to consider. We went with the biggest and best for our application, and told him to go ahead and order it. If I was Greg White or somebody with a lot of technical skill, and cheap like Greg is always happy to admit to being, I might try to nurse it along for a while. But I’m not a handyman. I’m a fat guy in a hot, humid climate, which is not a good combination.

Speaking of being a fat guy, after reading my Thought For The Day yesterday about the dryer shrinking my clothes, a friend asked why I haven’t talked about using our treadmill lately. That’s because it’s also dying. I will be on it doing my thing and all of a sudden it will just come to a sudden stop, often dumping me on my butt. So we need to find a replacement for it, too. I really do need to get back on it. I was walking a mile to a mile and a half a day and I lost 21 pounds. But since I’ve stopped using the treadmill every day I seem to have hit a plateau and I’m holding steady. I guess that’s better than starting to put the pounds back on, but I want to get things going in a downward direction again.

Terry finished proofing the new issue of the Gypsy Journal yesterday evening, and I still have just a few last-minute corrections to make today. Then I will get it formatted as a PDF file and send it off to our subscribers. And once that’s done, I will be hard at work on my next John Lee Quarrels mystery book. I need to pay for that new air conditioning unit!



Several blog readers have asked where they can find pictures and information on the 2002 Winnebago Ultimate Advantage motorhome we are selling. I have set up a page for it, with lots of info and photos. You can access it here at this Motorhome For Sale link.

A lot of you do your online shopping by clicking this Amazon link or the Amazon Search box at the top right sidebar of this blog. We appreciate that, because when you purchase an item on Amazon any time of the year from one of our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us offset the cost of publishing the blog.

Thought For The Day – Somebody called me pretty today. Well, actually they said, “You’re pretty annoying.” But I choose to only focus on the positive things in life.