Recreational Vehicles, RV Parks and RV Travel http://rv52.com An incredible listing of RV Parks, RV How To Vids, RV articles and fun places to visit Thu, 17 Apr 2014 14:21:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 Music – Getting rid of the CDs http://rv52.com/music-getting-rid-cds/ http://rv52.com/music-getting-rid-cds/#respond Thu, 17 Apr 2014 14:21:13 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39100 Music, in the form of DVDs, Vinyl LPs, CDs, and whatever other forms you might have is a tremendous space “sucker” for an RV. Catalogs, like LL Bean, are chock-full of DVD and CD storage racks. There isn’t a TV show or picture of a room in a decorating magazine that doesn’t have the obligatory […]

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Music, in the form of DVDs, Vinyl LPs, CDs, and whatever other forms you might have is a tremendous space “sucker” for an RV.

Catalogs, like LL Bean, are chock-full of DVD and CD storage racks. There isn’t a TV show or picture of a room in a decorating magazine that doesn’t have the obligatory rack after rack of CD cases artfully placed next to their CD player.

But that is very silly indeed.

Why would you take up all that space?

Lets go over how you can free up all that space, yet simultaneously, NOT give up and go without your music.

I will admit, I’m a bit of an Apple bigot so this explanation will be a somewhat Apple focused. Please forgive me, but understand that this can be applied to other types of computers as well.

First, you have to deal with the CDs that you already have in your possession. The way to eliminate these is to do something called “ripping the CD”. What this means is that you insert the CD into a CD drive or player on your Mac (you may have to buy one to plug it in) and then the Mac will “copy” the music from the CD into an excellent Apple program called iTunes. ITunes is the program, but the music is placed into a library – called the iTunes library.

After the the CD is “ripped” you can listen to it from your iTunes library. In fact, there are many things you can do with the music once it is in your iTunes library. But most importantly, you can listen to it as if you had the actual CD.

What do you do with the CD? Assuming you have a digital backup (see my chapter on essentials) of your computer, you no longer need the CD.

It would be a violation of copyright law and really a “pickpocket” of the artists pocket to resell the CD so the proper thing to do is to simply throw it in the garbage – even breaking it in half. I think most artists would be OK with the idea of providing the CD to people less fortunate. There are other things you could do with the CD, but I’m simply not going to encourage anything more here than charity or the trash!

For new music, I think you have to examine the idea of how sensible it might be to “own” music.

If you simply MUST own music, you can buy more CDs and rip them. Or you can buy the music one song at a time, on iTunes and have just the songs you want. No longer are we subject to the music labels making us buy entire albums just to get a single song we like.

There are music “library” services from Amazon, Pandora, and many others where you can get access to the library as long as you pay or as long as you subject yourself to their advertisements.

Some of you RVers are already using satellite radio which is also like a library service except you can’t select songs, just channels or genres. But that has its own fun because you get to hear new things.

So to summarize, if you’ll rip your CDs, back up the computers, then subscribe to a digital download service of some type, then you can completely eliminate the clutter of CDs from your life… and your RV.

 

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How does your RV utility bills compare to a modular homes? http://rv52.com/rv-utility-bills-compare-modular-homes/ http://rv52.com/rv-utility-bills-compare-modular-homes/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:43:06 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39067 Hello Fitty-ites! Ever wonder how your RV utility bills compare to something else – perhaps an ordinary sticks and bricks home? I’ve had the chance to live in the SAME exact GPS coordinates, using the same utilities, with the same family, and with the same approximate climate in an RV and a modular home. I […]

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Hello Fitty-ites!

Ever wonder how your RV utility bills compare to something else – perhaps an ordinary sticks and bricks home?

I’ve had the chance to live in the SAME exact GPS coordinates, using the same utilities, with the same family, and with the same approximate climate in an RV and a modular home.

I thought I would take some time (yuk) and write down and do a little spreadsheet work and show people the comparison between my RV and my modular.

Did I learn anything? I’m not 100% sure.

I think I learned:

  • My 16 year old daughter uses WAY too much hot water (I fixed her and you can see how I did it in my short report)
  • I’m SUPER happy with my modular home’s utility bills.
  • It was WAY colder in Texas in the winter of 2013-2014 than it was the prior year. Surprising so.
  • 10 degrees of average temperature difference has a pretty big impact on your utility bills.
  • Water isn’t that expensive… yet.
  • LP gas for an RV isn’t that expensive either.
  • Making eReports & books is a lot of work. But I documented what I did and I’ll make a few more articles on that. Oddly, my non-RV articles usually get more interest and traffic than the RV ones. I think that is because RV people are people who live in RVs, not people who have myopic interests in ONLY RVs. I figure each and every one of you has a book just waiting to jump out! Maybe I can help somehow.

All that being said… If this interests you at all, either leave a comment OR simply click here to go to my page that shows the cover and other information about my eReport. It is short and expensive on a per-page basis, but I won’t sell very many and it was a fair bit of work for me.

I’m always farting around with odd-ball projects. Here is my page on my odd-ball projects. Maybe you’ll find something interesting there.

Cheers,

Fitty

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Traveling Light – A Yardstick for the very most important things in life to keep with you http://rv52.com/traveling-light-yardstick-important-things-life-keep/ http://rv52.com/traveling-light-yardstick-important-things-life-keep/#respond Sun, 13 Apr 2014 22:09:06 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39098 One reader wrote into RV52.com saying the biggest challenge in full time RVing was actually deciding what things you should keep with you versus what things you have let go by the wayside. As I write this, I’m only 50 years old. I don’t claim to know anything. But I can pass on some perspective […]

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One reader wrote into RV52.com saying the biggest challenge in full time RVing was actually deciding what things you should keep with you versus what things you have let go by the wayside.

As I write this, I’m only 50 years old. I don’t claim to know anything. But I can pass on some perspective that might help.

After church every Sunday, my wife and I go to Cherry Creek Catfish Parlour to get some of the best catfish in Austin. In the scheme of life, it is a meaningless trip, just from church to a restaurant. For us, we string these together into a set of great memories and a tradition that brings us comfort.

One of those days, along the meaningless route, we saw a simple sign – “Estate Sale —>”.

We followed that sign and several others until we got to a house with a box truck, a pickup, and people streaming in and out of the house.

The entire house was setup to lead people through to see all of the different things that were for sale.

There were antique typewriters, Democratic party paraphenalia, autographed books and pictures, china, and glassware that would fill rooms and rooms. There was one entire room dedicated to media. It was like a library. The fellow that lived there also spent hour after hour learning and refining his Swedish, the dictionaries and language training tapes a testament to that fact.

Did the inhabitant die?

No. He only fell. But he fell and was never going to return. Where he was going, none of these things would be needed. Or accepted.

An entire lifetime of “stuff” – snuffed out in a single fall.

It broke my heart. I thought ahead to that moment in my life. Yuk.

It seems so very futile to collect stuff. In the end, it simply gets left behind. Sold to the lowest bidder.

Or worse, some person, simply passing by on the way to the restaurant, passing judgement, or turning up their nose at something that at one point seemed very important to you.

It seems so much better to simply travel light.

So at least one yardstick you can use might be the answer to the question – “What can I take with me to my single room where people might limit my possessions to what might only fit on a small bookcase?”

Because, whatever passes this test, is probably worth keeping.

The rest… not so much.

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RV Living Logistics: How to Choose a Home Base http://rv52.com/rv-living-logistics-choose-home-base/ http://rv52.com/rv-living-logistics-choose-home-base/#respond Mon, 07 Apr 2014 14:54:12 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39078 [This article is a guest article submitted to RV52.com.] You’ve been living in your RV part time for a couple of years now, and you love the freedom RV life entails. From visiting the Grand Canyon with your family last March to that fun weekend you spent in Las Vegas with the girls, RV life […]

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[This article is a guest article submitted to RV52.com.]

You’ve been living in your RV part time for a couple of years now, and you love the freedom RV life entails. From visiting the Grand Canyon with your family last March to that fun weekend you spent in Las Vegas with the girls, RV life symbolizes fun, adventure and being able go anywhere the open road can take you.

RV Homebase Visual

Considerations on choosing an RV homebase and home state

In fact, you love traveling in your RV so much, you want to start living in it full time. But before you take the plunge, there are some logistical issues and loose ends to tie up. After all, you’ll still be paying taxes and getting mail. In order to do this successfully, you’ll need to establish a home base. As you go through the process of choosing your home base, keep the following bits of advice in mind:

Make the Home Base Convenient

As RV Dreams notes, just about every new full-time RV’er will head out from the state where they have been living, and where they have established their residence. Chances are good you are already familiar with the tax laws for your state, as well as your insurance regulations and more. In order to keep things as easy and simple as possible, you might want to consider keeping your old stomping grounds as your home base. In other words, if you’ve lived the past two decades in Oregon, keep the Beaver State as your home base.

Consider State Income tax

If you’re not particularly interested in keeping your home state as your home base, you can also choose a different state based on a variety of criteria. For example, some full-time RV’ers like to choose a state that currently has no state income tax, as this can result in some nice savings come tax time. Right now, six states do not have a state income tax, including the beautiful states of Florida, Nevada and Wyoming.

Remember Your Friends and Relatives

Sometimes choosing a home base isn’t about convenience or taxes. As Explore RV reminds us, full-time RV’ers might want to think about where they will probably be spending most of their time. For example, if the majority of your kids and grandkids reside in Idaho, and you see yourself settling in at an RV park for a good part of the year, then Idaho might be the best home base for you.

Look Up Vehicle Registration Costs

Although these fees tend not to be as high as personal income taxes, vehicle registration does definitely vary from state to state. Also, rules and regulations are different all over, so you should definitely do your homework and make sure your desired home base does not have vehicle registration policies that will be hard to adhere to. For example, some states require an annual safety inspection and/or an emissions test. If your home base is in California but you find yourself spending most of your time on the East Coast, driving cross country every year for these inspections may be a huge hassle.

Think About Mail Delivery

Even if you’re on the open road a lot of the time, you will still get mail—and those bills, magazines and annual Christmas letters from Aunt Marian will need a place to be delivered. As RV Info notes, a lot of RV clubs offer mail forwarding services. Or, if you are anticipating being in Florida for a good part of the winter, you can request that your mail be sent to the local post office. Just to be on the safe side—since you may be relying on other people to forward your credit card bills and other personal information, you should invest in an identity theft protection service from a company like LifeLock. The last thing a full-time RV’er wants to deal with is identity theft or credit card issues from 2,000 miles away.

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Our RV Toilet could SPEAK – it told us the black tank was full! http://rv52.com/rv-toilet-speak-told-us-black-tank-full/ http://rv52.com/rv-toilet-speak-told-us-black-tank-full/#respond Tue, 01 Apr 2014 15:08:52 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=38719 The toilet in our Open Range 399BHS had a great way of telling us that the black tank was full. Ok. Maybe not that “great” of a way. But it was VERY effective. You gotta face facts. Those so called “alarms” and tank alerts are not very good. They aren’t accurate and they never seem […]

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The toilet in our Open Range 399BHS had a great way of telling us that the black tank was full.

RV Toilet

RV Toilet

Ok. Maybe not that “great” of a way. But it was VERY effective.

You gotta face facts. Those so called “alarms” and tank alerts are not very good. They aren’t accurate and they never seem to work

So you use “smell” as one of the main tests to see if you black tank is full.

But our toilet would burp.

When the black tank was very full, the toilet would “burp” when you flushed it.

Now a “burp” is like a “fart” of air. Like a small breeze. If you put a small breeze into a bunch of “debris” and you are standing over the toilet, you will get debris on you!

Sheri got burped on just one time.

Then Marlan, CEO of RV52.com, got in a whole bunch of trouble.

I also emptied the black tank.

I still think the burping is kind of funny. I wonder how long it will take for the new owners of our RV to discover burping?

 

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How to create your own custom radio station just for your RV http://rv52.com/create-custom-radio-station-just-rv/ http://rv52.com/create-custom-radio-station-just-rv/#respond Tue, 25 Mar 2014 15:50:06 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=38899 I don't know how many of you are familiar with podcasts, but if you knew how to use them, you could always hear what you wanted to hear on your radio. I talk about how to do it on my latest video: Here is the transcript for the video for the "readers" in the group: […]

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I don't know how many of you are familiar with podcasts, but if you knew how to use them, you could always hear what you wanted to hear on your radio.

I talk about how to do it on my latest video:

Here is the transcript for the video for the "readers" in the group:

Hello, RV52 peeps. Hey, a lot of you are on the road, and I wanted to tell you how to create your own personal radio station for RVers. And, of course, I'm Marlon Winter.

I'm the founder and chief bottle washer for RV52.com, a huge, multi-national, multi-continent conglomerate. Because, well, you can punch my website in from any part of the world.

What are you going to learn in the next few minutes? Well, a little bit about what's unique about y'all, and radio stations, and the pros and cons of different technology, a little bit about podcasts, which is kind of the foundation of this, how to create your own personal radio station, and all those types of things.

So let's talk a little bit about RVers. Y'all are, well, mobile. In fact, very mobile. You range far and wide, from Alaska to Florida, or from Vancouver to Ottawa, and all across Canada, the South, the North, everywhere. And you might travel at very odd times, and every time you try to use your radio, and you go any distance at all, it's a brand new set of channels, different schedules, all that baloney. And I don't know about you, but I certainly never hear what I want to hear on the radio.

So if I think about FM radio, some pros: they're easy. They're very easy. Every radio in your car has access to it. It's everywhere. Some of the cons: you're limited to, I don't know, 50, 100, 150 miles. You will have to show up for their schedules. So they basically have one set of programming, they put it out over the channel, if you want to listen to something, you've got to bend to their programs. And I don't know about you, but I'm never in my car or wherever at the right time for these guys. You may not even find a station you like in your geography. And you know what? It's really hard to review or re-listen to things you liked. Ads, ads, ads, ads, and more ads. Yuck.

Then you have satellite. Pros is, well, it's everywhere you are. That's kind of cool. There's quite a bit of variety of stations in satellite. Cons: you pay money, and you still get ads. You still have to bend to their schedule, mostly. You can't review and replay shows you liked. And you need special equipment, like XM, Sirius, and all that. And you still might not find the shows you like. So, you know, there are some pros and cons on satellite.

What if you could make your own radio station? Some pros: available when you want it. Absolutely no geographic range or limits. Limited ads to no ads. You can replay whatever you like. Listen to your programs, not anyone else's. And it's on-demand. It's kind of like the perfect DVR. Some of the cons — and this is kind of what we're going to talk about here — is, well, you're the program director, and that means you've got to put together the program, and it does require some effort. But I will say, from personal experience, I have way more programming than I'll ever be able to listen to, and that's kind of cool.

Let's talk a little bit about creating your own radio station.

Before we do it, you're going to have to have a few basics.

One of the first basics is you've got to know a little bit about audio. I mean, this is the actual sound that my voice has right now as I'm speaking. It's audio media for you, songs, speeches, talks, and all of that. What is it? All right.

So let's start with the basics. On the left-hand side I've got the song, or spoken word, or whatever. On the right-hand side, I've got an ear. And so the radio station's going to take this song or spoken word, and they're going to try to get it to you. So part of what they do — and they may not actually do it, they may just utilize it — but they have a process that converts sound into radio waves, okay? And they send it over radio waves to, well, a radio that's in your car, or RV, or boat, or whatever. And in your radio, you have a process to convert radio waves back to sound. Those two orange circles are separated by distance. That's pretty much it. And I hope that you feel this is a reasonable way of thinking about this.

Now, it's a little bit different with these computers now.

So you've kind of got this idea of a radio station, but it's not really a radio station. It's a place on the world wide web. And instead of converting it to radio waves that get transmitted, we convert the sound into a computer file. Most of you are familiar with Excel or Word or PDF. Those are computer files. You can attach them to email. You can send them around. But they're a file. And that's what you convert the sound into a file. You can transmit it.

And this way, probably not transmitting it over the air, and I'll explain that in a little bit.

But that gets transmitted and received by a computer or an iPod. And inside the computer and iPod, it has a process to convert that file to a sound. And you convert and transfer these things over the Internet.

Now, let's go a little bit further and talk a little bit about these personal media players. So I got this computer or iPod, which contains the process to convert a file to a sound. And it turns out there's a lot of different processes. There's two major processes, MP3 and AAC. AAC is Apple, and MP3 is, well, pretty much everybody else.

And most podcasts, which are basically what I'm doing now, talking to you about a subject, and those podcasts are sound converted into an MP3 file, mostly. And then you can have these processes running on a computer, an iPod, a car radio, an iPhone. These are all media devices on the right-hand side. So anything that can decode an MP3 can play these files. And mostly we won't have to worry too much about car radios. I'm going to show you in a little bit. And when I say "car radio," most RVs have the same darned stuff in them, as well.

So what is a podcast? In real simple terms, it's a series of talks. Like, maybe somebody is a political speaker. They're conservative. They're a big, heavyset guy out in . . . I think he's in Florida, and he has a conservative talk show. It's on the radio. But he can just as well capture his show that he put out over the radio, he can capture that show into a file, and then each show becomes a whole series, and you can store them as MP3 files, and you can make them available for download on the Internet.

And that makes it so that people can see that files, and then they can go grab them, download them, and put them on a device, like an iPod. Ergo, "podcast." That's why it's usually an iPod, and how it got its name.

And why the name "podcast"? Well, a podcast is kind of like "broadcast", except you don't need a $500,000 radio station. You don't need any of that, because the Internet took care of all that. All you need to be able to do is have a website. Those are, you know, $20, $30 a month, tops. You can put podcasts available on that.

So you don't need much money to broadcast. And it is like broadcasting, except you don't have radio towers. And instead of broadcasting, you're sending something to an iPod. You're not sending it to a radio. And you're not really sending it. You're making it available. People come and grab the podcast willingly. And then you smush all this stuff together. Broadcast and sending it to an iPod. You smash that name together and you get "podcast." All right.

Now, if everybody made these podcasts, and they were all over heck, it wouldn't be very useful. One of the neat things iTunes did is they made podcasts kind of an industry thing. So if you come into iTunes, it's a great front end, or store front, for Apple, of course. And inside there, you can get music, movies, and all that, but you can also get podcasts. And they don't actually store the podcasts at Apple. All it really is is a directory. And so you click on the red arrow on iTunes store.

Most of your iTunes interfaces are going to look like this. And then the blue arrow, you click across the top on podcasts, and you'd see all these choices. And here you can see some new and noteworthy. So I look at things that are getting added and are popular. They keep track of who's downloading. If things start trending, they pop them to the top as noteworthy. And that's kind of how they work. So once you find these podcasts, you can organize that content any way you want. So once you do that, and find the podcast you like, you can play it back your way.

And so in my case, I made a podcast playlist — and you'd have to research playlists a little bit in iTunes — but with the playlist, you can say, "I want to use podcasts that have been created after this date, or before this date, or match these terms." There's all sorts of ways you can make these playlists. But in my case, I went and grabbed all my podcasts and put them in chronological order. And you can see the kinds of things I listen to. And the very first one on the list, you'll see, is 50 minutes and 27 seconds. That's somebody named Amy Porterfield. She talks about online marketing. And so there's 50 minutes of advertising-free content. And it's content I want to hear.

My wife thinks it's totally boring, but hey, that's for her. This is for me. I love it, and I get the radio station I want, and it gives me a reason to do things when I'm away. And while I'm going on road trips, it just passes the time so fast. I've actually gotten where I like traffic.

I call it my four-wheel university.

Apple also has the idea of radio stations, in which case you click on "my station". And you could have, like, 50 different podcasts. In my case, you've got Dan Miller, you've got the Smart Passive Income. But you might have 50 of those, and you might pick 12 for one radio station and 15 for another, because they're topically oriented. You might have your health radio station and all that. And then what'll happen is when you're in your car or you're listening on your headphones — I got my aircraft-style stuff — you can actually pick out the radio station you want to listen to at that moment in time.

And of course you can also, with your iPod, listen to music and all that. But I'm trying to tell you about something different. And a lot of people just don't think of the spoken word and radio stations as something you might listen to and create your own radio station.

So I'm trying to show you how to break free of the FM radio station. Now, how do you get the music and audio from your personal player into your car, or really, anything else, for that matter.

Okay? Well, what I'm showing here is a 3.5 mm jack, audio jack. And it can go into almost any car radio. See the green arrow there? It's pointing to where that is. And a lot of times, they're on there, and they don't really label them. They're a little tricky to see. But look around. Most radio stations and automobiles and RVs, the manufacturers, say, in the last six, seven, eight years now have those. And, of course, your iPhone or iPod would have a jack like that. So you just hook them together with a 3.5 mm cable. It's got a 3.5 mm jack on each side. It's got audio cable connecting them in between. It looks just like that. It's very convenient. It's very simple. And if you have that cable, I keep my cable with me, and I can plug into just about everything, so I can hear my show anywhere I want to go.

Bluetooth. Ugh, it's really just beyond the scope of this. I'll tell you what. Bluetooth, in general, is like this. You put your car radio, and we're going to talk about your car radio or RV radio, in pairing mode to make it discoverable, if it has Bluetooth in it. You go to your iThingy device and tell it to scan for new devices. You click on the car radio, you click the connect button. If you're lucky, it gives you a number. It says, "Please enter a number." You enter the number. And if you can, you find an option that basically says, anytime your Bluetooth devices are gathered, just hook them together. Almost like a cable. And that's really Bluetooth overall.

So let's put it all together.

  1. Select the things you want to listen to in iTunes.
  2. Make a radio station or a playlist.
  3. Connect to your iPod using the cable, like I said. I think that's far easier. I mean, you can use BlueTooth and all that, but the cable's easiest.
  4. Select the appropriate options on your iPod screen in iTunes. I'll show you that in a little bit.
  5. Hit the "Sync" button. Oh, I told you wrong.
  6. It's connect your iPod to your computer.
  7. And then you're going to select some options on your iPod screen in iTunes, hit the Sync button.
  8. Everything's now on your iPod.
  9. Now you can connect your iPod, your car, RV radio using 3.5 mm jack and cable.
  10. Set your radio input to "Aux." Usually they don't spell it out. It's auxiliary. But in this case, usually it's "Aux". It's usually a button or a menu. It's easy to find.
  11. And then find your podcast app on your iPod or iPhone, navigate to your playlist. It'll say "Play". Bang. Done.

She'll start playing.

And the beauty is, when one podcast is done, it's going to move to the next.

That was why I had to build a playlist, is because it's actually dangerous to be driving, and particularly if your podcasts are short, you're always fiddling with your device. Very unsafe. So once I turn it on and go, bang-o, it just continues to go. And finally, you've got to mess with the volume.

So let's talk a little bit about options. So when I hook up to sync on my phone, it shows up where the green arrow is. I click on "Podcasts". I click on a little button that says "Sync Podcasts."

And on the bottom there — I've got it all on one screen — I say pick the playlist that brings it all together. That's how I sync. Simple as pie. And now let's just talk a little bit, the kind of things you might find.

Because there's probably stuff you'd like on iTunes. So in the upper left- hand, they have a new and noteworthy section. And this is new stuff.

Again, Apple monitors the downloads and the success, and things that are running. They're going to poke up here. And then on the lower left, they've got… these are top podcasts. These aren't just new ones. These are ones that are continually good over life. So "This American Life." You see NPR, "Planet Money." There's a lot of very left stuff here, on here.  

On the lower right-hand side, they actually keep track of the most popular podcasts, as well, and you can see things that have been very, very, very popular over time. And of course in the upper right-hand corner, you'll see the different kind of categories you can find. And there are literally thousands and thousands and thousands of these up on iTunes. It would take you a long time to find everything.

And then, in case you're wondering if the whole world is liberal, it's not. And just for fun, I just typed in Laura Schleissinger. So she has podcasts.

And this is how you do search. They've got a search box. It looks like that. Type in whatever you want to type. And then you can see Dr. Laura's podcast. And then, of course, something you might not have thought of is you can get audiobooks, and you can get those put on your iPod.

They're very economical, and you listen to those, as well. And a good book can take you for a good 14-hour trip.

So, at the end of this, let's hope you can say goodbye to Howard Stern and say hello to "radio you."

Anyway, thanks a lot. This is RV52, Marlon Winter, coming at you, and I hope you find this helpful. Bye.

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3 Options for Towing a Vehicle Behind Your RV http://rv52.com/3-options-towing-vehicle-behind-rv/ http://rv52.com/3-options-towing-vehicle-behind-rv/#respond Tue, 18 Mar 2014 15:39:15 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39019 [Guest Article by Sarah Kelly - Retired nurse, RV fanatic, Twitter pro] Almost 9 million people own RVs, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, and they’re a great way to take you and the family across long distances in comfort. But it’s not exactly easy to go to the grocery store or check out some local […]

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[Guest Article by Sarah Kelly - Retired nurse, RV fanatic, Twitter pro]

Trailer illustration for article on RV towing options

Trailer illustration for article on RV towing options

Almost 9 million people own RVs, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, and they’re a great way to take you and the family across long distances in comfort. But it’s not exactly easy to go to the grocery store or check out some local attractions in an RV. One solution? Tow your car behind you. You may need special equipment to do it safely and under warranty, so read on to learn the best way to go about it.

Before You Tow

Go through your car’s owner’s manual and look for information on vehicle towing. If you don’t have information on towing, you are likely not covered under warranty for flat towing, but trailer or dolly towing is acceptable.

Flat Towed

The flat-towing method doesn’t require a trailer to put your car on, making it a good choice for RVers who don’t want to maintain large additional equipment. The easiest cars to flat tow are manual transmission cars with rear-wheel or four-wheel drive, according to Edmunds. Aftermarket equipment is used for vehicles that cannot be flat towed as is, circulating transmission fluid to keep the engine and other systems working properly.

In addition to the tow bar, you’ll need to attach a baseplate to your vehicle and a hitch receiver to connect everything together. Double check your car’s weight against your RV’s tow bar, as different tow bars are designed for different capacities. For example, the Roadmaster’s Sterling All-Terrain tow bar is designed for 6,000-pound vehicles, while the Aventa LX is compatible with 10,000-pound vehicles.

Flat towing puts wear and tear on your car’s tires, so check that the tread isn’t worn and the rubber is in good condition. You don’t want to end up at your destination with a flat, so consider buying a new set of General tires before you leave. Do a fluids and oil check, too.

Dollies

Sometimes it’s difficult to find the right aftermarket parts for automatic vehicles, especially if you have an older, less popular car. A tow dolly lifts the front wheels of your car off of the ground, leaving only the rear wheels doing the work. You don’t need aftermarket parts or any special equipment to use a tow dolly with a front wheel drive automatic, which gets you around the necessity of figuring out a way to circulate transmission fluid.

Trailer

Trailers take all four of your vehicle’s wheels off the ground, so it doesn’t matter whether it’s front, rear or all-wheel drive. As long as it fits on the trailer, it can come with you without adding wear and tear on the vehicle. You avoid the hassle of searching for aftermarket parts or dealing with tow bars, but that’s balanced out by buying and maintaining a trailer throughout the year. It’s a convenient option for compatibility, but it may not be the best option when you’re limited on space.

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Here is a GREAT story about a new beginning that ONLY an RVer could love http://rv52.com/great-story-new-beginnings-rver-love/ http://rv52.com/great-story-new-beginnings-rver-love/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 15:49:33 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=38711 Neat quote from the article: “For two years, Macy worked on the 196 square-foot home, dedicating her free time to building the small paradise. Finally, construction has finished on her little hideaway… and it’s hard not to be jealous of this place, no matter how small it looks on the outside. After all, it only […]

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Neat quote from the article:

For two years, Macy worked on the 196 square-foot home, dedicating her free time to building the small paradise. Finally, construction has finished on her little hideaway… and it’s hard not to be jealous of this place, no matter how small it looks on the outside. After all, it only cost about $11,000.

While I don’t want to be a “traditional” RV manufacturer  I can’t get these tiny houses out of my mind.

RV52.com is simply going to have to build one!

What do you guys think?

 

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Reader is looking for RECOMMENDATIONS for Noble, OK and Lake Thunderbird http://rv52.com/reader-looking-recommendations-noble-ok-lake-thunderbird/ http://rv52.com/reader-looking-recommendations-noble-ok-lake-thunderbird/#comments Fri, 07 Mar 2014 15:40:28 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=38904 Ok Fitty-ites, A reader asks “My wife and will looking for a nice campsite near the lake [Lake Thunderbird]. We will be in a 24′ class C motorhome. Our son and his wife are having a baby and they live just outside Noble [OK]. We will be leaving California in just over a week. Perhaps you could suggest a […]

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Ok Fitty-ites,

A reader asks “My wife and will looking for a nice campsite near the lake [Lake Thunderbird]. We will be in a 24′ class C motorhome. Our son and his wife are having a baby and they live just outside Noble [OK]. We will be leaving California in just over a week. Perhaps you could suggest a good site that has RV power and water, etc. Thank you,[name removed] ”

Put your good recommendations on this page: http://rv52.com/rvparks/lake-thunderbird-state-park/

If your recommendations are good, I’ll even send you an Amazon gift card!

Cheers,

Marlan

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Absolutely do NOT do it as your RV is simply not an OFFROAD machine http://rv52.com/absolutely-rv-simply-offroad-machine/ http://rv52.com/absolutely-rv-simply-offroad-machine/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 15:34:18 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=38709 If you would go back and follow the RV52.com blog from the beginning, or at least back about a year and a half, you would know that we bought 5 acres in southwest Austin. We then moved our RV onto the land, borrowed water through a water hose, and captured our black water in rented […]

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If you would go back and follow the RV52.com blog from the beginning, or at least back about a year and a half, you would know that we bought 5 acres in southwest Austin.

We then moved our RV onto the land, borrowed water through a water hose, and captured our black water in rented black tank. We had a honey wagon come once a month and pump the rented black tank.

We backed the RV up to a very scenic spot on the property next to an Oak mott. We ran the electric underground right up to the RV.

Then for the next year and a half we put in a septic system, a modular home, and bunches of dirt work and reconfiguring of our property.

Turns out, when we were done, we made it very trick to get our RV out of its little spot. We couldn’t back up because we put a earthen berm within about 15-20 feet of the rear of the camper. We could back it up a little, but then we couldn’t get it back far enough for the tow vehicle to make the corner.

So we had to go straight out.

We had a ring around our property, but we also had a septic field.

When our contractor put in the septic field, he drove across it ALL the TIME.

I went out and walked on it. It seemed pretty solid.

So I made the executive decision that it would be ok to “sneak” across the septic field just this once.

Open Range 399BHS stuck in RV52 Septic Field

Open Range 399BHS stuck in RV52 Septic Field

Tow Vehicle for Open Range Stuck in the Mud

Tow Vehicle for Open Range Stuck in the Mud

That wasn’t a great executive decision.

The dually got across the field without the RV JUST FINE.

But with another approximately 4000 pounds on the back wheels it went about 15 feet into the septic field and BOOM – it sunk a good 12 inches into the ground INSTANTLY.

My good fortune was that the dually owners who towed it out for me also owned a tow truck. But it did cost me an extra $100.

So keep your RV on dry ground and don’t go across a septic field. That is solid advice from RV52!

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George HW Bush and Warren Buffet ate off of our China set http://rv52.com/george-hw-bush-warren-buffet-ate-china-set/ http://rv52.com/george-hw-bush-warren-buffet-ate-china-set/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 15:08:42 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=38704 Here is the China set in question: Still the question remains. How did HW and Mr. Buffet ever eat from my China plate? This does border on a “shaggy dog story”. But I believe it to be 100% true. I did SOME research at this. These plates were once owned by Clifford and Anne Batchelder. […]

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Here is the China set in question:

Sebring China plate from which George HW Bush and Warren Buffet ate

Sebring China plate from which George HW Bush and Warren Buffet ate

Sebring China plate from which George HW Bush and Warren Buffet ate

Sebring China plate from which George HW Bush and Warren Buffet ate

Still the question remains. How did HW and Mr. Buffet ever eat from my China plate?

This does border on a “shaggy dog story”. But I believe it to be 100% true. I did SOME research at this.

These plates were once owned by Clifford and Anne Batchelder. Clifford and Anne were a married couple that made their home in Omaha Nebraska, my home state.  This isn’t your ordinary couple as Anne Batchelder was a powerhouse. First off, she was born into wealth and privilege, her family being large shareholders of Quaker Oats. She seemed to love being a public servant, starting in the Red Cross during the war, where she met Clifford, and then continuing in public service seemingly for the rest of her life. Clifford himself was a successful Omaha businessman.

So, three things that are key to this story: politics, wealth, and Nebraska.

It turns out that when you are a Republican and you want to make sure you have Nebraska covered, you would get to know the Batchelders. One thing they loved to do is to have guests in their Omaha home. The China you see was one of their serving sets and was most likely used when George Herbert Walker Bush came through Omaha and met with the Batchelders. Anne Batchelder was very prominent in the Nebraska Republican Party – even going so far as to run for Lieutenant Governer in the state.

The Batchelder’s also had Warren Buffet as a frequent guest and I have it on good authority that Mr. Buffet ate off of this China on several occasions.

By the way, Mr. Buffet does get around quite a bit in Nebraska so many local folks have met him.

When Mr. Batchelder was getting near the end of his life, he had a caregivers tend to him. A good friend of mine was one of his caregivers. In appreciation for exemplary service, the Batchelders gave him the China as a gift.

My friend was clearing space in his house, loved the story behind the China and gave it to Sheri and I as a gift for our house.

And that my RVing friends, is how George HW Bush and Warren Buffet have both ate off of our China.

(p.s. I bet there are other famous people too, it is just that I don’t have as near as good information on them!)

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Mother’s Day Trip: Surprise Her With an RV Vacation http://rv52.com/mothers-day-trip-surprise-rv-vacation/ http://rv52.com/mothers-day-trip-surprise-rv-vacation/#respond Thu, 20 Feb 2014 16:25:55 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=38698 [Guest Article - Tammie Keeley - stress and anxiety counselor, gym rat, mother] Moms do so much for their families, and so much of it goes by unnoticed and without a thank you. Now you can show mom how much you really appreciate and love her by planning the best surprise ever: An RV trip with her […]

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[Guest Article - Tammie Keeley - stress and anxiety counselor, gym rat, mother]

Moms do so much for their families, and so much of it goes by unnoticed and without a thank you. Now you can show mom how much you really appreciate and love her by planning the best surprise ever: An RV trip with her family—just in time for Mother’s Day.

Picking a Destination

Whether you’re headed east or west, there are some amazing destinations to surprise mom. Top attractions are Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon National Park. Some more unique trips are a New England fall foliage tour or the Florida Keys.

Yellowstone has 12 campgrounds inside the park and most are well equipped for RVs; however only one has full hook-ups. The nightly fees are reasonable; $15-$45 depending on the campground and amenities offered. With all of the beautiful sights to see, such as Old Faithful, the natural hot springs and trails to explore, plan to spend a few days to enjoy the park.

The Grand Canyon is an incredible place to visit year-round. There are three campgrounds in the park; however, none are equipped with RV hook-ups. The nightly fee is $18 per night plus a $25 park admission fee. At the Grand Canyon, you can go on a half-day rafting trip, hike one of the many trails or take a train ride to nearby Williams, where you can see Route 66 or go antiquing.

A fall foliage tour is a great way to see the seasonal changes in autumn. In the northeast, the leaves change between mid-September to mid-October. One of the best places to witness fall foliage is Presque Isle in Erie, Pa., where you can camp at Sara’s with full RV hook-up campsites for $35 per night or $210 per week. The campground is on Lake Erie and is located by the entrance of Presque Isle State Park. The park offers 13 miles of paved walking trails, and you can rent boats. The campground also happens to be across the street from Sara’s Diner and Stevo’s Pizza. Sara’s is open from April 1 through September 30, and has must-try, world famous hot dogs and ice cream. Stevo’s serves some of the best thin-crust pizza and subs.

The Florida Keys is amazing place to explore, especially with an RV. From Key Largo to Key West there are several campgrounds and state parks for camping. Some of the main attractions in the Keys are snorkeling at Looe Key where you can observe amazing fish, the Dolphin Research Center where you can get hands-on with the dolphins, and the Turtle Hospital where you can learn about sea turtles and see them in various stages of recovery. Don’t forget Boyd’s RV campground; sites range from $90 to $126 per night depending on the season and if you want an inland or waterfront space. The campground is just minutes from the main street in Key West, Duval Street. While in Key West, visit the Key West Aquarium and get face-to-face with many interesting creatures, including sharks, or celebrate sunset on Mallory Square and watch street performers as the day ends. There also are several options for tours of the island and places to book diving excursions and parasailing.

Popping the Surprise

Once you have decided on the perfect destination for your family, it’s time to tell mom. A present like this deserves a special presentation. One fun way to let her know about the plans is to give her hints: Maybe each person in your family can give her a small gift or small flower arrangement with a clue as to where you are headed. Then the final present or arrangement will let her know if her guesses were right. One great company to order from is FTD, which has many options and ways to personalize your card. No matter how you tell Mom about this special surprise, she will be delighted. Family time is the best present that any mom could receive.

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How we bought and sold our RV with a note and never lost money http://rv52.com/bought-sold-rv-note-never-lost-money/ http://rv52.com/bought-sold-rv-note-never-lost-money/#comments Tue, 18 Feb 2014 15:53:08 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=38681 I loved my RV, living in my RV, and the family we’ve become while living in that RV. But dang I was happy to see the buyer drive off in that darned thing? Why? Because we want to switch to a small Class C RV for zipping around and vacationing easier Because a 40 foot, […]

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I loved my RV, living in my RV, and the family we’ve become while living in that RV.

But dang I was happy to see the buyer drive off in that darned thing?

Why?

  • Because we want to switch to a small Class C RV for zipping around and vacationing easier
  • Because a 40 foot, 12,000 pound fifth wheel requires a monster truck and I don’t have one
  • Because 40 foot fifth wheel is just REALLY REALLY big
  • Because the fifth wheel tied up $36,000
  • Because the fifth wheel had me paying $455 every month
  • Because my insurance was running about $100 every month for the RV
  • Because we weren’t currently using it and that is very hard on RVs

So I had LOTS of reasons to sell it.

In retrospect, the RV treated me very, very well. As I review the ownership of the RV, I’ll list things as a series of tips that might help you get more out of your RV, save more money, and have more fun.

Have a clear cut purpose for any RV you will buy

I get very sad about our country when I see so many storage lots completely full of RVs. That is so wasteful. It also points to so much money that could have been put to more use.

The most beautiful thing to see is an asset in full use. Maybe that is unrealistic and there is a happy medium.

But if you are making payments and not using an RV, then I think a healthy re-examination is in order.

I was lucky.

Sheri and I were going to live in our RV full time. And we did.

After purchasing the Open Range 399BHS for $47,000 (approx) brand new we started living in the RV full time. We loved it.

Turns out, the kids (14 and 10) loved it too. So much so, the RV was central in a legal action. Call me for details on that. Great story. Not ready for print for about 4 more years.

We also bought land and the RV was central to being able to develop the land quickly and affordably. We lived in the RV while putting in utilities and prepping for a home.

For the three years we owned it, we never paid rent except lot rent ($300 or less). Every month we were in the RV, we saved anywhere from $500-1200 per month depending upon how you look at it. We also made a little progress on the RV loan and were able to write off the interest on the RV note.

Most importantly – living in the RV cemented our family relationship. All the “big house” people can make fun of the “po folk” eeking out a life in an RV, but we grew amazingly close.

Looking back, the RV was a GREAT investment for many reasons.

Most importantly, we used the pee out of the darned thing. If you can’t do this, then an RV for you will get very expensive very fast.

I made a SW Tool that might help you get a clear idea of what RV would work for you.

When buying new, EXPECT major discounts off of list price

We purchased an RV buyers guide which gave us a SINGLE piece of information that made the book worthwhile.

The advice was “RV Dealers are fully equipped to give around 25% off of the list price of an RV.”

The rest of the buyers guide was nice, but Open Range was too new to be in their book. So the buyers guide wasn’t that useful

But getting a big price off of list is really critical. If you don’t do this you’ll be screwed.

Why?

Because it means that people who DO know this, will expect the new prices to be around 25% lower and the USED prices to be suitably lower than that.

If you buy at full price, make payments for 2-4 years, then expect to sell and pay off your note, it will be impossible. You’ll literally be upside down on your note for 10-20% of the purchase price of the RV. Let me repeat, you may have to come up with up to 20% of the purchase price your RV, just to sell your RV.

If I had not gotten 25% off of the Open Range when I sold it, I would have had to come up with nearly $10,000 to sell the darned thing. I would have had to pay off the loan by adding $10,000 to the check I received from the buyer. Ouch!

To get a good idea of the list price for RVs, once you zero in on the size, type, and hopefully brand and model of the RV you are interested in buying, do a study of the market using online sales tools and also calling out of state dealers.

Why out of state dealers? Because if you call the local dealer where you are really thinking about buying, then you won’t have the information you need. You need to know list prices BEFORE talking with the dealer where you plan on purchasing – otherwise, you’ll be at a severe information advantage.

How did we do on the Open Range 399BHS? According to the dealer, the list price of the unit is around $66,000 (in 2010). We bought ours for around $47,000 which is a 29% discount. We put down $5,000 and financed $42,000.

When I went to sell the RV, we received $35,000 and I sent in $600 to pay off our note. Yes I did send in a little money, but I don’t feel bad about it. For me, $600 felt like it was “in the noise”

Don’t fight the market – Your profit or loss is locked in at purchase time

When I decided to list the RV, I put it on rvtrader.com and RV52.com’s FREE RV for sale page.

When deciding what price to list the RV, I made a decision that I really just wanted to break even. I didn’t need to get top dollar for the RV.

So when I looked at ALL of the 399BHS units for sale, I noticed the price range was from $42K-66K. Yes, unbelievable as it sounds, some people were listing their RVs for sale at prices where you could get a new unit for less than the used price. I don’t understand this pricing.

So I then listed mine at $38K so I would be the cheapest on the market. Why? For one reason I could because my note was less than $36K. That would not have been true had we not fought hard for our full 25% discount. But I could. The other reason was that I was not focused on making any money on the sale, but instead was more focused on freeing up the monthly payment, insurance, and freeing myself from the debt. Plus if I have to wait three more months for that buyer, I would have blown any additional profit in payments.

But the KEY POINT I’m trying to make is that you have to look at all the comparable units for sale and price accordingly. You can’t just make up how much money you will sell it for. You have to list it for a number relative to the units already for sale.

It seems silly, but many people look at their note, and list the RV at the same price as the note. Generally, if they purchased at full price, or got a measly $5K off of the list price, they are never going to sell the RV at that price.

So might as well be realistic and know that you simply cannot fight the market. Price it like the others.

Late in the year you are likely to get NO realistic offers

I listed the Open Range around September.

I think I got  one or two low-ball “flyer” offers that I rejected immediately, but that was about it.

After January 1, I started getting a legitimate inquiry about once every two weeks.

In February, I received an inquiry about once every 2-3 days.

I’ll have to remember that when we get our next RV. Buy in the fall. Sell in the spring.

When selling online, be prepared for very dangerous con artists

You need to be aware of  two scams that I’ll list here.

The first one is receiving MORE money than the unit is worth in a cashiers check where you have to rebate a thousand or two back to the buyer.

The other is more direct, you get a cashiers check for the RV.

In both cases, you are getting a bad cashiers check. Impossible you say? Well it isn’t. And oddly, the banking industry, lame as it is, seemingly will happily let you cash a cashiers check ONLY to tell you 3-5 days later that the check isn’t good. They ask for the money back AND a bad check penalty on top of it. Don’t get me started on the banking industry.

So, it is incumbent upon you to really be 100% sure of your buyer AND you can devise a selling scenario in which funds are 100% verified before going too far.

Here are some tips that might help you get a safe deal:

  • Avoid any inquiries that are TEXTED to you and then vector you to an email address ending in lots of numbers. For example john.smith445566@gmail.com
  • Avoid any inquiries that are TEXTED to you and have the word STOP in them. Nothing says “alert” faster.
  • Avoid any inquiries where they are almost a panicked buyer and have to do something fast.
  • Avoid any inquiries where you have to give back a small amount for whatever bogus reason might exist.
  • Avoid financing the buyer.
  • Avoid cashiers checks.
  • Avoid buyers who buy sight unseen (You can make an exception)
  • Avoid buyers you can’t verify
  • Verify buyers by checking their email address
    • In Google – surround it with double quotes to do the search.
    • In facebook – about 60% of the time, these people will show up.
    • In facebook look for their wives names and cross reference
  • Use wire transfers for cash. Verify PRIOR to any possession of the vehicle.

YOU DECIDE – how aggressive will you be when selling?

This is the big question.

It always is.

Are you willing to hold on for the “next offer” to get an additional $5000 for example?

Or are you willing to accept a little bit less to sell the RV to the buyer you have in front of you?

If it is your first offer in a long period of time, you might actually JUMP on the offer.

If you have been getting offers regularly, then maybe you are priced correctly and you could hold firm.

But if it is getting to be June, July, or August, you might be getting past the buying season and have to wait until spring. Can you tolerate another 6 months of waiting? Was the waiting worth it?

Another 6 months of waiting could actually lower the price of your RV by another 5%.

I can’t actually give you the answer. I can tell you that you are in charge and you own this decision 100%.

What happened to me? Honestly, I took the first offer. Sad but true. After I accepted this offer, which was 1.5K under my ask, I had three very specific calls about the RV. One guy in particular was looking for the EXACT model I owned and he was in Texas. In other words, I probably could have gotten my ask.

But I wasn’t willing to keep making payments if I was wrong. So I left $1,500 on the table.

Do I feel bad about that?

Nope. Because right now, I have no note, no RV, and no payments. I’m completely free to choose my new RV – which will probably NOT be new, but a used Class C.

Be honest and forthright

There were things wrong with our Open Range RV. I’m not talking about little things either.

There were two things that I felt I needed to be upfront with my buyer.

1) The front gray tank had a leak.

2) The home theater system was not working.

On the home theater system, I think a person could find a suitable replacement on ebay for $50 so I wasn’t too worried about that one. I mainly wanted to disclose this one because it would be one of the FIRST things a buyer would turn on and sit back and hope to enjoy. I felt I had to set expectations so that this was not a negative surprise.

On the front gray tank, I disclosed that it was leaking, and that was only when I opened the gray tank after it had been full of water. I don’t really know what the issue was or is.

I had planned on fixing the problems, but since the buyer got such a good deal – I took his first offer of $35K, I decided that I would disclose rather than repair.

I also did that because we were doing a transaction without seeing each other in person. I thought that it would be good if he had total trust. Letting him know upfront what were the known problems seems important and tells him that he is dealing with a guy that wants to be painfully honest.

He never pushed back. I think he knew he got a great deal. I think unbeknownst to me, he was worried I would not honor the deal and want more money.

How did I disclose the issues? On the sales contract of course!

How the sale of our RV went down

Now that you have piles of interesting information about the sale, geared towards “tips”, I thought I would simply outline the chronology of selling of my RV…

  1. Listed for sale : August 17, 2013 (rvtrader.com / rvsforsale.rv52.com / featured ad on RV52.com )
    1. I had a video and about 20 pictures of the unit.
    2. Listing price 38,5K, but dropped to $37.5K in November
  2. Process leads
    1. 20-30 “so called leads” that were SMS messages
    2. about 5 leads in email that were decent.
    3. about 10 leads in email that were bogus
  3. Got the lead that actually bought my RV: 1/25/2014
    1. Lead requested “rock bottom” pricing
    2. Did I have more pictures with specific details asking to be shown.
  4. Using email address, I went into research mode.
    1. Straight google search
    2. facebook search
    3. linkedin search
    4. found apparent wife’s name
    5. searched and cross referenced wife’s names/pictures versus the leads
    6. I was fairly convinced that the trail was sufficiently real.
  5. Sent back
    1. “Make an offer and lets see where it takes us”
    2. Uploaded about 100 pictures to Dropbox (then shared folder in dropbox)( if you get dropbox via the link I get a couple more GB of space, nothing more)
  6. Received offer of $35K ( 1/25/2014 )
  7. I sent signed offer letter ( 1/26/2014 ), containing,
    1. Purchase price
    2. Vehicle details including VIN
    3. My full address
    4. Buyers full address
    5. Disclosure about broken things
    6. Insurance requirement statement
    7. As-IS  no-warranty reminder
    8. Verifiable payment requirement
  8. Between 1/30 and 2/4 or so, we both worked on payments to my bank that held the note.
  9. AMAZINGLY – the buyer wired the money directly to my noteholder. Since it was a wire, the money was instantly verifiable.
  10. At this point I was a little worried because if the buyer reneged, which I think should happen because of the sales contract, I did not think that I could get a new loan to “undo” the transaction. So that was a worry.
  11. Until 2/3 I had still NEVER SPOKE to the buyer on the phone – even though we had exchanged about 100 SMS/texts and emails. We did finally talk and he seemed like a very nice guy.
  12. We did go the the Texas DMV and pick up temp permit to transport in the buyers name. It cost us $25 and the buyer gladly reimbursed us so he could get his RV quicker.
  13. 2/14/2014 – Buyer picks up the RV with his 350 dually.
    1. I have him the 360 degree tour
    2. Reminded him the tires were three years old and had mostly sat (a little worry about dry rot)
    3. Went over a few systems
    4. Helped them get connected
    5. Signed the title over which came that day in the mail.
    6. Signed the Texas form 130U
  14. Off the RV went into the sunset. It really was a sunset.

Here is a picture of ole Gussy Lou’s last Hurrah on the RV52.com World Headquarters:

Open Range 399BHS RV Being Sold

Open Range 399BHS RV Being Sold

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Seeing US National Parks through the lens of artists – Magnificent! http://rv52.com/seeing-us-national-parks-lens-artists-magnificent/ http://rv52.com/seeing-us-national-parks-lens-artists-magnificent/#comments Sun, 16 Feb 2014 16:33:31 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=38670 Marlan asked that I write up about some of our many adventures in photography, after all CWUAP is Claire’s and Walt’s Unique Adventures and Photography! Here is just a small tasting. [note from Marlan/RV52 - click on the pictures for more backstory on the individual picture.] Most of our adventures have been by accident, which, contrary […]

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Marlan asked that I write up about some of our many adventures in photography, after all CWUAP is Claire’s and Walt’s Unique Adventures and Photography! Here is just a small tasting.

[note from Marlan/RV52 - click on the pictures for more backstory on the individual picture.]

Most of our adventures have been by accident, which, contrary to what you may think or have heard, is how most photographers make their great shots.  And although by accident, we do try and plan a little.

Number one on our list is the grandfather of all national parks, Yellowstone National Park.  If you haven’t been, go.  Our favorite is the Northern Tier.  This is the road from the North Entrance, through Mammoth Big Springs, to the Tower turnoff (turning east) and through Slough Creek, Lamar Canyon, Lamar Valley and then into the East Entrance.  We usually turn around at Pebble Creek or Trout Lake.

Coyote

Are You A Carnivore Too?

Through this trek are all manner of animals from the most delicate birds (just east of Floating Island is a field that is full of all the birds on your checklist), through the Lamar Canyon (a fav for nesting Osprey) and then into the Lamar Valley, nicknamed the Serengeti of North America – that means there are always lots of animals, action and drama going on in the valley.

That’s not to take away from the geothermal fun, and even though Yellowstone contains more geothermal activity than the rest of the world, it’s the animals that we love.  But there is of course Old Faithful and around sunset there’s a beautiful rainbow to take in and while waiting, there’s usually a surprise geyser or two that will delight you geothermal fans. Also for photogs, in the spring at Artists Point from about 9 to 10 am is a beautiful rainbow at the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River.

Because we love the Northern Tier so much, we always stay at Yellowstone RV Park, which backs up to the Yellowstone River where we watch eagles and osprey fish the river (and they are dang good at it too!).  Make reservations early as they fill up fast. They have a clean restrooms and laundry if a little well-used, but they are very clean and well-kept and have full-service hookups.

Moving on, there are other national parks, and southern Utah and Northern Arizona is our next visit.  You can not travel this part of the country and 1.) not feel like you’re in a John Wayne western and 2.) not be enthralled with geology, even if you’ve never acquainted yourself with the science, and after all – isn’t that what we’re all doing – traveling to expand our horizons and learn new things?

Starting at the top of the steps of the Grand Staircase, is Bryce.  It’s worthwhile to see the hoo-doos and learn about their formation in Bryce, but to be honest, the huge buses of tourist flood the area, that it makes visiting Bryce a little difficult.  Our suggestion is to drive through, spend an afternoon there, then take in the slot canyon hikes of the GSENM (Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument). Lick’s Wash and Buckskin Gulch are two fab slot canyons.  I don’t need to tell you not to do this during the rainy season do I?….Good – Don’t!  These canyons were formed by rushing waters through the rocks which you will see ample evidence of.  This part of the park is into the Grey and White cliff area, so the rocks aren’t as colorful as further south.

Bald Eagle, Spring, 2011

Spread you wings and fly

Next, take in just south of his area, and Page, AZ. You may not think so, but this is a real hot spot to stay.  There is so much to see here.

Start with a short trek to the Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River.  It’s about ¼ mile walk from the road to the cliff of the Horseshoe Bend and the best time to view it is mid-day. This amazing formation was of course carved out by the famous Colorado River that did a lot of carving in it’s day!

Next travel further south on SH 89 and then you will turn right onto SH 89A  to Carmel Canyon and the Navajo Bridge.  Stop here.  Doesn’t look like much, but stay a while – and you’ll see these huge birds and then it hits you – they are California Condors – yep, that’s right.  They are all numbered, and this is where the San Diego Zoo releases the condors after they have raised them – just north of the Grand Canyon and they fly all around here on a regular basis.  This is a MUST on your bucket list.

OK further down south on SH 89A, you will come to the Northern border of the Kaibab National Forest, as you come out of the Plateau toward Kanab, you will look north and this is the only chance you will have to see 5 of the 6 steps of the Grand Staircase – Bryce in the distance (Pink Cliffs), then the Grey, White, Vermillion and finally Chocolate Cliffs in the foreground.  The 6th step is the Grand Canyon and of course you can’t see all of them because of the curvature of the Earth.

Vixen Fox Kits Playing

Vixen Den, Spring, 2013

Take SH 89A back to Kanab and then SH 89 to Page to return home.  But Kanab is also where the GSENM has their geological Ranger Station and do drop in to get some wonderful education on the formation.  Also if you want to do the Wave hike (aka Coyote Buttes), this is where you come for the drawing (click the link for more info).

One other excursion outside Page is east into the Navajo Reservation to see Antelope Canyon, one of the most photographed slot canyons.  You will need to arrange a tour through the Navajo Nation, and if you are at least interested in taking any pictures, take the “Photographers’ Tour”, which is a little pricier, but worth it.

In Page, stay at the Wahwep Marina &  RV Park within Lake Powell National Park.  This park is pristine, updated and really nice.  All sites have cement level slabs, and are arranged well so as to take in the view of Lake Powell.  The price is reflective of the nice accommodations, but it’s worth it.

Next stop should be Zion National Park.  As the saying goes, you look down in Bryce and up in Zion, because you are at the bottom of 5 of the 6 steps of the Grand Staircase.  Do not fail to come through the tunnel – as a matter of fact, I would make this your entrance into Zion – it’s breathtaking.  We stayed at the Zion River RV Resort and like Wahwep, this is a very nice facility, we highly recommend it.

 

Finally, I can’t leave this without saying that as well as these fine national parks, state parks are some of the most special finds we have out traveling – within our own state of Oklahoma, Great Salt Plains State Park, Red Rock Canyon State Park, Osage Hills State Park (adjacent to the Nature Conservancy Tallgrass Prairie Preserve), Greenleaf State Park (near Tenkiller Lake), and Beavers Bend State Park (one of the favs of the state) are all highly recommended by CWUAP, and we urge you to always look into state parks when traveling.  They can be delightfully special and accidental finds which always make traveling and your trip memorable.

Keep up to date with our adventures on our blog or like our Facebook Page.

 

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Fatty boy’s weight loss saga and the danger of the selfie (or selfy?) http://rv52.com/fatty-boys-weight-loss-saga-danger-selfie-selfy/ http://rv52.com/fatty-boys-weight-loss-saga-danger-selfie-selfy/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 12:41:39 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=38657 How the H-E-Double-Toothpicks do you even spell selfie? Today and for the last few days I’ve been hovering around 177 pounds. I’m going to put it in a graph later. But dang – 177 is pretty good. I’m down TWO 5-pound bags of potatoes. Think about it – at the weight I am now, for […]

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How the H-E-Double-Toothpicks do you even spell selfie?

Today and for the last few days I’ve been hovering around 177 pounds. I’m going to put it in a graph later.

But dang – 177 is pretty good. I’m down TWO 5-pound bags of potatoes. Think about it – at the weight I am now, for the last few months I’ve been carrying TWO 5-pound bags of potatoes with me everywhere I go. No wonder I get darned tired.

Or do you think a bowling ball sounds more spectacular? I’m not sure. Bowling ball are pretty nasty if you had to carry them around all the time.

Telling ALL OF YOU about my fattyness and attempt at losing weight is a SERIOUS way to keep accountability front and center.

Which brings me to a funny short story.

So I’m thinking about showing myself shrinking over time, kind of like a rough time lapse photo.

To do that, you really need to take a series of “selfies”. I hate those darned things, but I get lots of people who say ole double-o-fat (me) is encouraging them. So crazy as it sounds that makes me want to do the selfie-series.

So I’ve taken one about every week. Now keep in mind to do this well, you gotta show yourself in all your glory. So, yes, I take them in my tighty-whiteys or something similar. You get the idea. I’m takin one for the team, ok? Which means I’m showing all my gut and man-boobs and everything. And with the tighty whiteys, I’m showing too darned much of “the package”.

My plan was to POST PROCESS the pics and fuzz-out the package and I was debating on fuzzing the face part too. Egads, the last thing I want is to show up on  stupid pinterest picture as selfie-fail AND be able to be clearly identified.

So I have my secret selfie stash, just waiting for some good video editing.

I’m doing this with my iPhone. Lets face it. iPhone pics are good enough. Canon has to hate those guys.

But then our RV gets stuck in a field of mud (big story, I’ll tell you later). Got some pics of that.

So I say to my friend at work, “Check out our stuck RV”. He was pretty excited about that.

So I click and bring up photos on the iPhone, WITH MY BUDDY WATCHING CLOSELY.

Boom. All the pictures come up in a VERY clear gallery.

It turns out my selfie picture from that morning was RIGHT THERE ON TOP.

When you are in a hurry, you can’t do anything fast on an iPhone. I mean nothing.

I could not get to the stuck RV pictures to save my life.

But I did get an RV picture up on the screen. I then took time to look at my buddy to check reaction.

The look on his face.

It was one of sheer terror. Honestly, he was speechless. But I’m sure if I could read his mind it was saying “You bastard. I cannot UNSEE what you just showed me. I had a great lunch planned, and now I’m sure I can hold food down”.

But neither of us said a word. We went right on and talked about the stuck RV.

I hope I haven’t damaged a friendship.

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Great Utah area suggestions for RV Parks http://rv52.com/great-utah-area-suggestions-rv-parks/ http://rv52.com/great-utah-area-suggestions-rv-parks/#respond Tue, 11 Feb 2014 12:41:14 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=38655 This is a really short article, but I really wanted to point out that a reader posted some REALLY nice suggestions for our earlier question about RV Park recommendations in the southern Utah area. She did it as a comment on the article so MAKE SURE YOU SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM TO SEE THE RECOMMENDATION! […]

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This is a really short article, but I really wanted to point out that a reader posted some REALLY nice suggestions for our earlier question about RV Park recommendations in the southern Utah area. She did it as a comment on the article so MAKE SURE YOU SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM TO SEE THE RECOMMENDATION!

Article is here: http://rv52.com/two-fellow-rvers-need-help-recommendations-just-need-advice/

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Two fellow RVers need your help with recommendations… Just need your advice http://rv52.com/two-fellow-rvers-need-help-recommendations-just-need-advice/ http://rv52.com/two-fellow-rvers-need-help-recommendations-just-need-advice/#comments Mon, 10 Feb 2014 12:55:01 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=38650 One of them is looking for good RV parks in southern Utah in May. The other one is looking for STATE/US parks along I-10 in Texas and Louisiana. RV52 will pay a REAL LIFE bounty for the first 5 decent recommendations. Lets make it $15. All I need is a good writeup on the RV […]

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One of them is looking for good RV parks in southern Utah in May.

The other one is looking for STATE/US parks along I-10 in Texas and Louisiana.

RV52 will pay a REAL LIFE bounty for the first 5 decent recommendations. Lets make it $15.

All I need is a good writeup on the RV Parks, preferably written on the RV Parks page on RV52. Start here:

  • http://rv52.com/rvparks/ut

For the state parks, just leave a nice comment on this site. Make sure I have your email so I can send out the Amazon Gift certificate.

Lets do this by Feb 22. Surely for $15 you can write three paragraphs on an RV park or state park.

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Free $10 Amazon Gift Card for Recommending an RV Park – Read on! http://rv52.com/free-10-amazon-gift-card-recommending-rv-park-read/ http://rv52.com/free-10-amazon-gift-card-recommending-rv-park-read/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 19:05:44 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=38643 A reader wrote me this week: “We will be going to Utah in May…besides the Nat’l parks any good suggestions for rv parks to stay in .  Will be traveling in southern Utah.” I told her I would see if I could get her some recommendations if possible (I can’t convince you guys to do […]

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A reader wrote me this week:

We will be going to Utah in May…besides the Nat’l parks any good suggestions for rv parks to stay in .  Will be traveling in southern Utah.”

I told her I would see if I could get her some recommendations if possible (I can’t convince you guys to do anything!!!).

Here goes. I will give a $10 Amazon gift card to the FIRST five different people who do the following…

1) Put a recommendation on a park in southern Utah by adding a COMMENT to the park page. You can find your Utah parks here. You HAVE to put in an email or I won’t know its you.

1a) The comment can’t be lame. Really, I don’t have to explain this do I? For example two words “great park” or “yukky park” simply will not do.

2) Put a comment on THIS ARTICLE telling me you placed a comment so I know the comment was in response to this request. In your reply, tell me it is ok to use your name to tell people who got the cards and publicly thank you for your review.

That is it. Nothing more. Two comments. One on the park, and one on this article. So if you see only two comments on this article and you have a real life honest review of a southern Utah RV Park – then you get gift certificate (I’m only handing out 5). Pretty cool, eh?

DEADLINE:

If I don’t have your comment by February 22, 2014, then forget it, ok?

 

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Why we bought the Kindle? http://rv52.com/bought-kindle/ http://rv52.com/bought-kindle/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 13:00:57 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=38603 Maybe I was wrong when I wrote this article about eReaders. We bought a Nook. I LOVE Barnes and Noble. But logic and practicality eventually wins out. Sheri recently bought a Kindle. Here is a picture of the one she bought: (you can click on this to go see it on Amazon)   Why did […]

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Maybe I was wrong when I wrote this article about eReaders.

We bought a Nook.

I LOVE Barnes and Noble.

But logic and practicality eventually wins out.

Sheri recently bought a Kindle. Here is a picture of the one she bought:

(you can click on this to go see it on Amazon)

 

Why did we do the Kindle?

  1. Because we get access to the Kindle Lending Library via prime.
  2. At $69 why not?
  3. The power of Amazon is overwhelming Barnes and Noble
  4. We don’t go out to the bookstore much anymore

I’m left with a question. Am I part of a trend? Are brick and mortar bookstores going to die? That would be sad, but has the experience of going to a bookstore finally been replaced by the practicality of access to the information in the book itself? Given the fact that you don’t have a store, with limited space, pushing certain titles at you, is online actually MORE democratic and LESS under control of “the machine”?

No matter, we did what we felt was best for us.

Oh yea, Kindle has a great set of Free reading Apps available from Amazon:

Happy reading! (To learn more about Amazon Prime <–click)

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WWYD – What would you do? http://rv52.com/wwyd/ http://rv52.com/wwyd/#respond Tue, 04 Feb 2014 12:56:09 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=38598 I was confronted with this choice recently: What would you do?  (WWYD) What SHOULD you do? What did you do? Will you do it on a regular basis? How often if you do the “wrong thing” will it hurt you? Life’s little choices that add up to a big difference. (I ate the banana… this […]

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I was confronted with this choice recently:

Who will win? The Banana versus Mr. Goodbar

Life’s little choices where consistently making one choice versus the other has a big impact. The banana and the Mr. Goodbar

What would you do?  (WWYD)

What SHOULD you do?

What did you do?

Will you do it on a regular basis?

How often if you do the “wrong thing” will it hurt you?

Life’s little choices that add up to a big difference.

(I ate the banana… this time)

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