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 Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:31:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Off the chain BBQ – Worth the trip from anywhere in the Texas Triangle http://rv52.com/chain-bbq-worth-trip-anywhere-texas-triangle/ http://rv52.com/chain-bbq-worth-trip-anywhere-texas-triangle/#respond Mon, 18 Aug 2014 12:29:34 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39454 Unlike most Americans, you might have ignored the food bits of the headline and wondered “What is the Texas Triangle?” The Texas Triangle is the geometric shape of Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas-Fort Worth. That triangle also hosts several large cities like Austin, Waco, and Temple. This triangle makes up a very potent economic region to […]

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Unlike most Americans, you might have ignored the food bits of the headline and wondered “What is the Texas Triangle?”

The Texas Triangle is the geometric shape of Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas-Fort Worth. That triangle also hosts several large cities like Austin, Waco, and Temple.

This triangle makes up a very potent economic region to contend with in many large industries.

Inside the triangle are some pretty good BBQ places.

Texas likes to think of itself as a BBQ expert. The type of BBQ tends to be smoked meat with a hint of seasonings and sauces. Brisket is the big dog with sausage and pork ribs in the mix. The Texas joints typically avoid heavy sauces (like Kansas City BBQ) and the crazy adornments (cole slaw on pulled pork). For the record – I haven’t met BBQ in any flavor and arrangement from any state I haven’t liked.

I’ve hardly been to every joint in Texas, but I’ll list a few here with my opinion. If you search through the list, you’ll get a sense for my tastes which will help you know if my tastes map into yours.

  • Salt Lick – Austin, TX – solid BBQ – super sausage – very unique and delicate potato salad. (I was challenged to combine the word potato salad and delicate into a single sentence. Yay – I won the bet)
  • County Line – Austin TX – solid BBQ – oddly BREAD is their specialty.
  • Coopers – LLano (I think) – heavy smoke in brisket YUM – Pecan crisp dessert – off the charts
  • Myers in Elgin – Ok. I don’t think I was impressed.
  • Kreutz – Lockhart – Didn’t like it. Had a metallic taste in their pork chops
  • Blacks – Lockhart – Nope.
  • Chisolm Trail – Lockhart – Looks like a dump, but DANG they make good brisket. Stick w/ the brisket.
  • Rudy’s BBQ – everywhere – Super solid – they do turkey better than almost everyone.

There are others, but you get the picture.

But out of all of them, I think I met the one that I would put at the head of the class. Sure I haven’t tried “Franklins” in Austin yet, but I’m not going to stand in line like a bunch of sheep waiting for BBQ. Not going to do it.

This new one, I found, with Sheri’s help, down in Luling Texas. Once again, a good BBQ place should be ran like the Seinfeld soup nazi episode. Don’t talk, don’t ask questions, don’t be funny, order your BBQ and move on down the line.

The place is called the City Market.

It was once voted one of the 101 best restaurants in America in Newsweek or some news magazine. I think it definitely deserves honors.

I’ll give you a run down here.

Brisket – Scary tender. And the cut it thick. Heavy smoke flavor – and JUICY. That darned stuff will make a mess o-yo-face pretty dang quick. Outstanding. Can’t wait to make a brisket sandwich with the leftovers.

Pork Ribs – Perfect. Not too dry. Nice gentle hint of a KC-like BBQ sauce on the ribs. Goes very well with the smoky ribs. Super tender.

Sausage – loose packed which I don’t like so I was going to really pan it… until I tasted it. I must admit it was different from every sausage I’ve had before. Even though it was loose packed, it didn’t become gritty crunchy like most peoples. It was more like ground brisket and pork with a really nice flavor. More like a sloppy joe in a sausage than anything. But without all the sloppy joe sauce. So overall – I recommend their sausage.

P.S. – The do sell out. Done is done. So get their early. Pictures are below…

Outside of the City Market Luling Texas

Outside of the City Market Luling Texas

Check out the grub at the City Market in Luling

Check out the grub at the City Market in Luling

Don't touch my BBQ - Sheri at City Market

Don’t touch my BBQ – Sheri at City Market

 

Pit is behind the wall and line at City Market

Pit is behind the wall and line at City Market

You WILL stand in line at City Market too

You WILL stand in line at City Market too

 

Happy BBQ-ing.

P.S. RV52.com kindly accepts cold packed BBQ sent to RV52.com world headquarters. ;-)

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RV52.com finally produces a book worth reading! The Spartan RV http://rv52.com/rv52-com-finally-produces-book-worth-reading-spartan-rv/ http://rv52.com/rv52-com-finally-produces-book-worth-reading-spartan-rv/#respond Sun, 10 Aug 2014 20:01:11 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39473 It only took me the better part of 2014, but I finally answers some of my readers questions. A few of the readers of RV52.com wrote in and said that they struggle with downsizing their lives. So instead of writing 1 or 2 lame sentences, I took the easy way out and wrote a 200 […]

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It only took me the better part of 2014, but I finally answers some of my readers questions.

A few of the readers of RV52.com wrote in and said that they struggle with downsizing their lives.

So instead of writing 1 or 2 lame sentences, I took the easy way out and wrote a 200 page book!!!!

Crazy, I know.

I’m sure it is a confusing read, but I still think it is some of my best work yet (other than the cool SW tools I make for RVers – see the Goodies section)

Check it out and tell me what you think: The Spartan RV Book

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A great photo from a true amateur – hummingbird http://rv52.com/great-photo-true-amateur-hummingbird/ http://rv52.com/great-photo-true-amateur-hummingbird/#respond Mon, 04 Aug 2014 13:23:24 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39446 Many RVers take pictures, lots and lots of pictures. I take lots of pictures. Lots and lots of TERRIBLE pictures. But recently, we had a little hummingbird at RV52.com world headquarters. And I got the little sucker on “film”. No big deal for a pro, but for an amateur like me, I was pretty excited. After […]

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Many RVers take pictures, lots and lots of pictures.

I take lots of pictures. Lots and lots of TERRIBLE pictures.

But recently, we had a little hummingbird at RV52.com world headquarters.

And I got the little sucker on “film”. No big deal for a pro, but for an amateur like me, I was pretty excited. After all, I’m “pimping” RVer information on my site, not my photography skills.

But I thought I would pass along what I did on the off chance it helps someone.

That little stinker was skittish. No way I could get close to him (or her) and take a picture. Whenever it came close by, it took too long to get the camera setup, even when the camera was close. Very frustrating.

So, I plugged my camera in, kept it switched ON, put it on a tripod, prefocused it, and then had a remote shutter button.

I then poured a cup of coffee and waited.

After waiting patiently while drinking my Keurig coffee, I got him.

What do you think?

Hummingbird at Feeder

Hummingbird at Feeder

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Comstock Nebraska – Centennial Garden http://rv52.com/comstock-nebraska-centennial-garden/ http://rv52.com/comstock-nebraska-centennial-garden/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:45:46 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39364 Earlier, I wrote a post about RVing in a place where time might not go to fast, Comstock Nebraska. I wrote about the Dowse Sod House, and I mentioned a garden called the Centennial Garden. As tourist attractions go, Centennial Garden would be considered very small. But if you look at it objectively, realizing that […]

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Earlier, I wrote a post about RVing in a place where time might not go to fast, Comstock Nebraska. I wrote about the Dowse Sod House, and I mentioned a garden called the Centennial Garden.

As tourist attractions go, Centennial Garden would be considered very small.

But if you look at it objectively, realizing that it is a volunteer project in a very small town, then you can see that the Centennial Garden is a splendid project. On a per capita basis, it is a HUMONGOUS project.

I know how things GROW and get out of control in a garden and this place looks great.

Since we’ve already established that if you are going to visit/RV in central Nebraska, you are going to slow down and smell the roses, why not have your morning coffee in Centennial Garden.

I’m sure you can walk through it in about an hour. But what if you use the place as a place of peace and stopped and sat down in the Friendship area of the garden. Maybe if you spent some time here as part of your morning routine – you just might find a deep well of power you didn’t know you have.

I took a few pictures… enjoy…

Centennial Garden Weeds for Sale - Comstock Nebraska Centennial Garden Brick Path to Gazebo - Comstock Nebraska Centennial Garden Donation Bricks - Comstock Nebraska Centennial Garden Site to Behoed - Comstock Nebraska Centennial Garden Signpost - Comstock Nebraska Centennial Garden Metal Bird - Comstock Nebraska Centennial Garden Friendship Patio Panorama View - Comstock Nebraska Centennial Garden Powerplant Switchbox - Comstock Nebraska Centennial Garden Friendship Patio Entrance - Comstock Nebraska Centennial Garden Friendship Patio - Comstock Nebraska Centennial Garden Windmill - Comstock Nebraska Centennial Garden Footbridge - Comstock Nebraska Centennial Garden The Bird Houses and Feeder - Comstock Nebraska Centennial Garden The Thinker - Comstock Nebraska Centennial Garden Brick Design Edging - Comstock Nebraska Centennial Garden Flowers - Comstock Nebraska Centennial Garden Martin House - Comstock Nebraska Centennial Garden Tea for Two - Comstock Nebraska Centennial Garden Bottle Tree - Comstock Nebraska Centennial Garden Old Car Planter - Comstock Nebraska Centennial Garden Entrance - Comstock Nebraska

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RV52 strikes again with an RV Sales Contract Generator – for FREE! http://rv52.com/rv52-strikes-rv-sales-contract-generator-free/ http://rv52.com/rv52-strikes-rv-sales-contract-generator-free/#respond Sun, 20 Jul 2014 21:54:27 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39414 For those of you that know RV52.com (well it is just me, Marlan) you know that I am a tinkerer. When I sold my Open Range 399BHS this spring, I looked around for a good RV sales contract or bill of sale generator. There were a few examples, but there really wasn’t anything. They are […]

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For those of you that know RV52.com (well it is just me, Marlan) you know that I am a tinkerer.

When I sold my Open Range 399BHS this spring, I looked around for a good RV sales contract or bill of sale generator. There were a few examples, but there really wasn’t anything. They are kind of a pain in the rear to gin-up using your word processor and unless you are comfortable with making up rules, they tend to be a little skinny.

Now I’ve made different RV tools before. So I like to play around on my site (http://rv52.com) and see what I can come up with. Here are some of my earlier tools and tool-like pages:

  • http://rv52.com/rvparks – That might not seem like much to you, but I actually had to “code-up” a database, programming my wordpress using a computer language called PHP and creating a custom database type called “RVPark”.
  • http://rv52.com/rv-types/ –  RV Teaching Guide – less programming, but I arranged my RV pages so it is like a guided tutorial. I think that would be SUPER useful to newbies to RVs.
  • http://rv52.com/alinks/what-rv-is-right-for-me/ – Some of my BEST EVER work. This is a 9 or 10 question lifestyle quiz that helps you think about the RV that makes sense for you. It actually uses non-linear math and does some super cool scoring to give the reader a recommendation. Check it out.

But TODAY, I’d like to show you my RV Sales Contract Generator page. This thing lets you put in the buyer and seller information along with the price and all that biz. Then when you are done, it gives you a sales contract that you can either copy and paste or just print. I’ll send an email with a link so you can get back to the contract you created too.

Well anyway, tell me what you think: RV Sales Contract Generator by RV52.com

Thanks!

 

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Hydroponics at Industrial Country Market http://rv52.com/hydroponics-industrial-country-market/ http://rv52.com/hydroponics-industrial-country-market/#respond Thu, 17 Jul 2014 13:33:08 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39381 2014 is shaping up to be a wetter and more normal year in Texas. Last year when I stopped by the Industrial Country Market along Hwy 71, their hydroponics area was turned off due to the severe drought in Texas. This year when I stopped by the hydroponics area was in full swing. I’ll keep […]

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2014 is shaping up to be a wetter and more normal year in Texas. Last year when I stopped by the Industrial Country Market along Hwy 71, their hydroponics area was turned off due to the severe drought in Texas.

This year when I stopped by the hydroponics area was in full swing. I’ll keep this article short, but this is such cool stuff.

If you don’t see the pics, click on the title of the article and you should be able to see the pics.

If you are RVing in Texas, this is one of the coolest places ever… ok, it is at least pretty cool. Worth the stop.

Industrial Country Market - Rockwool Plant Starts Industrial Country Market - Hydroponic Tomatoes Showing Clip Closeup Industrial Country Market - Hydroponic Tomatoes Showing Support and Clips Industrial Country Market - Hydroponic Growing Tubes Industrial Country Market - Hydroponic Herbs Industrial Country Market - Succulents in the Greenhouse Industrial Country Market - Hydroponics Tomatoes Climbing a String Industrial Country Market - Hydroponics Tomatoes Industrial Country Market - Hydroponics Lettuce Industrial Country Market - Using Roofing Material as Weed Block

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Comstock Nebraska – The Dowse Sod House http://rv52.com/comstock-nebraska-dowse-sod-house/ http://rv52.com/comstock-nebraska-dowse-sod-house/#respond Mon, 14 Jul 2014 13:23:27 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39341 I wrote earlier about the virtues of central Nebraska and I named Comstock Nebraska and the Dowse Sod House. The links are from Comstock’s town web site and from Wikipedia. They say so much about the Soddy that I can’t say much more. When we saw the simple little sign on the main highway we […]

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I wrote earlier about the virtues of central Nebraska and I named Comstock Nebraska and the Dowse Sod House. The links are from Comstock’s town web site and from Wikipedia. They say so much about the Soddy that I can’t say much more.

When we saw the simple little sign on the main highway we decided to go see the Dowse Sod House.

It did NOT disappoint.

First, you have to drive 2-3 miles down the road. The road is paved which is pretty cool in deep rural Nebraska. Even cooler, the road is not a thru road. Go PAST the Dowse House and before long you are ending your journey right up next to the Middle Loup River. Unlike state parks near larger cities, where people live, this particular end of the road you’ll ONLY hear the river and the wind among the tall Cottonwood trees.

Back at the Dowse Sod House, you’ll sign a guest book where the last person to sign it was several days ago.

It is one of the best examples of a sod house you’ll ever see. It is chock full of neat artifacts and you can take all day to view them. My pictures don’t do it justice.

If you decide to go, bring a picnic lunch. Bring a blanket because there are no fire ants in Nebraska. It just isn’t that hot in Nebraska so you should be able to enjoy a very nice picnic.

So enjoy the peace and take some time and really imagine yourself back in the time of the pioneers.

Dowse Sod House Comstock Nebraska Dowse Sod House Comstock Nebraska Southern Exterior Wall Dowse Sod House Comstock Nebraska - History of the Name Dowse Sod House - National Register of Historic Places Plaque Dowse Sod House - Handwritten History Dowse Sod House - Antique Organ and artifacts Dowse Sod House - Historic Artifacts in Display Case Dowse Sod House - Historic Nebraska Map Dowse Sod House - Panorama of the Living Room Dowse Sod House - Prairie Scene in Needlepoint Dowse Sod House - Wood Stove in Back Room Dowse Sod House - Family History Dowse Sod House - Short Personal Family History Dowse Sod House - Back Room Dowse Sod House - Panorama of the Back Room Dowse Sod House - The Poem called The Homestead Dowse Sod House - Panorama of the Master Bedroom Dowse Sod House - Wood Cooking Stove Dowse Sod House - Panorama of the Kitchen Dowse Sod House - Exposed Sod Underneath the Eaves Dowse Sod House - Showing Sod Over the Front Entry Dowse Sod House - External View from the Southeast corner Dowse Sod House - Antique Farm Equipment Dowse Sod House - Antique Farm Equipment Dowse Sod House - Antique Farm Equipment Dowse Sod House - External View of the Front Door Dowse Sod House - External View Dowse Sod House - Nice External View

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Timing IS everything – The Disk Camera http://rv52.com/timing-everything-disk-camera/ http://rv52.com/timing-everything-disk-camera/#respond Thu, 10 Jul 2014 12:12:24 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39368 When I was going to college there was no such thing as a digital camera. The camera was still a chemical affair – exposing a treated “film” to a glint of light through a lens and then a complicated chemical process of developing the film. My college was a wonderful place, with tall trees lining […]

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When I was going to college there was no such thing as a digital camera.

The camera was still a chemical affair – exposing a treated “film” to a glint of light through a lens and then a complicated chemical process of developing the film.

My college was a wonderful place, with tall trees lining sidewalks, blue skies everyday, and finely manicured green grass.

Naturally, I would want to chronicle such a splendid time and place.

As a kid, I never had much money, so any possession was the BEST possession because I worked hard to get it and whatever it was, it was a true sacrifice.

And so it was with my new camera.

This wasn’t just any camera. It was a Kodak Disk Camera, which was the newest hottest thing in the camera world at that time. At least for cheapo-kids it was the newest hottest camera thing.

I thought I was the bees-knees with this thing.

So much so, that I can remember CLEARLY the very first day I had the darned thing.

I walked to school – a chilly fall morning and along the way, I picked up a good college friend, who if memory serves me was Boo Boo Hahn.

I was going on and on about my new disk camera and at one point we were just standing on the sidewalk talking and I was showing him my camera.

And then a bird crapped on the shoulder of my coat.

Not your normal tiny baby wren or sparrow crap.

No. This was more of an industrial age, nuclear mutant, large bird, bucket load of crap in full color.

I look at Boo Boo.

Boo Boo looks at me.

Boo Boo says – “Hey Winter, mind if I take a picture?”

Timing is everything.

Got a funny bird poop story? It has to be true. Leave it in the comments.

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Willing to get off the beaten path? Consider central Nebraska http://rv52.com/willing-get-beaten-path-consider-central-nebraska/ http://rv52.com/willing-get-beaten-path-consider-central-nebraska/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 12:42:47 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39306 When visiting my 81 year old mother in a small town in central Nebraska (Miller if you must know), I found myself fading in and out of sleep on her incredibly uncomfortable couch. I was alone in the house. I had plenty of rest. So I wondered… why was I fading in and out of […]

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When visiting my 81 year old mother in a small town in central Nebraska (Miller if you must know), I found myself fading in and out of sleep on her incredibly uncomfortable couch.

I was alone in the house.

I had plenty of rest.

So I wondered… why was I fading in and out of sleep.

Then I listened.

And I heard.

I heard absolutely nothing… Nothing man-made. No cars. No lawn mowers (it was after lunch). No engines. No “road noise”. No yelling kids. Absolutely nothing.

What I did hear was the ebb and flow of the wind that is so ever-present on the Nebraska prairie. I heard the birds – tons of song birds.

It had been a long time since I had no man made stimulus. Just me and nature – ok – I cheated – me and nature from my mom’s couch with tons and tons of open windows. But there was nothing else. Honest.

It was amazingly restorative.

Which got me to thinking. Maybe all the cool places aren’t the ONLY places that are cool?

Consider Comstock Nebraska.

In a short afternoon, or maybe even an hour you could see the whole town. But that isn’t the point. The point is to literally stop and smell the roses.

Visiting Comstock this summer I noticed a little RV park. It wasn’t much, but the point isn’t that the park has to be the fanciest place on the planet – just a place for a little peace and quiet.

There are some really neat water features like the Calamus Reservoir State Recreation Area where you can get some fantastic fresh water fishing without having to deal with any other people. Many fishermen know that it is hard getting to fish by yourself anymore. Well, it is still possible in Nebraska. Another closeby dam is Sherman County Reservoir.

Not only are there local lakes, there are two really nice rivers called the Middle Loup and the North Loup Rivers.

You would also have access to the sandhills which are pretty darned fascinating all by themselves.

Comstock itself has a yearly music festival (see the picture below) as well as the video gallery below.

The ladies (and probably some men) of the community have created an amazing community garden called the Centennial Garden.

Comstock also has a wonderful park with beautiful big fluffy trees that have wonderful shade.

Go see the Dowse Sod House. I mean really, a sod house. With a history and kept up by people who really care.

There are other things too – like a few businesses, but I really wanted to focus on the cool things.

 

The coolest thing

But the coolest thing is this… If you would be willing to forgo some of the fancy big-attraction things and spend a couple months in central Nebraska, perhaps just thinking, being quiet, being still, and enjoying the peace, then you might find yourself looking back at you.

Imagine mornings with moderate temperatures, crisp blue skys free from ozone haze, smells of summer, birds, and sometimes, just the ebb and flow of the wind. Imagine coffee from your Keurig (I still love mine), getting up with the sun and going to bed with the sun, stars so bright they hurt your eyes, and just imagine the power and energy of the natural energy of the universe seeping into your soul.

That was kind of what I was thinking when sleep and wake washed over me like waves when I was laying on my 81 year old mother’s couch.

What do you think?

P.S. pictures below.

Pictures (if you can’t see them, then click on the article title and then you will be able to see them).

 

Centennial Garden Comstock Nebraska Old Filling Station Comstock Nebraska Tree Lined Street Comstock Nebraska Antique Gas Pump Comstock Nebraska Signpost and Flag - Comstock Nebraska IX Apostles Bank - Comstock Nebraska Street Bench - Comstock Nebraska Dowse Sod House - Comstock Nebraska

 

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Texas Barber Provides Closest Shave ever (joke) http://rv52.com/texas-barber-provides-closest-shave-ever-joke/ http://rv52.com/texas-barber-provides-closest-shave-ever-joke/#respond Mon, 23 Jun 2014 13:32:58 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39256 An old country western singer walks into a barbershop in Luckenbach Texas for a shave and a haircut. He tells the barber he can’t get all his whiskers off because his cheeks are wrinkled from age. The barber gets a little wooden ball from a cup on the shelf and tells the old cowboy to put it […]

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An old country western singer walks into a barbershop in Luckenbach Texas for a shave and a haircut.

He tells the barber he can’t get all his whiskers off because his cheeks are wrinkled from age.

The barber gets a little wooden ball from a cup on the shelf and tells the old cowboy to put it inside his cheek to spread out the skin.

When he’s finished, the old musician tells the barber that was the cleanest shave he’d had in years, but he wanted to know what would have happened if he had accidentally swallowed that little ball.

The barber replied, just bring it back in a couple of days like everyone else does.

( Sent to RV52.com courtesy of a reader. If your joke is pretty good, I’d be happy to publish it. Let me know if you want your name in there or not.)

 

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RV Park Operator asks RV52.com Readers a Question http://rv52.com/rv-park-operator-asks-rv52-com-readers-question/ http://rv52.com/rv-park-operator-asks-rv52-com-readers-question/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 14:25:20 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39254 RV52 has been in operation for several years. This site gets 10′s of 1000′s of visitors every month. Honestly, I get more traffic than most people think. Part of RV52 is a directory of RV parks. In all this time NOT ONE, not a single park, has ever engaged me and had a frank discussion […]

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RV52 has been in operation for several years. This site gets 10′s of 1000′s of visitors every month. Honestly, I get more traffic than most people think.

Part of RV52 is a directory of RV parks.

In all this time NOT ONE, not a single park, has ever engaged me and had a frank discussion on how to improve their marketing or success on the world wide web.

…until this week.

I received a comment from Debbie, the manager of Crossroads RV Park in Mohave Valley, Arizona. I print her comment without any editing whatsoever. Why don’t you leave a comment and give Debbie some ideas?

Hello, I am the Manager of an RV Park in Arizona.  When looking at ways to make and keep your tenants happy and as comfortable as possible, I thought why not ask those who know best….  Other RV’ers.  (asked Tenants first of coarse)  So I would love to hear any and all suggestions and opinions.  Be it activities, way things are set up, communication lines and/or anything else you can think of that you either look for at/in RV Park or have experienced at an RV Park that was unique or different way that created a positive result.  I want to thank each and everyone of you in advance for sharing this information with me and all those who choose to read it.  Have a very Blessed Day! Belated Happy Fathers Day to all of you Fathers, Grandfathers or Fathers to be out there.

 

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The Pool was Free. Feeding it, not so much http://rv52.com/pool-free-feeding-much/ http://rv52.com/pool-free-feeding-much/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 18:11:48 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39251 (Note – this article is an excerpt from the book The Spartan RV. Learn more about living life more fully, without STUFF in that book) To be an RVer, you have to have the right attitude about stuff. While swimming pools aren’t really RVing things, this article should touch on some ideas about “stuff”. A […]

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(Note – this article is an excerpt from the book The Spartan RV. Learn more about living life more fully, without STUFF in that book)

To be an RVer, you have to have the right attitude about stuff. While swimming pools aren’t really RVing things, this article should touch on some ideas about “stuff”.

A friend got a killer deal on an above ground swimming pool.

The pool is about 4 feet deep, 24 feet long and about 12 feet wide. It is a really nice sized pool. He paid nothing for it. It was “free”.

He couldn’t see past “free”.

To setup an bove ground pool, you must prepare the ground, which requires leveling, bringing in sand, and then making the sand very, very smooth. Its is probably very smart to hire someone who does it every day. There is hidden cost #1.

Once the pool was setup, my friend needed to fill it with water. No surprise here, but there was definitely a $100 extra on his water bill. Cost #2.

One the pool was full of water, then the realization that you had to maintain the water with chemicals. Not only that you had to spend time doing this. Chemicals are hidden cost #3 and your time is hidden cost #4.

Once the pool was ready to swim in, he noticed that there was some debris so he bought a used vacuum for his pool. Hidden cost #5.

After a month or two of operations, you know with the vacuums going and the the pumps running, he noticed his electric bill was about $50 more per month.

So that free pool really cost my friend a pile of cash. The cash you can replace. The commitment of time, much harder to replace.

I hope he swims in it a bunch.

To make a swimming pool in your backward pay off, you really have to swim EVERY day. Additionally, you really need to NOT have access to a fitness club that has a pool. That is a rare combination.

So, if you’re thinking about getting to a more minimal lifestyle, then NOT having a pool at your sticks and frame house will sure make RVing easier and your non-RV lifestyle a lot easier to walk away from

 

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What do RV52.com Readers Think About Portable RV Gardens? http://rv52.com/rv52-com-readers-think-portable-rv-gardens/ http://rv52.com/rv52-com-readers-think-portable-rv-gardens/#respond Tue, 10 Jun 2014 15:02:09 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39221 Even though RV52 is inbetween RVs (I lived fulltime in one for 4 years so I’m still an RVer) I still completely orient my life towards a mobility, low-foot-print, see-the-country, lifestyle. I’m the owner and operator the big-time international worldwide website called RV52.com, right? So I’m at a farmers market in Austin Texas and this […]

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Even though RV52 is inbetween RVs (I lived fulltime in one for 4 years so I’m still an RVer) I still completely orient my life towards a mobility, low-foot-print, see-the-country, lifestyle. I’m the owner and operator the big-time international worldwide website called RV52.com, right?

So I’m at a farmers market in Austin Texas and this guy has these CRAZY looking planters that he calls “The Amazing Above Ground Garden”.

He had his on display and it had something like 9 tomato plants growing out the side and herbs growing upright. The plant density of the thing was amazing.

Confession: I don’t know ANYTHING about plants.

Confession: I don’t know ANYTHING about gardens.

Confession: I like beef, pork, and fudge better than I like vegetables.

Honestly, sometimes I think I might want to eat leather over vegetables.

But then I married a nurse.

A sweet, loving, little short, firecracker blondie nurse who I think is pretty darned attractive.

She also is a foodie, healthie-nut, AND WORSE OF ALL – a bit of a nosy busy body into her husband’s eating habits.

Therefore, I’m learning to become friends with fruits and vegetables.

So I bought the Amazing Above Ground Garden. The owner’s name is Keith and you can get his planter here.

I also think this Aquaponics thing is super cool.

But Keith’s planter got me thinking: You could actually have a nice little portable garden AND go rving too.

So my friends of Fitty (name of my RV52 mascot): Do you guys want to hear more about my gardening adventures PARTICULARLY if I keep 100% focused on portable container style gardening that would work with RVing?

Here is a picture of my start… (if you can’t see the picture below because you got it in email, click on the title of the article).

RV52 Container Garden - 4 days after nasty hailstorm in Texas

RV52 Container Garden – 4 days after nasty hailstorm in Texas

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Fitty Confesses http://rv52.com/fitty-confesses/ http://rv52.com/fitty-confesses/#respond Fri, 06 Jun 2014 13:05:59 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39224 I’m going to keep this short because this is embarrassing. I thought if I wrote about my attempt at weight watchers it would help me keep honest and be successful. Right. I did pretty well up until the “Truffled French Fries” at a place called Chiso’s Grill in Bee Caves, TX. But I didn’t stay […]

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I’m going to keep this short because this is embarrassing.

I thought if I wrote about my attempt at weight watchers it would help me keep honest and be successful.

Right.

I did pretty well up until the “Truffled French Fries” at a place called Chiso’s Grill in Bee Caves, TX.

But I didn’t stay on it and telling the world about it didn’t help either.

I’m hoping that all of you can forgive me.

On the positive side, I am somewhat behaving myself. But I’m not going to say more until I see how my results come back from my blood work this summer.

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Lightweight and Simple RV Shelter http://rv52.com/lightweight-simple-rv-shelter/ http://rv52.com/lightweight-simple-rv-shelter/#respond Mon, 02 Jun 2014 14:18:05 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39191 For many RVers, RVing is about being MOBILE. Sometimes, when RVing, you have a need to stay put. Some reasons for staying put… You are living in a certain area while you are working a semi-permanent-temporary job – that is – one that might last 2-3 years. Uncertain enough that buying a house or getting […]

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For many RVers, RVing is about being MOBILE.

Sometimes, when RVing, you have a need to stay put.

Some reasons for staying put…

  • You are living in a certain area while you are working a semi-permanent-temporary job – that is – one that might last 2-3 years. Uncertain enough that buying a house or getting tied into a term lease might note be a great idea.
  • You just want to live in an RV and work.
  • You are somehow thinking about a shelter for your RV – or for RVs – maybe you are an RV park owner.
  • You want to park the RV at or near your home base home, but you want it covered and you are thinking it might be nice to have it ready for guests too.

With that in mind, I was thinking that RV52.com is going to do more around snapping pictures of really good shelters – ah heck – even really bad shelters – why not shelters of any kind – for RVs.

My wife and I were up in the highland lakes area of Texas – very near Big Buck (Lake Buchanon) and we saw this shelter. I’ve always liked this shelter when I drive by it because it is very open, very light, very simple construction and I can see myself outside enjoying its shade at noon on a hot Texas day. I also love the metal i-beams and the concrete pad. I hate to say it, but concrete pads are so wonderful. We’ve had our RV parked over other stuff, and nothing is as nice as concrete.

Here you go (if you can’t see the pics in your email, just click on the title and you’ll come back to rv52.com and finally get to see the pics):

RV Shelter Central Texas

RV Shelter Central Texas

RV Cover Central Texas

RV Cover Central Texas

 

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It is GOOD to remember, forgive, and be forgiven – Memorial Day 2014 http://rv52.com/good-remember-forgive-forgiven-memorial-day-2014/ http://rv52.com/good-remember-forgive-forgiven-memorial-day-2014/#comments Mon, 26 May 2014 11:55:10 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39155 [Not an RVing article, but hopefully interesting and useful to RV52.com readers. Love you all. Cheers - Marlan] My dad died in 1987. Age 59. I’m not even sure why. I had heard he was on dialysis, was bit by a spider in South Texas. Very sad that I’m not even sure. My parents divorced […]

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Harlan Winter Tombstone

Harlan Winter Tombstone

[Not an RVing article, but hopefully interesting and useful to RV52.com readers. Love you all. Cheers - Marlan]

My dad died in 1987.

Age 59.

I’m not even sure why. I had heard he was on dialysis, was bit by a spider in South Texas. Very sad that I’m not even sure.

My parents divorced in approximately 1980. It was so long ago – the memories are fuzzy. The best I can do on dates is large generalities.

Our family took sides. I was a minor child so, by definition, I was PUT in a side by law and you’d better be true to your side or there would be hell to pay. I had siblings and they took sides too. Right or wrong that was what happened.

I made a judgement against my dad. I was punk kid and thought I knew something about life.

I saw my dad one more time before he died.

He came and visited me in Lincoln in 1986. I wasn’t very friendly. (even as I write this 2014, I struggle to hold back tears).

You see I had some high and might morality. It is such BullShiRt really. But tell a kid that. Even worse, when the side-taking occurred, I had no real coach telling me to separate the event from the person.

I know this isn’t true for some people, but for most (many?) it probably is true… Your dad is probably a pretty darned neat guy and knowing him is worthwhile.

Mine died before I figured this out and the opportunity to know each other as peers is gone. I’m horribly pained by that. And there is nothing I can do to take it back.

I know a few things about my dad.

He loved to have fun. He was renowned for that. He never ever worried about money. He was terrible at saving money. But somehow he had enough money and when we sold our farm in 1978, we were flush with cash. So the evidence says he was pretty smart in a sneaky way.

He never really got stressed out. I think I inherited that trait from him Love it – Thanks Dad.

He quit smoking cold turkey in a single day. His smoking was really cool compared to most people. He used Prince Albert in a can. That stuff smelled so good that I can still smell it today. He would roll his own into  cigarette papers and then seal the cig shut with spit from a lick of his tongue. My dad NEVER used a lighter. He was a match man. He would take a match from a match book and with an amazing flash of his hands light his cigarette in gail force winds. His shirts always had little holes in them because of the way roll-your-own cigarettes would allow the burning tobacco to fall out.

But he was decisive and he decided. He quit smoking on a single day.

He then ate hard candy like a madman. But hey, it is still pretty impressive that he quit using sheer willpower.

I do wished that he and I could talk. He would be 87 years now.

It is with this background I visited his grave

He was buried in a military cemetery just north of North Platte Nebraska. Fort McPherson National Cemetery is the exact place.

Fort McPherson National Cemetery

Fort McPherson National Cemetery

By USA standards, Fort McPherson is really small. It was immaculately kept. The name comes from the name of the Fort which was established long ago when the westward expansion occurred and the settlers got military protection from the US government.

Today, it keeps soldiers on their last bivouac.

Bivouac of the Dead Monument & Tribute

Bivouac of the Dead Monument & Tribute

I found my dad’s marker and I wept. I asked him for forgiveness. I asked the good Lord for forgiveness. I spoke out loud that my dad deserved better than what he got. I forgave my dad.

Of all the things in my entire life that have passed – I hope the hope of all hopes that somehow I can see him again and make it right.

But on this day – the day I visited his grave. I did my best to let it all go.

I wonder… is it just a pile of old bones six feet away? My hope and belief is that it is not.

I took some time to walk around

I learned that many people here were not heroes. They were just people. Many times people want to be buried here because it simply costs less than other places.

What makes me really, really sad is that my dad never really talked much about his service. He was in the navy and put out to sea in the summer of 1945 which means he really went on an ocean voyage and returned and went home. Nothing to be ashamed of and nothing very glorious. He did his job which is what you are supposed to do. But he never spoke about his service much.

Which is why I’m sad. I’m horribly afraid that he had himself buried here because he had no place else he could call “home”.

And then I see these markers (mostly from military service prior to World War I)

Truly unknown soldiers

Truly unknown soldiers

There were 100′s of marker with the words “Unknown” on them.

Let this sink in.

My dad is likely buried here because he had no home (I understand that there are heroes here too who wanted to buried here BECAUSE the service was their home, but I’m talking about MY dad, ok?).

“Here” is a little out of the way place that really no one in the entire world has ever heard of.

“Here” lies 100′s of people who have no home, no identity, no closure, and maybe no one ever looked for or missed them.

The thought it entirely overwhelming.

This day, you can do this much

Today, on Memorial Day, be thankful for the millions and millions of people who have served our country. But open your mind to some other things you can do as well to maybe make this Memorial Day a new beginning for all of us.

Here is my parting list:

  • Keep our allegiance to the OFFICE of the President and NOT the man in the chair.
  • Lets ALL OF US serve the ideals of our forefathers.
  • Do one selfless thing in the next few days.
  • Forgive someone you need to forgive.
  • Ask forgiveness – if not in person – at least out loud in private – from someone you wronged.
  • Love. I really mean it, and I’m a dude, ok? Love.

And if you can, bury the hatchet with you parent(s) if you need to do it.

Happy RVing.

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RV Entertainment System Overview with Sonos Play and Bridge http://rv52.com/rv-entertainment-system-overview-sonos-play-bridge/ http://rv52.com/rv-entertainment-system-overview-sonos-play-bridge/#respond Tue, 20 May 2014 15:25:26 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39095 (Note – this article is a pseudo-excerpt from the book The Spartan RV. Learn more about living life more fully, without STUFF in that book) A reader asked about a simplified RV Entertainment system… I thought I would elaborate while spending some time talking more in depth about how to get the internet in and out […]

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(Note – this article is a pseudo-excerpt from the book The Spartan RV. Learn more about living life more fully, without STUFF in that book)

A reader asked about a simplified RV Entertainment system…

I thought I would elaborate while spending some time talking more in depth about how to get the internet in and out of the RV. I did not dive in deep enough on that subject on my earlier video.

If you don’t see the video below this text, then you need to click on the title of the article until you see the video.

Transcript here:

Hello, friends of rv52.com and Fitty. I had a reader write in and ask me if I had a simplified RV entertainment system. Also, she wanted to know if my system has been updated. She felt that maybe my components were old and some of that. So, I thought I would address the question.

Here’s the entertainment system that I’ve had for a long time. What has changed? Really, not too much. We’ve switched out of the Clear wireless for the modem, and I’ll explain a little bit of that later. But, the biggest change in our system is we upgraded the Mac Mini in the center right, and we got rid of the Western Digital USB because the Mac has a plenty large disk drive to save movies.

That’s it. That’s really almost the only change. We even added more devices on the left hand side. This network still stands pretty much as it was.

Let’s start with a blank slate here. I’m going to draw a line that’s going to divide us between outside the RV, which is the Internet, and inside the RV. This addresses a lot of the questions I get. Most of the inside the RV questions… There aren’t that many. Quite frankly, people I think are fairly confused about all the choices about how to get Internet and what they mean. So, let’s go over some of that.

First off, outside the Internet there are really only two kinds of Internet
- wired and wireless. There are really only two ways. It’s, you could argue, a big oversimplification, but let’s go into this a little bit.

On the wired side you have what’s called cable, which is Cox Time Warner, and it refers to a special type of wire which the cable companies have run. They’re able to send Internet signals over the same wire that the send the TV signals. There’s also twisted pair which is AT&T and the phone companies. They’ve been doing DSL. Now they’ve got U-verse. And, I’m sure there are all sorts of similar things. They go over a type of wire called twisted pair. There are probably others, but the first two I mentioned are really the big dogs.

On the wireless side you have WiMAX which is in some ways sort of rare. We purchased it. We had it through Clear, and then Clear was purchased by Sprint. The neat thing about WiMAX is I had no usage limits, which I’ll talk about later, and we were able to do movies and things like that over the WiMAX connection. But, I don’t think they actually went out to a lot of cities.

I find WiMAX very confusing because Sprint called it 4G, but there’s also 4G cellular and they’re not the same. It’s very, very confusing. The 4G you see on your phone, if your phone says 4G, is simply not the same as what Sprint was claiming. Very confusing. The technology is called WiMAX.

Then, there’s cellular where you have Verizon, AT&T, Sprint’s cellular. Those typically are the same technology as your phone. There’s a 4G LTE, those are the type of technologies you’ll see. That’s another wireless technology.

You can get these little boxes. They’re about the size of a wallet maybe. They bring in a cellular signal. They put Wi-Fi out which could be very good for an RV, but that’s not what I’m going to recommend for a number of reasons.

There’s satellite like HughesNet, for example. It’s a really, really, really good choice for RVers as long as you don’t do movies. Movies change everything. There are probably other radio systems that I left out. But, those are the three big systems that come to mind.

On the inside of the RV, regardless of what you pick on the outside, wired or wireless, you have to have a box that takes the outside Internet and converts it to something that you can use inside the RV That’s usually called a modem. The modem usually attaches to a router. Sometimes they’re all one thing. Sometimes they’re two boxes.

In my case they’re two boxes. But, you almost always have this combination. I want to stay with those green boxes in this whole presentation. So, just watch the green boxes.

On the output of the router you have wired or wireless. The primary wired is Ethernet, and the primary wireless is Wi-Fi. Let’s move on. Remember this, though, this is a very important diagram.

Let’s talk about the people who might want to use these technologies to watch movies. Let’s say they are convinced they’re going to use Netflix or they’re going to use Amazon and they’re going to watch streaming movies. I’m going to outline what I think is the most sensible path based on a couple of things.

The first thing and most important thing is fair use. All the wireless people… Because a signal that contains your Internet going out on wireless goes everywhere. Everybody can see it. It’s like one big wire and everybody has to share it. So, there are limits on what you can do.

Because of that cellular, satellite, they all have this thing called fair use. If you go over it it’s either going to cost you a boatload of money or they’re just going to shut you down. We’re on T-Mobile. If you go over the fair use limits on T-Mobile they slow you down. But, when I say slow you down it’s almost stopped.

Let’s look at the most sensible path that you’ll have for getting your movies in and around your RV Inside the RV I haven’t seen too many RVs wired for Ethernet. That’s really not what people do and it’s not what’s convenient. So, I’m just going to take that off the list.

Inside your RV you’re probably going to use a wireless technology called Wi-
Fi, sometimes called 802.11. Outside the RV I’m going to cross WiMAX off in a blue line. We used it very successfully. If you’re able to talk to Sprint and buy the WiMAX service that used to be called Clear, more power to you if you can do that. That’s pretty good, and you can watch movies through that.

I’m only going to cross it off with a blue line. It’s what I used for a long time, but I am going to cross it off as my recommended path for this presentation.

Cellular, honestly, is full of fair use limits. I’m going to take it off the list. But, I do see with T-Mobile and AT&T you can buy extra gigabits for pretty high rates. They really don’t want abusers on the system.

Then, I’m going to cross off satellite. Because if you thought it was bad for cellular, satellite’s even tougher on fair use.

I’m going to put a blue line through other radio. Because there might be other systems that are worth considering. I’m just not going to do it here.

Basically, because I’ve got two blue lines, I’m still going to cross off wireless. So, what I’m going to say to watch… If you’re going to watch movies… Everything else is viable unless you watch movies.

If you’re going to watch movies you really need to stay with cable or twisted pair on a wired connection side, which means it’s going to be hard if you’re mobile to be doing this – if you’re very, very mobile. If you’re going to sit and stay a month you can probably get stuff hooked up in a day or two if you carry an AT&T modem or a cable modem with you. Those are standardized. That’s pretty possible.

My reader said, “Hey, I got a smart TV, what can I do?”

Okay. If you do nothing but use the RV antenna inside your RV you’re really only going to get over the air TV in HD You might have a cable connection if you’re at an RV park and may be able to bring the cable into the smart TV through the RV’s existing cable connections. I’m not showing that here because it’s really not much different than RV antenna.

Secondly, I notice that most RV parks still are running not HD. So, don’t expect a lot there.

Let’s go to the next thing you can do. Well, first off, you’re going to have to have a modem. This is the same green box, and I’m showing my Clear modem here.

You’re going to have to have a router. I use the Apple AirPort Extreme. I tested a lot of them and this, for me, has been the best. The little red radio signal thing, this is Wi-Fi. This is exactly what I have drawn on the prior slides.

Now, if I do that with just my smart TV, just by adding these two components my smart TV.. And, I looked up your smart TV and it has built in Wi-Fi. You can get Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, [inaudible 00:09:39],
VUDU, all sorts of neat stuff. You can even play with Facebook.

So, basically you can watch the Internet TV now in HD You can get the majorleaguebaseball.com, Amazon, and just all sorts of neat things.

And, if you don’t mind typing letters using a remote control like on a TV you can surf the Internet, although I will say that typing thing is pretty painful. I was able to get an app for my smart TV which controls my smart TV via my iPhone. That works reasonably well.

What’s the next thing you could do? Well, if I add my MacBook Pro to this, this system like you see here, I can’t really do too much more. I can still surf the Internet and watch Internet TV from my Mac.

It’s not the same thing as the smart TV. They’re not linked. There’s no real way to link them at this point. There may be through apps that are on the TV But, in general the answer is really no.

If I add an Apple TV to the mix I can now put pics, music, and video from my Mac onto the TV. And, if I control it from my Apple TV this is kind of intermittent or spotty. Because a MacBook Air is not on all the time. You close it. You take it with you. Whenever the Macbook Air is not turned on you’re not going to be able to do things with your Apple TV like the pictures, music, and video from your Mac.

The flip side is whenever your Mac is open you can actually project your screen on the Mac onto the big screen TV using Apple AirPlay, and that is super slick. Those are two things you can do. It’s a little bit different perspective on the same thing. But, anything you see on your Mac screen you could put on your big screen TV pretty much at full speed, and that’s pretty cool.

You told me you had a SONOS Bridge. So, you’ll hook the SONOS Bridge up onto your Apple AirPort Extreme router. Then, once you do that with your SONOS Play:1 you can put your SONOS Play:1 speaker anywhere within range of the SONOS Bridge and you’ll be able to play music.

But, with your SONOS Play:1 and your SONOS Bridge, I looked around, and I don’t think you can play any of the sound from your TV onto your SONOS Play:1 speaker. But, you can stream Internet music to your SONOS and you can play iTunes music on your SONOS. Of course, the limitation there is if the iTunes is on your MacBook Pro that’s not something that’s on all the time because it’s a laptop.

So, one big sound improvement would be if you added a Play:5 to your system, the Play:5 got its audio from the big screen TV, and now you could have nice big screen TV sound coming on your SONOS. And, it would also go to your SONOS Play:1 speaker. Then, simultaneously you’d be able to get music off the Internet on both your Play:5 and your Play:1.

There’s your system. Thanks for watching. Hopefully, this’ll help you get a more fun and more useful RV entertainment system. Thanks.

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Important Considerations When Buying an RV http://rv52.com/important-considerations-buying-rv/ http://rv52.com/important-considerations-buying-rv/#comments Tue, 13 May 2014 14:16:52 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39093 Many people get very hung-up on small details about an RV, like for example, does it have a specific type of insulation. While these things are important, you’ll get the best use from an RV by matching it to your lifestyle as closely as possible. I took the time to make a nice video and […]

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Many people get very hung-up on small details about an RV, like for example, does it have a specific type of insulation. While these things are important, you’ll get the best use from an RV by matching it to your lifestyle as closely as possible.

I took the time to make a nice video and graphic which might help you out a bit. (if you do not see the video, then you should click on the article title until the video is shown)

Here is the transcript for the video:

Hello friends of Fitty the RV. Thought I’d spend a little time helping you select an RV. Or more aptly stated help you understand some of the factors you should consider when buying an RV. This is especially useful if you’re thinking about buying an RV, and you’ve never done it before. My name’s Marlan Winter and I’m the founder of RV52.com. On the lower left-
hand side, that’s Fitty the RV.

The first and most obvious thing about RV’s is their length, and of course they have a pretty specific width. They’re around 8 feet, maybe 9 feet wide to travel down the highway, and they go anywhere from say 10 to 45 feet. Sure, you may be able to find exceptions and all of that, but I think this is a good rule of thumb, okay? So now, what I’m going to do is I’m going to put some things on the right, some things on the left, and some things underneath to kind of help frame how you can think about RV’s. None of this is going to be hard and fast. I’m just trying to give you some guidelines.

First off, there’s going to be a gradation of whether or not you have a tow vehicle, or you don’t have a tow vehicle. For example, if you’re an owner of a 3500 Dodge diesel, you’ve got a tow vehicle. If you’re like me and you own a Honda Fit, you do not have a tow vehicle, and whether or not you have one can very heavily influence what RV you might buy. If you have a tow vehicle, especially a big one, you might buy a large fifth wheel. If you have a very small tow vehicle, you might buy a small camper RV. Or if you don’t have a tow vehicle, you might consider Class A, B, or C that could tow your car. This is just one of the decision factors.

Now depending upon whether you have a tow vehicle, you might want to think about how exactly you’re going to get around when your RV is parked. Let’s say you decide you’re going to visit a state park somewhere, so you’re going to get to the state park. You’ve got to imagine for yourself, how exactly will you get around when your RV’s parked at the park, but you want to go see some sites. Will you have a small local vehicle? Or if you had a big 3500 or Ford 350, are you going to just unhook that and use your big old Ford to drive around? That’s another consideration.

These are the kinds of things that as you think through start to determine what kind of RV you’re going to get. Now, if you have a large tow vehicle, Ford 350, versus a small tow vehicle, for example, a Tundra or an SUV, that might make a difference on how big of an RV you can get. So whether or not you have a tow vehicle is one factor. How big the tow vehicle is, is another factor.

Okay, now that we’ve got past the tow vehicle, the next thing you might need to think about is what your living situation is. Are you a retired couple, or are you a single, or are you a family that’s going to go camping and just want to have some weekend fun, or a family that might live in an RV? This is a particularly important aspect to think about because it really will determine the kind of layout and size of the RV you’ll need. Of course that will tie in with the size of the tow vehicle, the local vehicle, and all of these things are kind of factors you try to consider.

Now, you’ve got to decide also, will you be very, very, mobile or will you be parked most of the time? Say you’re out in the oilfields in Texas, you’re a family, and you’re going to home-school. So are you going to be parked most of the time? That’s kind of like your house away from home, home away from house. There’s no good way to say that. Or are you an avid rock climber and you’re going to be zipping around all the time going from place, to place, to place, and trying different things, and really touring the country. That would be very mobile.

This is another way of looking at the gradation, would it be mostly camping, like going camping on weekends or whatever. Will you be touring the United States, or will you be living 100% in it. That’s another factor. Finally are you interested in being at state parks, off the beaten path? Then there’s kind of a center kind of thing here where maybe you’re tailgating at games and all that. Maybe you don’t care about being off the beaten path and then you pick RV parks and resorts. These are gradations, and this is kind of a continuum. It isn’t perfectly left or right, or right to left, but I think this is a nice way of looking at it.

Then finally, you’ll see in a minute why this matters. Are you going to be more powered by gas when you’re moving things, or diesel? Say, for example, you’re going to get a 20 foot travel trailer, and you’ve got a gas 150 Ford, that’s probably fine. But if you have a 40 foot fifth wheel and you’ve got a gas truck, then that’s maybe not the right fuel mix for that.

Okay, so let’s start putting campers on this continuum. So if you’re interested in family fun, and you have a very small tow vehicle, and your tow vehicle can be your local vehicle, a pop-up trailer might be a really nice way to go. If you’ve got a larger tow vehicle, you’re going to be parking a little bit more versus mobility. Maybe travelling the country a little bit more, you want to have a little bit nicer rig if you’re going to go tailgating and all of that, you might move up to a travel trailer.

Of course as you continue up the continuum, I guess, maybe you start to be more like a retired couple that’s going to be leaning towards a living situation. You might be going someplace like a winter Texan. Where you come south to Texas in the winter and stay in there for three months, and you have a fairly large tow vehicle, and you maybe don’t do that much driving, you just enjoy staying south where it’s warm. A fifth wheel might be a good choice.

Then there’s a Class B RV. Those are smaller; they’d be great for people who are doing rock climbing or touring the country. They’re avid bicyclers, hikers, and they just really want to zip around to the different sites. Get there, have a place to sleep at night, but they’re primarily going to be outside kayaking and doing outdoor activities. That’s a great choice for somebody. If you’re going to be a little less mobile, and you want a little bit nicer living space, fuel economy is less important to you, then you might be a Class C.

Finally the big daddy of RV’s and the one that everybody always thinks about when they hear the words, the Class A which is the biggest of all. These go all the way up to 45 feet. They are amazing vehicles. Many of them are powered by diesels as they get larger and larger. You’re going to probably parked more than you’re mobile. You’re probably not going to have a large tow vehicle. You’re probably not going to have a tow vehicle, and the Class A itself will tow a tow vehicle.

This is a chart that kind of puts everything on a continuum, and you can kind of see where things fit. It’s just a nice framework of thinking about an RV. Then of course, I’m going to put a little bit of cost information, your maintenance cost goes up, you put an engine in it, and the maintenance costs start to go sky high, especially a sophisticated diesel RV. Obviously the pop-up trailer has so few things on it, so few amenities, that there’s very few things to go wrong. Then finally, you can look at price as both Class A’s go higher in price. Pop-ups are the least. The continuum goes along there, and of course left to right, the longer they are, the higher they are in price.

So there you go. That’s one way to think about choosing an RV, and I made a little quiz on my site RV52. So if you go to RV52.com/RVchoose I have a lifestyle quiz, I’m not really selling you anything. You just take the quiz and it might help you get some perspective around the kind of RV you’d want to look at that fits your lifestyle. Thanks a lot.

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In an RV? Got Time? See how to publish your book to Kindle http://rv52.com/rv-got-time-see-publish-book-kindle/ http://rv52.com/rv-got-time-see-publish-book-kindle/#respond Tue, 06 May 2014 14:53:50 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39069 Hello friends of Fitty. Over here at RV52 Fitty has been working hard on different projects. I’ve just finished up my “RV and Modular Home Utilities Comparison Report” and you can get it several different ways. You can buy it straight from me via Paypal, Kindle, Amazon, and Apple. When I was uploading the eReport […]

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Hello friends of Fitty. Over here at RV52 Fitty has been working hard on different projects. I’ve just finished up my “RV and Modular Home Utilities Comparison Report” and you can get it several different ways. You can buy it straight from me via Paypal, Kindle, Amazon, and Apple.

When I was uploading the eReport (it really isn’t a book so I didn’t want to price it like a book – reports are worth more – you don’t sell many reports) I went ahead and made video instructions of how to do some of this book stuff.

I’m thinking that if I can make it look easy, which it is, maybe you’ll feel inspired and write the next “Purpose Driven Life”. [note Purpose Driven Life is the most popular book in history, 2nd to the Bible]. Then maybe you’ll send me a gift certificate for lunch or something! ;-)

Here is the video tutorial on Kindle publishing (if you don’t see the video below-click here):

Here is the transcript. I pre-apologize for speaking in such a manner that it doesn’t covert well to text:
What I’d like to do is go ahead and publish a book on the Kindle.

Let’s see if I can go ahead and remember how to do it.

So, first thing, let’s see if I can get close to my Kindle Publishing. Right here. It’s kdp.amazon.com.

So, what I’d like to do now — and you have to sign up for this, I’m not doing to show you how to do that — I want to add a new title.

I’m not going to KDP Select  because I’m more of a report than anything and I think people don’t want to read my report like a book.

So, what I’m doing to do here is I’m going to put the name of my book, try to get it as exact as I can, so my book is probably something you all would consider to be fairly boring. It’s not even a book. I keep wanting to say book. But it’s not a book. It’s the Modular and RV Utility Comparison Report.

Okay, so let’s go back over here. Modular and RV Utility Comparison Report.

Subtitle — I don’t have a subtitle.

The book is not part of a series.

I’m not a publisher.

Description. Okay, so the next thing I did, I done this ahead of time, I made a little description that I can put in here. And I did call it an eReport and I did use the word short. People got to know that it’s short or they’re going to get, again, upset. Here, by using Safari, I can grow the box and see what it is. So, see I put short eReport because I’m going to charge a little different.

There’s no contributors. Okay, so I’m an author so let put in here me. Author. Save.

And that should take me to my author’s page.

Language English.

Publication date optional.

I don’t have an ISBN.

I completely made this from the very beginning.

Target my book to customers. Let’s give this a whirl. Add categories. There’s probably no boring category. Let’s see here, I think it ought to be “Home” maybe, “House and Home.” Let’s put it under “Sustainable Living.” Choose categories. I can choose two. Let’s see what we got here. They never have recreational vehicles. So, I think I’ll put it back under “House Plans” because people are thinking about building a house when they’re doing that. That’s crazy, I know. There’s no good –. Search keywords. RV. Utilities. Do modular. I might do electric because of the utilities. Bills. Efficiency. Report. Instead of electric, I’m going to do, like, analysis.

I’ve already done an image. Let me go get it. Browse for image.

Always save — that’s always good.

Oh, I hope this thing’s the right thing — I always have trouble with these, so — here’s my cover. I’m sure it’d be considered ugly. Oh, please, hope I got this right.

I find the graphics really, really hard, and they always got to be precise about how wide and how tall. Yay, yay me. There’s my cover. Okay.

Enable digital rights. That just means that people can’t, can’t go get it on Yahoo or some free download site.

Save as draft. Book file content.

Okay. Uh-oh, I think what I really want to do is to save it as an ePub and, honestly, I didn’t do that.

So, when I bring up — I put the book in Pages, and, honestly, I’m going to switch over to a different tool, which will be pretty cool. It’s called a Scrivener. I think it’s going to work a lot better for me.

So, we’re bringing up Apple Pages. So to get this in the right format, we’re going to export to ePub. Let’s see here. Advanced options because, I’m well, super — use the first page as the book cover image. We can go ahead and tell it do that. All right. Not too many options here. So, make sure I got it in the right directory. So let’s let it rip. Part of the reason I use pages was because it would help put the ePub, whereas Microsoft Word doesn’t.

If you’re going to be a writer, I think you think have to consider tools like Scrivener. Now, that I’ve seen the light, I’m going to go over and do that. I don’t want to grab ScreenFlow — that’s how we’re taping this. I want to go back to here.

So, now we’re going to browse and we’re going to look for the ePub. Converting to Kindle.

I’ll crunch this and make it speed along when we do the, when I turn in the video. I’ll go, like, way faster. That’s the beauty of videos. You can work some magic. Ooh, la la. Maybe that’s because of my pictures. It’s got to covert those pictures to black and white and have them look good on the eBook that’s a black-and-white eBook.

This is my coffee cup. I did this on CafePress. I’m pretty proud of that. It really came out nice. I got the logo off 99designs. If you want to know more about that, give me a, give me a buzz.

Preview your book. This is the scary part. Okay. Oh, no — one possible spelling error. I don’t even want to look. Should I look? Ah, slideouts — that’s okay. Everybody does that two different ways.

Okay. Let’s just take a quick look online. Preview book. Please look good. Please, please, please look good. Dang, I like it. That’s a little goofy. Wow — this looks better than I ever thought it would look. They do such a good job, Amazon. This is if you turn it on the side. They’ve got some neat graphs in here. Let’s see how they look. You’ve got to put the images in line — yeah, okay, that looks okay. Yeah, I do look at the Texas climate and everything.

It’s a neat little report. It’s not super long. Kind of hard to get those charts right. I don’t know how to get out of here. I’m happy with this.

So, continue publishing my book. Okay. So, done this. Save it. We’ve uploaded it.

Okay, and the cover part we were doing — that goes into, like, in the catalog. We’ll say worldwide because that’s fine.

I did the whole work myself.

Choose a royalty option for your book. Of course, why not get 70%? Now, this means the price must be between $2.99 and $9.99, and I’m not going to sell very many of these.

Yeah, and I don’t care that people think that the price ought to be relative to the length — it took me a lot of work. Maybe I’ll only sell 20, 30 copies. I’m fine with that. I have no idea how to set this so I don’t know what it should be — 500? Does that make it better? I should know more about other people’s monetary systems, right? Oh, $3.99. Let’s just set it for $3.99. $3.98? Oh, I’ve got to be in KDP now, I could care less then.

There you go Amazon. Six pounds, that’s fine. Japan. I’m not going to sell a lot in these countries. California — I’m kidding, it’s Canada. Australia. I think you just tell them exchange rates, can move things around.

Let’s see what MatchBook is. Well, I’d love to that but I don’t have a print version. Looks like I don’t have a choice, I’ll have to do that.

So, I do have all the rights — I’m absolute, 100 percent certain. I either got it from Wikipedia, which is Commons, and I attributed, or I did my own pictures and I wrote all my own text so I know it’s mine 100 percent.

Okay. So, there you go.

That’s publishing a book in Kindle.

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How to create an ebook cover on Mac without any graphical software http://rv52.com/create-ebook-cover-mac-without-graphical-software/ http://rv52.com/create-ebook-cover-mac-without-graphical-software/#respond Tue, 29 Apr 2014 14:21:21 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39076 Hello RVers. I’m not very good with graphics. I’ve noticed the graphics tools are pretty hard to use for a newbie like me. You can imagine that I was very pleased when I figured out a way to create a nice looking cover using ONLY Apple Pages and the Apple Preview that are on a […]

The post How to create an ebook cover on Mac without any graphical software appeared first on Recreational Vehicles, RV Parks and RV Travel.

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Hello RVers.

I’m not very good with graphics. I’ve noticed the graphics tools are pretty hard to use for a newbie like me.

You can imagine that I was very pleased when I figured out a way to create a nice looking cover using ONLY Apple Pages and the Apple Preview that are on a Mac.

I recorded it into a video. If you don’t see the video below, you might need to click on the link to take you to this original article and view in your browser.

For those who like to read, here is the transcript:

Hello Fitty Friends.

I thought I’d show you how to make a cover for a book using Apple Pages. I’m not an artist, so what I’m going to do isn’t necessarily very artistic. But, it shows you how to do it, right? So, let’s go. I’m using an Apple, so, well, get used to it.

First things first, let’s get some Pages going. Let’s go into Pages. This is the book I just did. Let’s start from the very beginning. Let’s do
“File”, “New”. Let’s just do “Blank”. Okay. The next thing I want to do is let’s save just so it gets saved.

Let’s go to eproducts. This really isn’t an eproduct. That’s just where I put it. Making a cover using Apple Pages. Let’s call it Making a Cover for Pages. Let’s go ahead and save this document here.

The first and most important thing is let’s do view, show thumbnails. We’ve got one page. Let’s insert a new page. Oops, didn’t mean to do that. Insert page break. I’m looking right at it, aren’t I? Right in front of all of you. That’s how I do it. I can not see how to do page break. Insert a page break. I don’t know why that didn’t show up. I’m going to do page break.

Now we’ve got two pages. Now, the most important thing is we’re going to make this page one. I probably didn’t need to do that, but let’s do it like that.

The first thing is I think covers… I mean I’m not going to be an artist here. Kind of boring without some color behind them. We’ll do shape. Let’s just pick something nonthreatening, green. You pick with the square corners, because we’re going to go to the very corners of the document. See here how it said it was at zero, zero.

The other thing to remember when you’re doing this is stay on page. This makes it so it doesn’t move with the text. Otherwise, it’ll really get funky.

Let’s see here, 8 by 11 is what we want that to read. That ought to do it. It’s a little off. Let’s take it all the way to the edge.

Let’s zoom out a little. Zoom out, zoom out, so now we can see the whole page. Let’s go down here. Now we’ve got a green thing. Let’s do… You can have a lot of fun with this. All shapes you can put text in, so let’s do this.

I’m really bad at colors. Let’s make it baby bottom yellow. Let’s do a band down at the bottom. Then, what you can do is if you just double click here it’ll know about text and put by rv52.com, founder, Marlan Winter.

Almost all book titles you’ve got a byline in there, so you’re going to have to make this a lot bigger. Make it bold. Let’s say you’re more successful than me, you might want to be on, you know, a bookshelf. They want people to be able to see it’s you.

You’re going to have to brand yourself. I don’t know about any of that stuff, but I do think that stuff’s kind of important.

You can pick whatever you font what you want. I’ll just leave Helvetica. Now you’ve got that.

I’ve noticed a lot of books like to do a band across the top, so let’s just do that. Humans like symmetry. Let’s have some fun. The Ultimate Guide… I don’t know how to spell ultimate. I don’t know how to type it for sure. The Ultimate Guide to… I can type 7000 words a minute, but if I correct for spelling, about 20. The Ultimate Guide to Making an Apple Pages Book Cover without Buying Any New Software.

Yay. That’s a pretty good goal. We can make this a little bit bigger. Let’s make it 24. Now, see, you’ve got a little shadow in there. You can decide if that looks good or not. Let’s play with it just a little. I think it adds a little depth in my opinion. This one probably ought to have a shadow above it, but I don’t know. Let’s just leave that like that.

Okay. Now, let’s put a title on it, and let’s make the title… Well, we know what the title is, right? I like shapes better, so that’s for the title. Let’s do… See, this is really, really ugly. Ugly. But, again, I’m just trying to show you how to make a cover, so I’m trying to make some visual interest on this.

Now on this one, Creating eBooks Using eBook Covers Using Apple Pages, that’s got to be monster. Whatever we did before, we’ve got to make it bigger. I think most really artistic people would say this is way too busy. I’d agree with them.

But, again, this is just showing you how. Not necessarily how to make a good one, just how to make one. I’m showing you how you have a lot of capability.

Just to give you an idea, look at this. You can go into this. You can go into the fill. You can go into an advanced image fill, for example, and you can say advanced gradient fill. You can say look, I want like a sun in the center. Then, out here I’m going to make it 100% opaque or transparent.

You can move this to the side here. Then, you take this little thing. You do that and it gives just a little bit of color and a merge. Then, you can mute that color just a little bit by even doing an opacity as well so it’s not as… that just gives a little brush of color. I don’t know how that would come out on printing and all that.

This is what I did last time. I thought it was kind of cute. I mean honestly I probably want to mute that even more. Maybe move this. Yeah. Maybe make that just a little less intense. Just want a smattering just to kind of draw some visual interest to it. I mean, again, this isn’t how to do a good cover. I’d be the last person to say that.

Let’s go get a graphic and drop a graphic in here. Here’s my logo for my… Oops. Don’t want to do that. Why did that do that? Oh. Undo. Okay. I think the reason it did that has… Let’s see if we can fix it.

I want to drop this in here. I’m going to call this… First off, let’s make this bigger. Let’s go to image. Let’s do instant alpha on this. That tells you what parts will be see-through.

Okay. We’re done there. We’ve got to find that sucker. All right, let’s just for kicks and grins arrange this, stay on page, automatic, around. Let’s move this bad boy backwards, back. I want to solve this for you right in front of your eyes. [Inaudible 0:11:22].

All right. Green is pretty ugly, isn’t it? It was a bad time in America. There you go. I must’ve just replaced it, which is kind of silly. I like how this holds the… A really interesting cover probably would use asymmetry to make it more interesting [Inaudible 0:12:01]. So, the alpha made it see-through.

Now, let’s go to the fun part. To get the cover into the format you want now you just do export to PDF. Okay. Make the image quality best. Let’s call it Making a Cover PDF. I don’t think we need Pages any more, so let’s quit that.

Really only do this kind of stuff with the Apple. It’s so hard on a Windows computer. You can do it. People do it all the time. But, you get a lot of this just built in. I mean you do pay for pages, but you don’t pay for preview which is a completely underappreciated piece of software. So, preview’s PDF.

Now we’ll do export on the PDF. We’ll say I don’t want to export this sucker to a JPEG. Do 300 pixels per inch. And, we’ll do that. Lo and behold you have an image, 2.7 megabyte image, with really good dimensions you can use to do all sorts of things.

There you go. There’s how you make an image from Apple Pages. I didn’t have any graphical software, and it had a lot of visual interest. You can do an awful lot of cool things with it. Thank you.

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