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 Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:23:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 RV ing the Spartan way – What exactly can you leave behind easily? http://rv52.com/rv-ing-spartan-way-exactly-can-leave-behind-easily/ http://rv52.com/rv-ing-spartan-way-exactly-can-leave-behind-easily/#respond Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:19:46 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39575 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) It seems a little bit silly, but if you are very new to RVs, here is a list of things you won’t need. You won’t need these because there is either no room in the RV for it, or the RV has it built in. This […]

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(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - Thanks for letting me know what I can leave behind! - http://rv52.com/?p=39575 #RV

It seems a little bit silly, but if you are very new to RVs, here is a list of things you won’t need. You won’t need these because there is either no room in the RV for it, or the RV has it built in. This list is partly the list of what things to get rid of…

* Couch – these are built-in to the RV.

* Comfy TV Chairs – these are built-in, come with, or there is no space and you’ll use the built-in couch. Sometimes, you can discard the RV chair and bring in your own – but beware the weight difference. Extra weight is dangerous and illegal.

* Dining Room Chairs – Almost always built-in. Usually as a bench.

* Dining Table – Built-in

* Master Bedroom Bed – Built-in

* Master Bedroom Dresser  – Built-in

* Big screen TV – Built-in, but you could replace. RV TVs are usually really cheap.

* Stereo System – Built-in and pre-wired. It would be hard to change the speakers, but you could change out the electronics. I’ve looked and decent super small surround sound systems are hard to find.

* Storage cabinets – Built-in. No room either.

* Range, refrigerator, microwave – Built-in usually.

* Kids Beds – If a bunkhouse, these are built-in. Usually, there is spare sleeping quarters in an RV and they are equipped with mattresses or inflatable beds.

* Desk – Sometimes built-in. Usually no room. Recommend using the kitchen table which is usually by a nice window. Very pleasant.

* Ottoman – There is no room. Leave it behind.

* Coffee Table – You really hate your shins don’t you?! Leave it behind. No space.

 

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RV ing the light and Spartan way – Cutting the ties to Cable TV http://rv52.com/rv-ing-light-spartan-way-cutting-ties-cable-tv/ http://rv52.com/rv-ing-light-spartan-way-cutting-ties-cable-tv/#respond Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:13:42 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39571 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) One of the most foolish monthly expenses that I can see most of America doing is purchasing cable TV. Cable TV costs many, many people well over $100/month. And they pay it month after month after month. I don’t. I’m not deprived either. Even though I […]

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(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - I may NEVER watch cable TV again with your help! Thx - http://rv52.com/?p=39571 #RV

One of the most foolish monthly expenses that I can see most of America doing is purchasing cable TV.

Cable TV costs many, many people well over $100/month. And they pay it month after month after month.

I don’t.

I’m not deprived either.

Even though I haven’t purchased cable TV for years, I still get excited when I get to stay in a hotel room. Why? Cable TV will be there. Yay me.

Then I turn on the cable TV and I start the never ending click-click-click trying to find a decent TV show.

Ooooh. They have HBO! Oh darned. Crappy movie. Neat. Good movie. Oops. Already started. Oh well.

Off to the History Channel. All WWII all the time. Nope. Duck Dynasty or some nonsense like that on the History Channel. That isn’t even history.

I have sat and literally WASTED 2 hours clicking endlessly to try to find something to watch.

There has to be a better way.

There is – it is call the internet. You can watch pretty much anything you want, any time you want, when you want, on the device you want. Why in the world would you EVER pay for bad TV? It doesn’t make sense.

If you were willing to pay, something like $20/month, you could watch more movies, TV shows, and even a couple on-demand shows anytime you want. I’m not counting the internet costs, because not having the internet is really not something I’ll discuss in one of my books. I LOVE being connected. I’m only counting costs of TV.

I personally use Amazon Prime for most of our shows. This costs about $100 per year. But you get other things with prime, so I could argue (tenuously) that the Prime video comes free.

If you COUNT the Prime membership, then I’ve only spent about $10/month on a service in which you can get piles and piles of TV shows and movies.

If you want new releases, you can rent them from dozens and dozens of services. Even ABC.com and the other big networks provide the ability to watch their content for free off of their sites. Of course you get advertising but it is reduced.

If you’ll commit to getting internet based TV instead of cable, you’ll save a pile of money AND watch TV 100% at your convenience and leisure. It is a huge improvement. The next chapter is a pseudo-reprint of an article I wrote and published on RV52.com and on youtube which goes through how I connect everything.

Confession: There is one thing I cannot do that I badly want to do. As of this writing the Big 10 Network (btn.com) does not allow me to purchase BTN.com 2Go directly from the web. I would have to buy cable TV to get it. That shows you how UNFAIR the contracts are with the cable companies. It actually PICKS the pocket of the Big 10 Network. Why? Because I would gladly pay $20 to watch my dearly beloved Cornhuskers live off of the web. But BTN.com would NEVER see even 1/100th of that $20 per-person from the cable companies. I think they would make much, much more money without the cable tv deals. Can’t prove it though. But I’m still not buying cable TV.

 

 

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RV ing lite the Spartan way – Re-supplying your fantasy ship (RV) while at sea! http://rv52.com/rv-ing-lite-spartan-way-re-supplying-fantasy-ship-rv-sea/ http://rv52.com/rv-ing-lite-spartan-way-re-supplying-fantasy-ship-rv-sea/#respond Tue, 14 Oct 2014 14:16:35 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39573 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) Even though Spartanism is important (to me at least), you’ll still want things sent to you. Spartanism does not mean you must go without. There is a whole class of things you do and products you buy and consume which will happen which are 100% compatible […]

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(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - You gave me some great ideas on how to re-think buying groceries and things - http://rv52.com/?p=39573 #RV

Even though Spartanism is important (to me at least), you’ll still want things sent to you.

Spartanism does not mean you must go without.

There is a whole class of things you do and products you buy and consume which will happen which are 100% compatible with Spartanism.

I’m a huge user of technology. A laptop, smartphone, camera, camcorder, wireless router, printer, and several other things are almost a necessity, depending upon who you are.

If you are on the road for any appreciable time period, you’ll need to upgrade your tech and buy something or sell something using eBay or Amazon. There are zillions of online retailers so what is written here will apply to those unnamed retailers as well.

Every one of these retailers has the idea of a BILLING address and a SHIPPING address. These addresses do not have to be the same. More importantly, the smart retailers make it so that you can have an often changing SHIPPING address.

One great way that the retailers make it easy for you to change your shipping address is by having the idea of an online address book. I personally use the heck out of the address book on Amazon. I’m always shipping things to different places – for example – gifts for people – things for my mom – and then things for myself.

There is no reason that you simply can’t have things shipped to whatever address you are at. You have to double check the shipping address everytime or you’ll send things to the wrong spot. The other thing you have to do is to really think about when you decide to move out and make sure that you either send things AHEAD to where you’ll be OR wait and order. But these are small prices to pay.

Even your consumables, like coffee, tea, toothpaste, and toothbrushes can be purchased online very conveniently.

Amazon is a very amazing service. You could subscribe to a service called Amazon Prime (learn about Amazon Prime here) which would allow you to eliminate shipping fees on many many products at Amazon. If you can eliminate shipping fees, it makes purchasing things online very easy and convenient. You simply won’t have to feel like you are isolated or out of touch.

I have a Keurig (learn more about Keurig here) which allows me to make really good single serving coffee without a mess. The Keurig is a GREAT example of a “thing” that I use copiously which brings great joy. For some, this might be wasteful and extravagant. But for me I love it, use it often, and enjoy the fact that my wife can get something different from me and we can have coffee together. Its fast, there is no clean-up, no waste, and very few accessories. I cannot stress enough that Spartanism is about having things that give you utility, not living without.

We can supply our Keurig from Amazon or Keurig.com. We can also supply it from local stores, most of the time. The Keurig is mentioned here because no matter how remote you are, you can buy supplies no matter where you are.

After reading this, you should now be realizing that being mobile does not have to feel like you are discombobulated, disconnected, isolated, and remote. You can get the things you need using your computer (or telephone) no matter where you are. You can go mobile, without fear.

Before you even buy your RV, you should consider buying a few things and get used to online services (if you aren’t) so that it is second nature when you are on the road.

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RV ing the lite and Spartan way – How RV52 handles DVDs and Movies http://rv52.com/rv-ing-lite-spartan-way-rv52-handles-dvds-movies/ http://rv52.com/rv-ing-lite-spartan-way-rv52-handles-dvds-movies/#respond Sun, 12 Oct 2014 14:11:06 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39569 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV Movies come in two main formats or at least you probably have two formats laying around. I’m going to ignore the Sony big disks that were about the size of a 12 inch LP. I’m assuming that you might have VHS tapes laying around. I’m amazed […]

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crowded shelf with dvds and vcr tapes

crowded shelf with dvds and vcr tapes

(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV

Tweet This:@rv52 - Nice writeup on a method to do your scanning of bills and things - http://rv52.com/?p=39569 #RV

Movies come in two main formats or at least you probably have two formats laying around. I’m going to ignore the Sony big disks that were about the size of a 12 inch LP.

I’m assuming that you might have VHS tapes laying around. I’m amazed at how many people still have VHS players and VHS tapes. Letting go is really just that hard isn’t it.

But then most of us still have these things called DVDs which come in a 6×9 plastic box called an amaray case. I’ll lump in the new fancy Blueray disks into this category too.

Between these two digital formats you can completely fill up a large bookcase. Worse yet, ask yourself, how many times have you gone back and actually watched those movies again? I’d venture a guess, probably very few times.

For VHS tapes there is no hope and no salvaging them. Just throw them away. No one wants them. Your player won’t really work. The tape quality stinks. You can’t sell them. They are just junk. Not even worth a garage sale quarter. Junk out the VHS player too. I’m sorry, but the time for these has came and gone. It is over.

For DVDs the prognosis is not much better. Hollywood has done such a very fine job of protecting the digital information on these that grabbing the movies and moving them to your hard drives is really not worth it. Even if you did get it done, movies take huge amounts of space. Then you’d want to back it up which would take up piles of backup time.

Unless you are a true, true videophile, or a real student of film and cinematography, I just can’t see keeping movies around. Buying movies is a really really bad investment.

So the RV52.com position on DVDs is to sell them or pass them on. Don’t keep them. If you want to have 3-5 laying around for the grandkids to watch over and over like kids will do, then great. But stop there.

For all movie watching, I would HIGHLY consider ONLY renting using RedBox, Netflix, or the online services. Yes there is an issue around internet bandwidth, but I think paying $2.99 to rent a movie you’ll only watch 1 or 3 times is still cheaper and a better deal than buying. There is no reward for ownership.

There is ONE “halfway” idea I will share.

Take all of the DVDs out of the amaray cases, throw away the amaray cases and put the DVDs into a very skinny DVD disk storage folder. You can condense a whole bookcase to something the size of a small Bible. That is a good compromise if you can’t get rid of DVDs.

Remember, movies are an experience. Its hard to “own” an experience. It’s just gray matter in your brain after all.

 

 

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RVing – Freedom from PLACE http://rv52.com/rving-freedom-place/ http://rv52.com/rving-freedom-place/#respond Tue, 07 Oct 2014 14:00:54 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39547 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) If you will implement a Spartan style RV lifestyle you will have increased freedom from geography. Geography is just another way of saying place. We get LOCKED into place several ways. The first way we get locked into a place is usually because of a […]

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 freedom from place

freedom from place

(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - I LOVE LOVE LOVE the independence RVing gives me! - http://rv52.com/?p=39547 #RV

If you will implement a Spartan style RV lifestyle you will have increased freedom from geography. Geography is just another way of saying place.

We get LOCKED into place several ways.

The first way we get locked into a place is usually because of a job. Many, many jobs still have a requirement that you are in a certain place at a certain time for a certain duration.

This book doesn’t go over how to make money without being tied to a location, but being Spartan-like can make a big big difference.

Here is how.

If you free yourself from lots and lots of stuff, particularly things that come with a payment attached either due to debt or due to a subscription, then you don’t have to make as much money.

If you don’t have to make as much money, then more and more jobs become an option to you because you can accept jobs that pay less. Or even better, you can accept part time jobs and earn less because you focus all your hours into just a few days a week.

Again, I want to emphasize this isn’t about living without, but instead clearly identifying what you are going to live WITH.

If, for example, you purchase cable TV ($100/month), Have miscellaneous payments to different memberships around your town ($200/month), and have a car payment that is $200/month more than a more reasonable car  ($200/month) then you have to earn enough money to pay for all this. In this small paragraph I’ve identified $600/month of expenses. Considering taxes, you would have to earn potentially $700/month or more to cover these bills.

Most people’s monthly financial footprint is even larger. It is just smart to identify the things you don’t use that much and CEASE to be a servant to them.

Lower your unnecessary costs from serving “things” and then you have more jobs to select from. More jobs to select from means you have more locations that will have jobs you can do. More locations means that you have much more geographic choice.

Another way we locked into place is with our stuff is just having a whole life tied to an area.

Some things that are hard to replace, for which you might HAVE to find alternatives no matter where you go, are medical people like doctors and dentists. I know my wife particularly detests having to find a new gynecologist. If you need medical attention where-ever you might be, you’ll have to get new people. But the point here is that the people you work with in your non-work life are how your current life slowly binds you to an area.

There are other things that are less traumatic that over a lifetime slowly start to hold you back. Maybe you have a hobby and you have a very good hobby supply store nearby. That is an example.

Or you just bought a BMW car and you are tied into their local service.

The new business model in America is to sell you something that has a monthly “tie-in” that you find valuable. Those monthly tie-ins get harder and harder to break. The more stuff you buy, the more monthly tie-in you get.

I know one thing for sure. If you reduce your lifestyle to the most essential things you will reduce this local tie-in. Furthermore if you work hard to scrutinize those tie-ins on the things you decide you are going to do anyway, that will help keep them to a minimum.

Finally, where possible make sure that whoever you do business with would be willing to do so via mail, email, and phone.

Now that you have worked so hard to be free from any particular place, why not drive another 100 miles and stay for 3 weeks at that hunting lodge resort in Utah. Does anyone really care where you are?

I didn’t think so.

Sounds like you have a good grasp on being location independent.

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RV ing the light weight way – How RV52 handles the deluge of paperwork http://rv52.com/rv-ing-light-weight-way-rv52-handles-deluge-paperwork/ http://rv52.com/rv-ing-light-weight-way-rv52-handles-deluge-paperwork/#respond Sun, 05 Oct 2014 14:05:58 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39567 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV – which does have pictures!) Life has a certain bric-a-brac that simply comes with it. That bric-a-brac embodies itself with a crapload of paperwork “stuff”. It starts at birth – birth certificates, social security registration, health insurance, life insurance, wills, living will, living trusts, car insurance, car […]

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freedom from paperwork

(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV – which does have pictures!)

Tweet This:@rv52 - Nice writeup on a method to do your scanning of bills and things - http://rv52.com/?p=39567 #RV

Life has a certain bric-a-brac that simply comes with it.

That bric-a-brac embodies itself with a crapload of paperwork “stuff”.

It starts at birth – birth certificates, social security registration, health insurance, life insurance, wills, living will, living trusts, car insurance, car inspections. Sometimes it seems the list goes on forever.

Each new law seems to make a new mountain of paperwork for businesses and individuals – the bureaucrats seem to not care. It isn’t a new idea, even Mary and Joseph had to return to Bethlehem so the Romans could count them – mostly related to better/more taxation for the Romans, but still the paperwork and mindless task for the bureaucratic machine are not new. We still don’t have to like it.

So the question becomes – how do I keep from having to dedicate an entire file cabinet and room to this stuff? This paperwork is funny – when you don’t need it, it isn’t very important, but when you need it, you really need it bad.

I have a strategy for managing paperwork that has worked “pretty well”. On a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being best, I think my strategy has worked at about a level 7. I’m happy with that and know I can refine it better.

The first part of my strategy involves saying “no” to lots and lots of things. One tendency for people is to consider everything that comes in the door. For example a new credit card offer comes in and many people think “I should evaluate this to see if it makes sense.” The truth is you can’t evaluate all of them. It is impossible. There are more of them than you. So any of those offers I see is an automatic “no”. It hits the trash immediately. That goes for lots of other things as well. The flip side of this concept is that if you have a real problem, you will actively work to solve it at that time.

The second part of my strategy is related to the first subtlety. Make sure you sign up to the gov web site to reduce junk mail. The FTC has a pretty good article on their site with several of these sites ( http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0262-stopping-unsolicited-mail-phone-calls-and-email ). I’ve registered and it really does work.

Continuing my screening process, we get almost all of our mail at a place called PakMail. We’ve done it for several years. One of the benefits is that the owners of the PakMail store (with our blessing) throw away the obvious unsolicited mail. So some, like local grocery flyers, we simply do not see. We’ve asked them to do that. I estimate that cuts down our junk by about 15-20%. One side benefit is that by having your mail at a place you have to go out of your way to visit, you put mail in the correct spot on your priority list – that is to say – way down the list. You’ll get to it when you can.

When possible, I work with my vendors (bill collectors) to change everything over to electronic bills whenever I can. Where records can be kept online and fetched “upon request” I convert over to that style of record keeping. Do I really need 14 years of bank statements from a checking account that never has more than $500 in it at a time? Lets be honest. The IRS really doesn’t care about that. If you really need it, the bank can get it for you. Otherwise, the record keeping is a mindless activity. Same with credit cards statements.

All that is left are things that you want to retain records for which there is no alternative. Receipts from items where the replacement value is high enough to warrant keeping receipts is good. Things where you might have to produce proof – perhaps for a court case or for taxes – you might want to keep that. Everything you used to file your taxes. Records which would be a real effort to get any other way (like dental receipts from a dentist years ago)… these things you should keep around handy.

All these item still add up to quite a bit of paper. So now that I’ve narrowed down what you have to “digitize” I can go over my procedure to digitize things.

1) You gotta have a scanner. I have an Epson Workforce All-In-One. Inside the scanner I can add a really big SD Card. Whenever I scan something, the Epson automatically puts the files it scans either in PDF or JPG format onto the SD card. I’ve tried having active connections between a computer and the scanner but that takes a really long time and I have to setup the computer. With the Epson all I have to do is have the scanner running which is really fast and reliable. It also has an automatic sheet feeder which is awesome when you have a stack of documents.

2) Whenever a document comes in you need to digitize just walk to the scanner, insert the doc, and press the button.

3) After it scans, put the document into a “shred box” which you’ll empty every 6 months. If something went wrong, you’ll have the paper copy around for that period of time.

4) Every 1 or 2 months, I copy all the files from the SD Card to my Mac into a directory where I have all the files which have these useless generic names like Epson56.jpg. Every time I copy files, I’ll copy them into a new directory called 2014_Spring or something similar.

5) I delete the files off of the Epson. For this brief moment in time I have a single copy situation. Even as I write this, I realize that I should simply buy a second SD Card and I would never have a single copy situation where a single failure can wipe out my records. That is one advantage to writing a book!

6) Within 12 hours I get a good offsite network backup of the computer where I copied the files. I use JustCloud and so far have been happy with them.

7) Every 3-6 months I’ll go into the generic file name directory which I call “unnamed”, at the very top of the directory tree. The whole directory tree might be called “Documents->Scans->unnamed->Jan_2014-><filenames>”. When I’m in that directory, I look at the files in Apple’s OSX Finder mode called “Cover Flow”. This allows me to see the files first page AND the name at the same time. I also can rename with a single click. I rename the file with a very long and descriptive file name which will help me locate the file later. For example I might name a doctors bill for me something like “2014 medical doctor bill headaches january.jpg”. If I get enough words in the file name usually I can find the document pretty easily.

9) After I change the file name, I drop it into a directory called “named”. The whole tree would be “Documents->Scans-named-><filenames>”. The Apple Spotlight search is so good that in a few seconds I can find that file whenever I need it.

10) Within 12 hours I get a good offsite network backup of the files with their new names.

11) Empty the “shred box” into a secure shred place. You can find them at a mail store if you look around. But this way your stuff is disposed of without exposing your data to prying eyes. Yes I know about digital offsite backups potential security risks, but you gotta pick your battles. I don’t want local people getting my data as they have more “side information”.  Side information combined with secret data could undo me more easily. So I focus on local shred and trust my digital backup to be pretty tight too.

There are quite a few improvements I have been thinking about trying. I’ve heard the Snapscan is the best scanner on the market. It does 2 sided scan in a single pass and automatic OCR which means it will always get a better search results when looking for your data. I want to think positively, but I’ve found that usually the extra OCR steps usually cause more inconvenience than benefit.

I’ve only had two real situations where my system doesn’t work that well.

The first one happens about 2x per year. It is when I’m trying to find  file I scanned but I have yet to make a meaningful name. I panic every time because they are hard to find with those generic names.

The second situation is when government agencies want originals. This happened when I needed to get a license plate and they wanted to have the original odometer statement. My copy wasn’t good enough. So two days later when I reappeared with an original statement I watched this “so called worker” walk to the copier, make a copy and hand the original back to me. I choked down my words. The honest truth is that this “so called worker” couldn’t have determined a fake from the real thing if her life depended on it. I think of the saying “mindless consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” I’m getting mad just writing about it.

There you have it. The RV52.com simple method for digitizing your bric-a-brac of life.

 

 

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RVing – Freedom from TIME – Or how Freedom from TIME can free you to RV http://rv52.com/rving-freedom-time-freedom-time-can-free-rv/ http://rv52.com/rving-freedom-time-freedom-time-can-free-rv/#respond Tue, 30 Sep 2014 14:03:43 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39549 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) Being Spartan-like – and reducing your stuff, increases your ability to have freedom from time. Freedom from time can mean several things. Freedom from time might mean that you do not have specific time slots in which you have little to no choice whether or not […]

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clock freedom from time

clock freedom from time

(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - I LOVE LOVE LOVE the independence RVing gives me! - http://rv52.com/?p=39549 #RV

Being Spartan-like – and reducing your stuff, increases your ability to have freedom from time.

Freedom from time can mean several things.

Freedom from time might mean that you do not have specific time slots in which you have little to no choice whether or not you attend.

For this type of time freedom, this is very much akin to the idea that by reducing costs related to things, that you can reduce your need for money and in turn create immense flexibility in how your get your income. With income flexibility comes tremendous freedom. One of those freedoms might be the freedom to define when, where, and how long you spend dedicated time to earn that income. You can read more about my ideas around this idea in freedom from place.

More interestingly, freedom from time might mean that you do not have to commit time, albeit unscheduled, to servicing a thing. One example might be mowing a lawn. Another, providing upkeep to a swimming pool.

Lets dive into the idea of how “things” or “stuff” create time demands.

I haven’t worn a watch in 30 years. I quit the first time because I got tired of my personal neurosis of constantly looking at my watch. I keep time in my head. It will have to be good enough.

Recently there has been a trend for a new kind of watch that works with your smartphone so you don’t have to take your phone out of your pocket to see the phone’s screen. This watch is called a smartwatch.

So I bought a smartwatch. It was very cool. Sleek. Black.

It came with a cable which allowed you to plug it in and charge it. And a box.

To use it you had to install an app on your smartphone. In terms of tech, it was pretty easy to use and get going.

I wore it a week and then sold it on eBay.

Why?

Because the utility it brought me was not enough to outweigh the added time fuss it created.

On the positive side I liked the cool watch faces, the ability to see my text messages, the ability to see email, and the ability to control my phone without taking it out of my pocket.

But on the negative side, I had to remember to mess with it in the morning, I didn’t like wearing a watch, just like I thought was still true. I looked at my watch face a bunch, I ended up looking at my phone anyway, I had to deal with the watch charging, and finally, the watch interfered with using my laptop because it rubbed on the keyboard the wrong way. I even spent quite a bit of time messing with the apps on the watch.

It just wasn’t worth it. Even now, I am amazed at all the EXTRA time that the watch consumed.

My smartphone  (Apple iPhone 5s, Gold 16GB (Unlocked)) consumes time – but the time it consumes is worth the extra utility it gives me in my life. It is invaluable to me. This examination of reward versus expenditure. Thoughtless spending and accumulation has a high price.

My wife bought a Roomba (iRobot Roomba 770 Vacuum Cleaning Robot for Pets and Allergies). Everyday she moves EVERYTHING that could keep Gussy-Lou (the name for the Roomba) from doing her job. That sounds positively awful to me to have to create all that work every day. But for her she doesn’t get dirty socks and she really, really wants her house to be sparkling. So even though the Roomba requires work (an example of a thing making work to keep it going), it REDUCES work because she couldn’t/wouldn’t clean the house every day, but Roomba does. She LOVES her clean, squeaky clean socks because there is no dirt on the floor ever. She LOVES it a lot.

The Roomba was another example of deciding to ACCEPT the extra work because the extra work was worth the benefit.

One example of something that costs a lot in time, money, mental anguish, and complexity is a car.

In Austin Texas, I’m starting to run into people who do not have cars. In America, that is shocking.

But there are great transportation choices in Austin. We have instant car rentals, instant bike rentals, busses, taxis and a little bit of light rail. You CAN get around town.

What did these people give up?

By not owning a car they gave up a $100/month insurance payment, car payments (for some), gasoline payments, parking payments, registration payments, licensing payments, oil changes, engine maintenance, car cleaning and probably bunches more not needed to get the point across.

What did they give up that was a good thing about owning a car?

The utter and sheer convenience of hopping in a car to do something or go somewhere willy nilly.

Given traffic and air pollution – maybe they gave up something and all of us gained something in return?

I love the Windows computer owners. This little vignette is about freedom from time, but it is also about having the RIGHT asset to get your freedom from time.

I have reboot my Mac maybe once every 4-6 months. I haven’t had a bad error in a couple years where it rebooted for me. It just works.

I have a Windows computer for my work. Sometimes search works on it well. With about 20% of the websites I browse using Internet Explorer it tells me I get a script failure and has a little error message in the lower banner bar. It mostly works, but the websites usually don’t work as well in IE as with other browsers. I deal with all sorts of adjustments I have to do to function on the Windows computer on a daily basis.

I estimate that task-by-task Mac versus Windows, unless I’m completely limiting my activities, I spend about twice the amount of time getting something done in the Windows computer versus the Mac.

Example: Windows has trouble searching email in Outlook. Takes forever. Mac Mail on the other hand has an almost instant search. To find an email in Outlook – 5-10 minutes. To find an email in Mac – 1-2 minutes tops. To find a file in Windows I’ll spend as much as 15 minutes. To find a file on the Mac, about 1 minute.

In this example, Windows computers require an inordinate amount of effort to do the job. You are burning time. If you selected a more efficient asset, you might find yourself with an extra hour or two every day.

Given you only have two things granted to you in life – irreplaceable time or replaceable money, you might want to protect your time very carefully.

I’m hoping that after reading this chapter you get the idea that eliminating assets big or small can buy you time. I’m also hoping that you can see having the right assets can buy you time. If you have an asset and you burn time on it, make sure that the time you spend actually matters to you.

Now that you have all this time on your hands, you can decide to stay the extra week to watch the Padres opening game for the season.

After all, who cares?

Where do you really, truly, need to be?

Now we’re talking.

 

 

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RV ing the simple Spartan Way – How RV52 handles Memorabilia http://rv52.com/rv-ing-simple-spartan-way-rv52-handles-memorabilia/ http://rv52.com/rv-ing-simple-spartan-way-rv52-handles-memorabilia/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 14:00:24 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39565 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) One of the hardest things to do is to get rid of those very, very special mementos. I’m talking about the physical thingys that are hard to describe. I’ll make a list here, but no way can this be inclusive. My list is slightly tongue-in-cheek, but […]

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example of memorabilia

Great example of memorabilia. I lugged this around for years. Finally I photographed it and its in my iTunes library.

(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - One of the crazier articles you have published on living small - http://rv52.com/?p=39565 #RV

One of the hardest things to do is to get rid of those very, very special mementos. I’m talking about the physical thingys that are hard to describe.

I’ll make a list here, but no way can this be inclusive. My list is slightly tongue-in-cheek, but go with it, ok?

* Cross country and track medals (I really did have these)

* Sports and competition trophies. (Racing, fishing, basketball, poker, and on and on and on)

* Commemorative plaques, plates, glasses, chairs, placards, coffee cups, and on and on and on.

* Old projects, work awards.

* Watches, sculptures, and on and on.

* Diplomas, certificates, certifications…

 

 

I for one struggled with my track medals. I was super proud of all my racing. I had medals in the 400 meters, 800 meters, relays, and also cross country races. At least one lifetime ago I was skinny. My running weight was 154 pounds. I could run like the wind. I wasn’t world class. Heck I wasn’t even “state” class, but I still did pretty darned good.

Somehow I could never part with those medals. So I lugged them around with me for 30 years.

One day, after living in an RV (growing more Spartan-like) I had several very big realizations about the medals – and “stuff” for that matter:

1) I couldn’t remember the details of some of the races anymore.

2) None of the races were really important.

3) No one cared but me.

4) I had two kids, not one. How would I split the medals anyway?

5) My kids really didn’t care that much.

So, after my Spartalization ( a Spartan-like realization ) I made some decisions.

1) I would photograph each medal carefully, front and back.

2) I would throw away all the medals with absolutely no tears. Actually what I ended up doing was giving them to some local kids as chachkies.

3) I would not have any regrets.

It was absolutely the most freeing experience I had in a long time.

I then did the same thing with my University of Nebraska framed diploma, my high school diploma, my Master’s diploma, my 1 mile track award, and almost every single other thing in my life that no one cared about but me.

 

 

And the world continued to rotate just fine.

Cute side note on the diploma thing. I had a friend who was HIGHLY educated – way more so than me. He actually had a masters from M.I.T. and a Ph.D from another prestigious university. He puts a very high value on credentials – I’m not faulting him – I’m just saying. When I told him I threw the fancy sheepskin away, you’d have thought I stabbed him through his heart.

So now I’m asking you, RVing friend…

Can’t you simply take a picture of all of your little memorabilia and won’t that be good enough. Why do you really, really, really have to lug that crap around?

After all, you can’t take it with you.

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RV ing light – Quick notes on thinking about storage on an RV http://rv52.com/rv-ing-light-quick-notes-thinking-storage-rv/ http://rv52.com/rv-ing-light-quick-notes-thinking-storage-rv/#respond Tue, 23 Sep 2014 13:31:15 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39581 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) Storage is one of those things that I hear the ladies say (ok, just my wife – I’ve got no proof what the other ladies say) “I love this RV because it has so much storage.” While I can completely appreciate the statement and the sentiment, […]

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(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - Thx for letting me know how insidious storage can be in an RV -http://rv52.com/?p=39581 #RV

Storage is one of those things that I hear the ladies say (ok, just my wife – I’ve got no proof what the other ladies say) “I love this RV because it has so much storage.”

While I can completely appreciate the statement and the sentiment, this is a really big RED flag.

Storage=stuff.

Stuff=weight.

Weight=Overweight+Illegal+Dangerous.

So when it comes to storage BE CAREFUL. BE THOUGHTFUL.

Try not to put HEAVY things into storage. If you own a heavy IBM selectric typewriter – please do not put it in your RV in your RV storage anywhere!

Do you own gold? Put it in a safe deposit box or somewhere better than a weight sensitive RV. Think about how many Spanish Galleons went to the bottom of the sea! That was probably because they had too much heavy gold in their cargo holds.

AVOID books and other heavy, easily digitizable media. This can get out of hand very fast.

DO use your storage to de-clutter your RV. Put things like stationery, envelopes, greeting cards, and some other small bric-a-brac of life in the storage.

DO use your storage to hold some of your needed (in my opinion) electronics equipment like your Internet modem, or your wireless router. You might have a small basket for holding AA, AAA, and 9V batteries and miscellaneous cables.

DO use your storage for some fun things that you might bring out on special occasions, like a candle or two, or perhaps a small table standing decoration. Don’t go overboard on this – but a little can go a long way.

By properly digitizing your life, you’ll find that the storage simply isn’t needed that much.

 

 

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Have you ever tried to sell a couch on Craigslist? http://rv52.com/ever-tried-sell-couch-craigslist/ http://rv52.com/ever-tried-sell-couch-craigslist/#respond Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:36:25 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39537 Could have been called “Get over your attachment to your stuff” (an excerpt from my book – The Spartan RV) A lot of people paid really good money for furniture. Things like couches, love seats, ottomans, coffee tables, end tables, tables, and book cases. They agonized over those purchases – comparing costs, checking colors, checking […]

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couch pictured on craigslist

couch pictured on craigslist

Could have been called “Get over your attachment to your stuff”

(an excerpt from my book – The Spartan RV)

A lot of people paid really good money for furniture.

Things like couches, love seats, ottomans, coffee tables, end tables, tables, and book cases.

They agonized over those purchases – comparing costs, checking colors, checking wood composition, scrutinizing manufacturers and so much more. They were going to make a really solid purchase.

So they plunk down several thousand dollars to get all this furniture.

Within seconds, an $800 couch new becomes a $10 couch used.

Used furniture isn’t worth much.

The more the potential “yuk” factor, the more money you lose. A couch – full of who knows what in the cushions can’t hardly be given away.

Craigslist shows you why:

 

 

Notice all the things in red. These RED highlight items simply CRUSH the high dollar items that I didn’t highlight.

No one, and I mean NO ONE gives a ding dang dong what you paid for your furniture or that some really cool guy in a loft in New York designed it.

Worse, the chances the color scheme you picked for your house, works for someone else is pretty slim too. Probably ZERO chance, not just slim. So when someone is mildly interested in what you have, they probably aren’t interested in it enough to help you get all your money back on your item.

As much as you think you might have the best furniture on the planet, you are probably the only one that thinks so.

So to downsize from a house to an RV you are going to have to get very comfortable with the idea that your furniture is not worth very much money. Particularly if you want to get rid of it in a hurry.

Tweet This:@rv52 - You are wrong - you can make lots of money selling couches on Craigslist! - http://rv52.com/?p=39537 #RV
Tweet This:@rv52 - You are right - selling a couch on craigslist is yukky - http://rv52.com/?p=39537 #RV

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Cute little hummingbird is a bit of a couch potato http://rv52.com/cute-little-hummingbird-bit-couch-potato/ http://rv52.com/cute-little-hummingbird-bit-couch-potato/#respond Sun, 21 Sep 2014 01:59:59 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39974 Filmed on the RV52.com world headquarters property.  

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Filmed on the RV52.com world headquarters property.

 

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The So-Called “Free” Hot Tub – Learning how to reduce your monthly burn so you can RV http://rv52.com/called-free-hot-tub-learning-reduce-monthly-burn-can-rv/ http://rv52.com/called-free-hot-tub-learning-reduce-monthly-burn-can-rv/#respond Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:30:52 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39535 (this is an excerpt from my book – The Spartan RV) The same friend who bought the pool – traded some stuff for a hot tub on Craigslist. Yep. Another great deal. I’ll spare you all of the details like I wrote in the story about his pool and skip right to the good part. […]

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(this is an excerpt from my book – The Spartan RV)

The same friend who bought the pool – traded some stuff for a hot tub on Craigslist.

Yep.

Another great deal.

I’ll spare you all of the details like I wrote in the story about his pool and skip right to the good part.

Phone rings.

Sheri (my wife) answers.

Voice on the other end “Holy crap, the hot tub made my electric bill THREE times what it normally would be.”

Needless to say, the hot tub was shut off and he is searching for a lower energy hot tub.

So, when you wonder what some of the hidden costs might be for things, consider the daily operational costs, like energy. The increased energy use could even cause you to bump over a threshold and then cost you more across the board for all of your energy – which is like a double cost.

Don’t forget to add in the occasional maintenance too – like chemicals, repairs, and normal usage costs. You might be very surprised at the real costs involved with owning “things”.

So what if you REALLY do like to swim and use hot tubs?

Even assuming your usage is almost daily, join an athletic club. Some of these clubs have memberships as low as $25/month and you get access to their equipment, their pools, their saunas, their hottubs and so much more. Better yet, you just show up. They take care of everything. Not only do you save money, you lower your “complexity” level. Lower your complexity level, then you can give more attention to your marriage, or a real hobby.

It really is a big deal.

If your usage is very occasional or monthly, you can pay the club a one-time fee, or even go book a hotel room at a hotel that has the equipment. That might be fun for you and a great break.

But the important point is that ownership is simply not the end-all be-all in life.

Tweet This:@rv52 - You nailed it on the Hot Tub Bidness - http://rv52.com/?p=39535 #RV
Tweet This:@rv52 - Honestly Marlan, you are overblowing it on the hot tub expenses! - http://rv52.com/?p=39535 #RV

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RVing is a Tradeoff Between Time, Money, and Assets http://rv52.com/rving-tradeoff-time-money-assets/ http://rv52.com/rving-tradeoff-time-money-assets/#respond Sun, 14 Sep 2014 15:28:09 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39533 (this is an excerpt from my book – The Spartan RV) All life is a tradeoff. But if you can make the right trades you can live a life at a level of fulfillment that exceeds the average. One thing that people might not think about is that you can actually TRADE some time, money, […]

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(this is an excerpt from my book – The Spartan RV)

All life is a tradeoff.

Tweet This:@rv52 says All Life is a Tradeoff! - http://rv52.com/?p=39533 #RV

But if you can make the right trades you can live a life at a level of fulfillment that exceeds the average.

One thing that people might not think about is that you can actually TRADE some time, money, and assets back and forth from each other. When downsizing from a house to an RV, you need to think in terms of converting Assets to cash or vice-versa.

For example, when you buy something, you convert cash into an asset. For me (not Robert Kiyosaki – author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad a book with some really useful ideas), an asset is something that has an innate value. It has been said that the PROFIT is made when you buy something, not when you sell it.

One of the best ways to eliminate regret when you downsize from a house to an RV is to make your COSTS of the transaction as small as possible. That means as much as possible, you want to only buy things that you can sell for close to the same as the purchase price. Ways to do this is to buy very expensive, very durable, high dollar items that hold their value. The downside of this is that you have a very small market that will buy your stuff. Another way would be to have very LOW cost items purchased perhaps very carefully second hand.

But the point is you are simply converting between asset value and cash value. So when you downsize, you are simply converting your assets to cash.

In general, cash is a better asset to have because it is the most simple thing to have.

Cash is simpler than an asset. An example of an asset is a refrigerator. While cash requires little to no effort to maintain, a refrigerator does. If it is plugged in it is way more complex. It takes energy. You have to make sure it is working. And so on. Owning and operating an asset by definition requires effort. So in this way, eliminating assets simplifies your life and increases your cash. You get rid of complexity when you get rid of the asset.

Continuing with the refrigerator idea, the refrigerator also requires time, partly because of its complexity. For example, when you have a refrigerator, you need to spend time to change filters, to manage the ice maker, to clean the refrigerator, to serve the refrigerator. Getting rid of assets frees up time.

So if you can get your mind into the mindset that you are simply shifting from assets to cash, from time to freedom, and from complexity to simplicity, then you are heading the right way. You simple decide ahead of time what time and complexity demands you are willing to tolerate and then move your cash into those assets. In other words, you can “dial in” the life you want.

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RV Life – Everyone is always on Vacation! http://rv52.com/rv-life-everyone-always-vacation/ http://rv52.com/rv-life-everyone-always-vacation/#respond Wed, 10 Sep 2014 15:24:11 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39531 (short excerpt from my book – The Spartan RV) When my wife and I are in an RV park we noticed something really weird. Everyone is happy. In fact, they were all friendly, conversant, cheery, and just about every other sappy-syruppy word you can imagine. Once we switched from an RV park to a mobile […]

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(short excerpt from my book – The Spartan RV)

When my wife and I are in an RV park we noticed something really weird.

Everyone is happy.

Tweet This:@rv52 - I agree! Everyone Is always on vacation - http://rv52.com/?p=39531 #RV
Tweet This:@rv52 - I disagree! - http://rv52.com/?p=39531 #RV

In fact, they were all friendly, conversant, cheery, and just about every other sappy-syruppy word you can imagine.

Once we switched from an RV park to a mobile home park. The mobile home park just happened to be very close to where we needed to be with space for an RV.

The mobile home park had a completely different vibe. People were busy living their lives. They didn’t talk or really try to be friendly at all. It seemed an awful lot like real life. Yuk. Who wants real life?

The mobile home park allowed us to really understand that in the RV parks – everyone is on vacation.

For the most part, almost everyone is either retired or working mobile at what they love. They are just happy.

As you think about RVing, be prepared to deal with lots of happy satisfied people.

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Going from BIG LIFE to RV LIFE http://rv52.com/going-big-life-rv-life/ http://rv52.com/going-big-life-rv-life/#respond Sun, 07 Sep 2014 15:15:16 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39529 (This is an excerpt from my book The Spartan RV) We all have the vision. We can vision ourselves visiting all the amazing places in North America. Seeing it all, let alone, living immersively in it all, would take a lifetime. We lived our lifetime working. We spent our YEARS getting ready for the adventure […]

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(This is an excerpt from my book The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - Shucks, it really isn't that big of a deal paring down your life! http://rv52.com/?p=39529 #RV
Tweet This:@rv52 - You've hit the nail on the head - downsizing is pretty hard! http://rv52.com/?p=39529 #RV

We all have the vision.

We can vision ourselves visiting all the amazing places in North America. Seeing it all, let alone, living immersively in it all, would take a lifetime.

We lived our lifetime working.

We spent our YEARS getting ready for the adventure of a lifetime. Getting ready also meant, getting financially ready. Scrapping, scraping, living, accumulating, and if all goes well retiring.

All these places are on our list (this is just a sample, ok?): Niagara Falls, Carhenge, USS Lexington, Corn Palace, Mile High stadium, Yosemite. Any lake or place in Canada, Mall of America, Orlando, Orlando, Orlando, Grand Canyon.

The list goes on and on. It is as endless as the imagination of the adventurer.

A large portion of these people would like to visit these places with 1) No schedule, 2) No reservations, 3) No commitments, and 4) traveling as you see fit.

Doing it in a recreational vehicle (RV) seems like a perfect fit.

The largest RV that can legally roam the road is 399 square feet. I repeat for EFFECT: The LARGEST RV is 399 square feet.

The problem is that after 30, 40, or 50 years of living you accumulated some stuff. In fact, if you are AVERAGE, your house size has ballooned to nearly 2,500 square feet. [ See graph ]

Median House Prices 1973 through 2010

Almost 33% increase since 1973

Getting all that stuff from 2,500 square feet to less than 400 square feet is a reduction of 5 times. Oh yea, RVs don’t come with garages which most home do so the space problem between the two is even bigger.

Before ending this short chapter, do you remember when you were in your parents or grandparents house, perhaps in the 50′s, 60′s or 70′s or even earlier?

I do. I remember that those houses were really small. They were cozy little 3-6 room houses on modest lots. What they lacked in size, they made up with character, quality, and little touches like porches and outdoor areas. This is what we’ve gotten far away from. I imagine the jump from those little houses to an RV wouldn’t be hard for the people that lived in them.

So the BIG question is… how do you go from 2,500 square feet to less than 400 square feet while simultaneously having everything you need to experience North America fully?

That my friendly reader is the idea behind the book: Going from BIG life to RV life.

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Why did I pick Sparta as the name for my new idea in my book? http://rv52.com/pick-sparta-name-new-idea-book/ http://rv52.com/pick-sparta-name-new-idea-book/#respond Thu, 04 Sep 2014 15:09:57 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39527 Truthfully, this book was going to be called RV Zen, but that was already taken. Then I looked up Zen. It had nothing to do with this book’s main idea. Nothing at all. How many words do we think we know what they mean, but have no clue. [ I once had a friend that […]

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Tweet This:@rv52 - I think the Sparta concept for you book wasn't too bad - http://rv52.com/?p=39527 #RV
Tweet This:@rv52 - I would have liked a different overall concept than Sparta - http://rv52.com/?p=39527 #RV

Truthfully, this book was going to be called RV Zen, but that was already taken.

Then I looked up Zen. It had nothing to do with this book’s main idea. Nothing at all.

How many words do we think we know what they mean, but have no clue. [ I once had a friend that thought “platonic” mean sex without commitment because the girl he spent many hours with kept saying they had a platonic relationship. True story. ]

Penultimate is a word like that too.

To me, that sounded like the BIG ultimate, the MAIN ultimate, the ultimate above all ultimates.

I would tell people “The software we’re making is the PENULTIMATE in development software.” I used that darned saying for a year or two.

One day, I’m telling someone that our software was the PENULTIMATE way of doing some little thing that seemed important in that meeting. One of the engineer that I’m good friends with says to me “Did you really mean to tell him that our software is the 2nd best?”

Then I looked up the word penultimate. It literally means second best. I was mortified. I had said that word in that context to 1000’s of people!

So I looked I better look up ZEN. It has a whole lot more to do with meditation and intuition than anything. All good stuff – but not what this book is about.

Zen is absolutely NOT the way to lesser stuff. Althooooough lesser stuff MAY be a path to Zen.

No. This is more about minimalism. But minimalism cannot be about simply doing without.

It has to be a state of mind.

You see, you gotta get something in return for minimizing possessions. Sure – I’ll show you how possessions are terribly costly and that simply minimizing your PHYSICAL footprint on the planet can be good for you economically. But more than, I’ll show you how all that stuff actually has a gigantic negative toll on your psyche and spirituality.

So when I thought about a symbolic anchor that people might get I thought about the Spartans.

They were WAY above the idea of things. They put the idea of excellence, presence, team, & relationships above all else. I love that.

So the idea of Sparta, of a spartan existence balled together everything I thought should go together. It combined an ethic of excellence and utilitarianism with a symbol that to me, just makes sense.

Some of you may have a negative idea attached to the idea of “being Spartan”. I don’t agree with that idea. You choose to be Spartan because of the incredible integrity of your being. This is the real and inclusive meaning of “integrity” here – not the abbreviated version meaning “good morals”.

So in my RV, “we are Sparta”.

[ Sidenote: A really fun movie about Sparta and the Spartans is 300 [Blu-ray] from Amazon. Massively entertaining show! Another sidenote is that a book that starts to get at the heart of the mental state I’m descibing here is a book called The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. ]

Tweet This:@rv52 - cool book - everyone take a look at Marlan's book - http://rv52.com/spartanrv #RV

 

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RV52’s big BBQ Problem – Awesome Opie’s and Reader Feedback http://rv52.com/rv52s-big-bbq-problem-awesome-opies-reader-feedback/ http://rv52.com/rv52s-big-bbq-problem-awesome-opies-reader-feedback/#respond Sun, 31 Aug 2014 13:31:39 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39523   Before I get to writing, I thought I would make a “fun” little set of “Tweet this” choices. After the article they might make more sense. I went a little crazy, but I thought it would be fun. If you don’t know what “tweeting” is, just skip down. Awesome Opie’s I’ve had Opie’s before […]

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Outstanding Texas Smokers - Opie's BBQ (Barbeque) in Spicewood Texas near Austin

Opie’s BBQ (Barbeque) in Spicewood Texas near Austin. Underrated. Underreported. Undervalued. One of the few places where it is worth the trip JUST FOR THE SIDES!!!! Not to mention outstanding BBQ.

 

Before I get to writing, I thought I would make a “fun” little set of “Tweet this” choices. After the article they might make more sense. I went a little crazy, but I thought it would be fun. If you don’t know what “tweeting” is, just skip down.

Awesome Opie’s

I’ve had Opie’s before and I remember thinking it was good. But I was in a hurry and honestly, on that day it was “just BBQ”.

But I went back recently.

I was NOT in a hurry. Honestly, you should NEVER be in a hurry to eat. Why not make eating a JOY rather than a JOB. Just a one letter difference, but what a difference it makes.

I’m just coming off of a recent trip and short writeup of the City Market down in Luling. That City Market BBQ was outstanding and I had to admit it was some of the best.

But as I’m getting BBQ cracklins’ all over my keyboard from Opie’s, I might have given too much praise for City Market. That place is darned fine. Darned fine.

But Opie’s, I think, tops it.

That is right. I would put Opie’s ABOVE City Market. Maybe Opie’s had a great day (Like Nebraska Cornhusker’s victory over Florida Atlantic) and City Market was just having a GOOD day. But nonetheless – right now – mano-a-mano (sp?) I would pick Opie’s everytime.

Let dig into why…

Sausage – Honestly sausage is a tie. The Opie’s Jalapeno Cheese Sausage is crazy-good. Oh, I can hear the whiners and so called sausage purists saying you can’t put cheese inside a sausage. I know that they are thinking, the doggone thing isn’t kosher anymore. Or they might be thinking that cheese in sausage is too bourgeois. But come-on folks, this tastes AWESOME (cue sound of harps and angelic choirs).

Brisket – Holy cow. Did they drop a keg of pure butter into the thing? I’m not sure but the Opie’s brisket is probably the official post child eatery of the Atkins diet. Certainly it ought to be served in the cafeteria of Heart Hospital, right? It is melt in your mouth good.

Pork Chop – Super good. Reheats splendidly. Big, thick and juicy. Standard pork chop so it can’t be Perry-class pork chop, but for standard pork chops, LOVE IT. Love the smoke in it – and not metallic like the overrated place down in Lockhart (name withheld to protect RV52 from flat tires).

Pork Ribs – Dangest thing happened. I looked at it. The meat JUMPED off the bone. I hadn’t even touched it yet. Yes, they even had a delicious light BBQ sauce taste along with the delightful smoky flavor. Better yet, this wasn’t some Paleo skinny pig that was only allowed to smoke pot, listen to classical music, and eat kale. No this was an all-American pig that listened to rock-and-roll, ate piles of fat and nasty corn, rode his bad-arse Hog and made himself the pig we all wanna eat. This was good stuff. Kudos to Opie’s pork ribs.

Turkey – super good. But I lets move on.

Sides – Opie’s has lots of sides. But two caught my eye. They were spicy corn and tater tot casserole. Keep in mind, I’ve had some darned good hash brown casseroles. If you like the cheesy hash brown casserole from Cracker Barrel let me help you with a comparison. Cracker Barrel’s is good. But Cracker Barrel is like the all-girls 7 year old YMCA basketball team and Opies is like the San Antonio Spurs. The stuff reheats well so buy a gallon or two. You’ll thank me that you did. Your heart surgeon thanks me. Your Lipitor sales person thanks me. Your gastro doc thanks me. If you are going to die, this is the way to do it. If I ever get sentenced to death, maybe I’ll ask them if I can select the technique. Death by Opies tater tot casserole. Good stuff. Buy it. Don’t ask questions.

I go to Torchie’s Tacos once a week. If not more. I love the place. They made a VERY SPECIAL side called “street corn”. You’ll never have a better side of corn. Or so I thought. I now believe that the Torchies people have a true competitor in Opie’s spicy corn. WWWWOOOOWWWW. Just get it, ok? WARNING – It is spicy. It reheats well. WARNING – it gets spicier as it ages. You’ve been warned.

Long and the short — I would go back to Opie’s solely for their sides. The BBQ? That is just major upside.

Tweet This:@rv52 - About darned time you got out to Opie's - Good review - http://rv52.com/rv52s-big-bbq-problem-awesome-opies-reader-feedback/ #RV

Reader Feedback on BBQ Story

A reader (Tom) recently called me out on my last story because I put Rudy’s on the list. Hats off to Tom for calling me out. So I owe it to RV52 readers everywhere to characterize Rudy’s correctly.

He said it is overrated. I agree with him. I think Rudy’s get a lot of attention because it is everywhere and for the MOST PART you get what expect, and it is very serviceable BBQ. So I guess I’m saying that Rudy’s is the McDonalds of  the BBQ world. That is good for Rudy’s in some ways. But if you are going for the BIG DOG BEST BBQ, then it probably should not make the list. Kind of like a BBQ bridesmaid (y’all can have some fun with that analogy).

Tweet This:@rv52 - You aren't being fair to Rudy's you big meanie - http://rv52.com/rv52s-big-bbq-problem-awesome-opies-reader-feedback/ #RV

So I got to thinking – why do I go to Rudys? Well, whenever the choice is BBQ A vs Rudys, we go to BBQ A. That means whenever people are going to have BBQ and they are thinking about which BBQ place, they’ll choose something other than Rudys – not all the time, but most of the time. Keep in mind, I go to Rudys.

But when the choice is “other food” versus Rudys, then many time, Rudys wins out.

So you see, Rudys is good food, but average BBQ. I think that is fair.

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RV52 Under Attack! But keeps on fighting http://rv52.com/rv52-attack-keeps-fighting/ http://rv52.com/rv52-attack-keeps-fighting/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 12:19:37 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39448 RV52 is TRULY under attack! While at RV52 HQ, I am being attacked by HUGE green monsters that are threatening the RV52.com food supply. They are relentless creatures. I’ve appealed to the authorities and it looks like the authorities are not going to be any help. The so-called-authorities aren’t taking this seriously – perhaps these […]

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RV52 is TRULY under attack!

While at RV52 HQ, I am being attacked by HUGE green monsters that are threatening the RV52.com food supply.

They are relentless creatures. I’ve appealed to the authorities and it looks like the authorities are not going to be any help. The so-called-authorities aren’t taking this seriously – perhaps these creatures have an insider?

This could possibly be worse than a zombie apocalypse. At least zombies don’t eat food. They just eat you. You won’t starve if you can avoid the darned zombies.

Not true with these beasts.

But the things attacking RV52.com, if left unchecked threaten to cause RV52 to die a slow painful lingering death.

What to do?

One good thing is that while they grow fast, the don’t move fast. I was able to get a picture for RV52.com readers:

 

tomato hornworm attacking rv52.com homebase food supply

tomato hornworm attacking rv52.com homebase food supply

 

Of course, this is a little bit in jest. All true, but hardly a catastrophe. But doggone-it, my heart dropped onto the ground when I saw that thing on my plants. I had such high hopes when I started this project.

I’ve NEVER grown a garden or a plant of any kind in my life. So all this is new to me. I continue to realize I don’t know anything about tomato growing and/or these worms.

On one hand I had some pretty good growth.

IMG_2264

 

On the other hand, my plants seemed to stop thriving. Over a three day period they were looking skinny. That was when I saw “it”.

It looked like a funny fat branch on my tomatoes.

But it wasn’t a branch.

It was “the beast”. Then I saw there was more than one “beast”.

Then I started looking critically at the plants – not just rushing through to put water on them, but really LOOKING. My tomatoes weren’t just ragged. They were completely stripped of foliage! Wow.

I should have noticed that before. Aarrrrgggh!

So I thought I would amuse you with some things I have learned so far – knowing I have a long way to go.

  • After you pick off those worms, the plants start leaping to the sky!!! (again).
  • Fire ants LOVE LOVE LOVE the hornworms. I’m going to get a timelapse video of that. Very cool.
  • Yes it is cruel to drop a hornworm into an ant bed. Oh well.
  • Note: I think hornworms do indeed feel pain. When the first fire ant hit the thing, zowie, it about jumped 2-3 inches in the air.
  • If you do the hornworm check daily, you’ll get good at it. I can spot the babies now. I think I have them under control.
  • Finally, a praying mantis got onto my plants. Go get that hornworm you lazy mantis!
  • You’d thing the birds would love those delicious little green fatties. Bird crap everywhere on my planters, but worms seem to have free reign.

So I’m sure you’ll feel really sorry for me now, knowing the full inside scoop on the attack story.

If you got one, story that is, send it in or post it in the comments. It is what they are here for! (I cannot seem to keep from ending sentences with prepositions)

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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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