RV and camping sources!

May Saturday’s post rest in peace!

After Saturday’s rant (on my birthday, no less!) I decided that some things need to change around here. That post should have never been posted, so I killed it!  One commenter suggested that my posts are too long. Agreed… especially that last one… although sometimes it’s hard get a train of thought stopped in a short distance… but I will try… or at least break them up into smaller bites.

More “conductors” would be nice! (That means you!) The job doesn’t pay much, but you always gain more valuable knowledge when you participate!

I realize that some people are like audiophiles or videophiles, that expect every piece of information they read to be like John Steinbeck or Kurt Vonnegut. Sorry, but I’m not them. The closest I can get is that Ernie Pyle was a cousin through marriage, and I have to say I haven’t even read his books!

Not that I can’t learn to be a great writer with enough study, or enough thought put into it, but I’m me, and I’m retired. Everything I said about me on the ebook sign up page is true, and I don’t hide it. I’ve got more than 40 years of experience at a lot of different things behind me, but one thing I have learned is that I can’t please everyone! I am who I am, and I’m not going to try to be something I’m not! Sometimes I get cantankerous around certain people, but I figure they made me the way I am, so if they can’t deal with it, it’s their problem, not mine! I get along fine with myself… most of the time.

About (yuk!) “sales in general”…

In regard to sales in general, I am going to say what I have to say today, and then I am going to shut up about it! Of course, the conversation below is a part of all this.

To try to gain more social traffic, I am going to find the plug-in that adds the proper social sharing buttons. I should have done that long ago, but as I said, this is not my only web site, blog or project, and the money commands where I spend my time.

No links???? What???

The other commenter said the reason I’m not selling things is because I don’t have the product links on this blog.  He, for example, went around the link on the front page of my main site and signed up for Workamper News because I didn’t have a link to it on this blog that was convenient, even though one click to the main site would have made the link available.

I can lead a horse to a water trough, but if he chooses to drink out of a puddle, then maybe it’s because the water in the trough tastes worse than the puddle! Time to investigate why!

Problem solved. You’ll notice there are now links to “some” of my main recommended sources in the right margin. I find it hard to believe that some wouldn’t be interested in travel software, so maybe there wasn’t enough information on it. The new longer banner expains more about it, so we’ll see if that helps. And I shouldn’t have to explain it, but for all the newbies out there, you actually have to click on a picture or link to check out the product! (After all, we’re eliminating excuses here!)

Jason Odom’s Vanabode book on how to travel on $20 a day is also a great resource for anyone wanting to use an “unmodified” full size van for traveling and still have basic creature comforts. Many of his ideas are the same as mine, but he also has some different points of view on some things that you should check out.

I also made the link to the main page of my site in bold, so that it stands out more, since it appears that many of you are not going there to see what else I have. What I show here on this blog, in both information and products,  is a drop in the bucket compared to what I have available on the main site.

The main site is NOT just about minivans, and I realize that not everyone is interested in that. Most of my notifications there have been about the minivan, because you are all subscribers to the ebook. I am not in the habit of “pitching” to people in every email I send out, because I don’t like it when other people do it to me. If the site isn’t drawing them in to buy the products, then maybe I need to revamp the site to attract buyers instead of readers. After all, there are “shopper” keywords, and there are “buyer” keywords, and I’m probably not using enough of the latter.

Right now the site is focusing on my first ebook offering (of I hope, many on many other topics). The first book just happens to be about minivans. The other ebooks will be more general in travel topics. The main site is actually about literally everything that I can think of having to do with RV’ing and camping, the same as this blog is. There are literally hundreds of articles and product recommendations available there for all kinds of RV’ers and campers, and I will be adding more as I have time. Most of them are there to either save you money or keep you safe, which is the main topic of the site. Anything else is coincidental.

If you want information and recommendations on particular products having to do with this topic, then you need to go to the main site pages where I have that information. It’s NOT here on this blog! I don’t have room for all of them. The main site currently has about 115 specialized pages on it, and they are all completely different than what is here. Hopefully, you won’t have any trouble finding it now.

Blue words…

I know some of you will have an issue with this (more advertising), but I have my SkimWords set to medium density right now, which isn’t producing the numbers I want to see, so this afternoon I am going to reset it to the highest setting to see what happens. If I don’t like the amount of “blue words” I see, I’ll set it back. Keep in mind, I don’t have control over where SkimWords chooses to send those links, unless I program the link first, so that will also be a determination as to how I set them.

SkimWords are a little like Adsense, in that they pick random vendors in their database based on the keywords of the site, so that can also mean that they might bring up a competitor’s products. But since my main products (my books) are unique, and everything else is through affiliate links, I’m not concerned about that.

Some people have said they don’t like being “sold to” or seeing advertising all the time, but they wouldn’t have ANY man-made item within their field of vision if someone at some point hadn’t sold it first. And some information isn’t going to do you any good without the resources to make use of it, so buy from whomever gives you good information, whether it’s me or some other blogger trying to make a buck to cover his expenses of you reading his information! It’s a fair trade!

As I said Saturday, I am not doing all this out of the kindness of my heart. If I provide quality information in a format you like, then it’s only fair that you show your appreciation by at least checking out some of the products I suggest. I tend to walk away from conversations where I am ignored, and web work is no different. If no one is paying any attention to what I put out there, then I can save my time talking about it, delete this blog, and just use SEO to get actual interested buyers to my sales pages. That has always worked in the past.

Not that I am trying to get “everyone’s” business. If you are on some other traveler’s blog and he provided you with useful information… and he has links… USE them! We’re running “stores” here, with the object being to make money! And just like stores, if we can’t afford to keep the operation going, it will close! I can’t click on my own links to get discounts, so I also have occasion to buy from other bloggers when I need something. That’s the way world trade works.

And with links to department stores, it isn’t just RV and camping products I buy or sell there! I have sold everything from “laundry sandals” to DVD’s to ebooks, and even kids toys… all from a click on a tool product! Surely you have all bought something at a local store within the last month, that you could have just as well bought from one of your fellow bloggers. It doesn’t matter what’s “shown” on an Amazon banner, you can click on it and go search for whatever it is that you DO want! I just happened to pick the Kindle product because it’s a very hot product for RV’ers and campers, as well as people staying at home! If you want something else, search for it after clicking on the banner!

A local store doesn’t provide you with good information! They don’t give you the best price on what you buy! They don’t tell you what competitors offer the product for! They don’t offer to sell to you in both new or used items! They don’t give you reviews of the products they sell! And then to top it off, they want to charge you sales tax (in most states)! Help those who help you online!

Even after Saturday’s rant, which I was sure would stir up a fire-storm of controversy, only two people have commented so far, and another one unsubscribed. So if people won’t tell me what they want when I ask a direct question (or several questions) then I have to go with the numbers and stats. That is the way that people on the web cast their secret ballots to determine what goes on there. Every action… a visit, a click, a sale… creates a reaction in an analytics program. That is their silent and anonymous voice that guides the actions of the web master!


I was just informed this last week that you can now purchase online from Wal Mart and use CASH to pick up your item at whatever local store you choose! So for those that have an aversion to buying online with a credit card, now you have no excuse not to buy online!

In case you didn’t realize it, no Wal Mart store EVER carries everything that the corporation has available. And besides the stores carrying regional products (products that southerners buy that northerners don’t, and vice versa), they also offer special deals online for certain products that NO store carries! That’s how I got this (normally) $450 laptop that I’m using for about $300.

And by the way, that logo over there in the right column is a link! Sorry, I won’t mention it again!

Out and about…

Last week we decided to take Angel for a walk at a local city park, which also has a small riverside campground adjacent to it. I made sure to take my camera (actually my cell phone, which has a very good camera on it), so I will be posting those pictures soon. I am going to make a point of making a weekly excursion to someplace of interest in the area until such time as we can get out and travel more. I know many of you have been wanting more pictures, so I am going to do my best to make that happen, and again, it’s not all about the minivan project.

We are in a “rural vacation area” here, with being in the first planned retirement area in the country. Although we are at least 40 miles from the nearest “sizable” city, we have 15,000 acres, seven man-made lakes, two golf courses, two large community centers, and loads of activities in the area.

But as with most rural areas, I am seeing a definite lack of information and pictures about it on the web. Even the city site itself has gone downhill since the city took it over, and now it’s all about city government and nothing to do with providing useful information to the tourist trade that keeps this area alive. Maybe I can change that… and maybe make a few bucks for my effort.

New categories…

So that people can find the post topics of interest to them, I have gone back and categorized all the previous posts, and those categories will be in the right hand column.  All new posts will be categorized, and if new topics come up, I will add more categories.


That’s all I have for today. Now that there are links to satisfy some people, I’m sure there will be others who complain. That’s why the numbers tell the true story. But after this, I will say no more about it.

As always, let me know how I’m doing… all 5% (or less) of you out there… although the rest are welcome to join the conversation any time! I grew up on a farm, and people there actually think you’re a little crazy when you do nothing but talk to fence posts!

To those who have made an attempt to guide me with good advice, I thank you wholeheartedly, and I hope you will stick around to give me more!

So where are the rest of you?

12 thoughts on “RV and camping sources!

  1. Hi John
    I was just thinking, I’d like to pick your brains

    and then I thought, maybe it’s better to pick your brains publicly so other people might benefit

    Don’t know what you think about this:

    So my question
    I have the van
    old diesel
    I’ve noticed it charges the battery quite nicely whilst idling
    I want to put in a another battery
    and i am thinking solar power and generator

    but then again
    would there be a problem just running the engine in idle to top up a battery?

    • Hi Roy,

      Thank you for the inquiry. I’m glad they finally got your van repaired so you can start using it! Charging issues are dependent on so many variables, but I will try to explain.

      Idling your diesel should be no problem at all. Many “long-haul” truckers here in the states hardly ever shut theirs off. When they are parked, they still need air conditioning and power for their sleeper cabs, which many times have everything a small RV does to allow them to “live” on the road. However, their high exhaust stacks are designed for such use. With exhaust coming out below, as most other vehicles do, you should never fall asleep with your vehicle idling unless you make sure you have plenty of air flow to carry the exhaust away. I lost a classmate and also his older brother, a year apart from parking in snow and leaving their vehicles idle. Any low spot with no wind could do the same thing, so be careful about that.

      As long as you have only light occasional use of power, the engine battery should be enough. I still recommend carrying a heavy duty jumper pack, though, and use it whenever you can. You should be able to get by for a couple of days at a time without shore power. Your jumper pack should be able to recharge from either your 12-volt socket when your engine is running, or from shore power, so you are covered both ways. The small cost of “idling fuel” and wear on your diesel, might be a trade-off against the cost of a solar panel system.

      However, if you plan to be away from shore power for more than a couple of days at a time. or have heavy power needs, then adding solar might be a good investment. I know you are still in the work-force, and will likely be on the go nearly every day, so you may not need solar. Those who are retired or can work from anywhere, and who may enjoy the solitude of remote areas for days at a time will have a much higher need of such systems.

      Basically everyone’s needs are diffferent. The main thing is to monitor your use for awhile, to see if normal use will keep your vehicle battery charged. If it looks like it’s not keeping up without having to have your van running for longer times, then you have to weigh the cost of fuel consumption against what a solar panel system will cost you, and over how long a time.

      As far as a generator, if you have to use one at all, I would look for a diesel generator, even if you have to add a carrier on the rear bumper. It would be easy to add a line from your existing fuel tank for it. Any other type of fuel would necessitate carrying extra containers, and wouldn’t be nearly as convenient or safe. However, due to the expense, the extra weight, the noise and may other reasons, I would avoid a generator if possible. The only time I can understand someone going to a generator is if they have to run air conditioning while out boon docking. Any other normal power needs can be met with a properly sized solar panel system.

      As for ourselves in our minivan, we plan to have a small compressor fridg which draws 1.25 amps (about 100-watts), and occasional use of our microwave (although that isn’t a necessity, and we can wait for shore power to use it), plus heavier than normal use (compared to the average person) of two laptops, so I hope to have at least 250 watts of solar, and at least a single auxiliary battery system, so that we will have the freedom to go literally “anywhere” for days at a time. We can easily mount a solar panel to the roof rack on the van and run wires in without drilling any holes. And as long as we can travel freely, the dash air on the vehicle should be enough for daytime use. I’m not going to worry about other air conditioning. as I don’t plan to be anyplace where it would be a necessity!

      I hope this answers your question. Let us know what the mechanic found wrong with your van. Maybe other Sprinter owners out there might find the information useful. Thanks.

      • Thanks John
        You are an amazing fount of information

        I’m planning to do things in stages
        eventually looking and secondary batteries and solar power

        I’m still trying to work from the idea of modularity and portability -= so anything in the van will work outside the van (or in another van)

        the problems I ran into were:
        1) A car-salesman who had problems with the truth
        2) When I finally got the vehicle off him, the relay that controls the glow plugs was jammed open so the battery flattened quickly
        3) and I gather the pipe that provide the heat via the inter-cooler had a big hole in it
        4) Oh and the headlight adjustment had seized up
        5) and some “minor” problems

        we will see tomorrow, friday
        over the weekend I want to drive a thousand KM to see my daughter before her daughter is born

        It’s been a learning experience some thing I now know are;
        1) Car salesmen tell lies (don’t laugh)
        2) and all those words above that explain how engines work

        Some things I will have an opportunity to learn are:
        1) How our department of fair trading works
        2) How to use QCAT to make small claims
        3) and everything else in the universe that I don’t understand yet

        Thanks for your information


        • Hi Roy,

          It sounds like most of the problems were fairly minor, and with all of that, the van should be in pretty good shape again. Maybe the previous owner had slacked off on doing repairs, knowing that he was going to trade it off, and then the dealer hadn’t checked it over before offering it for sale. That’s what happens way too often. They play the odds on having a new buyer fix some problems themselves, rather than go through the vehicle themselves and spend time on repairs that they may not have to do. They may think that they are saving money, but in the long run, a satisfied customer is priceless.

          As far as fair trade and QCAT, that sounds too much like “politics”, and I, like many politicians, have no opinion.

          Enjoy your trip, my friend.

  2. Got it

    Me I have bought a van, if you remeber
    a Mercedes Sprinter
    and the car dealer has been promising to have it repaired and running for me almost every day for the last six weeks :-}

    It’s definitely coming this TUESDAY 🙂
    he says :-{

    I’ve spent the last six weeks working like a mad person and breaking a rib
    so the wait hasn’t really been a problem

    • Hi Roy,

      Yes, I remember. I was wondering how that was going. Sorry to hear about your rib and all the delays on the van, but I hope once he gets it going for you it stays going. It looked like a pretty nice one. Stay in touch and let us know how it’s going.

  3. Hi John:

    Thanks for the reply the other day on the 5th wheel info. I’ve checked a few of the links… some interesting reading.

    I also was going to go back and read the ‘rant’ but I saw you had deleted same. BTW, trust you enjoyed your B’day once you got that off your chest.

    As for today’s post, I did take some time and look around your main site and visited a few of the links. Some good stuff there.

    Personally I find it challenging to find the time to leisurely wander about and check into the depths of one’s blogs. As I am sure you and others know you can ‘lose’ yourself in the World Wide Web… there is sure a lot of useful and useless info out there.

    As I find myself with more time, I’ll be investigating some of your prior posts and links to various items you have listed on your main site. I think it is a great idea to put links into your posts to be jettisoned over to another site/article. I realize it is only one additional click to go to your main site then click to find the relevant info but when you are competing or comparing to other sites… ease of doing business comes out on top.

    As for rambling (which I may be doing myself) you are who you are… don’t worry about it; those who don’t like it, well, they’ll get over it I’m sure.

    Look forward to seeing what you come out with next.

    BTW… maybe this is a no-brainer but for we newbies, how about an article on RV etiquette. I’m tempted to go with common sense but in the world of boating I’ve seen what that is for others and believe me it can be a wide spectrum.

    Til next time.

    • Hi Rob,

      Thanks for the encouragement, and for confirming for others that there really is something on the other site worth seeing. The reason I didn’t do this entire site as a blog is because blogs are first and foremost an infomation and communication tool, and any selling has to be of secondary importance. Also, because of all the specific products I wanted to recommend to go with the book, it requires many static (stationary) pages… too many for a blog. It’s hard to present products when they keep moving to the back all the time where no one sees them. I know there are ways to make the margins unique on each post and I could have put the products there, but that’s extra work and the blog needs to be about more than just products. On a catalog site the pages should be all of equal importance.

      As those who have commented or emailed me know, I do read and pay attention to what everyone is saying, and will try to accommodate those whom I can. Whether it be the pace of the world we live in, the “type A” personalities, or the quality of education in this country, it seems that peoples’ attention spans have gotten shorter for both reading and writing. I have tried to keep in touch with people and find that if I get back a couple of paragraphs in a letter, I’m lucky. So either people’s minds are pretty empty, their lives are so dull that they don’t do enough to talk about, they are too shy to communicate on a normal level with other people, they can’t type so they prefer to have a cell phone stuck in their ear all day, or they are so used to texting in abbreviations that no one knows what they are talking about… but whatever the cause, I find that the state of communication in the world today is suffering! I, for one, would rather muddle through an entire page of bad writing if it contains all the information that I need, than to be limited to two well-written paragraphs that tell me nothing!

      But yes, a person can get bogged down with information overload, so I have to learn to improve my writing. Maybe it isn’t so much a matter of being long, as it is a matter of holding one’s interest. After all, people still read books… if they are good enough.

      I’ll see what I can do about writing an article on RV etiquette, but it’s mostly a matter of common sense. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a pretty good rule to live by. Any rules of the road are spelled out pretty explicitly in any state’s driver’s manuals available at any license branch, but again, people are too lazy to read them and will still argue whether it’s the person on the left or the right that has the right of way! They will still follow much closer than one car length for every ten miles per hour, fail to use proper turn signals, and come to a dead stop for a “yield sign” even when there’s two lanes ahead to pull into! So I would recommmend that the first place they start is with their state’s drivers manual, and learn the rules of the road! After all, they apply to RV’s, too, and if you don’t know how to drive a car properly, then how can you expect to drive an RV properly? When I see people pull up to an intersection where there is no stop sign on their side, and then they try to motion me on when I DO have a stop sign, they obviously are not paying attention! It makes me wonder… if they stop at signs that aren’t there, will they also not pay attentio to when they actually DO have a stop sign on their side!

      It’s when you get OFF the road onto private property that the rules get simpler! But I will put “etiquette” on my list of blog topics to cover in upcoming posts.

  4. When I first come to your blog
    there is no facility to post a comment
    I have to go over to the right and find your article again in order to have the leave a reply function come up
    It means one extra step..

    I’ve enjoyed your last couple of posts
    I don’t think you have a lot of political skills
    but you are real – I enjoy that

    I have similar problems getting people involved in the work I do
    No solutions 🙂
    But a similar problem

    Thanks John

    • Hi Roy,

      On nearly all blogs where there is more than one article that shows on the page, the blogs don’t put the comments on the same page because it would be too long. However, on the bottom of the social button bar at the bottom of the post, it shows the tags and then the number of comments. The “x comments” is a link that will open up the comments to read them or place a comment. The way you have been doing it also works, as it brings up only that article and its comments. Since my posts tend to run a bit long anyway, I’ll change it to show only one post per page. Maybe that will activate the comments section so it’s easier to find. Thanks for pointing that out. Maybe that’s why there isn’t more comments being made.

      Update: I have reset the blog so that only one post shows at a time, but the comments still do not appear below the post. It appears that whatever is on the “home” page that comes up first, no comments will show, and I see no settings anywhere to make them appear. If anyone sees some way to get around this, I will be glad to change it, but for now, you either have to click on “x comments” at the bottom of the post right below the social button banner, or go to the right-hand margin and click on the article name. I can only say that I have seen many other blogs this way, and have simply gotten used to it.

  5. Maybe you’ll get more than two replies to this one; I don’t know. For myself, I don’t have much to say because I’m working on repairing financial damage I’ve had so that I can get another minivan (my ex got the last one) and waiting for the ebook to come out.

    • Hi Calvin,

      Well, so far that hasn’t been the case. But I also know that it is about standard for blogs. Even on the popular blogs I don’t see any more than that commenting, and it’s usually the same people! However, only two out of a couple hundred have unsubscribed, and that’s OK. Like I said, I can’t please everyone. It’s a shame that stuff of personal interest has to come down to a numbers game, rather than personal interaction. I remember all the social stigma about people being referred to as numbers, rather than a name, but this is a good example of why society has brought that on themselves. When they don’t care enough about other people to interact with them, and only “take” what they can from them, there is no choice but to use numbers to keep things in perspective. But the blog isn’t about social issues, so as I said, I will use the numbers from now on to base my decisions on, and quit worrying about why people do or don’t do more logical things. Even in numbers, the majority will rule by their silent votes.

      I do appreciate all the input I get, though, so thank you for particpating, not only here, but the Yahoo Group, and anything else. The world needs more like you.

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