RV News Items for the week of 4/19/12

Blog Notification Problems

I am still trying to get the automatic notices to work on this blog, and since I have a couple of my own emails (as well as my wife) on this list, I know that it hasn’t been working. Hopefully I have fixed the problem this morning, but now it says the notification won’t go out until 4/20, so I guess we’ll have to wait around to see if it works. If you would like to be notified of new posts, please use the form on the right.

New Source of Free Places to Park Overnight!

Some of you may get Marianne Edwards newsletters, from the Frugal RV Traveler, but if you don’t, you should. She just released news of a new site that she developed, that has only been out a couple of weeks and already seems to be growing in popularity. The site is at http://boondockerswelcome.com and is based on the concept of members providing a reciprocating use with other members. Sounds sort of like Coast to Coast or RPI, only for private parking, and with less rules, and I believe that’s a good thing!  In other words, you provide a spot to park for a member to park for a couple days at a time at your place, and they will do the same for you or other members.

I’m sure that many people have hosted other RV’ers at their place at one time or another, as have we, but it’s usually friends or relatives and by invitation only. We had friends in Mesa that did this, and they actually had not just one…. but four full hook ups sites right in their back yard! They had plenty of room, but unfortunately you have to be careful with that when you live in town, because the neighbors didn’t want their residential neighborhood to start looking like an RV park! Therefore, they could only get by with it on special occasions! But don’t get excited… no one is promising hookups here… it’s just a parking spot! But if you live out in the country and have the room and no neighbors to complain, this could be a very worthwhile opportunity to get in some traveling with no campground fees while still having a safe place to park for a couple days while you check out the nearby attractions… AND maybe make some new RV’ing friends in the process! The more people join this program, the more opportunties there will be in more areas! It will definitely grow!

We have heard of places like the some of the Escapees allowing fellow members to park at their residences, but it has been very limited. In this case, since there is no promise of any facilities, you could allow someone access to a place to park even when you are out traveling yourself, although I’m sure that would be up to the host. I haven’t read all the details of it myself yet, and I realize it’s new, and probably will have some changes or fine tuning coming up, as most new things do… but I can see this as a growing trend, and I for one, plan to be a part of it!

Marianne mentions that there are other publications for other countries where this is done, also. And her club is open to all nations, so rather than being geared to just one country, her reciprocal use program is open to anyone who wants to join! So if you are traveling out of the country and rent an RV while you are there, you may find other members who will let you park for free for a couple days! And maybe if you’re lucky, they might just have the time to show you around the area a little bit, and learn more about their country and their culture than any guide book could tell you! But please be aware that the agreement is for free parking only. Anything else they want to provide out of the goodness of their heart, or any other interaction is strictly up to your host!

Safe Fire Logs!

Another article that popped up this week was something about Enviro-Logs, a safer alternative than burning wood, whether it be in your fireplace or your campfire. Besides being made from 100% recycled waxed cardboard, they are more environmentally friendly, with giving off 80% less carbon dioxide and 86% less creosote, plus they are safe to cook over. In many places where collecting firewood is prohibited, these logs provide an alternative for your campfires, as they are safe to transport and will remain burning for up to three hours. You can find them at most Wal Mart Stores, Home Depot Stores and some K-Mart Stores, plus many other places. Check out their site online at http://enviro-log.net where they have other retailers listed by region.

Checking your RV Value!

One of the major sources for used and new RV prices is no longer going to provide that information. According to an article in Market Watch, Kelly Blue Book is suspending their production of RV valuation products. This leaves the NADA Guides as the place to go to see what your RV is worth. Their site is at http://nadaguides.com or http://nadaguidestore.com to check out their products.

Another source for prices if you are thinking about new RV’s (and this includes motorcycles, scooters, snowmobiles, all terrain vehicles (ATVs), utility vehicles, boats and personal watercraft (PWCs), is a site at http://seedealercost.com which just  might give you the information necessary to negotiate a better purchase price from your dealer!

RV / MH Hall of Fame!

If anyone is passing through Northern Indiana, a stop that you should definitely put on your list is the RV / MH Hall of Fame Museum and Library in Elkhart, Indiana, the heart of the RV industry in the United States. Their brand new 56,000 square foot building houses vintage RV’s from as far back as 1913, as well as showcasing some of the latest models. Industry leaders are honored, an exhibit hall tells their stories and the library holds the world’s largest collection of RV and manufactured housing related literature and photos. Having grown up in that area, and not having been back there for awhile, you can bet that it is on my list of places to visit on the next trip back to Northern Indiana!

Rand McNally + Woodall’s = TripMaker RVND GPS!

Out of all the mapping companies in the country, I still trust Rand McNally for accuracy of their maps over any other service available. When I have checked online maps belonging to any other company, my “quest” for directions has always fallen way short of accuracy, so I have gotten to where I refuse to use any other maps except Rand McNally. If I need a map of an area, I will automatically go to http://randmcnally.com before I will use any other service! Besides maps, they have been a leader in the field of GPS devices.

Now they have gone a step farther and joined forces with Woodall’s Campground Directory, another leader in providing accurate information to campers and RV’ers, by including that information in their latest line of GPS devices especially made for RV’ers! People who use the new Rand McNally TripMaker RVND GPS device will be able to access reviewed amenities and campground details provided by Woodall’s, in addition to over 250,000 RV-specific locations including RV service centers, campgrounds and points of interest. This is also going on my “want list”, as the electronic device we have in our glove box dates back to 1994! Oops! What can I say? It still works… some of the time!

Attention: Ground Control!

It sounds like a line from a science fiction movie… but for those with towable RV’s, the new Wireless Ground Control Leveling System, available from Camping World, may be the answer to your problems… well… one of them, anyway!  If nothing else, now you can operate your leveling jacks from outside your vehicle, so you don’t lift your RV into a tree branch or something. Each jack is rated 5,000 pounds (20,000 total for all four), and they say it is strictly bolt-on… no welding required.

Coleman Parts!

Coleman has long been a name of quality associated with camping and RV’ing, and despite the fact that we live in a throw-away society, where sometimes it’s cheaper and easier to pitch things than to repair them… I hate to see things going into our landfills needlessly for future generations to deal with. Most appliances and many other things can be repaired by any handyman, even if you don’t know how to do it yourself. Coleman products are designed to last for many years, if maintained with any amount of reasonable care at all.

I remember when I was growing up, we had a camping stove that my parent’s bought (an old “white gas” model, as they called it back then, with a pressurizing pump on it) to carry with them on their trip to Albuquerque when I was less than two years old. That would have been the summer of 1949. When I was in my teens, that stove still worked, depsite being stored in a damp basement for nearly fifteen years! When I discovered it, I used it for my own early camping trips when camping under a grain tarp stretched between two trees! I had the stove and my buddy had a Coleman “white gas” lantern, and between the two of them, they were our two “major” pieces of equipment!

If something goes wrong with your Coleman product (unlikely, as well as they’re built) be aware that all you have to do is go online to http://coleman.com, and click on the “parts” menu tab at the top of the page, and you can find almost any Coleman part you would ever need! And I have found that parts from almost anywhere for anything are likely to come with instructions, and when they don’t, the changing of them are usually so simple that a monkey could do it! And if you still can’t figure it out… simply ask someone! Let’s all do our part to keep unnecessary junk out of the land fills, before we pollute our world so badly that even we can’t live in it anymore!

I remember reading a science fiction fable “way back when”, and I don’t remember the writer’s name anymore, but it stuck in my mind. He said that humans are as bad as germs… that will continue to overpopulate and clutter their environment until they themselves cannot live in it anymore. He was exactly right. I can see that happening already. The question is, are we going to wake up and do something about it before it’s too late?

Summary

Just so you are aware, I have not purposely put any affiliate links into this email, only web site URL’s. But if any nouns or product words convert to links, that is the result of Skimlinks and their Skimwords program, that automatically interprets contextual words and converts them to links to any of over 18,000 different vendors at their disposal. And yes, I do get paid, sometimes if people just click on certain things, and other times, not until they actually buy something. Although I have affiliate agreements with some aggregators as well as private store vendors, I really only need one with Skimlinks, because they already deal with all those other aggregators. That means I only have one account to make application for, and only one account stats page to deal with, rather than all those other places where you also have to apply to the individual stores, too! That’s an accounting nightmare!

If you would like to monetize your own site or blog, feel free to access Skimlinks with my link in the right margin. “If” you sign up with them (which is free), yes, I do get a minimal commission for your continued use of the service. That’s the way marketing works.

If you like these kinds of “newsy” articles, please let me know your thoughts in the comments. I get many different “alerts” on these kinds of topics every week, and I need to know if they are useful to you. After all, in keeping with the original theme of “being able to travel safely for less”, I need to know if this is what the majority of you want.

In turn, if I provide you with useful and valuable information, it is only fair that I make a few cents here and there for my effort. If I can’t do that, then I have better things to do than sit here all day writing good content to only help others. I have to help myself when I can, too.

If you are looking for travel experiences, I can begin to provide those, also, but I believe I will do it on a different blog specializing in only those experiences. I have over 30 years of travel memories and photos, but I hesitate to go too far back with that stuff. For one thing, I have to convert many old slides, photos, and even some movies to digital, which takes a tremendous amount of time. And I’m not sure people want to hear “old” stories. My gut instict tells me to keep it up to date with current travel stories as we make them. I would appreciate any thoughts you have on that as well.

My current subscriber base is nearing the 200 mark, and I’m sure there are many readers who hesitate to sign up, but the number of comments I’m getting is miniscule compared to that number! As a former member of FTA, and in other circumstances, I have taught classes before, and when I see people not participating in discussions I have to wonder if their eyes are glazed over while their minds are somewhere else, or if they are asleep, don’t care about the subject, don’t want to learn, or any of a hundred other reasons they aren’t taking part! Is my writing that bad that it holds no interest for you? Is there something else that you would like to see here? I can’t improve what I’m doing if I don’t know what you want! Please… don’t be shy! Everyone has an opinion, so let’s hear it… good or bad!

Tell me what’s on your minds!

Update: 4/20/12: I see that the notifications are working now, and I also received an email from D.W. that says:

“I like this newsy style very much. Keep up the good work!”

This is the kind of feedback I need as to how I’m doing, but please, comment on the blog so we can ALL read it.

By the way, since the last notification didn’t go out, you may not have gotten the previous post about the minivan couch/bed progress, so please check below or in the recent posts to the right for anything you may have missed.

Thank you.