Posts Tagged ‘RV’

We Never Know

Posted on December 17th, 2010 by by Administrator

I got a call from my daughter Tiffany the other day, telling me that her grandfather, Jim Zipf, had passed away. Even though I had not seen the man in almost 25 years, and even though Tiffany’s mother and I had parted company long, long ago, I was still sorry to hear the news. I always liked Jim, and we got along very well.

Tiffany and I were talking about families, and how she has now lost all of her grandparents, her aunts and uncles on my side of the family, and other people she loved. I hated to tell her that as she gets older, it will happen again and again. We never know when our own, or somebody else’s time on this earth will end.

One of the things I love about the RV lifestyle is that it gives me the freedom to visit family and friends in every corner of the country. Since we hit the road over twelve years ago, I have been able to reestablish relationships with cousins I had not heard from in years, high school and Army buddies I had lost contact with, and recently, my nephews and a niece, right here in Florida, that I had not seen in over 25 years. It is amazing that so much time can pass, yet with many of these people, we have been able to pick up right where we left off, and the connection is still just as strong.

In one case, I’m glad I did, because I was able to visit with one of my best friends from high school several times before he died suddenly earlier this year. Like I said, we never know.

The RV lifestyle also has allowed Terry and I to see places and do things that we had only dreamed of before. How many people can say that they have paddled their kayaks in the Florida Keys, or ate fresh lobster in Maine, or watched the leaves turning on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, or been serenaded to sleep by coyotes in the Arizona desert?  How many have been able to walk the hallowed ground at Arlington, or roamed the narrow streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans? Many RVers have done all that and more in the same year!

Sometimes I burn Miss Terry out, because I want to be going and doing all of the time, and once in a while she needs some down time to recharge her batteries. I need that too, but I have known so many people who were always going to do something “someday” and never made it, because their calendar ran out before “someday” arrived.

I know that we need to stop and smell the roses now and then, but there are so many new adventures and old favorite places waiting for me just around the next bend in the road and over the next hill. I want to get to them all while I still can!

Thought For The Day – Making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a ‘life’.

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It’s Warming Up!

Posted on December 16th, 2010 by by Administrator

Never underestimate the power of positive sniveling! It actually warmed up a bit in Fort Lauderdale yesterday, and it looks like the worst of this cold spell is about over. The forecast for the next three days is for highs in the mid-70s, and sunshine! Whatever will we do?

Yesterday morning J.C. and Beverly Webber came by to say goodbye and pick up a bundle of Gypsy Journals to drop off at their next stop, then they headed on down the road toward Marathon Key.

After they left, Terry and I ran some errands, stopping at the post office, bank,  and WalMart. I have to be honest and say that even if the weather was good, this area is just too darned busy for our taste. We much prefer a slower pace, and this is a big city, with all of the hustle and bustle that any big city has.

Paradise Island is a clean RV park, and the staff are all very friendly and helpful, but it’s an older place, with very tight spaces, and for us it’s really just a convenient place to park while we visit our friends Jim and Chris Guld from Geeks on Tour. If we wanted to play tourist in this area, it would be a good base from which to do so.

Fort Lauderdale is called the “Venice of America” because of the more than 300 miles of waterways that wind past parks, estates, and luxury hotels. If it was warmer, I’d have my Sea Eagle PaddleSki in the water doing some exploring while we’re here!

For some reason, I had started feeling really puny while we were out, and it felt like my cold or flu from a couple of week ago was returning. Back at the motorhome, I took some Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold Formula and took a nap. I woke up an hour or so later, and felt better, so whatever it was seems to have passed.

I called my daughter Tiffany in Arizona and we talked a little bit about what the grandkids wanted for Christmas, and then I went online and ordered a couple of items for them. Isn’t online shopping great? No parking places to find, no crowds pushing and shoving, no packages to wrap, and no long lines at the post office to stand in. Isn’t technology a wonderful thing?

So many people seemed to enjoy the link I posted to a You Tube video about Florida snowbirds in Tuesday’s blog that I found a new one to make you giggle. This isn’t a video, just a funny holiday parody that appealed to my warped sense of humor, so turn up your sound and enjoy!

Chris has been working hard on our website relocation, and tells me she’s making headway. I’m glad she’s the one doing all of this confusing technical stuff, because I get a headache just thinking about it!

Chris and Jim are a real RV success story. When we first met several years ago, they were in the early days of operating their mobile computer education business, and since then we have watched the Geeks on Tour grow into the recognized experts in the RV world. Their seminars are popular at RV rallies nationwide, and they have taught literally thousands of RVers how to get the most out of their computers. They also offer online education for those who can’t make it to one of their seminars. Check out their website to learn more.

Thought For The Day – Wealth is a crutch for those who can’t handle poverty.

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If You Snooze You Lose

Posted on December 15th, 2010 by by Administrator

Today is the last day to take advantage of our Two For One Holiday Special. So if you haven’t clicked the link above, there’s still time. You can enter a new subscription to the Gypsy Journal for yourself, or renew your subscription early, and we’ll give someone on your Christmas shopping list a free one year subscription, with a note that it is a gift from you. All you have to do is enter your mailing address, and send me a separate e-mail with the name of the recipient of your gift subscription at and we’ll do the rest. The special ends tonight at midnight, so if you snooze, you lose!

It’s still unbelievably cold here in Fort Lauderdale, but at least the wind has stopped. We’d like to do some sightseeing while were in this area, but between having to get the new issue of the paper finished, and the weather, I don’t know if we’ll do much of anything but stay home and work.

I got an e-mail from my friend Tom Owen down in Key West yesterday, and he said they tied a record low, set in 1952, and that folks on that tropical island are running around in winter coats, gloves, mufflers and longshoreman caps. Tom said that the wind chill was 30 degrees in Key West! We won’t be going to the Florida Keys this year after all! :(

Speaking of the cold weather, I have been exchanging e-mails with a couple who are staying in their RV, in a relative’s driveway in the upper Midwest, until after the holidays. They wrote to ask for advice because their water lines were frozen, and I suggested that they put a droplight in their utility bay with a 25 watt bulb. That’s what we did when we were stuck in northern Michigan years ago during Terry’s battle with cancer, and it kept it toasty warm in the water bay.

They replied that their son didn’t want them to do that, because it would run up his electric bill. I also suggested they use heat tape on any exposed water lines, but the lady wrote back and said that was an “awful lot of trouble” and asked me if there wasn’t a simpler way to solve the problem. Uh, yeah, there is. Turn the key and get the heck out of there!

My friend Chris Guld from Geeks on Tour spent most of the afternoon yesterday helping me make some changes in our e-mail program, laying the groundwork for migrating our websites to another host, and talking about where we want to go with our online business in the future. The technology is changing on a daily basis, and it is amazing what we can now offer our readers online.

Later in the afternoon, Chris and her hubby Jim treated us to a wonderful seafood dinner at a restaurant called Catfish Deweys,  that is a local landmark. I had the blackened seafood platter and Miss Terry had blackened catfish, and both were excellent. Thanks Jim and Chris!

Bad Nick has been quiet for a while because he has been on strike, protesting the cold weather. But he finally got of his duff yesterday and posted a new Bad Nick Blog titled Snappy Comebacks. Check it out and leave a comment.

Thought For The Day – You shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back sometimes.

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Who Knew?

Posted on December 9th, 2010 by by Administrator

News flash! As it turns out, you can watch TV in an RV after all! Who knew?

You may remember that I reported in a blog last week titled You Can’t Watch TV In An RV that Dish Network was supposed to bring us a new high definition DVR receiver, but on the morning of the appointment, the Dish installer told me that “you can’t watch TV in an RV,” and no matter how much I argued with him, or with the folks at Dish Network’s customer service center, the company position was that it just couldn’t be done. Never mind that we have had Dish Network all along in our RV, just like tens of thousands of other RVers, it just can’t be done.

After that happened, the owner of a local independent Dish installation company, ADO Electronics (321) 231-0355, called Dish for us, and knew who to talk to and what to say. Dish agreed to send somebody back out yesterday. He told us that if the second Dish installer wouldn’t do the job, to let him know.

Sure enough, yesterday morning a second Dish installer arrived, and within an hour or two he had our new receiver installed and hooked up to both our front and rear TVs, and we were good to go. We’re watching TV in an RV! Who would have thought that was possible? :)

Since he had to pull the old original equipment TV out of the cabinet in our bedroom to hook it up, we took the opportunity to dispose of that TV and replaced it with a 20 inch LCD Vizio we’ve been carrying around for that purpose ever since we got our Winnebago, but never got around to doing. The installer was a very nice young man, and when we asked if he had any need of the older TV, he was happy to take it for his son’s bedroom.

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The new HD DVR is cool. It’s a single box with two receivers built into it, and we can watch and record two different stations at the same time. How cool is that?

The only problem was that, after the installation we didn’t have our east and west coast distant network feeds, so I called All American Direct, who provides distant network service for Dish. The nice tech there deleted our old receiver and entered the serial number of our new receiver into our account, and within about five minutes our east and west coast feeds were back.

Well, they were back, but the on-screen menu that shows the upcoming programming just said No Info in every time slot. I called Dish back, they had me reboot the new receiver, and the updated program information downloaded. Life is good!

I wasn’t sure if we would have to reprogram our Winegard Trav’ler automatic rooftop satellite dish for the new receiver, but we pushed the button to stow it, and then deployed it again, and it went right up and locked onto the signal with no problem. Hopefully it will do the same thing at our next location.

With that out of the way, we went to a late lunch/early dinner (linner) at a nice Chinese buffet in Orlando, called Billy Wong’s, with Dave and Jean Damon, 303 vendors we know from the RV rally circuit. We had a nice meal, and lots of interesting conversation.

Speaking of our next location, we’re due to leave the Orlando Thousand Trails preserve on Sunday, and the plan has been to go down to Fort Lauderdale and spend a day or three bothering Jim and Chris Guld from Geeks on Tour, and then to go on down to Key West. But with the cold front that is coming through the area, even Key West will be much cooler than it was on our visit two years ago. I’m not sure if we’ll want to do much kayaking unless it warms back up. We’re hoping for rising temperatures soon!

Thought For The Day – It’s no coincidence that there’s only a one letter difference between “garage sale” and “garbage sale.”

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One Year Ago

Posted on December 5th, 2010 by by Administrator

It was one year ago yesterday that we had the most frightening experience in our lives as fulltime RVers. Longtime readers may remember that it was on December 4, 2009 that we returned to our Winnebago, which was parked in the campground at an RV repair facility in Elkhart, Indiana, and came face to face with an armed burglar inside our motorhome.

By the time I realized what was happening, I was already out of our van and approaching the door of the RV, and he was pointing a gun at me. In the confrontation that followed, I managed to slam the RV’s door on his hand and disarmed the intruder. He got away, only to show up at a hospital three days later with seven broken bones in his wrist and hand.

As it turned out, he was a career criminal out on bail on other charges, and with outstanding warrants. He’s back in prison where he belongs, and will be for a long time, or until the next parole board believes his sob story about how he grew up poor and was victimized by life and the system.

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Besides some things that were missing, the intruder and whoever had been with him trashed the inside of our RV, throwing electronic components on the floor and stomping on them, slashing furniture, and ripping down window blinds.

A frustrating battle with our insurance company followed, but we finally prevailed, and were able to put our motorhome and our lives back together. Living well really is the best revenge.

What a difference a year makes! Back then, we spent the next week freezing our butts off in Indiana while repairs were made to our RV so we could leave. Now we’re in Florida, where a cold front is coming through, and temperatures are predicted to dip as low as 29 degrees in the next few days. So yes, we’ll be freezing our butts off again, but if that’s the worst that can happen, we can deal with it.

Our lives have gone on, and while we have put the burglary behind us, we still feel violated, and disgusted with a system that had let the creep out of prison early so he could prey on us and others. We don’t fear traveling in our RV, and we still dry camp frequently. Inside our motorhome, we feel secure, but Terry and I are both a little apprehensive when we return to our coach after dark, unless we’re parked in a campground we know.

We had a motion detector light installed at our door, and while we refuse to live in fear, we are not nearly as complacent as we had become. We realize that while what happened to us can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time, the odds against the average RVer ever having such an experience are very, very slim.  We still feel that this is the greatest lifestyle in the world, and every new day is an adventure, whether we’re camping in the desert of Arizona and listening to the coyotes singing us to sleep, or parked under a palm tree in Florida enjoying a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.

Thought For The Day – If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics are all wrong.

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