Tuesday, October 14, 2008

To Keep or Not To Keep

In This Issue

What's New With Us: A New Puppy!
Brief Article: To Keep or Not to Keep (that dinosaur)
Vicki's Recipe: Joe's Favorite Tacos
RVing Tip: Black Marks in The Refrigerator

What's New With Us

We're getting a new puppy! Next Tuesday, when she is old enough to leave her mom, we will be picking up a new puppy. Her name is Molly. Molly is an English Creme Golden Retriever. English Cremes have a white coat, although Molly has just a hint of blond color. Molly's litter consisted of five males and five females. We knew we wanted a female but it still took us about two hours to make our final selection. The picture shows Vicki holding the two finalists. Vicki wanted both of them. Molly is on the right.

Our last dog, Brandy, was a Golden Retriever. Golden Retrievers have a sweet and gentle nature. Goldens start out the way most larger breeds do; active and rambunctious. But after a couple of years they develop a laid-back attitude and settle down. Goldens typically love human beings. They want to be a part of the family's activities. The Goldens I have dealt with want very badly to please their humans. As a result, they are easy to train by using praise and affection.

Molly, just like our previous dogs, will be trained to come, sit, lie down, stay, go to her bed, go potty, and heel. She will have the good manners to not jump on people and will only bark when appropriate. Molly will remain outside during the day and be allowed inside at night and during inclimate weather.

Vicki and I are now negotiating on who will be responsible for which end of the dog. I have a suspicion Vicki is going to win the front end.


To Keep or Not to Keep

Dear Joe and Vicki: My motorhome is 5 years old. Things are beginning to wear out and need replacement. We are wondering whether we should keep and refurbish our present motorhome or buy a new one. What do you think?

Joe: Either way, it looks like you are getting ready to spend some money. And, whether you buy a new motorhome or refurbish the one you have, in five more years you are probably going to be faced with the same decision again.

Five years of age seems to be a mid-life crisis point for RVs, especially motorhomes. Outside, the paint is beginning to oxidize. The windshield probably has a few battle scars. The roof needs to be re-caulked (for the second or third time). Shock absorbers and brake linings need to be checked. Belts, hoses and windshield wiper blades are due for replacement. Tires, no matter their tread wear, are reaching the end of their safe lifespan. The engine and transmission may not be performing as smartly as when they were new.

Inside, the carpet, upholstery and window coverings are beginning to fade and show some wear. Fabrics and color schemes are woefully out-of-fashion. Outdated appliances have reached the point where, if they stop working, the repairman will probably suggest replacement instead of repair. The entertainment center (if you have one) has a television screen that is smaller than you like, does not have a DVD player, and has speakers that seem archaic.

And, if your RV is five or more years of age, you may only have one slide-out room or perhaps no slides at all! Good grief! You own a dinosaur!

Chances are your RV's loan balance is less than, or about equal to, its market value. Or maybe you are one of the lucky RV owners whose payments are just right – nothing per month. That means you have some equity in your present RV that could be applied to the purchase of a new one. And let's face it, a five year old RV is easier to sell or trade than one that is ten years old. Maybe now is a good time to trade.

Vicki: Before you do, however, consider what you will be doing with your present or new RV for the next five years. Do you anticipate any personal or career changes that would affect your RVing lifestyle? A new job or promotion might curtail the amount of time available for RVing. In that case, it might not make good financial sense to buy a new RV only to have it sit in storage. Perhaps it might be better to postpone that new purchase and, for the time being, make do with your present RV.

On the other hand, if you will be retiring soon, perhaps you will have even more time available for RVing. Buying a new RV prior to retiring can be a good decision. You can choose one that will better complement your extended travels. You will also have the opportunity to take it on a few shakedown trips and get familiar with it before you embark on those extended cross-country journeys.

One of the most popular reasons for getting a new RV is a change of RV lifestyle. Going from weekend and two-week camping trips to extended travel, snowbirding, or fulltiming frequently calls for a change in the type and/or size of RV.

However, if you are going to continue to use your RV as you have in the past, there are some other considerations. By now you have made a lot of personal changes and adjustments to your RV. Closets, drawers and cabinets have been arranged to hold all your "stuff". Pictures, pillows and decorations have been added to reflect your personal taste. You have decided where to keep the trash basket, laundry hamper and vacuum cleaner. You are familiar with your RV's idiosyncrasies and comfortable with its operation. Do you really want to get rid of this rig? If you did replace it, would you want the new RV to be radically different? If your present rig will satisfy your RVing interests and needs for the next five years or so, if you can incorporate the changes and upgrades you'd like into your RV, maybe you should hold onto it.

Joe: Look at the financial considerations. Before you refurbish your current RV, make a list of the things you would like to change. Take your list to the appropriate craftsmen and get an estimate of what the total project will cost. Then, determine your RV's actual market value – what you could reasonably and realistically expect to receive if you sold it today. You don't want to invest more into your RV than it is worth.

Look at the price of new RVs that are equivalent to your present rig. Chances are you will pay at least half again as much for a new RV as you did for your present RV five years ago. Not only will the purchase price be higher, but so will the sales tax. And, of course, the annual insurance premiums, and vehicle registration fees of the new RV will be higher than what you are paying now.

The money you spend refurbishing your RV may not add appreciably to its market value
but it will certainly be less than the cost of a new rig.

Vicki: Your choices seem to be to a.) keep your RV and spend the minimum necessary to bring it to satisfactory condition, b.) keep your RV and invest what it takes to renovate and update it to your satisfaction, or c.) buy a new RV that will better satisfy your interests and needs.

If you are unhappy with your present RV, if it does not satisfy your RVing lifestyle, if you want a different type, size, style or floorplan, then buy that new RV. But if you like your present RV and it can be refurbished to satisfy your RVing interests and needs, it might make better sense to keep it.

And, if you do, there's always the chance that a silver-tongued salesman will weave his magic, and cause you to fall in love with a 42-foot, quadruple slide, Whizbang motorhome and set you up with a payment schedule that will last the rest of your natural life.

Either way, in five years you will be making this same decision again.


Vicki"s Favorite Recipes (from My RV Kitchen and Favorite Recipes)

Joe's Favorite Tacos

I fix tacos about once a week whether we are at home or on the road. Corn tortillas are hard to find in some parts of the country, so I always put several packages in our RV freezer before leaving on a trip.

When Joe and the kids have their birthdays, they always get to choose their favorite dinner. This has always been Joe's choice. It is also the favorite of all of our grandchildren.

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 heaping tablespoons salsa
12 corn tortillas
Vegetable oil for frying
1/4 to 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1-1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large or 2 small tomatoes, chopped
Additional salsa to spoon on tacos
Sour cream, optional

1. Crumble and brown ground beef in a medium skillet. Add salt, pepper and salsa.

2. Pour about ¼ inch vegetable oil in a skillet and heat on high. When the oil is hot, fry one tortilla at a time. Fry on one side until starting to crisp at the edges, turn over, fold in half and brown on each side. Continue for all 12 tortillas.

3. Drain each tortilla on paper towels.

4. Serve taco shells filled with meat. Each person can add their own lettuce, cheese, onions, tomatoes, salsa and sour cream.

Makes 3-4 servings.


RVing Tip

Travel vibrations can cause aluminum drink cans to leave black marks on the interior walls and shelves of the refrigerator. You can prevent this by using a plastic storage box (without the lid) as a drink-can container inside your refrigerator.


Next Issue November 1 - Cash and Carry

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