Tuesday, December 9, 2008

December 9, 2008 Issue

In This Issue:

What's New With Us: Healing Progress - Holiday Plans
Brief Article: Stocking Stuffers
Vicki's Favorite Recipes: Peg's Sour Cream Guacamle Dip


Just in time for Christmas! Reduced prices on all DVDs and e-books!

The two Alaska DVDs have been reduced from $24.95 to $19.95 each. Or you can purchase both Alaska DVDs together for only $30.00.

A prefect companion to the Alaska DVDs is the e-book "RVing Alaska: Insights and Observations" for only $9.95 (reduced from $12.95).

Looking for a gift for the RV cook? Check out Vicki's "My RV Kitchen and Favorite Recipes". Good information for the cook and good eating for you.

Now available in paperback: "Full-Time RVer's Homework". Until now the paperback version could only be purchased at the end of our seminar presentations.

Mailing Tip: If you want your DVDs and/or books to arrive in time for Christmas, order them before December 18 and have them sent Priority Mail.


What's New with Us.

My shoulder has healed sufficiently for me to be back at the keyboard. However, I still have a couple of months of physical therapy before I can do any heavy work. And that includes washing our motorhome. So… I hired a mobile detailer to do the job (see the photo).
Vicki was happy. She gets nervous when she sees me scrubbing the motorhome's roof. She usually mumbles something about me being a stuborn, clumsy old man who is crusin for a bruisin and then stomps into the house. What she doesn't realize is that washing the rig is my opportunity to closely examine every square inch of the outside of the motorhome. Besides, I always do a better job than the professionals.

Our next few weekends are going to be busy with family gatherings. Unfortunately we can never seem to get everyone together at the same time so this year we will have a gathering on the weekend of the 13th when our daughter her husband can travel from Sacramento. The weekend of the 20th we will have another gathering when my brother and his wife can travel from Ventura. Christmas day we will only have Vicki's dad, our two sons and their children for dinner. Three or four days after Christmas we will drive our motorhome to Yuma and celebrate New Year's with a group of RVing friends. We'll hang out in Yuma for a few days and then let whimsy be our guide.

Vicki and I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


Brief Article

Dear Joe and Vicki: Do you have any suggestions for RV- related holiday "stocking stuffers"? My husband and I use the holidays as an opportunity to buy things for ourselves that we ordinarily would not spend the money on.

Joe: You didn't say what price range you had in mind but here are some practical, useful items under the $50.00 mark that we think most RVers would appreciate. Just about all of them can be found in RV accessory stores like Camping World.

Digital Tire-Pressure Gauge - The air pressure in your tires should be checked before taking your RV out of storage and every few days while traveling. Since the tires should be cold when checking their pressure, I check our tires in the morning before getting on the road. I prefer a digital air-pressure gauge. It seems more accurate. There is one with a backlit display that makes it easy to see the pressure reading.

Voltage Meter – In the best of worlds an RV park or campground's electric hookup would provide 115 volts. We feel good when we see a consistent 110 volts. Most experts advise that an appliance's electric motor (like in an air conditioner or washing machine) should not be operated on less than 103 to 105 volts of power. Below that point the motor is straining to do the job and can either cause a breaker to open or, worse yet, damage the motor. A voltage meter plugged into the RV's electrical outlet allows you to keep tabs on the voltage available to your rig.

Compass – "Turn north at the first intersection" That's what the directions to the campground say. Trouble is… you don't know which way is north. A compass can help solve the problem. If nothing else, it gives you something to blame (other than your co-pilot) for getting you lost.

Bubble Levels – We have two bubble levels mounted inside the driving compartment of our motorhome; one on the dash, and the other on the wall next to the driver's seat. They are calibrated (with little lines) so I can determine how level the RV is front-to-rear and side-to-side. Watching the levels as I enter a campsite lets me move into the most level spot. The levels also tell me when my levelers have finished the job of leveling the RV. When we had a trailer I had the same type of levels attached on the outside of the trailer's front wall and to the side of the trailer tongue. The one on the wall helped me level side-to-side; the one on the tongue, front-to-rear.

Weather Alert Radio – When the weather looks ominous, a weather alert radio will provide up-to-the-minute weather reports. National Weather Radio (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations that broadcast local weather reports 24 hours a day. The messages are repeated every five minutes and updated every two hours. The NWR usually requires a special radio to pick up its broadcasts. These radios, available at electronic stores such as Radio Shack, are typically battery operated or AC powered with a battery backup. Most NWR radios are also equipped with an alarm that sounds when a severe weather alert is issued. We especially appreciate ours when we are in tornado country.

Vicki: My wish-list leans towards things like a clothes washer/dryer. But here are some neat stocking stuffers:

Refrigerator/Freezer Thermometer – Outside temperatures can affect the efficiency of an RV's refrigerator and freezer operation. Sometimes, depending upon outside temperatures, it is necessary to adjust the refrigerator's temperature selector up or down. Two refrigerator thermometers, one located inside the refrigerator compartment and the other inside the freezer, can help you keep your food within the correct temperature range. They even make one that sounds an alarm when the temperature exceeds your settings.

Icicles Ice Tray - Instead of making ice cubes, this tray makes ice sticks that will fit into water or pop bottles. Pretty ingenious.

Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer - This device lets us know at a glance the temperatures both inside and outside of our RV. We have one that also lets us see what the highest and lowest temperatures of the day (inside and outside) have been.

Hand-held Radio Set – We have a hand-held CB radio that I use to communicate with Joe when we are backing our RV. We have seen other RVers using small hand-held "Walkie-Talkies" to do the same thing. Mostly, though, I see couples using their radios to find each other in the Wal-Mart Super Centers.

Mesh Laundry Hamper – I like the one that has three sections. It gives me the option of separating the dirty clothes. It is also just the right size to fit in our shower. That's where we keep our laundry. The hamper is easily moved (I just ask Joe) to a place next to our bed when we want to take a shower.

RVing Books and DVDs - Our RV books and DVDs are loaded with practical, useful information about RVs, RVers and RVing.

Happy Holidays!


Vicki's Favorite Recipes

Peg's Sour Cream Guacamole Dip
(from "My RV Kitchen and Favorite Recipes")
(Quick and Easy)

Joe's mom, Peg, did very little cooking in her later years. She did, however, like to make this dip for family get togethers. It always disappeared very quickly.

Because the ingredients are easy to keep on hand, this is a great last-minute appetizer to bring to any gathering of RVers. Just add a bag of tortilla chips.

2 boxes (8-oz.) avocado dip (I use "Calavo" brand)
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 can (4 oz.) mild diced green chiles
8 oz. sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Spread avocado dip in an 8" or 9" round pie plate.

2. Sprinkle hot sauce over the avocado dip. Distribute diced chiles over the hot sauce.

3. Cover the top with sour cream and lightly sprinkle the top with cheddar cheese.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Makes 2-1/2 to 3 cups.

Tip: Avocado dip can be found in the produce, refrigerated or frozen section of your supermarket. Allow about two hours to thaw if it is frozen.

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