Thursday, March 19, 2009

March 19, 2009 Issue

In This Issue

What's New With Us:

Celebrating With Friends

"Due To The Economy"


Celebrating With Friends

Our introduction to RV Notebook carries the disclaimer “updated with whimsical irregularity” but, judging by some of the e-mails and comments we have received, some of you think we are carrying the whimsical part a bit too far.

There’s good news and bad news about our last two months. The good news is … life has not been too exciting. The bad news is … life has not been very exciting. We’ve taken a couple of brief RV trips to Yuma since New Years (see January 6th entry). We stayed at Jerry and Arlyne Ray’s lot on both occasions.

On one trip we celebrated Valentine's Day at Joe and Joanne Annuzzio’s with about eight couples. The men prepared, served and cleaned up after a very nice dinner. Joe organized everything and, recognizing that I am domestically challenged, he assigned me to opening up cans of green beans and watching them cook. Later, I got to help clear the table. Joe gave me an attaboy for my accomplishments.

This past week we have been in Yuma to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. This time there were six couples. Unlike the pink jobs in life, eating corned beef and cabbage preceded and followed by a number of bottles of beer presented no challenge for me at all.

In the “Its Always Something” department … we had mechanical issues on both trips. The question is not “if,” but “when”). During our Valentine's Day trip, in the middle of the mountains, half way between San Diego and El Centro, the “Low Coolant” light started to flash. Why is it these things never happen in front of an RV repair facility? Anyway, one of the engine coolant hoses had sprung a leak. Fortunately the leak was near a fitting. There was enough slack in the hose so all I had to do was cut off the section of leaking hose and reattach the hose to the fitting. And I had sufficient spare coolant to replace what had been lost.

The St. Patrick’s Day trip revealed that our nine year old deep cycle batteries were no longer up to the job. That involved researching the pros and cons of replacing the two existing 8-D deep-cycle batteries with two more 8-Ds or switching to four 6-volt golf-cart batteries. To make a long story short I went with four 6-volt Trojan T-105 batteries wired in such a way to create the equivalent of two 12-volt batteries. Joe Annuzzio, electrical wizard, jack-of-all-trades, possessor of every tool imaginable, and, most importantly, a good friend, helped me install and wire the batteries. By the way, lead per ounce is almost as valuable as gold. Those four batteries cost me $505.00.

From here we might go to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. We’re told the desert flowers are blooming and it is spectacular. On the other hand local desert temperatures have reached the upper 90’s. As far as I’m concerned, it’s too cold below 50 degrees and too hot above 85 degrees. And our dog Molly, born and bred on the coast of Southern California, appears to agree. We’ll see where “whimsy” takes us next.


Due To The Economy

The nation’s economic woes have devastated the RV industry. Many RV manufacturers and dealers have declared bankruptcy and/or gone out of business. The ripple effect has hurt those who supplied the materials, parts, appliances, furniture and services that go into manufacturing, selling and servicing RVs. Thousands of hard working folks have lost their jobs. The ripple effect has also reached Vicki and me.

As some of you know, Vicki and I have made a business of teaching classes, presenting seminars, writing and selling books and writing magazine articles. Last year we lost two of our sponsors and a couple of RV shows “due to the economy”. A little math revealed that without those shows and sponsors it would make better financial sense to restrict our seminar presentations to RV shows in the west. The good news was that, after making two coast-to-coast speaking circuits every year, we would nowhave time to do more “fun” traveling. And then, wouldn’t you know, our western RV shows informed us they had to cut back on the size of their shows to the point where they could not afford to have us present seminars. Our 2009 seminar calendar was suddenly empty. Adding to the pain is that 85% of our book and DVD sales take place at the end of our seminars. Wow! A double whammy!

Well, we thought, after 15 years of chasing RV shows, rallies and Life on Wheels conferences, maybe it's time to slow down and start practicing what we have been preaching. Besides, we can still write our monthly columns for The Good Sam Club’s “Highways” magazine, Woodall’s regional magazines, and KOA’s “KOA Kompass” internet newsletter.

Or not. Yesterday we received an e-mail from our editor at Woodall’s informing us that, effective with the April edition, the Woodall’s regional titles were being suspended indefinitely. Woodall’s had become another “due to the economy” casualty.

Fortunately, Vicki and I do not “need” the money from our speaking and writing in order to survive. I turn 70 years of age this summer and we were prepared for the time when we would no longer have the income from our RV business. So, for now, we will hunker down and weather the storm. We won’t be chasing any opportunities but, on the other hand, we won’t turn down any that float our way. We got into this business, after all, by falling backward through the door of opportunity.

In the meantime we will keep a kind thought for all those folks whose lives have been shattered “due to the economy”.