Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 14, 2009 Issue

What’s New With Us: Happy Birthday – Anticipation – Rally Seminars

Article: Personal Security – Guns

Vicki’s Favorite Recipe: Antipasto Salad


What’s New With Us:

Happy Birthday! I hit the big 70 on July 7th. Vicki arranged a great birthday party for me. In attendance were my kids, grandkids, brothers and sister-in-laws and Vicki’s dad. We gorged ourselves on barbecued baby-back-ribs and chicken, Vicki’s infamous potato salad, baked beans and a bunch of different salads. It was washed down with beer, wine and soft drinks. My gifts consisted of Tequila, candy and peanut brittle. After I blew out the candle on the birthday cake, Vicki announced that she wasn’t sure she wanted to sleep with somebody’s 70-year-old grandfather. Okay, no Tequila for her!


Anticipation is a big part of the fun when planning an RV trip. During the past 12 months, due to circumstances beyond our control, we added less than 2,000 miles to our motorhome’s odometer. That is a far cry from the 20,000 to 30,000 annual miles we have traditionally traveled.

But… this September we hit the road again. We could do it sooner but, while July and August inflict heat and humidity upon the rest of the nation, Huntington Beach, California enjoys temps in the mid to upper 70s with soft afternoon seabreezes. We’ll just enjoy the summer here, thank you.

Our fall plans have us leaving home after Labor day. We will go north to Portland Oregon. Turn east for northern Idaho, and then travel along the northern tier of states to New England for the fall colors. Along the way we will make a point of visiting with friends and relatives.


AND… WE ARE GOING TO PRESENT SEMINARS at Nick and Terry Russell’s Gypsy Gathering Rally in Celina Ohio. The rally is being held at the Mercer County Fairgrounds just west of downtown Celina from September 28 through October 2. To read about the rally Click Here . After reading about (and, of course, registering for) the rally, switch to Nick’s Blog. But, I have to warn you, it’s addictive.

We will be presenting our popular seminar, “Alaska, The Ultimate RV Adventure”. This is a “how-to seminar” where we tell you what you can really expect in the way of road conditions, accommodations and services along the Alaska Highway. Vicki does a dynamite job of explaining how to arrange passage on the Alaska Ferry System. Then we tell you how to prepare yourself and your RV for this great adventure. We will also be presenting our “RV Travel and Camping Tips” seminar. We offer tips for dealing with holding tank odors, invading critters, condensation and more. It is a fast-moving, fun seminar. This is our only public appearance this year. Don’t miss it!


Personal Security - Guns

Do you feel safe out there? Do you carry a gun?

Joe: Vicki and I are asked these and similar questions at most of our seminar presentations and in many of the letters we receive.

What these folks are really asking is "Aren't you afraid of becoming crime victims?" and "What can we do to protect our valuables and ourselves?"

Our standard reply is that we feel just as safe in our RV as we do at home. Maybe safer.
I'm not going to tell you that enjoying your RV is without risks. RVers can be victims of crime just like anyone else. But I will tell you that when you are RVing you are in a relatively low-crime neighborhood.

There are a number of logical reasons for this.

The activities and attractions that appeal to RVers are not usually located in high-crime areas.
Most RV parks and campgrounds are located on the outskirts of cities and towns. A bothersome commute for most criminals.

RVers generally park in close proximity to other RVers. There always seems to be at least one person sitting outside who seems interested in everything that's going on around them. Non-campers are pretty easy to spot and, as a result, attract attention to themselves. And you never know when a ranger, camp-host or strolling camper will pass by. These are people who could come to an RVer's aid or act as witnesses. Criminals prefer to avoid the inconvenience involved with getting caught.

It's difficult to establish patterns of movement or occupancy in and around RVs. We come and go unpredictably. It's also not easy to determine who or what may be inside an RV. It could be a lineman for the Rams, a Great Dane or a little, old lady with a big, new gun. Criminals have the same aversion to pain as everyone else.

An RV can be more difficult to break into than a house. (Those of us who have managed to lock ourselves out of an RV can attest to this.) And it certainly can't be done inconspicuously. Again, that getting caught thing.

Finally, RVers are perceived by many as bloodthirsty, gun-loving, rednecks just itching for an opportunity to blow someone's head off. An image I don't agree with but see no point in discouraging.

Essentially, the criminal is an opportunist looking for an easy target, a quick grab and a fast getaway. RVers and their lifestyle generally do not present this kind of opportunity.

So compared to how we feel at home, yes, we do feel very safe while we are traveling and camping in our RV.

Vicki: We are just as cautious when we are RVing as when we are at home. Exterior doors, windows and storage lockers are always locked when not in use. When we had a Class C motorhome we had to make an extra effort to remember to lock the driving compartment’s doors. We also lock our doors while driving.

Hitch locks on trailers are an inexpensive theft deterrent. We don't leave anything outside overnight or while we are absent unless it's secured to the RV, picnic table or a tree by a lock and chain.

Along the same lines, we avoid tempting thieves by not displaying cash, cameras, computers, cellular phones or other possessions.

We keep cash, jewelry and other valuables secured and hidden inside the RV. A dog can be a good theft deterrent, so can a burglar alarm. Some RVers install additional exterior lights.

Over the years, we've met many women traveling alone in their RVs. They are, definitely, among the most creative RVers, especially when it comes to deterrents to would-be intruders.

One evening, after sharing our campfire with a woman traveling alone, we watched as she returned to her rig. Before she went inside, she opened an outside cupboard and pulled out a huge dog dish. Then came a very large collar attached to a hefty chain. She set the dog dish on the ground, attached the chain to her step, turned around and waved goodnight.

Can you imagine the would-be intruder targeting that RV and then seeing all that paraphernalia that obviously belonged to a huge dog? Especially when he realized the dog didn't even have a collar on? And was the dog inside or outside?

Another single woman we met told us she went to a war surplus store and bought a pair of the biggest, most well-worn boots she could find. Before retiring each night she sets the boots outside her door. Would you want to be confronted by the owner of those oversize boots?

Joe: We frequently "boondock" during our travels. Our definition of "boondocking", by the way, is spending one or more nights in our RV at a spot that is not a designated campsite.

Obviously, our personal safety is uppermost in our minds when making the decision to "boondock". Vicki and I have "boondocked" in friends driveways, empty lots, quiet streets, roadside rests, truck stops and the parking lots of stores, churches and police stations. Years ago we "boondocked" to save the cost of a campsite. Now, we "boondock" only when we can't locate a convenient or acceptable campground. It's not unusual, however, to find us "boondocking" in the parking lot of an RV show where we are presenting our seminars.

And, of course, we're always on the lookout for more friends with long driveways.

Vicki: We have three rules about "boondocking". Obey the law. Seek permission. Apply common sense.

We look for a "boondock" site that is well lit and doesn't make us an easy target of opportunity.
We never park alone. Joe and I prefer to park in the company of other RVers. He claims the best spot is between two RVs. One with a bumper sticker that proclaims "Insured by Smith & Wesson" and the other with a bumper sticker boasting membership in the National Rifle Association.

We avoid or leave any place where we are not comfortable about our safety. Even if we can't explain why we feel that way.

Joe: People we don't know frequently ask if we carry a gun in our RV. I'm concerned that if I answer "yes", they may be tempted to steal it and if I answer "no" they will think we are an easy target. So, I politely respond, "If you really want to know, kick in my door and step inside". Everyone then assumes I am a bloodthirsty, gun-loving, redneck just itching for an opportunity to blow someone's head off. An image I don't agree with but see no point in discouraging.

There's a lot of discussion these days about carrying a gun in an RV. I'd like to contribute my observations. The purpose of using a gun for self-protection is to kill someone. Hopefully, the bad guy will back off when he sees you have a gun but, ultimately, you had better be willing to pull the trigger. If you're not prepared to take someone's life, perhaps you should think twice about carrying a gun.

Police officers receive hours and hours of professional training about the use of deadly force. And they occasionally make fatal mistakes. If you do decide to carry a gun, please take a thorough training course in how and when to use it. More importantly, learn when not to use it. After all, I might be parked next door to you some night.

By the way, if you decide to carry a handgun in your RV, be sure to familiarize yourself with the handgun laws of the cities, counties, states and nations you plan on visiting.

Vicki: Generally speaking, the RV world is a low crime neighborhood. Obviously, Joe and I feel quite comfortable out there. Our comfort level comes from knowing that RVers are generally not perceived as a target of opportunity. We also use common sense to avoid becoming crime victims. And then there's this odd perception people have about my husband that he sees no point in discouraging.

Enjoy The Journey!


Recipe (from My RV Kitchen and Favorite Recipes)

Antipasto Salad (Quick and Easy)

This is one of our favorite summer main-dish salads. Be creative. Use whatever types of meat, cheese and vegetables you like. Gauge the amounts to the number of people you are serving.

When I am making a main-dish salad, I usually start with the lettuce and plan on two big handfuls per person. Then I add the other ingredients in proportion to the lettuce.

Lettuce (We prefer a combination of romaine and iceberg )
Red onion, sliced
Cucumbers, sliced
Bell pepper, cut into julienne strips
Tomato, chopped
Salami (or other cold cuts), cut into julienne strips
Provolone (or other cheese), cut into julienne strips
Marinated mushrooms (from the local deli)
Olives (any kind you like, or a combination)
Artichoke hearts, marinated (from the local deli)
Italian salad dressing

1. Assemble all salad ingredients.
2. Add dressing, toss and serve.

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