By Chuck Woodbury
I’ve received quite a few letters recently about how negative I have become. At the same time, the RV industry news media has been reporting what I have been writing, I presume because there is some merit to what I’m saying. And those articles have generated a lot of comments on their websites, some accusing me of being on some sort of witch hunt at RV industry and government targets.
Here is one comment that was left on an article about me on RV Daily Report, along with my answer.
The person who commented did not leave his or her name.
You’ve gone negative about everything RV since going full-time. RV parks, manufacturers, suppliers, governmental groups, etc., are your targets. I’ve subscribed to and actually taken the time to read your newsletter for sometime now and am beginning to wonder if your negative slant is to discourage new RV’ers from buying RV’s, thus making campsites more readily available. You’ve gone from objective reporting to a self-appointed watchdog. Study the reporting style of the editor of this weekly newsletter, Greg Gerber and truly be objective and less negative. You’re starting to read like CNN or Fox News reports the news: less reporting of the actual news with more giving of your opinion! Why? You are of course entitled to report whatever you wish, with whatever slant you choose, just as I am entitled to choose what I read (FYI: I will continue subscribing to and reading your newsletter). I just do not understand why you’d want to be less of a source of credible information and more of a negative opinioned scribe.
Since I have gone full-time I have seen so much that I didn’t see when I mostly just sat at home the last few years, with a two or three week trip here and there. But mostly just talked about RVing. Hence the change in tone. And, since I became “negative” as you say, new signups to the RVtravel.com newsletter have doubled. I am not the only one who is experiencing what I have been writing about.
I am not a cheerleader for the industry other than to say over and over I am hopelessly in love with RVing, and I still write that often. But there are problems in RV-land that I see now that I did not see before, and I will not sit around and go “how wonderful everything is” like 98% of all the other websites and magazines that are advertiser supported and thus need to keep their mouths shut or lose their support. If I am a “self-appointed watchdog,” so be it. I’ve been RVing for 35 years, for much of that time a third of each year. Just maybe I have an insight or two that newbies do not.
And on the topic of new RVers, I am constantly preaching to would-be buyers to do their homework before buying an RV. Don’t buy the “bling:” check a potential RV out top to bottom. Don’t finance it for 20 years with no money down or little down, and then be forced to sell it a year later because of health reasons and then find out you’re $50,000 upside down on your loan. “Where will I get that money?” people write me in desperation. You don’t think that happens? It does.
QUITE A FEW YEARS AGO I helped write and I hosted a Better Business Bureau DVD titled “Buying a Recreational Vehicle.” The video is still available in most major libraries. In the DVD we said many of the things I am still saying today.
I don’t think RVing is awful, quite the opposite. I enjoy every day in my RV now while traveling full-time. I do think there are too many RVers for the available campsites (and there are many reasons, of which I am exploring) and RV makers are cranking out new rigs faster than ever, and too much of it suffers from quality issues.
There is a lot to be talked about, and I enjoy talking about it because I think I can help improve things. I know our series on RV electricity, where we discussed “hot skin conditions,” has saved at least two lives. The RV industry won’t talk about that. I feel really great that a couple of people (one a child) are still out there enjoying their lives based on what they learned from us.