Tuesday, January 31, 2023


All alone, with my head about to explode!

By Chuck Woodbury
I have been alone now for two weeks with two weeks to go. My significant other, Gail, has flown to Seattle to ski in the Cascades with her son and small grandchildren. I have remained in Quartzsite, Arizona, in a quiet RV park where I pay $12 a day for full hookups and an unlimited supply of dust, and jack rabbits passing by. 

For whatever reasons I love the place. I love the warm, sunny days (in the winter season) — my front door wide open all day long, and sometimes sitting outside under my awning, typing stories, my little dog-friend Archie by my side, who keeps an eye open for the rabbits, which he dreams of catching.

When I am left alone 24/7 I never stop writing for long, even when I am not actually sitting at my computer. I wake up in the middle of the night and realize I have just written a story in my head from start to finish while in some sort of semi-consciousness. I am usually too sleepy to get up and write it down. By morning I have forgotten it. Many times, if I do remember, I realize it was harebrained, anyway. My best ideas come to me in my sleep or in the shower. For the record, one-third of my story ideas are good, two-thirds are stupid.

This is not me, of course, but I think I envision myself like this reporter of old. I wouldn’t smoke, though.

I’ve been publishing the RV Travel Newsletter now for nearly 20 years. Every week, about Wednesday I start thinking about what to write in my opening essay. Every week! The chore is now hard-wired in my brain. Most weeks the problem is not what to write about, but what NOT to write about. I always have more than one idea, usually three, four or more. I am forced to choose one.

In a typical day I write a dozen headlines in my head. I want to write the stories that go with them, but I can’t because my brain would explode, and there’s no time anyway. Days fly by, twice as fast as even 10 years ago. My brain may be old, and more forgetful all the time, but it is like fine wine, aged to perfection when it comes to generating ideas for articles and essays. I just don’t have time to write them.

This is what happens to me when I am left alone, day after day. I turn into a word machine with no off switch.

We are quickly closing in on the 1,000th issue of this newsletter. I never, when I started in 2001, could have imagined I would still be doing it 20 years later. But here I am — a once-middle-aged guy who has traveled warp-speed through time into Geezerhood.

I wish I had more patience so I could write a book with the half million words in my head trying to get out. But, then, maybe I already have if I put all my stories together. If you’re an excellent writer and want to collaborate on a book or two or three, contact me. We’ll meet up somewhere and I’ll tell you everything I know for two straight weeks. We’ll drink massive amounts of coffee and I’ll unleash a lifetime of RV knowledge your way. You just have to make sense of it on paper. We’ll split the profits.


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2 years ago

I am so grateful and impressed by your dedication to your newsletter. Here’s to another 20 years of writing and information.

Phil Atterbery
2 years ago

I was raised in a family of story tellers. As an adult I enjoyed Charles Kuralt’s “On the Road” stories. I still enjoy the CBS’s “Sunday Morning”. I enjoy your writings in this newsletter. Please continue your passion as you contribute to this community “fire pit conversations”.

2 years ago

This is on the Heater story.
We all carry air compressors with us as rv’rs, you can blow out the heater with these.
Second, We spent 6 months researching portable heaters for use in the rig, emailing companies, calling ect… We wanted a portable heater NOT MADE IN CHINA.
We found 1. Company that makes portable heaters NOT MADE IN CHINA.

West Marine Cabin heaters, we have model # 9206 . TINY little thngs they make for boats. Hella Powerful. 5 settings.
Anti freeze 300 watt. 600 watt, 900 watt, 1200 watt, and 1500 watt. It is a mechanical dial(which is super) and they have a 3 year standard warranty, you can add on 2 more years for like 20$. MADE IN CANADA and no parts at all come from China. I have verified this from corporate . They run 120$ each.

made in china heaters , Every year, they are made Cheaper and Cheaper and Cheaper -MADE IN CHINA is like a badge of seriouse incompetance.

They use underated wire. They use inferior fuses(if the even work at all) they use just barely legal power cords and underated capacitors on their boards. All of this contributes to a low voltage situation with the unit, and as we all know, low voltage does way way more damage than high voltage. Low voltage destroys an item from the inside out. affecting everything in the circuit. which cause fires without any other help from dust or dirt.

Made in China appliances are a serious no way buy for a person who lives in a tinder box. terrible idea. Like the LP fridges, are one of those things NO ONE thinks about.

So, yes care needs to be taken for using portable heaters, But care also needs to be taken to not replace said item with something worse made than what you are replacing. If replacing, although alot of people might balk at this, buying used made in usa and seeing to it that it is blown out, the wires are not discolored, the cord had not been tampered with, run over by the vaccum, dog chewed, cat chewed ect… and paying attention to smells and any burn marks left on the recepticle from whence it is plugged in, will all go a long way in prevention. Or buy the only non portable unit avail not made in china that is crafted from canadian parts and assembled in canada completely.

Corrina Lee
2 years ago

Good idea Chuck and Once you’ve drafted out your book or books, I am excellent at proofreading and editing, it’s what I do for a living. Just say the word and I’d be more than willing to help you.

2 years ago

I hope you’re not as close to I10 as we were 2weeks ago. 100 ft?. I can still hear the traffic( trucks mostly). After 1 night we moved West to behind Dome Rock. Blessed quiet.

2 years ago

An interesting problem to have, I’m sure Chuck. I’m not blessed with that kind of brain, though I can and do write when something pops up that is worthy of comment – like this essay! I edited the WA State BMW Motorcycle Riders Monthly newsletter for almost 10 years, and never had any problem producing copy for that – but it was once a MONTH. I doubt I’d have been up to a weekly.
I’ve only been reading your stuff for a few years, but have found it eminently worthy. Please don’t stop…

2 years ago

I am an inventor, so I have the same problem where I wake up in the middle of the night on what next to make or work on. I hate that I wake up at night because the next day I am still tired and can’t work on all my ideas.
My wife and I have only been camping for forty years and yes we have seen the changes you have talked about in your articles.
I enjoy the RV news letter

2 years ago

What you describe is a common writer’s lament, Chuck. Once you get in the habit of writing every day, it’s hard to turn that off even if you try. I often wake up in the middle of the night and HAVE to write down my ideas if I want to get any sleep that night because my brain won’t shut up until I at least capture the core idea to develop in the morning…

Production is quite different than publication, though — I probably publish 5-10% of what I write (still a couple books, published in spurts). So as someone else stated, hats off for carrying the ball to the goal so reliably for so long… Most people don’t realise a 5-minute-read may take a hour to write and you’re doing “many” per week.

2 years ago
Reply to  Wolfe

We’re all being dumbed down by technology… why does my spellcheck constantly change correct words into wrong??? “Realize” dun don’t ain’t spelled that way (this sentence is also correct supposedly).

Tommy Molnar
2 years ago

Years ago, like 30 or so, I used to write a once-a-month two page newsletter for my fellow employees where I worked. Truck drivers, we were. Even THAT dinky little endeavor was tough to maintain. So my hat is off to you Chuck, for keeping on keepin’ on. I enjoy your work and appreciate the stick-to-it-ivness that it takes to make your deadlines and produce this quality newsletter.

Cyndie Sands
2 years ago

I have been following this newsletter since shortly after I got my first computer in 2002. (I know…I was late to the game…I still have a flip phone, by the way). But way back in the 1980’s I subscribed to your newspaper. I have always enjoyed reading your interesting stories Chuck. Please keep on writing them as long as possible.

John LeGrand
2 years ago

Keep up the good work Chuck, I have enjoyed your writing since I started Reading your newsletter.

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