By Chuck Woodbury
Truth be told, I’m bored. Like most of you, I suspect, I am ready for this pandemic to go away. Let’s hope all goes well with the vaccine and we can get back to normal at least by next summer. I, for one, will jump right in line to be vaccinated as soon as I’m eligible.
Gail and I had planned to head down the Oregon coast again this year and then cut inland in southern Oregon or northern California, then make our way for Christmas to my aunt’s small orange grove ranch south of Fresno. But, nope, too many restrictions going on especially in California, so we cancelled our reservations and will stay put.
I’m sad to miss the ocean: Even in stormy weather, it’s so beautiful, and the air so fresh and clean, and most times you have the beach all to yourself. Whatever stress you’re experiencing releases with the roar of the ocean and each pounding wave. And the smell of the ocean is one of life’s greatest delights.
It’s the rainy season in Western Washington. It’s gloomy here this time of year. The days are short. On cloudy days, you may need to turn your car headlights on by 3:30. Gail and I are lucky: We have a comfortable house with a back yard that’s like a small park. So no complaints. And our little terrier, Archie, is good company. We take some walks around the neighborhood for exercise. Sometimes when the sun is out, we hike on nearby trails. Except for the masks everyone wears, all seems normal.
My daughter, Emily, has increasingly assumed many of the responsibilities of running this website and newsletters. I am so incredibly proud of her. I had announced about two years ago that I would drop out of the spotlight at issue 1,000 of this newsletter (that I founded in 2001). That’s now about five months away, and will mark the end of almost 20 years of my working life devoted to RVtravel.com.
I will not retire, but I will work in the background and try my best to teach some of my 50 years of knowledge about publishing to Emily. RVtravel.com must not sell out to some big company that wants to use it for marketing its products through milquetoast editorial. That is a very real threat. We must remain independent. Emily will likely be at the helm for a long time, and I believe she must be committed to quality, highly ethical journalism, not crappy clickbait stuff that is so tempting because it’s so profitable.
MORE RVing WEBSITES
More websites about RVing are popping up every day, some with big money behind them. My friend Curtis Coleman at RVillage.com has sold his successful RV social media platform to Togo RV, which is owned by Thor. Curtis assures me that nothing significant will change, certainly not negatively. But I’m suspicious: A big company like Thor does not buy up the largest RV social media platform without the expectation that its 352,000 members can be influenced to buy its products. That is not necessarily a bad thing, of course, as business is business – but I do have concerns.
Look what Marcus Lemonis did when he bought the Good Sam Club. He turned it into a Camping World discount club, once referring to members as “marketing tools.” And there was my friend Greg Gerber and his wonderful industry website RV Daily Report, who got run out of business when the RV industry blackballed him after he wrote a series of critical articles titled “The RV Death Spiral.” Lucky for us, we are not dependent on advertising, so we can’t be so easily crushed.
At times I feel threatened by the amount of competition for eyeballs from all the new websites and apps. I failed twice in business in my early years and the pain of such an experience is something one never forgets. And so I worry. I try to cover my bases to avoid failing again. But I feel good. This little business is solid, and I consider the future bright. Still, I worry.
Gail and I will spend Christmas alone at home as we did Thanksgiving. I will miss gathering with friends and family, but that’s not smart this year. It appears to me we are on the home stretch of defeating COVID, and all of us must have patience until it’s safe out there.
I am so excited to see that day come. I’ll hit the road with my motorhome and once again enjoy sitting around the campfire with friends I meet, without masks, enjoying each other’s company. Oh, I can hardly wait!
I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Merry Christmas!
Wear your mask. Be safe.
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