Message from RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury

Readers: This is a short, highlight version of a special email I sent to our members in late September 2018.

By Chuck Woodbury
After two full years on the road full-time, Gail and I have purchased a home near Seattle. It happened fast. We had no plans to buy anything so soon, but then stumbled upon the perfect place at the perfect price and simply could not resist.

We’ve been “homeless” for more than two years, and in that time have criss-crossed the country twice with our RV. It’s been an amazing journey! We’re not giving up RVing: Our plan is to travel about four months a year. Our new home has space in the backyard to store our RV, which will serve as a guest bedroom for friends who visit.

Our campsite in an Arizona State Park along the Colorado River in the winter of 2016.

We’re typical, I believe, of many others who have undertaken the full-time lifestyle, then decided later to plant roots. Some do it by staying in a favorite RV park for months on end, then returning there year after year. I envy the full-timers who never tire of being on the road. For most, it’s a great life. 

Since we shifted the focus of to more “consumer advocacy” topics, our work has become more demanding and I believe more important. Now, with my larger, dedicated work space and speedy, dependable Internet, I can devote more time and do a better job on our many projects, two of which I have outlined below. 

My staff and I are spending much more time these days dealing with timely issues that are of concern to RVers — poor RV construction and crowded RV parks. With Mike Sokol, we are working to educate RVers about RV electrical safety. We are financing most of these projects ourselves, but only because our members provide much of the funding.

At the big RV show that just wrapped up in Hershey, Pennsylvania, dozens of RVers thanked Gail and me as well as Mike for our efforts on their behalf. It motivated us to work harder and do more. Mike’s seminars attracted big crowds, and he was subsequently invited to present his electrical safety programs at other shows and venues (two of which were this past week).

We have lost advertising in recent months because of our strong views, which often anger the RV industry. We are not a non-profit organization — we’re simply a group of journalists and RVers who represent a lone media voice in one of the more unsophisticated businesses in America, one that’s getting away with sloppy workmanship and poor customer service.

Overnight parking project
RVers paused for a night at an Ohio Service Plaza, where an overnight space with a 50-amp hookup goes for $20.

As you may recall, we are promoting the idea of a chain of inexpensive overnight stops for RVers across the country. We envision businesses like Walmart, Cabela’s and others with extra space in their parking lots providing a dozen 50-amp hookup sites where RVers can stay a night for $15 to $25. Using an app, RVers would be able to reserve a spot within 24 hours of arriving, so they’d know for sure there’s room when they get there. We believe there’s a huge potential for other locations — casinos, rest areas, church parking lots (a money-maker for the churches) and shopping malls scrambling to survive as anchor stores depart. Small towns bypassed by the Interstates often have space available just a mile or so off the Interstate that could be used, providing revenue for city coffers, as well as needed business for local merchants.
So far we know of two projects in the works, one in the East which is currently building its first location. We have met with its owners and will help all we can. We will continue to publicize the idea of these inexpensive overnight stops, and we’ll provide tons of free publicity for any that are built (interested?). We believe whoever undertakes such a project will not only provide a valuable service to RVers, but end up with a very profitable business.
Saving lives, one heart at a time
AEDs are available at big airports. But you seldom see one in an RV park. We hope to help change that.

Our next project, we hope to begin promoting in 2019, will be to encourage RV parks to have AEDs, or Automated External Defibrillators, in case of emergencies. An AED is a portable emergency medical device that analyzes the heart’s rhythm for an arrhythmia and provides an electric shock if needed. The devices are often available in public places, carried by first responders (police, fire, etc.), and utilized during sudden cardiac arrest emergencies.
RV parks are frequently far from 911 help and often occupied by older persons, who have an elevated chance of sudden cardiac arrest. I watched a man die in a remote campground who may have been saved if an AED was at hand. I recently purchased one of my own. It may save my life one day or I may save someone else’s life in an RV park where I’m staying.