Special message to RV Travel supporters

Waiting at the Grand Ole Opry for the show to begin.

From Chuck Woodbury

Greetings again!
Gail and I are in Nashville. So far, highlights have been attending the Grand Ole Opry, and visiting The Hermitage, the home (and cotton plantation) of the seventh president of the United States, Andrew Jackson. The week before, we had visited Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia home, Monticello. Both are in stunning locations. What I found most interesting was learning about both men’s homes, which were both plantations.

Jefferson’s Monticello

Both men were slave owners – Jefferson had about 800 altogether through the years and Jackson had 150. Jefferson brought some of his slaves to the White House when he was president. We all know about slavery and how terrible it was, but when you find yourself in a place where it happened, you just get walloped with emotion over the injustice of it all. 

A bit of trivia: At The Hermitage, Jackson’s grave does not identify him as “President” Jackson, but as General Jackson. He was proudest of his military career, not of being president. Oh, I bet you didn’t know: Jackson’s White House was the first one to have running water and indoor toilets!

Gail in front of Jackson’s home. You can take a tour. Most everything is as it was when he died.

On a lighter note, I love the story about what happened at Jackson’s funeral, where his pet African Grey parrot, Poll, was present. After the ceremony began, Poll started talking, and it wasn’t very nice. In fact, the bird swore like a sailor, which, of course, offended guests. He was moved back into the house, away from sensitive ears.

The Grand Ole Opry moved out of downtown Nashville in 1974. The new suburban location is modern, surrounded by huge parking lots, and next door to one of the largest movie theater complexes you’ll ever see. Three RV parks are close by, each within a 5-minute drive or perhaps a 20-minute walk. There’s a KOA, Yogi Bear, and the park where we stayed, Two Rivers.

Charlie Daniels, now 81, electrified the crowd.

We’ll be in Nashville until next Wednesday. We’d stay longer, but someone else has reserved our space. That’s often the case these days with so many RVers competing for campsites. We’ll put in a few hundred miles Wednesday, heading west through Arkansas toward Texas, where we’ll stay for two months starting in December. Then, not sure where we’ll go.

A few notes:
• I won’t announce this for another week in the Saturday RV Travel newsletter, but on Tuesday we’ll go live with another website, NewRVer.com, which we bill as the “Beginners Guide to RVing.” The site was popular for about 10 years until we put it in hibernation two years ago when I thought I would “semi-retire.” Yeah, right! That idea didn’t last long!

It’s critical now to educate would-be RVers about what they’re up against in today’s world. They must know, for example, what to look for when shopping for an RV to minimize buying a lemon, which is easier than ever to do with RVs being rushed out of factories so fast. And, of course, when they hit the road, they must know how to use their new RV properly and safely. The New RVer website looks very much like RVtravel.com (we used the same template to make it easy for our writers to post their articles). But it’s all about the information, not how pretty it looks. You can see it beginning sometime Tuesday. There’s just one page there now.

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I hope you have checked out our new RV Travel group at RVillage.com. RVillage is like Facebook, but smaller and focused exclusively on RVers. I urge you to check it out. Gail and I hope to use the group to help us meet up with readers along the road.

Also, our new RV Electricity Newsletter will debut later this month. Mike Sokol is the editor. Nobody in America knows more about electricity and how it applies to RVs than Mike. I urge you to sign up for this monthly, online publication.

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After about a year-and-a-half on the road, I am still adjusting to full-time RVing life. I keep feeling the urge to go “home,” which is how it was for most of my life, when I would take my trips, traveling a month or two, then returning home.

Home Sweet Motorhome
But now, home is where I am. The other night as I sat reading in bed, I put down my book and looked around. I realized that my view was the same as it was a week ago, or a month ago, or a year ago. If I looked out the window, then, yes, it was different. But inside my cozy little abode, it’s always the same. Gail and I love it, and we are happy together in it. I guess I just need to fully comprehend the idea that home is not a place with a street address, but where we feel secure and comfortable.

Here’s one definition I like:
A house is defined as a building or structure, whose main purpose is to be occupied for habitation by humans. On the other hand, a home is the place of residence or refuge. A person’s most personal belongings are kept in a home and it is where a person feels safe and accepted. Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘Home is where the heart is?’ Well that’s exactly the definition of a home. A house is simply a structure.”

Sometimes I play a little game with myself. When the blinds are closed, I pretend I’m back home in the Seattle area in the RV park where we sometimes stay. Or I try to imagine that I am somewhere else. There is no reason to do this; it’s just a game. But no matter how hard I try to trick myself into thinking that if step out the door I will be in Everett, Washington, or Missoula, Montana, or anywhere else, I still know fully well that when the door opens, I’m in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s a silly game, but I play it anyway.

It’s now 2:35, Central Time, and I need to get back to the newsletter, which needs to be wrapped up in a few hours. You’ll get your email alert tomorrow morning (it always goes out at 2 a.m., Pacific). I hope you enjoy it. Sometimes it just amazes me that it all comes together so well. As I have said, about 10 people work on it altogether. I think if we were a baseball team, we would win the World Series! Oh, by the way. Congratulations, Astros!

And before I go, one more time, thank you for your financial support of RVtravel.com. It’s really helping us grow in influence, but much more important it’s helping us become more valuable to RVers by watching out for their interests — trying to make enough noise that the industry listens and forces it to serve us better, not just sell us something and say “good riddance.”

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