RV Travel Supporter Message 5


From RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury

Hello again, this time from Little Rock, Arkansas. Gail and I arrived Wednesday evening after a 360-mile journey battling big rig trucks on I-40.

View out my window. Yes, that’s my picnic table with my neighbors’ sewer disposal a couple of feet away.

We chose the Little Rock KOA. Its ratings are decent. The evenings are cold now, so sitting outside before dinner, enjoying a glass of wine or just hanging out, isn’t in the plans. We’re here for 11 days. I need to work, so the full-hookup KOA will be fine. Our site here, like at many KOAs, is butted up next to our neighbors. Their sewer disposal is less than two feet from our picnic table. Lovely.

If Gail and I had planned to spend any time outside, we would have requested another site or moved to a new park. The photo is the view outside my window. Attractive, right?

I stayed here 24 years ago when my wife, 2-year-old daughter, Emily, and I traveled the USA on a four-month PR tour on behalf of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. Emily recognized a KOA logo before she knew Ronald McDonald. To her, a KOA meant “playground.”

From the looks of this park, the playground is unchanged. I felt sad when I saw it, recalling with great fondness that sweet little girl of years ago, pushing her on a swing. “Higher, Daddy!”

We had a media date back then in Little Rock. Typically on these days (every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in a different town), TV and newspaper reporters would show up at our campsite to interview us on the subject of “Camping With Kids.” It was always fun seeing ourselves on the TV news that evening. We’d always be the last segment — the “feel good” piece before the newscast ended.

Reporters didn’t show up that day. It turned out that Paula Jones was testifying in town about her alleged sexual relationship with Bill Clinton. The media didn’t consider our story as compelling.

We’re now on our way to Texas, where we’ll join other snowbirds December through February. I really do need to stay put for a while. Even though Gail and I usually stay in a place at least a week, it still seems like we’re always moving. It gets to you after awhile. It’s stressful. But not bad stress, mind you. I think it has a lot to do with over-stimulation.

This morning, I arose at 7 a.m., feeling the pressure (and excitement) as I do on Fridays to finish tomorrow’s newsletter. There is always so much to do, and I like to pick at little details as we near the finish line, sort of like sipping the soup on the stove, adding a pinch of this or that to improve the taste.

At 7:45 this morning, my neighbor came around to my side of his fifth wheel. I thought he was unhooking to move on. But, no, he was beginning the process of winterizing! Really? Here? He was quiet, so I didn’t say anything: Gail was still sleeping. He puttered around an hour. I got my lesson in RV Winterizing 101.

What an experience I am having, being on the road full-time! I could absolutely not know what’s going on in the RV world sitting at home. Sometimes I feel like a cultural anthropologist, studying the current state of nomadic living in America. What a fascinating time it is to be a writer, with an engaged audience, observing and then writing about what I see and think about it all.

Gail and the Parthenon.

I love historical trivia. I can’t remember what I had for dinner the night before, but I can remember trivia for years. At the Parthenon in Nashville’s Centennial Park (a replica of the ancient temple in Greece), I picked up this fun bit of info: Centennial Park was dedicated in 1903. It’s beautiful, sort of Nashville’s answer to Central Park in New York. I love the original rules about its use, now posted on a sign: “Forbidden activities included engaging in sports that frighten horses, driving a sleigh without warning bells, pasturing livestock, discarding broken crockery, and eating watermelons.”

Eating watermelons? I guess there was a reason, but reading that made me laugh.

The readership of RVtravel.com continues to grow, but it frustrates me that it’s not larger. I figure about 60,000 people read each issue of the Saturday newsletter. But the fact is, there are 9 million RVers in America!

My new “toad” (not really!). This 1959 Scootacar can actually transport two. A passenger sits behind the driver like on a motorcycle. I saw this at the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, TN.

We’ve been around 17 years. Why don’t we have 200,000 readers? I ask myself that all the time. Our new relationship with RVillage.com is helping, but it’s hardly bringing in readers at warp speed. I know there’s a way to grow the audience faster and I keep banging my head for a lightbulb to appear. Sometimes it makes me nuts!

Why do I care about a bigger audience? Because the more people learn about the right way to buy and use an RV, the better. Speaking of that, be sure to sign up for Mike Sokol’s new monthly newsletter RV Electricity. The first issue is almost ready. Click here. One thing you do not want to mess with in your RV is its electricity. People die every year making mistakes that could have been avoided. 

Please don’t miss my short article about another bribe attempt to trick you into clicking to a paid link on our website. I get these all the time now, and it makes me mad because I know the same thing is going on constantly on other websites, even big, respectable ones. Here’s where to click if you want to read what I wrote now and not wait for tomorrow.

Okay, I need to get back to the newsletter. As always, thank you for your support helping us be all we can be, lessening our dependence on advertisers, which always brings pressure to not write things that offend them, like crummy RVs or crowded, dumpy campgrounds. You have empowered my staff and me, and we appreciate you very much!

Also, our newly relaunched website NewRVer.com (Beginners Guide to RVing) is now live. We’re still working on it, but it’s up and running and already packed with useful information for novice RVers.