April, 2003

Total subscribers this issue 8551! Last issue 8426!

Welcome to our new 125 subscribers! Yes, we are growing!

Inside this issue:

- Static Costs For Budget Minded RVers ... By Peggi McDonald
- Three Time Tips ... Dr. Donald E. Wetmore
- Random thoughts on the RV Lifestyle ... by Les Doll
- RV Glossary - terms and phrases used by RV'ers
- Trust My Mechanic ... My car won't start, what do I do now?
by Austin C. Davis

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About the RVer's Corner Newsletter:


Static Costs For Budget Minded RVers ... by Peggi McDonald

Last month I discussed how we got started 'In the beginning'
(see story in March newsletter). We lived very well
following a budget. This month I will discuss some of the
basic necessary costs RVers have to consider if you want to
make your money stretch.

All RVers should have access to an Emergency Fund to cover
unexpected vehicle maintenance either mechanical or
household such as a new toilet. Other items also need
replacing when you least expect it. For instance, when my
1.5-year-old computer hard drive crashed in 2000, we
foolishly had no extended warrantee. Neither had we
budgeted for replacement, but because of my writing and
Internet business I needed to have a ‘puter, so… We
re-instated our for annual upgrades to our vehicles, home
and her contents. By 2002 we had no choice but to replace
the carpet of our now 7-year-old motorhome. We love the
results of this much-needed face-lift.
(www.rvliving.net/renovationscont.htm) However this meant
we had to dip into some investment money but it was a wise

Another important must-have budget input is Emergency Road
Service. One RV tow costs more than the policy, not to
mention assistance when a car that won’t start or if keys
are locked in it (yes I did that too during a rally in
Ottawa Ont). An ERS allows for worry free travel in the USA
and Canada.

In reality no matter who you are or what unit you have,
most RVers practice some kind of control.
Membership/Discount Camping is one way to enjoy low camping
fees, however most membership systems charge excessive
up-front costs. On the good side of this type of camping,
after you pay the initial fees, everyday camping rates will
be from no cost to $5.00 to $10.00. There are numerous
options to choose from; be sure to shop around. If buying
into the costly Membership systems, be sure your home park
is one that you will be able to spend time at during much of
the season. Sometimes Ads for Membership re-sales in
International RV Magazines list reasonably priced options.
Look for low annual dues as well. Another option is Discount
Camping where annual camping fees are usually less than a
$100.00 with park rates averaging $10.00 per night. For
complete details on this type of camping (see
www.rvliving.net/home.htm) or download my free ebook RV
Living: Facts Tips Hints and More -Volume One featured in
the ebook library on www.rverscorner.com.

Working on the road is another way of making life easier.
Although RVing is enjoyable for part-time adventurers as
well as a fulltimers, finding ways to add income to your
travels helps increase the enjoyment. Many RVers sell
products they believe in such as No Wash RV solutions or
awning shades etc.; others repair windshield chips or clean
upholstery or even wash units. A seamstress friend makes
beautiful jackets from clothes sold at Thrift shops.
Becoming part of a campground staff is very popular in both
Canada and the USA. Some RVers do groundwork while others
help in the office. In Arizona our RV Tech neighbour
repaired a problem on our unit, when I asked him what I
owed, he replied I can’t charge but I usually receive a
$20.00 tip for such service. Be aware that any RVer who
wish to legally work in a country other than their own
should have visas, although many do not. However if you are
selling artistic creations such as paintings etc. apparently
this rule does not apply but do your research (numerous
helpful websites are on www.rvliving.net/nalinkscont.htm).

What makes RVing so great is everyone can enjoy it in a unit
that suits their current budget and lifestyle. There is no
right or perfect RV. If your home on wheels is similar to a
cottage you may not be able to justify ALL the extra
amenities we have on board. On the other hand since our
motorhome is our only home we feel many of these luxuries
are actually necessities. The list of available extras is
extensive – but we only have the ones we feel are important
to us. This lifestyle is contagious, originally we hoped to
travel for only two years and now as we head into year 18;
we have no plans to quit in the near future. Enjoy your

Peggi and John are RV Lifestyle Consultants and Fulltime
RVers going into their 18th year of on road travels. Peggi’s
best-selling publication Spirit of the Open Road and her
ebooks RVLiving: Facts Tips Hints and More Vol 1 and II are
featured on www.rverscorner.com. Log onto the McDonalds
website www.rvliving.net for mega lifestyle information for
ALL RVers.


Random thoughts on the RV Lifestyle ... by Les Doll

Terrorists? War? Sars? Other Calamities?

Our modern world is filled with pitfalls and problems. For
many, the only relief from the woes of the world, are the
enjoyable hours/days/weeks spent with our RV's. The RV is a
private haven when on the road, we have our own space, our
own toilet facilities, our own kitchens and our own

The question ... why RV? ... is answered in this article by
Will Sill ...


by W.F (Will) Sill

People who don't understand often ask: 'How can you justify
such an expensive. . . uh, mobile home?' They understand
neither the terminology nor the benefits! Not pretending to
speak for all who own/use RV's [many of whom would disagree
with me if I wrote that civility was a good thing!] here are
a few of the reasons the RV lifestyle is popular in OUR

We *enjoy travel* as much as the destination. We are
thankful to live in a free country where one can explore
almost any road without being hassled by checkpoints (except
of course at the CA border!) or attacked by bandits. We can
stop at a country vegetable stand and talk about the
harvest. Try that from Flight 203! Unlike untold thousands
of other 'campers', we do NOT want anything to do with
squatting in 'campgrounds' that are really rural slums
loaded with moss-covered "rv's" and their semi-permanent
porches - complete with weeds growing through - and
surrounded by debris such as expired cars, broken lawn
furniture, and tarp-covered snowmobiles/boats/motorcycles.
If THAT environment is what people escape to, we wonder
where they LIVE that makes this look better!

We love to *see how other people live*, especially away from
huge metropolitan areas - and where there are few if any
motels, convention centers, and restaurants. This country
has vast reaches of beautiful farmland, spectacular
mountains, forests, grasslands, lakes, rivers, etc.... Have
ya heard the one about where can an 800# gorilla sleep?
Anyplace he wants. We can easily refuse to stay in places
that have rules we think are idiotic, and if we are assigned
to a site with an obnoxious neighbor, it is not the end of
the happy hour.. we can move.

We enjoy *sleeping in our own bed*, not wondering to whom it
was last rented and what their medical status was, and
without having to haul suitcases in and out. Our 'motel
room' is as warm, cool, or well ventilated as we like.

We enjoy *solitude*, away from honking horns and roaring
jets - places where the most raucous noise is the cawing of
a crow. Where the most pungent odor is that of wild flowers.
We stay OFF the interstate system except to get through a
crowded metropolis, and as a result we arrive slower but
without the stress of being caught up in the thundering
herds of almost-outa-control vehicles hammering along well
over their personal skill level - to say nothing of the
(hahahaha) speed limits.

We *enjoy visiting* friends & relatives - whether or not
they have spare rooms or a convenient motel - and having our
own bathroom and privacy while we're there.

We love having *choices*: breakfast/lunch/dinner in the
motorhome, or that really nice-looking restaurant. Ponder
THAT as you hammer down the interstate in your car,
wondering if they used 40-weight Havoline instead of salad
dressing at the last take-it-or-leave-it diner with its
cardboard cuisine!

We like *having the grandkids with us* (sometimes!), seeing
a moose in person rather than watching Bullwinkle on TV, and
learning to get along with each other instead of playing
electronic doom games. They really enjoy the trip more if
they can move around instead of being strapped into the back
seat like captive zoo specimens. [please no lectures about
seat belts on the rear queen bed, huh?]

We love the *secure feeling* that a traffic tie up will not
create a crisis for us and stir up the personal stress
level. War story: Once a freak fall snowstorm virtually shut
down New England as we were returning from Maine. Stranded
by downed trees and traffic for a time, we were warm and
dry, with plenty of food & water. Contrast that with a
friend's true horror story about how he and his family very
nearly perished in a freak storm just this Spring. How's the
restroom in your Ford Taurus? 8-)

*Flexibility* is the key advantage for us - being able to
decide on the spur of the moment to go north instead of
west, and not worrying about being at the motel before 6, or
wondering if they overbooked.

We like *saving money*. After all, until last fall when we
finally bought something new, our rigs didn't cost any more
than a typical car. We get terrible gas mileage by car
standards, but we don't HAVE to eat in restaurants all the
time, and we don't EVER pay $75 or $100 for a motel room.
(We figure an easy $1000 savings for a trip to the left
coast vs going by car) When the trip is over we have spent
less money than if we went by car, not to mention all the
other benefits.

CAVEAT: Don't try to *save money* buying an rv unless you
use it a lot! We do, and we save a bundle, but you won't if
you only get to travel a couple of weeks per year. In a way,
it is very much like the old membership CG debate: you gotta
use it a lot to *actually* save money.

We like going to *fairs & flea markets & bluegrass jam
sessions*. It is NICE to have one's own bathroom & a place
to take a nap, instead of standing in line at the banks of
Porta Potties!

What's YOUR special reason for enjoying your RV?

W F (Will) Sill KD3XR Tunkhannock PA 10/30/99


Three Time Tips ... Dr. Donald E. Wetmore

Three Time Tips

1. Poor planning. "People don't plan to fail but a lot of
people fail to plan." Without a plan of action for your day
you tend to direct your attention to the most urgent thing
that may not necessarily be the best use of your time.
Often, the day will be filled with wheel spinning and
"busy-ness", rather than business. When I was in the
military, we referred to the "Six P's": "Poor planning
produces pretty poor performance". (I recall that some used
a different word for "pretty", but I'm sure you get the

2. Procrastination. Taking the time for planning is great
but what if you don't execute on your plan? You tend to put
off doing what you know you ought to be doing when there is
little or no pain for not doing it and little or no
pleasure to do it. Procrastinating the unimportant things
has a positive value in your day. The problem for many is
that they are procrastinating the important items.

3. Interruptions. You can do a great job of planning and not
be much of a procrastinator, but interruptions will come
your way and rob you of productivity. An interruption is an
unanticipated event. That's what makes it an interruption.
They come to you from two sources, in-person and electronic
(telephone, email, beeper, pager, etc.) Interruptions are
both good and bad. There are A (crucial) and B (important)
interruptions that you receive without reservation. By
definition, they have value to you and are welcomed. But
then there are the C (little value) and D (no value)
interruptions that only take you away from being as
productive as you might otherwise desire.


RV Glossary - terms and phrases used by RV'ers (continued)

INVERTER - An inverter is a device that changes 12 volt
battery power to 120 volt AC power. It is used when
"boondocking" (camping without hookups) to power certain 120
VAC only devices like a microwave oven. The amount of
available power depends on the storage capacity of the
batteries and the wattage rating of the inverter.

LAMINATE - A sandwich of structural frame members, wall
paneling, insulation and exterior covering, adhesive-bonded
under pressure and/or heat to form the RV's walls, floor
and/or roof.

LIVABILITY PACKAGES - items to equip a motorhome for daily
living, which may be rented at nominal cost from rental
firm, rather than brought from home. Include bed linens,
pillows and blankets, bath towels, pots and pans, kitchen
utensils, cutlery.

LP GAS - Liquefied Petroleum Gas. LP gas is used to fuel
appliances in the RV, such as the stove, oven, water heater
and refrigerator. Propane tanks are usually rated as pounds
or gallons.

NET CARRYING CAPACITY (NCC) or Payload Capacity - Sometimes
called the payload capacity, this is the maximum weight of
fuel, water, propane, supplies and passengers that can be
added to an RV without exceeding the Gross Vehicle Weight
Rating (GVWR).

PILOT - a pilot is a small standby flame that is used to
light the main burner of a propane fired appliance when the
thermostat calls for heat. Pilots can be used in furnaces,
water heaters, refrigerators, ovens and stove tops.

PROPANE - LPG, or liquefied petroleum gas, used in RVs for
heating, cooking and refrigeration. Also called bottle gas,
for manner in which it is sold and stored.


Trust My Mechanic ... by Austin C. Davis

Reader Question: I am taking a road trip with my family, is
there some kind of repair schedule I should ask my mechanic
to perform before I hit the road?

Don't let Ho-Ho-Ho turn into Tow-Tow-Tow!

I get at least one customer a week who brings their car to
my shop and says, "I'm going on an out-of-state road trip
with the family, would you please look my car over and make
sure it is road-worthy"? My reply is, "Sure, we can do that,
when are you leaving?" You would be surprised at how often I
hear, "Tomorrow."

Now I know that during the planning stages of an out-of-town
road trip, some things could possibly be overlooked till the
last minute, but you would think at least one thing would
have come to mind: reliable transportation! Breaking down on
a road trip with a carload of college buddies and a cooler
of beer used to be fun, but for most of the normal driving
public, breaking down on the side of the road can be a
nightmare. So, if you are planning a road trip, place a good
deal of emphasis on preparing your vehicle. Allowing your
mechanic ample time to inspect and repair your vehicle
properly should be your number one priority.

Some ideas for vehicle road-worthiness would be:

1. Take your car to your regular mechanic's shop two weeks
prior to your trip. Hopefully you have a regular mechanic
that you know and trust. This should NOT be a quick-lube
type place, but a full service repair shop or new car
dealership. I personally would not want to test the
workmanship of a new mechanic on a road trip with my family.
Two weeks prior? Definitely. Give your mechanic time to make
necessary repairs, and some room for adjustments. If your
mechanic finds problems and repairs parts on your vehicle,
you will want a week or so "break in period" to test the
fix(s) before you hit the road. In most cases, if anything
goes wrong after major repairs, it will be in the first
100-200 miles. Give yourself enough time to feel confident
that the repairs made will not be an issue as soon as you
get outside your city limits.

2. Make sure that you have the following items in your car
before you leave: Flashlight, pen, paper, and disposable
camera. Just in case of an accident, take lots of pictures
of the scene, the other car involved (including license
plate), the other driver , and anyone else in their car,
etc. Take pictures of the road condition i.e. was it wet,
was there an obstacle in the road that could have caused the
accident, was it at a intersection with a stop sign or
traffic light, if at night was it lit and well marked? Get
business cards or contact information from anyone that could
be a witness, and if at all possible get them to give their
statement to the police officer at the scene. It seems that
a few days after an accident the memory of small details
becomes cloudy and unclear to some people, and in worst
cases the story of how, where, and who was involved in the
accident can become fabricated.

3. Take along some extra supplies that your car might need
while on the road. A new bottle of anti-freeze, engine oil,
and transmission fluid could really come in handy if a
roadside emergency were to occur. A can of Fix-A- Flat,
jumper cables, small box of tools including screw drivers,
pliers, a few spare radiator hose clamps that you can get
from your mechanic, roll of electrical tape, and a hand
towel to wipe your hands should all be packed in your car.
Fix-A-Flat should only be used in case of an emergency and
not to be used just to add a small amount of air to the
tires. Fix-A-Flat and other products like it require that
the tire be removed from the wheel, and the product be
removed from inside the tire and a permanent repair be
preformed. Caution: Some tire sealants are flammable and all
are very messy and sticky, so you will appreciate the towel
to wipe off your hands.

4. A few recommendations that will aid in driver comfort
are: Install new wiper blades and fill up the washer bottle
with windshield washer solvent to help keep the windshield
clean (seems wiper blades are never thought about unless it
is raining). Bring along sunglasses, a few of your favorite
music cd's or cassettes, wear comfortable clothes and shoes,
and bring a jacket and rain gear just incase you have to be
outside your vehicle for an emergency situation. A cell
phone is a very helpful tool to have on your travels, but
make sure you will have reception in the region you are
traveling in, and don't forget the battery charger. Some
cell phone companies offer roadside assistance for its
customers, call your cell phone service provider and see if
this service is offered.

Have your mechanic perform all regular scheduled maintenance
on your car before you head off on your travels, and make
sure to tell him where you will be going. If I know that you
are going to be traveling in a hilly, snowy location pulling
a small trailer I would make sure to inspect items that
would be more prone to cause trouble in that kind of
situation. Traveling through a hot arid dessert would
require a different inspection than a winter trip.


Do you own an RV and sometimes forget how everything works?
Are you exploring the RV lifestyle and would like to know
more about it? Are you looking for a perfect gift for the
new or experienced RVer? If you answered YES to any of these
questions, then these videos are an absolute must for You!

RV Videos




NEW RV HOME VIDEOS RV Education 101 presents home videos on
how to operate everything on an RV. The VHS videos are very
useful to anyone new to RVing. Read more, or order at:
RV Videos


SPIRIT OF THE OPEN ROAD by Peggi McDonald is a 'must have'
for all RVers, both novice and experienced travelers.
Although written from a Canadian point of view it is 95%
generic and a valuable guide to RVers from all countries.
For complete details -



Les Doll - RV Technician My advice is free and worth only
what you gain from it!