December was a sabbatical from Workamper News so that my husband, Grady, and I could give away and sell most of our treasures aka stuff. I never considered myself a pack-rat, but this venture made me realize how many years of accumulation we did have and how much easier it would have been if we had started sooner!
Yes, I know as a staff member of Workamper News, I should have known better. It’s a case of “don’t do what we did, do what WKN says.” Start sooner and gradually give away or sell your furniture/furnishings and treasures. Don’t expect there to be too much your grown children will want and don’t make assumptions that your house will take a long time to sell. To our amazement, our house in Tallahassee sold the first week it was put on the market (who knew?) which was a blessing yet contributed to our stress. Three weeks was not nearly enough time, even though we had dispensed with a lot of clothes and non-essential items before our trial run began nearly a year ago. I guess we didn’t realize the true depth of our closets, drawers and attic say nothing of the heart-strings still attached. Why we had lived nearly a year without all those treasures: what was the problem now!!!
Everyone wants to know “how we came out.” Yes, we sold our house for less than the purchase price but we choose to focus on the positive. We lived in that house for seven years so we choose to look at it as if we had rented it for about four hundred dollars a month less than what the rental market would have demanded. (That even includes the new appliances and fixtures we had purchased and taxes). As for the future—no longer will we have the expense of utilities, taxes, insurance, maintenance, pest control, security system, and lawn care!
Speaking of lawn care and why the title of this article is “Exchange Your Lawn for a Life,” we had another experience many RVers must face if you still own a residence or rental house in suburbia. We have had a rental house in Round Rock (just north of Austin) Texas for about six years. Some of the years we had family living in it and other times renters. With the terrible drought this past year, the lawn and landscaping–which at one time had been quite nice– completely died. Without going into the particulars, and despite the best of leases which include “landscape must be maintained in good condition, etc.” (say nothing about assuming family members will take care of property the way you would), there are those that are not going to lend a hand (or hose) to Mother Nature. Never did we consider that lawn care “back home” or “at a rental property” would turn out to be one of the biggest issues while we were Workamping!
So let this be a lesson to those of you who are hitting the road and have property that needs maintenance while you are away. It can be an expensive mistake to assume someone is taking care of your property—or belongings—or whatever. Don’t make assumptions!
When we went to Round Rock Texas on December 18th (after just three weeks of dispensing with our belongings in Tallahassee FL), we were so exhausted we weren’t sure what we were going to do about the house there. It had always been a great rental, but it was a strain as we kept Florida as our domicile and have two other rental properties in Florida. The lawn fiasco made us decide to sell the Texas house and diminish our stress. After putting several days of elbow grease and touch-ups, say nothing of a yard clean-up, we put the house on the market with a realtor. I was due back at work on January 3rd. Again, we made the assumption it would take several months to sell. Wrong! We had three buyers within the first 24 hours and God willing, the property will close on January 13th.
Yes, it was an exhausting holiday season for us, but a surprising one. Next week I will share more about our experiences, including tips on selling your house.
In the meantime, we are sleeping better at night and excited to have exchanged our lawn for a life!
Mary Lou Merritt
Discounts at Pilot/Flying J for Good Sam Members—
The Good Sam Club is offering members an exclusive money-saving benefit with the launch of the Pilot Flying J RV Plus Card, according to a press release.
Beginning in 2012, Good Sam Club members can apply for the discount card which will allow them to save on each gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel purchased; 10 cents per gallon on bulk propane purchased, and 50% on holding tank dump station charges at all applicable Pilot Flying J locations across the United States.
Not a Good Sam member? PLEASE, become one from our website.
Feds to Aggressively Monitor RV Dealership Advertising in 2012
RVDA reported January 2, 2012, that “Feds to ‘aggressively monitor’ RV dealership advertising in 2012.” The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has stated it plans to more vigorously prosecute deceptive dealership advertising this year while it reviews what, if any, additional regulations are needed. “The Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and its implementing regulation, called Regulation Z, require that certain information be disclosed to consumers so they can compare credit offerings and shop for the best terms,” said Brett Richardson, director of legal and regulatory affairs. “Previously, advertisers could distort the true cost of the credit by publicizing only the most attractive credit or lease terms in order to get customers into the dealership.”
For example, an RV advertisement might have read, “1968 fifth wheel — only $75 per month.” But the consumer couldn’t determine whether it was a good deal without knowing the down payment, number of payments, annual percentage rate, and whether the transaction was a credit sale or a lease. TILA requires that advertisements tell the whole story.
“Magellan introduces new GPS for RV Use” a Press Release in PC Magazine reported January 6, 2012. It is called the RoadMate RV9145 which retails for $329.99, offers a 7-inch screen for RVers and campers. The RV9145 packs U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico maps. It also features Good Sam Trailer Life RV Parks & Campground Directory.
For the outdoor recreation enthusiasts, “Crittermap Software announced that their Android GPS App. BackCountry Navigator, has been used by over 300,000 outdoor enthusiasts. The app runs on both Android phones and tablets, providing hikers, hunters, and other adventuresome users with the chance to preload topographical and aerial maps, and to use them in the field along with paths and waypoints. BackCountry uses the Android GPS, which is built into the device and uses satellites, so no signal from cell towers is needed for users to know their location. This makes the application especially popular with those who wander outside urban areas into forests, wilderness areas, and other places where coverage is spotty at best. Users can then see their position on maps that they have previously downloaded, and record waypoints, notes, and records of their track. Especially popular are the BLM boundary maps for 12 western states, which allow hunters, hikers, and rock collectors to visualize the boundaries between public and private land.
Gas Prices Head Higher
“Gas Prices Head Higher” according to the Associated Press. Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Services expects pump prices will average between $3.75 and $4.25 a gallon this year; perhaps $4.00 a gallon by spring.
Alameda California RV and Sports Show This Week
The 24th annual Manufacturers RV and Sports Show at Alameda, CA County Fairgrounds opened January 6, 2012 and runs through January 16th. “For the first time this year visitors will be able to test ride or see a demonstration of an electric motorcycle as well as see hundreds of RVs and accessories, new and used, and negotiate directly with dealers.”
RV Enthusiasts Numbers Revealed
RVDA reports “Including those who rent RVs, there are an estimated 30 million RV enthusiasts in the United States Approximately 9 million households own RVs. Combined with the RV rental market, it is estimated that RVs are a $15.75 billion a year industry.”
Some RV Manufacturer Notable Numbers
Class A: Winnebago, Tiffin, Fleetwood, Thor, Forest River
Class C: Thor, Winnebago, Coachmen, Forest River, Fleetwood
Fifth Wheels: Thor, Forest River, Jayco, Palomino, Coachmen
Travel Trailers: Thor, Forest River, Jayco, Coachmen, KZ
[Note: Forest River ceased operations January 2011]
Texas Rebound in 2012
Texas Campground operators, hurt by the state’s hot, dry summer, are anticipating a rebound this season because of “winter Texans,” those out-of-state residents who migrate to the warmer parts of the Lone Star State to avoid the coldest weeks back home.
“Many of our affiliates are reporting much higher bookings for the winter season than they experienced last year,” said Brian Schaeffer, executive director and CEO of the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO).
According to a report in the American-Statesmen, Austin, this summer’s drought hurt many RV parks and campgrounds, particularly those located on lakes or rivers.
Bryan Kastleman, managing partner at Hill Country RV Resort in New Braunfels, said his bookings are up because of more than just winter Texans. He said the surge in the San Antonio economy is creating a need for workers to find temporary places to stay.
Additionally, RV parks that have park models are attractive to temporary workers.
Ken Butschek, who owns La Hacienda RV Resort near Lake Travis in Austin, said his park models are attracting winter Texans who don’t want to drive their RVs over wintery roads.
What’s Up in the Next Few Weeks at Workamper News?
January 10, 2012 Writing Resumes That Rock!
Workamping expert Jaimie Hall Bruzenak will be hosting a webinar on how you can make your resume more effective. Don’t give an employer an excuse to set your resume aside! You’ll not only see examples of regular and Awesome Applicant resumes but learn WHY they work so you can make yours the best it can be.
6-7:30 p.m. CT
Webinar – participate from your computer!
Cost: $9.95 with access to the recording in case you miss the live event
Here is some more information. Then, Click on RV Lifestyles- Jaimie Hall Bruzenak for details and to sign up.
January 11, 2012 GOLD member Roundtable
5 pm PT/ 6 pm MT/ 7 pm CT/ 8 pm ET
Register ahead of time on the Club website to participate in this live event where you can find out what other like-minded RVers/Workampers are doing and contribute your own thoughts and ask questions.
January 17, 2012 Dreaminar: Purchasing an RV
A webinar to assist the Dreamer (or any Workamper) who wants to learn about purchasing an RV will take place on January 17th at:
1 pm PT/ 2 pm MT/ 3 pm CT/ 4 pm ET
Sam Lewis, an RV salesman at Camping World in Little Rock, Arkansas, will be online to share with you the questions you should ask before heading to the RV sales lot. His experience will help Workampers choose the right RV.
Imagine living in Yellowstone National Park for a season—May/June through August/September with full hookup RV sites and employee meals available.
To register for this Jobinar, go HERE.
The webinar will be approximately an hour long, from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. CST. Be ready with your questions!
At the Workamper News Forums Site–
Join the discussions on these hot topics!
- “Quartzsite 2012? Anyone going to be there?” Let’s plan for a meet-up at the Workampers Forum (Member-only).
- If you are researching employers, start at the Workamper Experiences Forum (Member-only).
- Post your images at the Workamper Images Forum and check out the ones already there!
- Share your “Happy New Year!” wishes at the General Workamping Forum.
- Any advice for keeping your “Fresh water holding tank?” from freezing? Join in at the Full-timing Forum.
- Solos – Let us hear from you at the Solo Workamping Forum.
- Add your modifications at the DIY, Mods & Upgrades Forum. You can upload photos too!
- Get a “Free eBook, Dance of the Winnebagos?” and others. Find out how at the Workamper Interests and Hobbies Forum.
Log in (or register at) Workamper Forums
Jaimie Hall Bruzenak
At The Workamper News Store
1. The Complete Book of Boondock Rving—a book for those who like to escape crowded campgrounds in North America, written by Bill and Jan Moeller. “Boondocking” aka “dry camping” is camping without hookups. Whether you are planning to spend an occasional overnight in a parking lot or an extended stay in the wilderness, you will learn how to equip your rig, find great campsites, manage and conserve electricity and water while camping in complete RV comfort.
Go directly here to purchase or learn more about this book.
2. Live Your Road Trip Dream – Travel for a year for the cost of staying home. This is an updated version including revised budgeting and technology sections; helpful web sites; “roadschooling” your children, and working on the road. Use the step-by-step guide on planning the trip you always wanted and even learn how to enjoy your traveling companion on a 24/7 basis! Get a glimpse as to what life might really be like and what discoveries you will make along the way.
Purchase for less this month!