Jan 072011

We are leaving the Orlando Thousand Trails preserve today and are moving about 45 miles back to the Escapees Sumter Oaks campground near Bushnell, Florida. We’ve really enjoyed our time here at the Thousand Trails, and will be returning again many times in the future, but right now its time for an Escapees fix.

Yesterday we got a double treat. First our friends Denny and Cindy Henderson stopped by for a visit. They were very understanding about my having to cancel our planned kayaking outing the day before, and we had a nice visit. We didn’t realize that they had never been in our Winnebago, so Terry gave them the grand tour.

Then we met our friends Stu and “Froggi” Donna McNicol for lunch. Stu and Donna are two of our favorite people, and we always have a fun time together, and yesterday was no exception. Those two are adventurous, intelligent people who embrace each day with a spirit and love of life that just makes me feel good to be around them.

We also got to meet Sadie, their new puppy, and I was able to get my puppy fix. And what an amazing little dog Sadie is! She’s well behaved, smart as a whip, and just full of love for everyone she meets. Here Stu is with their furkid. How could you not love her?

Stu and Sadie 3

And here is Sadie in her favorite place in the whole world, on the back of Stu’s Harley trike. She’s a stylish little lady, check out her pink “doggles.”

Sadie on trike 3

I even got to get my picture taken with the happy family!

Stu Donna Sadie Nick

Now, I’ve owned quite a few motorcycles in my time. I grew up riding an old Triumph Bonneville, then graduated up to a Norton Commando, and over the years I’ve owned Hondas, a Suzuki, and my last bike was a beautiful V Star 1100. But I’ve never owned a Harley. In fact, I have never even ridden one. But yesterday I did get to sit on Donna’s gorgeous bike. Its probably a good thing I’m past that point in my life, because otherwise I’d be trying to figure out how to carry one on our motorhome. I doubt that I’ll ever own another bike, but they are like cute little blonde secretaries – I don’t need one any more, but sometimes I miss the ones I had!

Nick on Harley

This Thousands Trails is one of our favorites overall, however I was disappointed to see this sight the last few days. Did somebody forget to pay the trash bill? I called the ranger station, and they said the pickup is today, but for the last two or three days every dumpster in the park has been filled to overflowing. Yeah, it’s nice belonging to an upscale membership camping organization. I wonder why Thousand Trails doesn’t have a photo like this on their website or sales brochures?

Trash at TTN

Somebody sent me an e-mail yesterday saying that they read RV blogs to learn about RVing and to prepare for when they start fulltiming a little over a year from now, and that they don’t want to waste time reading about me being sick, or hassles like getting our Norcold refrigerator recall done for the second time, or complaining about it being cold in Florida so much of this winter. They closed by saying “we have un-bookmarked your blog and will go read fun ones instead.”  I bet if they were still reading, they wouldn’t appreciate the above photo either.

But that’s what fulltime RVing is – life with both the good and the bad. Fortunately, this lifestyle has a lot more good than bad. But if anybody thinks it’s just going to be a constant vacation, as pictured in a RV manufactures’ sales video, they are in for a very rude awakening. RVers get sick. RVs break. We have to deal with rain, cold, and other nasty weather, sometimes for weeks at a time. Sometimes the trash doesn’t get picked up, the folks in the next campsite are loud and rude, and sometimes you and your significant other will have arguments. It’s just like life if you live in a house, a condo, an apartment, in a big city, or on a farm.

I think it’s important to understand that, and my goal from Day One with the Gypsy Journal and with this blog, has been to share that life and try to give others a realistic idea of what to expect. I may not always make you laugh with what I write. But I won’t blow smoke up your butt either. And if that loses me a reader now and then, so be it.

Thought For The Day – It’s not what happens in our lives. It’s how we respond that makes the difference.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  24 Responses to “It’s Time For An Escapees Fix”

  1. Don’t worry about losing one reader whose fantasy bubble you’ve popped. The rest of us appreciate the honesty that shows up on your pages. For example, the Norcold saga is very important — how do we find out which companies’ products should be avoided if we don’t tell each other about our bad experiences? Thanks for sharing the mundane and the ugly as well as the fun and beautiful. Your blog is a no bullsh*t zone — please keep it that way.

  2. Whoever that was is obviously cranky and doesn’t know how to appreciate reading about other people’s experiences! When I first stumbled on the concept of fulltiming 2 years ago – I craved any blogs I could find and yours is one I check on a daily basis since coming across it. I’m baffled by people who actually take the time to type and say ‘I’m deleting your blog from my list!’. Ok, do it and leave in peace. Sheesh. There are some I’ve stumbled on liked for a while and then stopped going there, there are some I didn’t take to at first but would consistently see on other people’s blog and would go back and try again to see if it garnered any interest for me and there are some that I just don’t have an interest in. Does it make them wrong – heck no. There are others would will take an interest. If all blogs were the same, it would be boring. Ok I’ve rambled enough, sorry.

    I check several on a daily or weekly basis and it’s all of the different experiences – good or bad – that keep me coming back, keeps my dream and current goals to become fulltime active. Plan A for us was to hit the road in the fall but we haven’t come across the right rig yet…plan B is this spring – if we find a rig. We have promised ourselves that this is the last winter we will spend in upstate NY! Don’t change a thing Nick – Your blog rocks as it is.


  3. Oh, BAH HUM BUG to Mr or Ms “Please Entertain Me”. Your blog is perfect as it is. Your contribution to the RVing community can not be measured and you provide a wealth of information to all of us, regardless of our individual interests. With their attitude, I doubt they could make it a year without throwing in the towel as they have unrealistic expectations.

  4. Nick, Laurie and I will be fulltiming in about 18 months. We love your blogs and it’s one of the first things I read in the morining with my coffee! I have a feeling the people who left your blog will leave the FT’ing lifestyle rather quickly as well. Have a great weekend and think of us here in MN as the temps are supposed to drop to -15 to -20 below zero.

  5. It amazes me how many people seem to think they can dictate what people write in their blogs. I can’t for the life of me figure out their thought process. But as I am sure you know it happens to a ft of bloggers. The saving grace is if they actually leave!

  6. Telling it the way it is makes your blog one of the more interesting blogs around. I read several others that are pretty good, but they are “filtered” as to content. In other words, they only put in the feel good stuff. I do not read those blogs with the same frequency as yours.

    A couple of years ago, I started my own blog and was using your blogs as somewhat of a template. I didn’t get far with it when I started getting criticized by my own family as to the content! The wife, daughter, and granddaughter only want pictures and feel good stuff in the blog. I did that for one year and then lost interest and have ignored the blog since.

    Keep up the good work.

  7. There are no lack of fools who provide Nick with something to write about. My all-time favorite was: “You can’t fix stupid.”

    Nick, you tell it like it is and you share your life with us. You do both very well. Thank you.

  8. I’m always surprised at the unrealistic expectations people have about the fulltiming RV lifestyle, and additionally surprised when they feel compelled to rebuke you for your writing style, and then announce they are deleting your bookmark. It’s as if they believe they are the only ones who read your blog, and why aren’t you meeting their expectations. I think those people will not last long fulltiming. I enjoy reading your blog because it describes REAL fulltiming life and experiences, and how you deal with, and adjust to them. I don’t read to be entertained, but to learn. Thank you, Nick, for being a good teacher.

  9. Well, I read to be entertained, too. The learning is bonus.

    Keep right on being you; it’s what brings us all back every day.

  10. Write only about fun things? Life is not only fun things. Once again these people remind me of the “me” world it has become. You know, ” it’s always about me.” I bet their plan to go full time RVing never happens. That perfect RV will never be found and that’s the excuse needed to get them out. It’ll always be one year away IF we find the perfect RV.

  11. It’s pretty obvious to me that whoever “un-bookmarked” you was having a bad day of their own-probably caught in the cold, snow of the north, sick as a dog, can’t go out in the rv because the Norcold isn’t working or snow drifts have it blocked in, and their significant other just cussed him/her out for being such a downer. Whatever….. Nick, you and Terry keep doing what you’re doing—sharing your rving lives with the rest of us that live in the real world not Fantasyland.

  12. Greetings from Alaska. Wife and I are looking toward retirement in the next four years and have been searching the net for interesting blogs to read about others experiences both good and bad. Stumbled on yours and have been reading it every day since. I enjoy your writing style and the variety of issues that you address. Only read for month or so and then subscribed to the Gypsy Journal- love it. Regarding the NastyGram you received, I think all would agree it told us more about them and their likelyhood of enjoying the RV lifestyle then it did about Nick and the Gypsy Journal. Keep up the good work!

  13. Nick just keep on doing what you do best. We need real life not a bunch of fluff.

    Betcha those unbookmarkers are still reading. If they are, I say “get lost.”

  14. It’s amazing to me that someone could not appreciate your writing, even more so that they not only delete their book mark, but feel compelled to write and inform you of the fact. As if they are the center of the universe. Sheesh!

    I look forward to your blog every day, Nick! It takes a lot of work. Thank you for continually informing and entertaining us.

  15. Howdy Nick,
    As a regular reader, for one I am amazed that ‘an Upper New Yawkeh’ would even
    be interested in what a fat, ol’ boy from the west(Ohio) would have to say, anyway.
    You and Miss Terry are leading a life a million others WISH for.. Y’all are not only living it, you are ‘telling it like it is’, warts and all.. Those type people don’t want the
    RVing lifestyle, they want the RESORT AND COUNTRY CLUB LIFESTYLE!!!
    I can’t imagine them in Quartzsite, Yuma or ‘boonieing’ in a NF or BLM campsite..
    Just keep on writing and telling it like it Really is..YOU GO BOY!!!!

  16. Ditto with what all before me have said!

  17. Ditto to what everyone else said!

    I for one find it amazing that you can write about mundane, everyday things and make it so interesting that I come back everyday to catch up on what you are doing. Don’t change a thing.

  18. Nick I like the way you write so no worry about me un-bookmarking you. Sounds like that’s another issue for Bad Nick to air.

  19. You know where I stand….I write what I feel like and if someone wants to read it, great. If not, great. That’s why we’re free…jeesh!!

    Thanks for the great photos…we so enjoyed spending a couple of hours with you guys. It’s never long enough….September is too far away but we will see you then.

    In the meantime, keep on writing…LOL!

  20. Wow. Your words are a part of my day. When problems or, worse yet, illness visits you – I’m actually concerned. You & your bride are friends that I’ve yet to meet.

    Ooh, that’s almost creepy, sorry. But, when a reader, who can simply quit reading, goes to the point of writing the author about content – that’s more than just a little off too.

    Glad your feeling better.

  21. Nick I enjoy your Blog, maybe more than your paper and I do find it interesting. Keep up the effort to pass on that infomation that will touch our lives who are fulltimeing one time or another.

  22. and I will take the good and the bad from you …right along with the wealth of knowledge that you have afforded me over the past couple of years. I am thankful and greatful and oh yeah, I’ll keep on reading every day….boring or not, but mostly amusing. I say Thank you Nick and Terry. They don’t know what they’re missing. They are probably the ones who will travel from one coast to the other in a week and never stray from the Interstate and say they are RVing. Oh well….

  23. Nick, I much prefer your “real life” blog to some on my list that are just a boring travel brochure monologue.

    I bookmark friends blogs to find out where they are going, and what they are doing, and what is going on in their lives.

    When they do a tour, and tell me every intimate detail of a house or a museum or whatever. . .”then I am BORED!”

    You are a seriously great writer. . .keep it up!


  24. Nick,
    first off; Kudos on the new site!

    Don’t let the uninformed get to you. You tell it like it is, good, bad, and in between, you describe the lifetsyle accurately. When I full timed 20 years ago, I was on the road for work, so I stayed in some pretty ‘functional’ parks, Funny thing, those not so fancy parks were usually pretty good about making sure that things like that dumpster didn’t happen, and the ‘big name’ parks or what not were less effective. However a word to Mgt would have gotten that taken care of.

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