Aug 212011

Yesterday was a rainy day here at Elkhart Campground. I’m glad we didn’t have anything that we needed to do outdoors, because it was a good day to stay inside.

Before the rain started, I dumped our holding tanks. I’m looking forward to getting over to Celina,Ohio, where Kevin from Cruising America RV Service Company is going to replace our black water valve. If you are going to be at our Eastern Gypsy Journal Rally in Celina, and need any repair work done, contact Kevin by phone at (419) 852-0791, or by e-mail at to  pre-schedule your work before, during, or after the rally, so Kevin can block out time for you on his schedule.

I spent the day getting the digital edition of the new issue of the Gypsy Journal ready to send out to our subscribers today, as soon as I create the PDF in the reduced file size necessary to make it easier to download. The original files that we send to the printer are saved at a high press quality output of over 56 MB, but that’s too large to work with online, takes a long time to download, and would eat up a lot of hard disk space for those who want to save the paper to their computer, so they can read it offline.

So I have to reformat it to a lower resolution of 6.5 MB designed for viewing online or on a computer screen. Usually this only takes a few minutes, but for some reason, yesterday my computer kept locking up when I tried to reformat it. I think it’s time for a new computer. This Dell is about four or five years old, which seems to be about the most life I can squeeze out of a computer. I keep putting off buying a new one, and my buddy Greg White has helped me nurse it along for over a year now, but the handwriting is on the wall.

Our friend Al Hesselbart, historian for the RV Hall of Fame Museum here in Elkhart, called to say it was his birthday, and that he didn’t feel like having dinner alone, and asked if we’d like to join him at Angler’s Inn at Lunker’s, in nearby Edwardsburg, Michigan. Lunker’s is a home grown sporting goods store (think mini-Bass Pro Shop) and Angler’s Inn is their restaurant, which features a 1,000 gallon salt-water aquarium, as well as a couple of dozen smaller fresh water tanks. Besides serving everything from steaks to seafood, Lunker’s features things like elk and buffalo burgers.

I’m not sure how old Al told me he was, but I know that he was on the beach holding a Welcome sign when Columbus landed. Maybe at our rally, we can saw him in half and count the rings. I’ve got some Super Glue and duct tape, so it shouldn’t be that hard to put him back together. He’s a skinny little fellow.

After dinner, we returned to our motorhome and sat around talking for two or three hours. Al spent his first season in his motorhome last winter, in Bushnell, Florida, and is looking forward to escaping the cold Indiana winter and getting back down there again this year. Al mentioned all of the friends he has made in the RV world, and how in one three month season in Florida, he made more friends than he has after living in Elkhart since 1978.This led to a discussion of the kinds of friendships RVers form. We have found them to be more solid than many of the relationships we had in our past lives.

We remembered back when Terry was diagnosed with cancer, and the first doctor told us to expect the worst. She called her best friend back in our old hometown, just wanting a friend to talk to and a shoulder to lean on.  The woman told her she had troubles of her own and couldn’t deal with Terry’s problems, and hung up on her. On the other hand, RVers we had met in our eighteen months on the road, and many that we had not even met but who knew us from the paper, were calling, sending e-mails and letters of support. Terry would get cards with 200 or more signatures, and more than one person volunteered to drive all the way to Traverse City, in the wintertime, to be there for us. Yes, RV friends are very special people.  

Speaking of our rally, Howard and Linda Payne, from RV Dreams, are working with the Recreational Vehicle Safety Education Foundation (RVSEF) and are weighing RVs at rallies around the country. Having a properly weighed rig is critical to safe driving, and we try to get our coach weighed every year. Howard and Linda have another commitment, so they cannot be in Celina for our entire rally, but they plan to arrive on Thursday, and they will be available to weigh RVs on Friday, as the rally is winding down and people are leaving. Howard told me they will stay over an extra day to finish up on Saturday morning, if necessary. If you have not had your RV weighed, you really need to do so, Follow this link to the rally weighing information page on their website, where you can download a weighing form and find more information.

Thought For The Day – It isn’t the problems along the way that make us or break us, it’s how we learn to face them that makes the difference.

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Nick Russell

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

  10 Responses to “A Rainy Day In Elkhart”

  1. Nick, since you are going to get your black valve replaced, you should also just go ahead and replace the grey valve at the same time. Most of the labor will be there anyway. Just a thought.

  2. I believe that the friendliness RV’ers is similar to what things were like before we became trapped in our air conditioned homes with large screen TV or backyard patios with fences. Once people sat on front porches and walked down the street and stopped to talk. Today, walking down the street of my subdivision, you would think no one was at home. If our houses and lots were the size of our RV and lot, there would probably be a lot more interaction.

  3. Sometimes just replacing the hard drive is all it takes to get an old computer back on track.

  4. RVer’s are there for us. One allowed us to bring my husband home to die in their park model when he didn’t want to die in a hospital. And just this morning an rving friend who I had not heard from for over a year called & recommended a doctor in AZ to do my hip replacement if I need it.

    We have enjoyed RVer’s and have become so outgoing that now when we are in a restaurant we often join total strangers for dinner or at the very least converse with the people adjoining us.

  5. Speaking of getting our rigs weighed: Right now it seems that the only way to get one done is to be at a rally….or at SKP’s Rainbow Park at the appropriate time. We had that done at Rainbow Park when we were getting our domicile completed but the west is where we travel. It would be so convenient if there was something like a traveling weign-in or even somewhere permanent in different areas of the country where we could get our rigs weighed periodically without having to plan on being at a rally far away. I am so afraid of traveling overweight. Anyway, just a thought.

  6. After we bought our rig in Salem, OR, we went to the Farmer’s Co-Op and used their scales to weigh out. So, if you are handy enough, you can find co-ops all over the country and use their scales when they are not busy with harvest.

  7. It is very true that RVers are the best. We had lived in a subdivision for 28 years on a cul-de-sac. We loved the privacy and 2.3 acres when we were working. When we retired we realized most of the people we knew had moved away or died. We knew more people up at TGO (The Great Outdoors) RV and Golf Resort 14 miles away than we did on/in our street/neighborhood. So we sold out and moved to TGO for a homebase. Our street at TGO is like the old style living. We know our neighbors, have 4 o’clock socials and I can walk out the front door of my house and people speak to me, Sometimes it reminds me of living in a dorm at college: lots of people my age with similar interests and I don’t have to cut the grass. And we too have made so many RV friends. We just love the whole lifestyle.

  8. Judy, You can use truck scales to weigh your RV. It costs less than $10. You may not be able to get a four corners weight but at least you can get a front, back, and total weight which will provide peace of mind going down the road. We still do a 4-corners weighing at rallies, though, since having the RV loaded properly makes for better driving.

  9. Following up on Linda’s comment, I have had my rig weighed at the lumber yard, just north of Rainbows End, and at a metal scrap yard in Hartford. In both cases, they were glad to weigh the whole rig, then just the back axle. Simple subtraction provides the front axle weight. I am ashamed to say that when I weighed in Livingston, I was 500 pounds overweight.

  10. Nick,

    If your black tank drain assembly is similar to the one on my Meridian, you pull the package and then work on the valves on the bench. In my 2006 Meridian (by Winnebago), the valve seals were replaceable, about $5 for each pair.

    The assembly is removable via a rubber coupling at each end. Next to the coupling is a valve and between the valves is the Y hose adapter.

    Just drain the tanks and then use the jacks to tilt the coach away from the drain port to get rid of dripping.

    When my black tank valve started leaking after 4 years, I then realized that it felt like the valve surface was course sand paper. In fact, it was like sand paper because of lime adhering to the valve surface. We removed the valves a second time and used a lime remover to thoroughly clean the valves.

    It is not a difficult job, but don’t “screw it up”! have fun.


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