May 162015

With so many reports of RVs having front tire blowouts lately, some blog readers have asked if we have any type of after-market steering control on our motorhome, and if so, what brand I recommend.

Yes, we do. A couple of years ago we had Redlands Truck and RV install a Safe-T-Plus steering control on our Winnebago, and I feel a lot safer having it. Over the years we’ve heard from several RVers and a couple of professional truckers who have experienced blowouts while driving a vehicle with the Safe-T-Plus installed, and they all had high praise for how it performed. Along with good fire extinguishers and an RV driving course, I consider it one of the best investments in safety any RVer can make.

I’ve also received some inquiries about stevia after reporting how Terry used it to stop the bleeding after she cut her finger the other day, and we did the same on a cut I had a few weeks ago. Stevia is a non-caloric natural sweetener that comes in both a liquid or powder form. We buy the liquid at health food stores or online at Amazon. It also has some wonderful healing properties, and just a few drops on an open cut will stop the bleeding and promote healing.

Yesterday I downloaded a new free app called Camp USA, which lists Encore campgrounds from coast to coast. The app also includes the Thousand Trails campgrounds, and Thousand Trails members can use it to book reservations online. I tried it to see how easy it was to work with and was very pleased with what I saw. The app is available for both iPhone and Androids.

Being Gadget Boy, I’ve been lusting over a dash cam ever since we saw a vendor demonstrating the Road Mate 7202 dash cam at an RV rally last year. When I mentioned it in the blog, my good friend Butch Spiller contacted me and said he had one I could have because it wasn’t working out for him. I experimented with it for a while and couldn’t get it to perform as well as the demo at the RV rally, and finally put it away and forgot about it. Recently I decided to try it again, and while it does work, I find that the quality of the video is not all that great.

Road Mate

Greg White has a Spy Tec A118 dash cam and the video from it is head and shoulders above the Road Mate. And, the A118 is about half the price of the Road Mate! Go figure.


What I’d really love to have is a GoPro HERO 4 SILVER, which can serve as a dash cam, or be used when we’re on our kayaks, and even mounted to a drone or a kite. But it’s out of my budget. Then again, so is the 3d Iris drone my buddy Jim Guld from Geeks on Tour has. I wish I’d been born rich instead of so darned cute!

Go Pro

Maybe I should start one of those Go Fund Me pages and get other people to buy me the toys I want. What is it with the people who are doing that? A while back a bunch of authors I know promoted a fundraiser to help fellow author Brandon Hale offset medical costs from his battle with cancer. That’s a worthwhile endeavor. But lately it seems that at least once a week somebody is asking me to post a link to their Go Fund Me page to help them buy an RV, travel for a year, or quit their jobs to stay home and write books. Whatever happened to setting a goal and working hard to accomplish it? That’s always worked for me. Oh yeah, that’s right, work. That seems to be a not so nice four letter word to a lot of people.

Speaking of work, one of the hardest working young authors I know is Suzie O’Connell, and she has a brand new book out today. Forgotten Angel is the seventh book in Suzie’s popular Northstar Romances series, and I think once you try one of her books, you’ll become a fan too.

Have you entered our latest Free Drawing yet? This week’s prize is an audiobook of Chesapeake 1880 by my friend Ken Rossignol, a tale of life in the Chesapeake Bay region as the industrial revolution changed the world forever. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.


Thought For The Day – When someone asks me the secret to a long marriage, I tell them I don’t tell my wife how to run her life, and I don’t tell her how to run mine, either.

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Nick Russell

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

  13 Responses to “Gadgets, Goodies, And Apps”

  1. YES! Why has no one else in the travel blogging world mentioned this e-begging thing? It drives me nuts! I’ve seen “friends”, I’m my “e-circles” begging for help with medical expenses, money for a healthier diet, money to fund their personal “for profit” business’s, money not just to buy a camper, but to UPGRADE, because the one they have isn’t good enough for them!, money to take their family to a concert, visit their family in the orient, fund a vacation, and even one looking to take their kids to Disney land “before it’s too late ” ! The worst part is, most of these folks don’t even work full time, AND they usually succeed! ?!? What?!? Where do folks get the kahunas for this sort of thing? I guess every one is different, but geez, no shame at all? Personally, I would find it extremely embarrassing and feel like a complete failure to beg for something I was completely capable of acquiring on my own. Sometimes I feel old school, sometimes I just feel old…

  2. Nick, the real secret to a long marriage is don’t die. I would have celebrated 56 years on May 2 and as it happened I didn’t even get to celebrate 45 years. BTW Bob has promised to marry me in 56 years.

  3. Thanks again, Nick, for all the good info you pass along. We are making plans for the SAF-T- Plus steering controls now before we set out on another trip. If we don’t get a good deal locally, (Pennsylvania) we will order them through your Amazon website.

    Also wanted to add that the MSM you wrote about is a real winner!! I have sciatic and bursitis pain and I gave it a try. It really did wonders. Will be getting that too on next order through Amazon.

    Stay safe, and know that you and Miss Terry are a blessing to many!! Karen

  4. Nick we’ve used this dashcam from for about a year now. The picture quality is excellent and the unit is very easy to use. Just a thought.
    Thanks for the info on the new app. I’ll give it a look.

  5. Yes Nick “work” is a four letter word. But if you aren’t lucky enough to be born rich or retired it sure beats that six letter word. “No work”

  6. We installed the Safe-T bar too a few years back. Never had to use it, but always felt it gave us peace of mind in case of a front blow-out.

  7. I’m so glad to see somebody with the balls to say something about the mooches who expect the rest of us to donate money because they are too damn lazy to work! I actually got one from my bosses 19 year old son wanting money for more tattoos! Seriously, more tattoos! And when my boss asked if I got it and I told him I did and what I thought of it he didn’t talk to me for over a week.

  8. I have a GO Pro that I use all the time for a dash camera. Works very well. I keep it on a 20 minute loop. I have used it for a T bone accident and recently regarding a parking ticket I received in NY. Worth the investment if you can swing it.

  9. I just got the Camp USA app, but the only thing it shows is Good Sam parks only. I’d really like to see other parks like Thousand Trails/Encore and maybe Passport America and KOA’s. Can you tell me how to get these. I have an I-phone not an android, if that would be the difference.

  10. Sandy, mine just shows Encore and Thousand Trails parks

  11. Thank you for the further info on the Stevia…have shared that already.

  12. We had Henderson install the SAF-T- Plus steering controls on our 2006 34′ Monaco Monarch gas Class A and felt very safe. We sold the Monaco and now have a 2007 40′ Itasca Horizon which has INDEPENDENT FRONT SUSPENSION so the SAF-T- Plus steering controls does not work on it.

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