Losing A Landmark

 Posted by at 12:43 am  Nick's Blog
Feb 102017

Thank you to everybody who sent messages or emails expressing concern about Terry falling off of her bicycle, which I wrote about in Wednesday’s blog. She is still a little stiff and has some bruises, but otherwise she is fine and looking forward to taking it for a ride as soon as she loosens up just a little bit.

I have written about the Airstream Ranch on Interstate 4 in Dover, Florida in the Gypsy Journal, and in a blog post last year. RV dealer Frank Bates erected the display on land he owned back in 2007 to honor the 75th anniversary of Airstream RVs. But the 10-year-old landmark is being demolished to make room for, ironically, a new Airstream dealership according to news stories on the Tampabay.com website.

From the start, the collection of silver trailers stuck nose first into the ground, reminiscent of the Cadillac Ranch along Interstate 40 in Texas, was controversial. People either loved it or hated it. Hillsborough County ordered the trailers removed, and when Bates did not comply, they fined him $100 a day. He eventually prevailed in court and was allowed to keep the display.

I was among those who liked seeing those vintage silver trailers, and I’m going to miss them. But what can I say? It’s Florida, and here, dollars always prevail. Who needs a unique folk art landmark when we can have yet another few acres of blacktop so somebody can sell something?

Speaking of vintage RVs, I don’t consider myself an RV snob in any way. When you consider that Terry and I fulltimed for over eight years in a 1976 MCI bus conversion that we built ourselves, I think it’s obvious we don’t look down our noses at somebody because they don’t have the biggest and fanciest rig in the RV park. As I always tell people in the seminars I present at RV rallies, it doesn’t matter how big it is or how new it is or what you paid for it, the view out the windshield is the same, and we all have to pull up to the dump station.

That being said, I’m always hearing from people who have no clue just what is involved in the RV lifestyle. Yesterday was a typical example. Somebody sent me a couple of photographs of an ancient (early 1970s) motorhome that they just purchased for $500 and plan to go fulltime in with two kids. It looks like it’s been sitting for years, and he told me that all the tires were flat and the roof had several leaks, so he is going to pull out the carpeting and replace it with vinyl flooring. He told me that he figures it will take him about $1000 to get the motorhome on the road. I tried to tell him that a rig like that is nothing but a money pit and his response was that they don’t have any money and it was all they could afford.

If that’s all they can afford, they can’t afford to be weekend warriors, let alone fulltime RVers. I’m sorry, but that’s the sad truth. He can’t even put used tires on it for $1000, let alone all the other things it will need just to be roadworthy and safe. His reply was that it was easy for rich people like me to put other people down who were just doing the best they could do. Okay then, good luck to you, and safe travels.

So far over 100 blog readers have already entered our latest Free Drawing, and I’m not surprised. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of John and Kathy Huggins newly updated and expanded So, You Want to be an RVer?: Celebrating the RV Lifestyle. This is the guide to RVing that every wannabe, newbie, and veteran RVer should have on their bookshelf. 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.

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Thought For The Day – Some things are better left unsaid, but occasionally I can’t resist and say them anyway.

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Nick Russell

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

  12 Responses to “Losing A Landmark”

  1. Gosh gee Nick, thanks for trying to make me look like an idiot when I was asking for legitimate feedback. I noticed you omitted some pertinent facts in your public bashing. Like that I told you we have a plan and are not setting off down the road like a couple of blithering idiots. We are going to be writing a blog about life on the road on a zero budget, making it as we go. Advertising and subscription income from the blog will cover most of our expenses. Yes I know that there are a lot of RV blogs out there but they are all written by people with a lot of money and/or a retirement income. In my extensive research I have found none by people like us starting with nothing. I believe there is a very large niche audience of like minded people waiting for what we have to offer and willing to support it. I also shared with you that I have approached a large number of RV companies and other suppliers like Camping World Michelin Goodyear and Flying J/Pilot offering them the opportunity to partner with us by way of donations of tires batteries and other things the motorhome will need. The exposure they get will come back to them a hundred-fold for the small cost of their donations. Likewise with KOA, Thousand Trails and Passport America, who have been offered the opportunity to partner with us through camping in exchange for exposure. In reading your blog the last few weeks I thought you were a man of vision, but I guess that vision stops at your own doorstep.

  2. Oh bummer! I always wanted to see those Airstreams and we finally made it to Florida and they are gone. We started our camping life in a tiny little Airstream eons ago as newlyweds and have always loved them. Now that Thor has bought the company I hope the quality continues at the same level it always has been.

  3. Glen, please don’t get angry with me for commenting. I have a question. If you are trying to write about RVing on a very low budget, how realistic is it when you have corporate backers that will pay for your tires, etc.? Shouldn’t you be doing this on a real, not padded budget? Our older motorhome, and that was only four years! needed a new rear end the first six months after purchase. That was 3000 bucks. That would have done you in. RVing is not cheap living in our experience.

  4. We had a 1988 motor home and had to replace the head gaskets twice and the engine once. That was not cheap. If it is already leaking replacing the carpet is only putting a bandage on the actual roof problem that can also be very expensive.

  5. Perhaps Glenn might profit from checking out this blog on RVing costs. You might understand some of Nick’s views:


  6. If anyone knows whether it will work or not, it’s Nick Russell. Advertising and subscription income will cover most of your expenses? I wouldn’t be too sure about that. I’m afraid your no-budget audience probably isn’t going to spend their money on a subscription when all the information in the world is free on the internet.. It’s a great pie-in-the-sky idea, but I doubt it’s really doable. I’m guessing it will work until you have a major engine repair, not to mention the roof leak. Good luck to you though …

  7. Glenn, you are not being realistic. No, you will not get a lot of sponsors. No, you can’t live on the income from a blog. Nick has given you very good advice. You just don’t want to listen. We have RVed for 20 years. RVing is not inexpensive. With the incredibly old RV you have, you are asking for trouble and you WILL be having problems with this RV and soon. You are welcome to try but you need more understanding of what RVing is and what it costs. I wish you well but you need to learn from the people who have been there and done that.

  8. Glenn, you’re not an idiot but perhaps a bit naive with respect to the costs of living on the road in an RV and the economic support you will get from manufacturers and by blogging. If you are set on doing it, go ahead and best of luck to you! 🙂 Get back in contact with Nick in a year or so and let him know how you and your family are doing. I’m sure that if there is a story in your adventure (especially a happy one,) Nick will be excited to write about it in his blog and/or the Gypsy Journal.

  9. Glenn, you didn’t say if any of those companies you contacted had agreed to provide you with donations. Nick didn’t identify you in any way in his blog, you did with your post. Others have said what I would have said, you are unrealistic and are upset because Nick didn’t give you the “legitimate feedback” you wanted. He gave you realistic feedback, take a second and think about it. X2 on what Bob Martel said.

  10. Yes I’m sure all of those companies will line up to give you free stuff so you can write about it and then every other freeloader in the world will be knocking on their door asking for a handout. The world doesn’t work that way my friend. Nick and Terri have lived this life and hit rock bottom after a serious illness wiped them out and they have shared how they rebuilt their lives. They are not “rich” like you said, but they live a good life because they know something you don’t seem to be able to grasp. It takes WORK not pie in the sky dreams. Not Go Fund Me pages. Not asking for a handout when you have nothing to offer in return. But since I know you won’t believe anything anyone here has told you, I’m willing to make you a bet. Provide proof that Goodyear or Camping World or any of those big corporations have provided you with any goods or services and I’ll match them dollar for dollar. I’m comfortable making that bet because I know that if they even bothered to read your requests to them they quickly got deleted as spam.

  11. Interesting concept. Start a blog, about RVing with no “real” start up money, then expect BIG companies to provide FREE start up products (in lieu of money), thereby invalidating the basis of your blog.
    Also, expecting $1,000.00s of dollars in advertising funds, to an unknown, unproven entity? Best of luck with that BUT, please keep us abreast of your project, who knows, some of us, may wish to subscribe, just out of curiosity.

  12. Maybe have a look at Cheap RV Blog. The writer and most of those like him live mostly in trucks, cars, converted vans and cargo trailers- not motorhomes. We’ve encountered people living in motorhomes that aren’t mobile anymore. But the Cheap RV blogs talk about trying to live on $1,000 a month and that’s almost impossible.

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