Thursday Q&A

 Posted by at 12:03 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 012019

I’m back with more questions from blog readers about RVing, what’s happening in our lives since we hung up the keys, and all kinds of other things. While I try to answer all questions individually, I also share some here occasionally.

Q. In January we purchased a new 2019 Fleetwood Discovery 44 foot diesel motorhome with the idea of becoming fulltime RVers. We drove it to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, where we stayed until mid-April and by then we knew that RVing was not our thing. We returned home and are trying to sell it and are appalled at how little it seems to be worth already. We paid $285,000 for it, and I know we’re not going to get all of that back, but I thought we should at least get somewhere in the $260,000 price range. The dealer where we bought it offered us $150,000. Or he said we could put it on consignment and he might get $190,000, but then his commission is 20%! We have had it on RV Trader and Craigslist and every place we can think of and have not had one serious call. This is a beautiful RV but we don’t need it and we don’t want it. Do you have any idea what we can do to get at least the majority of our money back?
A. Unfortunately, I don’t know what to tell you except that you are being unrealistic if you expect to get that much money out of it. I think you probably overpaid in the first place, based on others I have seen advertised new, and no matter what you pay for a car. an RV, or a boat, as soon as you drive off the dealer’s lot you lose at least 25% and often much more.

Q. At one time when you were publishing the Gypsy Journal you guys sold a set of six or eight RV guides in e-book format. As I recalled they listed over 1,000 free campgrounds, as well as fairgrounds with RV parking, reliable RV repair places, and maybe casinos with RV parking. Is that a still available, and if so, how can I get one?
A. Our 8-in-1 e-books list all the things you mentioned, along with public RV dump stations, RV Park reviews, restaurant reviews, and more. Cost is $19.95 and you can order it by logging onto and making payment to

Q. We have followed your adventures almost from the very start, longing for the day we could get on the road fulltime. I was very interested in your bus conversion project and at that time you wrote about all of the RV surplus places in Elkhart, Indiana where you got parts. We passed through Elkhart on our way home to Battle Creek after the Indy 500 and thought we would stop and check those places out. We only found one, and it had more new stuff that we could buy at Walmart or Camping World than anything else. Have they all closed their doors?
A. It’s true, I think many of the RV surplus shops where we got a lot of materials and components for the bus conversion are out of the business now. The only one that I could recommend is Bontrager’s RV Surplus in White Pigeon, Michigan. If you ever get out to Missouri, Colaw RV Salvage in Carthage stocks quite a bit of used and surplus RV parts.

Q. Nick, I recently joined Kindle Unlimited on Amazon, where I can read as many books as I want by just paying $10 a month. But does that cheat you as an author out of sales? I love both your Big Lake and John Lee Quarrels series and I don’t want to cheat you out of a penny. If that’s the case, let me know and I will continue to buy those directly.
A. I appreciate your concern, and I’m glad you are enjoying the books. When authors enroll their books in the Kindle Unlimited program we get a small royalty for every page read. It’s not much, but it adds up. In fact, these days royalties from Kindle Unlimited make up the majority of my income.

Q. Help, Nick! We have a leak in our fifth wheel’s gray water tank. It’s about a third of the way up from the bottom and I can’t get into a shop for at least two months because everybody seems to be booked up. We are fulltimers and we really need it fixed. Do you know of anything that would work to stop the leak in a plastic tank?
A. Yes, JB Waterweld. We had a leak in our black water tank once and I used that and it sealed it just fine. Five years later when we sold the RV, it was still holding and did not require any further repair.

Q. I seem to recall you saying that Al Hesselbart, the historian at the RV Museum in Elkhart, Indiana had retired. Then someone else said he still was there and sometimes gives tours. Do you know when he is there? We went by the museum and the fellow at the front desk had no idea who I was talking about.
A. I have not talked to Al in quite some time, so I’m not sure what he’s up to these days. I need to give him a call and catch up.

Q. Have you and Miss Terry ever done any gate guarding? I’ve been told that drilling companies hire RVers to man the gates at sites, but there is so much misinformation online I’m confused. If you don’t have any experience yourself, Nick, can you point me in the right direction?
A. We have never done any gate guarding ourselves, but our friends Greg and Jan White have, and Greg has a page dedicated to it on his blog at

Q. I know you are a boat guy as well as a fellow RVer, so maybe you can give me some info. We want to spend next winter in Texas and there are some very good bass fishing lakes there. I am thinking about pulling my 22 foot pontoon boat down behind the motorhome, while my wife drives our car. At home we keep the boat in the water on the lake that we live on, only pulling it out at the end of the season to park it in our pole barn. It’s too big and heavy for my wife’s Nissan car and I use my ratty old three-quarter ton pickup for that. We plan to bring the Nissan with us, and our concern is launching the boat from the motorhome. My wife is scared to death of that idea and has visions of our home floating away if something goes wrong. We would be moving every month or so and she tells me it’s just too much work and too much chance of something going wrong. What do you think? Is it feasible?
A. While I have seen big motorhomes pulling pontoon boats, and I’ve seen a couple of pictures of people launching them with a motorhome, it’s not something I would want to try. I’m not saying it can’t be done, because I’m sure people do it all the time. But I think I have to side with your wife on this one.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for a campground rating, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) 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 – Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead. – Benjamin Franklin

Nick Russell

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

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