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. We were just at the Tampa RV show, the first one we have been to in four years. Is it just me, or is the quality of RVs getting even worse these days while the prices get higher? We looked at one motorhome that was $395,000, and the fit and finish both inside and outside were deplorable. In two different places there were half-inch gaps around the window trim. How can they get away with selling things made so poorly for so much money?
A. They get away with it the same way they have for the last 20 years, because consumers will settle for it. Why spend the time and money to make something better when there are plenty of fools lined up with their checkbook in hand, willing to take whatever they can get, no matter how shoddy?
Q. A while back on your blog you talked about electric cars. I am all for them, but there are some negatives that have not been addressed. While batteries are improving all the time, they all have a time when they are no longer useful. My question is, what will happen to all those dead batteries, and the cost to replace them in cars that are otherwise perfect?
A. Every car, truck, and bus in the world uses at least one battery. What do we do with all of them when they are worn out? What do we do with old cars that wear out or get in accidents? There will eventually be ways to recycle them. And as technology improves, cost to replace them will be less in the long run than for all of the gasoline and diesel we feed our vehicles now, and the environment will be better off.
Q. I know that many of the RV vendors we knew from our days on the road are now retired. The other day I was wondering about Mac McCoy, who used to do the excellent RV fire safety seminars. Are you still in touch with Mac? Is he still teaching at RV rallies?
A. Mac retired a while back and is now living in Oregon. We don’t get to talk as often as we used to, but he is healthy and happy.
Q. Like you, we are now officially old farts and will both be able to qualify for Medicare this year. Trying to figure out everything has been very confusing, and every time I turn on the TV some has-been celebrity is telling me about their Medicare supplement plan. What do you and Miss Terry use as a supplemental plan, Nick, and has it worked out for you?
A. We were very fortunate that when it came time to make that choice, our good friend Chris Yust, who retired after spending much of her career in the insurance industry, was on hand to advise us. We have a United Healthcare supplement through AARP, and it has been very good for us. There are cheaper plans out there, but you get what you pay for.
Q. My mother and her husband just bought a fifth-wheel RV trailer and wanted to go to the Florida Keys. But they are not finding any place with an RV site available for less than way more money than they want to spend. Do you know of any budget-priced RV parks in the Keys or any places where they could dry camp for a week or two?
A. The words budget-priced and Florida Keys never go together in the same sentence. RV sites go for premium prices there, if you can even find one in the winter. And forget dry camping. I don’t know of any place where it’s allowed. My best advice would be to go online to the Florida State Parks website and see if they can find an opening for a day or two when somebody had a cancellation. But I wouldn’t be optimistic about it. RV sites in the Keys are usually reserved for a year in advance.
Q.How did you adjust so easily to the CPAP machine, Nick? I am 60 days in and just can’t wear the darn thing for more than an hour or so before I rip it off. I was told last week that I am not compliant with my insurance company because I’m not wearing it and they require that I do at least four hours a night.
A. To be honest, I’m surprised that I was able to adjust to it so quickly. I had some anxiety the first couple of nights but was able to fall asleep anyway. You might try melatonin or some nighttime sleep aid to help with it. I still don’t like wearing the darn thing, but the health benefits are well worth it.
Q. I love audiobooks and I’ve listened to all of yours that are available, but it’s only a few. Why don’t you have more of your books available in audiobook format?
A. Unfortunately, I have found that for me, the cost and time involved in creating audiobooks just does not pay off. I’m very lucky if I sell 20 audiobooks in a month, and it’s usually less than that.
And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.
Thought For The Day – I’m not being lazy, I’m just waiting for inspiration to strike me.