Friday evening. Newsletter done. Whew!

Friday evening. Newsletter done. Whew!

 

By Chuck Woodbury
ROADSIDE JOURNAL
It’s 4:40 p.m., Friday, June 23, 2017, and I am 99.9 percent done with this weekend’s newsletter, issue 799. The photo is of my desk.  I just snapped it. The desk is in the back driver’s side corner of my 32-foot motorhome. It folds down when we travel. It’s about two times the size of a TV tray. But it works. And, as you can see, it’s a mess.

FOR ABOUT TWO DAYS NOW, with breaks from writing for a walk around a nearby pond and a trip to Costco to stock up on grub, I have sat at this desk and slung words, most of which will appear in tomorrow’s newsletter. Meanwhile, across the USA, more than a dozen writers have sat at their own desks, doing the same. Two are in the Bay Area, one in New York City, one in Ohio, one in North Carolina, another in Maryland, and the hardest-working RV journalists in America, Russ and Tiña De Maris in Quartzsite, Arizona.

Three more are in whereabouts unknown — full-timers who drift from place to place. And five of us are in the Seattle area. I’m here for another three weeks before heading off with my sweetheart Gail toward the East Coast in our rolling, motorized Winnebago RV, which I call a “mobile home” because it’s where I live and it moves when I push the gas pedal.

It’s a big job putting this newsletter together, but every week all of us who contribute do it like clockwork. Next issue will be number 800, which seems crazy to me: Where did those 17 years go? I started it as a semi-old young man and am now a semi-young old man. I think we may have missed one deadline through the years. As I recall, it was because our server was throwing a tantrum.

I do not know what I would do without the weekly deadline. Some weeks I wish I didn’t have to write, with the pressure to be interesting. I’d say that three-quarters of the time I am happy with what I write. But sometimes I am uninspired and it shows and I don’t feel very proud.

BUT I KNOW ONE THING: I am addicted to publishing this newsletter. I am addicted to waking up Saturday morning to read your emails. I recognize hundreds of readers these days, some of whom have been following me even before RV Travel, when I published my quarterly “on-the-road” newspaper Out West.

I am always pooped about this time of week, brain dead from hour upon hour at the keyboard (like now), but I am almost always happy, too, especially when an issue is really good. Diane McGovern, who is the managing editor, is amazing. She holds everything together, and jumps on any of us who get behind or out of line in some way. She keeps me out of trouble when I use the wrong word or make a really stupid typo.

Gail, my best buddy and Friday evening wine sipping partner!

I am very proud of all the people who work on this newsletter. They all love playing their part. I pay the ones that do the most work or can use the money. I was paid a pittance when I wrote for magazines when I was a struggling freelance writer. So I do my best to not take advantage of our writers, even though this is a pretty low-budget operation. Some of our contributors write for free because they are already set financially and they love to write about their particular interests.

Gail is out shopping right now, but when she returns we will observe our Friday evening “the newsletter is finished” celebration, by drinking a little wine, which always makes us chatty so we end up gabbing for awhile. Tonight we will sit outside and enjoy the gorgeous evening. I always say that I am a lucky guy, but my friends tell me that I worked hard for what I have achieved and my charmed life is due to that, more than luck. Okay, fine, but I still say I’m lucky.

Thanks for reading. Without you, I’d be writing to a wall, which is no fun unless you are especially fond of walls and believe they can hear you.


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13 thoughts on “Friday evening. Newsletter done. Whew!

  1. Pierre

    Thank you Chuck for those articles on RV quality, now I understand why my Trailsport keeps falling apart.

    Pierre Guay

  2. Bob Hazlett

    Read your piece and the backup Reuters article. They are using the RV industry as an example for a labor discussion. I can agree with some of it and disagree with some. But I won’t agree with the idea that this situation is the cause of the poor quality in RVs.
    RV quality starts in the Board Room and the design room. The manufacturing floor builds RVs based on the design and supplies they are given.

    I am a retired engineer with experience in manufacturing. I am also a full-time RVer living in a 2011 Keystone Cougar High Country which I bought new. The key word for this rig is”flimsy”. I am constantly rebuilding things that have fallen apart due to shabby construction. Using staples instead of staples and glue is an engineering decision not a manufacturing one. That is one simple example. The list is endless.

    I believe the old adage that RVs are designed and built by people who have never lived in one. I’m tired of RV makers touting their Amish craftsmen and their Amish work ethic when all I see coming out of their factories is trash.

    If you could fix the labor problems cited in the Reuter’s article, you would see no change in RV quality because that is not where the quality problem resides. The article does provide material for those who are the problem to find someone else to blame.

  3. Ron Hough

    Bonnie and I travel in a 32 ft. 2008 Winnie Itasca, which is very similar to yours, down to the iron wall decoration on the rear wall. Since I have no mechanical ability, I must rely on RV shops for all services. In my area, RV repair shops are booked solid months in advance, spring, summer and fall. Then they hibernate during the winter when RVs are in winter storage or in Arizona. With Elkhart cranking out so many new RVs with built-in repair needs, the local shops can’t keep up and I don’t see new ones opening up. I’m now booking some RV parks and oil changes months in advance. Is there a Jiffy-Lube for RV’s?

  4. Will

    Love the newsletter but have to take issue with the Reuter’s article on RV manufacturing in Indiana. It was full of anti-Trump rhetoric and whining from a few folks who work on assembly lines and don’t like it. How am I suposed to belive an assembly line worker who is “sleaved out” with tattoos, has plugs for ear rings, and a biker’s beard? The worker was complaining about the pay, yet, he has $10,000+ worth of skulls tattooed on his arms??? Really? Is he to be believed?

    The manufacturing plants have their quality problems, but consumers demand cheap products. If you don’t want a poorly built coach, do your research and buy the highest quality for the buck.

    Yep, it was nothing but a whiney article, typical for what passes as “reporting” now a days.

    1. John Webber

      You forgot to mention “fake news” in your letter or condemnation of different lifestyles.

  5. Linda Wharton

    Enjoy all your articles, Chuck! My groom (of 35years) and I are embarking soon as “almost” full timers in our 2007 28 ft Class C. We have been out in it 4-5 months at a clip, but this time will sell our home and go until we decide to buy something else! We will truly be gypsies for a time.
    We love our rig; however, like many other owners, we see how shabby the workmanship is. We keep everything in good shape, but it is a constant chore. Still, we feel safer buying used than new.
    Keep your excellent articles coming and thanks for your devotion to our lifestyle.
    Linda & Dana Paul Wharton

  6. Mike & Louise Bacque

    It’s always worth clicking a link in your newsletter, you’re not rambling, you’re providing us insight into the dedication and love of what you do to bring us this fabulous newsletter. Thank you so much!

  7. Sherry Dawson

    Good luck comes to those who work hard, make smart choices, and learn from mistakes. I’m glad you are so lucky!

    Thanks for meeting the Friday deadlines and giving me a very interesting adventure every Saturday morning. I spend much of the day each week reading the articles, following the links, looking up additional related information, and then updating my RVing and itinerary spreadsheets with the great information I gleaned.

  8. Darrell Cowles

    Thank you for all of the hours and days you have dedicated to getting this information out to us in a informative, sometimes humorous, and always interesting manner. Your insight and fairness are what we depend on for the unvarnished truth. Thank you for your time and caring.

  9. Jim Anderson

    Morning Chuck,
    Enjoyed the Roadside Journal this morning.
    Good story about Life!
    It always amazes me how busy I am after 15 years of retirement.
    I have no idea how I ever worked and got all the things done that needed doing.
    Kind of like your weekly deadline, my “to do” lists help to keep me focused and directed. With out the list days can go by and I accomplish very little.
    At 75 now I am still able to do the routine maintenance on our 17 year old Diesel pusher, and that keeps me busy and out of trouble. Of course an oil and filter change that took me half a day when we bought our coach, now, can easily take a couple of days.
    My wife claims I slide under the coach just to take naps.

    RV Quality:
    That’s a good article you referenced.
    Lot of truth to it.
    Over the years I’ve toured most of the major Class A coach builders and from my observations it seems to me that most are built the same way they were 20 years ago. My 17 year old coach has the same chassis with all the same features that a brand new 2017 has. I had two slides added and new flooring, cabinets and counter tops installed last year with all new fixtures and it looks like a new coach. So I have a “like new” coach. The difference is that I don’t have ANY of the usual problems that seem to go with today’s New Coaches.
    The only thing this ole antique coach does not have is some of the fancy electronic gizmos and gadgets.
    Nice to be VERY satisfied after 17 years of ownership.
    Jim

    1. Bluebird Bob

      I agree with Jim. We have a 1984 Bluebird Wanderlodge that we have had for 17 years also. We get comments all the time on the quality of this rig. The wife is very happy with our Bluebird and we travel almost fulltime (we live in it fulltime also). We upgrade mechanical stuff just because it’s 32 years old, not because parts fail. but we just wanted newer parts on our home. Nothing has failed in the inside because of the quality. People go for the glitz and don’t do their homework so I don’t feel sorry for them. By the way, we are 75 years old also.

  10. Bill Hunt

    Good one, not that they’re not all good but I especially liked this one.

  11. Tom

    Luck is a lazy mans estimate of a workers success.

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