Tag Archives: RV

2011 Was the Best of Times. It was the Worst of Times.

Yes, it was definately a year of tests and we’re happy to report …We Passed! We made our fourth dream trip with the latest book “RV Canada’s Far North On A Dream” but not without major upsets. We covered 18,129 km from June 15- Nov.29.

It all started May 26/11, when we took the camper van “Boo The Menopausal Van 2” which was loaded ready for the trip, to the mall so I could buy a new smart phone. Our cute little pup Pali went along for the ride. It almost was his last. In the 3o mins. it took to get the phone set up, the van caught on fire. We had no idea until a fellow came running into the mall, and hollered at Dave, “Come quick. It’s an emergency!” Still, I didn’t clue in so I finished what I was doing. I went outside to see the mall lot yellow taped off like a scene from a movie, crowds of people standing around, and flames and smoke leaping from the van. Dave’s first words to me was, “Pali’s ok.” Stunned, I just gaped at our little home. Pali had been rescued, taken to the vet, and pronounced healthy by the time I got out there. I was more shaken than him. It tooks months to get over that scene.

That was the beginning of our summer. It meant dealing with insurance; deciding what to do about the trailer packed ready to go but nothing to tow it with now, making arrangments and finding another unit. People suggested we cancel the trip and our answer was always no. This was just a pothole, albeit a rather smoky nasty one.

Short version of the story: We took the trailer to Vancouver Island, left it on consignment at the lot we bought a 32 ft motorhome from which was a rip-off. Our departure date got moved to June 15, and car in tow we left Powell River, and broke down on the peninsula(part way to Vancouver). Four days and over $2200 later we left Vancouver wanting to sue Upper Island Motors for misrepresentation. Again it was asked if we would stop the trip Again it was no.

The RV continued to break down for the 3 months we were on the road but we kept on. We cut out Yukon and NWT because the money was so tight by then and moved towards our next big dream to get to Churchill, MB to see polar bears. We made it there and stood in the Hudson’s Bay doing our traditional water pouring ceremony. Standing under a full moon in Churchill, we were ecstatic we hadn’t given up on our dreams.

But the tests weren’t over. Sept.7, while camped in Mancota, SK we got a message that our son Brent had been in a terrible car accident in the Yukon while up there working. He became a quadrapalegic and was in dangerous condition. Dave drove over 1900 km in 3 days to get us back to Vancouver where Brent was in VGH. We spent the rest of Sept, Oct. and most of November camped in Surrey, and driving everyday to the hospital to be by his side. I’m happy to say on this day Feb.11/12, he is doing very well with his mind as clear and determined as ever. He has new plans for a  new life. The prognosis is that he will never walk but Dave and I believe in miracles.

I feel like it was a summer book-ended by sorrow but in between its pages were wonderful stories, people, and experiences. It’s going to make a fascinating 4th RV Canada book due 2013 for the next cross Canada trip.

The moral to the story is that life is constantly changing, nothing is forever so don’t waste time, get out there and make your dreams come true. Love and appreciate your loved ones.


Is Self-Publishing For You?

Have you dreamed of seeing your writing in book form?Does it seem so very far away? We’ve moved past the old stigma that said the only way to be a “real” author was to send out your manuscript endlessly until someone somewhere decided you were good enough to publish. Those days are gone as we’ve moved into the era of quick, quality digitally printed works.

This is my third self-published book in seven years so I figure I’ve learned a thing or two about the process. But let me tell you right off the bat: It’s NOT for the faint-at-heart or the uncommitted or the lazy. If this describes you, stick to writing for pleasure . . . nothing wrong with that. But if you’re willing to leap off the cliff of dreams coming true and have the faith you will grow your wings on the way down, then read on.

My first book “Lessons From the Potholes of Life”:I knew nothing about publishing and little about how to lay out a book so I hired a local desk-top publisher to do the whole thing. All I had to do was type and give him ideas and he made it look pretty. I didn’t know I needed an editor. I thought he did that . . . wrong! Although people loved the book, there are many errors in it and it wasn’t cheap to produce. But the worst was finding out he never kept the files. Now it’s out of print, I have no files from which to produce another printing . . .grrr!

Lesson #1: Always use an editor to clean it up after you’ve had several people read it for you. Always keep your files. You own them, not the person you hired.

Lesson #2: Shop around for the best publisher or print on demand company. Ask other authors for their experiences.

My second book “RV Canada On A Dime And A Dream:” By this time I decided I needed to learn how to format my own book , really self publish, which I did using onlyMicrosoft Word. I hired someone for the cover design and had the manuscript proof read before going to an editor. I produced a professional looking book that sold well in a niche market.

Lesson #3:Unless you have Photo shop or some other fancy program, hire a cover designer. It’s the first thing people see and can make or break a sale.

Lesson #4:Find your niche and work  it. Because I’m an RVer and speaker, I found my niche at RV shows and writing for RVers.

My latest book “RV Canada With Boo the Menopausal Van:”I’ve progressed to being able to layout photos in the book. I found a great editor, Lewis Mattox online because I joined Linkedin site. I networked with anyone I could talk to so I found an old school chum, Ole Neilson who does cover design.  In my writer’s group Susan Litke, a wonderful illustrator did the cartoon for the cover. Because I was looking for the best price for printing I met Craig at Island Blue Print who gave me a fabulous price, excellent service and quick turn around time.

Lesson #5: Network everywhere and all the time. Join a writer’s group. Go to writers’ festivals. You never know where your support or business link will come from. Hand out cards everywhere, and keep cards for referrals.

Lesson#6: Both RV books are 6×9″ , 240 pages and under 500 grams so they fit through the mail slot that keeps them under the parcel post rate. They ship for $2.78 anywhere in Canada. That would be closer to $8 if they were over. Besides it keeps the overall price down so I can sell them for $20, a breaking point where people don’t have to think too hard about purchasing.

Lesson #7:Once you start on the manuscript, set yourself a timeline with set dates to reach for. Without a goal date, you could wander around the forest of procrastination and fear forever. I set myself a time line that worked back from when we wanted to leave(June 1) on the book tour. I knew I had to have the rough draft of the book done before Christmas08 and I did. The result? My book will be launched Mar.19 at the Chilliwack RV Show, a full two months ahead of schedule. To be out from under the stress in a short period of time feels soo great!

Can you produce your own book? Of course you can if you really, really want to make your dream come true.

RV Tips and Preparation

RV Tips and Preparation
…1-3 months ahead

• Checked over and tune up done. Brakes and tires checked, correct pressure and replaced if necessary.
•  Carry spare tire and spare tire for RV. “Tire in a can” for emergency repairs.
•  Roll of heater hose and clamps, oils, fuses, electrical tape, duct tape, tools, voltage meter jerry can with gas.
•  Is there a manual for either the vehicle or the RV? Bring it
•  RV Insurance not just vehicle insurance, and have confirmation that you are covered. One tow could pay back the fee.  Don’t find out on the road like we did that we weren’t covered. BCAA is good to deal with and you can order maps and accommodation guide books ahead
• Check: water tank, black and grey water tanks,
• Electrical connections checked. All running lights and brake lights. Batteries cleaned and tested.
• Propane connections checked and fridge, stove, and furnace.
• Roll out awning, spray metal moving parts with WD40. Roof check for cracking or leaks.
• Tires inflated to proper pressure (listed on side of tire). Inspect for cracks. Replace if tread is down to 1/16”. Check brakes.
• Clean solar panels.
• Extension cord with 15-30 amp adapter plug, TV connection cable
• Pressure reducer connector for water hose. Hose that is long enough for hard to reach hook-ups.
• Pack extra sewer hose, or use a 20’ hose. Check for splits.
• Spray bottle of bleach water or can of spray Clorox to disinfect water hoses. Don’t assume others only use potable water hoses for water.
• Boards for leveling

• Get medical check-up before leaving; let your doctor know where you’re going, and get prescriptions renewed.
• Stock up on prescriptions. Keep an empty pill bottle for all the information. Pharmacies in Ontario and Quebec won’t refill out-of-province prescriptions except at hospitals or clinics.
• Pack your medicine cabinet: cold and allergy remedies, vitamins, aloe vera jell for burns (keep it in the fridge), pain killers, contact lens rinse if contact wearer, mosquito repellant, besides carrying a good first-aid kit in the vehicle.
• Confirm that your medical insurance covers you out of province; if not get some.
• Copy of glass’s or contact prescription
• Pet medical: up-to-date shots and papers.

General Packing:
• Stock up as dry good, pet supplies or toiletry sales come along. Ex: toothpaste, hair dye, shampoo, lens rinse
• Put a batch of wine on?
• Copies of RV Times, RV West or RV Lifestyles in a binder for valuable travel and repair tips.
• For list of sani-dumps go to: www.sanidumps.com
• Travel log or journal. You’ll forget the little details when you get home and wish you remembered the name of a place etc.
• Don’t over pack clothes but even if its summer pack cool weather clothes and footwear.
• Battery chargers for cameras and cell phone.

Home Notes and Stuff:
• House and plant sitter. If away more than a couple weeks home insurance may not be valid if home is left untended. Check with insurance company.
• Wills up to date, executor has copy and knows where you’re going. Family has their contact information and written instructions if you should die while away.
• Let credit card companies know you are travelling or for security reasons they may decline charges.
• Who will check the mail or send it on for you?
• Home computer backed up and files stored out of the house.
• If no one is staying in your home, unplug computer and other equipment, shut off hot water heater. Turn down home thermostat low enough it will only come on if it gets cold.
• Photo-copy Passport and all important cards: credit cards, driver’s license, social security, medical, insurance. Keep one copy with you and leave one copy in your safety deposit box or with family.
• Traveling with a lap top, activate WIFI unless you’re using another method of connecting to the internet.

Utility plans changed:
• Cable: ex: Shaw will reduce all aspects of cable except internet for app. $1.98 a month and re-hook up fee when you’re back home
• Home phone: ex: TELUS reduce the bundle to lower charges
• Cell phone: Make sure you have the best long distance plan, most minutes. Install SKYPE (www.skype.com ) in computer for free computer to computer calling or very cheap calls to land lines.
• All utility payments online or automatic bank withdrawal.

Staying in touch:
• Create a blog(www.blogger.com)  or Yahoo( www.yahoo.com)  site to post messages and pictures to. Invite family and friends to sign up so they can keep up with your travels.
• Take address book. Leave rough itinerary with family in case something happens and they know where you are.
• Online address’s and passwords to important web sites or newsletters.