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Retirement Tips and RV Stuff Newsletter
Issue 2009.03         Mar 2009
Publisher, Bob Hoffman -
Back Issues at -
PRIVACY STATEMENT: This newsletter's email addresses are never sold or otherwise made public.
If you're receiving this by email and don't want it, just email me and I'll take you off my distribution list.

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Wow! Two newsletters in two months! That's how it all started back in January 2003 - a newsletter EVERY MONTH. Hasn't been that way for a couple of years, but it seems like right now I've got a lot I want to say and it's like 'so much to say and so many places to say it.' I've bumped into some interesting websites and factoids recently, thus this newsletter. I'm about to go to my 50th high school reunion in a couple of months, therefore the related ramblings on our Leon High School website. And, while working on that, I decided to do a blog entry about my first 10 years of retirement, also somewhat related.

BUT, we have a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem here. I'm doing all three of these writings at about the same time, so if you click on one of the links above, you may well get there before I've completed it. When all 3 are done, I'll send out an email to the standard distribution, so if you're not on that, email me at and get on it.

And now, some notes on things I've bumped into and heard about -- I wasn't sure how to order them, so I'm putting the most important first:

Produce the Note! - If you have Yahoo email, then you know what Yahoo news is. When you first open their website, there are always some notes there on latest news, with videos, etc. As it turns out, that appears to be where Joyce and I are now getting our most current news. Well, one day I saw a headline about "Produce the Note!" with the explanation that this info might help you if you're facing a foreclosure on your home. Basically, the news was that many (most?) banks and mortgage companies have sold and resold your loan so many times, it's nearly impossible for them to produce the original note with your signature on it (or even an electronic copy). So, if they're trying to foreclose on you, just ask them to produce the note and that will probably postpone the action for months and in some cases indefinitely! To read about it, visit

Image Resizer - I discovered a VERY SIMPLE, FREE Microsoft program that allows you to EASILY resize photos before emailing them, which results in much faster upload time when you send and much faster download time when they're received. What's more, you can do a bunch of them with a single mouse-click! Visit the Microsoft PowerToys page, then scroll down and look on the right side for "Image Resizer." There are a bunch of neat "toys" there, but this one is the one that I wanted most, and wanted to pass along to friends and relatives who continue to email me photos that are over a megabyte each :)  Any questions about it, email or call me.

RVer Destinations - If you're big on cars, as most RVers seem to be, you might want to visit the Peterson Automotive Museum website's page on auto museums, galleries, and a variety of different types of exhibits.

RV History - Another interesting page at the Peterson site is the one on RV History. Named From Autocamps to Airstreams, it has some nice photos of old RVs and tells the history from covered wagons made by Studebaker through RVs after World War II.

Chris Ferguson Challenge - Anyone who follows poker on TV is familiar with Chris "Jesus" Ferguson. Seems that in January 2007, Chris decided he'd see how long it would take him to make $10,000 online if he started with NOTHING. He started out playing free tournaments, then gradually earned a few dollars and started playing real money games, and reached the $10,000 goal in September 2007 (and gave the money to charity). Visit his FullTilt page, where he outlines the guidelines he followed. I've been more or less following some of those rules recently and am doing better than previously.

Recent Travel: Moved the RV from the front of the storage lot to the back, so the guy there could wash it for me. Then, moved it back up front. That's travel since January :)

Upcoming Travel: As I said in February: My 50th class reunion (see is planned for mid-May. We're talking about wandering about Alabama and Georgia either before or after that, or maybe both. Anybody got a cute little mountain cabin in the mountains of northern Alabama or Georgia, with space to park an RV, for sale real cheap? 

March: Our plan is to go up to Mentone, Alabama, where Joyce has found some nice looking deals online. Plan is to go in late April ... We'll see ...

Read on for notes on my latest site updates, some words about how I'd make some money if you guys would buy something off the website, IOTR News, Art News, and wrapping up with my RAMBLINGS.

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- My First 10 Years of "Real" Retirement, blogging my retirement expectations vs actuals.

- "Countdown to Graduation" entry on our class website JAN-JUN 1959 .

- America Views - Hoffman Vehicles, photos of all 28 vehicles that I've owned 1955-2009.

- America Views - Classis Cars, ever seen a $106,000 1951 Studebaker? (not mine :).

- Various tweaks and updates through various websites.
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Two related sites this time:

- : A website that I built for my cousin Bruce Smith. It's intended to sell some diesel parts that he's accumulated in his Long Beach workshop.

- : Another website that I built for my cousin Bruce Smith. This time it's to sell some old ChrisCraft boat parts that he's accumulated in his Long Beach workshop.

Interestingly enough, both of these sites have been getting about 20 visitors per month. Guess I didn't know there was that kind of interest in these salvaged parts. If you'd like to admire some old parts, feel free to visit. If you'd like to buy some, great!

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Here's a list of some interesting products, some of which will make me a few bucks if you need them and buy them here:

- Camp at Half of What Everyone Else is Paying!  No home park, no monthly maintenance fees, no long-term obligation, just pay the small annual fee and camp for half-price. Check it out here.

- 50+ ways to get to the internet when you're on the road! Read'm at Internet On The Road.

- Amazon Books : Buy from Amazon through this link and I get a couple of bucks  -- Click here to check them out.

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Another award! Check it out at  It was a merit award that Joyce got at the February 2009 Brevard Watercolor "Splash" Art Show in Melbourne.

Joyce also decided to do a portrait of the mayor of Cape Canaveral. At the art show there in January, she was impressed by the amount of time, effort, and his own money (to purchase some art) he put into their show, so thought he'd enjoy having a portrait of himself. He did! He was overjoyed and his secretary even called a reporter for the "presentation", so we should be seeing Joyce in the newspaper soon. Fear not! Whatever appears in the paper will undoubtedly find its way to her website.

If you see anything on the site that you'd be interested in buying, email Joyce for info on size, price, etc. Also, if you have a topic, pet, or whatever that you'd like an original painting of, just let her know. As mentioned above, she's doing mostly portraits now and can work from a photograph.

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Well, I'm not traveling much and I no longer handle WiFi systems, so I'm not sure I'll have much to say here in the future. My website will continue to develop, however, so anything new can be put there.

Unless something comes to mind, I'll probably drop this section next newsletter.

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Since I've been spending a little time recently working with the committee that's planning and implementing our May 15-16 50th reunion of the Leon High School Class of 1959, I've just naturally been doing some reflecting about my past and thinking about my future. It's interesting that high school graduation really is the end of an era and the start of another, just like the Valedictorian said. I guess if I wanted to define "eras" in my life, high school graduation would be in all. Beyond that, I could talk in terms of marriage 1, marriage 2, and marriage 3 as definitely being 3 very different phases. Or, I could think in terms of my employment, 1st phase would be my first job out of FSU in 1968 with TRW in Houston working on Apollo missions, 2nd with TRW in Redondo Beach in 1972 working on defense systems, 3rd is back to Houston in 1973 for Skylab and Apollo/Soyuz, 4th up to TRW/Huntsville on defense systems in 1979, 5th to GRC/Huntsville in 1983, 6th is "retirement" in 1984 and subsequent GRC/Santa Barbara, 7th back to GRC/Huntsville, 8th is "retirement" in 1992 and full-time RVing, 9th is SRC/Albuquerque on Air Force projects, 10th is back to TRW/Huntsville for more defense, 11th is final retirement from TRW (then changing to Northrop Grumman) in 1999, and 12th is RETIREMENT FOREVER!

Man! That was a bunch of rambling! Don't I just love to talk about myself? Anyway, the point was that no matter how I cut up my life, high school graduation is definitely a milestone. And all that thinking about graduations and reunions and where I've been and where I'm going just naturally resulted in my creating the blog entry and class website updates mentioned above in LATEST SITE UPDATES. If you've never visited my high school class website, now's the time! That update has everything - photos, factoids, video, music ... so put on your glasses and turn your speakers on full blast and mosey over there! I guarantee you'll enjoy it!

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Permanent Mailing Address: R. Hoffman, 1033 Jacaranda Circle, Rockledge, Florida 32955.
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