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Retirement Tips and RV Stuff Newsletter
Issue 2010.03         Mar 2010
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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I've accumulated several things I wanted to pass along, all relevant to RVing ... how about that! I've presented them below in no particular order.

Hose on Wiper Blades: Here's what I think is a really good idea that I got from the body shop guy at our local Sun Coast RV shop. I was telling him about having to replace my wiper blades at a cost of $70 because they'd gotten dried out in the sun. When I store the RV, I always put old tennis balls under the blade arms to keep them off the windshield (ever since they "glued" themselves to the window once), but that still doesn't protect the rubber blades. He said he's been told that people simply split a section of old garden hose and stick one of the halves over each blade. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds like a great idea.

National Parks Senior Pass: Most of you will probably think I'm just stupid, but I just learned about the $10 lifetime pass available to U.S. Citizens and permanent residents who are 62 years and older - that provides access to recreation areas managed by five Federal agencies. You can only get them at one of those rec areas that charges. GO HERE for details.  AND, the passes also give you discounts on amenities -- like 50% off of camping charges.

Site Map Coupons: Now you're really going to think I'm dumb. I'm sure I've noticed these in that past, but don't recall ever using one. As you know, when you camp at a park, they generally give you a Site Map with a map showing all of the campsites, plus a bunch of ads for local merchants. What I either never noticed, or had forgotten, is that many of these ads are discount coupons, offering cash discounts on meals, RV parts, etc., or maybe a bottle of wine when you buy four dinners. See Sonrise Palms Local Info page for an example of some Site Map ads that I've put online for a client. I'm sitting here wondering how many discounts I've missed out on by not paying attention.

Keeping Towbars Level: Since I bought my first towbar back in 2001, I've always been told by service centers that the towbar should be level between the RV and the toadie. I even purchased a hitch connection with a 10" drop to keep my towbar near level, since the hitch plug on the RV is about 10" higher than the towplate on the car. On a couple of recent trips, I managed to scrape my tail end a couple of times and actually bent the part where it attaches to the RV up about 6" or so. Now the line between RV and car looks more like ^ then it does --. When I talked to my friendly body shop guy, he agreed that we could heat the RV frame and bend that back, but then I'd have to spend about $300 for a new hitch since it also was bent. After some discussion, he explained the reason for trying to keep things level. The theory is that the more level that towbar is, the sturdier the rigid connection is. If the RV collides with something, that rigid connection keeps the car from slamming into the back of the RV. I decided that if I collide with something sturdy enough to stop the RV, the least of my worries will be damage to the front of that little car. I opted to save my $300 (plus a couple hundred labor to get the job done) and just let thing ride as they are -- a little bent, but still safe for towing. I also figure that as soon as I get it fixed, I'll scrape/bend it next trip anyway.

Walmart Credit Card: Sort of RV-related, since it will save you money on gas. Not sure if at all Walmarts, but at the one here in Viera, they had an ad by the register that they'd refund $20 on a $100 purchase if you get a Walmart Credit Card. I'd actually been considering it anyway, since I noticed that the 3-cent per gallon discount on Murphy gas is obtainable in Florida with a Walmart Gift Card, but in Alabama and Georgia, it requires a Walmart Credit Card or Discovery Card. Joyce and I went to Walmart today, spent $105 on food and stuff, applied at the register, and were told we'd get the card in 7 days and see the $20 refund on the first bill. Sounds good to me!

Here's a really neat video
that I picked up in Chuck
Woodbury's weekly
newsletter. It's a 5th
wheel that can be towed
by a VW (or other small
car, I guess) and allows
the car to turn 360°!
Most amazing thing I've
seen in RV towing. The
film is from 1974, so I
doubt they're still
available, but just
something neat to see.

Recent Travel: Rush trip to Huntsville to work a proposal, then rush trip home a week later to help with a family emergency.

Upcoming Travel: Returning to Mentone in early April to check out that cabin one more time.

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, Art News, and wrapping up with my RAMBLINGS.

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- NEW BOOK : Please Freshen My Water , a book about the many idiosyncrasies and peculiarities of our dogs. Originally intended to be a happy book, it has turned out to be not quite as happy as planned due to the unexpected loss of our two Yorkies. Click the link to see associated photos and videos, then (optionally) pay the $5 to read the words that go with the pictures.

- Cool and Unusual RVs and Stuff: A page that's been growing since 2001, I've added several new photos recently. Newer stuff is at the bottom of the page.

- New RV-Blog Entries: My views on Facebook, Twitter, etc.; Things your mother never told you; and addendums to some earlier Blentries. PLUS, your opportunity to express your views on Facebook via the web poll!

- Want to see a photo of me at age 21? Check out Hoffman's Cars on the America Views pages and you'll see me proudly showing off the drag-racing trophies won with my 1962 Volvo.

- Various tweaks and updates through various websites.
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- : New website I recently created for an RV park in North Carolina. I believe this is the first commercial site I've built that plays music. I'm not a big fan of musical websites, but the customer wanted it. Very peaceful song, so it adds to the beauty of the scenery shown there.

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I'm deleting this section in favor of the left margin info. Click anything there and I might make a few bucks.

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Joyce is still winding down from the 15th Annual ARTrageous ART SHOW - SPLASH of Watercolor 2010. She wasn't lucky enough to win a prize, but did sell a little art so I'm pleased :)  Now, we're getting ready to go to Mentone, where we may very well be opening an art gallery very soon!

If you see anything on the Joyce's website 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. She's doing mostly portraits now and can work from a photograph.

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Did I mention that as part of building my doggie book Please Freshen My Water, I finally got around to learning how to put videos on YouTube? Much simpler than I figured and I use their storage space instead of mine. Only thing I wonder about is how long the videos stay out there. Seems they'd run out of space (that they're giving away free) sooner or later.

Below, I've included the video that I consider the cutest of Tinker. This is partially as a little tribute to our littlest doggie that Joyce loved most of all, and partially so those of you who don't take time to read the new book can still see this comical episode.


 Status Update: Based upon the Sitemeters that I described in my previous newsletter, 2012-21-12 has now been visited by viewers in 29 states in the USA and 37  provinces in foreign countries!  Neat!  If you're not reading the Post-UIM Journals (behind door #2 on that page link above), you're missing out ... of course, you've got to read the original story (behind door #1) to understand the Post-UIM. That Post-UIM tale is a continuing saga that I create based upon the actual 2010 date (e.g., On 2/15/2010, I related the fictional happenings of 2/15/2013), so feel free to email me suggestions on where you think the story should go. I have yet to decide what happens to them in March-April 2013, but have some great ideas (IMHO) - coming soon.

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Email to sign up for the next newsletter, coming whenever I'm in the mood again.
Permanent Mailing Address: R. Hoffman, 1033 Jacaranda Circle, Rockledge, Florida 32955.
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