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Retirement Tips and RV Stuff Newsletter
Issue 2014.11         Nov 2014
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.
If you're on my list, it's either because you signed up for the newsletter, you went to Leon High School about the same time I did, I met you recently in Mentone, Alabama, or we're friends from sometime in the last 70 years.

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When I wrote my previous newsletter in July 2013, I commented on how surprising that it had been over a year. So, here we are again - 16 months have gone by and much has happened.

The biggie in my opinion is the fact that we traded our RV and tow car for a 2012 Chevrolet Captiva SUV. As mentioned at the end of Travel Log Chapter 91. My Last RV Trip, that's most probably the end of my RVing adventures. The RV had spent most of its last few years sitting in the back yard, used mostly for weekend guests. Other than that trip described in Chapter 91, I think the only time it's been used since moving to Mentone in 2010 was for one trip to Fort Lauderdale. Since then, we've made the same trip in the SUV, stayed in a hotel, and got along just fine. Not to say anything against RVing, but I'm surprised at how much easier travel is when you aren't in the RV. For the last few years, it seems like most of my RV travel time was spent worrying about tires and other types of breakdowns. The RV was getting old and so was I.

Speaking of getting old, that's part of the reason this might be my last newsletter. But a bigger part is that with no RV, I don't have much of interest to talk about here. I spend most of my time doing website work, playing poker online, and helping Joyce with the Art Gallery. Not too much of interest there to report on. If I hear anything new relative to retirement or social security or medicare, I add it to the website but it's not worth writing a newsletter on. Finally, a change in is the biggest reason. Homestead is where I do all my website building and they had a great feature that allowed me to build a list of email addresses as long as I liked, then send email to the entire list with one address. They dropped that capability last year, much to the dismay of many of their customers. Now, to send to my list of 500 or so, I have to split the lists into smaller chunks to comply with Yahoo rules .... they have a max limit per email, per hour, and per day. So, sending out a newsletter involves 3 or 4 emails sent at proper intervals. Much more trouble than I like to go to, unless I've got something important to say.

I guess if I really wanted to continue this, I could just get a Facebook page or start a Blog and let all of you know how to get to it. Then, I wouldn't have to do anything except put the info there and leave it to whoever wanted to see it. I generally don't like Facebook for a number of reasons (see, so probably won't do that. I will give it some thought, however.

One major change I've noticed in both Joyce and myself is that we've gotten much more involved with people and in civic affairs that ever before. I don't really know if that's due to this being a much smaller town or the fact that we're running a business. We actually teamed up with several other business people and formed the Mentone Business Association (see Between that and occasionally volunteering to help in one of the several festivals that are held here each year, we're actually staying quite busy in our "retirement."

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- If you're interested in what I've been doing on websites, check out the list of all of them at Since moving to Mentone, the website business has grown significantly. I'm still doing them at really cheap rates, however, so if you're needing a website ... email me!

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- Sorry for the repeat, but I'm once again going with, everything that you always wanted to know about Mentone, Alabama, but were afraid to ask. Includes a Business Directory of all downtown businesses with an interactive map, some beautiful photos of the area, a page of over 80+ links to websites related to Mentone, plus a link back to where you'll find information on all of the six Mentones in the world. Also, the News & Events page provides the most current resource for local news and events, including a pet page for lost and found pets, photos, videos, and links to other websites that list events of interest to specific groups (e.g., art, Desoto State Park, and other areas of DeKalb County).

I'm continuously updating the site and last July (2013) published 7000 paper Mentone maps, showing the same view as the Business Directory on the website plus some nice photos of area attractions, businesses, etc. On the back of the map, I've included advertisements for many of the businesses, plus all of their phone numbers. The maps are available at every business in downtown Mentone, so most visitors leave with one in their hand. I can't imagine there'd be many requests, but if you'd like to have one, email me and I'll snail-mail you a copy. It's now 16 months later and we're down to a few hundred copies. I'm not sure if we're going to publish another this year or not - we're considering some other options.

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We finished that add-on room discussed in the previous newsletter - you can see it at Joyce is very pleased with it and has continued painting as well as doing some other "crafty" things. We still have the creations of 10+ artisans in addition to Joyce, so have the walls fairly well covered. Y'all Come See Us!

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I'm going to ramble a little about how things have changed since I started this website back in 1999. Other than changes in our lives, as talked about here and there on,,, and, I'm thinking more about the changes in technology. When I began this in 1999 on my trip to Arizona (see Travel Log chapters 1-14), I had my first cellphone and had just purchased my first digital camera. I've been through several phones and cameras since then, but still use one of the older flip-phones (for phone calls only), take photos with my digital camera, and don't do texting. When I started building websites in 1999, I was very new to the internet as were most of those who visited my site, so I had to be careful to explain clearly how to navigate through my pages and get people to where I wanted them to look. One thing I realized recently is that most people now know how to use the BACK button, so I no longer open a new window when showing an enlarged view of a photo. I've also stopped using that great display program FLASH, since it doesn't run on smart phones. In fact, I actually went to Walmart a couple of months ago and bought a smart phone, just so I could view my websites on it and make sure all looked okay. Since doing that, I've set up a few of the websites to check the user, then show a different page for computers and small-screen devices. I'm sure there'll be more changes in the future, but for now I've verified that all looks fine on both computer screens and small screens.

One thing that is glaringly obvious, however, is that one can't just sit back and watch to keep up with technology changes. Before I retired, I was pretty well familiar with most electronic devices, knew how to operate them, and knew which were needed to get a specific job done. Now, I go into the Electronics Department of a large store and don't know what half of those devices are even for. Since I don't know what they are, I probably don't need them, but it's hard to maintain an advice website like if you're not aware of what-all is available. Does any retiree need an iPod or iPad or iPhone or PS2? I don't know .... so maybe it's time to stop trying to offer advice. I think I can get along fine with the tools that I currently have, both in hardware and software, to accomplish what I need to accomplish. I continue to learn new things daily, but am certainly not up to speed as much as those that use these devices every day.

So-o-o, this might be my last newsletter. I've enjoyed writing these for the last 10+ years, but sooner or later, one needs to retire .... again.

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PS - Check that left-hand column as you scroll back to the top of the page. You might find something you need :)

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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, PO Box 321, Mentone, Alabama 35984.
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