I do have some helpful tips to share about how to remove old vinyl lettering off an RV, but first I have to mention why we might take the graphics off our mobile headquarters that have been advertising Team Agreda everywhere we’ve been over the past seven plus years…

vinyl lettering on rv office of agreda.com Read the rest of this entry »

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Way back when Jim and I were growing our little marketing and printing enterprise, not a day went by when I didn’t think about how much I wanted to be a real writer. I pretended to play one for our company by conjuring up marketing materials and pitching everything from hard drives to fertilizer, but that didn’t exactly rock my world. Our days were unbelievably long, and ten years flew by before I ever wrote anything other than chicken scratch in a journal.

Bathroom motivation.

When you’re busy chasing after the stereotypical American Dream, there’s no time to follow your heart. You live for everyone else’s vision of what your life should look like, instead of pursuing your burning desires. Dreams get shelved and we die before finding out what we’re really made of.

Our Jerry’s cancer diagnosis was the wake-up call I needed: I didn’t want to face death someday wondering if I could have made it as a writer. Since 2007 I’ve been working hard to make that happen, and now I don’t have to wonder if I’ve made it.

Last weekend a new must-see movie called “Rudderless” made its debut — featuring “RV Life,” a magazine I write for each month. In a scene introducing a music shop proprietor named Del (played by the awesome Laurence Fishburne), he holds up an issue of RV Life that features a headlining article I wrote, titled “RV Entrepreneurs.”


RV Life Magazine spotlight in Rudderless movie.

Del goes on to describe the long-anticipated retirement he’s fantasizing about, which includes his wife’s full-time RVing dream. How he attempts to make that happen is part of the plot, so you’ll have to watch it to find out.

For whatever reason, out of the many print magazines about camping and RVing, RV Life was picked for this scene. Maybe it’s the bold masthead, or the “RV Entrepreneurs” headline that relates to proprietor Del’s life. It had nothing to do with my writing, but seeing the magazine in a movie was jaw-dropping validation that my dream is happening in real-time.

I. Am. A. (Real) Writer.

 “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney

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Have you heard the buzz? RVers everywhere are raging mad about H.R. 5204 Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Modernization Act of 2014, a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would eliminate free camping as we know it.

HR 5204 Eliminates Free Camping

Currently awaiting approval by both the senate and the house, if passed this bill would impose new fees on everything from visitor centers to scenic overlooks.

Gone would be the days of free rent each winter in Quartzsite.

Dome Rock, Quartzsite

And there would be no more free campgrounds in the U.S., ever.

Fee free camping in New Mexico

We would all be accountable to paying user fees wherever we decide to park.

On the plus side, the bill mandates that at least 90 percent of new monies raised must be used to maintain recreation areas within the park unit where the fees were generated.

Seems like everyone is pissed about this but I’m not as outraged as most because I tend to fall into the camp of citizens who believe that reasonable taxes are necessary to maintain a good quality of life. We all have different ideas of what’s reasonable, but it’s ironic to me that some of the most vocal opponents of this bill are the same ferverent All-American patriots who take advantage of government assistance like Medicare while simultaneously proclaiming that there’s no free lunch in this world and everyone has to pay their way — and parking their $200,000 rig for free all winter in the Southwestern deserts.

Why should anyone get to use public lands for free? Everything costs money; entrance roads cost money, campground trash pickup costs money, so does cleaning public toilets. That’s reality. Who should pay for it? In my opinion, anyone who uses it.

Campground trash we picked up in the Mojave Desert.

As taxpayers we all fantasize that our hard-earned dollars go toward things like maintaining the recreation areas that we love. But the reality is that our politicians are slaves to special interests, and they determine where the majority of our federal budget goes. Agencies like the National Park Service get a pittance in comparison to the military and even our education system. The only way that this will change is if we vote out every politician and employ ethical new ones who will use our tax dollars wisely. But you and I both know that will never happen.

If this bill passes I won’t be happy, but I really would hope that the money it raises will go towards clean up of the many trashy public camping areas we’ve seen in our travels. If that doesn’t happen, then I’ll get mad.

 

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Our full-time RVing philosophy has always been that less is more, and a smaller RV is just more fun for us. Our little Arctic Fox 245N was very good to us from the day we set out on this permanent road trip. It met all of our needs as two people and a dog in search of our next big thing.

Utah boondocking in our tiny RV.

But over the last seven years our nomadic lifestyle needs have changed. We’ve found that instead of one “next big thing” we’re enjoying several, all of which have begun to occupy more physical space in our rig. From my jewelry making business to handling some product inventory for Tripawds, our income generation methods take up more room now than in our early days on the road.

Kitchen table jewelry making.

Earlier this year when our RV window shattered and months later we still couldn’t get a dealer or a window manufacturer to ship us the correct replacement, that was all we needed to know that it was time to make the move to another rig.

Thus began the search for a rig of our dreams, and the long, ugly clean-up of our existing one . . .

Removing lettering from our Arctic Fox fifth wheel.

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Hitting the road to go full-tiime RVing is a big decision but it’s amazing how many people do it without carefully asking themselves, “How am I going to support myself?

Funny sign at Luckenbach, Texas

Far too often new full-time RVers start traveling only to find themselves in a financial bind a few months later because they didn’t think the income part through.

Anyone can afford to live this lifestyle and you don’t have to have a fat wallet to do it, but sustaining yourself on the road and hopefully saving for a rainy day takes more creativity and discipline than the default lifestyle. Having multiple sources of income, aka “revenue streams” is crucial. We discuss generating income anywhere in our business blog, but for now, I just want to bring a handy new book to your attention so you can add it to your tool of ways to make money as a full-time RVer.

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