The foundation of RV Life has always been the edition that is printed every month, but as the Internet has grown, so has the magazine’s presence online at rvlife.com. In the beginning we put selected articles online; eventually the entire magazine went online, and now we have more material online than we have in print.
As an old newspaper reporter and editor, I’m partial to print, but the Internet allows us to reach far beyond our base in the western U.S. to readers across the country and even abroad and to offer features that we would never have the space for in our print edition.
Some of those features are blogs, which range from journals about trips and experiences to information on remodeling RVs.
Our newest blogger is Arline Chandler, who has a wealth of experience as an RVer and writer. Arline’s home is in Heber Springs, a small Arkansas town in the foothills of the Ozarks, but she has traveled across the country in motorhomes and fifth wheels.
Unlike many RVers, Arline didn’t go camping as a child, nor did she and her husband, James Chandler, take their own children camping. It wasn’t until they became empty nesters that they bought a dilapidated Jayco fifth wheel that had been used as a cabin for duck hunting, refurbished it a bit, and became RVers.
On her blog, Arline describes her venture into RVing this way: “On our first trip out to a lake only 60 miles from home, the hot water heater leaked and the pump failed. But we were not discouraged. The next weekend, we pulled our little get-away cottage to Mountain View, 40 miles north of Heber Springs. We were cozy in our own little rolling nest, steaming mugs of hot chocolate on our dinette. We reveled in the quiet, wooded campsite. We slept with the moon shining across the new bed that replaced the over-sized, warped mattress. An early spring morning dawned—and there we were in the midst of nature with the comforts of home. We were hooked.”
The Chandlers owned a series of fifth wheels and then bought a motorhome. James became seriously ill, but that didn’t stop them from traveling. Arline drove the motorhome, and they arranged for dialysis treatment on the road.
After James died, Arline continued RVing, alone and with friends, traveling across the country. Then she married Lee Smith, who wasn’t an RVer but had traveled widely as a long-haul truck driver, and they have been RVing together ever since.
They spend about six months of the year on trips, but they always return home to Heber Springs and a house where Arline has lived for 51 years. She says she could never become a full-time RVer because she could never leave Heber Springs, where she has lived all her life and has her family and church.
Becoming a Writer
A former kindergarten teacher, she started her writing career by composing children’s stories. In 1987, her daughter Debbie and son-in-law Greg Robus, a former park ranger, founded Workamper News, a publication listing jobs and volunteer opportunities for RVers, and Arline started writing for the publication by interviewing RVers doing interesting jobs.
That led to writing for other RV magazines and other kinds of publications and to a series of books on RVing and other subjects. Her fifth book, just published this fall, is about Branson, Missouri, and the families that turned that town into an entertainment center.
Every week Arline posts a new blog entry at rvlife.com under the heading “RV Travel Tales.” Here you will read about her past RVing experiences and her current trips as she and Lee roam the country in a 40-foot diesel pusher towing a Jeep.
And while you are at rvlife.com, be sure to check out our other blogs too. Under “The Silver Gypsy,” you’ll find a journal by Columnist Sharlene Minshall, who has been writing about her travels in the West this summer; “Adventures in RVing” by Dave Helgeson, who has a knack for finding offbeat places to sightsee and camp, and “Great Escapes” by Denise Seith, who always has lots of information and photos on interesting places to visit.
One great thing about blogs is that they allow writers to talk directly to readers, unfiltered by editing and unhindered by space limitations. It’s a more informal kind of communication than you find in our print edition, and well worth checking out. n
Write to Mike Ward, editor at RV Life magazine, 18717 76th Avenue West, Suite B, Lynnwood, WA 98037 or e-mail [email protected]. Find First Glance online at rvlife.com.