I’ve been writing this column for more than a decade, and for the December issue, I usually plan to write something in tune with the Christmas season, but it never happens. Something else always comes up. So I am long overdue to use this column to extend holiday greetings to our readers and to thank the advertisers, columnists and contributors who make it possible for us to produce a product that we can be proud of every month.
Many magazines, from heavyweights like Newsweek to niche publications like RV Journal, have shrunk to almost nothing or disappeared entirely in recent years, but RV Life continues to find an audience both in print and online. And one reason for that, I think, is the quality of the people who contribute to our magazine. Most of our columnists have been writing for RV Life for years, and they have built up a dedicated following.
If there is a more entertaining fishing columnist than Bob Ellsberg, I have yet to read him (or her). Month after month, Bob captures the essence of recreational fishing, as he shares his failures and frustrations, his hard-won knowledge and his occasional triumphs. A retired educator who lives in Astoria, Oregon, Bob is a warm and witty writer whose love of fishing comes across in every column.
Bob usually sends along photos to illustrate his column, and while his photographic skills are improving, there are only so many ways to pose a man and a fish. So, I sometimes turn to freelance artist Richard Lehman for an illustration for Bob’s column, and he always delivers. Go to the “Fishin’” column this month, and you will find Richard’s clever cartoon illustrating Bob’s story of the time a rod and reel came apart with a fish on the line.
Sharlene Minshall, who writes our “Silver, Single and Solo” column, has a rare gift for describing her experiences in a way that draws readers in. You will see what I mean when you read her column entitled “Christmas Memories.” You will feel like you are with her, sharing moments together—and no doubt conjuring up memories of your own.
Rick Stedman, who writes our column on golf, has a breezy style that easily conveys what you will find if, like him, you choose to hop around the country playing golf. This month Rick takes readers to North Carolina, and some great courses you might want to play on an RV trip into the Blue Ridge Mountains.
When I was about 6 years old, my curiosity caused me to take a watch apart to see how it worked. My parents were dismayed, but impressed that I wanted to understand mechanical things. More telling was the fact that I was unable to put the watch back together. Since then, when anything breaks, my instinct has been to pick up the phone and call for help. I am the opposite of a do-it-yourselfer, and so I am in awe of Russ and Tiña De Maris, who write our “Tech Tips” column. They rarely find anything beyond their ability to repair, and they share their knowledge every month, to the benefit of readers who are handier with tools than I am.
Kris Wetherbee, who lives in a rural part of Oregon, began writing our food column in January, and quickly became known for her creative recipes and helpful cooking tips. My skills in the kitchen aren’t much better than my do-it-yourself talents, but all I need to appreciate her recipes is to look at the gorgeous photos of her dishes taken by her husband, Rick. My only complaint is that Kris and Rick always send me the recipes and photos, not the food. Check out this month’s “Dish D’Lish” column and you will be drooling for homemade pizza.
Our newest columnist is Rene Agredano. She and her husband, Jim Nelson, have been full-time RVers since 2007, and she uses that experience to guide others in her column, “On the Road for Good.” Rene is a beautifully clear writer, and her advice is particularly helpful to anyone contemplating full-time or extended RVing. Her column ran every other month during the past year, but we’ve been so impressed by it that we have asked Rene to become one of our monthly columnists. And we’re happy to say that she has agreed. Her column will appear every month from now on.
Another RVer, Joe Schmidt, a retired art and animation teacher from the San Diego area, gives our readers a chuckle with his popular comic strip, “Winding Roads.” Joe started the strip several years ago and it just keeps getting better. You will also recognize his work on our holiday cover this month.
Our columnists are the backbone of the magazine, but we also depend heavily on our freelance contributors. In this issue, you will read stories by Donna Ikenberry, Dave Helgeson, Ken Reid, Andrea Granahan, Scott McCredie and Denise Seith. Donna Ikenberry and her husband, Mike Vining, live in Colorado, but they travel about half the year and the result is stories and photos like the spread this month on the Copper Mountain ski area. When Dave Helgeson isn’t producing RV shows in the Seattle area, he’s often exploring places off the beaten track like the Southern California desert date farm you will read about this month. Ken Reid and Andrea Granahan are contributors from California who travel to interesting places and share their experiences through well-written stories and dramatic photos. Scott McCredie is a Seattle RVer with a 30-year career in journalism. Denise Seith, who lives in Oregon, contributes travel stories and also writes a blog at rvlife.com called “Great Escapes.”
To all the columnists and writers we have named and to others who have contributed throughout the year, we express our gratitude for your diligence and willingness to share your talents. And to our loyal readers, we are grateful for the way you have accepted our magazine over the years, and we wish you a joyous holiday season and a wonderful New Year.
Write to Mike Ward, editor at RV Life magazine, 18717 76th Avenue West, Suite B, Lynnwood, WA 98037 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Find First Glance online at rvlife.com.