The editors of RVtravel.com have published the 100th edition of their online newsletter “RV Daily Tips.” According to a press release, the first issue appeared Nov. 26 and has continued to run on a Monday through Friday basis ever since.
Editor Chuck Woodbury reports that the publication has helped double the traffic of RVtravel from about a half million page views a month a year ago to an average of 1.1 million. He added that the list of contributors is a “who’s who of experts” on RV technical and lifestyle subjects.
The Seattle-area company also publishes the monthly newsletter Great RV Accessories, which typically reviews a dozen products of interest to RVers.
Subscribers to the newsletters receive an email reminder for each new issue. An open rate of between 50% and 64% have helped earn RVtravel.com an “All Star” award from Constant Contact, a leading e-mail distribution service.
All the newsletters are supported by advertising, which Woodbury says has dramatically increased in recent months. “There is no question that the RVing economy has vastly improved,” he said. “At our e-commerce site RVbookstore.com we have seen a recent surge in sales with books and DVDs about buying and using an RV. When the economy worsened years ago, sales of these titles almost disappeared. It was obvious to us that the RV industry was in trouble.”
Along with about three dozen active blogs about RVing, written by 10 paid bloggers, RVtravel.com and its online community is read by more than 200,000 different RVers a month, according to Woodbury. Beginning in late May most of the blogs will be consolidated onto the RVtravel.com server. “We expect to see our ranking improve dramatically with all our traffic in one place,” said Woodbury. “Since we started RV Daily Tips, RVtravel alone has gone from a worldwide ranking on Alexa.com of 121,000 to 69,000. Today, Alexa ranks it as the 12,232nd largest website in the United States.
Each issue of “RV Daily Tips” includes a helpful video tip, hosted at YouTube on the RV Travel Channel and embedded into the newsletter. The steady output of new videos has increased the channel’s views to about 200,000 a month, up about four times from a year ago according to Woodbury.
The weekly RVtravel.com newsletter, which appears every Saturday morning, is in its 12th year of continuous publication with an estimated 60,000 readers a week.
The YouTube channel for RVtravel.com has passed 2 million views and is attracting about 100,000 new views a month, according to a report on RV News Service.
“The pace is speeding up now that we’re posting a daily newsletter,” said RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury. “We have often included a video in our weekly RVtravel.com newsletter, which we’ve published for more than 11 years. But we’re including one in every issue of our new weekday publication RV Daily Tips. Each one offers concise advice from an RVer, usually a well-known expert, about some aspect of RVing.
“For those of us with roots in print publishing, being able to include a video in an issue of a periodical — in this case online — seems almost too good to be true. I dreamed about doing something like this years ago when I published a printed magazine, but it seemed like science fiction.”
Articles and videos from each issue of RV Daily Tips are indexed for future reference. “As we add videos this easily searchable archive will become a convenient way for an RVer to get concise advice,” Woodbury said.
Although most of the videos are provided by paid freelancers, Woodbury produces many himself. He is currently on the road in the Southwest with his motorhome for six weeks, writing stories and videotaping advice segments for future newsletters. “I plan to be busy at the big Quartzsite RV show coming up later this month,” he said.
Woodbury said that other videos hosted on the RVtravel.com YouTube channel are embedded on the company’s other websites and blogs including RVtechTips.com.
Editor’s Note: The following article, authored by RVtravel.com Editor Chuck Woodbury, offers insight into a changing RVing environment as he relates his experiences encountered during a recently completed coast-to-coast RV trip.
RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury recently returned from a two-month trek through 26 states. Along the way he visited the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) rally in Indianapolis and America’s Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pa.
“I had hoped that in attending the events and talking with RVers in campgrounds that I could gain some insights into the current state of RVing,” he said. “What I learned is that RVing is as popular as ever, but the way we do it is changing.”
He was hosted at Thousand Trails preserves and by some KOAs, but spent much of his time in independent parks. “Most KOAs and virtually all Thousand Trails are catering to RVers as a destination where they can spend days, even weeks at a time, with the park entertaining them,” he said. “It’s not just ‘come, stay and entertain yourself’ like the old days of public campgrounds, but ‘come, stay and we will entertain you.’ The list of facilities and social activities they offer is longer than ever — jumping pillows for the kids, hot tubs, evening movies, ice cream socials, more sophisticated playgrounds, free WiFi, fishing and paddleboat lakes, mini-golf, swimming pools, and special events for holidays keep their customers busy. KOA, in particular, seems to be beefing up its visitor offerings and is pushing its cabin rentals, where a customer does not even need an RV.
He added, “Independent parks, the mom and pop ones in particular, are all over the place in quality and need to get their act together. Some are very nice, but too many are unkempt or offer mediocre facilities. I drove a few miles off the highway to one park that looked attractive on its website. But at the entrance there were two junked cars, weeds a foot high, and a weathered mobile home for the office. I turned around. At another park, I paid $38 and was led to a site that was way off level. People don’t pay to sleep on a slope; they deserve better. In a park that I pulled into after dark, I nearly poked a hole in my thumb hooking up the water hose: a part of the round faucet handle was broken off leaving a sharp pointed edge. When I told the employee in the office, she didn’t express any concern or even note my campsite.”
Woodbury never stayed in a Wal-Mart parking lot, but came to appreciate why so many RVers do. “A typical one-night stay at a commercial park by the highway is $30 to $50,” he said. “I can understand why RVers, no matter how well-off, choose to stay free in a parking lot rather than spend that much money just for a place to sleep for a few hours.”
In tiny Wasta, South Dakota (pop. 72) along I-90, he found the small, no-frills 24 Express RV Park that charges $5 a night for a gravel pull-thru site with water and 30- and 50-amp electric hookups. “They make money off their automated gas station and a family-run military museum and they have no employees,” he explained. “The RV park is clean and popular with overnighters. There’s a demand for other low-cost parks like this and I think an opportunity for a visionary entrepreneur.”
RVtravel.com is in its 11th year of publishing a weekly online newsletter and next month will debut a daily edition, RV Daily Tips. More than 200,000 RVers a month read RVtravel.com and its network of about four dozen other websites and blogs.
The publishers of the weekly RVtravel.com newsletter, now in its 11th year, will debut a new daily newsletter in mid-November.
According to a press release, the Monday through Friday online publication, RV Daily Tips, will include concise, helpful advice to RVers. RVtravel.com publisher Chuck Woodbury will oversee operations with long-time contributor Russ De Maris as editor.
“We are still refining the format, but our plan now is for one brief lead article each issue with advice that will enhance an RVer’s experience, whether it’s about lifestyle, maintenance, safety, towing or anything else about RVing,” said Woodbury. “In addition, we’ll embed one 60- to 90-second video tip in each issue from an RV expert. We already have two month’s worth ready to go that we videotaped at the recent FMCA rally in Indianapolis and we’ll be adding new ones this week at the RV show in Hershey.
“We’re looking for other video submissions from people in the RV industry who have something of value to say to our readers,” he added. “There’s no charge for appearing in the videos unless we have to travel to record them. I expect that each one, depending on its topic, will eventually receive 10,000 to 50,000 views through its archives on several websites and blogs, so it would be good exposure for a company.”
The RVtravel.com YouTube channel, where the videos will be hosted, has garnered 1.7 million views to date.
The free newsletter will debut with about 6,000 daily subscribers. “We’ve solicited sign ups in our RVtravel.com newsletter and Facebook page for a couple of months now,” said Woodbury. “But once the new newsletter is underway we’ll push harder and I expect it to grow fast.”
RV Daily Tips will be supported by advertising and from sales at RVtravel.com’s e-commerce site RVbookstore.com. More information is available from Woodbury at Chuck@RVtravel.com.
Editor’s Note: The following column by Chuck Woodbury first appeared on www.rvtravel.com. Go there to see two short videos about an RVer and his pasttime.
David Bott sure seems like one happy guy. He travels in a 43-foot Tour Master motorcoach with his wife Brenda (a RVtravel subscriber), four friendly cats, a wall-mounted stuffed toy moose named Earl, and a flying robot that so far remains nameless. I met David and Brenda at the Family Motor Coach Association’s just-concluded rally in Indianapolis.
David is an amazing guy. He suffered a stroke five years ago at 40. At the time he owned and operated several popular online forums. If anything led to the stroke, says Brenda, it was the stress. Luckily for David, the couple lived five minutes from a hospital; David received immediate care and recovered quickly. After the stroke, they decided life was too short not to enjoy it fully. Before long, they hit the road in their motorhome. David still operates several online forums (he sold one), but he and Brenda say they pretty much run themselves.
LESS THAN A MONTH AGO, David acquired a 4.5-pound, custom made “quadcopter.” It’s the coolest device I can recall since my Marx electric train set when I was 5. It flies up and down, lands like a Mars Rover (well, sorta like one), and can zoom across the sky for up to 10 minutes at 45 miles per hour, up to 400 feet high (FAA legal limit). At the FMCA rally, David snapped aerial photos and recorded videos of the sea of motorhomes gathered at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The police showed up early on to investigate, wondering what David and his UFO were up to. They left smiling.
Wearing a pair of special goggles, David can see just what the X650 Quadcopter sees with its tiny GoPro camera. It can venture a half mile away. The device is controlled by a sophisticated computer. It’s not crash-proof, but it is crash resistant. For example, if it loses a signal from David’s hand controller, it will hover where it is, wait a few seconds and then raise up a bit to reestablish a connection. If unsuccessful, using GPS, it will return and land where it took off.
David and Brenda’s goal is to travel North America in the motorhome and shoot aerial photos and videos as they go. Coming soon: Alaska.
Because of federal regulations, David can’t fly his small aircraft for commercial purposes (such as selling aerial photographs and video). But what he can do is post them to his blog at www.OutsideOurBubble.com. I will let you know about some of his most interesting ones when he posts them. Those from Alaska should be stunning!
In this week’s newsletter, veteran RV journalist Chuck Woodbury reports that he was forced to curtail is Northwestern motorhome trek. In issue No. 525, he tells readers that he will have to return home due to some critical business matters. “I feel bad for myself, because I feel cheated. And I feel bad for you (readers) that I huffed and puffed about the trip,” Woodbury noted. To read the entire newsletter scroll down the right side of the RVBUSINESS.com home page and click on the RV Travel Newsletter icon.
In this week’s newsletter, long-time RV journalist Chuck Woodbury offers readers a preview of his upcoming West Coast trek. He will embark from his native Washington state and meander in his motorhome through Oregon and into Northern California. To view the entire newsletter click on the icon located on the bottom right of the RVBUSINESS.com home page.
Travel photography and rare diamond finds were on the mind of roaming RV.travel.com journalist Chuck Woodbury Saturday (Feb. 4) when he released the latest weekly issue of his RVtravel.com enewsletter, now available through a link on the lower right side of RVBUSINESS.com website’s homepage.
“A 2.44-carat diamond found at Arkansas Crater of Diamonds State Park has been appraised for $21,639 after it was made into a 1.06-carat, pear-shaped diamond,” reports Woodbury, who used to publish an “Out West” newspaper before transitioning a decade ago into a virtual newsletter. “The park is the world’s only diamond-producing site open to the public. On average, two diamonds are found there each day.”
With that, Woodbury invites his readers to visit him at the RVtravel.com booth at the Seattle RV Show beginning Thursday (Feb. 9).
In an effort to expand its reach, RVBUSINESS.com will be linking regularly to RVTravel.com, a popular, weekly online newsletter penned by Edmonds, Wash.-based Chuck Woodbury, a savvy industry veteran with a unique consumer-oriented view of the recreational vehicle universe (to access click box on right).
“It’s all part of an effort to widen the reach of our active website and the perspective of RV industry people who visit RVBUSINESS.com on a regular basis with regard to the consumer they serve and the things those RVers observe out there on a regular basis,” says RVBusiness Publisher Sherman Goldenberg. “As part of our Phase II expansion initiative, it also serves to bulk up the content, depth and, to an extent, the entertainment value of our website. And Chuck Woodbury, with his wry and at-times blogger-style sense of humor and personal writing style, brings some of that to the table.”
In his first newsletter linked to RVBUSINESS.com, Woodbury takes Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) to task for its gas-price promotion.
Woodbury, who first garnered attention 20 years ago as the founder of a written-from-the-road, quarterly tabloid publication called Out West, is celebrating his 10th year as editor of the popular online newsletter written for recreational vehicle travelers. Every Saturday morning for the past decade, the 24,000 readers who subscribe to his RVTravel.com newsletter have awakened to a new issue delivered directly to their email inbox. In fact, he reached his 500th issue in September. Since he tracks his site visits closely, The Weekly Herald, of Everett, Wash., reports, he says he averages 60,000 readers weekly. So, an additional 36,000 people find their way to the newsletter via referrals from blogs and related RV sites.
For about a dozen years he’s also run RVbookstore.com. At his warehouse a few blocks from his downtown Edmonds condo, rows of shelves are stacked with books and DVDs. There’s a big spool of bubble wrap on a wall. “Orders come in all day long,” quipped Woodbury, who recently toured Iceland in a rented motorhome and, of course, wrote about it in his weekly column. “We’re no Amazon but in this field, nobody has more titles than we do.”
Newsletter topics range from Woodbury’s campground and sightseeing recommendations to RV maintenance and repair tips from guest writers. And Woodbury, who says he’s driven at least 200,000 miles over the years in three motorhomes, says it’s never hard to come up with new subjects to write about for his readership, which includes a wide demographic and averages people 50 to 60 years of age. “It’s an older crowd,” says Woodbury, 64. “I’ve grown into the demographic.”
Gary Bunzer, the “RV Doctor,” and RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury will appear on a live one-hour webcast this coming Saturday (Oct. 22) at 9 a.m., Pacific Time. Information about where to watch will appear in that day’s RVtravel.com newsletter, according to a news release.
Bunzer is the author of the highly successful manual on RV repair and maintenance, the Woodall’s RV Owner’s Handbook. His column and articles about RVing have appeared for more than 35 years in popular RV periodicals, and more recently also on his website, RVdoctor.com.
Woodbury has traveled and written about the RV lifestyle for more than three decades. His website RVtravel.com and network of blogs about RVing attract more than a quarter million RVers a month.
The two RVing personalities will talk about RV maintenance and repair and the RV lifestyle, and respond to questions from viewers who can participate via live chat. The free webcast will originate from the offices of RVbookstore.com in Edmonds, Wash.
A lot has changed since Chuck Woodbury wandered the U.S. in a motorhome writing about everything from Fred Flinstone memorabilia in Bedrock City, Ariz., to aggressive Cheez-It-seeking chipmunks in Oregon.
Now the Edmonds, Wash., man who earned fame 20 years ago as the founder of his written-from-the-road, quarterly print magazine Out West, is celebrating his 10th year as the editor of a popular online newsletter written for recreational vehicle travelers.
Every Saturday morning for the past decade, the 24,000 readers who subscribe to Woodbury’s RVTravel.com newsletter have awakened to a new issue delivered directly to their email inbox – last Saturday, in fact, was his 500th issue. Since he tracks his site visits closely, he knows that he averages 60,000 readers weekly, so an additional 36,000 people find their way to the newsletter via referrals from blogs and related RV sites.
And thanks to his robust RV-focused audience, Woodbury is able to generate a good income with advertising, which he doesn’t need to sell – advertisers come to him with RV-related products and services for his national audience.
“We turn down a lot of advertising – because it’s either a questionable product or service or its not relevant enough,” Woodbury said. “It’s a waste of the advertisers’ space and a waste of our readers’ time. So everything has to be about our readers.”
Newsletter topics range from Woodbury’s campground and sightseeing recommendations to RV maintenance and repair tips from guest writers. He’s always had a passion for writing, and says it’s not hard to come up with new subjects to write about.
“When you travel it’s easy because you stumble across new stuff,” Woodbury said. “This morning it was raining and I wrote an essay on how the rain’s starting up in the Northwest, how I’ve become accustomed to it and kind of like it. And I led into how I really like it when I’m out in my motor home in the forest and it rains. How cozy it feels and the sound and the smell of the forest.”
He admits, thought, that there are a few topics he won’t touch. “I stay away from politics and religion,” he said. “You can never win.”
His readers range in age from 30 to 90, but average 50 to 60. “It’s an older crowd,” he said. “I’ve grown into the demographic.”
To view the entire article click here.
Chuck Woodbury’s weekly online newsletter RV Travel celebrated its 10th anniversary on Saturday with its 500th issue. Before that, Woodbury spent 10 years exploring the American West in a small motorhome publishing his acclaimed quarterly newspaper Out West.
“Some people think I’m 100 years old. My name has been around a long time in the RV publishing world — about 25 years now,” he wrote in Saturday’s newsletter. “I started traveling by motorhome in my mid-30s, when most RVers were retirement age. Most of my readers thought I was older.”
In the Out West years of the ’90s, Woodbury, now 64, was profiled on all the TV networks and in hundreds of periodicals. “The idea of a guy roaming at his own pace in a motorhome, producing a newspaper along the way was an appealing story to the media,” he said. “It was fun while it lasted — a Walter Mitty fantasy come true — a ‘nobody’ one day, then in People Magazine and on the Today Show the next.”
In 1994, his wife, daughter and he spent three months on the road in their 24-foot Tioga motorhome, traveling in 28 states promoting “Camping with Kids” as spokespersons for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
He started the RVtravel.com newsletter 10 years ago, two weeks after the 9-11 terror attacks. “Actually, it was set to go about the same time the events unfolded,” he said. “I didn’t post it: Who wanted to read about RVing?” At first he published every-other week, then switched to weekly. Issues include an essay by Woodbury, news, and columns about RV lifestyle and technical matters.
He began the online newsletter as a way to sell books at his website RVbookstore.com. But Woodbury said it soon established its own identity and a loyal readership of about 60,000 RVers a week. It’s supported today by sales at the bookstore, advertising, and voluntary subscriptions from readers. He sees a bright future as more advertisers switch from print to the Web. “My biggest challenge is building readership and page views,” he said. “As is, our ad space is close to sold out.”
Nowadays, Woodbury spends most his time RVing in the West in a 24-foot Winnebago View motorhome, but he occasionally ventures east of the Mississippi, and even abroad in rental vehicles. He returned earlier this month from a campervan trip around Iceland’s Ring Road, which he is chronicling in RvIceland.com, one of several dozen blogs in the RVtravel.com network of websites. Even after 500 issues, Woodbury has no plans to stop. “My only plan now is to travel more and write more,” he said.
The following is a profile of longtime RV travel writer Chuck Woodbury published in the Daily Herald, Everett, Wash. Woodbury, who resides in Edmonds, Wash., just completed a tour of Iceland by motorhome. The 64-year-old is editor for RVtravel.com and previously published Out West magazine.
Chuck Woodbury has just returned from his latest adventure and he’s brimming with descriptions of Iceland’s exotic scenery.
He traveled to the Scandinavian island country earlier this month as part of his life’s work — exploring the world by motorhome and writing about it. The remote destination was the most recent leg of the RV blogger’s extensive travels. Though most of the miles have been racked up in the western United States, he’s also rented RVs in Iceland and New Zealand.
“I love to travel with the RV because it’s just like a little house and office,” Woodbury said. “My needs are simple.”
Woodbury, who resides in Edmonds, Wash., has been building a following for more than two decades. He’s always wanted to write and travel. That’s been possible thanks to the niche he found behind the wheel of a recreational vehicle.
The extended road trip started in the 1980s with magazine assignments and a self-published tabloid. He’s continued the quest ever since, with a pause here and there, into the digital age. These days, Woodbury writes RVtravel.com, where he says advertising demand is still strong.
For about a dozen years he’s also run RVbookstore.com. At his warehouse a few blocks from his downtown Edmonds condo, rows of shelves are stacked with books and DVDs. There’s a big spool of bubble wrap on a wall.
“Orders come in all day long,” he said. “We’re no Amazon but in this field, nobody has more titles than we do.”
With silver-white hair combed to one side and a neatly trimmed mustache, Woodbury jokes that he aged into his profession.
In the 1980s, when he bought his first motorhome, Woodbury was one of the younger members of the RV set. Back then, the scene was dominated by retirees sporting bumpers stickers proclaiming, “I’m spending my grandchildren’s inheritance!” Another infamous sticker read, “Don’t tailgate or I’ll flush.”
Some of the Winnebago warrior stereotypes remain, but in reality, Woodbury said the demographics of RV owners are becoming more diverse. Nowadays, he said, the average age is about 49. He’s 64.
His passion for the road began while growing up in West Covina, Calif., a Los Angeles suburb. His parents would set out for family vacations towing a 15-foot travel trailer behind their station wagon. By his mid-teens, he had been all over the West.
At California State University, Sacramento, Woodbury majored in business with an “unofficial minor in journalism.”
“I got C’s in business and A’s in journalism,” he quipped. “I should have known.”
In college in the early 1970s, he was already dreaming of a life of travel.
In late 1987, while still living in Sacramento, he began publishing “Out West,” a quarterly black-and-white tabloid. With his spirited writing, Woodbury made characters from his journeys jump off the page.
One dispatch from the period featured Big Nose George, a Wild West outlaw whose skin was used to fashion a pair of shoes that Woodbury found on display at a Rawlins, Wyo., museum. Another describes a “geezer fire brigade” in the retirement community of Ryderwood in southwest Washington. Another is titled, “Mysterious Mt. Shasta. Does an ancient society live inside?”
Soon, he signed a deal to distribute “Out West” stories through the New York Times Syndicate. A review in USA Today led to an avalanche of media exposure, sending Woodbury to make the rounds of network TV shows. The exposure boosted readership.
An early Macintosh computer helped him establish a newsroom on wheels. He even had his own mobile darkroom to develop photographs on board. At the time, he never used the term “RV.”
“I had grandmas and grandpas reading it,” he said. “I had a big following on college campuses.”
Circulation peaked at about 10,000.
In 1995, Woodbury moved to the Seattle area with his then-wife and 4-year-old daughter.
“I came up to Edmonds and saw the ocean and that pretty little town and said, ‘I like it. I’m staying here,'” he recalled. “I always like to come home as much as I like to travel.”
Family life did put a crimp in the itinerant lifestyle, though. It became harder to sustain a one-man-band publishing operation from the road.
In the early 2000’s, Woodbury did TV commercials for Poulsbo RV. “Everywhere I went, people said, ‘Oh, you’re the RV guy,'” he said.
In the early Internet days, he had the foresight to buy web domain names, including RVbookstore.com and RVtravel.com. The site would help jump-start his travel writing.
Media outlets continue to seek out Woodbury as a go-to guy for all things RV. He’s become something of an expert on Wal-Mart’s policy of allowing RVers to camp in its parking lots, even though he’s never done it himself.
He’s been a guest on fellow Edmonds resident Rick Steves’ radio show, but said he doesn’t know the man behind the Savvy Traveler brand all that well.
“I admire him and I respect him,” he said of Steves. “But his goals are much different from mine. He’s built up a much bigger empire and I don’t have as much ambition.”
Woodbury extols the RV as a sensible way to take a vacation. While the vehicle itself and gas might put you back a few dollars, you save on hotel rooms and by being able to cook your own meals. Once you find a place you like, you can stay put for a while.
Woodbury estimates he’s driven at least 200,000 miles over the years in three motorhomes. He’s only crossed the Mississippi twice — once to drive his daughter to school in New York City.
A misconception about RV enthusiasts, Woodbury said, is that they’re always driving around. Woodbury, for instance, has often started trips by going a couple of hundred miles the first day to “get out of range of things familiar.” He would stop, write and print photos for a day or two, then drive another 100 miles or so before stopping again.
Living in a motorhome forces certain types of conservation such as getting by on 25 gallons of water a week, he said. When you need to crank up the thermostat, you’re only heating a hut-size area, instead of a whole house. He adds that he gets 15-16 miles per gallon from his diesel-powered Winnebago View.
“It’s not as dramatically piggish as some people automatically think or assume or believe,” he said.
For anyone interested in owning an RV, Woodbury suggests renting before buying. “They’ll learn whether they like the lifestyle, they’ll learn whether they can get along with their spouse,” he said.
For his trips to Iceland and New Zealand, he rented a motor home in-country. In Iceland, he drove 830 miles on the Ring Road encircling the sparsely populated island.
“It’s the Oregon Coast one minute, it’s Mars the next, it’s the Scottish Highlands the next,” he said.
This coming year, he plans to travel and write more, “and try to find some other Icelands out there.”
A reader recently recommended RVing in Turkey, though Woodbury said he might want to explore Australia first.
RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury begins a one-week RV trip in Iceland today. The Seattle-based journalist will travel the country’s 831-mile ring road in a small motorhome furnished by Happy Campers of Reykjavik. He will blog daily beginning Tuesday (Aug. 30) in a website he set up especially for the trip, RvIceland.com, as well as on his RVtravel.com Facebook page.
“Most RVers I’ve talked with have no idea you can even travel Iceland with an RV,” said Woodbury, who has explored all of the U.S., including Alaska, by motorhome, along with New Zealand and parts of Europe “The fact is, there are campgrounds everywhere, from primitive to what we in the United States would consider full-service RV parks. And you can pull over beside the road just about anywhere with no problems.”
About two-thirds of the country’s 320,000 residents live in the capital city of Reykjavik or its suburbs. “After leaving there you will see a lot of wide-open spaces, mostly tundra, with only a handful of isolated settlements, few with populations over 500,” he said. “But whatever rural cultural amenities Iceland lacks it more than makes up for in natural attractions: Iceland is known for spectacular scenery, volcanoes, recent and ancient lava flows, hot springs including the famous Blue Lagoon just outside Reykjavik, glaciers and Europe’s largest waterfall.”
Although Iceland is the “world’s most wired” Internet nation, getting online will be a challenge for Woodbury outside of Reykjavik. “Thankfully many gas stations have free WiFi,” he said. “I figure I’ll stop often when I find one to file my reports.” Woodbury is packing along video gear to post short reports to RvIceland.com and YouTube.
Woodbury’s first feature article from the country will be in his next RVtravel.com newsletter on Sept. 3.
Chuck Woodbury, whose RV business is sponsoring seminars and an open house on Saturday, says increased design and performance help fight the high cost of gas, the Edmonds Patch reported.
In the spring of 2007, when gas prices first started to spike nationwide, the recreational vehicle market got slammed.
“People just quit buying RVs,” said Woodbury of Edmonds, Wash.
But today, even with prices around $4 a gallon, Woodbury says there are still plenty of enthusiasts in the market for RVs, tantalized by the lure of adventures on the open road.
Even if that road isn’t very long.
“What happened is that people are accustomed to high gas prices, and they’ve learned they can just drive 20 or 30 miles to a campground and enjoy themselves,” Woodbury said. “Driving across the whole country, that’s different. But the difference between $3 a gallon and $4.50 if you’re only going 50 miles one way and 50 miles back — you’re only talking about a few more dollars a weekend.”
Woodbury, whose rvbookstore.com is the largest online retailer specializing in RV books and DVDs, will hold an open house and seminars Saturday at his headquarters located in the Harbor Square business complex. Ten experts on RV technical and lifestyle topics will speak at the event, which will be held in three venues at Harbor Square.
The open house is free, and refreshments will be served. Visitors can browse through a variety of books for sale, most for just $1 or $2. The fee for the seminars is $15.
“It’s really for those who have an RV or are planning to get one,” Woodbury said. “It’s only going to be of interest to RVers, and those who have no interest in it will probably be bored.”
In addition to Woodbury, speakers include RV Doctor Gary Bunzer, RV performance expert Eric Davis, veteran Alaska RVer Nyla Walsh, RV Life magazine columnist Dave Helgeson and RV driving instructor Lorrin Walsh. Topics will include maximizing an RV’s performance, RV plumbing and waste systems, preparing an RV for spring, how to drive a motorhome, boondocking, traveling with an RV to Alaska, RV insurance, and solo RVing for women.
More information can be found at rvtravelseminars.com, where portions of the day’s events will available for viewing in a webcast. Regular webcasts are so popular that Woodbury says in the future he might make them available in a pay-per-view format.
Woodbury also oversees rvtravel.com, which publishes a weekly newsletter he says is read by 60,000 people.
Woodbury himself, of course, is an RV fanatic who first felt the thrill of the road on trips with his parents. Raised in California, he moved to Edmonds 15 years ago from Nevada City, Calif.
“My wife at the time loved Seattle,” he said. “I’d traveled a lot in the Northwest and always loved it up here. I don’t plan to go anywhere else.”
Woodbury’s travel writing began from a humble trailer, where he pounded out copy on a typewriter and sold stories to magazines. Many RVers remember Woodbury from an on-the-road newspaper he published, mostly from a 24-foot motorhome, called Out West.
Now, his writing is strictly online, where his main website is rvtravel.com (rvbookstore.com is his e-commerce site). He says he has about 70 websites overall, most of them centered on recreation vehicles and the RV lifestyle, but admits only about half of them are active. At least 300,000 viewers a month visit all the websites, Woodbury says, including one, freecampgrounds.com, that is reader-driven.
When asked about his income, Woodbury said: “It’s easy to make six-figure income, that’s all I can say. Some times are better than others. It was pretty lucrative four or five years ago. But my needs are simple. I’m very happy to just make a good income so I don’t have bill collectors chasing me.”
Woodbury has four employees on staff and edits a handful of paid bloggers. They are all sensing a recent upswing in RV interest, economy be damned.
“People are buying them again,” Woodbury said. “We see it at rvbookstore.com because of the number of people purchasing books on how to buy RVs has gone way up. They don’t buy those unless they are ready to buy.”
Woodbury defines RVs as popup trailers, $800,000 motorhomes, and everything in between, including teardrop trailers and those pulled by motorcycles. He says the average RVer is 49 years old, and many take advantage of technology to blunt the high cost of gas.
“Many RVs are built with a Mercedes diesel engine,” Woodbury said. “I have one, and it gets 15-19 miles per gallon, far better than the old days. Then also, a lot of lightweight composite trailers pulled by cars and SUVs are today far lighter and better equipped. I’ve really seen that coming on the last couple of years—they’re incredibly strong.”
So how does a RV expert who spends a lot of time in front of a computer in Edmonds relax?
“My goal is not to be working at home,” said Woodbury. “It’s to be traveling around the world and doing it.” This summer, he plans a trip to Iceland, where he’ll pick up a rented camper van, exploring the sites while blogging and uploading Webcasts.
Of course, man — or woman — cannot live by RV alone.
“It’s always had a dream of just roaming around and writing about it,” Woodbury says. “I’ve been traveling by RV for a long time, several decades. I still enjoy it, but it’s great to stay in a nice European hotel as well.”