The CoolRVers were actually a couple of retirees, Judy and Luke Rinehimer and their rescue German Shepherd dog, Miss Shady Lady. We were "extended-time" travelers for many years with a homebase in Cool, California for 40 years. Luke passed away in May 2019 and I continued to RV. Many followed along with our travels throughout North America in our 40' "rolling condo" and our later downsized Class C motorhome, enjoying the RV lifestyle. Your comments are always welcomed.

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

2017 #AtoZChallenge Reflections

Just when you thought you had heard the end of the "April A to Z Challenge" comes a new task: post a REFLECTIONS post about what we like best, least, what worked, what didn't work, and favorite themes.  My personal "Reflection" is about how I was finally motivated to resume my blog.

If you made it through to the end of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, give yourself a big pat on the back and accept a hearty cheer of congratulations from all of us.  That was some feat  and you are well deserving of recognition for having achieved it. 
        As a survivor of the April A to Z Challenge you have earned the official A to Z Survivor Badge to wear proudly on your site to show all of the world your amazing accomplishment.


My original blog, "COOLRVERS ON THE ROAD" had basically died back in 2014 when I got hooked on Facebook (FB). Facebook provided an on-the-go posting environment that allowed me to easily add photos, interact with others, and target my comments to specific groups.  "MOST" of my blog readers were already interacting with me and each other on FB so it seemed like a duplication of effort.  Yes, I lost a few readers who let me know they didn't "do social media" but we pretty much stayed in touch with those friends and family members through real live visits and telephone calls!!!

I started writing the blog in 2011 in preparation for a major RVing trip to Alaska and I kept on writing as a form of documentation of where we went, what we did, who we saw, and what we ate! All were favorite topics for the many RVer blogs that I followed.  During that initial four year run I wrote 83 different blog postings and had approximately 60+ "followers" and others that apparently liked what they read. When I checked at the end of March, 2017, the "TOTAL PAGEVIEWS" count had grown to 91,325 "hits" during that time period.  There is a panel on the right side of the my blog home page that contains an ARCHIVE BY YEAR, MONTH, and SUBJECT TITLE if you would like to read those old postings.


During the break in my regular postings I DID try to resume the blog at least twice.  
This is what I wrote on January 4, 2013:

      I’m Baaaaack…..
Okay, I’m guilty.  It has been five months since I have updated the blog.  I haven’t a good excuse – busy, lazy, or all of the above.  I don’t make New Years Resolutions, but we are back on the road so the time is right to get back into the blogging habit.  First a look back at the rest of our 2012 travels.
Then I wrote these familiar words on January 9, 2014:

       I’m Baaaaack………
No, wait – I wrote that headline the last time I posted and that was one year ago! One update in 2013 and that was it. So, what happened?
As I apologized last year: “I haven’t a good excuse – busy, lazy, or all of the above.”  Consider this my Groundhog Day so we will try going through this again.  Forget 2013 ever existed and we’ll move on. 
Fast forward to August 2, 2014.
BACK ON THE ROAD … FINALLY!When I committed to writing a blog back in 2011 I fully intended it to be a TRAVEL BLOG.  So, what happens to a TRAVEL BLOG when you are not traveling?  Well, it sits dormant and, in my case, our family and travel updates have defaulted to Facebook.While most of my blog readers also do Facebook, I am well-aware that I have readers who stay away from “social media” and just want to know where we are and what we are doing. They follow our travels vicariously through these blogs, often telling us they wish they could do what we do.  Our advice is always to DO IT!  Don’t wait until your health tells you it is time to hang up the keys!


Health reasons shortened our usual four-month "winter" trip the Southwest to just two months but we did make it to RV rallies in March where I attended "seminars" that put the bug in me to start writing again and to use my existing blog as the starting point.  

First I would like to thank Author (and now "friend") Judy Howard for her many writing workshops I have attended over the years. As some of you know, my career included teaching Journalism and Writing for Publication, and a variety of communications and technology courses among my many assignments with Cosumnes River College.  It was actually Judy Howard's presentation at a Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) rally in Indio, CA in January, 2011 that kindled my interest in starting a blog in the first place.  

I still carry a file folder with my hand-written notes and Judy's various handouts that I have collected at other rallies in Indio, Pomona, Phoenix, and Tucson.  "The Road to Writing - Part One" focuses on "Helpful Tips on the Craft of Writing".  Part Two of her lectures and handouts concentrate on "What Makes a Good Story".  These seminars primarily target wanna be 'authors' wanting to publish those books they have in their heads.  THAT'S NOT ME. The message I took from her for me was simple: If you want to write then WRITE!!!    Please click here or go to Amazon.com to read all about Judy Howard's books.  I have read them ALL, including the writings of her cat, Sportster.

I credit Chris and Jim Guld, The Geeks on Tour, for getting me started with the Google Blogger software that I use for posting my blogs.  I call myself a "Geeks Groupee" and I have attended all of their technology for travelers workshops any and every time we are at the same rallies.  I can count on Jim and Chris as my gurus for keeping me current on the latest software and hardware technology. When I took my hiatus from writing my blog I would attend one of their seminars and feel guilty that I wasn't doing what I had planned to do in my retirement -- travel AND WRITE!


There are many RVers who wear the title AUTHOR.  Nick Russell is an author I love to read.  He has hooked me on using my Kindle for leisure reading with his hysterical but page-turning mysteries in the "Big Lake" Series. In addition to his daily blogs and RV newspaper The Gypsy Journal, Nick is a writing machine. 

Donna McNicol is another author I knew of as an RVer before I started reading all of her published works.  Go to this website http://donnamcnicol.com/books.shtml. to see the wide range of writing that she continues to produce.  She is also a contributing author to the Lei Mystery series based in Hawaii, another series I have read all of.

Donna and hubby Stu have just returned to Tennessee after a two year stay in Ecuador where she was very active with a writer's club.  As a matter of fact, DONNA McNICOL is the one who invited me to participate in the Bloggers "A to Z Challenge"!!!  She also invited other writer's from Ecuador and created a group she called BLOGGING BUDDIES.  We all shared our daily postings and many of the comments you might have read on my postings came from Ecuadorian writers.  Donna has been a great mentor throughout this month of blogging.  She has a new book about to hit the Amazon Kindle bookshelf and I can't wait to buy it and download it to my Kindle Fire.


As for my likes and dislikes about the Challenge my only thoughts focused​ in my need to NOT MISS A DEADLINE!!!  As a journalist I can say I met that goal, including a few blogs that got posted about 11:57 p.m.  

The Challenge allowed me to stay with my original theme of writing about the RV lifestyle and our personal experiences on the road.  I probably wrote much longer blogs than many of the other AtoZ bloggers.  It is my style to "document" my sources and to provide direct links so readers can find more information on their own.  Again, I think I was successful at that task.


Get ready for TRAVEL blogs.  They won't be daily but they will chronicle the COOLRVERS ON THE ROAD.

Expect the next blog to focus on a trip I started today with family members for an 8-day cruise to Alaska.  Luke is home with our GSD Miss Shade.  After more medical appointments through the middle of June we will get our "rolling condo" back on the road with destinations in Oregon and Washington to visit family. After that we are currently planning to return to the Canadian Glaciers and then decide which way to return to our stick house in Cool.