Too Old for School? Maybe not for RV School…

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July 9, 2008

Howdy !

Remember sitting in the classroom as a kid and thinking, “Wish I was outta here!”? I do for sure and even after years of schools, training and degrees I love the learning and hate the sitting in some stuffy classroom.

Now for something completely different – I’m at the Lewis-Clark College in Lewiston, Idaho having the time of my life with fellow RV’ers, sitting in clean, cool and well equipped classrooms. I’m supposed to be here teaching several RVing subjects but what I’m really doing is learning and, well, just having a ball !

At times on this BLOG Bob, his wife Lynn Difely and I have talked about the Life on Wheels program that we teach all over the country but let me give you just a little taste of today’s classes from my view.

6:00 AM Lynn Difely gathered her students for the morning exercise walk and stretch. Playing her Kazoo – ya, a LOUD Kazoo – off they went. I had coffee and a nice sweet pastry while watching them. Ya, I know, I shudda been ashamed and joined in but, nah, needed the coffee more.

7:00 AM joined several other students at the college cafeteria for more coffee and visiting. We have folks here from all walks of life, parts of the country and experience levels. One fellow here has been full-time RVing for more then 10 years now and is so full of excitement over what he’s learning that he was almost bouncing in his chair. Another lady and her hubby don’t have an RV yet and were so turned on by the view they are getting of the RV lifestyle that they were making plans of where they want to visit first.

8:00 AM First class of the day I went to a RV insurance class. Now this may not seem to be the most exciting thing to do but to have a real insurance pro tell us the in’s and out’s of the business and what to look for and how to buy is important. The instructors here also come from all parts of the RV industry or other areas of expertise that impact on the RV lifestyle. Nobody is “pushing” products, parts or plans – just good information and a common love of RV’ing.

9:30 AM During the break between classes I stopped in to talk with Greg and Debra Holder of AM Solar. Greg is likely the foremost expert in solar power for the RV industry and is easy to chat with as any of his students can tell you. We’ve known each other for several years and are very good friends.

10:00 AM Neil Tucker and I went to the computer lab here at the school and that’s where I’m at now doing this bit of scribbling. Neil and I co-teach several computer classes together for Life on Wheels and enjoy our time together. One of life’s little interesting notes is that he and I were both in Manhattan, Kansas at the same time back in the 1960’s but didn’t know it until a few years ago while were were talking about our backgrounds.

12:00 – plan on having a quick lunch and then get ready to teach one of my classes, this one on Electronic Communications for RV’ers. When you RV you have a few basic things that are in the minds of most RV’ers.

1) How do I pay my bills

2) How do I stay in contact with others

3) How do I take care of my health issues

We have several classes here that address these issues and the electronic commo class is just one part of it.

3:00 PM I plan to attend a class given by Tom Owns on an important subject titled “After death, the first 48 hours”. Again this may seem like a downer class but it happens to us all folks and it makes no difference iffen were at the house or on the road so it’s important. Tom is a fun guy to listen to and teaches a wonderful series of classes.

5:00 PM and later. The Lewiston Chamber of Commerce is hosting a FREE BBQ for us tonight – ah, should I tell you that last night it was a wonderful wine tasting? I expect the evening will be full of talk, making friends and fun.

Well, it’s noon time so It’s off to lunch. Wishing ya was all here !!

The Old Ranger

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  1. darrell moffett

    i have been trying to reach mike steffen for a while now…he,s a good friend of mine…..been knowing him since 1976… anyone that can get word to him tell him to cal or e-mail me if he’s lost my # again ….ahhhh to heck with it …. anyone that has heard from him or pam call me at 940-362-4224 and let me know how to get ahold of him. he knows me as “flash” you can ask him about that…thanks , darrell

  2. Bob,
    You keep that kazoo blowing crazy lady of yours away from me! I love her to death, but I worked very hard for this body, and I have a LOT of money invested in it! Besides, I’m just crawling into bed about the time she sounds off in the morning.

  3. John M. Ciemnieski

    To Mike & Nick and all the rest of us Roly-Poly’s

    For those of you who watch what you eat, here’ s the final word on nutrition and health. It’s a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.

    1. The Japanese eat very little fat
    and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

    2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat
    and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

    3. The Chinese drink very little red wine
    and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

    4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine
    and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

    5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.


    Eat and drink what you like.
    Speaking English is apparently what kills you

  4. John M. Ciemnieski

    Mike and Nick. Maybe if they park us up on the hill in Harrisburg, Lynn can lead you two with her Kazoo down in the morning and back in the afternoon. As for me. who doesn’t need it, my age should exempt me. I don’t think Lynn would want to be guilty of causing a coronary. But come to think of it , oh well, lets meet down at the brew house for beer, pasta and desert. OK????. Just remember if it isn’t white, brown, sweet and gooey, it isn’t worth consuming.

  5. Re: “The resulting amp-hours total will amaze you ! The real shocker will be when you have multiplied that AC devices wattage by 10 to reflect the power loss from using an inverter system.”
    Are you meaning to say that a 1000 watt toaster will require 10,000 watts of power through an inverter? Maybe you meant to say “multiply by 1.1” (1100 watts in my example)

  6. Bob Difley

    You guys are asking for trouble when you’re doing all this milk shake, cake, and sugar talk when you know my wife might find out. Woe to you, she will be blowing her kazoo in your ear early mornings and getting you both out for an exercise period. But, hey, I won’t say a word. Nick, you’re still relatively safe–she hasn’t started working on you yet (though she has collaborated with Terie), but Mike, she has you in her sights. Look out. As for Life On Wheels, I couldn’t agree more. It is, as you all know, one of the highlights of our year, and this year’s program at Lewiston had an absolutely great group of students–novices and experienced alike. There is no better institution for learning RVing and keeping up with the changes in the RV industry than LOW. For those of you who haven’t been to one yet, try it. You’ll like it. Mikey likes it, too.

  7. Mike Steffen

    Howdy John !! Good t hear from ya !!

    The “Milkshake” incident has taken on a life of it’s own. Now to set the record straight; the fact is that I was only trying to protect Nick from himself, after all at his tender young age he should NOT have those bad sugar loaded drinks or sweets of any kind.

    In fact, for those of you who know Nick you should try to limit his intake of sugar, confections, ice cream, cake, pie or even sweet breads! And don’t listen to his whines, cries, carping or pleading – – remember, it IS for his own good !!

    I even heard a stray story of Nick accepting a chocko cake in exchange for a copy of the Gypsy Journal !! Ah, the shame of it all Nick !!

    For real though, go over to his web site, and enjoy yourself !!

    Later –


  8. John M. Ciemnieski

    Contact Life On Wheels at 1-866-569-4646 or log on to for a location and dates convenient for you. You will not be disappointed.

  9. cheryl kline

    I would love to find out information about attending a class. I am considering buying an rv so I am a total novice about care and planning of an rv.

  10. John M. Ciemnieski

    WOW!!!!!! Mike and Nick. What a combination??????????? Nice to hear from youns guys. Can’t wait until September when we all get back to Harrisburg again. Last year was a bummer not having LOW. I’ve only missed two years out of the 12 that I’ve been RVing. I think Albuquerque in 98 and last year. Carl Lombardo and I are two of Gaylords most proficient SLOW LEARNERS. Guess what, were proud of it. Mike, at your tender age you don’t need to be listening to loud kazoo so early in the morning. It’s too tough on tender ears. LOL.

  11. Mike, Mike, Mike,
    It wasn’t the disappointment, it was the, well, yes, I guess it was the disappointment come to think of it. But maybe it was for the best after all. All that ice cream gave you a brain freeze and you forgot how to spell. It is

  12. Mike Steffen

    Ah yes, the famous “Milkshake Incident”! Long story and one that I’ll relate to you all at a later time. For those of you who don’t know Nick Russell he is the editor of the Gipsy Journal. Another of our speakers who teach at Life on Wheels, Nick has been in the newspaper business for almost his entire life.

    Please take the time to go to and read his BLOG – you will enjoy it and learn a bit at the same time !!

    Oh, by the way, Nick does cope well with disappointment – – – NOT !!

    Later –

  13. What Mike neglected to include in his excellent post was that he’s pretty selfish when it comes to his chocolate milkshakes! Several of us Life on Wheels instructors went out to dinner the other night, and I was hoping Mike would extrend a fellow RV scribe the courtesy of sharing just a tiny bit of his sweet treat, but alas, it was not to be. I’m trying to cope with my disappointment.