WOW! What a Blast – Friends We’ve Seen Along The Way

The reason (or so we thought) that we embarked on our full-time RV lifestyle on Labor Day of 2016 was to fulfill our desire to travel and see as much of this beautiful country of ours that we could.

We’ve seen a lot of sites since then, but there’s still so much more to go and we could spend a lot more time in any specific area to allow us to explore more deeply, so it’s very likely we’ll be going back again to many places in future years to do so.

A HIDDEN BENEFIT

But what has really turned out to be a wonderful benefit of traveling and not being on a “vacation” type schedule (running from place to place) is that we’ve been able to meet up with and spend time with family and “old” friends (not to say they are OLD by any means!).

This blog post features some pictures of those we’ve met up with along the way. Some are “NEW” friends and some are our “OLD” friends.

Unfortunately, although I had every intention of taking a “selfie” of us altogether at every meetup, we occasionally parted company without remembering to shoot a pix, so I’m listing those folks as well.  If I’ve missed you in this post, I apologize.  If you’re reading this and you can send me a picture of yourself, I’d really appreciate it.  My email address is herbsells@gmail.com

I know many of you won’t know any of these folks, but I also know it’ll be fun for those that are in the pictures to see some of the others and remember times past along with the brief time we spent together in the last year or so.

I’m going to post the pictures into a collage, you will be able to click on any individual photo to enlarge that particular picture to see a “zoomed in” view.  The zoomed-in view will also let you see a brief description of who they are and our relationship.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Where We’ve Been

I haven’t posted for a while.  We’re here at Livingston, TX workamping at the Escapees RV Club flagship RV park for the winter, we’ll be here until Jan. 15, 2018.

Then we’ll make our way over to Florida for the month of February.  We’re looking forward to that trip as it will give us the opportunity to stop and visit lots of friends along the way.

Some of those friends we’ve known for years, while others are “new” friends that we’ve only just met since we hit the road full time.  Although this full-time RV’ing lifestyle allows us the opportunity to see all parts of the country we haven’t seen before, we find even more value in the friendships we are able to form along the way.

Here’s a map of where we’ve stayed (at least overnight) since we started in Sept of 2016.

 We still have a lot of the east coast to cover along with the gulf coast and northwestern states but we also have time on our side.

Our trip to Florida will give us the opportunity to visit friends in Summerdale  Alabama, then on to Florida to visit friends and family in cities including; Crestview, Jacksonville, Orlando, Ocala, Interlachen, The Villages, Polk City, Crystal River, Sebring, Lake Placid, and Fort Myers.

We just enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with about 125+ of our newest best friends at the RV park.  Not only was it a delicious meal (the park provided the turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy) with everyone bringing a dish to pass for their table, but we were entertained by fellow camper Randy Sprouse and his Highland Bagpipes.  This was a special treat for everyone.

That’s all for now.  More to follow soon as we’ve been working on updating the interior of the coach with new paint, window coverings, flooring, light fixtures, and more.

We’re also scheduled to get some suspension and steering performance upgrades done and I hope to have a post covering that subject too.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

What Happens When We Can’t Travel Anymore?

Living full-time in an RV can be exciting, getting to travel across this great nation of ours, seeing all sorts of sights and meeting all kinds of great people.

If you’re a “full-timer” as those of us in this group like to call ourselves, there are things to consider when going full-time like;

  • Where will our “home” be?  Where will we go back to (occassionally) ?
  • What do we do about getting our mail?  (Next post will cover this)
  • What state are we going to be domiciled in for medical insurance?
  • What happens if one of us needs recuperation time after a surgery?
  • What happens when this life on the road just gets too hard for us?
  • What happens to us when we can’t travel anymore?????

This is the question we’re going to talk about in this post.    

Some full-time RV’ers might go “back home” and maybe live in their RV for some time at their children’s property, that is, if they are fortunate enough;

  • 1) to have children,
  • 2) that have property large enough to accommodate the RV, and
  • 3) that have the electric, water, and sewer hookups for the RV.

Other full-timers may have the resources available to buy a home or rent an apartment to allow them to move out of the RV (either temporarily or permanently) so they can get the help they need for daily living.

BUT … If you are an Escapee RV Club member you have another option.

The club founders, Kay and Joe Peterson saw the need for another option for full-time RV’ers.  Joe and Kay were full-time RV’ers themselves and started the club in 1978.  As I understand it, Joe was an electrician and they, along with their 5 children traveled the country following Joe’s work while Kay ran the household and raised the children.

Here’s 3 links to just some of Kay’s many books she wrote while on the road.  Kathy and I had the honor of attending a convention where Kay (at 94) spoke and she was truly a remarkable woman and a wonderful story-teller.  You really should give yourself a treat and read at least one of her books.

I apologize … I digress.  Now back to the point of this post.

So Kay and Joe, being full-timers themselves must’ve pondered this same question .. “What happens when we just can’t travel full-time anymore?”

And as a result, and with the help of many club members and volunteers, the C.A.R.E. Center was born adjacent to Rainbow’s End RV Park and the Escapees National Headquarters office in Livingston, Texas.

Let me tell you about it and what a cool concept it is.  I’m told there’s nothing else like it in the country.

The C.A.R.E. (Continued Assistance for Retired Escapees) Center is yes, a building.  But it’s so much more than just a building.

When an Escapee RV Club member finds the need to get off the road, whether because of the need to recuperate from an illness or medical procedure, or maybe they just need a little help to live comfortably, they can move their RV to CARE.

You say “It looks like an RV park to me”.  Yes, it’s an RV park and again … so much more.

When full-time RV’ers decide to come off the road, they really don’t want to move into an apartment or an assisted living facility – instead (just like anyone else) they want to stay in their own home.  And remember, this travel trailer or motor home IS their own home and very often has been for many years.  They’ve seen the sights, made hundreds of new friends and even now want to live in an area where they can still be around like-minded people.

CARE provides their residents with a site that will accommodate the size of their rig, they provide 3 home cooked meals each day along with weekly laundry service and lots of activities in the CARE Center building.

This is not an assisted living facility, but rather a program that assists those who can still live independently.  Residents walk from their rig to the dining hall for meals and to the activity room for; church services, jam sessions, use of the computer WiFi, exercise equipment, and lots more.

Activity Room with seating for church service, comfortable seating for reading or computer work
Lots of seating can be moved to accommodate musical groups
CARE Center dining room where residents can get 3 great home cooked meals every day of the week

There are CARE volunteers who typically (but not always) live in the park and help the residents with some of their chores like; swapping out propane tanks, repairing sewer hoses, sweeping off their deck, or any number of what we feel are small jobs but might be difficult for the CARE resident.

In addition, CARE provides FREE transportation to wherever a resident might want to go (within 30 miles).  That might be a doctor appointment, a trip to the local grocery, beauty shop, attorney or bank.

CARE operates 5 different vehicles to transport residents wherever they need to go within 30 miles of home

So you’re thinking “Wow, this really seems like a great concept – I wonder what they charge?”

C.A.R.E. is a not-for-profit 501c3 tax exempt corporation. They have a small (but professional) staff and the Volunteer Coordinator (Crystal) does a fantastic job recruiting and utilizing volunteers so their abilities and talents are best utilized. As a result, the CARE Center fees (at the time of this writing) are $1000 per month for a single person and $500 additional for a spouse or partner. The only additional costs to the resident are; electricity, cable or wifi, propane gas (for heat or cooking). Water, sewer, and trash removal is included in the rent.

There is no contract, all they ask is the monthly fee up front. If the resident, for any reason, decides that it’s just not for them, they put the key in the ignition the next month and move on down the road.

All in all, CARE is a wonderful “other option” for those full-time RV’ers that have come to the point of needing a little extra help.

AND, it allows those that have come to love the lifestyle now stay with that lifestyle and live among other like-minded wanderers.

You know what they say … “Not all who wander are lost”

Safe travels to you until we meet again ….

 

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

RV Park Review – Pere Marquette Oaks RV “Condo” Resort (Michigan)

Summer’s over and our 4 month workamping gig has come to an end.  We had a great experience at a wonderful park in a beautiful area of the country and I wanted to share a little info with you in hopes that you might have an opportunity to spend some time in this often “skipped” area of our country.

Pere Marquette Oaks RV Resort is located in west central Michigan just about 3 miles south of the town of Baldwin.  “PMO” as it’s referred to by its friends is just about an hour north of Grand Rapids and less than 45 minutes from the Lake Michigan shore city of Ludington.

PMO is a condominium RV park where the “campers” actually own their lot and pay annual dues to the association for maintenance and amenities.  Some of the owners who may be out of town in their RV actually rent out their lot to visitors to the area.  The park has a full-time rental manager to handle these rentals and welcome visitors to the park and to the area.  Sue can be reached at 616-901-4060.

All the lots at PMO are large (at least 50′ x 100′) and all are full hook-up sites with concrete paved and level sites that include free wifi and 36 channels of cable TV.  There are just over 100 sites with asphalt paved streets lined with massive oak trees that offer lots of shade.

Other amenities include a modern clubhouse that offers a fully equipped kitchen, large flat screen TV and plenty of round tables and chairs so that folks can use the room for football parties, card games, or larger family gatherings.

The most popular amenities in the park are definitely the heated pool and hot tub.  Lots of adults and children make good use of these amenities during hot weather.  The picnic pavilion adjacent to the pool provides a great place for gathering and enjoying one of the many pot-luck meals that seem to pop up over the season.

Visitors to the park will find lots of opportunity to meet plenty of other like minded people as they walk or bicycle around the park.  Typically the holiday long weekends (Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day) are the busiest and the most fun in the park.  Although there is no “Activities Director”, folks at the park take it upon themselves to plan activities that attract everyone to attend and participate.

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Overnight rate (for 2017) is only $45 per night and Sue (616-901-4060) will be happy to get you a spot for a night and she can give you all the details about seasonal rates and ownership opportunities as well.

I encourage you to take the opportunity to stay at PM (Pere Marquette) Oaks RV Resort.  Not only are you less than an hour away from Lake Michigan and the beautiful Ludington State Park, but you’re only minutes away from Big Star Lake where you can canoe, kayak, or jet ski and you will be just a hop, skip, and a jump from the famous Pere Marquette River which is one of the premier Rainbow Trout and Steelhead streams in the Midwest.  If you want something a little different, Lake County boasts 47 trout streams and 153 lakes, so there’s surely someplace right for you.

Kathy and I will be heading back to PMO in the spring of 2018 for another workamping season and who knows, … maybe we’ll see you there!

Wishing you smooth roads and sunny skies …

 

 

 

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Waterfalls in Michigan – Really?

Kathy and I were both born and spent our early years in Michigan on the west side of Detroit and then spent our school years in Redford Township where we met in high school, got married shortly after we graduated and started a family of our own.  I’ll tell you about those early years some other time.

Our vacation travels as a young family consisted of driving on up to the Kalkaska area of Michigan’s lower peninsula where my folks had moved after Dad’s retirement from Ford Motor Company in Dearborn.  It would always be a “low budget” trip.  We would be able to stay close to home (about 4 hours away), the kids would have some time with Papa and Nana, and Kathy and I might even be able to sneak away for a couple hours alone while we got free baby sitting from my folks.  All in all, it was a “win-win” for all of us.  We had fun back then.

And although we spent a lot of time up in this neck of the woods, we had no idea there were so many waterfalls in Michigan.  Workamping here at Pere Marquette Oaks RV Resort gives us every other week (7 days straight) off so we can do what we want.  Kathy thought it would be fun to go on up to the U.P. (Upper Peninsula).  As we researched our potential trip, we found that Michigan boasts being home to nearly 200 waterfalls and all but 2 are located in the UP!  We had been up to Tahquamenon Falls years ago, but we thought that was it.  Boy were we wrong!

We loosely planned our road trip to take up 3 days time.  We decided to not take the coach and stay in motels 2 nights so we had more mobility and easier entry to some of the sites where the falls might be located.  It was a good thing we decided this as many of the sites had small access roads and/or parking areas with not much turnaround room.

We invited our new friends Chuck and Joanne to come along with

The Fantastic Foursome

us and we all had a great time.  They’ve retired from the Grand Rapids area and as a family they’ve done lots of camping over the years and they had some ideas on where we could go and what we could see.

Although we wanted to see LOTS of falls, we knew that time, money, and our “rear ends” in the car would tell us that 3 days out would be about all we could handle.

Here’s a map showing our 3 day route up and back.  If you want to see an interactive map where you can zoom and pan for yourself, click here.

Besides the numerous falls we saw, and the pasties and smoked fish we ate, there was something we learned that I had no idea existed.  I knew that folks who lived in the Upper Peninsula were known as “Yoopers”, but I had no idea that those of us who were born in or lived in the Lower Peninsula were known as “Trolls”.

I couldn’t imagine why I would be called a “Troll”, until a Yooper shared with me it’s because we live “below the bridge”!  Now it all makes perfect sense.

“UP” Road Trip Map

Here’s a slide show of some of the high points of our trip.  I’m including a few short videos too.

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Here’s the video montage of our UP Falls Tour to go along with some of the pictures in the slide show above.

All in all, we had a great time seeing beautiful sites with great friends and looking forward to our next adventure.  So long for now from your friends “The Trolls”.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Honoring Our Veterans at The Park

Today was another special day here at Pere Marquette Oaks RV Park.  It’s the Fourth of July holiday weekend and all our regular residents are here along with all the rental lots taken with first-time and return visitors.  Many of the guests are relatives of some of our full time residents.  Lots of little ones having tons of fun.

The day started out with our 2nd Annual 4th of July Bicycle and Golf Cart Parade.  Children started decorating their bikes last night, while Grandmas and Grandpas decorated their golf carts, scooters and such with all kinds of red, white, and blue banners, flags and other regalia.  We even had marching music blaring to keep the ranks in file.

We paraded throughout the park while throngs of on-lookers waved and cheered (and smiled) at the clever decorations.  Awards were given for the best entries in each class.

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After the parade, all the participants and spectators gathered around the new flagpole for the dedication of the plaques honoring our Veterans.  Both the flagpole and these plaques were donated by Bill VanDeVusse and Lee Presley and we all thank them for their generosity.

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And after the dedication, we all gathered in the pavilion for cookies, cake, punch, and Popsicles.  It was a wonderful cap to a great early afternoon.  I have to apologize for not getting any pictures of everyone during refreshments in the pavilion … I guess I was to busy stuffing my face with all the delicious goodies to think about picking up the camera, (duh!)

After the refreshments, many of the residents and visitors enjoyed some basking in the sun, playing in the pool, or relaxing in the hot tub.

A special shout out of THANKS goes to Chris for organizing the parade, Marianne and Mike for installing the plaques and the recognition of our Veterans, and finally Jean, Marianne, Sally, and Sue for getting all the goodies donated and the hall set up and serving everyone.

It’s always good when friends come together … can’t wait for the next opportunity!

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Honoring Our Veterans at The Park

This post is late … we’ve been having too much fun here outside and have not been up to date on posting pictures to the blog.

I wanted to share with you how we were all able to honor our Veterans here at the park a few weeks ago on the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Last year, the association bought a new aluminum flagpole and it was installed last fall.  This spring flowers were planted at the base of the pole and on Saturday May 27th, we all gathered around, dedicated the new American Flag and honored residents (and visitors) of the park who have served protecting our freedoms.

The Veteran’s names were called out along with their branch of service, their rank and years served.  There were about 40 names called off and those who were present stood and were applauded for their service.  After the service, the Veterans gathered in the clubhouse for refreshments and a time to talk with others that served.

We are all blessed to have had these men and women risk, and in some cases give their lives to protect our freedoms.  This ceremony is just one small way we can give back and let them know their sacrifice has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.

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We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy
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