Just a little hike

Once we kind of found our way around the county (grocery store etc.), we decided to do a little more roaming within the park.

Today was a short hike up to Eagles Point.  From here you can see a large portion of the lake, some of the islands (including trooper island), and on over to Tennessee.

Although the trail (from the Marina overflow parking lot) is only 7/10ths of a mile, much of it was uphill and my hip and knee were both crying out to me along the way. We heard a lot of little critters among the leaves in the woods as we climbed up to Eagle’s Point, but all we saw was a black snake along the way.

Once we got to the top, it became clear that the climb was worth the trip. We could see clearly (even though it was an overcast day) over to the lodge, to Troopers Island, and on across the lake to Tennessee.

Trooper Island is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers and leased by the Kentucky State Police where they operate a camp for underprivileged children. Find out more about their mission by following this link.

I’ve been afraid of heights ever since I can remember. A 6′ stepladder is about as high as I can comfortably go. Kathy on the other hand …. is comfortable going right to the edge (as you can see in one of the pictures below)

Panoramic view from the top (Trooper Island in the distance)
Video from the top

That’s it for now … we have very limited wifi here. I have to come up to the lodge to get any reliable wifi.

Stay safe … Herb & Kathy

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

Settling in at Dale Hollow

Well, we finally arrived at Dale Hollow Lake Resort State Park on Wednesday. We checked with Bobbie at the gatehouse and went on in to our new home for the next three months, site Q1.

Our site for the next few months

At first we were a little disappointed because we are in one of the three equine loops here. There are 18 loops, every loop has 8 RV sites, so there’s a total of 144 RV sites with 24 of those being equine sites.

One of the “loops” at the campground

It’s not that we dislike horses .. we enjoy them – not riding them of course, just watching them, talking to them, and given the opportunity, to pet them!

Ivan and Connie pulled into our loop .. they’re from Summer Shade, about an hour west of here toward Glasgow. They have a farm over there but like to come here a few times each summer and ride the trails with their other horse buddies. They’ve been enjoying the park for years.

Their son and daughter-in-law and their kids came in their motorhome so the family is having a good time horseback riding, bicycling, eating together, and telling stories around the campfire in the evening moonlight.

The reason that we were disappointed about being here in Loop Q with the horses is that there’s no wifi here and we sit in a low spot in the park with no cell service and no over-the-air TV reception. Argh!

But … For the Good News … Because it’s an equine area, there’s no playground, no swimming pool, no sand boxes, nothing for kids to do. When most families book sites in a campground, they try to get close to all the amenities and over here all we have is a nice new bath house/laundry within an easy walking distance from the back of our coach. Oh, and very few kids (Yay!)

The first day here we found out the a/c in the car doesn’t work. We asked Bobbie at the gatehouse if she knew a trustworthy mechanic in Burkesville (18 mile’s away) because she told us she lives there. She recommended “Daryl’s Place” up the road a piece.

I took the car up there and he put freon in the system and charged me $16 .. Happy Camper

We drove 18 miles the other way to Albany where I found a Blue Cellular store and bought a new SIM card for my phone (with a new number) so now my phone works here in the park and throughout the region. It’s a pay-as-you-go plan with no contract at $35 a month. So once again .. Happy Camper

Now that I have a phone that works here I could log on to Amazon and order a DISH receiver package. We’ve had DISH before but the outdoor antenna broke and we stopped using it once we were able to get unlimited data with Visible phone service and then we could stream all our TV and other web use with no data cap and no throttling. This is the first place in the country that we’ve found that Visible service doesn’t work. And my new $35/month phone is capped at 4 gig/month so we can’t use that for streaming or uploading pictures.

But in any event, Monday the DISH package should be here and then Kathy will be a Happy Camper!

We made a commitment to start walking regularly once we arrived. So far so good. The campground is a large irregular shaped loop with two rather large and steep hills. (Rough on the knees!)

The loop is just under 3500 steps or about 1.5 miles and we’ve managed (so far) to do that once in the morning and once.again in the evening. Wish us luck!

We’ve not started work yet. The park manager met us Wednesday when we arrive and told us to relax, find our way around, and she’d get with us on Monday, so my next post will be a little about what the job entails.

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

A Cabela’s Overnighter

(Continuing on our way to camp hosting at Dale Hollow Lake Resort State Park)

Although we wanted to try another Harvest Hosts location tonight, there weren’t any close enough to our route. We were deliberately taking local and state routes and staying off the internet. The trip, although a little longer, was far more beautiful winding our way on down into Kentucky’s horse country. The huge horse farms with their rolling green pastures were contained by what seemed to be endless black board fencing. The roads along the way are peppered with trees filled with lots of white and pink blossoms (crabapple / pear / dogwood)? It was a great escape from the boredom of the interstate although I’ll admit it did take a lot more concentration and energy to drive this route due to the hills and curves coupled with the traffic entering and exiting the roadway.

We could’ve stayed at any number of commercial RV parks, but we decided to opt for the Cabela’s right off I-75 on the east side of Lexington. Here’s the route we took today.

Our travel route to Cabela’s today

We used one of our favorite RV apps ALLSTAYS.com. The reviews from other RV’ers indicated it’s pretty quiet and safe with 24 hour security.

Our spot right around the corner from the front door

Usually there are 5or 6 spots available for RV’s, but about three of them are taken up by large shipping containers, presumably filled with new fixtures for some planned store remodeling. We grabbed the spot closest to the store entrance. There is also a dump station here with fresh water as well, but it’s out of order right now. We’re OK, we have a 70 gallon fresh water tank that I filled up when we left Ohio.

We went on inside, gave the lady at the service desk our card, and told them we were parked outside for the night and thanked them for letting us stay.

We each took a little nap this afternoon. We opened the windows that were not in direct sunlight, turned on the ceiling (exhaust) fans and soon fell asleep for an hour or so. The fans brought in fresh cool air and the whirr of the fans drowned out any parking lot sounds. It was nice.

Late afternoon came and we unhooked the car and went for a little drive around the area. Boy was that a mistake!!! As I should have realized, Cabela’s is in a developed area filled with lots of shopping, office complexes, and apartments and subdivisions. Those are places we don’t like to go to – especially during RUSH HOUR!

We did stop at Lowes to get a couple small springs for a fixit project I’ve got, then finally found our way back to peace and quiet at Cabela’s. We made our dinner of tossed salad with mushrooms, blueberries, salami, cheddar cheese, and hard-boiled egg. Kathy added crab meat to her salad.

Look what we found!

Freddy’s Steakburgers and Frozen Custard

After supper and a walk around the large Cabela’s parking lot, Kathy found this Freddy’s store at the outside perimeter of the lot. We agreed we would go there after our walk to get a little treat!

They call it “Concrete” – I call it a “Flurry” or “Blizzard” (Oreo Mint flavor)

Tomorrow will find us moving further south and arriving at Dale Hollow Lake State Park, our home for the next 3 months. We’ll leave the coach there and drive the car back up to Ohio to visit the doctor for a follow-up to my shoulder rotator cuff surgery. Hopefully he’ll tell me all is good and I can start physical therapy. There’s a hospital in Burkesville – about 30 minutes from the campground, where I can get started and hopefully soon after finish up on my own at the campground.

That’s all for now. I’ll follow up with another post once we get settled at Dale Hollow and have the opportunity to take a look around.

Stay safe …

Herb & Kathy

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

Our First Harvest Hosts Overnighter

We left friends and family in My Gilead about 9:00 this morning and slowly meandered our way down U.S. Route 42.  We deliberately took the U.S. Route instead of the interstate.  After all, we’re retired and not in any hurry, right?

Our first travel day in a year!

We stopped at the T/A Truck stop near London to fill our diesel since we have a discount card that saves us a good chunk in the Big Truck lanes at T/A, Loves, Pilot, Petro, and a few others.  Besides, in the truck lanes the nozzle is at least twice the diameter of those in the car lanes and we can fill this 94 gallon tank in a jiffy.

With our TSD Logistics card we save sometimes as much as 60 vents a gallon.  Today the pump price was $3.17 and we paid $2.70 … That’s a good price for diesel — we saw other stations on the way down that were as high as $3.35/gallon for diesel.

Our net price was $2.77 / gallon
Receipt shows pump price of $3.199 / gallon

If you drive a diesel motorhome or pull a trailer with a diesel truck, you can find out more about TSD Logistics and their RV diesel savings program by reading my earlier post covering the subject. We’ve saved hundreds over the last couple of years.

After fueling up we stopped and grabbed a late breakfast at Bob Evans, then rolled on down the road to Valley Vineyards at Morrow, Ohio just north of Cincinnati.

I had left a phone message for them before we left this morning and owner Rodney called me back when he opened shop and welcomed us to come on down.

We’ve got a nice spot parked alongside a green grassy field and a small stream.

Rodney retired from General Electric a few years ago, then got a call to manage worldwide operations for PayPal.  He did that until a little over a year ago when he bought the winery.

Rodney tells me he knows a lot about wine from the bottle to the lips, but admits he knows very little about what it takes to get it in the bottle, so he’s fortunate to have hired talented staff to help him with that end of the business!

They have indoor seating along with a large patio, a large buffet on weekends as well as LIVE music. The kitchen has a pretty varied menu, and of course LOTS of wine.

Harvest Hosts offer their farm, museum, distillery, brewery, or golf course to HH members to park for the night, learn about their operation and their way of life, and of course take advantage of whatever the host might have for sale. Although there is no charge to stay at a Harvest Hosts operation, it’s certainly appreciated by the host if we eat, drink, or otherwise help in the commerce of the operation.

If you’re an RV’er, we recommend Harvest Hosts property owners as providing a wonderful alternative to the typical campground or RV park. You might give it a try!

Thanks for riding along, and once again if you’d like to follow along with all our travel posts, just sign up with your email address to receive regular updates.

By the way, we’re on our way to Burkesville, Kentucky for 3 months to volunteer as Camp Hosts at Dale Hollow Lake State Park – then after July 4th we’ll be changing directions!

Take Care, stay safe, and be good to those you care about

Herb & Kathy

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

Time to Move On

Wow .. it’s been a year. How time flies. After having been on the road as RV Nomads for 4+ years, we finally came back to Ohio last March (2020) because of the Covid 19 virus.

And now a year later, were ready to move on – well, almost.

When we decided to go rv’ing full time in 2016 we sold our home in Ohio to our daughter Sara and son-in-law Stu.

When covid hit us all February of 2020 we were on our way to North Carolina to work in a campground for 3 months. At that point we didn’t know what was going to happen as many of the roadside truck stops and even highway rest areas were closing.

Restaurants were closing and some governors were even talking about closing the state lines. We were concerned that we were less and less safe with every passing day and every passing mile. Would we be able to move on if we felt unsafe in any particular location? We decided to head home to Ohio while we still could and where we knew what to expect.

A safe overnight stay at Orangeburg SC Elks Lodge on our trip northward

We have been blessed in that the kids (Sara and Stu) have an apartment up above the garage so Kathy and I have been able to live there the last year.

The main house to the right, the Bunkhouse above the garage to the left.

I haven’t written much the last year as it’s been pretty uneventful … trips to the grocery store were sometimes the highlight of the week!

I eventually took a part-time job working for the county transportation agency. This kept me busy about 30 hours a week while Kathy had taken on the responsibility of dog-sitting Stu & Sara’s 3 dogs, helping out with their laundry and keeping us all fed each evening.

My bus

Occasionally we’ve been meeting our small “group of eight” dear friends that we’ve known for years. We are “Brothers (and sisters) from another mother). We’d meet at one of our homes for a wonderful home cooked meal or, once we’ve felt more adventurous, met at a restaurant (mid-day when it’s less crowded)

We actually all went camping together last fall where we could enjoy our extended family while still being safe.

I got my Covid test last week in preparation for my shoulder surgery Tuesday. Ohio Health has an easy drive-up testing site.

The Ohio Health drive-up Covid testing site before my surgery

Now that I’m well on my way to a complete recovery, we decided to pull the coach out of storage, test all the systems to make sure all is well, and head on out to our camp hosting job in Kentucky.

We will be Camp Hosts at Dale Hollow Lake Resort State Park starting mid-April and running through the July 4th holiday.

After that, we’ll come back up to Ohio for a week or so to visit our doctors and get new prescriptions for the next year along with picking up anything we might have forgot to load into the motorhome this week.

Mid-July will find us heading up to Michigan where we will visit friends and relatives for a few days before moving on up into the Upper Peninsula then on into Wisconsin and continuing to the west coast and on down into Arizona for the winter.

Our planned trek back to Casa Grande AZ by Nov 1st

Thanks for following along and I’ll start posting more often now that we’re satisfying our “hitch-itch” and moving along.

Until next time, only our best wishes to you and yours for a warm and wonderful summer.

Herb & Kathy

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

Herb & Kathy’s Christmas Greeting

This is a two-part greeting. The first (and most important) part is our Christmas greeting to you, while the second part is a re-cap of our 2020 year. We sure hope you’ll take the time to read the first few paragraphs at least, and then if you’re interested in how this year has gone for us .. you can read on.

You’ll see throughout this letter that there are hyperlinks under some text. These links (if you click on them) will take you to earlier blog posts or external pages that give greater detail and photos about the subject.

Boy, what a year it’s been! Different for all of us, eh?

Kathy and I want to wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season filled with low stress, time to relax, and even in this Covid time, an opportunity to share some time with your friends and family (safely of course!)

Although we’ve all been blasted with a lot of negative statements and images this year, let’s work toward filling our own lives and of those we love with positive thoughts in the year to come.

Let’s work to not dwell on things that we have no control over and instead working to appreciate what we do have, loving those close to us, and taking steps every day to make someone else’s day just a little bit brighter.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

NOW FOR PART TWO

We started the year at our RV site at Rovers Roost RV Park just west of Casa Grande, Arizona. This was our second winter there and it was great to have some “down time” while enjoying meeting up with old friends again that we got to know the previous year. We also made new friends with the new leaseholders that came on board this season.

We got involved again this year by chairing the Veterans Day Recognition Lunch, the Christmas Party, the monthly Birthday Party and the New Member Orientation Committee as well as serving on the Marketing Committee. There’s always an opportunity to get involved when you’re a member of a co-op. You don’t get to just sit back and pay the rent! The more we all do, the lower our costs are and that’s one of the great advantages that make the SKP Co-Op Parks such a great value.

In mid-January, we pulled out of the park and headed about 3 hours west to Quartzite Arizona where we spent the next two weeks living in the desert.

Our camp site at “Boomerville” near Quartzsite Arizona

Although there are over 100,000 others “boondocking” in the “Q” vicinity during a typical winter, the open areas are so vast that you can always find a good flat spot away from any close neighbors if you like. For the first ten days or so we chose to camp with about two hundred fellow Escapee RV Club members. We enjoyed hot breakfasts and fresh campfire coffee in the mornings, seminars and lessons during the days, and movies, music, or slide shows around the camp fire at night.

We left camp after the Big Tent RV Show was over and joined friends Brian and Jeanette along with Duane and Jean a little further east for a few days truly on our own in the middle of nowhere .. it was wonderful spot to relax, do a little hiking in the nearby hills, and enjoy evenings around the campfire.

Our home in the desert for a few days
Evenings around the campfire in the desert (gets cool at night!)

After our January stay in the desert of western Arizona, we made our way to Potrero, California where we hooked up with about 50 other members of our RV club. From Potrero we worked our way down into the Baja California peninsula of Mexico. We spent two weeks immersing ourselves in the Mexican culture. It was a great eye-opening experience and we look forward to our next visit to Mexico.

Our time in Mexico ended in late February so we headed back to Rover’s Roost RV Park in Casa Grande for just a few days before leaving Arizona for the season and starting east on March 1st. We had reservations in an Escapee RV Club park in Bushnell, Florida for the 2nd and 3rd week of March. And when we got there, the news of Covid was everywhere.

Nobody really knew what was happening or how bad it would get. At that point, we went ahead with our plans to visit friends and family in Florida and although there were no hand shakes or hugs, I don’t remember that any of us were wearing masks at that point.

We spent our two weeks in Florida and then started making our way north toward Waynesville, North Carolina where we had a job lined up as Workampers in a small, privately owned campground nestled in the Smoky Mountains. We were to work there April, May, and June.

But as we made our way north there were lots of mixed messages coming our way via radio and TV. There were questions about whether or not it was safe to travel, whether or not any campgrounds, restaurants, or even truck stops or highway rest areas would be open. Would we be able to cross the state lines as we traveled north?

Concerned about how we might be able to proceed (or maybe be forced to stay somewhere we didn’t want to be), we decided at the last minute to cancel out our Workamping gig in North Carolina and just head on up to Ohio. We called the kids to tell them we’d be coming earlier than originally planned.

We are so thankful that Sara and Stu (who now own our old home in Ohio) are providing us with a safe and comfortable place to live. Although we had originally planned on only being here from July until late August, it’s turned into all summer, the fall, and now well into winter. The bunkhouse is working out great for us in that we have our own private little space to stay while the coach is in heated storage for the winter.

Inside the bunkhouse (Panoramic View)
Coach in storage at a neighbor’s just down the street

After being here for a month or so … and in order to keep from going nuts … I picked up a part-time job driving a bus for the county transportation agency. We transport clients to medical appointments and shopping. I work about 30 hours a week while Kathy “holds down the fort” taking care of the bunkhouse (and the kids house) domestic duties as well as keeping the grand-dogs company while Sara and Stu are at work.

Me n the bus

We had, up until recently, also been preparing the evening meals over here at the bunkhouse and then the kids would join us when they got home from work. But lately, since Stu’s place of employment (a nursing home) has had an outbreak of Covid, he’s been staying away from us. So, Sara comes over and gets their meal “to go”. It’s just not the same …

Although David, Lisa, and grandson Garret live just about a mile up the road, we’ve seen them less often. David is fortunate to be able to work from home and Lisa has taken on a new job of driving one of the local Amish fellas to job sites around central Ohio. Garret is attending middle school two days a week with 3 days/week in a “virtual” classroom. He enjoys riding and working on dirt bikes, getting ready to start up a small repair shop in the barn.

Now that the election (and all subsequent lawsuits) are over, the first (and now the second) vaccine is approved for distribution, (with more on the way) and the new administration is to take office in January … we’re looking forward to a better and brighter future. Now if only we can somehow bring this nation together – I don’t know if that’s possible but it’s our hope for the future.

As I’ve written in a previous post our plan for 2021 is to leave Ohio in March and head down to Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park in Kentucky (near Lake Cumberland) where we will serve as Camp Hosts for April, May, and June. We’ll then come back up to be with family for a week or so before heading north into Michigan. We’ll be there for a few days while we visit friends and family as well as seeing old friends we made when we worked at an RV park in Baldwin, Michigan during the summers of ’17 and ’18. I’m sure during all this we’ll still be social distancing and wearing masks.

After that, and if (and it’s a BIG IF) the Canadian border is open, we head further north into the Upper Peninsula and into Canada at Sault Saint Marie. From there we’ll start slowly making our way westward all the way over to Vancouver, British Columbia and eventually down through Washington, Oregon, northern California, Nevada and ultimatey back to Rover’s Roost by November 1st where we’ll spend our 3rd winter back again in the warm Arizona sun with our “winter brothers and sisters” at the Roost.

If Canada’s not open, we’ll instead go across the Michigan U.P. into northern Wisconsin, down into Iowa and then Missouri to visit fellow RV friends we missed this past year. Then back up to North Dakota, westward through Montana and Idaho to continue our trip down along the Pacific Coast and eventually back down to Arizona for the winter.

Where will summer of ’22 find us? Too soon to tell – a lot can happen ‘tween now and then right?

Until next time .. take care of yourself and your loved ones.

And again … here’s Herb and Kathy wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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

Our Covid Thanksgiving

With having had so much question and anxiety this year over what the future would bring, Kathy and I now have so much to be thankful for.

Although this will certainly be a different sort of Thanksgiving than any we’ve ever seen before, we will celebrate the fact that there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Things WILL get better for all of us as we move forward.

As I’ve shared with you in previous posts, we remain in Ohio until early spring 2021.

Kathy and I are blessed to have a safe place to hang our hats since March of 2020. Our daughter and son-in-law welcomed us back “home” where we can live on our own in the bunkhouse, just a hundred feet or so from the main house.

Panoramic view of the bunkhouse

Although we had been sharing the dinner table with them on a daily basis, recently our son-in-law’s work location has had a half dozen or so positive Covid cases. He works in the physical therapy department at a local nursing home.

So as a result, the last week or so has found them eating dinner on their own. So it’s been a more lonely time for Kathy and me. We miss the daily interaction.

We just took a small turkey breast out of the freezer, Kathy will make her yummy Greeny-Beanie Casserole and of course we’ll have the usual mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy along with my homemade apple pie for desert.

Hopefully Stu and Sara will feel comfortable enough to come on up to the bunkhouse and join us in our celebration of all that we have to be thankful for. Thankfully, Stu has tested negative several times over the last 10 days or so. But nonetheless we’ll keep our distance as best we can.

Speaking of being thankful – we’re blessed to be retired and not have to go to a workplace where we might have to be in close contact with others on a daily basis. Kathy is able to stay home and I am working part-time driving a county bus delivering local folks to medical appointments and such.

Herb at work

We give thanks that the election is finally over. The count is done and we have a President-Elect who will take office on January 20th. A lot of changes are forthcoming for which we are very thankful.

We’re thankful for our (mostly) good health. Sure, at this age we do have some aches and pains that we didn’t have just a few years ago, but we’re really in pretty good shape for the shape we’re in. Nothing medically major in the foreseeable future and we’ll try to keep it that way.

We’re thankful that a vaccine is nearly here, and we look forward to being able to get back on the road, seeing more of this beautiful country, renewing old friendships along the way, and making more new friends as we travel.

We hope for you, that although your Thanksgiving will very likely be different from years past, you will be safe in your celebration so that you and your loved ones can celebrate for years to come.

We’d love to hear from you. What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Where are you? How will you celebrate? You can leave your comments in the comments section below or if you’re reading this from the Facebook link, feel free to respond there if you like.

As always, we appreciate your reading and leaving comments and we wish only the best to you and yours.

Until next time,

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

Sharing Some News From Mexico

If you’ve been following along for a while now, you know that we spent a couple of weeks last February visiting Baja California, Mexico.

We traveled there with the Escapees RV Club Chapter 8 – The Mexican Connection. Chapter 8 has been organizing Mexico caravans for nearly four decades now and we found the trip to be exciting and relaxing at the same time. The countryside was beautiful and our interaction with the locals made the trip all that much more rewarding. We look forward to the next Chapter 8 trip

Map of Baja California, Mexico

As a refresher, you can go back and look at some of our posts by following this link. Clicking on this link will bring up a search results page with links to each of the posts I wrote while we were on the trip.

What I wanted to share with you today is that our caravan Wagonmaster (Kassandra) recently received some pictures from our friend Miguel at La Jolla Beach Camp. Miguel was not only our host at the beach camp, but was also instrumental in helping to identify local areas of need where we, as travelers and guests to their area might be able to help.

One of those groups of folks that we so enjoyed getting to meet were the residents of what we here in the states might call an “assisted living” center. In Spanish it’s called La Casa del Abuelo (Or “The House Of The Grandfather”). I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here because I’ve posted about that visit back in February and you can go and refresh your memory by following this link.

Some of the work we did at La Casa del Abuelo included interior insulation and exterior paint

But I do want to share with you the pictures that Miguel sent along. These show how the monies that we donated through our auction and through individual donations have been used to pay for fabrication and installation of the new range hood in the kitchen along with installing new gates on the compound to promote the safety and security of the residents.

I know that our fellow Chapter 8 members are just as proud as Kathy and me that our efforts and our donations have been put to good use and we look forward to a return trip so as to be able to help even more.

If you’re an RV’er and you’d like to find out more about Chapter 8 and their caravan to Mexico each year, check out the chapter web site at www.mexicanconnection08.com

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

Off The Road During Covid

Well, it’s November 2020 and we continue to lay low in Ohio during this Covid 19 pandemic.

You might remember that we sold the house in Ohio and hit the road full-time in September of 2016 and up until a few months ago, we had no thoughts of stopping our travel and volunteering lifestyle anytime soon.

In early 2020 we had just finished our 2 week February trip to Mexico with the Escapees RV Club Chapter 8 and then made it back to our RV lot in Casa Grande, Arizona. We stayed there at the park for just a few days before rolling out and heading east through New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and on into central Florida for a couple weeks where we enjoyed hooking up with our good friends from our school days along with a stop to visit my sister in Jacksonville.

Our intention was to head north out of Florida by the end of March to fulfill our commitment to serve as campground hosts at a beautiful little campground nestled in the forest near Waynesville, North Carolina. We were scheduled to be there for April, May, and June through the July 4th weekend. Then we would come back to Ohio for July and August to spend time with family and in September we would head up into Michigan (including the U.P.) and take all of late September and all of October to travel down through Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, and on to our RV lot in Arizona by November 1st. We would be visiting friends along the way. It was a good plan. But it was just a plan ….

And then the Covid pandemic seemed to really “hit” and become a reality to us while we were in Florida. Frankly, we got a little nervous about what the future was to bring. There was talk of closures to include restaurants, gas stations, campgrounds, state borders, and even highway rest areas! Little was really KNOWN about what was to come and it seemed that every state was making up its own rules as the days passed. It seemed we couldn’t count on anything anymore.

Would we be able to make it to North Carolina? SHOULD we proceed to fulfill our commitment to serve as hosts at all? What about the dangers of coming in contact with so many strangers traveling from all over the country? How safe would Kathy be working in the office? How safe would I be cleaning the bathrooms? Or should we just hunker down and stay in Florida until this all “blows over”? But how long might that be? And would we even be able to find a spot to rent given that there were so many state parks and campgrounds that were closing?

There was so much unknown … we decided the best thing to do was cancel out on our 3 month working stint in North Carolina and just head right on up to Ohio while keeping our heads down. Along the way we spent evenings either in highway rest areas, local village Elks Lodge parking lots, or anywhere we might find a parking lot where we could park and spend the night without having to be in a situation where we would have to interact with others. We are fully self-contained with plenty of onboard water and ample solar-powered electricity so a night or even a couple weeks without hookups was not a problem for us.

You might remember that when we started our new lifestyle that we had sold our Ohio home to our daughter and son-in-law. But years before we had finished off what had been a 2nd floor workshop above the garage. Our intent was to provide a private apartment for a guest visit, to add value to the property, or possibly provide for rental income. We never had any idea that WE would be the guests!

But we’re blessed that Sara and Stu welcomed us back to the area and it’s great that although we are “close” physically, we’re not TOO close. As it’s turned out, we prepare and share dinner over here in the bunkhouse for the four of us and then we have the rest of the evening to ourselves!

Panoramic view of the inside of the bunkhouse

Well, here it is November. We’ve been here seven months now. The beauty of fall in Ohio is pretty much gone. The red and gold leaves that drenched the roadsides with glorious bright color have fallen and winter is starting to settle in. Since the Covid situation hasn’t improved any (we’re now in the 3rd wave), our earlier logic used to get us to stay low still commands that we not travel and come in contact with a lot of other people.

The coach is in heated storage for the winter – and it’s just a 1/4 mile away!

I’ve taken a part-time job (about 30 hours/week) driving a small bus for the local Morrow County Transit Service. We transport folks to local shopping and medical appointments. All drivers and riders are required to wear masks and the vehicles are disinfected daily to protect us all.

Kathy’s been keeping busy preparing dinners for the four of us along with helping out Sara by keeping her home as well as ours clean and all the laundry done.

I have to admit, we have had some level of “hitch-itch” while here and we’ve taken just a handful of short camping trips with only our closest friends that we feel comfortable being around. And even at that we’ve avoided any hand shakes, hugging, or even sitting in close proximity to each other in an effort to do our part in keeping the spread of Covid at bay.

We’ve also had the opportunity to visit my sister Betsy and Brother-In-Law Bob at their new home in Owosso Michigan.

Another real pleasant surprise was the opportunity to meet up with one of my old bosses. Ken and his wife Jan were traveling through Ohio from Michigan and stopped to spend a couple days in our area! I worked for Ken from about 1980 to 1990 (I think). We by chance connected on Facebook and Kathy and I ran over to the KOA just a few minutes from our home and spent the afternoon with them and their Great Dane “Magnum”. It was great to see them again after so many years.

We’ve decided that we’ll stay the winter. Although we miss all our friends at Rover’s Roost RV Park in Casa Grande, Arizona this year, we will look forward to seeing them next winter – when hopefully things will be much better. Just today on the news Pfizer has announced that one of their vaccine products is showing a 90% success rate in 45,000 study participants.

Along with Eli Lilly and other manufacturers working on a vaccine, and new leadership in Washington making the fight against Covid a priority, maybe we will be able to resume in spring of ’21 our life of RV travel and volunteering. We certainly hope so.

Speaking of 2021, here’s our tentative plan and more details will follow in future posts as the date gets closer.

We are going to be campground hosts at Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park in Burkesville, KY for April, May, and June through the July 4th weekend.

Then we’ll head on up to Baldwin, Michigan to spend a couple days at Pere Marquette Oaks Resort so we can spend some time visiting with great friends we made when we worked there as host couple during the summers of 2017 and 2018.

By mid-July we will hook up with Matt and Sherry who are fellow full-time RV’ers that we first met in Livingston Texas. We’ve since worked with them in South Dakota and met up with them in other areas of the country. This time we are planning our own little caravan (of two rigs) to motor across the Mackinac Bridge and over into Canada via Sault St. Marie.

Matt and Sherry

Assuming the Canadian border is open by then, we’ll all head SLOWLY west through the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and on into British Columbia with arrival in Vancouver BC by September 1st. Matt and Sherry will “peel off” at Creston BC (just north of Idaho) so they can zip on down to visit their son at Missoula, Montana.

Kathy and I hope to take a couple ferries across from Vancouver area to Port Angeles Washington where we’ll get on Route 101 down the Pacific coast on through Oregon and into northern California.

At some point, we’ll work our way over toward Reno, Nevada and then on down (and around) Las Vegas and back to Rover’s Roost by November 1st, 2021.

That’s it for now .. we wanted to bring you up to date on what little is going on in our lives and our plans for the future.

We wish you well and happiness – we’re doin’ fine and still enjoying life – even as it is.

What about you? How are you handling the situation we find ourselves in? What are you doing to occupy your time if you’re quarantined? Are you still able to work either from home or at your work location? If you’re working away from home what are you doing to stay safe?

That’s the main thing – stay safe by staying home if you can. Use a mask if you go out in public while maintaining the 6′ distance from others and then wash your hands as soon as you get home. Use hand sanitizer as soon as you get back in the car so you are not transferring anything from your hands to your steering wheel and ultimately back to your face.

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

Thinking About Full-Time RV’ing?

Are you an RV’er? Maybe you’re a Weekend Warrior? – does your RV spend more time in storage or parked in the driveway than on the road? Maybe you’ve dreamed of the time when you can “get outta Dodge” and hit the open road full-time?

As we’ve traveled and worked in RV parks, campgrounds, and museums around the country we’ve made many new friends with other full time RV’ers. We’ve had the opportunity to sit around the campfire or share a dinner together after work. We’ve all shared our experiences with each other and now we we want to share some tips that you might find helpful.

Is the full-time RV lifestyle really for me? If you have a partner, keep in mind that you’ll be spending a LOT of time with each other in close proximity. If you’re not already good with each other, getting rid of the house and changing your lifestyle so drastically might not be for you. Maybe you should just rent a rig and try a long trip away .. maybe a couple months or so to see how things go.

And while you are on this “Trial Run”, don’t chase down every destination you can – slow way down. Remember .. the purpose of this test run is to simulate what your life might be like when (and if) you do make the change to full time RV’ing. Running from location to location to “see everything we can” will more closely simulate a vacation than a lifestyle.

Most full timers stay one or more weeks in any one location .. sometimes even months. This gives one plenty of time to be able to become immersed in the surrounding area seeing lots of new sights and very often developing new lasting friendships that just wouldn’t happen if you’re only in a location for a couple days at a time.

If your trial run goes well then the next step might be to find an RV that fits your needs, likes, and pocketbook.

Again, renting a rig might be a good idea although most folks just find what they THINK they will like the first time. Studies show that RV’ers typically own three RV’s before settling down on one type or brand vs another.

There are just so many choices out there; travel trailer or fifth wheel or motorhome? What length? Gas or diesel engine? New or used? What floor plan suits you? Oh, and yes, what does the pocketbook allow? I’m not going to pretend to think I can tell you what type RV is the best, that’s a decision you’ll have to investigate further and decide on your own.

Read RV blogs written by actual RV’ers, not by professional writers. Follow RV’ing You Tube videos. Join Facebook RV groups. I especially recommend Chuck Woodbury’s “RV HORROR STORIES” on Facebook, you’ll learn a lot about what brands (and dealers) to stay away from.

Our personal experience has been that buying a good used rig is favorable to purchasing new. We had never done any camping of any sort in our 40+ years of marriage. Our first rig was a used 30′ Dutchman 5th wheel, followed a year later by a 34′ Monaco gas motorhome and then after another year we finally settled on our current 36′ Airstream diesel motorhome.

The fifth wheel was parked at a nearby lake adjacent to our pontoon boat, then we bought the gas Monaco after selling the 5’er and the boat. We made a few short trips with the Monaco gasser, but decided to buy the Airstream diesel pusher once we knew that we were going to “take the plunge” and go full-time.

All of these rigs had some problems, but none that convinced us we shouldn’t have made the purchase of a previously owned RV. Even though we had to pay to have some of the repairs made (I made many of the repairs myself), the cost was still FAR BELOW the cost of buying new. And further, we didn’t have the aggravation of trying to get warranty work taken care of. As you’ll learn soon enough, so many dealers use stall tactics to delay completion of your warranty work because they have a higher profit margin doing non-warranty work that’s paid by the customer rather than warranty work paid by the manufacturer. Again .. check out Chuck Woodbury’s “RV Horror Stories” page on Facebook to see what I’m talking about.

What about joining clubs? Our advice is don’t get caught up in subscribing to every magazine and joining every club out there. Many of the magazines are nothing more than corporate-owned platforms for advertising their (or their affiliates) products.

There are lots of clubs out there that cater to those who own a specific BRAND (Monaco, Arctic Fox, Airstream, etc.) of RV, others that attract owners of TYPES of RV’s (Pickup Campers, Fiberglass “egg” style campers, etc.)

Our advice is to look seriously at Escapees RV Club. This club was founded by a husband and wife full-time RV couple in 1978 who saw the need to come up with a way to support other full-time RV’ers. This club offers all the perks the other clubs offer (product discounts, caravans, rallies, training, etc.) but we’ve found it’s so much more than that. It’s truly like a family – our family out on the road. We encourage you to find out more at Escapees.com – at only $39.95 a year it’s a great bargain. If you DO decide to join, please mention our names as those who referred you – we get a little something. It all helps!

Have you thought about how you’re going to finance this new lifestyle? If you sell your sticks ‘n bricks home, you can use that money. Maybe you have an income stream that can work for you on the road. That’s one of the great things about technology today – many of us can work from just about anywhere provided we have a good internet connection. Or maybe your savings and investments you’ve developed can carry you a long way down the road.

Personally we decided we were going to live on our Social Security income and Kathy’s small pension from the school system she retired from while keeping our savings and investment nest egg intact.

In order to be able to do this we sold our modest home and paid off all our outstanding debt so that we were debt-free. We also determined that it would be less stressful (on our emotional well being and our pocketbook) if we were to Workamp and volunteer. We found that by volunteering 10-12 hours each week in exchange for our site and utilities we could live, in essence “rent free” and not receive any taxable income. To find out more about one of our Workamping experiences you can visit this link. You can also just use the search box here on our blog and enter the word “Workamp” or “Volunteer” to learn more about the types of opportunities that we’ve had.

What about an “Exit Plan”? After all, nothing lasts forever. If you DO decide to go all-in and sell the sticks-n-bricks home to hit the road full-time, what might you do when the time comes to get off the road? As we age, we tend to develop health issues that require more attention by medical professionals and could very well cause us to suspend travel – either for some extended period of time (while we recuperate) or permanently. So what might you do should that happen to you?

We’re getting close to 4 years full-time and much of that time we’ve been Workamping and volunteering and you can read more about some of those gigs here. But we have begun to think more and more about when that time comes for us.

Many RV’ers buy or lease an RV lot in a park or campground that they can use to “lay low” for extended periods of time. For us, we have a lifetime lease on an RV lot at Rover’s Roost in Casa Grande, AZ. This lot is ours for as long as we want and when we are not there, the lot is in the rental pool so we receive some income from the rental.

Do we miss our friends and family? Absolutely! We try to make a pass through Ohio once a year to visit. We realize that we don’t t need to be there all the time. With all the technology available to us today to visit online, our once a year visit in person gives us the recharge to head out again.

There are other more boring considerations too like; what to do about mail and packages, how and where do I get health care, what state do I claim as my “residence”, and figuring out what cell phone and internet plan might work best for you on the road.

I’ll talk about each if these issues in upcoming posts, but for now I think I probably have given you a bit to chew on.

So yes, there’s a lot to consider when thinking about making the move to full-time RV life.

I wish you well in this uncertain time and trust you will stay safe wherever you happen to be. Be good to yourself and to each other and “this too shall pass” in time – let’s just hope not too long.

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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