Additional Discounts on TSD Fuel Program Announced

I recently wrote a post telling you about the TSD Logistics Diesel Fuel Savings program. If you missed that post you can read about it here.

Just received some good news from TSD – “We have some great news. TA/Petro has come back to us with some great rates. They will likely be the lowest price out of all of our vendors.”

They are also continuing to work with other fuel vendors to add more opportunities for us to save on diesel fuel at the truck pumps.

We have also added Kwik Trip and Kwik Star to our discount program with 10 cents off per gallon. We are reaching out to others now to see if we can increase to some of the smaller chains. Our current discount network is TA, Petro, Loves, Road Ranger, SAAP Brothers, Ambest, Kwik Trip and Kwik Star.”

I’m going to type up this list of fuel vendors and keep it within arms reach from the driving position so I can be on the lookout for these suppliers.

If they are not already there, all of these suppliers will soon be merged into the TSD/EFS app that we use to find the best price in our area.

The EFS (Electronic Fuel Systems) app is showing that the Loves along I-71 at Bellville, OH has the lowest price on diesel near me.

Here’s a clip of the Loves web site this morning showing their current pump price on diesel at $2.42/gallon.

Not a bad savings, ($.77 per gallon) eh?

If you haven’t already started using the TSD Logistics RV Fuel Savings Card, I encourage you to take advantage of the savings and the ease of use. Yes, they do charge a nominal fee (10% of the SAVINGS you get) but it’s well worth it.

If you have any questions, feel free to write me here in the comments section below or connect with me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/herbnkathyrv and I’ll be glad to share my experiences with you.

I know right now very few of us are traveling the way we were a few months ago but “this too shall pass” and while you’re sitting still now is a good time to take a few minutes to sign up for the program. Besides, right now you know where you’re going to be over the next few weeks … so they’ll have a good address to send you the EFS card.

And when the time comes … safe travels to you.

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

Saving $ on Diesel Fuel (New Program)

As we travel around the country in our diesel motorhome, we’re always looking for savings on fuel. I’ve used the Gas Buddy app to find stations and their pricing, but it seems I most often gravitate to the highway exit stations like Loves, Flying J, and others because of the convenience being right off the exit ramp and knowing I’ll always have plenty of room to navigate in and around the pump islands.

Although Gas Buddy might show a good price on a station in town, I don’t know how the roads and/or traffic might be getting off the freeway and down to the station, and I have no idea how large the lot is or how many pumps they have. When you’re driving a motorhome pulling a Toad (that means you can’t back up) you want to know you can get in and out easily.

Pilot/Flying J has offered discounts to RV’ers that carry the Good Sam (Camping World) Preferred Customer card. This gives gasoline customers five cents per gallon and diesel customers eight cents per gallon discount. This card works in the RV lanes and not in the truck lanes.

But now we have an even better alternative. A commercial trucking company called TSD Logistics out of Texarkana, Texas is now offering it’s negotiated pricing with some of the more popular truck fuel stops to RV’ers who purchase diesel fuel.

Large trucking companies negotiate fuel prices with suppliers based on annual volume. In order to get the best discount possible, TSD saw that by opening their program to RV’ers their total annual volume would increase thereby getting them a better price in future negotiations.

For the RV’er the process is simple. Go to the TSD site and register for an account. There’s no fee for signing up. Once you receive your TSD / EFS debit card in the mail just pull in to any Loves, Petro, T/A (Truckstops of America) and some others. Pull up to THE TRUCK PUMPS. You’ll use your new TSD / EFS card and follow the prompts on the pump screen. It’ll ask you a few questions and then you’ll be able to use the big-boy hose and fill that big diesel tank much more quickly than at the regular or RV pumps.

I blocked the account number for obvious reasons

The TSD/EFS debit card will be attached to your checking account. I recommend that you set up a new checking account just for this purpose. I use ALLY online bank because it’s an interest bearing account and there’s no cost to set up or maintain the account.

With the ALLY app on my phone I can easily transfer funds from our household account to the ALLY account at any time. The pictures below show the ticket from the Loves station in Bushnell Florida along with the screenshot from the EFS app showing my actual cost and savings.

Note pump price of $2.68 per gallon
We paid $1.853 per gallon vs. the pump price of $2.689 / gallon

On our most recent 4000+ mile trip from Arizona through Florida and on up to Ohio, we paid $765 for 391 gallons of diesel fuel and saved $255 off the pump price for an average per gallon price of $1.95 per gallon.

If you’re interested in signing up for the diesel fuel program, check out the web site at https://www.tsdlogistics.com/services/fuel-program/ and if you have any questions about it you can reach out to me in the comment section below or send me an email direct to herbsells@gmail.com

Oh, and by the way … you’ll see on the TSD site that you can get $25 from TSD by referring any of your friends to the program. So if and when you sign up, please indicate that you were referred by Herb Baldwin.

Thanks!

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

Home Safe In Ohio

The first image at the top of this post is of Sara and Kathy out on the side porch working on cutting material to be used in making masks.

It was a whirlwind February and March with our traveling in the coach from Arizona to Mexico for a couple weeks then back to Arizona by the end of February and by the first of March on over to Florida and ultimately up to Ohio (4800 miles total).

The Covid-19 virus put a screw in the works. When we left Arizona for Florida on March 2nd and traveled through New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama there were no precautions taken by us or anyone else that we knew for that matter … but that all changed shortly after we arrived at the Escapee RV Club Sumter Oaks RV Park in Bushnell, Florida.

Our home base for 2 weeks in February (Bushnell, FL)

From then on we were still able to take the car to visit friends and family but hand-shakes and hugs were strictly a no-no. As time went on we were hearing rumblings of “stay-at-home” orders and the possibility of closing state borders to keep residents safe.

Our original plan included a 3 month “layover” in Sylva, North Carolina where we were scheduled to Workamp at Moonshine Creek Campground starting April 1st and running through the July 4th weekend.

Kathy was going to be working in the office greeting new arrivals, handling check-ins and taking reservations in addition to working in the camp store. This would mean she would be face-to-face with customers every day. I would be mostly outside taking care of the grounds, helping arriving RV’ers get parked along with being responsible for the daily cleaning of the bathrooms in addition to the new added task of 3x/day disinfecting of same.

As we started hearing reports of the virus and the precautions that different states were taking, we started to use Social Distancing as well. We did not go anywhere that there might have been a large crowd – Ooops – I just remembered. We DID go to Weeki-Wachee near Brooksville Florida to see the mermaid show. We went with our good friends Matt and Sherry on March 13th. They had just checked into the same park we were at in Bushnell while traveling from Tampa Florida to their newly acquired RV lot in Hondo Texas. Matt and Sherry had plans of a trip to Ireland in April but by now they knew that wasn’t going to happen.

You can click on any of the thumbnails below to see a larger image

From that point on however we were only with our friends or family and at all times with only 1 other couple at a time. We always kept our distance and washed our hands regularly.

We have always fulfilled our Workamping commitments in the past and felt badly that we needed to back out on this North Carolina job, but under the circumstances felt it best for us to cancel. With all the uncertainty, we didn’t want to get stuck anywhere if they did decide to try to limit travel and close any state lines.

After visiting my sister Marilynn and brother-in-law Rick in Jacksonville, we left Florida and as we traveled northward we stayed overnight at Elks lodges two nights along with one night in an RV park. In all cases, we never saw or interacted with anyone in person. The arrangements for our stay were made either by phone or online.

We are back in Ohio. Although we claim Texas as our domicile now, Ohio is home in our hearts. Our children and their families are here along with so many good friends we’ve made over the last 30+ years living in Mount Gilead. We’ve missed them all so much and now we’ll have (hopefully) plenty of opportunity later this summer to make up for lost time.

The coach is at our son and daughter-in-law’s home about a mile down the road while we are living up in the bunkhouse above the garage at our daughter and son-in-laws home just north of Mount Gilead, Ohio. We made it here late March and spent the first few days getting the bunkhouse organized for us to live in for the next few months. We took some of Sara & Stu’s belongings over to the coach (for storage) and brought other things from the coach over here.

It was kinda funny actually and a good thing that our home on wheels is parked only a mile away. We’d make a list of things to bring over here and drive over to David and Lisa’s place to get those items. Later that day we were already making another list of things we forgot to bring. This went on for at least 3 or 4 days! We’re blaming that on old age …

The Bunkhouse above the garage

In addition to working on the bunkhouse, we’re keeping busy here helping Stu and Sara with the annual spring chores. There’s always springtime tasks like; raking out the flower beds, picking up fallen sticks and branches from the many trees around the house, cutting the grass, and cutting and splitting firewood for the next winter season.

I enjoy doing these chores … I need the exercise and enjoy working outside (provided it’s over 50 degrees and sunny) and the kids can use the help.

Moving firewood over to the splitter
Kathy, grandson Garret, and Herb splitting and stacking firewood
One of my favorite pastimes

The first image at the top of this post is of Sara and Kathy out on the side porch working on cutting material to be used in making masks.

Stu is (thankfully) still working during this time. His physical rehab work at the nursing home is considered essential and so he is still working. Sara, who was driving a mini-bus for the county’s transit system has taken a lay-off. Their normal crew of 18 drivers has been cut down to only five for the remaining runs to medical needs that include dialysis and other essential services.

For years before we left Ohio and hit the road full time, we made a regular Friday night ritual of having dinner with 3 other couples of very close friends. Often we went out to a restaurant and occasionally we enjoyed each other’s company and dinner at one of our homes.

We were certainly looking forward to meeting up with our “Friday Night Gang” again when we eventually got back to Ohio after our North Carolina gig. This would have happened right after the July 4th weekend.

But in the meantime, we’re using ZOOM to meet virtually. We tried it Saturday night and it worked great! There are four couples and each of us had a corner of the screen and we could all see each other during the whole 40 minute meet-up. It was great and so much better than emailing, texting, or even talking individually on the phone. What made it so special and fun was that we could all see each other’s expression and body language just as it would be if we were around the dinner table from each other. And when any one of us said something funny, we could all laugh together! Although we couldn’t give and get hugs, it was wonderful to have that personal connection again. We’re making a date for 7:00 p.m. every Friday night from here on out until we can once again meet in person.

Here’s an example of what the ZOOM app looks like on your computer

So we are doing very well under the circumstances. We miss seeing our friends, we miss being able to come and go as we please. We are staying on the grounds here at Stu and Sara’s home as Sara is doing the grocery shopping. There are plenty of projects to keep me busy, although Stu is the one to stop at Home Depot or Lowes on his way home from work to pick up any materials or supplies we might need.

I was saying to Kathy just this morning … I want to go out for breakfast again … but that’ll have to wait.

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 look forward to hearing from you.

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 time in Florida and Covid-19

Things have changed dramatically over the past couple weeks. The virus has seemed to have exploded and as a result we’ve had to carefully consider our travel and visitation plans.

We are now in Wauchula Florida where as of yesterday all restaurants are closed except for take-out.

Social distancing and self-quarantine are the norm. The streets and sidewalks, although not barren, are considerably less crowded.

Before arriving here, we were able to enjoy visits with Dave and Robyn in Crestview, Matt & Sherry along with Larry & Darlene in Bushnell, Ed & Sandy in Orlando, Mike & Deb along with Chuck & Joanne in Wildwood, and Dane & Shiela in Bushnell.

Dave and Robyn. Dave and I have been good friends since grade school
RV’er friends Larry & Darlene, Matt & Sherry along with Kathy and me. We’ve known these folks since we started RV’ing and Workamping in 2016
Ed and Sandy. Ed lived across the street from me starting in 2nd grade
We’ve known Chuck & Joanne since 2017. (Sorry I missed getting a pix of Mike & Deb)
Shiela and Dane (who I’ve known since grade school)

But now things are different. We have to be super conscious of who we spend time with, and from what distance we socialize.

Although some might say we’re being reckless, the fact is .. we take our home with us, we meet and spend time with only one other couple at a time, and we’re careful to wash our hands often and be cognoscent of what surfaces we touch.

We moved the rig from Bushnell to Wauchula on Thursday because our RV friends Paul and Chris have been here a couple months and since we wanted to head to Fort Myers to visit Dave & Judy, Wauchula was a good overnight spot along the way and we could catch up on things with Paul and Chris.

We’re parked in Overflow. The shop and a unit in storage are behind us, otherwise we are alone.
Here’s another shot of the beautiful Florida SKP RESORT in Wauchula Florida

Unfortunately, the park instituted a new rule the day we arrived. Since we were coming from (who knows where) we are to self-quarantine and have no access to any amenities like the park clubhouse, laundry, or swimming pool. Think maybe we should get a credit against our 3 night rent?

We also couldn’t visit with Paul and Chris while we were here because of the new rule. Bummer.

So we stayed Thursday night, got up Friday morning and leaving the coach at the park, we drove our car down to Ft. Myers to spend the night at Dave & Judy’s home.

We’ve known Dave & Judy since high school

We had a wonderful visit with Dave and Judy. They took us for a drive Friday night down to Old Town Ft Myers where we were planning on having a nice dinner .. unfortunately the restaurants got the order from the governor at 4pm that afternoon that ALL restaurants in the state were to close their dining rooms. Fr Myers was like a ghost town as we walked the streets.

Almost NOBODY downtown Ft Myers Friday night

Tomorrow we will leave Wauchula and head up to Jacksonville where we’ll spend a couple days visiting with my sister Marilyn and her husband Rick.

After that we’ll move on up to Jekyll Island Georgia where we’ll spend a couple days with friends that we attended church with in Mt Gilead over 30 years ago. They live in Iowa now but usually winter at Jekyll Island.

From there we are scheduled to move on up to North Carolina for a Workamping gig in April, May, June and through the July 4th holiday weekend. We’re having 2nd thoughts about whether that’s a wise move or not. More on that later as the time gets closer. Actually … the decision may be made for us by others (government)

More later .. in the meantime if you’re traveling then safe travels to you. If you’re staying put, then our best wishes for your good health through this difficult 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

Only a Couple Hiccups

We’ll, after a few 400+ mile days we finally made it to our destination of Holt, Florida. We left Casa Grande AZ Monday about noon after my medical appointment and wanted to get to Holt by Friday morning since my friend Dave has every other Friday off work.

We got settled in to a great little State Park just west of Holt, Florida and only about 25 miles from Dave and Robyn’s house.

Our site at Blackwater River State Park

Once we got settled in we drove on over to Crestview and spent the rest of the day with our good friends who we hadn’t seen in just about two years.

Dave and I left the girls at the house and ran over to the local hardware to get some cable and clamps to replace one of the broken safety cables on our tow bar. I must’ve not connected it fully when we left Arizona and it dragged on the highway 1700 miles and just chewed off the end. Imagine that!

So we started back to the house and something just didn’t feel right. It felt as though the car was sluggish. I had to give it more gas to go and it didn’t want to coast when I took my foot off the accelerator. I suspected one of the brake calipers had locked up .. unfortunately I was correct.

But Dave knew a shop just down the street and we drove it right over.

Our little Saturn up on the rack

Within an hour he had the rotor and all the front brake pads replaced. Great service!

We went back and picked up the girls and went to a great little fresh seafood restaurant right around the corner from their house. We had eaten here two years ago with Dave and Robyn and got free meals from a total stranger that night. We were kinda hoping for the same this year,😁 but it didn’t work that way. But nonetheless we had great meals with great friends.

Emerald Isle Seafood @ Crestview FL

Today they came to the campground and picked us up and we all visited a great little Arts & Music Festival in the river town of Milton west of Crestview heading toward Pensacola. We enjoyed the sunshine, the ice cream, and our time together.

They’re having a duck race on the river to raise money for some good cause (I don’t remember what)
Kathy thought they were cute .. she bought a Zebra Duck

Kathy bought a 🦆 for $5 .. she could win $1500! We won’t know until the race happens on July 4th. They have our phone number to call when we win.

After dinner, Dave and Robyn dropped us off back at the campground. We had just walked into the coach and taken our jackets off and there was a knock at the door. Kathy answered and the fella outside introduced himself as Dave Butzky who we went to high school with back in the early 70’s!!!!!

We invited them in and had a great time together. Thanks to Facebook (we have been FB Friends for about a year now) Dave saw that we were close by so they drive over for a visit!

Dave and Pam

Dave and Pam have been full-timing for about two years now and so we have a lot in common and enjoyed our time together. We look forward to the next time we can meet up!

Lots more to come. We’ll be in Florida for the next two weeks and there’s a lot more to see and do, so we’ll be sharing that as the days roll on.

See ya’ next time! Till then .. be good to yourself and those around you.

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

Making Progress

Were doing a lot better than this trucker we saw today.

On I-10, crossed the median and rolled.

It was raining almost as soon as we pulled out of Deming, NM and still hasn’t totally stopped now in Sonora, TX.

We came across this poor soul that I’m assuming just didn’t handle the slight (slick) curve on the highway and the huge load of steel oil field pipe he was carrying just had so much momentum that it just pushed him to the left off the road and through the barrier. Thank God the road was lightly traveled and nobody in the eastbound lanes (including us) were hurt or worse.

We were only planning to drive about 300 miles or so each day so we made our way to the Pecos Rest Area on I-10. It’s a very nice, new, well lit and secure rest area with 24 hour security and surveillance cameras. It also a a great visitor center.

The Visitor Center inside the Pecos Rest Area

Even though we had driven 311 miles, it was only about 1:00 pm so we grabbed a snack out of the fridge and continued east a total of 471 miles to the Sonora Rest Area where we will spend the night.

Our home for the night at the Sonoran Rest Area
They have a lot of these nice picnic shelters at Pecos

There’s a little more highway noise here because we don’t have that nice big visitor center between us and the roadway. But we’ll deal with it. Beggers can’t be choosers, right?

The on-board engine monitor

I’m happy with the way the rig is performing. My Tire Pressure Monitoring System assures us that all the tires (including the one I took a chunk out of) are holding up well and we seem to be running somewhere between 7.5 and 8.0 miles per gallon average on our recent trips.

We’ve moved into the Central Time Zone and it’s a little after 8pm. I still have to look at our trip tomorrow to see how far we might get and I need to reach out to our friend Dale in San Antonio to see whether or not he’s working tomorrow and if we might meet for coffee or lunch on our way through town.

For now .. take care and travel safe. We’ll be in touch soon.

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

Heading East Night 1

I had a last-minute medical test Monday morning that should’ve taken about 45 minutes but it end up being about 2 hours due to some miscommunication between my doctor and the hospital. But in any case it led to a delayed departure from the Roost.

The rig was all ready except to pull the plug at the pedestal because we had worked much of the day Sunday getting organized both in the rig and the shed.

When I got back Kathy had everything inside tucked safely away in it’s appropriate”travel” location so all I had to do was turn the key, pull the rig out to the street so we could hook up the car, and then head east out of Arizona and into New Mexico.

Our plan is to drive about 300 miles a day to get us to Bushnell Florida by Saturday night. We realize that’s a perfect world .. there may be delays and we may not be able to do 300 mes every day. But that’s our goal.

We pulled in to the Escapee Dream Catcher RV Park at Deming, NM about 6:00 p.m. Park Manager Kyle greeted us and got us checked in to a nice dry camping site for $8.50 for the nite.

The clubhouse has an honor system canteen with candy bars and ice cream which we will refrain from visiting because we already had our ice cream today when we visited the Dairy Queen counter at “The Thing” roadside attraction and convenience store on I-10.

The Bowling Travel Stop featuring “The Thing”

Here’s some pix of the store inside. Talk about tourist stuff – Wow! They have it all

Shirts, hats, mugs, and more
The entrance to ‘The Thing”

While we were parked at “The Thing” and we took the opportunity to stretch our legs going in to get our (small) Mint Oreo Blizzards, we also ate our “healthy” lunch back in the coach.

Our typical On The Road lunch😁

I know it doesn’t look like a “healthy” lunch but it’s a lot better than a big bacon cheeseburger and fries. Yes, we have the blizzard and some Veggie Stix, but we’ve also got celery, string cheese, pickles, tuna (in the pink bowl), and cottage cheese.

Dinner tonight will be tossed green salad and Kathy’s homemade Cabbage/tomato/onion/celery/carrot/potato soup.

We enjoy staying at Dream Catcher RV Park.  It’s an Escapee park (discounted stays), you can walk next door to the motel to get a drink at the bar or dinner at their restaurant, and it’s a very E-Z on and off to/from the interstate.

Our dry camping site for the night
The clubhouse at Dream Catcher

The sun is setting, it’ll be an early night tonight. Since we are dry camping, we’ll have no hook-ups to disconnect in the am.

So I know I’ll be up before sunrise. I’ll make our coffee and watch the early morning news while Kathy’s still asleep. Once she’s up and out of the shower well turn the key and keep heading east.

Our plan for tomorrow night is to stay at an eastbound Rest Area just west of Fort Stockton, Texas.

Till then … Be safe out there. Thanks so much for riding along.

Oh by the way … Have you ever been to see “The Thing”? Let us know in the comments section below.

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

Made It Through The Gauntlet (Kind of)

On Wednesday morning three rigs left our other RV friends at La Jolla Beach Camp and headed back to the good ‘ol U.S.A. The rest of the group (24 rigs) were moving on the same day but heading south further into Baja California. Some were going over to the Sea of Cortez at San Felipe while another group was heading further south to Playa Santispac to camp on the water front and do some whale-watching.

One group actually went across Rt 3 to San Felipe and the other group down Rt 1

Thanks to those in the group that had experience crossing back over the border at Tecate, we made it to the wall just fine. Driving north from La Jolla Beach through Ensenada just after rush hour made the trip easier than leaving earlier, but still a lot of traffic, a lot of potholes, and very light painted lines showing separation of lines. You gotta keep both hands on the wheel!

While we waited in line to cross – all along the side of the road are vendors trying to sell you snacks, drinks, and trinkets. This is just one of them. Most just walk up and down the street trying to push their wares on you through the window.

After about 45 minutes we finally made it up to the U.S. Customs crossing inspection gate at Tecate. They came in our coach and looked in our fridge where they then took our eggs and a yellow pepper. They couldn’t tell where these were purchased and they don’t want Mexico meat, eggs, or veggies coming back across the border.

Then the 3 rigs drove on another 20 minutes back to Potrero County Park to camp for the night. We all went out to dinner together, said our goodbyes and heading to our respective destinations (ours to our lease lot at Casa Grande AZ) the next morning.

Ron & Liz (from FL), Liz’ brother Matt (from NY), Jim & Luanne (from OH), and us

We made it back safely (6 hour trip) from CA to AZ stopping once for fuel along the way. And that’s another story – I gotta tell you about how we saved $.78 / gallon with our new truckers fuel card! – but that will be for another post.

When we got back the first thing I wanted to do was wash the rig. Here’s where I found a torn tire – oh no!

Turns out when we left La Jolla Beach I cut a corner a little too close and there was a jagged rock that cut into our drivers side rear tire. The hole is about the size of a quarter (or $10 peso coin) and at it’s deepest is about 3/8″ deep. The “flap” is attached at one end.

I called my local (Coolidge AZ) tire /auto repair shop. He services a lot of Border Patrol and prison buses and I thought he would have a tire in stock. No luck. Loren asked me if I could see the steel belts – my answer was no. He suggested that I trim off the “flap” and not worry about it. He’s had enough experience with heavy truck and construction vehicle tires that I trust his judgement.

But instead of cutting the flap off, I decided to use my Rubber Contact Cement to glue the flap closed so that the wind from being on the road won’t rip the hole any larger.

So we’re back at Rover’s Roost for the weekend and leaving Monday morning to head to Florida. This will be about a 1700 mile trip and will take a week or more to get there. We’ll spend the 2nd and 3rd week of March visiting friends and family in Florida and then the 4th week we will drive up to North Carolina where we will be working in a small privately owned campground right near the Blue Ridge Parkway starting April 1st and going through July 4th.

’til next time … take care and thanks for riding along.

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

Giving Back to Our Hosts

NOTE: This post was started about a week earlier but I ran out of data on my Mexican (Telcel) phone and so I no longer had a hot spot for wifi to my computer, so I’m finishing up this post while we are back at Rover’s Roost in Casa Grande Arizona where my Visible phone service and hot spot (with no data cap) is working great.

Now, back to the story …

Yes, we’re really enjoying our visit to the Baja with our new Escapee friends. Although we’ve been members of the club about 5 years now, there’s no way you can get to know everybody as there are currently (I think) over 50,000 members nationwide.

The main entrance to La Jolla Beach Camp

To find out more about Chapter 8, visit their web site at this link. And here is the link to the Chapter 8 Facebook page.

And although Chapter 8 has been coming to Mexico for 37 years, the people that travel with them change from year to year. Some have been coming for years while others (like us) have made this their first trip with the chapter and very likely the first trip to Mexico. They don’t always travel to this side of the Baja. Sometimes it’s San Felipe, Rocky Pointe, or even Mexico City.

We’ve been given the opportunity to give back to the communities in which we stay. At our stay at the zoo in Guadalupe Valley we were offered reduced camping fees and free admittance to the zoo (even when they were closed to the public) and in return we helped the keepers in the care and feeding of the animals and their habitats.

We learned that the zoo was founded by Mr. Jiminez and his wife Perla as a service to the forgotten and abandoned animals and the children of the community. They wanted a place that all families could come and enjoy wholesome family time together not only to learn a little about the wildlife kingdom but also to enjoy some recreation together.

The Jiminez family also owned the Jersey Dairy and for many years the dairy supported the zoo financially. Recently the dairy was sold to another corporation and the zoo is now a stand-alone non-profit zoo. It still has Perla (Mrs.) Jiminez as Director and the family is still involved in the management and operation, but the funding is FAR below where it was just a few years ago.

As a result they are struggling to feed and care for the animals. A lot of their “residents” are brought to the zoo by the government that has confiscated these illegally owned animals at ports of entry. Although the government delivers the animals to the zoo to be cared for, they provide NO financial assistance for their care and can come and remove these same animals at any time. That’s a real frustration for the keepers.

We (Chapter 8) members will also help the zoo by ordering items from their Amazon Wish List and some of us brought items down and hand delivered these things to the keepers while we were there. The keepers here are much like our teachers back in the states in that they buy a lot of their own supplies to care for their “flock”. Many of the 13 employees at the zoo are single and are so attached that they think of the animals in their care as their “family”.

In case you are interested in seeing what sorts of things the keepers need – and maybe you’re even moved to help as well, you can check out the Amazon Wish List link here.

When we arrived here at La Jolla Beach Camp, our hosts the Pabloff Family introduced us to the need at a local “Grandparents House” about 10 miles away from our camp. Our Wagon-master and Charity Committee had previously arranged to have us form a work party and provide them with about 200 man hours work to insulate one of their new living units.

When we arrived on site we were introduced to the husband and wife team, Angelica and Nicholas (both pastors) who started this mission along with the help of Justin who’s family is doing mission work both at this home and another one a few miles down the road.

We arrive at the site about 10am and greet some of the residents who were waiting to meet us outside.
Justin gives us an overview of the home and the history of the Pastors and their work

It’s really a pretty remarkable story. Mrs. Pastor fourteen years ago found an old woman sitting on her front lawn. The lady looked to be alone and unfortunate so Angelica invited her into her home for lunch. They chatted and got to know each other. At the end of the lunch, Angelica told the lady she was welcome to return for lunch again the next day. The lady thanked her and asked if she could possibly bring a friend …. and so the beginning.

One friend led to another and another and another. Pretty soon Angelica was feeding 20 homeless old people on buckets and tree stumps in her front yard.

In Mexico there is very little money for programs like we have in the states and further these people that Angelica was meeting were mostly forgotten. They have no family that will admit to being related to them, they have little or no education, they have no way to travel, and they have not the knowledge or experience of how to ask for help. They are typically migrant farm workers who historically have lived the nomadic lifestyle traveling from farm to farm working in the fields and living on what little meager existence they can eek out with the wages their farmer pays.

Angelica knew there must be some public assistance available for these poor souls. She took one of them into a government office and introduced her as her grandmother. The agreed that Grandma qualified for a pension of $25 every other month. She then took another and introduced him as Grandfather. Then another and then another. You know what happened next … by the 5th time they knew something was up. She told the government agents the truth. They told Angelica that they were going to make a surprise visit to see for themselves.

When they arrived and saw what she was doing – unfortunately they couldn’t help financially with anything more than the $25 per person every other month. But the COULD provide her with a building close by where she could prepare and serve the meals. Soon after and still today, she and her volunteer helpers are serving meals to about 200 forgotten souls on a daily basis.

But she knew there was still more to be done. These people needed homes. They were living under sheets of cardboard under trees. The more fortunate ones had acquired plastic tarps to live under and were begging on the streets. These are sick and aged people in their 70’s and 80’s who could no longer do manual labor.

That’s where our new friend Miguel Pabloff comes in. Mike helped them obtain the land on which to start a small community of nice clean stick-built homes for these people. All the work and all the materials have been donated. Angelica and her husband Nickolas receive no government funding except the $25 previously mentioned.

We will be insulating the orange building. The purple and green buildings are completed and occupied with 5 residents in each building – each with their own room

Currently there are 15 residents and the Pastors do all the cooking, cleaning, bathing, activities and more. The do get volunteer help as well. The day we were there two student nurses came to check on all the residents and will be coming weekly for the next six months while they are still in school. Other volunteers come (unsolicited) from churches and neighborhoods in the area to help because they’ve heard of the unselfish work that Nicholas and Angelica are doing and want to help.

One of the 5 resident rooms in each of the finished buildings. Each resident has a bed, a chair, a toilet, sink, a small table, and a clothes closet

Although the resident rooms are very plain, we were told that to these folks, it’s a castle. Most of them had been living on the streets.

The rooms are spartan and very clean. There is one very large shower (to accommodate a wheelchair) in each building. When the residents want community or meals, they need to get over to the community dining room. Some are ambulatory with the help of canes or walkers while others need to be pushed along in wheelchairs.

The dining hall / community room where we ate beef quesadillas for lunch
The new kitchen under construction – currently Angelica prepares ALL the meals for the 15 residents and her own family on-site in her home

Remember, clicking on any of the thumbnail photo will open a larger picture so you can see more detail.

Our own Malcolm Russ entertained the residents with his violin and beautiful singing voice

The pictures in the gallery below show tables filled with donation items (food and clothing) for the Grandparents home and also to distribute to some of the less fortunate out in the country.

We collected (from ourselves) the donations and then on Saturday night we had an auction where we got lubed up with $2 Margaritas beforehand and then bid on items given by ourselves to our “other” selves. We raised about $4000 in the auction. This is just part of the monies that Chapter 8 will be giving back to four different Service Projects (charities) here in Baja California before we leave.

Thanks for riding along … More to come in our next post.

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

Movin’ On South

I’ve lost track of what day it is … easy to do when you’re retired and don’t have to worry about a schedule to keep. We have a Wagon Master (and a Tail Gunner) and because we’ve broken down into four traveling groups – we just listen to our group leader to tell us when it’s time to attend a gathering or to load up and head out. Kinda’ like school children listening to the headmaster!

In any event, we are now a little further down the Baja Penninsula to a great little camp on the beach (Pacific Ocean side). It’s called La Jolla (LaHoya) Beach Camp and it’s just south of Ensanada.

Our route from Potrero Pack (California) to La Jolla Beach (Baja California)
Our (25) rigs parked up on the bluff looking north over All Saints Bay @ La Jolla Beach
Kathy’s out for her first stroll on the beach

Once we got everyone parked and they all got settled, we walked across the street to the neighborhood social hall where we were treated to a superb welcome dinner presented by our host family the Pavloffs. We were offered vegetarian Mexican Lasagna, veggie kabobs and/or meat meals that included seasoned beef tacos, beans, rice, salad and Flan for desert along with unlimited servings of local wine, Mexican rice drink (Horchata) and Hibisucus Tea

We listened to a short history of the Pabloff family and their impact on the area of Punta Banda. The Pabloff family over the years has been very good to the general Ensenada area and the Punta Banda Peninsula in particular. Read more about the genealogy and their connection to Russia by following this link.

Alejandro Pabloff and his wife (both entered New York from Russia in the 1920’s) then came to Baja California from Los Angles in the 1940’s and bought land here and ultimately developed not only a beach front campground but also a large community for ex-pats.

They had seven sons – we met Miguel (Mike) and Esteban (Steve) and each has taken an active role in the family business. Mike runs the camp, Steve runs the farm and others manage or work in the auto repair shop, the market, the salon, or any of the other businesses the family owns. They also employ probably hundreds of local nationals to perform both skilled labor and manual day labor at any of their locations throughout the peninsula. They keep everybody busy and productive and those that can’t work get help (food and housing) from the family.

There is also a huge (hundreds of homes) hillside community of U.S. citizens who lease land from the Pavloffs and build their homes (seasonal or year-round) here. You have to be a Mexican citizen to own land here but you can lease land here and own your home.

There is a homeowners association here who’s purpose is to join together to enrich not only their own lives but those locals in the area as well. The social hall, the library, the thrift store, and the theater are for the benefit of everyone.

We were treated to dinner in the social hall, we visited the thrift shop and library this morning, and we’ll be having our benefit auction and enjoying a performance by the Folklorio Dancers in the Gertrude Pearlman Theater on Saturday.

Sometime today we’re going to help move all the auction items that we brought over to the theater for the auction Saturday afternoon.

Maybe I should explain a little more about Chapter 8 and why we are all here on this trip. I’ll copy this info from the Chapter 8 web site that you are invited to visit and find out more for yourself.

(From the web site) The purpose of Chapter 8 is to:

  • Introduce Escapees Chapter 8 Mexican Connection members to RV travel in Mexico, its scenery, traditions, food, culture and folklore.
  • Travel South of the border and give back more than the enriching experiences we gain, through charity donations and business patronization.
  • Enable Chapter 8 members to feel comfortable to return to Mexico for future rallies as well as their own road trip adventures.

This is the 37th year that the Escapees RV Club Chapter 8 “Mexican Connection” group has been coming to Mexico and I’m not sure how many of those years have included giving back to the communities that they have visited, but it’s probably at least a dozen or so.

This year we/they have designated four local groups as our Service Projects and all the travelers have brought down donations of food, clothing, bedding, toys, and more to share with these previously identified groups. In addition, we have brought with us (or purchased locally) items for our “in house” auction that will take place on Saturday where we will bid on each other’s donations in order to raise cash funds to be given to these very needy groups.

More to come as we continue to enjoy our stay in Baja California with our new friends.

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
NOTE: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.