We’re Ready For Something Different – What’ll It Be?

We’ve been on the road now for about 18 months and traveled from Vermont to California and the Upper Penninsula of Michigan down to central Florida and so many points in between.  Here’s a map showing where we’ve been.

Where We’ve Been

We’ve been working along the way.  We’ve been working in RV parks as hosts and workampers.  Generally, this means that we put in 15-20 hours per week in exchange for our RV site and utilities.  This saves us about $500 each month while at the same time giving us enough time off to immerse ourselves in the area and see the sights.

We’ve come to realize that although our experiences so far have been wonderful and rewarding, we want to move a little more often than once every 3-6 months.  We seem to get “hitch-itch” at about a month in to our engagement.  That’s why we’ve made arrangements to work at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in October and the Big Tent RV show at Quartzsite Arizona in January.  And we’ll pick up other jobs in between.

In an effort to become a little more mobile and move on down the road a little more often while still being able to work in exchange for our site, we’ve discovered another opportunity.  There’s a whole big movement out there that not only would accomplish OUR goal, but serves others and our Lord at the same time.

Enter Christian mobile work groups.

Along the way, we’ve met several folks that are part of one of these Christian based mobile work teams.  We’ve found about a half dozen active groups (and there are probably more).  Generally these volunteers work as teams in local churches, bible camps, orphanages, schools, and even some disaster stricken areas.

The host church (or agency) typically provides the RV site and utilities along with at least one hearty meal during the day.  The 3 or 4 work days per week are usually about 6 hours long and the week is interspersed with sufficient group worship, prayer, and fellowship time around the campfire or on “day trips” away from camp.

The video below shows our trip this past week over to Piney Woods Baptist Encampment in Woodlake, Texas about 90 minutes northeast of Houston.

We found out that Piney Woods is one of 39 Baptist camps in Texas.

This is an awesome camp that is capable of hosting about 1000 campers at a time and boasts multiple buildings that include lodging, dining, worship, and recreation centers.

The camp has about 25 full-time staff to support the programming and the facilities and besides the “mobile” volunteers that I’m talking about in this blog post, they also hire 60-70 summer college aged camp counselors to work with the camp attendees.

I could go on and on, but I encourage you to visit http://www.pineywoodscamp.com/ to find out all about this wonderful camp for kids and adults alike.

In the meantime, take a look at the video below to come along with us on our tour!  After the video, I’ve listed some links to the Christian based mobile volunteer work groups that we’ve discovered in case you’re interested in learning more about them.

Kathy and I have already joined Volunteer Christian Builders and have sent applications to join NOMADS and RVICS.  We plan on being able to serve one or more of these groups 2 or 3 times each year in between our other gigs.  Maybe we’ll even meet you at one of these worthwhile projects!

Until then, safe travels to you and yours

Our day trip to Ludington State Park

We took a drive over to Ludington (about 45 miles west) yesterday so we could check out the beach at Lake Michigan and we wanted to see the lake and stream inside Lugington State Park.

The beach was empty, still a little cold here in Michigan, but I’m sure there will be some diehards out there on the beach come Memorial Day weekend.

Looks like a great spot to camp, fish, kayak, and canoe – we’ll be sure to come on back here in the summer when it’s warmer.

First Day in Michigan @ Proud Lake Recreation Area

Our “home” parked in front of the bunkhouse

We left Mount Gilead on Monday morning May 1st.  We had parked in the driveway for the month of April, were able to see our doctors, get our taxes done, attend worship at our church, and have plenty of time to visit with family and good friends.

While we were “home”, we took advantage of the time available to us to sell a lot of what we had left behind when we started this new full-time RV’ing lifestyle last September.

Sara & Stu

Since our daughter and son-in-law were renting the house from us in our absence, it made our departure much easier as we had literally left nearly everything behind.

But now that we have confirmed that this full-time thing is for us (at least for the next few years), we want to sell the house so that we can be totally debt-free.  Selling the house will free up money that will allow us to pay off what little debt we have.  Craigslist and Facebook allowed us to sell thousands of dollars worth of household and yard/garden tools & equipment in very short order.  I sold Dewalt drills, a Mastertow Tow Dolly, Agrifab lawn sweeper, Cushman golf cart, and a whole lot more.  It was amazing how quickly things sold.

We’re not worried about where we might live when the time comes to hang up our keys to the coach.  We still own four rental units in Mount Gilead with great renters in each, but if push comes to shove we could ask any of the tenants to leave and we could take their place.

Another alternative is for us to take advantage of the life-time RV Lot lease program at any of the Escapee’s Co-Op Parks around the south, southwest, and northwest parts of the country.  Depending on the park and the amenities, lifetime leases are available for anywhere from about $7000 to $25,000 (one time payment).  Once the lease is paid, the only on-going costs are electricity and an annual Operating & Maintenance fee that usually runs $600-$1200 yearly.  And the really great part is that when we are “done” with the lot, whether it be 1 year later or 20 years down the road, we turn it back over to the Co-Op and get 100% of our lease money invested back!

But that’s on down the road a bit.  Right now our plan now is to spend a week here in Southeast Michigan where we can visit friends and family that we’ve known for 40 years or more and then we’ll move on up the road at the end of the week to the Grand Rapids and Holland, Michigan areas to see more “old” friends and then up to Baldwin, Michigan (near Ludington) to start our summer workamping job by May 15th.

We are camped at Proud Lake Recreation Area just off Wixom Road in Commerce Twp, MI.  This is just north of I-96 about 5 miles.  There’s about 4700 acres of wooded wilderness here with miles of trails and the campground offers 130 (electric) sites along with a small beach and boat launch.  The shower house was built new in 2016 and offers very attractive and comfortable private bath and shower rooms.  Here’s a slide show of a few pictures of the campground facilities.

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Today (Tuesday May 2nd) we spent a few hours (and lunch at a great Mexican Restaurant) with Jeff & Sandy (Overmeyer) Houghton.  Sandy is the cute little girl with blond curls on the left in the first row (our 2nd grade class picture)

Mrs. Fosmoe’s 2nd grade class, Bulman Elementary

Jeff, Sandy, Kathy, and I all were in High School together and graduated in 1972.

We’ve got more planned for the rest of the week and we’ll fill that in as we go along.

Kathy, Herb, Sandy, & Jeff