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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We are closing in on finishing up our 3rd year of living the full-time RV lifestyle.
The road has been a good one to us. Not that it’s been all fun, frolic, and laughs but it has brought us closer together – not only physically but emotionally as well.
Kathy and I just celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary with an Amtrak trip to Glacier National Park. During our lifetime together, a lot of that time was “alone” time. In one of my early career positions I was gone “on the road” nearly every weekday, sleeping in motels Sunday through Thursday nights somewhere in my multi-state territory.
Even when I was at home, my time was consumed with working on the “work” business from home involved in conference calls and drafting of sales proposal letters along with being active in the only real hobby I ever had … local ham radio clubs and events.
Kathy had a handful of different jobs over the years (most importantly raising the kids and keeping the house together) with most of the time working in the school system so she could be off work and at home when the kids were at home. We were fortunate because with her job schedule we didn’t need to hire child care.
But now our lives are a polar opposite of that earlier time. We are together ALL THE TIME. We travel side by side, we share meals, we do the mundane tasks of grocery shopping, house cleaning and laundry together, and we sleep next to each other. I think we have both come to appreciate each other far more than earlier in our marriage. We’ve always had a lot of mutual love and respect for each other – rarely raising our voices to the other. But before … we had other things to occupy our time. If we felt the urge for some “space”, we could easily separate ourselves from the other. Now on the other hand – it’s not so easy. After all, we live in a 300 sf box with a little bit of green space around us.
Our three years together in our “Green Machine” Airstream motorhome has given us the luxury at this stage in our lives of … in a way … becoming one.
When we started this lifestyle three years ago, we realized that in order to travel from place to place and enjoy the local life, we needed to have some assistance with the household budget. We sold our house, paid off what little remaining debt we had and decided we would live off our social security income and a small pension Kathy had from working at the school system. We decided we would keep the retirement nest egg (IRA’s, investments) alone for future use when (if) we get off the road. Oh sure, it’ll happen sometime. We will either run out of good health or run out of our love for the road, but by leaving our investments alone so they can continue to grow, at least we won’t HAVE to come off the road because we’ve run out of money.
Although I had no employer monthly pension income (I was self employed the last 20 years) we had purchased an annuity years ago that could now provide a supplement to our Social Security along with Kathy’s small pension.
Yes we could “make it” on those income sources alone, it was going to be tight. We’d have to always be scrutinizing the budget each month and we’d have little room if any for any emergency expense or extravagance.
Somewhere, somehow … we discovered Workamping/Hosting/Volunteering and the opportunities it can provide. These experiences have given us the opportunity to travel and have rent-free sites and utilities. In addition, these opportunities have given us something else that we never really expected … new and lasting friendships.
Workamping/Camp Hosting/Volunteering opportunities are generally long-term commitments. What I mean by that is that most often (but not always) your “employer” would like to have their “staff” on board for the season or even year-round.
Starting out, our first gig was 6 months long – the winter season in Arizona.
Although our owner/managers (George & Sigrid) were wonderful to us, treated us so well – like family … we ultimately decided when making arrangements for future opportunities we would look for more “short term” commitments. We’ve since been working one-month to 3-month gigs.
This way we can continue to travel around the country and have more new experiences and make more new and lasting friendships. If we worked for 6 months in each location, we’d be 130 years old and still not have completed our Bucket List!
Here’s a U.S. map showing where we’ve AT LEAST stayed overnight in the last three years. You can see we’ve still got a long way to go … we need to spend more time along both the east and west coasts.
Oh yeah, earlier I mentioned this part about friendships but then I got off track – excuse me. We have discovered that working (volunteering) as we travel allows us to meet, get to know, and build lasting relationships with lots of wonderful people from all over the country.
There are 10 couples here, all living in our rigs side-by-side in Volunteer Village at the Spearfish City Campground right across the street from the hatchery.
We work side-by-side, share most nights of the week around the campfire cooking smores and enjoying each other’s stories and even have monthly pot luck meals along with weekly free music festivals in the city park just a few hundred feet away.
When we have to say goodbye and hit the road again, we stay in touch with our new friends as we travel using both Facebook (groups) and a Facebook-like app made just for RV’ers called RVillage.com. Both of these are great resources to keep up with our buddies and see what their next adventure is and maybe where we might apply to work/volunteer in the future.
We’ve already had at least a dozen experiences over the last three years where we have volunteered with folks in say, Livingston Texas and met up with them again in Burlington Vermont or Ludington Michigan (or somewhere like that). Sometimes it’s planned, but more often it’s serendipitous!
But what about our family and “old” friends? Do we miss our kids and grandchildren? You bet! It would be great if we could do what we are doing AND fly back home to Ohio at least once or twice a year to spend time with the family. But, fact is we just can’t afford to that. Life is often about sacrifices (and opportunities!)
It really depends on where we are working and how long the commitment is and where the next commitment will be. We don’t plan our work locations based on traveling back home once or twice each year. We plan our work locations on where we have NOT been, what we might like to see, and how appealing the location and job description/compensation package is.
We were last in Ohio April of 2018 for a month and we will be back there summer of 2020 so we’ll have plenty of time to catch up. The photos below of the kids, grand-kids, in-laws and old neighbors might be a couple or a few years old, but they’re some of our favorites.
And of course, we post LOTS of info and pictures on Facebook, videos on You Tube and posts here on the blog for family and friends to see what we’re up to.
So yes, it’s great to travel the country and see all the great exciting new places, but we’ve found that the wonderful personal relationships we’ve developed with all our new friends as we travel and volunteer are the larger perk of the RV lifestyle that we embrace.
If you are interested in finding out more about our Workamping and volunteering experiences, just scroll on up to the top right hand side of this post and enter either “volunteer” or “workamp” in the search box and hit “enter”.
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We’d love to hear from you. If you scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, you can send us a note. Again, thanks for riding along. ’til next time – safe travels.
We met Rob & Michelle when we were working up in Michigan last summer at Pere Marquette Oaks RV Park. They were pretty new to the full-time RV lifestyle themselves having retired from work, selling their home and buying the truck and the 5th wheel to live in as they traveled the country.
We were glad to find that Rob & Michelle had made their way from Michigan to Arizona and were staying at an RV park near Tucson for the month of December.
We reached out to them through Facebook and then spent the day together driving up to Mt. Lemmon (about 9000′). It was a beautiful day with temps down in Tucson at about 70+ degrees and the sun was shining brightly. We knew the temperature up on the mountain would be 20-30 degrees cooler.
Mt. Lemmon has a summit at 9159′ and is located in the Santa Catalina Mountain Range of the Coronado National Forest. The Catalina Highway is a two lane paved road that heads north from Tucson and winds it’s way on up to Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley and the little town of Summerhaven that sports a couple restaurants, a general store, and a few other small businesses.
Summerhaven, although home to a few full-time residents, is mostly inhabited by folks who come up from the hot desert climate to escape from the heat of the summers.
We stopped at most every wide spot in the road to be able to get out and marvel at the sites as we looked at the oddly shaped rock formations and the view of the expanse of Tucson down below.
Remember, you can click on any of the thumbnails below to see an enlarged view and then you can scroll right or left to see the next picture.
One of the really cool things we found before heading out on our trip was an app called “Mt. Lemon Science Tour“. This app can be downloaded from your device app store (free) and it is an approximately 1 hour narrated tour of the ride to the top. It tells you when to pull over, pause the app and goes on to explain what you’re looking at! It’s a really great idea … but we ended up having too much fun talking about what we’ve all been up to since the last time we were together. Kathy and I decided we’ll go back up sometime and use the app to learn more about what we’re seeing.
As we pulled over at one of the larger roadside parking areas we noticed about a half dozen U.S. Border Patrol vehicles. It seemed odd that they would be chasing after some bad guys all the way up here.
But as we moved closer to the overlook at the wall we could then see what all the activity was about. They were practicing their rescue techniques having installed hardware to perform a repelling operation. They actually had one of their members in a basket and were preparing to lower him over the edge into about a 100 foot drop to safety. We stayed and watched a while before we moved on.
All in all, it was another beautiful day in paradise and it was especially great that we were able to share it with two of our full-time RV buddies Rob and Michelle.
We look forward to maybe hooking up with Rob & Michelle (and many others) when we’re at the Big Tent RV Show in Quartzite the last week of January.
Thanks for coming along and be sure to sign up to get our future blog posts automatically by entering your email address in the little box on the left side where it says “Sign Up To Follow Our Blog”.
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While we worked at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (AIBF) in the fall of 2018, we were able to take some time to see some of the local sights.
We took a drive up to Sandia Crest (that we could see from where our coach was parked).
The drive along the winding curvy road along the edge of the mountain to the peak (crest) at 10,760 feet came to a dead end where there was ample parking area, a coffee and gift shop, and a forest of cell and radio towers.
Now the trip to the peak and the view from the top was great … ooh I forgot to mention … we were there with our new good friends from Wild Rose, Wisconsin … Bill and Jackie. We really enjoyed their company and their friendship while in ABQ and we look forward to seeing them again yet this winter in Arizona – perhaps while we are in Quartzite for the “Big Tent” RV Show.
On our way back down from the peak, we were told by others that we just had to stop and check out Tinkertown. And are we glad we did. You can drive right by it if you’re not careful. There’s one small hand painted sign along the road side “Tinkertown 500′ ahead” and if you’re not really looking for it, you’ll zip on by.
Tinkertown is one of those places that some like to call “eclectic with a touch of whimsy” – I think it’s really eclectic with a boatload of whimsy.
So what is Tinkertown? Well, this clip from their web site says it best;
“It took Ross Ward over 40 years to carve, collect, and lovingly construct what is now Tinkertown Museum. His miniature wood-carved figures were first part of a traveling exhibit, driven to county fairs and carnivals in the 1960s and ’70s. Today over 50,000 glass bottles form rambling walls that surround a 22-room museum. Wagon wheels, old fashioned store fronts, and wacky western memorabilia make Tinkertown’s exterior as much as a museum as the wonders within.
Inside, the magic of animation takes over. The inhabitants of a raucous little western town animate to hilarious life. Under the big top, diminutive circus performers challenge tigers and defy gravity while the Fat Lady fans herself and a polar bear teeters and totters.
Throughout, eccentric collections of Americana (wedding cake couples, antique tools, bullet pencils and much, much more) fill Tinkertown’s winding hallways. Otto the one-man-band and Esmerelda, the Fortune Teller, need only a quarter to play a tune or predict your future. Through a doorway and across a ramp waits a big-sized surprise: a 35′ antique wooden sailboat that braved a 10 year voyage around the world.”
Here are some pictures that I took as we traveled through the “museum” constantly fascinated by not only the craftsmanship of Ross Ward, but the imagination he must’ve had to come up with all this. Absolutely amazing. Read on.
As always, you can click on any of the individual pictures to see a larger image. And be sure to click on the images of the sailboat the “Theodora R” and the map on the wall of the 10,000 mile voyage – fascinating.
To learn more about this fascinating museum and the fascinating man who had the vision and the talent, visit their web site at http://tinkertown.com/
Just one more example of all the interesting places to see in this great country of ours.
Thanks for riding along .. until later .. take care of yourselves
herbnkathy – Currently wintering at Rover’s Roost RV Park in Casa Grande, AZ
The reason (or so we thought) that we embarked on our full-time RV lifestyle on Labor Day of 2016 was to fulfill our desire to travel and see as much of this beautiful country of ours that we could.
We’ve seen a lot of sites since then, but there’s still so much more to go and we could spend a lot more time in any specific area to allow us to explore more deeply, so it’s very likely we’ll be going back again to many places in future years to do so.
A HIDDEN BENEFIT
But what has really turned out to be a wonderful benefit of traveling and not being on a “vacation” type schedule (running from place to place) is that we’ve been able to meet up with and spend time with family and “old” friends (not to say they are OLD by any means!).
This blog post features some pictures of those we’ve met up with along the way. Some are “NEW” friends and some are our “OLD” friends.
Unfortunately, although I had every intention of taking a “selfie” of us altogether at every meetup, we occasionally parted company without remembering to shoot a pix, so I’m listing those folks as well. If I’ve missed you in this post, I apologize. If you’re reading this and you can send me a picture of yourself, I’d really appreciate it. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
I know many of you won’t know any of these folks, but I also know it’ll be fun for those that are in the pictures to see some of the others and remember times past along with the brief time we spent together in the last year or so.
I’m going to post the pictures into a collage, you will be able to click on any individual photo to enlarge that particular picture to see a “zoomed in” view. The zoomed-in view will also let you see a brief description of who they are and our relationship.
Known Sandy since 2nd grade, Jeff since high school, saw them at Wixom MI May ’17
Frank and Lora, an old neighbor (late 70’s) we saw at Brooklyn, MI May of ’17
Eric & Nancy, (Jaycees) since 1972 we saw at Wixom, MI May ’17
Tim, (Jaycees) since 1971 met at his flower shop at Ypsilant MI May of ’17
Mike (high school), Linda (Kathy’s sister) & their youngins Eric and Lindsey – May of ’17
Brian (High School) and his wife Connie at Spring Lake, MI May ’17
Mike and Kim, best friends in Mt Gilead (since 1984) came to visit us at Baldwin, MI July ’17
Norm & Alice (worked @ Xerox w/ Norm) friends since 1973 we visited @ Ludington State Park Aug ’17
Donna & William, just met at Baldwin, MI summer of ’17
Charlie & Mary, fish-fry experts (Baldwin, MI) summer of ’17
Today was another special day here at Pere Marquette Oaks RV Park. It’s the Fourth of July holiday weekend and all our regular residents are here along with all the rental lots taken with first-time and return visitors. Many of the guests are relatives of some of our full time residents. Lots of little ones having tons of fun.
The day started out with our 2nd Annual 4th of July Bicycle and Golf Cart Parade. Children started decorating their bikes last night, while Grandmas and Grandpas decorated their golf carts, scooters and such with all kinds of red, white, and blue banners, flags and other regalia. We even had marching music blaring to keep the ranks in file.
We paraded throughout the park while throngs of on-lookers waved and cheered (and smiled) at the clever decorations. Awards were given for the best entries in each class.
After the parade, all the participants and spectators gathered around the new flagpole for the dedication of the plaques honoring our Veterans. Both the flagpole and these plaques were donated by Bill VanDeVusse and Lee Presley and we all thank them for their generosity.
And after the dedication, we all gathered in the pavilion for cookies, cake, punch, and Popsicles. It was a wonderful cap to a great early afternoon. I have to apologize for not getting any pictures of everyone during refreshments in the pavilion … I guess I was to busy stuffing my face with all the delicious goodies to think about picking up the camera, (duh!)
After the refreshments, many of the residents and visitors enjoyed some basking in the sun, playing in the pool, or relaxing in the hot tub.
A special shout out of THANKS goes to Chris for organizing the parade, Marianne and Mike for installing the plaques and the recognition of our Veterans, and finally Jean, Marianne, Sally, and Sue for getting all the goodies donated and the hall set up and serving everyone.
It’s always good when friends come together … can’t wait for the next opportunity!
We left our “old” home in Mount Gilead, OH on May 1st and headed north to Wixom, MI area where we stayed at Proud Lake Recreation Area State Park for the week. Our intent was to relax and enjoy the spring weather and see some long-time friends while we were there. I wrote this earlier post with some pictures of the park. It was COLD and RAINY nearly all week, but we had a great time nonetheless because we were able to hook up with friends from WAY BACK.
We had wonderful visits with old friends. Some of these folks we haven’t seen in 30 or 40+ years. Thanks to Facebook, we’ve been able to reconnect to lost friendships. It’s so easy as we get busy with our; jobs/kids/school/sports/hobbies/parents/ etc. to lose touch with those we once considered “very good” if not “best” friends.
We left Proud Lake on Sunday May 7th and had two more visits on our agenda as we continued our travel north to Baldwin, MI for our summer workamping job.
Who’s in Delton you ask? Thanks to Facebook, I was able to find George Williston. I hadn’t seen or even talked to George since 1960 when my family moved from Detroit out to Redford Township. I had attended Kindergarten and first grade in Detroit, where I met George. I lived with my folks and two older sisters on Monte Vista and George lived with his family on Pinehurst, next street over on the other side of the alley. George and I used the alley as the shortcut from his house to mine.
It’s a shame to see what the house and the neighborhood have become. I have some great memories of that home, our neighbors (the McGraw family) where there’s now just an empty lot, and my time playing (and causing a little trouble I’m sure) with my best friend George Williston.
Kathy and I met George and his wonderful wife Kelly where we enjoyed a light lunch in their beautiful home nestled in the woods. In addition to having been a Wood Shop Industrial Arts teacher, George is also an accomplished writer. You can order his book “This Tribe of Mine” on Amazon.
After our lunch and a nice walk around the property, we said goodbye to George and Kelly and headed further west and north to Spring Lake, Michigan where we met up with Brian Barker and his wife Connie. Kathy and I went to Junior High and High School with Brian and we had a lot of great memories to talk about. I had seen Brian and Connie when they lived in the Cincinnati area back a while but it’s been at least 20 years. Kathy had never met Connie and hadn’t seen Brian in at least 35 years.
Brian and Connie live in a beautiful home just across from Spring Lake. Great view and it’s easy to carry their kayaks over for an afternoon cruise.
Again, it was great to spend time with old friends and catch up on some mutual memories.
My next post will be an introduction to Baldwin, MI and Pere Marquette Oaks RV Resort.