Our Stop at The Home of The Aliens

November 1st, 2018

Roswell, New Mexico

We were through this area a couple years ago and stayed at the Escapees “North Ranch” RV Park at Lakewood, NM and took the opportunity to visit Carlsbad Caverns, but our schedule at that time didn’t allow for a trip to Roswell.

So this time (after ABQ Balloon Fiesta and RV rallies at Wellington and Brownwood, TX) we decided to take in Roswell and it’s surroundings for a couple of days.

We “dry camped” just about 12 miles due east of Roswell at Bottomless Lakes State Park.  Dry camping means there are no hook-ups for electricity or water (fresh or waste).  We bring along our own electricity and water so dry camping for a week or so is not a problem for us.

Our (1st) Dry Camping Spot at Bottomless Lakes State Park

When we pulled in and reviewed the sites available, we decided to camp at “The Devil’s Inkwell”.  We backed the coach into a nice wide spot where we could take a walk up the hill and look down into the “inkwell” and over our site to the western setting sun.  A beautiful and quiet spot.

Panoramic view of Devils Inkwell and our dry camp spot down below

The “Bottomless Lakes” are really giant sinkholes.  There are a number of them in the park ranging from 17′ to about 90′ deep.  The water is crystal clear and while some of the water is great for aquatic life, some of the other lakes are too high in saline (salt water) for anything to live there.

After our first night there, we moved our rig from Devil’s Inkwell over to Lea Lake Day Use area.  This gave us a great view of the lake and although there were other campers in the area, no one was closer than a couple hundred feet.

Here’s our spot right at the edge of Lea Lake
This is a view from the park road up atop the lake. Our rig is on the right side of the picture at about the 2 o’clock position

And of course, who could visit the Roswell area without trying to connect with an alien or two?

These guys welcomed us as we drove into town.


Part of a display the the UFO Museum in town
Spooky – Their eyes followed us wherever we went
Visiting the International UFO Museum

We ended our 2nd evening with a “night out” to the Cattle Baron Restaurant.  We split a Teriyaki Kabob and each enjoyed their salad bar.  What a great meal!

My FIRST trip to the salad bar! – Not good for my “Low Carb” diet but you just gotta splurge sometimes!

We could’ve just driven on westward toward our final destination, but being this close we figured we just had to stop and see the sights at Roswell.  It was worth the time to see not just the alien novelties, but the park was beautiful and restful.


Storm Came Through Our Park (Video)

We had a severe rain and wind storm a couple nights ago here at Pere Marquette Oaks RV Resort near Baldwin, Michigan.  We knew it was coming and went around the RV park to warn folks and tell them to take in their awnings and secure any lightweight items like plastic chairs and such.

The newscast said winds would be about 50-60 mph so we were expecting it, but it came up SO FAST!

Kathy was out just as the storm was moving into the area.  She was directing the ladies that were arriving to the clubhouse for the Ladies Golf Outing Dinner – showing them where they could park.

Sara and I went over to the pavilion to watch the storm – she and I always use to enjoy sitting on the porch or out in the garage watching a good storm – the more thunder and lightning the better.

Just as Kathy’s parking duties were done, she walked over to join us at the pavilion and then it hit – and the power went out. Good thing the ladies dinner was a pot-luck and the clubhouse has plenty of windows!

The video shows how strong the wind was, although it seemed a LOT worse there in person than it does on the video.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words … and these new digital cameras are amazing but still, they just don’t show the true enormity or depth of the experience in person.

The power was out from Tuesday about 7 pm when the storm hit and power was restored Wednesday night about 10:30. Since the park has well water, no power meant no running water either. Many of us keep some water in our fresh water holding tank so we could shower and use the commode, but had to make sure our gray and black water holding tank valves were closed so that nothing went into the park sewer system. If the power is out, then the sewer system pumps don’t work either.  Others took advantage of the 5 gallon buckets placed at the swimming pool so they could carry pool water back to their units so they could flush the commode.

I was told that one individual even took a bucket of water from the hot tub (still warm) to shower at the shower outside the bath house!

After the storm, many hands made light work as we cut up tree limbs and removed the debris down to “the pit” where it’ll all be burned during the winter when there’s no chance of starting a forest fire.

It’s all over now, but was plenty of excitement while it lasted and some sore backs and leg muscles after the cleanup was all done.
Many thanks to all that helped.

And now on to the Labor Day weekend festivities !!

How Do We Know We’re Not Going To Freeze Down Below?

Call me worried … call me paranoid … but when winter comes (even in east Texas) and shows it’s ugly head, I worry about whether or not we are really set for any below freezing temps.

Having worked as a Realtor the last 20 years of my working life, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to see vacant homes get nearly destroyed as a result of freezing temperatures.

On the surface, everything seems fine.  But in a very short time-frame things can turn ugly in a hurry.

The video below shows a couple of steps we take to make sure that we can get FAR below freezing temps outside and still have a safe water supply in our RV for both drinking and bathing.

If you have any other safeguards that you take to protect your RV, or for that matter your sticks ‘n bricks house, I’d be interested to hear about what steps you take.

Thanks for reading and thanks for riding along.  Safe travels to you.

Our Trip Home – The Long Way …

So as our 4 month workamping gig in Baldwin, Michigan wrapped up, our plan was to come back “home” to visit the kids and grand kids for a week or so and then head toward Livingston, Texas where we will start our fall/winter workamping assignment on October 15th.

Ordinarily, we would just make the 6 hour drive direct from Baldwin, MI to Mt. Gilead, OH but … since we had time on our hands and a desire to see more of Michigan, we decided to head north instead.

Our goal was to get back up into the U.P. and this time head further north and further west.  We headed out and spent our first night at the casino in Manistique (free camping w/ electric), visited the lighthouse on the jetty at the mouth of the Manistique River, and the next morning headed out US-2 where we had a great breakfast in a wonderful little family diner at Big Bay De Noc.  After breakfast we headed on up US-41 through Marquette, Negaunee, and Ishpiming where Chuck said we just had to stop at “Da Yoopers Tourist Trap”.

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Here’s a short video of our walk out on the Jetty at the mouth of the Manistique River where it meets Lake Michigan.

We continued on US-41 from Ishpiming (and we didn’t buy a thing at “Da Yooper Trap”), on up and THROUGH Alberta where we passed the Ford Forestry Center of Michigan.  We didn’t have time to stop and check it out, it was getting late in the day and we had found out at about noon that there were only about 6 spots left at the state park at Copper Harbor, so we had to keep “movin’ on down the road”.  Hopefully next year when we are back up at Baldwin, we can take a few days to go up into the U.P. again and check out this historic site.

As we drove through L’Anse and around L’Anse Bay staying on US-41 we were now finally just inside the Keweenaw Peninsula and heading further north to Copper Harbor.

L’Anse, MI and the Keweenaw Bay

Staying on 41, we drove through the college town of Houghton, MI – home to Michigan Technological University.  So many “kids” walking the streets to and from class.  They all look so young ….

Crossing the Portage River over the lift bridge and on into the sister city of Hancock, MI.  You can get a really great “live” view of the lift bridge by following this link where we stayed on 41 and stopped to visit the Upper Peninsula Firefighters Memorial in Calumet.

Great museum of firefighting apparatus and memorabilia in Calumet, MI











We finally made it to our destination for the night, Fort Wilkins Historic State Park at Copper Harbor at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. 

The State Park was really nice and there was lots to see not only at the park (the historic fort) but also in the Copper Harbor area so we decided that we would stay at least two nights here.

Kathy had heard about “The Jam Pot” so we headed south on M-26 where we bought a muffin and some of their spiced peach jam.  Had that for lunch and it was yummy.

We went to the top of Brockway Mountain to the lookout where we could see down to all of Copper Harbor, Fort Wilkins, and Lake Fannie Hooe.  We continued on down M-26 through Eagle Harbor and Eagle River where we saw lots of waterfalls.

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When our stay at Copper Harbor was over, we headed back down US-41 and across MI-28 through Ironwood and on into Wisconsin where we spent a night at a really nice campground-type RV park and we were lucky enough to get a spot looking out onto Indian Lake with full hook-up for only $30/nite!

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Leaving Woodruff, Wisconsin we continued south and stayed at Hickory Hollow RV Park in Utica, Illinois the next night then down to Blue Lake Campground in Cherubusco, IN the following night before heading out to the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana.

Located just off I-80 at Elkhart, IN

Admission to the RV/MH Hall of Fame is $12 for adults, $10 for those over 60 years of age.  It’s a walk-through self guided museum that resembles (somewhat) a campground.  Many of the units welcome walk-throughs but some were roped off so you could only look through the doors and windows.  If you were to stop and read every placard at every RV, the tour would very likely last nearly all day.

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Although the drive from west central Michigan (Ludington area) to the Keweenaw Peninsula was a long one, it was worth it.  We saw a smattering of what the area has to offer, and hopefully next year when we’re back up at the RV park, we can take a few days to make the trip north again to discover more.

In the meantime, we’re currently back in Ohio for a few days until we head out to our next workamping gig in Livingston, TX.  More on that to come later.

For now, it’s rollin’ on down the road for us.


Lake Havasu & Parker Dam

While we were at Quartzsite, we decided to take another day trip and be able to check something off our bucket list.  We wanted to see Lake Havasu and London Bridge.  One of our fellow workampers suggested we be sure to take a small detour on our way to check out Parker Dam at Parker, AZ as well.

We weren’t real keen on going to Lake Havasu City, but we had a Chili’s gift card, so we drove on in for lunch and to see the famous bridge.

Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia about the lake and Parker Dam;

“Lake Havasu is a large reservoir behind Parker Dam on the Colorado River, on the border between California and Arizona. Lake Havasu City sits on the lake’s eastern shore. The reservoir has an available capacity of 619,400 acre feet (764,000,000 m3). The concrete arch dam was built by the United States Bureau of Reclamation between 1934 and 1938. The lake’s primary purpose is to store water for pumping into two aqueducts. Prior to the dam construction, the area was home to the Mohave Indians. The lake was named (in 1939) after the Mojave word for blue.[1] In the early 19th century, it was frequented by beaver trappers. Spaniards also began to mine the area along the river.”

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I was, of course, fascinated by the dam and how they move the water through the gates and into the hydro-electric plant.  But we both enjoyed the beauty of the blue water and the majestic mountains of the area.

Kathy had read to me in the car that the London Bridge there at Lake Havasu City IS the actual bridge from London, England, (I assumed it was a replica). But no, the fella that developed the city purchased the bridge from the city of London.

Here’s an excerpt from golakehavasu.com

In 1967, the Common Council of the City of London began to look for potential buyers for the London Bridge. Lake Havasu City founder and entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch placed the winning bid of $2,460,000 on April 18, 1968.

McCulloch came by this figure by doubling the estimated cost of dismantling the structure, which was $1.2 million, bringing the price to $2.4 million. He then added on $60,000 – a thousand dollars for each year of his age at the time he estimated the bridge would be reconstructed in Arizona.

Each block was meticulously numbered before the bridge was disassembled. The blocks were then shipped overseas through the Panama Canal to California and trucked from Long Beach to Arizona. Following reconstruction of the London Bridge, Lake Havasu City rededicated it in a ceremony on October 10, 1971. Since then, it has consistently remained a favorite among Arizona attractions, drawing in visitors from around the globe.”

After knowing THIS information, it certainly made me have a much higher respect for the bridge and the effort of so many to bring it here to Arizona.

Stay tuned … more to follow from the Quartzsite trip (Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge & “The Naked Bookseller”)


“You’re Going To Do What??”

I thought it appropriate that I should give you an update on how we are doing since we left Ohio back on Labor Day 2016.

We didn’t really “sneak” out of town, but we didn’t talk a lot about our leaving beforehand either.  Since I was then in a business partnership with Carol, I didn’t want tomorrowhometeamlogosmaller talk a lot around town about my retirement and have it affect the business for Carol immediately before or after I left.  The business had nothing to do with why I retired when I did.
In fact, the business relationship with Carol was wonderful and made the decision all that much harder. But in the end, I/we had to do what we felt was best for us.

I’ve been posting our experiences regularly on this blog as we’ve traveled along.  Some posts have been about things we’ve done and places we’ve been to, while others have detailed some of the technical or mechanical issues we’ve had along the way.

Many have asked our intentions….

After we bought the coach last fall, we decided to take a cross-country trip this past April to visit Kathy’s cousin Judy and her husband Bob who live in Encinitas, California near San Diego.

The purpose of the trip was two-fold.  Not only to visit Judy & Bob, who we hadn’t seen in probably 10 years or so, but also to see how we might like to change our lifestyle … that is, to retire from our “jobsdsc_0037“, selling or giving away most of our possessions, and hit the road to become full-time nomads / rv’ers / workampers.  We also wanted to get a sampling of how it might be for the two of us to live together in such small quarters – about 300 square feet!

While some thought we were crazy for “chucking it all” and hitting the road, many more wished they could join us and wished us well on this new phase in our life journey.

I’ve wanted to travel in an RV and go “camping” for years, but Kathy wanted nothing to do with it, as she felt that living even part-time in a small metal can with two young children would not be her idea of living in paradise, but rather some form of hell on wheels. But that was the past, the “kids” are now adults and have their own lives and dreams.

Our decision to change our lifestyle was not so much predicated on wanting to retire (stop working) but more to be able to enjoy each other with the time we have left in this world.  We have come to realize, as a result of my heart attack back in 2003 and Kathy’s bought with cancer in 2013, that life is short …. and it’s getting shorter every day.

After some careful consideration and crunching the numbers, we realized that a change in our lifestyle was possible, so we decided to pull the plug as of the first of September, 2016.

But we also knew that if we were to just travel from place to place and see the sights, we could very probably go broke in short order between the cost of diesel fuel (@ 10 miles / gallon) and the average cost for an overnight stay in an RV park at about $35-$40/night.  We studied sites online that talked about living on the road and how people do it and we became intrigued by this lifestyle called “Workamping”.

There are literally thousands of workamping or hosting positions out there that typically trade 10-15 hours per week of your work in exchange for your RV site, propane, electric, wifi, laundry and other perks.  Some parks pay a small hourly wage for any hours worked over the minimum required to cover the cost of the site while others pay better wages and then charge for the site.

So you can get a better idea of the sorts of positions out there, check out some of these popular web sites that advertise for workamping and hosting positions.

We wrote our resume and posted it on some of these sites and “bang” right away got our first workamping position here at Rancho Verde RV Park at Camp Verde, AZ.  Camp Verde, as it turns out is a great location, geographically about half way between Flagstaff to the north and Phoenix to the south.  Not too cold in the winter (currently about 60 degrees) and not too hot in the summer.

Kathy and I have had four months now to “soak it in” and we’ve determined that we are very pleased with our new lifestyle.  We are comfortable in our new 36′ home, we have great neighbors in our fellow workampers here and the residents, and the money part is working out too.

We work two days each week in exchange for our site and the other amenities, so we have plenty of time to make day trips to see much of what Arizona has to offer, and come March 15th our commitment here will be finished and we’ll move on down the road.

We’ll pull out and take probably about two weeks to meander back to Ohio to stop and visit family and friends, staying there a couple of weeks and then head on to southeastern Michigan where we’ll camp for another couple of weeks while we visit family and old friends we grew up with (we’re making a list of who to see) and then after that time we will move on up further north and west in Michigan to start our summer workamping job near Ludington.

Kathy and I have a lot of great memories of our time spent in northern Michigan back while we were dating, spending our honeymoon there, and then making many return trips after we had moved to Ohio back to see family and good friends.

I know this post is longer than most I have written, I know as a reader I get bored of the longer posts and often move on before the end, so I try to keep my own posts generally shorter and more to the point.  I hope you’ll forgive me for rambling on.

But it’s rainy here today (New Years Day) and so we’re taking advantage of this time inside.  We did however get out for our morning walk in between rain showers.

We are looking forward to a great 2017 filled with many new places and meeting many new friends.  We wish all of you only the best in the new year and who knows, maybe we’ll be able to meet around a campfire somewhere and enjoy each other’s company.  We’re looking forward to it!

RV Sewer Hose Installation and Tank Flushing Tips

Here’s my first attempt at an instructional video.  I’ve seen a lot of different configurations – found out what works and what doesn’t.

For what it’s worth, maybe this short video will help someone avoid some problems down the road.