Getting ready Friday morning to leave Campers Cove at Alpena and move a little west to Eckert Park at Hamlin, I received an email from Leonard at the lighthouse that we could just come ahead now rather than have to wait until Monday due to one of the couples working here had to leave due to a medical issue.
It was only a 45 minute drive and we were here and settled by about noon. There are three other rigs here (all motorhomes) and as the volunteers each came and went to/from their lunch break they all stopped to introduce themselves and welcome us.
We continued to set up camp. We connected our electric, water, and sewer lines, took our e-bikes off the back of the car, set up our little Weber propane grill, brought out the bungee chairs and side tables, and rolled out the side awning. All this takes about a half hour and now we can sit and relax a bit! There was a nice breeze off the lake, but it was pretty warm and humid.
All four sites are nestled in the woods (lots of shade) and there’s a community fire pit with plenty of firewood, two large picnic tables, and a large propane BBQ grill.
Just beyond the fire pit there’s a trail going down to Lake Huron. Kathy and I took off our socks and shoes, put on other more appropriate footwear for trudging through the sand, and headed down to the water to check it out. Surprisingly, the water is warmer than I had imagined it would be this far north!
Our supervisors Leonard and Carrie came by on their bicycles to greet us, they live just down U.S. 23 a bit and there’s a nice paved bike path alongside the road and the lake that goes all the way to Rogers City about 7 miles south.
Kathy and I ran into town for a bit to pick up a couple things. Shortly after we returned, the crew had finished their day (4:00pm) and we all settled at the picnic tables. Each of us had our favorite drink and we had the opportunity to get to know each other.
All of a sudden an instant pot showed up and we all shared a great time enjoying homemade vegetable beef soup and Texas toast. Ok, one side was a “little” overdone on the grill, but the other side was great 😃
Our first night backed up a couple hundred feet from the waves of Lake Huron was cool, breezy and SO comfortable we were lulled to sleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow.
Although we had visited the lighthouse last year, the next day we visited each venue to hear how the “pros” tell the story to visitors. Leonard had emailed us lots of info for us to study about the history, but it’s always good to see and hear how other docents share the story.
That’s the report for now. Today we’ll take a drive into town to get some groceries, stop at one of the local produce stands, hit the laundromat and then when we get back we’ll visit the venues again to hear how others tell the story. The volunteers rotate assignments each day so that each gets an opportunity to work everywhere.
Living full-time in an RV can be exciting, getting to travel across this great nation of ours, seeing all sorts of sights and meeting all kinds of great people.
If you’re a “full-timer” as those of us in this group like to call ourselves, there are things to consider when going full-time like;
Where will our “home” be? Where will we go back to (occassionally) ?
What do we do about getting our mail? (Next post will cover this)
What state are we going to be domiciled in for medical insurance?
What happens if one of us needs recuperation time after a surgery?
What happens when this life on the road just gets too hard for us?
What happens to us when we can’t travel anymore?????
This is the question we’re going to talk about in this post.
Some full-time RV’ers might go “back home” and maybe live in their RV for some time at their children’s property, that is, if they are fortunate enough;
1) to have children,
2) that have property large enough to accommodate the RV, and
3) that have the electric, water, and sewer hookups for the RV.
Other full-timers may have the resources available to buy a home or rent an apartment to allow them to move out of the RV (either temporarily or permanently) so they can get the help they need for daily living.
BUT … If you are an Escapee RV Club member you have another option.
The club founders, Kay and Joe Peterson saw the need for another option for full-time RV’ers. Joe and Kay were full-time RV’ers themselves and started the club in 1978. As I understand it, Joe was an electrician and they, along with their 5 children traveled the country following Joe’s work while Kay ran the household and raised the children.
Here’s 3 links to just some of Kay’s many books she wrote while on the road. Kathy and I had the honor of attending a convention where Kay (at 94) spoke and she was truly a remarkable woman and a wonderful story-teller. You really should give yourself a treat and read at least one of her books.
I apologize … I digress. Now back to the point of this post.
So Kay and Joe, being full-timers themselves must’ve pondered this same question .. “What happens when we just can’t travel full-time anymore?”
And as a result, and with the help of many club members and volunteers, the C.A.R.E. Center was born adjacent to Rainbow’s End RV Park and the Escapees National Headquarters office in Livingston, Texas.
Let me tell you about it and what a cool concept it is. I’m told there’s nothing else like it in the country.
When an Escapee RV Club member finds the need to get off the road, whether because of the need to recuperate from an illness or medical procedure, or maybe they just need a little help to live comfortably, they can move their RV to CARE.
You say “It looks like an RV park to me”. Yes, it’s an RV park and again … so much more.
When full-time RV’ers decide to come off the road, they really don’t want to move into an apartment or an assisted living facility – instead (just like anyone else) they want to stay in their own home. And remember, this travel trailer or motor home IS their own home and very often has been for many years. They’ve seen the sights, made hundreds of new friends and even now want to live in an area where they can still be around like-minded people.
CARE provides their residents with a site that will accommodate the size of their rig, they provide 3 home cooked meals each day along with weekly laundry service and lots of activities in the CARE Center building.
This is not an assisted living facility, but rather a program that assists those who can still live independently. Residents walk from their rig to the dining hall for meals and to the activity room for; church services, jam sessions, use of the computer WiFi, exercise equipment, and lots more.
Activity Room with seating for church service, comfortable seating for reading or computer work
Lots of seating can be moved to accommodate musical groups
CARE Center dining room where residents can get 3 great home cooked meals every day of the week
There are CARE volunteers who typically (but not always) live in the park and help the residents with some of their chores like; swapping out propane tanks, repairing sewer hoses, sweeping off their deck, or any number of what we feel are small jobs but might be difficult for the CARE resident.
In addition, CARE provides FREE transportation to wherever a resident might want to go (within 30 miles). That might be a doctor appointment, a trip to the local grocery, beauty shop, attorney or bank.
CARE operates 5 different vehicles to transport residents wherever they need to go within 30 miles of home
So you’re thinking “Wow, this really seems like a great concept – I wonder what they charge?”
C.A.R.E. is a not-for-profit 501c3 tax exempt corporation. They have a small (but professional) staff and the Volunteer Coordinator (Crystal) does a fantastic job recruiting and utilizing volunteers so their abilities and talents are best utilized. As a result, the CARE Center fees (at the time of this writing) are $1000 per month for a single person and $500 additional for a spouse or partner. The only additional costs to the resident are; electricity, cable or wifi, propane gas (for heat or cooking). Water, sewer, and trash removal is included in the rent.
There is no contract, all they ask is the monthly fee up front. If the resident, for any reason, decides that it’s just not for them, they put the key in the ignition the next month and move on down the road.
All in all, CARE is a wonderful “other option” for those full-time RV’ers that have come to the point of needing a little extra help.
AND, it allows those that have come to love the lifestyle now stay with that lifestyle and live among other like-minded wanderers.
You know what they say … “Not all who wander are lost”