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

“Driveway Surfing” Is A Blast!

Not sure if there’s an official definition of Driveway Surfing, but my definition is; When an RV’er spends the night on someone’s (often a fellow RV’er) property rather than in a commercial campground or RV park.

Our spot near Ocala, FL in the coolness of the towering pines

This is not only a less expensive alternative to commercial facilities, but much safer than the often-used boon-docking (dry camping) at Wal-Marts, Cracker Barrels, Truck Stops, highway Rest Areas and the like.

The term “Boon-docking” by the way, also known as “dry camping” in the RV’er’s world is stopping/staying at a location that does not offer any utilities or other amenities.  Most RV’er’s are traveling in self-contained units meaning they carry their own water (and waste) tanks and have a means to provide limited electricity to the unit for lighting, water pumping, and sometimes more.

We’ve found that the big added benefit of these overnight stays are the wonderful welcomes we get from our gracious hosts.  We often spend the afternoon and into the evenings together sitting around the bonfire trading stories of our RV’ing and life experiences.  Sometimes we even have dinner together.

Although Kathy and I first became aware of this wonderful benefit of full-time RV life through our membership in Boondockers Welcome, we soon found out that there are other opportunities out there as well.  We’ve found that the Airstreamers (Wally Byam Caravan Club International) along with FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association), and Escapees RV Club members have programs similar to the Boondockers Welcome program.  Another program mentioned to us by many other RV’ers is Harvest Hosts.  Although some of these programs require a nominal annual membership fee in order to access the database and reservation software, others are free to club members.

Here are some pictures we’ve taken as we’ve traveled and met other RV’ers using our “Driveway Surfing” privileges utilizing BoondockersWelcome.com.

Roger and Jan – Randall, Kansas

We were warmly welcomed by our first BoondockersWelcome hosts Roger and Jan to their farm near Randall, Kansas in spring of 2016.  Roger and Jan have a beautiful “earth” home that they custom built on the family farm that Roger was born on.  While Jan prepared dinner for us (a very welcome surprise!), Roger took us on a tour of the 1000+ acre farm that their son now manages and farms (along with Dad’s occasional help).  Roger and Jan have traveled all fifty states, 6 of the 10 Canadian provinces, and down into Mexico.

Click on any of the pictures to see an enlarged view

Coyote & Angel – Ocala, Florida

Our next fantastic visit was to Coyote and Angel’s log cabin retreat near Ocala, Florida.  And what a treat it was!  They’re both retired now, but both have a colorful past and have enjoyed rebuilding over 30 classic and antique cars and trucks in their retirement.  They’re also very creative and have built a wonder-filled outdoor experience that  the pictures below can only begin to explain.  Utilizing BoondockersWelcome, they invite RV’er’s to come and spend the night and they offer their retreat to host car shows, weddings, and other private events.  Since our visit Coyote and Angel have sold their motorhome and bought a vintage Airstream travel trailer and are planning on taking a trip up to Michigan this summer and we’re looking forward to seeing them again up there while we are at our Workamping job at Baldwin, MI.

Click on any of the individual pictures to see an enlarged view

Perry, Ginny, and Georgia – New Boston, TX

Now Perry and Ginny (along with Memaw Georgia) eagerly welcomed us to their home near New Boston, Texas and they showed off their southern hospitality by treating us to a great BBQ rib dinner.

We also enjoyed meeting another Boondocker couple there (Brad & Elaine) who had just returned from a month long trip to New Zealand to visit their daughter.  We all had a great evening together talking and laughing.

Be sure to check out the video below of Ginny and Perry’s “Alpine Village” that they’ve put together over the years.  Ginny told us that after we leave they were going to take it all apart to dust and clean and then put it ALL BACK TOGETHER AGAIN!  Glad it’s not MY job!

Click on any of the individual pictures to see an enlarged view

 

Germantown, OH – Lynn & Jackie

On our way back to “the old home place” in Ohio this spring, we took advantage of the invite by Lynn and Jackie at Germantown, Ohio (near Dayton).  They had us in for a wonderful home-cooked spaghetti dinner and the next day (we stayed two nights) Kathy and I toured the U.S. Air Force Museum adjacent to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.  We also toured the Wright Brothers Museum and the original Bicycle Shop, then spent the late afternoon at Carillon Historical Park where they have nearly 35 buildings there originally built anywhere from the 1870’s to the 1930’s.  The second evening we went out to a local Mexican restaurant and then Jackie and Lynn treated us to a wonderful farewell waffle breakfast just before our departure!

Click on any of the individual pictures to see an enlarged view

Jason – Fairhope, Alabama

This stop was different in that we were not in the driveway of someone’s home, but rather their business.  Jason, a former school teacher turned restaurant owner is a RV’er wanna-be.  Having some restaurant experience in his past life, Jason opened this restaurant about 11 years ago and now is ready to sell and hit the road.

He’s joined all the RV clubs out there, is constantly reading RV’ers blogs and watching YouTube videos about the RV lifestyle and invites RV’ers to his restaurant so that he can have the opportunity to meet and learn from others.

RV’er friends of ours (that we had met in Arizona in 2016) were staying at an Escapees RV park just a few miles away, and so they came on over and we had a great night together enjoying shrimp PoBoys and fried clams.

In the morning, I went on over to the kitchen early while Jason was prepping for the lunch crowd.  I followed him around enjoying the fresh hot coffee and talking about our life histories and RV’ing.

Click on any of the individual pictures to see an enlarged view

 

As we’ve said before, “although seeing the sites as we travel around the country is great … the really wonderful experiences are the new friends we make along the way”, and we thank Boondockers Welcome for helping us to that end.

Driveway surfing is just one more way to experience the good life … maybe you’ll try it someday yourself!

 

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

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

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

Workamping Fun at Rainbow’s End RV Park Livingston, TX

We are wrapping up our Workamping experience at the Escapees RV Club park known as “Rainbow’s End.

This was the first park built in the system back in the late ’70’s.  There were a handful of die-hard full-time RV’ers that donated their time and their talents to build this park.

This is also the home of the clubs National Headquarters and mail service that serves nearly 10,000 members and handles 25,000 pieces of mail daily.

We arrived October 15, 2017 and Kathy has been working in the office 8 hrs/week checking in new arrivals and taking reservations on the phone.  I’ve been working 12 hrs/week outside maintaining the grounds and the buildings.

In exchange for the combined 20 hrs/week we receive a free full hook-up site and utilities.  Laundry allowance is not provided.

Here’s a 6 minute video that I put together showing some of the amenities of the park and what the workampers get involved in during a typical week.

I’m also learning to use a new video editing software, so please bear with me and some of the features I’ve been experimenting with like; titles, transitions, voice-overs, fade-in and fade-out, and music.

Please remember to SUBSCRIBE to our You Tube channel by clicking on the icon in the lower right corner, and if you’d give the video a “thumbs up” too, that’d be wonderful.

Thanks for riding along with us and we look forward to the time we can meet up down the road.

Although we’re currently in Livingston, TX … we’re heading out Jan 14th for Florida for the month of February, then back to TX the last couple weeks of March, then (through Ohio) and up to Baldwin, Michigan for our summer workamping job, and in the fall of ’18 we’ll be in Albuquerque, NM working at the International Balloon Fiesta for a few weeks before we head to our winter home at Casa Grande, Arizona.

Here’s the video

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

Review – Lake Vandalia Campground

As afternoon came we pulled in to a Walmart parking lot where we could get free (strong) wifi and brought up our Allstays app to find a place to stay for the night.

We were lucky enough to choose Lake Vandalia Campground at Vandalia, Illinois.

Lake Vandalia, Illinois

This is a city park with a huge lake, beach area with concession stand and about 100+ electric only sites.  There is a dump station that’s free to use for registered guests.  Water hydrants are available, but you might need a couple hundred feet of hose.  We carry 90 gallons in our fresh water tank, so we had no worries.

The fee was only $15 (senior discount) and we were lucky enough to be one of only about 3 or 4 campers there for the night.  We backed in to our spot, set up our chairs at the edge of the lake, cooked brats on the charcoal grill and had a peaceful and cool night listening to the light rain that started about midnight.

Oh, and Kathy made Acorn Squash in her Instant Pot …. I didn’t think I would like it, but you know … put enough butter and brown sugar on about anything and it’ll taste good!  I gotta admit …. it was yummy.

Acorn Squash from the Instant Pot

Our site for the night, backed right up to the lake

View of the lake from our easy chairs

All in all, it was another great place to camp for the night … and inexpensive to boot!

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
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