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by Ron

There is a perception that full-timers are on a perpetual vacation and are always off to a land of fun and sun. I will admit that I contribute to that perception. As we left the Elk's Club in Visalia, California, a real estate sales meeting was just letting out and I proudly played Till we meet again on my musical horn as we were hooking up to leave and then On the Road Again as we pulled out. One man asked where we were going. After we told him he said that he would be right back to join us. All of them looked at this big beautiful motorhome and waved probably thinking that we were the luckiest people in the world. 

For those of you contemplating this lifestyle, I would like to share that it "isn't always that much fun." Just don't tell all those folks that envy us because we like to keep up the image and it doesn't hurt our book sales. Don't get me wrong---it's still a great life, but there are challenges. Full-timers are special people and they can deal with these challenges and even share innovative ways of coping.

Last July I wrote that summer camping involved competing with families on vacation and one had to plan ahead. Now in California we find that many students are on staggered attendance schedule throughout the year meaning that some campgrounds are busy year around. We have also found that campgrounds are very expensive in California. It's the law of supply and demand and who wouldn't want to visit this beautiful state, especially along the ocean side. We even paid $18 (senior rate) to park on asphalt along highway 101 just outside of Ventura overlooking the ocean (Rincon Park). I didn't mind, but made a mental note to keep cool when we add up the month's campground expenses. Our solution to camping rates has been to reactivate my Elk's membership because many of the Elk's clubs (especially in the west) offer very reasonable camping to members. It's also a good place to get a drink or meal. Soon we will dry camp on the Coast Guard facility for $7 a night (they have a dump station) and welcome family members. There's always a way.

Our most recent challenge involves our AT&T one-rate cell phone. The company is getting sticky with full-timers because they make less money on us as we roam the country. They want prove of residence in an AT&T area or they will cancel our service. I bet they wish that they never jerked Barb's chain. They will get their proof plus an earful from her. Before this is over those over paid executives may even earn their money. 

We can cope because we are full-timers and I will still happily play my musical horn as we leave a campground (or an Elk's club).

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