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volume 7                 April 1996                     number 3

Mexico & South Texas
�  Potpourri 
�  Observations on Mexico
�  Good Places to Eat
�  Coffee Break
�  Letters, Letters, Letter
�  Just For You
�  This' N That
�  Corn Bake Recipe
Now we really are going to Move On. We will head north via Kansas and Missouri before heading east towards Michigan. We are not sure where the next newsletter will come from but we have lots to see and will report on it all. Be looking for us and we will look for you.

The silver mining town of Taxco
Remember when I wrote that we were going to be leaving Outdoor Resorts on March 1, and we were going to be on vacation? Well, some of the PR stuff we were trying to set up in Houston fell through and it was too early to head north. As long as we were just going to be in Texas, we thought we might as well stay where we were already having fun; we didn't leave. Instead we booked a bus tour to Mexico for our vacation. 

Ron has always wanted to go to Mexico, but I didn't---not even in a caravan. A bus tour seemed a fair way to check out our southern neighbor and satisfy Ron. We picked up a brochure from the local and well established Sanborn's Viva Tours. Ron let me choose the tour; I decided on the seven day, six night Mexico City tour because it included a tour of some pyramids and the town of San Miguel de Allende which we had heard a lot about. One thing I didn't look forward to was packing a suitcase and leaving my bed; we are so spoiled living and traveling in our wonderful house. 

Since the pick-up time was 6:30 a.m., (at a Day's Inn in Harlingen) we went the day before. A little Mexican man with tons of energy (it was noticeable that early in the morning) came into the lobby where we were chatting with others leaving on an other Sanborn tour. He called out, "Mexico City." As we moved towards him, he picked up our bags and hustled to a beautiful Mercedes Benz bus waiting outside. Another Mexican (the driver) loaded our bags and helped us on the bus. There were three couples and a single lady already on the bus. We took a seat; the bus took off and we rode in silence to the next stop. At each of the next three stops, people were picked up; after they got on the bus all was quiet. I wondered when we would be introduced, but it was still early. By 8 a.m. the last passengers had been picked up in Pharr and we were headed the few short miles to the border. It was then that the little man made introductions. In broken English he said his name was Octavio Mesa, but we could call him "Mike" and the driver was Felli "like feelings." He sang a couple bars of that song by the same name.

A bus full of fun people
Mike's introduction included a little about what was ahead for the day. The tour company does not believe in name tags so it was going to be up to us to introduce ourselves to everyone. He went on to explain that twice a day, we would rotate two seats in a clockwise direction so we would be sitting across from different people and eventually be able to experience all areas of the bus.   We were 35 adventure bound strangers.

As soon as we crossed the border at Reynosa, people started getting to know their neighbor across the isle and the bus was full of delightful chatter. We first got to know Versie and Al from Corpus Christi who were on a spring break vacation. We also spent time looking through a booklet on Mexico which Mike had passed out. I tried to learn a few Spanish words from the pages in the booklet. I especially wanted to be able to ask if someone could speak English "habla Ingles?" or to let them know that I don't speak Spanish---"No hablo Espanol" and  how to ask for purified water---"agua purificada." I was wishing that I had taken the Spanish classes at Outdoor Resorts; all of a sudden I realized that it would be fun to be able to speak a second language.

Mike had told us that our first two days were going to be long. Although we weren't touring yet, he did "splaine" some things about Mexico and the state of Tamaulipas which we were driving through. He pointed out the many new factories in the big towns near the border which sprung up after NAFTA.  Except for a couple of potty stops, we drove straight to Monterrey (170 miles from McAllen) where we stopped for lunch at the Hotel Real Plaza. This was a short stop and our first attempt to order without the benefit of the language. Since this is a hotel visited by many Americans, there were English words on the menu. We were surprised at how large Monterrey is; its population is over one million and growing fast. 

After lunch it was right back on the bus and except for potty stops, we didn't stop for the night until we had reached the Hotel Real d Minas in San Luis Potosi (po' toe sea); it was 7:30 p.m. We had been on the bus for 13 hours (547 miles). That was 347 miles more than we normally do in one stretch and we can get up and move around some in the motorhome; they didn't want us getting up in the bus (unless we had to use the bathroom) because traffic was heavy on the narrow roads. Felli had to make a fast stop once because a burrow meandered onto the highway. 

This Spanish style hotel with beautiful gardens was pretty and the hospitality was superb; we were treated to marguerites before dinner and both dinner and breakfast were excellent with great service (something we seldom got after this time). Our pepper steak dinner with all the trimmings was only 76 pesos ($10.00 for the two of us). We ate with Helen & Karl Glendening (the oldest members of the tour). They were a delight during the whole tour!

We were getting to know the tour group a little at a time. There were 14 couples, one family of four (Hispanic from the Rio Grande Valley who had never been to Mexico), two girls (an aunt and her niece) and one single woman. Few were RVers; none were full-timers. Many had flown from their homes in the east or mid-west just for the tour and some were wintering in Texas. For many this was not their first tour; it's the primary way they tour. Many had traveled the world over via tours and swear by them. I was tired after the first day and our alarms were set for 6:30 the next morning. We were to be rolling by 8 a.m.

Day two was another long drive (272 miles). The views out the window didn't change much and consisted of cacti speckled desert dotted with shacks and an occasional burrow or some cattle. 

We arrived in Mexico City at about 4:30 p.m., and immediately settled into the Hotel Aristos which is situated in a touristy area of the city. Mexico City is the second largest city in the world. Because of its large population and the fact that it is one mile high and surrounded by mountains, it has a big pollution problem. There are also thousands and thousands of volkswagen beetles of all colors being driven around. They are so cute!

Volkswagens galore in Mexico City
Within blocks of the hotel were many outdoor cafes, American chain restaurants like TGI Friday's, and fast food places along with many nice shops and street vendors. Most shocking were the shabbily dressed women and their children (two or three) who sat all day on the sidewalks with their hands out. After eating an awful breakfast (with slow service) in the hotel one morning we decided to search elsewhere for a restaurant. At 7 a.m., on the two cool mornings when we went out, these same women and their children were sleeping on the sidewalk.

At 6:30 p.m. that first evening, we boarded the bus again for a short trip to visit the home of Nancy Westfall Garcia, an American woman who has lived in Mexico City for over thirty years. She opened her home to us and served delightful drinks and hors d'oeuvres while answering the many questions we had about the life in Mexico. Originally from Iowa, she was 19 when she married a young Mexican architect. We asked about the beggars and she suggested that some, called Marias, are similar to prostitutes in that they work for a man who really takes care of them, but who gives them an amount of money to collect each day. There were many single "poor" women (probably Marias) begging during the day. They didn't sleep on the streets.

Nancy said that Mexico has come a long way in education. Literacy is up to about 80%; even the very poorest must go to school to the eighth grade and it is free. High school is free too, but not mandatory. State colleges are nearly free (only 200 pesos per year), but it is tough to get in. She also answered questions about NAFTA and indicated that it has hurt, rather than helped, Mexico so far in that Mexican companies who cannot compete have gone out of business. 

Our first full day in the city was full and long. First we went to the center of the city where the original Aztecs had built their city. We toured the Metropolitan Cathedral and learned that it is slowly sinking and of the city's efforts to prop it up. The whole inside was reinforced with a scaffolding like thing and detracted from the beauty of the church. On another side of the square was the National Palace and inside we studied huge murals done by Diego Rivera  which depict the history of Mexico. We had a good history lesson there. 

Octavio and our group at the National Palace  ---  Ron at the Palace

After a short trip in the bus, we ended up at the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco. The name is misleading. There were no gardens. There were many brightly colored gondolas set with long tables inside. Our group boarded two boats which were tied together. While floating down the river we were served a box lunch, serenaded by a lively Mariachi band, and constantly approached by other vendor boats to buy this and that. We were discovering that this is very much part of the Mexican culture. 

On the river with the Mariachi band

No matter where we went we had to fend off vendors. One time Cliff, Bernice, Ron and I were sitting on a park bench trying to have a conversation and dozens gathered in front of us and shoved their merchandise in our faces interrupting us. And they don't take no (in any language) for an answer.

After the floating gardens, we rushed over to the new Museum of Anthropology which deserved several days instead of just a few hours. I am fascinated with the old indian cultures of Mexico especially the Aztecs, and the Mayans. The museum was wonderful and our guide, Octavio, (Mike) did a super job of guiding us through. 

It was late afternoon when we returned to the hotel. We were all exhausted. It was hurry to eat, hurry to get to bed and hurry to get up once more. 

The fourth day of our tour was spent driving quite a ways to the towns of Cuernavaca and Taxco. We only drove through the first, but we spent a few hours in Taxco, a silver mining town built up in the hills. The roads are so narrow and steep that the bus could not take us to the center of town. We were put into Volkswagen taxis and driven up-town. Much of the merchandise for sale in this town is silver---especially jewelry. It was after 7:30 p.m. when we arrived back at our hotel; Ron and I opted for El Pizza Hut for dinner. 

Lower streets of Taxco  ---Ron bargaining with a small vendor in Taxco

The church at Taxco. The walls inside are very ornate and covered with gold.

Very early the morning of the fifth day, we checked out of the hotel and started our trek back to the U.S. The first stop was the Guadalupe Shrine where legend has it the Virgin appeared to the shepherd Juan Diego, a converted indian on December 12, 1531. The Virgin asked him to pick a small bunch of flowers from the hillside, and put them in his cloak and show them to the bishop. Juan Diego did this, and when he opened his cloak to show the flowers, the image of the Virgin was found to be imprinted in the cloth. The original cloak is framed and on display in the new church. The old church is also sinking into the ground and unsafe.

Much of Mexico City and the surrounding towns are built on a vast lake bed that dried up. The Aztecs built their city on an island in the center of the lake and that is now the city square. 

From the shrine we drove to the impressive Pyramids of the Sun and Moon which were built by the Teotihuacan indians from 100 BC to 700 AD. These are greater in mass than the Egyptian pyramids but are not used as burial chambers. It was awesome---not just the two huge pyramids but all of the buildings in this archaeological city. What was most amazing was the complex drainage system integrated into the several tiers of buildings. The waters collected through drains in the floors were then used for fertilization. Many of us started to climb the largest pyramid, the Pyramid of the Sun, but after going up to the second level, I chickened out when I turned around to see what I would have to face going down. With no railing, the steepness scared me. Ron, Ivan, Cliff, and Dan went all the way to the top.

Barb at the pyramids  ---Ron, Ivan, Cliff, Dean & Dan on the way to the top.

After spending the morning at the shrine and pyramids we had lunch in the area before going on to San Juan del Rio and the lapidary shops. That town is famous for their opal mines. We just had a short stop for a little shopping in one store. Then we were off for another long drive.

It was late when we arrived at the Hotel Rancho Atascadero in San Miguel de Allende. This was by far the most beautiful of the hotels we stayed at and is listed as one of Mexico's most romantic inns. There was a little fireplace in our sitting room, comfortable beds, and lots of beautiful flower gardens and patios. The dinning room was charming and although the service was a little slow, the food was good. We enjoyed the evening, but wished we could stay a while to rest and enjoy. 

The next morning we were whisked away for a morning of shopping in San Miguel. My mind screamed, "Stop I want to stay longer." I really liked this town and want to go back. When we toured the famous Instituto of Fine Arts, we met several Americans working on jewelry. One, a full-timer from Michigan had been staying at the campground which is within walking distance to the institute and loved it. Besides offering classes in the arts, Spanish is offered. Ron would like to study that and I want more watercolor classes. We may go back for a month or two in a year or so.  One thing I really liked about San Miguel was that there were no beggars and no pushy vendors. 

From San Miguel that afternoon it was a long push to get down the road. We made it to Matechuala for dinner and bed time then after an early start on the last day, we arrived back where we started by 6:30 p.m. 

We learned that we don't like the pace of a tour. We have been spoiled with our leisure pace of travel. We also like being able to stay and soak up an area when we want to. We loved the people---that part was fun and we thought we had an unusually compatible group which made for even more fun. Mexico is a great place to explore and many feel safer in a well controlled group. Now that we have seen a little, we will not be afraid to drive the motor home in to selected areas. 

A week long trip to Mexico City with visits along the way doesn't make one an expert on Mexico. This complex country has had a violent history with strong religious and political conflicts. It is a country with great natural resources and is attractive to tourists. Because of its many contrasts, it is almost impossible to generalize, so I will only report on what I saw and experienced. 

Here are some of the contrasts. I saw beautiful modern office buildings and hotels in Mexico City along with dilapidated structures still abandoned since the 1985 earthquake. I observed well dressed prosperous looking citizens in a cosmopolitan atmosphere trying not to notice the many beggars that inhabit the downtown area. Attractive homes and villas dotted the hillsides while several miles away the squatters were living in shacks and adobes with no windows. Likewise, modern tractors were tilling the soil, while in the next field a man was plowing with oxen. Even the geography was a contrast as we traveled through desert, beautiful mountain ranges and rich agricultural areas. Many of our metropolitan areas have the same contrasts, but it seems more pronounced in Mexico.

Mexico's richest asset is its people. Almost every one agrees that they have a strong cultural foundation that emphasizes family, education and hard work. Many of us that have been coming to the Rio Grande Valley over the years have always been impressed with workers that have migrated here. Friends who recently visited from Michigan could not get over the cheerful service and the smiles they received when dining and shopping. For us, it was the same in Mexico and we quickly realized that our friendly neighbors to the south live up to their reputation.

The country has great potential. I hope that their government doesn't let these hard working people down.


by Ron
Everyone is checking over their RVs and organizing things for the trek north.There will be a lot of RVs on the road April 1 (including ours). However; it will be 2 months before we get to Michigan.

We are getting used to the wind here at Port Isabel. If I look like I'm leaning forward when you see me walking up north, please understand that it's a habit derived from bucking the wind.

You can buy a new Volkswagen Beetle in Mexico for $5600, but they won't let you bring it back to the U.S.A. They don't meet the emission standards. I have fond memories of my old Volkswagen bug.

Like a plant, we tend to take root when in one place for a long time. We came close to that with me ushering in church and Barb teaching computer classes as well as being in the park's variety show. (She pantomined to a Barbra Strisand tape and many thought she was really singing.) But it's time to move on and we are looking forward to that and seeing family along the

I love the Mexican people, but if I owned a house, I probably wouldn't hire a Mexican plumber. Even the luxury hotels have plumbing problems.

It doesn't seem that long ago when Barb put a picture of our new towed vehicle (1991 Toyota pick-up) on the front page of the newsletter. It now has 100,000 miles on it.

So come Monday morning, April 1, Barb will miss her telephone and I will miss my morning paper. See ya down the road.

Good Places to Eat
(Remember that this report was written many years ago and the restaurants may or may not be in business or as they were.)

Mexico & Missouri
Angus Butcher House, Hamburgo & Copenhague Streets, Mexico City, Mexico. This lovely steak house is situated behind the Aristos Hotel in downtown Mexico. Their steaks range from inexpensive to rather pricy but the ones we had were the best ever. And the stir fried vegetables and twice baked potatoes were also excellent. They have both indoor and patio dining. We ate on the patio and were entertained by a sidewalk band; they played one Beattle�s song after another for most of our dining time. If you are ever in Mexico City this place will delight you.

Hickory Smoke Shack BBQ, Preston Missouri, Hwy 65 & 54. Jim & Linda Butner (full-timers) own this wonderful BBQ place and although we have not yet visited their place, we did get a chance to taste their wonderful fare this winter. Linda�s famous beans are out of this world and Jim�s smoked meats are outstanding. Everything is cooked with lots of tender loving care. They also specialize in fresh cut (not frozen) french fries. Stop in and see them; they will be open Tues-Sun from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., starting May 1 and they will stay open through Labor Day weekend. When you go, be sure to tell them that you are friends of ours. Oh, one more thing; don�t believe Jim when he tries to take credit for Linda�s beans.

Jim and Linda Butner at their bbq picnic here at Outdoor Resorts this winter.

Take a break. Get a cup of coffee and let's chat.

Bob & Marilyn Outzen, new full-timers from Lynnwood, Washington write. "A recent issue you mentioned becoming full Texans; we were curious, why Texas? Is there a way to find out which state is more reasonable on license tabs, taxes etc? We will be making some other state our home base as Washington is really high." Ron answers. In the book [An Alternative Lifestyle] (pg.162) we list the address for the Federal Highway Administration, Department of Transportation and suggest their publications. Any library will have this information. When choosing a home base state it is also important to consider probate and, insurance laws, voting and sales tax. You have to research the states you think might work for you then evaluate everything before making the change. It does seem that the most popular states for full-timers are Texas, Florida, Oregon and Nevada. 

Gene Beyer, snowbird from Cadillac, Michigan, writes about a scary incident. "I'm a very fortunate guy: While going thru Las Vegas just a few blocks off the strip, the steel bracket holding the Stow Master to the frame of Pull Toy [Toyota pick-up truck] broke (no weld at break, just steel) with a loud snap!" I turned the rear video camera on to see the Toyota slowly get farther from the Bounder and pulled off into a shopping mall to check. The other frame bracket was almost broken---if that would've happened before I stopped, the Toyota would have been free to go wherever---frightening as to the possibilities, especially around the mountainous Colorado River area. The bracket was installed by Lazy Days, Tampa. Required emergency assistance in Las Vegas to rearrange the Stow Master so we could travel. From LV to Yuma, Donna drove the truck while the kittens and I drove the 34 J."

I've had the Toyota reconfigured with two receivers welded to the truck frame, with a hook welded to the Toyota frame for a separate safety chain directly from Bounder to p.u. frame, independent of the safety cables which are standard and considered adequate. Now I install the Stow Master on the p.u. only when we're going to tow. People who work with steel say that many arrangements have already caused serious accidents,
injury and big damage because of incorrect arrangements. I'm told by these same people, and others that I'm unsure could be called expert, that the weight of the Stow Master and it's frame causes harmonics and other
stresses without even being hooked up to the motorhome. Whatever---I'm a fortunate guy...."

Judy & Dick Raymond of Lansing, Michigan, write."...looked at a 32 foot Bounder. Fell in love with it!...How expensive is it to maintain?" Ron responds. No more expensive than normal vehicle expense i.e. oil changes, gas, etc. If you are unhandy like me, I'd suggest the extended service warranty, although in the three years of owning our Bounder we have had only one big repair. A water leak in the toilet necessitated replacement of the toilet. 

Full-timers, Carl & Ree Witt have a comment on the allergy shot question a while back. "When I took allergy shots, the consideration was never my inability to give my own injection. The essential concern was having a doctor or nurse around with supplies for that fifteen minute wait period AFTER the injection. During the eight or nine years I took the allergy shots, I had one bad reaction and a few minor ones, that were dealt with promptly because of my being where I needed to be and with whom at the time of the injection. I was fortunate to be able to work with my doctor to get weaned off the shots before we started full-timing three years ago. And so far so good."

Loran & Shelby Haney are trying to get ready for full-timing. They write. "We are planning to buy a lap-top computer. Both of us are completely ignorant when it comes to knowing the first thing about computers, so, we would appreciate if you or any of your readers could give us some help in selecting one that would best suit the needs of a full-time RVer." Readers: We'd like your help on this one. We suggested a brand name like a Tosheba or Compaq with as much hard drive and memory as they can afford. We also suggested that they join the computer Birds of a Feather group in Escapees. Their newsletter is very helpful. 

Rob & Marilyn Monroe are also interested in computer information. "Do you have an e-mail address? Mine is Ace Monroe @ AOL.com and we are interested in any information re: computer use on the road. Additionaly we are thinking of engaging in some type of small business. Any info on businesses, especially tax implications would be helpful." 

Barb & Ron have a few suggestions. Join Escapees if you are not a member already. Their magazine is extra helpful. Then join two Birds of a Feather groups---the computer one mentioned above and Workers on Wheels. 


Anxious to retire

...I want to thank you and honor you both for taking the time to share so much of yourselves and your knowledge in your book and newsletters. Both of us are very anxious to retire (1-2 years) from working for the Federal Government and com mence our full-time RV lifestyle. The waiting sometimes gets to both of us and some of your ideas have helped me slow down and do a little more planning that, I'm sure, is well needed. Your writing style presents the pages so that it was very difficult to put your book down....

Marsha & Chuck Pratt
Port Orchard, Washington

Would like to share on E-Mail

...I'm a little disappointed in the modem situation. I hope things will be better for the RVer soon. We do like our America On Line and it is a good way to keep in touch with family. Terry says a lap top would do, but that adds up to a $2,000 modem as far as I can see.... Let's experiment. Our E-Mail address is TMOR@AOL.com. I'll let you know if we get any response....

Thoroughly enjoyed Bette & Clyde's article. We toured Alaska a year ago in a rented motorhome and want to do the ferry next but would take our motorcycle.

Margaret & Terry Moore
Kalama, Washington

Book changed her outlook

We enjoy your newsletter very much. My husband, John, has always wanted to full-time when he retired, but I wasn't so sure. I then read your book and had a more positive outlook on full-timing. In 1994 we bought a 33 ft Winnebago Chieftain. We just love it. In the summer of 95 we took a 3 month trip to Alaska with John's cousins and some friends of theirs. It was a won derful trip. We put 13,321 miles on the coach in the 3 months time. We spent six weeks in Alaska. We drove the Alcan both ways. I definitely recommend the trip to anyone who thinks that they want to go. We plan to go back when I retire....

Judy & John Loomis
Middlesex, New York

Enjoyed FMCA Western Rally

With the new Aerbus we're able to take off on some weekends, and live in it weekdays to be close to work; we are going to our house in the mountains less....

Our first rally was the FMCA Western Regional in Indio (CA). What an exciting few days! And an education too. Great displays, weather, suburb music and entertainment. Anderson's seminar on weight was very valuable to us. Our coach was OK and we can pack in another 500 lbs when we sell our house....

Keep at the great Movin' On---it sure stirs the wanderlust in us! We can't wait to explore Texas....

Judy & Joe Adams 
Costa Mesa, CA

Escapees are great

We finally made it! We have been official full-timers for two weeks now. Didn't think we'd ever get rid of all that stuff we had accumulated for 40 years, but finally there was an end. We left Chicago area in below zero temps, but they followed us all the way to Memphis. At last here in Livingston we had 700 and thawed and rested. Escapees are great for R & R and hugs....

Gloria & Ed Watson
New full-timers from Woodridge, Illinois

RVers share and care

...If you should ever be in the vicinity of Del Rio, be sure to stay at the Holiday Trav-L Park on Hwy 90 W. The managers, Denny & Ellen Deering are two of the nicest most caring people we have ever met. They have made our winter stay most enjoyable. My husband had surgery January 5 and their sincere concern and caring was so appreciated. I must say that many of the other guests demonstrated their concern, offered their prayers and any assistance we might need. My husband has recovered almost 100% and all is fine now. Wouldn't it be nice if families everywhere could be shown how RV families share and care. Maybe they could take a lesson or two!

The carrots Au gratin recipe is wonderful! We were invited to dinner at another couple's home and we took the carrots; they enjoyed them too and asked for the recipe....

Cindi & Dick Lanman
Full-timers from California

Had fun trying to find the book

...We first heard about your book in our local newspaper. We went to Barnes & Noble and asked where we could find An Alternative Lifestyle. They directed us to the "gay/lesbian" section. Besides that, they didn't have it and couldn't order it. Waldenbooks finally ordered it. We thought you'd get a chuckle out of that. I'm on my second time of reading it and picking up more tips every time. Your lifestyle is our goal....

La Verne & Dennis Beyer
Neenah, Wisconsin

Love the LDDS calling card 

Thank you for the recommendation for the LDDS discount calling card! We have just received our card and have also signed up for their 800 number for messages. We've discovered that our children didn't like using our other service that had a person who took their message and put it into a computer, so they didn't call just to say hello. This way, they can call and talk anytime to our voice mail and we get an opportunity to hear their actual voices. This is especially wonderful for me since I'm still suffering some from the old empty nest syndrome. I know that I am missing them much more than they are missing me. It just takes time to get my head and heart together....

Sherry & Sandy Harper
Full-timers from San Rafael, California

Feel safer in RV than in a house

... I am a single full-timer and have traveled over two years meeting the greatest people in America and Canada. I thought when I started out that couples might shun me, but that hasn't been so....I am an example of how God can lead us into safe paths and to good people. I encourage other women to enjoy the time we have here and not fear the unknown. I feel safer traveling and camping than I did living alone in a city house. And I am no longer shy....I travel in a 21' Class C mini motor home and do not need to pull a car since I can easily park for groceries etc. And friends I make in camp often offer to drive me about. Thanks for your newsletter. 

Joanne Sterrett
Full-timer from ????

Tried traveling and didn't like it

We are interested in obtaining your book and getting a free copy of your newsletter. We tried retiring and traveling and after three months gave it up and came home. We were tired of "vegetating" as my husband calls it. We couldn't get our mail on time to send bills, make many friends and we sure didn't live on $1,050 a  month. We did run up our Visas and put a lot of miles on our rigs. And who can buy a new one every four or five years. I bet you're home in Texas collecting money from your book.

Mr. & Mrs Thomas Floathe
Haquiam, Washington

Glad readers like the decal idea

Readers like the Movin' On decal, huh? Not surprising (though it may often be hard for you two to be objective enough to understand the attraction of the network you've created!). Anyway since we started this small tempest, we owe you some on-going support.... 

A personal update; we flirted with, but abandoned the idea of perhaps earning money on the road for the next few years. Consequently, we're in the process of launching a home-based five year business; a residential cleaning service. The start-up phase is hectic and challenging and fun, and takes our minds off RVing until Movin' On arrives in the mail. Thanks for keeping the dream alive....

Now you have to make everyone promise to report decal "sightings" (and you, of course, must promise to give us the tally every now and then.) What fun!

Pamela & Fred Handy
Denver, Colorado

Liked reading about Alaska

Really enjoyed hearing about Alaska. Just a nice topping on your fantastic newsletter.

Carla & Dan Stotts
Yuma, Arizona

Liked the RV Rating book

We have been impressed with Movin' On since we received our first copy in Nov. of 95. Sure we subscribe to the other RV publications also but Movin' On gives a more down home approach, which is very refreshing. We have been planning on full-timing for 6-7 years. So far all the pegs are going in the right holes and the house goes up for sale on May 1st. When it goes, we go. 

Our planning has taken us to all the RV shows in the area, many RV dealerships, and even into the Elkhart area for as many tours as we could fit in a five day stay. For anyone who can make that trip it is worthwhile....one never quits looking. That led us to order the collection of Coffee Break columns....We enjoyed so much reading about actual experiences rather than a sales person approach. It was also refreshing to see the response from other RVers when someone had a question or a problem. 

Having jumped through most of the hoops on trying to decide which is the best RV for our plans one can never get enough information. I did see that JD Gallant's publication The RV Rating Book was mentioned in one of the Coffee Break columns. Even though John Anderson thought JD Gallant is very biased and opinionated, nevertheless the book can be used as a factor in searching for that ever elusive best RV unit. I look at it like this. There is some very good information in the rating book and some very damning information also. If Mr. Gallant has not been sued for some of the ratings, at this point I would have to say his information must have some merit. It changed our mind on what we considered the best unit when we left Elkhart....

Chuck & Norma Anderson
Shawano, Wisconsin

Dream turned into nightmare

... We have been back and forth between Georgia and Florida for longer than I care to stay in any one place. Our custom trailer building of our dream home turned into a nightmare. [Coffee Break-Dec. 94-V4-#9] I'll spare you the details but we paid for it in full and the manufacturer went out of business before it was built. We just bought a 29 foot, 1995 Holiday Rambler and are in the process of making it home. We hope to head somewhere soon, maybe west.

Colleen Sykora & Bob Nilles
Full-timers from ???

Another single says all is well 

...I'm doing great as a single. In three local singles clubs in the Phoenix area and a single RV club (WINS). Just attended a five day dance rally... I've dropped 25 lbs...in the last three months. I feel better physically and mentally than I have in years. So things are working out for me. I think the flexibility of the RV lifestyle

Frank Cavanaugh
Full-timer from Tuckerton, New Jersey

Love volunteering

...this winter on my own and first volunteer job at Aransas Natl Wildlife Refuge. Absolutely love it here!! Have met so many nice people and learned so much---each day is an adventure. Arrived mid September and will leave end of April for a couple of months back in Michigan to spend time with my family. Considering a return here in the fall. would like to continue a project I'm working on at Matagordo Island....Have had so many
memorable experiences to date, have to pinch myself to be sure it's all real....

Katherine Cullen
Full-timer from Metamora, Michigan

This 'N That
by Barb
It is hard enough to pick letters when we are doing a newsletter each month, but it is nearly impossible to choose when we have two months worth of mail. Honest, it broke my heart not to be able to print all of your

I have been teaching two gals here how to use Word Perfect 5.1 and as a thank you, they surprised me with a wonderful electric stapler. What a difference it makes in getting the newsletters out. Joann and Dee you are wonderful and I will miss our classes too.

We regret to report on the death of another one of our readers. Idolia Berry, wife of Max Berry of Scandia, Kansas, died in November after a short bout with cancer. She put off going full-time because her aged mother needed her. Her mother is still alive and Idolia is gone. Max stopped by in January and seems to be doing fine. He came down to Texas by himself and met up with the "old gang." 

How many of you SKPS filled out their recent questionaire? I was amazed at our answers. When asked how many miles we put on our RV in the last 12 months I answered "7,000." The next question was how many days were we actually rolling down the road. That answer truly surprised us because it was "between 25 and 30." A lot of people think we are moving like they do when they go on vacation. The survey was done in January so did not count the five months we have been sitting still. Ron mentioned growing roots and I guess we have. For five months the  wheels on our motorhome have not even turned. The people here have been so great that we hardly noticed the wind. But we are ready to move. There's so much to see and do. This summer and fall we will be in wonderful places that we have not written about before like Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and who knows what else. It is all so exciting!

Many of you wrote that you would like to hear about a Mexican caravan. We will see what we can do about that sometime in the future.

Ron saw an ad in a Houston newspaper recently that we thought was interesting. Atascosa County Texas is looking for experienced RV park developers interested in working with the county to develope multiple RV sites across the county. They want to be home to 700 winter Texans within the next five years. We mention this to support our theory that the more of us there are, the better the facilities will be. And there will be enough for everyone.

What would the police or ambulance attendants do if you and/or your spouse were seriously injured in an ccident away from your RV? You should always have in the car/truck a filled out emergency card which can  be updated regularly. Computer Trails (an Escapee's Birds of a Feather group) sent us a prototype form which we think is great. Basically it is a form which needs to be filled in by you each time you move. The form would tell the emergency people where to locate your spouse if you are alone or who to notify if you are together. If you are interested in getting a sample sheet (with two forms) that you can have copied, please send us a self  addressed stamped envelope. It really is a good idea. We have heard of a couple who died in an accident away from their RV and it took days to finally locate any family.

Do you remember us writing about Karen Fleckenstein? She is here with us for a few days after spending a wonderful winter in Mexico. She started out with a caravan but ended up staying longer and came out alone. She loves Mexico and will return again and again and again. She feels very lucky to be able to travel the way she does. 

Your very own Movin' On decal! It started with the Handy's who suggested the decal. It continued when so many of you said you liked the idea. The Moores of Washington even sent a prototype. We weren't going to do anything about it right now, but found a good printer nearby who was a great help. And we had to fold this newsletter in half (instead of tri-folding) so we could fit this FREE decal in without bending it. We hope that you will stick it on your vehicle and see if anyone recognizes it. As the Handy's suggested in this issue, we hope you will report any decal sightings. If you need more for other vehicles, please use the newsletter order form or just send a note and enclose 75 cents for each one you need. From now on we will send out a decal with each new subscriber.

Corn Bake Recipe recipe first debuted in this issue. I have linked it to the 
recipe section where all of our newsletter recipes are posted.
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