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volume 6                      August 1995                      number 6
INSIDE
Eastern WA, & parts of ID, MT & WY
•  Campground Update
•  Potpourri 
•  Good Places to Eat
•  Coffee Break
•  Letters, Letters, Letter
•  A Memorial to a Friend
•  This' N That
Salmon with Green Fettuccine
The next newsletter will be a surprise. We don't even know where we are going yet. I might just take a few weeks off too so don't be surprised if the next newsletter doesn't arrive until the middle or end of September. 
You are probably wondering why we would write about being on vacation when our life looks like a perpetual vacation. Well there really is a difference. A vacation is planned tightly with lots of traveling and activities; that is what we just completed. But first lets go back to Port Townsend, Washington, and begin our journey east.

Leaving Port Townsend on Thursday, June 29, was the most wonderful take-off we had ever experienced. We enjoyed a relaxing morning and even went out for lunch with our park neighbors, Audrey and Tubby Watson, before leaving the campground at about 2:30 in the afternoon.

We arrived at the ferry dock in Port Townsend at the most perfect time---just as the 2:45 ferry was leaving. We were first in line for the 4:15 ferry. It was almost high tide, the best time for us and our long overhang to get on the ferry. While waiting we were comfortable in our home folding newsletters and drinking coffee and we remained in the comfort of our home while crossing. 

From Keystone we headed north and east on state Route 20. Even though we experienced some rush-hour traffic around Anacortes, the trip was easy. We arrived at the beautiful Rockport State Park just about dinner time, found a space and thoroughly enjoyed the evening. We had been at this park four years ago. I loved it then and still do. It is wonderfully lush---reminiscent of the rain forest and there is a feeling of being in a cozy green cocoon. This relaxing day ended in peaceful luxury.

We continued on Route 20 through North Cascades National Park and arrived at Kettle Falls early the next afternoon. The whole drive was magnificent! We crossed four mountain passes easily (this Bounder sure does a good job---knock on wood). 

Kettle Falls is home to our good friends Esther and Jack Perram. We met them four years ago in St George, Utah, traveled to Vegas together, visited them later that year in Desert Hot Springs, wrote to them regularly, then visited them this past January in Desert Hot Springs. We had never been to their home though. They really laid out the red carpet for us. The best campground in town is just down the street from their house. Jack had made our reservation for us and made sure we were to get the best spot with the most spectacular view of Lake Roosevelt and the mountains all around. I had always thought that eastern Washington was flat farmland or high desert, but Kettle Falls is big timber country so there's lots of green and plenty of hills.


Esther and Barb --- Kettle Falls, WA
Lake Roosevelt was created when the Coolee Dam was built in the early 40's. Now it is a large national recreation area and there are plenty of campgrounds, marinas and such in the area.  There is also a lot of history. It was interesting to learn that just before the lake was created, the town of Kettle Falls was moved, building by building, to its present location (Myers Falls townsite). They say when the lake is down, you can still see the streets and foundations of old Kettle Falls. 

There's plenty to do in the area and Jack and Esther kept us comfortably busy. Ron, Jack and Esther golfed twice (I had a cold). They showed us the site of their old farm, took us to Canada twice, took us cherry picking, made sure we had lots to eat (Jack likes to cook and does a good job), we played games nearly every evening, had lots of time for talks and felt like we had been home with family. After ten lovely days, we hated to leave.

On Monday, July 10, we headed to Spokane and camped on the west side of town (near the airport). Our nine year old granddaughters (cousins) were flying in the next morning so we wanted to check out the airport and be ready to greet them. 

We still don't know how that travel agent (way back in Morro Bay, California,) planned for their trip so perfectly. Erika Graham flew from Detroit, Michigan, and arrived in Spokane at 11:37 a.m.. Mary Hofmeister flew from Tulsa, Oklahoma, (she lives close by in Independence, Kansas,) and arrived at noon on the same day. We picked Spokane for their arrival and departure because it was close to Montana and the places we wanted to take them. We had no idea of how suburb that choice was until we checked out the airport. The airport is small (there are only two small concourses) and they arrived at gates across from each other on different airlines. It was fun to greet them and watch them greet each other; it had been a little while since they had been together. 

Once settled in the motorhome, we discussed what we would see on our three week vacation and gave them map reading lessons so they could help navigate. Early the morning of July 12, we were off on our great adventure. 

The first stop was Bonner's Ferry, Idaho, on Route 2, but it was just a one night stop. We did not visit the town because the campground was so nice with animals to pet, hikes to take, a swimming hole to swim in and dinners to cook over an open fire. We started a ritual of playing games every night; the TV was only on once during the whole trip and that was when Ron wanted to catch a glimpse of the news. 

On July 13, we finished the first part of our trip and arrived in West Glacier, Montana, for a four day stop to explore Waterton/Glacier National Park. The girls had never seen such mountains and we delighted in watching their awe. 

Early Friday morning, we started off with packed lunches for a full day (in the car) of driving across the park. The Going to the Sun Road goes from West Glacier, across the Logan Pass, to Saint  Mary. This scenic road which has been called an engineering wonder is the only road through the park and it only covers a small portion of its 1,013,572 acres. We stopped at every overlook and trail and hiked in on a couple of the shorter trails. There are over 730 miles of hiking trails in Glacier, some 650 lakes and many glaciers. 


Erika & Mary at Glacier NP

The great hikers
There is no way we could do it justice in just four days, but we tried. We marveled at the thunder of the cascades and smaller waterfalls, delighted at the clouds hanging on to the high peaks during the morning, chuckled at seeing the fat little marmots scurrying around looking busy and I got the biggest kick out of watching grandpa and the girls throwing snowballs at each other up on Logan Pass. We tried to take the trail to Hidden Lake which promised a magnificent view. But at that high altitude (Logan Pass) there was lots of wet melting snow which was still quite deep in places. It made for tough walking. We missed seeing a grizzly by not taking that hike. Another family that had just finished told us they were about 20 feet away from the bear. That's way too close for me. The 50 mile drive took the whole day and that is as deep as we ever got into the park. Our favorite hikes were the Trail of Cedars and the hike to Avalanche Lake which we didn't get to complete because of a hail storm. Sunrift Gorge was an easy hike with a reward of marvelous waterfalls at the end.

Mary and Erika delighted in everything they saw from beautiful alpine flowers that they had never  seen before to the snow capped mountains. They became Junior Rangers at the park by studying a little, hiking some and attending a ranger program. They had fun learning. 

When we left Glacier we headed south to Virginia & Nevada Cities, (with a one night stop at  Helena). We were disappointed in Nevada City. The badly weathered buildings are not opened so all that is left to do is walk the streets and peek in windows to see nothing. Only one mile away, Virginia City is a real town. All of the original buildings are real stores, saloons, hotels and such in between some stores which stand as they might have in 1860. One can peek into the windows and see the past. Well worth a visit is either the old Opera House or the Brewery. Both present plays or reviews nightly during the summers.  At the Opera House we saw The Secret Wife---a wonderful melodrama. They had a bonus variety review after the play and the girls got to get the cast's autographs in the saloon after the performance. By the way if you are looking to spend a little money both towns are for sale. 


Erika & Mary in Nevada City

Nevada City, Montana
On the way to Yellowstone from Virginia City, we made a short stop for lunch and learning at the Madison River Canyon Earthquake Visitor Center. We arrived just in time to hear the short talk which is presented every hour on the hour. Seated in a large room, looking through a wall of windows which face a broken mountain, we were told the story of The Night The Mountain Fell. On August 17, 1959 at 11:37 p.m., an earthquake triggered a massive landslide which not only buried campers, caused high velocity winds in the canyon, blocked the river causing the new lake to be formed and caused a wall of water to sweep through the canyon. It was a night of terror in which twenty eight people (mostly campers) lost their lives. We listened intently as the ranger told of some of the plights of the survivors. The displays in the visitor center were also absorbing. Try not to miss this National Forest stop. It is located on U.S. Route 287 about 22 miles north of West Yellowstone. 

We felt so lucky that we had reservations, made well in advance, for the Fishing Bridge RV Campground in Yellowstone National Park. This is a perfect base for seeing all of Yellowstone. Unlike Glacier, Yellowstone has plenty of roads for driving through much of the two million plus acres. The 142 mile Grand Loop Road forms a figure eight, with connecting spurs to the five entrances. To even think of staying less than four days is sad. Each day, we headed off in a different direction. There are seven visitor centers and each deserves a look. When traveling in any direction, there are many pull-outs or exhibits along the roads. Stopping at as many as possible is fun, educational and breaks up the drives. 

Right away we picked up a booklet which details all of the ranger hikes, talks and evening programs throughout the park. From that we made our plan of attack. The first morning we got up extra early to meet a ranger, Karen, at the Mud Volcano for a 1-1/2 hour walk/talk. It was wonderful because she not only gave us interesting information but took us off the trail to a secret spot. We felt special. On our way back to the boardwalk, we had to detour because a buffalo had blocked our path. It was very exciting especially for Mary and Erika. After Karen's walk, we headed to the Canyon area
for drives and walks at the magnificent canyon, falls and river area then ate our picnic lunch. At 1:30 we took another ranger walk on the canyon rim. This 1-1/2 hour walk was cut a little short because of rain. Both talks were wonderfully informative.

Clear crisp air greeted us each morning and warmed wonderfully during the day until late afternoon when it would rain a little. Each evening we bundled up and attended a different ranger program near the campground. We couldn't get over how much the girls enjoyed these programs. One cold evening when it started to rain they refused to  leave until it started pouring.

Mary and Erika completed their Junior Ranger requirements for Yellowstone in about two days. The program at Yellowstone was a lot tougher than at Glacier, but they jumped right into it and did a super job. 

Of course we saw the buffalo and elk. We even got to see a moose although he was just lying down in the woods wiggling his ears and could only be seen clearly with binoculars. We did not see any bears---not even in the distance, but loved looking for them.

We toured all of the thermal features and again the girls were amazed when they learned that we were seeing the depths of the earth from an old volcano caldera. The bubbling and gurgling never stops. Everyone goes to watch Old Faithful and sadly many do little more than watch that one geyser. We examined many and were amazed at some of their shapes, the smells, the sounds, and the colors of the algae in the pools. And we were excited to note that the trees are growing again all over the park. The fire of 1988 is still evident, but there is new life. We told the girls that when they bring their grandchildren, the forest will be green again. 

When we left Yellowstone, we drove three short days and kind of took a break from sightseeing. We had been at it pretty heavy from our first day at Glacier. 

When we reached the Coast to Coast park in Kamiah, Idaho, we settled in to a steady diet of relaxation. This was planned as four days to do nothing---kind of winding down time. The girls were free to swim, read, talk, learn stuff on the computer or whatever. I had picked up the book Patty Reid's Doll in Virginia City and read from that every night. It is the story of the Donner party written from the perspective of the doll nine year old Patty Reid carried on that ill fated journey long ago. 

On July 31, we drove back to Spokane. Their clothes were packed and they had mixed feelings about going home. It was time, but as Mary said, “I will miss the trees, the beauty, the fun in everyday. I will miss the adventures, Willie Nelson singing On the Road Again, the mountains, the snow, the geysers, the mud pots and hot springs. I will miss the wildlife and my new friends from Washington and California.” 

We really got to know these precious little girls better and they got to know us and our lifestyle. Erika said, “It's neat having grandparents as full-timers because they can come to our house any time but best of all is when we get to visit them. I am comfortable in their motorhome and I can visit them in new and interesting places. Like this summer we saw lots of mountains and talked about them. I got to know my grandparents better, being alone with them. I enjoyed seeing so much wild life, and going on so many adventures. It's fun!” 

Erika left at 6:30 a.m. on August 1, and Mary's plane left at 7 a.m.. Again they departed from the same concourse so it was easy. We heard that even days after their return home, the girls hadn't stopped telling of what they saw and did. We have 12 grand children and when the next oldest are a little older and as they are able, we want to treat them to something special too. It will be Ryan and Richard's turn next. 



CAMPGROUND  UPDATE                              by Ron
(Please remember that this report was written many years ago and 
the campgrounds may or may not be in business or as they were.)

Like others who go “on vacation” we stayed in tourist areas and sometimes at KOA's so the grandchildren could enjoy the pool, playgrounds, a petting zoo and of course the gift shops. In case you are new to our newsletter, this month's report reflects our busy month and is not typical. 

Rockport State Park, Concrete, Washington. This beautiful park is located on Hwy 20 and though heavily forested there are some pull-throughs and long back-in sites. Nightly rate of $15 includes full hook-up. The park fills on weekends, but you should have no trouble getting in during the week. 

Grandview Motel & RV Park, Kettle Falls, Washington. The grand view is a beautiful panorama of Lake Roosevelt and the surrounding forests. The grounds are well manicured and the hookups are excel lent. The weekly rate with Good Sam (GS) discount is just under $12 a night. 

Rainbow Cove, S12514 Clear Lake Rd., Medical Lake, Washington (Off of I-90, take exit 264). If you like to fish, you will love this park and its long fishing pier right next to your campsite. Rate is $13 per night (water & electric only). The campground is small and the sites are narrow, but it's a good location for Spokane. And Al & Dottie will feed you in their little lakeside restaurant too. 

Twin Rivers Canyon Resort, Bonners Ferry, Idaho. This is one of the nicest campgrounds we have ever stayed at with outstanding facilities, beautiful surroundings and excellent hookups, but the 2 mile private, gravel road off of Hwy 2 will give you a thrill. It's best for motor homes to unhook the towed car before starting down the switchbacked road. Go ahead be adventuresome---the campground is worth it. Daily rate of $16.75 includes full hookup. 

Glacier Campground, 1 mile west of West Glacier Montana on Hwy 2. It may be difficult to get a campsite in Glacier National Park and if you do there will be no hookups. Glacier Campground is the next best bet and it's only a mile away from the west entrance. This Good Sam park is heavily wooded and has lots of sites. The daily rate of $15.30 (water & electric only) is reasonable considering the location to Glacier. Sites can easily accommodate a large RV.

Helena KOA, Helena, Montana. I now know what KOA stands for---Kids of America. You can enter the pool at your own risk, but the kids loved it. This is a typical KOA, with level but narrow sites. It is nicely landscaped and has good amenities. Our cost was $29 which included $6 extra for 2 children. We were on vacation---right?

Virginia City Campground, Virginia City, Montana. Great location to visit Virginia City & Nevada City. Although not too scenic, it's a good value for the area with full hookups being $16. The restrooms are spotless.

Fishing Bridge RV Park, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. You definitely need reservations for this park in the central part of Yellowstone. The level full hookup sites are $21.20 nightly and most are happy to pay that for the comfort and convenience. 

Pipestone Campground, Whitehall, Montana. This is a good overnight stop next to Hwy 90. It is a well maintained, pretty park with shaded level sites and a good pool. Nightly rate is $18.25. Every night they have all you can eat ice cream for $1---bring your own bowl.

Missoula KOA, Missoula, Montana. Narrow sites, great pool, petting zoo and lots of kids. Need I say more? $22 less KOA discount---plus $3 extra for each child.

Lewis-Clark Resort, Kamiah, Idaho, (CCC). This CCC park has lots of shaded sites in a pretty area.  Route 12 either way is simply beautiful. The park is complete with a good pool, laundry and a
restaurant---the buffet looked great too. 

Coeur d' Alene RV Resort, Post Falls, Idaho. This new 5 star resort has spacious level sites complete with full cable service. The indoor pool and two hot tubs resemble those found in luxury hotels. There is an outdoor patio as well as a large lounge. Everything here is top drawer. Rate is $22 with GS discount.


Potpourri
What a difference a year makes. Last summer we were dealing with serious illness and this year we are hiking national parks with granddaughters.

Surprisingly, Yellowstone did not seem that crowded. Traffic was not heavy (although there is some road construction) and we never had trouble parking at the thermal attractions.

Actually, the newspapers are reporting that tourism is off 20% in the northwest. They attribute this in part to the weak Canadian dollar.

A lot of the big bus type motorhomes are stopping here (Coeur d' Alene) on the way to the Family Motor Coach Rally in North Dakota. I will admit to being a little intimidated when a Prevost Coach ($600,000) towing a $30,000 Jeep Cherokee parks next to me. But everything is relative---we are pretty big stuff parked next to a little pop-up camper in a state park. 

Allow me to brag about my two nine-year-old granddaughters. Besides being very personable, they are computer whizzes and can really trounce Grandpa at Gin Rummy, Uno, Rummy Cube and yes, even Mexican Train dominos.

I sure enjoyed playing golf with Jack and Esther at Kettle Falls. Although they can still beat me (it's their home course), my game was respectable. You didn't think I was going to tell you my score, did you?

Take it from this old transportation guy, that if Route U.S. 2 in northwestern Montana was in Michigan, they would turn it back to gravel. It's that bad.



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

Eastern Washington
These two Italian restaurants are about as different as night and day. One has charm, the other character. Both have great food.

Cafe Italiano, 153 West Second, Colville, Washington. This excellent restaurant is a must if you are in the area and like good Italian food. Everything was top notch from the interesting menu to the service. The prices are a little on the high side, but well worth it especially considering the wonderful ambiance. 

Mama Monica's Italian Family Restaurant, Addy, Washington. After seeing a billboard advertisement which boasted this as “World Famous,” we searched it out. Addy is a little shabby kind of town near Kettle Falls and the first glimpse of the restaurant made us hesitate a little. Upon opening the outer door, we really wondered; the hallway was run down and the walls were “wallpapered” with children's art work. The menu looked interesting and offered many sandwiches. It was lunch time, but we had had late breakfasts so each couple decided to split a sandwich plate. Good thing! Our eyes bugged out at the huge (really an understatement) platters piled high with sandwich and fries. Everything was great. Why is this place famous? They used to be in Palm Springs, California, and there are pictures everywhere of the stars who frequented it. Don't be afraid. Try it out.


Lunch at Mama Monica's

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

Simon & Barbara DeBeer, full-timers from California, have some good information on membership campgrounds. 

 "I ... would like to make a point of reasonable camping!... Last year we purchased Thousand Trails and Naco (TTN) and we have been checking out the preserves! We find all the places we have visited in excellent condition and signs of improvements are obvious. TTN has done away with expensive marketing programs, created new membership dues, affordable for us (full-timers). The newly created funds are designated for preservation improvements. They have also split up the TTN territory so prospective members can join at different price entrees and can choose their own areas where they prefer to travel. To contact TTN call 1-800-388-7788, or write to TTN, P O Box 26, Gautier, MS, 39553-9985. We feel that with Coast to Coast, Escapees and TTN we can almost  stay home every night." 

Jean Tremel from Commack, New York, wonders how we get such clear pictures in the newsletter. 

"Got your address from an article in Word Perfect Magazine which said you used that software to produce your newsletter. I was wondering how you get the pictures with such detail. I have a scanner but when I print them back out on my HP 550C Desk Jet, they are very grainy and lose the detail. Sure would appreciate knowing how you get such great quality from your pictures." 

Barb responds.  Whenever I am ready to do a newsletter, I look for a printing or graphic business which does half-tones. These are copies of my photos done in a very fine dot pattern. This is what newspapers use. Quite frankly I usually search out a local newspaper and ask if I can buy this service from them. The photos in this newsletter were done by the Coeur d' Alene Press in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho. They did a good job. I leave spaces for the photos (graphic boxes) and paste them up before going to my "office"--- Kinko's. 
 

Judy and Wayne Richards are living in their motorhome, while they are still working near Little Rock, Arkansas. They are looking for your expert guidance. 

"Two months ago I made us a definite plan—things we needed to accomplish before taking off...Wayne seems happier with these goals lined up, but I'm still a bit chicken to take the plunge. The security of a decent paycheck is hard to give up. I keep asking myself, is it better to have freedom and live with very little in- come or better to be financially secure and feel pinned down? I'd like to ask your readers who have been on the road 4-5 years already. We have the security of medical coverage through Wayne's retirement..." 
 

Last month we asked you to send us your suggestions for places to winter. One of our most loyal, helpful, readers answered promptly with good information. Ellie (& Bob) Henderson, full-timers from San Diego, California, full-time in a cute 18½ foot Lindy motorhome. We also print part of another letter in the Letters section. 

"I can't resist putting in a plug for the Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVA's). The Bureau of Land Management has 7 snowbird camps in the southern California-Arizona border region. LTVA's are open from Sept 15 to April 15. A permit costing $50 is required to camp at the LTVA's. The permit is good at any or all of the camps for the entire season. So it certainly is affordable but what are the LTVA's like?" 

"They range in size from 3-4 acres to several square miles. Some have obvious attractions such as a hot spring or proximity to Quartzsite, Arizona, and their annual Gem & Mineral/World's Largest Garage Sale Show. Some are right on the freeway. Others are more remote. All but one can be reached by paved road. Some are close to sizable towns such as Yuma, Arizona, or Blythe, California, where you can find good shopping malls, restaurants and medical care. Some are close to Mexico." 

"Facilities vary from one LTVA to another. Some offer nothing---just desert camping. Others may have a dump station and/or water or it's available in a nearby town. There are no hookups, no swimming pools or club houses, but plenty of fun goes on without these amenities. Folks are not just huddled down in the desert eking out a dreary existence. Far from it!" 

"Most of the regulars (who come back year after year) have made use of solar panels to provide power for their TV's, computers, kitchen appliances and power tools. We even saw a couple of wind generators last year. And this is one place you can run your generator—just don't park your rig too close to anyone else. There's lots of room! If you don't want to move your rig, emptying holding tanks is accomplished with a Blue Boy---a portable holding tank that can be carried to the dump station in your tow vehicle. Fresh water can be carried to your RV in a large plastic water barrel. Yes, it's more work but when you're retired you have more time." 

"So who comes to the LTVA's? Mostly snowbirds who have homes in Canada, and the northern tier of states. They arrive towing an old Airstream trailer or driving the latest model 40 foot diesel pusher. There are full-timers there too. Most people are retired or semi retired and many can afford to stay in a resort park, but they choose to come to the LTVA. One couple we know has a lot nearby with full hookups, phone and cable TV but they still come to the LTVA." 

"What's the attraction? Could be the sense of freedom. You can park your rig wherever you fancy and you can move anytime. The attraction could also be that the people are friendly. There's a spirit of camaraderie and community that used to exist in our city neighborhoods. People help each other and watch out for each other and it could be those evening campfires, sitting around and playing guitars and singing. Or maybe it's the quail and doves that wander through camp or the coyote's serenade. Whatever, there's a charm that makes the inconvenience worthwhile. It's not for everybody but you can visit a LTVA to see how you like it for a week for $10. Although they open in September, it is still way too hot for me. By mid November, the temperature is usually in the high 70's/lower 80's and the snowbirds start arriving. Another surge arrives after the holidays. By the end of March, folks are starting to head north again. For more information about the LTVA's write: 

 Bureau of Land Management 
 Yuma District office 
 3150 Winsor Avenue 
 Yuma, Arizona  85365" 


LETTERS * LETTERS * LETTERS

Newsletter helps keep spirits up

We are very interested in your back issues!... We are planning to go full-time as soon as possible. Your book (and others) and newsletter help keep up our spirits while planning and working toward our time! Keep up the good work.

Bill & Lois Boose
Lititz, Pennsylvania

Fond memories

Please renew our subscription for another 12 issues.... Although our camping is very limited, we thoroughly enjoy reading of your travels. We are learning lots about full-timing, our dream, through them. 

The recent issues have brought back very fond memories. Thirty years ago we lived in Olympia as Freddie was stationed at Fort Lewis. We visited many of the places you talked about. Thoroughly enjoyed exploring the Olympic National Park. Have a wonderful picture of us and some friends from the base trying to encircle one of the giant trees in the rain forest. 

In 1966, we purchased our first trailer---a 13' Shasta and toured on our way home....We dream of doing the touring again but so far haven't the money or freedom but reading your newsletter is encouraging and informing us.... 

Jean & Fred Tremel
Commack, NY

Have been touring via motorcycle 

Just finished reading An Alternative Lifestyle and had to write and tell you how much I enjoyed it. We wish to subscribe to your newsletter now even though we will not be retiring for 3 years and 5 months. 

We have been touring the United States via motorcycle for the last 11 years as vacation time will allow. We have been in every state and over 100 national parks and feel like we haven't really seen much as we were on a schedule (nasty word). Our dream is to do just what you are doing. We had even talked of being hosts in national parks....

Again thank you for all the information your book supplied on what it's like to travel via motorhome throughout this big beautiful country. We are looking forward to receiving your newsletters.

Margaret & Terry Moore
Kalama, Washington

Like the Born Free motorhomes

...Marilyn and I are 50 and are in the earliest stages of planning to be full-timers. Actually we come by our plans honestly... Since we married 27 years ago we have done a lot of traveling and camping all over the country....tent...VW camper bus conversion...mini motor home. You get the picture. Each place we were stationed [Air Force] we tried to use as a base for our various trips and adventures....

The last couple of years we have been visiting the big RV shows in Minneapolis and St. Paul, doing a lot of dreaming. One thing we have discovered is that we are not very comfortable in the really big rigs, especially the newer “basement” models. They seem so big and wind resistant, sort of like driving a house. However, we did find one model that seems made for us. It's a Born Free. They are made in Humboldt, Iowa, a small town in north central Iowa. We even visited the factory, which is the only place to get one as they don't use dealers, although each buyer can get a discount by carrying a sales kit and exhibiting their rig at, at least, one RV show. The Born Free is a mini motor home and the largest is only 26 ft long. However, they are very aerodynamic and comfortable to drive. One very surprising thing we encountered both at the factory and the RV shows was the number of older couples, including some full-timers who were looking at Born Frees to “downsize” from a much bigger rig. We've talked to at least 10 such couples. The comments were all pretty much the same. As they aged they felt less and less comfortable in the bigger rigs, yet wanted to still travel. They also commented that if they had realized it when they started; they would have started out in the smaller rig. Interesting....

Alan & Marilyn Gierke
Prior Lake, Minnesota

Puget Sound---a favorite place

I loved your last Movin' On issue all about my favorite place in all the world---the Puget Sound area....

I tend to travel to Whidbey Island and the Olympic Peninsula during the off season. Spent one night at South Whidbey State Park on a bluff overlooking the ocean and the sunset surrounded by old growth forest. Had the whole park to myself in mid-October with only one other camper sharing the park. Another trip I spent several days hiking every trail in Deception Pass State Park in mid-April....[it] is a large state park on the northern tip of Whidbey Island, yet there must have been a grand total of six other campers there sharing the views over the Strait of Juan de Fuca....

Anyway, your July newsletter brought back wonderful memories of my trips to the Pacific Northwest. Vancouver Island is even better. I hope you get a chance to go there, too....

My condo finally closed last week so now I am officially a full-timer even though my wings are clipped and I must remain here in San Francisco working for another 4-1/2 years....

If you or any of your readers decide on a city visit, please look me up at the San Francisco RV Park. It's right in the heart of the city and on the route of most major bus lines so you can travel just about anywhere in the city. I love being just 5 blocks from work and don't miss the three hour round trip I used to make every day....And when I want to go away for the weekend, there's no packing. I just unhook and drive away....

Judy Myers
Full-timer from San Francisco, CA

Dear Judy,
We have stayed at that campground and found it wonderfully convenient for touring that city; much better than driving in and trying to park. Barb

Couldn't wait to get the book

After reading about you in the Oregonian I could not wait to get my hands on your book. You see a few years ago my husband and I were picnicking... and could not help over hearing the conversation from the couple next to us. Their topic was their motorhome. So we jumped in asking how was it to live in an RV full-time. She went into great detail about it. Their only regret was not doing it sooner.

She told us of how they owned a beautiful home in Lake Oswego how they had a big sale and it did not seem to bother them to give up things. They seemed so happy with their new lifestyle, one could not help getting caught up too.

Well, I lost track of them and though it was in the back of our minds, we were caught up in everyday life until just before your article when we began to talk about it once again. ...I seldom read the paper...Anyway one of the guys I work with brought the article in.

...it will be about 4-5 years until we are able to purchase one [an RV], but by that time I will have read everything I can get my hands on. Thank you....

Carol & Charles Hannah
Portland, Oregon

Appreciated the reminder

Thank you 4 circling the on R mailing label. Might have missed reordering and there 4 missed an issue or 2. My wife would have killed me. We usually fight (just kidding) 4 the privilege of who gets 2 read Movin' On 1st. Well we usually read...[it] together so we can compare R thoughts and ideas. As we have (as of writing this letter) 50 months and 21 days to retire---at which time, we will become full-timers. Your book, letters, and general attitude has added to R own desire 2 hit the road and see what there is 2 C....Is it possible to be friends and not have met? We believe so. Your friends

Gary & Lori Agron
Sedalia, Missouri

Don't store furniture

...Our trip here [back to Denver] included disposing of our furniture via an estate sale. We have stored it now for 4 years with a small fortune invested in storage fees. We hope to continue in this lifestyle for a few more years and then when we settle down, will buy furniture to fit a house, instead of buying a house to fit the furniture. If any of your readers are interested in our experience, please pass this on to them. Sell your furniture while you still have a house. Therefore you can get a better price for your things and if something doesn't sell, you can take your time and make other arrangements. If we spend too much time thinking about the past, the future will pass us by. Material things become less important in this lifestyle and people become more important....

Our plans for the summer...[include going] to Minot, ND, for the Aug 15th FMCA Convention. Hopefully after that we can proceed to Washington and Oregon. We enjoyed your newsletter and all of the info on the northwest. We have tried the praline cake [March, 95] and Ron's bean casserole [May, 95]. Very good!....

Barb & Chuck Bauman
Full-timers from Denver, Colorado 

Another's impressions interesting

...your last two newsletters [were] a real treat since you were writing about places we have traveled to so many times in the last 35 years. Living in San Diego with my sisters in Monterey and Walnut Creek and Bob's family up on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington, we made numerous trips up and down over the years. It's always so  interesting to read another traveler's impressions of places you've seen yourself. You soon realize that there is so much to see and do that there's no way to take it all in. Glad we can enjoy your perspective and get a fresh view! We found it hard to understand your enthusiasm for Sacramento, though it probably is because we always have visited in the middle of a hot summer heat wave....

Reading letters...in the newsletter sure does bring back memories of all the stress and anxiety you go through in the transition from homeowner/worker to full-timer/retiree. Ah, but there's nothing like that feeling when you finally point your RV down the highway and set sail for parts unknown!...

Ellie & Bob Henderson
Full-timers from San Diego, California 

Need a home base

Received our 2nd copy of the newsletter. What a wealth of information. We feel as if we are traveling with you.

We haven't decided if we will ever take the plunge but we will definitely travel for a few months at a time. I, like some of your readers, need a home base for the grandchildren, etc. That may change later in life. We bought your book at Camping World while traveling in Florida. Thanks for all the info. Eagerly awaiting our next issue. 

Joani & Bill Hunter
Greensboro, Maryland

Enjoy having “scouts” out there

...It's great to have “scouts” visiting places we're eventually going to visit someday. We own a restaurant in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Al's Hillside House in St. Ignace. Our home just sold and as we are a seasonal restaurant ---middle of May to the middle of October---we are eagerly waiting for October to arrive so we can head out in our new '95 Pace Arrow motorhome. Your June issue hit us as we're headed for Oregon to visit friends for our first adventure. We'll probably visit the places you wrote about and stay in the recommended campgrounds. So I really devoured this ssue...

We're re-reading your book to hone up before we leave in October. Maybe we'll run into you folks someday.... 

Bob & Cheri Kok, 
St. Ignace, Michigan



This 'N That
by Barb
Vacations are fun, but it is nice to get back to our routine. Right now I can't stand the thought of making a reservation anywhere or even having to decide where to go. When the newsletter is printed, we might just open the map, close our eyes, and pick a spot. I hope you won't mind if I take a little time off. Your next newsletter probably won't arrive until mid or late September. 

The next scheduled thing in our life is a Bounder rally in San Antonio, Texas, in mid October. We will be attending and presenting a full-timing seminar. And that reminds me to suggest that you search out and join an organization of your particular RV. There are two Bounder groups, for example, and we belong to both. It is fun when we are camped together; we make new friends and trade secrets and/ or horror stories. If any of you Bounder owners are interested in joining a Bounder group, we would be happy to supply information. Just drop us a line.

When we went to Kettle Falls, Washington, we went primarily to visit friends. We had no idea that we would find such an interesting area. Now we would go back even if Jack and Esther move. For a treat visit the Ace Hardware in town. Wow! It is like walking into an old dime store. If you can't find it there, it doesn't exist. There are things in the store from the 60's when they first started carrying dry-goods and most of them are at good ole prices. 

Three cheers for the U.S. Post Office in St. Regis, Montana. I goofed and had our mail go there when we weren't going to be anywhere near there. They could have demanded that I send in the proper for warding address form. After getting my phone call explaining the predicament, they forwarded the two priority packages we had on to Kamiah, Idaho. If they hadn't been so kind, we would have had to drive about 120 miles (round trip) out of our way to get the mail. Or we could have mailed in the proper forms, and waited and waited. Of course another option would have been
to just let it sit 10 days until it was re turned to our mail service.

I really want to thank Mary and Erika's parents for parting with the girls for three weeks. It must have been difficult to put them on a plane and send them off into the “wild blue yonder.” Mary and Erika talked about liking the opportunity to get to know us better and believe me it worked the other way too. To be able to show them some of the wonders of this country, to teach them some of its secrets, to play with them and tuck them into bed at night, to help them with their prayers, and share in their excitement was a very special treat for us. They were like little sponges soak ing up all we exposed them to and in return they reminded us of what it is like to be childlike and full of fun and energy.

We had hoped that we would be able to go to the Canadian part of Glacier National Park, but it was just too far away. Because RV's over 20 feet combined length cannot drive the Going to the Sun Road, the best way to see the park might be to camp on the east side rather than at West Glacier. The next time we go, we will try that and see if we can see more. And there are miles of hikes in that park that we would like to take yet. This is an area that deserves months not just a few days.

We want to welcome all of the new subscribers who just came to us after the great newspaper story in the Seattle Times. The reporter did a good job.

If any of you are traveling near Branson, Missouri, we hope you would take a little time to stop and say “hi” to full-timer friends, Jim and Linda Butner, who are operating their BBQ wagon at the  junction of Highways 65 and 54 in Preston. They have the best vittles and you will just plain love them. We will see them this winter in Texas. 

When we leave Texas next spring, we plan on heading east and staying for a year or so. I will hate to say good-by to the mountains, but am looking forward to exploring more deeply some of the states we have only skipped through like Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Also it has been a while since we visited Kentucky and Tennessee. Just think of all the new and interesting places we will be writing about. 

We need to thank one of our sharp readers for asking about the last four digits of our zip code. It seems we have been using the wrong number from day one. The right number is 77351-9330. And I have a million labels printed with the wrong number. Thank goodness the PO in Livingston delivers anyway.

Thank you for being patient as I kept detouring you from one page to another. We just had so much to report on that all the articles were long. Keep writing. We love all of your letters. 


The Salmon with Green Fettucine 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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