Obviously we enjoy the travel part of this lifestyle, but more than that, we delight in the many new friendships. You never know who you will meet in any given day or how close that friendship will become. And just when you think you can't possibly find anyone as nice as all those you have met so far ---you do.
Not all of our new friends are full-timers as we are, some are not even RVers. We've met new friends from California to England and in such strange meeting places as laundromats and showers. Campground functions, the national parks, Elks Clubs, businesses and church round out the places where we have found these new friends.
Believe it or not, we have never met some of our friends. We became acquainted with them through the newsletter and are pleased that they feel free to write and share bits of their life with us.
Our newsletter list will be growing by several hundred come the first of the year (see the story on page 10) and it will take more of our time to mail them all out, but we are going to try to answer each letter personally --- even if it is just with a sticky note inside the newsletter.
We just left another wonderful bunch of new friends. Escapees Chapter #15--- Florida Sunseekers held it's November Rally in Christmas, Florida. We had never been to an Escapee Rally before and write about the wonderful time we had (pg 4), and some of the new friends we met.
Especially at Christmas time we wish that we could gather all of you together, share hugs, stories and the festivities of the season. This of course is impossible because we are scattered all over the country, but we hope that our thoughts will link up anyway.
God's richest blessings
at this special time of the year
and all year through.
The University of Michigan football team must think that T formation means tie. Somehow their undefeated claim has a hollow ring to it.
I like Escapee rallies and hope to attend more. We learned a new card game called "push". There's another name to it, but this is a family newsletter. Any number can play this game and the most you can lose is three nickels. I'm a big spender.
Do you remember many moons ago when I said that someday Barb would be competing with USA Today? As you can see by her story on expansion, it won't be long.
We are finally making the break. Next month our vehicles will be licensed in Texas (big story breaking) and we are gradually moving all paperwork to our Livingston address. Just my luck, they will probably pass a state income tax now.
One thing about being a Texas resident, I will be able to claim the Dallas Cowboys as my team. So long, Detroit Lions, I struck with you as long as I could.
West Palm Beach is a good place for people watching both on the beaches
and at the bagel shop. All shapes and sizes --- people that is.
WITH FLORIDA SUNSEEKERS
Florida Sunseekers are not a bunch of people who gather to lay in the sun and walk the beaches. They are Escapees. And Escapees are not running away from prison or anywhere else for that matter. We'd better explain, eh!
Started by Joe and Kay Peterson, authors of Encyclopedia for RVers, Home IS Where You Park It, and Survival Of The Snowbirds, Escapees is an organization of RVers who share in fellowship and benefits.
Originally the Escapees were primarily a group of full-timers. Now their membership, which is over 24,000 members, consists of RVers of all kinds. But of all the RV groups, Escapees probably has the largest concentration of full-timers. Next month we will do a full story on Escapees (how and why it got started, and the benefits) from their Rainbow's End park at Livingston, Texas.
There are a number of chapters or local groups of Escapees all around the country and Florida Sunseekers-Chapter 15 is one of them. Each year they hold two rallies--- one in November and another in January. For several years in a row, the rallies have been held at the Christmas RV Park in Christmas, Florida.
We arrived on Thursday, November 12 at a little after noon and were immediately greeted by Lynn Heiss and Tom Kraemer, rally co-hosts. They escorted us to a special spot in the campground where all the rigs were gathering and then further welcomed us with the traditional hugs afforded all Escapee members. Registration in nearby Holly Hall was handled by Willy Heiss, Georgienne Kramer, and chapter president Claire Twombly. We signed up for the Dutch Treat dinner that night and an air boat ride on Friday. The rest of the afternoon was spent in getting settled.
At 4:30 we all gathered in the hall for Happy Hour and Announcements. It was a time to find out who was there and where they were from. Of the 27 units at the rally, several were single folks and about half were full-timers.
We gathered at 5:30 to caravan to some Bar-B-Que place. I can't remember the name of the place and that says plenty. At dinner we happened to sit near Jack and Becky Harris and Norm and Patsy Bryant --- both full-timers and conversation was plentiful.
Eight p.m. was the Break the Ice party back at Holly Hall and everyone was supposed to bring a joke to tell and an item for Show and Tell. The advance information stated that everyone would have to tell a joke and a joke book would be provided for those who didn't have a one in their head. Lynn didn't make everyone tell a joke so there was no real pressure and it was a fun evening. The Show and Tell part was loose too and only a few shared some strange gadgets. Georgienne had the strangest Rube Goldberg type contraptions--- one was a nut cracker and the other an apple peeler. I thought this part of the evening would be an opportunity to get to know more about the folks (serious sharing), but it made for a fun evening that broke up early.
Since we had met the Bryants and Harrises at dinner, we joined them and an half dozen other couples for a game of cards. Imagine two long tables (end to end) playing one game of cards. Seems strange, right? See pg 9 for the details of this fun game called Push. We played and laughed until nearly 11 p.m.
Each morning started out with coffee and lots of donuts. The co-hosts got up early and drove about 25 minutes just to get these delectable treats for everyone while coffee was being made. The campground really had terrific facilities for a function such as this.
At 9:30 a.m., on Friday there were crafts, flea market and demonstrations. There were just a few who set up things. Our neighbor Bill displayed some of his hand carving work, but it was not for sale. We sold some stuff that we didn't need anymore and bought more to take its place. Ron had signed up for shuffleboard so went off to do his thing (he and his partner won).
After lunch about 20 people drove the short distance (4 miles) to the air boat place. The one hour ride was quite thrilling. Having never experienced this sort of thing, we were just amazed to be flying just a short distance off the water. To look at the area we covered, you'd never think you could get through with a boat of any kind. The weeds are thick and any water that you can see is very weedy just under the surface. Our boat operator took us to an area where a bald eagle was sitting and we watched each other for a while. We got quite close too. Of course we saw alligators and lots of other birds too.
After the Happy Hour on Friday, we were treated to a Chili Dinner provided by the co-hosts (everyone brought salad or desserts). The evening event was line dancing lessons. Since one of us has two left feet, we passed on the dancing and joined some other die hard Push players and when dancing was over, the other regulars joined us.
Saturday was packed full of activities: coffee and donuts, a chapter business meeting, auction, ice cream social, kangaroo court, happy hour, pot luck dinner and Christmas comedy sing a long with Laurie at the Organ.
The kangaroo court was a lot of fun. People were brought before the judge for any good (or bad) reason. For example, Patsy Bryant was brought before the judge for being "dingy". To be in the spirit of the Christmas Rally, she hung some bells from her awning. The bells played Christmas music and were a little dingy. She was fined twenty five cents and set free. Many were brought before the judge including this reporter. I was charged with taking pictures without permission but I was not fined. One gentleman in the audience spoke up and suggested the court was picking on women. Immediately there was some what of a revolt and I was set free.
The pot luck dinner was handled beautifully and probably the most organized of any we have attended. The co-hosts provided ham. Everyone brought a three dollar gift for exchanging (men to men and women to women) and that was fun. After Laurie's sing a long, we Push players, gathered one last time.
Sunday morning, after coffee and donuts, we hugged and said good-by.
It was a great experience and we plan to attend many more rallies in the
If you remember, we were in Kissemmee when the last newsletter went out and I mentioned that we were near OLD TOWN --- a new collection of shops which is promoted as old. Their big thing each week is the Saturday Night Cruise. It is billed as "the biggest weekly special event in Florida and the biggest weekly collector automobile cruise on earth."
This year Halloween (my very most favorite holiday) was on a Saturday night. Our campground was just at the end of Old Town's street so it made it very easy to spend the whole evening there.
We went over early to "case the joint" and enjoyed a pizza at Venezia
Pizza. After we finished there, and were walking towards the "strip",
a stretch bug (Volkswagen) drove in. What excitement!! Have you ever
heard of such
One after another the cars came. Some were out of this world and most were driven by people dressed in all manners of Halloween garb. The excitement mounted. We found that when the cars came in, they stayed and parked in back of the stores. They were there to be viewed and judged. Since it was Halloween, they were decorated with cobwebs, ghouls, blood, coffins and so on.
Just about the time we discovered the parked cars, Old Town got rather busy. It was like being at a giant costume party and oh the ingenuity!! One little boy, dressed as Columbus was pulling a wagon sized replica of the one of his ships (could have been the Nina, Pinta or Santa Maria since I am not an authority in this area). There were darling children like this little bee. Others were enough to scare ya to death. Oh it was fun!!
To watch the Cruise (back out of Old Town) and the announcing of the prizes for the cars, we happened to stand next to a family from Northern Ireland. They were asking all sorts of questions about Halloween --- why, when did it start and so on. They were having fun watching it all and loved the cars too.
There are a lot of neat shops in Old Town and they are open until 11
pm every day of the year, but my favorite was Your Just Desserts. Any who
know me well know I couldn't pass that one up. When muffins and brownies
as big as coffee mugs stare at you from the window --- what can you do?
It was one of the best Halloween events I've ever attended.
Starting January 1, 1993 we are adding about 250 newsletter subscribers to our present list which numbers well over 100. It is kind of a merger but more realistically it is a transfer of business from one newsletter to another.
Clarence and Kae Elliott started The Full-Time RVers Newsletter about the same time we started Movin' On. We began trading newsletters about one year ago and started being pen pals.
Clarence had been advised to retire early to escape the stress of his job. That's when they started full-timing, but their newsletter was now causing the same old stress problems. The Elliotts wrote to us and asked if we would take over and add his customers to ours. We came to terms on the transfer and now are just waiting for the final list from them.
They gave their subscribers a choice between a refund or an equal number of Movin' On and a deadline of December 15th to let them know.
The newsletter will not change--- well we may get more letters and there won't be room for them all. The contents of the newsletter will stay the same and so will our publication dates. I promise every other month and try for once a month.
I hope all of my regular customers will welcome the newcomers to our
newsletter family. In fact our newsletter list has been growing fast anyway.
We have received many new subscribers because of the book. Just by coincidence,
the January issue should be our best yet.
A Crazy Card Game
For example: You have an Ace, so you trade with your neighbor to the left. He has an eight. Great! you are probably OK. Your neighbor pushes his new card to the person to his left and they trade. On it goes until a trader runs up against a King (the one with a King turns it over when approached and is the only one who can refuse a trade) or reaches the dealer.
Sometimes though, the trader makes a worse or an even trade. Lets say you have a two that you want to get rid of so you trade with your neighbor. After the trade, you look at your card and discover it is an ACE. That's it for you for that round.
When someone loses their three nickels, they may play on grace (they
may keep playing until they lose one more time) then they are out. Towards
the end, the group gets smaller and smaller until only two are left playing.
The winner takes the whole pot of nickels.
This 'N That
More sad news from our good friend Chuck Fisher (Interesting People Jan '92). His former wife and best friend, Kerry died October 21st. This comes on the heels of his young granddaughter's tragic death in a car accident in Montana. In fact Chuck's daughter was still in a hospital from that same accident and could not attend her mother's funeral. Again our prayers and good thoughts go out to Chuck and his family.
We are having fun in Florida. The weather has been a little warm for me though. I don't like air conditioning any more than I like furnaces. Both close out the natural air, breezes and noises.
The Coast to Coast Campground (CCC) in Lakeland was beautiful and we relaxed in the pool a lot. Isn't that what retirement is supposed to be about? That place is close to a nice mall if that is your thing. It was only a one hour trip to Tampa from Lakeland. Oh, You want to know what we did in Tampa? It has to do with the big surprise.You'll just have to wait until next month.
Clerbrook CCC has a beautiful looking golf course, but I couldn't get Ron to play. The fairways were much too narrow and there was water on every hole. I guess it was too soon after the other course where he lost all the golf balls. I even bought him a brand new box of golf balls before we got to Clerbrook.
Speaking of golf, we played here in W. Palm Beach with my son-in-law's parents who spend the winters living next door to Glenda and Pekka. A little while after we got started, it turned grey and started raining off and on. We continued to play until it became a downpour. Ron and Erkki wanted to play out the last three holes, but Liisa and I took one cart to the club house and drank a nice hot cup of coffee while waiting for them. Some golfers are a little crazy don't you think?
Pekka's first name is Erkki which translates to Eric and now that he is an American citizen he prefers to be called Eric. So be it!
When talking to the AT&T folks for the story on pg 9, I was reminded that all calling card or credit card phone calls are billed at cost plus 80 cents all the time. Collect calls are always cost plus either $1.75 or $2.50. WOW!! I knew it was more expensive but not that much more. Give your kids a calling card before they call collect.
At the Escapee rally, we discovered that most full-timers use several popular message services. FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association), was the most used among the rally attendees, especially since they have an automated service. We use that along with our Denver voice mail number. FMCA is especially nice for the kids (800 number).
It has been wonderful visiting Glenda, Eric, and Liisa. Two weeks is never enough time to visit family though.
Thanksgiving dinner was a great success. Eric's parents were there for their first Thanksgiving in America. They just retired (in Finland). We had all the traditional foods including pumpkin pie. They were good sports and tasted this strange type of pie. We ended the day with some rounds of our newly learned card game, Push. They had fun.
Did you know that Glenda is a certified jeweler and gold smith? She has been spoiling us with her services. I have a new ring and necklace and she repaired a few bracelets that were broken or breaking. I had had her design and make a ring out of Ron's old herringbone necklace for his birthday. It is beautiful. We both have extra sparkle now.
I am counting on all of you to continue to promote our newsletter and book. It is doing really great. Workamper News just ordered their second 50. There is a nice review in their newest issue.
Please share this newsletter then tell others how it can be ordered. All they need to do is send $14.45 for the book or $1.50 for each issue of the newsletter they would like to receive.
We are going to be getting a new computer soon (that's not the big news but it is kind of related). Then Ron and I can each work on a computer at the same time (we are keeping the lap top). It will make doing the newsletter much easier.
We hope that you have an enjoyable and safe Holiday no matter where you are. We will be in Livingston, TX. Look for us if you are there too.
We are very excited about the BIG news coming out next month and thought you would like to try guessing what it is. Below are several clues. There have been a few clues in the other parts of the newsletter too. We are not giving you the answer at this time. You will have to wait-- with baited breath --- for the January issue of Movin' On.
CLUE #1 FROM PENNSYLVANIA
CLUE #2 PLUS 10
CLUE #3 SYMBOLS OF AUSTRALIA
CLUE #4 LAZY DAYS
If you think you have the answer, send us a post card right away. We
will publish a list of all those who have the correct answer.
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