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volume 6                      December 1995                      number 10
�  Campground Report
�  Potpourri 
�  Our Christmas Card to you
�  Coffee Break
�  Organizing Your RV
�  Letters, Letters, Letter
�  Karen
�  This' N That
�  Signs and Things
�  Everything but the kitchen sink salad
Coming in January: Part One of Alaska Adventures as reported by Bette Salter. You will love re-living their wonderful adventure which started out on a ferry and ends only after driving to the Arctic Circle and back on the Dempster Highway.

Don Slattery ( Slats) and Ron try their luck at surf fishing
We arrived at Outdoor Resorts in Port Isabel, Texas, on November 1 and have been really busy. Besides trying to cross off things on our �to do� list (annual maintenance), we jumped right in and got involved in some of the activities. There are so many things to do in Port Isabel and South Padre Island (across the causeway) that we are playing instead of working. Although I really wanted to do this newsletter, scheduling the time took a little doing.

Ron washing the motorhome top to bottom

Outdoor Resorts is a beautiful resort, but completely different than Mesa, Arizona's, Valle del Oro where we spent two months last winter. Here fishing and golfing are the main activities. The golf course on the resort is a small but challenging par three course; there is lots of water. Most of the fishing that is done here is surf fishing, but there's also a lot of boat fishing and charter fishing is available from several different companies. 

Unlike a lot of winter resorts there are few classes. Crafts are taught on Thursday morning and there are quite a few bridge sessions (duplicate and party) day and night. Tuesday and Thursday are euchre nights, Friday and every other Saturday they have bingo and Sunday is set aside for square dancing. Every other Saturday there's a regular dance in the huge ballroom. Watercolor, oil painting, line dancing and a few more classes will start in December.

Eating is a popular pastime and there are a number of fine eating establishments in the area. Most offer special prices for lunch and/or early dining. Shrimp is probably the most popular item on any menu and it should be since the largest shrimp fleet in the World is here in this part of Texas. 

Oneta, Evelyn, Barb & Barb getting ready for the Wednesday scramble****** Ron enjoying the hot tub

Because we had been here two years ago, it was fun to resume friendships (in person) which began in 1993. We have designated Friday evenings as domino night and Jim & Linda Butner and Don and Kay Slattery join us for the battle of the girls against the guys. Or is it the guys against the girls? It is fun anyway. 

Kay and Don Slattery with Ron and Barb for Thanksgiving dinner

We have been so busy that we haven't made a trip to Mexico yet; almost everyone goes right after coming down. Although shopping in Mexico is a fun activity many go primarily for dental care, medicine and hair cuts. 

Besides the above activities, there are flea markets, good museums, an aquarium, beach combing, crab races, sand castle lessons etc. We will try to be good reporters in the next few months. 

If you have never been to this part of Texas, we should warn you that the wind blows---a lot. Today as I type this it is enough to blow one away, but the sun shines brightly and I am in shorts. If you are reading this where the snow is blowing and temperatures are in the single digits, we send a little warmth and sunshine. Your turn will come soon. Don't forget we have a phone until March 1. That number is 210-***-****.. 

As in other years 
our holidays will center 
on the "reason for the season"
and we pray that you will
also have a happy, serene and
contented holiday season. 
It's our wish for you. 
In addition to good health,
love of family and friends and
our wonderful lifestyle we
have the greatest gift of all
born in Bethlehem. 
(Please remember that this report was written many years ago and the campgrounds may or may not be in business or as they were.)
This month's campground report is a little skinny and next month there won't even be one. The fuel part of our budget is now used to fuel our appetites as we explore many great restaurants.

Country Estates Mobile Ranch, Kingsville, Texas. Kingsville is a good stopping point heading to the Rio Grande Valley, especially if you want to visit the King Ranch (worthwhile). This park is not fancy, but it has a lot of grassy pull-throughs with good level hook-ups. It's only 1.5 miles off of US-77 and has a senior citizen rate of $14.

Outdoor Resorts, Port Isabel, Texas. This is our home for four months and it's the nicest campground in the area. The sites are wide, well maintained with level cement pads, cable and lots of palm trees. Half of the 800 sites are on the inlets, but expect to pay more for those. The park is owned by the residents and it's cheaper to deal directly with an owner, rather than going through the rental office. Ads are in the local paper and on the club house bulletin board. Prices vary; our price for a non-waterfront lot is $260 plus electric. Amenities include indoor and outdoor pools and three hot tubs, sauna, weight room, restaurant, card rooms, modern laundry, tennis and shuffleboard courts, miniature golf, ball room, lounge and a par 3 golf course (you will only need three clubs). We have noticed that the food service is not as good as in 1993 and that the trend to park models (miniature mobile homes) and permanent residents is increasing. Unfortunately, RVs may be a vanishing breed at this park, but for now we, along with other RVers, are enjoying it.


by Ron
I can't believe that I actually rooted for U of M to beat Ohio State. Sorry buckeyes, but I really wanted  Northwestern to go to the Rose Bowl.

Surf fishing is poor right now. When the wind blows it stirs up the ocean and it's also hard to keep that 4 oz sinker from drifting. I did catch 3 nice whiting last week. Maybe next week will be better. I've got lots of time.

I try to run a good domino game, but I've noticed a lot of conversation across the table when the guys play the girls. My teammates never say a word and I'm proud of them.

For the third time now our little Toyota has been dinged while parked. Do you think that someone is trying to tell us something? It really was made in the U.S. 

Union made is not always good. "Slats" Slattery (former union organizer) constructed (?) a fishing pole holder for the front of his little Geo. I was unlucky enough to have my pole in it when it flopped down---repairs for 3 new eyelets were $4.50. I have resisted his bribes not to print this. 

Even Barb will admit that I've got the Texas two-step down real good. I especially like a fast beat. Lessons anyone? 

Three of my kids were snowmobiling this past Thanksgiving weekend. I was setting in a hot tub watching the palm trees sway in the warm breeze. None of us envied the other. It's a great life.

Just got Texas driver's licenses. The transition is complete; we're Texans!

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.)
Huisache Grill, (pronounced �wee-satch�) 303 D W. San Antonio St, New Braunfels. If our good friends, the Waples, hadn't taken us to this fantastic place, we never would have discovered it. Every thing was delightful, but they are especially known for their sauces. The menu, service, and food were excellent. Prices were very reasonable---no entree over $9.95.

Cross Eyed Pelican, 8923 S. Garcia St, Port Isabel. The Tuesday night steak special is something else. Ron ordered the 16 ounce steak for $10.95 and expected it to be mediocre; it wasn't. It was scrumptious as was the soup, salad, potatoes and drinks and the service was great. If you want a bigger steak, order the 24 ounce one for $12.95. 

Scampi's Restaurant and Bar, Bayside, South Padre Island. This has to be the best eating place in the area. Although the prices are on the high side, it is affordable at "Happy Hour" (4:30-6). Ron choose Filet of Flounder au Gratin ($9.95) which he said was exquisite. It was stuffed and baked in a cheese sauce. Barb choose the Chocolate
and Curry Fettucini with Shrimp ($12.95). The noodles were covered with a delicious creamy cheese sauce blended with white chocolate, curry and apple slices. It was heavenly. Barb can't wait to try the Peanut Butter Shrimp which is on the regular menu ($18.95).

Yacht Club Hotel, Restaurant and Lounge, Yturria St, Port Isabel. Excellent restaurant. Good anytime but especially Monday nights for the all-you-can- eat shrimp. Choose fried, grilled or broiled. Dinner includes a Caesar salad and potatoes for only $10.95. All menu items are very reasonable (under $11). 

Take a break. Get a cup of coffee and let's chat.
Karen Fleckenstein (single full-timer from Connecticut has some thoughts on the 5th wheel vs motorhome question. "I've had both. I've driven both and driving and backing the fifth-wheel were not a problem for me. But, now I have a motorhome and I love it. Although we had more room in the fifth-wheel (we had two slide-outs) there were more negatives than that one positive. First, you need a big truck to safely haul most fifth-wheels. In fact from what I hear at seminars those huge trucks are what's being recommended most and they cost about $50-85,000. The feeling I have when driving the motorhome is that the whole thing is much more balanced, I don't feel the weight pushing down on me when I stop, and it's certainly much easier going uphill. I tow a small Honda sedan. I can't even feel its weight when towing. Hitching up the car is much easier than hitching up the truck to the fifth-wheel, and I hitch up the car alone. Although my motorhome gets only 6 or 7 mpg, my car gets almost 40 mpg. With the truck (a diesel) we got about 11 mpg, towing or not towing. I can toot around in the small car a lot easier than with the big truck. And finally, I like being in my home when I stop to get my lunch, to use the bathroom, or just to rest. I don't have to go outside unless I want to. I'm extremely happy that I've made the switch to a motorhome. I don't even miss the extra space."

John Anderson, full-timer and owner of A' Weigh We Go has thoughts on the "rating of manufacturers" that Marvene Phillips asked about last month. "The only one I know of who attempts such an endeavor is JD Gallant on the west coast. Unfortunately, he is very biased and opinionated, and his reports are not very objective. I don't believe that it would be possible for anyone to prepare such a list that would be fair and objective. Everyone who owns an RV has different needs and a wide variety of requirements, and as you well know, for any make or model, there are those who love them and those who hate them. And what criteria would be used? What is great for one is stupid for another!"

Full-timers, Ellie & Bob Henderson were kind enough to tackle a couple of the questions from last month. "The Bowers wondered about the availability of space for a large 5th wheel in state and national parks. There's such a discrepancy in campsite facilities from park to park that it's difficult to generalize. Almost all have some sites that will accommodate larger rigs, but they tend to fill up fast and all are not easy to get into. Even a lot of national forest campgrounds have generous pull-through sites. But there can be problems---tight turns, overhanging branches, unlevel parking areas.... The larger the rig, the more limited your selection of sites so you'll really need to plan  ahead .... If you're planning on spending a lot of time traveling to the national parks when you first start full-timing, one option might be to start with a smaller rig and trade up when you get to the point of traveling less."

Susan Kranz wondered if she would use an oven. "I think one of the most important bits of advice in your book, Barb & Ron, was to remember that you were only changing your lifestyle, not your personalities. You're still going to like to cook and eat the same kinds of food on the road as you did at home. I emphasize 'like to eat' because you may not have had much interest in cooking if your life was the usual hectic scramble of work & home chores.... I actually find myself enjoying cooking again.... And we sure have used our oven a lot... Let your knowledge of your OWN personal likes and dislikes be your guide."

A new question comes from Marceline Dwinell of Indianapolis, Indiana. "What to do if you are full-timing and don't have room for three years worth of canceled checks?" Ron comments. All you need to keep are your check registers. In fact, many banks no longer return canceled checks. If ever you need proof that you wrote a check, your bank can provide you with a photo copy. 

Dave & Lois Halvorson of Cottage Grove, Minnesota, have a concern about allergies and full-timing. "Lois is on allergy shots, usually about once a month. Her allergist told her he doubted if we would find anyone willing to give her a shot when we are on the road. We will have the serum along so that shouldn't be a problem. I can't believe we are the only people to be on the road who needs an allergy shot from time to time. Any advice?" Barb responds. We feel that as long as you carry medical records, any clinic or doctor's office will give the shot. I know some of you deal with this and we'd really appreciate your input. 

More from Ellie Henderson. She has a terrific point for all of us to think about. "We have some nice neighbors next to us. They are just starting to full-time. They began traveling last March and wanted to spend a month or two in San Diego. Unfortunately Doug began having heart problems and had to be rushed to emergency followed by a quadruple bypass. He's doing well and will soon be released but Judy must move their RV today. Judy was so upset. She has never driven their rig (a 23' Class C) and knows nothing about hooking and unhooking procedures. The park staff will help her move but her experience has really driven home to us the necessity for both spouses to feel comfortable driving and parking their rig. Also they both need to know how to hook up the electric, water and sewer connections, how to dump, fill the tank etc. All too often we see one spouse (usually the husband) attending to these tasks while the wife waits inside."

2003 note: I no longer had copies of the photos used in this article so I am including a few pictures that I use in our Packing it in Seminar.

It's not easy to carry everything you think you will ever need with you when you start out traveling full-time in an RV. Even if you are just going to go on a long trip, planning what to take and where to put it can be enough to scare off even the most adventuresome. But with a little thought and planning your RV can be organized to hold much more that you might have suspected.

Before doing this article I asked many RVers what they thought was the most important aspect to being organized and the unanimous response was "don't take so much." So we will start there. 

There is no way that you can live exactly as you did when your house was on a firm foundation. There were probably many closets, cupboards and drawers and there might have been a basement and/or attic too. Our RV houses are small. We are lucky when we have one regular sized closet. Many RVs don't have a pantry and if the RV does have cupboards they are usually less than ideal. Many are odd sized, too big, too small, extra narrow, or hard to get at cubbyholes. There is no way that all of your stuff will fit in. So the first step then is to scale down what is taken. 

The biggest mistake most make is thinking that they have to have a lot of clothing. Since the RV lifestyle is rather casual most of the people who are preparing to RV recognize this and leave behind all of those suits, dresses, shoes, purses, ties, dress shirts and such. One or two (at the most) of these type of outfits will usually do. But often each person will want to bring three to four pair of jeans, plus five or six other slacks and all the shirts to match. That is really unnecessary unless you are blessed with lots of extra closet space. We all have our favorites and they will be worn all the time. For the few times that you might want to wear something else, you need to ask yourself if it is worth hauling it around and taking up room. How many times have we returned from a trip to discover that we didn't wear half of what was packed? The lesson we can learn from that is to simplify. Pick the very favorites; the ones worn all the time anyway and leave the rest behind. And try to coordinate your wardrobe with lots of mix and match things. For example one pair of slacks or a skirt can be used for dozens of totally distinct outfits by simply adding different accessories.

As you choose the things you think you want to have with you in your RV, ask yourself, "Do I really need it?" Then follow with, "Is there something I would rather have in its place?" And finally ask, "Will my world fall apart if I don't have it with me?"

Some will have the biggest problem limiting clothing while others will vacillate over which tools to take and yet others will want to bring every small kitchen appliance they have enjoyed in their home. Especially if just going on a trip, you really don't need the wood working tools or the food processor; while on vacation you probably won't have time or the inclination to live as you would at home. If preparing to go full-time and these items are very important, make room for them somewhere. But if they are seldom used or because of their bulk, you can make do with something else, then by all means do that. 

Most of you have read our book and know that when we started out in our little 24 foot Mallard, we left a lot behind. It was kind of fun perking coffee the old fashioned way and cooking without a micro wave. So now that we have room, we have some of those things again, but I was amazed to find that I never need to have an electric can opener again and for the amount of mixing I do, I don't need a mixer. But now we have a satellite dish and a big computer. You can tell where our priorities are. 

Unlike a house, the RV closets and cupboards need to be packed tight; they travel better. This does not mean that things should be crammed in haphazardly. That won't work and will only lead to frustration when having to dig through it all to find what you are looking for. Organizing is simply a matter of putting things in order. Where will you be when you need the Coast to Coast Directory  and Trailer Life Campground Directory? In our motorhome, we placed these over the passenger seat so that I can get them easily when we are rolling down the road. Staples need to be near the galley and tools should be in an outside compartment. 

The identical cupboard in two different Bounder motorhomes. Which one will travel best? 

Every RV has different storage capabilities. Basement model motorhomes like ours have lots of outside storage. Fifth wheels have more inside storage. Try to place whatever it is you are planning to store where it will be used most. And put things that will be seldom used in the deepest, hardest to get at places. We have a two foot high Christmas tree. It is stored in an outside compartment way in the center. Sure I will have to practically crawl in there to get it, but only once a year. I'd hate to crawl in there to get something I would use ?often. Generally the outside compartments in basement model motorhomes and some cupboards are huge and at first one might think that that is great. But big open spaces are actually harder to organize. What is needed are shelves or some way to be able to stack things. Measure the compartments then start looking at different storage containers which are available in the big discount stores. Square or rectangle is preferable to round for obvious reasons. Look for containers that can be stacked and which are clear and not so large that they can't be handled easily. Now it's possible to fill the compartment to the top with out having things roll around when traveling. In two different places we use a cardboard box to hold bottles of products that would be all over the place if they weren't contained. One is on the hook-up side of the motorhome and holds cleaning products, waxes and such, the other is by our entry door and holds laundry products. Find a cardboard box that is the length and width of one you need then cut it down so you can easily see what is inside and will be able to grab your item without lifting the whole box out. Our outside compartments are further organized into categories. The one by the entry door has laundry detergents, extra paper products, collapsible laundry basket, bucket and water jugs. We have one compartment for patio items and another for camping equipment; it is way in the back and seldom opened. But if we need the Coleman lantern or stove, we would know exactly where to find it. Even "junk drawers" need to be organized by using containers with sectioned compartments to hold small items such as pins, paper clips and rubber bands. It keeps them from becoming a tangled mess. 

Utilize all sorts of containers to help you full cupboards more effeciently.

Closets often have extra space between the bottom of hanging items and the floor. If all of the longer items are placed on one side and a plastic milk crate is placed on the floor under the shorter garments it can be used to hold shoes or items that would normally be in a drawer. These colorful crates are great for any large area like those huge open spaces under many of the RV beds. Milk crates in any space can hold photo albums, sweaters, shorts, tee shirts or even those wonderful Pendeflex hanging files which could hold anything from insurance papers to travel information. By the way, here's a secret many of us learned in the military. You will get a lot more into a clothing drawer if you roll your clothes. Tee shirts especially take up less room when rolled. Lay flat and fold back at the shoulders as usual then roll up from the bottom. You'll get twice as many in any drawer this way. 

Large outside bays will hold more by using racks, milk crates and even a cardboard box.

Quite often the cupboards in RVs create another problem because they are not square. Our Bounder's cupboards are curved at the roof line and I originally thought they would be a nightmare to fill in an orderly fashion. Actually it turned out to be very easy. I placed smaller items in the back and left the front part for taller ones. Anytime that  you can store a square or rectangle item in a space, you will end up with more room and order. My favorite  demonstration of organization is my staple cupboard. Because grocery items come in various sized packages, they will be difficult to store unless they are repackaged in stack able plastic, see-through containers like Tupperware. And for ease in locating items, they are grouped according to likeness. For example, the raisins are behind the oats, the walnuts are behind the flour and soda, tea bags are behind instant tea and so on. This grouping allows me to know instead of guess where something is. 

Cupboard in the Bounder that is short in the back and tall in the front.      The layout of the tupperware in that cupboard. 

Another Bounder cupboard filled with Tupperware

Utilize every tiny niche of space too. I found a 19" x 13½" x 3½" case for cassette tapes which slides in between the co-pilot chair and the wall. It is out of the way but not buried. 

The final rule of good organization is that everything must have a place and unless a better solution is found, stick to the original organization.  After we have gotten out the Christmas tree and enjoyed it, it will have to go right back where it came from. That way we will know where to look for it the next time. The same principle must apply to the raisins or the laundry detergent. It only takes a minute to put it back. Likewise it only takes a minute to mess it up. Once the mess starts, it usually continues until there is utter chaos. 


Continuing to research rigs

...I enjoyed so much hearing about your time in southwestern Colorado. Definitely one of our favorite parts of the country. I also have to say that reading the letters from other wannabe full-timers, especially those just beginning or soon to begin really gets my blood running hot. I can't read this stuff just before going to bed or I won't get to sleep. Ruth and I continue our research on rigs and other issues related to full-timing. At best, it spices our life a lot while we're getting ready. At worst, it's very frustrating and makes it hard to be fully involved in our work....

Terry & Ruth Hager
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Loves having home with her

...I am a recent widow---almost two years now, and I did get everything done (yard sales & furniture into storage and house rented) and have been officially full-time since April! Since becoming a full-timer I have traveled from California to New England and back (almost, I'm in Nevada on my way to northern CA) alone pulling a 31' Airstream trailer with a 19' Suburban---total length 50'.... I'm so glad that I had the courage to make this trip, and to go full-time. It's been the best thing I ever did and I truly love having my home with me!

Marj Barrett
New full-timer from Oregon House, CA

Intend to grow wings 

Just finished An Alternative Lifestyle (at least my first reading) and wanted to say thanks. Better by far---more useful, precise and informative---than the similar efforts by the Moellers & Groenes. But more importantly, your book is more personal, positive and friendly. If we ran across the bunch of you in the same RV park, your "house" is the only one where I'd look forward to tapping on the door (coffee cup in hand, of course!).

While our house is still attached to terra firma, we fully intend to grow wings (uh, wheels) and become full-timers within the next five years. Thanks for your invaluable assistance toward our goal. 

Pamela & Fred Handy
Gonnabees from Denver, Colorado

Thoughts on being alone

It's been two months since I left home, and with the holidays coming I find that I have more melancholy moods than I did before. When I first started traveling, I had specific plans, places to go and people to meet up with. Lately, I've slowed down a little and don't have as much direction in my travels. I think that holidays are difficult to handle especially when not all of our loved ones are with us. Whatever the reason, I've found myself thinking of, and missing, Joe more than ever....I've also found that it's harder for me to reach out to make new friends when I'm in this mood. And yet now is the time I need to meet other people.

I've made plans to be at an Escapee park for Thanksgiving. In fact, I'll be arriving early so that I'll meet some people before Thursday, then I won't have to walk into the dining room alone. I try to keep in touch, by phone, with friends as often as I can. It helps me to talk to someone about any topic. I've also tried very hard to have at least one place to visit or errand to do everyday.... I believe that we're as happy as we make up our minds to be, and I don't like being unhappy. When I feel sad, missing Joe, I try to think of the good times we shared and imagine how he'd respond to what I'm doing.... Most of the time, I find comfort in knowing that Joe is here with me in spirit helping me go forward. Soon I'll be off on my caravan adventure to Mexico and the holiday season will be past. Then I know I'll start feeling better.

Karen Fleckenstein
New full-timer from Avon, CT

Happy to get info about RCA dish

Well, you did it again! In the November Movin' On you mentioned the RCA dish. We have been talking about  getting one, but were not thoroughly convinced it was the right thing to have for the motorhome. Now we know it will work. Keep the information coming. With each newsletter we get better prepared for the road. Three years! Also enjoyed your article on the Davis Mountains. It broadened our scope of travel for when we get back there.

Terry & Margaret Moore
Kalama, Washington

Look forward to Coffee Break

...We both enjoy the newsletter, and I particularly like Coffee Break. Hope you get a lot of input to the November questions, particularly the first one on RV ratings and of course the ongoing one of gas vs diesel. Gas models are less expensive, but the GVWR is a lot less. Do you know if the payable/savings on a diesel over 10-15 years makes them cost effective over gas in operating cost, maintenance costs and overall longevity of the power train? 

David & Margaret White
Weymouth, Massachusetts

Liked Ron's idea about credit cards

...We appreciate Ron's suggestion to put the credit cards away this Christmas and share your faith instead. If only more people would do that. We thank the Lord for leading us to your book. We know He has great things in store for us!

Henry & Sherry Nott
Watertown, New York

Can really empathize with Karen

As you'll note, my newsletter renewal is in my name only. After two years of illness, Tom died last May. I was especially interested in your article on Karen Fleckenstein [Nov 95] as I can really empathize with her. I too travel alone now. It's amazing what you find you can do when you have to! Like Karen, I found one of the hardest things is driving without a co-pilot. I got a chuckle from the fact that we'd both come up with the same solution to the problem.

Nancy Buskirk
Good Hart, Michigan

World Senior Games are great

...I don't know if you have heard of the Huntsman World Senior Games. They are held in the St. George [Utah] area the last two weeks in October and it is an absolutely outstanding event. You must be 50 years of age or older to enter. All events are grouped by age and gender... Cycling, soccer, softball, tennis (both kinds), basketball, golf, track and field and many others.... If you or your readers are interested in the games the number is 1-800-869-6635 .... We were waiting for our friend near the top of the last steep hill on the 38 meter (men)-30 meter (women) X-country and also giving encouraging words to participants. After we informed an elderly gentleman "You're almost to the top," he said "Thanks!" and about 15 feet later-"Oh to be sixty again!" The oldest biker was 90 and his time, Gold Medal, was only 16 minutes slower than the 50 year old Gold Medalist!!!

Don & Kay Nation
Full-timers from Angel Fire, NM

Genealogy & workamping 

...If you're into genealogy [and a full-timer] it's great to be able to search out one's roots in the actual area. Most libraries have the old newspapers on film and what local color!...

Workamping is a wonderful way to get to know an area and it's people. Either volunteer or for money. We've found the Workamper News a good way to find positions. Save the back issues so when you're in an area you can stop by and interview for a future job. Always nice to know what a resort looks like or really what a job might entail....

You've convinced us we must return to Colorado. Have yet to do the southwest corner.... Also thanks for the long distance calls info---do have SKP-AT&T but plan to call for American Travel Network... P.S. Invested in the RCA [satellite dish]. Recommend it! 

Dena & Gordon Duncan
Full-timers from lots of places

Time cannot be stopped!

The countdown continues. Twenty-eight more months until D-Day.... Everything now seems geared towards D-Day. Purchases are decided on issues such as how will the item fit into 5W full-timing lifestyle or how re-saleable will it be at the Final Garage Sale or who can we give it to the day before D-Day. The nice thing about time is that, when you're looking forward to something that's time-based, it's inevitable---Time can't be stopped.

Dave & Susan Goldy
Madison Wisconsin

Full-timing seems so far away

We just purchased a copy of your book, and have been unable to put it down. Your book has certainly helped to answer a lot of questions about becoming a full-timer.

We are still a year or so away from retiring, so we are gathering all the information we can. It seems so far away, that it doesn't seem like it'll ever get here. Other times we're worried we will not have everything ready! I'm sure our family and friends will be glad to see us go, since this is all we can talk about.

Mary & Gene Benson
Chillicothe, Illinois

About to hit the road

After several careers and, now an empty nest, my wife and I are about to hit the road full-time. At this moment, the only thing between the dream and the reality is the very slow real estate market in Albuquerque---we have to use part of the equity on our home to purchase the RV. We'll be out of here within weeks of the closing on the house. In preparation for this odyssey we now have a stack of RV brochures that I couldn't jump over and have read most of the books on RV life. The last one we came across was your An Alternative Lifestyle.... It is by far the best of the lot and I would recommend it to anybody contemplating a new life on the road. You've been able to sensibly condense the advantages and pitfalls of full-time RV life, without inflicting any serious personal bias upon the reader. You seem to be enjoying  the life and have passed on your enthusiasm to others through...this publication....

Andrew Patten
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Planning our first trips

...We are planning for our first trips when we begin full-timing next fall. With our new Dodge one ton Cummins truck ordered, we feel like we have made the first big step. When I read all of the letters you print I realize there is one heck of a lot to think about and to do as far as beginning our new life goes. But it all seems very exciting and I'm counting the days now until I retire the end of July---it can't get here soon enough!  ... Until we received your 12 back issues, I never realized you and Ron had the health problems. Glad to see it didn't affect your future RVing and good for you for handling it so well and sharing your troubles with your readers. I'm sure it was a great inspiration to people who might be faced with a similar situation and gave hope to those who are already experiencing problems. You two are something else!

Bonnie & Don Maus
Future full-timers from Lynnwood, WA

Let's go!

... We just finished reading your book... and said, "Let's go!" Talk is easy---selling the house difficult but we're still contemplating it!...

Mary Lou and Ralph Feldt
Vicksburg, Michigan

This 'N That
by Barb
We have some sad news to report. Mr. Laverne Curtis, the old camper we wrote about in More from Movin' On in the back of our book has died. At 99½ years of age, he was still dancing and in fact was out for his early morning walk when he was accidentally hit by a car. He died instantly. We are so glad that we had the opportunity to know him and to share a little of this great man with you. We send our deepest sympathy to his family.

We've had a few phone calls from our readers since we parked here. Clint Meeks called and wants to know if costs have gone up since we started and since we wrote the book. Ron will do an update on that, in place of his campground report, next month. 

This past year, we have been back to places we visited earlier in our full-timing life and noticed that almost nothing stays the same. I suppose there's a danger, then, in reporting on campgrounds and restaurants. For instance, we noticed that an old favorite restaurant in Fredricksburg, Texas, was no longer there and the meals here which we raved about last time are now catered and leave a lot to be desired. You will take our reports with a gain of salt, won't you? I can imagine all of the changes since the first newsletters six years ago.

We reported last month that we have the RCA satellite dish. It works well, but I really don't like it. I have never liked TV. I originally thought I'd like it for the 20 plus music channels, but the music is seldom on; CNBC (National Business Network-stock market stuff) or some sporting event is usually on. 

We turned on two prime time sit-coms this past Wednesday because my uncle is an extra on the show and I wanted to see him. We never watch regular TV and I was appalled at the content of these shows. One guy had his pants down in no time and the mother of the girl was telling him how he could take care of himself at home. It was supposed to be funny, but I was shocked. You can tell we are not TV watchers except for Good Morning America, news and sports. Now I am actually embarrassed that we have that dish. I do like the old (rather pure) movies that are on American Movie Classics or Turner Classic Movies; kissing was naughty then.

I know that all of you like Ron's Potpourri column, but if you believe everything that he says, I have a few bridges I'd like to sell you. I am especially referring to his comments about our domino games. 

In addition to being with a lot of old friends here at Outdoor Resorts, we have met a number of new friends. One couple, Dee & Ron Pittenger also have a Bounder. Theirs is a 1994, 34C (center isle), but inside you would not even know it was a Bounder. Immediately after purchasing the motorhome they replaced the carpeting throughout the coach with a thick nearly white carpet. They also replaced the floor covering in the kitchen with a nice light tile. Then they completely gutted the living room and kitchen area. The driver and passenger chairs were replaced with leather captains chairs, a new shorter, more comfortable couch was traded for the old and the chair by the door was replaced with a barrel chair. The upholstery fabric and colors are beautiful and rather light which make the motorhome look much larger that it did before. They also took out the little table behind the co-pilot's chair and in its place put an oak two drawer file cabinet. They say they have a Safari at just a little more than Bounder prices and I agree.

We have just received another notice from our wonderful Escapees mail forwarding service. They are really trying to eliminate the number of pieces of mail which come to them without an ID number. We get several letters each week where they have had to look up our number. They will be charging us an additional $10.00 a month if we keep getting so many letters without that number. Help us keep costs down and use our number (2179) on all correspondence. Don't forget that they get mail for 6,000 plus. 

Ron's latest check up was wonderful. His PSA is zero and his bone scan was totally negative. His blood sugar is well under control too. You may think that from the looks of the Good Places to Eat column we eat too much good stuff, but actually we only splurge once a week. We eat vegetables the rest of the week and walk four miles each morning. All of this and fresh air, sunshine, good friends, fun things to do and lots of love and prayers are contributing greatly to our good health. 

Pay Phone Etiquette
It is so nice to have our own telephone in our motorhome. I had made a note to write about pay phone etiquette though because of some bad experiences before we got here. If you approach someone who is using a pay phone, stand well away; you won't lose your position in line and will allow that person some privacy (as much as can be expected). There have been many times when I am trying to talk and someone comes up to within a foot of me and just stands. That is really a no-no. 

Also worth mentioning: unless there is no one waiting, you should limit your calls to five minutes each and only make one call at a time. If there is a line and you have more calls to make, go to the end of the line after your first call. Phones are busiest in the evening and on weekends. I like our new long distance service because we can call the kids during the day (at evening rates) when no one is waiting to get on the phone. 

Sign in Marble Falls, Texas.

When it comes to giving some people stop at nothing.

Signs in the Gruene General Store.

If your mind goes blank, don't forget to turn off the sound.

Lord, make me the person my dog thinks I am.

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Salad 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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