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volume 8                December 1997                  number 9
 Mesa, Arizona
�  Potpourri 
�  Good Places to Eat
�  Coffee Break
�  Experience is the Best Teacher
�  Accident Ruined Motorhome
�  Our House Has Wheels
�  Letters, Letters, Letters
�  This' N That
�  Camp-Out
�  Date Squares
The next issue will be in January and we still have lots to write about. Have you ever longed for a garden? One of our readers has found a way. I also hope to have a cute story about driving the RV for the first time.
Since many of you have asked why we came to this particular resort in this part of the country we thought we would tell all of you at once. But before I do that, we had written two full newsletters on this area and Valle del Oro three years ago. They were good newsletters but were sold out long ago. I looked at those articles and discovered that they are still accurate except the price here has gone up. I didn't want to re-do those articles in the newsletter because we have other things to write about and many had already read them. So I compiled those two issues minus the following sections; Letters, Coffee Break, Potpourri, This �n That and Family News. It is 8 pages long and available now. Because it's a new printing, I have to charge the same price as a new issue. Just call, drop us a note or email us and say, "We want that Mesa Reprint." I will send it off and deduct one issue from your subscription; this way you don't have to bother with sending us a separate check etc.

2006 Editor's note: this offer is not available. Most of the information that was in that reprint is already on our web site. Look in back issues of Movin' On and under Arizona. 

We like this area (this year) because it has everything we want.

The resort is large (1,800 sites) but friendly and has tons of activities going on all the time. The pool complex, tennis courts, ballroom and grounds are just beautiful. And the sites are wide and long with cement patios.

Because we are on the eastern edge of Mesa, we are close to the desert and nature, but we are also only one or two miles from the best shopping anywhere. Superstition Mall is large and has five big anchor stores (Dillards, Sears, Robinson May, J C Penny's, and Mervyn's) plus all the other stores you would expect. Across from the mall is another big shopping center with such stores as Pet's Mart, Staples, Target, K Mart and many more. In less than one mile there are two other big shopping centers; you can usually find me at Best Buy in the computer section or at Office Max. At one of the shopping centers nearby there is a new movie complex with 25 separate theaters.

There are dozens upon dozens of good restaurants nearby. We could practically eat out all the time and never have to go to the same place twice. There are at least five major grocery store chains within a few miles and all are big, nice and very competitive. The Mayo Clinic is only 30 miles away and we wanted to get our complete checkups there this year.

There are lots of wonderful churches here including a non-denominational one right here in the campground (most of the big resorts do this). We happen to drive clear across town to St. Lukes (a very special Lutheran Church that we found three years ago) and feel very much at home there.

We are just a few hours away from Vegas, Laughlin, Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Show Low, Tucson and other wonderful areas in Arizona. And we are of course close to the city of Phoenix.

So those are our main reasons for liking this place for THIS YEAR. Next winter we may go to Texas, or California and that is what we like about this lifestyle. We could come back here or see what somewhere else has to offer. We really like all of the winter places we have stayed so far.

We have passed the test for a good marriage. Barb and I have been playing duplicate bridge as partners. I am very understanding. 

Another good driving test is coming up (a Los Angeles freeway) as we visit Mark's family over Thanksgiving. With 14,000 miles under my belt I'm ready. Besides, I'm bigger than they are.

Someone recently told me that they like the four seasons. I do too---mild, warm, warmer, and hot. Judging from the way southern Arizona is booming, many others feel the same way.

That other school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has a pretty good football team. Maybe their football memories will console them during the coming basketball season.

You weren't really worried about the market were you? I told you to stay calm. Stock tip for the month: Invest in a utility mutual fund or a real estate investment trust (REIT) mutual fund. They have good returns with little risk during a down turn.

We have a scraggly pine tree at the front of our site and Barb will put some lights on it at Christmas time. I would have preferred a palm tree. We could have wrapped the trunk with those little white lights.

Barb mentioned St. Lukes Lutheran Church, but I will add that we really look forward to Sunday mornings. We like the members, great sermons, music and Bible class. A church like this tempts one to settle down.

We have printed articles by Carol Stewart before, but now her husband Dick has taken time to write about his diesel experience. We've had so many questions about "diesel versus gas" we are glad that Dick shared his experience with us. His comments are as follows:

Diesel pusher comments: We have a diesel pusher motorhome which is perfect for us because we like to be on the move. In less than five years we hit 100,000 miles traveling in 49 states and a good part of Canada. The following are a few facts and some opinions which we experienced along the way about our motorhome.

Fuel: Diesel is available almost everywhere and we try to buy in large truck stops and generally pay cash to get a discount. We have purchased over 15,000 gallons at an average price of $1.217. Our mileage is 7.926 mpg. The average price has actually gone down a fraction because we spent a lot of time in Canada. Today California rivals Canada for high price. The price won't keep us out of Canada as we have more to explore there. We use Next Exit to find truck stops when we are near an Interstate and change the fuel filter and water separator regularly. Even with a purchase above the Arctic Circle, we have never had any contamination.

Tires: Make sure to use the correct tire pressure for the axle load. Weigh the vehicle and be right for good tire life. I am a fanatic about tread life and change tires long before they are worn out. Even at $450-$500 a piece it is cheap when compared to a blowout and the damage it does to the motorhome or worse---to you! We changed the fronts at 60,000 miles and the backs at 75,000 miles and could have gone another 10,000 miles.

Brakes: I had the brakes done at 103,000 miles and it was time. We have four wheel disks and have a Jake brake which we use about 90% of the time. It will cost from $1500 to $2000 depending upon any machine work and seal replacement. I think 100,000 miles is pretty good considering there isn't a mountain pass we won't try and have. We also tow a 3500 pound car.

Engine and transmission: The best part, they just run and run and if you change oil and filters as recommended they should keep on running. Our change interval is from 5000 to 7000 miles depending on where we find a good garage. The only engine work done was a valve and Jake brake adjustment at 98,000 miles for about $300. This was a factory recommendation. In summary, it's a good machine that wants to run, so why not!

(Ron's note: Dick asked me to include that his motorhome has a 350 hp Cummins engine. Also he added that when buying tires he was given a $75 allowance for each trade-in. It seems that there is a market for the carcasses that are then recapped.)

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

Serrano's Fine Mexican Food, 1021 S Power Rd, Mesa (NE corner Power & Southern) and 7 other locations in the Phoenix area. This family owned restaurant has been serving quality Mexican food since the 40s and they do a very good job. We were served speedily and cheerfully and the food was hot, and flavorful. The large menu is interesting and we were pleased that they offered much more than the standard Mexican fare. Especiales De La Casa included Machaca, Carnitas, Polo Rojo, Chili Colorado Con Carne, Pollo Serrano and much more. That is just one little section of the menu. They haven't been in business and growing for no reason. Try them but be prepared to wait in line. It is a busy place.

Carrabba's Italian Grill, 1740 Clearview Dr, Mesa. This delightful place is easy to find after an afternoon at the movies because it is right next to the new 25 theater movie complex. We don't normally report on chain restaurants, but this one, like their sister restaurant, Outback Steakhouse, deserve recognition. The service was exceptional, the Caesar salad was perfect, but the very best was the spaghetti. I love pasta if it is served nice and hot, perfectly cooked, and seasoned just right. This ranks at the top in my book. We ordered spaghetti with meatballs or sausage and were told we could have either or both; we choose both so our large bowl of spaghetti came with two meatballs and one large sausage link for $8.99. This of course included salad and nice hot bread. I asked Ron if we could please plan to go there at least once per month. It was sooooo good.

We will write about a good Bar B Que place next time.

2006 Editor's note: These restaurants are still on our list of favorite places to eat.

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

A question about age. "Enjoy your newsletter -- wish it were bigger....We have visited several parks in the Phoenix area, but my wife thinks we are too young (50 & 47) to spend much time there. We have purchased membership in TT (Verde Valley) and Coast to Coast. I like the idea of slow visits in the summer, but want to spend a little time stationary in the winter. Why do you pick Valle del Oro, and what is the cost? What can you tell us about full timers our age?" Steve & Donna Shaff, Durango, CO. 

Barb responds. Most of the RV resorts in this area have an age minimum of 55, but if you are close they won't even ask. And there are a lot of younger retirees in these parks. The parks have to set a limit somewhere to keep it an adult community; they don't want young families. There are a lot of full-timers your age and we find them all the time. True, they are mixed in with some of the older retirees, but the retires we find in active RV resorts/parks are young in spirit and very active. In fact we have played with many who were older than us, yet had more spunk and spirit than we do. They hike, bike, raft, golf, play tennis and square dance circles around most of us.

We picked VDO because we happened upon it three years ago and liked it. The rates this year are: daily $30.00, weekly $160.00, monthly $485.00, annually $2750.00. With a Good Sam card you get a 10% discount. They only take reservations for an annual space; all others are on a first come basis. For a full report send for the reprint newsletter we offered on page one.

Oregon must be getting tough on registering those who use a mail forwarding service. Read on. "I need advice from...your readers who may have had the same problem... We went to the DMV to get our address changed from Florence, Oregon, (where we lived for six years and sold our home in December before hitting the road) to Roseburg, Oregon, where we have a mail /phone service at Little Valley Rd. The DMV pulled up the Roseburg address on their computer and told us it was a mail drop and we cannot get an address change. On top of that, we were told that when our Oregon license becomes due and when our driver's license becomes renewable it won't be valid as we don't have an acceptable mail address. Scary!...We had a lengthy discussion with DMV and they were so sympathetic but the law is the law. You have to have a house, apartment etc., that mail is delivered to... We spend the summers in Oregon and will continue to do so. Have been looking for some property around Roseburg, but it would be a waste of money as legally it doesn't fly as you have to have an address and mail delivered there.... Seems to me the federal government and the states treat "full-timers" as "homeless" and second rate citizens. It's time the full-timers start writing their state and federal government and educate them; we are not homeless and we are responsible citizens who chose an alternative lifestyle...."

Barb responds. It  does seem unfair when you really were a citizen of the state of Oregon and only wanted to keep things that way. Oregon has been an attractive state for full-timers because they have no sales tax and a lot of people from states neighboring Oregon found addresses they could use to license expensive vehicles and boats etc. They do it all the time and perhaps Oregon is cracking down or you found a new enthusiastic employee at the DMV. When a state like Oregon does not charge sales tax they depend on other taxes like property tax. RVers who use Oregon don't have property so the state gets nothing. Many other states don't have the same problem and are happy to have a full-timer as a resident. If anyone has any help for Ruth & Ray, I will forward your letter to them or at your request, I will not publish your name.

In September we got a letter from Movin� On readers, Mary & Bill Jerzak, who are full-timers from Michigan and we wanted to share it with all of you. There are some real good lessons from this experience.

I am enclosing two photographs: one of our 1989 Holiday Rambler after our accident near Homer, Alaska, and the second of our 1998 Holiday Rambler at the campground at Lazy Days in Tampa, Florida. Please remind the readers of your newsletter of the importance of wearing seat belts in motorhomes.

We were having a wonderful Alaska adventure in our 32 foot motorhome. We had spent three weeks touring the Inside Passage, visiting six ports in all and spending four days in Ketchikan and five days each in Sitka, with all its history as the Russian capital of Alaska, and Juneau, the state capital.

Our final port was Haines and from there we took a water taxi to Skagway, jumping off place for Klondike gold miners 100 years ago. We drove to Valdez and toured the terminus of the 800 mile pipeline and then drove to Anchorage.

A friend from Seattle flew into Anchorage to join us for 10 days. The three of us traveled to Denali National Park and took the 11 hour bus trip on a beautiful clear day. We were lucky because Mount McKinley was out of the clouds all day; it was truly majestic. We saw grizzly bears, moose, caribou, beaver, golden eagles and much more.

We then traveled South to the Kenai peninsula. We took a glacier/wildlife cruise out of Seward and spent some time in the delightful town of Homer. Then it was time to head back to Anchorage so our friend could fly back to Seattle.

We were 20 miles north of Homer on August 9, a rainy afternoon, when the accident happened. As we came up a hill and around a curve on the two-lane highway, there was a pick-up truck stopped in the road waiting for traffic to clear to make a left turn. Bill tried to stop but began to slide on the wet road, so he tried to steer around the truck. There wasn't much of a shoulder on the road and, when the soft dirt caught the right front wheel, it pulled us further into the dirt and up a ridge.

We stayed upright at first but, when we were pulled further up the ridge, the motorhome became top-heavy and tipped over onto the driver�s side.

Things were flying around inside the motorhome but, luckily, we were already wearing our seat belts, even our friend who was sitting on the couch. As the front seat passenger, I was hanging in the air, but that was much better than falling on top of the driver. No one was hurt at all and we have the seat belts to thank for that.

People came to help very quickly, asking how many people were inside, if anyone was hurt and bringing a fire extinguisher, just in case. A man climbed on top of the motorhome and helped Bill open the passenger door so we could scramble out. We walked on the side of the motorhome which was now the top, and down the roof, which was now the side, rather like a carnival fun house.

The emergency medical personnel and state police who came to the scene were pleasantly surprised that we had been wearing our seat belts. In their experience, many people traveling in motorhomes do not and when there is an accident, the outcome often is not as good as ours was.

The lady who was driving the pick-up truck went to get her father and he helped Bill direct traffic as the tow truck worked for several hours to get our motorhome upright and out of the ditch. Meanwhile, she drove me 55 miles to the town of Kenai to rent a car. Closer towns, such as Homer, don't have rental car facilities.

Our insurance company, Royal Insurance, decided to "total" our motorhome and we feel that they have been very fair with us as to the value of our motorhome and everything else. Although it didn't look that bad, there was a lot of structural damage. All the cupboards and drawers inside stayed in place and worked perfectly.

Last year we had changed our insurance to indicate that we were traveling and living full-time in our motorhome so in many respects, our situation was handled as homeowners insurance would be on a home that was no longer livable. They paid $250 in towing charges, $750 for our flight from Anchorage to Seattle to pick up our car [left at the friend's house before they started to Alaska] and without our requesting it, they sent a $3,000 check to Alaska to begin covering our living expenses. The policy reads that they will pay up to $125 per day for not more than 60 days to cover the necessary increase in living expenses because of the accident. Their actions took a good deal of worry off our shoulders.

We looked for a new motorhome in Anchorage but it was the end of the season. If we had been able to buy one there, we would have continued our trip. After looking in Anchorage, we knew exactly what we wanted in a new motorhome. We tried dealerships in Seattle and Michigan without success. Lazy Days in Tampa had the model we wanted at a very fair price so we came to Tampa.

It's been wild! We packed all our possessions and United Van Lines is shipping them to our daughter's in Lansing. We flew from Anchorage to Seattle with a suitcase and duffle of clothes and two boxes with bedding and towels, etc., so we could live in the motorhome after we bought it. We picked up our car in Seattle and headed for Tampa. We drove 3,327 miles in five days. almost totally on Interstate Highways. This is our least favorite way to travel, but Lazy Days was holding a motorhome for us and we had to hurry.

Lazy Days has been terrific. They have an A-1 operation without a doubt. When the purchase was complete on Friday, they moved our motorhome to the campground and allowed us to begin staying in it that night. We were very tired of motels. Yesterday Camping World did some work for us and on Tuesday Lazy Days does some things and then takes us through the 130 point check that afternoon. Hopefully, we will head for Michigan on Wednesday to get the new motorhome and old possessions together.

After visiting with family for a few weeks. we will be on the road again with seat belts firmly buckled and no worse for the experience. We count ourselves to be very fortunate indeed.

In August of 1996 The Arizona Republic newspaper asked us if we would write a weekly article for them on the subject of full-timing. Since then we have written over 70 such articles and thought that you might like to read some of them. We are usually so busy traveling that we don't have room for such. Please let us know what you think.
This article is about a little maintenance---very little. In the nearly nine years that we have been on the road full-time in a recreational vehicle, I have become famous (or infamous) for my mechanical ineptness. I am living proof that you don't need to be mechanically gifted to full-time in an RV. With today's sophisticated and computerized RVs even the mechanically inclined have limited their maintenance to oil changes (too messy for me).

When we started out, I used to do well by pleading ignorance. That doesn't work anymore. But if I stand in front of the rig looking helpless, someone will always be there to give advice. Some guys thrive on this stuff. In spite of myself, I am actually learning (through osmosis) how to take good care of our RV. My wife knew how to push the right button by stating that being a retired accountant, I should want to protect our investment in the RV.

RV preventive maintenance is similar to an automobile (I didn't do that either), but maintenance becomes more critical with the size of the vehicle. Battery (can you believe six) water has to be checked as well as tire pressure.

It's easy to overload an RV. In fact, some are close to that when they leave the factory door. As a self preservation act, I have learned the arithmetic of matching carrying capacity to the "stuff" we carry along. I even figured out it wouldn't be wise to carry 100 gallons of water (at 8 pounds per gallon) as we travel down the road. Bent axles and ruined tires are definitely beyond my maintenance budget.

Next comes the oil can (never owned one in my life). It seems like everything needs oiling; entry step, leveling jacks, tow bars, hitches, sliding waste tank valves and anything else that moves. Speaking of oil, our diesel has a 27 quart capacity and you would think that should last for awhile, but the manual says I should check it every time we move. Sometimes I forget.

Now comes the fun part. We get to climb up on the roof where we get a good view and lots of attention from the neighbors. Rubber roofs, common on most RVs, require washing several times a year. Thank goodness it's a simple operation using mild detergent, several buckets of water and lots of motion. I did this on a windy day in Texas and the neighbors were all taking bets on when I would be blown off the roof.

Stay tuned; I'm still learning!

The jokes and comments about what retirement does to a marriage are familiar to us all. "Twice as much husband; half as much money," for example. Retirement is often a difficult adjustment for any marriage. Add in a confined living space and there could be real problems.

Communication will play an even more important role in full-timing. Both partners will have different ideas about what this nomadic lifestyle should be like and these ideas and goals should be talked about (in detail) and the differences ironed out before the key is turned in the ignition. We know one couple who pulled off the road after just a year. They were angry and upset with one another because the full-timing lifestyle had not been what they wanted it to be. The wife anticipated a life of travel and sightseeing; the husband envisioned sitting at the campground visiting with the campers. Whenever they moved to a new place, he put the awning out, set out a couple of lawn chairs, opened a beer and sat. She was left frustrated because they never saw anything outside of the campgrounds. And with only one car, or in their case, the big truck to pull the 5th wheel, she didn't want to venture out on her own. This marriage might have been in trouble in retirement without full-timing thrown in. Make sure both agree on what you want to do and where you want to go.

Take it easy in the beginning. Adjusting to retirement and living in an RV at the same time might be a little stressful and if you wear each other out with long exhausting days of travel the adventure will be off on a rough start. Get used to being together and gradually swing into full-timing. We did it in a matter of two weeks and did not have any difficulty, but we have heard of others who struggled with this period of adjustment.

Recognize each other's needs. One of the things most women miss most about uprooting themselves is their best friend. Women have the need to have that friend with whom they share all of their secrets. Women talk about feelings; men seldom do. Men generally are satisfied with small talk (instead of detailed feelings) and are more comfortable in dealing with facts. In this full-timing lifestyle you and your spouse can work on becoming best friends. Most full-timers that we encounter have become best friends. They say that their spouse is the best best friend they have ever had.

Sorry about problems

Hi, Glad to find you online. I just finished your newest newsletter---couldn�t put it down. Sorry to read about all the problems with the Dream. Now that you're stationary, hope things have settled down. I'll bet Fleetwood isn't happy about the negative feedback from one of their most "famous" buyers. We also looked at the dreams at Lazy Days in Fl., and really liked them... We've also been looking at the Country Coach Intrigue, but we'll be waiting a couple of years before buying a new rig....

We were really impressed by Dena Duncan. As a nurse, I know that her courage and humor will serve her well---and I'm envious of her wonderful trips!....

Your article about Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Monticello was really good. We really enjoyed all those places when we lived there. It's also a very pretty place to bicycle. Shenandoah is a lovely place to do some hiking, and fall leaf-peeping....

You didn't mention in the campground report where you're staying in Mesa, Arizona, but your plans sound great.

Kathy & Dale Ankrom
About to be full-timers

Loved Rainbow's End

We went to Rainbow's End, headquarters for Escapees, the first week in October and absolutely loved it. We have never seen such a busy place with so many RVs packed so closely together and yet be so peaceful and quiet. We were invited to stay for Octoberfest, but we had to leave to come back to work. (Yuk--I hate that four-letter word!) The staff was so friendly---we even got escorted to our site! And, we met so many wonderful people and got some Escapees hugs. I met one lady who is 76 years young and travels alone. She bought into a home park in Arizona, but may sell it because she can't stand the idea of staying in one place for very long. One day, I went to do some laundry and was gone so long my husband came looking for me. I met three ladies in the laundry room, and they were telling me about their adventures in Niland, California. I was socializing and forgot about the time. My laundry was finished before my mouth was!

Lynda & Lee Panneton
Memphis, TN

Internet is addictive

Hi, how do you like having internet access? It becomes addictive doesn't it? We are in the TT camp in Orlando. They have phone jacks set aside just for email use. We got a laptop so that we could use our email again. This is perfect. We also found that in addition to truck stops, Kinkos has phone jacks that you can use for free if you have a laptop. You need a local access phone number or use an 800 access. Now if only our family would answer our emails to them. We are so hungry to hear from them!...

Ginger & Ed Shilts
Full-timers from California

What a way to go

It was a few years ago when we read about your Alternate Lifestyle. We became so excited because this looked like something we would like to do. We subscribed to your "Movin� On" newsletters and practically fight over them when they arrive in the mail to see who gets to read them first!.... We were fortunate enough this summer to purchase our first motorhome. It was five years old, but in excellent condition with 24,000 miles. It is a Pace Arrow 37J model and we absolutely love it! We took a few three to five day weekend trips in it in preparation for our two-week maiden voyage about three weeks ago. We were all ready to travel to Oregon when we felt the weather was getting much too wet and with snow on the pass, we tossed a bathing suit in the motorhome and headed for Las Vegas, Phoenix/Scottsdale and Palm Springs. We didn't even have to change any airline tickets or hotel accommodations. What a way to go! We found the Oasis/Las Vegas a wonderful RV Park. It became a favorite of ours in a real short time....

We are still a few years away from retirement, but will be more than ready thanks to the two of you and your inspiration! By the way, do you know if there are any Pace Arrow Clubs?...I love being able to communicate with you via EMail. I've wanted to write for quite some time, but this way is really a lot easier! Looking forward to reading about Mesa, Arizona! Stay healthy and happy!

Marge and Rod Raudstein
Monterey, CA

Life is too short to not go camping

First of all, I really enjoy your newsletters and your book was great! I almost feel I'm part of your trip. My wife Norma and I own an older motorhome, a 1985 Champion, class A, 25 ft. We don't use it very often, but hope to starting in 1998. Norma had a heart attack in July and is now in Cardiac Rehab. It has reminded us how short life is and that we should get out and enjoy the simple things. One of them is to go camping more. We are looking forward to spending a good part of next summer in Rhode Island where our families are. Of course we will stay at a campground. I'm glad you have an e-mail address, it makes it easy to drop a line....

Jack & Norma Manning
Port Charlotte, FL

Going to retire for sure in 1998

... We are living in our Winnebago and travel as often as possible. Next Sept 11 is my last day of work and finally we will be full-timers and there is no doubt in our minds that that is what we want to do. For the last five years I have said, "Next year I'm retiring" and then end up working another year. My co-workers said the other day they doubted that I would retire next Sept. I told them if I didn't Gene was threatening to leave me. They said, "Let him go." I said, "Yes, but he takes my home with him when he goes and I would be left out on the street." So Sept. 11 is the date and our first stop will be Mitchell, SD to see our youngest son....

Barbara & Gene Ott
Lakehills, Texas

Just ordered an American Dream

An Article recently appeared in our Milwaukee Journal regarding your lifestyle. As my husband, Gordy, & I have been planning this for the past 1 ½ years, it was of particular interest to me. In the course of time, I have read every book on full-timing I could get my hands on. Your book was advertised in the newspaper article so naturally I ordered it. Immediately upon reading it, I became aware that this book was different than the others. Besides giving us the facts, I felt like I was "talking" with a friend, someone who understood what we wanted to do. Thank you for putting it all together, along with all your personal experiences.

I hope all is well with the American Dream, as we ordered one last month and it will be arriving next July. There is still a lot of prep work to be done, but we're very excited. We chose the Dream after researching a lot of others during the past year. I will be 50 and Gordy 54 when we leave. We tell people we're not retiring---just choosing a different way to live. Thanks for making it a little easier!

Sandy & Gordy Grindey
Golgate, Wisconsin

Motorhome is home

...Rich and I have been very busy this summer working for Southeast Publications. We have one more campground to work, then on to warmer weather to sell Christmas trees---then hopefully travel out west for awhile....still love full-timing and don't want to give it up for a long time. It is hard to believe we have been doing this for two years now, the motorhome looks like and is home to us.

Working on the road has given us the opportunity to visit campgrounds that we normally wouldn't go to! We have driven up mountains in North Carolina that scared me to death, but once we got there we had a site that backed up to a trout stream, with a waterfall not far away that could be heard all the time. Sleep was not a problem at that park. Kayla [dog] loved the pool at the bottom of the waterfall---swam all the time.

We were also at a campground in Virginia that had a river that went out to the ocean; this is where we fell in love with oysters! Not only did we eat well, but learned so much about the area. So much history around Yorktown and Williamsburg...These are just two of the 18 parks that we go to, boy do I have stories about them all!

Do you remember the Wards? They were the couple who wanted to know about us and Southeast Publications, well we met them by chance in Houghton Lake and guess what? They are now producing site maps like us. They are a nice couple and we are sure they will do well...

Wanda & Rich Townley
Full-timers from Michigan

New rigs and bugs

... We were sorry to hear about all your problems. We've heard such horror stories from people with new rigs and all the "bugs" that need to be handled the first year. It doesn't seem to matter what brand or how much it costs; they all have bugs. Hopefully, by the time this letter reaches you things have been resolved and you are now comfortably situated in Mesa, AZ for the winter. Tomorrow we are headed for St. George, UT, to have some work done on our refrigerator and will be there for a few days....

I just read in our "Boomer" newsletter that there is a wonderful resource for general delivery zip codes. It is an 800 telephone number for the US Postal Service, if you believe it (800-275-8777). When I used it for our last mail packet forwarding I was pleasantly surprised at how wonderfully it worked. After being on hold for less than a minute, I was able to speak to a real live person who was most helpful and provided my zip code. Sure beats carrying around a huge zip code book...We are traveling mostly RED ROADS these days and loving it. Why would anyone travel any other way?

Sandy & Sherry Harper
Full-timers from California

2006 Editor's note: That phone number still works so I left it in.

Glad to see a bad campground report

Congratulations on your campground report on Tamsin Park in Peninsula, OH [July-Aug �97-vol 8 #6]. Saying how lousy something or somewhere is can be equally as important as high praise---though much much rarer...

Robin & Victoria Jenkinson
Full-timers from France

Been there---done that

...We will be parked in San Leon, Texas, for the winter. We are parked a half of a block from the bay...had a phone line installed...I have a message center with a toll free number so it doesn't cost the kids to call and leave messages. They do use it...We have a bunch of teenage grandchildren now and every now and then the calls go on. Five of these are teenage girls...got three calls one weekend. "I hate my mother, I want to move in with you." Now that will raise the hair on the back of your neck. My new message was, "We don't do teenagers. Been there, done that; didn't like it the first time. Also you can't move in with us because we won't tell you where we are." Right now it all seems quite resolved, but they are still teenage girls....

Vera & Jim Kieborz
Full-timers from Texas

Appreciated driving lessons

Just a note to let you know how much we enjoy your newsletter... You've convinced us that full-timing may be a lifestyle that we would enjoy.... traded in our 25' Flair for 1997 36' Bounder with slideout.... Everything you said about Lazy Days turned out to be true. I even got driving lessons on a 36' diesel pusher and then the instructor set up an extra lesson for all the ladies who had gasoline coaches and wanted to drive one so we could compare the two.

Emily & Rayford Jenkins
Fort Pierce, Florida

2006 Editor's note: most of these readers connected with us via email which was something new to us at the time. I had originally published their email addresses with their name but figure they are no longer valid so I left them out.

by Barb

Remember Karen Fleckenstein [vol 6, #9, pg4]? She went back to Massachusetts, fell in love, got a job, then convinced her new love to try full-timing. Recently she traded in her Bounder for a Safari Serengeti and she and Patrick Johnson are on the road. They plan to get married January 9, 1998, in Florida. We're glad she's in love and back out on the road again.

Last month I forgot to mention a great place for breakfast or lunch in or near Oklahoma City. Jimmy's Egg is a small local chain well known for their wonderful breakfasts. You won't leave hungry. The Jimmy's Egg we went to was just down the street from Bruckner�s Truck Center near Reno Ave.

We sure do keep busy and I am behind in my work. I have not been able to work on the cookbook but hope to do so soon.

As Ron mentioned we are driving the motorhome to California over Thanksgiving. Hopefully this newsletter will have been printed and I can be folding during the drive. Do not be surprised to see a California post mark on this one.

We've had lots of company and it has been fun to meet so many of our readers. Email had prompted many who never wrote before to touch base with us. That is fun too. But I really hope that many of you can join us for our camp-out in January. I just think it will be lots of fun to be together.

Here's a little advance notice on upcoming seminars. We are scheduled to do at least one seminar at the Coast to Coast Rally in Tucson. We don't have an exact date or time yet, but the rally dates are March 13-15. We are also scheduled to present our full-timing seminar at the Victorville Escapade the third week in April. We are still trying to get on the program for the FMCA convention which will be held in Las Cruces early in March. We will let you know when we know anything.

Ron has started the book and is progressing nicely. Several have asked what it will be about. It will be a continuation of where we left off in An Alternative Lifestyle... We are writing in great detail about who is full-timing and how different ones do it. We will add more about organizing, maintenance and cleaning of the RV home. It will also be a book about change---our change in lifestyle, our change in RV homes, our change in travel philosophy. It will include everything from the lessons we have learned to how to set up an RV office. There will be a lot of new information in it and as with the first book, we will add newsletter articles at the end of each chapter. We think you'll like it, but don't look for it before spring. With company and activities, writing it is a slow process.

I think you will really like the reprint newsletter I mentioned on page one. Many of you who have been getting our newsletter for quite a while save the back issues. If you fall into that category, you might want to go back and look at the November, December 1994 issues to re-acquaint yourself with where we are right now. If you no longer have those issues, you might like to order it again. There really is a lot of good information in those issues.

Thought you'd like to know that Ron's health is great. His eye problem from last year (ocular myesthesia gravis) is in complete remission and the doctor told him that he doesn't have to take the hormone shots for the prostrate cancer; he might have to go back on in a year or so, but it is really under control. I got a clean bill of health too; we both need to lose weight and oh, the holidays are coming.

We will chat more next month. Happy Holidays & drive safely wherever you go.

When:    January 13, 14 & 15, 1998
Where:   Lost Dutchman State Park
               6109 N Apache Trail (St Rt 88)
               Apache Junction, AZ

Details We have reserved the group campsite at this lovely park. It is only a few miles from Goldfield Ghost Town and not far from Canyon Lake and the delightful town (bar, restaurant, gift shop) of Tortilla Flat. There are no hook-ups in the group campsite, but showers are only a short walk from the site and there is a dump station.

Space is limited to 25 rigs so you need to reserve ahead of time. The charge for the three days is only $25. To reserve your spot, send us $5 right away. The balance is paid to the park at check-in time. If you have any questions call us at 602-373-6547 or email us at *****************  If you have access to the internet you may also want to check out our web site:    ********* Once in our site look at the "What's New" page for a link to the Lost Dutchman State Park. Send your check for $5 (do not send the whole $25) to us at ********* Livingston, TX 77351. If we get more requests than the park has room for, we will pick from the earliest postmarks.

What if you don't have an RV or don't want to camp? Come out and join the rest of us on Wednesday, the 14th for a potluck/picnic (mostly salads and easy-to-fix-ahead things). To come for the day, the park charges $4. It is worth it. The setting is wonderful, there are lots of hiking trails and we will all be there. You do not need to reserve ahead of time or even let us know if you are just coming out for the day.

 Date Squares 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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