Of course, the trip back to Michigan connected us to family and friends. On Ron's side, three of his sisters and their families live in Michigan along with three of his children and their families. Ron's two sons who live elsewhere were able to be in Michigan for a while during the holidays too. My Mom, brother and three sisters and families all live in Michigan. My children all live far away and were not able to be in Michigan. There were lunches and dinners with old friends we hadn't seen in years, Christmas parties and lots of visiting. But we really missed our house and lifestyle. Our life seems so simple compared to that of our families and it was rather ex hausting to witness it all.
I had wanted to see snow ever since reading about last year's winter blizzards and was sadly disappointed. It was the first time in 42 years that there was no measurable snow in the whole state of Michigan for Christmas.
We both caught colds and a flu bug which dampened their trip some. And it wasn't that cold in Michigan until just before they headed back to Arizona.
We broke the trip up into four parts. I spent a week at my Mom's house while Ron stayed with his daughter, Marty. The second week, we both nursed our "bugs" together at my Mom's place. The third week we had a nice suite at The Club House Inn, in Lansing and the day after Christmas we drove to Northport to spend that week with long time friends Jim and Norma Neve in their lovely home overlooking Lake Michigan.
Re-visiting the Coachella Valley is something we have looked forward to for a long time. Esther and Jack Perram winter there and it had been three long years since the four of us have been together. Being in the area also brought us closer to my son, Mark, and his family. We drove to Saugus one weekend (without the motorhome) so we could meet two year old grandson, Jonn, and be reacquainted with three year old granddaughter, Robyn. We will actually move up there for a week in February.
Other reunions included many RVers whom we hadn't seen for years. So
many dropped in for hugs and visits. Grant and Nancy Joy from Minnesota
and Hollis (Ron's cousin) and Sylvia Grubb from Wisconsin planned winter
vacations to the area because we were there. The weather was not great
(the rains came to the desert), but the visits were wonderfully warm. Now
that those couples have headed home, it is warm and sunny. It so often
happens that way on a vacation. It doesn't matter as much to full-timers
who just wait out any bad weather that might come along.
(Please remember that this report was written many years ago and the campgrounds may or may not be in business or as they were.)
Going back as far as Denver, we have been getting monthly rates at campgrounds and consequently have not been moving much. That is about to change. Beginning next week we will be moving an average of once a week for the next 8 months. We may have to double the space allotted for the campground report and are excited about Movin' On.
This month I would like to tell you about a possible plan for �winter nesting� that includes full hook-ups, pools, golf, hot tubs and a moderate climate all for less than $200 a month. It involves using your Coast to Coast membership in conjunction with a commercial park in Desert Hot Springs. Here's the plan. Begin by staying a week each at two very nice CCC parks (Catalina Spa and America Adventure's Desert Pools Resort)---then stay a month at the Sands RV Park & Country Club. After that go back to the two CCC parks since you will have been out the required month. All of these parks are within 5 miles of each other. Your cost will be $333 for the Sands plus $28 for the CCC parks or a total two month cost of $361.
Sands RV Park & Country Club, 16400 Bubbling Wells Road,
Desert Hot Springs, CA. You won't find this park in your campground directory.
They cater more to long term visitors, however, they will take overnighters
(expensive). They accept Good Sam discounts even on their monthly rates
which gets it down to $333. The hook-ups are excellent and cable is available
for a price. There are two cement pads---one serves as a patio and the
other is available for parking a car or truck. Each site is separated by
6 foot hedges for privacy and palm trees are everywhere. Although activities
are sparse (golf being the activity here), there are tennis courts, heated
pool, two hot tubs, pool tables and a lovely lounge that adds to your enjoyment.
The laundry room is large and well maintained. Golfers will love the 9
hole executive golf course (4 par 3's and 5 short par 4's). Residents can
play for $8 and long term rates are available. From your site you will
view snow capped mountains and Palm Springs is only minutes away
by RonAfter experiencing your outpouring of love and support since our last summer health problems, I have been searching for a word to describe our relationship with our readers. Toni and Bob Shields in their letter on page 6 have given me that word(s). You are our extended family.
It was great to see my (older) cousin Hollis and his wife Sylvia again, but after 50 years, I still never know whether he's putting me on or not. And I always believe him until I see that silly grin.
How do you know when you are in California? You have to pay before you can pump gasoline.
I sure enjoyed my grandchildren while in Michigan. Richard, Mary, Erika, Ryan, Kailee and Taylor---I'm so proud of you all. Good job, parents.
We have played golf twice, actually my second round could hardly be described as playing. These have been successful outings, however, since I lost only one golf ball. The old accountant keeps track of such things.
Found a good way to Christmas shop for grandchildren---take the mother with you. We had a ball (like a night out) and there's no way you can mess up on sizes.
I wonder if my sister who graduated from the University of Michigan, has no ticed that Michigan State University is ranked tenth nationally in basketball.
Speaking of sisters. I have another sister who will be 60 in February.
Happy Birthday Gail! Now the world knows.
(Remember that this report was written many years ago and the restaurants may or may not be in business or as they were.)
All are in the Coachella Valley
Hamburger Mary's, Queen of the Desert, Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. Huge hamburgs (the Proud Maryburger weighs in at 2/3 lb.) and other hearty entrees make up the menu. Four of us each ordered something different and all were well satisfied. We had arrived early in the happy hour (3-9 p.m.) and it was a bit noisy. They have a different "attitude adjustment" special each day with half price appetizers. Fun place!
Cedar Creek Inn, El Paseo Drive, Palm Desert. After a morning of shopping on this exclusive street, we stopped here for lunch. In an elegant setting, we ordered huge gourmet sandwiches which were delicious. All the lunches being served looked wonderful. Don't be afraid of the prices for lunch.
Mario's La Quinta Garden Cafe', Calle Barcelona, La Quinta. This pricy restaurant is more affordable at the sunset seating when five or six entrees are listed at $11.95. But the entertainment is well worth the price of dinner. The waiters and waitresses are all professional singers and present nearly an hour's worth of show and opera tunes. Mario, the owner, and his wife are among the talented entertainers. Don't go here hungry and don't expect great dishes of pasta. But what you do get is gourmet and the whole experience is great. Reservations are a must.
Coco's, a chain in southern California, is a great place for
any meal. We don't normally review chain restaurants, but you will love
this one. Their tortilla soup is to die for! Its a chicken vegetable kind
of soup with strips of tortillas and melted cheese in a huge cup.
In California's Coachella Valley
Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Cathedral City, Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, Rancho Mirage, and Desert Hot Springs are listed as the resort communities of the Coachella Valley. The more than 80 golf courses carved out of this barren desert have given the area a nickname of "golf capital of the world." You may think of this area by its other nickname, "play ground of the stars." Both are correct. The Desert Guide lists all sorts of activities available in the area --- everything from polo and early morning horse back rides complete with chuckwagon breakfast to glitzy nightclubs with big name entertainment. There are prestigious golf tournaments and festivals honoring such things as film, jazz, arts, and dates. There are hundreds of international, gourmet restaurants for fine dining and shopping excursions here provide the ultimate pleasure.
Begin with an aerial view.
Take a drive.
Another great drive is to the Salton Sea area just south of Desert Hot Springs. This 30 by 10 mile, shallow saline lake lies in the very fertile Imperial Valley. It is like a mirage in the middle of the desert. The visitor center offers a video which helps explain the hows and whys of this lake. The southwestern shore is a popular resort area and many RVers camp (boondock) for nearly free on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in the valley.
Driving around looking at beautiful homes sitting high up in the hills, or lush country clubs can be fun too. Search out the new Mariott Hotel. We had fun walking on the premises, having a frozen yogurt on the veranda and taking the free boat tour. The tour starts from inside the hotel. Oh, it really is something to see.
Marvel at thousands of windmills.
The Palm Springs Desert Museum, located downtown Palm Springs holds art, natural science exhibits and the Annenberg theater in the building is the home for lectures and performing arts. The desert, its creatures and fauna are featured in the first part of the museum. A traveling exhibit on black widow spiders really caught our attention. An explicit video detailed the dangers of the spider's bite with interviews from some of her victims. The video was so well done that we were really transfixed until it was over. Check your shoes before you put them on was my new rule for a few days. I've kind of slacked off now, but maybe I should get back into the habit. The spiders like to hide in dark places like shoes and under sinks. It was all very fascinating.
Another part of the museum that I particularly enjoyed was the Leo Singer Miniature Room Collection which was added to the museum in 1990. The 12 miniature rooms depict the theme of laundry, a subject with special significance for Mr. Singer. He was one of the founders and president of Miracle White Company, manufacturers of Miracle White laundry detergents. Designed by Eugene J. Kupjack, the rooms trace the story of laundry over the centuries and include such scenes as laundry drying in the east room of the white house in 1800, and backstage at a circus in 1915. All rooms are complete in every little detail. It is fun to carefully explore each room for all the tiny items. I always wanted one of those fancy doll houses---maybe that's why I live in a motorhome.
Take a Tour of the Bounder plant in Riverside.
We watched all phases of construction from the side walls up. The roof is the last of the outside to be assembled. They have a mill in the plant to produce all wood needed for the cabinets. We had toured the Beaver Coach plant in Oregon several years ago (before they were sold to Safari) and by comparing the two plants and taking into consideration the major difference in the price of the coaches, we were impressed that we have a quality coach.
At her suggestion we headed first to the Street Fair at the College of the Desert in Palm Desert. Three hundred vendors set up on the campus for weekend shoppers. I was amazed at the wonderful quality of all the merchandise. This was no flea market! It was like shopping in bunches of open-air shops. I wanted to buy all of the children's clothing that was so beautifully designed and sewn. Such classy outfits! But I was saved because there were so many that I simply could not decide.
There are many blocks of good shopping downtown Palm Springs and on Thursday evenings Palm Springs closes off several blocks to host a street fair which is very nice.
The seven or eight blocks of El Paseo Street in Desert Palm is the very best place for shopping. The many art galleries and exclusive shops are fun to browse in.
Esther and I spent a whole day and then some, shopping some of the 17 plus resale/consignment shops in the area and found this to be the most efficient way to get high quality/designer clothes at an affordable price. The rules that most of the consignment shops impose on those who leave clothing (dry cleaned, no spots, no holes, missing buttons etc.) make for like-new clothing.
Don't expect to get clothes for next to nothing. Although if one is lucky bargains might be found in some of the many charity thrift shops. But when we visited the Eisenhower Hospital thrift shop, we were turned off by some of the less than clean clothes on the racks.
Shops with names like Designing Woman, Unique Repeat Shoppe, Pandora's Closet, ReDeux, and Ritzi Too are much like they sound---classy with lots of good used clothing.
I talked with Dena Sweeney owner of Ritzi Too about the resale business. She has owned her shop for 13 years and watched many others come and go.
"If something is wrong with an item, we don't put it on the floor," said Dena. "We have over 3,000 ladies who bring in clothing so we have the ability to pick the cream of the crop."
Most clothing is only left in the store for 60 days and is usually marked down 50% after 30 days. Dena keeps cruise ware longer. Good consignment shoppers visit shops almost weekly because new items come in all the time and prices are marked down all the time.
The Coachella Valley is a great place to visit and we hope you will
have a chance to do some exploring on your own.
Traveling slower now
...We decided to travel like you guys do, taking our time, visiting small towns for a few days, getting to know the people, places and history of each town. It was so much fun, so relaxing. We towed the car and went on side trips. That's the only way to go!...
Libby & Bud Frank
Book was the trigger
I just finished reading your book, An Alternative Lifestyle. It was the little push we needed to seriously start exploring if it would work for us. We now travel in an 11 foot Lance pick-up and are planning on a larger unit, 5th wheel or class A motorhome. I plan on retirement in 1 to 2 years. Look forward to your newsletter. Thanks again. Hope to see you on the road.
Bob & Bev Brown
It's time to see the United States
Thank you very much for all you have shared with us. My wife Cynthia and I are sure looking forward to retiring after 20 years and 22 years, respectfully, of active duty Navy.
Having been to 71 countries myself, I feel that it's about time to see my own, for a change. Full-timers to be. But unfortunately I won't be able to retire till May 1998, as for Cynthia, she will go in November 1995. I hope I can hold out till '98 because after 20 years active, each day seems forever long.
Thank you for all your inspiration and love.
Vin & Cyn Vince
Don't regret decision
... We've been thinking of you both since we first heard about Ron's illness. And we were very glad that he is doing better. We'd like to be included in the party at the Hilton in 2009. We enjoy your newsletter very much and hope you both will be chugging along traveling the U.S. and putting out your newsletter for years to come.
We went up to Seattle the end of Aug. and had a lovely fall slowly moving south. The weather didn't turn cold till the middle of Nov. By the time we got to Palm Springs we got tired of being cold and came home to Texas to see the grandkids and friends for awhile. Then it's on to Florida and up the east coast. We don't regret our decision to quit work and start traveling. It's a great life.
Bob & Louise Jones
Feel like part of an extended family
Received the December issue of Movin' On. It's a good feeling being part of your extended family.
My husband was really excited when he read about the euchre bunch at the Valle Del Oro R.V. Resort. He used to play euchre when he worked at US Steel in Gary, Indiana. Hasn't run across anyone out here in California who knows how to play....
Toni & Bob Shields
Toni & Bob,
There are lots of euchre players among RVers---found especially at membership campgrounds and RV resorts. Euchre, cribbage, pinochle and bridge are the most common card games, and it's easy to find them. Barb
Would like friend to have a copy
... Love your letter and I would like for you to send a sample copy [of the newsletter] to a friend of mine who is in a perfect position to full-time. Maybe Movin' On will let them see what they are missing out on. We would love to part time, but we own our own business and we can't just shut it down and go and our type of business no one really wants to buy into. It would [take] years and years to clean up and shut down....
Lynn & Barbara Bailey
Camping in the desert
...We replaced our conventional RV heater with a ceramic heater that uses no electricity. The fan on our old heater was a real drain on our battery. The new heater is delightful! The ceramic element has a fire like glow that's almost like having a fireplace! Of course, it's an unvented heater, so opening a window a couple of inches is a must when it is lit. We don't use it during the night. The extra bonus was all the extra storage space we gained when the old heater came out. (The new heater is mounted on a different wall, facing our dinette.) Our boat builder friend, Mark, installed 2 drawers and a cupboard in the now empty space. Wow!! Only another full-timer could appreciate our excitement!
We've been staying here in the Imperial Dam Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) [Bureau of Land Management---(BLM)] for a few days before heading over to the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge where we'll volunteer over the holidays. Of the LTVA's here in the desert southwest, Imperial has the best facilities --- water, dump stations, trash bins, bathrooms with flush toilets and cold water outdoor showers. There's also plenty going on---Bingo nearby, yard sales, CB gettogethers, weekly hikes. You can get pizza delivered, buy a newspaper, and there are telephones.
Every day at 7:00 p.m. there's a roll call and announcements on CB channel 12. Imperial is a little like a small town---about 1 1/2 miles in area. You can park anywhere---hunker down close to gether or get off to yourself out in the "suburbs." The different "neighborhoods" have fanciful names like Fishtail Flats, Quail Hill, Skunk Hollow etc. People are friendly and the price is right---$50 for 7 months from Sept 15 to April 15. And if you don't like Imperial, there are 6 other LTVA's to visit, each with its own distinct personality and facilities ranging from zip to almost as good as Imperial. Your $50 permit is good at any or all. Most snow birds seem to settle down at one LTVA for the duration, but we like to move around.... Too bad the winters aren't longer--- we never get to spend enough time out here before it starts getting warm in April. Once it's up to 90 we're ready to head for the mountains---no air conditioning!...
Bob & Ellie Henderson
Counting the days
...We were happy to get the latest newsletter and find that Ron's health is improving. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you.
We wanted to thank you again for the newsletter. I read it cover to cover as soon as it arrives. It seems like our constant link to the world of full-timing. We'll be putting our house on the Market Match 1, 1995 (as soon as it starts to get warmer here...). Then we'll park our RV at a seasonal site within commuting distance to work. The big day will be Sept 22, 1995 (only 279 more days --- but who's counting). Then we plan to go the Escapees Escapade the last week in Sept in Ohio.
We're planning to get our mail and message service in the summer, plus changing insurances etc. Your book has been very helpful for us with our planning. Hope we meet someday. Again we love the newsletter.
Karen & Joe Fleckenstein
Starting the rest of their life
We just received our sample issue of Movin' On and we love it! Our subscription is on the way and also our order for your book---can't wait to get the book and the next newsletter.
My husband and I are about to embark on a most important adventure February 1, 1995---the rest of our lives as retired people AND full-time RVers. We have planned and planned for this day of a new beginning and we have probably overlooked or are now aware of some things we should know and do as full-timers. We are most anxious for your book to arrive to help us correct our mistakes and make us more knowledgeable about our new lifestyle.
Some folks think we have lost our senses to consider such a lifestyle, some just stare at us in amazement and don't have any comments, and still others are envious and happy for us. We sure have heard a variety of statements about our choice.
We really enjoyed the newsletter from start to finish and hope we will get to meet you both one of these days. Thank you for your publications.
Dick & Cindi Lanman
Delighted at Ron's PSA report
I enjoy getting your newsletter so much. Was delighted to see Ron's PSA report. I just got the December newsletter and read it twice. I feel like you are a friend.
I have been trying to write every since we got the newsletter telling about Ron's can cer. We were in Denver the 1st-2nd weeks in September. If we had known where you were, we would have visited. My brother is a doctor in Denver. He and his family live in Lakewood, just about 10 miles from Camping World. They have a condo at Dillon too, so we really had a great time.
Just 27 more months till we retire and start living your lifestyle. When we got back from Denver we took our RV into a RV dealer to have a sensor changed on our leveling jacks. We made a big mistake and left it there so it could be worked on. It got broke into while it was there. We had our VCR and TV stolen and about $500 worth of other items. Thank goodness they didn't trash it. Some of the things they took weren't very sensible. They took some blankets and VCR tapes and left a very expensive radio. It really gives you a horrible feeling when that happens. We have gotten everything replaced.
We will be there to help you celebrate your 25th anniversary. In 2009 we will be married 28 years. We are both on our second marriage too.
Our youngest daughter is having a problem that we will be gone for Christmas after we retire. She wants us to fly home every year for a month. Minnesota is too cold in the winter. Maybe after we have been gone awhile we will. Hope you enjoy your Christmas in Michigan. I suppose most of your kids are there...
Anna & Alan Nater
Hope to buy RV soon
It was great to meet you both and we really enjoyed your talk [Earnhardt RV-- Mesa, Arizona]. We're also very happy to hear about Ron's PSA---that was such wonderful news. Let us know if you'll be in our area. Enjoy your vacation (bundle up!) and have a wonderful holiday.
Hope to be in a position to buy our RV soon (as soon as we hear about Barry's pension) and then we'll be able to see you on the road!
Jean & Barry Wilcox
Dreaming about the lifestyle
My wife and I enjoyed reading your book. There are two reasons we enjoyed it so much. The first reason is that just two weeks prior to finding your book we had purchased a 34 foot Bounder. The second reason is that we plan to start full-timing come May 1, 1995. The lifestyle you wrote about in your book is very much like the lifestyle we have been dreaming about. Many of the things my wife and I had questions about were discussed in your book and are no longer questions....Thank you for writing the book...and the newsletter. Maybe someday we will meet you on the road somewhere.
Sig & Ann Sobotta
Before I forget again, I want to mention the extra special permanent that I got in Mesa, Arizona, in November. Vickie at the Mane Corner (next to Basha's at Broadway and Power) gave me the very best perm I've had. In fact when we are back in Arizona for the CCC rally, it will have been four months and I will have her give me my next one.
Hasn't the weather been strange? While in Michigan it was unseasonably warm with no snow and here in southern California it has been cool and rainy. They normally get 5.39 inches of rain here annually. So far this year (one month) they received over 4 inches.
We keep watching the temperatures from southern Texas and almost wish we were there. Except as I write this it is perfect here in the desert---nearly 90 today. If only I could get rid of the cold I've had since December.
It was so good to get back to our home. It will be a long time before we leave it again. When emptying the refrigerator in preparation to put the motorhome in storage, I asked Boni and Lyle Ihns if they could use the opened bottles that I had to get rid of. Instead of just using the items, they stored them for us in an extra refrigerator they had and we picked them up upon our return. That sure saved us a lot of money. We didn't have to buy catsup, relish, mayonnaise, salsa and all that stuff again. Thanks guys!
Have you ever heard of the infamous jumping cholla cacti? We learned about that at the museum in Palm Springs. The fragile stem joints are covered with barbed spines which seem to literally jump out to fasten themselves to one's boots or clothes. It is difficult and painful to remove these spines from flesh because of their barbs. Who said the desert was dead?
I am so excited about discovering consign ment shops. Dena Sweeney, owner of Ritzi Too has a sister and daughter who also own consignment shops. Sister Lani owns The Clothes Hanger in Portland, Oregon and her daughter Laura, owns Ritzi Raggs/Ritzi Babes a consignment shop for the whole family in Salt Lake City, Utah. Obviously the shops in an affluent, resort area like Palm Springs will have different types of clothing than a big city. From now on, when I need clothing, I will search out these kinds of shops.
Oh and I've learned that teenagers love resale (not consignment) shops for the "grundge look." That's a cheap way to outfit a kid.
As always there are many things we didn't get to do here. We are going to The Fabulous Follies in a day or two. I'll try to remember to mention it in the next newsletter. When you come into the area be sure to pick up a copy of the Desert Guide at the tourist information center in any of the valley towns. There's a great map of the area and lots of information about what is going on when and where.
We have not been very successful at getting newspapers here to do a story on us. We thought the Los Angeles times was going to do one. Two editors at high levels were interested but that's as far as it got. Can't win 'em all.
How many of you have been to Death Valley? I've been wanting to go there for years and we are real excited that we will be there in February. I'm sure I'll have lots to write about in the next issue.
After Death Valley we will stop in at Pahrump, Nevada. Might even report on the Chicken Ranch (brothel) there. We understand that they give tours there on Tuesdays because that's the day the girls go to the doctor's office for their checkups. Then it is off to Vegas and Sedona. I am ready to travel and see the sights again.
I am sure that for the next eight months, we will do a newsletter each and every month. When we are moving as we plan to do, there will be lots to share with you. Don't look for the newsletters to always go out on the first though. Sometimes, I play instead.
Ron and I were both impressed with the unusual and beautiful stone altar and lectern at Christ Lutheran Church here in Desert Hot Springs. It is perfect for the desert setting.
We have the dates and times for our seminars at the CCC Rally in Phoenix for any of you who might want an advance notice. The first will be March 15 from 3-4:30 p.m., and the second will be on March 17 from 12:45 to 2:45 p.m. Hope to see you there.
Happy Valentines Day! We love all of you lots and lots and lots!
desert resort community has over ________hotels.
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