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volume 7                 February 1996                     number 2
INSIDE
Texas
•  Potpourri 
•  Choosing A Winter Haven
•  Good Places to Eat
•  Coffee Break
•  Letters, Letters, Letter
•  An Alaskan Adventure part 2
•  This' N That
•  Ron's Cabbage Soup Recipe
We are taking a short vacation; there will be NO newsletter in March. When we leave here March 1 we don't even know for sure where we are going so what we report on in April will be a surprise to all of us.

In the heart of Progresso, Mexico
Christmas was just barely over when the traffic in the area got a little heavier. The rest of the snowbirds began gathering. The weather warmed perfectly and was a welcome greeting for all those who had left bad snowstorms and blizzards behind.

We had talked to our old friends from Northport, Michigan, just be fore they left to fly down for a two week visit with us; the snow was several feet thick and the wind chill was well be low zero. When they arrived here on January 6, it was a little cool (to help them with the transition), but after one day warmed up and stayed that way until the day before they had to leave. Again it cooled down to prepare them for the winter weather awaiting them at home. 

We had fun including them in all the activities here. Jim even won money at euchre twice; once he was in the top four or five; the other time he had the lowest booby score ever recorded. Norma loved playing in the ladies golf scramble and enjoyed line dancing. Jim and Ron did some fishing and we all did a lot of eating and card playing.

We made two trips to Mexico with them. There are three border towns along this part of the Rio Grande Valley. The closest is Matamoros, but the people there are not very friendly and the market is dreary. Progresso (south of Weslaco) is just the opposite. It is clean and colorful. The people and merchants love the Winter Texans and it shows; the prices are fair without all the haggling and it is like attending a festival. As soon as we crossed the bridge we were treated to lively music and people were actually dancing up and down the streets. I found myself dancing in the aisles of the stores.


Jim scooping up peppers in Mexico*****Norm with ropes of garlic also in Mexico

One of the highlights of our weeks with the Neves was our last night together. We made reservations at Scampi's for a lovely dinner. After dinner we went to the nearby Coral Reef nightclub. On Friday and Saturday evenings the Big Band plays and it was just starting to fill up with senior citizens when we arrived. Phil Bowers, trombone player, seems to be the leader and announcer. He refers to the band members as teenagers---all were born in the teens. The five piece band which sounds like 16 plays all the good songs from the big band era. Most of the band members played professionally with the big bands and in retirement came down here for a winter. After sitting in with another band, this group evolved. It is great fun to watch the band as well as the audience. They all seem to be young again and so very alive. 

After a couple of sets at the Coral Reef we went to The Third Coast a country western bar/dance hall. Every evening they have a live country band and the dancing is fantastic. The country/western dancers do the fanciest steps and it is a real treat to just sit and watch. Now we want to participate. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings at The Third Coast, at 7 p.m., dance lessons are offered for a two dollar fee. Right after this newsletter gets in the mail and before we leave here, I intend to take in two lessons a week for a few weeks. Ron is so good at the two step that I know he can handle the tougher stuff now and the Third Coast is the place to learn.

The Neves weren't our only visitors. We have been lucky to meet some of our readers who we only knew by name before. It is such fun to now have faces to go with the names. Aaron and Marian Lundborg, full-timers from Louisiana came right after Christmas and we got to meet their son and his family too as they were taking a weeks vacation with the full-timer parents. 

It was good to see Ted & Betty Whippie again. These full-timers from Connecticut made a quick stop on their way to a Mexican caravan.Dean & Marlene Searle from Shelly, Idaho, stopped by with another couple just as we were getting ready to go to Mexico again. They had just arrived in the area the night before and Marlene was anxious to meet us so they just drove out. Dean said, "We drove 2,000 miles to find you." We felt so bad because we didn't know they were coming and had made other plans. 

Our other plans that day were with Ed and Laurie Waples, long time friends from the San Antonio area who had just arrived for a three day visit.  Just the other day, we got to meet Jimmy & Vera Kieborz brand new full-timers from Houston. Vera had just retired and this was the first place they headed to. And Don & Betty Corder, full-timers from Colorado who are wintering in Pharr drove out for an afternoon visit. It was so good to see all who visited us and we look forward to seeing all of you someday.


Shrimp boats in Port Isabel


Potpourri

by Ron
Many of us remember (from our childhood) when one had to roll down the car window and give an arm signal when turning. So now I wonder why so many find it difficult to flip that little turn signal lever. It's really quite easy.

If you have peeked at the back page, you will see that my famous cabbage soup has finally gotten past the editorial review board. I'm glad you were patient. 

In a recent column, Barb complained about four letter words on TV and I agree with her. A four letter word that some retirees dislike is W-O-R-K, but G-O-L-F is okay.

Texas ruby red grapefruit and navel oranges are a real treat.  They are tree ripened, inexpensive and so sweet that I have to ration myself.

The Miss USA pageant is being held here on South Padre Island this weekend. They have been asking for volunteers to help at the civic center. I was all excited until I found out they wanted drivers---not judges.

So much for global warming. The whole nation has been in a deep freeze this winter and it's been cold here at times. Our cold is in the 40s. Would you be more sympathetic if I told you it has curtailed my fishing and golf?

Some of you know that our computer is on the passenger side of the dash. Lately I have been looking at the back of Barb's head for hours as she has been struggling with a new version of Word Perfect (6.1 for DOS). I admire her perseverance.


There are hundreds and hundreds of RV parks scattered throughout the south from Florida to California where snowbirds gather. Some are large and some are small. Some are way out in the country while others are near big cities. Picking one to your liking can seem to be as chancy as winning the lottery. But we are lucky that there is a lot more than just chance involved in picking one that is right for you. 

With the help of ads in the large campground directories one should be able to tell get a feel for the character of the park. After opening up our campground directory and turning to Florida, I immediately noticed a full page ad which boasted "fishing bait & tackle" among their benefits. Those who like fishing will likely find lots available in this park. On the other hand if you are looking for a square dancing park, this one won't fit your bill. Each park has its own personality.

Last winter we were at two wonderful parks; we spent two months at Valle del Oro in Mesa, Arizona, and one month at Desert Sands RV park in Desert Hot Springs, California, and of course we are wintering here this year. Although each of the parks mentioned are large and  friendly with wide spacious lots (a major thing we look for) each was completely different. Here the major activities are fishing and golf, and they have wonderful dances. At Valle del Oro (VDO), the dances were not that great and there was no golf, but their classes were wonderful and covered a wide range of subjects. Both of these parks had many evenings of cards (euchre, bridge) and VDO also had pinochle, chess and many other games. Desert Sands had golf and not much else---even choices of card games were slim. 

One has to consider the activities outside the park also. Here, trips to Mexico are popular. In Mesa drives and hikes into the desert and mountains were common and nearby Phoenix offered big-city activities. In Desert Hot Springs ?the desert, mountains and fashionable Palm Springs were a treat.

If you are looking for a winter haven for next winter, we suggest you begin looking now. Start asking those you meet in your travels where they have wintered and what they liked about the places they have visited. Look at the map and decide on an area you'd like to visit then look in the campground directory to see what is available.  Call the resorts that seem to fit your needs as far as price, size, site width, and amenities etc. Ask them what the most popular activities are, and if your favorite activity is available. You also might want to ask the average age of their winter visitors. If you start now, you will have a good list of possibilities for next winter. Then call and make your reservation early---at least by August. 


A sailboat anchored at one of the lots here at Outdoor Resorts

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.)
Rio Grande Valley, Texas and Mexico
Padre Island Brewing Company, 3400 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island. This rather new micro brewery is a fun place to go for good beer and hamburgs. Split pea was the soup of the day and it was terrific. But another time we went for pizza and were disappointed that the sausage was in fact, polish sausage which was sliced like little slices of hot dogs---not good. Also be prepared for slow service. Drink more beer while waiting for the soup!

Garcia's Restaurant & Bar, Progreso, Mexico. You will find this place close to the bridge on the east side of the street. The upstairs restaurant serves wonderful food in a pleasant atmosphere. Although the names are the same, this Garcia's has nothing to do with the Garcia's in Matamoras, Mexico. As soon as you look at the menu and taste the food you will know that. We had a variety of Mexican entrees and all were excellent.

Blackbeards' Restaurant, Padre Blvd, South Padre Island. This huge restaurant really cranks out the steaks on Monday and the chicken fried steaks on Tuesday. Everything is very good and the prices are moderate. Guaranteed that you won't believe the portions especially when you order a chicken fried steak. It comes with a salad and a huge portion of delicious green beans and mashed potatoes and gravy.

We wrote about Amberjacks last month and really praised them. We choose it as the first place to take our friends who were visiting from Michigan. What a disappointment! The food was cool and didn't warm up even after we sent it back. The waiter didn't seem to care either. The host asked how everything was as we were leaving and I told him. He only asked us to try again but I just didn't feel that it mattered.


Take a break. Get a cup of coffee and let's chat.
Ron opened a new subject when he complained about black streaks on RVs. First we heard from Simon (& Barbara) DeBeer, full-timers from California. "I have developed a do-it-yourself RV gutter system and once in place it will prevent all the black streaks coming down the side of RVs."

Barb comments: Since we don't take any advertising and we haven't seen Simon's invention, we are not giving out his address. If we promote individual items for one, we have to do it for all. But I will gladly forward any of your inquiries to Simon. He has printed information on this invention.

Don (& Kay) Nation, full-timers from New Mexico, have another idea. "There is a product named 303 which does the job. I have applied it to my entire fiver and my truck, Never have to take my truck to the washer. Never have to wax either of them. never spend agonizing ...hours on black streaks. I can rub them off with my fingers but usually use a rag. [I] Put 303 on...in mid-May. Didn't wash it until mid-July and we had traveled to Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. All I did was hose it down with COLD water and wiped it off with two cloth towels..."

Don has another concern: He thinks that the Trailer Life RV Guide is too big, heavy and awkward and hopes that if you feel the same way, you would help him let TL Enterprises know. "How about two volumes...it would make for a smaller, more easily used [guide].... "

Barb jumps in. Woodalls does just that, Don. And believe it or not both Woodalls and TL are owned by the same guy. 

Here's a new subject from Dick & Susan Vogt of Hopkinton, New Hampshire. They will be traveling full-time soon and plan to buy a 26' Class C motorhome (Born Free).    "I vacillate concerning taking a tow vehicle or not. My wife, Susan, thinks we will be all right without a tow vehicle. I'm not sure. Our first trip will be to Western Canada and Alaska for eight months. Eventually, we will tow, but what are the pros and cons of traveling through B.C., Yukon, and Alaska without a tow vehicle? With some anticipation in planning (i.e. shopping, etc.) you could reduce the necessity to pickup/disconnect in a campground and go forth. If a real temptation arose (spur of the moment idea) we could take the bikes. Is that being totally naive and unrealistic? Please help me understand." 

Ron & Barb both respond. We felt the same way when we first started thinking about full-timing. But when we saw a motorhome towing on all four wheels (no dolly) and realized how simple it was to hook and unhook, we decided to try that and have never been sorry. In fact, right away we saw how convenient it was and it never takes more than five minutes to get hitched or unhitched.  Also we can go places in our little car that the motorhome (even our 24 foot one) could not go. Our towed car uses less gas too. "Take the car," is our advice. Readers: What do you think?

Cheryl (& Larry) Frair, of Anchorage, Alaska, will be going full-time this summer in a 31' class C motorhome. Since she has asthma she is looking for a "decent air filtration system to take along" that isn't too large. Larry is looking for a power source protector that covers brownout conditions.

"Has anyone used the Surge Guard Auto/Power RV 30 shown in Camping World? We're amazed at the price for such a unit and are unsure about need and quality as one part of the ad references UL approved components, but doesn't say if the other is UL approved. Having seen some bad fires started in homes and trailers up here by non UL approved products, we are concerned anything we use be UL approved."


Since we are not traveling right now, we thought this was a good time to present this great two-part travel report about Alaska. Bette Salter does a wonderful job of allowing us to experience their adventure and we really appreciate the fact that she took the time to write for us. Part one covered their trip by ferry on the inside passage.

September 10
It's hard to believe that nearly three months have elapsed since we began our land journey of Alaska, but sometimes it seems like a year because we have seen and done so much. I'm going to try to stick to generalities as much as possible because the Alaska experience is a very personal one, and what works for one may not work for someone else. We have talked to people who consider this the trip of a lifetime and others who would never do this again. We fit somewhere in between.

Many of the roads are terrible, and regardless of how many warnings one receives, it must be experienced to be believed. We got a chip in our windshield the size of a golf ball and ruined a front tire within the first few hours of our trip while we driving over 100 miles of construction between Haines Junction and Tok, Alaska. I was ready to turn around and go home. Fortunately, we've had no bad experiences since then even though we have traveled many gravel and dirt roads, and roads under construction. However we have added four more chips to the same windshield. Also, for Clyde, Alaska was not the fishing paradise he had always dreamed about. However, he did not go on any charter fishing trips, and that may have been a mistake. Also, it's important to learn the approximate dates of the salmon runs as we always seemed to be a little too late or much too early for the next one. One couple waited five weeks in Soldotna for the red salmon run to begin. Another problem we encountered was the wettest July on record in Alaska. We weren't bothered so much by rain, but clear days with unobstructed views of the mountains were almost nonexistent. However, we did enjoy a clear view of Mt. McKinley in a beautiful blue sky about 7:30 one morning as we drove the Parks Highway between Anchorage and Denali National Park. We were told that the best time to see the mountain was between 2-6 a.m., and this was good advice.

I know this all sounds negative, but actually we had a wonderful trip. While we had our grandson with us we did an overnight flight to Nome and Kotzebue on Alaska Airlines that was great. The tour included native culture, a walk on the tundra, a dog sled demonstration with a real musher, and gold panning. It was almost the entire Alaska experience wrapped up into a 30 hour trip, and Jimmy absorbed it like a sponge. We also took the eight hour Kenai Fjords tour out of Seward that included a "calving" glacier, and provided opportunities to watch whales feeding, as well as puffins, sea lions, and all manner of wildlife. Our grandson took home pictures and memories that will last a lifetime. 


Clyde, grandson Jimmy and Bette standing on the tundra at Katzebue

But each person must really pick and choose how to spend his money because this is a very expensive trip and there are so many tours, shows, and other attractions vying for those hard-earned dollars. Food is more expensive here. Groceries are readily available, but, choices are quite limited in the small towns. We eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables so we often paid premium prices for mediocre quality. We brought along a case of powdered milk, and are glad we did. However, water quality was excellent, and we didn't need our water distiller until we got back into southern Canada. Sometimes I wish I had a bread machine, but the local bakeries have wonderful fresh baked bread so we've had fun seeking them out in each town. Don't miss the Sweet Things Bakery in Glenallen. Gasoline is another major expense, It costs as little as $1.17 a gallon in Anchorage to an average of $2 per gallon in the Yukon. The most expensive Alaskan gasoline was in Glenallen at $1.55 per gallon. Don't stop there for food or gas as its much cheaper everywhere else.

Many RVers have found an excellent way to cut costs by boondocking in the pull-outs along the highway, in the grocery store or Wal Mart parking lots, and by using the Alaska State Park Pass. Our pass turned out to be worth almost twice the $100 we paid for it. In the past, we have always stayed in serviced campgrounds; but, this summer we became successful boondockers and only used hook-ups about half the  time. The campgrounds in Anchorage range from $20-$25 per night for partial and full hook-ups in minimal space, so the business parking lots look like RV parks. The best full-service RV park we stayed in on the whole trip was Riverview RV park in Fairbanks. It cost $22 per night, but included full hook-ups, cable TV, reliable electricity, free car wash, large treed spaces, and a quiet location near North Pole. We had worried about our 34' motorhome being too large for this trip, but this was not the case. Admittedly, most RVers are in Class Cs and pick-up campers, but the large Class As and fifth wheels are found in abundance. I would bet there are more RVs per capita in Alaska in the summertime than in any other state; and a large percentage of these have Alaska plates, so everyone's in on the fun. 

We visited just about all of Alaska, including Fairbanks, Valdez, the Kenai  Peninsula, and Denali National Park. We also took lots of side trips through beautiful country to Hatcher Pass north of Palmer, Circle Hot Springs north of Fairbanks, and to McCarthy east of the Richardson Hwy to Valdez. The McCarthy trip was unique in that, after driving 60 miles of dirt and gravel from Chitna, the road ends, and people must  cross the Kennicott River in a hand-pulled tram to reach McCarthy. People take turns helping others to cross, and it was a fun experience. On the other side, a shuttle bus takes passengers to the abandoned Kennicott Copper Mine about three miles away where the views are stunning. The day we were there was exceptionally beautiful, so we took a one-hour flightseeing trip over one of the most glaciated areas of North America, the Wrangal-St. Elian National Park. The views were spectacular, and the entire trip was a memorable experience. 

All were wonderful trips, but perhaps the most interesting one was after we left Alaska. We were traveling to Dawson City over the Top of the World Highway where at Chicken, we met Sally and David Davis, of North Carolina, who were also in a 34' Bounder. We were all intrigued by the idea of driving the Dempster Highway to Inuvik so we decided to leave our tow vehicles at Guggievielle RV Park in Dawson City and strike out over 460 miles of gravel and dirt road to the Arctic Circle and beyond.  It took us three days of driving each way at an average speed of 30 mph to reach the end of the road in the Northwest Territories. We drove through magnificent mountain and tundra scenery, and ferried across two major rivers. From Inuvik we took a flight to Tuktoyaktuk, an Eskimo village on the Arctic Ocean. While there, we dipped our toes in the ocean, descended a ladder 30' down into the permafrost to visit the community freezer (which has a spoke configuration of four tunnels with many small rooms) where the villagers store their game. We also had lunch in the home of our native guide whose wife served caribou stew, and gave us an informal style show of their winter garments. It was a wonderful experience, but I don't know if we'll ever get 920 miles of dirt out of our motorhome.

Upon our return from Inuvik we spent several days in Dawson City. The gold rush trail began in Skagway and ended here on the Klondike river. The two towns are very similar. We toured the largest gold dredge in North America, visited the Robert Sevice and Jack London cabins, and took several other historical tours related to the gold rush days. Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall and the Gaslight Follies offer turn-of-the-century entertainment that is a lot of fun. We really enjoyed this town.
 

When we visited Denali National Park we were told they enjoy four seasons, but three are very short. Spring comes in June, July is summer, fall appears in August, and then winter takes over again. That description is not limited to Denali. The tundra began turning to shades of yellow, orange and rust during the week in mid-August while we were driving the Dempster. One week later, as we continued our trip south to Whitehorse and beyond, the trees and shrubs became increasingly more beautiful in their cloaks of fall colors. The weather has been cool all summer, ranging from the upper 40's to the upper 60's; but, it is a different kind of cool now, with the feel of winter not far away. Our days are becoming shorter with darkness setting in by 8:30 each night. Any day now we expect to see the birds beginning to follow us on our southern migration. 

As we were driving the Alaska Highway to its end at Dawson Creek, and continuing to enjoy the parade of fall colors, we made a Labor Day weekend stop at Laird Hot Springs. It is a beautiful clear pool of very hot water that runs through a natural creek with a rocky bottom about 3 feet deep. Truly, it is an experience not to be missed. There is no charge, and it is a popular attraction year round. Park personnel keep the snow shoveled off the boardwalk all winter. 

Clyde's reflections: How can one ever forget the hundreds of eagles along the inside passage, seeing Mt. McKinley on a clear morning, watching three grizzly cubs running and playing while their mother ate close by in Denali National Park, flying over glaciers near Mc.Carthey, wading in the Arctic Ocean, watching whales feed and glaciers “calving” near Seward. These are the memories that will stay with us and make the trip worthwhile long after the bad roads, the endless hours of driving, and the uncooperative weather are forgotten. 

When we finally left the Alaska Highway at Dawson Creek we felt our Alaska experience was over. We are still hoping to see the Aurora Borealis before we are through, as we were told September and March are excellent times for viewing. It was a wonderful trip, but we are beginning to look forward to seeing family and friends again in Texas and spending the winter in the Rio Grande Valley. 

Costs for the trips mentioned 
(All are per person in U.S. Dollars)

Glacier Bay. . .. . . . . . . .  $311
One day flight and cruise out of Juneau. 
Includes lunch and extensive viewing of 
glaciers, puffins and sea life.

Kotzebue-Nome..  . . . . . . . . . $475
Overnight incuding flight, hotel,
and tours out of Anchorage. 
Contact Alaska Airlines.

Kenai-Fjords Ntl Pk Tour. . . . . $85
Eight hour cruise out of Seward on
Kenai Peninsula. Extensive viewing
of glaciers calving, whales and
other sealife. Includes box lunch.

Flight-seeing from McCarthy*. . $75
One hour flight over the 
Wrangal-St. Elias National Park.
(*between Valdez & Glenallen.)

Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk.. . . . . . . .$75
Day tour. Short flight to Ekimo
village in Northwest Territories.

Fishing trip out of Sitka. . . . .$80
 Half day.





 


LETTERS * LETTERS * LETTERS

Loved the "fat" issue

Thank you for the great Christmas present, a nice fat Movin' On. We enjoyed it so much! Loved the idea...from Pamela & Fred Handy...about having a Movin' On decal for our motorhomes. What a great ice breaker. We'd gladly buy some. 

Retirement date is Jan 31, 1997, This year will be filled with preparation. We're having a giant garage sale this spring. Oh my! What a job! But fun too! You don't realize how much stuff you can collect in 31 ½ years until you start dragging it all out....

Bud & Libby Frank
Littleton, Colorado

Can Always Dream 

Sounds like life is good where you are. When my folks were in Brownsville and I flew down because my dad was in the hospital, we didn't get a chance to do much sight-seeing, but we did manage to squeeze in a trip to So. Padre Island, so I can visualize the area where you are. We only spent a few hours there, but I noted it as some place I'd like to return to some day. Having traveled his whole working career, I can't interest Lee in doing that yet in retirement. He's asked for a year---and then, maybe he'll be ready to do some traveling. I'm trying to be patient, though I know we'll never be full-timers! But I can always dream and your newsletter helps.

Brenda Thompson
Ortonville, Michigan

Wintering at the Voyager

Please renew our subscription... We have been on the road f/t since June and are wintering at Voyager/Tucson---so far having a great time! We play tennis and country western dance. Also like golf, hiking, biking etc. I am 52 & Ron is 63.... We may try Texas next year as we are looking for a lot more two-stepping (& other partner western dances vs all line dancing)---we used to dance in two clubs in Columbus, Ohio, and definitely miss it a lot. Hope to run into you someplace. You two are an inspiration.

Anne & Ron Favor
Full-timers from Columbus, Ohio

Newsletter is GREAT

Not only is your book...wonderful, but your newsletter is GREAT! I just subscribed for 20 issues.... Now after having read my first issue, I would like to order some of the back issues.... Additionally I am enclosing a check...for the latest ten back issues.... Then, when I receive your list, I shall order the rest of them. This will allow me to get some of the back issues sooner so I can begin reading them!... My wife and I hope to retire early (in about 5 years) and full-time in our RV....

John Christner
Houston, Texas

An old friend questions Ron

...Ron, when could you ever use just three clubs even on a Par 3? See ya down the road!

Ted Miller
East Lansing, Michigan

Haven't given up anything

We really enjoy Movin' On, it gives us the support we need to further our confidence in our new lifestyle. In January 1995, we decided to look into full-timing. Our business was changing and we weren't getting any younger. We bought your book, subscribed to Movin'  On, Workamper News, and Trailer Life.  We left CT on September 18, 1995 in our 8 year old Wilderness travel trailer and brand-new diesel, crew-cab pickup. Oh yes and our 3-legged dog. You know how once in a while you know you've made the right decision? Well this was the right one for us. We lived in our trailer beside our house for four months, probably the craziest time in my life, then traveled around the Northeast for six weeks landing in the kids driveway in Virginia for the holidays, after which we will head south. This gave us the opportunity to see what we really needed to take with us. We have an agreement with our son to store some of our stuff in his gigantic attic for a year. (We sold almost everything at yard sales). Then we will further lighten our load. I don't feel like I've really given anything up, quite the opposite, we have already gained so much from our travels, particularly personally. We are getting acquainted all over again; our business ran our lives for the last 15 years... We already have part-time work lined up for summer '96 at a campground in PA as a result of Workamper News. We are still tying up loose ends but we feel very fortunate, at this stage of our lives-in our 50's-to be able to look forward to such an exciting lifestyle. The much heard 90's advice, JUST DO IT, certainly has some merit. See you on the road.

Alma & Fred Heckel
Full-timers from Connecticut

Having a great time

...I'm very happy that I decided to make this trip [3 month caravan trip to Mexico]. I get up everyday and go outside and think about how glad I am that I'm here. The people I've met are great, the weather is perfect and I'm relaxed and enjoying everything I do. What more could I want, except for Joe being here with me...? 

When I purchased my satellite dish at the Escapade in September I was assured that I would get reception as far south as Mazatlan. But nothing has come in since we crossed the border....

Another problem that follows me wherever I go is that there's too much to do and not enough time to do it. But I've concluded that it will always be that way. There are so many new places to go and things to see. As I meet more and more people I continually discover some gem they just love and add it to my list. What a life!....

Karen Fleckenstein
Full-timer from Avon, Connecticut

Not for everyone

...We started full-timing Xmas eve of 1993.... Like the typical new full-timer we moved far two fast. We are spending  the winter in Surprise, Arizona---Happy Trails RV Park---real luxury!

While I agree with you that this lifestyle is great, my wife does not. It was,  "It's too hot-too cold, wet, buggy" from the start. [She] missed her children (30's & 40's), telephone, washing machine and friends. To make a long story short, the lifestyle does not fit everyone. We are separating 1-16-96. She is going back with her children. (It's a second marriage)...

Frank Cavanaugh
Full-timer from New Jersey

Lots of valuable information

Thank you for continuing to keep us at headquarters on your mailing list for Movin' On. We pass each issue around among Joe and Kay, Bud and myself, and we all admire your use of photos and graphics. The article by Bette Salter, An Alaskan Adventure, brought back happy memories of our trip there last summer.

Your newsletter conveys a lot of valuable information in the reports and columns. Clearly you spend many hours putting it together. We know this is a labor of love, and I'm sure your subscribers appreciate you very much.

I hope we'll see you at Escapade in El Centro, and if not then, how about Goshen in September? Be sure to stop in to say hello when you are at Rainbow's End!

Cathie Carr, Administrator
Escapees, Inc.— Livingston, TX
 

Hoping husband will get interested

I requested your book...from my library.... I am enjoying reading about how you got started and your adventures. Unfortunately, my husband is not interested in RVing but I am enjoying reading about it. I am leaving the book on the table etc., so perhaps he will look at it and get interested. Also, I am going to subscribe to Movin' On so that will keep me posted on how you are doing....

June Reutlinger
West Islip, New York

How much milk in recipe?

Thank you for the bountiful January issue. I loved the 1st part of the Alaska article and am looking forward to the rest of the story. Alaska is one place we really want to explore when we retire, along with the rest of the lower 48. 

Hope you will print a small extra correction for the Carrots Au Gratin. You didn't say how much milk....

Peg & David White
Weymouth, Massachusetts

Dear Peg,
So sorry we omitted that very important ingredient. The recipe calls for 1½ cups low fat milk. Barb

Not a typical textbook

My husband and I just finished reading An Alternative Lifestyle...and wanted to let you know how thoroughly we enjoyed it. We appreciate the fact that you did not write a typical "textbook" of information, but allowed us to share many of your adventures and experiences also. After reading your book, we feel more confident about our choice to try the full-timing lifestyle. Our new life will begin May 1, 1996, and on this snowy day in January wonder if May will ever arrive!...

Larry & Debbie Conner
Lexington, Kentucky

Wasted no time

We enjoyed reading Movin' On and your book so much that in Oct. we sold the homestead, bought a 33' motorhome, loaded up the dog and hit the road. Since then we have traveled down the west coast on the quest for sun and fun. We are currently holed up at the Kofa Ko-Op Escapee park in Yuma, AZ. The information gleaned from your publications has been a tremendous help. As you can tell from the address change we have even moved next door [SKP MMS]. The banner above is going on the newsletter to our family but don't worry we have neither the time nor the inclination to compete with your wonderful newsletter. Which brings us to the purpose for this note. Please renew our subscription for another
12 issues and change our address.

Roger & Brenda Smith
Full-timers from Marysville, Washington

Another fast mover

We saw your article in USA Today last spring. Bought your book, put our house up for sale in October (sold in 2 days). Jane quit her job (I have been retired). Bought a used 87 Winnebago in great shape and we are on the road seeing family in California then we will really hit the hi-ways and bi-ways. Thanks for the info.

Gene & Jane Hults
Full-timers from Brookings, Oregon

Having fun In Yuma

...We brought the New year in with a couple from Scotland at a party here at Rogers RV. We're still really enjoying Yuma and likely will return next year. Began round dance lessons this past week---so far so good...! 

Jerry & Frances Cunnington
Full-timers from Idaho

Liked the January issue

...I like the bigger January issue! And Bette Salter's article An Alaskan Adventure was great for us. We would rather read from someone who has "been  there, done that" than a how-to book on the subject. 

Dick & Susan Vogt
Hopkinton, New Hampshire



This 'N That
by Barb

Wow! We had another great month full of wonderful letters. Thanks to all of you who take the time to write. It gets harder and harder to choose which parts of which letters I can include. Please don't stop writing. Even if I can't include them all we love getting them. After last month's newsletter with 14 pages, I got spoiled. Perhaps I can find some lighter paper so that we can print more pages and still mail for only 32 cents. 

I can't believe the response we have gotten to the Movin' On decal idea. The Moores of Kalama, Washington, even sent a nice piece of computer art work and hints on how to make camera ready copy or disk copy. Two other couples suggested that perhaps we should have a design contest. I promise I will look into this. First I have to see what kind of cost is involved in getting something like this printed. If any of you have had experience and know anything about it I would appreciate hearing from you.

Several of you have given us two addresses and asked that we send to one until such and such a date then change to the other. I thought I could do this and put a comment in my labels document, but it disappeared and I can't remember who you were. I can't trust paper notes to keep track of such things and heaven knows my mind can't do it, so would you please send me another change of address just before you actually change again. Thanks. 

Our friends, Jim & Norma, who just visited us from their home in Northport stayed at a nice time-share over on the island. This makes the third time that they have found time-shares in an area we are visiting and used that opportunity to come and visit us. But watching them buy all the things they need to have to stock their time-share reminds me of how lucky we are when we take our house with us. When they left, I reaped the rewards though. I got laundry detergent, dish soap, bar soap, paper napkins, crackers, butter and so on. 

We have hooked another couple into Mexican train dominoes. Jim and Norma bought three sets of double 12 dominoes at the DonWest flea market. Norma also bought three little toy trains at the RR museum in Brownsville and picked up some little bunnies and bears to use as markers. See how we helped the economy here?

Speaking of games, readers Sally and Gail Mizer of Bourbonnais, Illinois, sent instructions for DOUBLE euchre or Hassie, as they call it. Sounds great. They, like so many of our readers, invited us to stop in to see them. We might just do that on our way to Michigan so we can get expert help on what sounds line an interesting game.

We know that many of you still live in the north and have been pelted with horrible storms this winter. Grant & Nancy Joy returned to their home in Marshall, Minnesota, after a business trip to San Diego. While in San Diego, they saw the news of a blizzard in their area, but upon landing at the airport, Grant was disappointed because it didn't look too bad. He likes blizzards. Well, he got one; their town was hit. Snow was up at least one foot on each of their first floor windows. He was happy. 

I used to like blizzards too. Know why? The neighbors had time to be friendly and everyone got together for games and conversation. We made bread and soup, and did without TV; it was wonderful. And that is why I enjoy full-timing. People we meet in campgrounds (especially other full-timers) are much like the neighbors that come together in snow storms and natural disasters. When Grant retires the end of this year and he and Nancy hit the highways, he will probably adjust well to the lifestyle.

We have gotten a great response on our Coffee Break Collection. When I have nothing else to do, I may put all of the recipes that we have printed so far into a recipe collection. There are some terrific recipes which we have printed over the seven years we have been doing Movin' On. It wouldn't be a huge volume but... When I have some free time....

Your letters indicate that you really liked Bette Salter's Alaska Adventure story. We think that she did a terrific job and can't thank her enough for taking the time to write for us. How would you like a Mexican Caravan story? 

It will be strange to hitch up our wagon and head out, and that is exactly what we will be doing in just a few short weeks. I will miss having a phone in the motorhome. But right now I miss moving and seeing new things. Someone asked if we had  "hitch itch." That's a cute name for the desire to get moving again. 

We really don't know for sure where we are going just the general direction. We do plan to be in Michigan by sometime in June. And will visit three of our boys and their families on the way. Ron's son Karl lives in Independence, Kansas, (southeast corner) my son Jim lives in Warrensburg, Missouri, (east of Kansas City) and David (Ron's son) lives in Bloomington, Illinois. Watch for us and wave!


Ron's Cabbage Soup 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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