And They Are Having A Ball With Old & New Friends
Wayne, Linda, Ron, Barb, Judy and Jim
On the evening of December 7, Barb discovered disturbing news about the Mission campground. That did it! She called Judy in Little Rock, Arkansas, and asked how adventuresome they were; would they be willing to come to Port Isabel instead of Mission? In true full-timer spirit, they agreed that it would be no problem. They wanted to be wherever Ron and Barb were. That settled, the Hofmeisters set about to find a campsite to move to and one for the Richards. Not wanting to go through the office and have to pay the higher rate, they located a couple of owners who had lots for rent. As luck would have it, they were right in back of each other and just two doors from new full-timer friends, Jim and Linda Butner.
Both Ron and Barb were so happy that everything worked out as easily as it did. Even though they might not get their deposit back, they are glad that they didn't have to move.
Barb said, "That's why I hate to make reservations and we shouldn't have ---didn't really need to at that time of the year. It was silly to worry. This time I've learned my lesson. So many times we have changed directions because of people we've met or ideas we've heard about. Having reservations is like being shackled."
When the Richards arrived on Saturday, December 18, it was raining and a little cool. Not at all like the 85 degrees Barb had described over the phone. But while hugging Barb, Judy squealed that it was going to be so good to have a girlfriend for a while. The couples immediately tried to catch up on things. It had been nearly two years since they had been together.
The Hofmeisters taught the Richards how to play euchre so they could join them for euchre night at the clubhouse. Wayne who is not a card player had a rough time but was a good sport about it all. Ron and Barb taught both the Richards and the Butners how to play Mexican train dominoes which immediately became the favored game.
Christmas day the three couples went to the Radisson Hotel for a delicious, plentiful, Christmas buffet. During the Richards visit they attended two dances, played games, walked the beach, shopped and shared experiences; the 10 days slipped away all too soon.
And Ron and Barb signed up for yet another month and promise that come
February 7, they will Move On.
My New Year's resolution is to quit procrastinating. I'm going to start tomorrow.
Where has the winter gone? While off the road for several months, I had good intentions of eliminating items on my "to do" list. Too bad that golf, euchre, bridge, dominos and fishing aren't on the list.
Speaking of winter, can you believe Barb actually misses snow storms? Sometimes I really worry about her.
Remember my column on the LBJ visitor center last year? According to an AP release, that $8.4 million visitor center in Johnson City may not be able to open because park officials say they don't have enough money to operate it. This reporter thinks that they should have thought about that before they built it. Tax dollars at work?
The Miss USA pageant will be held here on South Padre Island next month. The entire ticket package for all events will cost $350. I think I'll pass.
It's hard to believe that I've driven several hundred miles on the beach since we've been here. It's fun, but it's advisable to run the car through a car wash that sprays the underside after each trip. You can accumulate more salt here than a ride on Michigan roads in the winter.
Last month I forgot to report that our total motor home milage for the
first year of operation was 7,600. The little truck that we tow gained
24,000 miles. We don't move much, but sure explore the area once we get
by BarbSeveral months ago when we first read about the new peak season cards that would go into effect starting 1-1-94, I wrote to Roger Ryman, president of Coast to Coast. I had several questions, and he took the time to answer away all my concerns. Since we didn't move this issue (therefore no campgrounds to report on), I thought I would use this space to share some of his answers. I sent him the "membership" chapter from our book and asked if our interpretation was correct and if it was, why they didn't make the campgrounds charge adequate maintenance fees instead of coming after the members.
OK, I'm sold! Thanks! Make sure you have your new purple cards folks and appreciate and enjoy all the wonderful Coast to Coast parks out there.
(Remember that this report was written many years ago and the restaurants may or may not be in business or as they were.)
Gulf Coast Oyster Bar South Padre Island. This very popular restaurant specializes in cajun style cooking and features fresh seafood. We went there before 6:00 p.m. to enjoy the "early bird" prices. They were busy, but the service was great. Our "blackened" entrees were delicious. They also have luncheon specials.
Blackbeards, South Padre Island. Atmosphere, food, portions, service all were excellent. Patti, our server suggested the blackened tuna and it was out of this world. That was lunch and we didn't eat again that day. We brought half of our meal home with us and that portion made another evening meal. The prices are a bit steep, but they have very reasonable specials. Everyone says their chicken fried steak/chicken is the "best in the whole world."
Rovan's Bakery and Restaurant, South Padre Island. Again we went for lunch and couldn't believe the portions. We had a barbeque plate which included potato salad, coleslaw and pinto beans. The BBQ was served in their own 5 inch bun. There was a lot of food there for $4.95. Everything was delicious except for the pinto beans which were barely warm. The atmosphere is a little noisy and two model trains constantly circle the building on a track near the ceiling. It all makes for a fun experience. They advertise that they will pack box lunches for those who want to spend the day at the beach. Nice touch.
Marcello's, Port Isabel. Very good Italian food, but a little
pricy. Check out the specials.
on South Padre Island, Texas
by RonThose of you that have been subscribers for a long time know that we rarely mention fishing and do not include it in our activities. Barb has a serious fear of fish hooks (dating back to a freightening experience long ago) and since I was never that much of a fisherman, we had no trouble keeping occupied with other things.
Fishing is an important part of the Winter Texan lifestyle here on South Padre Island. From day one we noticed hundreds of folks wading out into the surf with what appeared to be very sturdy fishing gear. As we walked and rode the beach, we noticed another thing. They were catching fish---lots of them. Most of the fish caught were whitings---a silvery white fish of about 12 inches or more. They are delicious eating and are a very mild white fish. Sometimes a fisherperson (lots of women out there too) will get into a school of pompano (another good white fish) or a larger fish called reds or red drum. You fisherpeople may be interested to know that they will occasionally catch black drums, sheepshead and trout. Our friends, Jim and Linda, got into a school of pompano one day and caught 19 along with a nice catch of 21 whiting.
by ronOne thing that the traditional retiree and the potential full-timer have in common is fear of their financial future. We have all asked ourselves the same questions. Will our savings, investments, pension, and social security provide for us when we are no longer earning money? Even these resources are not always available. Some rely solely on social security. To many, it's clear that part-time employment is a good option. The traditional retiree may feel more secure looking for such employment in his/her familiar surroundings, but full-timers have found that their mobility is ideal for many types of employment. In our five years on the road we have had the pleasure of meeting many delightful full-timers who are earning and playing as they see this beautiful country. You may have met some of them yourselves and didn't realize it.
The next time that you visit a flea market or craft show look out back and you may discover several RV's, one of which, may belong to a full-timer that just waited on you. If you are in up-state New York this summer, attending an athletic event, auction, fair, festival or other outdoor event, you may be eating some of the delicious barbecue prepared and sold by full-timers Linda and Jim Butner. Their three month circuit adds substantially to their income and allows them to play the rest of the year. They, like many full-timers, actually have fun while they work.
Chances are that you will receive a campground site map with local advertising and campground activities at the next commercial campground you visit. The map was probably prepared and the advertising secured by a full-timer working for one of the several national companies in the business. Perhaps our full-timer friends, Kae and Clarence Elliott did the work. If they did, you can bet it was a good job.
Likewise, if you use a commercial campground directory, the ratings were probably compiled by full-timers employed by Woodals or Trailer Life. It's a natural arrangement.
Norvel said, "We've done well. We've lived and haven't had to depend on welfare or anything." In the short time they have been in business, they have upgraded both their motorhome and sales trailer.
We just received a letter from full-timers Pam & Bob Flint that we'd like to share here: "We received both your book and a subscription to Movin' On as a Christmas gift from my ever so thoughtful mom. Our lifestyles are similar but different. We are also full-timers but not of retirement age. We sold our home in Lake City, Michigan, and set out June 5, 1989. This was one year after the last of our six children left for college. I was a manager of a restaurant and my husband was almost top senority at his maintenance job in a saw mill.
We were determined not to touch the money from the sale of the house or goods, so we would have it if we deided to settle down again. So far we haven't and have been able to put additional money aside for retirement.
We are now in our third motorhome which is a HRC Imperial 34' and we pull a 4 x 4 Bronco II. Started out with an 18' Winnegbago and purchased a 30' Pace Arrow a year later....
There are only a couple of states we haven't been in and we have worked in many of them. We have cleaned fish, sorted beans in Washington, worked in casino's in Nevada, sold Christmas trees in the south and worked as laborers, surveyors, welders, etc. in NY, MI, WI, MS, LA and AZ. Our experiences are too mumerous to begin to tell you....
Space doesn't permit us to go into more detail this month, but the next
issue will explore some of the more unusual full-timer jobs. Would you
believe---a full-timer radio announcer. Stay tuned.
Loves Treacle Pudding
Treacle Pudding I adore it. Just a steamed pudding properly made with everything as it should be plus plenty of golden syrup. (We will bring you some over ---I promise). When the pudding is turned out of the pudding basin, the bottom (now the top) is golden brown with golden syrup. Then you need a saucepan with extra golden syrup plus a little butter heated and used as you want onto your plate. You have obviously eaten it in England though with all humility I doubt whether it comes up to Victoria's variety.
Finally back from our back east marathon trip and still "digesting" all our experiences. You never know who you'll meet or what adventure awaits you when you live this nomadic lifestyle. For instance we met a delightful couple from Utah and were all interviewed by a local television news reporter deep in the bowels of Carlsbad Caverns! Now we're hunkering down in the warm desert southwest for the winter. Will spend mid Feb. thru mid March as volunteers in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge in south western Arizona.
We visited Guadalupe National Park on our way back. What a beautiful and interesting place.. Only had one day so had to settle for shorter hikes but hope to return one of these days and hike up to Guadalupe Peak....
Don't know how you find time to write the newsletter, but keep it coming. We look forward to it!
Bob & Ellie Henderson
Another Adventure Begins
It's been one fast and glorious year for us. Last Christmas Eve we told our boys we were selling the house and going to move into an RV. Anything they wanted---come and get it. Sure, mom & dad!
March 1st they went into shock and stayed there until May 5th. We did sell what they didn't want of family treasures. Friends and strangers were buying left and right. Our home went on the market Jan. 15th. Well I was having a ball and John just kept on working and smiling and anything I asked, he said, "Sure honey, that's just fine." Let me tell you we were getting down to just a few things. I forgot to mention we thought all this would take 1 1/2 years or so. Well our home sold Feb. 28th.... started looking at 5th wheels and such---our heads spinning. Our first issue of Movin' On came. You talked and shared pictures of your new home on wheels.
To cut this soap short, Aug. 5th, we picked up and moved into our '93-34 J Bounder and we just love it. Oh by the way, the boys are doing fine. They came out of shock and saw that mom and dad are still close by and can be gotten in touch with. John will continue to work a few years, but we get out and take short trips (4 days) here and there. What a treat not to have a household of treasures and yard work....
We enjoy each issue of Movin' On and feel like we've known you forever....
Jerre (& John) Rutherford
Received your newsletter yesterday and "devoured" it immediately. We are wondering if the Judy & Stan you met at the Welcome Back Winter Texan Dinner Dance aren't the Crawfords we met in Waterton National Park in Alberta, Canada, the summer of '92. We correspond with them and hope to visit them in Hereford, Arizona one of these years!!...
Max & Idolia Berry
Max & Idolia,
Back to Goofin' Off for a While
...Since last Christmas we have put well over 20,000 miles on the van and have decided that we aren't really suited to RV brochures and the amount of selling it involves, so we resigned from AGS and are now looking for something else to do. Meanwhile we're enjoying catching up on the news, housework and goofin' off....
Clarence and Kae Elliott
Wish we could have seen you, but I believe you are in Brownsville, and after a week at Bandera we are heading for Big Bend and working our way toward Deming, New Mexico. We are going on a 3 week trip to Mexico with Aztec Custom RV Tours---down to the Copper Canyon. We enjoy your letters and will send you our Christmas letter so you'll know where we have been.
Betty and Ted Whippie
Enclosed please find $9 to start my subscription to Movin' On. Just finished your book;I devoured it in a weekend then read it again and took notes. It's wonderful!! Thank you for addressing many of the questions and concerns that people have about "full-timing."
Our daughter is a sophomore in high school so we have two years before we can attempt such a lifestyle;but we're planning ahead....
Looking for a Lindy
Thank you for your October issue of Movin' On. We read through the entire issue and were not even tempted to watch the Thanksgiving Day football game. A first! I followed your travels via our well-used Rand Mc Nally Map Book. More suggestions---large print road maps in loose leaf form instead of alphabetical. In order to find some of your off-the-beaten-path spots, I had to use a pretty powerful magnifying glass and I consider myself as having good eyesight.!
After reading the "letters" we jotted down some information and the day after [Thanksgiving] we phoned about the class C Lindy motorhomes. We received a variety of answers---"The Lindy is no longer manufactured"; "We have no ideas about the Lindy"; "Lindy production has been taken over by another company." We are still pursuing the matter. Looking forward to our next issue.
John & Peggy De Hoog
John & Peggy,
Well our time for full-timing is getting close. Time to change our address etc. We are picking up our 34 J Bounder with transmission cooler installed at Lazy Days RV, Tampa, Florida, about Christmas time....
Your newsletter mentioned that you would like to do a long distance bike trip. My wife and I would also. We had a fully loaded tandem bike ride planned from Seattle, Wash., to New Jersey 4 years ago, but our daughter was seriously hurt in a skiing accident and we had to cancel it. I never heard of a route from Washington to Florida, but Wheel Men of America, Missoula, Montana, has books on different routes across the country....We are looking forward to biking through small towns across the country. I feel you get a different view from a bike.
Don't forget our address change.
Frank (& Dottie) Cavanaugh
Bounder is Home
Thank you for your great newsletters, we look forward to ours each month.
An Alternative Lifestyle
One year ago, Jan 2, we moved out of our house and into our 40' Bounder. We are staying at Stow-A-Way Marina & RV Park on beautiful Lake Conroe. We plan to stay till we retire (2 years & 7 months from Jan 13, 1994) but who's counting... We both still work full time in Conroe, Earl is with Conroe ISD and I manage an independent pathology lab in Conroe. If you ever get by our way...we'd love to visit with you and probably have to sample Vernon's Catfish on Hwy 105... It's the best.
Earl & Dee Ann Johnson
Meeting Wonderful People
Finally sold our house (had to go land contract but 9% interest isn't bad) and headed on the road on November 15. We are wintering in Gulf Shores State Park in Alabama until April then back to the Lansing area for summer. I have to break into this life gradually and we have another grandchild (#4) due in July that I can't miss. The plan is to work part time in Lansing to build up the "play" money then head out to Seattle to visit my sister.
It does seem wonderful to do what-ever you want and never had time for! We are meeting wonderful, intelligent people living this lifestyle and [they are] so helpful to us "new kids"....
Jack & Marsha Stuber
Article was Reassuring
You don't know us, but we feel we know you---at least how you feel about full-timing. Some square dance friends of ours from Michigan sent us a newspaper article telling about you and your on-the-road life style.
Dee and I have been talking about fulltiming for years. We've recently sold our home and are in an apartment waiting for a retirement offer. We aren't without doubts about our plans, but your article was one more reassurance that we're doing the right thing. We've been planning to buy a 34' Bounder (after much research) and the picture of you in your motorhome looks like you made the same choice. We are very interested in buying your book.
Joe & Dee Jones
This 'N That
First things first---I goofed a couple of times in the last issue.
In the paragraph about Carl Sprague I mentioned that he was the "cocksman" on the rowing team. The proper word is Coxswain. Carl took the error in good sportsman-like fashion.
The second mistake was also in a para-graph about Carl. It was not Carl who worked on the Manhattan project. It was his friend Bernie Pohlman. Bernie went to Los Alamos, New Mexico, in June of 1945. He was a general designer of mechanical equipment and did work on the bomb that went to Nagasaki that August. After working on the bomb, his work there was with "the human body counter" which counted the output of Atoms. Sounds important doesn't it?
Were you surprised to find that we hadn't moved? It seems to be a normal thing here. We hear all kinds of reports about folks who come for two weeks and extend for three months and keep coming back. Jim & Linda Butner were going to leave in December, extended a month and were going to leave "for sure" on Jan 16. Just yesterday, they decided to stay until February 1. They won't be able to stay longer than that because their daughter is counting on having "mom" with her in Missouri when her baby is born around the middle of Feb.
We will leave for sure on February 7 because we have things to do in the San Antonio area. More warranty work. We have had a problem with our Dometic refrigerator and are scheduled to have the third one put in. I am also about ready for a permanent again and will treat myself by going to someone I have been to (and trust) twice before.
The big reason for moving north is we are going to the Coast to Coast rally in San Antonio on March 15-17. We will be doing the seminar on full-timing at that rally and will have a booth in the exhibition area. Be sure you stop by and say "hi."
It was really neat to have the Richards here for Christmas. Besides the good times, I'll always remember their visit for the problems it caused my computer. Wayne has the same computer and brought me a "neat program" (Stacker). I eventually had to erase everything on the hard drive and start over.
Judy & Wayne are getting excited about their new motorhome which is supposed to be ready in February. They have a few years to go before retirement, but will enjoy the luxuries of the bigger, more plush motorhome.
Judy had never been able to "go shopping" for bargains the day after Christmas because traditionally they always took off on a trip the morning after Christmas. This year, Judy, Linda and I took off early for Harlingen and spent the day doing just that. It was fun.
We walk most of the park here each morning with the Butners. Right after Christmas, it really filled up. There are license plates here from all over Canada, Mexico and nearly every state in the U.S. including Alaska and Hawaii. Wonder how that motorhome got here from Hawaii?
I wanted to put the tiny Christmas lights all around the inside of the windshield but had the most frustrating time trying to get them to stay put. I tried tape, sticky velcro and Handi Tak and they kept falling down. Jeanne Johnson, came to my rescue and suggested I get tiny suction cups from the craft department at Wal Mart. Fantastic! Once the lights and garland were up, it stayed the whole month.
Good Morning America is still planning to do a "piece" on us. I talked with producer Doug Dundas in December and he said they are excited about doing it, but it might not be until spring. Originally scheduled as just as a financial spot, it will now be bigger and cover more aspects of the lifestyle. We'll let you know when we know, honest.
The new printing of the book is being delivered as I write this. Publication Services got down to less than 20 books before the new ones arrived. That was cutting it a little close wasn't it? For this printing, we corrected all the typos we found but did not change anything else.
Word Perfect is the software I use for all of my word processing and I recently learned that Word Perfect magazine will do a story on me in the September issue. They are impressed that I typeset the whole book (camera ready) here in our motorhome and entirely on Word Perfect software. My head is getting bigger by the minute.
We see the cutest thing here nearly every day. A man and his dog walk to the dumpster. The man holds the leash; the dog carries the carbage proudly in his teeth. Today, the man was riding his bike while holding the leash for the dog. The dog was carrying the garbage. It's adorable!
If any of you are interested in RV solar, may I suggest that you get the Solar Electric Update. Noel and Barbara Kirkby put out a terrific 50 page booklet full of everything you ever wanted to know about RV solar power. You can get one by calling their toll free number1-800-999-8520.
Most of you know that the newsletter is basically my "baby" and I depend on Ron for his columns and editing. This month, I got him to do the two big stories. He did a terrific job, don't you think? Just as I was thinking that I would use him more often, he started talking about raises and benefits and then complained that I didn't give him by-lines (there wasn't enough room). Do I have a prima dona here? Besides, he knows when he does a good job, and he won't let me forget it. Don't know if it is worth it or not to have him write more.
Grandmas are just
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