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volume 8                                                     January 1997                                       number 1
Florida---West Palm Beach & Tampa
�  Potpourri 
�  Fun Things to do in West Palm Beach & Tampa
�  Good Places to Eat
�  Coffee Break
�  The Lazy Days Story
�  Letters, Letters, Letters
�  This' N That
�  Signs & Things
�  Gary's Granola Recipe
We are not planning to do a newsletter until mid March. We have no idea where we are going in February. Maybe we will go into southern Georgia and S. Carolina or we might just head west. Let us surprise you.
In the last newsletter I mentioned that we didn't find another motorhome we liked any better than our Bounder. We looked at the American Dreams on the lot and found one which was made for us. The color and the options were perfect. It was beautiful, but I wasn't sure it would work as well as the Bounder. But it was so lovely that I wanted it to work. The real problem was that for the week we were in Tampa, I looked at that Dream everyday. We were too close to it so we left Tampa (knowing we would be back in one month). We thought that if we still wanted the Dream while we were away from it and if it was still there when we came back in December, we would buy it. For a week we didn't even think about it and were totally satisfied with our wonderful Bounder.

When I called Lazy Days to talk about the December seminar I just happened to ask if "our" Dream was still on the lot. It was. We decided then and there to go for it and had them get it ready so we could move in when we were back in Tampa.

Exactly four years ago we moved into the Bounder at LazyDays. At ten feet longer than our Mallard Sprinter (the cocoon we started out with) it was like heaven and we called it a mansion. It has been a terrific coach and was almost as good as new. In fact it only had 28,000 miles on it and everything inside was working perfectly. Because of these things we didn't have to move. We weren't even sure we wanted to move. A replacement had to be perfect.

The American Dream is just that. Our castle is beautiful, luxurious and exciting. Besides that it has a diesel engine which Ron wanted. Donut all men want a big diesel?

Another thing swaying us to make a decision now was that we were in Florida. We have been at enough RV dealers across the country to know that no other has the customer service like Lazydays here in Tampa. No one else has the inventory to choose from especially now that they have expanded so much. Their sales force (over 50) is friendly, helpful, and never uses pressure. This place is so large that each salesperson has their own golf cart. There are over 120 service bays including special carpentry bays, paint booths, and everything one could want. We knew wed want a new motorhome by next year at this time. Although many travel across country just to come to LazyDays we didn't want to come back to Florida from way out west and that is where we plan to be next winter.  So can I give you a little tour of our new house? It is 39.2 feet long and 102" wide. Gosh that is big, isn't it? Some will want to know that it is built on a Spartan Chassis and has a Cummins C 8.3 liter, 300 HP diesel engine. It also has an Allison 6 speed transmission and PAC brake. Ron likes the air horn. I like the 6 way power driver seat and the leather upholstery. It is so comfortable. Yes, I can drive it. I thought I would be intimidated by its size and power, but it is not much different than the Bounder. I liked driving it even though part of my test drive was through a tight construction area.

Our Dream is full of glass, and leather. The carpeting in the living room and bedroom is thick. The floor in the kitchen and bathroom is real ceramic tile. Oh and the bathroom is spacious. If you look at the floor plan you will see that it is a center aisle and that was one of the things I didn't think I would want after having the 34 J Bounder and loving the side aisle. But I like the stall shower and a larger closet (cedar lined). Remember Rondos favorite word---tradeoffs?

The counter top in the kitchen is Corian, the toilet and bathroom sink are china and I have a real oven as well as a micro/convection oven. So many manufactures take out the gas oven when putting in the convection. Now I can wean myself into convection cooking.

The coach is white with red/burgundy trim. The wood inside is walnut. I love the free standing table and chairs and the pattern is soft, classy and pretty. The couch and other chairs (driver, passenger and recliner) are burgundy leather.

One of my biggest concerns was the computer station. I rather liked having my office up front in the Bounder. When we had company and I turned the passenger chair around the computer was partially hidden. In the Dream the monitor would have to set out all the time in the living room area. I didn't know if I would like that. Our Dream came with a nice computer desk but when I sat at it, I realized that the keyboard tray was way too high and I didn't know where I would put the printer. It did have a nice space to put the tower (on the floor under the table). And the electrical outlet and phone jack were right there too. The desk needed to be redesigned and Russ Pageler, our salesman, assured us that that would not be a problem.

When we got back to Tampa and were ready to move in we took all the computer stuff over to the Dream which was parked in front of the cabinet shop. We met with Elder DeSousa, who would be rebuilding the desk. He was very helpful. I had already worked out the basic idea of removing the top two drawers under the desk and adding a shelf for the printer. That way I could keep it there always and it would not be in the way. I would still have a drawer under that and the keyboard tray needed to be lowered; I wanted to be able to leave the keyboard on the tray all the time, but be able to slide it under the table and out of the way. Instead of having all of my stuff out in full view, I figured that except for the monitor all could be put away or at least hidden.

Elder did a wonderful job. He is truly a master craftsman. He also built three large, deep drawers for me in place of the washer/dryer. American Dreams and Eagles come with a built in washer/dryer combination. I wanted the storage instead so had them take it out. Elder also added two towel bars and built a shelf under the kitchen sink. They can do anything you want them to do here.

I wanted to keep my wonderful, custom mattress from the Bounder but it was smaller than the mattress in the Dream by six inches. No problem. They made a section of mattress out of the same material as ours (extra firm foam) to make up for the difference. I have that at the top of the bed and once covered with the sheet is not even noticeable.

Moving in took two and one half days and was exhausting. We discovered quickly that although the Dream is longer and wider, we did not gain in storage. In fact with the loss of the storage space under the bed (it now houses that big diesel engine) and those large areas under the dinette, we lost a lot. Also the cupboards are a little smaller. We did gain outside storage, but because the compartments are so large it is hard to store things where they can be gotten to easily. Some things may remain buried forever. It will probably take us some time to perfect the organization of it all.

On the plus side, there are many features we love. I no longer have to pack up my computer equipment for travel. We have lots of room to move around. My kitchen is huge and the counter space is heavenly. Our new house feels like luxury and home at the same time.

We hope that you will look for our new house now. There aren't as many Dreams on the road so we will be easier to spot. Our Movin� On decal is on the back and we are pulling our little white Toyota pickup. Maybe since both the motorhome and pickup are white we should put the Dream striping on the pickup so they match. Oh wouldn't that be fun?

Hints for Moving

Buying an RV is a lot different than buying a car or truck. We suggest that you allow yourself at least one week to complete your move. After the move it is a good idea to hang around the area where your dealer is. If things need adjusting it is easier to be in familiar territory.

When moving, try to put everything away as you go instead of piling things in and trying to arrange later. We like to make the bed first, then follow with whatever is next in importance (kitchen, bathroom, clothing, or whatever). Take a couple of days to move and go out to eat during this time.

I donut mind contributing to the Florida economy, but this old accountant balks at paying $2.03 a gallon for propane (recent price at Lake Worth). Previous high in 8 years of full-timing had been $1.65 in New York. 

Our driveway parking days are probably limited. Size, weight, and 50 amp service will restrict us. Its time to turn another page in our full-timing lifestyle.

Faithful reader and new friend, Gary Putnam, dropped off a present (channel lock pliers) for me while we were at Lazydays. He says its a family tradition to give a tool and added that he knows from newsletter stories that I am not handy. I agreed and suggested that it might be great for cracking nuts.

Did I feel big wheeling that 40 foot diesel monster down the highway? Heck no---I was (and still am) scared stiff. But I cant wait to try that air horn on the next little car that cuts me off.

Thanks for all your notes and concern about my vision problems. Its getting better, but on occasion I have some double vision. It will be interesting playing golf; now I will have an excuse.

Since we have been full-timing, Barb and I have not exchanged Christmas presents. Instead we have enjoyed each others company along with the peace and joy of meaningful church services.

As I write this we are celebrating 12 wonderful years of marriage. We are still planning to spend our 25th (December 22, 2009) with all of you on South Padre Island, Texas. I'm serious.

Since we spent the month camping in either Glenda's driveway or LazyDays, we do not have a campground report. Everyone knows the major things to do anywhere in Florida. We thought you might be interested in some not so well known things.

Visit the Lake Worth Beach just south of West Palm Beach. It is very nice and not crowded.

Go to Palm Beach and explore all of the shops on Worth Avenue. There are art galleries and many exclusive shops. It is fun to browse.

While there eat lunch at Gracie's Garden in the courtyard behind Gucci's. Enjoy delicious sandwiches, soups, desserts, coffee and ice cream on the patio.

Still in Palm Beach shop all of the re-sale shops which are all together on Sunset Street. Its like looking in someone's closet. The prices are a bit high but.... De Ja Vue is the best.

Visit downtown West Palm Beach on any Thursday evening. There's good live music, food and drinks are available and you can browse the vendor carts for hand created and specialty items.

Take a drive on Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach. There are lots of big beautiful homes right on the ocean. Better yet, do it on a bicycle.

Go to Singer Island (north of Palm Beach). It is another great beach.

Visit downtown Boca Raton on a Saturday night. The art galleries are open and there are lots of festivities.

Back up in Tampa

Take a drive out to Johns Pass near Treasure Island. Fun shopping right on the intercostal.

Drive to Tarpon Springs. This Greek town is famous for their sponge divers and of course good Greek food. You can even take a little boat tour to learn all about sponge gathering. The little shops have a wide variety of sponges to select from and other goodies too.

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

West Palm Beach & Tarpon Springs

Zucharelli's is located in the Pine Trail Center near Military and Okeechobe at West Palm Beach. Great Italian food! This is one of my favorite restaurants and we go whenever we are in the area. The portions are huge and delicious and the service is super. Try the antipasto (a sort of salad appetizer). It is the best in the whole world. They are in a big shopping area and might be hard to find. Look for them in one of the corners.

391st Bomb Group, 3989 Southern Blvd., at the airport. This is my second most favorite in the West Palm Beach area. The motif is World War II and is well done. Outside are W.W.II army vehicles---even an old ambulance. Sandbags are piled all around the entrance and the music is from the early 40's. In the rest rooms, it sounds as though a radio is on and the news is all about the war--- special announcements and even an announcement from FDR might be heard. Sometimes places like this serve mediocre food. Not this place. Everything is excellent. Entrees are moderate to high, but it is worth it. Try it for lunch. For dinner or during busy times call for reservations.

Paul's, Shrimply Delicious, 530 Athens Street, Tarpon Springs, Florida. They are famous for their boiled shrimp so that is what we ordered. Although a little messy it was very good---excellent. This casual bar/restaurant is fun. We ordered a salad then pigged out on the shrimp which you order by the pound ($11.95) or half pound ($6.50). Other menu items looked good too. For dessert, Mary and Bill Jurzak (the folks who introduced us to this place) shared key lime pie while Ron and Barb split some baklava. Yummy!

Take a break. Get a cup of coffee and let's chat.
Full-timers Chellie & Jerry Gilstrap have some responses for those looking for a message service and regarding membership campgrounds. "I found a very reasonable voice mail. The owner is very customer oriented. Parish Communications Corp (PCC) is menu driven, available 24 hours per day---7 days per week and uses an 800 number. The cost is $8.00 per month for the first 45 minutes and 14 cents per minute in excess of that. Call ***_****_****."

"On the membership campgrounds: Buy the best one you can afford and use it. You wont be sorry. We have several and depending where we are that is the one we use. For example, when in the Pacific Coast, southern Cal, Nev., AZ and Texas I love Thousand Trails/NACO. Thousand Adventure Inc., for Florida, Midwest, Michigan and east coast are fun and they allow members 3 week stay, week out, 3 weeks back in. RPI fills in because of the reservations system with CCC as a last resort (sic!). Always try to buy a resale. Why pay thousands when you can get it much cheaper. Thousand Trails has alliance resales for less than $1,800. A good reputable resaler is Dan Monahan at Campground Membership Resales in Florida. 1-800-272-0401. We bought ours over the phone and put it on our VISA!"

From full-time wannabees Pamela and Fred Handy of Denver, Colorado, comes a question on slideouts. "...Your feelings on slideouts. Were leaning away from the idea, but are still somewhat ambivalent. If you bought again would you want a slideout? What led to your personal preferences on the subject?"

Barb responds. Since we just bought a new motorhome and chose not to have a slideout I will explain our reasons. They do look nice and add much more room to the living area, but they take away a lot from the storage space. If possible visit an RV dealer that stocks both and check it out for yourself. The Bounder now comes with a slideout option. Notice that two basement storage compartments are now used for the works of the slideout. And usually the overhead cupboards inside disappear too. Or if they do put cupboards over the couch and/or dinette, they are smaller and hold less. We like a basement model motorhome because it gives more storage space than a 5th wheel; it seems silly then to lose it all. If one is looking for space rather than storage I would think a 5th wheel would suit their needs better. Thank God that we all have different preferences. It would be a boring world if we all liked the same thing, but you asked for our reasons. I hope to hear from others on this subject.

More on telephones and other things from Jerry & Marge Clark, new full-timers from Wisconsin. "I talked to several services, checked on a lot of phone cards, etc., but I settled on AT&T voice mail box. It cost a one time $10.00 fee to set it up. The monthly cost is only $5.95. I can call in and retrieve my messages as often as I want and change my greeting as often as I want. The number to retrieve my messages is the same as the voice box number plus a four digit security code. I use Voice Net phone card to make the call. Voice Net charges 17 cents per minute in 6 second increments with no surcharge so my cost to retrieve messages is less than 40 cents each time I call and we call 3 times a week. It works very well for us."

"I purchased a bottle of PRO 409 while in the grocery store a couple of days ago and tried it yesterday. As soon as the solution is sprayed on the black streak it is gone. There is no letting it soak or heavy scrubbing, just spray on and wipe off, its really that easy."

In your last newsletter you also talked about computers. I use a laptop in our truck in conjunction with DeLorme Mapping software and a GAPS receiver. It has gotten us out of trouble many many times. I would not want to be without it, especially in city driving. I also use [the computer] for accounting for a small business we still operate."

Don Wallace
If you would like to see what success looks like come to Tampa, Florida, and meet Don Wallace at Lazydays RV Supercenter. We were impressed with this man and his operation when we purchased our Bounder in 1992. We thought his business couldn't get any better. It has! Often when a company grows bad things happen. That is not the case here at Lazydays. Their business has quadrupled since 1989 and they are even better than before.

Don credits this success to customer service. His 300 employees (double from 1992) are trained to give their all and in a very pleasant manner. It doesn't matter who you are or who you deal with here; from grounds keeper to salesperson to general manager all will treat you like the valued customer that you are. And the employees love their job here. Many of the first people Don hired 16 years ago are still with the company.

I talked with Judy who has been at Lazydays for six years. She glowed as she talked about what her position at Lazydays has done for her. She said that she learned how to be a better person, both at work and away from work because of the training she received. She cant thank Don enough. And so it goes.

I wondered where they find such helpful, friendly employees. Don said that they don't search for jewels. "Ninety percent of the employees are just diamonds in the rough." And from day one he tells his employees, "Look, it's OK to be nice to customers."

Mr. Wallace is about as low key as you can get. He is very soft spoken and his dialect is pure Tennessee. Originally from Tennessee, his dad moved the family (2 boys and a girl) to Florida while they were young. Don graduated from high school, married and moved back to Tennessee to farm. For 8 years he worked day and night (as farmers usually do). He said it was hard work until he got the hang of it then it became easy. When it was no longer a challenge, he became bored.

Don had an idea to open a landscape business with his brother-in-law back in Florida. In the mid 1970's, he sold the farm, bought a tractor, took his 16 foot travel trailer and headed south. He sold that trailer for a bigger unit, made a little money on the deal and before he even had a chance to camp in the new trailer, sold it. He got to thinking that maybe the RV business was a better business to get into than landscaping. Don bought two used trailers (one had been in a fire). He and his mother rebuilt the burned trailer and they sold those units. From these sales, he went to his dad and brother and said, "We need to take a look at this business."

After some investigation, they decided that Prowler Trailers were the ones they wanted to handle, but when they called Fleetwood, they discovered that Tampa already had a Prowler dealer. Fleetwood told the Wallaces that they could talk to that dealer and if he was willing to sell his inventory, they could become the distributor for the area. The other dealer only had two trailers in stock and was willing to sell them to the Wallace family. Don had a car with a hitch, but not the rest of the stuff needed to tow the trailers across town but with the help of friends, he moved the trailers. Don made a trip to Pennsylvania and picked up another trailer and a mini motor-home and got a tent trailer on consign-ment. That was the beginning of the Lazydays business. Their goal at the time was to sell 2 new and 2 used trailers a month. Now sales are upwards of 250 units per month.

The first winter in business, the family members went to the nearby camp-grounds and went door to door telling the story about Lazydays and business grew by leaps and bounds. In 1983 they had their first 50 million dollar year and their sales go up each year. Dons goal now is to have a 300 million dollar year by 1999.

Starting with two acres they began acquiring more and more property until they could grow no larger at the original location. When we discovered Lazydays their main lot alone was eight acres and now (at their new location) they have 30 plus acres in which to display over 600 RVs in "park-like" settings.

Don actively sought out full-timers as customers in 1989. He explained that this business could be cyclical depending on economy and fuel costs, but the full-timer wouldn't quit full-timing just because fuel prices went up just like a family wouldn't sell their house just because electricity went up. They might use less electricity, but they wouldn't move out. Full-timers are a big part of the business here. If you are here for service, they even serve free breakfast and lunch so you donut have to go out while without your home. And you are welcome to camp in the service bay in the evenings.

Don is even planning to offer classes for folks who are here for service. Classes would be on any number of subjects and would last three hours or so.

Speaking of education, Don, in conjunction with the Hillsborough County Schools started a program to train RV mechanics. The end result is a Master Technician Certification. He had hoped that other RV dealers in the area would support this program too, but it hasn't worked out that way. Don will move the classroom to his new facility here in Tampa and the teachers (still paid by the school district and Lazydays) will teach here. He is excited because he will be able to offer opportunities to many. Of course he has a vested interest. As his business grows his need of qualified technicians grows.

I asked Don who his mentor was, and right away he mentioned his 8th grade English teacher, but shared a little more about the manager he had at a Winn Dixie store. "Ralph Langford trusted me and I remember that; I've told him how important that was to me, too."

We looked into Lazydays back in 1992 because we met a man in a campground in Kissemmee who had just purchased a Bounder from Lazydays. He was from California and ordered the motorhome over the phone. I figured that if this Lazydays place got customers to drive across the country to pick up their RV's they must be pretty good. And they are. It was and is a pleasure doing business with them.

Although Don has a big office upstairs he is generally downstairs; unless you knew who he was, you'd never guess. He is very accessible and has time to talk to everyone. Not only does he regard each and every customer highly, he values his employees. One of his goals which he accomplished recently was to make the company employee owned. With the establishment of the Employee Stock Option Plan, Don assures each customer they will be treated with special care and respect. Each employee cares a great deal about the business.

It doesn't matter what you're looking for---van, travel trailer, 5th wheel, or motorhome or if you want new or used. It is probably at Lazydays. You can shop in person or over the phone. Either way, you will be impressed. Call 1-800-626-7800.

A tiny example of how the RV's are displayed

Russ Pageler, the first salesman hired by Don Wallace 16 years ago is still helping customers find the RV of their dreams.

Making a new motorhome handicap accessible.
Editor's note 2004: Russ retired a couple of years ago and LazyDays no longer makes RV's handicap accessible. 

Planning keeps dream alive

Your newsletter keeps me from total depression in these cold-no-camping-days up north. Retirement is set for Nov. 6, 1999 and then full-time here we come. Your book was a big help. We have started to get rid of things. Being in the same home for 31 years you accumulate a lot of "junk." I think our neighbors have snuck some of their junk into our attic. We started to give our kids things now; they thought we were sick and going to die. We assured them we are more alive than we have been in years. The planning keeps the dream alive. Keep the newsletter coming....

Harry & Joan Bellerby
Croydon, Pennsylvania

Want more info on Computers

Changing our address to Rainbow Drive. After 18 months on the road, we felt we were "burning" our daughter out with the mail runs. She did not complain, but we feel even more "free" now. Enjoy your newsletter so much as it seems to be written just for us! Are you sure you send it to others?

Losing the Discover Card message service was a bummer. We quickly changed to Escapees, but I find it a little complicated so it was great to hear about your service. I sent for info---will seriously consider them.

If anything, would love to hear more computer stories from you. Like how you use your computer, storing info, what kind, what programs used. We're scratching our heads on how to put on things like your good places to eat and good places to stay. How to assemble all this good info!! Right now we have way too much paperwork! Thanks again for a great newsletter.

Mary & Bill Brand
Full-timers from Missouri

Mary & Bill

We highly recommend that you join the SKP BOF (Birds of a Feather) group for computer users. Their newsletter is very helpful along those lines. I am making a note to write an article about computers for the next issue and will share what we do and how we use the computer. Barb

New Grandparents and Texans

...Well if becoming grandparents wasn't exciting enough, we've also gone and become Texan's---well at least on paper. We drove from Colorado down to Livingston, Texas, and at the same time drove from winter back to summer. We'd had snow 3 times back in Colorado with nighttime temperatures down around 20 degrees. Ever since we hit Texas the temp has been in the mid 80's with high humidity. We checked into Rainbow's End [Escapee headquarters] and asked for info on registering the RV in Texas. They had an excellent handout detailing the whole procedure step by step, with all the phone numbers, addresses and directions we needed. It made the whole process practically painless! We did the whole thing in a day---inspection, registration, driver's license, registered to vote and changed RV insurance. We are really impressed with how helpful everyone was at Rainbow's End.... Thanks for your tip on calling a couple of days early to have your mail forwarded. We've been very satisfied with the SKP MMS and the ladies working the phones always sound friendly and cheerful....

Ellie & Bob Henderson
Full-timers from San Diego, California

Still workamping and having fun

...Workamping at present---managing a pumpkin patch in Danville---East Bay & San Francisco area. Will return for Xmas trees---our fourth year with Steve�s Xmas trees---nice young couple who advertise in Highways, Workamper News and have about ten lots most on the SF peninsula, but two over here in East Bay. It's a slow sales day so hoping to get caught up on correspondence. As always love to chat about every issue and I keep them thru the year then cull and save articles of lasting interest....

Wanted to respond to Jane & Larry Gordon from Tigeras, New Mexico, [June-July-96] who want to retire early. We "bit the bullet" in 1979 and said goodby to employment being in our mid 40's and have never regretted it. Don�t think our present lifestyle would change if we�d accumulated more assets�SSII and a United Kingdom pension will help with inflation. Health insurance is a concern�we opted to self insure but do have a catastrophic policy thru UC Berkley�s Alumnae with a $30K deductible for less than $1,000 annually. Early retirement without great assets is a trade off; we Workamp every year to finance our overseas travel and certainly don�t eat out very often. But have enjoyed life!

Dena & Gordon Duncan
Full-timers from California and S. Africa

Editors note 1997: This past year Dena had a mastectomy as an outpatient in Palm Springs, California. They paid cash (even bargained for a discount) and she felt she got excellent care. Home nurses checked on her in their motorhome the first two days. They just returned from a Russian Waterways Cruise (without the motorhome) this August and September as proof that all is well.

Editor's note 2004: Dena died shortly after attending our second campout which was held in March of 2001. She always maintained that her surgery as an outpatient was fine. The cancer came back in 2000 and it came back with a vengeance. When she died they were still living in the motorhome.

What a life!

We are in Marshall, Michigan, working a campground that was once a Thousand Trails park that didn't make it.... Right now it is snowing so you can guess that I am getting "Hitch Itch" really bad! We should be finished with this park in about a week then on to warmer weather. We will be in Orlando just before Thanksgiving to attend a meeting for the company we work for [AGS Campground Maps] then the day after Thanksgiving we will be in Pompano Beach selling Christmas trees. I'm not sure how it is going to work out but if we don't like it we won't do it again. What a life! Pick what you want to do!

Wanda & Rich Townley
Full-timers from Houghton Lake, MI

On the road and can finally rest

Well it's our first full day of full-timing on the road. Boy, what a relief. We moved out of our "former" home Friday Oct. 25 and into our new home on wheels. We hooked up on the lot behind my parent's home to sort out our storage building and finish up our last minute business.... I don't believe I was prepared for how traumatic this final break would be. My daughter and Mom were quite upset at the last minute and that made it tougher on me. However, we are sitting in our new home overlooking Lake Hartwell, SC, in the state park and it is so peaceful and restful. I can probably rest for a while now.... By the 17th of November we will be at Thousand Trails, Orlando. We are looking forward to driving over to Lazy Days the first Saturday in December to hear your seminar. I can't believe we will finally get to see you.... We had difficulty getting people to understand our address was Texas but we would be in Florida for a few months. It's funny how you expect everyone to understand your new lifestyle and mail-forwarding, beepers, phone messages, etc. We are trying a Nation-wide beeper for emergency messages. We'll let you know how it works.

Betty & Reid Poovey
Full-timers from North Carolina

Looking at things differently

I just finished your book and wanted to drop you a line to tell you how much I enjoyed it. Once I started it, I could hardly put it down. It was just full of information that I had questions about and couldn't find the answers to.

My husband wants to retire in a couple of years and it has always been his dream to full-time it. We have a nice house and I have been skeptical of giving it all up for the uncertainties of going on the road. We travel a lot, about 60 nights a year. We have just returned from a three week trip. Usually when we return I am glad to come home and have a place a little bigger than a trailer to stretch out in (30 ft 5th wheel).

This time I am looking at things a little differently. I have just finished mowing the lawn (1 acre). I still have vegetables to bring in and freeze out of the garden. I am now taking out all the things from the fifth wheel because it is supposed to be in the twenties the next few nights. We have just returned from Virginia Beach and oh how I long to be back there. Thanks to your book, I feel more able to think of living my husband's dream with him. I still have some reservations but am feeling more confident now about it....

Barbara & John Heavers
Averill Park, New York

Enjoyed reading about the trips

We're so jealous! You're living the life we want to live. We have at least nine years to work unless, of course, we win the lottery. We enjoyed so much reading about your trips from your book. We've been camping all through our married life starting with a tent. We are now in a 31 foot 1988 Fleetwood Pace Arrow. We love your Bounder....

Rob & Paula Turner
O�Fallon, Missouri

Really excited!

My husband and I just completed reading your book.... I cannot begin to tell you what an enjoyable experience it was, both entertaining and educational. It is without a doubt the best all-inclusive and practical book on full-timing that we have read.

My husband retired from the Navy 3 years ago after a 20 year career. We have dreamed of living an "alternative" lifestyle for a long time, especially after living such a regulated lifestyle that the military demanded of not only him, but also of us as a family. We have set a 2-3 year goal of going full-time. We are now 49 years old and realize that we are in a unique situation financially with our Navy retirement and some other financial resources that we could live a full-time lifestyle. Yours is the first book we have read (really, there are not very many out on the market) that gave us a straight forward idea of how much it might cost us to live in an RV and even though we have brain stormed this idea for a long time, we did not have any idea of what to expect in way of a projected budget. Thank you, thank you for the information, because now we have a realistic hope and dream.

We have both become very excited at the prospect of volunteering in our park systems, and thank you for telling of that so much in your book. It gave us something to think about that we actually had not even known about before. Also about Workamper News. What an exciting prospect...

Our children are grown, married and gone from home. They all think we have "gone off the deep end." But then a part of them says, "Do you guys really think you'll do this? Well, can you come and stay with us longer than just a few days visit at Christmas." And we think, Yes! Yes! Yes! We can see them more than we do now because we can drive right up to their house and stay as long as we want, or as long as they want us....

Linda & Tom Washington
Santee, California

Also very excited

I am so excited I can't stand it. I was so happy to read an article about your travels in the Tampa Tribune. We have been talking about full-timing in about 4 years. (Get me with such talk! I didn't even know the term until I ordered and read your book.) My soul mate is French Canadian and struggles with reading English. I read your book aloud to him. I am ready to make a tape (anytime). We are looking forward to seeing you in Tampa in January.

Beverly & Andre
Lutz, Florida

Saw the Dream

It was great having the chance to meet you at Lazy Days. We had the chance to see your new American Dream when we went back to close on our Intrigue two weeks after we saw you. Congratulations! It's beautiful! Barb, the computer desk is wonderful. Both of you deserve this wonderful new home.... We hope to be on the road by mid January and look forward to seeing both of you then.

Art & Dawn Katser
Huntington Station, NY

by Barb

Now you know why this newsletter didn't make it out until after Christmas. Moving into our Dream kept us busy. So we hope your holidays were meaningful and wish for you a year that will be full of blessings, good health and plenty of fun.

I need to apologize for the variation in print quality of the newsletter since we quit using Kinko's and started hopping from one printer to another. The last one was not good. We have to take pot-luck when we are in new towns. Wish I could go back to Kinko's but they are way too expensive if we have them collate and fold. So....patience please!

You can take it with you! While in the Lazydays campground there was a large 5th wheel with double living room slide-outs (one across from each other) and a large bedroom slide. A large pick up truck (probably not large enough) pulled the 5th wheel. There was another pickup (mid sized) which pulled a large speed boat parked on the same campsite. Not many campgrounds would have enough space to park all these things and it was tight there. They also have bikes, hammock and every other play toy imaginable. They are not full-timers either---just on a five week vacation.

It was fun to get to meet a lot of our readers while we were at Lazy Days in December. Now we have faces to put to the names we know so well. We expect that more of you will come to see us in January. Remember we will be there the whole month of January and our seminars will be held at 10:30 a.m. each Tuesday and Saturday morning.

People think we have all the answers on so many subjects, but we keep learning from all of you who so generously share. We learned about new bike lights and a dozen other things from Lee & Linda Schroer, readers from Mesa, Arizona, who were camped near us at Lazydays. We learn a lot from all of you.

Carol & Gary Putnam, readers from near Lazydays helped us get acclimated to the area. They are bikers and invited us to go on one of their rides. We were all set to go, but were still moving. We look forward to a ride when we get back, in January.

I don't review chain restaurants, but If you ever see a chain restaurant named the Sweet Tomato, try it out. We first found this chain in Arizona two years ago and were delighted to find one in Tampa. They have a huge salad bar, soup bar, pasta, potatoes and such. For $6.95 (I think) you can eat all you want and it is all good stuff.

It was eight years ago in January that we started this publication. That first issue is funny to look at now. It was one page back and front and used a most primitive software. This editor didn't know beans about computers either. We sent out 30 copies to family and close friends. Look at us now! I never dreamed it would grow to what it has become now. Thank you for all of your support and encouragement.

When we moved from one house (on a foundation) to another, we usually took all of our appliances with us. When buying a new motorhome, we get whatever TV, VCR, microwave etc., comes with it. It means learning how to operate these things all over again. I donut mind, but my wonderful husband still hadn't figured out the VCR on the Bounder. Forget the microwave. I like the challenge of learning something new so in time I will figure out all these new toys.

We think that it is very important to have a good message service so family and friends can reach us anytime. I personally prefer the computer generated services over leaving a message with a human being. I like hearing my caller's voice and like having a greeting for the caller to hear. For those of you who also want a good reliable service Escapees has changed their message service and it sounds great. For $14.95 per month you can get an unlimited number of messages with no additional per minute usage fees or other costs. They now have a toll free number and quite frankly, for the money, sounds wonderful. Call ***-***-**** for more information.

It just dawned on me that perhaps some might think that we have a vested interest in promoting certain organizations and/or businesses. Not so. We write about such as Escapees, FMCA, Voice Tel of Colorado, American Travel Network and Lazydays because we truly like them and think that they are valuable to the full-timer's lifestyle. The only thing we accept from these organizations or companies is praise and that is plenty.

We will be attending the southeast regional FMCA rally in Titusville, Florida, February 5---8. If you own a motorhome and have those dates open, come and join us. These things are always fun.

Visiting with good friends Maryellen and Gary Mencimer in our new home. 

 Bumper sticker on several cars in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Welcome to Florida, now go home.

Another bumper sticker in West Palm Beach

Help! I'm having an out-of-money-experience. 

Sign for sale at Cracker Barrel restaurants

So it's not Home Sweet Home. Adjust.

Gray's Granola recipe first debuted in this issue. I have linked it to the 
recipe section where all of our newsletter recipes are posted.
Copyright © 2004, Movin' On with Ron & BarbTM- All Rights Reserved 

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