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volume 9               January 1998                number 1
 Mesa, Arizona
�  Potpourri 
�  Good Places to Eat
�  Coffee Break
�  Gardening & RVing
�  Losing a Mate While Full-timing
�  Book Review
�  Our House Has Wheels
�  A New Generation of Grandmas
�  Letters, Letters, Letters
�  This' N That
�  Shrimp & Pasta Fra Diablo
For the next issue (February) we still have lots to write about. Of course we will report on our Camp-Out and we will have an article about some interesting and unusual RVs we've seen in our travels.

Christmas decorations in front of the office at VDO in Mesa
Try to imagine an RV resort with 1800 sites---many of them occupied by either an RV or park model and each one gaily decorated for Christmas. Some have outlined their "home" with lights while others did a little here and there. At this park many of the sites have their own pine, palm or citrus tree or they have some cactus plants. These are pretty when covered with lights. When I look down our street, all I can see are pretty little lights. Maybe it's because the houses are so close together, but it sure is colorful.

The office likes white lights and rumor has it there are over 125,000 lights hung on anything and everything surrounding the main complex. I do know that it took a crew of workers a week or more to hang them all. It would be impossible to create a photo which would even begin to transform the feeling of this fantasy land to mere paper. One has to be here to experience it.

Everyone is in a holiday mood. Nearly all the women wear Christmas sweat shirts (it's been a little cool here) and compliment that with festive holiday earrings. There are parties and dances to attend, cookies to share and music floats through the air when the carolers (the Tooney Loonies) serenade.

In the surrounding areas there are pageants, and light displays like we have never seen before. Even though there is no snow to reflect the colors it is a pretty sight.

On Christmas eve there will be a special Christmas variety show here at the park and a well known guest is coming for the grandchildren visiting in the park. After that we will go to our church for the late candlelight service.

We will be enjoying Christmas dinner here at the resort. Valle del Oro provides the turkey, dressing and gravy. Long tables (seating 18) will be set up in the ballroom so we will be like individual families sharing the holiday. Each long table plans the remaining items for dinner and all share in the preparation. Some will bring a vegetable, potato, salad or dessert. There will be plenty to eat and good friends to share it with.

There are a lot of nicely decorated RVs here in the park but I was excited about this little one; it reminded me of our Mallard. Ken & Wanda, from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, have been traveling for four years in their 26 foot motorhome. This is the first time that they decided to sit still for the winter and we are glad that they are here.

Ken & Wanda Bellfountaine's motorhome.

Our motorhome office has a new addition. In addition to our PC we now have a Toshiba 465CDX with 32 MB of RAM and 2.2 GB of hard drive. For those not familiar with computers, that means it has a large capacity. Barb says that now I can produce more. UHM! 

I'm actually getting hooked on bridge. We don't always finish last when playing duplicate on Friday night. I'll enjoy it even more when I learn how to play. Classes start in January.

Don't laugh, but I have a pair of warm gloves on my shopping list. I need them for my morning walks. At least I don't have to buy boots.

The nations recently had a conference on global warming. I wonder where that is.

We have been enjoying our Monday morning bike rides in spite of only going 18-20 miles with lots of rest stops. We even stop for coffee and goodies. No we are not getting old---just having fun.

Don't you think that there are now too many bowl games? Arizona State will play Iowa in the El Paso Sun Bowl before a very sparse crowd. Do you think that eventually they will have a "Toilet Bowl?" I have a couple of candidates.

A note to those attending the January camp out. I will have plenty of firewood.

Since Barb has been more regular with newsletters, I am finding it more difficult to be creative in this column. Next time maybe I'll include some jokes (family type).

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

Mesa, Arizona

Wang's, Fine Chinese Dining, 6732 E Broadway, Mesa. (NW Corner of Broadway and Power Rd). There are three locations in the Phoenix area, but we have only been to the one at the above location. Everything we have ever ordered here (and we are frequent visitors) has been excellent. Besides the more standard Chinese fare, they serve the hot and spicy Hunan and Szechwan entrees. We love to start with the Po Po Platter (egg rolls, fried shrimp, fried wonton, honey dipped chicken and beef on skewers) which is served with a little fire pot in the center. Then if we don't eat all of our entree, we take that home. Wangs has been voted best or second best Chinese restaurant in Phoenix for many years and we think they deserve the award.

5 & Diner, 6353 E Southern Ave, Mesa. (at the northern edge of the Superstition Springs Mall by Best Buy) This is another place which has been voted as the best ... best malted milk & best place to go for a late night hamburg. We have been to at least a dozen 50's places and some were good while others weren't. This one is terrific. Not only is the atmosphere good with an original juke box, paper cones in the water cups and the malts delivered in the mixer tin, but the food is outstanding. Barb ordered liver and onions and Ron opted for the meat loaf. Both plates were full and everything was hot and tasty. Service was great too. Next time, I will opt for the hamburg, french fries and malt for old times sake.

Waldo's BBQ, 4500 E Main, Mesa. This is not a big or fancy place. In fact, the floor is covered with sawdust and there is a sign as you go out the door to remind you to wipe your feet to keep the city clean. But the BBQ is yummy. The menu is large with all kinds of BBQ available.

2006 Editor's note: Wangs is out of business but the others are still favorites. 

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

Here's some help from full-timers Jan & Wally Wild for those who want to use Oregon as a domicile. "Thanks again for the info. We are here in Brookings, OR, and now have our toad licensed in Oregon. The people in Florence at the DMV seem to delight in refusing to license in Oregon, but I managed to get a driver's license in Tillamook (thanks to another mail-forwarding service, which also seems targeted by the DMV). Anyhow, we have stayed here at a local RV park (Whaleshead Resort) since Nov 1st - needed the services of a dermatologist, so had to stick around. While we were here, we got a phone (Yeah!!!!), therefore, a billing address to suit the DMV. We also went online (YEAH again), so had another local bill to us. According to Oregon DMV requirements, you must stay in Oregon 30 days per year to be considered a resident. So we now have the toad and motorhome licensed here. Also, DMV in Brookings are wonderful, very helpful, not on a witch hunt like in Florence. By the way, we just listed the address here at Whaleshead instead of SKP's, but this way it won't help Ruth and Ray get renewal notices. For income tax purposes we plan to just mail a request to Dept of Revenue in Salem requesting forms. We're pretty sure they'll be happy to get our $$! If they want to continue to stay residents of Oregon, the man at the DMV in Florence DID suggest we use a friend's address (at that time we didn't know anyone else). Hope this helps Ruth and Ray."

Jan & Wally Wild

A reader needs help looking for a special RV. "I have a question. I'm looking for information from those who receive your newsletter. I am in the process of getting a truck and 5th wheel RV together. Is it possible that some of your readers own Scamp trailers---especially the 5th wheel version? Thanks."

Rod Cranson
Lansing, MI.

Here's more information about why full-timers should not use Mail Boxes, etc., for mail forwarding. "Barb, in Coffee Break you mention Mail Boxes Etc., as a mailing service and say you have heard no complaints. Well we have---been there, done that and never again! We used a Mail Boxes Etc., (MBE)., most of the first two years on the road. The experience was very expensive! First they have a fee for the mail box; this seemed fair. Then there was a handling fee. Okay, we could deal with that; however, they did not notify us when they raised this fee. Finally came the hidden charge, which was never mentioned. They do NOT charge actual postage! They charge what we were told was a metered postage fee. This included a large percentage of the original postage cost which they pocketed. When we asked for something listing how the metered postage was calculated, they told us it varied depending on the size package and could not provide anything in writing. They would not sort the mail for us unless we went through it over the phone with them and of course they did not have an 800 number. They only provided a statement of costs when we requested it and then it did not break out the various charges. Our tracking of costs ended up revealing it was costing us $25 per month to have our mail sent to us once a month. True, each MBE is individually owned and operated, with different fees for different services, but I would not wish them on any full-timer. My recommendation is to stick with Escapees or FMCA for mail service. Full-timers need to remember that while they need an address in their state of residency for driver's license, vehicle registration etc., their mail does not need to go to that address. It does not even need to go to that state...." Stephanie & Paul Bernhagen, Full-timers who use Escapees for their mail.

Cheryl & David Fredrickson, of Louisville, KY need your help. "We want to know how people like us  want to trailer our Harleys and car have their set up."

A couple of months ago I mentioned in This'n That about meeting our friend and loyal reader, Joycene Stallcup, at a seminar we were doing in Denver. She shocked us by saying that her husband, Alan, had only died four weeks before. Recently I asked her to write a little about the experience for all of us. Here is her story.

You asked me to tell about full-timing, death and life. Allan and I were on the road together for eight years� minus three days. We volunteered at National Parks at least three months of each year and sometimes both winter and summer. We were on our round-about way (in northwest Arkansas) to Rocky Mountain National Park when he suddenly, instantly, died. My son flew in and helped me drive the rig, with his cremains, back to Albuquerque. A friend there said, "Joycene, what will you do now?"

Instantly I thought, "I like to travel. I like to drive. I love my fifth wheel (32 ft Alfa Gold) with it's big windows (pulled by a 1996 1 ton Dodge dually diesel). I'd stagnate in an apartment or town house. There isn't anything in Albuquerque I want to do. I've wanted to travel all my life. I have rheumatoid arthritis and can't stoop or get down on my knees. Yes, I can. Just because Allan had always done all the outside stuff doesn't mean I can't learn. My Mother always said, �If you really want to do it, you can do it.� Allan always encouraged me to do what was important. I must try! If I don't I'll always regret it!" (This became my litany) So I replied, "Keep living in my Alfa."

And I have. After three weeks son James helped me take it to Denver (where he lives) for a week. Then I took it, in two days, to Sheridan, Wyoming, where I spent four weeks with my brother who fixed everything on the rig. From there I've spent two months [volunteering] at Rocky [Mountain National Park], three weeks in Albuquerque, gone to an Alfa rally in Las Vegas, up the back roads to Portland (with oldest son who also fixed), and I'm writing in Mesa, Arizona. I've made mistakes, but someone is always there to help. Newer filling stations make pumping fuel easy. I stay at parks where I feel safe, many I've been in before. Problems I solve, and I ask a lot of questions. Garages, Radio Shack, tire shops, hardware stores, are all a part of my environment now. Everywhere I've met helpful and friendly folk, some more knowledgeable than others. I cry a lot, but not when I'm driving. Can't see through tears and my nose stops up. There are lots of single women on the road. It's a good life!

Medically, the arthritis is better. Of course, I exercise setting up the rig, checking tire pressure, oil levels, batteries, putting up awnings and taking them down. Note: WD40 makes lots of things work easier, including awnings. Of course, I hurt! But I'd hurt anywhere, and at least the scenery is different. I can always change it, or stop until I feel like going. I can even twist enough to give myself my gold shot in the hip---and I don't hurt me! I've had 8 ½ years experience of getting blood work done every month. I think Allan and the Lord are right here with me, making sure I'm okay.

Monday I'm on the way to northern Alabama and son Michael�s for Christmas. Then three months at the Plantation [Escapee park] in southern Alabama. Next summer, Colorado. In between? Who knows? Life is good, I'm determining my life. And in case anyone is interested, I was 66 in July, so this is the only chance I'll have.

RoadWork, by Arline Chandler is a good book for those who are wondering how to earn a little extra or a lot of money while traveling.

Arline left a teaching career to launch into full-time writing and part-time RVing with her husband James. She is also the mother of Debbie Rebus who with her husband Greg, are the publishers of Workamper News. Put those two combinations together and you know that if it has anything to do with working on the road, this book will cover it.

RoadWork is published by Flying Horse Press and sold through Workamper News. The price is $15.95 plus shipping and handling. If you are not a subscriber to Workamper, call them at 501-362-2637 for more information.

A letter sent to us by long time reader and friend, Carol Stewart, prompted us to look around. RVers have live plants and even gardens depending on how much they want them. No, they don't have traditional gardens like we think of, but nevertheless they have live plants in some sort of planter or pot (s). We have mentioned before that it is perfectly reasonable to take your hobbies with you and if you like tending to live plants and that is your hobby, then do it.

Carol wrote about her garden which is in one of those large round but rather shallow pottery bowls filled with different plants and flowers: "We carry too much stuff. Some are little items that have been passed along by friends such as recipes from Barb, a coffee canister from Maryellen, place mats and pot holders from other friends. They wonder what to give someone who has everything but room. So when friend, Judi helped me buy a color dish (living flowers in a bowl), I knew I could visit with her when I gardened. But I really did not know what an adventure I was going to have."

"In Long Beach, California, the bowl was picture perfect. It traveled to the FMCA rally in Pomona then to Death Valley. Since it was so compact, it rode nicely on the floor in the passenger side of the towed car, but the hot, dry wind of the desert drooped the flowers a bit. It recovered in Denver. There it sat out an April snow storm on the dash of the motorhome; it rather liked being in a hot house. A few flowers were replaced and the color bowl was magnificent."

"Then a lady told me to water it with left over coffee and after three mornings the leaves started to turn coffee color. Great! More new flowers."

"On to Kentucky and West Virginia where the purple lobelia just croaked, but the red hots loved the heat. In upstate New York, the long sun of summer, some rain and just the right humidity brought even more flowers with pansies galore. This was the good news until I tried to put the bowl in its travel place. The thing was too tall and some blooms broke off."

"On to Ottawa and torrential rains, heat in the 90's and near 100 percent humidity; the flowers just shriveled and sighed. So off to the nursery for more replacements. A small flower shop in Parry Sound recommended a trailing pretty purple flower with a long name and it has filled in nicely."

"There is more good news about flowers. There have been many campground conversations about my garden with suggestions and ideas, but no coffee drinks please. Yes, it's more stuff, but good stuff of friends and closeness."

After hearing from Carol I did a quick look around at the types of gardens the people have at our resort. It was easy to spot the number one gardener here and they have a motorhome---not a park model. And they are full-timers. Don & Carole Crocker have been full-timing for five years. They are from near Boston, Massachusetts. When I talked to the Crockers, Don was getting ready to plant a whole row of roses along the boundary of his site. They love roses and used to grow them before they left a home on a foundation and put wheels underneath their house. Granted it is not easy to take roses which are firmly planted in the ground when moving from one campground to another. That's where coming to one resort winter after winter helps. They know that next winter when they return the roses will still be there.

But Don & Carole have many pots of flowers which stay outside and some huge plants inside. One ivy type plant practically covered the dashboard. Carol said that when they travel, it rides nicely in the shower and doesn't move because it rests on that textured rubbery material we all love. By the way, the Crockers have another house guest; they have a large parrot in a cage.

The Crocker's garden & motorhome
The couple admitted that they don't take all the plants with them when they travel from April to October. They have children in the area so take the potted plants over to their house when they leave in the spring, but Don, quickly added, "and they proceed to kill them." So in the fall when they return, they gather the pots and start all over again.

We have seen an RVer with a tomato and other vegetable plants in a large planter just outside their door. We have also seen a large conglomeration of house plants set out on a picnic table. We figured they were on a trip and didn't have anyone to plant sit, but maybe they just loved plants and wanted to have them along. Where there is a will, there will be a way.

In August of 1996 The Arizona Republic newspaper asked us if we would write a weekly column for them on the subject of full-timing. Since then we have written over 70 such articles and thought that you might like to read some of them. We are usually so busy traveling that we don't have room for such. 
As I am writing this we are in Little Rock, Arkansas, slowly heading west. Yesterday we were in the middle of severe weather that sent death and destruction through central Arkansas. Thankfully the nearest tornado was five miles away. The threat is over, but now we have torrential rain. In fact we have been in rain for several weeks.

Those not familiar with the full-timing lifestyle may think that it would be difficult to be cooped up in a recreational vehicle for more than a day. That thinking goes back to vacation days when time off is precious and the vacationer is RV bound. They can be heard crying, "The vacation is almost over; will the rain ever stop?"

For the full-timer wet weather can actually be a relaxing time (provided you are not parked next to a rising river). We prefer to be in a modern campground with full hook-ups as we wait out a storm and feel snug in our little cocoon.

But the rain keeps coming and the forecast doesn't look good. Is this a boring time? A little television may be part of the survival kit, but don't forget those books you've been wanting to read or as a last resort read the RV manuals that you never had time for before. Barb loves to play computer games and we don't lack for those. She also likes to try out new recipes. Right now the motorhome is filled with the aroma of a newly baked chess pie. My waistline won't benefit, but my spirits will. Soon it will be time to take out our game box. Cribbage, gin, yahtzee, backgammon---the winner gets to choose. The motorhome has a built in CD player, the television is off and Neil Diamond is serenading us. Barb is waiting to beat me in a game of gin rummy.

There comes a time when it's necessary to go to plan B. If we don't get out of this rain we will mildew and the weather map indicates sunshine a couple of hundred miles west of here. Our house has wheels. Let's go.

Do you remember when your husband came home from work with a bunch of flowers for no particular reason? What about the time when your wife was all dressed up just to greet you after a hard day at work. Both of these things involve someone being away and coming home. In the full-timing lifestyle, the couple is together most of the time and it would be easy to relax---perhaps a little too much.

One of the things that helps keep the romance alive is arranging for a little time apart. Even a trip to the grocery store alone makes one appreciate the other a little more than if the couple is together all the time. While at the store one might pick up a favorite item for the other---a nice little surprise reminds the spouse that you still care. A small little bunch of flowers, or a newspaper or magazine doesn't cost much, but means a lot.

We have had to deal with special occasions differently since full-timing. It's easy to forgo the cards and presents because we are together so much there is no time to surprise one or the other. We eat out often so even a night out isn't as special as it was when we were both so very busy with our careers. Often when we are in a shop which sells cards, we pick out a loving card for each other. But we don't actually purchase it. We just share it right there then leave the cards on the shelf. The card shops probably don't like this, but we do spend a lot on other cards that we send out to friends and family.

Even though the lifestyle is casual, wearing make-up, perfume, and dressing neatly are important. Opening doors for the one with their arms full, saying please and thank you, holding hands when walking, and being courteous in all ways, help to keep the romance alive.

Because it is so easy to take one another for granted when together all the time, it is important to make time for special moments. Close the blinds, turn off the TV, put on some soft music, open a bottle of wine, light a candle, and enjoy a simple meal at home and each other's love. Verbalize that love often too.

I saw a Family Circus cartoon recently which seemed so true that I felt compelled to write about it. The cartoon showed the kids talking about who was coming for Thanksgiving and the one said something like, "No, grandma can't come. She's with her hiking club and they are climbing Mt McKinley."

"What about our other grandma?" asked the younger one.

"She can't come either. She is bicycling across the country with her bike group."

When you think of your grandmother what do you remember? Both of mine wore granny shoes, and always had on a dress which was usually covered with an apron and I could always find either of them in their kitchen or at the sewing machine. In my wildest fantasizing I can't picture them hiking or biking. My mother was a modern woman; she was a career woman and wore slacks, but I can't imagine her doing most of what I see female retirees doing now. The most athletic thing I ever saw her do was dance with my father.

Here at Valle del Oro and in many parks across the winter sun belt, retirees of all ages are very active. I was reminded of this on our very first bike ride here in our park. We were the youngest at 60 and 65. No one even batted an eyelash at traveling 20 miles. They are good bikers and I suspect some of them have done some serious biking.

There is a group here who really play a mean game of water volley ball several days each week. I noticed them playing when I go up for my watercolor class. They are an exciting bunch to watch. I can't imagine my grandmother or even my mother doing that.

Golfing seems an acceptable sport for those of us who are retired, but what about softball? Here at Valle del Oro there is a woman's softball team and the only prerequisite is that one has to be over 50. Some are quite a bit over 50 and they play hard.

I started out talking about women, but the men are every bit as active and in some pretty strenuous sports. In fact, don't join the Monday morning hiking group unless you are in top shape. Both men and women cover eight or more rugged miles at top speed.

I have often said that we are different grandparents, but now see many like us. Grandparents today are very active and enjoying life to the very fullest. There is nothing wrong with that either. So I am not home baking cookies to fill the cookie jar; we are out seeing the world and when grandchildren come to visit we can make their visit special if they can keep up with us.

One opportunity at a time

Congratulations on your first Movin' On Camp out! Regret we won't be able to join you, but we'll be there in spirit. We'll raise our glasses westward on the 13th and drink a toast to a fantastic couple, and to all their gathered friends.

Life on the road continues to treat us well. Nineteen months full-timing now, and our only regret is that we didn't begin sooner. We just had a delightful summer and early fall exploring the Maritime Provinces. Now we're in North Carolina with Addie's Mother for Thanksgiving, and then on to Florida to celebrate Christmas with our sons and their families in Tampa. Lots of beach time scheduled for January, and then on to ....well, who plans that far ahead. We just take it one opportunity at a time. We were in Valle del Oro for a while last fall. You've picked a great park....

Addie & June Paul
full-timers from Colorado


...[we] are STILL foundation-bound in our little brick bungalow. We've been watching the leaves from our 9 oak trees fall into the yard, knowing full well we'll have to spend another full day (our third) raking them out to the curb for pickup. But I suppose we should be looking forward (?) to yet another seasonal change---SNOW! (Geesh, I'm tired of yard work, maintenance & cleaning of this house!) After attending your seminar at the WV Escapade, we spoke to two couples who both advised selling our house now (rather than waiting 4 years, 8 months and 5 days--- the date we can retire) and move into an apartment. That sounds like a great idea to me---particularly since, if we sell in 1998, we won't pay any capital gains tax. Moving to an apartment will force us to get rid of much of the STUFF we've managed to collect in the past 11 years. (Sometimes I feel as though I'm drowning in STUFF!) Not only that, but we won't be one of those couples who has to "wait until the house sells" before we can hit the road. I think it'll be a big step toward our full-timing dream. So-o-o-o, we'll be spending all of our spare time this winter doing needed repair jobs on the house and pricing stuff for garage sales in the Spring. Think I'll re-read the "stuff-selling" chapters in your book! Our best wishes to you both for Happy Holidays and safe travels. Keep those newsletters coming!

Connie & Jack Covemaker
Moline, IL

Concerned about where to license

...The Coffee Break letter from the people in Oregon having problems with the DMV there made us uneasy. Being military, we've kept our home of record in South Dakota (no state income tax), and were hoping to continue that when we're full-timers. But for the first time, when we got our license renewals in the mail, they're asking for specific proof of residence in SD... I'm hoping that by the time we can full-time, state regulations won't have made the lifestyle too difficult....

Dale and Kathy Ankrom
Bellevue, Nebraska

Will only be 53, but ready to go

Please send us the reprint. The more info we get about the lifestyle the better. We read your book a little over a year ago after it was mentioned in an article in Money Magazine. It was the first, of many, we have read on RVing and is still our favorite. In the beginning, Diane was somewhat hesitant about selling the house and just wandering around the country. I think she went along with my researching the lifestyle just to humor me. But over the last few months she has gotten just as excited as I am about the idea. I think your newsletter has helped---keep up the good work. We have set a target date of 9/9/99 to hit the road. We will only be 53 then, but will have enough set aside so we may only have to work a little bit here and there. We plan to spend about 5 months a year at our summer cottage at Sebago Lake in Maine and the rest of the year someplace where it is warm. As Willie Nelson says, "I can't wait to get on the road again."

Al & Diane LePage
Auburn, Massachusetts

Give book to relatives

I caught your seminar at the Escapees rally in Chico and am looking forward to again hearing you in Victorville. I will be retiring in May, 1999 and we are planning for the lifestyle.... My thanks for your excellent book. By the way, one excellent use for the book for us is to have those skeptical relatives read it. It helps them understand what we want to do.

Lynn Brazelton
Yuba City, CA 

Watch out for bridges

...But it [full-timing] is not all sight seeing and visiting. First you have to get there. On one leg of our trip, we took a shortcut going from Missouri to Arkansas. Found ourselves on a narrow country road with low hanging trees brushing the top of our motorhome. If that wasn't bad enough, there were three one-way bridges on our route. The first two were not bad, but the third was a wooden suspension bridge. Pete made a mental note of the weight limit and proceeded to cross. The bridge swayed and creaked. As we reached the other side, he confessed to me that we were way over limit. (Yikes!)... We are truly having a great time. But we have found that the more you see, the more you realize there is to see! Guess we will just have to keep on moving...

Pete & Ginger Shilts
Full-timers from California

Thanks for ups and downs report

...We are doing the state of Texas for the first time. We're traveling with our friends (Bill & Anne Travis) and it is sure nice to have someone we know to help out from time to time.... We appreciate hearing about your ups and downs so we don't feel so bad when something breaks on the "home." Keep writing those most helpful newsletters...

Betty & Reid Poovey
Full-timers from Conover, NC

Don't neglect the mammograms

My little bout with breast cancer began last December when I found the lumps. I had skipped last year's mammogram thinking it would be okay since there is no history of breast cancer in my family. WRONG!! Please advise your readers to always be prompt and get one each year.

We are from the Dallas area and belong to an HMO so all my history and doctors are in this area. Belonging to an HMO, I needed referrals, and had to wait for appointments. It was April before lumpectomy was done and cancer was confirmed....Did chemotherapy...and followed that with radiation. My prognosis is very good because my cancer was small and found early.... As of this moment I feel great. My energy level is high, my hair barely covers my head, but am definitely BACK!....

We will be going to Brownsville the middle of January then come back April first to see all the doctors and get my first post op mammogram. Our plans include working as campground hosts in some beautiful cool place this summer. Will be our first time to work. Looking forward to it.

Jean & Jim Duncan
Full-timers from Dallas, TX

Followed tour ideas from the book

Well, we're back home... We joined Escapees and used their mail forwarding service for four months. Our mail was always where it was supposed to be every time. This was our first RV trip of more than two weeks. We only started RVing a year ago and heard your seminar at Lazy Days last winter just after we bought our trailer. Loved your book---read it cover to cover immediately.

David retired a few years ago and I just retired in March. So we left Tampa the end of June and headed West. We planned to be gone three months; however, we were gone a little more than four. Loved it! Now we're planning to trade the trailer for a motorhome. I'm not quite ready for full-timing---the grandkids all live within a couple of miles and I'm still not quite ready to give that up. But, in a couple of years I think I will be ready.

We referred to your book often. We ate Po Boys at Moms in New Orleans, Fantastic! We took the tour of the LBJ Ranch and saw where you stayed while volunteering. We went to Arches (ate at the Old Ranch House) and Canyonlands National Parks, The Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, Royal Gorge and Garden of the Gods in Colorado. Did a lot of hiking and biking. If you are ever near Denver again, be sure to eat at The Fort. That's where the Summit of Eight ate.... It's pricey, but good. Bought a Coast to Coast Membership in Branson, Missouri. We went to Hot Springs, Arkansas and treated ourselves to the baths. Wonderful! We were a little disappointed in the Coast to Coast resort there. You could tell it had been a beautiful resort at one time, but it was in bad need of repairs. Went to Fall Creek Falls State Park in Tennessee (had been there before, but we love it), then headed for North Carolina and the beautiful fall colors we don't see in Florida. We used your idea of the file folder for each state. That was a big help....

Louise & David Wallace
Tampa, Florida

Travel red roads as much as possible

Thank you for the invitation to the first Movin� On Camp-Out. How we wish we could join you to celebrate our new found lifestyle as full-timers, but our schedule won't let us be in Arizona during that time period. We are presently in Florida.... Maybe next year we'll finally be able to meet you both.

We retired on October 1 and left our summer seasonal site on October 12, just as the cold weather was starting to take hold in central New York. We've been traveling at a (mostly) relaxing pace, first into Massachusetts to visit a son, then following the Atlantic shore...down through Delaware (with a side trip by ferry to Cape May, New Jersey), North Carolina's Outer Banks, South Carolina (wonderful Myrtle Beach and Charleston), Georgia (fantastic time on Jekyll Island) and finally into the Sunshine State. We're traveling "red roads" as much as possible. Every day is a new adventure, a gift from God, and an opportunity to see things we had only read and dreamed about.

It has been so much fun to meet people in campgrounds---some full-timers, some who are thinking about it, and some who think we're a little crazy. We love to tell them about how we did it, and we're always talking about An Alternative Lifestyle and the newsletter. We're very satisfied with the voice message and mail forwarding services provided by SKPs. We are in the process of purchasing a resale membership in Coast to Coast, with a home park in Florida...

Last September, I was able to accompany my husband on his last business trip ...to Phoenix. We spent a day visiting Lost Dutchman State Park and Goldfield and drove to Canyon Lake and Tortilla Flat. If anyone chooses to take the drive to the Roosevelt Dam and beyond they'll see sights they will never forget. I wouldn't advise taking an RV though. We loved the area and can see why you are spending the winter there....

Carol & Pat Goodfellow
Full-timers from Clay, New York

Enjoyed talk then started packing

Enjoyed your talk at the fall Escapade and the chance to meet you both. We learned a lot, came home and started packing. Our departure date is Jan 18. We are excited and a bit overwhelmed closing up our home of 38 years (where we raised 6 children) and ending our own sign business of 40 years. It really helps knowing through letters and articles how many have done the same and love it. So many people at the Escapade told us they only planned to full-time a year, but kept going....

Ernie & Jane Giordano
Royal Oak, Michigan

by Barb

Where does the time go? Another year is almost over. It was this time in 1989 when I did the first issue of Movin� On. We had no idea it would grow like it has. We just thought we were having fun writing a little newsletter for our family and close friends. We had a new laptop and were learning. That newsletter, by the way, was one page (both sides) and we printed 30. Now we print 900 and as you know it is 10 pages complete with photos. Thank you, all of you, for your support.

We got lots of good comments about the articles in the last issue. I was a little worried that some of you would not like the flavor to these winter issues and I feel a little guilty not producing travel stories. When we leave here in the spring, I can promise lots of travel stories because we are going to take two grandsons to the five national parks in Utah and Mesa Verde and the Grand Canyon in Colorado. When we fly them back to Michigan, we are going up into Canada to visit Calgary and Lake Louise; both will be new territories for us.

Christmas is on my mind a lot as I write this (it's December 22). I get a little nostalgic and have talked to other women in the park who get sad and melancholy at this time of the year. We remember fondly Christmases when the kids were at home. But at the same time we don't want the hustle and bustle of families today. One woman remarked that she likes her Christmases away from family because the kids and their families always had to rush over to the in-laws and she felt they were torn between families. Holidays aren't always the best time for visits. Too much is going on.

This has not been a good winter weather wise. I don't know whether to blame it all on El Nino or not, but it has been cold or at least cool and there has been a lot of rain here in "sunny" Arizona. I didn't think it rained so much in the desert. Now, I am truly worried about our camp out. Dress warm and bring a sunny disposition.

Work is progressing slowly on the book and cookbook. We will get them done, but probably a little later than we originally planned.

I love my watercolor class here. Jim Ellis is a good teacher and I am learning. I used to paint with oils but water color is so different.

They have many good classes in the park during the winter months and the teachers are excellent. The classes are on a wide variety of subjects. Most visitors at this park have a hard time scheduling all that they want to do. That is why they come back year after year.

Speaking of talent, we have a lot of talented readers in our little newsletter family. We love the writing that Carol and Dick Stewart have done for us and Joycene�s letter (page 2) is very well written. I always admire the attitude and strength of character of our readers.

Last month I promised an article on driving a motorhome for the first time. But that was before I heard from Dante. He and Claudia are real new to full-timing and they are sooooo busy having fun that he apologized and said he might not get the article done in time. He didn't and that's okay. I will keep after him and get it later.

Here's what I have to offer in future winter newsletters. I'd like to do an article on handicapped full-timers. Several of our readers are handicapped and have written some great letters. I was amazed at their determination. Another article could be written on the youngsters who are full-timing. I have a letter from a couple in their 40's who are full-time with their one year old daughter and a letter from a couple who full-timed for a while just after they married (many years ago) and before they settled down. Next month I plan to print a collection of photos and descriptions of strange looking RVs which we have seen over the last few years. Another reader has sent us detailed information on the newest rage---brakes for towed cars. He just had them installed and was happy with the information he gathered. Do any of these sound interesting?

I don't want to make a practice of this, but I want to help Dale Peterson by mentioning the property that he has for sale. It is in a lovely area---the Davis Mountains of Texas (one of our favorite places). He sent a complete description which I don't have room to print, but if you are looking for a little piece of land with a well insulated little house and an RV pad this might be interesting. I will save the information. If you are interested, write and I will forward the details.

We're Having a Picnic
at the camp out and hope you can come

When:    January 14, 1998 
Where:   Lost Dutchman St Pk
           6109 N Apache Trail (St Rt 88)
Apache Junction, AZ

Many of you won't get this in time, but we wanted to put a little reminder of our get-to-gether in this issue of Movin'On. We hope those of you who are planning on joining us for the day will come early. We are planning on eating lunch at about 1 or 2 in the afternoon and we are praying for a nice day. But if it is cool, Ron will have lots of wood on hand and we will huddle around a big campfire. Bring a casserole or salad type dish to pass.

Lonesome cactus

Shrimp & Pasta Fra Diablo  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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