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volume 8                July-August 1997                  number 6
�  Potpourri 
�  Campground Report
�  Good Places to Eat
�  Coffee Break
�  Expense Update
�  Computers & RVs
�  A Funny Letter-and it's true
�  Letters, Letters, Letters
�  This' N That
�  Five Days at the Factory
�  This N That
�  Signs & Things
White Chili Recipe
In September we will highlight Mackinaw Island, Sault St Marie, Ontario, Canada, and our visit to western New York.

Ron with his kids on his birthday.
Back L-R---Karl, Ron, David
Front L-R Susie, Kurt, Marty
After spending five days in Decatur, Indiana, getting work done on the motorhome (see story on page 9), we were glad to go to Michigan and get back to living in a campground atmosphere.

On our way to the Lansing area, we stopped in Toledo to see Ron�s mom and spent a few days in that area. It was good to see her and noted that the home she is in is very, very nice.

Another stop on the way to Lansing was to surprise my niece, Allison, and attend her open house at my sister Beth�s place. It was fun to see everyone and have mom and dad together for the first time in a long time. When my stepmother died Dad moved back to Michigan; they are less than one mile apart now in similar assisted living homes.

Barb with her parents, sisters (minus Bunnie) and brother. 
L-R  Mom, Beth, Don, Barb, Beverly & Dad
Now that all of Ron�s kids live in Michigan (Karl and David moved back last year) it was easy to see them from our base point of Sleepy Hollow State Park in Laingsburg. It is a lovely state park and we enjoy camping there. Almost every day or evening we had family over or were at their house. Ron celebrated his 65th birthday in high fashion with a lovely dinner/family gathering at daughter Marty�s house.
Ron's grandchildren
Back L-R Mary, Richard, Ryan & Erkia
Front Kailee & Taylor
Grandchildren took turns spending the night. We arranged it so cousins came together. No one could have planned these families to be more age compatible. Cousins of the same sex are the same age. And they all live nearby so it is like they all have extra brothers and sisters. The weather was perfect and we had great visits everywhere. Soon we will head north into God�s Country which in Michigan is the area north of Clare. Look for us. 

Two years in a row I've attended a Lansing Lugnut ball game (Class A professional ball) with my kids on my birthday. Everyone in the stadium knows too, because daughter Marty has them post a Happy Birthday greeting for me on the scoreboard. When visiting Lansing plan to visit Oldsmobile Park. You will be impressed. 

Just because I drive a big diesel and sit proudly in the driver's seat doesn't mean that I know anything about them. We'll try to get answers for your questions, but I can hear a few readers saying, "Can you believe some actually think Ron is mechanically proficient?"

Aren't you glad that you took my advise on the stock market several months ago? I told you that there was lots of money out there and the funds had to keep it invested. Next issue I will tell you when the bubble will burst.

Labor Day is looking better all the time. Peace and quiet will be the order of the day as we join other seniors in the deserted northern parks. I get excited when I see the first "back-to-school" sale sign. My grandchildren know I am just kidding. It has been fun sharing our lifestyle with them this summer.

It's been in the nineties and humid here in Michigan. Most park electrical systems are strained with the draw of air conditioners, so power is marginal. We have to chose between air conditioner, ice maker, micro-wave, computer and printer, and alternate as the need arises. The refrigerator is on propane.

It was fun biking the new river trail in Lansing with Barb, Dave and Stacy. Lansing has done a good job downtown. 

(Please remember that this report was written many years ago and the campgrounds may or may not be in business or as they were.)
Five entirely different parks mixed in with some factory parking made this an interesting month.

White Oaks on the Lake, Monticello, IN, (Coast to Coast, pg 174). Since we were traveling Highway 24, it was only a few miles out of our way. Good sites right by the lake, great facilities, and friendly people made this a good stay. Even though it was busy, they found room for us.

Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, IN. The fairgrounds actually has a campground with 170 sites (80 have full hook-up and remainder have water & electric). It's handy for visiting Indianapolis, but definitely not scenic. $12.

Covered Wagon Camping Resort, Ottawa Lake, MI. The best that I can say about this park is that it's only a few blocks from US-23. They do not display their Good Sam sign, so we paid $20 without knowing we could have had the 10% discount. Horrible roads, short, narrow sites, (they made us park in the field), poor electricity and overcrowdingplace this park very low on our list. It�s the park closest to my mother�s place and the only reason we were there.

Sleepy Hollow State Park, Laingsburg, MI. Take Price Road off of US-27 east 8 miles to the park. It's worth it. It has large roomy sites suitable for big rigs. They are level and paved with 30 amp electricity and lots of shade. Lake for fishing and swimming is within walking distance. Lucky for us this beautiful park is near our family.

Smoke Rise Resort, Davison, MI. (Coast to Coast, pg 218). Since this is our home park, we have reported on this one before. Good wide sites with lake, indoor pool and entertainment complex make this a good stop. Interior roads are poor. Summer is busy so reservations are recommended. It's 4 miles north of I-69 on Irish Road and it's a good jumping off spot for Canada or northern Michigan.

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

Indiana & Michigan

Back 40 Junction, 1011 13th St, Decatur, Indiana. Their smorgasbord is huge and the food is excellent. There�s great variety amidst a lovely collection of Americana. It is like stepping back in time and the food resembles the good ole down home farm cooking of generations ago. The buffet is $9.95 with $1.00 off for seniors. Lunch is less. Either way it is a treat, but go in hungry. Everything looks so good you will want to try it all.

West End Restaurant, downtown, Decatur, Indiana. We ate lunch in this popular place. We could tell it was a gathering/eating place for the locals and that is always a good sign. The building is historic in that it has been a restaurant for over 100 years. Our lunch included meat (pork chop) potato, vegetable and dessert and was only $3.75. It was tasty and served right away by a pleasant server. We went back another day for breakfast and it was good too. In fact it was much better than the Bob Evans down the street and less expensive also.

Clara�s Station, 637 East Michigan, Lansing, Michigan. This historic landmark became a very successful restaurant in 1978 and is considered one of the best eating establishments in town. The restaurant is in the old railroad station which served passengers until 1972. It is very Victorian and full of meaningful antiques. They have a large varied menu which includes many wonderful selections as well as pictures of old time Lansing. They have everything from sandwiches to complete gourmet dinners. Their famous Sunday Brunch has been voted Lansing�s best. We went for the brunch after church with Ron�s son, David and his girl friend Stacey. Not only was the food good, the piano music was terrific. It was an enjoyable meal.

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

Help on customizing comes from Judy Myers of San Francisco, CA

"A while back, someone wrote in asking for remodeling or customizing ideas. At least that�s what I recall. Something that I did that any single RVer might consider is I removed my passenger seat. In my Class C, that seat was serving no purpose and taking up space. In the two years I had been in my rig, no one had ever ridden in that seat. It was not the kind of seat that could be turned around to be part of the living area. So, out it came. Now I have space there to stack my two dog crates when not under way... If someone didn�t have dogs, the space could be used for built in or free standing storage, a desk, or whatever."

"Another conversion that works well for me as a single is that I took the cabover mattress out and filled that area with see-through plastic storage boxes that stack. So far, none have fallen on me as I�m driving. In those boxes, I store tee shirts, sweat shirts, shoes, stationery, videos, etc. I believe you wrote about something similar in your book."

Phyllis & Robert Stewart of Davison, Michigan have several questions. "Does our motorhome or tow vehicle have to be registered in Texas in order to get a driver�s license? ... About storage: We will be putting our daughter�s things in storage, including some furniture she will be using after finishing college in three semesters. What were the storage lockers like that you used? Did you have a problem with mice and/or mildew? I am wondering if the heat or cold will hurt photo keepsakes."

Barb responds. About the Texas license. They asked to see our registration, but I wonder what a person would do who didn�t own a car. About storage: We used a nationally known company (Shurgard) and had no trouble. They were just bare, cubicles made out of plywood. We did notice mouse/rat poison in all the hallways, and saw no evidence of any critters in the three and one half years we used the facility. Also we had no problem with our photos or with mildew.

Terry Hager, soon to be full-timer, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, has a solution for his health insurance problem. "Since I don�t have something I can carry over from work, I have been concerned about this major bite out of my budget. As a freelance writer, I can claim a small business. The fact that I am a beginner, doing it part time, and not making much money doesn�t matter. I file a schedule C on my income tax returns and that establishes my business. Now I can join either the local Chamber of Commerce or the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM), both of which offer excellent policies at a very reasonable cost....The only requirement with the SBAM plan besides the schedule C filing is either a Federal ID number which can be obtained from the IRS or a DBA ("Doing Business As"), a company name, which I obtained through the county clerk�s office for a $10 filing fee. We�ll need to keep our legal residence in Michigan at least initially, but I might be able to work out a similar arrangement in another part of the country."

"When I contacted Escapees to find out about the local Chamber of Commerce there I learned that the Chamber is too small to have a health insurance plan. However, I also learned about the new plan that the Escapees has for its members. So that�s another option for folks. In my case, the plan and cost here are much better than the SKP plan...."

"In connection with our plan to maintain our residence in Michigan, I�d be interested in whether any of your readers use a mail forwarding service in Michigan that they can recommend. We wonder if it will be more difficult to find a service in Michigan that understands the needs of full-timers."

Barb comments. Many people from different states use Mail Boxes Etc., or a similar service to handle their mail, and I have not heard of any complaints. I have no idea what they charge, but they should be able to handle everything for you. Check it out and let us know.

Ron with an empty wallet after filling up the fuel tank.
Many readers, as well as my soul mate (the editor), have asked for a current cost review of the full-timer lifestyle. It's a timely subject because many are contemplating this wonderful lifestyle and the economy is continually changing. Our book was first published in 1992; however, we have reviewed the original budget and cost figures with every new printing and made changes when warranted. Surprisingly, cost adjustments to the original book figures have been few. Increases can be handled with a slight lifestyle change. Most agree that our costs are controllable with the possible exception of debt payments, taxes and insurance premiums. This is an important facet of the lifestyle because we all know about the unavoidable fixed expenses of living in a house.

We have previously discussed ways that campground and fuel costs can be reduced. These major budget breakers along with other budget items can be controlled. So what do full-timers spend? A flip answer would be, "as much as our income." This would not be totally true, because many still contribute to their savings plan.

Barb and I first divulged our expenses in the book and we are not bashful about doing it again even though our expenses of late may not be typical of an average full-timer. Book promotion and newsletter requirements often require us to be in or near large cities. Our campground

costs have skyrocketed. During newsletter time we eat out more and on occasion have had to take a quick cross country trip for an interview or seminar. This is a classic example of a change in lifestyle affecting cost. It's more than that though. When this old accountant reached social security age, it became a windfall because we had not included it in our retirement income calculations. We use this to buy airline tickets and rent motel rooms for our kids and have been able to be more generous with family and church. Those budget items have increased. It's been fun to do it.

Because many of our costs have been business related, we have been happy that other full-timers have shared their experience with us. Bob and Carol Madden (our current neighbors) volunteered to help us. They have been full-time for about one year in a 5th wheel. Like me they are retired accountants and have done a thorough job of cost gathering and budget preparation. In order to have a common base, we do not include the RV payment (or depreciation) and only RV and vehicle insurance. Health care for both of us represents only out-of-pocket costs. We are blessed with retirement health insurance.

Bob & Carol's Average Monthly Expense

Campground ...................................$ 180
Groceries  ..........................................225
Fuel ...................................................167
Telephone ............................................30
RV & truck Insurance ........................113
RV & truck Expense ..........................161
Licenses  .............................................14
Entertainment .....................................150
Restaurants ........................................110
Clothing ...............................................35
Health care ........................................110
Gifts ....................................................67
Contributions .......................................50
Household expense ..............................30
Liability insurance  ................................21
Travel  (Christmas flight)  ....................100
Unallocated expense .............................44

Total............................................. $ 1,607

The two schedules listed are only meant to share our experience---they may be way off target for many full-timers because of the wonderful flexibility that we have in this lifestyle. Us accountant types all agree that it's important to have a budget (no matter how different) and to record daily expenses (even ice cream cones). Recording provides a good data base for future budgets and opportunities for better control.
Ron at work on expenses.
For what it's worth, here then are our expenses. Many of our full-timer friends have indicated that they spend between $2,000 and $3,000 a month and that would fall within our range. Obviously some full-time on half that. Note: Bob & Carol stay almost exclusively in membership campgrounds. Annual maintenance fees are allocated monthly.
Ron & Barb's Average 
 Monthly Expense

Campground ................................$   325
Groceries ..........................................360
Fuel ..................................................220
Telephone ...........................................60
Insurance---vehicles ..........................150
License fees........................................ 20
Vehicle maintenance ..........................150
Propane ..............................................12
Clothing ..............................................40
Entertainment ....................................320
Contributions ....................................100
Gifts .................................................300
Health care ........................................35
Answering Service .............................18
Unallocated ......................................200

Total........................................... $2,310 

The differences in the two budgets are easy to account for. As mentioned above, we are traveling and eating out more due to business commitments. Our grocery bill may seem high, but we include fast food meals and household items that Bob and Carol include in a separate category. Their campground figure is impressive when you consider that it also includes propane. The other differences are simply discretionary. Gift giving can relate to them having three children and us having nine. Both couples reserve an amount for taxes, but we consider income after taxes for budget purposes, so for a comparison I didn't include Bob and Carol's budgeted monthly figure. So what does this all mean? Not much---but it's fun to compare and we should all take a reading on expenses from time to time. Keep track, make a budget, but don't cut back unless you have to or want to. Keep on having fun and don't fail to treat yourself once in awhile. Wow! I can�t believe I said that.

Barb reading the Word Perfect text book.
When we were preparing for the full-timing lifestyle, I had planned to take my typewriter (which was a good electric one). Ron said, "No, we are going to buy a computer; you can use that for writing." I didn�t want any part of that. I had never gotten close to a computer let alone used one before, and I was sure it would be much too complicated. I liked my typewriter. Our motorhome, at the time, was a 24' Class C; the typewriter was larger than the Toshiba laptop that we purchased so I gave in. Ron promised that he would teach me about computers since he had used one at work and had even taken classes in computer programming.

We were in Lansing, Michigan, when we purchased the computer, but by the next afternoon we were in Michigan�s upper peninsula and miles from nowhere. Anxious to learn about this new-fangled thing, I turned on the computer. It went on, in the upper left corner it said, "C:DOS." The rest of the screen was grey. "Okay, now what?" I asked. Ron didn�t have a clue.

It turned out that what Ron knew about computers was working programs like Lotus and Word Perfect and those programs weren�t on our computer. There were no programs on our computer, but we had one we could install (a salesman�s record keeping, journal type program) and Ron couldn�t help me with that either. In fact, when I asked him what it meant to "format a disk" he said, "I never heard of such a thing." His secretaries had taken care of such details. I got out the book and started reading. That, customer support and occasional help from my sons, is where I have learned all I know.

Computers are great---no they�re more than that---they are a magnificent tool that no full-timer should be without. New computers come loaded with all sorts of great software. There will be programs for word processing (a million times better than any typewriter), money management, and many informational programs. Our newest computer came with Encarta Encyclopedia, Mayo Clinic Health Guide, Billboard Music Guide, Blockbuster Movie Guide, and Bookshelf which is like a giant dictionary. Programs like these which are on CD ROM contain amazing amounts of information. Before we got a computer with CD ROM, I really missed having a good dictionary and encyclopedia. Another thing a computer is good for is entertainment. I love the games.

So which is better for full-timers, a laptop/notebook or PC? That depends on the space you will have available and how much you intend to use it. We have both, but our laptop is a dinosaur; we will get a new one this winter. If I knew what I know now, when we bought our newest computer, I would definitely have gotten a laptop. If the laptop has a CD ROM drive and a modem it will do everything my big computer does and you�d be able to take it to a phone to pick up e-mail messages. I can�t do that. And if you used it a lot and wanted a bigger monitor, just buy one and hook it up to the lap top. A larger key board can be attached that way too. Really the laptops are the most functional for full-timers.

I am not even going to hint at what kind of computer to buy or how much hard drive it should have etc. By the time I would write anything it would be outdated. Technology is changing fast, but don�t wait; there will never be the best time to buy a computer.

If you are buying a new RV and a computer is important, let the salesmen/dealers know. The RV industry has been slack in providing good computer work space and I am starting a campaign to make them more aware of our needs. At least there should be an optional desk complete with phone jack and electrical outlets.

Software that is valuable for the full-timer includes mapping programs and phone directories. I don�t know what we did without them before. With DeLorme Map and Go, Street Atlas and Phone Search (three programs), I can locate any house or business by phone number or address, then ask the mapping program to tell me the best way to get there. Also included in their mapping program is a list of AAA restaurants, campgrounds, motels and tourist information for any area as well as a list of all the radio stations and what kind of music they play. Add a GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) to your laptop and it will show you where you are as you travel. From American Business Information we have software which is the yellow pages directory for the whole United States. If we are looking for a doctor so that we can make an appointment for next month when we are in that state, we can look, select one, make the appointment, and be done with it. We also look up printers way ahead of time. Not only do pay phones seldom have phone directories, you are limited to that area. We like being able to look ahead.

OOps. I��m out of room! We will put more detail in the new book. I am glad that I learned how to use a computer; you will be too. I�d be lost without it.

Barb at her desk in the Dream.

Thought you might enjoy an update of our travels. Also to let you know that I am not sorry I took the plunge....

When we headed to Florida [my step-mom] sent us a different way that was blooming already with wild flowers [Georgia]. Met a nice couple that had broken down on the highway and stopped to help them. That took most of the day, running them back and forth to get parts, but what the heck, time is what we have.... [they] Had just bought the camper and were trying it out. Didn�t even put water, coffee, or a loaf of bread in it.... One of the belts snapped on it....

About a week before we left [my daughter�s in Brooksville, FL], we were all getting ready for our marshmallow and hot dog cookout when I heard on the TV that a special on Touched by an Angel was coming on, so I decided to tape it. In my rush, I turned my ankle on the steps, tried to catch myself and whacked the back of my hand on the desk. I landed, belly down in the rocker. By the time everyone got to me I was quite a sight. Ankle was sprained and turned black for a day then went to that nasty yellow. My hand however stayed sore for weeks. Stubbornness and pride kept me from going to the doctor.

Next, the love bugs were out in full force and they have so much acid in them that we wanted extra wax on the camper, so Jim got busy. At the front there was a spot he couldn�t reach with the ladder. Only way was to stand on the rung that says "Danger, only stupid people stand on this rung." So, of course he did. The camper was sitting on a hill and on sand; of course, if you are a proud man you never ever ask anyone to hold the ladder. You guessed it. He fell. More pride steps in. Since I didn�t go to the doctor, he wouldn�t either. This was Saturday morning. Finally, Monday, he let down his guard and I took him to the emergency room. The X-rays showed two breaks in his right foot. They gave him prescriptions for swelling and pain and put a temporary cast on [for about a week until the swelling went down] so we could go on to Ohio.

The next day we got in our rig and headed north. He is supposed to elevate his foot above his head for a couple of hours and put ice on it. Well, I have had almost no experience driving this thing [5th wheel] and with his personality ...proud, stubborn, bullheaded, and now I might add, bossy, know-it-all, and a (making me nervous) back-seat driver, we both could see that a marriage counselor was in our future unless I stopped and dropped him off at a bridge along the way. Well, we compromised and he took the hand held CB and went back in the bedroom [in the 5th wheel], laid down and raised his leg. Do you really think that is the end of the story?

I did okay for a couple of hours then we went through some city... Pooch is up in the cab of the truck with me. We are in construction. Imagine this: two lanes in one direction. I am in the right lane, a semi is beside me in the left lane, another truck in front of me and plenty of traffic behind. On the edge of the right side is the cement barrier that always intimidates me even if I am in a car... There is no exit and you just have to move. All of a sudden Pooch barks and is clawing at the door. Of course, I can�t pull over and let her out. After a few minutes of her being frantic, she starts passing gas.... All I could do is roll down the windows.... She really got sick and both ends ejected all over. By then, I was almost in tears and was hanging my head out the window trying to breathe. Five more miles... we pulled into a rest area and I went to let Jim out. Of course, the first thing he did was start yammering about how close I was to the traffic back there. Thoughts of shoving his crutch down his throat came to mind about then. I don�t even remember why I didn�t. Got all that cleaned and smelling good and gave Pooch some Pepto-Bismol and went on our way. Every now and then one of us burst out laughing.

We are in Ohio now. They took more X-rays and said the bones are shattered and they put another cast on....doing all we can to avoid an operation and him getting a pin in his foot. Meanwhile my hand is killing me, so I went to a clinic and they put me in a brace to wear. Aren�t we a dandy pair?....

Vera & Jim Kieborz

Full-timers from La Porte, Texas

Decatur, Indiana, is home to the American Coach Division of Fleetwood. We had some things that needed attention on the Dream. Since we were going to Michigan, we made an appointment to stop at the factory on the way and let the experts do the work.

When we arrived in Decatur, we set up camp in their designated camping spot that is just a large parking area with electrical hookups; they also have a dump/fresh water station. This parking lot is about 3/4 mile from the service center. Every morning we were up early (5 a.m.) showered, ate breakfast then drove to the service center so we could be there by the designated time---6 a.m.. We were assigned a team of technicians (standard procedure) who work only on one coach until it is finished. This large facility holds about 20 motorhomes at a time and each has its own team.

While they were working on our motorhome, we had coffee in the lounge, talked with others, read, went out for lunch, drove around town then at about 3:30 p.m., each day, we picked up our motorhome for the evening. They did everything in their power to make us comfortable although we were homeless for about nine hours a day.

While there, we took a tour of the factory. We had toured the Beaver Coach factory in Bend, Oregon, and
Fleetwood in Riverside, California, (the Bounders and Flairs are built there) and thought they did a good job, but we were really impressed with American line. For example, they don�t lay carpet down on the whole floor then set cabinets on top as so many others do. They said they try to build the motorhome like it would be done in a house; they put in the cabinets then lay the carpet. We were amazed with the whole operation in Decatur; it gave us even more confidence in this wonderful motorhome we have.

We think that if possible it is a good idea to visit the factory where your RV will be built before you buy. Then if you need repairs go there also.

Seminar a success

Your seminar [Full-timing] was great. All reports put yours in the top ten for knowledge, presentation and the audience reaction seemed good. You certainly had many questions. Maybe I�ll get to attend it and stay all the way through... For your information the Armory had seating for 606 so you can judge how many attended. Think you pretty nearly had a full house.... hope to see you for certain in Victorville California in April� 98.

Marion Gow
Spring Escapade Seminar Coordinator

Finally off into the new life

Finally, after over a year of planning, we are off into our "new life" as we refer to it. Even though it felt strange and a bit sad to leave behind a house after 24 years, we left a big load off our shoulders�no lawn to mow, water or fertilize, no phone sales that always managed to occur just as we sat down to dinner and no time-consuming general upkeep on a large house. But, of course, there are trade offs like getting used to laundromats, no "real" phone or places to store multitudes of bargains that one thinks they need. However, it seems that the good outweighs the bad.

Selling our house, getting a huge garage sale in order and going crazy for a couple of months, we were rewarded with a previously-planned Inside Passage Alaska Cruise...

Our first excursion will be to attend the Dodge Turbo Diesel Club rally; we are looking forward to getting lots of valuable information there. We pull our 34' Alpenlite RL with a �96 Dodge diesel dually and ,until we leave in Sept, we are living at Port Susan. This is a camping club on the Tulalip Indian Reservation about 40 miles or so northwest of Seattle that has 2500 green-belted lots with each one being different in size and shape with lots of big trees. We are only allowed to stay here six months so we will be out and about...seeking out interesting places to visit in our beautiful U.S....

We both want to thank you both for getting us started in our new venture. If we hadn�t read the article about your travels in the Seattle paper and bought your great book, we�d probably still be mowing lawns and doing housework! Yuk! Hope to run across you in the Mesa area. Do you give out your park name?

Bonnie & Don Maus
New full-timers from Lynwood, WA

Bonnie and Don, We will be wintering this year at Valle del Oro in Mesa from October to ???. We will publish our phone number when we get it. Barb

Ideas from a single full-timer

I so enjoyed having the chance to meet you and all the other readers/friends at Escapade. It was also fun meeting Sherry & Sandy Harper at the gathering. I�ll have to find out more about the table you mentioned in the May Movin� On in response to their letter. I�ve removed my dinette and want to have a small table built that would fold or slide up and down as needed. Taking that dinette table out has really opened up my 24' Class C and given me a living area with two love seats facing each other as well as a chair. But I do need to have a table to eat and write. In the interim, I bought a single folding TV tray table that is OK but a little rickety. Something built in would be much better.... [ Turn to Coffee Break for more on this subject from Judy]

At the Escapade, I added a 75 watt solar panel, a catalytic heater, and two window awnings. What an easy way to get work done on your RV. You return from a seminar and, viola, the work is done. The only problem is you have to pay!

I enjoyed your description of your trip on Hwy 50. When I was returning from Colorado a couple of years ago, I decided I couldn�t face another trip on I-80. I knew I was going to have to drive it three months later on a trip to Utah and it is not my favorite route. So I traveled your trip on 50 in reverse. I thoroughly enjoyed it... As I entered Nevada from the east it was getting late and beginning to snow (it was early April). I pulled into the KOA in Ely for the night. I had to make it home to San Francisco by the next day so it was a quick trip with no time to stop at all the interesting places you mentioned. But the landscape was spectacular having been transformed by a dusting of snow. In spite of the loneliness, I found it a much more enjoyable trip than I-80....

Judy Myers
Single full-timer from San Francisco, CA

Found an old friend

...How great for you to have a family get together. Sounded like fun.

I want to thank you for something you did not even know you did. When I wrote you a letter about your great book you put it in Movin� On. A friend of mine [Marge Raudstein] who had moved saw it.... I had lost her new address. She kept planning on writing me but put it off till she saw my letter in your newsletter. She wrote me. I wrote back...We have been e-mailing every since. It is great to have her back. So a great big thank you....

Charlotte Apple
Greenfield, California

Touching the dream

I have been meaning, since two issues ago of your wonderful newsy newsletter, to send you a check to keep [it] coming. However, true to our hectic life, I keep getting sidetracked. And then the LAST issue came with the sad face. I thought, yes, we would be sad if we didn�t get your newsletter anymore. So, here is my check... Thanks... We keep in touch with our dream through you.

Tim & Linda Washington
Santee, California

Home is on the market

We would love to meet you in upstate New York if and when you come. We highly recommend Brennan�s Beach RV Resort in Pulaski, NY (RT81, exit 35 or 36). Prices are high, but we splurge once in awhile....

Anyway thanks to your book (which we saw advertised in the Syracuse NY newspaper over two years ago) we have put our home on the market and will head out full-time when it sells. There are no words to express our thanks to you for all of your encouraging newsletters! P.S. We are still praying for Ron�s health situation and hope to hear some good news soon.

Henry & Sherry Nott
Watertown, New York

Henry & Sherry, Ron had his three month check up when we were in Grand Junction, Colorado, and his PSA was up just a tiny bit. He had been off the medication (hormone shots), but he is back on and all is well. Really. Barb

Has the diesel bug

...I�m afraid I have the diesel bug and have been looking hot and heavy. May fly to Tampa just to see all the coaches at Lazy Days side by side. The more coaches we look at, the more we realize all the differences. How about a column in Movin� On about the coach i.e.: fuel mileage, fuel costs, any problems, likes, dislikes etc. Also where you get it serviced and so on and who washes it. Keep up the good work and we look forward to each issue.

Steve & Judy Louden
Dallas, Texas

Steve & Judy, If we get enough requests for the above, we will do an article this winter when we are not traveling so much. It is so hard to find room when we are touring. Maybe Ron should do an on-going column, but I have a hard time getting him to work that much. Barb

Also drove Highway 50

I purchased your book about a year ago and read it from cover to cover immediately. Which is unusual for me because I can take a month on one book.

Was delighted when I got the info from the Escapade office and found your seminar listed. Attended, enjoyed, and I got Barb to sign my book. I also made Mel, my husband, regret he didn�t attend your seminar with me...

We too drove highway 50, only I did not keep a diary. Ours would have read very similar to your writing. One exception, Mel didn�t think we needed to get diesel after we left Reno. Well in Austin we needed fuel. We couldn�t get our home (pick up & 5th wheel) into the station all the way. After an expensive fill up, I had to get on the highway to assist in backing out. This is where the town starts building up hill---oh what fun. One of the locals smiled and waved. Thanks for bringing up memories.

Please don�t say you are going to revise your book as it doesn�t need a revision. I am looking forward to your second book...

LaVere & Mel Ames
Full-timers from ???

Enjoyed first host position

We are just finishing up three weeks as a host couple in the Ozark National Forest at Blanchard Springs Caverns, Mountain View, Arkansas, (Folk Music Capitol of the World). Just a few hours a day gets you a huge full hook-up site (50 amp) with spectacular views, lots of wildlife, creek swimming, fishing and great people to work with. Host couples are needed. Contact Joe Dabney, District Ranger, 501-269-3228....

John & Irene Thomas
Full-timers from Palm City, FL

Butterflies at the last moment

It�s time to renew... and we want to say thank you for all the help and advice you�ve passed on to us. We are in the process of movin� on at this very time. The house has been sold, a new motorhome has been purchased and we�re presently moving in to it.

This is not as easy as we anticipated. We have butterflies in our stomachs and of course fears of the unknown. However, we keep going back to your book almost daily and it gives us the courage to press on. With you out in front of us and the good Lord surrounding us�our dreams are being fulfilled.... Please change our address to Livingston, TX...

Pat & Steve O�Dell
New full-timers from Farmington, MN

Watch out for Deer

...While headed for upper Michigan, we detoured one week at Rhinelander, Wisconsin, to lend emotional support to full-timing friends. They had tangled with a deer on the interstate near there and were undergoing the mess of dealing with insurance and an RV repair shop to get their Class A repaired. They were unhurt but the right front of their rig was a mess. Beware of deer. In 15 minutes out of Rhinelander and headed to the UP, we counted over 10 live deer and numerous dead ones.

Maybe we will see you this summer or early fall. We are at a lovely full-hook-up site at the Chippewa Campground at Sault Saint Marie, MI. Ed and Shirley Patrick, the owners, are lovely people and keep the place immaculate. We are in a long term site; we even have a phone.... We would highly recommend this place. There�s a small laundromat at the campground and it is less than five minutes from a bank, a 24 hour grocery, and Wal-Mart. The gas station at the corner even sells propane....

Cheryl & Larry Frair
Full-timers from Anchorage, Alaska

Just turned 50 and ready to go

Well Sharon and I just turned 50 this year, have read your book three times and have been getting your newsletters for a year now. We are trying to get ready to begin our full-time RVing lifestyle. We just bought a 32' G.B.Pursuit and a SL1 Saturn to pull behind it. We are getting it loaded with all the goodies one would need for full-timing. We have set our date to begin the summer of 1999. Will sell our house, extra car, etc., and will be ready to go. Here is my order for 15 more of your great newsletters. This should get us through until we hit the road....

Dan & Sharon Ritchey
Dousman, Wisconsin

by Barb

I told you we wouldn�t be traveling much for this issue. I hope you like our other articles though. Both the computer and finance articles had been promised for a long time. We will have a lot to write about next time.

We will be presenting our full-timing seminar at the Fall Escapade in Lewisburg, West Virginia, Sept 21-26. That is why we changed direction. So if you haven�t signed up for the Escapade you still have time. It should be a beautiful time of year to visit that area and we look forward to seeing all of you there.

If you spend a lot time in Texas and if you have ever had to pay for those 800 phone calls, we encourage you to write to Governor Bush, Senator Drew Nixon, and Representative Hightower. We just wrote them because I never got a response from our letter to the phone company that keeps getting our quarters. If we don�t speak up, they will think we don�t mind.

Last month I didn�t have time to tell you about a wonderful grocery store in Grand Junction, Colorado. City Market, downtown, is big and beautiful and they have a large, staffed, child care room just inside the entrance to the store. The room is bright, has a big window which is the length of the room, and great play equipment including three child-sized computers. Children are welcome to stay up to two hours while the parents shop, and positioned at various places throughout the store are TV monitors which show what is going on in the play room. On the way out of the store they have an ice cream shop. Their single dips are like most double dips and the price is only 75 cents. What a store!

I hope you liked the letter from Vera. Although it relates injuries, I couldn�t help but laugh. We hope they have healed and are enjoying the rest of summer.

Famous Quotes seen on a building in Boulder, Colorado.
Being lost is how you find your way.

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, 
and narrow mindedness.

Mark Twain
I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.
I travel for travel�s sake.
The great affair is to move.
To travel hopefully is a better thing
than to arrive.
Robert Louis Stevenson

Sign on a church in Davison, MI
Pain is inevitable
Misery is optional

Billboard ad for a pawn shop in
Las Vegas, Nevada
Need Cash?
Give us a ring

White Chili  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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