We were in Missouri when last we wrote. I promised I'd begin this newsletter with our visit there. Ron already did a review of the state park near Whiteman Air Force Base in Knob Noster, but I wanted to add that it was a nice place to stay. It was very convenient for us; my son Jim is stationed at Whiteman so he could visit on the way to or from work and we were only 10 miles from their house in Warrensburg.
Since I was still recovering from my bout with pneumonia, we kept our visit low key. We did make a trip into Kansas City with Jim, Sue, Kristopher (6) and James (3) to see the traveling Smithsonian exhibit. It was interesting and I was impressed with my grandchildren's interest in everything that was on display. Sue, took time to explain each item to them and they listened intently.
We had a learning experience too. Just as we parked in front of the
convention center, Ron realized that he had locked the keys in the car.
I normally carry a set of keys with me, but left my purse home that day.
We decided to go on, enjoy the exhibit then deal with the dilemma later.
We tried to get into the car with a coat hanger when
Our visit with Jim and his family was wonderful. It was nice to eat meals with them, and just visit. The only bad part was the two weeks of rain which kept us from entertaining more at the campground.
Of course I especially appreciated all the help Jim gave me on the computer.
Besides installing a new hard drive (1.2 gigabites), a new quad speed CD
ROM drive, and tape backup he added a faster chip. I feel like I have a
new computer. The only thing I am missing is a modem, but then we don't
have a phone most of the time so that would be a waste. It was fun to shop
for more software and I now have some exciting new games and programs
Gary & Lori Agron, loyal Movin' On readers and full-time wannabees from Sedalia, Missouri, stopped by the campground for a visit. Gary surprised us with a beautiful framed wood carving of our decal. We have it proudly displayed on the cupboard over the couch.
before. It is all wing. Since there are so few of these planes we felt privileged to see it in flight.
On May 10th we moved to Lake Paradise Coast to Coast park (30 miles west of Warrensburg) so we would be close to Independence where we planned to do some touring. It is a beautiful park with several fishing lakes. When we drove from Knob Noster to Lake Paradise, we picked up Kristopher and James and gave them their first ride in the motorhome. We kept them for the afternoon and when Jim and Sue came out to get them we had dinner at the picnic table. It was one of the few days (over a two week period) that it didn't rain. The boys went fishing and had fun catching lots of fish with Ron's help.
was very informative too. The location of this museum is logical when one realizes how many of the trails west originated in Independence, Missouri. They had a wonderful selection of books in the center and I had all I could do to keep from buying too many. Reading women's journals etc., from this time is fascinating to me. Is there a connection between what we are doing now? Not really, but I still like reading of their experiences. I
think I would have been a pioneer woman if I had lived then. We highly recommend visiting both places.
On Sunday evening, I had a fever and chills again---the pneumonia had
returned, but I had all the medicine I
As soon as we got to Bloomington, I made an appointment with another doctor. He confirmed the pneumonia and added another medication. I rested very comfortably in our RV spot (with electric hook-up) behind the Best Inns motel that David manages. He even gave us a key to the motel room closest to the motorhome so that I could use the phone anytime without having to walk far.
We had been trying to camp with David and Evelyn for years; rain and bad weather had kept us from getting together. The weather man promised to cooperate so we went to the nearby state park. David did all the cooking over a wood burning fire just like I used to do when we camped. He was up before the crack of dawn each morning and had the fire going just like a pro. I kept the doors and windows closed though; my lungs didn't need the smoke. We had a great time, just vegetating and soaking up some wonderful sunshine. In the evenings we played Mexican Train Dominoes. Just like his brother Karl, David doesn't like sitting to my left. I wonder why? Must be because I keep messing up their trains.
Our whole visit with Dave and Evelyn was wonderfully relaxing and I
was finally feeling like I was getting better when we left Bloomington
on May 22 and headed for Berrien Springs, Michigan, and the FMCA Great
We noticed on our map that we would be passing by Orland Park, Illinois,
on our way. Don & Kay Slattery, our good friends from Outdoor Resorts,
are from there and were scheduled to be there visiting family. We had heard
that they traded in their Winnebago for a brand new Bounder after they
left Outdoor Resorts. We gave them a call and asked if there was a Wal
Mart near their house. There was and it was easy to get to. As soon as
we were parked in the parking lot, we gave them a call and they drove the
few short miles to pick us up. It was good to see them and their Bounder
is very nice. I especially like the new upholstery that Fleetwood is using.
It isn't as gaudy as what they used the last few years. We are so excited
for them because these full-timers were about to kill one another for always
stumbling over each other in their Winnie. The difference in floor space
We were driving through that little wedge of Indiana between Illinois
and Michigan when suddenly I felt a sore
The pre-rally events started Thursday. There were bus tours to the Coachman
Manufacturing plant every two hours and on the fairgrounds many motorhomes
were on display. We toured some of the motorhomes and enjoyed the tasty
chili dinner. It seemed appropriate on that cool, damp spring evening.
Also in the evening
Social Security Scandals perform when they were at South Padre Island in 1994 so I knew I was missing a great show. Even though the grandstand was covered, it was too cool and damp for me to be out. Everyone said that the show was top notch---very professional and entertaining.
Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. we did our full-timing seminar. It was
very well attended and all seemed to enjoy it. Dave & Sharon Olson,
vendors of wonderful leisure products, were kind enough to sell our book
for us; we
Australian hat that is waterproof and crushproof. What do you think?
members. Their rallies are always high quality too. They always have the best seminars and entertainment. When I think of the cost to belong ($25/year) and all of the benefits, it is truly a bargain. The magazine alone is worth the annual fee.
I asked the president, Dottie Pierce, if she was aware that some states discriminate against motorhome owners who tow cars by charging them a double entrance fee to camp in their parks. She wasn't aware of that and seemed receptive to my suggestion that as an organization they might be able to do something about it. To name a few, Michigan, Kansas and Minnesota charge a daily entrance fee for each vehicle entering the park. A 5th wheel being towed by a truck or a trailer being pulled only pays one entrance fee. A motorhome towing a car has to purchase two entrance fees for each day they are visiting the park even though the motorhome doesn't move. It is not fair.
Back to the rally. Saturday evening's dinner and entertainment were excellent. Dinner was a pig roast with all the fixings. Not only was it delicious but it was served efficiently and everyone went away full. The entertainment, billed as a Galaxy of Stars, was a variety show with impersonations of outstanding entertainers past and present. Charlie Chaplin, Dollie Parton, Elvis Presley, Johnny Mathis and Barbra Strisand all entertained us. They were perfect imitators---looked and sounded like the real people to us.
Sunday there was more good stuff. First there was a Sunday morning inspiration program featuring music by Lynnelle Pierce then in the afternoon there was a book swap followed by a Sunday Matinee starring Barbara Jean a comedian, ventriloquist and singer who was a talent winner at a Miss America pageant. It was easy to see why. She was fantastic. After her program there was an ice cream social and the evening dinner was hand carved roast beef served up with plenty of other good stuff. The day finished with the best entertainment of all--- An Evening with Dennis Lee. Because of the weather, I did not go, but Ron said the show was terrific. Ron described Dennis as a good singer and great entertainer who got the audience totally involved. Most of the time he was in fact down in the audience bouncing from row to row.
Ron said, "Even though I was setting way up high, he came right up in front of me as he did. He was non stop comedy, joking with the audience. He could have gone on forever; the audience didn't want to let him go."
If you have never been to a rally (especially an FMCA rally), you owe
it to yourself to go. The cost for this rally was $70 and included all
the entertainment, seminars, parking with electricity, one breakfast, one
dinner and ice cream social. For an additional $25 per person we added
three full, delicious meals (big breakfast, pig roast and roast beef dinner).
That truly is a bargain for all you get then add the wonderful comradery
with others... well it is
As we were leaving the park Monday morning, Ron announced that he was
now sick with the same symptoms that I still had. It has been over a week
since that day and we are both still sick. We are beginning to wonder if
this flu will ever end, but know that it surely will. We will concentrate
on getting well long before the next newsletter (August).
Two state parks, two Coast to Coast (CCC) parks and one commercial park make up this month's campground report.
Lake Paradise Camping Club, (CCC), Lone Jack,
MO. This beautiful CCC park has many level sites with good hook-ups
and all with a view. You can enjoy good fishing in their five lakes. The
only negative is the 1½ mile rough road off of Highway F into the
resort. It's worth the effort and is a good location for visiting
Pinewoods Park, I-70 & Pearce Blvd Exit 209, Wentzville, MO. West of St. Louis this is a good overnight stop with pull-throughs ($15.86).
Weldon Springs State Recreation Area, Clinton, IL (30 miles S of Bloomington). The campground is small but the recreation area is large with lots of fishing and picnic areas. Sites are wide and level with electric. ($12 and no entry fee).
Holly Rec Area (state pk), Grange Hall Rd off of I-75. We have reported on this one before and it's one of our favorites. Wide wooded sites with electricity. If you are only staying one or two nights, the entry fees will make it expensive ($4 per veh plus $12 camping).
Smoke Rise Vacation Resort (CCC), Davison,
MI (Irish Rd exit off of I- 69). If you are going to Canada through
Port Huron, this would be a handy stop. This is our home park and the amenities
are excellent (indoor pool & restaurant) with lots of wide level sites.
Through a construction error, the electric & water hook-ups are on
the wrong side and you will need extra hose and electric cord. Campsites
are several blocks from the recreation center and some find that a disadvantage.
Other attractions are a small fishing lake, sandy beach, store and laundry.
The German village of Frankenmuth is close by.
(Remember that this report was written many years ago and the restaurants may or may not be in business or as they were.)
Missouri & Illinois
Winstead's, 12 restaurants in the Kansas City area. This 50's kind of place serves "steakburgers," malts, fries and other typical fare. Their steakburgers are like tender cubed steak and nothing like a hamburger. They were a tasty treat. Service and atmosphere (which included a juke box) were great. Their original store is downtown Kansas City; we ate in Independence.
Baldini's Lucca Grill, 116 E Market, Bloomington, Illinois. They are famous for their pizza which they have been serving since 1953 (43 years). We went for dinner though and ate in the upstairs dinning room. The four of us each ordered the lasagna which was very good. I'd like to go back and try the pizza; it looked super. Although Italian foods dominate the menu there are other choices.
Ned Kelly's Steakhouse, 1603 Morrissey Dr #A, (corner Parkway
& Morrissey Dr) Bloomington, Illinois. Very interesting! The theme
is Australian and the menu reflects this---especially the names. I ordered
smothered chook which was a large boneless chicken breast, char grilled,
smothered with sauteed mushrooms, peppers, and onions in a marinara sauce
and topped with melted Jack cheese. Don't know if it was typical Aussie,
but it was good. Everyone's meal was perfect (steaks and ribs). Dave and
Evelyn shared a piece of yank's key lime pie while Ron & I shared the
hot apple pie n' cinnamon ice cream. The service and atmosphere were excellent.
Take a break. Get a cup of coffee and let's chat.
Wanda & Roy Sanderson from Chattanooga, Tennessee pose this question. "Taking your experience in consideration, if you had from $50,000 to $75,000 to buy a motorhome, what would you buy? Or, do you think one should work an extra year or so in order to buy a more expensive motorhome?"
Ron responds. There are many fine motorhomes
available in the range you mention, including our favorite, the Bounder.
Beyond this you may get into the diesels and luxury interiors. Functionally
they are similar to the less expensive models. As we have said many times
before it gets down to personal preferences. As in houses, some
Here's another one with financial concerns. Janet
& Larry Gordon from Tijeras, New Mexico write.
Barb comments. Since I wanted to be sure
I knew their concern, I called and talked with Larry. He will have a teacher's
retirement which they don't want to touch. If Janet waited until she was
50, she could retire with medical benefits from her job as an air
traffic supervisor. Now to answer her specific question on making it as
a workamper. It wouldn't be something we would want to try. Workamping
is fun if you don't have to depend on it for the basics. Traditionally
the jobs pay only minimum wage and/or a site to park the RV. Without health
Marlene & Jerry Dietrick, from Ramona, California,
wonder how we acquire cash for the little stuff without the
Faithful readers, Don & Kay Nation, full-timers from New Mexico, have a great idea to share. "I suppose most of us have been places where we could not get the awning stakes hammered or screwed into the ground. Here is the solution Kay came up with and it works! It works so well that we will probably never go back to the stake-in-the-ground method."
1. Obtain two, five gallon, plastic, collapsible water containers. We found them at Wal-Mart in the camping dept.
Are doing it
...We thoroughly enjoy the newsletter and really look forward to it. We are doing it! Our daughter is renting our home for the time being. We're in the process of cleaning out 32 years of "stuff" and come September we're off to the world of full-timing. We just took possession of our new tow vehicle---a 1996 Chev. and are still in the process of choosing our new 5th wheel---it's narrowed down to three brands: Travel Supreme, Snowbird by NuWa or the Westport by Fleetwood.
In September we'll volunteer for the National Park Service at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Platte River Campground, Honor, Michigan. This will be our third fall season there and it's a wonderful place to be at that time of year....we are very confident with our decision and are really getting excited. We just joined Escapees and we hope we'll meet you on the road some day.
Mary Lou & Ralph Feldt
Don't like to pay for 800 calls
...We can't thank you enough for all the information you have provided
us with through your book and newsletters. Thank you for the free
decal...We experienced the same thing you wrote about (25 cents for
Loran & Shelby Haney
Will trade to a Bounder
While visiting Camping World in Phoenix, the cover of your book caught
my eye. My husband and I just finished reading it. We enjoyed it very much,
to say the least. We can't wait until we are able to go full-time RVing....Our
hobby is genealogy. We have been addicted for the past five years. We are
in the process of buying a laptop
Georgia & Tom Harding
Want more about RVing in Mexico
Thank you for the information on becoming a Texan. I will investigate this to meet our needs. We really enjoyed your trip to Mexico. If you do a trip in your RV and it turns out to be a caravan, please keep us informed. We will be done with the first leg of the Outzen Odyssey and will be ready for a new adventure..... We are just completing our second month of full-timing and love it.... The Carpenters are with us. They had never ever camped or owned a RV. They bought a new 32' Winnebago, a new Saturn, sold the house, and joined us. They just love it; we were very relieved as we had encouraged them on this full-time idea. So we are four HAPPY CAMPERS.... Please let us know if you get an Adios caravan going.
Marilyn & Bob Outzen
Visited Ron's Mom
Wanted to drop you a note along with my Movin' On renewal to let you know I went to see your mother, Ron, while she was at Palm Gardens in Winter Haven. What a charming woman! I thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Just sorry to hear she's still having trouble. But if her spirit's as great as when I saw her, she'll get back to her home in Winter Haven yet!....
I see our subscription will run out soon, so enclosed is our check for 12 more issues. I wouldn't want us to miss ONE issue. We learn so much from everyone's experiences. We have been full-timers for over a year and we still are learning. I keep my philosophy in mind though, and it carries me through the learning process, ie: Success is not the destination, it's the journey....
We stopped at Fredricksburg, Texas, for their 150th birthday. What a parade! What a fantastic all American spirit! They honored the Indian, German, Spanish and English with speeches in each native language. Very impressive. We stayed at Lady Bird Johnson RV Park. I really recommend it....
Pat & Bill Feight
Hard to remain on hold
Our full-timing departure date was set for July 1st, but we're still "sitting" on an unsold house, we now just take it a month at a time. It's hard to remain on hold for something you're looking forward to so much, but we'll manage. In the meantime, we travel vicariously through full-timing friends with whom we stay in touch and Movin' On. Contrary to the writer who rations herself to one page per day, both of us (beginning with the one who gets the mail first) sit down and read it from cover to cover. It really is a treat!....
Nan & Tom Hanna
Had concerns about leaving family
Hope you don't mind the first names, but we enjoyed your book so much that we often refer to pieces of information as "Ron & Barb said." We started out as backpackers and then went to tent camping, to Pop Up, to 28' Southwind and now to our new Bounder 34P. In all the time (and all the reading), we personally benefited from "Is This For Us" as we had concerns about leaving family (grandsons) and home. Your information let us know that we weren't "leaving" anything. We won't be able to really get "out there" until four years, but as we are planning our "roam sweet home," we would like to be added to your mailing list for Movin' On. Again thank you, and we sure hope to meet you someday, Bounder-to-Bounder.
Bud & Elaine Hamm
I just finished your book Alternative Lifestyle and enjoyed it immensely. It contained the best material that I have seen on the financial aspects of full-timing. I am looking forward to receiving the newsletter.
I have been using the RV Forum on Compuserve to contact other campers. It has been a great source of information. Have you tried this type of forum?
Being from Maine I loved your comments about lobster. I generally don't
order lobster in a restaurant, but cook it at home. The best lobsters I
have had were cooked in a steam lobster bake in seaweed. I noted you had
stayed at the CCC camp ground in Alfred, Maine, (Natural High). I recently
saw in the newspaper that this
Planning and Reading
Thanks much for the decal. It's being proudly displayed on the bumper of our pop-up. My husband Jack (affectionately know as "Huggy Bear") and I are full time "wanna-be's" in our late 40's. We spend much of our time dreaming of retirement, and saving money so we can buy our own home on wheels and see all the wonderful places you describe in Movin' On. Please realize that there are those of us out here who are living the full-timing dream through you...at least until we're 55 and are able to receive our pensions and live it ourselves. Sure, we receive all the "required" publications...Trailer Life, Highways, etc., but we so look forward to receiving Movin' On, because you two are actually doing it!... I've read your book three times already and learn something new each time.
Connie & Jack Covemaker
Don't wait until it is too late
...Kathy and I started four years ago with a five year plan to get ready
for our full-timing adventure. I am 51 and Kathy is six years younger.
After talking to hundreds of full-timers over the last ten years, we know
we want to give this a try. Most of the full-timers we have been finding
are in their 60's on up. The last question I always ask
Andie & Kathy Gentes
Found book in library
I recently finished reading your book on full-time RV living. My husband
is nearing retirement and I have been reading quite a few books on places
to retire to. When I saw your book in the library I picked it up thinking
it would be interesting reading but that I would never consider that kind
of lifestyle. By the time I finished the book
When our kids saw the brochures we brought home and found out what we are considering, they didn't seem to have any problems with the idea. In fact they had all kinds of helpful suggestions, like who would get what of the furniture. They're also planning vacations around where we might be. All this is several years down the road as our youngest is still in high school, so we have some time to talk, talk, talk and plan, plan, plan. As you know there are many details to consider.
The reason I am writing is to find out if you are still on the road and if you are still publishing your newsletter, Movin' On. I would like to subscribe to it.... My hopes are that you are still discovering new places. Who knows, we may meet on the road sometime.
Loved first Escapade
We spent two months in a trailer park in our 5th wheel and loved every minute of it... We are no closer to getting Barry's pension problem solved and it has been discouraging as everything else has been done.... Know it will work out eventually....
We just attended our first Escapade and had a WONDERFUL time. We learned so much and met such nice people that I wanted it to go on forever. We dry camped and had no problems---all the systems worked just like they were supposed to. At least we know that we can do it. At this point we feel that 24 ½ feet is a good size for us and we can be very comfortable... Would you please send sample newsletters to the following couples we met at the Escapade and told all about you---thanks...
Jean & Barry Wilcox
This 'N That
When we arrived at Knob Noster State Park in Missouri most of the trees were bare. It looked a little grey. But by the time we left 10 days later the trees were full of new soft green leaves. The red bud trees were beautifully bright and it was so lush that it reminded me of Washington. Some times rain is good!
Overheard at the GLASS Rally. Muhammad Ali lives in Berrien Springs, Michigan. He lives in the old Al Capone Estate. Wouldn't that be fun? Apparently the nearby Mc Donalds has a display of Ali memorabilia and he visits often.
When I mentioned last month that there would be no more sticky notes
included with newsletters from now on, many of you thought that I wouldn't
be communicating with you except for the newsletter. I couldn't do that
--- not in a million years. I will still answer all of your letters, but
will have to mail out the answer right away instead of saving the notes
to add to the newsletter like I had been doing. It will cost us a little
more in postage and that is partly the reason for the increase in newsletter
price. If you renew your subscription and simply send a check
You should hear Ron and I coughing, sneezing and blowing our noses all the time. Could it be that we are allergic to these northern climates? Just the other day Ron said, "If only the sun would come out hot and bright, we could lay out side and soak up some vitamin C and we could open all the doors and windows to air the bugs out of this place."
If any of you happen to have the computer game Shivers, by Sierra, and know the solution to the Chinese marble puzzle, the other marble puzzle or the witch doctor's drum beat I'd sure appreciate a hint. I am stuck at the moment. It is a great game if you like that sort of thing.
I would really like to hear from all of you who will now learn to drive your RV after reading the article on page 9. Those of you who get brave and do it then write will undoubtedly help others.
After looking at all of the wonderful coaches on display at the FMCA rally, I couldn't find one that I would trade even for and there were some with price tags of $500,000 or more.
I got another terrific permanent. This time it was Tina Neal at the
Facade Salon in Warrensburg, Missouri, who did the good job. Thanks Tina.
Since we are relegated to pay phones where there are seldom any phone books, looking up places of business or old friends has been a real challenge. All that has changed now that Ron's son David and fellow campers Jerry & Chelle (pronounced Shelly) Gilstrap introduced us to some wonderful computer software. It has made my life simpler already and I wonder how I managed without it.
American Business Information packages a nine CD ROM program which includes American Yellow Pages (16 million phone numbers), 800 Phone Number Directory, 9 Digit Zip Code Directory, and 88 Million Households Phone Book. I don't care if I ever see a phone book again and these disks fit in a nice little case which is about the size of one of those small photo albums you sometimes get when you have your film developed. The program sold for about $59 at Best Buy. Now if I am looking for a printer, doctor (even specialties), a restaurant or a campground in the town we are in or anywhere we are going, I simply look it up on my computer before I go to the pay phone. I used the program to look up Janet Gordon's phone number (see Coffee Break) in New Mexico and our friends, the Slattery's, in Illinois.
DeLorme Mapping puts out a fantastic program which includes the best
computer maps I have seen so far. Street Atlas USA when used with their
phone directory program will look up a phone number then pin point the
Because these are CD ROM programs they don't take up any room to speak of on your hard drive. Computers are wonderful. How did I ever survive without one?
Ron pulled over on the shoulder just long enough for me to take over
the driving. I silently patted myself on the back for being able to drive
the motorhome easily and thanked Ron for pushing me to get behind the steering
wheel of the Bounder right after we got it. Although I drove the Mallard
easily, I was afraid of the Bounder. We
So I drove all the way to Holly which was about 200 miles. And I drove from there to Davison a few days later because he still had problems seeing. As soon as we got settled here, I drove him up to the local optometrist. They adjusted his glasses and he felt that he could drive. But by the time we got home, he said it wasn't safe for him to drive. Something was wrong. So I found an ophthalmologist and got him an appointment right away.
Ron has had a minor stroke in his right eye. It won't move. He sees double. It will heal by itself in time (two to three months), but what would we do in the meantime if I could not drive? One never knows what will happen. And both partners should be prepared.
At the GLASS Rally, we were in a cute little Class C motorhome which was on display and overheard two women wishing that their husbands would buy it so they could drive. They were afraid of the larger motorhome they had. No way would I give up all the comforts we have in our Bounder to have a smaller motorhome which might seem easier to drive.
Driving a big motorhome or a big 5th wheel is only a challenge when you have never done it. Anything is possible. Any thing can be learned, but first you have to try. If you are in Michigan this summer look for me---behind the wheel.
recipe section where all of our newsletter recipes are posted.
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