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volume 6                      March  1995                      number 2
Death Valley, Las Vegas and Sedona
Death Valley, Las Vegas & Sedona
�  Potpourri 
�  Campground Update
�  Good Places to Eat
�  Letters, Letters, Letters
�  This' N That
�  Spicy Oatmeal Praline Cake
The next newsletter (around the first of May) will include information on northern California, the Oregon Coast and points north---lots of new territory.
From the stark remoteness of Death Valley to the light and life of Las Vegas and the breathtaking beauty of Sedona one could spend months exploring. We experienced so much in just three weeks that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to put on these few pages.

Death Valley National Park is different from any other place we have seen. At 1 1/2 times the size of Delaware, it is the largest national park in the contiguous United States. Its record high temperature of 134 recorded on July 10, 1913 has been exceeded only once (in Lybia), and its mean summer readings are the highest anywhere on Earth. The average rainfall is a mere 1.9 inches, but the potential evaporation rate is 100 times that amount. That's dry! In fact there was no measurable rainfall in 1929 and 1953. The vast basin below sea level is too salty to support any plant life. There is a different kind of beauty in the starkness of the land and there is a whole lot to see and do in Death Valley.

Furnace Creek is one example of severe contrast in the park. Although the campground is not lush it does have some vegetation. Just down the road is the concession operated Furnace Creek Ranch (cabins and rooms), Corkscrew Saloon, Steak House, and 18 hole golf course and a little further is the ultimate in oases---The Furnace Creek Inn. Rooms go from $175 to $375 per person per night. We peeked at the menus for the two restaurants at the Inn---one had no prices listed next to gourmet sounding entrees. It is hard to imagine such a plush place complete with lots of green grass, croquet courts and all the other amenities in the middle of nothing. Oh and the golf course ranks with the best anywhere.

We filled our days with drives in three different directions to explore such sights as The Devils Golf Course, Artists Palette, Dante's View, Golden Canyon, Borax Works, Devil's Cornfield, Ubehebe Crater, Badwater, Sand Dunes, and a major highlight---Scotty's Castle. And we spent time in the visitor center learning about the park and its history. 

Ron pretending to play golf at the 
Devil's golf course.
Especially interesting were the stories of the people who named Death Valley. Fortyniners looking for a short cut to the gold fields of California, stumbled into Death Valley. If it hadn't been for the natural spring they discovered at Furnace Creek, they surely would have all perished. As it was, after 26 days of searching for a wagon route out, they burned their wagons to smoke the oxen and walked out of the valley.

Another interesting story is that of  Scotty and his castle. I wish I had room to tell the whole story. This beautiful moorish castle built at the edge of Death Valley, by Albert Johnson, is a must to see. Rangers dressed in costume take one back to the 1930's when the castle had lots of visitors. Scotty was often the entertainment with his tall tales. We purchased a couple of books on Walter Scott and became fascinated with the whole history. The home is beautifully furnished just as it was when the Johnsons owned it. When the park service purchased the home, all the furnishings went with it. 

Scotty's Castle
Just outside of the park at Death Valley Junction (30 miles from Furnace Creek) is the Amaragosa Opera House. Marta Becket presents her show on Friday, Saturday and Monday evenings at 8:15 p.m. In January of 1967 42 year old Marta Becket and her husband camped at Death Valley in between engagements on her dance tour. She discovered the large empty Corkill Hall in the nearly abandoned town of Death Valley Junction. They made arrangements to rent the building and plans to move from New York. 

They moved in August and by February 1968 the doors opened---Marta Becket in her new theater---The Amaragosa Opera House. This one-woman show has been featured on many national TV shows and in newspapers throughout the country. It is not fancy and the show is a little amateurish, but at 70 years of age, she does a good job. We were more impressed by her art work which covers three walls of the theater. She painted an entire Spanish audience for her show, just in case she didn't have an audience. Even the ceiling is painted with cherubs.

Inside the Opera House
Marta owns the building that houses her theater and the adjoining hotel (half of which is unused). The buildings are in bad repair and we were astounded that she actually gets $49-$59 for a room per night. The lobby was dirty and the whole place was kind of spooky. No way would I stay there for any price. The experience was quite a hoot. Don't miss it. 

Las Vegas, Nevada of course is famous for gambling, bright lights, lots of good food at reasonable prices, shows and the lack of clocks. But there is a lot more to Vegas; this time we explored some of the sights away from the strip. 

Many people who visit Vegas go 30 miles southeast to the magnificent Hoover Dam. Built in 1936, it is an engineering wonder and tours are available for a nominal fee. Don't even think of trying to park on top of the dam; there's no room. But on either the Arizona or Nevada side of the dam are parking lots and free shuttles to the dam. Don't rush to visit the dam yet. The new visitor center will be open in the near future, and it will be a huge improvement over what they have now. They show a very interesting 28 minute video in a tiny room, but it is difficult to hear with busses driving past the open doorway all the time. And there are only a few seats. In a separate room there is large topographical model of the Colorado River Basin and every half hour an audio program is presented which highlights the features of the area. I would like to go back again when the new visitor center is open. 

On the way back to Vegas, look for the Ethel M Chocolate Factory just off of Sunset at the Green Valley Business Park. Here you can take a self guided tour, visit the splendid cactus garden, and get a free piece of candy. You might like to try one of their famous liquor filled chocolates. They are really delicious.

Red Rock Canyon is just west of town about 20 miles (take Charleston Blvd) and well worth a visit. It is a beautiful drive and once at this Bureau of Land Management (BLM) area there is a 13 mile scenic drive with impressive sights. Or if you are into hiking, 15 or more hikes are detailed in the park's brochure. They range from .7 of a mile and easy to 14 miles and strenuous. It is fun to watch the rock climbers or get out the binoculars and look for people and animals up in the hills. It would be a good spot for a picnic too and a little fresh air away from the bright lights.

Just two miles further west on W. Charleston (SR 159) is the Spring Mountain Ranch (a Nevada State Park). Nestled in a lovely valley, the ranch is open for tours from 12 noon to 4 p.m., Friday through Monday. There is a $4 per car entrance fee which includes the self guiding tour of the house. To see the rest of the ranch, be there at either 1 or 2 p.m. when a docent will take you on the tour of the grounds. We missed that tour but have heard that it is very good. There is some neat history associated with the ranch. Two who played a part in that history are Howard Hughes and Vera Krupp (remember the Krupp diamond that Richard Burton gave Liz Taylor?). 

Even though we talked about the sights away from the lights one just has to in clude a visit to the newest casino/hotels and even some of the old ones. Luxor, at the south end of the strip is a giant black pyramid which is visible during the day and ironically hard to see at night. Out side, in front is a Sphinx and fascinating fountains which perform wonderful acrobatics. These displays are high lighted in the evening by creative laser light shows. Full images appear in the fanned out water sprays. 

Inside Luxor, there is much to see and do. Start by taking a boat ride on the Nile River. Upstairs, take in the three "cutting edge attractions" which "weave the mysteries of the pyramid into a trilogy with thrilling forays into the past, present and future." We didn't do these (next time), but we did take the tour of King Tut's tomb. It is a reproduction of the tomb as it looked (inside) when discovered. It is not just a walking tour---you are given earphones and a wand which give you personal narration. 

At the new MGM Grand you walk into the land of OZ, but there's much more than that. Way in the back is a 33 acre theme park with live entertainment and rides. We didn't have to pay admission, because we just walked around, but this would be great for families. They even have a deal where (for a fee) someone will take your child or children for the day (6 hours I think) and keep them entertained. Lunch, tee shirt and other goodies are included. 

Jim and Norma inside 
the MGM theme park.
Circus Circus has added the covered five acre Grand Slam Canyon for kids and adults. We walked through to check it out. Besides dinosaurs there's a 90-ft waterfall, the world's largest indoor roller coaster (not the kind I like--this one goes fast and upside down), and a giant water flume ride. 

Probably the highlight of the new casino delights is the one outside Treasure Island. The setting is a harbor, in the days of pirates. The pirate ship is in port, but suddenly the calm is broken when a fully armed and ready to battle English ship sails around the corner. These are full sized sailing ships and they do battle. The theatrics and pyrotechnics are unbelievable. The pirates sink the English ship (right to the bottom). When the show is over everything is set back the way it was (no visible damage) for the next show. The shows are in the evening every hour and a half from about 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. (11:30 p.m. on weekends). 

Of course Circus Circus is still fun with it's live circus acts performing above the casino floor, and Excailbur is a great adventure especially if you walk the bridge over the moat just as the dragon shows up, or go to see the volcano and white lions at The Mirage.

It's fun to walk through Caesar's Palace, probably the most elaborate of the casinos; it is so very ostentatious. There's tons of marble and gold. Cleapotra's Barge is the lounge. Or head over to Sams Town, where it is pure western and very casual. We tried to go dancing there, but the floor was so crowded---you couldn't get near it. 

It doesn't matter how many states legalize gambling or how many Indian casinos get built, there will always be only one place like Las Vegas and to believe it you have to see it. We were excited to be able to share one week in Vegas with our friends Jim & Norma Neve from Northport, Michigan. These folks are well read and thought they knew what to expect in Vegas until they saw it with their own eyes. It is truly mind boggling.

Sedona, Arizona is a different wonderland; God-made instead of man-made although man has created an interesting vacation land in this place of beauty. The red rocks reaching to the sky take on shapes of things and animals. Like seeing shapes in clouds, it is fun to use ones imagination. For example one rock is named Snoopy because it looks like him lying on his back on the roof of his dog house. Quite interestingly enough, just above the dog image is one of Lucy sitting looking at Snoopy. 

At 4,300 feet above sea level, Sedona is famous for it's fine lodges, restaurants, championship golf courses, and over 40 art galleries. 

There are many places of interest nearby and some a little further away. Jim & Norma thought it would be a good idea to see the Grand Canyon since they were so close. It is about a two hour drive north to the canyon from Sedona. We took the easterly route (89A to 89) and stopped in at Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. At Cameron, after a nice lunch at the Trading Post, we headed west on route 64.

At the Grand Canyon National Park's east rim, we got our one and only view of this unbelievable canyon. The clouds rolled in and it started to rain/snow. While in our campground later, we overheard many say that they drove to the canyon, but we strongly feel that there are many good campgrounds near the canyon and a quick glance into the canyon just doesn't do it justice. 

A street in Jerome, Arizona
In 1991 we wrote extensively about our visits to the ghost town of Jerome and the two national monuments nearby---Tuzigoot and Montezuma Castle. We enjoyed visiting these places again with Jim and Norma. Knowing that there are many of you who weren't getting our newsletter in 1991, I will just say that you won't regret putting these on your list of places to visit. 

                              by Ron
(Please remember that this report was written many years ago and the campgrounds may or may not be in business or as they were.)

Valencia Travel Village, 27946 Highway 126, Valencia, California. The bad news is that this very nice park is no longer in the CCC system and may be beyond your budget ($25 per night or $150 a week). The good news is that the park has been  improved with all new hookups and renovated facilities. This park, located 20 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, has many pull-throughs and is very convenient to L.A., shopping, restaurants and Magic Mountain Park. Right off of I-5, it is a good jumping off point for heading north in California.

Furnace Creek Campground, Death Valley National Park. Unless you want to visit in the summer (130+ degrees), it is best to have reservations at this very busy park. The sites are flat and easy to get into (even large rigs) and there is a dump station with good water available. Like most national parks there are no hookups and that contributes to the camping atmosphere (fun for a few days). $10 per day ($5 for Golden Age).

Boomtown RV Resort, I-15 & Blue Diamond Road, Las Vegas, Nevada. This new park had been recommended to us by several friends and we recommend it to you. We elected to avoid the hassle and congestion at the CCC Hacienda Park. This well manicured park has excellent pull-through sites, store and a large laundry facility. Their casino across the street serves their hotel as well and offers the usual Vegas bargains on food along with good live country music. It's also handy to the south end of the strip or you can try your luck at Boomtown. We did both. ($12 weekdays-$16 weekends minus Good Sam discount.)

American Adventure---Verde River Resort, Camp Verde, Arizona, CCC, page 39. Camp Verde is only 30 miles from Sedona and close to historic Jerome and numerous Indian sites among the beautiful red rock of the area. In the spring and fall reservations are recommended, but they will never turn you away, because they have lots of nice spaces for dry camping with close rest room facilities. The sites are level with good hookups, but half of the 105 sites only have electric and water. 

Don't you just love it when cities have a 1st Street and a 1st Avenue. In Mesa they are just several streets apart. It is very confusing. 

Phoenix is all excited about getting an expansion major league baseball team in 1998. Maybe by that time they will have the strike settled. Do you really care?

In Death Valley our thoughts kept turning back to the early settlers remembering that they plodded along by wagon and oxen in that desolate country not knowing what was ahead and if there would be food and water ---often not. And some people think that we are adventuresome in a modern motorhome traveling with maps and on well marked paved roads dotted with grocery stores and RV parks. Big deal!!!

It was quite a contrast going from Death Valley to Las Vegas. Miles and miles of desolation to bright lights, crowds and lots of qlitz. This old accountant was amazed to see all the young families staying at the big hotels. I did see a lot of plastic being used though---scary.

I noticed in the Wall Street Journal that MGM and Bally's in Las Vegas, lost money last quarter. I can assure you, it wasn't because of me. One look around and you can see that someone is making money and the expansion and building never stops.

We sure enjoyed the company of Michigan friends, Jim and Norma Neve. We did find time for pinochle with the usual result (guys won).

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

Lance-A-Lotta, Excalibur Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada. All of the eating places in Excalibur are wonderful, but we especially liked the food and prices ($5-$12) here. Both times we ate there, the service was superb and the pasta dishes we ordered were sumptuously hot. So many times pastas are luke warm but not here. On five nights a week a duo (mandolin and guitar) will gently serenade you adding a nice touch. 

Irene's Restaurant, across from the Sedona Outlet Mall, Hwy 179, Sedona (really Oak Creek).  It is so refreshing to eat something different especially when it is so well prepared. Three of us ordered Spanakopeta (a Greek vegetarian lasagna priced at $7.95) and loved it. This very rich dish was too much for Norma and I to eat in one setting. But at home for lunch a day or two later, it was just as wonderful as when first eaten. Jim choose pork chops ($8.95) and was very pleased with the two large chops, mashed potatoes, cooked apples, and mixed vegetables. All meals start with homemade dill cheese bread which is heavenly. After these great entrees, we knew the deserts would be good. Norma and Jim shared peach cobbler with oatmeal topping (ala mode) and loved it. I have to say that my bread pudding with sourmash topping was �to die for.� It was better than Mary Mahoney's (Biloxi, Mississippi) famous bread pudding. 

While in the area try Irene's other restaurant which is next door. We just know that Mexicali Rose will be wonderful and we will try it next time.

Joey's Bistro, Los Abrigados Resort, Sedona, Arizona, was a special treat. This elegant dining experience was made even better by the marvelous food and service. We recommend it, highly.


Was Getting Worried

Just a quick note to say THANKS for your Feb newsletter. I was getting worried about you. We're glad to hear you are doing OK and will be moving around ... in the next several months.... 

Ed & Candy Klingenberg
Honolulu, Hawaii 

Thanks for Movin' On

Please send a copy of Movin' On to.... Thanks a lot and thanks also for my Movin' On. Wait for it each month or whenever you get time. Hope all is well with you both. You're in our thoughts.

Jim Waters
North Attleboro, Massachusetts

Saving early for retirement

I have certainly enjoyed full-timing vicariously through you and your newsletter these past 6 issues. Please renew my subscription for 10 more! Since I still have better than 30 years until retirement, your newsletter gives me incentive to save the maximum allowable towards retirement. I am already counting the days! Keep up the good work....

Sean Derringer
Columbus, Ohio

Friends got them hooked on RVing

We are friends of Vince and Gloria Zamprelli whom you met while spending some time in Wheat Ridge, Co., last summer. ...we were in the final stages of selling our business and taking an early retirement---Gary is 49; Maryellen is 47. Since we had known Vince and Gloria in their days of fixed home ownership and saw their incredible transformation to full-time RV'ers we had a lot of questions about their lifestyle and the changes they experienced.... 

We have lots of uncertainties since we've never even owned an RV. Therefore, we traveled to Florida to visit the Zamprelli's.... We decided to rent a Class C from Cruise America so that we could travel along and at least begin to get the feel for this adventure. On our first day, Gloria gave me a copy of your book which I devoured and passed on to Gary to read. After reading your book, we feel like we know you....

You have some really good information in your book and you have further fanned the flames for an alternative lifestyle. We are wrestling with the idea of selling our current home and buying a smaller condo or townhouse plus an RV, or just shooting from the hip and  cashing in all the chips and hitting the road from the very beginning....

On our way home, we stopped in Texas and based on your writing, made a trip to the LBJ ranch which we loved in spite of the fact that we had foggy, rainy conditions. We could see spending an extended period in that area especially if we could participate in the VIP program.

We enjoyed reading your book so much that we will purchase our own copy for our permanent library. Hopefully we will meet someday on the road so that you may autograph it.

Maryellen & Gary Mencimer
Lakewood, Colorado

SOWERS busy in Tucson

...We are currently in Tucson with other SOWERS [Servers On Wheels Ever Ready].... Our RVs are parked in what will someday be their [church] parking lot. The contractor has put in temporary full hook-ups for us. To our surprise, this includes telephone too!! ' course it's a 10 party line (9 of us and the contractor), but it's great to have it anyway!!... The church building right now isn't very far along and yet the congregation is looking forward to worshipping in it at Easter! Professional contractors have done the concrete foundation and steel girders of the outside frame and roof. They will also put the tile on the roof (thank goodness, as it is a steep roof). The SOWERS men have been putting together the interior walls which are constructed of metal studs. This is a new ability they can all add to their resumes as none of the men had done this before (more great on-the-job training!). Prior to the building being ready for the interior wall construction, the men were converting a three bedroom one bath home that was on the property into a five room, two bath Sunday School  annex. We signed up to work through the 3rd week of Feb.... 

Ben & Karen Cunningham 
& Lucille McKone (Karen's Mom)
Full-timers from Texas

Wife's new tow car

...Have read your book through twice. My big mistake was laying it down long enough for my wife to get her hands on it. She has since marched me to a auto dealership where we bought a little tow car. For years I led her to believe that our coach was too long to tow a car safely. That excuse no longer works. Any way we look forward to spring and MORE traveling OUTSIDE the campground....

I took early retirement in 1991, so we could do more traveling. I was administrative manager for the Pennsylvania State Police for 31 years. Now our three kids are grown, educated and married so we just bum around in our 37' Limited and have fun. Thanks to your book we will be spending time this summer at Grand Marais, Michigan.

I should save a lot of gas money this year with my wife's new tow car. She said I could leave the coach motor turned off and she would push me with her little red car (a Geo Metro). Ha! Should be an interesting and fun summer. Take care and enjoy! 

Gary and Anne Marie Zimmer
Butler, Pennsylvania

Don't wait
...I don't know where to start or what to say, but I have been wanting to tell every one that is traveling or thinking of full-timing to not let the grass grow under their feet. When I first wrote to you to order your book and newsletter, I told you that we were trying to go as much as we could but my husband was ill and was fighting cancer. We went every chance we got, but not enough. He loved it to the fullest and so did I. I lost him last August 13th and my heart is broken into a thousand pieces. He was 55, too young to die....Life is so short. We had a fifth wheel and in one years time, we covered the lower states from Nevada to S. Carolina. My precious husband sold the fifth wheel and insisted on buying me a new motorhome which he did before he died. We took one small trip in it. I still have it and hope to get going, but it is not the same.... Love getting your newsletter. I saw you two at the LBJ [ranch] and hope to see you again. And please, please tell everyone to �go for it�. Just think, my husband has wings now and can go anywhere....

Jeri Cochran
Henderson, Texas

New full-timers

We finally started full-timing after a 3 year countdown. Your book and newsletter have been a wealth of inspiration and ideas. Keep up the great work for a long time!

Art & Gail Knight
Santa Ynez, Calif.

Underway March 1

...Said I'd write again when the house was sold. IT IS! Now we are slashing, selling and giving away. Sure hope we are saving the right things.

We hope to be under way by March 1st. We will play around down south for a couple of months, then come back here, as I have a job...from May 1-Oct 1, then plan to head west.... havng a ball.... 

Don & Char Ideus
New full-timers from Augusta, Michigan

Great idea from the Hendersons

...What a good idea we got from the Henderson's letter (we too are from San Diego) in your Feb. issue. Our RV furnace quit on us and we were told we couldn't get the necessary thermocouple for our '75 Coleman. So instead of buying a new furnace, we had an Olympian catalytic heater installed in our kitchen area several months ago. What we hadn't thought about was pulling out the old furnace and converting it to storage space (thank you, Hendersons). Every cubic inch helps....

Claudia & Stan Richards
Full-timers from San Diego, California

Ready to start

...Loved the book-which we purchased out of curiosity at Camping World. Found it hugely informative and delightfully well written. Neither of us could put it down once we read the first paragraph. We're ready to start full-timing NOW, but will have to "hold our horses" for a couple of years yet. How we envy you! Stay well and thanks for the inspiration.

Ken & Patricia Campbell
Mt. Lake Terrace, Washington

Nervous, excited and can't wait

...The time has finally come! We have our official retirement date---June 30, 1995!  Our Bounder is on order and we pick it up in April. Plan is to take "shake-down" weekend trips in May and June---use July and August to finalize our arrangements, sell our furniture etc., and start our "full-timing adventure" in mid August. We're nervous, excited, but mostly can't wait to get started on our new "Alternative Lifestyle." Sure hope we meet on the road someday and until then---God be with you both!

Joe & Dee Jones
Pewaukee, Wisconsin

Got the Newsletter from friends

We received your newsletter from some friends in Madison who receive your letter. When we mentioned we were selling our home and going full-time, they thought we would like this letter. We certainly did.  ...We hope to move in June. We will probably stay in Wisconsin for awhile since we don't know what Wisconsin is really like. Then we'll take off where the wind blows us till Christmas....

Phyllis & Robert Crary
Lodi, Wisconsin

The fifth-wheel is quivering

...We are new subscribers to your newsletter and think it's wonderful. Keep it coming. 

We are planning to full-time in 3 1/2 years (sooner if possible). Your book has given us the information we needed to get us moving. The house is up for sale---the current 5th wheel is quivering as to where its future owner may take it. We are shopping for a 30'-33' 5th wheel.... We would appreciate any information, hints, suggestions or dos & don'ts from you or your readers. The best information always comes from fellow RVers.

Our beautiful Hill Country is home to many Winter Texans. Kerrville is about 40 miles from LBJ's home and 22 miles from Fredericksburg. We were excited to read in your book that you had volunteered at the LBJ park. Anyone coming to the Texas Hill Country can feel free to call us. We love to visit with fellow RVers. We'll even mention out-of-the-way places and restaurants.

J.C. & Judy Gosnell 
Kerrville, Texas

Found book in library

We picked up your book...at the public library in order to gain some information on the RV experience. What a pleasant surprise to find so much information and presented in such a manner that it was difficult for me to put down the book. I felt a special kinship with Ron since he worked at the Michigan DOT and I work for the Minnesota DOT. I plan to retire some time this year and we plan to hit the road also. Not full-time though, at least to start.

Your book contained so much good information that we want a copy of our own to take along. We also want to subscribe to your newsletter, Movin' On ....I can't wait to find out what you've been up to since the book was published. Hope to meet you on the road someday. Best of luck.

Dave & Lois Halverson
Cottage Grove, Minnesota

The adventure begins

Well, this is the day we have been waiting for---to write you and tell you we are bonafide full-timers! We left Michigan January 8. The wind chill was 30 below. Ask me if I was sorry to go rolling down the driveway with the nose pointed south. No. No. No I wasn't....

We closed on the house in early December and had to have everything out by December 22. I still had the store open [Keyboard World] and business was going great guns....

Now picture this, I had to pack everything in the nine room house we had lived in for 22 years, wait on customers every day, do deliveries every night, try to get the RV ready with the supplies we would need for the rest of our lives, and participate in all the family Christmas doings all within 20 days....    We started living in the RV after the 22nd when all the furniture was moved into the part of the store I was vacating with the sale of instruments. We had it behind the store on a pad. It was so cold though, that we couldn't leave it hooked up to the sewer. Bill always left the hose in the garage so it wouldn't get brittle and only hooked it up long enough to dump. One day he forgot to close the valve and disconnect the hose. It froze into a big pop sickle. The heat tape we tried blew the fuses and the generator we tried to use was out of gas. The local fix-it shop said they wouldn't have a problem getting us into their garage. But they did. They let the air out of the tires and removed the AC cover but it still wouldn't go in. Finally everything got fixed and we left....

We made up our mind that we would head straight for Livingston so we could regroup. It took us the better part of a week just to sort through what we had brought and find a home for it. Finally I got my living room back....

Half way down here, Bill turned to me and said, "You know, if you hadn't read that book, we wouldn't be doing this."....  I can't tell you how happy he is that we are doing what we're doing. It's been raining for two days, and more predicted; however, our rig is as large as some apartments and it looks like a regular home and we feel at home... We will be going back in April (Bill says May) to decide what to do with the store. We have the auctioneer hired to auction our furniture off on August 5th. That will be that!....

We did everything you recommended: the voice mail, the mail forwarding service, and the "how to" sell the house, etc. We are even going Monday to get our Texas license on the truck and RV. 

In our business, we say they won't commit until all the FUD is gone, Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. I truly believe that is the way it happened in our case. The day Bill said to me, "Well, if not now, then when?" I knew the time had to be now with him approaching 77 and me 68.... 

Very Happily Rollin' Down the Road
Bill & Pat Feight, New full-timers 
From Tecumseh, Michigan.

This 'N That
by Barb

After we printed the last newsletter, we attended the Follies in Palm Springs and it was fabulous. This very professional show rivals a Las Vegas show (on a smaller scale) and the amazing thing is the stars are all senior citizens. Women in their 50's to late 70's with figures and stamina like I never had, put me to shame. J.P. Morgan was part of the show and sang some of her hits. Remember Foster Brooks? He was great on stage, and we got to meet him after. At 83, he is super! It was a wonderful show. If you are in the area when it is on, try to see it.

We saw the Follies on a Thursday afternoon (matinees are cheaper) then stayed in town for dinner and shopping at the street fair. Oh and for dessert, we found a little place called Just Desserts. So many sinfully wonderful goodies made the choosing difficult. Yummy!

Before I forget, I need to thank Becky Owens, and her bosses Dave and Tom at the Mesa Tribune for doing my half tones in November, December and again this month. They did a super job and I really appreciate the fact that they always responded quickly and cheerfully.

Death Valley was fun. Remember when we were at Big Bend and I complained about generators and inconsiderate RVers? Well, I am at it again. We were there for four nights and never once ran our generator. There is no need to if you just think differently. The RV house battery held us beautifully and we didn't skimp on the essentials. I made coffee in our aluminum coffee pot, and did without a toaster. Okay, so I don't use a hair dryer or curling iron anyway but... Ron was even surprised that we made it so easily those four days. The lights never even dimmed. And we had to use our house batteries to start the motorhome because the Ford battery had died even before we arrived in the valley; we knew we had to count on the house battery to get us going (or jump the motor home from the Toyota).

Speaking of alternative ways to make coffee, we met a neat couple from Montana at Death Valley. While we were both complaining about the generators, they introduced us to their coffee pot. Bodem coffee makers from Bistro (Swiss made) are available in gourmet kitchen shops. The only requirement is hot water and coffee. Easy!

Recently got a letter from one of our read ers who said that they wouldn't be attend ing the Coast to Coast rally because it meant dry camping and they didn't have a generator. For three days, anyone should be able to go without electricity. Don't let that stop you from going where you want to go. Just live a tiny bit different for a couple of days and conserve. In places like rallies, you won't be in the RV much anyway---just long enough to sleep.

Ron replaced the motorhome battery all by himself when we were in Vegas. He really is getting handier all the time. I did think he acted rather excited when the engine started after his installation---like he wasn't sure it would work.

It had been a long time since we had camped at a Coast to Coast campground when we pulled into the American Adventure Park at Camp Verde. At first I didn't like the idea of having to shower in their restrooms, but when faced with that or moving often to dump the grey, I chose the public showers. They were really nice and I never had to wait. I had forgotten that if the shower rooms are nice, it is no problem. Of course now that we have full hook-up, I'm glad to shower back at my place.

When we were in Valencia, I discovered the Harvest Home Bread Company on Lyons St (not far from Camping World). I love whole grain breads so bought some. I also picked up a nice big loaf of cinnamon bread. Although it was already sliced, the slices were thick. When we were in Death Valley, I made the most delicious french toast using that bread. Maybe it tasted better than usual because it was cooked out of doors on the Coleman stove.

We are getting excited about the Coast to Coast rally and just recently completed a deal with Isley's RV Center here in Arizona. They will be selling our book at the rally and in their stores and catalog from now on. We are real happy to be able to supply them with books. Their prices are very good on all camping supplies and there is no membership fee. 

How many of you Escapees are taking advantage of their new AT & T calling card? We started using it about Christmas time and can't believe the tremendous savings over our other AT & T calling card. They advertise that the costs to the Escapees customers will go down as more use it. From those I have talked to, they are just as happy as we are. If you are not an Escapee, here's another good reason to join. Tell them we sent you just so they know we love them and brag about them.

Every once in a while we get letters where our mail/message number has been left off. Over 5,000 Escapees now get their mail at 101 Rainbow Drive and if you leave our number off, the mail is delayed while they search through the records to find our number. 

We will be signing books and answering questions at the Valencia, California, Camping World (Just off I-5 north of Los Angeles) on March 25, from 9:30-11 a.m.. If you are in the area, we hope you will come on out and introduce yourself. 

Spicy Oatmeal Praline Cake recipe first debuted in this issue. It is one of my favorite cakes. I have linked it to the recipe section where all of our newsletter recipes are posted.

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