We were in Jacksonville when we got a message on our voice mail from the Escapee organization. They asked if we could please present our full-timing seminar at the Escapade in Chico, California, towards the end of April. We felt so honored to be asked (Joe & Kay have always done this seminar) that we said, "Yes." Then as long as we were going to California, we thought it would be fun to attend the FMCA National Convention which will be held the 20th of March in Pomona, California. We had never been to one of the FMCA national conventions. So the plans have been tossed aside and we have mapped out a route (mostly interstate) which will help us move along at a good clip.
This newsletter will not have the traditional travel information---just tid bits on a few sights. Thereís a lot of good information which came our way recently and I want to share that now.
Look for the special section, Old Friends and New Ideas, which begins on page 4. We are printing a mixture of information. For example, we have heard from two of our single full-timers (one male and one female) and believe that their experiences are valuable even if you have a partner. Carol Stewart has been generous enough to share her great ideas on how to include aged parents in the full-timing lifestyle. Rich & Wanda Townley are real active workampers and new full-timers. I thought youíd like to read what they do to help with finances. We recently read a new book, First we Quit our Jobs, and were lucky enough to meet the author and her husband. I know you will love it so we will review it. And for all RVers thereís an exciting new service. The RV Travel Information Exchange will make it a breeze to travel from now on. You will no longer need tons and tons of books, flyers and pamphlets.
Look for us in California. We will try to do newsletters regularly for a while so you will know where we are at all times.
(Please remember that this report was written many years ago and the campgrounds may or may not be in business or as they were.)
A month at Lazydays and 5 days at the Southeast Area FMCA rally has shortened the campground report, but we have several that you may be interested in.
The Springs RV Resort, 2950 N.E. 52nd Court, Silver Springs, Florida. You will never have a problem getting into this park with over 600 sites. Sites are level and hook-ups are good. Interior roads are paved and they can accommodate large rigs. The folks here are friendly, but amenities and atmosphere does not compare to the luxury parks. Monthly rates (in the $260 range) are reasonable, but daily rates are high ($18) for what you get. Itís a destination park for snow birds and serves that purpose well.
Juniper Springs Recreation Area, State Route 40 east of Silver Springs, Ocala National Forest, Florida. This is where we should have stayed when we were in the Silver Springs area. We had stayed there eight years ago with our little motorhome and were afraid that we wouldnít fit in with the Dream. We drove over to check it out for you and it is beautiful and can easily accommodate large rigs. Full hook-up sites in a beautiful wooded area near hiking trails, canoeing, fishing and much more---very scenic. They have a senior rate of $9. Itís a bargain.
Hanna Park, 500 Wonderwood Drive, Jacksonville, Florida. This city park is another bargain. $12 and a Good Sam card will get you a full hook-up in a beautiful wooded setting within walking distance to the ocean. Miles of hiking and biking trails (separated so bikers and hikers wonít collide) will add to your pleasure. Their busy season is in the summer so snow birds and full-timers have no trouble getting in during the winter. They have lots of pull-throughs and waive the 14 day limit during the winter. You will like this one.
Central & North Florida
Paulís Smokehouse, U.S. Route 1, Titusville. This large attractive waterfront restaurant (Indian River) specializes in prime rib, seafood and barbecue at moderate prices ($9-$17). We arrived just before the dinner hour so were easily seated, but there was a long wait shortly after. Ron ordered shrimp which he said was excellent. Barb tried the filet in a burgundy sauce. The honey mustard dressing on the salad was hot and sassy---definitely home made. There was a long list of fresh, homemade pies available so we split one piece of coconut cream. Delicious! Our server, Melanie, was very nice, and although very busy was efficient and attentive.
Singletonís Seafood Shack, A1A, Mayport. Located at the ferry just a short distance from Hanna Park. Thereís nothing fancy here, in fact, the tables and benches are made of unfinished plywood. Fresh seafood is served on paper plates with plastic silverware, but everything was good. The menu was large and the service great. Pelicans preen themselves just outside the windows. As an added plus visit a side room and view Capt. Rayís hand carved boat collection. He just died one year ago but his collection is just as he left it including the ship he was working on. This fun place is worth a visit. By the way if you order your blackened fish "hot" it is really really hot. I couldnít have eaten it and I like hot stuff. Ron said that next time he would order the medium variety.
River City Brewing Company, 835 Museum Circle, Jacksonville---on the river downtown. We had lunch and it was superbógood beer, excellant salad and fish sandwiches. Their dinner menu looked great too.
Take a break. Get a cup of coffee and let's chat.
From June & Levi Kimbel, full-timers from ???, regarding membership campgrounds. "We also use Thousand Trails/ NACO whenever possible. Then we use our A.O.R. and when those two are not available we use Coast to Coast. Never have made advance reservations except for the one in Pahrump, NV. Other times we have just driven in and have stayed from one night to the full seven days. No problem! I agree, buying a used membership is the way to go, but not through a "resale membership company." Our dealing with them several years ago was pay then get no calls or letters regarding the membership you wish to sell. I suggest an ad in Highways magazine. It works...."
From Marilyn Bond of Ontario, Canada, regarding the internet and Email. "Are you finding that any of the CCC or other campgrounds that you live in are offering any Ďon lineí connections?"
Barb responds: Since we are not on-line (we do not have a modern laptop or a cell phone) I cannot answer this with authority. Iíd appreciate some help on this one.
Hereís another one we need help on. Julie Anderson, of California has questions about engines and fuel. "I am considering a 24 foot, 1994 Trek, with Isuzu diesel for myself and my dog. I am not really familiar with diesel engines and wonder if fuel is available on back roads and small towns. Also, do you have any opinion on the Safari Trek, diesel engines and a propane generator (instead of gas operated)?
Barb comments. I donít think youíd have trouble finding fuel especially since it is a small motorhome. Big motorhomes are easier to fill in big truck stops. We are just not familiar with that engine or propane generators. Help!
Jackie Smith & Joe Hartzler full-timers from ??? are upset with Fleetwood. "We are really upset about what Fleetwood has done with the Bounder. It seems they are doing nothing but lessening the payload. As full-timers we are very conscious of weight and yet we need to carry much more than vacationers. Bigger is not necessarily better. When will the manufacturers ever learn? I will admit, though, that going into our fifth year on the road there are more things I can live without.... We have decided to just keep improving our 1992, 34J until it wonít take it any more...."
Barb comments. Quite honestly that is why we didnít buy another Bounder. We carry a lot of books and paper etc., and needed the carrying capacity.
More comments from Bob Wilcox (see Letters, page 7). "On the subject of obtaining cash on the road, I have an AAA Visa card. With this card I can purchase travelers checks with no service charge... We pay the Visa bill with a check... Regarding campgrounds: We have stayed at a number of Corps of Engineer Campgrounds and have been impressed with them. The one at Westpoint, Georgia, is an outstanding recreational facility. When using our Golden Age Passport, we average about $8 per night.. Our motorhome is equipped with a Splendid 2000 washer/dryer combination and we prefer the convenience of doing laundry in the coach.
Mack Ely of Oklahoma wonders why he never hears anyone talk about Class C motorhomes. "My friend thinks she would be able to maneuver one better than the Bounder type. We have rented the Class A and she is uncomfortable in them. I love them, so tell me the disadvantages."
Barb answers. Class Aís usually have more living space (without that small cab part) and more storage space. Class Cís are fine; we lived in one for almost four years. It would be great for starters.
About Convection ovens. Clint & Carol Meek
are still trying to learn the quirks of the convection oven. Baking dries
out foods. Any tips?
Rich & Wanda Townley and their golden retriever, Kayla, stopped in to see us while we were in Tampa. They had just celebrated their first year on the road and were excited about all of the money they made selling Christmas trees in Boca Raton. The Townleys do not have a pension and they are a long way from Social Security. Prior to full-timing they owned a resort in Houghton Lake, Michigan, and before that they owned a business in the Detroit area.
When preparing to full-time, they subscribed to Workamper News and figured that they would have to earn some money. Rich liked the idea of doing the guide maps and after research signed on with Southeast Publications. (In the last issue of the newsletter I added to their letter that they worked for the competitor. Whoops!) This outgoing couple is perfect for the job and they like the flexibility. These guide maps are the ones many campgrounds give you when you check in. They have advertising for local businesses that would appeal to a camper, map of the area as well as the campground and other local information. The maps are free to the campgrounds; the advertising pays for them. It takes a couple of weeks to "do" a campground and while working one has a free campsite. But the real benefit is actual cash from the job.
Before they signed on to do the guide maps, Rich got a job at Disney World. It was something he had always wanted to do and although they wouldnít do that again, he did enjoy the two months they were there. He was a tram driver and helped with crowd control for the fireworks at Epcot. Wanda tried to hire on but with only one car, they couldnít get a workable schedule.
Rich says that the key to working on the road is to have an open mind. "Donít limit yourself," he added. Many who had made big bucks prior to retirement have a hard time working for less. Think of it as an adventure not a job.
The Christmas tree lot was hard work, but then it was just one month and they made a couple of thousand dollars. Their expenses were low---no campground fees and they didnít go out. For that month they couldnít even go to the grocery store together, because the lot couldnít be left unattended. They said they would definitely do it again. They donít work all the time and they are getting to see a lot of this country. They plan to attend the Escapade in California so we will see them again there.
Include Aged Parents in Full-timing Lifestyle
We have enjoyed printing two other articles by Carol Stewart some time ago. This former teacher has a way with ideas and words. I am printing her letter as is.
Dicks parents (mine are deceased) live in a retirement center in which most of the residents are retired teachers who have traveled the world. Our folks wanted to be able to speak of our travels and our vehicle. They wanted to show we werenít taking off in a VW van like hippies, or snowbirds in a mobile home. We were going to be "full-timers" and their friends needed to know what that was all about. When we saw raised eyebrows, we knew a lesson was needed.
So we rolled that motorhome (40 ft Grand Villa) right up to the front door, hung out some balloons, posted a road map of the USA (to be filled in by them with red route lines as we moved along), served some cookies, punch and fresh fruit. We expected about 20 visitors. Well, we had nearly 100! At one time I looked down the aisle, and counted fifteen seniors with four using walkers. They pushed all the buttons, sat in all the seats, and asked a hundred questions. Occasionally I would notice someone getting a little misty-eyed as one partner whispered to another, "I wish we had done this, but we waited too long."
It was a grand day. A significant reason is that both Mom and Dad support our roaming. They were both great travelers and campers. Now, however, their travels are limited to family events and they travel in our motorhome for just short trips and stay overnight in bed and breakfasts.
That USA map is filled now with red lines back and forth across the continent and I send them brochures of the places we visit. Sometimes I send a flower we find along the road, and I try to remember to use our Polaroid camera to take pictures and send "right now photos" instead of waiting for the roll to be finished. These folks love post cards, need mail, and besides I know they will share with our parents. I figure itís a two for one deal.
We have an answering machine at our sonís house with our own 800 number. Thatís so our parents think itís free and call any time. The number is also set on their automatic dialing system, so they do not have to remember any numbers or code numbers. They are 90, and we want to hear from them anytime. It took us a while to convince them it was okay to call at night because it wouldnít wake us up. They are coming into the electronic age slowly like we are with our computer. They do use the system and thatís all we ask. We call the answering machine just about every day, but occasionally we take a few days "vacation," and we feel that is okay because our sons are great in an emergency. Our boys are all about three hours away and we feel we can be with Mom and Dad by the next day.
The first year we did not return to see them for eight months. Now they like us to visit about every six months, so we fly to see them, just like other people, but we do it off season. We get better ticket rates and we are already in the area during Christmas. However, weíre starting to think about being in this area during only part of the holiday season.
When we do visit, itís like other children visiting their parents. But at the dinner table we usually sit with their friends, so we better have some good stories to tell; weíre the entertainment. We share our motorhome magazines too. During our visit we do shopping chores for such items as lingerie (Iíve learned how to order these items and have them mailed to Mom), hardware, batteries and other items that are just too exhausting for them to shop for. I also order books for them from our favorite book store. Dick keeps their accounts on our computer. They should not have worries at their age, and our absence shouldnít give them more problems. Itís working, but I expect our visits to be more frequent as time passes. We feel blessed that they enjoy our travels and understand our need to travel as they once did.
Catching up With Two Single Full-timers
We wrote about Frank Herrington in the book (page 171 in an Alternative Lifestyle) but hadnít seen him in a while. He knocked on our door one day when we were at Lazydays. This 77 year old gentleman was there to pick up a new motorhome (his third since full-timing alone). He was trading in his 34 foot Pace Arrow (gas) for a new Allegro Bay diesel bus (38 ft) complete with slide out. I asked him what he needed all of that room for and he just smiled that charming smile of his. Perhaps he is looking to pick up a girl friend. This guy is remarkable. He has travelled to Alaska three different summers and canít wait to go again. What a guy!
We have printed letters from Mary Jordan of Cheyenne, Wyoming, before she actually hit the road. Now here are some of her current thoughts.
"... On October 19, I headed south down through Colorado and Oklahoma to Mc Kinney, Texas.... The trip down was very relaxing as I took my time...on the red routes...as much as possible.... Most people want a newer dependable car to travel with. Being alone I went the opposite route. At home I have my late husbandís 10 year old Caddy. Itís too big to pull and I was afraid of messing it up.... So I bought a disposable car, from a friend. I got a 1983 Chevy Citation for $300, put new tires on it, and drove it for three months before I left. I spent almost $600 for a fancy self aligning hitch, base plate, safety chain and magnetic lights. If something major goes wrong with the car, I will just take off the hitch and junk the car. I will need a new base plate for the next car, but the hitch, chain and lights can be used. The Chevy has an automatic transmission, but I didnít want to invest in a fancy oil pump, etc---not in a disposable car. In the RV newsgroup on the internet, they discussed pulling four on the ground without any special rigging. Supposedly if you stop and run the car through the gears every 200 miles or less, for about five minutes, it will work. I decided to go that route and run it through the gears about every 100 miles.... The car is very necessary. I can hitch/unhitch it in less than five minutes and it pulls smoothly....."
"I have hobbies, books, a knitting machine and laptop computer. My little dog is an ideal companion. I miss my late husband, but Iím very comfortable traveling alone. I have noticed that many women travel alone, but very few men...."
"I have a cell phone which cost only $16 a month, for emergency use only.... My mother is 92 so my family needs some way to get in touch with me. I also have a CB...."
"You probably remember that I have a 23 foot, class C, 1978 Tioga. Itís old, but itís paid for. You donít need to have a newer motorhome to have fun. So many single friends talk about how they would love to be able to afford to travel, but they want new fancy rigs. Itís nice to dream, but they canít afford a new rig and travel expenses also. A newbie is better to start out with an older rig; if they donít like it, they wouldnít lose much.... Important items are electric blanket, ceramic heater, homemade quits for my cab windows which I attach with Velcro... I installed a 75 watt solar panel last summer, so I can boondock easily."
The RV Travel Information Exchange
Mary Ann Moore and her husband are RVers who plan on full-timing in the very near future. She says that the RV Travel Information Exchange began with a crabby comment she made. As co-pilot, it was her job to figure out where to stay and what to do once settled. It was no small job juggling the huge campground guide, state map, a pile of brochures etc. So after spilling the mess for the fourth time in one day and with brochures and books at her feet she grumbled, "There has to be a better way." She has invented it and done an excellent job.
When you join the exchange you will have access to over 160 U.S. town articles. Before your trip, you just fill out a form with the towns you want to visit. You will receive a travel guide so complete and informative it is like having a friend in every town. You get information about the townís history, any campgrounds that have been recommended, good places to eat, sights to see, fun shopping, local grocery stores, events, great museums, sports teams, golf courses, tips for travelers including the names of local vets. There is no advertising either. Except for the history and facts, all recommendations are from others who have been there and you will be invited and in fact encouraged to add your recommendations too.
Mary Ann does a super job. The presentation is beautiful and well done. The only problem we see is she is practically giving this stuff away. She assured us that the charges are in fact introductory and good only until 6/30/97. Call, write or E-mail her for more information.
Editor's note 2005: She is no longer in business so I deleted the contact information.
First We Quit Our Jobs
Because we are listed as the publisher of a newsletter on RVing, Dell paperbacks sent us a copy of a new book to review. The author, Marilyn Abraham, and her husband Sandy MacGregor, had high stress corporate jobs with big publishers in New York City and chucked it all. They quit their jobs, sold the house, paid their debts, bought a used RV and hit the road. They had little knowledge of RVs, but knew that they wanted to make a life, not just a living.
First We Quit Our Jobs is the title of her book. After a slow beginning where Marilyn sets the stage and tries to rationalize what they were planning to do, the adventure begins. She writes in an easy manner and takes you right along; you will smell the flowers and taste the foods all the while they are trying to adjust to life out of "the city." They traveled from New York to Alaska then back via the southern route. They also went from citified neurotics (not trusting anyone) to relaxed, trusting RVers. They are not full-timers, but their story is well worth reading. I didnít want it to end. I had always been a bit indifferent about Alaska, but now I really want to go and do all that they did.
There was a blurb in the back of the book that they had settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico, so on a lark, I called information, got their number, called and left a message. Marilyn returned my call, excited that we liked her book, and left a number where I could catch her. Would you believe that they were visiting her parents in Sarasota, Florida, while we were in Tampa? Marilyn & Sandy attended one of our seminars, we talked like old friends, and will keep in touch.
Do not have one regret
...Weíve been dreaming about full-timing since 1987. It was a little overwhelming at first getting rid of all our furniture and stuff and getting used to our trailer. We do not have one regret. We would do it again in a heart beat. We love our little home. The electric lift on our trailer is great. My little dog, Suzie, thinks itís hers. She walks out on it waiting for me and my walker to join her. We get on my electric scooter and off we go. Being handicapped does not deter this lifestyle. We bought a used Suburban and had a lift put in it for my scooter so weíre all set....
Joan & Everett Syphus
Were going to retire to Arkansas
...we heard so much about you...my husband has read everything he can get his hands on that youíve written.... We were blessed by meeting Cec and Judy [MoviníOn subscribers], who were our next door neighbors for a week.... meeting them has put a hold on some of our retirement plans.... After meeting Cec & Judy and learning so much from them. ..we are going to try full-timing for awhile before we invest in real estate and then have to worry about it. [had planned to settle in Mt. Home, Arkansas]. This way we will be free as a bird!
Shirley & Clarence Sparks
Want to see all the national parks.
...Of the four RV publications we receive---Moviní On, Escapees, Highways, and Motorhome---we enjoy your wonderful newsletter the most. Your book and Moviní On have done the most to ...inspire us as we have made the decision and are preparing to become full-time RVers.
This coming June Walt will retire after 37 years.... Last June we took delivery of a 1996 Winnebago Adventurer 32' and a 1996 Saturn SW1 to tow behind it, and we love both vehicles.... One of our goals is to visit as many states and national parks in the U.S. and Canada as we can, and to work as volunteers in parks to help defray some of our camping expenses.
It was an article on full-timing that appeared in our local newspaper, The Wilmington News Journal (in April 1994) that mentioned you and your book that started us on our road to a new life. We feel we know you so well from reading your newsletter that we canít wait to meet you....
Judy & Walt Liefeld
Time has flown by
Just finished your book... Enjoyed it so much. It made me laugh, relayed my fears and reinforced my decision to full-time until? We have been full-timers for one month (today) and it has flown by. Have been through all the feelings you described in your book but your positive comments over shadow any negative feelings we may have had. I hope we have as much fun and enjoy this lifestyle as much as you two seem to be doing. Keep it up!!
Ruth & Ray Ukura
Just joined FTTA
Iím so pleased for you both that youíve found the rig youíve always wanted. In many ways I envy you tho... Victoria... couldnít somehow come to terms with the idea of living in the same vehicle as we were driving around in all day.... Just for today this configuration of travel trailer and suburban is fine and a good experience....
Iíve written to the new people you gave a forum to ... FTTA [Family Travel Trailer Association]. Good for you. Iíve been a member of the FMCA, but have often felt that trailer owners must feel like poor relations. And now Iím one myself!
Robin & Victoria Jenkinson
Heard of the Dream through a friend
We knew of your new motorhome before we received your newsletter. A friend called us from Florida to get the address of Rainbows End and said they thought you were at your daughters and had read an article in the paper where you had purchased a new motorhome.
I think the first time I wrote you we were looking at 5 years till full-timing. Would you believe itís now 15 months. It does not seem real!....
Daphna & Willie Williams
Finally found someone with decal
... As we pulled up to the guard shack at Happy Trails [Arizona] this couple came up to our window all excited because the Moviní On sticker we have on our rig was the first one they had seen. They came over in a couple of days and we told all about you two. I got out the article from the Detroit paper for them to read.... Their names are Joe and Dee Jones and they had the first sticker we had seen, too. We look for [them] all the time.... Itís amazing to me, that when we read the letters in your Moviní On, that so many... went through the same thought process we did, until we read your book, and then everything came into prospective. I canít believe we have been full-timers for two years, January 10th. We still love it and I think itís because of the preparation we did that makes it still viable for us. Thanks to you.... We will always be grateful for the time we had with you two this last summer. I do hope our paths cross again, you are such an inspiration.
Pat & Bill Feight
Heading to Lazydays
I am glad that I waited for your newsletter to arrive before I wrote this. Congratulations on your new home, and what an excellent way to continue your dream. I hope you are ready for the endless plays on words we who are your admirers are sure to fall prey to.
I was preparing to write you about the next phase of our dream. Our cast off date has been made public and we have started to divest ourselves of stuff. We plan on hitting the road in September of this new year. We will sell our house, my business and a whole lot more. And itís getting to be time to buy the escape vehicle. So, we will be coming to...Lazydays on January 20 for three days and plan on attending your seminar....
In any event, I am struck by the flow of chance and fate (and more) that results in this convergence at this time and place. This +/- year and half relationship with you two people has been most interesting. We look forward....
Dante Russillo & Claudia Beach
Have the same computer desk
Congratulations on your DREAM home. We thought we were going to get an American Dream but the Overland came along and they agreed to install the desk and chair that was in the Dream. I like what you did with your keyboard. May see about that, altho just noticed that I wouldnít be able to cross my legs. My color printer fits along side my computer just fine, but it would be nice to hide it. My computer is pretty big, holds a 17" monitor. I love the chair, it is plush and comfortable with all the adjustments that one can make to make it just right. Is yours the same? Canít believe you bought such a big coach. Iíll bet you didnít dream youíd have one that large either. Was sure glad to hear that you drove it. I am planning to take a driving lesson in May. Terry thinks I can get behind the wheel and take off, but I donít want to chance it. I told him if he could find me a big parking lot, Iíd practice there. Iím sending you an article that was in our paper. We had to move out of Camp Kalama [WA] and are waiting for the water to go down so we can move back. Donít think it will be anytime soon tho. The rain just keeps coming....
Margaret & Terry Moore
Anxious to get going
We have been reading your newsletter for years, and have read and re-read your book many times---just anticipating the day we could become full-timers, and now it has happened. Your book is our bible. We have patterned ourselves by it and it has been enormously helpful. When we were selling the house and our stuff, I had to get your book out once again just to reassure myself that I was doing the right thing---the right way.
Lou and I have been living in our Bounder 35J for 3 months now while we both finished working with a goal to be done at the end of 1996. Well, Louís done and I have a week to go, so weíll be leaving this cold weather and heading toward Florida around the 15th of January. We sure hope to see you in Tampa. You are our role models.
Carolyn & Lou Lemmings
A man on TV suggested the book
Received our first Moviní On and wanted to thank you especially for sending one so promptly. I was very anxious to see what it was like.... The book and Moviní On are excellent, there is no need to read any others. Although, I did take your suggestion (in the book) to read Survival of the Snowbirds by the Petersons. But in all sincerity your book covers everything.
You asked how we heard about you. Quite a while back there was a man on TV who suggested the book. I ordered via phone from a bookstore in Atlanta.... My husband and I (been together since 1964) are very much in unison with our lifestyle, goals and activities so next December at age 49 he can retire from Bell South and we are doing serious decision planning now. One question Iíd like to ask just out of curiosity---have you ever met any people who tow a motorcycle? We have traveled many places on our Harley and that will be a part of our retirement and an RV. Anyways many thanks for sharing your lifestyle. It is a tremendous reference for the wisher, thinker and do-er.
Bonnie & Doug Gomer
Love red roads too
...We totally agree with you on red roads, blue roads, or the little gray roads on AAA maps. We have found many of them to be excellent. Because we have an easily disconnected, fold-up bumper hitch on our Tracker we donít hesitate to pull over and disconnect if we run into hills that slow the Bounder too much. We have also found some wonderful town/city campgrounds this way. They are often free or very inexpensive....
Jackie Smith & Joe Hartzler
Horrible roads in Michigan
...We have been full-timing for over one year now and are enjoying it. During that year we have been West and South in the winter and North (Midwest), this past summer.... We have traveled on all of the main north/south interstates and State routes and Michigan takes the prize for crumbling, potholed and just plain terrible roadways. We have been traveling throughout the United States for the past 15 years and have seen none as bad as Michigan. The roads in Illinois (particularly around Chicago come in second. Wisconsin interstates get third; however, Wisconsin State roads are good to excellent.... Barb & I would welcome exchanging letters with any other full-timers or "wanabe" full-timers about subjects concerning the lifestyle. As you know, we were one of those couples who turned down Money Magazine. The article was even worse than I anticipated when I talked with their representative. Sorry we missed you at Goshen...missed your notice about a get-together.
Bob Wilcox & Barb Hallsteine
As usual I made my share of mistakes in the last newsletter. The biggest one was putting in the wrong floor plan for our motorhome. I put the 36 foot plan instead of the 39 one that we have. The biggest difference is that ours has a larger kitchen.
Normally when moving from one house to another we take our appliances with us. Not so with motorhomes. The appliances are built in so we have to learn how to operate new systems all over again. The VCR, TV and microwave are really different from the ones in the Bounder. I had just really gotten the knack of setting the VCR and now have to try to learn a new one. Oh well!
One of the fun things of being camped at Lazydays was all of the visitors we received. So many of our readers---more than I can possibly mention---stopped by to meet us and we really enjoyed putting faces to the names we know so well. Many of our readers now have new RVs too. It was fun to be in on their excitement.
One of the things Lazydays did during their special Grand Opening was offer a womanís driving class for those attending the rallies. Snow Chamberlain was the teacher and did a super job. I was impressed with how many women were eager to get behind the wheel. I rode along with one of the classes and was impressed with their enthusiasm and abilities. Some had never driven a small RV let alone a big diesel pusher which is what he used for the classes. By the way, I have driven our Dream a lot. Even drove it through West Palm Beach. Fun!
Want to guess how many RVs Lazydays sold during their month long Grand Opening? The grand total was 767.
We had great attendance during each of our seminars---especially the last three which followed the two page story the St. Petersburg Times did on us and full-timing. That was the biggest story any paper has done on the lifestyle.
At the last seminar Lazydays presented Ron & I with a huge fruit basket complete with champagne, champagne glasses, cheeses, sausage, perfect fresh fruit, crackers, cookies, jellies and candies. I was also presented with the largest, most perfect roses. The twelve, blush, long stemmed roses were in a short round vase and the arrangement was so large that when they were sitting on the edge of the computer desk, we could hardly get down the aisle. The fragrance was heavenly. Our house smelled like a florist shop for a while.
We hope that you arenít too disappointed that we arenít going to be visiting some of these great cities here in the east. We will just have to do it some other time. We are looking forward to visiting Atlanta (our first time) and returning to Hot Springs. I canít wait to go into the Buckstaff and take a couple of their famous baths.
I hope a lot of you are planning to attend the Escapade in Chico. I will put a notice on the bulletin board as soon as we get there and know where we are parked. The bulletin board is usually near registration or where coffee is served. I will set a time for a Moviní On get-together and announce that in the note too. Some who attended the Escapade in Indiana never knew we were there until they got the newsletter. Make it a date to meet in Chico, okay?
Ron had another PSA test recently and it is still negative. Isnít that wonderful? And his eyes are improving.
This is the month we celebrate our anniversary of starting this wonderful lifestyle. On March 30, we will begin our ninth year. Who would have thought? We intended to do this for only one or two years. Canít ever imagine quitting. In fact, I nearly have a panic attack when people ask me where Iíd like to settle down. Just the thought of settling in one place makes me want to hitch up and go.
The hiking trails here at Hanna Park are very spectacular. And there are choices. Walk the beach, walk around a lake or enter what resembles a jungle; a thick forest of cypress, palms and Spanish moss make for an interesting hike.
We really have enjoyed the public campgrounds here in Florida. City and county parks have been beautiful and the sites have been very large. Most public parks arenít concerned about how many sites they can cram in so thereís lots of room to roam.
Visit Ybor (pronounced eye bore) City (outskirts of Tampa). At one time it was a big cigar manufacturing area and it is still famous for such, but now there is a historic walking tour, shops and lots of good places to eat. There is a weekly schedule of entertainment in the streets. We understand that the streets are wide open in the evenings. We went during the day so just imagined the night time festivities.
While in Ybor City seek out the La France Dejavu Garmenture ("vintage clothing for the individual with timeless taste"). Located at 1612 E Seventh Avenue. It was wonderful---like going back in time. The clothing looked like new. For example there were lovely suits from the 40's. I asked who buys them and was told that many working women like the way those suits fit and they buy them for every day use.
Thereís much to see and do in and around the Ocala National Forest. Especially plan to visit the many springs. It is not that busy in the winter either since the majority of visitors to Florida prefer the gulf or Atlantic coasts.
You wonít want to miss the Kennedy Space Center at Titusville. There is no admission fee and there is a lot to see and do there. We suggest the bus tour and even recommend seeing one of the IMAX movies. The Kennedy tour goes to within a short distance of the launch site, bur the real highlight is the stop at the Apollo/Saturn V Center. Words cannot describe that place. Everything is very well done. We learned so much and actually spent the better part of two days at the Space Center.
While staying at Hanna Park near Jacksonville take a drive north on A1A to Amelia Island. Just keep driving until you can go no further, take the ferry and drive to the end again. It is a pretty ride into a historic area.
Visit the Kingsley Plantation and Fort Caroline National Memorial. Both are part of the same national park site and depict early history in Florida.
Spend some time at the
Center downtown Jacksonville, It is very nice---a pleasant
place for walking, shopping or eating. That is where you will find the
Brewery I talked about on page 3.
No-Knead Muffin Rolls 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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