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volume 6                      November 1995                      number 9
�  Potpourri 
�  Good Places to Eat
�  Coffee Break
�  Letters, Letters, Letter
�  Karen 
�  The Prude Ranch
�  This' N That
�  Signs and Things
�  Hash Brown Potato Casserole
Coming in December: Organizing your RV for the full-timing lifestyle.
One hundred and sixteen Bounders from many states gathered at the Stone Creek Campground in Shertz, Texas (a suburb of San Antonio) for a five day rally from October 18- 23. The Lone Star Roundup which was hosted by the Lone Star Bounders (a Texas chapter of Bounders of America) was a whole lot of fun. The Lone Star Bounders set the standard for running a national rally and all agreed that the next chapter to host one will certainly have a tough act to follow. 

Most of the Bounders arrived a day early and everyone kept busy getting acquainted, looking at all that was offered and making schedules. There were seminars to attend, crafts to do, a flea market, line dancing lessons, drawings for lots of prizes, and plenty of food related activities. In fact the rally started out with an ice cream social and every morning began with coffee and donuts. 

Having been in the west for so long, it seemed strange to see all of the license plates from eastern states and that's where most of the attendees were from. The Bounders of America (BOA) seem to concentrate their rallies in the eastern half of the United States and Texas was the most western state represented. There are two Bounder organizations in the U. S.; BOA is only four years old and growing fast. Bounders themselves aren't that old. The first ones only appeared in 1986. 

This was our first Bounder rally and it seemed strange to see so many Bounders at one place. Even though they look the same on the outside, many have made changes to their motorhome. For example, we saw beautiful oak drawers which had been added under several couches. 

The seminars were very good and all were well attended. Sometimes when rallies are held in a tourist place like San Antonio some skip the daily functions to do their sight seeing. But many arrived three or four days early and got the touring done before the rally even started. 

The first seminar was about electrical systems of the motorhome and was presented by Harry Womack of WW RV in Seguin, Texas. Ron went and said it was great. He commented, "That man really knows his stuff." If we ever had any electrical problems we would want to go there for repairs. 

Also on the first day was an excellent seminar on RV Safety by John Anderson of A' Weigh We Go. John, a full-timer himself, did a terrific job of teaching us about tires. He offers a service of weighing RVs; Ron was afraid we were terribly overweight and didn't want to know, but signed up anyway. We were pleasantly surprised. We were within limits  in the front and just a little over in the back so what we really need to do is shift some things from back to front, add more air to the tires and drive 55-60 mph. As John explained, knowing your Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and your actual weight is a management tool. He also explained how speed and tire pressure add or decrease the life of tires and the pay load. Other seminars presented were on Cellular One, Personal Safety on the Road (presented by a Texas Policeman), Onan Generators, Ford Chassis and our seminar on Full-time RVing.

Early in our seminar we asked for a show of hands of those who already had our book; we were not really surprised by the number of raised hands because from the moment we arrived at the park, folks had been stopping by to introduce themselves. Many said that they came specifically because they wanted to meet us and hear our seminar. After reading our book and getting the newsletter for some time, they felt it was time to meet us in person. We are pleased that we are now able to put faces to names. 

We have never heard of a rally where food was not a major event. The Lone Star Roundup was no different. The ice cream  social on the first evening was wonderfully sinful. The scoopers dished up big dishes of Blue Bell ice cream (a Texas favorite) and from tables set up with all sorts of toppings and sprinkles each person could dress up their dish as they wished. After the ice cream we were entertained by 3 To Get Ready. This group featured a trio of gals who sang songs from the war years in the style of the Andrew Sisters. With their back up of another trio (drummer, base player and keyboard player), they really sounded great. We were told that they had recently performed for President Clinton and Texas' governor Bush; this was top entertainment.

Thursday evening's treat was a wine and cheese party and entertainment was provided by the Free Spirits, a couple who write and sing folk songs. They were also very good. 

A wonderful German dinner of roladen, sausage, cold kraut salad, German potato salad, rolls, tea, beer, and strudel was the fare for Friday. We were entertained by the robust sounds of the Jubilee Polka Band while we ate and for an hour or so after. Since the areas near the rally are so rich in German heritage, it just seemed a natural. It was a rollicking good evening. 

Everyone singing a German drinking song
They let us go on our own Saturday and that was a nice touch. So many rallies fill up each minute with three different things to do at once and leave no free time. We went to Gruene (pronounced green) and enjoyed wandering this small town, and browsing their market; the third week end of each month they have market days. In the evening we ate at the Grist Mill in that same town and although the food was excellent, we did not have good service---half of our group got food and the rest had to wait a good 15 minutes. I would probably give them a second chance because from the lines to get seated, it is obviously a popular place. 

Sunday evening was the big BBQ night. The bulletin said, "The life of the cowboy was not all bullets, bottles and branding irons. Occasionally, the hard life was put aside for a little boot-scooting and toetapping." There was so much delicious food, catered by the famous Salt Lick restaurant that we were all encouraged to have seconds. There were ribs, chicken, and beef all slow cooked over the right kind of wood with the best of seasonings. Ranch style beans, coleslaw, potato salad, rolls and hot peppers completed the dinner and peach cobbler was served for dessert. The entertainment for that evening was just fabulous. The 10 piece Whoosits Big Pile Garbage Band kept us enthralled for well over an hour. They were great to listen to and fun to watch. These professional musicians acted like they were country bumpkins what with a washboard and galvanized tub as part of their instrumentation. The washboard player was especially funny and fast; we were exhausted just watching him. Although this wasn't the kind of band one dances to, there was lots of toe-tapping anyway.

All rallies start out with one thing in common---people who are interested in some common RV or hobby etc. They all end with lots of new friendships and many good memories. The Lone Star Roundup was all of that and more. No matter what organization you belong to, there are rallies to attend and chapters to join. If you have never been before, think about finding one to attend soon then go. 

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.)
Included in this month's report are two Coast to Coast campgrounds (CCC) in the Texas Hill Country. These 5 star parks have improved their facilities since we visited them in 1993 and we think you will like them. 

El Campo RV Park, Van Horn, Texas. Van Horn is usually our first stop in Texas and we always stop here. It is one of the friendliest parks in west Texas. They have good level pull-throughs (free cable) and coupons for everything in this small town including gas. They are now a CCC Good Neighbor park so the cost can be as low as $10 plus a blue card. 

Prude Guest Ranch, Fort Davis, Texas. Barb's story on the Prude Ranch describes this fun place. The full hook-up sites are level and close to the central lodge. The rate is very attractive at $12.50 per night or $65 weekly. 

Perdernales Hills Resort, Johnson City, Texas, (CCC). This park has always been a favorite of ours and it's even better now since all of the access roads have been newly paved. We  like the extra wide sites with lots of shade. Situated along the Perdernales River, the 72 sites only have water & electric hook-ups, but they allow gray water to run on the grass if you use a garden hose connector. 

Stone Creek RV Park, Exit 177, IH 35N, Schertz, Texas, 25 Miles N of San Antonio. This is a large park with moderate rates which is why it was the site of the Bounder Rally. It's a very average park and if visiting SA, we would opt for a more modern park closer in. They have one phone which doesn't work well and permanent RVs in poor repair are a distraction.

Summit Vacation Resort, Canyon Lake, Texas, (CCC). This 5 star park has excellent facilities including 2 pools, laundry, 2 hot tubs and a tennis court. It is in a beautiful setting and since our last visit they have redone the electrical and sewer connections---a big improvement. You shouldn't have any trouble getting in during the spring and fall. 


by Ron
Today I paid 89.9 cents a gallon for gasoline in New Braunfels. Only a short time ago we were paying $1.29 in some of the western states.

Maybe our fuel savings will help pay for our new monthly cable service. That's right. We now have an RCA satellite dish that brings in over 150 cable stations including music selections of every kind. I really like this kind of camping. I can remember when my roommate didn't even want a TV set on board.

Full-timers have weighty concerns on two counts. If we attend too many rallies, we have to watch our personal weight (ice cream socials, etc). Also, we learned at the Bounder Rally about the importance of controlling RV weight. Barb says that jewelry doesn't weigh much and I can buy her lots of earrings.

I'm glad that many of you liked my bean recipe. I bet that you can't wait for my cabbage soup recipe. It's coming soon. Stayed tuned.

One Sunday, after church at Fort Advise, we decided to go out for lunch in another town. It looked close on the map, but turned out to be 43 miles away. The round trip for lunch was 86 miles only in Texas.

Don't you think that I look quite natural on a horse? I wonder how much a good set of spurs would cost.

Wow! Less than 60 days till Christmas. This year, give your credit cards a rest and share your faith. That will be a real gift.

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.)
Leslie's BBB, Van Horn, Texas. This relatively new place right on main street is doing a "land office" business and not just because of their fantastic BBB. The slaw, corn bread, pinto beans and cherry cobbler were all exceptional. But even better than all of that was the fast friendly service. The owner and chief cook, Be Lincoln (honest), couldn't have been nicer. No wonder this business has grown into a mail order business with people from all across the country ordering his BBB so they can have it back home. He may be changing the name to "Abu's" so look for either name. 

Limp Hotel Dining Room, Fort Advise, Texas. Excellent without being priced out of this world. The ranch furnishings complete with herbs hanging from the rafters give this place a down-home look and the food is home cooking and gourmet all rolled into one. The menu states that they offer what might have been on Mrs. Miller's menu in 1912 and meals are served family  style. We both choose the Rio Grande Chicken at $8.95. Dinner included buttermilk biscuits, soup or salad, whipped potatoes and fresh vegetables. We couldn't turn down the buttermilk pie after tasting such a scrumptious dinner; we knew it had to be perfect and it was. In nearly seven years on the road, this will remain as one of our top ten dining experiences. 

Mardi Gras Cafe, 2531 W Anderson Lane, Austin. We went there for lunch and didn't eat dinner that night. Food, atmosphere and service were well above average and the prices were reasonable.  Whether you choose New Orleans or Italian fare, you will have plenty to eat and love it. 

Take a break. Get a cup of coffee and let's chat.
There were so many good questions this month that we are going to print them and ask if you folks could please help with the answering. We answered these personally so the questioner has some idea of our thoughts, but they need your ideas too. 

Is there a rating of manufacturers?  "...bought the RV Buyers Guide at Camping World at your suggestion. We plan on upgrading our 5th wheel next year and still vacillate over motorhome and 5th wheel. We wish we could find a rating of manufacturers---any suggestions?�  Marvene Phillips, Tucson, AZ.

Motorhome or 5th wheel? "How about your preference for a motorhome rather than a 5th wheel? Your experienced response would be appreciated." Bill Fuller, Austin, Texas.

Lots of questions "We are still in the looking to buy stage of motorhoming. Do we go for more storage (Bounder), or do we go for more accessories (Pace Arrow), will we use an oven, is forced A/C the way to go?...Can your readers help in this dilemma?" Susan & Berni Kranz, Santa Clarita, California.

More questions "1. In your experience, what is the longest 5th wheel you can USUALLY get into state and national parks? Are they usually more restrictive than private parks? 2. We are thinking of a Dodge/Cummins diesel...but see that you chose gas. Was that a major decision? Do you feel there is any real savings with the diesel...what do others tell you? 3. Is there a particular bank/credit union that seems to understand and deal with full-timers the best? Any one ATM card the best?" Chuck & Ginny Bowers, Oakdale, California. 

About sales tax "We really appreciate all your information. Your last newsletter had a question that we wanted to ask about also. [In] Legality to avoid paying high sales tax [Oct-95] they mentioned Oregon and we've thought about that but Oregon wants part of your retirement money for income tax. Texas looks good, but maybe they want extra also. Hopefully we can get away from the Washington sales tax when buying our motorhome, and we really liked touring Texas especially the Davis Mountains. You'd think the states would want your business instead of driving you away." Margaret & Terry Moore, Kalama, Washington.

Concerned about recycling "While we have noticed several parks with aluminum recycling bins we have not encountered any yet with recycling for newspapers or plastic. We thought that by using your 'power of the press' you might organize a campaign to encourage park owners to recycle. Any interest?"  Gary & Maryellen Mencimer, full-timers from  "Planet Earth" (Lakewood, Colorado).

Barb comments. While I am flattered by your thinking that our small newsletter has much clout, we really need something like Good Sam. With their lobbyists and publications which reach many many thousands of readers they might be able to get something going. We have noticed recycling bins in the state parks in Idaho and in some national parks. It is the small campground that has to care and only us users can make it happen. Ask where the recycling bins are. If all of us did that they would eventually get the hint. Same with telephone hookups. If we all demanded it by asking, the smart ones would provide it.

We will be looking for all of your comments and answers in our next mail.


Glad the newsletter is still in print

...I just can't get enough of your adventures. You are living my dream. We are going to be full-timing in 1998. We have been planning this for five years. We have bought every book that has been in print on full-timing. Your book has been the best. Thanks for helping us get closer to our dream. I actually bought your book when it first came out, but I didn't subscribe to Movin' On until just recently. I was afraid you might have given up the RV lifestyle and settled down. I'm glad you didn't. I'll be looking for you if you are still on the road in 1998.

Laura Reeves
Albuquerque, NM

The nudge to go sooner

We learned about your "exploits" from the Oregonian article this summer. We have enjoyed your book and have gone to a RV show here in Portland. Your writings are giving us the nudge to probably break loose sooner than we had  planned. Keep up the good work!

Luther & Marie Johansen
Portland, Oregon

Added special touch to Ron's beans

We tried Ron's Bean casserole [May, 1995] and we loved it---had lots of leftovers. When I warmed it up a couple of days later, I added a can of stewed tomatoes plus a can of water, made a skillet of baked cornbread and we had a "sopping" good dinner again!...

Loran & Shelby Haney
Monette, Arkansas

Got truck---need 5th wheel

Was so glad to read about Ron's PSA in your July newsletter. You had both been on our minds and it was a great relief to hear how well he is doing. Just goes to prove what faith, prayers, and a good attitude can do. After a wait of 15 weeks our Ford truck finally arrived. Next step will be the fifth wheel purchase. We have met the Hendersons (such nice people), saw their cute home [18½' motorhome] and they have really influenced our decision to go as small as we can. It will really depend on what we can find with a floor plan we like. Have decided to start out with a used fifth wheel so it might take us awhile to find.

Barry is still working on getting his pension resolved. Hopes it now will be in September 1996. In the meantime our house is on the market. "When" it sells we plan to find a nice park, live in the fifth wheel and continue to work until everything is settled. That way we at least have some part of the RV lifestyle---can't wait!

Barry & Jean Wilcox
Tucson, Arizona

A different scenario for full-timing

A friend who was loaned a copy of your book then loaned that copy to another friend---me. I have enjoyed it so much that I have ordered my own and will order my friend a copy so she can return the original borrowed one back to her friend. I just wanted you to know that while the book may be loaned, sales are still going on out here in Colorado... I can hardly wait to get my book so I can highlight the areas I need to remember... 

Lazy Days RV...felt the Class C model would work for us. Our daughter (she's 12) likes the over-the-cab bed and felt it would be more private and she could put some of her personal things up there. While we have talked about having less space we have also talked about how large our back yard will be---the whole United States....

I would rather Michele (our daughter) be home taught through 7th and 8th grade. I would like to move around a lot through the summer months and maybe go somewhere warmer than Colorado in the winter. If I see she is getting unhappy with traveling we could settle (somewhat). If she's missing friends---put her into school (PTA & sports) through the winter, then resume moving come summer. The education she can learn through traveling will also be rewarding. Piano lessons will be done on a keyboard, homework on a computer and a journal keepsake for what is important to her. Do you ever see children traveling this nomadic lifestyle?....

Sherri, Bob & Michele Barcus
Lakewood, Colorado

Timing is everything

Hot summer. Had auction. Went from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and we still have enough stuff for another one. Rest of place up for sale.... 

Leave here Oct 16 (not Jan like last year) to go to Albuquerque. Can't make it there for balloon festival. Plan to stay a week if not too cold for Bill (have relatives there haven't seen in years). We will then head south. When we get to Las Cruces I don't know if we'll go west to Yuma or south to Hondo and Livingston. I'll keep you posted---would like to have our paths cross someplace. "Timing is everything."

Pat & Bill Feight
Full-timers from Michigan

Thinking about full-timing

...My husband Tom retired from the Florida Highway Patrol 12/31/93. I quit my job in March. We are not full-timing yet. We stay on the road for 6 months. We have a 36.5 Avion fifth-wheel. We are thinking about putting the house up for sale this winter and go full-time.... 

This year we spent two months in Michigan and the UP. We are headed home through WI, IL, IN, KY, TN and GA. Will be home Nov 1 and make our decision on full-timing then. We joined the Avion Traveleade Club in February and have really enjoyed that. We are also Coast to Coast, Escapees and Good Sam members.

We bought your book about four years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. We have been subscribing to Movin' On ever since; enjoying your travels.... 

Tom & Sharon Outland
Groveland, Florida

Waterton National Pk is a favorite

...read your newsletter right away---soon as I could get it away from Max! Especially enjoyed your travels with the girls, [August-95] just too too bad you didn't visit Waterton National Park---my favorite place. It is like "Heidi" country. Goats and deer of all sizes run around the little village at random---such beautiful scenery and fine campground....

Idolia & Max Berry
Scandia, Kansas

Remembers Monarch Pass

...The past few newsletters were really of interest 'cause I'd been to many of the places you wrote about..... 

Monarch Pass---will never forget that. A few years back we were at Death Valley the later part of April (109 degrees) and then slowly headed back to Minnesota. Stopped off for the night at Montrose. The next morning it was drizzling as we started to make the climb. I believe the sign said 11 miles---all up hill to 11,353 feet. Well, I told Rita to look up there on the mountain side---there was fresh snow. The date was May 4. Pretty soon we were into a lot of wet snow and it was really coming down. Our speed was dropping and I went to give the truck a little gas, but we spun and were stuck right on the highway. There was very little traffic, thank God. Soon a snow plow came towards us. I was able to get over, and went around a few curves, but it was too slippery so I looked for a safe place to pull over. There was another man pulling a travel trailer; he had chains on and was stuck. We figured that we might as well enjoy the snow so Rita made a snowman.... Soon another snow plow came and pushed all the snow into us. My snow shovel was back in the garage in Minnesota so we  improvised---used a board to push the snow away from the wheel. After a little rocking and rolling we were on our way again. It was three miles to the top and on the other side it was as dry as a bone. Fun eh!.....

Gene & Rita Hornby
Full-timers from Minnesota

Plan to sell at flea markets

... My husband and I are planning to retire in about six months. I found your book in the local library.... We find your book to be the most helpful to us for all the little things we would never think of, e.g: What to do with all our stuff? Boy! You weren't kidding when you said there were a lot of things to consider.

We have already joined Good Sam and Coast to Coast and are now seeking out all information about RV's we can find. We are planning to travel around the U.S. and sell products at flea markets for extra income. We sold products about 20 years ago at a local flea market and really loved it. Do any of your readers do the same thing? We would love to hear from them and �pick their brains.� Thank you so much for a very informative and interesting "bible" for full-timing. 

Vickie & R W Batchelor
Vancouver, Washington

Might change directions

Howdy! (just getting you ready for Texas), We loved your August and September newsletters. We had planned to do the East coast next summer but after reading Movin' On we think we will follow your trail up the west coast. We were going to raft the Snake River, but the Salmon sounds more to our liking.

Thanks for all of the information you share with all of us.....

Kay & Don Nation
Full-timers from New Mexico

Newsletters are a good idea

Finally.. I've finished with my list of family and can get started on the letters I want to write. I am beginning to believe that your idea of a newsletter is, by far, the more practical way of satisfying everyone's curiosity. I've always been told I had the gift of gab, but I have my doubts that I'd ever be able to put together as much "gab" as the two of you. That's a compliment!! We really like reading it, and find it, not only enjoyable, but informative and entertaining as well.

... Enjoyed...reading about the raft trip, It was especially entertaining for me since I have been on many trips down that particular river! I can't pass up this opportunity though, to make a spelling correction of the town where you saw "The Lemon Orchard" used car lot. One of our favorite places to park our fifth-wheel just happens to be in WORLEY, Idaho, at Ray's RV Park, better known as my brother's place....

Frances & Jerry Cunnington
Full-timers from Idaho

Loving everything

Yes, as you can see by our new SKP address, we did it! As of June 9th, we retired, left MN and became "full-timers" in our new 37' King of the Road 5th wheel. Our tow vehicle is a Dodge 1 ton duelly V 10. Everything fits into our new home, even Bob's computers!

In May our children gave us a retirement party and we helped by making Ron's beans (May '95) for 100! They were a hit and everyone wanted the recipe. All the recipes we've tried have been good and we hope you continue to include some in your newsletter.

We love retirement and traveling and are learning and seeing so many new things. We're beginning to meet and re-meet people already. We've traveled the northern states from MT to OH and just attended the SKP's fall Escapade in Cortland, OH. It came at just the right time for us "newcomers"  We learned everything from electricity to line dancing (a sort of electricity!).

Thanks for your informative and encouraging articles. It amazes us how you find time to do a monthly newsletter. We still don't know where our time goes. We didn't know we'd be so busy or happy. Bob got windows 95 for his computers so he's really happy! 

Winnie & Bob Velner
Full-timers from Minnesota

Karen and Joe Fleckenstein began subscribing to our newsletter in January of 1993. Until this year, they knew us, but we didn't know anything about them. We published Karen's first letter in the July issue of Movin' On; she said that Joe had died on Easter but added that she was going to full-time alone. Just last month we printed the letter saying she was on her way. We answered quickly with an invitation to join us at the Bounder Rally and she did just that.

I was doing my fingernails when her Bounder pulled into the Coast to Coast Campground in Johnson City, but I didn't know it was her. She recognized me and as soon as she was set up, she came over. It was like old friends coming together after a long time apart.

She left Connecticut on September 22 and hasn't looked back. She has had a few minor learning sessions (don't ask about the vintage car she injured in a parking lot) but all in all she is doing just great. She feels very confidant driving alone, backing in without help and setting up is a piece of cake. Within minutes after parking at her site she has her water, sewer and electric hooked up, bike off the back of her car and RCA satellite dish set up and running. She is not an avid TV watcher but sure enjoys the uninterrupted music channels while working on her computer. 

Karen is looking forward to three months in Mexico with an Escapee caravan this winter and stops all across the United States on her way here and there. She wants to see it all.

She said she is following our path and going to places we wrote about. On her way south she stopped at Mammoth  Cave National Park and at Hot Springs National Park---even took one of those famous baths we had written about. But she is not just a follower; she made her way to Graceland on her own. 

Karen says that driving without a copilot was one of the hardest things she had to learn to do. But this gal is always thinking and figured out that prior to any day's drive all she had to do was detail her route and write it on a big piece of paper so she can glance at it as she goes. She even includes what routes to go past or look for as the clue for her next turn. 

One of the wonderful programs on her computer (which sits on the dash of her 34 J Bounder just like ours does) is a trip mapping program. She uses this to help her plan where to go, what to see and the best routes.

We were excited that we got to know her for a few days before the rally started because rally time was busy. And she was a little down with everyone leaving her when the rally ended; she was staying behind to get some RV repair work done. Since we were only going a few miles to kind of hibernate and do our newsletter, we encouraged her to join us which she did. She is doing a newsletter for all her friends back in Connecticut so we will get our newsletters printed at the same time while we enjoy the river walk in San Antonio.

I have asked Karen to write to us often so we can keep you posted on how she is doing. Of course she wishes that Joe could be with her but full-timing is something he encouraged her to do on her own. He enthusiastically helped her prepare for it. He traded in their 5th wheel for the Bounder which he thought she could handle easier by herself. He also picked the best car to tow and many other things. In fact during his last three months on earth, when he knew he was dying, he read all the manuals that came with the Bounder and high lighted things that he thought she should pay attention to. He knew that she wouldn't take the time to read them and wanted to help and be a part of her full-timing lifestyle. It's an amazing story and I really hope that you will get to meet Karen yourself someday. 

If you travel from east to west (or visa versa) across this country, you will invariably travel I-10 as it goes through south western Texas. And you don't need me to tell you that one of the most boring drives in the country is the 400 plus miles of I-10 as it goes west from San Antonio; there are miles and miles of pure nothing. You can break up this monotony and have a real treat if you detour on route 17 south (about halfway between Van Horn and Fort Stockton) for about 34 miles and stay a few days or weeks in Fort Davis. Situated in the Davis Mountains and at 5,500 feet the air is clean, the skies are clear and the pace is slow. You will fall in love with the wide open spaces and the finest in Texan hospitality. 

There are several campgrounds in town and a nice state park, but for a real western experience we suggest that you camp or bunk at the Prude Guest Ranch which is just five miles from town. There are two full hook-up camp grounds at the ranch. In the front campground you can be right next to buffalo, llamas, goats, longhorn cattle, and antelope and just a short walk to the dining hall and auditorium building, the indoor swimming pool and lighted tennis courts. The other RV sites are in the back near the bunkhouses and lodges. These would be perfect if family (without an RV) were going to be joining you. 

If you just want to lay back and do nothing where it is so quiet that you can hear every bird call or if you would rather hitch up a horse and ride off into the sunset, you will feel comfortable here. The Prude Ranch has been around for nearly 100 years. In fact they are planning a big celebration in February of  1998. The ranch will be 100 years old and Mr. John G. Prude will be 94 years young. Nicknamed Big Spurs because he is seldom seen without the spurs on his boots, he is very active in the ranch operations. But son, John Robert Prude and grandsons, Chipper and Charles are hard at work too. 

John R, Big Spur & Chipper 
Whenever you visit, some member of the family will greet you and make sure you are getting enough to eat at the buffets or inquire about your stay. And they never fail to thank you for coming. The rest of the staff is equally interested in the guest's welfare and they go out of their way to accommodate just about any desire. While we visited, a group of school children took a three hour horse back ride into Fort Davis. We were told that that spectacular ride is something to remember. The ride which leaves from the ranch goes over the hills and the final decent into town gives the rider the same view the Indians might have seen as they came upon the fort years ago.

While in the area, you will want to check out the Mc Donald Observatory. They have free "star parties" once or twice each week and during the day one can take a tour of the big telescopes. We fondly remember our "party" there four years ago and highly recommend it.

Although rather small the town of Fort Davis deserves checking into. There is no hardware store in town, but  there is a drug store with a soda fountain. As you enter you will be face to face with a life size cutout of James Dean and the juke box will play your favorite oldies. They are not open for dinner, but lunches of hamburg, fries and a malt will bring back lots of memories.

The drug store in Fort Davis
Also in town is the fort the town was named after. It is a national historic site and like many such parks, offers  self guided tours and an informative movie. 

One of our rides at the ranch was with chuck wagon cook, Brad Whitfield. He certainly whetted our appetite for some of the special rides offered. The City Slicker Experience is a two day ride with three nights out on the range. Included in the per person price of $395 is a bed roll, six camp cooked meals, lots of horseback riding and bunches of real western experiences. They will arrange just about anything you like. 

I would like to see an RV group schedule a small rally complete with at least one ride (morning with  chuck wagon breakfast sounds good) and one of Brad's camp cooked dinners. Besides cooking, Brad is a competent guide, wonderful story teller and entertainer. We understand that he and his guitar make sweet music together. When you plan your visit to the Prude Ranch, please let them know we sent you. We just want them to know how much we think of their place. Have fun!
Special attractions near the 
Prude Guest Ranch
  • Mc Donald Observatory the third largest viewing complex in the world. 
  • Neill Doll Museum---Fort Davis 
  • Fort Davis National Historic Site, Fort Davis.
  • Downtown Fort Davis---a few shops, hotel/restaurants, and a drug store with a soda fountain. 
          A one hour drive from the ranch.
  • West of the Pecos Museum
  • Mysterious Marfa Lights
  • The ghost town of Shafter
Two hours away
  • Carlsbad Caverns
  • Big Bend National Park 

This 'N That
by Barb
As soon as we crossed the border into Texas I got out all the "Texas" (coutry/western music) tapes I could find. It just seemed fitting and proper to do so. You need to play tapes and videos in west Texas (unless you have one of the satellite dishes); there are no TV stations. If you are lucky enough to find a radio station, it will go off the air early.

Driving across west Texas from El Paso to Junction, I couldn't help but wonder what Europeans think when they travel that same route. In Europe towns are very close together; in west Texas one can go 100 miles without seeing a house.

It had been so long since we had been to Fort Davis that we really got excited as we got close. Funny, it was like returning home. We have that same "returning home" feeling many times. It's one of those fuzzy, warm, wonderful feelings. 

Remember the rattlesnake story from an old issue of Movin' On that is in the book? Well when we were walking down a gravel road at the prude ranch another creature crossed our path. A huge tarantula. It didn't bother us and even though they are kind of scary looking, it was fascinating to watch in the wild. I thought of how the old cowboys slept out under the stars with those things free to crawl anywhere. Imagine sleeping outside in a sleeping bag and waking to find one crawling over you. I'll sleep in my motorhome, thank you.

I can't believe the number of letters we get asking about our first and second book. People who have the second book want to order the first one until I explain that the first one was the first printing of the one that is now on the market. The newest book is a polished version of the first. We also added about 50 more pages (10 of those pages are photos) and more newsletter stories, but the basic information is the same. We are proud of the book as it is now; the editing and typesetting are more professional than the first attempt. Those that have the first book would especially like to have a new copy, but not the other way around.

Please notice that we are changing the price of the back issues. We got pretty cleaned out, thank you. About all I have left now are ones from the last two years and even some of those issues are gone. Several of you have been thoughtful enough to order five to ten issues to start a friend's collection then add an order for a gift subscription too. What a nice gift! 

Many tell us that they save their newsletters in a three ring notebook or file of some sort. In case you don't save yours, can we ask you to please recycle your copy after you've read it? Instead of filling up a trash can, we would love it if you took it to the laundromat, dropped it off at the senior center, library or coffee lounge at work or gave it to a friend. Thanks in advance.

Ron has become so very handy that I shouldn't joke about it any more. He just recently figured out why we couldn't get a picture on the TV (a wire was loose) and fixed it. Now he brags that he is going to overhaul the engine next week. Don't you think that he is getting a little carried away with his success?

Here at the Summit CCC in Canyon Lake, we are enjoying visits with Ed & Laurie Waples. We first met them in 1991 when camping here at this same spot and wrote about them [Jan 1991]. They were going to go full-time, and did for just a little while. Now they have a beautiful home on the hill here. Ed just got a new computer with 1.2 gigabytes of hard drive and poor little ole me has to make do with only 120 megabytes. 

The Summit has really improved since the last time we were here. As Ron mentioned in his campground report, two Coast to Coast campgrounds we visited this month are much better than they were two years ago. Isn't that encouraging? Sometimes things get better instead of worse. 

I'm really counting on all of you to help me out on all the questions this month. I even included questions in the Letters section. We don't mind answering, but we really want other's opinions. For example we can answer the 5th wheel vs motorhome question but it would probably be biased towards a motorhome. Tell us why you made your decision.

We got two responses for the request for volunteers for the upcoming Money Magazine article, but would like to have a few more for the editors to choose from. Come on now, don't be bashful!

Did you enjoy the story about Karen? We have been enjoying her company and will miss her when we part for a while. She says that one thing she misses is someone to share things with. When she sees a beautiful sunset, for example, she wishes she had someone with her so she could say, "isn't that beautiful?" Writing her newsletter helps fill this gap.

My son, Robert who has a new computer was "looking" through the Good Morning America menu on the Internet, found us and got excited. Did you know we were there and that you can also order our book on the Internet? I have never seen what the Internet looks like so don't know for sure what this means. 

If you really knew me, you'd know that I am a witch---at least I was always one for Halloween. I loved to make our house scary and frighten all those who came trick or treating. The kids in our neighborhood loved it. I just talked to my son Jim and he is setting up his house to scare kids too. I wish I could help him. Halloween just hasn't been the same without a house to haunt!

Radiator service slogan  seen in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
The best place to take a leak.

Bumper sticker seen in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Minds are like parachutes; they only work when they are open.

Hash Brown Potato Casserole recipe first debuted in this issue. I have linked it to the recipe section where all of our newsletter recipes are posted.

Copyright © 2003, Movin' On with Ron & BarbTM- All Rights Reserved 

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