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volume 8                September 1997                  number 7
INSIDE
  Michigan, Ontario,  New York & Ohio
ē  Potpourri 
ē  Campground Report
ē  Good Places to Eat
ē  Coffee Break
ē  Letters, Letters, Letters
ē  This N That
ē  Traveling into Canada
ē  Conserving water
ē  Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
The October issue will detail our visits to Virginia and West Virginia, the Escapade and traveling to Arizona. 

The Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
Northern Michigan
Michigan had been our home for so long that perhaps we took for granted some of its more interesting sights namely, Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island and Sault Ste Marie; we had visited them often. There are so many things to see and I canít believe Iíve never written about them before. These areas are full of history involving Native Americans, French and British. There are two forts to visit, one in Mackinaw City, the other on the island. By the way, we could always tell who was a tourist by the way the Mackinaw/Mackinacís were pronounced. All are pronounced with the "aw" ending. The French left the spelling the original way while the English changed it to reflect its true pronunciation.

Mackinaw City was a trading post established by early French settlers; now it is a destination for thousands of tourists. Located at the tip of Michiganís lower peninsula, it is where two of the Great Lakes meet. Lake Michigan to the west and Lake Huron to the east merge under the Mackinac Bridge ("Mighty Mac") which is another wonder. At five miles in length, it is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world.

When in the area, donít miss visiting Colonial Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City. It is the site of the old French fort built in 1715. Costumed reenactment, an audiovisual program and exhibits illustrate the history of the fort. Admission is $6.75. But the best buy is a combination admission ticket ($13) which includes admission to Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island and Mill Creek State Historic Site just 3 miles southeast of Mackinaw City. The two forts are completely different and definitely worth a visit. Mill Creek is the site of what is believed to be the oldest industrial complex on the Great Lakes. There are demonstrations of sawmill operations and a trail that leads to a scenic view of the Mackinac Bridge. There is a wonderful campground just across the street (Mill Creek), which we have stayed at many times.

Probably the majority of visitors who come to Mackinaw City or St Ignace (the city across the bridge) come to take a ferry to the charming island called Mackinac. This three-mile by two-mile island has been calling to visitors since the 1800's when trains brought the rich and famous up to Mackinaw City from Chicago and Detroit. At the city they then took the ferry over to the island. The island is very Victorian. If you ever saw the movie Somewhere in Time, you saw the famous Grand Hotel and parts of the island.

The high road on Mackinaw Island                                   Main street Mackinaw Island

It is a short beautiful ride to the island and the sight of the big mansions on the hill overlooking the harbor full of sail boats is awesome. The Grand Hotel is prominent from the harbor and on either side stretching quite a ways are eight or ten mansions which look small in comparison to the hotel. Transportation on the island is horse and buggy, bikes, or feet. No motorized vehicles are allowed.

We took our bikes and as soon as we got off the ferry, we felt like we were in a sea of bikes and people. We had never been on the island when it was so crowded. We had always gone in the spring or fall. But it was still charming. I just love looking at all the houses and hearing the clomp-clomp of the horses as they take visitors here and there. The busiest sections are downtown, the fort and the hotel.

State route 185 which rims the island (eight miles) is a favorite bike route. Once the hustle and bustle of the town center is behind, the island appears uninhabited; there are no houses along much of the route. Lake Huron as it gently licks the shore is crystal clear and almost ice blue. The beach is bleached white stones which have been beaten into small pieces over time. Little wild flowers poke up here and there adding just a touch of color. The fragrance of cedar heated by the sun filled our nostrils.

The bike route around the island           Ron drooling over fudge on display

There were other riders and walkers, many on one speed rental bikes, but the ones having the most fun were those on the heavy, one speed, tandem bikes. This was probably their first tandem experience. We were glad we had our own bikes. We took a little detour and biked up a rather steep road which went past the entrance to the Grand Hotel, past the Governorís summer home, and on to the top of the island where we could get a close look at the mansions.

Years ago we could have walked the sprawling porch of the Grand Hotel, but because so many did just that, it is basically off limits to anyone except the guests. If one really wants to walk the porch, there is a five dollar fee. For the ultimate in Victorian elegance, plan to stay a night or two in the hotel. It is not cheap. Rooms which are on the American plan (breakfast and dinner feasts included) run from $290-$550 for a double room in the off season. Oh and everyone must dress for dinner. There are many B & Bís and inns on the island which are nice; rooms (off season) are in the $75-$150 range. I have been told that the island is completely different in the evening after all the day-time tourists have left.

I donít know the history of this, but a tradition for anyone visiting Mackinac Island is to buy some fudge. There are two major fudge shops which have probably been there for over 100 years---Rebaí s and Murdockís. Both are great and yes, we bought and ate some. A carriage ride is another must.

By the way, about 100 residents of Mackinac Island live there year round. Once the lake freezes over they use snowmobiles to cross the lake to St Ignace or Mackinaw City. Several years ago, I remember picking up a book about the locals and how they live during the winter; it was fascinating. I am sure that book is still available in some of the shops on the island.

From Mackinaw City, I-75 crosses the Straights of Mackinac by way of the Mackinac Bridge and connects the lower peninsula with the upper peninsula (UP) of Michigan. One of the first things we do once we are in the UP is find a good place to order a pastie (pass-tee) which is a meat pie (meat, potato and rutabaga) wrapped and sealed in a pie crust. The miners used to carry these pies with them in their pockets and would warm them over their lanterns. Eating a pastie in the UP is another tradition that most visitors look forward to and they are everywhere.
 

The Mackinaw bridge

Sault Ste Marie the oldest town in Michigan was established shortly after a French voyager passed through on his way to Lake Superior in 1620. Because the St. Marys River drops some 21 feet from Lake Superior to Lake Huron, the locks were built to allow for shipping. It is interesting to watch huge freighters come through the locks. There is a wonderful visitor center, with viewing platform and tours through the locks are also available. Museum Ship Valley Camp is a retired freighter and tours of it include the pilot house, captainís quarters etc. There are other museums in the "Soo," as the town is affectionately referred to.

Our favorite museum is a little north and west of the Soo at Whitefish Point. The Shipwreck Museum is outstanding. The Point marks the critical turning point for all ships entering or leaving Lake Superior. The treacherous waters that extend west 80 miles have earned the ominous title "Graveyard of the Great Lakes." And the drive up to the point is well worth any effort. Once we stepped into the museum we were mesmerized with the eerie quiet in the softly lit large room. Each section is devoted to a maritime legend which comes to life as the story is told in writing and with artifacts. There are thousands of stories to be told about shipwrecks in the Great Lakes (especially the relentless Lake Superior), and it would be impossible to detail them all, but the ones they have picked are in chronological order ending with the Edmund Fitzgerald, the most famous of all. The Fitzgerald sank in a horrible storm on November 10, 1975 just 17 miles northwest of the Point. The entire crew of 29 was lost.

Ontario, Canada
We crossed into Ontario, Canada, at Sault Ste Marie and followed the same route that we took eight and one half years ago. What a difference this time. The traffic was horrendous and route 17 was in terrible condition. (The last time we traveled this route it was fall and there was little traffic.) Our destination this time was the little village of Coldwater, near Midland (off of route 69) and yet another summer reunion.

Over 17 years ago my family hosted an exchange student from Finland for the summer. Paivi (Pie-vee) quickly became part of our family, and we have kept in touch. When I learned that she had married Mike, a Canadian from Toronto, and was living in Ontario, we knew we had to plan a visit there someday; it took eight years. Because they live in the country, we were able to park the motorhome in their driveway. Paivi and Mike have two delightful, bi-lingual children, Mikko and George. Although Paivi speaks perfect English she set out to make her children bi-lingual. Whenever they speak to her, they speak in Finnish; it was absolutely amazing to watch these young children switching from one language to another. The children are also talented violinists.

Paivi, Mike, Mikko, George and Ron at Saint Marie                    Lesson time
The family took us to Saint Marie Among the Hurons in Midland. Visiting this re-created Jesuit mission (1639-1649) was like walking back into time to this large 17th century community; costumed guides added to the reality. We had a great visit.

Western New York
We entered New York at Lewiston which is just north of Niagara Falls. The drive east on route 104 was wonderfully relaxing and beautiful. This is farm country amongst rolling hills. Almost immediately we started seeing the roadside vegetable stands heaped high with freshly picked garden vegetables. There are no Wal-Marts, no Mc Donalds, just little bergs here and there. We did not play tourist while in New York. We just enjoyed living there.

Ron at a vegetable stand in NY

Lewiston is a nice sized town. We went in to find beauty and barber shops so we could both be trimmed. I found Barbara at Cathyís Hair Port and as she was cutting my hair I mentioned that we had had a wonderful lunch at Lombardiís Dairy on the way in to town. She knew the family well, especially Virginia, who does the cooking. We had a nice chat and I felt like I knew her too. While I was getting cut, Ron found Tonyís Barber Shop. Tony was sitting in the chair reading the paper when Ron went in. In the course of the haircut Ron learned that Tony came to the U.S. from Italy in 1947. This experience is what I mean by "just living" and we truly felt like we were part of the community for a little while.

We enjoyed our stay at Hamlin Beach State Park. The state parks in New York are very nice. We were going to go to our favorite, Letchworth State Park, but decided on using a Coast to Coast park instead, but if you have never been to Letchworth it is fantastic. Called the Grand Canyon of the east this 17 mile long park is big rolling hills and---well you have to see it to believe it.

From each of our three locations in New York, we delighted in taking drives to nowhere in particular. By the way the roads in New York are superb. The gentle rolling hills allow clear views of the neatly plotted acres of corn, wheat and so on. Big farm houses, barns, and silos are often perched on the hills. There are lots of big full trees---mostly maple and oak and here and there a leaf had turned yellow or red. Fall was in the air. I felt like we were back in a simpler time especially when we drove through some of the towns. Large houses with big porches and an American flag proudly flying lined the streets while beautiful churches with tall steeples completed the picture.

The town of East Otto is small with post office, general store, church and Bergís Herbs, a shop run by Myrtle Berg for 60 years. At 82, she is still going strong and says she gets calls from all over the U.S.; she prides herself on healing many with terminal illness. We love visiting western New York and I found myself wanting to stay longer.

Post office at E. Otto NY with spiral staircase outside.              Directional signs at E. Otto
Eastern Ohio

We are near Cleveland now. We will be presenting our seminar on full-timing during the three day long RV Bargain Expo. Although we are not in the mood to be tourists, we couldnít resist visiting the nearby Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area. This recreation area preserves 33,000 acres along 20 miles of the Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland. There are miles of hiking trails, but most popular is the 20 mile long towpath trail for the Ohio and Erie Canal. This man-made waterway paralleled and was partly watered by the Cuyahoga River and with its 40 locks was a boon to the development of commerce in the Midwest. But that was before railroads. What opened in 1827 as an engineering feat has been long gone.

From Peninsula we rode the well maintained trail north for 10 miles then back. Because it was a workday, there were few people on the trail. The Cuyahoga river was on one side of us and on the other was the overgrown ditch that once carried the lifeblood to new settlements in Ohio. Itís quiet now; the once bustling towns are gone. The only noise we heard was the crunch of our tires on the finely crushed limestone trail, the whir of our wheels and the chirping of the cicadas. We rode through a cool canopy of trees while inhaling the fragrance of the forest and through hot meadows full of brightly colored wild flowers. I envisioned the mules pulling many a boat along this same trail long ago. And when we crossed under the huge bridges of the interstate with their heavy truck traffic, I couldnít help but compare transportation from just 150 years ago. There are several stops along the way. The Boston store now houses a great canal museum and further north is Alexanderís Mill and the Canal Visitor Center complete with lock demonstrations. It was a beautiful ride. Weíd like to do the whole trip (40 miles total) someday. The park service has done an excellent job and all of the local residents use and love the facilities. We did too.




So you wanted to know when the stock market will crash? It will be on October 29, 2029. If not we will refund your subscription money. This is my way of saying that we shouldn't try to "play" the market, but rather look only at individual companies or mutual funds and be selective. Pay attention to management and price compared to earnings. 

It cost $5 each to take our bikes on the ferry to Mackinac Island, but bikes rent there for $5 an hour and we sure enjoyed having our own bikes. Theirs didn't look too good.

I love upstate New York in late summer. Scenic rolling hills, beautiful roads, wide shoulders, farm markets, great parks---what more could one ask for?

Cleveland has great sports fans. The Indians sell out every game and they supported their football team before the owner moved the club to Baltimore for some financial goodies. They have been promised another NFL team by the league and they deserve it. It's a shame to see money taking priority over fan loyalty.

It's time we put in a good word for the post office employees. Our weekly general delivery service has been excellent and handled by cheerful courteous employees.

If your satellite system doesn't work, check the cable. I was totally frustrated for several weeks until I changed the cable. No problem now and it tunes in right away. The constant beeping while trying to get a signal was driving me crazy.

 



(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 reader has asked that I include our length of stay in this report. They are new full-timers and are trying to get a handle on campground costs. In the future I will put the number of days we stayed in parentheses, but please remember that our experience is not typical because of the frequent need to be near large cities which limits our use of membership parks.

Chippewa Campground, (3 nights), Sault Ste Marie, MI., exit 392, I-75. This is an average campground with long narrow level sites. Interior roads are poor and because of a short tourist season the rates are high ($16.80 with Good Sam discount). Great location for visiting the Soo Locks and a jumping off point for Canada.

Niagara's Lazy Lakes Camping Resort, (3 nights), Cambria, NY (Coast to Coast). This very friendly park will try to fit you in although big rig sites are limited. Sites are narrow but long and the hookups are good. It has a nice pool, club house and laundry.

Hamlin Beach State Park, (4 days), Hamlin, NY. Right on Lake Ontario this is one of our favorite parks. Although it is wooded it can handle big rigs easily with lots of long level sites. Daily rate of $14 includes electricity. It is 18 miles west of Rochester and has lots of great hiking/biking roads and trails.

Rainbow Lake Resort, (7 days), East Otto, NY. This huge Coast to Coast park is easy to get into. It has everything including indoor pool, fishing lake, walking & bike paths and a modern laundry and club house. Sewer is not available, but water & electric are. Big rig sites available. The nearest town of any size is about 20 miles away.

Plantation Park, (4 nights), Mercer, PA. Another great Coast to Coast park. It is member owned. Easy to get into with lots of big rig sites. Good level full hookup sites and great paved interior roads for walking or biking. They even accept CCC members over holidays when possible.

Tamsin Park, (6 nights), Peninsula, OH. We saved the worst for last and it will be the last time that we would ever stay here. Because of the holiday weekend and our need to be near Cleveland we had to settle for this run-down park. They charge an outrageous price of $26 for unlevel sites, shared hookups and horrible interior roads. Other campers related that the rest rooms were dirty and the advertised heated pool was not.



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

Michigan & Western New York

Mr Bís, Business route 75, Sault Ste. Marie, MI. This is the eating place where all the locals go. Lots of good food (served nice and hot), great salad bar, fast service and moderate prices. We ate (a lot) and had drinks for $23.

Lombardiís Dairy, route 104 just east of Lewiston, NY. We stopped for lunch and were treated to great home made dishes. Ronís Italian stew ($3.85) was outstanding and Barbís goulash with salad ($3.85) was also great.

Tre Grazie, 77 Main St, Brockport, NY. We had the most superb baked ziti for lunch and did our laundry next door in the laundromat while eating. The salad was delightfully fresh and the dressings were homemade and delicious; the ziti was hot and perfect. Their extensive menu (Italian) has lots of different dishes which are in the moderate range. The ziti was the lunch special of the day and was only $4.95. We hope this new business does well so we can visit next time we are in the area.

The Crescent Beach Hotel, 1372 Edgemere Drive, Rochester, NY. My aunt introduced us to this elegant, upscale place on beautiful Lake Ontario. It was a delightful dining experience. The prices are a bit on the high side but everything was exquisite and delicious. Gourmet! We deserve to be pampered once in a while. Reservations are a must. 716-227-3600.

Attica Hotel, downtown, Attica, NY Readers, Bob & Sue Townsend, introduced us to the famous New York fish fries at this hotel. This is THE local place to go and they sure know how to prepare fish. Large piece of haddock, potato and coleslaw was $6.50.
 


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

Mack Ely from Oklahoma wonders about all the repairs. " Back in May you had to have your air conditioner replaced then trouble with the carbon monoxide detector. Now you spent days at the factory having more work done. Do you miss your old Bounder (gas)? Whatís the deal? Every time I go into a dealership all the bays are full with big Class A rigs. Do you think itís the manufacturer or diesel or what?"

We respond. The bigger and fancier the rig, the more complicated it is and the more complicated it is more can go wrong. Itís like buying a new house; itís fix this and fix that for months. No, we do not miss the Bounder although we loved it when we had it and miss some things about it. And no, itís not the diesel or manufacturer; the air conditioner was made by one company, the detector by another, etc. In fact, all of the things we had "fixed" were just minor little things. We had to do the same "de-bugging" with both the Bounder and our Class C Mallard. Anyone else want to comment?

Judy Myers from California wonders how to protect her RV if she moves to a park near the Ocean. "The San Francisco RV Park is closing on October 1 to make way for construction of a new baseball park. Therefore I will be moving to another location in the SF Bay area. Iíll have to trade my 5 block walk to work for a commute. Pacifica seems the most likely, but the park is right on the ocean and I fear that my rig will turn to rust. Do you or any of your readers have any ideas for how to protect RVís from the salt air? Any suggestions would be appreciated."

Barb comments. I know that some of you out there have the perfect solution and will come forward right away. Thanks in advance.

Tom & Cara Barnhill of Vacaville, CA write. "One question we havenít found an answer to is, how do you keep the exterior of your rig clean as there are very few campgrounds that will allow you to wash your rig at the site?

Barb answers. There are several products on the market that make washing the RV easy. Some are sold by distributors and are waterless. You just spray and wipe. Protect All Easy Wash is a solution that when dissolved in just a small amount of water in a bucket will do a large RV without rinsing. The only other thing needed is a chamois. So if you donít have to get out the hose the campgrounds wonít mind you washing it.

Pamela & Fred Handy of Colorado have a question for Ron. "How do membership campgrounds and rates balance with free sites & hookups, when one is budgeting? Do good memberships complicate the issue? Example: We belong to Thousand Trails/NACO. (Since our membership was Ďinheritedí, we have no original purchase fee to figure into our costs.) However, we have a choice of paying dues of $439/yr for 50 or fewer nights, or dues of $730/yr for an unlimited number of nights/yr. There is no additional fee for normal use of the TT preserves, within certain length-of-stay requirements. If as full-timers we select the later option and used the TT preserves...150 nights and spent another 50 nights in NACO parks (for an additional $5/night) those 200 nights would cost an average of $4.90/night. If we assume that another 60 nights are spent in transit, visiting family, etc., weíre left with only 105 nights in that hypothetical year to pay for---and thatís before we use memberships in CCC, RPI, etc. Would it ever be worth our while to work for site & hookups, or might it even cost us money to do that? (ie: under-utilized membership nights.)"

Ron responds. Normally working for a site and hook-ups is pretty cheap labor and returns less than minimum wage. Itís an especially bad exchange if you own multiple memberships where you can camp inexpensively. We volunteer in public parks to enjoy the beauty and to give something back to our country and feel that we gain much more than we give. We think of it as a fun experience.


Never ending adventure

About 2 years ago we read your article in our Portland paper and got the bug to go wandering. Carl was 6 years away from retirement and can work "temporaries" for his company so we purchased your book... and a 34' Itasca with a slideout. Our first "temp" was in Fort Meyers, Florida, the winter of 95-96 and this past winter, we spent in Phoenix, Arizona. Thank you for giving us the interest and encouragement to hit the road on our never ending adventure.

Sandra & Carl Leader
Gresham, Oregon

No more sticky buns

We spent our 1st full-time week in Grand Marais, Michigan, because of Shirleyís sticky buns in your book [pg 220]! Shirley retired! But the 4th of July parade was great Americana. It went around the parade route twice! Met another f-t couple and gave them your book to read and some Moviní Ons. They had just done it without you! How, we donít know! We loved Grand Marais; kept looking for Ozzie & Harriet.

Barbara Bickford & Jim Ransehousen
New full-timers from Sweedsboro, NJ

Getting excited

... I am currently reading your book... and I am so excited!! I am thoroughly enjoying [it] and can hardly put it down. (Donít tell, but I even read a little at work if no one is looking).

My husband, Lee, and I have dreamed of being gypsy travelers for a long time, but until lately, thatís all it wasóa dream. Last year we bought a 23' Jayco travel trailer to see if we would enjoy camping. We camped almost every weekend from June until November. On Sunday, we always dread for our camping adventures to end and want to head for Alaska, Maine, California---anywhere but back to Memphis and the "grind."

When we started camping is when we really started to consider RVing full-time. Now my husband is 62 and is eligible for retirement.... I got on the internet and discovered the RV Home Page. From there, I connected with Good Samís Club, the Escapees RV Club, and books of all kinds about RVing. I immediately ordered your book and am having a lot of my questions answered, all the while getting more excited about RVing full-time. It looks more and more like our dream may become reality!

I hope you donít mind such a "folksy" letter, but I just had to write and let you know how much I am enjoying your book. I plan on sharing [it] with my sister and brother-in-law, who are also interested in RVing. I would like to order a six issue subscription to Moviní On also....

Lynda & Lee Panneton
Memphis, Tennessee

Hooked on Moviní On

After reading your book... we subscribed to your newsletter for 6 months just to see if weíd like it. Well, now weíre hooked. After meeting both of your families and having you share your great ideas in each issue (we want to hear more about laptop computers and Nextel ...), we would like to sign up to receive your publication for a year.

We are wannabeeís! We hope to be on the road by the Spring of 1998. Weíve been talking about it for five years and we think itís about time we hit the road.

We just joined the Escapees club at the Life on Wheels Conference in July at Moscow, Idaho, which, by the way, was just great. Anyway, we hope to see you at one of the Escapades in the near future. We feel like we already know you both through your book and especially the personal touches in your newsletters.

Charlie & Norma Cooper
Santa Rosa, California

Got caught in a tornado

... We have been travelling down the road for 7 months now. Weíve had a lot of fun! Have spent most of those months exploring the south. Iím a history buff and Iíve been like a kid in a candy store. ... Enjoyed going back to my home town of Crosby, MN, at least until June 28th when we were in a tornado! Did some damage to our new 35 ft Bounder and had to head back to Oregon where weíve been sitting at Guarantyís "campground" (ha) for a month. Still waiting for some parts. Lesson learned---donít go to Minn in JuneóJuly unless you like tornados....

At least it was a testimonial for Bounder. We had no frame damage and that was a miracle.

Ruth & Ray Ukura
Full-timers from Florence, Oregon

Editorís note: The Ukuraís enclosed a newspaper article about the tornado. From their office window at city hall police officers saw the motorhome as it was lifted up a few feet in the air, rocked back and forth, then dropped to the ground. Ruth was reading and only suffered a bruise; Ray was sleeping and wasnít injured.

License with caution/consideration

We love your book and newsletter. Weíve been full-timing for almost 3 years and it has flown by.

Regarding your readerís comments about vehicle registrations and driverís licenses in separate states, it should be done with caution and consideration. It can impact taxes, wills and insurance coverage. In addition to possible confusion and hassle at border crossings or traffic stops and citations, putting insurance coverage in jeopardy should be avoided. Insurance rates and rules vary state to state; keeping your policy updated with current info will be essential if you need to make a claim....

Weíre not currently traveling with a computer, so we find a paperback zip code directory essential for mail. They can be purchased at office supply and stationery stores.

Art & Gail Knight
Full-timers from Santa Ynez, CA

Solar panels helpful along the coast

...Weíve been on the road for 29 months now and canít imagine any other way to live right now!

Computer hasnít been hooked up for 4 months now as we have been travelling route 1 on the coast of California and have not had hook-ups. Thank goodness for the wonderful solar panels; they really came in handy.... Propane catalytic heater also worth itís weight in gold as summer along the coast... means 60-700 daytime and 50 degree nights. Love it, as the days have been mostly sunny and not as foggy as expected.

In these out-of-the-way campgrounds with little known phone company service, I find I cannot access the Escapee voice mail/message service with the 1-888 number. Seems that they donít have the technology out in the boonies to program the phones for the 888#s as yet!! Very very frustrating for when you really need to keep in touch. As I was muttering and sputtering into the phone at one of these places, a fellow SKP told me to dial into AT&T with 10+ATT+0 which gets you into their system then you dial the 888 number. Worked like a charm. Now, the next problem to solve is the phones that charge 25¢ to call a toll free number. GRRR.

Mary & Bill Brand
Full-timers from Michigan

Traded and Travelling

...We...went to Decatur, IN (Fleetwood Factory Service) with our 1996-36' Bounder slideout. The slideout quit working. Even though Fleetwood reinforced it, we were still concerned and traded it for a 1997-36' Pace Arrow Vision with one slideout. So far, weíre really thrilled with it... We also traded our mini van for a Buick Regal-got a new hitch (Roadmaster Falcon 5250 and a lube pump for the carís automatic transmission) that makes the car so easy to tow without a dolly.

... Now in Montana heading for southeastern Idaho, then Washington and down the coast, trying to hit most of the major parks... Itís hard to stay in one place more than four days, because there is so much to see and do over the hill...

Gene has problems with the altitude so I "get" to drive in the mountains. I do enjoy driving, but would gladly give it to him then. I have also learned how to hitch and unhitch the car, which I believe everyone should know how to do....

Mary & Gene Benson
Full-timers from Chillicothe, IL

Sat still too long

...It feels good to be on the road again. We sat in Golden [CO] for nine weeks. Good grief! Thatís the longest weíve sat still since we entered this new chapter of our lives. Seeing family and friends has been fun but we agree a little stressful. We are ready to do this form of socializing in smaller doses now. Being with our new extended RV family never seems to have the same effect. Is it that weíre all living the same lifestyle and therefore thereís not a sense of having to "entertain and be entertained" all the time? Returning "home" compresses all fun and visiting into such a short time....

Maryellen & Gary Mencimer
Full-timers from Denver, CO

What a great lifestyle!

What a privilege it has been for us to get to meet you in person on several occasions this year, although we already felt someway acquainted through Moviní On. We are in Alaska now and getting the hang of moviní on more and more. What a great lifestyle! I caught my first red salmon the other day. We cooked it on the grill and shared it with a couple we met in Washington. We have been traveling together for a while. Just today they joined Escapees and next is their exposure to the newsletter. Their address is.... Thanks for sending them a sample....

PS note from Nan: Some people plan for months and years to make this Alaskan trip, but when we got as far northwest as we could in Washington State and began meeting folks who were headed this way, we thought, "why not?" Weíll never be closer! So, we rush ordered a plexiglass shield for the tow car which we wanted to get anyway, dolled up the front of the motorhome with a home made shield of fiberglass screening and bungee cords and headed out. Our kids and friends couldnít believe it.

Tom had a bad spell with his back after driving too long on a very rough road (the Cassiar highway from BC to AK) one day, and we had to reassess which direction we would go. We decided to keep pressing on, but I ended up driving the next 1,000 miles, plus doing all the other stuff. I know you can relate to that. I was very glad that I had taken the wheel on a couple of other occasions since we have had the coach. The situation was much harder on him than me, however....

Tom & Nan Hanna
Full-timers from Palm City, FL

Found newsletter in a laundry

...We have been planning to go full-time for about a year and have read your book and were aware of your newsletter. Our first stop from our Burlington, Vermont, lauch site was at Lone Pine Campground in Colchester, Vermont. Someone had left several back issues of your letter in the literature rack in the laundry. We read them with interest, clipped the coupon, and returned them for others to read. I canít recall the name of the mailing label.

I retired after 35 years in management with several semiconductor companies... We bought a 37' Dutch Star diesel pusher from Peteís RV Center in South Burlington, VT. This is our very first RV and the folks at Peteís were great to deal with.... We pull a Saturn and are really enjoying ourselves so far. The only thing we havenít figured out is how to do e-mail conveniently. Our provider has an 800 number and off line mail processing software, but plugging into a phone line doesnít seem to be easy. We own no real estate but have about 4500 lbs in storage. We expect to full-time about 2 or 3 years and then settle down near our grandchildren.

Jack & Jean Langdon
Full-timers from Colchester, Vermont

Keeping busy

Full-timing is really keeping us busy. The more we see, the more we realize we havenít seen....

Addie & June Paul
Full-timers from Colorado Springs, CO




by Barb

I just hate it when I wait more than one month to do a newsletter. We have so many great letters that I have a hard time choosing and we have so much to write about.

We were able to connect with several readers this month. John & Sarah Cochran of New Mexico found us while we were in Sault Ste Marie, MI, and Bob & Midge Young of Fredonia, NY, found us in their home park at E. Otto, NY. Both couples were very excited; they said that they never thought they would actually find us. We also met Larry & Cheryl Frair, new full-timers from Alaska and Don & Sue Townsend of Attica, NY, who are just getting ready to hit the road (Oct 1). Gosh it was fun to put faces to names we know so well.

By the time you get this we will have covered a lot more ground. We are presenting our full-timing seminar six times at the Cleveland RV Expo (Sept 4-6) then we are driving to Williamsburg, Virginia, with a stop in Luray, Virginia, to visit our ranger friends from Yosemite and to quickly visit that park. On Sept 11, we fly to Denver to present our seminar four times at their RV show then back to Williamsburg on the 14th. The newsletter will be printed in Virginia while we are gone. They will be sent out on the 15th after we get back from Denver. Hopefully we will get to visit historic Williamsburg for a couple of days before we head to the Escapade in West Virginia. And then we are hightailing it to Arizona.

After over one and one half years of moving constantly (we didnít really sit still last winter) I am tired of traveling---for a while. We are really looking forward to sitting still for the winter. The next issue will be mailed from Arizona and we will publish our winter phone number and hopefully an e-mail address. We plan to work diligently on the new book and get it ready by March or April. We also plan to play lots of euchre with the fun folks at Valle del Oro, attend dances, bike, hike, and rest.

While we were in New York, just living, I worked on the cook book. In fact I have it nearly ready for printing. I was amazed at how many recipes we have published so far, but we have been doing the newsletter for almost eight years. We get a lot of recipes and there were many that had never been printed yet; I was able to include them also. I will let you know as soon as it is finished.

I didnít write about our stay in Mercer, Pennsylvania, because it was so short. But I should mention a wonderful outlet mall in nearby Grove City. And Pennsylvania does not charge sales tax on clothing. At least 15 different routes come in to the town square of Mercer from 10 different angles. It is mighty confusing when you are new and trying to find your way. The town was neat and we enjoyed walking around the square. The court house is interesting too. We could see the top of it from our campground nearby.


Canada is a great place to spend time from spring to fall, and so we head north just when we read of a good thaw. Here are some hints to remember which make these visits great ones.

We cross the border nearly empty of food and drink provisions; in other words we follow their rules. Remember they have everything and with the favorable exchange rate the costs are nearly the same. A good time to cross is noon: the border is so busy the custom agents donít want to stop the traffic to check and Dick answers all the questions quickly. Friendliness is the thing; wear your seat belt and no dark glasses.

The provincial campground personnel are the best. They want to fit our 40' motorhome into one of their spaces, but anything over 25' can be a challenge for many campground roads. A quick walk to the site is a good idea. Thirty amps are rare and the pedestal can be 75' away so learn to live on 15 amps with occasional water hookups and even rarer sewer on site. Dump stations are plentiful.

Canadians love festivals and camping, so sometimes it is hard to get a spot during these weekend events. We have had Provincial park personnel call to help find a place. In addition we have boondocked usually in the back of a truck stop that has a good restaurant.

All of Canada is wonderful and the adventure is worth every mile. Go as far north as weather and time allows. The long, long days and friendly people are charming. Many campers will be from near the campground spending evenings and weekends there and working during the week. Full-timing and big rigs are an amazing idea to them. Their congratulations on our wonderful life are rewarding. Although some areas are short on campground facilities they are long on welcome. Itís a best summertime experience yet!

We came from Ottawa to Parry Sound to Sault Ste Marie, a bouncy, tree lined road. Good scene, but to me (July 29) fall is in the air.

Carol has written for us before and we always love her perspective on life as a full-timer. She and her husband, Dick,are from California and travel in a 40' Fortravel Unihome.


Take sponge baths every other day and when showering get wet, turn off the water, wash then rinse quickly.

When brushing teeth draw a small amount of water into a cup for rinsing the toothbrush and your mouth.

When needing warm/hot water catch the first water coming out until it turns warm. Youíll be surprised when it measures two quarts---just enough to make a fresh pot of coffee.


 Chicken Pot Pie 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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