Our Schedule

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Buckeye Days

Buckeye, Arizona

On Wednesday morning January 27 we said good bye to New Mexico and traveled on to

After 296 miles behind us we stayed one night at

This was a nice full hookup Escapee park for only $17.00 a night

From there it was a short 86 mile drive to Community Church of Buckeye where we will be volunteering for the next three weeks.    When we got to the church we were concerned about the sites.   They are behind the church through a narrow gate on grassy low lying ground.  Len managed to get us in and parked.  We could not see how there will be room for the two diesel pushes yet to arrive.  At 16,000 lbs our fifth wheel sunk a good 5 inches.  The diesel pushers both weight 31,000 lbs.   We spent the night.

After talking to the pastor and on the telephone to the the head to the church's trustees we were invited to move to the trustees property about 11 miles from the church.  He has 10 acres and on it 4 RV sites.    He is currently in Iowa due to a death in the family and won't be back for two weeks. One site is used by a gentleman who works for him and would help us when needed.   Two of the other sites are full hookup, and one with electric and water.

We packed up and moved.  We will use the limited hook up site as we can let the gray water run on the ground.   Should we need to dump the black tank, we have a blue-boy for transferring to the septic system.

One couple (Jerry and Carol) arrived shortly after we got here.  The other couple (Steve and Sandy) earlier today.

The Arizona sunset last night

Today and tomorrow are Buckeye days.  Rodeos and craft fair.  The parade this morning.  First a cattle drive through town.

Stage Coach

This beauty

Now this is a REAL beauty

 What is a parade if no tractors

How do they get into these things?

Here where we are parked, lots of quail.  Hard to get a picture.  Those things are FAST.

Until next time......

Monday, January 25, 2016

Rocks, rocks and more rocks

Dream Catcher RV Park
Deming,  New Mexico

We made it to NM without further incident.  A few words about our recent mishap.  In the last post I related the story about the young man who helped us and refused money for his assistance.  Now for another story.

When we arrived in Van Horn we asked the owner of the RV park if he knew someone who welded.  He made a quick call and we were told the welder  would come to our site within the hour.   It was about 3 hours later that he arrived.  We did not have a problem with him being late.  Things happen.

He did a fine job in welding another plate on the frame to better hold the rack.  We were well pleased. His charge was $90.00 which we felt was reasonable.  Leonard gave him $100.00.  He said he would return at 10 the next morning to add something to better lessen the rack from bouncing.

He did not arrive at 10.  At 11:30 Len called him.  He said he would not be much longer.  OK, we'll wait.  Finally around 4 Len worked on the rack himself as we were leaving the next day and still had to load the generators and bolt them down.  He did not want to work in the dark.  And the man never called to let us know if he was coming and would be late.

At 7:15 a knock on our door. Another man said he came to let us know the welder would be there in another 15 minutes.   Len told him to tell the welder to forget it, he got tired of waiting and did it himself.  As I said, things happen.  Never heard more from the welder  If he was going to be detained the professional thing to do would be make a phone call.  

Two stories:  A young man who stopped to help and refused pay.  An older man who gladly accepted the extra money we offered and then was not dependable.    Which one would you trust?

We arrived at

yesterday afternoon.  This is an Escapees Park.  Fullhook up for $20.00 a night.  We were here back in 2011 for a few days.  Last night we attended their weekly ice cream social and spent an extra hour talking to 4 other full timers until it looked like we were  going to be kicked out!

Our site:

Like all park and everything else in this area, it is gravel.  Last night the winds blew.  Today relatively calm.

After doing some shopping at Walmart this morning we drove the 25 miles to

The rocks forming the City of Rocks were produced by a very large volcanic eruption that occurred 34.9 million years ago.  The eruption was 1000 times greater than the eruption of Mount Saint Helens in 1980.  

A day pass to the park is $5.00 per car.  There are several dry camping sites at $10.00 a night.  Those sites sit among the rocks.  There are also many large electric and water sites for $14.00 a night.  I wish I had known this.  We would have enjoyed staying there a few days.  Maybe another time?

In the park are several walking trails and a gravel road to an observation point with picnic shelters.  A view looking down on the electric/water camping sites.

I had packed a lunch which we quickly ate while walking around.   A cold wind making it too cold sit or to stay up there long.

Now back at the rig looking forward to social hour at the clubhouse in another hour and a half.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Just some more problems

Southern Star RV Park
Van Horn, Texas

We left Seguin, TX late yesterday morning expecting clear roads and skies and no problems.  That did not last long.

In San Antonio traffic we had people waving to us, horns beeping and lights flashing.  Len pulled over to the side of the road.   Not much of a shoulder and whizzing traffic.

We walked to the back on the rig to see what all the fuss was about.  Uh oh.

Bolts had sheared

We managed to jack the rack up, Leonard crawled under and installed the strongest bolts he had that would fit.

Off we go.  Made it about 2 miles and again horns beeping and lights flashing at us.  This time we were on an overpass with even less room to pull over.   We knew we would have to remove the generators until a more permanent fix of the rack.   As we started to jack up the rack, a young man of about 25-30 stopped and asked if he could help.

He was our angel.  He helped Leonard remove bolts that secure the generators to the rack.  Then they put the generators in our truck bed.  I honestly don't know if I could have been much help carrying the generators and especially lifting them.  Then he crawled under the trailer and put another set of bolts on the frame.   He refused our offer of payment.   Young people like this restore my faith in humanity.

After the rack was fixed we put the portable black tank dump unit that usually is kept in the truck bed on the rack. Much lighter.

We then found the nearest Home Depot and Len got Grade 8 bolts and installed them.  We spent last night at a rest area on I-10 near Ozona, Tx.  Len was asleep before 9 and slept through til almost 8. Exhausted!

About those clear skies and roads and no problems.  That we had today.  Gotta love West Texas.

When we got to this campground he asked the owner if anyone local does welding.  We are in luck.  He made a call and we are now waiting for the welder.  Let's weld that thing good!

Speaking of the park, we are quite pleased with it.  Full hooks, free WIFI and cable (we use our own satellite, has more stations) and very nice owners.   At a Passport America cost of $15.00 a night it's a great deal.

As my daughter Terri said about yesterday's darma:     Really?  Enough already!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

New Friends, Old Friends and Family

Seguin, Texas

As I've said many times, the very best thing about fulltime RVing is meeting new friends, reconnecting with old friends and visiting with family.  I am always amazed at the people we know all over the country.   The last two weeks prove it.

While in Louisiana we made new friends.   Meet Judy and Dick

Judy and I met on Facebook thanks to our mutual friend Peggy.   Judy and Dick are from Lake Charles, LA which is about 30 miles from where Leonard grew up.  They have also gate guarded, which is how Peggy met them.  They are currently camp hosting at a Texas state park in Lumberton. One day we drove over for a first meet.   Delightful.

While in Louisiana Len took time to do a much needed wash on the truck. A week later we only wish it still looked like that.

We left Louisiana on Friday, January 15 headed to Houston.  When in the Houston area, we backyard camp at our old friends Lola and Olan.   We met these fine people through NOMADS and have worked several projects with them.

They were away for the weekend so we didn't get a chance to visit.  But we thank them for giving us a place to park while we visited with family.

Here is daughter D'Juana, son-in-law Joe and granddaughter Lindsey

Grand-dogs Tawney and Molly.  Wow, what active little girls.

On Monday we pulled out of Houston and came here to Seguin.   Whenever we travel I-10 through Texas we make a point of visiting friends Marsha, Annie and Sharon.  This is Marsha on the left and Sharon on the right.  Sharon is a school friend of my daughter Terri.   We love their Texas hospitality.  Two harder working people you would never meet.

They have a small ranch with horses, goats, chickens, etc.  They grow and can their own veggies and in their spare time they actually have a small construction business.  They built their own barns, hothouses, fences, etc and added a large screened room and deck on their house.   They never slow down.    Plus they cook some really fine ribs, slaw and potato salad.

And every night they feed some locals.

Tomorrow we pull up stakes and head a little further west.  See ya down the road.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

2015 budget versus expenses

VRV Campground
Vinton, LA

As do many full timers, I keep records of all income and expenses since on the road starting February 2010.   Also, as do many full timers I exceed the budget.  Each year there seems to be something to fix or a medical issue.   With that in mind, as do many full timers we look forward to 2016 being the exception.  Naive?

Many of us post our budget and expenses for the benefit and review of folks considering this lifestyle.  Our budget and expenses are less than many and a lot more than many.   Take this only as a guideline.

Here is our 2015 budget and expenses:

                                                          Budget       Actual

Admissions:                                         180             251          Guess we had places to go,
                                                                                                things to see

Our Medicare Supplements                 3708          3802          Always an increase in

Family Cabin in Pennsylvania             480            425          Taxes, etc

Campground fee                                 3120          3623          Includes 425 a year for
                                                                                                2 zone Thousand                                                                                                                                       Trails membership

Cell/Internet                                       2400          2695          Expected to go down this year.

Church/Charity                                  2640          2900

Clothing                                               360           564           No idea what we have new???

Diesel                                                 6300          4669           YES!

Dining out                                          3300          4189          What can I say

Entertainment                                      360             584          EBooks, picking up the tab

Gifts                                                   1608          2252          With 15 grand kids and
                                                                                                3 greats.  Worth it.

Groceries                                           4200          4041           Under budget due to third
                                                                                               category above this one.

Household                                         3000          2363           New Keuring, sheets, stuff!

Laundry                                               250           151            Saved when parked near
                                                                                               daughter in PA....enough said

Life Insurance                                    120            120             Old policy on Phyllis

Mail forwarding service                     300             320

Medical/ Prescription                        1800           1933           $147 deductible each
                                                                                                on our Medicare policies
                                                                                                Len dental work $507
                                                                                                Co-pay prescriptions

Memberships                                      120             258          

Personal Care                                     600             479            Hair cuts, etc

Phyllis Prescription Plan                    372             372           Len's taken from SS Check

Propane                                              600            449

RV Service                                        1740           2741          230 gray tank repair
                                                                                               323  2nd generator
                                                                                               270 replace black tank valve
                                                                                               904  three tires
Direct TV                                          1212          1222

Tolls                                                    240           499             Trips towing over bridges
                                                                                                 from NJ and turnpikes                                                                                                              

Truck care                                         1680           2510            613  Heater for DEF
                                                                                                 553  Replace CAC tube

RV registration                                    220            220

Truck registration                                122            122

RV insurance                                       955             955

Truck insurance                                   868             868

  Total expenses                                             45,543

In addition we had these unclassified and/or unexpected expenses

Trip to Disneyland               5370
New Axle on RV                 4709
New rifle for Len                  778
Trip to sons wedding           1600

Real Total expenses                                     57,222

We are hoping for a less expensive year in 2016.   Need to save some funds to return to Alaska next year.

Monday, January 11, 2016

January Birthdays

VRV Campground
Vinton, LA

One of the nice things when visiting friends and family in Southwest Louisiana is getting together for celebrations.  And Len's family lets no occasion go by without doing just that.  This month it was birthdays, of which Leonard was one of several.

Yesterday 17 of us met at a restaurant right across the Sabine River in Orange, TX where many in the family now live.  Waiting for a table niece Lydia, niece Farrah (shares her birthday on same day as Len) and sister-in-law Susie

 Two great nieces

Got us all seated at one table

Siblings.   Standing Sissy,  Royce (a January birthday, Lydia (a January birthday) and Leonard (a January birthday).   With 10 siblings these must have been a good a chance on sharing birthday months.

One other brother was there too.   This is Bobby in the LSU cap.  He and wife Charlotte (sitting across from Bobby)  were at the buffet table when the above picture was taken.

Sissy and husband David engrossed in the football game.   In this family of Cowboy fans, David is teased about being an Eagles fan.  Me, growing up across the river from Philadelphia appreciate his choice of teams.

Today we are off to meet with another couple of RVers I have "met" on Facebook.  Stay tuned.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Starting the New Year Off Right

Atchafalaya Basin Welcome Center
I-10   Louisiana

We left Jonestown, PA on January 1 and traveled 451 miles to Bristol, VA where we overnighted at Camp Walmart.  We have stayed at this welcoming Walmart before.  It is right off I-81, lots of room to park well before the parking lot for shoppers.   There are several restaurants right beside this Walmart including Golden Corral.  We were good. We heated up the ham, cabbage, red skin potatoes, black eye peas and cornbread we had cooked the night before.   This is a MUST menu for Leonard on New Years Day.  It is frightening to think what dark mishaps would occur over the year if the menu was varied.

The next day we drove 397 miles to this Thousand Trails park in Arley, Alabama

What a gem.  It sits high on an arm of Smith Lake in Central Alabama.

Our site was spacious with a concrete picnic pad, grill and table.  Full Hookups.  With our membership to TT it cost $3.00 a night.   We plan on returning for the first two weeks in May.

Arley is about 40 miles from son Lennie's house.  After we got settled in, we drove over for a visit and some luscious lasagna and tiramisu.   Here is Lennie, Lois and the kids Jordan and Maddie Jo.

Father and Son

As usual we go to church when and where possible.  On Sunday we met our family at Daystar church which they attend in Good Hope, AL.   The church was very different from what we are used to.   Len and I agreed it left us cold.  We are used to smaller churches and a completely different format.  But they must be doing something right.  It attracts a younger congregation with lots of children.  They have 3 services at this campus with about 2,000 total attendance.   There are two additional Daystar churches in the area.   A church that can get and keep young people coming is a good thing.

After church it was lunch with the family back at their house and then visiting for a few hours before returning to the campground to get ready to continue this journey.

Yesterday I received a phone call from our friend Judy Hughes.  We met Judy a few years ago at an Escapees park and make efforts to catch up when in the same area.  She and her hubby Leonard (!) live in Baton Rouge.   In looking at this blog she saw we were going to overnight at Camping World in Hammond.  We made plans to meet there and then go to dinner at Cracker Barrel.  When we pulled in, they were there waiting.

It is a delight to meet up with people we really enjoy.  But.....I was afraid Judy and (my) Leonard were going to fisticuffs when the bill arrived.   JUDY, my dear friend......You bought the last time too. Next time we pay, hear??????

As it turned out, we did not get permission to overnight at the electric sites we used to use at Dixie RV/Camping World.   I guess things have changed, right Lauri?   We were told we could dry camp in the parking lot.   It was still early so we decided to move on.

So, here we are......at the Atchafalaya Basin Welcome Center.  462 miles covered today.  Only about 120 miles from our home for the next 10 days.  Stay tuned.