Friday, November 22, 2013

I Have Some Explaining To Do!

It has been 21 days since I last updated my blog.  I am not proud of that.  The problem is pretty easy to understand; I have nothing new to write about. 

We are in Santa Paula, CA at the Ventura West KOA.  We were here last year at the same time and I gave a full review of the campground last year.  I also wrote about what a great little town Santa Paula is and posted a lot of pictures of the many murals located around town.  I also noted that we were happy to have found a Universalist Unitarian Church in town.  So all of that is repeat news.

Some things have changed in our plans, but let me get to that in a little bit.  Here’s the deal; our “plans” for our RV lifestyle were one thing and “reality” is a whole different ballgame.  Our plans were pretty basic, we would travel and explore wonderful new places in the western USA and I would blog about all our adventures, do campground reviews, etc., etc., etc.  The reality is that, going forward, we will be repeating our travel patterns every year.  We will be spending 5 months wintering here in Santa Paula and 5 months Camp Hosting in Mt. Hood-Parkdale, OR.  We will spend 1 month in Idaho Falls and 1 month in Colorado with a brief trip to South Dakota for my family reunion.  The cause of this change from dream to reality is simple economics. 

We are one of those millions of Americans who were not successful in acquiring enough wealth to finance a leisurely retirement.  So we are living on Social Security and earnings from my self employment; trying desperately to not dip into our rather limited IRA accounts (which generate less than 2% a year in interest).  And my earnings from self employment have diminished drastically over the last 3 years. This year my self employment income will be about $10,000 less than in 2010.  We have reduced expenses by choosing an RV lifestyle over living in a stick house with a mortgage, but the income has dropped more than the expenses.  So we are dependent on work camping as a means to further reduce expenses.  Fortunately for us, we love Camp Hosting at Tollbridge County Park.  My self employment income is derived in part from a web site that is dependent on a thriving small business community of building and trades contractors.  That industry is still struggling.  The other part of my income is lessened when we are in remote areas and enhanced when we are in more metropolitan areas.  So this year we decided to spend the winter in Santa Paula instead of Yuma.  I can get more work here.  It is also nice to be within 80 miles of all three of our kids and our two grandkids.

To all of our friends in Yuma; we love you guys.  We enjoyed the activities and the facilities at Caravan Oasis RV Resort.  We enjoyed our impromptu parties and pot luck get togethers.  What we also realize is that we do not like the desert environment; sand and cactus forever is not enjoyable to us.  So here we are in the pine trees and hills on the northwestern edge of greater Los Angeles, about 10 miles from the Pacific Coast.  We have gained access to the wonderful local library; Rosie has found a 3 day a week Yoga class;  we get to see family every weekend (or more); and the weather is warm.  Life is pretty good and I am getting enough work to make up for the cost difference between here and Yuma.  We might even decide to settle down here whenever we decide to hang up the keys and come off the road.

Which gets me back to blogging.  I don’t have the creative mind of some of the RV bloggers I read that write every day.  Some days are just repeats or extensions of other days.  Things I will write about going forward may be interesting to family and close friends, but not so much to some of our followers.  So the frequency and depth of my blogging future is uncertain.  Some of you may choose not to “follow” this blog in the future.  I understand completely and wish you well. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Another Month Gone Bye!

On Monday we traveled from Spanish Fork, UT to the Virgin River BLM campground in a beautiful canyon in a little slice of Arizona between Utah and Nevada.  There are no hookups here, but the sites are paved and level.  The pull through sites will accommodate almost any size rig.  The back in sites are for smaller trailers and for tent campers.   Our site had a concrete picnic table and bench under a metal shelter with a BBQ grill and a fire pit.  The price is right at $8 a night with 50% off for Golden Age Passports.  It is very quiet and very dark at night with no ambient city lights.  Great for star gazing.  It was cold, dropped into the low thirties at night.  Good snuggling weather.  Here are some pictures:

IMG_7339  IMG_7359IMG_7349  IMG_7361

Wednesday we took a deep breath and headed out for a 350 mile pull to Lancaster, CA.  I always dread going through Las Vegas, but there were no construction delays this time and I just stayed in the #2 lane  and we breezed through without out one stop for traffic.  We managed to fill up with diesel for $3.88 at a Love’s Truck Stop north of Vegas.  We set up at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds RV Park in Lancaster.  It is a large concrete parking lot with full hookups.  30 amp sites are $20 and 50 amp sites are $25.  Our son’s girl friend prepared a tasty pork roast dinner with all the trimmings and there was enough left over to take some home.  On Thursday, Karl came over to have lunch with us and to go through our collection of family photo albums.  We are trying to clean out our storage space by the end of 2014 and the first thing was to divvy up 3 boxes of photo albums among our three kids.  Karl got the first crack at the albums and was a happy guy with his selections and a good helping of mom’s Lasagna.  See how happy he is:


Today was a short driving day.  It was 97 miles to Barber RV in Ventura, CA where we had their body shop look at the damage from our tire blowout in August.  We presented them with the paperwork prepared by the Insurance Company Adjuster and they seemed to think it was a fair estimate.   They were concerned at first that they may not be able to get all the parts before we leave on December 1st for Yuma, but after a lot of phone calls with suppliers, they seem to work it out.

It took two hours at the RV dealer to get all that done and we were getting grumpy hungry and the pooches had not been out to do their thing since about 8:30 this morning.  Fortunately it is only about 15 miles from the dealer to the Ventura Oaks KOA Resort in Santa Paula.  So here we are, all settled in for November.  We have family time this weekend and I have some work assignments in the area to get done before we leave the area.
Here are the numbers for October:

Camping – $169.66 (camp hosting 20 days for free camping)

Diesel Fuel when pulling – $557.00

Truck Service/Repairs – $0.00

RV  Repairs/Service – $0.00

Generator Gas/Propane - $21.22

Metered Electricity – $0.00

Satellite TV/Radio – $16.30

Campground Pet Fees – $0.00

Laundry – $30.00

Total = $794.18

Thanks for stopping by.