Friday, August 1, 2014

Sooner Than We Thought!

Another episode in an Emergency Room, this time in Lakewood, CO, accelerated our plans to come off the road.  Rosie was not feeling well so we went to a clinic, who sent her to the ER with concerns about her heart.  The ER tests ruled out heart problems.  It turned out to be a reaction to a too drastic reduction in the dosage on her thyroid medication.  So we decided to pull the plug on the RV lifestyle while in the ER waiting for test results.

We left Colorado 2 weeks early for Idaho Falls.  This week we found a condo we liked and were able to get it financed.  Expected closing date is August 22nd.  So we will go from 320 sq. ft. to 1,052 sq. ft.   It will seem like a palace to us.  The pooches won’t know how to act with all that room, and there is a fair sized deck also.

So our camper and truck will go on the market in about a month. 

Thanks for following along all these years.

The end.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Hanging Up The Keys

It has been over two months since I last wrote in this blog.  The truth is that I don’t feel I have anything exciting, interesting or meaningful to write about.  Our great RV Adventure has become a routine of staying in the same places for one month to 5 months at a time.  We haven’t been anywhere “new” in the last 12 months.

So we sat down in early June and talked over our situation.  Frankly, I have lost my enthusiasm for full time RV living.  The original plan was to go to different places exploring the western US, particularly the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to do that.  It costs about $100 a day to pull the camper about 300 miles.  If we travel 10 days a month, that is $1,000.  Even at a low average of $25 a night in campgrounds, 30 nights is $750 a month.  That is $1,750 a month before insurance (our big expense), food, etc.  So we have ended up staying long term in campgrounds to get a monthly rate, plus camp hosting for a free site for several months.  We can continue to do this, but what is the point if you don’t get to go to new places.

So we have decided to give it one more year on the road, then return to Idaho Falls in July of 2015 and look for a low cost rental to live in.  Once we find a home, we will sell the truck and camper to pick up some cash.

I want to thank all of you who have followed this blog and let you know I have appreciated all your comments.  We have met some wonderful, interesting folks during this journey and we don’t regret making the choice to go full time.  Reality just never caught up with the vision.

This will probably be my last blog.  We are returning to Tollbridge Park in August for three months, then 5 months in So. Calif. for the winter.  We will try to return to Tollbridge in the Spring of 2015 for 3 months.

Thanks for stopping by and for all your support in the past.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Rosie’s Photo Essay!

Rosie went around the campground taking photos today.


The beginning of the firewood pile before splitting.


After using the splitter, we have nice neat rows of split firewood, courtesy of our co-host Jim Schrankel.


Then we load of the firewood wagon and tow it around to the campsites.

Here is a series of pictures of some of the blooming going on in the campground, including wild strawberries and a dogwood tree:

IMG_7437  IMG_7444

        IMG_7445  IMG_7449


There is a story behind this last picture.  Most of the pile of pine needles and other wood slash behind the golf cart and wagon were gathered in the campground and brought here and piled up by Rosie.  Can you imagine how many trips that little red cart had to make to get that pile of stuff; and the picture doesn’t do justice to the size of the pile.


Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Spring Is In The Air!

Finally!  Two days in a row with solid sunshine and no rain.  And the forecast for Thursday is 82 degrees.  I didn’t think I would ever thaw out.

Campers have been pretty scarce these last few weeks at Tollbridge County Park.  Rosie has kept busy with site cleanup.  I have helped (a little bit) our co-host, Jim Schrankel, with the wood pile.  Jim LOVES splitting firewood.  He is a man possessed with turning out the perfect piece of wood to put into a fire.  I will have to get a picture of him with the wood splitting machine for a future blog.  Yesterday our county manager, Cory, cleared a path in the woods so Jim could get to a downed tree.  The tree has been down for about 2 years so the wood should be nice and dry.  Jim will start getting it out next week.

We took some pictures today on our way into Hood River for shopping.  Here is a fresh picture of Mt. Hood:


The pear orchards are blooming:


Here is a picture of a local barn with a special feature.  This person has way too much time on their hands:


Other than that, things have been pretty uneventful here.  The weather improving should bring in more campers, which will add some excitement to our lives.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Time Flies!

Wow!  A whole week has gone by since I last wrote.  I swear the roller coaster of life is speeding faster and faster.

We had four campsites filled over the past weekend.  During the week we had one or two more wander in.  The daytime weather is so nice that folks are out looking to get in that first camping trip of the season.  Tuesday we ventured down to Hood River to do laundry at the EconoWash and shop at Wal-Mart (not a supercenter) and Safeway.  Had lunch at Ixtapia Mexican Food near the laundromat.  I noticed a new BBQ joint in the the shopping center and we agreed we needed to give that one a try on  a future laundry run.

Rosie is continuing her quest to clean out all the tent sites.  What a trooper she is.  I have helped her a little bit, but she is taking on the challenge mostly on her own.  I completed painting the new rail in front of the host site.  The county agreed to put it in last year to “discourage” folks from coming and knocking on our door at all hours.  Our fellow host, Jim Schrankel, is working on some wood signs that say “Off Duty” that we can hang under the Camp Host signs when we are away or don’t want to be disturbed.  The day use area is getting a lot of use.  There are families playing games and using the playground almost every day.  We went to the local library on Monday and checked out some books.  I am also reading books on my Samsung Tablet that I can “borrow” from the Santa Paula, CA digital library.  Ain’t technology wonderful.

I have been having a small campfire almost every night.  In the past, I was not so much into the campfire thing, but now I am more inclined to light one up.  Maybe I am getting a little “confined” in the camper and need an excuse to spend more time outside.  It also lets me be readily available to help campers check in or simply answer questions.

We took the camera along on Friday when we went into Parkdale to get a broasted chicken for dinner.  Took a couple of pictures including our first of Mt. Hood this season, another of some trees that are blossoming and Rosie took a picture of a piece of art work on the lawn of a local museum depicting a little girl petting a horse.




Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Happy Days!

It is so good to be back at Toll Bridge County Park.  We get the same good feeling we had when we were here last summer and fall.  On Thursday we cleaned up some fallen limbs in the public area.  Met with our Manager, Cory, to go over what was new in the park.  We have all new soap, towel and toilet paper dispensers in all the bathrooms.  These are a big improvement over the old stuff. 

Yesterday afternoon our first camper in was pulling a 1998 Alpenlite.  Of course, I had to go get their story.  They recently purchased the unit and this was their “maiden voyage”.  I was able to show the owner a few things about the rig and we had our first sale of firewood to them.

We both had a good sleep last night and awoke refreshed and ready for a new day.  I set up a screened canopy over the picnic table on our site.


With that in place we can get more use out of the picnic table.  I can grill in the rain; we can have camp host meetings in the rain; we can eat outside without being invaded by bees.

Rosie got busy with site cleaning.  That girl loves working out doors.  Give her a rake, a shovel and a campsite that needs cleanup and she is one happy camper.  See the smile on her face:


Our 3 campers with reservations came in today.  Also had 2 drive in customers today.  Another reservation is due in tomorrow.  I grilled pork chops for dinner and it is a good thing I had set up the screened canopy.  It started to sprinkle just as I was putting the meat on the grill.

The pooches are have a great time here.  I think they remember it from last year.  Since there is hardly anyone here and no other dogs on site, I can let them off leash on occasion.  Boy, do they love that.  Annie gets to chase squirrels, up to the point that they climb a tree.  She gets that “how do they do that” look on her face.  Kinda cute.  Sammy is to wise for that exercise in futility; he knows which critters can climb trees.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Rain Snow & Sunshine

Oregon weather at it’s finest in April.  Left Corning, CA yesterday morning with a light rain coming down that progressed to steady rain for many miles.  At Weed, CA (what a name) we transitioned from I-5 to Highway 97.  As soon as we got on 97 the rain stopped and clouds disappeared and it was sunny and the roads were dry.  Stayed that way until we started climbing in elevation towards our destination of Crescent, OR.  Arrived at the Big Pines RV Park in a light snow fall.  BTW, this is a nice campground and the owner, Bruce, is a great guy.  Led us to our level pull through and helped guide me in place.  All I had to do was plug into the 50 amp outlet and attach the cable TV.  The campground is in the woods and is very scenic.  This picture was taken about 7:00 am Wednesday morning and that is a snow/frost combination on the ground.   It was about 28 degrees when I took this.


Pulled out of there about 8:00 am and headed north.  The roads were slightly icy in some spots.  I had a heart stopping moment when the truck slid slightly sideways for a split second.  Not a fun experience when pulling 14,000 pounds of camper.  I was only doing 40 to 45 mph, along with most of the other vehicles, when it happened.  We continued onward dropping in elevation and soon got out into the open sun where the trees weren’t shading the road.  Stopped at Wal-Mart in Bend for a few necessities and headed north again.  On the north end of Madras OR, we changed to highway 26 and headed northwest towards Portland.  Eventually we turned right on highway 35 and arrived at Tollbridge Campground about 1:00 pm.  We were greeted by our friend Jim Schrankel, who will be holding down the other camp hosting site for the whole season.  Jim was the one that referred us to this gig last year; and we loved it so much we came back for more.  This year we get the Number One Camp Host site up front near the office.  Here is a picture of the site:


We are all set up nice and cozy.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, March 31, 2014

It Rains in California

What a day.  We left Madera about 10 am and headed north on Hwy.99.  In Sacramento, we transitioned to I-5 northbound.  About an hour north of Sacramento, it started to rain.  Just a little at first, but as we went further north it became a steady rain requiring full time windshield wipers.  The last 100 miles or so of our trip was in the rain. 

The original plan was to get to Redding today, but that was a 306 mile drive.  So after studying the weather on my Weather App,  I decided we would stop in Corning, CA because it cut a little over 50 miles off the trip.  So glad I did; it would have been hell to drive another hour in that rain.  Then Barbie, our GPS, led us astray.  She took us to a farm field about 8 miles south of Corning and announced "You have arrived."   Well, I had scoped out the RV Park on Google Earth before we left and I knew right away this was not right.  She had us on the right road, just off by a few miles.  On the way to Heritage RV Park, I found diesel fuel for $3.989 at a station I could pull the rig through.  Anything under $4.00 is a good deal in California these days.

This RV Park is good for an overnight stay.  The sites are long and level, but pretty narrow.  Lots of long termers here though.  Set up in a light rain.  Was able to stay hitched to the truck so we can depart quickly in the morning.   It finally stopped raining after dinner, so I was able to take the pooches for a potty walk.  They were way past due what with 6 hours in the truck and very few places to stop along the way.

Rosie whipped up a great turkey meatloaf with baked potatoes and peas.  With a good meal and an adult beverage in the digestive tract, life is better.  Tomorrow we cross into Oregon.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

I’m Baaaaack!

I last posted on New Years Eve reflecting on the passage of 2013 and many of the things we experienced during that year.  It is now the end of March 2014 and we are on the move again after 5 months at the Ventura Oaks KOA near Santa Paula, CA.  It was a different experience staying in one spot for 5 months.  The Cedar Campground where we were at the KOA is the “long term” loop.  There are about 10 full time RV dwellers there with a variety of stories to learn.  One couple has been there for over 5 years; a single gentleman has been there about 3 years.  Our next door neighbors on each side have been there around a year each.  Most are working in the area having lost long term work in other parts of the country.  The couple in the site next to us just had their second child, a boy.  They have a 3 year old little girl and a really cute puppy.  She is a traveling nurse; he is a stay-at-home dad.  They just purchased a new fifth wheel with a 2nd bedroom and half bath to accommodate their growing family.  Living there was like living in a regular suburban neighborhood.

It was good to be close to our kids and grandkids for 5 months.  That is the longest time we have been geographically close since we left So. Cal. in 1993 and moved to the Denver area.  Our grandsons are growing up so quickly and getting taller every day.  They are now 12 and 15.  With a lot of tall people in my family and their parents being tall, they should top out well over 6 feet.  They are getting good grades.  The oldest is interested in Science and Art and is in a magnet school.  The younger one is very active in sports.  It is interesting to watch them mature into young men.

Over the last few days I checked out all the systems on the camper and the truck, including adding air to the tires, adding coolant to the truck, checked the water level in all the batteries, etc..  This morning when I pushed the buttons to activate the slides I wasn’t quite sure how they would work since they have been extended for 5 months.  But all went well.  We had stocked up on liquor and wine since they are cheap in So. Cal. and expensive in Oregon.  We also stocked up on some Trader Joe’s items since it will be 7 months before we see the inside of one of their stores again.

This morning we hooked up and headed up the road about 8:30 am.  We arrived at the Country Living RV Park in Madera, CA about 2:00 pm.  We had stopped for lunch in a Wal-Mart parking lot on the way.  We were amazed to discover about 45 channels of over-the-air television until we started going through channels and finding about 10 Spanish Language channels and 6 or so Home Shopping channels.  Anyway we have some entertainment on site.

Tomorrow morning I have a work assignment one mile from our campground (how is that for planning), then we hit the road for Redding, CA.  The Weather Channel forecast for our destination is rain showers and temps in the 30’s to 50’s this week.  I hope it warms up and dries out a little bit after that.

Thanks for stopping by.