Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 -- The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Happy New Year to all who might be reading this post!

Well, this year has been a real hum-dinger, hasn't it? In spite of everything on the negative side of things, we have a lot to be thankful for....but more on that later. First of all, let's address "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly" shall we?

In reverse order we have "The Ugly". Well, for us that has to be our last 3 weeks of horrible weather. It started with some light rain and very cold temperatures. OK, we're seasoned Washingtonians and we can take it. Then the snow began falling a couple of weeks ago and it keep on falling and falling and falling. Just like the Energizer Bunny, it never seemed to quit. You can read about our weather problems in the previous postings. I'll attempt to attach a photo to this posting. (Keep your fingers crossed) The weather is getting warmer now and the rain has begun falling and it is slowly melting the snow. The motorhome is still snowed in at our site though.

There are a few things that can be named "The Bad" that fell on us or our family during 2008. The worst was having our son, Dennis, lose his job the week before Thanksgiving. He had a middle management job with his company and the national recession cut that job out from under him. His company began suffering and they laid off several employees in the management positions. He's been sending out applications, at least 3 a week, so I'm very optimistic he will find something eventually. However, due to his job situation he will not be able to participate in our family vacation this June at Disney World. Certainly the economy was another "Bad" thing for us along with everyone else. It will take a while before our investments gain the ground they lost, so in the meanwhile we watch our budget more closely.

In spite of "The Bad & The Ugly"...."The Good" was really good and we can be thankful for every blessing! In spite of the rotten housing market, we were able to get our home sold in only 3 months, and for a fair price to boot. Wow! Ours was 1 of only 2 that sold in our 55+ park in 2008. There are still over 10 homes for sale in that park today. In spite of the rotten economy, we were able to take an RV trip to Pismo Beach for 2 months! We enjoyed that trip and the total relaxation it provided. In spite of the fact that they often wear us out, we are blessed with 2 wonderful granddaughters that love to spend time with us at every opportunity. They love to have sleep overs with Grandma and Papa and look forward to little RV trips with us, too.

Most important of all, Bruce and I are in pretty good shape:

* We enjoy good health

* We can put food on our table each day

* We have a roof over our head

* We have the love of a family

* We can afford private health insurance (although costly)

* We have a church we feel welcomed in and we have FAITH

It really never gets any better than that! Everything else is gravy. We are looking forward to the upcoming New Year and the exciting travels we have planned. My postings on our Fulltime Journey haven't dealt with much "journeying" the past couple of months. We are still considered fulltime RVer's even if we park it for a while. I'll keep you up to speed on how things continue with this RV life as we begin the 2009 countdown to March 14th....our target date for leaving on the next big Full Time Adventure.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Wonderland??? This winter really stinks!

We've had enough snow to last us a lifetime. This is the most snow we have had at one time here in Tumwater/Olympia area since we moved here in 1994. In years past we've gotten...oh, maybe 3 to 4 inches at one time and then it usually melted away in a day or two. This time there doesn't seem to be any end in sight. We are expected to have snow most all day long tomorrow (Sunday). Due to this uncommon amount of snow, we were able to experience all sorts of new problems.

In my last posting I wrote about how we were beginning to have a serious shortage of propane. We had planned to drive the RV out and get our tank refilled last week when the snow melted a bit. Well, it hasn't melted at all and there is no way we can get the motorhome out of here until it does. Bruce looked through the phone book for places that provide large propane tanks and bring them to your site. Not much luck there. The best deal we could find was for a 120 gallon tank. Then they would charge $198.00 to bring it out, $2.89 per gallon for propane, and then another $90.00 when we wanted the tank picked up and removed. Plus...they only had a 1-yr. lease deal. If we wanted it picked up sooner than the 1-year they would charge another $55.00. But the real kicker was that they couldn't get to us for another 3 weeks. By that time the snow will be melted and we can drive out and get the propane. Time for PLAN B: We called around to RV parts suppliers in town to see about getting an adapter system to connect our fixed propane tank out to an auxiliary tank. Nobody here had anything to offer. Sooooo......we got into the car and drove 25 miles south to Chehalis on the snowy-icy roads to Uhlmann's RV dealership. They were very helpful. They didn't have exactly what we needed so they fixed us up with a custom fitting for our motorhome. Great! We drove back up to Tumwater and got our son-in-laws BBQ propane tank to use.

Bruce had to climb up under the large slideout section on the motorhome and attempt to connect the adaptor kit to the propane tank. That was not an easy task as it is a very tight space under there. While he worked on that job, I picked the icicles off of the motorhome exterior. There were lots of them. After a lengthy process (about 2 hours) he finally managed to get everything connected and in working order. He tested the new fittings out for leaks by using a Mr. Bubble Bath solution. No leaks! The auxiliary tank is only 5 gallons but it was "free" to use. We can just put it into the car and drive to the gas station down the road to refill it as needed. So, no more fear about running the gas heater to keep us warm. We are still being conservative with that and relying on the electric space heater as much as possible.

Last night before going to bed we closed up the valves on the grey water tanks to collect water in order to empty our black tank today. We like to flush the sewer hose with the grey water after emptying our black water tank each time. Well, during the night it just got colder and colder and when we woke up it was only 14 degrees outside. We had to babysit for a few hours this morning so we did that before emptying our holding tanks.

After lunch we went out to take care of our holding tanks. Fortunately, we got the black tank valve opened and all of that came out and emptied as usual. Great. Then Bruce tried to open the 2 grey tank valves and they wouldn't budge. At that time he noticied that the floor of that bin (where all holding tank controls are housed) was layered with a sheet of solid ice. Apparently during the night our fresh water hose connector leaked out by a drip..drip..drip. Most likely the extreme cold weather caused something to run amuck. The water accumulated and froze up like a little ice pond in there. That resulted in the 2 grey tank valves to freeze up tight.

I went into the RV and got him some warm water to pour over the valve handles to try and thaw them out a bit. No dice. Then he poured that water over our new ice pond and he began chipping that out bit by bit. All the while it is snowing like a blizzard on us out there. Finally we just gave up on that little task for today. Tomorrow is supposed to warm up to 29 degrees!!! Maybe we can get those valves opened freely then. In the meantime, we'll go over to our daughter's house in the morning to shower since our grey tank is almost full.

Our dog, Annie, enjoys the snow. Yippee. We have to take her out several times each day to do her business and she just loves to play in the snow. Then we bring her back in and we have to dry her off as best we can. She gets little clumps of snow stuck in the fur on her legs and they just have to melt out....all over the floors. Ahhhhh..the joys of loving a dog!

I know it has to get better eventually. Although, the coming week isn't looking too good and the cold temperatures are set to continue past Christmas day. At least our propane issues are under control. I'm also pleased to report that our new dehumidifier is working like a champ! It sounds a bit like a hurricane blowing through the motorhome when it is set on high but the results are better than we could have hoped for.

I admit I've been a bit stressed out over some of these issues (well, a lot stressed out actually), but things will work out. Like Bruce said, "nothing has happened that can't be or hasn't already been fixed." I'll try to keep that in mind this next week when we face the possibility of a lot more snow, ice and cold temperatures.

Stay tuned.........

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Love a Nice Waterfall.....

Yes, I've always enjoyed viewing a beautiful waterfall. Outdoors that is, and not running down the walls of the motorhome. We figured we would have some condensation to deal with while being in Washington during the winter months. What we didn't realize was exactly how much condensation we would be dealing with. We soon noticied some water (heavy dew) accumulating in the upper storage bins throughout the RV at the back wall/ceiling joints. So, we now live with the doors of all of our storage bins open. Lovely! Then I began to notice that any of the corners in the exterior walls were gathering too much moisture. In fact, in one corner behind the easy chair there were creepy-crawly things growing in that crevice as well. Eeewwww! I got out the bleach/water solution and quickly set out to kill those critters.

Next I sent off an e-mail to another fulltimer we know to ask how they've been dealing with this wonderful winter weather. They are currently staying north of us near Seattle. Jan called us on the phone to say that at first they thought their motorhome roof was leaking because they had so much moisture gathering. They quickly realized it was not and set to work, like we did, to try and deal with the situation. They already had a small dehumidifier and put it up on their dashboard and turned it on. She said it helped a little bit. We went to the local True Value Hardward to check out that type of dehumidifier. It had a 8 oz. capacity and was priced at $49.99. Too small we thought to do an adequate job. So, we checked the local Home Depot and Lowe's but they had nothing in stock. Bruce found one online through Lowe's. It has a 25 pint capacity and cost $154.99. Shipping was FREE. It arrived yesterday and we put it to work immediately. We decided to just go for the big guns! I'm still running around the motorhome a few times a day wiping down the corners to keep them dry and we still leave the upper storage bin doors open to allow for more air circulation. We are hoping that within a few days, the humidity level and moisture will be more under control and the waterfalls will cease.

Of course, this problem was further exacerbated by the fact that we are having a freakishly cold winter this year. They say this is the worst cold Western Washington has seen in almost 20 years. This morning it was 15 degrees outside. This extreme cold means that we must run the propane heating system more than we'd like and it adds to the cause of the condensation issue. With the temperatures being so cold outdoors and the need to keep us warm indoors...therein lies the problem. We'll get through it I'm sure and we only have 3 more months before we can head out to warmer areas!

In future years we will be leaving Washington during January and February and head to a warmer and drier climate. This year, however, we have opted to stay here for the benefit of our 2 granddaughters. We enjoy being with them so much.

Everything has been a learning experience with this winter RV living. We found out that our electric heat pump system works great as long as it doesn't get below freezing outdoors. Fortunately, we have the propane system too and that works just fine. The only problem with that is it really sucks up the propane quickly and we'll need to go out and refill soon. In a lot of areas you can order a propane fill from a local supplier and the truck will come right to your door and refill for you. Not here. Some folks here in our park have supplemental propane tanks attached to help out. Lucky us....our propane tank is way underneath the slideout section and very difficult to get to in order to attach such a supplemental tank. Like Bruce said, if we have to drive out to get our tank refilled it will give the diesel engine a chance to run. So that is the positive slant on that issue. OK....I'm grasping with me !!!!

Still, in spite of all the difficulties I wouldn't trade this moving domecile for a "fixed house" again. We still find enjoyment in all of this lifestyle. We are looking forward to mid-March, though, when we get to be "on the road again".

Friday, November 28, 2008

Goodnight, John-Boy!!

Goodnight, John-Boy. Immortal words in my mind since the TV show The Waltons was my favorite show of that era. Maybe my favorite show of all time. I loved the family dynamic featured on that program and how it played out each week on the 1 hour drama. I always wanted to have a family just like the Walton's had.

Thanksgiving has just passed and I spent some time reflecting on the changes in how our family now celebrates the holiday. We went for our 3rd annual Thanksgiving buffet at the Oyster House restaurant in downtown Olympia, Washington. It was so good. They have roast turkey and all the trimmings plus roast beef, baked ham and salmon, and enough desserts set out to feed the entire town. There were the usual suspects present again this year....all 7 of us. We only have our little, immediate family close to us these days. Bruce and I are the only ones that really enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner anymore so I've given up cooking it. Living in the motorhome, too, would make it a bit of a challenge to cook and host the feast. Therefore....away we go to the Oyster House. As I said, it was the 3rd annual.

I was remembering back to previous Thanksgiving meals through the years. We all lived in Southern California at the time. When I was a kid it was a pretty big deal for the "woman-folk" in our family to get the feast ready. Turkey's back in those days seemed to take a lot longer to roast than they do now. If we were having the family over to our house for dinner I know my Mom had to get up early and start work on that big bird so it could be ready for carving around 2 pm. A lot of the times we went to my Aunt Anne and Uncle Pat's house for big holiday meals. She is an excellent cook and loves to bake also. Back in the 50's and 60's there were usually around 12 to 15 people for dinner. The kitchen was a buzz of activity as Aunt Anne, Aunt Kathryn, Grandma and my Mom got everything ready and all the side dishes prepared. Aunt Kathryn made the world's best creamed onions and they were always a hit. Besides the usual pumpkin and apple pies Aunt Anne often made Apple Dumplings. Yummy! Aunt Anne didn't fix everything, of course. Each family brought something along to contribute to the feast. Grandpa usually got the honor of carving the bird as we all waited to dig in.

As I grew up and eventually got married, Bruce joined in all the festivities. Pretty soon our 2 children enjoyed these family gatherings as well. A lot of wonderful, happy memories were made at each special meal. Of course, being a family with lots of women there were times of bickering and squabbling about some issue or another. Sometimes someone would end up in tears (oh, brother). However, the hurt feelings never lasted and before we knew it things were humming along once again. After the huge meal was eaten and we could hardly move, the men would head out for the usual walk around the block to wear off some of those excess calories. Truth be told, they would have had to walk from Southern California to Texas to work off that meal.

During the 1980's the family sort of went off to different parts of the country to live and the huge family gatherings were no more. Never again did all of us have the chance to be together for Thanksgiving. Sometimes a few of us would get together but it just wasn't the same. Even the Waltons grew up and most of them moved from Walton's Mountain to different locations. I wonder if John-Boy missed those Thanksgiving meals with his family?

For Bruce and I, all of our parents and grandparents have passed on. We are the old folks in the family now. Unfortunately, we won't have the tradition of holiday celebrations with a whole bunch of family present to pass on to our grandchildren. But we can pass along other memories and they will always know the joy and happiness of being part of a loving matter how small it may be.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Our Tumwater Hometown

We got back "home" to Tumwater about 9 days ago. Tumwater will always be our hometown even though our true "home" is our motorhome. We got a nice spot to stay for the winter at the Allimor RV/Mobile home park. It will suit our needs just fine.

We took 3 nights to get back up here from Pismo Beach. We stopped at the same 2 casinos and did some boondocking in order to save some money. Fortunately, the price of diesel fuel had come down a good bit since we left in September to go south so it cost less money for us to drive back north. We stayed our 3rd night at the WalMart parking lot in Chehalis because we had to go to Uhlmann's RV the next morning to arrange for some awning repairs. We'll take the RV back in a week or 2 to get those repairs finished. Uhlmann's has done a good job for us in the past and we like to return there for our service requests.

We also took the motorhome to the Cummins dealership in Chehalis to get the oil changed. While there we had them check out the engine also as it was having some "issues" on the drive back north. We have a 400 hp engine which should be lots of power. However, when we were climbing some hills and mountains on I-5 the engine would bog down to about 35 mph. That is not normal. They changed the fuel filter and said that it should do the trick and restore the full power we should have.

We were happy to see our little granddaughters when we got back home. Zoey, the 3 year old, was jumping up and down when her Mom told her we were back in town. They are coming over next weekend for a sleep over. They both love to come to the RV and be with us.

Last night we went over to the girls' house to go with them trick-or-treating. That was fun. It had rained all day long so I was wondering how Halloween night would be. Fortunately, it quite raining about 4 pm and the skies were clear later. Zoey was happy to get dressed up in her angel costume but then she got spooked about something and wouldn't go out. Go figure! She stayed home with Stephanie to pass out candy and the rest of us took Mackenzie out for some fun. We went to about 20 houses and that was it. That was more than enough candy.

We are into our normal routine now that we are back. We walk for an hour 6 days a week. It is dark when we go out at 6:30 am each morning but we get the job done. 3 days a week we still go out to McDonald's for breakfast and we go to church on Sunday. Same old thing.....but it is the familiar rut we like.

We will stick it out for the winter this year as we will be leaving for the east coast come March 14th or so. We are already looking forward to that big adventure. We haven't decided what route we will take next spring. A lot will depend on what the weather is like at that time. Driving east on I-90 through Montana and Wyoming might be dicey at that time of year so we may have to go south to I-40 and go that way. Time will tell.

No matter which route we eventually use, we are going to try to spend as little money as possible on rent getting back to Virginia. In 1999 we took a vacation to the east and we only spent $13.50 between Tumwater and New York for RV park rent. That was great!

Stay tuned to this blog and we'll let you know how we make out once winter really gets here! I'm sure the electric blanket will get a work out this year.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Odds and Ends at the "End"

We had originally planned to leave Pismo Beach on Nov. 11th. Well, I'm missing my granddaughters! So, we have decided to leave early and our new departure date will be Monday, Oct. 20th. We are taking our time and will not get back to Tumwater until the 25th. In getting ready to leave here I thought I'd make another posting on the blog to tie up loose ends before the "end" of our visit.

* We did take that day trip to Solvang a couple of weeks ago. Bruce and I had not been to the small tourist town of Solvang for several years. The tourist town is about 50 miles south of our RV park. We took Annie the Schnauzer with us and she enjoyed the opportunity to get out and not be left at home. We took a picnic lunch with us in order to avoid having to eat a pricey meal while we were there. Plus, it is a good way to avoid eating fattening foods that are best left alone. The downturn in the economy has sure hit Solvang. Although there were many people walking around and checking out the gift shops, it didn't seem like many of them were buying. Also, there were many vacant store fronts and even a few restaurants that have vacated the area. The last time we visited it was full of tourists and every store was occupied. We enjoyed the day and when we were finished with our lunch and poking around in some of the shops we drove North on Hwy. 101 back to Pismo Beach.

* The weather has been wonderful. I checked with our son up in Tumwater last week and he said it was trying to get up to 55 degrees that day for a high. Oh.....I told him it was 84 degrees in Pismo Beach and very sunny. We've had a few days of cloudy, overcast weather. For the most part this time of year it is sunny and fair during the fall months. The sign announcing the entrance to Pismo Coast Village RV Resort reads "Forever Summer". That pretty much sums it up for the weather.

* We need to stop in Chehalis on our way home to get our awning over the driver side slide-out repaired. We sustained some damage to it last winter when we were in Palm Springs and we thought it was fixed properly. Apparently not. During our stay here some wind gusts came up and it began flapping too much again. At that point a bracket broke at the roller end and it was duct tape to the rescue! Bruce secured it tightly with a good amount of duct tape and tied a rope around the whole thing to keep it still when the ocean breezes come up in the afternoons. Redneck RV'n is what we call it. You aren't a good RVer if you don't keep a good supply of rope and duct tape with you. It comes in handy.

* This weekend we attended the Pismo Beach Clam Festival. Big times! It is a nice smalltown event that takes place every fall. We walked downtown by 10 am to watch the parade. It was a nice event with 3 marching bands from local schools, little floats sponsored by local businesses and RV parks, and cars with the Mayor and Council members. No Rose Parade by any means but the town takes pride in their presentation and it was nice. After the parade they held a surfing contest for local surfers. (didn't have good waves today) There were also the usual booths with craft and food vendors and some activities for small children. We walked out on the Pismo pier to watch some of the surfers. While we were watching we observed hundreds of birds, including pelicans, dive bombing the water catching fish. I inquired about the fish and was told they were probably eating Perch. It was the most amazing sight. The pelicans would literally dive head first at great speed into the ocean and come up swallowing fish.

* One morning last week when we took our early walk we came across a small, zipper wallet on the sidewalk. Nobody in sight. We picked it up and saw that it had a lady's driver's license and a credit card plus an ATM card in it. The address on the license was nearby so we went over and knocked on the door several times. Nobody home. We finished the walk and about 2 hours later took the wallet to the police annex office downtown. I knew the lady would be frantic to get her cards back. Anyway...about 3 days later we were walking on the same street and we saw the lady through her kitchen window. I knocked on her door to ask if she did, indeed, get her wallet back. She was a little old lady about 70 years old and she was very happy to tell me that she did get it back. She thanked me, of course, and I told her that I was relieved to learn that she got it and was OK. She began to talk my ear off then for a while and I learned all about her 7 cataract surgeries, her life in New York city before she moved to Pismo, and how she walks her daughter to the bus stop early in the morning to make sure she gets there safely. That was how she lost her wallet. This little lady was about 5 feet tall if even that and she walks her daughter to the bus stop each morning! She was really sweet and it was a pleasure to talk with her and give her some company.

* Like everyone else, we have felt the effects of the recent Wall Street woes and the crash in the markets. We reworked our budget while we were down here to see if we could cut any corners. We'll hang in there with faith that God will see us through as long as we do our part to not behave like idiots. Sad times for lots of folks, especially the retired ones like us living off investments. One thing for sure....there should be a bright future as there is always Hope.

OK, that's it for now. I'll be posting more in the future. Even though we'll be staying put in Tumwater until mid-March there will be things to write about. As a full-time RV couple life is never dull no matter where we hang out.

Campfires, Pirates & Outdoor TV's

It is mid-October and we are still at the Pismo Coast Village in Pismo Beach, California. For those that don't know, Pismo Beach is on the Central Coast between Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo. It is a cool haven for lots of folks from the San Joaquin Valley, around Fresno and Bakersfield, to come for a vacation. So, every Friday they all begin to roll into the RV Park with kids, dogs, and BBQ grills in tow to enjoy a nice weekend. Then Sunday afternoon there is the big exodus as they all begin leaving to go home again. The long-term visitors, such as Bruce and I, then have the park to ourselves until the next weekend comes around.
Almost all of the weekend visitors have the same set patterns of behavior. (some long-term visitors, too, but not many) and it is always great fun to observe it all in action. For instance, they all have the obligatory nightly campfire. Well call me a party pooper, but I don't do the campfire thing ever. I've done "my time" as I often say about true camping when I was a Girl Scout leader and I don't intend to go back to those days. Here at Pismo they provide you with a beautiful cement campfire ring at every campsite. (see photo) We've been here almost 7 weeks and ours is clean as a whistle ! The local stores charge a pretty good price for a small bundle of firewood. We could bring wood from home....haul it all the way down here in the basement of the RV. We'd probably be bringing some visitors along for the ride too. You know the kind I mean and the worst would be the spiders. They would soon find their way into my RV home and I'd rather they stay out. Also, a campfire smells good from a distance of...oh about 2 miles...but anything closer and I soon begin to get that burnt wood, campfire smell in my clothes and in my hair. Then I go into the RV smelling like I've been near a forest fire and that stink...excuse me, aroma, comes in with me and stays for days. When I go to bed the burnt wood smell goes from my hair to my pillow and stays there for days, too. So, forget the Smore's and the campfire songs -- I don't want any of it thank you.
Another thing I observe with lots of RVer's, and mainly the weekend folks, is the need to watch television outdoors. I'm not talking about bringing the portable out onto the picnic table, no siree! I'm talking about the new 5th wheels or motorhomes that have huge flat screen models mounted into an exterior cabinet. All they have to do is open the door, turn the TV on with the remote, kick back in their outdoor lounge chair and crank up the volume so everyone can hear it. Yes, the RV world has it's share of guys that really want to "one-up" the guy next door. You know...."My TV is bigger than your TV" sort of mentality. Why on earth do you want to pay lots of money for a luxury motor coach with a big TV inside by a comfy sofa, and then sit outside in the cold watching another TV from a canvas lounge chair? Besides, doesn't that campfire smoke blow in your eyes so you can't see the screen? :) Maybe it's a guy thing? I know I don't see a lot of the women watching TV outdoors.
Another funny habit I see at Pismo Coast Village every time we come is the abundance of pirate flags. Do they think they're Johnny Depp or something? Some people hoist the skull and cross bones high up on a flag pole so it can be seen from many rows away. Some people even rig up special night time lighting so that their special pirate flag can be seen best. Then there is one group here this weekend that has about 5 pirate flags strung out on their RV awning cross piece. Great...maybe they've longed to be Captain Hook or someone. Go figure.
I will say that almost every single camper here is polite and considerate of their neighbors. You rarely find a person that does not clean up after their dog. You rarely find a person, or group, that carries on loudly after the 10 pm curfew. You find lots of kids and dogs here on the weekends and drivers go slow here in the park to protect them. It is a nice little community of RVer's....pirates and all!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pismo Beach, Calif. and Pismo Coast Village Resort

We finally arrived in Pismo Beach, California which is one of our favorite places to be. We've been here now for about 3 weeks and are enjoying it very much.
The diesel fuel for the drive down here cost us $480.00. That is a lot of money but we can stay here rent-free once we get here. To drive down in the car would cost a lot for gasoline, plus you have to factor in the cost of lodging and restaurant meals along the way. Then after you got here you'd have to stay in a motel or rent a vacation home. The motels cost, on average, $120 to $150 per day here. A vacation rental home is from $1,500 to $2,000 a WEEK, depending on how close you are to the ocean. So, even though the diesel fuel is pricey....we stayed 2 nights at casinos for free on the way down here and we can eat meals in the RV if we choose to. Different strokes for different folks!
Pismo Beach is in the "Central Coast" region of California and has fairly moderate climate all throughout the year. It sits on a scenic stretch of Highway 101 and has a wonderful boardwalk and pier for tourists as well as the locals to enjoy. There are plenty of small restaurants to sample the local seafood and several boutiques to shop in if you have the desire. Mostly, we just hang out and enjoy the weather and the scenery.
We walked down to the pier over the weekend and they were having a surfing contest. The waves here aren't gigantic but that did not prevent many surfers from catching the waves anyway. It was a sunny day so there were a lot of sunbathers, swimmers and folks walking their dogs on the beach too. Our dog, Annie, loves going out on the sand and trying to catch a seagull (she never makes it). There was one very funny incident when we were on the pier. A woman was walking with her daughter of about 4 years of age. The little girl saw a bird and asked what it was. Her mom says, "That's a pelican". Well, I didn't let her in on the secret that that was actually a big seagull she was calling a pelican. Whatever!
Speaking of pelicans.....we've never seen so many pelicans here before. Pismo is apparently on the migration path for the brown pelicans and they are in residence right now. Lots and lots of them! They are quite interesting to watch.
Just to the south of Pismo is the town of Arroyo Grande which was discovered by the Spanish. The town itself wasn't founded, however, until 1862. They have a quaint part of town called the "Arroyo Grande Village" which hosts a Farmer's Market and many gift shops and boutiques. Nice place to walk around.
We are staying at the Pismo Coast Village RV Resort. This is a fantastic RV park that is right on the ocean. Only a sand dune separates us from the water. We can check out the beach action every day or walk up to the top of the dune to observe the fantastic sunsets each evening. The RV park has it's own little cafe, a laundry room, swimming pool, clubhouse, arcade, and a little store for souvenirs or supplies.
You always meet interesting people at RV parks and this one is no exception. A lot of rental units come in here for an overnight stay. I was walking Annie one evening and stopped to talk with a German couple that had rented an RV for their tour of California. They were having a wonderful time. They told me that they had rented an RV during a tour of Australia last year. Wow, that sounded wonderful.
Each morning we get up at 6:15 to take our 1 hour walk. There aren't too many people up at that hour except the delivery people for the local restaurants. Each morning the fresh produce gets delivered and we see the same trucks and drivers at their jobs. Our walk takes us past the Old West Cinnamon Roll bakery. I think they have fans blowing out the wonderful aroma of the baking rolls just to try to tempt us. So far we have been able to avoid the lure of the wonderful smelling cinnamon rolls. I don't know how long we can hold out, but we'll give it our best effort.
Last Thursday evening we drove north about 12 miles to the college town of San Luis Obispo. They have the best Farmer's Market there along with stands from the many local restaurants selling dinner. We ate dinner at the stand from F. McClintock's restaurant and it was fabulous. We each got a Tri-tip Kabob and a Pork Munchie. Wow, what a treat. We also bought some wonderful, fresh lettuce, squash and strawberries. It was worth the drive.
We are planning to stay here until November 11th. Next month there are some community events planned and we're going to be checking those out. Also, we are planning a trip to the Danish town of Solvang which is about 60 miles south of Pismo Beach.
Last Sunday after church we went to an "estate sale". It was in a mobile home park and the sale was inside this triple wide home. Apparently, the homeowner recently died and everything in the house was up for sale...including the home. There were a lot of people there looking for bargains. Everyone was opening dresser drawers, poking through the kitchen cupboards and pawing through the bookcases and the closets. I never saw anything like it in my life. Very interesting.
We aren't really doing much here except enjoying our time of leisure. I'm doing more scrapbook work and Bruce is catching up on his reading. We're also trying to learn how to load more photos onto this blog but haven't mastered that yet. That will be Bruce's project for this week. Check in with us for the next installment and we'll (hopefully) have some photos of Solvang to share with you.
Bye for now!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Casino boondocking & it was Hot, Hot, Hot!

We left the Tumwater/Olympia area on Tues., Sept. 2nd as scheduled. We got on the road around 11:30 am after our dental appointments that morning. We drove south on I-5 and used the Portland area bypass to avoid going on the interstate through the city.

We enjoyed a nice drive and enjoyed the scenery typical of I-5 south of Portland, which becomes agricultural, rolling green hills, and some ranch land. Annie the Schnauzer loves to look at the sheep along side the freeway as we roll along.

Since we're on a budget, we decided to stop for the night at the Seven Feathers Casino at exit 99 in Oregon. A lot of the casinos give free "boondocking" space to RVer's because they know that most of the time those RVer's will go inside and spend some money. (some people spend lots of money) Boondocking for you non-RVer's means parking or camping without the benefit of any utility hook-ups. No problem since RV's are fully self-contained with their own power source in the form of a generator and propane option as well. We went into the casino and availed ourselves of the senior-priced buffet dinner. It was only so-so and we won't go back again.

Next morning we got ourselves ready to roll. We continued on our way south with our destination being Corning, California.....and another freebie at the Rolling Hills Casino. Along about Redding, CA it really began to heat up outdoors. Pretty soon the thermometer read 100 degrees. By the time we stopped at the casino it was about 102 degrees. We turned on the generator to keep Annie cool in the RV and we went into the casino to check out the buffet. Hey, why not? We aren't paying any $$$ to spend the night so we may as well enjoy another meal out. This time the meal was great. We picked up a free Player's Card from the service desk and they gave us $5 free play on the slot machines. We sat down at the penny machines (no kidding) and played only until our free money was gone and then we left. The motorhome was much cooler when we went back out there and we turned off the generator and went to bed. It cooled off at night so we slept like babies.

We left next morning for our ultimate destination....Pismo Beach. Again, the weather got Hot,Hot, Hot. We drove over to Hwy. 101 and it was 104 degrees by the time we got to Paso Robles. Then, as we continued going south and got closer to San Luis Obispo it began to get cooler and cooler. We watched the thermometer reading on the dash go from 100 degrees to 94 and then to 82 and then to 75. S.L.O. is only 12 miles north of Pismo Beach and by the time we got to Pismo it was a wonderful, cool 68 degrees. Whew, what a relief!

We got settled into our space at Pismo Coast Village RV Resort. We will be here until Nov. 11th. It was great. Annie loves it here, too. I got some laundry going in our W/D and then fixed dinner.

This morning (Friday) we went over to McDonald's for a breakfast of English Muffins and coffee. We left this area last February so obviously hadn't been back to this McDonald's since then. Bruce orders our muffins and the lady asks if he wants butter with them. He says, no, we want 6 honey's. She looks up quickly and says, "6 honeys! I should have remembered. Where have you guys been?" I thought that was pretty funny. I think they must know us at every McDonald's up and down the drive from Tumwater to Pismo Beach. We go for that breakfast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday wherever we happen to be.

We're settled in now for 9 weeks and are enjoying the cool weather and the wonderful town. I'll write next time about this great place we come to....Pismo Coast Village.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Paradise Resort, Silver Creek, WA

I guess everyone wants to be in Paradise. Well, we decided to make a 2 week reservation at that campground resort beginning 8/16/08. Our granddaughters, Zoey and Mackenzie, were coming along for the first several days. We set out from Tumwater on one of the hottest days of the year. The thermometer topped 95 degrees, which is very warm for Western Washington.

Paradise Resort is located in the small town of Silver Creek, WA. If you blink you'll miss the so-called town. It is located on the eastbound Hwy. 12 heading toward Mt. Rainier and a turn off to Mt. St. Helen's. The resort is about 3 miles north of Hwy. 12. The resort's listing in the camp guide says it is "nestled in the middle of God's Country". I guess that is true but it is also nestled in the middle of freaking nowhere !! Ahhhh....but we were going for some peace and quiet, right?

We got there on Saturday afternoon. How could experienced RVer's like us have been so stupid? We know better than to try to get into a good site in a campground (even with a reservation) in the middle of a weekend. Well, we were instructed that all the full hook-up sites were full but we could drive through and find a water & electric site for the one night and then move to a full hook-up on Sunday afternoon. Many people were planning to leave Sunday so we could get a better space. It was still about 90 degrees there in God's Country so we felt lucky to get a space with electric.

It was a tight fit getting that 40-footer into a small W/E space but I managed to navigate Bruce into one after making 2 attempts. We got ourselves all leveled out and hooked up and the slide outs adjusted. Now to turn on that A/C and get some cool air going. Huh?? The darn breaker outside at the plug for this site kept clicking off. It wouldn't hold !!! No other sites available either. OK, we're true campers....we can do without A/C for one night. We'll go swimming and cool off.

With perspiration pouring off my forehead I got the girls into their swim suits as did Bruce and I. We grabbed our towels and set off to one of the 3 pools on property. Just as we got to the gate at 3:55 pm we hear over the loud speaker...."Hello Campers. Just a reminder that we will be closing the pools at 4:00 for 1 hour to clean them." Okay. About face and go back to the RV for an hour. While we waited, the girls played with some kids camped next to us and Bruce and I played more of our gin rummy tournament. At 5:00 sharp we went back to the pool and finally felt some wonderful, cool water. Of course, there were about 50 screaming kids and adults too, so we didn't have that peace and quiet I had hoped for.

We did see an interesting sight at the pool. There was a woman lounging in a deck chair reading a newspaper and she had a fully dressed monkey on a leash with her. The little monkey was climbing all over her back and the top of her head while she sat there reading the paper. That was a first for me in a campground that's for sure.

We did survive the heat of the night and the next day around 1 pm we moved the rig over to a nice, level and wide site with full hook-ups and an electrical breaker that worked. A/C was finally ours to enjoy. Well, for a day anyway. By Monday afternoon it clouded up, got a lot cooler and rained. So much for Paradise I guess.

The girls went home on Wednesday evening. We kept them amused indoors with lots of crafts, games, Disney movies and we even baked a cake. They had lots of fun and look forward to going "camping" with us again.

Bruce and I stayed there in Paradise until it was time to leave and go back up to Tumwater for the Labor Day weekend. It is Mackenzie's birthday on September 1st and we want to be with her to celebrate the big day. This is where we are now....Tumwater again.

We leave here on Tuesday, September 2nd and will be driving to Pismo Beach, California for 2 1/2 months of real peace and quiet. We can't wait to get there. It is one of our most favorite spots to hang out and just enjoy the beauty of the ocean.

I'll post more in the days ahead. Hope everyone that finds this blog is enjoying it. Let me know, please.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Getting Ready for Life on the Road

We have been slowly getting ready for this adventure for a couple of years. We began going as "paperless" as we could in paying our bills and doing our banking. This eliminates so much mail that needs to be forwarded to us by our daughter. We can get mail through General Delivery any place there is a Post Office. We also pay as many of our bills with the credit card as we can. This helps to earn more Disney reward points each month. Of course, we pay the card balance each month since interest charges would far exceed any benefit to the reward points!

Before our house closed escrow we had 3 major garage sales to rid ourselves of so much stuff. Any RV comes furnished so we had no need for any of our furniture. Between the garage sale and our neighbors that bought stuff we managed to get rid of everything. Our kids didn't want any of it.....oh, please it just wasn't their style! We also sold lots of household goods that would have exceeded the space limitations of our small kitchen. It was a process in determining just how many tools, household items, and other "stuff" we needed to bring.

We love to read, so naturally we had to bring lots of books. Currently we have around 100 paperback or hardcover books on board. As we read them we will drop them off at the libraries in the various RV parks or campgrounds we visit. This is a good way to recycle and let somebody else enjoy a good book.

A few years ago we also bought into a campground membership program that will benefit us greatly as full-timers. With this program we have hundreds of RV parks or resorts available to us with a daily cost from "nothing" to $10.00 a night. We've tried several of the parks in the program on vacation trips the past couple of years and they have been most satisfactory. We look forward to using that program extensively now.

I also had to bring along my scrapbooking supplies. Those fit neatly into 4 large plastic bins which are stored in our basement of the motorhome. As I finish my projects I'll be able to use up some supplies and then pare down the bins to only 2. We stored some family heirlooms and family treasures in other sturdy bins at our daughter's house. When I want them they will be there for me.

Living out on the road prevents us from attending our hometown church on a regular basis. However, we have visited churches from Yuma, Arizona to Fairbanks, Alaska, to Nova Scotia in Canada and the experience has been great. We have met some wonderful and friendly people that have always made us feel welcome.

We have always been in love with road trips and traveling vacations. This dream come true will allow us to continue with that love affair. There are compromises with this lifestyle but the benefits to us far outweigh them. We're having a blast!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Why did we do this anyway??

Good question. Unless you are an avid RVer, like Bruce and I, you may not understand the answer to that question. We began traveling in a motorhome for vacation trips in 1988. I guess you could say that was the beginning of a love affair with the RV life. The desire to be on the road for longer periods of time just keep growing and growing.

In 1993 our daughter graduated from high school in California and we were no longer tied to that area. Our son had graduated in 1990 so now we were free to leave the rat race of Southern California living. In late 1994 our daughter decided she did want to go to college after all so we decided to make the Olympia/Tumwater area of Washington state our permanent home. We bought a house and Stephanie went to college there.

Over the next few years she graduated, got married and moved out of our home. We had been vacation traveling through the years but one thing led to another and we couldn't get to that full time lifestyle that we craved. Eventually the obstacles of ailing parents needing care were over (you can figure out what that means, sadly) and we became totally free this year in 2008.

To us, the freedom of not owning a fixed home (as opposed to one on wheels) is grand. We can go anywhere and stay as long or as short a time as we like. Since we travel in our "home" we always have our own bed, bathroom and all of our "stuff" with us. All the comforts of home actually.

On this blog we will document our travels for any and all who are interested to read. Hopefully, you'll find something interesting withing these postings. Stay tuned for our "big time adventures" with this new lifestyle.