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Home Away From Home?

by Bob and Pam Stephens Looking to Find Your Arkansas Home Away From Home? When you plan an RV trip to Arkansas, the problem won't be finding a decent place to pull up your RV - the problem will be deciding which RV Park you want to call home during your stay. Arkansas RV parks are dotted all over the state, and many of them offer world-class amenities and activities for everyone in the family. The easiest way to narrow down all of your options is probably to figure out what kind of vacation you want. Are you looking for a quiet escape-- some place far away from emails and TV? Do you want to experience old southern charm and heritage? Are you dreaming of reeling in the fish of a lifetime? Arkansas RV Parks are ideal for all of these vacations - you just have to choose which one: • Tom Sawyers' RV Park http://www.tomsawyersrvpark.com in West Memphis, Arkansas, is the perfect place for escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Relax by the Mississippi River or wander the nature trails without a care in mind - and don't even think about firing up the Blackberry. • KOA is well known name in camping, and the KOA Hot Springs RV Park http://www.koa.com/where/ar/04106 provides a great camping spot within a stone’s throw of the historical district of the town of Hot Springs. You'll be able to take in the museums, the shopping, and the fun and then head back for a round of miniature golf on the campsite. • If fishing is your bag, then the White Buffalo RV Park http://www.whitebuffaloresort.com is your place. This RV park is situated where the White River and the Buffalo River meet, and the fishing is legendary. For those less than enthusiastic fisher-people in your group, there are plenty of other activities in the area. Because Arkansas RV parks are so desirable, they do tend to book up quickly. Advance reservations are always recommended to avoid disappointment. We’d love to help you find just the right spot! bob@campgroundimages.com

psstephens@aol.com

psstephens@aol.com

 

Getting accustomed...

It is not like I have not been around the motorhome crowd for a long time. I have worked at Family Motor Coaching magazine since 1989. But it's one thing to write about it, or meet people who know about it, or learn the difference between a converter and an inverter. When the motorhome is sitting your backyard, it's personal. And since I'm the only person in my household, save for one cat, it's really in my face. There's nobody between me and Minnie's generator issues, or her water tank, or the fact that something sticky somewhere is keeping me from knowing exactly how full that black water tank is. I am Minnie's problem-solver, galley-filler, trip planner, and chooser of tunes to play as we travel. This morning, gorgeous frost covered everything outside, and the sun gleamed on Minnie with promise. It may be too cold now, but summer is on its way and we will be also....

Peggy

Peggy

 

What makes our relationships good?

If you have been reading this blog, you know that I am doing some research into what makes marriages strong for those of us who RV. I still have a lot more work to do, but I thought I would share some preliminary results with you. So far, I have found 3 themes. These are in no particular order. The first theme is, "Vacation time." Going out in the RV is like going on vacation. People who affirm this theme say that it's the shared excitement of doing something together that keeps their marriage strong. The second theme is related to the first. It's "Goal setting." Going RVing gives the couple something to look forward to, something to work jointly toward. It's the joy of working together for a common goal that brings them together. The third theme is "Communication." Going RVing gives these couples an "excuse" to talk - something they say they often find difficult to do in their "normal" life. These couples say they find that it is talking together that makes their relationships strong. I am sure there is a lot more to learn. That is why I will be interviewing many more couples over the next few months. If you are willing to help me out, send me a message. I'd love to be able to talk with you. Or, if you see our SeeYa in a Southeast campground, come say howdy. We'd lot to chat. More on the results as I have them.

RelationshipDoc

RelationshipDoc

 

A Place for Everything & Not Much Is In Its Place

Full-Timing was an easy choice. It was the only choice if we wanted to enjoy winter sun in the South and summer's cool breezes in the North. We had burned our bridges behind us. There are no regrets, only vibrant memories of spending our days on the water, then touring on land to new horizons. Not only did we have to consider our ages, but also there were unknowns. Then, at 88, how long would Cor be able to renew his driver's license? How long would my eyes hold out? Or, should I say "eye" as I'm down to one good one, and I am being tracked for a "freckle" on that one's retina. Like the motorhome, the several boats we've owned are affectionately known as "Wasting Assets." One is rarely able to make a profit on either. It was necessary to assume the Dolphin we were admiring would probably be ours for life. We didn't feel we could start small and work our way up because of dropping trade-in values, and that was pre- the current state of affairs. Planning our Get Away took upwards of three months. First order was figuring out exactly what would fill our meager space in our National RV Dolphin motorhome. Beginning at the back of the bus, bedding was needed. The unit had a perfectly presentable innerspring mattress. We gave that to Pete’s RV to use on another used rig. Why? We were very happy with our new 3†thick memory foam topper. This was suggested by my doctor, who informed me the hip pain I was experiencing each night was caused by pressure. Eureka! The topper was totally successful, so it must go with us. The combination of that and the original mattress was too thick to fit under the closet when we pulled in the slide. We needed something thin to go under the king-sized topper. The built-in queen-sized platform is a ¾†plywood board; thick enough to hold us firmly, but more stuffing would make it truly comfortable. Thus began the wild goose chase. We checked out out futon mattresses, but found they are very thick these days. Finally, we remembered Willy D’s, a great discount furniture store in Colchester, VT. Willy told us he had discarded a mattress in the back of the store. It was lying in the snow waiting to be hauled away. We found the wild goose! Wielding my favorite carving knife, while Cor pulled the pillow-top away from the mattress, we hunched over in shin-deep snow and triumphantly performed the separation, all the while praying none of our “normal†friends spied this cannibalization. The exercise was successful – almost. We did need a couple of blankets on top of the board. But that was a good place to carry the extras. Incidentally, have a bad back? This is a great cure – flat but soft. Worth a try. No sagging. Moving forward to the bath compartment, we found plenty of space to store most of our toiletries; soaps, toothpaste, prescriptions, first aid supplies, ad infinitum – much too much as we had belonged to Costco and bought ridiculous quantities of everything from Hydrogen Peroxide to Irish Spring soap. We’re learning to live like the French; go to the store often and buy only what you need…an admirable quality. When it came to cookware, I did practice what I’d learned from living on boats – less is more. We found a nice camp set on sale at Eastern Mountain Sports – two pots, with two pans that doubled as lids. The removable handle is interchangeable. One caveat: when tipping a pan full of food, the handle tends to twist its way out of the bracket. Solution? I found a great 12†heavy teflon-lined frying pan at Goodwill for $2.50. At Page Hardware in Guilford, CT, I found a neat little navy-blue-with-white-speckles double boiler. So much for saving space! But a cook’s gotta have what she needs, right? I regretted leaving my favorite china bakeware in storage, but between space and breakability, they had to stay. One of the things we liked about the Dolphin was the microwave-convection/gas cooktop arrangement. It left us more drawer space, important when we’d be here full-time. I needed all my spices, custard cups for popovers, mini-chopper, egg slicer, whips and ice cream scoop. You know – essentially unessential, but When I Want Them, I Want Them. I don’t like the oven. It is too easy to burn the top of anything you bake as the heat is so near the food. And I can’t broil. If I store the baking things in the oven, we have to remove them every time we just want to microwave a cup of water. That’s where the bed comes in. Maybe that counts as exercise. Moving on, the dinette would be fine if we could find it. Right now, it’s beneath the printer, a bowl of fruit, last week’s mail, five or six road maps, a bottle of Nasonex, two boxes of Baker’s dark chocolate and the molds to cool them in. Cor read the greater the percentage of cocoa in chocolate, the better it is for you. Put another way, enough cocoa and you can rationalize your daily fix. So, he now makes his own chocolate disks using Baker’s, Equal sugar substitute and a little bit of butter. Without the butter, it sticks to your teeth and palate, forcing you to make funny faces. I don’t know how long this will continue. I must go sample his latest batch, so I’ll leave you for now - Arrivederci! I love Italian. We named our first sailboat “Andiamo†- the dinghy was “Derci†and thus, endeth the lesson.

gailandcor@yahoo.com

gailandcor@yahoo.com

 

The Signs Along the Way!

By Pamela Stephens Have you ever noticed that road signs are a lot like life? We’ve gone down the road in our motorhome and sometimes I get bored, just sitting! Big surprise! Sometimes I am reading, sometimes I am crocheting, but sometimes I am lost in a daydream. At other times, I am “observing†the signs of life! • “Wrong Way†or “Do not enter†are important signs when driving a 38-foot motorhome! You really could end up where you don’t belong! A one-way road is definitely hazardous! • “Watch for Falling Rocks!†— And what will you do if you see them falling … hey, good one ... I’d give that a 7.5! Yes, these could really damage our traveling home! • “Dangerous Curves Ahead†— They are not talking about mine! Curves are tricky in a stretch limo and most certainly in a 38-foot motorhome! • “Yield Right of Way†— To whom? Oh, that 53-foot semi truck barreling down the lane we are trying to enter! Yes that is a good thing to do! • “Turn Lights on Next 5 miles†— Is it dark for the next 5 miles? Are there drivers ahead that are worse than the ones we’ve dealt with so far? Well, then, what about the rest of our trip? • “Run Away Ramp†— Is this a ramp that is rebellious? Just how does a ramp run away? And why? Is this the ramp I take when I want to run away? It put me in mind of a book I had read quite some time ago, Milo and the Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Perhaps you’ve read it too! It was a fun read, and tongue-in-cheek humor absolutely, but it had so many real truths about life! For instance, there were some destinations on this road where the tollbooth was: A sign along the road said, “Welcome to Expectations!†We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Expectations is the place you must always go to before you get to where you are going. Of course, some people never go beyond expectations! “The Doldrums†was another area along this highway. “The Doldrums are where nothing ever happens and nothing ever changes … where it’s unlawful to think, think of thinking, surmise, presume, reason, meditate or speculate; where the daily schedule consists of daydreaming, napping, dawdling, delaying, lingering, loitering, putting-off-until-tomorrows, loafing, lounging, dillydallying with almost no time left for brooding, lagging, plodding or procrastinating! Perhaps “Dictionopolis†would be more to your liking? “A happy kingdom advantageously located in the Foothills of Confusion; caressed by gentle breezes from the Sea of knowledge, where the ‘word market’ does business and the Minister's Cabinet consists of the Duke of Definition, the Minister of Meaning, the Earl of Essence, the Count of Connotation, and the Undersecretary of Understanding. In Dictionopolis you can pick fresh if’s, and’s, and but’s and get ripe when’s and where’s — juicy words for sale!†What about a visit to the “City of Realityâ€? Or to the “City of Illusions?†In the latter, there are “mirages- things that aren’t really there that you can see very clearly — often easier to see than things that are!†Or then there is the “Island of Confusion†… so “how did we get here? You jumped, of course! — that’s the way most people get here … every time you decide something without having a good reason, you jump to Conclusions whether you like It or not. It’s such an easy trip, I’ve been here hundreds of times, but getting back isn’t so easy.†I sense the quietness I haven’t heard for awhile, and realize we have stopped for a break. My husband asks why I’ve been so silent and where I’ve been: â€Oh, first the Doldrums," I repllied, "and then the City of Illusions, from where I jumped to the Island of Conclusions … while I’ve been right here all the time!†He looked at me pretty funny, but then dismissed it. He knows me!

psstephens@aol.com

psstephens@aol.com

 

I've Been Thinking...

Written by Pamela Stephens I was just thinking…I’ve posted a lot of our RV photos taken throughout Canada here on the FMCA website, (see Album “Oh Canadaâ€) and it really made me feel like I had just taken the trip all over again! And it put me in a very nostalgic mood remembering some of the things that we spoke about in the days before it took place! During the planning of our trip, all of us got together to consider what we wanted to do “as a group†to make it a terrific experience! It’s always good to do this when traveling in a caravan or shall we say RV-avan! We would have two fifth wheels and one 38’ motorhome and you just don’t turn these things around on a dime, you know! But yes, you DO know if you’ve been doing this longer than one time! We had not gone on a RV trip together any of us, however, that is not to say that we were strangers! You see, there were three siblings: two brothers and a sister and their spouses! Now, I want you to know these are not wishy-washy siblings. These people are decisive, forthright, not shy, and certainly no one need ever wonder what they are thinking! So to sit down and talk about where we were going and what we wanted to do, the only ones who were pretty laissez faire, were the three spouses of the three siblings! The Siblings-- all had an OPINION about everything! But in the end, we knew generally, where we wanted to go: the Jasper-Banff area, because “Lake Louise is wonderful we hear,†and Glacier Park, (after which we would all head for our separate home states) and anywhere in between! Now, one of these brothers (he is the oldest-therefore out of respect for him and his dear sweet wife, he shall remain nameless) has often regaled the others with his stories of adventures on vacations. Well, adventures might not be the right word! Think Perils of Pauline here! Not necessarily “Oh boy, we had a great time†stories, but the “OH my Gosh we were nearly killed stories!†This brother could have taken Robin Williams’ place in the movie “RVâ€..if you’ve seen it, you understand! In fact, it’s possible the movie was based on his life! If we were writing about his escapades, some of the chapter titles might be: “December’s Festival of Lights in Newportâ€â€”or better known to us as, “Jumping in the ocean NAKED to push the boat off the sandbar in December;†or “How to avoid shipping lanes, while fishing in the Pacific†known to us as “I told him not to fall asleep while on watch for large ships!â€; or even ‘Whose Dingy Is It, Anyway?†known affectionately as “How not to lose the only dingy while on an island;†or “How I almost personally eliminated a son-in-law, a daughter and a fifth wheel on one day while attempting to park!†I digress! (But stay tuned for further adventures in upcoming blog entries!) The two other couples (ourselves and Sister and husband) made a pact that we would have E.B. (Elder Brother) go into all “campsites†first, get parked and then WE would come in! Also, if E.B. said “I’ll fix it,†“trust me!†we would all RUN!! Well, we had a great time on that trip, but we made E.B. sit down and watch the movie “RV†with us at our first opportunity! Needless to say we all laughed over it..and I am still not sure E.B. sees the “connection.†Do you have similar stories?

psstephens@aol.com

psstephens@aol.com

 

Up And Running At Last

We survived YEAR ONE and learned a lot in the process, including some "Don'ts" and plenty of "Dos." This blog is directed toward people who have said to us, "I wish we had the courage to do that." To do what? To realize that time plods on and if you have any unfulfilled desires, you'd better act on them. For better or worse, we did just that. Our timing was classic. We bought a used 36-foot National RV Dolphin LX. Within weeks, National went belly-up. We planned to drive to Denver to check out my daughter's new digs. Gas topped $4 a gallon. But, back to the start. Cor is my husband. We have been married 11 years. Between us, we have seven children, 23 grandchildren and five greats. We spent the first five years together plying the Intracoastal Waterway between Venice, Fla., and Colchester, Vt., on first, a 40-foot Irwin cutter, and then a 36-foot Albin trawler -- so we KNEW how to live in small spaces. This was useful in selecting the right size motorhome. In 2003 we realized the spring necessary for jumping from dock to boat was leaving our legs and the dexterity needed for quick line-handling was waning. We had also seen enough days of meandering through the southern marshes and swatting green flies. Time to come ashore. We settled on a senior living community in northern Vermont. It was lovely; nice view of Lake Champlain, great food, wonderful people. But we were used to moving around, meeting new people, seeing new sights. We escaped to a downtown apartment in Burlington, right on the bike path and next to the waterfront park. Lots of people, lots of dogs, lots of fairs, boat and bike races, fireworks, action! And don't forget Church Street, the five-block-long brick walkway filled with boutiques, restaurants, strollers, galleries, musicians, skipping children, peppy dogs and benches for whiling away the afternoon. It was heaven ... for three-plus years. Then the nagging gypsy blood started to work its way through our veins. Cor was 88 and I was 9+ years behind. Would we still be sitting here five, six, seven years from now, wishing we had ventured some more, but unable? And that's where our life in a motorhome began. I write this blog for those who are thinking, Should we take this leap of faith? Should we really cut the strings and free-wheel it for a while, for a couple of years, forever? I can't say what our timing will be. Right now, it's great, but the specter of diminishing health, eyesight and money is everpresent. When do we drag everything from the storage locker and settle down to watch the sunsets? So, to those who see yourselves here, let me say what worked for us (so far.) We were stuck with a leased car for two more years; no towing allowed. Buying it out and/or buyng a truck were out of the question. That eliminated fifth-wheels and trailers, so we concentrated on motorhomes. But what model? The first one we saw was a neat new Class B Lexington with three slides. (Slides were new to us -- boy, were we newbies.) Not only was it out of our price range, but when we got down to reality, it would not do for full-timing, our only choice. Enter the 36-foot National RV Dolphin LX, a used 2004 model on the lot at Pete's RV in Burlington. I didn't like the dark Victorian decor or the pungent smell of cigarette smoke, but I was won over by the four-door fridge, the turn-around captains' seats, one-piece washer/dryer, the amount of storage space and the seat in the large, glassed-in shower. We hedged a lot; I could handle the upholstery (covered it with a blanket we bought in Santa Fe), but the smell was BAD. Pete's got to work washing, spraying, etc. It still smelled. Finally, after we had installed a dozen open boxes of baking soda, they tried one last measure -- fogging! It worked! An aside here: during this process, I had taken two cushions home to work on. I used Clorax. I buried them in snow, then left them to dry in the sun. I sprayed with Fabreze (which to me, by the way, smells as bad as the smoke). When we were done, the motorhome and furnishings were fine, but the cushions that I had taken home still smelled. A year on the road has cured that now, to our relief. We were pleasantly surprised by some of the Dolphin's features: solar battery charger for one. Cor commented there are so many exceptional quality items, it's no wonder National went broke. Ahead: What to store, what to take? Simple itinerary planning. "What does that sign say?" for less than optimal eyesight. Driving in tandem using Bluetooth. Updates on our search for the perfect cinnamon doughnut. Quick and easy overnight stops. Medical help en route. How to get cash without being hit by fees. And then we added a dog! Are we nuts?

gailandcor@yahoo.com

gailandcor@yahoo.com

 

Where Is Your Mate's Head??

by Pamela Stephens Sounds like the question that was popular many years ago, “It’s 10 o’clock. Do you know where your child is?†Perhaps this is a sore subject, but do you know what your spouse has planned for their (and thus your) retirement? Okay, he wants to fish and whittle toys for grandsons. Great!! Eventually that will wear off! You can only fish or go bowling so many times before coming to the conclusion that this isn’t what you thought it would be! Have you had the discussion about what your vision of retirement looks like? Or maybe you have calculated what you believe to be your spouse’s plans, not even considering it may be quite different! One of our “couple†friends found themselves in exactly that position. He had been a faithful employee, had earned kudos for his expertise in his field. He had been living in a particular area for some time, just waiting to “break free†and see the country! Dreams of owning an RV of some kind danced in his head! It just so happened that the wife in this story, began to be acknowledged for her expertise and wanted to expand her career and broaden it into a partnership with others in her field. Retirement was about three years ahead for her husband at this time, but she was “amping up†when his mind was “winding down†career wise. In the first couple years of her business, there wasn’t an issue. But needless to say, as the last year began before his actual retirement, issues arose that caused great concern. So much so that heated “discussions†became ultimatums. While this was eventually rectified and has a happy ending, it isn’t what we want to look forward to, and could be avoided if discussed before we get that far! Or perhaps, you are retired already…I can hear that female contingency say, “He’s always under my feet!†I remember when Bob first was at home 24/7, I was running a business out of my home at the time. He walked into my office and said, “What’s for lunch?†I recall saying something like, “I don’t do lunch…unless I’m out shopping.†And then there was the time I returned home from an event to find that Bob had been “helping me outâ€. I opened the pantry to get something out to fix for dinner, and couldn’t find it on the appropriate shelf! Then I realized that none of my “pantry items†were in the same location as before I left. Oh, and my spices were all alphabetized! (I always kept the ones I use all the time close together) When I inquired as to what happened, I was informed that he made everything fit into a practical and more efficient area. I never knew how inefficient my system had been for 30 years! Any of these issues sound familiar? You are not alone, as they say. But, what do you do about it all? We would suggest you sit down and with all the finesse of an expert tennis champ, broach the subject. Ask lots of questions in a very non-threatening way. Now I know you may want to jump up and down over some of the answers, or say ridiculous things like, “You’ve got to be kidding!â€, but restrain yourself…perhaps it will save you major disappointments up ahead! Here are some really good ideas for you: • Understand there’s a difference between a wish and a goal. Often before we retire, we have wish lists that are not realistic. Even realistic goals remain wishes without a plan! • You know what they say about “assume-ing†things right? It makes an “a… out of u and me!†Sit down with your mate and discuss future plans, not assumptions. Decisions shouldn’t be made upon assumptions by either party. • Get a clear vision of what “your retirement†will look like. Create a financial plan that will carry you through. If you don’t know how to do that, consult a professional. • Are you ready to call it quits? Are you sure? Many of us can’t wait to say aloha to a long career, but often finances can call us back; or some just can’t quit altogether, they still need “something†to do to give purpose to their lives. Know what skills and strengths can translate into just such a new position. Perhaps you could keep your hand in things part-time, or tele-commute from home and still earn a pretty penny doing so. It's better to talk about retirement with your mate BEFORE plans are made and feelings are HURT! Do you relate to any of this? Let us hear from you!

psstephens@aol.com

psstephens@aol.com

 

Depression can kill you

Here is some news you can use. I just read a study from Sweden that showed that people who are depressed are significantly more likely to have a stroke. Seems that being depressed can literally kill you. Fortunately, we know that having an emotionally significant relationship and being physically active are powerful protectors against depression and against heart disease - and if this study is correct, against stroke, too. As those of you who read this blog know, I am investigating what it is that enables those of us who RV have better (read "emotionally significant") relationships. If you would be willing to participate in this study, please contact me. Whether you want to participate or not, now is a good time to get with your spouse or significant other (gotta cover all the bases in this day and age) and do a relationship checkup. Do we do physical activity? Check. Do we enjoy being with each other? Check Check. Good. You may have just taken a big step to making sure you don't become one of the many Americans are suffer from stroke each year.

RelationshipDoc

RelationshipDoc

 

Nesting

Well, we finally received that long awaited call. The local Cat dealer got the starter for our generator, and our SeeYa was ready for duty again. We could hardly wait to get back on the road. It was interesting. The very first trip we did not go far from home, and we hardly ventured out of the motor home the entire weekend, except to take our daily 4-5 mile walk, plus a bike ride or two. Other than that, we both were busy nesting. Making our baby "ours" again. Nesting is something that usually gets associated with women, but I found I needed to nest as much as Donna did. We were in this thing together. I am still looking for many other RVers to tell their stories of what makes their marriage work while RVing. What I have learned so far is, most of us are the same. Both partners are, well, partners. The motor home is theirs. Maybe, just maybe that is one of the things that makes RV-ing different from living in a "bricks and sticks" house. That sense that "we are in this thing together" in more ways than one. I still have lots to learn about what keeps relationships good while RV-ing, but already I am convinced that, in one way or another, we all jointly "nest" in our RV. And have fun doing it.

RelationshipDoc

RelationshipDoc

 

We've Still Got It!!

By Pamela Stephens, baby boomer As Baby Boomers, we have collectively set quite a few trends and even a few fads. Because our ranks are many, Boomers have lined the pockets of many a toy maker with the likes of hula hoops, Davey Crockett coonskin caps, Tiny Tears dolls, and Tinker Toys; and many a gal my age had a poodle skirt or two and watched the phenomenon of American Bandstand, oohing and aawing over the latest teen idols and their hits. It seems as Boomers, our generation is doing it again: We are taking the “tired†out of Retired! We are all just too young to “Retire.†Yes, we want to “downsize†into condos or town homes and get a motor home or fifth-wheel, but Pah-leeze, don’t call it retirement! That equates with “old and tired†or “sick and tired†and after all, we are just looking forward to traveling, and spending our kids’ inheritance! As for retirement centers, phooey! We are much happier if you call it “active-adult living†with a country club atmosphere! There are about 24 million of us active adults here in the good old U.S. of A, which means about 9 percent of our population! And guess what, as all of us Baby Boomers age, that will expand to roughly 40 million by the year 2024! And honey, we are mobile! We are well-educated, affluent and concerned about maintaining our health (in between Krispy Kremes and our Mocha Lattes). Now we are lining different pockets; those of the “active-adult†building industry! Developers have catered to our whims of wanting communities which offer lots of activities, a simple, stress-free lifestyle, while owning our own individual homes, often without having to maintain and garden the yards! No two-stories for us! Give us plenty of living area, a great-room rather than a formal living room, with a split bedroom plan that allows our guests to be on the opposite side of the house for privacy! And we want beautiful surrounds…set in the woodlands, or waterfront areas, or at least with a golf course view or a lake/waterscape to look out at! Be sure to give us a “lodge†to gather in, a card room to play canasta, oh…and how about some craft lessons, tap lessons, two-step or line dancing? The boomer guys want a woodshop, perfectly maintained and well-oiled for making those grandson’s wooden airplanes and trains! Boomer gals want to create, so give us ceramics classes, oil painting or watercolor lessons, or quilting classes, thank you, kindly! Of course it must have a state-of- the-art gym where we can sweat to the oldies with Jane and learn that new thing called “pilates.†And to keep us safe, we’d like a gated, guarded environment to keep the owners and boomers away from those who would just like to “browseâ€. Oh and by the way, can we have a spot to store our motor home, 5th-wheel or “toy†hauler? Because several times a year we want to heed the call of the open road…I can almost hear ol’ Willie singing to me now…â€on the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road, again!†Yes, we may be of the age to retire, but to us that just means it’s my bedtime! Bob and Pam Stephens can be emailed at: bob@campgroundimages.com or psstephens@aol.com

psstephens@aol.com

psstephens@aol.com

 

Going through withdrawal

Some years ago, when I was still in the active duty Air Force, I was an avid runner. I found out just how avid when I was hit unexpectedly by an illness which kept me from even walking much, much less running, for several weeks. I recovered from the illness and returned to running but I never forgot what it felt like to go through that withdrawal. Lately my wife and I have been going through a similar withdrawal. Our beloved motorhome has been in the shop for several weeks because the starter on the generator went out and the local Cat dealer doesn't seem to be able to find one. This isn't about the dealer. It's about us. We have been been edgy lately. It's easier to fly off the handle. We're going through withdrawal. Since we recognize that, we have been taking extra steps to be nice to each other, to say kind words to each other, and to be very understanding of each other. It isn't easy. Going through withdrawal never is. But we keep hoping for that phone call which will tell us the part has finally arrived, and we can have out baby back and we can get our "fix" of motorhoming again. In other words, we keep practicing the skills we know will help us, or anyone, through any sort of high stress time: accentuating the strengths in the relationship, actively trying to catch each other "doing something right," and keeping the focus on the future. This is one addiction that we have no intention of kicking. But now, we'll do the best we can, loving on our "fur kids" and letting them help us get through this withdrawal together. That's what a relationship is all about.

RelationshipDoc

RelationshipDoc

 

Hello FMCA

We already have several blogs, but I still love to try new systems - they just keep getting better. We`ve been living in our Motorhome fulltime for 5 years now. Our first FMCA convention was during our first year, and we`ve only missed one since. Here we are at the St. Paul convention this past summer. We present the seminar Èvery RVer Needs a Blog! I guess we`ll have to update that to include this new FMCA community!

GeeksOnTour

GeeksOnTour

 

Welcome to Wayne's World

Welcome to "Wayne's World." As the blog description says, this is all about relationships and RVs, and what makes that combination so special. Let me introduce myself first of all. I have always been fascinated with relationships, all kinds of relationships. The relationships of the earth to the moon, stars, and other planets. The relationships of chemical elements to each other. The wondrous relationships of the various components of the human body. And I could go on, but for the last 37 years, I have been most interested marriage and family relationships. That's what I do for a living. I am an active marriage and family therapist, and I currently teach marriage and family therapy to master's and doctoral students. I can't get enough of this stuff. You ought to know that, in contrast to the other mental health disciplines, marriage and family therapy is based in a health model, which means we're interested in what is right with people, not what is wrong. That's me all over. I'm interested in what is right. Right now, I am researching an article that I hope to publish in FMCA on relationships. Specifically, what makes the couple relationship stronger for couples who go RV-ing than it is for couples who do not RV? My results are very preliminary right now, but I can say that I'm learning a lot. Should be a fun article when it's ready to publish. I work full time, so I don't get out as often as I like, but if you happen to see Donna and me out in our 2004 Alfa SeeYa, come by and say howdy. And if you'd like to participate in this study, just let me know. I'd love to talk with you. Wayne

RelationshipDoc

RelationshipDoc

 

Our "Fur kids"

Don't get me wrong. Donna and I love our kids, all 3 of them. They're all grown and married, and we're exceptionally proud of all of them. We always have been. But we have always taught them that we believed job #1 for a parent is to prepare kids to become responsible adults, so we were from their youngest days preparing them to leave the nest. When the last one left, we were ready. I often said, "The empty nest syndrome is just a permanent smile on your face." Maybe we were just fooling ourselves. One of the reasons we started RVing was we wanted to be able to take our dog (a 7 lb poodle named Jean Claude - as in Jean Claude Van Dam) with us. And of course, if we were going to take the dog, we had to take at least one of our cats. Yes, we live with a dog and 4 cats, so when we go RVing, we take the dog and 2 of the cats (the other two don't travel well, so for their benefit as well as our sanity, we leave them at home). Lately, we have been having some renovation work done on our SeeYa, and because of that, we have been been able to take our "fur kids" with us. These trips have been miserable. We miss our "fur kids." I think there is something about a good relationship that demands it be shared. Oh, we maintain good contact with our 3 human kids and their families, but there is something, I believe, about a good relationship that wants to be shared with touch, with contact. Our "fur kids" receive all that overflowing love, and they return that love in return. It's a win-win situation. I think that may be one reason why so many of us travel with our "fur kids." I won't say "pets," because I know our dog and cats are more than "pets." They are part of the family. And from what I have seen, many of you feel the same way about your traveling companions. Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe that's just one more evidence that a good relationship is just too good to keep all to yourself. Wayne

RelationshipDoc

RelationshipDoc

 

Beware of North Trail RV Service in Fort Myers, Fla.

I just had an experience that has taught me a BIG lesson in dealing with an RV service center. ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS and dont think for a second that a service center has your best interest at heart. They only have your MONEY at HEART. GUESS WHAT? they are not responsible for theft of anything on or in your coach EVEN IF IT IS ATTACHED TO THE DASH OR A PART OF THE DASH!! They had my coach a little over a month called me and said it was ready so I went to get it. Paid the bill while it was pulled around went out and hooked up the tower and got in the coach. GEUSS WHAT? There was a hole in the dash. My control panel for the leveling jack system was gone. I got the service writer in the coach alond with a couple of other people and the question was asked WAS IT THERE WHEN YOU BROUGHT THE COACH IN? I said of course it was and their reply was more the accussive that it was not there. Their sevice technition even said he noticed it was gone but no one ever called me to find out if I knew it was missing. Today they finally determined what part I needed ans said they were willing to pay for half since I could not prove it was there when I brought it in. Half of the $360 part. This cam from the Service Manager I asked for the owner to call me I got a call from the GM who told me North Trail is not responsible for any theft while in their care or on their property and he wwas making me a fair offer. I asked the GM to have the owner of North Trail call me and I was instructed that "HE IS TOO BUSY TO TALK TO ME" "ME" a customer who just gave them my money. I own 3 businesses myself and have several employees but, if a customer calls with a complaint I take time to talk and I will tell you there is not a customer worth loosing and the potintial harm they could cause my company especially for less than $200. CUSTOMER BEWARE!!!!

billy@rooftechfl.com

billy@rooftechfl.com

 

Europe by RV for 4 Years

We had never RVed before but we're adventurous. We did our homework as to what we wanted. We landed in Paris in March 2006,rented a car and gave ourselves 2 weeks to find a RV. We were looking for an Integral (like a smaller class A ). We wanted an inside garage to store a small motorcycle. We found one in 10 days. A 2 yr. old 21FT.Knauss with a Fiat diesel engine. We toured France and Spain until the fall and then bought a brand new 25 Ft. Rapido 996M with a Mercedes engine which we took delivery of in May 2007. To register a vehicle anywhere in the E.U. you need a guarantor from whatever country you make your gateway. You need a copy of his passport, a statement that you rent, reside or otherwise stay there and his permission to use his adress. Then, you register it and get insurance. You have to set up an account with a local bank and deposit money there to cover your pre payment for insurance etc... It takes some getting use to but it isn't so bad. Then you are free to drive anywhere in the E.U. and go to Russia, Turkey, and all ex soviet countries with the regular visas needed for tourists. We flew there for 3 months in the summers and 3 months in the falls returning home for summer boating and for winter skiing. Also because summers are too busy there and winters are fairly cold unless you stick to mediterranean areas. Storing in the lay over times was easy enough. we aimed for empty rental spaces in campgrounds in the winters and empty winter storage places in the summer. We booked our flights, then 2 weeks before we started our search made reservations there and then toured again until 2 days before departure and took transportation to the airport and home we went. We toured in this fashion for 4 years moving North to South with the seasons and progressively from West to East in a large zig zag.it went something like this: around France till Jun 06, home, back Sept. to see Germany Switzerland Hungary, Tcheck and slovakia,down to Sicily ,storage near RomeNov.to Mar. then Rome up to Britain, storage Glasgow for summer, rest of Britain down to Vienna for the winter,up to All Scandinavian countries to Cape North, then to Oslo for summer the in the fallBaltic ,RussiaByelorussia, Ukrain, Moldova, Bulgaria, Turkey, Serbia, Croatia, Italy again. Back to France, sell off and the end fall 09. We travelled almost every day except for bigger cities an only stayed in campgrounds about 10 times in the whole trip. Highly recommended if history and culture lovers. Castles, churches, mountains, fjords. galore.Never felt threatened. If serious about going, we could advise further by phone etc... Now we bought a 42 ft. 2009 DP and will start (you guessed it) Zig Zagging with the seasons north to South moving from East to West about 4 months in the Spring and 4 months in the fall. Home 2 months in summer to boat and 2 months in winter to ski, Holidays and the 6 children and 12 grand children. Life is beautiful. We are blessed.

baldeagle1356

baldeagle1356

 

U. S. Forest Service changing camping discounts.

I just read the January FMCA Newsletter. Have you? One article that caught my eye was the one titled - Camping fees The U.S. Forest Service may change its discount policies pertaining to holders of Senior and Access passes. Read more [/color]>> I don't know about you but I worked hard to earn my retirement and part of that was the right to enjoy the National Parks, BLM and National Forest Service campgrounds at a senior rate. As soon as I turned 62 I headed for the nearest National Monument to buy my Golden Age Pass. Six months later my wife turned 62 and we headed to Mt St Helens to get hers. We were proud of those passes and we love and support the National and State Parks. In fact in the last 7 years while full timing we have volunteered at State Parks in four different states: Oregon, California, Arizona and Alaska because we think it is important to support the park system. Now this is just my opinion but I am not real pleased that the Forest Service has turned over most of their campgrounds to private concessioners so they can profit from public lands. But now the Forest Service wants to add to the concessioners profits at our expense. Below is a letter that I sent to Senator Patty Murray from Washington State along with the article from the FMCA newsletter. I think we should all be mad as H--- and make some noise and write our legislators. It says on the back of my Golden Age Pass that I am entitled to a 50% discount at Forest Service campgrounds. What will they take away next? Also a big thanks to FMCA for bringing this to our attention. If you want to send this to your Senator you can contact them through this web site. http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_info...enators_cfm.cfm To: Senator Patty Murray The article below is from the FMCA web site, http://www.fmca.com/index.php/motorhome/mo...ome-rights/2929. We have been big supporters of state and national parks and have worked as volunteers at state parks for the last 7 years. Now the U.S. Forrest service has seen fit to put private concessioners above the interest of seniors by changing the term of the Golden Age Pass as noted below. We talk to senior RVers often who are on Social Security and rely on the reduced fees at NPS, BLM and U.S.Forrest service to be able to afford to maintain their RV live stile. This is another take-a-way from seniors who have worked hard all their lives to be able to enjoy retirement. Please help support seniors by helping us retain the benefits promised when we bought our Golden Age Passes.

patnann

patnann

 

January 6, 2010 Panama City FL

Wednesday, January 06, 2010 Following our rainy week in Myrtle Beach, SC we moved to Hardeeville, SC which is just north of Savannah, GA. We had a wonderful time there although it did rain a lot. We were able to visit the historic parts of Savannah as well as the resort areas of Hilton Head SC. We ate lunch at a number of the great restaurants in Savannah as well as some nice country cafes in the local area. The seafood continues to be one of the great benefits of visiting this area. The next week we moved to Kings Bay Navy Submarine Base in southeast GA. Where the weather improved immensely with some warm days in the mid 70’s. We were able to visit the historic town of St, Mary which labeled as the second oldest city in United States; the oldest city being St. Augustine a few miles to the south. This area has a rich history of both Spanish and English colonization with a number prerevolutionary war battles fought in the area. We paid a visit to the Okefenokee Swamp, St Simons Island, and the Cumberland Island National Sea Shore. This is one area we will visit again. The week of Christmas was spent at New Smyrna Beach FL. We had good weather for most of the week and had a very enjoyable time visiting St. Augustine, Cape Canaveral, as well as other locations in between. One of the most memorable trips was to Blue Springs State Park to see the Manatees. In the cooler winter weather the Manatees move into the warmer spring fed waters of the park, we were able to observe quite a few because of the clear waters. Too bad the waters are closed to swimming as it would be an experience to swim with them. The week of New Years we moved to Old Town FL, a small village 40 miles west of Gainesville. Here we were able to visit some of the smaller towns and villages of the west Florida Coast. Most of the coastal towns are remote with only one way in and out of the town. This is a quiet area of Florida where wild boor hunting appears to be the sport of the winter. Following the New Years weekend we moved to Panama City, FL. where we will be spending the next week. The weather has also turned cold here with freezing temperatures most nights. Wednesday, December 02, 2009 We spent the first week of November touring the Great Smokes Mountains National Park and the surrounding area. We stayed in a nice campground just off of Interstate 40 and north of the park. The National Park is beautiful this time of the year with the leaves in color. At times we thought that the leaves that had fallen from the trees and were lining the forest floor added to the spectacular view. We also had some disappointments in the area. The commercialism of the area leading to the National Park is an eyesore, distracting from the natural beauty of the area. There is a dichotomy in a county where there are no liquor stores (Dry County) they allow adult entertainment establishments next door to children’s entertainment. This does not compute for us. From the East Tennessee area we moved to North Carolina spending three days in the Chapel Hill, Durham area. We have some friends from our military days who are living in Durham and we had a wonderful time visiting with Pete and Dolly. We look forward to the time when we can return to the area and spend a little more time renewing our friendship. We then moved to Fayetteville and spent a few days with Dan and Marge another retired military couple whom we had not seen for over 25 years. It is funny how you can just pick up with some people where you left off. We had a great time renewing our friendship and getting reacquainted with them. Following our visit in Fayetteville we moved to the Atlantic Coast staying at the Onslow Beach RV Park in Camp Lejeune Marine Base. Our parking spot was about 100 Yards from the beach. We had a great time here touring the area and visiting the old towns with great history. One of the memorable towns was New Bern about 50 miles north of the campground. There is the classic architecture of the 1700 and 1800’s that is well preserved. We also enjoyed the great seafood that dominates that restaurant fair. I think that the first few days Julie must have eaten fried oysters every lunch. We also enjoyed picking up fresh seafood and cooking our own meals. We had some vary nice days while we were at Onslow Beach with the temperatures reaching the mid 70’s so we were able to enjoy long walks on the beach picking up some east coast seashells for our grand children. We were also able to find a few sharks teeth to send to them. We left there on Nov 30 and moved to Myrtle Beach South Carolina where we again are camped within a few yards of the beach. As I write this today it is raining hard so there will be no beach walks.

Frankturman

Frankturman

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