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  1. Wow! Can’t believe it is almost August! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun! Since my last blog entry we have traveled from Kartchner Caverns, Bensen, AZ to Phippsburg, Maine. Had a pretty good trip across country even though we took a dog leg route to Forest City, Iowa to Winnebago Industries to have a few things checked out on the new to us motor home and a had few items worked on. The Horizon had a dishwasher which we really didn’t need so we had it removed and had two more kitchen drawers installed to take its place. Being full-timers having extra storage is always welcome. We also had the roof inspected and all the sealants checked and replaced where needed. One does not need leaks and Maine is not like AZ it actually rains here in Maine a lot. We sold our house here in Maine to our son and daughter-in-law so we are staying at a campgrounds right down the street from the old homestead. Really nice to visit family and see how fast our little grand daughter is going. Also we came to see our son off as he is deploying with the Maine National Guard so we will be nervous parents for the next year until he returns. It is hard to see your son leave for a war zone and I know how hard it was for him to leave his family. I spent 21 years in the Navy so I know how hard it is to deploy and leave your family behind. We got to go on family day that his guard group put on and got to meet a lot of his comrades in arms, a great bunch of dedicated people who are very proud to serve their country. We are really proud of them all. We are really enjoying being back in Maine again and so far the weather has been really good. Some days are very humid though sure different than the hot dry weather of AZ and TX where we spent the winter. Have been really scoffing up the Maine seafood especially the lobster and clams! Yum! We are loving the Horizon more than ever as it is so roomy and homey. The dogs love it too as they have plenty of room to spread out and sack out as well. LOL! The campgrounds we are staying at are really nice with quite a few summer residents that are really friendly and lots of fun to be around. Lots of fisherman here as well and I have been enjoying fishing along the coast as well. The stripers aren’t running too well as yet but it is still fun to get out there and enjoy the coast. It is really hard to beat the coast of Maine in the summer and early fall; however, I do not want to be here in the winter anymore. Winters seem to drag on forever here so being full-timers and traveling to the south in the winter is really the way to go. The summers just seem to go by so fast here but I am going to enjoy every minute of it while we are here. Hope all is well with everyone out there and you all are enjoying the summer!
  2. Good Luck in your travels. We have been full-timing for 2 years now and really enjoy it and I'm sure you all will too once you get over the newbe jitters. Getting underway with a new to you coach is always a bit nerve racking but by the second or third day that all goes away. Make sure you have a good road service like coach net it is will worth the money per year for peace of mind. We just changed coaches and will be traveling back to New England from AZ so the first few days will be a bit anxious especially going from 34' to 40' but we love our new to us coach. You'll be fine and don't forget to enjoy the adventure of it all!
  3. Grads to you new lifestyle! We started our full-timing adventure 2 years ago and we love it. Down sizing to a motor home is quite the challenge, but again it is very liberating! We did the same thing 2 years ago and sold and gave away everything we did not need or could not fit into our motor home. You will be surprised how fast you will adjust to living in a smaller place. Our 2 golden retrievers have adapted to living in the motor home and traveling pretty quickly. We started out in a 34' Journey and just moved up to a 40' with 3 slides so we have more room now, but we were perfectly comfortable in the 34'. We also do volunteer work at state parks around the country and it is a exciting and fun lifestyle. So enjoy and have fun!
  4. New to us coach! Well so much for buying your last coach first. We had some work done on our Journey at La Mesa RV in Tucson, AZ and while we were there waiting for the service to be completed and of course we started looking at all the motor homes, 5th wheels, etc. At first DW thought she really wanted a 5th wheel but then decided she did not want to drive a large pickup all the time. This got us thinking (a dangerous thing) about wanting more living space, so now the wheels are in motion. We started looking seriously at the used coaches and a few Phaetons we looked at were sold before we had a chance at them, then we looked at a 06 Itasca Horizon and really loved it! So we did it! We traded our 05 34H Journey for a 06 40KD Horizon and Wow what room we have now! Lots of really neat extras on the coach and features our Journey did not have. The staff at La Mesa has been totally awesome and has been quick to correct any minor problems we have found on the coach. I can’t say enough about how honest and caring La Mesa RV in Tucson has been to us. They gave us a good deal all around and are still there to help us with our needs. The coach itself is really nice looking it has full body paint in silver frost. The insides are so nice with real tile floors and great looking wood work. We really do like the Winnebago/Itasca motor homes and after owning the Journey most of the interior workings are the same on the Horizon. One feature we really like are all the nice large windows that give us excellent views which are pretty awesome here at Kartchner Caverns. We will miss our Journey after living in her for so long, but we really do love the Horizon. All and all we are pretty happy campers!
  5. Wow! It is hard to believe that it is the 1st of April already and the last time I added to this blog was in November 2011! As they say time flies when you’re having fun and we have definitely been having fun. The full-timing and volunteering life style is really awesome. A lot has happened since my last blog entry. We really enjoyed our stay at Goliad State Park as the staff and the park itself is so great. Christmas time at the old mission is so special. The mission is lit with lights and different silhouettes are placed in front of lights to cast unique shadows on the mission walls at night. Lights, garland, and bows decorate the inside of the chapel and it looked so pretty. It is truly a magical time at the mission. We stayed at Goliad State Park right through to the 1st of the New Year and left for Bentsen/Rio Grande Valley State Park in Mission, Texas. It was hard to leave all our friends at Goliad to head south to the Rio Grande Valley, but new adventures awaited us there. Bentsen/Rio Grande Valley State Park is one of the worlds best birding centers. It is not unusual to see 60, 70, or more bird species in a single day there. Birding being one of our hobbies we couldn’t wait to start at the park and get out birding. Two of my favorite birds there are the Green Jay and the Great Kiskadee both being very pretty birds and having unique personalities. Many of the bird species there are only seen in that area of Texas and very rarely travel much farther north. The are several ox bow lakes that attract many shore birds as well and three species of kingfishers can be seen there on any given day if you are lucky. The park is truly a birder’s paradise! People travel from all over the United States and many different countries just to see the birds there. One bird in particular, the Black Vented Oriole, had birders coming in from all over as it is rarely seen north of Mexico or Central America. Unfortunately the Oriole disappeared suddenly after being a daily visitor at the park for almost a month. We saw lots of border patrol there at the park as they used the park as a staging area on a daily basis. One can really appreciate how hard the border patrol personnel work by living at the park. We really loved this park and the staff here is awesome and very knowledgeable on birds, butterflies, etc. We really learned a lot there and enjoyed our two month stay immensely. It seemed we just barely arrived there and it was time to leave again. We left Bentsen on the 1st of March and we did not have to be at Kartchner Caverns until the 15th of March so we decided to do some sightseeing on our way across to the caverns. So we headed off to Davis Mountain State Park near Fort Davis, Texas which is another really great park up in the mountains with really awesome views. However, before getting to Davis Mountain we stopped at Fredericksburg, Texas. A must see at Fredericksburg is the WWII Pacific War Museum. It takes about a full day to see all the museum has to offer and it is well worth the time spent. After touring the museum one really leaves with a greater appreciation for the “Greatest Generation” and all the sacrifices they made to preserve the freedoms we enjoy everyday. We stayed an extra day in the Fredericksburg area as the winds in the Davis Mountain area were really high and gusting to 60 mph. Due to the high wind delay we arrived at Davis Mountain State Park a day late but with still 7 days to explore the area. The park is high up in the hills and there is lots of wildlife roaming throughout the park. We had several mule deer stroll through our campsite and also a group of 10 Javelina. One does not want to leave any coolers out as the Javelina is more than happy to help themselves to your food as one of the campers found out. We had a great time hiking the hills and visiting the local sites. We especially liked Fort Davis which is an old cavalry fort where the Buffalo soldiers stayed. The history of the fort is quite impressive and we really enjoyed touring the fort. Another great place to visit in the area is the McDonald Observatory. The observatory sits high up on a mountain and has five very large telescopes, the largest being the 107” telescope. They give daily tours of the observatory and they also have night programs where they have several smaller telescopes to view the night sky. What really makes it so amazing is the sky there is so dark which no real light pollution. Being an amateur astronomer I was in my glory to say the least. The weather turned really cold at the end of our stay there and it spit snow there one night and got down to 28 F so it was really chilly and then some. We felt sorry for the people in tents there as they must have really frozen and the park was full with spring vacationers many in tents. We arrive here at Kartchner Caverns on the 15th of March as scheduled. This place is pretty amazing and our campsite is really nice. We are up on a mountain side and we can see what seems like forever. There are mountains surrounding us with a large expanse of plains to the east before more mountains. At night we can see the lights from Bensen and Tombstone and it is quite pretty. On of our duties here is to tail the tours into the caves which is really fun and exciting. The caves themselves are something else with lots of stalagmites, stalactites, flowstones, columns, etc. We have just stated to explore this park and the local area, however, what we have seen so far we really like. What is really nice there is an Army base not too far away and being retired military we get to used all their facilities. So with this I will end part one of this blog as we have more excitement to tell you all about in my next installment which I should be adding next week.
  6. Hi Karen & Collins, Wow! You all were in Maine at the same time we were as we left Maine on the 15th of September. In fact we were north of Acadia the 1st week of Sept my visiting my brother and his wife who live in Millbridge which is about an hour north of Ellsworth. Acadia is really beautiful in the fall especially during the fall color season. We really enjoy volunteering at state parks as there is always something interesting to learn and do. We are usually volunteer interpretive staff which can be really rewarding and fun. Alaska sounds like fun, but not sure what we will be doing that far in advance, however, we will keep it in mind for sure. We head to Bentson State Park in January and February which is a big birding area in the Rio Grande Valley right adjacent to the river. Looking forward to seeing some new and interesting bird species. After Bentson we head to AZ to Kartchner Carvens just south of Tucson and be there right thru the end of April. We are looking at some fun and interesting adventures there for sure. You all sound like you have been doing some interesting travel as well. Will check out your blog for sure which I haven't done for a while. Take Care and Happy Travels!!
  7. We have now been at Goliad State Park in Goliad, Texas, for a little over a month and are really enjoying our stay here. This is our second fall at this wonderful state park and we feel like we have come home. The staff here is great and really makes us feel at home and is so appreciative of our volunteer service. Volunteering is a great way to spend retirement. It gives us something helpful to do and we enjoy meeting so many interesting people that this lifestyle provides. There seems to be more wildlife here at Goliad this year. I can’t help wondering if it has something to do with the drought Texas has been experiencing over the last year. We have seen more whitetail deer, gray foxes and raccoons. We are also much more aware of the bird migrations this year than last year. We saw a flock of whooping cranes fly over the mission on October 16. It was an amazing sight! It only happens one day out of the entire year as the Whooping Cranes migrate to the Gulf Coast of Texas to their winter quarters. Most of them migrate to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and Matagorda Bay. We took a day trip to the refuge last week and were lucky enough to see four of the cranes and many of the other bird species that winter along the Texas coast. Unfortunately, the elevated walkway and viewing tower was closed for renovations, but we still had a very enjoyable time bird watching. The weather here in Texas has been really dry still -- we had only one day of rain since arriving here on the October 1. The temperatures have been cooling off somewhat compared to the 100-degree heat Texas experienced over the summer and early fall. It is interesting to see how fast the weather changes here with the passing of a cold front. It can be in the high 80s on day and the next the high temperature is only in the low 60s with low humidity. It has been cloudy and humid the last few days and we have a chance to get some rain tomorrow, which would be welcome, indeed. We are sure glad we were not in Maine for the Halloween snowstorm! We had quite the trip coming here from Maine. It was pretty hot across the country on our way to Forest City, Iowa, home of Winnebago Industries. We had a great time visiting Winnebago and touring the factory. It was amazing seeing how the Winnebago motorhomes are put together! At Winnebago, we had some work done on our motorhome. Even though we did not have a service appointment, we signed on the standby list to have our work done. We arrived on a Monday afternoon and Winnebago had our motorhome in for service at 7 a.m. on Wednesday. All of the work was completed in just one day. Winnebago's customer service and service department staff were excellent and extremely helpful. It sure made us feel fortunate that we own a Winnebago! On our way south to Goliad, Texas, from Forest City, we passed through Bastrop, Texas, and were saddened to see all the destruction caused by the terrible wildfire of September. We spent five months at Buescher and Bastrop State Parks from December through April last year and really enjoyed the beauty of the area. It will take a long time for Bastrop State Park to recover to its natural state. Fortunately, all the major buildings built by the CCC in the Bastrop Park were saved from the wildfire. It was lucky that Buescher State Park escaped the fire and the Loblolly Pines there were saved. Hopefully the Bastrop area will get some much-needed rain which will help the area start to recover. I hope all is well with everyone as we head for the holiday season. We wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!
  8. Like the song goes we are “On the Road Again”! We had a great stay in Maine with our Son and family and Nana had quite the time with the little grand daughter. We arrived there the last week of July and the time just seemed to fly by. I guess the saying is right “time flies when you are having fun”! We love Maine, however, after being in the dry Southwest it was hard to get use to all the rain and moisture, especially the humidity! It was really nice to see everything so green. It is too bad we could not send some of the rain we had to Texas where they really need it! We were so saddened to hear about the very bad Bastrop fire and to hear Bastrop State Park was burned so badly. Our hearts really go out to all the wonderful staff of Bastrop and Buescher State Parks that have lost their homes and all their possessions. The Loblolly Pine Forest of Bastrop County was such a gem and now most of it has been blackened. We spent five months at Buescher State Park as camp hosts and really loved it there. We led many hikes and bird walks through Bastrop State Park and will always have fond memories of the area and its wonderful and friendly people. Thank goodness there were only two casualties with such a huge fire that took over 1550 homes, though even two is two too many. Hopefully, Texas with get some very badly needed rain soon. We are once again migrating with the birds; however, we are headed west first to visit Winnebago Industries in Forest City, Iowa. We are going to have a few items worked on like having the roof checked out to make sure it is completely sealed properly. I did tackle some of the job myself, but I’m not overly happy with the way the Dicor hardened on the roof around the vents. Any leaks on a motor home roof are not good so far no leaks and we want to keep it that way. After Forest City we head south to Texas again as we really love wintering there. Our first volunteer host position is at Goliad State Park at the mission. It was our first ever volunteer host position and we really had a great time there and really felt so welcome by the staff there. The first of the year we will be at Bentsen-Rio Valley State Park which is a major birding center. We are really excited to volunteer there and see lots of new bird species. Volunteering is a wonderful way to spend one’s retirement years, very rewarding. It is nice to be on the road again and seeing new places. However, traveling on the nation’s highway really brings home how much the highways need to be repaired. The country's infra-structure really needs some serious work and hopefully something will be done to improve it all. I-84 from western NY through eastern PA was so bad we lost a hub cover to one of our dullies and several chrome lug nut covers, which did not make me a happy camper. Hopefully, we can get replacement parts at Winnebago. One item I did not replace this summer was our house batteries and unfortunately they are pretty much spent so that will be another item to replace when we are at Forest City, IA. I swear we have a picked up a few gremlins along the way, have to hunt those buggers down and get rid of them! LOL! It is amazing how much we love the full-timing life style after living in a stick and brick home for so long. The coach has become our home and we are completely happy living in it and are so glad we have chosen this life style. We love seeing this wonderful and beautiful country of ours! The greatest asset this country has is its people! We just love meeting new people going across this country. Tomorrow will be another wonderful day of exploring and seeing new things, how very exciting!
  9. Hope your buying of the new to you motor home goes well. I'm retired Navy and spent my first 3 years on the Island of Guam way back in the early 70's, loved the island. Our son was born there in the Naval Hospital at Agana. I know the feeling of traveling back and forth across the country as our second duty station was NAS Brunswick, Maine, then it was back to the west coast then back again to Maine. I also did a tour in Spain then a ship in Norfolk, Va. I retired after 21 years and my middle brother did 24 in the Coast Guard. I am also a retired chemistry teacher and we full-time in a Winnebago Journey and love it. We just traveled across the country from Colorado to Maine and it was pretty hot. Make sure your AC's work well as you will need them. Have a safe trip across the country and thank you for serving our country!
  10. We have been full-timing for the last year and love it. I took several years researching motor homes before we purchased ours used. IMHO the best companies out there are Winnebago, Tiffin, and Newmar at least in the modest price range. All three of these companies have been in business for a long time and have not gone into bankruptcy. Prevost and Newell are way out of my league. Of course you also have to decide whether to go gas or diesel which only you can decide which is best for you. A good source of information on specific makes and models is the forums on iRV2 website as there are forums for Winnebagos, Tiffins, Newmar, and other popular motor home makes. We really like our Winnebago Journey and have had really good luck with it and my FIL is on his third Adventurer and loves them. A good friend of mine, also a full-timer, has a Newmar which he also loves and has had good luck with. So good luck with you hunt for that new motor home!
  11. Well we have come full circle and are currently back in Maine where we started from last September. It is amazing how fast time seems to fly since we have retired a year ago. We have seen some really amazing parts of this grand country of ours and had some amazing experiences as well. We truly enjoyed wintering in Texas and really enjoyed our volunteer experiences at Goliad and Buescher State Parks and met some very wonderful people along the way. We have been so very fortunate and blessed. We really enjoyed our volunteer time at Goliad State Park and Mission and learned so much about Texas history. The park is a wonderful place with great camping areas that have lots of shade and are well spaced. The park staff was so friendly and welcoming. This was our first volunteer position and it was so rewarding and enjoyable. We highly recommend this park for anyone visiting this part of Texas, I promise you, you will really enjoy the park and local area. There were lots of wildlife here and we saw our first armadillo and javelina here which was really cool. Our second volunteer position was at Buescher State Park which is located about 30 miles east of Austin, Texas. This is also a great camping area with lovely grounds. The park is connected to about Texas State Park, Bastrop, by an 11 mile park road which is a great biking road. We stayed hear for five months and had a great time. The staff here was also wonderful and very welcoming. The park itself is in the piney woods with lots of trees and a great little lake for fishing. The really neat thing about Texas State Parks is that you can fish in them for free, no fishing license is needed. The lake at the park is stocked with Rainbow Trout in December and there is also great Large Mouth Bass fishing as well. There is plenty of hiking trails at Buescher and Bastrop as well as lots of great birding. Lots of wildlife live in the park including mule deer, rabbits, javelina, etc. Red Rock State Park in Sedona, AZ was very incredible with all the awesome rock formations and the wonderful staff at the park that made us feel right at home. The area is a great place for hiking and mountain biking and we enjoyed every minute of our stay there. The park is not a camping area and is a day use park only so we were really fortunate to be able to have a host site at the park. However, for those who would like to camp in the area there is Dead Horse State Park in Cottonwood which is located on the road to Clarksdale. Dead Horse has some really great campsites and the whole park is really great and well maintained. Red Rock has some great hiking trails with lots of views of the red rock formations and also a great hike along Oak Creek. We saw lots of wildlife here including mule deer, javelina, rabbits, and I even got to see four otters swimming in Oak Creek one morning. This is a great birding park with lots of species of birds both local and migrating through the area. There are lots of snakes here in the summer months but we only saw a few nonpoisonous snakes the two months we stayed there. Sedona is a real tourist mecca with lots of shops and restaurants. The area is known for all its great hiking and mountain biking trails which we totally enjoyed the whole time we were there. We really loved it there to say the least! After leaving the Sedona area and Red Rock SP we headed to Colorado to visit our daughter and family which live near Telluride. We stayed about 30 miles south of Telluride at Priest Gulch Campgrounds just north of Dolores on route 145. What a beautiful campgrounds that has the Dolores River running right through it. This area of Colorado is extremely beautiful with scenery that is just breath taking! The mountains here are just incredible and amazing. Driving up route 145 to Telluride is such a beautiful trip with lots of mountain views and meadows which are sometimes filled with herds of elk. We stayed here two weeks and had a great time. For those who are fishermen, especially fly fishermen, the mountain streams have lots of trout and Trout Lake north of Rico has wonderful fishing. This is another area that has plenty of hiking trails and biking here is also very popular. When you visit Telluride be sure to take the gondola up to mountain village and check the village out. By the way the gondola is free which is a rarity these days. It was sad to leave our daughter and family as we headed back to Maine to visit our son and his family. We took our time coming across country which took eight days right during the heat wave that was hitting the middle of the country. Traveling through Colorado was quite the trip especially traveling along route 160 and climbing up and down Wolf Creek Pass. The pass is really something else with an eight mile climb to the top and a long winding road over the other side which got pretty narrow in some places. However, it was very scenic and a beautiful trip though the Rockies. It is nice to be in Maine for a change with its interesting weather. We hardly saw rain the whole time we were in the southwest and no fog except for some in the mountain valleys of Colorado. We have had quite a few days of rain showers and some thunderstorms with pea-size hail. It is taking us a while to get used to the humidity especially on cool days when it just feels plain damp. Several days we have had pea soup thick fog where you could not see the water from the beach. It is quite a switch from the dry climate of the southwest and I have to admit I like the dry climate better. However, we are surely enjoying lots of seafood and especially lobster! Nothing better than fresh Maine lobster right from the ocean! Yummy! We are very close to Popham Beach, which is one of the prettiest areas along the Maine coast, just totally breathtaking views. We will be here in Maine until mid-September when we will start heading back to Texas, migrating south with all the birds. What a wonderful way to enjoy our retirement years! How Lucky We Are!
  12. Jackhal49

    Red Rock State Park & Sedona, AZ

    Pictures of Sedona, AZ and Local Area
  13. I hope all is going well with knee and your next knee replacement is a great success. We have had the mice battles before we started full-timing. A mouse chewed up a little rug we had in the bathroom and I couldn't not find the mouse nest to save my life. However, I eventually found the nest and it was in the stove! I just happened to lift up the top of the stove where the burners were and there was the nest made of the rug fibers. I have tried just about every type of mouse trap on the market so I have quite a collection of them! I hope it has cooled off for you, we just got through traveling from Colorado to Maine and the heatwave seemed to follow us across the country. Hope all is well with you and you are well on your way to a full recovery! Jackhal
  14. I served 21 yrs in the Navy starting in 1970. One thing about Jane Fonda's trip to Hanoi Hilton during the war was she brought back with her several prisoners one was an American seaman that was captured after he had fallen off the back of a ship in the Gulf of Tonkin. This seaman memorized the name of every prisoner in the POW camp so when he returned to the US he recited the list of names which saved the lives of the prisoners in the camp because the North could not deny these POWs were being held. This seaman was also brought to the Paris Peace Talks to confront the North of they inhuman treatment of the POWs. What I wonder to this day if Jane was not a ploy in this whole thing and her anti-American stance was not just an act to get information about the treatment of POWs in the North. Has anyone ever thought of this? But at any rate whether her act was on purpose or not the fact that the seaman was brought back to the US did save countless lives and no I do not really care for her or her stand during the war, but is there more to the story than we really know? Just food for thought. Thank You All for Your Service to Our Country!
  15. What helps us is we do volunteer work at state parks so we stay at one place 2 months or more and get a free FHU site with utilities. What we save in campground fees and utilities we later spend on fuel.It is a great way to travel the country and have something interesting and helpful to do as well. I don't intend to change my traveling unless diesel fuel goes to $10 a gallon. Good Luck, All, and Enjoy!
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