A Lookback at 2018

Good morning. It is going to be a pleasant day here in the Rio Grand Valley; sunny with a high of around 70º. I’m sure I will find something to do outside.

I was looking back at our first full calendar year as full-timers and thought I would share some of what we did.

As full-timers we spent all 365 days in our motorhome. Although while we were at my daughter Melissa’s, we did sleep 4 nights in her home while our motorhome was parked in front of her house. So technically we spent 361 nights in the motorhome.

Here is a breakdown of our year:

We spent 222 nights in State Parks.

  • 103 in Michigan. 71 at Brighton Recreation Area and 21 at Proud Lake State Park
  • 21 in Ohio at Caesar Creek State Park
  • 10 in Florida. 2 at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center and 8 at Ochlockonee River State Park
  • 45 in Alabama at Gulf Shores State Park
  • 4 in Missouri. 3 at Lake Wappapello State Park and 1 at Wakonda State Park
  • 40 in Illinois at Jubilee College State Park

We spent 28 nights in a County Park (Cameron County) on South Padre Island. Isla Blanca Park.

28 nights were spent in Corps of Engineering parks.

  • 14 at Lake Lavon, Lavonia Campground in Texas
  • 14 at Waco Lake, Airport Park Campground in Texas

45 nights were in private campgrounds. 9 of those nights were in a KOA.

And, lastly we were able to enjoy 41 nights free.

  •  6 were Walmart parking lots
  • 1 was a Flying J
  • 1 was at General RV while we were getting repairs done
  • 33 were at or because of family members. Thank you for your kind and generous hospitality.

We spent $7,752.75 on Camping Fees. That breaks down to $21.24 per night. Which is down $2.00 per night from the year before. I would like to see it come down even further this year.

We drove a total of 6,213 miles and spent $2,078 on gas for the motorhome. We also spent $488.19 on propane. If you add the camping fees, gas and propane together we spent $10,318.94 total which comes out to $28.27 per night or $859.91 per month. We are going to try very hard to bring that total down considerably this next year.

We had some nights with full hook-ups, some with electric only and some with no amenities. We enjoyed the wilderness, lakes, ocean and RV parks. We have seen everything from Motorhomes decked out with everything imaginable to bikers sleeping in a hammock tented. Everyone has been kind and friendly.  We had a good year.

I hope this information is helpful for those of you considering our lifestyle. I know we have talked to many of you throughout the year who were either considering it or just curious.

Loving our lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Texan Expo

Good morning. With yesterday being an overcast cold rainy day, we thought we would go see what the Winter Texan Expo was all about. We are now officially Winter Texans, so why not. It is held every January (this is the 26th year) in the McAllen Convention Center. The event is free and parking is free. We like free (but, so does everyone else). This years event was being held on both Tuesday, January 15th and Wednesday, January 16th from 9am to 3pm.

This was our first time in McAllen. The convention center was easy to find and there was plenty of parking (even for the amount of people who were there). There was a long line to get into the expo, but the line moved quickly. Once inside we found it extremely crowded. Shoulder to shoulder, people everywhere. Everyone was very nice and friendly. But, the number of people was overwhelming. At one point Clyde and I got separated and couldn’t locate each other. It is a good thing we had cell phones. I don’t know how we would have found each other without them. Even with the number of people that attended this event, we bumped into a couple other couples from our park. It is a small world.

As with other types of expos, this one had different vendors pitching their products and giving away small tokens to entice you over. If you filled out a questionnaire you could be entered into a drawing to win a bigger prize. As I am not a person who gives out my information freely, nor do I want phone calls or emails etc. after the fact, I do not participate in these drawings. I guess it’s my loss. We did come away with a few new tot bags, pens, mini flashlights, etc. as well as some reading material (that will probably be recycled).

The best part of our trip was our late lunch/early dinner at Cheddar’s. There was a slight wait to be seated, but the service and food was very good.

Loving our lifestyle.

Kathryn

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Night Activities

Good morning. What a cold, windy, dreary day it was yesterday. The sun was nowhere to be seen. It looks like today will be more of the same, only we will be adding rain in the mix. We could use some rain for the lawns.

It was a good day to get some errands done in the morning. In the afternoon Clyde went to play shuffleboard. The park has two large buildings to accommodate many different activities. One of the buildings has about 10 shuffleboard courts marked on the floor.  He had never played the game before but decided to see what it was all about. It was a good day to go and do an inside activity. He was welcomed into the group and had a very nice time. I think he will go again.

While he was busy playing shuffleboard, I was putting together a dish to take to the weekly potluck. You don’t need an invitation to attend, but we had been asked by more than one couple to come and join them. You really don’t need to ask my husband more than once to go to a potluck. He loves trying other people’s recipes while enjoying getting to know other people.  Being it was a blustery cold day, I decided scalloped potatoes and ham would be a good dish to take. We’ve been hungering for it anyway.

The potluck only had about 20 people show up (we were told they usually have more), but the company and the food was very nice. Everyone welcomed us with open arms and repeatedly asked us to come again next week. Yep, I think we will.

After the potluck a group gets together in the fellowship hall to play pinochle. It’s a card game we have enjoyed for years but haven’t played in a long time. We decided to go and see if they had room for 2 more. They did. They ended up with 6 tables of 4 players each. It was a nice size group. Everyone was very welcoming and friendly. It didn’t take us very long to remember the rules and get right into the game. Each table played 4 rounds. The winners of those 4 rounds moved on to another table for 4 more rounds. They played those 4 rounds a total of 6 different times. At the end of each of the 4 rounds you switched partners. It was a fun evening.

This park has enough activities scheduled that you could be kept busy all day everyday. I’m not one to have my life scheduled that tightly, but I do think we might make our Monday evenings a potluck and pinochle night.

Loving our lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

Longleaf Pine Needle Basket

Good morning. The temperature has taken a nosedive. Our high for today and tomorrow is only 60º. 60º would be fine if the wind wasn’t blowing and the sun was out. But, the wind is blowing and unfortunately the sun is nowhere to be seen; so the “feels like” temperature is much lower. The heat even kicked on this morning. It will be a good day to do errands and be inside.

I did finish my 2nd pine needle basket.

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I used a wood scroll bottom I found at Hobby Lobby for $1.00 and about 48 yards of natural color artificial sinew I also found at Hobby Lobby. The sinew was a 50 yard spool for $7.99. I used a 40% off coupon to help cut the cost. I had the wooden beads in my stash. Using the longleaf pine needles we collected, prepared and cleaned in Alabama, making a pine needle basket is one of the least expensive of my hobbies. It just takes time, patience and some creativity. And, being able to find the right pine needles to use.

The bow is not permanently fixed. I’m not sure if I want to leave it or take it off. I could add a couple of beads to the bow ends. Just not sure yet. I also need to add a preservative to my baskets; like shellac.

Meanwhile, I’ve started another basket and finished reading a book. Life is good. Loving the lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

Living the Lifestyle

Good morning. What a perfect summer day we had yesterday. Oh, wait. This is January. It’s winter. That is one of the many reasons I love our lifestyle. When you live full-time in a motorhome you can go wherever and whenever you want (well almost).

We chose this lifestyle so that we could see our children, grandchildren and friends more often. We would also be able to see and experience other areas of our wonderful country. We have been living in our motorhome full-time now for 485 days. Oh, we have had our problems and issues (no hot water, hooking and unhooking the toad, stink bugs, etc.). But, you have conundrums living in a stationary home too. You just go with the flow and deal with it.

So, while I was outside, in the sunshine, sitting in my lounge chair reading a good book, watching my husband water the lawn, my daughter was up north outside, where the snow was coming down heavily, watching her new puppy happily prance and play for the first time in the snow. Even though we weren’t there to enjoy the moment with her, we were able to face-time and watch the cute little puppy play. Life is good.

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Sookie -13 weeks

Loving our lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

Charter Fishing

Good morning. Today is going to be a perfect day to be outside; sunshine with a high around 80º. Unfortunately for our northern friends and family it’s not going to be as nice, unless you are a kid or adult who enjoys the snow.

Yesterday morning Clyde and a few of the guys here in the park went to South Padre Island to go fishing. Clyde is not a fisherman, nor has he ever been on the ocean to fish, so this was a first for him. The only other time he went fishing on a large boat was on Lake Michigan and he spent the entire time hugging the rail and emptying his stomach. It was not a fun experience. So when our friend Steve asked him to go with him and the other guys he was a bit hesitant. And, who could blame him. But, he said what the heck and was willing to try it again.

The guys went on Danny B Fishing Charters for a 4 hour trip. The charter provided a pole for those who needed one and bait to fish with. The bait they used was shrimp and some kind of fish. They will also clean your catch for a small fee, which most of the fishermen took advantage of.

Clyde had a nice time and didn’t get sick. He did catch a few fish, but those who knew what they were doing caught many more. Clyde said most of the fish the guys caught were whiting. I am told whiting is a good eating fish and after looking it up I found out it is what you get when you buy imitation crab. We have enough fish for about 3 meals. Now I will be looking up different ways to cook it.

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Steve asked Clyde if he would like to go again next month and Clyde said yes. Good, I love fresh fish.

Loving our lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

Oh Poop

Good morning. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. Yesterday Clyde went to dump our holding tanks for the first time since we’ve been here and I heard my name being called loud and clear. I came over to find him holding the sewer hose, trying to keep the poop from spewing all over. He needed me to close the valve. Apparently the sewer line was blocked.  One of our new friends (the couple who lent us one of their golf carts) stopped by and asked “now what did you break”.  He immediately called the office to report our problem. They send over a crew to work on the issue. Unfortunately the problem couldn’t be solved. They ended up bringing over PVC pipe to extend our line and connected us to a different sewer line. That’s fine with us. The problem is solved and we didn’t have to move to a different site. We like our site.

We haven’t got everything put back away in the basement storage areas yet from our water tank fiasco, as we are trying to get the storage bays thoroughly dry before doing so. But, I have moved our patio mat off the cement patio to enlarge our sitting area. It also will help make it a little more level, as the edge of cement and grass under our mat was a trip hazard.

It was a beautiful day yesterday with some sun. I was able to sit outside and work on my basket. I will post a picture of my basket when it is completed.

Loving our lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn