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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Water Tank Woes

Good morning. It’s going to be another pleasant day here in Harlingen; high 70’s, but unfortunately not much sun. That’s much better than bundling up in winter coats for sure.

Yesterday Steve came over to see if he could fix our hot water tank. We have been without hot water for a couple of months now. One day it just stopped working. The water just stopped coming out of the hot water faucet. While we were on the road, Steve had us try a few different things, but none solved our problem. So, until we could get here and have him take a look at it himself, we have been taking showers at the campground facilities and heating water in the tea kettle to do dishes. Not much different from before we got the motorhome and enjoyed camping. Only now we are full-time RV’ers and I would really enjoy the modern convenience.

Clyde and Steve went and bought a part Steve thought might solve our problem, but after taking a look, it turned out that was not the problem. The two of them spent most of the morning crawling around on the ground checking things out. If you know the workings of a motorhome, everything is compact and never easy to get at to repair. In the end, Steve called Winnebago to get some advice on where to look next. They gave him another idea. Hopefully, this will solve our problem. They will take a look at it again tomorrow.

While they were working on the hot water tank, I was busy cutting a couple of pieces of vinyl to cover the bottom section of the screen door. We are hoping to block Patty Peppers view to the outside world so that she won’t see as many things to bark at. While Clyde and Steve were out shopping they stopped and bought a 1/2 yard remnant of black vinyl to use. Steve’s idea was to cut two pieces, glue them together so that the black will show both from the outside and inside of the door. We attached the vinyl with Velcro to the inside of the door so that it would be easily removable when we wanted the air to flow through. It worked perfectly and it looks very professional. I love it when a plan comes together.

Loving our lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn

Harlingen-Day 2

Good morning. What a perfect day it was yesterday for being outside. The sun was out and the temperature was mid 70’s; not too hot-not too cold, just right. It really could be like that all year round and I wouldn’t complain.

We were able to get a lot accomplished, but still have much to do. We did get ourselves a mailbox with a key and everything. And, we have an address so if I want to order something it will come here. Almost like when we had a S&B house. Then again this is a park that has both permanent residents and those just passing through.

What I like about Park Place Estates is that it has an area that is all park model homes and another area that is mixed and a third area for only those staying a short while. It is a very large park with something for everyone. We are set up in the mixed area. Our neighbors next door and across the street have park model homes. They do not stay all year round. They too are Winter Texans.

Back to what we got accomplished. My mind does wander. We got our patio set up; awning out, mat down, chairs and tables out, grill out, etc.. I was going to take a picture to show you, but forgot. Sorry, I will do it today.

I think I’d like to buy a couple potted plants to put out to make it a little more homey. I’m not sure what kind to get. I did ok with the fall mum plant. I didn’t kill it. I do have a brown thumb. But then, we did have a lot of rain that helped keep it alive.

Clyde still needs to finish pulling everything out of the basement storage areas to check for dampness, rust, dirt, bugs etc. as we were by the ocean with the salt air and we had so much rain. Besides, it is good to do spring cleaning every now and again.

Oh ya, I was going to mention, we did get our propane and it was an easy in and easy out just like our friend said. We also found out that they will come to us in the park to fill us up if we need it again while we are here. Nice, huh.

This morning the park is having a craft fair. We will probably go check it out. It looks today is going to be just as nice as yesterday. I will for sure be spending it outside.

I did start my second pine needle basket yesterday while enjoying the outdoors. My, how I love this lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

 

 

 

Harlingen, Texas

Good morning. And a very good morning it is. We have arrived to our winter Texas home. We are now officially what is well-known down here as being “Winter Texans”. We will be staying here for the next 4 months. Yes, that’s right. You heard me correctly. Four (4) months. Let me explain. When I was in the office registering us, I inquired about what an additional month would cost. The longer you stay here the cheaper it is. I was told because we registered and paid for 3 months the 4th month would be free. It is a one time only offer. If we come back again next year that offer would not apply. I was shocked and surprised thinking how can we pass that up. I asked if I could talk to my husband about it first and she said sure. We decided we can’t pass up a deal like that. So even though we will have to re-think our summer plans, this is going to be a very nice winter for us.

Everyone here is so friendly and nice. They are making us feel at home and very welcome. While we were setting up we met a few of our neighbors. I will never remember everyone’s name. I am very bad at that.

I can’t believe how dirty the car got from being towed. It was the dirtiest it has ever been. I think all that rain we drove through did it. The first thing we did after setting up was find a car wash. She looks much better now.

The park also has a vegetable truck come through every Thursday afternoon. We timed it just right. I had just come out of the office and the truck was there. Oh my, what nice looking produce. I got a little of everything. We will be eating healthy for sure.

When we got back to our motorhome and were putting things away, our neighbor came over and invited us over for “happy hour”. It was a nice chance to get to know them and a couple other neighbors as well.

When we left there we headed over to our friend Steve’s for “happy hour” at his place. We took Patty Pepper who was perfect. She must remember being here last year, as she settled right down. What a nice time we had. It’s so nice to be back.

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I took a picture of our site. Our patio isn’t set up yet. We will do that today. But, don’t you just love our Yucca plant and the street is lined with palm trees. Our son pointed out that we have a sidewalk.

Loving our lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn