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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Off to Ohio

Good morning. It is a comfortably warm sunny morning which is always nice for a travel day. Our time here in Peoria is over. It sure went by quickly. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; we never seem to have enough time anywhere we go. I hate saying goodbye. We always have such a nice time with those we love.

Today we are on the road heading to see our daughter Melissa in Ohio. We will be staying in a state park we have not been to before. There is a KOA very close to her home but they want an arm and a leg camping fee which is not in our budget. Besides, we like state parks much better. Caesar Creek State Park is only about 20 minutes from her home, which isn’t bad. We have always had to travel that far for shopping anyway, so we are used to it.

The weather is nice now, but looking ahead I see rain.  Some rain is ok, I just hope we don’t run into high winds and bad storms. Maybe we will get lucky.

Loving our lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

Back Again Peoria

Good morning. We made it. We had beautiful day for traveling yesterday and made it to our destination without any drama. Just the way we like it. 415 miles total.

We are at Jubilee College State Park, which is just west of Peoria, Illinois. We stayed here last spring when the park was only partially open for the winter. We were snowed in the first night. We came back north just a tad too early.

The campground has 3 loops. Last spring we stayed in the 1st loop, Coyote Cove. The other two loops were closed off for the winter. The 2nd loop is Possum Bend. The 3rd loop is Woodchuck Ridge, where we are this time.  At the moment we are the only campers in the campground. I don’t think that will last long. There are still plenty of weekend campers that love fall camping. Yes, fall. It is September even though the temperatures are still summer like.

There are a handful of 50 amp sites in this loop. The majority of sites are 30 amp. We prefer 50 amp when we can get it. The sites all have a gravel pad, picnic table and fire pit. Our site is located along the outer circle backing up to the woods. It is nice and level. I will take some pictures to share. It really is a pretty park.

As for amenities, the park doesn’t offer many. I see two pit toilets in the loop, but no shower house or flush toilets. There is a building in the 2nd loop with showers and flush toilets but I haven’t checked them out yet.

The weather forecast is showing all day rain for the next 3-4 days. That puts a damper on enjoying the outdoors. But, I always have my crafts or a book.

Loving our lifestyle. Have a great day.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

 

 

Seymour, Indiana

Good morning. Today is the final leg of our journey to visit our daughter Karen and her family in Berea, Kentucky. As we traveled more than 1/2 way yesterday, that leaves us only about 165 miles to go, about 4 hours give or take.

The weather is finally nice once again. I just hope it stays that way for a while. With temperatures around 75º today and 80º Friday, who can complain.

Day 143. On travel days we like to be on the road by around 9 am. We dumped our tanks and had the toad hooked up ready to leave the park on time. Then we had a little hick-up, which delayed us a short bit. No biggy. We are retired remember. We do things on our time. Besides, by 10 am we were gassed up and on our way.

We took our time, had lunch at the Farmland rest area in Illinois just before we hit the Indiana border. PB&J for us now. No more eating out all the time. We are back to the basics, home cooking, which isn’t all that bad.

I was able to do a little beading while we were on the road. At times it becomes a little challenging to thread a bead with the condition of some of these roads. We were bouncing all around. No matter, I still enjoyed myself.

We stopped for the night a little before 5 pm having traveled a total of 291 miles to the Seymour, Indiana Walmart. 5 pm isn’t a bad time. It gives us plenty of time to heat up our leftovers and eat our dinner. Then we like to go into the Walmart to do a little shopping. As I’ve said before, it is nice for us because we can get a few things we need before arriving at our next destination and it is a way for us to show Walmart our appreciation for allowing us to spend the night in their parking lot.

This is a busy Walmart with many truckers coming and going. There is another motorhome here also. It is an easy in and out also. That is always a big plus.

If you wanted to eat out you could walk to Steak ‘n Shake. We watched a few of the truckers do just that. There is also Applebee’s across the street.

Not a very exciting day I’m afraid, but sometimes that’s a good thing. Loving our lifestyle. Have a great day.

Until next time,

Kathryn

Goodbye Peoria

Good morning. Today is a travel day. Our destination is Berea, Kentucky to see our daughter Karen and her family. Berea is about 455 miles from here, which is too far for us to travel in one day. We would like to go at least halfway or maybe a little further today. How far we travel in a day is always dependent upon the weather and the traffic. We plan on spending the night in a Walmart parking lot. We can usually find a Walmart that is conveniently located right off the expressway and has plenty of parking space. That way we do not have to unhitch the toad and we are able to get a little shopping in before we settle down at our next destination spot. I like to locate 2 or 3 different Walmart stores ahead of time to give us options.

Day 143. Our last day with Scott and Tina was bitter-sweet. We sure enjoyed our time with them and we hate to say goodbye. We didn’t get to see Scott’s wife Melissa, as she works late, so our goodbyes with her were made on Sunday.

We went over to Tina’s house in the morning, while she was at work, to take showers and do a couple of loads of laundry. With the state park not having the water turned on for the season just yet, we’ve needed to impose on Tina (she doesn’t mind a bit). We are also able to use her washer and dryer. As we had just washed our clothes on Sunday, this day we only needed to wash our sheets and rugs. The rugs seem to get dirty faster when you live in a motorhome even if we try to take our shoes off at the door. I also wash Patty Pepper’s blankets with the rugs. Because she is a pug, and pugs are notorious for shedding, her blankets get disgustingly dirty very quickly.

While we were waiting for the laundry to finish drying, Scott came over to see us. It was lunchtime and we were all hungry so we did what we do best-went out to eat. Scott took us to a little diner close by called Lucky Dog’s Pub and Eatery. It’s a burger joint with good food and a very nice wait staff.

Later for dinner we met up again with Scott, Tina, Jo and her 2 boys for dinner. For our last meal together they decided to go all out and took us to Osaka Hibachi & Sushi Bar. It was a fun place to go with our large group. We all enjoyed watching our food be prepared in front of us and the comical performance the chef put on while doing it.

Saying goodbye was hard. It never seems like we have enough time together. The only thing that makes it any easier for me is knowing that in a few months time we will be back again for another visit.

On our drive home (back to the campground) I was pleasantly surprised to spot the same owl I had seen the other day and I was able to get a picture of him before he flew off. It was as if he was posing for me.

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How cool is that! I just love spotting wildlife and being able to capture the moment with my camera (this time it was only my phone camera).

I best get my move on. I’ve got a few things to do before we head off. Loving our lifestyle. Have a great day.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

 

 

 

Canasta

Good morning. This will be our last day in Peoria. Tomorrow is a travel day. Our next destination will be Berea, Kentucky to see our daughter Karen and her family. We have really enjoyed our time here in Peoria even though we have had to endure cold weather and snow. We will miss Scott, Mel and Tina, but it is time to move on. We will be back here again in the fall. That is the best part of living in a motorhome – we can take our home anywhere we want, any time we want, for as long as we want.

Day 142. Scott came over for a while in the afternoon to spend some time with us. We decided to play Canasta. It is a rummy type card game that we haven’t played in years. It was a very popular game in the 1950’s when my parents used to play it all the time. I learned how to play it from them. You can either buy the card game (which we have) or you can use 2 decks of 52 playing cards with 4 jokers.  It took us a little while to refresh our memories and learn how to play the game all over again. Once we figured out the rules and the strategy of the game we decided we should play it more often. It really is a good game and I can see why it was so popular. It can be played by 2 to 6 players. We had the 3 of us, but it would definitely be a fun game to play with 4 players and have a partner. The strategy would be completely different. Another plus is that it is a good game to play while camping. It doesn’t take up much room and is fun.

For dinner Scott, Tina, Clyde and I went to Pizza Works. Mel missed out due to work. But we made sure to send some pizza home for her with Scott. Pizza Works is an old favorite of ours. We have been there many times before, whenever we are in the area. We weren’t disappointed. It was just as good as I remember.

Loving our lifestyle. Have a great day.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

Hy-Vee

Good morning. There is snow on the ground, again. We got a couple of inches last night. The good thing is the temperatures are going to be a much warmer all this week so it should melt fairly quickly.

Day 141. The closest grocery store to the park is about 9 miles away. It is a very nice, very large, upscale supermarket. The Iowa based Hy-Vee was founded in 1930 and now has more than 245 stores throughout the Midwest. We do not have any Hy-Vee stores in Michigan however, so this has been our first Hy-Vee experience. You can find almost anything you would want or need here. We have shopped here a few times now during our stay in Peoria. I couldn’t believe the quality and selection of fresh fruit I was able to get at Easter for my salad.

Hy-Vee also has a restaurant attached to it with an entrance from both inside the store and from the street. Last night our group decided to eat in the Hy-Vee Market Grille. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was, at the quality of the food. Every bite was mouth-watering delicious. I had grilled salmon with wild rice and broccoli. A couple of the others decided on one of the pasta dishes. Everyone said the same thing, the food was very good and they would highly recommend this restaurant.

I’m going to miss eating out so often when we leave here. If you asked me which was my favorite Peoria restaurant I would have a hard time deciding. The Peoria area has so many good restaurants to choose from.

I think all of us would agree the most memorable restaurant moment was when we were eating hamburgers and tenderloins with French fries and we asked the server for some silverware. You could tell the young server was new and not experienced. Her response was not sassy or sarcastic or rude, but more of a puzzled one. She looked at the food and then at us and said “you need silverware?”.  It was like in her mind our food choices were meant to be eaten with our hands, not a fork. I don’t think she ever did bring us the silverware. I think Scott just took some off another table. We still laugh at that.

Enjoying our lifestyle. Have a good day.

Until next time,

Kathryn