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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Great Horned Owl

Good morning. Wow, what a wicked night of storms we had with heavy downpours of rain, thunder, lightning and wind. I’m glad we are about done with it. The rain is supposed to be over soon, then we should have a fairly nice day. No sun in the forecast though.

Yesterday morning we had a break in the rainy weather, so we decided to head to the beach to see the big waves. We timed it perfectly. The sun was out and the temperature was warm but not too hot. The waves were coming in hard and fast. The red warning flags were out. The birds were enjoying the weather too. It is fun watching them run up and down the beach. Sea foam was washing up the shore. We didn’t find too many shells though. 

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Then we went to the nature center to learn about the Great Horned Owl. Her name is Doctor and she is about 3 years old. She was placed here because she had been around humans too long and no longer was able to fend for herself. We didn’t get her complete story because the weather was making her uneasy and she was stressing out, so the ranger had to cut her time short.

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We made it back home just in time for the big storm to hit. We hunkered down for the rest of the day playing cards, reading and watching football. Loving our lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

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

 

Full-Time Lifestyle 1st Anniversary

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Jubilee College State Park-Site C21

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Jubilee College State Park

Good morning everyone. This post is a few days late as our 1st anniversary as full-time RVer’s was last Saturday the 15th (also our daughter Karen’s birthday). I’ve just been so busy having fun I haven’t had time to post. I guess that’s the way it should be.

We have completed one full year of living the RV lifestyle. It sure has gone by fast. Looking back I had my doubts we would ever be able to start our adventure. We had so many road blocks that kept getting in the way. My health being the biggest one. But, here we are living the lifestyle with no regrets.

Many people have asked if I miss not having a home. My answer is always the same. Winnie is my home. I do not miss owning a large home or do I need all that space. I have everything I need right here. I do not have to pack and unpack a suitcase or sleep in a strange bed. We are always home wherever we are.

The best part of living this lifestyle is that we get to visit our children more often. With our grown children living in 4 different states we didn’t get to spend as much time with them as we would have liked. Now, we are trying to divide up our time equally between the states and we still have time to see family and friends who live farther away.

We have been asked many times which of the many places we went was our favorite. I can honestly say I don’t have one. We enjoyed so many of the places we went and saw for different reasons. We enjoyed the Corps of Engineering campgrounds for the wildlife and wilderness settings. We love any campground that is by the water. I mean, who wouldn’t.  And, we love any place that gets us closer to our friends and family.

Another question we have been asked numerous times is what has been downside of living this lifestyle. The answer is not too much. The same things you find unpleasant living in S&B home you will find just as unpleasant living in a motorhome. You still have to clean, things breakdown, the weather is not always pleasant and you sometimes have to deal with unpleasant neighbors. We just get to move if we don’t like where we are.

We have learned a few lessons along the way. First, take your time and don’t try to rush when setting up or leaving an area. Second, don’t try to do things when you are tired. That is when accidents happen. Just ask Clyde.

We have had a great first year living this lifestyle and I am so happy we are able to continue living the dream.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

1st Campfire of the Season

Good morning. It looks like cooler weather for the next few days and no sunshine. At least there is no rain in the forecast. I think we have all had enough of that for a while. The rain sure brought the mosquitos out in full force. And, that is during the daytime. I can’t remember when I’ve had so many bites on me and bad ones too. We did go to the store and bought a ton of bug spray; both for our bodies and to spray around the campsite. Hopefully it will help.

When we were coming back from shopping the head park ranger for this campground was sitting on a large mower right in front of our campsite. I stopped to say hi, as I had gotten to know her last year when we camped here. She remembered me right away and asked how I was doing. I asked her if she could mow our campsite as it was getting long and the mosquitoes were awful. She reiterated what the camp hosts had told Clyde, that the staff was told not to mow occupied sites do to the liability issue. But, she was happy to do it for me. I’m a happy camper. The area looks a lot better and hopefully the mosquitoes will find another area to haunt.

 

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Brighton Recreation Area – Zachary, Kevin, Brooklynn, Xavier and Clyde

We enjoyed our first of many campfires of the season. It was time for pie iron pizzas and s’mores. Yum. Our grandson Tristan also joined us after he got off of work.

Enjoying our lifestyle. Have a good day.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

 

 

Setting Up the Patio Area

Good morning. It looks like the rain has finally stopped for the next few days. With temperatures in the 70’s all week, we will be able to sit outside and enjoy some perfect weather.

We moved yesterday from Proud Lake State Park in Wixom, Michigan to the Brighton Recreation Area, Bishop Lake Campground. It is another Michigan State Park that is close to family, doctors and is in the area of our old home. Both campgrounds are convenient and only about 25 miles apart. With a 15 day limit we will be going back and forth between the two campgrounds for a while.

As I mentioned before this is our home base where our doctors (and we do have a few), dentist, ophthalmologist and vet are all located.  Appointments have been made. So in-between sitting outside enjoying the beautiful weather we will be doing what old people do – visit the doctors.

We finally got to set up our outdoor patio area to make it homey. It is the first time since we left here last fall that we have been able to do so. The weather just hadn’t cooperated with us anywhere. We even grilled out (hamburgers) and ate at the picnic table. Our son, Kevin stopped by on his way home from work to see us and enjoy our first cookout of the season.

 

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Bishop Lake Campground – site #4

In the picture above we hadn’t moved the picnic table yet. The beautiful flowers were a Mother’s Day gift from my grandson Tristan. He also gave us the patio rug last fall. This is the first time we have been able to put it out.

With all the rain we have been getting, the grass is a bit long and the mosquitos and gnats were bad yesterday. Hopefully they will be able to mow soon.

Today is our 47th wedding anniversary. It is hard to believe 2 years ago we took our first adventure in Winnie. Now look at us. We are retired full-time RV’ers. It has been 8 months now of living in our motorhome. I do not miss having a S&B home at all. Some may find that odd. This is our way to see our loved ones and friends more often and also see more of our beautiful country. Yep. Loving the lifestyle. Have a great day.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

 

 

 

Camping Season is Beginning

Good morning. You can tell camping season is beginning and that more of us “snowbirds” are making our way north. Instead of us being the only campers in the campgrounds as we venture north, or sharing it with one or two others, we now see a steady flow of campers coming in and out. Most RV’ers stay only one night and continue on their way. Over the weekend this campground filled with families taking time to enjoy a couple of days of family time together. There was even a tent camper in the tent area of the campground. By Sunday evening the campground was back to about a half-dozen RV’ers.

This is our last day in Ohio. Tomorrow is a travel day. We will be ending our winter adventure and be back where we started. Time sure has flown by quickly. It is hard to believe we have been full-time RV’ers for 236 days.

Loving our lifestyle. Have a great day.

Until next time,

Kathryn