Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Personalizing our RV

With its limited square footage and countertop space and wall areas the modern RV offers limited options for personalizing but enough for your house on wheels to really feel like a home for the full-time RV'ers. We started out with gifts that we received when we began full-timing; the pillow that is the new main blog photo and a trailer cash bank. We then added a crucifix to remind us that everything we have is a gift and then a calendar to remind us the day of the week. After a few months we realized that we just were not using the calendar so we removed it. Luckily we are using the Command wall hangers and we just peeled it off the woodwork with no damage.

There really is only a couple of places to hang anything of size so being cat lovers we added a wall hanging of cats on the side of the pantry. We had to hang to hook high enough for the slide to pass and we take the hanging down each time we move. We can change the hanging piece throughout the year to match the seasons if we can find suitable hangings.

Next came a piece Bob's sister made for us a long time ago, a counted cross stitch of Four Seasons of Cats.

Because it is 4 seasons we will be able to showcase the work year round. We also take this down each time we move. Both of these tasks are on our departure checklist which we make sure we use each time we depart after the issues we had when we did not use the checklist.

We also have replaced the cheap RV mattress and love seat recliner that came with the unit, both of which have increased our comfort. Feeling more at home and very comfortable we continue our adventure.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving wishes to all!!

We cannot believe it is already our second Thanksgiving full-timing. We guess it is true that time really does fly when you are having fun!!!

We have so many things to be thankful for; family, old friends, new friends that we met on the road, we live in a great country where we are free to roam, the food across this country is amazing, and health wise we are OK.

We are living the dream while realizing that everything we have is a gift from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus the Christ.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pantries - we got pantries!

When you full-time you have to be ingenious when it comes storing items. In addition to the 'official' pantry with 5 slideout drawers provided with our unit we have many cubbyholes where we place things and have come to these cubbyholes our extra 'pantries'. Following is the list of the extra 'pantries':

Oven Pantry - great for chips and bread. The rare times we use the oven it is easy to just empty the pantry and then fill it back up when the oven cools.

Den Pantry - the cabinet in the entertainment center, great for popcorn, coffee, pancake mixes, biscotti and hot chocolate.

Basement Pantry - a plastic bin on our cargo tray dedicated to food, great for extra cans of soup and cake mixes and bottled water and pop.

For non-food pantries we have:

Closet Pantry - the side wall of Bob's closet (you didn't think it would be Jo's closet did you?), great for toilet paper and Kleenex.

With a little imagination and a cubbyhole here and there you can greatly improve the livability of your RV by providing ready access to some of the more commonly used items. Although Wal-Mart becomes your home away from home maybe you don't have to visit there everyday :-)

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Monday, November 15, 2010

Does anybody really know what time it is?

Does anybody really care?

As full-timers we really don't notice the time that much. We go to bed when we are tired, we sleep until we wake up, and we eat when we are hungry which is pretty much all of the time :-)

We have two DVRs so we hardly watch a television program live anymore. We do try to catch the local weather wherever we are. That is when we recently started noticing the impact of the time changing on us. We were in the Central Time Zone when Daylight Savings Time went away. The very next day we crossed over into the Mountain Time Zone and we have been screwed up time-wise ever since. Usually after the local weather was watched Bob started his going to bed routine but now he can barely stay awake long enough for the weather. You would have thought we would have adapted by now and although it is getting better we are still getting tired earlier than we usually did.

Daylight Savings Time is one of the few areas where we have a difference of opinion. Bob feels that we should not mess with time and quotes an Indian Shaman who said, "Only the white man could think that by cutting off the bottom of the rug and sewing it to the top that you end up with a longer rug". Jo feels that the clocks should never be turned back so that we are on Daylight Savings Time all the time. Neither one of us will get our way so we guess we will just have to deal with yet another big government intrusion on our lives.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Making good progess

We arrived yesterday in Holbrook AZ so we are well ahead of the pace that we like to maintain. Our route to Goodyear AZ takes us through Flagstaff AZ so we have been tracking the weather since it is higher in the mountains and although it will be cold there is no precipitation mentioned for our travel day through the area. One forecast had snow a couple of days after our planned driving day so we sped up our pace and went to 2 nights at each place instead of 3 or 4. We plan to leave tomorrow for Goodyear and after a chilly night here it should be in the 40's and sunny through Flagstaff and then in the 70's in Goodyear.

Moving at a faster pace has meant very little sightseeing although we have been able to make new friends and catch up with a few old friends and of course eating at some of our favorite places. Shortly after we arrived in El Reno OK a brand new 2011 Carri-Lite fifth wheel pulled in next to us at the KOA park. If you have been to this park you know that we really mean 'next' to us as we were jammed in there. We met and talked with the owner, Bob from Washington, and he was the nicest guy. We took tours of our 5ers since both are made by Carriage. Our Cameo is the entry level model from Carriage. We saw a lot of similarities in both units but Bob from WA had a couple of options that we thought about getting that being a dishwasher and a fireplace. We can add those options later if we want so we have some thinking to do.

Our next stop was Amarillo where we spent a couple of extra days since it was the weekend and we like to eat at Abuelos, Famous Dave's and Rudy's while there. We did have some of the best pulled pork that we have ever had and it was not at a restaurant. Bob used to work with Ed and they invited us over for supper. Ed put the pork in the smoker for about 18 hours and it was wonderful. Diane fixed beans, cole slaw and to die for potato salad. Bob made a pumpkin ribbon cake for dessert. We then spent the rest of the evening just catching up, all in all great food and great people. On our last day there who should pull into the park but Bob from WA. We had told him about the park we were staying at and there he was. Had a nice chat with him comparing the winds driving and the effect on the mileage.We also got a great picture of a sunset and you know how we like sunsets.

Our last day in Amarillo was when we got the forecast that snow could happen in Flagstaff so we picked up the pace. We only stayed two nights in Albuquerque but were still able to eat at a couple of our favorite places there, La Salita and the Range Cafe. Bob also had lunch with TC another friend that he worked with for many years. While in Holbrook we were able to eat at the Turquoise Room at the La Posada Hotel in nearby Winslow. We have written about this place before and it was as good or even better than we remember. Sometimes you can build up a place so much in your mind that when you finally visit there again you are disappointed. This does not happen for the truly great places of which the Turquoise Room is easily on that list.

Picking up the pace made us realize that we have quite a few travel modes; 
'mad dash to get there' - every two days, 
'need to get there' - every 3-4 days, 
'enjoying the road' - every 1-2 weeks. 

We also have the 'take up residence' mode which means we will stay longer than a month or two which we will do in Goodyear AZ this winter since our experience last winter traveling around was not so great. In extremely rare cases we may have the 'emergency' mode which would be every day in case we needed to avoid weather or for other reasons.

It will be awhile before we get to the 'moseying' mode which will be to stay at a each place for a month. Right now we have so much that we want to see that the 'moseying' mode just won't work for us now. Whatever the mode we know realize that we do better if plan on 200 miles driving a day with 250 miles a day our maximum.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, November 4, 2010

You would have thought we were rookies today

We got a little overconfident today during our preparations for departure. We first noticed it when we went outside and luckily looked at the roof and our satellite dish and TV antenna were both still up. When we let the slide out so we could get to the satellite controls we noticed that the printer was still in the overhead cabinet above the couch. We then realized that the baby locks on the cabinets had also not been put on.

We finally got that straightened out and put the slides back in and locked the door and stowed the stairs yet again. Bob noticed a tremendous lack of power while trying to leave the park. If you have followed closely you probably have figured it out by now and no it wasn't the parking brake, it was that the rotochocks where still between the tires of the fifth wheel.

You would have to think that this is the end of the story but you would be wrong. When we got to Amarillo and setup we realized that we had left the switch for the electric water heater on. Like we said we were overconfident since we had worked on this routine twice before in the last few days. The big difference is that we used our printed checklist on those two departures. We guess we felt we just didn't need them this time, boy were we wrong.

That checklist will be used every time we depart from now on.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Now that's what we were talking about!

When we first started talking about the full-time RV lifestyle we vowed that we would have nice cool days eating at truly unique places to eat and visiting neat places. Well today was one of those "now that's what we were talking about" moments. The day started out a little chilly but warmed up nicely to 70 with clear blue skies.

We went to lunch at Sid's Diner in El Reno OK. We saw this diner on a 'Man Versus Food' episode on the Travel Channel. We wanted to try one of their famous onion burgers and man were they wonderful. The onions are fried to perfection and then melded to a great burger. The buns were toasted on the flat top making this one of the best burgers we have ever had. The fries were fresh cut with the skins on and although very small in cross section they were cooked to perfection. Unless you want to eat about 5 pounds of potatoes get the 1/2 order. Jo and I split the 1/2 order and it was enough fries. As we were leaving the owner Marty asked where we were from because he didn't recognize us. We had noticed that Marty knew everybody on a first name basis so this did not surprise us. He told us that he has been running this place for 40 years and that he named it after his father. The place was decorated with old pictures that we swear were taken of our families all those years ago, it was really neat. We signed his book and put a push pin in the map on the wall where we were from. We are already planning on stopping here on our way back from Arizona to the KC area. This is a great small town 'dive' that deserves a visit. In fact Marty told us that a couple of guys from Wisconsin flew down to eat there and then kill a little time and then eat at Cattlemen's in Oklahoma City before flying back. Both places were featured on 'Man Versus Food'.

After lunch we went to historic Fort Reno which was named in February 1876 by General Phil Sheridan, in honor of his dear friend Major General Jesse L. Reno, a Virginian, who was killed in the Civil War in 1863 at the Battle of South Mountain in Maryland. We had no idea of the historical significance of this place. From the conflicts with the Native Americans to WWI to being a prisoner of war camp for German soldiers from North Africa. Horse lovers will also get a kick out of this place. In 1908, Fort Reno became one of three Army Quartermaster Remount Stations for the military, a role which it served through 1947. Specialized horse breeding and training of pack mules became the central focus of activity at Fort Reno.The sire of Seabiscuit was at Fort Reno and Black Jack, the spirited riderless ceremonial horse used in the funeral processions of  Presidents Hoover, Kennedy, and Johnson, and General MacArthur was raised and trained at Fort Reno. Right now you can only tour the Visitor's Center and the Chapel but this is still a worthwhile stop, admission is free although a donation is greatly appreciated.

After over a year of full-timing we realize that we will not always have days like this but when they do happen it makes them even more special.

Till next time,

Bob & Jo

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New "States visited while full-timers" map

We have added Kansas to our States visiting while full-timing as shown on the map in the left pane of our blog. This is a momentous occasion since this is the first state added in 8 months.We have big plans to add more states next summer and fall but one thing we have learned in this lifestyle is that you really can have no definite plans because things can change so quickly. Reminds us of the Yiddish proverb, "Man Plans, God Laughs".

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

On the road again!

After nearly 7 months in one spot in the Kansas City area we are now en route to Arizona. Our idea of travel is from 10a to 2p and between 200-250 miles and then spend 3 nights so that both us and our three cats can recover. We have a reservation in the Phoenix area on November 15th so that is our target.

We are currently in Wichita Kansas and are leaving today for Oklahoma City. We can confirm again that Abuelo's is a great place to eat as there is one in Wichita. One of the best chile rellenos that we have had. We were planning on going to the Zoo but it was too cold and windy so we went to our home away from home, Wal-Mart for some shopping.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo