Diary of our RV travels and life as full-timers in retirement. Check out where we've been to see where you would like to go. We write about the area, campgrounds with commentary as to pros and cons, and show lots of photo of the interesting places to visit. If you want information as to any given place, type its name in the SEARCH field near the top right of the opening page. IF we have been there and posted about it, the 'Search' feature will take you to the post that talks about that area.
Monday, April 10, 2017
Christmas 2016 & New Year 2017
Here we are, with another perfectly good year coming to a
close.We hope that all is well with you
and yours and that 2017 brings much happiness.
This has certainly been an interesting year for us.After the holidays last year, we decided that
the motor home Bill had purchased to travel in by himself was too much of a man
cave and not big enough for 2 people to be comfortable.So we began motor home shopping.We found “the one,” or so we thought.We picked it up in Virginia on February 4th.Within 2 days, we learned that the furnace
didn’t work, the water heater didn’t work and the windshield wipers didn’t
work.So it was back to Virginia.And that was just the beginning of our
problems.Ongoing electrical issues sent
us to Lone Star RV Center in Harker Heights, TX for more warranty work.By this time it was the 4th trip
for warranty service and we had only had the coach 3 months.The folks at Lone Star gave us confidence
that they had identified and repaired the electrical issues with the coach and
we could be on our way.
The day before we left, we took the coach to a local
campground to empty the holding tanks.Did
I mention that the owner was so generous that he provided us with 50 amp
electrical service and water while we were parked in his parking lot?On the way back, a woman was driving too fast
on a rain slicked road and side swiped us the driver’s side, taking out 4
luggage compartment doors.That little
distraction took another 6 weeks to resolve.And we were still having issues with the coach.But by that time, we had tried to work with
the manufacturer enough to know that they were not going to do the right thing
and correct the issues.So, while the
Challenger was being repaired from the accident, we had nothing else to do, but
go coach shopping.
We found a leftover 2015 Fleetwood Discovery 40E diesel
pusher; and fell in love.The floor plan
is awesome.It has everything we were
looking for, and some things we had not even thought about.It has a bath and a half, washer/dryer, side
by side residential refrigerator, convection/microwave oven, plus a regular gas
oven for my baking, a fantastic pantry, a wine
bar, 4 TVs, 3 air-conditioners, home theater, an in-motion satellite system
and automatic retraction on the patio awning, in case of sudden wind.
When we finally escaped from Texas, we drove nearly
non-stop to Saratoga, WY where we finally started our summer camping
experience.We drove up the Snowy
Mountain Scenic Drive and Bill threw snowballs at me in July.Typical Floridians, we were in shorts and tee
shirts and at an altitude of nearly 11,000 feet it was 55 degrees with a cold
We took in Flaming Gorge and camped on the lake.Met some lovely folks that shared their fresh
catch of fish with us.Took in the wild
horse refuge (there were some horses, but they were over a mile away), we
stopped at Pilot Butte and hiked part way up.We also took in Seedskadee Wildlife Refuge.It was incredible to visit a wetlands refuge
along the Green River in the middle of an arid treeless area.We also explored the area around Flaming
Gorge Lake, which is a 96 mile long reservoir.There was some unbelievable scenery everywhere we went.
From there, we moved on the Northern California.We were disappointed in our first campground
and left before our reservation was up.We moved further north and into a less mountainous area at Eagle
Lake.Sadly, the effects of the drought
had made the area nearly deserted, but we enjoyed the quiet and the friendly
chipmunks.Bill trained a couple to eat
out of his hand.By this time, though,
the elevation and being chilled had gotten to him and Bill had developed
bronchitis.So, we made arrangements to
move on to Redding, CA, where there is a VA Outpatient Clinic.After a few days he improved dramatically and
after a week, was ready to move on.Good
thing, as we had to go back to Texas.
We spent a few days in Grants, NM, resting and taking in
some sights.The area is definitely on
our list to revisit and spend much more time exploring.While on a short hike at the Sandstone Cliffs
in the El Malpais National Monument, we observed a couple who seemed to be
breathing in the air in a nearly ritualistic way.They came over to tell us that the woman’s
grandmother had passed away that morning and they were on the cliffs absorbing
her spirit from the wind.They were
eager to share their Native American beliefs with us.It was an interesting window into their clan
culture and structure.
Once in Texas, we travelled slightly out of our way to
see our friends in Harker Heights.They
were as thrilled to see us as we were to see them.The owner is getting ready to retire and we
have an open invitation to camp at his ranch in west Texas whenever we want to.
As we were setting up our camp at Lake Conroe outside of
Conroe, Texas, a man walked up to Bill and asked if he had been in the Coast
Guard.Bill answered in the affirmative
and Brett commenced to introduce himself and his wife Susan.A couple of days later, as they were getting
ready to leave, we stopped to say goodbye.A brief conversation ensued and we learned that we both had appointments
at the Fleetwood Factory Warranty Center in Decatur, IN on the same day in October.So, we had an opportunity to spend some time
with them and become friends.We hope to
meet up with them in Oregon next summer.
After 3 weeks we left and had to do a quick drive to
Florida to get back by the election and some pre-scheduled Doctor
checkups.As we had been listening to the
news about Hurricane Matthew, we were of course concerned about the house.That generated more conversation and “what
iffing.”All of which led us to the
decision to sell the house and live in the RV full time.It was not a decision we made lightly, but it
is one that we are excited about.We
feel that we have about 10 years left that we can travel and enjoy the things
we are doing now.Now we are getting the
house ready to put on the market after the first of the year.
Our current plan is to leave Florida about the 3rd week
of April and head out toward the north.Then west.Then wherever the mood
strikes us.If you want to see photos of
any places mentioned in this letter, check out our blog and in the future you
can keep up with us on:www.roughingitgently.com.
That’s the year’s report from Roughing it Gently!All of the best for the new year.