Dec 23, 2011

Just in the NICK of time

I know there are those of you out there having difficulties.  Our friends Bob and Linda are still playing the  "Norcold not Cold" game, and poor Nick can't find seat straps for his kayak, and even Howard can't find anything to write about.  But all of these pale in comparison to our difficulties.

Just over a year ago we discovered what may be the best way to make coffee.  It's called an AeroPress.  Yes, I am addicted to coffee.  But not just any coffee.  It has to start with good beans, then made into an espresso strength elixir, and finally diluted with hot water.  In coffee circles it's known as an Americano.

Our beloved Aeropress has served us faithfully for over a year.  But lately it has been showing it's age, although I will admit I expected it to last longer than a year. The chamber wall became rough and the seal on the plunger started to leak and no I'm not talking about our toilet. Actually we had the seal replaced on our toilet last year, but I digress.

By now I'm sure you are saying, "no problem just get a new one, or order one on Amazon".  Therein lies the problem.  The Aeropress is hard to find, and as many of you know unless you are staying in an accommodating RV park, getting things shipped is a hassle.  As a last resort we even hauled out an old French Press, but it just isn't the same.

We are currently at a wonderful Santa Barbara County park about 10 miles from the little towns of Solvang and Los Olivos, so this morning we headed out in search of the elusive Aeropress.  We soon discovered that the Danes in Solvang are not serious coffee drinkers.  Oh they drink coffee with all their wonderful pastries, but not the kind of coffee I'm wanting.  We moved on to Los Olivos, another wonderful little town full of wine tasting rooms, but again no Aeropress.  After a detour to support the local wine making economy we stopped at a little grocery store in Santa Ynez named El Rancho Market to pick up a few things for our upcoming feast day.  As Judy was looking for a few special ingredients I wandered over to the coffee isle and what did I find?

There sitting all by itself on a shelf, my shiny new Aeropress.  So tomorrow morning I can make myself the perfect cup of coffee, and peruse my blog list and find out all the important stuff going on in the world.  You know the really important stuff, like is Bob and Linda's Norcold cold? And who's "moochdocking" with whom?  All is right with the world once again.

Until later.

Dec 15, 2011


Every year thousands of Elephant Seals arrive at the Piedras Blancas beach in San Simeon to give birth and breed. The males begin arriving in late November and the females in December, with the first birth usually  happening somewhere between the 15th and the 20th.

We have visited the Elephant seals on previous visits to the Central Coast but never in December and we were curious to see if any pups had been born yet. So we loaded ourselves and Mollie in the car and headed over to the coast for the afternoon.

Highway 46 West is the most direct route to the coast from Paso Robles and is an absolutely beautiful drive. But most of the time when we head to the coast we take a detour and go the road less traveled route.  Driving on Santa Rosa Creek Road can take 2-3 times longer but we love the back roads and the scenery is breathtaking as the road climbs up and over the mountain range and down into the small coastal town of Cambria.

John stopped to photograph some old farm equipment and as he was taking the picture he heard some galloping in the distance. He looked up and was startled to realize that a horse was running directly towards him.

He just wanted to say Hi!

After driving through Cambria and getting onto Highway 1, we headed north where we were surprised to see this group of Zebras grazing along the fence.

The beach had a few adult seals resting and basking in the sun but there were no baby seals yet. The docent I spoke with said that pups have been born as early as December 14th but they were still waiting for the first pup to be born this season. Thousands of pups are born here each year and by late January the beach will be covered with seals.

We stopped and had lunch at one of our favorite restaurants in this area, Moonstone Beach Grill.

A fish and chips platter for John and carnitas tacos for me. Delicious food and a priceless view!

After a quick stop in Cambria for some coffee to go we made our way out of town and headed home. 

Highway 46 East is again the easiest and fastest route back to Paso Robles but we were still feeling adventurous, so after a few miles we detoured off of the highway onto the Old Canyon Road, headed south towards Whale Rock Reservoir, keeping an eye out for Santa Rita Road which heads east back towards town.

Slow, one lane and at times unpaved, it is a feast for the eyes and the soul.  We slowly drove along and at times going no faster than 15 mph, carefully watching for oncoming traffic. Of course on this road there isn't much traffic.  I think we only encountered 3 or 4 vehicles in the 11 miles of twisting, curvy roads.  Fun!

That's it for now. Thanks for stopping by.

- Judy

Dec 12, 2011


Elks Lodge rv park
Atascadero, CA
12/6 - 12/17,  2011

Posted by Judy

While John takes a blogging break, I thought I would jump in and let everyone know where we are and what we have been doing.

A week ago we made the short drive from Salinas to just south of Paso Robles. Without question, this is one of our favorite areas to visit and explore. The area surrounded by rolling hills (or huggable hills as I like to call them), is about an hours drive from the ocean, and is smack dab in the middle of one of the best wine regions in the country.

As new Elks members, we are able to stay at the local Elks rv park this year and this particular park has full hookups and 50 amp electric, which is definitely an added bonus. It has turned out to be a very convenient location for touring wineries and driving to the coast, and is just a few miles from one of our favorite stores, Trader Joes!  In fact we like it here so much that we have extended our stay by another 5 nights.

This past week we drove over to Lowes and found a small table top tree. With a string of lights and some inexpensive ornaments we now have a festive Christmas tree sitting in our front window.

Yesterday and again today we took a break from wine tasting and exploring and just stayed close to home. I finished up a couple of knitting projects and we finished wrapping and packing gifts that we were mailing to family in Michigan. After the boxes were mailed and sent on their way, we did a little organizing and purging of the motor home and even managed to fill a box with a few items for the local thrift shop. We can now see most of the floor again!

This evening was BBQ ribs night at the Lodge so we walked over there and enjoyed some wonderful, tender, Santa Maria style ribs served with pinquito beans and tossed salad. Ribs so good, they didn't need any sauce!!

That's it for now. Thanks for stopping by.

Dec 2, 2011


According to my wife, a few family members and the large audience of faithful readers.... (at least 3) have inquired about our whereabouts and well being.  So here is the bullet point version of what we have been up to for the last month.

1.  Had car repaired.  It was more expensive than I thought.  Two thousand dollars.  I have to say that Allied Insurance and the body shop were great to work with.

2.  Went to the Evergreen Aviation and Space museum in McMinnville to see the Spruce Goose.

3.  Joined the Elks.

4.  Had Thanksgiving with family.

Oh, did I forget to mention it rained.  It rained some more.   It kept raining.  It rained so much that we had moss and mildew growing in our window seals.  It rained so much even Mollie refused to go outside.  She just sat by the door with her legs crossed hoping for the rain to at least let up long enough for her to take care of business.

We also got to follow the antics of the Occupy Portland movement.  Based on what we saw on television I'm not really sure what they accomplished except to destroy a couple of beautiful parks and leave the taxpayers with several million dollars in repairs and overtime bills, not to mention the lost business for the local merchants.

I do understand the frustration that people are feeling right now, but there must be a better way to work for change. As a small business owner I am only too aware of our current governmental policies and lack of leadership.  I don't care whether you are Republican or Democrat, I think we can all agree that there is a giant void between most of us and Washington.  There that is my political rant for the rest of the year.  By the way did I mention it rained a lot in Portland.

We were packed up and hit the road while the part of Portland that wasn't protesting was shopping.  We were rewarded by our effort with a beautiful sunny day.  Wow Oregon is a pretty state when it stops raining.  Our first night found us in Yreka Ca. at a convenient but expensive park just off the highway.  Our second night found us in Chico Ca.  We decided to try out the Elks rv park.  We paid half the price as the night before, and were just as happy, so happy that we stayed two nights.  We then moved south to the Escapees park in Coarsegold.  We were here to visit Yosemite and did make one trip up to the park.  We had planned to go back, but with the high winds predicted, decided it would be best to stay home.  Other than losing power for a few hours the wind didn't really bother us.  I won't bore you with the details, since the national media covered the story pretty well.  I think because this park was built into the side of a hill, we were protected from the heaviest of the winds.  Just south of us in Fresno it was a very different scene.    

This morning we decided it was time to see the coast so we hooked up and headed west.  We made a quick stop in Medera to fill our propane tank and enjoyed the drive in the sun.  Things were going smoothly, too smoothly as it turned out.  We were less than 15 miles from our destination when our GPS thought it would be fun to mix things up a bit.  Normally I cross check our directions with Google map before we leave, but neglected to this morning.  Our GPS decided to take us the shortest way, not the fastest.  Never mind that the short route went up the side of a mountain.

Those of you that know me know that I am pretty fearless, or foolhardy depending on your point of view, when it comes to taking our 40 foot motorhome and towed Explorer down narrow country roads.  Well I think this may have been the most daring or foolhardy thing I've done in a long time.  By the time I decided this wasn't a good idea there was no room to turn around.  In fact there was barely enough room to go forward.  So for the next 10 miles we crept up the  one side of the mountain and down the other.  I'm sure the 3 or 4 cars that met us wondered who the fool was that decided to take a motorhome on this road.  So I'll finish by saying that if you find yourself in California, a little north of Salinas, you might want to avoid taking the San Juan Canyon road otherwise known as the Old Stage road.  Just saying....

We did manage to find our way to the Salinas Elks where we are safely secured for a few days.  So now you know what the TireSwing gang has been up to. By the way, did I mention it rains a lot in Portland.

Until later.

Oct 23, 2011

Sorry Officer, I didn't get the license number

Well it finally happened to us.  The kind of thing you hear about on the news and that only happens to someone else.

We are currently staying in Silverton, Oregon and since the weather cleared this afternoon we decided to go find Silver Falls State Park.  We arrived too late to really take advantage of the trails but made plans to come back this week.

On our way back to Silverton we were on a tight, twisty, two lane road. We were not in any hurry but driving close to the speed limit.  I noticed two cars coming up on us at a rapid rate.  I could tell they were impatient to pass us,  but with all the twists and turns it was all marked as a no passing zone.  Finally the first car made a quick move and was by us.  I noticed that it was a bunch of kids.  That's ok, we all were impatient  when we were young.

What happened next though was just plain stupid.  The second car decided he needed to catch up with his friends and decided to pass me on a blind curve.  What he didn't see was the on coming pickup truck.  I hit the brakes, the pickup truck swerved, and the driver of an older mustang tried to split in between.  He didn't make it.  He did avoid the pickup but scraped along the side of our Explorer.  And then...... he drove off.  He had to have known he hit us, but he just drove off.  In shock, I pulled over to see what damage was done.  While we were standing there the pickup driver who he had almost hit head on pulled up.  He had turned around to make sure we were ok.  We were happy to see he was ok and exchanged info, and he went on his way.

We did call 911, and also talked to the Oregon State Police..  Of course it all happened so fast that we didn't get a license number.  With just a description of the vehicle there is little they can do, but I will say they were very professional, and wanted to make sure that we were ok.

It was one of those moments that you are once again reminded that God reached in and intervened.  And for that we are grateful.  What could have been a tragic accident is now just an unpleasant memory.  It appears that the damage is minor, and will probably be less than our deductible.  I have to remember,  it's only stuff and stuff can be fixed or replaced.  With a life, not so much.

Until later.

Oct 19, 2011

Just hanging somewhere between Boring and Idiotville

We are currently hanging out in the Pacific Northwest and yes there really are towns in northwest Oregon by those names.

We were in Portland for three weeks before moving a little south.  We have 2 married daughters and 2 grand kids there and there was lots of visiting and eating out and even a sleepover with the grand kids on the RV.

Strange how we can go a couple of weeks without eating out when we are by ourselves.  But if you are a confirmed foodie, like I am, then Portland is the place to be.  We have sampled Vietnamese, Mexican, German, Mediterranean, Micro Brewery Pub Grub, French, Thai, Gluten free pizza, and of course several great home cooked meals.

We also made some new friends while in town.  For years we have followed Thom and Dar.  They are from the Midwest like us and also, like us, have kids in the Pacific Northwest.  We have never been able to meet up until now.  While our visit was short, we enjoyed our time together and look forward to our next visit.  

We also met Jeri and Terry, you can read about their travels at Just Wanderin. We have followed each other for a couple of years, and when Jeri emailed us about getting together we jumped at the chance.  They are from the Pacific Northwest and are getting ready to head south. They brought another couple, Carol and Steve with them to join us for lunch. They are from Oklahoma and were staying at the Elks in Vancouver with Jeri and Terry.  

We hope to meet up with both couples again in a couple of months in a warmer climate.  Speaking of the Elks, since we are going to be here in the Portland area until Thanksgiving we decided to go through the process of joining the Elks.  Jeri and Terry kindly sponsored us and we appreciate all their help.  

We are going to be taking advantage of cheaper monthly rates and stay in the McMinnville area for a month.  Close enough to Portland to drive in to see everyone and yet out far enough to be a little more reasonable. We will be in prime vineyard country, close enough to visit the coast on a day trip, and hopefully even visit the great air museum in McMinnville, home of the Spruce Goose.

The new header picture is from our visit to Mt Rainer.  The picture below is from Ebey's Preserve on Whidbey Island.

Until later.

Sep 29, 2011

Looking West

I received several comments asking where our header picture was taken.  The picture is of Hidden Ridge RV Resort about 25 miles south of Grand Rapids Michigan.  This is where we spent 3 months this summer while working at our business in Grand Rapids.  While it was a bit of a drive to work every day, it sure made a nice place to come home to in the evening.

When we left Michigan in August, our first stop was a small park in rural western Illinois.  We were both a bit tired from getting ready to hit the road so this made a nice resting place for a few days.  I took this scene one evening as the sun was slowly sinking in the west.

Until later.

Sep 24, 2011

Back in the Northwest

Well we have completed our journey west. I find it very difficult to go from a full-time job back to travel mode and it takes me several weeks to adjust.  I think it is going to take some time to get back in the blogging mode as well.  I'll try to catch everyone up on our journey west as time goes on, but for now will simply say that we are in Portland visiting family for a few weeks.

Until later.

Jul 19, 2011

My Back to School Theme....What I did on my Summer Vacation

Do you remember one of the first papers you had to write when returning to school in the fall?  It usually was titled something like my Blog title today. I realize it's been several months since my last posting. So I guess it's time to catch up.

We arrived back in Michigan the end of April. We returned so that our friends Stan and Kathleen, who manage our business on a daily basis, could have a much deserved break. Going back to work was like jumping into the deep end of the pool and finding out the water was just above freezing. Even though Stan had prepared a manual for me it was still a big challenge to resume the day to day responsibilities. When you have become a professional wanderer it is a shock to return to the world of staffing, equipment, customer service and all the rest that goes along with running a small business today. Rather than bore you with what our business does, you can learn more if you wish by going to ProlabExpress and Corporate Color.

While I have been busy with work, Judy played nanny with our youngest grandson Harrison during the month of May. While I'm sure it was work, she sure did have a good time. He's a great little guy with a smile that could melt an iceberg. Judy was also able to spend a few days in St. Clair Shores visiting our daughter Melissa's family.

We've had several visits with both of our families including having our grand daughters Emma and Ella staying with us for a few days,  Judy even splurged and rented a golf cart to run the girls back and forth to the playground and pool.

In early July we were blessed with a visit from our friends Bob and Linda. They came bearing gifts and good cheer and we had a great time together. We were able to show them a few local sights including the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids.

Speaking of Grand Rapids. Our little hometown has been in the national news lately. Kind of bittersweet. First there is the famous LipDub, which you can view on YouTube. Then two weeks ago a man went on a rampage and killed 7 people and when surrounded by police turned the murder weapon on himself. Last but certainly not least, Betty Ford passed away and was laid to rest beside her husband at the Presidential museum. So our little Midwest town has been in the spotlight.

We are going to be wrapping up our tour of duty here in early August. We have an appointment at Spartan Chassis for a few repairs and then we are going to, as Michiganders say...."head up north". We are going to just take our time. We might make it as far as Copper Harbor but no firm plans yet. We will return to Grand Rapids for the month of October and then get back to the serious business of wandering out west.

Until later.

May 30, 2011

Fort Custer National Cemetery

Just a farm kid from northern Michigan.  Like thousands of others he answered the call.   He survived, and became a railroad man and later a preacher.....but most of all, he was my Dad.

Apr 11, 2011

Whining and Complaining

Got your attention!  Anyway I could tell you all about the problems we are having with our home.  Our Norcold is once again not cold, and our 12 volt electronics are once again acting up.  It remains to be seen if one problem is causing the other, or just coincidence.

But instead I want to tell you about the wonderful time we had in Asheville, N.C. We arrived last Wednesday, and just left this morning.  Thursday we found a wonderful natural food store called Greenlife Grocery, and went there for lunch and some provisions.  Thursday afternoon I went on line and bought tickets for Friday to the Bilmore Estate.  You can save a few bucks by buying them online, even more if you buy seven days in advance.

Unfortunately, Friday morning started out bad.  We woke up to find out our Norcold had quit working.  Yes,  the module failed again.  We also had serious problems with our twelve volt circuits. After spending some time on the phone with a technician, it became apparent that I wasn't going to be able to fix things. Since we had already purchased the non refundable tickets for Biltmore Estate, we decided to go.  And I am really glad we did. It was really tempting for me to cancel our plans and try to figure out the problem, but I'm learning that these kind of problems can wait until another day.

As part of the package we also had lunch at the Deerpark restaurant.

Then we headed to the Biltmore House, and did both the self guided tour as well as a guided tour called "Friends and Family".

Our last stop was a complimentary wine tasting at Reindeer Village. If you prefer sweet wines, you might like their selections.  We don't, so we didn't buy anything.

After we got back to the coach, I walked Mollie and enjoyed happy hour outside inb our recliners. Since we had a big lunch, we just snacked a little and called it a day.

On Saturday I ran some wiring below for our Dometic freezer, so we don't have it sitting in the living room, and then we loaded it up with the contents of the Norcold freezer. We then headed out for a little more exploring and ended up at a wonder BBQ place called 12 bones.  We liked it so much that we brought home some ribs and bbq chicken.

On Sunday Judy fixed us a picnic lunch and we hopped on the Blue Ridge Parkway

and headed over to Oconaluftee Visitor Center in Cherokee.

Judy wanted to get her National Park Passport book stamped, and we wanted to explore the Great Smokey Mountain area a little more.

I must say that the Asheville area has now become one of our favorite spots.  We have a short list of places we really want to spend more time in and this is one makes the list.

This morning we hooked up the Explorer and headed north towards Knoxville. We are now set up and settled at the Racoon Valley Escapees Park. We need to pick up our mail and take care of a few things before heading up the road on Wednesday.

Until later.

Apr 1, 2011

Balm for the Soul

We pulled into the Winfield COE Campground on the J. Strom Thurmond Reservoir late this morning and it is definitely a winner.  We have had a week of gloomy weather, less than desirable campgrounds, and of course our saga with the Norcold refrigerator. We made a reservation at this campground several weeks ago and even though it wasn't our first choice of campgrounds here, it turns out to be exactly what we needed. We have a large private pull through site overlooking the water with 50 amp electric and water.  What more could you ask for.

Wednesday morning we had a very rainy drive up to the Augusta area and pulled into  Travel Country RV.  They were supposed to have repair parts waiting for us, but Norcold wouldn't ship them until this dealer could run a few tests.  So 15 minutes later, they ordered the parts and we found an RV park in the Augusta area to spend a couple of days.  The only way Norcold would expedite the parts was if I paid for the shipping, which I did.  We used Thursday to take Mollie to the groomer and to stock up on a few groceries and do a little clothes shopping.

I did not do as well as I was hoping on my weight loss for March. I only lost 3 pounds, but I have dropped another pants size.  I have gone from a tight 44 to a 38.  It has been a long time since I bought a pair of pants that size.  I have a photographic workshop coming up in a couple of weeks so we stopped in at Kohl's to buy a couple pair of jeans and a couple of shirts.  I have gone from XXL to XL so that is also good news.  Sometimes the progress seems painfully slow, and I tend to treat this like a problem to be quickly solved.  What I am learning is that even when I do reach my goal the process won't be over.  I'll be writing more about that in the coming months.  For now I know that if I "JUST DO IT"  the weight will come off.

The RV dealer called yesterday to tell us the parts had arrived. So this morning we headed back over there and got the new parts installed and.........our Norcold is now MoreCold!!!
We appreciated the personal service that Travel Country RV gave us, especially Clint the service manager.

It was a short 20 minute drive to our destination and it didn't take long to get our little camp set up.  If you have ever experienced a truly peaceful place and the feeling of a weight being lifted from your shoulders you know how we feel right now.  To be at peace with your surroundings is truly balm for the soul.

Until later.

Mar 29, 2011

It's Cold, but not Norcold

Monday morning found us at Travel Country RV in Lake Park, Georgia for a 9am appointment.

They quickly confirmed our suspicions that our new safety module was defective.  It was just a month ago that it was put on at Camping Connection in Kissimmee.  Travel Country was happy to order a new one but said that it would take 5 to 10 days to get it.  I even offered to pay for overnight shipping, but the manager told me that they have a difficult time even speaking to a human being at Norcold since everything is done online.  One more nail in the Norcold coffin.

I noticed that Travel Country RV also had a location in Augusta, Ga and since that's the direction we are headed, I asked the manager if he could have the parts shipped there.  He wasn't able to do that but he did offer to talk to the service manager there and forward our info to him so that they could order the parts for us. Thanks to their prompt service we were back on the road by 11am and heading NE.  We made it a short day and only drove 113 miles before we decided to stop for a couple of days at Little Ocmulgee State Park just north of McRae, Ga.

We went from shorts and t-shirts to long pants and sweatshirts in one day.  It's cold here. Even Mollie has her sweatshirt on again. We even had to haul the space heater back out.  I think our blood got thinned out after being in Florida all winter.

I had forgotten to give our cell phone number to Travel Country when we left yesterday, so I thought I should call their Augusta location this morning just to make sure the parts got ordered.  I talked to nice guy named Clint in the service department who already had all the details.  In fact they happen to have a module kit on hand and he was just waiting for me to call.

So tomorrow we will make the two hour drive up to Augusta to get our Norcold repairs made.  We're hoping that this will take care of our refrigerator problems, now if we could just do something about the weather.  We plan on spending a few days in Augusta stocking up and getting Mollie a haircut before moving over to a COE campground on the Strom Thurmond Reservoir.

On a more somber note, we read this morning on Laurie and Odel's blog that their close friend Ian McKee passed away last week.  We had the pleasure of meeting Ian and his wife Margaret Wright at an Art Fair in Cave Creek, Az last March. Margaret is an accomplished photographer and was exhibiting at the art fair there. We talked shop with Margaret and Ian for over an hour as well as discussing our mutual love for traveling in our RV's.

We promised to stay in touch, but it slipped through the cracks and we never did. Shame on me.  I am again reminded that our lives are so fragile and we truly do not know how many years, days, or hours any of us have left.  And the people we meet and friends we make are far more important than any problems we might have with all our stuff.  So today if there is someone that you have been meaning to write to or call but haven't, stop right now and do it.  You just never know.

Until later.

Mar 25, 2011

Our Norcold needs More Cold

About a month ago we had a second recall done on our Norcold Refrigerator. Mind you, our fridge is twelve years old and we have never had a problem with it. It just works. Well I can't say that any longer. I mentioned at the time we had the recall done that I was unhappy with the way Norcold has addressed this problem. Their fix is to stop their product from potentially burning your coach down and as a result being sued. I mentioned that their solution could cause you to be stranded with a non working fridge.

Well, it has happened. Yesterday we moved all of 30 miles and when we plugged back in to park power our fridge wouldn't turn on. If this ever happens to you, and you have had all the recalls done, check the module that is accessible on the outside of your coach.

 If you see a red led glowing, your fridge will not work. End of story. You will have to go to an authorized Norcold repair center to have it checked out. If the module has failed they will in most cases have to order a new one. So yes, you could easily be without your fridge for at least a week.

In our case, after making a few calls and checking a few things out, we have been advised that we need to have it looked at.  Either the latest recall saved our coach from catching on fire, or just as likely according to the service centers we talked to, the new module that was installed failed.

Either way our Norcold ain't cold.  I could easily bypass the newly installed module, but then if something fails, it's my fault. So we purchased a Dometic portable freezer for our frozen food, and we will put bags of ice in the fridge and use it as a cooler.

The portable freezer has been on our want list for a long time and will move to the basement of our coach when everything is resolved. We have an appointment Monday morning to have things checked out. Hopefully it is just the module and if that is the case this will merely be an annoying event.

However, if the fridge is bad than we are left with a difficult decision. We have already made up our mind that we will not replace it with another Norcold. We would switch to a residential style fridge. But it's not a simple switch, since we would also have to replace our inverter. Since we have an older coach that leads to some additional twelve volt upgrades and soon we are looking at a four thousand dollar price tag.

But, if we were still living in our stix and brix we could have similar recalls and other issues. So we'll take a deep breath and just deal with it, because when you're living your dream instead of dreamin it, that's what you do.

If you have experienced this problem and have any suggestions or words of wisdom we would love to hear from you.

Until later.

Mar 22, 2011

It's Easier Than You Think!!

Caution!! Personal opinions ahead.

I came across this blog Man vs Debt and his entry yesterday got me thinking.

It seems that some in the full-timing community think that unless you go to their rallies or seminars, buy their books or donate to their web site then you really aren't qualified to become a full-timer. Guess what? It really isn't that difficult.
Here's 4 easy steps to becoming a full-timer.

1. Sell house. According to the experts you can't really call yourself a full-timer if you still have a house
2. Sell stuff in house. This is the hard one as most of us can't bear the thought of not having some stuff
3. Buy 5th wheel, or motorhome
4. Put key in RV and drive away

Really folks that's about all there is to it. While the order may vary for some folks, that's it. If you don't own a house or you already have an RV you can omit some of the steps.

Everything else is just a version of what you do when you were living in a house. We make it far too complicated. Do we really need seminars on how to pack our stuff, prepare our food, learn where to stay, what toilet paper to use, and yes even how to dump our holding tanks. I sometimes wonder how any of us made it in the "sticks and bricks" world. I don't recall someone telling me I needed a seminar on all this stuff before I bought a house or a car. I sure don't recall going to any "rallies" on home ownership or car purchasing.

It has never been easier to full-time. With the evolution of the internet and cell phones you can now stay in touch almost anywhere.  You can handle your financial, banking and insurance online, you can make reservations online for most state and national parks, sit out in the desert boondocking with full internet access via Motosat, and even read what other full-timers do on a daily basis.  Heck you can even keep up with Farmville on FaceBook.  In short it's just like living in your old house. And with GPS you can even find your way home.

Maybe that's the problem for some of us. We are trying to drag it all with us. We want to take all of our stuff with us but unfortunately we take all of our old habits with us too. Full timing is the perfect time to start over with a clean slate. Start by throwing away some of those old habits. I'll quit preaching and list a few new habits I'm trying to develop.

1. Less TV
2. Make better choices regarding the quality and quantity of food I eat
3. Read More
4. Learning to live in the moment
5. Learning to be content with what I have
6. Grow in my personal faith

There is a new generation of full-timers out there and I enjoy reading their thoughts as well. They go to rallies too, but theirs have weird names like Burning Man and SXSW. These are people who are living simple uncluttered lives, people who aren't afraid to just go out and do it.  Here are a few examples.

wheeling it
Man vs Debt
Magic Bus

So turn off the TV, sign off from Facebook, and whatever your dream is, just do it.

Need more inspiration? You probably won't find any single ply toilet paper recommendations or ten year exit strategies here. What you will find is some refreshing can do attitude.


To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea... "cruising" it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about. "I've always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can't afford it." What these men can't afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of "security." And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and before we know it our lives are gone.What does a man need - really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in - and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all - in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by, The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed. Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life? Sterling Hayden

What do you think?

Until later.

Mar 14, 2011

Oysters at Indian Pass

On Saturday we decided to do a little exploring.  If you head west on 98 you have a beautiful drive along the coast.  You will pass through Eastpoint, across a long causeway, and come to the town of Apalachicola.  The intracoastal waterway heads inland here and the town is home to oyster boats and shrimp boats and produces almost 90 percent of Florida's oyster harvest.

This is another scruffy little coastal working town but it also has a art community and a funky little downtown area.  More about Apalachicola in a future post.  If you continue west on 98 towards Port St. Joe you will soon come to Hwy 30A.  If you follow 30a for 7 or 8 miles you come to Indian Pass Rd.  Right on the corner of Indian Pass Rd and 30A sits a building that looks like an old general store, but is now home to the Indian Pass Raw Bar.

The Indian Pass Raw Bar has no hostess, so you pick out your favorite cold beverage from the large coolers, and find a place to sit.  Your next job is to flag down the waitress and tell her what you want.  There isn't a menu, just an old sign on the wall, but she will tell you what they have.  Basically it's oysters, and shrimp.  If you really don't want either they will fix you a burger or a hot dog.  But you come here for the oysters and shrimp.

You can have your oysters raw, steamed, or baked and your shrimp steamed or stuffed with crab meat.  I chose the baked oysters and Judy went for the plate of steamed shrimp.  That and a couple of cheap beers  and we had ourselves a tasty lunch.

Oh and don't forget a generous dousing of Ed's Red,  a local hot sauce referred to as "Oyster's best Friend".  It can best be described as Tabasco with horseradish.  It's so good we went hunting for it at the local grocery store when we were done with lunch.

I must tell you that this was one of those memorable dining experiences that makes full timing special.  If we are going to eat out this is the kind of place we look for.  Local authentic fresh food prepared by people who are just trying to earn a living and are happy you stopped by.

Until later.