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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Second Thoughts about Full Time RV Travel?

The day dawned to beautiful weather at the Lunga Park campground.  The sun was shining and the temperature was absolutely gorgeous.  I cooked breakfast for Marti, she had a good nights sleep for a change.

We had met a nice couple at the campground yesterday, an airline pilot and his wife, who had purchased a beautiful Monaco Diplomat motorhome.  As we chatted, we talked about our plans to sell the house next spring and hit the road full time.

They were shocked at our plans and he said "That's a pretty gutsy idea".  We finished our chat and I periodically thought about that comment throughout the evening.  Marti and I talked about it a bit.  Are we making a mistake?  Should we re-think everything?  Would we regret our decision to sell our beautiful home and become Nomads, traveling to who knows where?

Marti took Zoe the Wonder Dog for a walk along the beautiful lake.


The campground is so big and private, Zoe even got a rare chance to be off her leash and explore the lake on her own.


The lake had some fishermen on it, they moved from spot to spot but the fish didn't seem to be biting.


I took a walk around with my camera.  This was our site.


It was nicely shaded, so I had to put up the portable satellite dish. 

I pulled out the recliners and sat down to enjoy the views and soak up some Vitamin D.


I thought again about the pilot's comments.  Gutsy?  Yes, to some, but being able to stay at places like this without any time restraints or pressing schedules, and being able to wander the country with the love of my life, Marti.

I can't wait!   ;c)

On the way home, after we dropped off the Journey at the storage lot, we swung by Walmart to pick up some Halloween candy.  Parked in the store's lot, was this fifth wheel trailer.  People who abuse the Walmart generosity for RV's to park overnight, for some rest, will ruin it for everybody.

This guy took up TEN parking spaces with his trailer, jacks down, with every slide out  and he obviously was out somewhere with his tow vehicle.  Some people just don't care. GRRR!


For you folks that have requested the picture of Marti's assistant, Brittany dressed up like Marti last Halloween, here it is:


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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Marti's New Favorite Campground

We picked up the Journey and headed out to who-knows-where.  It was Marti's choice this weekend to decide which direction to go to.  We thought we'd maybe check out some of the military campgrounds in Maryland, but before we headed that way Marti said it would be nice if we could get in to the campground at the Marine Corps base at Quantico, VA.

The Marine campground, called Lunga Point, is small and very, very hard to get a reservation because it's so nice.  Marti gave them a call and low and behold, they had two sites available.  A few minutes later, with a reservation booked, we headed out.

We arrived and checked in, the campground sits on a nice little lake.



Paperwork done, we headed to out site, only to find this:


The site had not be vacated by the previous camper.  I knocked on the door but nobody was around.  Marti called the office and they gave us another site, which was even nicer.


How's this for a view out the front windshield?


While I set up the satellite dish, Marti took Zoe the Wonder Dog (as in I wonder if she's going to jump in the lake) for a walk around our site.


We settled in, had a nice lunch and low and behold, a cell phone rang.  It was mine this time and it was my boss, calling ME on a Saturday!  He kind of rambled around on some vague plans and ideas he has for next year.  Ok, then.  Don't know why that call had to be made on a weekend, but...whatever.

Later, we watched the sunset, haven't seen one like this in a long time.




To borrow from Howard of RV-Dreams, this site has the "IT" factor.  Marti says it's her favorite campground that she's ever been in.  I have to agree, $21 a night for a 50 amp FHU site.  Military campgrounds will certainly help our fulltime budget when we get on the road.

  Now to find ways to get here more often!

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Friday, October 29, 2010

I Feel Better Now

Every year at Marti's facility, she encourages the staff to dress up in costumes on the last weekday before Halloween, and her staff really enjoys doing it.  She has a young lady, Brittany, who she hired right out of college (Virginia Tech) about a year and a half ago.  Great kid, she's become Marti's right hand and is now  training to become an administrator herself.

Last year, Brittany dressed up...as Marti!  It was hilarious, she went out a got a red hair wig, similar clothes that Marti wears and the final touch, a cup of sweet tea from a local fast food joint that Marti likes.

Well, paybacks are rough.  Marti waited all year to get even, and dress up...as Brittany. 

Virgina Tech grads are very loyal to their school, around here it's not uncommon to see cars sporting V Tech stickers, license plates and other stuff.  The V Tech football team is called the "Hokies", something to do with a fighting turkey, if you can believe that.

Marti bought a lot of V Tech stuff, a tee shirt, a ball cap and a couple of other things.  She needed to get a blond hair wig because Brittany has short blond hair.  Unfortunately, we could only find a long hair blond wig.

Marti said we'd just have to cut the wig short.  We needed to use some kind of thing to put the wig on to cut it to the right length, we thought one of us should wear the wig and the other one could trim it. 

I'm not allowed to play with sharp objects so that left Marti to do the trimming.


Before


After

And for the finished product:


Brittany split a gut when she saw Marti all dressed up like her.  The costume was a success.  With the blond wig, some of Marti's staff didn't even recognize her.  Too funny!

I left work and hit the highway to head home and pick up the Journey.  I never got there, instead I sat for an hour and a half on I-95 for a traffic jam.  Never found out why there was a backup, but did see three other fender benders that occurred in the backup.  I decided to stop at the same place as yesterday and get another small soda.


Today I paid full price ($1.09) instead of the Senior price ($.53).  The same girl, too.  I paid the full price and felt a whole lot better. ;c)

So we didn't get the Journey from the storage lot, it closes after dark so I'll zip over in the morning and get it and we'll head out.  As a consolation, we decided we'd eat out tonight and try a new Italian restaurant that opened nearby.  What a meal.  We heard they serve large portions, and it was the truth, we came home with three doggie bags!  Nope, Zoe the wonder dog ain't gettin' any of this.


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Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Clock is Ticking

Time flies when you're having fun.  Or life passes by quickly.  We keep track of time by clocks, calenders, project completions and milestones.  We saw a couple of milestones this week, including a.
major milestone today that I hit today. 



Marti got a phone call this week from our grandson, Owen.


He was so proud that he's learned to use the potty and is now wearing Big Boy undies.  A milestone he's crossed and he's happy (and so are his mommy and daddy...no more diapers to buy).

We got the dining room painting finished this week.  That's four rooms done and five more to go.



The leaves are turning colors and starting to drop, the mornings have a little cool nip to them.  The clock is ticking on my most un-favorite RV maintenance issue.  Having to winterize the Journey.  Usually weather here in Northern Virginia is mild enough that I can wait until after Thanksgiving to do the deed, but then we can't get too much weekend camping in.  We'll still use the Journey but bring drinking water and extra RV antifreeze to flush the toilet.  Showers and dish washing are out.


But the biggest milestone I crossed today.  On my commute home, I stopped to get a small soda pick-me-up.


The young lady at the counter said, "Fifty three cents, please".  I said that she made a mistake, a small soda was $1.09.  She politely said, "No sir, that's the price for a SENIOR SODA".

Another milestone, one I'm not too sure I'm happy to have arrived at. ;c)

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Reflective Pause

In our day to day lives, we move at seemingly light speed.  Up in the wee hours of the morning, rush off to work, throw down some breakfast while driving.  Get to the office, submerge myself into work until quitting time, zip home again and often sit down to a meal at 7 or 8 at night.  Hit the sack by 9:30 to try and sleep, then start all over again.  Life starts on Friday night when we head out somewhere in the Journey for a too quick weekend.

Is this living?  Time to pause and review life.  We are two busy beavers, we work hard and have been successful in everything we've put our hands to.  Loving kids, all married to wonderful spouses and they all are successful in their own right.  Great grandkids, so much fun to be with.  A nice home, a beautiful motorhome, a steady retirement income and the blessings of a bright future when we do retire (shortly) and hit the road.

Sometimes I am embarrassed by what we have, we've been blessed beyond a shadow of a doubt.  I remember when we bought our first motorhome, it was 20 years old and it was a reach for us to buy it.  We were living on a Coast Guard base in New Jersey at the time and I often felt bad that we had something that nice when there were other families on the base that were just getting by putting food on their tables and glad to have an old car to get around in.  They'd look longingly as we drove out to go camping, wishing they could have something like that.

Even today, as I read on some RV forums of someone who is excited about buying a new-to-them RV that might be 15-20 years old in need of serious work but it's the best they can afford, while I'm driving around in a motorhome that is beyond anything they can afford.  It bothers me quite a bit.  We sometimes stress over how much our house has fallen in value when many are facing foreclosure, having lost jobs,  careers, life savings and wondering how they are going to survive. 

I really believe we've been heavenly blessed in our lives in so many ways.  I always remember the words:  "He who has been given much, much is expected".  We live by those words and give back whenever and wherever we can. 

So one of the things we want to do is continue to give back and use our Journey to enable us to practice what we preach.  We're going to look for ways to serve, whether it's helping to construct buildings for churches in the SOWERS or NOMADS ministry,  build houses with Habitat for Humanity or doing volunteer work of some other kind that we'll find along the way.

And we'll have fun doing it, thankful for every day that Marti and I will have sharing our blessings as we travel.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Attention Military Active Duty and Retirees

If you love Disney World (and Disneyland) like we do, the Walt Disney Company has announced their Salute to the Troops offer for 2011.  It allows active duty military and military retirees to purchase 6 discounted  tickets to their theme and waterparks.  The tickets can be purchased on military bases, Disney World's Shades of Green resort or at the entrance ticket windows (not a good idea because you'll have to pay Florida sales tax there).


The requirements are that the military member or spouse with proper ID cards must purchase the tickets and be present to activate them on the first day of use.

There are also special hotel offers, too for those that might not have an RV or choose not to bring it along.

The details of Disney's offer can be found here.  There are some restrictions so read carefully.




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Monday, October 25, 2010

Getting the Bugs Out

It felt really good to get away, having missed last weekend, it was doubly nice to roll down the road.  Of course, when we turned on to Rt. 95 South, we were there with thousands of our closest friends...all in front of us and crawling along.

We decided to say "Semper Gumby" (Always Flexible) and stop for the night at a welcoming Super Walmart.  They even had painted areas for RV parking.  It was a a handy place for the night because we had to pick up some items.  It only took us four trips into the Walmart before we obtained everything we needed.  You'd think we would use a shopping list, well, that would be a good idea if we remembered to do it.

The next morning, we did a Bob Evan's breakfast, located right next to the Walmart and then we headed out to Kings Dominion Amusement Park, it has a campground right next door.  What better way to let off some steam than ride a few roller coasters?

We pulled in to the campground.


They have a check in kiosk where you get your site.



Across the street from the kiosk is the store where a shuttle comes every 10 minutes to take campers to the amusement park.


The campground is not a luxury campground by any means, they do make the most of their property, squeezing in RVs fairly close together, but then most people come to go ride the coasters and not hang at the campground.



There are nice, wooded tent sites, too.


And cabins.


We snagged a site that we could get locked on to our DirecTV satellite, we do enjoy watching some tv now and then because we're limited during the week.

Marti guided me into the site, a back in.  We're a good team and have our hand signals down pat.  I went to plug in and my Progressive Industries surge protector detected a bad leg on the 50 amp circuit at the electrical box. It prevented power from entering the Journey, where it could have caused damage.  Before I completely set up, we went down to the check in kiosk and told them about the problem.  They said they'd send somebody down right away.  Yeah, right.

Boy, was I wrong, before I knew it, they had three techs and a supervisor at our site.  The techs determined a bad breaker and changed it out quickly.


With that done, I plugged in and set the campsite up for our stay.


The recliners looked so comfortable, I sat down in one and before I knew it, I was out.  Cold.  For several hours.  So much for the idea of going to the amusement park.  Some times, you just have to do the hard thing, sit down and relax instead of run around.

They sell firewood at the store, but we decided instead to use our propane powered portable campfire.  It takes a 1 pound propane bottle and puts out a nice, clean flame.


When you buy a motorhome, you find it has many bugs that take a while to get out, our Journey was typical.  Over the first year, we had a couple of minor "bugs" that were worked out under warranty.  This weekend, we found we had many more bugs in the Journey, not mechanical bugs, stink bugs!


Between the two of use, we must have captured and flushed several dozen.  We have no idea where they came from or how they snuck in to the Journey.  Hopefully, we got all (most) of them.  Ick!

Sunday dawned another beautiful day, we packed up and head home, the longest way we could find.  We rolled through beautiful countryside, past several Civil War battlefields and enjoyed the fall colors of the leaves.  We started to get hungry and found this BBQ place Marti had eaten at several years before.  It was located in a truck stop, so finding room to park the Journey was easy.


There's a happy face.


The portions were huge,


so we took home a large box of left over chicken and ribs.


We arrived home to see the prettiest tree we'd seen all day right in front of our house.



Another weekend trip done, hopefully our batteries are fully recharged and "R Sanity" has been restored.  Where to next week?  Who knows, but that's the way we like to roll. :c)

Before I finish, I have to pass on a hot stock tip.  You want to make some money in the stock market?  Buy condiments, yes, mustard and ketchup.  You see, when we set out for the weekend, we always forget the mustard and ketchup and have to buy more.  Our home refrigerator is getting pretty full.  I promise, buy condiment stock, you'll make money!


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