Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spaghetti Dinner

Today after Bob and Molly left the weather remained nice. Marty and I made a run to the tobacco store because tomorrow the prices go up. Tomorrow April 1st 2009 the federal tax on tobacco products goes into effect, 60 cents per pack on cigarettes some say, others say it will be $1 per pack, and some say it will be 61 cents per pack. Either way the taxes on tobacco is killing the budgets of us tobacco users.
I prepared a spaghetti dinner for us after we returned from the tobacco run. We invited Marty to join us, and he offered to bring several things and when I told him they were already taken care of he ask if he could bring a salad and wine, and I said sure.
We had a wonderful meal and I didn't even eat too much, although I did eat too much bread for the diet we are on. After eating we shared stories with Marty about our travels and got some good ideals on places we would like to visit. After an hour or so of exchanging tips and stories we called it a night.
Good food, good company, and decent weather, what more could a person ask for?

Tour of Rainbows End

Today I took the tour of Rainbows End again, today I was with Bob, Molly, and Marty. Every tour starts out on the clubhouse deck, and the story about the founders and everyone else being plugged into the electric pole in the middle of the property.

This is a picture of "that" pole. I'm sure the pole has been changed over the years, but it has always been replaced in the same spot. Now when you drive through that part of the park you have to drive around that pole.

Inside the clubhouse who every is giving the tour tells a little about how the Escapees RV Club got its start. Then you are shown around the clubhouse before walking out a side door leading to the street where the current mail service, and headquarters is located.

Inside the headquarters building and the mail service building you are shown the to part most people see when they conduct business there. Next you are led through the offices and into the mail room. In the mail room we were shown howwe, howwe is the $350,000 sorting machine for the mail service. The name howwe came from Bud Carr when he said "how we going to pay for this".

We were led through more of the mail room where we could see each envelope for each member of the mail service.

Then the tour is led upstairs where the offices for the Escapees National Headquarters are. we all sat around what I guess was the conference table. Mark greeted us and informed us of the political issues that he deals with, and how the Escapees and other RV groups and companies deal with trying to keep the local ordinances from passing the "no overnight parking" laws that keep many of us from spending nights in wal-Mart parking lots.

Most tours Angie Carr introduces herself and talks to the group, as does someone from the Escapees Magazine. Today they were unavailable so Betsy was left with the task of trying to explain a lot more than she normally does.
The trolley car tour is next, you are driven around in an old refurbished trolley car. You are shown the original property that was bought in 1984, and then each other section that was purchased.
The trolley takes you through the entire park so you get the chance to see it all. It also makes a stop at SKP #1's residence. There you can get out and walk around the beautiful water garden. The story we got was Joe and Kay wanted to have a museum and a water fall built as a memorial to them, but decided not to wait until they were dead to do it. So everyone now has a beautiful water garden to see in front of Joe and Kay's house.

Today Joe Peterson came out while we were there to welcome us. He was also asked to tell us a joke, and since we were all new to Livingston he was able to tell one that apparently he has told before here.

Joe was warned of our arrival by their dog Repo. Joe just had to tell us how repo got his name. When they went to pick up their new puppy the owners had to go to their neighbors house to get the puppy, because the neighbors had not paid for the puppy. Thus the name REPO.

Here is another shot of the water garden, it really is beautiful. For me to say that it is beautiful is a lot because I am not a real big fan of gardens.

We then loaded back onto the trolley car and was driven around the rest of the park. We were shown the care center, where the care center volunteers park their rigs, and other parts of the Escapees complex, before winding up back at the clubhouse.

Today there was a thunderstorm coming as we exited the trolley car so everyone hurried to get to where they were going before the rains started. Bob and Molly almost ran back to their rig.
Bob and Molly are being pushed by their kids to hurry back to VA so they left right after the tour. They have a few stops to make before getting back to the kids, but the question, "are you here yet" is heard daily through the electronic leash we all carry called a cell phone.

Be safe Bob and Molly, we will see you soon in MO. are you there yet????

Monday, March 30, 2009

Just a lazy day

Today we awoke to cloudy skies, but the temperature wasn't too bad. We had so business we had to deal with, luckily we were able to do it over the phone. Afterwords we walked down or over to the Escapees Headquarters to register for the Escapade coming up in May.
Like almost everything else we have attempted to do here we ran into a slight problem. The lady that handles the registrations here had taken the day off to visit her dentist, and the lady that was filling in couldn't answer our questions, so tomorrow I will go back and talk to the lady that handles the Escapade.
Being unsuccessful in registering for the Escapade we walked down to the Care Center in hopes to take the tour. Remember the CC tour we couldn't take last week because they we all tied up with their yard sale? Well this week it is the Health Fair that everyone is involved with, so we couldn't take the tour again this week. Hey we will be here until May 1 so maybe, just maybe, we will get to take it before we leave.
I was ready to just relax after striking out twice already, so after lunch that is exactly what I did. I was relaxing so well that I just fell right off to sleep. After my nap we walked over to where The Two Crazy Ladies are, meeting Marty coming into the park. We talked to Marty for awhile and invited him to social hour, but he wanted to get set up and relax himself. We then walked on over to the Two Crazy Ladies site and talked with them until almost time for the social hour.
During the social hour several couples and a few solo's were introduced as being new to the park. Several announcements were made and a few jokes were told. I just can't understand why some people have to get up in front of a crowd to tell a joke that is older than dirt, or doesn't have a punch line, but it happens almost everywhere you go.
After supper we went to the clubhouse to play hand and foot with Bob and Molly. Remember yesterday we let them win? Well I didn't tell how we had to suffer through their celebrations after both games that they won. They tried to rub it in really hard, but we just let them have their glory.
Tonight was a different story, we really poured it on them tonight. Now Bob and I are not usually ones to brag a lot, but the conversation about them posting their glory on the blog, and never posting anything about our wins caused me to tell the world about tonight.

This is the score sheet from tonight. Take note the big X the girls put on the first game, the score was 1520 to 805, our score was almost double their score. Now the second game we were hurried a bit because Bob wanted to watch a TV program, we really had to score big points the last hand so Bob wouldn't miss the start of his program.
The girls walked out to go for their nightly walk while I stepped out to smoke after that hand. Bob got to watch his program, I got to come home to work on my blog, and the girls tried to cool off I guess after the thrashing we gave them.

It was all fun, even last night when we lost, because being with friends is always enjoyable.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A day with special friends and Class Mates

Today was a terrific day at Rainbows End in Livingston Texas. the morning was a little on the cool side but as you can see in the pictures the skies were clear, the sun was shining, and there was no wind blowing. I set up the camera to take our picture just so I can look back on today and know I wasn't dreaming about nice weather here in Livingston. Since we arrived last week we have seen a lot of clouds, a lot of thunderstorms, and cold temperatures. I credit Bob and Molly for bringing the warmth up from Rockport where they have been the past few days. I sure am happy that they did too.

As I said earlier we ate at Florida's Kitchen last night and we enjoyed it so much we knew we would go back for seconds. When we told Bob and Molly about it they were ready to try it out right then, so we all piled into their Envoy and headed to Florida's Kitchen. While Bob parked the truck I had to snap a picture of the two ladies on Florida's Porch. Notice the banner hanging in the upper left corner! Someone else must have enjoyed the food too.

How about a close up for those without their glasses on?

Bob had to order the ribs, something about all the food at the reunion has caused a lot of us to refrain from eating certain foods, but ribs are on the list that we can eat. This plate of ribs came with roasted vegetables and a salad.

I myself haven't committed to the full fledged diet like some, I just try to limit the portions I eat, and try to eat three (or four) meals regularly. This sliced brisket sandwich was enough for me to have today for lunch, and tomorrow for lunch. The waitress brought me a small container of their BBQ sauce and a to go box, so I'm all set for lunch tomorrow.

While driving back to the CG Marcia and Molly spotted this huge field filled with these funny looking weeds so we stopped to enjoy the moment. I guess some people call them flowers, and here in Texas they call them Blue Bonnets. I always thought blue bonnet was a margarine.

Someone grabbed the cameras and caught me trying to take a nap. It was pretty peaceful lying there in the field of blue weeds, but then I felt really secure because I was resting my head in my baby's lap. I think she was enjoying being in the field of flowers. I know all four of us were snapping away with our cameras.

I even caught Bob and Molly taking advantage of a very special day. What more could a person ask for, we had clear skies, warm temperatures, no wind, and a beautiful field of flowers to play in.

Once we got back to the rig I had to do some maintenance on the rig that was long over do. Back in Bushnell I had filled the batteries with water and I must have over filled one of the cells because the posts had started corroding. I took the batteries out and cleaned them, I had to make each cable so I wouldn't cross any of them when I put them back. I then cleaned the cables and the battery box with baking soda. After I put it all back together Bob, Molly and Marcia returned from their walk.

All that remained was cleaning up my mess and taking a shower before we played hand and foot Skip-Bo style again, and since we had let the girls win last night we avenged the loss with a couple wins. It was nice enough that we played on the picnic table next to the rig.
After spending a relaxing day in the field, and playing cards it came time to eat again. We had thawed out the chili that I had made for the reunion so we heated it up, Molly made a Chicken Chefs salad, and Marcia broke out the remainder of the potato salad that she had made. Now remember the diet thing I was talking about earlier? This potato salad didn't have any potatoes in it, it was made with cauliflower instead of potatoes. To be a "healthy" food, low carbs and all, it was pretty good.
We finished off the day by allowing the girls to beat us at a couple more games of hand and foot, (I think Bob is bribing Molly for a new truck) and then we watched the TV show "THE UNIT". What a terrific day we had today, it makes all the storms and clouds all worth while.

Beautiful day today

Today the weather report calls for a Beautiful day, highs in the lower 70's, and sunny skies. Marcia doesn't work today so we can play at something. To top off the day our class mates and great friends Bob and Molly arrived at Rainbows End last night.
Yesterday when Marcia completed her shift in the office we went to Florida's Kitchen with 10 others from the park. This is an older house that has been converted into a restaurant and they server up some really good catfish, and BBQ. We split a "Florida's Sampler Plate", it had four huge ribs, four pieces of fish, hush puppies, fries, and a salad for $17.95. Tom got a chicken fried steak and it was so huge, three or four people could have feasted on it. I have to put Florida's Kitchen in the same folder as The Hayseed's Cafe in Webster, and WheredahecamIat in Lake Panasoffee. (I don't think I spelled that right but spell checker has no ideal how it is spelled either)
When we arrived back at the CG Bob and Molly had arrived and pulled into a site close to our site so we stopped in to say hi. We had to show them around, mainly because we needed to walk off the meal we had just had, and to give them an ideal of where things are around here.
Until later....

Saturday, March 28, 2009

What to DO on COLD or WET Days

Everyone knows living in an RV is one of the greatest ways to live. Most of the time we are in areas where the temperatures are great,and sunny skies, but what do we do when it is cold, windy, or raining?
A lot of rv'ers read books, some play or work with their computers, there is always something to do in the clubhouse, (if you are where a clubhouse is) and I'm sure some have their own ways to keep occupied when the weather isn't favorable to be outside.
I myself have done several things, such as my chairs that I re-seated, or the wagons I have built houses for, I have even done some painting.

This is the latest in my wagons, Carol a lady we met at Sumter Oaks gave me this little wagon because she seen the others that I had made, so I took a Coke carton and cut out this house to put in it, and after it was all glued and the glue had dried I painted it.
Some of the others I had made the house out of pop sickle sticks, and I may cut some sticks to cover this one the next time I'm stuck inside because of the weather.

Today the sun is shining, but the cold front has brought cool temperatures to Livingston. The high will only reach 61 today, and if you figure in the wind chill factor it will be COLD all day.
I did get out this AM and rode around Livingston in the tracker. I did stop by a motorcycle shop to look for a used bike. They didn't have a used one but they did have a new 08 XT 250. They guy let me take it for a test ride, (why couldn't it have been in the 70's)so I rode it a short way up the road and back. Once I rode it I had to find out what I could buy it for, so the negotiations begin. Once he quoted me his bottom dollar I told him I would get back to him.
After I got back to the rig I started checking prices, and looked on www.craigslist.com to see if there were any used ones in the area. I found a used XT 250 and sent the guy an e-mail asking a few questions not covered in his add. Time will tell if I even go look at the used one.
The temperature has almost hit 60 so I'll finish this another day.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Where is the sun?

Yesterday I sat in the rig waiting for Marcia to get off work, I did manage to catch a few zzz while I waited. The weather here in Livingston has not been very nice, last night and yesterday we had thunderstorms, today we had more of the same.
Marcia and I did slip off last night to grab a meal at one of the local Mexican restaurants. We went to one across the street from Wal-Mart and as soon as we walked in, we walked out. Something about the atmosphere turned me off really quick, and the lack of enthusiasm of the greeter. The building was almost new, but it was located behind a little strip mall, very hard to get into because you had to make a u turn, and then pull into the strip mall to get around behind the mall to the restaurant.
I guess passing it up the first time had me in non favorable mood about the place. Walking into the place you see a very large room, with really high ceilings, and tables scattered everywhere. It just wasn't a quiet atmosphere one would expect in a restaurant.
We drove around until we found another one on business 59. The name eludes me right now, but the prices were decent, and the food was OK. Nothing to write home about, but then we didn't get sick either.
After dinner we went back to the rig and waited out yet another storm. I went to bed, I figured if a tornado was going to take us away I wanted to be asleep when it hit.
Today was much of the same as yesterday. Storms came and went, and then more storms came and went, and we are waiting on even more storms. I keep asking myself why we left the FL sunshine.
I did find out the my weather radio that I bought to keep us informed about storms doesn't pick up crap around here, so I downloaded a program off the weather channels web site to warn me. I can also one click the weather for this area from my desktop, so now I one click and watch the Doppler radar in an attempt to know when the rains will stop, and the storms will pass.
I went to the activities center for "social hour" today, Joe and Kay Peterson host the social hours on most Fridays.Seeing the couple that started the whole Escapees RV Club was very interesting. Kay is really the spunk behind the club I think. They had some guy talk about the health fair that is going on next week. after he ran out of things to talk about Kay took over introducing the new people in the park.
Kay has a way of living up a place,and she will put you on the spot. She ask all the new people in the park to come forward, and then she ask all the guys to tell their name and how they heard about SKPs. She then ask the gals to tell their name and to tell how they met their guys. Some of the stories was really interesting, like the couple that had been married for 58 years.
After the social hour I returned to the rig and started watching the weather gain. When will the rain and storms stop here in east Texas?

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Where is that FL sunshine?
We had tornado warnings or watches last night, one of the things I was afraid of when we left FL heading to TX. The wind blew, the thunder clapped, and I could hear the rain hitting the rig, but we escaped the tornados here at the Escapees park in Livingston.
This AM we woke up to cooler weather, wet ground, and cloudy skies, but we didn't have any wind. We got out early to hit the yard sales here in the park. We found a few more thing we couldn't pass up at the care center, and helped one couple dig some stuff out of their attic to put in their yard sale.
For a while the sun came out, I was thinking about taking my jacket off, I was even thinking the day might just turn out to be very pretty. Well by the time we got back to the rig the clouds had already taken over, and the warmth I had felt was just the sunshine, because it was now cool again.
We did see one tree that the storm last night had blew over onto someone's trailer. It didn't look like it hit the trailer very hard, it was like someone had just leaned the tree against it, but we didn't stop to inspect it closely.
Marcia will start working today, and the weather being the way it is I will spend the rest of the day in bed. (I think)
Sorry no pictures we didn't take the cameras with us today.

I sure am glad the weather cooperated for us during the week of the reunion.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Today we were planning to tour the Escapees Care Center. They have a tour almost everyday at 11AM.

Here is a picture of the care center, and as you can see they are gathering things for the yard sale tomorrow Friday and Saturday.

As we walked in to take the tour we were informed the tours have been canceled because they are preparing things for the big yard sale. Just our luck, yesterday there was too many on the tour so we gave up our seats knowing we would be around for a few weeks and we would have the opportunity next week to take the tour, and today we can't take the care center tour because of the yard sale. But we will be here for 5 weeks and we will take the tour next week.

We did go inside to see the yard sale items, and this is part of what we saw.

We did browse around and found a few items we couldn't live without, and we were allowed to purchase said items before the yard sale started.
After we browsed around we decided we would help them set things up. I emptied bags of "stuff" and placed them on the appropriate tables, and Marcia sorted and folded clothes putting them in some sort of order.

Everyone broke for lunch so we thought since we were there we would eat with them in the care center. They were having BBQ Ribs, and they smelled really good.
B U T our luck hadn't changed, apparently to eat at the care center you have to let them know the day before that you will be joining them. I can understand the cook needs some kind of count to know how much food to prepare, but you think they would let people know reservations are required, or make some extra for people wanting to join them that don't know reservations are required.

Any way we took a trip into town and visited Mickey D's and I had my fish fix for the week. Mickey D's here don't have the 49 cent burgers like we enjoyed in FL. I wander what's up with that?

Tonight Marcia will go into town to play BINGO, and I will sit at home watching the Kentucky Wildcats Play basketball.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A brief discription of the first 22 months.

Marcia and I sold our house in Kentucky and bought a 37- foot Coachmen Santara to live in while we traveled around the U. S. A. back in June of 2007. We had to delay the start of our trip because I had been diagnosed with cancer so we were able to spend time close to home in VA at the Cumberland Gap National Park and in Berea while I went through several radiation treatments.
Once the treatments were completed we left KY and went to Ohio to see family. We needed to go to Iowa to have the hydraulics repaired on the RV so we passed through Indiana and Illinois on the way. When we arrived in Iowa we had the rig repaired and then set our sights on South Dakota where we would get SD drivers license. Getting to SD we had to pass through Nebraska, which gave us an opportunity to see Mark and his family.
We spent a week in SD seeing Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse, the Black Hills, Sturgis, Deadwood, Custer State Park, and Wind Cave State Park. Seeing the things we had only seen in pictures was a real treat for us, and Marcia getting to see all these places was a real joy for me. At last I was able to share a lot of new places with Marcia.
From SD we headed west through Wyoming to Montana where we were entertained by Randy and Carolyn for a week. They were terrific hosts offering us a place to park the rig, and showing us the best of times in Lima MT. We had to leave MT when our water hose froze, after all we were chasing the 70's and ice should be in Margaritas not a water hose.
Idaho was the next state we passed through, and it was so beautiful we made a commitment to return and spend more time in that state. After ID came Washington but it was getting late in the year and we had so much more we wanted to see before winter we elected to just spend one night there and then head south into Oregon.Driving the rig out onto the beach was a real thrill for us, and capturing the moment on the camera has given us a chance to relive the moment over and over. Oregon is another state we want to revisit, and someday we will.
California was next in our list of states to visit. Our rig was too large for the Red Wood National Park so we parked it in a fairgrounds campground while we took the motorcycles and toured the red woods. It is unreal to see trees as big as they are there. So much of the U S A goes unseen by most Americans, I wander why people want to spend their money in foreign countries. Hwy 101 and 1 was a dream I've had since watching "Then Came Bronson" on TV as a child, but now I was fulfilling that dream. We drove the rig down much of the 101 and during our stops we would ride the bikes fulfilling my dream.
We spent a couple weeks driving down the CA coast before heading inland to Ramona where we were chased out by the fires of 07. We actually had to run a roadblock on the KLR to get the rig and Leo (Marcia's bird) out of the path of the fires.
Arizona was next in our path, and Jon was being stationed there when he returned from Korea so we would wind up spending the winter in AZ. The desert gets way too cold for us during the winter months, but the experience was well worth enduring the cold. We met so many people; we will always have good friends to gather with along our travels.
February brought the hitch itch for us so we started heading east. New Mexico was a one-night stop leading us to Texas the state we almost chose to become residents. Texas was not good to us, we, or should I say I, tore the roof on the RV so we spent way too much time in TX. We had planned on being in TN for the birth of our fourth grandchild: miss Jaelynn.
Crossing TX took us weeks, but it was enjoyable even with the setbacks. Louisiana and Arkansas was between TN and us so we conquered them hurriedly. Marcia wanted to see the little girl Corey and Jennifer had created, and I was looking forward to seeing our family in KY again.
After spending time with family in KY-TN we started looking for warmer weather. South Carolina had always interested me so we decided to check it out. It is so nice to live in an RV where you can drive to where ever you want. North Carolina was the only state between SC and us so we conquered it on the way. Spending time in SC and Georgia was a lot warmer than KY so we were content to hang around for several weeks.
Our time in SC was interrupted by a phone call telling us my Brother Scott had wrecked his motorcycle (again) and he was being flown to UT Medical Center. We tried to get them to send him to KY but the weather prevented that. We got the call around 6 PM and by 7PM we had decided to pack up and drive back to TN to be with Scott. After Scott was well into recovery, after several weeks of agonizing pain and surgeries we felt comfortable enough to leave the area. So it was back to Lexington KY to spend our first anniversary as full-timing RVers. Friendships we had made last year were re-kindled. We left our friends in KY to visit another couple in Ohio that we had met last year in WY. We also got to be with Chuck and Terry the day Cody and Nicole became proud parents.
Virginia and Pennsylvania was our next states to add to the map we had purchased and placed on the side of our rig. The outline of the USA was put on and then as we spent the night in the RV in a state we would add that state to the map. A lot of RVers have these maps to show where they have been. PA also brought the opportunity for Jenelle to come spend some time with us in the rig.
Now some careful planning was required for us to spend a night in all the states in the North East including, DE, NJ, CT, NY, MA, RI, NH, VT, MD, and ME. Gas prices reaching above the $5 a gallon was hindering our travels severely, but we did manage to get all the states on our map, and we even had a couple visits by Jenelle.
Jenelle had chosen to move her life from NY to TN so I thought it would help her if we took the rig back to Knoxville TN so she would have a place to stay while she looked for an apartment. We drove back to TN by way of Warsaw VA where we spent a few days on the "rivah" with some great friends we had met back in Quartzsite AZ.
Jenelle arrived in TN a few days after we did, I still wander how she made it with that car loaded down so much, and a crunched fender rubbing one of the tires. I guess the good lord was watching over her. She found a job the first week, and an apartment the next week. After we helped her get settled in we were off again.
Branson MO was our destination, but we had to stop by Broken Arrow OK to visit another couple we had met in Q back in Jan of 2008. When we got there we found two couples we had met and spent s few days sharing good times with them. We left OK and went to Branson where Marcia was going to be trained as a camp host for the Escapees RV Club.
After her training we went back to KY for one last visit before heading to FL for the winter months. We spent four months enjoying the FL sunshine, we saw many sights while we were there, and had several visitors. Dad came down and spent six weeks with us, Jenelle came and spent a weekend, Corey, Jennifer, Jaelynn, Cody, Nicole, and Jacob came to FL and stayed with my brother so we moved the rig from Bushnell to Tampa where we could be close to the kids while they were in FL.
Finally March rolled in and our commitment at Sumter Oaks RV Park was complete so we were off again in search of new states and new things to see. We left FL and drove over 400 miles to get into AL where we would get to add another state to the map. After AL it was a night in a casino parking lot in MS so we could add MS to our map.
LA was the next state to be added officially to our map before we returned to TX where we would meet up with 17 other rigs, that are all part of the Escapees full-timing class of 2007. The reunion would last for three days, filled with way too much food and plenty of good times.
We left the reunion to head to Livingston TX, the Escapees Headquarters, where Marcia will be camp hosting for 5 weeks. Now this has been a very brief overview of our travels covering the past 22 months. I will now attempt to give a little more details of our travels in a blog that I have set up.

Rainbows End

Today is our third day at Rainbows End and we did part of the tour. They have tours every Tuesday and Thursday. The tours start off at the Club House

with a brief description of the Escapees history, a quick tour of the mail room,

and then upstairs for a quick presentation by Mark Nemeth, Kellie Rossow, and Angie Carr, followed by a grand tour on the trolley car.

The trolley car only sits 16 people and there were 18 on the same tour we were part of so we gave up our seats and will take the tour again when there aren't as many people on the tour. Besides "Howwe" the mail room machine wasn't working today so maybe he will be in operation when we do the tour again.
The Escapees RV Club has exceeded the expectations of Joe and Kay Peterson by far. The comment was made that Kay had stated they may grow to have 100 members in the Escapees RV Club one day, and today there has been 103,114 members.
We will have five more weeks here before we take the month of May off to play, so I will take the tour another day and try to give a better description of it then.