Loving the RV Life – Three months into our great escape.

Loving the RV Life – Three months into our great escape.

It was three months ago that we left Shingletown and California in our rearview mirror. It would be the fourth time that we headed out to cross the country in our motorhome. This time was different because we are no longer residents of the “not so golden” state. Let’s face it. California has gone to hell in a handbag. Enough doom and gloom. Let’s talk about the RV lifestyle.

My last post left off with us enjoying the Chesapeake Bay Thousand Trails Resort in Gloucester, Virginia. On our way to our next park, we would be driving right by the home of our fantastic new friends June and Tom, who we met at Chesapeake. They suggested that we park in front of their house and ride with them to get some lunch. We didn’t have a very long drive that day, and it worked out perfectly. We were overwhelmed when they surprised us with a plaque for our motorhome. We’d talked about all of the RV signs you see with people’s names on them having a picture of a trailer and not a motorhome. June told us that her son made wooden signs and said he could put anything on it that we wanted. “We should talk to him,” I said. Somehow, we never got back to the subject. June and Tom didn’t bring it up because they were planning on surprising us with one. The plaque is perfect. June said that there wasn’t enough room to put Paddy’s name on it, but she had her son put a cat in the front window of the motorhome. We were astonished by their generosity. God blesses us with the most amazing people on our trips. We have made many lifelong friends.

Our next stop was Hertford, North Carolina, 60 miles from Gloucester, to meet up with Jon Moore. We realized that we had an electrical problem while in Fort Eustis, and a search for a mobile technician led to Jon. If you are an RVer, you probably know that mechanics are VERY busy right now. It seems that there are not enough of them to keep up with the current demand. If you have a mechanically inclined teenager that hasn’t figured out what they want to do for a living yet, guide them towards this very lucrative field.

Jon was very busy, but he had my husband go over the error message on our firefly panel and include a picture of our batteries. When he got back to Tommy, he informed him that we had a grave issue. One of the batteries was so swollen that we are lucky it didn’t explode. Jon was going to be in Gloucester the following week for some work, and he agreed to come and take care of the repairs. According to him, our batteries were being overcharged because we never turned off our inverter when we were hooked up to a shoreline.

We have had our motorhome for almost four years, and NO ONE ever mentioned turning off the inverter. It seems like something that the dealer should have gone over. We have taken it to a couple of repair shops for warranty work, and those folks never mentioned it either. Jon ordered our replacement batteries and brought them out to the Chesapeake Bay Resort. He was prompt, honest, and reliable. Since we had been having an issue with our levelers for quite some time, we asked him to look at them. Sure enough, our front-left jack was shot. When he looked into ordering a replacement, he told us that it would be a week to ten days to get the part and two weeks before he could install it. His dad has an RV park in Hertford, North Carolina, where Jon lives, and he told us that he could do the work there.

Captian Jon

When you become a full-time RVer, repairs are a real pain in the backside. The warranty people want you to take the rig to a dealer for repairs. We did that in 2019 after returning from our cross-country trip, and the folks at Gander RV in Anderson had it for over two months. They still didn’t get everything fixed. The entire ordeal was frustrating at best. These guys want to keep your RV for at least 48 hours just to diagnose any problems. We tried to get the jack looked at before we left California. But, the folks at Gander couldn’t seem to wrap their brain around the fact that we couldn’t move out of our home for 48 hours while they took their sweet time identifying the issues, much less fixing them.

If you purchase an RV, do lots of research on extended warranties. Do not get talked into buying one at the dealership at the time of purchase. Most rigs are already covered for the first three years of ownership anyway. It depends on the manufacturer, but ours was covered for structural issues for three years or 45,000 miles and one year for the limited warranty. We were talked into an extended warranty for thousands of dollars that will expire at 50,000 miles which is right around the corner. Everything they have had to fix should have been covered by the manufacturer anyway. Sorry for the rant, but I’m hoping to save future RVers some money and trouble.

I was initially only able to get our reservation at the Chesapeake Bay for five days. When we checked in, I was allowed to add a few more. Now we had two weeks to kill in the area. Once Jon told me that it would be a couple of weeks to get to the repairs, I, once again, inquired about extra days with the young man at the front gate. When he said that he had extended our stay to our full 21-day’s I wanted to kiss him. It worked out perfectly. Jon’s dad couldn’t get us into his place until the 10th, and that was the day we had to check out. We spent three nights at the Strick’s Family Campground, and Jon replaced our jack. The day he repaired it, things went so smoothly that Jon invited us to join him and his family for a pontoon boat ride on the Perquimans River in the afternoon. Talk about blessed!

Tommy’s boiled shrimp was great.

Our next stay at a Thousand Trails park in North Carolina left us with a couple of extra days to spend somewhere else. I found the Farm Country Campground in Williamston. I chose the park because people left rave reviews about the Deadwood Restaurant across the street from the campground. You all know Tommy, and I enjoy our restaurant meals. The campground didn’t have a bunch of amenities, but it was only $35.00 a day for full hookups. As touted online, the food at Deadwood was delicious. And it’s not your average eatery. It has a mini amusement park. If you are ever in the area, it is a must-see. The ribeye steak was to die for!

The park had a pasture next to it that was the home to a horse and her fowl. They were adorable and let me pet them. I gave them an apple and on our second morning there when they saw me they came running. It was so sweet. I took a video of them running to me on the morning of our departure, but I accidentally deleted it. I love horses, and this was such a blessing to me. The Farm Country Campground was a great two-night stop.

Whispering Pines RV Campground in Newport, North Carolina, is where we are now. It’s a bit of a disappointment after the Chesapeake Bay. There are no amenities to speak of besides the pool, which is closed. It’s a nice pool with lots of lounge chairs and some shade. I’m sure it’s a pleasure in season. We have enjoyed the area. Morehead City has lots of excellent restaurants on the water. There are plenty of places to shop in the area too. On the way to Morehead, we stopped at the Walmart and replenished our supplies. They had four live checkers. I planned to boycott the store because they have killed so many jobs with self-checking. I refuse to scan my groceries. It’s not laziness. It’s a matter of principle. The trouble is, one-stop shopping is easiest at Walmart. There’s that soapbox again. Sorry.

I’ll wrap things up. Thanks for hanging with me. I try to include the websites for our stops so that other RVers can check them out. I always leave reviews because I appreciate having them to help me with my decisions. We are headed to Asheville next to see the Biltmore Hotel. I wanted to check it out on last year’s trip, but it didn’t work out. I’m looking forward to sharing some fantastic photos. Then we’re off to Georgia to meet up with some friends. We met Tom and Mary in Virginia two years ago at a KOA and are finally visiting them in their Blue Ridge, Georgia home. I said it before, and I’ll repeat it, God blesses us with wonderful people that become great friends in all of our travels.

Blessed Beyond Belief

Blessed Beyond Belief

Blessed Beyond Belief!

Virginia has been amazing! I tell God how grateful I am every day. The blessing of being able to travel across our beautiful United States in an RV is beyond my imagination. I mentioned in an earlier post, I told Tommy shortly after we became a couple that when we retired, we would see America in a motorhome. That was almost 32 years ago, and I couldn’t have dreamed just how amazing it would be.

We had a great visit with our grandson, Justin, his beautiful wife Allyssa, and our precious great-grandbabies. Justin is in the army and stationed in Fort Eustis, Virginia. We stayed at the campgrounds there, and we were amazed by its beauty. I never expected an army base to be so lovely. I took daily walks all around the base soaking up its history and its grandeur. I didn’t know until the day that we were leaving that there was a beautiful trail right next to the RV park. I could have trekked on it instead of the roads and sidewalks. Tommy went for a stroll and found it. It’s hard to believe that my husband found a trail and not me. There was so much to see on the base that I may have missed if I’d found the path. The Lord always works in mysterious ways in our lives.

If you didn’t know it, I’m a history fiend. I love anything historic. It’s one of the reasons I loved being the owner of Johnny’s Bar & Grill. It is steeped in history, but nothing compared to Fort Eustis, of course. The fort was established in 1918. From the Matthew Jones House to Mulberry Island to its archeological sites, this military base contains lots of historical information and sights. When I came across the Bell UH-1B “Huey,” I couldn’t help thinking about how horrible it is that Biden left billions of dollars of our weapons and technology to our enemies, the Taliban.

I don’t want to get political. However, being on a military base while the Afghanistan debacle was unfolding made it challenging not to be outraged. On the weekdays, the devoted soldiers were running around the base in full military gear. I was wearing shorts and a tank top and I was burning up. It was humid, and I always returned to the RV soaked in sweat. How those poor people ran in all of that gear was mind-boggling. We have no idea what our troops suffer through to protect this country. My appreciation for them cannot be described. I am so proud of our grandson. I forgot to get a picture of him in his uniform, and I’m still kicking myself for it. I’m happy that we got to spend time with the kids.

Next, we headed to the Chesapeake Bay RV Campground in Gloucester, Virginia. It’s a Thousand Trails park, and I was initially only able to book five nights. As usual, God blessed us, and we were able to extend our stay to three whole weeks. Our membership allows us 21 days in a park before we have to move on. We’ve stayed in some that you wouldn’t want to spend three weeks in, but this park is fantastic! We met a great guy while pulling into our campsite, and he is here the entire time that we are. Our next-door neighbor enjoys Pickleball too. We have been enjoying his company.

We walked down to the boat dock on our first day here and met a lovely couple in a golf cart with a sweet black lab. I asked if I could pet their dog, and we struck up a conversation. We liked Tom and June right away. Their fishing boat was tied up at the dock. I jokingly said, “I can’t wait to take a ride in your boat.” We were on the lake with them the next day. I’ve never been on a fishing boat that was that fast. We sailed across the water, and it was energizing. June Bug is serious about her fishing. We stopped in a place that Tom scoped out using his depth finder, and she caught a catfish in no time. I’m not into fish or fishing, but I’d guess that it was about four pounds. She wound up throwing it back into the lake. I was distraught for the little fella, and everyone made fun of me. I love all living creatures, and hunting and fishing are not in my wheelhouse.

The next day we went to the Gloucester Point Pier and had lunch at YROC Coastal Bar & Grill with our new friends. It was fantastic! The waterfront views and the massive yachts make for great outdoor dining. The fish and chips were excellent! I actually ate all of my fish. That never happens. The pickle fries were pretty good too. We liked it there so much that we offered to take neighbor Joe to lunch there a few days later. Tom and June had returned home to Newport News, but they met us there and took us for another great boat outing after lunch. We’re hoping that they come back and stay at the campground again before we leave. We really enjoy their company.

I’ve been so overwhelmed with gratitude for the blessed life that we are enjoying. It’s almost too good to be true. In this crazy screwed-up world, we have so much to be thankful for. I’ve struggled with being livid over the state of our nation under its current administration. I can be skipping around the RV park happy as a clam, and after five minutes of Newsmax, the only news syndication that we watch, and I want to punch something. I watch less and less of it these days. I want to stay informed about what is going on, but I have to say no when it steals my joy.

I watch a lot of outstanding prophetic preachers on YouTube that offer hope for our country and the world. I believe that truth and righteousness will prevail. I think that God is using these tumultuous times for the most significant revival that this world has ever seen. Let’s face it. If Trump had taken his rightful place in office, the folks that voted for Biden and his administration would have no idea just how horrible those people are. This uncovering of treasonous behavior by so many will be the demise of the Democrat Party. There are a lot of lousy Republicans in office too. However, I think we’re about to see the most significant political shift this country has ever experienced.

What Satan means for our harm, God will use for our good. The harvest of souls is going to be massive. Keep the faith and continue to pray for our country and those in office. It’s not easy when you’d like to slap some of them into the next zip code. As Christians, it’s what we a called to do. We can make a difference when we unite in prayer. God loves America. It’s His country, and the devil isn’t going to take it from Him. I think it’s the best country in the world. I’m so glad it’s where God chose to plant me. Prayer and gratefulness will save our nation. Don’t stop believing.

The Great California Escape – Eight Weeks Under our Belts

The Great California Escape – Eight Weeks Under our Belts

We began our great escape from California almost eight weeks ago. The trip has been loaded with blessings and sprinkled with challenges. I last posted about our travels after we visited Ohio. We went there to see friends that we met on last year’s trip to Florida. We have been blessed to meet the most wonderful people on our RV excursions over the past four years. It’s been great to have folks to visit all over these beautiful United States.

From Ohio, we headed to Pennsylvania on route to pick up our tow vehicle in Maryland. We sold practically everything we owned before departing the not-go-golden state for good. With the recall of gruesome Newscum going down to defeat, we couldn’t be happier to be out of it. We sold all of our vehicles because we didn’t intend to give California another penny for registration, and my car was not flat-towable. As I mentioned in my earlier post, we saved over a thousand dollars on the motorhome registration alone when we switched it to South Dakota, our new legal domicile. We have to return to the state every three years and stay at least 24 hours in Pennington County to keep our residence up to date. If you are thinking about becoming a full-time RVer and have questions about this process, please email me, and I’ll be glad to offer advice.

Tommy had been searching the internet for a flat towable car that had all of the proper towing equipment included since we left California. He’d done a lot of research, and we have talked to many fellow RVer’s. The Blue Ox system has had fantastic reviews, and it’s what Tommy was hoping to find. He saw a few possible matches, but they were never anywhere near us. Last month he found a 2009 Ford Explorer with one of the top Blue Ox tow packages in Maryland. The gentleman that was selling it was going to New York for a week. So, it wasn’t a problem for him to wait for us to make the drive from Ohio. The date was set. I found a KOA close to his house to stay at while we took care of the transaction. Talk about a blessing! This car is so clean that it looks brand new. Mac, the car’s owner, takes care of his stuff. We are thrilled with our purchase.

Back to our drive to Maryland. The drive to Ohio had been stressful, and we hoped for a more pleasant exit from the state. It didn’t start out very well. Despite doing plenty of research on Google Maps and RVTripWizard, we ran into some problems. We’d chosen what looked to be the best route, and I had a picture of it on my phone. We entered the destination address into the motorhome’s GPS, and the blue course it offered seemed to match the one on my phone. Off we went, and it was a beautiful drive. The county roads that lead to the highway were windy and small, but the views were gorgeous. Beautiful scenery doesn’t impress Tommy one little bit when he’s driving a 40-foot motorhome at a snail’s pace, tight turn after tight turn. He was handling the situation pretty well when Samantha, that’s our GPS guide’s name, told us to make a left turn on Crooked Road. Could the road get more crooked, we wondered? On the approach, we saw that a huge truck and trailer were backing up into the road, and it looked to be having difficulties. I hopped out of the rig and went to ask the man giving the truck driver directions if turning there was a good option. That’s when I noticed that it was a dirt road. Needless to say, he suggested that we didn’t take the Crooked Road. He told me that he was sure we’d find a better option if we kept going straight. One catastrophe was avoided because of God’s timing. A truck blocking the road wound up being a blessing.

We had three days to get to Maryland, and I hadn’t booked any stays in between because I wasn’t sure how far we’d want to go. What I did know was that we needed to do some serious shopping. I don’t remember the last time our refrigerator was that bear. We headed towards Pennsylvania and were on Hwy 36, which looked to be in the middle of nowhere. In Coshocton, Ohio, right off of the freeway, was a super Walmart, Yahoo! We have been trying to boycott Wally World as much as possible because we are angry about them replacing all of their checkers with self-check cash registers. We feel like their loyalty is misplaced, and they are doing severe damage to working Americans with this policy. Not to mention that self-check is a pain in the butt. We have stood in long lines in the only check stand operated by a human being because we refuse to scan our own groceries. If you have any produce in your cart, it’s not a game you want to play. Not only was this Walmart almost empty, but three checkers were waiting to serve us. We walked right up and put our groceries on the conveyer belt. Our checker was very pleasant, and we were out of the store in record time. Blessing number two. Thank you, Jesus. We had a fully stocked frig, and it wasn’t even 10:30 a.m. What a wonderful surprise.

On travel days, we try to stop and get a nice lunch. I hate cooking after being on the road. We usually have leftovers, so I don’t have to worry about fixing dinner. Low and behold, on I-77 in Kimbolton, Ohio, we found Jackie’s Family Restaurant. I’d Googled restaurants near me, and it wasn’t too far off of the interstate. As it turned out, it was pretty easy to park the motorhome. That in itself was a huge blessing. You never know when you bring up a restaurant in your search engine if you can park close to it. We’d attempted to go to another restaurant where parking was a challenge. Tommy did his thing, and we found a spot. After walking to a place with five-star reviews, we were greeted by a sign on the door that said a water main had broken, and they were closed until further notice. With our heads hanging down, we headed back to the motorhome. We stopped at another restaurant that we’d passed on the way, and it too was closed because of the water main issue. It was another 30 miles to find Jackie’s, and we were glad that we did. Tommy had liver and onions for the third time on this trip, and it was the best that he’d eaten. I had a great burger served by our lovely and overwhelmed waitress, and we left with happy tummies. The service industry is in dire need of people that want to work for a living. We are always sure to tip well and be patient and kind to the great people serving us.

We felt so accomplished, and since we had three days to make our journey, I suggested to Tommy that I start looking for a place to spend the night. I found the Spring Valley Campground in Cambridge, Ohio. They had just received a cancelation for one of their larger sites. It was only $38.00 for the night, and it was a great little campground on a small lake. Since we didn’t need to leave early the next day, I was able to take a fantastic walk and got to see more horses. I do love my horses. I couldn’t pet them because a sign next to the electric fence said they might bite. It was a lovely final morning in Ohio. It is by far the greenest state we have ever seen, and we’ve been to 39 of them. We will definitely be returning to it. It may even be a good option for an extended seasonal stay.

I’d made some calls to RV parks in Pennsylvania the day before, and many were booked up. I left messages at a couple of parks and emailed one. I told Tommy that I may had blown it by not having a destination to stay at for Friday and Saturday nights and when we’d gone to bed, I had no idea if we’d find a place to stay. The following day when I opened up my email before my walk, there was a message from the Saunderosa RV Park in Mercersburg, PA. The message said that she’s had a cancellation and could put us in a nice big site for two nights. They were also having a festival on Saturday. It was a fabulous park on a small lake. The seasonal campers had their sites set up beautifully. It was a pleasure walking around and checking them out. There were Trump signs all over the place. I thought Pennsylvania was a blue state? I’m looking forward to them doing a recount of the November election votes.

The Tractor Festival was fun. We tried the hatchet toss, which we weren’t very good at, had a smoothie made with a local distillery’s vodka, and grabbed lunch to take to the motorhome. We’d enjoyed the miniature golf course so much on our first night there that we played again after we ate dinner. The stay at this park was a huge blessing. We have experienced many God-incidences on this trip. He always makes a way for us.

We were staying at the Washington DC/Capitol KOA to meet up with Mac, the soon-to-be ours Ford Explorer owner. It was only 118 miles away, so it should have been an easy trip. Like Ohio, Pennsylvania has many small windy county roads. Once again, we’d done plenty of research on the most desirable route. We were taking it slowly through lots of twists and turns, and I noticed that there was a sign that pointed to the left with the country road number that we were on. Since Samantha didn’t say to turn, Tommy went straight. Within a very short distance, we found out that it was yet another dirt road. Thankfully, Tommy found a place to turn around, but it was no easy feat. If we had our tow car behind us, we would have been in real trouble. We managed to make it to our destination before noon and were set up by the time Mac showed up with the Explorer. As I said, we were delighted by the condition it was in. Mac was accommodating in showing Tommy how to hook up the towing equipment. Not only was the car pristine, but he included the correct attachment for our bicycle rack. He was pleasant to work with. After spending quite a while with Tommy on Sunday, he returned Monday to take Tommy to the DMV to handle the paperwork. My honey said that they walked right in and had everything handled in minutes. That wouldn’t happen in California.

We stayed at the KOA for three nights and enjoyed our stay. The pool was closed for the season, which was a drag. When it’s 85 degrees outside, a dip in a pool would be enjoyable. The folks that worked there were pleasant and helpful, and they had a great laundry room. I washed our bedding and took a fabulous walk around the beautiful neighborhood. The houses in Pennsylvania are huge! On my return trip to the RV, I noticed a pool table behind the covered swimming pool. I’d purchased a set of balls and cue sticks last year.  We found ourselves in many campgrounds with pool tables but couldn’t play because of COVID restrictions. I’d begun to wonder if we were ever going to use them. Tommy kicked my butt, and we called it an evening.

We are currently at Fort Eustis in Newport News, Virginia, visiting grandkids and great-grandbabies. It’s been quite interesting so far, but I’ll share those stories in my next post. Happy trails, and keep praying and believing. God’s not done with these beautiful United states yet. I believe that great things are ahead for our county. It’s always darkest before the dawn.

God bless, Cat

We Must Never Forget!

We Must Never Forget!

Who doesn’t remember where you were and what you were doing on that fateful day of September 11, 2001? No American should ever forget that horrific event. As a nation, it shook us to our core, but it united us in a way that it seems only wicked occurrences do. I don’t think that the people of our nation had bonded together like we did since the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in1941. At least for a little while, we were a praying and unified country. It was the good that came out of the ugly.

I had the opportunity to visit the September 11 Memorial in May of 2015. I’d gone to Albany, New York, to attend the Boozefighters National Convention. When I owned Johnny’s Bar & Grill in Hollister, I became very close to the motorcycle club that was at my historic bar in 1947 during the so-called motorcycle riots. They were the most generous bunch of people, and they treated me like royalty at their gatherings back then.

I figured if I was flying all the way across the country, I needed to make it a point to see the 9/11 Memorial. I’d asked around for someone to join me but found no takers. The employees at the Holiday Inn described the trip from the hotel in Albany to the Memorial as not a big deal. Let me say that the assessment couldn’t have been further from the truth.

The hotel shuttle service dropped me off at a bus stop with instructions about which bus I should board that would take me to another bus, which would take me to the train, that would take me to the subway, and then to the Memorial. I’d long conquered my phobia of going places alone, but this was an adventure of astronomical proportions. I somehow managed to find the right buses and made it to the train station. Once there, I relaxed a bit. The ticket salesperson told me to get off the train at Grand Central Station and gave me instructions about purchasing my ticket for the subway. She said I’d know where to get off once on it because the conductor would announce the 9/11 Memorial stop. Easy, peasy, right? Not hardly, but it’s much too long of a story to get into. Suffice it to say that by the grace of God, I made it to the Memorial.

If you have never seen the 9/11 Memorial and Museum up close and personal, there is no describing it. At least not in a way that conveys the purely emotional experience. In the bowels of what was left of the Twin Towers, seven stories below the Memorial, is the main exhibit. You see first-hand the devastation, the twisted metal, Ladder Company 3’s demolished fire truck, and what once were stairways that terrified people scrambled down to escape the horror. The museum is full of artifacts and stories from survivors, first responders, residents, and eyewitnesses. Interactive displays and a memorial exhibition honor all those that lost their lives. It is the most powerfully moving exhibit I have or ever will see.

You come out of the cavernous museum to the Memorial’s twin reflecting pools, which are each nearly an acre in size and feature the largest man-made waterfalls in North America. The almost 3,000 names of the men, women and children killed in the attacks of September 11, 2001, and February 26, 1993, at the World Trade Center are inscribed on bronze parapets surrounding the twin memorial pools. I couldn’t help rubbing my hands over the names. I may not have known any of those people, but their loss and the holes they left in family members’ hearts were palpable.

I’m so glad that I got to experience the Memorial, but I won’t be making that trek again. I have no desire to return to New York, but please don’t miss seeing the Memorial if you find yourself there. It is historical, somber, emotional, and inspiring.

I want to finish up on a lighter note. There is a bit too much gloom going around right now. To say that my return trip, which included a subway ride in New York at 5:30 in the evening, was harrowing would be an understatement. I still haven’t conquered my claustrophobia. Let’s just say that if you suffer from the same affliction, the last place you want to be is on a New York subway at rush hour. I’m pretty sure that there is no limit to the passengers allowed in each car, as long as they can close the doors. I wound up wrapping myself around a pole right next to one of the doors and holding on for dear life.

The fear I was feeling was evidently easy to perceive. I met the nicest people who showed genuine concern and did their best to ease my hysteria. One lovely lady talked calmly to me and asked me questions about myself to distract me for most of the ride. When she got off, she told me that I only had four more stops before mine and continued to talk to me like a mother would to a frightened child. The gentleman standing next to me told her that he was getting off at my stop and would be sure to assist me. I’ve heard tales about New Yorkers being mean and self-absorbed, but the folks I met were terrific.

Not only did the man get me off of the subway at the right stop, but he made sure that I got on the correct train to head back to Albany. From there, I was supposed to take two buses once again and then hail a shuttle back to my hotel. That was not happening! The visit to the Memorial was emotionally draining, and the subway and train expeditions polished me off. I called a cab and was driven right to the door of my hotel at a very hefty price.

I have checked a visit to New York and the 9/11 Memorial off of my bucket list. Can I suggest that if you do the same, don’t do it alone? Take a friend or a family member. Heck, take an ex-wife or ex-husband. Just take somebody with you.

Let’s all say a prayer for the nearly 3000 names etched on the Memorial and for all of the families that lost loved ones that day. Many first responders have suffered illnesses and even died well after the incident because of its health issues. Let’s pray for all of them too. While talking to The Man Upstairs, let’s also pray for our hard-working firefighters and men and women in blue who risk their lives for us every day. God bless them all.

The Great California Escape – Weeks Three & Four

The Great California Escape – Weeks Three & Four

The Great California Escape – Week Three and Four

When we decided that we couldn’t be in California another day and started out on our trek, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally never crossed my mind. We had business to take care of in Box Elder, South Dakota, next to Rapid City. The entire area is inundated with bikers in the first half of August. As the owner of a famous biker bar for over twenty-two years, I appreciate them more than I can say. However, my honey was not excited about sharing the highway with thousands of them while driving a motorhome. Finding an RV park to stay in anywhere in the area was also impossible, so we decided to putt around North Dakota for a bit.

Our first stop at the Camp on the Heart in Dickenson, North Dakota, wasn’t much of an RV park, but for a two-night stay, it worked. We had full hookups, and it was only $30.00 a night. The nice fella who runs the park works another full-time job, but he promptly answers his cell phone and is very accommodating. He told us to pick a spot when we arrived and that when he got home from work, he’d collect the funds for our stay. The weather was finally cool enough to sit outside, and Paddy was thrilled to be in his playhouse. I took a walk and met up with a couple of horses that had a blast sniffing my hair. I love the way I seem to be meeting up with horses and cows on my walks.

Our next North Dakota stay was at the Bismarck KOA. I requested that we have a site that would afford us satellite service, and it wound up being a mistake. The beautiful wooded sites were further from the highway and much nicer. The new full hookup sites have no problem with satellite reception because they are basically in a gravel parking lot. They are right next to the road. It was a nice park, and I used the laundry to wash sheets and towels. I’d chosen Bismarck because they were supposed to have the largest RV dealership in North Dakota. Their website listed nine motorhomes for sale there. That turned out to be a complete misrepresentation. We used Lyft to get there, and it was a complete waste of our time and money.

We are just being looky-loos at this juncture, but there was nothing to look at. The two motorhomes on the lot were nothing special. There weren’t any restaurants within walking distance, so we had to call for another Lyft. The good news was that Lyft was available. Many cities that used to have Uber and Lyft drivers lost them to COVID. It’s unfortunate. So many jobs gone that will never come back. Anyway, for those of you thinking about visiting North Dakota, Bismarck is a pretty large city with lots of shopping and restaurants, and there is plenty to do in the area. Without the luxury of a car to drive around, a four-night stay was plenty, and we headed to South Dakota.

The South Whitlock Resort in Gettysburg, South Dakota, was our next stop, and it was a nice one. There isn’t much to do in the area unless you like to fish and hunt. It was unseasonably hot like just about every place we’ve been. The park was relatively empty. The sweet gal in the store where you check-in told us that it had been so hot that the fisherman gave up fishing. She said the fish go so deep to get to cooler water that they are dead by the time they are reeled in. The store was loaded with fishing gear. They had every lure you could imagine. They also had many necessities available, which is good because it’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It’s a pretty park with easy access from the highway. Surprisingly, there was a great little restaurant right across the parking lot. We enjoyed visiting with the locals and ate there twice. I had a great place to walk. I walked down to the lake every day that we were there, and the walk back up the hill was torture. It was great, though. I love to feel the burn from a walk. However, after a few days of it, getting out of my chair was a challenge. I would gladly stay there again. Full hookups were only $27.00 a night. A little more extended stay would be great if we had a vehicle and could explore the area. Maybe next time.

Presho, SD, was our next stop, and the New Frontier RV Park was lovely. It, too, had a bar and grill within walking distance. Are you seeing a theme here? We love visiting with locals and enjoying good food and beverages. If I have a good place to walk, it is the icing on the cake. Our stay there was pleasant, and we almost stopped there again when we left Box Elder. We are changing our domicile to South Dakota, as I told you in my earlier post. A prerequisite to doing that is staying at least one night in Pennington County. America’s Campground in Box Elder has seen a lot of folks from California. America’s Mailbox does a lot of business there as well as the Escapees, which we belong to. While I was waiting to get checked in, I chatted with a man that not only had escaped California but had once lived in Shingletown. What are the odds of meeting someone in South Dakota from our tiny town?

The campground is pretty much a parking lot. We had full hookups, and Lyft was available to take us to the Pennington County Treasurers Office, where we switched our California plates to South Dakota ones. Our motorhome registration was $1000.00 less in S.D. When we find a tow vehicle, I’m sure that it cost a lot less for that too. Crazy Cali will tax you to death. We met a lot of people that were changing their domiciles. Our next-door neighbor was switching from Delaware. We met the sweetest folks from San Diego, and they were very helpful because they had already gone through the process. That is one of the best things about living on the road. You meet the nicest people from all over the place.

We are SO happy not to be in California and to be enjoying our trek across the country. We’ve experienced a variety of RV parks, and most have been good. We covered over 20 states staying in many places for only one or two nights on our first cross-country trip. We don’t roll that way anymore. We prefer to keep our miles down to 200 a day and spend at least two nights at our destinations. We’ve been amazed by how many campgrounds look empty on our arrival and then fill up, some people pulling in as late as 7:00 p.m. We try to be settled wherever we stay before 3:00. The next day those same people are gone by 10:00 a.m. We are so blessed to be taking our time. We’re flying by the seat of our pants in many ways. Sometimes I don’t make our reservation until the day before we leave. So far, that’s working just fine.

Thanks for tuning in and taking this voyage with us. I’m excited to bring you along. It’s easier to post all of my pictures on our Facebook RV Road Trip with Tom, Cat, and Paddy page, so if you want to see them all, be sure to check it out.

God bless you. Keep on praying and believing. God’s not done with us yet.