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.
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!
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.
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 had such a great time with our pal Teresa and her mom Pat in Idaho Falls. We have been so blessed with wonderful friends. On our way to Idaho Falls from Caldwell, where we enjoyed the company of the Roland’s, we stopped for lunch at Jakers Bar and Grill in Twin Falls. As soon as I saw the billboard sign advertising the restaurant on the interstate, I told Tommy that we had to eat there. You see, my brother’s name is Jake, and I’ve always called him Jakers. It was a great meal that fortified us to finish the trek to our storage facility in Idaho Falls.
As I said in my earlier post, everything we own that wouldn’t fit into our motorhome is in our 20-foot box trailer that housed my Jeep on two cross-country trips. Now the trailer is parked safe and sound at a facility about six blocks from our pal Teresa’s house. Teresa will drive by it often. It blesses my socks off that I found a place so close to her house. It is a God thing because I had no idea it was so close to her when I arranged for the unit. God shows Himself to us through these little blessings all of the time.
We had many views of the Snake River on our drive, and it is truly amazing. We stopped for two nights at The Village of the Trees RV Resort in Delco, Idaho. It was a cute little park that was easy to access from highway 90, but road noise was not an issue. It was beautiful when we arrived, so I set up Paddy’s playhouse. He was so happy to get outside. The weather report said there was a ten percent chance of drizzle that night, so I went to bed without bringing in his beds and items that I wouldn’t want to get wet. At 11:00 p.m. I woke up to pouring rain and ran outside in my nightgown to stick as much of his playhouse under the pop-out as humanly possible. I neglected to grab much of the bedding that had already gotten wet, and I spent the next morning spreading everything out to dry. Our stay there was enjoyable, and $30.00 a night for full hookups in a beautiful park couldn’t be beaten.
I had asked Teresa to scope out the Snake River RV Park close to her because the reviews were not very good. After seeing it, she called to tell me that she would gladly stay there. It had two bar and grills within walking distance and was very close to her house. I tried making a reservation for over a week, and they never had a cancellation. Teresa called me and said that she had called every RV park in the area. The only one close to her was in Shelley. The North Bingham County Recreation Area is about 20 minutes south of Idaho Falls. She’d gone there to check it out, and the manager told her to have me call right away because they only had one site available for our stay. I reluctantly made the reservation because they didn’t offer sewer, and we are glampers in every sense of the word. Tommy drives me crazy, worrying about how often I go to the bathroom if we don’t have a sewer hookup. It makes for a stressful stay.
I called the Snake River RV Park again in a last-ditch effort about 40 minutes from Idaho Falls. I was informed that they still didn’t have room for us. The receptionist told me that they had a sister park in Rigby close by. She gave me the number, and I called the Yellowstone Lakeside RV Park. I was thrilled to secure a spot for our four-night stay. It was north of Idaho Falls, and they offered full hookups, so I canceled our stay at the other park. Thankfully, they hadn’t taken a deposit, and they were great about withdrawing our reservation without a fee. With our campsite reservation handled, we headed to the storage facility. We got our trailer situated in its spot without any problems. After securing it, we stopped on the way to the RV park for a nice Chinese lunch.
The name Yellowstone Lakeside Park was deceiving. It wasn’t lakeside, and it didn’t have any amenities to brag on. That is unless you have a dog. The dog washing station was quite nice. It was, however, conveniently located and had full hookups. It was only 18 minutes from Teresa’s house. She came and picked us up and gave us a tour of Idaho Falls before taking us to her house for dinner. We had a great visit with her and her mom, Pam, before heading back to the campsite in her car. She graciously let us borrow her car since we still don’t have a tow vehicle. We are currently keeping our eyes open and checking Craig’s List and RV forums for a used car with a tow package.
I took a nice walk from the RV park, not knowing exactly where I was headed, and wound up with a great surprise. Adventuring out of the park, I passed a couple of horses while trekking through a small ranch. It took me to the road that led in front of the RV park, and that led me to the Jefferson County Park. It was a beautiful place where we would have loved to stay. It, too, didn’t have sewer, but it was $25.00 a night cheaper than where we were staying and much more pleasant. The Yellowstone Lakeside Park is a glorified gravel parking lot. This county park, blocks away from it, was on a small lake. It had a slide in the middle of the lake, roomy sites, food trucks along the lake that sold tasty snacks six days a week, and a creek running through the back of it. The walking and biking trail around it was nice too. I told the sweet gal at the gate that didn’t charge me the $6.00 walk-in day fee that I would give them a great review and would most likely be back for a day visit with some friends.
Teresa planned lots of great stuff for our visit to the area. On our first full day, she took us to Island Park to have lunch at the Lakeside Lodge and Resort. After a fabulous lunch and tasty beverages, we headed to Johnny Sacks Cabin. It’s an incredible log cabin in Big Springs that won Idaho’s Historic Preservation Award in 2010. It is a must-see if in the area. From there, we went to Upper Mesa Falls. It was amazing!! Teresa was going to take us to the lower falls too, but we didn’t think they could outdo the upper falls, and we were spent. It was a full and fun day. We went back to the RV tired and happy. We needed to rest up for our trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the next day.
Jackson Hole is only a two-hour drive from Idaho Falls, and it is very scenic. Teresa and Pam were amazed by how low the Snake River was in many areas. I guess many parts of the United States are experiencing a drought. I digress. Jackson Hole is a bustling little town, almost too bustling. Tommy and I were both praying for a great parking spot, and we were blessed with one. Teresa and Pam wanted us to experience the Silver Dollar Bar for lunch. I bypassed the LONG line at the door of the restaurant and found four seats at the bar. Favor, once again. Thank you, Jesus. The bartender was slammed, but she still managed to give us excellent service. We enjoyed a tasty lunch and had a great time. From there, we headed to another must-see while in Jackson, the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. It’s full of eclectic items, including lots of taxidermy and horse saddle bar stools. The service was good, but the drinks were pricy. It’s what I would expect in a tourist town. The bar was huge and full of happy customers. It was great that out of hundreds of visitors, we saw very few masks.
We had talked about going to the Jefferson County Lake the next day to enjoy a swim on our last day, but after two very full days, we put the kibosh on that idea. Instead, we went to one of Teresa’s favorite spots for Happy hour and another excellent meal. When we arrived at the Smokin Fins, Pam was at the bar saving seats for Tommy, Teresa, and me. The bartender knew her and Teresa well and went out of his way to make us all feel special. They had quite a variety of food. Tommy had sushi, and I had tacos, and everything was delicious. It was an excellent final day in the area.
Our next stop was Melrose, Montana, 178 miles away. We try very hard to stick to the 200-mile, two-day-stay plan. If we go much further, it makes Tommy cranky. I picked the Sportsman Lodging and RV Park because the next stretch of RV parks was over 200 miles from us. I use RVTRIP Wizard in conjunction with RVParky to find our destinations. I love the fact that the Wizard shows you where RV parks are on your route and all the information you need to make your decisions. It lists the amenities, reviews, tips, and the weather in the locations. When I choose our parks, I put them on my list and have an outstanding record of our journey. It also shows you where fuel stops are, and you can add your favorite grocery stores and more to your route. At $39.00 a year, it’s an excellent value. RVParky is free and a great place to check out reviews and RV parks in the area that you are headed.
We got the last spot at the Sportsman, and it was between two giant trees. It was a little tricky to get into, so the park owner came out and helped Tommy back into the site. The Venus and Mars conundrum comes seriously into play when attempting to help Tommy park the motorhome. I was relieved not to be in charge. It was a cute little park with a bar and grill within walking distance. Since we haven’t purchased a tow vehicle yet, this amenity is vital. The Melrose Bar was a fun place. The bartender was so sweet. Not only did she tend the bar and cook the food, but she handled the gas pumps too. There were some video gambling machines there. I lost $8.00, and Tommy won $10.00. It was a fun way to kill some time. We had a pleasant visit with some folks staying in the same park, and it was an enjoyable day. The fried chicken and gravy fries that we took back to the motorhome were surprisingly delicious.
We only got to stay one night at the Sportsman because they were booked up. We were off to Big Timber, Montana KOA, bright and early. We are KOA members and have stayed in many of them, but this one was like no other we had experienced. We always joke about KOAs and trains. Fellow KOA campers totally get it. The first time we hear a train whistle, we laugh about it. Highway noise can also be an issue at KOA’s because most of them are very close to them. The Big Timber park was, however, like nothing we have ever experienced. It was the first time we couldn’t get a sewer hookup at a KOA. I needed to do a load of laundry and figured that I’d do it in the park’s facilities.
We were crammed in like sardines.
We survived the lack of a sewer hookup, but the train and highway noise was horrible. I’m a light sleeper, and it is hard for me to return to slumber once I wake up. I lost count of the trains that sounded like they were right outside of our door. I think the conductors get paid extra from KOA management for hitting the horn additional times. Needless to say, after a two-night stay, I was fatigued. On the bright side, I did get our laundry done for only $3.00.
Despite the problems with Big Timber, I booked us into another KOA in Miles City, Montana. It has been a much better experience. By the grace of God, we are in one of only two sites that have satellite reception. The park is very nice, and the staff is excellent. We were led to our site, and it has a huge patio, table, chairs, and a fire ring. It rained off and on, so we didn’t get to enjoy it much. I couldn’t get out Paddy’s playhouse because of the rain. Try explaining that to a cat. Especially an ornery one like Paddy. The rain very seldom matched up with the forecast. We got a window of opportunity to walk into town, and it was great. Miles City is a cute little town with lots of shops, restaurants and bars, and casinos. They aren’t casinos like Reno or Vegas. They are quaint little places with video games. I put $20.00 into the Hold Your Horses Keno machine and left with $120.00. Tommy left $2.38 lighter than when we walked in. Not bad for a fun afternoon. We went to the Montana Bar from the Silver Star Casino, a historic establishment founded in 1908. We had a nice lunch, and the server was delightful. Bonus, I used some of my winnings to pay for our lunch.
I hope I didn’t drag on too much and bore you. I love hearing from everyone that takes the time to read my blog and check out the pictures of our adventures. We’re off to North Dakota today. It’s one state that we have never been to. If you have some places that you think we should see, please let me know. We’re flying by the seat of our pants this time around, and getting reservations has sometimes been challenging.
God bless and happy travels, Cat
We became full-time RVer’s when we vacated our house in Shingletown, California, and moved into our motorhome on our property. In June of this year, we sorted through all of our belongings, purging ourselves of everything that we possibly could. We talked with many full-timers on the cross-country trip that we embarked on in November of 2020. Everyone we spoke with advised us to GET RID of EVERYTHING! They all said that spending money for a storage unit for things that we will never use again was a complete waste. We took that advice to heart. We had an estate sale, a yard sale, and donated truckloads of stuff to a local thrift shop that gives their proceeds to the care of abandoned animals. I may have gotten a bit carried away. While we were still staying in the house, I asked Tommy to boil some pasta for our dinner, only to realize that I sold every saucepan we owned in the yard sale.
Despite the massive purge, there are still some things that need to be stored. You can’t throw away precious pictures and photo albums. There are important papers that need to be held on to. There are some mementos and collectibles that are impossible to part with. Everything we had to keep and wouldn’t fit into the motorhome is packed into the 20-foot box trailer we used to tow my car behind the motorhome. My Jeep, which I purchased three months before we decided to move from a fifth-wheel to a motorhome, was not towable. My Compass was an all-wheel-drive automatic. We made two cross-country trips with my car in the trailer, and it was often a hindrance and pain. The great guy from Norcal Estate Sales who did a fantastic job for us also purchased my car for his ex-wife. Yes, I said he was a great guy. He sold Tommy’s truck, too, so we don’t currently have a tow vehicle. We are going to purchase one after we set up our domicile address in South Dakota. We will NEVER give California money for vehicle registration again.
We are a part of the mass exodus from California. We are sick of the crazy politics, taxes, and the flat-out insanity of our birth state. Tommy is a third-generation San Franciscan, and I was born and raised in California too. We are sad to see the state that we loved turning into a cesspool and are leaving it in our rearview mirror. Our house hasn’t sold yet, so a return may be imminent, but that is in God’s hands. Shingletown is very rural, and our property is utility-independent. We opted for solar, and since we left every winter, a PG&E connection was not something we cared to do. I think that it may be making potential buyers nervous. For whatever reason, it hasn’t sold, but we are not stressing over it. We have faith that it will sell when it is supposed to for the right price. We have an excellent house sitter, and when the property sells, we can do all of the paperwork online, so we are free to start our adventure.
Our first destination was Idaho. We have friends in the state, and many of them escaped Hollister to move there. We are also storing our trailer in Idaho Falls for half of what it would cost to keep it in California. We made our first stop in Hines, Oregon, for a one-night stay. We were hit by a swarm of cicadas about the time we crossed the California, Oregon border. It was absolutely insane! It sounded like the RV was being pounded by golf ball size hail. We could barely see out of the windshield and had to stop a couple of times to attempt to get the insects off. When we reached Hines, we were exhausted from driving for almost seven hours. We don’t usually travel that far in one day. But, we wanted to be in Caldwell, Idaho, early to begin our anniversary celebration with our pals, the Roland’s.
Angie and Bruce escaped California for Idaho last year. They have a beautiful, completely paid-for home in Star, Idaho. They are retired, but Bruce still does consult work. To pay the crazy taxes in California, he would have had to work a lot more, which is the case for most retirees in the state. There is a town close to the Roland’s with over 65 transplants from Hollister, California. Not just from the state of California, but Hollister. It speaks volumes about the need for conservative, tax-paying citizens to relocate to enjoy their golden years. We continue to pray for California and all of our family and friends there. We are praying for the low-life Newscum to be replaced, but it will take a lot more than getting rid of him to bring revival to California. Thousands of people in influential positions will need to be replaced from school boards to city councils, board of supervisors, and an overhaul in congress. Sorry, I’ll get off of my soapbox now.
Our first stop at the Sand’s RV Park in Hines, Oregon, was an interesting one. The “park’ wasn’t a place to brag about, but for a one-night stay, it was perfect. It was a short distance from the highway and easy to find. We thought we were in the parking lot and found out that we had actually pulled into one of its sites. We didn’t even see the pedestal with the power and water. The owner came out and greeted us, and he was a pleasant man. The nightly fee was $22.00, including tax. For full hookup, you can’t beat it. We didn’t hook up to the sewer, but it was available. There was a restaurant within walking distance which was a huge plus. After a long day on the road, the last thing I want to do is fix dinner. The Apple Peddler had good service and decent food. It was SO refreshing to be waited on by someone that wasn’t wearing a mask. A few people came in wearing masks. I’m sure they were all from California.
We arrived in Idaho on July 24th and spent three wonderful days with our pals savoring great meals and each other’s company. We enjoyed their favorite restaurants and their church, and no one was wearing masks. It’s so great to be out of California. We stayed at the Ambassador RV Park in Caldwell 20 minutes from their house. The park was beautiful and very well taken care of. I didn’t take the time to enjoy the pool but it was spotless. The staff was friendly and accommodating. The park had lots of amenities and was only $45.00 a night. That is probably why we almost didn’t get a reservation there. They were booked solid but I kept calling and we managed to get in. If you want to RV in Idaho I’d make reservations well in advance.
We are currently in Declo, Idaho, where we spent two nights at a lovely park next to the Snake River. The sites are large and long enough to accommodate our 40-foot motorhome and our 20-foot trailer. There is a small grill that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a pretty well-equipped store. Tommy had biscuits and gravy with eggs, and I had a chorizo and egg burrito for breakfast on our first morning here, and it was tasty. Bonus, it was only $8.50 for breakfast. We have full hookups, and the place is beautiful. It is only $30.00 a night, which makes it even sweeter. We were only going to stay one night, but reservations in Idaho Falls made it necessary to stay two. I’m glad that we did. Yesterday was the first day in forever that we could sit outside without being baked, even under the shade of our awning. Paddy was over the moon to be able to finally hang out outdoors. We had a pleasant visit with the lady at the campsite next door and took a great walk along the river. If you are looking for a stop between California and Idaho, the Village of the Trees Resort is a great choice.
That’s a wrap for week one. I’ll let you know how the trailer dropping excursion goes in Idaho Falls. We are meeting up with our pal Teresa who grew up there. We chose the spot from the internet, and we’re hoping that it’s a nice place to leave our belongings. It’s gated, locked, and reasonably priced. Teresa took care of our home in Hollister on our first cross-country trip. She and her husband Lee were a blessing beyond description. We had a koi pond, a pool, lots of yards to tend to, as well as two outdoor cats. They made it easy to enjoy our trip without stressing over our house. God blessed us the same way in Shingletown, where we have great friends looking after our property and home there too. We would like to make this exit from California permanent, so please pray that our house sells soon.
Thanks for coming along for the ride. I’ll talk at you soon. God bless, Cat
I’m amazed by the changes that a renewed relationship with Christ made in me. The same woman that dreaded a trip to Costco by herself headed out alone on a seven-mile hike around Lake Siskiyou a couple of weeks ago. Who is this person?
I’m thrilled to say that I’m a woman after God’s own heart. I’ve grown leaps and bounds spiritually since rededicating my life to Christ in January of 2002. So much has happened since then, much of it expounded on in my memoir, Born Again in a Biker Bar It’s available on Amazon in case you are interested in hearing “the rest of the story.”
The last three years have been a whirlwind. The changes that took place before that came about more slowly. But, we are all a work in progress. If you aren’t where you want to be at this stage in your life, keep the faith and know that God works everything out for good in the lives of His kids. My husband, Tommy, and I are prime examples of that.
Our current position in life is nothing short of miraculous. As Ephesians 3:20 says: Now glory be to God who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do abundantly more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. I thought the dreams I had for my life were lofty, but God has given me so much more than I dreamed of.
As I mentioned, we traveled to the Lake Siskiyou Campgrounds 90 miles north of our Shingletown home. We didn’t want to be on the property during our open house. We are joining in the mass exodus of loony, liberal, over-taxed, and overburdened California. Our beautiful home on six secluded acres is practically brand new. It’s a 1406 square-foot three-bedroom – two-bath modular home that was delivered to our property just over a year ago. We didn’t move into it until August because we were waiting on furniture. We sold or gave away almost everything when we left Hollister in August of 2019. The sale of that home was a fantastic story. More on that later.
Since selling Johnny’s Bar & Grill, which I owned and managed for over 22 years, we made three cross-country trips in our motorhome. We lived a full year in our RV when we sold our house in Hollister. We drove all the way to the Florida Keys. On the return trip to the west coast, we joined the Escapees RV Group for a visit to San Felipe, Mexico. It was a fantastic journey. We returned to our Shingletown property in March of 2020 but left for a southern location when it started snowing. We truly don’t like cold weather. We were in Winters, California, haha, when the Covid lockdowns first took place. Like everyone else, we thought the whole thing would blow over in a couple of weeks. How wrong we were.
The lockdowns made our furniture purchases a nightmare. Had I known that the 2020 elections would go so horribly and that lunatics like Pelosi and Waters would keep their Senate seats in California, I would have opted to shop at the Salvation Army. I had high hopes that things would change in the beautiful state that I was born and raised in. But, sadly, we can’t abide by the insane politics, laws, and taxes in this state any longer. So now we are selling the house that we haven’t even lived in for six months. We moved back into our motorhome to put our property on the market.
Tommy and I never really felt at home in the house. I believe that God didn’t let us get settled in Shingletown because He knew that we would be leaving it and California in our rearview mirror soon. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a gorgeous home in an extraordinary setting. We are surrounded by forest. It’s very secluded. Our only two neighbors are great folks that are too far away to see. Sadly, the property is in the wrong state. Shingletown is much more conservative territory than Hollister, but it’s still California. If you can’t bear to leave the state, but you’d like to live in an area that represents a more conservative view, with a house that is entirely utility independent, check out our home. It may be perfect for you. We have an excellent solar system, well with tasty water, a 5000-gallon storage tank, and a septic system. It has my husband’s dream shop of over 1500 square feet when you include the loft. Our goal was to have a completely off-grid home. We figured if the state went to hell in a handbag, we’d have the basic provisions and our guns. Now we just want to get as far away from it as possible.
As I walked on the trail around Lake Siskiyou, I was awestruck by God’s amazing handiwork. I asked Him a couple of times how a place that He made so beautiful could get so screwed up. The answer is pretty simple. The legislators that we voted into office are ungodly and corrupt. Christians have been asleep at the wheel. We were so worried about offending someone that we didn’t even stand up against the assault on our religious freedoms. It wasn’t just California, but we are certainly one of the bluest and looniest states in the union. But I digress. I was talking about the beauty of Lake Siskiyou.
I don’t know when you feel the closest to God, but for me, it’s when I’m admiring His handiwork. Being out in nature, especially close to water, I feel His presence in a big way. I am so grateful for His blessings. We followed the Lake Siskiyou weekend up with a visit to Lake California to spend time with our longtime friends, the Uhauld’s. We had meals together at our campsite and their house and laughed about the crazy times we used to have. We were a bunch of partying fools. We enjoy an exceptional camaraderie with them and our friends, the Frisbee’s who are the reason that we wound up in Shingletown. Linda and Dave have lived here for many years. More than twenty years have passed since we first started hanging out together in Hollister. Our lives have changed completely, but we still have a strong bond. It’s so awesome that God is the glue that keeps us all together. Back in the day, the subject of God didn’t come up often. Now He is the center of all our lives, and we are all the better for it. God is so good. He put together this ragtag bunch of people knowing that lifelong godly relationships would ensue.
God has blessed us all in many ways. For Tommy and me, it’s been the joy we’ve found in traveling in our motorhome that has completely changed our lives. If you would have told me, even five years ago, that I would be more comfortable living in a 40-foot motorhome than a house, I might have accused you of being insane. Most of my friends thought I’d be miserable. But God had a plan.
Tommy and I had only been together for a short time when I told him that we would see the United States in a motorhome one day when we retired. I didn’t give it a lot of thought before or after I said it, but 31 years later, God’s plan unfolded. He has been so good to us. His grace and mercy know no bounds.
It’s time for me to kick my lazy streak toward writing to the curb and start sharing more stories. So many of you went along with us on our first trip when I was diligently blogging. I hope you will join me again on our next chapter as we escape California. I won’t stop praying for a great awakening in the beautiful state that I was born in. When Newscum is recalled, and the church stands up to the tyranny and votes godly people into offices from the school boards to the senators, it will once again be a great place to live. We are getting old and don’t have the patience to wait for that to unfold. We can always come back and visit our native state. If you are staying in California and praying for the revival that the state needs, please do your part and let your voice be heard. If you are up for it, run for office. Whether it’s on the water board, city council, Supervisor’s office, or wherever, we need people of moral character to step up and take our state and our country back.
Thanks for hanging with me for a while. Don’t forget to pray for our nation daily. God bless, Cat