Into our 4th month in Casa Grande

Wow, would ya look at that, over 202,000 views on our blog!! Who would have thunk it LOL!!!!

Things are still cruising right along for us here at Palm Creek with Pickelball, bike rides and walks every day (no surprise) along with golf, Mahjong and a couple Happy Hours tossed in for good measure.

Diane on the opposite side of the net on the right. OOps, that ball looks a little high Diane, get ready to eat it!!

Diane on the opposite side of the net on the right. OOps, that ball looks a little high Diane, get ready to eat it!!

One Friday night about 18 of us got together and drove to Eloy and enjoyed an evening at the Tumbleweed, a restaurant and pub.

Diane (caught with her mouth full AGAIN!) and me.

Diane (caught with her mouth full AGAIN!) and me.

The Tumbleweed has live music 3 or 4 nights a week and on Friday nights they have a Fish & Chips special that we had heard was pretty good so hey, why not give it a try.
For us the meal was just ok but the music was pretty good and the gathering with friends was great even though once the music started any conversation pretty much came to a halt.

Becky & Drew

Becky & Drew

Jan & Larry

Jan & Larry

A few in our group hit the dance floor but as we mentioned in an earlier update Diane and I don’t dance so we just enjoyed the music and people watching. It turned out to be a late night for us old farts, I think we returned home about 10PM LOL!!

 

 

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One afternoon after our usual start to the day (Pickelball) we putzed around at the Adult Carnival the resort held in the park. They had a one man band playing some pretty good oldies, food & booze and a number of tents set up with a variety of games you could play to win tickets which you could then turn in for prizes, a pretty good time overall.


And of course what’s a Carnival without a huge blowup slide!!! Which of course Diane and Becky had to go down,,,,, twice LOL!! It was fun watching a bunch of old farts playing like kids. NO,, I’m not calling Diane and Becky old farts, I meant everyone else!!! Whew, that could have been a disaster.

Here they go, Becky on the left & Diane on the right.

Here they go, Becky on the left & Diane on the right.

Oh I see a crash coming!!

Oh I see a crash coming!!


Shortly after the carnival our friends Becky & Drew who we met last year and enjoyed our time with again this year left the park after their 3 month stay at the beginning of February and I think Diane has had a bought of Becky withdrawals but I think she will survive thankfully LOL. (No offense Drew but us guys don’t have that type of problem even though I am looking forward to our next evening of wings and getting on the courts together again LOL!)

The way it looks our paths should cross again during our summer travels on the west coast this summer somewhere and we will be looking forward to that and as it stands now we will be spending time here in Arizona with them next winter. Travel safe guys!!

Our friends Tina & Rob from our old stomping grounds in southern Oregon popped into the area for a couple weeks along with Tina’s sister and her husband and it was great seeing them again.


They have family and other friends in the area so we didn’t get to spend a bunch of time together but we did go out for Hot Wings one evening along with Drew and Becky. It’s hard to visit with everyone in that atmosphere but everyone had a good time none the less I think.

Our friends Julie & Brian “from our old stomping grounds in southern Oregon” also popped into the area for a couple weeks, they opted to stay at Palm Creek “the same resort we are at” mainly for all of the activities and Pickelball. They started playing about 6 months ago so they wanted to spend some time on the courts. It didn’t take them long “about 1 day” and they were signed up for their first Round Robin play and taking no prisoners.

Julie & Brian

Julie & Brian

Brian on the left. Get that ball Brian!!

Brian on the left. Get that ball Brian!!

Brian in the blue shirt.

Brian in the blue shirt.


We have played a little with them but both Diane and I have been pretty busy playing as much Pickelball as possible in preparation for our first tournament and the schedule around the courts have been a bit crazy because of court washing and a few clinics and paddle demo days so it’s been a bit tough for Brian and Julie to squeeze in many matches. But I’m sure after the tournament we will get some good play in together before they leave.

Pickelball clinic

Pickelball clinic

One of the many clinics held here.

One of the many clinics held here.

Let’s see, what else? Oh the park celebrates Cancer Awareness Week in a pretty big way and one of the events is a Hot Air Balloon Glow so we made our way over to take that in.

They were giving tethered balloon rides.

They were giving tethered balloon rides.

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HEY, Diane and our friend Becky made the cover of the Pickelball Magazine! I’m not sure it has hit the shelves yet but there will be an autograph signing scheduled near you soon LOL!!!

Diane is in the back, the second from the right.

Diane is in the back, the second from the right.

I guess that’s about it, we are into our final month here and looking at what we have scheduled it’s going to go by faster than we think I’m afraid.

Oh, a minor side note because I know it’s a big deal LOL!!! I’m still witling away at my diet, I was (healthy) 235lbs when we rolled in on November 1st and on my Birthday morning at the beginning of this month I was 210lbs. I’m sure I will lose a little ground on Super Bowl Sunday but my hope is to hit 205 before we leave on March 1st, 5lbs shy of my ultimate goal.

I’m pretty certain that I could have already hit my goal by now but to be honest I have not hit the gym nearly as much as I planned to during our stay and I have no real reason for that, just excuses LOL!!
Until next time!!!

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Still hanging out in Arizona

 Wow, we have completed 3 (almost) of our 4 month stay here at Palm Creek and other than a couple slow days because of windy days, time has flown by and at this rate I think we will be longing for more when it’s time to lift our jacks and make a move. Hmm, it seems strange to even think that.

 To be honest I think it would be easy for us to commit to one of the sites in the new area of the resort that will allow a small home plus have room to park an RV next to it and call this home for 5 or 6 months a year but I just can’t wrap my head around (but I think Diane can) buying a nice modular home to the tune of maybe $140,000 then add some more money for landscaping and upgrades and have it sitting on a chunk of land we don’t own that we would have to pay anywhere from $7700 to $8700 per year to lease. PLUS the resort is known for raising rates every year which in turn would no doubt force us to stay here for longer periods of time and cut into our travels and eventually force us out because of cost. Then I worry that the annual costs would be so high that it might detour buyers and make it hard to sell and throw us into a tailspin that could be disaster for us in our older years.

 Nope, I think we will just keep our checkbook in our pocket as far as making a huge commitment to Palm Creek and just keep renting a site a few months per year until we tire of the place or it become so ridiculously overpriced (for us) that we decide to find somewhere else to hang our hats during the winter months. But for now we sure enjoy it and are planning to return at least one more time next winter.

 Otherwise we have been doing a lot of the same since our last update, Pickleball pretty much every day, bike rides, walks, a few Happy Hours, visiting with friends, golf, Mahjong and oh, did we mention Pickleball LOL!!

Diane getting ready to head to the golf course. The bottle she has in her had is "Birdie juice". Or better known as Pomegranate Schnapps. Every time anyone gets a birdie (or even close) everyone takes a shot LOL!!

Diane getting ready to head to the golf course. The bottle she has in her had is “Birdie juice”. Or better known as Pomegranate Schnapps. Every time anyone gets a birdie (or even close) everyone takes a shot LOL!!

 Speaking of Pickleball we will make brief mention that we both signed up to play in our first Pickleball tournament coming up in February. Yup, Diane is going to play in the Women’s Doubles and I will play in the Men’s Doubles and the Mixed Doubles so no doubt we will comment more on this when the time comes but it should be interesting and fun.

Getting a little Ping-Pong in.

Getting a little Ping-Pong in.

 Our friends Jim & Barb who we met a couple years ago in Quartzsite also stopped in for a visit. We have kept in contact through Facebook and through both of our blogs but haven’t physically bumped into each other since Quartzsite.

Barb & Jim

Barb & Jim

 They were only in town for a couple nights and have other friends staying in the area as well so they were pretty busy during their short stay so we were happy they spent a little time with us to catch up.

 And we had a fun & interesting evening over at one of our new friends place “Tommy” and his girlfriend Diann along with our friends Drew & Becky experimenting with Tommy’s new Reciette cheese maker and griddle device.

Diann, Tommy Drew, Becky and Diane. I'm the empty chair.

Diann, Tommy Drew, Becky and Diane. I’m the empty chair.

 Tommy & Diann had just returned from a European vacation and sort of got hooked on the Reciette cheese thing and just had to buy a contraption so they could continue enjoying it at home.

Dave, Diane, Drew & Becky

Dave, Diane, Drew & Becky

 We had never heard of Raclette before but as it turns out it was mentioned back in medieval writings in texts from Swiss-German convents dating from as early as 1291 and was originally consumed by peasants in the mountainous Alpine regions of Valais (Switzerland), Savoie and Haute-Savoie (France). It was then known in the German-speaking part of Switzerland as Bratchäs, or “roasted cheese”. Traditionally, cow herders carried cheese with them when they were moving cows to or from the pastures up in the mountains. In the evening, the cheese would be placed next to a campfire for softening and scraped onto bread.

 The modern way of serving Raclette involves an electric table-top grill with small pans, known as coupelles, that you melt slices of Raclette cheese in. Generally the grill also has a hot plate or griddle on top to heat things like, well whatever you want to eat or cover with cheese LOL!!

The cheese is brought to the table sliced to fit into the coupelles to be melted accompanied by boiled or steamed potatoes and other vegetables and meats that you can then pour or scrape the cheese over. The emphasis in Raclette dining is on relaxed and sociable eating and drinking which I think we had the hang of.

You can see the cheese under the griddle.

You can see the cheese under the griddle.

 Tommy & Diann are foodies so we had everything from mushrooms, cauliflower, zucchini, a couple different types of sausages, garlic, sliced ham and other things that I know I’m forgetting but you get the idea. Plus they had a bunch of hors d’oeuvres that hardly got touched because there was so much food. Other than the cheese it really was a healthy meal and it was fun experimenting with their new toy and spending the evening with friends.  

I think this was Tommy's plate, he had it down to an art.

I think this was Tommy’s plate, he had it down to an art.

   Well, we only have a little over a month left of our stay here in Casa Grande and it’s going to go fast. Our friends Drew and Becky will be leaving on February 1st so a bunch of us have plans to spend an evening at some Honky Tonk pub for a fish fry and some music and dancing (Diane and I don’t dance so friends, fish & music it will be LOL) and we have 3 sets of friends from our old home town due to hit the area at different times before we leave which will be great, there is another Fly In & Breakfast to be had the 1st Saturday in February, we have 3 days of the Pickleball Tournament happening, we have a Pickleball Dance to attend (again it will just be music & friends for us, no dancing), we will probably spend a day at the Annual Electric Fly In event by Mesa (a huge electric RC Airplane event), and our old RC Airplane Club here at the park has a big Pizza Party planned so toss in all of our regular activities and time will be flying by and it will be time to move on before we know it.

 That’s it for now, stay tuned, we will be back!!!                 

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Still hanging out in Arizona

 We are well over 2 months into our 4 month stay here at Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort in Arizona and still going strong and time is flying by.

 Diane has found a good rhythm by playing Mahjong 1 day per week and it sounds like that will be going to 2 days, playing golf 1 or 2 days per week and playing Pickleball 4 or 5 times per week along with some down time for reading, a bike ride or two and a couple Happy Hours tossed in for good measure.

A Happy Hour with our friends Dave & Jenny across the street from our site.

A Happy Hour with our friends Dave & Jenny across the street from our site.

A Happy Hour gathering at our friends and neighbors across the street, Dave & Jenny

A Happy Hour gathering at our friends and neighbors across the street, Dave & Jenny

 I on the other hand have gotten into a Pickelball rut this year. It seems I play between 3 and 6 hours almost every single day and I think if my body would hold up I would play more LOL!!

 I’m almost disappointed in myself that I have not branched out more this year as far as activities are concerned but with the RC airfield change it has really effected how I spend my days compared to our last couple stays here.

 But like Diane other than Pickleball I get in a few bike rides and walks and have snuck in a Happy Hour or two but I’m still (pretty much) staying away from alcohol for now and have managed to lose 20lbs since getting here. So I may be in a rut but a healthy one. I would be happy if I lost 5 more before we leave but REAL happy if I could lose 10 more.

The Lions club cooking up some good food

The Lions club cooking up some good food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made it out to the Pancake Breakfast & Fly-In at the Coolidge airport for the 2nd time this season as well. I got there just before 8am, had a good breakfast and saw some nice planes which is always a great way to start any day. And once again Diane opted to stay and play a round of golf with the girls.

I'm guessing the pilot had a pucker moment. Check out the prop.

I’m guessing the pilot had a pucker moment. Check out the prop.

The crowd grew much bigger as time went on but I took this pretty early.

The crowd grew much bigger as time went on but I took this pretty early.

 After the Fly-in I drove over to the Florence Aero Modelers RC airfield to see what was going on, but there were only a couple guys out there so after getting a tip from a couple other RC pilots I continued on to the Sun Lakes RC Club facilities just north of Coolidge to have a look.

 I was pleasantly surprised to find about 20 guys milling around. A few got involved with a pylon race which was fun to watch and a few others were getting into some good acrobatic flying which is what I enjoy (but I think I could like the pylon racing to if I gave it a chance LOL!!).

Sun Lakes RC Club

Sun Lakes RC Club

 After chatting with one of the board members and the president of the club a bit and watching the other guys fly one of the guys yelled out “HEY, let’s get the cars out” and about 10 guys grabbed their RC cars & trucks and headed to the racetrack they also have carved in at the facility.

 I stood around and got a few good laughs in watching them tear up the track (and their toys) for a while before getting back in the truck and heading home thinking, I think I found the place I will join for next season. I probably should join now so I can fly some this season because their membership runs from January to December but I’m afraid I will want an RC Car if I do that. Hmm, I better open up the basement doors of the motorhome and see what I can do to create some more space LOL!!

    

 

A batch of ladies getting ready to play a Round Robin

A batch of ladies getting ready to play a Round Robin

Diane is in that bunch of ladies getting ready to play a morning Round Robin.

Diane is in that bunch of ladies getting ready to play a morning Round Robin.

Diane and Becky. They played a bunch of Pickelball together

Diane and Becky. They played a bunch of Pickelball together

Our friends Pam & Red and Dianne & Steve popped into the area for a short time, Red & Pam for a very short 2 day visit and Diane & Steve for 2 weeks so we didn’t get to see much of them during their stay but we did manage to squeeze in a couple meals together.

Steve & Diane getting a "how to pour" at the Thirsty Donkey. A self serve bar!!

Steve & Diane getting a “how to pour” at the Thirsty Donkey. A self serve bar!!

Dianne, Steve, Me (Dave), Red, Pam and Diane

Dianne, Steve, Me (Dave), Red, Pam and Diane

 We will hopefully see Steve & Dianne for a couple days in Quartzsite right after we leave Casa Grande in March and will be spending a week with Red & Pam at a RV Dreams Rally in Nevada at the end of March so with luck we can do some more catching up.

 Something else worth mentioning is that I finally got around to experimenting with making Greek Yogurt in our Instant-Pot, something I have been wanting to do for some time now.

 We have been buying the Chobani Greek Yogurt in the 5.3oz containers to the tune of roughly $1 each for years and eat it for lunch along with some type of fruit for lunch many times a week. We also buy it in the larger container now and again because I like it for breakfast with some granola mixed in once and a while and when I’m trying to be good (like now) I will even have it as a snack in the evening instead of reaching for chips or a bowl of ice-cream so we can go through a fair amount of yogurt in a months’ time.

 So with the above in mind and because I have been trying to lose a few pounds it just made perfect sense to give it a try now and we are both so happy I did. And it’s so much easier to make than I imagined plus after a couple experimental batches we feel it is every bit as good as the store bought yogurt and much cheaper, win win.

 Normally we would go through the process you need to go through here on the blog but because there are so many video’s on You Tube and so much information available on the Instant-Pot sections of Facebook about making yogurt I don’t think we really need to go into detail. But we will say that when we first tried making yogurt we just used stuff we had on hand (a colander and some cheese cloth) to drain our yogurt and that worked just fine but because we figure making our own yogurt will be an ongoing thing we did splurge and buy a Euro Cuisine GY50 Greek Yogurt strainer from Amazon to the tune of $18.20 to make our yogurt making easier by not having to continuously by Cheese Cloth which in turn will make it pay for itself in very little time.

 Speaking of paying for itself, let me do a rough example of the savings we expect to have by making our own yogurt. And I mean rough example because many things can be factored in to the cost depending on how you like to eat yogurt, plain or with a little granola mixed in, or maybe some fresh fruit or even canned fruit, or maybe just a little honey mixed in. And of course what you buy at the store may cost more or less than what we buy and it depends on how much milk costs in your area. But for us this is a close enough comparison.

 Let’s just use 1 gallon (128oz) for comparing to make it easy. To begin with like we mentioned we buy the 5.3oz containers of Chobani for $1 so it takes 24.15 containers to make a gallon, we will round it o 24 for ease so lest say $24 per gallon.

 Now to make a gallon of homemade yogurt it cost us $1.88 for our last gallon of milk and it takes 2 tablespoons of starter yogurt which you can actually use from your own home made yogurt but I buy a small container of Fague so my 2 tablespoons cost “roughly” 20 cents. So $2.08 to make a gallon of plain yogurt.

 Keep in mind that if you are making Greek Yogurt you will drain away some liquid called “whey” which in turn will reduce your beginning 1 gallon (128oz) a little and I have not taken the time to get down to the gnats ass of exactly how much we end up with from a gallon of milk so let’s just reduce the 128oz a little and say we get 120oz. So that would mean that it costs us “roughly” ) just under 2 cents per oz (.017) which means $2.04 for our 120oz’s of plain homemade yogurt compared to the $22.64 it would cost us to buy 120oz of the Chobani the way we buy it from the store.

 Keep one more thing in mind, after we make our yogurt we always put something in it, either fruit or granola so that that adds a little to the cost but just pennies and I don’t really know what number to use to make it fare in comparing so to stay in tune with our “rough” theme let’s say you double the cost and use $4.08 for your 120oz of homemade yogurt, that’s still a $18.56 cent savings.

 What does that mean for us, well we have easily been eating 5 of the 5.3 oz containers of Chobani EACH per week so a total of roughly 40 per month (201.2oz per month) to the tune of $40. Now by making our own it will cost us “roughly” $6.84 for the same 201.2oz saving us “roughly” $33.16 per month!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will tell you one more thing making our own yogurt means to us, we will be eating more of it. We both like eating yogurt for breakfast and I even like having it for an evening snack but hated paying the price at the store so we have normally just ate it as a lunch thing for the most part but now I eat yogurt most mornings instead of cereal and reach for it in the evenings instead of that bag of chips so it helps us eat a little bit healthier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey, is this where I go even farther and say that by reaching for yogurt which is cheaper than chips we save even more money per month and because yogurt is better for us we might be healthier and in turn maybe save money in health related costs in the future and…….. OH STOP IT!!!!! This is what I get from waking up at 4am with an overly active mind LOL!!!

 Well dang, what I thought was going to be a short update has turned into a rambling on session so we will call it good for now.           

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Our 5th year summary

We have now gone past our 5th year of fulltime RVing !!! Wow, time has flown by. And DOUBLE WOW, what a great year we had.  Actually July of 2017 marked 5 years of “living” in a RV but November 2017 marked 5 years actually traveling fulltime. We celebrate the actual traveling part as our full-timing Anniversary but do our budget update on a Jan. thru Dec. basis.

While we researched the possibility of living a fulltime RV lifestyle we found it very helpful looking at what others experienced cost wise while on the road. So we try to pay the favor back by sharing some of our expenses and changing thoughts while on the road in hope it might help others that are researching this way of life.

You will notice there is no real talk of insurance costs,, health or auto listed in the update because they can vary way too much from person to person. Lucky for us we have not experienced high medical costs to this point. But that certainly needs to be taken into consideration.

You should note that the categories we have listed we consider areas that most everyone will have while on the road. But you should think about storage fees, a maintenance fund, License and registration fees, clothing and entertainment, vet bills and pet food if you travel with a pet and the cost of any hobbies you may have. All of these are also way to variable from person to person so we won’t talk much about that in our expenses for this update.

This is what our map looks like for all years

This is what our map looks like for all years

 

RV Fuel, First year = $3787 or ($315.58 per month on average)

Second year = $3287 or ($273.91 per month on average)

Third year =  $2908 or ($242.33 per month average) you just have to love the lower fuel costs!!

Fourth year = $2056 or ($171.33 per month). Hmmm, getting lower each year but I think that will change again in 2017 (higher).

Fifth year = $2956 or ($246.33 per month)

 

Jeep Fuel, First year = $2310 or ($192.50 per month on average)

Second year = $2109 or ($175.75 per month on average)

Third year = $1822 or ($151.83 per month on average)

Fourth year (part Jeep & part F150) = $1487.49 ($123.95 per month on average)

Fifth year (all F150 ) = $1669.62 ($139.13 per month on average)

 

Food in (groceries), First year = $4420 or ($368.33 per month on average) we budgeted $350

Second year = $4893 or ($407.75 per month on average) we budgeted $350 per month

Third year = $4829 or ($402.41 per month on average) once again we budget $350 per month

Fourth year = $4603 or ($383.58 per month on average) this year for budgeting I raised the budget to $375

Fifth year = $5189 or ($432.41) we have noticed over the years that food prices are higher in touristy towns and in towns where maybe the average income is higher. We are probably stating the obvious here LOL!!

 

Eating out,, First year = $2639 or ($219.91 per month on average)

Second year = $2890 or ($240.83 per month on average)

Third year = $2677 or ($223.08 per month on average) we budget $300 per month

Fourth year = $2707 or ($225.58 per month on average) our budget this year was $2950

Fifth year = $3041 or ($253.41 per month on average). With the amount of new towns we visited this year it makes perfect sense our eating out amount was so high because we love to try at least 2 restaurants and new breweries at each location.

 

Campground fee’s,, First year = $8515 (1 month at Lazy Days with no campground fees)

Second year = $6487 (3 months at Lazy Days with no campground fees)

Third year = $10,511 (DANG, we need to be better during our 4th year. When we hit the road we set a budget of $25 per day which makes our yearly budget $9125. That makes us $1386 over budget for the year.)

Fourth year = $7753 (well under our $9125 budget. Hey we are $1372 under budget and almost      negated the overage we had last year to the dollar LOL!!)

Fifth year = $11,024 (WOW!!! 2 different years we have been east of the Mississippi and both years we blew our budget out of the water. But in fairness we stayed at some of the top rated resorts in the country this year).

 

Average cost per night,, First Year = $23.32

Second Year = $17.77

Third year = $28.79

Fourth year = $21.24

Fifth year = $30.20

All years combined = $25.02 (I guess we can’t complain because this number is just above the $25 budget we set when we hit the road a little over 5 years ago.) We certainly notice that prices at campgrounds are a lot higher the farther east you go. And prices have gone up since hitting the road period. And to be honest I think we have gotten a little pickier when there are options to be had and we tend to gravitate toward the nicest in the area and don’t concentrate on price like we did when we first hit the road. I think for us it was a novelty to see how cheap we could live when we first started our venture but that has changed.

 

Direct TV,, First year = $760

Second year = $1014.89 (We switched to HD plus lost a $10 per month discount we were getting in 2013)

Third year = $1197.27 (We were getting so tired of paying this much for TV that I made a call to Direct TV mid-November and had a chat with them. By the end of the conversation I had our monthly bill dropped from $108 per month to $73 AND kept the same programing for the next 12 months. That will be a savings of $420 for 2016 from our $108 per month cost and should drop our yearly cost to $876. It all adds up.

Fourth year =  $880.59 (Looks like that phone call last year worked out as planned. Still too darn much to watch TV but I think this will be a number we will just have to deal with. The only way I can see it getting any lower is IF we find a spot to hang out for a couple months at a time that has free cable and we can put our account on “vacation mode” if that’s even available. I guess it’s worth checking out).

** NOTE!! If you will not be using your DIRECTV service and would like to temporarily suspend your account, you can do this at no charge by calling us at 1-800-531-5000. You can say “suspend services” at the voice prompt and the automated system can complete your request.

Requirements for putting your service on hold.

  • Zero balance on your bill
  • Customers with only 1 account are allowed a maximum of 2 suspend requests every 12 months
  • Customers with 2 or more accounts are allowed a maximum of 4 suspend requests per account every 12 months
  • Total time with service suspended per 12 month period cannot exceed 6 months
  • The minimum time for an account suspend is 30 days

Fifth year =  $987.52 (I really wanted to put Direct TV on hold for a couple months during our winter stay this year but Diane didn’t want to lose the option to record shows on our DTV box so we didn’t).

 

Phone & internet,, First year = $1764

Second year = $1873.80

Third year = $1937.87 (this is another expense that really should be lower and I hate to pay this much for. We took advantage of a special offer Verizon had over a year ago and have a 30GB data plan plus voice and unlimited text and have a Verizon Jetpack for our internet access which we pay a $20 line charge for that makes our total cost per month $161.47.

Fourth year = $1778.63 (I hear Verizon has come out with a few new plans so maybe we need to revisit what they have to offer. We sure would like to trim this back a bit. If we stopped or cut back on the blog we could certainly cut our plan back and I have honestly pondered the idea the last few months).

Fifth year = $1596.02

 

Mail service,, First year = $210

Second year = $200

Third year = $210 (and we will roll about $20 of remaining postage into next year). Next year our base fee will raise from $120 per year plus postage to $150 per year plus postage. If we were wanting to save pennies we could stop a couple magazines we receive and lower the postage cost and just view the magazines on line I bet).

Fourth year = $190

Fifth year = $230

2013

2013

On the actual spreadsheet we keep for all of our expenses we have columns for storage, Prius Insurance (was in storage the first 3 ½ years on the road but was traded in for a new pickup toad and the Jeep went into storage while we are away from Oregon), pickup maintenance, Jeep registration, Jeep maintenance, Jeep fuel, RV/Jeep insurance, RV registration, RV maintenance, RV fuel, Health Insurance, Propane, Direct TV, Food in, Food out, Phone/Internet, Campground Fee’s, Campground Electric, Misc. Health/laundry, Mail forwarding, RV clubs, Motorhome goodies, Clothing, Entertainment, Household and Other.

You can see why we don’t share the numbers in some of those areas because they are so individual. For example we spent $343 in 2013 on clothing, $564 in 2014, $970 in 2015 (new hiking boots and sandals each) and $855 in 2016 (we each got new tennis shoes to the tune of $110 each) and in 2017 we spent $1321 (I never should have visited the 2 Duluth Trading stores LOL!!!)

Taking into account ALL of the categories we keep track of (not just what we share) we were over our budget in a number of areas for the year of 2017 with the biggest culprit being campground fee’s. But we were under in 7 other categories so it helps even things out, a little.

 

A few comments

1st year comment: We have a washer drier on board our RV so that helps with laundry costs. Even though I didn’t list the cost of soap ECT. Some of the laundry mats are pretty proud of their machines and charge accordingly. Plus they are a hassle in our book.

2nd year comment: No change here either. We would not own a RV without a washer and dryer (while living fulltime in it). But that’s just our personal preference. A lot of people would rather have the added storage space and less weight. We would rather have the freedom to be taking a walk, watching TV, chatting with friends or anything while cloths are washing rather than going to a laundry mat and being tied down. Plus the thought of using machines that have been used for who knows what is not appealing to us.

3rd year comment: Our feelings will never change on this topic. It is so nice to be able to do a load while sitting around home instead of planning time at a laundry mat. And we know what’s been in our machines.

4th year comment: Still wouldn’t be without our washer & drier. Hours not spent at a laundry mat = PRICELESS!! We do however take advantage of laundry mats now and again when convenient to wash large things like blankets.

5th year comment: Our feelings will never change. For us having a washer & drier on board is priceless and I think we would be miserable not having them on board, but that’s just our opinion.

 

 

 

1st year comment: We treat this as a life style and not a vacation. If we treated it like a vacation I’m afraid we would be broke pretty fast and our fulltime RV lifestyle would come to a premature end.

2nd Year comment: No change here. We don’t go,, do things,, every day. We have our share of stay home days. If we are in a place we find interesting for a week we might tour for 3 or 4 days and stay home the rest. But staying home always include walks and bike rides and the occasional social hour. And touring does not always have to cost much money, there are lots of things to do for free.

3rd year comment: We feel we were in vacation mode a lot more than we were the first 2 years and it sure showed expense wise. We had far fewer “kick back at home” days and even though it didn’t bother Diane as much it started to burn me out a little. I couldn’t keep this pace up and enjoy it year after year. But because we spent a lot of time in areas of the country that were filled with National Parks and Monuments it really did make sense to take advantage of it. I think we will slow down a little in year 4.

4th year comment: It seems we slowed the pace down a little compared to 2015 just like we hoped and didn’t have the constant vacation mode feel we had most of 2015. Yet we still saw lots of new country. I think we could slow down even more and still be very happy but I don’t think that will be the plan for 2017.

5th year comment: We were right in our comment last year concerning this year, we went back into vacation mode 100%! But we are happy we did, we sure covered a lot of ground “for us” and saw so many things. I’m pretty sure we will slow down some in 2018, at least as far as how long we stay in each spot.

 

1st year comment: We travel pretty slowly. We feel it allows us to really experience an area while we are there. So our fuel costs may be a little less than those that like to cover a bunch of miles each month. When we hit the road we budgeted 1 tank of fuel in the motor home per month on average and have not gone over that. In fact we are well under that on average.

2nd year comment: We still prefer to travel 100 to 200 miles and spend a week however after leaving Florida we did pick up the pace a little in order to reach Oregon by June for doctor appointments. And we did stay put longer in one spot while visiting family and friends while in Oregon and only moved 5 times between June and October.

3rd year comment: Once again our travel days were pretty short all year. We did have a few more stops that were in the 5 day range rather than a week but miles between the stops were still short, normally well under 200 miles and a number of them under 100 miles. And once again we were well under our yearly motorhome fuel budget. When we hit the road diesel was in the $4 per gallon range so we set a budget of $400 (1 tank per month) and even though prices have dropped we just stick with the $400 number but as you can see we never come close to the $4800 budget number for the year. We really just keep the 1 tank per month in the back of our minds mainly so we don’t fall into the “drive to many miles and in turn right by things of interest” trap. Plus being under budget on fuel builds in a buffer that helps offset the line items we go over budget on like FOOD LOL!! It’s all about the bottom line.

4th year comment: Even though we had our share of short travel days it seems we have turned it up a notch and traveled a few longer days (to us) and far fewer travel days under 100 miles. I think we started to think more about destinations rather than just stopping at any old small town along the way.  At one point this year I told Diane we better put pen to paper and decide what things we want to see in each state so we can focus on that a little more because at the rate we have been traveling over the last 4 years we may not be on the road long enough or have the life span to hit them all LOL!! Even with that statement in mind we stayed under our fuel budget for the year and we even lowered the budget for 2016.

5th year comment: Last year’s comment was “we better put pen to paper and decide what we want to see” and we did that this year and went into vacation mode. What does that equal, well we were able to check a number of things off our bucket list, we saw some great country, we stayed at some top notch resorts, we ate some great food, we covered a bunch of miles, we had some long travel days, we met some great people, we spent too much money, it plum tired us “me mainly” out AND we had a GREAT YEAR!! But we (I) could not keep that pace up year after year.

 

1st year comment: Just like while living in a house and working you can only spend what you have so budgeting is important unless you are one of the lucky ones with unlimited income,,, we are not LOL. And we only live on the income we have each month. We have made the decision to not touch any of the money we have in investments and to leave them in place for when we want or need to get off of the road.

2nd year comment: No changes here. We still have not touched our investments to support our traveling life style yet.

3rd year comment: Once again we have not touched our investments to support our life style. But we did dip into our savings account to buy our new bikes this year. When we first hit the road we set aside about 2 years living expenses in a saving account separate from our investments as an emergency fund. Up until this year we had not touched it but did this year for the bikes and new tires for the Jeep.

4th year comment: We still have not dipped into our investments to support our life style (the stock market itself does its share of dipping however without any help from us) but again this year we did make a small dint in our savings account to buy the truck.

5th year comment: Even though I felt we went a little crazy in some categories this year spending money we still lived within our means and did not dip into our savings or investments. BUT, we did decide it was time to have some dividends start coming our way from one of our accounts so that we could increase our budget just a little each month. That started in October of this year. Is that a smart move, we don’t know, was it necessary, no but there is no guarantee of a tomorrow so we decided what the hell.

Here are some interesting tid-bits.

* The 1st year on the road we stayed at 57 different camping spots.

**   The second year on the road we stayed at 36 different spots. Between being stuck in Florida until April of 2014 and staying in Oregon as long as we did visiting family and friends the number went down some but felt good.

*** Our third year on the road we stayed at 49 different spots and have a feeling we will try to cut this back just a little in 2016.

**** Our 4th year we stayed at 41 different locations. I guess we did stay a few less places than we did in 2015 like we thought but not by much.

***** Our 5th year on the road we stayed at 52 different location. Considering we spent the month of March in Casa Grande, the month of May in Grants Pass and Nov. & Dec in Casa Grande again we moved a lot the rest of the year. In fact too much.

 

* The 1st year our shortest stay was 1 night and our longest stay was 17 nights.

**   The second year (not counting our stay at Lazy Days while buying our new coach), our shortest stay was 1 day and our longest was 60 while visiting friends in Oregon.

*** Our third year our shortest stay was 1 day and our longest stay was 30 days.

**** Our 4th year our shortest stay was 2 days and our longest stay was 78. The 78 days is part of our 3 month stay in Casa Grande Arizona. 15 days of our 3 month stay will roll into 2017.

***** Our 5th year our shortest stay was 1 night and our longest was 60 (which was the last 2 months of year 5 at our winter spot in Casa Grande. 30 of our stops this year were less than a week.

* That makes our average stay in one spot since hitting the road 8 nights. And if we take our extended stay at Lazy Day’s out of the equation our average stay would be even less.

 

* The 1st year our cheapest stay per night of course was while boon docking at $0 cost and our most expensive was 60.96 while visiting Nashville. And it wasn’t even the nicest park we stayed at (location, location, location).

** The 2nd year our cheapest stays per night were boon docking at a $0 cost (I guess that goes without saying). And our most expensive was $65 in Borrego Springs, Ca. (Our New Year’s treat to ourselves) and the second highest was $51.55 while visiting New Orleans. And once again neither were the nicest place’s we have stayed (location, location, location holds true yet again).

*** The 3rd year of course our cheapest stay per night was boon docking at a $0 cost (We should just stop stating the obvious but we won’t LOL!!). And our most expensive was $73.14 at the Polson Motor Coach Resort in Polson Montana (our 4th of July treat to ourselves). And the second most expensive was $56.23 at the Portal in Moab Utah where we stayed 2 weeks. Both Polson and the Portal were pretty nice spots but still really too much money and we shouldn’t be paying that much.

**** Our 4th year our cheapest stay per night was $0 while boondocking and the most expensive was $65.58 while staying at Tiger Run in Breckenridge Colorado. The second highest was at the Portal in Moab Utah.

***** Our 5th year our cheapest stay was $0 while boondocking and the most expensive was $81.42 at Traverse Bay RV Resort in Traverse City Michigan.  Traverse Bay RV Resort has now jumped into the top spot for the most expensive spot we have stayed at and that is even with it being a weekly rate.  

 

* 1st year comment: At the end of 12 months our average cost per night was $25.52. We are pretty happy with that I guess. We budget $25 per night. Campground fees in the eastern states are way more expensive than the western states.

** 2nd year comment: The average cost per night of our second year on the road was $17.84. And our overall average cost per night for the 2 years on the road is $20.69. When we first hit the road we set a budget of $25 per night so I guess even though we have certainly been over budget many months our primary goal is to be at or below our budget at the end of each year. And we have so far been able to do that with a mix of boon docking, staying at the average campgrounds and throwing a few resort type spots in for the now and again pampering LOL!!

*** 3rd year comment: Our average cost per night for our third year was $28.79. And the overall average cost per night for 3 years in $23.29. Hmm, I just realized that I elaborated about this above so we won’t repeat ourselves here. But we are happy that after 3 years we are still under the original $25 per night budget we set when first hitting the road.

**** 4th year comment:  Our average cost per night our 4th year was $21.24 and the overall for all 4 years is $23.04.

***** 5th year comment: Our average cost per night our 5th year was $30.20.

 

* 1st year comment: We have found state parks to be our favorite places to stay. And they are best mid-week when most everyone has gone.

** 2nd year comment: We still like state parks the best but we have certainly found a couple privately owned parks scattered around that have been very very nice. And we do like a good mix of little or no creature comforts and the more plush parks. If all we did was one or the other I think we would get tired of the life style pretty quickly. Variety is the spice of life they say. And if they don’t we do LOL!!

*** 3rd year comment: We still like a mix of State Parks, boon-docking and private parks. But state parks are still our favorites for the most part. We did find a new admiration for at least a couple larger parks that we stayed at this year by taking advantage of classes they offered and tons of activities and will more than likely keep them in the mix now and again.

**** 4th year comment: It seems we stayed at fewer state parks this year and we only boon-docked 47 days in 2016. Hmm, I wonder what can be read into that.

*****5th year comment: Even though we still like to mix it up some I think we have both started liking the active 55 & older campgrounds or resorts a bit more. I think we have found there is far less common courtesy in “campgrounds” as well as fewer things to keep us occupied if we feel like sitting in one spot for any length of time.

 

* 1st year comment: Large RV parks with all the bells and whistles mixed in with the park model type structures have been our least favorite places to stay. We just don’t use or need all that stuff. And being mixed in with all the park models takes away from the feel and look we like. We are talking places with 400+ sites with the lap siding type park models (No offence meant to anyone, it’s just not for us). But we have found that we like the more pampered feel now and again of a resort setting. When we first hit the road we just wanted to boondock and live as cheap as we could. But we have decided that variety is a key factor to our happiness.

*** 3rd year comment: We still feel the same way about the really huge parks but have found a couple that are very nice and after moving so often over the last 3 years have started thinking about finding a park with all the amenities to hunker down for longer lengths of time during the winter. In fact we did stay at two parks this year for a month and had a pretty darn good time.

**** 4th year comment: State Parks are still our favorite places to stay but as we mentioned in our 3rd Year Comment we have found an unexpected admiration for a couple larger parks. In fact this year we actually stayed 3 months in one location at a LARGE resort in Arizona during the winter and must admit we enjoyed having a little structure during that time and bonding with people longer than one week at a time was a nice change. Could that grow into longer stretches, maybe. Can we see ourselves settling down in one location again long term, LETS NOT GET CRAZY HERE (just yet)!!!!

***** 5th year comment: Our 4th year comment still holds true. We still enjoy the travels but I think we are starting to think more and more about having maybe 2 spots in different parts of the country that we can sit for longer periods of time to break up our year and those spots will have to have activities like Pickleball and other activities to make us happy. Neither of us at this point still have any desire to own another “traditional” home. When we say 2 spots to sit for longer periods we are thinking maybe 3 months at each and travel the remaining 6 months of the year.

 

* 1st year comment: In our 1st year we found our food budget to be the hardest to control

** 2nd year comment: In our 2nd year we continue to find that our food budget is the hardest thing for us to stay within LOL!! It could be that we simply didn’t set a realistic budget from the beginning. Or it could be that Diane buys too many name brand products, or it could be I buy too many expensive snack foods LOL!!

***3rd year comment: That darn food budget is STILL hard to keep in line LOL!! But this year the campground fees were way out of whack and took the number 1 spot on the hardest to control. Staying in campgrounds around National Parks made it hard to find places we wanted to stay at without costing an arm and a leg. Maybe we are just too spoiled and refuse to stay at dumps I guess. But the food budget was over again this year. We are wearing the same sized cloths so we are at least working off all the food we eat LOL!!

**** 4th year comment: Yeah!! This year if we combine our food in and food out budgets we were $140 under budget. This year we were a little over on motorhome maintenance because of a front window blind motor going bad and our HDMI splitter for our entertainment center. It will always be something.

***** 5th year comment: This year our campground fees were by far the biggest thing over budget. But to be fare I set the budget before we decided to head towards Michigan so I didn’t take into account the cost of campground fee’s over there and didn’t change the budget number once we decided to head that way. Once I set a budget and it’s under way for the year I choose not to make changes on the go.

 

*1st year comment: It’s easier to say “follow the weather” than it really is. But within reason,, doable.

** 2nd year comment: No change to this comment. You’re still going to get caught in some rain or a storm now and again but just knowing that overall you can stay in areas with good weather is priceless.

*** 3rd year comment: It’s simply impossible to not get stuck in some sort of bad weather now and again. But in this life style you can sure decrease your chances of being in long stretches of it like being in a sticks & bricks in tornado alley or some place you are sure to get snow for months on end every year.

**** 4th year comment: What can we say, how can you really predict the weather. But we do know we ended up in Arizona to early this year and will maybe postpone getting here by a couple weeks in 2017, assuming we do Arizona again next winter but I’m sure we will.

***** 5th year comment: We learned our lesson and arrived in Arizona 2 weeks later than we did last year and even just that short amount of time made a difference. Another thing that came to mind this year was the amount of storms places like Florida and Texas went through and got us thinking about just how bad we really want to see more of those area, maybe not so much.

 

* 1st year comment: we don’t miss all the,, stuff,, we had while living in the house for the most part. Diane does miss working in the yard,,, WHATS WITH THAT!!!

** 2nd year comment: the same holds true now but I certainly do not hear Diane say she misses the yard work as much now.

*** 3rd year comment: we still don’t miss all the stuff but I have picked up a couple new toys along the way, we still need hobbies. But the things now are smaller and cost less.

**** 4th year comment: We still don’t miss all “the stuff” but we are talking more about having a spot for a home base where we can set up a few more things outside while we are there. What does that mean about our long term future fulltime life style, we don’t know. But nothing will change for at least another year I’m sure or at least until we get the northern states under our belts.

***** 5th year comment: Our 4th year comments still hold true even though we might see something like maybe a nice classic car or even a nice larger RC plane and say, “if we had a house again I could see owning one of those” but nothing to the extent that it bugs us at all. It’s nice to know that if we ever really wanted those things we could get off the road and do it, which in some way makes it easier just knowing we could I think.

 

* 1st year comment: we packed way to many cloths to bring with us.

** 2nd year comment: Even after purging a few times since we have been on the road we STILL have cloths with us that we have never worn. How can that be??

*** 3rd year comment: as amazing as it may sound after 3 years we STILL have cloths that we just don’t wear. But everything we do have fit’s in our closet and drawers so no harm no foul. No clothing is stored in totes in the belly of the coach any longer.

**** 4th year comment: Same as our 3rd year comment.

***** 5th year comment: Once again the same as our 3rd and 4th year comment but it seems the closet and drawers are starting to bulge a little so a contribution to Good Will might be in order. I went a little crazy when we came across a couple Duluth Trading stores and Diane followed suit at a couple other stores it seems and we have not worn anything out or outgrown anything (which is a good thing).

 

* 1st year comment: we like small town America compared to larger cities.

** 2nd year comment: this is probably even truer after spending some time on the east coast.

*** 3rd year comment: No change, I just don’t like large cities. Diane is more open to them than I am but she is not a huge fan either.  A town of 50,000 to 60,000 people is about the max in size but even smaller is our preference. There are tons of towns out there with populations far less than 50,000 that have everything a person could possibly need in the way of shopping, restaurants, activities and medical care without the craziness of large cities. Life is too short to spend it being pissed off at traffic every day.

**** 4th year comment: Same as our 3rd year comment. The only change might be that the first 3 years we were very content stopping in very small towns with really nothing to offer and I think we have grown a little bored with the extremely small places for the most part. But still have no desire to tour large cities.

***** 5th year comment: We broke the golden rule by staying in a couple large cities this year like Milwaukee Wisconsin and Madison Wisconsin which just fortifies our comment’s in previous years that big cities are NOT OUR THING!!!

 

* 1st year comment: we put too much stuff in storage. Need to purge some.

** 2nd year comment: after our 1st year we condensed down from 2 storage units to one. We probably STILL have too much stuff in storage but we are content with it at this time.

*** 3rd year comment: We still have one storage unit and don’t really see that changing in the near future.  I guess that will change when and if we ever decide to get a winter home and we move stuff to that location.

**** 4th year comment: Same as our 3rd year comment. And we did receive a notice that our storage unit costs will jump about $20 per month for 2017.

***** 5th year comment: Ok, we have spent $7515 for storage fees since we sold our home in mid-2012, JUST HOW STUPID ARE WE ANYWAY!!! Granted, we had 2 storage units for the first 18 months we were on the road until we knew for sure that we liked this life style and then condensed down to 1 but still we are paying $1250 per year to store (other than the Jeep) stuff we may never use again. I don’t see me getting rid of the Jeep so because of that we will need to keep a storage unit at least until we do something like lease a RV site in a park someplace where we can store it while not there, so I guess we will just keep paying and complaining LOL!!

 

* 1st year comment: we don’t seem to,, want,, stuff like we used to. We don’t just buy because we can.

** 2nd year comment: Still holds true even though we seemed to loosen our belts a little and not be so tight with our money. For example we bought our new motorhome, we bought the Quad-Copter, we purchased new tire and front windshield covers and we bought our new Keurig coffee maker.

*** 3rd year comment: This year the new bikes come to mind, that sure blew the “not just wanting stuff” statement LOL!!

**** 4th year comment: This year the truck comes to mind but that was partly a comfort thing (with the intention of possibly buying an ATV to toss in the back). Other than the truck the only things we bought were the Instant Pot and the Breville Toaster Oven and a new RC plane. We certainly could have done without the Instant Pot and Toaster Oven (and plane I guess lol!!) but boy have we enjoyed both and use them often so money well spent in our book.

***** 5th year comment: No big purchases this year other than the new Camp Chef outdoor stove, a new point & shoot pocket sized camera for Diane, 2 new higher priced kitchen knives and we had lights installed under the motorhome which none are really “big” purchases. Reading our 5 years’ worth of comments concerning purchases makes me chuckle when thinking back to our previous life, now kitchen knives are big purchases worthy of mention when before it might be something like a $50,000 sand-rail. Boy things have changed LOL!!!   

 

* 1st year comment: we meet some great friendly people while traveling. We have met less grumpy people in the year we have been on the road than I would deal with in just one month while I worked. Or maybe we just don’t pay the grumpy people any attention now LOL!!

** 2nd year comment: Still holds true. Most people we meet in campgrounds are like minded and are just trying to enjoy life and are not wound so tight.

*** 3rd year comment: No change here. People in campgrounds for the most part are just out to have a good time whether they are traveling the country or just getting away for the weekend.

**** 4th year comment: Again no change from previous years, we just continue meeting great people along the way and adding to the snowball effect of friends that we bump into along our travels that we have met during our journey. I will say that while living in a house in one location we all tend to run in circles of friends that are like minded and while on the road and meeting people that isn’t always the case, this election year really was what made me think about this. BUT if you are smart and can keep politics, religion and a couple other touchy topics out of conversations OR be willing to just shake your head and keep your trap shut when topics wonder off in the direction of those topics it does not need to be an issue. Of course keeping my trap shut is not my strong suit and I DO like to stir the pot now and again just for fun.

***** 5th year comment: It’s nice that amongst all of the crazy s*#t that is going on in this world that as we travel we just keep meeting great people that seem to always be willing to lend a hand when needed to fellow rver’s which in most cases are complete strangers.  

 

* 1st year comment: I wish I had left work sooner instead of waiting around trying to make life easier for others. The world moves on with or without you.

** 2nd year comment: No change of heart here!! I will say that even though I was plagued with thoughts of my old job far longer than I thought I would be once we hit the road, I very seldom think about the place now. And when I do I don’t think my blood pressure rises as far as it used to LOL!!

*** 3rd year comment: What??? I had a job?? Hmmmmm

**** 4th year comment:  I don’t really think about the old job any longer. It’s much better to live in the present and not the past. We started this journey to make memories, if I wanted to live in the past we could have pulled up a rocking chair and sat on our porch the remainder of our lives staring into our back yard just reflecting. I’m not saying we don’t ever think about or bring up the past but really not that much.

***** 5th year comment: The trend on this topic continues. As 5 years of being retired has now come and gone I find it hard to be enthused when someone asks me what I did in my working days. When I first retired I found myself getting all pumped up talking about the challenges and rewards that I was so passionate about back then. Now it’s normally a short sentenced answer and I move on. In fact I don’t think I will even comment on this topic in our future yearly updates LOL!! Diane has always had it right, her job was not her life, rather just a means to live her life.

 

* 1st year comment: we miss our family and friends but think they are all happy for us.

** 2nd year comment: This still holds true and it was great getting back to Oregon for our visit after being gone for 18 months.

*** 3rd year comment: Of course we still miss the friends we had while living stationary in the sticks & bricks but with social media it really seems like we have never left in certain ways.

**** 4th year comment: All of the comments from previous years still hold true and in fact during our last visit to Oregon everyone was so busy that we hardly had a chance to all get together but with social media we still knew what everyone was pretty much up to. However we did feel a little more “outside the circle”. Maybe we were holding onto the thought of things staying the same a little too much. I know we are not alone with this happening, we have talked with a number of full-timers that feel the same way when they return “home”.

***** 5th year comment. We are so thankful for social media, sometimes I think we stay closer to friends with us being hundreds if not thousands of miles away than some of our friends do that are just a few miles apart.

 

** 2nd year comment: If you are a recycler and travel around you could become frustrated with the lack of recycling in some parts of the country. And if one person of the pair is more of a recycler than the other be ready for the possibility of conflicts LOL!!. Diane is the big recycler between us. I will recycle but it needs to be convenient. If a park does not participate in recycling I have no problem tossing stuff in the garbage. Diane however is more inclined to bag things in hope that our next stop may recycle. So if I start finding recyclables hidden I get frustrated which in turn creates tension. It is what it is, I don’t like clutter and Diane wants to save the earth.

*** 3rd year comment: I have actually seen Diane walk to the garbage and recycling area with 2 bags and come home with one just because they didn’t recycle a certain material. If it were me I would have just tossed it in the garbage. I just shake my head and shut up, I’m sure there MIGHT be something I do that she just doesn’t get, MIGHT be I say.

**** 4th year comment: Not much more to say on this topic. I don’t mind recycling if it’s convenient and Diane does not mind packing recyclables around for weeks until we find a spot to drop them off. It’s just a topic we disagree on and deal with on a regular basis and I’m sure always will LOL!!

***** 5th year comment: Our 4th year comment holds true.

 

* 1st year comment: I don’t think, no I know that we could only live this life style as long as we stay in motion. Meaning we keep traveling like we have and not staying put in any one spot for extended lengths of time.

** 2nd year comment: I could see us spending a month or maybe even 3 or 4 in one spot during the winter when the nice weather (we consider nice weather as warm) is restricted to the southern states. Or even 2 or 3 months while visiting family and friends back in Oregon. But if we had to stay put any longer than that I’m afraid we couldn’t do it. That feeling might change in the future, who knows.

*** 3rd year comment: This still holds true but we did stay put in one location a couple times this year for 30 days and did just fine. We have even tossed around the idea of maybe 3 months in one spot next winter to test the waters but have not committed to it yet.

**** 4th year comment: We still feel there would be no way we could stay put in one spot long term and live in an RV but we are starting to talk about finding a couple spots around the country ( 2 or maybe 3 in different areas) we can stay put for 2 or 3 months at a time and travel the rest of the year. In fact we DID stay for 3 months this winter in Arizona and didn’t have much trouble but the place had lots of activities. If we had not gotten involved with activities we would have gone bonkers I’m sure.

***** 5th year comment: Our 4th year comment still rings true and we continue to keep our eyes open for those 2 or 3 special places we would feel comfortable staying put for a couple months each during the summer and a spot we might stay 4 months at during the winter. We thought we found one of the summer spots in Michigan this year but I think we both feel staying more on the west side of the country when the time comes to have those spots might be best if we continue spending winters in Arizona.

Our 2017 map

Our 2017 map

We are pretty happy that we really for the most part have stayed within our planned budget since hitting the road. But I’m afraid if we didn’t keep a spreadsheet keeping track of expenses like we do it would be very easy for us to get carried away. It’s a simple tool that keeps us in check and one we didn’t use while still working so it didn’t come naturally.

Before we hit the road while talking or reading about people that had been on the road fulltime for 2, 3, 5, 8 or even more years we thought, how the heck could you do that!! But now that we have been on the road for over 5 years we understand how. Time really does go by quickly and there are so many great things to see and experience that we would have NEVER seen just going on vacations 2 or 3 weeks a year.

And while planning the life style we thought long and hard about being away from friends and being loners while traveling but it is amazing how many new friends you make along the way. And it’s even more amazing at how often you run into the new (traveling) friends in different parts of the country. And it’s a snowball effect, the longer we stay on the road the more and more friends we gather which in turn increase the chances of seeing them where ever we are. We have used the term, it’s a small world, more times over the last 5 years than we ever used it in our previous life style.

Yep, it’s a pretty darn good life. You can make it as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. You can stay put, live off of solar power in the middle of the desert, eat cheap and stay away from people if you want. OR you can move around all the time, stay in high end resort type RV parks, drink expensive wine and eat steak every night and attend every type of social event known to man. Or do as we have and mix a little of everything in. I’m sure this life style is not for everyone, and we are darn glad it’s not because we would have one heck of a time finding a spot to camp LOL!! All I can say is don’t knock it if you have not tried it.

To put it simply, if you have a desire to fulltime and the means we would certainly recommend giving it a chance. You only live once with no guarantee just how long that will be so you may as well enjoy it.

We hope this format of reporting our year end results isn’t too long and drug out but I find it interesting to read our own thoughts from one year to the next and we hope you do as well.

We are really pretty much an open book so if you have any questions on topics that we might not have covered in our update please feel free to ask and we will try to give any insight we can.

 

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Our road to outdoor cooking

 We mentioned in a prior update that we made a switch in our outdoor cooking equipment by changing from the Green Mountain Davy Crockett Smoker/BBQ to a Camp Chef Explorer 60X Pro so because we have been asked a few times about it I thought I would yack about that a bit.

 **we will scatter a few pictures in to keep it interesting***

 When we first hit the road we carried a Weber Baby Q which did a good job for what it was but just wasn’t versatile enough for me (it probably would have been if we didn’t fulltime and just did short trips in the RV) and I really missed being able to do meat low & slow so when we ran across the Green Mountain Davey Crocket pellet smoker/bbq we made a change.

 The Davy Crocket even though a little awkward getting in and out of the cargo bay was a great unit and I had a lot of fun with it and made some great meals. Heck I even made cakes in it!! 

 But after carrying it for 2 years we decided it was time for another change for a couple reasons, the main being that Diane isn’t a big fan of smoked food and even when I cooked at temps above 250 (which is above the real smoking temperature) she would still complain of a smoky taste to the food. The other reason was because even though the Davy Crockett is a portable unit it was a little bit of a hassle for 1 person to mess with the leg system during setup and take down and because we typically make a move every week I started finding myself just not wanting to take it in and out which cut back on our cooking outside, and that’s not good.

 That leads us to where we are today, after some research and knowing that quality, versatility and portability were at the top of the list of importance we decided on the Camp Chef.

 What we liked was being able to start with a sturdy 2 burner unit (burners are 30,000 BTU each) with folding and collapsible legs (and built in levelers) and electronic ignition and build or modify if you will from there with what we want.

 Right from the start Camp Chef offers options of a 1, 2, 3 burner units to choose from and the option of going with the most basic model called the Explorer X or with the Explorer Pro series. And the option of 14” or 16” in depth units. And you can even go with a “high output” series that comes with 60,000 BTU burners, WOW!! To put the BTU’s in perspective the well-known Weber Baby Q has a 12,000 BTU burner so just one of our burners puts out more than twice the BTU’s of a Baby Q (not that a person would run it on high very often).

Everything stowed and ready for travel

Everything stowed and ready for travel

 We opted for the Pro series because of the boxed in burner’s which we felt would be a benefit on windier days (plus we like the look) and because it comes with features already built in that we would have needed to purchase and add to the X series like the folding side tables and electronic igniter’s and leg levelers. Plus the folding legs are not even an option on the X series and we really like them.

Bacon wrapped sirloin and asparagus

Bacon wrapped sirloin and asparagus

I roll the tortillas in foil and let the heat from the burner under he griddle warm the BBQ box and tortillas

I roll the tortillas in foil and let the heat from the burner under he griddle warm the BBQ box and tortillas

Chicken fajitas

Chicken fajitas

Just a couple steaks & taters

Just a couple steaks & taters

 Once we decided on the starting unit we had options of cooking surfaces. You can simply use pots and pans or Dutch ovens if that’s your thing or opt for things like BBQ boxes, griddles, pizza ovens OR any combination of the things mentioned because it’s all modular which takes care of the versatility feature on our “things of importance” list. We chose a BBQ box and a griddle to begin with and liked our choice however I found myself using the griddle the most and after 7 months decided to make our system even more versatile by purchasing a second griddle, this one covers both burners and gives a much larger griddle area to work with.

We love bacon and I like taters with eggs mixed in for breakfast.

We love bacon and I like taters with eggs mixed in for breakfast.

 For example, if we wanted just a 2 item breakfast the single griddle worked just fine but if we wanted maybe pancakes or French Toast and bacon & eggs for breakfast it got pretty tight on the single griddle and I would end up using the BBQ box as a warming oven which really wasn’t a big deal but not perfect.

Those little silicon things around the eggs are a great tool. I didn't think I'd like them but I do.

Those little silicon things around the eggs are a great tool. I didn’t think I’d like them but I do.

Diane does not like eggs and no, I didn't break the yoke on accident, I like my yokes hard.

Diane does not like eggs and no, I didn’t break the yoke on accident, I like my yokes hard.

 And because everything is modular it only takes a matter of minutes to change out cooking surfaces.   

  We also like that each piece has carrying cases available that helps keep everything organized, neat & clean. And of course I measured everything to make sure they would fit neatly in the cargo bays before buying anything.

That egg is to go on my hamburger. If Diane even saw that egg touch her burger she wouldn't eat it LOL!!

That egg is to go on my hamburger. If Diane even saw that egg touch her burger she wouldn’t eat it LOL!!

Swordfish

Swordfish

Swordfish & yams

Swordfish & yams

We have had the Camp Chef for 8 month’s now and have used it a lot so far. I’ve made numerous breakfasts of bacon & eggs, hash browns, pancakes, French Toast, Stuffed French Toast, ham and sausage and dinners ranging from Pork Chops, steaks, chicken, chicken fajitas, asparagus, Tri-tip and on and on and on and everything has turned out pretty darn good if I say so myself.

 

 Heck I even threw some peaches, pineapples and broken up donuts on the griddle which made a great topping over a couple bowls of ice-cream LOL!!!

Time for some stuffed French Toast

Time for some stuffed French Toast

 We like to do vegetables on the griddle so to aid in the outcome of our dishes we purchased a steam dome. Now when I do things like asparagus or potatoes or maybe hamburgers (especially if you want to melt cheese over the top) I place he dome over the top of the food during part of the cooking time and it holds steam inside and helps keep moisture in.

Swordfish

Swordfish

  When doing certain things like asparagus I will squirt a little water under the dome and that really creates a lot of steam and it helps keep things plump and softens while still getting a little char on the outsides. Let’s face it, we have all done asparagus on the grill and ended up with crispy little spears at one time or another LOL!!!

Pork chops & Brussel sprouts

Pork chops & Brussel sprouts

This Tri-tip turned out sooooo good!!

This Tri-tip turned out sooooo good!!

Tri-tip

Tri-tip

 I have even used it while doing pork chops if we are doing a thick cut or if you like a sunny side up egg it helps as well. And the dome would work well even on a regular grill for melting cheese on burgers.

I used to use this foil pan as my melting dome.

I used to use this foil pan as my melting dome.

Tuna & taters.

Tuna & taters.

A couple steaks, taters & zucchini

A couple steaks, taters & zucchini

Steaks & wedged sweet potato's

Steaks & wedged sweet potato’s

 I have always been a bit leery about cleanup and care while cooking with cast iron but after using the griddle I have changed my thoughts 100%. You may already know but the longer you use a particular cast iron item the easier it is to use with just a little upkeep because as it seasons it becomes more “Teflon” like and sticking becomes a non-issue. And with just a little water and a scrapper followed by a light coat of oil things clean up very easily. Now I wish I had tried cast iron years ago.

Shrimp fajita's

Shrimp fajita’s

We love us some French toast in the morning. That little pan works great to warm the syrup. This is why we went with a double griddle.

We love us some French toast in the morning. That little pan works great to warm the syrup. This is why we went with a double griddle.

 Ok, the list of model #’s we bought

#Pro60X 2 burner stove (check tip below)

#BB30L Deluxe BBQ Box

#SG30 Professional single burner griddle

#SG60 Professional 2 burner griddle

#CB60UNV Universal 2 burner stove carry bag

#SGBMD Medium griddle carry bag

#SGBXL Extra Large griddle carry bag

#BB30BAG Acc. Bag that hold the BBL30L BBQ box

*(TIP) when looking at the stove itself be sure to check for the unit with fold down shelf supports. We found that even though stores carry the same model number when it comes to stoves they are not all created equal (I contacted Camp Chef directly and found this out). We found that some carry a unit that has stationary side shelf supports which created 2 problems for us. #1 it makes the unit longer while trying to store for travel, and #2 it did not allow the shelves to drop down flat to the sides when not in use which made it more awkward to cover when not in use. This may not be an issue for you but was for me. 

      

 We hope this answers some of the questions we have been asked and opens up another option for you outdoor cooking.

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I spent a little time at a Fly-in

Things have been pretty much status quo since our last update. About the only thing that has changed is that I made my way to the Fly In & Breakfast at the Coolidge Municipal Airport the other day.

 The Fly In is held the 1st Saturday of each month through the winter and for $8 you can have an all you can eat breakfast of pancakes, sausage, bacon & eggs and coffee.

 I rolled in about 7:30 and was one of the first few there and they were already serving breakfast so I grabbed a plate, found a spot at a picnic table and watched about 30 planes land while eating.

 After eating I walked out onto the tarmac to get a close up view of the planes while more planes kept landing one after the other until roughly 60 planes had flew in for the short event. The scheduled time is 8 to 10:30 but a few planes fly in a little early and of course a few hang around longer but for the most part you can go out, have some breakfast, watch planes land, get a close up view of some pretty nice planes, shoot the bull with like-minded people, watch some planes take off and still have most of the day free to do whatever else.

 Diane opted to not go with me to the fly-in and went golfing with 3 friends at 9:30 and then played Pickleball in the afternoon. Once we finally got together that day we had a light dinner and then headed to the courts to practice a couple particular shots for about an hour before heading home for showers and some relaxation. Another great day.

 In our last update I mentioned that we got off to a slow start this year here at Palm Creek but it seems we have both fallen into a pretty full schedule now with Diane’s Pickleball and taking up Mahjong and golfing one day (talking about 2) days per week.

 It’s sort of funny, we normally always go grocery shopping together but now that our schedules have filled up and our activities are almost always at different times when we need a few things from the store we have a hard time finding time to go together.

 Well maybe it’s not that funny but it was to us when we found ourselves looking at our calendars together to find a time slot suited for shopping and we ended deciding we would just have to make do with what was in our cupboards for the next couple days LOL!! OR become late night Walmart shoppers.

 On another note we have 2 sets of friends that have sent us there travel itineraries for 2018 so that in case we are in the same areas we can get together, heck one even has the travel time between each stop figured out along with check-in and checkout times. They both asked what our year looks like and we just don’t have the heart to tell them we have not even scheduled our next trip to the grocery store not alone any travel plans for 2018 LOL!!! I guess we should at least start talking about what part of the country we want to hang out in this summer.

 I have done a little research about where I have been wanting to spend the winter in Texas (Mission Texas) but have found that there is very little Pickleball there. Now it may sound funny that we let Pickleball dictate where we go but we have mentioned in previous updates that in spots we plan to spend any length of time we want to have activities (physical activities) like Pickleball available to occupy our time because if you stay put for say 3 months there are only so many trails to hike and sights to see and we don’t want to feel like we have to be out and about every day, yet sitting on our asses at home does not work for us either LOL!! So with that said I think we have crossed spending next winter in Texas off the list for now unless we come across new information that changes our minds. That puts Arizona back at the top of the list for our winter stay again next year, and that’s ok. Where in Arizona we have not figured out yet.

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Our stay at Palm Creek continues

 We have been settled in at Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort for a month now and things are clicking right along after what we consider a slow start this year. Even though it will not be the normal that we fell in love with last year because of the ongoing construction, the new rules and regulation’s at the Pickleball courts (maybe we didn’t talk about that because it’s pretty new) and lack of the RC airfield we talked about in our last update it’s still pretty ok.

 Construction on the new Pro Shop, Bistro, Ballroom, sewing Room and added RV sites still continue and some if not most simply will not be completed during our stay this year but I think we have come to grips with the fact that temporary fences and heavy equipment will just be part of the experience this season.

This will be the Pro Shop when it's completed

This will be the Pro Shop when it’s completed.

The unfinished sewing room

The unfinished sewing room

The sewing room used to sit here but now you see the unfinished ballroom.

The sewing room used to sit here but now you see the unfinished ballroom.

 The Nationals Pickelball Tournament is over and was fun to watch but as much as we appreciate the amazing talent that came here from all over the USA and Canada that we were able to witness we are (as well as many others) darn glad they have packed up and moved on so we can get to OUR normal routine around the courts. Well, not as normal as last year but we may or may not get into all that hoop-la in another update.

 

One of the Gold Medal matches.

One of the Gold Medal matches.

This is where some of the media were stationed during the matches.

This is where some of the media were stationed during the matches.

 We attended a general Pickleball meeting the other night and was informed that this year’s Nationals at Palm Creek became the largest Pickleball event ever held in the country hosting 1,400 players from 42 states and three Canadian provinces. That’s pretty amazing.

 

PIckleball courts and you can see the softball field in the background.

PIckleball courts and you can see the softball field in the background.

You can see the 32 Pickelball courts in blue & green and the vendor tents set up. This was taken right before morning play so the crowds had not gathered yet.

You can see the 32 Pickelball courts in blue & green and the vendor tents set up. This was taken right before morning play so the crowds had not gathered yet.

 

 From what we gather the Nationals will NOT be held here at Palm Creek next year so IF we come back we should be able to get right to business and start play as soon as we roll in instead of having to deal with temporary courts at the tennis courts and with luck the Round Robin organized play will start earlier as well as the clinics. But time will tell.

 There is a slight buzz going around that the USAPA is pressing Palm Creek to host the event again next year and if they decide to that will be one more thing that might deter us from coming here next year. It seems those little “push us away” buttons keep getting pushed.  

 Unfortunately the airfield situation will never be the same again but I have joined the Casa Grande Fliers club and have gone out to the city airfield a few times to fly but it’s just not the same and it’s far from a great field.

Casa Grande City Fly Field

Casa Grande City Fly Field

 The club president has spoken words of grandeur since last year talking about things like resurfacing the runway so that it’s not so rough, adding a battery charging station and even a weather station that members can hook up to remotely before making the long drive to the field and adding some sort of cover that would allow members to get out of the sun a little but nothing has happened except the raising of dues LOL!!!

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0492.JPG

 I guess he did have someone from the state push a little more dirt out of the way (the land is leased from the state) to increase parking space a bit and there are a few new tables available but heck they were donated by our old club at Palm Creek so really no noticeable improvements have been made that really make a difference. If only they would smooth out the runway I think most would be happy.

Gun range across fro the airfield.

Gun range across fro the airfield.

 And it’s just not the gathering place the field a Palm Creek was, very seldom is anyone out at the field at the same time it seems and half the fun is the camaraderie which is now lacking. Oh well, enough about that.

 Diane and I took a drive to a spot about 5 miles north of town in the middle of the desert where some go fly to have a look but dang it’s just a dust bowl getting there. The routine would be, pack up your own table and shade and head to the field, fly, drive back through the dust bowl to the main road, go directly to the car wash so you can tell what color your rig is again and head home LOL!! Not so great.

A runway etched out in the desert

A runway etched out in the desert

 And there is a chunk of land across the street from the park that is owned by the state and like BLM land you can get a use permit for $15 per year that would allow us to fly there, and some have done that, but it’s nothing more than a narrow dirt and gravel road with a concrete drainage ditch right next to it that is far from perfect so I may or may not take advantage of that spot.

 On a brighter note like we mentioned the Pickelball play for us is going strong again and I sign up for at least 5 different Round Robin Matches each week (Round Robins consist of 6 games) and I have signed up for the Men’s Shootout which is a step up in competition and sort of a rating or ladder system to really see where I stand compared to men in my current level.

 Diane’s sign up habits are a little more scattered at this point but I’m sure she will find a routine that works. She moved up 1 skill level this year and was a little apprehensive at first but is feeling better about it now. And I understand how she feels because I have felt the same way each time I have moved up. She however has added golf and Mahjong to her activities.

 

Diane with a few of her friends on a social night at the Pickleball Courts.

Diane with a few of her friends on a social night at the Pickleball Courts.

  

 On top of the play mentioned above it’s not uncommon to get together with another couple or even a few others and just go have some social play in the evenings as well. And now and again we just go over to practice certain shots with just practice in mind.

 As you can tell, Pickleball is pretty addicting to us and its great exercise and a great way to meet people.

 And yes, there is more to our life down here than flying RC planes and Pickleball (even though they take up the majority of our time). We get out for some sort of bike ride pretty much every day, there was a Art’s & Crafts fair that we attended and there was a Blue’s Band playing in the park that we went and listened to for a while one Saturday. And we get in a few games of Hillbilly Golf now and again. And of course there is a happy hour or two tossed in.

There were a few vendors outside and dozens more inside.

There were a few vendors outside and dozens more inside.

There were a few vendors outside and dozens more inside.

There were a few vendors outside and dozens more inside.

 And we drove to Chandler (just outside of Phoenix) for a Costco run in preparation for Thanksgiving which we spent with our friends & neighbors Dave & Jennie (from Kansas) and Jennie’s brother Jeff (who lives fulltime here at Palm Creek).

 Dave smoked a turkey and we had plenty of sides to feast on followed by some visiting before everyone waddled off.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s funny, we normally go out to eat 1 or 2 times per week but we have been here for a month and have only gone out to eat twice. The same thing happened last winter, we just seem to stay busy and don’t think much about going out to eat and we tend to just stay home and eat healthier while here. I think I mentioned last winter that we treat this like a “club Med” lol!!! Heck I have only drank 1 beer and a little wine on Thanksgiving and Diane 2 beers and a little wine since getting here. Hey, we feel free to abuse ourselves 8 or 9 months of the year so I guess it doesn’t hurt to take care of ourselves a little more 3 or 4 months of the year, in fact I have lost 10lbs since we have been here and that’s after a huge Thanksgiving feast. Oh, do I have a goal in mind, yes LOL!!

Coming in for a landing

Coming in for a landing

They can make ANYTHING fly

They can make ANYTHING fly

See the prop behind it's head?

See the prop behind it’s head?

 There are a couple restaurants in town that we like so I’m positive we will hit them a few times during our stay so we won’t be deprived by any means.

 I guess that’s it for now, we have plans to drive south to Tucson within the next 2 or 3 weeks to take a look at 2 or 3 other RV Resorts in case we decide to make a switch away from Palm Creek in the future because of all the changes and to visit friends in that area so we should have something other than Pickleball and RC Airfields to talk about LOL!!!

 We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!       

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