Fort Collins, CO

Sunday June 8th. Today started out great I-80 through Nebraska is a dream to drive on. Nice and smooth and straight and level. That’s me taken by Eileen in the Fit. IMG_0541-R

But not so much when the wind starts blowing. By mid afternoon we were in a full blown storm with rain, hail (or snow) and wind gusts of 40+ mph.  We stopped several times to wait out the winds, but to no avail. We decided to stop for dinner in Cheyenne WY and then spend the night at a rest area.  After dinner I missed the exit for the rest area and we continued on to Fort Collins CO. The trip from Cheyenne to Ft. Collins was uneventful-the storm had moved on.  We spent the night camped at a Walmart right off I-25. IMG_0748

The storm made a beautiful sunset. We were not alone. The lot was full of RVs and 18 wheelers. So full that one had to park across the street in a grass lot.  We’ve been doing a lot of shopping there that we could start a Wallmartian’s Club, but you can’t beat the overnight stay.  Just wish they all had a Starbucks!

Sunday June 9th

We made it to our campground Ft. Collins  KOA  It’s a bit pricey for us, but there are a lot of amenities and they seem to have a good internet connection…and a lot of rules and regulations about visitors, even family!  We won’t stay here again but everything in the area is booked.  It’s such a beautiful area.  We finally had a bike rack and hitch put on the back of the Fit so we can take the bikes with us sightseeing.  We hope to travel the trails through Ft. Collins tomorrow. IMG_0779

Monday June 9th. On the weekend of October 19th Eileen is walking 40 miles for breast cancer.  We started preparing for that walk today.  We are walking 2 miles a day shooting for 5 miles a day while here.


This is the view from one side (not wide angle) IMG_0762 IMG_0761 and this is the view from the other side.


Tuesday June 11th. I found Mecca today! (if you know me, you know what this means)! IMG_0757

Thursday June 12th.

We met  friends for dinner that are from NJ, Kathy and Dave Staveley.  Eileen worked with Kathy years ago at the Pharmaceutical AD agency  which is now Ogilvy Worldwide/CommonHealth and they had moved out here a few years ago.  Great dinner at the Blind Pig.  It was really nice to catch up.  They love it here. IMG_0551

Friday June 13th.

Mark came over for dinner last night and we had a great time.  One of the KOA rules is visitors need to be escorted to your site, so it was pretty funny  when Mark arrived in his truck preceded by a elderly gentleman in a golf cart.  We had a great dinner and sat around the fire watching  the last game of the Stanley Cup. IMG_0772-R IMG_0773

Saturday June 14th.

We picked up a few things we needed to organize the food shelves and then visited Mark at work at Rocky Mountain Westy where he is the Product Manager.  The shop and work they do there is incredible to see. They take Vanagon’s and and replace the 90 hp engine with a Subaru 170 hp engine. They also completely refurbish the inside and outside. Most everything is done in house. They fabricate most of the parts they replace.   They also have a regular car service shop connected to it which is part of the same owners.  So if you see a VW van that looks like a camper, wave.  Most likely they’ve visited RMW at some point. IMG_0777 IMG_0778

We made it through our first week! We’re still married and Max hasn’t run away yet.

June 2, 2014

This blog started out as a way to keep family and friends in touch with us and follow us on our journey in the RV.  But it is turning out to be a way for us to remember actually what day it is.  We constantly lose track of time and day.  Some would say that’s a plus of being retired.  Gene also made a rule of not wearing the same clothes for more than three days. Did I have this T-shirt on yesterday? Sniff, sniff, does this T-shirt smell funny?  We also have what they call a Truckers Tan.  Only my arms are tan from shirt sleeve down from driving.

When I setup our new Garmin for RVers I chose avoid tolls in the tools section. This was a mistake. We avoided about $70 in tolls by avoiding I-76 and I-80, but managed to hit every mountain in West Virginia, and Pennsylvania on I-70. Up one mountain and down the next. Then going through Indiana and Illinois the I-74 pavement was like an obstacle course.

Saturday night we spent at Spring Valley RV Park in Cambridge Ohio.

Sunday night we “Wallydocked” at a Walmart in Urbana Illinois. The deal with staying overnight at a Walmart is they allow you to park in their parking lot over night for free, and hope you will spend some money in their store while you are there. It’s a win-win for everybody. We spent $78 on groceries that we would have needed to purchase somewhere. We also bought gas while we were there. Not all Walmarts allow overnight parking. You need to call ahead and get permission, and when you get there, go in to the customer service desk and ask where to park. There are no hook-ups, so you should have water on board and your house batteries charged. The Walmarts we have stopped at have been beautiful.  We parked away from the building along a beautiful grass line, almost like a park setting.  Plenty of room to play ball with Max on the grass and just a few trucks.  We rented a movie from Redbox there, put the bedroom slide out and had a good night’s sleep.

Tuesday, June 3

Some people when going through IL stop to visit Abe Lincoln, but we kept going and went straight through to Iowa and came upon “The World’s Largest Truck Stop”.


We saw the longest 18 wheeler transporting a blade for a Wind Turbine.

IMG_0708 IMG_0709

And Gene tried on a couple of hats.



Besides being huge, their gas was $3.29 per gallon and since we are getting 45 miles to the gallon with the Honda Fit, I filled up for $23.  We won’t discuss the motor home gas mileage. The Fit was getting such great gas mileage that we decided to tow the motor home!


Anyway, it was a lot of fun walking around looking at all the shops there.

On to the next campground.  We pulled into another KOA.  They are usually really nice campgrounds with a lot of amenities but a little on the pricey side.  We do get a discount for being members, but they are a treat.  When we pulled in, the woman at the office assigned us a site and we noticed that all the other rigs were being situated next to each other in a pretty large campground.  She told Gene that if you hear a siren go off to immediately head for the pool house.  They had tornado warnings for that night.  Turned out the wind and rain were heavy, but no siren!  We stayed there for two nights  waiting for our mail to catch up with us and to take a break from moving every day.

Thursday, June 5

Driving through Nebraska. The road was the smoothest we’ve been so far.


If I weren’t driving a 20,000 lb vehicle I might take advantage of this:


We were going to stay at another very nice Walmart and actually pulled in when we started talking about how it was going.  I was feeling a little cabin fever, not because of any small space but just needed to go to a movie or something, like get my nails done.  Gene started looking for a movie on the internet when he came across a casino 10 miles back.  You can stay at Casinos for free also and for $30 you can get hookups. So, we went to Horseshoe Casino.   Since we are self contained we stayed for free.

IMG_0722 IMG_0723

Just as we were getting ready to walk to the casino it starts to hail.  Gene said “hurry up and take the car in the garage”.  I ran out and thought I was getting bombarded with golf balls.  Driving to the parking garage was like riding over rocks.  We were afraid we would wind up with dents in the car or RV.  I found a spot to park and waited for it to stop and for Gene, who waited for it to stop.  He said “the RV was a rockin and a rollin” and the hail sounded like gun shots going off in the RV.  Very scary for the second night in the midwest.  I don’t know about these folks out here.  I don’t think I could live with the uncertainty of the season.  It has also rained about every other night.  Which was OK, because we didn’t have to clean bugs off the windshield. Once we got into the casino we checked out the poker room (of course) and it was full also discovered they had grayhound racing, which he has been looking forward to, but missed…again…because of weather.  The night was a success though.  I won a pretty penny at the slots and managed to walk away with it too! Richard said to Gene “good thing you married her, now you get half!

When we left the casino the first city we drove through was Omaha NE home of Omaha Steaks. My mother’s favorite.

IMG_0727 IMG_0726

Friday and Saturday, June 6 & 7.

Well, we finally found a KOA that has absolutely NO amenities, but the best WiFi internet service so far.


A little less pricey too, but the site is level and we are taking a breather.  So I thought.  More heavy rain and high wind warnings.  And it came!  I was afraid of the double slide being out with the wind but I finally just went to bed and tried to sleep.  Tried being the operative word.  Woke up to 50 degree weather.  Seriously?  I wanted to dig out my down jacket from the RV basement.  It was windy but the sun finally came out and the temp went up to 60.  Since we were literally in the middle of the country in Nebraska, we went to see the Great Platte River Road Archway.

DSCN8679    DSCN8680


The Great Plains Cultural Learning Trail takes you back to the time when Native Americans and the great buffalo herds mapped the Road that others would follow.  It takes you back in time where the Wagon Trains started out from Oregon, Mormon and California Trails.  Where the Pony Express started giving way to the Iron Horse and first Transcontinental highway – The Lincoln Highway.

Escalator to the beginning of the self tour.







The end of the tour was moving into the 20th century.


View of the Lincoln Highway (I-80) from inside the Archway.


This Archway spans across I-80 and was the dream of the Governor of Nebraska.  We also took a walk around some Indian gardens and an earth hut they lived in with numerous families.




Inside the hut.

DSCN8705 DSCN8704

DSCN8706 DSCN8703


We also saw a Sod House. This what the early settlers lived in.



DSCN8713 DSCN8714

Very educational and felt good to be finally seeing some sights of this great Heartland.  During the day while driving the skies have been just beautiful.  No smog out here!

We also went by The Nebraska Fire Fighter’s Museum.


Tomorrow will be a traveling day and can probably make Ft. Collins which is our destination for two weeks, or we may stop at a State or National Park and enjoy the area before getting to the campground we have booked for Monday near Mark.





Off to Colorado!

We finally made it out of Virginia!  Only three weeks behind schedule.  We moved everything out of the house and into the RV that we could just about find the bed.  It took us a few weeks to pick and choose what to take.

It was touch and go for awhile there, but we were able to donate many of our possessions to Goodwill , sell some and put the rest in storage.  We traded our Rav4 for a Honda Fit.  It’s much lighter and can be towed 4 wheels down.  Plus we’re getting almost 40 miles to the gallon!  We have to wait to get the base plate for the car till we get to CO.

Our first stop on the way to Ft. Collins, CO was supposed to be Wheeling Island Hotel Casino and Race track. I was looking forward to the race track. It is a dog track and I haven’t seen Greyhound racing in forever. But it was a long travel day (meaning Eileen had a melt down) and instead we spent the night at Coopers Rock WV.



Most all campgrounds come with a picnic table and fire ring.

DSCN8644 We were up early and got to the overlook before it got too crowded. Guess which trail we took!











We left the overlook and packed up and drove a short two hours to Spring Valley RV Park in Cambridge Ohio.




Since Spring Valley had a great WiFi coverage we spent a restful day catching up on internet stuff and grilling some steaks on our new baby Weber. Tomorrow we head to Richmond, IN.

Final days in Palm Harbor

We took the MH to Honeymoon Island on Friday I asked the attendant if there was a discount for seniors and she said “no we’re all seniors here.”  That was funny. It was nice having the MH with us at the beach, being able to take a break from the sun and have lunch. Loved Honeymoon Island.

Left click on images to enlarge.


I have to say something about the RV Park we stayed at. Bay Aire RV Park in Palm Harbor, FL. Our camp hosts Larry & Cheryl were great, they knew we were new to RVing and went out of their way to make our stay a happy one. From helping us setup to recommending places to eat and visit. Not that we needed them but the bath rooms and showers were very clean as was the pool and rec room. Next time we go back to Bay Aire we will be in our own MH.

Bat Aire RV Park

We finished up our trip Saturday. Returned the 30 footer to Cruise American in Tampa. We did everything we were supposed to do; fill the LP tank, bring it back with as much gas as we left with, clean the unit and empty the grey and black water tanks. We got our deposit back plus we saved money on mileage. They charge .34 a mile and since we had a car rental we saved about $68. Between that $68 and the saved $60 in cab fare to and from the airport the car rental only cost about $25! Reflecting on our trip we enjoyed ourselves, learned a lot and came away with better questions than when we started. In the Spring of 2014 we hope to have our own RV.

Motor home pictures.

From cab looking to bedroom. Fridge & freezer on left, kitchen on right.

Left click on images to enlarge.

DSCN8124 DSCN8121

DSCN8128 DSCN8129

With the door closed the shower and bathroom become one room. Looking from bedroom to cab.

DSCN8118 DSCN8117

Glass enclosed nerve center.                                                        Camper at night.

DSCN8116 DSCN8202

DSCN8138 DSCN8132 

                                                                                                        Does this bumper make my butt look big?!  

DSCN8139 DSCN8145


DSCN8147 DSCN8146 


DSCN8196 DSCN8191 DSCN8190 DSCN8184 DSCN8173 DSCN8172 DSCN8171 DSCN8170 DSCN8169 DSCN8168  

Sept 1st -5th

Sunday we did a little scouting for the week. The first place we stopped at was where Robin & Scott lived when they were in Palm Harbor. I remembered it because there was an alligator in the pond.    Left click on images to enlarge.


Speaking of alligators we had lunch at Molly Goodhead’s


and had an appetizer of alligator. Tasted like chicken!


Monday (Labor Day) we went to my cousins for a cookout. Billy grilled hot dogs, steak, chicken and sausage. Delicious! I haven’t seen my cousins Lisa and Christine in long time. Christine especially, she’s been in Florida for 23 years.

IMG_1614      IMG_1615

We took home some chicken which we had a couple of nights ago with rice.


We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and part of Thursday searching for a place to live when we retire next Spring. We found several Apartment and Condo communities in Palm Harbor, Sarasota and Venice that we were happy with. Tuesday we had lunch at The Lucky Dill in Palm Harbor. Great sandwiches we ate half and took the other half home.


Also on Tuesday we stopped at a 7-11 for a coke and as we were pulling out to go home someone hit our rental car in the driver’s side rear quarter panel.


Yesterday we went to Honeymoon Island and spent some time on the beach,


then had lunch.


A happy camper.


We went back that night to watch the sunset on the causeway.

DSCN8177 DSCN8164 DSCN8152 DSCN8190

Local fisherman.


Wednesday we had dinner with my aunt & uncle Theresa and Bruce at Pops Sunset Grill. More good food. It rained during dinner, but was considerate enough to stop when we were done.

Since we don’t have TV in the Motor home we rented a couple of movies from Redbox and watched them on our entertainment center (my computer) while sharing a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. Worked out great!


Our first trip in a rented 30′ RV

We picked up a 30 foot rental yesterday. All went pretty well. The rental agency was closing by the time our flight into Tampa arrived, so we didn’t get as much instruction as we would have liked. But all in all it worked out OK. We also had a car rental. Eileene was driving and we each had a two- way radio. We rented the car because the cost for a cab both ways to the Cruise America rental was about half the cost of the car rental and we plan to do a lot of driving this week. As most people have advised we went to a large parking lot and practiced, practiced and practiced some more. I found a video on backing up on YouTube that was very helpful and we were confident when we left the parking lot. We had a few places to go before we stopped for the night. I found that keeping it between the lines was a lot  like driving a car, but cornering was a challenge at first. I only took out one corner, Eileen driving behind me says it was two corners, but I didn’t take out any signs, people or fire hydrants. Got in and out of a McDonald’s OK. Stop to pick up a package from Billy and Lisa got an invite from Billy to a Labor Day cookout.  When we got to the campground the host backed me in. Eileen says she could have done a better job ha ha. One thing we found is a lack of 110 outlets in the rental. We usually bring an extension cord with several outlets on the end when we travel and we’re glad we had it this time. We found the A/C to be loud, but no more annoying than the A/C in a motel room. We’re not in a shaded lot so the A/C struggles to keep up with the 90 degree FL heat.