Saturday, February 28, 2015

Motorhome vs 5th wheel

Many RVers, and especially potential RVers have that burning question, which is better a motorcoach or a towable rig? In our case we had a 5th wheel. First let me say that for many years we enjoyed our 5th wheel and made many memories. As we traveled, we always enjoyed seeing the ginormous Class A motorcoaches rolling down the highway and I would often say, "we need one of those". Typically these coaches were out of our price range and we were not prepared to go into debt, we were spoiled being debt free for all those years. But now came the time that we were going to update our rolling living quarters. It was time for a new truck and I wanted a new 5th wheel, so when you looked at that total package we were going to spend about what we would spend on a nice motorhome. Yes it was scary, my stomach was sick, and I kept second guessing myself, but what the heck, you only live once ...go for it! Introducing ...ta-daaaa!...The Tuscany!

Would I like to have one of these? Why sure, but a Marathon or Newell Class A diesel pusher rolling mansion is not in our budget until I we finally win the lottery. Until then our Tuscany has all the features we desire and she has been a wonderful coach.
This is a Prevost by Marathon, so beautiful.
 Straight out of our home state of Oklahoma, ladies and gentlemen here is a Newell!


For 6 years we enjoyed our 32' Keystone Everest 5th wheel, this coach took us to many wonderful places and we had 2 slide outs, we were so happy. Generally a 5th wheel will be more spacious and have more cabinet space too. The 2001 Ford F-250 Powerstroke diesel was a hoss, I loved that truck, 209,000 miles and still going strong!  Kathy took this picture from her car as she followed, we were on our way through Utah. We wanted to enjoy Kathy's Mercedes Benz SLK-230, so she followed in her car and we got to enjoy it at our destinations. Her following was inconvenient, since she was in her car and we were not together, plus the additional fuel costs. We loved our 5th wheel, but we just wanted to experience the motorcoach life, and so far I'm glad we did.

From beautiful Winchester Bay, Oregon to
the Rio Grand Valley of Texas


and the beach site at Mayport Naval Station, Jacksonville, FL



So which is better? Tough question, but here is my opinion.
5th wheel probably has more living and cabinet space. Motorhome will have more basement storage.
If you are going to spend a lot of time in one place, a 5th wheel may be more practical unless money is not an object. After all, why have a big motorhome that just sits for extended periods?
If you are travelers, the motorhome is so much more comfortable. Two hours in the pickup and your back and legs are killing you, but in a motorhome you can cruise all day sitting high in the leather capt. chairs looking out of the giant windshield at all the beauty the USA has to offer.
Have to go to the bathroom, no problem, just go. Of course I'm talking about the passenger, driver still has to stop. The air ride suspension proves much more comfortable than the tugging and pulling of the 5th wheel behind the truck.
Time for lunch, Kathy fixes it while we travel if the weather is bad or we don't want to stop. One of our favorite things is to stop at a pretty rest stop and enjoy an outdoor lunch, often parking by other RVers and exchange greetings and stories.
You tow your car behind the motorhome, so when you arrive at your destination you have all the transportation you need. We use a tow bar, I do not like the tow dolly. The dolly requires much more work to load and unload your car,plus you have to store the dolly.
Yes, a motorhome can be expensive to maintain, what toy isn't? Boats, motorcycles, and even cars are expensive, but to play you have to pay... right? The memories you make are hard to put a price on. Let's say we have a $2000 repair issue, yes it's a lot of money but we have not paid property taxes and utilities for many years so the money is available for repairs. If you go full time, have money in reserve! Thanks to the internet many issues can be resolved yourself if you just put out a little effort.

You don't get views like this from an airplane. The view as we head to Arizona, I love the desert and mountains.
 Going down the steep grade of hwy 93 to Lake Mead in Nevada.


This is our site at Galveston Island, the Gulf is in view from our windows.


Whatever you choose to buy, my personal opinion is (1): don't buy new,  get a 1 or 2 year old rig that probably has the bugs worked out, (2 )don't pay "doc fees" when you buy it,and (3) don't buy extended warranties. No financial expert that I have heard has recommended extended warranties. Take that same money and put into a bank account, draw some interest, and then use it for repairs that MIGHT be needed, I have read so many horror stories from fellow RVers that were ripped off due to all the exclusions in the fine print. Remember, these companies are here to make money, not dish it out to us because they want to be nice and help us. As always, discuss this with your financial adviser or professional.

Friday, February 27, 2015

RV Pet Owners, Whew!

First of all let me say that I am not an animal hater, matter of fact I love all living creatures. Well, except for June bugs...and maybe the love bugs from the Gulf coast area in April and September, and doves. I hate June bugs, and doves always have a stupid expression!
In our eight years of full timing we have learned that most RVers are very passionate about their pets, dogs being the most popular. I tend to get myself in trouble because I get vocal about how weird I think many of these people are. Most of my comments are meant as fun towards my friends, most of which have pets. Now the dogs are great, we've had plenty of dogs back when we lived in a stick and brick home with a back yard for the dog to run free, pee and poop at will. The dog poops in the yard, a week or so later when its dried and crispy, I get the rake, shovel, and trash bag, and the yard is clean! Our cat had a litter box, and well, we all know how that goes, so end of discussion.

This guy must have really got into trouble with his wife, he was forced to push their cat around the RV park in a stroller...oh the humanity!. No man should ever take a cat out in public with a stroller! Except for Bruce Jenner or maybe Liberace....Poor guy.

You RV dog owners are a special breed of people and I give you credit. There is no way I can get up at all hours of the night, in the rain or cold, wait for Fido to poop, and then pick up the warm fresh excrement with my hand wrapped in a Walmart bag. The neighbors would be awakened by me telling the mutt to hurry up, and then the sound of me gagging as I clean up the mess and they would get upset with me. I'm not a qualified fresh pooper picker upper as I had much difficulty assisting with diaper changes when our two daughters were babies. I laughed at my friend Jerry as I stood at my windshield (inside where it was warm) and watched him in his pajamas, arms waving, lips flapping as he is encouraging their two dogs to hurry and do their business. I knocked on the glass loud enough to get his attention, and then point and laughed. He usually waved back at me, but not with all 5 fingers. But why is it that the men are the ones we see most often with the dogs? I'm convinced they are the wife's dogs but the man gets stuck with the duty...so to speak. Pun intended..(duty..dooty) I've seen people with 5 large dogs in a RV! What is wrong with them?

Here's the issues with owners..NOT ALL, but many of you and you will not admit it...ever.
"Your dog" never barks, it's the neighbor's. So many yap-yap foo foo dogs that never bark or bite ,but yet I got scarred from a brutal attack by Joe and Tammy's dog, Maggie. Okay Maggie is little and she scratched my arm in  three places when she jumped on me to say hi. But it drew blood!
That pile of poop belongs to the "other guy".
Guests have many complaints on their dog's behalf, ground not level, stickers, too rocky, etc.
Their whole world revolves around the dog, but okay as long as they are happy who am I to judge?
 I do appreciate the fact that these pets are well cared for, as I have no tolerance for any form of abuse. No animal should ever be abused!
Now you can't go out for too long because your dog will get nervous, have to poop and pee, or needs it's medication by a certain time. You go out for fun but must return early for the dog. I enjoy our freedom too much to have all that pet responsibility.


 We met Omar while we worked in Destin, FL. He is a cool dog that just recently showed his snowball catching skill in the snowy state of Georgia.

This little fellow really captured my heart in Destin, FL I wanted to dognap it, but that would be wrong and it is also known for pooping.


This is 50 Shades of Wrong and no animal should be subjected to clothing. No man should ever be forced to take this thing out in public without a female in close proximity so he can blame her. If you don't believe me, ask Jay Leno...he'll tell you.


Occasionally dog clothing can be a "little cool" such as the biker dog at the Daytona, FL Biketoberfest.




This was a first for me, a pet pig! But hey, it was different.


These people really cracked me up with their, or really it was his, pet monkey.It was a mechanical toy but he had fun without the food or the mess. Love it!





Pima Air Museum, Tucson

We were fortunate enough to get tickets for the Pima Air Museum from our friends, Joe and Tammy. Now it's not quite as impressive as the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola, FL but is well worth the visit. There were 4 big buildings plus many aircraft parked outdoors for all to see. While looking at all the fascinating aircraft, photos, and tons of memorabilia you can stop for refreshments, lunch, or dinner at the on site restaurant. Plenty of friendly volunteers to answer questions you may have, so when in Tucson, Az check out the museum, it's fun for the entire family and yes, you can even bring your pet if it is on a leash.








Thursday, February 26, 2015

Flood!

Not everything goes as planned all comfy and rosey, danger can occur at any time. Our first real volunteer assignment was at Lafayette Blue Springs State Park in Florida. This park is along the Suwannee River and within 5 days of our arrival, heavy rains caused the river to rise. We were forced to evacuate and we did not return since it would be a long time before the park was back operational. The river rose way over it's banks.

In Destin,Fl at the beautiful park of Camp Gulf a massive 20 inch rain fell in one night. We were woke up at 4:15 AM by a friend who told us the water was quickly rising in the park. Our site was flooding and it had never flooded before. I am standing in knee deep water by our motorhome, still raining hard, and lightning all around. Now, I have to stand in this water and unhook all utilities so we can escape the rising water. As I stand in water, with lightning striking close, I have to unplug our 50 amp power supply from the electric pedestal and I literally wondered if this will be the last thing I do. Electrocution crossed my mind! Soaked and cold, we got unhooked and drove to higher ground, yes it was a scary time for us.

This is our site 308 at Camp Gulf, the water was deeper prior to this picture .


The pond at Camp Gulf really overflowed. This road goes downhill, but you can't tell because the water is so deep. People at the bottom we stranded for a few days, rigs could not come or go. People were not really in any imminent danger, just could not drive their RVs out of that portion of the park. 5 cars that were parked at the bath house were heavily damaged by flood waters.

Bath house 3

But after all that rain, we get to enjoy the rainbow after the storm. We found the end of the rainbow a couple of times, but have yet to find the traditional pot of gold. We saw this rainbow while working in Las Vegas at the Clark County Shooting Park. The adventures are our real pot of gold.

Priceless Once in a Lifetime RV Adventures

One thing for sure is that we have adventures that we would have never had if we stayed in a regular stick and brick home. We visit places in the RV that we probably would have not visited if we were on a regular one week style trip. Here are some of our more memorable adventures.

KEY WEST,FL. On our way to Key West we stopped at Bahia Honda State Park and got the opportunity to snorkeling and participate in the mini lobster season. I got to be the boat Capt. and Kathy got to help measure the lobster to verify they were of legal size. Along with our friends, Tim and Judy we caught 48 lobster! The boat belonged to Mario and Luis who were kind enough to take us all with them.



While enjoying the snorkeling experience, this reef shark swam below us, Talk about getting your attention!

We were volunteers/workampers at Ft. Zachary Taylor State Park and one night some illegal Cubans came ashore at the park. They were apprehended and shipped off to Miami for documenting, which is exactly what they wanted to happen. Now we get to haul off their rickety boat that surprisingly survived the journey from Cuba. Strangely, we discovered a large amount of condoms on the ground in the park. Not sure why, or what they were used for, but we really don't believe they had some big beach orgy to celebrate their arrival to America. We learned that if Cubans reach land, they get to stay, unlike Mexicans or others who can be deported.
PANAMA CITY,FL
While volunteering at St. Andrews State Park in Panama City, FL we got to witness and assist in a turtle hatching on the beach. Now that was such a special experience! We hatched 125 babies that night. Aren't they so cute?



CANON CITY,CO. While we were working at Mountain View RV Resort in Canon City, Co we had the opportunity to visit the Rock Mountain Wolf Preserve in Guffey. Wow, what a hair raising experience getting into cages with real live wolves! Volunteers or interns gave us the free tour, it is a great experience and they do appreciate a donation to help them run this facility.





This little hummingbird was found on the ground exhausted and couldn't fly. Now I am not a veterinarian but we happened to have a hummingbird feeder, so we held it to the feeding tube and it started feeding. After about ten minutes the little bird started to move again and then flew away. It was such a wonderful experience to help the little bird.We put out new hummingbird feeders and really enjoyed our daily visits. I wish I could be 100% certain this same bird kept returning, but I am not. This also occurred in Canon City, Co.




BRAZOS BEND STATE PARK,TX
I will never forget finding this alligator that caught a large turtle for lunch while working the trails at Brazos Bend State Park in Texas. I felt bad for the turtle, but it made for a spectacular photo opportunity and it is the circle of life. Those orange balls are eggs from the female.




We also found a snake that caught a frog for lunch...yummy!



Even in the civilized world of fancy RV resorts, the circle of life goes on. This hawk caught and killed this dove for dinner. The kill took place on a guest's patio. I also saw hawk's snatch a dove off of a overhead power line, it was amazing how fast that occurs.

One of the most beautiful places we have visited is Glacier National Park, Mt. There you can see all types of beautiful animals including big horn sheep and mountain goats,etc. 
This cool guy seemed to just stop and pose for us.