Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Elkhart Indiana Pics & Captions

Below are pics of interest about Elkhart, Indiana, the RV capital of the World.  There is a RV museum and soon there will be a Mobile Home Museum right next to it. What we found fascinating about Elkhart was the statues of Elks, painted differently and in various locations as well as the hearts which were also different and placed in various locations throughout the region. They also painted their boxes for the traffic light controllers with images. If you wish to read more about Elkhart feel free to read the Wikipedia information which explains how Elkhart got its name and other pertinent details that may interest you.

Elkhart sign at the exit from the interstate toll road.

This Elk statue was in front of a bank

This Elk statue was in front of an Arts & Crafts store

This Elk statue was on the corner across from a Marathon and a Family Practice Clinic

A decorated heart in front of Elkhart General Hospital

Another heart in downtown Elkhart

The RV & MH Museum

Traffic light controller box

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Elkhart Campground Pics


Transitioning to Elkhart, Indiana - Our first full time campground

 As I mentioned previously in my earlier postings our first full time RV campground was Elkhart Campground. Older postings are towards the bottom of the blog, so if you are lost, please start at the bottom of the blog and catch up!

The Hosts of the Elkhart Campground were very accommodating.  We had to move a few times from site to site in order to stay at the campground but they honored our monthly rate even though we had to move.  They said the move was for their convenience so they didn't change our rate from the time we arrived at the campground.

The Hosts and their employees were very friendly and helped with anything we needed while staying there.  All of the mail was delivered to a mail room where we could pick it up as it came in.  Something that not all campgrounds will allow, mail delivery, so you have to check with each campground as you book your reservations to make sure you are allowed to have mail delivered to you.

We had already planned on selling the house when I retired and going full time so it was a no brainer once Debbie, my Wife, decided to work out of Elkhart, Indiana, and the fact we were in the midst of a pandemic and could only work from home, that we just go ahead and sell the house and begin the full time RV plan.  We put our house on the market on a Friday and it was sold by Monday. What a whirlwind followed after.

25 years of "stuff" to get rid of. Now you have to really think about this.  25 years of hoarding, keeping things you really didn't need to keep, stuff that you couldn't be moving from place to place with you and if you decided to keep it, you would have to rent storage somewhere to put it.  We did that with what we had left that would fit into a 6 by 12-feet U-Haul trailer attached to the back of the motor home. So if you ever think about going full time in a RV, you better listen to George Carlin's video about stuff so you can more intelligently decide exactly what "stuff" you need.

By the time we left Elkhart we eliminated 80% of the "stuff" we had in storage so we only had the other 20% that we were able to fit into the car and motor home to take back to Ohio with us to get rid of it.  We are still dealing with a fraction of "stuff" we need to get rid of but we are learning to become minimalists so eventually we will have this honed down to a comfortable level of what we actually "need" to be moving with us from place to place.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

How This Adventure Began

Thus far my blog has been mostly pictures with captions so I thought I would give everyone a break from the pictures and do a posting with just words.  I do hope you have enjoyed the blog thus far.  There are many more pictures and stories to share, so please do return to my blog occasionally to see what is new and perhaps look through the previous postings if you wish to do so.

So how did this all start, the decision to do full time RVing? I was impressed by a customized minivan done by Paul Sherry in Piqua, Ohio.  Someone I knew had bought one and invited me to look inside.  Now this was way back in the 70s so you have to consider the setting.  I was in high school and all of my classmates were just at the point of getting their learning permits and drivers licenses. When I saw inside the minivan the first thing I noticed was a fridge, stove, sink, and then the bed and entertainment system.  This custom minivan really rocked and I told myself one day I was going to get one of these.

My mind went on and on thinking about how the custom minivan could fit into my life.  Of course back then, while in high school, it would have been to take it to get togethers and invite friends inside to party, but I was never able to afford one of them as a teenager.  I was lucky to get my first car given to me by my older brother.

Nothing was really handed down to me other than clothes and small items with little or no value other than sentimental things, so this car my brother gave me was a 65 Plymouth Fury III. My brother was headed overseas for a military assignment and couldn't take the car with him.  The car was actually purchased by my Dad a few years earlier from the original owner.  Dad gave the car to my brother when he bought a newer car.

Next thing I know it was time to "see the world" as the military recruiters and TV ads would boast. Since most of my older siblings went into the military it seemed only logical that I would do the same to get free from the roost of home, away from the apron strings, away from the little town I lived in, to meet new people and see new places. One of the benefits from going into the military was getting my college paid for, something my parents could not afford.

So my adventures began.  Off to basic training in the Air Force. When I arrived at the airport in San Antonio the drill instructor showed up to pick us up. As we were bussed off to Lackland AFB we were all asking ourselves what did we get into here?

Basic training was cut short by one week because Christmas was coming up so we did a 6 week basic training course in 5 weeks.  We didn't get to have a town pass because that normally comes during the 6th week of basic.  So I didn't get to go to the River Walk nor the Alamo in San Antonio.  It wasn't until years later when my step son was finishing up basic training in the Air Force and got his town pass that I went back with his mother to see him, that we toured San Antonio, the River Walk and the Alamo.

So what does this have to do with "How This Adventure Began"? If I have kept you reading this long it really seems you enjoy my writing.  If so, please let me know.  If not, then please let me know so I may make some adjustments if your feedback is constructive.

Off onto my various assignments in the Air Force. While I was only stationed at two bases after basic and technical training I took notice of the RVs people had and thought how cool it would be one day to travel North America in one of those, meeting local people and enjoying the lifestyle.

As you can see by my previous blog postings which are below this one, we started out via tent camping. My sons and I did tent camping and fishing quite a bit in our earlier years so I was comfortable with the tent camping.

It wasn't until I met Debbie that we moved from tent camping to RV camping. She saw how comfortable the people in the RVs were and said she would like to get a RV since it seemed to have everything inside for creature comfort and we could still enjoy the campfires and being outdoors. 

I told her I thought that was a great idea and let her know about my dream to travel the country to see the sights and meet different people along the way.  It's actually my way to know more about the people of America that I put my life on the line for while in the Air Force.  Not just me, but most of my siblings because out of all of my siblings we were either in the military or was married to someone who was in the military.

You can see the pattern of our progress towards full time RVing within this blog. You will also see that it is very popular these days with the COVID pandemic because a lot of people are selling their houses and moving into RVs so they don't have to take planes and deal with airports taking the risk of catching COVID by being around such a mass of people from who knows where.

The fact that a lot of people are going full time RVing or just purchasing an RV to avoid the hotels/motels and airports has created some difficulty for us though as we try to match up my Wife's travel nursing with available campsites.  People are planning out 6 months to a year in advance and making reservations. We don't find out where we are going to go next until around 6 weeks, halfway through a normal 13 week tenure of my Wife's contract assignments as a travel nurse.  As a result, sometimes we have to rent a campsite and an Air BnB since the campsite is farther away than a comfortable commute to and from the hospital my Wife is working at.  So the pandemic has thrown a monkey wrench into our plan, but we will keep at it until my Wife decides to retire.  Once that happens we can plan 6 months to a year ahead like everyone else does.

Eventually we might grow tired of traveling in a RV and decide to buy a condo, but for now, here we are sharing stories, pictures, and life events with you.

Speaking of life events, I retired on 1 January 2022 so we could take off on this full time RVing adventure.  I hope you enjoy the blog.  If so please let us know.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Our current second Motor Home, a 2019 Thor Windsport 35M

Concrete pad at my Son's house for when we visit.  He was nice enough to have it poured so I would be close to him while in Ohio. Pics immediately below are different views of the outside of the motor home parked at Elkhart Campground on different sites. Elkhart Campground was where we began our full time RVing.  Look for other postings after this in time for more details about Elkhart Campground and the surrounding community.

This black cover on the windshield is called a MagneShade. It is held on by very strong magnets, some sewed into the fabric and some held onto the inside or outside of the windshield by adhesive tape pads.  You remove it when you plan on driving but it reduces the temperature inside the RV by 20 degrees.  Very handy especially when your windshield is facing into the sun during hot weather. The sun shield that is in the RV will not keep the heat out.

In the pic to the left you can see MagneShades on the side windows as well. Those are held on by all outside magnets and are only on the cab windows on the side.  The rest of the windows are heavily tinted so they don't need MagneShades.
The residential fridge, TV, and the pantry between them.
The sink, counter, stove top with oven below it and microwave above it. Pics below show the stove top both open and closed

Looking from the back to the front. Different views inside the motor home from here down. There is actually a bath and a half in this motor home.  The full bath is in the back and the half bath is off the living room off to the right of the TV.  Washer/Dryer combo is right across from the half bath.

This is where we had our washer/dryer combo single unit installed, in the bottom of this closet.  If we had installed separate washer and dryer units we would have lost the space to hang the clothes in the upper part of the closet and they would have had to cut a hole in the side of the motor home to vent the dryer.  The combo unit washes and dries the clothes in one appliance. 

The two pictures above show the loft bed that drops from the ceiling above the cab to sleep two more people whose combined weight has to be less than 500 pounds.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Our first Motor Home, a 2002 Winnebago Adventurer

Living Room, Kitchen, Cab looking from the hallway next to the fridge you see in the picture below.
Kitchen looking from the cab.  You can also see the dinette booth and the hallway leading back to the bedroom.

TV, Dresser, Wardrobe/Linen Closet, Vanity, Cabinets in the Bedroom
Exit/Entry next to Kitchen Sink and Living Room Recliner
Dinette Booth Corner

Couch that lets out into a bed.
Bathroom Sink/Commode/Shower on the right
Vanity, Mirror, Lights, Shower on right
Bedroom with nightstands on each side.

Dogs relaxing on the couch.

One of our camping kitchen tables we have used over our camping adventures.  This particular one we bought at Cabela's.
Set up at one of our favorite campgrounds.
Covered for the winter season.
Drivers side view with slide out extended.
Angle view of passenger side/front windshield with slide out extended.
Another angle of the passenger side.

Another angle of the passenger side.
Winnebago Adventurer just fit into the driveway of our house perfectly. Back passenger side view.

Winnebago Adventurer just fit into the driveway of our house perfectly.
Front passenger side view.
Side view of Winnebago Adventurer in our driveway at home.

Wapakoneta KOA

We stayed at the Wapakoneta KOA during the summer of 2023, mid-May through the end of October while my Wife Deb worked at St. Rita's Ho...