Where We've Been (46 out of 50 States)...Where We Are!

Where We've Been (46 out of 50 States)...Where We Are!
We are extensively traveling around...working and having a blast...Life is Grand!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Camping or RVing?

Which is your choice?

We prefer RVing over camping but this place is definitely a campground, even though they call themselves a resort. Or, maybe it’s because it’s Memorial Weekend and all the campers come out, especially here in the northeast.

The campfires have been nonstop and many of them use some sort of fluid to enhance it and quite smoky from the wet wood. The dogs are barking constantly, not just one, but many of them and some folks brought along 3 or more. The kids are happy, screaming, playing, riding their bikes and just being kids. The adults are drinking lots of fluids, especially the type that come in the dark brown bottles and in the night their voices and sounds of laughter get louder with each new bottle.

We wandered outside a few times to check out the activities and to try to enjoy our patio but for the most part we hung out mostly in our rig watching racing all weekend.

Since we have seven weeks off, we had to use some of our Coast to Coast stays for weeks at a time and we knew we would be a bit bored. We were right and we look forward to moving on Tuesday and traveling to the next resort. The next one is right on Lake Erie and has a few nearby things we want to check out so our boredom will be less.

Then once we leave there, we will be heading for Michigan for the NASCAR race…yahoo! Then travel…more travel and even more travel…yahoo! But for now, we must learn to be patient and enjoy these few weeks of rest and relaxation.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Another Sleepless Night

This weather has been so strange and we are really fed up with it. Mother Nature is pissed! They are calling for a repeat of yesterday and last night for today and tonight in our area and if that is the case...I see another hotel stay for us once again. We didn’t get a room last night and it was rough!

It seems as if during the day, I am more tolerable of storms. But, when the darkness comes and the storms continue to come one after another, getting worse with each one, then I get really freaked. Last night the lightening lit up the skies for moments at a time as if it were daylight. The rain was so hard along with the large hail that it was deafening in our RV, which was probably good so nobody could hear my screams. The wind rocked our home so violently, it was as if somebody was shaking us to get our attention, and for sure it doesn’t help that our jacks are still not working.

This year has been the worst year ever for storms and for us enough is enough and believe me, it has been worse for thousands of others and how they are coping is beyond my comprehensiveness.

I remember the times that a storm approaching was a wonderful sound, the rolling thunder, the crispness of the air and the smell of it. But lately it has only been fear. Not sure if the reason for the fear is because of the few we have been personally involved with, or because of the devastation that has occurred down south, or because of the media hyping each and every storm up beyond measures.

We usually hookup our satellite dish, but because of the many trees in the last campground, we opted to use their free cable which gave us local channels, otherwise we use the east and west feeds that we have with our satellite and then watch the storms on our computer at The Weather Channel. Sometimes it’s better not knowing what is coming if they are going to make much more of a threat than it actually is. I know, they are just trying to cover their own butts and in all honesty cannot truly predict the weather but to set off the alarms over and over again, when a funnel cloud has not even been seen is beyond the scope of giving us the facts.

Is it better knowing it is coming your way or is it just better to be surprised?

The fear that I have felt over the announcements of them coming our way which they never did is worse for me than to actually have one approach and move beyond us without me even knowing and dealing with it until the moment it hit us.

Is too much information better than not enough?

I am not sure which I prefer. All I know for sure is that Mother Nature is pissed and if there is anything I have done to add to her anger, I apologize for it and hope that she is done with her vengeance and we can all begin to have a wonderful Memorial Weekend and summer of 2011.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dayton Tall Timbers Resort KOA

7796 Wellbaum Road
Brookville, OH 45309

Paid $45 using our KOA discount card for a FHU back-in site, included free 40 channel cable and WiFi but we were able to use our own Verizon MiFi with good service.

The grounds and sites on this park are so very well maintained and manicured. The laundry room and restrooms are kept immaculate. The staff is the courteous we have ever encountered. They are very well trained and each and every one of them is always willing to go way above what is normal service.

Even though their charges are on the high side and our company picked up most of our tab, if we are ever in the area again, we would certainly stay here. Customer service is high on our scale for why we return to many places and this park has the best ever.

This is their Pet Policy which was enforced.

Pets must be kept on a leash and under control at all times. Pets are not to be unattended. Please use the dog walk and pet areas and clean up after your pet. Pets are not permitted in any building, pool, lake or playgrounds. Breeds not permitted include Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Goodbye Penske Truck & Hamvention Show

Since April we have been traveling around with the Penske truck with 40 scooters and our RV, well that all ended when we completed the Hamvention show and we relinquished the keys to the Penske over to Sandi.

Sandi and David work for Scootaround as semi drivers and they will also work the shows if needed, and they were needed for this show. Between the semi and the Penske truck, we brought over 150 scooters and we used every last one of them on Friday and Saturday. Sunday, not so many.

We are not “Hams” or “Hammies”, or whatever they call folks who get into the Ham Radios, but we had heard this show is one of the biggest and they also carry other electronics. As we found out, not so much.

We could not find any GPS’s so we ordered ours online before they arrive in the stores in June. If you go to the Rand McNally website and purchase TripMaker RVND 5510, be sure at checkout to put in the “VIP” code to save $70, total paid with taxes and free UPS ground shipping was just under $300. We are so looking forward to delivery and we will share all we know with all of our readers just as soon as we have checked it all out.

Now we are off for the next 7 weeks until it starts all over again. So, in the meantime we will enjoy Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Indiana. We have 2 NASCAR races scheduled to be fans at, and several areas we plan to visit friends and sights we have not visited yet.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A New Camera

Through the years of full-timing, we have heard Nick Russell’s name and/or Gypsy Journal plenty of times. We spoke several times over the phone about working for him at his rallies which never panned out. It wasn’t until recently when a friend, Donna AKA Froggi & Stu mentioned how much we would enjoy his writing that we actually began following his blog. They were right, he is a character! Very outspoken, down to earth and has a great passion for writing which shows in every article he writes.

He posted a few weeks ago that he had a camera he was selling and it just so happened to be one that I had been looking for…not really, I have several but one more camera never hurts, especially a great deal as what he was offering.

Because we had been traveling we had it sent to where we would be returning for the Hamvention and then coupled with the rain continuously falling since we arrived here there wasn‘t an opportunity to test it out. But, there was a break in the rain yesterday so we took a walk around the campground and were able to test it out. What a great find this camera is…the shots are crisp, vibrant, clean and clear…LOVE IT! Thank you Nick!

Today we set up the show for the Hamvention. We are working with a couple we worked with in Lakeland and Daytona and it promises to be a very interesting and fun time. We checked out the other exhibitors that were setting up and this show is not just for the Hammies, it looks as if they will have anything and everything associated with electronics.

Yeah…maybe we can find a great deal on a GPS that won’t guide us down the wrong roads. Really looking for that Rand McNally for Rvers, TripMaker RVND 5510, much better stuff that we would use than the trucker ones. If they do not have it at this show, then we will order it online, but we did want to see it first.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Should Be Plenty of Flowers in May…NOT!

Since most of April consisted of rain…rain…and more rain everywhere we were located in the northeast, we thought for sure there should be so many flowers blooming in May…NOT! All we seem to be getting is more rain. Our plans changed so many times due to the weather, we are not sure which direction we are going anymore.

After leaving Cincinnati and finally arriving in Ruffs Dale, Pennsylvania to store the Penske truck for a few weeks while we explored the area, we thought, hoped for better weather.

Was not to be! Unfortunately several of our plans had to be cancelled because the places we wanted to visit did not open on time due to the cold, wet weather. We were not suppose to have all this idle time in between shows because of our plans to sightsee, but instead we found ourselves with too much time on our hands. That is not a very good mix, no sunshine and too much time to think about all the things that could happen make for a very uncomfortable time. We need sunshine, without it we get lazy and our bodies get painfully sore. We are reevaluating our plans for heading east this early next year…

I need to write everyday, it is my passion, my purpose, who I am when I escape into the keyboard. It is as if writing, taking photographs and then sharing our stories with our readers is my daily vitamin, without those things I get lethargic. The longer I go without doing it, the worse I get. It’s not as if we do not have anything to write about because lately our lives are full, but not too full that it won’t give me the time to do it, but instead I zone out someplace else. It’s time to get back to my happy place, traveling, writing, photography and sharing those stories is what gets me jumping out of bed every morning, looking forward to sharing our lifestyle with our readers!

Maggie’s levelers stopped working and then a few days later our water heater would not ignite. Since taking showers is a necessity, and we prefer our own over the campgrounds facilities, and being tired of feeling that rock and rolling experience every time we take a step, we made an appointment to have it all checked out at the Camping World in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

We were not very happy with the outcome.

We showed up for our appointment on time and they took us in immediately, but after that it was not the best service. They automatically charged us $109 per hour just for them to find the problem…not always a good sign. We continued to check with them and received no updates after an hour…then another hour…then another. Finally after 3 hours of nothing, we insisted on some sort of update from them. They said that the water heater was fixed, it was a quick replacement of the thermo cut off switch, the part was only $30, but labor was $109 for just minutes of work, plus just over $20 for shop supplies.

Then we asked about the levelers and they insisted they have been researching the problem for 3 hours and could not find the issue. When we first got there, we explained all the research we had already done in trying to find the issue and when they began to explain the research they were doing we explained that they were just duplicating what we had already done. We were unwilling at this time to allow them to continue to research when we knew the issue had to be a simple one. We knew that it had to be a loose wire somewhere since for the week prior to the stabilizers not working the light would flicker until we switched the switch several times, until they finally just stopped working. Any and all suggestions would be deeply appreciated since we love our stabilizers but are able to live without them until we find a less expensive fix for them.

The system is an after-market HWH Hydraulic Leveling installation on Maggie, not sure exactly when they were installed but they were not working when we bought her and Camping World replaced a $5 switch, but charged us for all the research to find the issue back then. This guy said it was not worth his time or our money to continue to look for the problem when he probably would not have the parts to fix it anyway.

Any ideas, suggestions or thoughts would be deeply appreciated and in the meantime if you see our RV a rocking, you can come a knocking since we are probably just taking a deep breath…

Monday, May 16, 2011

So Much Catching Up

Once we get behind in sharing our stories, we never seem to find a clever way of jumping back into it, but we will attempt before too much more time has passed. Our last post was shared shortly after leaving Cincinnati, well since then we have…

Worked the NRA Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Drove twice to Washington DC to pick up and drop off more scooters.
Dropped off the Penske truck in Dayton, Ohio in preparation for the upcoming Hamvention event.
Encountered more rain…thunder…storms…frigid temperatures…another tornado and did I mention RAIN!
Visited several Places of Interest, Casinos, Restaurants, Hotels, and RV Parks & Campgrounds…some great…others good…and some NOT at all!
Had some necessary work done on Maggie and even toyed with the idea of upgrading to a 30’ Class A…still working on that one.
Hit yet another huge jackpot!
Got a great deal on a great camera!
Made some new friends and hung out with some old ones.
And, so very much more…

Once we complete the Hamvention this weekend, we will be sitting and recuperating in the Ohio/Michigan area until we head to the Michigan International Speedway mid June, where we will enjoy another NASCAR race as fans. While recuperating, we will take the time to share all of our reviews, stories and photos. The stories have been written, many photos have been taken, they just all need to be brought together and posted.

Thank you for all the kind words from our friends and readers wondering where the heck we are and for wanting to hear all about our adventures. It feels good knowing that there are so many of you out there who follow our stories.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

American Campgrounds/Spring Lake Resort

8368 West “C” Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49009

We paid $10 per night with our Coast to Coast membership for a water, electric and sewer site. We had excellent service with our DirecTV and Verizon, both phone and MiFi.

Originally our plan was to spend a few days here but the place was just not what we anticipated. The sites are rough, grassy non-level, small, and the hookups are just plain illogically set up.

Upon checking in at the front gate, we were told to go grab any site and then come back and let them know which one we took. We do not have a vehicle and really now, why should we have to come all the way back up the hill while it rained just to do their job?

We looked at so many sites before finally deciding on one but could not hook up our sewer if we hooked up our water and electric. Dogs were allowed to run free and most were chained up outside and barked and lunged very often during our one night stay.

This is a membership park and this is no way to attract any buyers. They do have rules, but at no time did we see any security or any sign of management to get folks to adhere to the rules. Open sites, as well as sites that were occupied were not manicured and looked very trashy. This is not a resort, it is a campground and not a very attractive one at best.

With some TLC and management that cares about customer service, this could be a nice place, but until then it will remain a mediocre campground that we will not be recommending to others or returning ourselves.

As for adding their “Pet Policy” to this review, we see no reason for it since they did not enforce it.

For more photos, check out our Picasa Web Albums.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Little River Casino RV Park

2700 Orchard Hwy
Manistee, MI 49660

Using the 10% discount with either AAA, AARP or Players Club, we paid $16.96 per night for a water, electric, sewer, back in site with free cable and WiFi on a level slab. We had excellent cell phone and MiFi service with Verizon.

We stayed here once before in September of 2008 and were impressed then so we thought we would give it another try. Not much had changed, except for the weather and we no longer tow the Jeep, so that may be a giveaway that these photos are from 2008.

They have clean and modern showers, restrooms and laundry facilities.

They offer coffee in the office that stays open until late into the evening. You may use the hotel’s pool and exercise room with the key they give you.

They offered shuttle service that picked you up and took you back to your site with just a phone call to valet at the casino. On our first morning there, we were warned to immediately take cover due to a tornado touching down just a short ways from the casino. We jumped on the shuttle but before we even made it half way to the casino the warning had been cleared. The wind was howling and the rain was so heavy at times, we could not even hear each other scream. Out of the 3 days we were there, we opted to stay at the hotel for 2 of the nights.

We only paid $73 a night for some very nice accommodations. The first night they were totally booked so they upgraded us to a suite, we checked out the next morning but the storms began once again so we stayed again but this time was a regular room and either one was great. Thought we took photos of the rooms, but somehow they got lost or deleted.

We would highly recommend either the hotel or the RV Park and they also allow boondocking in the parking lot. This is a class act place and whenever we are in the are, we will certainly stay there again.

They didn’t seem to have any sort of rules or pet policy posted anywhere. But since it was such a well maintained park, it seemed everyone used their common sense and picked up after their pets, didn’t tie them up outside and kept them quiet.

For more photos, please check out our Picasa Web Albums.