Friday, December 22, 2017

Ready for Christmas

Well, we are just a couple short days away from Christmas 2017. This our first year with Rex in our family. And, actually, at 10 months old, this is Rex's first Christmas ever. He's not quite sure what to make of these sorts of changes going on around the house, especially when it comes to things that directly involve him, such as when Eric put a Santa's elf head piece on Rex. Rosie and Charlie however, take this with speed since this is far from their first Christmas's in our home.

Once again, we have plenty of Christmas gifts to go around. It seems like even in years like this one, where for those in our home, we have only bought items that we 'needed' rather than things that we wanted, we still have a tree full of stuff, even there really isn't anything that we need. Clearly, in order to have more Christmas gifts, we would need to have a bigger motorhome! :-)

As always, even though we live in our 2003 Allegro bus, at an RV park in Rancho Cordova, we still have plenty of family and friends who we exchange Christmas cards with. As always, we have an area full of Christmas cards that we have received from many that we care about.

Lastly, we decorated the outside of the rig and a part of the yard to be enjoyed by us and our wonderful neighbors around us.

We hope that your Christmas holiday is a wonderful and safe one for you and all of your family.

Warm regards and safe travels...

Eric and Carol

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

We had a great get together with Mike and Karen at the Durango RV park in Red Bluff California. We like Durango because not only is it centrally located between Ashland and Sacramento, but also because it is a very nice facility where we enjoy visiting with our RV. Eric had taken the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to take care of some planning for the Christmas Holiday that is coming up. After that, Eric took the motorhome to get propane on board and then hooked up with Carol at her office at 2:00 PM when Carol was let go for the weekend.

After a drive of just about 3 hours, we pulled into Durango RV park to a sight adjacent to Karen and Mikes. Another plus to Durango is the fact that they have 'Buddy' sights where our doors face each other! :-) After we arrived, we went to Luigi's pizza for a little pizza pie for dinner. As always the Pizza was very good there. We don't eat there every time we come to Red bluff, but when we do visit there, we always enjoy it. This is Rex's first Thanksgiving with us. He is 8 months old and he is about the same size as Charlie, so he is going to be a big dog, but he is still very much a lover.

We had agreed with Karen that we would not exchange gifts this year, but there was an entry mat that Karen had found that she thought we needed to have, and she was right because we love it! On Thanksgiving day, we enjoyed time just hanging around the RV park. Though there wasn't really any staff on duty during Thanksgiving day, the rec hall was open so that we could go in a play Phase 10 and enjoy some Clam dip.

Prior to dinner, we sat outside for a little while and enjoying some hijinks that mirrored a gag that Karen and Mikes son Marq had done a few years earlier. Carol Prepared a wonderful turkey and mashed potato's while Karen prepared vegetables and fruit salad.

This was the first time that Carol had ever used the Crockpot to prepare the mashed potatoes. She cooked them in the crockpot on high for 3 hours, added some milk, Garlic, salt and pepper and three hours later, mashed up very nicely! :-) As always, dinner was wonderful! On the Friday after Thanksgiving we went to play miniature golf and had a wonderful time. For dinner we had Hamburger pie which is always a favorite of the families!

Once again, our visit together was wonderful to do some long needed catching up. We are so thankful for the family that we have.

Happy Thanksgiving all and Safe Travels!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The family getting some exercise

This is our favorite time of year! Last Saturday, the weather was halfway decent and so we decided to take the three dogs out to the bike trail near the aqueduct here in Sacramento. It's a great place that gives the dogs an opportunity to run off leash and get a little exercise. They were having a great time this day out on this beautiful day. It's also good for us to legged folks, cuz Carol and I can get out and get some exercise as well. :-)

Safe travels all.

Eric and Carol Anderson

Friday, November 10, 2017

Advise for those considering full-timing

So a family member of ours wanted us to share with them the wisdom that we have obtained so far over the 6 years that we have been full timing.

First off, be informed that full timing is not for everyone. Over the last 6 years, full timing has worked very well for my wife and I. Before you start your full timing adventure and making all of the investments associated with it, we would suggest that you try renting an RV and taking it on a two week road trip. You will find that this will give you an indication (though by no means a guarantee) of how full timing will work for you. Also, it will give you a sense as to what sort of items you would need living out of an RV full time. You might want to be sure to pack a rain coat, umbrella and beach chair as part of your supplies, even if you don’t think the weather will require it. The idea being, you will start to get a sense as to just how much room you will need. Also, if you rent an RV for a couple weeks, you find out if it is a lifestyle you think you might enjoy before you make a big purchase and take the rig off the lot.

If you like to cook, then take pots and pans and dishes with you. You will start to get a sense as to what you want as far as an RV kitchen and again, how much space you will need for all your supplies. When the two of us pulled the trigger and started our full timing adventure, we started in a 30 foot fifth wheel. We had the two of us, three dogs and two cats and it worked fine. But, we ultimately wanted a motorhome, so the 40 foot motorhome has been very comfortable for us. We selected a motorhome by Tiffin because of their reputation for quality products. For us, we knew this was a direction our lives was going to take for a number of years to come, so we spent the extra money for a Diesel pusher. There is an extra cost with the purchase of a diesel pusher, so if you think you might keep the rv for only a couple years, you might want consider a gas propelled motorhome as opposed to a Diesel rig. The gas motorhomes can be a lot cheaper to get into.

If you are living full time in a rig, you will want to be comfortable in your rig. So, you will probably want one that is at least 30 feet with a full shower and bath room, a kitchen area and decent sized refrigerator as well as dinette and a couch. If you do go with a motorhome that is 30 feet, you will find that this size vehicle isn’t convenient for running for groceries in. So, you will either want to go the trailer route where the trailer is towed by a pickup or other hefty vehicle, or the motorhome route where you tow a ‘Dingy’ vehicle behind you. If you go the trailer route, be sure your tow vehicle is big enough to easily tow your trailer and all your belongings. If you go the motorhome route, be sure the motorhome is able to tow a ‘Dingy’, and make sure that your dingy vehicle is able to be towed. Motorhome magazine is a great resource for determining what vehicles can be towed behind a motorhome. Be sure you are looking at the specific year, make and model of your towed vehicle before you hook it up and take it for a drag behind your motorhome. If you are living in a trailer, be sure that the tow vehicle has an adequate transmission, engine power and transmission cooler to adequately tow your trailer you are considering.

We love dogs, we have learned that dogs don’t care so much how big the house is, just how much love the house has in it. During the time that we have been full timing, we have had up to 3 large size (55 to 75 pound) dogs living in our motorhome with us. Yes, we work full time at brick and mortar jobs and so we are gone for a good portion of each day, but we always make sure that the dogs have been out and exercised prior to leaving for work for the day. Our vet has always been happy with the health of our dogs and the care they receive. While on the topic of dogs, be sure to feed them a good quality dog food (Blue Buffalo, Natures Domain (from Costco) or similar well rated food of four stars or above from a dog food rating website). Also, be sure to have extra copies of the dogs rabies vaccinations available, because frequently RV parks will ask for copies of those.

Today, we both work for brick and mortar jobs. We will admit however that the allure of ‘Teleworking’ while being on the road had a great attraction to us. Teleworking or telecommuting has its own set of plus’s and pit falls that go along with it. Unless you are extremely focused, telecommuting from your RV can be tough to do, especially if you have your dog that wants to play, or other travel companion who wants to share a story with you. Also, don’t rely on WIFI at RV parks for the ability to telecommute. Though WIFI is becoming easier to find with each RV Park we go to, we find other campers are watching Netflix on the park Wi-Fi and taking up all of the band width of the network. So, we suggest using your phone as a Wi-Fi hot spot. This does require however that your data plan be adequate. If you have a job that requires a lot of band width, telecommuting may not be for you.

As far as staying in touch with current events and your local TV programming we would suggest you consider just going with broadcast TV and skip the Satellite option. For 5 years of our full timing experience, we survived off of broadcast TV very nicely and we didn’t have to deal with the expense and challenges of using Satellite equipment.

There are some things that you will find different about living full time in an RV. Some RV parks don’t take certain types of dogs. We have three pit bull style dogs and so we have to take care on which parks we choose to stay at. Holding tanks don’t last forever. You will find that if you are disconnected from utilities, that your freshwater tank, your toilet holding tank, and your shower drain tank will only last 3 to 5 days before they need to be dumped or refilled. Also, in the colder months, you will find that you may need to fill the propane tanks every week or two. You will find however, that cleaning your home, takes almost no time at all! 
We love full timing and we wouldn't change it for anything in the world. 
Well, that is just some of the thoughts that come to mind from our full timing RVing experience. We have been enjoying it for 6 years and for us there is no end in sight.
If you want to get a sense as to what our setup is like, check out our video that we did a couple years ago. 

Safe travels!

Eric and Carol Anderson

Sunday, November 5, 2017

A quick get away to the delta - Oct, 27th & 28th 2017

We always enjoy getting away when ever we can. As much as we would like to get away once every month, frequently, it doesn't work out that way. Fortunately, we were able to get away in the month of October to a wonderful place by the name of Vieira's Resort in Isleton California. The first impression here is perfect! We love walking into a camp store and finding it fully stocked!

This was a great location. It wasn't more than an hours drive from home, but it was in a very relaxing and enjoyable get away. Though our space did not have sewer, it did have water and power which for a two day weekend, was all that matters. One of the nice things about this RV park is that they don't have any dog breed exclusions so our three dogs were welcome! This place is perfect, they allow RVing, tent camping and cabin stays as well! For us, there was a vacant area behind our rig which was a perfect view while relaxing outside the rig.

The restaurant at the RV resort appeared to be a bit of a hole in the wall, but the food was excellent! The 'River Delta Diner' is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

We really enjoyed our trip here and we will definitely keep this on our list of places to return too!

Safe travels all!

Eric and Carol Anderson

The 2017 Waite family reunion - Sept. 29th and 30th 2017

This year we had annual Waite family reunion in a different location than we have had many years in the past. For many years, we have held the annual reunion at Tower Park in Lodi California. That location had been selected because it was centrally located between the sierra foothills and the bay area.

Because of changes that have been enacted at Tower Park, we tried a location in Pine Grove in the Sierra foothills. This years location was at Gold Country RV park and campground. The park has had a checkered history. In the early 2000's the park was overrun by full time residents and was poorly maintained. The park was then bought and turned into a Jelly stone park. The Jelly Stone park name only lasted a couple years and the park went into bankruptcy and soon fell into disrepair again.  The park was bought by a new owner and it is obvious that they are putting in work into the infrastructure to the park and trying to turn it around. 

 Prior to the family reunion, a number of family members went on an Alaska cruise. Though many enjoyed the cruise, most of those who went on that trip came home sick with a really bad cold or flu. The family reunion had a good turn out this year despite the change in location. Sandy and Bill Ealy who normally head up the event, attended the event, but were both under the weather because of the flu bug. So, most of the games did not place as they have in the past. The Horseshoe tournament did however take place as always. The winning team being Russell Gallette and Kevin McCann.

There was another pot luck on Saturday night as always, and it was well attended and the food was delicious as always. 

One of the concerns about the park here in Pine Grove was the fact that the cabins and motel rooms were pretty run down. The park has said that they will be doing a lot of repairs to the Cabins over the fall and winter. One of the attractive aspects of this park is the fact that they allow dogs in the cabins, but it remains to be seen if we will be allowed to have dogs in the cabins after the remodel is complete.

Safe Travels all! 

Eric and Carol Anderson

Sunday, September 3, 2017

September 2nd 2017 - The drive from Winnemucca to Rancho Cordova

This was our last day of our vacation as we drove from Winnemucca to Rancho Cordova, but we made the most of the trip none the less. As we drove on Interstate 80 from Winnemucca towards the Sacramento area, we stopped in Lovelock Nevada for the lovers plaza to add a lock that we had to the vast collection of locks that already existed. This collection of locks started in 2005 when a couple placed the first lock there on Valentines day.

We were thrilled to add our own lock here, especially since our own anniversary will be here in the next couple days.

We were also surprised to see one of the old style Safeway stores. This is the style of store that Karen, Mike and Eric have all worked at during one point in time in their working careers.

We continued the remainder of our trip home, arriving to Rancho Cordova around 3:45 on Saturday afternoon. The estimate was that we would drive the motorhome 2,328 miles. In reality, we drove 2,308, so only about 20 miles less than originally estimated. Also, we got on average 7.6 MPG on the Allegro bus. We were very happy with how the Allegro bus and our new Jeep Wrangler performed.

Safe travels all!

Eric and Carol

September 1st, driving from Heyburn Idaho to Winnemucca Nevada

On this day, we had a fairly easy but 350 + mile run to Winnemucca Nevada from the RV park we had been staying at in Heyburn Idaho. After we left Heyburn, we once again passed through Twin Falls to stop at the Blue Beacon to get the Motorhome a bath, and to get a Starbucks drink. Once the motorhome was washed, we topped it off with fuel and continued on to Winnemucca. All in all, the run went very smooth.

When we arrived in Winnemucca, we parked for the night at the 'New Frontier RV park'. This is a great RV park in a high desert area that is always a favorite of ours. This RV park had probably the best infrastructure of all of the ones that we stayed at this trip. There was solid, Power, water and cable TV as well as fairly solid Wi-Fi. We are concerned though that since there were very few rigs in the RV park on this date, the WIFI might be undersized when the park is fuller. This RV Park has a little fenced in dog yard to take your dogs for a run, but there is lot of open lots around the RV park where you can take your dogs to get up a real run if you want too. This RV park did not have any Breed restrictions so bringing our pack of pit bull mixes was not a problem for us.

We had dinner at the restaurant that is part of the property, and the food was very good, though the waitress had a problem getting our drink orders correct.

Tomorrow, we make our final run for home in Rancho Cordova.

Safe Travels all!

Eric and Carol

August 31st, Heyburn and Twin Falls Idaho

For two nights we are staying in Heyburn Idaho at a wonderful RV park that is adjacent too and managed by the City parks system. This RV park is nicely set up and has a solid infrastructure system. There is 50 amp pull through sites with water and sewer but no cable. The Wifi is over taxed as you will find with most RV parks these days. The bathrooms and showers have been around for a while, but are well maintained. There is easy river access at the end of the park and an area to take your dogs to stretch there legs, though there is no fenced in dog yard. On the plus side though, there is an elementary school right next door which is almost completely fenced in, which allows you to let you dog off leash to stretch its legs if you'd like too. This RV park did not have any Breed restrictions so bringing our pack of pit bull mixes was not a problem for us.

We were thrilled to make a new friend with a lady who works for FEMA who also has a pit bull mix that was a wonderful dog. We loved passing on what we could about RV'ing with Pit bulls to her. Sadly, we didn't take any pictures of the RV park when we were there.

During our day off here, we drove to Twin Falls and explored the Snake River and Shoshone falls. Neither of us had seen the Shoshone falls before, and we were both surprised as to how massive the snake river gorge is (where Evil Knievel jumped across the river many years ago). We truly enjoyed our visit to this area. It is one of those places where you can perform a quick visit in about 30 minutes and feel like you have done the visit justice.

If you are passing through the area, it is definitely worth taking the time to stop by and check it out.

Safe travels all!

Eric and Carol

Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 30th, the drive from Missoula Montana to Twin Falls Idaho

On this Wednesday, we had a long but un-eventful drive from Missoula Montana to Twin Falls Idaho. We drove 443 miles leaving Missoula Montana at 8:05 AM and arriving at 5:15 PM. That drive time included putting on 50 +/- gallons of Diesel fuel before we actually got on the highway followed by three potty stops for the dogs as well as a lunch stop in Dillon Montana. We stopped at a McDonalds in Dillon Montana which was a perfect halfway point between our Campground in Missoula and the one we are spending two nights in at Heyburn Idaho, which lies between Idaho Falls and Twin Falls. This McDonalds was just a couple blocks off the highway, it had a Safeway with Fuel in one part of the shopping center, RV parking and of course the McDonalds. But the highpoint of the stop was the fact that the McDonalds had picnic tables under Pine trees in a nicely cared for Grassy area.

We have found that fuel prices have been pretty consistent on the trip. In the states of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, fuel prices were all pretty much the same. They all were within about a dime of the $2.64 for regular unleaded and $2.69 for Diesel that we paid in Rancho Cordova California before we left. This shot is of a gas station in Heyburn Idaho.

For those that are curious, we are getting about 7.5 miles per gallon on the Motorhome towing the Jeep Wrangler on this trip.

Safe travels all!

Eric and Carol Anderson

August 29th, A quick stay at Missoula Montana

We had a brief two night stay in Missoula Montana. As we headed home, Eric had try to build an itinerary where we were not driving every day and it gave the dogs a chance to have some existence other than a rolling box. Eric had been intrigued for sometime with Missoula Montana for a couple reasons. For one thing, there is a Smokejumper base there and because Blackfoot communications is headquartered there. Eric use to work with a subsidiary of Blackfoot Communications by the name of Telesphere software when he worked for Volcano Telephone. Now that Carol works for Cal-Fire, Eric has remained intrigued with Smokejumpers, even though Cal-Fire doesn't have any smokejumpers, they are a US Forest service operation. None the less, we took a quick trip to the smoke jumper base in Missoula to check out the Visitors center (Sorry folks, there is no visitor center for the smokejumpers in Redding California).

A very nice young lady who is a US Forest Service intern took us on a tour of the facility which we both found to be very interesting. She explained to us all of the fire gear that smokejumpers take with them when they are deployed and how additional supplies and equipment are dropped to them to help them fight the fire and to survive in that hostile environment.

We also got to see one of the aircraft that is used to deploy smokejumpers and their equipment. Additionally, we went into the rooms where they inspect the parachutes to ensure that they are safe, and into the room where they are packed so that they are prepared to be used.

The young lady who conducted the tour was amazing. There was a couple of young families there who sadly were not watching their kids very closely. And even when their kids were in full view, they were letting their kids be disrespectful of the equipment of the facility. The tour guide kept her composure in the distractions and how she managed to not pull her hair out was amazing. It was sad though how the parents were doing so very little to control their kids.

The campground that we stayed at in Missoula Montana was called Jim and Mary's RV park. This is a wonderful facility where they are always working to make sure the facilities are in good working order. The bathrooms were clean and functional and the infrastructure at the sites was all in good working order. The grounds were beautifully maintained and the camp store was well stocked. They even have entertainment, in the form of a local band there at the park on Wednesday nights! They don't have any breed restrictions, they just ask that you don't bring any aggressive dogs to the camp ground which we completely understand. The only drawback to this campground is that the water here is very hard. When the sprinklers ran during the early morning they got our car and motorhome wet and caused a lot of spotting. We may have to give our motorhome and car a pretty good polish and wax job to get rid of the spots.

We were saddened by just how much smoke there is in the western part of Montana. At the time we passed through, there were at least 6 major wild fires raging in this region, and it was hard to see the mountains in the distance because of all of the smoke.

Our next stop is Twin Falls Idaho where we will spend a couple nights as we continue our trip home.

Safe travels all!

Eric and Carol Anderson