We never dreamed this is how we would live in retirement! Where has this year gone? It has flown by and we are so glad we have a way to remember what we’ve done. And this has been a banner year!
We have made amazing new friends! We use RVillage to keep up with each other and of course, follow many who blog (they’re listed on our side bar if you use the internet to read this.) We want to plug one couple we met in person and then they became our mentors in helping us buy a Class A motor home. Their help was invaluable! They still work and earn a living on the road. One of their skills is to help create and manage websites! Check them out here: USA-RVNomads.
So here are the highlights in the nutshell with our reflections:
On July 16, 2014, we officially sold our sticks and bricks home! And we’ve never regretted it nor missed a day of our once called “dream Florida pool home.” We absolutely enjoyed it and lived life to the fullest, but it became an anchor to our new life style.
In August, we celebrated our grandson’s one year birthday! And what a great celebration we had.
In December, we learned we will welcome another grandchild into the world, come August, around the same time as our first grand child. They will be two years apart, meaning we have a toddler now and a baby on the way.
January 7 – 8, 2015, we experienced our first “pipe” freezing (sewer pipe. We let water drip all night…but not a big enough drip)! Although when we left Myrtle Beach the year before, at about the same time, it was 16 degrees, but no pipes froze.
Sad and good news: Sad news is that three of our close friends/family members have been diagnosed with cancer. Good news is we are grateful this lifestyle has allowed us to visit them. The hardest part of this lifestyle is being away from family in their times of needs. Somehow, we trust the Lord to help us be there for them, if not in person, in prayer!
We stayed in 9 state or county campgrounds, which was something we had really wanted to try. And we can say we really liked the experiences. However, we’ve learned one downside. Debbie used to never get ticks or tick bites. She experienced her first one in Blackwater River State Park. And then she maxed out by having 8 in Suwannee River State Park. Ah, but what is a tick if you get it off right away? And that is now our goal to be more vigilant and to SPRAY with tick repellent. We thought we learned our lesson when Bill got a bull’s eye from his one while staying in our former “home” campground near our daughter, the KOA Fredericksburg.
Boondocking – We’ve decided we could only go a week at the longest without sewer hook ups (based upon our state and county park stays), but we can’t imagine going without electricity (now that we have a residential refrigerator (we can’t live with out it since we normally cook at home) and we have a washer (new one ordered and to be installed around July 21, 2015) and dryer.
We’ve added two states to our regular South Eastern travel zone, expanded from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida to include Alabama and Tennessee. This was a huge goal, but we fell short as we had planned to include Kentucky in our travels. We know there is still so much to see in these few states, but one day, we do plan to head up to the northeast, to the southwest, midwest and northwest. OK, to all 47 lower states. Alaska, well, we probably will just take a cruise there after following some other bloggers who are traveling there this summer!
Of the 41 campground stays this year, 30 were new ones for us since we began traveling in an RV.
Biggest milestone, was selling our 5th wheel and buying our Class A motorhome (a dream come true for Bill), a Tiffin Phaeton, 40′ QTH! And both of us going on social security….😁
Reflections: 1) Now that we have a motor home, we will stay longer and have fewer campground stays each year! 2) We’ve decided to avoid KOAs as they seem too expensive for the value for us. We do like them and we have stayed in them quite a bit. But the discount just won’t pay for us now. 3) We’ve learned to be comfortable in this lifestyle, no matter for an overnight stay to a month long stay; or if in a 30′ X-Lite or a 40′ luxury motor home. 4) We’re in this for the long haul! We will keep going until we find a place that we say, “this is where we want to settle down.”
These are our campground stays for this year, numbered from 66 (total since we began in September 2013) down to 25. An * indicates we have stayed there before. We have linked the blogs written as well as links to the campground reviews we’ve written. The previous 24 stays were from our first year, but only as “extended” stay campers. As of this date (July 16, 2015), we have now stayed a total of 495 nights in our RVs. We have included links to our blogs when written about specific locations, links to our Campendium Campground Reviews, and a snippet of our experiences:
66) Hidden Acres Family Campground, 17391 Richmond Turnpike, Milford, VA 22515, 804-633-7592 6/24/15 – the present. This seems to suit us as it is a little closer to our grand son and his family (our daughter). We basically use the full hook up services and Debbie gets in an average of a two mile hike nearly every morning. And their is a sweet church close by that we are starting to plug into as we know we will be back.
65) Waynesboro North 340 Campground, Eastside Highway, Waynesboro, VA 22980 Campground office: (540) 943-9573. 6/22-24/2015. We couldn’t find a better “deal” but still felt we paid too much for our stay. We really thought we could easily find hikes nearby, but it was not to be. Most were about 40 minutes drive and for us on a short time frame, wasn’t ideal. We’re not sure if we will return. See our review of this park here.
64) Shadrock Campground, 2537 Volunteer Pkwy, Bristol, TN 37620,(423) 217-1181. 6/20-6/22/2015. This is a basic campground. It has full hook ups. The location is great and there is so much to do in Bristol. We’re sorry we couldn’t spend more time here, so we will return one day! See our review of this park here.
63) Marion County Park and Lake, 9696 US 41, Jasper, TN, 423-942-6653. 6/18-6/20/2015. While the setting is stunning, it is a bit distracting to hear and see interstate traffic. The trip here was absolutely the hardest trip we’ve made….can’t wait to blog about it. We had to make two u-turns and a part fell off it while in a torrential rainstorm…See our review of this park here.
62) Tiffin Allegro Campground, 7th St NW, Red Bay, AL 35582. (256) 356-2769. We loved our time here while our motor home was being worked on. The wealth of information we learned from other owners and the service crew was just what we needed as new owners. We WILL return, probably for our yearly maintenance. See our review of this park here.
61) Red Bay Self Serve RV Park, Red Bay, AL 5/19-6/18/2015. We’ve arrived to have our Phaeton worked on. We also took a road trip to be with family while our Phaeton hangs out, waiting it’s turn for service. See our review of this park here.
60) Walnut Creek RV Park, 222 County Road 5516, Troy, AL 334-482-3532 5/18-19/15 (one night). Too bad we don’t have time to stay longer. Just a sweet location for our 3rd stay in our Phaeton. Click here for a blog on our stays here, Suwannee River State Park and Sonrise Palms Christian RV Park.
59) Suwannee River State Park, mailing address: 3631 201 Path, Live Oak, FL 32060 386-362-2746 5/16-18/15 (2 nights). Our second location in our Phaeton. Woohoo, we fit into a State Park! Who cares that Debbie had 8 ticks and Bill had two, we got in lots of great hiking!
58) Sonrise Palms Christian RV Park, 660 Tucker Lane, Cocoa, FL 32926 321-633-4335 5/14-16/15 (2 nights). Our first campground in our new home, a 2010 Tiffin Phaeton, 40 QTH. The beginning of our trip to take it to the Tiffin Factory, Red Bay, Alabama.
The below travels were in our 5th Wheel, Keystone X-Lite 30′ Cougar
57) R & D Family Campground, 22085 Sparta Rd, Milford, VA 22514 804-633-9515, 4/2-5/4/15. here
56) *Swamp Fox Campground,1600 Gateway Road, Florence, SC 29501 (843) 665-9430 dates: 4/1-2/15 (one night). We wrote a blog, “This isn’t how we prefer to travel” that covers our time here, Walkabout Camp, Buttonwood Bay and Talbot Island State Park.
55) Walkabout Camp & RV Park, 742 Old Sill Rd., Woodbine, GA 32569 (912) 729-4110 3/31-4/1/15 (one night)
54) Buttonwood Bay, 10001 US 27 Highway South, Sebring, FL 33876. Phone: 888-232-1442. Dates: 3/25-31/15 (7 nights)
53) Talbot Island State Park, 12157 Heckscher Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32226. Phone: 904-251-2320. Site 16. 3/21-25/2015 (4 nights)
52) Torreya State Park, 2576 NW Torreya Park Rd., Bristol, FL 32321. Site: 008. 3/17-21/2015. (4 nights)51)Ochlockonee River State Park, PO Box 5, Sopchoppy, FL 32358. Sites: 024 & 027. Phone: 850-962-2771. 3/14-17/2015 (4 nights)
51) Ochlockonee River State Park, PO Box 5, Sopchoppy, FL 32358. Sites: 024 & 027. Phone: 850-962-2771. 3/14-17/2015 (4 nights)
48) Fallings Waters State Park, 1130 State Park, Chipley, Fl 32428 Phone: 850-638-6130. 2/27-3/3/2015. (4 nights)
47) Florida Caverns State Park, 3345 Caverns Road, Marianna, FL 32446 Phone: 850-482-1228. 2/23-27/2015. (4 nights)
45) *Back to Buttonwood Bay, Sebring, Florida. See #25 for our 1st stay at Buttonwood Bay. Here for a month, from 1/20-2/19/2015.
44) *Tampa East RV Resort, 4630 McIntosh Road, Dover, FL 33527 (866) 786-6298, 1/13-1/20/2015. We came to attend the Florida RV Super Show. We have decided it is time to upgrade to a Class A Motor home for a multitude of reasons. Hopefully we will be able to blog about it! We are having so much fun, it is hard to find time to blog!
43) *Ocala Sun RV Resort, 2559 SW Hwy 484, Ocala, FL phone 352-307-1100, 1/11-13/15. We visited friends in Ocala.
42) *Jacksonville North / St. Marys KOA, 2970 Scrubby Bluff Road, Kingsland, GA 31548, Phone: 800-562-5220, 1/8-11/15. We decided to return to Talbot Island and relax near the beach. We thought we would see some sun….it was fleeting!
41) *Swamp Fox Campground,1600 Gateway Road, Florence, SC 29501 (843) 665-9430 1/7-8/2015. We drove 353 miles to escape the polar vortex…but we didn’t go far enough. In spite of all precautions, water dripping, our pipes still froze! It took 2 hours to get them unthawed with a heat gun!
40) *KOA Fredericksburg, 11/20-1/7/15. Family time!
39) *Pirateland, (rank 5) 5401 S. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, SC, (843-238-5155). 11/12-11/18/2014. We’re here for some R & R after 21 days of “work” back home and before we head to our daughter’s home. We’re looking forward to special family time, but Bill will be continuing the inside painting of their new home.
38)* Savannah South KOA, (rank 2) 4915 US-17, Richmond Hill, GA, 31324 (912) 756-3396 11/11-11/12/2014. We forgot about the noise in this campground. Last time, it didn’t seem so bad, but we’ve decided we can’t stay here again. It is a VERY nice campground, but there are a lot of “permanent” residents who still work. So the traffic starts at 5:00 am and starts back up at 4:00 pm. They drive faster than the posted speed limit which makes a lot of noise, the highway (I-95) was louder than last time, and we lost count of how many times the trains went by! Yawn….so sleepy….
37) *Buttonwood Bay, (rank 5) 10001 US 27 Highway South, Sebring, FL 33876. (888-232-1442). 10/21-11/11/2014. We traveled back here as this is our “home” of record for a number of appointments, to partially clean out our storage locker (lesson learned: don’t store electronics and things of value in lockers without climate control. We were blessed-we think everything is OK, but we donated everything of value. We also visited with family.
36) Ocala Sun RV Resort, 2559 SW Hwy 484, Ocala, (rank 5) FL PHONE 352-307-1100 10/17-10/20/2014 (3 nights). Very nice campground with full amenities. We have friends in Ocala, so our time here was with them.
35) E-Z Stop RV Park, 181 SW Howell Rd, Lake City, FL 32024. (rank 3) Phone 386-752-2279, $23 10/17-10/18/2014 (1 night). Location was good for an over nighter. Has full hook ups but that is about it. Although the owner/manager is also a barber. Debbie needed a touch up and was very pleased! Although close to Interstate 75, you couldn’t hear the road noise.
34) SANTA ROSA SOUND RV RESORT, (sadly rank 1. This is a BEAUTIFUL resort but I never could sleep due to highway noise) 8315 NAVARRE PKWY., NAVARRE, FL 32566, Phone: 850-936-4791, 10/13-17/2014 (4 nights)
33) LAKE PINES, 6404 GARRETT ROAD, MIDLAND, GA 31820, (rank 4) Phone: 706-561-9675, 10/8-10/13/2014. This was a basic park with full hook ups, a nice laundry room, friendly and helpful staff, and interesting things to see. We need to write a blog of our adventures here! WOW, saw some great things and ran into friends also in an RV from Sebring! (It’s a small world.)
32) The Great Outdoors RV Resort, (rank 5) 321 Thumpers Trail, Franklin, NC 28734,(828) 349-0412, 10/2-10/8/2014. WOW, this is one of the best resorts. It truly had everything, from excellent Wifi (owner used to have hotels so he knows how to do wifi right), good cable TV, fabulous laundry room, exercise room, showers, and the sights were breathtaking. We had friends visit so we ate out some. We need to write this one up with pictures. We had some fabulous adventures here.
31) Moonshine Creek Campground, (rank 5) 2486 Dark Ridge Rd, Sylvia, NC 28779,(828) 586-6666, 9/27-10/2/2014, PA $12.50-19.5032). This was an interesting campground. Pretty basic but it did have nearly everything you need. The laundry mat was small. There was a railroad track right beside us, but only ran twice a day. The views and adventures were excellent here. We need to also write this one up.
30) Green Mountain Park RV, (rank 3) an Encore Resort, 2495 Dimmette Road, Lenoir NC 28645. Telephone: (888) 318-1243. 9/20-9/27/2014. I need to blog about this and the rest. We started out on the wrong foot here and it set the tone for some disappointments. We had a hard time getting a site and setting up. This is what I would describe as basic. The laundry room was a drive away. But we met new friends that we now follow who are also full timers and we have lots in common!
29) *Mayberry Campground (rank 5) 114 Bunker Road, Mt. Airy, NC; Telephone: 336-789-6199. 9/15-20/2014. This is such a relaxing area, we had to return! It is also just 5 hours from our daughter, or 6 hours if we take the quiet back roads. Which we did! See # 21 for more details. I need to write this one up too. So many adventures here!
28) *KOA Fredericksburg, (rank 4) We are becoming disenchanted with them! 7/18-9/15/2014. We need to find another campground in the area.
27) Four Oaks RV Resort, (rank 2) 4596 U.S. Hwy 301 South, Four Oaks NC 27524. 7/17-18/2014. Mainly a stop over. The staff was very nice, but no amenities nor was anything nearby. Very isolated location.
26). Savannah South KOA, (rank 5) 4915 US-17, Richmond Hill, GA, 31324 (912) 756-3396 7/16-7/17/2014. This was a trial to see if it would be OK when we tour Savannah. Can’t wait to go back!
25). *Buttonwood Bay, (rank 5) 10001 US 27 Highway South, Sebring, FL 33876. (888-232-1442). 7/8-16/2014. We are returned here to finalize the sale of our sticks and bricks home!
To see the rest of our itinerary, visit here.
So how should we celebrate our anniversary? Geez, we feel we live a life of celebration so what more can we do? Just continue to enjoy our travels and our very special times with our grandson – and our daughter and her husband….we sort of over look them, don’t we?
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”