Friday, July 29, 2011

Back Out, River Up, Snakes, Badgers, Thieves and We Just Keeep Rolling Along..

It's been an interesting two weeks since my last post, interesting meaning I was on some mighty powerful pain pills that literally sapped the grey matter out of my head, but medicine is good when you are hurting, so I bore it well and am on the road to recovery, (hopefully).

During this time we cooked for an Event in Danbury Wisconsin, "We" meaning Doyle and our part time help Connie cooked, I just sat around looking glum.

Many a supportive friend came by to cheer me up and wish me well, I sure do enjoy having such good friends!

When we returned back to our lot on the Mississippi in Prairie du Chien, WI a couple of things happened, first, I guess our neighbors didn't think we were coming back, they took all of our fire wood we had stacked under the trailer and left for when we would return.

We don't know Folks well here, and since we are Full Timers, we keep an eye on everyones' rigs who are "Weekenders", now we found out what kind of neighbors we have, I guess we'll just turn a blind eye to the people wandering in and out of our fair little village, I guess it's every man for himself here!

It is so strange to see your neighbor two lots away having a nice little fire with "Our" wood! Granted, we did get the wood for free, gathering it up from the brush piles people dump just down the road, but really, I can't imagine the thought process of people who think, "Good, they're gone, lets go steal everything that isn't nailed down!" Oh well, I guess they have to live with themselves, we aren't campfire people anyway.....

Also, the wildlife decided we were gone for good also, a
Brown Water Snake
(Nerodia taxispilota)
took over Doyle's fishing spot and a Badger held a territorial dispute with Slippers, our Cat.

The outcome with the snake was that Doyle and it have become Buddies, and so it went with the cat and Badger also, I guess we are just the get-along sort of people.

Such is life on the Mississippi River this week, we sure feel grateful to be alive and getting on with life, a little health setback always makes one appreciate the good things in life and the people who care.

We hope you all are doing well also, enjoying the Summer and doing what we Vagabonds do best, wandering the country and living life to its fullest!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cooking Chicken on a Can Thingy...


Prairie du Chien WI
Today's picture is from Doyle again, he caught the birth of a storm cloud outside at sunset, though it looks small now, I'm sure it caused trouble later on for the people out East of us.

We are doing fine, I went to the Dr about my back, it's the first time I have seen a Dr in over a decade. She looked me over and declared it a strain and not something worse, thank goodness, and she gave me some great drugs! It's been a long time since I needed anything more than a Tylenol....the muscle relaxers are doing their job and I've been resting like I should.

Poor Doyle has had to take are of me like a little kid, but he has risen to the occasion like a champ!
Here is our new Chicken Cooking Thingy, one of those things you see at the camping store and just have to get, regardless of the fact we don't have room for it and it's hard to clean...but it makes FANTASTIC chicken. I gather you can cook a turkey on it also, but we would have problems fitting it in the oven....

It's built on the theory by those folks who started cooking chickens on end by standing the carcass on a beer or soda can to make it cook faster and taste better.

This little unit works very well,I just rubbed some garlic inside the cavity, filled the tube with Gluten Free Teriaki and slathered mayonaise of the outside of the bird with a sprinkling of sage and thyme.

Mayonnaise? Yes, mayonnaise. It works great on poultry to be roasted, it makes a great crispy coating when done. It's one of those things you have to try yourself before you become a believer.

My next trial will involve slathering the bird with PEANUT BUTTER before roasting, stay tuned for the results!

By the way, the reason there are no "after" pictures of the bird is that Doyle brought it in and cut it up so quick, I didn't have time to snap a pic. It was that good!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Living on the Mississippi River and Fireworks....

Doyle's Picture of Sunset on Friday

Happy Independence Day from Prairie du Chien Wisconsin on the Mighty Mississippi!

I have hurt my back again, or maybe I should say my back is still hurt, about a month ago I thought I was superwoman and tried to drive 24' stakes though hard ground, only to strain my back.

I was down for at least a week and thought I was getting better, then I decided to change the litter box myself, (my DH was taking that duty over for me while I recovered), and threw it out again.

Here I am stuck in my chair with a 1700's custom corsette strapped on. I had it made for me by a good friend, and if your back goes out, it's the greatest thing in the world to get you moving again. If it weren't for this life saving device, I would be stuck in bed for the next week. So, I look great but I can't move.....

Above is a picture Doyle took of the strange and wonderful sky's we had on Friday over the Midwest, several of our Blog Friends report eerily strange skies just before and after the big storm that lashed most of Minnesota and Wisconsin late Friday night. The picture really doesn't do justice to how brilliantly colorful the sky really was.

We stayed in camp for the Weekend of the Fourth, we need not have worried about fireworks, it seems that all our neighbors bought everything they could lay their hands to and we had quite the show right here in the Park. I have to give them credit, they were really careful about aiming, I imagine they know how much it costs to replace their own, or someone else's canopy.


In fact, we haven't been anywhere but one trip to the store for a couple of weeks now. It feels good just to sit and watch the river roll by. I have been working on my Elk hide dress and Doyle has been fishing. It's a hard life, but someone has to do it!

The Park has really filled up for the weekend, most of us here are season lease holders, but the the owners must have allowed a bit on run over from the other campgrounds to stay here for the weekend, it's been pleasant to have new company for a while, but we look forward to having the Park quiet down to just us Full Time Folks soon.

We love having the end lot, we never have neighbors on our slide side, which is just fine with me! I know that sounds anti-social, but I like uncluttered views, if I want to see the side of a Fiver I can always look out the other side kitchen window!

Well, that's about it for today, going to sacrifice a chicken on the grill this afternoon with a new thing-a-majig we bought and do some more laying around and such, great to be in a country where we are free to enjoy ourselves, and Thank You to my Son Robert and all his fellow Service Members who keep our country free to enjoy!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Full Time RV Life On The Road Lifestyle Checklist

Do You have what it takes?
Are you Independent? 
Do you have to be around people all the time? Do you need a support group within walking distance? Do you physically need your family around you constantly? If so, you probably aren't going to do very well on the road in an RV, (unless you park your RV in your families yard, but that's an entirely different thing..).

Are You Being Realistic?
It's not all scenic byways and glorious end of the world destinations with glowing sunsets. Sometimes it's a hard day on the road ending at a less than desirable parking place.

I have spent nights in Walmart Parking Lots, RV Repair garages and Truck Stop parking lots. I have had to spend time in RV parks that where you kept your gun at arms reach and left as soon as you caught two out of three Z's.

We work endless weeks where we have an Event every weekend, so it's set up Tuesday, laundry and shopping Wednesday, open Thursday, cook all weekend, cook and close Sunday, Pack and move Monday, then repeat. For Six or Seven weeks at a time. There are mornings I wake up with absolutely no idea where I am or what day it is.

Is Everyone On Board For Your Plan?
This is the deal breaker for most. First you must consider the feelings of your Significant Other. If you are a loner at this time, you can skip this section, but keep in mind that you will meet someone at some point and they could pull you off of the road.

A thoughtful argument must be made to convince your Partner the most important person in your life that they too will have a good life on the highway. Make you plan to include them and point out to them at every doubt how each challenge can be worked around to an agreeable end.

A good argument for those who just will not let go of that house full of goods, is that they will be letting go of it eventually because of health or misfortune, how much better to let it go thoughtfully and willfully to make sure it all gets to the right person it is intended for before the worst happens. The intended recipient will get the immediate joy of receiving your gift while you are still around to be grateful to.

Don't dwell too much on romantic sunsets in far away places, these are obvious. Deal with the practical aspect of loading up his/her special items and creating an organization that will make it possible for them to access them without having to make a trip to storage or remodel the entire interior to get at it.

I do sewing, research, beading and such, that includes 3 sewing machines, material, a sewing form and many drawers of supplies. We worked out a storage plan that includes everything I need to travel and craft on the road. I also had a significant historical library that filled one room of our home. I now have these titles on a Kindle reader, or can access them on the internet.

My husband is a Metal Smith and Black Powder gun enthusiast, we have a special area in our Toy Hauler for his gun and metal working area. (This is where a Toy Hauler shines for us, we have our living quarters and the bonus of a garage/shop/storage area in the rear).

The point of all this is, any argument that can be made against living on the road can be positively countered with a solution by designing or planning around it in a positive light.

Other family- If they don't understand after all the sacrifices you made for them over the years that it is now YOUR TURN TO LIVE, and that this is what you feel you must do to sustain yourself in a meaningful manner, send them a postcard six months from now telling them how you understand, but this is YOUR LIFE. They will get used to it.

Do you have a Plan? 
How will you sustain yourself financially? You don't have to be rich to be on the road, or retired with a fat pension. But you must have a way to pay for your RV, RV lot, tow vehicle, insurances, electricity, fuel and sundry items such as food and clothing.

If you have a trade that works on the road, such as Carpenter, Nurse, EMT, Welder, Odd Jobs Worker, Housekeeper, Internet Worker, Cook, Waitress or are willing to Camp Host a RV Park or Campground, be Gate Security or work with a willing chain store, (Walmart and some others let you change locations seasonally) you can find many opportunities on the road. Google workamping.

There are also opportunities in the Arts, Musicians, Storytellers, Blacksmiths, Fiber Arts Folks, Seamstresses and many others can find work in the reenactor field, (think Colonial Gettysburg, or Ren Fair) as well as City Festivals and such. A search on the net for such activities will bring you to Vendor Pages for such Events.

Flea Markets- If you have been a lifelong collector, this may be your niche. You can take what you have collected, (if you can let go), and take it on the road to several places in the country where it is entirely possible to make a living doing so.

There are many other ways to pay the bills, and these are just a small sampling, assess your talents and skills and start scoping out opportunities to use them on the road. Actually, most skills can be adapted to working on the road, give it some thought.

What about kids? 
Another consideration is for the young family with children. While there are some highly successful folks living on the road with a young family, most will find it far too daunting to tackle. One has to keep in mind what is best for the children, and for most, the answer is for the parents to set aside their plans until the children are out of the home. Although there are remarkable acceptions to this rule.

Reality of RV Lifestyle

Can You Live in a Small Space?
Claustrophobia in an RV is a myth. Most are very well thought out and interiors are expanding everyday through the use of slide outs and such. You wont go crazy because you have a small living area, even though this is first on most peoples list as to why they won't live in an RV.

Think about where you are sitting in your house right now. How big is the room? Unless you are Bill Gates, your average living area is about 10x12. It's probably a combination Living/dining/kitchen area, (unless you are one of those folks who have a computer stashed in you bedroom), with less than 400sq.ft. That's about the size of my living area inside. Outside I have another living area that is as big as the world. My front yard is wherever I am currently parked.

You probably live and work out of about ten percent of the available space in your home in reality, the rest is just storage and visual space, requiring a great deal of time to maintain and fret about.

Where will you Live(Park)? 
If one plans carefully where one will spend ones time, you don't have to be parked in one of those terrible RV Parks that are really nothing more than a glorified trailer park where you can reach out and touch the side of the RV next to you. I have nothing against trailer parks, I lived in one quite nicely when I was first starting out as a young parent. But I am older now and I have certain requirements for living a good life, something you have in mind when you decide to take off and live on the road to begin with.

I like space. I like quiet. I like natural water nearby that has the promise of a fish dinner.
I don't like screaming kids, water toys, weekend partiers, and smoking campfires. This lets out most State Parks and other Public Areas.

I found a compromise in old fishing resorts that have lots with full hook ups for RV's. They are usually out of the way and don't have much for amenities, but they usually have great off season long term rates and offer the quiet serene existence I crave.

Some people like social structure and there are many RV parks that have pools, community events and social hours. Some of them are even reasonably priced. Most are not. But they do offer an alternative for those seeking a mature adult experience and social interaction.

What About Financial Security? 
I remember reading an article written by a Full Timer saying you should have a minimum of a quarter of a million dollars in the bank before considering going full time. HAHAHA..Bless His Heart...for some of us, this will never happen.

Security is an illusion. There is no safe harbor, and eventually we all pass on. I have rich friends who lost it all in the last economic crash. Many friends lost their homes and careers. Some have foundered and lost hope. Others have taken it all in stride and gone on to a new life with lessons learned.

It is important to put aside some money, even if it is a couple thousand, just to keep a relationship open with a small town bank that can someday help you with a major purchase. But I have also known people who lost everything, bought a trashed out Motor Coach and rebuilt it into a fine home with time and diligence.

I have several friends who had it all, and in one major health threat, lost it everything too, including their loved one. Life is to be lived, not put aside until you have more time to dedicate to it, or are more secure, grab it. embrace it, and live it before it is gone.
It can be done on any budget, but I walk the middle road, a little cash, a little credit and a lot of hard work for little pay at the end of the day.


Making Our Plan- I thought I would give a rough draft of how I made my plan.
I worked like a dog in the real world for 35 years. I was a Mother of three boys whom I raised and put through college by working various jobs, then I put myself through college as well. I was a compulsive saver, but many things happened to reduce and sometimes eliminate my nest egg. I was doggedly determined though, and managed to stash some cash here and there.

My home was paid for, my kids well on their way to a successful life and I really had no reason to keep building onto my Ivory Tower any longer. I had several life threatening health challenges that told me that if I didn't live my dreams soon, I never would.

I had always longed to travel, and to do my historical research as I went. I began to do research on the road weekends and holidays that put me in touch with the world I would be making a living in in the future. The kitchen, (and my Dear Husband), appeared out of the mist and became my excuse to launch in a new direction. After working 15 years as a Graphic Designer I chucked it all and went on the road cooking Fry Bread and serving Root Beer.

Historically Incorrect Club, Florida
The Kitchen pays the bills and affords me the opportunity to meet other like minded people everyday who help and support me in my research. It is the most fulfilling thing I have ever done, outside of raising my kids, and I get to travel!

It's a bit more involved than that, but I would recommend that if you have a dream and a hobby you love, pursue it with all your might, because someone makes a living doing it, why not you?

If you're the religious type, think of the story of the "talents". Yes, you've raised kids, worked your whole life and done your duty, but have you developed your God given personal talents? You have an obligation to be true to yourself too! If you develop what God gave you, he will reward you with the way to make a living at it.

I don't want to get all preachy and such with you all, but at some time in your life you must take stock of yourself and who you are then proceed into your future. If you don't you will become one of those sad park bench types we all have seen, sitting around watching life go by, living in the past and dreading the sunset of another long, dreary day.

As my less preachy and therefore more practical husband says, There comes a time in life when we are all threatened with becoming dinosaurs, and therefore extinct. The dinosaurs couldn't adapt and change with the times, how about you? Are you going to curl up and die because you aren't young and in your prime, or are you going to accept the mantle of the Elder and get on with it?

Quit living in the past! It was wonderful and taught you many things but now it is time to take what you have learned and DO something with it. Teach! Learn More! and most importantly...Keep Moving in the direction of your dreams, whatever they may be!
 

Imagine Summers in the Cool North and Winters in the Warm South! It's a dream come true for a formerly snowbound old historical librarian type. I never dreamed one day I would be living at the Oceans edge and it has happened. It can happen to you too, as long as you follow your dreams a plan to earn a living from it will present itself.

Why do We Live This Way?
We are our own Boss. No one hands us a paycheck. We work, we eat. We set our own hours. Our life has no security, but does yours, really?

When the going gets tough, we go fishing. When it gets cold, we head South. When we are tired of the view, we change it.

We belong to the secret "Wink and Nod Club" of people who've been there, done that and don't need a T shirt to prove it. We meet at Truck Stops, RV Parks, Parking Lots and Rest Stops, share a few words and maybe a cup of coffee, then it's down the road again for a new adventure.

I Promise! It may not be easy, or the road to riches...but who needs scads of money?  All you need is enough to sustain yourself, and keep you moving on the path to fulfillment....in an RV.

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