First Time in Venice (Florida)

Two years ago right before COVID really hit in the US my Mom moved from Myrtle Beach to Venice Florida. Closing on two houses in a 30 day period is no mean feat under normal circumstances, but she did it in the middle of a pandemic and despite the challenges managed to move to Venice right before things got really bad. Unfortunately although her brother lived there, right when she arrived no vaccines were available and everyone was social distancing so she was in a new place without any of the traditional means of meeting new people.

Thankfully the folks in her condo complex were really great and with some inventive social distancing (carport happy hour) she managed to meet some folks. Then over time they all got vaccinated so things loosened up even more and at the time of this writing she has made lots of friends, found a church, and has a schedule of activities that makes me tired!

Because of a variety of factors though I had not been able to see her new place, so when her plans opened up for Thanksgiving and I had a few extra vacation days I decided to drive down. Well that was my initial plan but it was going to cost $650 for a rental car for 5 days (4X the amount for a non holiday week) and despite my misgivings I looked for flights. Ultimately I found a round trip fare through Charlotte (no way was I messing with Atlanta) for $345 through American Airlines into Tampa and I booked it. Mom was nice enough to drive the 1hr and 15 minutes to come pick me up and over the next few days I got to see how she lived.

I absolutely loved her new condo which has a screened in front porch AND back porch and beautiful high ceilings. It backs up to a nature preserve so no one is behind her and at night we could hear the rustling in the wilderness. Made me glad we were on the second floor.

By choice we ate out almost every day (she cooked Thanksgiving dinner) and I tried several new places. We also had a chance to see my Dad’s sister and brother-in-law and my mom’s brother. I have family on both sides in Venice which is pretty cool.

Mom and I ate at Sharkey’s with my RVing friends Gene and Eileen. They settled in Venice a few years back.

Despite the evidence, we didn’t just eat though. We visited a very cool Amish farmers market (yes there are Mennonites who winter in Venice Florida) , we went to the ocean and the pier. We also went to a couple of thrift stores and even hit up the outlet store on Weds so I could get a new piece of luggage. It was alot of fun seeing the area and I really like that Venice isn’t super overdeveloped.

It was great seeing Mom and most importantly I now feel really comfortable that she is in a safe place. I know she thinks I am silly for worrying, but hey that’s what daughters do. At least this one does!

Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

Seventh Year by the Numbers

I have to start out by saying I am so pleasantly surprised that we made it to seven years as full timers. Initially I gave us a 50/50 shot of making it past three, but despite its challenges we are still going strong and are not seriously looking for an exit strategy. So lets start with our travel map for the year. It started in Welcome, MD

Again it was a weird travel year because of COVID. Because our “home base” is Florida and we really wanted to get vaccinated (and because we were really enjoying our time with Kyrston and Jeremy and Oliver) we ended up staying in Charleston for several months at the beginning of the year. Then we headed north for the birth of our second grandson, stopping in Nashville, St. Louis, and Kansas City along the way. Those were all new cities for me and I was happy to see them. After Minnesota we stopped in Shipshewana to have some RV work done and spent several weeks in Columbus. Once again this stay was extended because we were hit by a drunk driver and needed to wait until our truck was worked on. Next we headed to Connecticut (with a quick stop in PA to see Bill and Kelly) to see our youngest daughter Kay and spent a month in Connecticut before heading back down to Charleston for the holidays. Although we are thrilled to be able to spend so much time with our kids and grandkids, we both really miss the west and hope to spend next summer west of the Mississippi.

This year we ended up with 158570 miles on the truck. That was a years total of 17,874.

Major Home and Truck Repairs, Modifications, Upgrades and Improvements

January – We spent $320 on two matching rims and covers for the RV tires. At some point we got tires replaced and couldn’t get a fourth rim and Lee finally found one.

March – Lee bought a propane and CO2 detector to replace the one we currently have. Ours was constantly beeping and we ultimately had to disconnect it. This is not something you want to be without as it is a major safety issue.

April – We bought a toaster oven for $168 which allowed us to get rid of the air fryer and toaster. Absolutely love it and wish we would have had one sooner.

May – We spent $156 on a new office chair. The other one was literally falling apart 🙂

June – We spent $260 on a new sound bar for the stereo (and hangers) which dramatically improved the quality of the sound while we are watching TV. We also spent around $200 on an herb garden for the front of the RV which both smells good and gives me fresh herbs for cooking. I also liked the toaster oven so much I broke the handle. Not great but I spent another $156 and vowed to be gentler with the door in future.

July – $1863 replacing power steering pump and gasket for truck. We spent $238 in additional fresh water drinking hoses to extend our reach and replace some old hoses.

August – We spent $310 on storage containers and rearranged our cabinets and our refrigerator. We also spent $750 on getting new showers doors and having all of our slide cables adjusted by a professional. Trust me that was a steal.

September – We were hit by a drunk driver and had a repair (which was done incorrectly) and a followup repair. We also had a rental car over two separate periods for a total of 40 days. Our out of pocket was $1K for the deductible and $440 for rental car over 30 days but thankfully the drivers insurance company will be reimbursing us for the costs. We also spent $253 on a new ice maker which was really hard to find in Columbus. Lee had to go about an hour to get one at that price. I also had to get a new (to me) Iphone when mine died suddenly. I found an older version for $499 which I thought was a bargain. I refuse to pay for these on a plan and instead we always pay one payment.

October – We spent $129 on a leaf blower to blow stuff off the roof and slides. We also spent $420 on a new surge protector after our other one was ruined by power spikes at a campground. Yes they are pricey but way cheaper than thousands of dollars worth of RV electrical damage. We also spent $128 on a new Dewalt drill when Lee’s old one died.

Top 10 Things We Did (In no particular order)

Meeting my new grandson Elliot. Ok this was the best thing for sure.
Hiked Kent Falls. It was really eight falls and absolutely gorgeous.
Lee absolutely loved visiting the TWA museum because his father worked there for 30 years
Visiting Monticello the home of Thomas Jefferson was a lifelong dream of mine
Touring Magnolia Plantation in full bloom. Absolutely beautiful
Winterthur Gardens and Museum was very special. We definitely want to go back and see the entire house
Visiting Studio B in Nashville where Elvis recorded many of his hits
Seeing the St. Louis Arch National Park
Going into the Bluebird cafe in Nashville gave me chills. They were closed for music but open on Saturday to look around.
Taking Oliver to the Charleston Sea Aquarium

Next up the emotional arc where I talk about how the year went for us.

Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

Seventh Year – The Emotional Arc

As I am sitting here having finished our seventh year of full timing, I am remembering the day we departed on this journey. As we left our little town on November 14, 2014, straight from closing on our house of 15 years emotions were high. Exhilaration, loss, and a healthy amount of fear were prevalent as we embarked on arguably the biggest change of our lives. Seven years later I find I have finally settled in. We are experienced full timers now, although I wouldn’t say expert (if there even is such a thing) and although the lifestyle still has its challenges (what life does not?), it fits me like a comfortable pair of jeans. I am proud of us that we made it this far, especially since I gave us a 50/50 chance of making it three years, and I am content to let this be our life until a better option comes along. Nothing is forever, but with three kids in three states this lifestyle is surprisingly suited to spending time with my grandkids. I would love to say I had the forethought seven years ago to know it would turn out this way, but for those who have read along it has definitely been a journey of twists and turns. I don’t know how many of you have read from the beginning, but as a favor if you could drop a note into the comments I would love to hear from you. I can’t express how much your support and encouragement had mattered over the years, so I will simply say thank you.

Let’s talk about 2021. COVID once again had a major impact on our travels. It wasn’t nearly as stressful as the 2020 impact, but we ended up staying in one place for five months while we waiting on our turn to come up for vaccination. Thankfully we were staying near our grandson and we made lemonade as we solidified our bond with him. On our way to see him we were able to travel down the eastern coast and visited several cities we have never been in before. One thing COVID has taught us is to pack as much as you can into the time you have and we stopped in Alexandria, Wilmington (getting our Delaware State sticker), Jamestown, Richmond, Raleigh, and Rock Hill along the way. Our original plan was to stay through the holidays and then head west, but ultimately we decided to wait until we could get vaccinated before moving on. Friends of ours had gotten vaccines in states they were residents of, but I really wanted to get my shot in the arm before headed out.

Life goes on, of course, even if you are staying in one place, and like everyone else we were shook by what happened at the capital building. My company also underwent another round of layoffs and as stressful as this was thankfully I got to keep my job. I should mention that work has been a lifesaver for me because we didn’t have to worry about money during all the COVID stress. Lee’s work in live events really dried up in 2020/2021 but I had a steady revenue stream. It has been stressful though because our group kept getting reorganized. In the last two years I have had 6 different bosses and survived multiple reorganizations. Still I really like what I do and am so glad I made the choice to go back to my former company. No idea what would have happened if I had taken another job. I should also mention that the prospect of losing my job bothers me a lot less than it would have in my old life. Minimal overhead, no debt, and knowing I could work a variety of jobs has given me a peace of mind I never experienced before becoming a full time RVer. That peace is a gift I wouldn’t trade for anything.

We did take advantage of the time, helping our daughter move from an apartment into a house and we explored Hilton Head and Beaumont…both new cities for me. Lee and I also spent some time in therapy. In 2020 we tried virtual therapy and although it was helpful Lee really wanted to see someone in person. This is very difficult since we travel so much, but we were able to find someone in the Charleston area and have some in person visits. I will say it was much harder to find a therapist than I expected, but the trauma of COVID on families and front line workers is real and almost every therapist I called was more than fully booked. I talked to a couple of them and they sounded absolutely exhausted and although apologetic just couldn’t take on anyone else. The person I finally found was nice enough and somewhat helpful but ultimately she wasn’t the greatest fit for us. Still any help is good and by the end of the five months I felt like Lee and I were in a better place. I wrote a post about Impact of Full-timing on my Marriage where I talked a little about the challenges we were facing.

Ultimately we were able to get our first shot March 27 on the day Florida opened to 50 and above and we drove 3 -1/2 hours each way to get it. April 27 we were completely immunized and were finally able to head north. Because our daughter Kat was due to give birth in July, we had to completely change our route and headed towards Minneapolis. Thankfully we had enough time to visit three cities I had never been in before and we had a great time in Nashville, St. Louis, and Kansas City. I think the middle of the country is undervalued and although there weren’t many nature things to do we saw lots of great museums and ate in some cool restaurants.

We ended up staying 6 weeks in Minneapolis, because Elliot was two weeks late and hung on to be born the same day as his cousin Oliver. We had a stressful 8 days while he was in the NICU, but thankfully we were able to be there when he came home and were able to see him somewhat settled. It was extremely difficult for me to leave my daughter, but we needed to head east to see our youngest Kay. Because of COVID we had not been able to see her at school and since Connecticut gets cold early we were on a deadline. This year was all about going from kid to kid (as you can see below) and although we found stuff to do along the way to be honest we missed the west. Lee and I have had lots of conversations about what this lifestyle looks like with three kids in three different places and we are still trying to find our balance.

On the way to Connecticut, we stopped in Shipshewana to get some repair work done and then again in Columbus to see my dad and Lee’s parents. Unfortunately right before we were scheduled to leave we were hit by a drunk driver and had to extend several weeks in order to get our truck fixed. This entire situation could have definitely been much worse but it was incredibly stressful and delayed when we could arrive in the northeast. The schedule again flexed and we gave up spending time in Rhode Island and Cape Cod so we could spend as much time as we could with our daughter Kay. We loved seeing her school and meeting her friends, but a couple weeks in Lee got the news his dad passed away. This is the first loss of a parent for either of us and Lee immediately jumped in the truck and drove back to Columbus.

Once he came back we spent a weekend with our daughter and then we lost power in our campground. We had to rush south so I had power for work and ultimately made it back to Charleston. Overall the year has been exhausting with a variety of family issues and scheduling changes. I am grateful that we were able to see some cool stuff in batches, but we have had to fight the schedule every step of the way to make that happen. I think we both thought that once I got the corporate job we would be able to explore more, but the last two years at least that hasn’t been the case. Still it is better than rushing from one work kamping job to another and I am grateful for the time I have been able to spend with my family.

Next year though we would like to have more balance and finding that is a priority for both of us. We are taking a cruise (Lee’s first) with some friends in February and Lee is actively looking for a work kamping job in a cool area. He is a bit hampered by wanting to have at least some of the weekend off, but if you know of anything please send us an email (camperchronicles @ gmail.com) and let us know.

As always I would like to leave off by saying how grateful we are to spend time with people along the way. Here are some pictures of the folks we were able to connect with and we hope COVID calms down and there are many more of these encounters next year!

Jeremy, Oliver, and Kyrston in matching Christmas PJ’s…so cute!
My sister Wendy and brother-in-law Josh
From left: Alec, Dad, Eddie, Mom, and Jake at my niece’s wedding
Kat and Baby Elliott
Sharon and Dave (so glad we got to see their cottage)
Kelly and Bill who we saw twice this year
Kat and Bert —We saw them twice as well
Our Daughter Kay
Celebrating my Dad’s 75th birthday with Cathy, Wendy, Lee, Don, Jimilea, Susie, Lex, and Eddie.
We went to a high school football game with Susan, Bryan and his parents
To see their daughter Sydney in the flag corp. She was great!
My sister-in-law Patricia and her mom Nanette
Had a wonderful lunch with Ted, who was the best man at our wedding and has been friends with Lee since high school.
So glad we got to see Marissa and her fiancée. I also got to see Elise, Sean, and Ian but didn’t get a picture of that.
I saw my friend Dawn for the first time in 20 years and got to meet her new husband.
Cori and Greg stopped by on their way to Pennsylvania. Unfortunately they missed Lee but I got an awesome birthday cake!! Plus Jack got to spend a ton of time with their dog Tripp who wore him out 🙂

We also saw Lee’s Aunt Dorothy and his cousins Matt, Susan, and Mike . I was definitely falling down on the job those days, but we were really grateful that they took time to see us. Lee spent lots of time with Dede and Denny as well and again no picture.

As I finish this post I have the thought…Oh the Places we will Go and the People we will see rattling around in my head. We did both of those this year despite the craziness of COVID and I look forward to even more of both next year.

Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

Heading South in a Hurry

We had time to visit one more waterfall in Connecticut and thankfully we were able to park in a spot close by. My sprained ankle was still really bothering me but I couldn’t pass up the chance to see this beauty. Wadsworth Falls State Park has two parking areas and the main one is pretty far from the falls, but there is a smaller parking lot right next to them. It was gorgeous with the fall colors and we even saw some horses at the base.

There were quite a few people but everyone was very polite and spaced out.
Plus you could get up close and personal with the falls

We had another full weekend with Kay before heading south but unfortunately a Nor’easter blew through. On Friday we started to experience some power fluctuations and on Saturday the power was out all together. The campground only had a few people staying in it, but we assumed someone would call the owner, but unfortunately that didn’t happen until Lee called in the afternoon. She sent someone to take a look but they were definitely out of their league and we had to disconnect from the power completely. Thankfully we own a surge protector which protected our rig , because two other couples who did not lost several pieces of electronics. One guys TV and coffee maker were fried and another person said they thought they lost the entire electric in their travel trailer.

Under normal circumstances we could have made do with solar, but we were coming off of multiple overcast days and our campsite was in a shaded area. Since I had a three day online event I was facilitating starting on Monday, Lee felt it was best to pack up and head south. Thank heavens he had that idea because to be honest I kind of froze under the pressure of it all. We left first thing Sunday morning and drove a loooong day through NYC, Philly, and Baltimore. We decided to stop at the Cherry Hill campground north of DC because I thought Lee could go into DC during my events. The prices there are crazy high at $90 a night, and even our discounted, off season price was $76. Still it was worth it for having stability for the few days of the event and Lee had an excellent time in DC. The campground did have a nice dog area and a small restaurant which was good, but I have to say no way was it worth what we paid.

The real problem though was once we arrived the power wouldn’t work. A couple of years ago Lee hardwired our surge protector into the RV and without it working we couldn’t get power. Thankfully there was a Camping world in the area and Lee unhitched quickly then jumped in the car to get there by 5pm. They actually waited a few minutes for him and were waiting by the door but he brought it home. He wasn’t done though because he had to pull a bunch of stuff out of the basement in order to get to the surge protector. He finally rewired it and we got power right before dark, but it was a crazy long and stressful day for both of us. Even though these surge protectors are $440 we are grateful we have one and have even decided to carry a spare in case something like this happens again. As an FYI this is the second time in 7 years poor power in a campground has fried a surge protector but in both cases our rig and appliances were spared any issues. In our opinion they are a MUST HAVE. The $400 saved us many thousands in replacement and repair costs.

Since we left early and traveled a long day we tried to get into our campground in Charleston early, but unfortunately the fair was happening and it was full. So we stopped in Raleigh and saw our friends Bert and Kat instead and we took a trip on Saturday to the local fair flea market. Despite the chilly temperatures it was a blast and they treated us to lunch at their favorite Mediterranean restaurant. Lee loved the food and even wrote the restaurant begging for one of their recipes.

Kat playing with some Hulk gloves
Kat and Bert

Finally we made it to Charleston on Sunday, but unfortunately the campground was right next to the fairgrounds. It took us 1hr and 45 min to go 2 miles (that is not an exaggeration) and we were both wrung out when we finally pulled in. Thankfully we got into a nice deep spot pretty easily and Jack was happy to run around a little bit. We did the bare minimum in setup and then headed to see Oliver, thankfully the traffic was much lighter going the other way. We weren’t sure how he would respond but he warmed up to Grammy and Pappy pretty quick and he loved the Elmo guitar I brought with me. Oliver is my happy place and I am happy we will be staying still for the next two months. The only bummer is this campground no longer does monthly rates and its costing us $1600 a month. But being 9 miles from Oliver is totally worth it and I am grateful we are in a financial situation where we can do it.

Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

The Clock Museum

After the carousel museum we went down the road to the American Clock and Watch Museum. I enjoyed this one less than the carousels but Lee loved it, and again it was only $8. If you are wondering why this is in Bristol, CT (I did) apparently the town had 275 businesses around the clock and watch industry. The collection pieces are from several of those businesses and local leaders.

I really enjoyed the older clocks and in particular a display about Yankee Peddlers. Clocks were very expensive and were sold by the peddlers, often paid on installment plans. They had many beautiful examples of those clocks and some posters.

They also had a few really large clocks including one working one that was three stories tall. We learned every Friday two volunteers come in and wind the working clocks which takes them a few hours. The sounds were extremely soothing in the various rooms and I did enjoy reading about the history of many of the clocks.

The signage was excellent and I learned a lot including how the banjo clock was created. They were beautiful and there were some gorgeous examples

They also had a grandfather clock room filled with huge clocks.

Even clocks from around the world. In particular the Japanese clocks were fascinating. They count time in a completely different way based on sunup and sundown and I’ll be honest it hurt my brain a little trying to figure it out. The concept of time has deep impact on a culture and having a completely different way of measuring it says something about that culture. I am not smart enough to know exactly what but there is something there.

My absolute favorites though were the clocks that did something else. There were a variety of clocks used in businesses and I loved those.

This was my absolute favorite though a cool coffee table clock!! Beautiful.

I don’t know that I would go out of my way to see this museum but it is a couple miles away from the carousel museum which I would absolutely go out of my way for. Either way it was a nice inexpensive way to spend the day.

Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

October 2021 Budget

It occurred to me as I am posting these budgets that folks might think you need this much money to live on. As you can see on our budgets page we have lived on far less, but now that I am making corporate money again we are less concerned about what we spend. That hasn’t really made it into our budget so far so you see these huge variances, but I wanted to take a few moments and go category by category and talk about what is fixed or variable. A big part of our thought process is “buy it now while we are making good money” so we wont need it later when it would sting more. Please see below for my thoughts about the categories.

Campsite Fees – When we are living on less money this is definitely an area that we kept extremely low. A combination of work kamping jobs with free sites for many months at a time, and boondocking helped with costs but now we are all full hookups and strong cell signals (need it for the job) along with staying wherever we want. For example the closest campground to my oldest grandson just went up to $1600 a month. (Two years ago they had a monthly rate of around $700) There are a couple places farther away that are a little cheaper and in the past we wouldn’t have been able to afford staying here. Now we drive less and stay closer.

Cell/Internet – This has not changed the entire time we have been on the road. Being able to stream and have strong internet has always been a priority for us and no matter how broke we were we didn’t cut corners here. Some people only use wifi and other creative solutions but we have steadfastly just paid the money.

Clothing – Although most of my clothes have been thrift store bought Lee has almost always bought new. The difference was we bought very little and now that we have money again we have splurged again. A chunk of this is souvenir T-Shirts but I also spent money on some new clothes for the first time in years. Most of this though is discretionary spending.

Entertainment – When we are watching our budget we only do things that are free or near free. Now we are doing what we want. Again, discretionary.

Food – This has always been a struggle for us, but when we had less money we ate out much less. Now we eat out several times a week. We’ve always spent too much on groceries and that has actually gone down a little but is still more than many people.

Gifts – I bought very little for others (except the kids on holidays) for several years and now I can splurge on those grandbabies.

Home Repair – In general this category has not changed much over the last couple of years. With the exception of a couple of renovation projects we have to repair what’s broken and have never scrimped much on this category. That being said by anyone elses measure a chunk of these purchases is discretionary.

Truck Fuel – I think this has stayed pretty consistent although when we were work kamping we probably traveled a little less. We are getting steep discounts on fuel when we travel though which has helped keep costs down.

Truck Maintenance – This is what it is. The first five years we had a pre-paid maintenance plan so all we had to cover was the occasional deductible and tires, but now we pay for what is broken. Many people do their own repairs to keep costs down, but Lee is not comfortable with that and since I am not willing to do it, we keep going to Ford dealers. Since we have one vehicle and it matters whether it runs the peace of mind is worth it to us.

So that’s my thoughts. We are choosing to spend $7K a month and if you go back and look we lived many many months on $4K. I just dont want people thinking it has to be this way.

Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

New England Carousel Museum

As we are traveling we often stop at small, little known museums and almost always they are worth more than their reasonably priced cost. This was definitely true of the New England Carousel Museum which is not only a museum, but a birthday party and wedding venue, with a bonus small fireman’s museum as well! I love carousel horses but didn’t know much about the history of them, so not only did I find it beautiful but I also learned a ton. Plus one free ride on their indoor working carousel comes with the $8 admission. Can’t get much of a better bargain than that.

I learned that carousels actually started as a ride for adults where people in baskets were pushed around poles. Carousels were also used for jousting practice by nights and later were an adult ride where patrons tried to catch a ring to get a prize. Now of course they are considered relatively tame childish entertainment, but if you look at the horses you can see the beginnings.

I also learned that there were three major styles in American Carousel art. And make no mistake these are intricate carvings done by several notable families. The styles are Coney Island, Philadelphia, and Country Fair and the museum has groupings of each, In addition there are European style carousels which have their own unique flair as well. When I was a kid I vaguely recognized I preferred one style of carousel and horse other another and when I saw them all together I really could see the differences. I would love to say I was able to group these pictures by type but to be honest I took pictures on what caught my eye and they are all jumbled together. Using the picture below though maybe you can figure out what group they belong in.

They also had several stations that showed how the work was done. I found this fascinating to see the animals in various stages of completion.

I also really liked the super old ones that were sprinkled in some side rooms. Many of the older ones were in VERY unusual shapes including a combo Theodore Roosevelt and a horse which was odd yet compelling.

In addition to the animals, the museum has other items including music machines that worked, banners, and other carnival machines. These weren’t the focus but they were sprinkled throughout and added some variety to the collection. When we asked one of the museum people to turn on one of the machines they happily did so and we got some great video.

Another group of animals were based on marine creatures and were absolutely beautiful These were all relatively new and I would love to see more carousels using these designs in the future.

Finally we made it to the carousel and since there was an active birthday party it was running. Lee and Kay wouldn’t ride but I couldn’t help taking a spin.

The Wedding venue area even had a section of miniature carousels. These were absolutely beautiful and works of art in their own right.

And finally in the very back on the top floor there was a small fire protection museum. Not sure how it ended up there, but since I am in the fire safety business I loved it. Even found a couple of valves made by my company many years ago. The fire bells were particularly beautiful and in amazing condition for their age.

Talk about getting your moneys worth. I highly recommend this museum and if you live in the area it seems like a fun place to have an event or birthday party. Next up the clock museum!

Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

A Death In The Family

The same day we got back from Kent Falls, Lee got the call that his father had passed away from lung cancer. Since both he and his caregiver were vaccinated we don’t believe COVID was a factor, but since it was so quick honestly its hard to know. Lee and his Dad have had a complicated relationship and our becoming fulltime RVers (which he never approved of) didn’t help. So I am not going to talk much about it here, except to say Lee drove back to Columbus the next morning and stayed a week to help his step sister and his caregiver. Because his father wanted no service of any kind, I stayed home with the dog with Lee’s blessing. The one thing Lee did care about was the family photos and papers and thankfully he was able to bring those back with him. He has spent the last week going through those items and has been going through the grieving process.

While he was gone I unfortunately didn’t have a vehicle because our truck is still not done. Turns out the clamp for the secondary cooling system wasn’t tightened properly during the initial repair and it looked like a relatively easy fix. Unfortunately our tech was hospitalized for COVID before he could finish the testing, a second tech was out with COVID, and the Service manager was on vacation. They were unable to work on it for an entire week, and when the techs came back somehow the keys had been lost. That was a new problem and unfortunately the only solution was to order a new key. As of this writing we still are using the rental car and our insurance company is beyond livid at the way the Ford dealer has handled this repair. On the plus side I spent some of that time adding a new page to our website called National Parks where I list all the blog posts about trips to National Parks and Monuments.

We have made the best use of the rental car though because Lee drove the two hours to Keene and cleaned out our old storage unit. Our daughters Kat and Kay still had stuff in there and because Kat just had a new baby and is renting a new house we decided that we would ship her stuff to her as a housewarming present. I didn’t have the first clue how to accomplish that, but I was motivated and it turns out that UHAUL has a set price for moving containers. I had no idea they did this, but for one price you can get a U-Box container and they will move it end to end. It wasn’t cheap (around $1500 all in) but much cheaper than many other alternatives and relatively easy for Lee to manage. On a cold and rainy day, he ended up moving the items back and forth from the Storage place to UHaul and we all breathed a sigh of relief when it was done. In particular we were concerned about moving Lee’s grandmother’s heavy sewing machine, but this solution will work great for that and a couple other heavy items.

We also found a small stash of our stuff that we have gone through and are taking a couple of items to Kyrston (including a giant wooden bear). Truly it would have been better if we would have done this a long time ago, but it is done now and we all feel better for it. Everyone has their own stuff and Lee and I don’t need to worry about it anymore.

The UBox includes 24 packing blankets
To the right is a street light that was turned into a lamp. It’s crazy heavy and another reason any shipping costs based on weight weren’t a great idea.
Finally empty storage unit
Have no idea how this bear is getting to Kyrston’s but Lee has a plan.

Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

First Time at Kent Falls

Lee and I were both really happy top learn there are a surprising amount of waterfalls in Connecticut and based on Kay’s recommendation we decided one beautiful Saturday to drive an hour north to Kent Falls. Since it has been so long since I have seen waterfalls of any kind, I was excited no matter what to see some, but it turned out that these falls were absolutely gorgeous and are now in my list of favorites. It’s not actually one big fall, but rather many smaller falls all linked together and the climb up the beside them was absolutely gorgeous with the fall colors. There is no way my words can do it justice, so hopefully my pictures will suffice…all I can say is if you get a chance to stop by please do. Out of state vehicles had to pay $15 to park, but it was totally worth it.

There was a small covered bridge leading to the falls which you can see behind the big yellow tree.
At the very top

Honestly my pictures don’t come close to capturing the beauty but hopefully the video does a better job. My only complaint was the bathrooms were very dirty and out of toilet paper, which my $15 should have gone to help pay for. Other than that it was a lovely hike although I did have a bit of trouble going down. Instead of going on the slick steps, I chose to walk down a more gradual winding path but unfortunately I twisted my ankle on a root. Thankfully I had my Merrill hiking boots on which stopped the injury from being more serious but I did strain a tendon and spent over a week babying it to get it back to 100%. Still it was totally worth it and I am so very happy we saw it.

Oh and I forgot to mention on the way there we stopped and saw a covered bridge. These are always fun and a New England trip wouldn’t be the same without seeing at least one.

Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.



First time in Mystic

It’s funny how there are places that stick in your head and one of the best parts of this lifestyle are when you get to see them as you travel. It’s always cool, even when they turn out to be just ordinary places, but once in a while the place meets your imagination. That certainly happened with Mystic, CT which I heard about from the movie Mystic Pizza and the town is a quaint seaside place very similar to how I had pictured it. The pizza place still exists and having a slice was one of the highlights of the trip. It took a little time to find it though and even more to find parking, because Mystic is definitely a “park and walk” kind of place. What was cool though (for us at least) was we hit the drawbridge right when it was lifting and we got to not only see a lift bridge but also see two boats sail through. Excellent bonus!

The town is on both sides of the inlet but you have to cross the bridge to get to the Pizza place and shops
Cool tugboat
Cool seawall

There is a really interesting set of shops over the bridge that have an eclectic selection of local stores. Unlike other towns that are all chain stores, this one had room for local owners. We didn’t go into every one because masks were mandatory but we did go into several and really liked what we saw.

My favorite store was Queenies because they had a ton of merchandise with sassy sayings that made me laugh out loud. I didn’t buy anything but appreciated the humor and grabbed their online info in case I wanted to get something as a present for one of my kids some day.

I also liked that while shopping there were lots of items that regular people could afford to buy. Don’t get me wrong there is serious money in this town but it doesn’t cater exclusively to the wealthy.

As I mentioned though the best part was Mystic Pizza. I had a slice and it was really good. The dough was awesome and the cheese was perfectly cooked. We also had a great conversation with one of the waitresses about full time RVing and love when we meet people who say that is a dream of theirs. Our #1 piece of advice is always to be debt free, and hopefully those conversations will help folks along the way.

Mystic Pizza
We sat at the bar
Yummy

It was a nice day and we both got lots of steps in although the mask requirement made me feel a little claustrophobic later in the day. It was humid which didn’t help and the sea breeze didn’t reach the smaller side street we were walking on. Still I am really glad we got to see it and I added that to my list of those experiences I probably never would have had if we hadn’t become full timers. I feel confident saying that because we lived 2-1/2 away from Mystic for 15 years and never went. It took changing our life to make that wish a reality.

Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.