Kelly and Bill Come to Charleston

We haven’t had an opportunity to see many of our RV friends for the last several months, so we were thrilled when Kelly and Bill rearranged their travel schedule so they could come and see us. Since they visited on a Tues – Thurs we were able to get them the spot right across from us and they were both pretty excited to see some of the city. Plus Kyrston brought Oliver over one day and Kelly got to see him while Bill and Lee went to visit Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum.

Oliver and Kelly
Oliver likes to play with cans when he comes to my house and he discovered the ice machine
Plus our favorite meal is thin crust pepperoni pizza…we both love it !!!

I had to work while Kelly and Bill were here, but we did all go out to dinner at Halls Chophouse where my son-in-law is a manager. Bill said it was the best meal he has had since being on the road and he had the best bread pudding he has ever had. It was really fun and so glad we got to be together. Plus since we are all vaccinated we could finally hug!!

Kelly’s lamb was cooked perfectly
My steak was excellent. I even splurged and got crab meat on top.
And the deserts were to die for. I was trying to be good so I took this blueberry cheesecake home and ate it in small portions over several days.

That same week I also met my sister in Columbia and got to see my nieces new house. I have never spent any time in Columbia and we got to eat at one of her favorite restaurants and toured the downtown area. Unfortunately it poured rain, but I was still able to see the town.

Bailey and Wendy
Bailey’s neighborhood was really nice

It is so wonderful having the vaccine and not worrying anymore. I exchanged my first hugs with Wendy and Bailey as well making up for not being able to hug them at the wedding. I am super grateful that my shots are done and I am worrying so much less.

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.
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April 2021 Budget

You are going to see lots of red on the budget this month, in some cases we spent money to try and save money down the road. In other cases we just spent alot of money 🙂 Details are listed below.

Clothing I have been buying mostly thrift store clothing for seven years, but COVID has thrown a bit of a wrench into that, because most of the dressing rooms are closed. That left me to trying inexpensive items in case they didn’t fit, which eventually led me to Croft & Barrow. This is a Kohl’s brand I have never worn before, but it turns out their clothes fit my new “grandma shape” pretty well. Since I liked them so much and the new versions are relatively inexpensive, I decided to splurge and get several pieces. I made three visits to three different stores over three weeks and by taking advantage of sales and Kohls cash I was able to stock up completely for the $300. It’s nice having new clothes for a change. Haven’t given up on thrift stores, but for an additional $4 a shirt I will also continue buying new once in awhile.

Entertainment – Our friends Kelly and Bill came into town and Lee and Bill spent a day at Patriots Point. We also have been trying to get out a little more and have some fun.

Dining Out – We went over by several hundred dollars this month but that was mainly one meal. We splurged with Kelly and Bill and had a very fancy steak dinner at the restaurant my son-in-law manages. We knew going in we were going to blow the budget, but some things are totally worth it.

Groceries – To be honest not really sure what happened here. Lee is, as I write this, doing a cost comparison between Costco and Sam’s Club. Not sure that will make a difference. I also implemented some changes to reduce the number of K-cups we are buying but that shouldn’t take effect until May.

Home Equipment – Speaking of the K-cups. It was driving me crazy not being able to make a regular pot of coffee so after much discussion we bought a combination Hamilton Beach K-Cup and regular coffee pot. Unfortunately Lee hated the K-cup side (in fairness it exploded the cups quite frequently), so we ended up buying another slim Keurig and this time I got an electric percolator. Turns out this makes me super happy. My Elite Gourmet percolator makes coffee in 5 minutes and has a built in warmer. I just love the way percolated coffee tastes (reminds me of my grandma) and now Lee and I both have a workable solution. We also bought a new Cuisinart Air Fryer. Kelly has one and we absolutely love it. It bakes, broils, air frys, and toasts. Buying this allowed us to get rid of our Air Fryer and our toaster and freed up some space. Highly recommend it, but make sure you buy the right one because they come in multiple sizes.

Truck Fuel – We went over this month but we took a couple of trips including one that I did to see my sister and niece in Columbia. Lee also had to go to Florida twice. It’s the most gas we have spent in a long while.

Speaking of fuel, many of our categories really dont matter so much when you look at them monthly so Lee made a picture of our YTD costs. It will show you how we are trending 33% into the year. We already blew our optional home equipment budget 🙂

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.

Seven Year Update on the Class of 2014

Seven years ago we attended the RV -Dreams rally and gathered together with a small group of like minded individuals, many of whom we are still in contact with. As a data scientist, I have tried to keep in loose contact with these folks and tracked our journey throughout the years. I should say I am always a little bit hesitant to write this particular post because there were 140 people at that rally (and more in the 2014 fall rally) so I in no way have kept track of everyone we met. I have even lost track of some people in this picture, so over the years the post has turned into more of a series of impressions rather than true hard data about their lives.

Still I feel it is worth the effort, because for those thinking about starting this life if gives a picture (albeit a small slice) of what this life could look like over time. For those in the Class of 2014, as always, please forgive me what I get wrong.

Seven years have seen a lot of changes for this group, but a surprising (at least for me) amount of folks are still RVing fulltime. The biggest trend I have seen over the last couple of years has been folks buying a piece of land and creating a home base to travel from. Some have downsized their bigger rigs into smaller models for their travel, but most (if not all) still own some sort of RV and continue to travel in some way. It’s hard to give it up once you have caught the bug 🙂

Another sadder trend has been the illness of a parent. Many people in this group have dealt with the serious illness of a parent and this has changed (at least temporarily) how they travel. For some the creation of a home base is partially in response to a parent’s needs and for others they found the place they wanted to settle. In general though this tends to be a restless group, and many of those who have “settled” for awhile talk about changing that location again sometime in the future. Others though are perfectly content in their settled space and are creating really cool home bases.

That leads me to one other trend that also has impacted travel. At least six of us have become first time grandparents in the last couple of years. Balancing seeing our grandchildren and travel have definitely slowed down the miles the six of us are putting on our RVs, but oddly (or maybe not) these three couples are all still 100% traveling without a permanent home base. What that looks like in future I have no idea, but personally since we are about to have grandchildren in two different states the traveling lifestyle is actually more appealing as a way to spend more equitably distributed time with the grandkids.

Which leads me to working. Yeah I know I am all over the place…its early 🙂 The reason this group of people appealed to me so much was several people intended to keep their corporate jobs while on the road. Seven years later this is not such a shocking idea, but back then for most of us it was uncharted territory. Two of the three people I knew have kept their same corporate jobs through all the twists and turns of the lifestyle and I actually left my corporate job and then 5 years later went back to the same company in an almost identical position. That I think is a good story because it tells people there is opportunity for some people to work from the road. It is certainly not without its unique challenges, but it is possible.

So where does that leave us? As best as I can cobble together of the original 11 couples:

  • One couple has sold their RV and solely live in traditional sticks and bricks housing
  • Three couples live in sticks and bricks but have an RV for traveling
  • Four couples live in an RV but have a home base
  • Three couples live in an RV and have no home base (as a side note these three couples are the only three that are still in their original RV. That’s probably a coincidence but its interesting.)

Overall, I think its a fair sample of how things have evolved for the larger group, but again it is just my very small sample. Still after talking to Kelly and Bill (who are with us right now) to make sure I got my facts straight they agree. We have made many friends over the last several years who also went on the road in 2014 and the trends seem similar.

Speaking of that I would like to mention an outlier, and I say that in the most wonderful way. Two of our extended RV-Dreams family have moved to Europe and are full timing there. I have been completely fascinated by their journey and if you would like to read about how they did it their blog is here. In addition here are the blogs of Kelly and Bill and Deb and Steve who have been with us from the beginning.

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 Impact of our First Rally

Seven years ago Lee and I attended our first RV rally, and that experience literally changed our lives and our life. Not a year goes by that we don’t honor that experience, and this year it is particularly poignant because the last RV Dreams educational rally is happening as I write this. I have been thinking about how to write this post, because the last thing I want to do is offend anyone, so let me just say this post is about our thoughts and experiences only.

First and foremost, Howard and Linda have every right to do whatever they want. After many, many years on the road they have sold their RV and have settled into The Villages. We had a chance to have dinner with them recently and they are moving onto a new chapter in their life and I am happy for them.

But, and its a big but, I am saddened by losing RV-Dreams. In some respects it is like the high school you graduated from closing down. The people still exist, but the institution that originally bonded you together is gone. Not sure Linda would want to think of herself as an institution, but for me at least it was. Maybe not so much an institution but a really cool club. The kind of club I could never have been a part of in high school, I was way too socially awkward, even though this group of people as they exist today accepts everyone.

If you are relatively new to this blog and not sure what the heck I am talking about, let me back up a little bit. Eight years ago, Lee started talking about living full time on the road and I was a tough sell. That’s an understatement, I was an extremely tough sell. I liked the concept in theory, but I am definitely a person who needs “proof” and without knowing anyone our age who was doing something like this it felt like a pipe dream.

Lee, unwilling to give up, scoured the internet for real life examples. In that search, he found RV-Dreams and more importantly, Howard’s budgets. There was years of data that proved it was somewhat possible, but I was still very skeptical. Howard and Linda started out with around $250K in the bank and Lee and I had nowhere near that. But their consistently low monthly costs convinced me I shouldn’t dismiss it out of hand, and when Lee learned they had an educational rally twice a year I wanted to go.

Simultaneously I also joined their forum (a first for me) and started talking to people in the same situation we were in. They were our age, had jobs they needed to let go of or maintain on the road, and were 100% committed to full timing. Many of them were coming to the rally, and the chance to meet these “internet people” and see if they were for real was too much to pass up.

So we picked up our brand new fifth wheel and drove it to Tennessee. To give you an idea of how uncomfortable we were with the entire experience we intentionally booked a campsite outside of the rally footprint. We wanted some separation just in case it was a horrible experience (true story) which is pretty funny in retrospect because these people turned out to be some of the best friends I have ever had.

I won’t try to recreate that experience, but you can read about it here if you would like. Suffice it to say the experience more than proved full timing was possible for us, but also gave us mentors and a community of people who would support us through every stage of that transition. That was the magic of RV-Dreams for me. Not the information, which was good but could be found in other places, but rather the support. It truly was the gift that kept on giving and (for us at least) made this possible.

Seven years later we now know there are other groups of like minded people out there, and although we have tried a few of them, none have had the same impact on us. I’ll admit it is very possible that is because we already found our tribe early on, but I also think RV-Dreams was a unique combination of education and community. In my mind at least, a hole will be left by them leaving the community, and I hope at some point some other group will take its place. I am not very hopeful about that though.

What those of us who were impacted by RV-Dreams can do though is try to be good ambassadors. Our #1 piece of advice for many years to people interested in the full time lifestyle has been to attend a rally. Now that it isn’t an option we will need to find other ways to help people feel comfortable in pursuing their dreams. One thing we do try to do is be as honest as we can about our experience. This blog does that, sharing our budgets does that, and one-on-one conversations we have had with people over the years have done that as well.

Somehow, someway we have found ourselves experienced full time RVers. I hesitate to even say that because I still feel like we are learning every day. But we have been doing this awhile and we definitely know without a doubt that there is no one true way. Leaving that rally 7 years ago I held us up to the ideal of the fulltime lifestyle. Not surprisingly we often fell short of the ideal which led to a lot of unnecessary frustration. There is no perfect way to do this, just as there is no perfect way to live your life. The best thing to do is stay open to possibilities, live your life the best way you know how, and don’t be surprised when life throws you curve balls. Things change, life changes, and that really is ok.

Anyway, I wanted to take a moment and say thank you to Howard and Linda. We will miss you and wish you all the best. You truly did change our lives and many others like us, and that is an amazing accomplishment you should be very proud of. Much love, Trace and Lee.

Linda and Howard

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.

COVID Immunization Complete

I just wanted to give everyone a quick update that we received our second shot, but decided to stay an additional month. Our monthly rate here is very reasonable but the daily rate is $40 and if we lose our monthly slot there is no getting it back. Since the second shot was on Saturday and we would have to move Sunday we ultimately decided to play it safe and stay another month.

Thankfully we didn’t have any symptoms at all after the second shot, but based on what we have heard from others it could have gone a different way. At this point our plan is to leave May 20th and head diagonally to Minneapolis. I would love to stop for a couple of weeks in Nashville (never been) and a weekend in Kansas City along the way, but we will have to play it by ear.

As full timers we often say our plans are made in Jello, but with COVID our plans (and many others ) are like melted ice cream. MESSY!! I have lost count of how many times our plans have changed this year, but I would guess more than all the other years we have been on the road combined. Well maybe no that many but a lot. The good news is Kelly and Bill are going out of their way to come see us for a few days and of course more baby time. Oliver seems to change every day and I love being here to see that happen.

Well like I said just a quick update, wish I had more exciting things to write about. Work is going very well, if you were wondering, and Jack continues to be a joy. Here’s a couple of pictures I wanted to share of Oliver that capture how staying in one place can be fun once in awhile.

Kyrston bought me this little wooden sign and I loved it.
Grandpa teaching Oliver how remote control cars work. Check out that tongue. So cute
Sweet boy

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.
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Tyson Panko Chicken Breast Air Fryer Recipes

 

Like many others over the last several months I have put on some weight and have tried a variety of changes to my diet with mixed success.  As a person who never cared for chicken breast I was bummed to discover how many low calorie meals called for it.  Thankfully Lee picked up a package of Tyson Panko Chicken breast and it is absolutely delicious.  Since the pieces are only 210 calories for a 4 oz portion I have spent the past several months experimenting with different sauces to spice things up.  Don’t get me wrong the chicken is delicious plain but adding a sauce is a nice option as well.  

Here are a few of my favorite recipes so far.   I can cook the breasts in my air fryer in less than 20 minutes and whipping up any of these recipes while the chicken is cooking makes for a delicious meal in 20 minutes.  I am absolutely a convert! 

Chicken Parmesan 

Ingredients

  • Tyson Panko Chicken breast (Bertolli Olive Oil and Garlic is my current favorite)
  • 1/4 cup jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 slice provolone cheese (Mozzarella can be substituted)

IMG_5534

This is super simple.  I take a chicken breast that has been cooked in the air fryer and put some jar spaghetti sauce on the patty.  Top with a piece of provolone cheese and microwave for 45 seconds until the cheese is melted.  Delicious, only around 300 calories, and a great last minute meal as nothing needs defrosted.  

War Su Gai

Ingredients

  • Tyson Panko Chicken
  • 1 TBL and 1tsp cornstarch
  • 1 TBL water
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 TBL butter
  • 1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon granules  (I use unsalted)
  • 2-3 green onions chopped
  • lettuce (optional)
  • Sliced almonds (optional)

IMG_3912

When I was thinking of possible chicken recipes one of my favorite Midwestern chinese meals came to mind.  War Su Gai or Almond Boneless Chicken required several test recipes but this one was the closest to my childhood memory.  It takes a little longer to make this sauce, but the entire meal can still be done in under 20 minutes. 

Start the chicken in the air fryer.  Cook at 400 for 20 minutes.  Flip after 10 minutes and remove when second side is crispy.  

While the chicken is cooking prepare the sauce.  In small sauce pan stir in cornstarch and water until smooth.  Gradually stir in chicken broth, butter, soy sauce, and bouillon.  Bring mixture to boil stirring constantly.  Let boil one minute, then put lid on to keep warm.  

Chop green onions and lettuce.  Put bed of lettuce on plate.  Slice the cooked chicken into strips and place on top of lettuce. Place sauce on the chicken and sprinkle green onions and almonds (if desired on top).  

Nicoise Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of ripe tomatoes; chopped
  • 1/4 shallot; finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp minced parsley
  • 1-1/2 tsp chopped basil
  • 1-1/2 tsp white wine vinegar (rice vinegar is a good substitute)
  • 1-1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper

IMG_4987

While you are cooking the chicken in the air fryer make the topping.  Chop up the ingredients, blend gently, and put in the refrigerator.  Once the chicken is done, place the topping on the chicken and eat while still cool.  

Crispy Chicken Salad with Dried Cranberries, Walnuts, and Blue Cheese

Ingredients

  • Lettuce (spring greens, spinach, iceberg or mix)
  • 1/8 cup red win vinegar or raspberry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 TBL chopped green onion or red onion
  • 2 TBL dried cranberries
  • 2 TBL crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 TBL chopped walnuts 

IMG_4952

Cook chicken in air fryer.  Mix all other components in bowl and stir well.  Add chopped pieces of chicken to bowl once cooked and stir.  Serve on a plate. 

I also loves just adding the chicken to my standard salad as well with a little low-fat cheddar cheese.  Here is a picture of that.  

IMG_3916

 

Really you can try any recipe for a sauce that goes with chicken.  I have tried Leek and Mushroom cream sauce, Lemon piccata sauce, and marsalla sauce.  There are endless combinations and as long as I keep my portion to 4 oz I can put almost anything on it and keep the calories reasonable.   

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 Magnolia Gardens

One of the downsides of working a regular job is you are fighting the crowds to see popular places. Magnolia Gardens is a place we have been wanting to see and since we were here during peak bloom this was the time to see it. Unfortunately tons of other people felt the same way, so we decided to go at 9am on Easter Sunday. This turned out to be a great decision as it was very nice during the morning hours and around noon when we left the line was crazy long to get in. If you do decided to go I recommend early morning mid-week if you can choose that time, if not get there as early as you can. It’s worth it.

At 8:45 there was already a line. It cost $20 for the basic tour and more for additional tours. We bought the basic and spent an extra $8 for a boat tour of the rice fields which we felt was well worth it
We have seen many gardens in our travels but this is probable one of the oldest and the combination of plants and trees is very special
There is a plantation house on site, but we chose not to take that tour. Terrific gift shop inside it though which was free to get into
Love the big oaks
The flowers were amazing, but it is also an historic site and the combination of history and nature was really great
They also had numerous historic plants some donated over 100 years ago
Amazing views above the paths
They had lithographs of people who toured these same paths. Really cool.
And seats built into oak trees that were places others had sat. This one was a local ministers spot where he felt closest to God
A large maze
We climbed the tower to look over the rice fields, but the boat tour is definitely the way to go
Lots of alligators on the boat tour
The rice tour was VERY interesting and explained how they created and flooded these fields. These wooden locks were used to control the waters levels during the tides. Fascinating stuff.
The garden was broken into multiple sections I definitely got my steps in this day. You can take a tram but honestly save your money and walk it. Much more immersive
My favorite statue was St, Fiacre patron saint of gardeners

All of the flowers were really pretty and the house, but those weren’t what was truly special. There were several bridges with ponds and they were absolutely gorgeous. Spread throughout the area, I have never seen that many beautiful venues for pictures in so many places. More than worth the $20 entrance fee.

I had Lee take a picture of me with a flower dress 🙂
This doesn’t even come close to capturing the beauty. It felt like we were in a painting
My absolute favorite. Lee took this picture

As we were heading out, we noticed that their greenhouse was open and both of us gravitated to a freestanding bird bath. WE have been looking for a lightweight, collapsible birdbath for awhile and we found one!! The legs collapse and the dish was absolutely beautiful. Lee bought it for me on the spot. Perfect way to end the day.

In our “front yard”

Supporting our Blog

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  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
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March 2021 Budget

March was a more expensive month than we expected with $5,777.26 in costs. For more detailed information see below.

Entertainment – We spent $47 dollars more than our budget, which was nice that we had something to spend money on.

Food – This is where a ton of extra money went. We went over by $184 this month.

Groceries – A trip to Costco and continued focus on eating healthier drove our budget up by $103.

Gifts – I went over by $400 in this category. Our daughter Kay had her 25th birthday and we splurged a little on that, plus I bought a bassinette for my middle daughter for the new baby. Then of course there is Oliver. I keep telling myself I am going to cut back in this category but I spent several years on the road not being able to buy gifts and it’s really fun to be able to do that now.

Home Equipment – We went over by over $200 this month. There was nothing big in this category, it was all lots of little stuff. Our CO2 detector died and we have to replace it which cost $80. We did spend $55 on a new pan, which is crazy, but it is a really nice pan. and our old ones were almost 10 years old.

Pets – We spent $563 on Jack this month. He got his annual checkup and shots, a trip to the groomer, and a years supply of flea and tick chewables. This should even out over the year.

Overall it was fine. We continue to put money in savings every month which is great and I feel strongly that since we are blessed enough to have money right now its important that we share 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.

First Easter with Oliver

First and foremost I want to say that we received our first COVID shot in Florida with no issues at all. We did have to supply an ID, but since that has a Florida address it was no issue. Neither of us had any symptoms at all with the Pfizer vaccine and we were both relieved and grateful to have received it. Now, onto Easter.

During our time on the road we have been lucky enough to spend Easter in some cool places, but spending it with my Grandson may have been the coolest of all. I did all the traditional Easter stuff with my girls, but that was a long time ago, and I was excited about trying again with Oliver. My daughter Kyrston was also at a bit of a loss because he is only 19 months old, so I was happy to share my experience.

Basically at this age you keep the events short and let the kid wander off when they are done. I also highly recommend doing them in the morning so you can follow with a nap. We completed an Easter egg hunt, colored a few eggs, and he opened and sampled his basket in about 1-1/2 hours. Perfect in my opinion, but let me share the photos so you can see.

First up Grandma had to show Oliver where the egg goes. He picked it up super quick
And because you keep the “hiding” simple at this age he did a great job finding them…with some help.
Look at that smile
I thought this one was kind of hard but he found it
Out of 12 Kyrston hid he easily found 7 which I thought was a great job!!
Then we did the coloring. After some searching I found an egg spinner which was pretty easy for a toddler
Push the button and the egg spins around. We only did five but he liked it
Then we did the Easter Basket complete with a Baby Yoda
He doesn’t get lots of sweets but loved the chocolate bunny ears
His absolute favorite though was the bunny bubbles
I also wanted to have him help me fill deviled eggs. Kyrston showed me this cool trick where you put a Ziploc bag in a cup and then scoop in the egg mix
Then you pull the bag out and snip one corner. I have never done that before
Oliver was a little squirmy for egg making so we gave him a nap and then started making the dinner
Ham, cheese potatoes, green beans, and deviled eggs. All done in time for the end of Oliver’s nap
Delicious!!

It was a super fun day but by 3:00pm I was all pooped out and ready to go home. Little kids take a bunch of energy to keep up with.. Next up a trip to Magnolia Gardens and some of the most beautiful flower pictures we have taken on the road.

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.

In Search of a COVID Shot

I know I mentioned that we were leaving on Saturday, but as so often happens (especially this last year) things changed.  It started with my daughter who is pregnant in Minneapolis telling me that she and her partner had scheduled their COVID vaccinations.  This led me to really thinking about what it would look like if we didn’t get the vaccine before meeting our new grandson and I really didn’t like how that would work.

Initially I thought we could maybe get a Johnson & Johnson shot during our travels but the more I looked into it the worse I felt about our chances.  The rules from state to state vary widely and timeframes vary as well.  It’s all well and good to say it’s likely we would be able to get a shot but likely and definitely in this case are worlds apart.

I talked to some RV friends of mine next and several of them had managed to get shots in a different state than their domicile.  That was good news but one common factor in their stories was the amount of hours they spent online trying to find an open appointment.  Add to that the fact that we would need to stay in one place for at least 30 days if we got the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine and the idea of trying to find a shot while we were moving was daunting.

Next I thought maybe I could find something in South Carolina, but that turned out to be a real mess. All states are different, but South Carolina is really struggling and they don’t have enough vaccines to cover their 1A patients let alone enough for the 1C that we are in this state.  I even asked Lee to go to the Walgreen’s across the street from us to see if we could get on some kind of a waiting list for unused injections but that conversation only cemented how difficult things are here.  The woman he talked to was absolutely exhausted and although she confirmed that they would put a general call over the PA when they had unused injections she also said it was extremely random when that happened and they maintained no list of names. You basically have to be in the building when it happens.

Part of the problem here is many of the appointments are through private providers and those lists (best we can tell) are all separate.  Monday morning Lee woke up and checked Walgreen’s, Publix, Costco and the state site and couldn’t find any appointments for anyone this entire week.  That was pretty upsetting and we talked about widening our search so I decided to look in Florida, which is our domicile.  Amazingly I went on their site, found Nassau County (the closest to us) and within minutes found two adjacent appointments for Saturday 3/27.  It was amazingly easy, so much so that I doubted I had done it right, but in no time we had confirmations for our Moderna appointments.

The downside is we have a 3-1/2 hour drive each way that we have to make twice but honestly I feel like we won the lottery.  Even better because as of today (3/22) Florida opened it up to age 50 and above and we don’t need to worry about proving residency because our drivers licenses are all the proof we need.  Could we have found something in Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, or Minnesota…maybe.  But I would much rather stay here the extra 30+ days and then continue our travels.

To be clear I personally know people who have gotten the shot out of their home state and not had an issue, but that experience seems to vary as widely as everything else does in this vaccine rollout.  Not the first time our life was complicated by our travels and certainly not the last, I am just grateful that this time we stayed in place until we worked it out rather than pushing forward and hoping.  This is just too important to us.


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