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The Full-Timing Nomad: Workamping Reflections

Many places on the full-timing highway earn a special place in your heart, and some you'll never want to go near again. A handful will escape from memory as soon as you leave but a few you'll want to return to over and over. For us, that place has been a Colorado dude ranch that we found because we were foolish enough to answer a vague Workamper News job listing that went something like this: 

Wanted: Work in paradise at Vickers Ranch in Lake City, Colorado. Great scenery, good people, hard work. Needed May – September. 

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The 19th Hole: Patriot Golf Day This Weekend

With Labor Day Weekend upon us, this is the perfect time to participate in the eighth annual Patriot Golf Day, which takes place every year during this three-day holiday weekend. As in years past, golfers nationwide are asked to donate a minimum of $1 to benefit the Folds of Honor Foundation to provide educational scholarships for children and spouses of military service men and women killed or disabled while serving our great nation.

“Through Patriot Golf Day events held at thousands of facilities across the country, we have given golfers a way to provide their support,” said the humble Dan Rooney, Folds of Honor founder. During the past seven years, Patriot Golf Day has raised nearly $20 million dollars and the Folds of Honor Foundation has awarded more than 5,500 scholarships.

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RV Travel Tales: Yellowstone—The Original Idea

In 2007, Lee wrote a song about Yellowstone, America’s first national park. Indeed, the world’s first national park. He entered his song in a contest. Hundreds of other songwriters also entered. I thought he should have won; he did not. But his words describe the beauty, mystery, and majesty of Yellowstone—a place set aside to preserve the landscape as it was when explorers and surveyors first entered this vast ecosystem. b2ap3_thumbnail_ARLINE-Undine-Falls-Yellowstone-NP.jpg



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The Healthy Traveler: Have Gym Will Travel

Exercise is as important while traveling as stopping to smell the roses.  Many wonderful RV parks have gyms with stationary workout equipment for park patrons’ use.  Going rustic camping or staying at a RV park without a gym, it's time to get creative.

Carrying mountain or road bikes is a great idea, but not everyone rides bicycles.  Loading and unloading heavy “home gyms” is out of the question; I’m simply not going to do it.  Getting out and taking a hike is wonderful exercise.  If the weather is disagreeable and there’s no gym in the park, you can exercise in the RV, camper or travel trailer.

Below are five exercise systems that can be carried in every trailer or camper from teardrop to the largest RV made.  All can be found online or in the sports department of large box stores.

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The Silver Gypsy: Booker T. Washington National Monument

In Virginia recently, I picked up my son-in-law Tom’s mother who doesn’t drive and we went on a half day adventure to the Booker T. Washington National Monument.  Booker T. Washington was born in 1856 on the 207-acre Burroughs tobacco farm on Route #122 near Roanoke and Smith Mountain Lake.  This African American was born in the tiny reconstructed two-story slave cabin you see pictured here.  With no wooden floor or otherwise in the tiny space, he, his mother and brother and sister slept on piles of dirty rags on the bare ground. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_INSIDE-SLAVE-CABIN--3-058.jpgHis mother was the plantation cook but that did not mean regular meals for those children.  It was a catch as catch can existence where food meant snatching a piece of meat, some broth-stretched stew or perhaps some corn filched before the pigs ate it.   The slaves tended a vegetable garden, sometimes providing fresh vegetables to eat.  A “hole in the earthen floor, covered with boards” was for the winter storing of sweet potatoes.  Washington tells, “Sometimes I would come into possession of one or two, which I roasted and thoroughly enjoyed.”  Sometimes his mother would cook a chicken and they would eat it in the middle of the night so that by morning there was no evidence it had been stolen.

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Adventures in RVing: The Birds!

If you have been following my blog for long, you know I like my campsites to be as wild and spacious as possible. After all, that is what camping is all about - getting away from it all. Boondocking is my first choice of campsite, second choice government (county, state or federal) campgrounds, third choice private RV parks. I have nothing against private RV park owners, I just like spacious sites and most private RV park owners cannot afford to provide large RV sites and pay their property taxes, too.  So when my wife and I wanted to spend a day in San Francisco, the search was on for a campsite within a reasonable driving distance of the City by the Bay. Due to population density and the lack of wide open public land, boondocking was not an option. White checking publically owned campgrounds, I stumbled across Lake Solano County Park near Winters, California, a little over an hour’s drive from San Francisco.  Using Google Earth, I was able to see the campground was on a body of water and offered spacious campsites under large shade trees.

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Great Escapes: Idaho's Only Scenic Train Ride

The area in and around Horseshoe Bend, Idaho was originally settled in the 1860s as a gold miners' staging area— a place where prospectors waited for snows to thaw at the higher elevations so they could work their claims. After the gold rush, the city became a prosperous ranching and logging community. In these early days, the dirt roads could not handle all the traffic and freight, so an entrepreneur named Colonel W. Dewey formed a railroad syndicate in 1897 to meet these varied transportation needs (the railroad was completed in 1914). Today, instead of serving miners and hauling cattle, sheep and timber, the Thunder Mountain Line's Horseshoe Bend Route is for the pleasure of tourists and railroad buffs. It’s especially refreshing on a hot summer day as you ride the rails through the cool Boise National Forest.

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The Full-Timing Nomad:  All RVs Will Show Wear and Tear

Being on the road 24/7 puts many things to the test. Marriages, friendships, family and money are three things most at risk of being damaged unless careful measures are taken. Perhaps the biggest aspect of your new life that will fall apart on the road faster than you can imagine is your RV and the appliances and accessories that go along with it. 

Think your big ticket RV is immune from fulltiming wear and tear? Think again. One of the most common refrains you'll hear from experienced full-time RVers is that every RV starts to fall apart after a few years. From the six figure Foretravel motor coaches to more affordable Tab teardrop trailers, things do break and need regular repairs, even when you are diligent about regular RV maintenance. 

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The 19th Hole: Find Your Game With

For more than 20 years, has provided the golfing world with the very best recycled golf balls from dozens of courses nationwide. Offering gently used golf balls like Pro V1, Titleist, Callaway, and TaylorMade, staff heads out onto more than 2,200 golf courses in more than 45 states, masks on and baskets in hand, in search of golf balls like a never-ending Easter egg hunt.

In preparing the balls for customers, the golf-crazed staff at carefully inspect, sort, and wash each ball with an environmentally-friendly cleaner to provide a top quality product at half the price of new.

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RV Travel Tales: Summer Jobs: A Learning Curve in West Yellowstone

Lee and I are teachers, not necessarily in like circumstances, but teaching is in our blood. Although we each raised children, and that is teaching in itself, we both spent time in formal classrooms—kindergarten for me and as a director of a pre-school for Lee. Before I taught kindergarten, my lessons for others were at the piano keyboard. Lee served 20 years as a pastor; thus, he taught in various capacities in a church setting. When he worked as an over-the-road truck driver, the cab of his truck became his classroom as he instructed new drivers. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_ARLINE-Homeroom-at-Madison-Crossing.jpgTaking summer jobs in retail at The Homeroom at Madison Crossing in West Yellowstone, Montana, related not to our teaching professions, but to a learning curve with new skills. The computerized cash register was not my friend for the first few weeks! The Homeroom, located in the gymnasium of West Yellowstone’s old school, is a melting pot of cultures with customers from all over the world browsing the 8,000 square foot store on two levels. The Madison Crossing building includes the entire school building, first established around 1918. Over the years, additions were made and the gymnasium, a study of craftsmanship in laminated wooden beams and the original flooring, was added in 1954. Owners, Gary Evje, pharmacist and owner of the prior Yellowstone Apothecary, West Yellowstone’s town drug store for 35 years, had a vision for the “old school” building. The Homeroom Store, with Andie Withner-Evje’s talent for merchandising and her eye for display, transformed a basketball court into an inviting store filled with cabin furniture and décor, artwork, gift items, Montana huckleberry products, women’s outer wear, Christmas ornaments, candles, table linens, pottery, greeting cards, and gift wrap. Kitchen gadgets, coffees, teas, and gourmet soup and dip mixes fill one aisle; a toy store captures the imagination of both adults and children with games, puzzles, books, stuffed animals, and an assortment of toys to entertain children. 

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