January 20 to February 14, 2014 NOMADS Project, Mercedes, MS

February 15 (Approximately) to June - Gate Guarding, TX or LA.

June, 2014 - Up to Alaska!

September - NOMADS Annual Meeting, Branson, MO

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Really getting the itch.

Things have settled down with Len's Mom. We had thought that Len would have a short-term job in this area and then be able to apply for his NJ Unemployment. He has talked to his sister and two brothers about different possibilities but nothing has materialized so far.

We are waiting for a part to come in at a nearby RV dealer that will fix the problem with our right front landing gear. We can not take the chance of traveling until that is fixed. It's been two weeks yesterday since it was ordered. They said one week. Here we go again!

We are also having difficulty getting low cost health coverage for him. If it's not one thing, it's another. But we know it will all work out in time.

Once these things are settled: 1) either having a job or not having a job; 2) continued improvement of Mom; 3) getting landing gear fixed; 4) finding insurance = then we will look into moving along. We really are having hitch itch.

We are both BORED BORED BORED. Today we left at 10 and took a 200 mile drive. We got back to the fiver around 2:30. I took the camera but only after seeing something interesting and moving on down the road, did I think, "hey, why didn't I take a picture". As I keep saying, Len and I have 5 brain cells between us and are losing them fast.

We had a nice evening last night with Len's cousin Russell and wife Margie. We went to a Chinese Buffet that had lots of boiled crawfish. It sure made the 3 Cajuns I was with happy. It is always a treat to visit with them.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Temporary solution

Len's youngest sister has moved into Mom's house to take care of her. This is a major responsibility. The other brothers and sisters continue to stop by to assure things are going well. We know this is a short-term solution.

This is Len's mother Alice and our sister-in-law Susie.

Yesterday we found the local United Methodist Church and attended services. There was another couple visiting the church. To our great joy we found out they are NOMADS! We found them after services and spent a few minutes talking to them. They just left the Moss Point MS project that Len and I were scheduled to work before Len's skin cancer scare and we had to postpone fulltiming for a few months. Then we found out they are parked just four campsites away from us. Dort and Butch are having car problems and are leaving the area today.

Later in the day, Len's older Daughter D'Juana and her girls Alex and Lindsey stopped by the campground. They were returning to Houston from visiting her mother in Louisiana. Len spent some time outside frying his wonderful Southern Fried Chicken. We kind of overdid it. We had enough for dinner last night with the girls plus enough for tonight and two bags in the freezer for future meals.

Now let's see what the day brings.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Taking Turns

At this time we are alternating days of caring for Lens mother with Len's brother Royce and his wife Susie. We will go to her house around 8 am and stay the night, the next day they will do the same. We are hoping the four of us can have weekends off and other siblings provide the care.

Other arrangements have to be made. Len has a job south of Houston starting 3/9 for 3-4 weeks with the same company he worked for when we met back in 1988. Then we head to see our new Great-Grandson Alec up near Austin. After visiting the hill country of Texas we will continue on eventually arriving in Missouri mid April for our NOMADS project.

We are all so very tired. Today is our day of rest. Earlier we shopped WalMart and then ate at Chilllies. Tonight we will try to get a good nights sleep.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Family concerns

Welcome to Jessica and Carolyne. So glad to see you have dropped in.

We arrived at Lens mothers house last Wednesday to find that her physical condition has deterioriated since we were here in June. She now has to be lifted when moving from a chair to her bed or to use the bathroom facilities. It takes a strong man to lift her. It also takes a woman to tend to her personal needs.

One of Lens sisters has been living with Mom and providing most of her care for almost two years. On Thursday she moved to Oklahoma to be with her son and his family. This leaves Mom with no live-in care.

As a short-term solution two of Lens brothers and wives and one of his sisters and her husband, along with us, are taking turns staying with Mom. She needs round-the-clock care. As Lens siblings and their spouses work and we know we can not do this on a permanent basis, decisions have to be made. So, for now all plans to travel are onhold.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Going broke in Texas or snow in New Jersey?

Whew ----- We thought living in Texas would be cheaper. We spent yesterday finishing up our Texas residency. To do that you need a Texas address, a PO Box is not sufficient.

We already belonged to Escapees at $60.00 a year. To have a physical address here we needed to pay $185. to Escapees for a mail forwarding service. Future years will be $85.00 plus cost of postage.

We had the truck and fifthwheel inspected at a cost of $31. Not a bad price. Now for the shockers. Initial registration of the truck was $192, future years it will be around $75. Initial registration of the fifthwheel cost $258, future years it will be around $147. Drivers licenses are cheap. Mine cost $24. and that is for SIX years. Lens was $60. for five years because he wants to maintain his CDL.

We had State Farm insurance on the truck in NJ. For the same policy in Texas we pay about $168 more a year. We can deal with that. What we are having a hard time understanding is the rate for insurance on the fifthwheel. We paid $535 in NJ. For the SAME coverage in Texas we pay $1,315 = a whopping increase of $780. a year!

One of the main reasons we chose to change residency to Texas was to get health insurance for Len. We can get a high deductible health savings account for him costing around $280 a month. Of course we are responsible for the first $5,000 in medical bills each year. This plan is really for catastrophic coverage. NJ does not offer such a plan. He could maintain his current coverage under the state of NJ for the rest of his life. However, it is an HMO and current cost is almost $800. a month.

Now for a look at what we left behind. Last weekend there was a major snow storm in New Jersey. These are pictures taken at our daughter Terri's house which used to be our house.

This is the path Terri and Steve had to shovel from the back door to the driveway. No wonder she had a backache the next day.

This is looking at the side of the house. She tells me at one point they could not see out the dining room window for the snow and is afraid the outside screen is damaged from the weight.

This is before they started shoveling to the driveway. In the background is the shop Len built and misses everyday. It was his sanctuary.
Now that they have shoveled to the driveway, another storm is scheduled to blow in tonight giving them another one to two feet.
So, I could either fork out a lot of money this week or have faced a lot of snow. Guess I chose the right one.
Tomorrow we leave here and head to Louisiana. We are not sure where we will be staying. We are having problems with the front landing gear and will be stopping at the Montana dealer in Orange, Texas right across the Sabine from Len's hometown. The rig is still under manufactuers warranty and we want a complete inspection performed.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Church and football

I am tired and this is just how I feel, ready to stretch out and have a good nights sleep.

This is Lucky. Yes, this is the kitten, now almost all grown, who gave me Cat Scratch Fever and put me in the hospital for 5 days. He is a sweetheart and we love him dearly. His scratches were a kitten just playing. My research tells me that 40% of kittens carry the bacterial that cause the disease. Mostly it is given to children and they get a mild case of Cat Scratch. As I was already sick with a cold, my defenses were low causing it to affect my lymph nodes, spleen and liver. I have completely recouped and hold no grudge the boy.

Welcome to our blog Susan and Kenny and Angela. Please drop in often. We completely understand your interest in fulltime RVing.

When we came into town on Wednesday I noticed a United Methodist Church out on Rt 190. They have contemporary services at 9 and a traditional service at 11. We went to the 9 am service this morning. We were always active in our home church and agreed that even though we travel, we still need to attend services when at all possible.

As it is Super Bowl Sunday, the park organized a Super Bowl party. We went over to the Center around 4:30. I made jalapeno poppers. There was completely too much food and too many temptations. As I am not a huge football fan, I stayed until the 3rd quarter and came back to the fiver. (I was bored.) Len just got back. I was hoping Colts would win as I like the Manning brothers. He, being from Louisiana was routing for the Saints. He tells me they won. That made most the people at the party happy.

Like Lucky I am tired, it's off to bed.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Getting some exercise

Welcome Jim Smith as a follower of our blog. We sure do appreciate your interest.

We love the weather we are having here in east Texas. Back in New Jersey they are having a major snow storm. Daughter Terri reports drifts several feet tall. Two neighboring counties are mostly without power. The temps. will not get above 32 in the next few days with more snow expected Wednesday.

Daughter Amy lives in northern Maryland. While we were talking she walked outside and took a quick measurement of 18". However, just like in NJ there is lots of wind and drifting. Our friend Diane in NJ called and reports the same. Most everything is shut down. We are so glad we left on Monday. And we are especially grateful for the temperature today of 64 and the opportunity to open the awning and sit outside for a while in lawn chairs.

We took a drive to Livingston State Park that is about 8 miles from the campground. We sorely need exercise as we have been eating way too much the last few weeks. Today was the day to start being a little more active.

This is a boardwalk that winds about one mile through a piney wooded and marshy area of the State Park. There were several picnic tables along the path. We heard lots of bird calls but could not locate the birds. It was a pleasant walk.

The park has several camping areas. We also saw about 12 little rental cabins. They look like they would only be suitable for warm weather use as they have large windows which looked to have only screens in them.

A view of the Lake. Barely seem at the shore line is a lovely home site with docking for their boats. This state park is very well maintained. There were several campsites in use now. I am sure it is a major attraction during the warmer months.
After we got back to our campground and had lunch, we decided it was time for a tour of the Escapees Park on our bikes. I was not in the best of shape for this ride. In addition I could not get the gears to change. I am ashamed to say, a few times I had to get off and walk the bike up the relatively small inclines. When we got back to our site, Len oiled the gears. Hopefully that will help.
So today we did get some exercise. However, we just finished a dish of ice cream. At least it was LIGHT ice cream. Oh well.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Truck and Fiver Inspected

About all we did today was get the truck and the fifthwheel inspected so it can get licensed in Texas. The shop doing the inspecting would not do it until after 1:30 as the roads were still damp from the rain of yesterday. By the time we brought the rig back to the campground and got it set up it was too late to go to either the tax office or motor vehicle office. So - that is our project for Monday.

It got to a comfortable 60 today. I am thinking of back in New Jersey where they are expecting 14-24 inches of the white stuff tonight.

I called my Mom a short time ago - Happy 85th Mom. I love you.

We are about to sit back and watch some DVD's. The campground has a free video/DVD lending library. Lots of videos, not so many DVD's. And the DVD's they do have are mostly old westerns. This will keep Len happy for many hours.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Becoming A Real Texan

First - to my great relief, Len found a few more channels on the TV. We are told we are at the far end of the viewing area from Houston and the reception goes in and out and it does on some channels. But it appears to stay clear on all the Spanish speaking channels. The best channel we found is the local FOX. That's good except I sure do miss the Fox News Channel. I am somewhat addicted to it. Or at least I was, as I now have to go cold turkey.

We met with a young woman here who gave us the information on obtaining our Texas residency. On a side note, in conversation she mentioned her maiden name. It is Len's grandmother on his fathers side maiden name. And her father is from the same area of Louisiana as Lens grandmother. Related???

First we need to get both the truck and fiver inspected. They will not inspect in the rain and it rained all day. So tomorrow we have to pack up everything and take both to town for inspection. Once that is done, we then go to the tax office to register the truck and fiver. Then to Motor Vehicles for our drivers license. Then to State Farm agency to get our insurance changed over. We now have our official residence address here at Escapees Rainbows End Park.

We found a nice place for lunch and ate too much. Also, they served dinner at the park tonight and we bought the last two tickets. Carrot Salad, baked potato, pork chop, mixed veggies, beverage and chocolate/cherry cake. All for $6.00 and it was quite good. We need to start walking more and eating less.

Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

We're here!

First welcome to new followers Phil and Rudee, Hembree and Mamaclucker (alias my SIL). I am so very glad to see you here.

So, we arrived at the Escapees Rainbows End Park in Livingston TX at 2 this afternoon. WHEW!! We drove a total of 1,619 to get here.

Last night we overnighted at the "Wally World Camp Resort" in Meridian MS. Our view from our parking lot site was the hugely popular and ever so lovely Loews and the well-appointed Rent-a-Center. What a luxury!

Why is our first stop at Escapees headquarters? Escapees is the premiere organization catering to fulltime RVers. They will guide us through the process of becoming "real Texans". As fulltimers there are many advantages to being Texas residents. A big one - Texas has no State Income Tax. The cost of truck/Rv insurance is favorable as is the cost of registrations.

One big factor in our decision is getting medical insurance for Leonard. Unlike me who is old enough for medicare, Len needs to purchase health insurance for the next 5 years. His health benefits end from his NJ State job at the end of February. He is eligible to purchase health insurance in NJ for the rest of his life but it is very costly. At this time it is over $700 a month and will surely continue to rise. In Texas he can purchase a high deductible Health Savings Account at a reasonable monthly cost. NJ has these programs but only through a group plan, not individual.

An RV friend I met online then in-person last February when we were in Texas is an insurance broker and licensed in Texas. We will be meeting up with Coleen in about two months but in the meantime we can get Len covered by phone and online.

At this moment Len is a little upset. He just found out there is no cable here and only two stations -both religious. He said he can look at his DVD's but how do we get our weather and news? Luckily I can get online. When we registered they told us Sprint does not work here. We have Sprint cell phones and Sprint air card. Hey - I have used the phone and I am online RIGHT NOW.

Okay - time to find out what's for dinner.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lumberton, NC

AT LAST! We got on the road yesterday at 7:15 am. We got as far as Lumberton NC last night. We found on www.overnightrvparking.com a closed store to park in their lot for the night.

It got quite chilly as we turned the heat off. Tough to get up when 47 in the rig. So, it is now a few minutes past 6 and we are off again. Rained a little during the early am.

We passed the ever popular and tacky South of the Border tourist trap a few miles back as we are now in SC. According to our GPS it is 1,051 miles to Livingston. So we expect at least one more night on the road before arriving there.

Life is good.