How to $ave at campgrounds around the USA

We have several different websites and apps that we use to find inexpensive places to stay when we are traveling.  One of our favorites is Passport America.  They offer 50% discounts at many campgrounds all over the country. Their website and app make it easy to search the areas where we want to be or will be driving through.  Each campground sets their own rules regarding which days of the week they will allow the 50% discount, and many also have a limit to how many days you can stay at the discounted price.  However, with a little planning, you can easily save quite a bit of money and still stay in nice campgrounds with full hookups.

For the month of January 2017, they are offering an extra 6 months free when you purchase a one-year membership – use the link below.  It has been so worth the $44 we spent last year, and we have now renewed for another couple of years.   If you stay at any of their campgrounds for more than 2 nights a year, it will pay for itself.


Sign Up Today and You’ll Receive all this:

  • International Camping Directory with over 1,800 RV Parks and Campgrounds
  • Personalized 50% discount camping card
  • FREE trip routing, campground updates & valuable info on-line 24/7
  • FREE Smart Phone App with complete park listings and “Find Park Near Me” feature
  • A friendly and professional staff who is always happy to serve you!

Sign Up Now Online
or Call 1-800-283-7183
Plus, make sure to mention Jeff & Marcia Hopper #0289309

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December in Kansas City

We left Rochester on December 1st and spent 4 days driving to Kansas City boondocking along the way at truck stops and Cracker Barrel parking lots.

    

We enjoyed some of our favorite things while in KC – barbeque, ice cream, music concerts, SNOW (not a favorite), board games and lots of time with people we love.

                      

Our son lives in KC, and our daughter and son-in-law came up from Texas so we were able to celebrate Christmas together as well as spend time with so many friends in the area. Yay!

  

  

While seeing friends and family have definitely been worth it, the COLD has been insane here.  We had our first “run out of propane = no heat night.”  Now we know that even though we have two propane tanks, we can’t allow the 2nd one to get below about half-full when it’s cold weather.   We had frozen pipes two of the nights that the temperatures dipped below zero degrees. Crazy cold!   We found a way to pipe warm air down into the area where the pipes are lying on the cold metal I-beam that runs from the front to the back of the trailer. No wonder the water was freezing!

   

We are looking forward to heading even farther south to hopefully not deal with frozen pipes anymore!

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New Business Venture

 

During our stay in NY, I launched a new business.  I found something that I absolutely love, and something I can easily do while on the road.  I’m now a Color Street stylist.  Color Street is a new company that launched in June, and they sell 100% nail polish strips.   Most of my business comes from sales on my website, but I was able to do a few craft / vendor shows along with my sister-in-law who also signed up with Color Street.  It was so much fun to give away free samples so people could try out the polish and then watch their excitement when they realized how easy it was.

   

 

I took some space in the spare bedroom and set up an office area so that I wouldn’t be working from the couch and Jeff and I would have separate work areas and be able to focus better.

 

If you’d like more information about Color Street, contact me or check out my website: www.MyColorStreet.com/Marcia

To try a free sample, fill out my form HERE.

 

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Four Months in One Place?

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Yes, we just spent 4-1/2 months in one place, but it was SO WORTH IT.    When we arrived at Jeff’s parents’ house in New York last July, his mom had just recently been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.  Because of some other medical complications, chemo was not an option, and we knew time with her was limited. So we made the decision to be there with her until the end.

Other than our couple of short trips to visit friends nearby (see previous posts,) we stayed there in their driveway.  Jeff was still able to work full-time, I started my own new business (future post to come,) we helped out with grocery shopping and cooking, and we were able to spend every evening visiting, playing games, and spending time together.   She once commented to us that she felt like she had messed up our travel plans.  We assured her that our plans are “to be wherever we want to be, whenever we want to be there; and right there with her was what we wanted.”

She passed away in November and will be missed very much; but we are so thankful for God’s timing that allowed us to literally move there and not just fly up for long week-end visits.

Here are a few photos of our time there:

Day trip to go hiking at Watkins Glen State Park and visit some of the wineries around Seneca Lake.

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We also experienced our first snow while living in the RV.

   

When the kids came up for Mom’s funeral, we took another trip to the Corning Museum in her memory. It was a place she loved to take them whenever they would come visit.

While very grateful to have been here, winter is coming so we are heading south.

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Where to dump the RV sewer?

In New York and most of the northeast part of the country, the camping season ends in October.  Most campgrounds are closed by Oct 15th, and for sure by the end of the month.  We had been driving to a nearby campground every couple of weeks to dump our sewer. But once November rolled around, we could no longer use their dump station. We began searching for other campgrounds in the area, but everything was closed.  The nearest Flying J Truckstop with a dump station was over an hour away.  One of Jeff’s friends from high school mentioned that the city allowed RVs to dump at the Sewer Treatment Plant.   Sure enough, and it was even cheaper than the campground where we had been going.

We had to go to the City Hall and purchase an RV Dump Pass that we took with us to the Sewer Treatment Plant.  We were able to go downtown one time and purchase three passes and have them on hand for future weeks.

        

So for any of our other RV friends who might need to find a place to dump the sewer, check out nearby city sewer treatment plants.

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New Jersey and Lancaster, PA

After leaving NYC, we wanted to visit some friends who live in New Jersey. We called ahead and asked the manager at the Walmart if they allowed overnight parking, and they did.  So we parked in the parking lot there on Monday afternoon. While Jeff worked, I was able to do some grocery shopping at the Walmart and the Aldi that were both in the same parking lot. We met our friends for dinner at the Olive Garden right outside our door and had a great time. Seeing friends all over the country has truly been a blessing!      

The next morning, we drove to Lancaster, PA – more driving adventures!  Because we were trying to avoid the Jersey Turnpike, we ended up going right through Philadelphia.  Yes, I use three different devices / apps to navigate.  I hate it when all three of them disagree with each other.  It makes for a somewhat stressful day.  But we made it!

  

We stayed at the Circle M RV Park.  This is a campground that doesn’t assign spots so we were able to drive around until we found one we liked. We found one with a large shade tree hoping it would help since the forecast was 80+ degrees for the next week.  And it was HOT!

  

 

Once again, we were able to meet up with some friends from college who we hadn’t seen in over 10 years and spend several hours visiting and catching up. After eating at the breakfast buffet, we walked around at the Oregon Dairy and saw incredible pumpkins – not only some of the largest I’ve ever seen, but so many varieties!

      

As often as possible, we try to eat at local diners instead of chain restaurants and experience local flavors.  While in Lancaster, we got to try shoofly pie, Amish apple fritters, Lebenon balogna, birch beer, and some of the most delicious ice cream we’ve ever had at an Amish dairy farm.

The Green Dragon is a flea-market, farmer’s market, and vendor fair all rolled into one.  It’s only open on Fridays.  We spent a couple of hours there and had a blast.

  

On Saturday we took a horse and buggy tour of the Amish country and visited another dairy farm.  The entire area is so pretty, and the people were very nice.

       

We enjoyed our 10 day get-away, and now we’re heading back to Rochester, NY to spend more time with Jeff’s family.

 

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Niagara Falls and NYC

Our kids flew up from Texas and Kansas City for the Labor Day weekend, and we were able to visit Niagara Falls for a day.  Even though it was a little rainy, we had a great time.  We enjoyed walking around and then having some BeaverTails for dessert.  Game nights and time with family – some of our favorite things!

This past week we headed into NYC to meet up with our friends Kerrie & Michael.  We stayed in the Liberty Harbor RV Park just across from Manhattan in Jersey City, NJ.  It was an adventure and a half getting there, but we made it. Yes, I use three different types of GPS / maps.  We also drove our truck right through Manhattan to get to and from the airport to pick them up and drop them off.  Again – an adventure.

   

The weekend was a blast, and we enjoyed checking out the Lego Store, Nintendo Store, Microsoft Store, the 9/11 Memorial, and some fun playgrounds. The boys really wanted to see the Statue of Liberty so we took the Staten Island Ferry for a ride right by it.

      

Next up – New Jersey and Pennsylvania!

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Upstate New York

It’s been about a month since I last updated.  We’ve been parked in the driveway at Jeff’s parents’ house in Rochester, NY.   Being able to visit family and still sleep in our own bed every night is a definite blessing of this RV life.

 

Jeff finished striping off the peeling decals on the trailer so it’s almost plain white now and looks much better.  We’ve also enjoyed eating at some favorite restaurants in the area and having game nights with family.

           

 

We’ve had a few day trips to enjoy fun stuff in the area.  We went to visit Tiffany exhibit at the Corning Museum in Corning, NY.  The kids had been several times years ago when they would spend summers visiting Grandpa and Grandma, and Jeff had been, but I’d never visited. The entire museum was very beautiful, and the glass blowing shows were awesome.

             

Jeff and I took a couple of days and drove over to Schroon Lake, NY to visit some friends from my high school days in Oklahoma. We got to see most of the Word of Life properties and camps.

     

This past weekend we went camping.  Yes, we may live in an RV, but we don’t camp all the time.  Jeff’s dad has an old GMC motorhome, and his cousin has a pop-up.  We were able to get spots right next to each other at the Hamlin Beach State Park and spend 3 nights enjoying visits, naps, campfires, s’mores and mosquito bites (not so enjoyable.)  There was a Civil War reenactment going on over the weekend that we were able to watch.

       

              

Next up – New York City!

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Michigan

We only had a few days in Michigan so I know we will definitely need to come back again. We stayed at the Van Buren State Park and got to watch the sun set on Lake Michigan.

Early on in this adventure we started following the Boyink’s blog – DitchingSuburbia.  It has been very helpful, and we felt like they were a couple who we could really connect with. When we realized that we were only an hour or so away from where they were this summer, we made plans to meet up in South Haven for lunch.  It was a great time of sharing life and encouraging each other – kids, homeschooling, empty nesting, traveling, 5th wheel vs. van life, doing / not doing church on the road, health, all kinds of stuff. Thanks for making the time to meet up with us!  Hopefully we’ll be in the same place again somewhere down the road.

  

We are now headed to New York to spend a couple of months with Jeff’s family.  We are very thankful for the way God has blessed us to be able to work and live this way so that we can visit friends and family. People and relationships are so important. Don’t waste the time you have with those you love!

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Elkhart, Indiana

Elkhart, Indiana – the RV capital of the US.  There are over ten different RV manufacturers in the Elkhart area and lots of the companies in the area make various RV parts.  We wanted to tour the Keystone Cougar plant which is the type of fifth-wheel we currently own. We also wanted to see a couple of others to compare the quality of craftsmanship.   Because we unfortunately timed our week in Elkhart during “shut down week” when the manufacturers do inventory and repairs, we were only able to set up two other tours – Thor and Grand Design.

I forgot to take photos of the Thor and Grand Design plants, but all three of the companies seemed somewhat similar.  It was pretty cool to see the process even though no one was currently working on the assembly.

  

While in the area, we toured the RV Hall of Fame and Museum. It was fun to see so many different types of campers used over the years. We are very thankful for the modern conveniences that we have!

  

 

 

We spent Saturday morning at the Farmer’s Market in South Bend – so many beautiful vegetables, flowers, and MUSHROOMS! I’ve never seen so many different types in one place. Of course we had to buy several to try.  They were delicious!

    

We then spent the afternoon in downtown Elkhart. They have some really cool art currently displayed all around the county.  There was a “treasure hunt guide” at the botanical gardens, but we didn’t’ go get a copy.

     

Some friends of ours who we’ve known since before we got married in Albuquerque live about a hour away from Elkhart so we called them up to meet us for lunch. We ended up going to walk around The University of Notre Dame after we ate. What a beautiful campus!

        

Next we head north into Michigan for a few days to meet up with some new friends…

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