March & April in College Station, TX

We’ve spent just over two months at the RV Haven park in College Station, TX.   Our daughter and her husband live about five minutes from here, and it has been really nice to be able to have dinner with them, go to church with them, have a free place to do laundry, and just spend time together.

   

We also had some friends from Kansas City come down, and we were able to enjoy a few days of vacation with them. I rode with them and spent a few days in Crystal Beach, and then we drove to San Antonio where Jeff and Brianna met us.  Such a fun time!!

Visiting the fire station.

   

   

Lately, we have been feeling like we’re living “normal suburban life” again and the itch to be back on the road is strong.

We’ve had several reasons for spending so much time here though. We had originally planned to only be here for a couple of weeks, but at the RVE Summit back in February, we attended a seminar about creating a domicile. While we have established Texas as our domicile, we realized that there were several things we should do to make it even stronger.   So we have spent the last month or so setting up new patient accounts and going to dentist appointments (FYI – crowns are horrible), doctors and dermatologist appointments, opening new bank accounts, and meeting with a lawyer to create a will and power of attorney.  Although many of the things this month have been routine, we have made time for fun. We played disc golf a few times, joined so many others in College Station and lined the streets for Mrs. Barbara Bush’s funeral processional and later visited the gravesite at the George Bush Library and Museum, and tried a few different Texas BBQ places.

     

   

I have had the chance to have a Color Street booth at several different events while here in the area also. It’s been so much fun and a great way to meet people and share about this new business.

      

We have also been working on a personal project and website that we hope to launch in the next few weeks – www.MeetAlongTheWay.com    It will be a place for travelers (RV or not) to post their itinerary for others to see.  If you see someone you know is going to be near you, reach out and set up a time to meet.  One of the things that many RVers miss while on the road is the sense of community and being able to meet up with their friends and family.  Many times we’ve found out later that we were in the same area as someone else we would have loved to have dinner with, but we didn’t know it until too late.  Hopefully, this website will help many others like us find and meet up with their friends along the way.

 

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The RV Entrepreneur Summit

Wow! What an amazing week we’ve had! We attended the second annual RV Entrepreneur Summit in Fredericksburg, TX.  Last summer when the early-bird tickets went on sale, we were quick to grab some.  We have enjoyed following Heath and Alyssa Padgett‘s blog and podcast since before we started our RV adventure. They have been so helpful and encouraging.  We knew we wanted to spend a week with others who have a similar life as we have.

For several days before the official Summit began people began arriving, hanging out, eating dinner together, sharing stories and ideas. Everyone in the campground wanted to meet each other.  It was such a great atmosphere!

   

       

Although it was rainy and muddy the first part of the week, the sessions were held inside the big tent or in the main lodge meeting rooms.  Every single workshop we attended was full of great information, helpful tips, and encouraging interaction with others.

We made lots of new friends and loved every bit of it.  I only remembered to take a photo with a few of them. So sad!

We met John & Dorothy Bridges of Bridges Across America and went into town for lunch with them one day during a break between sessions. They recently retired and are traveling in a 5th wheel pretty similar to ours. We talked about empty nest life, becoming debt free, losing children/siblings way too early, and how to do church on the road.

We also met Ken & April Pishna of Living a Stout Life. We met online before the conference when April shouted out on the FB Group that they were looking for a spot to stay. We had signed up super early and reserved one of the huge pull-through spots so had plenty of space to share our spot. It was super fun to help them learn some of the early RV tips since this was their first trip out in their rig.

On the last afternoon of the conference, a large group of us went on a hike up the solid granite “mountain” called Enchanted Rock.  It wasn’t super easy, but the views from the top were beautiful, and it was so much fun to go hiking with 100 of our new friends.      

(group photo by Joe Hendricks – the amazing photographer who took tons of pictures at the Summit.)

The final evening was full of singing around the campfire, making s’mores, enjoying a concert by the Status Crowes, and spending one last evening all together before people started heading all different directions the next morning.

  

We loved the town of Fredericksburg and hadn’t had much time to explore it, so we extended our reservation at the campground an extra day.  If you’re ever in this area, be sure you allow several days.  We didn’t get a chance to see much, and we hope to come back again!

                                     

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February – We are heading SOUTH

We left Kansas City and spent a couple of weeks at my parents’ house in Tulsa, OK.  I was able to meet up with several friends from high school that I hadn’t seen in years, Jeff was able to work and enjoy their high-speed internet service, and we rested from a busy couple of months.  I really need to remember to take photos more often!

We then spent a few days in the Dallas, TX area with my brother and his family helping to serve HOPE Coffee at the Linger Conference.   I’ve always wanted to help with one of his big events, and this one did not disappoint.  We served around 10,000 free cups of coffee to the attendees and were able to share the story behind HOPE Coffee.  Our feet were super tired, but our hearts were very full at the end of each day.

     

 

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January 2018 – still in Kansas City

We had originally planned to head towards Arizona the first week of January, but Jeff needed to stay in Kansas City longer to hammer out some details with his work.  We were sad that we weren’t able to participate in the Xscapers Annual Bash in Quartzsite, AZ this year and meet up with people who we’ve only met online so far, but we were thankful for extra time with our friends and family in KC.

We had many more game nights, tried rolled ice cream for the first time, and explored one of the local escape rooms (as a Christmas gift from Jeff’s dad.)

      

Agricola

The Colonists Game                                             Empire Builder

  

Carcassonne (with expansions)                                         Catan

  

     

 

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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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