2014 Travel Log

 

This page is our travel log for the year 2014. This way our family and friends can see where we visited and stayed at throughout the year as well as future confirmed reservations on where we will be staying or are planning to be staying at. We will update this page as we travel or should our travel plans change. The oldest entry is at the top of the page and the most recent entry is at the bottom of the page. We started traveling fulltime on June 22, 2011; we started living fulltime in our RV in May 2010 while we were preparing our home for sale and selling off most of our possessions. This is our 4th year of fulltime traveling and our 5th year of living fulltime in our motor coach.

D & D World Travel Trip Journal - This is a link to our trip journal with photos.

Here is a link to Our Visited Places; this is our page listing all of the places that we have been to together "as a couple" since 1996.

Date(s) Location Event/Resort and Travel Notes
09/12/13 - 06/05/14 Undisclosed Mid-West Location Work Camped at an undisclosed facility for 9 months. In exchange for providing grounds security we received free 20 amp electric & water camping privileges. Deb and I are each 1/8th owners of a survival community so we did our part to contribute to our survival community success.  Deb and I are big time preppers, so while at the facility we stocked up on numerous prepping supplies including food, weapons, ammo, survival books, seed vaults, water purification, and much more.
06/05/14 - 06/06/14 Bremen, IN Camped at Pla-More Campground in Bremen, IN for one night. This campground is located in the Amish country of Northern Indiana. The camping fee is $28.00 plus tax per night for 30 amp FHU sites. We also filled up our RV LP tank which took 30 gallons at a cost us $90.77. The campground is very clean and well manicured. It does include internet which is painfully slow even though the campground was only about one-third full. This is a recommended RV Resort!
06/06/14 - 07/02/14 Elkhart, IN Camped at Duncan RV Repair Center Campground for 26 nights in Elkhart, IN (the RV Capital of the World). The camping fee is free for customers getting RV repairs. The site has 50 amp with water and there is a dump site located in the back of the property. The 20 site campground is very clean and well manicured with 10 sites on rock and 10 sites on rock/grass. It does include internet which actually worked at a very fast speed. This is a recommended campground for anyone getting repairs at the Duncan RV Repair Center.

Note 1: We came to Duncan RV Repair Center for several motorcoach repairs including the convection oven part of microwave/convection was not working so a new microwave/convention oven was installed; the HWH leveling system would not dump the air bags so the touch pad controller, proximity switch, & lock box was replaced; dash parking indicator light was staying on all the time while driving so it was fixed by replacing some wiring; cruise control not working so spring clock in steering wheel was replaced; entry awning was not deploying so motor was replaced; living room slide-out mechanism was not working so it was replaced; and exterior stair step was not working so it was repaired. The total paid for all parts & labor was $5,827.25. The Good Sam Extended Warranty paid $3,674.06 and we paid $2,153.19.

Note 2: On Mon., 06/23/14, we visited the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN.

Note 3: On Sat., 06/28/14, we went out for an authentic Amish dinner with a group of RVers from the Newmar Corporation in Nappanee, IN. The dinner was cooked and served in a local Amish family home with a last name of  Miller. The Newmar Corporation is an Amish owned & operated motorcoach manufacturer that built our Newmar Essex luxury motorcoach.

Note 4: During our lengthy stay, we met a few other half-time/full-time RVers (Leroy & Fannie Thomas, Beau & Becky Anders, and Doug & Lanita Cashmore). We went out to dinner with varying couples on numerous occasions to try out all of the local area cuisine; visited the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN; and visited Bontrager's Surplus RV Supplies in White Pigeon, MI. Always great to make new friends, share travel tales, and exchange contact information since we will meet up again on the road!

07/02/14 - 07/04/14 Davison, MI Camped at Lake Shore Resort in Davison, MI for two nights in a 50 amp FHU site. The campground has 588 full sites, 40 partial sites, and 29 pull-thru sites. The campground amenities include: Water Fun Zone Park (Lazy River, Splash/Wading Pool, Hot Tub & Heated Pool); Clubhouse (Game Room, Adult Lounge, Fitness Center & Movie Theater); Indoor & Outdoor Heated Pools; Putt-Putt Golf Course; Private Lake with Beach Area & Beach Pavilion; Row Boats, Canoes & Kayaks; Paddle Boats & Aqua Cycles; Golf Cart Rentals Available; WiFi Internet; Nature & Hiking Trails; Snack Bar; Community Fire Pits; General Store; Hot Tubs & Sauna; Laundry Facilities; Playground; Picnic Areas with Grills; Tennis & Basketball Courts; Horseshoes & Shuffleboard; Firewood; Ice Skating on the Lake (Winter); Live Entertainment; and Planned Activities. Very nice Outdoor Adventures premiere RV park that affiliates with RPI/C2C.  We are RPI Preferred/C2C Deluxe members. These private campground memberships allow their members to use affiliated public RV parks for RPI Preferred $10.00 daily & C2C Deluxe for $9.20 daily for FHU sites. This is a highly recommended RV Resort!

Note 1: In route to this campground we purchased 78 gallons of diesel fuel (approx. 1/2 tank) at $3.85 per gallon costing a total of $300.00.

07/04/14 - 07/05/14 Mt. Pleasant, MI Camped at Isabella County Fairgrounds Campground in Mt. Pleasant, MI for one night with 30 amp electric & water only. The fairgrounds has 73 total grass lots, 45 drive thru lots, and 28 back-in lots, with a dump station on the grounds. Reservations are required for fair week only which is July 19-26, 2014. This is a nice county fairgrounds with parking on level sod and a quiet country atmosphere. This campground is located east of US Hwy 127 at 500 N. Mission Road (near the corner of N. Mission Road and E. Baseline Road) at Latitude  43°38'30.50"N  Longitude  84°46'0.90"W. Cost for camping is $25.00 daily but only cost us $12.50 per day as a Passport America member (we are lifetime Passport America members). Highly recommended campground.
07/05/14 - 07/07/14 St. Ignace, MI Camped at Kewadin Shores Casino Campground in St. Ignace, MI for two nights with 50 amp electric & water only with a dump site on location. The casino campground has 21 sites including 8 pull through and costs $10.00 per night. Use of the campground includes use of the indoor pool/jacuzzi and weight room. The casino and campground is located in the upper peninsula on the shores of Lake Huron at Latitude 45°55'36.65"N  Longitude 84°44'4.53"W.

Note 1:  On the way to St. Ignace, MI we crossed over the Mackinac Bridge. Due to high winds, all high profile vehicles such as RVs, Commercial Trucks, and vehicles pulling trailers were limited to a 20 mph speed limit. The Mackinac Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world when first built, a record it held for an impressive several decades.

07/07/14 - 07/12/14 Newbury, MI

Attended the 2014 Newmar Kountry Klub Full-Timers Chapter Annual Rally and Business Meeting. We stayed at the Clementz's Northcountry Campround in Newbury, MI. The 2014 rally fee ($300.00) includes 6 Days/5 Nights of camping with 30 Amps & water; two lunches & two dinners, a boat tour through the Soo Locks; a nature walk to view Tahquamenon Falls; and a visit to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. We’ll have our annual business meeting, do a humanitarian project, and have plenty of time for individual touring of the many attractions in the area.

Note 1: On Mon., 07/07/14, all of the rally attendees got together for a pot luck dinner in the campground pavilion.

Note 2: On Tues, 07/08/14, all of us carpooled to the Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Paradise, MI, walked down to take view & photograph the Tahquamenon Falls, and then had a delicious lunch at the state park pub, brewery, & restaurant. After visiting the falls, we all drove over the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum on Whitefish Point (Lake Superior) in Paradise, MI.

Note 3: On Weds, 07/09/14, all club members held our annual business meeting, and later had dinner at Timber Charlie's Restaurant in Newberry, MI.

Note 4: On Thurs., 07/10/14, all of us went on a Soo Locks Boat Tour of the Soo Locks for two hours.

Note 5: On Fri., 07/11/14, we visited the Crisp Point Lighthouse in Howell, MI, with David & Debbie Seale, and then for dinner, all club members enjoyed a variety of pizzas at the RV park pavilion.

Note 6: On Sat., 07/12/14, most of the club members caravanned from this location to Escanaba, MI so we all could attend the Newmar Kountry Klub 2014 International Rally.

07/12/14 - 06/14/14 Escanaba, MI

Early parking for the 2014 Newmar Kountry Klub International Rally at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in the Upper Peninsula in Escanaba, MI. The 2 day early bird parking cost was $20.00 daily for $40.00 total cost. The site we had was 30 Amps and water only w/dump sites on the fairgrounds. The Fulltimers chapter was parked in a partially shaded area with large white pines.

07/14/14 - 07/19/14 Escanaba, MI Attended the 2014 Newmar Kountry Klub 29th International Rally at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in the Upper Peninsula in Escanaba, MI. The 2014 rally fee ($470.00) includes: 6 Days/5 Nights of Camping for 2 Adults in Their Newmar RV; 30 Amps & Water w/1 Pump-out Provided; 5 meals (3 Breakfasts/2 Dinners); Professional Entertainment; $3,000.00 Cash to be Given Away; Special Rally Souvenir Gift; Welcome Bag; Sightseeing Tours (Optional); Arts & Crafts Contest; Educational Seminars for Ladies & Men; Lifestyle Seminars; Daily Door Prize Drawings; Klub Golf Tournament (Optional); Adult Craft Lessons; Minor Service Repairs by Newmar Technicians (non-warranty labor $65.00 hourly & parts at a reduced rate); Ice Cream Social; Free Lemonade and Popcorn; Member's Craft Sale; Member's Show & Tell; Cash Bingo, Games & Cards; Commercial Vendor Products Show & Seminars; Newmar Suppliers Products & Seminars; Newmar New Unit Display; Sunday Worship Service; Annual Klub Business Meeting; Style Show; Pet Contest; Trivia Night; Live Auction; Poker Run; Jam Session; Lots of Friendly Fellowship & Fun; and Antique & Steam Gas Village.
07/19/14 - 07/21/14 Munising, MI

New this year was a 2014 Newmar Kountry Klub Great Lakes Caravan. This 17 day/16 night Newmar Caravan will be leaving from the International Rally in Escanaba, MI on July 19 and will travel through Michigan (Upper Peninsula); Ontario, Canada; Michigan (lower half of state), and ending in Ohio on August 5th.

The 2014 caravan fee ($2,945.00) includes 18 Days/17 Nights of camping; 14 meals consisting of 2 breakfasts, 6 lunches, & 6 dinners; 5 Social Get-togethers; 2 Cruises (Sunset Cruise of the Pictured Rocks & a Shipwreck Cruise on a Glass Bottom Boat); nature walk to view Tahquamenon Falls; trip on the Agawa Canyon Train Ride in Canada; Ferry Trip to Mackinaw Island; Tram Tour of the Frederik Meijer Sculpture Gardens; a Dune Buggy Ride on the Sand Dunes along Lake Michigan; Tour City of Frankenmuth; Tour Edsel & Eleanor Ford's home; Visit Ford Museum; Visit Greenfield Village; Ferry to Put in Bay Tram Tour of the Island; along with free time to explore on our own.

Camped at at the Munising Tourist Park Campground in Munising, MI for two nights with 50 Amps FHU. Our RV was back up to the shore of Lake Superior and we could see the lake out of both sides of the motorcoach.

Note 1: On Sat., 07/19/14 we carpooled with Dick & Joan Williams (whom live in Belleair Beach, FL) and went on the Pictured Rock Cruises (Sunset Cruise) on Munising Bay in Lake Superior out of the Marina in Munising, MI. The name of the boat was "Miss Superior", we visited 10 miles of shoreline to view the pictured rocks, and the cruise lasted 2 hours & 40 minutes.

Note 2: On Sun., 07/20/14 we carpooled with Dick & Joan Williams (whom live in Belleair Beach, FL) and went on the Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tours on Munising Bay in Lake Superior out of the Marina in Munising, MI. The name of the boat was "Fireball", we visited 3 ship wrecks (Bermuda in 1870, Herman H. Hettler in 1926, & a mystery scow schooner in 1700s), and the cruise lasted 2 hours. For lunch, Debbie and I picked up chicken & beef pasties from Muldoon's Pasties in Munising, MI. They were absolutely delicious.

07/21/14 - 07/22/14 Newbury, MI Camped at at the Clementz's Northcountry Campround in Newbury, MI for one night with 30 Amps electric & water only.

Note 1: On Mon., 07/21/14, we carpooled with Kent & Nancy Miller (whom live in Sebring, FL) and went to the Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Paradise, MI,  and had a delicious lunch at the state park pub, brewery, & restaurant. Since Deb and I just visited these falls two weeks earlier, we hung out at the outdoor pavilion of the restaurant while others walked down to take view & photograph the Tahquamenon Falls. After visiting the falls, we all drove over the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum on Whitefish Point (Lake Superior) in Paradise, MI. Once again, Deb and I set on the benches of the wood decking on the shoreline of Lake Superior while the rest of our group went through the museum. Since Deb and I visited the museum two weeks earlier, we decided not to walk through all of the exhibits again.

07/22/14 - 07/24/14 Sault Ste. Marie, MI Camped at at the Aune-Osborn Campground in Sault Ste. Marie, (UP) MI for two nights with 30 Amps electric & water only. The campground is located right on the shores of Lake Superior with a view of Canada right across the water. We have a 180 degree view of Lake Superior and the Sault Ste. Marie, MI boat launching ramps; this was one of the best parking spots in the park (site 83). This campground is highly recommended.

Note 1: On Thurs., 07/22/14 we went to dinner at The Antlers Restaurant in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. This restaurant set up like a hunting lodge and has numerous stuffed animals & antlers that decorate all of the walls and ceiling. The food was delicious.

Note 2: On Weds., 07/23/14 we went to Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada to ride the Agawa Canyon Tour Train of the Algoma Central Railway. The train ride went 114 miles north to the Agawa Canyon and then 114 miles back to the train station. This was a nice, scenic train ride. For dinner we went to Smoke's Poutinerie in Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada with our friends Jerry & Phyllis Rose (whom live in Miamisburg, OH). They are the Caravan Hosts and NKK OH State Directors.. Poutine is a French Canadian recipe consisting of french fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy. The Smoke's Poutinerie makes numerous flavors of Poutine, the food was delicious, and is highly recommended.

07/24/14 - 07/27/14 Mackinaw City, MI Camped at at the Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping in Mackinaw City, MI for three nights with 50 Amps FHU. Our motorcoach is facing the Straits of Mackinac on Lake Huron in Mackinac City, MI. There is only a RV camp road and a small park like green belt between our motorcoach and the water's edge. This campground is highly recommended.

Note 1: On Thurs., 07/24/14 we went to Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park in Mackinaw City, MI, with Jerry & Phyllis Rose and then went out to dinner at the Dixie Saloon Food & Spirits in Mackinaw City, MI.

Note 2: On Fri., 07/25/14 we were picked up in the campground by the Star Line Ferry shuttle service and then went to Mackinac Island, (UP) MI by hydro-jet ferry. On the Island, we rode on a couple different horse pulled carriages, visited Mackinac Island State Park; toured Fort Mackinac; and visited the Grand Hotel. This Island only has a few motor vehicles which are emergency (ambulance & fire truck) vehicles and utility vehicles; no other motor vehicles are allowed on the Island, therefore everyone travels around by walking, bike riding, horseback, or horse pulled carriages. The downtown area is quaint old shops and restaurants. We returned to Mackinaw City by Star Line Ferry and then utilized their shuttle service to get us back to the campground.

Note 3: On Sat., 07/26/14 we carpooled with Mose & Jan Guzzardo (whom live in Amite, LA) and went to Fort Michilimackinac and Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse in Mackinaw City, MI.

07/27/14 - 07/29/14 Mears, MI Camped at at the Silver Creek RV Resort in Mears, MI for two nights with 50 Amps FHU.

Note 1: On Mon., 07/28/14 we carpooled with Frank & Jeanette Shereck (whom live in Bagley, MN) and went on Mac Wood's Dune Rides in Silver Lake State Park, Mears, MI. The ride on the sand dunes lasts 40 minutes and covers 7 miles of trails. It was a lot of fun! For dinner we all ate at the Open Hearth Grille in Mears, MI. We enjoyed a family style dinner where we passed along huge plates of several different items and ate as much as we wanted. This was great tasting food that was enjoyed by all.

07/29/14 - 07/31/14 Birch Run, MI Camped at at the Pine Ridge RV Campground in Birch Run, MI for two nights with 50 Amps FHU. Each site has a small campfire ring and a picnic table. Most sites are very shaded under huge trees, but I was still able to grab our DirecTV satellites through a gap in the canopy. The campground had internet wifi (but we were unable to connect to it during our 2 night stay), pay public showers, and a small clubhouse that can handle groups of 10 people or less. The campground is OK for a one or two night stay when in this immediate area, but not high on my list of recommended campgrounds.

Note 1: While traveling to this campground, we stopped at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculptor Park in Grand Rapids, MI which was about the half way point from Mears, MI to here. We took a tram tour of the sculptors, and then went on a walking tour of the gardens. We also enjoyed lunch at the Taste of the Gardens Café which is located in the main building in the park. The artwork, gardens, wildlife, and lunch were all nice and made for a great stopover location during the day's travel.

Note 2: Most of our caravan group went to Bronner's Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, MI today. Deb and I decided that we would forego this activity and have a relaxing day at home. For dinner, our group went out to eat dinner at Zehnders of Frankenmuth restaurant in Frankenmuth, MI. The dinner was a family style meal consisting of passing around large plates of food and eating as much as you wanted. The food, company, and atmosphere was great.

07/31/14 - 08/03/14 Monroe, MI Camped at at the Harbortown RV Resort in Monroe, MI for three nights with 50 Amps FHU. This campground has a total of 250 concrete sites in which 80 are pull-thru sites; high speed internet; picnic table & fire ring at each site; a nice, heated pool; go kart track; miniature golf; arcade; ice cream shop; baseball & softball batting cages; laundry room; pavilion for group gatherings; and public restrooms & showers. The grounds are well manicured and all roads are asphalt. This campground is highly recommended.

Note 1: In route to this campground we purchased 103.40 gallons of diesel fuel (approx. 3/4 tank) at $3.87 per gallon costing a total of $400.00.

Note 2: On Fri., 08/01/14 we carpooled with Dick & Joan Williams (whom live in Belleair Beach, FL) and took a tour of the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, MI. After the tour we enjoyed a private lunch in the Cotswold Cafe on the grounds. Then we drove to The Henry Ford and visited the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. For dinner we grilled steaks outdoors here at the campground with Dick & Joan Williams.

Note 3: On Sat., 08/02/14 we went back to The Henry Ford in Dearborn, MI, and visited Greenfield Village.

08/03/14 - 08/05/14 Sandusky, OH Camped at at the Camp Sandusky in Sandusky, OH for two nights with 50 Amps FHU. This campground is an older campground with many overgrown trees that are not well trimmed. I only recommend this campground if you want to stay in this area and cannot find a better, closer campground.

Note 1: On Mon., 08/04/14 we drove to Port Clinton, OH and took the Jet Express boat to Put-in-Bay, OH on South Bass Island in Lake Erie. We went up into the the 352 ft tall monument (3rd tallest monument in the USA) Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial which commemorates Perry's victory at the Battle of Erie during the War of 1812. We took a tour of Heineman's Winery and Crystal Cave, and then ate lunch at Mossbacks Island Bar & Grill. We then took Jet Express back to Port Clinton, OH. Once we drove back to the campground we then went out for a gourmet, private group dinner at the Catawba Island Club which is located on the shores of Lake Erie. All in all this was a great last evening for our NKK Great Lakes Caravan. The last morning, we had a pancake breakfast in the campground pavilion, and said all of our goodbyes before we all went on our separate ways. Our friends and caravan hosts Jerry & Phyllis Rose are as good or better than any vacation planner we have ever met. This is the second NKK caravan we have went on that they hosted. They plan & execute great caravans and we truly appreciated all of their hard work, and much fun was had by all participants.

08/05/14 - 08/06/14 Wauseon, OH Camped at at the Fulton County Fairgrounds in Wauseon, OH for one night with 30 Amp electric & water only. The fairgrounds has a total of 600 sites with electric: 200 sites have 20 amps & 400 sites have 30 amps; 150 of the sites have water access; & 45 sites are FHU. The fairgrounds are very clean, well manicured, and quiet. The camping fee is $20.00 nightly for any site. This is a highly recommended campground.
08/06/14 - 08/14/14 Kalamazoo, MI Camped at Spring Lake Resort (C2C/RPI) in Kalamazoo, MI for eight nights in a 30 amp FHU site. The campground has 75 full sites, 100 partial sites, and 10 pull-thru sites. The campground amenities include: Adults Internet cafe in lodge, Spacious RV Sites, Cabins, Fishing, In Ground Pool, Mini Golf, Scheduled Activities, Social Events, General Store, Playground, 24 Hour Security, All Seasons Lodge with flat screen TV and fireplace, clean restroom & showers, Sandy Beach with swimming area, Paddle boating, Volleyball, Horseshoes, Basketball, Internet, Pets Allowed, Full Hook-up Sites, and Firewood, Ice & Propane on site. Very nice American Campgrounds premiere RV park that affiliates with C2C/RPI.  We are C2C Deluxe/RPI Preferred Gold members. These private campground memberships allow their members to use affiliated public RV parks for C2C Deluxe for $9.20 daily & RPI Preferred $10.00 daily for FHU sites. This is a highly recommended RV Resort!
08/14/14 - 08/17/14 Hopkins, MI Attended the 2014 Newmar Kountry Klub Michigan State Rally at Hidden Ridge RV Resort in Hopkins, MI. The 2014 rally fee ($275.00) included: 4 Days/3 Nights of Camping for 2 Adults in Their Newmar RV; 50 Amps FHU site; 3 catered dinners; tour of the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, MI; and a tour of the Air Zoo in Portage, MI. The campground amenities include: heated pool & hot tub; fitness center; pickleball; volleyball; basketball; fishing; shuffleboard, billiards, horeshoes, arcade. All of the roads inside the campground are asphalt, all of the pads are concrete, and the Wi-Fi setup was one of the best we had ever used. This is a highly recommended campground.

Note 1: On Thurs., 08/14/14 we settled into our rally campsite and then set outside for a few hours of chatting, and a meet and greet. At 5:30 PM we had a catered taco/burrito dinner meal in the campground pavilion.

Note 2: On Fri., 08/15/14 we carpooled with our friends Marty & Marion Marcum (NKK Region 1 Directors) and visited the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, MI and then ate lunch at their on-site 50's style diner with Marty & Marion Marcum, and Ron & Wanda LLewellyn (NKK Region 6 Directors). Then we drove drove to Wyoming, MI for a factory tour of the Weller Reman Center where they rebuild Allison transmissions. Our Newmar Essex has a 4000 series Allison transmission so we found the tour very informational. At 5:00 PM we had a catered chicken dinner meal in the campground pavilion.

Note 3: On Sat., 08/16/14 we carpooled with our friends John & Carolyn Williams (NKK Michigan State Directors/Rally Hosts) and their daughter Patty to the Air Zoo in Portage, MI. While there we ate lunch in the on-site cafe on the second floor of the main building. At 5:00 PM we had a catered beef dinner meal in the campground pavilion.

Note 4: On Sun., 08/17/14 we a had toast, coffee, & orange juice breakfast in the campground pavilion. We thanked our rally hosts John & Carolyn Williams for a great Michigan State Rally, exchanged contact information, and then said our goodbyes to all of our old & new friends.

08/17/14 - 08/28/14 Charlotte, MI Camped at Spartan Chassis, Inc. in Charlotte, MI for eleven nights. The camping fee is free for customers getting Spartan chassis repairs. There is a total of 15 sites with 50 amp electric only, and there is a dump site located 1.5 miles away at the Eaton County Fairgrounds. We came to this facility for chassis service work including front end alignment, 44 point chassis inspection, & our RV annual engine/generator oil/filter changes by the Spartan Chassis RV Factory Service Center. Our Newmar Essex has a Spartan K2 chassis (Cummins ISM 500 hp engine & an Allison 4000MH electronic transmission) which was built at this location in 2004.

Note 1: On Mon., 08/18/14 we checked out the Eaton County Fairgrounds (especially the RV parking & dump site) and visited nearby Bennett Park which are both in Charlotte, MI.

Note 2: On Thurs., 08/21/14 we started our annual maintenance & several chassis repairs with Spartan, Inc. In the afternoon I did a tour of the Spartan Chassis Assembly Line where they build the RV chassis. At the time of the tour they were building four K3 chassis with Cummins ISX 15L 600 HP diesel engines bolted to Allison 4000MH electronic  transmissions.

Note 3: On Sun., 08/24/14 we purchased 78 gallons of diesel fuel (approx. 1/2 tank) at $3.85 per gallon costing a total of $300.00.

Note 4: On Thurs., 08/28/14 we finished our annual maintenance and several service repairs. The annual maintenance included engine oil/filter, generator oil/filter, new engine air filter, new fuel filter, complete chassis lubrication, and a 44 point inspection. The service repairs included all of the following: two new Koni shocks for the drive axle; two new air bags with short stops for the drive axle; two new ride height adjusters for the front end; new front bushings; new bell crank, bearing kit, & ball joints on front end; replaced both ends of short drag link shaft on front end; replaced air dryer & filter; replaced both brake chambers on main axle; and replaced both brake chambers on the tag axle. Other maintenance items completed: front end alignment; rotated front tires to inside main axle & inside main axle tires to the drive axle; put steel valve stem extenders on inside duals; added air tank lanyard extenders to reroute the cables to the front end of the coach next to pull-out generator for easier access; weighed entire coach [total weight 43,830 lbs with fuel full/fresh water full/LP full/grey tank empty/black tank empty/no passengers inside -- drive axle was 14,970; main axle was 19,708; and tag axle was 9,160]; set new tire pressures to 110 psi for tires on drive axle & 85 psi for tires on main/tag axles according to the Michelin Tire Chart. The front right aluminum rim was damaged by the mechanic so Spartan put a new rim back on at no charge. Spartan did an unauthorized/unneeded transmission fluid and filter change (Note: I just did this at 50,000 miles & currently we only have 69,184 miles) so no charges for this mistake by Spartan. The total charges for everything (parts, labor, fluids, filters, & taxes) came to $8,473.69. The Good Sam Extended Warranty paid a total of $1,869.01 and my portion of the charges was $6,604.68. The estimate on repairs at the start of work was $4,000.00, and no new updates were ever given to me stating the repairs were going to go over this amount while the motorcoach was in the shop, even though two rear axle air bag replacements were taken off of the repair list, and two tag axle brake calibers were added on to the repair list. Thus our repair bill was more than double the $4,000.00 amount quoted ($4,475.00 above their quoted estimate); therefore, even though they do good Spartan chassis repairs here, keep in mind your actual charges due may be as much as double or more the amount you are quoted as an estimate. [Furthermore, at the time of leaving the property I noticed one of my tire pressure regulators was not replaced on my rig and I got the mechanic to find it and replace it. The thing I did not notice until I was in Indiana was that the mechanic also forgot to reinstall my rock shield that bolts on underneath the battery box to protect my fuel filter and air dryer system. Spartan had an Intern drive the rock shield to my location in Elkhart, IN. The funny thing is he showed up with two rock shields and told me that two of them had not been reinstalled before customers left the shop, so go ahead and take whichever one was mine, so I did. Just another warning to look your motorcoach over with a fine tooth comb for any missing parts that they might have forgotten to reinstall.]

Note 1: During our drive from Charlotte, MI to Elkhart, IN, the drive was unbelievably better than we have ever experienced in our motorcoach. Our rig is now 10.5 years old, so it was necessary to do all of the chassis repairs and maintenance. In the future we will be getting all annual chassis maintenance at Speedco Truck Lube & Tires  ($250.00 labor, fluid, & filters) and all motorcoach repairs at Duncan RV Repair Center, whenever possible. We plan on keeping our motorcoach for many more years of full-time RVing so we keep up on all maintenance & repairs very promptly & completely. Our luxury motorcoach is our home on wheels so we take good care of it to prevent break downs & to help hold up the value.

08/28/14 - 09/04/14 Elkhart, IN Camped at Duncan RV Repair Center Campground for 7 nights in Elkhart, IN (the RV Capital of the World). The camping fee is free for customers getting RV repairs. The site has 50 amp with water and there is a dump site located in the back of the property. The 20 site campground is very clean and well manicured with 10 sites on rock and 10 sites on rock/grass. It does include internet which actually worked at a very fast speed. This is a recommended campground for anyone getting repairs at the Duncan RV Repair Center.

Note 1: The RV repairs for this stop over was changing the Thermister (thermostat/resistor) for our Dometic NDR1402 gas/electric refrigerator. The total cost for parts & labor was $283.41. Since this amount is only $33.41 over our $250.00 Good Sam Extended Warranty deductible, we simply opted not to file a claim. We now have a working refrigerator/freezer again and hopefully the intermittent failures are now a thing of the past.

09/04/14 - 09/14/14 Camp Atterbury, IN Camped at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center (Indiana Army National Guard) (next to Edinburgh, IN) for 10 nights in the Whitaker Place Campground. Camp Atterbury itself has 33,000 acres of maneuver training areas with all kinds of numerous ranges, and the additional 1,000 acre Muscatatuck Urban Training Center. This RV campground is very nice consisting of 39 camp sites: 33 FHU sites and 6 dry camp sites. The campsites and campground roads are all rocked and level. All campsites have large grills with unlimited free firewood for cooking/campfires and picnic tables. The campground also has clean public restrooms, a large children's playground, nice stocked fishing pond, laundromat, and two large, outdoor covered picnic areas with BBQ grills. The entire cantonment area of this military reservation is immaculate and clean with good security, a swimming pool, gymnasium, and much more. The cost for this campground is $20 nightly for full hook ups, or $15 for dry camping. The dry camping fee is very unusual since all active duty/retired military can dry camp on any military base for free. This is a highly recommended Military Campground for active/retired military!

Note 1: On Thurs., 09/04/14 we purchased 27.41 gallons of diesel fuel (less than 1/4 tank) at $3.65 p/er gallon costing a total of $100.00.

Note 2: Our friends Ray & Lin Fowler camped next to us for four nights from 09/10/14 to 09/15/14. They own a 40 ft. Class A motorcoach which is a 2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom. Their motorcoach is very nice and we loved having their company; we hope to camp with them again in the future. Ray is a retired US Army First Sergeant (FSG/E8) whom served 20 years. They are fellow club members in the Special Military Active Reserve Travel Club (SMART). We became close friends since the time we traveled together in the SMART 2012 Alaska Caravan.

Note 3:  On Weds., 09/10/14 we went out to dinner with Ray & Lin Fowler to Hickory Hills Barbeque in Edinburgh, IN. Very good food at decent prices, we enjoyed the food & the company, we recommend this restaurant to others.

09/14/14 - 10/05/14 Batesville, IN Camped at Thousand Trails Indian Lakes in  Batesville, IN for 21 nights in a FHU site. The campground has 5 lakes with meadow, wooded, or lake front camp sites on 544 acre preserve. The largest of these 5 lakes is 50 acres in size. The amenities include: a clubhouse; several boat docks; outdoor pavilions & gazebos; BBQ pits; fire rings; swimming pool; public showers/restrooms; game room/billiards; mini golf; nature/hiking trails; tennis courts; basketball courts; shuffleboard courts; restaurant; store; laundry facilities; horseshoe pits; ballroom/banquet hall; Wifi; children's playgrounds; boat rentals; fishing; golf course; and RV storage. Very nice NACO preserve with 800 campsites. We are Elite Connections members of Thousand Trails/NACO/Leisure Time/Mid-Atlantic/Outdoor World; a private campground membership. Our yearly maintenance fee of $590.00 allows us unlimited free camping at 81 different Thousand Trails/NACO/Leisure Time/Mid-Atlantic/Outdoor World nationwide campgrounds plus currently we get 14 extra bonus parks which are Encore campgrounds. This is a highly recommended Thousand Trails RV Resort!

Note 1: On Sun., 09/14/14 we purchased 34.54 gallons of diesel fuel (approx. 1/4 tank) at $3.62 per gallon costing a total of $125.00.

Note 2: On Sat., 09/20/14 we upgraded our Thousand Trails (TT) campground membership from Platinum Plus to Connections Elite while keeping our yearly maintenance dues the same. The newest TT upgrade is their highest level of campground membership with the most benefits. The main upgrade benefit included adding all of the Mid-Atlantic (07) and Outdoor World (14) campgrounds which totals 22 campgrounds as permanent free campgrounds in on our lifetime membership benefits. These 22 campgrounds are mostly located in the eastern states which was an area that we had sparse coverage. This brought our permanent free Thousand Trails campgrounds from 59 up to 81 locations. Also, our reservation window was increased from 120 to 180 days in advance which is a nice feature to have when booking the busiest Thousand Trails campgrounds. Another nice feature is that we get 14 Encore parks to use as free bonus parks: 10 parks are guaranteed for 5 years use; and 4 parks will be on a year to year basis. Many other features were included in our upgrade including 5 free weeks of cabin rental certificates, 1 free week a year for 10 years in the getaway cabins, an RPI Preferred Gold membership (free for 2 years), Enjoy America campgrounds at 50% off, a free Ready Camp Go (RCG) Platinum membership (90 days of Encore parks per year at $23 per day), purchase 4th week at TT campgrounds at $29 each twice yearly, can be inactive up to 5 years with no TT dues to pay, and many other family & vacation benefits. The entire upgrade cost us $3,645.00 and we will recoup this easily in just the first year or two of camping as full-time RVers. The reason so many benefits can be included with this membership is because Equity Life Style Properties (ELS) currently owns Thousand Trails, NACO, Leisure Time, Mid-Atlantic, Outdoor World, Encore, RPI, and Enjoy America. We always love the Thousand Trails preserves and highly recommend all of the various levels of Thousand Trails campground memberships for anyone that is a full-time RVer like us.

10/05/14 - 10/19/14 Park City, KY Camped at Thousand Trails Diamond Caverns RV Resort in  Park City, KY for 14 nights in a FHU site. The campground has both a lake and golf course on a 743 acre preserve. The amenities include: a clubhouse; family center; outdoor picnic areas; outdoor pavilion; BBQ pits; fire rings; swimming pool; public showers/restrooms; game room/billiards; mini golf; nature/hiking trails; basketball courts; corn hole; bocce ball; laundry facilities; horseshoe pits; ballroom/banquet hall; Wifi; children's playgrounds; fishing; golf course; and RV storage. Very nice Mid-Atlantic preserve with 94 campsites. We are Elite Connections members of Thousand Trails/NACO/Leisure Time/Mid-Atlantic/Outdoor World; a private campground membership. Our yearly maintenance fee of $607.87 allows us unlimited free camping at 81 different Thousand Trails/NACO/Leisure Time/Mid-Atlantic/Outdoor World nationwide campgrounds plus currently we get 14 extra bonus parks which are Encore campgrounds. This is a highly recommended Thousand Trails RV Resort!

Note 1: On Tues., 10/07/14 and Mon., 10/13/14 we visited the Mammoth Cave National Park. On the 7th we toured the visitor center with all of the exhibits & videos, and on the 13th we viewed the Mammoth Cave Hotel and did the Mammoth Passage Tour which is Duration: 1 1/4 hours, Distance: 3/4 mile, and Total Stairs: 160.

10/19/14 - 10/20/14 Hohenwald, TN Dry Camped at Meriwether Lewis Campground near Hohenwald, TN (4 miles away) for 1 night for free. It is located at milepost 385.9 on the Natchez Trace Parkway. The campground has 32 dry camp sites with asphalt roads, mostly level spots, and lots of hardwood trees. It does have a nice public restroom and is patrolled by National Park Rangers. The stay limit is 14 nights.

We are driving the Natchez Trace Parkway (southbound) during the height of the autumn color change while heading a bit further south to take advantage of warmer climates during the Winter months. This year for the Winter season we are going to travel through some of the southern states that border along the Gulf of Mexico.

The Natchez Trace Parkway (Site 2) has been designated as one of America's National Scenic Byways by the Federal Highway Administration. The most scenic of these byways are also designated as All-American Roads. The Natchez Trace Parkway is one of only 31 All-American Roads, and is rated in the top 20 All-American Roads. The Natchez Trace Parkway leads you 444 miles through three states (including TN, AL, & MS) and 10,000 years of North American history. Established as a unit of the National Park System in 1938 and officially completed in 2005, the Parkway commemorates the most significant highway of the Old Southwest. The natural travel corridor that became the Natchez Trace dates back many centuries. It bisected the traditional homelands of the Natchez, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations. As the United States expanded westward in the late 1700s and early 1800s, growing numbers of travelers tramped the rough trail into a clearly marked path. The ”sunken” sections you can walk along today are clear signs of historic use. In 1801 President Thomas Jefferson designated the Trace a national postal road for the delivery of mail between Nashville and Natchez.

Note 1: On Sun., 10/19/14 while in route to this campground we purchased 42 gallons of diesel fuel (approx. 1/4 of our 150 gallon tank) at $3.57 per gallon costing a total of $150.00, and we purchased 5.85 gallons of liquid propane (LP) (simply topping off our 32 gallon tank) at $3.19 per gallon costing a total of $19.54.

Note 2: In route to this campground we entered the Natchez Trace Parkway. We crossed the historic National Trace Parkway Bridge in Williamson County, TN. The bridge, also known as the Natchez Trace Parkway Arches, is the first segmentally constructed concrete arch bridge in the United States. This bridge was opened to traffic in 1994.

Note 3: During our travels today we visited the Meriwether Lewis Monument and Gravesite at milepost 385.9 on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Lewis died here in 1809. We also crossed the John Coffee Memorial Bridge between mileposts 328.6 & 327.8 on the Natchez Trace Parkway. This is the Parkway's longest bridge which crosses the Tennessee River in Alabama.

10/20/14 - 10/21/14 Cherokee, AL Camped at Colbert County Rose Trail Park in Cherokee, AL for 1 night at a cost of 11.00 nightly for 50 amp water & electric site. It is located 13 miles away from milepost 320 on the Natchez Trace Parkway. The campground has 71 camp sites with fire rings, BBQ pits, picnic tables, one large covered patio with BBQ/Smoker, several public restrooms/showers, all roads are asphalt or rocked, a very nice aluminum boat launch/boat dock, a large wooden fishing pier, mostly level rocked RV parking spots. It is located amongst hardwood & pine trees right on the banks of the Tennessee River. [Additional Info:  For long term parking, they only charge $270.00 per month for a FHU site and no stay limit. That would be living on the cheap for a nice RV parking site, unmetered water, unmetered electric, free sewer, free trash pick-up, public restrooms/showers, and free lawn care services. You would need a good cell phone booster antenna & a satellite TV system and you would be set. Lots of wooded areas for game hunting & mushroom hunting, unlimited fishing opportunities on the Mississippi River, and unlimited fallen deadwood trees are available to cut up for free firewood. Half of the RV park is open summers only, but the half we were parked in stays open year round.]

Note 1: During our travels today we visited Bear Creek Mound (ceremonial Indian structure built between 1400 & 1600 AD); made a scenic drive through the Tishomingo State Park, MS; visited the 13 Confederate Gravesites and Old Trace on Natchez Trace Parkway north of Tupelo, MS; visited the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center (included a museum & many video presentations); did a scenic drive through the Tombigbee National Forest, MS; visited Bynum Mounds; visited the Tupelo National Battlefield; and did the tour at the Elvis Presley Museum, Birthplace, & Community Church (he attended as a child) ($17.00 each).

10/21/14 - 10/22/14 Ackerman, MS Dry Camped at Jeff Busby Campground near Ackerman, MS (13.5 miles away) for 1 night for free. It is located at milepost 193.1  on the Natchez Trace Parkway. The campground has 18 dry camp sites with asphalt roads, mostly level spots, and lots of hardwood trees. It does have a nice public restroom and is patrolled by National Park Rangers. The stay limit is 14 nights.

Note 1: During our travels today we exited the Natchez Trace Parkway in Natchez, MS. Once again, we drove the entire 444 mile length of the Trace in 4 days/3 nights. We highly recommend this trip to anyone else looking for a wonderful road trip.

10/22/14 - 10/23/14 Vidalia, LA Camped at River View RV Park & Resort (Passport America Campground) in Vidalia, LA for 1 night. This nice RV park is located on the western shores of the Mississippi River just across the Natchez-Vidalia Bridge from Natchez, MS. The RV park has 193 FHU sites (most are pull-thru, rocked roads, level concrete pads, group fire rings, group picnic tables, large welcome center with lounge area, two large meeting rooms, complete kitchen area, country store, hot tub & swimming pool (open year round), 24 hour laundry room, public showers & restrooms, children's playground, security guard, Free WiFi in & around lounge area, and RV storage parking area. We used our Passport America Lifetime Membership to stay at this RV park at half price for one night of parking; normal price is $38.95 plus tax, but we paid $19.48 plus $2.87 taxes for a total cost of $22.34 for our one night stay.
10/23/14 - 11/02/14 Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans, LA Camped at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans (next to Belle Chasse, LA & New Orleans, LA) for 10 nights in the Aviation Arbor RV Park. NAS JRB New Orleans provides a high quality training environment for active-duty and reserve components of all branches of the armed services; to reduce redundancy and overhead by developing joint doctrine and operating procedures that create seamless functionality among host and tenant commands in base support and community service programs. This RV campground is very nice consisting of 45 FHU sites and room for RV storage. The campsites and campground roads are all rocked and level. The cost for this campground is $20 nightly for full hook ups, or $120 weekly; the 7 storage days only cost $2 daily for a total storage cost of $14. We only slept in the motorcoach for 3 nights, and the other 7 nights we were on the Western Caribbean/Jamaica Halloween Cruise listed below. This is a highly recommended Military Campground for active/retired military!

Note 1: On Thurs., 10/23/14 while in route to this campground we purchased 83.35 gallons of diesel fuel (approx. 1/2 of our 150 gallon tank) at $3.60 per gallon costing a total of $300.00.

Note 2: Attended Caribbean/Jamaica Cruise for 7 days out of New Orleans, LA on Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL). The itinerary for this cruise included:  New Orleans, LA; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; and Cozumel, Mexico. The cruise ship for this cruise was the Carnival Dream. For much more information as well as ship/room photos and itinerary, click on our Western Caribbean/Jamaica Cruise (Oct. 2014) page.

Note 3: While on the Caribbean/Jamaica Cruise on  Weds., 10/29/14 we paid $199.98 for a day excursion at the Seawinds Family All Inclusive Beach Day which consisted of 4.5 hours in duration. We enjoyed a day at the beach at one of Jamaica's finest oceanfront properties, with lunch and all amenities included. The amenities consisted of lounge chairs with beach umbrella, private beachfront & roped off swimming area, catered buffet style lunch, hotdog & hamburger grill, snorkeling, kayaking, sailboats, and free alcohol.

Note 4: While on the Caribbean/Jamaica Cruise we truly enjoyed The Punchliner Comedy Club. The comics we saw at the shows included: Stanley Ullman; Marc Theobald; Sheila Kay; Cee Jay Jones; and Jeff the Fun Dude.

10/26/14 - 11/02/14 (N2) Caribbean/Jamaica Cruise (N2)
New Orleans, LA
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Cozumel, Mexico
11/02/14 - 11/15/14 Willis, TX Camped at Thousand Trails Lake Conroe in  Willis, TX for 13 nights in a FHU site. The campground is situated on Lake Conroe which is 22,000 acres in size. The amenities include: a clubhouse; fitness center; business center; restaurant; outdoor picnic areas; outdoor pavilion; BBQ pits; boat docks/marina; boat rental; fire rings; swimming pool; whirlpool/spa/hot tub; public showers/restrooms; game room/billiards; mini golf; nature/hiking trails; basketball; volleyball; tennis; laundry facilities; horseshoe pits; Wifi; children's playgrounds; fishing; and RV storage. Very nice Thousand Trails preserve with 360 campsites. Currently this campground is getting a $5 million dollar upgrade over the next 3 years, yet the campground is already extremely nice. We are Elite Connections members of Thousand Trails/NACO/Leisure Time/Mid-Atlantic/Outdoor World; a private campground membership. Our yearly maintenance fee of $607.87 allows us unlimited free camping at 81 different Thousand Trails/NACO/Leisure Time/Mid-Atlantic/Outdoor World nationwide campgrounds plus currently we get 14 extra bonus parks which are Encore campgrounds. This is a highly recommended Thousand Trails RV Resort!

Note 1: On Sun., 11/02/14 while in route to this campground we purchased 58.84 gallons of diesel fuel (15 gallons less than a 1/2 tank) at $3.40 per gallon costing a total of $200.00.

 

11/15/14 - 11/22/14 Mexico/Central America Cruise
Houston (Bayport), TX
Cozumel, Mexico
Belize City, Belize
Banana Coast (Trujillo), Honduras
Attended Mexico/Central America Cruise for 7 days out of Houston (Bayport), TX on Norwegian Cruise Lines (CCL). The itinerary for this cruise included:  Houston (Bayport), TX; Cozumel, Mexico; Belize City, Belize;  and Banana Coast (Trujillo), Honduras. The cruise ship for this cruise was the Norwegian Jewel. For much more information as well as ship/room photos and itinerary, click on our Mexico/Central America Cruise (Nov. 2014) page.

Note 1: Stored our RV at Four Girls RV Ranch RV Storage in Willis, TX while we were on this cruise. This facility is located right next door to the Thousand Trails Lake Conroe where we just stayed. The cost to store our RV for 7 nights was $10.00 without electric, or $15.00 with electric. We opted for the electric hook-up so we could run the fridge on electric (rather than LP), and also put up the DirecTV Satellite System to record our TV shows to DVR.

11/22/14 - 11/30/14 Columbus, TX Camped at Thousand Trails Colorado River in Columbus, TX for 8 nights in a FHU site. The campground is situated half way between Houston & San Antonio right on the shores of the Colorado River. The campsites are nestled amid green fields & pecan groves. The amenities include: a clubhouse; fitness center; business center; library; outdoor picnic areas; BBQ pits; fire rings; swimming pool; whirlpool/spa/hot tub; public showers/restrooms; game room/billiards; mini golf; nature/hiking trails; basketball; volleyball; tennis; laundry facilities; horseshoe pits; Wifi; children's playgrounds; fishing; and RV storage. Very nice Thousand Trails preserve with ??? campsites. We are Elite Connections members of Thousand Trails/NACO/Leisure Time/Mid-Atlantic/Outdoor World; a private campground membership. Our yearly maintenance fee of $607.87 allows us unlimited free camping at 81 different Thousand Trails/NACO/Leisure Time/Mid-Atlantic/Outdoor World nationwide campgrounds plus currently we get 14 extra bonus parks which are Encore campgrounds. This is a highly recommended Thousand Trails RV Resort!

Note 1: On Thurs., 11/27/14 we had Thanksgiving dinner in the campground activity center. The campground provided the turkey, ham, and room for the activities; and then all of the campers brought at least one dish per family to make it a potluck buffet. The food was delicious and there was lots of it. We had a great time and definitely got our grub on.

11/30/14 - 12/03/14 Lakehills, TX Camped at Medina Lake RV Campground in Lakehills, TX for 3 nights in a FHU site. The campground is situated in the Texas hill country just northeast of San Antonio on the shores of Medina Lake. The campground consists of 260 acres, and also has 17 cabins. The amenities include: a clubhouse; boat docks & marina; business center; fitness center; cafe; outdoor picnic areas; BBQ pits; fire rings; swimming pool; whirlpool/spa/hot tub; public showers/restrooms; game room/billiards; mini golf; nature/hiking trails; basketball; volleyball; tennis; laundry facilities; horseshoe pits; Wifi; children's playgrounds; fishing; and RV storage. Very nice Thousand Trails preserve with 387 campsites. We are Elite Connections members of Thousand Trails/NACO/Leisure Time/Mid-Atlantic/Outdoor World; a private campground membership. Our yearly maintenance fee of $607.87 allows us unlimited free camping at 81 different Thousand Trails/NACO/Leisure Time/Mid-Atlantic/Outdoor World nationwide campgrounds plus currently we get 14 extra bonus parks which are Encore campgrounds. This is a highly recommended Thousand Trails RV Resort!

Note 1: On Sun., 11/30/14 while in route to this campground we purchased 60.5 gallons of diesel fuel (14.5 gallons less than a 1/2 tank) at $3.15 per gallon costing a total of $198.49.

12/03/14 - 12/04/14 Balhormea, TX Dry Camped at west bound I-10 rest stop located about 20 miles east of Balmorhea, TX at Grid Coordinates Latitude 30°56'19.62"N / Longitude 103°18'33.94"W for 1 night. This rest area had public restrooms, picnic tables, BBQ grills, and free WiFi. When no signs prohibiting overnight parking, you are allowed to park for up to 24 hours. No cost to use public rest areas for dry camping, but we do tend to run the generator for 1 to 2 hours at a cost of about $5 worth of diesel fuel.
12/04/14 - 12/05/14 Deming, NM Camped at Hidden Valley Ranch RV Resort (C2C) near Deming, NM for one night in a FHU site. Very nice Good Neighbor Park (GNP) RV resort that affiliates with C2C. These private campground memberships allow their members to use affiliated public RV parks using our C2C Deluxe for $14.00 daily for FHU sites plus we paid $2.00 extra for internet access. There is a 7 mile washboard gravel road (10 mph max speed) going out to this campground, so unless you are going for a 1 or 2 week stay, DO NOT go to this campground. This is a recommended RV Resort for longer stays only!
12/05/14 - 12/26/14 Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field, Luke Air Force Base, AZ Camped at Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field, Luke Air Force Base (next to Phoenix, AZ) for 21 nights in the Gila Bend FamCamp with 37 FHU and unlimited dry camping sites. Highly recommended Military Campground for active/retired military! While the RV is camped for $10.00 per night with 50 Amp electric on the military base, we were able to go to 3 different timeshares in the greater Phoenix, AZ area for 7 nights at each timeshare resort for the Christmas holiday.

Note 1: In route to this campground we purchased 88.78 gallons of diesel fuel (approx. 1/2 tank) at $3.38 per gallon costing a total of $300.00.

Note 2: On Mon., 12/11/14 we went to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory in Scottsdale, AZ with Ernie & Earlene Williams. Debbie met them through the SMART RV club website. Ernie is retired Navy & they own a Class A Winnebago RV. The food & fellowship was great.

Note 3: On Tues., 12/12/14 we did a tour of the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center. It has all sorts of Arizona wildlife rescue birds & animals. Most of the wildlife are being rehabilitated to be rereleased back into the wild, but many animals are too injured or two imprinted on humans to be rereleased. This was a wonderful tour of a nice facility for a great cause.

Note 4: On Weds., 12/13/14 we went to lunch at the Restorante Arrivederci in Scottsdale, AZ with Wayne & Gloria Johnson. Debbie use to be a co-worker with Gloria before Gloria retired. Wayne & Gloria summer in Oregon & winter in Mesa, AZ. They own a nice 5th Wheel RV. The food & fellowship was great.4

Note 5: On Tues., 12/23/14 we went to dinner at the Twin Peaks Restaurant in Scottsdale, AZ with fellow fulltime RV friends Beau & Becky Anders. Debbie and I met them in June of this year at the Duncan RV Repair Center in Elkhart, IN. We hit it off as friends right away & enjoyed their company, so we stay in touch using Facebook. It was nice to meet up with them again here in great Phoenix area of Arizona. They also invited us to Christmas dinner, so we will be taking them up on that very kind offer.

Note 6: On Thurs., 12/25/14 (Christmas Day) we enjoyed Christmas dinner with Beau & Becky Anders. We drove to Becky's mom's home in Sun City, AZ where we had a great holiday meal with our friends. Also present was George & Wanita Tombe (friends of Beau & Becky & fellow RV owners) as well as Becky's mom Rose Hayes and her new husband Al. Great food & great company!

TS1: From Fri., 12/05/14 - Fri., 12/12/14 we stayed at the Marriott's Canyon Villas for 7 nights in a timeshare exchange in Phoenix, AZ; we stayed in a 2 BR villa. This resort is part of the Marriott Vacation Club Collection, and is located in the beautiful Sonoran Desert. This part of the country is perfect for December visits because of its mild Winter temps.  This is an Interval International gold premiere resort that we acquired by exchanging one week with one of the timeshares we already own (WorldMark & Vacation International). We love timesharing and we love exchanging timeshares with Interval International!!!

TS2: From Fri., 12/12/14 - Fri., 12/19/14 we stayed at the Sheraton Desert Oasis for 7 nights in a timeshare exchange in Scottsdale, AZ; we stayed in a 2 BR villa. This resort is part of the Starwood Vacation Network, and is located in the beautiful Sonoran Desert. This part of the country is perfect for December visits because of its mild Winter temps. This is an Interval International gold premiere resort that we acquired by exchanging one week with one of the timeshares we already own (WorldMark & Vacation International). We love timesharing and we love exchanging timeshares with Interval International!!!

TS3: From Fri., 12/19/14 - 12/26/14 we stayed at the Scottsdale Links Resort for 7 nights in a timeshare exchange in Scottsdale, AZ; we stayed in a 2 BR villa. This resort is part of the Diamond Resorts International, and is located in the beautiful Sonoran Desert. This part of the country is perfect for December visits because of its mild Winter temps. This is an Interval International silver select resort that we acquired by exchanging one week with one of the timeshares we already own (WorldMark & Vacation International). We love timesharing and we love exchanging timeshares with Interval International!!!

12/05/14 - 12/12/14 (TS1) Phoenix, AZ (TS1)
12/12/14 - 12/19/14 (TS2) Scottsdale, AZ (TS2)
12/19/14 - 12/26/14 (TS3) Scottsdale, AZ (TS3)
12/26/14 - 01/16/15 Benson, AZ Camped at Valley Vista RV Resort (Encore Campground/Thousand Trails Bonus Park) in  Benson, AZ for 21 nights in a 50 Amp FHU site. This campground is located in the San Pedro River Valley south of I-10 on AZ State Route 80 along side the San Pedro River. The amenities include: a clubhouse; swimming pool; Whirlpool/Spa/Hot Tub; Public Restrooms/Showers; Laundry Facilities; and Laundry Facilities. This is one of our Thousand Trails bonus parks that is available as free to us for a 5 year time frame. We opted for the 50 amp ugrade at a cost of $2.00 per day for a total electric cost of $42.00 because of the cooler night temperatures, and the need to use our coach electric furnace. It is a very nice Encore campground with 125 campsites. We are Elite Connections members of Thousand Trails/NACO/Leisure Time/Mid-Atlantic/Outdoor World; a private campground membership. Our yearly maintenance fee of $607.87 allows us unlimited free camping at 81 different Thousand Trails/NACO/Leisure Time/Mid-Atlantic/Outdoor World nationwide campgrounds plus currently we get 14 extra bonus parks which are Encore campgrounds. Out of our 21 night stay here, we were able to visit our timeshare listed below for 13 of the nights. This is a highly recommended Encore RV Resort!

D & D World Travel Trip Journal - This is a link to our trip journal with photos.

Here is a link to Our Visited Places; this is our page listing all of the places that we have been to together "as a couple" since 1996.


Travel Log 2013
Travel Log 2015

Travel Log Index
D & D World Travel