Sunday, February 19, 2017

Full time Rvers-Back to the Beginning…1992

Last week I joined a new Facebook group, RV to Freedom-Learning to Live in an RVThe enthusiasm of this group of old, new and potential fulltime RVers bought back many memories of our twenty-two plus years on the road.  When several asked if I have a blog I went back through my posts and see just how much I’ve written about our beginnings….I found pretty much nothing!  I’ll fix that!  Of course, I didn’t have a Blog until 2003.  WHY?  Blogging did not exist in 1992!  (Lots of full-timing amenities didn’t exist in 1992; I’ll tell you about those in a coming post.)

Although we officially started full-timing on November 2, 1994, our experience actually began in 1992.  Unbeknown to the other, each of us had been thinking about how fun it would be to buy another RV and travel the country for awhile.  We finally had a coming together moment: “You’ve been thinking of traveling again? So have I!” 

The very next day we started researching what we would feel comfortable in for both living and traveling. We had sold our Itasca Class A two years earlier and previously owned Class C motorhomes so we were familiar with the features of the motorhome type of RV.

3rd-1973 Enterprise4th-1977 or 78 Tioga

5th-1984 Itasca

Initially we had a pull-trailer in mind but a RV salesman suggested we consider a fifth wheel. The main point he made was that a fifth wheel has more stability while towing since it sits in the bed of the truck rather than on a ball hitch.  We have chosen to stick with fifth wheels--in fact we are now in #8 since we started full-timing.  

As fate would have it, just a few weeks later, an acquaintance mentioned that she wanted to sell her older fifth wheel and wanted someone to take over the balance of payments.  It had a dated interior but we saw the potential and a week later it was parked in our driveway where we re-carpeted it.  Later that month we were moved in and parked in a nearby RV park. 

As you may notice in the photo below we didn’t have a tow vehicle. (seeing the Corvette beside our 5th wheel someone in the RV park asked how we travel.  Very seriously Gary told them that we just remove the T-tops, drop the fifth wheel hitch in and away we go!)6th 1985 Komfort-before we had a truck

We tore out the booth dining table and replaced it with a table and chairs, (we were ahead of the times-now it seems that booths are pretty rare) sent the jackknife sofa out to be re-upholstered, I made curtains, we bought new mini-blinds and added a recliner.  A 12” TV sat on the little countertop. I fashioned the side table from a basket topped with a piece of glass. (if this looks a bit dated, remember that this was 1992!)

1985 Komfort remodel

In the bedroom we replaced the bed, mini-blinds and linens, painted the walls ice blue and I sewed gathered valances and a Warm Window shade over the window at the head of the bed.1985 Komfort remodel

Our goal was to embark on our new lifestyle debt-free (not sure if the term full-time RVers existed at the time, but we were not aware of it.  We just planned to travel) so we continued working for about a year, me as Administrative Manager for United Way and Gary in mortgage banking.

We were ready to hit the road!  OH NO WE WEREN’T!  After completing all of the remodeling and financial planning we still didn’t have a truck.   We were having a hard time giving up our Corvette so decided to go on a road trip to Washington to visit Don and Lee.  While we were there Gary and Don found our first truck:

1995-Komfort and brown duelly truck

We were set to go on the road!  And so we did, November 2, 1994.

Every year on November 2 we have a “meeting” to take a vote on whether we should continue with the fulltime RVing lifestyle and every year (approximately 22 times) the “vote” has been yes.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

Haven’t written for awhile so I’ll share this year’s Christmas newsletter.  Previously, I have utilized a two-sided 8-1/2’X11” format but decided to this year to make a half-fold card which turns out to be four smaller pages. 


1994-pg 1This 1994-pg 2is my letter from 1994, our first year of full time RVing.
















Front page.

Can you guess why it is 54th edition? (No, I haven’t done a newsletter every year for 54 years!)



Inside left side which is page 2:

2016-inside left

Inside right side which is page 3:

2016-inside right

Back page:2016-back (2)

And, from both GET and I,  I will say it again:

We wish you health, love, blessings and joy!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Filling a (Red Cross) need:

When we are not on the road seeing the country in our 5th wheel we are parked at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California where Gary is Track Rental Supervisor and I do Sound Control decibel testing and race marshaling.



Course Marshals generally use these seven safety flags at auto and motorcycle racing events:


We recently ordered all new flags from Dynamic Dezigns.


A white flag is displayed by the Course Marshal when an emergency vehicle, i.e. ambulance, enters the race track although at times a Red Cross flag is requested.

We were in need one more of these white flags with a red cross so I made one!

First, I found a spare white flag


Then, using a newspaper (in case you are wondering, it is the Monterey Herald) I cut out a cross pattern…


which I used to trace and cut out two from red ripstop from my fabric stash. (actually my Mom’s stash)


I used permanent fabric bond to adhere red cross to one side and then, on the reverse side, carefully aligned the second red cross to the  first and applied fabric bond to it. (I forgot to take a photo of this process!)DSCN9205

An hour or so of drying time and I had a quite serviceable flag.


A fun and useful project and I didn’t even need my sewing machine!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Life in a small space & missing buttons. . .

”dig” out my sewing machine or choose manual labor with a needle & thread?

I absolutely love our full-time RVing lifestyle and living in a 429 square feet space. There very few aspects of living in a house that I miss but I do dearly miss my sewing room!  My precious 1969 Elna sewing machine was always ready and waiting for me to do large and small projects, like replacing buttons.elna sewing machine

Replacing a button with the sewing machine is so quick and easy EXCEPT when it comes to digging into the back of my closet to retrieve the Elna and then making room for it somewhere in our rig, most likely in the way.

See the Elna in its Navy carrier surrounded by my clothes and buried under other bags in the back of my closet?  TOO much trouble to bother with for a few buttons!DSCN8431

So I’ll do it by hand!  Do you know how to replace a button using a needle and thread?  I do!

Of course the original buttons got lost so out came my zippered button bag and I dumped them out to pick out the correct size and color.DSCN8435

Buttons all selected so I’m ready to go.

Thread needle and knot at the end. Bring thread and needle up through the back of the garment and back down through a hole to the back, then back up through a third hole and back down keeping the thread loose.  Slide a straight pin through the two threads and continue to sew the button. The straight pin is serving to add space between the button and the garment, making it easier to fasten.


End the procedure by bringing the needle up through the fabric behind the button.  Then wrap the thread 3 or 4 times around the back of the button to fashion a shank.20151012_134641

Finish up with the needle and thread on the back side of the garment.20151012_134756

Knot the thread and clip it off with scissors.


And there it is…a neatly sewn button replacement on my favorite shorts!20151012_135029

And I did it two more times: my silk Chico’s pants and GET’s favorite cargo shorts:




After replacing three buttons by hand I thought about how much time this had taken and then about how long it would have taken to simply set up my sewing machine and quickly use a zigzag stitch to replace the three buttons. 

Ummm…the machine route may have been faster in the long run!  But, digging into my closet and then getting the Elna wedged back into the corner afterward…maybe it really is too much hassle?

Life in a small space=compromise.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Strawberry jam for breakfast…

Einstein Bros bagels from Costco are always really good but this morning they were extra special.  What made them special?  Homemade strawberry freezer jam compliments of J.V.!  Yumm!DSCN8214

Earl Grey tea for me and coffee for GET rounds out our breakfast.


Thanks for a great start to a beautiful day!

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Tacos, tacos, tacos…

GET is a Native Californian who grew up eating Mexican food, especially tacos.  I am a Native North Dakotan who, back in the 60’s, had NO clue about Mexican food so when I tasted tacos on our 30 day leave to California I was hooked!  No matter where we went or what we ate I had to have a taco every day.   He thought I was pretty funny.

And, my favorite taco stop that summer?  The Big Do-Nut Drive-In on Imperial Highway in Inglewood.  (Big Do-Nut was later bought out by Randy’s Donut)  Another favorite haunt was The Red Onion on Hawthorne Blvd. with Linda and Clif.  “I’ll have #1 please: one enchilada, one taco with rice and beans.”big_donut-228x300

GET and I on leave in California with our first born Rusty…that’s our ‘56 Ford.  Don’t we wish we still had it!?1963-Gary Betty Rusty

Last night I made tacos which included lettuce and tomato from my container “garden.”

Small leaf lettuce in a hanging basket.20150807_091742

The plant looks a little bedraggled but the tomatoes are delicious.20150807_091814

My tacos are pretty basic: 

    • Fry up ground beef, season with cumin and chili powder
    • Grated sharp cheddar cheese
    • Lettuce
    • Tomato- chopped or sliced
    • Ranch dressing-maybe sour cream too
    • Taco sauce
    • Optional: Avocados sliced (if the price is right and the store has ripe ones)
    • I use flour and corn torts. I wish I could say I made homemade tortillas but these from LaTortilla Factory are pretty good! Fry the tortillas one at a time in hot oil (I use my small cast iron skillet,) fry flat for a bit, flip over, fry flat a bit more, fold in half and brown a bit.  I don’t let them get too crispy but not too soft either.  (Sometimes I just throw them on the gas burner and turn to soften and then fold in half.  Of course this won’t be happening anymore because I now have an Induction cooktop – no flame!)

GET complained about the price of avocados at Safeway but agreed that they tasted pretty good.  Nothing like a taco made at home with fresh ingredients.


First taco eaten in 1963…no end in sight! I wonder how many I’ve eaten and made?

P.S. I got so hungry for Mexican food while writing this that I convinced GET to run out to our favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch! 

And a note:  While I dearly love tacos, I feel almost as strongly about enchiladas, huevos rancheros, burritos, taquitos, tostadas etc. etc. etc… and don’t get me started on ALL New Mexico Southwestern food!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

For my deck--a pallet project. . .

I saw this pallet countertop project on Pinterest and thought “I can do this!”  And, just now, as I was looking for a photo to post here, I see that it is for sale on Etsy for $148.00.  pallet countertop
The Pinterest project used more perfect pallets and is painted white.  Our deck is unpainted rustic so we wanted our countertop to follow the rustic theme.
First order of business is choosing two pallets. Luckily we have a huge stack to select from over in the maintenance yard.
“How about this one?”
Two pallets were chosen and loaded into the truck bed.
The pallets are a little too tall for our deck so we cut one board off the bottom of each.  Then GET used his drill to screw the two together.
I love the look of the irregular sized boards on the front. That’s Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s control tower in the background.
I used three reddish-tone pavers (again, maintenance yard finds) for the top.  After this photo I gave them three coats of spray varnish which gave them a little sheen.
  • time spent, about 1-1/2 hours including pallet search
  • cost $0
I originally thought I would use it as a buffet table for barbecues but I think it will have a double duty as a potting bench. Umm, I love blue, maybe I’ll stain or paint it later?
Love it! Now, what else can I make with pallets?  Saw some with plants between the slats at T & A CafĂ© in Spreckels last night.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Valentines live on. . .

It was roses for me and to satisfy closet chocoholic GET’a pot full of chocolate turtles!   (Someone said that Valentine’s Day is only for the ladies.  I don’t agree.)20150214_102553-1 A few days later the roses had wilted and the red ribbon was saved in my ribbon box for use another day. I really liked the narrow oval shape of the vase. . .AHA! perfect for another beachy arrangement!

When we travel I carry kitchen storage bags to collect a bit of sand from the beaches.  DSCN7774Inky was quite positive I was out on the deck to pet him rather than take photos of my beach sand stash.DSCN7770Here I layered sand from Galveston, Texas, Orick, California and Jalama Beach, California.  The shells and sand dollars were found on various beaches across the country and the long narrow stone caught grandson Jorden’s eye in Bar Harbor, Maine.DSCN7766The chocolate turtles have been eaten and bright red cellophane removed and the terra cotta pot waits on the deck for its next use.DSCN7768This arrangement in my kitchen is in a clear glass pitcher I found in a thrift store.  Sand, shells and sand dollars are from places such as Maine,  California, Washington, Alaska and Florida. DSCN7778This beautiful crystal vase was another thrift store find and also contains shells, sand, stones and sand dollars from many states.  I like to collect clear glass and crystal items. 

The vintage Bauer pot contains items to be used in the future.  See the little  glass tray?  Kelle said she couldn’t resist buying it for the  Queen “B” of our family!  Funny girl.DSCN7780

“The rose that you gave me has faded, and wilted away. But, the love tucked in deep inside remains in my heart forever.” Unknown