Wow, 2007 was a very big year for us. This was the year we started on our best adventure so far. Moving from a large house with lots of yard and landscaping to care for into first a 37' motor home and then into our custom designed 40' Dutch Star. We spent the first couple of months just winding down from the very stressful previous 6 months, then lots of time involved in getting the new motor home and then getting the kinks worked out of it and more. Much we learned in this new lifestyle and many things we know we want to change to make it better. However, by the end of this first year, we know we love it and pay off the mortgage on the motor home 'cause we know we don't need that back-out plan any longer. For the first time in our lives we are truly debt free. What a great feeling that is.
January 2007 -- January 5th we drove away from our house and after a couple of side trips headed out to Hemet, California to visit with Don's mom. We found her doing well and we had fun with her for a few days. Then we drove to Quartzsite AZ to attend the Newmar (manufacturer of our motor home) rally just prior to the annual Quartzsite RV show. The rally was not as fun as the last 2 years because the weather was soooo cold this year. Made it hard to be outside much and one day it rained nearly all day. Guess that is why we got no pictures this time of the Q rally. We left Q early Sunday the 21st and drove to Gila Bend, AZ and over-nighted with 80 other motor homes in the local Elks club parking lot and all left Monday early AM for Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) Mexico. Now we sit on (near) the beach of the Sea of Cortez. Happy Hour is 4pm every day and margaritas are good. The organized trip is for one week and that group leaves Monday the 29th. However, we are planning on extending our stay at least one and possibly more weeks. Unfortunately it is cold here too. Think hardly anyplace has been unscathed by this cold winter. It started out near freezing here each morning, but is now a little warmer overnight and warms into the 60s in the afternoons. Although chilly, it is really nice sitting in the sun. The RV park is named Playa Bonita (pretty beach) and we think it is aptly named.
While here we have met new friends , driven around and seen much of the town, eaten the local shrimp. This shot is just one of many happy hours at the restaurant down the beach . We've been entertained by a young group doing traditional dances and have experienced breath taking sunsets .
Our first week here was with the caravan trip we came with. This 2nd week is on our own although some new friends we met with the organized trip are still here too, and we are contemplating a 3rd week to get our motor home painted for a very reasonable price. This is a most relaxing spot and our plan now is to come back again next year.
February 2007 -- Our new friends are getting ready to leave and we have a shrimp feast to celebrate their last night... We are extending our stay here at Playa Bonita because we have decided to get our old motor home painted. They do a very nice job and the price is so reasonable. Although we have a new motor home ordered, we will soon be trading this one in or selling it and the exterior is the worst part about this coach. Sitting in the sun it's whole life, all the stripes are decals that have cracked and are peeling off. The paint is very faded. We believe we will make up the cost in higher trade in value, higher sales price and/or quicker sale, making the expense recoverable.
There is a page showing painting progress. To see more on the painting of the old motor home, click on this link >>>> Kountry Star Paint Job
Of course while waiting for the painting to be complete, we continue to enjoy the area and the views from the RV park. Here is Don & I enjoying yet another sunset from the beach and some of the different sunsets after that. What a life.
The last week we were in MX we moved from Playa Bonita to The Reef, a different RV park. The Reef is closer to the water and we picked a site right on the beach. The high tide mark was probably on about 40 ft in front of our motor home and you could see sunrise on the left and sunset on the right, right out the front windows. We liked this RV park better, not only because of the closer proximity to the water, but also the sites were larger and the streets were very wide, where at Playa it was VERY tight on space. One day while there we got an opportunity to see "angry" seas , which brought the water VERY close to our coach. However most of the time, things were calm. You can see us in this shot, we are the 2nd RV from the restaurant . That is the little reef we took the last picture from .
Into March 2007 -- We leave Puerto Penasco the end of February vowing to come back next January and not only visit this place again, but to plan to drive further south to see more of the state of Sonora and hopefully escape the development that is going on and will soon make Puerto Penasco just an extension of southern California or Arizona. We head to Huachuca City, AZ and visit with Lee & Barbara for a few days. We are excited to hear of their latest trip to parts of South America before a cruise to Antartica. While there we drove out for a fun lunch of wine, cheese and bread at the Cochise Stronghold state park. A beautiful setting.....
From AZ we drove across to Livingston, TX staying in some obscure little RV parks, but a couple are beautiful settings that we will want to go back to.
April 2007 -- So sorry that we have done nothing with this web site for almost 6 weeks! This has been almost as busy a time as when we were trying to move out of the house. Thru April we are either waiting for the new motor home, moving into the new motor home, getting the Motosat dish installed or having some of the little bugs worked out of the new home. We are so pleased with our new home. It is really all we hoped it would be and more. Most of the initial "problems" with it are more annoyances and nothing that keeps us from enjoying it. It drives beautifully.....it is beautiful. To see pictures of our new home click here.
May 2007 --
May 1st -- The last day of April we had to be in Livingston, TX to get out car registration updated and from there headed east on I-10 to Brunswick, GA to visit with Dad & Ea for a few days. We've had a good time visiting with them. Here is a couple of pictures...
....and of course always the wildlife in the yard. We love their "new" home. They have been in it a year, but this is the first time we've been here, so it is new to us. The back yard is wonderful.
Our plan is to leave Tuesday morning on a slow trek to Indiana. Need to find someone to build the desks and other storage we now have decided on.
May 12th -- Left Dad & Ea's on Tuesday morning and spent the night in Perry GA and visited with our niece before heading north. Planned to overnight in Fort Mountain State Park in far north GA, but we loved the place so much that we stayed for 3 nights. The campground is absolutely beautiful with water & elec hookups and hiking trails throughout. It is on our list of places to come back to. Here's a picture of our campsite...
It is called Fort Mountain because of an ancient rock wall and stone tower that appears to be a defense line running for 850+ feet and still standing 3 to 7 feet tall (it was probably taller when it was new) And of course pretty flowers in the spring are everywhere....see pictures below. We plan to leave Saturday and keep moving north to Indiana.
June 2007 --
From there we migrated south to the Escapees Rainbow's End park in Livingston. Livingston is about 60 or so miles north of Houston. Because we plan to fly out of the Houston airport for our trip to Bonaire, this seemed like a good place to leave the house parked and to arrange for Shadow's boarding while we are away. For our trip we just put in all awnings and slides and disconnected everything but the electric connection. We left that hooked up and the thermostats set at 85 degrees for both air conditioners while we were gone.
On the 15th we left about 5:30pm and drove to Houston, ate and waited at the airport for our 11:30pm flight. The overnight flight gets you into Bonaire between 5 & 6am. However since neither of us could sleep much on the plane we immediately took naps after getting to our lodging. We stayed at the same place as last year. The owners had made some updates of new paint and added ceiling fans since the previous year. All good additions. I took a bunch of pictures of the updated place, but they ended up on la-la land when the camera started acting up. There are a few pictures below, mostly underwater stuff, but the camera quit focusing halfway into our first week there. The camera shop said, sorry, has to go back to Canon. So, we are mailing it off and hope it is a reasonable fix. That just means much of the trip is undocumented as well as anything else we are doing until it comes back. Oh well, life is still good. Below are the few pictures that came out of underwater life...
We also met up with Don's sister & brother-in-law Nancy & Dave once again in Bonaire. They left at the end of our first week there. On Dave & Nancy's last night there, we went to Richard's again which is always special. This time Richard had built a thatch covered pier for "special" dining. We had a table for the 4 of us and dinner was special.
Alas, after 2 great weeks, vacation is over. We returned to Livingston late on the 30th to find everything intact and good. Spent a couple of days doing laundry and re-packing dive gear for the next trip (Tahiti!!!) later this year. The plan is to leave here on July 3rd and head to Bastrop-Smithville to visit friends John & Jill for a few days. Then we will go back thru Dallas then on to OKC for an appointment at the dealer's on the 16th. They will install a couple of parts that had not come in yet on the last trip. From there we will migrate toward the Nappanee, IN area again to get some custom cabinetry installed we contracted for when we were there in May.
July 2007 --
July 8th - No pictures until our camera is repaired. Have to mail it off to Canon for that, so just words telling what we are doing and where.
We left Livingston on the 3rd and drove to our friends John & Jill's at La Reata Ranch just a few miles south of Bastrop. We spent several days playing with them. Of the highlights were a trip to Water2Wine in Austin (http://austin.water2wine.us/). The Internet shows them with several locations in TX, CA and CO. Located as a storefront in a strip mall, this place makes their own wine, using juice obtained from all over the world. It all has their own label on it. They try to involve their clientele by selling "batches" that the client mixes and later bottles, applying a label of their own design or using one from Water2Wine. A big plus is that since they are just bottling to sell in their store or to you as a "mix and bottle process", they don't need to put nearly the quantity of sulfites as a preservative. Also their fermenting process avoids developing the histamines in the wine. What this means is that you can drink this wine without developing the stuffy nose, sinus and headache issues that many people have with wine due to those issues.
We spent a couple of hours sampling, of course they had some wine we didn't care for, as we would find in most wineries, but there were many we really liked. We did end up buying one and a half cases of a variety. If you choose to participate in the making, you buy the batch, do the mixing, come back in 45 days to bottle. You can supply pictures, design and verbiage for the label if you like. They also had an interesting process using magnets to speed up the aging process. It really worked, so surprised us.
On Friday night we went into Bastrop to Maxine's cafe. We didn't eat there, but understand they make a great burger. We did however have pie for dessert and it was wonderful. The purpose of going there was to drink beer while listening to Larry Wilson and Friends play. Larry is a neighbor of John & Jill's and plays guitar and sings in this group. They were quite good (kind of Johnny Cash sung by ZZ Top) and we had a great evening.
From there we drove to Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park in Fredericksburg, TX. The views are great here, there is a golf course and of course the Fredericksburg area. We will just relax here until the 12th when we head to Dallas.
July 15th - Arrived in the Dallas area on Thursday night after 6pm (late arrival for us). Since our former neighbors, Jim & Peggy are gone on an Alaska cruise, we stayed at the East Fork C.O.E. RV Park on the lake in Wylie. Lake Lavon is VERY high. Nice park with water & electric only which is fine for 3 nights. We got up Friday very early and attended the Parker community breakfast. It was good seeing several of our previous neighbors and visiting. From there we had a whirlwind of a day stopping at the storage unit for pick-up and delivery, the post office, Richardson Glass to pick up a screen they made for the driver window in the motor home, the UPS store, Sears to get new passport pictures, the dive shop to drop off Donna's new BC to get the Air2 installed, Central Market for groceries, Costco for Groceries....whew, wore us out. Once we were back at the motor home Don realized his cell phone was missing. We tried calling it and it went straight to voice mail. That made us afraid someone had picked it up and was calling South America or China on our nickel so we called and had it disabled. After backtracking we just decided it had to have dropped off at one of the places we visited. After the 4th call (the dive shop) we found it. So, late in the afternoon we drive back and pick it up. As an added bonus, they had already finished installing the new octo on the BC so we picked that up and won't have to make the trip tomorrow. We found a Cingular store on the way back to the house so we were able to re-activate the phone, but we didn't get back home until after 5pm.
We sent off the camera to Canon, so hopefully within 3 weeks or so we will be back in the picture business. On Saturday we vegged most of the day. Don & I are both still have a very awful cough from the bug he picked up on the airplane (and shared with me). I'm sure we carry no contagion for others at this point, but we sound awful so we are trying to avoid most people. Hopefully this will go away soon. Today (Sunday) we head for OKC and our dealer for a couple of issues. We are also hoping they have sold our old motor home so we can eliminate that payment soon.
August 2007 --
August 2nd -- We have worked our way to Hermann, MO. Today we stopped at our very favorite Adam Puchta winery just outside of town. Now that we have blown the wine budget for the month..... We plan to stop at the local Stone Hill winery tonight for sampling and dinner. Saturday the 4th we leave and plan to arrive in Nappanee on Monday. There we will have the cabinetry we contracted for in May installed. It will be such a relief to have desks and storage places and a wine rack at last and we will be able to get this stuff off the floor.
Our camera has been repaired and shipped to our Livingston address. We will pick it up with forwarded mail next week in Nappanee. Have ordered a new desktop computer and asked them to ship it to Nappanee also. Donna will be having some fun times in the coming weeks.
August 11th -- We arrived Monday the 6th for Irv Kaufman to install the cabinets we contracted for back in May. He worked Monday from around 11am to 4pm and Tuesday from 7 to 10. We are just delighted with the work he did and the way everything looks. We now have storage in the living area and things are off the floor and in places for them. We ordered a new Dell desktop computer and had it delivered to the Newmar Kountry Klub offices at the factory and installed the parts in the new cabinetry. Thankfully, our camera arrived from Canon all fixed so we are able to take pictures once again. Posted them on the New Motor Home page
After the installation, we spent a couple of days in the overflow parking at Camp Newmar (the factory) to get the computer set up and find new storage locations for everything. Now we are in the Chain of Lakes state park about 40 miles from Nappanee. Plan to stay here a week and head back to Nappanee for our factory appointment on Monday the 20th. Unfortunately our living room AC has gone on the fritz. The good thing is that it is only mid to upper 80s here and we are under lots of trees. The rear AC with a fan blowing toward the front is keeping things tolerable. Hope we don't wear the one out making it work for the whole house. Another unfortunate is that when we parked the coach in this spot we scraped a wood post. Broke a side light which we can get replaced when we are at the factory so no big deal. The really bad part was it also broke the paint. Hoping we can get that fixed when we plan to be in Mexico. They are so much more reasonable doing that kind of work.
August 24th -- Newmar began working on the coach on Monday at 6 am. Man that is early to be up dressed and out. They picked up the coach every day at 6 am and finished up around 2pm. They replaced 5 cracked tiles, re-did the gas line extension and some other more minor things. We were so glad to be done here as the early days and we had to get Shadow out of the coach and into the car each morning early. Most days we were here were raining, so not too bad but the end of the week became sunny and the car was getting a little warm for a little kitty. Now we head to Michigan.
September 2007 --
September 7th -- We arrived at Sandy Shores Campground near Mears, MI on the 26th. They had told us on the phone that they would be able to let us stay only until Labor Day, but when we arrived, they said we could stay as long as we wanted. So, we made arrangements to stay until the Tuesday after Labor Day. This was a really beautiful park. ....and the squirrels were black. However, we will be sure never stay there on a holiday weekend again. We expected it to be crowded (and there was not a space unoccupied), but the activity here is dune buggy riding over the sand dunes between the park and Lake Michigan. The majority of the campers (we called them the "Sand People") drove either dune buggies or modified Jeeps that were loud, they were loud and just the complete crowding of the area made it not so pleasant. We moved on after Labor Day and stayed on the beach in Grand Haven, MI. We loved this so much. It was nearly like being on the ocean. The water didn't smell salty, but the waves came in like so many places we have been. We spent a couple of days vegging out on the beach and loved it. We think a week here next summer would be good. Here are some shots of the beach and a nearby lighthouse.
September 9th -- This starts about a week in Goshen, IN for the Fall Escapade, a gathering of all types of RVs for a rally of the Escapees RV Club. We hope to learn a lot and make a couple of purchases. Will leave here on the 15th.
We went to Gettysburg PA and spent several days wandering about the sites there. A most emotional moving experience. From there we migrated down the Skyline Drive thru Shenandoah NP. We camped, hiked and thoroughly enjoyed the scenery. We intended to follow the turning leaves, but we were 1> a little early and 2> drought in the area diminished the color this year.
We had a slide out lock arm break and that took a bit over a week to obtain parts and have installed. We lazed for several days at Mountain Stream RV Park in NC. What a wonderful place that we plan to come back to.
We worked our way down the Blue Ridge Parkway into GA and stopped to see Don's Dad & Ea for a few days. Then we spent a week with Don's sister Nancy & brother-in-law Dave. Don got a chance to have several visits with his mother who recently moved from California to Georgia. We have planned to help Nancy & Dave move their furnishing from CA into their new log home in GA, but the moving van did not show until a few days after we had left.
We drove west to spend Thanksgiving with some friends in Tucson, AZ (yeah, bad trip planning). We did have a great time the week we were in Tucson though. We did a stopover in Phoenix to have an oil leak repaired, but found a couple of days later it leaked worse than ever. So, another stopover in Albuquerque got it fixed. From there we went to OKC to visit with Don's other sister and have a little warranty work done on the motor home. Unfortunately some of the parts were predicted to have a 2-3 week delay so we left for Livingston to prepare for our Tahiti cruise.
This month we fly out to LA from Houston and get on a flight to Tahiti. In Papeete we board the Tahitian Princess for a 10 day cruise around French Polynesia. What a great trip. Tahiti has to be about the most expensive place we have ever visited. Everything costs WAY TOO MUCH. The cruise made it much more affordable. We did sign up for scuba dive excursions in Raiatea, Bora Bora and Moorea. Will post the pictures under our Favorite Trips page.
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This site was last updated 11/14/12