A Lie

The 500 word per day challenge is a creative writing tool I’ve been involved in to get into the habit of writing every day.  It comes with prompts every day to get motivated.  Here is one of the days’ assignments…

Prompt from Jeff Goins, Author:

It’s true that honesty is the best policy. It’s just fun to fib now and again. Not in a dirty and deceptive way, but in a way that invokes imagination. Just for today’s challenge, it’s okay to stretch the truth a little. Rewrite history, imagine an alternative reality, or just plain lie. Whatever you do, have fun with this, and let us know how much you’re enjoying it.

A Deep Dark Secret

Our dream could become a reality.  The freedom of retirement and travel is coming to fruition, but I wonder what would happen if he knew the truth.

My grandfather’s family came to America from Chihuahua, Mexico and settled in Rodeo, California. Some of his ancestors, however, settled in El Paso, Texas. Some have been more than just successful.  In fact, I would say wealthy.  One relative was so wealthy that he sent my grandmother quite a substantial amount of money when my grandfather passed away.

I wouldn’t consider myself poor, or even comfortable financially.  As far as anyone knows, I have always struggled to make ends meet – no matter to whom I have been married.  I have always worked, have always paid bills and have always worried about running out of money.  I have never been able to shop without looking at price tags or researching the best deal.

The reason I have lived paycheck to paycheck is because I wanted to be loved for me; not my money.  I compare it to how I feel about my birth defect.  I have never wanted pity.  Nor have I asked for anything for free because of my difference.  I wanted to be loved for who I am inside.  The real me.  Only I have never told anyone who I really am.

The money that my grandmother received from El Paso was actually set aside for me.  My grandparents knew it would eventually be willed to them, but our relatives did not anticipate Grandpa ‘s illness at such a young age.  He also did not know my grandmother would live so much longer without her husband. So, our cousin sent the money to my grandmother before he died.

My grandmother never told anyone how much money she received. In fact, she received many more checks over the years.  She opened a trust fund in my name with the agreement that I could not have the money until I was HAPPILY married to someone who truly loved me.  If I told anyone about the money, the entire trust fund would go back to our family in Texas.  She hired an attorney as executer of the trust and he has been overseeing my life for over 25 years.

Now I have more money than I could ever spend.  My aunt, my daughter and granddaughter will never have to worry about money either.  My husband and I can drop out of society and follow our dreams.  Will he want to after I have lied to him all these years?  Will he forgive me – the one who always accuses him of lying? Will he ever trust me again?

Oh how I wish this was the truth!  On the other hand, although this was really fun to imagine, the truth is I know I will appreciate our future more without being handed it on a silver platter.  Then again…I wouldn’t say no to a bunch of money right now!

* * * * * *

Our Wish List

Don’t like to shop?  Well, sit back and let me do it for you!  The following items look like a good idea to me, but I don’t know from experience.  See what you think and feel free to give feedback, or your review if these have been tested by you:

 

SnapWare 38-Piece Airtight Storage Tote Set

Snapware

Why we want it:  We always make enough food for an army and love to share, but lack containers to carry back and forth to other campsites.  The biggest reason we like these is they are airtight (or so it says) and putting ziplock bags in an ice chest NEVER works. Water always gets in there!

Garmin RV 760LMT Portable GPS Navigator

Why we want it:  Large 7″ high-resolution touchscreen display: 800 x 480 pixels; WVGA TFT color display with white backlight. Includes free lifetime map and traffic updates – Provides RV-specific services and vendors, repair shops, truck stops and a comprehensive list of nationwide repair and tow facilities (including those offering after-hours road service). Maybe it will keep us from ripping the air conditioner off going under bridges!

 

Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W

Instant Pot

Why we want it:  7-in-1 Multi-Functional Cooker–Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Saute/Browning, Yogurt Maker, Steamer & Warmer.  Ummmm – that’s all I need to know!  I can get rid of all the other appliances and save space.

C. Crane US3 Super USB Wifi Antenna 3

Wifi antenna

 

Why we want it:  Because the Wifi in campgrounds is always awful! This is supposedly one of the best home, mobile, or RV WiFi Antennas made. The Super USB WiFi Antenna 3 plugs into your computer for powerful WiFi Internet reception.

 

San Francisco Giants MLB Triangle Cornhole Set

cornhole

Why we want it:  We like playing games and enjoying the outdoors.  The sports team is personal, but you get the idea!

Digital Motorhome Safe RV Electronic Bolt-Down Safe Vault (Combination and Key)

safe

Why we want it:  Everyone needs a secure place to store your valuables, firearms and everything else you want to securely store in a safe place. You can bolt it down at the bottom or the back of it to prevent thieves from simply running away with it. The password protected safe is a convenient alternative to the worries of a key that can be lost.

Solar Charger

solar charger

Why we want it:  Rain/Dirt/Shockproof Dual USB Port Portable Charger Backup External Battery Power Pack for iPhone , iPad Air, Other iPads, iPods(Apple Adapters not Included), Samsung Galaxy, Most Kinds of Android Smart Phones and Tablets, and more.

AmazonBasics Velvet Suit Hangers – (Pack of 50)

hangers

Why we want it:  Ultra thin – instead of thick plastic hangers that never fit on the crazy RV rails. Can hold up to 10 pounds and NO SLIP.

 

I’m sure we’ll add more later, but this is a good start!

Our Favorite RV Gadgets

We have bought some good and what appeared to be good gadgets. We are still hunting and gathering, but listed below are some of the better choices we’ve made.  Item descriptions are actual links to make it easier for you to shop as well:

Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 8-Cup Coffee Percolator

coffee pot

Why we like it:  We also have a 12-cup coffee maker with a thermal carafe. We needed a sturdy, stainless steel pot for brewing on the stove top. The others felt cheap and looked disposable.  It makes great coffee, has a permanent filter basket (no need for paper), tight-fitting lid and comfortable handle. Perfect for dry camping.

TRC (44260) 30 Amp Circuit Analyzer

30 amp circuit analyzer

Why we like it:  Adapter installs easily. Plugs directly between the power pedestal and your line cord and provides a graphic verification of electrical power before you hook up your RV. I like that we have surge protection as well.

 

Collapsible Bowls, Colander & other Kitchen Stuff

collapsing bowl

Why we like it:  It’s all about conserving precious storage space. I’m going to get a lot more of these things!  They even have a collapsible dish pan, mixing bowls, measuring tools and more.

Better Living The Ulti-Mate Dispenser, White, 43.5 oz

dispenser

Why we like it:  It keeps bottles, soap and razors from falling on the ridiculously narrow shelves in our RV’s shower.  It’s very convenient to push a button for liquid items. Eliminates clutter!

Aurora Gas Bronze Firepit

firepit

Why we like it:  We don’t usually camp in the snow.  So this keeps us warm enough on chilly nights.  No need to buy and haul wood any more. What’s a campfire without a fire?

VQ4100 Quest Portable/Roof Mountable Satellite TV Antenna

dish

Why we like it Easy to set-up, light, can be mounted or not and SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS and GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS!  Need I say more?

 

IKEA Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Rack

knife rack

Why we like it:  Knives, can and bottle openers never get lost.  I never worry about reaching into a drawer and getting stabbed either. They even travel well and stay put.

Champion Power Equipment 75531i 3100 Watt RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator

generator

Why we like it:   Operates at 58 dBA and weighs less than 99 lb. with wheel kit. 3100 starting watts, 2800 running watts with up to 8 hours run time on a full tank of gas.  Great little generator for the price.

 

 

 

 

RV – Camp Packing List

Do you stress before leaving on a trip? I know…I know…whatever you forget can always be bought along the way, but if you are anything like me, packing is part of the journey…OR NOT! Feel free to keep reading if: 1) you are a list person like me, 2) you don’t like to forget anything; particularly your favorite kitchen gadget,  3) you need some ideas for what you would like on your own list.

Most of the items on my list are already in our rig, but I also use a list to remind me to restock things like toilet paper and those darn paper towels that disappear so fast!

Take advantage of this free gift and print one for yourself!

Camping Packing List

Download free printable here

The End

OUR DREAM CAME TRUE!

Typically “the end of the road” has a negative connotation. This just isn’t true in our case as we arrive back at the beginning of our journey.

We began seriously planning our retirement, living full-time in an RV, during the summer of 2016. I don’t remember where or when the idea was first conceived as a real possibility, but it’s something I dreamed about as a young girl. People would say, “Why would you want to cook and clean when you can travel in a car and stay in hotels?” A rich person would probably see the logic in that, but I don’t know any rich people!

One of the hobbies we enjoyed most was camping.  We bought a Chalet pop-up trailer just to get us off of the ground.  We were, after all, late bloomers when we decided to enjoy camping. Tent camping had become more uncomfortable every year. We loved our cute little Chalet.  We had to always make sure the bed was made and everything was neat and tidy because our fellow campers had to see what was inside our cute little home away from home.

Our vacations had previously been mostly about cruise ships.  Although we enjoyed cruising very much, I still longed to see our own country.  I always said I had no interest in seeing Europe until I had seen all 50 states in America.  We eventually outgrew the pop-up and decided to try a fifth wheel on for size. We knew if we were going to do a lot of traveling, we would probably like a shower, a kitchen we could comfortably make meals in and a little bit more room to stretch out. So we bought a used, Layton fifth wheel with a king slide and very little storage capacity. Our Toyota Tundra would be able to tow our rig, saving us from having to buy both.  It was supposed to be an inexpensive test.  Will the Kendalls be able to live and travel together in a smaller space without killing each other? After thousands of dollars spent on converting our truck into a towing vehicle with a hitch and airbags, we traveled, stayed and played locally.

Since then, we are now on our last RV.  We have seen everything on our bucket lists from the West Coast to the East Coast and everything in between.  We have seen almost every national park, as well as silly little landmarks and attractions like Graceland.  But, what I love most of all is the opportunity to spend my life with my best friend and partner, my husband. We have grown together so much over the years and have met so many wonderful friends along the way.  Some have remained in our lives.   Some weren’t meant to stay, but we remember all of them and what each one has taught us.

This life may not be for everyone, but no matter what your dream is, follow it.  It is what we are here for. “If you can dream it, you can do it!” ~ Walt Disney can’t be wrong!

* * * * * *

The Box that John Built

The one thing our fifth wheel lacks is storage. We knew that when we chose it, but we also knew this was not the one we were going to live in. We only have some storage under the bed, the two benches in the dining area and a small storage area under the jackknife sofa in the living room. There was no storage on the outside other than the small space under the jackknife sofa that that is accessible from outside.

We needed a place to put the generator, barbecue, satellite dish and other large items. So my husband slapped together a few pieces of ACM and made a storage box. Just kidding! It was far more involved than that, of course. Technically, John used aluminum composite material (ACM) which is actually aluminum sheets pressed into plastic.  He measured 10 times and cut once – can you tell I didn’t watch him build it?

STORAGE
STORAGE BOX

 

He extended the bumper on the rig to set the box on:

STORAGE
BUMPER EXTENSION

 

Most importantly, he put a bottle opener on the side just for me. Heh! Heh!

image

 

Can you imagine the honey do lists I could have given him over the years had I known he was so talented?!  I think the finished product turned out beautiful, don’t you?

STORAGE
STORAGE BOX FINISHED (except for touch up paint)

Lake Solano Park Campground

We went camping last weekend (August 12th thru 14th) at this very unpretentious campground.  We have been here several times now and have camped by the water, in the meadow and this time right in the hub of the park. Kayak launching was very easy here, the view of the lake and wild life was beautiful and we had a terrific time as always.

The location is very convenient for us:

8685 Pleasants Valley Rd
Winters, CA 95694
 
lake solano park
 

Our families live within 30 minutes allowing us to visit either at their houses, or have visitors at our site. A win-win for us!

Here is our review:

Campground Information:

Site #29 – smack dab in the middle of the campground with a water view

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Reservations needed by:  

Reservations can be made ahead by going to http://parkreservations.solanocounty.com/

Otherwise, there are first come first served sites available.  A few have sewer and some have electric and water.

Comments:

A lot of traffic at this site because a swimming hole and canoe/kayak launch was in front of our campsite. We didn’t mind because we like meeting new people and noise level was minimal. Site 29 is a large pull-thru with full hook-ups.  We were very surprised at the overabundance of weeds in Putah Creek which dumps into Lake Solano. We heard they were just as bad in the lake.  My Hobie Mirage rutter kept bouncing out of the water. Canoes and kayaks without mechanisms glide much better. The weeds also make fishing difficult as the lures don’t float and get hidden in the brush.

The campground offered:

30 amp electrical, as well as water and sewer in some.  There are some pull-thru sites as well. Please see their website above for more information.  Clean modern restrooms and free showers are available. There is a nature center with a few interesting exhibits, but not much to pass a whole lot of time!  Water is very cold for swimming, but possible – life vests are mandatory.

I love the wildlife.  My husband saw some otters swimming by and the peacocks are a scream.  Literally!  Beautiful and they sound like they are saying “HELP”!  The chicks are adorable.  Once you know what the sound is, it’s really not annoying – to me anyway.

Places visited and things to remember next time:

We met some very nice people as always. We always try to be friendly and considerate which makes for a very successful stay anywhere.  We do a lot of cooking while camping, but like to venture out for breakfast one of the days. Some friends recommended the Putah Creek Cafe  and Tomat’s California Cuisine in downtown Winters.  We chose Putah Creek this time and were very glad we did.  The chicken fried steak was very nice and the Huevos Rancheros was to die for.  The Bacon Bloody Mary was pretty darned good as well!  We want to try Tomat’s next time. Stay tuned for that review.

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A good time was had by all and we will definitely camp at Lake Solano Park again.

 

 

 

 

Snowflower – A Thousand Trails Resort

We were invited to Snowflower by some really good friends who own a membership.

“Snowflower RV Resort offers an equally exquisite getaway for summer visitors. We provide a variety of fun-filled activities for our guests including kayaking, swimming, biking, hiking and trout fishing. If R&R is what you seek, find peace and quiet on our sandy beach at the lake. You will find the breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to be quite relaxing indeed.”

Relaxing indeed! The one statement above (taken from their website) regarding the breathtaking view was something I had not expected.  The views were spectacular; particularly at sunset.  We could see the Milky Way, Big Dipper and so many stars, but the view!

image

The campground is very quiet and the people are very nice. I didn’t get a picture of our sites because they were private, but a few public sites are available to reserve through RVontheGo.com. Here is a map of the campground:

 

Snowflower legend

 

Map taken from:  https://www.thousandtrails.com/california/snowflower-rv-resort/

We also went to Kelly Lake to launch the kayaks.  What absolutely beautiful little lake.  We had the beach area to ourselves with the exception of one boat launch by a couple of nice fisherman. We even took our friend’s dogs for their first spin.

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This is our view on the way back to camp:

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I hope we get invited back because we had a great, great time with good friends.  Thank you to Jim and Joan Johnson!

 

Renovations to our 5th Wheel

It all started with broken leaf springs and spilled coffee.  First of all, who really needs beige carpet in a camper? My husband was having a bad day when he couldn’t understand why our trailer would not level. After many hours of work during our weekend camping trip, we ended up leaving our 5th wheel a day or two longer while waiting for replacement parts.  A large coffee stain ended up on the carpet sometime during the repair. I would never accuse my husband, or judge, or even point fingers, but…

image

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With the leaf springs successfully installed everything was wonderful again…except for the carpet driving the wife crazier by the moment.  We decided to buy inexpensive peel and stick flooring from Amazon.com.  We chose 3 foot by 6 inch Tivoli II Vinyl Floor Planks in medium oak.  Seven 10-packs were sufficient enough to do the bathroom as well.  If they don’t hold up, who cares at $20.00 per box. The hardest part of the job was ripping out the old carpet.  My husband did the entire project by himself. I think he did a great job. I know I’m grateful he spilled coffee in the first place!

Once on the roll…he has taken care of other little things.  Here are some pics:

FLOORING - BEFORE
FLOORING – BEFORE
FLOORING - DURING
FLOORING – DURING
FLOORING - DURING
FLOORING – DURING
FLOORING - AFTER
FLOORING – AFTER
FLOORING - AFTER
FLOORING – AFTER
OVEN - BEFORE
OVEN – BEFORE
OVEN - AFTER
OVEN – AFTER

Stay tuned for the storage box that John built…