Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Our First RV Adventures

In August 2003 we loaded our clothes and other personal items we intended to keep and got in our RV and drove about 15 miles from our home in Deer Park, Texas to the Willow Creek RV Park in Baytown, Texas. I was still apprehensive about driving and stayed off main roads as much as possible. This move gave Kathi time to finish giving away our furniture while living in the motorhome. We readied the house for the new owner to move in and soon after we were no longer homeowners.

While in Baytown we got a baseplate and auxiliary brake installed on our car. This was a first installation for the technician and it took about twice as long as an experienced mechanic would have taken. Determining how to wire the brake lights on the car for operation from the motorhome was another difficult process for the first time installer-technician. We bought a Blue Ox Aladdin tow bar for installation on our RV. The Aladdin is still my favorite tow bar. It will pull 5,000 pounds and is made of aluminum, so it is light and makes for easy hook-ups. We are currently using a Blue Ox Alpha Tow Bar. It is rated for 6,500 and is made of steel, so it is much heavier and more difficult to hook-up. We switched to the Alpha when I hit a dip on Prince St. in Clovis, NM, breaking my Aladdin. The local Blue Ox dealer only had the Alpha in stock and we were leaving town the next morning, so I took what I could get. In RV vernacular our car was now called a “toad”, as in towed vehicle.

We spent about three weeks in Baytown, then went on a longer trip of about 90 miles north on Texas highway 146 to the Rainbow’s End Escapees Park in Livingston, Texas. Did I mention I was apprehensive about driving? We signed all the paperwork for them to manage our mail and toss junk mail for us. We have talked to some really great people at the Rainbow’s End mail room. They are extremely helpful and customer friendly. Ever since that trip our permanent mailing address has been 123 Rainbow Drive in Livingston, Texas. The 77399 zip code for the Escapees mail service has more people than the population of Livingston. This has caused some resentment among local citizens, because travelers can sway their local elections. Personally, I do not vote in their city elections or get involved with their bond proposals.

The Escapees RV Club owns several RV parks around the country and sponsors a lot of parks they do not own. Most of the Escapees parks people own the RV site where they live.
We have stayed in numerous Escapee parks or Escapee sponsored parks in Georgia, South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, Washington and Oregon.

Somewhere I had picked up a KOA discount card which we used for the next few months of our travels. It did not take long for Kathi to realize we could get much lower priced RV sites than we were paying KOA, even with a discount. KOA has some really nice parks, but they are priced too high for us. Passport America is probably the travel group we have used most in our RV travels. Of course this was before I was brave enough to boon dock for free.

We have never for one minute regretted selling our home and moving into an RV. This is one of the best decisions Kathi and I have made.

A street car on display across from the Rainbow's End office.

A donkey that lives near Rainbow's End

A truck in downtown Livingston.

Display at a shopping center in Livingston

Livingston is a patriotic city.

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