Spotto Makes Cover Of Escapees Magazine

This is just so exciting to share! No, this is not a fancy Photoshop job of Spotto on the face of a magazine.  This is 100% legit!

Just as we were leaving to return to Australia, David was notified that his photo submission from last year was selected for the cover of the Escapees Magazine.  And here it is!

The description:

What is Escapees magazine, you ask?  It is the bimonthly publication sent to members of Escapees RV Club, which is a total support network for all RVers.   We joined in December, 2013, and have been so glad that we did.  A little history about the club: In 1978, Joe and Kay Peterson started a support group called Escapees RV Club to answer a growing need for community among early RVers. The club grew from the original 82 member families to over 10,000, and just kept growing. Today, it offers many services for the RVing community.  These include (taken and paraphrased from the Xscapers website):

RV ADVOCACY
A point of pride for Escapees is their RV Advocacy Coalition. The focus is to alert RVers to potential problems, so they may prepare for changes.  This includes changes to laws in the states of domicile popular with RVers: Texas, South Dakota and Florida. The effects of healthcare reform, drivers license and auto registration rules are all examples of areas of focus for the Advocacy team.

ESCAPEES MAIL SERVICE
Escapees Mail Forwarding Service is the largest private mail service in the nation. We use this and it has been just amazing! With a simple email, I can direct when and where I would like my mail sent.  If I have a question about what is in my mailbox, I can call and one of the exceptional staffers will go through it with me.  There is even a mail scanning service if I were so inclined.

DOMICILE OPTIONS
We use our Escapee mail forwarding address as a legal domicile. We have the freedom to choose between a Texas, South Dakota, or Florida mailing address, but Texas works best for us.

JOB BOARD
There is a job board that came about through the formation of Xscapers (more on that below).  It lists open positions, or allows the upload of ones resume to be reviewed by potential employers.

ENDORSED VENDORS
Escapees partners with the best in the field to offer a comprehensive benefits program. If they don’t directly offer a service, a partner may.  This list includes insurance brokers, roadside assistance, and warranty services.

PARTNERSHIP DISCOUNTS
Valuable RV related service and clubs such as Fulltime Familes, Roadside Assistance, Harvests Hosts and many more offer discounts to Escapees.

PARKING DISCOUNTS
Escapees owns 7 RV parks, referred to as Rainbow Parks. In addition to these, there is a vast network of discount parks across the US, Canada, and Mexico. These parks offer a 15% to 50% discount.

ROUTE PLANNING
To help find these parks, the Escapees Travel Guide is a digital catalog of all of the discount parks, as well as commercial members around the country. The guide is also incorporated their web-based mapping tool, helping one to plan travel routes with ease.

C.A.R.E (Continued Assistance for Retired Escapees)
CARE answers the question, “What happens to full-time RVers when they cannot take care of their own or their spouse’s needs following an illness, injury, surgery, or the progression of a long-term health situation?” From broken bones to Alzheimer’s disease, CARE provides professional help while allowing one to live in a caring community of fellow RVers next to Rainbow’s End in Livingston, Texas.  We visited the CARE facility in April 2014, and saw first-hand what a lovely benefit this is.  Having skilled nursing and assistance while still being able to live in one’s RV is surely a comfort.

CONVERGENCES
Convergences are events provided for the Xscapers community. The atmosphere is conducive for those working on the road. Convergences tend to be scheduled around standard business hours, allowing working RVers to more easily balance work and play.

DISCUSSION FORUM
Want to join the RV community but don’t know where to start? Got a problem and need some help? Want to share your love of RVing with others? Join our friendly and active online RVing community on the Escapees Discussion Forum (www.rvnetwork.com).

COMMUNITY
With a wealth of knowledge and a sense of family, Escapees (SKPs) are always willing to help, or share in their experiences. Whether it is through Discussion Forums or informal get-togethers, a “neighbor” is never far away. 

There are also organized travel adventures, called HOP’s. The Head Out Program program includes coordinated tours, cruises, and adventure-filled outings. Examples include decorating a float for the Rose Parade, or helping with a hot air balloon at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival.

For those looking for a community or social engagement, there are like-interest groups called Birds Of a Feather (BOF’s) to join.  We are members of the Boomers and the Boondockers.  With 35 offically-recognized groups, there is one for everyone!

Additionally, there is a new lifestyle group of Escapees called the Xscapers. There are the “working aged” RVers, who enjoy life on the road while working full or part time.  This group can be considered the “younger” crowd, but there is no age division, and all are welcome to be a part of both groups.

CONVERGENCES
Convergences are events provided for the Xscapers community. The atmosphere is conducive for those working on the road. Convergences tend to be scheduled around standard business hours, allowing working RVers to more easily balance work and play.

So that gives you a great deal of information out the Escapees club.  If you are still looking for more, click here.

As for that lovely picture that David (now the published photographer) took. We were outside of Melbourne on the morning of April 12, and awoke to the loveliest rainbows! This picture brings back such great memories, and we are so proud to share our little Spotto with the RV world.  And kudos to David, who really wanted to have an Escapees cover, and accomplished it on his first try!

What a great way to go full circle.  As of Feb 28, 2017 Spotto is now owned by a lovely Greek couple who will be taking trips around Australia over the next couple of years that they have left on their work contracts. I am sure they will have great adventures just like we did.  Spotto will take good care of them.

I am so glad that we could have this visit!

~ Nancy

Day 1196 – Back on the Road

First of all, David survived his overnight backpacking trip. In fact, he was really quite the happy camper when he got home.  I will let him fill you in on the details, and he has some great photos. Hopefully, he will write his own blog post soon.

Today, we started our annual Eastern trek.  We first watched the Newcastle United vs Arsenal English Premier League match on TV because Hannah was in attendance.  Didn’t really expect to see her on TV, but wanted to see what she was seeing on the pitch.  She did send pictures from the sponsor suite, and really enjoyed the VIP treatment.  It reminded David and I of our first date in the CalFarm suite at Arco Arena all those years ago.  And while Hannah had a chef make her a special vegan entree, David had to settle for a hot dog bun as his vegetarian option at the Kings game in 1989. Certainly is a good example of how eating habits have changed over the years.

We had a lovely visit with our friends Anna and Louis, and got our quick goodbyes in before they headed out for a walk around the lake; David grabbed a picture of them just before we left.  They head back to Canada next week.

Anna and Louis
Anna and Louis

I gave Anna the last of any soap that I was still holding onto, so I am really motivated to get a new batch made.  Perhaps when we stop in Texas…

I have to brag about this couple a little more.  Anna made both David and I the most lovely hand warmers.  Check them out:

Hand Warmers by Anna
Hand Warmers by Anna

These are going to keep us toasty in Maine, that is for sure! And you notice those jars on the counter? Well, they contain goodies like apple sauce and a berry syrup that I can’t wait to put on pancakes.  Yes, I get spoiled by friends on the road, just like I did at home on Markham Way.  Life is good, I tell you!

After we visited the dump station and filled with about 60 gallons of water, we headed to Highway 8, and after a short drive (by RV-travel standards), we parked at RoVer’s Roost, a SKP Co-op park outside of Casa Grande, AZ.  This no-frills park offers dry camping spots for a deal: $5 for the first night, and FREE for the second.  We are going to drive into the Phoenix outskirts to visit some friends for the day tomorrow, and we wanted to be parked someplace secure, so this park is going to be great for that.

Upon setup, we chatted with a lady named Georgia, whom we happened to meet in the dry camping area of another Escapee park called Jojoba Hills.  I guess we are just destined to run into people we have met along the way, since we are now in our 4th year of RVing.  It does just blow me away by how small the world is, though!

Tomorrow will be a busy day, so I will just sign off with this – dinner was quick and easy, and I really need to get to a Trader Joe’s, Winco, REI…oh, hello civilization! I feel a shopping fix coming on.

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy

Our Route Today:

Day 1136 – Recovering in the Q

Our little gathering of Nuwa Hitchhiker RV’s has blossomed.  First, there was just David/Hannah/Hobbie and I. Then, Bill & Elysa.  A day later, Rick & Virgie and Jim & Ginny. Judy & Howard came in their SOB (some other brand), and rightfully parked behind our group.  And then, with the end of the Blythe Bluegrass Festival, a flood of HH’s (Hitchhikers) came: Jeff, Debbie, Randy & Sharon, Sallie & Mike,…it probably topped out at 12 rigs.  That doesn’t sound like a lot, especially when I look at the count of the rigs at the Escapee’s Boomerville – 113 as of yesterday!

What this does equate to is fun talks, a little wine around the campfire, catching up with where everyone has been since we last gathered in 2014, and the guys getting together to talk solar, LED, propane heaters, etc.

This socializing was interrupted today by 20-25 mph wind gusts.  Even when it is 65-70 degrees, no one wants to be sandblasted around the chat circle.  So, there weren’t too many people out today.

David and I had a busy morning.  We had a job interview with a campground in Bar Harbor, Maine at 7:30 am AZ time.  It was tough to get up and not sound croaky.  All of the talking we did at the booth for 3 days straight left us both a little raspy, and then we were chatting with Kathie from the moment we picked her up, until we went to bed.  So, I had barely enough time to make some chai tea and get the phone plugged in and the interview started! That was a one hour 45 minute interview! I had no idea it would go so long, and it was a positive experience, but wow! We came out of it with the ball in our court, and offered a job for the summer.  We have some thinking to do, that is certain.

After that, it was the usual morning routine – oatmeal, coffee, visit with the neighbors, etc.  We found out that Kathie froze in her little trailer – not enough blankets for the drop to 46 degrees last night. And her smoke detector went off around 1:30 am because it needed a new battery.  Poor thing.  She was already sleep deprived and off her game after having a full day of travel.  An afternoon nap was on her agenda!

We were expecting another call from a second potential summer employer, but we didn’t have a set time.  This made us want to stay near the rig, so we started cleaning and organizing.  After having Hannah here for a month, we definitely needed to put things back into their place, and to load her car up with the items she left behind.  A trip to her storage unit in San Diego will occur before we head to Texas/Tulsa sometime in April. But for now, life is tidy and organized once again.

A buddy we made at Amazon, Mike, was camping with the Escapee’s Solos group, who happen to be parked near by.  As you can imagine, the Solos are people who travel as individuals, either by design or choice.  Mike and his friend Joel walked over to meet Kathie and to take her back with them to show her their set up and gathering.  The wind was keeping most of their lot inside as well, but Kathie got to have a nice walk and a visit with RV’ers, who really are very social creatures.  I did feel like I was sending a lamb off to the wolves, though.  I could tell that both men were jockey for Kathie’s attention.  She was the belle of the ball.  She came back, took her nap, and ended up going back over there for their group dinner.

We had our second interview of the day, and were VERY excited about the opportunities presented to us.  I can’t say more until I make some phone calls tomorrow.  Then you will be excited with us!

Dinner was flatbread pizza – yes, I call it pizza regardless if it is or not, you pizza aficionados.  I used Trader Joe’s whole wheat lavash bread as my base. Mixed chopped garlic in tomato sauce, and smeared it all over the bread.  Topped it with spices, mushrooms, kale, freshly made caramelized onions (thanks for the suggestion, Sharon!),  sundried tomatoes, olives, and nutritional yeast.  It was yummy! Sorry, no pictures, as we ate it before I remembered to take a snap.

I also missed the sunset since I was cooking, so I stole this sunset picture from the facebook page of the Escapees Boomers.  Photo credits to Mike Clouse, whoever you are.

And before I wrap this up, let me tell you that Hannah arrived safely, and was greeted by the University of Sunderland welcome wagon. She has six flatmates: two guys from Germany, one guy from Australia, one guy from France, one girl from New York, and one girl from Georgia.  She has her own bedroom, but I don’t know what the restroom setup is.  We are communicating through the “What’s App” application so far.  Tomorrow is her first day of orientation, and since she is 7 hours ahead of us, her day is done when ours is starting, so there should be time for a nice chat each day or two.

For us, tomorrow will be a day of exploring Quartzsite with Kathie.  We hope to meet up with our friend Linda, too.  Should be a lovely day!

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy

Day 1124 – Temporarily Kidless

Last night, just after dinner, Hannah took a bite of one of those yummy molasses cookies I made, and pulled out her two temporary onlays that were installed that morning.  You know what that means, right? Another trip to Los Algodones to start our day!

It was most imperative for these temporaries to be re-applied because Hannah was going on a road trip of her own, off to visit her high school friend Elana at Occidental College for a long weekend.  Luckily, I was able to contact the lovely Dr. Sandoval, who agreed to meet us at 9:00 am AZ time.  Mapping this time backwards, that means 8:00 am CA time, 7:00 am departure time, 6:00 am wake up time.  In Hannah’s mind, that also means 5:00 am “gosh, will I have enough time to pack – I should get up now just in case” time.  Which equals an early morning start for everyone!

The trip in, the visit to the dental professionals, and the trip out were completed by 8:30 am CA/9:30 am AZ.  David met us in the parking lot of the Quechan Casino, so that Hannah could begin her 4 hr drive to LA, and David and I could do some Yuma exploring.  Hannah promises to return to us on Sunday.  I am so happy that she is getting some time with her friends before she leaves for her study abroad.

One of David’s projects for this winter is to extend the propane line from our Mr. Heater portable propane heater.  I don’t have a picture of the setup, but currently, the supply tank sits on the ground outside the unit.  David would like to put it inside the old battery compartment, but that will take some additional hose and fittings.  We stopped at 2 different stores – one plumbing supply, the other a propane company, and neither had what he needed.  But they gave him some ideas, so the plan may be tweaked a bit.

We also filled up the truck for $2.47/gallon for diesel.  I had filled the Honda for $1.99/gallon earlier, so we are cheering the lower gas prices! We have come a long way from the $4.00/gallon we were paying not so long ago.  Every financial break is appreciated!

Since we had nothing but time, we decided to check out another of the Escapee’s Co-op RV parks in the area.  We really enjoyed the Jojoba Hills resort in Aguanga, CA (http://www.jojobahills.com/), and it is considered the nicest park in the Escapee’s network by some.  In our opinion, the $30,000 buy-in is pretty steep and the $350/month fees, even when you aren’t there, just reminded us that we are not interested in owning anything like that at this time.  Maybe when we need to settle down – but that is not where we are mentally or physically!  Even so, we wanted to see what one of the other parks looked like to compare – and that lead us to the Kofa Ko-Op RV Park.

Let’s call the place spartan.  It is, after all, in the desert outside of Yuma.  Just about every site was taken, and the waiting list to purchase a lot is 70 people long! Some have been on that list since 2010, which to me seems like a long time to wait.  Maybe I should be rethinking this. Hmmm.  Their website rubbed me the wrong way when I saw this section “Recipes, Ladies, Recipes.  Signed, The Men.”  http://www.kofako-op.com/    Are you kidding me?  Are we still living in the dark ages? Women are only here to cook for their men? Seriously, I do post recipes and write about cooking, but that is mostly because I never had the time to actually cook like I have since we have been on the road, and I have really enjoyed it.  But I cook for myself as much as I do for everyone around me. It has nothing to do with the fact that I possess ovaries!  (See what poor David has to live with?)

As we got the heck out of there, we came across The Peanut Patch.  We thought it might have some of the local citrus and dates, since the signage around the area was touting some of the local products.  Here is an image I found on the web:

The Peanut Patch
The Peanut Patch

Sadly, it was more like what I remember the Nut Tree to be like – lots of nuts and brittle and fudge, but who is to say what was actually locally-sourced?  We were in and out in about 5 minutes.

Next stop was Walmart, where we picked up some canned goods, some salad fixings, and a hitch and ball for the truck to be used when David’s sister Kathie visits.  We will be pulling her rental trailer, so this piece of hardware is needed.

Once home, we ate salads, and then went on a lovely walk.  It was about 70 degrees and sunset was about 1.5 hours away, so we just meandered with purpose.  Once home, I checked my pedometer, and saw that between the trip into Mexico and our little walk, I managed to cover some serious ground today. Thus, today’s featured photo.  Yay me!

I will possibly follow this up with a group exercise class in the morning. I would love to keep up the fitness level from our stint at Amazon, but I admit that I fell off the daily routine of movement pretty quickly.  I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow.

Dinner was quick and easy, availing ourselves of the leftovers from the last couple of nights.  We then completed our applications for another job option in Maine this summer, and now that I finished the cover letter, it will be mailed tomorrow.  That  is three applications that will be out there.  Hopefully, one of them will stick!

I’m glad we could have this chat,

Nancy