5/10/21 OUR RV ADVENTURES
From the beginning of our RV adventures, I had visions of pulling up beside a river and camping, hiking, biking, etc. like we did last August when we went to Pagosa Springs, Colorado. But how does that happen? Is it feasible? Possible? Where? Lots of questions. So while we were at the KOA Campground, Dave mentioned this place at the bottom of the hill outside of Alamogordo. It is amazing. We love it. We boondocked (stayed on public land without water or electricity for free) from May 7-9. We found out that this land is not BLM (Bureau of Land Management), but DOD (Department of Defense). I don’t know how legal we are to be here. Oops. But, apparently we can stay on any public land (BLM) anywhere in the United States for free. Boondocking is an option if we can figure out how to make it work.
NEW MEXICO STATE PARKS: We rode our motorcycle up to Oliver Lee Memorial State Park which is a mile east of where we are staying. This park is amazing. It only has electricity and water, no sewer hookups, but the landscape is amazing and the RV spots are private, far apart with spectacular views of the valley and mountains. To stay in a state park in New Mexico costs $10 per night with no electricity and water, $14 per night with water and electricity, and $18 per night with full hookups. The problem is that a lot of the state parks and national parks are already full. You have to call way in advance to get a spot. We are kind of fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants kind of people, but it looks like we are going to have to plan a little to make this thing work.
TEXAS STATE PARKS: While I am talking about state parks, I want to let you know what happened in Texas. When I posted the cost of staying the night at Brownwood State Park, Robin Horton told me, “Go now and get a yearly pass,” so I did. I think it was $70 for a yearly pass and $25 for a secondary pass. I got both, but I think I should have only gotten one. Lyndyl’s pass would have been good for both of us. When I did that, they reimbursed $32 for the two day stay. SWEET!
NATIONAL PARKS: We also went to White Sands National Park. AMAZING! And we got an AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL pass. Any family can purchase an annual pass for $80 per year and it will get the entire family into any National Park. For us, because we are over 62, we got a lifetime pass for $80. SWEET! Without the America the Beautiful pass, the White Sands adventure would have cost $20 for our motorcycle. Tonight we are going back to see the sunset!
BOONDOCKERSWELCOME.COM: We joined this group for $50 per year. I think the way this works is that if you have a piece of property that could accommodate RVs, you offer your property, and other people offer their property. It doesn’t cost anything unless you use electricity. Then it is a $10 donation.
BLACK WATER: OK. I know that I talk a lot about poop (black water) when I blog about RV life, but ya’ll, this is for real. We thought that our gray water valve was the one that was not closing, so my husband replaced that, but the black water valve was also stuck. CRAP! So while we stayed at the KOA and had plenty of water to wash everything out, my husband and Dave tackled the problem. They fixed it, but come to find out, our water sensors were not accurate either. It showed that our black water was always full, so we dumped. But we are never suppose to dump until the black water is at least 3/4 full. If we dump before it is full, the stuff won't flow out. Well! According to Dave we were creating the mountain of doom. A pile that grows higher and higher and gets harder and harder. And to top all of that off, I was conserving water, after all we only have 40 gallons. This is a place I can cut back on using our limited supplies. Oops! Now I know better. I will use lots of water rom now on. We think we have this fixed now, and my husband bought some sort of gadget to stick down the toilet with the water hose attached. They cleaned everything out. By the way, my husband anticipated having to work on black water, so he put a SEPARATE hose in the back of our truck for that. Now we are not going to dump so often. I will let you know how that works.
BOONDOCKING: We boondocked a mile down the hill from Oliver Lee State Park. This is about 10 miles out of Alamogordo off of Hwy 54. We loved it. Not many people were there the first night, but Saturday night, more and more cars came. These cars came and stayed the night and left. On Friday it was 95 degrees with the wind blowing. We were comfortable, and by the time morning came, we were cold. We also figured out the lighting situation. I told you that we had to run the generator twice a day to recharge the battery. We stopped turning on the lights where there are 5-7 on a circuit and started just turning on one when we needed it. While we were at Alamogordo, we only charged the battery once. I have to tell you that to have all lights off at night with just the candle burning is glorious. The stars! The lights! While we were there Friday and Saturday at dusk, we saw something in the sky. It was a string of lights in a row, evenly spaced, that looked like stars. They moved through the sky in a straight line and disappear. As one disappeared, another entered this space. We could see five or six at a time, and this lasted for about 20 minutes each night, and then they were gone. Satellites? I don’t know, but it is worth noting.
My heart is torn. Since leaving Alamogordo, we have seen several places that we would have loved to stay and explore. The Box out of Socorro, NM is one. The alpaca farm is another. Then we passed the valley of fire, but couldn't stop because we have to be someplace at a certain time. We don’t want to make reservations, but we are afraid not to.
OH THE PLACES WE GO!!!
WHITE SANDS NATIONAL PARK. Wow! Wow! Wow! There are not enough exclamation points. White Sands National Park at sunset took my breath away.
CLOUDCROFT, NM. We rode Hwy 130 from Mayhill to Cloudcroft. Glorious! There was an RV place right out of Mayhill on 130 that we would have probably stayed at if we had known, but if feels like our footsteps are ordered by God. We are listening to people and going where they say go. It is fun! We also loved Dave’s Cafe. We ate there twice. I would eat there again.
HIGH COUNTRY ALPACA RANCH, Techado - Fence Lake, NM: We searched Harvest Host and Boondockers Welcome to find a place to stay while on our way to Dolores, Colorado. This alpaca ranch came up. I am glad it did. We met John and his delightful place. If we did not already have reservations, we would have stayed longer. John just lost his wife of 40 years in March and I wanted to wrap my heart around him to keep him safe and comfort him.
OH THE PEOPLE WE SEE!
DAVE AND MARY are the two that we hung around the most. Dave helped Lyndyl with the black water problem, and he had very helpful hints about RV living. He has been living in his motorhome for 20 years. He has stayed at the KOA for the 7 years. He knows a lot. He also took us to Cloudcroft and showed us around. Mary is Dave’s friend. She is 74 years old, and she is fixing up a 5X10 cargo trailer into a camper. She was also boondocking at the same place we were. Dave drove his motorhome out there, too, so that he could help Mary fix her camper up. We ate supper with them and took them both up to White Sands to see the sunset again last night. Neither one of them were as impressed as I was.
BRITA pulled her van into the space across the street from us at the KOA. She is 79 years old. She is a retired systems analysis person. She retired at 75. Wow. She lives on a lake somewhere in the Fort Worth area, and she has been a lot of places. She loves to travel, and most of the time, she travels by herself. She has been to over 300? Countries. That seems like a lot, but that is what I think she said. She was coming back from California where she went to see her daughter and her family. She had a bed in the back of the van. She opened the doors to let the breeze in, and she talked of putting screens over the doors for when the mosquitos come. Seventy-nine years old. Wow.
SAM AND MORGAN. Now this couple was fascinating. It was their age. Nearly everyone we meet is our age or older, but I met Sam on his birthday. He turned 35 on May 6th. Morgan is 34. Sam was an aeronautical civil engineer. I think Morgan remodeled houses? But she subs it all out. (I think this is right. Lyndyl was the one talking to her.). Anyway, they got tired of the rat race. They quit their job, sold their house, bought a pickup and a camper. They said they had a trip planned to go to Europe that got canceled twice. When they got the refund, they bought the camper. They said that all they want to do is see beautiful things and enjoy each other. Oh my goodness! They are the ones who insisted that we see White Sands at sunset. They have been living in their RV for seven months. They said it is averaging them $800 per month to stay in places, but this includes water and electricity. They said that if they every need to go back, they will, but for now - no. They are from Georgia, but they have a Florida address. They said that there are only three states that allow you to be a resident without living there. Florida and Texas are two of them. They get their mail sent to Florida and then forwarded to wherever they happen to be. They can also get a drivers license from Florida which is pretty important.
PAT SARGENT. Pat Sargent was a lady in one of the stores I went into at Cloudcroft. She is 74. Divorced 30 years ago and raised four children by herself. She travels a lot, but she has lived in Cloudcroft for the last eight years. Now her heart is turning back to the Houston area so that she can be around family. LORD, guide her footsteps. Go before her and prepare the way. Be her rearguard. I am asking this in Jesus’ name.
PETER. While we ate at Dave’s Cafe the second time, I noticed a young man limping with a cane. He had two children and a dog (who peed on the post right beside us). He came past several times and ended up sitting down on a bench right across the fence from us. I asked him about what happened to his leg. He said that seven months ago a large glass table fell on his leg below the knee. He has no feeling from the knee down, but the nerve damage is so bad that he is in pain all the time. He said the pain medicine they gave him doesn’t work, so he doesn't take it. He talked about having them cut his leg off to relieve the pain, but the doctors said that he may still have fantom pain for the rest of his life. My heart went out to him. When he got up to leave, I asked him, “Do you know Jesus?” It took him by surprise. He said, “Yes. I pray.” I don’t know if he knew what I was talking about, but I asked him if I could pray for him. He said, “Yes.” I called down heaven over that man. Grace and mercy. Light and truth. Unfailing love. Healing - as his soul prospers, may he prosper and be in health. I don’t know if he was able to receive or not. Later, when I was reading the Bible, the LORD said that if I ask anything according to His will, He will give it to me. I thought of Peter. I prayed for Peter according to God’s will. Then it occurred to me that if two agree as touching anything it will be given to them from heaven. If Peter’s heart agreed with mine, God will move heaven and earth for that man. He will be healed in more ways than he could ever imagine. If his heart did not agree with mine, he will go home unchanged, and he will have a vague memory of a crazy lady who stopped him on the streets to pray for him. LORD, rend the heavens over this man. Send Your Spirit. Draw him to You. Let his heart open wide to receive Your goodness. Let righteousness and salvations come with power. Let mercy and grace lead the way. Heal him. I am asking this in the mighty name of Jesus. AMEN
JOHN FIFIELD: John is 72 years old. He was a musician most of his life, playing in bands. He also taught school sometime in there. But 15 years ago, at 58 years old, he and his wife Carolyn bought that piece of property out in the middle of nowhere in NM. He had always wanted to farm. He raises alpacas and Great Pyrenees, and he has a little store there on his property. Since his wife died, it is just him running the place. His heart is broken. He loved her so much. LORD, God of comfort, come with power. Heal his heart. Bring him joy and peace. In Jesus' name. AMEN
WITNESS HIM NOW
I want to record what I see God doing. I want to be a faithful witness to His glory. But what I am seeing happen right now is inside of me. Even though my heart’s desire is to share the goodness and grace of God, the LORD is telling me, “I didn’t send you to save anyone. I sent you to love them.” He is teaching me to listen to people and to love them right where they are. To value. To honor. To encourage. To love whoever He sends. We don’t choose. He does. This week we loved on Dave and Mary and John. It was glorious.
MOMENTS THAT TOOK MY BREATH AWAY!
White Sands at sunset.
The heart of a loving husband who is grieving over his wife
OUR RV ADVENTURE: May 5, 2021
We finally got off! Yay. We ended up staying in the Brownwood area for two extra weeks. We had to close on a house before we left. It was good that we stayed. We worked out some of the bugs. This RV living is a learning adventure. In the two weeks we were home, we:
*. Changed the front jack. $150 We got stuck in the State Park with the jack problem.
*. Fixed our bed with two old comforters underneath a pillow top mattress pad. The bed had springs in it. Not comfortable. I originally had a 2 inch foam mattress over it, but the foam killed Lyndyl’s back. This is much better. $49 for the mattress pad
*. Fixed the water heater. It was rusted and would not strike. WD-40
*. Fixed the leak in the gray water. Dirty job. $25 for parts. But we found out that we need to do the same for the black water. It is still leaking. Yuck! Lyndyl bought the parts today. $53
*. We attempted to make a mosquito netting for the back wall where the ramp folds down. We like this door open. We used netting and magnets. It’s not there yet, but it will be. $125
So we started our adventure yesterday. We drove to Reddy Vineyards in Brownfield, Texas because this was half way to Cloudcroft. It was an amazing place with amazing wines. We are a member of Harvest Hosts. This membership allows us to stay overnight free at a ton of vineyards and orchards, etc. We just have to purchase something while we are there. That is not hard.
We got up this morning and headed toward Cloudcroft. But where? We don’t really know where we are going or what we are doing. We talked about it and decided to start with a KOA Campground. The only one around here is in Alamogordo. They only had a spot for two days, but no spots for the weekend. Where do we go next? Dave knew.
Dave works at this KOA. He has for five years. He is nice. He thought we were lost, and he tried to help us find our way. When we unloaded the motorcycle, we found that the kick stand had poked a hole in the floor. Oops. Then our couch would not lower. Oops. Dave came over to check on us. We had blown a fuse. Easy fix. So we start talking to Dave about places to stay. We told him that we really wanted to go off grid - boondock. He then told us about a place sixteen miles from here that not many people know about. It is amazing. We will spend at least five days there when we leave this campground. We can make it five days without having to dump our water. We will come back to this KOA to dump. At that time we will decide whether we want to stay longer in this area or move on.
OH THE PLACES WE GO!
5/4/21 Reddy Vineyard in Brownfield, Texas. Free with a Harvest Host membership
Amazing wines. Lovely place
5/5-6/21. White Sands KOA in Alamogordo, NM. $40.23 per night
OH THE PEOPLE WE SEE!
Dave. 70 years old. Lives in a 40’ motorhome. Drives a Harley Sportster 1200. He has a trailer hitch on his Harley that he can haul plywood on. His wife died in January. He will leave this campground in June and head to Missouri. He is going to take us on the backroads of Cloudcroft on Friday. He is excited to have someone to ride with.
WITNESS HIM NOW!
What I have seen God do in the last week has been inside of me. When we were leaving the State Park, it was drizzling rain, our camper jack got stuck with us in the middle of the road going into the campground. It would not go up or down, so we could not move. Lyndyl took out a fuse and told me to go to Jack’s Place to see if they had one. On the way there the most INTENSE JOY filled my heart. It took my breath away. I asked God, “What is this?” And He took my thoughts to this scripture: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for GREAT JOY.” James 1:2. Oh my goodness! This is so amazing. I knew this scripture, but I had never experienced this scripture.
Then another thing happened to me. I am not a very emotional person. I never have been, so when I feel emotions, I stop to ponder. The other day it felt like some of the people that I love most in this world were rejecting me. This was not the first time I had felt this way, but it was the first time that I felt the emotions. A deep sorrow and pain filled my heart. So I began to pray for these people. 1 Timothy 2:1 says, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them, Intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” Even though I felt better, the pain and the sorrow were still there. I know that these are spirits, so I said, “God please forgive me for allowing these spirits into my heart.” And I heard the LORD say to me, “I want you to know Me. I want you to know Me in the power of My resurrection and the FELLOWSHIP OF MY SUFFERING. I want you to be conformed unto Me even unto death, even death on the cross.” Wow! Jesus suffered. I am going to know a part of what He went through. I think we are all going to know God is ways we never dreamed possible.
$81.50 RV park
I have never done this before - kept up with what we spend and what we do. I want to do it on this trip.
OUR RV ADVENTURE:
April 22, 2021: I am sitting in my new home at Brownwood State Park. It is kind of cold, so I am snuggled up on my couch. My husband has gone to town to get some hose extensions to drain our black water, so I have a few minutes to blog. I want to start at the beginning.
In February my husband wanted to take me somewhere for my birthday. He chose Galveston. That happened to be the week when the entire country froze. That week my husband mentioned ‘TOY HAULER’ for the first time. A Toy Hauler will allow us to take our motorcycle with us as we travel. This is very important to my husband. It makes his soul sing to be on a bike, so every trip we make is made on a motorcycle. RV life had never even crossed my mind or his mind, but as we slid into Brownwood on a sheet of ice, there was a Toy Hauler sitting in the lot across from Commerce Square. We bought that RV the next day. It all happened so fast, but it feels right. I would recommend BIG COUNTRY FORD - RV Sales to any person looking to buy an RV. Jim Coley held our hand and walked us through so much. He is still doing that as we become familiar with what it takes to keep this thing going. I think if we had bought from an individual or from a large dealership, our camping experience would not be so smooth. I still can’t believe that we are about to do what we are about to do!
We bought our RV without knowing anything about anything, and God protected us. From what we understand now, not all RVs are the same. Jim says that the fiberglass sided ones are much better. They are built with metal studs instead of wooden ones. All I know is that what we bought is a quality made RV. It is a 2012 Keystone Raptor. After we looked at the camper for the first time, we went and looked it up on the internet. It had very good reviews, and the price they were asking was good. We paid $17,800. The owner who had it before us kept it in a garage, and you can tell he took pains to maintain it. I would do research before purchasing an RV. Not all are equal.
I have spent the last month or so moving stuff from my house to the camper. I found that it is very important to have a place to put everything. Look at the picture I posted of my living room. I have baskets and crates under the couch for our shoes and drinking water and potatoes/onions. Beside the chair I bought an end table that stores stuff and it acts as a step stool so that I can reach the items in the top cabinets. This end table is where my books/computer/paperwork are stored. Next to the lamp, my husband built me a little pantry. It holds can goods that I can easily get to while the other cans are stored in crates in the cabinets. It also has hooks for our outdoor cooking, and it is a place to put my diffuser - which also acts as a night light. This space works very well for me. If you look at the picture of the hats/coats in our bedroom, you can see that I have a very tall skinny shelf on our end table. This helped SO much! On the shelves you can see plastic containers. I ordered these from Amazon - Chef’s Path. These are the best. I ordered the large package (48?) ($78?), and I have used every one of them - sugar, coffee, flour, medicine, sewing, oils, etc. These are a must! They stack. We move the table to the outside because I like the roominess of the living space without the table, but we needed something to eat on when inside, and the end table is too heavy to use. I went out in my backyard and found the table with the lamp on it. It will do for now. I think we can find something more functional. Then I bought a tapestry for the back wall. This wall is a drop down ramp for the motorcycle to load. When we were in Leakey, I noticed that when the back wall is up, it has tire tracks on it. I thought that I could paint a mural on that wall, but it would still have tire tracks. I found this little wall tapestry on Amazon for $17, and I used bungees to attach it to the wall. This makes me realize that I can get any piece of material - I love color - and change the look of my room. My favorite, though is to have that door open. It is like an outdoor oasis. Then the last thing I did was to bungee some curtains over the couches. They had snap on covers, and I knew that wouldn’t work for me, so I had some odd material and bungees - curtains. Then I made the top bed with a pillow top mattress pad and down filled comforters and pillows just in case we ever have guests. The couch will also make in to a queen bed, and I have comfortable bedding for that one, too. As far as I know, we are set to go.
So far the only problems we have had with our camping experiences are with the black water. Yuck! Jim told us to not dump the black water until it is at least 3/4 full. So we are suppose to dump the black water first, then the gray water. That helps clean it out. While we were in Leakey, the gauges showed 3/4 full, so my husband went to dump it. When he opened the valve, the water came and hit him in the face. Oops! Oh my goodness! I couldn't watch. Come to find out, the gray water (thank you Jesus, it was the gray water) valve was stuck open, so we cannot dump without having to deal with that water first. My husband has been trying to get the parts to replace the valves. He is still trying to get the right parts. So we came to the state park last night because we have to have a place to dump. When we got here, the hose was too short. Oops! So we have been going to the restroom at the park’s facilities because we don’t know what will happen if this stuff gets too full, and our gauges show full. So this morning Lyndyl went to town to buy two extensions and an extra water hose - just in case we are to need these things along the way. He just dumped, and it was easy, but the gauges still show 3/4 full. He just now came in and said that he hooked the water hose to tank flush valve - this worked. Our tanks are empty!
OH, THE PLACES WE GO!
Fabis Primitive Campground
$10 per night - no more than 3 nights
Zubers River Camp On the Frio
2429 CR 350
Concan, TX. 78838
$55 per night?
Our first camping trip was to the hill country. It was glorious! Amazing place! Amazing weather! Amazing family! Look at the pictures. This place is on the Frio River. It is just down from Garner State Park on the opposite side of the bank. You can walk into the state park. I don’t know if you are suppose to or not - probably not. But the hiking! Swimming! Canoeing! Tubing! Cold water!!!! Clear, beautiful, cold water. I would go here again and again and again and again!
6371 Safe Haven Lane
Brownwood, Texas. 76801
$0 per night
We had plans to leave for Cloudcroft, NM on the 20th after we got back from Leakey, but that didn’t work. We are in the middle of closing on a house. We are going to stay in the Brownwood area until the sell is final. Sheri Wells, our realtor, said that could happen next week, so it makes sense to just park our RV on our property and wait. We are in the process of building a cover for our RV. Lyndyl has run the water out to it, and the electricity is close. We could stay there except for two things. First, we have no place to dump our stuff yet, and we have already rented our home to Dustin, my brother Rusty’s son, and his new bride Kelsi. So! This is different. We need to not stay there because I have a tendency to think that I can go get this or that or go use the washer. And besides, we have the black water we needed to get rid of! So now we are at the State Park - but only for two days because it is completely booked on all weekends. You have to call way in advance to get into to the state parks.
Brownwood State Park
200 Park Road 15
$25 per night - It cost us $70 for two nights, but I don’t know why.
Oh my goodness! Brownwood is such an amazing place. We use to come here all the time when we lived in west Texas. We spent many summers on the lake skiing, and we have lived here for over 20 years, but we have not experienced and enjoyed this place like we should. Now we are going to take some time and do that. This morning we hiked and as soon as I finish this, we will go bicycling. Then this afternoon we will go see Cason play baseball in Coleman. I have to post pictures of the hike.
OH THE PEOPLE WE SEE!
Today when we went riding bikes we met Lee from Georgia. He is 73 years old riding his Silver Wing Honda across country. He is staying in a tent at Brownwood State Park. Brrrrr! He left Georgia April 1st, and he is touring until sometime in July. He had an amazing story. Two years ago he spent 5 months in the Philippines. He fell in love with the island and the people, and he put a hefty deposit on a condominium overlooking the ocean. He then came home and sold his house, his Gold Wing, and everything he had. He had a ticket in his hands to leave for the Philippines on July 1st of last year. Covid shut it all down, and that country has still not opened for people to come back in. He had no place to go. He is now waiting. He has to make some sort of choice by July because he said he does not want to tour in the cold. He said that his claim to fame is that he has ridden his Gold Wing through every state except Hawaii and every providence in Canada. WOW! He said his favorite was Nova Scotia and then another place in Canada that is just past Glacier National Park - Banff, Canada. He says that we still can't cross the Canadian border. If possible, I want to go there. Glacier National Park is on our to do list.
WITNESS HIM NOW:
I want to record what I see God doing. This weekend when we were at Leakey, my husband was riding his motorcycle behind our son. A deer ran out and hit him. It killed the deer, but didn’t touch my husband or his motorcycle. This is not the first time this has happened. Lyndyl was riding close to our home a couple of years ago when he spotted a deer on the side of the road. He was watching that one when another deer, a large buck, headed right toward him. He could do nothing. The deer jumped over him. He could smell him. Then there is the time when a turkey hit me in the face. It took off my helmet, but didn’t touch me. The LORD has His hand on us both. It is evident. Nothing is going to happen to us until it is time.
ZUBERS RIVER CAMP ON THE FRIO - CONCAN, TEXAS
FABIS, BROWNWOOD STATE PARK & SHADE'S BIRTHDAY
I want to blog about our RV adventure. I want a written record of all we do. I posted on my Facebook page that our adventure started on April 16, 2021, but it really started May 4th. We were delayed a bit. I want to copy and paste my beginning posts here, then I will use this blog to keep a record.
APRIL 16, 2021: Today our RV adventure begins. We are going to spend the weekend in Concan with Shade and Caity, then if all goes well, next week we will take off for 6 months? If anyone is interested, I will blog along the way. We don’t know what to expect. We have never done anything like this before. Today we are hauling both Lyndyl and Shade’s motorcycles in the RV. Look at the video. Lyndyl said he will never do that again. Then look at the odometer. That’s right. 441,371 miles on our 2004 Dodge diesel. We will keep you posted.