We rang in 2016 celebrating with two of our best friends in downtown San Antonio’s Riverwalk. This is a pictoral blog post. No words necessary! Because frankly, we can’t remember. Barhopping was something we did in our young, dumb and numb days and wasn’t our forte’ however, we played the game for old times’ sake.
Spit polish shoes….CHECK!
Army Ball Tickets….CHECK!
Just because we live full-time in an RV doesn’t devoid us from partaking or attending formal events. In early 2015, Dan bought himself a set of tails and myself, a ball gown…or two…or three…for a Mardi Gras Ball we attended with our wonderful friends in Mobile, Alabama. This year, we dug them out of our tiny closet and took them to the cleaners, did a quick spit polish on Dan’s shoes, bought me some new jewelry and donned our formals again for the Medical Command Army Ball.
We were guests of our dear friends, Leon and Barb, who are stationed in San Antonio at Fort Sam Houston. We were stationed with them back in Kentucky years ago at Fort Knox.
We were in good company of some great Medics and Officers! Great group picture…even if it IS a proof! LOL
We felt like fish out of the water as Dan was the only Coastie in attendance; as well though, he was in his tails and not his Coast Guard uniform. But dang, we looked sharp! It was a great evening of pomp and circumstance, honor and several happy hours!
So, until next time, the ball gown and tails goes back in the garment bag and gets put back under the bed. Even RVers get to go to the ball!
We did it!!! We believed in our dream and now are living it! We didn’t give up. We didn’t throw in the towel when the worst storms hit us. We were told if we can make it through our first year, we can do it for 20 more. This was no easy feat. We trusted our hearts and souls, held hands together and plunged into the unknown. We left the rest up to God.
|Two days before leaving Kentucky|
The eve before Thanksgiving 2014, we passed papers on our S&B (Sticks and Bricks…aka ‘house’) and that’s when we held our breath. Coincidentally, our very first RV friends we’ve met, Kristin & Jason Snow aka the “Snowmads” who we’ve networked through the past months were attending a RV convention in Louisville, so who better to get the straight scoop before hookin’ up and hauling out. They were fantastic! They reassured us that it gets easier as each day passes. They were so helpful and encouraging. They’ve been full-timing for some time; they were experts. So we went with that and flew! Thank you Kristin & Jason for pushing us off the edge. Love you guys! Can’t wait to see you again!
So the day after Thanksgiving, we rose with the Kentucky sun once more; said our goodbyes to our terrific Kentucky peeps and neighbors, loaded up one last time (we did practice runs each month prior), and pulled out of Taylorsville.
|Captain Dan locking the gate before departing|
To say the least, being the sentimental type, I (Lisa) started crying happy tears and grabbed Dan’s hand. Dan…well, not so much…he had that deer-in-the-headlights-look on his face as he gripped the wheel as we embarked on our maiden voyage. I couldn’t tell if it was fright or overwhelming jubilation. Either way, there were no more second thoughts; no going back. This was it. We were about to trip the light fantastic.
Fast forward 365+ days…
OH WHAT A RIDE IT HAS BEEN!!!
Thanksgiving 2015 marked our 1st year RV’ing! Happy Nomadiversary to US! We survived the test of time. Our marriage met challenges (who’s wouldn’t from downsizing from 3300 sq ft home to a 400 sq ft RV?). Doing this isn’t about only ‘loving each other’, its about ‘LIKING each other’. It’s also about meeting in the middle and making sacrifices; one or both of us. It’s taking both of us out of our comfort zones and taking a chance at a different lifestyle. It was OUR TIME! Time to throw off the bowlines and throw caution to the wind.
So, in a nutshell…
We got lost more times than we can count; not even hard sometimes! We ducked under overpasses that were a mere inch taller than RV Liberty was. We almost ran out of fuel three miles before one of our destinations. We cursed at our GPS’s while at the same time, celebrated technology.
We cried when we received phone calls of devastating news that took us miles away. We slammed doors in anger or frustrations. We opened our hearts to new friendships. We cheered at professional hockey games. We watched Army Rangers jump out of big airplanes and boasted American pride each time we heard the sounds of freedom.
We caught tons of Mardi Gras beads and throws. We dressed up and dressed down. We danced barefoot on beaches in Alabama and Florida and two-stepped in Texas.
We rode our motorcycles to honor our Nation’s MIA’s and Fallen Heroes and Segways through battlefields. We tossed nickels and dimes into fountains and humbly placed pennies on graves at Arlington.
We’ve tried cuisine that we would have passed on before. We had a tiny Christmas tree and handed out treats to ghosts and goblins from our RV door. We visited family members. We kissed puppies and petted kittens.
We dared to try something different….always. We’ve watched the sun set, sun rise and stars twinkle. We interrupt dinner to run out to see a rainbow. We quietly watched thousands of fireflies in woods and fields on the darkest nights. We stop to smell roses and pretty flowers that we used to just walk by. We take pictures of silly things.
We went to two churches in one day! We climbed up sand dunes and slid down a mountain. We left breathless; by attitude and by altitude.
|Enjoying Jamestown, VA|
We fit our RV in places that even professional drivers would scratch their heads at. We learned things not taught in school or read in history books. We saw things that others will never be able to see in their lifetime.
We passed on buying ‘things’ because they wouldn’t fit in our RV yet filled our minds with overflowing memories.
Each day was not always a vacation yet, no two were the same. There was always work to be done. We’ve read books at the laundromats. We enjoyed coffee and donuts just because. We’ve learned to lean on and learn from our RV’er Families.
We learned patience. We embraced our failures. We laughed at ourselves over silly and sometimes, costly mistakes. We each grew individually and together; spiritually, inwardly and outwardly too. We are not rich but we are enriched. We are happy. We love our life. We are living our dream.
So far, each day, each hour, and each minute blessed us with a memory. Have we done it all? Oh heck no! That’s why we’re going on year two!
Now that we have passed our inaugural year of successes and failures, we wanted to share our list of our first year RV’er WTF Moments:
- We sold our beautiful Kentucky home
- Two tornadoes
- A hurricane
- A snow storm and frozen waterlines
- Both of us got pneumonia immediately after casting off
- Our son deployed to the Middle East (4th time)
- We attended our first Mardi Gras Ball (Ball gown and tux tails)
- Met and chatted with a prominent NASCAR personality
- Visited NASCAR Driver Ryan Newman and his wife Krissie’s Rescue Ranch
- Wined and dined at Richard Childress’ Winery
- Dined at Charlotte Motor Speedway upper deck
- Hugged shipmates whom we’ve not seen in over 32 years
- Lisa was ‘patched’ (motorcycle club…a ‘good’ one LOL)
- Rode Segways
- We learned how to blog
- Changed state residency
- Left our broken down Harley in the middle of nowhere Virginia
- Broken Campsite Reservations during the busiest season in Pennsylvania
- Our first National Heartland Owners Club Rally
- A major RV repair (went back on assembly line)
- We became hikers and explorers
- Dan hiked up to the top of the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado
- A very sick kitty crewmember (twice)
- A sudden death in the family
- Unforeseen Medical Emergency
- Our son’s homecoming from the Middle East
- Attended a formal Army Ball (ball gown & tails)
- A difficult major family medical decision
|Another RV couple, Eric & Brittany Highland of RV Wanderlust |
that we meet up with occasionally on the road
- We each put on 15 pounds
- We succeeded at living in a 400 sq. foot RV (and we’re still married!)
- We’ve made hundreds of lifelong RV friends
- We’ve reunited with over FORTY of our former Coast Guard shipmates
- We’ve reunited with our Rolling Thunder Brothers and Sisters
- We visited Dan’s parents in Pennsylvania and brother’s family in Virginia and my brother in northern PA
- We stayed in 18 states (1 night or more)
- We visited over 20 National Parks, Historic Monuments and Landmarks
- We visited 5 nationally known cemeteries.
- We camped/parked at 7 military bases/posts
- We’ve taken over 30,000 photos
- We’ve traveled over 7,000 miles
We’ve come to the point now where we don’t count; there are no more numbers. We live one day at a time and enjoy the life God has blessed us with.
|Our First Anniversary with fellow RV’ers and our Army family|
We hope you have enjoyed our blog thus so far. So much more for us to share with you all.
We chose to spend the winter near San Antonio, Texas in 2016 to spend with our Army friends, Leon & Barb, who were stationed at Fort Sam Houston. We met them when we were all stationed in Louisville, Kentucky. But it was a double bonus because we’ve never been to San Antonio.
We’ve been doing this ‘RV thing’ for almost a year now and looking back, all we can say is ‘we’ve come a long way, baby!’ Several months prior to us actually throwing off the bow lines and putting our wheels on the highway to destinations unknown, our 30 year old son ran into another RV couple while on one of his ‘hard core’ camping trips in Colorado (he ‘camps’, not ‘glamps’ like us!). Quite interested in what we were about to embark on, our son boldly went up to the couple ooooo-ing and awwww-ing their rig (they had one of those big. fancy, drive-able, movie star, bus-like RV’s…his words) and asked, “if there’s one thing or word of advice you could give to my parents who are about to be doing the same thing, what would it be?” The man a little older than our age pondered that question for a short moment and came back with a Captain Obvious…“don’t give up in your first year”, he said, “that’s all…don’t give up because your first year is a learning process in EVERYTHING; marriage, smaller living conditions, new type of home engineering, diesel instead of gas powered tow vehicle, medical issues, finances, OH, the list goes on.”
- Changed the globes on the pendant lights. (took a little bit of alteration)
- Installed stemware holders (a girl needs her wine glasses; even if they’re plastic)
- Ordered, modified and installed a pullout pantry in the galley
- Built and installed sewer hose housing underneath the steel frame
- Installed JT StrongArms on leveling jacks (for added stability)
- Individually replaced and changed out all 6 tires
- Installed television in berthing (bedroom)
- Installed rods inside laundry closet to keep my scarves, belts, small purses, etc.
- Installed his Flag Pole Buddy
- Hand-made a yard flag holder
- Built wood leveling blocks
- Researched and installed plugs to cover rivets on our deck patio railing
- Built and installed sewer hose housing underneath the steel frame
|Updated Light Globes and Installed Stemware Holders|
|Sewer Hose Storage|
|Installed JT StrongArms|
Made Leveling Blocks
|Dan’s reward after his outside RV chores|
The sea, once more, called our name. The salty beaches, seafood lunches, sand between our toes and an occasional grog to close the evenings were just what the doctor ordered. We chose Galveston Island because two Coast Guard shipmates live in Texas City and another who lives in Katy.
Continue reading “Galveston, OH Galveston!”
When you come to Texas, you’ve got to expect to eat a big honkin’ piece
of beef! Its a right of passage. Its what you DO in Texas. Its what you EAT in Texas. If you don’t, your friendly Texans get their feelings
hurt and will give you a salad…and laugh at you. No, really, its true!!
You can’t miss the plentiful billboards of I-40 near Amarillo, tourist brochures in every establishment and of course the huge yellow building with the big, truck-size steer in the front of the building on Route 66 with Texas flags flying. They say it’s a ‘Landmark Legend’. The place lights up like Christmas! I bet Rudolph has no problem finding it to deliver Santa for a quick bite. They even promote by offering free limo rides to and from the RV park. Their limo cars all have huge ‘long horns’ on the hoods like Boss Hogg’s car on the Dukes of Hazard. Its no exception, they too, do everything BIG here. Its a Texas thang. I mean, LOOK at that place!!
you’re a fan of that tv show ‘Man vs. Food’, you may recollect seeing an
episode of Adam Richmond trying his appetite to conquer the 72 ounce
steak…and all of the fixins that went with it (salad, baked potato and roll). Well, we can’t remember if he beat the challenge but we remember his bragging about this meaty restaurant; we just had to go. Anyone who beats the challenge (there’s actually a special raised table at the front of the restaurant with big digital clocks and tv cameras to record it…even!) gets to walk out without paying the bill. Imagine that! How easy would that be?
Well, we didn’t have the kajones nor the appetites to take on the Man vs. Food challenge of the 72 ounce steak dinner however, we started with the perfectly crispy fried ‘shrooms with awesome secret sauce and then to our entree’s of BBQ ribs and the 24 oz. steak dinner and went home with people bags (if you don’t have dogs or even if you do, they’re not doggie bags).
Our meal was absolutely delicious! The steak was outstanding; perfectly cooked in my requested medium-rare with a steamy, plump baked potato and see that pepper thing on the steak? Was I supposed to chow that down too? I had the salad prior as part of my meal. Dan had the ribs slathered with fantastic BBQ sauce and crispy onion rings; also had a big honkin’ salad prior. We were happy campers with our meal and the waitstaff was on the ball with our beverages. We’d give this awesome peculiar steakhouse a 5 out of 5 stars. It was THAT good! The steak was criss-cross charred exceptionally and melted in my mouth after only a few chews. It came from a good cow…or bull. I still can taste it just looking at the pictures! Oh! OH! They even have this roving Texas country music version of a Mariachi Band. We politely declined; something about someone else singing for our supper makes us willy-nilly.
After we satisfied our growling bellies, we waddled our way into their most awesome gift shop of ‘Texas Everything’; jewelry, purses, commodities, souveniers, t-shirts, trucker hats and even a live-caged huge rattler in the back of the store (Ew! Ew! Ew! EWWWW!!!). We came out with a couple small tokens of remembering the Big Texan Steak Ranch. They got it right, there; meat for the guys, shopping for the girls. Smart marketing, I’d say!
So, if you’re into carnivore-ing like us, definitely set your GPS to the BIG TEXAN Steak Ranch. Its an Amarillo favorite! They also serve breakfast there too!! Your tummies will thank you…and US for the “bulls-eye” (ha ha! See what I did there?) recommendation. If you’re nowhere near, go to their “beefy” website (whoa! Did it again!) to get look-see. Too bad they don’t make scratch and sniff websites!
So there’s our review. We were not compensated for telling the truth.
Since we were little kids, We’ve always wanted to go to Texas. We remember watching black and white tv shows that were filmed in Texas. I love big shiny belt buckles, cowboy hats and boots. Both were enamored watching gunslingin’ heroes with big shiny revolvers. Equally, we love all things Texas; cactus, armadillos, cowboys (not the Dallas team) and the big stars in the big Texas sky. Oh, and let’s not forget my favorite, the King of Country, George Strait.
Campground/RV Park: Oasis RV Resort – TEXAS (Amarillo)
Location: 2715 Arnot Road, Amarillo, TX 79124 (888) 789-9697
Oasis RV Resort was recommended to us by another RV’er but we didn’t realize the extent of their recommendation. Its been rated as one of five top RV Destinations in Texas. We made a reservation a month prior. This RV ‘Resort’ is beautiful! Oasis RV Resort is located west of Amarillo and is easily accessible from I-40 (exit 60) and only 2 miles from Cadillac Ranch on the Service Road. Campground signs signify a mile from the exit; as well, a huge billboard showing their location (lit up at night!). Love’s Truck/Travel is right at the exit for easy fueling before you park or on your way out.