Even RV’ers got to go to the Ball!!

Tuxedo….CHECK!


Ball gown….CHECK!


Spit polish shoes….CHECK!


Sparkly jewelry….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!

Happy 1st Anniversary to Always On Liberty!!






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.



Looking back….. 











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

Casting off

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.  

HOME IS WHERE WE ROAM!!



 

Don’t Give Up in Your First Year!

Yeah, we still get those nights where we stare at the ceiling with a zillion things going on in our head to wee hours of the morning…or is it the MSG in the Chinese food we had last night?  But here I (Lisa) am thinking, ‘what’s a girl ta do’?  Well, as LT John Dunbar in the movie ‘Dances with Wolves’ said in one of his lines, ‘I think I’ll write’.  If you remember, he was a ‘paper blogger’ in the movie; although his was not read by hundreds or thousands, his blog was in a small handmade leather-hide book with irregular pressed paper pages.  Nonetheless, he blogged to pass time and to record his thoughts for reference just like we do here.

Sooooooooo…I’m just going to write some random thoughts, just as LT Dunbar did, putting them down in our internet diary in hopes that perhaps I can maybe get some droopy eyelids at the same time, offer a bit of insight or advice to others who may seeking this wild adventure.



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.”  


So, as our year since has passed, we can honestly say, that was the BEST advice he or anyone could have given us and its advice we pass onto others who are following suit like us.  It wasn’t advice of ‘which RV we should get’?.  It wasn’t advice of ‘what truck has the best towing capacity’?  It wasn’t advice on ‘oh, you should go here or go there’.  The man’s advice was poignant and true; straight to the heart.  

Captain Dan
Approximately three months after taking delivery of “Liberty”, Captain Dan was out doing his weekly maintenance and canvassing the engineering processes and came inside looking quite perplexed.  Now, if you know Dan, he’s always one who contemplates and carefully calculates E V E R Y T H I N G.  I say that with endearment.  He’s a ‘list guy’.  He’s a ‘planner’.  He’s meticulous.  They are traits he acquired during his tenure in his 30 year Coast Guard career.  And its certainly enviable personal characteristics to have when embarking on this type of action. 

I asked him what ailed him and he looked at me and said, ‘I wonder if we made a $$$ mistake.’  Now, he’s rarely been a man of doubt so this kind of threw me for a loop for a moment.  Sad, actually to see him like this.  He said, ‘this is all so new and SO MUCH to learn’.  I mean, this guy has been on every RV Tips, RV Tricks of the Trade online forums, bought RV maintenance books on Amazon, mastered YouTube videos (LOL for not being an ‘internet guy’!) that I swear I’ve never seen him seem so serious…or delirious?  I just looked at him with my reassuring smile, ‘Boo, remember what the RVer man told our son, “don’t give up in our first year”.  Okay then. Agreed!  Never spoke of that moment again.  Well, until now.  The reason I’m blogging about this particular moment is it was an integral part of our growing.  This was one of those ‘Come to Jesus moments’, it was either sink or swim. “DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP!”

So, days went by, months skated past and now, here we are, almost to our 1 year “nomadiversary” and what a difference a year makes!  BOTH of our confidence in this way of life not only boosted but surprised us.  Yes, you CAN teach a dog new tricks.  We’ve had early on, this agreement that he would take care of everything engineering and outside the coach and my job is trip planning, reservations, cooking, interior decorating, minding the finances, keeping the inside of Liberty clean and of course presenting him with new ideas someone else has shown on a forum or video (Oh boy!!). 

I’m going to go on a bragging binge now.  (Shhhhh, maybe Dan won’t read this!)  To say the least, I’m every bit of proud of him because he didn’t give up the ship…maybe that’s why HE’s the CAPTAIN!  His gears are always turning. 

Remember I mentioned Dan’s watched YouTube videos, read forum after forum, etc.?  Well, who better to get good ideas, advice and improvements than from others who have paved the way for us.  Here’s a list of improvements that Dan has put his hard-working hands and engineering know-how into.  Some may be or look simple but, again, RV engineering is quite different than an S&B (‘sticks and bricks’ house).
  • 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



Pantry Pullout

Updated Light Globes and Installed Stemware Holders
Sewer Hose Storage

Installed JT StrongArms
&
Made Leveling Blocks
These are just a fraction of updates and improvements he’s made.  In this RV living, its about improvising and in small scale.  We are always mindful of our weight and keeping within warranty guidelines. We are a good team. We do well with what we are blessed with.  We take extreme care of our ‘home on wheels’.  It may take a couple times to get it right; a stern look or pat on the back.  

So here we are, almost a year later.  Other’s who park or camp next to or near us will spot something on our coach/camper/rig/landyacht and say ‘hey, that’s cool!’ and of course it always sparks up conversation and handshakes…and then to a campfire and cocktails…and friendship…and most important, we become a part of RV FAMILY.  

So, last words of advice for this blog entry…….

DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP!

Dan’s reward after his outside RV chores



Always On Liberty Crew goes to the BIG TEXAN!!

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!!



 So what are two former Pennsylvania carnivores, who know their beef, to do while we were in Amarillo??  We ‘fine dined’ at The Big Texan Steak Ranch, of course!  We were met at the door by Cowgirl and Cowboy waitstaff, all decked out in their plaid shirts, stetsons, boots and spurs, who took us to our table.  There was nothing formal in this restaurant so leave your pearls at home; you may get some bbq or steak sauce on them.
Now, if
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.

5 Cool Things We Did in Amarillo, Texas

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.

Continue reading “5 Cool Things We Did in Amarillo, Texas”

RV PARK REVIEW: Oasis RV Resort – TEXAS (Amarillo)

CAMPGROUND REVIEW


Campground/RV Park: Oasis RV Resort – TEXAS (Amarillo)

Location: 2715 Arnot Road, Amarillo, TX 79124  (888) 789-9697
Date(s) Stayed: 9/25/15 – 9/29/15
Length of Stay: 5 days
Site #: 41 (Pull Through)
Cost per night (with taxes): $31.85/night
Discount Used:  10% Good Sam
Connections: 50 amp FHU’s
Stars:  4.75

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.

This very manicured RV Resort has 188 concrete/asphalt level, ample spaced sites; 147 are long Big Rig friendly pull-throughs.  Large chipstone islands between each site instead of grass; however beautifully manicured gardens and grass in common areas.  Check-in procedure was fast and friendly.  We arrived at 3:00pm with no waiting.    

Accurately quoted from Oasis RV Resort website:

During your stay with us you will enjoy:
  • 188 full service RV sites featuring 147 pull-thrus all on paved roads to guarantee level pads
  • Private picnic patio, 20/30/50 amp electricity and cable TV at every pedestal
  • On site Storm Shelters
  • Free High Speed Wi-Fi
  • Free Cable TV, over 20 Channels
  • Heated outdoor pool. (seasonal)
  • 2 heated spas, one adult only (seasonal)
  • Exercise Room
  • On site full service propane
  • Ice available
  • Pet friendly resort with newly constructed dog run
  • Sparkling clean private showers and bathrooms
  • Playground, BBQ Grills, Horseshoe pits, games and activities
  • Delicious Pizzas and Wings made to order at our Pizza Cafe every evening
  • Charming gift shop
  • Adjacent to a full service LOVES Travel Stop
  • Horse & Medical facilities nearby
  • Just steps away from the world famous Cadillac Ranch
  • Close to food & fine restaurants and Amarillo’s Westgate Mall
  • Free Limo Service to The Big Texan Ranch Steakhouse
  • Clubhouse available for special events

We LOVED this RV Resort!!  It, so far, has been our favorite in 2015!   So much to do nearby!  We spent a couple evenings enjoying their adult heated spa.

This RV Resort earned our 4.75 stars (out of 5).  The only thing missing is an adult beverage area (clubhouse) open at least weekend evenings.  Also, the pool could have been open a couple more weeks as it is still quite warm outside.  Campfires are not allowed; even propane firepits.

LOVE the fact that they honor Active Duty Military with their first night stay for FREE! 

We put this HIGH on our list of returns!  Love this Resort!