Depending on Our RV Family


When we set out on our nomadic quest, one big anchor seemed to weigh us down.  That big question, “what happens if we need to vacate our RV to fly home for emergency, go on a non-RV vacation or meet a client in a different city for more than an overnight?”  Since we’re not keen on boarding our nomad cats, we needed to think about the ‘what if’ and figure out how we’re going to find worthy person(s) to take care of our precious furry family members. 

Soooooo…


Who ya gonna call?


Since we started RVing, there have been a few times when we’ve come to rely on our RV family.  Since we were already accustomed to leaning on our military family, it was a no-brainer that we continue relying on our birds of feather; those who are like minded and commiserate our lifestyle…(read more)


Our first time facing this dilemma was when we first arrived in Castroville, Texas in late fall of 2015.  Our son’s Army Unit Family Readiness Group called us to let us know when their unit will be arriving home from Afghanistan.  We wanted both of us to attend his homecoming at Fort Carson, Colorado but we were pretty sure only one of us were able to go because that looming issue was going to hold one of us down.  


Once we parked Liberty at the Alsation RV Resort, unhooked and set up, we immediately met our neighbor.   We discussed among ourselves if we even dare take a chance on asking someone we didn’t even know and giving them access to our RV to take care of our nomad cats and coach.  Sounds pretty scary right?

We were apprehensive. I mean, who wouldn’t be?  Would you give your house key to a complete stranger that just moved into your neighborhood to have access to everything you own and your beloved furry family members?  However, in lifestyle we now live, we ‘learn and earn’ our new family on the road…trust; and that trust goes both ways.

So, we took the chance…  

We noticed our neighbors in the motorhome next to us had a cat sticker on their door which gave us that ‘hmmm, I wonder if…’  Well, we put it in God’s hands and trusted that he would guide us.  The neighbors were nice and found that they too, were military veterans so that put us a bit more at ease.  Still, it was a bit scary however, we packed our backpacks, fueled up Captain America, gave the key to them leaving precise written instructions on the counter.  We patted our fuzzyheaded nomads on the noggins and kissed them goodbye hoping return to everything in tact and happy cats.  Early morning, we drove a 900 miles from San Antonio, Texas to Fort Carson Army Post in Colorado.  

After five days of welcoming our son home and helping him get settled, we drove back to San Antonio literally holding our breaths.  As we drove back into the RV Resort, we were relieved to see our ‘then’ Cyclone Toyhauler still parked there looking the same as when we left.  We unlocked our RV door only to be greeted by our two sleepy-eyed kitties who were seemingly glad to see us.  We were thrilled that they had all of their fluffy hair and were still pudgy.  Sighs of relief and smiles beamed on all of our faces. We were grateful that they AND our home on wheels were taken care so lovingly.  It was then we learned that with this lifestyle, we CAN rely on our RV family should we ever we have to step away. 


Fast forward to February 2017, we were at a slow crawl with no real set schedule from making our way to San Antonio, Texas from southern Arizona to get our annual medical appointments completed.  However, we were stopped in our tracks in El Paso when we received a call from Dan’s mom to ‘come quick’ as Dan’s Dad was gravely ill back in his hometown in Pennsylvania.


Already stressed from finding boondocking spots on our way back to San Antonio, this just sped up the process and now the emotional aspect of Dan losing his Dad took a toll.  Our reservations for Fort Sam Houston FamCamp were penned in for March 1st; practically a whole month away.  We called to see if we could arrive earlier because of our family emergency.  Unfortunately, we were told there was ‘no room at the inn’ so we were scampering for a place to park Liberty near San Antonio to get a rush flight home. We thought at that moment that we were going to ‘have to’ board the girls; something we were emphatically against. 


But then our RV Family came to the rescue!


Our RV besties Timily (Tim & Emily) from Ownlessdomore who have crossed our paths several times in the past couple years of RVing helped us.  They were already in San Antonio, Texas at Lackland AFB FamCamp for their own medical appointments.  We connected with them instantly and in turn, they spoke to the staff to see if we could get a site in two days.  Unfortunately, this Lackland’s FamCamp didn’t take reservations, so there was no way to know if we’d get in or not.  So as we continued to make our way closer to San Antonio, Emily gave us an hour-by-hour assessment of what sites were coming open.  The day we were to arrive, she kept an eye on any site opening up.  Needless to say, her vigilance paid off.  When we arrived at the commercial gate to the Air Force base, Tim even met us and escorted our tired and weary souls right to our site.  

We immediately parked, set up our RV and shortly after made our flight reservations.  Before we could even ask, Tim and Emily were right there waiting for directions on how to care for Krissie and Kandi.  They even took us to the airport the next morning and picked us up when we returned.  Our kitties fell in love with Emily even though she’s not a ‘cat person’ but it seemed they grew on Emily…even though she’s allergic to cats.

We’ve appreciate that our RV family understands and commiserates our nomadic lifestyle. And of course, we do the same for others. Earning each other’s trust isn’t taken lightly. We always try to be good people and render help when needed…


…we have to because who else are ya gonna call?


Don’t think that we hand the keys over to just anyone.  Similarly, when we lived in our S&B (sticks and bricks), we have a mental checklist of how we pick our pet sitters and caretakers. To us, its extremely important that they not only ‘like’ cats but they must love ‘our’ cats because they are our furkids.  We’d want them to treat our girls just the same as we do.

Finally and worth noting, an RV is not like a S&B in respect to the mechanics and engineering.  Who knows better than our fellow RVers who know the electrical, HVAC, water and sewer systems. While there may be professional pet sitters wherever we park, if something goes awry with our RV, they won’t know what to do.  


So, if you’re an RVer who needs to leave your RV and/or pets to tend to family events or even a vacation or cruise, look no further than your RV’s door.  We’re not saying just throw caution to the wind.  Trust your gut and seek someone who will keep your home on wheels and all that’s in it safe and sound.


Off We Go into the Wild Blue Yonder…

Since hitting the road two and a half years ago with our 5th wheel RV, we’ve
visited and/or stayed at several campgrounds on military facilities aka known as ‘FamCamps’.  Our percentage of staying at FamCamps vs. other parks/resorts is about 65%.  They are an approach to help reduce the cost of vacations, weekend excursions, PCS moves, TDY and leave travel by offering military families and retirees the use of military facilities.  Though ‘FamCamp’ is technically an Air Force term, we (Liberty Crew) apply it to all military campgrounds.  We are extremely grateful that we have this privilege as it allows us a base security, enables continued military comraderie, usage of other facilities (ie. commissary, PX/BX, medical facilities, etc.).  



When we are parked at them, we have been opportuned to see some beautiful memorials, an  invitation to a military ball, and attended a ceremony or two.  Recently, we added attending an Air Force Basic Military Training Graduation at Lackland AFB in San Antonio,
Texas.  Even though we are retired military, we’ve not forgotten where we came from.  We still feel compelled to continue our duties of patriotism, honor and extending
appreciation to our new(est) generations who now stand on that wall of freedom who protect our
Nation. 

Since Liberty was moored at Lackland AFB FamCamp,
we learned when the Air Force ‘boot camp’ graduations were and promised ourselves to attend one before leaving San Antonio.  The graduation ceremony was within walking distance from the FamCamp so that made it even better.  
The event was/is held outdoors at the War Birds
Park and Parade Grounds which in itself, has an amazing display of Air Force “War Bird” aircraft that helped our Country defense 
(future blog post…stay tuned!).

If you’ve never attended a military event, we encourage you to go; whether it’s a graduation, deployment ceremony
or homecoming…GO!  In our opinion, there is no greater display of patriotism than
honoring those who give their selfless
service to our great Country.  Afterall, if it weren’t for them, our Country wouldn’t be.  

At such events, you’ll be seated amongst other military Servicemembers, military spouses, children, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers and
extended families of our Heroes.  We give
as much respect to them as we do to our military men and women because, through our own experiences, their dedication, devotion to duty and success is much owed by the support from back home.  

The Families:

The Friday I went, I walked over with my DSLR camera and sat on the top bleacher seat between two families; “Luis’s Family” (from Southern California) and “Austin’s
Family” (from Wyoming).  It was a coincidence that both of these new Airmen were flag bearers for two state flags which made it easy for me to look for Luis and Austin.  As I sat with the families, I WANTED to
learn a little about them prior to the ceremony beginning.  I shared with them that I was in their same shoes 14 years ago when our own son graduated from his Army Basic Combat Training at
Fort Knox and I appreciated how special this was as a mother and as a military Veteran.  Luis’s mother told me that Luis was her 4th
child to enlist…WOW!  FOUR children who are serving our Country at the same time in the same service! 

Alex in the center of the photo
poised and proud of her Airman
I also chatted with Austin’s mother and his young bride,
Alex.  As I watched Alex took me back to my
young military wife days of excitement and pride.  I promised them that I would take lots of
photos of the ceremony so they could  enjoy it instead of snapping
photos.  Theyve given me permission to 
share some of them.  

We were amongst 700+ other families of many different backgrounds who came to see their Airman muster on the field, “Pass in Review” marching the
field and Airmen’s Enlisted Heroes Walk to reaffirm their Oath of Enlistment.

The Ceremony:

Posting the Colors
Marching in the National Ensigns and State Flags
Alex and Luis are in there somewhere

The Band led the parade

One of the companies passing in review

One of the MANY companies passing in review

Look for Alex with the Wyoming flag and Luis with the Arizona flag!
The March:

The field was huge; larger than a football field that’s parametered by a paved sidewalk with the War Birds historical aircraft positioned around the parade field.  

Where the first set of bleachers were located, their ‘march’ begins on the Enlisted Heroes Memorial; a symbolic 32’ x 32’ walk that is comprised of 1024 inlaid tan bricks.  To date, approximately 175 of those bricks are etched with the Heroes names at the beginning of the bomb run with their rank, decoration and war participated.  These heroes earned the Medal of Honor, Air Force Cross or Silver Star.  You could feel their story as you read each Hero’s name.

Every graduate marches over these bricks to remind them of the journey they are about to embark on as new Airman of the United States Air Force and to reflect on the significance of their enlisted heritage; realizing there are heroes amongst them as well as heroes past. 



After the ceremony:
Its celebration time!  
Mass exodus of families from the bleachers.
The new Airmen must stand in formation to wait for their
families to come for them.

It was an incredible honor to meet Luis and Austin.  Both were very young; I’m guessing right out
of high school or early college.  As
expected, both were quite handsome in their Air Force blues, extremely
professional with their military bearing was exemplary.  

Luis in the middle with his family
As I took Luis’s photo with
his family; he was quite apprehensive of hugging and kissing his mom because of military protocol  of ‘No PDA’
(public display of affection) however, I affirmed it was
okay to hug and kiss his mom; especially for pictures.  He looked a bit relieved.  After leaving his
family, he loosened up a bit and I even got a hug from Luis and a thank you for photographing this important event.


Luis’s proud Mom and Dad
I noticed he let out a little grin as his Mom kissed his cheek.

I caught up with Austin’s family before everyone dispersed.  Austin and his wife, Alex, grabbed a few moments a short distance from their family to pose for a photo
or two of them together.  They were so
grateful.  I hurriedly snapped their
photos and hugged them as I left; not wanting to take anymore of their precious reunion
moments away from them…I ‘understand’ having been a military wife for over 30
years myself of those priceless private moments.  

A bittersweet reunion


Alex with her Airman, Austin

A congratulatory kiss from Austin’s wife and his Mom
Austin’s family

These are just a few of the many photos I took that wonderful day.  It was an honor to share these moments with two amazing families who have embarked on their own journey; one of…duty, committment, honor and service. 


If you’re in the San Antonio area, include a Friday in your visit so you can witness another 700+ men and women march into their new rolls as United States Air Force Airmen and perhaps you’ll meet some our Nation’s next great generation.


If you are reading this Austin and Luis, blessed thoughts to you both in your futures as Airmen.  Dan and I wish you success and pray for your safety in all you and journeys you embark on.  Semper Paratus!


Blogger’s Note:  When I post ‘Airman’ or ‘Airmen’, I did not purposely disqualify or exclude women.  As a woman Veteran myself, changing labels or titles for the sake of gender, in my opinion, does nothing but create division and lessens cohesiveness.