Pumpkin hurling and Medieval jousting

An interesting pairing, hurling pumpkins and Medieval jousting, was presented last weekend at the Snohomish Pumpkin Festival. Pumpkins were hurled by trebuchets and shot from pumpkin cannons. The pumpkins soared through the air for over 420 yards out of the cannon.

Compressed air powered this pumpkin cannon

Compressed air powered this pumpkin cannon

A group called the Seattle Knights also performed. This group of twenty or so men and women in the costumes and armor of the year 1200 put on mock battles. In addition, they had their horses and demonstrated the fine art of jousting.

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Austin and his silver salmon

Today a trip to the Mukilteo Lighthouse park in Mukilteo, Washington gave us the chance to see some beautiful scenery, the Whidbey Island Ferry, and to meet a nice young man with a couple of very nice fish.

Austin's catch of the day

Austin’s catch of the day

Austin Edmison was kind enough to show us the two silver salmon that he had just caught. He had just pulled his boat out of the water and had begun to clean the fish. He explained to me that the name silver salmon is a local term for coho salmon, the real name for the fish. Austin said his catches today weighed in about nine and six pounds. He also shared the news that he is the proud father of an eight week old baby girl! Congratulations to Austin and his family.

Meeting nice people like Austin make our journeys and adventures worth every minute.

Good Sam Club membership

Just about anybody who as been to a commercial campground has seen the cute little symbol of the Good Sam Club. You know, the happy smiling fellow with the gold halo above his head. The happy guy is either on the campground sign or at the least seen as a decal on motor coaches and trailers throughout the facility.

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The Good Sam Club is a discount camping club and much, much more. In addition to unlimited 10% discounts at member campgrounds, Good Sam membership cards offer fuel discounts at Flying J Pilot truck stops across the country. Get reduced charges for using the Pilot dump stations as well.

Camping World and Good Sam are now part of the same company. Members realize significant savings on parts and service at Camping World dealerships across the country. There is a long list of benefits and other products available to members, including insurance, warranties, and other services to RV travelers.

At only $25 for a year membership anyone who has an RV should be a member of the Good Sam Club.

Passport America membership is a must have

If you have any plans for any kind of camping and plan on staying at commercial parks and campgrounds, you owe it to yourself to invest in a membership in Passport America. This discount club offers half price camping at over 1900 campgrounds across the US, Canada and Mexico. The yearly fee is only $44.00. Membership comes with a complete directory and lots of extras.

A welcome sign to see at your next campground!

A welcome sign to see at your next campground!

Yes, at Passport America member campgrounds you can get 50% off the regular nightly fee. There are some caveats. Many of the campgrounds offer the discount Sunday through Thursday nights only. Most do not honor the discount on holidays or during any “special events” in the area. Some campgrounds have a limited number of sites that are offered at the 50% rate. I strongly suggest that you call ahead, and be sure to mention you are a PA member.

The

When you don’t want to use a laundromat use a Panda

Sometimes the cleanliness of public laundry facilities can be, ah, questionable. For that reason we have added the Panda Washer and spin dryer to our Keystone Hideout. The machine measures 23″ wide x 14.5 ” deep x 25.5″ tall. This slick little unit does a good job with the laundry.

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Now understand that the Panda model XPB36 is for small loads of clothes. The rating is for six or seven ponds per load. Realistically that ends up being a pair of jeans and maybe a couple of t-shirts. However, if you do a load or two every other day you can stay ahead of your laundry while on the road. It will handle a pretty good sized load of undies and socks.

Wash tub on left, spin tub on right

Wash tub on left, spin tub on right

 

No, it is not a washer dryer combo. It is a washer with a powerful spin tub. This spinner really takes the water out! Clothes feel almost dry at best and just damp at worst, depending upon the material of the item. You can hang the damp clothes outside or even inside in case where you are does not allow outside drying of clothes.

The simple controls

The simple controls

 

We put our Panda in the shower for use. With a good extension cord we can reach the wall plug outside the bathroom door. The handheld shower head makes it easy to fill with water, and it drains right into the tub drain.

 

That’s the good. Now the almost bad:it takes two spins for every full load of clothes. The spin basket is about half the size of the washing tub. Sometimes we will wring out some of the water before we spin them, especially on the heavier fabrics like denim.

Passport America discount at Three Flags RV Park

Three Flags RV Campground in Black Hawk, South Dakota is unique in more than one way. The owner/managers, Vickie and John, are perhaps the nicest hosts we have encountered at any RV park. One service that Vickie and John provide to Passport America members is anytime use of the PA discount. You heard me right. Your PA discount is honored at Three Flags RV park any day of the week, even weekends. Most PA member campgrounds restrict the discount rate to Sunday through Thursday nights. Three Flags puts no restriction on days or even the number of days. Want to stay a week? Your Passport America discount is good for all the nights you stay.

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Hosts John and Vickie

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Tent camping with electric and a shelter

Understandably the only times PA discounts are not honored is during the huge motorcycle rally at Sturgis. This rally happens each year in early August, and sees over 100,000 bikers converge on the area.

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Large big rig pull through sites

Level sites

 

 

Located right off I-90 in Black Hawk, South Dakota, this park provides many different sites for everything from big rigs to tent camping. The park is located between Rapid City and Sturgis. Full hookups, including free cable TV are available at many sites. No need to block up your wheels, as the site we had was perfectly level. The park offers free WiFi, clean restrooms, showers, and laundry and propane tank filling station next to the dump station.

I would highly recommend that Passport America members visit the Three Flags park. You will not be disappointed. Check their website for any and all details.

Our decision to go into roadtirement

Standing in front of Dragons Mouth geyser in Yellowstone National Park

Standing in front of Dragons Mouth geyser in Yellowstone National Park

Sher and I have been traveling now for about 18 months. Our travels have taken many different formats ranging from rolling trips that cover a different destination each day to staying in one area for a month or longer. While we are still pleased with our decision to sell our “empty nest” there are times when we do miss a full sized tub and shower and plenty of hot water! Accordingly we have purchased a small two bedroom house. This gives us the chance to take a short break from the road and to visit with family nearby. Having our own washer and dryer are also nice!

While the house will require normal chores such as cutting that pesky grass in the summer months, these are not obstacles that will be hard to overcome. We will continue to travel. There are states we have yet to visit (see our “where we have been map”) and family coast to coast to visit.  We’ll see you on the road!

Below is the original text posted in September, 2014

We were having a hard time dealing with our empty nest. We have raised 5 children and when they all left we really felt the empty nest syndrome. When our children were growing up we had often teased them and said when we retired we were going to get a travel trailer and park in their driveway until they got tired of us and gave us the gas money to move on to the next. Little did we know our children would live coast to coast across the United States.

One day as we were sitting in our empty nest that seemed to be getting bigger and bigger, and more and more work to take care of, we looked at each other and seemed to know what the other was thinking. Let’s do it! And, that is what we did! We did not retire, we roadtired!

Nuts and bolts of a festival set-up

There are some basic bits of information you need to know about setting up for cheap camping at a festival, fair or flea market. First, most flea markets are two days only, normally Saturday and Sunday. Fairs are almost always at least a week, while festivals can be anywhere from three to ten days. We prefer the festivals.

This past August we hit four events in a row. We stayed a week at each, and in two out of four cases we only paid for the vendor spots, even though we were at each location longer than the four days of the event.

For example, we arrived at one festival on Monday, paid our $40 for the Thursday – Sunday festival, and had 20 AMP electric and city water hookups. We had six nights of camping for $40. On the subject of utilities, most places will have electric only. And, this is usually a 20 AMP

A good festival set up with electric and water

A good festival set up with electric and water

service. Some may have water, you will probably never find sewer hookups.

You won’t be at a fancy campground with a pool or miniature golf, but you will have fun talking with your customers and fellow vendors. You can trade your wares for food from the concession folks, and maybe find some other items to get to sell at a later show. Do some research online for festivals in your travel range. Let me know if I can answer questions you may have.

How our flea market, festivals, and fair thing works

Sher broached the subject of paying for camping and gas with our 3F fund in this post. Allow me to expand a bit on that topic.

Starcraft behind two 10' vendor spaces

Starcraft behind two 10′ vendor spaces

A typical vendor space at a flea market, festival or fair is rented in 10′ increments. (Our canopies/tents are 10 x 10) With our old Starcraft trailer we could get by with a 20′ space. We would park the trailer in the back of the space, and then have room to set up our canopies in front of the trailer.

The Hideout behind a 30' space with two canopies and 10' open selling area.

The Hideout behind a 30′ space with two canopies and 10′ open selling area.

With the Hideout we now usually have to get a 30′ spot with the same layout. Sometimes when the spots are deep, we can still rent 20′ with the trailer taking one 10′ and the canopies taking the other 10′.

20' space w/Hideout: We could have set up two canopies if we wanted to.

20′ space w/Hideout: We could have set up two canopies if we wanted to.

I’ll post another article about how to use a flea market or festival as a way to camp for cheap, have some fun, and maybe even make a a buck or two!

Extended stays are different

We are currently in our first real extended stay at an RV park. We are in Everett, Washington near our daughter and son-in-laws home. The RV park is called Lakeside RV Park.

Our home base for a few months.

Our home base for a few months.

We are getting used to the differences between an extended stay and traveling across country. One difference is how we set up the Hideout. No longer do things need to be stowed for travel. We can have the salt and pepper shakers out on the table all the time! The stove top can become a place to leave the cracker box when I am not cooking.

I can leave the knife set out!

I can leave the knife set out!

So far Sher and I are comfortable with this park. The people here are very friendly and helpful in sharing information about the area grocery stores,drug stores and the like.