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Solo18

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About Solo18

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    On the Road

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  1. I have not stopped traveling since I am full-time and heading slowly north to where my son lives. I have been staying 1-2 weeks at each of several campgrounds that were in fairly isolated rural areas in northern Florida, a state park in Georgia, and now am in TN. I cannot stay at my son's house because of subdivision rules and there are no decent commercial campgrounds nearby, so I am waiting for state parks to open May 17. I need to get some dental work done and some medical tests taken care of in Ohio, then will resume moving in late June, through northern Michigan and parts west. My biggest problem has been things that needed fixing. Camping World agreed to replace my water pump in the parking lot, but I had to have a mobile repairman come inside to fix my toilet. Right now, porch light needs replacing and my bedroom TV is flickering like crazy, but those things are not critical, so will have to wait. Tried to get the porch light fixed at a different Camping World, but they wanted to drive my motorhome into the shop to replace it, so I passed on that. Frankly, I feel very safe in the campgrounds I have chosen since I picked places with sites spread apart and I tend to stay indoors a lot. Much safer than an apartment building or condo complex, for sure.
  2. Hate to tell you, but Florida has been hot and humid most of the winter, and there are more cases in the southern part than in the northern part. Course, some of that is due to crowds, but it has been a very sunny winter as well, with lots of fresh air. However, I agree that being in an RV is the safest place to be if you live alone, as I do. No way do I want to head north or west and hang around with family!! I have not found any commercial campgrounds closed in Florida, and am at one right now, even though I checked in only a week ago. Only thing I see wrong with starting out full-timing right now is boredom. You can do all the traveling you want, but museums, national parks, and other interesting places are all closed.
  3. The key here is Central California. If the poster is talking about the central valley in California, daytime temps can average 110 to 120 during the summer, which is not at all comparable to a lot of workcampers' experiences. Many places are so hot as to require two AC units, or sweltering in the summer heat.
  4. I am a full-timer and pretty much keep moving. I prefer state and national parks, and I am still in mostly tourist mode even after several years on the road. I have traditional Medicare with a Plan F supplement through United Healthcare, which means I never need referrals. I see my regular physician in Ohio when I can, but I have visited a lot of urgent care centers as I have traveled 136,000 miles in 7 years. I also had hand surgery twice while staying near my son in northern California. In addition, I am participating in a research study in Oregon, so my oncologist is there. (Had to spend four months in a commercial campground while getting treatment.) My primary physician in Ohio is fairly new to me, but I sent her my records from my original Michigan doctor when i first started seeing her, plus I send her any doctor's reports on surgery or major issues. She gives me a year's worth of refills on my prescriptions. In addition, I carry copies of test results and doctors reports after visits with me as I travel. I tend to have a lot of kidney stone problems, so I even try to get DVDs of my most recent cat scans if it looks like I might have a problem again soon. In addition, my Ohio doctor is part of a major medical center, and they have records on a patient portal that I can access very easily. Did it a couple of times from my cell phone while in a doctor's office. Electronic records are becoming much more common, which makes it easier to show urgent care doctors my medical history and any relevant test results. In the last 6 months, I have had cataract surgery, kidney stone surgery, and shingles. In Ohio, I recently saw a pulmonologist and had a PET scan for a blob in my lung, which luckily was negative. I had taken my cat scan that first showed this blob with me from Oregon on a DVD, so did not have to repeat any tests. The key is keeping copies of test results and doctors' reports and communicating these with my primary and oncologist. I have never had problems with a new doctor not believing me that I have a condition because I have had so much documented. And, all it takes is a quick repeat cat scan showing my kidney stones to get opioids. Keeping copies of such things also prevents having to have tests repeated. And because I pay $240 per month for my Plan F, I have never had a copay in many years, other than for prescriptions.
  5. New Mexico is certainly tricky in terms of weather. It can be hot in one place and freezing only a couple of hundred miles away. You can use this site to get estimates: https://www.usclimatedata.com/
  6. I bought a new Wally this past summer. Then I discovered that my 7-year-old satellite would not work well with it, so I spent $250 on a new Dish Playmaker for $249. You may need to do the same. Installation added to my cost, but that is because I wanted mine installed on my roof because I live full-time in my motorhome. If you are only going to be traveling for 7 months out of the year, you could consider this same satellite but on a tripod. You can take it to your home with you when you are not traveling and sit it on a tripod there or install it temporarily on your roof with a special mount. The Wally is easy to remove, and it can become your home satellite receiver for part of the year. In other words, with the new Dish equipment, you can go from home to RV to anywhere you can get power and use the same equipment. You could also just leave the Wally and Playmaker in your RV and turn it off for the time you are not using it since Dish does not require a contract. And there is also an app you can use to set the local channels to wherever you are. Or just call the DISH technicians who will do it for you. They never complain even if I call them every day for a week while I am headed somewhere.
  7. Here is my secret for parking an RV and toad for the day in Key West--drive straight in to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park on the far southwestern corner of the island. (You don't want to drive your big rig around much of the town because the roads are narrow.) There is a dirt parking lot, just past to the paved parking lot that will accommodate big rigs, and the entrance fee for the state park is $6.50 per vehicle!! (I paid only $4.50 because I was a single occupant of my vehicle.) The dirt lot is almost to the beach. The person at the entrance booth will direct you. Then enjoy a walk around the fort and the beach, and then get out your bikes, as I did and enjoy a day of bike riding, or walk out of the park and call an Uber or cab to take you to the main tourist area, or walk there--it is really not too far. Or I suppose you can find a campground and just take your toad in, but I have no toad, so have to drive my 32" vehicle around. The state park was a terrific find. I had called ahead to ask about parking a motorhome there, and they were very helpful. Cheapest and safest parking in Key West!
  8. Most airports offer on-airport parking for "oversized" vehicles. I have left my motorhome at Salt Lake City, Orlando, Eugene Oregon, and Las Vegas. Most charge the same as for a car--about $15 per day. It is safe and convenient because you can hop in your vehicle right at the airport.
  9. If you have an unlocked smart phone, which most are these days, all you need to do is to stop at a Verizon store in the US and buy a pay as you go SIM card. No need to buy a new phone. The store will put it in your phone for you. But make sure you wrap up your old Canadian SIM card carefully so you can replace it when you go home. https://www.verizonwireless.com/prepaid/?cmp=KNC-C-HQ-PRO-R-BP-NONE-PrepaidDoubleData-2K0PX0-PX-GAW-71700000010306182&ds_rl=1037682&ds_rl=1275402&gclid=CjwKCAjw8ZHsBRA6EiwA7hw_sXXQTo-oAVmMxKVusFr-LAGfqVuN1VEZGIAZnN_mDJpp_7NWDopaSRoCGOoQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds I did this in Canada and in the UK. People in Europe are very used to doing this. For $45 per month, you will get 16 gigs of data and unlimited calling to Canada and Mexico. You will now have a completely US phone for making local calls. If you have two phones, you could leave one of them as a Canadian phone and turn one of them into a US phone. But it would cost you international rates to call back to Canada, depending on your current plan. When I spent 6 weeks in the UK, I bought a pay as you go SIM card for $20 and had unlimited cell phone service and unlimited international and local texting, although i had only 5 gigs of data, but it was enough to use maps and a lot of the other features. It will be easier for you to access your Canadian satellite in the US than it was for me to access mine in Canada because it was so far north. Mine worked in southern Ontario but not in Nova Scotia!!
  10. I went into motorhoming with no experience whatsoever, but learned a lot along the way. There are lots of things we have all learned from experience, for example here are some things I learned: You CAN pump the water tank dry, but once you do it and have to flush, you will always remember to leave some water in your tank before you go to sleep or get on the road. Not being able to flush certain solids is not a pleasant experience, if you know what I mean!! An emergency gallon jug of water is also a good idea. I turn my water pump off at night because the sound of it occasionally cycling irritates me. And it is a good idea to turn everything off before plugging into a campsite so you don't have a surge of power. And check that the previous person has turned the switch to OFF before you plug in. Just easier on systems. All chocolate goes in the refrigerator, or it will make a lovely puddle. And all prescription drugs should go in a cooler without ice, to protect them from hot weather. I learned that from a pharmacist in Wisconsin a long time ago. ALWAYS put your awning in before you go to sleep and when you leave your RV for more than a few minutes. I learned that the hard way when I had to get up and dressed at 2:00 am a couple of times. I have also seen a lot of damaged awnings when campers left their campsites and a sudden wind came up. And DON'T put your slides in without checking to make sure everything is out of the way. I learned that a couple of months ago when I got lazy and left the bathroom door open when I put the slides in. Crunched the door and cost me $350 to have repaired. Could not close door for a couple of weeks while waiting to get it fixed. (Even we long-timers get sloppy sometimes, but it costs to get sloppy.) Carry a full supply of mousetraps and big sprays. A day will come when armies of little ants will come marching through your motorhome and a mouse will take up residence in your food drawer. This is not a possibility--it is a certainty. And, finally, if you back into a big tree, try to do it when not a lot of people are watching. And don't be afraid to ask your camping neighbors a lot of dumb questions. Fellow campers have saved me a lot of grief along the way. And as someone posted, they may not have the same unit as you do, but many of their systems are the same. And campers are usually very willing to help newbies. Good luck and have fun!
  11. One suggestion is to transfer tools from metal tool chests to canvas tool bags. They will rattle a lot less that way, and you can push a canvas tool bag into a smaller space.
  12. I work only half-time teaching online remotely, but I can choose when to do my work as long as I meet deadlines in returning papers and posting class sessions on time. I use two Verizon hotspots, one of which I bought used on EBay. One warning is that I have been misled a lot of times about the availability of cell service. I will call a campground or state park ranger station and be assured I can find a good Verizon signal but when i get there I find out that to do that, I have to be standing next to the lake holding my cell phone up in the air--not appropriate for a business meeting! Very irritating, but after a while I have gotten better at checking coverage maps and interpreting a potential signal strength. Another thing I learned early is that I needed duplicates of stuff--two laptops and two hotspots. My lesson-learned was when my laptop hard drive died in the town of Okracoke in the Outer Banks and had to take a ferry and drive to Virginia Beach to buy a backup laptop. Dell sent a part and walked me through installing it, but it did not solve the problem and I had to meet a service guy in the campground at Virginia Beach. (I had a home service warranty on the laptop.) I immediately found a Best Buy and bought my backup.
  13. I nearly always stay in state, national, or county campgrounds because sites are more spread out. Admittedly, there is more noise on summer weekends, but the rest of the time it is a lot quieter than my old condo complex was--night or day. To avoid noise, avoid the places on weekends where families congregate--anything that has the letters KOA in it, on boating lakes, big swimming pools with kiddie areas, places near big cities, etc. For big holidays, think of where everyone wants to go and then find somewhere else!! There are a lot of less busy state and national parks that do not attract noisy drunks or big family reunions. Also, pick a spot as far away from the lake or attraction as possible. Maybe even a site at the end of a row. Right now, I am at Emigrant Lake in Oregon. Most people with families choose the lower sites along the lake. I am on the second row, which is higher on a ridge--much quieter and not even full the last few days. People drive by these spots, and you can see them say "too far away from the lake" before they drive on! Last weekend, there was a large noisy group on the lower level, but I did not even hear them up here!
  14. I disinfect my fresh water tanks every 3-4 months. An important thing to know is that I drink the water in my tank. I do NOT buy bottled water! I have both an external water filter and a whole-house filter. Most filters are just carbon filters that mostly filter sediment and reduce the amount of bacteria. I buy the more expensive filters that remove mold and spores and other nasty things. Read the back of the box to compare. Before I add chlorine to my system. I fill a couple gallons jugs full of water to use for drinking and cooking. Then I add a cup or so of regular bleach to the water tank, fill it up, and run each of the faucets for a couple of minutes. I try to do this early on a day I drive or am away from the rig and where I have full hookups. I use the water to flush and do dishes, and even shower since chlorine dissipates fairly quickly. I run all the water through the tank over the next couple of days, add fresh water to the tank, and by then all the chlorine is gone. I have never had problems with the taste or appearance of my fresh water and have never gotten sick from it, even when I have had a weakened immune system.
  15. Recently, I have been irritated at seeing dogs in grocery carts. I am allergic to dogs and do not want to have to be close to them. But most importantly, I do not want to take home packages of food that have been in my grocery cart where a dog was recently sitting. Do I have to wash everything off when I get home??? Walmart seems to be a big offender in allowing dogs in carts. Yesterday, I was on the road and wanted to stop at a Walmart, so I had to call them and ask if they allowed dogs in grocery carts. They assured me they did not and make people take them out whenever they see one in a cart, but that whole conversation tells me that it has happened. I have had pets until recently, and never felt that I needed to take them with me to a grocery store. It is true that people are really taking advantage of the situation. Frankly, I do not want to fly with a dog next to me, not that I do not like animals, but I don't want to end up with a stuffy nose and constant cough because of the animal dander. This whole thing reminds me of the time I took my 85-year-old mother and her two young grandchildren (my niece and nephew) to DisneyWorld. My mother was in a wheelchair so we were able to avoid lines, but we kept running into a family of four in a wheelchair. In other words, they had one wheelchair and took turns being disabled. One day, the mother would be in the chair in the morning, but in the afternoon, it would be the young daughter, and the next day it would be the son, etc. No wonder people question if someone is "really disabled"! People who do these things are also causing problems for people who are honestly disabled and have a "real" service dog.
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