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Everything posted by ToddF

  1. I like the $90 monthly HOA cost to live here. Look forward to visiting the area and learning more about the West. Great blog!
  2. Many ENCORE parks have storage lots. (I know the 1 in Clermont does).
  3. "If at first you don't succeed, try try again". With any service, there are great providers out there. But they may not be the first one you find. We've had great experiences on the road with our RV. I can think of two occasions where repair shops did us favors and wouldn't charge us. There are a lot of good people out there.
  4. Be sure to visit the various Escapee parks...they are a great option and a nice way to feel part of the community.
  5. I look at "paid tv" as a treat when I am in an RV park that has it. (I'll gladly pay for it on a per stay basis as is the case in some of the Thousand Trails parks I frequent.). Otherwise, free OTA (Over the air) digital TV gives me everything I need. I pay for satellite radio which is a fraction of the cost and gives me needed access to the news channels. They charge so much (DIRECT TV) and 90% of the channels are things I wouldn't pay for. Plus ads to boot.
  6. Be sure to do all your homework. Pulling a trailer and setting up is not as easy as towing a small car behind a mid-size motorhome. I know everyone has their own preferences, I tow a HOnda CRV and can hookup and disconnect in 5 minutes by myself. When my partner is with me, it takes 3 minutes. We travel all across the US and like the motorhome. We're inside for bathroom and lunch breaks. One of us can nap in the back while on long hauls. And we like running around in a small car once we set up camp vs a big truck. Another idea is to get a long term room at a place like Extended Stays for a month and avoid making 2 air flights. Let us know as further questions arise. Good Sam has a very active forum too.
  7. ENCORE now allows month long bookings on their website. (You used to have to call to do so if the stay was for a month or longer.) ENCORE and SUN are advertising deals, I suspect demand is lower this coming winter due to the pandemic.
  8. My understanding is that the government pays the insurer a fee for each enrollee in the medicare advantage program. The players are HUGE insurance companies and they manage the participants care in an effort to reduce fraud, waste and unnecessary charges. Think of the company as your advocate with a dual mission...keep you healthy and keep costs low. Also, because of their size, they may negotiate favorable reimbursement rates with their providers when compared to other options, like paying cash for services. As a tax preparer, I haven't paid much attention to the details of the different options over the years, but I have noticed huge variations in what people pay for supplemental insurance once they go on medicare. Many like "GOLD" coverage that pay for everything, but in addition to the $144 month for Part B, they often pay $200-$300 month for their plan. For someone like me who works out at the gym, goes to a chiropractor, bikes every day etc, it makes more sense to go with the no premium option and save the money on the side so I can pay my chiropractor of choice out of pocket if necessary. If I have a heart attack or get cancer, Healthpartners has Regions Hospital in St Paul which I know to be an A+ provider as my Dad had major surgery there and the place is amazing.
  9. There is an explosion in advertising in Minnesota of companies offering Medicare Advantage plans. (United Healthcare, Healthpartners, Humana, etc et). Or maybe I'm just noticing it for the first time (open enrollment) since I'm not usually in MN this time of year. The Advantage plans seem to offer lots of perks like dental care, eye checkups, even meal delivery! I definitely plan to check into this when I become eligible as I am fine with a narrower network of providers. I'd most likely go with Healthpartners since that is who I have my major medical insurance through now and they have an excellent network of clinics and hospitals in MN. I think Medicare Advantage would be good for someone like me (zero premium option) who seldom takes any RX and gets sent home from the Doctors office with a "don't come back" more often than not.
  10. I've pondered a similar question...(my business is "4 months on...8 months off".) My RV sits mostly unused for at least 1/2 the year. I just put the RV away and don't plan to use it until September 2021. I store it inside, so there is very little "wear and tear" during periods of non or light use. I do a few short trips in the summer to keep things running smooth. My advice is to try to find a rig (maybe used) that you can fit into your budget and store inside as I do when not used and foget about the joint ownership possibliity. RVs are such a personal item (mattresses etc), high maintenance, quirky. Not an easy item to share. In the pool business, you presumably already have a truck that could be the tow vehicle. A modest trailer is not that big of an investment and when well taken care of, could last you 15 years.
  11. At Rainbow Plantation, owners of several deeded lots (not the campground) rent out spaces privately. Their homes are on large lots and they have FHU for 1, 2 or 3 RVs on them.
  12. Those frozen turkey breasts can also be thawed out and thrown in a crook pot. Roasting a whole turkey in the oven tastes best but a chore. Those oven bags work well and reduce the mess.
  13. Yes, MN has this capability too at the secretary of state's site. They confirm 2 things: Receipt of ballot That ballot will count.
  14. Listened to Minnesota Dept of Health update this afternoon. They attributed over 600 cases to 71 different weddings. 1 death. This doesn't include untraceable infections that resulted from coming into contact with an infected wedding attendee. Also listened to a story on Minnesota Public Radio that featured a doctor with experience treating covid. Here is what I've learned... Everyone knows the medical experts recommend mask wearing and thorough hand washing. Outdoor interactions are safer than indoor. (The weddings in some cases were outdoors but some had indoor receptions). The amount of time one spends with an infected individual is critical. 15 minutes is mentioned as a threshold for increased risk. Picking up the virus from packages and grocery items seems less an issue. (I'm not sure on this but I will say I never stopped going to grocery stores frequently. I wear a mask, get my items, self-checkout when possible, and put everything away when I get back to the RV or home, and wash my hands. ) Indoor dining is a high risk activity. Have a plan. Mine has always been in any emergency to point the RV toward Minnesota and head home. The plan worked: I knew I could make it alone and did so in less than 48 hours. This included rest breaks and no compromise on safe driving. However, I did have to drive at night which I prefer not to do under ordinary circumstances. Consider buying an oximeter. A key tool in the initial management of a covid case is managing blood oxygen level. One might not be available when you need it, I lucked out, Walgreens had them in stock. But if this pandemic continues raging, they could become hard to find like masks were in March. (An oxygen level at or below 90 would imply a need for an urgent care visit). Have cough syrup and cough drops on hand. If you live in your RV, try to partition off an area with plastic bags and seal the area. It should be well ventilated. You want to try to separate the sick from the healthy. Have non-perishable foodstuffs on hand that are easy to prepare. You can become very weak, making a cup of tea becomes an effort. Have Clorox wipes on hand and wipe down door handles and other frequently touched surfaces. Call your Doctor or clinic and get a case started even if you end up self resolving at home. Thanks everyone for your thoughts and prayers. It's "one day at a time" with Covid.
  15. Yes, MN Dept of Health called and all contacts have been notified. I'm living in the RV in the driveway until we establish it is safe to go into the home.
  16. On Saturday morning I found out my partner of 25 years, who was home in Minnesota and planning to join me in Florida next week, became ill and tested positive for the virus. I left Selma, NC (RVacation campground) at 3AM on Sunday morning and arrived home last night at 11:00PM after a 1700 mile trip driving alone in 2 days. Camping in the driveway until we can determine if it is safe for me to go inside. With this virus, there is no way to know what course it will take, so returning to MN seemed like the only choice. Even with a quick recovery, I don't think I have it in me to drive back to Florida to complete the rest of the trip that was planned through the end of December before our tax season starts. Be safe. Be flexible. (I managed to camp for 5 weeks and have a great time, mostly outside, only 2 meals in a diner that was very clean and empty). And managed to visit the Hershey gardens outside, spend 3 weeks biking and walking on the beach, and visited an old Aunt and Uncle on their front porch.
  17. The best approach (in my opinion) with Thousand Trails is to "go slow" and start with a zone pass. For a small fee (less than $600) you can try on for size all of the parks in the zone you purchase. This is the best way to find out if the system is going to work for you before upgrading to a "lifetime" membership. They run sales on the zone pass and sometimes you can get a 2nd zone for less than $100. They also run Fall promotions with a 4 year commitment and give a small discount when you go that route. (I wouldn't recommend it...stay with 1 year if just starting out). I'm not on FB but understand from other campers that there are 2 FB groups, one is company sponsored and the other is independent, another good way to network on Thousand Trails.
  18. "We've been traveling the south for the last 3 months and have repeatedly seen entirely full parks" Anecdotal to be sure, I just tried to make a reservation at Colorado River (N of Houston) Thousand Trails for Feb 1-Feb 15 and it showed availability. When I retire, I'm hoping to be able to use my Thousand Trails Membership during the prime winter months.
  19. I've had an Aunt and Uncle who have lived here for many, many years. So I see 3 Thousand Trails parks on my membership in the area and came for a visit. It's a beautiful part of the country with a mix of quaint small towns (e.g. Columbia), farms, suburban like areas, and touristy things to do. Discovered the South Lancaster County bike trail system (Columbia=trailhead) -14 miles in length along the Susquehanna river (highly recommended). The Gardens at Hershey ($12.50 admission) are beautiful. And hopefully when Covid passes, a resumption of the huge Hershey RV show every Fall (Oct). The Jersey Shore is about 160 miles to the East. Amtrak services Lancaster - a great way to go into NYC for a visit (about a 90 minute ride). The area has many fresh fruit and vegetable markets and buffets (limited now) known for homestyle cooking.
  20. As recently as last week, I finalized my reservations in Florida for the middle week in December (all the other weeks in Nov and Dec were booked earlier). I'm on a Thousand Trails membership and have 43 parks in Florida that I can stay in. When I retire, I will try to use it Jan-Mar, knowing it is likely to be more challenging to get reservations. My reservations include a week in Flagler Beach, Punta Gorda and 3 weeks at Orlando (Clermont). For now, Nov and Dec aren't that hard to get reservations. In the future, I'll try it (I've talked to folks who do it on Thousand Trails through the peak season and they said you have to hustle) and if everything is full, I'll try the cheaper parks mentioned previously in central Florida or move West. I don't want a permanent site or 3 month stays in one place. With S+B in place, I can always winterize the RV and go home. 🤪
  21. Sounds like the "fear" factor is somewhat justified.
  22. Probably me. (My accuracy rate is closer to 99%). 🤭
  23. Reading through some financial reports (10-K filing) from ELS (Equity Lifestyle Properties which owns and operates Thousand Trails), they experienced robust growth in membership recently and are bullish on the industry. RVing was growing in popularity and this has only expanded since the pandemic set in and folks realized they could sleep in their own bed, s**t in their own toilet, cook in their own kitchen etc. ELS filing makes for some interesting reading for geeks like me. https://equitylifestyle.gcs-web.com/node/20596/html Excerpt from the above referenced report: We believe the demand from baby boomers for MH and RV communities will continue to be strong over the long term. It is estimated that approximately 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 daily through 2030. In addition, the population age 55 and older is expected to grow 18% from 2020 to 2035. These individuals, seeking an active lifestyle, will continue to drive the market for second home sales as vacation properties, investment opportunities or retirement retreats. We expect it is likely that over the next decade, we will continue to see high levels of second-home sales and that manufactured homes and cottages in our Properties will continue to provide a viable second-home alternative to site-built homes. We also believe the Millennial and Generation X demographic will contribute to our future long-term customer pipeline. Millennials and Generation X combined represent over half of RV buyers. There is an increasing trend among these groups to adopt a minimalist lifestyle due to its affordability, preference over home quality relative to its size and the overall unique experience that our communities can provide. We believe the demand from baby boomers and these younger generations will continue to outpace supply for MH and RV communities. The entitlement process to develop new MH and RV communities is extremely restrictive. As a result, there have been limited new communities developed in our target geographic markets.
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