2023 in review

This was our first full year, full-time on the road with our RV. Of course, we stayed in Florida for the winter. On March 1. we officially went on the road for the big trip. We followed the Gulf Coast to southwest Texas, from there through New Mexico, to Arizona for a visit with Charlene’s cousin in Phoenix. On the way there we had some car trouble that we dealt with all the way to Reno. We made it to the Grand Canyon for our wedding anniversary. What a place. From there we made it through Death Valley into the still snowy Rockies. Then we got to spend 4 great and not-so-great weeks near Reno, NV. Great because we had a lot of time with Charlene’s Aunt. Not so great, because the shop that we towed the truck to crashed it. We ended up trading it in for a 4×4 Ford Ranger. They seem to have still not sold it. As of today (01/04/2024) it doesn’t show being sold. I wonder if it was totaled after all. Anyhow, After leaving Nevada, we worked our way through Utah, Wyoming, and South Dakota, following I90 to Wisconsin.

Your places in 2022

4 Countries/​Regions267 Cities644 Places
188 new543 new

Char became an even bigger fan of Laura Ingalls since we visited their homestead. For the next 4 weeks, we visited family and friends in Wisconsin. Oshkosh air show and everything. It was great. From there we slowly worked our way back to Florida, stopping in Kentucky for a visit with our old neighbor’s. Towards the end of September, we ended up in the keys and then officially putting an end to the trip on October 30. by arriving at Myakka River State Park. We ended up driving 10,478.5 miles on this trip. All we had to do to make this one epic year was go to Germany for Christmas with my family. I don’t know if we can ever top this. But we will try.

# 176

Sherwood Forest, Kissimmee, FL

January 03, 2024, to January 24, 2024

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After returning from Germany we stopped at a hotel in Port Charlotte for a night before we picked up the RV and took residence at Sherwood Forest in Kissimmee. The bad weather must have followed us. It was wet and cold pretty much throughout the stay. All of the three weeks lol. The days that mattered were fine though. The first quarterly family brunch was a great success and will be repeated in April. We also added two new members to the family. Jenny and Jaxon. Now we have dog hair in the RV again. πŸ™‚ My lazy butt is out there walking again. We managed to go to the Tampa RV Show twice. On day two, Mitchell joined us and I think we have someone else going camping in the future. Our summer trip is pretty much halfway planned.

# 177

Thousand Trails Orlando

January 24, 2024, to February 04, 2024

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Check-in at this place is as crazy as they say. We arrived at 12:04 and were #22 in line. While it took about 40 minutes to get to our site, it was organized very well. Others might think differently when you read some of the reviews. LOL. We got a site in the new section, and I must admit that I like this place. We already have 2 more stays booked. 3 more nights are coming up in a week.

# 178

Southern Palms, Eustis

February 04, 2024, to February 11, 2024

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A week in Eustis, FL. For a change, we got a rather spacious site this time. The permanent site next to us was abandoned. They do need to clean this place up a little. The traffic also is getting worse here. But who wants to complain? The area is beautiful. Char got her Saturday at the flea market. The dogs spent Thursday with a dog sitter while we drove to Clearwater to see Charlene’s Neurologist. It was costly in every aspect, but it was worth it.

# 179

Thousand Trails Orlando

February 11, 2024, to February 14, 2024

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Just a quick pitstop on our way to Port Charlotte. We got into the line at about 12:03 and we were #30. I think we were somewhat in the middle. Sunday seems to be the crazy day. On our way to the site, Char encountered someone who obviously didn’t know how to drive their rig. Instead of making a nice wide left turn, he drove straight into the turn. In the process, he cut Char off. Her quick thinking and backing up about 10 feet prevented an accident. I uploaded the dashcam video.

# 180


February 14, 2024, to March 06, 2024

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Another 3 weeks have flown by with making new friends and doing maintenance on the RV. I learned that by cleaning the AC units myself, I saved $150. Max (the RV) also got a bath. Other than that, we enjoyed the weather and the weekly visit of a produce guy. Char might be going a little overboard there. lol

# 181

Encore Tropical Palms, Kissimmee

March 06, 2024, to March 13, 2024

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This is going to be another park in the Thousand Trails system that is going to be on the “only if nothing else is open” list. While it’s a decent park, as you can see by the picture, the section for Thousand Trails members is a little neglected. On top of that, we were assigned a spot that was impossible to use Starlink. Trees to the north and east. When I called to see if they could give us another spot I was offered a $ 25-a-night “upgrade” to one of their premium sites. No, thank you. Now, there were 2 spots empty the week we were there that would have been perfect for us. I was told by staff that they had no openings. On the bright side, we were able to meet with our friends Pete and Libby for dinner and Mitchell came Saturday for a visit. He was blessed with a fuel pump issue on his car and needed some towing. I rented a dolly from U-Haul and towed him back home where he was able to put in a new fuel pump in his driveway. All good in the end.

# 182

Riverside, again πŸ™‚

March 13, 2024, to April 03, 2024

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Back to Riverside for another 3 weeks of fun stuff. Productive fun stuff that is. I managed to find a compatible solar panel that I added to the roof. Now we have a total of 1515 watts of solar. That should do it. Maybe one more 190 watts for the house battery in the future. I got the truck ready and sprayed in a bed liner. I really like how that turned out. The RV and the truck also got an oil change. We are ready for another trip. Charlene had a great birthday. I made two cakes that we ended up sharing with neighbors and other folks from the campground. Great times.

# 183

Thousand Trails Orlando

April 03, 2024, to April 23, 2024

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Boy was I wrong with my prediction. The Park was packed. We spent the first night on an ant hill in the old section. The next morning I drove around and found us a spot in the new section. Much better. We ended up meeting quite a few YouTubers. Other than that we killed time doing nothing, eating well, taking a drive around Lake Apopka, meeting the family at our son’s new house and just having a good time. Char got a fast start on convincing campgrounds to sell Liquified. Overall 3 good weeks. Oh! And she got to pick blueberries.

# 184

Encore Sunshine Holiday, Ormond Beach, FL

April 23, 2024, to May 01, 2024

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This is the first stop of our 2024 trip. It’s also our last stop in Florida. Char wasn’t feeling too good, so we didn’t do much. We tried to drive onto Ormond Beach on Saturday but were stopped in our tracks by 2 vehicles that got stuck as soon as driving onto the beach. One of them being a jeep. We tried again on Monday and were sent away from the first entry spot because we had the dogs with us. So we went a mile down the road where they are OK with that. Still $20. Technically for 1.9 miles of beach. The dogs got their feet wet though. The truck had no problem with the soft sand. 4 low and no issue. I think we could have driven past the 2 stuck vehicles on Saturday. Volusia County must make a fortune with the beach access fees. I wish they would invest it in keeping the beach up better.

# 185

Blythe Island Regional Park, Brunswick, GA

May 01, 2024, to May 03, 2024

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Just a quick stopover at some surprisingly nice county park with full hookups near Brunswick. They have a bunch of domestic rabbits hopping around here. No clue what that is about but kind of cute. We got a bunch of Charlene’s meds filled and visited their Hardees for some buggers. I got my first longer hike in with Jenny. I am not quite sure what she thought of it but it did look like she enjoyed it. Jaxon on the other hand doesn’t seem to think walking on moss is something he wants to do.

# 186

Thousand Trails Oaks at South Point, SC

May 03, 2024, to May 06, 2024

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We stopped here for the convenience. This place is in the woods. But unlike the last time, we got a site that was long and wide. Saturday we drove to Charleston to have lunch with Dr. K. Charlene’s long-time Neurologist. It was great to see him. Sunday I managed to dodge the rain and get on a short hike with Jenny around the lake in the back of the campground. And we celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary.

# 187

Thousand Trails Forest Lake, NC

May 06, 2024, to May 13, 2024

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We can check off another state. This is actually a nice place with fantastic staff. We got a site that even worked with our Starlink. Unfortunately, the week was a little wet. Lots of rain. That doesn’t stop some crazy people from swimming in the lake at 60 F outside temps. We finally got us some Bojangles. I mean, after all, we are in their founding state.

# 188

Thousand Trails Green Mountain, NC

May 13, 2024, to May 20, 2024

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Rain, Rain, go away…. Still lots of rain in North Carolina. But we did manage to drive around two days out of the week. Jenny and I even did some hiking. So it wasn’t all bad. While expensive, Grandfather Mountain definitely was cool with its hanging bridge. I took too many pictures from the area. But it is beautiful here. If it wasn’t so expensive, this could be an area to buy some land.

# 189

Thousand Trails Lake Gaston, NC

May 20, 2024, to May 27, 2024

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What a nice place on a lake that gets busy on the weekend. Charlene flew to Florida mid-week for Mitchell’s graduation. That left me with a few days of quiet time lol. I did some much-needed cleaning of the inside of the RV as well as loads of laundry. I wonder what my neighbors were thinking of all that shaking of the RV. Char had fun flying back. Somehow they broke the plane and they had to get a backup plane. She was a little over 2 hours late. No biggy right?

# 190

Thousand Trails Chesapeake Bay, VA

May 27, 2024, to June 04, 2024

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The highlight of this stop was the ice cream at the campground store. I asked for 2 scoops and look at the picture to see what I got. That was 8 scoops. I never tried Hershey’s Ice Cream before, but it’s good. We checked out the historic places in the area, from Yorktown to Jamestown. We saw the USS Wisconsin and stopped at Virginia Beach. By doing all this driving we noticed that there is a lot of “middle of nowhere” here.

# 191

Thousand Trails Harbor View, VA

June 04, 2024, to June 11, 2024

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Beautiful campground with lots of Sycamore trees. It snowed some hairy stuff from the trees that made even me itch. The cleanup was a mess. They really should have a free RV wash here because of that. We were lucky with our site, as it had a brake in the foliage that made Starlink work just fine. We drove to D.C. where we stopped at Arlington National Cemetary to say hi to Hugh. It has been 24 years since my last visit. Trafic in D.C only has gotten worse. It took about 1/2 an hour to drive from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol. Char had a few bad days, so we kept it to the D.C. trip and a visit to George Washington’s Birthplace.

# 192

Thousand Trails Gettysburg Farm, PA

June 11, 2024, to June 18, 2024

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We checked another box on Charlene’s must-see list. We will be back here in September. We did the self-guided tour of Gettysburg and we drove around Lancaster County. This area still has a lot of covered bridges and we went over a few of them. The Amish lifestyle is being exploited extensively. I am old enough to know firsthand what using horses to do fieldwork means. This corner of Pennsylvania is beautiful. I could live here. Judging by the number of German-named towns, many Germans must have settled in the area. We also loaded up with locally made chips.

# 193

Thousand Trails Chestnut Lake, NJ

June 18, 2024, to June 25, 2024

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I got schooled at a gas station. lol. I always thought Oregon was the only State where you can’t pump your gas. Well, New Jersey is the other State. And the attendant made clear his displeasure of these stupid Floridians. lol. I picked this area for its proximity to Atlantic City. Little did I know that it must be the most dog-unfriendly place in the USA. So we did a wildlife drive and enjoyed the skyline from across the bay. Char got her hair done and is happy. That’s what counts the most. On a side note, I was reminded to pick up after the dogs when checking in. It’s ironic because they have about a dozen geese roaming around the campground. There was shit everywhere.

# 194

Thousand Trails Rondout Valley, NY

June 25, 2024, to July 09, 2024

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2 weeks in the Hudson Valley. What a beautiful area. Everywhere you go is a scenic drive. We had a great time visiting with our old neighbors from Florida. We got to meet quite a few of his family too. We did a day trip to Liberty State Park. From there, you have a great view of the New York skyline, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty. I also got some projects done. I replaced the slide topper over the bedroom slideout, took out the stove, and replaced it with a 2 burner, induction cook field, and air fryer. Cooking is much more fun now. I am about to give the crown to the worst roads we have been on to New York. It was New Jersey while there, but it took about 3 miles to figure out how bad New York roads are. All the miles after that were just for confirmation.

# 195

Thousand Trails Gateway to Cape Cod, MA

July 09, 2024, to July 14, 2024

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We ended up in the woods and the weather didn’t play nice. That pretty much sums it up. The dogs got their nails done and we did get to see the Mayflower and Plymouth Rock. I already cut the stay a day short because who really wants to drive over 300 miles to the next stop, but we cut another day off because the weather wasn’t cutting it. Glad we did. I learned something new though. They grow a lot of cranberries here. And they charge you an arm and a leg for parking almost everywhere. At least the roads are better than New Jersey and New York.

# 196

Drive from Cape Cod to Kenisee Lake, OH

July 14, 2024, to July 19, 2024

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For this slightly over 700-mile trip, we broke it up into 5 stops. Two distilleries and 3 farms. Originally 4 stops but for the reason explained above we added one more.

Day 1. I’m glad we did add this stop. We now have a bottle of barrel-aged Maple Syrup, some rum, punch, and spice rub. This is a small up-and-coming distillery that might just get me into rum.

Day2. The next distillery. This one overlooks the mountains. Some Canadians took the best spot but we ended up nicely also. We had a few drinks and walked out with some goodies.

Day 3. The first farm of 3. It’s a great place with the nicest hosts. Char is breaking the budget already. Gotta make some pies now. But I am not complaining.

Day 4. Today we hit the worst roads in the country. New York takes the crown for sure. Casualties? One solar panel, one broken window, and a loose propane connection. We did get rewarded with an awesome Harvest Host stay though. Besides getting eggs, sausage, and some teres-major, we also got to try some bresaola and salami that future visitors can enjoy. They have something to look forward to.

Day 5. Spent the night at the Hallmark Homestead. Right next to the chicken, turkey, ducks, and the other critters. Jenny and Jaxon didn’t know what to think of them. lol. And finally some decent roads. Quite some wine country here. Surprised me a little.