2022 in review

The map doesn’t look quite as impressive as last year’s, but there were a few interesting things. We sold the house and moved into our full-time RV live on April 13. Looking back, we did the right thing. Our old house did take some damage from Ian. Not having to deal with that is a blessing. I retired on October 20. I got my Public Notary license and will add an Online Notary license to that soon. It can’t hurt to have some ice cream money. We are hanging out in Florida before we hit the road for the big one in March. Stay tuned.

Your places in 2022

1 Country/​Region108 Cities343 Places
43 new233 new

# 100

Matt’s RV Reviews Rally

January 12, 2023, to January 15, 2023

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Pure coincidence, I swear. But the rally turned out to be our 100th outing. And how fitting for this kind of milestone. Charlene now is recovering from the weekend. Only to be tortured again at the Tampa RV Show in a few days. We had a great time at the rally. We met new friends and learned a thing or two. It got a little cold again. There even was frost on the car this time.

# 101

Tampa RV Show

January 15, 2023, to January 23, 2023

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After the rally, we went to stay in Zephyrhills again. At Hillcrest RV Resort. We didn’t have high expectations and were pleasantly surprised about this campground. Spacious sites and some of the nicest residents you can ask for. We went to the Tampa RV show twice. We now have a 0.2-micron whole-house water filter system. Now we just need a Water Softener and Charlene will be a “Happy Camper”.

# 102

Long Point Park

January 23, 2023, to January 29, 2023

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Another week at our favorite park. Inner sites only this time and we had to move once. The second site was nice though. Just look at the view. Met friends for lunch and said goodbye to them. Probably won’t see them again until 2024. Charlene is practicing taking videos for a YouTube channel she wants to start.

# 103

WD Farms

January 29, 2023, to January 31, 2023

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This Hipcamp location is a little gem. Too bad we had to leave. Don and Liz are great hosts and we are glad to have met them. Charlene enjoyed making friends with all the animals on the property. We stocked up on fresh eggs. I had to replace the step motor on our RV and without asking Don was under the RV with me lending me a hand. Lokai enjoyed the freedom of roaming the property. This is the kind of place I have in mind when I think about our future.

# 104

Southern Palms RV Resort

January 31, 2023, to February 07, 2023

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Not much going on here. Easy week. Replaced the fender cover that I recently cracked, and did some cleaning, and maintenance. That’s about it.

# 105

Hip Camp in Brooksville and Hillcrest RV Resort in Zephyrhills

February 07, 2023, to February 15, 2023

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Things change quickly. The original plan was to stay at this Hip Camp location in Brooksville. Unfortunately, their power supply was not agreeing with us so we moved on after one night. Too bad, because this place was beautiful. We ended up in Zephyrhills at Hillcrest again. The really bad part, this was also the last campground Lokai had been to with us. On the 14th he went to play with Max and Skully again. Why is it so hard to say goodbye to a little sucker like him? We will miss him. But just like Max and Skully, his ashes will be traveling with us.

# 106

Back at Southern Palms

February 15, 2023, to February 22, 2023

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Our 4th visit here, and this time they pissed me off. We were parked right under this beautiful Oak Tree. Not much choice there. I am going to make sure to send them a cleaning bill. While this place is part of Thousand Trails, it is now officially at the bottom of the list.

# 107

Backwoods in Punta Gorda

February 22, 2023, to February 26, 2023

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We stayed at a Hipcamp location behind the airport in Punta Gorda for a few days. Charlene and I took care of some Doctor appointments and we said goodbye to family in the area. Cloie went back home to Fort Myers. Pretty quiet in the RV now without dogs. Our host was nice enough to allow me to wash the RV. Took me 4 hours. More stuff from the RV made it into storage. Traveling a little lighter now.

# 108

Lazydays RV Resort, Tampa

February 26, 2023, to March 01, 2023

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A little family get-together before leaving for the trip. Oil service is done on the RV and the truck. Ready to go.

# 109

Rainbow Springs State Park

March 01, 2023, to March 03, 2023

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The first stop of the trip is behind us. The same rude lady at the reception from our first visit here in December 2019 ticked me off again. It was a little sad to see how much in disrepair this park is. The area here and the spring is just beautiful. And it is visible that it is not maintained. We did look at a property about 20 minutes from the spring. We will keep that one on the shortlist for now. Off to the next stop.

# 110

Torreya State Park

March 03, 2023, to March 05, 2023

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After a windy ride, we arrived at our last stop in Florida. This is a cute little State Park. And the campground is even cuter with some amazing views. With not much around, we went for a drive to Bristol and across the Apalachicola River to a pioneer museum. Just like anything else in the area, not much to see. But we did see two of the smallest jails I have ever come across. Time to leave Florida now and head west.

# 111

Shepard State Park, MS

March 05, 2023, to March 07, 2023

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We finally left Florida. We stopped at Buc-ee’s and Bojangles on our way to Shepard State Park. Char needed a day to rest so we took it easy. Not that there is much to see in the area anyway. I finally got the truck washed. 2 weeks of pollen and road dust did a number. The pictures didn’t do justice.

# 112

St. Bernard State Park, LA

March 07, 2023, to March 11, 2023

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Our second time in New Orleans. We visited the World War 2 Museum and Lafayette 2 Cemetery. Obviously, I am aware of the German influence in this area. But when we visited I was a little surprised at how many German names we found in the cemetery. While those places were absolutely awesome I have to mention that my first impression of New Orleans is still the same. Dirty, neglected, and run down. I wonder what all the money they collect for parking goes to. But there is hope. We saw a homeless guy picking up trash. It’s got to start somewhere.

# 113

Lake Fausse Pointe State Park, LA

March 11, 2023, to March 14, 2023

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I was reminded of martinis once again. Shaken, not stirred. Louisiana’s roads are so bad, it’s not funny. We drove through a small town where they were doing road work. Well, the gravel that was left, was more smooth and drivable than the intact road. The state park is in the middle of nowhere. Cell service? Nope. Starlink kept us online. I was barely parked when Charlene called me. She was approached by this 10+ foot gator. Shortly after there were 4 of them. I picked this faraway spot for my birthday and wouldn’t you know it, our neighbor also was celebrating his birthday here. Same day. How are the odds? I found this hole-in-the-wall restaurant in the next town (45 minutes) for crawfish and beignets. Charlene seems to have a hard time finding something to eat here though. Everything has a kick to it. Time for her to grow up in the culinary world. Now off to Texas.

# 114

Sea Rim State Park, TX

March 14, 2023, to March 21, 2023

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A week at the end of the world. It got a little wet and a lot cold. Civilization is about 30 minutes away. Refineries line the way. And you can take your car to the beach. That was a first for us. The sunrise was right out of the window. We learned a thing or two about Civil War battles fought in the area and we visited the Texas Energy Museum. When we first got here I thought a week would be too much. The area is so rich in history, that you need a week if not more. Too bad the weather didn’t play nice.

# 115

Galveston Island State Park, TX

March 21, 2023, to March 22, 2023

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We had a great time meeting up with some friends we met on Facebook. A couple from Germany that is traveling North America in their RV that they shipped here from Germany. We had lots of stories to share paired with a great dinner. Time flew by too fast.

# 116

Mustang Island State Park, TX

March 22, 2023, to March 26, 2023

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This wind here in Texas is getting on my nerves. lol. What is up with that? I surprised Char with a visit to the USS Lexington. While I am not too keen on what they made out of it, it was still impressive to walk where history was made. On day 2 we visited the Texas Aquarium. Char made friends there with the flamingos and it seemed as if they were talking to her. She almost spent as much time with the dolphins. I did not dare to drive on the beach here. Well, I tried but the sand was loose and I could feel that we wouldn’t get far. They do have a warning sign by the entrance booth. 4X4 only! Our neighbor here told us that someone got their RV stuck a few days ago trying to camp on the beach. I think I go with rather save than sorry.

# 117

Los Fresnos, TX

March 26, 2023, to April 01, 2023

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Well, on our last day here the weather finally cleared up a little. We did go to Boca Chica and checked out the Starship. At least the pieces. Pretty impressive. Char was happy to make it through a border patrol checkpoint. She was hoping for a search. I was happy they only asked if we were US citizens. I drove along the border fence so she could see that too. All gates were open. For her birthday we had some really good Texas BBQ.

# 118

San Antonio, TX

April 01, 2023, to April 05, 2023

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After going through another border patrol checkpoint, we made it to Vista Ridge RV Resort near San Antonio. The owner gave us a tour of the property along the San Antonio River in his ATV. That was something new and fun. Char needed a break, so we waited until Monday to visit the Alamo. I have been to a few places now where history was made but this one is right up there. Walking the grounds where David Crockett and James Bowie once fought for freedom is an amazing feeling. I read books about both when I was a kid and we learned in school about the Alamo. Yes even in Germany. Back then I never would have thought that I someday would visit these places I read about. But here we are.

# 119

South Llano River State Park, TX

April 05, 2023, to April 07, 2023

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I think we drove back in time a little. The Park is near Junction, TX. A cool, sleepy little town that seems frozen in time to me. With one of the best BBQ places though. Lum’s. Since it was cold and rainy, that’s where we went for lunch. Their BBQ pit area outside the restaurant is bigger than the restaurant itself. It was the best BBQ I had so far. And it was enough for another dinner and lunch. But what is it in Texas with the potato salad served with everything? Good too though. I did a short hike in the morning up a hill to a lookout point here in the park. My biggest elevation change yet. 250 feet of easy walking. I guess I am a flat lander. Overall we are at about 1700 feet in elevation now.


# 120

Fort Stockton, TX

April 07, 2023, to April 08, 2023

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We spent the night at the Old 76. An open-air bar in Fort Stockton. Unfortunately, they were closed due to God Friday. I was really looking forward to a good beer. Oh well. We did get some sightseeing done though. The drive here was interesting. I guess we got the first taste of what this country has to offer. You can see it in the pictures.

# 121

Carlsbad, NM

April 08, 2023, to April 10, 2023

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We are in the desert now. We left Texas with a little rain and clouds. We pretty much drove straight for about 120 miles with one 4-way stop intersection in the middle. The only indication we had that we made it into New Mexico was the weather. The clouds broke up and the sun came through. Nothing but sunshine since. Sunday we went to visit the Carlsbad Caverns. What a sight. Charlene took the short tour while I went on. Good thing she did. The short tour was almost too much. She would not have made the big tour. I took lots of pictures down there. 121 of over 150 were uploaded. Sorry 🙂

# 122

Carlsbad, NM

April 10, 2023, to April 13, 2023

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We moved to Brantley Lake State Park about 12 miles outside Carlsbad. Should have gone here for the whole week. But this way we got the tanks emptied and the laundry done because there are no sewer hookups here and the dump station is closed. We visited the Sitting Bull Waterfall. Not much of a fall since there hasn’t been much rain in a while but still a must-see. And it’s accessible to Char. A couple that was also there asked her if she could take a picture of them. Turns out, they were from Port Charlotte. What a small world. It was kind of interesting to drive through some farmer’s pasture. We did encounter a few horses and some cattle.

# 123

Roswell, NM

April 13, 2023, to April 16, 2023

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What can I say, it’s all about aliens in this town. Even one of the three McDonald’s here is shaped like a UFO. But that’s about it. At the UFO museum, we sat in and listened to the crash story told by some older gentleman who has been doing “research” for over 30 years. That was rather interesting. We did celebrate our one year full-time on the 13th. Time flies by when you have fun. And fun this is. Even though I had to go under the RV and replace the step motor assembly. Didn’t take too long and I only bumped my head once.

# 124

White Sands KOA Alamogordo, NM

April 16, 2023, to April 19, 2023

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After a breathtaking drive through the mountains, we arrived in Alamogordo. At that point, the highest elevation was 7591 feet. According to the sign at the summit. That’s also when we saw our first snow-covered mountain. On day 1 we went to White Sands National Park. What a sight. We skipped the sledding but managed to climb some dunes. Even Char made up one of the smaller ones. It did look a little like a winter wonderland. On day 2 we took a scenic drive through the mountains to the Sunspot Solar Observatory. I took a detour through the woods. About 6+ miles of unpaved roads. That’s when we came upon some snowbanks. And yes we had a little snowball fight. We visited the Observatory and the overlook next to it. What a view. It also was the highest point for us as of now at 9200 feet. On our way back we stopped at the Old Apple Barn for some apple pie and cherry cider.

# 125

Escondida Lake, Socorro, NM

April 19, 2023, to April 21, 2023

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What a surprise we had on our way here. Apparently, some 5000 years ago some volcano decided to go off and created a lava field on the northeastern edge of the White Sands Misle Field. Pretty cool. Other than that we took it a little easy. Char is hurting and needs a break. And this place is the perfect spot for that. While we are right next to the Rio Grande, it’s pretty quiet here. We did drive into the mountains a little and stopped at a plateau overlooking the valley. I need a dirt bike. 🙂

# 126

Elephant Butte Reservoir, NM

April 21, 2023, to April 22, 2023

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What a one-nighter in a different way. This place is surrounded by mountains on a reservoir that is fed by the Rio Grande. The views are 360 degrees. The sunset was great but when I stepped outside at night time I was stunned by the view of the stars. We had been to places with dark skies, but for now, this one takes the crown. Char nor I had seen a night sky like this before. Do I even need to mention that the sunrise was equally good?

# 127

Rio Grande Winery, Las Cruces, NM

April 22, 2023, to April 23, 2023

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Another one-nighter. This time at a winery. After setting up, I did a quick shopping trip and then we went to try some wines. We ended up buying 2 bottles and cheesecake. In the evening they had some live entertainment and we could enjoy that right from the RV in our own seats.

# 128

D.H. Lescombes Winery, Deming, NM

April 23, 2023, to April 24, 2023

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Day 3 of one-nighters and day 2 with no hookups. And another winery, so we stocked up on a little more wine and went to a haunted restaurant nearby. The Adobe Deli. What a hole in the wall. But the food was outstanding. The owner’s daughter gave us a tour of the place. This restaurant used to be a school and a post office among other things. Now it’s full of antiques and collectibles. Pretty cool place.

# 129

Rockhound State Park, NM

April 24, 2023, to April 26, 2023

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Steep hills and sand storms. That could be the theme here. I was told that this area was created by a now-extinct volcano. There are lots of cacti here. The bathhouse was constructed at what they used to call the snake pit. And the camp host did have to remove a small rattler from the entrance of the women’s bathroom. I yet have to see one and I will be more than happy if I don’t. Char went rock searching. The area is loaded with little gems. She didn’t have to venture far into snake country to find some with cristal vines going through them. I bought us a small humidifier. I was told that NM is bad when it comes to allergies. Even I can attest to that. And I normally don’t suffer from allergies.

# 130

Truck issues in New Mexico

April 26, 2023, to April 28, 2023

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What a fun thing to happen. NOT!

We were going to leave early on the 26th to get past Tucson and stay the night at a State Park there. We wanted to be in Phoenix early enough to get Solar Panels and find a spot for the night. Well, the truck had other plans. I had connected it to the RV the night before. I only needed to put it in neutral. The truck was dead. An issue we had before and I know how to fix it. Only this time it was a new issue and it was too deep into the system for me to fix. So I called Ford roadside service and we decided to tow it back to Las Cruces. Of course, the local Ford dealer has no experience with Mavericks and only 3 mechanics who are even certified to work on hybrids. At least they were very interested in my diagnostics and arranged for a rental that we can pick up in Phoenix. So we spent the night in Las Cruces again and hit the road around 10:00 AM. Leaving the truck behind. Hopefully, they will be able to get it running again by the time we leave the Grand Canyon. We did get our solar panels and we got our new mattress. At least a few things were accomplished.

# 131

Phoenix, AZ

April 28, 2023, to May 01, 2023

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This weekend was all about family. We had a great time with Charlene’s cousin and her husband. We ate out a lot, cooked a little, gossiped some, and laughed a lot. We need to have them move closer. We did get a rental car courtesy of Ford. And I installed the solar panels that we got Friday morning.

# 132

Cottonwood, AZ

May 01, 2023, to May 03, 2023

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I guess it’s safe to say that the Sedona area gave us a taste of what is to come at the Grand Canyon. Beautiful red rocks and Montezuma’s Castle. Even the Walmart parking lot has views here. I wish some of the places like Devil’s Kitchen were a little more accessible. But we managed. I was contacted by a Ford Customer Satisfaction Representative on the 2nd. The truck is now being transferred to El Paso, TX because this dealership couldn’t even give us an estimate of when they would work on it. They wasted a week doing nothing. My rep contacted them last Friday. We could have arranged something then already. I will have some driving to do soon.

# 133

Grand Canyon, AZ

May 03, 2023, to May 09, 2023

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What a place this is. There is not much else to write about the Grand Canyon. It’s just that beautiful. We celebrated our anniversary here with dinner at the Arizona Steakhouse. The Pink Jeep Tour was fun and we learned things that you normally wouldn’t know about. I let the pictures speak for themselves. As for the truck, we got a live sign from it yesterday, May 8. All they did was jump it and it came right to life. WTF, that was the first thing I tried. Could it be just a bad battery? Hopefully, I will be able to drive to El Paso and pick him up.

# 134

Willow Beach Campground, AZ

May 09, 2023, to May 11, 2023

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Not quite as many pictures as from the Grand Canyon. I was a little busy driving to El Paso to pick up the truck. We got a new battery. On my way back, I found out that was not the problem. Well, the battery was toast. But there is something else going on. Halfway back to Vegas, I stopped and turned the truck off. Dead again. This time I was able to jump-start it though and made it home safe. I put the battery on the charger overnight and we are in business again. But that also means we have to do some more troubleshooting soon. Good thing I have no plans after May 25 and we can arrange with whatever we come up with.

# 135

Longstreet Casino, NV

May 11, 2023, to May 12, 2023

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We loaded the fridge and the freezer. The new navigation software will get the boot for a while, it’s not up to the task yet. I have to guess what exit it wants to take me. Well, my guess was wrong, but it took us through a part of Vegas you normally wouldn’t see. I wouldn’t call it the hood, but it is obvious that Vegas is not what it used to be. As a bonus, it shaved off 10 minutes of our trip. We fueled up at the Area 51 Alien Center. Making sure we are full for the trip. The freshwater tank is full too. At the campground, Char made us some money. She fed the machines at the casino and actually left us with $120 in the plus. Good girl.

# 136

Death Valley

May 12, 2023, to May 14, 2023

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I would say this is a cool place, but it’s rather hot here. Even in May. We did reach 107 Fahrenheit. Considering it can get to 120, that is cool. We stayed at Stovepipe Wells. There is a hotel, a saloon, a restaurant, a store with a gift shop, a campground, and a gas station. Gas was $5.56. After the Grand Canyon, this is another awe-inspiring place. I am glad we took this route.

# 137

Crowley Lake, CA

May 14, 2023, to May 15, 2023

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From 107 F to 66 F in a few hours. What a trip. We left Death Valley going North West on CA 190. From 10′ to over 6000′ with grades of 9%. Apparently too much for the truck. The brakes overheated and something popped. So now we have the electrical issue and no brakes. Wonderful. As much as I loved the truck, I have had it. And I am going to call Ford out on it. Anyhow, where we are now, at 6900 feet, they still have snow. We came from the AC barely making it to needing the furnaces to help the heat pump. Interesting place. Gas here is $5.749 per gallon. Ouch.

# 138

Coleville KOA, CA

May 15, 2023, to May 17, 2023

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The most exciting part about this stay was the drive there. And Char got to play in the snow a little. Thanks to the truck not being usable, we focused on laundry and cleaning. We collected a little dust in the last few weeks. As for the KOA itself, beautiful place. At the same time the most restrictive place we have ever been to. I would say, the inmates at the jail had more freedom than the occupants of this campground. I mean, in jail you are allowed to have visitors for example.

# 139

Aunt Mary, NV

May 17, 2023, to May 24, 2023

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Short of the truck being crashed by the dealership, we had a fantastic week with Charlene’s Aunt. We ate a lot and we saw a lot. The Carson Valley area is beautiful. It made our list. Obviously, we have to come back because of the truck and we are looking forward to it. More on the truck story at a later point.

# 140

Recall on the RV, Truck story

May 24, 2023, to June 11, 2023

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On May 19 we were informed that our truck was involved in a crash at the dealership. Great! I right away mentioned that we were interested in a trade. I told them we could figure this out once we came back from Yuba City where we took the RV for a recall. On the 24th we went across the mountains into California. We stayed the night at Stephens Farmhouse. Took care of the recall the next morning and got some shopping done. The next night we stayed at one of the worst Thousand Trail Campgrounds we have been to. On the 26th we made our way back to Reno. We stopped at Ford and found out that they had not much of an answer for us yet. Apparently, their insurance couldn’t make up their mind. Repair or total the truck. I found us a spot at a casino in Carson City. Char made us some money there. The dealership gave us a loaner and we met with Aunt Mary a few more times. And Char got her hair done finally. On June 4th we moved to Pyramide Lake. That’s about 35 miles north of Reno and as remote as it can be. AT&T and Starlinks work there thank God. On June 7th the insurance finally came back with a verdict. Repair it is. On the 8th we finally could do the paperwork and get us a new 2023 Ford Ranger 4×4. We picked that one on May 26 already but had to wait for the insurance. Today (6/9) I installed the towing kit so we can flat tow it behind the RV. Saturday we will meet with Aunt Mary again to pick up the golf cart that we left there. After dinner, it will be a bittersweet goodbye. We enjoyed the time and if it wasn’t so expensive here, we could see ourselves buying some land here. But it’s time to move on. Stay tuned.

# 141

Leaving Nevada

June 11, 2023, to June 13, 2023

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On Sunday, June 11 we left Pyramid Lake heading east. We stayed a week at the lake and only after leaving we saw the colony of white pelicans on the south side of the lake. Pretty cool. We stopped in Winnemucca for one night and then for a night at a beautiful campground near Wells, NV. The whole drive was breathtaking. On the 13th we made it to the Salt Flats in Utah. we found ourselves a boondocking spot overlooking the flats. We went a little off-roading into the hills before we headed to Bonneville Speedway to take on the track. We were able to get onto the salt flat and drive on it a little. When I was a teenager, I read all these stories about land speed records being broken here. Today I drove here myself. Not setting any records. It is a little rough.

# 142


June 13, 2023, to June 19, 2023

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We had a little action around midnight. A group of kids (mid-20s) from a search and rescue organization in Pennsylvania stopped nearby and their bus caught fire. Luckily they managed to get it out before it did real damage. Before leaving in the morning I took one of them to a nearby town to get some parts. Unfortunately, we were not successful. We had to leave them behind, but from what I was told help was on the way. We spent the night at a campground in Evanston, WY, where we stocked up with groceries and did some laundry. From there we went to our boondocking spot near Green River. We found a spot on top of the mountains overlooking the north side of the Flaming Gorge. Awesome views and we had daily visitors. Wild horses. We saw a group of about 3 dozen of them not far from where we camped out. We stayed here for 4 nights. It gets really windy here at times.

# 143

Rawlins, WY

June 19, 2023, to June 21, 2023

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The laundry is done, the RV is clean and we went to prison. Let’s see if we can find us a spot to park the RV for a few days.

# 144

Boondocking and Harvest Host, WY

June 21, 2023, to June 27, 2023

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And some nice spots we found. The first one was just south of Casper, WY. We spent two nights on the Platte River. We had only one neighbor a few hundred yards away. Good thing we didn’t go further north, because there was some bad weather with even a tornado touching down. We then moved to Douglas, WY for a night. The city there has a park where they allow overnight camping. They even have a dump station, water, and bathrooms with hot showers there. Pretty impressive. We visited the Pioneer Museum and Char now has another t-shirt. From there we went to Gillette, WY. We stayed with “Our Wyoming Life” a 5000-acre farm and Harvest Host location that also has a YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/@OurWyomingLife). We arrived Sunday and toured the farm Monday morning. Of course not without getting some brats and homemade ice cream from the farm store. From there we went to see the Devil’s Tower. For that, we parked the RV at the smallest, most laid-back campground ever in Moorcroft, WY. That town was forgotten in time. In a nice way.

# 145

Sturgis, SD

June 27, 2023, to June 29, 2023

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Sturgis, a town that is only on the map once a year. The black mountains are beautiful. We took the scenic route on 14A. Even in the rain, it’s awesome. Even a mountain goat showed herself with her little one. On day two we made it to Belle Fourche. There we have the Geographic Center of the Nation. Well, the real one is on a pasture a few miles north, but people here thought it was still within the margins of error to declare themselves the center. Close enough for me.

# 146

Rapid City, SD

June 29, 2023, to July 03, 2023

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There she was still smiling. Then she found out it was hard work. She got dirtier too. In the end, she had 7 or 8 gold flakes. She was pooped and barely made it into the car. She was happy anyhow and enjoyed it very much. Not that she will ever do it again. lol. While she was panning, I toured the mine. This particular one was founded by two Germans. Before we went prospecting, we went and saw Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse. It also looks like summer finally caught up with us. The wind slowed down and it’s getting warm. Unlike Sturgis, Rapid City figured out how to make the most out of all the attractions and the beautiful surrounding nature.

# 147

Custer State Park, SD

July 03, 2023, to July 06, 2023

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Good thing we did Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse while in Rapid City. There was so much to see here just driving around that it took us two days to do that. On one of the scenic drives we did go by Mount Rushmore again and saw it from a totally different view. The bison greeted us when we drove in, but we had to go a little mudding to find them the next day. The truck is dirty again, but worth it.

# 148

Badlands, SD

July 06, 2023, to July 09, 2023

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We saw the first signs for Walls Drug Store in Wyoming already. I made sure we get to the “wall” early because I knew it would be crowded at this famous boondocking location. And I was right. Nevertheless, we found a spot and settled in for three nights. Far from level but good enough. We had lunch at Walls Drug Store. It was packed. And we did the scenic drive through the Badlands and we visited the Minuteman Museum. The things you get to see in unexpecting South Dakota. The famous long horn sheep remain illusive. I get the feeling that the last winter was rather hard on all the wildlife.

# 149

Ingalls Homestead, SD

July 09, 2023, to July 13, 2023

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We spent the first night on the Missouri River. Boondocking places are the best. The next three days we, or better Char explored the Ingalls homestead in De Smet, SD. She will be busy reading for a while. Found out, that Caroline was our neighbor. Well, sort of. She was born in Brookfield, WI. We used to live in New Berlin. Pretty much across the street. If there was such a thing back then. lol. And it was about 100 years before us. If you are into the little house on the prairie, this should be on your bucket list.

# 150

Harvest Host Run, SD & MN

July 13, 2023, to July 16, 2023

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This marks the last 3 days of our 2 weeks with no full hook-up stint. The first night was at a winery still in South Dacota. Char got a little tipsy and we ended up with 2 bottles of some sweet stuff. I was able to try some alcoholic grape juice from grapes I had never heard of. And I was impressed. I wonder if they ever will make mainstream. Our second stop was one of our most memorable stops ever. We stayed at Pulmeria Alpaca Ranch. Jennifer the owner showed us around and we got lost in conversation more than once. We have a drawer full of zucchini and yellow squash now and fresh eggs too. The 3rd stop was on another farm just 12 miles from the Wisconsin border. More alpacas, pork chops, and some beauty products for Char. The next few days will be filled with doing loads of laundry.

# 151

Hayward, WI

July 16, 2023, to July 19, 2023

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A trip back to my roots. I was here before, in 1989. Back then we were able to drive up to our family’s old homestead and see what it had become. Now all of it is private. More cabins have been built and you can’t access Johnson’s lake anymore. It kind of was expected and not a disappointment as such. What I am disappointed about is the fact that most of this beautiful land in the area is not accessible. There are a few public boat ramps on the bigger lakes but that’s about it. Everything is private land and someone had a field day with No Trespassing signs. They are everywhere.

# 152

Eagle River, WI

July 19, 2023, to July 24, 2023

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We started out with some rather cold weather and rain, but by the end of the stay it finally got a little warmer and on Sunday we were even able to sit outside by the lake with “cousin” Bruce and the family. We also got some cranberry products at Lake Nokomis Cranberries Farm. They tour you around the farm in a bus with Florida license plates.

# 153

Sister Bay, WI

July 24, 2023, to July 29, 2023

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While there was a little rain during our stay, summer finally caught up with us and we got some sightseeing done. Diane and Don took us to Washington Island. That also was Charlene’s second trip on a ferry. As always Diane is full of information about family history and it was great to see her and Don again. Cherry season is towards the end here and the only cherries you could still pick were tard cherries. While it would have been fun to watch Charlene cringe when eating those from the tree, we skipped that part. Off to the next stop.

# 154

Fond du Lac, WI

July 29, 2023, to July 31, 2023

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Initially, we added this short stop to see Charlene’s nephew who lives here. We had a great time with them, even though it probably added 2 lsb+ to my weight thanks to all the excellent custard and ice cream. Wesley is a riot. But we also managed to squeeze in a visit to the EAA Air Show in Oshkosh thanks to my godfather’s daughter. We did get to meet her at the air show too. This was a short but intense weekend.

# 155

Racine & Milton, WI

July 31, 2023, to August 17, 2023

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I can’t believe we spent a month in Wisconsin. We had a great time. The last two stops were all about meeting up with friends, doing some maintenance on the RV, and otherwise taking it easy. That’s why there are not too many pictures. We did have to go to New Glarus Brewing Company though. I mean, how could we not go to see where Spotted Cow is made? There is one bad thing about Wisconsin though. It takes the crown for worse roads in the country.

# 156

Cary, IL

July 17, 2023, to August 19, 2023

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This stop was all about a visit to Tyler. We cleaned up his site a little and added a rock. After that, we hit Fannie May Candies and Rosatie’s Pizza. I personally still don’t consider deep dish a pizza, but whatever that is, it is good. We stayed at Chain-O-Lakes State Park. Let me just say that it hurts to see that beautiful place go to shits.

# 157

Travel Days, IL to KY

July 19, 2023, to August 21, 2023

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Instead of going through Chicago with its traffic and bad roads, we took a route west adding over 100 miles, avoiding traffic but not so much the bad roads. I was going to give the crown for the worse roads to Wisconsin, but Illinois picked right up where Wisconsin left off and then added to it. So for now Illinois has the worst roads for us. On the way, we got to try two new concepts of overnight stays in the RV. The first one was a Love’s RV Stop and the second one was UcamP Express. Both are conveniently located near interstate exits. Both with pull-throughs. Loves was $45 and UcamP was $48. Both with full hookups.

# 158

Near Fort Knox, KY

August 21, 2023, to August 28, 2023

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What a great week with our army friends. 😉 He is into baking now. Check him out at https://www.cookingleprechaunbakery.com/

# 159

Mammoth Cave, KY to Bledsoe Creek State Park, TN

August 28, 2023, to September 01, 2023

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After leaving Chris and Lori, we stopped at Mammoth Cave National Park. Unfortunately, Char caught a cold and was out of commission. She still managed to get her stamp for her National Park Passport and we drove around the park. On our way to Bledsoe Creek State Park, we finally managed to stop at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. Char is on board now and wants a Corvette too. Bledsoe Creek State Park surprised us with lots of deer visiting and how nice the park is. If this park is an indication of the quality of State Parks in Tennessee, we might have to check out a few more in the future. Spoiler ⚠ alert, the next one was nice too.

# 160

David Crocket Birthplace State Park, TN

September 01, 2023, to September 05, 2023

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Tennessee has some nice Parks. Difficult to get to, but well worth it. The camp host loved our mini golf cart and I think we sold him on it. We looked at a property in the area that unfortunately was pretty much on a hill only. No way to park an RV there. On our scenic trip back, we stumbled upon another lot for sale. Would have been perfect if it wasn’t almost 7 acres and $90k. Oh well. We will keep looking.

# 161

Smokey Mountain National Park, TN

September 05, 2023, to September 07, 2023

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I found us an RV Resort near the National Park. After setting up, we took a drive to Cades Cove Loop Road. This is where Charlene finally got to see a bear. Well, actually 3. We had to do this right after we arrived at the “Resort” because the loop is closed to motorized traffic on Wednesdays. On that day the loop is open for hikers and bikers only. The bears want a good meal at least once a week. So on Wednesday, we drove through the Park. All the way into North Carolina. Not that it was that far. Very nice views, and no more bears.

# 162

Carolina Landings, SC

September 07, 2023, to September 10, 2023

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A short stop to pay Helen, GA a visit for their annual October fest. What a crazy town. They took their Bavarian heritage to the next level here. The area is also known for its white-water activity. Although they are a little low on water for that. People were still tubing though. We enjoyed a couple of hours in “Germany” :-).

# 163

Persimmon Hill Farm and The Oaks at South Point TT, SC

September 10, 2023, to September 14, 2023

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Since the trip to our next Thousand Trails (TT) was over 250 miles, we added a stop at a Farm. While their chicken decided to boycott the purchase of some eggs, we did get some frozen chicken and a pork belly. The TT campground was the typical TT. Plenty of room in length, no room sideways. But it’s more or less free since we used the system enough to be past break even. We took the two days at the park to do a little more laundry and otherwise do nothing. I did cook one of the chickens though.

# 164

Fort McAllister State Park, GA

September 14, 2023, to September 17, 2023

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Nice park near Savannah. We managed to go to the Museum of the Mighty 8th. After that Char was done, unfortunately. So no sightseeing in Savannah. Plenty of wildlife here, although the deer looked like they were starving. On a negative note, Georgia has figured out how to milk extra money out of visitors. You have to pay for every vehicle now. Even a golf cart. Spoiler alert ⚠ , Jacksonville is even worse.

# 165

Huguenot Memorial Park, FL

September 17, 2023, to September 19, 2023

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Let’s get right to the fun part. The golf cart was chained down so we were guaranteed to not use it. We have been to plenty of parks that don’t allow golf carts. You just leave it on the truck. Here we had two choices, they can take it into custody or put a chain on it. I never intended to take it down in the first place so guess what? The staff and I had a good laugh about it and I fully understand the why. They must have some real idiots coming to this campground for them to take this step. Other than that this is a pretty cool place. You see ships go right by your site, a naval base is right across the river with some cool toys. And you can drive on to the beach. We watched one of said idiots get his truck stuck in the Atlantic while retrieving his jet ski. A jeep came to his rescue. But we think he did get some saltiness inside his truck. We might keep this place in mind.

# 166

Long Point Park, FL

September 19, 2023, to September 22, 2023

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We stopped at our favorite park to get together with friends and get acclimated to Florida again. We were a little surprised to see the park almost empty. And we were greeted by rain. So we did a basic hookup and went to meet our friends at a restaurant in Sebastian. We had a great time with them. As for the park, gnats and no-see-ums have gotten out of control. They were so bad, even I couldn’t stay outside. Even the spider on my car that has been withstanding washes and rain since Wisconsin declared defeat and didn’t bother making a new net after the last one was full of gnats. I think we will skip this park for the foreseeable future.

# 167

Sunshine Key, FL

September 22, 2023, to October 06, 2023

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Two weeks in the Keys. Who can handle that? We were a little surprised at how empty it was. We made a few trips to Key West. The visit to the Butterfly Conservatory was the one that stuck out. A must-see in my opinion. We had a great neighbor who supplied us with lobster. Something I can enjoy without having to share it with Charlene. She doesn’t know what she is missing. The weather was a little mixed but that also led to needed downtime. We still found some time for the small beach and we made new friends during one of the few nice sunsets. We upgraded our Thousand Trails membership. In the future, you will find us mostly at TT and Encore campgrounds. If there just were spots available in January and February. The day before we left, I noticed a crack in the windshield on the passenger side of the RV. Thank God for living in Florida. We got that rolling. It should “only” take 2 to 3 weeks to be repaired. Will keep you posted.

# 168

Midway Campground, FL Everglades

October 06, 2023, to October 09, 2023

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We made a pitstop in the Everglades again. This is the perfect stop “Midway” to home. It was pretty deserted here. Nevertheless, we once again managed to have neighbors with German roots. Seems to become a tradition when we stop here. We got the truck dirty again on Loop Road. I wish there were more options to 4×4 into the swamps.

# 169

Collier-Seminole State Park, FL

October 09, 2023, to October 16, 2023

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Not really worth talking about this one. We arrived at a mostly empty park with clouds of mosquitos and knee-high grass that took 3 days to be mowed. The rain didn’t help either. Not that this kind of stuff is a mood killer. You take advantage of it and recharge. The one thing that ticked me off though was the fact that the disabled spot that I couldn’t book because it was reserved, was empty the whole week. What is it with this park? Why do people book and then don’t use it?

# 170

Riverside Encore Park, FL

October 16, 2023, to October 30, 2023

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This was our last stop before the official end of our trip on October 30. We got our windshield replaced, and I did some much-needed maintenance. Mainly flushing the tanks with a pressure washer. It’s true when they say that the gray tanks can be worse than the black tanks. On the last weekend, we had family stay at the campground too. Good times! We ended up driving 10,478.5 miles on this trip. Check out the map with stops below.

# 171

Myakka River State Park, FL

October 30, 2023, to November 01, 2023

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The trip is officially over. Upon arrival at the park, we were told that there was no potable water available. No problem, we have 70 gallons. Come to find out, this is ongoing since May 10, 2023. They are hoping to have the pump project done by mid-November. We made this and another reservation in November and December of 2022. Would have been nice to know about this. Instead of 2 weeks, we stayed 2 nights. I got these 2 weeks and the upcoming 2 weeks covered. Thank You Thousand Trails.

# 172

Harbor Lakes, Port Charlotte, FL

November 01, 2023, to November 13, 2023

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Well, we were lucky and secured a spot at Harbor Lakes. I was almost glad that Myakka River State Park had the water issue. This place is amazing. The roads are as wide as a four-lane highway and the sites have the most space I have seen in an Encore Park. I think we can spend some winters between here and Riverside.

# 173

Riverside Encore Park, FL

November 13, 2023, to November 18, 2023

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A quick stop at Riverside for some much-needed rain. Well, we could have done without the weather but oh well. 🙂

# 174

Pioneer Village Encore Park, FL

November 18, 2023, to December 02, 2023

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We ended up here instead of at Myakka River State Park. They still have no potable water available there. We did have 2 water outages here too though. This place has a different vibe. I think half of French-speaking Canada is in this park. Our neighbors are nice, but there are some grumps here. We had a good Thanksgiving. While I cooked the least amount of food ever for an occasion like that, I still went overboard. Charlene is freaking out over the weather in Germany.

# 175

Riverside Encore Park, FL

December 02, 2023, to December 11, 2023

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Just a quick stop to get ready for Germany. I got my annual eye doctor visit done and storage stuff sorted out. Char took part in the craft fair and enjoyed the pool one last time. The RV is going on vacation in Lakeland while we are in Germany. Looks like we will be greeted with snow when we get there on Wednesday. That should make Char happy. LOL

# Christmas in Germany

Heinbockel, Germany

December 12, 2023, to January 02, 2024

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Where to even begin? Let us get the weather out of the way. It sucked. Cold, rain, gray. There were two sunny days though. Now that that is out of the way, everything else was fantastic. It was good to spend time with family and friends again. Char got to cut our Christmas tree and was introduced to some German traditions. She even had some shots with the guys swinging by on New Year’s Day. One of the traditions. Now let me sum up 2023. What a fantastic year. 🙂 On to 2024.

Here is a map of the places we have stayed on our 2023 trip.