JoDo Chasing Rainbows

Canyon Lake Gorge

We recently signed up for the public tour of the Canyon Lake Gorge.  This gorge did not exist before 2002.  It was caused by a flood when the dam got too full.  Canyon Lake dam is an earthen dam.  The spillway is to the left of the dam when standing facing the structure.  We saw part of the gorge from the top when we walked around the dam area.  We could see the bottom part when you drive on Access Road.  

It was very exciting to find that they do tours.  You have to visit their website at https://canyongorge.org/tour.  The tour costs $10.  The tour lasts approximately three hours.  There is one guide and two docents who make sure folks stay in the proper areas. Susan James was our tour guide.  She was a wealth of information.  Every time I just thought a question she answered it before I could raise my hand.

The dam was built in the late 1950s.  It had never needed the spillway before the 2002 flood.  What was unearthed was quite amazing.  We got to see what might be dinosaur tracks. 

We also got to see many fossils.  You make look at and touch while on the tour.  But that is it. You may not take anything with you.  This is government property making this theft a felony.

Part of the aquifer is exposed before is goes back under water.  It had rained earlier in the week so we walked through water to see beautiful falls.  

This was also my first exposure to a fault line.  It was visible to see that two sides pushing/pulling against each other.  It is a true wonder.

Even though it was in the high 30s when we started the tour, it was a great time. Note this is rocky hike.  You don’t move fast but the path is not handicap accessible.  I recommend good, weatherproof hiking boots for this adventure.  You will be walking on rock, mud and through water at times.  

Finding the RV that fits you

I wrote about what process we went through to find the perfect motorhome for us earlier this year.  This has lead to many questions from friends and strangers on what would be the best RV for them.  I really can’t answer that question for anyone.  What I can do is give you a list of items that you might want to review before you take the plunge into RV ownership.

  1. What type of camping do you want to do?  This is an important question.  If you are a resort camper than you can get away with a larger RV.  National and state parks usually have size requirements. 
  2. Do you plan on dry camping or boondocking?  If so, you will want to make sure you have the right set up to stay off the grid for the time period you wish to be off services.  When you dry camp or boondock you are not hooked up to electricity, water or sewer services.
  3. Do you plan on full time travel, weekend getaways with family or plan to use for tailgating?  This is important because want to think about size, amenities (such as an outdoor TV and sink set up if tailgating).  Storage would be an important issue for a full timer.  For a weekend getaway with the family, sleeping capacity would probably be the most important.
  4. How much money do you have to spend?  How will you pay for this RV?  Cash or finance.  How long will you finance?  RVs are expensive.  You must have a budget so that you know what you can and cannot handle.  

Once you have thought about the above questions, I think you are ready to start looking at rigs.  I cannot state emphatically enough how YouTube can be a help.  RV dealers won’t have every type of motorhome that you will be interested in viewing.  We lived in Georgia when we bought our motorhome.  Georgia is 5th wheel heaven.  Finding a Class C is hard.  Many RV dealerships will take an entire line and do a walk through on the RV.  This way you can figure out what type of styles you like.  Keeping an open mind will allow you to see what types of RVs are available to you.  This will help you narrow down what type of RV you like – Class A, Class C, Class B, travel trailer, 5th wheel Toy Hauler or Truck Camper.

  • Class A – looks like the bus.  They range in 26 to about 47 feet long.  These are the big rigs of the road.  
  • Class B – looks like a van.  They can range in 18 to about 28 feet long. These are smaller.  Great for couples or those who want to only have one vehicle.  They can go about anywhere fairly easy.  
  • Class C – looks like a truck with the overhang over the body of truck.  These can range from 18 to about 37 feet long.  
  • Travel trailer and 5th wheel must be pulled by an appropriate size vehicle usually a truck.  These can range from 22 feet to 45 feet long.
  • Toy Hauler can be a TT or 5th wheel where you can drop the back wall to carry your toys (golf cart, motor cycles, etc). 
  • Trunk camper – the camper fits into the bed of the truck.  Today’s models utilize space in unique ways.  Some even have wet baths.

Class A, B or C can either have a gas or diesel engine.  I am not going to address the pros or cons of gas versus diesel.  There are many articles out there.  We gnashed our teeth for about one day before we realized in our situation it did not matter.  You will need to make the decision on this.  Diesel motorhomes do cost more upfront than gas fueled motorhomes.

I also recommend you go to RV shows. We went to three before we bought our rig.  This way you can see many  manufacturers and floor plans before you purchase.  It also helped us form our budget.  We entered some beautiful home motorhomes that we would never buy due to cost but it was fun to dream for a moment.

I took pictures and wrote in a notebook every motorhome that we were interested in; listing pros and cons while at the show.  I am a little OCD so this is the method that worked for me.  We also started to feel more confident so we dipped our toe into going to RV dealerships.  I don’t like being sold to but I knew that we also needed to test drive any potential RV that we would buy to see how it drove and whether we liked the size.  I drove a few.  It was interesting that a few motorhomes got crossed of the list once we drove it.  

Now that you have done all of this.  You probably have an idea of what type of RV you wish to purchase.  Then it is all about floor plans.  Each manufacturer will have multiple floor plans for each of its models.  With your budget in hand,you are ready to figure out what is best for you. Don’t be afraid look further than your home state for your RV. We found our RV in Missouri.  I hope this helps.  Are there any other factors you used to find your perfect fit?

Pull over or Zip up Sweatshirt

img_20181016_1433437598631752781147199.jpgOne of the hardest thing to do when moving into your RV full time is downsizing your wardrobe. Now that we are about six months into the process I feel I can write my opinion on our process. I logically knew that there was no way that I was going to keep all the clothes that I had. I didn’t need all my work clothes anymore. I also knew that I had just too many clothes even though I purged my closets twice per year.

The easiest purge was work clothes. I kept three skirts and four blouses with one nice sweater. I kept neutral colors so that I could wear them in any season. That was the easy. On to casual clothes. There will be a common theme. I kept more neutral colors and solids that matched with the majority of the rest of my clothes. I didn’t keep anything to flashy nor did I keep anything that only went with one pair of pants.

Where I started to have trouble is my workout clothes. I am a personal trainer who teaches exercises classes in my spare time. I have lots of workout clothes. I kept my favorites clothes but donated the rest. This was much harder. I spent two months agonizing over leggings and tank tops.

We started in on what jackets to keep. I kept one winter coat, a jacket and a vest. This should be enough since we chase warmer weather. Another simple decision. Guess where we have had clothing heartburn? Me, a pull over sweatshirt. Donna, a zip up sweat shirt.

Since the weather has cooled, I have complained about not having a zip up sweatshirt. I prefer it when I cook and ride my bike. Donna complained about not having a pull over sweatshirt when she is working outside. She likes the middle pocket to hold tools. I gave away all my zip up shirts and she gave away all her pull over shirts. Luckily, we were the same size. We have both be happy as we can be since we switched.

It took us six months to realize that there was one item that we missed. Happily, we had the item so we did not have to spend any money to make our lives easier. Is there any clothing item that you gave up when you started full timing that you now regret?

Little Rock, AR

 

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The weather has been inconsistent.  We have lived through summer temps to a deep freeze in our time in Arkansas.  We had a beautiful weekend with warm temperatures so we decided to take a walking tour of Little Rock.  From Central High School to the River Trail it was a great day.